Friday, December 09, 2016

Well Done


New Poll Shows Public Opposes Most Trump Policies








Trump campaigned on several policies, and looking at his cabinet picks, it looks like he is going to try and follow through on those policies. He may be committing political suicide though for himself and his GOP cohorts though, because the American public is not on board with those changes.

He has said he wants to give a huge tax cut to the wealthy. But only 29% support that. A whopping 67% (two-thirds of the public) opposes cutting taxes for the wealthy.

He has talked about overturning the regulations put in place to fight climate change. Only 31% support that, while 59% opposes it.

He has promised to make it easier for Americans to carry guns. Only 38% agree with that, while 57% disagree.

He has promised to build a wall on the Mexican border. Only 42% agree, while 55% oppose it.

He has promised to deport undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States. Only 25% think that's a good idea, while 72% opposes it.

He has promised to appoint judges that would overturn the Roe vs Wade decision on abortion. But 67% of the public supports the Roe vs Wade decision, while only 30% oppose it.

And finally, while Trump claims he will be a "uniter", the public doesn't believe it. About 43% are more concerned about discrimination under a Trump administration and 38% are just as concerned as they were before he was elected. Only 17% think Trump's election will make them less concerned about discrimination (and that's probably the racists who want discrimination to continue). No one believes Trump will be a uniter.

Trump and the Republicans now have the power to do what they want, but much of that will be against the will of the American people.

These charts were made using information in a new Quinnipiac University Poll -- done between November 17th and 20th of a random national sample of 1,071 voters, with a margin of error of 3 points.

Small

Political Cartoon is by Bob Englehart at cagle.com.

A Troubling Pattern


And the pattern continues. He has now chosen a billionaire Commerce Secretary (Wilbur Ross) called the "king of bankruptcy", who is famous for buying companies in financial trouble and laying off their workers. The Deputy Secretary of Commerce is also a Wall Street billionaire.

His pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency is Scott Pruitt -- a friend of Big Oil, opponent of efforts by the EPA to make power plants and other industries clean up their pollution, and climate change denier. He will be sure to help roll back EPA restrictions on corporations -- and the result will be dirtier air and water.

And word now is he has chosen multi-millionaire Andy Puzder to be Secretary of Labor (who is CEO of CKE Restaurants Holdings (owners of Hardee's and Carl Jr's). He is opposed to raising the minimum wage, and to overtime pay recently mandated by the Obama administration. This corporate CEO (who makes more in one day than the minimum wage workers in his restaurants make in a year) is bad news for the hopes of workers.

Trump's picks seem to be perfect for accomplishing two things -- 1) rolling back all of the protections for workers and minorities of the past few decades, and 2) turning our government over to the giant corporations. The ones who aren't defenders of white privilege (Flynn, Bannon, Sessions) are Wall Street billionaires and corporate CEO's.

Ordinary and hard-working Americans will get no help from the Trump administration. This is now a government of the corporations, by the corporations, and for the corporations.

Screwed

Political Cartoon is by Bill Day at cagle.com.

Pentagon Hid Study Showing $125 Billion In Waste


The following is part of an article in The Washington Post written by Bob Woodward and Craig Whitlock:

The Pentagon has buried an internal study that exposed $125 billion in administrative waste in its business operations amid fears Congress would use the findings as an excuse to slash the defense budget, according to interviews and confidential memos obtained by The Washington Post.
Pentagon leaders had requested the study to help make their enormous back-office bureaucracy more efficient and reinvest any savings in combat power. But after the project documented far more wasteful spending than expected, senior defense officials moved swiftly to kill it by discrediting and suppressing the results.
The report, issued in January 2015, identified “a clear path” for the Defense Department to save $125 billion over five years. The plan would not have required layoffs of civil servants or reductions in military personnel. Instead, it would have streamlined the bureaucracy through attrition and early retirements, curtailed high-priced contractors and made better use of information technology.
The study was produced last year by the Defense Business Board, a federal advisory panel of corporate executives, and consultants from McKinsey and Company. Based on reams of personnel and cost data, their report revealed for the first time that the Pentagon was spending almost a quarter of its $580 billion budget on overhead and core business operations such as accounting, human resources, logistics and property management.
The data showed that the Defense Department was paying a staggering number of people — 1,014,000 contractors, civilians and uniformed personnel — to fill back-office jobs far from the front lines. That workforce supports 1.3 million troops on active duty, the fewest since 1940. . . .
For the military, the major allure of the study was that it called for reallocating the $125 billion for troops and weapons. Among other options, the savings could have paid a large portion of the bill to rebuild the nation’s aging nuclear arsenal, or the operating expenses for 50 Army brigades.
But some Pentagon leaders said they fretted that by spotlighting so much waste, the study would undermine their repeated public assertions that years of budget austerity had left the armed forces starved of funds. Instead of providing more money, they said, they worried Congress and the White House might decide to cut deeper.
So the plan was killed. The Pentagon imposed secrecy restrictions on the data making up the study, which ensured no one could replicate the findings. A 77-page summary report that had been made public was removed from a Pentagon website. . . .

GOP Death Star

Political Cartoon is by Pat Bagley in the Salt Lake Tribune.

Corporate Greed


Thursday, December 08, 2016

Empathy


The Media Failed The Public During The 2016 Campaign










These charts are from a study done of how the media covered the 2016 campaign. The study was done by the Harvard Kennedy School's Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy.

As you can see from scanning these charts, the media did a poor job of covering the election campaign. The top chart shows that the negativity of the media coverage was one of the worst since 1960 (with only the 2000 campaign being more negative in coverage.

The second chart shows that negative coverage was on both candidates -- although when the entire campaign was considered, Clinton had more negative coverage (62%) than Trump (56%). The third chart shows that Trump received significantly more coverage than Clinton did throughout the campaign. And the fourth chart shows that only a pitiful 10% of media coverage was about the policy stands of the candidates -- with the press being far more concerned with the horserace (who was winning), controversies, and other things.

The fifth and sixth carts show the negative and positive coverage of Trump -- and the seventh and eighth charts show the negative and positive coverage of Clinton. The final chart shows the increase in "scandal" coverage of Clinton by the media as the campaign concluded.

Taking all these charts into consideration, it's easy to see why the general public was disgusted with the presidential campaign and both major candidates. The media seems to have gone out of its way to create that disgust.

Here is part of the conclusion of the Harvard study:

A healthy dose of negativity is unquestionably a good thing. There’s a lot of political puffery, ineptitude, and manipulation that needs to be exposed, and journalists would be shirking their duty if they failed to expose it. Yet an incessant stream of criticism has a corrosive effect. It needlessly erodes trust in political leaders and institutions and undermines confidence in government and policy.
Negative news has partisan consequences. Given that journalists bash both sides, it might be thought the impact would be neutral. It’s not. For one thing, indiscriminate criticism has the effect of blurring important distinctions. Were the allegations surrounding Clinton of the same order of magnitude as those surrounding Trump? It’s a question that journalists made no serious effort to answer during the 2016 campaign. They reported all the ugly stuff they could find, and left it to the voters to decide what to make of it. Large numbers of voters concluded that the candidates’ indiscretions were equally disqualifying and made their choice, not on the candidates’ fitness for office, but on less tangible criteria—in some cases out of a belief that wildly unrealistic promises could actually be kept.
False equivalencies abound in today’s reporting. When journalists can’t, or won’t, distinguish between allegations directed at the Trump Foundation and those directed at the Clinton Foundation, there’s something seriously amiss. And false equivalencies are developing on a grand scale as a result of relentlessly negative news. If everything and everyone is portrayed negatively, there’s a leveling effect that opens the door to charlatans. The press historically has helped citizens recognize the difference between the earnest politician and the pretender. Today’s news coverage blurs the distinction.
Indiscriminate criticism also works against the party in power. If voters think everything is bad or going downhill, some of them invariably think that it’s time for a change. In our two-party system, that handicaps the in-party, whether a Republican or Democratic administration. It’s hard for those in power to maintain public support if their policy successes get little note and their shortcomings draw headlines.
An irony of the press’s critical tendency is that it helps the right wing. Although conservatives claim that the press has a liberal bias, the media’s persistent criticism of government reinforces the right wing’s anti-government message. For years on end, journalists have told news audiences that political leaders are not to be trusted and that government is inept. And when journalists turn their eye to society, they highlight the problems and not the success stories. The news creates a seedbed of public anger, misperception, and anxiety— sitting there waiting to be tapped by those who have a stake in directing the public’s wrath at government.
It’s ironic, too, that negative news erodes trust in the press, which is now at its lowest level in the history of polling. Watchdog reporting can build confidence in the press, but when journalists condemn most everything they see, they set themselves up to be as credible as the boy who repeatedly cried “wolf.” In the closing days of the 2016 campaign, the nation’s editorial rooms rang the alarm bell, warning voters not to make the choice that many of them seemed ready to make. It went for naught. The watchdog had lost its bite, as well as the respect of the public it claims to serve.  In a Pew Research Center survey taken shortly after the November 2016 balloting, only one in five respondents gave the press a grade of “B” or higher for its performance. Four of five graded its performance as a “C” or lower, with half of them giving it an “F.”

Tweeter-In-Chief

Political Cartoon is by Jeff Koterba in the Omaha World-Herald.

Most Who Saw The Fake News Stories Believed Them


1. Pope Francis Shocks World, Endorses Donald Trump for President, Releases Statement (Fake)

2. Donald Trump Sent His Own Plane to Transport 200 Stranded Marines (Fake)

3. FBI Agent Suspected in Hillary Email Leaks Found Dead in Apparent Murder-Suicide (Fake)

4. Donald Trump Protester Speaks Out: “I Was Paid $3,500 to Protest Trump’s Rally” (Fake)

5. FBI Director Comey Just Put a Trump Sign on His Front Lawn (Fake)

-------------------------------------------------------------

6. Melania Trump’s Girl-on-Girl Photos From Racy Shoot Revealed (True)

7. Barbara Bush: “I Don’t Know How Women Can Vote” for Trump (True)

8. Donald Trump Says He’d “Absolutely” Require Muslims to Register (True)

9. Trump: “I Will Protect Our LGBTQ Citizens” (True)

10. I Ran the CIA. Now I’m Endorsing Hillary Clinton (True)

11. Donald Trump on Refusing Presidential Salary: “I’m Not Taking It” (True)

I wrote the other day about how dangerous fake news stories can be, because there are people who will believe them (and some who will act on them). But it looks like they may be even worse than I thought. That's because it seems that a lot of people, maybe even most people, simply cannot distinguish between a true story or one that is false.

Buzzfeed commissioned the Ipsos Poll to find out if people believed the fake news stories. Between November 28th and December 1st they questioned about 3,015 adults. They showed them 11 news stories at random -- asking them if they had seen the stories. Those who said they had seen the stories were then asked if the story was accurate or not (i.e., true or false).

The stories they used are listed above. The first five listed are false (fake news stories). The second six are true. As the chart above shows, most people were just as likely to believe the fake news stories as the real news stories.

To me, this proves two things:

1. Most people are either lazy or idiots -- and will believe nearly anything they read on social media without checking to see whether it is true or not.

2. Fake news stories are dangerous -- not only because some nut could use them as an excuse to hurt or kill people, but also because they could affect our elections and whether our officials are believed when trying to do their job honestly.

The Uniter

Political Cartoon is by Mike Keefe in the Colorado Independent.

Michael Flynn Is Not Fit To Work In The White House

(This photo of Michael Flynn is from nationalsecurity.news.)

Donald Trump has made a lot of scary picks for his cabinet and White House advisors -- putting Wall Street moguls in charge of our economy, picking a white supremacist as his closest advisor, picking an incompetent to head HUD, and picking an anti-public school billionaire to head Education -- but his worst pick of all is choosing Michael Flynn as his National Security advisor. That man is unfit to work anywhere in the government, let alone in the White House.

The following op-ed, by Paul Waldman in The Washington Post, outlines why Flynn is a very bad pick, and how he poses a danger to the citizens of the United States by having Trump's ear:

It’s no mystery why Trump chose Flynn for this position. Trump is simultaneously contemptuous of military leaders (you’ll recall how often he said during the campaign that he knew more than them) and enamored of them; his Cabinet is likely to contain multiple retired generals. Early on, Flynn was one of the only former military leaders who endorsed Trump and campaigned with him. He quickly became Trump’s closest adviser on national security. 
But to put it plainly, Michael Flynn is a crackpot.
Let’s do a quick rundown. Flynn, who was head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, was fired by President Obama for a number of reasons, including mismanagement. His staff got so used to him believing things that were obviously false that they began referring to them as “Flynn Facts.” Nevertheless, he had a complete certainty in his own rightness. At one meeting, “Mr. Flynn said that the first thing everyone needed to know was that he was always right. His staff would know they were right, he said, when their views melded to his.” Furthermore, “Some also described him as a Captain Queeg-like character, paranoid that his staff members were undercutting him and credulous of conspiracy theories.”
You can see it in his statements and writings since his retirement. Flynn believes that Islam is “a malignant cancer” that is actually “a political ideology” that “hides behind this notion of it being a religion.” He has tweeted that “Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL” while posting an anti-Islamic video and asking people to “please forward this to others.” On his Twitter feed, he has a propensity for spreading fake news stories from the right-wing fever swamps. As Bryan Bender and Andrew Hanna report:
But Flynn himself has used social media to promote a series of outrageous conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton, President Barack Obama and their inner circles in recent months — pushing dubious factoids at least 16 times since Aug. 9, according to a POLITICO review of his Twitter posts. 
Flynn, who has 106,000 Twitter followers, has used the platform to retweet accusations that Clinton is involved with child sex trafficking and has “secretly waged war” on the Catholic Church, as well as charges that Obama is a “jihadi” who “laundered” money for Muslim terrorists.
Some of the looniest conspiracy theories Flynn has propagated have to do with stolen emails from John Podesta, the chair of Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Right-wing conspiracy-mongers took a word here or there from some of the emails and spun them into allegations that Clinton and Podesta were involved in a Satanic cult and were running a child sex slavery ring out of a Washington pizza parlor. That might be funny, were it not for the fact that the restaurant and nearby establishments have been deluged with death threats and one guy took it seriously enough to drive to D.C. with his assault rifle in an attempt to “rescue” the children he thought were being held in the restaurant’s basement.
We can debate how troubling the spread of fake news is, and what it says about our society that people are willing to believe that Hillary Clinton is connected to a pedophilia ring. What we can’t debate is that no one who believes that kind of lunacy should be allowed anywhere near the Oval Office. But Michael Flynn does. He has retweeted links to insane stories like that one, and his son and chief of staff — who may or may not be part of the Trump transition team, depending on who’s answering the question at a particular moment — has gone even farther down the rabbit hole.
Here’s why this is so important. The national security adviser’s job is to coordinate policy between the multiple agencies whose work touches on national security — the Pentagon, the CIA, the National Security Agency, the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security, and others — and make sure that the president has the best, clearest, and most accurate information with which to make decisions. For a President Trump’s unique combination of ignorance, inexperience, and impulsiveness, it’s particularly vital to have a national security adviser who can encourage calm and thoughtfulness, and not be distracted by what’s irrelevant or downright false.
At some point early in his presidency, Trump is going to confront some kind of national security crisis. Every president does. Maybe it will be a terrorist attack, or a coup in a country in a volatile region, or an aggressive move by an adversary, or a conflict between two nations that the United States might get sucked into. He may have to make decisions quickly, with information that is partial and changing from hour to hour. He’ll get advice from all those different people, and when it’s over, Mike Flynn will be one of the last people in the room telling him what he should do. Trump trusts Flynn, and his words will carry particular weight — perhaps more than anyone else working on the crisis. 
And when that happens, is Flynn going to look down at his phone, see that his son has just sent him a link to some story on Infowars with a ludicrous theory about what’s really going on, and say, “Hold on, Mr. President, this is something we need to consider”? It’s clear already that Flynn has prejudices that skew his ability to see the world accurately, and is lacking in the critical faculties that enable sensible people, whatever their political ideology, to distinguish what’s true from what’s false. So what happens then? . . .
Donald Trump will not be like other Republicans. He’s likely to be reckless and foolish in ways we can’t yet predict. And people like Mike Flynn reinforce his worst instincts, including his own propensity to believe ludicrous conspiracy theories. 
The national security adviser is not subject to Senate confirmation, so the only way Flynn will be replaced by someone less likely to push us toward some kind of disaster is if Trump decides to push him aside. There’s no indication yet that Trump is inclined to do so. But we had better hope he changes his mind.

No Experience (Or Competence) Necessary

Political Cartoon is by Monte Wolverton at cagle.com.

Truth


Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Graffiti


A Majority Of Americans Oppose Building A Border Wall


Throughout his campaign, Donald Trump promised to build a wall between the United States and Mexico -- and for a while, that simplistic solution to our job and immigration problems was fairly popular. Last August, 51% of the public supported building the wall. That is no longer true.

Now the support for building a wall has dropped 14 points -- to only 37%. And a majority of Americans (53%) now say the wall should not be built. I can only assume that the public is finally starting to realize that the silly wall will not solve our immigration problems -- and certainly won't create more good jobs for American workers.

These numbers are from a new Rasmussen Poll -- done on December 4th and 5th of a random national sample of 1,000 likely voters, with a margin of error of 3 points.

The "Plan"

Political Cartoon is by Jimmy Margulies at jimmymargulies.com.

General Public Disagrees With Trump About Cuba




The charts above were made from information in a recent Economist / YouGov Poll -- done on November 28th and 29th of a random national sample of 1,451 adults, and has a margin of error of 3.1 points.

After the death of Fidel Castro, Donald Trump once again showed his poor grasp of foreign relations. He said he would make demands of the Cuban leadership, and if those demands were not met, he would undo all that President Obama has done to put us back on the road to normalcy with Cuba.

That makes me wonder -- where has Trump been for the last 57 years. The United States has tried to change Cuba through bullying tactics for more than 50 years (since 1959), with threats and a failed embargo (which no one in the rest of the world recognizes anymore). What did it accomplish? NOTHING!

The government and the people of Cuba have shown us that they will not be bullied by the U.S. (or anyone else). Erasing the accomplishments of the Obama administration will not be any more successful than the bullying we have tried since 1959. In addition, it's not what the people of the United States want.

As the charts above show, the American public wants to normalize relations with Cuba. They want to be able to travel to Cuba, and they want to be able to trade with Cuba -- buying Cuban products and selling our own products to Cubans.

If Trump follows through on this ridiculous threat, it will just further convince the public that he is not going to be a good president.

New Goldman Sachs Subsidiary

Political Cartoon is by R.J. Matson in Roll Call.

Most Fox Viewers Have A Simplistic View Of The World


The chart above is from the YouGov Poll, using information gathered from the profiles of 200,000 YouGov members.

It shows that most Fox News viewers (60%) see the world in black and white terms. Things are either true or false, and people either believe in truth or they are against the truth. This very simplistic view of the world helps explain why they can believe in the outrageous lies put forward by right-wingers, and passed on by Fox News. These are the people who accept bumper sticker solutions to the nation's and the world's problems.

Smarter people know that is simply not the case. We live in a world composed of many shades of gray -- and many times the things we hear about are neither completely true or completely false. And the solutions to problems are most of the time far too complex to be put on a bumper sticker. The people who know that prefer to get their news from PBS or MSBNC.

A New And Bigger Swamp

Political Cartoon is by Rob Rogers in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Democrats Should Close Primaries And Ban Caucuses

I'm probably going to anger a lot of my left-wing brothers and sisters with this post, but I've promised my readers that you will always get my real opinion on this blog.

I think open primaries and caucuses are a mistake -- and the Democratic Party needs to do away with them. Party decisions, on both candidates and rules, should be the decision of party member -- not the general public. And it certainly shouldn't be the decision of those who are embarrassed to wear the Democratic Party label, or actively support and vote for the party.

I know that the argument those on the other side of this issue make is that open primaries and caucuses bring in new members and makes the party larger. I think that's nighter disingenuous or just wishful thinking. It certainly did work out that way in 2016.

A non-party member ran for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination, and he got the support of many people who were not Democrats. Did they join the party, work for the party, or even vote for the party. Sadly, NO. Many of them stayed at home or voted third party, and a significant portion (who took part in caucuses) didn't even bother to register to vote. It did not help or build the party, and the candidate they supported has once again made it clear he is NOT a Democrat (but just wanted to use the party for his own ends).

It is not hard to join the Democratic Party, and the party is very welcoming of new recruits from across the political spectrum. And anyone who wants to help the Democratic Party achieve it generally progressive agenda should join the party. But those who are ashamed or embarrassed to call themselves Democrats should not be allowed to participate in party decisions.

And I'm not the only one who believes that. Markos Moulitsas Zuniga (commonly referred to as "Kos", and pictured above in a photo by Paul Chinn in the San Francisco Chronicle) has written the following on his own blog, Daily Kos:

In my proposed agenda for a new DNC Chair, I argued for closed primaries. Predictably, this generated anger from the Bernie Sanders side of the primary debate, as the issue remains untethered from the primary wars. 
But let me share a crazy story, as told to me by a DNC delegate:
In Nebraska, Kansas and several other caucus states there was a rush of new voters. They were allowed to caucus as long as they registered to vote the day of the caucus. But in several states, they had to follow up with the state to complete their voter registration due to proof of ID requirements. Most failed to do so. Despite asking people repeatedly, in some caucus sites more than 70% of the new caucus goers found themselves not even registered to vote on election day so they couldn't vote.
In Kansas, about 40,000 people participated in its caucuses, out of 446,000 registered Democrats. Already, you see how undemocratic and unrepresentative caucuses are. But get this—you didn’t have to be registered to vote in Kansas to participate in the caucus! And as the delegate above notes, up to 70 percent of caucus goers didn’t bother to register at all
Sanders won the Kansas caucus 68-32. He won the Nebraska caucus 57-43. It stands to reason that a disproportionate number of unregistered voters were Sanders supporters. And they did nothing to help build the party, nor to even elect a saner fucking government than the one we got. That may have been their prerogative, operating under existing rules, but nothing says the party has to enable that.
A party’s job is to build the party. It’s a candidate’s job to win non-affiliated voters. But the party’s job is that—to build the party. Allowing non-registered voters is fucking insane, and I can’t believe anyone thought it was a good idea. If a candidate is that fucking good that people outside the party want to vote for him or her, then great! It’s easy to register to vote to cast that vote. 
But in the same vein, it’s also easy for that voter to JOIN THE PARTY. I still can’t, for the life of me, understand why this is controversial. No other organization allows you to vote for its leadership without being a member. Why should the party be different, when, in particular, it costs nothing to join? If saying “I’m a Democrat” is too high a bar for you, then you don’t get to pick Democratic leadership. It’s that simple. 
But I’d go even further. I would bring the entire primary process in house, remove it from the state’s election calendar. I would hold it by mail. People would register at their state party’s website, then either download or get mailed a ballot. I’d love to dream about an all-internet election, but those fucking Russians (and lingering digital divide issues, particularly with the elderly), so let’s do all-mail for now. 
This would allow the Democratic Party to control the calendar. States would be scheduled based on the party’s interests, not those of Iowa and New Hampshire. This system would expand voter participation by making it dead-easy to vote. And the costs would be a fraction of the cost of a traditional caucus, and really, choosing a party’s leadership shouldn’t be something states should pay for. Let a private organization take care of its own business, on its own dime. 
State parties would have contact information for its voters, giving it a powerful fundraising and GOTV tool. Everyone talks about building up state parties, but that shit costs money, and no traditional national DNC will be able to afford it. But hey, give the Kansas Democratic Party a list with 450,000 registered Democrats (or even half that, if only half decide to vote in the primary), and that’s a powerful new tool for local party building. 
And yes, you’d still have people whining about not being able to participate in primaries, because they don’t want to JOIN an organization they want to influence. That’s fine, they can whine away. But a party’s job is to build itself, not to indulge in those who are too cool or iconoclastic to join the organization. 
Of course, that’s all pipe-dream stuff. No DNC candidate will adopt that platform, because it’s far too radically different than the current system, and things always move slower than we wish they did. Heck, Iowa and New Hampshire have retained their first-in-nation status in the face of hostility from all other 48 states and DC. But it underscores my belief in the core mission of the party—and that’s to build itself, make itself stronger, and do so not just at the national level, but in every state, DC, and territory.
That’s how you build a party that builds a bench, creates electoral infrastructure, drives a narrative, and supports the development of our future elected leadership. Drive-by primary or caucus supporters provide none of that. 

Denigrating Truth

Political Cartoon is by Nate Beeler in The Columbus Dispatch.

Values Not Respected


Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Capitalism / Socialism


Most People Don't Think Trump Will Be A Good President


All of these charts were made from information contained in a new Economist / YouGov Poll -- done on November 28th and 29th of a random national sample of 1,451 adults (including 1,257 registered voters. The margin of error was 3.1 points (3.2 for registered voters).

It seems that a majority of Americans doubt that Donald Trump will be a good president (41% to 59%) -- an 18 point margin. And registered voters agree by a slightly smaller 14 point margin (43% to 57%). And that is true of all groups but one. A majority of seniors (65+) had a slim majority believing he would be a good president (53% to 47%). All other ages, both genders, all races, and all incomes had a majority believing Trump would not be a good president.

Trump also doesn't compare very favorably with President Obama (see charts below). Obama is viewed as more likable by a 21 point margin. And he viewed more favorably by a 12 point margin.

Trump has claimed a landslide victory and a mandate from the election. Neither is true. The truth is that he's starting out behind, and has a long way to go before winning over a majority of Americans. I guess that shouldn't be a surprise, since he lost the popular vote by more than 2.5 million votes.



Please Don't Go

Political Cartoon is by Clay Jones at claytoonz.com.

Fake News Is Not A Joke - It Is Dangerous


The picture above (by Sarah L Voisin/Washington Post) shows the police response to a report of a shooter in a restaurant in Washington, D.C. Police said 28 year old Edgar Maddison Welch had traveled fro North Carolina to the Comet Ping Pong Restaurant in Washington to "investigate" the business and expose the nefarious things that were happening there. He entered the restaurant and fired several shots into the ceiling, forcing patrons and employees to flee.

Why would he do such an insane thing? Because of fake news stories posted on social media site shortly before the election. Here's how The Washington Post describes it:

The restaurant’s owner and employees were threatened on social media in the days before the election after fake news stories circulated claiming that then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and her campaign chief were running a child sex ring from the restaurant’s backrooms. Even Michael Flynn, a retired general whom President-elect Donald Trump has tapped to advise him on national security, shared stories about another anti-Clinton conspiracy theory involving pedophilia. None of them were true. But the fake stories and threats persisted, some even aimed at children of Comet Ping Pong employees and patrons. The restaurant’s owner was forced to contact the FBI, local police, Facebook and other social-media platforms in an effort to remove the articles. . . .
But it didn’t stop the harassment, and nearby businesses have received threats as well, according to police. On Sunday, Washington Post reporters involved in this article were the target of online threats shortly after it posted.
It's a miracle that no one was physically harmed, but financial and psychological damage was done to businesses in the area and their employees (and some customers as well) -- and all because some people thought it was humorous (or an aid to Donald Trump) to post fake news stories on the internet.

There is no excuse for the posting of fake news stories. We have long known, that out of our huge population, there are hundreds (if not thousands) of people that will believe nearly anything (especially if it coincides with what they want to believe, or is about some person or groups that they don't like). And there are too many of them who are willing to grab a weapon and act on that fake news by killing innocent people. And it doesn't seem to make any difference how crazy the story is -- there will be some who believe it and are willing to kill because of it.

Fake news stories are not harmless or funny -- or acceptable as a campaign tool. They are dangerous, and they must be stopped.

Unlocking Hate

Political Cartoon is by Adam Zyglis in The Buffalo News.

Trump Voters Were Scammed By A Master Con-Artist

(Cartoon image of Trump is by Joep Bertrams in The Netherlands. Found at cagle.com.)

The following post was written by Brett Arends at Market Watch:

Hey, Trumpkins — have you worked it out yet? Is the truth dawning on you, or are you still in the dark?
See if you can put it all together from the resumes of those in President-elect Donald Trump’s closest political circle so far:
Treasury secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin: Goldman Sachs.
Chief strategist Steve Bannon: Goldman Sachs.
Transition adviser Anthony Scaramucci: Goldman Sachs.
Commerce secretary nominee Wilbur Ross: Rothschild & Co.
Possible budget director Gary Cohn: Goldman Sachs.
Potential secretary of state Mitt RomneyBain Capital.
Trump is just getting started. Check out that “swamp draining.” The whole thing is just draining before our eyes! Take that, Wall Street! Take that, “international financial cabal!”
Trumpkins, you’ve been scammed. There’s a sucker in this game — and it’s you.
And by the way, what’s the best-performing stock in the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.23%   since the election? 
Goldman Sachs. GS, +0.14%
Yes, really. Shares are up 24%, to $225 from $182 when the market closed on November 8. The next biggest gainer: Wall Street powerhouse JP Morgan Chase JPM, +0.02%
Half of the Dow’s gain since the election, in fact, is due to just those two Wall Street stocks. By contrast, shares of “Main Street” companies Johnson & Johnson JNJ, +0.09% Procter & Gamble PG, +0.60%  and Coca-Cola KO, +0.20%  are down.
According to company documents, the partners at Goldman own 30.65 million shares. Which means that the partners at Goldman Sachs, in total, are $1.3 billion richer than they were on November 8, thanks to Trump’s election.
Remember when Trump and his proxies assailed Hillary Clinton for allegedly being too close to Goldman Sachs because she gave a couple of speeches there? Trump even singled out Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein, plus other Jews, in a sinister campaign commercial that inveighed against an “international financial structure” that cheated ordinary American workers. The 2016 election is “a choice between Donald Trump and Goldman Sachs,” insisted NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden earlier this year.
What a number Trump has played on the “poorly educated.” No wonder he said he loves them. 
Trumpkins are learning the hard way what happens when you buy an investment scheme from a con-artist. I’ve been writing about scam artists for more than 20 years. They always promise you the moon — that is, until your check clears.
When will these voters get it? Maybe never. Author Maria Konnivoka notes in her book The Confidence Game that many victims refuse to admit they’ve been scammed — no matter what the evidence. Indeed, she says, many just keep coming back for more. This is something I’ll bet Donald Trump knows full well, and which he’s banking on (pun intended) in 2020.
Meanwhile, give credit where credit is due. Trump is fattening the bank accounts of the elite, but he also may have saved 1,000 jobs at Carrier . If he really did, good for him. Those who opposed Trump should stop being so churlish. After all, on President Barack Obama’s watch the U.S. economy generated 8.6 million net new jobs — equal to 2,945, or about three Carrier deals, every day, including Sundays, for going on eight consecutive years. And who can forget all of those patriotic Republicans congratulating Obama for that?