Thursday, June 29, 2017

Collusion = Patriotism For The Right-Wing

Trump Is Steadily Losing The Support Of Independents

The charts reflect the results from the new NPR / PBS NewsHour / Marist Poll -- done between June 21st and 25th of a random national sample of 1,205 adults (including 995 registered voters), with a margin of error of 2.8 points.

It shows that only 37% of the public approves of the job Donald Trump is doing, while 51% disapproves -- a negative gap of 14 points.

Democrats didn't like Trump back in February and still don't, while Republican support was strong in February and still is. It is among the Independents that Trump is steadily losing support. His net approval among Independents was about -11 back in February, while it currently rests at -28 -- a drop in support of about 17 points in the last four months.

Really Mean

Political Cartoon is by David Fitzsimmons in the Arizona Daily Star.

Only 12%-17% Of Public Approves Senate "Health" Plan

The Senate Republicans crafted a health plan (actually more of a tax cuts for the rich plan) behind closed doors. But once their "secret" plan was revealed (and appraised by the CBO), it turned out that the plan couldn't even get enough GOP votes to pass. The Republicans have now gone back behind closed doors to tweak their plan, in hopes of getting enough of their party to agree to pass it.

They would be better off if they just tossed their plan out the window. It is extremely unpopular with the general public. Three new polls have been released on the plan, and it turns out that only a tiny percentage of the public approves of the GOP's plan. The three plans have approval at 12%, 16%, and 17% -- with disapproval at 45%, 58%, and 55%.

The Quinnipiac University Poll was done between June 22nd and 27th of a random national sample of 1,212 voters, with a 3.4 point margin of error.

The NPR / PBS NewsHour / Marist Poll was done between June 21st and 25th of a random national sample of 1,205 adults, with a 2.8 point margin of error.

The USA Today / Suffolk University Poll was done between June 24th and 27th of a random national sample of 1,000 registered voters, with a 3 point margin of error.

All three polls showed a majority of Americans don't want Obamacare repealed. They want it fixed. If the GOP continues to ignore the feelings of the public, they will be spanked at the polls in 2018.

They're Covered

Political Cartoon is by Jim Morin in The Miami Herald.

Obamacare Is Responsible For Cutting Bankruptcies In Half

This is an effect of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) that we don't talk enough about -- bankruptcies. It's just a fact that the leading cause of bankruptcies in the United States among individuals is unmanageable medical costs.

Back in 2010, before Obamacare was passed and went into effect, the number of personal bankruptcy filings was 1,536,799 (and was rising each year). The current yearly rate of personal bankruptcy filings is 770,846 (and the trend is downward). The bankruptcies have been cut in half since Obamacare went into effect.

Some of that is due to a better economy (although many Americans are still struggling in our tepid economy), but most financial experts agree that Obamacare was one of the prime factors in the drastic cutting of bankruptcy filings. Thanks to Obamacare, far fewer families are facing crushing medical debt that forces them into bankruptcy.

We could do even better by fixing Obamacare's problems (by covering more Americans and controlling medical and insurance costs), but the Republican plans (both in House and Senate) won't do that. Instead, they throw 22-23 million people off the insurance rolls while doing nothing to control costs, and they would again let insurance companies sell policies with inadequate coverage. If either of those plans are passed (and signed into law), we could expect to see personal bankruptcy filings rise sharply.

The chart above is from Consumer Reports.

Why They Kept It Secret

Political Cartoon is by Nick Anderson in the Houston Chronicle.

New England Journal Of Medicine Opposes The Senate Bill

The widely respected New England Journal of Medicine has joined the AMA, AARP, and many other organizations in opposing the Republican's "health" bill. NEJM writes:

The Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), as the U.S. Senate calls the health care bill released by a small working group of Republican senators last week, is not designed to lead to better care for Americans. Like the House bill that was passed in early May, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), it would actually do the opposite: reduce the number of people with health insurance by about 22 million, raise insurance costs for millions more, and give states the option to allow insurers to omit coverage for many critical health care services so that patients with costly illnesses, preexisting or otherwise, would be substantially underinsured and saddled with choking out-of-pocket payments — all with predictably devastating effects on the health and lives of Americans. What would get “better” under the BCRA is the tax bill faced by wealthy individuals, which would be reduced by hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decade — about $5,000 per year for families making over $200,000 per year and $50,000 or more for those making over $1 million, according to analysis of the AHCA, which included a similar set of tax provisions.1 We believe that that trade-off is not one to which we — physicians, patients, or American society — should be reconciled.
Under the BCRA, states could easily receive waivers to drop many of the insurance regulations created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Although the ACA requirement that insurers take all comers would nominally remain intact, states could reject the ACA’s mandated essential benefits, allowing insurers to refuse to cover such critical services as emergency care, mental health care, maternity care, chemotherapy, and prescription drugs, among others. In some states, health plans could become largely worthless, particularly for patients with preexisting conditions (a group that includes 23 to 51 percent of nonelderly Americans, depending on the criteria used2). By redefining essential health benefits, states would also restore insurers’ ability to place annual and lifetime limits on enrollees’ coverage, since the ACA protections against such limits apply only to benefits designated as essential.3 Older Americans all over the country could be charged five times as much as younger ones for coverage, whereas the ACA limited age-based variation to a 3:1 ratio. And the BCRA would repeal cost-sharing reductions for low-income persons as of the end of 2019, leaving them with unaffordable deductibles and coinsurance after that. As Americans know all too well from the pre-ACA era, many underinsured and uninsured people would risk being bankrupted by health care costs3 — or would die for lack of access to needed care.
Perhaps in a nod to pleas for a reform less “mean” than the AHCA, the Senate bill would phase down federal funding for the ACA’s Medicaid expansion more slowly than House Republicans proposed to do — but it would impose the same cuts in the long run, and it would implement an even more draconian version of the House’s proposal to cap federal Medicaid funding per enrollee or turn the program into block grants. All told, the bill would cut more than $700 billion from the program over the next decade. The poorest Americans, those requiring nursing home care, and those with disabilities or mental illness would suffer. These attacks on Medicaid would undercut health care for the 74 million Americans who rely on it.
Women’s health care would also suffer major blows under the BCRA. In states that chose to stop mandating coverage of maternity care, women of child-bearing age could be forced to pay unaffordably high rates for basic pregnancy coverage. Planned Parenthood would be defunded for a year, severely restricting access not just to family planning services but to an array of important preventive care services, including cancer screenings, for millions of low-income women. Another provision would prohibit the use of tax credits for any individual insurance plan that covered abortion services (with exceptions for rape, incest, and risk to the woman’s life).
And at a time when about 60,000 Americans are dying each year from opioid overdoses, the Senate bill would drastically reduce the funds available for confronting this massive crisis and providing affected people the help they need to become functioning, contributing members of society. In addition to removing many people with opioid use disorder from the Medicaid or individual-insurance rolls, the BCRA would provide a mere $2 billion over 10 years for efforts that experts estimate would cost $183 billion.4
The public response to the very similar House bill indicates that the GOP’s approach to health care reform is deeply unpopular throughout the country, with an approval rating below 20%5 — and for good reason. Like many U.S. physician and hospital organizations that are speaking out against the BCRA, we whole-heartedly oppose sacrificing Americans’ health care and health to further enrichment of the wealthy. The future of our health care system and the lives of our patients are at stake.


Political Cartoon is by Jimmy Margulies at

Trump Traits

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Wealth Is Not Shared In U.S.

Trump Has Damaged World's View Of U.S. & Presidency

Donald Trump has poor approval ratings in the United States (hovering around 40% or less). But that poor rating looks good when compared to his approval outside the United States.

These charts reflect the finding of a new global survey by the Pew Research Center. That survey shows that Donald Trump has serious damaged the reputation of the United States and its presidency.

Toward the end of the Obama administration, there was 64% of people outside the U.S. who had confidence in the president. Under Donald Trump, that has fallen to only 23%. And the view of the world regarding the United States has suffered as well -- dropping from 64% under Obama to 49% under Trump.

Note that only one country has a significantly better view of Trump over Obama -- Russia, who viewed Trump positively by 53% (and Obama only viewed positively by 11%). Russians obviously think they will benefit from Trump being president. Israel also has a slightly better view of Trump (by about 7 points).

All other nations viewed Obama more positively than Donald Trump -- ranging from 5 points to 83 points. The world in general has substantially less faith in Trump than it had in Obama. In fact, Trump's figures are as bad as those of George W. Bush at the end of his term.

The charts below show the opinion specifically of Donald Trump. It certainly doesn't speak well of him that the world has a higher opinion of both the Chinese and Russian leaders than of Trump. People don't like Trump's policies or his characteristics.

Trump's Amazing (?) Brain

Political Cartoon is by Randall Enos at

Defeating GOP "Health" Bill Is Not Enough - More Is Needed

(Cartoon image is by Chan Lowe in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.)

The Republicans in the Senate have put off voting on their health care reform bill (tax cut bill?) because the CBO estimate showed it to be a very bad bill. It would cost at least 22 million Americans their health insurance by 2026 (and even more in years after 2026). And it's only premium cost saving measure was to allow insurance companies to sell policies that covered far less and had much higher deductibles.

It was not reform, because reform should help more Americans to afford health care -- not less. The Republican bill needs to be defeated. But even if it is defeated, it should not be a reason to celebrate. That's because Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act) does need some reforms.

Don't get me wrong. Obamacare was a big improvement over the terrible health care situation that existed before it was passed. It did a lot of good -- covering about 20 million more with health insurance, stopping insurance companies from denying insurance (or charging prohibitive prices) for pre-existing conditions, covering contraceptives, stopping insurance companies from charging women more than men, eliminating the caps on how much an insurance company would pay for medical care, and allowing children to stay on their parents insurance until age 26.

But while Obamacare improved health care in this country, it did NOT fix all the problems of our health care system. There are some counties and states where health insurance is not offered (or is too expensive). Much of this has been caused by the uncertainty of the system due to Republican efforts to damage Obamacare -- but not all of it.

The fact is that Obamacare had some deficiencies when it was passed. First, it did not cover all Americans. If nothing is done, at least 28 million people will still be without health insurance by 2026. That's inexcusable. Other developed countries cover all of their citizens with health care or health insurance, and they do it at a much lower per capita cost.

Second, Obamacare did virtually nothing to control the rapidly rising cost of medical care in this country. Measures must be put in place to control those costs. At the very least, the government should be able to negotiate prices with doctors, hospitals, and drug companies.

Third, Obamacare did not mandate that insurance companies participate in all states and counties. This has resulted in many insurance companies cherry-picking the places they will sell insurance (picking only those places where they can make the biggest profit). If we are going to stick with a private insurance system, then any company wanting to sell health insurance in this country should be required to sell in every state and county -- and should be required to participate in the Obama subsidy program.

Obamacare is not the best of all solutions for health care in this country -- a single-payer system would, in my opinion, be better. But our politicians are not ready to do that, and the public is probably not ready to accept a change that radical (at least, not yet). But Obamacare could be fixed to work much better than it currently does -- and that should be done as quickly as possible.

Trumpcare Effect

Political Cartoon is by Milt Priggee at

The AMA Strongly Opposes Senate GOP "Health Care" Bill

It looks now like the Senate Republicans will not be able to vote on their "health care" bill (actually a tax cut for the rich bill) this week. Too many GOP senators have said they cannot support the bill. That does not necessarily mean the odious bill is dead -- only delayed while GOP leadership searches for the votes they need to pass it.

The American Medical Association (AMA) -- the largest association representing doctors in the United States -- thinks the GOP bill is bad, and they strongly oppose it. Here is what the president of the AMA (David O. Barbe) had to say:

A lot of big numbers have been tossed around in the days since Senate leaders unveiled a “discussion draft” of legislation—dubbed the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 (BCRA)—that would dramatically reshape how our country’s health system is financed.
23 million is one of those figures. That is how many more people the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated would be uninsured by 2026 if the American Health Care Act were enacted, relative to current law. And today, the CBO weighed in with its projection that 22 million more people would be uninsured by 2026 under the BCRA, again relative to the law as it stands. When such a figure is in the tens of millions, it is a number too high for America’s physicians and their patients to bear.
37 million is another number that comes to mind. That is how many children are covered by Medicaid, according to the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families. Nearly half of children in small towns or rural areas are covered by Medicaid, notes a recent report from the Georgetown center.  I practice in one of these areas—Mountain Grove, Missouri, a town of 5000 with a median household income half the national average.
Those are the big numbers. But my mind keeps wandering back to a smaller figure: Two. Recently, I met two healthy, beautiful babies—twins who were born after just 27 weeks’ gestation, weighing less than 2 pounds. They spent their first three months of life in a Cleveland NICU.
"If I didn't have Medicaid, they wouldn't be there,” the twins’ mother, Lajuan Black, told me and the crowd assembled for a Cleveland press event the AMA held with seven other organizations that advocate for hospitals, seniors, babies, and patients with cancer, diabetes or cardiovascular disease.
Access to care for some of the most vulnerable members of our society—including those who require treatment for opioid-use disorder—would be threatened by the Senate proposal’s arbitrary, unsustainable, and shortsighted formula for funding Medicaid. At the 2017 AMA Annual Meeting, the AMA House of Delegates sent a loud, unequivocal message opposing the kind of per-capita caps found in the BCRA.
That is just one of the reasons why the AMA opposes this Senate proposal. Ideas such as extending cost-sharing reduction payments to stabilize the individual insurance market should be the start of serious discussions on how to improve the current law so we can ensure that high-quality, affordable health insurance is within every American’s grasp.

Happy 150th To Our Northern Neighbor

Political Cartoon is by Steve Nease at

Warren Says GOP Bill Would Bankrupt Many - Kill Others

Here is the latest e-mail from Senator Elizabeth Warren to her supporters about the "health care" plan the Senate Republicans have come up with.

Before I ran for the Senate, I was a bankruptcy law professor. I spent decades studying why working families were going broke.

Back when I got started, most experts believed that people went broke because of wasteful spending – running up credit card bills at the mall. But for most people, that wasn’t the case at all.

At the time, nearly nine out of every ten families listed just three reasons for their bankruptcies: job loss, family breakup (death or divorce), and medical problems. Half reported two of those problems. One in 13 was hit by all three.

Nobody was talking about medical bankruptcy, but my coauthors and I showed what was right in front of our faces: At the time, medical problems were pushing about 750,000 solid, middle-class families into bankruptcy each year.

No, the Affordable Care Act didn’t end medical bankruptcies or instantly solve America’s health care crisis. But it did end the annual and lifetime caps on many people’s insurance plans. It allowed people with pre-existing conditions to get insurance. And it gave states the resources to expand Medicaid – so seniors who needed nursing homes and babies born early could get the care they needed.

The so-called “health care plan” that Senate Republicans want to jam in the next few days before they skip town for the 4th of July ends that progress.

It lets insurance companies sell skimpier plans for higher out-of-pocket costs. It lets private insurance plans reinstate annual and lifetime caps on benefits for people who get really sick. And it guts Medicaid for the sick, for the elderly, for people with disabilities – for people who have nowhere else to turn.

If the Republicans rip health care away from 22 million Americans this week in order to give billionaires a tax break, people are still going to get diagnosed with cancer. Seniors are still going to have strokes and heart attacks. People are still going to get hit by drunk drivers. Babies are still going to be born with lungs and hearts that don’t work.

I’ve studied this heartbreaking problem for decades. I know that if the Republicans pass this bill, more people – even the most hard-working, responsible people – will go bankrupt. Some will die.

Please: Now is the time to make calls. Now is the time to call your friends and family with Republican senators and tell them what’s on the line – even your FOX News-loving uncle. Now is the time to share your story, share your photo, share your video on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat. Now is the time to share your friends’ stories. Now is the time to join a group and get connected – because two voices are more than twice as powerful as one.   

This fight is personal for me. When I was 12, my daddy had a heart attack. He was out of work for a long time, and the medical bills piled up. We lost our family station wagon, and we were about an inch away from losing our home.

Today, our family probably wouldn’t have made it.

We all know someone – a cancer survivor, a mom who went into early labor, or a parent or grandparent who got Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s and needed help. Any of us could get bad news from a doctor that our insurance plans wouldn’t cover.

I’m in this fight all the way – I’ll give it everything I’ve got. But if we’re going to win, we need every single one of us in this fight. We need to fight like people’s lives depend on it – because people’s lives will depend on what happens next.

Thanks for being a part of this,



Political Cartoon is by Mike Stanfill at

If You Think Trumpcare Is Good

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Put The Blame Where It Belongs

CBO Says Senate Bill Will Take Insurance From 22 Million

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has released its analysis of the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 (BCRA) -- the Senate Republican bill to cut taxes for the rich disguised as a health care bill. And it's just as bad as we expected.

The bill would cause about 22 million people to lose their health insurance by 2026 -- raising the number of uninsured to 48 million Americans by that year. While that's a million fewer than the House bill (AHCA), the Senate cuts to Medicaid would continue after 2026 -- and that means the number of uninsured Americans would continue to rise after 2026.

While some of the rise in the uninsured would come from those currently purchasing their own policies or from employers no longer being required to purchase insurance for employees, most of those losing insurance would be people currently getting insurance help through Medicaid. The Medicaid program would be devastated.

The CBO also projected that insurance premiums would rise by 20% in 2018 and another 10% in 2019. After that, the average premium cost would go down. But that is not a cause for celebration. Current policies (under Obamacare) are required to pay about 70% of medical costs. But in 2020, they expect policies to cover only about 58% of costs -- meaning those policies will have fewer benefits and higher deductibles.

This means those buying individual plans might pay less for premiums, but if they get sick, they'll pay a lot more out of their own pockets for medical care. And it probably won't just be those who buy individual policies. We can expect a lot of employers to start buying plans for their employees that have fewer benefits and much higher deductibles.

The BCRA will do what it was intended to do -- give the richest Americans a huge tax cut. But to do that, the Senate Republicans will throw the poor, the working class, and even many in the middle class under the bus. It's a truly bad plan, and we can only hope it's defeated.


Political Cartoon is by Adam Zyglis in The Buffalo News.

Approval Of Same-Sex Marriage Continues To Grow

I just thought you might be interested in these charts by the Pew Research Center on approval of same-sex marriages in the United States. They come from a survey done between June 8th and 18th of a random national sample of 2,504 adults, with a 2.3 point margin of error.

It shows that approval is not just growing among the public at large, but is also growing among all groups in this country (even groups that still disapprove).

Using The "Safety Net"

Political Cartoon is by Steve Sack in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

A Good Court Decision (And A Potentially Bad One)

(Photo of the U.S. Supreme Court by Alex Wong / Getty Images is from NBC News.)

The United States Supreme Court struck another blow for equality in it's decision striking down an Arkansas law yesterday. The state law had denied lesbian couples to have both of their names on their baby's birth certificate. The state law had said that only the actual mother would have her name on the certificate -- since the certificate was to show actual parentage.

The problem with the law was that married heterosexual couples had both the parent's name on a baby's birth certificate (even if the father was not the birth father of the baby). This meant Arkansas was treating same-sex couples differently than they were treating opposite-sex couples. The Supreme Court said that violated the Constitution, and that all married couples must be treated the same under the law.

That was a victory for equality in this country, and one unlikely to be overturned in the future since it was a 6 to 3 decision (with only Gorsuch, Thomas, and Alito disagreeing with the decision).

But the Court also created the possibility of a decision upholding discrimination against the LGBT community in the future. They agreed to hear a case in their next term to determine whether a business can refuse service to same-sex couples on religious grounds. The case concerns a Denver baker who refused to make or sell cakes for same-sex couples. He claimed it violated both his religious freedom and his artistic freedom.

Lower courts had ruled he cannot discriminate against same-sex couples, even in the name of religion, since he was operating a business open to the public. How will the Supreme Court rule? It could go either way on this divided court. We know that three justices (Gorsuch, Thomas, Alito) think it's just fine to discriminate against the LGBT community (as long as the discrimination is disguised as religion). The deciding votes will come from Kennedy and Roberts, and it's anyone's guess as to how they will vote.

Both of these are important cases, since same-sex marriages are on the rise in the United States. The bottom chart shows that. It is from a recent Gallup Poll -- done between June 20th (2016) and June 19th (2017) of a random national sample of 352,851 adults (including 12,832 members of the LGBT community), with a margin of error of only 1 point.

Trumpcare Unveiled

Political Cartoon is by Clay Bennett in the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Russia Attacked The U.S. In 2016 - Do Republicans Care ?

All of our intelligence agencies agree -- Russia used computer hacking to attack the United States during the 2016 electoral campaign. This attack endangered the security and the electoral process of the United States. One would think that all Americans would be angered, and want to take action to punish Russia and make sure it doesn't happen again in the future. Unfortunately, that is not true.

The Republican Party, the party that loves to claim to be the "patriotic" party, don't seem to be worried about the attack -- and many of them still refuse to believe it even happened (in spite of what our intelligence agencies say). As the poll above shows, while 62% of all Americans (including 62% of Independents and 76% of Democrats) know that the attack happened, only 42% of Republicans say that (while fully 50% of Republican say it didn't happen).

That's troubling, because if you don't believe the truth about those attacks, then you won't want any action taken to punish the offender (Russia) to prevent it from happening again. And it's even worse in the White House, where the Trump administration continues to doubt the attack and wants to remove sanctions against Russia. It's almost as bad in the GOP-controlled Congress, where new sanctions against Russia remain mired down in the House of Representatives. It's almost as if the Republicans don't care that Russia attacked this country.

The chart was made from a recent CBS News Poll -- done between June 15th and 18th of a random national sample of 1,117 adults, with a 4 point margin of error.

Here is Dan Rather's take on the situation:

The United States was attacked. It was attacked by a hostile foreign power who wished to harm our democracy. It was a sneak attack and its damage we are only starting to understand. 
What Russia did in the 2016 elections should have every patriotic American angry and determined to rally to the defense of the nation. The Russian attack is back to being the talk of Washington thanks to a blockbuster report in the Washington Post which laid bare the response of the Obama Administration. The facts detailed in that important piece of journalism have raised a series of recriminations among the political chattering class over whether President Obama acted forcefully enough. That is an important debate, and one that will likely be pored over by historians in the future. 
But while we shouldn't shy away from that discussion, we should also recognize that the threat posed by Russia has not dissipated. If anything it has only increased as Vladimir Putin has seen the success of his efforts to create political chaos in the United States. 
President Trump has to this point shown no interest in taking this threat seriously. If anything, he hasn't demonstrated that he even understands the nature of the threat. He famously has been flippant about whether he even believed Russia was involved - that was until he could tweet out attacks on Obama's handling of the attack yesterday. How convenient. But that doesn't excuse him, our current Commander and Chief, of his responsibility to protect our Republic. 
What hasn't gotten enough attention in the Post report, in my opinion, is how the Republicans in Congress reacted back in 2016. 
(From the Washington Post article)
"the (Obama) White House turned to Congress for help, hoping that a bipartisan appeal to states would be more effective...(but) the meeting devolved into a partisan squabble. 'The Dems were, ‘Hey, we have to tell the public,’ recalled one participant. But Republicans resisted, arguing that to warn the public that the election was under attack would further Russia’s aim of sapping confidence in the system. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) went further, officials said, voicing skepticism that the underlying intelligence truly supported the White House’s claims. Through a spokeswoman, McConnell declined to comment, citing the secrecy of that meeting."
In 1947, Republican Senator Arthur Vandenberg famously said, "we must stop partisan politics at the water's edge.” And by this he meant in foreign policy and issues of national security. Well in a digital world, there is no water's edge. But there certainly is politics. Criticize the response of the Obama Administration all you want. But we cannot let political point scoring distract us from the current threat to national security. 
The safety and security of this nation is now in the hands of President Trump and his allies in Congress. Will they take this Russia threat seriously? Or will they continue to play politics?
"When it comes to keeping America safe and strong, when it comes to keeping America free, there should be no Republicans or Democrats, only patriotic Americans working together." That was President Ronald Reagan at the height of the Cold War. What would he say about the game the GOP is playing today?

Get Used To It ?

Political Cartoon is by Mike Stanfill at

Never In Our Lifetime

Monday, June 26, 2017

The Fraud-In-Chief

More Americans Believe Comey Than Believe Trump

Rumor has it that this poll is driving Donald Trump to fits of rage. I believe it. His narcissistic personality demands that he be loved and trusted -- and the American public doesn't do either.

The fact is that more Americans believe James Comey than believe Donald Trump (45% to 22%). They think Trump is lying about trying to influence Comey to stop the Russian hacking investigation (or demanding loyalty from him).

They also don't believe Trump when he says the Russians didn't interfere in the 2016 election. A 53% majority believes they did interfere.

These charts are from a new NBC News / Wall Street Journal Poll -- done between June 17th and 20th of a random national sample of 900 adults, with a margin of error of 3.3 points.

The Sound Of Silence

Political Cartoon is by Nick Anderson in the Houston Chronicle.

Democrats Should Stop Attacking Nancy Pelosi

(This caricature of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is by DonkeyHotey.)

During the Georgia special election, Republicans ran an ad saying the Democratic candidate supported the liberal Nancy Pelosi and her California friends. It was a silly ad that Republicans loved, Democrats hated, and Independents ignored (because they were voting for a House member from Georgia -- not Pelosi).

But some Democrats are now trying to say that the Georgia special election was lost because Pelosi is the House Minority Leader -- and as long as she remains in that position, Democrats will continue to lose elections.

It's hogwash! Georgia's 6th congressional district is a very red district, and Democrats never really had a good chance to win that district. Those in that district were going to elect a Republican to represent them (no matter how bad that Republican was or how good the Democratic opponent was -- or whoever was the House Minority Leader). If you want to blame Pelosi for that loss, then you also must give her credit for the Democrats doing better there than in the last four decades. But neither is true. A safe Republican district elected another Republican, and that's all that happened.

If Pelosi was to be replaced as Minority Leader, how long would it take for the Republicans to start demonizing her replacement (no matter who that replacement was)? Probably less than 24 hours. That's just what Republicans do. They try to demonize their opponents and other Democrats (especially Democratic leaders). Are we going to replace every Democratic leader that is demonized by the right-wing Republicans? If so, then we would be continually replacing our leaders, and our leadership would look like a revolving door.

Democrats need to stop attacking our own party leaders. When we do so, we are just playing into the Republican's hands, and doing their job for them. Nancy Pelosi is an honest, experienced, and competent legislator and party leader -- and we should be grateful to have her leadership. She is also a good progressive, but a realistic one. She knows what can be accomplished and what can't -- and she gets done what she can right now, while never giving up on what else can be accomplished in the future. That's not a bad thing -- but good politics.

Most of the attacks on Pelosi (just like the Democrats attacking Hillary Clinton) are coming from party extremists on the left. They want to replace Pelosi (and other party leaders) with people who will move the party far to the left. While I wouldn't mind seeing this whole country move toward leftist politics, I think moving the Democratic Party to an extreme leftist party will just ensure defeat after defeat -- because most American voters, like it or not, are moderates. They want change, but they want that change to be done in moderate steps.

Some will point to the national polls to say Pelosi is viewed unfavorably by the public. The truth is that ALL congressional leaders of both political parties are viewed unfavorably by the public (see the chart below). That's because the public views Congress unfavorably as a whole. They see Congress as thinking it's more important to argue ideology than to compromise for the good of the country -- and they don't like it. But changing any of the congressional leaders won't improve the public's view of Congress (or either party in Congress). That can only be improved by congressional representatives willing to compromise for the good of the country -- and that's not likely to happen soon.

If you, as a Democrat, feel the need to vilify any politician, then direct that at Republican politicians. They have earned it -- Pelosi hasn't.

Chart is made from information in a new Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between June 18th and 20th of a random national sample of 1,500 adults (including 1,277 registered voters), with a 3 point margin of error.