Sunday, August 28, 2016


Our Treasure Turns 100

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

New Poll Shows What A Strange Election We're Having

All of the charts in this post represent the results of the newest Economist / YouGov Poll. It was done between August 19th and 23rd of a random national sample of 1,300 voters, and has a margin of error of 4 points.

I think the three charts above show what a strange and unusual election we're having this year. To start with, both of the major presidential candidates have a majority unfavorable rating -- with Clinton viewed unfavorably by 53% and Trump viewed unfavorably by 62%.

It gets even crazier when you look at the middle chart above. It seems that a sizable portion of the population actually believes either Clinton or Trump is "evil" -- with 38% saying that about Clinton and 39% saying that about Trump. Frankly, I don't remember an election in which so many people were willing to put the "evil" label on a candidate.

The third chart above shows the percentage that say they could NEVER vote for Trump or Clinton. About 50% say they could never vote for Trump and 47% say the same about Clinton. If this is true, then it doesn't look like there will be the winning candidate with a runaway popular vote (although there could be a substantial margin in the electoral college).

We still have about 10 weeks until the 2016 presidential election, but looking at the charts above, I'm not sure the margins will change very much before we vote. People seem to have a pretty substantial dislike of one candidate or the other, and have already decided who they will vote for. This is not good for Trump, who is trailing in all the polls.

The chart below shows the current support for Clinton and Trump from this YouGov Poll.

Uncaring Care

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

Libertarian And Green Parties Are Not On All 50 State Ballots

There a sizable chunk of Republicans that don't like Donald Trump, and some Sanders supporters that don't want to support Hillary Clinton. Some of these people, who voted in the Republican or Democratic primaries, are now saying they might vote for a third party candidate -- either Jill Stein of the Green Party, or Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party.

But they might be disappointed when they see their ballot. That's because those two parties, while the largest of the third parties, are not on the ballot in all 50 states. They are still trying to get on all state ballots, but it is unlikely they'll be able to do so (and neither party was on all 50 state ballots back in 2012 either).

Currently Jill Stein of the Green Party is on the ballot in only 35 states plus the District of Columbia (representing about 425 electoral votes). Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party is doing a little better, being on the ballot in 43 states plus the District of Columbia. That means voters in 15 states would not be able to vote for Stein, while voters in 7 states would not be able to vote for Johnson.

There's only about 10 weeks left until the election, and states are starting to close ballot access and finalize those ballots. I doubt that either the Greens or the Libertarians will be able to improve their current positions very much.

Distraction ?

Political Cartoon is by Darrin Bell at

Rich Man's Warning To The 1% - "The Pitchforks Are Coming"

Nick Hanauer is in the 1% of the wealthiest Americans. But he understands that the Republican "trickle-down" economic policy, designed to benefit the wealthy and the corporations, actually benefits no one. He has written an open letter to his fellow members of the 1%, asking them to take action to change the nation's economic policy to a policy fairer to all Americans. He understands that a fairer policy that reduces economic inequality would benefit everyone -- even the rich.

Here is a part of what he has written (although I urge you to read the whole thing):

You probably don’t know me, but like you I am one of those .01%ers, a proud and unapologetic capitalist. I have founded, co-founded and funded more than 30 companies across a range of industries—from itsy-bitsy ones like the night club I started in my 20s to giant ones like, for which I was the first nonfamily investor. Then I founded aQuantive, an Internet advertising company that was sold to Microsoft in 2007 for $6.4 billion. In cash. My friends and I own a bank. I tell you all this to demonstrate that in many ways I’m no different from you. Like you, I have a broad perspective on business and capitalism. And also like you, I have been rewarded obscenely for my success, with a life that the other 99.99 percent of Americans can’t even imagine. . . .

But let’s speak frankly to each other. I’m not the smartest guy you’ve ever met, or the hardest-working. I was a mediocre student. I’m not technical at all—I can’t write a word of code. What sets me apart, I think, is a tolerance for risk and an intuition about what will happen in the future. Seeing where things are headed is the essence of entrepreneurship. And what do I see in our future now?
I see pitchforks.
At the same time that people like you and me are thriving beyond the dreams of any plutocrats in history, the rest of the country—the 99.99 percent—is lagging far behind. The divide between the haves and have-nots is getting worse really, really fast. In 1980, the top 1 percent controlled about 8 percent of U.S. national income. The bottom 50 percent shared about 18 percent. Today the top 1 percent share about 20 percent; the bottom 50 percent, just 12 percent.
But the problem isn’t that we have inequality. Some inequality is intrinsic to any high-functioning capitalist economy. The problem is that inequality is at historically high levels and getting worse every day. Our country is rapidly becoming less a capitalist society and more a feudal society. Unless our policies change dramatically, the middle class will disappear, and we will be back to late 18th-century France. Before the revolution.
And so I have a message for my fellow filthy rich, for all of us who live in our gated bubble worlds: Wake up, people. It won’t last.
If we don’t do something to fix the glaring inequities in this economy, the pitchforks are going to come for us. No society can sustain this kind of rising inequality. In fact, there is no example in human history where wealth accumulated like this and the pitchforks didn’t eventually come out. You show me a highly unequal society, and I will show you a police state. Or an uprising. There are no counterexamples. None. It’s not if, it’s when.
Many of us think we’re special because “this is America.” We think we’re immune to the same forces that started the Arab Spring—or the French and Russian revolutions, for that matter. I know you fellow .01%ers tend to dismiss this kind of argument; I’ve had many of you tell me to my face I’m completely bonkers. And yes, I know there are many of you who are convinced that because you saw a poor kid with an iPhone that one time, inequality is a fiction.
The model for us rich guys here should be Henry Ford, who realized that all his autoworkers in Michigan weren’t only cheap labor to be exploited; they were consumers, too. Ford figured that if he raised their wages, to a then-exorbitant $5 a day, they’d be able to afford his Model Ts.
What a great idea. My suggestion to you is: Let’s do it all over again. We’ve got to try something. These idiotic trickle-down policies are destroying my customer base. And yours too.
. . .the fundamental law of capitalism must be: If workers have more money, businesses have more customers. Which makes middle-class consumers, not rich businesspeople like us, the true job creators. Which means a thriving middle class is the source of American prosperity, not a consequence of it. The middle class creates us rich people, not the other way around. 

Sticker Shock

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

The Real Enemy Of Religion

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Right-Wing Nightmare Factory

Most Don't Share Trump's View Of Undocumented Immigrants

Donald Trump has a very negative opinion of undocumented immigrants (especially those from South of the Border). He says they are lazy and dishonest, prone to commit crimes, and take jobs that American citizens would like to have. And he evidently thinks that a majority of American voters share his bigoted views, because he has made his anti-immigrant bigotry a centerpiece of his presidential campaign.

He is wrong -- very wrong. A new poll shows that only 24% think that those undocumented immigrants take jobs that American citizens want, while 71% says they do not. An even larger 76% say undocumented immigrants are as honest and hard-working as citizens are (while only 18% say they aren't). And 67% say undocumented immigrants are no more likely to commit crimes than citizens are (while only 27% say they are).

Note that this is the view of all racial groups and both political parties. Trump's odious ideas are not shared by a majority of his own political party. Trump has made a big mistake in basing his campaign on bigotry and hatred. That worked well enough with the GOP's teabagger crowd to get him the nomination, but it's not a popular view with the general public -- and it'll cost him any chance to win the presidency in November.

The charts above were made from the results of a new Pew Research Center survey -- done between August 9th and 16th of a random national sample of 2,010 adults, with a margin of error of 2.5 points.

You Can't Fix Stupid

Political Cartoon is by John Cole in the Scranton Times-Tribune.

Global Climate Change Is Affecting Public Health

Global Climate Change (also known as Global Warming) is caused by human misuse and overuse of fossil fuels. That is a fact known by about 95% of all scientists (and 97% of environmental scientists), and these scientists warn us that this climate change, unless stopped, will do serious damage to the planet we all call home.

But it's not just destroying the Earth -- it's also negatively affecting the health of the humans who inhabit this planet. To help show that, Think Progress provides four charts from Climate Nexus and the American Public Health Association. Here are those charts:

Immigration Plan

Political Cartoon is by Lee Judge in the Kansas City Star.

Clinton Says Trump Is Helping To Promote Racism/Bigotry

(Cartoon image is by Mike Luckovich in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.)

In a recent speech, Hillary Clinton took the gloves off and told the unvarnished truth about Donald Trump -- that he is promoting the ideas of racists, white supremacists, and other bigots, and helping them to mainstream their sick beliefs. Here is that speech:

I want to address something I hear from Americans all over our country.
Everywhere I go, people tell me how concerned they are by the divisive rhetoric coming from my opponent in this election.
It’s like nothing we’ve heard before from a nominee for President of the United States.
From the start, Donald Trump has built his campaign on prejudice and paranoia.
He’s taking hate groups mainstream and helping a radical fringe take over one of America’s two major political parties.
His disregard for the values that make our country great is profoundly dangerous.
In just the past week, under the guise of “outreach” to African Americans, Trump has stood up in front of largely white audiences and described black communities in insulting and ignorant terms:
“Poverty. Rejection. Horrible education. No housing. No homes. No ownership.
Crime at levels nobody has seen… Right now, you walk down the street, you get shot.”
Those are his words.
Donald Trump misses so much.
He doesn’t see the success of black leaders in every field…
The vibrancy of black-owned businesses…Or the strength of the black church… He doesn’t see the excellence of historically black colleges and universities or the pride of black parents watching their children thrive…And he certainly doesn’t have any solutions to take on the reality of systemic racism and create more equity and opportunity in communities of color.
It takes a lot of nerve to ask people he’s ignored and mistreated for decades, “What do you have to lose?” The answer is everything!
Trump’s lack of knowledge or experience or solutions would be bad enough.
But what he’s doing here is more sinister.
Trump is reinforcing harmful stereotypes and offering a dog whistle to his most hateful supporters.
It’s a disturbing preview of what kind of President he’d be.
This is what I want to make clear today:
A man with a long history of racial discrimination, who traffics in dark conspiracy theories drawn from the pages of supermarket tabloids and the far reaches of the internet, should never run our government or command our military.
If he doesn’t respect all Americans, how can he serve all Americans?
Now, I know some people still want to give Trump the benefit of the doubt.
They hope that he will eventually reinvent himself – that there’s a kinder, gentler, more responsible Donald Trump waiting in the wings somewhere.
After all, it’s hard to believe anyone – let alone a nominee for President of the United States – could really believe all the things he says.
But the hard truth is, there’s no other Donald Trump. This is it.
Maya Angelou once said: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”
Well, throughout his career and this campaign, Donald Trump has shown us exactly who he is. We should believe him.
When Trump was getting his start in business, he was sued by the Justice Department for refusing to rent apartments to black and Latino tenants.
Their applications would be marked with a “C” – “C” for “colored” – and then rejected.
Three years later, the Justice Department took Trump back to court because he hadn’t changed.
The pattern continued through the decades.
State regulators fined one of Trump’s casinos for repeatedly removing black dealers from the floor. No wonder the turn-over rate for his minority employees was way above average.
And let’s not forget Trump first gained political prominence leading the charge for the so-called “Birthers.”
He promoted the racist lie that President Obama isn’t really an American citizen – part of a sustained effort to delegitimize America’s first black President.
In 2015, Trump launched his own campaign for President with another racist lie. He described Mexican immigrants as rapists and criminals.
And he accused the Mexican government of actively sending them across the border. None of that is true.
Oh, and by the way, Mexico’s not paying for his wall either.
If it ever gets built, you can be sure that American taxpayers will be stuck with the bill.
Since then, there’s been a steady stream of bigotry.
We all remember when Trump said a distinguished federal judge born in Indiana couldn’t be trusted to do his job because, quote, “He’s a Mexican.”
Think about that.
The man who today is the standard bearer of the Republican Party said a federal judge was incapable of doing his job solely because of his heritage.
Even the Republican Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, described that as “the textbook definition of a racist comment.”
To this day, he’s never apologized to Judge Curiel.
But for Trump, that’s just par for the course.
This is someone who retweets white supremacists online, like the user who goes by the name “white-genocide-TM.” Trump took this fringe bigot with a few dozen followers and spread his message to 11 million people.
His campaign famously posted an anti-Semitic image – a Star of David imposed over a sea of dollar bills – that first appeared on a white supremacist website.
The Trump campaign also selected a prominent white nationalist leader as a delegate in California. They only dropped him under pressure.
When asked in a nationally televised interview whether he would disavow the support of David Duke, a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, Trump wouldn’t do it. Only later, again under mounting pressure, did he backtrack.
And when Trump was asked about anti-Semitic slurs and death threats coming from his supporters, he refused to condemn them.
Through it all, he has continued pushing discredited conspiracy theories with racist undertones.
Trump said thousands of American Muslims in New Jersey cheered the 9/11 attacks. They didn’t.
He suggested that Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the Kennedy assassination. Perhaps in Trump’s mind, because he was a Cuban immigrant, he must have had something to do with it. Of course there’s absolutely no evidence of that.
Just recently, Trump claimed President Obama founded ISIS. And then he repeated that nonsense over and over.
His latest paranoid fever dream is about my health. All I can say is, Donald, dream on.
This is what happens when you treat the National Enquirer like Gospel.
It’s what happens when you listen to the radio host Alex Jones, who claims that 9/11 and the Oklahoma City bombings were inside jobs. He said the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre were child actors and no one was actually killed there.
Trump didn’t challenge those lies. He went on Jones’ show and said: “Your reputation is amazing. I will not let you down.”
This man wants to be President of the United States.
I’ve stood by President Obama’s side as he made the toughest decisions a Commander-in-Chief ever has to make.
In times of crisis, our country depends on steady leadership… clear thinking… and calm judgment… because one wrong move can mean the difference between life and death.
The last thing we need in the Situation Room is a loose cannon who can’t tell the difference between fact and fiction, and who buys so easily into racially-tinged rumors.
Someone detached from reality should never be in charge of making decisions that are as real as they come.
It’s another reason why Donald Trump is simply temperamentally unfit to be President of the United States.
Now, some people will say that his bluster and bigotry is just over-heated campaign rhetoric – an outrageous person saying outrageous things for attention.
But look at the policies Trump has proposed. They would put prejudice into practice.
And don’t be distracted by his latest attempts to muddy the waters.
He may have some new people putting new words in his mouth… but we know where he stands.
He would form a deportation force to round up millions of immigrants and kick them out of the country.
He’d abolish the bedrock constitutional principle that says if you’re born in the United States, you’re an American citizen. He says that children born in America to undocumented parents are, quote, “anchor babies” and should be deported.
Millions of them.
And he’d ban Muslims around the world – 1.5 billion men, women, and children –from entering our country just because of their religion.
Think about that for a minute. How would it actually work? People landing in U.S. airports would line up to get their passports stamped, just like they do now.
But in Trump’s America, when they step up to the counter, the immigration officer would ask every single person, “What is your religion?”
And then what?
What if someone says, “I’m a Christian,” but the agent doesn’t believe them.
Do they have to prove it? How would they do that?
Ever since the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock, America has distinguished itself as a haven for people fleeing religious persecution.
Under Donald Trump, America would distinguish itself as the only country in the world to impose a religious test at the border.
Come to think of it, there actually may be one place that does that. It’s the so-called Islamic State. The territory ISIS controls. It would be a cruel irony if America followed its lead.
Don’t worry, some will say, as President, Trump will be surrounded by smart advisors who will rein in his worst impulses.
So when a tweet gets under his skin and he wants to retaliate with a cruise missile, maybe cooler heads will be there to convince him not to.
But look at who he’s put in charge of his campaign.
Trump likes to say he only hires the “best people.” But he’s had to fire so many campaign managers it’s like an episode of the Apprentice.
The latest shake-up was designed to – quote – “Let Trump be Trump.” To do that, he hired Stephen Bannon, the head of a right-wing website called, as campaign CEO.
To give you a flavor of his work, here are a few headlines they’ve published:
“Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy.”
“Would You Rather Your Child Had Feminism or Cancer?”
“Gabby Giffords: The Gun Control Movement’s Human Shield”
“Hoist It High And Proud: The Confederate Flag Proclaims A Glorious Heritage.”
That one came shortly after the Charleston massacre, when Democrats and Republicans alike were doing everything they could to heal racial divides. Breitbart tried to enflame them further.
Just imagine – Donald Trump reading that and thinking: “this is what I need more of in my campaign.”
Bannon has nasty things to say about pretty much everyone.
This spring, he railed against Paul Ryan for, quote “rubbing his social-justice Catholicism in my nose every second.”
No wonder he’s gone to work for Trump – the only Presidential candidate ever to get into a public feud with the Pope.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, Breitbart embraces “ideas on the extremist fringe of the conservative right. Racist ideas.
Race-baiting ideas. Anti-Muslim and anti-Immigrant ideas –– all key tenets making up an emerging racist ideology known as the ‘Alt-Right.’”
Alt-Right is short for “Alternative Right.”
The Wall Street Journal describes it as a loosely organized movement, mostly online, that “rejects mainstream conservatism, promotes nationalism and views immigration and multiculturalism as threats to white identity.”
The de facto merger between Breitbart and the Trump Campaign represents a landmark achievement for the “Alt-Right.” A fringe element has effectively taken over the Republican Party.
This is part of a broader story -- the rising tide of hardline, right-wing nationalism around the world.
Just yesterday, one of Britain’s most prominent right-wing leaders, Nigel Farage, who stoked anti-immigrant sentiments to win the referendum on leaving the European Union, campaigned with Donald Trump in Mississippi.
Farage has called for a ban on the children of legal immigrants from public schools and health services, has said women are quote “worth less” than men, and supports scrapping laws that prevent employers from discriminating based on race -- that’s who Trump wants by his side.
The godfather of this global brand of extreme nationalism is Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In fact, Farage has appeared regularly on Russian propaganda programs.
Now he’s standing on the same stage as the Republican nominee.
Trump himself heaps praise on Putin and embrace pro-Russian policies.
He talks casually of abandoning our NATO allies, recognizing Russia’s annexation of Crimea, and of giving the Kremlin a free hand in Eastern Europe more generally.
American presidents from Truman to Reagan have rejected the kind of approach Trump is taking on Russia.
We should, too.
All of this adds up to something we’ve never seen before.
Of course there’s always been a paranoid fringe in our politics, steeped in racial resentment. But it’s never had the nominee of a major party stoking it, encouraging it, and giving it a national megaphone. Until now.
On David Duke’s radio show the other day, the mood was jubilant.
“We appear to have taken over the Republican Party,” one white supremacist said.
Duke laughed. There’s still more work to do, he said.
No one should have any illusions about what’s really going on here. The names may have changed… Racists now call themselves “racialists.” White supremacists now call themselves “white nationalists.” The paranoid fringe now calls itself “alt-right.” But the hate burns just as bright.
And now Trump is trying to rebrand himself as well. Don’t be fooled.
There’s an old Mexican proverb that says “Tell me with whom you walk, and I will tell you who you are.”
We know who Trump is. A few words on a teleprompter won’t change that.
He says he wants to “make America great again,” but his real message remains “Make America hate again.”
This isn’t just about one election. It’s about who we are as a nation.
It’s about the kind of example we want to set for our children and grandchildren.
Next time you watch Donald Trump rant on television, think about all the kids listening across our country. They hear a lot more than we think.
Parents and teachers are already worried about what they’re calling the “Trump Effect.”
Bullying and harassment are on the rise in our schools, especially targeting students of color, Muslims, and immigrants.
At a recent high school basketball game in Indiana, white students held up Trump signs and taunted Latino players on the opposing team with chants of “Build the wall!” and “Speak English.”
After a similar incident in Iowa, one frustrated school principal said, “They see it in a presidential campaign and now it's OK for everyone to say this.”
We wouldn’t tolerate that kind of behavior in our own homes. How can we stand for it from a candidate for president?
This is a moment of reckoning for every Republican dismayed that the Party of Lincoln has become the Party of Trump. It’s a moment of reckoning for all of us who love our country and believe that America is better than this.
Twenty years ago, when Bob Dole accepted the Republican nomination, he pointed to the exits and told any racists in the Party to get out.
The week after 9/11, George W. Bush went to a mosque and declared for everyone to hear that Muslims “love America just as much as I do.”
In 2008, John McCain told his own supporters they were wrong about the man he was trying to defeat. Senator McCain made sure they knew – Barack Obama is an American citizen and “a decent person.”
We need that kind of leadership again.
Every day, more Americans are standing up and saying “enough is enough” – including a lot of Republicans. I’m honored to have their support.
And I promise you this: with your help, I will be a President for Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. For those who vote for me and those who don't.
For all Americans.
Because I believe we are stronger together.
It’s a vision for the future rooted in our values and reflected in a rising generation of young people who are the most open, diverse, and connected we’ve ever seen.
Just look at our fabulous Olympic team.
Like Ibtihaj Muhammad, an African-American Muslim from New Jersey who won the bronze medal in fencing with grace and skill. Would she even have a place in Donald Trump’s America?
When I was growing up, Simone Manuel wouldn’t have been allowed to swim in the same public pool as Katie Ledecky. Now they’re winning Olympic medals as teammates.
So let’s keep moving forward together.
Let’s stand up against prejudice and paranoia.
Let’s prove once again, that America is great because is America is good.

The Porcine Candidate

Political Cartoon is by John Cole in the Scranton Times-Tribune.

Only One Race

Friday, August 26, 2016

Radicals / Conservatives

Approval Of GOP-Dominated Congress Is Still Very Low

A lot of Republican donors and officials are unhappy with their presidential candidate -- Donald Trump. They have decided to concentrate on trying to save down-ballot Republicans, and try to keep their hold on Congress. But that's not looking great for them either (as the charts above from RealClearPolitics shows).

The American voters are still very angry with the Republican-dominated Congress. Every poll has shown that. The average of the six most recent polls shows that only 13.2% of voters approve of the job Congress is doing, while a whopping 77.8% disapprove.

I think the Democrats are going to regain their control of the U.S. Senate in the coming election. The House will be more difficult because of the effective gerrymandering the Republicans were able to do in 2010 -- but if just a small percentage of Republican voters stay home because they don't like Trump, then the Democrats could take back the House also.

Campaign Buttons

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

Two More Polls Shows Clinton With An Edge In 2016 Election

The top chart represents the results of the latest Rasmussen Poll on the presidential race. It was done on August 23rd and 24th of a random national sample of likely voters, and has a 3 point margin of error. The poll shows Clinton growing her lead to, and for the first time, Rasmussen has it above the margin of error. They give Clinton a 4 point edge over Trump.

The bottom chart is from the Quinnipiac University Poll. It was done between August 18th and 24th of a random national sample of 1,498 likely voters, and has a margin of error of 2.5 points. It shows Hillary Clinton with an even larger 7 point lead over Donald Trump.


Political Cartoon is by Nick Anderson in the Houston Chronicle.

What Does The Future Hold For The Republican Party ?

(The cartoon image of the GOP above is by Tom Stiglich at

What does the future hold for the Republican Party is a very good question. For a while now, they have been a party made up of opposing views, but past presidential candidates have generally been able to hold those different elements together. Their current candidate, Donald Trump, seems to care only about himself -- and makes no real effort to unify the party. This sets up a real battle for the soul of the party after the election.

Leigh Ann Caldwell and Benjy Sarlin have written an excellent article for NBC News on this subject. The article is lengthy, but well worth reading. Here is the opening segment:

When Donald Trump entered the presidential race in June 2015, the Republican Party was divided. By the time he accepted his nomination just over a year later, it had shattered into pieces.
The GOP for years was a diverse but sturdy three-legged stool of security hawks, tax cutters and religious conservatives. Within that coalition, stakeholders might jostle for prominence but generally got along, united by the common goal of winning elections.
Divisions within the party existed before Trump won the 2016 nomination, but were exacerbated in recent years as establishment Republicans battled with conservative populists over a variety of hot-button issues, including immigration. Tactical fights erupted over whether to threaten government shutdowns and how much to compromise with Democrats. Smaller factions within the party, like libertarians, battled to push their policies to the top of the agenda.
Then came Trump. The real estate mogul’s ascent didn’t just catch Republicans by surprise, it went against everything many party stalwarts thought they knew about the GOP and its voters.
Trump violated party orthodoxy on trade, entitlement reform, money in politics and national security. He exposed a huge portion of the Republican base that either disagreed with party leaders on key issues or didn’t care what they had to say. To some degree, the celebrity candidate challenged the idea that policy proposals even mattered: His own positions were far from consistent; he shifted regularly, even on signature issues; and he scoffed at the need for depth or nuance. The thrice-married candidate’s checkered personal history and crude rhetoric flew in the face of the party’s religious, conservative image. And his appeals to bigotry forced some Republicans to consider whether the left’s portrayal of the GOP as the party of white resentment was more accurate than they had once thought.
“The party of Reagan was the party that had coalitions that worked seamlessly together,” GOP strategist John Feehery said. “What Donald Trump has identified is a party that is literally splitting apart between the donor class and the working class parts of the party.”
Whether or not Trump prevails in November, the GOP is set for a rebuilding process like none in recent memory. If he wins, he’ll face a Congress whose leaders have largely distanced themselves from his brand and who oppose much of his agenda. If he loses, his one-of-a-kind candidacy offers each faction of the party a credible argument that its approach would have carried the election instead.


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

Foundations - A Comparison

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Where Are The Tax Returns ?

Seven New Presidential Polls In Virginia, New Mexico, Florida, North Carolina, Missouri, Arizona, And Utah

This chart shows the latest presidential polls in Virginia, New Mexico, Florida, North Carolina, Missouri, Arizona, and Utah. You can click on the state name to learn more about the polls.

No Coattails

Political Cartoon is by John Cole in the Scranton Times-Tribune.

Trump (& Giuliani) Are LYING About The Clinton Foundation

You can tell that the Trump campaign is getting desperate by the number and volume of the lies told about his opponent. The latest one concerns the Clinton Foundation. Donald Trump (and his lap dog Rudy Giuliani) have lately been saying that Hillary Clinton, to enrich herself while Secretary of State, sold access to her office for donations to the foundation. Let me be clear:


None of the money raised raised for the Clinton Foundation has gone into the pockets (or bank accounts) of Bill or Hillary Clinton -- not a single penny. In fact, CharityWatch (which investigates how charities use the money they raise) gave the Clinton Foundation an "A" rating (the highest rating they give).

That's because the Clinton Foundation spends 87.2% of funds received to help millions of people around the world (a larger percentage than most other charities spend on their stated missions). About 8.6% is spent on employee salaries and other operating expenses, and 3.7% is spent on fundraising. The other 0.5% is to provide for uncollectible pledges. Frankly, those are numbers that all charities should aspire to have.

One of the things Trump (and some in the media) are crowing about is the fact that some donors to the foundation also were able to meet with Clinton while she was Secretary of State. That is true. I would have been surprised if it wasn't true. But there is absolutely NO proof that the donations were a quid pro quo for meeting with Clinton. Those people would likely have been able to meet with Clinton anyway -- just like many people did who did not donate to the foundation.

This is just Donald Trump's latest effort to label Clinton as a "crook". But the truth is that she's one of the cleanest politicians around. She's been investigated by her enemies for over a quarter of a century now, and no one has been able to find even the smallest illegal or immoral act she has committed. Can anyone say the same about Donald Trump?

Political Prisoner

Political Cartoon is by Signe Wilkinson in the Philadelphia Daily News.

Americans Are Not As Anti-Immigrant As Trump Thinks

Donald Trump has based a large part of his presidential campaign on an anti-immigrant stance. He seems to be convinced that most Americans are angry or scared at immigrants, or that with his fear tactics he can convince them to be angry or scared. It is simply not true, and his efforts are not succeeding.

The chart above is from a recent Gallup Poll -- done between June 7th and July 1st of a random national sample of 3,270 adults, with a margin of error of 3 points.

It turns out that only 38% of Americans want to see immigration decreased. That's not even close to a majority. About 59% would oppose decreasing immigration -- with 38% wanting to keep it at the current level and 21% wanting to increase it.

Trump needs to find another issue, because this one's not a winner.

Changed ?

Political Cartoon is by Dave Granlund at

GOP IRS Head Says Trump Should Release His Tax Returns

(The cartoon image above is by John Branch at

Donald Trump has broken with tradition, and is adamantly refusing to release any of his tax returns to the public. Evidently, he believes there is something in those returns that would embarrass him and/or cost him votes. His rather pathetic excuse is that he is being audited by the IRS -- even though all other modern presidential candidates have released their returns for many years, and at least one (Richard Nixon) did it while his return was being audited.

This brings up the question -- Why won't he release those returns? What is he trying to hide from American voters? His opponent, Hillary Clinton, has released her returns for more than the last 30 years -- and people from both political parties are asking for Trump to do the same. The following op-ed is by Fred Goldberg (appointed IRS chief counsel by President Ronald Reagan and as IRS commissioner and as Assistant Treasury Secretary for tax policy by President George H.W. Bush) -- a Republican calling for the release of those tax returns. He writes:

Much has been said and written about Donald Trump 's refusal to release his tax returns. Tax returns paint a revealing picture of who we are. That's why confidentiality is a central pillar of our tax system. If our government expects taxpayers to share this information with the IRS, we are entitled to ironclad guarantees of confidentiality and privacy — for this reason, our laws provide that wrongful IRS disclosure of our tax-return information is a felony.
But nothing prevents us as taxpayers from choosing to release our tax returns — and those who aspire for the highest public office have done so for decades. And they do so precisely because their returns provide a window (for better and worse) into who they are. Those who say Trump should release his tax returns claim we are entitled to view this portrait of the man who aspires to lead our country.
Trump has promised to release his returns when his audit ends, but claims he is under continuous audit by the IRS and that releasing his returns (including returns for years that are now closed) could have an adverse impact on current and future IRS examinations. As a former IRS commissioner and practicing tax lawyer, I understand it may be inconvenient for Trump to release his tax returns but we all know — and the IRS has confirmed — that nothing prevents any of us from releasing our tax returns any time we want. And by the way, for those who listen carefully, Trump's promise means he will never release his tax returns. Trump's advisors also have substantial control over when his current examination will conclude.
As a citizen and voter, I want to take a look because I will learn something important about this man who would be president. Inevitably, his refusal to release his returns raises a question: What is Trump hiding? The additional audit hassle is nothing compared to the extraordinary burdens he would carry as president. It's a small price of admission to the Oval Office. The sooner he releases his entire returns, the better.
Be that as it may, however, Trump is so far not willing to take that step. That's his decision, and voters will form whatever judgments they choose to form.
There is, however, a first step that Trump has no excuse for not taking. He can and should immediately release the first two pages of his Form 1040, along with his Schedule A, for the past 20 years. This would tell us how much he makes, how much he pays in taxes, and how much he contributes to charity.
Releasing this information would have no impact on any pending or future IRS audit of Trump. Zero. None. It is a risk-free first step with no downside. While painting a far from complete portrait, it would answer a few of the questions that Trump himself has raised during the campaign: He claims that he makes a lot of money; he claims that he makes significant charitable contributions; and he claims that he reduces his tax liability as far as current law allows.
The first two pages of his enormous tax returns, along with his Schedule A, will shed important light on these claims. The first two pages plus the Schedule A of the Clintons' 2015 tax return tell us they made $10.6 million; that they made charitable contributions of $1.0 million; and that they paid federal taxes of $3.6 million, for an effective tax rate of 34 percent. We have that same information about the Clintons for the past 20 years. The first two pages of Trump's tax returns, together with his Schedule A, would provide us with the same information for him. He can and should share that information with no audit risk whatsoever.
This would be a beneficial first step. His full return, as is the case with any individual having complex business affairs, would provide further important information, helping to paint a more complete portrait of Trump. For example, it could provide insight into Trump's record in business, such as more information about his important sources of income (real estate, domestic and off-shore investments) and the tax impact of debt forgiven in his bankruptcies.
A couple of my own disclosures: I had the honor of being appointed IRS chief counsel by President Reagan, and being appointed IRS commissioner and then Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy at the United States Treasury by President George H.W. Bush. This year, I will be voting for Hillary Clinton . I am confident she will keep us safe and that she could and would work with Republicans in Congress to lead our country to a better future for all Americans.
 (The cartoon image above is by Dan Wasserman in the Boston Globe.)