Tuesday, April 23, 2019


Democratic Field Grows To 20 As Rep. Moulton Declares

The field of Democratic candidates for the 2020 presidential nomination grew to 20 on Monday. But it wasn't Joe Biden (who is expected to enter the race this week) that made it 20.

It was Rep. Seth Moulton (D- Massachusetts). Moulton, a former Marine, will make national security, foreign policy, gun control, and climate change his main themes. In declaring, he said:

"I'm running because I'm a patriot. Because I believe in this country. And because I've never wanted to sit on the sidelines when it comes to serving it. I'm going talk about patriotism, about security, about service. These are issues Democrats too long have ceded to Republicans."

“Decades of division and corruption have broken our democracy and robbed Americans of their voice. It's all led to an administration that's turned away from our values and is shredding our moral authority.”

"I'm running because we have to beat Donald Trump, and I want us to beat Donald Trump because I love this country. We've never been a country that gets everything right. But we're a country that, at our best, thinks that we might. I'd be honored if you joined me in this mission."

Here are the 20 candidates running for the Democratic presidential nomination:

* Kamala Harris

* Elizabeth Warren

* Beto O'Rourke

* Julian Castro

* Pete Buttigieg

* Amy Klobuchar

* Jay Inslee

* John Hickenlooper

* Andrew Yang

* Cory Booker

* Michael Bennet

* John Delaney

* Tim Ryan

* Kirsten Gillibrand

* Wayne Messam

* Maryanne Williamson

* Eric Swalwell

* Tulsi Gabbard

* Bernie Sanders

* Seth Moulton

Ignoring The Obvious

Political Cartoon is by Monte Wolverton at cagle.com.

Trump/GOP Are At Odds With Public On The Environment

In honor of Earth Day (yesterday), the Gallup Poll released a recent poll they did on climate change and the environment. Between March 1st and 10th, they questioned a national sample of 1,039 adults. Their survey had a margin of error of 4 points.

This is a poll that should worry Republican officials across the country. It shows that while the Republicans are happily following Trump as he ignores global climate change and does away with EPA rules to protect the environment, they are at odds with what the public wants. The Republicans think the corporate bottom line is more important than protecting the environment. The public disagrees. They worry about the environment.

In every region of this country, a substantial majority worries about global warming (global climate change) -- Northeast (72%), West (67%), Midwest (62%), South (61%). And with majorities ranging from 53% to 67%, they believe that warming has already begun.

And it's not just global warming that worries them. The loss of tropical rain forests (64% to 73%), air pollution (73% to 80%), extinction of plants and animals (67% to 74%), pollution of rivers, lakes, and reservoirs (80% to 85%), and pollution of drinking water (80% to 84%) are also worrying them. And 53% to 62% said the environment in this country is only fair to poor.

This means global warming and protecting the environment would be very good issues for Democrats in the next election -- and could hurt Republicans seeking election.

Trump Policy

Political Cartoon is by Gary Huck at huckkonopackicartoons.com.

The Root Cause Of White House Chaos/Lies Is FEAR

(This caricature of Donald Trump is by DonkeyHotey.)

We know that the Trump White House is in chaos, and has been since the day he was sworn in. It is a place where the truth doesn't matter, and lying is actually encouraged.

Now, with the release of the Mueller Report, we also know that Trump repeatedly tried to obstruct justice by interfering with the investigation. He likes to say he was "exonerated", but that's just another lie. Mueller found plenty of evidence of Trump's obstruction, and the only reason Trump wasn't charged in because of the silly Justice Department policy that a sitting president can't be indicted.

Why does Trump constantly lie, and encourage his aides to do the same? It's FEAR. Trump is afraid that if the truth is known, then he will be viewed as an illegitimate president -- who won only because of collusion with Russia. And his rampant narcissism cannot take that.

Here is just part of what Maureen Dowd wrote on this subject in The New York Times:

After 675 days, more than 2,800 subpoenas, nearly 500 search warrants, $30 million spent, endless jaw-jaw on cable and countless whiny Trump tweets, we have come down to one fundamental truth.
And it’s the same truth that has been terrorizing us all along: Donald Trump’s dirtbag machinations are driven by insane vanity.
The First Narcissist’s all-consuming blend of braggadocio and insecurity has turned Washington and its rickety institutions into a dystopian outpost of his id.

President Trump obstructed on nearly every page of Volume II of the Mueller report, even though Robert Mueller was too lost in legalese to throw the book at him. The report counts as the Worst Exoneration Ever, replete with incrimination.
And Trump’s motivation for trying to subvert justice and turn the White House into a writhing nest of liars? His ego.
He did not want people to think that the Russians were responsible for his election and that he was an illegitimate president.
And why was this the burr under his sociopathic saddle? Obviously, because he thinks he is an illegitimate president. He never expected to win.
The idea that he is in the Oval Office under false pretenses plays into his twisted sense of victimhood. The spoiled scion of Fifth Avenue somehow always finds a way to be aggrieved, a victim of the media, the deep state, “dirty cops,” note-taking aides and the elites — all out to get him.

It’s the same reason he is still talking at rallies about that “beautiful map” of his Electoral College victory, with its large swaths of red. And the same reason he focuses on ratings and crowd sizes and subscription numbers and all the other puerile citations of his ego arithmetic.
We can’t know for sure if there is a more sinister reason for Trump’s obstruction because Mueller didn’t put him under the interrogation lights. The special counsel did not provide any insight into whether Vladimir Putin has something on him.
All we know for now is that Trump’s advisers, talking under oath to federal prosecutors, attributed his actions to his fear of being seen as illegitimate.

Failed (Bigly!)

Political Cartoon is by Benjamin Slyngstad at slyngstadcartoons.com.

War Are For Profit

Monday, April 22, 2019


New Poll Shows Trump Job Approval Is Down

These charts reflect the results of a new Reuters / Ipsos Poll -- done on April 18th and 19th of a national sample of 1,005 adults, with a margin of error of 3.5 points.

It shows that only 37% of adults approve of the job Trump is doing. That's a drop of 6 points from this same poll taken at the end of March. And in the important Independent group, the approval is even lower -- only 32%.

The poll. also asked about impeachment, but it doesn't look like the public is quite ready for that. Only 40% are in favor while 42% are opposed (within the poll's margin of error). The Democrats have some work to do. Hopefully, the House Committees can (through a thorough investigation) show the public just how corrupt Trump really is.

Open Season

Political Cartoon is by Dale Cummings at cagle.com.

It's Dangerous To Report The News (Even In The U.S.)

The charts below are from Reporters Without Borders report at the end of 2018. They show that it's still dangerous to be a reporter on this planet. And that doesn't just mean in war-torn countries. The U.S. joined the list of dangerous countries with 6 journalists killed in 2018. Journalists are also subject to being jailed and taken hostage.

It's always been a dangerous job, but sadly, the current resident of the White House seems determined to make it even worse. His war on journalists, calling them the ?enemies of the people", is reprehensible. As the leader of a democracy he should be supporting journalists -- not attacking them -- because democracy depends on the free flow of information provided by the press.

Admitted Liar

Political Cartoon is by Dave Granlund at davegranlund.com.

The Mueller Report Paints A Picture Of Corruption

(Cartoon image is by Patrick Chappatte in The New York Times.)

Donald Trump is still trying to claim the Mueller Report has completely exonerated him of either collusion or obstruction of justice. That's ludicrous, and could only be believed by anyone that hasn't read any of the report. The report actually paints a portrait of corruption by Trump -- corruption that should result in his impeachment.

Paul Waldman (in The Washington Post) gives us some things the report revealed (and none of them are good for Trump and his associates). He writes:

There are some things that were matters of dispute or insufficiently documented before, but are no longer in question. Let’s run through them:
Vladimir Putin very much wanted Trump to become president of the United States, and undertook a comprehensive campaign to make sure it happened. At this point, Trump might be the only person left in America who disagrees with this fact — or pretends to, anyway — but Mueller’s report makes it irrefutable.
Trump, his family and his campaign may not have set up a criminal conspiracy to cooperate with Russia, but they were eager to accept the help. This, too, was widely known, but Mueller provides exhaustive detail on just how enthusiastic Trump and those around him were about Russia’s interference in the election: There were not just extensive contacts with Russians they hoped would help them; they also gleefully welcomed Russia’s cybertheft from Democrats. As the Lawfare team puts it, the best that can be said of them is that “the Russians and the Trump campaign shared a common goal, and each side worked to achieve that goal with basic knowledge of the other side’s intention.”
The president’s attempts to obstruct justice were comprehensive and far-reaching. Mueller’s report documents in extensive detail the actions Trump took to subvert the investigation, including urging officials to pressure the FBI, trying to fire the special counsel and lying to the public. We can argue about the degree to which Trump could be held legally accountable or whether the intervention of his aides (or more often, their refusal to act) kept those actions from crossing the line into criminality. But there is no longer any question that Trump attempted to obstruct justice.
Everyone around the president, and the president himself, acted as though they had something to hide on Russia. Donald Trump Jr. lied about the infamous Trump Tower meeting. George Papadopoulos lied to the FBI about the outreach from Russia that began the investigation. Michael Flynn lied to the FBI about his contacts with the Russian ambassador. Michael Cohen lied to Congress about the effort to secure Trump a multimillion-dollar deal to build a tower in Moscow. Paul Manafort lied about his relationship to the likely Russian intelligence asset to whom he passed polling data. Roger Stone allegedly lied about his contacts with WikiLeaks. President Trump lied seemingly every time Russia came up. If they were all innocent, they certainly weren’t acting like it.
Trump regularly instructs aides to lie to the public. Trump told Rod Rosenstein to claim that firing James Comey was his idea. Rosenstein refused, but Sean Spicer later told the lie to the press. Trump dictated a false statement to Hope Hicks for Trump Jr. to release about the infamous Trump Tower meeting. He instructed Donald McGahn to arrange for Mueller to be fired, then when the news got out, told McGahn to publicly deny it. He told Reince Priebus to tell K.T. McFarland to write a false email claiming that Trump never spoke to Flynn about Flynn’s conversations with the Russian ambassador. If you’re having trouble following all this, that’s okay — the point is that Trump regularly ordered his aides to lie; sometimes they complied, and sometimes they didn’t.
There are also doubtless times when Trump aides lie on their own initiative, within a White House culture in which lying is just what everyone does. Sarah Sanders claimed that “countless” FBI agents contacted the White House to express support for the firing of Comey; she admitted to investigators that this was false (though she now claims it was a “slip of the tongue,” another obvious lie).
Nearly everything Trump called “fake news” turned out to be true. While news outlets might have made the occasional mistake (as they do on any story), over and over again important revelations were greeted by the president with the cry of “Fake news!”, only to be corroborated by the Mueller report. For instance, Trump claimed that reports that he had shooed other officials from the room so that he could speak to Comey about Flynn were fake; Mueller concludes that the known facts "support Comey’s description of the event.” Trump called reports that he ordered Mueller’s firing fake; these are extensively documented in the report.
Trump has no concern about whether his actions are illegal or unethical. While we have a lengthy record demonstrating Trump’s unethical and even lawbreaking ways — running scams that steal people’s life savings, abusing small businesspeople, committing tax fraud — the Mueller report documents how he brought that lack of moral compass to the Oval Office. It shows his boundless willingness to lie and have others lie for him, his complete disregard for any norm of integrity or propriety, and his belief that the entire U.S. government exists to serve his personal ends. . . .
This is a president who is deeply, profoundly corrupt in every sense of the word. While we can argue about what should be done about the facts laid out in the Mueller report, that is no longer in doubt.

Exonerated ?

Political Cartoon is by Daryl Cagle at cagle.com.

"Following Orders" Is No Excuse

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Religion Diminishes This Life

Church Membership Dropped 20 Points In Last 20 Years

As this country celebrates its second most popular religious holiday (behind christmas), churches are facing a serious situation -- declining membership. Church membership has declined from about 70% in 1998 to about 50% in 2018. That a huge 20 point drop in just the last 20 years.

Will this trend continue in the future? I believe it will. With the advent of the internet, the non-religious no longer feel alone and pressured to be like those around them. They now know there are millions of people just like them.

While this change is most prominent among younger Americans, with only 42% of millennials being church members, the decline in membership has been across all generations. The decline among Gen X is 8 points, Baby Boomers is 10 points, and Traditionalists (those older than the Boomers) 9 points.

These charts are from a recent Gallup Poll.

Results for the 1998-2000 aggregated data are based on interviews with 7,184 national adults and have a margin of sampling error of ±1 percentage point at the 95% confidence level. 
Results for the 2016-2018 aggregated data are based on interviews with 7,688 national adults and have a margin of sampling error of ±1 percentage point at the 95% confidence level.

Cartoon Redacted

Political Cartoon is by Benjamin Slyngstad at slyngstadcartoons.com.

Hispanic Opinions On Candidates Are Revealed In New Poll

The charts above reflect the results of a new Latino Decisions Poll -- done between April 9th and 15th of a national sample of 606 Hispanic registered voters, with a margin of error of 3.9 points.

The most obvious result is that Donald Trump is in deep trouble with Hispanic voters. Only 20% say they will (or might) vote for him, while 69% say they will vote for a Democrat and 11% say they are undecided. That's no surprise considering Trump racist and xenophobic attitudes toward Hispanics.

What Democrat will they support? This poll didn't ask that specifically. It just asked if they had a favorable or unfavorable opinion of the leading candidates. Biden (59%) and Sanders (58%) were viewed most favorably. They were followed by O'Rourke (48%), Castro (45%), Harris (43%), and Warren (42%). No other candidate was viewed favorably by at least 40%.

The New "Baghdad Bob"

Political Cartoon is by Clay Jones at claytoonz.com.

Remembering America's Greatest Socialist - Eugene V. Debs

Socialist ideas seem to be making a comeback in the United States these days, especially among young people. But I wonder how many of them know that this country once had a vibrant and growing socialist movement. And the movement was led by a charismatic leader -- Eugene V. Debs.

Debs is one of my personal heroes, so I was delighted to see this article on him in The New York Times. It is an excellent look at Mr. Debs -- written by Maurice Isserman (professor of history at Hamilton College). Here 's just part of what he has written:

One hundred years ago this month, the American Socialist leader Eugene V. Debs, reported to a penitentiary in Moundsville, W.V., to begin a 10-year prison term. Debs had been convicted the previous fall of violating the Espionage Act, which had been enacted shortly after the United States entered World War I with the ostensible aim of punishing citizens who provided aid to the enemy. By the time Debs went to prison, scores of his fellow Socialists had already been imprisoned under the act’s provisions.

Approaching his 64th birthday in ill health, depressed and dreading separation from family and friends, Debs did not crave martyrdom. But he knew he had a role to play, one he had freely chosen, and thus remained outwardly defiant. “Tell my comrades,” Debs declared on beginning his sentence in April 1919, “that I entered prison doors a flaming revolutionist, my head erect, my spirit untamed and my soul unconquered.”

Debs’s crime, in fact, had nothing to do with “espionage,” or any other devious act of subterfuge and disloyalty. His was a crime committed proudly in the open: delivering a speech before a cheering crowd of a thousand supporters in a public park in Canton, Ohio, some 10 months earlier. Debs deeply opposed the war, and said so, and was punished for it. When he entered prison, Helen Keller, herself a veteran Socialist, called him an “apostle of brotherhood and freedom.”

Debs dedicated his career to showing that another, more equitable America was possible; a century later, as the country once again wrestles with the same question, it’s worth remembering what Debs tried to tell us. . . .

 In 1893 he helped form and became president of the American Railway Union, which enjoyed a brief but phenomenal success, climaxing in the great Pullman strike of 1894. The strike was broken by federal troops, and Debs was subsequently thrown in prison for interfering with the mails. The union’s demise, and the six months he spent in jail, sent Debs on a political trajectory that in a few years’ time saw him emerge as the presidential standard-bearer for a small but growing Socialist movement.

“Even physically Debs seemed to change,” his biographer Nick Salvatore wrote. He took on national stature after the turn of the century, and won hundreds of thousands of supporters for the Socialist movement. . . .

“Promising indeed,” Debs wrote in September l900, “is the outlook for Socialism in the United States. The very contemplation of the prospect is a wellspring of inspiration.”

Debs was exaggerating; that year, as a Socialist presidential candidate, he won just a 100,000 votes out of nearly 14 million cast. But in the presidential bids that followed, hyperbole began to edge toward prophecy.

In 1912 he won nearly a million votes, some 6 percent of the total. Immigrant neighborhoods on the Lower East Side and in Milwaukee were not the only places to turn out for Debs. In some states, such as Washington and California, and most surprisingly, Oklahoma, the Socialist Party’s share of the vote climbed into the double digits. Over the same 12-year period, the party expanded its membership from 10,000 to nearly 120,000. Across the country, 1,200 Socialists won public office, including mayors from Flint, Mich., and Butte, Mont., to Berkeley, Calif.

Not without personal vanity, Debs nevertheless viewed his considerable charismatic gifts with a measure of detachment. The point of his constant speaking tours crisscrossing the country was not to build an individual cult, but to develop an institutional base. “I don’t want you to follow me or anyone else,” he declared in 1910. “If you are looking for a Moses to lead you out of this capitalist wilderness, you will stay right where you are.” He would not presume to lead his followers into the “promised land,” even if it was in his power to do so, “because if I could lead you in, someone else could lead you out.”. . .

During his time in prison the Socialist movement, battered by official repression, fell to pieces. In a note from prison to his lover Mabel Curry, Debs related a dream he had as he slept uneasily, as he often did, on the cot in his cell: “I was walking by the house where I was born — the house was gone and nothing left but ashes. All about me were ashes. My feet sank in them and my shoes filled with them.”

And so the prospects for a revived American Socialism remained for most of the ensuing century, in ashes. Whether a current generation of Socialists, new to the movement and growing in numbers, will find a way to weave together the redemptive promise of moral protest and the practical achievements of political action is still to be determined.

A Lot Of Rebuilding To Be Done

Political Cartoon is by Joel Pett in the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Let's Compromise

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Radical ?

It's FACT That Russia Attacked The United States In 2016

The Russian government attacked the United States in 2016. That attack was on the essence of our democracy -- our electoral system. This is not supposition. It is a FACT. And so important a fact that it was the first sentence in the Mueller Report.

It does not matter whether you think the rest of the report condemned or exonerated Donald Trump. Both sides should be able to agree that Russia attacked us, and we need to do something about that.

Congress did pass additional sanctions against Russia (even though Trump refused to impose those sanctions). But that is not enough, and it wouldn't be enough even if Trump had followed the law and imposed those sanctions.

We need to take action to protect the sanctity of our voting system. Russia hacked into the data bases of the voting systems of at least 25 states in 2016, and was able to access the voter rolls. Did they alter those rolls? We hope not, but they may well do that in 2020. It is not believed that they were able to change any state's vote totals, but could they also do that in 2020? They now know they can access those systems.

The Senate Republicans recently killed a bill that would have helped states to update their data security regarding voter rolls and voting. Why did they do that? Do they want a foreign power (who has been our enemy for decades) to interfere in our elections? Is that OK with them -- as long as that foreign power does it on behalf of the Republican Party? Are they so afraid of Trump's base of deplorable that they refuse to protect our democracy from foreign invaders?

I must admit that I don't understand their actions or their fair to act. I am a Democrat, but in the past I have always thought of the Republican Party as patriots who just disagreed with me on policies. That is no longer true. I now question their patriotism.

Russia attacked us. We must act to defend our democracy. We must stand together in that. How can any true American disagree?

Whitewash Willie

Political Cartoon is by Dave Granlund at davegranlund.com.

Pete Buttigieg Has Graphics For Wherever You Live

Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who is running for the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination, believes graphics send a powerful message. So he has had them created for D.C., the territories, and all 50 states. He is urging supporters to download them and put them on their social media sites.  Here is what was created for his candidacy:

Trump Freaks Out

Political Cartoon is by Clay Jones at claytoonz.com.