Monday, August 03, 2020

Money Doesn't Trickle Down - It Flows Up


Trump Says He'll Reform Immigration By Executive Order


When President Obama protected DACA individuals with an executive order, Republicans (including Trump) lost their minds. They filed suit in federal court, saying the president could not change immigration law with an executive order. But now Trump wants to do that. He wants to substantially reform immigration by issuing an executive order, and the primary goal he has is to institute a merit-based immigration. In a roundtable discussion in Florida on July 31st, he said:

"We’re also doing a full immigration plan. We’re going to take care of a lot things that, for 25 years, they’ve been trying to get an immigration plan. 
We’re going to be doing merit-based immigration. I’m sure you’d be happy to hear that. But it’s merit-based. It’s very powerfully merit-based."
I doubt he can legally reform immigration by executive order, but who knows with the current conservative majority on the Supreme Court. Anyway, it would be a terrible idea if he could.

One of the arguments against immigration that Trump (and his Republican cohorts) use is that immigration takes jobs away from American citizens.

 It's not true. Currently, many immigrants don't have the education or skills to take good and high-paying jobs away from citizens. Instead, they take the dirty, dangerous, and low-paying jobs that American citizens don't want. A merit-based immigration plan would change that. It would allow only immigrants to enter that had the education or skills to take the high-paying jobs now held by Americans.

The corporations would love it, because they could replace the highly-paid American workers with foreigners who would work for lower wages (just so they could get into the country). And any American worker that wanted to keep his job would have to agree to a lower wage, or be replaced by a foreign worker who'll take that lower wage.

The middle class in this country is already shrinking. Merit-based immigration will just shrink it further by putting Americans out-of-work and lowering wages.

Republicans only care about helping corporations squeeze a few more dollars out of abusing their workers. They care nothing about those workers. Merit-based immigration will help the corporations and hurt the workers. It is a terrible idea.

Change The Election?

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

New Poll Has Biden Leading In N. Carolina & Tied In Georgia








These surveys were conducted on behalf of CBS News by YouGov between July 28-31, 2020. They are based on representative samples of 1,131 registered voters in Georgia and 1,152 in North Carolina. Margins of error for registered voters are +/- 3.4 points in Georgia and +/- 3.8 points in North Carolina.

Kushner's License To Practice

Political Cartoon is by Adam Zyglis in The Buffalo News.

Trump And Kushner Committed A "Crime Against Humanity"

Donald Trump has broken American laws, and committed actions that were both unconstitutional and hurtful to many American citizens.

But in conjunction with his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, he has done something that is far worse than his other crimes. It is a crime against humanity, and demands his removal from office -- and his arrest and conviction after that.

Here's just a part of an op-ed in the Washington Monthly by David Atkins about the atrocious crime:

Last month, I wrote that president Trump had admitted to a crime against humanity. It was true. The president had openly bragged about deliberately slowing down COVID-19 testing for political gain, thereby causing the deaths of untold numbers of Americans to make himself look better. It is a monstrous crime for which he has not yet been held accountable.

But a new report from Vanity Fair implicates both Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner of an unspeakable horror orders of magnitude greater. Instead of implementing a comprehensive and aggressive national testing plan as originally recommended by the White House coronavirus task force, Kushner scuttled it. The president and his son-in-law were instead content to allow tens of thousands of Americans die as long as they were mostly people of color, and hailing from Democratic states and counties. Not only that, they saw it as a political opportunity to both cull the numbers of opposing voters and lay blame on Democratic governors at the same time. . . .

If this is true–and there is very little reason to doubt its veracity, despite the White House press secretary’s denials–it would constitute perhaps the greatest crime against humanity of any president in American history. Andrew Jackson’s Trail of Tears was more deliberately vicious and murderous; George W. Bush’s immoral war of choice in Iraq killed more people overall.

But no American president has ever betrayed his oath of office more profoundly than in deliberately allowing the deaths of more than 150,000 of his own fellow citizens and counting for partisan political gain.

We even lack the vocabulary to describe it. “Gross negligence” doesn’t reach the level of the crime. “Murder” is lurid, but frankly not comprehensive enough in scope to describe the death of 150,000. “Treason” comes to mind when considering that the President of the United States knowingly allowed 150,000 Americans to die because they were mostly his political opponents–but despite his Russia entanglements, there is no direct evidence he did so on behalf of a foreign power.

But there’s another option: “genocide.” The known racial bias of the deaths overlaps with the political bias–black and brown Americans tend to be Democrats and live in Democratic areas, and are disproportionately falling victim to the virus–which in turn would make “genocide” the most compelling way to describe what Trump and Kushner have done.

Genocide. Yes, it sounds preposterous. It sounds like the hyperbole of the deeply unserious. But what else can you call it? No word is perfect, but the crime must have a name that fits the enormous scope of its evil. It must describe what actually happened. And what happened is that the president and his son-in-law deliberately allowed 150,000 (and counting) Americans to die of a pandemic, because it would mostly kill off their political opponents. Because it would kill off mostly poor people of color. Because they thought they could gain an upper hand by blaming opposing governors. But they thought it would advantage them politically. It’s like a plot out of a bad action movie with a comic book villain, except it’s real life and those villains are still governing and making decisions. . . .

The majority of Americans, the ones not enthralled by conservative infotainment and the Trump propaganda machine, are suffering from years of collective trauma and looking forward to the November election as a means of escape. One can hardly blame them. Nor would many be to blame for wanting to put this entire era behind us and never look back.

But assuming democracy remains intact and Trump is driven from office, this enormous crime cannot be forgotten. It cannot be ignored. There must be accountability for this genocide, the greatest crime in American history.

A Better Five Words

Political Cartoon is by Dave Whamond at Cagle.com.

They Need To be Prosecuted


Sunday, August 02, 2020

From The Infancy Of Our Intelligence


Is It Important That Biden Choose A Black Woman As V.P.?


The chart above reflects the results of the Yahoo News / YouGov Poll -- done between July 28th and 30th of a national sample of 1,084 registered voters, with about a 3.3 point margin of error.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden will be picking his vice-presidential running mate in the next couple of weeks. He has said he will choose a woman.

But the talking heads on cable news programs are all debating whether that choice should be a Black woman. The Yahoo News poll decided to ask Americans (registered voters) whether that is important or not. As the results shown above shows, most Americans don't think it's important. Only 36% (white bars) say it is important the candidate be Black, while 63% (orange bars) say it's not important.

There are about 12 candidates getting serious consideration, and several of them are Blacks.

Personally, I like all 12 of those candidates, and I would happily support any of them. I would like to see a Black get the nod, but I doubt it's important. That's because this election doesn't hinge on Biden's choice. It didn't even hinge on who the Democratic candidate was.

I have said it before, and I still believe it -- this election is a referendum on Donald Trump. The voters  are deciding one thing -- to kick Trump out of the White House or allow him to stay. I don't think Biden's choice will make any difference in how the voters decide that question.

Not Rocket Science

Political Cartoon is by Jimmy Margulies at jimmymargulies.com.

Texas Is Stil A Hotspot For COVID-19 Cases And Deaths



The number of cases and deaths in Texas during July were figured from the numbers posted on The COVID Tracking Project.

An Invasion

Political Cartoon is by Tom Toles in The Washington Post.

Growth Of COVID-19 Cases In Each State In The Last Week

These numbers are from The COVID Tracking Project.

The first number for each state is the number of cases they had on 7/25/20. The second number is the number of cases on 8/1/20 (one week later).

Alabama..........78130 -- 89349
Alaska..........2868 -- 3827
Arizona..........160041 -- 177002
Arkansas..........37249 -- 43173
California.........445400 -- 500130
Colorado..........42980 -- 46809
Connecticut.........48776 -- 49810
Delaware..........14175 -- 14877
District of Columbia..........11717 -- 12205
Florida..........414511 -- 480028
Georgia..........165188 -- 190012
Hawaii..........1549 -- 2111
Idaho..........17264 -- 20721
Illinois..........171125 -- 181757
Indiana..........61520 -- 67122
Iowa..........41671 -- 44976
Kansas..........25109 -- 27812
Kentucky..........26764 -- 30723
Louisiana..........103734 -- 116280
Maine..........3790 -- 3937
Maryland..........83054 -- 89365
Massachusetts..........115268 -- 117612
Michigan..........85072 -- 91332
Minnesota..........50291 -- 55188
Mississippi..........51097 -- 59881
Missouri..........40709 -- 51258
Montana..........3260 -- 4081
Nebraska..........24174 -- 26211
Nevada..........41816 -- 49074
New Hampshire..........6415 -- 6613
New Jersey..........178858 -- 182029
New Mexico..........18475 -- 20600
New York..........411200 -- 415767
North Carolina..........111092 -- 123878
North Dakota..........5736 -- 6602
Ohio..........83184 -- 92087
Oklahoma..........30081 -- 37731
Oregon..........16492 -- 18817
Pennsylvania..........106625 -- 112936
Rhode Island..........18224 -- 19022
South Carolina..........80008 -- 90599
South Dakota..........8305 -- 8867
Tennessee..........90796 -- 108184
Texas..........375846 -- 430485
Utah..........37623 -- 40702
Vermont..........1396 -- 1421
Virginia..........83609 -- 90801
Washington..........50824 -- 55803
West Virginia..........5821 -- 6735
Wisconsin..........51715 -- 58058
Wyoming..........2446 -- 2769

Virgin Islands..........352 -- 421
Puerto Rico..........14540 -- 17872
Guam..........337 -- 367

The Suburbs Have Changed

Political Cartoon is by Clay Jones at claytoonz.com.

Flopping Like A Fish


Saturday, August 01, 2020

Trump Didn't Hijack The GOP - It Was Already A Racist Mess


Congressional GOP Proves It Doesn't Care About Workers

I'm not a fan of the Republicans in Congress. I believe they care only for the rich and corporations, and have very little respect for ordinary Americans -- especially those working for a living.

They have attacked labor unions, reducing their power to organize and protect workers. They have refused to raise the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour for years -- forcing many workers to live in poverty, even though they work hard in a full-time job. They gave the rich and corporations a huge tax cut, but gave workers next to nothing. And they have refused to provide decent health insurance -- leaving many workers with any health insurance at all.

Just recently, they provided more proof of their lack of concern and respect for workers.

Congress has known for months now that the enhanced unemployment benefits would end on July 31st. That benefit has kept millions of workers from dropping into abject poverty, and needs to be extended. The Democrats in the House did that, passing a second stimulus bill that would keep those benefits in place.

Republicans in the Senate have not. They waited until the last minute, and then came up with a pathetic plan that would reduce that from $600 to $200 -- but then reduce it to only 3/4 of a worker's salary as soon as they could verify that salary.

That is inadequate, and will force already underpaid workers to drop into poverty -- very possibly facing eviction and a struggle to feed their families. Then they compounded that disrespect for workers by including a provision that would grant businesses immunity that force workers back to work while the virus still rages. A worker that gets sick (or even dies) will not be able to sue the business that forced him/her back to work -- a "forced" is the correct term, since any workers refusing to return to his/her job would be ineligible for even the lower unemployment benefit.

Then, without passing any bill or negotiating with Democrats on a bill, the Senate Republicans recessed on Thursday for a long weekend -- knowing the enhanced unemployment benefits will expire days before they return. They don't care.

For the Republican officials, workers are no more than expendable bodies to be used to make sure the rich owners of corporations can continue to make massive profits. Providing workers with a livable wage, a safe working environment, and retirement protection (they also are working to cut benefits for Social Security, or eliminate it entirely) are not things the GOP cares about.

Republicans don't care about American workers, and they prove it every day. They must be voted out of power in November.

In The Year 2083

Political Cartoon is by Monte Wolverton at Cagle.com.

10 Charts











The charts above are from the Yahoo News / YouGov Poll -- done between July 28th and 30th of a national sample of 1,506 adults, with a 3.3 point margin of error.

The Comet Approaches

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

Public Opposes Trump's Handling Of Virus, Russia, & Protests




The charts above are from the ABC News / Ipsos Poll -- done on July 29th and 30th of a national sample of 730 adults, with a 4 point margin of error.

Stupidity Speaking

Political Cartoon is by Bruce Plante in Tulsa World.

In His Eulogy Of Lewis, Obama Calls Americans To Action

Barack Obama gave a powerful eulogy at the funeral of John Lewis. If you did not see it, I urge you to do so, or read the transcript. You can access it in The New York Times.

Obama gave a moving tribute to the heroism of Rep. John Lewis -- a heroism he exhibited throughout his life.

But Obama went further. He called on Congress and the American citizens to take action -- not only to honor Lewis, but to save the democracy that is now in danger.

Here is just the part of the speech where he calls for action:

Bull Connor may be gone. But today we witness with our own eyes police officers kneeling on the necks of Black Americans. George Wallace may be gone. But we can witness our federal government sending agents to use tear gas and batons against peaceful demonstrators. We may no longer have to guess the number of jelly beans in a jar in order to cast a ballot. But even as we sit here, there are those in power are doing their darnedest to discourage people from voting — by closing polling locations, and targeting minorities and students with restrictive ID laws, and attacking our voting rights with surgical precision, even undermining the Postal Service in the run-up to an election that is going to be dependent on mailed-in ballots so people don’t get sick. . . .

Like John, we have got to keep getting into that good trouble. He knew that nonviolent protest is patriotic; a way to raise public awareness, put a spotlight on injustice, and make the powers that be uncomfortable.

Like John, we don’t have to choose between protest and politics, it is not an either-or situation, it is a both-and situation. We have to engage in protests where that is effective but we also have to translate our passion and our causes into laws and institutional practices. . . .

Like John, we have got to fight even harder for the most powerful tool we have, which is the right to vote. . . .

You want to honor John? Let’s honor him by revitalizing the law that he was willing to die for. And by the way, naming it the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, that is a fine tribute. But John wouldn’t want us to stop there, trying to get back to where we already were. Once we pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, we should keep marching to make it even better.

By making sure every American is automatically registered to vote, including former inmates who’ve earned their second chance.

By adding polling places, and expanding early voting, and making Election Day a national holiday, so if you are someone who is working in a factory, or you are a single mom who has got to go to her job and doesn’t get time off, you can still cast your ballot.

By guaranteeing that every American citizen has equal representation in our government, including the American citizens who live in Washington, D.C. and in Puerto Rico. They are Americans.

By ending some of the partisan gerrymandering — so that all voters have the power to choose their politicians, not the other way around.

And if all this takes eliminating the filibuster — another Jim Crow relic — in order to secure the God-given rights of every American, then that’s what we should do.

And yet, even if we do all this — even if every bogus voter suppression law was struck off the books today — we have got to be honest with ourselves that too many of us choose not to exercise the franchise; that too many of our citizens believe their vote won’t make a difference, or they buy into the cynicism that, by the way, is the central strategy of voter suppression, to make you discouraged, to stop believing in your own power.

So we are also going to have to remember what John said: “If you don’t do everything you can to change things, then they will remain the same. You only pass this way once. You have to give it all you have.” As long as young people are protesting in the streets, hoping real change takes hold, I’m hopeful but we cannot casually abandon them at the ballot box. Not when few elections have been as urgent, on so many levels, as this one. We cannot treat voting as an errand to run if we have some time. We have to treat it as the most important action we can take on behalf of democracy.

Like John, we have to give it all we have.

Off The Hook

Political Cartoon is by Clay Jones at claytoonz.com.

Do The Right Thing



Friday, July 31, 2020

Senate GOP Cares Only For The Rich & Corporations


It Really Doesn't Matter Who Biden Picks As His V.P.


The chart above is from the Morning Consult Poll -- done between July 24th and 26th of a national sample of 1,997 registered voters, with a 2 point margin of error.

In past elections, it has been important that the presidential candidate pick the right running mate. In 1960, John Kennedy needed a Southerner to balance his ticket to get broad support across the country. In 1964, Lyndon Johnson needed a northern liberal to do the same. The vice-presidential picks in those elections worked well -- and both Kennedy and Johnson scored election victories.

It has also been important that the right choice for veep be competent. In 2008, John McCain chose an unknown to be his veep, and she turned out to be a disaster. It seriously hurt his campaign, and he lost.

2020 is different. As the chart above shows, it probably doesn't matter who Joe Biden chooses. The poll looked at 12 different women (Biden has said he would choose a woman) that are believed to be being considered by Biden. Not that the numbers are very close for every one of them to run with Biden. Some are not as well known as others, but none of them would hurt (or help) Biden.

Why is this?

It is because this election is nothing more than a referendum on Donald Trump. Voters either want to keep Trump in the White House or kick him out of it -- and it really doesn't matter who the Democratic presidential or vice-presidential nominee is.

Trump would like it to be an election of opposing ideologies or cultural values, but it isn't. Voters will either love Trump and want to keep him, or they will consider him to be incompetent and corrupt and want to dump him. And the only way to dump Trump is to vote Democratic.

For political junkies like myself, Biden's choice will be interesting. But it likely doesn't matter to most voters.

At A Snail's Pace

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

2nd Quarter GDP Shows Biggest Drop Since Great Depression



From The New York Times:

Economic output fell at its fastest pace on record last spring as the coronavirus pandemic forced businesses across the United States to close their doors and kept millions of Americans shut in their homes for weeks.

Gross domestic product — the broadest measure of goods and services produced — fell 9.5 percent in the second quarter of the year, the Commerce Department said Thursday. On an annualized basis, the standard way of reporting quarterly economic data, G.D.P. fell at a rate of 32.9 percent.

The collapse was unprecedented in its speed and breathtaking in its severity. The only possible comparisons in modern American history came during the Great Depression and the demobilization after World War II, both of which occurred before the advent of modern economic statistics.

Donald Trump and the congressional Republicans would like you to believe the economy is ready to bounce back -- even better than before. That is not true!

This is an economy in deep trouble -- more trouble than most Americans have seen in their lifetimes. And it won't be fixed by reopening businesses and schools. That will just help to spread the Coronavirus, and the economy cannot begin to heal until the virus is brought under control -- which the country is not even close to doing.

We cannot expect the GDP numbers to magically bounce back in the third quarter either. We are already one month into the third quarter, and the virus is still raging across the country. It is likely that the third quarter GDP will look as bad as the second quarter does.

This is going to be an extended recession, and anyone expect the economy to quickly bounce back is living in a dream world. Many small businesses will not recover from the recession, and many workers will be left without jobs even after the virus is controlled. The Bush recession took well over a year for the economy to recover, and even longer for many Americans to recover their own financial position. The Trump Recession could last even longer.

We should remember that the Trump recession didn't have to happen. If Trump had acted quickly and competently once notified of the Coronavirus (like Obama did after learning of Ebola), the economy might not have even had to be shut down. But Trump delayed doing anything for far too long, and then did not do enough. That continues to be the case.

They're All Mythical

Political Cartoon is by Clay Jones at claytoonz.com.

Another 1.4 Million Workers Filed For Unemployment


The Labor Department released its statistics on new unemployment claims yesterday. It showed that another 1,434,000 workers filed for unemployment benefits in the week ending 7/25. It marked the 19th week in a row that more than a million people filed for unemployment benefits -- and the second week in a row that the number of filers has increased over the previous week. The economy is not getting better, as Trump would like you to believe -- it's getting worse.

Here is the official statement from the Labor Department:

In the week ending July 25, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 1,434,000, an increase of 12,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 6,000 from 1,416,000 to 1,422,000. The 4-week moving average was 1,368,500, an increase of 6,500 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 1,750 from 1,360,250 to 1,362,000.