Monday, November 30, 2015

It Makes You A Good Person

The Word Politicians/Media Won't Use For U.S. Terrorists

There is a lot of truth in the image to the left (from While our politicians and media are quick to use the term terrorist for a jihadist was murder, they have been loathe to do the same for a home-grown U.S. mass murderer.

It has gotten a little bit better lately. After the terrorist attack in Colorado Springs, at least they are now discussing whether it should be called a terrorist attack or not. It seems obvious to me that it is a terrorist attack, but I guess I should be thankful that the politicians and media are at least considering that now.

But there is one word those politicians and media simply will not use to describe domestic terrorists -- christian. They are quick to label jihadists as muslims when they commit a terrorist attack, but when christian extremists do the same thing, they are never called that. They are labeled as mentally-ill, as lone gunmen, and sometimes as terrorists -- but they are never called christian terrorists.

The reason is obvious. This is a majority christian country, and if the politicians labeled home-grown terrorists as christian, they are afraid they would lose votes -- and the media won't call them that because they are afraid of losing viewers/readers. They don't mind labeling jihadists as muslim (even though there are billions of muslims just as horrified by the jihadist actions as we are), but are loathe to label terrorists as christians (even though most home-grown terrorists are christian extremists).

Isn't this unfair. In fact, isn't it discrimination to tie a minority religion in this country to terrorism, but to avoid doing that for the majority religion? Of course it is, and it is cowardice. The politicians (of both parties) and the major media should all be ashamed of themselves for engaging in this shameless discrimination. As a nation of immigrants who values religious freedom, we should be better than that. How can the population live up to our ideals if the political leaders and media won't?

Encouraging Terrorism

Political Cartoon is by Clay Jones at

Most Important Issues And Job Approval Numbers

This information is from the latest YouGov Poll -- done between November 19th and 23rd of a random national sample of 2,000 adults, and has a 3.1 points margin of error.

In the top chart, respondents were asked to name the one most important issue for them in the next election. As usual, the economy was named by the most people, but after the Paris attacks, terrorism has now risen to tie the economy as the most important issue. Only one point behind was Social Security. The GOP had better be careful on Social Security, because the huge majority want to protect Social Security or enhance it -- not cut benefits or raise the retirement age.

This same poll also asked the respondents about their job approval of government. President Obama had the highest approval at 45%, while the entire Congress had the lowest at 13%. About 38% of the public approves of the job congressional Democrats are doing, while only 25% approve of the job congressional Republicans are doing. Americans are real happy with anyone in government right now, but they are a little less angry at Democrats than Republicans.

A Dangerous Place

Political Cartoon is by Mike Luckovich in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Views Of Americans On Their Government And Politics

The bipartisan Pew Research Center has done a rather extensive survey on what Americans think about their government and politics. It's excellent, and I urge you to go read the entire article.

The results shown in the charts are from surveys Pew did between August 27th and October 4th of this year. They questioned a random sample of 6,004 adults, and the survey has a margin of error of 1.5 points.

Here are some of the charts I found interesting:

Corporate Greed

Political Cartoon is by Keith Tucker at

Books Connect Us

Sunday, November 29, 2015


The Rich Get Richer And Everyone Else Fights For Crumbs

The cartoon above (from is humorous, and it has a good point -- the gap in wealth is much greater than many would have us believe. For instance, the Oxfam charities announced last January that in 2016 the richest 1% will have more wealth than everyone else in the world (the bottom 99%). That 1% will control more than half of all the wealth in the world.

I don't know about you, but I don't think that's a fair division of wealth. And sadly, it gets worse every year. How much of the world's wealth are we going to let the rich amass?

And don't make the mistake of thinking that's only a problem for poor countries. The United States, the richest country in the world, has the worst wealth inequality of any developed nation (and many third world nations).

Note the chart below, where it shows that the bottom 90% of Americans share only 25% of the nation's wealth, while the top 10% are hogging 75% of the wealth. In fact, that top 10% has more wealth (75%) than the bottom 99% of Americans (57%).

It wasn't always this way. But in the 1980's the Republicans were able to institute their "trickle-down" economic policy -- a policy that favored the rich and penalized everyone else. They told us that everyone would do better if we made the rich even richer. They lied. The rich have gotten much richer, while most Americans have not (and too many have dropped out of the middle class, and many have even sunk into poverty).

It's not that hard to understand why. As the share of the pie grows for the rich, there is less for everyone else to divide up. They told us the pie would grow larger, and it has. But their economic policy has allowed the rich to take an even greater portion of that larger pie.

Trickle-down economics has been an enormous success for the rich, but it has been an abysmal failure for the bottom 90%. And unless we change that policy, things will just continue to grow worse -- turning us into a nation of "haves" and "have-nots". Because it grows worse with each passing year.

This makes it essential to vote the Republicans out of power in 2016. They have blocked every attempt to return this nation to a fairer economic policy -- one that provides opportunity and a decent standard of living to all Americans. They have made it clear they have no intention of abandoning their favoritism for the rich. And they have made it clear they oppose any policy that would help the bottom 90% to do better.

How can this be changed (once we vote the GOP out of power)? We could make a good start by raising the minimum wage to a livable wage, strengthen unions to bargain for other workers, raise the income tax on the rich by a small margin, make corporations pay their fair share of taxes (by eliminating subsidies and loopholes), stop giving a tax break to corporations that send American jobs to low-wage countries, tax all income equally (without a lower Capital gains rate for the rich), and severely penalize the rich and corporations who hide money in other countries to avoid taxes.

We can fix the economy and promote a more equal distribution of wealth by instituting a fairer economic policy -- but it can't be done as long as the Republicans control either house of Congress.

Pigs Can Fly

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

A Second Poll Shows Ben Carson Losing Support

The charts above were made from the latest results of the Reuters Poll. This is not a one-time survey, but a continuing poll taken each day, and the numbers released are an average of the last five days.

Yesterday, I showed you the latest YouGov Poll, which showed Ben Carson's support is slipping. This Reuters Poll shows the same thing. He is now polling only about 14.9% -- at least 10 points below what he was polling a few weeks ago. Donald Trump is still leading, but seems unable to add to his fairly good numbers (and get to a majority). Can he get to a majority when some others drop out? Maybe, and maybe not.

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton maintains her strong lead -- with a majority of 57%.

Trust ?

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

Police Now Stealing More Money Than All Burglars Combined

(Image is from Taegan Goddard's Wonk Wire.)

In an effort to try to win the drug war, Congress gave police the power to seize the assets that were gained from illegal activities. Unfortunately, the police are misusing that power (which they should never have had in the first place). I have no problem with them seizing the assets of those convicted of drug trafficking, but most of the time now the police are seizing money without convicting the person of any crime at all. And to get the money back is a very difficult thing. The person must prove they did not get the money from any illegal activity, while the police don't have to prove anything.

And the police seizures have grown steadily each year (see chart), and in 2014 those seizures added up to significantly more money than all of the value of items taken in every burglary in the country. In other words, the police stole more money than all of the burglars combined -- with the burglars taking $3.9 billion and the police seizing $4.5 billion. That makes the police the biggest gang of thieves in America.

Is this really what we want? Do we want police to have the ability to take anyone's money -- without even charging them, let alone convicting them of any kind of crime? Giving police this enormous power to seize money (and property) may have sounded like a good idea years ago, but that power is being misused -- and it's time to do away with it.

One might think the federal government would see this and do something about it, but that is unlikely. Federal police are also seizing money and property, and the federal government gets a cut out of the money seized by local and state police. Sadly, both the federal and local governments now see this as another opportunity to fund their activities, and not truly an effort to fight crime. It is theft by government, using the police as their henchmen -- and it needs to be stopped.

Holiday Overlap

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

Right-Wing Terrorist Fails To Cow Planned Parenthood

This photo is the mug shot of right-wing terrorist Robert lewis Dear. On Friday, he attacked the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado -- killing a police officer and two civilians, and wounding five more police officers and four civilians. He gave up after police moved in and surrounded him.

Police have not released information on the terrorists motive for the cowardly attack on innocent people, but it would surprise me a great deal if it was not intended to support the anti-choice movement by trying to terrify those supporting choice, and those who attend Planned Parenthood to receive medical treatment.

If that was his intent, and I don't doubt that it was, then he failed. Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Foundation of America, assured people that Planned Parenthood will continue to offer medical services to those who need it, and will not be deterred by the vicious acts of anti-choice terrorists.

Below is the message Cecile Richards sent to all supporters of Planned Parenthood: 

It is heartbreaking. Our thoughts are with the families of the three people whose lives were lost in yesterday's attack at the Planned Parenthood health center in Colorado Springs. We wish those who were injured a quick and complete recovery.

And, we are deeply grateful to the law enforcement officers who responded with courage to protect Planned Parenthood staff, patients, and community members.

I want every Planned Parenthood patient to know: your safety is our top priority. Planned Parenthood health centers have extensive security measures in place, work closely with law enforcement agencies, and have a very strong safety record.

Planned Parenthood health centers opened their doors again today, in Colorado and across the country. As always, patients were welcomed by extraordinary doctors, nurses, and staff. We will never, ever back away from providing safe, reliable care to the millions of patients who are counting on us to be there.

These doors stay open, no matter what.

It's still too soon to know what exactly motivated this attack. We share the concerns of many Americans that extremists are creating a poisonous environment that feeds domestic terrorism in this country. In the days and weeks ahead, we will continue to stand up for Planned Parenthood patients, staff, and the communities they serve — and it means so much to know that you stand with us, ready for whatever comes next.

Like you, I am full of sadness for the people who were harmed in Colorado. I am also full of admiration for what every member of Planned Parenthood's staff do every day — to ensure that people can get the health care they need, and to work toward a day when we no longer see this kind of violence.

At this moment, our hearts are broken, but our commitment is unchanged. Care, no matter what.

Thank you for standing with Planned Parenthood.

Cecile Richards, President
Planned Parenthood Federation of America


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

Persecuted ?

Saturday, November 28, 2015

GOP "Logic"

Terrorist Strikes In Colorado Springs

While right-wing politicians were busy trying to scare Americans over the possibility of a terrorist attack in this country by islamic jihadists, terrorism struck in Colorado Springs, Colorado. A gunman attacked the Planned Parenthood clinic in that city, killing a police officer and two civilians and wounding nine others (three police officers and six civilians).  But this was no islamic jihadist. It was a white male, and almost assuredly a right-wing christian terrorist.

I'm sure the right-wing will take exception to my using the word terrorist. They prefer that those on the right who commit these horrific acts be called "mentally unstable" or "lone wolf attackers". I find that to be disingenuous. Except for the number of victims and attackers, I fail to see how this is any different from the Paris attacks (which everyone is quick to label as terrorism). In both instances, we have religious extremists attacking innocent victims for a political reason. That is terrorism -- no matter the race, ethnicity, or religion of the attackers.

Hopefully, this will remind (or make clear to) Americans that the biggest terrorist risk in this country is not from islamic jihadists (and certainly not from thoroughly vetted refugees), but from right-wing home-grown christian terrorists (who are almost exclusively white and male). A lot of our politicians, especially Republicans, don't want to admit that -- but that is the reality.

(Photo of terrorist being taken into custody is by Reuters. CBS News identifies him as Robert Lewis Dear, age 59.)

Coalition ?

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

Which Leading Candidates Are Best On National Security ?

These charts are made from information in a new YouGov Poll -- done between November 19th and 23rd of a random nation sample of 2,000 adults, with a margin of error of 3.1 points.

This part of their poll was to see which of the leading candidates (of both parties) were perceived as being the best on national security -- and Hillary Clinton was viewed as best by most Americans. She topped all other candidates by 16 points on who is ready to be commander-in-chief. She topped them all by 11 points on who could deal wisely with an international crisis. And she and Donald Trump were virtually tied on who was "tough enough" to be president (with all other candidates trailing by at least 11 points).

The Republicans have tried to position themselves as being the strongest on national security -- but that doesn't seem to be what the general public thinks.

Hateful Extremists

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

Only Half Of Public Opposes National Registration of Muslims

At least one of the Republican candidates (Donald Trump) has suggested that muslims in American should be required to register with the federal government. He has sort of backed off of that -- once it was pointed out that can easily be used to discriminate against them (as the U.S. did to the Japanese in World War II) or even eliminate them (as the Germans did to Jews under Hitler).

But what is even more troubling is the fact that only about half of the American public says they would be opposed to such a discriminatory registration program. That was verified by two different polls recently. In the YouGov Poll, 49% said they opposed registration. In the Rasmussen Poll, about 52% said they opposed it.

Frankly, those numbers horrify me. It means than the other half of the population would be in favor of discriminatory registration (or would at least consider it). What the hell are these people thinking? Do they think freedom is only for them? Don't they realize that what can be done to one group of people can be done to everyone? Are they so gripped by an irrational fear that they are willing to give up living in a free country?

The Republicans (and sadly, a few Democrats) have been trying to make Americans scared of muslims as a group -- and it looks like their fear mongering is being successful. Democracy can only exist in a country with people brave enough to sustain it. I'm beginning to doubt the United States is one of those countries.

The top chart is from a new YouGov Poll -- done between November 20th and 23rd of a random national sample of 1,000 adults, with a margin of error of 4.2 points.

The bottom chart is from a new Rasmussen Poll -- done on November 17th and 18th of a random national sample of 1,000 likely voters, and has a margin of error of 3 points.