Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Too Many Guns

Public Believes Economy And Trump Tax Plan Favor Rich

During the Reagan administration, the Republicans instituted their supply-side economic policy (commonly known now as "Trickle-Down" economics). They promised that giving more tax breaks and less regulations to the rich and corporations would benefit everyone in the country. They lied.

The rich got much richer, the poor got poorer, and the middle class has shrunk (and continues to shrink). Democrats have tried to change the economic policy, but Republicans have blocked all those efforts. The truth is that the GOP economic policy has been good for only one class of people -- the rich.

Now, it looks like Americans are finally figuring that out (after too many years of believing the Republican lies). A new poll shows that a significant majority of Americans believe the current economic policy favors the rich.

Trump, and his GOP colleagues in Congress, are once again trying to fool the American people. They say they are giving a huge tax cut to the middle class. It's not true. Most of those tax cuts will go to the corporations and the rich -- the only entities that don't need a tax cut (and shouldn't get one).

The same poll shows that the public is not buying the lie this time. They believe it's just more trickle-down, with the rich getting favored by the tax plan. The public is in favor of a tax cut, but they don't think that cut should go mainly to the rich.

The charts represent the findings in a new CBS News / YouGov Poll -- done between October 11th and 13th of a random national sample of 2,371 adults, with a 2.5 point margin of error.

Delivering The Trump Tax Cut

Political Cartoon is by Clay Jones at claytoonz.com.

American Public Has A Low Opinion Of Trump

These charts reflect the results of a new CBS News / YouGov Poll -- done between October 11th and 13th of a random national sample of 2,371 adults, with a 2.5 point margin of error. They show the American public has very little faith in the Trump administration.

Almost A Quorum

Political Cartoon is by Jack Ohman in The Sacramento Bee.

Trump's Spiteful Agenda Is Because He Can't Measure Up To President Obama In Any Way

 In a press conference yesterday, Donald Trump stated that he and President Obama were opposites. That is probably the truest statement he has made since being sworn in last January.

And when you compare those opposites, Trump comes up wanting in every comparison. That's probably why he has made it a point to try and destroy every one of President Obamas accomplishments. Those accomplishments make Trump's desires seem small and pathetic -- and Obama's character shows the many defects in Trump's own character.

Here is part of an excellent op-ed by Charles M. Blow in the New York Times on this subject:

It must be cold and miserable standing in the shadow of someone greater and smarter, more loved and more admired. It must be infuriating to have risen on the wings of your derision of that person’s every decision, and even his very existence, and yet not be able to measure up — in either stratagem or efficacy — when you sit where that person once sat.
This is the existence of Donald Trump in the wake of President Barack Obama. Trump can’t hold a candle to Obama, so he’s taking a tiki torch to Obama’s legacy. Trump can’t get his bad ideas through Congress, but he can use the power of the presidency to sabotage or even sink Obama’s signature deeds.
In fact, if there is a defining feature of Trump as “president,” it is that he is in all ways the anti-Obama — not only on policy but also on matters of propriety and polish. While Obama was erudite, Trump is ignorant. Obama was civil, Trump is churlish. Obama was tactful, Trump is tacky.
There is a thing present in Obama and absent from Trump that no amount of money or power can alter: a sense of elegant intellectualism and taste.
The example Obama set makes the big man with the big mouth look smaller by the day. But I believe that this nonadjustable imbalance is part of what has always fueled Trump’s rage against Obama. Trump, who sees character as just another malleable thing that can be marketed and made salable, chafes at the black man who operated above the coarseness of commercial interests and whose character appeared unassailable.
America — even many of the people who were staunch opponents of Obama’s policies — admired and even adored the sense of honor and decency he brought to the office. Trump, on the other hand, is historically unpopular, and not just in America. As The Pew Research Center pointed out in June: “Trump and many of his key policies are broadly unpopular around the globe, and ratings for the U.S. have declined steeply in many nations.” Trump is reviled around the globe and America’s reputation is going down with its captain.
All of this feeds Trump’s consuming obsession with undoing everything Obama did. It is his personal crusade, but he also carries the flag for the millions of Americans — mostly all Republicans — who were reflexively repulsed by Obama and the coalition that elected him. . . .
Trump isn’t governing with a vision, he’s governing out of spite. Obama’s effectiveness highlights Trump’s ineptitude, and this incenses Trump.

Trump Halloween Costume

Political Cartoon is by Mike Stanfill at ragingpencils.com.

This Is Capitalism

Monday, October 16, 2017


The Only Thing To Trust About Trump Is His Untrustworthiness

This chart shows what the American public thinks about Donald Trump. By a 20 point margin, they don't think he is honest and trustworthy. There is good reason for them to believe this. He has failed to keep his word many times in the past.

He continued to violate the law by refusing to rent his properties to minorities -- even after being called on it by the federal government. He has refused to pay his debts to contractors and even his own lawyers -- and when called on that, declares bankruptcy. And he lies repeatedly, even when the lies make no sense and are completely unbelievable.

Sadly, he has carried that untrustworthiness into the White House. According to the Washington Post, he has told well over 1,000 lies since being sworn in, and is on target to tell more than 2,000 in his first year in office.

But the worst thing about his dishonesty is that he has applied it now to the government. He has pulled actions off that convince not just Americans, but the world, that this government cannot be trusted as long as Trump is president.

He has pulled us out of NAFTA, pulled us out of the Paris Accords, decertified the Iran Agreement, and refused to honor U.S. law by stopping government subsidies to help working and middle class people to buy insurance. He has shown the world that it's useless to make an agreement with the United States, because Trump will negate that agreement at the drop of a hat. He has destroyed the reputation and trust of this country.

The only thing about Trump that can be trusted is that he can never be trusted -- and as long as he's president, neither can the government of the U.S. be trusted.

The chart above shows the results of a new Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between October 7th and 10th of a random national sample of 1,500 adults (including 1,278 registered voters), with a margin of error of 3.1 points.

The Destroyer

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

Public Says GOP Most To Blame For Congressional Inaction

Donald Trump wants Americans to believe that the dysfunction of the 115th Congress is due to Democrats. But the public is not buying that ridiculous lie. They know who has a majority in both houses of Congress, and they put most of the blame on that party -- the Republican Party.

About 44% of all adults (and 45% of registered voters) blame the Republicans, while only 12% of adults (and 13% of registered voters) blame the Democrats. The remainder blames both parties equally.

This chart reflects the results of the latest Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between October 7th and 10th of a random national sample of 1,500 adults (including 1,278 registered voters), with a margin of error of 3.1 points (3.2 points for registered voters).

Qualifications ?

Political Cartoon is by Monte Wolverton at cagle.com.

The 11 Steps To A Healthier (And Fairer) U.S. Economy

A little over three decades ago, the American people were conned by congressional Republicans and right-wing economists. They were told that "trickle-down" (supply-side) economics would benefit all Americans. This is the idea that giving more to the rich and corporations (through tax cuts and deregulation) would benefit everyone, because that extra money given to the rich would trickle down to everyone else in the form of new jobs and higher wages.

That policy was a massive failure. The rich got much richer and the corporations made much larger profits, but nothing trickled down. Workers saw their wages stagnate, and their buying power actually fall as inflation ate away at those stagnate wages This trickle-down policy is slowly turning the U.S. into a country of "haves" and "have-nots" as it destroys the once vibrant middle class.

Now Trump, and his congressional Republican cohorts, want to double-down on this failed economic policy. They claim they want to give the middle class a tax cut. Unfortunately, it's just another huge lie. Their tax cut plan would actually benefit the rich and the corporations, while giving some in the middle class a small cut and actually raising taxes on others. It's just more trickle-down nonsense.

It doesn't have to be this way. There are ways to improve the economy for everyone (if the Republicans could be voted out of power). Here are the 11 steps, from the Economic Policy Institute, that could (and should) be taken to fix the economy -- making it healthier and fairer.

Raise the minimum wage

In 2015, the inflation-adjusted minimum wage is about 25 percent below what it was in 1968—even though productivity has doubled and the education and skills of those in the bottom fifth have greatly improved. Moving the minimum wage to $12 by 2020 would benefit about a third of the workforce directly and indirectly.

Update overtime rules  

The share of salaried workers eligible for overtime has fallen from 65 percent in 1975 to just 11 percent today. This is largely because only those earning less than $23,660 (a poverty-level wage) are covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act regardless of their workplace duties. Fortunately, President Obama has instructed the Department of Labor to revise this salary threshold. If we move the threshold to the value it held in 1975—roughly $51,000 today—we would provide overtime protections to 6.1 million more workers. This would provide them with higher pay and/or more leisure time, while providing incentives for companies to hire more workers.

Strengthen collective bargaining rights

The single largest factor suppressing wage growth for middle-wage workers over the last few decades has been the erosion of collective bargaining, which has affected both union and nonunion workers alike. Making it easier for willing workers to form unions, increasing penalties for corporate violations of labor laws, and halting and reversing the spread of so-called right-to-work laws will help give workers the leverage they need to bargain for better wages and benefits and set high labor standards for all workers.

Regularize undocumented workers

Undocumented workers are vulnerable to exploitation by unscrupulous employers. Consequently, they earn lower wages than workers who have greater access to legal protections and are able to switch jobs more readily. President Obama’s executive actions to provide work authorization to undocumented workers, and comprehensive immigration reform that in addition provides them a path to citizenship, are polices that will provide these workers with basic workplace protections and enable them to earn higher wages. Regularizing undocumented workers will not only lift their wages, but will also lift wages of U.S. workers in the same fields of work.

Provide earned sick leave and paid family leave

The United States has failed to adopt new labor standards that respond to emerging needs. In particular, we need updated standards to assist workers and their families in achieving a better balance between work and family. Providing earned sick leave and paid family leave would help to raise workers’ pay—and would give them more economic security.

End discriminatory practices that contribute to race and gender inequalities

Generating broader-based wage growth must also include efforts to close race and gender inequities that have been ever-present in our labor market. We need consistently strong enforcement of antidiscrimination laws in the hiring, promotion, and pay of women and minority workers. This includes greater transparency in the ways these decisions are made and ensuring that the processes available for workers to pursue any violation of their rights are effective.

Support strong enforcement of labor standards

The enforcement of labor standards in the United States is so weak that hundreds of thousands of employers routinely fail to pay minimum wage or overtime, fail to protect employees from workplace hazards, fail to pay payroll taxes or worker’s compensation premiums, or fail to provide family and medical leave. Wage theft alone costs employees tens of billions of dollars a year, and lack of worker’s compensation coverage, unemployment insurance coverage, or Social Security coverage can cost them billions more. More enforcement and tougher penalties are needed to deter these violations, and access to the courts must be available to injured workers. Employers’ growing use of forced arbitration—where employees, as a condition of employment, give up their right to sue in the public courts and are shunted into secret, private proceedings that can both be more costly and provide poorer remedies—must be stopped and reversed. As government enforcement resources decline, it is vital that workers have effective remedies in state and federal courts for labor standards violations.

Prioritize very low rates of unemployment when making monetary policy

Federal Reserve Board policymakers are now considering when and how much to raise interest rates. In essence, a decision to raise interest rates is a decision to slow the economy and weaken job and wage growth. Given that wages have stagnated and that many communities have yet to adequately benefit from the recovery, it is imperative that monetary policymakers keep their foot off the brakes and allow the recovery to proceed as quickly as possible. Policymakers should not seek to slow the economy until growth of nominal wages (wages unadjusted for inflation) is running comfortably above 3.5 percent (which is consistent with ongoing productivity growth of 1.5 percent and a target inflation rate of 2 percent).

Enact targeted employment programs and undertake public investments in infrastructure to create jobs

To obtain full employment for all, we need policies that can direct jobs to particular areas that suffer from high unemployment even when the national labor market is largely healthy. These policies can include public and nonprofit employment programs that create jobs by meeting unmet needs. Additionally, undertaking a sustained (for at least a decade) program of public investment can create jobs, raise our productivity, and spur economic growth.

Reduce our trade deficit by stopping destructive currency manipulation

Many of our major trading partners engage in intentional currency manipulation—buying up dollar-denominated assets on global financial markets simply to depress the value of their own currency. This depressed currency value makes imports cheaper in the U.S. market and U.S. exports more expensive. This results in a larger trade deficit and slower job growth. Eliminating currency manipulation could reduce the U.S. global trade deficit by between $200 billion and $500 billion each year, which could increase overall U.S. GDP by between $288 billion and $720 billion and create between 2.3 million and 5.8 million U.S. jobs. Congress and the president should reject any trade treaties that do not have enforceable provisions to combat currency manipulation.

Use the tax code to restrain top 1 percent incomes

Tax preferences for executive pay can be eliminated or their use tied to the executive’s firm giving wage increases equal to productivity growth. Others have recommended tying corporate tax rates to the ratio of executive pay to median worker pay, as well as changes to corporate governance procedures. Additionally, imposing a financial transactions tax can steer investments toward productive uses and away from speculation, and restrain unproductive financial activity and pay. Finally, higher top marginal tax rates can reduce the incentive for financial-sector professionals and corporate managers to rig markets or suppress wage growth to make more income flow their way.

Poorly Treated

Political Cartoon is by Jimmy Margulies at jimmymargulies.com.

Prisons Are Not The Answer To Social Problems

Sunday, October 15, 2017


Public Doesn't Support Trump Actions On Obamacare

Donald Trump has shown his true colors about health insurance for Americans. He said during the campaign, and immediately after being sworn in, that he wanted a better plan for Americans -- one that would cover all Americans with health insurance. But he has not kept his word.

Every Republican plan that he backed would take health insurance away from millions of Americans. None of those terrible plans were able to get enough votes to pass, so Trump decided to destroy Obamacare on his own (with executive orders). He has signed orders that would let insurance companies offer low-benefit plans and would stop the government subsidies to help insurance companies keep their premium costs down.

The effect of those orders is that many Americans will lose their insurance, and the others will see their insurance costs rise sharply. Trump's hatred of Obama (and the insurance plan he passed) has caused him to make the health insurance system in the U.S. significantly worse. Now, he must own the failing system -- failing mainly due to his own actions.

And he may have hurt his party in next year's elections. The public didn't want his actions. About 71% wanted him to make Obamacare work better, not make it fail (as he has now done).And 60% wants the payments guaranteed (the same payments that Trump has stopped). Also, 66% want the efforts to repeal Obamacare to stop, and for Obamacare to be improved.

The charts above are from a new survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation -- done between October 5th and 10th of a random national sample of 1,215 adults, with a 3 point margin of error.

Black Hole

Political Cartoon is by Nate Beeler in The Columbus Dispatch.

Public Opposes Trump's Overturning Of Clean Air Regs

President Obama signed the Paris Accord to reduce global warming, and then issued an executive order that would have reduced carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by 1/3 in the next 13 years. Donald Trump has reversed course for this country. He has withdrawn the U.S. from the Paris Accords and issued orders negating the Clean Air Initiative of President Obama.

But it turns out that, once again, Trump is acting in opposition to the wishes of a majority of Americans. About 56% of the public favors keeping the Obama regulations to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 1/3, while only 33% opposed those regulations. Trump may be making his base happy, but he is hurting himself with the general population.

The chart reflects the result of a new Rasmussen Poll -- done on October 10th and 11th of a random national sample of 1,000 likely voters, with a 3 point margin of error.

Going Backwards

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

The Religious Right Has Become Sociopathic

(Cartoon image is by Mike Peters at grimmy.com.)

The following is much of a thought-provoking article by Tim Rymel in The Huffington Post:

Since Evangelical Christianity began infiltrating politics, officially in the late 1970s, there has been a disturbing trend to limit or remove rights from those who don’t meet the conservative idea of an American. Many of these initiatives come in the form of “religious freedom” laws, which empower discrimination, while other legislation targets immigrants who believe differently. The result has been a sharp division in American culture, and the redefinition of Christian theology. 
Evangelical speaker, author, and university professor, Tony Campolo, said Christianity was redefined in the mid-70s by positions of “pro-life” and opposing gay marriage. “Suddenly theology fell to the background,” he said. And somewhere in the middle of all the change, Evangelical Christianity crossed the line of faith and belief to hatred and abuse. Those who cruelly implement the actions of their faith are oblivious to the destruction they cause to their religion, or the people their beliefs impact. Is it fair to call it sociopathic?
Psychology Today listed sixteen characteristics of sociopathic behaviors, which include: Untruthfulness and insincerity, superficial charm and good intelligence, lack of remorse or shame, poor judgment and failure to learn by experience, pathologic egocentricity and incapacity for love, unresponsiveness in general interpersonal relations, specific loss of insight, and general poverty in major affective reactions (in other words, appropriate emotional responses).
We see examples of these kinds of behaviors in church leaders and followers. . . .
It’s common for us to avoid cognitive dissonance, when our beliefs dictate one thing, but our experiences show us something else is true. We call this living in denial, and we all do it on one level or another. But when we choose our “truth” while coldly watching a fellow human being suffer, we’ve crossed a line of mental health. 
The 2016 election demonstrated an especially high level of insincerity, shamelessness, poor judgment and pathological egocentricity among Christian evangelicals. James Dobson, who once said of Bill Clinton, “Character does matter. You can’t run a family, let alone a country without it. How foolish to believe that a person who lacks honesty and moral integrity is qualified to lead a nation and the world,” and then said of Donald Trump, “I’m not under any illusions that he is an outstanding moral example. “It’s a cliché but true: We are electing a commander-in-chief, not a theologian-in-chief.” 
The evangelical Christian message is loud and clear. They care for no one but themselves. Their devotion is to the version of Christianity they have created, which calls for ruthless abandonment of immigrants, women, children – even their own – and anyone else who doesn’t fall inline with their message. Social justice, which is mentioned in Bible verses over two thousand times, has been replaced with hardline political ideology. Principle over people. Indifference over involvement. Judgment over generosity. 
Every generation redefines what it means to be, or belong to a religious group. Religious ideologies, interpretations, and doctrines are fluid. But whatever it is, or whatever it becomes, is made by the people who belong to the religion and what they collectively decide to make it.

With A Racist President

Political Cartoon is by Darrin Bell at darrinbell.com.


Saturday, October 14, 2017

Fanny Lou Hamer

Public Is Unhappy About Slow/Inadequate Aid To Puerto Rico

George W. Bush hurt his presidency by his inadequate response to the disaster caused by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Now it looks like Donald Trump is creating the same kind of problem for himself with his slow and grossly inadequate response to the disaster in Puerto Rico caused by Hurricane Maria.

A majority of Americans believe the federal response to Puerto Rico has been too slow, and they don't believe the federal government is doing enough to help Puerto Rico. Trump is already the most unpopular of our modern presidents, and his lame response to the Puerto Rican disaster is not going to help that. It may well make him even more unpopular.

These charts are from a new Kaiser Family Foundation Poll -- done between October 4th and 8th of a random national sample of 1,008 adults, with a 4 point margin of error.

Puerto Rico

Political Cartoon is by Rick McKee in The Augusta Chronicle.

Public Wants Congressional Action To reduce Gun Violence

Although a few congress-critters made noises about outlawing "bump-stocks" (which make an assault weapon act like a machine gun) after the Las Vegas tragedy, it now looks like Congress will do nothing at all. Too many congress-critters have been bought and paid for by the NRA and gun manufacturers -- and decided that mass killings and American lives are not as important as campaign donations.

The American public disagrees. About 68% want Congress to take action to reduce gun violence in this country. And 94% want ALL GUN BUYERS to have to submit to a background check before being able to purchase a firearm. And that's not all. About 64% want assault weapons banned, and an equal 64% want magazines holding more than 10 bullets banned.

The level of violence may not concern Congress, but it certainly concerns the American people -- and they want something done about it.

These charts were made from information in a new Quinnipiac University Poll -- done between October 5th and 10th of a random national sample of 1,482 voters, with a 3 point margin of error.


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

Trump Is Even Scaring Congressional Republicans

(The image is from ExtraNewsfeed.)

The baby-man in the White House has frightened many Americans, and according to Robert Reich, he is even beginning to frighten members of his own party in Congress. Mr. Reich writes:

Last week, Senator Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, charged in an interview with the New York Times that Trump was treating his office like “a reality show,” with reckless threats toward other countries that could set the nation “on the path to World War III.” 
Corker said he was concerned about Trump. “He would have to concern anyone who cares about our nation,” Corker said, adding that “the vast majority of our caucus understands what we’re dealing with here … the volatility that we’re dealing with and the tremendous amount of work that it takes by people around him to keep him in the middle of the road.”
Corker’s interview was followed by a report from Gabriel Sherman of Vanity Fair, who wrote that the situation has gotten so out of control that Trump’s chief of staff, John Kelly, and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis have discussed ways to stop Trump should he order a nuclear attack. Kelly has tried to keep Trump focused by intercepting outside phone calls to the White House and restricting access to the Oval Office. Many of Trump’s advisors believe he is “unstable” and “unravelling” quickly. 
Is Trump really unraveling? Are Republican leaders ready to pull the plug? I phoned an old friend, a Republican former member of Congress who keeps up with what’s going on. I scribbled notes as he talked:
Me: So what’s up? Is Corker alone, or are others also ready to call it quits with Trump? 
He: All I know is they’re simmering over there. 
Me: Flake and McCain have come pretty close. 
He: Yeah. Others are thinking about doing what Bob did. Sounding the alarm. They think Trump’s nuts. Unfit. Dangerous. 
Me: Well, they already knew that, didn’t they? 
He: But now it’s personal. It started with the Sessions stuff. Jeff was as loyal as they come. Trump’s crapping on him was like kicking your puppy. And then, you know, him beating up on Mitch for the Obamacare fiasco. And going after Flake and the others. 
Me: So they’re pissed off?
He: Not just that. I mean, they have thick hides. The personal stuff got them to notice all the other things. The wild stuff, like those threats to North Korea. Tillerson would leave tomorrow if he wasn’t so worried Trump would go nuclear, literally. 
Me: You think Trump is really thinking nuclear war?
He: Who knows what’s in his head? But I can tell you this. He’s not listening to anyone. Not a soul. He’s got the nuclear codes and, well, it scares the hell out of me. It’s starting to scare all of them. That’s really why Bob spoke up. 
Me: So what could they do? I mean, even if the whole Republican leadership was willing to say publicly he’s unfit to serve, what then?
He: Bingo! The emperor has no clothes. It’s a signal to everyone they can bail. Have to bail to save their skins. I mean, Trump could be the end of the whole goddam Republican party. 
Me: If he starts a nuclear war, that could be the end of everything. 
He: Yeah, right. So when they start bailing on him, the stage is set. 
Me: For what?
He: Impeachment. 25th amendment.
Me: You think Republicans would go that far? 
He: Not yet. Here’s the thing. They really want to get this tax bill through. That’s all they have going for them. They don’t want to face voters in ’18 or ’20 without something to show for it. They’re just praying Trump doesn’t do something really, really stupid before the tax bill.
Me: Like a nuclear war?
He: Look, all I can tell you is many of the people I talk with are getting freaked out. It’s not as if there’s any careful strategizing going on. Not like, well, do we balance the tax bill against nuclear war? No, no. They’re worried as hell. They’re also worried about Trump crazies, all the ignoramuses he’s stirred up. I mean, Roy Moore? How many more of them do you need to destroy the party? 
Me: So what’s gonna happen?
He: You got me. I’m just glad I’m not there anymore. Trump’s not just a moron. He’s a despicable human being. And he’s getting crazier. Paranoid. Unhinged. Everyone knows it. I mean, we’re in shit up to our eyeballs with this guy.


PMiami Herald.olitical Cartoon is by Jim Morin in the Miami Herald.

Money Trickles Up - Not Down

Friday, October 13, 2017

What Is The Blood Price ?

Will Congress Act After Las Vegas Massacre? NO!

The shooter in Las Vegas shot nearly 600 people (killing nearly 5 dozen of them) in less than 10 minutes. He could do this because he had several assault rifles that he had modified with "bump-stocks" (which allow the weapon to shoot similar to an automatic weapon -- a machine gun).

It is not a violation of the Second Amendment to outlaw automatic weapons, and they have been outlawed. But the gun manufacturers have found a way around the law. The bump-stock doesn't actually turn the assault rifle into an automatic weapon -- it just makes it act like one. That may sound like a technicality, but it allowed those devices to be sold legally.

After Las Vegas, several members of Congress started talking about outlawing devices like the bump-stock that allow assault rifles to mimic the action of an automatic machine gun. Unfortunately, that was just talk -- and it now looks like nothing at all will be done.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (pictured) has come out against congressional action. He says it would be more appropriate for the ATF to consider outlawing the bump-stock. He's taking his marching orders from the NRA, which has also said Congress should not act, but the ATF should "review" the rules allowing the bump-stock.

Of course, the ATF reviewed the device back in 2010 and declared it legal. They said they could not outlaw it because it wasn't a firearm, and didn't actually turn the weapon into a real automatic weapon. Only a fool would think they will not change their ruling -- especially since their current boss is Donald Trump (who planted himself firmly in the NRA's pocket during the campaign).

In other words, absolutely nothing is going to be done about gun violence in this country. The ATF won't act, and Congress won't act. It doesn't seem to matter how many people are killed each year by guns (over 30,000 -- 12,000 of them murdaers), or how many people can be killed in a single incident (58 in Las Vegas). There is no limit to the blood price Congress is willing to tolerate to protect the NRA and the gun manufacturers.

That means it is now legal for any person, without a background check, to purchase one or more weapons and modify them to shoot hundreds of people in just a few minutes. That's sheer insanity. Is this the kind of country you want to live in?

We have Paul Ryan and congressional Republicans to blame for this. They have all shown they don't care for American lives, but only for the profits of the gun manufacturers and the campaign donations of the NRA. How long are we going to tolerate this?

Coming Up Short

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