Sunday, December 17, 2017

Faith Proves Nothing


More Devastating Numbers For Donald Trump





Trump loves to claim he is the most popular and most effective president ever. But all those pathetic claims prove is that he has no connection to reality. The public has an extremely low opinion of Trump.

According to the newest PPP survey, the public thinks Trump is a liar by a 16 point margin, thinks he is more corrupt than Richard Nixon by a 17 point margin, thinks he is mentally unbalanced by a 7 point margin, and would support his impeachment by a 9 point margin.

In addition, if the 2020 presidential election was right now, Trump would lose to any of the leading possible candidates for the Democratic Party -- Joe Biden by 14 points, Cory Booker by 10 points, Elizabeth Warren by 9 points, Kirsten Gillibrand by 7 points, and Kamala Harris by 6 points.

I continue to believe this is a presidential administration in deep trouble.

These charts were made using numbers from the latest Public Policy Polling survey -- done on December 11th and 12th of a random national sample of 862 registered voters, with a 3.3 point margin of error.


Not Carolers

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

Trump Has Not Lived Up To His Tough Anti-Immigration Talk


Trump made deportation of undocumented immigrants one of his campaign promises (and the building of a wall to prevent further immigration). And once taking office, he appointed a Homeland Security director and Attorney General that agreed with his tough stance on undocumented immigration. Has he lived up to that promise?

The answer would have to be NO. In the first year of his presidency, Trump has overseen 177,000 fewer deportations than President Obama did in his first year -- and in fact, Trump's first year deportation numbers are lower than in any year of President Obama's 8-year term.

Part of the reason is that, in spite of an increase in immigration arrests, there have been 150,000 fewer arrests at or near the border. Fewer people are trying to enter the country without documentation -- which gives the lie to Trump's claim that a massive invasion of people is happening, and a wall is needed. The truth is that the wall (a $20-$30 billion dollar boondoggle) is not needed.

Another Job Vacancy

Political Cartoon is by Keith Knight at patreon.com/keefknight.

The Rights Of American Citizens Do NOT Come From God


Right-wing politicians, in an effort to appeal to evangelical voters, love to claim that the rights afforded American citizens come from god. That is simply not true. All rights of U.S. citizens spring directly from the United States Constitution (particularly the Bill of Rights).

Andrew L. Seidel has written an excellent article on this subject for the Religious News Service. Here is part of that article:

When Virginia ratified 10 of the 12 proposed amendments to the Constitution on December 15, 1791, it became the 10th state to do so and gifted America with an enduring legacy, the Bill of Rights. We celebrate that heritage today.
But for President Trump and many religious Americans, those rights are not secured by the Constitution or “We the People.” Instead, they are a gift from God.
Trump is marking Bill of Rights Day and Human Rights Week with a proclamation that invoked our “God-given rights” three times. Trump has made similar claims many times, but so have other presidents, including President Obama. Roy Moore’s entire career is based on his idea that “Our rights are given by God.” He even argues that religious liberty “comes from God, not from the Constitution.” Premising our rights on some supernatural benevolence is dangerous.
History has shown us that what is given by a god can be taken away by those who speak with or for that god. Slavery was God’s will, until it wasn’t. Segregation and anti-miscegenation laws were meant to keep the races separate, as God intended. The opposition to same-sex marriage was largely based in religion: “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.” Progress in many important areas of human rights has long been opposed by those claiming to know God’s mind and executing God’s will. True, religion helped in some of these causes, but the opposing justifications were nearly always situated in divine law.
Human rights are absolute and universal; not susceptible to religious whim and fancy. Simply by virtue of being human — just because you were born — you have certain inherent, inalienable rights. . . .
God-given rights are so problematic because they depend solely on a particular individual’s interpretation of his god’s word. Perhaps the interpreter adheres to some higher authority, such as a pope or an author of the Bible. But at the end of that line of spiritual authority, a human being is claiming to know “God’s will.” One person’s belief is suddenly given the weight of divine law. A fallible human is claiming divine sanction.
This is moral relativism, which is often maligned by religious leaders, masquerading as moral absolutism. It is far better to premise human rights on the simple fact of being human, than to put them into the hands of one person claiming to speak for a supernatural being that may or may not exist. . . .
Rights are not bestowed, not by magistrates, kings, or even by gods. Rights are asserted. Once they are asserted they must be defended.

How A (GOP) Bill Becomes A Law

Political Cartoon is by Matt Boss at thenib.com.

God's Plan ?


Saturday, December 16, 2017

Get Into Politics


Trump Has Record Low Job Approval In Average Of Polls



These charts are from RealClearPolitics. They top one shows the average of all recent polls on Donald Trump's job approval. Note that the polls' average currently has his approval at 37.2% and disapproval at 58.0% -- a negative gap of 20.8 points.

The second chart shows Trump's job approval since he took office. Note that the current approval of 37.2% represents a record low -- and the current disapproval of 58.0% represents a record high. Trump likes to think he is a popular president, but the truth is that his approval is getting worse (not better), and he remains the most unpopular president in the modern era.

This remains a presidential administration in deep trouble.

GOP Hypocrisy

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

Lies Told By Presidents (Trump Vs. Obama)


Donald Trump has very little regard for the truth. He has told an enormous amount of lies since assuming office. When the New York Times printed a list of his lies, his supporters claimed that all presidents lie and Trump hasn't lied more than other presidents (especially President Obama). The paper investigated that -- and found it simply was not true. Trump has lied far more than Obama.

From the New York Times:

We applied the same conservative standard to Obama and Trump, counting only demonstrably and substantially false statements. The result: Trump is unlike any other modern president. He seems virtually indifferent to reality, often saying whatever helps him make the case he’s trying to make.
In his first 10 months in office, he has told 103 separate untruths, many of them repeatedly. Obama told 18 over his entire eight-year tenure. That’s an average of about two a year for Obama and about 124 a year for Trump.

Abuses Unleashed

Political Cartoon is by Adam Zyglis in The Buffalo News.

Public At Odds With Trump On Dreamers, Wall, And Abortion



President Obama issued an executive order exempting "Dreamers" (undocumented immigrants brought here as children, and who have served in the military or educated themselves, and have no criminal record) from being deported.

As part of his hateful anti-immigrant agenda, Donald Trump nullified that executive order -- putting the dreamers at risk once again of being deported (even though they were raised primarily in the U.S. and are contributing to this country). It was a shameful action, and the Democrats are now trying to pass legislation to protect the "Dreamers".

What does the American public think? Do they agree with Trump or the Democrats? A new poll shows they overwhelmingly agree with the position taken by Democrats. About 77% of the public thinks the "Dreamers" should be allowed to stay here and should be given a path to citizenship. Another 7% would let them stay w/o a path to citizenship, and only 12% wants to see them deported.

And that's not the only immigration issue the public disagrees with Trump on. About 62% oppose his desire to build a wall between the United States and Mexico, while only 36% want that wall to be built.

These charts reflect the results of a new Quinnipiac University Poll -- done between December 6th and 11th of a random national sample of 1,211 voters, with a 3.5 point margin of error.

That same poll showed the public also disagreed with Trump on the issue of abortion. About 60% say abortion should be legal in all or most cases. Only 34% wants it illegal in all or most cases.


The Gift For Moore

Political Cartoon is by Mark Streeter in the Savannah Morning News.

M. Bloomberg Says GOP Tax Bill Is "Trillion Dollar Blunder"

Michael Bloomberg (conservative businessman, multi-billionaire, and ex-mayor of New York City) has given us his opinion of the Republican tax reform bill -- and it's not good. He calls the bill a "trillion dollar blunder". Here's much of what he had to say:

Last month a Wall Street Journal editor asked a room full of CEOs to raise their hands if the corporate tax cut being considered in Congress would lead them to invest more. Very few hands went up. Attending was Gary Cohn, President Donald Trump's economic adviser and a friend of mine. He asked: "Why aren't the other hands up?"
Allow me to answer that: We don't need the money.
Corporations are sitting on a record amount of cash reserves: nearly $2.3 trillion. That figure has been climbing steadily since the recession ended in 2009, and it's now double what it was in 2001. The reason CEOs aren't investing more of their liquid assets has little to do with the tax rate.
CEOs aren't waiting on a tax cut to "jump-start the economy" -- a favorite phrase of politicians who have never run a company -- or to hand out raises. It's pure fantasy to think that the tax bill will lead to significantly higher wages and growth, as Republicans have promised. Had Congress actually listened to executives, or economists who study these issues carefully, it might have realized that.
Instead, Congress did what it always does: It put politics first. After spending the first nine months of the year trying to jam through a repeal of Obamacare without holding hearings, heeding independent analysis or seeking Democratic input, Republicans took the same approach to tax "reform" -- and it shows.
The Treasury Department claimed to have more than 100 professional staffers "working around the clock" to analyze the tax cut. If true, their hard work must have been suppressed. The flimsy one-page analysis Treasury released -- which accepts the White House's reality-defying economic projections in order to claim that the tax cuts will pay for themselves and then some -- is a politically driven document that amounts to economic malpractice. So does the bill itself.
The largest economic challenges we face include a skills crisis that our public schools are not addressing, crumbling infrastructure that imperils our global competitiveness, wage stagnation coupled with growing wealth inequality, and rising deficits that will worsen as more baby boomers retire.
The tax bill does nothing to address these challenges. In fact, it makes each of them worse. . . .
In effect, the tax bill achieves four main things:
  • It takes money away from schools and students.
  • It restricts our ability to invest in infrastructure.
  • It does nothing to boost real wages while making health insurance more expensive.
  • It makes it harder to control the costs of Medicare and Social Security without cutting defense and other spending -- or further exploding the deficit.
To what end? To hand corporations big tax cuts they don't need, while lowering the tax rate paid by those of us in the top bracket, and allowing the wealthy to shelter more of their estates. . . .
The tax bill is an economically indefensible blunder that will harm our future.

Would Do ANYTHING

Political Cartoon is by Clay Jones at claytoonz.com.

Their Signature Move


Friday, December 15, 2017

Depriving The Vulnerable


Farenthold Won't Seek Re-Election - But He Should Resign

(Photo of Rep. Blake Farenthold is from Crossroads Today at ABC Newscenter 25.)


One of the more egregious sexual harassers in the U.S. Congress is Rep. Blake Farenthold (who represents District 27 in Texas). He was accused by one of his aides of repeated sexual harassment, and when she complained about it, he fired her. The taxpayers wound up paying the woman $84,000 to settle her claim out of court.

Farenthold tried at first to deny that the claims were true. But now other aides have come forward to verify them. It seems that sexual harassment, laced with repeated temper tantrums, were commonplace in Farenthold's office. Farenthold also tried to avoid repercussions by saying he would repay the $84,000, but that just dodges the real issue -- that sexual harassers and abusers have no place in the U.S. Congress.

Now he is trying a different approach. He has announced that he will not seek re-election in the 2018 midterm elections. That is also unacceptable! It means he will continue to serve in the House for more than another year (until his replacement is sworn in January of 2019).

I am not alone in my demand that Farenthold resign. A new poll (see above) shows that 60% of the public thinks he should resign, while only 6% say he should not resign. And that includes 57% of the Republican base believing he should resign. The public doesn't want sex harassers and abuser from either party serving in the United States Congress. And they are right -- allowing these sex offenders to continue to serve puts a black mark on our government, and gives the impression that such behavior is at least somewhat acceptable.

It is time for his Republican cohorts in Congress to speak up and demand his resignation. So far, their silence has been deafening. They were quick to demand the resignation of Democratic Rep. Conyers for similar behavior (and he did resign). Was that just hypocritical party politics? Shouldn't the same rules apply to members of both parties?

The chart above reflects the results of a new Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between December 10th and 12th of a random national sample of 1,500 adults (including 1,338 registered voters), and has a 3.5 point margin of error.

A Sparse Tree For Middle Class

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

Trump's Still Facing Problems Over Sex Allegations





When he was elected, Donald Trump probably thought the allegations against him by women accusing him of sexual abuse and harassment were over. If so, then he was wrong. Those allegations are alive and well, and a recent poll showed that 70% of Americans want Congress to investigate the allegations.

Part of this is because sexual harassment and abuse have become headline news lately as powerful men in the entertainment, news and political sectors have been accused and lost their jobs. And part is because Trump gleefully jumped into the fray by tweeting about the sexual charges of others (Democrats, media, and entertainment industry). He must have thought the presidency made him immune, even though his sex allegations are as bad or worse than those made against others.

But he is not immune, and the public is still concerned about Trump's sexual crimes. This is verified by two new polls on the subject. They show that between 53% to 58% of the public believes the women making the accusations against Trump. And perhaps even more troubling for Trump, about 53% to to 57% think Trump should resign if those charges are true. The polls are:

Rasmussen Poll -- done on December 12th and 13th of a random national sample of 1,000 likely voters, with a 3 point margin of error.

Public Policy Polling -- done on December 11th and 12th of a random national sample of 862 registered voters, with a 3.3 point margin of error.

A Gift For The Rich

Political Cartoon is by David Fitzsimmons in the Arizona Daily Star.

The Public Is Not Buying The GOP Lies About Tax Reform



The Republicans seem to think if they repeat the outrageous lie that their tax reform plan is for the middle class, then eventually the public will believe it -- and that once workers see the tiny increase in their pay checks, they will forget the massive tax cuts received by the wealthy and the corporations. In other words, they think the American public is stupid.

They need to listen to the public though, and not just their Trump-loving base. The general public doesn't like the GOP tax reform plan at all. About 55% disapprove of it, while only 26% approve. The public knows who the biggest beneficiaries of the plan are. About 65% say it benefits the wealthy the most -- only 21% say it benefits the middle class and a tiny 4% say it benefits low income workers.

The Republicans may get this odious bill through Congress and signed by Trump, but it won't save them in the 2018 election. It will just convince voters that Republicans care only for the rich and corporations.

The charts above are from the new Quinnipiac University Poll -- done between December 6th and 11th of a random national sample of 1,211 voters, with a 3.5 point margin of error.

Souls Already Sold

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

2018 Is Looking Like A Repeat Of 2010 - Only In Reverse

This image from an 1877 Harper's Weekly seems particularly apropos to the situation Republicans find themselves in today. They are desperately clinging to majorities in the House and Senate which could easily disappear in the midterm elections next year -- and their base keeps nominating extremist and very unsuitable candidates (which the general public doesn't want).

John Bresnahan and Elana Schor have written a great piece at Politico.com on the dilemma the GOP finds itself in. Here is part of what they have written:

A first-term president and unpopular congressional leaders are pushing a controversial legislative agenda that sparks a nationwide movement from the infuriated opposition. Retirements are suddenly putting the majority’s safe seats in play. Party leaders jam major legislation through Congress on a partisan vote, and are in such a hurry to pass it they’re rewriting it by hand hours before a vote. They lose control of their message and can't find an easy way to get back on track.

Then comes a stunning upset in a Senate special election for a seat the majority party had controlled for decades.

That year was 2010, when Republican Scott Brown’s upset win in the Massachusetts' Senate race to succeed the late Sen. Ted Kennedy previewed a tea party-fueled Republican revolution that swept the GOP into power on Capitol Hill.

But after Democrat Doug Jones’ upset in Alabama on Tuesday, it could also describe the political trajectory of 2017 — except with Democrats instead of Republicans on the winning side. . . .

Republicans ended up winning 63 House seats and six Senate seats in 2010, essentially wiping out a Democratic majority on Capitol Hill. It was a stunning result that no one thought possible in 2008, when former President Barack Obama led Democrats to a historic victory.

This year, President Donald Trump — who has the worst poll numbers of any president this early in his term — is leading House and Senate Republicans into a midterm election where their majorities are clearly at play. And Jones’ victory on Tuesday left other Republicans wondering if it’s their turn to get wiped out by an angry electorate fed up with Trump and the GOP. . . .

Trump’s poll numbers are clearly scaring Republicans on Capitol Hill. He has a 24-point negative poll rating (32 favorable, 56 unfavorable), according to the latest Monmouth University poll. Obama never was this far down in the polls, and former President George W. Bush only reached those depths in his second term, amid a barrage of dismal news on the Iraq war and Republican scandals.

But it’s the generic “Republican vs. Democrat” poll that is most concerning for Republicans. Right now, Democrats have a 15-point lead, Monmouth said. For comparison, when Democrats won the House in 2006, they had a 10.5-point lead in the generic poll. . . .

One key similarity between this year’s political landscape and 2010 is the emergence of a network of anti-Trump resistance groups that swarmed GOP town halls earlier this year to fight against the party’s Obamacare repeal plans. Parts of the liberal resistance were consciously modeled on the tea party — but unlike the tea party, Democratic moderates have largely escaped the left’s ire this year.

Partisan Bias

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

The 5 Stages Of Trumpism


Thursday, December 14, 2017

Only The Rich Matter (To Republicans)


Americans Say Trump Belongs On Santa's Naughty List


Thought I would bring you this humorous poll -- although it could be taken as just another opportunity for the public to express their displeasure over Donald Trump. The poll asked respondents whether Santa should put Trump on his naughty or nice list. Except for Republicans and those over 65, Trump didn't do well (with most thinking he should go on the naughty list. Among all people, 35% want him on the nice list and 65% think he belongs on the naughty list. It looks like Trump gets a lump of coal this year!

These results are from the new Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between December 10th and 12th of a random sample of 1,500 adults, with a margin of error of 3.5 points.

Not Enough Coal

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

7 Charts Illustrating The Public's Very Low Opinion Of Trump








The charts above are from a new Quinnipiac University Poll -- done between December 6th and 11th of a random national sample of 1,211 voters, with a 3.5 point margin of error.

They paint the portrait of a president in deep trouble -- a man the public doesn't respect or trust.