Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Drama Queen


Time To Recognize The Real Threat - Right-Wing Terrorism





Donald Trump has promised Americans that he would eliminate terrorism in this country. Unfortunately, he only recognizes muslim terrorism, and completely ignores the terrorist acts committed by homegrown white right-wing terrorists (who are far more dangerous to American citizens than either muslim or left-wing terrorists).

Here is the truth about terrorism in the U.S.:

database of nine years of domestic terrorism incidents compiled by The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute and Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting has produced a very different picture of the threat than that advanced by the current White House.

  • From January 2008 to the end of 2016, we identified 63 cases of Islamist domestic terrorism, meaning incidents motivated by a theocratic political ideology espoused by such groups as the Islamic State. The vast majority of these (76 percent) were foiled plots, meaning no attack took place.
  • During the same period, we found that right-wing extremists were behind nearly twice as many incidents: 115. Just over a third of these incidents (35 percent) were foiled plots. The majority were acts of terrorist violence that involved deaths, injuries or damaged property.
  • Right-wing extremist terrorism was more often deadly: Nearly a third of incidents involved fatalities, for a total of 79 deaths, while 13 percent of Islamist cases caused fatalities. (The total deaths associated with Islamist incidents were higher, however, reaching 90, largely due to the 2009 mass shooting at Fort Hood in Texas.)
  • Incidents related to left-wing ideologies, including ecoterrorism and animal rights, were comparatively rare, with 19 incidents causing seven fatalities – making the shooting attack on Republican members of Congress earlier this month somewhat of an anomaly.
  • Nearly half (48 percent) of Islamist incidents in our database were sting operations, more than four times the rate for far-right (12 percent) or far-left (10.5 percent) incidents.

Beautiful (To Trump)

Political Cartoon is by Stuart Carlson at carlsontoons.com.

Trump Is Losing Now In Michigan, Pennsylvania, & Wisconsin




Although Donald Trump lost the popular vote in 2016, he did get enough electoral college votes to make him president. That was because he won three states that almost no one thought he would win -- Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

But that was last November. It looks like things have changed in those three states after a few months of his presidency. In Michigan, only 36% approve of the job he is doing while 55% disapprove. In Pennsylvania, about 33% approve while 52% disapprove. And in Wisconsin, about33% approve while 56% disapprove.

Those are some really terrible numbers, and unless Trump can improve them, there is little chance he could again carry those states. It also means he will have no coattails to help GOP candidates in 2018.

The Marist Michigan Poll was done between August 13th and 17th of a random state sample of 907 adults, and has a 3.3 point margin of error.

The Marist Pennsylvania Poll was done between August 13th and 17th of a random state sample of 915 adults, and has a 3.2 point margin of error.

The Marist Wisconsin Poll was done between August 13th and 17th of a random state sample of 910 adults, and has a 3.2 point margin of error.

Trump's Flag

Political Cartoon is by Jim Morin in The Miami Herald.

Public Has Lost Faith In Ability Of Trump/GOP Congress


When the Republican's seized control of the White House and both houses of Congress in the last election, the public expected things to be done. Conservatives were thrilled that they could now accomplish many things they have wanted to do for years -- and others were fearful of the same thing.

But after seven months, the view of the public has changed. They have watched the incompetence of the ruling Republican government, and now have no confidence that anything significant will be accomplished this year. That's the view of 58% of Americans -- and majorities of both genders, all age groups, and both whites and nonwhites agree with that assessment.

The chart above was made from information in a recent Quinnipiac University Poll -- done between August 9th and 15th of a random national sample of 1,361 voters, with a 3.4 point margin of error.

Eclipsing Morality

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

Reich Says It's Time To Get Rid Of Donald Trump

In his few months in office, Donald Trump has incessantly lied to the American people, destroyed the faith other countries have in American leadership (including our allies), and shown an utter incompetence in his ability to deal with a Congress controlled by his own party.

These brings up the question -- Is it time to get rid of Trump? Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich (pictured) says it is. Here is what he has written:

We have endured Donald Trump for 7 months. Although he has had few legislative victories, he has almost single-handedly destroyed the moral authority of the presidency of the United States at home and abroad, brought us to the brink of a nuclear war without consulting anyone, and sown division and hatred. 
He has given encouragement and legitimacy to the ugliest in America.
How can this nation endure another 41 months of this man?
We can’t wait for Robert Mueller’s evidence of Russian collusion. Even if Mueller finds that some of Trump’s aides colluded, Mueller might well find that Trump had “plausible deniability.” Top guns often arrange wrongdoing so the they can plausibly deny they knew it was occurring. That’s the art of the deal.
Let’s be clear. There is already enough evidence to impeach Trump on grounds of abuse of power, obstruction of justice, and violation of the emoluments clause of the Constitution.
There is already enough evidence of mental impairment to invoke the 25th amendment.
I know, Republicans are in control of Congress. But this is no license for Trump to destroy the nation we love.
I know, removing Trump would mean having Mike Pence as president. But a principled right-winger is better for America and the world than an unhinged sociopath.  
Republican as well as Democratic members of the House and Senate must commit themselves to removing this president.
Those of you represented by Democrats in the House or Senate must get their commitment to remove him, as soon as possible.
Those of you represented by Republicans in the House or Senate must let them know that you will campaign vigorously against them in 2018 unless they commit to removing Trump as well.
It is time to end this disgrace.

No Permit And Very Violent

Political Cartoon is by Tom Tales in The Washington Post.

It's Almost Like It WORKS


Monday, August 21, 2017

It Takes No . . .


Life, Liberty, And The Pursuit Of Happiness


The words above are from this nation's Declaration of Independence - a document whose importance is surpassed only by the United States Constitution. The words were used as the justification for breaking away from England, and establishing our own nation -- and they are words that all Americans say they believe.

But do we all really believe in those words? Do we really think all Americans have a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? I think most Americans do believe that, but there is an element in this country (mostly on the extreme right) who don't believe those words should guide this country. They would deny all three of those "unalienable" rights to accomplish their own purposes (to get and retain power).

 LIFE

What does a right to life actually mean? In the most basic sense, just the right to continue living on this earth. But to continue living, a person must have some basic things. They must have food, shelter, and medical care. Without any of these three necessities, a person's life is shortened or ended.

It seems obvious to me that to provide the right to life for all Americans, the government (which in our democracy is us -- the people) must provide assistance to the disadvantaged among us -- those who through no fault of their own cannot provide their own food, shelter, and medical care. We should do this both to fulfill the words of our Founding Fathers, but also out of common decency -- because we know it is the right thing to do.

Unfortunately, we have those (and sadly many are elected officials) who would deny their fellow citizens these basic necessities to sustain life. They would cut government programs providing food and shelter to the disadvantaged -- and eliminate programs that provide medical care to those who cannot afford expensive private insurance policies. And they would do it for the most venal of reasons -- to provide tax cuts and other giveaways to the richest people in the country (those who can already provide for their own necessities of life).

I submit this view violates both the spirit and the words written in our Declaration of Independence (which is the justification for the very existence of our nation). It is mean-spirited, indecent, and un-American.

LIBERTY

Liberty is the sustaining of our freedom. It is the right to live as we please (as long as we don't deny the rights of others) and choose those who would lead our country.

The most important necessity for maintaining our liberty is the right to vote. This is a right that every citizen should have, and no citizen should be denied for any reason. Without the right to vote for everyone, our democracy is limited -- or extinguished altogether.

But there are those in this country who would deny the right to vote to some of our citizens. They do it to further their own ends, and they do it in a myriad of ways (voter ID laws, gerrymandering, limiting polling stations in certain areas, etc.). These people want to force their views on all Americans, even though they don't believe they can win a fairly-held election.

A second necessity for the preservation of our liberty (democracy) is a free and unfettered press. The press must be able to report the truth and inform the public, because without an informed public there can be no democracy. The press must be free of government pressure and influence, and have the ability to report the truth (regardless of who that hurts or helps). In fact, the only requirement that should be placed on the press is that what they report is true.

But there are those who don't respect truth or the ability of the press to report it. They want only their point of view represented (even if it can't be substantiated by facts), and they try to suppress and/or demonize those who report the truth. Sadly, the leader of this anti-truth movement at present is our president (and his die-hard supporters) -- who want to bail anything that disagrees with them as "fake news".

Those who would deny the vote to any Americans, or who would try to keep the truth from being reported, are trying to deny basic liberty to Americans -- and those pose a danger to our democracy.

PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS

The pursuit of happiness is listed third in this trilogy of rights, but it is no less important than the others. It is the ability of all citizens to make their own choices in life, to be able to go as far in life as their abilities and hard work will take them, and to be treated fairly with regard to the law and opportunity.

Sadly, there are also those in this country who would deny this pursuit of happiness to many citizens. The most egregious of these deniers would take us back to an America where rights were held only by white, male, heterosexuals. They would relegate minorities, women, and homosexuals to a second-class status -- making it much harder for them to pursue happiness in their own lives.

We have seen a resurgence of this kind of perverted thinking in this country recently, as some groups (KKK, white supremacists, neo-nazis, and other haters and bigots) seek to mainstream their own sick bigotry. They don't want a real democracy where all citizens have the right to pursue their own goals and live their lives as they please. They want to dictate to everyone else their own racism, misogyny, and homophobia. We cannot allow that to happen, as it is a violation of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the American Dream, and common decency.

Do you, as an American, believe in the words in our Declaration of Independence -- that all men are created equal, and have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? If so, then now is the time to step forward and do your part to make that a reality.

An Honest One

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

Americans Oppose A Military First Strike Against N. Korea



While Americans would support a military response if North Korea attacked the U.S. or its allies, the public doesn't want the United States to be the first country to make a military strike.

Only 24% would support a military first strike against North Korea, while twice as many (50%) would oppose it -- and that is the general opinion of all demographic groups. And the numbers get even worse when the first strike is done using nuclear weapons. Only 14% would support that, while 63% would oppose it.

The charts show information from a new Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between August 13th and 15th of a random national sample of 1,500 adults (including 1,291 registered voters), with a margin of error of 3.1 points.

Comforting Hate

Political Cartoon is by Signe Wilkinson in philly.com.

Huge Turnout Against Hate Was A Welcome Sight

(Photo of Boston rally against hate is from the twitter feed of Newsweek.)

The following post is from the Facebook page of Dan Rather:

It was a welcomed sight seeing the tens of thousand of peaceful protesters gather in the streets of Boston yesterday to rally against hate. 
So much of the news of late has been about the deep and persistent divisions in our nation, divisions stoked by presidential rhetoric that has sought to exacerbate wounds rather than try to heal them. The voices emanating from one of America's most historic cities was a powerful response. Hate will not replace us, a great, inclusive, and diverse nation.
There is much anxiety about where our nation is heading, and for good reason. But we should not forget that the hatred, racism and antisemitism that has spilled so frighteningly into the open has been a constant force in our country. It is one that is no secret to many of our fellow citizens - likely many of you yourselves - who face it in words and actions every day. 
Why this moment seems so fraught is we are being forced to confront our past, and present. We are re-learning the story of the Civil War, and the periods of racial terror that followed when many of these statues were erected. We are reminded about the horrors of the Nazis as we see swastikas unfurled in our communities. 
America is realizing that it cannot sentimentalize its past, or excuse its bigotries, violence and hatreds. Nor can it ignore the challenges of the present. But the question lies in our future. Will this nation pick up the mantle of President Lincoln, President Roosevelt, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr and all the countless men and women over the course of our history who have pushed, prodded, exalted, shamed and willed this nation on a path of greater justice?

Exposed

Political Cartoon is by Marian Kamensky at cagle.com.

Betrayal


Sunday, August 20, 2017

Wisdom From Malcolm


Too many Racist Sympathizers In This Country




I have some good news and some bad news.

The good news is that 76% of Americans view the white nationalists (supremacists) negatively, 83% view the neo-nazis negatively, and 85% view the ku klux klan negatively. An overwhelming number of Americans dislike these groups and what that represent.

The bad news is that 7% view the white nationalists (supremacists) favorably, 5% view the neo-nazis favorably, and 6% have a favorable view of the ku klux klan. 5% to 7% may not seem like a lot of people -- until you consider the U.S. population is about 324 million, with about 240 million being adults. Take 5% of 240 million and you get about 12 million people.

Most of that 12 million are closet racists -- not the kind who will take to the streets and cause trouble. But they still are sympathetic to the racist views of the groups above, and their attitude helps to keeps racism and hate alive in this country.

The charts are made with info from a new Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between August 13th and 15th of a random national sample of 1,500 adults (including 1,291 registered voters), with a 3.1 point margin of error.

Changing History

Political Cartoon is by Milt Priggee at miltpriggee.com.

Our Fight Against Racism Must Go Beyond Demonstrations

(The photo above, from CNN, shows anti-racist protesters filling the streets of Boston.)

The forces of the "alt-right" (KKK, white supremacists, neo-nazis, etc.) scheduled a "free speech" rally in Boston on Saturday. They were vastly outnumbered as over 20,000 protesters filled the streets of that city to oppose the racism and hate those groups support, while less than two dozens showed up to support hate.

This is a good thing. The hate groups must be opposed visibly -- and made to understand that they are still just a tiny minority in this country. They need to be driven back underground as decent Americans oppose everything they stand for.

But that is not enough. Attending one (or more) peaceful demonstrations, while good and necessary, will not eliminate the racism that still troubles this country. We must now confront and eliminate the racism built in to our society's institutions. The civil rights laws passed in the 1960's were necessary, but they were only a start -- not the total solution.

It was good that a law was passed making it illegal to deny voting rights based on race. But we must be vigilant in making sure those rights are protected. Too many on the right are still finding ways to suppress the minority vote (through laws such as Voter ID, and political tricks like gerrymandering).

It was good that segregation was eliminated in public facilities -- including transportation. But we now need to insure that the transportation (and other public services) extend into and serve minority (and poor) communities as much as the white (and middle class) communities.

It was good that the Supreme Court unanimously declared separate to be inherently unequal in education, but simply allowing minorities to attend schools with whites is not enough. We must insure they get the same fair treatment and opportunities that white students get.

It is also not enough to eliminate discrimination in employment hiring. There must also be equal opportunity for advancement.

Our justice system also needs much work. Our police need to respond as fast to calls in the minority community as those in white communities -- and they need to treat minorities  and whites in the same way. They need to understand that minority lives matter as much as other lives. And minority people need to be treated as fairly in the courts as whites.

I could go on, but I think you probably get my point. There is still much more to be done, especially in our institutions (where the racism is built into them). This will be harder than just passing a law, because attitudes (which have been taught us as we grew up) must be changed -- but it must be done.

Equality is a wonderful idea. Now we need to make it a reality.

Permit ?

Political Cartoon is by Nick Anderson.

Americans Not Thrilled With Trump's Response To Protests


A Plurality of Americans are disappointed in how Donald Trump's reaction to the protests in Charlottesville. That's disappointing to me. It should be a majority.

The chart represents the results of the new Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between August 13th and 15th of a random national sample of 1,500 adults (including 1,291 registered voters), with a margin of error of 3.1 points.

Fired

Political Cartoon is by Lalo Alcaraz.

Guns (& Other Weapons) Should Be Banned From Protests

(Photo of armed racists attending the Charlottesville protests is from KBZK.com.)

At the hate-based protests in Charlottesville last weekend, one person was killed and many more wounded. The weapon used by the racist/nazi was a car, but it could easily been another weapon. Members of the racist right showed up armed with guns. What if one of these nuts had become angry and used his assault weapon? Many more could have died or been seriously injured.

We know that these demonstrations and protests inflame the passions of participants -- especially when counter-demonstrators show up. And when passions are inflamed, stupid people can act in a stupid way. That brings me to my question -- Why do we allow protesters to carry weapons? Isn't this just an invitation to disaster?

Right-wing haters will say they need the weapons to defend themselves. That is bullshit. It is not the job of right-wing militias to protect demonstrators -- that is what we pay our police to do. The First Amendment guarantees the right of people to PEACEABLY protest -- not the right to carry weapons and instigate trouble and violence.

They will also tell you they are just exercising their Second Amendment rights. More bullshit. The Second Amendment guarantees to right to own and bear firearms -- but it does not guarantee the right to carry those weapons into every place. The Supreme Court has determined that cities and states can legally and constitutionally restrict the places where a person can carry a gun. And it only makes sense, for the safety of the public, that guns should be restricted from being carried to protests and demonstrations.

I wouldn't stop there. No weapons of any kind should be allowed in protests or demonstrations (including knives, swords, machetes, pipes, baseball bats, clubs, or anything else can can be used to kill or maim people).

No permit for a demonstration should be issued without including a provision banning all weapons. And anyone who shows up with a weapon should be arrested and have his weapon confiscated. And that weapon should not be returned (but destroyed by the police) since by showing up with a weapon he/she has demonstrated they are too stupid to own that weapon.

Allowing guns (and other weapons) at protests and demonstrations is just asking for trouble, and it will result in people losing their lives. Let's put an end to it before that happens.

The American Ship

Political Cartoon is by Darrin Bell at darrinbell.com.

When


Saturday, August 19, 2017

A Vaccine Against Charlatans


Public Believes Race Relations Are Worse Under Trump


During the campaign (and after), Donald Trump claimed he was a "uniter", and would bring the races together in this country. I don't think anyone believed him, because the hallmark of his campaign was racism and religious bigotry. So, how has he done? Has he brought people together?

In a word -- NO! He has been the most bigoted and divisive president in the modern era. And his actions supporting the racist protesters in Charlottesville have just made that clearer.

The chart above shows what the public thinks. Note that every group (except Republicans) think race relations have gotten worse under Trump. Most Republicans think they have just stayed the same. Only a tiny 7% to 14% believe race relations have gotten better. Those have to be the true trumpistas, who refuse to believe anything has gotten worse under their hero (and facts be damned).

The chart reflects the results of a new Marist Poll -- done on August 14th and 15th of a random national sample of 1,125 adults, with a 2.9 point margin of error.

Protest Buddies

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

Bannon Was Not The Problem - Only The Symptom

(Caricature of Steve Bannon is by DonkeyHotey.)

Yesterday, we learned that one of Trump's closest advisors, Steve Bannon, is leaving his job at the White House. This is a good thing. Bannon was an unashamed white supremacist, and never should have had any kind of job in the White House.

But don't expect anything to change in the Trump administration. Bannon wasn't the problem. He was just a symptom of the real problem.

The real problem is that we have a fascist and white supremacist as president. Donald Trump hired some pretty bad people (Bannon, Gorka, Miller, Pruitt, Sessions, Flynn, etc.), and the reason he hired them was because they reflected his own sick and un-American views.

Trump has never tried to hide his bigotry and racism. He seems very proud of it. he repeatedly demonstrated it during his presidential campaign -- and far too many Americans either agreed with the bigotry/racism, or thought he would change once he assumed the highest office in the land.

But he hasn't changed. And he made that very clear this last weekend with his defense of the KKK, white supremacists, and nazis that met in Virginia to further their perverse aims. Instead of condemning that, Trump has tried to gloss it over by saying their were "many sides" and they were all to blame. He also refused to call the deaths and injuries from a white supremacist/nazi intentionally driving a car into a crowd of peaceful demonstrators what it actually was -- a terrorist act.

Trump has been quick to label muslims who did that very same thing as terrorists committing an act of terrorism (in Spain, France, England, etc.) -- but even when asked by the press, he absolutely refused to call the Virginia murder an act of terrorism. And that refusal speaks volumes about Trump's racist hypocrisy.

Bannon was a bad man, but he wasn't the real problem. The problem is Donald Trump, and it won't be solved until he is no longer president.

Dance Of Hate

Political Cartoon is by Bob Englehart at cagle.com.

Republicans Are More Racist Than Other Americans



Last weekend, Donald Trump embarrassed the nation when he sided with the KKK, white supremacists, and neo-nazis. But most Republicans were not embarrassed. They supported Trump's tepid response to those groups, and went along with him blaming equally those who oppose racism and fascism.

Republicans have been quick to claim they are not racists, even though they voted to put a racist in the White House -- a racist who did nothing to hide his bigotry during the campaign. Now they continue to support him after his obvious failure to call out the evil groups supporting racism.

There's an old saying that a person who lies down with dogs, gets up with fleas. Well, the Republicans chose to lie down with dog Trump, and now they are infested with the nasty fleas of racism and fascism.

You cannot remain silent in the face of evil. To do so is to be on the side of evil. I'm sure many Trump-suuporting Republicans will continue to deny their racism (latent or virulent), but they have now been exposed. Anyone who supports a racist is a racist.

The charts above are from a recent CBS News Poll -- done between August 14th and 16th of a random national sample of 1,223 adults, with a 4 point margin of error.

In Bed With Hate

Political Cartoon is by Jonathan Schmock at jonathanschmock.com.

Most Nations Trust Putin More Than Trump To Do Right Thing


This is for those of you that think Donald Trump is doing a good job of representing the United States on the world stage. It is from a Pew Research Center global survey (and you can go here to see the methodology of that survey).

They asked the people in the countries listed above whether they would trust Trump or Putin more to do the right thing regarding world affairs. The huge majority of those nations said they would trust Putin more than Trump to do the right thing.

Trump is not just hurting this country -- he is making the world a much more dangerous place by destroying the reputation of the U.S. as a leader. The world is in serious trouble when the leader of Russia is trusted more than the leader of the United States.

Abandoned

Political Cartoon is by David Horsey in the Los Angeles Times.

GOP's Lack Of Logic


Friday, August 18, 2017

A Bad Guy


Trump Just Blowing Smoke With Threats To N. Korea

Donald Trump has made numerous threats to attack North Korea recently. He said their threats would be met with "fire and fury", and later said the U.S. Military was "locked and loaded".

The obvious inference was that he has a viable military option, and was ready to use it. Was he just blowing smoke -- trying to threaten North Korea in hopes they would knuckle under? Was he just being a bully -- his favorite (and only) "diplomatic" maneuver? Or is he really crazy enough to believe he actually has a viable military option?

Hopefully, it was the latter -- just lies and bullying (even though that is useless against North Korea). The last thing we need is another war -- one that could kill millions.

One of Trump's closest advisors in the White House, Steve Bannon, seems to think it was just Trump blowing smoke. Bannon, in an interview with The American Prospect, said the following:

“There’s no military solution [to North Korea’s nuclear threats], forget it. Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that ten million people in Seoul don’t die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don’t know what you’re talking about, there’s no military solution here, they got us.” 

 I believe that is true, although it's rather frightening to think that Bannon may be the voice of reason in the White House. Hopefully, the Pentagon is telling Trump the same thing.

The question though is whether Trump has enough sense to listen, or whether he'll let his temper get the best of him in spite of advice to the contrary.

Had A Permit

Political Cartoon is by Clay Jones at claytoonz.com.