Sunday, February 26, 2017

Religious Liberty


Caught It

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

The U.S. Has A Double Standard About Religious Violence




The charts above are from the Public Religion Research Institute. They show that Americans have a definite double standard when it comes to religious violence. When a christian commits violence, most are quick to say he/she wasn't really a christian. But they are nearly as forgiving for a muslim committing violence.

Evangelical christians have the biggest double standard, but all groups show that same double standard -- including sadly, Democrats and the religiously unaffiliated (groups that should know better).

What makes this even crazier is that Americans are far more likely to be harmed or killed by a christian terrorist than a muslim terrorist.

"Lady" Tyranny

Political Cartoon is by Jim Morin in The Miami Herald.

Trump Is Losing His War Against The Mainstream Media

(Cartoon image is by Jim Morin in The Miami Herald.)

If our narcissist-in-chief had his way, every newspaper in the country would resemble the one in the cartoon above. Trump simply cannot stand to be criticized in any way, and he particularly doesn't like being called out on his many lies. In an effort to prevent that, he has declared war on the mainstream media -- calling them "enemies of the people" and saying they give only "fake news".

That is ludicrous coming from the least truthful president we've ever had, but it's Trump's way. He would rather lie and attack than admit the truth about himself or his policies. And he's not just attacking the media with words. On Friday, the White House held an impromptu press conference -- and excluded media that Trump doesn't like (because they aren't afraid to tell the truth about him). Among the media excluded from the press conference were CNN, NY Times, LA Times, Politico, Buzzfeed, BBC, and the Guardian.

While excluding those credible news organizations, some media that specializes in right-wing propaganda lies were invited to participate -- like Breitbart, Washington Times, and One America News.

This needs to stop. In a democracy, the news media must have access to the president (and the government in general). A government that censors or shuts itself off from the press will soon cease to be a democracy. Those are actions much more closely associated with tyrannical forms of government.

Fortunately, at least for now, Trump is losing his war against the media. As the chart below shows, the public believes the mainstream media (including some banned from the press conference) are more credible than Trump is. It also shows (in the last chart) that a majority of Americans trust CBS, ABC, NBC, CNN, and the NY Times -- while less than a majority trusts Fox, and only a very tiny percentage trust right-wing propaganda source like Breitbart, Daily Caller, and Info Wars.

The charts were made from information in a new Public Policy Polling survey -- done on February 21st and 22nd of a random national sample of 941 registered voters, with a margin of error of 3.2 points.



Too Cowardly

Political Cartoon is by Nick Anderson in the Houston Chronicle.

CPAC Convention Gets Punked


(The top photo is from Raw Story and the other is from Daily Kos.)

The Conservative Political Action Conference (commonly called CPAC) held its annual convention this weekend. It is a gathering of the most radical right-wing nuts that America has to offer, and needless to say, there were a lot of trumpistas in the crowd.

Now these aren't the brightest bulbs on the American political tree, and an anti-Trump activist decided to take advantage of that. He passed out small red, white, and blue flags with Trump's name on them to the conference attendees right before Trump was to address the crowd. And the attendees were thrilled to get the free flags to wave at the convention -- and as the top photo shows, they happily waved them.

But some of the CPAC organizers were a bit smarter than most, and they were aghast to look out and see hundreds of conservatives waving Russian flags. That's right -- Russian flags with Trump's name on them. It was a nightmare scenario for an ultra-right-wing group, and they quickly sent people out into the audience to confiscate the offending flags. But it was too late to keep the pictures out of the media.

They had been PUNKED!

The person who handed out the flags to eager conference-goers was Anti-Trump activist Ryan Clayton. Clayton said:

“Donald Trump is a clear and present danger to the U.S. Constitution and the American people. That’s why Putin picked him for president, because he knows the Trump regime is good for Russian interests, not the American people. Trump is Putin’s puppet, a traitor to the United States, and must be impeached immediately.”

I think he got his point across beautifully.

Counting Sheep

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

The Seven Signs That You're Ruled By A Tyrant

(This caricature of our wannabe tyrant is by DonkeyHotey.)

Robert Reich (pictured) tells us the seven signs of a tyrant. Unfortunately for Americans, our new president displays all of them. Mr. Reich writes:

As tyrants take control of democracies, they typically do 7 things: 
1. They exaggerate their mandate to govern – claiming, for example, that they won an election by a “landslide” even after losing the popular vote. They criticize any finding that they or co-conspirators stole the election. And they repeatedly claim “massive voter fraud” in the absence of any evidence, in order to have an excuse to restrict voting by opponents in subsequent elections.
2. They turn the public against journalists or media outlets that criticize them, calling them “deceitful” and “scum,” and telling the public that the press is a “public enemy.” They hold few, if any, press conferences, and prefer to communicate with the public directly through mass rallies and unfiltered statements (or what we might now call “tweets”). 
3. They repeatedly lie to the public, even when confronted with the facts.  Repeated enough, these lies cause some of the public to doubt the truth, and to believe fictions that support the tyrants’ goals.
4. They blame economic stresses on immigrants or racial or religious minorities, and foment public bias or even violence against them. They threaten mass deportations, “registries” of religious minorities, and the banning of refugees.
5. They attack the motives of anyone who opposes them, including judges. They attribute acts of domestic violence to “enemies within,” and use such events as excuses to beef up internal security and limit civil liberties.
6. They appoint family members to high positions of authority. They ppoint their own personal security force rather than a security detail accountable to the public. And they put generals into top civilian posts.
7.They keep their personal finances secret, and draw no distinction between personal property and public property – profiteering from their public office.
Consider yourself warned.

Monster Town Hall

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

The Practice Of Religion


Saturday, February 25, 2017

A Conspiracy Of Lies


Repeal

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

Compassion Is Not A Virtue In The Trump Administration

(Photo of Donald Trump was found at rolereboot.org.)

We have already seen that the Trump administration doesn't embrace compassion for human beings as one of its guidelines. Trump has promised to take health insurance away from millions of Americans, is on board with the GOP Congress to cut Social Security and privatize Medicare, has banned muslims from entering this country, is planning to do away with EPA clean air and water standards, and opposes raising the minimum wage for workers. It should not surprise us then that this lack of compassion should extend to immigrants in this country without documentation. Consider the following story from the Chicago Tribune.

Sara Beltran-Hernandez, a 26 year-old mother of two, is an undocumented immigrant from El Salvador. She had been apprehended by ICE, and was in a detention center (awaiting a hearing on her petition for asylum) when she began suffering from terrible headaches. She was taken to a doctor, and it was learned that she had a brain tumor. She was put in Huguley Hospital in Fort Worth awaiting an operation to remove the tumor (which was supposed to take place this coming weekend).

But Trump has instructed ICE to be more vigilant about undocumented immigrants, and evidently that includes those hospitalized with a painful and life-threatening illness. ICE officials entered the hospital, bound the lady hand and foot, and wheeled her out in a wheel chair -- taking her back to the detention center.

This action, designed to comply with Trump administration policy, is way over the line. It is indecent and immoral -- and it shows a complete lack of compassion on the part of both ICE and the Trump administration. It is this lack of compassion for ordinary people (both citizen and non-citizen) that has the world thinking poorly of this country.

Personally, I am embarrassed to have a president that has no compassion.

Fine-Tuned Machine

Political Cartoon is by Nate Beeler in The Columbus Dispatch.

Public Opposes The Trump Administration Agenda


The numbers above are from the most recent Quinnipiac University Poll -- done between February 16th and 21st of a random national sample of 1,323 voters, with a 2.7 point margin of error.

It shows that Trump's agenda for this country is as unpopular as Trump himself.

Extreme Vetting

Political Cartoon is by Jimmy Margulies at jimmymargulies.com.

More Polls Show Trump Administration Off To Poor Start






The bad news just keeps coming for the Trump administration. Two new polls show that more Americans disapprove than approve of the new administration.

The McClatchy / Marist Poll was done between February 15th and 19th of a random national sample of 1,073 adults, and has a 3 point margin of error.

The CBS News Poll was done between February 17th and 21st of a random national sample of 1,280 adults, with a 3 point margin of error.

Town Hall Meetings

Political Cartoon is by Milt Priggee at miltpriggee.com.

Warren Says GOP Attacks Must Not "Go Unanswered"

Here is Senator Elizabeth Warrens latest message to her supporters -- and to people everywhere who oppose the evil agenda of Trump and the Republicans.

The Republicans control the White House, the Senate, and the House. When our government isn’t working for working families, they have nobody to blame but themselves.

Except me, apparently.

According to the political pundits, I’m the new villain of choice for the Republican Party. Just two days ago, Senate Republicans launched another new round of ads attacking moderate Democrats for – I believe – standing anywhere within 100 feet of me. The NRA is using video footage of me at the Logan Airport Muslim ban protest to launch their new “Counter Resistance” today.

Look, I’m a big girl. My feelings won’t be hurt when Mitch McConnell tells me to shut up – or by a bunch of nasty ads that make me look like a zombie or the boogeyman or the Wicked Witch of Massachusetts.

I’ve got news for the Republicans and their slick TV ad consultants: their attacks aren’t going to work. And here’s why:
  • I believe that the big banks need tougher rules and more accountability – and so do the majority of Americans. You can call me a boogeyman for fighting for Wall Street reform, but our agenda is America’s agenda. 
  • I believe that students should be able to get an education without getting crushed by debt – and so do the majority of Americans. You can call me a boogeyman for fighting for debt-free college, but our agenda is America’s agenda. 
  • I believe that nobody who works full time should live in poverty – and so do the majority of Americans. You can call me a boogeyman for fighting to raise the minimum wage, but our agenda is America’s agenda. 
  • I believe that after a lifetime of hard work, seniors should be able to retire with dignity – and so do the majority of Americans. You can call me a boogeyman for fighting to protect and expand Social Security and Medicare, but our agenda is America’s agenda. 
  • I believe in climate change – and so do the majority of Americans. You can call me a boogeyman for fighting to protect our air and water, but our agenda is America’s agenda. 
  • I believe in common sense gun reform – and so do the majority of Americans. You can call me a boogeyman for fighting to keep our kids safe from military-style assault weapons, but our agenda is America’s agenda. 
  • I believe that a woman has a right to make health care decisions over her own body and I support Planned Parenthood – and so do the majority of Americans. You can call me a boogeyman for fighting for women’s health, but our agenda is America’s agenda. 
  • I believe that millionaires and billionaires should pay at least the same tax rates as their secretaries – and so do the majority of Americans. You can call me a boogeyman for fighting to stop the special breaks and loopholes, but our agenda is America’s agenda. 
  • And I believe that powerful corporations and billionaires have too much influence over our politics – and so do the majority of Americans. You can call me a boogeyman for fighting for campaign finance and ethics reform, but our agenda is America’s agenda.
I truly believe that people in Massachusetts and across the country can see through the Republicans’ shameful mudslinging. But we won’t be able to let their attacks go completely unanswered for the next two years.

Thanks for being a part of this,

Elizabeth
(NOTE -- Those who wish to give a few dollars to help Warren keep up the fight can go here.)

Sound Familiar ?

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

A Running War With. . .


Friday, February 24, 2017

The Two Men Blocking Healthcare For All


Fox

Political Cartoon is by Bill Day at cagle.com.

Is Obamacare Going To Be Repealed (Maybe Not) ?

(Cartoon image is by Dave Granlund at davegranlund.com.)

The Republicans have been trying to repeal Obamacare ever since it was passed. They have passed over 50 bills in the House of Representatives to repeal it. Of course, they knew it was just an exercise in political theater since President Obama would have instantly vetoed it if it ever reached his desk.

But they have a Republican president now -- one who has promised his supporters that he would sign a bill repealing Obamacare. And they control both houses of Congress. So why hasn't Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act) been repealed? They promised during the campaign that it would be one of the first  things they did.

It turns out that repealing Obamacare isn't as easy as they had imagined it would be. First, with repeal looking imminent, a majority of the public (as poll after poll has shown) has realized that they actually like the program -- and they don't want it repealed. They just want it improved.

Second, the Republicans are getting a lot of public opposition to the repeal. This last week the Congress was in recess, but only about a quarter of the congressional Republicans scheduled a town hall meeting with their constituents. They knew that such a meeting would be filled with angry people demanding to know what was going to happen with their health insurance -- and they have no answers for those people.

Third, the public doesn't want to see 20 to 30 million people lose their health insurance due to a repeal of Obamacare. That's the view of about three-quarters of the voting public. They are not going to be happy with any plan that does not let those people keep their insurance.


The problem though for the Republicans, is that none of the so-called "plans" being floated by congressional Republicans to replace Obamacare would protect those people -- and none of those plans have been able to get majority support among congressional Republicans. That's because they know that an inadequate replacement plan (one that throws millions of Americans under the bus) would be a prescription for disaster in coming elections -- and could easily cost them control of Congress.

So what do Americans want in a replacement plan? According to a recent Economist / YouGov Poll (done between February 18th through 22nd of a random national sample of 1,500 adults, with a 3 point margin of error), the public wants the following:








Well, guess what? That is just Obamacare without an individual mandate to buy insurance. It turns out that the public likes everything about Obamacare except the individual mandate. That means the only change to Obamacare the public would accept would be to eliminate the individual mandate.

But that's a problem too. Without the individual mandate, insurance premiums would rise faster and higher than they already are rising -- and once the public saw that, they would be angry with Republicans for eliminating it.

It looks like the Republicans, with their promises and propaganda, have painted themselves into a corner. And they cannot repeal Obamacare without hurting their party (and their own electoral chances). Adding to their problems is the fact that repealing Obamacare would not only cost millions their insurance, but would cost the country more than a million jobs (see charts below from the Economic Policy Institute). As the charts show, all states would have people lose insurance and would lose jobs, but some states would be hurt more than others.



Ashamed

Political Cartoon is by Pierre Ballouhey at cagle.com.

Republicans And Democrats Are NOT The Same



This chart (from politicsthatwork.com) is for those of you who think the two political parties are the same. That is not even close to being true. As the chart above shows, the elected members of the two parties do not vote for the same things -- and personally, I like what the Democrats vote for much more than what the Republicans vote for.

Are the Democrats perfect? Of course not. But they are much better than the Republicans, and with the appropriate pressure, they can be even better. I have never found a politician that I agree with about everything, and I doubt that I ever will. The best we can do is find some who support much or most of what we want, and then try to make them better.

There is no perfection in politics, especially in a democracy. And if you demand perfection in your party or candidates, you'll be waiting a very long time. It's just not going to happen.

Choices

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

Latest Poll Numbers For Trump Are Going DOWN

(Cartoon image is by Gary Varvel in the Indianapolis Star.)

This should be crushing for our narcissist-in-chief and his supporters. It turns out that his poll numbers are not only not improving -- they are going down! The following is from the latest Quinnipiac University Poll:

American voters today give President Donald Trump a negative 38 - 55 percent job approval rating, his worst net score since he took office, down from a negative 42 - 51 percent approval rating in a February 7 Quinnipiac University national poll. 

President Trump's negative scores are 36 - 59 percent among women and 41 - 50 percent among men, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University Poll finds. Republicans approve 83 - 10 percent, while negative approval ratings are 5 - 91 percent among Democrats and 38 - 55 percent among independent voters. 

Trump gets a negative 39 - 55 percent favorability rating, also his worst net score since taking office. Vice President Mike Pence gets a split 41 - 40 percent favorability. 

Opinions on most of Trump's personal qualities also are negative, as American voters say:

  • 55 - 40 percent that he is not honest;
  • 55 - 42 percent that he does not have good leadership skills;
  • 53 - 44 percent that he does not care about average Americans;
  • 63 - 33 percent that he is not level-headed;
  • 64 - 32 percent that he is a strong person;
  • 58 - 38 percent that he is intelligent;
  • 60 - 37 percent that he does not share their values.
Trump is doing more to unite the country, 36 percent of American voters say, while 58 percent say he is doing more to divide the nation. 

"President Donald Trump's popularity is sinking like a rock," said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. 

"He gets slammed on honesty, empathy, level headedness and the ability to unite. And two of his strong points, leadership and intelligence, are sinking to new lows. 

"This is a terrible survey one month in." 

A total of 38 percent of American voters think they can trust Trump to do what is right "almost all of the time" or "most of the time," and 61 percent think they can trust Trump to do what is right "some of the time" or "hardly ever." 


From February 16 - 21, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,323 voters nationwide with a margin of error of +/- 2.7 percentage points. Live interviewers call landlines and cell phones.