Saturday, October 20, 2018

We Must Dissent


Saudi's Invent A New Lie - Will Trump Accept It As True?


For days now, the government of Saudi Arabia has been denying the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. They told the world that the journalist left the embassy in Turkey alive.

No one in the world believed that. The Turkish government has evidence that Khashoggi entered the Saudi embassy, bur never left it. And they have video and audio tapes of him being murdered in that embassy.

Now the Saudi's have changed their story, and released a new lie to the world. From the BBC:

Journalist Jamal Khashoggi died after a fight in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, the country's state TV reported quoting an initial probe.
It said deputy intelligence chief Ahmad al-Assiri and Saud al-Qahtani, senior aide to Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, were dismissed over the affair.
The news bulletin said 18 Saudi nationals have now been detained as part of the continuing probe.
This is the first time the kingdom has admitted Mr Khashoggi has died. 
Saudi King Salman has also reportedly ordered the formation of a ministerial committee, headed by Crown Prince Mohammed, to restructure the intelligence services.
The journalist was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October, to pick up paperwork that would allow him to marry his fiancée Hatice Cengiz.

This story is no more believable than the first fairy tale they told. The real question though -- is this lie enough for Donald Trump? Trump has been trying to cover for the Saudi government for days now, and desperately searching for an excuse to avoid punishing them. He even floated the idea that it could have been "rogue killers".

It looks like the Saudi's accepted Trump's story. Their latest lie is a version of it. I think we can expect Trump to announce soon that the Saudi's investigated the murder and punished the guilty -- and that the leadership King Salman and Prince Mohammed bin Salman were innocent (and did not direct the murder.

Even Trump is not stupid enough to believe the newest Saudi lie, but it may well be just enough cover for him to do nothing (or just do some very minor). Will the Republicans in Congress step up and demand real punishment for Saudi Arabia. Don't hold your breath for that. They have not called Trump on any of his other lies and misadventures, and they will silently accept his whitewash of the Saudi government murder.

The Trump administration is going to do NOTHING! If anything is going to be done to hold the Saudi government responsible for their murderous actions, it will have to come from somewhere else -- maybe the United Nations.

UPDATE -- As expected, Donald Trump said he finds the new Saudi story to be credible.

Covering For Murder

Political Cartoon is by Jeff Darcy at cleveland.com.

Trust In The Media Is Rebounding In The United States



In 1976, trust in the news media was at a healthy 72%. By 2016, the percentage of Americans trusting the media had dropped to 32%. That's a shocking drop of 40 points. It's also dangerous. How can citizens preserve their democracy if they don't trust the information they get from the media?

Fortunately, that trust in the media is rebounding. In September of 2018, the trust among the general public had grown by 13 points to 45%. And the trust is rebounding among all political groups -- even Republicans (in spite of Trump's repeated attacks on the media).

Trust among Democrats has grown by 25 points (from 51% to 76%), among Independents by 12 points (from 30% to 42%), and among Republicans by 7 points (from 14% to 21%).

The charts above are from a recent Gallup Poll -- done between September 4th and 12th of a national sample of 1,035 adults, with a 4 point margin of error.

Angry Mob

Political Cartoon is by Tim Eagan at cagle.com.

Democrats & Republicans - There Is A BIG Difference!


I have heard many of my fellow leftists say there is no difference between the Democrats and Republicans -- that both are corporate-owned and would pursue the same policies. I don't believe that.

There is a huge difference between those two parties. The Democrats are not perfect. I have never seen a politician that was. But the Democrats generally support policies that would be beneficial to all Americans. The Republicans care only for the rich. All you have to do is look at the policies supported by those parties to know that.

Many of the policy differences are shown in the chart above, and there are many others.

I urge you to vote in the coming election -- and to cast your vote for Democrats from the top of the ballot to the bottom. That would be a vote to save this country and its citizens -- and to re-establish this country as a beacon for democracy and human rights in the world.

Purge And Suppress

Political Cartoon is by Matt Davies in Newsday.

The Last Article From Journalist Jamal Khashoggi

(This image of Jamal Khashoggi is by Alex Fine for The Washington Post.)

The following article is by Jamal Khashoggi. It was received by The Washington Post on the day after he disappeared (sent by his assistant/translator).

Ironically, and appropriately, the article is about the need for a free press in the Arab world. It's definitely worth reading.

I was recently online looking at the 2018 “Freedom in the World” report published by Freedom House and came to a grave realization. There is only one country in the Arab world that has been classified as “free.” That nation is TunisiaJordanMorocco and Kuwait come second, with a classification of “partly free.” The rest of the countries in the Arab world are classified as “not free.”

As a result, Arabs living in these countries are either uninformed or misinformed. They are unable to adequately address, much less publicly discuss, matters that affect the region and their day-to-day lives. A state-run narrative dominates the public psyche, and while many do not believe it, a large majority of the population falls victim to this false narrative. Sadly, this situation is unlikely to change.

The Arab world was ripe with hope during the spring of 2011. Journalists, academics and the general population were brimming with expectations of a bright and free Arab society within their respective countries. They expected to be emancipated from the hegemony of their governments and the consistent interventions and censorship of information. These expectations were quickly shattered; these societies either fell back to the old status quo or faced even harsher conditions than before.

My dear friend, the prominent Saudi writer Saleh al-Shehi, wrote one of the most famous columns ever published in the Saudi press. He unfortunately is now serving an unwarranted five-year prison sentence for supposed comments contrary to the Saudi establishment. The Egyptian government’s seizure of the entire print run of a newspaper, al-Masry al Youm, did not enrage or provoke a reaction from colleagues. These actions no longer carry the consequence of a backlash from the international community. Instead, these actions may trigger condemnation quickly followed by silence.

As a result, Arab governments have been given free rein to continue silencing the media at an increasing rate. There was a time when journalists believed the Internet would liberate information from the censorship and control associated with print media. But these governments, whose very existence relies on the control of information, have aggressively blocked the Internet. They have also arrested local reporters and pressured advertisers to harm the revenue of specific publications.

There are a few oases that continue to embody the spirit of the Arab Spring. Qatar’s government continues to support international news coverage, in contrast to its neighbors’ efforts to uphold the control of information to support the “old Arab order.” Even in Tunisia and Kuwait, where the press is considered at least “partly free,” the media focuses on domestic issues but not issues faced by the greater Arab world. They are hesitant to provide a platform for journalists from Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Yemen. Even Lebanon, the Arab world’s crown jewel when it comes to press freedom, has fallen victim to the polarization and influence of pro-Iran Hezbollah.

The Arab world is facing its own version of an Iron Curtain, imposed not by external actors but through domestic forces vying for power. During the Cold War, Radio Free Europe, which grew over the years into a critical institution, played an important role in fostering and sustaining the hope of freedom. Arabs need something similar. In 1967, the New York Times and The Post took joint ownership of the International Herald Tribune newspaper, which went on to become a platform for voices from around the world.

My publication, The Post, has taken the initiative to translate many of my pieces and publish them in Arabic. For that, I am grateful. Arabs need to read in their own language so they can understand and discuss the various aspects and complications of democracy in the United States and the West. If an Egyptian reads an article exposing the actual cost of a construction project in Washington, then he or she would be able to better understand the implications of similar projects in his or her community.

The Arab world needs a modern version of the old transnational media so citizens can be informed about global events. More important, we need to provide a platform for Arab voices. We suffer from poverty, mismanagement and poor education. Through the creation of an independent international forum, isolated from the influence of nationalist governments spreading hate through propaganda, ordinary people in the Arab world would be able to address the structural problems their societies face.

Clean-Up And Cover-Up

Political Cartoon is by Clay Jones at claytoonz.com.

Passivity Is Not Democratic


Friday, October 19, 2018

Wisdom From Mandela


The Blue Wave Is Powered By Public Dislike Of Trump




Cable news pundits are warning Democrats that the election is not about Trump, but about issues like immigration, health care, and the economy. I don't believe that. And neither does Trump and his Republican base.

Trump is making sure that Republicans understand that a vote for a Republican this year is a vote for him (and his odious agenda), and a vote for Democrats is a vote against Trump. That is the message that he preaching to Republicans, and it's working. Enthusiasm has risen among the GOP lately.

But whether Democrats (and the pundits) want to admit it or not, the opposite is also true. Democrats and Independents are enthused, and that enthusiasm is not fueled by individual candidate stances on the issues. It is fueled by an intense dislike of Donald Trump. And if the Democrats carry the day in November, it will be because of voter dislike and distrust of Trump.

Note in the charts above that Americans don't like Trump (50% to 41%), don't think he's honest and trustworthy (53% to 31%), and don't think Trump cares about people like them (52% to 38%). Those are the things that will decide this election.

The charts reflect the latest Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between October 14th and 16th of a national sample of 1,500 adults, with a 3.1 point margin of error.

Red Wave

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

U.S. Public Doesn't See Saudi Arabia The Way Trump Does



It has become pretty obvious that Donald Trump loves the authoritarian monarchy of Saudi Arabia. He considers them both a great ally of the United States and a valued customer for his businesses. It's why he is very hesitant to punish the Saudi kingdom for the outrageous murder of a Washington Post journalist.

But the American public doesn't see Saudi Arabia the same way they think Donald Trump does. While 41% say Trump considers Saudi Arabia to be a friend or ally, only 27% of the public thinks that -- a gap of 14 points. And while only 27% says Trump considers Saudi Arabia as unfriendly or an enemy, about 42% of the public thinks that way -- a 15 point gap. And every demographic group disagrees with Trump.

This is going to make it a lot harder for Trump to get away with trying to cover for the Saudi government, or failing to punish them for the murder.

The chart above is from the latest Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between October 14th and 16th of a national sample of 1,500 adults (including 1,273 registered voters). The margin of error for adults is 3.1 points, and for registered voters is 2.8 points.

A Special Kind Of Evil

Political Cartoon is by David Horsey in The Seattle Times.

One More Reason To Vote Against Republicans

 (Images are from the inimitable DonkeyHotey. I added the names.)

Donald Trump has made it clear that he does not want to punish the Saudi government for murdering a Washington Post journalist (whose home was in the United States).

After all, Trump believes journalists are an "enemy of the people", and punishing Saudi Arabia might endanger the money Trump is making from the Saudi's (and money is more important to Trump than anything else -- including this country and its reputation in the world).

And what are the Republicans in Congress doing? A few are talking tough, but most are too meek to oppose Trump -- and none of them are going to do anything to really punish Saudi Arabia. They might pass some mild rebuke, but you can bet it will be something that the Saudi's can easily ignore.
It's just one more reason why we cannot allow the Republicans to stay in power after November.

Here's how Jennifer Rubin puts it in The Washington Post:

On Thursday, 11 Democratic senators (why 11? What’s wrong with the rest of them?) sent President Trump a letter demanding information about Trump’s and his company’s ties to the Saudis. They note that Trump’s refusal to reveal and to divest himself from his business interests “raise significant concerns about financial conflicts of interest.” They demand all documents and available information relating to “investments, payments, or other financial transfers” between Trump and the Saudis, and ask about any gifts or discussion of Saudi business deals since Trump became president. They also inquire whether Trump’s companies would sever ties with the Saudis if the latter are found to have committed gross human rights violations. That’s a not very subtle way of pointing out that Trump may have a direct financial stake in applying Magnitsky Act sanctions to the Saudis, given that it would put him and/or his company in violation of U.S. law if Trump kept doing business with the kingdom.

The letter encapsulates precisely why Republicans should not be in control of Congress. For starters, Trump never should have been permitted to retain business ventures, raising a potential violation of the Constitution’s emoluments clause and certainly the appearance of a conflict of interest. Neither the GOP House nor Senate has held a single hearing on the subject of emoluments nor made any demand for Trump’s financial records, let alone his tax returns. Since Republicans control the floors of both the House and Senate and the power of subpoena, Trump has been able to escape any inquiry into his finances and thereby avoid accountability. As a result, the American people — and the rest of the world — are left to ponder if Trump’s bizarrely muted reaction to the apparent grotesque murder of Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi is the result of stupid policy or financial self-interest (or both).

Needless to say, no Republican is demanding any transparency from Trump or from his son-in-law Jared Kushner. As they have been from day one of this presidency, they shield the president from inquiry, utterly failing to live up to their obligations to the Constitution and their constituents.

On Sunday, during an appearance on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) was asked if Trump’s financial ties played a part in his reaction to Khashoggi’s disappearance. Rubio blithely declared that “I don’t have any reason to believe” this was the case. That is because he and other Republicans have never bothered to inquire, and never insisted that Trump disclose and then divest himself. Rubio’s response conveys a complete lack of concern for performing his constitutional oversight duties — even when a constitutional violation and human rights atrocity are at issue. Rubio is not alone; he’s symptomatic of the passivity of his fellow Republicans.

Trump told Fox Business Network on Wednesday: “We’re not going to walk away from Saudi Arabia. I don’t want to do that.” Is that because he foolishly built a Middle East policy based on a misreading of Saudi Arabia, or is it because he hates to walk away from Saudi money? In any event, he’s already signaling he doesn’t want to find out if Saudi leaders knew something. (“I hope that the king and the crown prince didn’t know about it. That’s a big factor in my eyes.”) Gosh, if he found out the unvarnished truth, he might have to react appropriately.

If voters want answers to whether Trump is making money from the Saudis and, more importantly, want to force him to sever financial ties, they better not leave Republicans in charge. They’ve already told us they don’t give a darn if he violates the Constitution or is influenced by his own financial considerations.

Not Our Friend

Political Cartoon is by J.D. Crowe in the Mobile Register.

It's NOT The Woman's Fault


Thursday, October 18, 2018

Hurting Seniors To Help The Rich


New CNN Poll Has O'Rourke Trailing By 5 To 7 Points


This poll shows Democrat Beto O'Rourke in better shape than a couple of other recent polls have shown, but still trailing Republican Ted Cruz by 5 points (registered voters) to 7 points (likely voters).

It is the CNN / SSRS Poll -- done between October 9th and 13th of a sample of 862 registered voters (and 716 likely voters). The margin of error for registered voters is 4.1 points, and for likely voters is 4.5 points.

It is important to remember that a poll is just an educated guess as to what the public is thinking. It does not guarantee any candidate a win (as we learned in 2016). Candidates are only elected by getting a majority of the votes cast. Democrats (and Independents) can still elect O'Rourke if they flood the polling stations on election day (and in early voting).

Don't give up until the last vote is counted!

Blood On Their Hands

Political Cartoon is by Daryl Cagle at cagle.com.

Who Do Americans Think Are Discriminated Against In U.S.?


Discrimination is evil -- both for our country and for the individuals who experience it. It is the cause of much violence and death. And it keeps many people from having the opportunity to fully realize their potential. It is unacceptable, especially in a multi-cultural country like ours.

That makes it important to check every so often to see who Americans think suffer the most discrimination. That's what this poll did. The chart above shows who Americans think are discriminated against.

The chart reflects the results of the latest Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between October 14th and 16th of a national sample of 1,500 adults, with a margin of error of 3.1 points.

The Apologist

Political Cartoon is by Darrin Bell at darrinbell.com.

Saudi Government Is Guilty And Donald Trump Doesn't Care





The Saudi Arabian government is starting to realize that their claims of innocence regarding the murder of a Washington Post journalist is just not believable, so they are floating a new story -- that the murder was done by rogue elements who let an interview get out of hand. But these photos from The New York Times shows that is not true either. The guilty parties had close ties to the Saudi government (especially Mohammed bin Salman). The Times writes:

One of the suspects identified by Turkey in the disappearance of the Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi was a frequent companion of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — seen disembarking from airplanes with him in Paris and Madrid and photographed standing guard during his visits this year to Houston, Boston and the United Nations.
Three others are linked by witnesses and other records to the Saudi crown prince’s security detail.
A fifth is a forensic doctor who holds senior positions in the Saudi Interior Ministry and medical establishment, a figure of such stature that he could be directed only by a high-ranking Saudi authority.
If, as the Turkish authorities say, these men were present at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul where Mr. Khashoggi disappeared on Oct. 2, they might provide a direct link between what happened and Prince Mohammed. That would undercut any suggestion that Mr. Khashoggi died in a rogue operation unsanctioned by the crown prince. Their connection to him could also make it more difficult for the White House and Congress to accept such an explanation.
The New York Times has confirmed independently that at least nine of 15 suspects identified by Turkish authorities worked for the Saudi security services, military or other government ministries. One of them, Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, was a diplomat assigned to the Saudi Embassy in London in 2007, according to a British diplomatic roster. He traveled extensively with the crown prince, perhaps as a bodyguard.

This doesn't matter to Donald Trump. He's trying to help the Saudi government by floating their "rogue killer" theory, even though he has to know (from his own intelligence services) that is simply not true. Why is he doing this? Does he approve of governments murdering journalists? No. The truth is he doesn't care what the Saudi's (or any other government) does.

Trump has no moral center. The only things he respects are money and power. And the diplomacy his administration follows is just like himself -- without a moral and ethical center. For the Trump administration diplomacy = dollars. If a country is feeding dollars into the U.S. Treasury (and Trump's businesses), then they can do whatever they want (including murder and torture of their own citizens or journalists).

This "dollar diplomacy" is a new and shameful position for the U.S. government. While it's true that other American presidents have supported some authoritarian regimes, there have been limits -- and those presidents have supported and tried to encourage the spread of human rights around the world (and in those authoritarian regimes).

The Trump administration is different. To it, morality and human rights have no meaning. And Trump has made sure the world understands that. In his recent speech at the U.N., he told the other countries of the world that he doesn't care what happens within their borders -- as long as the U.S. is first in monetary agreements. Evidently, the Saudi's believed him -- and I suspect other authoritarian regimes did also.

Is this what we want from our government -- an abandonment of morality and human rights in pursuit of dollars? If not, then you must go to the polls and vote Trump's protectors (Republicans) out of power.

Voter Suppression

Political cartoon is by Jen Sorensen at jensorensen.com.

Pigs


Wednesday, October 17, 2018

We Can Disagree And Love Each Other Unless . . .


Republicans Poised To Go After Social Security & Medicare


The Republicans have caused a massive 17% increase in the federal government deficit of about 17% in the last year. And if nothing is done, the nation will start adding $1 trillion a year to that deficit beginning next year. Now they want to fix that by going after what they cal "entitlements" (known to you and I as Social Security and Medicare).

They want Americans to believe that the huge deficit is caused mainly by Social Security and Medicare. IT IS AN OUTRAGEOUS LIE. The deficit is the shortfall between revenues and spending in the discretionary budget. None of Social Security and only a portion of Medicare is paid for in the discretionary budget.

Social Security is now, and always has been, paid for completely with a payroll tax dedicated specifically for that purpose. It has never added a single penny to the federal deficit (or the national debt). You could completely eliminate Social Security, and it would not reduce the deficit or the national debt at all!

Part of Medicare (about 41%) is paid out of the discretionary budget, while 59% is paid with payroll taxes, interest income, beneficiary premiums, state payments, and taxing Social Security benefits. It only contributes a tiny amount to the deficit.

The real reason we have a ballooning deficit is because of the Republican tax cuts for the rich. They gave massive tax cuts to corporations and the rich, while increasing federal spending (especially for the military). Now they want to pay for that giveaway to corporations and the rich by cutting Social Security and Medicare (which millions of seniors need just to stay out of poverty).

It is immoral to take money from seniors to give more to the rich, but that is what the Republicans want to do. It's one more important reason why they must be voted out of office in November (and out of the White House in 2020).

Minorities

Political Cartoon is by Adam Zyglis in The Buffalo News.

Poll Says Half Of College Students Will Vote This Year




These charts are from the recent College Reaction Poll done between September 20th through 25th of 3,633 current college students. No margin of error was given, but the poll was weighted to reflect the proper gender and racial figures of college students.

It shows that about 77% of college students are registered to vote. About 50% say they will definitely vote and another 36% say they will "maybe" vote. About 49% identify as a Democrat, while only 21% identify as Republican. About 4% say they are Libertarians, 1% identify with Green Party, and 24% say they are Independents.

They were also asked who they might support in the next presidential election. It is normally assumed by many that the vast majority would be Bernie Sanders supporters, but as the chart below shows, that is not true. He currently only has the support of about 27% of college students (one point behind Joe Biden at 28%). Trump is in third with 13%.


Covering For His Buddies

Political Cartoon is by Kevin Siers in The Charlotte Observer.

CNN Poll Shows Democratic 2020 Race Is Wide Open


The chart above is from a recent CNN / SSRS Poll -- done between October 4th and 7th of a national sample of 1,009 respondents. This chart only showed the Democrats and Independents, and has a margin of error of 5.5 points.

Respondents were asked who they would like to see as the Democratic presidential candidate in 2020. Joe Biden led the field with 34% among Democrats and 33% when Independents were included. He had a significant lead, but 34% is far from conclusive. It shows that there is time in the next year for another candidate to sell themselves to Democrats.

Kamala Harris seems to be doing that. She finished second to Biden among Democrats with 11%, and dropped to third when Independents were considered with 9%. Bernie Sanders finished third among Democrats with 9%, but climbed to second when Independents were considered with 13%. I have to think those are very disappointing numbers for him.

Elizabeth Warren was fourth with 8% -- both with Democrats and with Democrats/Independents.

It will be interesting to see how this shakes out over the next year or so.

A Poor Excuse

Political Cartoon is by Patrick Chappatte in The New York Times.

Climate Change Deniers Know They Are Wrong & Don't Care

 (Cartoon image is by John Cole in the Scranton Times-Tribune.)

For people with a bit of common sense, global climate change (global warming) is undeniable. They see it in the escalating weather events. They see it in numerous reports, like the latest report from the United Nations. And they see it in the data provided by scientists.

The only deniers left are the corporations (who are making tons of money off their polluting) and Republicans (who depend on the money from those corporations to be elected). But even those entities know that global climate change is real. They just don't care. Money today is more important to them than leaving a livable planet for our descendants.

The following piece is from Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman (pictured) in The New York Times:

Climate change is a hoax.
Climate change is happening, but it’s not man-made.
Climate change is man-made, but doing anything about it would destroy jobs and kill economic growth.
These are the stages of climate denial. Or maybe it’s wrong to call them stages, since the deniers never really give up an argument, no matter how thoroughly it has been refuted by evidence. They’re better described as cockroach ideas — false claims you may think you’ve gotten rid of, but keep coming back.
Anyway, the Trump administration and its allies — put on the defensive by yet another deadly climate change-enhanced hurricane and an ominous United Nations report — have been making all of these bad arguments over the past few days. I’d say it was a shocking spectacle, except that it’s hard to get shocked these days. But it was a reminder that we’re now ruled by people who are willing to endanger civilization for the sake of political expediency, not to mention increased profits for their fossil-fuel friends.
About those cockroaches: Details aside, the very multiplicity of climate-denial arguments — the deniers’ story keeps changing, but the bottom line that we should do nothing remains the same — is a sign that the opponents of climate action are arguing in bad faith. They aren’t seriously trying to engage with the reality of climate change or the economics of reduced emissions; their goal is to keep polluters free to pollute as long as possible, and they’ll grab onto anything serving that goal.
Still, it’s worth pointing out how thoroughly all their arguments have collapsed in recent years.
These days, climate deniers seem to have temporarily backed down a bit on claims that nothing is happening. The old dodge of comparing temperatures to an unusually warm year in 1998 to deny that the planet is getting warmer — which is like comparing days in early July with a warm day in May, and denying that there’s such a thing as summer — has been undermined by a string of new temperature records. And massive tropical storms fed by a warming ocean have made the consequences of climate change increasingly visible to the public.
So the new strategy is to downplay what has happened. Climate change models “have not been very successful,” declared Larry Kudlow, the top White House economic adviser. Actually, they have: Global warming to date is well in line with past projections. “Something’s changing and it’ll change back again,” asserted Donald Trump on “60 Minutes,” based upon, well, nothing. . . .
Having grudgingly conceded that maybe the planet is indeed getting a bit warmer, the climate deniers claim to be unconvinced that greenhouse gases are responsible. “I don’t know that it’s man-made,” said Trump. And while he has sort-of-kind-of backed down on his earlier claims that climate change is a hoax concocted by the Chinese, he’s still seeing vast conspiracies on the part of climate scientists, who he says “have a very big political agenda.”
Think about that. Decades ago experts predicted, based on fundamental science, that emissions would raise global temperatures. People like Trump scoffed. Now the experts’ prediction has come true. And the deniers insist that emissions aren’t the culprit, that something else must be driving the change, and it’s all a conspiracy. Come on.
Finally, about the cost of climate policy: I’ve noted in the past how strange it is that conservatives have total faith in the power and flexibility of market economies, but claim that these economies will be completely destroyed if the government creates incentives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Apocalyptic claims about the cost of reducing emissions are especially strange given tremendous technological progress in renewable energy: The costs of wind and solar power have plummeted. Meanwhile, coal-fired power plants have become so uncompetitive that the Trump administration wants to subsidize them at the expense of cleaner energy.
In short, while the arguments of climate deniers were always weak, they’ve gotten much weaker. Even if you were genuinely persuaded by the deniers five or 10 years ago, subsequent developments should have made you reconsider.
In reality, of course, climate denial has never had much to do with either logic or evidence; as I said, deniers are clearly arguing in bad faith. They don’t really believe what they’re saying. They’re just looking for excuses that will let people like the Koch brothers keep making money. Besides, liberals want to limit emissions, and modern conservatism is largely about owning the libs.
One way to think about what’s happening here is that it’s the ultimate example of Trumpian corruption. We have good reason to believe that Trump and his associates are selling out America for the sake of personal gain. When it comes to climate, however, they aren’t just selling out America; they’re selling out the whole world.

Covering For Murder

Political Cartoon is by Benjamin Slyngstad.

Examine ALL The Evidence


Tuesday, October 16, 2018

It's Always Been About Skin Color


Trump Is Trying Hard To Cover For Saudi Murderers

(The caricatures of Donald Trump and Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman are by the inimitable DonkeyHotey.)

There is little to no doubt that the Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered on the orders of the Saudi Arabian government (likely on the orders of Mohammed bin Salman).

The Turks have video and audio tapes that are damning, and they have identified most of the 15 murderers (including some of the Saudi Arabian Royal Guards). In addition, the murder took place in the Saudi embassy in Turkey.

In what looks like a repeat of denial than Russia hacked the U.S. election ("Mr. Putin told me that he didn't do it!"), Trump is using the same argument -- that he talked with the Saudi Arabian King and the King denied that his government had anything to do with it. It seems that Trump is always ready to believe the assurances of tyrannical rulers (even when they have shown repeatedly that they cannot be trusted).

Trump even made the ludicrous claim that it could have been "rogue killers". Really? The Saudi's would allow 15 rogue killers to enter their embassy and murder one of their citizens?

Why is Trump trying to cover for the Saudi government? He would have us believe that it is to save American jobs -- that the Saudi's have agreed to buy $112 billion in arms from the United States. That is just another of his outrageous lies! They have agreed to buy less than one-fifth of that amount (and most of that was during the Obama administration).

The truth is that what he's trying to protect is his own business interests (and that of his son-in-law Jared Kushner). Both depend on millions of dollars in Saudi money to stay afloat. In other words, Trump is willing to sacrifice the reputation of this country by apologizing for a murderous regime to protect his own business interests (which he should have given up when he became president).

That is inexcusable, and shows he has no morality or ethics.