Sunday, May 27, 2018

Creation


Police Brutality Is The Problem - Not Peaceful Protests


The topic being discussed on cable news right now is the silly decision by the National Football League to not allow it's employees (the players) to peacefully demonstrate against police brutality (especially against Black Americans). The NFL is one of the most popular organizations in this country, and 70% of the players in it are Black Americans. They could (and should) have been a leader for equal justice in this country, but they chose instead to attack those who peacefully demonstrate for justice.

But the NFL is not the problem. It is a symptom of the real problem. The real problem is that too many White Americans like to mouth their love of the Constitution, while their actions demonstrate a racism and disregard for that Constitution. They would rather vilify peaceful demonstrators than deal with the real problem being demonstrated against.

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees all Americans the right to peacefully protest (and what could be more peaceful than simply taking a knee during the anthem). That right does not just apply to things you support, but also to things you might not support or like.

The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees that all Americans will be treated equally under the law. It doesn't just apply to Whites, but to all citizens regardless of race, ethnicity, or color. When government officials (and yes, the police are government officials) treat minorities differently than they treat Whites, they are violating the Constitution and making a mockery of the rule of law.

I am especially talking to my fellow White citizens. Do you love and respect our Constitution? If you do, then why are you denigrating peaceful protestors and supporting police violations of that Constitution? Doing that is unconstitutional, un-American, and downright stupid.

Blacks (and other minorities) are not asking for special treatment. They are asking for equal treatment. They simply want police to treat them the same way they treat Whites. And that's what we should expect our police (and other government agencies) to do -- treat everyone the same. That's not that hard to do, and anyone who cannot do that should not be in law enforcement (or any other government job).

Too many times in this country, unarmed Blacks have been killed, when a White person would not have been. And too many times a White person would just be ticketed or let off with a warning, while a Black person would be arrested for the same offense. There is no defense for that.

I spent nearly 30 years working in various aspects of law enforcement (corrections officer, patrol officer, parole officer). I know law enforcement is not an easy job. Dealing with the public never is easy. But that is no excuse for unequal treatment. And the unequal treatment by some officers makes things worse for everyone -- both other officers and the public.

It is time for decent White Americans to join with their Black and Brown brothers and sisters, and demand that the problem with our police be solved. Our failure to act against injustice means we support that injustice. Is that how you want to be remembered?

All Americans should be taking a knee -- and doing much more!

New NFL Penalties

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

Canadian Poll Rates U.S. As World's Biggest Negative Force


This chart shows the result of one in the 2018 Canada World Survey. A sample of 1,501 Canadians (between October 23rd and November 26th of 2017) were asked what nations posed the biggest negative force in today's world. The U.S. won hands down. About 58% said the United States was standing out as a negative force in today's world. That's 12 points more than North Korea, 34 points more than Russia, and 45 points more than Iran or China.

The worst thing about this poll is that I believe those Canadians are RIGHT!

The Witch

Political Cartoon is by Jim Morin in The Miami Herald.

Majority Of Texans Agree Gun Laws Should Be Stricter


I think most people in America think Texans disagree with them on whether gun laws should be made stricter. But Texas may not be the backward states on guns that they think. While the percentages might not be as large as in some other states, a majority of Texans (51.6%) would like to see stricter gun laws.

And that is the general consensus among both genders, all age groups, and all race/ethnicities. A majority of women, 18-29's, 30-44's, 45-64's, Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians would like to see stricter gun laws. And a plurality of men, Whites, and those over 65 would like that also.

The Texas government, controlled by Republicans, is unlikely to take any action though. The most Republicans have offered is "thoughts and prayers" -- no action. After the latest school shooting, the GOP governor says he's going to hold a series of "roundtable discussions" on what can be done. That sounds an awful lot like Trump's White House "listening session" on guns, and will probably have the same result -- NO ACTION taken!

Republicans are out-of-step with Americans across the nation about making gun laws stricter, and now we see they are even beginning to be out-of-step with the citizens of red-state Texas.

The chart above uses information in a University of Texas / Texas Tribune Poll that was done last October. Although the poll is about 6 months old, I doubt the views have changed much, especially in light of the recent school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas. The poll questioned a sample of 1,200 Texas citizens, and has a margin of error of 2.83 points.

Spewing Toxic Material

Political Cartoon is by Andy Marlette in the Pensacola News Journal.

Nearly Half Of U.S. Families Struggle To Afford Basic Needs

( This map is from unitedwayalice.org.)

The unemployment rate is at a several year low, but that doesn't mean life is great for all U.S. families. Far too many of them struggle to meet the basic needs (like rent and food). That's because a huge sector of the people working at full-time jobs are not paid a livable wage. Sadly, this is not going to be fixed by the Republicans, who control the Congress and the White House. They support giving more to the rich (as their recent tax reform showed), but absolutely refuse to raise the minimum wage (which is still $7.25 an hour in most of this country), or do anything else to help most Americans.

Consider this article by Tami Luhby at CNN Money:

Nearly 51 million households don't earn enough to afford a monthly budget that includes housing, food, child care, health care, transportation and a cell phone, according to a studyreleased Thursday by the United Way ALICE Project. That's 43% of households in the United States.

The figure includes the 16.1 million households living in poverty, as well as the 34.7 million families that the United Way has dubbed ALICE -- Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. This group makes less than what's needed "to survive in the modern economy."

"Despite seemingly positive economic signs, the ALICE data shows that financial hardship is still a pervasive problem," said Stephanie Hoopes, the project's director.

California, New Mexico and Hawaii have the largest share of struggling families, at 49% each. North Dakota has the lowest at 32%.

Many of these folks are the nation's child care workers, home health aides, office assistants and store clerks, who work low-paying jobs and have little savings, the study noted. Some 66% of jobs in the US pay less than $20 an hour.

Summit

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

The Flip-Flop


Saturday, May 26, 2018

Just An Audience


Trump/GOP Tax Reform Still Doesn't Have Much Support



Donald Trump and the Republicans in Congress were sure that their tax reform law would be widely popular with the American support. They thought it was just what they needed to counter the Democrats in the coming election, and assure they would retain control of Congress. That hasn't happened.

Only 33% of the general public says they support the tax reform law, and only 22% believes they will pay less in taxes as a result of that tax reform. The public is not as stupid as the Republicans thought they were. They saw that over four-fifths of the tax cut benefits went to the very rich and to corporations. And they've also seen that those corporate tax cuts have not resulted in higher wages or more jobs.

This kind of tepid support for the tax plan is not going to help the Republicans this November. It may actually hurt them, because it shows that they care only for the rich and corporations.

The charts above use information found in a new Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between May 20th and 22nd of a national sample of 1,500 adults (including 1,263 registered voters). The margin of error for all adults is 3 points, and for registered voters is 2.9 points.

Animal

Political Cartoon is by Lalo Alcaraz.

Trump Still Can't Improve His Job Approval Numbers



Don't believe the claims for some on the right that Donald Trump's job approval numbers are getting better. They are NOT! Trump still has only about 38% of the public approving of the job he is doing, and that has remained fairly constant since shortly after his inauguration. And his disapproval is still double-digits higher than his approval.

The charts reflect information in a new Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between May 20th and 22nd of a national sample of 1,500 adults, with a 3 point margin of error.

NOTE -- This poll was done before Trump's embarrassing cancellation of the talks with North Korea.

Oops!

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

There Are A Few Honest Republicans Left In The U.S.


The pictures above are of Nicolle Wallace (currently with MSNBC) and Steve Schmidt. Both are life-long Republicans, and have been involved in the campaigns and administrations of several Republican officials. They are also honest Americans who love their country, and they are worried about what Donald Trump and the current crop of congressional Republicans are doing to this country. The following is an exchange they had on MSNBC last Thursday:

STEVE SCHMIDT

This president is besieged by investigations, and all around this president from Scott Pruitt and cabinet secretaries who have already resigned – we see fantastic levels of corruption, the type of corruption we haven’t seen in this country going back a hundred years.

And what’s increasingly clear, whether the target is James Comey, whether it’s Director Mueller the Special Counsel, the reality is that this president will burn everything to the ground to protect himself from this investigation moving closer to the Oval Office.

Everything he’s doing is a strategy of incitement. He’s trying to harden & incite his base through the most deliberate, the intense misinformation campaign that this country has ever seen.

This president is a serial liar. He is lying to the American people every day. He is making up things out of whole cloth. He is serially attacking vital institutions that are necessary to the security of the country.

He will apparently stop at nothing.

There is a second scandal, and that is the complicity of the majority party – the Republicans in the Congress.

The fact is that there is not one of them, not one who will stand up and say that we are a country of laws, that no one person is above the law, that these institutions are vital and necessary and objective truth matters.

This is propaganda. This is what propaganda looks like. It’s what it smells like. We have never seen anything like it. What we’re seeing is an attack from within on vital institutions like a person’s body would be attacked by a flesh-eating bacteria, and it is unprecedented in America.

NICOLLE WALLACE

We started the hour with news that Emmet Flood, one of the president’s new lawyers representing him in the Russia probe, attended this meeting on Capital Hill with the Gang of Eight where they reviewed the most sensitive of information about a human informant. Can you imagine any scenario Alberto Gonzales [former Attorney General under George W. Bush] or Harriet Myers [former White House Counsel to George W. Bush] would have checked in with Pat Fitzgerald who was investigating the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame?

STEVE SCHMIDT

It should never have happened. I mean on the one-to-ten scale of inappropriateness it comes in about 157. An the real issue now is what’s the next transgression? What’s the next time that the Department of Justice backs up because of the whims, because of the demands of the president.

We’re moving as John Heilemann said “closer and closer to crisis to the critical hour.” And the rule of law in this country must be defended.

There’s a potential, absent any defense of it by leaders in this country, that we’ll be living in a very different type of country. For 240-plus years the rule of law has held in the United States of America and the spinning of these conspiracy theories, the constancy of the attacks, the victimization that Trump puts upon himself – always blaming someone, this nefarious conspiracy – this is the hallmark of autocratic leadership back to the beginning of time. This is not normal in a democratic republic like the United States. And it should be opposed.

Bad Policy

Political Cartoon is by Kevin Siers in The Charlotte Observer.

The Truth About Poverty In The United States


The image above and the post below are from the Economic Policy Institute:

As part of the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Poor People’s Campaign, organizers are shedding light on the challenges faced by those who are most in need. Last week, EPI began our snapshot series to help readers understand the challenges surrounding poverty that remain today. We illustrated the progress made in reducing poverty since 1968, particularly among the elderly, and stressed that significant racial disparities remain.
Today, we are taking a closer look at those who fall below the official poverty line. While in our last post, we focused on the elderly, who saw great improvements in poverty reduction over the last 50 years, and children, the age group with the highest poverty rates today, here we look specifically at adults 18–64 years old. The share of these non-elderly adults in poverty rose from 9.0 percent in 1968 to 11.6 percent in 2016.
The figure above shows non-elderly adults in poverty segmented into various labor status categories. The top bar shows that 39 percent of those living below the poverty line between the ages of 18 and 64 in 2016 were not working because they are retired, going to school, or disabled. Clearly, an inadequate safety net is failing many who may be unable to work.
The bottom bar shows us that, among those working-age individuals who are otherwise employable, 63 percent are working and 45.5 percent are working full time. An additional 37.2 percent are not working, but this share includes 1.6 million people living below the poverty line who are actively seeking a job. The data make it clear that millions of people who are active participants in the labor market are unable to make ends meet, either due to insufficient hours or low wages.
Too often, it is assumed that poverty persists in the United States because those living below the poverty line simply refuse to work. In fact, a significant share of these individuals work and work full time, which means policies that boost employment and wages can be an important tool for reducing poverty. This does not eliminate, however, the need for a stronger safety net in this country to ensure that all people, regardless of whether they are enrolled in school, disabled, serve as full-time caregivers, or any other reason, are not vulnerable to falling into poverty. A serious fight against poverty requires both a more generous safety net and a better-functioning labor market.

No Spot Is Needed

Political Cartoon is by Clay Jones at claytoonz.com.

A Plan To Restore The Middle Class


Friday, May 25, 2018

Honesty


The Great Orange Negotiator Has Failed Again

(Cartoon image is by Marian Kamensky at cagle.com.)

The tiny black hearts of Trump supporters across the nation are broken today. They had a vision that their orange demagogue would ride into Singapore on a white horse and convince Kim Jong-Un, through force of personality and great negotiating skills, to give up all his nuclear weapons. Then Trump would fly to Scandinavia to receive his Nobel Prize -- assuring a Republican landslide in November and Trump's re-election in 2020. It was a sure thing.

Only it wasn't. Trump finally realized that he was being played (out-negotiated) by Kim Jong-Un, and cancelled the Singapore summit. His excuse was the "tremendous anger and open hostility" of a recent statement by North Korea. What was their statement? They called Pence a "political dummy". And they were right! Pence had warned that North Korea could go the way of Libya (be forced to give up a nuclear weapons program and have their leader deposed and killed). It was an incredibly stupid remark for Pence.

The cancellation of the meeting comes as no surprise to most of us. Any person with half a brain knew North Korea was not going to give up their nuclear weapons. Did they say they were willing to discuss denuclearization? Yes. But they NEVER said they would be willing to unilaterally give up their nuclear weapons. Only Trump, and his ignorant base, were dumb enough to believe that might happen.

Donald Trump failed to get anything out of the North Korea situation. The only winner was North Korea. They wanted to be viewed (at least in North Korea) as being important enough to have a one-on-one meeting with the most powerful leader in the world -- the United States president. They got that. Trump got nothing but an embarrassing failure.

This shouldn't surprise anyone. During the campaign, Trump said he was a "great negotiator" -- the best negotiator -- and that he would personally negotiate great deals for the American people -- so many that they would be tired of winning all the time. The truth is that he has had nothing but a string of failures.

Trump promised to negotiate a better deal for the United States in the TPP after dropping out of it. But no better deal has happened. The other nations just completed the deal without the U.S., and China is left as the dominant economic power of the Pacific Rim.

Trump promised to negotiate a better deal with Canada and Mexico on NAFTA. That has not happened. Negotiations have failed because Canada and Mexico have the strange notion that it should be fair to all three nations (and not just the U.S.).

Trump promised to repeal Obamacare and negotiate a replacement that would cover all Americans with cheaper insurance prices. That did not happen. He just damaged Obamacare -- leaving millions more Americans without insurance and higher insurance premiums for everyone else.

Trump dropped out of the Paris Accords, saying he would negotiate a better deal for the United States. No better deal has been negotiated, and since the U.S. produces more greenhouse gases than almost any other nation, the fight against global climate change has been seriously hurt.

Trump said he would build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, and negotiate a way for Mexico to pay for that wall. There is no wall, and Mexico has been adamant that they will not pay a penny for any wall.

Trump dropped out of the Iran Agreement, and imposed new sanctions on Iran that he said would make them negotiate a better deal. That won't happen. All he did was set up a coming economic fight with our European allies (who stayed in the agreement).

Trump bragged that he saved 200 American jobs by negotiating with Carrier. Carrier got about$7 million in tax breaks, then shipped those jobs out of the country a few months later anyway. It was another negotiating failure for Trump.

Trump threatened tariffs against China to negotiate a better trade deal. China won that battle by showing they can hurt the U.S. economy as much (and probably more) than Trump could hurt their economy.

After bragging about his great negotiating skills, Trump has scored a string of failures -- and no successes. He is probably the worst negotiator to ever occupy the White House.

Trump Caves

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

Another Idiotic Idea From Trump - Tariffs On Autos

(Cartoon image is by Sally Edelstein at Envisioning The American Dream.)

Donald Trump's pea-sized brain has come up with another brilliant (not) idea. Now he wants to impose a tariff on foreign autos and trucks entering the United States. It was enough to punish our allies with tariffs on steel and aluminum -- now he wants to do the same with automobiles.

Trump obviously has no idea of just how complicated the automobile industry actually is. Many of the automobiles sold in the United States by foreign manufacturers are made in the United States by U.S. workers. And many of the cars/trucks sold by American manufacturers are made in other countries. And just to confuse matters a bit more, many of those autos made in other countries use parts (from engines to interiors) that are made in the United States.

In other words, Trump's proposed auto tariffs are just as likely to hurt American car manufacturers and American parts manufacturers as it is to hurt foreign car manufacturers. It will raise the prices of many cars (which consumers can't afford), and it could cost many American jobs.

Where does Trump get these crazy ideas? And out of all the CEOs, and lobbyists in his administration, isn't there one smart enough to explain this to Trump? I shudder to think what he will come up with next!

Best Ever

Political Cartoon is by Stuart Carlson at carlsontoons.com.

Trump Has The Least Ethical Presidential Administration


Donald Trump likes to brag about himself and the people he's hired to run his administration. He claims they are the "best" people. The American public disagrees. They see his administration as being the least ethical of the last six administrations.

Only 37% of the public views the Trump administration as being ethical, while a substantial 59% says his administration is not ethical. Only one other president, Bill Clinton, has experienced a time when his administration was viewed as ethical by less than 50%. His number in January of 1994 was 43% (still 6 points higher than Trump), and he rebounded to 57% in March of that year.

The sad fact (for Trump) is that the public doesn't like him, doesn't approve of his job performance, thinks he is dishonest, and thinks his administration is generally unethical.

This chart was made using information contained in a new Gallup Poll -- done between May 1st and 10th of a national sample of 1,024 adults, with a 4 point margin of error.

Not Enough

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

Trump's Racism Has Made Racists Bolder Across U.S.

(Cartoon image is by Matt Davies in Newsday.)

When Barack Obama was elected president, some people foolishly thought the United States was entering a "post-racial" period, and our worst racial problems were behind us. It was not true. The election of the first Black president brought racists back out from under their rocks, and displayed for all to see that racism is still a problem in this country.

But the racism displayed while Obama was president pales in comparison to the current level under Donald Trump. The racists and white supremacists watched Trump's obvious display of racism during his campaign, and have been gratified by it since he was sworn in. They celebrated his calling them "nice people". Now they have been emboldened, and are committing vicious acts of racism across the country -- assured that they are just doing what Trump wants them to do.

It is time for decent Americans to take a public stand against this racist activity, which continues to grow with each day Trump is in office.

Frank Vyan Walton at Daily Kos has given us a list of some of the most egregious racist actions since Trump became president -- actions Trump has not spoken or tweeted against.

Racist Gathering

Political Cartoon is by Clay Jones at claytoonz.com.

It's Never The Victim's Fault


Thursday, May 24, 2018

Poverty Is Man-Made


67% Of Americans Agree With Legal Same-Sex Marriage



The Supreme Court has settled the marriage situation. They have ruled that all Americans have the right to marry the person of their choice, including members of the LGBT community.

But it's still good to see charts like those above. They show that 67% (two out of every three adults) support the right of LGBT citizens to marry the person they love. And that includes 83% of Democrats, 71% of Independents, and 44% of Republicans.

Evangelicals, especially white evangelicals, are still trying to throw this country back to the 1950's -- a time when discrimination against the LGBT community (and minorities and women) was commonplace. But Americans are not having it. American society is growing up and acting like decent adults. They are rejecting discrimination -- and that's a very good thing.

These charts are from a recent Gallup Poll -- done between May 1st and 10th of a national sample of 1,024 adults, with a margin of error of 4 points.

Gullible

Political Cartoon is by Tom Tales in The Washington Post.

Trump Couldn't Win Re-Election If The Election Was Now


We still have a couple of years to go before Donald Trump runs for re-election, but he's got a lot of ground to make up in that time. If the election was today, he would probably not win. About 44% say they would vote for an unnamed Democrat, while 36% say they would vote for Trump (and 20% say they are unsure, wouldn't vote, or would vote for someone else).

These numbers come from a new Politico / Morning Consult Poll -- done between May 17th and 19th of a national sample of 1,990 registered voters, with a 2 point margin of error.

Unless

Political Cartoon is by Steve Greenberg at steve@greenberg-art.com.

German Public Says U.S. Is NOT A Reliable Partner


This poll illustrates just how badly Donald Trump has damaged the reputation of the United States. After withdrawing from the Paris Accords and violating the Iran Agreement, many of our best allies simply no longer trust us. Only 14% of the German public thinks the United States is a reliable partner, while an overwhelming 82% say it is not. That's a huge 68 point gap.

Even Russia gets better numbers than the United States does. About 36% said Russia was a reliable partner, while 64% said they were not -- a negative gap of 28 points. You know the reputation of the United States is terrible when Russia's is higher.

This is from a ZDF TV / Mannheim Research Poll -- done between May 15th and 17th of a random sample of 1,200 German adults.

Made It Out

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

The Statewide Slate Of Texas Democratic Candidates

Beto O’Rourke
Democratic Nominee for U.S. Senator

Beto O’Rourke is a fourth-generation Texan, born and raised in El Paso. He ran for El Paso City Council in 2005 and served for two terms before running for U.S. Congress in 2012, taking on an eight-term incumbent and winning. In Congress, Beto serves on the House Committees for Armed Services and Veterans Affairs. He has made it a priority to work across the aisle to secure bipartisan support for his legislation, because Beto knows our country is at its best when we can put party aside to work together, build consensus and find common ground.

Lupe Valdez
Democratic Nominee for Governor

The daughter of migrant farmworkers and the youngest child in a family of ten — Lupe Valdez learned the value of a strong work ethic and the opportunity that comes with education. With these values, she later on became a Sheriff of Dallas County as the only Latina sheriff in the United States and one of very few LGBTQ Americans serving in public office. In 2004, Lupe Valdez shook the political establishment in Dallas County, becoming one of the first Democrats elected countywide in many years.

Mike Collier
Democratic Nominee for Lieutenant Governor

Mike Collier has built a reputation for rigorous financial analysis, independent decision-making, and a commitment to telling the truth, no matter what. If we’re going to hold politicians accountable, that’s exactly what Texas needs right now.

Justin Nelson
Democratic Nominee for Attorney General

Justin was born and raised in Houston. He took the values he learned from his time in the Houston public school system with him to clerk for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor at the United States Supreme Court, and practices these same values every day in service of Texans like you.

Joi Chevalier
Democratic Nominee for Texas Comptroller

Joi Chevalier’s background in corporate and civic work is quite extensive, often focusing on innovative and first-time technologies, programs, and boards serving large, underserved constituencies. She speaks regularly on entrepreneurship, food+tech, product management, and the opportunity for women and African-Americans in technology and through food entrepreneurship.

Miguel Suazo
Democratic Nominee for Texas Land Commissioner

As a businessman and an attorney specializing in energy and natural resources, Miguel Suazo will use his expertise in business and law to bring professionalism and pride to the General Land Office while protecting the land that we love. His experience includes working as an energy attorney in Houston and in policy, having previously served as a staff member to U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) who served on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Kim Olson
Democratic Nominee for Texas Agriculture Commissioner

Retired Air Force Colonel, one of the first female pilots, and a fourth-generation farmer Kim Olson is exceptionally equipped to lead the economic engine that is Texas agriculture. She’s heard from farmers, ranchers, educators, and every day people who shop at the local co-op, farmers market, and grocery store.

Roman McAllen
Democratic Nominee for Railroad Commissioner

Roman McAllen was born and raised in Houston, who is using his career in both law and design and architecture to preserve our historic resources in Texas. From working for the City of Brownsville in planning and historic preservation to working as the preservation officer to the City of Denton. Roman McAllen believes it’s up to us to conserve our beautiful state.

Reacting To Inaction

Political Cartoon is by Daryl Cagle at cagle.com.

Hypocrisy