Friday, July 10, 2020

Mary Trump On The 2016 Election


Another Poll Has Biden With A Double-Digit Lead


The chart above reflects the results of a new Rasmussen Poll -- done between July 5th and 7th of a national sample of 1,500 likely voters, with a 2.5 point margin of error.

The Rasmussen Poll is normally very kind to Republicans. It has consistently shown a higher job approval for Trump than most other polls. When this GOP-friendly poll shows Trump trailing by double-digits (10 points), it's time to pay attention. The poll also had Biden leading Trump among Independents by 12 points (48% to 36%).

If Democrats and Independents go to the polls in large numbers next November, Trump is in a lot of trouble.

Lots Of "Red"

Political Cartoon is by Dave Whamond at Cagle.com.

In The Midst Of The Pandemic, Our Gun Problem Gets Worse


The chart above uses figures from FBI.gov. It shows the number of firearms background checks have been done through the NICS system in each of the last 12 months. Note the red trend line. The trend for these checks has gone up significantly in the last year.

This is only the number of checks done, not the number of guns sold. The number of guns sold is likely even higher -- since there are still many loopholes in the background check law.

One might expect that the number of mass shootings might have gone down with the social distancing because of the pandemic. Sadly, that is not the case. So far this year (according to the Gun Violence Archive), there have been 284 mass shootings in this country. That's is well above one mass shooting for every day this year (actually about 1.479 per day) -- above the rate for last year.

There has also been 21,559 gun deaths this year. That means we are well on our way to having 40,000 gun deaths this year.

The COVID-19 virus is not the only epidemic in this country. We must not forget the gun violence epidemic has not abated. We need to control both!

The Dunce

Political Cartoon is by Kevin Siers in The Charlotte Observer.

Over 1.3 Million Filed For Unemployment Last Week


The Labor Department has released it statistics for the number of people who claimed unemployment last week It shows that 1,314,000 workers filed for unemployment in the week ending on July 4th. That makes the 16th straight week where the number of new unemployment claims was un the millions.

Here is the official statement from the Labor Department:

In the week ending July 4, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 1,314,000, a decrease of 99,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised down by 14,000 from 1,427,000 to 1,413,000. The 4-week moving average was 1,437,250, a decrease of 63,000 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised down by 3,500 from 1,503,750 to 1,500,250.

Trump's Garden Of "Heroes"

Political Cartoon is by Jack Ohman in The Sacramento Bee.

Pandemic Is Getting Worse In Most States


Donald Trump has said he thinks the COVID-19 pandemic is under control in the United States. In fact, he believes it's so controlled that he is demanding that schools be opened in all states -- and has threatened to cut federal funds for states that don't comply with his demand.

His vice-president, Mike Pence, told Americans that the COVID-19 surge in the worst hit states (Arizona, Texas, and Florida) was beginning to level off.

They were both lying. As the map above (from Axios.com) shows, at least 33 states are experiencing a rise in the number of cases, while only 3 states have a decreasing number of cases. The other 14 are just holding steady.

The truth is that we are now experiencing the results of too many states reopening too soon -- before they had the virus truly under control, and without adequate testing and contact-tracing. That has allowed the virus to come raging back.

The only thing they are telling the truth about is their denial of a second wave of the virus. What the country is experiencing not a second wave. We have yet to control the first wave. A second wave, which is still likely, probably won't come until the Fall.

Back To School?

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

Trump Is Too Cowardly To Take This Dare!


Thursday, July 09, 2020

The Epitome Of Failure


Public Knows "Defund Police" Doesn't Mean Eliminate Them


The chart above reflects the results of a recent Monmouth University Poll -- done between June 26th and 30th of a national sample of 867 adults, with a 3.3 point margin of error.

Recently, Donald Trump has been running an ad saying Biden (and Democrats) want to defund the police. The ad says that police will no longer be available if you are a victim of crimes, because Biden and the Democrats will eliminate the police.

Trump has nothing to run on as far as accomplishments, because he has accomplished nothing positive for the country -- and the polls show the voters know that. So he is trying something else. He hopes to scare people into voting for him.

Fortunately, most people are not as stupid as Trump thinks they are -- at least those outside of his "deplorable" base. Note in the chart above that only 18% think "defund police" means to eliminate the police. But 77% know that it just means changing the way police operate.

He Only Protects Statues

Political Cartoon is by Dave Whamond at Cagle.com.

Failure To Continue The Unemployment Insurance Increase Would Seriously Hurt The Economy In Every State


There is a very good chance that Congress will refuse to extend the $600 increase in unemployment insurance past the end of this month. The Republicans are whining that the generous unemployment insurance payout makes people refuse to return to work. That is ridiculous. They overlook the fact that if someone refuses to return to the job they had before being laid off, they don't qualify for unemployment benefits. They also overlook that many are not able to return to their jobs because their business is shut down (or no longer exists), and these people depend on the unemployment to pay their rent and buy food (and other necessities).

Finally, they are ignoring one other thing. According to the Economic Policy Institute, failure to continue the unemployment benefits (including the $600 increase) would seriously damage the economy -- the same economy they are trying to save by forcing people back to work in the midst of the pandemic. You can go here to read EPI's excellent analysis of how the economy would be hurt if Republicans block extension of the unemployment benefits.



Deep Roots

Political Cartoon is by John Darkow in the Columbia Missourian.

Two New Polls Have Biden's Lead At 9 And 11 Points


The chart above reflects the results of the new Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between July 5th and 7th of a national sample of 1,165 registered voters, with a 3.6 point margin of error.


The chart above reflects the results of the latest Public Policy Polling survey -- done on June 25th and 26th of a national sample of 996 voters (no moe given).

Leaving W.H.O.

Political Cartoon is by Marian Kamensky at marian@humor-kamensky.sk.

Sweden Tried To Ignore COVID-19 - & They're Paying For It

While most other European nations, aggressively fought the Coronavirus by requiring social distancing, the wearing of masks, and closing businesses, Sweden took a different path -- they chose to do nothing.

The American right-wing has praised Sweden's lack of action, and said that should have been the course taken in the United States. But how did that work out for Sweden?

It didn't work so well. Sweden has had many more deaths from the virus than its neighboring countries, and still has suffered the economic effects of the virus.

Here's how Peter S. Goodman reports on the Swedish response to COVID-19 in The New York Times:

Ever since the coronavirus emerged in Europe, Sweden has captured international attention by conducting an unorthodox, open-air experiment. It has allowed the world to examine what happens in a pandemic when a government allows life to carry on largely unhindered.

This is what has happened: Not only have thousands more people died than in neighboring countries that imposed lockdowns, but Sweden’s economy has fared little better.

“They literally gained nothing,” said Jacob F. Kirkegaard, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington. “It’s a self-inflicted wound, and they have no economic gains.”. . .

Sweden put stock in the sensibility of its people as it largely avoided imposing government prohibitions. The government allowed restaurants, gyms, shops, playgrounds and most schools to remain open. By contrast, Denmark and Norway opted for strict quarantines, banning large groups and locking down shops and restaurants.hat might not sound especially horrendous compared with the more than 129,000 Americans who have died. But Sweden is a country of only 10 million people. Per million people, Sweden has suffered 40 percent more deaths than the United States, 12 times more than Norway, seven times more than Finland and six times more than Denmark.

The elevated death toll resulting from Sweden’s approach has been clear for many weeks. What is only now emerging is how Sweden, despite letting its economy run unimpeded, has still suffered business-destroying, prosperity-diminishing damage, and at nearly the same magnitude of its neighbors.

Sweden’s central bank expects its economy to contract by 4.5 percent this year, a revision from a previously expected gain of 1.3 percent. The unemployment rate jumped to 9 percent in May from 7.1 percent in March. “The overall damage to the economy means the recovery will be protracted, with unemployment remaining elevated,” Oxford Economics concluded in a recent research note.

This is more or less how damage caused by the pandemic has played out in Denmark, where the central bank expects that the economy will shrink 4.1 percent this year, and where joblessness has edged up to 5.6 percent in May from 4.1 percent in March.

In short, Sweden suffered a vastly higher death rate while failing to collect on the expected economic gains.

The coronavirus does not stop at national borders. Despite the government’s decision to allow the domestic economy to roll on, Swedish businesses are stuck with the same conditions that produced recession everywhere else. And Swedish people responded to the fear of the virus by limiting their shopping — not enough to prevent elevated deaths, but enough to produce a decline in business activity.

Here is one takeaway with potentially universal import: It is simplistic to portray government actions such as quarantines as the cause of economic damage. The real culprit is the virus itself. 

The Virus Candidate

Political Cartoon is by Ann Telnaes in The Washington Post.

The Modern GOP


Wednesday, July 08, 2020

Translating Right-Wing Statements


Republicans Less Worried About Virus Because Of Trump


Trump has been downplaying the COVID-19 since it came to this country. He said it would spread -- that the first 15 cases would soon be zero. Then he said it was nothing more than the flu. And several times he has said it would magically disappear, even without a vaccine. Now he has come up with a new and more ridiculous statement. He says that 99% of COVID-19 cases are totally harmless.

It's not true of course. Once again, he's just trying to cover for his incompetence in dealing with the virus. PolitiFact ruled Trump's latest statement as "False", saying the following:

Trump said that 99% of all COVID-19 cases are totally harmless. The White House provided no supporting data.
Looking at the worst possible outcome, the government’s numbers show a cumulative death rate of 4.5%, although the actual fatality rate could end up lower once we learn more about the disease 
The rate at which new cases lead to hospitalizations has fallen, but it still remains at 4%. And public health researchers note that more and more, there are reports that even people with mild cases are hit with medical problems after they’ve recovered.
There’s a lot more to be learned about this disease, but nothing says that it’s harmless for 99% of the people it touches.
We rate this claim False.
Sadly though, most of the Republican base believes Trump over scientists and medical professionals. The chart below is from the Axios / Ipsos Poll (done between March 13th and June 29th of 15,871 adults, with a 2 point margin of error).
Note on the chart above that only 36% of Republicans say they are concerned about the COVID-19 virus (while 55% of Independents and 77% of Democrats say they are concerned). This is in spite of over 131,000 deaths and millions of cases from the virus. Most of the Republicans, after listening to Trump (and his parrots at Fox News), are willing to ignore facts and put themselves in danger by refusing to wear a mask or social distance.

The Cheater

Political Cartoon is by Paul Szep at szep.com.

Losing The War On COVID-19 Is A Failure Of Leadership

For a brief period of time, it looked like the United States might actually be getting a handle on the COVID-19 pandemic -- in spite of the delays and bungling of the Trump administration.

But then Trump decided that the economy was more important than fighting the virus or saving American lives, so he urged the states to reopen their businesses and stop the social distancing (and wearing of masks). He didn't understand that the economy can't rebound until the virus is under control.

Numerous Republican governors followed his lead, and now we have the virus surging in those red states.

We could still tamp down this resurgence of the virus, but that would require leadership from our national and state governments. Sadly, Trump has shown he is incapable of such leadership, and Republican governors won't go against his lead.

The latest idea from the White House is to do nothing -- to just learn to live with the virus. In other words, Trump (who claimed to be a war-time president fighting the virus) has surrendered.The virus is winning -- and it's winning because of a failure of leadership.

Here's part of how Paul Krugman describes this failure of leadership in The New York Times:

Why did America bungle COVID-19 so badly?

There has been a fair bit of commentary to the effect that our failed pandemic response was deeply rooted in American culture. We are, the argument goes, too libertarian, too distrustful of government, too unwilling to accept even slight inconveniences to protect others.

And there’s surely something to this. I don’t think any other advanced country (but are we still an advanced country?) has a comparable number of people who respond with rage when asked to wear a mask in a supermarket. There definitely isn’t any other advanced country where demonstrators against public health measures would wave guns around and invade state capitols. And the Republican Party is more or less unique among major Western political parties in its hostility to science in general.

But what strikes me, when looking at America’s extraordinary pandemic failure, is how top-down it all was.

Those anti-lockdown demonstrations weren’t spontaneous, grass-roots affairs. Many were organized and coordinated by conservative political activists, some with close ties to the Trump campaign, and financed in part by right-wing billionaires.

And the rush to reopen in Sunbelt states was less a response to popular demand than a case of Republican governors following Trump’s lead.

The main driving force behind reopening, as far as I can tell, was the administration’s desire to have big job gains leading into November, so that it could do what it knew how to do — boast about economic success. Actually dealing with the pandemic just wasn’t Trump’s kind of thing.

In that case, however, why has Trump refused to wear a face mask or encourage others to do so? After all, wider use of masks would be one way to limit infections without shutting down the economy.

Well, Trump’s vanity — his belief that wearing a mask would make him look silly, or mess up his makeup, or something — has surely played a role. But it’s also true that masks remind people that we haven’t controlled the coronavirus — and Trump wants people to forget that awkward fact.

The irony is that Trump’s willingness to trade deaths for jobs and political gain has backfired.

Reopening did lead to large job increases in May and June, as around a third of the workers laid off as a result of the pandemic were rehired. But Trump’s job approval and electoral prospects just kept sliding.

And even in purely economic terms the rush to reopen is probably failing. The last official employment number was a snapshot from the second week of June; a variety of short-term indicators suggest that growth slowed or even went into reverse soon afterward, especially in states where Covid-19 cases are spiking.

In any case, the point is that America’s defeat at the hands of the coronavirus didn’t happen because victory was impossible. Nor was it because we as a nation were incapable of responding. No, we lost because Trump and those around him decided that it was in their political interests to let the virus run wild.

Trump Response

Political Cartoon is by Randy Bish at bishtoons.com.

The Stock Market Is NOT The Economy


Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Capitalism


Trump's Job Approval Has Dropped Among All Groups


The chart above is from the Gallup Poll. It shows the job approval of Donald Trump -- and compares what it was earlier in the year to what it is now. Note that his job approval has dropped with every demographic group. It has dropped 8 points among all adults.

The latest survey was done between June 8th and 30th of a national sample of 1,016 adults, and has a 4 point margin of error.

The Non-Reader

Political Cartoon is by Dave Whamond at Cagle.com.

COVID-19 Pandemic Is Out-Of-Control In Texas




Donald Trump has badly mishandled the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. He waited too late to act, and did far too little when he finally did act. As a result, many thousands of Americans have died unnecessarily, and many more will in the future.

Then he compounded his mistakes by urging the nation to reopen businesses, and dispense with wearing masks and social distancing. It seems that he surrendered to the virus, and decided to just ignore it in the hope that it would magically disappear (something he has said several times). Instead, he wanted to concentrate on reopening the economy to give himself a better chance of being re-elected.

Republican governors had a choice to make then -- go with Trump and hope for the best, or act to save American lives. They chose to do the former. They made a political decision rather than one based on science and public health. Now it's coming back to bite them.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott was one of those Republican governors who opted to go along with Trump in spite of what public health officials were warning. On May 1st, he started the reopening process. Now he is trying to backtrack.

The charts above are from the Houston Chronicle. They show what is now happening in Texas. Note that the positive test rate, the number of new cases of COVID-19, and the number of hospitalizations due to the virus have all shot up dramatically. The virus is out-of-control in Texas.

And Texas is not the only state that is suffering from Republican mishandling of the virus. The numbers look just as bad in Arizona and Florida and several other red states.

Statues Of Trump Heroes

Political Cartoon is by Dave Granlund at davegranlund.com.

Donald Trump's 25-Point Plan To Stay In Office


The following is from the blog of former Labor Secretary Robert Reich:

Trump will do anything to be re-elected. His opponents are limited because they believe in democracy. Trump has no limits because he doesn’t.
Here’s Trump’s re-election playbook, in 25 simple steps:
1. Declare yourself above the law.
2. Use racist fearmongering. Demand “law and order” and describe protesters as “thugs”, “lowlife” and “rioters and looters”. Describe Covid-19 as “Kung-Flu”. Retweet posts from white supremacists. In your campaign ads, use a symbol associated with Nazis.
3. Appoint an attorney general more loyal to you than to America, and politicize the Department of Justice so it’s lenient on your loyalists and comes down hard on your enemies. Have it lighten the sentence of a crony convicted of lying under oath. Order investigations of industries you dislike.
4. Fire US attorneys who are investigating you.
5. Fire independent inspectors general who are looking into what you’ve done. Crush any whistleblowers you find.
6. Demean and ignore the intelligence community. Appoint a director of national intelligence more loyal to you than to America. Demand that the head of the FBI pledge loyalty to you.
7. Pack the federal courts with judges and justices more loyal to you than to the constitution.
8. Politicize the Department of Defense so generals will back whatever you order. Refer to them as “my generals”. Have them help clear out protesters. Order the military to surveil protesters. Tell governors you’ll bring in the military to stop protesters.
9. Purge your party of anyone disloyal to you and turn it into a mindless, brainless, spineless cult.
10. Get rid of accumulated experience and expertise in government. Demean career public servants. Hollow out the state department, the Department of Justice, Health and Human Services, and public health.
11. Reward donors and cronies with bailouts, tax breaks, subsidies, government contracts, regulatory rollbacks and plum jobs. Put their lobbyists in charge of your agencies. Distribute $500bn in pandemic assistance to corporations in secret, without any oversight.
12. Coddle dictators. Don’t criticize their human rights abuses. Refuse to work with the leaders of other democracies. Withdraw from international treaties.
13. Create scapegoats. Demonize migrants and lock up asylum-seekers at the border even if they’re children. Put a whitenationalist in charge of immigration policy. Blame Muslims, Mexicans and Chinese.
14. Denigrate and ridicule all critics. Describe opponents as “human scum”. Attack the mainstream media as purveyors of “fake news” and “enemies of the people”.
15. Conjure up conspiracies against yourself supposedly led by your predecessor and your opponent in the last election. Without any evidence, accuse your predecessor of “treason”. Fabricate a “Deep State” out to get you.
16. Downplay real threats to the nation, such as a rapidly spreading pandemicLie about your utter failure to contain it. Muzzle public health experts. Urge people to go back to work even as the pandemic worsens in parts of the country.
17. Encourage armed supporters to “liberate” states from elected officials who disagree with you.
18. Bribe other nations to investigate your electoral opponent and flood social media with lies about him.
19. Use rightwing propaganda machines like Fox News and conspiracy theory peddling One America News to inundate the country with your lies. Ensure that the morally bankrupt chief executive of Facebook allows you to spread your lies on the biggest media machine in the world.
20. Suppress the votes of people likely to vote against you. Intimidate voters of color. Encourage Republican governors to purge voter rolls, demand voter ID and close polling places.
21. Seek to prevent mail-in ballots during the pandemic. Claim they will cause voter fraud, without evidence. Threaten to close the US postal service.
22. Get Vladimir Putin to hack into US election machines, as he did in 2016 but can now do with more experience and deftness. Promise him that in return you’ll further destabilize America as well as Nato. Allow him to put a bounty on killing U.S. troops in Afghanistan. 
23. If it still looks like you’ll be voted out, try to postpone the election.
24. If you’re voted out of office notwithstanding all this, refuse to leave. Contest the election, claim massive fraud, say it’s a conspiracy, get your cult of a political party to support your lies, get your propaganda machine to repeat them, get your justice department to back you, get your judges and justices to affirm you, get your generals to suppress any subsequent rebellion.
25. Declare victory.
Memo to America: Beware Trump’s playbook. Spread the truth. Stay vigilant. Fight for our democracy.

Nyet!

Political Cartoon is by David Horsey in The Seattle Times.

There Comes A Time


Monday, July 06, 2020

The Greatest Cruelty


Electoral College Map For 2020 Now Favors Joe Biden


This map of how the electoral college is predicted to go is from Taegan Goddard. Here's what he had to say about how he arrived at this map.

Our interactive presidential election map is currently based on the consensus of the following forecasts:
We also use the latest polling data from FiveThirtyEight, RealClearPolitics and Electoral-Vote.com.

If Statues Showed History

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

Jimmy Carter Releases A Statement On Racial Justice

Former President Jimmy Carter released the following statement on racial justice on June 3rd.

These are the words we need to hear from our current president -- but unfortunately, he cares only about himself and not the country or its citizens.

Mr. Carter reminds us of what it was like to have a decent man in the White House, and that we must do better if we truly love this country.

He wrote:

Rosalynn and I are pained by the tragic racial injustices and consequent backlash across our nation in recent weeks. Our hearts are with the victims’ families and all who feel hopeless in the face of pervasive racial discrimination and outright cruelty. We all must shine a spotlight on the immorality of racial discrimination. But violence, whether spontaneous or consciously incited, is not a solution.

As a white male of the South, I know all too well the impact of segregation and injustice to African Americans. As a politician, I felt a responsibility to bring equity to my state and our country. In my 1971 inaugural address as Georgia’s governor, I said: “The time for racial discrimination is over.” With great sorrow and disappointment, I repeat those words today, nearly five decades later. Dehumanizing people debases us all; humanity is beautifully and almost infinitely diverse. The bonds of our common humanity must overcome the divisiveness of our fears and prejudices. 

Since leaving the White House in 1981, Rosalynn and I have strived to advance human rights in countries around the world. In this quest, we have seen that silence can be as deadly as violence. People of power, privilege, and moral conscience must stand up and say “no more” to a racially discriminatory police and justice system, immoral economic disparities between whites and blacks, and government actions that undermine our unified democracy. We are responsible for creating a world of peace and equality for ourselves and future generations. 

We need a government as good as its people, and we are better than this.

Front-Runner

Political Cartoon is by Ed Hall at Artizans.com.

They Always Fall


Sunday, July 05, 2020

We Are Fully Responsible


Growth Of COVID-19 Cases In Each State In The Last Week

These numbers are from The COVID Tracking Project.

The first number for each state is the number of cases they had on 6/27/20. The second number is the number of cases on 7/4/20 (one week later).

Alabama..........35083 -- 42862
Alaska..........854 -- 1111
Arizona..........70051 -- 94553
Arkansas..........18740 -- 23209
California.........206433 -- 254745
Colorado..........31796 -- 33619
Connecticut.........46206 -- 46717
Delaware..........11091 -- 11996
District of Columbia..........10216 -- 10447
Florida..........132545 -- 190052
Georgia..........74985 -- 93319
Hawaii..........866 -- 975
Idaho..........5148 -- 6994
Illinois..........142130 -- 147734
Indiana..........44575 -- 47432
Iowa..........28012 -- 31041
Kansas..........13538 -- 15919
Kentucky..........14859 -- 16376
Louisiana..........54769 -- 63289
Maine..........3154 -- 3397
Maryland..........66450 -- 69341
Massachusetts..........108443 -- 109838
Michigan..........69679 -- 72581
Minnesota..........35033 -- 37624
Mississippi..........25531 -- 30674
Missouri..........20261 -- 23215
Montana..........852 -- 1167
Nebraska..........18524 -- 19660
Nevada..........16339 -- 21575
New Hampshire..........5671 -- 5857
New Jersey..........170873 -- 173033
New Mexico..........11408 -- 12776
New York..........391923 -- 396598
North Carolina..........60537 -- 71654
North Dakota..........3458 -- 3779
Ohio..........49455 -- 56183
Oklahoma..........12642 -- 15645
Oregon..........7818 -- 9930
Pennsylvania..........84370 -- 89375
Rhode Island..........16661 -- 16991
South Carolina..........31939 -- 43386
South Dakota..........6626 -- 7028
Tennessee..........40172 -- 50140
Texas..........143371 -- 191790
Utah..........20628 -- 24542
Vermont..........1200 -- 1238
Virginia..........61247 -- 65109
Washington..........30855 -- 34778
West Virginia..........2761 -- 3141
Wisconsin..........30227 -- 34207
Wyoming..........1392 -- 1606

Virgin Islands..........81 -- 111
Puerto Rico..........7066 -- 7787
Guam..........248 -- 288