Tuesday, October 31, 2017


I wish all my readers a very happy and safe Halloween. May this holiday bring you nothing but fun!

Only A Tiny Religious Minority Object To Halloween

I happily admit that Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. It has no real purpose except to have fun -- with kids trick-or-treating for candy and adults partying.

But every year, there are those who want to ask people not to celebrate this fun holiday. They think it somehow violates their religious beliefs. Fortunately, they are a tiny minority of the public.

Only about 20% of the population says they have a religious objection to celebrating Halloween, while 80% (including many religious people) have no problem with Halloween at all. And the same is true of all demographic groups.

This chart was made using information in a new Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between October 22nd and 24th of a random national sample of 1,500 adults, with a 3.1 point margin of error.

Treats For The Rich

Political Cartoon is by Adam Zyglis in The Buffalo News.

Indictments/Convictions Starting For Trump Administration

Our last presidential administration was one of the cleanest in American history. The Obama administration had no criminal indictments, no criminal convictions, and no prison sentences. It stands as an example for all future administrations on how to conduct government in a clean and non-corrupt way.

The same cannot be said of the Trump administration. Trump's campaign advisor, Paul Manafort (and his associate, Rick Gates) have been indicted on 12 criminal counts. Also, Trump's former foreign policy advisor, George Papadopolous, has plead guilty to lying to the FBI about arranging meetings between the Russians and Trump campaign officials.

Trump has been in office less than 10 months, and his administration has 12 criminal indictments for two individuals and one criminal conviction -- and that's just the beginning. The real possibility exists that many more indictments are to follow --  considering the many Trump campaign officials that met with the Russians (and lied about it), and the many lobbyists and corporate bigwigs Trump has put in government positions (which would allow them to feather their own nests at taxpayer expense).

The Trump administration could easily be the most corrupt administration in American history. The real question now is whether the Trump administration will break the record set by the Nixon administration on indictments, convictions, and prison sentences - and whether Trump will be forced to resign (as Nixon was). I think both could happen.

Trick Or Tweet

Political Cartoon is by John Darkow in the Columbia Missourian.

Polls Average Shows Strong Disapproval Of Trump

The chart above is from the website fivethirtyeight.com. It shows the job approval average of all polls for Donald Trump. Note that his job approval is not improving. It currently rests at 37.3% approval and 57.1% disapproval -- a negative gap of 19.8 points. Unless this dramatically improves, he will have no coattails for the GOP to cling to in 2018 (and those who support him will probably be hurt in the election).

Wall Prototypes

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

Drain The Swamp? No - Trump Added Voracious Critters To It

(Cartoon image is by Steve Sack in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.)

During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump promised the public that he would "drain the swamp" in Washington -- making the government more responsive to ordinary Americans.


What he has actually done is put foxes in charge of all the government henhouses -- giving lobbyists and corporate bigwigs even more opportunity to feather their own nests at taxpayer expense. His administration now has the potential to be the most corrupt in our nation's history.

Consider the following from Lachlan Markay and Sam Stein at The Daily Beast:

Nearly a year since he won election, the president has turned federal agencies over to the private industries that they regulate. And he has done so to a degree that ethics groups say they have never witnessed. 
The Daily Beast examined 341 nominations the president has made to Senate-confirmed administration positions. Of those, more than half (179) have some notable conflict of interest, according to a comprehensive review of public records. One hundred and five nominees worked in the industries that they were being tasked with regulating; 63 lobbied for, were lawyers for, or otherwise represented industry members that they were being tasked with regulating; and 11 received payments or campaign donations from members of the industry that they were being tasked with regulating.

(GOP) Elephants Lie

Political Cartoon is by Tom Tales in The Washington Post.

A Frightening Image For Halloween

(From DonkeyHotey.)

Monday, October 30, 2017

Don't Blame The Victims

Majority Of The Public Says Trump Lies Most Of The Time

This is one reason Trump's approval rating remains so low. About 51% of the public thinks he says incorrect (untrue) things most or all of the time, and another 24% believe he does it sometimes. Only a tiny 15% say he rarely or never says incorrect (untrue) things.

And 39% (nearly four out of 10 people) believes he does that lying intentionally, while 24% believes it is an accident (i.e., he is too ignorant of the facts to get them correct). The remaining percentage doesn't know whether the lies are intentional or due to ignorance.

These charts reflect the results from a new Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between October 22nd and 24th of a random national sample of 1,500 adults (including 1,312 registered voters), with a margin of error of 3.1 points.


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

Trump Sets A New Job Approval Low In NBC/WSJ Poll

The newest NBC News / Wall Street Journal Poll puts Donald Trump's job approval at 38 and disapproval at 58%. That 38% is a new low in this poll.

The NBC News / Wall Street Journal Poll was done between October 23rd and 26th of a random national sample of 900 adults (including 753 registered voters), and has a margin of error of 3.3 points (3.6 for registered voters).

The same poll showed that voters have a widening preference for Democrats to control Congress (see chart below).


Political cartoon is by Adam Zyglis in The Buffalo News.

Most Now Believe Women Are Equally Capable To Men

In the last few decades, women have been doing many jobs that were once exclusive to men. And they have been doing those jobs very well. That seems to have changed the view of many in this country. Currently, a significant majority of Americans (62%) believe that women are just as capable as men of doing virtually all jobs.

The chart reflects the results of a Rasmussen Poll -- done on October 16th and 17th of a random national sample of 1,000 likely voters, with a 3 point margin of error.

Her Too

Political Cartoon is by John Cole in the Scranton Times-Tribune.

Racism Is Still Pervasive In The United States

These charts are from an NPR / Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Poll done between January 26th and April 9th of a random national sample of 802 African-Americans, with a margin of error of 4.1 points.

It shows that Blacks still experience many types of discrimination in this country. Too many Whites think that the Civil Rights laws of the 1960's did away with discrimination against minorities. That is just wishful thinking on their part. Racism is alive and well in the United States -- and much more needs to be done to stamp it out.


The poll also questioned other races about discrimination, and sadly, it showed that about 55% of Whites now think they are discriminated against. That is ludicrous. Equal rights is not a zero sum game. Giving equal rights to another groups does not take any rights away from any other group.

What is taken away is White Privilege (the preferential treatment of Whites over other races/ethnicities) -- and that is something that should never have existed in the first place.

Been Their - Done That

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

To Fear The World

Sunday, October 29, 2017


New Poll Shows Public Is Very Unhappy With Government

These charts were made using information in a recent Washington Post / University of Maryland Poll -- done between September 27th and October 5th of a random national sample of 1,663 adults, with a 3.5 point margin of error.

It shows the public is unhappy with government as it currently is. This looks like the makings of a wave election next year -- an election that flips control of Congress. There is still a year to go, but the Republicans have a lot of work to do to turn this around.

If A Tree Falls . . .

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

An Open Letter To Trump From A Gold Star Mother

(caricature of Donald Trump is by DonkeyHotey.)

Donald Trump has been more interested in arguing with Gold Star families than respecting their sacrifice -- both in the campaign and recently. This doesn't sit well with other Gold Star families. The following is an open letter from a Gold Star mother to Trump:

My son was killed in Iraq. Here’s my message to Trump:
On October 4th, 2017, four of our troops were killed in an ambush in Niger. For twelve long days, we didn’t hear a word from this Commander in Chief. Twelve days. Total silence.
On Monday, he said he was “too busy” to pay respects to the Gold Star families (although he had plenty of time for golfing, sabotaging our health care, and trying to ban Muslims). Finally, last night, he called one of the grieving mothers. But instead of offering sympathy and remorse, he callously said that her son, SGT La David Johnson, “knew what he signed up for.”
This is beyond the pale, even for Trump. When my son, SGT Jason Alan Schumann, was killed in Iraq 10 years ago, George W. Bush sent me a heartfelt letter. Now we have a president who degrades our fallen heroes, then calls their mourning families liars on Twitter.
This goes so far beyond party politics. Trump is a dangerous liar. He fabricated the truth on national television by claiming no previous president ever reached out to Gold Star families. He tried to use fallen heroes to score political points. Now, after saying La David Johnson should’ve known better, Trump is accusing a Gold Star widow and a Gold Star mother of making the story up.
When George W. Bush contacted me, he didn’t brag about it. He did so quietly. When Barack Obama met fallen soldiers at the airbase in Dover, he didn’t take to Twitter or turn it into a politicized photo-op. I may have disagreed with Bush, but at least he was respectful, humble, and dutiful.
To say I’m sickened by Trump’s remarks would be an understatement. And I know, with certainty, that my son would be utterly disgusted too. Not just by Trump’s remarks this week, but by Trump’s entire platform of bigotry, hate, and divisiveness. That isn’t the kind of country he swore an oath to protect. That’s not the kind of country he fought and died for.
Thank you,
Candie Glisson
Gold Star mother

Scary Costume

Political Cartoon is by Clay Jones at claytoonz.com.

Eugene O'Neill

Saturday, October 28, 2017

The Root Cause

Sexual Harassment Is A Huge Problem In The U.S.

This chart illustrates how widespread the problem of sexual harassment in the workplace really is. It reflects the results of a recent Rasmussen Poll -- done on October 16th and 17th of a random national sample of 1,000 likely voters, with a 3 point margin of error.

The Headless Moron

Political Cartoon is by Christopher Weyant in the Boston Globe.

Trump Had Nothing New To Offer About Opioid Problem

(Cartoon image is by Bob Englehart at cagle.com.)

I wasted an hour the other day by listening to Donald Trump's "huge" speech on the opioid epidemic in this country (which is taking an average of 142 lives each day -- mostly overdoses). I say wasted, because listening to him I realized he had no knew ideas about how to solve the problem.

What I heard was just a rehashing of old solutions that have proven to be failures. He said he would interdict the drugs. Does that mean he will throw money money at the failed "war on drugs"? We have been trying to treat drug use in the is country as a legal problem for decades, and accomplished nothing except to fill our prisons with non-violent people (while drugs are as available as ever).

He also said he would convince Americans not to use drugs. Really? Wasn't that tried by Nancy Reagan while her husband was president? And if it didn't work for an administration as popular as Reagan's, why should we believe it would work for one as unpopular as Trump's?

Finally, he said he would keep the opioids out by building a wall. That just shows he doesn't understand the problem at all. While heroin does enter this country from other places, most don't cross our southern border with those looking for work and a better life. It comes by plane, ship, truck, mail, etc., and won't be stopped by a wall. Also, it's not foreign heroin that has ballooned the opioid problem. It is the opioid pills made and sold by American pharmaceutical companies that is flooding the market and causing the increase in opioid deaths.

All the speech showed was that Trump doesn't understand the problem and has no solutions. The speech was just another opportunity for him to preen and brag about what a wonderful leader he is -- and most Americans don't believe that. It would have been nice if Trump had offered some solutions, but he didn't.

Unity ?

Political Cartoon is by Rick McKee in The Augusta Chronicle.

Oswald Acted Alone (& Document Release Won't Change That)

The chart above (from fivethirtyeight.com) shows the results of a recent SurveyMonkey Poll. That poll showed that more than six out of 10 Americans (61%) don't believe that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone when he killed President John F. Kennedy. They believe there was some kind of conspiracy involved (although they'll disagree about who was involved in that conspiracy).

There are a couple of reasons why those conspiracies have abounded since 1963. One was the almost immediate killing of Lee Harvey Oswald by another lone nut (nightclub owner Jack Ruby). But perhaps the biggest reason was the U.S. government keeping many materials secret for five decades. This made people believe the government had something to hide (i.e., evidence of a conspiracy).

Fortunately, the documents are being released now -- at least most of them. They ALL should be released, because there is no legitimate reason to keep them secret after over 50 years. In fact, they should never have been made secret in the first place. Our government keeps too many things secret, and these documents are a good example of something that should never have been secret in the first place.

Even if all of the documents are released (as they should be), I believe the conspiracy theorists are going to be disappointed. There is no actual evidence of any kind of conspiracy. Lee Harvey Oswald was a nut who acted alone in killing President Kennedy. And the Warren Commission got it right.

That won't be the end of the conspiracy theories though. Those who refuse to believe the truth will take some of these documents, and take them out of context to support their own ideas -- just like they've done with the public evidence.

P.S. -- Please don't give me ridiculous comments about a "pristine" bullet that magically changed directions, or that Oswald wasn't capable of making the shot, or that the rifle he used couldn't have been shot three times in the time frame. All of those claims have been debunked. Believe your favorite conspiracy if you want, but don't try to further it with lies.

Also, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Earl Warren was in charge of the government investigation into the assassination. Although a Republican politically, he showed great courage and honesty in guiding the court's decision in Brown vs Board of Education. I can't believe he would intentionally perpetrate a lie on the public.

"Huge" Hypocrisy

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

Sexual Harassment Is Being Exposed - Except In Congress

The "me too" campaign has taken social media by storm -- showing that sexual harassment is a serious problem in this country. Some men are surprised by the deluge of women saying they've been the victim of sexual harassment. They shouldn't have been. We live in a patriarchal society, where many men still consider women to be second-class citizens, and subject to the whims of their male peers (especially men in a position of power).

Personally, I am thrilled to see this campaign being so successful, and I hope it signals the beginning of a societal change (which is long overdue) -- a change that brings about true equality.

This change doesn't need just to happen in workplaces, public places, and schools. It evidently also needs to happen in the very halls of our government. It seems that some of those elected to represent us in Congress are guilty of taking advantage of the women they work with. Consider this:

“Congress makes its own rules about the handling of sexual complaints against members and staff, passing laws exempting it from practices that apply to other employers. The result is a culture in which some lawmakers suspect harassment is rampant. Yet victims are unlikely to come forward,” the Washington Postreports.
“Under a law in place since 1995, accusers may file lawsuits only if they first agree to go through months of counseling and mediation. A special congressional office is charged with trying to resolve the cases out of court. When settlements do occur, members do not pay them from their own office funds, a requirement in other federal agencies. Instead, the confidential payments come out of a special U.S. Treasury fund. Congressional employees have received small settlements compared to the amounts some public figures pay out. Between 1997 and 2014, the U.S. Treasury has paid $15.2 million in 235 awards and settlements for Capitol Hill workplace violations.”
Why does Congress get to make their own special rules for the sexual complaints against its members? And why do the taxpayers have to pay for that sexual misconduct? Shouldn't those payments come from the miscreants themselves (or from the money they raised from their misguided supporters)? Taxpayers didn't commit the crime, and they should not be the ones to pay for the misdeeds of congressional sexual predators. Also, anytime a settlement is reached and money paid out, that should be made public -- giving the name of the congressman who was the guilty party.
We are supposed to be equal under the law in this country -- and that includes those elected to Congress.

It's Wrong (For Others)

Political Cartoon is by Clay Jones at claytoonz.com.

How Could They Do It ?

Friday, October 27, 2017


Interesting Charts From New Survey By Pew Research Center

The Pew Research Center recently did a massive survey on politics in the United States. It is well worth reading, but very long. I have extracted some things I found interesting (and thought you might also).

The methodology is long, but if you are interested, you can access it here.