Monday, April 30, 2018

No Friend Of The Working Man

A Lot Of Politicians And Journalists Can't Take A Joke

(This photo of Michelle Wolf, from USA Today, is by Tasos Katapodis / Getty Images.)

The White House Correspondents' Dinner was held on Saturday night. For the second year in a row, Donald Trump skipped it. Other presidents have attended, taken the barbs from speakers, and then gave some of their own. It's a yearly occasion where presidents, journalists, and politicians show they can take a joke.

Unfortunately, Trump's narcissistic personality won't allow him to take a joke (even when given the opportunity to shoot back). He can't stand to be criticized, even when everybody knows it is a joke.

But Trump doesn't seem to be the only one that can't take a joke. The comedian delivering the main routine this year was Michelle Wolf (pictured). She took shots at Trump, his family and members of his administration, Democrats and Republicans, and journalists. Some of her jokes (and language) were a bit raunchy, but I thought she was very funny.

However, listening to the cable news pundits after the affair, you would have thought she spent the hour killing babies. A lot of journalists and politicians seemed to believe her jokes were inappropriate and over the top. I've never seen so many think-skinned people!

These people need to learn how to take a joke (even a bad one they may not like). Frankly, I think if politicians and journalists get upset over a few jokes, then they're in the wrong business.

Here are some of the jokes they considered to be too harsh and offensive:

On Sarah Huckabee Sanders:
“I have to say I’m a little star-struck. I love you as Aunt Lydia in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale.‘ Mike Pence, if you haven’t seen it, you would love it.
“Every time Sarah steps up to the podium, I get excited, because I’m not really sure what we’re going to get. You know, a press briefing, a bunch of lies or divided into softball teams. ‘It’s shirts and skins, and this time don’t be such a little bitch, Jim Acosta!‘”
“I actually really like Sarah. I think she’s very resourceful. She burns facts and then she uses that ash to create a perfect smoky eye. Like maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s lies. It’s probably lies.”
“And I’m never really sure what to call Sarah Huckabee Sanders, you know? Is it Sarah Sanders, is it Sarah Huckabee Sanders, is it Cousin Huckabee, is it Auntie Huckabee Sanders? What’s Uncle Tom but for white women who disappoint other white women? Oh, I know. Aunt Coulter.”
“She has the perfect last name for what she does, Conway ... You guys have got to stop putting Kellyanne on your shows. All she does is lie. If you don’t give her a platform, she has nowhere to lie. It’s like that old saying, if a tree falls in the woods, how do we get Kellyanne under that tree? I’m not suggesting she gets hurt. Just stuck. Stuck under a tree.”
On Ivanka Trump:
“There’s also, of course, Ivanka. She was supposed to be an advocate for women, but it turns out she’s about as helpful to women as an empty box of tampons. She’s done nothing to satisfy women. So, I guess like father, like daughter.”
On the White House correspondents’ dinner:
“This is long. This has been long.”
On being 32 years old:
“10 years too young to host this event and 20 years too old for Roy Moore.”
On being a woman:
“It’s 2018 and I’m a woman so you cannot shut me up. Unless you have Michael Cohen wire me $130,000.”
On the media:
“I know there’s a lot of people that want me to talk about Russia and Putin and collusion, but I’m not gonna do that, because there’s also a lot of liberal media here and I’ve never really wanted to know what any of you look like when you orgasm.”
On Trump missing the dinner:
“Of course, Trump isn’t here, if you haven’t noticed. He’s not here. And I know, I know, I would drag him here myself, but it turns out the president of the United States is the one pussy you’re not allowed to grab.”
On Trump’s wealth:
“People call Trump names all the time. And look, I could call Trump a racist or a misogynist or xenophobic or unstable or incompetent or impotent. But he’s heard all of those and he doesn’t care. So tonight, I’m going to try to make fun of the president in a new way, in a way that I think will really get him. Mr. President: I don’t think you’re very rich. Like I think you might be rich in Idaho, but in New York you’re doing fine.”
On euphemisms:
“(Trump) loves white nationalists, which is a weird term for a Nazi. Calling a Nazi a white nationalist is like calling a pedophile a ‘kid friend.‘ Or Harvey Weinstein a ‘ladies man.‘ Which isn’t really fair. He also likes plants.”
On the vice president:
“Mike Pence is what happens when Anderson Cooper isn’t gay.”
On Democrats:
“Democrats are harder to make fun of because you guys don’t do anything. People think you might flip the House and Senate this November, but you guys always find a way to mess it up. You’re somehow going to lose by 12 points to a guy named Jeff Pedophile Nazi Doctor.”
On the Trump administration:
“I did have a lot of jokes about cabinet members. But I had to scrap all of those because everyone has been fired. You guys are going through Cabinet members quicker than Starbucks throws out black people.”
On Mitch McConnell:
“Mitch McConnell isn’t here tonight. He had a prior engagement. He’s finally getting his neck circumcised. Mazel.”
“The most useful information on CNN is when Anthony Bourdain tells me where to eat noodles.”
On Fox News:
“Fox News is here. So you know what that means, ladies. Cover your drinks. Seriously. People want me to make fun of Sean Hannity tonight, but I cannot do that. This dinner is for journalists.”
“I watch ‘Morning Joe’ every morning. We now know Mika and Joe are engaged. Congratulations, you guys. It’s like when a #MeToo works out.”
On Megyn Kelly:
“What would I do without Megyn Kelly? Probably be more proud of women. Megyn Kelly got paid $23 million by NBC. Then NBC didn’t let Megyn go to the Winter Olympics. Why not? She’s so white, cold and expensive, she might as well be the Winter Olympics. And by the way, Megyn, Santa is black. The weird old guy going through your chimney was Bill O’Reilly.”
On newspapers:
“I’m not going to go after print media tonight because it’s illegal to attack an endangered species.”
On the media:
“You guys are obsessed with Trump. Did you use to date him? Because you pretend like you hate him, but I think you love him. I think what no one in this room wants to admit is that Trump has helped all of you. He couldn’t sell steaks or vodka or water or college or ties or Eric. But he has helped you. He’s helped you sell your papers and your books and your TV. You helped create this monster and now you’re profiting off of him. And if you’re going to profit off of Trump, you should at least give him some money because he doesn’t have any.”


Political Cartoon is by Clay Jones at

Public Overwhelmingly Opposes Trump Firing Mueller

Donald Trump is not happy that he and his aides are being investigated by Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller. He obviously is afraid of what the Mueller investigation might find (whether about his campaign activities or other activities). He's so concerned that he has tried twice to fire Mueller, but was talked out of it by cooler heads at the White House.

It's probably good for Trump (and for the country) that he was talked out of trying to fire Mueller. That's because the American public overwhelmingly oppose the firing of Mueller. Only 13% of the population thinks Trump should fire Mueller, while a whopping 74% say he should not fire Mueller. That's a gap of 61 points in favor of NOT firing Mueller.

The chart above was made using information in a recent Quinnipiac University Poll -- done between April 20th and 24th of a random national sample of 1,193 voters, with a margin of error of 3.4 points.

# You, Too

Political Cartoon is by Signe Wilkinson at

Public Dislikes Trump (Personally And On The Issues)

Donald Trump remains upside-down in job approval -- which has been true since he took office. Part (maybe most) of this is because the public simply doesn't like Trump as a person. As the top chart shows, about 53% have an unfavorable opinion of him while only 39% have a favorable opinion.

That's not good. Voters don't tend to vote for people they don't like, and he won't have any coattails for Republicans to cling to in the coming election. But it's not just their dislike of Trump as a person. As the second chart shows, the public disagrees with Trump on almost all issues. They don't like the direction he is taking the country.

The charts use information in a recent Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between April 22nd and 24th of a random national sample of 1,500 adults, with a margin of error of 3 points.

Melania's Wall

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

Trump Administration Doesn't Bother To Hide Its Corruption

(This caricature of Mick Mulvaney is by DonkeyHotey.)

Not all presidential administrations have been perfect examples of honesty, but none ever reached the level of corruption of the Trump administration. And the sad part is they don't even try to hide their corruption anymore, but proudly proclaim their administration is for sale.

Consider this op-ed by Jonathan Chart in New York Magazine:

Donald Trump ran for the presidency as an economic populist who promised to implement stringent new reforms to limit the power of money in government. Not only has he ignored these promises, he’s likewise failed to observe even the old norms, which called for some pretense of good government. For instance, people in government might have always given their donors more influence over their decisions, but they at least pretended that was not the case in public. The Trump administration is not even bothering to put up a façade.
Mick Mulvaney, the budget director and director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, has gutted the latter agency’s role in preventing consumer fraud. Tuesday, he met with lobbyists and executives from the banking industry, promising further steps to gut regulations to prevent them from cheating customers. That’s not even the scandalous part! The scandalous part is that Mulvaney asked the executives and lobbyists to donate more money, and told them the more they donated, the more influence they would have. Mulvaney didn’t offer this as a sad concession to reality but an actual principle of governance he had personally abided:
“We had a hierarchy in my office in Congress,” Mr. Mulvaney, a former Republican lawmaker from South Carolina, told 1,300 bankers and lobbyists at an American Bankers Association conference in Washington. “If you’re a lobbyist who never gave us money, I didn’t talk to you. If you’re a lobbyist who gave us money, I might talk to you.”
The levels of corruption in this administration are simply staggering, and they range from open self-enrichment to openly selling policy to the highest bidder. The completely accurate sense that Trump and his party are out to get themselves and their friends rich is the administration’s gaping vulnerability. What’s especially odd is that nobody in the administration seems to have taken even cursory steps to address or paper over this weakness. They’re all just grabbing as much cash for themselves and their allies as they can, while they can.

Not On The Menu

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

Things More Trustworthy Than Trump

Sunday, April 29, 2018


Public Thinks Russia Has Compromising Info On Trump

Have you wondered why Trump has been so lenient on Russia? The public sees Russia as an enemy or a country that is not friendly to the United States. But they don't think Trump views Russia that way.

Immediately after being sworn in, Trump tried to remove sanctions against Russia, and return to them property the had been seized by the government. He was stopped only by congressional action (and even members of his own party were shocked). He then refused to put into actions further sanctions passed overwhelmingly by Congress (and approved of by both parties).

He did kick out some Russian diplomats (spies) after the poisoning of a man and his daughter in Great Britain (which was undoubtably done by Russia) -- but even then he waited until public opinion (both in this country and among our allies) forced him to do it. He later said he thought he had been too harsh in that action.

Then there is the fact that Trump has never said a negative word about Putin. In fact, he has done just the opposite -- calling him a good leader, saying he trusted his word that Russia didn't interfere in the 2016 election, and congratulated him on his own electoral victory.

Why does Trump regard Russia and Putin as friends when they very clearly aren't? It has brought up the question of whether Russia possesses some kind of compromising information on Trump (such as the infamous "pee tape", evidence of money laundering, or some other kind of chicanery). I believe they do possess some kind of information that Trump doesn't want made public -- and it looks like I'm not the only one thinking that.

A new poll shows that 53% of the American public believes Russia has compromising info on Trump, while only 35% say they don't believe that. That's a significant 18 point gap. And that is the opinion of both genders, all age groups, and the racial/ethnic groups questioned.

The chart uses information in a recent Quinnipiac University Poll -- done between April 20th and 24th of a random national sample of 1,193 voters, with a 3.4 point margin of error.

Always Room

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

Only 56% Of Americans Believe In The Biblical God

Polls normally ask if a person is religious, or if they are a member of a particular religion or sect. This survey asked a different question -- do you believe in a god, and what kind of god?

It turns out that only 56% of the population believes in the kind of god in the christian bible (or muslim or jewish religious books). That's a much lower number than the percentage of people who say they are members of the christian, muslim, or jewish faiths.

Another 32% say they believe in some kind of higher power or spiritual force. Then about 10% say they don't believe in any kind of god at all.

The number believing in a biblical kind of god is lowest among young people and highest among older people -- and just the opposite is true about the rather amorphous "higher power/spiritual force". The number who don't believe in any kind of god increases with age, and the number believing in no god decreases in age.

The survey also queried Republicans and Democrats. About 70% of Republicans believe in a biblical god, while only 45% of Democrats do. About 14% of Democrats believe in no god, while only 5% of Republicans believe that.

These numbers come from a Pew Research Center survey done between December 4th and 18th of 2017. The poll surveyed 4,729 adults, and has a margin of error of 2.3 points.

New Type Of War

Political Cartoon is by Manny Francisco at

The Public's View Of Our Last 14 First Ladies

I don't really have much of a problem with any of the First Ladies in the charts above. But I found this public evaluation of them by the public to be interesting, and I thought you might also.

In the wake of Barbara Bush's death, the Economist / YouGov Poll queried Americans on what they thought of each of the First Ladies we have had since the Great Depression. The survey was done of 1,500 adults between April 22nd and 24th, and has a margin of error of 3 points.

I would like to have seen Michelle Obama and Eleanor Roosevelt rated a bit higher, but that is because they are my two favorite First Ladies. I was happy to see that both scored well on both favorability and job approval with a significant majority of the public.

The only thing I really hated to see was how the public rated Hillary Clinton. Only 39% said they had a favorable view of her, and only 44% said they approved of the job she did as First Lady. That's the lowest rating in both favorability and job approval of any of these 14 First Ladies.

That saddens me, because Clinton was a decent person who dedicated her life to serving the people of this country -- both before, during, and after her term as First Lady.  There seems to be a lot of Hillary-haters  in the population right now (probably due to the divisive 2016 presidential primary and election, where many lies were told about her and fake stories about her spread through social media). I believe history will treat her much more kindly than this survey does.


Political Cartoon is by Milt Priggee at

Vincente Fox Says Donald Trump "Doesn't Have A Clue About Economy, Society, Or Diplomacy"

I did not always agree with Vincente Fox (pictured) when he was the president of Mexico. However, I think he was a much better president for that country than Donald Trump has been for the United States.

Recently, Mr. Fox wrote an op-ed for Newsweek in which he blasts Donald Trump. Here is part of what he wrote:

It has been more than a year since Donald Trump was elected, and since then he has tweeted more policies and complaints than any other political leader. He has put international relations at risk and ended the American dream for hundreds of thousands of Americans and non-Americans. Is there anything he hasn’t done?
Recently, he went bonkers and in just 280 characters launched the worst threats he has ever addressed to our country. He has called Mexicans rapists, criminals, the worst of the worst. He has threatened to pull out of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and deport hundreds of thousands of young Dreamers. Why? Because he feels like it.
Donald doesn’t have a clue about economy, society or diplomacy. He threatened to bomb Syria on Twitter; and if Russia is opposed, it will also get some. Be careful Donald, remember who put you in that presidential chair.
Deep down, Donald knows that Mexico is not his toy—he knows that we are better as allies than as enemies. NAFTA makes Mexico, the United States and Canada highly competitive with a combined GDP of $20 trillion dollars—and this guy wants to tear it down on a whim. . . .
Donald inherited a nation in prosperity and he is working hard to bring it to ruin. A trade war with China? War threats to North Korea and Syria? Ignoring Mexico’s sovereign rights? He is walking on a very thin line between ignorance and dictatorship. . . .
As a Mexican and as a citizen it is my responsibility to raise my voice to defend the sovereignty and integrity of Mexico. Just as our President Enrique Peña Nieto did when he cautioned him against acting as a capricious child.
Our nations work better as allies—together we achieved a competitiveness that hasn’t been seen in any other region of the world. We work together fighting organized crime—Mexico has never backed off from our shared responsibility in this task.
Trump should know that Mexico is turning its eyes to the East. The U.S. is not the only trading partner in the world and China is taking America’s place as a leading nation. Mexico is not alone, we have 12 free trade agreements with 46 nations.
Mexico has been congruent in its relationship with the United States—mistakes have been made but we have managed to confront them. Donald Trump must learn that we won’t remain silent on his threats, we will not keep anything in the next time he offends us—and I’m sure that won’t take long.
I congratulate my President Peña Nieto for firmly defending the dignity of our country and, to some extent, I thank Trump. Without him, Mexico would not be more united than ever. Even the candidates for the presidency of the republic are united in a single voice.
We still have many challenges ahead, but knowing that Mexico makes itself heard in one voice is enough that they won't mess with us. Trump must understand that Mexico might be small in comparison, but we are mighty.

No Planet B

Political Cartoon is by Stephane Peray at

Clarence Darrow

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Biden Speaking The Truth

Public Is Not Buying Into Trump's War On The Media

During his campaign, Donald Trump took every opportunity to bash the media. And since being sworn in, he has doubled down on his war against the media. He knows that his record is not a good one, and that his only hope is to convince the public that the media is biased and produces only "fake news" (especially when it comes to stories about him).

He would like to public to believe his incessant lies, and reject what they see and read in the media. It's not working though. A clear majority of Americans say they trust what the media tells them (53%)  more than they trust what Trump tells them (37%) - by a 16 point gap.

Trump has even gone so far as to call the media an enemy of the people. An even bigger majority rejects that ridiculous assertion. About 66% say the media is an important part of our democracy, while only 22% say it's an enemy of the people -- a whopping 44 point gap in rejecting Trump's view.

The charts above reflect information contained in a new Quinnipiac University Poll -- done between April 20th and 24th of 1,193 voters nationwide, with a margin of error of 3.4 points.

The Sad Truth

Political Cartoon is by Lalo Alcaraz.

Most Americans Getting Nothing From New GOP Tax Law

Here is more proof that the new Trump/Republican tax law is not going to be the big help the GOP was hoping it would be in the coming election. They had told Americans that they would get a tax cut from the new law, and they would see it on their paychecks starting in February. That was a lie.

April is now nearly over, and only 22% of workers say they have noticed even a small increase on their paychecks. A majority of 55% say they have received nothing! And the numbers are similar for every demographic group (even Republicans).

But these people are seeing in the news that the rich and corporations are getting millions/billions in tax savings, and they are starting to realize they have been conned and lied to by Trump and the Republicans.

This chart was made using information in a new Morning Consult / Politico Poll -- done between April 19th and 23rd of a random national sample of 1,993 registered voters, with a 2 point margin of error.


Political Cartoon is by Christopher Weyant in The Boston Globe.

Most People Think Mueller Will Find An Impeachable Offense

How much trouble is Donald Trump in? It turns out that most Americans think he's in a lot of trouble. About 56% say it is likely that Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller will find evidence that Trump committed a criminal or impeachable offense. Only 37% say that is not likely. That's a 19 point gap.

And this result is not from some poll that right-wingers can claim leans to the left. It is from the latest Fox News Poll -- done between April 22nd and 24th of a random national sample of 1,014 registered voters, with a 3 point margin of error.

Very Honorable ?

Political Cartoon is by Dave Granlund at

Trump's Cabinet Officials Love To Spend Your Money

Republicans love to call themselves the party of fiscal responsibility. That has to be a sick joke, especially when it comes to this Republican administration.

The following is from Think Progress:

Donald Trump filled his cabinet with a who’s who of multi-millionaires (and the occasional billionaire) and yet several of them have spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars for private flights overseas, lavish furniture for their offices and residences, and the occasional soundproof phone booth.
Here’s a quick look at the creative and extravagant ways these millionaires have spent your money (so far).

A few notes about what these figures do (and do not) include. Government officials always travel for work, but the Trump administration has an unusual appetite for first class or privately chartered flights. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in privately chartered domestic flights (not including his attempt to book an Air Force jet for his honeymoon), in sharp contrast to former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geither, who always flew in coach on commercial airlines.
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has been dogged by similar accusations of exorbitant spending for months. His office shelled out over $40,000 for the purchase and installation of a soundproof phone booth for his office, more than $2,000 for two desks for his office (after his initial request for $70,000 was denied), and an additional $2,460 to repair the door to his deeply discounted apartment, which was busted down after his security detail grew concerned he was unconscious and in need of medical attention. Turns out he was taking a nap.
Pruitt also spent more than $150,000 on first class flights, an expenditure he defended by claiming to be the target of constant, unnamed threats. “Look, there have been incidents on planes. There have been incidents in airports, and those incidents, you know, occurred, and they are of different types,” Pruitt eloquently told CBS News earlier this year. “These threats have been unprecedented from the very beginning, and the quantity and type are unprecedented.” It’s unclear just how recognizable Scott Pruitt thinks he is to the general public, though judging by how many of you didn’t realize the photo above is a stock image of “caucasian politician” and not, in fact, Scott Pruitt, the answer is: not very.
What’s not included in this total are things like questionable salary expenses. Take Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Mick Mulvaney. From his days in Congress, Mulvaney has sought to abolish the CFPB, arguing the agency tasked with protecting taxpayers from predatory financial institutions is a federal boondoggle. During the most recent budget process, he submitted a request for zero dollars for the agency, arguing it was their duty to be “responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars.” Instead, he hired at least eight people to work at the CFPB, half of whom have annual salaries in excess of $250,000, more than $100,000 above the top salary allowed under the federal government pay scale.

It's All About The Dollars

Political Cartoon is by Kevin Siers in The Charlotte Observer.

Republicans Are The Deficit Kings

Friday, April 27, 2018

Blame Pruitt (And Trump)

Two new Polls Shows Dems Retain Generic Vote Advantage

Two new polls show Democrats still have a generic ballot advantage for the upcoming congressional elections. The Morning Consult Poll has them with a 9 point lead, and the YouGov Poll has them with a 5 point lead.

The Morning Consult / Politico Poll was done between April 19th and 23rd of a random national sample of 1,993 registered voters, with a 2 point margin of error.

The Economist / YouGov Poll was done between April 22nd and 24th of a random national sample of 1,500 adults, with a 3 point margin of error.

Just Coasting

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

Bill Cosby Is Found Guilty Of Sexual Assault

(This photo of Bill Cosby arriving for court on Wednesday is from NBC News.)

Bill Cosby has been found guilty of three counts of sexual assault in Morristown, Pennsylvania. I have to admit I am slightly shocked at the verdict. Far too often in this country celebrities are allowed to get off on offenses that others would be convicted on.

While I believe the verdict was the correct one, it does sadden me somewhat. For most of the years of my life, I had loved and respected Bill Cosby -- only to find in my senior years that he was a degenerate. It just goes to show that we never really know what the celebrities we know are really like.

There is a maximum sentence of 10 years on each count. I doubt Cosby will receive the maximum of a possible 30 years, but I do think he needs to be sent to prison. Probation would not be appropriate.

QUESTION -- Donald Trump has done things equally bad (and I believe probably even worse). When will he get his turn in court?

From Class To Crass

Political Cartoon is by Randy Bush  in the Pittsburg Tribune-Review.

Macron Politely Blasts Trump In Speech To Congress

(Photo of Macron addressing Congress is from The Daily Mail.)

French President Macron visited the United States this week. He had hoped to change Donald Trump's mind on some things -- like global climate change, respect for the free press, and Iran. He failed. But he made it clear in a speech to the U.S. Congress that France will not follow the U.S. down the road to unilateralism, and will oppose Trump on global climate change and respect for the Iran deal. Here is part of his speech to Congress:

Together with our international allies and partners, we are facing inequalities created by globalization; threats to the planet, our common good; attacks on democracies through the rise of illiberalism; and the destabilization of our international community by new powers and criminal states.
All these risks aggrieve our citizens.
Both in the United States and in Europe we are living in a time of anger and fear, because of these current global threats.
But these feelings do not build anything. You can play with fears and anger for a time. But they do not construct anything. Anger only freezes and weakens us. And, as Franklin Delano Roosevelt said during his first inaugural speech, “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself”.
Therefore, let me say we have two possible ways ahead.
We can choose isolationism, withdrawal, and nationalism. This is an option.
It can be tempting to us as a temporary remedy to our fears.
But closing the door to the world will not stop the evolution of the world. It will not douse, but inflame, the fears of our citizens. We have to keep our eyes wide open to the new risks, right in front of us.
I am convinced that if we decide to open our eyes wider, we will be stronger. We will overcome the dangers.We will not let the rampaging work of extreme nationalism shake a world full of hopes for greater prosperity.
It is a critical moment. If we do not act with urgency as a global community, I am convinced that the international institutions, including the United Nations and NATO, will no longer be able to exercise their mandate and stabilizing influence. We would then inevitably and severely undermine the liberal order we built after World War II.
Other powers, with a stronger strategy and ambition, will then fill the void we would leave empty.
Other powers will not hesitate one second to advocate their own model, to shape the 21st century world order.
Personally, if you ask me, I do not share the fascination for new strong powers, the abandonment of freedom, and the illusion of nationalism.
Therefore, distinguished members of Congress, let us push them aside, write our own history and birth the future we want.
We have to shape our common answers to the global threats that we are facing.
The only option then is to strengthen our cooperation. We can build the 21st century world order, based on a new breed of multilateralism. Based on a more effective, accountable, and results-oriented multilateralism. A strong multilateralism.
This requires more than ever the United States’ involvement, as your role was decisive for creating and safeguarding today’s free world. The United States invented this multilateralism. You are the one now who has to help to preserve and reinvent it.
This strong multilateralism will not outshine our national cultures and national identities. It is exactly the other way around. A strong multilateralism will allow our cultures and identities to be respected, to be protected and to flourish freely together.
Why? Because precisely our own culture is based, on both sides of the Atlantic, on this unique taste for freedom, on this unique attachment to liberty and peace. This strong multilateralism is the unique option compatible with our nations, our cultures, our identities.
With the US President, with the support of every 535 members of this joint session, representing the whole American nation, we can actively contribute together to building the 21st-century world order, for our people.
The United States and Europe have a historical role in this respect, because it is the only way to defend what we believe in, to promote our universal values, to express strongly that human rights, the rights of minorities and shared liberty are the true answer to the disorders of the world.
I believe in these rights and values.
I believe that against ignorance, we have education. Against inequalities, development. Against cynicism, trust and good faith. Against fanaticism, culture. Against disease and epidemics, medicine. Against the threats on the planet, science.
I believe in concrete action. I believe the solutions are in our hands.
I believe in the liberation of the individual, and in the freedom and responsibility of everyone to build their own lives and pursue happiness.
I believe in the power of intelligently-regulated market economies. We are experiencing the positive impact of our current economic globalization, with innovation, with job creation. We see, however, the abuses of globalized capitalism, and digital disruptions, which jeopardize the stability of our economies and democracies.
I believe facing these challenges requires the opposite of massive deregulation and extreme nationalism.Commercial war is not the proper answer to these evolutions. We need free and fair trade, for sure. A commercial war opposing allies is not consistent with our mission, with our history, with our current commitments to global security. At the end of the day, it would destroy jobs, increase prices, and the middle class will have to pay for it.
I believe we can build the right answers to legitimate concerns regarding trade imbalances, excesses and overcapacities, by negotiating through the World Trade Organization and building cooperative solutions.We wrote these rules; we should follow them.
I believe we can address our citizens’ concerns regarding privacy and personal data. The recent Facebook hearings highlighted the necessity to preserve our citizens’ digital rights, all over the world, and protect their confidence in today’s digital tools of life.
The European Union passed a new regulation for data protection. I believe the United States and the European Union should cooperate to find the right balance between innovation and ethics, and harness the best of today’s revolutions in digital data and artificial intelligence.
I believe facing inequalities should push us to improve policy coordination within the G20 to reduce financial speculation, and create mechanisms to protect the middle class’s interest, because our middle classes are the backbone of our democracies.
I believe in building a better future for our children, which requires offering them a planet that is still habitable in 25 years.
Some people think that securing current industries - and their jobs - is more urgent than transforming our economies to meet the global challenge of climate change. I hear these concerns, but we must find a smooth transition to a low-carbon economy.
Because what is the meaning of our life, really, if we work and live destroying the planet, while sacrificing the future of our children?
What is the meaning of our life if our decision, our conscious decision, is to reduce the opportunities for our children and grandchildren?
By polluting the oceans, not mitigating CO2 emissions and destroying our biodiversity, we are killing our planet. Let us face it: there is no Planet B.
On this issue it may happen we have a disagreement between the United States and France. It may happen, like in all families. But that is, for me, a short-term disagreement. In the long run, we will have to face the same realities. We are citizens of the same planet.
We have to face it. Beyond some short-term disagreements, we have to work together.
With business leaders and local communities, in order to make our planet great again, and create new jobs and new opportunities, while safeguarding our Earth. And I am sure one day, the United States will come back and join the Paris agreement. And I am sure we can work together to fulfil with you the ambitions of the Global Compact on the environment.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I believe in democracy.
Many of our forebears were slain for the cause of freedom and human rights. With the great inheritance they gave us comes the responsibility to continue their mission in this new century and to preserve the perennial values handed to us and assure that today’s unprecedented innovations in science and technology remain in the service of liberty and in the preservation of our planet for the next generations.
To protect our democracies, we have to fight against the ever-growing virus of fake news, which exposes our people to irrational fear and imaginary risks. And let me attribute the fair copyright for this expression “fake news”, especially here.
Without reason, without truth, there is no real democracy -- because democracy is about true choices and rational decisions. The corruption of information is an attempt to corrode the very spirit of our democracies.
We also have to fight against the terrorist propaganda that spreads out its fanaticism on the Internet. It has a gripping influence on some of our citizens and children. I want this fight to be part of our bilateral commitment, and we discussed with your President the importance of such an agenda.
I want this fight to be part of the G7 agenda because it deeply harms our rights and shared values.
The terrorist threat is even more dangerous when it is combined with the nuclear proliferation threat. We must therefore be stricter than ever with countries seeking to acquire the nuclear bomb.
That is why France supports fully the United States in its efforts to bring Pyongyang, through sanctions and negotiations, towards denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.
As for Iran, our objective is clear: Iran shall never possess any nuclear weapons. Not now, not in 5 years, not in 10 years. Never.
But this policy should never lead us to war in the Middle East. We must ensure stability, and respect sovereignty of the nations, including that one of Iran, which represents a great civilization.
Let us not replicate past mistakes in the region. Let us not be naïve on one side. Let us not create new walls ourselves on the other side.
There is an existing framework – called the JCPOA - to control the nuclear activity of Iran. We signed it at the initiative of the United States. We signed it, both the United States and France. That is why we cannot say we should get rid of it like that. But it is true to say that this agreement may not address all concerns, very important concerns. This is true. But we should not abandon it without having something substantial, more substantial, instead. That is my position. That is why France will not leave the JCPOA, because we signed it.
Your President and your country will have to take, in the current days and weeks, their responsibilities regarding this issue.