Friday, August 31, 2018

Not Enough

Trump's Job Approval & Disapproval Have Been Consistent

We hear a lot from the media about how consistent Trump's job approval has been. It seems that no matter what Trump does (even things that the public does not like), his job approval remains constant. His base sticks with him no matter what he does.

That is true. Note in the chart above that his average monthly job approval has remained in the 41% to 42% range for months now (with strong approval staying in the 26% to 27% range).

But there is another side to that approval coin. Disapproval has also been consistent, and much larger than approval. The average monthly job disapproval has remained in the 53% to 54% rage (with strong disapproval in the 41% to 43% range).

In fact, those who strongly disapprove are as large a percentage as the total approval (somewhat approve + strongly approve added together).

These are not good numbers for Trump, and it's even worse that he can't seem to improve them. This is a presidency that is in trouble.

The chart below shows a demographic breakdown of August job approval/disapproval.

The charts reflect results of the latest Gallup Poll -- done between August 20th and 26th of a national sample of 1,509 adults, with a 3 point margin of error.

If Trump Was Invited

Political Cartoon is by Lalo Alcaraz.

New Poll Shows 18-34 Year-Olds Prefer Democrats

The charts above show the results of a recent NBC News / GenForward Poll -- done between July 26th and August 13th of a national sample of 1,910 18 to 34 year-olds, with a margin of error of 3.8 points.

If this poll is true (and I believe it likely is true), then it shows some good news for Democrats in the coming midterm election.  These young people represent the largest group in the country now (outnumbering even Baby Boomers), and Democrats would be richly rewarded if they show up at the polls in large numbers.

About 55% of them say they plan to vote in the coming election. That's about 5% more than voted in 2016. Only 19% say they won't vote, and the rest are currently unsure.

By a 5 point margin, these young people say the Democratic Party cares about them. That may not sound like much, but it's far better than the Republicans. By a 40 point margin, they say the Republican Party does NOT care about them. And by a 22 point margin, they want Democrats to control the 116th Congress instead of Republicans.

They also have a poorer view of how Trump is handling his job than the public at large. Only 27% say he's doing a good job, while 58% say he is not -- a negative gap of 31 points.

Hero Vs. Zero

Political Cartoon is by Michael de Adder in the Toronto Star.

North Korea "Deal" Falling Apart (And Trump Is To Blame)

(Photo is from

After meeting with Kim Jong-Un in Singapore, Donald Trump tried to pose as a hero who had saved America (and the world). He told us that he had solved the North Korean problem, and they would be getting rid of their nuclear weapons. It was a LIE!

The truth is that the Singapore summit was nothing more than a public relations gambit for both men. No binding agreement was reached or signed. And neither nation has done what they promised the other they would do.

Now Trump has stopped the talks with North Korea (which as most people expected, were going nowhere anyway). And he's trying to blame China for the failing talks, even though China had no part in the summit. Trump wants China to fix his own failure (even though he's currently declared a trade war with them).

Here's just part of a pretty good op-ed on the situation by Simon Denyer in The Washington Post:

It’s all China’s fault, at least according to President Trump, who again blamed Beijing late Wednesday for an impasse in negotiations with Pyongyang over its nuclear and missile programs.
But several experts said the real problem lies much closer to home, in Trump’s casual approach to negotiations with the North Koreans and the vague, oral promises exchanged at his meeting with the North Korean leader in Singapore in June.
Citing multiple individuals familiar with the negotiations, Vox reported Wednesday that Trump told Kim Jong Un in Singapore that he would sign a declaration to end the Korean War soon after their meeting.
Since then, the Trump administration has repeatedly asked Pyongyang to first dismantle most of its nuclear arsenal. That explains the current stalemate in negotiations, Vox reported.
“If that’s true, that’s why the North Koreans are dragging their feet,” said Robert Kelly, a professor of political science at Pusan National University in South Korea. “That’s Trump’s blunder.” 
North Korea believes that Trump made the same promise — to declare an end to the war — to Kim Yong Chol, a top North Korean official close to Kim Jong Un, at the White House on June 1 — 11 days before the summit, Vox also reported.
“If that’s true, that’s why the North Koreans are dragging their feet,” said Robert Kelly, a professor of political science at Pusan National University in South Korea. “That’s Trump’s blunder.” 
North Korea believes that Trump made the same promise — to declare an end to the war — to Kim Yong Chol, a top North Korean official close to Kim Jong Un, at the White House on June 1 — 11 days before the summit, Vox also reported. . . .
Pusan National University’s Kelly said Trump offered the North Koreans a huge amount in Singapore, including the suspension of military exercises with South Korea, without getting concrete promises in return.
His lack of understanding of the issues and lack of attention to detail have finally “collided with the reality of North Korea,” Kelly said. “They are not going to completely denuclearize ever. Nobody actually believes that. They took years developing these weapons. They are not going to give them up because Donald Trump says some stuff on Twitter.”. . .
When he called off Pompeo’s planned visit last week, Trump blamed a lack of progress toward denuclearization, but he also said China was not helping as much as in the past because of the trade dispute between Beijing and Washington. . . .
“I would imagine the trade war with China isn’t helping,” Kelly added. “I would imagine the Chinese aren’t being helpful, and that probably hurts at the margins, but the real problem is the incompetence of the Trump administration.”

Ignoring The Obvious

Political Cartoon is by Matt Wuerker at


Thursday, August 30, 2018

The Truth From FDR

Democrats Find Themselves In An Uncomfortable Position

(This caricature of Jeff Sessions is by DonkeyHotey.)

Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III is the Attorney General of the United States. That is not something that makes Democrats very happy. Sessions is a racist, a misogynist, a homophobe, a religious bigot, and a xenophobe (who finds nothing wrong with caging immigrant children). And he seems to have no interest in enforcing voter laws, environmental laws, or supporting reform of our criminal justice system. In short, he's a terrible Attorney General.

Donald Trump wants to fire him. But not for any of the things I listed above. Trump actually likes those things about Sessions, because they mirror his own attitudes and policies. He wants to fire Sessions because Sessions followed Justice Department regulations and recused himself from any investigation of what happened in the 2016 election -- turning that investigation over to his deputy (who appointed Robert Mueller to head an investigation).

Trump wanted Sessions to not recuse himself. He wanted Sessions to stop any kind of investigation into Trump regarding collusion with Russia (or any other crimes he may have committed). Since Sessions has not done that, Trump wants to fire him and replace him with someone who will try to stop or obstruct the Mueller investigation.

So far, Trump's lawyers and aides have talked him out of firing Sessions, but they believe he will do it anyway (although he may put it off until after the midterm elections).

This has put Democrats in a very uncomfortable position. They know Sessions is a terrible Attorney General, but they also know that as long as he stays in that office, the Mueller investigation is protected -- because Session's deputy has refused to stop or interfere in that investigation. This means they must protect the job of a man they despise (and truly believe is too incompetent and unqualified for the job he holds).

There may be a saving grace though. I think Trump has waited too long for firing Sessions to effectively stop the investigation. I think Mueller already has all (or most) of the information he needs, and currently is just dotting the i's and crossing the t's.

Also, if Democrats flip the House in the midterms, there is no way to stop Mueller's information from coming out. Even if a new Attorney General fired Mueller and blocked his report, House Democrats could just have him testify before Congress as to what he found.

Still, the best option is to protect Sessions from being fired. As bad as he is, any replacement appointed by Trump would likely be equally bad -- and as long as he's in office, the Mueller investigation continues. That doesn't make supporting that odious little man any easier though.

No Match

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

Most Americans Consider John McCain To Be A Hero

Donald Trump has been disrespectful to Senator John McCain for a long time now. During the campaign, he said McCain was not a hero because he got captured, and he preferred people who didn't get captured -- denigrating not only McCain, but all American POWs who suffered for their country.

Trump has not changed his opinion. He has been very disrespectful even after learning McCain had brain cancer, and after his death -- showing a remarkable lack of character. He had to be forced to issue a tepid statement on McCain's service to this country, and to fly the White House flag at half-staff to honor McCain.

Fortunately, the American people do not agree with Trump. By a 39 point margin (55% to 16%), adults consider McCain to be an American hero. And by a 47 point margin, registered voters consider him a hero.

Trump is even out of step with his own people. Republicans consider McCain a hero by a 26 point margin, and Trump voters consider him a hero by a 25 point margin. And strangely enough, Democrats give McCain the most respect, even though he was a Republican. Democrats consider McCain a hero by a whopping 67 point margin.

The chart above shows the results of the newest Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between August 26th and 28th of a national sample of 1,500 adults (including 1,249 registered voters). The margin of error for adults is 3 points, and for registered voters is 2.9 points.

Minor Issues ?

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

Looking At How The Texas House Districts Currently Stand

Texas is still a red state (or at least a pink one). It's still tough for Democrats to win in Texas (especially in statewide races).

Beto O'Rourke is making a valiant effort to change that, and is eating away at incumbent Ted Cruz's lead in the race for the United States Senate.

It's a tougher road for Democrats when it comes to the races for the Texas delegation to the House of Representatives. Texas has 36 House seats -- and currently 11 are filled by Democrats and 25 by Republicans. The delegation to the 116th Congress will also have a majority of Republicans, but Democrats are hoping to take from 2 to 4 seats from the Republicans.

The University of Virginia Center for Politics and Ipsos Polling have joined together to keep Americans up-to-date on the status of races around the country. You can access their Political Atlas by going here.

Here is their best guess as to where the House races in Texas stand:

23 seats are rated as lean, likely, or safe Republican. They are -- 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 17, 19, 21, 22, 24, 25, 26, 27, 31, 32, 36.

2 seats are rated as Toss-ups. They are -- 7 and 23.

11 seats are rated as lean, likely, or safe Democratic. They are -- 9, 15, 16, 18, 20, 28, 29, 30, 33, 34, 35.

I personally think they are being pretty conservative in their estimates. I think Democrats, if they turn out in large numbers, can take more than 2 seats away from the Republicans.

The Shoes Are Dropping

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

Senator Warren Attacks The Corruption In Government

There has always been a certain amount of corruption in government. Some officials are going to use their office to enrich themselves and their family and friends. But the amount of corruption in our national government seems to be having a pinnacle of success at this moment.

We currently have a presidential administration that is the most corrupt we have ever had -- and a Republican led Congress that seems intent on protecting that administration while engaging in their own corruption. Add to this the fact the corporations have been given the right to flood our electoral system with huge amounts of money to buy politicians who will do their bidding, and you have the recipe for a historical level of corruption.

Can anything be done about this? Senator Elizabeth Warren (pictured) thinks we can do much better. She has introduced a new bill (the Anti-Corruption and Public Integrity Act). While no bill can probably eliminate 100% of government corruption, Senator Warren's bill would eliminate a lot of it and provide the tools to fight the corruption. It needs to be passed.

Does her bill have a chance of passage in Congress? Not if the Republicans retain control of Congress. That makes this election that much more important. Democrats and Independents need to vote in huge numbers this November, and kick as many Republicans out of office as possible.

Here's what Senator Warren has to say about her bill:

In Washington, money doesn’t just talk. It screams.
And it grabs our government by the throat. Powerful interests, big banks, and giant corporations keep getting their way – and working people keep getting kicked in the teeth.
We need to fight back.
That’s why I just introduced the most ambitious anti-corruption legislation since Watergate.
We went big. Our bill – the Anti-Corruption and Public Integrity Act – would end business-as-usual in Washington and rip corruption out by the roots.
I’ll be blunt: Washington insiders – even some of my friends – will hate some of these proposals. But we need to pass this bill to make sure our government works for working people – not just the rich and powerful.
There are tons of fixes in this plan, from giant reforms to small tweaks and everything in between, but it rests on six big ideas:
1. Padlock the revolving door between big business and government.
Right now, Goldman Sachs has so many former employees in the Trump administration that they could open up a new branch. They’ve given obscene bonuses and payouts to executives like Gary Cohn to go work on the inside and stick taxpayers with a massive corporate tax cut. We need to make sure government works for the people, not for officials’ previous and future employers.
2. Stop public officials from using their government position to pad their own pockets and help out their former employers.
That starts at the very top – with the President of the United States. Presidents shouldn’t own companies while they’re running the country; and they should disclose their financial interests to the public. But we shouldn’t stop there. Members of Congress and leaders and high-level executive branch officials shouldn’t own and trade individual stocks – whose value they could influence with their policy decisions.
3. End lobbying as we know it.
Armies of corporate influence-peddlers flood the halls of Congress every day, but many aren’t even required to register as lobbyists. Let’s start by fixing the crummy definition of a lobbyist. And we should shine a light on ALL influence-peddling in Washington – and stop lobbyists from trading money for government favors. We can go even further by placing a lifetime ban on lobbying by high-ranking ex-officials like former members of Congress and Cabinet Secretaries.
4. Stop corporations from working in the shadows to undermine public interest rules.
Make federal agencies work for the public – not powerful industries like big oil. We can start by ending the practice of corporate bigwigs paying experts to write sham studies designed to prevent agencies from writing strong public interest rules. If conflicted studies don’t meet minimum scientific standards, agencies shouldn’t be required to consider them. And let’s empower the public to make sure that companies can’t break the rules and agencies aren’t asleep at the wheel.
5. Restore public faith in our courts and give ordinary people a fair shake.
No one should have to defend themselves in front of federal judges with conflicts of interest. We can stop corporate interests from funding fancy junkets for judges. We can put tough ethical standards in place. And we can make it easier for everyone to get their day in court.
6. Hire a new independent sheriff to police corruption.
They’ll watch over Washington like a hawk and swoop in to strike back against corruption – wherever and whenever it happens.
Here’s the bottom line: Washington should work for you even if you can’t afford to hire an army of lawyers and lobbyists.
Putting government on the side of working Americans is why I’m in this fight. That’s why I ran for Senate – even though I never in a zillion years thought I was going to run for public office.
I didn’t go to Washington to smile, nod, and write laws to help powerful people who could write big checks. No – I went to Washington to be the best Senator that money can’t buy.
We’ve got to fight corruption. It’s the only way we’ll get government to stop the big banks from wrecking our economy again, lower the costs of prescription drugs, get student debt under control, and level the playing field for working families.

Hush Money

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

Do Everything In Your Power

Wednesday, August 29, 2018


New California Gun Law Should Be A Model For The Nation

Last Monday, the California legislature passed three new bills regarding guns. One created a new standard for getting a concealed weapon permit (8 hours of training and a live-fire test). A second denied gun ownership to anyone with two involuntary psychiatric holds in a single year.

Those are good laws, but it is the third that I think should be voted into law in all of our 50 states. It bans the purchase and/or possession of a gun or ammunition by anyone convicted of assault, battery, or stalking, regardless of the offenders relationship to the victim. And it makes that a lifetime ban.

Here is how Think Progress describes the new law:

Federal law prohibits people convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors and abusers subject to protective orders from purchasing and possessing firearms. But there are significant limitations. For example, federal law does not apply to family members other than a spouse or a child. It also does not include non-spouse relationships, such as girlfriends and friends, and does not apply to stalkers. Nor does the law require convicts to surrender their guns. This is why state lawmakers enact their own measures.
California has among the strongest laws prohibiting domestic abusers from getting guns, according the Giffords Law Center. Currently, the state bans the purchase and possession of guns and ammunition of any person convicted of assault, battery, or stalking regardless of their relationship with the victim/survivor. If Brown signs the measure into law, it’ll be a lifetime ban.
These measures are common sense, as there’s a clear link between domestic abuse and gun violence. Research shows a significant corollary between domestic violence and mass shootings; indeed, even the Parkland shooter was reportedly abusive to his ex-girlfriend. Domestic abusers with guns pose an even deadlier threat to their partners and are five times more likely to kill them.
I'm sure that right-wingers and other gun nuts will whine that this kind of law is a violation of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. They are wrong. The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that cities and states may place reasonable restrictions on gun ownership -- and preventing people convicted of violence is an imminently reasonable thing to do.

It would make sense for all 50 states to adopt this law. Unfortunately some states (like Texas, where I live) won't do it. They consider the right to own a gun, even by violent people, to be more important than the lives of innocent people. That's why we must push to make this a federal law.

At The White House

Political Cartoon is by Mark Streeter in the Savannah Morning News.

Another Poll Shows Senate Race In Texas Is Very Close

These charts are from the latest Emerson College Poll -- done between August 22nd and 25th of 550 registered voters in Texas, and has a margin of error of 4.4 points.

It just verifies what at least four other polls have shown -- that the senate race in Texas (between Democrat Beto O'Rourke and Republican incumbent Ted Cruz) is very close. For the first time in quite a while, the Democrats actually have a chance to win in a statewide election.

How is this happening? It's a combination of Democrats having a very good candidate (who's running as a real Democrat instead of a Republican-lite candidate), and Cruz not being very well-liked (by his Senate colleagues or a lot of Texans).

By virtue of being the incumbent and wearing the Republican label, Cruz would still have to be the slight favorite. But this seat was not even supposed to be close. Now it looks like Cruz is going to need that GOP label, and even that might not be enough to save him.

Lest you think this is some kind of left-wing poll, note the chart below. The governor's race looks to be a runaway for the Republican Party. Texas is still a very red state (although demographic shifts are slowly changing that), but it is a red state that just might send a Democrat to the U.S. Senate.

Secrets Revealed

Political Cartoon is by Robert Brunelle at

Trump Is Just Too Small For The Large Office He Holds

(This caricature of our inadequate and incompetent president is by DonkeyHotey.)

Some presidents are qualified and competent when elected, and some grow into the office after assuming it. Donald Trump is neither. He was not qualified when elected, and he has adamantly refused to grow into the office. He is prevented from doing that by his narcissism and lack of character.

The following is just part of an excellent op-ed by Jennifer Rubin in The Washington Post:

A man such as Trump, who is so consumed with his own social media popularity, so willing to bludgeon companies (including media companies) that don’t pay homage, and so eager to fan divisions by pitting his followers against their fellow Americans, cannot “rise to the occasion,” especially when it means honoring someone else. He cannot function in a role that requires largeness of spirit, graciousness and good manners.
Trump’s antagonism toward liberal elites, the arm-chair psychiatrists tell us, is rooted in the Queens-born heir of a real estate mogul never being accepted by polite Manhattan society. He was crude and uncouth then just as he is crude and uncouth now. He sought the attention of the New York press, as he desperately does now (while excoriating the New York Times for “failing”). He could never earn the praise afforded to self-made men so he now feels compelled to lie about his achievements (the wall is being built!) to gain approval from his followers.
If he were not such a cruel, self-absorbed and amoral character, one might actually pity him. He frantically pleas for attention in a week in which the nation is absorbed with praise for one of the few Republicans who refused to grovel before him; it must infuriate him.
The ironies do not stop there. The man who spent most of his adult life trying to convince New Yorkers that he was richer and more successful than he was, now faces a probe, with evidence provided by his former lawyer Michael Cohen and the Trump Organization’s chief finance officer Allen Weisselberg, that threatens to expose his finances and business practices.
Trump’s fatally flawed character, temperament and intellect cripple his ability to do the simple tasks every predecessor of his was able to perform. These irreparable shortcomings land him in one humiliating predicament after another — and perhaps ultimately in the arms of prosecutors. Having attained the highest office in the land, he remains the pathetic grasper from Queens with his nose pressed up against the establishment window. It must drive him insane.

Don't Tread On Me

Political Cartoon is by Jen Sorensen at

The Trouble With the World

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Fox = Propaganda & Lies

Second Poll Shows Public Opposes A Manafort Pardon

A few days ago, I showed you a Morning Consult Poll that showed 60% of Americans opposed Trump giving Paul Manafort a pardon. Now a second poll verifies that. It shows 62% oppose a pardon, while only 15% support it.

The chart shows the results of a new Rasmussen Poll -- done on August 22nd and 23rd of a national sample of 1,000 likely voters, with a 3 point margin of error.

Lions Of The Senate

Political Cartoon is by Chris Britt in the Illinois Times.

Public Has A Very Low Opinion Of Trump Administration

The charts above are from a survey by the Pew Research Center. That survey was done between July 30th and August 12th of a national sample of 4,581 adults, with a margin of error of 2.4 points.

The survey doesn't paint a very pretty picture of the Trump administration. As expected, Republicans still support him and Democrats still oppose him -- but the public as a whole tend to agree with Democrats.

By a 44 point margin, the public says Trump has NOT set a high moral standard. By a 24 point margin, they say Trump has not improved the way government works. By a 24 point margin, they say Trump has not run an open and transparent administration. By a 26 point margin, they say Trump has not improved this country's standing around the world. And by a 12 point margin, they believe Trump has improperly used his office to enrich himself, his family, and his friends.

Big Eyes

Political Cartoon is by Tom Tales in The Washington Post.

Trump Forced To Back Down On His Disrespect For McCain

(Photos of Sen. John McCain and Donald Trump are from

I did not always agree with the political stances taken by Senator John McCain (R-Arizona), but I respected him. He was honest, and I believe he tried to always do what he thought was best for the country -- and he served heroically in our military. He deserved full honors on his passing. And I think most Americans of all political persuasions agree with that.

Unfortunately, the present occupant of our White House is a small-minded man who cannot put aside his personal grudges to honor a man who served his country. He thought he could continue to show his disrespect for Senator McCain after his death.

It was bad enough that instead of giving a tribute to the senator from his own party (as other politicians of both parties did), he did a two-sentence tweet of condolences to McCain's family, then repeated that in an Instagram sporting his own picture (instead of McCain's). His staff had written a tribute of McCain for Trump, but he refused to give it.

But perhaps the most disrespectful was Trump premature raising of the White House flag. Most of the great politicians of both parties have the flag lowered for several days (until after their burial). But while the White House lowered the flag to half-staff on Sunday, Trump ordered it back to full-staff on Monday morning.

It was a shameful action, and there was an immediate backlash. Politicians of both political parties, veterans groups, and many more were incensed at the disrespectful action by Trump. The backlash was so unanimous and overwhelming that Trump was forced to do something he rarely does -- reverse what he had done. Later on Monday, Trump was forced to sign a document to lower the flag again, and to leave it lowered until after Senator McCain's burial.

Making Trump look even worse was a final statement to America left by Senator McCain, which was read publicly by his friend and former national campaign manager. Senator McCain wrote:

My fellow Americans, whom I have gratefully served for sixty years, and especially my fellow Arizonans,
Thank you for the privilege of serving you and for the rewarding life that service in uniform and in public office has allowed me to lead. I have tried to serve our country honorably. I have made mistakes, but I hope my love for America will be weighed favorably against them.
I have often observed that I am the luckiest person on earth. I feel that way even now as I prepare for the end of my life. I have loved my life, all of it. I have had experiences, adventures and friendships enough for ten satisfying lives, and I am so thankful. Like most people, I have regrets. But I would not trade a day of my life, in good or bad times, for the best day of anyone else’s.
I owe that satisfaction to the love of my family. No man ever had a more loving wife or children he was prouder of than I am of mine. And I owe it to America. To be connected to America’s causes — liberty, equal justice, respect for the dignity of all people — brings happiness more sublime than life’s fleeting pleasures. Our identities and sense of worth are not circumscribed but enlarged by serving good causes bigger than ourselves.
Fellow Americans' — that association has meant more to me than any other. I lived and died a proud American. We are citizens of the world’s greatest republic, a nation of ideals, not blood and soil. We are blessed and are a blessing to humanity when we uphold and advance those ideals at home and in the world. We have helped liberate more people from tyranny and poverty than ever before in history. We have acquired great wealth and power in the process.
We weaken our greatness when we confuse our patriotism with tribal rivalries that have sown resentment and hatred and violence in all the corners of the globe. We weaken it when we hide behind walls, rather than tear them down, when we doubt the power of our ideals, rather than trust them to be the great force for change they have always been.
We are three-hundred-and-twenty-five million opinionated, vociferous individuals. We argue and compete and sometimes even vilify each other in our raucous public debates. But we have always had so much more in common with each other than in disagreement. If only we remember that and give each other the benefit of the presumption that we all love our country we will get through these challenging times. We will come through them stronger than before. We always do.
Ten years ago, I had the privilege to concede defeat in the election for president. I want to end my farewell to you with the heartfelt faith in Americans that I felt so powerfully that evening.
I feel it powerfully still.
Do not despair of our present difficulties but believe always in the promise and greatness of America, because nothing is inevitable here. Americans never quit. We never surrender. We never hide from history. We make history.
Farewell, fellow Americans. God bless you, and God bless America.

No Respect

Political Cartoon is by Clay Jones at

Beto O'Rourke Calls For "True Criminal Justice Reform"

(This caricature of Rep. Beto O'Rourke is by DonkeyHotey.)

Beto O'Rourke has been a great congressman for Texas, and hopefully he will also be a great senator after all the votes are counted in the November election. One of his best attributes is his willingness to tell the truth instead of just pandering to what he thinks would be best for his political career.

An excellent example of that was his defense of athletes taking a knee during the national anthem. He understands that, while it may irritate some voters, those athletes were just exercising their constitutional right to demonstrate to correct a wrong in our society.

Now he has done it again. Instead of just pandering to voters and calling for more harsh treatment of criminals (as most politicians do), he recognizes that our criminal justice system is flawed and needs to be fixed.

In an editorial in the Houston Chronicle, O'Rourke calls for Texas to lead the way in true criminal justice reform. The following is part of that great article that lists what kind of reform he thinks is need:

First, we should eliminate private, for-profit prisons from our justice system. Locking someone up is a power that should be reserved for our government, not outsourced to corporations that have the perverse incentive of getting more people behind bars so that there are more profits for their shareholders.
Second, we need to end the failed war on drugs that has long been a war on people, waged on some people over other people. Who is going to be the last man — more likely than not a black man — to languish behind bars for possessing or using marijuana when it is legal in more than half of the states in this country? We should end the federal prohibition on marijuana and expunge the records of those who were locked away for possessing it, ensuring that they can get work, finish their education, contribute to their full potential and to the greatness of this country.
Third, we must stop using mandatory minimum sentencing for non-violent drug offenses — a practice that costs taxpayers dearly and destroys lives in the process by locking up people who could safely re-enter society. And we replace this practice with policies that begin treating addiction like the public health concern it is.
Fourth, we can end the current use of bail bonds that punish people for being poor. This is a tactic that wastes resources on incarcerating those who are not a threat to anyone, not a flight risk, not likely to be repeat offenders. In the Harris County Jail, it’s estimated that 500 to 600 of the inmates at any given time fit this description — in for misdemeanors but without the resources to post bail as I did more than twenty years ago.
Finally, we should provide meaningful reentry to help cut down on recidivism for those who committed non-violent crimes. That starts with strong rehabilitation services, counseling and access to preventative health care. It continues by banning the box on job applications so those formerly incarcerated can work and pay taxes, returning drivers licenses so they can get to that place of employment, allowing them to apply for loans that can unlock skills trainings, and ensuring their constitutional right to participate in civic life by voting is protected. . . .
At the end of the day, this is about ensuring that every single one of us can live to our full potential and contribute to our maximum capacity. Giving low-level offenders a second chance no matter the color of their skin or the economic status they hold can create opportunity for all of us. It will help build a future that is more just, more fair, and more prosperous for every single person in this state and this country. It is time for Texas to lead the way.

In 1968

Political Cartoon is by Bruce Plante in Tulsa World.

Feminist Or Sexist

Monday, August 27, 2018


Democrats Change Party Rules To Please The Berniecrats

(This caricature of the Democratic donkey is by DonkeyHotey.)

Many of Bernie Sanders supporters claimed that their candidate lost in 2016 because the Democratic Party rules were not fair. It wasn't true, but I guess it made them feel better. The truth was that most Democrats simply preferred Hillary Clinton as their nominee rather than a candidate ashamed to wear the Democratic Party label.

The biggest gripe the Berniecrats had was the SuperDelegates. They were upset that most SuperDelegates supported and voted for Clinton. They claimed that allowing SuperDelegates to support the candidate of their choice was unfair, and they wanted the party to do away with the SuperDelegates.

Last Saturday, the Democratic Party gave in to those Bernie supporters and changed the party's primary rules. They hoped the rule changes would satisfy those voters and keep them in the party. The two biggest changes are:

1. The party keeps SuperDelegates, but they will not have a vote in the first round of convention voting. SuperDelegates will vote only if no candidate gets a majority of pledged delegate votes in the first round (an event that is very unlikely).

2. The party is urging states to abandon the caucus system and go to a primary system -- or to count the absentee ballots at the caucus of those unable to attend. And it looks like several states will follow the party's wishes and moved to a primary vote system.

The crazy part of all this is that if these rules had been in effect in 2016, Bernie Sanders would still have lost and Hillary Clinton would still have been the nominee. With SuperDelegates, Clinton had 2,842 delegate votes, while Sanders had 1,865 delegate votes. But if you take away all the SuperDelegate votes, Clinton would still have won the nomination -- with 2,205 pledged delegate votes to 1,846 pledged delegate votes for Sanders.

The Berniecrats are celebrating the party changes, and I guess that's OK if it keeps them as Democratic voters. But actually the rules may hurt Sanders more than it helps (if he were to run again). That's because he did much better in caucus states than in primary states -- and several states are in the process of changing from a caucus state to a primary state.

Led By A Rat

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