Thursday, January 31, 2019


What The 2020 Electorate Will Look Like

I found these charts interesting, and thought you might also. They are from the Pew Research Center.

Decaf Needed

Political Cartoon is by Walt Handelsman in The New Orleans Advocate.

Public Opposed To Declaring National Emergency For A Wall

There is no support in Congress (either the Democratic House or the GOP Senate) for another government shutdown -- even though Trump has threatened that to get money for his unpopular border wall. The odds are that if he tried to do it again, he would be overridden by Congress.

That leaves Trump with only his second threat -- to declare a national emergency and have the military build a border wall. It's debatable whether that would even be legal, but one thing is certain -- it would be very unpopular with the American public.

Three new polls show that the public would be opposed to that -- a Morning Consult Poll by 12 points, a Monmouth Poll by 30 points, and a Quinnipiac Poll by 35 points.

Trump needs to improve his numbers. Declaring a national emergency to force building a wall will do just the opposite.

The Quinnipiac University Poll was done between January 25th and 28th of a national sample of 1,004 voters, with a 3.7 point margin of error.

The Monmouth University Poll was done between January 25th and 27th of a national sample of 805 adults, with a 3.5 point margin of error.

The Politico / Morning Consult Poll was done between January 25th and 27th of a national sample of 1.997 registered voters, with a 2 point margin of error.

The Vortex

Political Cartoon is by Kevin Siers in The Charlotte Observer.

Another Poll Shows No Real Democratic 2020 Favorite

This chart reflects the results of a new Politico / Morning Consult Poll -- done between January 25th and 27th of a national sample of 1,997 registered voters, with a margin of error of 2 points. Since this chart contains only the views of Democrats, the margin of error will be slightly higher.

Yesterday, I showed you a Washington Post / ABC News Poll that showed there is no real favorite in the 2020 presidential race for Democrats. Now this new poll verifies that is true. Only five candidates have more than 2% support -- Biden (20%), Sanders (13%), Harris (5%), Warren (4%), O'Rourke (4%) -- and none of them have support large enough to call them a real favorite.


Political Cartoon is by R.J. Matson in Roll Call.

Intelligence Heads Disagree With Trump On Dangers To U.S.

(The photo of Intelligence officials testifying before Congress is from The caricature Of Donald Trump is by DonkeyHotey.)

Donald Trump likes to brag about his foreign policy. He tells us that he has made America safer by making Russia our friend,  defeating ISIS, withdrawing from the Iran deal, by convincing North Korea to give up their nuclear weapons, and by naming the border with Mexico as the biggest danger to this country.

But that is a view only in his own fevered imagination, and is accepted only by his most rabid supporters. Intelligence officials (and most Americans) know the truth is far different.

On Tuesday, the heads of U.S. intelligence agencies testified before Congress -- and they sharply disagreed with Donald Trump. This should worry Americans (that Trump is unable or unwilling to accurately assess the real dangers facing this country).

Here is part of how their testimony was reported in Stars and Stripes:

Directly contradicting President Donald Trump, U.S. intelligence agencies told Congress on Tuesday that North Korea is unlikely to dismantle its nuclear arsenal, that the Islamic State group remains a threat and that the Iran nuclear deal is working. The chiefs made no mention of a crisis at the U.S.-Mexican border for which Trump has considered declaring a national emergency.
Their analysis stands in sharp contrast to Trump's almost singular focus on security gaps at the border as the biggest threat facing the United States.
Top security officials including FBI Director Christopher Wray, CIA Director Gina Haspel and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats presented an update to the Senate intelligence committee on Tuesday on their annual assessment of global threats. They warned of an increasingly diverse range of security dangers around the globe, from North Korean nuclear weapons to Chinese cyberespionage to Russian campaigns to undermine Western democracies.
Coats said intelligence information does not support the idea that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will eliminate his nuclear weapons and the capacity for building more — a notion that is the basis of the U.S. negotiating strategy.
"We currently assess that North Korea will seek to retain its WMD (weapons of mass destruction) capabilities and is unlikely to completely give up its nuclear weapons and production capability because its leaders ultimately view nuclear weapons as critical to regime survival," Coats told the committee. . . .
More broadly, the intelligence report on which Coats and the heads of other intelligence agencies based their testimony predicted that security threats to the United States and its allies this year will expand and diversify, driven in part by China and Russia. It says Moscow and Beijing are more aligned than at any other point since the mid-1950s and their global influence is rising even as U.S. relations with traditional allies are in flux.
"Some U.S. allies and partners are seeking greater independence from Washington in response to their perception of changing U.S. policies on security and trade," the report said, without providing examples or further explanation.
The report also said the Islamic State group "remains a terrorist and insurgent threat" inside Iraq, where the government faces "an increasingly disenchanted public."
The intelligence assessment, which is provided annually to Congress, made no mention of a crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border, which Trump has asserted as the basis for his demand that Congress finance a border wall. . . .
In Syria, where Trump has ordered a full withdrawal of U.S. troops, the government of Bashar Assad is likely to consolidate control, with Russia and Iran attempting to further entrench themselves in Syria, the report said. Asked for her assessment, Haspel said of the IS group: "They're still dangerous." She added that they still command "thousands of fighters in Iraq and Syria."
The intelligence agencies said Iran continues to work with other parties to the nuclear deal it reached with the U.S. and other Western nations. In doing so, they said, it has at least temporarily lessened the nuclear threat. . . .
The intelligence assessment of Afghanistan, more than 17 years into a conflict that began after the 9/11 attacks on the U.S., projected a continued military stalemate. Without mentioning prospects for a peace deal, which appear to have improved only in recent days, the report said, "neither the Afghan government nor the Taliban will be able to gain a strategic military advantage in the Afghan war in the coming year" if the U.S. maintains its current levels of support. Trump has ordered a partial pullback of U.S. forces this year, although no firm plan is in place.
Coats told the committee that Russia and perhaps other countries are likely to attempt to use social media and other means to influence the 2020 U.S. presidential election.
"We expect our adversaries and strategic competitors to refine their capabilities and add new tactics as they learn from each other's experiences, suggesting the threat landscape could look very different in 2020 and future elections," the intelligence report said.
The report specifically warned about Russia's cyberattack capabilities.
"Moscow is now staging cyberattack assets to allow it to disrupt or damage U.S. civilian and military infrastructure during a crisis," it said.


Political Cartoon is by John Darkow in the Columbia Missourian.

The Moral Test Of Government

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

A Proverb

56% Of Voters Say They Would NOT Vote Trump In 2020

The following charts use information gleaned from the newest ABC News / Washington Post Poll -- done between January 21st and 24th of a national sample of 1,001 adults, with a 3.5 point margin of error.

It shows that Donald Trump is in a lot of political trouble. He wants to run for re-election, but the general public doesn't want him. About 56% of registered voters said they would definitely not vote for him in the 2020 election. That includes 14% of Republicans, 88% of Democrats, and most importantly, 59% of Independents.

Those numbers signal defeat for Trump in 2020, unless he can radically improve them. Even the quirks of the Electoral College can cover a gap that big.

Tattooed Cons

Political Cartoon is by Adam Zyglis in The Buffalo News.

Could Trump Build A Wall By Declaring National Emergency?

(Cartoon image is by Randall Enos at

The government shutdown has ended until February 15th to give Congress a chance to negotiate a way out of the current mess over building a wall between the United States and Mexico. Is a compromise possible?

Trump still insists that he must get the $5.7 billion to start building his wall (which would cost in total at least $25 billion, and probably much more). Democrats still insist they will not give him money for a wall. There is some chance they will agree to $5.7 billion for "border security", but that would not include any money for a wall -- instead supplying funds for technological tools, more border officers, and repairing/replacing existing border "barriers".

Is that good enough for Trump? Probably not. He has said he has two options if he doesn't get money for his wall -- to again shutdown the government, or to declare a national emergency and have the military build the wall.

The first option is not a real one (unless Trump is a complete idiot). Trump bore the brunt of blame for the first shutdown, and if he vetoed an effort by Congress to keep the government open with a compromise budget (including money for "border security"), he would again be blamed -- and probably by an even larger margin this time. And just like before, the Democrats could not give in (because doing so would just give Trump a tool to override Congress on other things he wants).

That leaves only one possibility -- to declare a national emergency and try to use funds appropriated for other things to build his wall. Democrats would immediately go to court to stop that. And they would be on pretty solid ground -- first, because there is no real emergency, and second, because he would be trying to do an end run around Congress by using funds for something they were not appropriated.

Trump probably thinks the Supreme Court would come down on his side. He might be right, but I suspect they would do their best to avoid the issue -- letting it work its way slowly through the District Court and Appeals Court levels first. And there would likely be an injunction stopping the emergency declaration while that happens.

I think it is likely that Trump will try to go the "national emergency" route. But I don't think it would be successful, and many conservatives will be afraid that a future liberal president would use this as a precedent to impose something he wants (but Congress has blocked).

Trump would be smart to just take what Congress gives him for "border security" and declare it a victory -- even though it doesn't include money for a wall. But then, Trump hasn't shown much intelligence so far.

Time Running Out

Political Cartoon is by Kevin Siers in The Charlotte Observer.

New Poll Shows 2020 Democratic Race Is Wide Open

There's been a lot of talk about who might be the Democratic nominee in 2020 for president. But a new poll shows there really isn't a favorite -- at least not yet. About 59% of registered voters (Democrats and Independents leaning toward Democrats) don't have a favorite right now. And of the 41% who did name someone, no candidate was in double-digits. Joe Biden was in the lead, but with only 9% -- far from being a prohibitive favorite. It just shows that this race could be won by any number of Democrats. That makes the next few months very interesting, as we watch the candidates jockeying to gather donors and supporters.

The chart is from the ABC News / Washington Post Poll -- done between January 21st and 24th of a national sample of 1,001 adults. The margin of error for adults was 3.5 points (and would be slightly higher for only Democrats and Independents).

Winning (Not)

Political Cartoon is by Nate Beeler in The Columbus Dispatch.

Trump/GOP Tax Cuts Did Not Fulfill Its Promises

(Cartoon image is by Mike Keefe in The Denver Post.)

The tax cuts passed by congressional Republicans and signed by Donald Trump was touted by them as a benefit to the middle class. But the biggest cuts benefitted the rich, and the biggest cuts of all went to corporations. Trump told us that those corporations would use the cuts to expand investment and create a massive number of new jobs. That did not happen. Instead, most of the corporations used that money to buy back their own stock (raising stock prices, which only benefitted the company executives and stockholders). Here's what Rueters reports really happened:

The Trump administration's $1.5 trillion tax cut package appeared to have no major impact on businesses' capital investment or hiring plans, according to a survey released a year after the biggest overhaul of the tax code in more than 30 years.
The National Association of Business Economics' quarterly business conditions poll, published on Monday, found that while some companies reported accelerating investments because of lower corporate taxes, 84 percent of respondents said they had not changed plans. That compares to 81 percent in the previous survey published in October.
The White House had predicted that the massive fiscal stimulus package, marked by the reduction in the corporate tax rate to 21 percent from 35 percent, would boost business spending and job growth. The tax cuts came into effect in January 2018.
"A large majority of respondents, 84 percent, indicate that one year after its passage, the corporate tax reform has not caused their firms to change hiring or investment plans," said NABE President Kevin Swift. . . .
The NABE survey also suggested a further slowdown in business spending after moderating sharply in the third quarter of 2018. The survey's measure of capital spending fell in January to its lowest level since July 2017. Expectations for capital spending for the next three months also weakened.
"Fewer firms increased capital spending compared to the October survey responses, but the cutback appeared to be concentrated more in structures than in information and communication technology investments," said Swift, who is also chief economist at the American Chemistry Council.
According to the survey, employment growth improved modestly in the fourth quarter of 2018 compared to the third quarter. Just over one-third of respondents reported rising employment at their firms over the past three months, up from 31 percent in the October survey. The survey's forward-looking measure of employment slipped to 25 in January from 29 in October.

Trump's Toy

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

The Cycle

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

I'm Tired

Too Early To Talk About 2020? The Voters Say NO!

There's already a lot of talk in the mainstream media and on social media about the 2020 election. I've even posted quite a bit about it on this blog. Is it too early to be talking about the next election. Are American voters tired and want to focus about something else?

The answer seems to be a resounding NO! A new survey has been released by Democracy Corps / Greenberg Research. The survey questioned 1,000 registered voters nationwide between January 12th and 17th, and the survey had a 3.2 point margin of error. The chart above shows the results of the survey.

They asked those registered voters to rate their interest in the 2020 election on a 10 point scale -- with 1 being low interest and 10 being very high interest. A whopping 77% chose 10 as their rating. Voters are already very interested in the 2020 election.

I think the interest is that high because Trump is still living in the people's White House. Democrats and Independents are wanting to change that (and there's a lot of sentiment about changing Congress also). Democrats/Independents want to seize the Senate, while Republicans want to retake the House. No one is very happy about the split government.

Pelosi's Piñata

Political Cartoon is by J.D. Crowe at

"Global Warming" Will Be A Good Issue For 2020 Democrats

Donald Trump, and his Republican cohorts in Congress, are still trying to deny global warming (global climate change) -- and the few that will admit it is happening deny that it is because of human activity (overuse/abuse of fossil fuels). That may make them popular with corporate heads (who don't want to spend the money to clean up their act), but it will not fly with the general public anymore.

An overwhelming 73% of the public now believes global warming is happening, and a significant 62% of them believe it is due to human activity. In other words, they believe the world's scientists instead of the corporate-owned politicians. In addition, 69% now say they are at least somewhat worried about global warming.

I doubt you'll hear much from the Republicans about global warming as we approach the next election. They can read the polls, and they won't want to alienate the majority of voters. The Democrats should take advantage of this. They should make global warming (and the increase in devastating weather it is causing) one of the themes of their 2020 campaign.

The charts above reflect information contained in a recent Yale University / George Mason University Survey -- done between November 28th and December 11th of 2018. They questioned 1,114 adults nationwide, and the survey has a 3 points margin of error.

No Emergency

Political Cartoon is by Phil Hands in the Wisconsin State Journal.

Trump Still Has A Serious Problem With Women

Yesterday I showed you a poll that showed the public rates Donald Trump very poorly on presidential qualifications. Today, another poll shows who is bringing down Trump's numbers the most.

It's not surprising that it's women. While men give Trump the benefit of the doubt on most qualifications, women don't. They rate him very low on all the qualifications.

If Trump wants to win re-election in 2020 (and win back the House), he must change this. Women killed him in the 2018 election, and they are set to do it again in 2020.

The chart above is from the ABC News / Washington Post Poll -- done between January 21st and 24th of a national sample of 1,001 adults, with a 3.5 point margin of error.


Political Cartoon is by Clay Jones at

The U.S. Should Stop Interfering In Politics Of Venezuela

The United States is interfering in the internal politics of the nation of Venezuela. It's not the first time. The U.S. has been angry with Venezuela since they elected Chavez (and he nationalized Venezuelan oil -- taking it away from U.S. corporations). The U.S. even funded a coup attempt during the Bush administration (and is likely doing the same right now). Trump has even suggested several times using the U.S. military to intervene in Venezuela on the side of the right wing in that country.

This is the height of hypocrisy. While American politicians decry the intervention of Russia in our own political system, those same politicians (of bot political parties) see nothing wrong with interfering in Venezuelan politics.

The United States government needs to STOP interfering in the politics of Venezuela. Venezuela must solve its own political problems without outside interference -- just like the U.S. needs to do without foreign interference.

The following open letter is from Common Dreams:

The following open letter—signed by 70 scholars on Latin America, political science, and history as well as filmmakers, civil society leaders, and other experts—was issued on Thursday, January 24, 2019 in opposition to ongoing intervention by the United States in Venezuela.

The United States government must cease interfering in Venezuela’s internal politics, especially for the purpose of overthrowing the country’s government. Actions by the Trump administration and its allies in the hemisphere are almost certain to make the situation in Venezuela worse, leading to unnecessary human suffering, violence, and instability.

Venezuela’s political polarization is not new; the country has long been divided along racial and socioeconomic lines. But the polarization has deepened in recent years. This is partly due to US support for an opposition strategy aimed at removing the government of Nicolás Maduro through extra-electoral means. While the opposition has been divided on this strategy, US support has backed hardline opposition sectors in their goal of ousting the Maduro government through often violent protests, a military coup d’etat, or other avenues that sidestep the ballot box.

Under the Trump administration, aggressive rhetoric against the Venezuelan government has ratcheted up to a more extreme and threatening level, with Trump administration officials talking of “military action” and condemning Venezuela, along with Cuba and Nicaragua, as part of a “troika of tyranny.” Problems resulting from Venezuelan government policy have been worsened  by US economic sanctions, illegal under the Organization of American States and the United Nations ― as well as US law and other international treaties and conventions. These sanctions have cut off the means by which the Venezuelan government could escape from its economic recession, while causing a dramatic falloffin oil production and worsening the economic crisis, and causing many people to die because they can’t get access to life-saving medicines. Meanwhile, the US and other governments continue to blame the Venezuelan government ― solely ― for the economic damage, even that caused by the US sanctions.

Now the US and its allies, including OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro and Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, have pushed Venezuela to the precipice. By recognizing National Assembly President Juan Guaido as the new president of Venezuela ― something illegal under the OAS Charter ― the Trump administration has sharply accelerated Venezuela’s political crisis in the hopes of dividing the Venezuelan military and further polarizing the populace, forcing them to choose sides. The obvious, and sometimes stated goal, is to force Maduro out via a coup d’etat.

The reality is that despite hyperinflation, shortages, and a deep depression, Venezuela remains a politically polarized country. The US and its allies must cease encouraging violence by pushing for violent, extralegal regime change. If the Trump administration and its allies continue to pursue their reckless course in Venezuela, the most likely result will be bloodshed, chaos, and instability. The US should have learned something from its regime change ventures in Iraq, Syria, Libya, and its long, violent history of sponsoring regime change in Latin America.

Neither side in Venezuela can simply vanquish the other. The military, for example, has at least 235,000 frontline members, and there are at least 1.6 million in militias. Many of these people will fight, not only on the basis of a belief in national sovereignty that is widely held in Latin America ― in the face of what increasingly appears to be a US-led intervention ― but also to protect themselves from likely repression if the opposition topples the government by force.

In such situations, the only solution is a negotiated settlement, as has happened in the past in Latin American countries when politically polarized societies were unable to resolve their differences through elections. There have been efforts, such as those led by the Vatican in the fall of 2016, that had potential, but they received no support from Washington and its allies who favored regime change. This strategy must change if there is to be any viable solution to the ongoing crisis in Venezuela.

For the sake of the Venezuelan people, the region, and for the principle of national sovereignty, these international actors should instead support negotiations between the Venezuelan government and its opponents that will allow the country to finally emerge from its political and economic crisis.

Noam Chomsky, Professor Emeritus, MIT and Laureate Professor, University of Arizona 

Laura Carlsen, Director, Americas Program, Center for International Policy 

Greg Grandin, Professor of History, New York University 

Miguel Tinker Salas, Professor of Latin American History and Chicano/a Latino/a Studies at Pomona College 

Sujatha Fernandes, Professor of Political Economy and Sociology, University of Sydney 

Steve Ellner, Associate Managing Editor of Latin American Perspectives 

Alfred de Zayas, former UN Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order and only UN rapporteur to have visited Venezuela in 21 years 

Boots Riley, Writer/Director of Sorry to Bother You, Musician 

John Pilger, Journalist & Film-Maker 

Mark Weisbrot, Co-Director, Center for Economic and Policy Research 

Jared Abbott, PhD Candidate, Department of Government, Harvard University 

Dr. Tim Anderson, Director, Centre for Counter Hegemonic Studies 

Elisabeth Armstrong, Professor of the Study of Women and Gender, Smith College 

Alexander Aviña, PhD, Associate Professor of History, Arizona State University 

Marc Becker, Professor of History, Truman State University 

Medea Benjamin, Cofounder, CODEPINK 

Phyllis Bennis, Program Director, New Internationalism, Institute for Policy Studies 

Dr. Robert E. Birt, Professor of Philosophy, Bowie State University 

Aviva Chomsky, Professor of History, Salem State University 

James Cohen, University of Paris 3 Sorbonne Nouvelle
Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, Associate Professor, George Mason University 

Benjamin Dangl, PhD, Editor of Toward Freedom 

Dr. Francisco Dominguez, Faculty of Professional and Social Sciences, Middlesex University, UK 

Alex Dupuy, John E. Andrus Professor of Sociology Emeritus, Wesleyan University 

Jodie Evans, Cofounder, CODEPINK 

Vanessa Freije, Assistant Professor of International Studies, University of Washington 

Gavin Fridell, Canada Research Chair and Associate Professor in International Development Studies, St. Mary’s University 

Evelyn Gonzalez, Counselor, Montgomery College 

Jeffrey L. Gould, Rudy Professor of History, Indiana University 

Bret Gustafson, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Washington University in St. Louis 

Peter Hallward, Professor of Philosophy, Kingston University 

John L. Hammond, Professor of Sociology, CUNY 

Mark Healey, Associate Professor of History, University of Connecticut 

Gabriel Hetland, Assistant Professor of Latin American, Caribbean and U.S. Latino Studies, University of Albany 

Forrest Hylton, Associate Professor of History, Universidad Nacional de Colombia-Medellín 

Daniel James, Bernardo Mendel Chair of Latin American History 

Chuck Kaufman, National Co-Coordinator, Alliance for Global Justice 

Daniel Kovalik, Adjunct Professor of Law, University of Pittsburgh 

Winnie Lem, Professor, International Development Studies, Trent University 

Dr. Gilberto López y Rivas, Professor-Researcher, National University of Anthropology and History, Morelos, Mexico 

Mary Ann Mahony, Professor of History, Central Connecticut State University 

Jorge Mancini, Vice President, Foundation for Latin American Integration (FILA) 

Luís Martin-Cabrera, Associate Professor of Literature and Latin American Studies, University of California San Diego 

Teresa A. Meade, Florence B. Sherwood Professor of History and Culture, Union College 

Frederick Mills, Professor of Philosophy, Bowie State University 

Stephen Morris, Professor of Political Science and International Relations, Middle Tennessee State University 

Liisa L. North, Professor Emeritus, York University 

Paul Ortiz, Associate Professor of History, University of Florida 

Christian Parenti, Associate Professor, Department of Economics, John Jay College CUNY 

Nicole Phillips, Law Professor at the Université de la Foundation Dr. Aristide Faculté des Sciences Juridiques et Politiques and Adjunct Law Professor at the University of California Hastings College of the Law 

Beatrice Pita, Lecturer, Department of Literature, University of California San Diego 

Margaret Power, Professor of History, Illinois Institute of Technology 

Vijay Prashad, Editor, The TriContinental 

Eleanora Quijada Cervoni FHEA, Staff Education Facilitator & EFS Mentor, Centre for Higher Education, Learning & Teaching at The Australian National University 

Walter Riley, Attorney and Activist 

William I. Robinson, Professor of Sociology, University of California, Santa Barbara 

Mary Roldan, Dorothy Epstein Professor of Latin American History, Hunter College/ CUNY Graduate Center 

Karin Rosemblatt, Professor of History, University of Maryland 

Emir Sader, Professor of Sociology, University of the State of Rio de Janeiro 

Rosaura Sanchez, Professor of Latin American Literature and Chicano Literature, University of California, San Diego 

T.M. Scruggs Jr., Professor Emeritus, University of Iowa 

Victor Silverman, Professor of History, Pomona College 

Brad Simpson, Associate Professor of History, University of Connecticut 

Jeb Sprague, Lecturer, University of Virginia
Kent Spriggs, International human rights lawyer

Christy Thornton, Assistant Professor of History, Johns Hopkins University 

Sinclair S. Thomson, Associate Professor of History, New York University 

Steven Topik, Professor of History, University of California, Irvine 

Stephen Volk, Professor of History Emeritus, Oberlin College 

Kirsten Weld, John. L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Social Sciences, Department of History, Harvard University 

Kevin Young, Assistant Professor of History, University of Massachusetts Amherst 

Patricio Zamorano, Academic of Latin American Studies; Executive Director, InfoAmericas

Last Hurrah

Political Cartoon is by Milt Priggee at

Of All The Preposterous Assumptions

Monday, January 28, 2019

A Conspiracy To Seize Power

Public Rates Trump Very Poorly On Presidential Qualities

The chart above is from the latest NBC News / Wall Street Journal Poll -- done between January 20th and 23rd of a national sample of 900 adults, with a margin of error of 3.3 points.

The poll shows how the American people feel about Trump on the qualities needed to be a good president. The best Trump could do was break even on two qualities -- 43% to 43% on being direct and straightforward in communicating  with the people, and 39% to 39% on changing business as usual in Washington.

He comes up short on everything else. He is 8 points down on being effective in getting things done (38% to 46%), 11 points down on being a good negotiator (36% to 47%), 22 points down on being knowledgeable and experienced enough (32% to 54%), 21 points down on being steady and reliable (32% to 53%), 30 points down on being honest and trustworthy (28% to 58%), and 34 points down on having high personal and ethical standards (24% to 58%).

Those are terrible numbers. They show that after two years in office, Trump has been unable to convince Americans that he is up to the task of being president. That's why his job approval numbers have been upside-down since he was sworn in to office, and why the overwhelming majority of Americans feel he is leading our country in the wrong direction (28% right direction to 63% wrong direction -- a negative gap of 35 points).


Political Cartoon is by Kevin Kallaugher (KAL) in The Baltimore Sun.

Clear Majority Supports House Dems Investigating Trump

For the last two years, the House of Representatives (under GOP control) has refused to conduct any real investigation of Donald Trump. If anything, their efforts were more to whitewash Trump's actions instead of investigating them.

With the Democrats taking control of the House after the last election, much has been made of the House now conducting a real investigation of Trump's misdeeds. What does the general public think. Do they want the House to investigate Trump? The answer is a resounding YES!

About 57% want House Dems to investigate Trump's collusion with Russia in the 2016 election, about 61% want them to investigate Trump's financial ties to foreign powers, about 59% want them to investigate Trump's ties to Putin, and about 60% want them to obtain and release Trump's tax returns.

The American people want to know the truth. They want to know if Trump is a criminal. And they are counting on the House Dems to find and expose that truth.

The charts above reflect the results of a new ABC News / Washington Post Poll -- done between January 21st and 24th of a national sample of 1,001 adults, with a margin of error of 3.5 points.

Guilty Of Caring

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

Does It Really Matter Whether Stone Flips Or Not?

(This caricature of Roger Stone is by DonkeyHotey.)

Trump's longtime associate, Roger Stone, was arrested last Friday morning. He was indicted by the Mueller investigation team on seven felony counts -- one count of witness tampering, one count of obstruction of justice, and 5 counts of making false statements.

It would be an understatement to say Stone's goose is cooked. Mueller's team has plenty of evidence.

This has started a lot of talk on cable news shows about the possibility of Stone flipping and cooperating with the Mueller investigation. This talk is just silly. Stone has repeatedly said he would not testify against Trump, and it's doubtful that his testimony would help anyway.

Considering the nuttiness and obvious lying that Stone has done, would you believe him if he testified?

Isn't it likely if he offered to flip and testify that he would continue working with Trump (just like Manafort did)?

And the most important question of all -- DOES MUELLER EVEN WANT STONE TO FLIP?

Here's some of what former federal prosecutor Paul Zeidenberg had to say at The Daily Beast:

The long-anticipated indictment of Roger Stone finally dropped on Friday, and it landed on Stone like the proverbial ton of bricks. As someone who prosecuted Scooter Libby and others on similar charges and defended white-collar cases involving similar charges as those alleged here—false statements, obstruction of justice and witness tampering—my takeaway is that Stone should begin getting his affairs in order. Barring a presidential pardon (always the wild-card possibility with a POTUS like Trump) Stone will be convicted and receive a very substantial prison sentence. This is as close to a slam-dunk case as a prosecutor will ever bring. . . .

Finally, do not expect to see Special Counsel Robert Mueller make any attempt to flip Stone and have him cooperate. A defendant like Stone is far more trouble than he is worth to a prosecutor. Stone is too untrustworthy for a prosecutor to ever rely upon. He has told so many documented lies, and bragged so often about his dirty tricks, that he simply has too much baggage to deal with even if here to want to cooperate—which seems unlikely in any event. Mueller, I suspect, would not even be willing to engage in a preliminary debrief with Stone to just test the possibility of cooperation out of concern that Stone would immediately go on television with his pals at Fox News to decry Mueller’s Gestapo tactics. 

In short, Mueller does not need Stone to get to someone else and, even if he did, he could not rely on whatever Stone told him. Stone has nothing to sell that Mueller would be interested in buying.

Stone is clearly enjoying being in the spotlight now. He should enjoy it while he can. His remaining years won’t be nearly as pleasant.

The Wail

Political Cartoon is by Gary Markstein at