Tuesday, April 30, 2019

The Lyin' King

Will The Economy Protect Trump In The 2020 Election?

The pundits on cable news shows seem to agree that if the economy is good (if it doesn't get worse than it is right now), then Trump could be re-elected. The chart above shows that may not be true.

While the current economy is great for the rich and the corporations, it's not so great for the rest of America. Most people see the economy as benefitting those in power (the Republicans and their rich friends), but not benefitting all the citizens of the United States.

It's no surprise that Republicans think the current economic system benefits everyone by a 33 point margin. But they are alone. Democrats see it benefitting only the rich and powerful by a 65 point margin, Independents by a 37 point margin, and all registered voters by a 24 point margin.

Those are not good numbers for those in power (Republicans). Most people want to see change. They want a fairer economic system -- one that benefits all Americans.

The chart above is from a recent Washington Post / ABC News Poll -- done between April 22nd and 25th of a national sample of 865 registered voters, with a margin of error of 4 points.

Between Shootings

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

Could Texas Really Be In Play For Democrats In 2020?

The charts above are from a new Emerson College Poll -- done between April 25th and 28th of 799 registered voters in Texas (including 342 Democratic primary voters). The margin of error for registered voters is 3.4 points, and for Democrats is 5.3 points.

I was born and raised in Texas, and I've lived there most of my life. And I've seen it vote very red for nearly 30 years now (with no Democrats elected to statewide office in that time). So it seems a bit odd to be asking the question of whether the state could be in play for Democrats in 2020.

But Texas is slowly changing. In 2020, they elected more Democrats to the U.S. House of Representatives, and came very close to winning a few more. And a Democrat came very close to unseating Ted Cruz in the Senate race. If Democrats can get their vote out in Texas next year, a small miracle could happen.

The charts above show Trump is not running away with the sympathies of Texas voters. In fact, two Democratic candidates are running neck and neck with him -- Joe Biden leads Trump by 1 point (50% to 49%) and Beto O'Rourke is tied with him (50% to 50%). And some others are within possible range -- Bernie Sanders trails by 2 points, Elizabeth Warren trails by 6 points, and Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg trail by 8 points.

It won't be easy. Democrats will have to work their butts off to make it happen. But yes, I think it's possible that Texas could be in play.

Thoughts And Prayers

Political Cartoon is by Bill Day at cagle.com.

Could This Healthcare Claim By Beto Possibly Be True?

A couple of weeks ago, Beto O'Rourke (Democratic candidate for presidential nomination) made a rather shocking claim. He said the infant mortality rate between Whites and Blacks in the U.S. us currently worse than it was in 1850.

Could that possibly be true? Would the giant leaps in health care made since 1850 have narrowed that gap? Sadly, No. O'Rourke's statement is TRUE! While the infant mortality has significantly improved for everyone since 1850, the rate between Whites and Blacks has gotten worse.

The good folks at PolitiFact decided to check on Beto's statement. Here is what they said:

O’Rourke’s statement is deeply grounded. Academic studies lead to estimates that in 1850, live-born black babies were 1.6 times more likely to die in their first year than white ones. The latest racial infant mortality statistics are from 2016 - not 2019 as O’Rourke suggests. They show blacks were 2.3 times more likely to die in infancy than whites.

This is inexcusable. And it has a cause -- institutional racism. Racism continues to be too big a factor in our institutional systems -- not only our educational, justice, and political systems, but evidently, also our medical care system.

This could be fixed. We could have true equality for everyone in this country. But too many Whites cling to their privilege. Ignorantly, they seem to believe that granting equal rights to everyone will somehow take rights away from them. They are wrong, and their illogical beliefs make the country worse for everyone.

Puppet Dancer

Political Cartoon is by Paul Fell at paulfellcartoons.com.

The Trend That's Scaring The Hell Out Of Republicans

Have you wondered why Republican politicians are trying every trick they know to suppress voting (especially among non-whites) -- like Voter ID, purging voter rolls, gerrymandering, etc.? Of course, one reason is that non-whites don't tend to vote for Republicans (because of their racist and xenophobic policies).

But the big reason is that they see Whites becoming a minority in this country, and with their base refusing to allow more inclusive policies, that spells doom for the Republican Party. And the demographic change is not that far down the road.

The map above and the paragraphs below are from Axios.com:

By 2045, the U.S. as a whole is projected to become majority minority. And the changes are already underway: non-white Americans are now the majority of the population in four states, as well as in the most prosperous and powerful U.S. cities.
Why it matters: The U.S. faces two possible futures: A thriving nation that embraces its new demographic makeup, or an escalation of fighting, racism and xenophobia.
By the numbers: Since 2010, non-Hispanic white people have become the minority in 32 more U.S. counties — for a total of 372 counties, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. The trends are largely due to a rise in Hispanic and Asian immigrants as well as slightly higher birth rates among non-whites.
  • Next year, the entire under 18 population will be majority non-white, according to William Frey, a Brookings Institution demographer and author of "Diversity Explosion: How New Racial Demographics are Remaking America." 
  • In less than a decade, the population under 30 will be majority non-white.
The demographic shifts are already having an impact on our national identity, politics and the generational gap, according to sociologists and demographers who have studied the trends.

Russia's Monkey

Political Cartoon is by Randy Bish in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Truth From Molly

Monday, April 29, 2019


Most Democrats Have Not Made Up Their Minds Yet

Cable news loves to treat the race for the Democratic presidential nomination as though it was a horse race. The only thing they think is important is who's winning (or leading) the race. But the truth is -- there is no leader. At least not yet.

As this new Washington Post / ABC News Poll shows, a majority (54%) of Democrats have not made up their minds who to support or vote for. And I believe they may not do so for at least another couple of months -- maybe longer.

Until a significant majority of Democrats (and Independent leaners) make up their mind, any talk of a leader will just be wishful thinking.

Too Soon (Again)

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

Trump Pursues His Goal Of Becoming A Dictator/King

(This image of Trump as baby king is from thehypertexts.com.)

There is a school of thought that Donald Trump doesn't understand our system of divided government. I don't agree. I think he understands it, but just doesn't care. The Constitution is nothing more than a nuisance to him. It's an impediment to achieving his ultimate goal -- to establish an imperial presidency with himself as dictator/king.

It's because he has none of the tools necessary for the leader of a democracy. His only tools are lying, cheating, and bullying. Those are the tools of a tyrant, and they are not suited for a democracy.

He tried using those tools to quell the Mueller investigation, and he failed. Now he is doubling down on them to protect himself from congressional investigation. He is refusing to cooperate with Congress by blocking the release of any and all records, and refusing to let any of the members of his administration testify before Congress.

Here is just part of how Robert Reich describes Trump's latest tyrannical moves in The Guardian:

“We’re fighting all the subpoenas,” says the person who is supposed to be chief executive of the United States government.

In other words, there is to be no congressional oversight of this administration: no questioning officials who played a role in putting a citizenship question on the 2020 census. No questioning a former White House counsel about the Mueller report.

No questioning a Trump adviser about immigration policy. No questioning a former White House security director about issuances of security clearances.

No presidential tax returns to the ways and means committee, even though a 1920s law specifically authorizes the committee to get them.

Such a blanket edict fits a dictator of a banana republic, not the president of a constitutional republic founded on separation of powers.

If Congress cannot question the people who are making policy, or obtain critical documents, Congress cannot function as a coequal branch of government.

If Congress cannot get information about the executive branch, there is no longer any separation of powers, as sanctified in the US constitution.

There is only one power – the power of the president to rule as he wishes.

Which is what Donald Trump has sought all along.

The only relevant question is how stop this dictatorial move. And let’s be clear: this is a dictatorial move. . . .

Trump’s contempt for the inherent power of Congress cannot stand. It is the most dictatorial move he has initiated since becoming president.

Congress has a constitutional duty to respond forcefully, using its own inherent power of contempt.

Lacking Stature

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

We Were All Humans Until -

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Not A Very Bright Species

Trump Unlikely To Win In Wisconsin In 2020

One of the surprise states that Donald Trump won in 2016. But he has a lot of damage control to do if he wants to repeat that. Right now, Wisconsin is not looking very good for him. He has a 10 point negative gap in job approval, and a 9 point negative gap against a generic Democratic opponent. In addition, the Wisconsin public trusts Democrats more by 10 points on health care. And those voters oppose Trump's desire to cut Medicaid and Medicare by a whopping 50 point gap.

The charts above are from a new Public Policy Polling survey -- done on April 22nd and 23rd of 762 Wisconsin voters, and has a margin of error of 3.6 points.

The Worst News

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

Bill Weld Of GOP Says "It's Time For Trump To Resign"

(Photo of Bill Weld, from Wikipedia, is by Gary Johnson.)

Not every Republican is a brain dead supporter of the criminal in the White House. A few have refused to abandon their conscience, and still cling to their honesty. One of these is former Republican Governor William "Bill" Weld.

I don't usually agree with Weld, especially on economic issues, but I admire his courageous stand against Donald Trump. Here is the op-ed he wrote in thebulwark.com asking Trump to resign:

If Donald Trump is an American patriot, he should resign from office.
In the 2016 campaign, Senator Ted Cruz described Trump as a “pathological liar.” The Mueller report carefully documents the truth of Senator Cruz’s description. The relationship between a democratic government and its citizens is based on mutual trust and respect. How can a president function if he instinctively lies to not only the public but to his own staff? There is one essential truth that leaps from the pages of the Mueller report: No one can trust Donald Trump.
Following the release of the Mueller report, Trump claimed with his usual arrogance and ignorance that he has been vindicated. In truth, the Mueller report revealed that Trump is a one-man crime wave.
Time and again, Trump tried to use the power of the Oval Office to protect himself and his associates from the consequences of their actions. The only defense Trump has to obstruction of justice is that he was too incompetent to carry it off. Over the past two years, several Trump aides derailed his criminal conspiracies by distracting the president, or simply ignoring him. Trump’s failure to stop Bob Mueller does not negate how hard he tried.
The Mueller report lifted up the rock and left Trump’s minions scurrying for cover. Already, five Trump associates have been convicted of serious crimes, including his former campaign manager, his longtime personal attorney, and his former national security advisor. And we don’t yet know the extent of criminality within the Trump campaign or the Trump White House because he Mueller report includes 12 criminal referrals that have been redacted to protect ongoing cases.
Trump pressured then-FBI Director James Comey to go easy on National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, hoping Comey could “see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go.” When Comey refused to put Trump and his inner circle above the law, Trump fired him. Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia.
When Mike Pompeo was running the CIA, Trump pushed him to tell the public that Trump had had nothing to do with Russia’s interference with the 2016 election. He bragged to Russian diplomats that firing Comey had taken off “great pressure because of Russia.”
Fortunately, Bob Mueller was able to do his job despite Trump’s constant interference. But it is worth noting that those aides who pushed back against Trump’s worst instincts have since been pushed out of the White House. Who is left to stop Trump from abusing his authority to benefit himself and his cronies now?
For two years, Trump tried repeatedly to derail Mueller’s investigation and repeatedly lied to the public about his own words and actions. He even dangled pardons for witnesses who were telling Mueller exactly what Trump had been doing in the Oval Office. In total, the special counsel found ten instances of possible obstruction of justice.
Whether this clear pattern of obstruction warrants impeachment is the purview of the House of Representatives. But regardless of what they decide, the facts revealed in the Mueller report confirm that Donald Trump is not to be trusted. There is no reason to believe a word he says about anything, and the American people deserve better.
Just as concerning, the report reveals his tenuous grasp on government and the chaos within his administration. No one in his administration trusts him, they feel free to ignore his orders, and they are as dishonest with him as he is with them. No government can function effectively this way. There is a crisis of trust in this presidency. It cannot stand.
Donald Trump lies to his own staff. He lies to the American people. He lies to our allies. Strangely, the only time Trump seems capable of telling the truth is when he’s in the company of dictators and tyrants. He seems to envy their approach to power.
As the damning truths of the Mueller report became public, Trump went on a Twitter rant against those former aides who told the truth. Trump’s rampant dishonesty and paranoia render him incapable of serving as president. For once, he should put the good of the United States ahead of his own ego and resign.
The American public, our international allies, the very rule of law itself would all be better served with a President Mike Pence.
So, the question is a basic one: Is Donald Trump truly an American patriot?

Punishment ?

Political Cartoon is by David Horsey in The Seattle Times.


Saturday, April 27, 2019


New ABC/Wapo Poll Looks Bad For Donald Trump

These charts are from a new ABC News / Washington Post Poll -- done between April 22nd and 25th of a national sample of 1,001 adults, with a margin of error of 3.5 points.

The charts are not good news for Donald Trump. The first shows his job approval is only 39%, while disapproval in 54%. That's a negative gap of 15 points.

The second shows he is the only modern president with an average job approval in negative numbers after 2 years and 3 months in office. In other words, he is the most unpopular president in modern times.

The third shows a majority (51%) believes the Mueller report was fair and even-handed, while only 28% thought it was not. And while Trump bragged the report cleared him, the public doesn't believe that. Only 31% said it cleared him, while 53% said it did not clear him.

And as the fourth chart shows, a whopping 58% thinks Trump lied about the investigation while only 31% doesn't. Also, a plurality of 47% says Trump obstructed justice, while 41% says he didn't.

About the only good thing for Trump was that a majority didn't think it was time to start impeachment proceedings. That however, doesn't mean they want to re-elect him. With numbers like these, it's going to be very difficult for Trump to get re-elected.

Jeopardy (White House Version)

Political Cartoon is by Michael DeAdder at deadder.net.

Biden Raises Big Money In His First Day As A Candidate

Before he announced as a candidate for the 2020 Democratic Party nomination, I heard a lot of pundits on cable news talking about how Joe Biden was making a mistake by not entering the presidential race as early as others. They said the supporters and donors would already be attached to other candidates if he waited.

It seems those pundits were wrong (which they often are). The Biden campaign has revealed that they raised about $6.3 million in his first 24 hours as a candidate. That's the same kind of big money that some others raised quickly (like O'Rourke and Sanders), and significantly more than most of the candidates in the race.

Those pundits had figured that Democrats would quickly jump on one bandwagon or another. That hasn't happened. Most Democrats (including me) have not made a decision on who to support yet. They are considering several candidates -- maybe as many as five or six. And if they have a preference right now, it is a soft one that could change.

I doubt that most Democrats are going to pick a strong favorite until at least the first debates are held in June, and maybe later than that. This election is too important, and Democrats want to make sure they pick the right candidate -- one that can kick Trump out of the White House.

Tiny Heart Broken

Political Cartoon is by Theo Moudakis in the Toronto Star.

Reich Says "America Has Already Fired Trump!"

Is Trump toast? Have the American people already fired him? Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich says they have. Here is what he wrote on his blog:

The question on everyone’s mind is whether Trump will be impeached. In other words, will America fire Trump?
Well, I have news for you. America has already fired him.
When the public fires a president before election day – as it did with Richard Nixon and Herbert Hoover– they don’t send him a letter telling him he’s fired. They just make him irrelevant. Politics happens around him, despite him. He’s not literally gone, but he might as well be.
The Federal Reserve is running economic policy. Top-level civil servants are managing the day-to-day work of the agencies. States are taking up the slack: California, for example, is now running environmental policy
Departments and agencies are being run by lobbyists and insiders busily carving out loopholes, cutting taxes, and slashing regulations on behalf of the wealthy and big corporations. 
Isolated in the White House, distrustful of aides, at odds with intelligence agenciesdistant from his Cabinet heads, Trump has no system to make or implement decisions.
His tweets don’t create headlines as before. His rallies are ignored. His lies have become old hat.
Even America’s adversaries just humor him. Kim Jong Unand Xi Jinping give him tidbits to share with the American public, and then do whatever they want. 
Action and excitement have shifted elsewhere – to Democratic challengers, even to a 29-year-old freshman congresswoman too young to run for president.
Energy is now coming from the grassroots – from people all over the country who are determined to reclaim our democracy and create an economy that works for all.
According to polls, most Americans want Medicare-for-All and higher taxes on the wealthy. And they don’t want a wall along the southern border.  
Now, don’t get me wrong. Trump is still dangerous, like an old land mine buried in the mud. He could start a nuclear war. And his court picks are a terrifying legacy. 
But in an important sense, he’s already gone. 
Mr. President: In the words you yourself have often used, “You’re fired.”


Political Cartoon is by Mike Stanfill at ragingpencils.com.

Paul Newman

Friday, April 26, 2019


Joe Biden Declares - Raising The Democratic Field To 21

It comes as no surprise. In fact, I think most Democrats expected it. But on Thursday, Joe Biden made it official. He is running for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination in 2020.

Here is the message he sent to Democrats:

America is an idea. Based on a founding principle that all men are created equal.

It's an idea that's stronger than any army, bigger than any ocean, and more powerful than any dictator.

It gives hope to the most desperate people on Earth. It instills in every single person in this country the belief that no matter where they start in life, there's nothing they can’t achieve if they work at it.

Today, that idea is under attack.

We've got a president who assigns a moral equivalence between those spreading hate and those with the courage to stand against it.

A president who, like most charlatans and demagogues throughout history, seeks only to aggrandize himself, to consolidate his own power -- by blaming the "other."

If we give Donald Trump eight years in the White House, he will forever and fundamentally alter the character of this nation.

I cannot stand by and watch that happen.

Our core values, our very standing in the world, our democracy, and everything that makes us who we are is at stake.

That's why I'm announcing my candidacy for President of the United States.

Biden's entry into the race raises the total of Democrats (and Independent) running for the nomination to 21 candidates. Here are the 21 candidates:

* Joe Biden

* Elizabeth Warren

* Kamala Harris

* Beto O'Rourke

* Pete Buttigieg

* Cory Booker

* Julian Castro

* Amy Klobuchar

* Jay Inslee

* John Hickenlooper

* Andrew Yang

* Michael Bennet

* John Delaney

* Tim Ryan

* Wayne Messam

* Kirsten Gillibrand

* Maryanne Williamson

* Seth Moulton

* Eric Swalwell

* Tulsi Gabbard

* Bernie Sanders

It will be interesting to see how long all these candidates stay in the race. I don't expect anyone to drop our before the June debates, but if some of these candidates can't start getting stronger support after those debates then we could start seeing some drop out. Any candidate that cannot get above 2% support by the end of this year is just wasting their time, because their candidacy is not viable.

The primaries/caucuses start in early February of 2020. How many will still be in the race at that time?

Cage Match

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

Some Good And Bad News About Incarceration In The U.S.

According to Bureau of Justice statistics, at the end of 2017 there were about 1.5 million people in state and federal prisons. In addition, there were another 750,000 people in city and county jails (the majority of whom have never been convicted of a crime). That means we have 2.25 million people locked behind bars in the United States.

The good news is that's about 10% less than in 2009 (the peak prison population year).

The bad news is that the United States still has more people behind bars than any other nation in the world -- both in total numbers and the per capita ratio.

Why? Are Americans more lawless than the citizens of other countries? Not at all. People are pretty much the same all over the world.

One reason is that the United States has decided that it can solve social problems (drugs, prostitution, etc.) by locking people up. Another reason is that, although some other countries follow that fallacious reasoning, the U.S. gives much harsher sentences for that conduct.We need to change that.

Don't get me wrong. Prisons are necessary to deal with true criminals -- those who hurts people or take their property. But we must stop locking people up just because we don't like their conduct (even though that conduct doesn't harm other people).

We need to depend more on treatment (voluntary) and education to treat social ills. We need to use probation more for non-violent crimes, and use shorter sentences when probation fails. And we need to make our prisons more attuned to rehabilitation and make sure once released, a person can get a decent job.

We can do much better. Sadly though, our politicians don't understand the reform that is badly needed.

Passes For Victory

Political Cartoon is by Theo Moudakis in the Toronto Star.

Measles Outbreak Sets A 21st Century Record

The number of new measles cases in the United States in 2019 is the highest of any year in this century -- and that's for only four months of this year. Imagine how high it will be by the end of the year!

We can thank the idiots in the anti-vaxxer movement for this for spreading lies about vaccines.

From NPR.org:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 695 measles cases in 22 states.
"This is the greatest number of cases reported in the United States since measles was eliminated from this country in 2000," says a CDC statement issued late Wednesday. . . .
"The longer these outbreaks continue, the greater the chance measles will again get a sustained foothold in the United States," the CDC said.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement that the rise in measles cases is "avoidable."
"Measles is not a harmless childhood illness, but a highly contagious, potentially life-threatening disease," he said. "We have the ability to safely protect our children and our communities. Vaccines are a safe, highly effective public health solution that can prevent this disease. The measles vaccines are among the most extensively studied medical products we have, and their safety has been firmly established over many years in some of the largest vaccine studies ever undertaken." . . .
The measles outbreaks were largely imported by unvaccinated travelers who were exposed to the disease in another country and then on their return to the U.S. exposed other unvaccinated people. If a community is highly vaccinated, then the outbreaks are minimal or don't happen at all.
"However, once measles is in an under-vaccinated community, it becomes difficult to control the spread of the disease," said the CDC. . . .
The states with reported cases of measles are Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas, Tennessee and Washington.

Daddy's Girl

Political Cartoon is by Andy Marlette in the Pensacola News Journal.

This Truth Is Unacceptable

Thursday, April 25, 2019

I'm Not Okay With That

Half Of Registered Voters Say Trump Obstructed Justice

Donald Trump says he was exonerated by the Mueller Report. He says he did not try to obstruct justice, and that Congress should not investigate any further. But about half of registered voters are buying the lie.

About 49% say Trump did try to obstruct the Mueller investigation, while only 39% say he did not. And 48% believes Congress should continue to investigate that obstruction, while that same 39% say it should not.

As usual, Trump's supporters believe him. Others do not. As the chart below shows, about 62% of registered voters believe Trump has lied to the American people. They want an investigation.

These charts reflect the results of a new Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between April 21st and 23rd of a national sample of 1,268 registered voters, with a 2.8 point margin of error.


Political Cartoon is by Gary Huck at huckkonopackicartoons.com.

Three Interesting Charts On The 2018 Vote

I found these charts interesting, and thought you might also. We already knew the 2018 vote was much larger than the midterm vote in 2014. These charts show how much it was up in each demographic group. If the turnout in 2020 mirrors the 2018 turnout (in terms of growth in each group), then the Democrats should do very well.