Thursday, October 31, 2019

Don't Teach Hate

Americans Are Still Split On Trump's Impeachment/Removal

The charts above are from the newest USA Today / Suffolk University Poll -- done between October 23rd and 26th of a national sample of 1,000 registered voters, and has a 3 point margin of error.

Donald Trump has called the House impeachment inquiry a witch hunt, and refused to comply with any House subpoenas (both for information and testimony by individuals). But most voters disagree with him about both.

The public says the inquiry is not a witch hunt by a nearly 14 point margin (53.7% to 40%), and that Trump has an obligation to comply with House subpoenas by nearly a 40 point margin (65.6% to 26%).

But when it come to impeaching Trump and removing him from office, the nation is split. About 45.5% say he should be impeached and removed, while 46.9% say he should not. That difference of 1.4 points is well within the poll's margin of error.

But we need to remember that the public did not want Nixon impeached until after the House conducted public hearings and the nation heard witnesses for themselves. So far, there have been no public hearings regarding the impeachment of Trump. But they are coming very soon, and that could well affect the public's opinion.

Headless Horse

Political Cartoon is by Adam Zyglis in The Buffalo News.

The Public Prefers Democratic Ideas On Health Care

These charts are from The Commonwealth Fund / The New York Times / Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Poll -- done between July 10th and August 11th of 2019. It has a margin of error of 2.5 points for the 2,005 adults questioned.

There are three big ideas for fixing health care in the United States. The Democrats have two ideas -- A) put all Americans under an improved Medicare (often called "Medicare For All"), and B) improve Obamacare and add a public option for heal insurance to it. Both of the Democratic plans would provide decent health insurance for all American citizens.

The Republicans want to do away with Obamacare and leave health insurance to the states. Their plan would not cover all Americans, but only those who can afford to buy private health insurance. It would also not contain the guarantees of Obamacare (like guaranteeing coverage for pre-existing conditions).

What does the public think? Which plan do they support? That is answered in the top chart. About 32% would prefer Medicare For All, about 28% would prefer adding a public option to an improved Obamacare, and 29% would prefer to replace Obamacare with state health plans.

Note that this means about 60% support one of the Democratic plans, while 29% support the Republican idea. The 60% wants all Americans covered by a decent health insurance plan, while the 29% thinks health insurance is just a product to be sold to those who can afford it.

Below are some other interesting charts from the survey.

Trump Trusts His Buddies

Political Cartoon is by Dave Granlund at

Is America Ready For This Kind Of President?

These charts reflect the results of the latest Politico / Morning Consult Poll -- done between October 25th and 28th of a national sample of 1,997 registered voters, with a 2 point margin of error.

There are several kinds of people that have never been elected president of the United States. Is America ready for one of these to be elected? That's what this poll asked registered voters.

The top chart asked those voters if the country was ready for that. The bottom chart asked those voters if they were ready for that. Note that the voters said they were slightly more liberal about this than they thought the country was.

By small margins, the voters said the country was not ready to elect a gay/lesbian as president (by 5 points) or an agnostic/atheist as president (by 6 points). But when asked if they were ready, the voters said yes to a gay/lesbian president (by 13 points) and an agnostic/atheist president (by 4 points).

In both instances, there was a significant majority for electing a president that was female, Hispanic, unmarried, or vegan.

For Sale

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

Economy Good? NOT For The Middle & Working Classes

Donald Trump continues to brag about the economy, and the media seems to agree with him. It is a good economy for the top 1% (and maybe even for the top 10%). But the bottom 90% ( the middle and working classes and the poor) are being left behind in this "good economy".

The charts on this page were found at, and they paint a rather bleak picture of the economy for most Americans. Note the chart above. It shows that working and middle class wages have risen by about 15% in the last four years. But there's no cause for celebration. Inflation has eaten up more than that -- with housing rising by 26%, medical costs rising by 33%, and college costs rising by 45%. Most people, thanks to rising costs, are doing worse than they were during the Obama administration.

Will the economy do better, and help the middle and working classes? Not likely. The chart below shows the economy is slowing down. While the GDP had some robust growth in the first quarter (slightly over 3%), it dropped sharply in the second quarter (about 2.1%), and again in the third quarter (about 1.9%). Those are not the kind of numbers that make businesses want to raise wages.

Trump's New Defense

Political Cartoon is by Jen Sorensen at

Why I'm A Democrat

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Trump Has Never Betrayed Putin

More Evidence Of Trump's Broken Promises To Workers

When running for office in 2016, and after assuming office, Donald Trump made some big promises to make life better for American workers.

He promised that his tax cuts would increase worker wages by an average of $4000 a year. That did not happen. The rich and the corporations enjoyed huge tax cuts, but did not pass those savings on to workers. Worker wages remained pretty flat -- and workers never saw that $4000 raise.

Trump also promised to bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States (mainly through his trade war with China). But while that trade war devastated farmers in the United States, it has not brought any manufacturing jobs back to this country. In fact, just the opposite seems to be happening.

The chart above shows what is happening with manufacturing jobs in the states that Trump won in 2016 by less than 5 points -- states that he must win in 2020 to stay in office. The numbers are not good.

Only two of the six states had an increase in manufacturing jobs -- Arizona with an increase of 6,500 and Florida with an increase of 5,000.

The other four states have all lost manufacturing jobs since Trump assumed office. Michigan has lost 4,700 jobs, North Carolina has lost 7,700 jobs, Pennsylvania has lost 8,100 jobs, and Wisconsin has lost 6,500 jobs.

Broken promises is all Donald Trump has to offer American workers.

Headless Horseman

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

Another Poll - And Trump Continues To Do Poorly

These charts are from a new Grinnell College Poll -- done between October 17th and 23rd of a national sample of 1,003 adults (including 806 likely 2020 voters). The margin of error for adults is 3.1 points, and for likely voters is 3.5 points.

The Three Stooges

Political Cartoon is by Milt Priggee at

The GOP Hypocrisy - Deficits Don't Matter When They Do It

(This photo of Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman is from Time.)

When Barack Obama was president, the congressional Republicans thought the world was coming to an end because this country's government was running a deficit. But now that Donald Trump is in office, and deficits are ballooning because of the GOP tax cuts for the rich, their silence of a growing deficit is deafening.

Here's part of what economist Paul Krugman has to say about this in The New York Times:

So the federal budget deficit just hit $1 trillion (actually $984 billion, but close enough). That’s about $300 billion more than the Congressional Budget Office was projecting in the summer of 2017, before the Trump tax cut was enacted. And basically everybody yawned. . . .

This lack of reaction to a deficit that would have been considered shocking only a few years ago is sort of the fiscal policy equivalent of Sherlock Holmes’s dog that didn’t bark in the night. It tells us a lot about economics, politics — specifically the utter hypocrisy of the G.O.P. — and the news media, which on economic matters has a de facto conservative bias. . . .

The budget deficit has now soared back roughly to where it was in 2012, when the unemployment rate was more than twice its current level, and the economy desperately needed deficit spending to sustain demand.

Back then, however, the inside-the-Beltway crowd was obsessed with deficit reduction. . . And those of us who argued that reducing the deficit shouldn’t be a high priority were treated like freaks.

But the deficit wasn’t a crisis then, and it isn’t one now. In fact, leading economists are now telling us that concerns about government debt have been greatly exaggerated all along. The Very Serious People were completely wrong, and those who opposed austerity have been vindicated. . . .

Republicans only pretended to care about debt as an excuse to hobble President Barack Obama and slash social programs. They were and are complete hypocrites when it comes to budgeting. . . .

When progressives propose new or expanded social programs, they face intense media scrutiny bordering on harassment over how they intend to pay for these programs. Republicans proposing tax cuts don’t face anything like the same scrutiny; they are seemingly able to get away with blithe assertions that tax cuts will pay for themselves by boosting economic growth, even though every single piece of evidence we have says that this is nonsense.

We’re talking about big numbers here. As I said, the Trump budget blowout, overwhelmingly driven by tax cuts, seems to have raised the deficit by around $300 billion, or around 1½ percent of G.D.P. Over the course of the next decade, that would amount to something like $3.8 trillion — substantially more than, for example, the combined cost of all of Elizabeth Warren’s proposals other than Medicare for All. . . .

And the truth is that proposals like universal child care are far more likely than tax cuts to repay a significant fraction of their upfront costs, partly by freeing up adults to work, partly by improving the lives of children in ways that will make them more productive adults. . . .

Let me be clear here: I’m not complaining about the lack of panic over our trillion-dollar deficit. We shouldn’t be panicked. The problem is the selectivity of deficit hysteria, which somehow kicks in only when a Democrat is president or progressives propose spending that would make American lives better.

That selective hysteria has done enormous harm. And those who propagate it need to be called out for their bias.

The Witch Whines

Political Cartoon is by Dave Granlund at

Not Intellectually Agile

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

From Swamp To Cesspool

There Are More Democrats Than Republicans In The U.S.

Two bipartisan surveys show Democrats outnumber Republicans in the United States today. The General Social Survey has Democrats leading by 8 points (43% to 35%). The American National Election Survey has Democrats leading by 7 points (46% to 39%).

With both parties energized to participate in the 2020 election, that gives Democrats a significant advantage. To win a national election (like the presidential election), Republicans must win over a substantial majority of Independent voters or substantially depress the Democratic vote.

With Donald Trump heading the Republican ticket, it is unlikely the Republicans can win a substantial margin of Independents. That is why they are doing their best to suppress the Democratic vote (by removing voters from registration rolls, closing polling sites in Democratic districts, Voter ID laws, etc.).

Here's what the Pew Research Center says about the number of Democrats and Republicans:

Gold-standard, nonpartisan surveys have found for decades that more U.S. adults identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party than the Republican Party – whether these surveys take place under GOP or Democratic presidential administrations. That is the finding of two of the highest-quality surveys that use nationally representative data collected through in-person interviews: the General Social Survey and the American National Election Survey. It’s also the result obtained by numerous other reputable surveys that poll Americans by telephone or online using randomly selected samples of adults, including those done by us here at Pew Research Center, as well as those done by GallupFox NewsKaiser Family Foundation and The Associated Press-NORC. (The Census Bureau, which runs the nation’s most authoritative surveys, notably does not ask Americans about their partisan affiliation.)

But polls aren’t the only source of evidence on this question.

In the 31 states that register voters by party, the number of Americans registered as Democrats outnumbered those registered as Republicans by nearly 12 million in mid-2018. Registration with a party is an imperfect measure of whether a person currently identifies with that party, especially in the South. But nationwide comparisons find that registration is closely associated with self-identification, and the two appear to be growing more correlated over time.

In addition, commercial voter files – which attempt to predict the partisanship of voters in all 50 states and the District of Columbia based on information such as address, race, age and primary vote history – indicate that there are more Democratic registered voters than Republican registered voters in the country today.

Wicked Witch

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

The Democratic Race Is Very Fluid (40% Of Voters Have Switched Candidates Since July)

The charts shown in this post are from CBS News / YouGov Battleground Polling. They surveyed the same 2,746 Democrats and Democratic-leaning Independents in July, September, and October.

The top chart shows how the four candidates leading the race in July have fared since then. The charts below show how fluid the race has been. Note that since July about 40% of Democrats and Leaners have switched the candidate they support.

The third chart shows the switching by ideology. About 34% of those identifying as very liberal have switched -- the least amount of switching of any group. About 40% of somewhat liberals, 41% of moderates, and 62% of conservatives have switched. The conservatives seem to be having the most trouble of all in finding and staying with a candidate.

The bottom chart shows the percentage of supporters that have switched away from the candidates (in orange), and the number who have switched back to supporting them (in yellow). For instance, 13% of Warren supporters switched away from her, but over half of the (7%) switched back. Warren has had the least number of supporters switching, while Harris has had the most (65%).


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

Trump Ruined His "Finest Hour" With His Lying

(This caricature of Donald Trump is by DonkeyHotey.)

On Sunday, Donald Trump met with the press to announce that the U.S. military had found and killed ISIS leader al-Baghdadi. It could have been Trump's finest hour since assuming office -- but it wasn't. It wasn't because Trump could not resist the impulse to embellish the accomplishment with lies. Those lies just made Trump look even more ridiculous and incompetent.

Here is how Max Boot describes it in The Washington Post:

President Trump has a preternatural ability to turn any occasion, no matter how solemn or important, into a ridiculous, risible spectacle. He did it again Sunday in announcing the death of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. When he began to ad-lib about what happened near Idlib, Syria, he treated the world to his usual blend of braggadocio and bluster — dishonest and distasteful in equal measure.
He insulted Democratic leaders by claiming they would have leaked word of the raid in advance, even though he is the one with a history of leaking classified information. Ironically, he did it again Sunday by divulging operational details of the raid that horrified national security professionals.
A president who has never heard a shot fired in anger reveled in Baghdadi’s last moments, even claiming “he died like a coward … whimpering and crying and screaming all the way.” Trump could not possibly have heard “whimpering and crying” on the overhead imagery because there was no audio, and Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper and Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, pointedly refused to confirm those details. The assertion that Baghdadi died as a coward was, in any case, contradicted by the fact that rather than be captured, he blew himself up.
Most likely Trump made up the vivid details about Baghdadi’s last moments, just as he made up his claim that he alone called for action against Osama bin Laden prior to 9/11. “And I’m saying to people, take out Osama bin Laden, that nobody ever heard of,” Trump recounted. In reality, a ghostwritten book bearing Trump’s name, which came out in 2000, included a brief mention of bin Laden — already a world-famous terrorist who was being hunted by the U.S. government — but did not suggest killing him.
Trump even had the gall to brag that the death of Baghdadi was a bigger coup (“the biggest there is”) than the death of bin Laden, who staged the most deadly foreign attack on our soil in U.S. history.
But to my mind, the most alarming parts of Trump’s news conference came when he offered a road map for the future struggle against the Islamic State. The president just pulled most U.S. troops out of northern Syria, thereby terminating a successful alliance with the Kurds that had made the destruction of the terrorist group’s caliphate — and even Baghdadi’s death — possible. The New York Times reported that Trump’s pullout disrupted planning for this raid, which was based largely on intelligence provided by the Kurds, and that, according to U.S. intelligence and military officers, the Sunday raid “occurred largely in spite of, and not because of, Mr. Trump’s actions.”
So how does Trump plan to prevent an Islamic State resurgence, given that the U.S. alliance with the Kurds is history? He said U.S. troops would remain to “secure the oil” and even suggested he would bring in ExxonMobil to exploit Syria’s tiny oil fields. He also said that he would rely on other countries to fight the Islamic State: “Russia is right there. Turkey is right there. Syria is there. They’re all right there. Excuse me. Iran is right there. Iraq is right there. They all hate ISIS. So, we don’t — you know, in theory, they should do something.”
In the real world (as opposed to Trump’s dreamland), no U.S. oil company would come in to pump Syrian oil without the permission of whichever government controls eastern Syria or without long-term guarantees of security that Trump is in no position to provide. Stealing Syrian oil would be pointless, criminal and a propaganda windfall for our enemies.
Also, in the real world, no other state has the will and capability to fight the Islamic State. We know that because the group was on a rampage until the United States teamed up with the Kurds. Turkey has looked the other way as Islamist militants infiltrated Syria from its soil (Baghdadi was living near the Turkish border). Russia has focused on fighting other rebel groups — not the Islamic State, which had established a modus vivendi with Russia’s ally, Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad. Iran is part of the problem, not the solution, because it promotes Shiite sectarianism and triggers a Sunni backlash. Indeed, the expansion of Iranian power into eastern Syria following the U.S. pullback is a gift to Sunni extremists.
Trump showed he was completely out of touch with these essential facts. Instead, he parroted the propaganda of dictators, saying, for example, that “Turkey has lost thousands and thousands of people from that safe zone.” In reality, according to my Council on Foreign Relations colleague Steven A. Cook, there have been few Kurdish attacks on Turkey from northern Syria, and those were most likely in response to Turkish military operations. But Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan no doubt told Trump otherwise, and Trump believed him. Trump also congratulated Russia repeatedly (“Russia treated us great”) even though Russian officials say they had nothing to do with the raid — and even cast doubts on U.S. claims to have killed Baghdadi.
Trump’s news conference should have been his shining hour. Instead, it showed yet again why he is utterly unfit to be commander in chief.

Halloween 2019

Political Cartoon is by Christopher Weyant in The Boston Globe.

To Change The Earth

Monday, October 28, 2019

It's Everyone Or No One

With 2 Months To Go, There's Been 346 Mass Shootings

I have to agree with Ms. Giffords. There is an epidemic of gun violence in this country, and sadly, our elected representatives (especially Republicans) refuse to do anything to protect our citizens. So far this year, with slightly more than two months to go, there have been 32,109 gun deaths and 346 mass shootings. It is very likely that by the end of this year we will have about 40,000 gun deaths and 400 mass shootings.

No other developed country has anywhere near the amount of gun violence that the United States does. That's because the United States refuses to pass sensible gun laws. In this country, anyone can get any kind of gun they want and any amount of ammunition -- and there background (criminal, terrorist, dangerously mentally ill, etc.) makes no difference at all, since there are too many loopholes in the current background check law.

House Democrats have passed a law to plug the holes in the background check law, but Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans have blocked the bill and refuse to allow it to be debated or voted upon. They need to be replaced in the next election.

The latest mass shooting occurred near Greenville, Texas on Saturday night. A gunman, likely carrying an assault-style weapon, entered an unofficial homecoming party of student at Texas A&M - Commerce, and shot 10 people (killing two and wounding eight). Six others were injured in the melee created by the shooting.

Will Republicans finally act to protect American citizens? Not a chance! They'll do nothing but offer pathetic "thoughts and prayers".

How long are you, as a voter, willing to put up with this?

The Model

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

It Looks Like al-Baghdadi Is Dead - But ISIS Is Not

(Photo of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, from The Washington Post, is by Al-Furqan Media.)

Donald Trump announced on Sunday morning that U.S. soldiers had killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. If that is true (and I have no reason to believe it is not), then that is a good thing. He was a vicious leader who cared nothing about innocent lives.

United States intelligence services and soldiers deserve our thanks for a job well done.

But there is still danger for citizens around the world. While al-Baghdadi may be dead, ISIS is not. I hope Trump, who has demonstrated he is not very smart and doesn't understand foreign relations, doesn't think the danger is gone. The caliphate is gone and another ISIS leader is dead, but thousands of dedicated ISIS members remain, and they have a huge potential for terrorist activity in the future.

We learned this lesson after the death of Osama bin-Laden. His death did not eliminate the threat from al-Queda. In fact, al-Queda is growing thanks to the war in Yemen (where is is supported by Saudi money and Saudi-supplied U.S. arms).

Religious-based terrorist groups cannot be eliminated by killing one person -- not matter how high in their leadership he was. They consider their leader to be god, and another human (who claims to know what god wants) will quickly replace the fallen human leader.

Even though al-Baghdadi and bin-Laden are dead, ISIS and al-Queda are not. Only a fool would think the danger is gone.

Quid Pro Quo

Political Cartoon is by Joe Heller at

Who Is The Progressive's Favorite - Sanders Or Warren?

The chart above is from They took the chart from RealClearPolitics and removed all candidates from it but Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. It shows clearly who the Democratic Party's progressive element supports (from February 28th through October 24th).

Sanders started out with a wide lead over Warren, but in April that began to change. Warren began to climb as Sanders dropped. Since then, Warren has continued to climb as Sanders has remained about the same. Currently, Warren leads Sanders by about 4.5 points.

Who is going to wind up with the support of party progressives? With three months remaining until the voting begins, it's going to be interesting to see how this develops.