Saturday, November 30, 2019

There's A Reason - Guilt!

The Public Still Disapproves Of Job Trump Is Doing

This chart is from RealClearPolitics. It shows the results of the eight most recent polls of Donald Trump's job approval. The average of those polls is 43.5% approval to 52.6 disapproval -- a negative gap of 9.1 points.

This can be viewed in two different ways. Trump supporters will say that the impeachment proceedings have not had a negative effect on Trump's job approval numbers. But reasonable people will understand that Trump has not been able to improve his approval numbers at anytime in his three years in office.

The public disapproved of him right after he was elected, and that has not changed.


Political Cartoon is by Clay Jones at

Many Profitable Corporations Still Pay No Taxes

The Republican tax law of 2017 was supposed to make taxation fairer for corporations. The idea was that with a much lower tax burden. corporations would not avoid taxes, but would actually pay them. But nothing has changed at all. The 60 very profitable companies in the charts above all paid NO taxes in 2018. In fact, many got a tax refund (which means they made money off our tax system).

This must change, but it will not change as long as Republicans hold power. They are not going to do anything to make corporations pay their fair share of taxes.

Never Met Him

Political Cartoon is by Dave Whamond at

The Truth About GOP Claims Of Massive Voter Fraud

Donald Trump, and Republicans across the country, claim there is massive voter fraud in United States elections. It's not true. What they really mean is that too many people who tend to favor Democrats are voting -- and they want to prevent that.

At his own blog, former Labor Secretary Robert Reich (pictured) tells the truth about those Republican claims. He writes:

Donald Trump and his enablers have been making claims of widespread voter fraud, alleging millions of people are voting illegally in order to rig our elections.

Baloney. Let’s look at the facts and debunk their myths once and for all.

They claim millions of Americans are voting twice, using multiple registrations in different districts.

So how often does double voting really occur? An analysis of the 2012 presidential election found that out of 129 million votes cast, 0.02% – that’s two one hundredths of one percent – were double votes – which were likely the result of measurement error. This is a far cry from Donald Trump’s claims that millions of people were registered in two different states in the 2016 presidential election.
Trump and his enablers claim non-citizens are voting in droves. Trump himself said that thousands of undocumented immigrants voted in 2016.

Another lie. According to the non-partisan Brennan Center for Justice, of 23.5 million votes cast in districts with high populations of non-citizens only 30 – I repeat, thirty – possible incidents of improper non-citizen voting were referred for further investigation.

They claim voter impersonation is rampant at the polls.

False. A 12-year study of election data found only 10 cases of voter impersonation out of 146 million registered voters. Ten. 

So if voter fraud really isn’t a problem, why do Trump, Republicans in Congress, and their allies at Fox News keep perpetuating this myth? For one simple reason: To enact restrictive voting laws intended to keep voters from the polls.

Policies established in the name of election security – including voter ID laws, needless registration deadlines, limited access to polling places, and purges of the voter rolls – make it harder for Americans to vote. It is the same tactic that has been used throughout our history to disenfranchise low-income Americans and people of color.

Luckily, many of these laws have been struck down in the courts. In 2016, a district judge in Wisconsin found “utterly no evidence” of widespread voter fraud justifying its voter ID law. In Texas, another judge found their voter ID law violated the Voting Rights Act, making it harder for African-Americans and Latinos to vote.

But many of these laws are still on the books because in 2013 the Supreme Court gutted crucial aspects of the Voting Rights Act. 
Congress needs to update the Act to prevent states from suppressing votes.

Meanwhile, Trump and Republicans in Congress are turning a blind eye to the real threats facing our democracy: election fraud, and foreign interference. 
In 2018, a Republican operative stole votes from Democrats in a North Carolina congressional race with a quote, “coordinated, unlawful, and substantially resourced absentee ballot scheme.” After the ballots were counted, the Republican candidate appeared to have won by about 900 votes. But the fraud was so glaring that the state board of elections refused to certify the results and called for a special election.

The other real threat is foreign interference in our elections, as Russia did in 2016. 
We now know for a fact that Trump is encouraging foreign leaders to interfere in our elections — asking the President of Ukraine to investigate his political opponents in exchange for military aid and publicly calling on Russia and China to also interfere.

In the Senate, Mitch McConnell continues to block common-sense legislation to protect our elections against future foreign interference, such as requiring all voting machines to have backup paper ballots and imposing automatic sanctions for nations that interfere in elections. To have safe and secure elections in 2020 and beyond, we need to pass this legislation.

The next time you hear Trump and his enablers claim widespread voter fraud, know the truth. Their lies are intended to make it harder for millions of Americans to vote, while they ignore the real threats to our democracy. 

Packing The Judiciary

Political Cartoon is by Mike Stanfill at

Fran Nails It

Friday, November 29, 2019

To Ignore Evil

New Polls Show Half Of Public Wants Trump Removed

 This chart reflects the results of the newest Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between November 24th and 26th of a national sample of 1,189 registered voters, with a 3 point margin of error.

This chart reflects the results of the newest CNN / SSRS Poll -- done between November 21st and 24th of a national sample of 1,007 adults, with a 3.7 point margin of error.


Political Cartoon is by Joe Heller at

Puerto Rico And Virgin Islands Still Not Getting Enough Help

(This photo of the Public Works Department workshop in Puerto Rico just last month is by Christopher Gregory.)

After being hit by two hurricanes, much of the infrastructure in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands was devastated. The residents, all American citizens, had hoped they would get enough help from the U.S. government to rebuild.

That help was slow in coming, and now has virtually stopped -- far short of what is needed. It seems that the Trump administration simply doesn't care about them. The federal government was quick to help Texas and Florida after they were hit, but the same cannot be said for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Here is just part of an excellent article on this travesty written for the New York Times by Mark Walker and Zolan Kanno-Youngs.

ST. CROIX, U.S. Virgin Islands — More than two years after back-to-back hurricanes ravaged this tropical island, medical workers are still treating gunshot wounds in hallways and kidney failure in a trailer. They ignore their own inflamed rashes that they say are caused by the mold that has shut down an entire hospital floor below a still-porous roof.
At least they have a hospital. The lone medical center on Vieques, an idyllic island that is part of Puerto Rico, was severely damaged by Hurricanes Maria and Irma, then abandoned to wandering roosters and grazing horses. Ailing people wait at the ferry dock to catch a boat to the mainland. 
Two years on, “we are in the same situation as we were in the days after the hurricane,” said Rafael Surillo Ruiz, the mayor of Yabucoa, on Puerto Rico’s hard-hit eastern edge.
An examination of Federal Emergency Management Agency dataand records demonstrates the degree to which the recovery from Hurricanes Maria and Irma on America’s Caribbean islands has been stalled compared with some of the most disaster-prone states on the mainland, leaving the islands’ critical infrastructure in squalor and limbo. FEMA officials say 190 long-term recovery projects have been funded in Puerto Rico — out of more than 9,000 requests. On the United States Virgin Islands, about 218 projects had funding — out of more than 1,500 requests and still counting.

In contrast, about 3,700 large and small permanent work projects had obligated funding in Texas, two years after Hurricane Harvey hit the Gulf Coast in August 2017. More than 3,700 such projects had been funded over that time in Florida.

That disparity underscored how a federal government in Washington has treated citizens on the mainland, with voting representatives in Congress and a say in presidential contests, compared with citizens on the islands. . . .

“At the end of the day, we’re talking about the life and the well-being of human beings,” said Dyma Williams, the acting chief executive at the Gov. Juan F. Luis Hospital on St. Croix. “I hate to make the distinction about American versus not American, but at the end of the day, we’re not being treated the same way as other Americans are being treated.”. . .

FEMA, through its public assistance program, helps communities recover from major disasters by assisting with debris removal, lifesaving emergency protective measures and public infrastructure reconstruction. Debris removal and protective measures are classified as emergency work. The “permanent work” of public infrastructure repair is what guarantees long-term recovery.
And that permanent work is in little evidence on St. Croix and in Puerto Rico.

He Has Their Backs?

Political Cartoon is by Jimmy Margulies at

Rich, Racist, Or Stupid

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving

I wish all of my readers a very happy Thanksgiving Day! May your day be filled with family, friends, food, and fun!

Three New Polls On The Democratic Presidential Race

This poll reflects the results of the newest CNN / SSRS Poll -- done between November 21st and 24th of a national sample of 431 registered Democrats/Leaners, with a 5.7 point margin of error.

This chart reflects the results of the newest Quinnipiac University Poll -- done between November 21st and 25th of a national sample of 574 voters who are Democrats/Leaners, and has a 4.9 point margin of error.

This chart reflects the results of the newest Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between November 24th and 26th of a national sample of 550 Democrats/ Leaners. No margin of error for this group was given.

Which Side?

Political Cartoon is by Jeff Koterba in the Omaha World-Herald.

Nine Troubling Charts About The News Media

I firmly believe that a democracy cannot survive without a free and vibrant press. But is our news industry in trouble. One trend that we already know about is the corporate ownership of the industry, and another is that most of our media is now owned by only six giant corporations. These 9 charts, from the Pew Research Center, show those may not be the only problems.

Turkeys Are Safe

Political Cartoon is by Adam Zyglis in The Buffalo News.

Would Out Founding Fathers Impeach Donald Trump?

It's beyond argument that Donald Trump broke the law when he tried to extort Ukraine by withholding military aid passed by Congress, and then tried to bribe them by promising a White House visit -- all to try to get them to help his re-election effort by getting them to announce they were investigating wrongdoing by Joe Biden and his son.

Democrats think this criminal conduct by Trump is impeachable. Republicans say it is not. And voters across the nation are split on that question.

Robert Reich asks an interesting question. What would the Founding Fathers of the United States have done? Would they have impeached Trump, or just dismissed his criminal conduct as politics? Here is what Reich wrote:

Initially, some of the delegates didn’t want to include impeachment in the Constitution, arguing that if a president was bad he’d be voted out at the next election. But what if the president was so bad that the country couldn’t wait until the next election? Which is why Franklin half-joked that anyone who wished to be president should support an impeachment clause because the alternative was assassination.

So they agreed that Congress should have the power to impeach a president—but on what grounds? The initial impeachment clause borrowed from established concepts in English law and state constitutions, allowing impeachment for “maladministration”—basically incompetence, akin to a vote of no confidence.

James Madison and others argued this was too vague a standard. They changed it to “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”

But what did this mean?

One of the biggest fears of the founding fathers was that the new nation might fall under the sway of foreign powers. That’s what had happened in Europe over the years, where one nation or another had fallen prey to bribes, treaties and ill-advised royal marriages from other nations. 

So those who gathered in Philadelphia to write the Constitution included a number of provisions to guard against foreign intrusion in American democracy. One was the emoluments clause, barring international payments or gifts to a president or other federal elected official. The framers of the Constitution worried that without this provision, a president might be bribed by a foreign power to betray America.

The delegates to the Convention were also concerned that a foreign power might influence the outcome of an election. 

They wanted to protect the new United States from what Alexander Hamilton called the “desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils.“ Or as James Madison put it, protect the new country from a president who’d "betray his trust to foreign powers.” Gouverneur Morris of Pennsylvania, who initially had opposed including an impeachment clause, agreed to include it in order to avoid “the danger of seeing the first Magistrate in foreign pay.”

During the Virginia ratifying convention, Edmund Randolph explicitly connected impeachment to foreign money, saying that a president “may be impeached” if discovered “receiving emoluments [help] from foreign powers.” George Washington, in his farewell address, warned of “the insidious wiles of foreign influence.”

You don’t have to be a so-called “originalist,” interpreting the Constitution according to what the founders were trying to do at the time, in order to see how dangerous it is to allow a president to seek help in an election from a foreign power.

If a president can invite a foreign power to influence the outcome of an election, there’s no limit to how far foreign powers might go to curry favor with a president by helping to take down his rivals. That would be the end of democracy as we know it. 

Now, fast forward 232 years from that Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia to Donald Trump.

It’s not just the official summary of Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian president Zelensky in which after telling Zelensky how good America has been to Ukraine, Trump asks for “a favor, though” and then explicitly asks Zelensky to dig up dirt on Joe Biden, one of Trump’s most likely opponents in the 2020 election.

Trump’s entire presidency has been shadowed by questions of foreign interference favoring him. Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation documented extensive contacts between Trump’s associates and Russian figures—concluding that the Kremlin sought specifically to help Trump get elected, and that Trump’s campaign welcomed Russia’s help. 

Trump at one point in the 2016 election campaign even publicly called on Russia to find Hillary Clinton’s missing emails, and within hours Russian agents sought to do just that by trying to break into her computer servers.

More recently, he openly called on China’s help, saying before cameras “China should start an investigation into the Bidens.”

This is an impeachable offense, according to the framers of the Constitution. Trump did it. 

Case closed.

Turkey Of The Year

Political Cartoon is by Bruce Plante in Tulsa World.

A Learned Disease

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

The Circus

Can Bloomberg (Or Steyer) Buy The Democratic Nomination?

The chart above is from It shows the amount of money each candidate for president has already spent on their campaigns.

The two biggest spenders are billionaires Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg -- both of whom are trying to secure the Democratic presidential nomination. Both are self-funding their campaigns.

Steyer, who has been in the race for a while, has spent the most money on advertising so far -- about $54.8 million. He has asked people to send him a dollar, but that was just so he could register enough "donors" to get on the debate stage with other Democratic candidates. 99.99% of the money he has spent is his own.

Bloomberg has only been a candidate for a few days, but has already spent $35 million on TV ads. He is not asking for donations and won't be on the debate stage. He also will not try to compete in the early states (Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada). He is hoping his massive advertising can help him compete in the Super Tuesday states (voting on March 3rd) and beyond.

Both of these candidates say their self-funding means they won't be beholding to anyone if nominated. They think that's a selling point. I don't. I think candidates should be beholding to the many thousands of Democrats who send their hard-earned money to their campaigns. I don't want candidates who owe anything to corporations or lobbyists. But they should owe their allegiance to the  base of the party.

Personally, it just looks to me like Bloomberg and Steyer are trying to buy the nomination. They are both super-rich, and they can outspend any other candidate in the field (even those who are doing very well in fundraising among Democrats). There is no real limit to how much they can spend.

Do Democrats really want a candidate who can just spend the most money? I don't think so. Steyer, with all his spending is still in low single-digits in the polls. I doubt Bloomberg will do much better.

Republicans may be happy to sell their nomination and be represented by a billionaire, but I think Democrats are different. They want a candidate with policies that will help most Americans -- especially the poor, the working class, and the middle class (all of whom have been ignored by Republicans).

I could be wrong, but I don't think Bloomberg or Steyer can buy the Democratic nomination. What do you think?

Election For Sale?

Political Cartoon is by Jimmy Margulies at

Public Is Still Virtually Split On Impeachment And Removal

The chart above reflects the results of the latest CNN / SSRS Poll -- done between November 21st and 24th of a national sample of 1,007 adults (including 910 registered voters). The margin of error for adults is 3.7 points, and for registered voters is 3.9 points.

The chart above reflects the results of the new Huffington Post / YouGov Poll -- done November 20th and 22nd of a national sample of 1,000 adults (including 714 registered voters). The margin of error for adults is 3.3 points. No moe was given for registered voters.

Both polls show the public is still split over whether Donald Trump should be impeached and removed from office. While both show the number wanting impeachment and removal is larger, it is not much larger.

Putin's Puppies

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

Elizabeth Warren Has Large Lead Among LGBTQ Voters

These charts reflect the results of a new Out Magazine / YouGov Poll -- done between November 11th and 18th of 816 registered LGBTQ voters nationally. The poll has a 4.7 point margin of error.

If you thought Pete Burrigieg, who is a gay man, would have the LGBTQ vote locked up, then you are in for a surprise. LGBTQ voters are more complicated than that. And like other voters, they are more concerned with who has the best policies and who can defeat Donald Trump.

The top chart shows the candidates those voters are considering (and respondents could choose as many candidates as they wanted). Only one candidate is being considered by a majority of LGBTQ voters -- Elizabeth Warren with 61%. She is followed by Sanders (45%), Buttigieg (39%), and Biden (36%).

The second chart shows the candidate respondents would pick if the primary was right now. Once again, Warren is far ahead with 31% -- followed by Sanders (18%), Biden (16%), and Buttigieg (14%).

The poll also asked the respondents who they would NOT consider voting for. That chart is below.

Attack On The Navy

Political Cartoon is by Dave Granlund at

Redford: Change The Disaster Of "Monarchy In Disguise"

(Cartoon image is by Ed Hall at

Robert Redford has spoken out about the Trump administration -- which he calls dangerous and a "monarchy in disguise". Here is the op-ed he wrote for

We’re up against a crisis I never thought I’d see in my lifetime: a dictator-like attack by President Donald Trump on everything this country stands for. As last week’s impeachment hearings made clear, our shared tolerance and respect for the truth, our sacred rule of law, our essential freedom of the press and our precious freedoms of speech — all have been threatened by a single man.

It’s time for Trump to go — along with those in Congress who have chosen party loyaltyover their oath to “solemnly affirm” their support for the Constitution of the United States. And it’s up to us to make that happen, through the power of our votes.

When Trump was elected, though he was not my choice, I honestly thought it only fair to give the guy a chance. And like many others, I did. But almost instantly he began to disappoint and then alarm me. I don’t think I’m alone.

Tonight it pains me to watch what is happening to our country. Growing up as a child during World War II, I watched a united America defend itself against the threat of fascism. I watched this again, during the Watergate crisis, when our democracy was threatened. And again, when terrorists turned our world upside down.

During those times of crises, Congress came together, and our leaders came together. Politicians from both sides rose to defend our founding principles and the values that make us a global leader and a philosophical beacon of hope for all those seeking their own freedoms.

What is happening, right now, is so deeply disturbing that instead of the United States of America, we are now defined as the Divided States of America. Leaders on both sides lack the fundamental courage to cross political aisles on behalf of what is good for the American people.

We’re at a point in time where I reluctantly believe that we have much to lose — it is a critical and unforgiving moment. This monarchy in disguise has been so exhausting and chaotic, it’s not in the least bit surprising so many citizens are disillusioned.

The vast majority of Americans are busy with real life; trying to make ends meet and deeply frustrated by how hard Washington makes it to do just that.

But this is it. There are only 11 months left before the presidential election; 11 months before we get our one real chance to right this ship and change the course of disaster that lies before us.

Let’s rededicate ourselves to voting for truth, character and integrity in our representatives (no matter which side we’re on). Let’s go back to being the leader the world so desperately needs. Let’s return, quickly, to being simply ... Americans.

Another Perry Oops

Political Cartoon is by Gary Huck at