Thursday, April 30, 2020

Biden Nails It!

Only 27% Get Coronavirus Info From Trump's Briefings

The chart above is from the Knight Foundation / Gallup Poll -- done between April 14th and 20th of a national sample of 1,693 adults, with a 3 point margin of error.

Trump has been holding almost daily briefings on the Coronavirus pandemic. He's doing that because he knows he screwed up by delaying any action to stop the virus from spreading until it was too late. He's using those briefings to try and rehabilitate his image with the voters. And sadly, those briefings contain less information about the virus than self-congratulations from Trump on how good a job he has done.

But the people aren't stupid. They know that the briefings are just Trump's way of trying to rewrite history with lies. Only 27% say the briefings are a major source of Coronavirus information for them -- while 26% say they are a minor source and 46% say they are not a source at all.

Trump's lies are getting out to his base, but few others. While 64% of Republicans say his briefings are their major source of virus information, only 23% of Independents and 5% of Democrats say that.

The briefings are not accomplishing their goal -- to rehabilitate Trump's image. Other polls have repeatedly shown that the public does not trust Trump and don't approve of how he's handling the pandemic. That's why his aides are trying to get him to cut back on the briefings.

Pick Your Poison

Political Cartoon is by Milt Priggee at

New Poll Shows Public Doesn't Like Trump's Pandemic Plans

The charts above reflect the results of the newest NPR / PBS NewsHour / Marist Poll -- done between April 21st and 26th of a national sample of 1,008 adults (including 851 registered voters). The margin of error for adults is 3.4 points, and for registered voters is 3.7 points.

The survey shows that the public doesn't like Trump's pandemic plans. By an 11 point margin, they disapprove of how he's handling the Coronavirus pandemic. And they think it's a bad idea to reopen schools (71 point margin), have people return to work (33 point margin), allow large groups to attend sporting events (83 point margin), and reopen restaurants for inside eating (61 point margin).

But perhaps most important is that they would rather have Joe Biden handling the pandemic instead of Trump by a 15 point margin.

Trump is hoping the Coronavirus pandemic will go away before November, and that there won't be a second wave in the Fall. If that doesn't happen, he's going to be in a lot of trouble on Election Day.


Political Cartoon is by Gary Huck at

Is The World Laughing At Us? NO - They Pity Us!

What does the rest of the world think about the United States? Right after Trump's election, they were mystified at how we could have elected such a dunce to be our leader. That quickly devolved into mirth, and for the first three years, most of the world laughed at us. The nation that once was looked to for leadership became a worldwide joke.

That has now changed. As the world watched, Trump ignored the spreading pandemic. Because of that, the U.S. now has about one-third of all Coronavirus cases worldwide, and about 25% of all Coronavirus deaths worldwide (even though it has only 4.3% of the world's population).

That has altered the world's perception of this country. Instead of laughing at us, they now pity us!

The following is an excerpt from an op-ed in The Irish Times by Fintan O'Toole:

“Over more than two centuries, the United States has stirred a very wide range of feelings in the rest of the world: love and hatred, fear and hope, envy and contempt, awe and anger. But there is one emotion that has never been directed towards the US until now: pity.”
“However bad things are for most other rich democracies, it is hard not to feel sorry for Americans. Most of them did not vote for Donald Trump in 2016. Yet they are locked down with a malignant narcissist who, instead of protecting his people from Covid-19, has amplified its lethality. The country Trump promised to make great again has never in its history seemed so pitiful.”
“Will American prestige ever recover from this shameful episode? The US went into the coronavirus crisis with immense advantages: precious weeks of warning about what was coming, the world’s best concentration of medical and scientific expertise, effectively limitless financial resources, a military complex with stunning logistical capacity and most of the world’s leading technology corporations. Yet it managed to make itself the global epicentre of the pandemic.”

Could He Be The One Without A Mask?

Political Cartoon is by Clay Jones at

Recession Or Depression?

Wednesday, April 29, 2020


Ohio Primary Results

The state of Ohio finally held its primary, and they did it with mail-in voting. Here are the results with 69% of the vote counted:

Joe Biden...............73.8%

Bernie Sanders...............15.2%

Animals In The Streets

Political Cartoon is by Randall Enos at

New Poll Has Biden With A 6-Point Lead Over Trump

The chart above is from the USA Today / Suffolk University Poll -- done between April 21st and 25th of a national sample of 1,000 registered voters, with a 3 point margin of error.

It shows that Joe Biden has assumed a 6 point lead over Donald Trump in the 2020 race for president (44% to 38%). That's quite different from how these men were seen by voters just a few months ago. In December, this poll had Trump with a 3 point lead (44% to 41%).

Another Sharpie Correction

Political Cartoon is by Joe Heller at

There Are A Record Number Of Hate Groups In The U.S.

The chart above is from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The SPLC keeps track of hate groups in the United States. Their latest count show the number of hate groups has reached a record level -- currently there are 1020 of them.

The old record was 1018 -- during the Obama administration. At that time, hate groups blossomed in response to the country electing its first Black president. The country's racists (and there are still a lot of them) were horrified and terrified that the country had elected Barack Obama -- and that reaction saw a number of new hate groups created.

This new resurgence of hate groups is different though. They are not terrified about Donald Trump. They consider him one of their own -- a racist and xenophobe. They heard him when he called them "good people", and they no longer think of themselves as outliers to society. This record number of hate groups are not opposing the government these days. They are supporting it, and actually consider themselves a part of it.

Donald Trump has provided cover for those promoting hate in this country, and they are rewarding him with their support.

Open For Business

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

U.S. Ranks Only 45th In New Report On Press Freedom

Reporters Without Borders has released its 2020 World Press Freedom Index. They looked at 180 different countries, and rated each according to several factors of press freedom. A low score means more press freedom and a high score means less press freedom.

Most Americans think the U.S. is a leader in press freedom. It is not. It ranks only 45th among countries. That means there are 44 countries with more overall press freedom than the United States. The chart above shows the countries with the most press freedom.

The chart below shows the countries with the least press freedom.

Guinea Pigs

Political Cartoon is by Bob Englehart at

The Deficit "Peacocks" And "Vultures"

 Republicans are famous for moaning about the deficit of the federal government -- when Democrats are in power. But they don't mind running up trillions in deficit spending when its time to give to their rich friends and corporations.

They are hypocrites, who only object to spending that might help the poor, the working class, children, or seniors -- basically the bottom 90% of Americans.

Paul Krugman (Nobel Prize economist) divides them into two camps -- Deficit Peacocks and Deficit Vultures. Here is how he describes it in his New York Times column:

The term “deficit peacocks” was coined by the Center for American Progress for people who preen and posture about fighting deficits without offering realistic policy proposals. I’d broaden the term to include what I used to call Very Serious People — those who inveigh against the evils of debt not because they’ve done a careful analysis but because they imagine that it makes them sound earnest and tough-minded.

The glory days of deficit peacocks were the early teens, an era in which people like Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles were lionized by the news media. As Vox’s Ezra Klein noted at the time, for some reason “the usual rules of reportorial neutrality don’t apply when it comes to the deficit”; the wisdom and virtue of deficit warriors were simply taken for granted.

We haven’t heard much from the deficit peacocks in recent years, even though the budget deficit, which declined sharply during the Obama years, soared again under Donald Trump. Funny how that works. But you can be sure they’ll be back in force if Joe Biden wins this November.

What about deficit vultures? That’s the term I’ve been using for politicians who exploit real or imagined fiscal distress to feed a reactionary policy agenda.

After the last crisis, conservatives used deficits as an excuse to cut social programs — for example, a number of states made it much harder to collect unemployment benefits. This time around, McConnell and Trump are trying to exploit deficit fears to force state governments to downsize, undermine (and possibly privatize) the post office and more.

It goes almost without saying that the deficit vultures are hypocrites. After all, Trump and McConnell rammed through a $2 trillion tax cut in 2017, with no apparent concern about the effects on the deficit. Nor have I heard any Republican complaints about Trump’s huge bailouts for farmers, whose distress is largely the result of his own policies. . . .

Still, hypocrisy aside, should we be worried about the effects of Covid-19 on debt? No.

It’s true that we’re headed for some eye-popping numbers. Last week the Congressional Budget Office released preliminary economic and budget projections for the next two years, which were both shocking and unsurprising.

That is, the numbers were grim but more or less in line with what many independent economists have been predicting. In particular, the budget office expects the Covid-19 crisis to drive the unemployment rate to 16 percent in a few months, which might even be on the low side.

Soaring unemployment will cause federal revenues to plunge, and also lead to a surge in spending on safety-net programs like unemployment insurance, Medicaid and food stamps. Add in the large relief packages Congress has passed, and the budget office projects a deficit that will temporarily rise to levels we haven’t seen since World War II, and it expects federal debt to rise to 108 percent from 79 percent of G.D.P., which sounds scary.

But the government will be able to borrow that money at incredibly low interest rates. In fact, real interest rates — rates on government bonds protected against inflation — are negative. So the burden of the additional debt as measured by the rise in federal interest payments will be negligible. And no, we don’t have to worry about paying off the debt; we never will, and that’s OK.

The bottom line is that right now, the only thing we have to fear from deficits is deficit fear itself. Pay no attention to the peacocks and vultures: In this time of pandemic, we can and should spend whatever it takes to limit the damage.

Women And Children First

Political Cartoon is by John Darkow in the Columbia Missourian.

Thanks Trump!

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Deficit Hypocrisy Of The GOP

Texas Governor To Reopen Businesses On Friday

Texas Governor Abbott is joining other Republican governors and giving Donald Trump what he wants -- an economy open for business.

Abbott is removing the stay-at-home order as of Friday, and he is allowing many businesses to reopen on that day. Restaurants, retail stores, movie theaters, and malls may reopen on that day. They must restrict themselves to operating at only 25% capacity. Museums and libraries may also open at 25% capacity.

Abbott also said his new order supersedes any local order closing down businesses, making people stay at home, or mandating the wearing of masks.

If things go well, Abbott said businesses can begin operating at 50% capacity about May 18th. He also intends to open barber shops, Beaty salons, gyms, and bars about mid-May.

The charts above use data from The COVID Tracking Project. Note that both the number of cases and deaths from the virus continue to rise in Texas, and neither shows any sign of "flattening".

If Texans flock back into the businesses, this could be a huge mistake for the governor. It could cause the cases and deaths from the Coronavirus to accelerate and go much higher.

But I doubt most citizens are ready to expose themselves to the virus yet. And I wonder how many businesses will actually reopen with only 25% capacity mandated. Could they make a profit with only 25% of their old customers (if they can get that many to come back right now)?

It will be interesting to see what will happen in the next two to three weeks.

Open For Business

Political Cartoon is by Dale Cummings at

Most Of Public Supports Allowing Mail-In Voting Nationally

The chart above is from the AP / NORC Poll -- done between April 16th and 20th of a national sample of 1,057 adults, with a 4 point margin of error.

It shows that the voting public disagrees with Donald Trump (and his Republican cohorts) about voting by mail. Trump and the Republicans are blocking efforts to allow all voters to vote by mail in the November election. But 60% of the public supports allowing anyone to vote by mail without giving a reason. That includes 73% of Democrats and 46% of Republicans.

And nearly half of the public (48%) would support voting ONLY by mail (and eliminating in-person voting), with only 31% opposing that.

The public wants voting rights protected without forcing voters to expose themselves to the Coronavirus. If the Republicans continue to oppose allowing mail-in voting, they could hurt their chances in the coming election.


Political Cartoon is by Ed Hall at

Trump Still Has A 5-Point Lead Over Biden In Texas

The chart above is from the recent University of Texas / Texas Tribune Poll -- done between April 10th and 19th of 1,200 registered voters in Texas, with a 2.83 point margin of error.

Bats In The Belfry

Political Cartoon is by Gary Huck at

One Epidemic Has Pushed Another From The Headlines

(This chart is from The New York Times.)

The headlines, on both broadcast and print media, are almost exclusively about the Coronavirus epidemic in this country (and worldwide pandemic). That's understandable. As I write this, the number of Coronavirus cases is approaching 1,000,000 cases, and the death toll from the virus has topped 55,000.

But the other epidemic, the epidemic of gun deaths, has not gone away. Far too many people are still dying from that unnecessary epidemic. As of 4/27/20, 12,660  people have died in 2020 from gun violence - a rate that will push the number of gun deaths to over 36,000 by the end of the year. And there have been 95 mass shootings so far (a shooting where at least four people died). That would translate into approximately 300 mass shootings by the end of the year.

In fact, the Coronavirus epidemic may actually make the gun death epidemic worse. That's because it has sent millions of Americans into the gun stores to buy a weapon. In March alone, about 1.9 million guns were sold in the United States. That's a frightening number, considering we already had more than one gun for every citizen before the virus epidemic started. Some right-wingers will try to claim that those new millions of guns will make the country safer. It won't. More guns will translate into more gun deaths.

The list below, from, is of the deadliest modern mass shootings in this country. Expect this list to grow because the gun death epidemic, though pushed from the headlines right now, is still very much with us.

America's deadliest modern mass shootings
  1. Route 91 Harvest music festival, Las Vegas, October 2, 2017: 59 killed, 526 injured.
  2. Pulse, Orlando, Fla., June 2016: 49 killed and more than 50 injured.
  3. Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va., April 2007: 32 killed and 17 injured on campus.
  4. Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, Conn., December 2012: 26 killed.
  5. First Baptist Church, Sutherland Springs, Texas, November 2017: 26 killed.
  6. Luby's Cafeteria, Killeen, Texas, October 1991: 23 killed.
  7. Walmart, El Paso, Texas, August 3, 2019: 23 killed, 26 injured.
  8. McDonald's, San Ysdiro, Calif., July 1984: 21 killed.
  9. Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, Fla., February 2018: 17 killed.
  10. University of Texas Tower, Austin, Texas, August 1966: 16 killed around campus. 
  11. Inland Regional Center, San Bernardino, Calif., December 2015: 14 killed.
  12. Edmond post office, Edmond, Okla., August 1986: 14 killed.
  13. Fort Hood, Fort Hood, Texas, November 2009: 13 killed.
  14. Columbine High School, Littleton, Colo., April 1999: 13 killed.
  15. Binghamton Civic Association, Binghamton, N.Y., April 2009: 13 killed.
  16. New Jersey neighborhood and local shops, Camden, N.J, September 1949: 13 killed.
  17. Schoolhouse Lane neighborhood and Heather Highlands Mobile Home Village, Wilkes-Barre, Pa., September 1982: 13 killed.
  18. Wah Mee club in the Louisa hotel, Seattle, Wash., February 1983: 13 killed.
  19. Century 16 movie theater, Aurora, Colo., July 2012: 12 killed, 58 wounded.
  20. Navy Yard, Washington, D.C., September 2013: 12 killed, 8 wounded.
  21. The Borderline Bar & Grill, Thousand Oaks, Calif., November 2018: 12 killed, several wounded.
  22. Virginia Beach Municipal Center, Virginia Beach, Va., May 31, 2019: 12 killed.
This article was first published in October 2017 and has been updated several times after more recent shootings. The Vegas and El Paso tolls were updated in November 2019 and April 2020, respectively, after the victims died of injuries sustained in the attacks.

Trump Cocktail

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

It's A Trump Vote - Not A Protest

Monday, April 27, 2020

The American Dream Turned Belly Up

The Weekly Growth Of Covid-19 Cases In The U.S.

This chart was made using weekly numbers (for each Sunday) from The COVID Tracking Project.

Do Not Ingest

Political Cartoon is by Gary Huck at

How Voters See The Democratic & Republicans Parties

The charts above are from the Civiqs Poll. It shows the registered voters' perceptions of the Republican and Democratic parties. They questioned 335,117 registered voters between January 15th and April 25th of this year.

The public is not enamored with either political party, but they give the Democrats a better net rating (-12 points) than the Republicans (-20 points). Currently, 34% have a favorable view of the Republican Party while 40% have a favorable view of the Democratic Party.

The chart below shows how the different demographic groups view the two parties.

The Idiot Doctor

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

Mitch Shows (Like Trump) Is NOT A "Stable Genius"

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has come up with a lot of bad ideas, but his latest may be one of his worst. Instead of appropriating money to help states and cities fight the Coronavirus pandemic, Mitch says the states should just declare bankruptcy.

That was an insane and mean-spirited statement, and it shows that McConnell is not very bright. Many states (who can't run a deficit like the federal government) declaring bankruptcy would just make an already terrible economy many times worse.

Here's some of what Jennifer Rubin had to say in The Washington Post:

There is a tendency in the mainstream media to attribute nearly unlimited political prowess to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). Certainly, his hard-line gamesmanship has worked to fill the courts (and two slots on the Supreme Court) with conservative judges. Beyond that? He failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and he routinely gets boxed about the ears by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), as she did again in achieving — with a strong assist from Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer — many (but not all) of Democrats’ aims in the coronavirusrelief package passed last week. McConnell’s hard line collapsed, and then he really made a mess of things.

In rejecting the plea of governors and mayors for additional funding to make up for huge expenditures and revenue shortfalls stemming from the coronavirus, McConnell made himself a target. Suggesting states go bankrupt instead only added fuel to the fire of governors. In this case, the outrage over McConnell is bipartisan, which was entirely predictable given that senators are desperate to fund fire, police and other essential services back home. (Seriously, what could McConnell have been thinking?) . . .

Predictably, McConnell’s intention to stiff state and local workers (who are at risk of getting laid off) and essential services did not go down well with his own members. CNN reports: “A number of Senate Republicans are publicly and privately expressing an openness toward a new round of funding to cash-strapped state and local governments, even as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell floated the possibility of states declaring bankruptcy rather than receive more federal aid.” These include rock-ribbed Republicans such as Sens. Mike Braun (Ind.) and Bill Cassidy (La.), further proof that deficit hawks never object to spending on things they like. . . .

McConnell has tied himself to Trump’s mast, but on this one the president may not even agree with him. Trump apparently is open to helping the states. (Cuomo’s visit to the White House last week apparently paid off.) In any event, McConnell can read the polls — Trump is sinking, his Senate majority is at risk and he has a well-financed challenger in Amy McGrath.

Given all that it’s an odd strategy to declare you have no interest in bringing home relief to, as Pelosi describes them, “health care workers and public hospitals and the rest, police and fire, emergency services folks, first responders, our teachers, our teachers, our teachers, transit workers who enable people, the essential workers to get to work.” Perhaps McConnell has been in Washington too long and has gotten badly out of touch — even with Republicans.

MAGA Hypocrisy

Political Cartoon is by Lalo Alcaraz at

No Evidence

Sunday, April 26, 2020

The Afterlife We Should Worry About

Unemployment Qualifications/Benefits Vary In The States

The charts above are from the Pew Research Center. They show how unemployment qualifications and benefits vary from state to state. The United States doesn't have a national unemployment system. It has 50 different unemployment systems, with each state determining who can get unemployment benefits, how much they can get, and how long they can get it.