Wednesday, October 27, 2021
The chart above shows the federal government's budget deficit in each year for the last seven presidents -- four Republicans and three Democrats. Note that the budget deficit rose during the presidencies of Reagan, Bush I, Bush II, and Trump -- all Republicans. The deficit went down under the presidencies of Clinton, Obama, and Biden -- all Democrats.
The Republicans love to claim they are the fiscally responsible party. This chart shows that is simply not true. The budget deficit (and the economy in general) does better when a Democrat is in the White House.
Here is that release:
Victims of Hate Crime Incidents
Offenses by Crime Category
Locations of Hate Crimes
About 95% of that population growth was among minority populations (Hispanics, Blacks, Asians, etc.). A reasonable person would assume that since the growth was among minorities, the two new districts would be minority districts.
But Texas Republicans are neither rational nor fair. They did some serious gerrymandering, and gave the state two new districts that are predominately white.
That means that of the 38 districts, about 62% are predominately white -- even though whites only make up about 40% of the state population.
This was nothing less than an attack on racial and ethnic voters -- trying to minimize their electoral power in the state.
Here is part of how Dean Obeidallah describes this racist gerrymandering at MSNBC.com:
Texas has seen first-hand the connection between the state’s changing demographics and voting results. In 2012, presidential nominee Mitt Romney won the Lone Star state by nearly 16 pointsover Barack Obama. In 2016, Donald Trump won, but only by 9 points. Come the 2020 election, Trump’s victory in Texas was barely over 5 percent. You don’t need to have a Ph.D. in mathematics to get that these numbers put Texas Democrats closer to winning statewide elections for the first time since 1994. (The last time a Democratic presidential candidate won Texas was Jimmy Carter in 1976.)
The brutal truth is that the reason Texas and other GOP statesenacted 33 laws in 19 states since January to make it harder to vote was never about Trump’s “big lie.” It was about Trump’s “big loss.” Republicans are freaking out that people who don’t look like most of them could soon be in charge. Consequently, they're apparently using any means to preserve that power.
The Texas GOP drafted the new voting districts to “shrink the number of districts in which eligible Hispanic and Black voters can realistically sway election outcomes,” as The Texas Tribune noted. By way of “elaborately manipulated lines to create district boundaries,” they reduced from eight to seven the districts that are majority Latino and reduced the districts where Black residents make up the majority of voters from one to zero.
In a central Texas House district in Bell County that had been trending blue (Black and Hispanic populations were nearly equal to the white population there), the district was redesigned into a doughnut-like configuration that effectively “segregated” the Black and Hispanic communities to dilute their political strength.
In the suburbs of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, which also has been trending blue in recent years, the party redesigned two congressional districts, creating two new majority white districts designed to more easily elect Republicans to both congressional seats. . . .
The reason the party can be so brazen in its efforts to suppress the vote of people of color is because this is the state's first redistricting since the Voting Rights Act was gutted in 2013 by the Republican-controlled Supreme Court in the infamous Shelby County v. Holderdecision. Ten years ago, the Texas GOP would’ve needed “pre-clearance” before these new voting maps could go into effect — same for its voter suppression measures. But with that key part of the VRA gutted — and with a 6-to-3 Republican majority on the Supreme Court — the GOP is going full throttle in its efforts to maintain white supremacy.
Tuesday, October 26, 2021
We used to have two political parties. They disagreed on many issues, but they negotiated and came up with solutions that were good for the country. That is not true today. Now there is only one political party interested in legislating or governing -- the Democratic Party. The Republican Party has devolved in a cult of fealty to their orange demagogue that is not interested in either legislating, negotiating, or governing.
Monday, October 25, 2021
A pro-Trump rally in Salt Lake City drew only one-tenth of the crowd it was expected to draw a few days ago -- even though Trump favorite, Michael Flynn, was the keynote speaker.
I must admit that, like many of my Democratic friends, I was amused by this. But it would be a mistake to read too much into it.
It probably does mean that Micheal Flynn is not the draw that Trump conservatives would hope for. But I have no doubt that if Trump had been there, they would likely have filled the arena. But even then, that means little in electoral politics.
You may remember that Bernie Sanders was drawing phenomenally large crowds in the 2016 and 2020 Democratic primaries. The large crowds had leftists thinking that Sanders would win the nomination. But he didn't. He lost in both 2016 and 2020.
And in the 2020 campaign, Donald Trump was drawing huge crowds at every campaign stop. It had right-wingers sure that he would win re-election. He didn't. He lost by more than 7 million votes.
The truth is that only a tiny part of the electorate goes to rallies and campaign stops. Most voters will never go to either, but they will make their choices known on Election Day.
I know that people on both sides of the political divide (and the media also) like to think that crowd sizes matter, but they don't. They actually mean nothing in electoral politics.
There are two things necessary to sustain a democracy - the rule of law and citizen voting. Of those two, the one most important is the ability of every citizen to be able to exercise their right to vote. Without the right to vote, even the rule of law would soon disappear. Because this is true, one would expect Congress to make voting easier for all citizens.
But that is not happening. Republican legislatures across the country are doing just the opposite. They are making it harder to vote, using the excuse of preventing election fraud. The ignore the fact that there is virtually no fraud in U.S. elections. The real reason is to minimize the number of people who can vote (especially minorities and younger voters) in the hope that with a smaller voting population, they think they'll be able to achieve and retain power.
To combat these efforts at voter suppression, a bill is in Congress (the Freedom To Vote Act). This bill would make it easier for every citizens to exercise his/her right to vote while protecting against voter fraud. But sadly, the Republicans in Congress don't want to make it easier for citizens to vote. The Senate Republicans just voted unanimously to keep a filibuster against the voting rights bill. It is just one more example of why the filibuster (which is not in the Constitution) must be eliminated.
The following is part of an op-ed at MSNBC.com by Jessica Levinson on this issue:
Our democracy is based on the fundamental principle that all eligible citizens must have access to the ballot box and that each of those votes be given equal weight. A representative system of government lacks legitimacy if it fails to allow its citizens to pick who represents them. Why should we give any credence to the decisions of a president, a senator or a member of the House who got the job through a farcical election that blocked some from voting? Or, to put it another way: If our elected officials rigged the system and suppressed our votes to get or keep their gigs, why should we give them any authority?
This is why we must all turn to Wednesday’s failed attempt to pass the Freedom to Vote Act and make its eventual passage our first, second, third and fourth priorities. You don’t build a house until you have the blueprints. You don’t build a democracy without ensuring the right to vote.
Every single Republican in the Senate voted against even having a debate about the Freedom to Vote Act, which is already a compromised and whittled-down version of its former self. Again for the folks in back: Every single member of the Republican Party who serves in our nation’s top legislative chamber is a big “no” on even discussing ways to protect the right to vote. This is partisanship at its absolute worst. This is the epitome of party before country. . . .
Sunday, October 24, 2021
It now looks like President Biden's Build Back Better plan will cost about $1.9 to $2.0 trillion dollars. But the president doesn't want to do what the Republicans did with their tax cuts for corporations and the rich -- add trillions to the national debt. He want the program to be paid for. It hasn't been decided how that will happen. That is still being negotiated. But Hayes Brown at MSNBC.com tells us the ways that are being discussed:
Tax rate changes for the wealthy and corporations
Minimum corporate tax
Global Minimum Tax
Increase IRS enforcement
The Billionaires’ Income Tax
Saturday, October 23, 2021
The Quinnipiac University Poll asked 1,342 nationwide adults (between October 15th and 18th) how long it would take for life to return to normal in the United States. The poll has a 2.7 point margin of error.
About 81% said it would take a year or more. And 58% said it would take over a year (including 26% who said life would never return to normal).
Trump's new social media platform has not officially started, but there is a test version of it on the internet. MSNBC's Zeeshan Aleem visited the site. Here's what he had to say about it:
Former President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced the launch of a media company and a social media platform designed, in his words, to “stand up to the tyranny of Big Tech.” And so far the platform, called Truth Social (of course!), has been as true to form as one could’ve imagined: a ramshackle, derivative project that expresses Trump’s desperate thirst for power and profit.
The janky and rushed nature of Truth Social was immediately apparent. While in his announcement Trump said a beta version is meant to be available to invited guests in November and a national rollout is expected in early 2022, pranksters and curious journalists found what appeared to be an unreleased test version of the site within hours and proceeded to flood it.
Immediately people snatched up VIP handles like “donaldtrump” and “mikepence.” The person who grabbed “donaldjtrump” swiftly pinned a photo of a pig defecating on their profile. That site has been pulled offline, but at least one other test version has been circulating, as well, suggesting striking technical vulnerabilities.
As Washington Post tech reporter Drew Harwell notes in his analysis, the website is a crude, uncreative knockoff of Trump’s favorite social media platform — and it is also somehow already violating licensing codes:
Friday, October 22, 2021
Why does the United States give aid to other countries? Is it altruism? That would be nice, but that has never been the reason. U.S. politicians dole out aid to other countries because it is in the interests of this country. A country that is getting money (or other aid) from the United States is far more likely to go along with U.S. wishes and policy that a country not getting that aid.
We should consider helping the world to get vaccinated in the same way. It is in our own self-interest.
Even if we could vaccinate 100% of our population (which seems to be impossible), it would not insure we are protected against the COVID-19 virus.
As long as there are other countries with significant portions of their population that are unvaccinated, the virus will continue. And as the virus continues to rage, it will mutate -- very possibly into more easily transmissible and more lethal forms. And it is possible that a mutation could occur that would be immune to the currently available vaccines. That would open up even highly vaccinated countries to a resurgence of the disease.
And anyone who thinks we could keep those mutated viruses out of this country is living in a dream world. In this globally-interconnected world, that would be impossible.
I understand, and support, the desire to get our own population vaccinated, but that would not end the pandemic. We must not only continue to send vaccines to other countries, but also support giving those other countries the knowledge and tools to produce their own vaccines.
The global pandemic will not end until their is global herd immunity, and that can only be achieved by making sure most people get vaccinated in every country.
In a global pandemic, "America First" is a stupid and dangerous idea.