Saturday, July 31, 2021
The charts above are from the Gallup Poll. Their survey was done between June 1st and July 5th of a national sample of 1,381 adults, with a 3 point margin of error.
Most of the wealth in the United States is concentrated among the rich. The pandemic didn't help, and neither has the economic policies of the government. Both have combined to make the rich even richer, while the bottom 90% gets poorer. We are truly becoming a nation of "haves" and "have-nots", and the wealth/income inequality is already worse in the U.S. than in many third world countries.
In the following article at MSNBC.com, Stephanie Ruhle lays out the ugly truth. Here is part of it:
A lot of progress has been made when it comes to power and influence in business and politics over the past 25 years. Or has it?
CEOs of the largest U.S. companies in 1996 made 154 times what their workers madeon average. In 2020, the CEO-to-worker pay ratio ballooned to as high as 830 for some of the worst offenders. We’ve put on conferences, led campaigns and certainly done a lot of talking. But when it comes to the concentration of power and wealth, things actually seem to be getting worse, not better. The big guy has continued to win big time.
This in turn has driven the economic and cultural divide wider as we’ve become a country that we often say is divided by red and blue. But it's also divided by green. . . .
In other words, as rich people have gotten richer, poor people have gotten poorer ... and angrier.
A lot of this anger stems from the fact that many of the perpetrators of the financial crisis didn’t get the severe punishment lawmakers on both sides of the aisle demanded. E-commerce behemoths have steadily squeezed out brick-and-mortar small businesses, and professional investors bought up massive swaths of distressed real estate, outbidding families.
Somewhat ironically, anti-corporate America sentiment helped elect Donald Trump, the richest president in U.S. history, who flanked himself with senior staff and Cabinet members from Goldman Sachs and the hedge fund industry after attacking Wall Street on the campaign trail. . . .
During Trump’s presidency, the economy generally improved and the pro-business policies supercharged markets. But those overall gains were exponentially better for wealthy people. The inequality divide deepened, and even though some business leaders have worked to transform corporate culture and promote "stakeholder capitalism," these efforts, too, have faced much criticism, with critics labeling the changes "woke economics.". . .
Rich people will continue to get richer and poor people poorer, and inevitably attention will return (as it should) to Washington. Lawmakers will point fingers, call for hearings and excoriate business leaders. But if history is our guide, little will change.
Despite public outrage, for the richest Americans and our most powerful businesses, enjoying and exploiting loopholes is the law of the land in the United States of America. Regulation and tax policy seem to always find a way to favor the ones with the deepest pockets.
The future may be different. There may be a whole new set of winners and losers, new technologies and new visionaries. Or maybe the names will change but the story will stay the same.
Friday, July 30, 2021
This chart is from a new Public Religion Research Institute survey -- done between June 7th and 23rd of a national sample of 5,123 adults, with a 1.65 point margin of error.
The Labor Department released its weekly unemployment statistics on Thursday. It showed that an additional 400,000 workers filed for unemployment benefits in the week ending on July 24th. That's a slight decrease from the previous week, but still about twice as high as it should be in a healthy economy. It's just more evidence that the pandemic is still affecting the economy.
Here is the official Labor Department statement:
In the week ending July 24, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 400,000, a decrease of 24,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 5,000 from 419,000 to 424,000. The 4-week moving average was 394,500, an increase of 8,000 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 1,250 from 385,250 to 386,500.
They are engaging in a two-pronged attack on this country (mistakenly believing that will get them votes in the next election).
They continue to support Trump's big lie and are trying to downplay the attack on our Capitol last January 6th -- probably to cover for many in their own party who were either in that riot or abetted those who did take part.
At the same time, they continue to attack the COVID-19 vaccine and the wearing of masks
This two-pronged attack is damaging the nation's public health, and its democracy.
Here is what former Labor Secretary Robert Reich had to say about the GOP's attack on America:
Thursday, July 29, 2021
The charts above are from a YouGov Poll done between July 13th and 17th of a national sample of 3,000 adults, with a 2.3 point margin of error.
Historians, in a recent poll, rated Donald Trump one of the four worst presidents the United States has ever had. Thanks to the members of his loyal cult, he does a bit better in this opinion poll. He is ranked 20th. It won't make him happy though to learn that the public ranked Barack Obama 8th.
Singer Pink said she would pay all the fines. Good for her. But why must the women wear bikini bottoms? The men play in shorts -- why can't the women? Are they trying to sell sex or a sport?
This is not the only sport requiring sexy uniforms for women, but not for men -- and it's time for it to stop in all sports.
I am an avid fan of both men's and women's sports, and I don't watch them because of the kind of uniforms they wear in either. I only care about how well the sport is being played, and who wins. I think most other sports fans are the same. Athletes should be allowed to wear any kind of uniform they want (as long as it doesn't give them an unfair advantage over the other athletes).
The following is from Ivanka Saric and Ina Fried at Axios.com:
Female Olympians in Tokyo are rejecting the uniforms that have long defined their sports, highlighting a double standard that exists how women dress in competition vs. men.
Driving the news: During their qualifying round Sunday, Germany's women's gymnastics team wore full-length unitards, eschewing the conventional leg-barring leotards worn by most female gymnasts.
- Earlier this week Norway's women's beach handball team was fined for wearing shortsinstead of the required bikini bottoms during a match.
Between the lines: The German Gymnastics Federation said the new uniforms were meant to push back "against sexualization in gymnastics."
- “It's about what feels comfortable,” three-time Olympian Elisabeth Seitz told reporters in Tokyo. “We wanted to show that every woman, everybody, should decide what to wear."
- The Norwegian Olympians highlighted the double standard for female athletes.
- "I don’t see why we can’t play in shorts,” said Norwegian player Martine Welfler. "With so much body shaming and stuff like that these days, you should be able to wear a little bit more when you play."
- Australian athletes voiced support for the Norweigians' move. "It is so much easier to focus on your performance... when you do not have to worry about whether your bikini bottom has ridden up in an unflattering way… or what angle a photographer might be able to capture you on,” Australian beach handball player Rose Boyd told The Feed.
State of play: Double standards between male and female athletes often come down to aesthetics and convention, rather than necessity.
- Male gymnasts typically compete in shorts or loose pants, while female gymnasts are typically seen sporting bikini-cut leotards, even as many prefer to train wearing shorts, notes the New York Times.
- While no rules bar female gymnasts from wearing long unitards in competition, they remain niche, often worn by athletes for religious reasons, per the Times.
- The International Handball Federation permits male beach handball players to wear shorts as long as four inches above their knees as long as they are "not too baggy," much like the ones the Norwegian women's team wore last week.
- Yet the IHF requires women to wear bikini bottoms "with a close fit and cut on an upward angle toward the top of the leg" that are no longer than four inches on the sides.
Wednesday, July 28, 2021
We hear stories about how businesses are raising wages to attract workers, and the media has given the impression that this is a widespread phenomenon. It is NOT. The truth is that most workers (about 75%) did not get a raise in wages, and some even saw a decrease.
And as the chart below shows, those now seeking a job don't expect to make more than they did before the pandemic.
These charts are from the Morning Consult Poll -- done between June 22nd and 25th of a national sample of 1,336 adults, with a 3 point margin of error.
The COVID-19 virus is the most dangerous pandemic this country has faced since the Spanish Flu pandemic of the early 1900's. We were lucky that medical science came up with very effective vaccines in a remarkably short time. In fact, if the nation has responded appropriately and taken the vaccine, we could have already gotten control of the virus. Unfortunately, too many are reluctant to take the vaccine, and most stupid of all, are playing politics with the vaccine.
There have been many false or misleading statements about the vaccine in the past few months. PolitiFact has examined those claims. Here are the 10 false claims being spread the most You can go to their website for an in depth examination of each false claim:
1. "The COVID-19 vaccines do not work."
FACT: They do.
2. "The COVID-19 vaccines were not properly tested or developed."
FACT: They were.
3. "The COVID-19 vaccines are mandatory."
FACT: They aren’t.
4. "The COVID-19 vaccines contain microchips for government tracking."
FACT: They don’t.
5. "The COVID-19 vaccines contain metals and other problematic ingredients."
FACT: They don’t.
6. "The COVID-19 vaccines have caused widespread death and disease."
FACT: They haven’t.
7. "The COVID-19 vaccines killed or harmed various celebrities."
FACT: They haven’t.
8. "The COVID-19 vaccines alter your DNA."
FACT: They don’t.
9. "The COVID-19 vaccines stunt fertility and disrupt pregnancies."
FACT: They don’t.
10. "The COVID-19 vaccines can ‘shed’ to affect unvaccinated people."
FACT: They don’t.
Tuesday, July 27, 2021
The chart reflects the results of the Politico / Morning Consult Poll -- done between July 16th and 18th of a national sample of 1,997 registered voters, with a 2 point margin of error.
The chart above reflects the results of the Politico / Morning Consult Poll -- done between July 16th and 18th of a national sample of 1,997 registered voters, with a 2 point margin of error.
The picture above shows Bob Moses counseling civil rights volunteers in Ohio in 1964.
On Sunday, Mr. Moses died at his home in Hollywood, Florida. He was 86 years old.
Moses was the Mississippi director of SNCC. And he risked his life and freedom many times to make this a better country for all of us. He was shot at, beaten repeatedly, and jailed many times in his quest.
Barack Obama said, “Bob Moses was a hero of mine. His quiet confidence helped shape the civil rights movement, and he inspired generations of young people looking to make a difference.”
Robert Parris Moses was true American Hero!
The new cases of COVID-19 have spiked about 800% in the last three weeks nationwide. This has some Republicans changing their minds and now urging their supporters to get vaccinated. Will this help the nation to get to the goal that would cause herd immunity, or have they waited too long and their supporters are now convinced not to get vaccinated. The next few weeks will tell.
Here is some of what E.J. Dionne Jr. had to say about it in The Washington Post:
Bad news is leading to at least a bit of good news: The surge of the coronavirus delta variant seems to have lit a fire under many Republican politicians. As the virus spreads largely in GOP regions with low vaccination rates, leaders of a party where anti-vax sentiment has run rampant have started sounding the alarm: Not getting vaccinated really can kill you.
One of the most unequivocal statements came from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). “These shots need to get in everybody’s arm as rapidly as possible,” he said last week, adding a swipe at those pushing falsehoods about vaccines, who happen to include many in his own party. . . .
As Republican pollster Whit Ayres notes, McConnell, who endured polio as a child, has always embraced the power of vaccination. More surprising was a vaccine plug from Florida’s Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, a longtime baiter of federal authorities whose reelection campaign is selling merchandise mocking Anthony S. Fauci, the White House health adviser.
Yes, even the man peddling “Don’t Fauci My Florida” T-shirts seems to have noticed that over the past two weeks, 20 percent of all the nation’s new covid-19 cases were in his state. . . .
The pro-vaccine message is even reaching the heart of Trump country. “Folks [are] supposed to have common sense,” Alabama Republican Gov. Kay Ivey said on Thursday. “But it’s time to start blamingthe unvaccinated folks, not the regular folks. It’s the unvaccinated folks that are letting us down.” You might say the scolding was overdue: Ivey leads the country’s least vaccinated state. . . .
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine are among those Republicans who have been especially passionate about getting the job done, Zients said. Republican governors of Democratic-leaning states — Phil Scott in Vermont, Charlie Baker in Massachusetts, Larry Hogan of Maryland and Chris Sununu of New Hampshire — can be proud that their states are in the top 10 in vaccination rates.
Infuriatingly, there are still Republicans — Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin among them — who continue to reinforce right-wing vaccine skepticism. The doubts they and others are spreading on Fox News (even if some in Fox News’s ranks, including Sean Hannity, seem to be repenting) and on other pro-Trump outlets have created a toxic vaccine gap.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that as of July 23, the 20 states with the highest vaccination rates (counting the District of Columbia as a state) all voted for President Biden. . . .
An Associated Press-NORC poll released Friday found that among Democrats, only 18 percent were “not very” or “not at all” confident in the effectiveness of vaccines; among Republicans, 42 percent expressed such doubts.
Three states — Florida, Texas and Missouri — accounted for 40 percent of new covid cases last week.
It’s the new political geography of sickness and death. . . .
Republican politicians, keep shouting from the rooftops about the imperative of getting vaccinated. But you also need to take another virus seriously. The spread of extremism in your party is deadly — to our health and to our democracy.