Thursday, November 30, 2023

The Worst Politician Of 2023


How The U.S. Public Rates The Last 10 First Ladies

The chart above reflects the results of the YouGov Poll -- done between November 20th and 27th of a nationwide sample of 1,000 adults, with a 4.1 point margin of error.

Hearing Crazy Voices

Political Cartoon is by Clay Jones at

U.S. Life Expectancy Has Not Yet Recovered From COVID



 Political Cartoon is by Gary Huck at

Schumer Details What American Jews Fear Most

 The following post is by Senator Chuck Schumer in The New York Times:

Fifty-three days ago, citizens of Israel suffered a horrendous attack orchestrated and executed by Hamas.

The solidarity that Jewish Americans initially received from our fellow citizens in the aftermath of Oct. 7 has since waned, drowned out by other, more disturbing voices, even from some we considered allies, while hate crimes against Jews have skyrocketed.

Today, too many Americans are exploiting arguments against Israel and leaping toward a virulent antisemitism. The normalization and intensifying of this rise in hate is the danger many Jewish people fear most.

Since Oct. 7, Jewish-owned businesses that have nothing to do with Israel have been boycotted and vandalized. Jewish students on college campuses have been harassed and assaulted with alarming frequency. A Jewish high school teacher in Queens told me about being forced to hide in a locked office from student protesters who were demanding that she be fired because she attended a rally supporting Israel.

These are just a few examples, but they point to a troubling trend. Too often in Jewish history, legitimate criticism of Israeli policies or even older disputes over religious, economic and political issues have often crossed over into something darker, into attacking Jewish people simply for being Jewish.

What happened last week at the Queens high school is an example of crossing that threshold. Walking out of school to march in support of Palestinians is completely legitimate. But forcing a Jewish teacher to hide because she had attended a rally in support of Israel is antisemitism, pure and simple.

For many Jewish people today, the rise of antisemitism is more than a crisis — it’s a five-alarm fire. That’s why I feel compelled to speak out, especially considering the growing disparity between how Jewish people understand the rise of antisemitism, and how many of my non-Jewish friends regard it.

While American Jews have always been wary of the hatemongers lurking on the edges of our society, we are proud to be American, because in this country, unlike so many others, our ancestors were able to put down roots and flourish.

Take my own family story. Only in America could an exterminator’s son grow up to be the first Jewish party leader in the Senate.

But many of my family members elsewhere met more tragic ends.

When I was a boy, I learned what happened when the Nazis invaded my family’s town in Ukraine. The Nazis ordered my great-grandmother to gather her extended family on the porch of her home. When the Nazis told her to come with them, she refused, and they gunned her down, along with 30 members of her family, from 85 years old to 3 months old.

When I heard the story of what Hamas and its allies did in Kibbutz Be’eri, killing more than 120 Jews, from the elderly to babies, it struck me on a deeply personal level.

Most Jewish Americans have similar stories — stories we learned at a young age, and that will stay imprinted on our hearts for as long as we live.

We see and hear things differently from others because we understand the horrors that can follow the targeting of Jewish people. We’ve learned the hard way to fear how such attacks can easily erupt into widespread antisemitism if they are not repudiated. I am sure Arab Americans have similar fears when they see the rise in Islamophobia and horrific crimes like the gut-wrenching murder of 6-year-old Wadea Al-Fayoume.

Of course, criticizing the Israeli government is not inherently antisemitic. Over the years, I have vehemently disagreed with many of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s policies, especially his administration’s encouragement of settlements in the West Bank, gravely harming prospects for a two-state solution, which I support. I have also been among those who have said Israel must act according to international law, and that humanitarian assistance for Palestinians is critical.

But when criticism against Israel is allowed to cross over into something different — into a denial of a Jewish state in any form, into open calls for the very destruction of Israel, while at the same time the self-determination of other peoples is exalted — that is an example of the discriminatory double standard Jewish people have always found so hurtful. And we worry about what could come next.

Because for centuries, what is good for everybody else has been too often denied to the Jew. Jews could live here but not there; Jews could hold this job but not that.

And to declare that only the Jewish people cannot have their own state, in any form, is a glaring example of that double standard Jewish Americans so fiercely object to.

I implore every person and every community and every institution to stand with Jewish Americans, and to denounce antisemitism in all of its forms. Americans are stewards of the flames of liberty, tolerance and equality that warm our melting pot and make it possible for Jewish Americans to prosper alongside Palestinian Americans as well as every other immigrant group.

America has always been exceptional. But when it matters most, are we still a nation that can defy the course of human history, where the Jewish people have been ostracized, expelled and massacred over and over again?

I believe the answer can and must be a resounding yes.

And I will do everything in my power — as Senate majority leader, as a Jewish American, as a citizen of a free society, as a human being — to make it so.

Nasty Leftovers

Political Cartoon is by Rick McKee in

Blue States Have Higher Life Expectancy Than Red States


Wednesday, November 29, 2023

A Bit Of Truth From Robert De Niro


Trump Says He Wants To Kill The Affordable Care Act

A few days ago, Donald Trump said if elected again he would repeal Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act), and is considering ideas to replace it.

It would be interesting to see what those replacement ideas are. He had four years in the White House, and never came up with any replacement plan (and neither did any other Republican). 

I doubt there is a plan. He's just trying to work up some excitement among his cult followers. That would have excited many Americans a couple of decades ago. Back then, the act was still new and people were worried that it wouldn't work.

But those days are long gone. Americans have seen millions get insurance through the Affordable Care Act with private insurers, and millions more through expanded Medicaid - and they like what they have seen.

A Kaiser Family Foundation poll shows that nearly six out of ten (59%) Americans now have a favorable opinion of Obamacare. They don't want to see it go. They don't want to see millions lose their health insurance, and they don't trust Trump to come up with an adequate and workable replacement.

This was a blunder by Trump. Instead of reviving old and unpopular ideas, he needs to actually come up with workable solutions to the countries problems. I doubt he can though.


Earth's Cycle

 Political Cartoon is by Bill Day at

Haley Doesn't Care About Workers Who Need Social Security

Nikki Haley is being painted by many in the media as being a "moderate" Republican. She is not! One example of how she is far to the right is her odious stand on Social Security. Economist Paul Krugman explains: 

Haley has never really shown a willingness to stand up to Republican extremists — and at this point the whole G.O.P. has been taken over by extremists.

That said, Haley has shown some consistency on issues of economic and fiscal policy. And what you should know is that her positions on these issues are pretty far to the right. In particular, she seems exceptionally explicit, even among would-be Republican nominees, in calling for an increase in the age at which Americans become eligible for Social Security — a bad idea that seems to be experiencing a revival.

So let’s talk about Social Security.

The first thing you should know about Social Security is that the actual numbers don’t justify the apocalyptic rhetoric one often hears, not just from the right but from self-proclaimed centrists who want to sound serious. No, the exhaustion of the system’s trust fund, currently projected to occur in roughly a decade, wouldn’t mean that benefits disappear.

It would mean that the system would need additional revenue to continue paying scheduled benefits in full. But the extra revenue required would be smaller than you probably think. The most recent long-term projections from the Congressional Budget Office show Social Security outlays rising to 6.2 percent of gross domestic product in 2053 from 5.1 percent this year, not exactly an earth-shattering increase. . . .

Social Security does face a funding gap. How should it be closed?

Anyone who says, as Haley does, that the retirement age should rise in line with increasing life expectancy is being oblivious, perhaps willfully, to the grim inequality of modern America. Until Covid struck, average life expectancy at 65, the relevant number, was indeed rising. But these gains were concentrated among Americans with relatively high incomes. Less affluent Americans — those who depend most on Social Security — have seen little rise in life expectancy, and in some cases actual declines.

So anyone invoking rising life expectancy as a reason to delay Social Security benefits is, in effect, saying that aging janitors must keep working (or be cast into extreme poverty) because bankers are living longer.

How, then, should the Social Security gap be closed? The obvious answer — which happens to be favored by a majority of voters — is to raise more revenue. Remember, America collects less revenueas a percentage of G.D.P. than almost any other advanced economy.

But Haley, of course, wants to cut income taxes.

My guess is that none of this will be relevant, that Trump will be the nominee. But if he stumbles, I would beg political reporters not to focus on Haley’s personal affect, which can seem moderate, but rather on her policies. On social issues and the fate of democracy, she appears to be a pure weather vane, turning with the political winds. On fiscal and economic policy, she’s a hard-right advocate of tax cuts for the rich and benefit cuts for the working class. If calling someone a “populist” has any meaning these days, she’s the exact opposite.

Ukraine's Christmas Wish

Political Cartoon is by John Darkow in the Columbia Missourian.

Photos Of White House Christmas Decorations


Hypocritical Thoughts And Prayers

Political Cartoon is by Clay Jones at

You Should Be Paying Attention To Trump's Nefarious Plan


Tuesday, November 28, 2023

The Two Distinct Threats We Face


Another Right-Wing Hate Crime


The Smile Hides Evil Intentions

 Political Cartoon is by Clay Jones at

The Four Ways The Media Is Quietly Helping Donald Trump

Robert Reich details the four ways the mainstream media is helping Donald Trump: 

The mainstream media is helping Trump and his authoritarian allies in four ways. 

First, it’s drawing a false equivalence between Trump and Biden — claiming that Biden’s political handicap is his age, while Trump’s corresponding handicap is his criminal indictments.

Rubbish. Trump is almost as old as Biden, and Trump’s public remarks and posts are becoming ever more unhinged — suggesting that advancing age may be a bigger problem for Trump than for Biden.

Why isn’t the mainstream media reporting on Trump’s increasing senescence?

Secondly, every time the mainstream media reports on another move by Trump and his Republican allies toward neofascism, it tries to balance its coverage by pointing out some fault in the Democratic Party (such as the ongoing federal corruption and bribery case against Senator Bob Menendez).

The net effect is for readers to assume all politics is rotten. A recent Washington Post article was headlined, “In a swing Wisconsin county, everyone is tired of politics.”

Voters who are turned off by politics are less aware of Biden’s accomplishments — and the media is hardly reporting on them. 

One person interviewed by the Post admitted, “I can’t really speak to anything [Biden] has done because I’ve tuned it out, like a lot of people have. We’re so tired of the us-against-them politics.”

As if the “us-against-them politics” is the fault of Democrats as much as it is Trump Republicans. In fact, Trump’s GOP is the party of dysfunctional politics.

Which brings us to the third way the mainstream media is quietly helping Trump. It makes it seem as if the dysfunction in Washington is coming from both parties. 

“How do Americans feel about politics?” The New York Times asked recently, answering in the same headline: “‘Disgust isn’t a strong enough word.’”

What the Times failed to report is that much of the GOP no longer accepts the rule of law, or the norms of liberal democracy, or the legitimacy of the opposing party, or the premise that governing requires negotiation and compromise.

Yesterday, the Times attributed the coming wave of departing lawmakers across both chambers and parties to the “breathtaking dysfunction on Capitol Hill,” without telling readers that the dysfunction is entirely due to the Republican Party.

Finally, blaming both sides for this chaos plays into Trump’s and his allies’ goal of wanting Americans to believe the nation has become ungovernable, so it needs a strongman. 

The worse things seem, the more convincing is Trump’s case for an authoritarian like him to take over. “I’d get it done in one day.” “I am your voice.” “Leave it all to me.”

Focusing on government dysfunction ignores Biden’s steady hand. This makes America more likely to fall into Trump’s and his allies’ neofascist hands.

As we head into the critical election year of 2024, the mainstream media must adapt to a new political reality: The contest is no longer between Democrats who want more government and Republicans who want less. It is between democracy and fascism.

Different Views

Political Cartoon is by Bill Bramhall in the New York Daily News.

The Loss Of Local Newspapers Is A Big Problem

(Click on image to get a larger picture.)

Monday, November 27, 2023

Something Ain't Right


AARP CEO's Letter To Congress About Social Security/Medicare

Jo Ann C. Jenkins, the CEO of AARP, recently wrote an open letter to Congress about Social Security and Medicare. Here is her letter:

November 13, 2023

Dear Representative / Senator:

On behalf of AARP, which advocates for the more than 100 million Americans age 50 and older, we are writing to express our strong opposition to the inclusion of Social Security and Medicare in any fiscal or debt commission.

Social Security is NOT a driver of the annual deficits or national debt. The program is self- financed. It is not financed by general revenue. In fact, more than 90% of Social Security is financed by payroll tax contributions from American workers and employers; around 4% are from federal income taxes on some Social Security benefits; and 5.4% comes from interest earned on U.S. Treasury bonds held by the Social Security Trust Funds. Any argument that claims that Social Security is a driver of the national debt – simply because it receives interest from the U.S. Treasury bondsis disingenuous. U.S. Treasury bonds are one of the world’s safest investments, backed by the full faith and credit of the United States.

According to AARP research, 85 percent of older Americans, regardless of party, strongly oppose targeting Social Security and Medicare to reduce federal budget deficits. Specifically, the survey found that 88 percent of Republicans, 79 percent of Independents, and 87 percent of Democrats strongly oppose cutting Social Security. Similarly, 86 percent of Republicans, 80 percent of Independents, and 88 percent of Democrats said they strongly oppose cutting Medicare.

Older Americans of all political stripes understand that Social Security and Medicare are essential to their retirement and health security. They have paid into these programs their entire working lives. They have earned those benefits.

AARP calls on Congress to commit that any and all discussions about the future of Social Security and Medicare be done through a fully transparent process. Congress must work through committees of jurisdiction and regular order. If regular order is the gold standard for routine legislative matters, it certainly should be the standard for Social Security and Medicare.

Congress owes it to the American people to be directly accountable and engage in open and public discussions about the programs.

AARP looks forward to working with Congress to find reasonable and responsible solutions to addressing the national debt – that do NOT involve taking any money from the independent Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds.


Jo Ann C. Jenkins


At The Wrong Protest

Political Cartoon is by Clay Jones at

Young People (Esp. Women) Moving Away From Religion


Sunday, November 26, 2023

The 14th Amendment Is Too Bold For Timid Judges


He Thinks He Would Own It

Political Cartoon is by Ann Telnaes in The Washington Post.

52% Of Voters Now Live In A Household With A Gun

The chart above reflects the results of the new NBC News Poll -- done between November 10th and 14th of a nationwide sample of 1,000 registered voters, with a 3.1 point margin of error.

It shows that a record 52% of registered voters now live in a household where someone owns a gun. That's 10 points higher than in 2013 (42%), and 6 points higher than 2016 (46%). Evidently, more people now believe they are safer with a gun in the house.

They are wrong. A family member is far more likely to be killed (or injured) by a gun in those households than in a household with no gun. This is simply not the way to a safer society.

I am not one of those who believes the Second Amendment doesn't actually give Americans the right to own a gun. It clearly does. But like other constitutional rights, it is not absolute. The Supreme Court has ruled that there are limits to the right (such as the kind of weapon that can be owned and the loss of the right by dangerous people such as felons).

But I cannot believe that the route to a safer society is more gun ownership. The real route to a safer society is to control who is able to legally buy a gun. Most people know this. Over 80% of adults (including most gun owners) would like to see a stricter background check law on gun purchases (or gifts).

A strict background check law would not impinge of the right of law-abiding citizens to buy or receive a gun, because they could easily pass the check. Failure to pass such a law doesn't protect the rights of law-abiding citizens (as Republicans claim). It just allows dangerous people (like felons) to legally buy a gun.

This must be changed, but it will only happen when politicians opposing a background check law (mainly Republicans) are voted out of office.

The Largest One Year Increase

Political Cartoon is by Michael Ramirez in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Both Sides Have A Right To Live In Peace