Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Don't Believe The Lie


Alabama Elects Democrat Jones - Rejects GOP Pedophile


I owe many people in Alabama my sincere apology. I was convinced that the very red state would vote to send a pedophile to the United States Senate. They did not!

On Tuesday, in a very close election, the voters in Alabama rejected Republican candidate Roy Moore and elected the Democratic candidate Doug Jones.

How did it happen? Well, we can thank especially two groups. Black voters went to the polls in record numbers for an off-year or special election to reward Jones for his years of fighting for civil rights. Jones only had a 1.5 point winning margin, which could not have happened without the large turnout of Black voters.

And some Republican voters simply could not bring themselves to vote for Moore (because of his many faults), so they cast a write-in vote. There were enough write-in votes that could have caused a Republican victory if a candidate other than Moore had been on the GOP ticket. The difference between Jones and Moore was 20,715 votes, and there were 22,819 write-in votes.

Here is the final tabulation:

Doug Jones (D)...............671,151 (49.9%)
Roy Moore (R)...............650,436 (48.4%)
Write-in votes...............22,819 (1.7%)

THANK YOU, ALABAMA!

Not Mistakes (But Lies!)

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

Trump Wins For "Biggest Lie Of The Year" (Of Course!)


Every year, Politifact asks their readers to vote for the "Biggest Lie Of The Year". The results for this year are in the chart above. It shouldn't surprise anyone that Donald Trump is the winner -- and it wasn't even close! He won for his insistence that the Trump/ Russia collaboration story was fake (and made up by Democrats).

Twelve A Day

Political Cartoon is by Clay Jones at claytoonz.com.

Six Charts Showing How Bad The GOP Tax Bill Is For U.S.







The Republicans, and Donald Trump, have been repeatedly lying to Americans about their tax bill. They claim the bill will be good for the middle class and bad for the wealthy. That is just the opposite of the truth.

These six charts from the Center On Budget And Policy Priorities shows the truth. This is a very bad bill for most Americans. It will give the rich massive (and unneeded) tax cuts, while punishing the working and middle classes.

Theft

Political Cartoon is by Joe Heller at hellertoon.com.

Trump Will Allow Employers To Steal Worker's Tips

(Caricature of Donald Trump us by DonkeyHotey.)

Donald Trump has his products made in other countries that abuse workers with low wages, has imported workers for his U.S. entities to avoid pay decent wages, has stiffed many contractors that did work for him, and has conned many out of thousands of dollars with a fake "university". His moral compass points in only one direction -- toward greed! It shouldn't surprise us then that he now wants to allow employer's to steal the tips of their workers.

From the Economic Policy Institute:

Today (12/4/2017) the Trump administration took their first major step towards allowing employers to legally take tips earned by the workers they employ. The Department of Labor released a proposed rule rescinding portions of its tip regulations, including current restrictions on “tip pooling”—which would mean that, for example, restaurants would be able to pool the tips servers receive and share them with untipped employees such as cooks and dishwashers. But, crucially, the rule doesn’t actually require that employers distribute pooled tips to workers. Under the administration’s proposed rule, as long as the tipped workers earn minimum wage, the employer can legally pocket those tips.
And what we know for sure is that, often, they will do just that. Recent researchsuggests that the total wages stolen from workers due to minimum wage violations exceeds $15 billion each year, and workers in restaurants and bars are much more likely to suffer minimum wage violations than workers in other industries. With that much illegal wage theft currently taking place, it seems obvious that when employers can legally pocket the tips earned by their employees, many will do so.
It is worth noting how deeply unusual it is that there are no actual estimates in the proposal of the amount of money that would be shifted from workers to employers as a result of the rule, even though data that researchers use all the time are available to produce them. The requirements that agencies must follow during the rulemaking process are very clear, and among them is that agencies must assess all quantifiable costs and benefits “to the fullest extent that these can be usefully estimated.” When there is uncertainty about a quantifiable cost or benefit, agencies typically do something like provide a range—they don’t forgo providing an estimate altogether. It is obvious why the department left out the required estimate: this rule is bad for workers, and any estimate would have made that crystal clear.
Make no mistake: as a result of this rule, workers will take home less, and their loss will be employers’ gain. And Trump’s DOL is willing to break the requirements of the rulemaking process to attempt to hide that fact.

Evidence ?

Political Cartoon is by Barry Deutsch at patreon.com/barry.

Never


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Firearms Not Needed


Moral Choice For Alabama Republicans - Stay Home Today


Many decent Republicans in Alabama have a dilemma facing them today. They are die-hard Republicans, who have never voted for a Democrat and cannot bring themselves to do so -- but they have a pedophile (who doesn't believe in the Constitution) running on the Republican ticket. What are they to do?

I understand the dilemma. I am a die-hard Democrat, who has never voted for a Republican (and never will). What would I do if a truly despicable person was the Democratic candidate in a race? I could not vote Republican, but I would not vote for that Democrat either. In an election with other races to be determined, I would leave that race unmarked on my ballot -- and if that was the only race on the ballot, I would stay home. Morality would demand that.

And morality demands the same from die-hard Alabama Republicans today. If you can't bring yourself to vote for the Democrat, I understand. Don't do it. But if you really have the values you claim to have, you shouldn't be able to vote for the pedophile who would trash our Constitution either. You should just sty home today. Isn't that the only moral and decent choice.

Meanwhile, it's becoming impossible to predict what will happen in the Alabama senate race. The polls are all over the place. Three new polls have been released (see below). Two predict a win for Moore, while the third predicts Jones will win. It's anyone's guess as to what will happen.

The Gravis Marketing Poll was done between December 5th and 8th of a random sample of 1,254 Alabama likely voters, with a 2.8 point margin of error.

The Trafalgar Group Poll was done on December 6th and 7th of a random sample of 1,419 likely Alabama voters, and has a margin of error of 3.12 points.

The Fox News Poll was done between December 7th and 10th of a random sample of 1,408 registered Alabama voters, with a margin of error of 2.5 points (including 1,127 likely voters with a margin of error of 3 points).




On The Taxpayer's Tab

Political Cartoon is by Rick McKee in The Augusta Chronicle.

Public Is Not Fooled By GOP Lies About Their Tax Bill


Donald Trump and his Republican congressional cohorts have repeatedly claimed their tax reform bill would benefit the middle class the most, and would not benefit the wealthy. It's a lie, and the American people know that. About 64% say it benefits the wealthy the most, while only 17% think it benefits the middle class -- a huge gap of 47 points!

Protecting The Wolf

Political Cartoon is by Signe Wilkinson at philly.com.

Republicans And Trump Voters Still Believe The "Birther" Lie


This is both amazing and shocking to me. And it shows just how far the Republican Party has moved from reality. We have seen President Obama's birth certificate (both short and long forms), read the newspaper announcement of his birth, and had Hawaii officials assure us that he was born in their state. His American birth (and citizenship) has been proven beyond doubt.

But many Republicans still prefer to believe the "birther" lies that claim he was born in Kenya. That's the belief of 51% of Republicans -- and of 57% of Trump voters. Reality and facts mean nothing to these people. They believe what they want to believe.

The chart above was made from a recent Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between December 3rd and 5th of a random national sample of 1,500 adults, with a margin of error of 3.4 points.

Pointing

Political Cartoon is by Stuart Carlson at carlsontoons.com.

Why The Corporate Tax Cuts Won't Help American Workers

The biggest lie Republicans tell about their tax reform plan is that it will help American workers (because corporations will raise worker wages and create new jobs). That has never been true of tax cuts in the past, and it is not true of the proposed massive corporate tax cut being considered. While the rich will benefit (both American and foreign investors), the workers will not.

Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich (pictured) explains why this is true:

Trump and congressional Republicans are engineering the largest corporate tax cut in history in order “to restore our competitive edge,” as Trump says.
Our competitive edge? Who’s us
Most American corporations – especially big ones that would get most of the planned corporate tax cuts – have no particular allegiance to America. Their only allegiance is to their shareholders. 
So restoring their “competitive edge” has little or nothing to do with helping American workers. 
For years they’ve been cutting the jobs and wages of American workers in order to generate larger profits and higher share prices. 
Some of these jobs have gone abroad or been outsourced to lower-paid contractors in America. Others have been automated. Most of the remaining jobs pay no more than they did four decades ago, adjusted for inflation. 
When GM went public again in 2010 after being bailed out by American taxpayers, it boasted of making 43 percent of its cars in places where labor is less than $15 an hour – often outside the United States. And it got its American unions to agree that new hires would be paid half the wages and benefits of its old workers. 
Capital is global. Big American corporations are “American” only because they’re headquartered and legally incorporated in the United States. But they could (and sometimes do) leave at a moment’s notice. They employ or contract with workers all over the world. 
And they’re owned by shareholders all over the world.  
According to research by the Tax Policy Center’s Steven Rosenthal, about 35 percent of stock in U.S. corporations is now held by foreign investors. 
So when taxes of “American” corporations are cut – as the Trump-Republican tax bill seeks to do – foreign investors get a windfall. 
The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy estimates that the Senate majority’s tax bill would give foreign investors a tax cut of $31 billion in 2019. The House bill would give them $50.4 billion. 
That’s money that foreign investors would otherwise be paying into the U.S. Treasury. 
By way of comparison, the combined tax cuts for families in the bottom 80 percent of the income distribution in the 30 states won by President Donald Trump comes to just $39.4 billion. That’s far less than the House bill gives away to foreign investors. 
I’m not blaming American corporations. They’re in business to make profits and maximize their share prices, not to serve America.
I’m blaming politicians like Trump and the Republicans who are trying to persuade Americans that tax cuts on American corporations will be good for Americans. 
It’s different for many corporations headquartered in Europe or Canada. Big corporations headquartered there are far more responsible for the well-being of the people living in those nations. That’s mainly because labor unions there are typically stronger there than they are here – able to exert pressure both at the company level and nationally.
As a result, American corporations distribute a smaller share of their earnings to their workers than do European or Canadian-based corporations. And top American executives make far more money than their counterparts in other wealthy countries.
Governments in other rich nations often devise laws through bargains involving big corporations and organized labor. This process further binds their corporations to their nations.
But in America, lawmakers respond almost exclusively to the demands of big corporations and of wealthy individuals (typically corporate executives and Wall Street moguls) with the most lobbying prowess and deepest pockets to bankroll campaigns. Meanwhile, unions are weak here, and “the preferences of the average American appear to have only a miniscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy,” according to researchers.
Which is one reason why most Europeans and Canadians receive essentially free health care, generous unemployment benefits, paid medical leave, and  an average of five weeks paid vacation.  
So it shouldn’t be surprising that even though U.S. economy is doing well by most measures, and American-based corporations are overflowing with profits, the benefits are not trickling down to most Americans.
Given the dominance of American corporations on American politics, combined with their singular concern for share prices rather than the well-being of Americans, it’s folly to think they’ll turn tax cuts into good American jobs. 
The tax bills big corporations are pushing through Congress are designed for one thing: to boost their share prices, not to boost the vast majority of Americans. 

The Big Giveaway

Political Cartoon is by Adam Zyglis in The Buffalo News.

No Respect For Trump


Monday, December 11, 2017

Peace Requires Justice


Public's Not Happy With How Sexual Misconduct Is Handled


Poll after poll has shown that the general public thinks sexual harassment, abuse, and assault are serious problems in the United States -- and too many men in power are abusing their power to make sexual demands. They want the problem dealt with.

How are the entities where sexual misconduct has been discovered dealt with it? Not too well, according to the public.

The news media has done the best. They have 48% approval for their actions and 42% disapproval -- a net approval gap of 6 points. No one else comes close to that. The entertainment industry has a negative 13 point net approval gap. The Democratic Party has a negative 22 point net approval gap. The Republican Party has a negative 39 point net approval gap. And Donald Trump has a negative 41 point net approval gap.

Those are some pretty bad numbers -- especially for the politicians, who have an election coming up in less than a year.

The chart above uses numbers from a new Quinnipiac University Poll -- done between November 29th and December 4th of a random national sample of 1,747 adults, with a 2.8 point margin of error.

Trump Tree Ornament

Political Cartoon is by Neils Bo Bojeson at cagle.com.

A Record Number Of Women To Run For Congress In 2018



The charts above are from Axios.com. It shows that as of December 7th, about 410 women have said they will be running for Congress in 2018 (369 for the House of Representatives and 41 for the Senate) -- and most of them are Democrats. It could be more than that, since filing deadlines are still months away.

This is a good thing. That's because Trump's unpopularity and the public's unhappiness with men abusing their power by sexually harassing/abusing women could make 2018 the "Year of the Woman".

Men certainly haven't had a very good record lately. Maybe it's time for women to step up and show how this country should be governed.

Flynn Piranha

Political Cartoon is by Joe Bertrams at cagle.com.

Workers Get Double Hit - Higher Taxes & No Wage Increase

(Cartoon image is by Brian Adcock at cagle.com.)

The GOP's tax reform plan is a very bad deal for American workers. Here's how Hunter Blair at the Economic Policy Institute describes it:

The headline distributional numbers for the Senate tax plan from the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) attracted much attention because they showed that households making under $75,000 would actually see a tax increase on average in 2027. Many have noted that the House bill is not as bad on this score, with the JCT analysis showing that “only” households earning between $20,000 and $30,000 will face a tax increase on average in 2027.
But behind the ostensibly better House distribution score is a major catch—low- and moderate-income households will face tax increases unless corporate tax cuts trickle down to them in the form of higher wages, which historically has not happened when corporations receive large tax cuts. The individual income taxes low- and moderate- income households pay through withholding on their paychecks and on tax forms each year will certainly increase by 2027.
The central mechanism of both versions of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act (TCJA) is easier to see in the Senate bill: permanent tax cuts for corporations, coupled with eventual individual income tax increases for low- and moderate-income households. By 2021, households making less than $30,000 will see individual income tax increases under the Senate tax bill. And the only individual income tax changes that are permanent are the repeal of the individual mandate from the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and indexing tax brackets to a slower growing measure of inflation, thereby pushing people into higher tax brackets more quickly. This means that on average every income category is paying more individual income taxes in 2027 under the Senate tax bill. These tax increases are used to pay for permanent tax cuts for big corporations.
Since corporate tax cuts skew towards the rich, for low- and moderate-income households, this is an awful trade. Defenders of the TCJA, of course, assure us that the corporate rate cuts will mostly show up in higher wages. This is obviously untrue, but it is worth noting that most scores of the TCJA do allow some portion of corporate rate cuts to trickle down to wage growth. The JCT, for example, assigns 25 percent of the benefits of corporate rate cuts to labor. But even with this assumption of modest wage growth resulting from corporate rate cuts, households making under $75,000 still face a net tax increase on average in 2027. Their individual income taxes increase by $273, while assumed trickle-down benefits from corporate tax cuts only offset $47 of this, leaving a net tax increase of $226 on average.
This same dynamic is at work in the House bill, but just slightly obscured by the fact that the combination of assumed wage growth stemming from corporate rate cuts just manages to exceed the individual income tax increases on most families and make their net take-away from the TCJA trivially positive. But if corporate rate cuts don’t eventually find their way into wage-growth for low and moderate-income households, then households making between $10,000 and $50,000 will see outright losses on average from the TCJA.
By 2027, households between $10,000 and $50,000 are actually facing a $39 tax increase on average on their individual income taxes, but the assumption of corporate rate cuts boosting wage growth increases their incomes by $47 on average. Again, without this trickle-down assumption, they’re facing outright losses even from the House version of the TCJA.
Low- and moderate-income households should be more than a little wary of eventually trading individual tax increases for corporate tax cuts on the assurance that these corporate cuts will boost their own paychecks.  For corporate tax cuts to help wages, one must believe in a series of economic bank shots: Higher after-tax corporate profits should boost private savings to allow firms to invest more in productivity-enhancing investments in the face of higher post-tax profit rates. Firms will see sufficient demand for new output to be incentivized to make these investments. These investments lead seamlessly to increased productivity which then boosts worker’s wages up and down the distribution of wages. Real world data, however, argues that these bank shots are likely to go awry.
After-tax corporate profits are already near historic highs while interest rates are incredibly low, and yet investment has been weak in this business cycle. It’s not clear how continuing to push after-tax corporate profits still higher will change the trend. And even if investment were spurred, increased productivity is no longer sufficient to ensure benefits flow down to typical workers.
There is no evidence from the recent U.S. economic history, no evidence from international comparisons, and no evidence from individual U.S. statesthat corporate tax cuts will boost the wages of American workers. And CEOs have already signaled their intention to shovel corporate tax cuts to shareholders, not workers. Faced with eventually paying more in individual income taxes in both the House and Senate tax bills, workers should not trust that corporate tax cuts will make them whole again.

Modern GOP Scrooge

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

No Brains


Sunday, December 10, 2017

An Indoctrinated Concept


Racist(Trump) Mars The Opening Of Civil Rights Museum

(This cartoon image is by the inimitable Lalo Alcaraz.)

Donald Trump is a RACIST! That is no secret, and it is nothing new.

As far back as the 1970's, Trump was banning minorities from living in his properties in New York City. He was found guilty by courts of violating the law in that regard at least three times.

Some people who were racists in the past have grown up and realized the error of their ways, but not Trump. He made that clear in his campaign for the presidency, when he clearly appealed to white racists by denigrating minorities repeatedly. And the racists loved it. They made it clear they considered him one of their own, and backed him.

He did not change after being elected. He selected a known racist to be his attorney general (who quickly and severely weakened the civil rights division of the Justice Department). Trump then created a commission to suppress the voting of minorities. And he sided with white supremacists in the Charlottesville debacle. As late as a few days ago, he retweeted several racist stories from a white supremacist website. Trump has also spoken ill of members of the Congressional Black caucus, and attacked athletes for exercising their constitutional right to demonstrate peacefully for social justice.

What then was Donald Trump doing at the opening of a Civil Rights Museum in Mississippi? It makes no sense.

He was invited to the opening by Mississippi's white Republican governor -- in what could only be an effort to make a mockery of the museum and its opening. And why did Trump accept? It was an attempt to get some photo ops with civil rights heroes, and put a thin veneer of respectability on his undeniable racism.

Leading civil rights heroes and Black leaders didn't fall for that. They (including Rep. John Lewis, Rep. Bennie Thompson, Myrlie Evers-Williams, NAACP president Derrick Johnson, and Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba) refused to attend the opening since Trump was there -- issuing the following statement:

“President Trump’s attendance and his hurtful policies are an insult to the people portrayed in this civil rights museum. The struggles represented in this museum exemplify the truth of what really happened in Mississippi. President Trump’s disparaging comments about women, the disabled, immigrants, and National Football League players disrespect the efforts of Fannie Lou Hamer, Aaron Henry, Medgar Evers, Robert Clark, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner, and countless others who have given their all for Mississippi to be a better place."

They were right. Trump attendance was a slap in the face to civil rights heroes, both past and present. Trump should be ashamed of his naked attempt to hijack the museum opening for his own narcissistic purposes -- but then, it's been obvious for quite a while now that Trump has no shame, and is devoid of ethics and morality.

Preparing For Moore

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

A Huge Majority Wants Trump Sex Allegations Investigated



Sexual harassment/abuse is in the headlines these days, and those in power who have been guilty of it are feeling the pressure. Two Democrats (Conyers and Franken) have resigned because of accusations, while Republicans Farenthold and Moore are trying to ride it out in hopes of staying in power. But the biggest sex abuser of all, Donald Trump, seems to be made of teflon. He was elected after numerous accusations, and still denies doing anything (even though there is a tape of him admitting it, and actually bragging about his sexual misconduct). That could be changing though.

The charts above were made from information in a new Quinnipiac University Poll -- done between November 29th and December 4th of a random national sample of 1,747 adults, with a 2.8 point margin of error.

The poll shows that 66% of the public believes any politician accused by multiple people of sexual harassment/abuse should resign. And they are not willing to let Trump off the hook. About 70% of the public thinks Congress should investigate the charges against him (while only 25% oppose that).

Trump thought he had put those accusations, as credible as they are, in the past. But with sexual misconduct in the headlines, and others being forced to resign, maybe Trump will finally have to face his own misconduct.

Only When Dems Are In Charge

Political Cartoon is by Jim Morin in The Miami Herald.

GOP Doesn't Think Mueller Is Impartial (But Others Do)


As the Mueller investigation gets closer to Donald Trump, congressional Republicans are attacking Mueller. They say he is just pursuing a political agenda instead of conducting an impartial investigation. Their hope is to so damage Mueller that when he gets the goods on Trump, no one will believe it.

And they have been successful with the ignorant people in their own base. It turns out that Republicans now believe Mueller is conducting a political witch hunt (by a 7 point margin). But others don't agree. The general public (by a 16 point margin), Independents (by a 10 point margin), and Democrats (by a 43 point margin) all believe Mueller is conducting a fair and impartial investigation.

The chart is made from a recent Rasmussen Poll -- done on December 4th and 5th of a random national sample of 1,000 likely voters, with a 3 point margin of error.

Teacher's "Cushy" Deductions

Political Cartoon is by Ruben Polling at tomthedancingbug.com.

Tax Bill Would Let 'Dark Money' Donors Get Tax Deduction

(Cartoon image is by Monte Wolverton in the Los Angeles Daily News.)

Much has been written about the odious GOP tax reform plan to give huge tax cuts to corporations and the rich. But one big give-away that's flown under the radar is a plan to let secret dark money political contributors get a tax deduction for those contributions. This would allow billionaires and millionaires to give even more money to buy a political candidate (since they could recoup that money by writing it off as a decuction on their tax form. It would be one more giant step toward an oligarchy, and away from democracy.

This is from CNN.com:

For the first time in American politics, anonymous "dark money" political donations could become tax-deductible. That's if a provision currently being debated between House and Senate negotiators makes it into the final tax bill.

The issue at hand started with the "Johnson Amendment," named after then-Sen. Lyndon Johnson's 1954 measure that prohibits nonprofit groups who maintain tax-exempt status, including churches and charities, from directly participating in politics.

But efforts to repeal the Johnson Amendment have resulted in language that would ease political speech rules for all nonprofits. The results, critics say, could effectively let people deduct de-facto political donations and further hide those donations and spending from the public. . . .

The original bill introduced in the House this year limited the Johnson Amendment repeal to "churches," but the language was changed in the House Ways and Means Committee to broaden the scope of the repeal to include all 501(c)(3) nonprofits, meaning every nonprofit would be able to endorse and support candidates and causes. . . .

The change would also cost billions of dollars. The non-partisan Joint Committee on Taxation estimates the rule change would cost the US treasury around $2.1 billion over the next decade in lost revenue, assuming billions of dollars of political donations would be funneled through newly tax-deductible nonprofits. . . .

One of the outcomes of the Citizens United ruling was that politically-active nonprofits, or 501(c)4 groups, could accept unlimited anonymous contributions, so called "dark money." According to the Campaign Legal Center, at least $800 million of dark money has been spent since the 2010 Supreme Court ruling. With the repeal of the Johnson Amendment, donors could now shift their money into tax-deductible 501(c)(3)s. . . .

With the new rules in place, billions would likely be diverted from Super PACs into charities. And that new money could come with strings attached. Donors would be free to make donations to a charity or religious organization contingent on the group supporting a certain piece of legislation or candidate.  

Back To Their First Love

Political Cartoon is by Lalo Alcaraz.

No Evidence