Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving


I wish all of my readers a very safe and happy Thanksgiving Day. May your day be filled with fun, food, family, and friends.

Most Think Trump/Moore Guilty Of Sex Harassment/Abuse


This chart uses information in a new Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between November 19th and 21st of a random national sample of 1,500 adults (including 1,344 registered voters), with a 3.3 point margin of error.

It shows that a majority of Americans think both Donald Trump (65%) and Roy Moore (54%) are guilty of sexual harassment/abuse -- and a plurality thinks the same about Justice Clarence Thomas (45%).

Something To Be Thankful For

Political Cartoon is by Clay Bennett in the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The Average Weight Of Americans Is Climbing



Since today is the day that most Americans traditionally overeat, I thought it would be a good time to show you this Gallup Poll. It was done as follows:

Results for this Gallup poll are based on three sets of five-years of combined results from the Gallup Poll's Social Series on Health and Healthcare -- 2003-2007, 2008-2012, and 2013-2017. Survey interviews were conducted by telephone interviews with random samples of adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For the 2003-2007 results, 5,044 adults were interviewed. For 2008-2012, 5,065 adults were interviewed. For 2013-2017, 4,935 adults were interviewed. For results based on the total samples of national adults, the margin of sampling error in all cases is ±2 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. 

I found it amusing that as our average weight increases, so does the weight we consider to be ideal.

Demanding Gratitude

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

TPC Analysis Of The GOP Tax Plan (To Reward The Rich)


The chart above and the analysis below are from the Tax Policy Center:

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is working its way through Congress. On November 9, the House Ways and Means Committee passed a version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act(link is external) and the entire US House of Representatives passed its version of the bill (link is external)on November 16. The Senate Finance Committee also passed its version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act(link is external) on November 16. 
The Tax Policy Center has released distributional estimates of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to reflect the bill as passed by the Senate Finance Committee on November 16, 2017. We find the bill would reduce taxes on average for all income groups in both 2019 and 2025. In general, higher income households receive larger average tax cuts as a percentage of after-tax income, with the largest cuts as a share of income going to taxpayers in the 95th to 99th percentiles of the income distribution. On average in 2027, taxes would rise modestly for the lowest-income group,chang e little for middle-income groups, and decrease for higher-income groups. Compared to current law, 9 percent of taxpayers would pay more in 2019, 12 percent in 2025, and 50 percent in 2027.

TPC has also released an macroeconomic analysis of the bill as passed by the US House of Representatives on November 16, 2017. We find the legislation would boost US economic output by 0.6 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2018, 0.3 percent of GDP in 2027, and 0.2 percent of GDP in 2037. The resulting increase in taxable incomes would reduce the revenue loss created by the legislation by $169 billion from 2018 to 2027 and by $136 billion from 2028 to 2037. Including macroeconomic effects and interest costs, the legislation is projected to increase debt as a share of GDP by just over 5 percent in 2027 and by just over 9 percent in 2037.

First Dinner - Then Persecution

Political Cartoon is by Dan Piraro at bizarro.com.

Republican Agenda


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Trickle-Down Explained


Trump Verifies That He Is Totally Devoid Of Morality


Donald Trump continues to surprise me. I did not think he could get any lower, any more devoid of morality, after all the actions and statements he made during the campaign and since he was sworn in -- but I was wrong.

We already knew that Trump was racist, misogynist, homophobic, xenophobic, and narcissistic. Now we learn he is a defender of pedophiles. After a couple of weeks of silence about the child molester running for senate on the Republican ticket in Alabama (neither endorsing or opposing him), Trump has finally climbed down off the fence.

On Tuesday, Trump effectively threw his support behind the GOP pedophile in Alabama. He did it by attacking Moore's opponent in the race. When reporters asked Trump if he thought a pedophile was preferable to a Democrat, Trump just replied that Moore had denied the accusations -- as if denying the very credible accusations (as Trump himself did with his own sexual misconduct accusations) is all that's needed to justify supporting Moore.

Trump always seems to be able to get lower on the scale of morality just when I didn't think it was possible. I'm now convinced you could place the moral bar on the floor and he would find a way to get under it.

And don't think the rest of the world isn't watching. They now know that the American president is a defender and supporter of pedophilia. IMPEACH this fool!


Candyman (GOP Version)

Political Cartoon is by Clay Jones at claytoonz.com.

Public Still Sees Donald Trump As Being Soft On Russia



While on his Asian trip, Donald Trump made the statement that he believes Putin when he denies Russian interference in the 2016 (in spite of what all U.S. intelligence agencies have reported). The media acted shocked that Trump would take this position. But they shouldn't have, because Trump has been very friendly to Putin since declaring himself as a candidate for the presidency.

And the public knows that. A majority of Americans weren't shocked. They know that Trump doesn't share their views on Russia. While only 17% of Americans view Russia as a friend or ally of the United States, about 50% say Trump views Russia that way. And while 63% of the public views Russia as unfriendly or an enemy of the United States, only 29% think Trump views Russia that way.

In short, the public views Trump as being soft on Russia.

The charts are from a recent Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between November 12th and 14th of a random national sample of 1,500 adults (including 1,281 registered voters), with a 3 point margin of error.

GOP Tax Plan

Political Cartoon is by Joe Heller at hellertoon.com.

Most See Sexual Harassment As A Serious Problem In U.S.




We seem to be in the middle of a backlash against sexual harassment in this country -- and one that is sorely needed. The United States has always been a patriarchy, where men held the power and women have had to fight for every right they have (and still are not absolutely equal to men). And too many men, when they get a little power, have abused that power by using it to sexually harass/abuse/assault women.

Fortunately, it looks like the public is finally waking up to this problem. About 72% say sexual harassment is a serious problem in this country, while only 16% think it is not.  And it looks like the problem may even be worse than people know. About half (50%) of women report that they have been sexually harassed, but of that 50% only 26% have reported the harassment (while 67% have not).

Why haven't women reported this egregious treatment? Too many believe they will not be believed or that nothing would be done about it, and that reporting it may even cost them a job or cause them to be the victim of retribution. We need to change that. No one should be sexually harassed, and no one should fear reporting that harassment.

The charts above show results of a recent Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between November 12th and 14th of a random national sample of 1,500 adults (including 829 women), with a 3 point margin of error.

Simplified GOP Tax Form

Political Cartoon is by Mark Wilson at empirewire.com.

Women From SNL Defend Al Franken

From the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:

Dozens of women who worked with Minnesota Sen. Al Franken on Saturday Night Live have signed their names in support of him saying that although they believe what he did toward a radio broadcaster was “stupid and foolish,” the women have never “experience any inappropriate behavior” from the senator.
Franken worked as a writer and was a featured cast member on SNL for nearly two decades.
Among the 36 women who are “offering solidarity in support of Franken,” are production assistants, writers, producers and original cast members, including Jane Curtin, who starred with Franken in the show’s early seasons. “We feel compelled to stand up for Al Franken, whom we have all had the pleasure of working with over the years on Saturday Night Live (SNL),” the women wrote in a statement issued Monday. “ ... In our experience, we know Al as a devoted and dedicated family man, a wonderful comedic performer, and an honorable public servant. That is why we are moved to quickly and directly affirm that after years of working with him, we would like to acknowledge that not one of us ever experienced any inappropriate behavior; and mention our sincere appreciation that he treated each of us with the utmost respect and regard.”
The women’s support follows recent allegations of misconduct by Franken.

How Many ?

Political Cartoon is by Adam Zyglis in The Buffalo News.

The "Swamp Rats" Are In Charge


Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Bring A Folding Chair


Will Something Similar To "Bradley Effect" Help Moore Win ?



The charts above are from RealClearPolitics. They show the average of the latest polls in the Alabama Senate race between Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones. Note that the sexual accusations of Moore with teenage girls has caused the race to close dramatically -- and currently the polls average showed the race is a virtual tie (Jones 46.5% to Moore 46.3%).

That means the race, according to the polls, is a toss-up. Either candidate could win. I still have a hard time believing that Alabama will send Jones to Washington. It's a bright red state, and normally a very easy win for any Republican -- even one with the extreme views of Roy Moore.

I think we should prepare ourselves for something like the "Bradley effect" to happen. Back in 1982, Los Angeles' mayor Tom Bradley, a Black man, was running for governor of California. All of the polls showed him with a large lead, as Whites said they would happily vote for a Black man for governor. But he lost. When Whites went to vote their secret ballot, they did not vote as they told pollsters they would.

Could the same thing be happening in Alabama? Many Alabama Republicans are telling pollsters they will not vote for Roy Moore because of his moral lapses (sexual harassment/abuse of teen girls). But they could just be telling pollsters that because they are embarrassed to say they would vote for a child molester just because he is a Republican. But when they go into the voting booth, and no one can see which candidate they vote for, will they vote for the Republican anyway?

I hope I'm wrong, but I think this is a distinct possibility. I think there's a very good chance that Alabama sends a child molester to Congress -- and probably by a significant margin.

Covering The Stench

Political Cartoon is by Kirk Walters in The Toledo Blade.

Public Believes Trump's Policies Help Mainly The Rich


There are many reasons why the public disapproves of the job Donald Trump is doing -- his temperament, his lack of government experience, his dishonesty, his attacks on Gold Star families and others, his general lack of morality, etc.

But I think the chart above shows one reason that registers importantly with most Americans. They think his policies are geared toward helping his wealthy friends -- not ordinary Americans. The tax plan he is currently pushing is a prime example of that -- a plan that gives huge cuts to corporations and the rich, but little for anyone else (and cuts for those making less than $75,000 would disappear after a few years, raising their tax obligation).

Trump supports the Republican trickle-down lie -- that giving more to the rich will be good for all Americans. The problem is that has never worked in the past, and won't work now. It will just have Trump and his rich friends laughing all the way to the bank.

Fortunately, the public is starting to see through the Republican economic lies. They are beginning to understand that giving more to the rich just helps the rich -- no one else benefits. That's why they don't see Trump's policies as helping anyone but the rich.

The chart above reflects the results of a recent Marist University Poll -- done between November 6th and 9th of a random national sample of 1,074 adults (including 850 registered voters), with a 3 point margin of error (3.4 points for registered voters).

He Creeps Everyone Out

Political Cartoon is by Gary McCoy at cagle.com.

More Proof That Trump Is Destroying U.S. Reputation




From GfK.com

Republican Version

Political Cartoon is by Darrin Bell at darrinbell.com.

GOP Tax Bill "Helps The Rich And Hurts Everybody Else"

(Cartoon image is by David Horsey in the Los Angeles Times.)

Donald Trump (and his Republican cohorts in Congress) promised a big tax cut for the middle class. But they have not delivered on that promise. Instead, they are considering a tax bill that helps the rich and corporations to the detriment of other Americans.

Here's how it is described by Adam Davidson in The New Yorker:

The numbers are in and it’s clear: this tax bill helps the rich and hurts everybody else. Just ask the very people who wrote it. The U.S. Congress Joint Committee on Taxation is run by the chairs of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee—Representative Kevin Brady and Senator Orrin Hatch, respectively. The Joint Committee’s reports of this week make startling reading, or as startling as a series of spreadsheets of tax revenue data can be. 

The report shows that this bill is much like a teaser rate on a new credit card: there are some goodies in the first couple of years, but those disappear fairly quickly, at least for those below the median income. In 2019, the first full year that this bill would be law, the benefits are concentrated on the bottom of the income stream, with middle-class people, on average, paying just under ten per cent less in taxes than they would if the law weren’t passed. 

With each passing year the benefits shift upward, toward the rich. By 2021, those making between twenty thousand and thirty thousand dollars a year are paying considerably more in taxes, those between thirty thousand and two hundred thousand see their benefit shrinking, and those making more start to see their taxes falling. By 2027, every income level below seventy-five thousand dollars a year sees a tax increase, while everybody above that level sees a continued decrease, with the greatest cut in taxes accruing to those making more than a million dollars a year.

The report shows that the rich benefit and the poor are hurt in every way that it measures. For example, the effective tax rate—meaning the percentage that people, on average, actually pay after they take all deductions—changes in a precisely regressive form. The poorer you are, the higher your effective rate will rise. By 2027, only those making a hundred thousand a year or more will see an actual cut in their effective tax rate. And, as could be expected by now, the more they make, the greater the cut in their effective rate. By 2025, there is a direct transfer of money from the poor to the rich and corporations. 

This is not a flaw but the whole point, Harvard’s Martin Feldstein argues. Feldstein is, arguably, the single most widely respected Republican-leaning scholar of tax policy, and one of the few academics who came out in favor of the bill, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed. His defense, though, should not give much comfort to the bill’s proponents. He argues that cutting individual tax rates won’t increase economic growth and will add to the deficit—which, he acknowledges, is a bad thing. But he’s so excited about the corporate tax-rate cut that he thinks the bill should pass nonetheless. This is an odd stance, since the corporate rate cuts are about a third the size of the individual cuts.

That is the state of debate on this current bill. Its most respected defender acknowledges that three-quarters of the benefit are a wasted, harmful gift for the rich, but a quarter of the benefit goes to corporations, and we must assume they will spend it wisely.

GOP Tax Plan

Political Cartoon is by Clay Jones at claytoonz.com.

There's Nothing Wrong With Different


Monday, November 20, 2017

Delicious


Huge Majority Still Favors Plugging Background Check Holes


It has been said that Congress won't plug the gaping holes in the background check law for gun buyers because they lack the political courage. They are afraid the voters will punish them if they do that. That's pure bullshit!

No politician would be punished for closing the holes in the background check law (which still allow 40% of all gun sales to be done each year without any background check). About 77% of the public wants that to be done, while only 12% oppose it -- and that is true of every group, even Republicans (where only 14% would oppose it).

Any politician could easily defend passing such a law. It doesn't require political courage -- only the willingness to forgo getting campaign money from the NRA. Unfortunately, too many in Congress (in both political parties, but especially Republicans) have sold their vote to the NRA (which is now controlled by gun manufacturers -- not gun owners).

Closing the holes in the background check law simply makes sense. It would not violate the Second Amendment, and it would not keep law-abiding citizens from buying and possessing a firearm. What it would do is save American lives.

The chart above reflects the results of a new Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between November 12th and 14th of a random national sample of 1,500 adults (including 1,281 registered voters), with a 3 point margin of error.

A Closer Look

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

House GOP's Tax Plan Is NOT A Middle Class Tax Cut


The graphic above shows who would benefit the most from the tax plan recently passed by the Republicans in the House of Representatives. Note that the top 20% would get 73.6% (about 3 out of every 4 dollars cut) of all the cuts, and the top 1% would get  47.1% (or nearly half of all the cuts).

How can this be called a middle class tax cut, when 80% of Americans get only 26.4% of the cuts? The truth is that this is a cut for the wealthy and the corporations -- not the middle or working classes. It once again highlights who the Republicans care about -- and that's not most Americans. Their true constituency is the wealthy and the corporations, and their economic agenda (i.e., trickle-down) is always geared toward helping those groups.

Here are the quintile yearly income levels:

Lowest 20% -- under $15,010

20-40% -- $15,010 to $30,000

40-60% -- $30,000 to $46,126

60-80% -- $46,126 to $75,067

Top 20% -- over $75,067

Top 1% -- over $300,800

That means 47.1% of the tax cuts go to those making over $300,800 a year -- and 73.6% of the cuts go to those making more than $75,067 a year.

If this was really a tax cut for the middle class, then the middle quintile (those making between $30,000 and $46,126 a year) should be getting the bulk of the cuts. But that middle group gets only 8.1% of the cuts. And those making less than $30,000, the ones needing relief the most, get only 1.7% of the cuts.

This isn't a middle class tax cut, and it's not a plan that's fair for most Americans. It's a travesty, and another giveaway to the rich -- and it must be stopped.

Not That Stupid

Political Cartoon is by Rob Rogers in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Senator Al Franken Should NOT Resign His Seat

I'm sure you've heard by now about the accusations made against Senator Franken by right-wing broadcaster Leeann Tweeden. Franken (before being elected to the Senate) allowed a rather disgusting picture to be taken and is accused of forcing a kiss on Tweeden.

Perhaps the best commentary I've read about this comes from Ramona Grigg at Crooks and Liars -- and I agree with her. Here is part of what she has written:

Yes, I'll say it, and I hope it's not too late: Al Franken should not resign. He shouldn't be forced to resign, either by the Democrats who (rightly) can't abide double standards or the Republicans who would love to see a Democratic knock-down. I can agree that what he did to Leeann Tweeden was stupid, gross, and as close to sexual predation as it gets, and still want him to stay where he is. . . .

. . .how could I, flaming liberal feminist, active #MeToo member, wish for Al Franken to go on working in the Senate? I confess I've been torn over this, asking myself why I should accept Franken's admission and apology and still go after Roy Moore or Donald Trump for their ugly sexual transgressions.
Well, yes, they're lowlife scum and don't deserve my defense--I agree--but I want the punishment to fit the crime. Franken has plenty to apologize for--gross, sexist stupidity is finding its day in court and, after so many decades of unfettered applications, it can't come too soon--and he has apologized. Twice so far, without the usual equivocations. He is as disgusted with himself as we are. Leeann Tweeden accepted his apology. She said she doesn't want him to resign, adding that he does good things for the people of Minnesota while still acknowledging it was wrong and these things shouldn't be ignored.
She's right. They shouldn't be ignored. Spreading sunshine all over the place encourages women--and sometimes men--to come out of the shadows and tell their stories. We are at a crossroads now and we have to get it right. Sexual predators, no matter who they are, need to be exposed. We should, of course, look to punishment, but who gets to decide what form and how much?
Did Al Franken do something worthy of expulsion? There's the dilemma. I want women like Leeann Tweeden to be able to come forward without consequence to tell their stories. I want the men who abused them to feel their pain, to get it, to show us they've learned from these revelations and will work to put a stop to a culture that has for too long equated power with the freedom to use sex as a right.
I believe Franken gets it. I want him to stay in the Senate because his work is important. Too important to set aside. He does good work there. He asks relevant, sometimes burning questions, does his homework, and works for the disenfranchised, the underdogs, the people hungering for attention to their condition. The loss would be painful.
I want him to work for us, against the Trump administration and the GOP majority, against any hateful agents who try to diminish or harm those of us without power. I want him where he can do the most good. I want him in the Senate.

Justification ?

Political Cartoon is by Clay Bennett in the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Less Bullets, More Brains


Sunday, November 19, 2017

Now Explicable


Trump Job Approval Went Down After His Asian Trip



Trump and his supporters welcomed the trip to Asia, because they thought it would make him look presidential and would improve his job approval numbers. But the trip, regardless of Trump's bragging about it, was far from a success -- and the public knows it.

His job approval numbers actually went down after the Asian trip. In this YouGov Poll, his pre-trip job approval was 40% to 52% (a negative 12 point gap). But after the trip, his numbers are 34% to 55% (a negative 21 point gap). I think most Americans were embarrassed about Trump trusting Putin more than U.S. intelligence agencies.

These charts are from a new Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between November 12th and 14th of a random national sample of 1,500 adults, with a 3 point margin of error.

Flattery Works When Dealing With Trump

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

What Is The Most Important Post In The Presidential Cabinet ?


I thought this poll was interesting. Rasmussen asked voters which cabinet post was the most important. About 32% said the Secretary of State was most important. Secretary of Defense and Attorney General tied for second with 21% each.

I was a little surprised at how far down the list the Secretary of Treasury finished. Americans almost always vote for who they think will be better for the domestic economy -- and yet, the post with the biggest effect on the domestic economy (Secretary of Treasury) was chosen by only 6%.

The chart reflects the results of a recent Rasmussen Poll -- done on November 7th and 8th of a random national sample of 1,000 likely voters, with a 3 point margin of error.

(Trump) Elf On A Shelf

Political Cartoon is by Rob Rogers in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.