Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Greatest Threat


Plurality Of Americans Now Support A Single-Payer System


The chart above reflects results of a new Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between July 23rd and 25th of a random national sample of 1,500 adults (including 1,282 registered voters), with a 3.1 point margin of error.

It shows that now a plurality of Americans (about 40%, or four out of 10) would support a single-payer health care system, while only 33% say they would oppose such a system. The fly in the ointment is that the remaining 27% aren't sure they would like such a system.

That's a significant percentage supporting single-payer (a system like Medicare that would cover all Americans), but it's not enough. Congress will not make such a radical change (no matter how much sense it makes) until a significant majority of Americans want it to happen. It would probably take at least 60% support for serious consideration.

Opponents still claim a single-payer system would cost too much. That's a false argument. The nations who do have a single-payer system spend far less for health care per capita than the United States does. A single-payer system, if done right, would actually save money -- and no citizen would have to go without health care because they can't afford private insurance (and can't qualify for Medicaid due to stringent state standards).

I believe we will finally go to a single-payer system in this country. But more needs to be done to convince the public that it is the only rational solution to our health care woes. It will not happen until the people demand it.

---------------------------------------------------------------

Meanwhile, the Senate Republicans are still struggling to pass some kind of health plan repealing Obamacare. They brought the odious House version of Trumpcare to the floor on a very close vote -- 51 to 50 (with Pence braking the tie). On Tuesday night, they tried to replace the House version with the latest Senate version of Trumpcare. That effort failed on a 43 to 57 vote. Then on Wednesday, they tried to pass a "repeal now and replace later" plan proposed by Paul. That failed on a 45 to 55 vote.

There are still several hours of debate left, but the GOP is struggling to find a plan, any plan, that they can get passed. The latest idea is a "skinny repeal", which would leave most of Obamacare intact but repeal the individual mandate and the employer mandate (and the medical apparatus tax). The CBO says that would increase the number of insured by 16 million people, and would raise insurance premiums by at least 20% (and probably more than that).

In short, the Senate Republicans have no plan that would not hurt millions of Americans. They've painted themselves into a corner by campaigning on a repeal of Obamacare for the last seven years, and now they can't come up with any plan to do that. They are just engaging in one of the most pathetic pieces of political theater I've ever seen.

Proceeding

Political Cartoon is by Jeff Darcy at cleveland.com.

Loyalty Is A One-Way Street For Donald Trump

(These caricatures of Donald Trump and his Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, are by DonkeyHotey.)

There is no person outside of his immediate family that is more loyal to Donald Trump than Jeff Sessions.

Sessions was the first Washington politician to jump on the Trump bandwagon due the primary campaign, and he still supports all of Trump's policies -- even those viewed as ludicrous by most other people (like building a wall between the United States and Mexico). One would think that Trump appreciated someone as loyal to him as Sessions, since Trump has made it known that he values loyalty above all other attributes (more important than truth or ethics).

But that doesn't seem to be the case. Trump is currently engaged in a campaign to denigrate and drive from office the man he appointed as Attorney General. He has repeatedly tweeted his displeasure with Sessions, and even repeated that to the press in interviews and press conferences. Why would he do this to someone who has offered him nothing but complete loyalty?

He's doing it because Sessions did one honest thing -- he recused himself from participation in the investigation of whether there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials. He had to do that, because Justice Department regulations would not permit him to head an investigation which could be investigating his own behavior (since Sessions had meetings with Russians during the campaign).

It doesn't matter to Trump that government regulations demanded that Sessions recuse himself. For the narcissist in the White House, true loyalty means a person should be willing to defy government rules and regulations to defend Trump, and maybe even to break the law by obstructing a government investigation into wrong-doing. And Trump is willing to throw anyone under the bus who can't meet that unreasonable standard -- even those who have demonstrated their loyalty to Trump and his policies.

One has to wonder about the chilling effect this has on those working in the White House, those other members of Trump's cabinet, and Republicans in Congress. Are they going to be the next one to be tossed under the bus by Trump for some perceived slight? Is their loyalty going to be questioned in spite of their best efforts?

Obviously, for Donald Trump, loyalty is a one-way street. He demands it of others, but feels no obligation to return that loyalty. Frankly, I am shocked that someone as old a Trump doesn't realize that loyalty (like respect) is a two-way street -- it cannot be demanded unless it is also offered.

NOTE -- I am not a fan of Attorney General Sessions. I believe his support of and implementation of Trump policies will seriously damage this country. But I hope he doesn't resign. I fear that a replacement chosen by Trump would not just support those same odious policies, but would also be willing to ignore government rules and regulations and would be willing to obstruct justice on Trump's behalf.

A Bully For A Boss

Political Cartoon is by Randy Bush in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Public Still Giving Trump A Negative Job Approval Rating


This is the newest Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between July 23rd and 25th of a random national sample of 1,500 adults (including 1,282 registered voters), with a 3.1 point margin of error.

It shows there has been no real improvement in Trump's job approval numbers. Only 39% approve of the job he is doing, while 51% disapprove -- a negative gap of 12 points. Furthermore, there is only one demographic group giving Trump majority job approval -- Republicans. All other groups show more people disapproving than approving.

Shooting At Obamacare

Political Cartoon is by Milt Priggee at miltpriggee.com.

Trump Is NOT A Friend Of The LGBT Community


That tweet from Donald Trump is from June 14th of 2016 -- when Trump was scrounging for every vote he could get during the presidential campaign. He said he would fight for the LGBT community, and would be better for them than Hillary Clinton would be.

To say that the tweet is a bit disingenuous would be kind. It is nothing short of an outrageous LIE! That became very clear yesterday when Trump tweeted that he would ban transgendered Americans from serving in the U.S. military (a reversal of government policy which allowed them to proudly serve). He tweeted:


This should come as no surprise to anyone who has been paying attention. Almost immediately after being sworn in, Trump began to break his promise to the LGBT community to protect their rights. He has made it clear that his administration is NOT a friend to the LGBT community -- and that he is going to try to undo any of their advances that he can.

GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) has kept track of all the things the Trump administration has done to hurt the LGBT community. Here is their list of anti-LGBT actions by the Trump administration:

-- 7.12.17 – President Trump grants a one-on-one interview with Pat Robertson, a longtime anti-LGBTQ activist and Televangelist.
-- 7.10.17 – In a closed-door and unannounced opportunity, President Trump poses for a photograph with notorious anti-LGBTQ activists who wish to promote so-called “religious exemptions” that would harm LGBTQ Americans across the nation.
-- 6.29.17 - Reports revealed President Trump hired anti-transgender activist, Bethany Kozma, to the Office of Gender Equality and Women’s Rights at the US Agency for International Development.

-- 6.28.17 - The Department of Justice ejected reporters covering a DOJ Pride event hosted by LGBTQ affinity groups for federal workers.
-- 6.27.17 - The Trump Administration failed to mention the LGBTQ community in their National HIV Testing Day statement. 
-- 6.21.17 - Reporting reveals President Trump hired a lawyer who openly supported Russian President Vladimir Putin's anti-LGBTQ law banning so-called "gay propaganda" from Russia, a law that Europe’s top human rights court found to be illegal.
-- 6.17.17 - Six members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS resigned saying that President Trump "simply does not care" about combating the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

-- 6.16.17 - An obtained internal memo from the Department of Education Office for Civil Rights reveals guidelines to dismiss complaints about bathroom access filed by transgender students. 

-- 6.15.17 - Department of Commerce removes sexual orientation and gender identity from the agency's Equal Employment Policy; LGBTQ protections have been explicitly included since 2010. Only after fierce opposition did Department of Commerce Secretary Ross change it back.
-- 6.15.17 - The Department of Education invites Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council, two anti-LGBTQ organizations, to be speakers for a day-long conference on engaging fathers in their children’s education and welfare.

-- 6.15.17 - The Department of Education rolls back the Office for Civil Rights' expansive approach to investigating civil rights complaints that to protect LGBTQ students, and other marginalized communities, from discrimination at school.
-- 6.1.17 - President Trump declines to issue a presidential proclamation designating June as LGBTQ Pride Month, breaking with an eight-year precedent set by President Barack Obama to honor and support LGBTQ Americans during Pride Month.
-- 5.23.17 - The Trump Administration reveals their budget which includes proposed slashes to programs and departments critical to the LGBTQ community, including Medicaid, Planned Parenthood, and the Center for Disease Control’s HIV and AIDS programs.

-- 5.22.17 - The Trump Administration grants White House press credentials to a "reporter" from Infowars, a conspiracy outlet that regularly peddles dangerous, offensive and anti-LGBTQ content. 
-- 5.8.17 - Department of Agriculture issues new so-called "religious freedom" policy statement, a move praised by the anti-LGBTQ Family Research Council. 
-- 5.4.17 - President Trump signs a "religious liberty" executive order. Although this EO does not target LGBTQ Americans, it is the first step in what could be a more broader permission slip for discrimination against the overall LGBTQ community. 
-- 4.14.17 - The Trump Administration files to dismiss a lawsuit accusing North Carolina of discriminating against the LGBTQ community in response to HB2, despite the similarities of the HB142 replacement.
-- 4.10.17: A ProPublica investigation reveals the Trump Administration appointed James Renne, a key staffer involved in the Bush-era anti-LGBTQ purge of gay government employees, to a senior role at the Department of Agriculture.
-- 3.28.17: The Trump Administration cancels plans to add the LGBTQ community to its upcoming 2020 U.S. Census, a survey conducted every decade by the federal government to help collect data about living Americans and the United States of America.
-- 3.28.17: Under his proposed budget for the U.S. Congress, The Trump Administration offered to cut HIV and AIDS research funding under the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
-- 3.24.17: President Trump appointed anti-LGBTQ activist and former Heritage Foundation employee Roger Severino to lead the Health and Human Services Civil Rights Office, putting the LGBTQ community at risk of losing access to critical and affordable health care. 
-- 3.20.17: Trump Administration erases the LGBTQ community from The National Survey of Older Americans Act Participants and the Annual Program Performance Report for Centers for Independent Living, key surveys that are used to help provide care to American seniors – including disability, transportation, and caregiver support needs.
-- 2.22.17 - With help of Attorney General Sessions, President Trump rescinded Title IX protections for transgender students in our nation's schools. 
-- 2.02.17: ABC News reports that after previously committing to protecting LGBTQ Americans from discrimination, President Trump and his administration had drafted a "License to Discriminate" executive order which would usher in across-the-board discrimination against the LGBTQ community. 
-- 1.27.17: President Donald Trump issued an executive order to indefinitely ban Syrian refugees from entering the United States. This ban includes LGBTQ refugees fleeing the nation in fear of discrimination. 
-- 1.20.17: Minutes after Donald Trump was sworn into office, any mention of the LGBTQ community were erased from White House, Department of State, and Department of Labor websites. 

Kushner

Political Cartoon is by Randall Enos at cagle.com.

Why ?


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

To Hell In A Handbasket


GOP Voters Are Losing Faith In The Republican Congress


It looks like the inability to govern displayed by the Republicans in Congress is not playing well with their own party's voters. About 67% (two out of every three) of Republican voters say their elected officials in Congress are out of touch with the voters, while only 25% think they are doing a good job. Those are amazingly bad numbers for a political party that controls both Congress and the White House.

The chart was made from information in a new Rasmussen Poll -- done between July 20th and 23rd of a random national sample of 1,000 likely voters, with a 3 point margin of error.

GOP Confusion

Political Cartoon is by Walt Handelsman in the New Orleans Advocate.

Trumpcare Makes It To The Senate Floor -- Barely

(Photo of the Senate vote to bring Trumpcare up for debate is from C-SPAN.)

Majority Leader McConnell asked for a vote to bring Trumpcare to the Senate floor for a debate yesterday afternoon, and the vote to do that was incredibly close. Fifty Republicans voted yes. Two Republicans (Murkowski of Alaska and Collins of Maine), two Independents (King of Maine and Sanders of Vermont), and all 46 Democrats voted no. That tied the vote at 50 for yes and 50 for no. Vice-president Pence broke the tie with a yes vote.

So, the House version of Trumpcare is now set for 20 hours of debate and a vote. The Senate is not going to pass that bill, and immediately McConnell introduced an amendment to replace it with the 2015 repeal version passed by the House and Senate (and vetoed by Obama).

McConnell asked that the amendment be considered as read (which is normal procedure) so the debate could begin. But Democrats objected and the amendment had to be read in its entirety. After that, the Republicans again tried to start the debate, but Democrats then objected that a quorum wasn't present -- and the debate was delayed again. After a couple of hours, McConnell tried another amendment -- this time to replace the House bill with the Senate version of Trumpcare. Democrats again objected to considering the amendment as read, and the whole thing (178 pages) had to be read aloud.

It seems obvious that Democrats are going to make this debate and vote a very long and tedious process -- and under the Senate rules, they have that right. And after this long and tedious process is completed, it is still unlikely that Trumpcare will be passed (and if it is, it's then unlikely the House will like the Senate version).

Trump celebrated the 51-50 vote, but the odds are still against a version of Trumpcare ever reaching his desk.

UPDATE -- About 9pm the Democrats relented and allowed a vote on whether to proceed with the amendment (which would be the latest version of Trumpcare with the Cruz plank that would allow worthless insurance policies to be sold to gullible people. Republicans lost the vote 43 to 57.

That's not the end of this Senate fight though. The GOP will probably come up with other versions in the coming days, and there will be many votes. One dangerous idea that's gaining strength is a "skinny repeal" -- just doing away with the individual and employer mandates (which would cause insurance premiums to skyrocket).

Stuck

Political Cartoon is by Adam Zyglis in The Buffalo News.

Public Disapproves Of How Trump Is Handling The Issues


This chart reflects the results of a new Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between July 15th and 18th of a random national sample of 1,500 adults (including 1,273 registered voters), with a margin of error of 3 points.

The poll asked respondents if they approved of how Donald Trump is handling 17 issues important to the country. They approved of how he's handling only 2 of the 17 issues -- veterans affairs (by 9 points) and terrorism (by 7 points).

They disapproved of how he's handling the other 15 issues -- women's rights (by 14 points), taxes (by 10 points), Social Security (by 14 points), Medicare (by 16 points), immigration (by 7 points), health care (by 20 points), gun control (by 2 points), LGBT rights (by 15 points), foreign policy (by 13 points), the environment (by 17 points), education (by 11 points), the economy (by 2 points), civil rights (by 10 points), the budget deficit (by 10 points), and abortion (by 11 points).

When you combine these with Trump's overall job approval (in negative double-digits), it is obvious that Trump has no mandate to do anything.

New Communications Director

Political Cartoon is by R.J. Matson in Roll Call.

Democrats Start To Roll Out Their "Better Deal" Agenda

Some say that the Democrats didn't do well in the last election because the voters didn't know exactly what the party stands for. I'm not sure I buy that, but the party leaders have been trying to develop a plan they can all agree on (and all candidates can run on). They call it "A Better Deal For America".

Here is some of what Senator Chuck Schumer (Senate Minority Leader) had to say about the plan:

Democrats will show the country that we’re the party on the side of working people — and that we stand for three simple things.

First, we’re going to increase people’s pay. Second, we’re going to reduce their everyday expenses. And third, we’re going to provide workers with the tools they need for the 21st-century economy.

Over the next several months, Democrats will lay out a series of policies that, if enacted, will make these three things a reality. We’ve already proposed creating jobs with a $1 trillion infrastructure plan; increasing workers’ incomes by lifting the minimum wage to $15; and lowering household costs by providing paid family and sick leave.

On Monday we are announcing three new policies to advance our goals.

Right now, there is nothing to stop vulture capitalists from egregiously raising the price of lifesaving drugs without justification. We’re going to fight for rules to stop prescription drug price gouging and demand that drug companies justify price increases to the public. And we’re going to push for empowering Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices for older Americans.

Right now our antitrust laws are designed to allow huge corporations to merge, padding the pockets of investors but sending costs skyrocketing for everything from cable bills and airline tickets to food and health care. We are going to fight to allow regulators to break up big companies if they’re hurting consumers and to make it harder for companies to merge if it reduces competition.

Right now millions of unemployed or underemployed people, particularly those without a college degree, could be brought back into the labor force or retrained to secure full-time, higher-paying work. We propose giving employers, particularly small businesses, a large tax credit to train workers for unfilled jobs. This will have particular resonance in smaller cities and rural areas, which have experienced an exodus of young people who aren’t trained for the jobs in those areas.

In the coming months, we’ll offer additional ideas, from rebuilding rural America to fundamentally changing our trade laws to benefit workers, not multinational corporations.

Back Scratching

Political Cartoon is by Kevin Siers in The Charlotte Observer.

It's Not The Monkey


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

G.B. Shaw


The Cowardice Of Kushner, Trump Jr., And Manafort

(This caricature of Jared Kushner is by DonkeyHotey.)

Shortly before the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton appeared before a congressional committee to answer questions about Benghazi and her e-mails. She faced 11 hours of questioning and stoically answered every question -- and she did it on national television in front of the entire nation. She did that because she had done nothing wrong, had nothing to hide, and believed the American people deserved to see her appearance before the committee.

A few weeks ago, former head of the FBI James Comes also appeared before a congressional committee to answer questions. He also did it on national television in front of the entire nation. And like Clinton, he did that because he had done nothing wrong and had nothing to hide.

Compare those open and honest performances to congressional appearances by members of the Trump administration. Yesterday, Jared Kushner appeared before Senate staffers to answer questions about his possible collusion with Russian officials. He did it in secret and behind closed doors. Today, he will appear before a House committee -- again, it will be in secret and behind closed doors.

Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort are also scheduled to testify before congressional committees -- and guess what. . . . they will also testify in secret and behind closed doors.

None of these three has the guts to testify in public with the TV cameras rolling. My question is why? Do they have something to hide? Are they afraid they won't look good when trying to answer the tough question some members of the committees will ask? Are they ashamed of the actions they took during the campaign -- and too cowardly to have the American people see?

The excuse for testifying in secret was to protect sensitive intelligence. That's bullshit. They are to testify about their actions during the election -- before Trump was elected. At that time, they were not privy to any government secrets.

They are testifying in secret because they are cowards. They don't want the American people to witness their incompetence and very possible illegal activities, which could be exposed by the tough questioning -- and they are afraid they will not stand up well under that questioning.

Until they appear in public and on television to answer tough questions, I will call them what they are -- cowards.

Liar

Political Cartoon is by Trend van Dam at cagle.com.

42% Of Americans Want Trump Impeached And 42% Do Not


These are remarkable numbers for a sitting president. Equal percentages would like for him to be impeached / removed from office and would like for him to stay in office -- 42% on each side. The remaining 16% aren't sure which side to come down on.

This is not a president with a mandate to do anything. It's a president hanging on to his office by the skin of his teeth. And the Russian scandal is not going away anytime soon.

This chart uses information in a new USA Today / Media Ethics / SurveyUSA Poll -- done between July 17th and 19th of a random national sample of 1,330 adults, with a 2.8 point margin of error.

Trump's Dream

Political Cartoon is by R.J. Matson in Roll Call.

17 States Approve Of Trump's Job -- The Other 33 Do Not





The charts above are from the Gallup Poll. It shows Donald Trump's average job approval from January through June of 2017. Gallup surveyed a random national sample of 81,155 adults, with a margin of error of 1 point. The margin of error for each state is about 4 points.

The national job approval for Trump through June is 40% (and disapproval is 54%). But those national numbers are not the same as the numbers in each of the 50 states. There are actually 17 states that give Trump a job approval average of 50% or more (second chart above). The other 33 states give him an average approval less than 50% -- with 16 states giving an approval between 42% and 49% (third chart above), and 17% states giving an approval below 40% (bottom chart above).

At Half Mast

Political Cartoon is by Jeff Darcy at cleveland.com.

Trump Lives In A World Without Ethical Standards

(This cartoon image is by Arcadio Esquivel in La Prensa.)

Most presidents (of both parties) try to tell the public the truth, uphold their constitutional oath, and keep the promises they have made. In other words, they have standards. The current administration is different. Trump has demonstrated that he has no standards at all -- and is leaving a trail of outrageous lies and broken promises. Here is how former Labor Secretary Robert Reich (pictured) explains it on his own blog:

What did Trump say when confronted with proof that his son jumped at the prospect of meeting with a “Russian government attorney” offering to dish dirt on Hillary Clinton as “part of Russia and its government’s support” for his candidacy?
Trump said: “many people would have held that meeting.” 
The next day, Trump revised “many” to “most,” saying: “I think from a practical standpoint, most people would have taken that meeting. . . . Politics isn’t the nicest business in the world, but it’s very standard.”
It’s true that politics isn’t the nicest business in the world. I’ve been there. Real estate development isn’t the nicest business in the world either, for all I know. But breaking the law and flirting with treason isn’t standard practice in either realm.  
Much ink has been spilled over the last six months documenting Trump’s tin ear when it comes to all matters ethical: His refusal to put his business into a blind trust, as every one of his predecessors in recent memory has done. His refusal to reveal his tax returns, like his predecessors. The never-ending stream of lies that he continues to spew even after they’re proven to be lies (three to five million fraudulent votes, Obama spied on me, fake news, and so on).  
None of this is “very standard” for presidents. It’s the opposite of standard.
I think we’ve been missing the boat by characterizing these as ethical breaches. Ethics assumes some sort of agreed-upon standard against which an ethical breach can be defined and measured.
But Donald Trump doesn’t live in a world that has any standards at all, and he never has. His entire approach to life, to business, and now to the presidency has nothing whatever to do with standards. It’s about winning, at all costs. Whatever it takes.
Winning at all costs is the only thing that’s standard in Trumpworld.
When he was in business and couldn’t repay his creditors, he declared bankruptcy. Again and again. And when his bankers finally wised up and refused to lend him any more money, he found foreign bankers who would oblige.
When he could have chosen to pay his contractors, or others who worked for him, he didn’t. He stiffed them.
Trump has spent most of his life in business being sued or sueing – as if our judicial system was just another standard tool for winning.
To make a name for himself in politics, he suggested Barack Obama wasn’t born in America. Hey, whatever it took.
To win the presidency he told lies about undocumented immigrants and crime, about Arabs cheering as the World Trade Center went down, about  his business smarts. He promised his followers he’d jail Hillary Clinton, drain the Washington swamp, build a wall along the Mexican border, create vast numbers of jobs, repeal the North American Free Trade Act.
He’d lie about anything. He’d promise anything. All was just a means to becoming president. There are no standards. Whatever it took.
“I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters,” he said.
Did he collude with Russia to become president? That wouldn’t be standard practice in politics, but it would be consistent with Trump’s standard.
“I said [to Putin] ‘Did you do it?’” Trump reported back on his meeting with Vladimir. “And he said, ‘No, I did not. Absolutely not.’ I then asked him a second time in a totally different way. He said absolutely not.”
And that’s supposed to be the end of it? 
The  U.S. intelligence community has told Trump that Russia interfered on his behalf in the presidential election of 2016, at Putin’s direction. So why does Trump ask Putin if he did it? 
He should be telling Putin what the United States is planning to do in response to what Putin did.
We may never know the exact answer to whether Trump himself colluded with Putin to win the presidency. Or, more likely, his core supporters may never know, because Trump will tell them not to believe whatever Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the intelligence agencies come up with, and to blame the press for reporting fake news. Politics isn’t the nicest business in the world, he might say, but whatever he did was very standard.
A president’s major responsibilities are to protect the United States and the Constitution, and to see that the laws are faithfully executed.
But Trump’s major goal now is to remain in power and to accumulate even more money. Whatever it takes.

The Whiner-in-Chief

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

No Conspiracy


Monday, July 24, 2017

Values ?


What Should Puerto Rico Be (State, Nation, Territory) ?


Puerto Rico has had two plebiscites since 2012, and both times the majority voted for statehood. But both of those plebiscites were questioned by opponents, who claimed they weren't fairly done. I think most Puerto Ricans would like to see statehood, but with the Republicans in charge of Congress, that is unlikely (since the Republicans believe that would increase Democratic Party numbers in both houses of Congress and in the Electoral College).

There also doesn't seem to be a lot of support among the citizens of the U.S. for Puerto Rican statehood. The chart above reflects information about the issue in the latest Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between July 15th and 18th of a random national sample of 1,500 adults (including 1,273 registered voters), with a 3 point margin of error.

As you can see, the opinions of what should happen with Puerto Rico are split -- and no opinion has majority support from any demographic group. About a third of Americans (32%) would like to see Puerto Rico become the 51st state, while 25% wants them to remain a U.S. territory, and 16% say they should become an independent nation. The remaining 27% don't know what to think.

It's results like this that keeps the status quo in place. Congress is not about to consider statehood for Puerto Rico until a majority of the public wants that to happen.

That's kind of sad, because it leave the people of that beautiful island in limbo. They are U.S. citizens, but they cannot vote in the presidential elections and they have no voting representation in Congress (only a symbolic representation).

Remember ?

Political Cartoon is by Rick McKee in The Augusta Chronicle.

Why Sean Spicer Was Pushed Out Of The White House


(Photo of Sean Spicer at a White House press conference is from gq.com.)

The official story is that former Press Secretary and acting White House Communications Director Sean Spicer resigned. That may be technically true, but it seems obvious to me that he was pushed out of his position at the White House. And he was pushed out by the liar-in-chief himself -- Donald Trump.

Although both are disingenuous, there is a difference between political spin and an obvious lie. Spicer, like most in Washington (of both parties) was rather good at political spin (the art of emphasizing the positives in something while ignoring the negatives). But Spicer was not good at defending obvious and outrageous lies -- and Trump has told a ton of them (expecting his aides to vigorously defend them).

When trying to defend an obvious Trump lie, Spicer often looked like a deer in the headlights of a Big Rig barreling down on him -- and that was obvious to both the general public and Donald Trump. And to his credit, Spicer never got any better at defending those obvious lies.

Trump was not happy, and the search began for someone who could better defend the many lies he told. They tried Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and she proved to be adept at it. She defended the Trump lies with gusto and with a straight face -- and watching her, one could think she believed those lies to the very depths of her being.

The job of Press Secretary became a two-pronged thing. Spicer still did some conferences -- but only the audio-only ones (where that "deer in the headlights" look couldn't be seen by the public). When the cameras were allowed, Sanders took over.

This was insulting, but Spicer was still the acting Communications Director. So he continued working at the White House. Then Trump hired a Wall Street buddy for that job -- Anthony Scaramucci. Scaramucci is a true believer, and in his first bout with the press showed he was both a stout defender of Trump lies, and an adept liar in his own right.

That left Spicer out in the cold. He was no longer the acting Communications Director, and although he still held the title of Press Secretary, in actuality that was now the job of Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Spicer was a third wheel, with no real job left. What little dignity he had left demanded that he submit his resignation -- and that was just what Trump wanted.

Trump has no regard at all for truth, and only a passing interest in competence. What he demands of an employee is loyalty -- and his version of loyalty means to vigorously and wholeheartedly defend whatever outrageous thing comes out of his mouth (no matter how untrue it may be). Sanders and Scaramucci are good at that -- Spicer was not. And that's why he was pushed out of his job at the White House.

Tired Of Winning

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

Outrageous: Avg. CEO Salaries Vs. Avg. Worker Salaries


The chart above, from the Economic Policy Institute, shows the multiple of corporate CEO salaries over worker salaries. Note that as late as 1978, the average CEO salary was only 30 times as large as the average worker salary in private industry. But as the GOP instituted their "trickle-down" economic policy, the CEO salaries (and those of upper management) have ballooned while the worker salaries have remained virtually stagnant (and when inflation is considered, have actually lost buying power).

Trump wants to double-down on the GOP "trickle-down" policy by cutting taxes for the rich and corporations -- making CEO's and other rich people even richer, while doing nothing for most workers. He says this will boost the economy and create jobs. It won't. The economy would only be boosted when workers make more (especially low-wage workers, who would spend all of their new-found wages).

We must change our economic policy in this country -- to a policy that is fair to everyone (and not just the rich, as GOP policy is). That can only be done by voting the Republicans out of power, since they still cling to their failed "trickle-down" policy.

Lawrence Mishel and Jessica Schieder have written an excellent study of CEO and worker salaries for the Economic Policy Institute. You can go here to read it (and I recommend that).

On The Ledge

Political Cartoon is by Adam Zyglis in The Buffalo News.

Rather Is Right - We Need To "Follow The Money"

(This cartoon image is by John Fewings at fewings.ca.)

The following was written by Dan Rather on July 20th. As usual, he hits the nail right on the head.

"Follow the money!" 
It's the first thing you learn as a new police detective, a beginning prosecutor, or a cub reporter. And it's a lesson you dare not forget. Money is often the fuse that ties the smoke to the fire. 
Stellar reporting from Bloomberg that the Special Counsel Robert Mueller is looking at a wide expanse of President Trump and his family's business dealings is a big development and one that has, and should have, Mr. Trump feeling the heat. 
The more you dig into the digits, the more you are likely to find inconsistencies or much worse, especially in a freewheeling and never scrutinized family real estate empire like Mr. Trump's. 
Remember how defiantly the President has refused to release his tax returns. Remember the "red line" on just this scope of inquiry that he laid out in his interview yesterday with the New York Times. Remember all the shady associations with Russian money and his descent into - and remarkable resurrection from - bankruptcy. Remember that it was just reported that former campaign manager Paul Manafort was in debt 17 million dollars to Russian interests before he took a job with the Trump campaign. (I gave you a few extra spaces after the period to let that fact sink in). 
Trump has categorically denied any collusion with Russia, or even knowledge of any of the high level conversations between his family and staff and representatives of the nation that attacked our democracy. Mr. Trump's credibility right now is not exactly rock solid, but even granting this is the case, what happens when the spotlight turns to hard evidence in dollars and cents? 
When you turn over a rock, you can't put back all the critters that start crawling out.

Scara-smooch-cci

Political Cartoon is by Lalo Alcaraz.

The Real Facts


Sunday, July 23, 2017

Another Milestone Reached



Last night, jobsanger passed another milestone. It passed the 6 million mark in page views.

It Used To Be Better


Two-Thirds Of Public Disapproves Of Trump's Tweeting



Donald Trump claims his use of Twitter lets him communicate with the American people. That's rather disingenuous. Other presidents have communicated just fine with the people without excessive tweeting (or any tweeting at all). They did it by holding regular news conferences, where they said what they wanted to say and then answered questions from the press about what they had said.

The truth is that Trump's use of Twitter is not an effort to communicate -- it's an effort to hide from the press so he doesn't have to answer the hard questions (about his failing administration and the mountain of lies and half-truths he tells). Tweets can't be questioned, and Trump is afraid to face the press and answer their questions.

Trump may think he's pulling a fast one by ducking the press and putting his views out through tweets, but the American public doesn't like it -- and it's not winning him any new friends. A full 2/3's of the public now say they disapprove of Trump's use of Twitter (while less than 1/4 approve).

These charts were made from information in a recent ABC News / Washington Post Poll -- done between July 10th and 13th of a random national;l sample of 1,001 adults, with a 3.5 point margin of error.