Friday, May 26, 2017

Exposed


Appeals Court Upholds Block Of Trump's Travel Ban

Donald Trump has lost another round in the courts over his executive order banning muslims from certain countries from entering the United States.

After his first executive order travel ban was tossed by the courts, he made some small revisions and issued a second executive order travel ban. That was almost immediately blocked by U.S. District Judges in Maryland and Hawaii.

The Trump administration appealed the rulings of those courts to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals -- asking that appeals court to overturn the lower court rulings and allow the ban to be instituted.

On Thursday, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its ruling (a 205 page ruling which you can read here). They refused to unblock Trump's ban on travel to this country by a vote of 10 to 3.

And they were unequivocal in their distaste for Trump's attempt to subvert the First Amendment's guarantee of religious freedom, saying the travel ban "drips with religious intolerance, animus, and discrimination".

It should be no surprise that Trump's bigoted toady in the Attorney General's office didn't like the ruling of the appeals court. Sessions, who has shown in the past that he thinks discrimination against groups is just fine, now extends that feeling toward religious groups. He says he will appeal the ruling to the United States Supreme Court.

What will the Supreme Court do? Will they uphold the First Amendment of the Constitution and rule that the Trump administration cannot discriminate against any religious group, or will they trash the First Amendment and decide that religious freedom is no longer protected? Sadly, with the current court, it could go either way.

Budget Crush

Political Cartoon is by Chris Britt in the Illinois Times.

Trump's Weekly Job Approval Is At An All-Time low




The charts above are from a new Gallup Poll -- done between May 15th and 21st of a random national sample of 3,548 adults, with a margin of error of only 2 points. It shows the weekly average of Donald Trump's job approval by the American public.

The top chart shows that his job approval for the most recent week is 38% -- which is the lowest since he was sworn in and took office. The second and third charts show how much his job approval has dropped since his first week in office. Note that it has dropped among every single group -- even Republicans and conservatives.

Obstruction Of Judgement

Political Cartoon is by Mike Peters in the Dayton Daily News.

Is Trump Beginning To Lose His Base (The Trumpistas) ?



The pundit wisdom has been that Donald Trump couldn't lose the support of his voters no matter what he did. That may not be true. There is some evidence that Trump is beginning to lose even some of his most hardcore supporters.

Here is some of what respected poll analyst Nate Silver has to say about this:

widely held tenet of the current conventional wisdom is that while President Trump might not be popular overall, he has a high floor on his support. Trump’s sizable and enthusiastic base — perhaps 35 to 40 percent of the country — won’t abandon him any time soon, the theory goes, and they don’t necessarily care about some of the controversies that the “mainstream media” treats as game-changing developments. . . .
But the theory isn’t supported by the evidence. To the contrary, Trump’s base seems to be eroding. There’s been a considerable decline in the number of Americans who strongly approve of Trump, from a peak of around 30 percent in February to just 21 or 22 percent of the electorate now. (The decline in Trump’s strong approval ratings is larger than the overall decline in his approval ratings, in fact.) Far from having unconditional love from his base, Trump has already lost almost a third of his strong support. And voters who strongly disapprove of Trump outnumber those who strongly approve of him by about a 2-to-1 ratio, which could presage an “enthusiasm gap” that works against Trump at the midterms. The data suggests, in particular, that the GOP’s initial attempt (and failure) in March to pass its unpopular health care bill may have cost Trump with his core supporters.
These estimates come from the collection of polls we use for FiveThirtyEight’s approval ratings tracker. Many approval-rating polls give respondents four options: strongly approve, somewhat approve, somewhat disapprove and strongly disapprove. Ordinarily, we only estimate Trump’s overall approval and disapproval. But we went back and collected this more detailed data for all polls for which it was available, and then we reran our approval ratings program to output numbers for all four approval categories instead of the usual two.1 Here (above) are Trump’s strongly approve and somewhat approve ratings from shortly after the start of his term2 through this Tuesday.
After a slight uptick in the first two to three weeks of his term, Trump’s strong approval ratings have headed downward. But it hasn’t been a steady decline. Instead, they fell considerably from about 29 percent on March 6 — when Republicans introduced their health care bill — to around 24 percent on April 1, shortly after the GOP pulled the bill from the House floor. They then remained stable for much of April, before beginning to fall again this month after the reintroduction (and House passage) of the health care bill and after Trump fired FBI director James Comey on May 9. As of Tuesday, just 21.4 percent of Americans strongly approved of Trump’s performance.
By comparison, 45 percent of Americans strongly approved of President Obama’s performance as of April 2009, although Obama’s strong approval numbers would fall considerably over the course of his term — to the mid-to-high 20s by the midterms and to the high teens by 2014.
The share of Americans who somewhat approve of Trump’s performance has actually increased slightly, however, from about 16 percent in early February to 17.9 percent as of Tuesday. In part, this probably reflects voters who once strongly approved of Trump and who have now downgraded him to the somewhat approve category. (Trump’s strongly approve and somewhat approve numbers have been inversely correlated so far, meaning that as one has risen, the other has tended to fall.) A potential problem for Trump is that in the event of continued White House turmoil, the next step for these somewhat approve voters would be to move toward disapproval of the president.
The number of Americans who strongly disapprove of Trump has sharply risen since early in his term, meanwhile, from the mid-30s in early February to 44.1 percent as of Tuesday. In most surveys, Trump’s strongly disapprove rating exceeds his overall approval rating, in fact. . . .
Meanwhile, the share of Americans who somewhat disapprove of Trump has been small and fairly steady throughout his term, usually averaging around 10 or 11 percent. It was 11.6 percent as of Tuesday. . . .
So while there’s risk to Democrats in underestimating Trump’s resiliency, there’s an equal or perhaps greater risk to Republicans in thinking Trump’s immune from political gravity.
If you look beneath the surface of Trump’s approval ratings, you find not hidden strength but greater weakness than the topline numbers imply.

Watch Out For That Door

Political Cartoon is by Lalo Alcaraz.

Example Of Dunning-Kruger Effect


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Since 1978


A Majority of Voters Say Trump Is Abusing His Power


These charts are from the results recorded in the latest Quinnipiac University Poll -- done between May 17th and 23rd of a random national sample of 1,404 voters, with a 3 point margin of error.

Trump was already unhappy with all the poll numbers, and I expect these latest numbers will drive the narcissist up the wall. It shows that a majority of Americans (54%) say Trump is abusing his presidential powers, while only 43% disagree. That's an 11 point difference, and it shows that the public doesn't trust the current president.

The chart at the bottom show his job approval. It is not improving, and currently stands at 37% approval and 55% disapproval. This remains an administration in deep trouble.


Women's Rights

Political Cartoon is by Clay Jones at claytoonz.com.

Trumpcare Will Cost 23 Million People Their Health Insurance


We now see why the House Republicans quickly passed Trumpcare (their health care plan to replace Obamacare) before it could be scored by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). The CBO released their evaluation of Trumpcare yesterday -- and it was about as bad as we expected.

The plan would save the government about $119 billion through the year 2026. But it does so at the expense of millions of Americans. Under Obamacare, the number of uninsured Americans would be 28 million in 2026. Trumpcare raises that number to 51 million (adding an additional 23 million uninsured people). That's a huge step backward,

Republicans brag that the CBO says premium prices will come down. It is true they will drop slightly -- if you are young, healthy, and willing to buy an insurance plan without all the coverage and benefits required of policies under Obamacare. If you are older, have a pre-existing condition, or want to keep your policy with current coverage and benefits, the premiums will go up.

Trumpcare is just a very bad health plan. It does give tax cuts to the richest Americans, but it takes health insurance away from millions of people to accomplish that. It shows once again that the Republicans simply don't care about the health and welfare of any Americans but the rich.

His Only Comfort

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

Most Americans Have A Favorable Opinion Of NATO


Donald Trump will meet with our NATO allies today, and it's anyone's guess as to how that will go. In the past, he has called NATO an obsolete organization. He has also criticized our allies for not paying enough of the NATO budget. Will he continue to say those things, or will he just glad-hand the attendees and duck the issue? I suspect it will be the latter.

And it would probably be a good thing for him to either say nothing or to change his view of NATO. Not just because he's made our allies nervous, but he's also in disagreement with the American public. It turns out that a whopping 68% (nearly 7 out of every 10) of Americans have a favorable view of NATO. They see NATO as valuable in keeping Russia at bay. Whatever Trump thinks of Russia, most Americans still see that country as an enemy.

This chart reflects the results of a new Rasmussen Poll -- done on May 21st and 22nd of a random national sample of 1,000 likely voters, with a 3 point margin of error.

On The Trump Budget

Political Cartoon is by Jimmy Margulies at jimmymargulies.com.

Looking At Trump's Very Bad Budget Proposal


Donald Trump has released his budget proposal -- and it's even worse than feared. The chart above shows how the discretionary spending would occur under Trump's budget plan. Note that the military budget grows larger, and will comprise about 59% of the entire discretionary budget. That means that all other spending (spending on programs that actually benefit American citizens) will make up only 41% of the discretionary budget.

This country already spends more on the military than the next 10-12 biggest spenders combined -- more than 40% of the entire world's military spending. The idea that we need to spend more on the military is ludicrous. And don't expect any of this new money to find its way to our soldiers, sailors, Marines, or airmen. It will all be funneled to the corporations in the military-industrial complex.

And how is this new military spending going to be paid for. A huge hunk of it will come from cuts in every domestic program -- cuts to education, cuts to the EPA, cuts to Agriculture, cuts to help for the poor (food stamps, children's lunches, welfare, Meals on Wheels), cuts to Medicaid ($600 billion more than the $800 billion already in Trumpcare) and many other programs that help American citizens. In other words, he's throwing the poor, the working class, and the middle class under the bus to give more to our already bloated military -- and to provide huge new tax cuts for the corporations and the rich.

But even the huge cuts to programs that help Americans won't provide enough money to pay for the increase in military spending and the new tax cuts for the rich and corporations. To make up the difference he depends on some ridiculous and incompetent accounting tricks and some wishful magical thinking.

He say his his budget will bring in more than $2 trillion in new government revenues due to an increase in economic growth (growth above 3%). And that money will make up the shortfall in the budget. But he's also said that same money would pay for his tax cuts to the rich and corporations. In other words, he's counting that money twice (an accounting trick that no reputable accountant would do). That money can't be used to pay for two different things.

But it's just wishful thinking anyway. Tax cuts don't produce economic growth, especially when they are limited to the rich and the corporations. The budget would take much money out of the economy with the cuts to nearly every government program, while reducing significantly the revenue received from the rich and corporations. It won't grow the economy at all, but it will balloon the deficit and significantly increase the national debt.

If you thought the budget proposed by Speaker Ryan the last few years was bad (and it was), then you should be shocked by the Trump budget. It's nothing short of a disaster. It will hurt the country and most of its citizens.

Here's what Lindsay Koshgarian of the National Priorities Project had to say about Trump's ridiculous budget:

We knew some of what to expect in President Trump’s first full budget proposal, based on his first budget blueprint and foreboding media stories. What we didn’t know was the full extent of whom Trump’s budget would seek to help, and at what cost.
War on the Poor: Trump’s budget declares war on those struggling to make it, regardless of income. The Trump budget makes massive cuts to Medicaid, food stamps, federal student loans, children’s health insurance, disability insurance and more.
Just Plain War: The United States military budget is already higher than at any point during the hyper- militaristic Reagan years. Trump’s proposal is to ramp this spending up even further, all while making drastic cuts to diplomacy and foreign aid programs that work to head off conflicts around the world. In the absence of any clear, overarching foreign policy strategy, this combination is asking for war.
And it keeps getting worse: after gutting these programs in 2018, Trump wants to keep the cuts going for the next ten years. A discretionary domestic cut of ten percent – and as high as thirty percent to some programs – would be followed by additional cuts of two percent every year for the next ten years. Talk about trying to draw blood from a stone.
Meanwhile, the budget warns that the planned annual increases for the military after 2018 are just placeholders, with the real numbers to be worked out later. One may be tempted to think, in light of candidate Trump’s anti-interventionist stance (if you can remember back that far), that this future assessment might moderate military spending to better align it with a more reserved American military stance. But that would be na├»ve – if President Trump has shown us anything with this budget, it’s that he will seek to increase military spending, even if he doesn’t know why he’s doing it.
Before any of this comes to fruition, Congress will debate their own budget priorities. Decisions in Congress in the next weeks and months will set a new course for military spending, our social safety net, and a little thing called climate change for years to come. 
If you want a say in what that future looks like, now is a good time to pick up the phone and call your representative.

His (Fake) Medals

Political Cartoon is by Matt Boss at thenib.com.

Trumpistas


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Eleanor


Manchester Is Attacked By Cowardly Criminals - Not Muslims

(Photo is from video on the BBC News.)

It has happened again. This time it was a cowardly criminal attacking young people leaving a concert in Manchester, England. At least 22 were killed by a bomb blast, and more than 50 others were wounded.

This was a horrible tragedy, and I hope all who had anything to do with it are hunted down and severely punished. But we need to be careful not to let our politicians use the tragedy for their own nefarious purposes. There are those (Donald Trump and his ilk) who would have you believe this is another example of a war between muslims and christians.

That is not true. We must remember that these terrorists have killed far more muslims than christians in their illegal lust for power. They may hide behind religion (like certain other groups hide behind their's -- KKK, white militias, etc.), but they do not represent muslims. if they did, they would not be slaughtering muslims at a greater rate than anyone else.

It also is not a war between those from the Middle East and Western nations. These same terrorists that have struck in the West have killed far more people in the Middle East than in all Western nations combined.

I make no excuses for the criminals committing terrorist acts, and I want them to get the punishment they so richly deserve. Just don't let demagogues convince you that this is a religious or ethnic war. It never has been, and painting it as such just demonizes innocent people and spreads hate. It's bigotry, and we don't need that.

Vermin

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

Ossoff Seems To Be Leading In Georgia's 6th District Runoff


Georgia's 6th Congressional District run-off is now only about 3 weeks away (June 20th). While this has been a safe Republican district for a long time now, Democrats have high hopes of putting it in the blue column this year -- and there's some evidence they might have a chance to do that.

The latest poll done of 6th District voters is the SurveyUSA / WXIA-TV Poll -- done between May 16th and 20th of a district sample of 700 registered voters, with a 4.3 point margin of error. It shows Democrat Jon Ossoff leading Republican Karen Handel by 7 points (51% to 44%). Of those who say they have already voted, Ossoff leads by 12 points. This seems to suggest that Ossoff's supporters are more enthusiastic than Handel's supporters.

I wouldn't get too excited though. There's a bit of time before the actual voting day, and as I said, this has always been a pretty safe district for Republicans. Handel is leading among older voters and white voters, and those two groups tend to outvote their counterparts.

This is still going to be a close election, and won't be decided by any 7 points. It's going to come down to who can get their voters to the polls (and not who's leading in public opinion polls). If Ossoff can pull this off though, it could signal a bad time for Republicans in next year's election -- and verify that there's a lot of anti-Trump feeling in the country.

Bad Guy

Political Cartoon is by Rick McKee in the Augusta Chronicle.

Most Think Trump Acts Only For His Own Benefit


This poll should worry the hell out of the Republicans, because they have tied themselves so closely to Donald Trump. It turns out that a majority of Americans don't think Donald Trump acts for the good of the country -- but only for his own benefit.

There's good reason for people thinking that. The Republican health plan, which he eagerly supported, gave the rich huge tax cuts while taking health care away from millions of people (and raising prices for all people). His budget plan would do much the same thing.

His budget would hurt the poor, the working class, and even the middle class by making huge cuts in many domestic programs (food stamps, Medicaid, Agriculture, Environmental Protection Agency, welfare, Social Security for the disabled, etc.), so the rich (and the corporations can have even bigger tax cuts). It is obvious to anyone who looks that Trump is acting for the benefit of himself (and his rich friends).

If this perception is not changed soon, the Republicans can expect the 2018 election to be a disaster.

The chart above was made from results of a new Rasmussen Poll -- done on May 17th and 18th of a random national sample of 1,000 likely voters, with a 3 point margin of error.

Trump Budget

Political Cartoon is by Adam Zyglis in The Buffalo News.

Can Democrats Pull Off A Wave Election In 2018 ?


This country is in serious trouble with Trump in the White House and Republicans controlling Congress. Democrats need to regain control of at least one house of Congress, and ideally, both the Senate and the House of Representatives. It would take a "wave" election to do that. Can Democrats pull that off in 2018? Maybe.

Here is part of a nice article on the possibility of a wave election in 2018. It was written by Ben Kamisar and Lisa Hagen for The Hill. They write:

Democrats are increasingly bullish about the prospect of a wave election in 2018 amid backlash against the passage of the House GOP’s ObamaCare replacement bill and the snowballing revelations coming out of the White House.
Nonpartisan election handicappers have begun to shift the House further away from the Republican majority, in part due to President Trump’s tepid approval ratings and the FBI’s investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
While Republicans and ballot forecasters stress that there’s still 18 months to go until the midterm elections, most concede that the trend lines are ominous.
“Anyone who thinks the House isn’t in play is kidding themselves,” a former GOP aide told The Hill.
“The House healthcare bill is full of landmines and the constant White House drama Republicans have to defend is destroying any ability we have to be on offense or talk about a positive message.”
Democrats have an uphill climb to flipping 24 seats and winning the House, given that gerrymandering and extreme polarization have reduced the number of swing districts nationwide.
But the recent cycle of negative headlines for the White House — which included Trump’s controversial firing of FBI Director James Comey — could be creating a perfect political storm.
Democrats are increasingly bullish about the prospect of a wave election in 2018 amid backlash against the passage of the House GOP’s ObamaCare replacement bill and the snowballing revelations coming out of the White House.
Nonpartisan election handicappers have begun to shift the House further away from the Republican majority, in part due to President Trump’s tepid approval ratings and the FBI’s investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
While Republicans and ballot forecasters stress that there’s still 18 months to go until the midterm elections, most concede that the trend lines are ominous.
“Anyone who thinks the House isn’t in play is kidding themselves,” a former GOP aide told The Hill.
“The House healthcare bill is full of landmines and the constant White House drama Republicans have to defend is destroying any ability we have to be on offense or talk about a positive message.”
Democrats have an uphill climb to flipping 24 seats and winning the House, given that gerrymandering and extreme polarization have reduced the number of swing districts nationwide.
But the recent cycle of negative headlines for the White House — which included Trump’s controversial firing of FBI Director James Comey — could be creating a perfect political storm.
One early test will come in the special elections in Montana and Georgia, where Democrats are hoping to score early victories and build momentum.
“The storm clouds that normally hover above a wave election seem to be forming, which is incompetence, scandal and seeming to be out of touch,” a former aide to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) told The Hill.
“You’ve got small clouds there that are getting bigger every day.”
Even before Trump’s difficulties, Republicans had reason to worry about 2018.
Off-year elections have not traditionally been kind to the party in power; in the last three midterm cycles, the party controlling the White House lost a double-digit number of House seats.
Going on the offensive, the DCCC has announced the expansion of its 2018 targets, increasing the number to 79 GOP-held districts.
It’s a strategy that mirrors the Democrats’ 2006 playbook, when then-DCCC Chairman Rahm Emanuel helped the party pick up 31 House seats and regain the majority after more than a decade out of power.
“Given where Trump’s approval ratings is, we can guarantee that Republicans will lose seats — the question is, how many?” said Geoffrey Skelley, an associate editor at Sabato’s Crystal Ball.
One early clue to the 2018 elections can be found on the generic ballot, which is seen as a bellwether of party strength.
Democrats are, on average, leading Republicans by 7 points when voters are asked which party they prefer in the upcoming elections, according to Friday’s RealClearPolitics average.
That average didn’t include a recent Quinnipiac University poll that put Democrats up by 16 points when participants were asked which party should win control of the House in 2018.
The generic ballot numbers for House Republicans now are worse than the numbers Democrats were seeing when President Barack Obama was in the White House.

Harder Than He Thought

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

Offensive


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Truth From Truman


Trump Hasn't Drained The "Swamp" - He's Filled It

(This image of a "swamp" monster is by DonkeyHotey.)

During the 2016 campaign, Donald Trump used a very vivid image -- an image of Washington being a swamp infested by monsters who care only for their own gain. He promised his supporters that he would drain that swamp. That's a promise he seems to have forgotten since taking office.

Instead of draining that swamp, Trump has filled his administration with Wall Streeters, corporate CEO's, and an army of lobbyists. Those lobbyists are of special concern to the Office of Government Ethics, since many of them have slid into government jobs without being exposed to the glare of media publicity -- and they were concerned enough to ask the Trump administration for the waivers they issued to allow those lobbyists to get government jobs (waivers that are necessary before a lobbyist can work for our government).

The Office of Government Ethics wanted to know who those lobbyists were and what jobs they got, so they could be watched to see if they used their government job to benefit the companies they had lobbied for.

What was the response of the Trump administration? They have refused to produce the waivers signed by Donald Trump to allow those lobbyists to get government jobs. Trump and his cronies don't want the American public to know how many lobbyists got government jobs (and what those jobs were). They don't want the public to know that they not only failed to drain the swamp, but filled the swamp with many new and voracious predators.

Why aren't these waivers open to not only the Office of Government Ethics, but also to the general public. Doesn't the public have the right to know how many lobbyists were given government jobs, and who those lobbyists are?

This is just more evidence that the administration of Donald Trump is the most corrupt administration in modern history.

At The Wall

Political cartoon is by Lalo Alcaraz.

Trump Job Approval Among Republicans Has Dropped


The chart above is from the daily tracking of Donald Trump's job approval by the Reuters / Ipsos Poll. They survey people each day, and report the results of a five-day rolling average. This latest average of just Republicans involved a five day total of more than 16,400 respondents.

The result showed a significant drop in approval among Republicans from last week to this week. Last week about 82.9% approved, while that dropped to 75.2% this week -- a drop of 7.7 points.

Will the downward trend continue? It might, as more comes out about Trump's Russia connections (not to mention his health care and budget plans). Remember, Republicans were not all Trumpistas. Those who preferred another candidate in the primaries could decide that Trump is hurting their party and abandon him.

We'll just have to wait and see, but I thought you readers might find these numbers interesting.

Toady

Political Cartoon is by Kevin Siers in The Charlotte Observer.

Did Sanders Also Benefit From "Russian Connections" ?

(Caricature of Bernie Sanders is by DonkeyHotey.)

It has become obvious that Donald Trump has many connections to Russia, and benefitted greatly from Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign. But he may not be the only presidential candidate that did so. Bernie Sanders also has connections to Russia, and definitely benefitted from Russian hacking in the 2016 campaign. Consider this article by Trevor LaFauci at The People's View:

Paul Manafort has been in the news a bit recently. 

Manafort, the man who "played a limited role" as Donald Trump's campaign manager is currently under fire after it was revealed that he secretly worked to advance the agenda of Vladimir Putin in Russia. Already, the Trump White House is furiously attempting to distance itself from Manafort as the Russian scandal becomes more and more serious by the day. 

But Manafort was not the only American political consultant in 2016 who had a checkered history of muddying the waters of international politics. In 2009 Manafort was working to help improve the image of pro-Russian Ukranian politician Viktor Yanukovych in an effort to make the presidential nominee seem more accessible, and thus more palatable, to the American Congress. Joining Manafort in that effort was an American consultant named Tad Devine, a man who himself had a dubious history of foreign intervention. Among Devine's highlights is having worked for exiled Bolivian president Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada in 2002 as well as ousted Honduran president Manuel Zelaya in 2005. Devine then worked for Yanukovych from 2006 up until he was elected president of Ukraine in 2010. Like both Lozada and Zelaya, Yanukovych has since been removed from power and he currently resides in exile in Russia and just happens to be wanted for treason in Ukraine. 


In addition to having supported corrupt politicians abroad, Devine has also supported unsuccessful presidential candidates here at home. Devine had increasing roles in the campaigns of Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis, Bob Kerry, Al Gore, and John Kerry. After having previously worked on actual successful campaigns for Bernie Sanders' 1996 congressional run as well as his 2006 senatorial run, Devine officially joined Sanders' presidential campaign as a senior advisor in May of 2015. Over the course of the next fourteen months, Devine not only became one of the mouthpieces of the campaign but was also able to net himself a pretty penny. According to Slate, through both his consulting work as well as his work with Old Time Media, Devine was able to net himself roughly $10 million through his work on the campaign. For a campaign that prided itself as going to fight for the little guy, Devine, an establishment political consultant and friend of Bernie Sanders, seemed perfectly content to pocket millions of dollars.

But Devine's hefty payday might not have been paid for entirely by gullible Americans giving $27 each. Throughout the Democratic primary, the Sanders campaign was cited for FEC violations on three separate occasions including a mysterious $10 million donation from a single address in Washington, DC. Despite consistent calls for financial transparency on the campaign trail, the Sanders campaign was exceedingly secretive when it came to its own finances. After twice filing for extensions from the FEC, the Sanders campaign ultimately decided to forgo its final financial disclosure statement in June citing the fact that campaign was no longer active. This decision was accompanied by the news that Sanders himself had purchased a $575,000 home in August, much to the dismay of his loyal followers. The home would be the third residence for Sanders, someone who railed against a system that increasingly favored the millionaires and billionaires of our country. 

Yet these financial gains for both Devine and Sanders would never have been possible had it not been for the millions of campaign contributions that came their way. And the only way to get campaign contributions is to convince your supporters you might actually have a chance to win. Luckily for Devine and Sanders, they had some foreign friends who were willing to step in. As reported by Rachel Maddow late on Tuesday, there existed an army of Russian bots who were weaponized to influence our election. Many of them took to various social media sites to discredit and disrupt Hillary Clinton's campaign and thus, enegize potential Bernie Sanders supporters. Knowing that Clinton had been a target of right-wing media smears for a quarter-century, all the bots had to do was plant this seed to potential Sanders supporters, many of whom had no experience in politics, to get them onboard with the Sanders campaign. By doing this, Sanders and Devine were able to successfully pocket millions of dollars all while pretending to be champions of the common man. 

In addition to all this, the Sanders campaign was able to magically avoid any public assault from Wikileaks. While Julian Assange's hacker group directly targeted the Clinton campaign, Sanders and his team not only avoided any cyberwarfare but also were able to benefit from the attacks in claiming they were victims of an alleged conspiracy against them. In fact, this played out nicely to the Sanders narrative that everyone was against them despite the fact that the campaign was found guilty of stealing data from the Clinton campaign ahead of the first primaries. Wikileaks clearly had a dog in the race that that dog just happened to be anyone but Hillary Clinton. The fact that Wikileaks released its first batch of emails a mere three days before the Democratic National Convention was no coincidence and was designed to cause as much chaos as possible at a point in time when Sanders had no reasonable expectation of being the nominee. This was truly a last ditch effort by Russia to avoid Hillary Clinton being presidential nominee for the Democratic Party.

So Bernie Sanders hired a political consultant with pro-Russia experience, had a mysterious unidentified campaign donation, had numerous Russian agents working on behalf of his campaign, and benefitted from Russian-backed Wikileaks. At a time when a public investigation is centering on the Trump administration, the question begs to be asked: what was Bernie Sanders' role in all this? Was Russia simply using Sanders and his supporters as willing stooges in their effots to bring down Hillary Clinton? Or did Sanders have knowledge of their involvement? Who gave Sanders that mysterious $10 million donation? Why did he refuse to submit his final FEC filing? And why has Bernie Sanders remained silent as the Trump Administration has become more and more corrupt in its dealings with Russia? 

To paraphrase Congressman Adam Schiff, all of these Russian connections might be a coincidence for a person like Bernie Sanders. Or there might actually be an intentional collusion between the two parties. At this point though, this issue needs to be raised. Sanders' silence on any and all Russian-related issues since the election is deepy troubling at a time when his supporters still believe him to be a savior of the party. As groups like Justice Democrats try to undermine the Democratic Party by attempting to primary candidates they don't beleive to be progressive enough, there needs to be a thorough discussion about Sanders' potential involvement with a foreign adversary that direclty infringed upon the sovereignty of our nation.  As someone who directly benefitted from Russian interference, both politically and monetarily, Sanders owes us all, not just Democrats, an explanation for everthing that has happened. 

At this point, it's the least he can do. 

The Witch Being Hunted

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

America First


Monday, May 22, 2017

Recipe For Trump


Public Does Not Look Favorably On The GOP Congress




These charts are from a new Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between May 13th and 16th of a random national sample of 1,500 adults (including 1,298 registered voters), with a margin of error of 3.2 points.

It shows that the Republican-dominated Congress may be even more unpopular than Donald Trump. Their job approval rating is only 11% while 55% disapprove -- a huge gap of 44 points. And it is Republicans who are getting most of the blame for the inability of Congress to accomplish anything. About 45% blame the Republicans, while only 15% blame the Democrats -- a gap of 30 points.

If the election was held today for Congress, about 40% would vote Democratic and 33% would vote Republican -- a significant 7 point gap. The GOP has more than a year to turn things around, but if they continue down their current path, the 2018 election could turn out very badly for them.

Big Baby

Political Cartoon is by Stuart Carlson at carlsontoons.com.

Trump Still Unable To Improve His Job Approval Rating



These are the two latest polls on the job approval of Donald Trump. He still has a very poor rating -- 39% to 51% in one poll, and 39% to 53% in the other poll. He seems incapable of improving his numbers -- probably because he keeps shooting himself in the foot with his statements and tweets.

The top chart is from the Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between May 13th and 16th of a random national sample of 1,500 adults (including 1,298 registered voters), with a 3.2 point margin of error.

The bottom chart is from the Monmouth University Poll -- done between May 13th and 17th of a random national sample of 1,002 adults, with a 3.1 point margin of error.

In Trouble

Political Cartoon is by Rick McKee in the Augusta Chronicle.

Confidence In American Institutions Is Very Low


Chart shows the information contained in a new Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between May 13th and 16th of a random national sample of 1,500 adults (including 1,298 registered voters), with a 3.2 point margin of error. It shows the percentage of the public that say they have a great deal or a lot of confidence in these American institutions. These are not great numbers, and show a lack of trust by the public in most of our institutions.

Fingers Crossed

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