Saturday, March 24, 2018

Only Facts And Lies

Our Generations Failed - A New Generation Marches To Fix It

The graphic above shows the results of a 1998 survey by Arther Kellermann. The NRA and its adherents tell us that keeping a gun in the home makes us safer. That study explodes that myth. For every one self-defense shooting, there are 22 shootings caused by accident, criminal assault or homicides, or suicides. In other words, a family member is 22 times more likely to be shot than a burglar entering your home -- if you have a gun in that home.

This is just one aspect of the NRA idea that more guns means a safer country. That is not true of a home, a state, or the country as a whole. The truth is more guns = more deaths. Consider this from the Scientific American:

"Most of this research—and there have been several dozen peer-reviewed studies—punctures the idea that guns stop violence. In a 2015 study using data from the FBI and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for example, researchers at Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard University reported that firearm assaults were 6.8 times more common in the states with the most guns versus those with the least. Also in 2015 a combined analysis of 15 different studies found that people who had access to firearms at home were nearly twice as likely to be murdered as people who did not."

The NRA would also like for us to believe that the huge number of gun deaths in this country (especially mass shootings) are not the result of the easy access to guns, but due to mental illness or violent video games. That's just ludicrous. Other developed nations have mental illness and violent video games, but their ratio of gun deaths in much lower. That's because they have reasonable gun laws -- laws that keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people.

The sad truth is that our generations (Silent - Baby Boomer - Generation X) have failed. We bought into the NRA lies and let our elected representatives get by with doing NOTHING! We decided that it was OK to have 30,000 gun deaths each year (including 12,000 gun homicides). We let the right to own a gun (by any nut) become more important that the right of our fellow citizens to live.

Fortunately, a new generation is now rising up (millennials and post-millennials) and they are taking a stand. On Saturday, millions of them will march in more than 800 cities across the nation. They aren't trying to abolish the Second Amendment. They just want reasonable (and constitutional) laws that will save thousands of American lives each year. They want the holes plugged in the background check law, so every gun buyer must have a background check before being able to buy that gun (even in gun shows, on the internet, and in private sales). They want assault weapons banned (along with magazines holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition). They want gun laws that make sense and make Americans safer.

Older generations are guilty of inaction in the face of an epidemic of gun deaths. It is time to excise that guilt -- and that can only be done by supporting the young people speaking out for common sense.

Trump's Army (Of Lawyers)

Political Cartoon is by Randall Enos at

Who Does The American Public Trust On Gun Policy ?

Since the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, a lot of people have been sounding off about gun policy. Especially prominent (as they always are) are the party members in Congress, Donald Trump, and the NRA.

That's why I found this poll interesting. Because those people are not the most trusted people when it comes to discussions of gun policy in this country. Congressional Republicans (39%), Trump (41%), congressional Democrats (44%), and the NRA (45%) all have less than a majority trusting them on gun policy. I think that's smart of the public, because none of those groups have the common sense or courage to do anything positive to save lives.

So, who does the public trust in the gun policy debate? It turns out that the people most trusted are the students (64%), parents (65%), and teachers (67%) from schools that have suffered gun violence. And the most trusted of all is law enforcement (75%). This makes sense to me, because these are the groups most affected by the gun violence in this country. We should be listening to them.

The chart above reflects results from a new Politico / Morning Consult Poll -- done between March 15th and 19th of a random national sample of 1,994 registered voters, with a 2 point margin of error.

Some Never Learn

Political Cartoon is by John Cole in the Scranton Times-Tribune.

A Brief Look At Generational Differences

I just found these statistics from the Pew Research Center interesting. They show some differences between the four generations. It turns out that the Millennials are the most diverse, best educated, and most metropolitan generation that this nation has ever had. I just hope they do a better job with the country (and the world) than previous generations have done.

Russian Ties

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

Russian Newscasts Repeatedly Claim "Trump Is Ours"

The following tweets are from the twitter account of Julia Davis, and found on the page of The Intellectualist.

NOT A Nice Kid

Political Cartoon is by Lalo Alcaraz.

Powerful Words

Friday, March 23, 2018

Easy To Buy

Trump's New Appointment Moves The U.S. Closer To War

The chart above is from the Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between March 18th and 20th of a random national sample of 1,500 adults, with a margin of error of 3.1 points. It shows that a majority of Americans (53%) think it is likely that Donald Trump will get this country into another war.

They could be right. Trump has made threats toward both Iran and North Korea (and Venezuela), and has given the impression that he is itching to attack one of those countries -- most likely North Korea. A war would not only satisfy his narcissistic tendencies (thinking he knows better that everyone else (including the Pentagon and foreign policy experts), but I think he believes it would take everyone's mind off the Russian investigation and get the people behind him.

Until now, there have been cooler heads in the White House that have talked him out of such a foolish notion. But he has fired Tillerson and McMasters, and replaced them with Pompeo and John Bolton. Bolton (pictured) will be the new national security advisor -- one of the closest people to Trump.

That's bad. It's bad because Bolton is a war lover. He hate's the Iran treaty (and wanted to bomb Iran) and has already made a case for attacking North Korea preemptively. Bolton won't talk Trump out of starting a war. He'll talk him into it!

The world just became a more dangerous place, and the United States just moved a giant step closer to a new war (in spite of the fact that we still have two that we haven't finished). And Congress can't prevent this from happening. Bolton's new job doesn't require Senate confirmation, and Trump has to power to start a war without congressional approval.

Chipping Away

Political Cartoon is by Marian Kamensky at

Some Reasons Why Trump Is So Unpopular With Public

Donald Trump is the most unpopular president since World War II, and after 14 months in office he seems to be unable to change that perception. Why is this true?

The charts above can give us a clue as to why this is true. Americans think Trump is dishonest (by a 19 point margin), think he does not share their values (by a 22 point margin), are embarrassed to have him in the White House (by a 20 point margin), and do not think he's a good role model for children (by a 38 point margin).

He's not going to win over the American public until he changes those perceptions. But he seems not to care. He continues to lie, display an amazing arrogance, and support policies that most people don't like.

The charts reflect information in a new Quinnipiac University Poll -- done March 16th and 20th of a random national sample of 1,291 voters, with a 3.3 point margin of error.

Looking The Other Way

Political Cartoon is by Drew Sheneman in the New Jersey Star-Ledger.

Most Feel Trump Would Not Help Their GOP Candidate

Donald Trump has said he is ready to hit the campaign trail to campaign for Republican congressional candidates? The question is -- would he help or hurt those candidates by coming to their district to campaign for them.

Trump is deeply unpopular in the country, and his job approval ratings have been upside down since he was sworn in. And every candidate he has supported has lost since he became president -- the most recent being the Republican in Pennsylvania running in a supposedly safe Republican district. Trump seems to have no coattails for GOP candidates to cling to, and his endorsement may hurt them more than help them.

That is what a new political poll shows. A plurality of 40% of voters say a visit by Trump would hurt the congressional candidate in their district, and another 21% say it would have no effect at all. Only a tiny 28% say it would help (and I suspect that 28% are Trumpistas who would vote Republican whether Trump came or not).

Those GOP candidates have a decision to make. Do they want to invite him to their district and tie themselves solidly to him, or do they want to keep him away? I think as the election draws nearer we will see many of them trying to separate themselves from Trump.

The chart above uses information from a recent Rasmussen Poll -- done on March 13th and 14th of a random national sample of 1,000 likely voters, with a 3 point margin of error.

An Abstract Concept

Political Cartoon is by Trevor Irvin at

The Worst Divide In U.S. Is Created By Economic Inequality

(This image is from CNN Money.)

There are many divisions in the United States, but perhaps the most important, the most damaging to the country, is the economic inequality -- the divide between the rich and the rest of America. This economic inequality is destroying the middle class and turning the country into a nation of "haves" and "have-nots". It's giving this richest nation a developing nation status.

Consider this article by Yossarian Johnson at The Intellectualist:

America divided – this concept increasingly graces political discourse in the U.S., pitting left against right, conservative thought against the liberal agenda. But for decades, Americans have been rearranging along another divide, one just as stark if not far more significant – a chasm once bridged by a flourishing middle class.
Peter Temin, Professor Emeritus of Economics at MIT, believes the ongoing death of “middle America” has sparked the emergence of two countries within one, the hallmark of developing nations.
In his new book, The Vanishing Middle Class: Prejudice and Power in a Dual Economy, Temin paints a bleak picture where one country has a bounty of resources and power, and the other toils day after day with minimal access to the long-coveted American dream.
In his view, the United States is shifting toward an economic and political makeup more similar to developing nations than the wealthy, economically stable nation it has long been.
Temin applied W. Arthur Lewis’s economic model – designed to understand the workings of developing countries – to the United States in an effort to document how inequality has grown in America.
The parallels are unsettling. As noted by the Institute for New Economic Thinking:
In the Lewis model of a dual economy, much of the low-wage sector has little influence over public policy. Check. The high-income sector will keep wages down in the other sector to provide cheap labor for its businesses. Check. Social control is used to keep the low-wage sector from challenging the policies favored by the high-income sector. Mass incarceration – check. The primary goal of the richest members of the high-income sector is to lower taxes. Check. Social and economic mobility is low. Check.
Temin describes multiple contributing factors in the nation’s arrival at this place, from exchanging the War on Poverty for the War on Drugs to money in politics and systemic racism. He outlines the ways in which racial prejudice continues to lurk below the surface, allowing politicians to appeal to the age old “desire to preserve the inferior status of blacks”, encouraging white low-wage workers to accept their lesser place in society.
“We have a structure that predetermines winners and losers. We are not getting the benefits of all the people who could contribute to the growth of the economy, to advances in medicine or science which could improve the quality of life for everyone – including some of the rich people,” he laments.
The antidote, as prescribed by Temin, is likely a tough sell in today’s political climate.
Expanding education, updating infrastructure, forgiving mortgage and student loan debt, and overall working to boost social mobility for all Americans are bound to be seen as too liberal by many policy makers.
Until the course is changed, he warns, the middle class will continue to fade and America will remain unsustainably divided.

Love Song

Political Cartoon is by Lalo Alcaraz.

An Ugly Club To Be In

Thursday, March 22, 2018

A Shameful Statistic

Public Doesn't Want Trump To Fire Robert Mueller

Donald Trump is running scared as Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller gets closer to finding all the skeletons in Trump's dark and nasty closet. He has fired James Comey and Andrew McCabe in an effort to obstruct the investigation, and now many feel that Mueller may be next on the chopping block.

That would be a serious mistake. The public would not approve of that, and that move would be viewed as obvious obstruction. About 55% of Americans say Mueller should NOT be fired, while only 16% think he should be fired. Trump seems to think as president he can do whatever he wants. But if he fires Mueller, he would be making a huge mistake -- one that could lead to the end of his presidency.

The chart above is from the Rasmussen Poll -- done on March 19th and 20th of a random national sample of 1,000 likely voters, with a 3 point margin of error.

The Foolish 40%

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

Most Say Trump Not Doing Good Job (And Is Dishonest)

These charts are from the Economist / YouGov Poll -- with the latest being done between March 18th and 20th of a random national sample of 1,500 adults, with a margin of error of 3.1 points.

Trump has been upside-down in job approval all year. The closest he has come to approval is a negative 7 points back in February. Currently he has a negative 15 points.

The third and fourth charts give us a pretty good reason why -- the public simply does not think he is honest and does not trust him. He currently has a negative 26 point gap in honesty.

I don't think Trump will be able to improve his job approval, because he cannot talk without lying. It's just against his nature to tell the truth.


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

Democrats And Republicans Disagree On Issues Of Morality

A few days ago I showed you a chart about what actions Americans consider moral or immoral. I once again dress this subject, but this time I show you the difference between Democrats and Republicans on morality. They are close on a few issues, but on most issues the Democrats and Republicans disagree on whether an action is moral or not -- with the biggest differences being on use of marijuana, hunting animals for sport, LGBT relations, abortion, divorce, and the death penalty.

The chart is from information contained in an Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between March 10th and 13th of a random national sample of 1,500 adults, with a 3.1 point margin of error.


Political Cartoon is by Robert Ariail in The State.

Liar Or Unqualified ?

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Never Before

The Real Statistics On Food Stamp Recipients

The Republicans want Americans to believe that most people who receive SNAP benefits (Food Stamps) are Blacks and Hispanics -- and that they are people who are too lazy to work. It's a racist view designed to appeal to their racist base of voters. There's only one problem. It simply is not true.

The biggest group racially that get SNAP benefits are Whites -- about 40.2%. That's more than Blacks and Hispanics combined -- about 36%. In addition, nearly half (44.8%) of those families have children, while another 20.3% are disabled and 17.4% are elderly.

As for the ridiculous charge of being "lazy", about 31.2% of those families had earned income (they were working for poverty pay),  23.6% were receiving Social Security, and 19.9% were getting disability income (SSI) -- for a total of 74.7%.

These are not people wanting to sponge off the government. These are people who need a little help. They should not be demonized for political purposes.

The charts above are from The Huffington Post.

Pipeline To Power

Political Cartoon is by Kevin Siers in The Charlotte Observer.

Cuomo Will Have A Celebrity Opponent In NY Dem. Primary

It's official now. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo will have a celebrity opponent when he runs for re-election in the state's Democratic primary. The challenger is actress Cynthia Nixon (best known for playing Miranda on the TV show "Sex and the City").

However, in spite of her TV fame, most voters don't really know Ms. Nixon. And a new poll shows she is far behind Cuomo. She trails him among all Democrats by a whopping 45 points (Cuomo 63% - Nixon 18%). She's got a lot of ground to make up, and only three months to do it. The primary for New York is on June 26th this year.

The numbers in the charts above are from a new Siena College Poll -- done between March 11th and 16th of a random sample of 772 registered voters in New York. The margin of error is 4 points. Only the 47% that were Democrats were polled for these charts.


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