Friday, November 17, 2017
The House of Representatives passed the ridiculous GOP tax cut bill. The bill was passed on a 227 to 205 vote -- with all 227 yes votes coming from Republicans, while 13 Republicans joined all Democrats in voting against the bill.
The Republicans are still trying to claim that this is a bill that mainly benefits the middle class. That is an outrageous lie. About 80% of the cuts go to people that don't need them -- the rich and corporations. They are also claiming that the corporate cuts will boost the economy, create jobs and raise the wages of working men and women. That is also a lie. Corporate tax cuts in the past have not done any of those things, and there is no reason to believe this one will either.
The Republicans are hoping that passing this bill will make their party more popular, and help them in next year's elections. The problem is that the public is not buying their lies. Only 25% support the GOP plan, while 52% oppose it. Only 16% think the plan will reduce their taxes, while 33% believe it will increase their taxes. Only 36% believe the plan will boost the economy and create jobs, while 52% believe it will not. And only 24% believe the middle class is helped the most by the plan, while 61% say the plan helps the rich most of all.
Those are not good numbers. The public doesn't like the GOP's tax plan, and unless that plan is drastically changed, it will not help the Republicans -- not now or in the 2018 elections.
The charts above reflect the results of a new Quinnipiac University Poll -- done between November 7th and 13th of a random national sample of 1,577 voters, with a 3 point margin of error.
The number of accusers saying they were sexually harassed or abused by Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore is now up to nine (with one of them being only 14 years-old at the time of the incident). The question now, of course, is whether this will matter to the voters in Alabama. It seems that many are ignoring the accusations, and continue to support Moore.
But the Republican's own poll shows he is losing support. It is the poll done by the National Republican Senatorial Committee -- the committee responsible for seeing that Republicans get elected to the Senate. In early October, their poll showed Moore with a 16 point lead over Democrat Doug Jones. A couple of weeks ago, that lead was still pretty strong at 9 points.
But their latest poll, done on November 13th and 14th, shows Moore has lost significant support -- and is now trailing by 12 points (39% to 51%).
Does Jones really lead the race right now. I don't know -- it's a small sample (500 registered voters) and probably has a large margin of error. But it is an encouraging sign for Democrats.
These charts are from a new Quinnipiac University Poll -- done between November 7th and 13th of a random national sample of 1,377 voters, with a 3.8 point margin of error.
They show that Donald Trump is still extremely unpopular with the voting public. Only 35% approve of his job performance, while 58% disapprove. In addition, 58% say he is not honest, 59% say he doesn't care about average Americans, and 62% say he doesn't share their values.
And these numbers are not getting any better for Trump. His presidency is in deep trouble.
Thursday, November 16, 2017
Will Alabama Republicans, who control the statewide elections, continue to back Roy Moore? Or will they come to their senses and keep this sexual harasser and abuser out of the United States Senate? As the number of his accusers continues to grow, it's sad that we even have to ask that question. Even Republican politicians are troubled, and don't want him elected.
And the general public agrees with them. Only 16% nationally think he should continue his run for the U.S. Senate, while a whopping 60% thinks he should drop out -- a negative gap of 44 points. And that goes for all genders, races and age groups.
The chart above is from a new Politico / Morning Consult Poll -- done between November 9th and 11th of a national sample of 1,993 registered voters, with a 2 point margin of error.
That's the question a new poll asked, and the responses should serve as a warning for congressional Republicans. They think their tax plan (which gives the most to the corporations and the rich) would make them popular with American voters. They are wrong.
About 56% say Donald Trump (and other rich people) would benefit from the GOP tax plan, but only 29% of the public thinks they and their family would benefit.
The public is in favor of cutting taxes, but they want the tax cuts to go to ordinary Americans -- not the rich and the corporations.
These charts reflect the results of a new Politico / Morning Consult Poll -- done between November 9th and 11th of a random national sample of 1,993 registered voters, with a margin of error of 2 points.
If Trump was running for re-election today, he would not win. That's what the results of a new Politico / Morning Consult Poll (done between November 9th and 11th of a random national sample of 1,993 registered voters, with a 2 point margin of error) tells us. Trump would trail a generic Democrat by 14 points (48% to 34%).
He's only been in office for less than a year, but he's looking more and more like a one-term president all the time (if he makes it to a full term at all).
Alternative facts. Lies. Distortions. Exaggerations. Misstatements. Half truths.
Call it what you want, but there's one indisputable fact: Donald Trump does a stunning amount of it.
According to a count maintained by The Washington Post's Fact Checker and updated Tuesday morning, Trump has now made 1,628 false or misleading claims in his 298 days in office. That's an average of 5.5 a day. Five and a half misleading or outright false statements for each day -- including weekends! -- that Trump has been president.
By the Fact-Checker's estimates, Trump -- if he keeps up his current pace -- will blow past 2,000 misstatements and/or untruths in his first year in office.
Stop. Go back and read that last sentence. Then read it again.
The President of the United States has misled or lied more than 1,600 times since January 20. That's so important I am going to repeat it -- and underline it: The president of the United States has misled or lied more than 1,600 times since January 20. . . .
Unfortunately, we as a country can't agree on the facts anymore. Fact and opinion have become conflated. Lots of people confuse the two -- or have no clue where one ends and the other begins. It feels like New York Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan's famous dictum -- "You are entitled to your opinion. But you are not entitled to your own facts" -- comes from another time. Hell, it feels like it came from another universe.
Not all of this lies at the feet of Donald Trump. But the President sets the tone. And this President has -- from the moment he announced his presidential bid in June 2015 -- shown a total lack of concern for facts. Not only that, he has flaunted his lack of adherence to established facts as a sort of badge of honor -- a symbol of his lack of commitment to politics as usual.
Telling the truth isn't politics as usual, however. It's just plain decency. And Trump violates that, on average, 5.5 times a day. Every day.
Wednesday, November 15, 2017
Much is being made these days about sexual harassment in the entertainment industry (and rightfully so). And it's headline news that a molester of young girls is running for the Senate in Alabama. But something not being discussed is the sad fact that there are already sexual harassers in the U.S. Congress.
Be extra careful of the male lawmakers who sleep in their offices -- they can be trouble. Avoid finding yourself alone with a congressman or senator in elevators, late-night meetings or events where alcohol is flowing. And think twice before speaking out about sexual harassment from a boss -- it could cost you your career.
These are a few of the unwritten rules that some female lawmakers, staff and interns say they follow on Capitol Hill, where they say harassment and coercion is pervasive on both sides of the rotunda.
There is also the "creep list" -- an informal roster passed along by word-of-mouth, consisting of the male members most notorious for inappropriate behavior, ranging from making sexually suggestive comments or gestures to seeking physical relations with younger employees and interns.
CNN spoke with more than 50 lawmakers, current and former Hill aides and political veterans who have worked in Congress, the majority of whom spoke anonymously to be candid and avoid potential repercussions. With few exceptions, every person said they have personally experienced sexual harassment on the Hill or know of others who have. . . .
These anecdotes portray a workplace where women are subjected to constant harassment -- both subtle and explicit. They also highlight an antiquated reporting system that discourages some victims from speaking out, leaving many professionals on the Hill to rely instead on hushed advice from peers and mentors. . . .
In conversations with CNN, multiple women pointed to the elevators on Capitol Hill as a place where staff and members prey on women and say they have been advised to avoid riding alone with men if possible. One woman said years after leaving her job in Congress, she still feels anxious about being alone in elevators with men.
The inappropriate conduct is hardly limited to the confines of elevators.
The unique lifestyle on the Hill helps fuel a hostile culture. Many male members are far away from their families, including their spouses, during the week, frequently working late nights and attending evening fundraisers and events where alcohol flows freely. Often, they are staffed by younger, female employees. Some members of Congress forgo a Washington-area apartment and sleep in their offices, a practice several sources highlighted as problematic.
One aide who works in the Senate described Capitol Hill as "a sort of old school, Wild West workplace culture that has a lot of 'work hard, play hard' ethos and without the sort of standard professionalism that you find in more traditional workplaces."
This is both unacceptable and inexcusable. These are men that the voters have trusted to represent them, and they should be expected not just to uphold a normal standard of professional decency, but to adhere to a higher standard. These predators are abusing the power granted them by the voters.
Making matters even worse is the sad fact that their fellow congressmen seek to protect them -- with rules that prohibit a victim from filing a complaint for nearly 90 days, and only then after seeking counseling and signing a nondisclosure agreement. Then they must submit to negotiations with the office of the offending senator or representative. If a claim is finally justified (which is not likely), then any settlement will be secret and money paid out of government funds (taxpayer money) instead of the offender having to pay from his personal funds.
Is this really the kind of government we want -- where sexual harassers and abusers are protected instead of exposed? Personally, I think any charges should be public. The voters deserve to know if their representative or senator is a pervert. And if they are found to be guilty of the charge, they they should have to pay their own fine or settlement -- not the taxpayers.
We are taught to believe that no one is above the law in this country. Unfortunately, our members of Congress don't believe that -- and they have made special rules to protect themselves from the punishment that a normal citizen would receive. This must change!
Polls taken of citizens in other countries show a sharp drop in respect for the United States government. Donald Trump is simply not respected as past presidents have been.
And most Americans realize that. About 68% of the general population and 87% of Democrats believe the U.S. is less respected by other countries today as compared to the past. The Republicans polled show less belief in that, but even with them a plurality understands the U.S. is less respected (42% to 29%).
The U.S. used to be the leader of the "free world", but that is no longer true. With Trump as president, other countries (even those traditionally viewed as our allies) no longer have faith in the leadership of the United States.
The chart above is from a recent poll done by the Pew Research Center between October 25th and 30th of a random national sample of 1,504 adults, with a 2.9 point margin of error.
The chart above shows the amount of carbon dioxide pumped into the atmosphere since 1959. When the Paris Accords were signed, it was hoped that this increase would stop. It has not. A record amount of fossil fuels are being burned this year, producing a record amount of carbon dioxide.
The following is just part of an article at Alternet, written by Damian Carrington (for The Guardian):
The burning of fossil fuels around the world is set to hit a record high in 2017, climate scientists have warned, following three years of flat growth that raised hopes that a peak in global emissions had been reached.
The expected jump in the carbon emissions that drive global warming is a “giant leap backwards for humankind”, according to some scientists. . . .
Global emissions need to reach their peak by 2020 and then start falling quickly in order to have a realistic chance of keeping global warming below the 2C danger limit, according to leading scientists. Whether the anticipated increase in CO2 emissions in 2017 is just a blip that is followed by a falling trend, or is the start of a worrying upward trend, remains to be seen.
Much will depend on the fast implementation of the global climate deal sealed in Paris in 2015 and this is the focus of the U.N. summit of the world’s countries in Bonn, Germany this week. The nations must make significant progress in turning the aspirations of the Paris deal into reality, as the action pledged to date would see at least 3C of warming and increasing extreme weather impacts around the world.
The 12th annual Global Carbon Budget report published on Monday is produced by 76 of the world’s leading emissions experts from 57 research institutions and estimates that global carbon emissions from fossil fuels will have risen by 2% by the end of 2017, a significant rise.
“Global CO2 emissions appear to be going up strongly once again after a three-year stable period. This is very disappointing,” said Prof Corinne Le Quéré, director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the UK’s University of East Anglia and who led the new research. “The urgency for reducing emissions means they should really be already decreasing now.”
“There was a big push to sign the Paris agreement on climate change but there is a feeling that not very much has happened since, a bit of slackening,” she said. “What happens after 2017 is very open and depends on how much effort countries are going to make. It is time to take really seriously the implementation of the Paris agreement.” She said the hurricanes and floods seen in 2017 were “a window into the future”.
The new analysis is based on the available energy use data for 2017 and projections for the latter part of the year. It estimates that 37bn tonnes of CO2 will be emitted from burning fossil fuels, the highest total ever.
Tuesday, November 14, 2017
I'm just going to post this without comment. It is a Winthrop University Poll done between October 22nd and November 5th of 830 residents of 11 Southern states (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia). The margin of error for the poll is 3.4 points.