Friday, March 31, 2017

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Chris Riddell

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Daryl Cagle

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Phil Hands

Why did the Political Elites do nothing?

Why did the Political Elites do nothing last summer and fall when it became obvious that Russian-sponsored hackers and other tech wizards were openly releasing information to help the Trump Campaign.

We know Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (a Benedict Arnold) threatened President Obama with calling this a political witch hunt against the Trump Campaign if he let it out. Why the President did not tell him to go to hell is beyond this writer.

We know through Newsweek that F.B.I. Director Comey wanted to expose this in an op-ed in the New York Times but was counseled against it by the Obama Administration for no satisfactory reason. Another question would be why Comey selectively followed their advice there but ignored it when reopening the Pandoras Box of the Hillary emails 11 days before the election?

Whether the powers that be did not want to rock the boat because everyone (including the Trump People) thought Clinton would win (the electoral college as well as the popular vote) is sad. The American People had a right to know. President Obama should have been better attuned to the reality of the situation and who cares if McConnell busted a gut. Like he cares about the country. All he cares about are his friends who benefited from Citizens United.

We now have an administration whose former National Security Advisor (Michael Flynn) is trying to negotiate an immunity deal for testifying about the possible Russian collusion with the Trump Campaign. This same Michale Flynn said, on Meet the Press, last fall that Clinton aides seeking immunity in the email controversies had probably committed a crime. Fast forward to today and makes you wonder what other shoes are going to drop and how many people in public service are going to possibly go down with this political Titanic.

Again, why did the political elites do nothing?

Where are the Rockefeller Republicans?

Where are the Rockefeller Republicans? These were Republicans, like former Vice President and New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller who were conservative but also saw the progressive need for a robust welfare state that did not punish the unfortunate. Recent vintages of the Grand Ole Party have moved beyond even the right wing positions of Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan. Why such meanness to lower middle and poorer classes who are not looking for handouts but for a ladder to climb up. Why take opportunities like that from people either by cutting community development grants or Planned Parenthood where women can get affordable medical care. This is not rational and is not right. We need more Rockefeller Republicans in the Grand Ole Party to lend a progressive stance.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

This is our Speaker of the House.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan went on CBS this morning and said he does not want a Health Care Deal with the Democrats. This is a person who is the second in line to the Presidency and is supposed to be the leader of both parties in the House of Representatives. Most people would not remember this but the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is mostly a collection of Republican ideas. You would not know this from Republican reactions since its inception but that is a thing with the Grand Old Party. They are for something until someone agrees with them and then they move the goal posts. Our Speaker needs to stop being juvenile and put country first. So be it if Democrats and Republicans can come together to make good law. That is what their job is.

State and Local Office Holders are important to stay informed on.

Very interesting article from Laurie Roberts in the Arizona Republic about seven Arizona State Legislators who one wonders how they received majority support for multiple terms. People need to really pay attention to the down-ballot legislative races instead of just the President, Governor or other high-profile seats. The Dark Money interests do and take advantage when we do not. We need to be better active citizens.

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Stephen Benson

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Bob Englehart

Editorial Cartoon Courtesy of Clay Bennett

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Adam Zyglis

Editorial Cartoon Courtesy of Adam Zyglis

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Mike Lukovich

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Michael De Adder

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Mike Konopacki

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Steve Benson

Is Trump the Manchurian Huckster?

Very interesting editorial from Thomas Friedman below.

Who benefits in the Pacific Economic Arena now that the United States has withdrawn from the Trans Pacific Partnership? China, of course, as they secure new trading alliances with those same nations.

Who benefits with President Trump's Back to the past environmental protection orders. China and other nations (like Germany) who will make an attempt to corner the renewable energy technology market.

Who benefits from President Trumps scaling back of foreign aid. Do we need to write the answer again?

In his eagerness to turn the clock back to the 1920's, the President is not making America great again. It is making China the number one economic superpower. Makes you wonder what side deal is being made since China has granted various name concessions, worth billions, to Trump businesses.

Is the President trying to enrich our country, or himself for the national golden parachute he and his cronies are going to get when they leave (voluntarily or involuntarily) office?

The fight for Obamacare is not quite over.

There are murmurings that the Republicans are trying to resurrect the talks over repeal and replacing Obamacare.

More worrisome are reports and fears that the Trump Administration will commit acts that undermine the insurance markets like not enforce the tax penalties on people that do not buy insurance or not advertise the enrollment sessions in the health exchange markets. As written in earlier posts, there are fixes to the Affordable Care Act that should generate bipartisan support. If the President and his team pursue this baby tantrum approach that costs people care and maybe their lives because they did not get what they wanted, then people still need to remain engaged. Do not become complacent because the American Health Care Act failed. There are still other fights to engage in. The fight for Obamacare is not quite over.

Does Hillary deserve a third chance? In a word yes.

Hillary Clinton, if she wants to go through it all again, does deserve a third chance at the Presidency. In a word, yes.

In 2008, she won more primary voters than Barrack Obama and came in second.

In 2016, she won more general election votes than Donald Trump and the Electoral College denied her.

By the time 2020 comes along, President Trump (or Pence depending on how things develop) should be low hanging fruit for the picking with more of the majority realizing the Flim Flam was on them. There will not be any ridiculous Benghazi inquiries to moan about. By the way, how is that inquiry into Trump's botched Yemen raid going? There will not be any more inquiries into servers. By the way, how did Vice President Pence get away with the private AOL account thing? There will no longer be major accusations against the Clinton Foundation. By the way, how are all the conflicts of interests inquiries going with the President and his children? There will not be James Comey coming out 11 days before the election with an October Surprise. Clinton operatives should have learned their lesson and have their web pages and email accounts firewalled against hacking.

Andrew Jackson beat John Quincy Adams by ten points in the popular vote in 1824 and lost the electoral college. Most did not begrudge him when he came back for a second shot at the prize in 1828.

After losing to Benjamin Harrison in 1888, Grover Cleveland, already a one term President, became the only Presidential Candidate to serve two non-consecutive terms by winning in 1892.

Ill health forced 1876 Popular Vote Winner Samuel Tilden not to run again in 1880 after the Presidency was stolen from him.

Hopefully, one day, Al Gore will sit with historians and reveal why he did not run for the Presidency again in 2004 after winning the Popular Vote in 2000. Sympathy for what happened to him in 2000 could have carried him over the top in what was another close election.

So yes, Hillary Clinton, if she wants to, should have the opportunity to run for the Presidency again. Maybe the third time will be a charm.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Adam Zyglis

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Mitt Priggee

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Tom Toles

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Steve Benson

One small step backward for humanity; one giant leap backward for humanity.

With today's Executive Order, the President is attempting to turn the clock back on all the environmental progress over the last 45 years. As mentioned in previous posts, Environmental Protection is a bipartisan endeavor. It was Theodore Roosevelt, a Republican, that helped make the National Park Service. It was Richard Nixon a Republican, that signed the laws that ushered in the Environmental Protection Agency and Clean Air and Water Act. This executive order, which may, in the end, be more hype than substance, is a giant step backward that promotes an energy industry (coal) that is no longer viable. To the people in states that supported or support the Coal Industry like Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and West Virginia: please understand that nothing can be done for this soon to be dead market. Please use your considerable energies to revitalize your communities with new economic models or, if necessary, move to another part of the country that is looking for good people to become productive parts of their communities. Do not fall for the con from the huckster in chief.

This is what organized religion should be about: unity and compassion

This video uplink between the leaders of the three "Abrahamic" faiths (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) is a reminder of what humanity, through the lens of organized religion should be about: unity and compassion. Through these attributes, the world will become a better place where no one needs to fear acts of terror or intolerance.

Monday, March 27, 2017

You go California: Keep those cars fuel efficient.

With regards to fuel efficient standards, the President wants to make life easier for automakers. The automakers would like that too. The problem is with regards to fuel efficiency and emission standards, California, New York and 11 other states (plus Washington D.C.) have such a large auto market (a third of the countries), that their wanting to maintain high fuel efficiency and emission standards makes making cars less efficient is a cost problem for automakers who can not afford to create two different standards for vehicles across the country.

Continuing to promote fuel efficiency standards and sponsoring the construction of vehicles that carry that out should be continued for the betterment of our country and planet. You can not spend the money if you can not breathe to use it. You go California and the other states (along with Washington D.C.) that are leading the way.

This is why we need Single Payer if ACA can not take care of this.

Most people favor fixing, not destroying the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare). Last week's bloodbath in the House of Representatives may present an opportunity for Democrats and Republicans to reach consensus on relatively painless fixes to the system. Please read the Paul Krugman editorial below.

However, people come across stories like the one highlighted in the Arizona Republic's Laurie Roberts column below where a young lady's insurance company is refusing her receiving potential treatments that could possibly aid her. If the Affordable Care Act can not help any person in this situation on a universal basis, then it would be more reason to wholeheartedly push for a single payer Medicare for All if the insurance companies, that (do not be fooled when they say otherwise) are making billions off ACA with their heads taking home millions in salaries and stock options. The Affordable Care Act should be fixed and corrected. If our leaders cannot, then progressives will have a mighty fine issue to run on in 2018 and beyond.

The House Intelligence Chairperson needs to be investigated

Given his behavior and actions over the last week, Devin Nunes needs to be removed as the Chairperson of the House Intelligence Committee and there may be an investigation regarding his impartiality and whether he cooperated with the White House rather than maintain a distance as his committee has investigated possible links between the President's campaign and the Russians. That or support an independent commission headed by respected elder statespersons of both parties that have no hidden agendas. Revealing today that he may have received information about the President or his people being caught up in a third person wire tap at the White House should be the "last straw." Country before Party people.

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of RJ Matson

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Joe Heller

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Samir Nazar

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Lalo Alcaraz

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Moving Forward

Watching the Sunday Talk Shows today, it was striking how the theme of Democrats and the President reaching out to each other following the defeat of the American Health Care Act. As mentioned in an earlier post, this defeat may be an opportunity for growing up to occur and common sense public policy to emerge. Both sides agree that Obamacare needs positive modifications. A sensible agreement between both sides can be fashioned. Infrastructure for the country that repairs and builds roads, airports, and shipping can be agreed upon by parts of both parties. A movement for Tax Reform that helps the lower and middle classes and promotes growth can be joined by both sides.

The key is finding common ground on themes and then compromise on the details. It can be done. We should move forward beyond the just say no political posturing of the Republicans of the Clinton and Obama eras that Democrats are doing a good job imitating. The purpose of government is moving forward in a positive way that helps all Americans. If everyone is on board with that, there is no limit to what this country can accomplish.

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Tom Stiglich

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Adam Zyglis

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Brian Narelle

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Clay Bennett

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Steven Benson

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Mike Luckovich

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Jimmy Marguiles

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of RJ Matson

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Arnie Hurty

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Clay Bennett

Progressive Idea of the Week: Independent Legislative Districting Commissions

Both political parties are guilty of gerrymandering: the process where legislative districts are drawn in such remarkable ways so one political party is favored over the other. As the book cited in this weeks book of the week insert attests, the Republican Party may have taken this to new heights following the 2010 census to the point where some courts have thrown out warped attempts in several states like Arizona, Texas, North Carolina, and Wisconsin.

The answer to this is similar to what the country has done in the past when deciding which military bases to close when there are defense cuts: Independent Commissions made up of the same number of each major political party. Now some states, like Arizona and California, already have those. This should be made universal for all 50 states so the state legislatures, controlled by either party can not skew districts towards unfair advantages.

This is a fair idea and should be implemented.

Book of the Week

Ratf**ked: The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America's Democracy 

Friday, March 24, 2017

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Steve Sack

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Drew Sheneman


President Trump and Speaker Ryan decided to pull the American Health Care Act after he realized it would not cross the finish line.

Now maybe the fever will break and common sense Republicans along with common sense Democrats can come together and fix the Affordable Care Act so it could better help the American People DITCH the rapid Freedom Caucus (who think they are a new dictatorship of the proletariat)  or the most extreme liberals (whose ideas are mostly good and right but would not pass in this current political configuration). It is time to unite and move forward in a progressive fashion. Fix Obamacare and then work towards a better single payer system when the political stars are aligned.

Why the first 60 days of the Trump Presidency has been a gift to Democrats

If the President and his team had been shrewd given their popular vote loss, they would have put forth infrastructure and tax reform measures up first that, depending on how the legislation was crafted, could have attracted bipartisan support and public good will. That could have carried over to the harder issues on health care and immigration. There is no guarantee that the outcome would not have remained the same, Both measures are too hard for even some center-right politicians to swallow. However, it would have stood a better chance. Doing the immigration and health care fights first only created bad will and division at the time when the president should have been enjoying some semblance of a honeymoon. Now tax reform or even infrastructure, even if the health plan passes today,  may be in doubt even if these proposals have good ideas in them. Democrats and Progressives need to take the fumble and run with this ball. You do not get many opportunities like this.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Press is still blowing it.

On the Anderson Cooper show earlier this evening, columnist John King said the Democrats have been pummeled the last four elections. Well, the Democrats gained seats in the House and Senate in two of those elections. Their Presidential candidate (Barrack Obama) won in a landslide in 2012 and the candidate in 2016 (Hillary Clinton) would have been President with a close to three million vote margin if there was no Electoral College. I am curious what Mr. King's definition of pummeling is?

Earlier on the Stephanie Ruhle show, Ruth Marcus said that the people voted for the change Donald Trump would bring. No, they did not. Again Hillary Clinton beat him by three million votes and seven million more people voted for third party candidates.

It is not wrong to state that the Trump Presidency is a fluke by democratic standards and that Republicans did lose seats in the last election. There is no mandate here. Journalists and Democrats need to be more vocal about this.

Truth is still relevant with the Presidency

In an interview with Time Magazine, the President more or less said his lying does not matter because either he was just relaying second-hand information from other liars or questionable news sources and the ends justify means as the lies helped him secure the Presidency. The President is the role model for the free world. People who live in tyrannies look to that person as a beacon of hope and integrity. People in this country tell their children to work hard and have good character because, in the United States, that is enough to become President. The President needs to realize he is a role model and grow up and act like one, not a petty little man who tweets his frustrations in the early morning hours.

They hate Obama's Presidency so much that they want to pass this monstrosity

The Republican-Led House of Representatives hated the Obama Presidency so much that they compromised so much with the Freedom Caucus to create a monstrous health care bill that is even worse than the original American Health Care Act. That original act would cut $335 billion from the debt but also cost 24 million people health insurance over ten years. This revised bill would still cut 24 million off from health insurance but would actually save less from the debt. What logic permeates the Party of Lincoln that passing a law that hurts so many people and does not save a lot of money is good for the country. Does the hatred for Obama and all he did or tried to do for the country intoxicate Trump and the Republicans so much that they have lost a sense of reality?  Will people who voted for the President, many of whom depend on Obamacare (which is odd in itself that they support Trump as earlier posts have indicated) call or email their representatives and give this proposal the final death knell it deserves as the party has delayed a vote until tomorrow. Lets hope so.

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Patrick Chapette

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Bill Schorr

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

We need an Independent Counsel?

When Watergate occurred, an independent counsel was appointed.

When the Iran-Contra Scandal occurred, an independent counsel was appointed.

When the Clinton's Whitewater Investments came under scrutiny, an independent counsel was appointed.

After the tragedy of 9/11, an independent commission was appointed.

We need an Independent Counsel or Commission to determine if third parties colluded with one of the presidential campaigns to create the result of one presidential candidate's ability to take advantage of the electoral college system.

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Patrick Chappatte

Editorial Cartoon of Scott Stantis

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of David Horsey

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

What to do when the narrative goes against the script?

The Stock Market Falls in Value the last couple of days ago. The President's people say it is not because of them even though they were crediting themselves when it was surging after election day up until recently.

Two Coal Plants in Ohio and Carrier Factories in Indiana announce layoffs. Where is the President and his people who said these jobs were coming back?

Stopping Immigration. Not Trump Winery who says they need foreign workers to make up for the lack of interest among American Citizens. What does the White House Press Secretary comment about that?

Health Insurance for everyone and at better rates than Obamacare. Not according to the Congressional Budget Office and the Republican-American Health Care Act. The President still maintains the fantasy that Obamacare stinks and their plan is gold.

A former Campaign Manager (Paul Manafort) for the Trump Campaign is under investigation for issues with money laundering in the Ukraine and the F.B.I. Director says in a public hearing that the Trump Campaign is under investigation for possible collusion with Russia. The Cover Up starts with Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort being called Campaign Volunteers. This is the same Michael Flynn who was the NSC Advisor for almost a month and led the chant "lock her up" at the Republican National Convention. Now it looks like he may have to start measuring his own bars at his cell in a minimum security facility.

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Sean Delonas

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Stephen Benson

Editorial Cartoon Courtesy of Bill Bramhall

Facebook Posting courtesy of the late Walter Cronkite

Monday, March 20, 2017

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Patrick Chappatte

Cuts to School Lunch Programs: We should be ashamed.

Recent proposals to cut school lunch programs should be thrown back. A very interesting video below from Facebook which shows what school lunches in other developed countries look like. Now, kids are probably same around the world and do not eat everything on the tray but we should maybe pause and reconsider our approach in some cases/places. Another good video for inspiration is Jeff Bridge's "A Place at the Table."

Comment on Rich's "No Sympathy for the Hillbilly"

Given an earlier posting, this week entitled Desperate Times for Desperate Gambles, this article from Frank Rich in New York Magazine titled No Sympathy for the Hillbilly, was very illuminating.

There should be agreement with Mr. Rich that this subpopulation of America has no one else to blame but themselves if President Trump does not do a good job (a sure presumption with each passing day and we still have three years and five days to go). Furthermore, they will have no one else to blame if they become the victims of the programs he pursues (which hurts them more than the bulk of the  people who voted for Hillary Clinton).

However, an issue should be taken with his assertion that Democrats should give up reaching out to these communities. This recommendation, while probably justifiable in most cases (at least at present), is still foolhardy. As in the posting Desperate Times for Desperate Gambles, Democrats and Progressives need to try and reach out to these groups and try to convince them to get over the addiction that causes them to continually vote against their self-interests. This has been mentioned in various works like Thomas Franks What is Wrong with Kansas. Now, are there some people in this group that will never be convinced? Absolutely. That does not mean you do not try? No. There will be some successes. Maybe not a lot and maybe not right away but building strong coalitions takes time. The first Progressive Coalition took time to gain power from the late nineteenth century to the early twentieth century. The Reagan coalition took sixteen years to rise from the ashes of the failed Goldwater Revolution. Democrats and Progressives can build on what Obama and Biden have accomplished and forge a new dynamic that people already (according to polls) support. It will take a strong recruitment and ground game from the bottom up. We will get there.

Very interesting posting on Face book from the Other 98 %: It captures the President's Budget Priorities.

Remember What they did to Merrick Garland

While Neil Gorsuch is impeccably qualified to sit on the Supreme Court, Democrats, given the unforgivable treatment accorded Merrick Garland by the Republicans, should not make it easy for this nomination. It is not a personal attack on Gorsuch who, despite having disagreeable views from a progressive perspective, is a person of high caliber. It is a matter of not rewarding bad behavior. Democrats need to stand up and oppose this nomination. Remember what they did to Merrick Garland.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Desperate Times call for Desperate Gambles

Below is an article that summarizes how one of the poorest towns in the United States, Beattyville Kentucky overwhelmingly voted for Donald Trump.

Why did they vote for/gamble on the President? Well, people said that they felt he understood them, that he would not forget them, and he would bring their coal and oil jobs back. They felt that President Obama ignored them even though it is programs like Obamacare (they probably know it is as
Kynect) that are keeping some families above water.

That said, these are the communities that may face the sharpest cuts or reversals if Obamcare is repealed and replaced with a substandard replacement and if Trumps draconian budget proposals find acceptance. While both prospects are doubtful in its current form, this does present an opportunity for Democrats/Progressives to reach out to these communities, re-establish themselves, and propose forward-looking policies that benefit them and the country. Democrats/Progressives should not look let this opportunity slip away. Even reaching a small proportion of these "forgotten" areas would be a victory for progressive values.

What the EPA does with the money it receives.

Very interesting article from National Geographic that explains what priorities the Environmental Protection Agency commits to with the funding it gets.

52 percent goes towards clean water. Another 23 percent goes towards land preservation and restoration. A further 12 percent goes towards clean air and seven percent go into healthy ecosystems.

It would defy logic if any scientist or statistician could find a valid random sample of people where the majority would be against where the funding for the E.P.A. goes.

Very interesting article on how Republicans sabotaged Obamacare.

A Very interesting article below on how Republicans, led by Senator Marco Rubio sabotaged Obama Care on high-risk corridors which reimbursed insurance companies that served high-risk regions. This helped create the current situation where one-third of the counties only offer one health care plan for their exchanges (which coincidentally are mostly areas that support the current occupant of the White House as well as most Republican Congresspersons since these are mostly rural and impoverished areas with in some cases high illegal substance rates.) When will people learn that the people they regularly support in elections do not have their best interests at heart and when they advocate freedom, what they are really promoting is more money for the rich because it is in part the higher taxes they pay that help to fund the insurance subsidies they receive.

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Steve Benson

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Bruce Plante

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Kevin Kallughar

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Gary Varvel

The Lincoln Project Points out Trump's many flaws in "Regret"

After taking a few days off, the Lincoln Project has released another effective ad called "Regret" With a comic in the background ...