Sunday, April 30, 2017

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Tjee Droyaards

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Ben Garrison

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Dana Summer

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Steve Benson

The Press did it again: Let a Trump official say the People decided the election

The Press did it again.

On ABC's This Week, Jonathan Karl let White House Chief of Staff get away with saying that the people decided in November that they did not care about the President's Tax Returns when he won a great victory. The Press has to start calling the White House on this. To be fair, Chuck Todd on Meet the Press this morning did mention this to the Vice President when asking when the President will start to reach out to the majority of the country that did not vote for him.

There have been previous posts on this issue before and there will continue to be if the press lets Trump officials and supporters get away with that lie. The President is only President because of the electoral college. He lost the popular vote by close to three million people. Ten Million more people in this country voted for other candidates other than him.

There is no mandate for what he proposes.

The Press needs to do its job on a consistent basis.

DAY 101: It is time for the President to unite, not divide: The campaign is over

The President probably thinks winning the popular vote does not matter as long as he keeps his base fired up and rallying against the "elites" he claims are out to get them in order to cover his actual policies that go against his bases self-interest and enable him to win an electoral college reelection. That is what his rally in Harrisburg last night seemed to reflect.

This may be a great short term strategy for him and his family as they seek to enrich themselves and their business empire (themselves) at the expense of our country.

Our nation can not sustain four, let alone eight years of this divide and conquer strategy. It will only create long-term resentment and bitterness among the great majority who do not support the decisions and policies of this Administration. In recent history, there has always been opposition to Presidents and some of their policies. However, this is a new phenomenon where the President himself and his agenda are consistently ridiculed and opposed. People opposed Lyndon Johnson on Vietnam but supported Medicare. People opposed Richard Nixon on Watergate and Cambodia but supported him on Detente and the creation of the E.P.A. People did not support President Ford's pardon of Richard Nixon but did think him a decent public servant. Jimmy Carter was an unpopular President but was able to achieve peace between the Israelis and Egyptians and create a sustained interest in conservation and alternative energy. Presidents, Reagan and Bush helped end the Cold War, were regarded as being patriots but were opposed in their trickle down economic policies. President Clinton was impeached but Republican opposition could not overcome his New Democrat Agenda which was supported by the majority of the American People.  George W. Bush is criticized for his handling of 9/11 and the wars in the Middle East but is credited for the No Child Left Behind Act and Medicare Prescription Bill. President Obama has come the closest to achieving Universal Health Care for our people and conducted himself with honor and dignity and his stance on the issues commanded majority support, despite continual Republican obstructionism. President Trump has no issue that commands majority support other than those that people mistakenly champion that divide us. He needs to be a President that serves to unite, not divide, move forward and not backward. His recent predecessors, whatever their achievements and flaws, knew this from the first day on the job. It is day 101 and the President still has to learn it.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

The Four Presidents

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Steve Benson

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Clay Bennett

Two Progressive Ideas for this week

1) Increase the maximum allotment for Pell Grants so college students can go to college for free.

2) Spend the same amount as China (over 350 billion) on investing in new clean energy sources like solar and wind power.

Book of the Week

Like Hedrick Smith's The Power Game, David Gergen's Eyewitness to Power is a gem on what are effective characteristics in leadership in public affairs.  A MUST READ.

The First 100 Days: Is it indicative of a Presidency's failure or success? NO

Are the first 100 days of a Presidency indicative of a Presidency's failure or success? In a word, no. Throughout history (since the 100-day mark of the FDR administration), Presidencies have been measured by whether they can replicate the FDR feat. Results have been mixed ranging from the successful (President Johnson's first 100 days in 1965 after getting elected in his own right in 1964 following his assumption of the Presidency following Kennedy's assassination) to mixed (Clinton signed the Family Leave Act but faced issues with Gays in the Military and Republican obstructionism) to downright bad (The Bay of Pigs in 1961 under Kennedy). Where does the Trump Presidency fall on this scale? It would have to be somewhere between mixed and downright bad. Thankfully, no major laws have been passed since almost all of them would not have benefited the American People.  There have, however, been minor laws that have passed that protect the one percent over the 99. Please see the first link below. The Trump team does not appear they are ready to govern and the President has said in recent interviews that he misses his old life (a sentiment shared by the majority who voted against him). That said, Presidencies are not about the first 100 days. In actuality, the most significant legislative portion of a Presidency is the first year. After that, people start to worry about the midterms and then there is recalibration depending on the results. That said,  if pragmatic forces in the administration win out, there is still time to turn this around and adopt policies that move the country forward. Again, look at the historical examples from above. The Kennedy and Clinton Administrations, while mixed in some areas, is looked on favorably from a historical standpoint. The Johnson Administration, despite its great achievements in social progress, is looked down because of the Vietnam War. So the message is the First 100 Days is not indicative of a Presidencies success or failure. There is a learning curve that all Presidencies have to overcome. Let's hope the Trump people learn this for the benefit for all.

Friday, April 28, 2017

We need to appeal to our better natures

As we approach the 100th day of the Trump Presidency, it has been remarkable how (and postings highlighting Robert Reich's commentary on the first 100 days illustrate this) much the Trump Administration (and to be fair the Republican Congress who has had good practice the last 20 years) has tailored policies that appeal to the reactionary, regressive, ugly, and worst sides of ourselves. Banning Muslims, promoting energy policies for dying industries like coal, turning the clock back on social progress, and sponsoring tax policies that enable a growing sense of oligarch-plutocracy.

This is not the United States of America that people idolize. This is not the United States of America people want to move to from other countries and create lives for their families.

The President won over many people, especially in the Midwest-Rustbelt (by less than 80,000 votes) by talking about Making America Great Again and putting America First.  No one in this country should think that the leaders of our nation should not put American interests first although the Trump Family seems to be putting family needs (or bottom line) ahead of the national good with potential trade benefits from the Chinese, Iranians, and probably the Russians. Furthermore, America already is great but it will not become greater by appealing to our darker impulses and dividing us against each other. We can make America greater by appealing to our better natures and moving forward in a progressive fashion in an inclusive united fashion. That is how we reform health care. That is how we reform our tax code. That is how we rebuild our infrastructure. That is how we continue to be the beacon for other nations to admire and emulate.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Clay Bennett

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Mike Luckovich

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of RJ Matson

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Gary Varvel

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Phil Hands

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Jeremy Banx

We can not go back to the Time before the New Deal

Pulling out of trade agreements that help create the jobs of the future and make each nation interdependent on one another.

Trying again a discredited economic taxation policy that historically has yielded blips in short-term growth and anxiety in long-term fiscal pain.

Adopting a let every person for themselves attitude by dismantling social safety nets and opportunities is cruel and shortsighted.

These Pre-New Deal policies are not the way to move the country forward. America First does not mean the One Percent First and America Withdrawn.

We need to pursue policies that open our economy, not close it; sponsor fairness; not cronyism; move forward and not backward.

The policies of this Administration are taking us backward and it is a journey this nation can not afford.

Editorial Cartoon Courtesy of Chad Lowe

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Arne Hurthy

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Paresh Nath


Please click on the link below and scroll down a little. You can not miss it.

100 Day Video courtesy of the makers of the Simpsons

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Jimmy Marguiles

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Clay Bennett

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Steve Sack

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Rob Rogers

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Tom Toles

It happened again: News Journalist did not correct Trump supporter when he said the people put him in the White House

On The Stephanie Ruhle show this morning on MSNBC, the host did not correct a Trump supporter when he said the people put the President in the White House. Neither did the other more Pro-Democratic panelists. This has been an ongoing problem since the election. It is not bad manners or worse to point out to people that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by close to three million votes and close to ten million more people voted for candidates other than Donald Trump. This needs to be continually pointed out because there is no popular mandate from the people for his programs. Journalists need to be better at pointing this out.

THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS: Mark of the Oligarchs: New GOP Health Bill does not affect lawmakers

This is outrageous. The latest incarnation of the Republican Health Care Law provides for lawmakers to be exempt from the bill's provisions. This is so wrong on so many different levels. Hopefully, people will pay attention to this oligarchal maneuver and get the lawmakers to delete or change that clause. If their bill was so good, why do they need to exempt themselves?

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Clay Bennett

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Darrin Bell

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Matt Wuerker

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Stephen Benson

Crony Capitalism in Rich and Well Connected Charter Schools.

Should rich school districts and charter schools that excel in academic achievement be rewarded for doing a great job? Absolutely they should be recognized.

Should these schools be rewarded if it means that poorer districts and charter schools are denied the means to make their educational institutions better? No, they should not.

We can not have crony capitalism that benefits rich districts and charter schools that may side with the current political climate at the expense of poorer districts and charter schools that really need the funding to make their schools better.

We should all be in this together. We all want what is best for the kids. Reward the schools that do well but also give the schools that are struggling the means to fulfill their missions. There are not enough affordable (if there is such a thing for the middle and lower classes) vouchers to go around.

Supply Side is back. Trickle Up is better

The President and his economics team are scheduled to unveil a tax package tomorrow that is the third incarnation of supply side economics. For those who do not remember the first two trips to this rodeo in the Reagan and Second Bush Presidencies, it is a theory that if you reduce taxes on the top, benefits will trickle down as the wealthy reinvest their newly found disposable income and grow the economy and create jobs. Most point to the Reagan Administration as a model for the success of that theory. It is not. What created the Reagan economic success was largely three factors: a reduction in gas prices, a reduction in interest rates, and a proliferation of handing out credit cards like they were candy. The Reagan and Bush II tax cuts markedly increased our national debt and did not help the economy long term. In contrast, when Presidents Clinton and Obama raised taxes on the top earners, the economy and job creation steadily grew better than in the Reagan and Bush Presidencies that cut them.

Trickle Up Economics is better. Raising the minimum wage, expanding the earned income tax credit, and increasing tax credit opportunities for the lower and middle classes as well as small to medium sized businesses are better strategies for sustained long-term growth and job creation. There are so many Fortune 500 individuals and businesses to go around. Better to help the many at the middle and lower ends of the totem pole than the few at the top who will thrive no matter what.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Thank you everyone for getting us over 2000 page views around the world.

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Tom Toles

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Chan Lowe

Editorial Cartoons courtesy of Jimmy Marguiles

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Mike Luckovich

Moving Forward: Democratic and Progressives getting ready for the campaigns ahead.

There has been a marked increase in Democrats rising to declare that they will be candidates for various state and federal-held offices in the next couple of years. That is a good sign considering a lot of these office seekers are challenging in "red" conservative areas. Now, there is no guarantee that Democrats or Progressives are going to win all these races but it is a good sign that they are readopting Howard Dean's 50 state strategy which greatly benefited progressives in both 2006 and 2008 and they will definitely win some and cause the Republicans to shift resources to races that they normally would not have. The issues are on the Progressives side and please remember that conservative positions on issues continually poll poorly. It is just that Republicans, to the fault of the Democrats in 2009 and 2010, were able to swoop into state legislatures and gerrymander a lot of state and congressional seats. Democrats and Progressives need to be mindful when the next census comes around. Another matter that Progressives need to be mindful of is the old adage "Do not let perfection be the enemy of the good." As in the case of the race for the mayor of Omaha and the run off to the congressional seat in Georgia, progressives do not need litmus tests on moderate democrats that are with the party on most of the issues but may be a little conservative on the abortion issue or maybe a little more business friendly than most. Democrats are not going to regain the majority if they do not promote pro-choice sentiments but also proclaim that abortions should be rare and the last resort. They are not going to be a majority party if they do not promote protections, opportunities, and rights for workers, the elderly, and the young but also champion individuality and free enterprise. You can have both and still be progressive. We have to get to come to that realization or it may take longer to become a majority party again.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Chris Riddell

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Patrick Chappatte

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Adam Zyglis

Editorial Cartoon from facebook

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of John Trever

Very successful March for Science

Yesterday, thousands (maybe millions) of people marched around the world in support of our planet and science. One sign below captures it all:

It is very odd that there is debate over the steps that need to be taken to help our environmental and ecological systems. However, it should not be surprising it has come to this when the current Administration hires people like Scott Pruitt whose positions are the antithesis of the agencies (E.P.A.) they lead and our President does not have the policy expertise and frankly common sense (he said congratulations to a Purple Heart recipient who lost his leg after sustaining injuries in Afghanistan). This March should bring people of all political persuasions together and hopefully build consensus on how to move forward. Let's hope most people of influence see it that way as well.

We need to get the message about our planet and environment. Maybe we need to change banks.

Two Sperm Whales, the image below, wash up on the German beaches, dead. Their stomachs were filled with industrial waste products like car parts and plastic bags.

The Atmosphere contains more Carbon Dioxide than any time in Human History.

When will get the message that we have to take care of our environment and planet? It is not going to cure itself. Interesting article from Bill Moyers below that proposes that people switch their banking preferences from the large firms like Citibank that helps fund businesses that do not have the human communities interests at heart. for local community banks and credit unions that do.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Clay Bennett

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Rob Rogers

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Mat Bors

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Nick Anderson

Book of the Week

The book of the week is Historical Literacy: The Case for History in Public Education. It is a shame that this work, compiled in 1991 still resonates 26 years later and the need for improving history education is still great. This book should be strongly encouraged for proponents of history education as well as creating active well-informed citizens.

Progressive Idea of the Week: Making History Education a Four Year requirement

There was an interesting editorial from David Brooks in the New York Times on the need to bring back Western Civilization as a course that explains the positive contributions it has made to global society like the Renaissance and Scientific Revolution. Brooks, in the editorial, is upset that instructors, seem to emphasize the negative aspects of Western Civilization like the persecution and genocidal episodes towards non-western groups. This is part of an attitude that has criticized the College Board for showing a more nuanced and well-rounded interpretation of American History in its Advanced Placement courses.

With respect to Mr. Brooks and those who share his sentiment, it would be educational malpractice to teach Western Civilization or American History as a grand kum bai ya affair when there is also a darker side to the tale.

Children should be taught both the good and darker sides of history and it should include the whole world and not just a Eurocentric perspective. Much has been made of having four years of English, Math, and Science as graduation requirements. We should do the same with history. Requirements for government, economics, and geography would be add-on requirements and not substitutes.  By having students take more historical awareness courses, they will hopefully gain an appreciation of the world around them and become better active citizens. Look at our President. He is taking Asian History Lessons from our main rival in the Pacific: The Chinese. We do not want to stoop so low where the President needs to get information from another power with different interests from ours. That is a threat to the national security interests of our country. Making History Education just as important as the other core subjects would go a long way to correcting that.

Movie of the Week

A new docudrama movie about the Armenian Genocide has recently come out called "The Promise." Years ago, in justifying his program against Jews, Roma, Homosexuals, Slavs, and other what he considered "undesirables", Hitler said, "who remembers the Armenians?" This movie does and it has been praised for its historical accuracy.  People should be encouraged to see it to understand the unfortunate universality of one group of humanity signaling out another and looking for ways to counteract and repulse that urge.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Do not give into fear: That is the hope for this Sunday's French Election.

Last night's attack in Paris by a French Citizen who probably was radicalized by I.S.I.L. or similar organizations on French Law Enforcement is a tragedy. It is an unfortunate part of the reality of the world we live in.

The message to the French people as they head to the polls on Sunday is not to give in to fear and do not fall for the false promises from false prophets on both the extreme left and extreme right who say they can make your lives safer and better. Take a thoughtful approach and select the candidate that has the temperament to move the country forward. Learn from the mistakes made in countries like Israel, Britain, and the United States when their people (although it was the electoral college in the U.S.) chose fear, backwardness tinged with racism, and nostalgia over progress and democracy. Embrace the attitude of the majority that voted against these fears in the Netherlands or Austria. Do not give into fear and go into the darkness.

First 100 Days the most active in History: Only in their own minds.

The President has been making contradictory comments about his administration's performance as we come to the 100-day threshold. Now, this is far from the first time this has happened and it certainly will not be the last. At a press conference with the Italian Prime Minister (the one where he said the singer Pavarotti was a friend despite both his being dead for the last ten years and his family openly protesting Trump using the tenor's music at campaign stops), the President indicated that he had a very productive first three months. While he is on pace to outdo his predecessors on issuances of executive orders (that will be rescinded when his Democratic Successor comes into office in a little less than four years), he has no legislative accomplishments of consequence. Knowing this, the President and his people have been trying to manage expectations, saying it is unfair to measure an administration's significance based on so short a time period.  This is true and the President has pushed through some things like a new Supreme Court Justice for a stolen Supreme Court Seat and the Keystone Pipeline built with mostly un-American Steel.  Let's also remember some of the things he promised that have not yet come to pass.This is the President that said he would impose a travel ban on Muslims within the first 100 days. It is mercifully stuck in the courts. This is the President who said he would label China a currency manipulator within the first 100 days. He changed his mind. He said he would build a wall on the southern border with Mexico paying for it. Have we seen the first foundation laid or has Mexico paid one peso? Finally, he said he would repeal Obamacare and replace it with something better and less expensive. The bill that died in the House or subsequent ideas did none of those things and Obamacare (which has helped people and contained health costs better than if there had been no Obamacare) is the law of the land. We are in for a rough ride as a country if the President and his people continually to publicly maintain this delusion that they are doing good deeds and moving the country forward. Only in their own minds is this a reality.

Another Conservative Red Herring Exposed AGAIN: The Myth that Minimum Wage Hikes decreases jobs.

Over the last two election cycles (2014 and 2016), many states approved increases in the State Minimum Wage. Has the sky fallen on economic and job growth? No, it has not. For decades, conservatives have cried that raising the minimum wage hinders economic and job growth but like most conservative assertions, this too is a red herring like tax hikes hurts economic and job performance. This is another reason why Progressives are on solid ground fighting for these principles across the country. All they need is strong candidates that speak to the people and are able to muster majority support on election day.

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Steve Benson

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Bill Day

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Jimmy Marguiles

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Steve Sack

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Matt Wuerker

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of James Silk

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Rob Tornoe

Editorial Cartoon Courtesy of Steve Benson

Still not getting it: Another health care plan that does not provide health care.

The Republican House is at it again, trying to work out a compromise that will take away health insurance from over 24 million people and create a real death spiral by giving states opt out rights that will result in denying people essential benefits or allowing insurance companies to charge more (probably a lot more) to people with pre-existing conditions to get their health care. This is wrong on so many levels but maybe not surprising. A few days ago, Representative Raul Labrador was booed for saying he did not think healthcare was a right. That is the great distinction in this debate. Republicans feel Americans should have access to health care but not necessarily a right to it. Access is a fine thing but as political figures like Bernie Sanders has said, we can have access to a Mercedes-Benz but that does not mean we can afford it. As mentioned in earlier posts, if the Republicans manage to repeal Obamacare (The Affordable Care Act) and replace it with a substandard model, then Progressives and Democrats should campaign on a single payer universal system like all the other advanced countries get. It would be time to stop playing games and give all Americans the peace of mind that they do not have to worry about getting ill. This is the United States, not some backwater of civilization.

Degrading the office of the Presidency: Inviting Ted Nugent to the White House.

Is the President so eager to please his base that he degrades the office of the Presidency by inviting chauvinist bigot white "trash" Ted Nugent to the White House? This is not the same from the time when Theodore Roosevelt, in an attempt to bridge civil rights, invited Booker T. Washington to the White House. Nugent has no business taking pictures with the President in the oval office. When is Mr. Trump going to start performing in a consistent manner befitting his office?

We should not charge our troops to participate in the G.I. Bill

The soldiers in our armed services volunteer to possibly sacrifice their lives to protect this country and its people. They should not be charged service fees to participate in the G.I. Bill. That is a misguided proposal from Representative Dr. Phil Roe, a gentleman who was a major in the United States Medical Corp. Our veterans need to be treated better.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Exon asks for a waiver. MAKE YOUR VOICES HEARD

Apparently, Exon Mobil, the oil and gas company formerly run by Secretary of State Tillerson has asked the Treasury Department for a waiver from enforcing Russian sanctions by allowing it to drill alongside the Russian oil company Rosneft in a joint project in the Black Sea.

We can not allow this form of cronyism to go on. Call the White House. Call your Representative. Call your Senator. Tell them that crony capitalism to help the Secretary of States former company can not be allowed. It is the people that the individuals we elect serve, not the plutocratic and oligarchical special interests. MAKE YOUR VOICES HEARD.

At least some of the the Coal Industry in Kentucky sees the future with solar.

Very interesting article from Think Progress and an editorial from Tom Friedman in today's New York Times.

It seems Kentucky Coal interests see that part of the energy future is alternative cleaner energies like solar.

The Kentucky Coal Mining Museum in Benham, Kentucky is using solar panels to power its facility.

Berkeley Energy Group, a Kentucky coal company is building the "first large-scale solar farm in the Appalachian region" and hiring workers who were laid off from coal mining jobs to build and run it.

This is sweet irony considering the President is attempting to severely cut back on both alternative energy production and the staffing and regulatory prowess of the Environmental Protection Agency (especially in the Midwest).

At least some parts of the Coal Industry see the future is cleaner energy. Why is it the President, his E.P.A. Director Scott Pruitt, and Secretary of Energy Rick Perry can not.

Excuse me: Do you know where my carrier task force is today.

It is scary that the President, White House Press Secretary, and people at the Department of Defense said that the carrier CarlVinson was in route to the Sea of Japan as a message of strength to the North Koreans when the carrier task force actually journeyed to link up with the Australian fleet in the Indian Ocean. Now one of two things happened here and neither one of them are good. The first thing is the Joint Chiefs decided to deceive and embarrass the President and the Secretary of Defense and that is not good for the chain of command. The second possibility is that this was an act of sheer incompetence and lack of oversight. Again, either possibility is cause for concern and us as a country should hope that any gaps in communication get straightened out so these public relations mishaps do not occur again.

Reason to be optimistic in recent special elections

There is a reason to be optimistic in recent Congressional special elections in what up until now were reliably Republican Held House seats. The race in Kansas last week saw the Democrat erase a twenty point Republican advantage from the November election. While the Democrat, Mr. Thompson lost, he has built a name for himself for future runs in the state. In Georgia last night, Mr. Ossoff just missed crossing the 50 percent threshold in a district that has been Republican since Newt Gingrich inhabited the seat. While there will be a runoff election in June, he has the best chance in decades to retake the seat for the Democrats. Do not forget the special election coming up in Montana where musician Rob Quist is drawing heavy crowds in competing for the seat formerly occupied by the current Secretary of the Interior. Another reason to be optimistic is if these trends hold, Progressives and Democrats should do well in elections this year and next in the races that lean more towards their favorability because remember these recent special elections have been held in reliably Republican held areas.

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Joe Heller

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Patrick Montagne

Editorial Cartoons of the Week courtesy of AZ Blue Meanie at Blog for Arizona