Friday, June 30, 2017

The People did not elect this Bully; The Electoral College Did

This point has been made numerous times on this blog but it is sickening when journalists allow Trump surrogates like the Deputy White House Press Secretary to claim the people elected the President. No, they did not. The Electoral College did and has the President conducted himself like his modern predecessors. Even Nixon never openly went this far. This is what happens when we keep the electoral college. The majority or even a plurality of the people did not vote for this person. He is going to make America worse.

The President proves what people often think about bullies. He can dish it but can not take it. For years, he attacked President Obama about his birth certificate and college performance. The media humored him and he played them like a fiddle and was not held accountable when his "investigators" never revealed what they "found."

His recent attacks on Mika Brezinski and Joe Scarorough are the latest in a long line of remarks (verbal and written) that are beneath the dignity of the office he occupies. If Trump supporters relish this type of behavior, then they are the ones that are also beneath contempt and should be shunned by decent members of society. You are never going to enlighten and move individuals that hold such reactionary and repulsive views and if the Republican Party is being held hostage by this base, then the party of Lincoln, Roosevelt, Eisenhower, and Reagan is dead and a new one needs to be rebuilt that respects everyone regardless of gender, race, religion, creed, or sexual orientation.

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Kevin Siers

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Adam Zyglis

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Jack Ohman

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of David Horsey

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Clay Bennett

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Michael Luckovich

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Is it time for the Pragmatic Progressive Center to emerge?

Is it time for the Pragmatic Progressive Center to emerge?

Earlier when this blog started, it was the view that it was preferable for Obamacare to be fixed rather than go through a future campaign for Medicare for All that would probably end in failure.

When the Republicans rammed their idea of health care reform through and it really looked like the Senate would impose its own version (they still might be able to), the view was, what the hell, campaign for Medicare for All because the people will get so frustrated with Trumpcare that single payer would be much easier to pass after Trump and Pence leave (preferably in 2021 if not earlier).

However, something funny happened on the way to the Senate passing their version. The Moderate and Conservative Republicans spoke out. The Conservatives thought the bill was Obacamcare Lite while the Moderates saw Medicaid patients and Rural Hospitals being sacrificed on the high altar of tax cuts for the rich. The bill is currently being reworked but the moderates (Collins, Capito, Murkowski, Portman, Heller, Graham) really want a bipartisan effort that would be pretty much fixing Obamacare. Now Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell do not want to involve the Democrats because that would mean taking repealing Obamacare off the table. The President, where actions speak louder than his lying words, is so fixated with removing all traces of anything Obama, has not reached out to Democrats either. Fortunately, moderates in the Senate and among both Republican and Democratic Governors are coming out and saying to build a pragmatic progressive centrist law that stabilizes and strengthens the current system that would benefit everyone. Hopefully, the President will show he can make a deal and persuade (drag kicking and screaming) the Republican Congressional Leadership and make a system that helps people keep their insurance at reasonable prices.

We need to better prepare for global involvement.

Very interesting editorial from Thomas Friedman in yesterday's New York Times which echoes sentiments written in earlier posts on this blog. A case can be made that the United States, in leaving the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and pulling out of the Paris Climate Accords, is creating a power vacuum that will eagerly be filled by China and to a lesser extent Germany and Russia. This is not the best way to sustain prosperity for our country and people. Now it is understandable that people rightfully think trade and climate deals can be a threat to their jobs and ways of live. Historically, people have lost jobs in industries like coal and manufacturing because some of them have been moved to other parts of the world where labor is cheaper. It is also a historical fact that automation and robotics have also taken a lot of these jobs. What this country has failed to do and needs to do is create a Department of Growth and Innovation so this nation is continually transitioning its people to the jobs, industries, and technologies of the future. While not full proof, such a department would help people displaced by global trends find ways to thrive and support themselves and their families. This is the United States and there is no reason why this could not be done here.

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Steve Benson

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Clay Bennett

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Mike Luckovich

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Gary Varvel

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Chris Britt

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Gary Markstein

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Potential Slippery Slope from the Supreme Court: The Case for funding a playground

While a lot of the attention to the end of the Supreme Court's term focused on the partial restoration of the Trump Travel Ban, a potentially more significant case involving the Trinity Lutheran Child Learning Center in Missouri in Missouri could create a slippery slope and long term impact on the public funding of religious organizations.

The Supreme Court, in a 7 to 2 ruling, said that the state of Missouri was wrong to deny potential access to state funds to the Not for Profit Learning Center so they could redo their playground. While virtually no one sees any harm in the Learning Center seeking aid for a playground, the slippery slope is using public funds for projects sponsored by a religious organization. It will be telling what a court will do when a religious not for profit attempts to push the envelope and seek public funds for textbooks with a religious orientation or restoration/renovation expenses to part of a chapel. This is indeed a slippery slope the courts should avoid falling down in.

This is insane: Putting liens on Flint residents for not paying their water bills.

8,000 residents in Flint. Michigan are in danger of losing their homes because they have not paid their water and sewage bills. This is insane because the state and the federal government should be bending over backward to fully make sure all Flint Homes and Residents are safe from the lead water contamination and also compensate them for any repairs needed to their residence. Comping their water utility bills for a time should be the least thing these bureaucrats can do. Get some common sense people.

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Jimmy Marguiles

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Clay Bennett

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Kevin Siers

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Gary Varvel

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Michael Ramirez

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Mike Luckovich

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Facts are stubborn things

The late Senator from New York, Daniel Patrick Moynihan once commented that Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.

The Senator was right but unfortunately "facts are stubborn things" as the below video links attest. Trump supporters, echoing the trend outlined in Thomas Frank's work What is the Matter with Kansas?, routinely support candidates and vote in elections that are contrary to their personal and the public interest. The Trump Budget does not really help the significant Rust Belt blue collar populace that helped swing the Electoral College to Trump last November. Nor does the Senate Health Care Bill which did not do away with the meanness of the House Bill and also lacks heart as 22,000,000 people may lose health insurance if the bill passes.

Hopefully, Trump supporters will get behind the bandwagon and urge the powers that be to drop the health care bills under consideration.

Obama made the same mistake as Johnson in 1968

When it became fairly obvious in 1968 that people working for Richard Nixon (and possibly Nixon himself) were sabotaging peace talks during the Vietnam War, President Johnson chose not to publicly expose the plot because he did not have 100 percent proof that the Nixon camp was meddling. History proved they were. By not exposing Nixon, the direction of our country profoundly changed as Vice President Hubert Humphrey lost a close election (500,000 vote margin).

President Obama made the same mistake in 2016. Even though it was fairly obvious what the Russians were up to, the President should have made a more forceful presentation of the situation. To not do so because Mitch McConnell or Donald Trump would have been mad and accused Obama of election tampering is nonsensical because the facts (read the next post on that) were on Obama's side. Being cautious may have been one of the factors that cost the Democrats the White House and Senate.

Hopefully, Special Counsel Mueller will investigate Senator McConnell on his involvement in this matter as well as others like Rudy Giluani and the New York F.B.I. office.

President Obama brought dignity, class, and honor to the Oval Office. He left with all of that intact and accomplished great achievements. However, he never (at least openly) mastered the Machiavellian trait of playing hardball. History, when it records the Obama legacy, may record that as well.

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Clay Bennett

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Adam Zyglis

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Bill Sanders

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of David Fitzsimmons

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Rob Rodgers

Monday, June 26, 2017

Call to Action courtesy of Desert Progressives

Desert Progressives Indivisible June 25, 2017
See you at our meeting THIS TUESDAY

Join us this Tuesday for some inspiration from our speaker, Dianne Post from the National Organization of Women (NOW). We're excited to have her help us learn how to be most effective in making change happen. We hope you'll join us to make a plan, set goals, and find our allies and resources. We'll also be updating everyone about action on the healthcare bill and Save Our Schools. See you at
Shadow Rock Congregational Church,
12861 N. 8th Ave, Phoenix,
7-8:30 pm on Tuesday, June 27
 ~Judy Schwiebert & Mickey Tucker
 LOCAL actions are in BLUENATIONAL actions in GREEN. EVENTS are in PURPLE.


Get Your Petitions Filled Up and Turned In!

Save Our Schools Arizona (SOS)
Stop & Sign/Training Events

We've all done an awesome job so far in getting petitions out, and we continue to have more petitions available. However, the FOCUS right now is on getting those petitions turned back in. If you have petitions out, please get them to us this week if at all possible. You can do that.....
  • Monday, June 26 at Starbucks, 3317 E Bell Rd, 5-7PM with Mickey 

  • OR Tuesday, June 27 at our Desert Progressives meeting, from 7-8:30 pm at Shadow Rock, 12861 N. 8th Ave, Phx.                                        

Help Save Our Schools Arizona!   Contact us if you need to meet up at a different time. Please also donate to SOS AZ, and sign up to volunteer in other capacities on the website. To join a daily sign-up crew, click here It's as easy as that!

Have you called Senators Flake and McCain to voice your objection to the Senate healthcare bill? Do it again!  Ask them to SPEAK OUT against this cruel bill.Indivisible is recommending this script: Hi. I’m calling from [ZIP] about the healthcare bill. (Share a story about your health and how not having coverage would hurt you--don’t hold back). I would like Sen. [name] to urge Mitch McConnell to slow the process down and conduct open, transparent hearings so the senate can create a bill Americans actually support.
Call Senator Flake at (202) 224-4521
Call Senator McCain at
 (202) 224-2235 


Write a letter to your Senators. You can use the sample from our Letter Library - just select No on Republican Senate Health Bill to download it and add names, addresses and your own personal comments and - better still, a story about how you or someone you love will be affected. 

Senator Flake, 413 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington DC 20510
Senator McCain, 218 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington DC 20510

Email our senators' healthcare staffers with your comments, personal stories and demands that our senators speak out against this terrible bill.

More information about the healthcare bill can be found in many places, including here.

From Jen Hofmann's  Action Checklist for Americans of Conscience
ReadWhat we lose if the president curtails press briefings more than he has.

Call: The White House Comment line 202-456-1111 (or email).
Script: Hi. I am concerned about the lack of open press briefings at the White House. I think a free press is essential to our democracy. I would like open, televised briefings from the president on a regular basis. Thank you.

Call/email: A news outlet you subscribe to or watch (list).
Script: Hi. I’m a subscriber/viewer and am concerned about the lack of open press briefings at the White House. I think a free press is essential to our democracy. Can you tell me what [org] is doing about this issue?

Ready for more?
Jen Hofmann's Action Checklist for Americans of Conscience
Jen includes several healthcare actions, however, there are numerous (okay, a lot of) topics not getting enough attention as a result of AHCA. This week's checklist is longer than usual as a result. Choose the issues that are most important to you and our democracy. Do what you can. 
If you're just learning about Jen's weekly action checklist, you can Sign up here to personally receive it each week in your Inbox. 

Even in the midst of a 122 degree summer, there are plenty of events where you can help resist Trump, stop and sign SOS AZ petitions,  stand up for healthcare, support progressive candidates and more. Get in the habit of checking them out here at - and then go to our Facebook page to invite others to join you!

Wrong priorities: Remember the majority of the American People do not want these policies.

In addition to the previous post which highlights the Administration's wrong approaches to people in the Islamic Community, this government is pursuing policies and procedures that go against what most people in this country believe or voted for in November. These include:

1) Not having open press briefings. What does it accomplish to visually shut down the press briefings? Seems rather petty.

2) Promoting a health care reform policy that hurts the people that need it the most and falsely blaming it on Democrats for not coming to the table. Click on the video link with Senator Manchin below. If Donald Trump or Mitch McConnell have not approached him, one of the most moderate Democrats in Congress on this, they have not approached any Democrat. There is also a reminder link below on Speaker Ryan (you know the "leader" who is supposed to be the Speaker of the whole House) who openly said he did not want to work with Democrats on health care.

3) Promoting energy initiatives on dying industries like coal while Republican Governors, Mayors,  and Legislators are regularly sponsoring bills that call for increased utilization of clean energy alternatives like wind and solar.

4) Putting out a budget that cuts funding for fighting diseases or possible pandemics. Please click on the What in the World Part of Fareed Zakaria below.

These are the wrong priorities for our country and progressives need to stand up and fight this reactionary wave.

More Stupid Moves towards Moslems

The President does not seem to get the old Lyndon Johnson adage (this is a paraphrase) "I would rather have them with me pissing outside the tent rather than against me pissing in."

By stopping the end of Ramadan Dinner Tradition and steering domestic counter-terrorist initiatives towards mostly potential Moslem threats, the President is:

1) Making it harder for the 99.9 percent of Moslems to be helpful citizens when the .1 exhibits signs of trouble.

2) Making it seem permissive for white terrorist groups to have more leeway in their activities against other groups.

3) Further reaffirming that his is pretty much a "Whites Only" administration.

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Joe Heller

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Kevin Kallaughar

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Recognizing the political realities of today.

Progressives need to recognize the political realities of today.

Even though most of the President's and the Republican parties ideas do not enjoy the support of the American People and even though Democrats performed better in the elections than is acknowledged (There are fewer Republicans in Congress today, Democrats made great inroads in traditionally deep red districts, and Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by almost three million votes), Democrats and Progressives need to consistently go on all media outlets and have three to five bullet points of how they would move the country forward. One example would be this:

1) Rebuilding America and leading the way here, around the world and beyond in clean energy and exploration.
2) Medicare for all
3) Safe and Clean Streets in our neighborhoods.
4) Political and Campaign Reform with term limits and cutting off corporate contributions.
5) Ladders for Education Success with free college at community colleges and state universities in exchange for two years of national service to serve the community.

Democrats and Progressives may also be served well by publicly proposing alternatives to the health care, tax reform, and infrastructure.

Most informed citizens already know what Democrats and Progressives stand for. Unfortunately, that is not the majority of the country and there needs to be a greater outreach effort.

Mel Brooks foresaw this in "History of the World Part One": Republicans do not care.

A very interesting video clip below from the Mel Brooks "A History of the World Part One" where the Roman Senate considers housing policies that could benefit the poor as opposed to policies that help the rich. The Senate votes no to helping the poor. This clip is prophetic because it shows how the Republican Party, in considering what they call health care reform, are putting up proposals that sacrifice people that need the government to be their advocates for people who will be fine no matter what.

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of David Horsey

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Tim Eagan

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Clay Bennett

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Adam Zyglis

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Gary Varvel

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Steve Sack

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Progressive Idea of the Week A repeat from last week: Medicare and Medicaid for all.

This weeks Progressive Idea of the Week is a repeat of last weeks because millions of people's medical conditions may be at stake.

With Republicans in the Senate looking to pass their version of healthcare reform along party lines without benefit of extensive hearings and offerings of amendments (The debate for Obamacare, in contrast, went over a year, had over 100 hearings, and allowed over 100 amendments, many from Republicans), the idea of Medicare or Medicaid for all has found new enthusiasm in the states. In fact, the Republican Senate has unveiled a proposal that is not much better than the House Version. Instead of 23 million people losing medical insurance, pre CBO forecasts say only 18,000,000 would lose insurance. That is 18,000,000 too many. The final CBO forecast should come out on Tuesday.

The time for Medicare/Medicaid for all is now.

California and New York state legislatures are or have put bills together. Nevada's legislature passed one but their governor vetoed it (It will probably come back in some form). Other states like Colorado are considering it. Medicare and Medicaid have widespread support in the country (as does Obamacare now) and is affordable through a slight increase in the payroll tax. Expanding it to everyone would be a program to campaign on should Obamacare (patterned on the Romneycare) be repealed with an inadequate replacement that does not serve the needs of the people.

Book of the Week

There are two selections this week for the Book of the Week:

The First is Jean Jacques Rousseau's  Emile  A work of the Enlightenment period, this book advocates the rule of the majority (or the General Will) as described in Rousseau's other work The Social Contract. In Emile, Rousseau goes further, advocating education for the populace so they are not manipulated by the people they elect to serve in government. Sounds like good advice for today.

As a bonus, the New York Times has gathered all the questionable statements President Trump has made this year. The link is below. FUN READING.

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Clay Bennett

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Steve Benson

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Nick Anderson

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Darren Bell

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Mike Luckovich

Friday, June 23, 2017

Trump Supporters Are About to get the Hosing of a Lifetime: They have to wakeup and realize Republicans do not care about them.

Trump Supporters Are About to get the Hosing of a Lifetime: They have to wake up and realize Republicans do not care about them.

With the Senate Republican unveiling of their version of health care reform, several realities have to become clear to supporters of the President (at least the ones who supported President Obama twice). These realities are:

1) The President has not produced a terrific health care plan where everyone will get the services they want at a lower price.

2) These are Social Darwinist-Survival of the Fittest Health Care Proposals where this is an okay plan if you are young and rich. You are screwed if you are poor or old.

3) This is one of the few pieces of legislation considered in history where the few benefit (the rich) at the expense of the needy.

4) The 13 Senators who crafted this legislation have all received significant campaign contributions from health care/pharmaceutical lobbyists that helped write the bill.

There was a feedback session conducted by Frank Luntz of CBS News the last few days of Trump supporters. The supporters faith in the President was astounding. One even said that the President had done more in his term than President Obama did in eight years. I did not know Trump had done anything like bringing the economy back from the abyss, saving the auto industry, enacting health care reform, investing in clean energy, and killing Osama Bin Laden in his first six months in office.

Frankly, the ignorance of segments of the Presidents supporters is breathtaking.  A Saturday Night Live Skit with Alec Baldwin as Trump captures it all. Now there are some groups in any political camp that can not be persuaded. That is a given. However, there should be segments of the population that should realize that while the Democratic Party does have ties with Corporate America, they are not the crony capitalists the Republican Party elites champion. Democrats and Progressives have historically over the last 80 years had the interests of the people at heart first. That has not changed. People who supported Bill Clinton and Barrack Obama and then switched to George W. Bush and Donald Trump should not be suckered because Bush and Trump projected a macho strength and daring than their better qualified and popular vote winning opponents did not. These people should also remember and not continue to reward the obstructionist party that stopped Clinton and Obama programs on health care and infrastructure spending. The Republican Party Leaders do not care about the people and laugh at them behind the scenes when they fall for their message and vote for them.

Progressives and Democrats have an opportunity to reach these people and try to persuade them (especially the ones who voted for Obama and Bill Clinton twice) to come back to the fold. It is not too late and even if the Republicans pass their version of healthcare, Progressives can run on a campaign of repeal and replace with Medicare/Medicaid for all. The time is now.

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Steve Sack

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Pat Bagley

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Rob Rogers

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Bill Sanders

Thursday, June 22, 2017

We have more in common than you think

Some of today's editorial cartoon selections struck me in that, over the last 45 years, certain influential groups have tailored their persuasive political and economic arguments to get supporters to go against "the other." It is the "other" that is lazy and greasing the welfare rolls from deserving people. It is the "other: that is conning the health care industry with frivolous lawsuits that drive up decent people's insurance rates. It is the "other" that has no sense of law and order and keeping our neighborhoods safe and clean. It is the "other" that sits atop their corporate mountaintop thumbing their nose at the little people who should be content with the crumbs that masquerade as their living wages.

These influential groups have divided us to the point where we forget what the great majority of this country has in common. Whether you live in a rural, urban, or suburban part of the country, red state or blue state, most people have the same pragmatic views towards life and moving forward. These views are that everyone is entitled to:

1) A Government that serves the people in an honest and noncorrupt fashion.
2) Quality public education shepherded by highly qualified and professional education leaders.
3) Quality and affordable health care where you can pick your own doctor.
4) Safe and clean communities where you should not have to worry what is in the pipes your drinking water flows through or walking/driving down the street and not getting pulled over by because you look different.
5) A living wage where people can support themselves and their families.
6) A fair and progressive tax policy (most in the upper class actually support this too).
7) Clean energy technologies that protect the environment.
8) Assistance programs to help people get started in life (Jobfare as opposed to Welfare).
9) Easier opportunities to vote and help the community.
10) The ability to help move the country and world forward.

Most people in this country subscribe to most if not all of these views. We have more in common than differences. We need to pull together and work together to make this a better community and nation.

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Adam Zyglis

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of RJ Matson

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Jeff Danzinger

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Matt Wuerker

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Rich Mckee

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Patrick Chappatte

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Lessons Learned: Reasons for hope after yesterdays special elections.

Would it have been nice had the Democrats won any of the Congressional Special Elections this year? Absolutely. But let us not lose our heads. While there is a lot of work that needs to be done in messaging, getting out the vote, and the recruitment of good progressive candidates, there is still a lot of reason for hope. Remember that these congressional seats were won in November by double digits. That was not the case in any of these special elections. Republican strength was seriously eroded and although they prevailed and they are putting up an exuberant public face, there are probably private worries about what will happen in Congressional Seats that were a lot closer than these four next year. Progressives and Democrats need to learn from these elections and build on them in order to be successful next year. Steps that should be taken are:

1) Come up with a national progressive pro-growth, pro-people message that could be customized to local areas.

2) Strike greater appeal to the groups that support them by large percentages but have not turned out in great numbers in recent Non-Obama elections.

3) Recruit solid, personable, progressive candidates who can connect with the voters in their states and districts.

4) Maybe have a changing of the guard in House Leadership. Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer are great public servants and have made historic contributions in moving our country forward. That said, the time may be right for new leadership who can lead the new generation.

Interesting Video on the recent issues in the Middle East

A very interesting video from journalist Chris Hedges show On Contact that discusses the current situation in the Middle East and North Africa. The theme that the United States and its allies did not formulate a strategy for how to transition these countries after wars is not new but people need to be reminded. The United States and its allies should have had a Marshall Plan vision for this area as well as a commitment for more troops to maintain order. Little is accomplished and more reactionary forces fill the vacuum when these post-war projects are done on the cheap.

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Clay Bennett

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Bill Day

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of David Fitzsimmons

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 ...