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Obama Fake News PSA by Jordan Peele

Obama Fake News PSA by Jordan Peele

Video technology has progressed to the “Well that’s pretty alarming” level.

I have no doubt that President Trump will soon use this example of believable, but fake video editing to tweet something like “See folks? I told you that wasn’t my voice on the Access Hollywood tape. Totally FAKE! Believe Me!!!” if he hasn’t already.

Of course we all know it was his voice on the tape, because Billy Bush confirmed it.

Approval Rating: Donald Trump Breaks Record for Fastest Majority Disapproval Ratings

Approval Rating: Donald Trump Breaks Record for Fastest Majority Disapproval Ratings

Donald Trump’s favorite topic

President Donald Trump spoke at the annual National Prayer Breakfast meeting this morning, and guess what he talked about? Himself! As in the Celebrity Apprentice reality television show’s approval rating with him as the host compared to the show’s ratings with Arnold Schwarzenegger as host.

“We know how that turned out. The ratings went right down the tubes. It’s been a total disaster, and I want to just pray for Arnold if we can, for those ratings”.

Donald Trump likes to make jokes about other people’s failures, and he cares way too much about his own success or lack thereof. That’s why he whined like a baby when he found out that more people attended and watched President Obama’s inauguration than his. He just couldn’t believe it and spoke forcefully about how more people attended and watched his inauguration even though the event photos, television ratings, and transportation data clearly show otherwise. He cried about it for over a week, and will probably continue to do so until he dies.

So you have to wonder what a man who is so concerned about ratings thinks about this:

Donald Trump’s 8 day approval-rating honeymoon

Eight days into his term and he hit a majority disapproval rating. Donald Trump won that race. Fastest ever!

In contrast, President Obama left office with a 37% disapproval rating and 59% approval rating.

Given the way Trump has governed during his first two weeks, he may never reach a majority approval rating. Seriously, he’s never appealed to more than 50% of voters and if he continues to cater to the hard right wackos in the party instead of reaching out to people on the other side, he never will.

The Dow Jones during the Bush Years and the Obama Years

The Dow Jones during the Bush Years and the Obama Years

UPDATED January 20, 2017 and moved to the top of the blog to show all of Obama’s term with all of Bush’s term:

Are you better off today than you were four eight years ago? The Dow Jones during the Bush years peaked and spiked, taking the market on a harrowing roller coaster ride. Well if you invested stayed in the market for the past eight years, I think the answer…

was YES! four years ago and the answer is YES!!! right now.

Here are two charts that illustrate how much better off your investments were under Obama’s tenure than Bush’s tenure:

Read More Read More

Americans now favor George W. Bush over Barack Obama

Americans now favor George W. Bush over Barack Obama

According to the latest CNN/ORC poll, Americans now have a more favorable opinion of George W. Bush than they do of President Barack Obama.

CNN reports:

According to the poll, 52% of adults had a favorable impression of George W. Bush, 43% unfavorable. When Bush left office in 2009, only about a third of Americans said they had a positive opinion of him. In a February 2009 poll conducted about a month after he left office, Republicans were the only group among which a majority said they had a favorable view of Bush. Even among self-described conservatives, only 50% had a favorable take on the former president and champion of “compassionate conservatism.”

Bush’s overall favorability has remained well below 50% for much of his time as a presidential alum. This new poll presents a notable shift.

As of a year ago, 46% had a favorable take on the former president, 51% an unfavorable one. Since then, Bush has gained in esteem among men (up 11 points), Republicans (up 10 points), those with household incomes under $50,000 (up 10 points), younger adults (up 9 points among those under age 50) and suburbanites (up 8 points).

Liberals, non-whites, and young people are still repulsed by him. That means the conservatives and old white people who had soured on him are starting to like him again.

The polls shows people are split 49% favorable to 49% unfavorable on Obama.

How does the president who was in charge when the stock market crashed and unemployment soared; who, along with his team of despicable lying war mongers, purposefully misled us into the Iraq War that has cost our country trillions of dollars have a more favorable rating than the president who has led us out of an economic catastrophe and is trying to extract us from never-ending, unwinnable wars in the Middle East?

Now I don’t know who’s dumber: George W. Bush or the unmindful people who favor him.

President Obama’s Selma Speech, March 7, 2015

President Obama’s Selma Speech, March 7, 2015

Last week the US Department of Justice released a scathing report on the racist practices of the Ferguson Police Department. The Atlantic covered the story in great detail here. And here by Ta-Nehisi Coates.

One should understand that the Justice Department did not simply find indirect evidence of unintentionally racist practices which harm black people, but “discriminatory intent”—that is to say willful racism aimed to generate cash. Justice in Ferguson is not a matter of “racism without racists,” but racism with racists so secure, so proud, so brazen that they used their government emails to flaunt it.

The emails including “jokes” depicting President Obama as a chimp, mocking how black people talk (“I be so glad that dis be my last child support payment!”), depicting blacks as criminals, welfare recipients, unemployed, lazy, and having “no frigging clue who their Daddies are.” This humor—given the imprimatur of government email—resulted in neither reprimand, nor protest, nor even a polite request to refrain from reoffending. “Instead,” according to the report, “the emails were usually forwarded along to others.”

The best response the issue of racism in Ferguson and everywhere else in America where the problem festers was the speech President Obama delivered yesterday to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Selma March.

You can read the transcript here.

It was very powerful, and it was the most pro-American speech I’ve heard by any politician in decades. Unlike his detractors (I’m thinking of the despicable Rudy Giuliani), Obama truly gets what this country is about and what really makes it exceptional. The final third of the speech was the best.

There’s nothing America can’t handle if we actually look squarely at the problem. And this is work for all Americans, not just some. Not just whites. Not just blacks. If we want to honor the courage of those who marched that day, then all of us are called to possess their moral imagination. All of us will need to feel as they did the fierce urgency of now. All of us need to recognize as they did that change depends on our actions, on our attitudes, the things we teach our children. And if we make such an effort, no matter how hard it may sometimes seem, laws can be passed, and consciences can be stirred, and consensus can be built.

Fellow marchers, so much has changed in 50 years. We have endured war and we’ve fashioned peace. We’ve seen technological wonders that touch every aspect of our lives. We take for granted conveniences that our parents could have scarcely imagined. But what has not changed is the imperative of citizenship; that willingness of a 26-year-old deacon, or a Unitarian minister, or a young mother of five to decide they loved this country so much that they’d risk everything to realize its promise.

That’s what it means to love America. That’s what it means to believe in America. That’s what it means when we say America is exceptional.

For we were born of change. We broke the old aristocracies, declaring ourselves entitled not by bloodline, but endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights. We secure our rights and responsibilities through a system of self-government, of and by and for the people. That’s why we argue and fight with so much passion and conviction — because we know our efforts matter. We know America is what we make of it.

Look at our history. We are Lewis and Clark and Sacajawea, pioneers who braved the unfamiliar, followed by a stampede of farmers and miners, and entrepreneurs and hucksters. That’s our spirit. That’s who we are.

We are Sojourner Truth and Fannie Lou Hamer, women who could do as much as any man and then some. And we’re Susan B. Anthony, who shook the system until the law reflected that truth. That is our character.

We’re the immigrants who stowed away on ships to reach these shores, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free –- Holocaust survivors, Soviet defectors, the Lost Boys of Sudan. We’re the hopeful strivers who cross the Rio Grande because we want our kids to know a better life. That’s how we came to be.

We’re the slaves who built the White House and the economy of the South. We’re the ranch hands and cowboys who opened up the West, and countless laborers who laid rail, and raised skyscrapers, and organized for workers’ rights.

We’re the fresh-faced GIs who fought to liberate a continent. And we’re the Tuskeegee Airmen, and the Navajo code-talkers, and the Japanese Americans who fought for this country even as their own liberty had been denied.

We’re the firefighters who rushed into those buildings on 9/11, the volunteers who signed up to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq. We’re the gay Americans whose blood ran in the streets of San Francisco and New York, just as blood ran down this bridge.

We are storytellers, writers, poets, artists who abhor unfairness, and despise hypocrisy, and give voice to the voiceless, and tell truths that need to be told.

We’re the inventors of gospel and jazz and blues, bluegrass and country, and hip-hop and rock and roll, and our very own sound with all the sweet sorrow and reckless joy of freedom.

We are Jackie Robinson, enduring scorn and spiked cleats and pitches coming straight to his head, and stealing home in the World Series anyway.

We are the people Langston Hughes wrote of who “build our temples for tomorrow, strong as we know how.” We are the people Emerson wrote of, “who for truth and honor’s sake stand fast and suffer long;” who are “never tired, so long as we can see far enough.”

That’s what America is. Not stock photos or airbrushed history, or feeble attempts to define some of us as more American than others. We respect the past, but we don’t pine for the past. We don’t fear the future; we grab for it. America is not some fragile thing. We are large, in the words of Whitman, containing multitudes. We are boisterous and diverse and full of energy, perpetually young in spirit. That’s why someone like John Lewis at the ripe old age of 25 could lead a mighty march.

And that’s what the young people here today and listening all across the country must take away from this day. You are America. Unconstrained by habit and convention. Unencumbered by what is, because you’re ready to seize what ought to be.

It was expertly delivered and very well received, and because of that, I’m sure I’ll soon be hearing about all the Obama haters who will say it was a terrible speech.

Happy Birthday to Dr. Seuss

Happy Birthday to Dr. Seuss

Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, was born on March 2, 1904. He died on September 24, 1991 at the age of 87. Visit a cartoon rendition of his office and read a short biography here.

Dr. Seuss was best known as the author and illustrator of many children’s books including The Cat in the Hat, Horton Hears a Who!, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas!. But he had another career as a political cartoonist for a liberal New York City daily paper, PM during World War II. He drew more than 400 editorial cartoons for the paper from April 1941 through January 1943. He was highly critical of isolationists like Lindbergh; he also loathed racists, and he didn’t really care much at all for Congress, especially the Republicans and some conservative Democrats who organized the Conservative Coalition with the purpose of dismantling Roosevelt’s New Deal. Here’s one Seuss did for the May 18, 1942 edition of the paper. (via brainpickings.org)

Suess Congressional Wrecking Crew 5-18-42 crop reduce

Seventy-three years have gone by, and Conservatives are still trying to destroy America’s social safety net. All it would take to update this cartoon would be to replace “F.D.R.” with “Obama”.

Some things never change. Probably never will.

The State of the Union of Obama Haters is Strong

The State of the Union of Obama Haters is Strong

Last week Rudy Giuliani was all over the news and late night shows because he said he didn’t believe that President Obama loved America. Then he made it worse with his attempts to back peddle out of it. I was going to put up a post about it, but I didn’t because I didn’t have the time and the site was down and anyway a whole lot of people covered it better than I would have. (The Daily Show and The Nightly Show)

But today I read a post by Jonathan Capehart post for the Post Partisan blog. The post starts with Governor Scott Walker’s response to a question about whether he believed Obama was a Christian or not. He replied with “I’ve never asked him that…You’ve asked me to make statements about people that I haven’t had a conversation with about that.” But there’s plenty of video evidence out there showing Obama saying he is a Christian. The question is really, do you believe what he’s telling you and, if not, then why? Walker avoided the question.

Capehart then cites polls showing 70% of Republicans don’t think or don’t know that Obama is a Christian, he then quotes a few other people who’ve said incredibly hateful things about the president that have absolutely no basis in reality. Read the ignorant, racist remarks by Larry Klayman and David Jackson, and then answer me this:

Why do so many Republicans hate Obama so much? Do they really believe all the lies about him? Can they not believe what they actually hear him say and see him do on television? Their own lying eyes? Amazing to me… frightening that the Republican party can pander to these people for votes and get away with it.

Morning in America or “Mourning” in America?

Morning in America or “Mourning” in America?

It depends on your point of view.

Production vs Comp graph

If you are one of those owners of capital at the top, well it’s been GREAT! But if you are a regular working Joe, not good at all.

From the graph you can see that everyone’s income went up along with productivity until around 1973. A divergence started and stayed fairly close until around 1980. Then in 1984, we heard this in and ad for President Reagan:

It’s morning again in America. Today more men and women will go to work than ever before in our country’s history. With interest rates at about half the record highs of 1980, nearly 2,000 families today will buy new homes, more than at any time in the past four years. This afternoon 6,500 young men and women will be married, and with inflation at less than half of what it was just four years ago, they can look forward with confidence to the future. It’s morning again in America, and under the leadership of President Reagan, our country is prouder and stronger and better. Why would we ever want to return to where we were less than four short years ago?

Well, maybe because even though the economy was in the doldrums for a few years preceding 1980, at least the wealth was kinda sorta still being shared. But after that, not at all.

And after Reagan we had George H. W. Bush, then Clinton, then W, and now Obama. And not one of them have been able to change the rules in our country that allow the richest of the rich to get richer and richer as the bottom 99% fall behind.

The rules of the game are rigged in favor of those who already have great wealth. If you read the article in The Atlantic where I found the graph, you’ll learn more about how and why the divergence started and continues to expand, and you’ll find out what might happen if we don’t do anything about it (it’s not good), and what we could do to start to close the gap. (Hint: spend money to improve the education of our population and improve our failing infrastructure).

If the rich want to avoid a revolution, they better start looking out for the health and welfare of the communities that supply them with workers; first by sharing the wealth that comes from increased productivity with their workers, and second by encouraging local governments to increase spending to repair our decaying infrastructure systems.

Voting in Republicans to control the Congress and more states is a truly dumb idea.

Voting in Republicans to control the Congress and more states is a truly dumb idea.

In the first two years of his presidency Barak Obama and a Democratic majority in Congress saved the United States auto industry from bankruptcy, enacted a stimulus package that effectively cushioned a collapsing economy and likely prevented another Great Depression, passed the Dodd Frank law to make it much less likely we will suffer another banking meltdown in the future and, last but not least, enacted the Affordable Care Act which is already driving down the rate of medically uninsured Americans and promises to reduce it still further in future years.

In 2010, however, a Republican takeover of the US House of Representatives effectively ended any possibility for further problem solving from the federal government as the GOP House majority, and a filibuster-happy GOP minority in the US Senate, blocked additional efforts to boost the economy and, indeed, sought to do further damage to it by slashing government spending at a time when the private sector was still contracting.

Despite the GOP’s destructive efforts, however, the US economy has improved significantly albeit much more slowly than would have been the case had we enacted another stimulus heavy with infrastructure spending, as Obama and Democrats wanted. In fact, congressional Republicans by their unprecedented obstructionism have behaved as though they wanted the economy to remain in the tank just to score political points.

And they appear to have succeeded. Polls show it is all but certain that the country will vote next Tuesday for full Republican control of the Congress, and an expansion of that party’s control of governorships and state legislatures. Even millennials seem to be deserting Democrats, and lukewarm support from women cannot balance strong support for the GOP among (white) men. In short things appear pretty bleak.

But it would be useful to know what policies embraced by Republicans have won the support of the electorate in this election cycle.

Is it the Republican desire to unravel environmental laws and rules such as those to reduce carbon emissions from coal-fired plants or to drastically expand drilling for oil and gas on public lands and off-shore? Is it their enthusiasm for slashing food aid and other crucial support for America’s poorest citizens?

Or perhaps it is the GOP’s oft-stated intention to repeal the Affordable Care Act and strip 10 million Americans of their newly acquired health coverage that appeals to the electorate? But there again, maybe it’s the party’s economic agenda to cut taxes on corporations and the wealthy while blocking any move to increase the minimum wage that attracts voters?

Many believe the 2014 midterm elections don’t matter but I disagree and here’s just one example from The New Republic  to illustrate why.  To summarize, if the conservative and somewhat erratic GOP governor of Maine is defeated, 70,000 low-income residents of the state stand to gain health insurance through the ACA’s Medicaid expansion. If he‘s re-elected, they don’t. That’s pretty simple but the lives of real people who struggle every day will be affected.

In 2010 a wave of GOP state-level victories led directly, as in Maine, to a denial of health care coverage for millions of Americans. Let’s not make the same mistake in 2014.

All elections matter so get off your duff; make the right choice and VOTE on November 4th!

Overwrought about ISIS

Overwrought about ISIS

You could be forgiven for feeling a strong sense of déjà vu these past months at the barrage of dire pronouncements on the urgent threat posed by the terrorist group known as ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, sometimes substituting “Levant” for “Syria” for ISIL). Flashback to 2003 and the overwrought nonsense we heard in the run up to the invasion of Iraq.

Only then we had an administration that was leading the charge for war and mounting a campaign of misinformation and exaggeration to bamboozle Americans into supporting an invasion; now, ironically, we have a president who has been trying, with limited success, to proceed with caution and calm deliberation in the face of overheated rhetoric and fear mongering not merely from right-wing politicians and pundits, but from the mainstream media; a loud and constant clamoring for a strategy to defeat ISIS not only in Iraq where, arguably, we bear some responsibility given our ties to the country, but also in Syria.

Obama recognizes, as so many of his detractors seem not to, that Syria in particular represents a veritable minefield of challenges in a region where, on balance, we have done more harm than good by our interventions in the last two decades. In fact the very existence of ISIS can be traced to the bloody aftermath of the United States invasion of Iraq.

To intervene in Iraq is one thing, and the Obama administration has made a good start by maneuvering Maliki out of office (using the threat of ISIS and the prospect of US military aid as leverage) and using airpower to assist the Kurds in the north and secure certain strategic objectives such as the Mosul dam.

But airpower alone cannot take back the areas currently occupied by ISIS and it will likely take 1-2 years to build up the confidence and military readiness of the Iraqi army so it won’t crumble like Swiss cheese during any campaign to take back Anbar and the north of Iraq from ISIS.  A prerequisite to ultimate success will also require an alliance with the Sunni tribes whom Maliki succeeded all too well in alienating to the point where, in 2014, they shrugged off any loyalty to the Iraqi state and stood by while ISIS humiliated the latter’s army.

This part of Obama’s strategy (which contrary to the braying of Fox News and the mainstream Sunday talk show hosts and their guests, was always clear) makes perfect sense; his decision to cave to the pressure and intervene in Syria, much less so.

Syria is a chaotic mess but, for once in the Middle East, we had nothing to do with it. There were sound reasons for not getting involved and the success of ISIS in rising from the chaos doesn’t alter that fact.

The truth is that ISIS is not a direct threat to the US in the short to medium term and probably beyond. Unlike al-Qaida (which Obama has eviscerated during his tenure) the focus of ISIS has never been on the US but on creating a Sunni-dominated caliphate in the Middle East. It’s a threat to Middle East stability, no question, but not specifically to us, Senator Lindsey Graham’s dire warnings notwithstanding (that guy really needs to take his anxiety meds).

Obama was castigated for not having a strategy for Syria but that was actually a good thing since the choices are all bad. Bombing ISIS will have limited effect and is just as likely to help Assad as hurt ISIS; finding let alone training and equipping moderate Syrian rebels to be the ground component is tough and there’s no guarantee they’ll fight ISIS rather than Assad; and hands up everyone who wants to see US ground forces in Syria as do Senators McCain and Graham.

Obama’s initial instincts appear to have been to fight ISIS in Iraq but not in Syria. He should have stuck with them.