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TomCADem's Journal
TomCADem's Journal
January 31, 2017

Gallup: GOP Maintains Edge in State Party Affiliation in 2016

2018 could be a real bloodbath with more Democratic Senate seats in play than Republicans. Republicans could gain a filibuster proof majority in two years to give Trump absolute power.


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Republican states continue to outnumber Democratic states based on residents' party affiliation throughout 2016. Overall, Gallup classifies 21 states as solid or leaning Republican, 14 as solid or leaning Democratic, and 15 states as competitive. That seven-state GOP advantage contrasts with a 30-state Democratic advantage in 2008.

Although there are more Republican states, the Democratic states tend to be more populous. As a result, Democrats maintain a slight edge in party affiliation nationwide, 47% to 42%. This Democratic advantage, too, has declined considerably since 2008, one of the stronger Democratic years on record, when Democrats led 52% to 40%. That year, Republican President George W. Bush's job approval ratings hovered around 30% as the nation dealt with the worst economic problems seen in generations, while still engaged in two prolonged wars overseas.

Gallup's state party affiliation scores represent the difference between the percentage of Democrats (including Democratic-leaning independents) and Republicans (including Republican-leaning independents) in each state. Including party "leaners" in this calculation helps ensure the metric provides a good indication of each party's strength in a state, because independents who express a party leaning typically vote for that party in elections.

States in which a party has a 10-percentage-point or greater advantage in party affiliation are considered "solid" for that party. States in which a party has a five- to nine-point advantage are considered "leaning" for that party. The remaining states, those in which the percentages of Republicans and Democrats are within five percentage points of each other, are considered "competitive." The full data for all states are shown at the end of the article.

January 30, 2017

Jihadist groups hail Trumps travel ban as a victory

Source: Washington Post

Jihadist groups on Sunday celebrated the Trump administration’s ban on travel from seven Muslim-majority countries, saying the new policy validates their claim that the United States is at war with Islam.

Comments posted to pro-Islamic State social media accounts predicted that President Trump’s executive order would persuade American Muslims to side with the extremists. One posting hailed the U.S. president as “the best caller to Islam,” while others predicted that Trump would soon launch a new war in the Middle East.

“[Islamic State leader Abu Bakr] al-Baghdadi has the right to come out and inform Trump that banning Muslims from entering America is a ‘blessed ban,’” said one posting to a pro-Islamic State channel on Telegram, a social-media platform. The writer compared the executive order to the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, which Islamic militant leaders at the time hailed as a “blessed invasion” that ignited anti-Western fervor across the Islamic world.

Several postings suggested that Trump was fulfilling the predictions of Anwar al-Awlaki, the American born al-Qaeda leader and preacher who famously said that the “West would eventually turn against its Muslim citizens.” Awlaki was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen in 2011.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/jihadist-groups-hail-trumps-travel-ban-as-a-victory/2017/01/29/50908986-e66d-11e6-b82f-687d6e6a3e7c_story.html?utm_campaign=pubexchange&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=huffingtonpost.com&utm_term=.bb9ce0ca15c2

January 29, 2017

Kellyanne Conway: I Was Stopped Many Times After 9/11 Though I Dont Resemble Terrorists

I am sure this was followed by, "I am not being racist. This is just common sense."


WASHINGTON ― Kellyanne Conway, top advisor to President Donald Trump, suggested on Sunday that she understands what it’s like for immigrants and refugees to be detained at U.S. airports because her own travels were slowed down after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

“I was stopped many times ... after 9/11,” she said on “Fox News Sunday.” “I didn’t resemble, or share a name with, or be part of any kind of terrorist conspiracy, but this is what we do to keep a nation safe.”

Conway was defending Trump’s sweeping executive order on immigration, which halts refugee resettlement for 120 days, bans Syrian refugees from entering the U.S., and for 90 days blocks individuals from seven Muslim-majority countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Scores of immigrants and refugees were detained at U.S. airports over the weekend as protesters around the country demanded for them to be let go.

Late Saturday night, a federal judge in Brooklyn, New York, temporarily blocked parts of Trump’s immigration ban, ruling that sending refugees back to their home countries could cause “irreparable harm.”
January 29, 2017

WH: No mention of Jews on Holocaust Remembrance Day because others were killed too

Source: CNN

Washington (CNN)The White House statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day didn't mention Jews or anti-Semitism because "despite what the media reports, we are an incredibly inclusive group and we took into account all of those who suffered," administration spokeswoman Hope Hicks told CNN on Saturday.

Hicks provided a link to a Huffington Post UK story noting that while 6 million Jews were killed by the Nazis, 5 million others were also slaughtered during Adolf Hitler's genocide, including "priests, gypsies, people with mental or physical disabilities, communists, trade unionists, Jehovah's Witnesses, anarchists, Poles and other Slavic peoples, and resistance fighters."

Asked if the White House was suggesting President Donald Trump didn't mention Jews as victims of the Holocaust because he didn't want to offend the other people the Nazis targeted and killed, Hicks replied, "it was our honor to issue a statement in remembrance of this important day."

The presidential reference to the "innocent people" victimized by the Nazis without a mention of Jews or anti-Semitism by the White House on International Holocaust Remembrance Day was a stark contrast to statements by former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/28/politics/white-house-holocaust-memorial-day/

Wow, Republicans are even going "All Lives Matter" on Jews on Holocaust Remembrance Day.
January 28, 2017

I am heartbroken: Malala criticizes Trump for closing the door on children fleeing violence

Source: Washington Post

Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl who survived being shot in the head by the Taliban and went on to become an internationally-known advocate for girls' education and children's rights, said she is “heartbroken” over President Trump's executive order temporarily banning refugees from entering the United States.

“I am heartbroken that today President Trump is closing the door on children, mothers and fathers fleeing violence and war,” Malala said in a statement Friday through her nonprofit organization, the Malala Fund. “I am heartbroken that America is turning its back on a proud history of welcoming refugees and immigrants — the people who helped build your country, ready to work hard in exchange for a fair chance at a new life.”

Trump on Friday signed orders not only to suspend admission of all refugees into the United States for 120 days but also to implement “new vetting measures” to screen out “radical Islamic terrorists.” Refugee entry from Syria, however, would be suspended indefinitely, and all travel from Syria and six other nations — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen — are suspended for 90 days. Trump also said he would give priority to Christian refugees over those of other religions.

Referring to those criteria, Malala called out Trump for discriminating against children from those countries who have found themselves helplessly caught up in war.

Read more: http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/%E2%80%98i-am-heartbroken%E2%80%99-malala-criticizes-trump-for-%E2%80%98closing-the-door-on-children%E2%80%99-fleeing-violence/ar-AAmlII3?li=BBnb7Kz

January 28, 2017

Trump Protests: Marches on Washington 2017

March against corruption, for the environment or against hate? Or, sit back, surrender, and console yourself that you are not currently being targeted as a scapegoat by Republicans.


Following the 2017 Inauguration, a number of groups that oppose the policies of President Donald J. Trump are continuing to organize marches, protests, and rallies in Washington DC and other locations in the United States. On January 21, 2017, the day following the day that Trump was sworn in as President, the Women’s March on Washington brought together millions of people around the world to make their voices heard on issues such as gender-based violence, reproductive rights and women’s health, LGBT rights, worker’s rights, civil rights, immigrant rights, religious freedom, environmental justice and more. The March was a first step for many participants and additional events are being planned for the coming year

April 15, 2017 - Tax Day March on Washington - Expose Trump's conflicts of interests.


April 29, 2017 - People's Climate March - March for jobs, justice and the climate


June 11, 2017 - LGBTQ National Pride March - Members of the community are ready to stand up for their rights in the Donald Trump era.


TBD - March on Washington for Science - Because alternative facts suck.

January 27, 2017

How do You Get Progressives To Support A Regressive Sales Tax? Call It An Import Tax!

Aim at Chinese and Mexican consumer imported goods, then use the additional revenues to fund Trump's proposed personal income tax cuts that primarily benefit the rich. In addition, by taxing imports from Mexico, Trump will claim that Mexico is paying for his wall even though it really American consumers that are paying for the wall through this consumption based tax.

Does Trump's 20 percent tax on imported goods sounds familiar? Well, perhaps because Steve Forbes proposed something similar back in the 90s as a means of funding a tax cut for the rich.


Don’t Buy the Sales Tax

The tax reform panacea in vogue several years ago was the flat tax. This go around, it’s the retail sales tax. Advocates praise the simplicity, the potential for economic growth, the enforceability, and the fairness of a tax system based on consumption. But when examined closely, the simplicity breaks down, payments would be close to impossible to collect, and the tax’s fairness would be, at best, questionable. Nonetheless, more plausible consumption and income tax reform plans should not be ignored.

The politics of tax reform are cyclical, and once again, we’re hearing the call for sweeping change. The flat tax and the idea of fundamental tax reform dominated policy discussions in 1995 and the early part of 1996. These proposals aimed to replace the income tax, drastically simplify taxes, and spur economic growth by flattening tax rates, eliminating tax preferences, and taxing consumption rather than income. In 1997, however, Congress and the President moved in essentially the opposite direction. The Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 showered new deductions and credits on various groups of taxpayers, made taxes more complicated, and raised effective marginal tax rates for many people.

Now, as 1998 begins, there are once again renewed calls to tear out the income tax and start over. Although the flat tax has certainly not disappeared, the newest plan to attract significant attention is a national retail sales tax. Representatives Dan Schaefer (R-Colo.) and Billy Tauzin (R-La.) have proposed a 15 percent sales tax which they claim will replace the personal and corporate income taxes and the estate tax. A group called Americans for Fair Taxation has launched a multimillion dollar campaign to replace income, estate, and payroll taxes with what they claim would be a 23 percent sales tax. These plans would tax almost all private consumption and all government expenditures. Ways and Means Chairman Bill Archer (R-Texas) has indicated general support for a sales tax but to date has officially kept his options open.

* * *
Even if the tax were enforceable at these rates, the implied effects on economic growth would be small at best, and certain sectors of the economy, such as employer-provided health insurance, could be affected significantly. The sales tax would raise burdens on low- and middle-income households and sharply cut taxes on the top 1 percent.

January 25, 2017

House science chairman: 'Get your news directly from the president'

Source: CNN

Washington (CNN)The chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee is asking Americans to trust the information they get from the President over the news produced by the media.

Republican Rep. Lamar Smith saluted President Donald Trump from the floor of the House on Tuesday evening, rattling off his first-week accomplishments but saying Trump is not getting the press coverage he deserves.

"The national liberal media won't print that, or air it or post it," Smith said. "Better to get your news directly from the President. In fact, it might be the only way to get the unvarnished truth."

Trump has been called out for highlighting falsehoods and conspiracy theories during his political career and has repeatedly attacked the mainstream press as pushing "fake news."

Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/25/politics/lamar-smith-donald-trump-news/index.html

My act of resistance today was to pay for a subscription to The NY Times to support independent news media.
January 23, 2017

Propublica - Trump Promised to Resign From His Companies But Theres No Record Hes Done So

Do you remember the news conference with stacks of folders indicating that Trump has transferred control of his companies? Turns out that it just bullshit as of now. Maybe he will get around for it for his next term.


At a news conference last week, now-President Donald Trump said he and his daughter, Ivanka, had signed paperwork relinquishing control of all Trump-branded companies. Next to him were stacks of papers in manila envelopes — documents he said transferred “complete and total control” of his businesses to his two sons and another longtime employee.

Sheri Dillon, the Trump attorney who presented the plan, said that Trump “has relinquished leadership and management of the Trump Organization.” Everything would be placed in a family trust by Jan. 20, she said.

That hasn’t happened.

To transfer ownership of his biggest companies, Trump has to file a long list of documents in Florida, Delaware and New York. We asked officials in each of those states whether they have received the paperwork. As of 3:15 p.m. today, the officials said they have not.
January 22, 2017

Franken emerges as liberal force in hearings

Glad that Al Franken is taking it to Trump's cabinet picks.


Sen. Al Franken stole the spotlight at the confirmation hearings for President Trump’s Cabinet picks, giving a glimpse into how he plans to hold the new administration accountable.

* * *
Franken used his time on the dais to grill Trump’s Cabinet-level picks at several hearings on topics ranging from healthcare to immigration. Some of his fiery exchanges produced memorable moments that captivated social media and grabbed national headlines.

The senator’s sharp questioning was first on display at the hearing for Sen. Jeff Sessions, Trump’s attorney general nominee, last Tuesday. Franken took the Alabama Republican to task over Trump’s claim that millions of people cast fraudulent votes for Hillary Clinton, and questioned whether Sessions had inflated the number of desegregation cases he prosecuted.

"Our country needs an attorney general who doesn't overstate his involvement," Franken said, agitating Sessions.

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