Monday, February 08, 2016

One Person

There's Still Too Much Misogyny In The United States

This chart was made from results of a Washington Post / Kaiser Family Foundation Poll -- done between May 21st and June 17th of a random national sample of 1,610 adults, and has a 3 point margin of error. It shows that only 60% of women and 33% of men say they are feminists, while 32% of women and 55% of men say they are not feminists. Frankly, I find those numbers shocking.

I don't understand. Do people still believe the old right-wing lie that feminism is a lesbian plot against men? Surely not. I'd like to think Americans are smarter than that. Do they still think that equality is a zero-sum game -- and if one group is given rights, then another group must lose rights? I hope not, because that is a stupid idea (whether applied to women, race, or the LGBT community). Making sure all people have the same rights does not take rights away from anyone.

Maybe people just don't understand the term feminism. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines feminism as "the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities". That's it. If you believe that, then you are a feminist.

How could anyone not be a feminist? Do you really believe more than half of our population should have less rights and opportunities than the rest? Do you really believe your mother, wife, sister, daughter, aunt, niece, or female cousin or friend should have less rights and opportunities than men have?

Personally, I believe we are either feminists or misogynists. There is no middle ground. You either believe women should have equal rights and opportunities or you don't, and if you don't then you are
a misogynist (prejudiced against women).

I have always been proud to call myself a feminist, and I simply don't understand why all Americans aren't the same way.

Road To Defeat

Political Cartoon is by Tom Toles in The Washington Post.

Electing A Socialist President In U.S. Is Just Not Realistic

Many progressives and young people are deluding themselves. They have become excited about the candidacy of Bernie Sanders, and because they are willing to believe, they think most Americans can be convinced to do the same. One look at the chart above should show that is not a realistic hope.

The chart above, from the Gallup Poll, was done with interviews of a random sample of 177,991 adults throughout 2015. It shows the percentage in each state that self-identify as conservative, moderate, or liberal. Note that only one state (Vermont) has a larger percentage of liberals than either moderates or conservatives. And only two other states (Massachusetts and Rhode Island) have more liberals than conservatives (although both groups are outnumbered by moderates). In all other states, both moderates and conservatives outnumber the liberals.

And that's just liberals. You can bet that most Americans consider socialism to be significantly to the left of liberalism. It is hard enough to get good liberals elected in this country, and it would be impossible to get an avowed socialist elected -- especially after the Republicans started running ads against him (calling him not just a socialist but also a communist).

I am old enough to remember the last time the progressives and the young combined to nominate a leftist to be their nominee -- George McGovern in 1972. McGovern was a good man, and would have made a good president, but Americans saw him as too far to the left -- and the result was disastrous. McGovern carried only one state, and lost the electoral vote 520 to 17.

I know the Bernie supporters claim this is nothing like what happened in 1972, but I disagree. I see many parallels. In 1972, a candidate was nominated that excited Democrats, and in 2016 many Democrats are excited by Sanders. But we need to realize that progressives (or even all Democrats) won't be electing a president (and neither will the Republicans). The next president will be elected because he or she won over most of the moderate independents -- and that isn't going to happen if a socialist is nominated.

And nominating a socialist would also hurt down-ballot Democrats (most of whom would separate themselves from the national ticket to survive). But many would not survive, because they will be tainted by Bernie's socialism.

I am glad Vermont sent Bernie to Congress, and I think he's a great senator. But getting elected senator from Vermont (the most liberal state in the nation) is a lot different from getting elected was the nation's president. We need to remember that politics is the art of the possible --n and right now, it's just not possible for a 74 year old socialist to be elected.


Political Cartoon is by Steve Sack in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Iowa Put A Dent In Trump Inevitability

This is the latest result from the Rasmussen Poll on the likelihood of Donald Trump being the GOP presidential nominee. The survey was done on February 3rd and 4th of a random national sample of 1,000 likely voters, with a margin of error of 3 points.

It looks like losing the Iowa caucuses has caused some to change their minds about Trump being the likely GOP nominee. Before Iowa, 74% of Republicans and 63% of the general public said Trump was the likely nominee. After Iowa, only 61% of Republicans and 52% of the general public think that. That's a 13 point drop among Republicans, and an 11 point drop in the general public.

Does it mean he can't win? Not at all. He would still have to be considered the favorite -- especially if he wins New Hampshire and South Carolina, and he has significant leads in both states. But it does show he's not infallible, and if he wants to win, he's going to have to take things more serious than he has in the past.


Political Cartoon is by Mike Luckovich in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

A Fraction Of A Dot

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Religions Of Peace ?

Americans Think The Republican Party Favors The Rich

These charts were made from Pew Research Center surveys done in December and January of 3,509 adult Americans. They show some good and some bad news for Democrats. The good news is that a majority of Americans (62%) think the Republicans favor the rich over everyone else.

The bad news is in the two charts below. The bottom chart shows that while about 31% think the Democrats favor the poor (and 2% say the Republicans do). Those numbers show that Americans think both parties don't pay much attention to the poor.

But the worst chart concerns the middle class -- the group that will provide the majority of the votes in the 2016 election. It seems that most Americans think both parties ignore the middle class when they propose policies. Only 32% say the Democrats favor the middle class, and 26% say the Republicans do.

The party that convinces middle class voters they are on their side will win the presidential election -- and right now neither party is doing a very good job of that. It's good that most people think the Republicans favor the rich, but that is not enough. Democrats need to let the middle class know how their policies will help them.

Brain Damage

Political Cartoon is by Mike Luckovich in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Summary Of All N.H. Democratic Polls Since Iowa Caucuses

The chart above shows all of the Democratic polls done in New Hampshire since the Iowa caucuses. They are:

NBC/WSJ/Marist Poll (Feb 2-3) -- 567 likely voters with 4.1 point moe.

Travis Marketing Poll (Feb 2-4) -- 702 likely voters with 3.7 point moe.

CNN/WMUR Poll (Feb 2-4) -- 228 likely voters with 6.5 point moe.

Boston Globe/Suffolk Poll (Feb 2-4) -- 500 likely voters with 4.4 point moe.

WBUR/MassINC Poll (Feb 2-4) -- 393 likely voters with 4.9 point moe.

American Research Group Poll (Feb 4-5) -- 405 likely voters with 5 point moe.

UMass/7News Poll (Feb 3-5) -- 433 likely voters with 5.2 point moe.

GOP Officials Address Water Crisis

Political Cartoon is by Nick Anderson in the Houston Chronicle.

Least And Most Religious States In The United States

This view of the least and most religious states is from the Gallup Poll. It comes from Gallup Polls done between January 1st and December 31st of 174.745 adults in all 50 states, and has a margin of error of only 1 point. They determined the religiosity of a state by looking at the percentage of people in that state who said religion was very important to them.

There was a pretty big difference among the states -- with Mississippi being the most religious (63%) and New Hampshire being the least religious (20%). I thought it was interesting that only 8 states had a majority of their citizens saying religion was very important to them. I think that speaks to the growing secularization of this country.

Too Much Nonsense

Political Cartoon is by John Cole in the Scranton Times-Tribune.

President Obama's Speech At The Baltimore Mosque

(This image of the president signing an autograph at Baltimore mosque is from whitehouse.gov.)

President Obama spoke to muslims at a Baltimore mosque on February 3rd -- and right-wing heads across the country exploded. That was more than a bit ridiculous, since they had nothing bad to say when President Bush did the same only six days after 9/11. It just goes to show the hatred of right-wingers for President Obama -- where they condemn him for things they wouldn't mind a Republican doing.

The president actually made a good speech. Here is most of what he had to say that day:

So the first thing I want to say is two words that Muslim Americans don’t hear often enough -- and that is, thank you.  Thank you for serving your community.  Thank you for lifting up the lives of your neighbors, and for helping keep us strong and united as one American family.  We are grateful for that.  (Applause.) 
Now, this brings me to the other reason I wanted to come here today.  I know that in Muslim communities across our country, this is a time of concern and, frankly, a time of some fear.  Like all Americans, you’re worried about the threat of terrorism.  But on top of that, as Muslim Americans, you also have another concern -- and that is your entire community so often is targeted or blamed for the violent acts of the very few. 
The Muslim American community remains relatively small --several million people in this country.  And as a result, most Americans don’t necessarily know -- or at least don't know that they know -- a Muslim personally.  And as a result, many only hear about Muslims and Islam from the news after an act of terrorism, or in distorted media portrayals in TV or film, all of which gives this hugely distorted impression. 
And since 9/11, but more recently, since the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, you’ve seen too often people conflating the horrific acts of terrorism with the beliefs of an entire faith.  And of course, recently, we’ve heard inexcusable political rhetoric against Muslim Americans that has no place in our country.
No surprise, then, that threats and harassment of Muslim Americans have surged.  Here at this mosque, twice last year, threats were made against your children.  Around the country, women wearing the hijab -- just like Sabah -- have been targeted. We’ve seen children bullied.  We’ve seen mosques vandalized.  Sikh Americans and others who are perceived to be Muslims have been targeted, as well. 
I just had a chance to meet with some extraordinary Muslim Americans from across the country who are doing all sorts of work.  Some of them are doctors; some of them are community leaders; religious leaders.  All of them were doing extraordinary work not just in the Muslim community but in the American community.  And they’re proud of their work in business and education, and on behalf of social justice and the environment and education.  I should point out they were all much younger than me -- (laughter) -- which is happening more frequently these days.  And you couldn’t help but be inspired, hearing about the extraordinary work that they’re doing.  But you also could not help but be heartbroken to hear their worries and their anxieties. 
Some of them are parents, and they talked about how their children were asking, are we going to be forced out of the country, or, are we going to be rounded up?  Why do people treat us like that?  Conversations that you shouldn’t have to have with children -- not in this country.  Not at this moment. 
And that’s an anxiety echoed in letters I get from Muslim Americans around the country.  I’ve had people write to me and say, I feel like I’m a second-class citizen.  I’ve had mothers write and say, “my heart cries every night,” thinking about how her daughter might be treated at school.  A girl from Ohio, 13 years old, told me, “I’m scared.”  A girl from Texas signed her letter “a confused 14-year-old trying to find her place in the world.”
These are children just like mine.  And the notion that they would be filled with doubt and questioning their places in this great country of ours at a time when they’ve got enough to worry about -- it’s hard being a teenager already -- that’s not who we are. 
We’re one American family.  And when any part of our family starts to feel separate or second-class or targeted, it tears at the very fabric of our nation.  (Applause.) 
It’s a challenge to our values -- and that means we have much work to do.  We’ve got to tackle this head on.  We have to be honest and clear about it.   And we have to speak out.  This is a moment when, as Americans, we have to truly listen to each other and learn from each other.  And I believe it has to begin with a common understanding of some basic facts.  And I express these facts, although they’d be obvious to many of the people in this place, because, unfortunately, it’s not facts that are communicated on a regular basis through our media.
So let’s start with this fact:  For more than a thousand years, people have been drawn to Islam’s message of peace.  And the very word itself, Islam, comes from salam -- peace.  The standard greeting is as-salamu alaykum -- peace be upon you.  And like so many faiths, Islam is rooted in a commitment to compassion and mercy and justice and charity.  Whoever wants to enter paradise, the Prophet Muhammad taught, “let him treat people the way he would love to be treated.”  (Applause.)  For Christians like myself, I’m assuming that sounds familiar.  (Laughter.)
The world’s 1.6 billion Muslims are as diverse as humanity itself.  They are Arabs and Africans.  They're from Latin America to Southeast Asia; Brazilians, Nigerians, Bangladeshis, Indonesians.  They are white and brown and black.  There’s a large African American Muslim community.  That diversity is represented here today.  A 14-year-old boy in Texas who’s Muslim spoke for many when he wrote to me and said, “We just want to live in peace.”
Here’s another fact:  Islam has always been part of America. Starting in colonial times, many of the slaves brought here from Africa were Muslim.  And even in their bondage, some kept their faith alive.  A few even won their freedom and became known to many Americans.  And when enshrining the freedom of religion in our Constitution and our Bill of Rights, our Founders meant what they said when they said it applied to all religions.
Back then, Muslims were often called Mahometans.  And Thomas Jefferson explained that the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom he wrote was designed to protect all faiths -- and I’m quoting Thomas Jefferson now -- “the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and the Mahometan.”  (Applause.)
Jefferson and John Adams had their own copies of the Koran. Benjamin Franklin wrote that “even if the Mufti of Constantinople were to send a missionary to preach to us, he would find a pulpit at his service.”  (Applause.)  So this is not a new thing.
Generations of Muslim Americans helped to build our nation. They were part of the flow of immigrants who became farmers and merchants.  They built America’s first mosque, surprisingly enough, in North Dakota.  (Laughter.)  America’s oldest surviving mosque is in Iowa.  The first Islamic center in New York City was built in the 1890s.  Muslim Americans worked on Henry Ford’s assembly line, cranking out cars.  A Muslim American designed the skyscrapers of Chicago. 
In 1957, when dedicating the Islamic center in Washington, D.C., President Eisenhower said, “I should like to assure you, my Islamic friends, that under the American Constitution … and in American hearts…this place of worship, is just as welcome…as any other religion.”  (Applause.)
And perhaps the most pertinent fact, Muslim Americans enrich our lives today in every way.  They’re our neighbors, the teachers who inspire our children, the doctors who trust us with our health -- future doctors like Sabah.  They’re scientists who win Nobel Prizes, young entrepreneurs who are creating new technologies that we use all the time.  They’re the sports heroes we cheer for -— like Muhammad Ali and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Hakeem Olajuwon.  And by the way, when Team USA marches into the next Olympics, one of the Americans waving the red, white and blue -- (applause) -- will a fencing champion, wearing her hijab, Ibtihaj Muhammad, who is here today.  Stand up.  (Applause.)  I told her to bring home the gold.  (Laughter.)  Not to put any pressure on you.  (Laughter.)
Muslim Americans keep us safe.  They’re our police and our firefighters.  They're in homeland security, in our intelligence community.  They serve honorably in our armed forces -- meaning they fight and bleed and die for our freedom.  Some rest in Arlington National Cemetery.  (Applause.) 
So Muslim Americans are some of the most resilient and patriotic Americans you’ll ever meet.  We’re honored to have some of our proud Muslim American servicemembers here today.  Please stand if you're here, so we can thank you for your service.  (Applause.)
So part of the reason I want to lay out these facts is because, in the discussions that I was having with these incredibly accomplished young people, they were pointing that so often they felt invisible.  And part of what we have to do is to lift up the contributions of the Muslim American community not when there’s a problem, but all the time. 
Our television shows should have some Muslim characters that are unrelated to national security -- (applause) -- because -- it’s not that hard to do.  There was a time when there were no black people on television.  And you can tell good stories while still representing the reality of our communities.
     Now, we do have another fact that we have to acknowledge.  Even as the overwhelming majority -- and I repeat, the overwhelming majority -- of the world’s Muslims embrace Islam as a source of peace, it is undeniable that a small fraction of Muslims propagate a perverted interpretation of Islam.  This is the truth. 
Groups like al Qaeda and ISIL, they’re not the first extremists in history to misuse God’s name.  We’ve seen it before, across faiths.  But right now, there is a organized extremist element that draws selectively from Islamic texts, twists them in an attempt to justify their killing and their terror.  They combine it with false claims that America and the West are at war with Islam.  And this warped thinking that has found adherents around the world -- including, as we saw, tragically, in Boston and Chattanooga and San Bernardino -- is real.  It’s there.  And it creates tensions and pressure that disproportionately burden the overwhelming majority of law-abiding Muslim citizens.    
And the question then is, how do we move forward together?  How do we keep our country strong and united?  How do we defend ourselves against organizations that are bent on killing innocents?  And it can’t be the work of any one faith alone.  It can’t be just a burden on the Muslim community -- although the Muslim community has to play a role.  We all have responsibilities.  So with the time I have left, I just want to suggest a few principles that I believe can guide us.
First, at a time when others are trying to divide us along lines of religion or sect, we have to reaffirm that most fundamental of truths:  We are all God’s children.  We’re all born equal, with inherent dignity. 
And so often, we focus on our outward differences and we forget how much we share.  Christians, Jews, Muslims -- we’re all, under our faiths, descendants of Abraham.  So mere tolerance of different religions is not enough.  Our faiths summon us to embrace our common humanity.  “O mankind,” the Koran teaches, we have “made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another.” (Applause.)  So all of us have the task of expressing our religious faith in a way that seeks to build bridges rather than to divide.
Second, as Americans, we have to stay true to our core values, and that includes freedom of religion for all faiths.  I already mentioned our Founders, like Jefferson, knew that religious liberty is essential not only to protect religion but because religion helps strengthen our nation -- if it is free, if it is not an extension of the state.  Part of what’s happened in the Middle East and North Africa and other places where we see sectarian violence is religion being a tool for another agenda -- for power, for control.  Freedom of religion helps prevent that, both ways -- protects religious faiths, protects the state from  -- or those who want to take over the state from using religious animosity as a tool for their own ends. 
That doesn’t mean that those of us with religious faith should not be involved.  We have to be active citizenry.  But we have to respect the fact that we have freedom of religion. 
Remember, many preachers and pastors fought to abolish the evil of slavery.  People of faith advocated to improve conditions for workers and ban child labor.  Dr. King was joined by people of many faiths, challenging us to live up to our ideals.  And that civil activism, that civic participation that’s the essence of our democracy, it is enhanced by freedom of religion. 
Now, we have to acknowledge that there have been times where we have fallen short of our ideals.  By the way, Thomas Jefferson’s opponents tried to stir things up by suggesting he was a Muslim -- so I was not the first -- (applause.)  No, it’s true, it’s true.  Look it up.  (Laughter.)  I’m in good company. (Laughter.) 
But it hasn’t just been attacks of that sort that have been used.  Mormon communities have been attacked throughout our history.  Catholics, including, most prominently, JFK -- John F. Kennedy -- when he ran for President, was accused of being disloyal.  There was a suggestion that he would be taking orders from the Pope as opposed to upholding his constitutional duties. Anti-Semitism in this country has a sad and long history, and Jews were exclude routinely from colleges and professions and from public office.
And so if we’re serious about freedom of religion -- and I’m speaking now to my fellow Christians who remain the majority in this country -- we have to understand an attack on one faith is an attack on all our faiths.  (Applause.)  And when any religious group is targeted, we all have a responsibility to speak up.  And we have to reject a politics that seeks to manipulate prejudice or bias, and targets people because of religion.
We’ve got to make sure that hate crimes are punished, and that the civil rights of all Americans are upheld.  (Applause.)  And just as faith leaders, including Muslims, must speak out when Christians are persecuted around the world -- (applause) -- or when anti-Semitism is on the rise -- because the fact is, is that there are Christians who are targeted now in the Middle East, despite having been there for centuries, and there are Jews who’ve lived in places like France for centuries who now feel obliged to leave because they feel themselves under assault --sometimes by Muslims.  We have to be consistent in condemning hateful rhetoric and violence against everyone.  (Applause.)  And that includes against Muslims here in the United States of America.  (Applause.) 
So none of us can be silent.  We can’t be bystanders to bigotry.  And together, we’ve got to show that America truly protects all faiths.  
Which brings me to my next point:  As we protect our country from terrorism, we should not reinforce the ideas and the rhetoric of the terrorists themselves.  I often hear it said that we need moral clarity in this fight.  And the suggestion is somehow that if I would simply say, these are all Islamic terrorists, then we would actually have solved the problem by now, apparently.  (Laughter.)  Well, I agree, we actually do need moral clarity.  Let’s have some moral clarity.  (Applause.) 
Groups like ISIL are desperate for legitimacy.  They try to portray themselves as religious leaders and holy warriors who speak for Islam.  I refuse to give them legitimacy.  We must never give them that legitimacy.  (Applause.)  They’re not defending Islam.  They’re not defending Muslims.  The vast majority of the people they kill are innocent Muslim men, women and children.  (Applause.) 
And, by the way, the notion that America is at war with Islam ignores the fact that the world’s religions are a part of who we are.  We can’t be at war with any other religion because the world’s religions are a part of the very fabric of the United States, our national character.  (Applause.) 
So the best way for us to fight terrorism is to deny these organizations legitimacy and to show that here in the United States of America, we do not suppress Islam; we celebrate and lift up the success of Muslim Americans.  That’s how we show the lie that they’re trying to propagate.  (Applause.)  We shouldn’t play into terrorist propaganda.  And we can’t suggest that Islam itself is at the root of the problem.  That betrays our values.  It alienates Muslim Americans.  It’s hurtful to those kids who are trying to go to school and are members of the Boy Scouts, and are thinking about joining our military. 
That kind of mindset helps our enemies.  It helps our enemies recruit.  It makes us all less safe.  So let’s be clear about that. 
Now, finally, just as all Americans have a responsibility to reject discrimination -- I’ve said this before -- Muslims around the world have a responsibility to reject extremist ideologies that are trying to penetrate within Muslim communities. 
Here at this mosque, and across our country and around the world, Muslim leaders are roundly and repeatedly and consistently condemning terrorism.  And around the globe, Muslims who’ve dared to speak out have often been targeted and even killed.  So those voices are there; we just have to amplify them more.  (Applause.) 
And it was interesting, in the discussion I had before I came out, some people said, why is there always a burden on us? When a young man in Charleston shoots African Americans in a church, there’s not an expectation that every white person in America suddenly is explaining that they’re not racist.  They can Everybody is assumed to be horrified by that act.  And I recognize that sometimes that doesn't feel fair. 
But part of the answer is to make sure that the Muslim community in all of its variety, in all the good works that it’s doing, in all the talent that's on display, that it’s out there visible on a consistent basis -- not just at a certain moment.  (Applause.) 
But what is also true is, is that there is a battle of hearts and minds that takes place -- that is taking place right now, and American Muslims are better positioned than anybody to show that it is possible to be faithful to Islam and to be part of a pluralistic society, and to be on the cutting-edge of science, and to believe in democracy.  (Applause.)
And so I would urge all of you not to see this as a burden, but as a great opportunity and a great privilege to show who you are.  To use a little Christian expression -- let your light shine.  Because when you do you’ll make clear that this is not a clash of civilizations between the West and Islam.  This is a struggle between the peace-loving, overwhelming majority of Muslims around the world and a radical, tiny minority.  And ultimately, I’m confident that the overwhelming majority will win that battle.  (Applause.)  Muslims will decide the future of your faith.  And I’m confident in the direction that it will go. 
But across the Islamic world, influential voices should consistently speak out with an affirmative vision of their faith. And it’s happening.  These are the voices of Muslim clerics who teach that Islam prohibits terrorism, for the Koran says whoever kills an innocent, it is as if he has killed all mankind.  (Applause.)  These are the voices of Muslim scholars, some of whom join us today, who know Islam has a tradition of respect for other faiths; and Muslim teachers who point out that the first word revealed in the Koran -- igra -- means “read” -- to seek knowledge, to question assumptions.  (Applause.)
Muslim political leaders have to push back on the lie that the West oppresses Muslims, and against conspiracy theories that says America is the cause of every ill in the Middle East.  Now, that doesn't mean that Muslim Americans aren’t free to criticize American -- U.S. foreign policy.  That's part of being an American.  I promise you, as the President of the United States, I’m mindful that that is a healthy tradition that is alive and well in America.  (Laughter.)  But like leaders everywhere, these leaders have been offering, and need to continue to offer, a positive vision for progress, and that includes political and economic progress.
And we have to acknowledge that much of the violence in places like the Middle East is now turning into fights between sects -- Shia, Sunni and others -- where differences are often exploited to serve political agendas, as I said earlier.  And this bloodshed is destroying Muslim families and communities, and there has to be global pressure to have the vision and the courage to end this kind of thinking and this approach to organizing political power. 
It’s not historically unique.  It’s happened in every part of the world -- from Northern Ireland to Africa, to Asia, to right here in the United States -- in the past.  But it is something that we have to fight against.
And we know it’s possible.  Across the history of Islam, different sects traditionally have lived and thrived together peacefully.  And in many parts of the world they do today, including here in the United States. 
Like people of all religions, Muslims living their faith in a modern, pluralistic world are called upon to uphold human rights, to make sure that everyone has opportunity.  That includes the aspirations of women and youth and all people.  If we expect our own dignity to be respected, so must we respect the dignity of others.  (Applause.)
So let me conclude by saying that as Muslim communities stand up for the future that you believe in, that you exhibit in your daily lives, as you teach your children, America will be your partner.  We will -- I will -- do everything I can to lift up the multiplicity of Muslim voices that promote pluralism and peace.  (Applause.)  We will continue to reach out to young Muslims around the world, empowering them with science and technology and entrepreneurship, so they can pursue their God-given potential, and help build up their communities and provide opportunity.  It’s why we will continue to partner with Muslim American communities -- not just to help you protect against extremist threats, but to expand health care and education and opportunity -- (applause) -- because that’s the best way to build strong, resilient communities.
Our values must guide us in this work.  Engagement with Muslim American communities must never be a cover for surveillance.  (Applause.)  We can’t give in to profiling entire groups of people.  There’s no one single profile of terrorists.  We can’t securitize our entire relationship with Muslim Americans.  We can’t deal with you solely through the prism of law enforcement.  We’ve got to build trust and mutual respect.  That’s how we’ll keep our communities strong and our communities united.
As I was in discussion with the young people before I came in here, I said this will be a process.  Law enforcement has a tough job.  Some of these groups are specifically trying to target Muslim youth.  We’re going to have to be partners in this process.  There will be times where the relationship is clumsy or mishandled.  But I want you to know that from the President to the FBI Director, to everybody in law enforcement, my directive and their understanding is, is that this is something we have to do together.  And if we don’t do it well, then we’re actually not making ourselves safer; we’re making ourselves less safe.
And here, I want to speak directly to the young people who may be listening.  In our lives, we all have many identities.  We are sons and daughters, and brothers and sisters.  We’re classmates; Cub Scout troop members.  We’re followers of our faith.  We’re citizens of our country.  And today, there are voices in this world, particularly over the Internet, who are constantly claiming that you have to choose between your identities -- as a Muslim, for example, or an American.  Do not believe them.  If you’re ever wondering whether you fit in here, let me say it as clearly as I can, as President of the United States:  You fit in here -- right here.  (Applause.)  You’re right where you belong.  You’re part of America, too.  (Applause.)  You’re not Muslim or American.  You’re Muslim and American. (Applause.) 
Don’t grow cynical.  Don’t respond to ignorance by embracing a world view that suggests you must choose between your faith and your patriotism.  Don’t believe that you have to choose between your best impulses and somehow embrace a world view that pits us against each other -- or, even worse, glorifies violence.  Understand your power to bring about change.  Stay engaged in your community.  Help move our country forward -- your country forward.  (Applause.)  
We are blessed to live in a nation where even if we sometimes stumble, even if we sometimes fall short, we never stop striving for our ideals.  We keep moving closer to that more perfect union.  We’re a country where, if you work hard and if you play by the rules, you can ultimately make it, no matter who you are or how you pray.  It may not always start off even in the race, but here, more than any place else, there’s the opportunity to run that race.
And as we go forward, I want every Muslim American to remember you are not alone.  Your fellow Americans stand with you -- just as Sabah described her friends after she decided that she was going to start wearing a hijab.  That’s not unusual.  Because just as so often we only hear about Muslims after a terrorist attack, so often we only hear about Americans’ response to Muslims after a hate crime has happened, we don’t always hear about the extraordinary respect and love and community that so many Americans feel.
I’m thinking about the seven-year-old boy in Texas who emptied his piggy bank to help a mosque that had been vandalized. (Applause.)  Or all the faith communities that rallied around Muslim Americans after the tragedy in Chapel Hill.  The churches and the synagogues standing shoulder-to-shoulder with their local mosques, including the woman carrying a sign saying “We love our Muslim neighbors.”  Think of our men and women in uniform who, when they heard that a little girl was afraid because she’s a Muslim, sent her a message -- “I Will Protect You.”  (Applause.)
I want every American to remember how Muslim communities are standing up for others, as well.  Because right now, as we speak, there are Muslims in Kenya who saved Christians from terrorists, and Muslims who just met in Morocco to protect religious minorities, including Christians and Jews.  (Applause.)  The good people of this mosque helped this city move forward after the turmoil of last year.  Muslim Americans across the country helped African American churches rebuild after arson. 
Remember the Muslim Americans in Boston who reached out to victims of the Marathon bombing; the Muslim Americans across the country who raised money for the families of San Bernardino; the Muslim Americans in Chattanooga who honored our fallen servicemembers, one of them saying, “in the name of God, the God of Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad, God bless our fallen heroes.”  (Applause.) 
We are one American family.  We will rise and fall together. It won’t always be easy.  There will be times where our worst impulses are given voice.  But I believe that ultimately, our best voices will win out.  And that gives me confidence and faith in the future.  (Applause.) 
After more than 200 years, our blended heritage, the patchwork quilt which is America, that is not a weakness, that is one of our greatest strengths.  It’s what makes us a beacon to the world.  It’s what led that mother who wrote to me -- the one who worries about her young daughter -- it led her to end her letter with hope, despite her fears.  She said, “I still believe in one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”  (Applause.)

Carrying The Torch

Political Cartoon is by Rob Rogers in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Valid Data ?

Saturday, February 06, 2016


U.S. Unemployment Rate Finally Dips Below 5% (To 4.9%)

The Labor Department has released its unemployment statistics for the month of January, and it's some fairly good news. For the first time in eight years, the official unemployment rate is below 5% -- coming in at 4.9% for January. The nation's unemployment rate had been stuck at 5% for the last three months, so it's good to see it finally drop to 4.9%.

Of course, it should be significantly lower than 4.9% by now, and it would have been if the congressional Republicans hadn't blocked every effort to make the economy better. If the minimum wage was a livable wage, the corporations stopped from getting tax breaks to export good American jobs, and the unions were strengthened, there would be a huge boost to the economy -- and it would create many jobs and lower the number of people needing government assistance. Unfortunately, that won't happen until the Republicans are voted out of power -- because they cling to their failed "trickle-down" and "austerity" models.

Here are the relevant statistics for January:








Adult men...............4.5%
Adult women...............4.5%
Teens (16-19)...............16.0%
Less than HS diploma...............7.4%
HS grad...............5.3%
Some college...............4.2%
Bachelors deg. or more...............2.5%

"MARGINALLY-ATTACHED" UNEMPLOYED (no longer included in official count):


MORE REALISTIC UNEMPLOYMENT NUMBER (includes marginally-attached):




NUMBER OF UNDEREMPLOYED WORKERS (working part-time because full-time work is not available):






Hurting The GOP Lie

Political Cartoon is by Mike Luckovich in the Atlanta Constitution- Journal.

The Three Newest National Democratic Polls

The Public Policy Polling survey was done on February 2nd and 3rd of a random national sample of 517 likely Democratic voters, and has a margin of error of 4.3 points.

The Rasmussen Poll was done on February 3rd and 4th of a random national sample of 574 likely Democratic voters, and has a margin of error of 4.5 points.

The Quinnipiac University Poll was done between February 2nd and 4th of a random national sample of 484 registered Democrats, and has a margin of error of 4.5 points.

Bernie Sanders supporters have been blasting the results of the Quinnipiac poll over social media (and ignoring the other two polls). I can understand that -- it's a result they have been dying to see. But I would be careful about that. Quinnipiac could well be an outlier -- a flawed poll with hugely different results from all other polls. I wouldn't believe the Quinnipiac results until they are verified by a couple of other polls.

Pop Goes The Teabagger Weasel

Political Cartoon is by David Horsey in the Los Angeles Times.

Two New N. Hampshire Polls Show Big Difference

The NBC News / Wall Street Journal / Marist Poll was done on February 2nd and 3rd of a random sample of 567 likely New Hampshire Democratic voters, and has a margin of error of 4.1 points.

The Boston Globe / Suffolk University Poll was done between February 2nd and 4th of a random sample of 500 likely New Hampshire Democratic voters. No margin of error was given.

The two give a very different picture -- with one saying there's a 20 point gap, and the other saying the gap is only 9 points.

Right-Wing Talking Heads

Political Cartoon is by Rob Tornoe at Media Matters for America.

A Complete List Of Hillary's "High Crimes & Misdemeanors"

(This cartoon image is by Jim Morin in The Miami Herald.)

Republican right-wingers have been attacking Hillary Clinton for the last quarter century. They haven't been able to find anything bad she has done after numerous investigations, but that hasn't slowed them down. They have invented so many lies they're having trouble keeping up with all of them these days (and the Bernie supporters, new to the game, are now trying to pass on as many of these lies as they can -- and have even made up a few of their own).

So Brett Arends at Market Watch, with tongue planted firmly in cheek, has compiled the complete list of Hillary Clinton's "high crimes and misdemeanors". Now the GOP candidates and the Bernie supporters can just check this list and choose the lies they like the best.

Arends writes:

Today I’m performing a public service on behalf of all the voters. I went back and re-read all the criticisms and attacks and best-selling “exposes” leveled at Hillary Rodham Clinton over the past quarter century. And I’ve compiled a list of all her High Crimes and Misdemeanors. 
Here they are: 
1. When she was first lady, she murdered White House lawyer Vince Foster and then dumped his body in a park.
2. She drove Vince Foster to commit suicide through her temper tantrums.
3. She was having an affair with Vince Foster.
4. She’s a lesbian.
5. Chelsea isn’t Bill Clinton’s child.
6. She murdered Vince Foster to cover up that she once bought a tract of undeveloped land in Arkansas and lost money. 
7. She murdered Vince Foster to cover up her role in firing the White House travel department.
8. After she murdered Vince Foster, she ransacked his office in the middle of the night and stole all the documents proving her guilt.
9. When Bill was governor of Arkansas, she was a partner in the state’s top law firm, and it sometimes did work involving the state government.
10. She once invested in commodities futures on the advice of a friend and made $100,000, proving she’s a crook.
11. She once invested in real estate on the advice of another friend and lost $100,000, also proving she’s a crook.
12. Unnamed and unverifiable sources have told Peggy Noonan things about the Clintons that are simply too terrible to repeat.
13. The personnel murdered at Benghazi make her the first secretary of state to lose overseas personnel to terrorism — apart from Condi Rice, Colin Powell, Madeleine Albright, George Schultz, Dean Rusk and some others.
14. Four State Department staff were murdered at Benghazi, compared with only 119 others murdered overseas under every secretary of state combined since World War II.
15. She illegally sent classified emails from her personal server, except that apparently they weren’t classified at the time.
16. She may have cynically wriggled around the email law by “technically” complying with it.
17. She once signed a lucrative book contract when she was a private citizen.
18. Donald Trump says she “should be in jail,” and he’s a serial bankrupt casino developer in Atlantic City, so he should know.
19. Former House Majority Leader Tom Delay says his “law-enforcement sources” tell him she is “about to be indicted” — and if a man once convicted of money laundering and conspiracy doesn’t have good law-enforcement sources, who does?
20. She’s a hard-left radical who wants to break up the nuclear family.
21. She’s a conservative “mousewife” who refused to break up her own family.
22. She’s in favor of single moms.
23. She refused to be a single mom.
24. When she was first lady of Arkansas, she pandered to conservative voters by dyeing her hair.
25. Before that, she totally insulted them by refusing to.
26. She’s a frump.
27. She spends too much money on designer dresses.
28. She has “cankles.”
29. She has a grating voice.
30. She yells into the microphone.
31. She spent 18 years in Arkansas and some of the people she knew turned out to be crazy rednecks and crooks.
32. She’s in the pay of the mafia.
33. She’s in the pay of the Chinese government.
34. She’s in the pay of the Wall Street banks.
35. In order to suppress the billing records from her time at the Rose Law Firm in Little Rock, she cleverly packed them up and took them to the White House rather than shredding them.
36. When she handed over the documents to public officials, they couldn’t find any evidence she’d committed any crimes, so she must have doctored them.
37. Congress spent tens of millions of dollars and six years investigating her investment in the “Whitewater” real estate project, and while they didn’t actually find anything, they wouldn’t have spent all that money if there weren’t something there.
38. By cleverly hiding all evidence of her crimes in the “Whitewater” affair, she caused Congress to waste all that taxpayers’ money.
39. When she ran for senator of New York, she was still a fan of the Chicago Cubs.
40. She once said the Clintons were thinking of adopting a child, and they didn’t follow through.
41. She was photographed holding her hand near her mouth during the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.
42. She’s got brain damage.
43. She’s old.
44. She’s really ambitious and calculating, unlike all the other people running for president.
45. She secretly supported Palestinian terrorists, Puerto Rican terrorists and Guatemalan terrorists.
46. She secretly supported a group that wants to give Maine back to the Indians.
47. She’s a secret follower of “radical prophet” Saul Alinsky.
48. She did her law degree at Yale, and it’s a well-known “socialist finishing school.”
49. When she was young, she did things to build up her resume rather than just for their own good.
50. When Bill was president, she “allowed” him to keep people waiting.
51. She’s married to a sex addict.
52. She’s an enemy of traditional marriage.
53. She didn’t divorce her husband.
54. His philandering is her fault because she is too strong, and too weak, and too frumpy, and too fat, and too cold.
55. She’s hostile to women who fool around with her husband.
56. A divorced taxi driver in Florida told me that if Hillary is elected president, “women will take over everything.”
57. She insulted Tammy Wynette.
58. When they left the White House, she and Bill bought a big house in New York that they couldn’t afford.
59. She sometimes calls her staff during dinner, even when they’re out at a restaurant.
60. She claimed there was a “vast right-wing conspiracy” against her husband, and turned out there was nothing but a bunch of tycoons financing private investigators, and some fake think-tanks and books and news sites and stuff.
61. When she got married, she didn’t “stay at home and bake cookies.”
62. She supported the Iraq War because she’s a secret foreign-policy conservative.
63. She’s a secret foreign-policy radical with a plan to impose worldwide “radical social experimentation” through the World Bank.
64. She is secretly plotting to let children sue their parents for making them take out the garbage.
65. She looked bored during the Benghazi hearings.
66. Oh, yeah — and she totally has a vagina.
It’s clear: Hillary must be stopped. Hearings now!