Saturday, November 28, 2015
While right-wing politicians were busy trying to scare Americans over the possibility of a terrorist attack in this country by islamic jihadists, terrorism struck in Colorado Springs, Colorado. A gunman attacked the Planned Parenthood clinic in that city, killing a police officer and two civilians and wounding nine others (three police officers and six civilians). But this was no islamic jihadist. It was a white male, and almost assuredly a right-wing christian terrorist.
I'm sure the right-wing will take exception to my using the word terrorist. They prefer that those on the right who commit these horrific acts be called "mentally unstable" or "lone wolf attackers". I find that to be disingenuous. Except for the number of victims and attackers, I fail to see how this is any different from the Paris attacks (which everyone is quick to label as terrorism). In both instances, we have religious extremists attacking innocent victims for a political reason. That is terrorism -- no matter the race, ethnicity, or religion of the attackers.
Hopefully, this will remind (or make clear to) Americans that the biggest terrorist risk in this country is not from islamic jihadists (and certainly not from thoroughly vetted refugees), but from right-wing home-grown christian terrorists (who are almost exclusively white and male). A lot of our politicians, especially Republicans, don't want to admit that -- but that is the reality.
CBS News identifies him as Robert Lewis Dear, age 59.)
These charts are made from information in a new YouGov Poll -- done between November 19th and 23rd of a random nation sample of 2,000 adults, with a margin of error of 3.1 points.
This part of their poll was to see which of the leading candidates (of both parties) were perceived as being the best on national security -- and Hillary Clinton was viewed as best by most Americans. She topped all other candidates by 16 points on who is ready to be commander-in-chief. She topped them all by 11 points on who could deal wisely with an international crisis. And she and Donald Trump were virtually tied on who was "tough enough" to be president (with all other candidates trailing by at least 11 points).
The Republicans have tried to position themselves as being the strongest on national security -- but that doesn't seem to be what the general public thinks.
At least one of the Republican candidates (Donald Trump) has suggested that muslims in American should be required to register with the federal government. He has sort of backed off of that -- once it was pointed out that can easily be used to discriminate against them (as the U.S. did to the Japanese in World War II) or even eliminate them (as the Germans did to Jews under Hitler).
But what is even more troubling is the fact that only about half of the American public says they would be opposed to such a discriminatory registration program. That was verified by two different polls recently. In the YouGov Poll, 49% said they opposed registration. In the Rasmussen Poll, about 52% said they opposed it.
Frankly, those numbers horrify me. It means than the other half of the population would be in favor of discriminatory registration (or would at least consider it). What the hell are these people thinking? Do they think freedom is only for them? Don't they realize that what can be done to one group of people can be done to everyone? Are they so gripped by an irrational fear that they are willing to give up living in a free country?
The Republicans (and sadly, a few Democrats) have been trying to make Americans scared of muslims as a group -- and it looks like their fear mongering is being successful. Democracy can only exist in a country with people brave enough to sustain it. I'm beginning to doubt the United States is one of those countries.
The top chart is from a new YouGov Poll -- done between November 20th and 23rd of a random national sample of 1,000 adults, with a margin of error of 4.2 points.
The bottom chart is from a new Rasmussen Poll -- done on November 17th and 18th of a random national sample of 1,000 likely voters, and has a margin of error of 3 points.
Friday, November 27, 2015
All of these charts were composed from information in the new YouGov Poll -- done between November 19th and 23rd of a random national sample of about 2,000 registered voters. No margin of error was given.
It looks like Hillary Clinton is marching steadily toward the Democratic nomination for president. She has the support of a strong majority of Democrats (64%), and leads Bernie Sanders by 38 points. She also is the candidate that everyone thinks could win the general election. Democrats think so by 85%, the general public by 70%, Independents by 63%, and Republicans by 60%. Only Democrats think Sanders could win (54%), and no one thinks O'Malley could win.
I also thought it was interesting that the Democratic candidate Republicans would prefer to run against was Sanders 21%. It seems that they think he would be the candidate giving them the best chance to win.
The charts below show the Republican presidential preference. Donald Trump still has a good lead (37%). Marco Rubio (15%) and Ted Cruz (11%) finished second and third. It looks like Ben Carson is fading fast. He got only 10% Republican support -- less than half of what he was polling a couple of weeks ago. Have the Republicans finally figured out he just doesn't have the knowledge or experience to be president?
The poll also asked Democrats who they would prefer the GOP nominee to be. Trump finished in first, but only with 17%. I think Democrats don't see any of these candidates as a real problem for Clinton.
I am convinced that the folks at "Black Lives Matter" are correct. There are too many police shootings involving minorities -- and too many of those shooting are not necessary. Unfortunately, too many of my fellow Whites are not convinced of that. Part of it is due to the fact they they don't want to believe it, but another part is that we don't have the hard statistics on police shooting (or deaths in police custody).
Why don't we have those statistics? Because most police departments don't want to do that. They are afraid to let the general public know just how bad the problem is. And the federal government, who should be keeping those statistics, just have not been willing to do the job.
The media has tried to compile statistics, but that is an enormous task and they simply don't have the people to stay in contact with every department in the country -- which results in incomplete or widely differing statistics. For instance, The Washington Post says 759 people have been fatally shot by police this year, while The Guardian puts the total at 891.
Hopefully, it looks like this rather serious problem (a lack of correct data) may soon be corrected. The FBI Director says his department will create a program to monitor police shootings. And the Department of Justice is going even further. They will not only monitor fatal shootings, but also non-fatal shootings and other deaths of people in police custody (from any cause).
I'm glad this is finally happening -- but it's something that should have happened many years ago.
The chart above, from an AP survey, shows just how far from the truth the Republican candidates are when they talk about global climate change. They have either foolishly accepted the propaganda from the big will companies in their desire to please corporate America, or they have received (or hope to receive) a lot of money from the big oil companies -- primarily the Koch brothers and ExxonMobil.
It is the Koch brothers and ExxonMobil that have been most responsible for paying for and promoting the propaganda (lies) that deny global climate change. They have know for decades that the climate change is real (and is caused by overuse of fossil fuels), but they have funded a huge effort to fool the American people into believing that climate change is not happening. They don't care about the truth or the planet. They only care about their profits, and are perfectly willing to toss future generations under the bus to protect those profits.
And their propaganda effort has been pretty successful with Republican officials and the general public -- successful enough to create doubt in the minds of too many people, and keep the government from doing anything about the global climate change. Now there is a report showing just how successful the propaganda from the Koch brothers and ExxonMobil has been. Here is how that report is described by Natasha Geiling at Think Progress:
Thursday, November 26, 2015
In honor of the Thanksgiving holiday, Public Policy Polling gives us a fun survey. The survey was done on November 16th and 17th of a random national sample of 1,360 registered voters, with a margin of error of 2.7 points.
They asked those respondents who the presidential candidate would be that they would most or least like to have at Thanksgiving dinner. Hillary Clinton turned out to be the candidate most wanted for Thanksgiving dinner at 24%, while Donald Trump was the candidate least wanted at 46%.
Of course, you can't do a poll without asking some serious questions, and PPP did. They asked whether the side dish at Thanksgiving was appropriately called "stuffing" or "dressing". I've always called it dressing, but it seems I'm in the minority. About 51% say it's stuffing, and only 34% believe it's dressing -- and that holds true across all political lines.
They also asked what was the best pie to serve with Thanksgiving dinner. No surprise, pumpkin pie was the winner at 27%, with pecan and apple tied for second at 17%.
Now we know -- a Thanksgiving turkey should be served with stuffing and pumpkin pie.
Yesterday, I brought you the results of the Quinnipiac University Poll with Iowa Republicans. They have now released their survey of Democrats -- done between November 16th and 22nd of a random sample of 543 Iowa Democrats, with a margin of error of 4.2 points.
Hillary Clinton is leading Bernie Sanders in Iowa by about 9 points. It looks to me like that is due to Clinton's very strong support among women. Sanders leads among men by 9 points, but that is eclipsed by Clinton's 21 point lead among women. This bodes well for Clinton, since women usually vote in larger numbers than men.
These charts were made from a recent Public Policy Polling survey -- done on November 16th and 17th of a random national sample of 670 registered Republican voters, and has a margin of error of 4 points.
Polls have shown that the Republican candidates are out-of-step with the general public on a whole host of issues. That's why they have resorted to scare tactics over terrorism -- because they don't really want to go head-to-head with the Democrats on domestic issues.
But this poll shows they are also out-of-step with many of their own supporters on some issues. It turns out that 81% of all GOP voters want the background check loopholes closed for gun buyers -- and that goes for the supporters of all the 10 most viable GOP candidates. The percentage is the lowest for supporters of Cruz and Huckabee, but even for them the support for closing those loopholes is 70% (a pretty significant majority).
Then we have the issue of raising the minimum wage. About 56% of all Republicans would support a raise to at least $10 an hour. And seven of the ten major candidates have a majority of their supporters agreeing to a raise to $10 an hour. The supporters of only three candidates (Fiorina, Cruz, and Carson) don't have a majority supporting that raise -- but the smallest support is still at least 41% among them.
None of the ten GOP candidates with the most support wants to close the background check loopholes for gun buyers, or raise the minimum wage at all -- and that puts them at odds with their own supporters.
The Morning Consult Poll did a survey of every U.S. senator in their home state. The chart above shows the results. You can go to the Morning Consult website to see the sample size and margin of error for each state. The most popular Democrat is Bernie Sanders (83%), and the most popular Republican is Susan Collins (78%). The least popular Democrats are Bob Menendez and Gary Peters at 37%. The least popular Republicans are Mitch McConnell and Ron Johnson at 38%.
Wednesday, November 25, 2015
This chart is from the Gallup Poll. The latest poll was done on November 22nd and 23rd of a random national sample of 1,017 adults, and has a margin of error of 4 points.
The chart shows a troubling trend. This nation is moving toward another full-out ground war in the Middle East. I'm sure the Paris tragedy (and the Republican claims that terrorism can only be prevented by another ground war). Currently, nearly half (47%) of the public is ready to accept that new ground war.
They are mistaken if they really think defeating ISIS in Iraq and Syria will prevent terrorism. It won't. Terrorists have never needed to control a country to commit terroristic acts, and they won't in the future. If anything, defeating ISIS in the Middle East will only increase their desire to commit terrorist acts.
Republicans, and too many Democrats, like to pose the conflict in Iraq and Syria as a fight against terrorism. It is not. It is really a religious war -- fought by different sects of islam. It is a battle to see which religious beliefs are going to be dominant in that area -- and that is a battle the United States (or Russia and the Western nations) should not be engaged in. This is a war that shouldn't be fought at all -- and if it must be fought, should be fought by the islamic nations of that area.
Americans have a basic misunderstanding. They view this as a fight against terrorism and for freedom. They seem to think we are there to protect the liberty of Middle East nations. But there is very little liberty or freedom to protect there. And most muslims in that area see our involvement very differently. Many, if not most, of them see this as another christian invasion of the muslim world -- a modern version of the crusades.
We have no business fighting this war -- and neither does Russia, or the Western European nations. We do need to fight terrorism, but you can't do that will military troops. That can most effectively be done through good intelligence gathering, law enforcement action, and a cooperative diplomatic effort.