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Britain Blinks on Brexit

Samantha Bee has a marvelous rant about Brexit and Donald Trump. Extra special bonus for Doctor Who fans (like me!) is having not one but two Doctors from Doctor Who appear (both of them Scottish). Watch David Tennant read aloud some of the hilarious tweets blasting Donald Trump.

And remember, don’t blink!


The Debt Will Jump Under Trump

Will Republicans start accusing the Wall Street Journal (owned by the same people who own Fox News) of having a liberal bias? It wouldn’t surprise me after they published an article titled “Study Sees Debt Jumping Under Trump, Staying Steady Under Clinton“.

This is not just the WSJ’s opinion. Several studies have analyzed the tax and spending proposals from both major (presumed) candidates, and come to the same conclusion.

The most recent study is from the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (who promotes bringing down the national debt). They estimate that under current laws, the national debt will grow to 86% of the entire US economy (mainly driven by an aging population that will increase spending on Social Security and Medicare). So 86% is our baseline.

Under the economic plan put forward by Donald Trump, the US debt will grow to 127% of the entire economy, a stunning increase of $11.5 trillion to the national debt.

On the other hand, Clinton’s plan is estimated to increase the debt to 87% of the US economy (1% more than the baseline, which is within the margin of error for the study).

Other studies, from the Tax Policy Center, and the Tax Foundation, have similar results. They estimate that Trump’s tax changes would reduce government revenues by $9.5 trillion and $10 trillion, respectively.

And of course, there is the analysis from Moody’s Analytics a week ago that found that Trump could plunge the US economy into a prolonged recession with heavy job losses because his policies on immigration and trade would dramatically increase the cost of goods and labor. But that’s only if Trump isn’t lying and really does do what he repeatedly promises to do (although as we have seen with Brexit, even the threat of doing something really stupid was enough to severely damage the economy of the UK).

The bottom line is that Trump is likely to be far worse for our economy than Brexit was for the UK’s. But there may be a silver lining, as Trump could make more money on his golf courses in the US.


Late Night Political Humor

[Jokes from June 20, 2016]

“Congrats to Chelsea Clinton, who welcomed her second child over the weekend. After the birth, Bill brought flowers, while Hillary brought a focus group to help name the baby.” – Jimmy Fallon

“Chelsea Clinton gave birth to a son this weekend. Unfortunately, due to his young age, he’s a Sanders supporter.” – Seth Meyers

“Even though he has no chance of winning the nomination, taxpayers are still paying for Bernie Sanders to have Secret Service. It’s not that expensive though, it’s just one guy that goes out late at night to buy Fig Newtons.” – Conan O’Brien

“The Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Golden State Warriors last night and became the first NBA team to ever come back from a 3-to-1 deficit to win the championship. Said Bernie Sanders, ‘So you’re saying there’s a chance!'” – Seth Meyers

“Last night, the Cavs made one of the biggest comebacks of all time to defeat the Golden State Warriors, who many people thought were unbeatable. Then Bernie Sanders said, ‘Is everyone as turned on as I am right now?'” – Jimmy Fallon

“Donald Trump thanked crowds in Phoenix for their support this weekend, saying, ‘I feel like a supermodel, except like times ten.’ By the way, ‘supermodel times ten’ is also his spray tan setting.” – Seth Meyers

“Donald Trump has dumped his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski. Lewandowski said he’s going to return to his old job, as a manager in pro wrestling.” – Conan O’Brien

“Donald Trump fired his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski. Trump said Lewandowski was controversial, impulsive and short-tempered — and will make a great running mate.” – Jimmy Fallon

“A new poll came out and it claims that 25 percent of voters remain undecided. Apparently, they’re undecided on whether to move to Canada or Mexico.” – Conan O’Brien


Theory and Practice

The UK Brexit vote has politicians and pundits theorizing about how that vote, and the ensuing economic turmoil, could have any parallels in Donald Trump’s campaign for the US presidency. After all, both Trump and Brexit are fueled by anti-immigrant sentiment and isolationist reactions to increasing globalism.

For a minute, let’s ignore the irony of Trump promoting his golf courses in Scotland while condemning globalism (you know, pretend that he really does believe the things he is saying). Do the arguments about Brexit also apply to America?

My answer is that it doesn’t matter. We have a much better analogy right here in the US of A. And that analogy is Kansas (home of the Koch brothers).

In 2011, Republican Sam Brownback was elected governor of Kansas, along with such a strong majority in the legislature that they ran out of Democrats to hate and started getting rid of the moderate Republicans. And then they implemented the GOP dream agenda. They passed massive tax cuts for the rich, repealed corporate taxes, slashed business regulations, cut spending on education and welfare, rejected federal Medicaid money, and even privatized Medicaid services.

One of the architects of the Kansas “revolution in a cornfield” was the father of trickle-down economics, Arthur Laffer, who promoted the (repeatedly debunked) theory that cutting taxes would increase government revenue. Brownback also hired as his budget director the guy who created the budget model for the Koch Brothers’ Americans for Prosperity.

Brownback’s goal was to take the conservative dream nationwide, saying “My focus is to create a red-state model that allows the Republican ticket to say, ‘See, we’ve got a different way, and it works.'”

Well it didn’t. Job growth in Kansas sucked, even compared to neighboring states. Tax cuts caused huge state deficits. Infrastructure crumbled. Personal income growth slowed dramatically and income inequality increased. Schools ran out of money and closed. The state’s bond rating was downgraded. Kansas started 2016 by entering a recession; their current GDP is still less than it was at the end of 2011.

Things are so bad that companies are actually moving to other states, taking their jobs and revenues with them.

But isn’t that just Kansas? Could the same thing happen in other states? Yes, it could. Louisiana did almost exactly the same thing under Bobby Jindal with even worse results. And Wisconsin famously elected union-buster Scott Walker and their economy suffered, especially compared to neighboring states.

So conservative economics didn’t work, but that doesn’t necessarily imply that liberals could do better. Except that we have an example of a state that did just that, California. And it had another parallel with Trump, as California had previously elected a celebrity with no political experience, Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger, who as governor promised to lead California back to greatness without raising taxes, but ended up a disaster for the state. Things in California were so bad that Republicans used it as the butt of economic jokes.

In 2011, the same year that Kansas elected Brownback, California elected Democrat Jerry Brown as governor and gave the legislature a strong majority. The Democrats raised taxes on millionaires to the highest in the nation. Conservative economists (like the ones who predicted an economic boom in Kansas) predicted this would cause a huge slowdown in growth and other economic problems.

Wrong again. California turned their deficits into budget surpluses, and their economic growth tied for best in the nation. In fact, the economy of California has grown so much that it surpassed the entire country of France, becoming the sixth largest economy in the world.

But that’s just California, right? No, we have another example. At the same time that Wisconsin was trying to become a conservative paradise, neighbor Minnesota switched to a Democratic governor. Bottom line is that when you compare states that swung Republican (like Kansas, Louisiana, and Wisconsin) against states that became Democratic (like California and Minnesota), the Democratic-run states all did far better at job creation and overall economic performance.

These are real results, and this needs to be the message of the Democratic party. And not just for the presidential election (although it is easy to do the same comparison of the economy and jobs under Obama compared to Dubya). This needs to be the message at the congressional and state level. If we let the Republicans get away with destroying our economy with false promises, then we deserve what we get.

Lee Judge
© Lee Judge


What would it take to get a Trump voter to change their mind?

Jimmy Kimmel wants to know:

This is kinda scary, but it is still funny.


Why Britain Joined the European Union

This hilarious skit from a British comedy called “Yes Minister” is a little old, but it is suddenly hilarious. And includes a pretty accurate definition of “diplomacy”.


Location, Location, Location

When Donald Trump was in Scotland opening his new golf course, he tweeted about the UK vote to leave the EU. He responded:

Trump Tweet

This is yet another example of Trump’s inability to understand reality or speak the truth. Scotland voted overwhelmingly (62% to 38%) to remain in the EU. Which brought on a shit-storm of tweets responding to Trump and insulting him with typical Scottish gusto:


Scotland voted to remain, you tit.

Scotland voted overwhelmingly to stay in Europe you toupéd fucktrumpet

Scotland voted overwhelmingly to STAY in the EU you weaselheaded fucknugget

You’re such a Gobshite. Scotland voted to remain in the EU

You utter and complete eejit. Landslide vote to Remain from Scotland, UK vote only just managed to force us to leave.

Scotland voted overwhelmingly to Remain. But what are facts to you, you bloviating flesh bag.

Scotland voted Remain, you weapons-grade plum.

Scotland voted remain you clueless numpty.

they voted REMAIN you spoon

Scotland hates both Brexit and you, you mangled apricot hellbeast

Delete your golf course.

UPDATE: A new poll done after the Brexit vote says that 59% of Scots would vote for Scotland to leave the UK to become a separate country (and likely join the EU). Only 32% said no, and 9% were undecided.


Trump’s VP List

Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, who now works for CNN, says that there are “no more than four” names on Trump’s VP list.

I wonder if that has anything to do with the fact that Trump has four children over the age of 21.

Although Jimmy Fallon also has a different possibility:


Late Night Political Humor

[Jokes from June 16, 2016]

“One year ago today, Donald Trump announced he was running for president as he rode down an escalator. And our country’s been going down that escalator ever since.” – Conan O’Brien

“Today is the one-year anniversary of Donald Trump’s announcement that he would run for president. It’s hard to believe it was only one year ago that Democrats were worried about Jeb Bush.” – Seth Meyers

“Donald Trump said he would, unlike previous presidents, sit down and meet with Kim Jong Un to make a kind of deal but only on U.S. soil. I don’t think that will work. I think they should meet but somewhere neutral, like at a Supercuts.” – Jimmy Kimmel

“Donald Trump says, if elected, he is willing to ‘accept’ a visit by Kim Jong Un. Kim Jong Un said, ‘No, thanks, that guy’s crazy.'” – Conan O’Brien

“In a new poll, 35% of Americans say they think Donald Trump will be elected president in November. They also said, ‘Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to finish packing.'” – Seth Meyers

“One of Trump’s big supporters, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, is having a rough week. Lawyers working on the Bridgegate investigation claim that Christie destroyed evidence connecting him to the scandal, including a cellphone. Christie said he had no idea where the cellphone was, then his stomach started ringing.” – Jimmy Fallon

“The DNC accused Russian hackers [of stealing its opposition research on Trump], and Trump is accusing the DNC of leaking it. Accusing the other party of leaking it is like accusing McDonald’s of leaking McNuggets.” – Jimmy Kimmel

“Trump said much of the information is false. And if people want to read hundreds of pages of false information about him, they should go to his Twitter page where he writes it himself.” – Jimmy Kimmel

“Former Republican candidate Herman Cain said that one of the biggest lies about Donald Trump is that he is a racist. Then Trump was like, ‘Thank you, Jay Z. Give my best to your wife, Oprah.'” – Jimmy Fallon

“Oprah has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president. When asked about Hillary’s chances of becoming the most powerful woman in the world, Oprah said, ‘Oh, I’m not stepping down.'” – Conan O’Brien

“The FDA says it found ‘serious health violations’ at some Whole Foods stores and actually sent Whole Foods a warning letter. In response, Whole Foods shredded the letter, mixed it with some kale, and is now selling it for $18 a pound.” – Jimmy Fallon


Gun Control

Who’s in charge of our gun laws? Right now we are seeing fights in both houses of Congress over common-sense changes to gun laws. We already require background checks when someone buys a gun from a gun dealer, but that is easy to get around by buying a gun online or from an individual seller (who is probably hanging out in the parking lot of a gun show or other gun-related event). And public support for closing these loopholes is phenomenally high. In a recent poll, 92% supported supported expanded background checks.

A related change is preventing people who are suspected of being terrorists from getting guns. In the same poll, 85% supported that. Ironically, Republicans are even more in favor — 90% of them want to prevent people on the terrorism watch list from buying a gun.

This is nothing new. The same results have been shown in poll after poll.

And yet, the Republicans continue to block any gun safety measures, no matter how sensible or popular they are. In fact, they will do almost anything to keep these bills from even coming up for a vote. They just adjourned the House two days early to keep from voting on any gun safety measures.

The GOP is also in denial about public support for sensible gun safety. They even claim that the widely reported 90% number has been “debunked”.

It almost seems like politicians are being paid off in order to vote against any gun safety measures. Samantha Bee has a theory about this:

Even Saint Ronnie supported gun control. Especially after he got shot.

Note that (as I have often said) I support the second amendment. People do have a right to own guns, but no right is absolute. The right to own guns is not more important than our nation’s fundamental rights of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”, just like free speech doesn’t mean I can yell fire in a crowded theater or slander someone.

I think we should treat gun ownership like driving. If you want to own a gun, you should be able to demonstrate that you know how to use one (by passing a test, taking a class or other means), and that you know basic gun safety. I would think that gun owners would like that too. Rights imply responsibilities.

I do have one suggestion, however. We should stop calling it “gun control” and start calling it “gun safety”. Gun control sounds like taking people’s guns away, and I’m against that. But if people want to own guns, they should be responsible for using them safely.

Jim Morin
© Jim Morin



An interesting article in Scientific American says that since legalization of Marijuana in Colorado, the number of high school students who use the drug has gone down. The opponents of legalization claimed that legalization of weed would cause teen usage to increase.

What’s even more interesting is that the percentage of high-school students in Colorado who smoke marijuana is now lower than the national average.

The proponents of prohibition were wrong. The war on drugs failed, and legalization does not necessarily increase usage.

Personally, I’m not a big fan of drugs, but I can’t see any good reason to throw people in jail over them.


Britain is Screwed

The British pound has already lost more than 25 cents against the dollar, the worst drop in the history of the UK. Similar drops in various stock markets are expected. It is estimated that the British economy will shrink by 3.8 to 7.5 percent.

This is what happens when xenophobia and rampant nationalism win. Brexit won because of fear of immigrants, but the cure might be far worse than the disease.

Sound familiar?


What We Need

Bernie Sanders just published an editorial in the Washington Post, and it is really good.

He immediately addresses the issue that has concerned me the most, that his campaign and supporters — with attacks on other progressives including Barney Frank and Hillary Clinton — had become a cult of personality (more about Sanders than about progressive goals):

As we head toward the Democratic National Convention, I often hear the question, “What does Bernie want?” Wrong question. The right question is what the 12 million Americans who voted for a political revolution want.

He lays it all out, and does an excellent job of describing what we should be fighting for.

This is the Bernie Sanders I love, who helped make it ok to be a progressive again. I am really glad he ran a strong campaign against Clinton, and I hope we see more of him in the general election, fighting the good fight.


An Out for Trump

The Republican establishment finally got Trump to read a speech from a teleprompter rather than winging it like he has been doing since he became the presumptive nominee. What I want to know is who wrote that speech?

I also wonder how long Trump will be able to avoid going off script again. It must be awfully annoying and painful for him.

Luckily, Seth Meyers has a deal for Donald Trump that might make everybody happy:


Late Night Political Humor

[Jokes from June 14, 2016]

“Donald Trump celebrated his 70th birthday today. And I guess instead of blowing out his candles, he just insulted them until they put themselves out. ‘You’re too hot! You smell like wax! You’re the worst part of this cake!'” – Jimmy Fallon

“Today is Donald Trump’s 70th birthday. For the occasion, Donald Trump’s friends got together and said, ‘Wait — why are we friends with Donald Trump?'” – Conan O’Brien

“Happy birthday to Donald Trump, who turns 70 years old today. And this is cool — so did his views on immigration.” – James Corden

“I imagine it’s tough to get Trump a gift. What do you get the man who hates everything?” – James Corden

“Today is Donald Trump’s birthday! Trump may have turned 70, but his views about women are 150 years old.” – James Corden

“At his party, they had cake, they had party favors, and they played some really fun games, like ‘Pin the bad economy on the Obama.'” – James Corden

“The best part is, they didn’t have to hire a clown.” – James Corden

“In a speech, Donald Trump said thousands of people in the United States are ‘sick with hate’. Then Trump said, “I’d like to thank them for their support.'” – Conan O’Brien

“Donald Trump has called for a ban on all immigration to the United States. Of course, Trump said the ban would be lifted if he ever needs a new wife.” – Conan O’Brien

“Bernie Sanders is set to meet with Hillary Clinton this evening. Bernie said the meeting will give Hillary one last opportunity to bow out gracefully.” – Conan O’Brien

“Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders met privately this evening. So privately even Bernie didn’t know.” – James Corden

“President Obama gave a speech this afternoon in which he angrily called out Republicans for being too obsessed with his refusal to use the term ‘radical Islam’ — or as Fox News reported it, ‘Angry Black Man Spotted Talking About Radical Islam Near Capitol Building.'” – James Corden