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No Drama Obama?

Holy Freedom Fries!

France is currently in the middle of of their presidential election, and it is full of drama. The conservative front-runner was recently implicated in a corruption scandal, which has created openings both on the far right (nativist Marine Le Pen) and the left (radical centrist Emmanuel Macron). But voters are unhappy.

And some of those voters are trying to find a “white knight” to come in and rescue them from this mess. Except that their knight is actually black. And he isn’t even French. It is Barack Obama.

In the past week, posters have gone up around Paris with the slogan “Obama17” and “Oui On Peut”, which is French for “Yes We Can”.

They also have a website, urging voters to sign a petition to draft Obama. They hope to get a million signatures from people who promise to vote for him.

Here’s some of the (translated) text from their site:

The French are ready to make radical choices. That is good because we have a radical idea to propose to them.

After five years and faced with the announced failure of the next presidential election, we think it is time to move to the 6th Republic to get France out of its lethargy.

To launch this 6th Republic, we wish to strike a blow by electing a foreign President at the head of our beautiful country.

Barack Obama completed his second term as President of the United States on January 21 — why not hire him as President for France?

Our goal is simple, to collect before the 15th of March, 1 million voting promises to convince Barack Obama to run for the presidential election of May 2017.

– Barack Obama has the best resume in the world for the job.

– Because it is still possible to vote for a President and not against a candidate.

– Because at a time when France is about to vote massively for the extreme right, we can still give a lesson of democracy to the planet by electing a French President, a foreigner.


Flagging Trump’s Russian Connections

On Friday, Donald Trump gave a speech at CPAC. But before Trump spoke someone wearing a suit passed out Red, White, and Blue flags with Trump’s name on them. People began waving them.

Except, the colors were not in that order, they were White, Blue, and Red. Apparently unbeknown to the attendees, that is the Russian flag. They were waving Russian flags for Trump. At Trump.

Conference staff were alerted and went around confiscating the flags.

And one reporter spotted someone wearing a “Make Russia Great Again” T-shirt.

This is especially significant now, given the new revelation that the White House sent a request to the FBI to publicly knock down media reports that Trump campaign staffers were in frequent contact with Russian government officials. The FBI refused. The White House is not allowed to intervene in FBI investigations.

UPDATE: The pranksters who pulled this off reveal themselves. Pretty funny.


Making Private Prisons Great Again

Private, for-profit prisons have failed. They cost taxpayers more than public prisons, are less safe for prisoners (the one private prison in Idaho has 4 times the number of prisoner-on-prisoner assaults than the seven public prisons in the state combined), have had repeated scandals (including one where judges were bribed by the prisons in exchange for harsher sentences on juveniles in order to increase the need for more prisons), and spend tons of money lobbying state and local governments to pass harsher sentences (like three strikes) and criminalizing more things.

The fundamental problem is that as a for-profit corporation, private prisons have to be profitable. There is double the incentive to not rehabilitate prisoners because the cost of rehabilitation programs reduce current profits, and a rehabilitated former prisoner is no longer a source of future profits. You end up with a system that is rewarded if they produce more criminals!

The Obama administration was trying to phase out private prisons, but it should come as no surprise that the Trump administration has just reversed that. In addition, “the use of private prisons is expected to surge under President Trump’s promised crackdown on illegal immigration.”

Just in case there was any doubt about the racist intent of this, White House spokesperson Sean Spicer said on Wednesday that the Justice Department (under racist Attorney General Jeff Sessions) will step up enforcement of federal marijuana laws, even in states that have legalized recreational use. Over half the inmates in federal prisons are there for drug offenses, with the majority of those for marijuana. And minorities (especially blacks) are many times more likely to be arrested for marijuana use than whites.


Nobody Knows

Nobody knows the reason Trump needs to lie and say stupid things so much.


Left-wing Fascists?

Speaking of Ironic Reversals, today the CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) opened, and one of the first speeches tried to blame the “alt-right” on the left. The speech was made by Dan Schneider, the executive director of the the American Conservative Union, which runs the CPAC conference.

The alt-right is a small, far-right movement that seeks a whites-only state, promotes white nationalism, is critical of ethnic (Black, Hispanic) or religious (Muslim, Jewish) minorities, and believes in nativism, antisemitism, Islamophobia, and even neo-Nazism. Sound familiar?

But Schneider called the “alt-right” a “left-wing fascist group”, and claimed that it is “a sinister organization that is trying to warp its way into our ranks.” Schneider argued in his speech that the “alt-right” is philosophically left-wing because it departs from his definition of conservatism where “the individual” is sovereign. He tried to link fascism to the left by saying “Fascists tend to want big government control.”

Now, while fascist governments are usually totalitarian, this ignores the fact that not all totalitarian governments are fascist.

If you accept Schneider’s logic, then one could also say that conservatives, who overwhelmingly support Donald Trump, are part of the alt-right because Trump’s top advisor is Steve Bannon, who while running Breitbart News described it as “the platform for the alt-right“. Not to mention that after the surprise outcome of the presidential election, the alt-right had a victory party where the person who invented the term “alt-right” spoke, and he closed his speech with “Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory”. The crowd responded with Nazi salutes and “sieg heil”-like chants.

So, if conservatives are against the alt-right, does that mean that they will fight against Donald Trump and his alt-right advisors? Or is this just more doublespeak?


Ironic Reversals

I guess 1984 just happened 33 years late. Because, evidently, now 2 + 2 = 5.

© Jen Sorensen



I have not been comfortable in the role of making fun of everything Trump does. After all, one of the main things I’ve been complaining about is the Republican Party being the “party of no” — opposing pretty much everything Obama ever did or said.

So it is with great relief that I have TWO things that Trump just did that I like and approve of. The first is the new pick for Trump’s National Security Advisor. Trump’s first pick, Michael Flynn, was a disaster. And his second pick, Robert Harward, turned him down. But as they say, the third time is the charm, and I think Herbert McMaster is an excellent choice, and is getting approval from both parties.

McMaster was also reportedly given the authority to hire his own staff (which apparently was why Harward turned down the job). This is good news, as there are a bunch of people hired by Flynn who are still working at the NSC.

The second thing Trump did was (finally) denounce anti-semitism and racism. He did so mainly in response to a spate of bomb threats against Jewish community centers (there have been around 70 threats since January first). Of course, these are just words, and some Jewish leaders are (very) skeptical until Trump’s actions mirror his new words.

Giving Trump the benefit of the doubt, I will count these as two good things, with the caveat that Trump has to actually do something about the dark cloud of racism and bigotry that continually hangs over his administration. Talk is cheap, and Trump’s words often change from day to day.


Late Night Political Humor

[Jokes from Jan. 25, 2017]

“President Trump has called for an investigation into voter fraud during the presidential election. Trump said, ‘I mean for God’s sake, look who they chose!'” – Conan O’Brien

“Tonight President Trump continued with his mysterious and puzzling claim that voter fraud cost him the popular vote in the election. He says 3 million to 5 million illegal voters chose Hillary over him. He knows if that’s true he still has to be president, right?” – Jimmy Kimmel

“It’s a tiny percentage, but there will be a major investigation. He must get to the bottom of why he is stuck with this horrible job he didn’t want.” – Jimmy Kimmel

“Trump tweeted this morning, ‘I will be asking for a major investigation into voter fraud, including those registered to vote in two states, those who are illegal, and’ — he goes on to another one — ‘even those registered to vote who are dead, and many for a long time.'” – Jimmy Kimmel

“That’s right, dead people voted. And I like that he added ‘many for a long time,’ which makes it seem like if newly dead people vote, you can forgive that.” – Jimmy Kimmel

“According to a report from the Brennan Center for Justice, the rate of voter fraud, the real rate in U.S. elections, is between .00004% and .00009%. In other words, about the same rate as the couples on ‘The Bachelor’ who get married.” – Jimmy Kimmel

“Today, President Trump signed an executive order authorizing the building of the border wall. It’s guaranteed to keep out all Mexicans unless they get their hands on a ladder or a shovel.” – Conan O’Brien

“Trump is trying to get down to business. In fact, he met with the CEOs of General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler this week, to try and convince them to make more cars in the US. In fact he even pitched them the idea for a new car: ‘The Really, Really Smart Car (Smarter Than You’d Ever Believe, That I Can Tell You.)'” – Jimmy Fallon

“Yesterday, Donald Trump threatened to send federal troops to Chicago. The weird part is, not the city, the musical.” – Conan O’Brien

“Today Trump said he believes in torturing prisoners. Which is bad news for Melania.” – Jimmy Kimmel

“US Weekly released their new cover story on Donald Trump’s children and promised ‘everything you didn’t know about the Trump kids.’ ‘Is it their names?’ asked Trump.” – Seth Meyers

“President Trump is still settling into the White House, and I read that Trump’s gold curtains in the Oval Office are the same ones Hillary picked out for Bill Clinton in 1993. So she may not be president, but Hillary still figured out a way to throw some shade.” – Jimmy Fallon

“According to The New York Times, the White House kitchen has been stocked with President Trump’s favorite snacks including Lay’s potato chips. And his Cabinet has been filled with crackers.” – Seth Meyers

“There are reports that Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway actually punched a guy while trying to break up a fight at Trump’s inaugural ball. Though she says it wasn’t a punch, it was an ‘alternative high-five’.” – Jimmy Fallon

“Arnold Schwarzenegger met Pope Francis at the Vatican today. When the Pope heard it was the guy that said, ‘I’ll be back’, he said, ‘Oh, I was expecting someone else. Sorry’.” – Jimmy Fallon

“Today at the Vatican, Arnold Schwarzenegger met Pope Francis and tweeted that he is ‘a true leader for the Church.’ Then Pope Francis tweeted, ‘I couldn’t understand a word that guy said.'” – Conan O’Brien

“At the Vatican today, Arnold Schwarzenegger met with Pope Francis. Or as Arnold called him, ‘Pump Fracas.’ Interesting meeting, because Arnold doesn’t speak English — I mean Spanish — never mind. He doesn’t speak English.” – Jimmy Kimmel


Email Evermore

the House Committee on Oversight and Government is in charge of looking into legal and ethical problems in the federal government. During the Obama administration, they were relentless in its investigations of Hillary Clinton. First on her role in Benghazi, and then on her use of a private email server. None of these investigations ever led anywhere, but they did serve their purpose of discrediting Clinton during the presidential election.

But now, the same committee is steadfast in refusing to investigate anything against Trump or members of his administration. No investigations of violations of the Logan Act, which ended up forcing Trump’s National Security Advisor to resign because he conducted illegal communications with the Russians before Trump was inaugurated and then lied about it. No investigation of several violations of the emoluments clause of the constitution by Trump. No investigation of Kellyanne Conway promoting Ivanka’s clothing lines from the White House. No investigation of executive orders being signed by the president even though he never bothered to read them. And no investigation of the unsecured phone that Trump is using to tweet in the middle of the night. In an administration that is already reeling from multiple scandals, including both legal and ethical problems, this committee has been silent.

But now, this committee has decided to launch a new investigation. And it should come as no surprise to anyone that they are launching yet another investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails. They want to bring criminal charges against the former State Department employee who set up Clinton’s private email server.

All of this is because of Jason Chaffetz, the Republican chairman of the committee. Last week, Chaffetz sent a letter to Trump’s new Attorney General asking him to either convene a grand jury or to directly charge Bryan Pagliano with a crime, based on the idea that the server was a potential security risk, despite multiple investigations that did not turn up any evidence of any successful attacks on the server that resulted in security breaches.

© Matt Bors


The Best People?

During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump answered questions about his lack of experience by claiming that he would hire the best people to run his administration.

But apparently, that was just another lie. We are just one month into his administration, and already he has lost a White House Communications Director, National Security Advisor, Secretary of Labor, Secretary of the Army, and it looks like he is about to lose his nominee for Secretary of the Navy. And on Sunday, another top appointee was fired after criticizing Trump. That is not a great track record.

Trump is not living up to his promise to hire the best people and let them run the administration. In particular, his cabinet members are not allowed to pick their own staff. For example, the White House would not let Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (who has no political experience) hire Elliott Abrams (who had held extensive foreign policy positions in the Reagan and second Bush administration) because Abrams criticized Trump during the campaign.

Trump wants to hire people who have never criticized him, which leaves out pretty much all Democrats, many Republicans (including those with the most experience) and members of many minority groups that were insulted by Trump. In addition Trump has given preference to big donors to his campaign (people like new Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos). No wonder he is having problems finding good people.

Even so, a few reasonable people have made it into his administration, including Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly, and CIA Director Mike Pompeo. These people have been nicknamed “the grownups”.

However, Trump seems to be ignoring the grownups in his administration. For example, this week Donald Trump dropped our longstanding support for a two-state solution to the Middle East — without even talking to the state department. As a result, Tillerson and Mattis have spent almost all their time in cleanup mode, trying to undo the messes that Trump keeps creating that are disrupting the rest of the world.

Similarly, Trump’s meddling in foreign affairs seems to reward countries whose leaders either kiss up to him (e.g., Russia, Israel), or which do things that reward him and his family financially. In particular, Trump dropped all of his criticisms of China right after China reversed itself and awarded Trump’s business valuable trademarks.

In summary, Trump has no idea what he is doing, yet he keep firing from the hip without warning. He is hiring sycophants and donors who tell him everything is going well, and his own decisions seem strongly influenced by potential personal gain. In addition, he is already starting his 2020 campaign.

Situations like this never end well.

© Jim Morin


Late Night Political Humor

[Jokes from Jan. 24, 2017]

“The number one thing on Donald Trump’s mind right now is the election in November. He says that 3 million to 5 million illegal voters cost him the popular vote. There doesn’t seem to be any evidence to support this belief but that doesn’t matter.” – Jimmy Kimmel

“President Trump today met with the leaders of Fiat, Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors. And he asked them one question, ‘How many people do you think were at my inauguration?'” – Seth Meyers

“I’m 100 percent convinced if given the choice, Donald Trump would rather have won the popular vote and lost the actual election than the other way around.” – Jimmy Kimmel

“The Oscar nominations came out today and the movie ‘La La Land’ got 14 nominations. However, that’s only because 3 to 5 million undocumented immigrants voted illegally.” – Conan O’Brien

“ABC will air a primetime special with President Trump tomorrow night, marking his first interview since taking office. Even though the interview hasn’t even aired yet, Trump is already claiming it was watched by a billion people.” – Jimmy Fallon

“The New York Times used the word ‘lie’ to describe the president’s take on this. But I don’t know. A lie is when you say something you know isn’t true. I think Donald Trump believes it. It’s not so much a lie as it is a symptom.” – Jimmy Kimmel

“It is true, I’m not making this up, he did call his inauguration day ‘A National Day of Patriotic Devotion’. So today, Trump was accused of fascism by Democrats and plagiarism by Kim Jong Un.” – Conan O’Brien

“Oscar nominations were announced today with Meryl Streep nominated for ‘Florence Foster Jenkins’, Natalie Portman for ‘Jackie’, and Hillary Clinton for smiling her way through the inauguration.” – Seth Meyers

“Following President Trump’s inauguration, the White House website no longer has an option for translation into Spanish. So, sorry, Mexican immigrants, if you want to live here, you’ll just have to learn to speak Russian.” – Seth Meyers

“Senior aides to Donald Trump say they try to keep him from watching cable TV. And that’s partly because the news channels upset him, but mostly because he’s now bought over 300 NutriBullets.” – Conan O’Brien

“President Trump signed executive orders to continue construction on the controversial Keystone and Dakota Access oil pipelines. I guess he hasn’t seen a massive protest since Saturday and kinda misses it.” – Jimmy Fallon

“President Trump announced he will nominate a new Supreme Court Justice sometime next week. Trump said, ‘I just need a few more days to come up with someone completely unqualified.'” – Conan O’Brien

“President Trump got his first approval rating numbers and they aren’t good. His approval rating stands at 45 percent, which is the lowest in history for a new president. Or as his press secretary Sean Spicer put it today, ‘The highest in history for a new president’.” – Jimmy Kimmel

“Rolling Stone just did a big profile on Vice President Mike Pence, and revealed that Pence grew up with a cornfield in his backyard. I guess at times, he even heard a voice coming from it that said, ‘If you build it … Mexico won’t pay for it.'” – Jimmy Fallon

“A Fox News host claims he saw Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway get into a fistfight at one of the inaugural balls. However, today it was explained to him that ‘that’s just how Irish people dance.'” – Conan O’Brien


I Scream!

This image has been running around the innertubes ever since the election, equally popular on both liberal and conservative websites:

I especially love the description, but I don’t know if they spelled “marshmallow” wrong on purpose. After all, I wouldn’t describe Trump as “mellow”.

In case there is any doubt, Snopes says that it is not a real flavor. Sorry if you wanted to buy some!

However, an ice cream shop in Philadelphia has what might be the next best thing — the ImPeach Sundae:

They describe it as “peach ice cream smothered in nuts from the cabinet, with a side of our orange colored Tomato Ice Cream topped with Cheetos”. And they serve it with a small demitasse spoon on request, “to make any hands look huge”.

The same shop also added a traditional Persian ice cream to their menu, a saffron and rose custard with roasted pistachios. Proceeds from that flavor go to an organization that helps settle immigrants and refugees.


Late Night Political Humor

[Jokes from Jan. 23, 2017]

“The Women’s March in Washington was on Saturday, and it had three times as many people as Trump’s inauguration. When he was told there were hundreds of thousands of women outside the White House, Trump said, ‘Wow, this Trump cologne REALLY WORKS.'” – Jimmy Fallon

“Over the weekend, 750,000 protesters attended the Women’s March in downtown Los Angeles. The last time this many women gathered in downtown L.A., it was to testify against Bill Cosby.” – Conan O’Brien

“President Trump did draw a huge crowd over the weekend. On Saturday between 3 million and 5 million people, mostly women, gathered to support him — was that what they were doing? — in New York, L.A., Chicago, and Washington, D.C.” – Jimmy Kimmel

“Even though our studio can only hold 200 people, Donald Trump’s press secretary says we’ve got 2 MILLION people here tonight! We’re just a few days into Donald Trump’s presidency. And I don’t know what Trump’s fitness initiative is, but because of him, millions of women got their steps in this weekend.” – Jimmy Fallon

“There were marches across all seven continents, including Antarctica. To be fair to Trump, the protest in Antarctica was just the March of the Penguins.” – Conan O’Brien

“There were protests in all 50 states. In 32 countries. They say it was the biggest protest in American history. Can you imagine having that many women get mad at you?” – Jimmy Kimmel

“Hillary Clinton said yesterday that the images of the Women’s March were ‘awe-inspiring’. Adding, ‘Nice to see you all come out in full force, finally.'” – Seth Meyers

“Friends say Hillary Clinton is thinking of writing another book. This book’s tentative title is ‘Happy Now, [Jerks]?'” – Conan O’Brien

“On the opposite end of the female empowerment spectrum, tonight on ABC we had a new episode of ‘The Bachelor.’ The women packed up their emotional baggage for a visit to Nick’s hometown in Wisconsin. Never has a group of women pretended to be more excited about going to Wachesaw, Wisconsin, than tonight.” – Jimmy Kimmel

“Yesterday was Donald and Melania Trump’s 12th wedding anniversary. When asked what the traditional 12th anniversary gift is, Trump said, ‘I don’t know, I’ve never made it this far.'” – Jimmy Fallon

“The White House has admitted that Donald Trump did not write his inauguration speech. The speech was written late last Thursday by a disgruntled postal worker.” – Conan O’Brien

“During his inaugural address on Friday, President Trump said, quote, ‘The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.’ Wow, the good news just keeps coming for 3 Doors Down.” – Seth Meyers

“During his inaugural address President Trump said that the ideology for his administration will be ‘America First’. Which also happens to be Putin’s ideology. ‘America first, then we go into Ukraine, then Eastern Europe…'” – Seth Meyers


Trump’s Bizarre Press Conference

I’m sure most people have heard about Trump’s first solo press conference on Thursday, but Seth Meyers has a good take on it:

At what point does it become too painful for Trump supporters to hear what keeps coming out of his mouth. Or have they already stopped listening?


The Biggest Violators of Immigration Laws

© Ruben Bolling

Well, at least we dumped Andy Puzder as Secretary of Labor. Even Republicans thought he was a very bad idea.