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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.


Will Trump Follow Flynn?

What’s worse? That Flynn discussed sanctions with the Russians and lied about it, or that Trump is now lying about what he knew about it?

What I don’t understand is how incompetent do these people have to be? Flynn was freakin’ National Security Advisor, and before that was the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (before he was fired from that job). And yet he didn’t seem to realize that the CIA routinely eavesdropped on those phone calls?

It had gotten so bad that the CIA was starting to withhold sensitive information from the Trump administration. And why wouldn’t they? Trump wasn’t interested in his daily briefing, so the information was more likely to be leaked (to the Russians even) than be acted upon.

What’s next? Trump discussing a national security crisis with the leader of an allied nation in public, with people taking photos of the discussions?


Late Night Political Humor

[Jokes from Jan. 19, 2017]

“Tomorrow is the presidential inauguration. People from all across country will be there. But don’t worry if you can’t make it, because the president will be live tweeting the whole thing.” – Jimmy Fallon

“Meteorologists are predicting that the weather for the inauguration tomorrow will be cold, damp, and dreary. However, things will warm up later in the afternoon, during the Rapture.” – Conan O’Brien

“North Korea is reportedly readying two intercontinental ballistic missiles to nuke Donald Trump’s inauguration. Listen, Tubby, you’re gonna have to do a lot better than that if you want to scare us this weekend.” – Conan O’Brien

“Donald Trump apparently wrote a draft of his inauguration speech himself. A little worried though, because while he was writing, he kept yelling to his secretary, ‘Is boobs spelled with two ‘o’s or three?'” – Jimmy Fallon

“Now, Trump likes writing everything by hand and he actually threw away some lines for his speech that he decided not to use. Well, we got a hold of some of them. So check these out: This first line Trump threw away was ‘Four score and seven bankruptcies ago.’ Then he tried, ‘Read my lips. No new taxes — for me.'” – Jimmy Fallon

“And finally he tried, ‘Dwight D. Eisenhower said, ‘Any man who wants to be president is either an egomaniac or crazy,’ and to that I say, why not both?'” – Jimmy Fallon

“Donald Trump will be sworn in as president of the United States tomorrow. That’s right. Basically, we as a nation are going from the first season of ‘Lost’ to the last season. As it turns out, we’re all in purgatory. That’s the best-case scenario.” – Conan O’Brien

“One of the DJs at Donald Trump’s inauguration celebration used to be Hugh Hefner’s personal DJ. When asked how he became a DJ for both Hugh Hefner and Donald Trump, he said, ‘I’m not a very good DJ.'” – Jimmy Fallon

“President Obama surprised his White House staffers with a private concert by Bruce Springsteen to thank them for their work over the last eight years. Meanwhile, Trump thanked his supporters with a performance by a Bruce Springsteen cover brand’s drummer’s DJ friend.” – Conan O’Brien

“Today is President Obama’s final day in office, and I just want to say: Mr. President, you weren’t great for comedy. You were always sincere and eloquent. You never had a scandal or fell down the stairs. You carried yourself with grace and dignity for eight whole years. So, on behalf of comedians and talk show hosts everywhere: We’re gonna miss you, Joe!” – Conan O’Brien

“The president of Gambia is refusing to step down, even though the country has elected a new president. Which raises the question, why can’t we be more like Gambia?” – Conan O’Brien

“Today, in his last full day in office, President Obama commuted the sentences of 330 prisoners. After hearing this, Melania Trump said, ‘I hope I’m one of them.'” – Conan O’Brien

“A Southern California man has created a dating site exclusively for Trump supporters. It’s a great way for angry white men to meet other angry white men.” – Conan O’Brien

“Donald Trump’s press secretary claims that Trump’s cabinet will be one of the most diverse in history. Of course he didn’t mean American history, he meant Confederate history.” – Conan O’Brien


Trump vs Truth

If you have ever wondered how people can support Donald Trump, when he lies constantly, then you have to watch this video from John Oliver:

The problem is a combination of a propaganda-like appeal to emotions, reinforced by a fake news industry. Note that this kind of non-rational belief is not confined to conservatives. For example, non-rational belief in things like “chemtrails” and the idea that immunizations cause autism are also common among some progressives. And just because you are intelligent, you are not immune. Steve Jobs was extremely intelligent, but he famously delayed getting treatment for his cancer because he didn’t believe in traditional medicine.


Dan Rather on the Latest Trump Scandal

[Posted to Facebook by Dan Rather]

Watergate is the biggest political scandal of my lifetime, until maybe now. It was the closest we came to a debilitating Constitutional crisis, until maybe now. On a 10 scale of armageddon for our form of government, I would put Watergate at a 9. This Russia scandal is currently somewhere around a 5 or 6, in my opinion, but it is cascading in intensity seemingly by the hour. And we may look back and see, in the end, that it is at least as big as Watergate. It may become the measure by which all future scandals are judged. It has all the necessary ingredients, and that is chilling.

When we look back at Watergate, we remember the end of the Nixon Presidency. It came with an avalanche, but for most of the time my fellow reporters and I were chasing down the story as it rumbled along with a low-grade intensity. We never were quite sure how much we would find out about what really happened. In the end, the truth emerged into the light, and President Nixon descended into infamy.

This Russia story started out with an avalanche and where we go from here no one really knows. Each piece of news demands new questions. We are still less than a month into the Trump Presidency, and many are asking that question made famous by Tennessee Senator Howard Baker those many years ago: “What did the President know, and when did he know it?” New reporting suggests that Mr. Trump knew for weeks. We can all remember the General Michael Flynn’s speech from the Republican National Convention – “Lock her up!” in regards to Hillary Clinton. If Hillary Clinton had done one tenth of what Mr. Flynn had done, she likely would be in jail. And it isn’t just Mr. Flynn, how far does this go?

The White House has no credibility on this issue. Their spigot of lies – can’t we finally all agree to call them lies – long ago lost them any semblance of credibility. I would also extend that to the Republican Congress, who has excused away the Trump Administration’s assertions for far too long.

We need an independent investigation. Damn the lies, full throttle forward on the truth. If a scriptwriter had approached Hollywood with what we are witnessing, he or she would probably have been told it was way too far-fetched for even a summer blockbuster. But this is not fiction. It is real and it is serious. Deadly serious. We deserve answers and those who are complicit in this scandal need to feel the full force of justice.


Trumping Valentine’s Day

Maybe we should stop calling the holiday after Saint Valentine, and instead call it after Narcissus.

© Tom Tomorrow

According to Tom Tomorrow, all of these quotes are genuine, although he admits that the one in the top-right panel was paraphrased so it would fit (is this like what they do to movies when they show them on TV, so they can insert ads?)

UPDATE: See also Jimmy Kimmel’s White House Valentine’s Day cards.


Late Night Political Humor

[Jokes from Jan. 17, 2017]

“Donald Trump will be sworn in as president this Friday at 12 noon. That’s when the big hand is on the 12, and the little hand is on the Bible.” – Seth Meyers

“We are just three days away from Donald Trump’s inauguration, and just two days away from all those time travelers coming back to stop him. Or not.” – Stephen Colbert

“Donald Trump’s inaugural committee is actually encouraging protesters to show up on Friday, saying, quote, ‘We’ll give you cookies and Kool-Aid.’ Then Republicans in Congress were like, ‘Actually, we drank all the Kool-Aid.'” – Jimmy Fallon

“It’s expected to rain in Washington during Donald Trump’s inauguration. In response, Donald Trump tweeted, ‘The sky is rigged.'” – Conan O’Brien

“Evidently, any bad news for Trump is rigged. If it rains on Inauguration Day, he’ll tweet, ‘Fake weather. Clouds are rigged. Apologize!'” – Stephen Colbert

“It was announced that the B Street Band — a Bruce Springsteen cover band — that was booked for an inauguration gala has since decided to cancel out of respect for Springsteen’s opposition to Donald Trump. You know it’s bad when even a cover band is like, ‘We don’t want to compromise our artistic integrity like that.'” – James Corden

“Maybe a Springsteen cover band canceling is all for the best. ‘Born in the USA’ would have been an insensitive song to play at a party celebrating a campaign that was actually born in Russia.” – James Corden

“It’s rumored that Donald Trump’s transition team is paying seat fillers to attend his inauguration. Just a word of advice to the Trump seat-fillers: Make sure you get paid up front, OK? Get the cash.” – Conan O’Brien

“The celebrities attending are so non-famous, they’d probably get cast on ‘Celebrity Apprentice.'” – James Corden

“Donald Trump said after he’s sworn into office on Friday, he’s going to take the weekend off. Unless, of course, he has to deal with a national emergency or a ‘Saturday Night Live’ sketch. It could go either way.” – Conan O’Brien

“So Trump might want to put in some more hours just to get his popularity up. He’s got the lowest approval rating of any incoming president in modern history. But, hey, it’s not a popularity contest. And neither was the election.” – Stephen Colbert

“Right now, Donald Trump has 40 percent favorable, whereas on his Inauguration Day, Barack Obama’s favorability rating was 79 percent. But he was the first black president, and if America’s known for anything, it’s giving black men the benefit of the doubt.” – Stephen Colbert

“Even Trump’s staunchest supporters are starting to have doubts because, evidently, white nationalists are already losing faith in the president-elect. That is so sad. I mean, they’ve gone from ‘Heil!’ to ‘Huh?'” – Stephen Colbert

“Today was first lady Michelle Obama’s birthday. And for the eighth year in a row, an overexcited Joe Biden blew out her candles.” – Seth Meyers


Make Spelling To Great Again

The official Donald Trump inauguration poster, produced by the Library of Congress, has a spelling error in it:

My only question is, did they do it on purpose?

If not, did the Trump administration get rid of the regulation about proper spelling, or fire the bureaucrat in charge of it?


Undoing Pence

Unlike his boss, Vice President Mike Pence is an experienced politician. In fact, before becoming VP, Pence was the governor of Indiana. So we should be able to get some idea of what kind of president Pence might be, if (for some reason) Donald Trump stops being the president.

Which is why this report from an Indiana newspaper is worrisome. The article is titled “With Pence gone, fellow Republicans undo his work in Indiana”.

When Pence became the vice president, he was able to handpick Eric Holcomb (who had been his lieutenant governor) to be his successor as Indiana governor. Plus Republicans hold supermajorities of both chambers of the Indiana legislature. One might think that not much would have changed after Pence left the state to join the White House.

One would be wrong. The new governor and the legislature immediately started reversing Pence’s policies in the state:

  • Pence had struck a tentative deal to lease state-owned cell towers to an Ohio company. Holcomb cancelled that deal.
  • Pence refused to pardon Keith Cooper, who had been wrongfully convicted of robbery almost 20 years ago. This despite a pardon recommendation from the Indiana parole board and a petition for Cooper’s pardon that had collected 100,000 signatures. All eyewitnesses in the case had recanted their testimony and DNA evidence did not implicate Cooper in the crime. Holcomb pardoned Cooper.
  • Pence refused to declare an emergency for an East Chicago neighborhood where residents have been forced to leave because of lead contamination. Holcomb reversed that decision and declared an emergency so that federal funds can be used to solve the contamination problem.
  • Pence opposed needle exchange programs to stop the spread of disease among drug abusers. Holcomb has announced his support for that program.
  • Pence opposed tax increases to pay for road improvements, while Holcomb has endorsed them.
  • For their part, the legislature overturned Pence’s most recent vetoes. One was a veto of environmental rules (overturned by a vote of 93 to 2), and the other affected universities in the state.

Why are Republicans trying to seemingly erase Pence’s legacy? Because Pence is an ideologue. Some might even call him a religious zealot, who governs based on his religious convictions. That may have made his religious base happy, but was not good for the state. There is no doubt that he would do the same thing as president.

But perhaps even more important to Pence than his religion is his ambition, which is why he supports Donald Trump with unquestioning devotion, even though Donald Trump is a completely non-religious person who is only too happy to commit grievous religious sins (coveting other’s wives, adultery, lying, bearing false witness, stealing, etc.) and even brag about them.

This does not bode well for the future, as Time magazine has already published an editorial calling for Trump’s impeachment.

UPDATE: Plus bookmakers are very close on the question of whether Trump will make it through his first term. The question doesn’t seem to be whether Trump deserves to be impeached, but whether the Republicans will have the guts to do it.


McCarthy Does Spicer Again

Melissa McCarthy again pokes fun at White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. And Kate McKinnon adds an incomprehensible Jeff Sessions. This SNL parody just keeps getting better. I think Donald Trump will be forced to get rid of Spicer just to stop this. Either way, we win.

Rumors are that one potential candidate has already been interviewed, and this guy might be an even better target for satire. For example, he suggested we should put Muslims into internment camps, like we did to Japanese Americans during WWII.

UPDATE: See more SNL skits from last night, including Donald Trump in “The People’s Court”.