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Better Trump than Trump

Alec Baldwin on SNL is doing a better job of being Donald Trump than Trump himself does. If you don’t believe me, watch this video, also from SNL, that has actual clips of Trump from his declaration of the fake national emergency. I think we elected the wrong TV personality!

Baldwin hit the nail on the head so hard that it got even Trump’s attention. So the official presidential proclamation is that there is “Nothing funny about tried Saturday Night Live on Fake News NBC!”

Trump went on, saying “Question is, how do the Networks get away with these total Republican hit jobs without retribution? Likewise for many other shows? Very unfair and should be looked into. This is the real Collusion!” Has anyone ever had thinner skin than Trump?

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A Nation of Immigrants!

Jen Sorensen
© Jen Sorensen

Not to mention that these same (white) folks have committed more terrorism than any minority group. Law and order starts at home, especially if your home is espousing hatred, racism, and misogyny.

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What we stand for

Electoral Vote has a good piece talking about the importance of Democrats taking a stand on big issues. They chastise a recent column by Chris Cizzilla titled “How Democrats are handing Donald Trump a viable path to a second term”. Cizzilla claims that it is dangerous for the Dems to support the “Green New Deal” and late term abortions (in the case when the fetus is not viable or the mother’s life is in danger). Cizzilla doesn’t want the the Democrats to endorse any policy that the Republicans might use against them in the next presidential election.

Electoral Vote points out that this is exactly the attitude that has people fed up with the Democratic Party status quo – they are afraid to stand for anything even remotely controversial. And they point out that the Republicans don’t need any real reason to attack the Democrats – Trump has demonstrated again and again that he will simply make something up when he wants to attack the Dems.

I’ve been watching AOC, and I have to say that while I don’t agree with many of her proposed policies, I find her “damn the torpedoes” approach very appealing. It feels good to have Democratic politicians who aren’t afraid to stand for something.

Tom Tomorrow
© Tom Tomorrow
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Q&A

Last summer, somebody asked on Quora “Why do many British people not like Donald Trump“. They got back 43 answers. Here’s one of them:

A few things spring to mind.

Trump lacks certain qualities which the British traditionally esteem.

For instance, he has no class, no charm, no coolness, no credibility, no compassion, no wit, no warmth, no wisdom, no subtlety, no sensitivity, no self-awareness, no humility, no honour and no grace – all qualities, funnily enough, with which his predecessor Mr. Obama was generously blessed.

So for us, the stark contrast does rather throw Trump’s limitations into embarrassingly sharp relief.

Plus, we like a laugh. And while Trump may be laughable, he has never once said anything wry, witty or even faintly amusing – not once, ever.

I don’t say that rhetorically, I mean it quite literally: not once, not ever. And that fact is particularly disturbing to the British sensibility – for us, to lack humour is almost inhuman.

But with Trump, it’s a fact. He doesn’t even seem to understand what a joke is – his idea of a joke is a crass comment, an illiterate insult, a casual act of cruelty.

Trump is a troll. And like all trolls, he is never funny and he never laughs; he only crows or jeers.

And scarily, he doesn’t just talk in crude, witless insults – he actually thinks in them. His mind is a simple bot-like algorithm of petty prejudices and knee-jerk nastiness.

There is never any under-layer of irony, nuance or depth. It’s all surface.
Some Americans might see this as refreshingly upfront.

Well, we don’t. We see it as having no inner world, no soul.
And in Britain we traditionally side with David, not Goliath. All our heroes are plucky underdogs: Robin Hood, Dick Whittington, Oliver Twist.

Trump is neither plucky, nor an underdog. He is the exact opposite of that.

He’s not even a spoiled rich-boy, or a greedy fat-cat.

He’s more a fat white slug. A Jabba the Hutt of privilege.

And worse, he is that most unforgivable of all things to the British: a bully.

That is, except when he is among bullies; then he suddenly transforms into a bully’s snivelling sidekick instead.

There are unspoken rules to this stuff – the Queensberry rules of basic decency – and he breaks them all. He punches downwards – which a gentleman should, would, could never do – and every blow he aims is below the belt. He particularly likes to kick the vulnerable or voiceless – and he kicks them when they are down.

So the fact that a significant minority – perhaps a third – of Americans look at what he does, listen to what he says, and then think ‘Yeah, he seems like my kind of guy’ is a matter of some confusion and no little distress to British people, given that:

1. Americans are supposed to be nicer than us, and mostly are.
2. You don’t need a particularly keen eye for detail to spot a few flaws in the man.

This last point is what especially confuses and dismays British people, and many other people too; his faults seem pretty bloody hard to miss.

After all, it’s impossible to read a single tweet, or hear him speak a sentence or two, without staring deep into the abyss. He turns being artless into an art form; he is a Picasso of pettiness; a Shakespeare of shit. His faults are fractal: even his flaws have flaws, and so on ad infinitum.

God knows there have always been stupid people in the world, and plenty of nasty people too. But rarely has stupidity been so nasty, or nastiness so stupid.

He makes Nixon look trustworthy and George W look smart.

In fact, if Frankenstein decided to make a monster assembled entirely from human flaws – he would make a Trump.

And a remorseful Doctor Frankenstein would clutch out big clumpfuls of hair and scream in anguish:

‘My God… what… have… I… created?

If being a twat was a TV show, Trump would be the boxed set.

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Surveying Racism

An ironic twist in the scandal rocking Virginia governor Ralph Northam coming from a new poll. Overall, Virginians are deadlocked, with 47% saying that he should step down as governor, and 47% saying he should not (6% with no opinion).

However, while 48% of whites say that Northam should resign, among blacks, only 37% want him to resign. Does this mean that whites are more upset than blacks about Northam having a photo showing someone in blackface in his medical school yearbook page.

Maybe, but probably not. The same survey shows that 56% of Republicans think he should resign. It is difficult to believe that Republicans are saying this because they are upset about any alleged racism. Among Democrats, 40% think he should resign.

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What’s in a name?

An 11-year-old boy named Joshua Trump was invited by Melania Trump (no relation) to the State of the Union speech Tuesday night. He was invited because he had to drop out of school in Maryland after he was bullied about his last name. I applaud Melania for inviting him, even if it was (likely) done to score a political point against critics of her husband.

But the ironic part is that during the speech, Joshua Trump fell asleep.

Of course, people on Twitter noticed this when the cameras panned across the audience, and immediately hailed him a hero, tweeting “JOSHUA TRUMP RULES”, “Joshua Trump, welcome to the resistance”, and “All of us were Joshua Trump Midway through President (no relation) Trump’s State of the Union”.

Maybe the youngster just needed some “executive time“, like his namesake. And that just might be a good thing.

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The Right to be Offended?

I fully expect I’m going to get a bunch of pushback on this one. I welcome discussion about this.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam is being pressured into resigning because of a photo from his 1984 yearbook, showing two people, one in blackface and one wearing a KKK costume, both holding beers.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that he didn’t make a mistake. But people make stupid mistakes all the time. You make amends, apologize, and move on.

I don’t know if that photo was taken at a Hallowe’en party, but it is actually somewhat funny having a black person and a KKK person drinking a beer together. I haven’t seen any evidence that it was intended to be racist.

Wearing blackface was not always considered racist. Al Jolson, probably the most famous person to wear blackface, worked hard his whole life to improve race relations and was considered a hero by most blacks.

Again, I’m not defending what he did. I just don’t see it as anything more than a small stupid mistake made a long time ago. And it is one more example of the left exercising the dubious right to be offended.

Of course, the GOP doesn’t know when to shut up and let the Dems sling mud at each other. Indeed, on Twitter Saturday an outraged Donald Trump Jr. claimed that the Republicans would never be able to get away with a racist scandal like this. In response, Twitter gleefully reminded him of all the racist scandals they have been able to get away with:

Twitter followers reminded him that his dad called black nations “shithole countries,” hailed Charlottesville protesters, including neo Nazis, as “very fine people,” and long pushed the “birther” lie that the nation’s only black president was born in Africa. Meanwhile, white nationalist GOP Iowa Rep. Steve King is serving his 16th year in Congress. (One Twitter response included a photo of President Donald Trump’s oldest son happily posing with King.)

Clay Jones
© Clay Jones

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The End of The Wall

I doubt if anyone knows how it will end. Including Donald Trump.

Previously, he didn’t seem to care if they called it a wall or even something silly like “peaches“. Now he is back to insisting that everyone call it a wall again and “stop playing political games”, even though it is obvious that the person who keeps changing the name is Trump himself.

Regardless of what you call it, a wall is a completely stupid idea, and no matter how much Trump lies about the need for one, it is obvious that the only thing a wall will do is help Trump with his most rabid base.

© Drew Sheneman
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Out-Foxed

In July 2017, Donald Trump announced that Taiwanese manufacturer “Foxconn will build a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility for the production of LCD panel products in Wisconsin”. The 20-million square foot campus was supposed to cost $10 billion and employ 13,000 workers. Trump bragged that this was proof of his ability to revive American manufacturing.

Former Wisconsin governor Scott Walker lured Foxconn by giving them a stunning $4 billion in tax breaks, which means that the taxpayers were ponying up over $300,000 per job. I’ve often been a critic of luring big companies with corporate welfare, because such schemes simply move jobs from one place to another, rather than creating new jobs. In addition, the loss of tax revenue for schools and other needed infrastructure often means that fewer new jobs will be created in the future. Indeed, Walker made deep cuts to the state university system and under him, Wisconsin ranked dead last of all the states in new-business start-up activity.

But it gets worse. Foxconn just announced that they will not build a manufacturing facility in the US after all, saying “In terms of TV, we have no place in the US. We can’t compete.” Instead, it will be more profitable to build the panels in China and Japan, ship them to Mexico for final assembly, and import the finished product to the US, because of the high cost of labor in the US. Duh.

Foxconn will instead build an R&D facility in Wisconsin, but rather than 13,000 jobs, the number is likely to be around 1,000 workers. Despite what Trump said, these will not be manufacturing jobs, they will be “knowledge” positions, the kind of jobs for which you need highly educated workers.

Trump’s base is screwed again. Will they notice?

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Reality

© Tom Tomorrow

Reading this comic, one has to be amazed at how absolutely insane our reality has become. I’m beginning to think that impeachment won’t be enough, that maybe it is time to bring back tarring and feathering (in this case, perhaps using Sparky’s penguin feathers). The future, if we are lucky enough to have one, will probably look back at this time with horror and disgust.

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F-ing Impossible

The blog Margaret and Helen has been quiet since before Thanksgiving. But Helen Philpot finally broke the silence with an epic rant, titled:

Do you have any idea how hard it is not to use the F-word when talking about Donald Trump? It’s damn near f-ing impossible. #FactsMatter #HowToTrainYourDragon

Philpot gloriously lambasts Twitter, Roger Stone (saying “given enough time I can probably prove that while not every asshole is on Twitter, they are all on a Republican payroll somewhere”), the Washington Post, Fox News (“the only place with more assholes full of shit than Twitter”), the NRA, and (of course) the “Cheeto in Chief”, AKA “the Great Orange Yeast Infection”.

Go read it. Just one warning: Philpot actually uses the F-word (for the first time ever).

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Running Government like a Business

Politicians who come from the business world like to claim that they are going to “run the government like a business”. There are two problems with this: The first is that running a business is nothing like running a government. If you doubt this, just do a search for “why government should not be run like a business” and read the resulting articles from places like Forbes and the Harvard Business Review.

The second problem is that most businesses (especially ones that are large) are actually not particularly well run. Would you want a government that is run like the largest US industries, like automotive (GM), cable TV (Comcast), big oil (Exxon Mobile, Halliburton), big banks (Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, Bank of America), or US airlines (United, Delta, Spirit)?

And when we do elect a businessman like Donald Trump, just look at the things that happen. We had a sobering example of that this week, in an article from the LA Times.

Two years ago, Donald Trump signed orders to hire 15,000 new immigration and customs officers, and border agents. A year later, things were not going well, so Customs and Border Protection (CBP) did something that many large business often do, they outsourced the job to a large management consulting firm, Accenture Federal Services. Accenture was paid $60.7 million to recruit, vet, and hire 7,500 people for CBP. A government report says that “Accenture claimed it would have the capability and capacity to perform all steps of the hiring process within 90 days of awarding the contract.” But more than a year later, they have hired a grand total of 33. Just 33. Period. That’s over $1.8 million per person.

The problem seems to be that nobody wants the job. CBP currently has more than 3,000 job vacancies, and most years they lose more employees than they are able to replace.

What’s the next step? Doing what American businesses do every time they need people for a job that no American wants? Which would be to hire a bunch of illegal Mexican immigrants to guard the southern border. After all, that’s what Trump himself does.

And speaking of illegals:

Matt Bors
© Matt Bors
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In a Shutdown Pickle

Matt Davies
© Matt Davies

It would appear that we aren’t in a much different situation than we were before with respect to the shutdown. Donald Trump has just delayed the inevitable. He is still threatening to shut down the government again, and the Democrats have absolutely no need to cave (like he just did). He could call a national state of emergency, but that would almost certainly be blocked in the courts (at least for months or even years).

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Pardon Me!

Kate McKinnon (as Wilbur Ross) and Steve Martin (as Roger Stone!) are both absolutely hilarious in last night’s SNL cold open:

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Trump Chickens Out

Today, on the 35th day of the shutdown, Donald Trump announced a temporary reopening of the government for three weeks. And no, he didn’t get any funding for the wall. He totally caved.

Why? Could it be because he already lost a handful of Republican Senators, who yesterday voted against Trump as a warning shot that if the shutdown went on much longer Trump would find himself humiliated by a veto-proof bipartisan budget bill being passed by Congress? Well, probably not.

Was it because his base started crumbling, once Trump’s temper tantrum started affecting their wallets?

Or because this is actually hurting the economy and reducing the security of the US more than his silly imagined illegal alien invasion.

Or because he wasn’t going to be able to make his campaign speech State of the Union address? You know how much he loves pomp and pageantry.

Well, it is probably more likely because of something that happened this morning to business people trying to fly:

Pressure to end the shutdown increased on Friday after air traffic was delayed at two New York-area airports — LaGuardia and Newark — in addition to Philadelphia International Airport due to staffing issues at a Federal Aviation Administration regional air traffic control center.

I’m willing to bet that even though he said this was temporary, and threatened to declare a national emergency if he doesn’t get money for his stupid wall, there is no way he would dare to shut down the government again in three weeks. Mark my words.

Trump loves to claim he’s tough, but he always gives in.

Matt Wuerker
© Matt Wuerker
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