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Late Night Political Humor

“Last night was the State of the Union address, and everyone’s excited about the huge special appearance by a guy we haven’t seen in a really long time: 2008 Barack Obama. That guy had swagger.” – Jimmy Fallon

“Last night President Obama gave the State of the Union address, and I just have to say that I don’t know what union he was describing. But I want to live there. I want to move. It sounds outstanding. There’s a middle class. They have small businesses. It sounds great.” – Seth Meyers

“At the State of the Union address last night, President Obama made history by using the words transgender, lesbian, and bisexual in that speech. It was the part of the speech where he was just reading Craigslist personals.” – Conan O’Brien

“The president took a moment to wish astronaut Scott Kelly luck on his upcoming yearlong mission in space, and even said, ‘Make sure to Instagram it.’ Obama loves Instagram because after six years with Biden it’s the one thing he can still put a filter on.” – Jimmy Fallon

“Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg fell asleep during Obama’s speech. She woke up with the other justices drawing a gavel on her face.” – Conan O’Brien

“First lady Michelle Obama wore a suit to the State of the Union last night that apparently had also been worn by Julianna Margulies’ character on the ‘The Good Wife’. They both wore the same outfit, which is why Obama just passed an executive action ordering Us Weekly to say Michelle wore it better.” – Jimmy Fallon

“A new helicopter service called Gotham Air is now offering users cheap flights from Manhattan to JFK or Newark airports that start at just $99. If there’s two words I trust together in the same sentence, it’s ‘cheap’ and ‘helicopter’.” – Jimmy Fallon

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Death of Taxes

During his State of the Union address, Barack Obama suggested “Let’s close the loopholes that lead to inequality by allowing the top 1 percent to avoid paying taxes on their accumulated wealth.” In other words, we should close the loopholes that allow the richest people to hide inheritance from any taxes. And I totally agree.

The Republicans have virtually eliminated inheritance taxes completely. Even worse, they made it so the rich can leave stock to their heirs, and avoid paying capital gains taxes on that stock. That’s right. If you earn money, you pay high taxes on it. If you get dividends on stock, you pay far less in taxes. But if you leave that stock to your heirs, you pay no taxes at all.

As a result, the gap between the rich and the poor is expanding at the highest rate in modern times. And it is because you are paying taxes to make up for the taxes that the rich don’t have to pay. And this is very bad for our economy and our country.

But that won’t stop the GOP from totally freaking out about trying to restore even some inheritance taxes. For example, Congress critter Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) responded to Obama’s suggestion angrily:

That’s a non-starter. The audacity, that he thinks the government has a right to people’s money? He wants to transfer wealth. It’s one of the most immoral things you can do, is try to steal somebody’s inheritance, to steal it away from their family.

So it is ok to transfer wealth from the middle class to the rich, but immoral to transfer it the other way.

The other thing you hear from Republicans is that inheritance taxes hurt small businesses and family farms, but there is plenty of evidence that they are lying. There are plenty of easy ways to shield businesses, including farms, from inheritance taxes. But that doesn’t stop Senator John Hoven (R-ND) from claiming:

Think about all of the small businesses and the farms, and how are you going to maintain a small business or pass a farm on to your kids? They grew up on that farm, they worked on that farm, and then they have to sell it when you die? I mean come on, that’s not how you foster small businesses or entrepreneurship.

I have friends (and family members) who are family farmers, and they say that this argument is complete bullshit.

Even Marco Rubio (R-FL), who is a potential presidential candidate plays this game, even using the bogus language of trickle-down economics to attack inheritance taxes:

My preference is to have as much money available for people to reinvest back into the economy. I think we can succeed at helping the middle class without having to go after anybody, or make an example of anybody, or punish anyone.

And actually, he is right that wealth is not a zero-sum game. Unfortunately, the truth is that the more wealth that is held by the middle class, the more trickles up.

Can we stop taking money away from the middle class and redistributing it to the rich?

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GOP Science

Tom Tomorrow
© Tom Tomorrow

Personally, I don’t think the Republicans actually believe any of this crap. I think the problem is that they will claim to believe anything that their campaign donors want. Or the opposite of what the Democrats believe. In the case of the Keystone XL pipeline, both are in play. That’s why it is their number 1 priority.

When did GOP become an acronym for Gas, Oil, and Pipelines?

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Late Night Political Humor

“Tonight President Obama gave the State of the Union address. Obama said he was more relaxed just because he’s already done it so many times. Incidentally, Mitt Romney said the same thing about running for president.” – Jimmy Fallon

“The Obamas invited 22 guests to the speech, including a former Cuban prisoner, an astronaut, and a doctor. Either that or he was setting up the weirdest bar joke of all time.” – Jimmy Fallon

“Today was the first day you could file a tax return. If you filed a tax return today, congratulations, nerd. People who file their taxes on the first day are the grown-up version of the kids who ask the teacher for extra homework in school.” – Jimmy Kimmel

“The IRS suggests filing early to reduce the chance that someone will steal your identity and file before you. Honestly, if somebody wants my identity so badly they’ll file my tax return for me, go crazy. You can mow my lawn while you’re at it, too.” – Jimmy Kimmel

“A new survey shows that most people trust Google more as a source for current events than traditional news outlets. Traditional news outlets didn’t believe the news until they Googled it.” – Seth Meyers

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Sarah Palin Raises Money for Hillary Clinton

No, not intentionally. But Sarah Palin managed to raise more than $25,000 for the group “Ready for Hillary”, which qualifies Palin to be a co-chair for their National Finance Council.

How did this happen? In Iowa last weekend Palin spoke about how Republicans can stop a Clinton campaign. She even held up a “Ready for Hillary” car magnet. So naturally, the Ready for Hillary super PAC used that moment for fundraising, and it worked!

Also ironically, her answer to whether anyone can stop Clinton, she borrowed another popular phrase and said “Yes we can”.

Who knew that Palin would become such an asset? We need to make sure that she keeps campaigning against Clinton. After all, she has a record of quitting prematurely.

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Late Night Political Humor

“According to a new poll, nearly six out of 10 Republicans want Mitt Romney to run for president. So do 10 out of 10 Democrats.” – Conan O’Brien

“Senator Rand Paul reflected on Mitt Romney’s potential 2016 campaign and said, ‘It’s sort of what Einstein said, that the definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result.’ When someone told him Einstein didn’t actually say that, he said, ‘In the words of Gandhi, My bad.'” – Jimmy Fallon

“Just days after Mitt Romney suggested he might run for president, there’s been a backlash. The backlash is led by Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee, and just to hedge his bets on every issue, Mitt Romney.” – Conan O’Brien

“The RNC released its first presidential debate schedule, which includes at least nine debates in different states across the country. As opposed to the Democratic debates, which will just be Hillary staring at her opponents until they burst into flames.” – Jimmy Fallon

“The other big story is tomorrow’s State of the Union address. During President Obama’s speech, one cabinet member will be asked to stay behind to run the government in case there is a crisis at the Capitol. At least that’s what they’re telling Biden.” – Jimmy Fallon

“This year’s Oscar nomination pool is the least diverse collection of nominees since 1998. There are so many white nominees that Fox News agreed to host a debate.” – Seth Meyers

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Amendments

The new Republican-controlled Senate immediately started paying back their largest campaign donors – the oil companies – by pushing for approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. Ironically, the beneficiaries of Keystone are mainly Canadian companies, but with our new rules that allow political contributions to remain completely anonymous, it is no surprise that there would be many large donors who are not Americans at all (or even American companies). Shouldn’t this worry us?

Passing Keystone requires the strange ritual of introducing amendments, many of which have nothing to do with the pipeline at all. For example, an amendment that would prohibit EPA enforcement officials from carrying guns (so much for being pro-gun!). Or an amendment to block Obama’s historic agreement with China to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. At least those are somewhat energy related. But what about the amendment that blocks the designation of any more national monuments?

Then, things turned even more ironic. The Senate voted on an amendment on whether climate change “is real and not a hoax.” This was mainly for show, as even most Republicans are willing to admit that the climate is changing. Indeed, only one (Roger Wicker, who apparently doesn’t believe in science; can you guess his party affiliation?) voted no.

Then Brian Schatz (again, can you guess his party affiliation?) introduced an amendment that doubled down on the last one, adding that human activity was a significant contributor to the previously admitted climate change. This time, the vote changed dramatically, and the Senate split right down the middle with 49 GOP senators voting against the new amendment. Wired magazine published a list showing the vote of every Senator. If one of your senators voted no, that means they don’t believe that humans have anything to do with global warming. Feel free to give them some feedback.

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Late Night Political Humor

“New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will begin fundraising for a potential 2016 presidential campaign by the end of January. No word on what his platform will be, but if I know Christie it’ll be really strong, maybe double reinforced steel.” – Jimmy Fallon

“Mitt Romney will reportedly address the Republican National Committee on Friday to talk about a possible third presidential run. It’s never a good sign when you have to start your speech with ‘Hear me out’.” – Seth Meyers

“Mitt Romney is running for president again. That will be attempt No. 3. Well, everybody needs a hobby. He’s almost certainly running, and I’m almost certainly retiring, so I don’t care.” – David Letterman

“It’s rumored that Chris Christie and Mitt Romney are planning to meet to overcome any lingering awkwardness from the 2012 election. Incidentally, ‘Lingering Awkwardness’ was actually Mitt Romney’s Secret Service code name.” – Jimmy Fallon

“John Boehner is a member of a country club in Ohio. It turns out that the bartender was plotting to poison Boehner. Now wait a minute. Isn’t that the movie with Seth Rogen and James Franco?” – David Letterman

“A congressman sent a tweet that compared president Obama to Adolf Hitler. He has now apologized. It’s not helping that he apologized to Hitler.” – Conan O’Brien

“President Obama is focused now on cyber security. He’s pushing for new laws to protect companies from hackers. And who better to do that than the people who brought us the Obamacare website? Not only couldn’t hackers get in, no one could penetrate it.” – Jimmy Kimmel­

“The IRS is warning that there could be long delays getting your tax refund this year because of budget cuts. They’re expecting so many delays that they’re renaming themselves the DMV.” – Jimmy Kimmel

“The good news regarding the IRS budget cuts is that they also won’t be auditing as many people. So if you’ve been thinking of claiming your pets as dependents this might be the year to do it.” – Jimmy Kimmel

“For the first time since 2007, the FDA Has approved a new device to treat obesity. The amazing breakthrough is called a vegetable.” – Conan O’Brien

“Yesterday, during his domestic abuse trial, NASCAR driver Kurt Busch said he believes his ex-girlfriend is a CIA-trained assassin. I guess those are just the kinds of thoughts you have when you drive in circles for four hours.” – Seth Meyers

“Today in Sri Lanka, Pope Francis visited a Buddhist temple. When asked why, the Pope said, ‘Just keeping my options open. It’s a dicey job market. You never know.'” – Conan O’Brien

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It’s Alive!

Zack Weinersmith

Zack Weinersmith
© Zack Weinersmith

Ever get the feeling that the echo chamber has taken on a life of its own, and doesn’t reflect the opinions of any real people? Back in 1964, Marshall McLuhan said, “The medium is the message”. It is even more true today.

McLuhan believed that a medium itself shapes and controls “the scale and form of human association and action”. Sound familiar?

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Late Night Political Humor

“A new Republican Congress is taking over. Sen. Ted Cruz has been appointed to overseeing NASA in Congress. He says he wants NASA to focus on finding aliens so he can deport them.” – Conan O’Brien

“Mitt Romney is reportedly putting his 2012 election team back together. And somehow, miraculously, none of them were busy with other stuff.” – Seth Meyers

“Days after Mitt Romney announced he is considering a 2016 presidential campaign, his former running mate Paul Ryan announced that he will not run. Ryan won’t say who he’ll support. He just wants the best man for the Jeb … Job, I mean job.” – Jimmy Fallon

“Paul Ryan announced that after a lot of thought, and talking it over with family and friends, that he is not going to run for president in 2016. I’m telling you, this announcement sent shock waves through no one.” – David Letterman

“Republican Mike Huckabee criticized the Obamas for letting their daughters listen to Beyoncé, due to her explicit lyrics. So now the Obama girls are faced with the tough choice every teen must eventually make — listen to Beyoncé or Mike Huckabee.” – Conan O’Brien

“A congressman from Texas sent out a tweet comparing President Obama to Hitler. That is ridiculous because at this point in his career Hitler had a much higher approval rating.” – Conan O’Brien

“Fidel Castro, who hasn’t been publicly seen for more than a year, wrote a personal letter referencing current events to prove he is still alive. And nothing says ‘I’m alive in 2015′ like writing a letter.” – Seth Meyers

“Fifteen states across the country have gas prices that have dipped below $2. That means it’s now cheaper to buy a gallon of liquefied dinosaurs than one cup of coffee at Starbucks.” – Jimmy Fallon

“Congratulations to Ohio State, your new college football champions. Coach Urban Meyer may be the greatest football coach of all time. Don’t confuse him with New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. That’s urban quagmire.” – David Letterman

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The Last Laugh

The Charlie Hebdo killing was a tragedy, but it was also full of irony and was a stunning source of satire. In honor of that, I give Tom Tomorrow the last word. Over and Out:

Tom Tomorrow
© Tom Tomorrow

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Late Night Political Humor

“Mitt Romney said he is considering a third presidential bid. Romney said he got the idea from watching his dog repeatedly run into an electric fence.” – Seth Meyers

“Mitt Romney says he is considering a third campaign for the presidency. He made the announcement during a private meeting with donors. It’s pretty shocking, you know, that Mitt Romney needs donors. I mean, what are these guys, trillionaires?” – Jimmy Fallon

“The film ‘Boyhood’ won the Golden Globe for best drama. It follows one guy’s journey over the course of 12 years — or as Mitt Romney calls that, ‘running for president’.” – Jimmy Fallon

“Donald Trump said he is thinking very seriously about a 2016 presidential campaign. You can tell he’s serious. Today I saw him shaking hands and firing babies.” – Jimmy Fallon

“A Saudi-Arabian prince has said that oil may never again rise above $100 a barrel. He said it’s gotten so bad he can’t afford to buy his wife her own car that she’s not allowed to drive.” – Conan O’Brien

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Death and Money

Ted Rall
© Ted Rall

The weekly circulation of Charlie Hebdo is normally around 60,000. But in the aftermath of the death of 17 people, sales have topped 5 million copies.

I’m not really sure what to say about that, but you gotta admit it is ironic.

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Happy MLK Jr. Day!

Joel Pett
© Joel Pett

Today is the day to remember that one person can make a difference. Even one person who was persecuted, spied on, and eventually assassinated. One person who was not perfect, but who fought for a cause.

We live in a world that is not just 24/7 information, but information that is supplied with a commercial agenda – to make money. The result is news that appeals to our base emotions. Full of violence and death. We are genetically programmed to pay attention to things that can harm us, and cable news is only too happy to feed that need.

In reality, the world is a pretty wonderful place, full of fascinating people and magnificent places. Stop looking at the world through someone else’s lens (especially a corporate lens). Get out there. Travel. Go to places that are out of your comfort zone, that are so different from your normal life that you will end each vacation a changed person. Some of those places may be just a few blocks from your home, but all of them will require effort to fully see.

Find good causes and fight for them. There are lots of them out there. Find one you can care about.

Live.

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Late Night Political Humor

“President Obama posted a video on Facebook yesterday announcing his plan to make the first two years of community college free. Unfortunately he was interrupted when Biden got confused and threw a bucket of ice water on his head.” – Jimmy Fallon

“President Obama has issued three veto threats in just two days. Meanwhile, Chris Christie has threatened four Vitos, two Charlies, and a Doug.” – Seth Meyers

“Hillary Clinton is the leading presidential contender for the Democrats. Former Clinton aide John Podesta said Hillary will highlight her differences with President Obama if she runs. The biggest difference: Hillary is still interested in being president.” – Jimmy Fallon

“Potential presidential candidate Jeb Bush will release a decade’s worth of tax returns to avoid comparisons to Mitt Romney. Yeah, they’re nothing alike. They’re just both former governors from wealthy families whose parents gave them super-weird names.” – Jimmy Fallon

“Former Arkansas governor and potential 2016 candidate Mike Huckabee is releasing his 12th book later this month called, ‘God, Guns, Grits, and Gravy.’ The craziest part: that’s just his favorite aisle at Walmart.” – Jimmy Fallon

“California’s 74-year-old Senator Barbara Boxer announced she will not run for re-election in 2016. When I saw the headline ’74-Year-Old Boxer’, I assumed they were making another ‘Rocky’ movie.” – Conan O’Brien

“Today, Angelina Jolie met with Pope Francis at the Vatican. Long story short: She adopted him.” – Conan O’Brien

“Today is the birthday of Elvis Presley and dictator Kim Jong Un. Elvis would’ve been 80 today. Kim Jong Un is either 32 or 33. They actually aren’t sure. North Korean scholars agree that when he entered the world a silver eagle ascended and promised 1,000 years of prosperity for his people. That should kick in any day now.” – Jimmy Kimmel

“Happy birthday to evil North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. He gathered family and friends together and celebrated by executing a few close friends.” – David Letterman

“Last year Kim Jong Un had Dennis Rodman on hand to sing to him. This year he had a low-key celebration. He spent the day at home reading Sony’s emails. ” – Jimmy Kimmel

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