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Keeping Your Lies Straight?

The White House can’s seem to keep their lies straight.

The lies around the firing of FBI director James Comey are just the latest example, but it is a particularly egregious one, and a double whammy. When Trump fired Comey, he released a statement that said he was just following the recommendations of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and deputy Rod Rosenstein. But in a televised interview, Trump contradicted himself and admitted that he had already decided to fire Comey before that.

The second whammy is that the White House also claimed that the majority of FBI agents had lost faith in Comey. But both the current acting FBI director and the president of the FBI Agents Association issued strong rebuttals to that lie.

Even worse, but when talking about the decision to fire Comey, Trump said “When I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story.” Trump firing Comey because of an FBI investigation into himself is obstruction of justice, and is a serious impeachable offense (indeed, it was the primary charge against both Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton).

Incidentally, Jeff Sessions had recused himself from the Russia investigation, and now it is clear that he is still deeply involved in it. That is a breach of legal ethics, and is grounds for having Sessions disbarred.

But the White House doesn’t seem interested in keeping their lies straight. Another example that just came up again is Trump’s Muslim bans. During the presidential campaign, Trump called for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the US. That would clearly constitute a “Muslim Ban”, which would be unconstitutional. Trump’s two executive orders trying to implement this have been struck down by the courts largely because of this.

So earlier this week, a reporter was asking about Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric. Press Secretary Sean Spicer claimed “we’ve talked about this from the first day of this administration as a travel ban. … we’ve been very consistent since the first day of this administration on this.” The reporter called him on this:

If this White House is no longer calling this a Muslim ban, as the President did initially, why does the President’s website still explicitly call for ‘preventing Muslim immigration’ and it says, ‘Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States’?

And then something interesting happened. That quote was removed from the White House website, even before the press conference ended. And it was obviously done hastily, as they just removed the text and left the page template.

I guess when reality contradicts the lies coming out of the White House, they just try to change reality.

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Late Night Political Humor

[Jokes from Mar. 27, 2017]

It was a tough weekend at the White House. After seven years of saying they were going to replace Obamacare, the Republican healthcare bill failed on Friday. It’s sad, isn’t it? Seven years. The Republicans couldn’t come up with a replacement for Obamacare in seven years. They made four “Fast & Furious” movies in that time. – James Corden

Well, congrats to President Trump on creating the least popular bill since Cosby. – Seth Meyers

The Washington Post says Paul Ryan actually got down on one knee to beg a congressman to support the healthcare bill. You think that’s bad — he showed up at another guy’s window with a boom box. (SINGS) “In your eyes, the light, the heat, in your eyes I am complete.” – Jimmy Fallon

The Republicans may have gotten a little ahead of themselves, because hours after the healthcare bill failed, there were actually commercials that aired on national television thanking congressional Republicans for passing the bill. The ad then went on to congratulate “La La Land” on their best picture Oscar. – James Corden

You know, you can see why they thought the bill would pass. Winning with less votes worked for Trump in November. – James Corden

Political analysts say that after their embarrassing loss on healthcare, the White House is desperately looking for a win. Which is why this week, they’re playing the Lakers. So that could work out. – Conan O’Brien

President Trump didn’t take any responsibility for the healthcare bill being pulled, but he did announce that he’s working on some new books based on his experience. Let’s take a look at some of the titles. First there’s “How to Lose Friends and Influence No One.” Next up there’s “The Giving Up Tree.” Then there’s “To Kill a Healthcare Bill.” And finally, “Oh, the Places You’ll Golf.” – Jimmy Fallon

President Trump yesterday made his 13th trip to a golf course since taking office. Hey man, you’re the president! My only job is making fun of you, and I don’t even have time to play golf. You play golf like you’re trying to complete a punch card. “One more and I get a free meatball sub.” – Seth Meyers

On Sunday, Fox News tweeted out a news alert that Donald Trump was spending the weekend working at the White House. Now this wasn’t just news, it was a news ALERT. Like: “This just in, the president is actually doing his job.” – James Corden

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said today that President Trump came to Washington “to get things done.” That’s why, five minutes into every meeting, he says, “Are we done?” – Seth Meyers

Joe Biden is now saying he regrets not running for president. And after last week, Donald Trump said he also regrets that Joe Biden didn’t run for president. – Conan O’Brien

A woman was arrested yesterday morning for trying to scale a White House fence for the second time in a week. The Secret Service said, “We wish you were living here, too, Mrs. Clinton, but you can’t keep doing that.” – Jimmy Fallon

It was announced that Canada plans to legalize marijuana by July of next year. It’s exciting for Americans because now they can add weed to the list of drugs they buy in Canada. – Jimmy Fallon

Officials in Colombia are angry at rapper Wiz Khalifa for smoking marijuana at the tomb of Pablo Escobar. The officials said marijuana has no place at this sacred monument to cocaine. – Conan O’Brien

Today was National Spanish Paella Day. Or as it’s called under the Trump administration, “clam rice.” – Seth Meyers

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Dumb and Dumber

Some Republicans are vainly trying to defend Donald Trump’s firing of James Comey, but none of their explanations even pass the smell test. Here are the most common arguments:

Trump has the power to fire the FBI director.

Not if he did it to obstruct justice. Especially not if he lied, and had other people lie, about why he did it. According to a Republican ethics expert: “We cannot tolerate this — for the president to be firing people who are investigating him and his campaign and its collusion with the Russians. It’s a lot worse than Watergate.”

Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein is an honest public servant, so we have to believe the rationale he gave for firing Comey.

This excuse is based on the fact that Rosenstein wrote a memo saying that Comey mishandled the investigation into Clinton’s emails. Except that a few hours later it came out that Rosenstein threatened to resign after the White House blamed him for the firing. Confirming those reports was the fact that the White House suddenly changed their tune and went on TV to say that the firing of Comey had nothing to do with Clinton’s emails. Also, Trump had effusively praised Comey’s handling of the email investigation.

And finally, the most hilarious excuse is that “Trump is not stupid enough to fire Comey to stop the Russia investigation.”

Oh really? If so, then he was even more stupid to fire Comey in a way that would make it look exactly like he fired him to stop the Russia investigation. And this ignores the huge question why “why now?”. And the only possible answer is the Russia investigation.

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Late Night Responses to Comey Firing

Trevor Noah of the Daily Show:

Stephen Colbert of the Late Show:

Jimmy Kimmel:

James Corden of the Late Late Show:

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Give Me Death!


© Jen Sorensen

I love the phrase “Trickle Down Healthcare”. Can we make this a meme?

Cartoonist Jen Sorensen comments on her own comic:

The AHCA is so monstrously cruel any honest description sounds hyperbolic. Not only will it literally kill people, but it’ll kill entrepreneurship too, as workers stay locked in their jobs for fear of losing heath insurance. Self-employed people with pre-existing conditions are hosed. I face the possibility of not having health insurance for the first time in my life. My friend, a cancer survivor, was interviewed on the local news about the prospect of facing unaffordable premiums. So much wonderful freedom! Thank you, House Republicans.

Vox has an article about who the winners and losers are in the House AHCA bill. Quick summary: “Rich people do well. Sick people don’t.”

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Late Night Political Humor

[Jokes from Mar. 23, 2017]

The vote on the Republican healthcare bill was delayed today because they didn’t have enough votes to pass it. When he heard that, Obama called Trump and said, “Don’t worry, Obamacare covers depression. So don’t worry about it.” – Jimmy Fallon

The House did not vote on the Republicans’ Obamacare replacement bill today as expected. I guess they wanted to keep Obamacare until [shows photo of Trump] they can get this suspicious mole checked out. – Seth Meyers

On Capitol Hill today, one of the most dramatic episodes of “The Celebrity Appresident” yet: Republicans in the House were forced to postpone their vote on healthcare today because they cannot agree on what the plan should be, so it’s back to the drawing board. Unfortunately, Trump’s budget for education cut funding for drawing boards, so there’s no board for them to draw on. – Jimmy Kimmel

Today the House Republicans were furiously working to get enough votes to pass the healthcare bill to replace Obamacare. As it stands, they may not have enough, and the vote has been postponed. Right now, it’s not looking good. The bill is basically on life support — and like most things on life support, Republicans will probably deny it coverage. – James Corden

The president went all out for this bill, but hardline Republicans hated it because it offered too many benefits. Moderate Republicans hated it because it cut too many benefits. Hospitals hate it because they stand to lose money. Insurance companies hate it because it can blow up the markets, and voters hated it. Basically the only people who were OK with the plan were Donald Trump, Paul Ryan, and Chuck Berry. I happen to know that Chuck would have loved that joke, may he rest in peace. – Jimmy Kimmel

At one point, Congress was prepared to vote as late as 3:00 a.m. Congressmen called their wives, told them not wait up, then they called their mistresses and said, “See ya at 3:00!” – Jimmy Fallon

These congressmen are nervous because the Congressional Budget Office warned that “Trumpcare” could result in 24 million people becoming uninsured. Trump says the numbers were cooked up by the microwave that’s been spying on him at Trump Tower. – Jimmy Kimmel

Trump was on the phone last night until almost midnight, calling Republicans to try to switch their votes on the bill. All the calls started the same way: “You have a collect call from — don’t hang up, loser!” – Jimmy Fallon

Trump said the hardest part was talking on one phone and tweeting on the other. – Jimmy Fallon

Press secretary Sean Spicer said today that the White House was optimistic about the chances of the Republican healthcare bill, but, quote, “At the end of the day, we can’t make people vote.” [shows photo of Hillary] “Tell me about it,” said one woman. – Seth Meyers

Time magazine published an interview with Donald Trump and when they asked if he thought the false statements that he has made have damaged his reputation, Trump replied, “I can’t be doing so badly because I’m president and you’re not.” I’m president and you’re not — I told my 2-year-old daughter that, and she was like, “Dude, grow up.” – James Corden

In that interview, President Trump responded to questions about unsubstantiated claims he recently made, by saying, quote, “I can’t be doing so badly, because I’m president and you’re not.” OK, I didn’t mind when you talked dirty with Billy Bush, or told Russia to hack Hillary’s emails. [shows photo of Chevy Chase on ‘SNL’] But when you start stealing bits from “Weekend Update” anchors — it is ON! – Seth Meyers

Trump acts like anyone who is not the president is doing badly. I feel like we’re all doing pretty well, aren’t we? I try to look at the bright side. Yes, we’re not the president — but we’re also not being investigated by the FBI for treason. – James Corden

In a new interview, President Trump predicted he would pass Richard Nixon for most appearances on the cover of Time magazine. Hey, dude, do you know WHY Nixon was on the cover so many times? “They’re going to make so many documentaries about me. I’ll bet I even pass Charles Manson.” – Seth Meyers

Now on to some very, very incredibly important news tonight: There is a new set of emojis. They’re going to be released to smartphones in June. This new set will include a hedgehog, a puking face, a brain, and a merman. I’m not going to lie — the merman emoji is going to save me a ton of time. – James Corden

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Sociopaths


© Tom Tomorrow

After all, Trump did claim that he could “shoot someone on a crowded street and not lose any voters“.

And it isn’t like Trump or his relatives care what they do or say. The latest example of their corruption and nepotism is Nicole Kushner Meyer, who is Jared Kushner’s sister. Meyer was caught making a presentation in Beijing offering rich Chinese investors an American visa if they would invest at least $500,000 in a real estate development being done in New Jersey by her family.

If this wasn’t clear enough, they passed out a brochure saying “Invest $500,000 and immigrate to the United States.” The presentation showed images of her brother, and of Donald Trump, and highlighted her relationship to them.

The textbook definition of corruption is when a government official or family member offers special treatment from the government to someone in exchange for giving them money in one form or another.”

I guess we are now living in a Kleptocracy. And as long as it pisses off liberals, Trump’s supporters don’t seem to care. Speaking of that, is the guy in the MAGA hat supposed to be “Joe the Plumber”?

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Weekend Update on the AHCA

The AHCA is yet another triumph of politics over policy, but maybe we can laugh about it:

To show how out of touch with reality some Republicans are, Congressman Raul Labrador (R-ID) defended his vote on the GOP health care bill by declaring “Nobody dies because they don’t have access to health care.” Watch it:

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Late Night Political Humor

[Jokes from Mar. 22, 2017]

A big story today came out that Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, worked for a Russian billionaire and helped promote Vladimir Putin’s agenda. Manafort quit when he realized he could just work for an American billionaire and achieve the same thing. – Jimmy Fallon

It turns out Manafort was paid $10 million to advocate for Putin. Trump was furious. He said, “That’s more than he pays me.” – Jimmy Fallon

Just imagine Trump running into his lawyers: “Hey guys, forget about Russia. We have got a bigger problem. There’s a little girl on the internet and she is making cat memes.” When asked about the website, Trump said, “You can’t just go around tarnishing someone’s good name. I would say more, but that traitor Obama has been wiretapping me.” – James Corden

Today, Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch was grilled about his stance on torture. And after just five minutes of questioning, Gorsuch broke down and told them everything. – Conan O’Brien

Meanwhile, Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch started his confirmation hearings this week, and he said that he has his law students think about their legacies by having them write an obituary about themselves. Yeah. Incidentally, that’s also part of the Republican healthcare plan. – Jimmy Fallon

At this point, it appears the Republican healthcare plan is going to die on the floor of the House. Coincidentally, dying on the floor of the house happens to be the Republican healthcare plan. – Conan O’Brien

For weeks now, Republicans have been pushing their Obamacare replacement plan. But the bill has a pre-existing condition: Everybody hates it! – Stephen Colbert

According to a new report, the average health insurance deductible is projected to be over $1,500 higher under the Republican plan to replace Obamacare. And the only way that’s good news is if hearing it gave you a heart attack now, while it’s cheaper. – Seth Meyers

The failing healthcare bill isn’t Trump’s only problem. Last week, two federal judges ruled against Trump’s second travel ban. Apparently, when Donald Trump heard about the ruling, he was upset. So, this is true, “White House officials tried to cheer the president up by showing him a segment on Greta Van Susteren’s show, which argued the Supreme Court would never uphold the ruling.” – Stephen Colbert

They treat the president the same way you treat a 5-year-old throwing a tantrum. “Honey, honey, calm down. Look, look, we got ‘Frozen’. We got the CD for ‘Frozen’. Let’s put it in there.” – Stephen Colbert

But if positive coverage helps calm down the big angry man with the launch codes, I say do it. I want to help. That’s why I had The Late Show’s in-house news team, “Real News Tonight,” make a new report that the White House can play at any time. – Stephen Colbert

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said yesterday that President Trump is looking to reaffirm America’s commitment to NATO. Spicer said, “Trump will do everything in his power to find out what NATO stands for.” – Seth Meyers

Trump’s kids, Don Jr., Ivanka, and Eric, took their families on a ski trip to Aspen. Which was fun ’til they said, “Wait. If we’re all here, who’s watching Dad?” “Uh, let’s go. Get on a plane right now.” – Jimmy Fallon

In May, President Trump is going to give the commencement address at a Christian university. Trump’s speech will be entitled, “If Jesus Is So Great, Why Does He Have a Mexican Name?” – Conan O’Brien

President Trump met with a Congressional Black Caucus today. And before the meeting, Attorney General Jeff Sessions picked up the phone and dialed 9-1-1, just in case. – Seth Meyers

According to a new poll, Muslims are the religious group most satisfied with life in America. When asked why, Muslims said, “That travel ban totally kept our in-laws from visiting.” – Conan O’Brien

Meanwhile, one of Trump’s appointees, Rex Tillerson, made a surprising statement when he told reporters that he didn’t want to be secretary of state, but accepted the job because his wife told him it was something he was supposed to do. Yeah. That’s the attitude you want representing the country, isn’t it? “Hello, Mr. Prime Minister, I’m Rex Tillerson. I’m only here because my wife made me come.” – James Corden

A new study has found three new substances in addition to catnip that will get cats high. And they are marijuana, crack, and heroin. – Seth Meyers

Amazon Prime has made it possible to have beer and wine delivered to your home by Alexa. All you have to do is say the phrase, “Alexa, Daddy’s sad.” – Conan O’Brien

In international news, police in Italy have arrested 10 people for stealing more than $250,000 in fine wine and gourmet cheese. Yes, their motive is they were hosting a book club. – James Corden

The police sting that caught them was named Operation Wine and Cheese. They stole $110,000-worth of cheese. When the police caught them, they said the thieves were armed and extremely constipated. – James Corden

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Conservative Response to Jimmy Kimmel

This blog recently posted about Jimmy Kimmel and the near-death of his newborn son. Kimmel made the point that nobody should be put in the position of having to decide if they can afford to save their child, and scolds Trump and the Republicans for being heartless.

Well, conservative Jonah Goldberg decided to respond to Kimmel in National Review. His response is ironic in that it actually confirms Kimmel’s arguments. Goldberg’s article is titled “The Dangers of Empathy”, and it argues that empathy makes it “very difficult to have a rational discussion about the trade-offs inherent to any health-care system.”

Goldberg even falls for Godwin’s law, claiming “Adolf Hitler was a master of empathy”. Seriously. Is he really comparing Jimmy Kimmel to Hitler?

Who will Goldberg complain about next? Jesus for having empathy for the poor (and even for prostitutes)?

UPDATE: A reader found this graph showing life expectancy compared to expenditures on health. Note that US health expenditures really started taking off in the mid-1980s, which is when Ronald Reagan was president. Does anyone have a guess as to why?


© Max Roser

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Late Night Political Humor

[Jokes from Mar. 21, 2017]

FBI Director James Comey confirmed that the agency is examining possible ties between Russia and President Trump’s campaign. When asked if they’d found anything yet, Comey said [NODDING YES], “I can’t comment on an ongoing investigation.” – Jimmy Fallon

However, Comey refused to say whether Trump himself was being investigated. It’s part of his policy not to comment on ongoing investigations … that don’t involve Hillary Clinton. – Jimmy Fallon

As you’d expect, there’s a lot of material to go through, and Comey said there’s no timetable for when the FBI will finish. Then Putin said, “It’s like the ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ of investigations. When you think it will end … it does not.” – Jimmy Fallon

The Kremlin today dismissed allegations of Russia interference in the election, [shows photo of Trump] and so did the gremlin. – Seth Meyers

Ivanka Trump is reportedly getting an office in the White House in addition to security clearance and government-issued communication devices. Even more unbelievable, so is Donald Trump. – Seth Meyers

Ivanka Trump is getting an office at the White House and she’s getting top-level security clearance. She will take a position in the White House where she’ll draw upon her 20 years of foreign and domestic policy experience that she gained selling sandals to Nordstrom. – Jimmy Kimmel

Her office is on the second floor of the West Wing, not far from the Oval Office. I suspect they put her there so somebody can run and grab her in case her father decides to nuke anything. She might be the only one he’ll listen to. – Jimmy Kimmel

Ivanka Trump is getting an office in the West Wing despite previously stating she would not take a formal role in her father’s administration. The administration has said Ivanka is going to act as her father’s “eyes and ears”, which basically means she’s going to be walking around the White House saying, “I’m telling Dad!” – James Corden

I’m glad Ivanka is going to be her father’s “eyes and ears.” Now all we need is for her to take over his mouth, and his tweeting thumb. – James Corden

Her role is that she will serve as her father’s “eyes and ears” at the White House. He doesn’t need that. He needs somebody to be his thumbs so he can stop tweeting. – Jimmy Kimmel

Today is the 11th birthday of Twitter. That’s right folks, 11 years ago, Donald Trump was just writing crazy things on Post-It notes. – Conan O’Brien

Meanwhile, poor Tiffany Trump can’t even get the White House WiFi password. – Jimmy Kimmel

The president was in Louisville, Kentucky, last night. He held a rally there. Why, I’m not sure — he might be trying to sell hats he had left over from the campaign. – Jimmy Kimmel

In the meantime, Trump’s keeping busy. Today, he signed a bill authorizing nearly $20 billion in funding for NASA. You know — as long as they find a way to project his face onto the moon. – Jimmy Fallon

Today President Trump gave NASA $19.5 billion to develop a manned mission to Mars. President Trump said he wants to see if Mars can sustain life and a casino. – Conan O’Brien

President Trump signed a funding bill today that supports NASA’s efforts to explore deep space and lay the groundwork for a human mission to Mars. [shows photo of Hillary] “Ooh, me first!” said one volunteer. – Seth Meyers

It’s being reported that Donald Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone has a tattoo of Richard Nixon across his shoulders. And get this — ladies, he’s single. – Conan O’Brien

Disney World has agreed to pay $3.8 million to workers who were making less than minimum wage and had to pay for their own costumes. That works out to around $238 per person, which is almost enough to buy a bottle of water at Disney World. – James Corden

I guess at Disney World, if Cinderella loses her glass slipper, a prince doesn’t bring it to her. They just take it out of her next paycheck. – James Corden

Passengers on foreign airlines traveling to the U.S. from 10 airports in Muslim-majority countries have been barred from carrying electronic devices larger than a cellphone. Seems extreme, but it’s worth it if it stops even one tourist from taking pictures with an iPad. – Seth Meyers

A robot has been taught how to write rap songs by being fed more than 6,000 Kanye West lyrics. The problem is, now the robot thinks it’s God. – Conan O’Brien

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Birds of a Feather?


© Ruben Bolling

Donald Trump seems to be having a love affair with brutal, autocratic dictators. It isn’t just his lavish praise of Turkey’s Recep Erdogan, who rigged an election to dismantle democracy in his country, or The Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte, who used death squads to execute thousands of his own citizens without trial (and even boasted about personally murdering some of them himself).

We all know about his effusive praise for Vladimir Putin, who has had dozens of journalists and dissidents murdered.

And just this week, Trump called North Korean dictator-for-life Kim Jong Un as a “smart cookie” and said he would “be honored” to meet him. Trump also praised Kim for his consolidation of power, which was done by executing hundreds of relatives and political opponents with flamethrowers and anti-aircraft guns.

Trump has also met personally with Egypt’s Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who took power in a military coup, killed more than 800 protestors in a single day, and imprisoned journalists and aid workers.

Trump not only praises strongmen and dictators who destroy the rule of law, he has been particularly unfriendly with actual democratic leaders of other countries, including the leaders of Germany, Australia, and even Canada.

Once upon a time, America’s greatness was based on our love of democracy and the rule of law. Trump stands against those ideals. He would be happy to become a dictator. Very sad.


© Robert Ariall

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What Really Matters

Are we Making America Great Again?

Yesterday was a day for noisy but ultimately meaningless gestures from Republicans. The GOP controlled House passed their bill to destroy Obamacare, but that bill won’t even get a vote in the Senate. In the end, the only actual result from the House vote might be making it easier for Democrats to retake the House in the next elections.

Also yesterday, Donald Trump made a big noise about signing an executive order that he claimed was about religious freedom (but mainly if your religion is Christianity). But according to conservatives, “The religious liberty executive order is meaningless. No substantive protections for conscience. A betrayal.” Even the uber-conservative Heritage Fund called it “woefully inadequate”. As for liberals, the ACLU laughed it off, saying “We thought we’d have to sue Trump today. But it turned out the order signing was an elaborate photo-op with no discernible policy outcome.”

Meanwhile, all this noise obscured some real news. The government reported that US productivity declined in the first quarter of 2017 at an annual rate of 0.6%, which is worse than many economists predicted. During the Obama administration productivity gains averaged around 1.2%, which is weaker than the 2.1% average annual gain since WWII. So if Trump wants to MAGA, the economy is heading in the wrong direction. What’s worse is that the decline in productivity occurred at the same time that worker hours increased by 1.6%.

And a number of actions being made by Trump and the Republicans will likely hurt the economy even more. For example, Trump’s appointed head of the FCC announced its plans to kill net neutrality. In response, a group of 800 US startup companies (including some well-known ones like Y Combinator, Etsy, Foursquare, GitHub, Imgur, Nextdoor, and Warby Parker) sent a letter saying that the FCC moves would destroy them.

I guess even though new startups create most of the new jobs in this country, the GOP doesn’t care because startups don’t tend to make huge campaign contributions. Indeed, if the Republicans ever succeed at repealing the ACA, this will make it harder for startups to hire the employees they need.

A more obvious example, also lost in all the noise, was that this week a House committee approved legislation (on a strictly party-line vote) that would gut most of the Dodd-Frank law that was enacted to prevent another economic meltdown like the one we just had in 2008. The new bill now goes to a vote in the full House, where it is expected to pass.

The rape and pillaging of our country continues.

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Late Night Political Humor

[jokes from Mar. 20, 2017]

Today is the first day of spring! Yep, it’s that day when millions of Americans look at their bodies in the mirror and ask, “Can we get, like, two more months of winter?” – Jimmy Fallon

It’s the first day of spring. Spring has sprung, so congratulations to the people of Nebraska, who survived winter. Now all you’ve got to do is get through severe thunderstorm and tornado season. – James Corden

Of course springtime means spring cleaning, and a lot of people are throwing out things they no longer need. You know – like clothing, old books and March Madness brackets. – Jimmy Fallon

South Carolina pulled off a huge upset by beating Duke to move on to the Sweet 16. Now the only question is whether Russia helped. – Jimmy Fallon

There were actually several March Madness upsets this weekend, with Wisconsin taking out top overall seed Villanova, and Michigan beating Louisville. I haven’t seen Wisconsin and Michigan knock out the favorite since … the election. – Jimmy Fallon

One place where things aren’t getting warmer is at the White House, where on Friday Donald Trump met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and appeared to ignore requests for a handshake with her. [Plays clip] They don’t look like two world leaders. They look two people at a divorce hearing. – James Corden

Some critics are calling this sexist, other people are saying it is because Trump is a germaphobe, others say he is just rude. I’m like: Guys, it’s all of the above. – James Corden

It’s come out that President Trump said he wants the border wall to be very tall and very attractive. He also wants to replace the wall after 10 years of marriage. – Conan O’Brien

Plans for the border wall continue and on Sunday, Fox News reported several requirements that the White House issued for the wall. They said it must be 30 feet high, good-looking from the U.S. side, and difficult to break through. Basically the wall should be tall but not fat or ugly. – James Corden

It’s pretty much like Trump updated the Miss Universe regulations and just made them about the wall. – James Corden

Over the last week, the White House has had three security scares. The Secret Service said two people tried to break in, and one first lady tried to break out. – Conan O’Brien

A man claims that this weekend, he snuck past Secret Service at Mar-a-Lago to take a selfie in President Trump’s private study. But Trump is denying this, saying there is no way he’d ever have a study. – Jimmy Fallon

Last week, President Trump released his first budget. They’re calling it a hard-power budget because it features a $54 billion increase in military spending, and to pay for the new spending, Trump is cutting everything else, like the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which funds PBS. Look, Trump’s a real-estate developer. It was only a matter of time until he put up condos on Sesame Street. – Stephen Colbert

Trump is also eliminating the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. I am not surprised, because he is jealous of anyone who is well-endowed. – Stephen Colbert

Plus, Trump is slashing the EPA’s budget by 31 percent, and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which fights invasive species like the sea lamprey, could see its funding slashed by 97 percent. If you’re not familiar with the sea lamprey, you might know it as the vicious, flesh-eating hell beast from your worst nightmares. Or as Steve Bannon calls it, “my mentor”. – Stephen Colbert

Trump’s approval rating is down to 37 percent. Bill Clinton had to do weird stuff with cigars to get it to 37 percent. Trump has the highest low approval rating of any president ever. – Jimmy Kimmel

He met with Bill Gates today. It was a historic meeting — America’s two worst haircuts in the Oval Office together for the first time. – Jimmy Kimmel

They reportedly talked about their shared commitment to finding and stopping disease outbreaks around the world. You know, that’s great. But if Bill Gates wanted to do some good he should have grabbed Trump’s phone and locked him out of his Twitter account. – Jimmy Kimmel

James Comey said today that he has found “no information that supports” President Trump’s tweets that former President Obama wiretapped Trump Tower. Added Comey, “To be fair, the only place we’ve checked is in Hillary’s emails.” – Seth Meyers

It has come out that, just like President Trump, even George Washington used to complain about leaks. There was that time Washington said of Paul Revere, “Fake horseman dead wrong about British arrival. Sad!” – Conan O’Brien

A Moscow zoo is suing a company that hired one of its raccoons to appear in a commercial, saying that when the animal returned it was “attracted to women’s breasts.” Or as Mike Pence calls it, “a successful conversion.” – Seth Meyers

A hospital in Britain will be the first permitted to create babies with three biological parents. It’s being called the weirdest experiment in British genetics since the entire royal family. – Conan O’Brien

A Canadian woman last week proposed to her boyfriend at a hockey game with a bouquet of Doritos made to look like roses. It even spawned a new flavor — Nacho Boyfriend Anymore. – Seth Meyers

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Health Insurance Sausage

It is often said that passing bills in Congress is like making sausage. You don’t really want to see it being done. And the way the Republicans are trying to strong-arm their repeal of Obamacare is a prime example.

The current focus is on the MacArthur amendment, which would allow states to opt out of key provisions of the ACA, including the provisions that force insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions, and cover things like maternity care or mental health services. That would essentially sabotage Obamacare in those states.

But the MacArthur amendment included a curious (and well hidden) exemption for members of Congress and their staff. That’s right, the MacArthur amendment would not apply to our Congress critters, who would continue to reap the benefits of Obamacare, while the rest of us could suffer.

However, when the media found and reported this exemption, there was a public outcry. So Congressman Tom MacArthur (R-NJ), the author of the MacArthur amendment, promised to remove the exemption.

As a side note, MacArthur even issued a statement claiming that the exemption was originally put in at the request of the Senate Budget Committee in order to comply with their rules. But the Senate Budget Committee responded that his claim was untrue.

Furthermore, the exemption for Congress critters is still in the amendment, which means that it is still in the repeal bill.

I just want to point out that the Republicans are still trying to fast-track the repeal bill. They want it to be voted on today without posting the text of the bill, and (certainly) without the CBO doing an analysis of the ramification of the repeal. And indeed, in the arm-twisting that is going on to get enough Republicans to vote for the repeal, the text of the repeal bill keeps changing in order to get to yes. The latest change to the bill is providing $1.6 billion per year to fund the high-risk pools that people with pre-existing conditions will be forced to use, but experts have estimated that an $20 to $30 billion is needed. However that change was enough to get Fred Upton (R-MI) to change his vote to yes.

MacArthur now claims that the removal of the exemption will be contained in separate legislation. That’s right, they are going to leave the exemption for Congress in the repeal bill, but introduce a separate bill to remove it, to be voted on after Congress votes on the repeal bill. Of course, they didn’t explain why this was necessary. Why would you leave something in the bill if you are just going to remove it (assuming that they really will get around to removing it, and as we already pointed out, they have already lied about the purpose of this exemption).

Does anyone else get the feeling that we are being bamboozled? As Electoral Vote put it, “Nothing says ‘we believe in our bill’ like not wanting to have anything to do with it.”

UPDATE: If you are interested in the meat of the sausage, here’s a good summary. The Washington Post’s fact checker is skeptical of promises that people with pre-existing conditions will not be hurt by the bill. And even if this bill doesn’t pass, it is already damaging health insurance in this country by introducing uncertainty. The American Medical Association, AARP, and hospital associations are all against the repeal bill. Plus if the bill passes, it will weaken Medicare. And speaking of hypocrisy, in 2009 Paul Ryan said “I don’t think we should pass bills that we haven’t read and don’t know what they cost.” And yet, that is exactly what he is doing now.

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