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Randy Rainbow is In da House!

The first Randy Rainbow song of this year, a parody of “Master of the House” from Les Misérables. Not safe for work!

An added bonus for true Randy Rainbow fans, here is Randy giving a speech accepting the Making a Difference Award 3 months ago.

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Let those who are innocent cast the first stone?

And now, classified documents have been discovered at the residence of Mike Pence, despite the fact that Pence claimed he didn’t have any.

Now, don’t get me wrong. It is not a crime to accidentally or inadvertently have some classified documents show up where they shouldn’t be. The crime is to take them intentionally, or to keep them (or even just try to keep them) after their discovery. It appears that neither Pence nor Joe Biden broke the law, while Donald Trump is guilty, guilty, guilty! The hypocrisy is that Republicans defended Trump and tried to downplay his crimes, while attacking Biden. It will be interesting to see how they respond to the news about Pence.

I would guess that there are a very large number of classified documents floating around the homes of government workers. This is a problem, but it isn’t a crime. If it were up to me, I’d have the home of every congress critter be searched for classified documents. That just might shut everyone up.

© Scott Stantis
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Best Santos Burn

Lying Rep. George Santos is the humor gift that keeps on giving.

Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL) is an actual recipient of the Wilson Prize for High-Energy Particle Accelerator Physics. Foster welcomes the newest member of the House committee on Science, Space and Technology.

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Burn!

CNN catches Republican Congressman Byron Donalds being completely hypocritical.

The replies are pretty hilarious, too!

Turns out that Donalds is also a criminal. In 1997, he was arrested for dealing marijuana, and in 2000, he pleaded guilty to felony bribery (as part of a scheme to defraud a bank). And of course, he was one of the members of Congress to object to the certification of electors in the 2020 election. So in addition to calling for Biden to resign from the Senate, he tried to block Biden from becoming president.

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Fool Me Twice, Shame on Me

Actually, it is WAY more than twice.

One thing about the recent Speaker of the House election that seems to have been largely ignored (including by most media outlets) is that the MAGA 20 keep claiming that they are fiscal conservatives who want to reduce the federal deficit. This is a baldfaced lie.

First, let’s make sure we are all on the same page with our terminology. The national debt is how much money our government owes. Note that having debt is not always a bad thing. It is like a family buying a house by getting a mortgage. As long as they can pay off their mortgage over time, there is no problem.

And in fact, taking on debt can be a good thing, like getting a mortgage to buy a house to live in. The house itself has value, so (as long as you pay your mortgage off over time) it can offset the debt. Another example is taking on student loans to get an education, so you can get a good job and pay off those loans. Likewise, the government can take on debt to improve the country. For example, to build a highway system in order to increase commerce, or to fund things like schools and libraries to increase knowledge. Borrowing money is also called for to combat emergencies, such as WWII, or the Covid-19 pandemic.

A more important measurement is a deficit. When the country spends more than it takes in (in taxes, etc.) then it is running a deficit. When there is a deficit, the national debt continues to grow. Alternatively, if the country takes in more money than it spends, there is a surplus. The last time the federal government ran a surplus was the last four years of the Clinton administration. The only way to reduce the deficit is to either cut spending or raise taxes.

Ok, so back to the Republicans claiming that they want to reduce the deficit. They have done this many times. We all remember “trickle-down economics“, which the GOP claimed would help the economy. But the truth is that every Republican administration that has promised to reduce the deficit, has only cut taxes and increased the deficit.

Reagan claimed that the government was not the solution, it was the problem. Grover Norquist said that the plan was to cut the size of the government “to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.” The Republicans claimed that the way to force spending to go down was to cut taxes (to “Starve the Beast“). So they cut taxes, but continued to increase spending (especially for the military).

Back to the Clinton administration, on becoming president he inherited a deficit, but early in his first term Clinton raised taxes on higher income taxpayers, and cut spending. This is the exact opposite of what the Republicans have done repeatedly, but as a result the US had strong economic growth, record job creation, and budget surpluses.

When Clinton’s second term ended, George W Bush quickly went back to cutting taxes on the wealthy. VP Dick Cheney famously said, “deficits don’t matter” as the Bush administration cut taxes not once, but twice and ran up the deficit. They also increased spending, including passing Medicare Part D, and starting two unnecessary wars.

During the Obama administration, the Republicans tried something even more insane. They refused to pay on the US government debt. This is called a default. Back to the analogy of a family buying a house, this is like refusing to pay your mortgage payment, not because you don’t have the money, but because you just don’t want to pay it. Immediately, several things would happen. Your credit rating would crater, which means that you would have to pay a higher interest rate, and you would lose your home if you continue to not pay.

Indeed, what the Republicans wanted to do would have increased spending and made the deficit worse. Because so many people invest in the US debt, it would have caused a major world financial collapse. Just two days before this would have happened, the GOP backed down, but there were still major financial repercussions. The stock market dropped significantly, and the credit rating of the US government was downgraded for the first time in our history. The GAO estimated that this stunt cost the government $1.3 billion dollars in 2011 alone, and more costs in following years.

The next Republican president was Donald Trump, who said, “This is the United States government… you never have to default because you print the money.” Trump didn’t even pretend to be a fiscal conservative. Again, the deficit increased.

Which brings us to now. The Republicans again now refuse to raise the debt limit. The treasury department says that we will hit the limit on Thursday (two days from now). If the debt limit isn’t raised, “Failure to meet the government’s obligations would cause irreparable harm to the U.S. economy, the livelihoods of all Americans, and global financial stability.”

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Sabine Hossenfelder

I’d like to share an interesting source on the internet with you. I’ve been enjoying watching videos on YouTube from Sabine Hossenfelder. Sabine is a physicist who mainly posts videos explaining physics (such as quantum mechanics) in her series “Science without the Gobbledygook”. She does a good job of simplifying complex subjects (similar to what Richard Feynman did while he was alive).

Why am I talking about physics in a political humor blog? Because Hossenfelder also explains many other things in videos, including things related to politics. For example, here’s a video that talks about Longtermism, which is a political philosophy popular among tech billionaires also involved in politics like Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, and Jaan Tallinn.

She also has videos about the advantages and disadvantages of nuclear energy, the use of diesel fuel for transportation, transsexual athletes, falling testosterone levels, climate change, the problems with the use of plastics, light pollution, earthquakes, nutritional labels on foods, pseudoscience, Covid-19, and many others.

Hossenfelder also has a website, where you can sign up for her free weekly email newsletter.

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House Funnies

Today is the anniversary of Donald Trump’s insurrection against Congress two years ago. Notice that the 20 Congress-critters who are currently shutting down the House are some of the same people who enabled and encouraged the first attempted coup, and are now basically doing the same thing, except from within.

As an extra bonus, the same thing can be said of Kevin McCarthy, who was one of the Republicans who voted not to certify the 2020 election results. He also largely responsible for his current own predicament, as he repeatedly enabled (and is continues to enable) the Freedom Caucus members who now refuse to vote for him.

Despite the seriousness of what is going on in the House, there are some pretty funny jokes at the GOP’s expense going around the internet. Here’s one from the Daily Show:

Democratic Rep. Chuy García put this captioned photo on his Twitter feed:

“The only Kevin that can defend a house.”

The Onion sarcastically opines: “Incredibly Productive House Of Representatives Assembles For 8th Vote In Just 3 Days“.

DailyKos fake quotes fabulist Rep-Elect George Santos: “Things like this never happened when I was Speaker of the House.”

A tweet asks: “You ever leave a job and secretly hope everything will fall apart once you’re gone?” and notes “Nancy Pelosi is living your dream.”

Even ReCaptchas are making fun of McCarthy:

UPDATE: McCarthy got his wish and was elected Speaker of the House. My only question is how long will it take before he regrets it, since he already gave up all of his power. Will he last longer than a head of lettuce?

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How the Economy Works!

Why does the economy change? Why do we have economic recessions and even depressions?

Tom the Dancing Bug explains it all with a simple example.

© Ruben Bolling

Now we just have to figure out why most extremely rich people seem to do fine anyway (Hint: see last frame).

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Donald Trump isn’t actually running for president

In an interview, Michael Cohen makes a good point that Donald Trump is not actually running for president. The whole interview is interesting.

Cohen points out that Trump had done exactly two things, he filled out a form saying that he is running for president, and he announced he was running on the “Truth Social” website. What he has not done is anything else, including hiring any campaign staff, or start having rallies. Remember that when Trump ran for president in 2016, he did it as a publicity stunt. He had no desire to win. He didn’t even write an acceptance speech.

Cohen thinks he is now doing this for the grift, so he can milk his base for even more money in “campaign contributions”. So there is no reason to spend any of that money on actually mounting a campaign.

UPDATE: Trump’s “MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT” yesterday seems to confirm this.

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If at first you don’t succeed…

Republicans are very slowly condemning Donald Trump for calling for the termination of the Constitution, but they will still vote for him in the next presidential election.

© Kevin Siers
© John Darkow
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Free Speech!

A federal judge exercised his right to free speech, and told Florida gov Ron Desantis to sit down and STFU. The judge blocked state officials from enforcing a key part of the new “Stop WOKE Act”, saying it was “positively dystopian”.

Comparing the law to the book “1984” by George Orwell, the judge wrote that the law gives the state “unfettered authority to muzzle its professors in the name of ‘freedom'”, which – like in the book where the state declares “freedom is slavery” – is the opposite of freedom. He continued, “The law officially bans professors from expressing disfavored viewpoints in university classrooms while permitting unfettered expression of the opposite viewpoints.”

The law restricts conversations about race in schools and businesses, and even allows students and workers to sue if a classroom lesson or workplace training course caused them to “feel guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress”. So the truth about America’s racist past can only be discussed if it doesn’t make a white person feel guilty?

Doubling down, DeSantis recently declared that it’s wrong to teach students that America “was built on stolen land” because it isn’t true. I have to wonder whether DeSantis is stupid or just lying. Hasn’t he ever heard of the “Trail of Tears“?

This comes on the heels of the “Don’t say gay” law that restricts even discussing homosexuality.

I’m all for someone who can help push Donald Trump out of control of the Republican Party, but not if it is some idiot like DeSantis who is going to destroy our rights and constitution.

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Denial

Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and said it was up to each state to decide abortion rights, there have been six states that put the fate of reproductive rights on the ballot. The first ballot measure was from Kansas in August, where Republicans outnumber Democrats two-to-one. And yet the measure passed by close to a 20-point margin.

The other five were on midterm ballots decided this week. And every one of them affirmed the right to choose. It is no coincidence that voters who showed up to defend the right to choose were instrumental in drowning out the “red wave”, helping the Democrats do much better than predicted.

My sense is that most Republican politicians care more about winning than about abortions, and only used the issue to energize their base, especially evangelicals. Now that they see that it is a losing issue (even among Republican voters), I wonder if they will go back to their previous ways, pretending to fight against abortion, but not actually doing anything to prohibit it. In that case, we will probably see even more pro-choice ballot measures passing in the future. After all, the Republicans are supporting Herschel Walker for Senate, who hypocritically paid for women he had slept with to get abortions.

© Keith Knight
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The Waiting Game

We may not know who controls either house of Congress yet, but at least we have Stephen Colbert to cheer us up.

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GOP Blame Game

Republicans love to blame everyone else (Democrats, emigrants, gays, Jews, Blacks, and on and on) for their problems, but they are now turning on each other. And (hallelujah!) they are especially attacking Donald Trump. According to Maggie Haberman and Michael Bender in the NY Times:

Donald Trump faced unusual public attacks from across the Republican Party on Wednesday after a string of midterm losses by candidates he had handpicked and supported, a display of weakness as he prepared to announce a third presidential campaign as soon as next week. As the sheer number of missed Republican opportunities sank in, the rush to openly blame Mr. Trump was as immediate as it was surprising.

Foes and allies alike attacked the former president, questioning his role as the party’s leader. For example, Rupert Murdock ran this cover:

Speaking of Rupert Murdock, his Wall Street Journal editorial board ran an opinion piece titled “Trump is the Republican Party’s Biggest Loser”. According to them, “Since his unlikely victory in 2016 against the widely disliked Hillary Clinton, Mr. Trump has a perfect record of electoral defeat.” Ouch!

Republican politicians are finally starting to attack Trump. For example, Pat Toomey, the Republican Senator from Pennsylvania (where the GOP lost both their other Senate seat and the governorship) said that Trump bears significant blame for the election, and urged his party to move away from Trump’s influence.

Meanwhile, Trump is gathering dirt on his Republican rivals, including Ron DeSantis (who Trump has started calling “DeSanctimonious”, while the New York Post called him “DeFuture”), and others, including Virginia Gov. Glen Youngkin. Trump is also keeping track of any GOP figures who try to blame him for the election. Is this the start of a GOP civil war?

Trump promised to make a “big announcement” next week, but now the Republicans are trying to put that on hold. Americans, and especially Republicans, hate losers. Just remember what happened to Sarah Palin after losing the presidential election.

Even if the Republicans do take over the House, they will have a very slim majority, and already some GOP House members are slamming the brakes on Kevin McCarthy becoming Speaker of the House, blaming him for the midterm election failures. And what about the Senate, which the Democrats will likely hold. Will Mitch McConnell get the blame for that?

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You win some, and lose some

The Democratic Party tried a rather risky gambit during the midterm election. During the primaries, they promoted far-right Trump-loving candidates (even running ads for them), assuming that such candidates would be easier to defeat in the election. At the time, there was much concern that it might blow up in their face.

But did it work? Yes, absolutely!

  • Election denier Donald Bolduc (R-NH) lost his Senate race to incumbent Maggie Hassan (D-NH). At the time, Hassan had very low approval ratings and the GOP was working hard to flip her seat.
  • In Michigan, the Trump-backed candidate John Gibbs was defeated by Dem Hillary Scholten, which flipped a red seat to blue (so much for the “red wave”!). The Dems even ran ads linking Gibbs to Trump, which helped Gibbs to defeat a primary opponent who was one of the few Republicans who voted to impeach Trump.
  • This tactic was especially used by the Democratic Governors Association, and it worked very well, as far-right-wing GOP governor candidates lost to their Dem opponents in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Illinois, and Massachusetts.
  • Two other races are too close to call, but right now Kari Lake (R-AZ) and Lauren Boebert (R-CO) are trailing in their races. Both are rabid MAGA and QAnon fans. Amazingly, Boebert is the incumbent in a deep-red district (and FiveThirtyEight predicted she was “clearly favored to win”, as did the NY Times live election forecast).

One more piece of evidence that Donald Trump is way past his expiration date. He still holds sway with his base, but that only helps in Republican primaries, and can be a losing proposition in general elections.

https://twitter.com/gtconway3d/status/1590339666083217409
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