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Note to “9/11 Truthers”: GermanWings Air Disaster Destroys Your Last Good Argument

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, March 30, 2015
 

I hate “Conspiracy Theorists”, not that I think every Conspiracy Theory is false, but nothing seems to turn more delusional paranoids into Armchair Physicists than a good Conspiracy Theory. From “The Magic Bullet Theory” to questions about “the melting point of steel” in the WTC, suddenly every idiot with a High School understanding of basic physics is Steven “freakin'” Hawking. I first posted a “debunking” of The Four Key 9/11 Conspiracy Myths (see “Most Popular” links on left) nearly EIGHT YEARS AGO (with minor updates in the years that followed). One of the hardest things to “explain away” regarding the crashes into The Pentagon and the field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania was the lack of any recognizable “debris”, suggesting something other than a passenger plane crashed into those places (but there WAS visible plane wreckage in the streets of Manhattan, so why wreck planes in NYC but not DC or PA? “Logic” is never the Conspiracy Theorists’ friend.) Towards the end of my post, I had this to say on the lack of a quantity of debris in DC & PA that one might associate with a jumbo jet:

Where is the debris field we so often see in other plane crashes? We see no debris because in an *accident*, the pilots are trying NOT to crash. The plane is traveling at a reduced rate of speed and breaks up on impact. As we see both here here AND IN THE PENNSYLVANIA CRASH, there is no debris field because the hijackers were traveling at maximum speed with the intent of destroying the vehicle.

 

Damage to The Pentagon… a building built to withstand a nuclear bomb… after 9/11
Pentagon 9/11 damage
“Where is the plane?” asked conspiracy theorists.

 

But, in all honesty, that was more a theory on my part, and readers were left with just having to “take my word for it”… until now that is.

One of the first things I noticed about the “debris field” left behind by GermanWings Flight 9525 in the French Alps was how tiny the pieces were. The plane quite literally was obliterated on impact. Numerous reports all claim the plane struck the mountain at “full speed”, which for an Airbus A320 would be about 530 MPH, or Mach 0.80. The Boeing 757’s/767’s used on 9/11 have roughly the same top speed, which they too were being flown at at the time of their destruction.

No longer theory, we now have physical proof of what the wreckage of a jumbo jet deliberately crashed at full speed looks like, and precisely as I stated in that column eight long years ago, the lack of debris is consistent with the fact the plane was traveling at such a high rate of speed.

And THAT, Dear Reader, puts to rest the final idiotic “9/11 Conspiracy Factoid” supposedly proving that what we were told happened that fateful day did NOT in fact happen (not that I expect die hard 9/11 Conspiracy buffs to finally accept reality and abandon their tinfoil hats once & for all.)

BTW: Can someone PLEASE tell ABC News to stop repeating the name of the co-pilot that murdered all those people? Reports are that he was a hypochondriac that was taking prescription meds for a “psychosomatic illness”, believing he was about to die, and decided to kill himself in a manner that he believed would assure he was “remembered”. For this reason alone, the co-pilot should die “in obscurity”, his name forgotten to the ages, taking incentive away from the next nut who seeks to commit mass murder in hopes of getting their name in the papers.

I lost count in just the opening THREE MINUTES of ABC’s ThisWeek yesterday of how many times they mentioned him by name… with a repeat performance on the Evening News. Please stop. – Mugsy
 



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Filed in General, mystery, myth busting March 30th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • 1 comment | Add/View

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Birthers Rejoice On News Canadian-born Rafael “Ted” Cruz will Run for President

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, March 23, 2015
 

Ted Cruz's birth certificate  (real)
Ted Cruz’s official, Canadian birth certificate.

Section 1 of Article Two of the United States Constitution states:

No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

Personally, I don’t really care if someone running for president was actually born a citizen or became one later in life, but then, I never made the citizenship of a presidential candidate an issue. Not even when the candidate was John McCain, who had an eligibility question of his own back in 2008 having been born in “the Panama Canal Zone” to a father serving in the U.S. military (a law was passed giving such children U.S. citizenship, but it didn’t go into effect until McCain was already a year old.) Meanwhile, the darling of the “Tea Party” (“Birther HQ”) is ready to rally in support of “Ted Cruz for President”. Show me someone that is surprised by the Far-Right’s hypocrisy/duplicity and I’ll show you someone that hasn’t been paying attention for the last two decades.

Ted Cruz is a case study in Conservative “cognitive dissonance”. How is it that a man born in Alberta, Canada to a Cuban-National father (mother’s U.S. citizenship ruled irrelevant), having served less than one full term as Senator, be regarded as eligible/worthy of running for President of the United States by the same people who pronounced that “the black guy” was not? (I think I just answered my own question.) And if he were the nominee and the Supreme Court were forced to step in, then what?

Personally, I don’t think the US Supreme Court has to worry about deciding Cruz’s eligibility anytime soon.
 

Birthers for Cruz 2016

 

My own local Houston Chronicle broke the news yesterday of Cruz’s intention to run, and I’m not quite sure who’s happier, The Extreme Far-Right or Democrats? NBC Nightly News reported yesterday on a Wall Street Journal poll that damned Cruz with faint praise over this sufficiently vague poll question: If Ted Cruz were to run for president, could you see yourself supporting him?”
 

Cruz unlikely to win even majority of the Republican vote.
Left with no other choice, 40 of Republicans could support Cruz

 

Before they really get to know him, already 60% of Republicans look at Cruz and say “Hmm, who else you got?” Is it any wonder Joe McCarthy’s doppelganger didn’t bother with an “exploratory committee” to evaluate if he could even win? But hey, Bush invaded Iraq with the same amount of planning and that didn’t turn out so bad, did it? One of these days, a Republican will stop & think before doing something stupid, and the world will pause in stunned silence. Whether that occurs in your or my lifetime is anybody’s guess.

Most of the “old guard” GOP was fuming at the freshman senator, less than a year in office, for his stunt that led down to another government shutdown the first two weeks of October 2013, something Republicans were rightly lambasted for during the Clinton Administration and tried desperately to avoid this time around, fearing public backlash over yet another example of Republicans, again in total disarray, unable to govern, a year before the mid-term election. But fortunately for them (and Cruz), voters have very short memories.

Last December, just before the Christmas Recess, Cruz once again earned the GOP’s ire with another stunt, delaying the immigration vote that forced Congress to stay in session over the weekend and allow the (long delayed) confirmation of twenty-four presidential appointments.

“Ted” Cruz lives in a fascinating universe: one where the majority of Americans are “Tea Party Republicans” that despise President Obama, think “ObamaCare” is a government insurance program “worse than any war” that you are being forced to buy under threat of imprisonment by the IRS (accountants who could be put to better use securing our Southern border), where you can round-up & deport 12 million undocumented immigrants, colleges are full of Communists, and he… the Canadian born son of a Cuban dissident… can legally run for president of the United States.

Run Ted, run! And I say that as a proud Liberal Democrat.
 



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Filed in Election, Partisanship, Politics, Racism, Right-Wing Hypocrisy, Right-Wing Insanity March 23rd, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Where Is the Accusation of a CRIME to justify a Tax-Payer Funded Investigation into Hillary’s Emails?

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, March 16, 2015
 

Once again I find myself in the uncomfortable position of defending Hillary Clinton. Yesterday’s poli-talk shows all covered “Hillary Clinton’s emails” and the fact she didn’t turn over her personal private emails to the GOP controlled Congress for scrutiny. In fact Clinton freely admits that it was “probably a mistake to use just one email account” while Secretary of State for both her personal private email as well as for work, but I disagree. As Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA) pointed out during Fox “news” Sunday yesterday, if Clinton “had used two separate email accounts, Republicans would just be demanding she turn over her private emails as well”, accusing her of “hiding” things she didn’t want recorded on government servers by using her private email address… you know, the way EIGHTY  Republican officials did during the Bush Administration (Karl Rove freely admitted on FnS yesterday that he and other Republicans did this while working in the Bush White House, but claimed the “22 million missing emails were found by (note: NOT “turned over to”) investigators in the Obama Administration” (nearly two years later, and only after Bush left office) making what they are accusing Hillary of “completely different”.

But just WHAT are Republicans accusing Hillary Clinton OF?

The United States Congress… once again… is using taxpayer dollars to fund an investigation into the Clinton’s. In 1992 when Bill Clinton was still running for president, Republicans openly accused the Clinton’s of receiving preferential treatment when investing in a land deal known as “White Water”. The fact the Clinton’s LOST money on the deal didn’t matter (though one wonders how much “favorable” treatment the Clinton’s might have shown someone that lost them roughly $52,000… give-or-take $15 Grand), only the fact that the Clinton’s invested was at issue (I’ll save their Bob McDonnell hypocrisy for another column.) When the GOP retook control of Congress in the 1994 mid-terms, they immediately opened a taxpayer funded investigation into the Clinton’s involvement in “White Water” that quickly went nowhere.

But the SAME Special Prosecutor hired to investigate the Clinton’s over “White Water” (remember Ken Starr?) then shifted his investigation to “Trooper-gate”, and the claim that Governor Clinton misused tax-payer paid state employees (cops) to shuttle one of his mistresses in/out of the governor’s mansion (oh, the irony. A tax-payer funded partisan political investigation into whether Clinton misused tax-payer paid employees.)

After that, the investigations devolved into investigating Bill Clinton’s personal life… while sleazy, NOT A CRIME. President Clinton should have demanded the GOP present evidence that a CRIME had been committed before agreeing to allow tax-payer funds be used to pay for what was clearly partisan political dumpster-diving in hopes of derailing his 1996 re-election. But he didn’t for fear of appearing like he had “something to hide” in an election year.

And once again, as soon as the GOP re-seized control of both house of Congress last year, what’s the first thing they do? They launch a tax-payer funded investigation into the Clintons, with NO declaration of a crime to justify the investigation, in hopes of derailing a Clinton’s presidential aspirations.

They can’t help themselves. Like moths to a flame, Republicans with subpoena power will use tax-payer funds to pay for a political witch hunt into a Clinton seeking the presidency.

So I ask, WHAT IS THE CRIME THEY ARE SUPPOSEDLY INVESTIGATING to justify spending MY tax dollars demanding to see Hillary Clinton’s private emails? To date, I’m not aware of a single repeated declaration as to just WHY they need those emails so badly. Colin Powell admitted that HE used a private email account while Secretary of State even as the Bush White House was cooking up a case to justify the invasion of Iraq. This week he even admitted that he “didn’t keep” his emails while serving as SoS. One might think that such emails could have been very important had Democrats investigated the Bush Administration’s claims of “Weapons of Mass Destruction”… the core justification for the preemptive invasion of Iraq… the way Republican’s investigate the Clinton’s every February 2nd (“Groundhog’s Day” reference.)

Now, some Republicans have suggested that this TENTH investigation into Benghazi is necessary because the nine prior investigations that turned up no evidence of wrongdoing failed only because of a lack of evidence that might have been hidden somewhere in Clinton’s private emails. To date, that has been the ONLY suggestion as to why a TAXPAYER-FUNDED investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails could be justified. Beyond that, it’s a political smear campaign at the public expense.

If “Benghazi” is indeed the justification for demanding the release of Clinton’s emails, then someone needs to explain to the public EXACTLY what they are looking for. What information do they not have? What “lingering questions” remain unanswered? And I don’t mean Speaker Boehner claiming there are “a lot of unanswered questions” that have been repeatedly asked & answered, I mean a public declaration in writing listing precisely what justifies spending yet more tax-dollars investigating a political opponent.

Think about it. Just what “unanswered question” do they believe would be revealed by Clinton’s emails? Questions like, “Was there a ‘stand-down order’ by President Obama” or “Could U.S. fighter jets have arrived in time to save the people in the consulate” wouldn’t change based upon anything they might find in an email. Do they really believe they’re going to find an email between her and some NGO (non-governmental official… because .gov recipients emails are already archived) telling them NOT to save the people in that consulate? Do they think Hillary texted the pilots and secretly ordered them to “return to base” in mid-flight? Hmmm? Because I don’t know of another “crime” relating to “Benghazi” they could possibly still be investigating.

And think about this: Would YOU agree to hand over your private emails to police without a warrant? Because that is EXACTLY what Republicans are doing. With NO declaration of criminal wrong-doing, Republicans are ABUSING THEIR POWER to investigate a political opponent, simply insinuating that Ms. Clinton’s use of a private email was intended to hide evidence of a crime… a crime that NO ONE has publicly explained even took place. If police asked a judge for a search warrant to confiscate your private emails, the judge would demand they provide him with “just cause” for why he should issue them one. We don’t even have THAT.

The rule that all government email activity must take place on a governmental account wasn’t even a law until NEARLY TWO YEARS after she left the State Department (Clinton resigned in February 2013. President Obama signed “The Federal Records Act” December 1st of last year.) So she may have failed to comply with a rule or guideline, but not even Republicans can claim her doing so “broke the law”, so they don’t have that.

So, no claim of criminal wrong-doing regarding Benghazi, she broke no law regarding the preservation of Federal Records because there was no such law at the time.

It’s a really simple question: Just what crime are Republicans accusing the former Secretary of State of Committing that justifies a tax-payer funded investigation into her private emails?
 



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Filed in Crime, Election, fake scandals, National Security, Partisanship, Politics, Right-Wing Hypocrisy, Scandals, Taxes March 16th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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GOP Should Be Last Ones to Accuse Hillary of Secrecy

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, March 9, 2015
 

The GOP thinks it has finally found the chink in Hillary’s armor. The one thing that could derail her presidential prospects… the fact she used her private email account for public business while working at the State Department. But when it comes to secrecy & email, Republicans are the LAST people on Earth who should be allowed to claim the moral high-ground regarding openness and transparency in government. One needn’t go all all the way back to Nixon, the most secretive White House in history, for an example. Nor even to the Reagan Administration (whom still holds the record as the most indicted Administration in history). No, as recently as the last Republican-controlled White House puts them all to shame when it comes to secrecy & obstruction of justice. WHEN the Bush White House agreed to turn over a document/email, there was a better than average chance it would look like the one above, highly redacted with almost no useful information exposed. Subpoena them to testify before an investigation and they simply refused to show up (or demand they not be put under oath.) From cover-ups regarding the failure to find weapons of mass destruction, wiretapping, or the abuses at Abu Ghraib, to President Bush’s chief of staff Karl Rove and at least SEVEN other high-ranking WH officials using a private email system run by the RNC for nearly all of their correspondence. “Pot, meet Kettle.”

Now I’m hardly the one to defend Hillary Clinton. I’ve made known in these pages my unhappiness with the way she conducts business (mostly, how quick she seems to be to throw her fellow Democrats under the bus for the sake of her own personal political advantage, not to mention how hawkish she has always been on National Defense), but this isn’t about Hillary. This is about GOP hypocrisy… my favorite topic.

Eleven years ago tomorrow, March 10, 2004, then Attorney General John Ashcroft was near death lying in a hospital bed when his temporary replacement, acting director James Comey received an urgent late-night phone call that White House Council Alberto Gonzales and Bush’s own Chief-of-Staff Andrew Card were racing to the hospital to try and get Ashcroft to reauthorize President Bush’s illegal NSA wiretap program because they knew Comey would not. Comey later testified that he alerted FBI Director Robert Mueller before racing off to the hospital to stop them. Fortunately, after he arrived, Ashcroft pointed to Comey as the only person having the authority to authorize anything as acting AG.

When the new Democratic majority investigated the incident in 2007, most of Muller’s emails looked like the one above, highly redacted with all pertinent information blacked out in the name of “national security”.

In 2006, following the reelection of President Bush in 2004, eight U.S. Attorneys… Republicans all… were fired by the Justice Department without explanation. The “official” reason later given was that it was part of the normal turnover of any new administration to appoint new judges, but this was two years into Bush’s second term, so that excuse raised more than a few eyebrows. Soon it was discovered that all eight of these attorneys had been ordered… and refused… to investigate Democrats for Election fraud prior to the  2004 election with absolutely no basis. When Democrats demanded Bush’s Senior Advisor Karl Rove turn over his private emails regarding the matter, that is when it was discovered Rove and seven other high-ranking WH officials had been using a private email server… set up by the RNC… to eschew the rules regulating to public availability of all government communications. Rove & company never did turn over those emails.

When Republicans took over the White House in 2001, the RNC gave all of their members free laptops with access to a private email server set up by them. The claim at the time was so that they were provided so they could conduct “fundraising” without using government property to do it (prohibited). But Rove & Company didn’t just use those private accounts for “fundraising”; they used them to conduct any business they wanted to keep secret… which in the Bush Administration was anything you did between breaths.

And just WHO gave Rove and “Scooter” Libby the green light to publicly expose the identity of CIA agent Valery Plame Wilson? That information was never revealed either. Libby was indicted for “obstruction of justice” by providing false information to the grand jury to prevent them from finding out the truth. When it comes to secrecy and hiding governmental information regarding likely criminal wrong-doing, no one can hold a candle to the GOP. So to hear them now feign OUTRAGE over the fact Hillary Clinton used her “private” email for all correspondence while she worked at the White House… couched in the accusation that she did so in order to “hide” information from investigators… just as Karl Rove did, and just as her predecessor Colin Powell did (Condi apparently used an “official” email account)… two years before new rules were written prohibiting this… is just the latest example of Republicans trying to turn smoke into fire in hopes of derailing her inevitable presidential bid.

And thanks to this nonsense with Hillary’s use of a private email account while conducting official business, every ginned up Obama White House “scandal” has been given new life. Why? There’s now TENTH investigation into Benghazi thanks to a baseless belief that the only reason NINE previous investigations turned up nothing is because the truth must have been in an email Clinton didn’t turn over… assuming there are any. I’ve often said that if a Republican accuses you of doing something wrong, it’s only because they either already did it themselves or considered doing it but never got around to it (see: “Acorn and voter fraud”), and naturally assume you’re as dishonorable as they are. “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Where there is no smoke, build a fire and accuse your opponent of setting it.”

(Postscript: Former SoS Colin Powell on “Meet the Press” yesterday pointed out that any email sent BY Clinton TO a “.gov” address “would be recorded/retained by the governmental servers.”)
 



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Filed in Election, fake scandals, Partisanship, Politics, Right-Wing Hypocrisy, Scandals March 9th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Just IMAGINE the Howls of OUTRAGE by GOP had Dems Invited Jacques Chirac to Lobby Congress Under Bush

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, March 2, 2015
 

Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to address a joint session of Congress regarding our Iran policy, invited by the GOP without informing the President of the United States first. Likewise, Netanyahu himself did not bother to tell the President he was coming, learning of the visit only after he was told by staffers and Democratic members of Congress. The level of disrespect for this president in both stunning & unparallelled. From the time of being called a “liar” during his first speech before Congress in 2009, to this unannounced visit by a foreign leader to lobby Congress on behalf of the interests of a foreign nation. In 2002/2003, both Germany & France (but for some reason, people only seem to remember “France”) opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq, asking President Bush to give UN Inspectors “more time” to verify whether or not Saddam Hussein did indeed posses “Weapons of Mass Destruction”. Just TRY to imagine the HOWLS of outrage one would have heard from the Right if Democrats had invited French President Jacques Chirac to lobby Congress against undermining France’s interest’s in Iraq, requesting that they undermine President Bush’s authority as Commander-in-Chief to protect those interests?

Republicans would have accused Democrats of “TREASON!” and Fox “News” would have started every “newscast” with a countdown clock marking the hours left till “the end of Democracy!”

The fact I’ve always put “news” in quotes when citing Fox is not just a slam or poking-the-bear, it is a hard & true fact. What legitimate news organization would post a story like this on their website (emphasis my own):

Fox News Report: Obama Threatened To Shoot Down Israeli Planes

A Kuwaiti newspaper is reporting that President Obama, angered at Israeli plans to strike Iran nuclear facilities in 2014, threatened to shoot down Israeli planes before they could reach their targets.

The paper, Al Jarida, cites only anonymous sources and just a handful of other publications have followed the story. But according to israelnationalnews.com [the “Fox News” of Israel -Mugsy], the Arabic newspaper quoted “well-placed” sources as saying Benjamin Netanyahu and two top aides “had decided to carry out air strikes against Iran’s nuclear program after consultations with top security commanders.”

To call this the height of irresponsible journalism would be kind. They openly admit in the article they have NO evidence the president “threatened” to shoot down anything. Citing anonymous sources to accuse the president of something someone believes he might have done IF a particular event had taken place, is not “news”, it’s gossip. But the only important thing to them is the headline, because that’s all most Fox viewers ever read. They don’t bother to click on the story to find it nothing but rumor & innuendo based on mere speculation by unidentified sources before they are already posting on blogs and Tweeting their friend how “the Mus’lim in the White House threatened to attack Israel if they tried to bomb his ‘good buddy’ Iran.” If these people based their political views on facts & evidence, they wouldn’t be Republicans (and by no coincidence, neo-Christians.)

But back to the topic at hand: It would be one thing if the Israeli Prime Minster were here to impart wisdom to warn Congress not to make the same mistake they made, regarding something that might hurt America. But Netanyahu is here to influence American policy towards a third country with regard only for how it benefits Israel first & foremost. President Obama is attempting to use diplomacy with Iran, because while we don’t want them pursuing nuclear weapons, we ALSO could use their help in defeating our mutual enemy: ISIS, and provoking Iran with threats of military force is (at best) counter-productive. The President of the United States has a LOT more to consider when forming U.S. Foreign Policy than just “what’s in the best interest of Israel.” And regardless of what a neo-Conservative like Netanyahu thinks, promoting a positive relationship with Iran is ALSO in Israel’s best interests. Meanwhile, the U.S. Congress showing extreme favoritism towards Israel while we are in the middle of delicate negotiations with Iran certainly doesn’t help matters any.

Netanyahu’s snub of President Obama isn’t playing well in Israel either as they gear up for their own elections less than two weeks from now. Endangering Israel’s relationship with America’s Commander-in-Chief at a time when the Middle East has never been more volatile with ISIS making alQaeda look almost demure with each passing day as new outrageous acts make the headlines almost daily. One would be forgiven to think Bibi’s speech were just a crass political ploy ahead of the election. And American Republicans seem more than happy to be used in this way if it means they get to disrespect our president, to the delight of their base, one more time.

I know there is a fine line between criticizing American policy that affects Israel vs criticizing Israel itself. But before I’m accused of being “anti-Semitic”, notice that my criticism above would apply equally to the leader of ANY foreign nation coming to America to lobby on behalf of that country’s interest. Republicans love to accuse President Obama of “criticizing America” (see Rudy and Huckabee) because they conflate “criticizing Republicans” with “criticizing America“. Likewise, not agreeing with how THEY think President Obama should handle Iran does not make him an “anti-Semitic Mus’lim terr’ist“.

If the GOP seeks to derail our negotiations with Iran purely for political advantage, in hopes of “embarrassing” President Obama or derailing Hillary Clinton’s campaign before it has even begun, then one can & should call THAT “treason.”

UPDATE: The Rachel Maddow Show on Tuesday night noted just how wrong Netanyahu was in 2002 when he hyped the EXACT SAME fear mongering over Iraq in a Congressional hearing. Not only was he dead wrong thirteen years ago, but the “preemptive war” he prescribed is responsible for the absolute chaos the Middle East finds itself in today… and perhaps an even GREATER threat to Israel than what the noted neoconservative Prime Minister fear-mongered at the time. How much worse off is Israel today because of his Right-Wing hysteria?



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Filed in National Security, Partisanship, Politics, Right-Wing Hypocrisy, Terrorism, War March 2nd, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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STUNNING VIDEO: Kristol claims “Iraq was safe and peaceful when George Bush left.” Seriously.

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, February 23, 2015
 

My eyebrows hit the ceiling: “OMG! Did he really just say that???” Resident Right-Wing Chief Revisionist Historian and iconic Chicken-hawk Bill Kristol actually said during yesterday’s episode of ABC’s ThisWeek that “George Bush left Iraq safe & peaceful when he left office in 2008.” You think I’m kidding? Watch:

Kristol: “Bush left Iraq safe & peaceful” (14 seconds)

Are you freakin’ kidding me? Are. You. Freakin’. Kidding. Me??? Bush left Iraq “safe & peaceful”??? Wow. Just wow. There are no words. On what planet does this guy live? That has to be THE most completely disconnected from reality statement I’ve heard in a while from the GOP (and that’s saying something.)
 

“Recording History for those Who Seek to Rewrite it.”  Mugsy’s Rap Sheet exists because of people like this asshat. It’s why we’re here, to spotlight this nonsense and crush it before they can convince millions of their simple-minded followers that their rewrite of history is the truth.
 

“We’ve always been at war with East Asia.”
 

“The high of 1,550 attacks a week fell below 800 — nearly a 50 percent reduction.”Bob Woodward praising the reduction of violence in Iraq to “JUST 800 attacks per week” on September 8, 2008

Now granted, violence dropped significantly after the so-called “SurgeTM” in 2007. Violence in Iraq exploded in 2006 as Bush and DefSec Rumsfeld refused to admit their “small footprint” strategy in Iraq was a failure. Bush repeatedly reassured voters that Rummy’s job was safe prior to the mid-term elections, but when Democrats retook both the House AND Senate greatly out of anger over the Iraq War, Rummy was gone quicker than you can say “nu-cu-lar”. New SecDef Gates sent in 20,000 additional troops (that’s not a “surge” BTW, that’s “reinforcements”) to try and stabilize things. The word “Greenzone” became part of the American lexicon in 2008, referring to the supposed “safe zone” inside Baghdad where American Command was stationed, and the move to “stop calling it a ‘green’ zone arose because it implied ‘safety’ when it was routinely being shelled by insurgents (that’s a January 2009 link BTW). To stem the violence, U.S. forces built a wall around “Sadr City” rather than address WHY it was a source of so much violence, and “ethnic cleansing” of neighborhoods took care of the rest. (Watch/listen to this video from May of 2008 and tell me just how “peaceful” Iraq looks/sounds to you as Bush prepares to leave office):

As NBC reporter Tom Aspell points out in this 2007 video, “violence is down in Iraq” because “much of it has been ethnically cleaned.”

ISIS EXISTS BECAUSE OF THE INVASION OF IRAQ. Many of the ISIS commanders are former Iraqi military. When Bush & Rumsfeld decided to simply disband Saddam’s Sunni army… “go away and take and take your guns with you”… most of them became the “insurgency” that turned Iraq into the mess we see today. When the new Shia Iraqi government decided not to integrate former Sunni’s into the new government and deny them employment, they responded by forming ISIS and proceeded to conquer one Iraqi city after another in an attempt to recapture the entire region into one giant Islamic “caliphate” (I hate that word.) ISIS may not have existed when George Bush left office, but he planted the seed.

Saying “Iraq was peaceful when Bush left” and then blaming President Obama for the violence there today is like blaming the raging fire you set on the firemen, declaring: “It was only a spark when I called you!”

I just have to type it one more time: “Iraq was safe and peaceful when George Bush left.”

Nope. Still the stupidest thing I’ve heard any Republican say in the last… oh… what time is it now?
 



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Filed in Middle East, myth busting, National Security, rewriting history, Right-Wing Insanity, War February 23rd, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • 1 comment | Add/View

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GOP Responds to Complaints of Obama Acting Unilaterally By Demanding He Have Unilateral Power to Declare War

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, February 16, 2015
 

Oh Republicans, you poor inconsistent clueless gnats. Yesterday, on no less than three network poli-talk shows (and probably more but I only watch three), Republicans… in the SAME rants mind you… defended refusing to budge on tying the “Homeland Security” budget to rescinding President Obama’s “illegal and unconstitutional” Executive Order not to prosecute the “Dreamers” (which IS Constitutional and completely within his powers)… only seconds later to decry President Obama asking that the power of the president to unilaterally declare war be stripped from him and returned to Congress like the Constitution requires. People (and I use that term lightly), either you want the president to adhere to the Constitution or you don’t. Make up your minds.

The “War Powers” Clause, Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 of the United States Constitution reads:

The Congress shall have the power…

(11) To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water.

Only Congress has the power to Declare War and arm fighters (I’d love to go off on a tangent here on how this might relate to the Second Amendment, but some other day). The Constitution gives the president the power to “enact” (ie: administer or carry out) that war once it has been declared, but it’s pretty clear the power to commit the nation to war was never supposed to reside in the hands of one person.

One week after 9/11, Congress passed the AUMF, Authorization to Use Military Force, giving President Bush the “[authority to] use [the] United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the recent attacks launched against the United States. (emphasis mine). It was strictly concerning 9/11, that’s it.

In 2002, President Bush could not cite the 2001 AUMF against “those who attacked us on 9/11″ as giving him power to threaten Saddam Hussein into giving up weapons he didn’t have, so Congress instead passed a separate AUMF:Iraq, specifically citing the actions of Iraq under Saddam Hussein, arguing that it would give President Bush the leverage he needed to avoid war with Iraq. Democrats foolishly voted with Republicans to give him that power, which he quickly used to Declare War against Iraq even after Iraq started to comply with his demands.

13+ years later, President Obama continues to exercise the military authority granted to him by the 2001 & 2002 AUMF’s… not exactly willingly BTW, but the result of Congress refusing to reclaim the authority granted only to them by the Constitution, leaving the president with no choice but to rely on the AUMF’s in order to go after new threats like ISIS (which didn’t exist in 2001/2002). ISIS didn’t “attack us on 9/11″ as per AUMF2001, and didn’t even exist to be in “non-compliance” with us as per AUMF2003. President Obama believes it’s time for Congress to take responsibility and stop dumping the choice off on him.

Republican after Republican (Chris Wallace & The Power Panel on Fox “news” Sunday and John McCain on “Meet the Press”) were aghast that President Obama would dare “strip the power” of the president to use military force on his/her say so alone (a power the president is not supposed to have in the first place) and dump it back in Congress’ lap (I remember telling Republicans in 2007/2008 not to “give Bush any power they didn’t want a President Hillary Clinton to have.”)

Meanwhile, in the SAME breath, they also defended possibly refusing to renew funding for the Department of Homeland Security until Democrats caved on “President Obama’s illegal and unconstitutional Executive Order” placing a moratorium on the prosecution of “Dreamers” (undocumented immigrant children that have lived in the U.S. for at least five years.)

That’s right. Without a hint of irony, Republicans are demanding President Obama retain the unconstitutional powers they abdicated to the Presidency while simultaneously blasting him for exercising his Constitutional power as the Chief Executive on the grounds that such power is “unconstitutional”.

Can you hear me now, Mr. Speaker?

BTW: the second half of Clause 11… “make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water”… if Congressional Republicans are so eager to bestow A1S8C11 powers upon the president, I’d demand they transfer ALL the powers stated in that clause over to him and then promptly shutdown Gitmo. Then just watch how quickly they take that power back.
 



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Filed in fake scandals, National Security, Partisanship, Politics, Right-Wing Hypocrisy, Unconstitutional February 16th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Cruz & Carson Latest Republicans to Complain About Income Inequality

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, February 9, 2015
 

Now don’t get me wrong, while I applaud the GOP’s new found concern over “income inequality” and the stagnation of the middle-class, I’m reminded of the old joke when The Menendez Brothers were on trial for murdering their parents and the possibility of them asking the judge for leniency because they were orphans. Last month, Democrats understandably rolled their eyes in disbelief when Mitt “Not Concerned About the bottom 47%” Romney complained bitterly about the rise in “income inequality since Barack Obama was elected President”… as if the Republican Party hadn’t been praying at the altar of “trickle-down economics” for the last 35 years. Whether “Mitt” (a man who made his millions closing factories & raiding pension funds as a corporate raider) planned on running on a platform of “I (heart) poor people” we’ll never know because the GOP… led by that champion of the Middle Class Donald Trump… quickly nixed the idea of a third Romney run while attending a “Meet-the-Candidates” rally hosted by the Mega-Billionaire Koch brothers. And now during yesterday’s Sunday Poli-talk Shows, two leading GOP candidates tried to claim the mantle of “income inequality”: Ted “List of Communists” Cruz and BenProgressives are Nazi’sCarson. Cue the clown music.
 

Ted Cruz & Ben Carson on “Income Inequality” (3.25)

I don’t know what’s funnier: the idea that these guys think voters will buy them as “champions of the Middle Class” or the fact even Steph-O & Wallace clearly aren’t buying it either?

The two greatest problems facing the World today are religious zealots and unchecked corporate power. And which Political Party just happens to represents both?
 

So why the sudden feigned concern by the GOP over “income inequality”? Because the ONLY person making inroads in the inevitability of a “President Hillary Clinton” is Elizabeth Warren… a woman for whom battling “income inequality” has been her stock & trade for over two decades and has risen to prominence as a champion of the Middle-Class. It was Warren who first proposed the idea of a federal “Consumer Financial Protection Bureau” before being elected to public office, and when President Obama announced not only was he going to create The CFPB but put Warren in charge of it, Republicans behaved like they always do… threw a hissy fit, screamed bloody murder and stonewalled creation of the new agency until Warren’s name was withdrawn from contention.

Elizabeth Warren didn’t just suddenly discover the plight of the Poor & Middle Class last month as a convenient political tool, here she was talking to Bill Moyers about the plight of the Middle-Class in September, 2004 (whom I saw a frequently on his PBS program “Now”) Ignore the dopy YouTube title. She’s talking about bankruptcy:
 


 

For a long time, Republicans were proud to describe “The Tea Party” as the Conservative equivalent of “Occupy Wall Street”… an organization that identified more with The Left than The Right, born out of outrage over the Bush Administrations’ bailout of the Big Banks, Wall Street and the Top 1% (not one of whom went to jail BTW), while millions of middle-class Americans went bankrupt, lost their homes, and even threatened with arrest through no fault of their own. Meanwhile, T.E.A.: The “Taxed Enough Already” crowd sprouted wings. But these middle-class teanuts… their taxes weren’t going up. In fact, just the opposite. No, they were protesting increasing taxes on the Mega-Wealthy (the political term for this is “useful idiots”.)

So what are the solutions of these newly converted champions of the Middle Class? Just how do they intend to close that widening gap between the rich & poor (a gap they created with a crowbar in one hand and the tax-code in the other)? Well, they pretty much don’t say. They don’t DARE say… even if they did have a plan (which we know they don’t) because they know it would be ripped to shreds in seconds as the same old “trickle-down” economics that they’ve been selling us for the last 35 years and got us into this mess in the first place. And if it weren’t for my jaded sense of the media, I’d be amazed by how all these miraculous Keynesian-converts (I’m assuming) have gotten away with not being asked EVEN ONCE just how they plan to close that gap.

Seriously now. (Serious? Look who I’m talking about.)

PS: Which Party has fought against revoking tax cuts for corporations that ship jobs overseas? Which Party has made busting Unions a plank in their Party Platform (front-runner WI gov Scott Walker rose to fame by surviving a recall effort as he threatened to push through a law that would have destroyed the labor unions… NOT by changing minds but by convincing protesters to wait until the general election.) Which Party fights to GIVE wealthy corporations all sorts of perks like tax cuts & subsidies, then calls the bottom 47% “Takers” for wanting Healthcare & Food Stamps? Which Party has made vilifying blacks & Hispanics synonymous with the word: Republican? And, most obviously, which Party just flocked to Kansas at the behest of the billionaire Koch Brothers?

And which Party would accuse me of “Class Warfare” for calling them out for their hypocrisy?
 



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Filed in Economy, Election, Greed, Money, myth busting, Politics, rewriting history, Right-Wing Hypocrisy, Right-Wing Insanity, Taxes February 9th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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“I’m not a scientist”, #Ballgazi and #ClimateChange

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, January 26, 2015
 

My reaction to seeing the hashtag “#Ballgazi” regarding the controversy over whether or not the New England Patriots cheated to win the AFC Championship? #Facepalm. “Oh, dear God”, I remember thinking. “Seriously?” But the idea that the same people that see a “conspiracy” by the Patriots to win last week’s game are the same people that see a “conspiracy” regarding Benghazi, wouldn’t surprise me one bit. For the past ten years or so, whenever I heard someone start a sentence with, “I’m not a scientist, but…”, I could be reasonably sure what was to follow was a rant by some Right-Wing Climate Change Denier trying to explain away a pattern of extreme weather events in such a way that doesn’t make them look like a Climate Change denying imbecile to rational thinking people, yet without totally alienating their anti-science low-information base. But this past week, suddenly I could make no such assumption as defenders of the New England Patriots now use that same phrase to explain how their footballs “deflated” during the course of last week’s AFC Championship game against the Colts. Suddenly, “I’m not a scientist” pundits are saying it’s not possible that deflation of the footballs could be a “natural occurrence” and it “MUST be result of human activity.” And suddenly my eyes are buried in my palms again.

Uh, can we get our stories straight, guys?

Last week, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Sen Jim “The Greatest Hoax” Inhofe (yes, THAT Sen. Inhofe) co-sponsored a bill to declare that “Climate change is REAL and NOT a hoax.” You read that right, Inhofe co-sponsored (AND voted FOR) a bill declaring that climate change is NOT a hoax. Inhofe is another of those, “I’m not a scientist” guys.

I’m not entirely sure Inhofe even knew what his own bill was when he tweeted for his fellow senators to “join me in voting YES on Whitehouse’s amdmnt saying climate change IS a hoax, bc it is.” But afterwards, Inhofe snarkily explained that his argument is that climate change “is not man-made“… THAT is the “hoax”. So he’s admitting Climate Change exists but we should do nothing about it? I suppose that’s progress (doesn’t exactly explain his tweet though.) Inhofe went on to explain that something as insignificant as “Man” believing he can transform the climate of an entire planet “created by God” is (quote) “arrogant”. (Should God strike Inhofe’s home with lightning for admitting Climate Change is real, I hope the firemen suggest to him that since the fire was not “man-made”, it would be “arrogant” of them to attempt to put the fire out.)

There is a time when “heavier-than-air” flight was described as “contrary to the will of God” and “arrogant” for man to believe he could duplicate the power of flight that God uniquely bestowed upon birds. Moses was told that men that dared climb Mount Sinai all died for “daring to seek the face of God” when it is more likely they died of exposure to extreme cold and oxygen deprivation. Death by “arrogance”? Maybe. Death by ignorance? Definitely.

Healing through medicine instead of relying on prayer was once considered “arrogant” too. More recently, “cloning” and genetics were also powers limited to the Almighty. Only Zeus could cast lightning bolts (electricity) and dead witches’ bodies floated on water.

Muslims believe it is “arrogant” for any man to presume to know “the face of God” and therefore, drawings & paintings of “The Prophet” are matter-of-factly blasphemous. Nice company you find yourself in, Senator.

Jim, we’re not talking about “one man” all on his own countering God’s work, we’re talking about 7-BILLION PEOPLE, plus corporations & industries building giant factories that belch BILLIONS tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every year. Exact numbers are hard to come by, but American power-plants alone emit roughly “2.2 Billion tons of carbon-dioxide into the atmosphere annually, while the typical American family of four emits 85 tons of CO2 every year. It all adds up.

All these Greenhouse gases must go somewhere. They don’t magically disappear. Much of the heat and the carbon floats into the upper atmosphere and literally blankets the Earth, warming it up by trapping in heat. That which doesn’t float into the upper atmosphere is absorbed by our oceans which are quickly reaching their saturation point. Anyone here ever lived next to a pond in which a chemical spill killed all the fish and became so toxic nothing could live in it? Now just image that happening to a planet where 65% of its surface is covered by oceans teaming with life?

If you want to talk “arrogance”, let’s talk about believing YOU’RE right and ten thousand climate scientists are all wrong, risking the future of an entire planet on your personal belief that “man can not change what God created”… a belief than has been disproven again… and again… and again…


Traffic Jam-USA
Traffic jam in the USA
 
Traffic Jam-Sydney, AUS
Traffic Jam-Sydney, Australia
 
112 mile traffic jam-Sao Paolo, BRZ
112 mile traffic jam in Sao Paolo, Brazil
 
Coal plant-USA
Coal fired electric plant-USA
 
Factory in China
Factory in China
 
Streets of China
Streets of China
 
Oil Refinery in the USA
Oil Refinery in the USA


 

But what do I know? I’m not a scientist
(actually, I am. Got a degree and everything.)
 



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Filed in Environment, General, Global Warming, Scandals January 26th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • 1 comment | Add/View

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Are Oil Prices Returning To Their Pre-Bush Trajectory?

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, January 19, 2015
 

A number of “concern trolls” on the Right and on Wall Street have been desperate to find ways to paint the recent plunge in oil prices as a BAD thing worthy of “serious concern” (remember when they WANTED to bring down the price of oil with their 2008 “Drill here. Drill now!” campaign rhetoric and Newt’s promise of $2.50/gal gas by approving Keystone?) A lot of amateur-economists talked about the “popping of the tech bubble” in 2000 as some sort of devastating aberration. Something “no one saw coming” and could have been sustained if only it had been handled properly. Poppycock. I was there. What happened to the tech boom of the late ’90’s was not a “popping of the tech bubble” but a CORRECTION (prepping for “Y2K” was the biggest contributor, which we knew would be over by 2000.) The tech bubble didn’t devastate the U.S. economy in 2000 the way it was following the Market Crash of 2008. Likewise, this recent drop in oil prices should not be seen as a “crash” but a “correction”. Before George W. Bush became president in 2001… and on til the invasion of Iraq in 2003… the per-barrel price of oil remained pretty much where it had been for the past two decades… below $30/barrel. It took the invasion of Iraq to drive it into the stratosphere. And now that the economy is finally starting to shake off the last vestiges of the Bush years, oil prices should be seen as simply returning to that slow-rise to $30 trajectory it started in the early 80’s.
 

Oil price per balled, 1981-Present

 

The above graph is a chart of the annual price of oil since 1981. That yellow line shows roughly the trajectory upon which oil prices were rising in that time (going back to 1977 prior to the Iran/Hostage Crisis, see teaser-graph at start of post for more detail), bouncing around the mid-$20’s during most of that time. 1990 & 2000 fall right on that line, and if oil prices had continued on this same trajectory unabated by the Bush-II years, the natural price of oil would be closer to $35/barrel today.

As I pointed out recently (and frequently in the past), the price of gasoline was WELL below $2/gal prior to the invasion of Iraq. In 2000, long-haul truckers threatened to go on strike when the price of diesel hit a crushing $1.89/gal, demanding that the White House do something to stop the sudden rise in gas prices. Candidate George Bush declared that if he were elected president, he’d tell OPEC to “open up the spigots” [ibid] to get prices down (gas prices were never lower during the entire Bush presidency than they were that day.) Two weeks before the invasion of Iraq, the price oil was $29/barrel and Dick Cheney suggested that one of the consequences of invading Iraq and “removing Saddam Hussein” might be oil “as low as $15/barrel”.
 

Percentage change in oil prices, 1981 to Present
Percentage change in oil prices, 1981 to Present

 

As you can see from the above graph, this recent plunge in the price of oil is certainly not the first nor the largest. That honor goes to the Reagan Administration, whom I believe Republicans give high marks to. The decline in 1998 was also not the forebearer of economic catastrophe. Only the plunge of 2008… which took place AFTER the economic crash that year… was a sign that something was wrong. And NOT ONCE in any of those cases did the steep decline in the price of oil provoke a severe economic downturn. In fact, the opposite is true. Ronald Reagan’s second term saw economic growth. The plunge of 1998 saw the start of explosive growth in the tech sector that fueled the Clinton Jobs Machine. And now in 2015, the economy is on the rebound, creating more than 200,000 jobs a month for the past three months (with 12 of the last 36 months seeing >200K jobs created.)

Oil companies were incredibly successful for decades with oil prices around $30/barrel, and are hardly “struggling” today because oil prices recently (momentarily) fell to $45/barrel last week. Before the Bush presidency, I remember being upset when gas hit $1.49/gal in the Summer of 2000. Today, locally, I can find gasoline for $1.89/gal, getting very close to that $1.50/gal price I fretted over in 2000, and right on par where I’d expect it to be today if prices had continued to rise at the same rate. The idea that sub-$50 oil would be some sort of economic disaster for the oil companies is nonsense. They became addicted to the outrageous profits of the last decade that made companies like Exxon/Mobil “the most profitable corporation on the face of the Earth”, and now they want to convince you that $3/gal gas should be the norm.

It’s nonsense of course. The current decline in gasoline prices is NOT a harbinger of economic devastation to come. Oil companies did just fine with oil close to $25/barrel for decades, and will do so again if necessary.



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Filed in Economy, myth busting, Seems Obvious to Me, War January 19th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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When Your Only Tool for Peace is a Military Hammer…

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, January 12, 2015
 

This past week saw the bloody attack on French satirical magazine “Charlie Hebdo” and a nearby Jewish deli by three Muslim extremists (trained by ISIS… or was it AQAP? No one seems to be sure) out to “avenge The Prophet!” for being depicted in a cartoon (question: If no one if allowed to draw “The Prophet”, how do you know that’s a cartoon of Him? How do you know what He looks like?). First, may I just point out for the record that if your “Prophet’s” ego is so frickin’ fragile that he demands you murder innocents in cold blood that dare insult him, maybe you need a new prophet. How thin-skinned can you get? Whatever. But I also couldn’t help but notice all the Muslim clerics that then came out and publicly denounced these acts of terror. (I found myself wondering when was the last time American Christian leaders came out en masse and publicly denounced the bombing of a Planned Parenthood or threats against immigrant children?) But the REAL question is WHY is the Muslim Community so outraged? Why is the Middle East still in flames after more than a decade of war? And most importantly, what to do about it? American psychologist Abraham Maslow famously wrote, “I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.” When it comes to fighting Terrorism, the only tool in the American arsenal is apparently the Military Hammer (and remember Pentagon Hammers don’t come cheap.) I was never a fan of Dennis Kucinich (mostly b/c when he wasn’t running for president, he was nowhere to be found), but one idea of his stuck with me: creating a Cabinet-Level position of “Secretary of Peace”. Someone whose job it would be to solve crises via non-military means. Not unlike JFK’s “Peace Corp” concept but on a much larger scale (something with a multi-billion dollar budget… magnitudes cheaper than the Pentagon’s budget, yet more effective.) Clearly, “bombing” our enemies isn’t getting the job done. It’s time for a change in strategy.

So what exactly would a “Secretary of Peace” do? Consider this idea: “Infrastructure”. Pay locals to build schools & hospitals in regions threatened by ISIS or Al Qaeda. Trust me, people will like you a lot more when you build a new electric power-plant in their town that doesn’t leave them without electricity 18 hours a day. They’re going to be protective of it, and if ISIS or Al Qaeda tries to destroy it, who do you think they’re going to side with? And if the enemy DOES destroy it, you build it again. Pretty soon, they’re going to get pretty damned tired of building the same school over and over again. When a single Cruise Missile goes for about a million a pop, you can build infrastructure for a faction the cost of destroying it, with a far greater payoff in return… spending less money on guns, bombs, bullets, missiles, armored vehicles, dead & injured soldiers, fighting generations FOR generations… it all adds up. And money saved abroad can be spent on infrastructure here at home.

“War by the rich is called ‘war’. War by the poor is called ‘terrorism.” – unknown

People who live in a constant state of hopelessness and see no future for themselves are more willing to fight because they believe they have nothing to lose. Right now, we are fighting people that see death as their only route to a better “life”. Their real lives are Hell. Tell me, does war make that better or worse? A man that believes he has nothing to lose will die to protect what little he has. Give them something to live for. Give them reason to NOT want to fight.

In his farewell address, President Eisenhower warned us of “the Military Industrial Complex”, which is shorthand for corporations that have turned War into big business. They have a strong financial incentive to ensure America stays in a perpetual state of war. So how about we give them a strong financial incentive for peace? Use these same military contractors to build infrastructure… both here & abroad? Definitely no shortage of need after decades of war around the globe.

Ike was right. JFK was right. Everyone to come after was wrong. Thomas Jefferson warned of the danger of “standing armies”… a permanent military whose only function is to fight wars and isn’t going to sit around twiddling its thumbs waiting for the next war to start. We’ve made “war” a business in this country. Maybe it’s time to try the same with “peace”?
 



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Filed in Middle East, National Security, Religion, Terrorism, War January 12th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Republicans Vow First Order of Business Will Be A Pointless Exercise in Showing Who’s Boss by Approving KXL

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, January 5, 2015
 

As I noted a few weeks ago, I’m still surprised by the number of people that just don’t remember that gas was WELL below $2/gallon before… not just before George W. Bush… but two years into the Bush presidency before the invasion of Iraq in 2003. They just couldn’t fathom gas prices ever being as low as we’re seeing it today (close to $2/gallon.) In fact, in 2003, oil hit just $35/barrel the week before the invasion of Iraq after hovering around $29/barrel for years. (I’ve linked to this video of mine numerous times of how one economist predicted what the invasion of Iraq might bring… if not UNDER-ESTIMATING the costs, two weeks before the invasion. In the background you can see gas prices were still around $1.79/gallon in the North-East.) It took a second war and a President/Congress completely unwilling to regulate oil speculators to drive oil prices up to nearly $150/barrel and gas over $4/gallon, laying the groundwork for the ensuing global economic collapse. During the 2012 Presidential race, Newt Gingrich… struggling for a coherent message (“moonbases” just wasn’t packing them in)… settled on promising “$2.50/gallon gasoline by the end of his first term in office” (2016) by “approving the Keystone XL Pipeline” and drilling for oil in every backyard in America (interesting side-note: Mitt Romney vowed to bring Unemployment “below 6.5% by the end of [his] first term”). Yet in two years… not four… the price of gasoline is well below $2.50/gal nationally and can even be found for under $2/gal in many states (one local Exxon station near me here in Houston is selling Regular Unleaded for $1.89/gal.) And it all happened without approving the freaking pipeline. Fantastical promises of “1 million new jobs” were quickly/easily debunked. Most of the construction is already complete. The pipe itself has already been made/purchased. The company benefiting isn’t even American and the vast majority of the “oil” is already earmarked for export overseas, having little to no impact on domestic gas prices. And the process of converting greasy Canadian sludge into “oil” requires a per-barrel price-point nearly $20/barrel higher than it is now, making the entire project a money LOSER. Even if approved, “Trans-Canada” would likely not pursue it for years til the next Republican president drives oil prices back into the stratosphere. But as OPEC has now proven, all they have to do to eliminate the competition is to make the pipeline too costly to operate by simply pumping more oil. One might think that all this might convince even Republicans that completing the Keystone XL pipeline is an exercise in futility, but you’d be wrong. Undeterred, incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has declared that “the FIRST vote of the new Congress will be to approve the Keystone XL pipeline” (with WY Senator John Barrasso on “Meet the Press” yesterday citing those “42,000 jobs” as to why it is needed.) Whether either senator knows that that’s “42,000 low paying temp jobs stretched out over two years“, I couldn’t say. Nor do I think it would make a difference. No, Senate Republicans have already admitted that their true reason for making passage of the Keystone XL such a high priority is that it is “a test” [ibid] of political will in Washington. They’ve convinced enough brainless Right-wingers that approving the KXL is “a no-brainer” and that an Obama veto would be nothing more than a challenge to their authority… nay… “the will of the American people” that voted them into office this past year. And THAT is what this vote is all about. It’s not about “creating (imaginary) jobs” or “reducing gas prices”, it’s just more childish gamesmanship by the GOP in a pointless flexing of political muscle.

You might remember that just this past November, just days after the election, in a desperate/futile/pointless/asinine attempt to save DINO Mary Landrieu’s (D-LA) Senate seat in a runoff election, Congress voted on whether or not to approve the KXL. The bill failed to reach the 60-vote super-majority threshold necessary to overcome a Democratic filibuster. Landrieu did so poorly in the runoff election that it is doubtful passage of the bill would have affected the outcome of the election anyway. With the added seats in the Senate this year, Republican’s probably have the support of enough brain-dead Democrats to overcome a Democratic filibuster should it come up for a vote again, but NOWHERE NEAR the 67-vote Super-majority they’d need to override a presidential veto, making the entire exercise pointless & futile… IF passing the now irrelevant pipeline were indeed the point (which it isn’t.) It’s all about petty power-starved Republicans trying to show Americans “who’s boss”. They’ve built up this insane reality that exists only in their fevered imaginations where Americans hate President Obama and disagree with him on ever major issue. It’s a world in which Keystone means “jobs, jobs, jobs” and gas under $2.50 a gallon. It’s a world in which Sen. Ted Cruz can declare with a straight face that “Americans are suffering because of ObamaCare” and that “Benghazi” is the greatest political scandal since “Monica Lewinski”.

Republicans see no downside to creating “jobs” regardless of cost… so long as it is a Conservative-friendly industry (be it oil or bombs). They’ll give away Billions in tax incentives to oil companies and spend yet billions more in environmental cleanup in exchange for just 42,000 low-wage jobs (roughly $600K for every $20K/year job.) But tell them how investing in green technology produced a a $5-BILLION ROI, and all you’ll hear is snarky jokes about “Solyndra” (a $300 million loss).

Of course, all this political gamesmanship has nothing to do with “jobs” (last year, unemployment fell at its fastest rate in 30 years) or “bringing down oil prices” (oil now below $54/barrel with gas at $2.20/gallon, a full 1/3rd lower than it was one year ago) and everything to do with Republicans trying to show Obama “who’s boss”.
 



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Filed in Election, Energy Independence, General, Greed, Jobs, Money, myth busting, Partisanship, Politics, Right-Wing Insanity January 5th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • 1 comment | Add/View