Note to Democrats on Gorsuch Nomination. Get this behind you quickly.

Share
 


All this week, the Senate will be holding hearings “interviewing” Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, a Right-Wing Conservative who wouldn’t even be in line to fill a Supreme Court vacancy if it were not for Republicans holding the seat left vacant by the late Justice Scalia for thirteen months. As a Liberal Democrat, I can give a multitude of reasons why Gorsuch should not be appointed to the highest court in the land, and under normal circumstances, I’d be telling Democrats to block this nomination from going through. But these are not normal times and under present circumstances, this is not the hill Democrats want to die on. We have a White House that is in chaos, a president who needs to be criminally investigated, a Republican Party that is making “ObamaCare” look better & better by the day as people learn more and more about the “Republican Insurance Program”… or R.I.P. for short. The LAST thing Democrats need to be doing is looking like spoiled children stamping their feet in protest, refusing to eat their veggies until Trump re-nominates Obama’s awful Milquetoast nominee Merrick Garland, helping make Trump & The GOP look like the adults in the room while distracting the country from Trump’s “Conspiracy Theory” tweetstorms and everyday juvenile behavior just to avoid replacing one hard-Right Conservative judge with another hard-Right conservative judge who’s going to be less inclined to vote your way if you make his confirmation process miserable.
 

Scalia & Gorsuch fishing

 

First, the argument against Gorsuch:

As I stated, there’s a half dozen reasons why Gorsuch should not be on the Supreme Court. Chief among those reasons for me is that he’s one more Evangelical Christian whose interpretation of U.S. law is apparently defined by his view of “God’s law.” Pardon me if I think Supreme Court judges should take that whole “separation of church & state” thing seriously. Gorsuch almost certainly made Trump’s short list of SCOTUS nominees for being the judge who ruled on the famed 2013 “Hobby Lobby” case (where the uber-religious owners suddenly decided that forcing them to pay for an insurance policy that included “contraceptive care” was a violation of their First Amendment rights). Gorsuch sided with Hobby Lobby on the grounds “it conflicted with the business owner’s religious beliefs.” The fact Hobby Lobby had already been doing so for years prior to the “ObamaCare” mandate apparently didn’t bother them until they found a way to use their religion to stick it to Obama. Did the religious freedom of the employee matter? Of course not. In the judgement of Gorsuch, the employers religious freedom supersedes that of their employees. One might argue that employees WORKED for that benefit (health insurance) and the employer paying for that coverage was part of their employee’s compensation. It wasn’t “Hobby Lobby’s” money, it was HERS, and they had no say in how she spends it. If instead of HL paying the insurer directly, had they of just given the money to the employee to spend on whatever insurance she wanted, there wouldn’t have been a damn thing they could have done about it. So why was it okay for HL to refuse to pay for her chosen coverage using money that technically didn’t even belong to them? And more to the point, when did your bosses religious rights take precedence over your own? Once you become a public entity, your rights as an individual should no longer apply.

Gorsuch ruled that your bosses religion trump’s yours (pardon the pun.)

And if a corporations’ First Amendment religious rights supersede the rights of their employees, just how do you think Gorsuch might vote should the repeal of “Citizens United” ever come before the Supreme Court? “Citizens United” ruled that corporations have a First Amendment right to “Free Speech” in the form of unlimited spending on political campaigns. Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer asked Gorsuch about CU. He refused to answer. Let’s be clear. CORPORATIONS ARE NOT PEOPLE any more than a school bus is a child. The PEOPLE inside that corporation already have rights. Combining them into a business entity does NOT confer upon them additional rights. A corporation can’t (yet) cast a vote. Technically, they can live forever. If corporations are people, then when one corporation buys another corporation, that’s slavery. And no corporation has ever received “the Death Penalty” (dissolvement) for contributing to the death of an employee. But Conservatives don’t see it that way. As Mitt Romney said in 2012, “Corporations are people, my friend!” And if a single individual “incorporates” themselves by becoming a business, that suddenly makes him/her two people? I think not. That may seem ludicrous to you or me, but not to Conservatives and I guarantee not to Neil Gorsuch.

There was a brief flurry of shock recently when it was discovered that Gorsuch’s High School yearbook listed him as the founder of the “Fascism Forever” Club. The citation is true, but it was also written in jest. Bookending that “accolade”, it recognized his achievement as “Lousy Spanish Student” followed by “Believer in the World According to Ward” (presumably Ward Churchill, a controversial professor at the same university and frequent target of Bill O’Reilly for supposedly comparing the 9/11 victims to Nazi’s. O’Reilly endlessly tried to link Democrats to this obscure professor for reasons only Bill can fathom.) So the hysteria over that “fascist” revelation died out quickly (and rightly so.)

When Gorsuch attended college in the early 1990’s, he wrote for his college newspaper which gives us some insight into his attitudes at the time. But I advise against reading too much into what a dumb kid wrote in college in his early twenties. When *I* was in college in my early twenties (Gorsuch and I are the same age), I was a Republican (yes, it’s true) who repeated jokes about gay people (and one particularly nasty joke about black people I thoughtlessly repeated in front of a black friend that haunts me to this day), so people can radically change from who they were as kids to how they see the world today. But if hints of opinions expressed 25 years ago can still be seen in him today, then those childhood opinions matter. Case in point…

During the lead up to the first Gulf War in late-1990, there was some debate on college campuses whether or not military recruiters should be allowed on campus at the student’s (and taxpayers if public) expense to spread their pro-war propaganda. In addition, the attitude of the military towards gays was just beginning to become an issue, and while straight-support for gays was rare, it played a role in why so many opposed the idea of allowing the military to spread its ideology on college campuses. If you opposed the war, a government mandated intrusion of Marines intimidating students and preying on the cash-strapped to convince them to risk their lives (in what most considered a war of choice) just to pay for college, seemed like pretty despicable behavior. In a (confusing to me) essay in support of the military’s First Amendment right to speak wherever they wish, Gorsuch sided with the military over the rights of the students to say “we don’t want you here.” Confusing because I found his argument defending The Marines right to speak applied equally to the University’s right to say No (“No one has the right to determine who may speak on campus” applies equally to the military in this instance… or at least, it should.) So is this opinion written by a college kid 25+ years ago germane today? Based on his “Hobby Lobby” ruling, I believe so.

I won’t go into too much detail into Gorsuch’s then apparent hostility towards Liberals and Activists back then [ibid] because, as I pointed out, I never imagined back then I’d be a proud Liberal Democrat today. My only suggestion is to look for similarities between his attitude then and positions taken today to see if he has since matured.

But the point is, taking a stand on the Gorsuch nomination would be extremely counter productive at this time. Democrats can’t keep the seat open for 3-1/2 years till Trump is voted out w/o looking far more extreme than even the GOP who kept the seat open for 11 months and risk turning Trump into a sympathetic figure. And the chances of #ToddlerTrump relenting and nominating an even more Moderate judge are about zero. More than likely, he’d appoint increasingly hard-right judges, making Democrats sorry they hadn’t approved his earlier pick(s).

It is true that in 2006, President Bush nominated Gorsuch to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals and was approved unanimously by Republicans and Democrats alike, so it would seem a bit late to start arguing his fitness to be a Federal Judge at this point. True, we know far more about his political & judicial leanings today than we did eleven years ago, but that’s a weak argument you’re just not going to win (what’s your defense? We approved someone we knew nothing about back then?)

Remember that the white hot spotlight right now is on Trump. His Administration is in the midst of a credibility crisis that includes wild baseless accusations of Obama spying on him… literally accusing his predecessor of a felony without evidence (as I pointed out two weeks ago that despite access to an entire intelligence community reporting directly to him, he’s getting his “intel” from Fox “news” and Right-wing conspiracy websites), his administration’s apparent coziness with Russia (including The Man himself), his glaring racism (between his Mexico Wall and “Muslim Ban”), and now a DoA “health care” plan that has them scrambling to explain how a plan Trump assured everyone would be “better, cheaper and covers everyone” is turning out to be yet another huge give away to the insurance companies, massive tax break for the rich, wildly more expensive for some while allowing the return of worthless bargain policies that cover nothing and deny everything, and could leave as many as 24 million people out in the cold.

This is but ONE Supreme Court nomination. And given the age of the remaining Liberal members of the court, we can’t risk a populace sympathetic to Trump allowing him to fill a second crucial vacancy with another Far-Right judge. The LAST thing we need right now is to look like petty children ourselves, blocking a Supreme Court appointment that doesn’t change the balance of power (he’s replacing Scalia) in the futile hope of getting someone Moderate, and shifting the focus away from Trump’s bizarre/childish/provocative behavior, only to create a shiny new distraction they can use to pummel us with.
 


Writers Wanted Got something to say? Mugsy’s Rap Sheet is always looking for article submissions to focus on the stories we may miss each week. To volunteer your own Op/Ed for inclusion here, send us an email with an example of your writing skills & choice of topic, and maybe we’ll put you online!

RSS Please REGISTER to be notified by e-mail every time this Blog is updated! Firefox/IE users can use RSS for a browser link that lists the latest posts! RSS


 

Share

March 20, 2017 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Posted in: Civil Rights, Healthcare, Partisanship, Seems Obvious to Me, Unconstitutional

The (In)Complete (and growing) List of Trump’s Russia Ties

Share
 


I‘ve stated more times than I dare count that I abhor Conspiracy Theories. Claims that “9/11 was an inside job” belong in the same rubbish bin as Sasquatch and Elvis sightings. But the evidence of links between the Trump campaign/White House and Russia (for whatever reason) are documented fact (often by photograph and peoples’ own admission) and continue to grow so fast, it is getting harder & harder to keep track of them all. So I’ve decided to start a list of people & events linking people connected to Trump (including the man himself) to Russia (and US/Russia policy.) I’m not positing “why” any of these people chose to come in contact with whatever Russian official/billionaire/oligarch for whatever reason, nor do i wish to draw any nefarious conclusions (not this post anyway) as to their goal. This is simply a list. Make of it what you will. It’s mere existence and length should raise eyebrows if not concern.
 

“I have no dealings with Russia. I have no deals in Russia because we’ve stayed away.” – Donald Trump on the campaign trail, January 11, 2017.

 

I keep hearing from so many Trumptonians who get a huge asinine belly laugh from any suggestion that Russia may be meddling in our Democracy (“My PopTart is stale! Blame Russia! Har! Har!”) Unless someone truly adores Russia and/or Putin, I can’t fathom for the life of me why anyone would rush to defend him/them, belittling any suggestion that Russia is anything but an innocent victim being targeted for character assassination by our “evil” Media. The closest I can fathom is some revulsion that… if true… it somehow benefits Hillary and/or could somehow miraculously make her president. I understand why you despise Hillary (okay, maybe not to your insane degree, but I did after-all write-in Bernie rather than vote for her), but this head-in-the-sand ridiculousness of dismissing evidence sight unseen that a dangerous & corrupt foreign power led by a brutal power-mad former KGB agent that has his critics locked up and/or murdered, may be… not just meddling but actually SHAPING U.S. policy to its detriment for their own personal gain… astounds me. After being accused of being a “traitor” during the eight years of the Bush Administration for not supporting his dangerous policies and corrupt government, I have no stomach for ridiculous borderline-traitorous fools who can’t set aside their hatred of Hillary… now extending to disdain for our own Free Press and First Amendment… long enough to examine mounting evidence that another country is manipulating the U.S. government from INSIDE the Oval Office!

I’m just curious what part of “the Russian thing” don’t they believe? Trump’s inexplicable fanboy love of Putin (even criticizing the U.S. to defend him)? The fact Trump appointed a man whom he had never met (Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson), someone who has had a friendly working relationship with Putin since 1999 and received Russia’s highest civilian honor, the “Medal of Friendship”, from Pootie himself… to be our Secretary of State… running a department whose primary job it is to aide/develop U.S. allies around the world and make life miserable for dictatorships like Russia/China/North Korea (and whose budget Trump now wants to cut by 37%), after not even being on Trump’s initial short list of nominees? And the list goes on (continued below.)

The List

Beside Russian “Medal of Friendship” winner Rex Tillerson mentioned above, we have:

Starting from the very beginning, Trump’s first campaign manager Paul Manafort, was forced to resign when it was discovered that he lied about having worked as a lobbyist on behalf of the Russian government in Ukraine and was paid millions of dollars at a time the United States was vociferously condemning Russia’s attempts to annex Ukraine. After his resignation, it was discovered that Manafort has also met with Konstantin Kilimnik, a Kiev-based operative with suspected ties to Russian intelligence, in April of that year (as well as at the Convention in July). Kilimnik revealed that Manafort was instrumental in… (next paragraph.)

(UPDATE 3/22/17: As early as 2005, Manifort was already offering his services on how he could “greatly benefit the Putin Government”.)

A Washington Post investigation revealed that the Trump campaign demanded the removal of any pro-Ukrainian plank from the GOP’s Convention platform. Former Trump campaign official J.D. Gorden said it was Trump himself (at the urging of Manafort) who personally demanded support for Ukraine be expunged from the GOP platform. Before the Convention, Republicans were VERY pro-Ukraine, with some even demanding we arm the Ukrainian rebels against Russian forces (particularly after Russia provided SAMs (Surface-to-Air-Missiles) to pro-Russian Ukrainian rebels who then shot down a Dutch passenger jet killing all 298 people on board. No explanation for Trump’s request was ever given. Instead, the Russians MAY have been assured that sanctions imposed upon them for these activities might be lifted under a Trump Administration.

In 2008, John McCain declared, “We’re all Georgians now” after Russia invaded the former Soviet nation of Georgia. In 2014, the GOP took the side of Ukraine after Russia annexed Crimea, even calling for the U.S. to arm the anti-Russian rebels. Now suddenly, we are chummy with Putin and Russia’s is behaving as if we might lift those sanctions on Russia.

And just who might have made such a suggestion to Russia? Trump’s first (and ever so brief) National Security Adviser General Michael Flynn, who twice denied any communication with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, actually met with the ambassador IN TRUMP TOWER (and we are to believe Trump himself wasn’t present? He denied knowing of the meeting and fired Flynn for “lying to him”.) Flynn met with the Russian ambassador the very same day President Obama announced new sanctions on Russia (after SEVENTEEN intelligence agencies found evidence they were behind the hacking of DNC & RNC servers). In addition, Flynn not only spoke to the Russian Ambassador, he actually flew to Moscow (ibid) the year before for “Russia Today’s” 10th anniversary celebration where he was literally seated at Putin’s right-hand-side (at the same table with 2012/2016 Green Party candidate Jill Stein… make of that what you will):
 

RT 10th Anniversary Dinner
Flynn & Stein at Putin’s table at RT Anniversary Dinner 2015

(Update 3/17: State owned RT paid Flynn $33,750 to fly to Russia to attend this dinner. This does not include airfare for him and his son and accommodations at a 5-star hotel. There is no evidence Flynn sought an exemption from the U.S. military to accept what would be an illegal payment from a foreign entity.)
 

And Flynn didn’t meet the Russian ambassador alone. Traveling WITH Flynn to Trump Tower was Trump’s son-in-law and now “political adviser” Jared Kushner (ibid: NYT link) to join him in the meeting Flynn lied about (and when Flynn denied meeting Kislyak, Kushner never spoke up to set the record straight.)

More recently, we have the case of former Senator turned Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who volunteered during his confirmation hearing that he had not spoken to anyone in the Russian Government while he was associated with the Trump campaign. In fact, Sessions HAD indeed met with the Russian ambassador twice during that time. He first stated that his meeting Ambassador Kislyak was so brief and inconsequential, it simply slipped his mind (not a quote). And maybe it was a brief encounter or simply part of his duties as a member of the Armed Services Committee, but he could simply said he never met with anyone “on behalf of the Trump campaign” or “only as part of my duties as Senator”. But he didn’t. He simply denied having ever spoken to “anyone” working for Russia. And it IS interesting how many contacts Kislyak was making inside the Trump campaign. He was one busy bee.

Another Russian connection: Why did Trump try to appoint American oil industry consultant, real estate mogul and former reality TV star Carter Page from Merrill Lynch’s Moscow office to be a National Security Consultant to his campaign? Page not only criticized U.S. and NATO policy towards Russia, he did so from Moscow. The “Dixie Chicks” gotta be feeling the sting of that one.

In one of the more bizarre (and IMHO, significant) Trump/Russia connections was Trump’s sale of a $41 Million dollar Palm Beach mansion to Russian fertilizer magnate Dmitry Rybolovlev sight unseen for $95 Million dollars (nearly 2.5x its worth, and never once used) only to then have it bulldozed four days after the election to build a $60 Million dollar home to sell at a $40 Million dollar loss. The Trump campaign vehemently denies ever “meeting” Rybolovlev, yet this same billionaire appeared at multiple Trump campaign events AND the RNC Convention in Cleveland… yet they’ve “never met”? (I find this connection most intriguing because I believe Bankrupt Trump needed money to finance his “self-funded” campaign, and this highly dubious $100 Million dollar windfall came at just the right time.
 


 

(Addendum: Not only can Rybolovlev’s plane be seen at the same airport as Trump’s at multiple events, his yacht was also spotted docked near Trump’s biggest financial supporter and Breitbart News moneyman, Robert Mercer.)

Ever hear of Wilbur Ross before he was appointed to run of the Department of Commerce? Ross is a billionaire investor with close ties to Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg. Ross was the Vice-Chairman of “The Bank of (the nation of) Cyprus”, a now Russian-owned bank thanks to Ross and Rybolovlev, to which Trump owed $600 Million dollars. Ross’ Russian connection is a bit complicated (as is everything in the financial industry), so once again, I’ll let Rachel (who is quickly becoming the go-to source on the Trump/Russia nexus) pound out the details:
 


 

While no reported human or financial tie to Russia (yet), Trump’s Svengali, Steve Bannon, former head of Alt-Right racist conspiracy rag “Breitbart.com” who became Trump’s campaign manager and is now his Chief Political Strategist, is a self-described Leninist. In an interview with The Daily Beast, Bannon proudly claimed, “I’m a Leninist.” “Lenin,” he answered, “wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.” Trump’s got his Putin man-crush. Bannon has Lenin.

Felix Sater, a Russian-born businessman with Mafia connections and served time in jail for stabbing a man in the face with the stem of a margarita glass, approached Trump with a plan to license his name to build skyscrapers (including “a Trump tower on the site of an old pencil factory along the Moscow River”) across former Soviet-bloc nations, a few inside Russia, and in several U.S. cities with Trump’s name on them. The deal fell through but Trump and Sater remained friends. The Trump campaign denied knowing anything about Sater’s criminal past.

Also part of the Trump/Sater scam, Tevfik Arif, another Russian real-estate mogul who served a 17-year career in the Soviet Ministry of Commerce and Trade. In 2005, Trump entered into an agreement with Russian financial group “Bayrock” to build “Trump Tower Moscow”. The deal failed, but his partner, Arif, moved into Trump Tower NY and took office two floors below The Trump Organization.

Yet another Russian born real-estate mogul and business partner of Donald Trump is Alex Shnaider. It may or may not be significant that Shnaider’s father-in-law, Boris J. Birshtein, is close friends with one of the heads of the Russian Mob [ibid “Soviet Ministry”.].

You may remember that White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus… though not tied to Russia himself, did violate ethics rules by personally requesting the FBI “knock down” any reports linking anyone in the Trump Administration to Russia. The FBI refused and the ethical breach was deemed nothing more than a “momentary” embarrassment for the Trump White House (on par with Kelly-Ann Conway endorsing Ivanka Trump’s wares during a TV interview while representing the President of the United States.)

Former British MI6 intelligence officer Christopher Steele was forced into hiding recently after publishing a dossier detailing a number of Trump/Russia ties as compiled by the British Secret Service. Steele finally surfaced two weeks ago after many of the accusations made in the dossier have since panned out:
 


 

Among things Steele points out: It was barely 3 weeks after Paul Manifort took over running the Trump campaign in March of 2016 that Trump started trashing NATO (an alliance of Western nations to defend against Soviet/Russian expansion/militarism.) Russia has despised NATO and sought to destroy it since it was formed over a half century ago.

(UPDATE #1: Not even 12 hours and we have our first update. Remember Trump’s pledge that the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines would be made exclusively using “American-made steel”? Well, scratch that. We have our first exemption and I’ll give you one guess who it benefits: 40% of the steel will now come from a Russian owned steel subsidiary operating in Canada.

(UPDATE #2: After refusing to resign, Trump fires Federal Prosecutor Preet Bharara, a 40 year career Federal prosecutor for Manhattan/Wall St whom Trump himself personally assured he’d be staying on (along with 45 other Federal prosecutors) who just happened to be investigating a multi-BILLION dollar money laundering scheme of Russian money through “DeutcheBank”. Trump owes DeutcheBank hundreds of millions of dollars… their single biggest debtor.)

(UPDATE #3: 3/20/17: Secretary of State Tillerson announces he will be skipping an announced NATO summit to visit Moscow instead.)

(UPDATE #4: 3/21/17: There is no question Russia was actively supporting Trump via a sophisticated online “bot” based propaganda campaign.)

…whether the Trump campaign actively participated is still being investigated.

So our list now:

  • Trump
  • Tillerson
  • Manafort
  • Flynn
  • Kushner
  • Sessions
  • Page
  • Trump’s $100 Million dollar sweetheart deal selling a $40 Million dollar mansion to a Russian fertilizer billionaire who never even visited it only to later have it bulldozed for a $40 million dollar loss.
  • Ross
  • Bannon
  • Sater
  • Arif – multiple real estate deals including a failed attempt to build “Trump Tower Moscow” with Sater.
  • Shnaider
  • Priebus trying to bully the FBI into silencing reports linking Trump to Russia
  • The MI6/Steele Dossier.
  • Carved out an exemption for a Russian-owned pipeline manufacturer to provide pipe for the KXL and DAPL pipelines.
  • The firing of Federal Prosecutor Preet Bharara who was investigating Russian money laundering.
  • …more?

And that’s the short list. I intend/expect to update this list frequently so bookmark it and return often. And if you know of any Trump/Russia contacts/associations I may have missed, I encourage you to please list them in the Comments.
 

Where there's smoke...

 


Writers Wanted Got something to say? Mugsy’s Rap Sheet is always looking for article submissions to focus on the stories we may miss each week. To volunteer your own Op/Ed for inclusion here, send us an email with an example of your writing skills & choice of topic, and maybe we’ll put you online!

RSS Please REGISTER to be notified by e-mail every time this Blog is updated! Firefox/IE users can use RSS for a browser link that lists the latest posts! RSS


 

Share

March 13, 2017 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Posted in: Crime, Election, mystery, myth busting, National Security, Politics, Right-Wing Hypocrisy, Scandals

Trump is getting his intel from Right-Wing conspiracy theorists (and that should worry us all.)

Share
 


Right after the election, as the Returns continued to be counted and we learned Trump actually lost the Popular Vote by nearly “three million”, the president-elect declared that he would have won the Popular Vote too had it not been for THREE TO FIVE MILLION people voting illegally (supposedly all illegal immigrants) in support of Hillary Clinton. And his source for this insane claim? A FAR Right conspiracy radio show & website called InfoWars (which also claims, among other things, that the Newtown massacre was a hoax.) Remember, this is the same election where Right-Wing poll watchers said they’d be monitoring the polls for that very possibility. And yet somehow, as many as five million illegal immigrants snuck past their watchful eyes undetected. Many claims Trump made on the campaign trail (and continues to assert today)… like claims of ISIS being behind recent terrorist attacks in San Bernadino and a Miami nightclub… Trump gets from Right-Wing websites and Fox… while calling The New York Times, The Washington Post and CNN “fake news”. And let’s not forget the biggest conspiracy theory of all… the one that launched Trump into politics: “Birtherism”… the idea Obama was actually born in Kenya and was part of a massive cover up that would come crashing down around him if only we could get a peek at his “long form birth certificate”.

Just over a week ago, The Boy King cited “chaos in Sweden. Sweden! Who would be believe this?” based on a slanted and questionable report he heard on Fox “news” regarding a supposed rise in violent crime since they allowed in Muslim refugees. On Friday, #ToddlerTrump asserted (again, without evidence) that he believed former President Obama is behind the public protests and efforts to sabotage his presidency (Trump’s massive ego refuses to believe he’s not just beloved but adored by the vast majority of American people… yet Obama commands enough popularity to mobilize tens of thousands through sheer will). This quickly evolved into his latest outrage Saturday claiming President Obama had tapped his phone in Trump Tower last December as part of his “witch hunt” to tie him to Russia. Trump’s source? The CIA that answers to him and is just a phone-call away? No. The NSA that answers to him and is just a phone-call away? No. The FBI that answers to him and is just a phone-call away? No. Of course not. This time, his trusted source was Right-Wing conspiracy “news” website Breitbart.com (whose former head, Bannon, he appointed to run his campaign and is now his Chief Strategist.) And just who was Breitbart’s source for the claim? Right-wing hate-talk radio conspiracy theorist Mark Levin.

And to put Trump’s “outrage” over this incredibly serious accusation into context, his very next tweet was to mock Arnold Schwarzenegger’s firing from “The Apprentice” for low ratings. The fact our government has been hijacked by a man-child with the attention span of a thirteen year old girl is bad enough. But he is getting his “intelligence” from Right-Wing conspiracy websites like “Breitbart” and “InfoWars”. Couple that with the fact he isn’t attending intelligence briefings on a regular basis, and it gets worse. Couple THAT with the fact he doesn’t bother to double-check these absurd claims with any of the multitude of intelligence agencies at his disposal before retweeting them (with all the weight and gravitas associated with being President of the United States), and it’s even more troubling still (like any Twitter-addicted 13 year old girl, he reads something and instantly retweets it, simply assuming what he reads is absolute fact because it comes from a source he trusts.)

Now ask yourself WHY he doesn’t bother to confirm anything he reads on the Internet before repeating it, and it becomes clear that it is because he doesn’t trust his own intelligence agencies… run by his own appointees. So just how much can we trust him to trust them when they try to warn him of an impending attack or how a newly announced policy/agenda of his might result in chaos/disaster/war?

In addition, just what credibility will Trump hold on the world stage? Will our allies believe a word this conspiracy theorist says should he ask for their help if & when he finally gets around to launching his “secret plan” to defeat ISIS (or needs their help in combating a new threat?) Will other countries enter into agreements with the United States knowing his promises are worth their weight in steam and likely to change the moment he reads something he doesn’t like on “Bob’s Conspiracy Bunker”?

But the next thing to watch out for… and we’re already seeing signs of this… is for him to start setting policy based on these absurd conspiracy theories.

BREAKING (as of this writing): FBI Director Comey asked Justice officials to refute Trump’s unproved wiretapping claim.

Tom Friedman of The New York Times predicted yesterday: “Expect an effort to take away his football… the nuclear football” as concern grows over Trump’s mental stability.

We still see news stories regarding the Trump Administration with the “First 100 Days” chyron. The first 100 days refers to the “Honeymoon” period during which a newly inaugurated president has the support of the majority of Americans to get their agenda passed. If THIS is Trump’s “honeymoon” phase, just what will the next 3-1/2 years look like?

The wheels are already coming off this clown car. The big concern is that when it does, he doesn’t take a hard right into the crowd and kill us all.
 


Writers Wanted Got something to say? Mugsy’s Rap Sheet is always looking for article submissions to focus on the stories we may miss each week. To volunteer your own Op/Ed for inclusion here, send us an email with an example of your writing skills & choice of topic, and maybe we’ll put you online!

RSS Please REGISTER to be notified by e-mail every time this Blog is updated! Firefox/IE users can use RSS for a browser link that lists the latest posts! RSS


 

Share

March 6, 2017 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Posted in: myth busting, National Security, Politics, Rants, Right-Wing Hypocrisy, Right-Wing Insanity, Scandals, Seems Obvious to Me

We All Know Why Trump is Demonizing the Press

Share
 


Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski (who’s strategy of “let Trump be Trump” got him fired for failing to adequately respond to the “Access Hollywood” scandal) claimed during Fox “news” Sunday yesterday that Trump was right to whitewash the Press as “fake news” after getting it so wrong when “they” (Time Magazine) incorrectly claimed the bust of Martin Luther King had been removed from the Oval Office on Trump’s first day in office (it was there, just obstructed from view by a Secret Service agent and a door.) The story was quickly retracted within hours of being printed online when they discovered their mistake, but that didn’t stop the screaming Mimi’s supporting Trump from whining about “The biased Media” for days afterwards. But Donald Trump’s little temper tantrum towards “The Media” has nothing to do with a mistaken report back on January 21st that was quickly retracted. No. More than a month after his inauguration, and nearly four months since the election itself, Trumplethinskin is STILL stewing about the size (or lack thereof) of his election victory… which is being made all the more uncertain now that SEVENTEEN Intelligence Agencies (both civilian & military) have all confirmed that Russia directly meddled in our elections with the specific intent of helping Donald Trump win… a massive insult to Trump’s massive ego. So inside The Trump Bubble, the “fake news” has “falsely” reported that he lost the Popular vote, his inauguration crowds were smaller than Obama’s, he removed the bust of MLK, his White House is in disarray (following the Flynn resignation, his choice for Labor Secretary withdrawing and the courts knocking down his “Muslim Ban” not once, but twice) and now claims that Russia may have played a part in his victory (placing an asterisk forever next to his name.) He doesn’t have a satisfactory explanation, so all he can do is try to make you question the source and dismiss them as “fake news”.

During ABC’s “ThisWeek” yesterday, deputy White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee-Sanders cited the FBI as having declared the Russian hacking claim to be “B.S.” and therefore not worthy of an investigation.

I scoured the news feeds and found no evidence the FBI declared the Russian hacking claims to be “B.S.”. What she is likely referring to is a joint FBI & DHS report detailing what the Russians did and how, where the FBI criticized recent reports as “a restatement of already known public information.” That’s a FAR cry from dismissing the entire hacking claim as “B.S.” as she so eloquently put it and therefore unworthy of an investigation by a Special Prosecutor. My response was, “If the claims are all completely wrong, why not allow an investigation to clear your name and remove the cloud of illegitimacy hovering over Trump’s entire presidency?”

But let’s take a step back. As one of my readers pointed out: if the ENTIRE intelligence apparatus got something of this magnitude SO wrong, doesn’t that BEG for an investigation in the name of National Security? I mean, the last time the entire intelligence community got something this wrong, we went to war in Iraq over nonexistent “Weapons of Mass Destruction.” It would seem a matter of National Security to determine just how SO many private and public security agencies… most of whom provide intelligence reports directly to the president himself upon which he makes life & death decisions, could ALL be so wrong. (I’d like to point out at this point that our intelligence agencies did NOT get it wrong on Iraq… because they kept telling Bush that Saddam did NOT have WMD’s. So he kept firing/replacing the heads of the CIA/DIA and various Generals until he found people who’d tell him what he wanted to hear.)

Of course, the Trump Administration KNOWS it can’t allow an investigation they claim would vindicate him because deep in their hearts they know the reports are right. Trump and his minions are SO paranoid that everyone is out to get him that they believe a Special Prosecutor would likely manufacture false evidence to discredit his “massive” election victory (and who knows how deep he’s in this. It could even lead to his impeachment & conviction if it were discovered Trump was actually in contact with Russia during his campaign and knowingly colluded with them.) So all they can do is repeatedly attack the critics, accuse them of bias, and create an aire of mistrust regarding their intentions. If you can’t discredit the message, discredit the messenger.

Hey, it’s working for Climate Change deniers!
 


Writers Wanted Got something to say? Mugsy’s Rap Sheet is always looking for article submissions to focus on the stories we may miss each week. To volunteer your own Op/Ed for inclusion here, send us an email with an example of your writing skills & choice of topic, and maybe we’ll put you online!

RSS Please REGISTER to be notified by e-mail every time this Blog is updated! Firefox/IE users can use RSS for a browser link that lists the latest posts! RSS


 

Share

February 27, 2017 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Posted in: Election, myth busting, National Security, Partisanship, Politics, rewriting history, Right-Wing Insanity, Scandals

This is the Way Bad Presidencies END

Share
 


It was an amazing statement coming from a Conservative reporter. January 21, Trump had been in the White House for only 30 hours when his Press Secretary Sean Spicer called the White House Press Corp away from their families on a Saturday night for the very first Press Conference of the Trump Administration just to (angrily) accuse them of lying about the size of the crowd that attended his bosses inauguration the day before. The next day, on “Meet the Press”, Conservative radio host Hugh Hewlitt (a Trump supporter) compared the Trump White House to the Nixon Administration, saying that declaring war on the Press “is the way BAD presidencies END.” That was “Day 1”. Trump has since taken it up a notch. In a tweet (natch), Trump called the same Media that showered him with MILLIONS of dollars worth of free positive coverage for months during the campaign, “FAKE NEWS” (in ALL CAPS… natch because our new president is a 13-year old girl) and not (just) his enemy but an “enemy of the American people!” (exclamation point… again, because our new president is a 13-year old girl.) Just as Trump refused to believe reality when PHOTOGRAPHS proved his crowd were monumentally smaller than Obama’s and refuses to believe he lost the Popular Vote as well by citing (with no evidence) that “millions voted illegally for Hillary”… which if true, would be a serious threat to our democracy, yet he doesn’t feel compelled to call for an investigation that would prove it (yet will continue to sign legislation to battle this fictitious threat without regard for the consequence… or perhaps BECAUSE of them.) This is an Administration that has clearly lost touch with reality… not that it was ever really IN-touch with reality to begin with seeing as how this was a man whose first foray into politics was to claim he had “PROOF” Obama’s birth certificate wasn’t real (yet couldn’t produce it) launched his presidential campaign claiming crime by illegal immigrants was “out of control” (when it was actually down), that unemployment was up (when it was near 5% and falling), and that he opposed the Iraq War (even AFTER audio tape of him supporting the invasion surfaced.)

I was too young to remember the Nixon presidency in any detail. My earliest political memory was being the only kid in class that voted for Ford over Carter (I was very empathetic even back then). But I’ve watched “All the Presidents Men” enough times to know most of the details of how the Nixon Administration went into “crisis mode” and began attacking the Media for using “off-the-record sources” as Nixon created an “enemies list” of people & organizations he saw as “out to get him.” This is all sounding very familiar.

In response to Trump calling the Media “evil” and an “enemy of the American People”, John McCain remarked on yesterday’s “Meet the Press”: “That’s how dictatorships get started.”

Let me do you one better, John. Trump also reportedly suggested “activating the National Guard” last week to aid in his door-to-door search of illegal aliens living in the United States. That’s just shy of imposing MARTIAL LAW, and if Barack Obama had done it, the Teabaggers would be marching in the streets, armed to the teeth, calling him a “dictator” that was going to “round them up and throw then in FEMA camps”… oh wait, they DID do that, didn’t they? So you KNOW when Trump threatened to use the U.S. Military to patrol our streets, the teanuts were out in force to protest this un-American un-Constitutional dictator-wannabee? Right?

Of course not.

Trump isn’t just at war with The Media. He’s also at war with his own Intelligence Community. First it was the investigation (PDF) by NINE intelligence agencies all confirming that Russia actively meddled in our election with the explicit intent of helping Donald Trump win (to which Rush Limbaugh yesterday defiantly demanded “proof” that anything Russia did changed the outcome of the election… a safe meaningless challenge because nothing short of sliding into a parallel universe could anyone “prove” what the outcome “might have been” if only they hadn’t.) But now Trump is accusing the intelligence community of “leaking” unflattering details of what’s going on inside his administration. But some of the information “leaked”… like his testy phone call with the Prime Minister of Australia… isn’t exactly the kind of “classified information” the intelligence community concerns itself with.

Sometimes I think Trump lives by the credo from Joseph Heller’s “Catch-22”:

“Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you!”

 

Trump is living in a perfect bubble, surrounded by hand-picked Yes Men all telling him exactly what he wants to hear: “It’s not your fault! Everyone’s out to get you! The Democrats are just sore-LOSERS, and The Media is in bed with them! That’s why they said for months she was beating you in the polls (despite the fact she DID actually win the largest poll: the Election Day popular vote.) And your National Security Advisor Flynn didn’t commit a crime when he lied to your face about whether or not he may have committed TREASON” (and yes, it does indeed fit the definition of treason… someone who has pledged fealty to the United States “giving aid and comfort to our enemies”. Telling Russia not to worry about the sanctions because Trump will rescind them… certainly qualifies as “comforting” our enemies while undermining the sitting president.)

Saturday, Trump defends his Muslim ban by telling an audience: “We’ve got to keep our country safe. You look at what’s happening in Germany. You look at what’s happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this?” Nothing happened in Sweden the night before. One guess where he heard about those false claims of violence? You guessed it: Fox “news”… one of the NON-“fake news” outlets he omitted from his enemies list. Unsurprisingly, Fox “news” Sunday failed to mention anything about Sweden yesterday or Trump citing them as the source of his misinformation.

Meanwhile, we are currently at war without an official National Security Advisor (with two suggested replacements turning him down); even Republicans couldn’t defend his pick for Labor Secretary, Fast Food mogul Andy Puzder; a Federal Court halted Trump’s illegal & unconstitutional “Muslim Ban”… to which Trump told the judge “See you in court!” (duh, where else would you see him?)… only to lose on appeal as well, forcing the WH to announce they would write “an alternate plan” (because they clearly had no Plan-B); and our Commander-in-Chief was busy whining on Twitter about fashion retailer Nordstrom’s dropping his daughters clothing line… DURING HIS NATIONAL SECURITY BRIEFING (link). Doesn’t THAT make it easier to sleep at night!

Donald Trump doesn’t see “chaos in his administration” (but does see it everywhere else: Obama’s WH, Sweden, etc) because this IS his everyday life. Reality is whatever he decides it to be. Everyone adores him (just not The Media that helped get him elected), and he won the electoral vote by “historic margins” not seen since ReaganBush-41Bill ClintonBush-43Barack Obama… his own election.

He’s still whining about the size of his election victory, what mean thing Hollywood is saying about him now, the ratings of his former TV show, and his belief the Media is conspiring to keep from the public just how beloved he is.

Think of all the things Republicans attacked Barack Obama for that apparently they have no qualms with now that a Republican is in the White House: “the presidency is not an Entry Level position!”; the “perpetual campaign” they derided Obama for as he continued to hold rallies even after becoming president; all the golfing; the trips; “Illegal” Executive Orders by “King” Obama; claiming Obama had “an Enemies List” (like Nixon); claims Obama had contempt for the United States (Trump: “You think WE’RE so innocent?”); all as the 6’2″ Obama “bowed” before (5’2″) Asian leaders (rather than curtsy?) to shake their hands.

“Who’s gonna pay for the wall? YOU’RE gonna pay for the wall!… until Mexico reimburses us” by taxing *Americans* on the goods Mexico exports to the U.S.. “Completely repeal every last word of ObamaCare… except the parts we like about “no preexisting conditions” and “allowing kids up to 26 to stay on their parents insurance while they are trying to get through college.” (meanwhile, Rand Paul argued again yesterday on ABC’s “ThisWeek” (full video) that insurance companies SHOULD be allowed to deny coverage to people with preexisting conditions because they are too costly. Sorry infant born with birth defects against the mother’s will because we’ve outlawed abortion, your teenage rape-victim mother should have been more responsible.)

Now the $64 question: If this is how Trump reacts in the relative calm of simply getting his White House in order, how is he going to react in an actual crisis? One day that bubble he’s living in is going to burst and we’re going to be left to clean up the mess.
 


Writers Wanted Got something to say? Mugsy’s Rap Sheet is always looking for article submissions to focus on the stories we may miss each week. To volunteer your own Op/Ed for inclusion here, send us an email with an example of your writing skills & choice of topic, and maybe we’ll put you online!

RSS Please REGISTER to be notified by e-mail every time this Blog is updated! Firefox/IE users can use RSS for a browser link that lists the latest posts! RSS


 

Share

February 20, 2017 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Posted in: Civil Rights, Partisanship, Politics, Rants, Right-Wing Hypocrisy, Right-Wing Insanity

(Hiatus)

Share
 


Sorry folks. I know I punked out last week following Super Bowl Sunday, but my father went in for Triple-Bypass surgery this week (he’s okay. Surgery was a success) so I’ve been a bit too distracted this week to write my regular weekly Op/Ed.

I hope to return to my regular duties next Monday. Sorry for the interruption. I had plenty to say this week too.

Thanks.
 


Writers Wanted Got something to say? Mugsy’s Rap Sheet is always looking for article submissions to focus on the stories we may miss each week. To volunteer your own Op/Ed for inclusion here, send us an email with an example of your writing skills & choice of topic, and maybe we’ll put you online!

RSS Please REGISTER to be notified by e-mail every time this Blog is updated! Firefox/IE users can use RSS for a browser link that lists the latest posts! RSS


 

Share

February 13, 2017 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Posted in: General

Pence: The President is Apparently Unable to Handle Criticism from The Media

Share
 


Too busy watching the Super Bowl to crank out an incisive Op/Ed today, so instead I share with you this stunning video from Meet the Press yesterday:
 

“This president has shown an unusual interest in commenting on his critics” (0:45)
Sen Mike Pence on President Obama, June 15, 2010

 

I wish I could say I was surprised, but we KNOW there are a dozen more comments like this one out there.
 


Writers Wanted Got something to say? Mugsy’s Rap Sheet is always looking for article submissions to focus on the stories we may miss each week. To volunteer your own Op/Ed for inclusion here, send us an email with an example of your writing skills & choice of topic, and maybe we’ll put you online!

RSS Please REGISTER to be notified by e-mail every time this Blog is updated! Firefox/IE users can use RSS for a browser link that lists the latest posts! RSS


 

Share

February 6, 2017 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Posted in: Partisanship, Politics, Right-Wing Hypocrisy

Trump Has Been Great for Advancing Progressivism

Share
 


They say you never appreciate what you’ve got until someone tries to take it away. One day after Donald J Trump was sworn into office, a massive GLOBAL protest took place condemning the new Commander-in-Chief on Women’s Rights. And just this past weekend, tens of thousands of protesters rallied to oppose Trump’s ill-conceived (and likely unconstitutional) “Muslim Ban” that singles out travelers from any of seven “red flagged” Middle Eastern nations, yet incredibly, excludes five nations, most with known links to terrorism inside the United States including Egypt, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia… where 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers came from, and Turkey, a close ally of the U.S. but where ISIS committed a brutal attack on the Istanbul Airport just last June (the fifth nation being the UAE, also linked to 9/11.) Perhaps unsurprisingly, Bloomberg pointed out Friday that the five exempted majority-Muslim nations all just happen to be countries in which Trump has business interests. Hmmm.

More people are talking about the potential negative consequences of enacting Trump’s extremist Conservative agenda in just the past week than have stood up and defended Progressive ideals in the past 30 years. When Obama took office in 2009, just WHO did we see taking to the street in massive protests? Teabagging idiots, carrying semi-automatic weapons, waving racist misspelled signs demanding: “keep your government hands off my Medicare!” If Hillary or (and it pains me to say this) even Bernie had won the election, just WHO would we see protesting in the streets today? The same racist teabagging idiots demanding we “build the wall”, take away their own health care, and “lock up” Hillary Clinton for something, something, BenghaziTM.

But instead, we see people flooding the streets demanding the protection of women’s rights, demanding fair treatment of non-Christian immigrants, welcoming refugees and pointing out all the problems with Trump’s ridiculous border wall with Mexico. Columnist Tom Friedman on “Meet the Press” yesterday pointed out that “Every time someone on the terrorist watch list flies into Mexico, the United States is notified. Just how willing will they be to continue such cooperation if Trump builds his wall?” And one of the proposed means of raising money to pay for the wall would be to “place a 20% import tax” on all goods entering the United States from Mexico. Well, who then pays that tax? YOU DO, not Mexico (of course, you could boycott all Mexican imports, but then YOU’RE STILL stuck with the bill since they’re not waiting for Mexico to pay for the wall before they start building it at YOUR expense.)

And because of all this Conservative stupidity, I’ve seen more Progressives on my TV in the last 8 days than I’ve seen in the last 8 YEARS.

On the flip side, there is one issue in which Progressives and Trump agree, and that’s the issue of “Free Trade”… or more precisely, OPPOSITION to it. Progressives have long railed against the nonsense of “Free Trade” while Conservatives have long championed it. In the 1990’s, President Clinton passed NAFTA with mostly Conservative votes. Republicans told us how “great” it would be for American business while Ross Perot warned of “a giant sucking sound” as American companies rushed to move their factories to Mexico for the cheap labor and then reimport it back into the US for sale. Trump’s opposition to NAFTA (or more precisely, Mexico since he never talks about “Free Trade” with Canada) and the TPP are driving Republicans nuts. Suddenly, they are forced to agree with their Party Leader that perhaps “Free Trade” isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and Progressives were right all along.

So while Trump is ranting about “US sovereignty” and railing against foreign countries taking advantage of us only to sell their goods back in the U.S. without benefiting a single American worker, he then signs an Executive Order granting permission to two Canadian oil companies to build a pipeline through the U.S. to produce “oil” that very little of which we can even use. As part of the deal, Trump is demanding the pipeline “be built using American steel”, thus “creating American jobs”, but as I pointed out [ibid], most of that pipe has already been purchased and there is no requirement they scrap all that leaky Chinese pipe and purchase all new American steel pipe. As such, the number of jobs created from providing steel pipe will be minimal.

In addition to Keystone, Trump also restored the controversial “Dakota Access Pipeline” (DAPL) that had hundreds of protesters… including veterans… protesting in the freezing cold of Northern North Dakota a few months back against the building of a pipeline from Canada through native American land and endangering their water supply. President Obama, who initially supported the plan, relented to protesters and shelved the project. Enter Donald Trump who reignited the controversy by allowing the project to resume, promising it will create more temporary jobs over several years than the U.S. economy needs EVERY WEEK just to keep up with population growth.

Also announced last week, hundreds of thousands of scientists are planning their own “@ScienceMarchInDC” in April to protest the Trump Administration’s anti-science policies, not just their disbelief in Climate Change that leads them to believe they can build those pipelines without consequence and go ahead with plans to reduce regulations on coal production. But in addition to Climate Change, they are also protesting “slashing funding and restricting scientists from communicating their findings (from tax-funded research!) with the public“, calling it “absurd.”

For six years, Republicans railed against “ObamaCare” and vaguely promised to “repeal & replace” it with “something better”. During the presidential campaign, Trump said he was “working on a plan” for a replacement to “ObamaCare” that would still “cover everyone”, continue to prohibit exclusions for “preexisting conditions”, all without a mandate or possibly causing you to lose your doctor. And every time people asked Trump or Republicans about “their plan” to replace “ObamaCare”, they always assured us they were “working on it” but it would be great. Trust us. Barely two weeks ago, just as Obama was preparing to leave office, the new Congress made voting to “repeal ObamaCare” (for the 66th time) one of their very first acts. The big cowards passed the bill before Obama left because they knew he’d veto it. But they don’t DARE pass it again NOW, forcing Trump to sign it before they have a plan to replace it.

So then, just this past Wednesday/Thursday, at a “retreat” in Philadelphia, Republican lawmakers got together to discuss what to replace “ObamaCare” with now that they finally have a president that’ll sign whatever they pass. Audio of the meeting (93 minutes) was described as Republicans “freaking out” over the fact they HAVE NO replacement, no plan, no clear ideas, no agreement regarding what to “replace” it with, and that coming up with their own plan is going to be a matter of months not “weeks” as they had hoped, was leaked to the Washington Post.

This is what Democrats have been saying all along. “They have no plan!” They “can’t keep just the parts they like and get rid of the parts that help pay for it!” Conservatives are irresponsible children and they appointed a reckless Toddler promising them candy for dinner, only to wake up with tummy aches. Conservatives are just starting to realize how empty those promises have been all along.

Trump ran for office on being a successful businessman who was adept at finding “the best people” to run the government. Then he nominates people like Rick “Oops” Perry to run a department he was forced to admit in his confirmation hearing that he didn’t realize everything the department did when he proposed shutting it down four+ years ago, and Ben “Sleepytime” Carson (a surgeon) who has been tapped to run the office of “Housing and Urban Development” (NOT Surgeon General) whose sole experience is that he “once lived in Public Housing” (by that logic, I should be flying jumbo jets around the globe.) And in case you were wondering (as I was), No, Trump has not yet picked a Surgeon General… someone he could use as the GOP hashes out their “ObamaCare” replacement.

Even Republicans are expressive concern now that Trump’s Travel Ban “wasn’t properly vetted” before it was enacted and they clearly did not think things through. McCain & Graham, who have openly criticized their new Party leader before, are expressing concern that the backlash from this travel ban could actually do more to harm national security than help it as we anger the few allies we have left in the Middle East and leave interpreters & guides wondering why they should help a country that views them as “the enemy” simply for their religion?
 

Global protest supporting women's rights
Global Anti-Trump protest in support of women’s rights – 1/21/2017

 

Global protest supporting women's rights
Global Anti-Trump protest in support of women’s rights – 1/21/2017

 

Travel ban protests across country
Tens of thousands protesting Trump’s Muslim Ban across the country – 1/28/2017

 

People are starting to realize the emperor has no clothes, and Progressives are the ones pointing it out. Ignored once, but rapidly organizing & growing. And it took electing an incompetent, racist man-child to mobilize them.
 


Writers Wanted Got something to say? Mugsy’s Rap Sheet is always looking for article submissions to focus on the stories we may miss each week. To volunteer your own Op/Ed for inclusion here, send us an email with an example of your writing skills & choice of topic, and maybe we’ll put you online!

RSS Please REGISTER to be notified by e-mail every time this Blog is updated! Firefox/IE users can use RSS for a browser link that lists the latest posts! RSS


 

Share

January 30, 2017 · Admin Mugsy · One Comment - Add
Posted in: Abortion rights, Civil Rights, Economy, Environment, Global Warming, Greed, Healthcare, Immigration Reform, Infrastructure, myth busting, National Security, Partisanship, Racism, Religion, Right-wing Facism, Right-Wing Hypocrisy, Right-Wing Insanity, Seems Obvious to Me, Terrorism, Unconstitutional

First Official Act of Trump Press Secretary is to Lie About an Easily Disprovable Fact?

Share
 

“Going to war with the Media is how BAD presidencies END.” I couldn’t believe I was agreeing with Conservative radio host Hugh Hewlitt during yesterday’s “Meet the Press”. Shades of Nixon’s Press Secretary “Ron Ziegler” complaining about “shabby journalism” during Watergate. Trump’s pick for Press Secretary, Sean Spicer… who has been critical of the coverage of Trump for weeks… wrapped up his first full day on the job to call a late Saturday Evening Press conference to lie about the viewership of Trump’s inauguration:

“This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration… PERIOD [emphasis his] both in person and around the globe.”
Later claiming “1.5 Million people were in attendance” Friday.
– Press Secretary Sean Spicer, 1/21/17

You’re not doing yourself any favors by calling a late Saturday Press conference… usually reserved for major breaking events, dragging reporters away from their families and back to work on the weekend just to hear you… not just whine about coverage of the inauguration… but to assert an easily disprovable fiction as FACT and then bitch about a “biased” Media to their faces.

Not only was this NOT the largest attendance of a presidential inauguration, it also was not the “most viewed”, that honor going to Ronald Reagan’s first inaugural in 1981 (41 million viewers), followed closely by Obama again in 2009, then Jimmy Carter in 1976. Trump comes in a distant fourth at “30.6 million viewers” according to Nielsen (unless you’re a Trump supporter working for “Entertainment Weekly”. Then it was “the second highest rated inauguration in 36 years… conveniently omitting both Carter & Reagan’s first, yet still falling short of Obama 2009.)

Fact is, Obama had a (MUCH) larger crowd. There’s a reason they call Spicer’s boss “TrumpleThinSkin“. The knowledge that Obama’s inauguration crowd dwarfed his must be killing him because he just can’t fathom that he’s not more beloved than Obama.

Hell, even Fox freaking “news” wasn’t buying it. Fox “news” Sunday host Chris Wallace went hard after new Chief of Staff Reince Priebus yesterday for making such a ridiculous “easily disprovable” claim. Priebus didn’t help matters any by trying to claim the photo of the smaller crowd at the Trump inauguration was taken “hours before” Trump’s speech. (I guess one million attendees were on a bathroom break.) Wallace corrected him that “both photos were taken at roughly the same time”. I’ll spend just a few seconds debunking this idiotic claim that photos of the smaller 2017 Inauguration crowd were “taken hours earlier” because that’s all this stupidity is worth:

ABC News provided these time-stamped photos from their own coverage of Obama’s inauguration in 2009 compared to Trump’s inauguration Friday taken by the same camera at essentially the same time, just at the start of the swearing in of both presidents:
 

Timestamped inauguration comparisons

 

First, it is easy to understand why Trump might find it hard to believe the crowd wasn’t bigger because the view from the dais during the speech really does make it look like the crowd goes on forever (no one ever claimed 500,000 people packed into a confined space doesn’t look like a ton of people.) But pan back a bit and we find these gaps and open areas in the crowd (I grabbed these shots myself off the TV and added arrows to draw your attention to the empty spaces. As you can see from the time-stamp, they are precisely during the swearing in:
 

Trump crowd from dais
(You can’t see these gaps from up front.)

 

Here is the photo in question showing a smallish crowd for Trump’s inauguration:
 

Closeup photo of 2017 crowd
(Trump supporters are claiming this photo was taken hours earlier.)

 

The whole ridiculous claim is easily disproven simply by looking at shadows in the disputed photo. Inaugurations take place at Noon EST when the sun is almost directly overhead. The skies were quite overcast in DC Friday, but you can still see from the lack of shadow on the Capitol Dome, the sun is almost directly overhead, not “hours earlier” when the sun would be low and the shadows longer.
 

It was a bit overcast that Friday making shadows less distinct, but if we zoom in:
 

Tree shadow directly beneath
Same photo taken of the smallish crowd.
Note the tree shadows are directly beneath the tree.
(Just as they should be at High Noon.)

 

Capitol via Google Maps
The backside of the Capitol where the inauguration takes place faces due East.

 

Capitol Building during inauguration
Closeup of capitol from same photo.
No shadows on building face if the sun were rising from behind.)

 

Trump inauguration morning
Here is what the Capitol looked like hours earlier that same morning.
Spotlights needed to illuminate the Capitol.

 

Hopefully that’s all enough to debunk the idiotic claim “the photo is from hours earlier.”

But that’s not what I want to talk about.

No, what I want to talk about is this ridiculous need for Trump and his Administration to convince everyone of their greatness. And their absurd willingness… yea NEED… to LIE about STUPID stuff… easily disprovable stuff. Donald Trump was caught on tape in an interview with Howard Stern in 2002 saying:
 

Trump on Iraq 2002

 

Yet when the audio came out, he STILL denied supporting the invasion of Iraq before we went in. And his proof?private (not recorded, not on TV) chat he had with Sean Hannity months AFTER the invasion when people started asking “Where are the WMD’s?”

Early in his campaign, Trump insisted he “saw on TV hundreds of Muslims on rooftops in New Jersey cheering as the [Twin] Towers fell.” Never happened. No such footage has ever been found. No reporter has come forward to say they witnessed such a thing. But Trump is positive it took place. So positive in fact that many of his supporters insist “they saw it too!” on TV. Of course, not one of them can provide a single detail of where or when.

Then came the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape of him bragging about his proficiency as a sexual predator. He had no choice but to admit it this time, but dismissed it as “locker-room talk”… basically claiming he was “lying” about his sexual proclivities to impress his interviewer/host “Billy Bush” (because in Trumpworld, committing sexual assault is something you brag about.) But when dozens of women started turning up to say, “Yeah. He actually did do that that to me”, suddenly they were all “liars” and a “creation of the dishonest Press.”

I remember during the 1992 campaign, then President Bush (Senior) called Bill Clinton a “congenital liar” who lies even when there’s no good reason to do so. Big Dog successfully turned it into “an attack on my mother” since “congenital” means it’s genetic, but the point of someone feeling the bizarre need to lie even about tiny things that don’t matter is painfully evident with Trump. He couldn’t simply claim he had a “HUUUGE” crowd (something nonspecific), it had to be “The biggest inaugural crowd in history!” (a claim PolitiFact rated “Pants on Fire!” Saturday.) Comedian Bill Maher pointed out that every time Toddler Trump gets defensive about something, it’s not enough to say the claim is not true, he has to be “The Best/Most/Greatest Ever”. “No one has more respect for women than me!” He doesn’t just claim to have a good memory, he must have “The worlds greatest memory” (another ridiculous and easily disprovable claim just by the fact he uses a teleprompter.) “My IQ is one of the highest — and you all know it!” Followed up last week by the (again) ridiculous claim his cabinet has “the highest IQ of any cabinet in history by far.” And his proof of this? Did he subject every living former cabinet member to an IQ test? Of course not. It’s his own personal belief once again stated as “fact” with nothing more to support it than the personal fortunes of his cabinet picks. For that I have just two words: Rick Perry. Number of Nobel Prize winners among them? Zero. (Another great Maher observation Friday: “Note to Conservatives: As Trump walked Obama to the helicopter, the one with five kids by three different wives was the white guy.”)

And now, he didn’t just have a huge crowd, but it had to be “the largest in history”. And his reason for believing that? Did he research it? Of course not. He believes something to be true, ergo, it must be true. And that’s all the proof he needs. That’s all the proof ANY Republican needs to believe something is true. If you’re a Republican, unemployment is up, the Deficit is up, crime is up, and illegal immigration is up. None of those beliefs are true by the way, but it’s just not possible for those things to not be true after eight years of Obama.

When he was told he “lost the popular vote to Hillary”, that must be a lie too. “I won the popular vote too if you don’t count the millions of illegal aliens who voted for Hillary.” A recent WaPo investigation found just 31 credible cases of potential in-person voter fraud in the last 16 years. To believe 3.5 million voting illegally in a single election could have gone unnoticed… especially in this hyper-partisan age of Conservative “poll watchers” out to make sure no one voted “illegally”, and all the Southern states with strict voter suppression laws in place… stretches the imagination.

So why is it Trump… and now his Administration… feels this compulsive need to lie about things that just don’t matter? And what are we to believe when they start talking to us about the things that DO matter (like war, or the inevitable accusations of criminal wrongdoing inside his administration?)

His spokesperson Kellyann Conartist Conway made news herself yesterday arguing on “Meet the Press” that there are “alternative facts” to support their (false) claims about crowd size and TV ratings. A stunned Chuck Todd audibly laughed (off camera) in response to the term “alternative facts”. He responded, “alternative facts aren’t ‘facts’. They’re lies!” I told my Conservative parents that Obama is leaving office with “high approval ratings”, and their natural reaction was to question “Who’s doing the polling?” That has been the greatest achievement of the Trump Administration so far: getting their supporters to distrust and question every claim that doesn’t support what they already believe to be true. There are “facts” and now there are “alternative facts” that “the Media” simply isn’t telling you. “Why” isn’t exactly clear, but for whatever reason, we have a White House and a Commander-in-Chief who have openly declared that their Administration is “at war with The Media.”

“The is what happens at the END of a BAD presidency.” Maybe we already ARE seeing “the end” of a bad presidency? One can only hope.
 


Writers Wanted Got something to say? Mugsy’s Rap Sheet is always looking for article submissions to focus on the stories we may miss each week. To volunteer your own Op/Ed for inclusion here, send us an email with an example of your writing skills & choice of topic, and maybe we’ll put you online!

RSS Please REGISTER to be notified by e-mail every time this Blog is updated! Firefox/IE users can use RSS for a browser link that lists the latest posts! RSS


 

Share

January 23, 2017 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Posted in: fake scandals, General, myth busting, rewriting history, Right-Wing Insanity

Let’s Remember What “Fake News” REALLY Was

Share
 

I‘ve seen it every time control of the White House changes hands. The people who only just started paying attention as of the most recent election are “shocked, shocked!” to discover something terrible about the outgoing administration or politics at large that previous administrations were FAR more guilty of, but they didn’t pay attention to it back then because “their guy” was in the White House doing it. And now that they’ve started to pay attention, suddenly it’s an outrage!

Case in point: This new term “fake news”. Suddenly, everything is “fake news”. And just what constitutes “fake news”? Apparently, it’s any news source that reports something the reader doesn’t like. After months of whiny Tweets about “fake news”, Trump sidelined a CNN reporter last week, telling him his organization is “fake news” before calling on someone from the online Right-wing tabloid “Brietbart.com”. During the primaries, Trump had praised “The National Enquirer” for their report claiming Ted Cruz’s father may be connected to the JFK assassination. In the first days of Trump launching his campaign, he falsely claimed to have “seen on TV” “thousands of Muslims on rooftops in New Jersey cheering” on 9/11 as the towers fell. Never happened, and his claims that it did ARE “fake news”.

But the birth of modern “fake news” really goes back to the George W Bush Administration.

Before the invasion of Iraq, almost no one in the mainstream news seriously questioned claims coming out of the White House that Iraq was: amassing “stockpiles of chemical weapons”, developing “pilotless drones” and the existence of “mobile weapons labs” all being amassed with the intent of “attacking the United States”. And when people like Ambassador Joe Wilson dared claim what we were being told wasn’t true, reporters friendly with the Bush Administration, like the WaPo’s Robert Novak, attacked him, exposing his CIA agent wife’s (Valery Plame) secret identity. And then there was NYTimes reporter “Judith Miller“, who was spoon fed false information by none-other than Vice President Dick Cheney himself regarding Iraq’s WMD program, who then cited Miller’s reporting on shows like “Meet the Press” to bolster his own claims of the existence of WMD’s. But despite doing so, she never called him out for it, choosing instead to uncritically continue helping the Bush White House sell the war. Everything the Bush Administration said about Iraq being an imminent threat, even alluding to the possibility they may have been involved in 9/11, was not true and their critics were destroyed with the help of fellow members of the Press terrified of being labeled “on the side of the terrorists” after 9/11. No one asked the hard questions until it was too late. And suddenly, in a prime example of locking the barn door after the horse escapes, The Press suddenly became hyper-vigilant and critical of the Bush Administration, determined not to be embarrassed once again.

With a now adversarial Press questioning their every move, the Bush Administration reached out to friendly right-wing reporters and welcomed them into the White House. Most notorious of these was a “reporter” going by the name “Jeff Gannon” from a hard-right online-only “news” source called “Talon News”. Gannon was called on at almost every WH Press conference. The moment the questioning became too adversarial for Press Secretary Scotty McClellan, he’d call on Gannon to toss him a softball question. Among his more ridiculous [ibid]:
 

“Senate Democratic leaders have painted a very bleak picture of the U.S. economy. [Minority Leader] Harry Reid was talking about soup lines, and Hillary Clinton was talking about the economy being on the verge of collapse. Yet, in the same breath, they say that Social Security is rock solid and there’s no crisis there. How are you going to work — you said you’re going to reach out to these people — how are you going to work with people who seem to have divorced themselves from reality?”

 

Yes. That really happened.
 

Interestingly, no one in the Bush White House ever looked very hard (or really cared) into just who this fawning “Gannon” character was that they had granted access to the White House in a time of war… not just to the Press Briefing room, but even President Bush himself. For if they had, they would have discovered: 1) His name wasn’t “Jeff Gannon” but in fact “James Guckert” and 2) that he secretly moonlighted as a gay prostitute for men in the military. A serious potential blackmail threat. But the Bush Administration didn’t care as long as they had a friendly face in the Press gaggle fawning over them.

Oh, but it didn’t end there boys & girls. Because the major news outlets were now highly critical of the Bush White House, the Bush Administration starting producing THEIR OWN fake news… using fake reporters (actual actors) with fake names… claiming to be reporting on recent successes coming out of the Bush Administration. The video was then distributed to small market, low budget news stations across the country that were desperate for content to fill their newscasts. But those stations never told their viewers where the content came from, and never revealed that the “reporters” in those newscasts didn’t actually work for them.

From grateful Iraqis thanking Bush for the overthrow of Saddam, to tales of advances in airport security put in place by the Bush Administration…. ie: anything the White House felt they deserved praise for but weren’t getting. And by no coincidence, small-market TV stations typically fell in rural areas that tended to vote Republican, so “feel-good news” that pushed back against much of the negativity local viewers were hearing from other sources helped the Bush Administration shore up its flagging base, create confusion, and sow distrust of other news outlets reporting critically of them.

As their success with “fake news” grew, the Bush Administration got cocky, expanding their “in-house fake news” distribution to major markets like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas and Atlanta, attracting attention that led to exposure of the entire program and its shutdown.

But like the TV commercial says: “But wait! There’s more!”

While producing “fake news” segments with paid actors posing as reporters, the Bush Administration also tapped friendly “established” (I hesitate to call them “real”) Conservative reporters to report favorably on their activities. I already mentioned Novak & Miller above, but another was Conservative African-American columnist Armstrong Williams, who was paid nearly a quarter of a million dollars to promote “No Child Left Behind” [ibid]… the failed education policy that led to years of incessant testing and schools wasting all their time “teaching to the test” rather than teach children how to solve problems or learn anything new. But according to Williams, the program was a resounding success.

So when I now hear Donald Trump and his supporters criticize legitimate news organizations that fact check their stories before reporting on them as “fake news”, while directing others to Right-wing troll sites repeating ridiculous unsubstantiated and/or debunked stories like “PizzaGate” and “Jade Helm” that are unable to link to a single source to substantiate their claims, it makes me furious. (Note: I ALWAYS provide links to back up any questionable claim.)

And now Donald Trump is doing it. I swear to God, this country has just elected a 13-year old girl as president of the United States. I KNOW his iPhone is covered in Rhinestones. I just KNOW IT.
 

Postscript: Sadly, next week will be our first post under a new Commander in Chief. I STILL can’t bring myself to say the words “President Trump”. It’s still an unfathomable thought. And I’m someone who has insisted George W Bush be called “President Bush” in his first reference in any column simply out of respect for the office regardless of my feelings towards him. I’m just not prepared to make that same commitment to Donald J Trump.
 


Writers Wanted Got something to say? Mugsy’s Rap Sheet is always looking for article submissions to focus on the stories we may miss each week. To volunteer your own Op/Ed for inclusion here, send us an email with an example of your writing skills & choice of topic, and maybe we’ll put you online!

RSS Please REGISTER to be notified by e-mail every time this Blog is updated! Firefox/IE users can use RSS for a browser link that lists the latest posts! RSS


 

Share

January 16, 2017 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Posted in: fake scandals, myth busting, Politics, rewriting history, Right-Wing Hypocrisy

Yes, Russia Hacks. And you sound like an idiot joking about it.

Share
 

It was welcome news to finally hear universal agreement (sans Trump himself) over the weekend that Russia did indeed hack DNC computers in an attempt to meddle in the 2016 election. I find it astonishing how many Trump supporters are quick to ridicule American intelligence and defend Vladimir Putin in their desperate attempt to protect the legitimacy of Trump’s presidency. Of all people to rush to the defense of: a former KGB agent who has had his political enemies arrested (from those who dared run against him to three teenaged girls in a band called “Pussy Riot”), his critics assassinated (Alexander Litvinenko poisoned with polonium-210), invaded the former Soviet nation of Georgia and annexed Ukraine, sided with Assad in its massacre of Syrian rebels, and provides weapons to Iran that find their way onto the battlefield to kill U.S. troops. Of all people to doubt of possibly seeking to interfere with our election, why on earth would anyone give freakin’ Vladimir Putin the benefit of the doubt? Putin rose to power in 2000 when Boris Yeltzen resigned and appointed him the new president of Russia. And when term-limits forced him out after eight years, he appointed himself “Prime Minister” for four years while Medvedev kept his seat warm. Then it was back to being “president” in 2012. That’s not the history of someone who believes in democracy. That’s someone who longs for the bad old days of Soviet “dictator for life” authoritarian rule. And Putin has been anything but subtle about wanting to return to the “good old days” of Soviet dominance of Eastern Europe. To hear people joke “Must be Russia’s fault! Har har!” every time our own government announces something they decide doesn’t seem credible to them, only makes them sound ridiculous. “Ha ha! That Galileo guy thinks the Earth orbits the Sun! Must be Copernicus’ fault! Ha ha!” Did you hear Issac Newton thinks the ground reaches up and pulls objects down to the ground??? I guess no one told the birds! Haw haw!” Climate Change isn’t real either. Just look at all the snow we got this Winter! Ha ha!

Nearly ten years ago, I wrote an op/ed entitled “Debunking the Four Basic 9/11 Conspiracy Myths” after getting fed up with all the arm-chair physicists, fools and idiots during the Bush Administration… which I despised… claiming “9/11 was an inside job” based on “evidence” that was more a demonstration of their own ignorance than proof of their fever-dreams. It remains one of my most visited posts to this day, and sadly, I find that I still must direct people to it now that we’ve just elected a Conspiracy Theory devote’ president of the United States. Keep in mind that the same tinfoil hat wearing “InfoWars” viewers telling you Russia did not hack our election are the same disgusting troglodytes that insist “Sandy Hook” was a “False Flag” operation and “no child actually died” in that shooting in Connecticut. Once you’ve reached that level of disconnect from reality, you seriously need to take a step back and realign your moral compass.

And that’s why I was so relieved to hear even members of Trump’s own staff (though not the man himself) finally concede the fact Russia hacked DNC computers during the election, saving face by arguing instead that, “yes, the evidence of Russian meddling is undeniable, but no evidence exists that the vote itself was hacked, changing the outcome of the election.” Problem is, NO ONE EVER CLAIMED THEY DID. The laughing hyenas that have been cracking wise for weeks now dismissing every report of Russian hacking have been pointing to a lack of evidence of Election Day hacking as “proof” that reports of Russian hacking are not to be believed.

So I went back and did a little digging through the news archives for other examples of Russian hacking prior to the election to demonstrate they have a history of doing this sort of thing, and not just since the election:

  • July 2013, four Russian and one Ukrainian hackers hack NASDAQ servers and steal 160 million credit/debit card numbers and the passwords of 800,000 customer accounts.
  •  

  • February 2014, the U.S. State Department is forced to warn anyone traveling to Russia for the Sochi Winter Olympics that their phones & laptops are being hacked by the Russian government almost from the moment their plane touches down.
  •  

  • July 2014: U.S. Justice department arrests a Russian national for a series of hacks on U.S. retailers between 2009 & 2011.
  •  

  • July 2014: FBI finds evidence suggesting the Russian government itself “slipped a digital bomb” onto NASDAQ servers with the intent of wreaking havoc on the U.S. economy (suggesting this was a continuation of the July 2013 NASDAQ hacking.)
  •  

  • Sept 2014: It was determined that Gigabytes of data stolen from JP Morgan/Chase… the largest bank in America at the time… had been sent to “a large city in Russia.”
  •  

  • October 2014: Russia is suspected as being behind a low-level hack of various unclassified government computer systems throughout the Administration.
  •  

  • November 2014: Following the October hack of low-level White House computer systems, additional information emerges of FOUR such hacks by Russia into Washington government computers systems, going back as far as a 2008 breach of the Pentagon.
  •  

  • December 2014 report finds the U.S. Energy grid was hacked 79 times in 2014… down from 145 times the previous year. Russian malware called “BlackEnergy” was discovered on computers that control turbines that generate electricity that could have been devastating if it had been activated.
  •  

  • February 2015: the FBI offers a $3 million dollar reward for information leading to the arrest of a Russian hacker that siphoned over $100 Million out of American bank accounts.
  •  

  • June 2015: German Chancellor Merkel’s computer became “patient zero” in a hack that involved the planting of trojan malware by Russian hackers to give them access to German government computers.
  •  

  • July 2015: Russian Hackers use sophisticated malware called “Hammertoss” to hack U.S. government computers via Twitter and Github.
  •  

  • August 2015: Russia hacked the Pentagon computers of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, shutting down the email system of 4,000 Pentagon employees for over ELEVEN DAYS.

All of these reports (sans the last two) of Russian hacking took place before the 2016 election was officially underway, and NONE of them had anything to do with the election. But Russia (and hackers originating in Russia yet received no prosecution at their hand) was already frequently caught intruding in secure computer systems, committing crimes and in several instances endangering the security of the American public, clearly testing our cyber-defenses. And in the instance of the planting of malware on Chancellor Markel’s own computer spreading throughout the German government, it is clear they were not focused solely on hacking the American government. These are bad actors. We don’t need to be “praising” Putin or talking about how best to become “friends” with him.

Personally, I believe Trump’s love of all things Russia started with a single ridiculous comment when he inadvertently was forced to defend Russia rather than admit he made a mistake (possibly his “they won’t invade Ukraine if I’m president” gaffe). Because as I’ve repeatedly pointed out on here, Republicans would rather make up nonsense than admit they might have been wrong or made a mistake. Their absolute paranoia of being caught admitting they don’t know something they probably should… thus opening them up to ridicule… forces them to say something blazingly stupid that opens them up to ridicule anyway. Be it Sarah Palin’s “I read ALL the papers” when asked to name just one, George Dubya saying “Can’t get fooled again” for fear of admitting he could possibly be fooled twice, and the master of Conservative paranoia over fear of being called stupid: VP Dan Quayle who said so many dumb things trying not to sound dumb, it actually became his public persona. And now Trump is stuck defending Russia and praising Putin because the alternative would be to admit he made a mistake by praising & defending Putin/Russia.

Yet, now, having been briefed by his own security forces, not even Trump himself seems to be denying that government computers were indeed hacked… by “someone”. He still leaves open the possibility it was “China or some guy in a bed somewhere”, but even his Chief of Staff Reince Priebus conceded on Fox “news” Sunday yesterday that the findings of the intelligence community that not only did Russia hack DNC (and RNC too BTW) computers, and did so with the express intention of helping Donald Trump. We know the later to be true because why else would they release only the information stolen from the DNC and not the RNC as well?

Just like with the 9/11 conspiracy theorists, we see a lot of people who don’t know all the facts making fun of things they don’t know a whole hell of a lot about, looking like idiots in the process, but not being shamed because the people they’re making their ridiculous assertions too don’t know any better themselves. I saw a Trump supporter yesterday refer to “ObamaCare” as “Commiecare” and what a failed “program” it is. Just to reiterate for the zillionth time, “Obamacare” ISN’T A PROGRAM. IT’S NOT INSURANCE. YOU CAN’T BUY “OBAMACARE”. And millions of Trump supporters want him to repeal something that DOESN’T EXIST because they believe it’s not doing something Republicans made sure it could not do by law: control costs.

One last important point: JUST BECAUSE THE GOVERNMENT HASN’T CONFIDED IN YOU PERSONALLY just how it is we know for a fact Russia is behind the hacking of computers related to the election does NOT mean they don’t have proof that’s exactly what happened. The last time the White House revealed classified information, revealing sources, endangering the lives of countless intelligence agents and their sources, and rendering an entire CIA front organization that took a decade to establish at a cost of billions in tax-payer dollars useless just so it could save face, was when Dick Cheney exposed Valery Plame. So when you whine about the government not providing YOU with enough proof to prove to YOUR satisfaction that Russia was behind the hacking of computers seeking information to assist Donald Trump and/or embarrass/hurt Hillary Clinton, maybe it’s because YOU’RE JUST NOT THAT DAMNED IMPORTANT. It happened. It’s a fact even members of the incoming Trump Administration now concede is true. Sorry if you think you need to be inside the loop on this one. Get over yourself.
 


Writers Wanted Got something to say? Mugsy’s Rap Sheet is always looking for article submissions to focus on the stories we may miss each week. To volunteer your own Op/Ed for inclusion here, send us an email with an example of your writing skills & choice of topic, and maybe we’ll put you online!

RSS Please REGISTER to be notified by e-mail every time this Blog is updated! Firefox/IE users can use RSS for a browser link that lists the latest posts! RSS


 

Share

January 9, 2017 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Posted in: Crime, myth busting, Politics, Rants, rewriting history, Scandals

Predictions for 2017: It’s the end of the world as we know it.

Share
 

Okay. Maybe not the “The Apocalypse”. The election of a new president already provides lots of fodder for those making predictions. Literally EVERYTHING becomes an open question, but the $#!+storm awaiting us as a political novice with the impulse control of a toddler takes control of the most powerful office on the planet is difficult to quantify. No one (outside of the Trump campaign and his most ardent believers) thought he was going to win. But in the end, the Clinton campaign was a victim of its own success. They made Clinton’s victory seem SO inevitable, and Trump’s presidency SO unthinkable, that millions of Democrats didn’t even bother to vote, allowing a reality TV show star riding a wave of xenophobia to ascend to the presidency. And his choices to lead his Administration raise serious concern. Trump’s case for why he should be president was that… as a corporate CEO… he knows how to pick “the best people” to create an incredibly effective government. But instead, he has been awarding top-level cabinet-level positions to friends, lobbyists and far right ideologues the way other presidents awarded ambassadorships… not based on qualifications, but purely on their fealty to Trump himself.

We start off year nine of my prognostications as we do every year by looking back at the predictions of others. Always good for a laugh, I find myself wondering why anyone takes these people seriously with such miserable track records. Typically, most “psychics” make dozens… even hundreds… of incredibly vague predictions, then declare success when one of their predictions is twisted and massaged to where they can claim they accurately predicted some obscure global event. Some place no time-frame on their predictions, so they are never “wrong”, their predictions simply “haven’t come true yet.” I don’t do that. I don’t make “vague” predictions (the “Two moons will join as one” crap) and only make predictions for the coming year. If something I predict doesn’t happen within the next 12 months, that prediction is ruled “wrong”.

The Huffington Post declared “16 Shocking Predictions for 2016” written by clinical psychologist Dr. Carmen Harra. What a psychologist is doing making “psychic predictions” is anyone’s guess, but of her 16 predictions, I found none of them particularly “shocking”, and only one prediction… the election of a female South American president (Dilma Rousseff of Brazil)… appears to have come true. Even her “gimme” predictions (like “more extreme weather”) I’d classify as “wrong” because there were no widespread devastating weather catastrophes in 2016.

As many of you know, I live blog the top three political talk shows every Sunday: Fox “news” Sunday, “Meet the Press” and ABC’s ThisWeek. Typically, their final show of the year includes predictions for the coming year. I always find the predictions of Conservatives on Fox the most fascinating. It really is a window into their dark fantasy world. Simply put, Democrats will always usher in economic chaos, and Republican policies are always a resounding success:
 

Fox “news” Sunday’s Predictions for 2016 (8:57)

 

Some highlights:

  • “Common sense will prevail [within the GOP] and Trump won’t win the nomination”. – Oops. I guess it didn’t.
  •  

  • Economy will be down. “Recession.” – The U.S. economy continued to grow, growing at a remarkable 3.5% in the third quarter of this year.
  •  
    The political predictions end about halfway in, but I posted the full clip because it highlights just how routinely wrong the extremely partisan frequent guest panelist Mike Needham (of National Review Online) is. In previous years, “Bloody” Bill Kristol (of The Weekly Standard) was the Fox panelist that never got a single thing right before swapping places with George Will (a fixture on ABC’s ThisWeek for decades but became buttsore when they handed hosting duties over to Stephanopoulos). Like all Republicans, Needham is extremely sure of himself despite rarely ever being right on anything, and allows his partisanship to get in the way when making his predictions. Nothing connected to a Democrat ever turns out good. Nothing linked to a Republican ever turns out bad. I’m not sure Needham is EVER right on anything. But he tells Republicans what they like to hear, so he’s repeatedly asked back to give his opinions.

    Mike Needham:

  • “Low interest rates [are] maintaining the facade of Keynesian monetary policy.” – In Mike’s world, “Trickle-down” Reaganomics was a huge success while Keynesian “trickle up from the poor” economics is fantasy. Mike predicted that the Obama economy was being artificially propped up by low interest rates and once rates started to rise, the economy would start to implode. Interest rates are rising while Trump takes credit for the surge in the Stock Market.
  • Disagrees that Chicago (Hillary’s hometown) Cubs will win World Series. Instead picks the NY (Trump’s hometown) Mets. – While the Mets did okay in 2016, they came in sixteen games behind the World Series champion Cubs in the National League.
  • Picked “Batman vs Superman” to be the next big Hollywood blockbuster. – “Batman vs Superman” turned out to be a flop of epic proportions. Needham also predicted (noted Hollywood Liberal) Ben Affleck would go down as “the worst Batman in history.” To the contrary.

Give it up, Mike.
 

ABC’s ThisWeek predictions for 2016 (6:18)

 

Less drama (and fewer predictions) over on ABC’s ThisWeek. Everyone seemed to agree Trump had a better than average chance of winning the GOP nomination, with two of them even accurately picking “Tim Kaine” to be Hillary’s running mate.

Now let’s look back at my predictions from last year to give you some idea of just how seriously you should take me. Compared to “celebrity psychics”, even on my worst years, I totally crush them. The difference is that I freely admit that I’m no psychic. I’m just very good at spotting political trends and knowing how people think. So let’s take a look at my “Predictions for 2016”:

  • wrong – “Will we see another “France-style” terrorist attack in 2016? I don’t think so.” 2015 saw the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris (including a suicide bomber detonating just outside the National soccer stadium), so it seemed unlikely anyone would be able to pull off a similar attack in 2016. But unfortunately, last June, suicide bombers killed 41 in a siege of the Istanbul International Airport in Turkey, and France’s Bastille Day celebrations came to a tragic end when lone disturbed ISIS Sympathizer killed 84 and mowed down hundreds more using a large truck. Germany also saw a less deadly but no less tragic mass murder using a large truck driven by another ISIS sympathizer.
  •  

  • wrong – The establishment of “Safe Zones” inside of Syria & Iraq to counter the flood of refugees into other countries that were becoming increasingly unwelcome. Seriously, I am quite disgusted that six years later, we are still talking about the Syrian civil war. Unfortunately, the rest of the world found it easier to do nothing than to try and safeguard the civilian populations living in the region. The massacre in Syria has been a sticking point with me ever since I (incorrectly) predicted in 2011 massive international intervention to stop Assad from massacring his own people. But instead, Russia sided with their good friend King Assad, labeled the rebels “terrorists”, and made it impossible for anyone to intervene without risking a war with Russia. And instead, four years later, we’ve elected a president that sides with Russia on every controversy, and the city of Aleppo was pretty much obliterated and recaptured by Assad’s forces. Even more disturbing is the number of Trump supporters who believe photos like “Aleppo Boy” were “staged”. I’m not sure what has to die inside a person to look at that photo, call it a fake, and take the side of Syria & Russia.
  •  

  • right – ISIS will still be about the same size as it is today… roughly 30,000 fighters. – While it is difficult (if not impossible) to get an accurate reading on the number of people fighting on the ground in the region of Syria & Northern Iraq, most analysts seem to agree that “ISIS is shrinking”, not growing, preferring instead to try to inspire weak-willed outcasts feeling ostracized by society to commit “lone wolf” attacks in other countries and then take credit for those attacks. It is difficult to inspire Muslim sympathizers to the ISIS cause when the majority of their targets are fellow Muslims (see the Turkey airport attack above.) I fear Trump’s “take no prisoners” scorched Earth plans for dealing with ISIS will do more to create sympathizers and grow ISIS than actually serve to defeat it.
  •  

  • wrong – Russia WILL focus more on attacking ISIS and less on helping Assad destroy the Syrian rebels – I was wrong about Russia suddenly growing a conscience and pulling back in it’s support of helping Assad crush him political opponents, though I was correct that they would not JOIN forces with the U.S. in alliance to destroy who they claim is a common enemy: ISIS. Poor naive Donald Trump has bought Russia’s line of bull that the Syrian civil war is all about fighting terrorism. Russia has only become more bold in its international meddling in 2016 as Putin sees an opportunity to regain its Soviet-era dominance in the world as America’s influence wanes as we begin our 15th year of war.
  •  

  • right – Iran is likely to increase military aid to Assad as Russian support for the war wanes. – Iran “reportedly felt blindsided by the terms of the [Syrian] truce brokered in Turkey between Russia and the rebels.” Iran’s involvement in Syria has deepened as they disapprove of Russia focusing more on seizing more control in the region.
  •  

  • right – The Syrian conflict [will] still be raging throughout the year, eventually culminating in a treaty between Assad & the rebels. – The Syrian Civil War is only now being declared “coming to an end” here in the final days of 2016 as Russia brokers yet-another cease fire treaty. After years of conflict, it has become clear that we have are now incapable of bringing wars to an end.
  •  

  • wrong – We will see a MILD economic decline as the Republican controlled Congress stifles the economy to help the GOP presidential candidate. I’m actually quite stunned the GOP didn’t do more to cripple the economy to help the GOP nominee win the election. But then, I didn’t expect the GOP to be so unhappy with their candidate. In the end, they weren’t exactly enthusiastic about helping Donald Trump become the leader of their Party (and if you ask me, they are terrified of being branded “The Party of Trump”.) Instead, the Obama economy continued to grow at a remarkable rate.
  •  

  • right – Gitmo to still be in operation by the end of President Obama’s presidency, [though] steps will finally be in place to close it permanently before he leaves office. – Yes on both counts. Our POW camp at Guantánamo Bay is indeed still in operation (though currently down to just 59 detainees that will reportedly be down to just 41 by the time Obama leaves office. In February, he did send his Guantánamo Closing Plan to Congress, but no action was taken. And Trump has vowed… not only to keep it open… but to even EXPAND it, so our giant “middle-finger” to all our principles will continue to operate for the foreseeable future.
  •  

  • wrong – GOP will retain control of the House following the election but lose the Senate. – This did indeed become the conventional thinking in the final days of the election, and there’s no way of knowing if Russian meddling had any impact on the outcome, but Democrats did pick up two seats… three seats short of control of the Senate (under a Republican White House.)
  •  

  • right – The 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio will be relatively uneventful. – No terrorist attacks, and despite concerns of rampant local crime, polluted water, and unfinished facilities, the Rio Olympics pretty much went off without a hitch.
  •  

  • right – Trump will be the GOP nominee. – I’m surprised (well, maybe not) that so many people believed Republicans would come to their senses and pull back from the brink before allowing this cartoonish man-child to come within earshot of the presidency, but I was one of the few that knew better. Before the first primary of 2016, I knew from the 2012 nomination of Mitt Romney, “wealth = good” among low-information Republican voters. Bush & Cheney ran as “businessmen” in 2000 promising a “CEO presidency”, and it was an absolute disaster. But that didn’t stop them from nominating Mitt Romney in 2012 (regardless of how he made his money.) Just as in 2012, Republicans didn’t like the GOP front-runner (Romney) and constantly kept looking for someone to take the nomination away from him. But as each new front-runner crashed & burned, Romney kept floating back up to the top of the bowl. The same thing with Trump in 2016. There were a couple of brief scares when Ben Carson and Ted Cruz became the front runners momentarily, but they always came back to Trump as his rivals crashed & burned.

    I also predicted that Trump will plan to delegate most of his responsibilities as he has no interest in actually doing the job, which he & his son both confirmed last May.

  •  

  • wrong – Expect Trump to name his running mate early if he finds himself struggling to win the nomination. – This didn’t happen… with Trump. But it bears mentioning that this is EXACTLY what Ted Cruz did all the way back in April. Also of note, I included the caveat that “if [Trump] gets locked in a battle with the Democratic nominee, his ego will rope him in until the election in November” seeing his candidacy through to the bitter end, win or lose. And I was absolutely right on that. All the polls were predicting an easy win for Clinton, and even Trump himself was surprised when all of the “must win” races started falling his way, yet he stayed in to the very end with most expecting him to challenge the result if he lost… completely unwilling to believe this country might choose Hillary over him.
  •  

  • right – Hillary to win the Democratic nomination. – Probably my most painful prediction as a Bernie supporter, but this is what separates me from Republicans who shape their predictions to fit their personal ideology. And this is why their record of predicting things is so miserable. They are SO sure their beliefs are right, the possibility they could be wrong never crosses their minds.
  •  

  • wrong* – the Democratic nominee will win the election in November. – It is difficult to know if Russian meddling in our election may have altered the outcome, but I’m not aware of even one legitimate poll that predicted a Trump victory. The entire Trump candidacy was one embarrassment after another, from making racist & sexist remarks during his campaign, the embarrassing Convention with guest speakers like Scott Baio, culminating in the “Access Hollywood” (“grab them by the [meow]” tape.) And despite needing to sweep nearly every single swing state to win, that’s exactly what happened… an achievement suspicious in itself. But I didn’t factor possible election fraud into my prediction.
  •  

  • right – As ISIS begins to feel the pressure of increased international focus on defeating them, they will in turn focus more on inspiring outside sympathizers to commit “lone wolf” terrorist attacks in their respective countries. I predicted at least three such attacks in the coming year. – Indeed, this was the case, with terrorist attacks by ISIS sympathizers in Istanbul, Turkey, Nice, France, and the Christmas Market attack in Berlin, Germany.

8 right, 7 wrong. 53%. Not bad. I’ve done worse. That keeps my lifetime average well over 50%. I was one of the few to predict the presidential race to come down to Clinton vs Trump when must people were predicting a “Hillary vs Jeb” contest. I’m pretty proud of that.

And now…

My Predictions for 2017:

With a totally new administration full of billionaires, ideologues and sycophants with no track record of public service whatsoever, the possibilities are endless as what to expect from the coming year. As “president-elect Trump” rejects the need for a “Presidential Baily Briefing” (on the grounds the information is “repetitive”), I’m frequently reminded of how President Bush in 2001 repeatedly dismissed his own PDB’s while our intelligence agencies were desperately (“Lights were flashing red”) trying to get him to pay attention to the threat of alQaeda until it was too late with the attacks of 9/11 just eight months into office. Now Trump is doing the same while ISIS attacks seem to be growing in magnitude & frequency. Predicting the first year of any new administration is one big crap shoot, but I know how Trump and his ilk think.

  1. Trump is already taking credit for a rise in the Stock Market since his election while Obama is still president, but once he takes office, if the economy does not continue to improve, he’ll stop taking credit and start blaming Obama (remember how Republicans berated Obama the first couple of years for “blaming Bush” for the deep hole we were still digging our way out of?) Trump will be handed an economy that’s 180 degrees from what Obama inherited (soaring stock market, unemployment falls to just 4.6%), and President Obama’s final budget will still be in effect until October, so it is unlikely the economy will turn South in Trump’s first year unless he does something extremely provocative to spook the global financial (or oil) market. We’ll have to wait & see if Trump becomes a “don’t rock the boat” president, or (more likely) an impulsive hothead that doesn’t consider the consequences before acting (which is the defining characteristic of Republicans.)
  2.  
    Trump’s coziness with the Russians continues to disturb me. His first campaign spokesman, Paul Manafort, was forced to resign when it was discovered that he had been paid millions lobbying for pro-Russian Ukrainian oligarchs… not because of his Russia connection, but because he worked as a lobbyist at a time when Trump was still trying to act as though he disapproved of lobbyists and the Russian annexing of Ukraine was unpopular with most Americans. Yet, despite being fired, Manafort continued to live in Trump Tower (along with another fired Trump staffer, former campaign manager Cory Lewandowski.) This tells me Trump doesn’t learn from his mistakes, he just tucks them away until after the heat blows over.

    His eventual choice for Secretary of State, Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson, wasn’t even on the original lists of nominees. The person that appeared to have to best chance was Mitt Romney… who called Russia “our #1 Geo-political enemy” when he ran in 2012. Then suddenly, Romney was out and Tillerson… a man who was awarded the “Russian Medal of Friendship”…. was in.

    His daughter Ivanka was even caught palling around with Putin’s girlfriend in Croatia.

  3. Trump’s Russian ties will continue to haunt him in 2017, but with a GOP controlled Congress, nothing will ever come of it. Every move that involves Russia will draw additional scrutiny. Investigative reporters may start to report on concerns of Russian influence on the Trump White House, but President-elect Trump has been working hard to delegitimatize the Media as “Fake News” so that… should they report anything critical of his administration, he can simply dismiss it as “fake news”.
  4.  
    George Bush appointed a single unqualified mega-donor sycophant to his Administration (Michael “Heckuva job, Brownie” Brown)… an Arabian horse judge… to be in charge of FEMA, and we all know how that turned out. Trump’s cabinet is FULL of unqualified “Brownies”. He has been gifting crucial administration posts the way other presidents once awarded “ambassadorships” to friends & big donors. This is particularly disturbing when one of the key arguments Trump and his supporters gave to justify electing a “CEO President” with NO political experience to the presidency was that he’d appoint only “the best people” to manage his administration. Among some of Trump’s other “So good, you won’t believe it” appointees so far:

    Former opponent Dr. Ben Carson… NOT as Surgeon General which might make SOME sense… but as the head of “Housing & Urban Development” (which Carson himself justified due to having “once lived in Public Housing”. By that standard, I should be piloting 747’s because I once flew in one.)

    Co-founder of the WWE (“World Wrestling Entertainment”) Linda McMahon to head the SBA (“Small Business Administration”.) I think we know how she got the job:

     
    Trump in Wrestlemania
     
    Trump wrestles McMahon

    (Remember all the Republicans who whined Bill Clinton was destroying the dignity of the Oval Office?)

    The former Attorney General from the Oklahoma oil-patch, climate change denier Scott Pruitt to head the EPA. Pruitt repeatedly sued the EPA’s “Clean Power Plan” and “Clean Water Rule” while OK-AG, and even tried to pass off a letter written by oil company lobbyists critical of the EPA as his own. And now he will be in charge of the organization.

    While not yet appointed at this time, Trump is reportedly considering billionaire eccentric “Peter Thiel” to head the FDA. Like Ben Carson who believes he’s qualified to run HUD because he once lived in public housing, it is reported that Theil once ate food and took medicine.

    Trump appointed Steve Bannon the head of alt-Right website “Brietbart.com”… probably the only “news” outlet to endorse Trump… to be his Chief Strategist. While Team-Trump is working overtime to delegitimize the legitimate news as “fake news”, Brietbart is the very definition of “fake news”.

    Former Texas Governor and “Dancing with the Stars” reject Rick “Oops” Perry… who famously forgot that the Dept of Energy was the third government agency he would close as president… was appointed Trump’s Secretary of Energy. He will be replacing nuclear physicist Ernie Moniz.

    …to be continued.
     

  5. With so many incompetents put in charge of so many prominent offices within the Trump Administration, the chances of another “Brownie”-like disaster in the next few years increases exponentially. I predict at least one of Trump’s incompetent appointees will have their appointment questioned and perhaps even be forced to resign due some inexplicable cock-up that embarrasses the incoming Trump Administration.
  6.  

  7. Trump detests having to answer questions. He considers having to explain himself an indignity and the Press exists solely to try & discredit him. This is why he adores Twitter where he can simply ignore any question he doesn’t like. Trump will hold a record low number of Press Conferences, preferring instead to use Twitter to communicate with the American people. He, his staff, and his supporters will herald this as “a new era in unprecedented access to the Commander-in-Chief” that supposedly makes him more “accessible” by the American people, when the truth is it will quite the opposite: a new era of secrecy in presidential administrations that closely controls just how much access the fourth-estate has to it.
  8.  
    In these final days of 2016, we keep seeing situations where the incoming Trump Administration is publicly disagreeing with… not just the outgoing Obama Administration, but U.S. foreign policy of the past 30 years when it comes to Israel and the pursuit of a “two state solution” to bring peace between the Israeli’s and the Palestinians. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is a neo-con, and his continued illegal building of settlements in occupied territory threatens to jeopardize any hope of peace in the Middle East. Secretary of State John Kerry condemned the recent construction of new Israeli settlements as provocative and not in the interests of achieving peace in the Middle East. Netanyahu… who never liked the Obama Administration and vocally condemned it for agreeing to lift sanctions on Iran… basically told the U.S. to mind its own business. Trump… breaking with decades of “one president at a time” tradition (an unwritten rule where the incoming administration doesn’t publicly contradict the outgoing administration, instead declaring “the U.S. speaks with one voice”), Trump again publicly criticized the outgoing Obama Administration, taking the side of Israel and declaring “things will be different” come “January 20th.”

  9. Taking the side Israel so publicly, there is NO way the U.S. can be seen as an honest broker in any possible future peace negotiations between Israel & Palestine. Trump’s chosen Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, is a pro-settlement bankruptcy lawyer with no relevant experience other than the fact he is president of the US fundraising arm for Bet El, a settlement built on occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank. Both Trump & Friedman have taken the unimaginably provocative position of calling to move the capital of Israel to the disputed city of Jerusalem… nothing short of spitting in the eye of a billion Muslims. Indeed, Osama bin Laden even cited the “Israeli occupation” and part of alQaeda’s justification for 9/11 and their war with the West. Trump has just made his job of achieving an end to the wars in the Middle East infinitely more difficult. Couple that with his pledge to “quickly, easily & completely” defeat ISIS, I have great difficultly in seeing how he can “defeat ISIS” and end the war in Afghanistan without doing something monumentally insane like declaring war on the entire Middle East and conquering it using nuclear weapons. No matter how nuts he may be, there are still enough sane people left in Congress to stop him from starting World War III. As such, I have little doubt that as Commander-in-Chief, Trump will still deploy between 100,000 and 300,000 troops back into Iraq & Afghanistan (and possibly Syria) by the end of the year, greatly expending the war rather than helping to resolve the conflict and bring America’s longest war to an end (cooler heads will prevail among his generals not to introduce nuclear weapons into this war, but reports will emerge that it was discussed).
  10.  

  11. In 2015, increased pressure on ISIS resulted in various domestic terrorist attacks overseas, and (as I correctly predicted) there were at least three more such incidents of domestic terrorism around the world as that pressure continued to grow. If Trump does indeed greatly expand the war in the Middle East, coupled with openly taking Israel’s side in promoting illegal settlements, expend the number of incidents of domestic terrorism committed in the name of ISIS to grow. I predict at least five such deadly mass casulty attacks across the world in the coming year.
  12.  

  13. The election of the first black president allowed a stunning number of closeted racists to feel liberated, coming out as openly racist, cloaking their racism as nothing more than “political differences”. The election of an openly bigoted xenophobe like Trump will worsen this three-fold as Trump-supporters feel they now have carte-blanc to be openly bigoted against Mexican’s and Muslims as well.
  14.  

  15. Which reminds us of Trump’s promise to “build a border wall along the U.S./Mexico border and make Mexico pay for it”, and deport… not just 11 million “illegal immigrants”, but in many cases their American-born children as well. There will be NO significant border wall construction in 2017 as the issue falls by the way-side. However, the Trump Administration may try to claim plans for a border wall are “in the works”. And rather than Mexico paying 100% of the cost, to save face, the Trump Administration will rely on some creative accounting to try and claim Mexico will be paying for it when they are in fact not.
    UPDATE: 1/6/2017 – Not even president yet, “Trump asks Congress, not Mexico, to pay for border wall.
  16.  

  17. During the primaries, a number of countries were so appalled by Donald’s Trump’s “racist & sexists remarks”, they went as far as to say the GOP candidate was “not welcome” in their country. Scotland declared Trump “unwelcome” in that country the day after the election and urged him not to visit. In January of 2016, the British Parliament had already discussed banning Trump from the UK. And in October (just before the election), Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau banned Trump from entering Canada until he apologized for his offensive remarks about Muslims & Mexicans. I predict that in the coming year, at least one nation will say Trump is not welcome in their country.
  18.  

  19. As I’ve been pointing out since the day he declared his candidacy in 2015, Trump only wanted to prove he could win the presidency if he wanted it, but has no interest in actually doing the job. Early on, he will appear to be doing his job, but gradually over time, we will see less & less of him as he tries to delegate more & more of his job over to others in his administration, setting up a Constitutional crisis.
  20.  

  21. Calls for investigations into all of Trump’s conflicts of interest will grow along with demands that he fully divest himself of his empire (which he’ll never do) as it becomes clear foreign countries are trying to curry favor with the American president though his investments. Trump’s massive ego will never permit him to sell off his empire. All those skyscrapers with his name on them feed his massive ego. If it becomes a serious enough problem for him, he’d resign his presidency before selling off his empire.
  22.  

  23. Speaking of which, every building with Trump’s name on it will become an instant terrorist target the moment he’s sworn in, and the cost of protecting those buildings will become a serious matter.
  24.  

  25. Beyond foreigners trying to get on the good side of America’s president by renting out his hotels & casinos and possibly giving him favorable treatment when his companies seek construction permits in foreign countries, simply being president gives Trump an unfair advantage over his American competitors that will open him up to all sorts of lawsuits. Expect at least one American company to file an “unfair trade practices” lawsuit against Trump.
  26.  

  27. Trump’s Climate-Change-Denying policies of promising to “greatly expend the use of coal” and “complete the Keystone XL Pipeline” will be met with a resounding thud as both projects prove to no longer be cost effective in the modern era. There just aren’t that many workers looking to get started in the lucrative business of digging coal (yes, that’s snark) in the 21st century, and for the mining/conversion of tarsands to “oil” to be cost effective, oil needs to be up over $70/barrel again. George W. Bush destroyed the global economy and brought the United States to the brink of economic collapse by pushing the price of oil from $30/barrel to nearly $150/barrel in six years. Oil prices are (at this writing) just above $50/barrel after having been much lower in recent years, and some analysts fear that if Trump greatly expands the war in the Middle East, the price of oil could shoot back up to over $100/barrel which would make both energy sources financially viable again. But if that happened, it would absolutely crush the U.S. economy. As friendly as the Trump Administration clearly will be with Big Oil, I have my doubts that even THEY could be THAT fiscally irresponsible.
  28.  

  29. Russia may find themselves wondering if they made a mistake by cozening up to Trump (and possibly aiding his election) as they quickly learn how erratic and vindictive he can be. Early in the primaries, Ted Cruz leaped into second place when he refused to criticize GOP front-runner Donald Trump like all of the other candidates. Just before the start of the 2016 primaries, Cruz even tweeted: “@realDonaldTrump is terrific. #DealWithIt” Then the race began, and as soon as Cruz became a threat, the bromance was over. By the Convention in July, the two were already the worst of enemies. I expect Trump’s relationship with Russia to become strained as he grows increasingly erratic.
  30.  

  31. As much as Trump and his supporters may want it, he will not be able to amass enough Republican votes (and zero Democratic votes) to repeal “ObamaCare” without having a replacement program ready to go first. Republicans will try (repeatedly) throughout the year to immediately end the program despite having no alternative, but Democrats need only three Republican Senators to stop any repeal from reaching the president’s desk. And while Republicans honestly believe Americans want to see the entire program scrapped, they are in for a rude awakening if 20 million Americans are suddenly faced with the potential loss of their insurance. Trump says he won’t allow insurance companies to deny patients with “preexisting conditions” from getting coverage again, but there is NO way to do that without the “mandate” they so deplore. And in eight years, no Republican has been able to devise a system that covers everyone that doesn’t include a mandate. So, no ObamaCare repeal. They will try. They will get close. They may even pass a bill severely limiting it, but no full repeal of the law.
  32.  

  33. Early on, Russia will test their new found relationship with the new administration to see just how much they can get away with and what reaction (if any) they get. Democrats in Congress will demand action. Republicans will not. And the public will be evenly split, ensuring nothing gets done.
  34.  

  35. Trump didn’t remember half of the promises he made during the campaign. He had completely forgotten he promised to stop the export of over 1,000 jobs at an Indiana “Carrier” plant until he heard a plant worker on TV state that he had personally promised them he’d save their jobs. He also forgot HOW he said he’d save them (by threatening to charge “Carrier” a reimportation tax.) Likewise his ridiculous threat to “lock her [Hillary] up” was quickly dismissed following his victory, the deportation of “11 Million illegal immigrants” quickly became only “a few million with criminal records” (illegal immigrants with criminal records are already deported upon capture), and his “border wall” was scaled down to “a fence in some locations.” Trump has a very short memory when it comes to his promises, so don’t be surprised if focus on many of his campaign promises are overshadowed by new catastrophes that develop in his first year.
  36.  

  37. In the final week of 2016, Trump startled the world by suggesting that we need to start expanding our nuclear arsenal again… reversing more than 30 years of American nuclear policy. Will Trump start a new Nuclear Arms Race? That takes money. Sadly, I don’t see enough sane Republicans in Congress willing to say “No” to Toddler-Trump and reject the possibility of attracting a few thousand defense industry jobs to their states, but I DO see just enough to side with Democrats to stop any such proposed increase in our nuclear stockpiles. No expansion.
  38.  

  39. And rounding on for an even 20, 2017 will be declared “the hottest year on record”.

 

Wow, that’s one incredibly dark miserable year I foresee. But Toddler-Trump is just too immature, too erratic and too impulsive to see things becoming anything other than a total mess in 2017.


Writers Wanted Got something to say? Mugsy’s Rap Sheet is always looking for article submissions to focus on the stories we may miss each week. To volunteer your own Op/Ed for inclusion here, send us an email with an example of your writing skills & choice of topic, and maybe we’ll put you online!

RSS Please REGISTER to be notified by e-mail every time this Blog is updated! Firefox/IE users can use RSS for a browser link that lists the latest posts! RSS


 

Share

December 31, 2016 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Posted in: Abortion rights, Civil Rights, Economy, Environment, General, Global Warming, Greed, Healthcare, Immigration Reform, Infrastructure, Jobs, Middle East, Money, National Security, Partisanship, Party of Life, Politics, Predictions, Right-wing Facism, Right-Wing Hypocrisy, Right-Wing Insanity, Taxes, Terrorism, Unconstitutional, War