Two Cat-4 Hurricanes in Two Weeks. Ignoring Climate Change is getting VERY expensive

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“This is the first time in history two Catagory-4 storms have made landfall in the same season.” – ABC News weather anchor Ginger Zee.

Hurricane Harvey raged outside my window as I typed my column two weeks ago. I was fortunate where I live to have avoided the flooding & power outages, but many around me were not so lucky. And at the time, they were already predicting the cost of Harvey to surpass the former record holder Hurricane Katrina ($160 Billion in damage vs $180 Billion). Now, as I type this a mere two weeks later, Hurricane Irma… briefly a Catagory-5 and presently a Cat-4, is lashing Florida’s West coast and is already predicted to beat out even Harvey in terms of destruction, for an estimated total cost to taxpayers of nearly $400 BILLION dollars in the space of two weeks (yet another Category-4 just beyond Irma lies “Juan”… which is presently predicted to turn North missing land entirely. Let’s pray they are right because the Texas Gulf Coast can’t endure much more of this.
 

Life imitates art

 

As Hurricane Harvey stalled over the Texas shoreline and dropped a record 27 TRILLION GALLONS OF WATER on the state, for days I carefully listened to the national news reports for ANY mention of “Climate Change” or “Global Warming”. I watch “BBC World News” regularly and thought “Surely the BBC will discuss it”. Alas, they never did. It wasn’t until the very end of Harvey before I heard my first mention, when a BBC reporter stuck a mic in the face of a man in a pickup truck driving through flooded streets who proclaimed: “If you don’t believe in Climate Change, you’re a moron.” That was it. The one and only mention of either “Climate Change” or “Global Warming” I had heard mentioned on any network news program during Hurricane Harvey.

As Hurricane Irma grew and approached Florida, I again listened closely for any mention of Climate Change. It wasn’t until Irma made landfall in the Florida keys Sunday morning that I heard ABC’s weather anchor Ginger Zee throw climate change deniers a lifeline with the tired “we just don’t know” bullcrap line of whether or not “Global Warming causes hurricanes.” This is bullcrap because THAT’S A BULLSHIT QUESTION. We don’t need to know what CAUSES hurricanes to know that WARMER WATER EQUALS MORE SEVERE STORMS. Every 1′ degree rise in ocean temps adds (roughly) 62 Million atomic bombs worth of energy to a hurricane. Continuing to suggest there is “uncertainty” about the EFFECTS of Global Warming by focusing on the more complex question of “what causes hurricanes in the first place” only allows the debate to drag on without anyone doing anything about it. Our house is burning. Stop arguing over WHY and put the damned fire out!

During the election, Donald Trump famously tweeted that “Climate Change is a hoax by the Chinese” to trick every other nation on Earth into “handcuffing” their major industries while China grows their economy by ignoring it. The problem is, China ISN’T ignoring it. THEY signed the Paris Accord and is one of (if not THE) biggest investor in Green Energy/Technology, building the largest solar farm in Earth (in the shape of a Panda no less), one of the largest wind farms in the world, and one of the fastest “MagLev” (Magnetic Levitation) bullet trains on the planet shuttling workers & travelers clear across the country at an average speed of 431KPH (271MPH) (with plans to build a 600Kph version soon), and (as previously reported) set a manufacturing goal of 12% of all new vehicles built in China to be full electric by 2020. Does THAT sound like a country that’s ignoring green technology because they think it stifles the economy?

And we’re falling behind. WAY behind.

While the rest of the world sees Green Tech as the way of the future, investing hundreds of billions of dollars that they expect to earn back 100x over, Republicans in this country believe “Global Warming is one big joke. A Liberal fantasy” to trick rednecks into eating Tofu.

“Regulations that force corporations to fight phantom Climate Change cost businesses billions of dollars in lost revenue, meaning lost jobs and higher prices” they claim. It’s bullshit of course. Tesla is already one of the fastest growing companies in America. Wind now rivals oil as producing the most energy in Texas. Anyone who looks at the exploding growth of the Green Tech industry in China & Europe knows that’s nonsense. BUT EVEN IF IT WERE TRUE (which it’s not), the cost of damage to our nation caused by IGNORING climate change is growing exponentially. Hurricanes are becoming more intense. Rising sea levels means more flooding. More frequent/severe tornado seasons. The cost of the damage simply due to severity grows each year, while these weather events simultaneously become more frequent. Any “savings” you think you’re enjoying by ignoring Global Warming is rapidly being gobbled up by the steadily rising cost of recovery from these weather catastrophes (and lost lives can not be replaced.)

And STILL they balk, make snide comments and ridicule anyone who dare accept reality.

Rush Limbaugh, who actually joked on air last week about the “Liberal hysteria” over calls to evacuate Florida ahead of Hurricane Irma, was himself forced to evacuate his home/studio from where he broadcasts his show in Southern Florida. What are the chances he admits he was wrong once he finally returns to work? Anyone taking bets?
 

Size comparison

 
In 2015, the GOP controlled Senate held a (mock) hearing on “Government Regulations” (claiming “Overregulation Harms Minorities” The GOP’s sudden concern for “minorities” was actually just a thinly veiled excuse to attack “Regulations” in general. Ted Cruz, mugging for cameras as he planned to run for president in 2016, attacked the president of the Sierra Club, Aaron Mair (to the delight of Conservatives) for daring to say “climate disruption should not be up for debate any more so than the science behind climate change itself.” Cruz feigned astonishment that someone claiming to be a scientist would declare that a matter of science was “not up for debate.”

Think about that. We don’t “debate” science FACT. No one debates that the Earth is round (except on Facebook) or revolves around the sun, that gravity exists and that “2+2=4”. And as Mair rightly pointed out, “when 97% of the worlds scientists agree on something” and the 3% who don’t are either politically motivated, financially motivated, or both… to sow seeds of doubt, then it becomes established fact. You don’t waste your time lending credibility to the Flat Earthers by continuing to debate the issue. ONLY in the United States, is there any widespread belief that “Climate Change isn’t real”… because it’s either a massive hoax perpetrated by “greedy scientists” or “tofu-eating Liberals” who resent giant SUV’s intimidating them while they drive their Prius, or “a hoax by the Chinese to slow down the competition”. All while trusting blindly in the integrity & nobility of oil companies and the coal mining industry who clearly DON’T have any financial motivation to lie about the harm their products produce. Oh, and cigarettes don’t cause cancer either.

The most notorious Climate Change denier of all is Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe, who once snarkilly tossed a snowball in Congress during a blizzard in the middle of Winter to ridicule “Global Warming”. We ridicule what we don’t understand, and Inhofe does not understand that “warm air holds more moisture”. In the Summer, we call these massive moisture events: “floods”. In the Winter, Republican’s guffaw as people call it a “Snowpocalypse”. In the most extreme coldest regions of Antarctica, it hasn’t snowed in over 10,000 years. It is so cold there it freezes the moisture right out of the air. Air needs a modicum of warmth to hold moisture. And warm air in Winter creates a LOT of wet heavy snow. Apparently, no one ever explained to Mr. Inhofe how “evaporation” works, and snow isn’t created by The Snow Fairy. Inhofe has been strangely “snarkless” during Harvey & Irma (other than to praise the new Climate Change denying head of the EPA for stripping the EPA down to “its smallest size since the Reagan Administration” on Sept. 6th AFTER Harvey hit Texas.) Inhofe’s chief argument against Climate Change is Biblical, claiming “the Bible says God created the Earth for mans use and would always exist for that purpose.” That didn’t stop Noah from building his Ark.

The 2016 Federal Budget was $3.5 Trillion dollars. The cost of recovery for just hurricane’s Harvey & Irma could be as much as $380 Billion, or 8-1/2% of the entire Federal budget… more than twice of what we spend on the VA each year (after 16 years at war with troops in seven countries.)

Which brings me to the fact that today is the 16th anniversary of 9/11. As Global Warming makes more of the Earth unlivable (either due to devastating droughts or catastrophic flooding due to sea level rise), wars will break out around the globe as more & more people fight over fewer & fewer resources. “Climate Refugees” come knocking on our doors, and even Trump’s ridiculous wall can’t keep them out. The humanitarian crisis that is coming if we continue to ignore the warming of our planet is going to look like we were worried about rescuing a roll of dimes from a bank fire.
 

Flag tattered by Irma.

 


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September 11, 2017 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Posted in: Energy Independence, Environment, Global Warming, Jobs, Money, myth busting, Partisanship, Politics, Rants, Right-Wing Insanity

Who Is Helping North Korea’s Lightning-Fast Evolving Nuclear Missile Program?

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On New Years Eve, just before Trump took office, Kim Jong Un promised they were preparing to conduct their first test of an ICBM. Sounding an awful lot like that “Red Line” Trump blasted Obama for, Trump tweeted the next day, “It won’t happen!” It did. Just three weeks after Trump’s inauguration, North Korea test-fired a “Ballistic missile”… a modified version of their existing “Musudan” intermediate range missile, that landed unspectacularly 310 miles away into the Sea of Japan between the two countries.

Three weeks later, North Korea launched four more missiles all at once, again into the Sea of Japan. A fifth test two few weeks after that the rocket exploded seconds after launch. They were trying, but not making a lot of progress. Three more launches in April, the first flying a mere 37 miles before falling back to Earth, and the next two exploding shortly after launch.

Then suddenly, something changed.

Three more tests in May, the first, a rocket that reached an altitude of 1,312 miles… a distance great enough to potentially reach Eastern Alaska… was fired almost straight up, coming almost straight down… again into the Sea of Japan. Bear in mind that the month before, their only “successful” launch traveled a mere 37 miles, and all tests landed or crashed in the Sea of Japan between the two countries. Now suddenly they have an ICBM (promised on December 31st but were never able to deliver on.)

One test in June, two more successful tests in July, and two more in August. Of the August tests, the second flying over Japan… the first time since 2009. The big difference this time was that they did not warn Japan in advance before firing a rocket over their heads. Fortunately, this rocket broke up just over halfway into it’s 4,000KM flight, raining debris in the Pacific just off the East coast of Japan.

But in all of this, it was understood that an “Atomic” warhead… the pinnacle of their nuclear weapons development after over 20 years… would be just too big & too heavy to mount atop one of their notoriously unreliable missiles (who would put an atomic bomb atop a missile that might only travel 37 miles?) Even once they developed their first ICBM (the one Trump said would “never happen”… until it did five months later), it was understood they could not be armed with nuclear warheads due to size & weight… at least “not for another year” they were claiming barely a month ago.

And now, early Sunday morning, just four days since their test launch of an ICBM and their first test East of Japan since 2009, Japan detects the test of a Hydrogen bomb in Northern North Korea… which is significantly smaller/lighter… yet 10 times more powerful… than the old technology Atomic bombs they were previously capable of building. So now, in less than seven months time, North Korea has gone from short-range missiles that frequently exploded after launch, to ICBM’s capable of reaching the U.S., and from bulky/undeliverable “atomic” bombs to compact, massively more powerful hydrogen bombs that can be used as a nuclear warhead. No offense, but North Korea isn’t exactly known for their technical prowess. Someone HAS to be helping them. And who might that be?

There are only three “possible” candidates, all allies of North Korea and antagonistic towards the United States, and two of those can easily be scratched off the list. The three candidates are China, Iran and Russia.

Why would China wish to encourage nuclear war right on their doorstep between the United States and their ally North Korea? The United States’ firepower is so vastly superior to NK, they wouldn’t stand a chance even in a Conventional war let alone a nuclear one. America is also perhaps China’s biggest trading partner. An attack on the United States would almost certainly disrupt trade with China. Not to mention the fact that as an ally of North Korea, China would be drawn into a disastrous war with the United States. The very idea that China would want to provoke all that in their own backyard is nonsensical.

Iran is possibility #2. But to guide someone else on how to develop ICBM’s and hydrogen bombs, you first need to have already developed YOUR OWN “ICBM’s and hydrogen bombs”. Iran has neither. Scratch them off the list.

That leaves Russia. Now why would Russia want to see America… the lone remaining Super Power… in chaos? America is all over the Middle-East controlling much of the world’s oil. We lead NATO, a collection of European nations whose sole purpose for existence is to keep Russia in check. Installing a loose-canon, friendly to Russia and antagonistic towards NATO, as president of the United States has created chaos in this country. Expansion of the war(s) in the Middle-East into Syria provided “Distraction #2” (Trump being the first), and the rapid progression of North Korea’s missile & nuclear programs is providing “Distraction #3.”

Russia does almost NO trade with the United States, so chaos in America would not disrupt their economy (to the contrary, fewer U.S. oil exports would expand Russia’s market), and military action against North Korea only further weakens our military by stretching it too thin, making it less able to respond to further acts of aggression by Russia (like Crimea, Ukraine and Georgia.)

North Korea’s Nuclear Weapons program is accelerating at an astonishing rate… so fast it’s almost impossible to believe they are doing it all on their own. And if you want to know just who that is, one need only think of a country with the know-how, is friends with North Korea, and has the most to gain (and least to lose) from an America in chaos. And suddenly the answer is quite clear.

Having an unstable man-child, susceptible to blackmail and deep in debt to them, yet constantly speaks fondly of them, only makes such gamesmanship less risky for them and easier to pursue.
 


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September 4, 2017 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,  · Posted in: mystery, National Security, Right-Wing Hypocrisy, Seems Obvious to Me, War

With Arpaio Pardon, Trump drops pretense he’s not a racist

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I write this under the persistent rain of Hurricane (now Tropical Storm) Harvey. I’m one of the lucky ones who saw no flooding and never lost power, but many around me were not so lucky. NBC Nightly News showed a highway intersection near me and noticed some “splashing” in the middle of the highway underpass not realizing it was a guy in a bathing cap swimming in 5 feet of water in the middle of the highway. People are weird.

Speaking of which, a mere 72 hours after “Glorious Leader” feigned offense at being criticized for defending Nazi’s & White Supremacists, Trump used the hurricane as a distraction to pardon racist former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio. Arpaio was convicted last month of criminal contempt for ignoring a judge’s order (because The Law does not apply to people like Arpaio & Trump) to stop detaining people he suspected were undocumented immigrants based merely on their race (or what race they appeared to be.) And I have NO doubt Trump believed Arpaio’s only crime was benign “profiling”, making it easy to excuse a fellow disgusting bigot for his “misbehavior”. It’s easy to forget that the controversy surrounding Arizona’s infamous Sheriff Joe goes all the way back to the Bush Administration, when he was charged in 2008 with using/abusing his office (and its financial resources) to target his political enemies (including arresting a reporter in his home in the dead of night after criticizing him, in 2007). Arpaio’s antics reached a fever pitch during the 2012 election when he became a problem for Mitt Romney, who didn’t want to be seen as defending Arpaio and Arizona’s horrendous “papers please” bill (that codified Arpaio’s “detain and ask questions later” way of doing business) while simultaneously not wanting to offend a key GOP demographic: racists & bigots.

160 people DIED in Arpaio’s custody… 73 of “unexplained” causes (ibid). In 2009, a pregnant Latina woman… and American citizen… was racially profiled and arrested by one of Arpaio’s goon squads. They shackled her hands and feet, and did not unshackle her even after going into labor (where was she going to go?), giving birth in the jail and separating her from her newborn child for 72 hours. This is the man Trump deemed worthy of a Presidential Pardon. Please note that the pardon was over Arpaio’s refusal to comply with a court order, which carried with it a whopping six months (some say only “60 days”) in jail. Trump deliberately angered millions and upset an entire minority population just to spare an old racist bastard 60 days in jail? #ToddlerTrump once again being intentionally provocative just to tick off his political enemies.

Of course, Arpaio was also a huge “Birther” (which pretty much goes without saying) and fan of Trump’s racist Birther crusade against Obama, creating his own “Birther Squad” where the Maricopa County sheriff concluded (with the help of World Nut Daily and “Swift Boater” jackass Jerome Corsi) in 2012 that president Obama’s birth certificate was “a forgery and a fraud”. Why was an Arizona sheriff investigating Obama’s birth certificate? Didn’t he have better things to do? Apparently not.

But Arpaio is just one example.

As I’ve previously mentioned, there are/were three conspicuous racists serving in Trump’s inner circle: his “Chief Strategist”… known “White Nationalist” Steve Bannon, military analyst and deputy assistant to the president Sebastian “Nazi Medal” Gorka, and “political advisor” “White Power hand gesture guy” Stephen Miller. Following Trump’s botched response to the Charlottesville protest, he fired Bannon (one of the founders of the “Alt-Right” movement)… a fellow loose-canon that reportedly did not get along with others (reportedly, “The Mooch”… during his brief 10 days on the job, wanted both Bannon & Priebus fired. Priebus got the ax first and many believe incoming Chief-of-Staff Kelly finished the job with Bannon.) Gorka says he quit. Everyone else says Trump fired him. Why? Because Gorka and Bannon were good friends, and Gorka was not happy about Bannon’s firing. And now only Miller remains.

After firing two prominent racists, Trump’s base needed some red meat. Following the conviction of Arpaio, Trump announced he was flying to Arizona for “a rally”, but it was widely suspected he was going there to pardon Arpaio. Like all racist cowards, Trump flinched under the white hot spotlight of criticism of possibly issuing his first-ever pardon to a ridiculous racist asshat like Sheriff Joe a mere three days after Trump was criticized for defending Nazi’s. Trump instead waited until 9pm EDT… just as a hurricane was making landfall in Texas and people were being killed… to announce he was pardoning him. If you wait until late Friday evening while the nation is distracted by a natural disaster to do something, you CLEARLY know you’re doing something wrong. Something you know you’d be roundly criticized for if the nation were not distracted by millions of people in mortal danger in Texas.

I was going to write about Trump’s childish attacks upon Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) for his lack of loyalty (there’s that word again), but the storm outside suddenly just got that much worse that I need to end this here.

It all seems like this all took place over the course of a month. It’s difficult to believe it was only one week ago. What a week.
 


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August 28, 2017 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Posted in: Civil Rights, Crime, Racism, Scandals, Unconstitutional

#TeleprompterTrump vs #UnscriptedTrump

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It occurred to me yesterday listening to both Trump defenders and Trump critics that there are in fact two Donald Trump’s: #TeleprompterTrump & #UnscriptedTrump. Trump’s friends/defenders… like Jerry Falwell Jr on “Meet the Press” yesterday… only see “#TeleprompterTrump”… the Trump that has his comments careful written out for him by a professional speech-writer that tends to say the right thing (most of the time) and earns kudos like “He sounded presidential today” (he’s president! Shouldn’t he sound “presidential” EVERY day?), and “#UnscriptedTrump”, caught in a candid moment by the Press anyplace other than the WH Press Briefing Room, who goes off script and says what he TRULY thinks/feels.

Last Monday, three days after neo-Nazi protests in Charlottesville left a female protester dead, Trump gave a speech… clearly read off a teleprompter… condemning “hate & violence” (though failing to even mention the words “White Supremacists” or “neo-Nazis”.) Trump explained he waited so long because he had to make sure he had all his facts straight before condemning neo-Nazi’s of being neo-Nazi’s (I can’t think of another time Trump waited “until he had all the facts” before rushing to Twitter to make a blanket condemnation.) In response to that criticism, Trump “went rogue” the very next day, condemning the violence “on both sides” and defending imaginary hoards of “very good people” who apparently didn’t realize the people they were marching with carrying Swastika flags and shouting, “Jews will not replace us!” were actually Nazi’s and White Supremacists. “Who knew?”

Every time I hear someone defending Trump, (unless they are a Nazi or White Supremacists) they ALWAYS cite “#TeleprompterTrump”. “He said the right thing!” said Charles Hurt of the “Washington Times” on Fox (natch), quoting #TeleprompterTrump (and his lesser known twin: #GhostTweeterTrump, where one of his speech writers is clearly tweeting “presidential” sounding messages from Trump’s twitter account) almost verbatim to suggest Trump is being unfairly criticized. Falwell praised Trump for “condemning Nazi’s and White Supremacists by name” when in fact Trump failed to even mention either group in his first comments three days after the riots, and then seemingly defending those same Nazi’s and White Supremacists the very next day. But all Falwell heard was the Trump he wanted to hear: #TeleprompterTrump. While the other side has critics citing #UnscriptedTrump, the Trump who attempts to answer questions on his own and ends up revealing EXACTLY what he thinks and how he truly feels (repeating talking points he read on Twitter by his his Alt-Right supporters the night before.)

I first noticed this effect right after Trump’s “State of the Union” address in February (not a true SotU because newly incoming prez’s don’t get one), when Trump read an hour long speech almost verbatim and the Media praised him as suddenly “sounding presidential” after 15 months of non-stop hate-mongering and childish remarks. But I became painfully aware of it last May when Bob Scheiffer (now on CNN) gushed how Trump “sounded presidential” when he stopped demonizing Muslims long enough to ask them for their help in rooting out terrorists.

Then there’s “#UnscriptedTrump”, the guy who is caught off guard, easily angered/offended by questions that he feels are critical of him, prompting him to lash out, spouting comebacks posted on twitter by his defenders (many of whom are the very people he gets in trouble for defending), or lame comebacks he thinks up himself on the spot (“Alt-Right? What about the Alt-Left???“) And it’s #UnscriptedTrump that is deserving of all the condemnation he is now receiving… on both the Left AND the Right. Long time Republican columnist and former Reagan speech writer Peggy Noonan was asked yesterday by MtP’s Chuck Todd how Trump “regains his moral authority” after saying what he did this past week. Noonan rightly responded (to my surprise), “You can’t regain that which you never had.” I was in the process of muttering that EXACT sentiment under my breath when she said that. Even Mitt Romney peeked out of his son’s basement (the address he gave in 2012 so he could vote for himself in MA) long enough to condemn Trump’s “false equivalency” for assigning equal blame to both Nazi’s and those who protested them.

And THAT is why it is so hard for the two sides to see eye-to-eye. Trump’s supporters SO desperately want to believe in “Trump’s promise“… the fictitious “brilliant not-a-politician businessman who’ll save our country by making dispassionate decisions on what’s best for the nation, devoid of politics or personal gain.” But what they got instead was this boorish four-time bankrupt manchild who is nothing but an easily bruised ego in a bright red tie who tweets like a 14 year old girl, grousing about every slight, calling his critics “fake news”, making up ridiculous lies about “crowd size” at his inauguration, and insisting “millions of illegal aliens MUST have voted illegally” because it is unfathomable to him that more people actually liked Hillary or Obama.

#ToddlerTrump has done everything but stick his tongue out at the cameras… and I expect that very soon.
 


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August 21, 2017 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Posted in: General, myth busting, Partisanship, Politics, Racism, Right-Wing Hypocrisy, Seems Obvious to Me

The Subtle “Implied Racism” of Trump’s Presidency

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“On many sides.” Three little words that speak volumes.

After a White Supremacist “Nazi sympathizer” plowed his car into a crowd of counter protesters, killing a young female counter-protester (two police officers were also killed in a helicopter crash patrolling the protest) and injuring dozens more, it was HOURS before Trump responded to the attack, and when he finally did, reading from a printed script (because teleprompters are bad and prove you’re stupid), appeared to blame “both sides” for the violence:

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence… on many sides… on many sides.”

 

…never once using the terms “White Supremacists”, “Nazis”, “White Nationalists” or “terrorism”. Recall that all through the presidential campaign, Republicans roundly condemned President Obama for refusing to utter the words “Radical Islamic terrorism”? Trump himself repeatedly argued that “If you can’t say it, you can’t defeat it!” So what do we make of Trump’s inability/refusal to condemn Nazi’s and White Supremacists by name?

Does the tactic of plowing a car through a crowd of people sound vaguely familiar? That’s because that is the EXACT same tactic used by ISIS sympathizers across Europe over the past year to commit acts of terror. Is there ANY doubt that if the person driving the car in Charlottesville had been a Muslim, this would have been labeled a “terrorist attack” and condemned by Trump within minutes of it happening? So what’s different? You know, and so do I.

But it should comes as no surprise. Since the very day Trump announced he was running for president, his entire campaign & presidency has been peppered with subtle (and sometimes overt) acts of racism. As we all remember, Trump’s candidacy announcement included calling Mexicans “Drug dealers, criminals, rapists… and some… I assume are good people” (the qualifier tacked onto the end to avoid being overtly declared a racist.) And it was because of this (wildly overstated) rampant crime wave being committed by “illegals” that we needed to build “a wall” clear across our Southern border.

And so began the Trump campaign. And the racists swooned.

20 years ago, there was a lot less public tolerance of racism, and it remained mostly in the shadows. The election of the first black president started to provide racists with some cover, couching their overt racist hatred as merely being “political differences” with the Commander-in-Chief. They’d claim: “I don’t hate that Kenyan Muslim in the White House because he’s black! I simply have a legitimate difference of opinion on political issues!” For eight years, Trump stoked that racist hatred of Obama by championing the insane “birther” conspiracy theory that Obama was actually “born in Kenya” and therefore ineligible to be president of the United States… ergo, it was okay to hate him because his presidency was illegitimate.

I won’t go back down the “Birther” rabbit hole. You know the story: birth certificate, “long-form” birth certificate, newspaper birth announcements were “fakes”, Ted Cruz… who was ACTUALLY born in another country… was eligible because “his mother was an American”… unlike Obama’s mother who was born in Kansas. Never look for logic among illogical people.

Long before Trump became known as “the Birther Guy”, there was “The Central Park 5“. In 1989, a group of five black & Latino teenagers were accused of “assaulting and raping a white woman in Central Park.” Trump spent $85,000 of his own money taking out full-page ads in the four New York City daily papers, calling for the return of the death penalty for “muggers and murderers”, never mentioning the boys by name but everyone knew who he meant. 14 years later, the boys… now all grown up… were exonerated by DNA testing, yet Trump never apologized, citing the fact that “the police said they were guilty.”

Trump’s campaign rallies started to look like… well… maybe not “Klan rallies”, but unquestionably angry, with lots of shouting and peppered with violence. When protesters began showing up to condemn the racist dog-whistles Trump was sending out at every campaign event, his supporters grew violent, and rather than condemn the violence, Trump egged it on, saying things like “Throw the bum out,” “Get them out of here,” “Take his coat and throw him out in the cold,” and most famously, promising to pay the legal bills of anyone who might be sued for roughing up a protester.

That was his campaign. From birtherism, to demonizing Mexicans, “Black Lives Matter”, and Muslim Bans, Trump’s entire candidacy was catapulted by racists who heard a kindred spirit in Trump’s rhetoric… emboldened by how he’d “unapologetically” say exactly what they were feeling. For years they were made to feel embarrassed & ashamed for their primordial beliefs. Now they felt America had legitimized their beliefs by electing someone like Trump.

Trump’s first (and for a LONG time only) Congressional endorsement was Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions of Alabama. A Deep South congressman with a troublesome civil rights record of his own, once calling the NAACP and ACLUun-American“, criticizing “The Voting Rights Act”, and most famously (supposedly) saying he once admired the Klan till he found out “they smoke pot.” In any case, despite his record, because of his loyalty, Sessions was Trump’s very first appointee… naming him Attorney General, which put him directly in charge of enforcing the very Voting Rights Act he once criticized.

During the campaign, Trump was endorsed by none other than “David Duke”, the openly racist former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klowns Klan turned politician turned RW Talk Radio host. When Trump was asked if he accepted the endorsement of Duke, he feigned having any knowledge of who Duke was and did not directly reject the endorsement (at first) fearing to offend like-minded racists who make up a large proportion of his base. It was only after repeated & prolonged criticism that Trump… weakly… finally rejected Duke’s endorsement THREE DAYS LATER. CNN reported:
 

“David Duke is a bad person, who [sic] I disavowed on numerous occasions over the years. Do you want me to do it again for the 12th time?” Trump said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” – March 3, 2016

 

“A bad person”? Whoa there, Mr. Trump! Give a guy some warning before you go using language like that! “Who I disavowed on numerous occasions over the years” twelve times? Just three days earlier, he denied even knowing who Duke was. Now suddenly he recalls disavowing him “12 times over the years”? Which is it?

Duke “took credit” for White Nationalists like himself helping get Trump elected, responding to Trump’s (muted & delayed) condemnation of the events hours earlier in Charlottesville by criticizing Trump’s criticism, telling/threatening Trump to “remember who got you elected”… clearly implying Trump owes his election to the very White Supremacists and neo-Nazis he just condemned (albeit half-heartedly, evenly distributing blame for the violence and murders equally between the protesters & counter-protesters alike.) Trump never used the words “White supremacists” or “neo-Nazis” in his scripted response to the deadly rampage in Charlottesville.

Trump’s favorite show “Fox & Freaks Friends” (we know based on the number of times he comments & tweets about them) declared that Trump’s “both sides are to blame” condemnation of the Charlottesville riots & murders “nailed it”, repeating his “both sides” criticism, suggesting the Klan marchers might have a legitimate grievance that deserves being listened to, and asserting Trump’s remarks were the perfect response to the neo-Nazi march the day before that killed three.

When Trump’s campaign manager Paul Manafort was forced to step down, Trump hired the editor of the most popular “Alt-Right” online publication and his biggest fan/defender… Steve Bannon of “Breitbart News”… to be his new campaign manager. Bannon has been described as one of the “foremost peddlers of White Supremacist themes and rhetoric” on the Internet. Trump was a fan of Bannon for taking up his “Birther” attack on President Obama and carrying it to new heights. Once the election was over, Trump appointed Bannon to be his “chief strategist”… the job once held by Karl Rove in the Bush-43 administration.

As mentioned above, Trump had already announced Jeff Sessions as his pick to be AG. Another of Trump’s disturbing political appointees was “Stephen Miller” to be an “advisor”. You might know Miller as the “White Power” hand-gesture guy (see photo inset at top.) Vanity Fair magazine did a disturbing expose of Miller last month, from his early days as an unliked political provocateur (all Conservatives are. They get off on making others angry/upset) in High School, rising to fame defending the 2012 Duke University Lacrosse Team members in their Rape trial (where three white players were accused of raping a black stripper, chasing her (and another stripper) down shouting “N*gg*r, N*gg*r, N*gg*r!”, to his appointment to the Trump White House (where he ended a royal defense of Trump, declaring “The powers of the president to protect our country are substantial and will not be questioned! ending with that awkward aforementioned hand gesture.) And two weeks ago when Trump tweeted that he intended to institute “means testing of immigrants to the United States”… a slap in the face to the “Give me your poor…” poem placed on the Statue of Liberty, Miller was quick (without pause) to point out that poem “was added later” and not part of the original statue (does that matter?) which he said was merely meant as a symbol of America’s “guidance” of the rest of the world (Bullcrap. Liberty’s torch is the light that guides the world’s “wretched refuse” to our shores.) Anti-immigrant white supremacists like Miller & Bannon love to rewrite history to fit their personal views. Why they continue to do so in the age of the Internet when confirmation is just a key-click away, is a mystery. Still, they persist.

Another Trump advisor, his deputy counter-terrorism advisor, Sebastian Gorka, made news when he attended the Trump’s Inaugural Ball wearing the honorary medal awarded his late father by Hungarian nationalist organization Vitezi Rend, who are “believed to have been complicit in the murder of some of the hundreds of thousands of Hungarian Jews toward the end of World War II.” Gorka claims to have “distanced himself” from any white-supremacist or Nazi ideology [ibid]. Yet still, these are the people drawn to Trump, and whom Trump himself is drawn to when staffing his White House.

This is the bubble Trump lives in.
 


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August 14, 2017 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Posted in: Civil Rights, Crime, Guns & Violence, Racism, Right-wing Facism, Terrorism

All the circumstantial evidence points to one thing: Trump is broke

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The key selling point of a “Donald Trump presidency” was that a “successful businessman” such as himself would know how to run the U.S. government efficiently. “I know all the best people”, he told adoring fans. “I’m worth $10 Billion dollars” he told the masses. And because of his success as a businessman, he supposedly would be able to run this massive “corporation” we now call The Federal Government (never mind the fact a government isn’t a corporation.) Trump claimed at the very start of his campaign that… because of his fantastic wealth… he “couldn’t be bought” and would only work in YOUR best interests, not those of the “Special Interests”. He would “take no money” from those same “Special Interests” and run a “self funded” campaign using his own money to run for president. But in fact Trump did NOT self-finance his campaign. When he DID spend his own money on his campaign, it was only a loan where he charged his own campaign to pay him back. Even then, Trump wasn’t even the biggest donor to his own campaign. No “Special Interests”? He had multiple “SuperPACs” pouring money into his campaign as well, and as I posited two weeks ago, there is a trail of laundered Russian money leading to Trump’s back pocket like a trail of breadcrumbs. And despite all of Trump’s innuendo regarding money pouring into “The Clinton Foundation” and whether or not some of it was making its way to the Clinton campaign, Trump repeatedly refused/refuses to release his tax returns (no, this is not about Trump’s taxes) on the grounds he was “under audit” (which was NOT preventing him from from doing so) yet promising “as soon as the audit is over, I’ll release them.” But even after the election was over, Trump continued to refuse to release his taxes. And once he was sworn in and no longer under audit, he argued his taxes “no longer mattered”… “nobody cares except the sore losers”. Trump’s tax return for 2016… the year AFTER the one that was audited… the year he was running for president… was NEVER under audit, yet he never released that year either (nor were his tax returns for ANY other prior year.) To this day, we have never seen Donald Trump’s tax returns. Why? What doesn’t he want us to see? Then there is the question of “Emoluments” and whether Trump is using the presidency to make himself rich. Any time the subject of “money” comes up regarding Trump, it suggests he’s desperately trying to prevent his “true wealth” from becoming public knowledge. And the braggart & raging egomaniac that Trump is, does anyone think if he was even more fantastically rich than he has publicly claimed, that he wouldn’t be tweeting it from the rooftops? Of course he would! Trump’s entire shtick is that he is qualified purely due to being a business & financial success. So, what if it turns out he isn’t? After filing four bankruptcies, two divorces, being sued multiple times (settling his “Trump University” fraud case for $20 Million dollars rather than continue fighting), closing failed casinos, and a list of failed businesses longer than my arm, how does one suffer SO much failure and expense, and still be worth over $10 Billion dollars? Simple… he isn’t. He’s deep in debt and owes some very powerful people a lot of money.

…But he can’t admit it without being exposed as the lying Snake Oil salesman he is and disappointing his legions of “poorly educated” fans.

As I stated above, there is a troubling record of Russian money finding it’s way into Trump’s campaign coffers to the point I no longer have ANY doubt the Russian government… by way of well-connected Russian oligarchs… bankrolled the bulk of Donald Trump’s political campaign. From the Russian fertilizer magnate who paid 2-1/2 times the value for a Florida mansion belonging to Trump… sight unseen… just as Trump was being forced to pay a multi-million dollar judgement against him… only to have the property demolished without the new owner having ever visited it even once, and sold for a $60 million dollar loss… to the private computer server in the Trump Tower campaign headquarters with a dedicated hotline connection to a Russian bank, to millions in laundered Russian Mafia crime money poured into Manhattan real estate purchased from Trump (no questions asked)… Trump owes much of his wealth to (criminal) Russian investment.

But that’s just half the story.

Immediately after his inauguration, Trump doubled the membership fee to his “Mar-a-lago” Resort from $100,000/yr to $200,000/yr. The rich & powerful… those “Special Interests” Trump bemoaned… were buying up memberships hoping to hob-knob with The President himself. But Trump wasn’t about to divest himself of his prized resort in which the wealthy could rub elbows with the Commander-in-Chief himself if the price is right, nor did Trump set any rules against “unsolicited fraternization”. If you’ve got the bucks, you might just luck into a private meeting with The President of the United States. What percentage of Trump’s “regular Americans” do you think he’ll run into down there at that price?

Trump’s hotels around the world, in New York and in DC, the profits from those hotels still feed into Trump’s pocket. When wealthy Saudi’s came to DC, rather than stay in the same posh hotel they normally booked, this year they chose to stay in a Trump-owned hotel (I’ll give you three guesses why, and the second two don’t count.) Overseas, the paperwork and court cases holding up development of Trump hotels and golf courses are suddenly fast-tracked and shown preferential treatment over Trump’s competitors. The Founding Fathers called such gifts & favoritism “emoluments”, and they are illegal. Yet Trump has refused to sell off his holdings and divest himself from these conflicts of interest (and No, turning the “running” of the business over to his sons does NOT resolve those conflicts of interest or shield him from violating the Emoluments clause.)

We know that as a real estate mogul in NY, Trump had a history of not paying his workers/suppliers/vendors, and he suggested during the campaign that only dumb people pay taxes, so much of Trump’s wealth came from being a deadbeat… something he can no longer get away with as president of the United States.

I mentioned above that Trump only LOANED his own campaign money to finance it, but we also learned just last week that Trump blatantly overcharged the Secret Service to rent space in Trump Tower to provide security for his wife & son Barron while they lived in New York. To charge them anything at all to stay in a hotel HE OWNS when they are there purely to protect him & his family when in New York is bad enough, but to scam the American taxpayers to pay double the normal rent to do it? Does he REALLY need the money THAT bad?

Also breaking news last week, not only did Independent Council Bob Mueller impanel a Grand Jury to hear evidence connecting Trump to Russia, we also learned Mueller is “investigating Trump’s personal & business finances”… not just campaign finances as they may relate to the Russia investigation. Trump is reportedly very angry about this. Why would Mueller be investigating Trump’s “private” finances as part of his Russia investigation? Because, like me, Mueller also believes Trump’s businesses were used to launder Russian crime money into his presidential campaign.

Republicans have pined for a “CEO president” for 20 years. It was part of their sales pitch for Bush & Cheney in 2000 (touting their “CEO” credentials.) Bush had a string of disastrous business failures behind him (requiring bailouts from Daddy’s friends) while Cheney bilked the government for Billions as a government contractor. THAT was their record as “businessmen”. And one might think that the disastrous Bush/Cheney presidency would have soured Republicans on the idea of electing another “CEO President” promising to run the country “like a business”, but they did it again with Donald Trump. And once again we find another failed businessman who’s really good at scamming people, declaring bankruptcy and asking Uncle Sam for a bailout.

So look at the list of financial matters connected to the Trump campaign: He refused/refuses to release his taxes… the first to do so since Nixon. He charged his own campaign to reimburse him for all the money he loaned it, he over-charged the Secret Service rent to protect his own family in his own hotel, he also doubled the Mar-a-Lago Membership Fee, there is all the Emoluments/profiteering off his business interests that he refuses to divest himself from, there’s his four bankruptcies, two divorces and failed casinos, has bragged about paying no taxes (not just the wealthy, but people deep in debt also pay no taxes), legal judgements totaling MILLIONS against him, a string of failed business ventures including “Trump University”, which turned out to be one giant scam, and a Russian-cash expressway between the Kremlin and Trump’s real-estate holdings around the world. That blue “TRUMP” 707 he flew around in during the campaign is all that’s left of “Trump Airlines” that was born & died in the late 1990’s.

For a man supposedly worth $10 Billion dollars, he sure seems to be nickle & diming the Federal government while spending very little of his own money (as I write this, I’m noticing how Trump nor his Wife & son, have ever vacationed any place Trump didn’t already own (either Trump Tower in NYC or Mar-a-Lago in Florida).

Every time a Republican calls for “Running government like a business”, point out to them that businesses are NOT Democracies. They are “Dictatorships” or “Monarchies” run to turn a profit. Governments are services that SPEND money to provide those services. THAT is what we pay taxes for! Trump himself once said: “In government, every decision requires you to have a heart. In business, it’s the opposite. In fact, it may be better if you have no heart at all.” And this is whom they elected to run the largest public service on the planet.

Businesses are run to make a profit for the CEO and pay off shareholders. Who know who Donald thinks the CEO is. One wonders whom he thinks his “shareholders” are? Whom does he owe? Who OWNS HIM?

ADDENDUM: The day after I wrote this, “The Rachel Maddow Show” actually explored the question of all the money Trump is making off the presidency and its illegality. RECOMMENDED VIEWING.
 


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August 7, 2017 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,  · Posted in: Crime, Greed, Money, mystery, myth busting, Politics, rewriting history, Right-Wing Hypocrisy, Scandals, Seems Obvious to Me

Is the firing of Priebus a backdoor attempt to fire Special Prosecutor Mueller?

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Last week was described as… not just the most chaotic of the young Trump Administration… but as capping off “the worst first six months of ANY administration” in the 241 year history of the United States (which, according to Trump, has been “the most successful first six months of any administration in history”… despite not having one single legislative accomplishment and Trump having gone back on nearly every major campaign promise.) “Worst six months” may be a bit of an exaggeration considering Abraham Lincoln’s first days were met with the entire Southern delegation seceding from the Union, but it’s gotta be right up there (Lincoln was a Republican by the way. Did you know that? Trump apparently didn’t until just last March.) For weeks, Trump has been publicly lambasting his “good friend” Attorney General Jeff Sessions for agreeing to accept the job of AG back in February only to recuse himself from having anything to do with the Russia investigation by March. Sessions was the first (and for a very long time only) Senator to endorse Donald Trump. He traveled around the country with him and repeated Trump’s slogan that Trump would “Make America Great Again.” His reward was to be appointed Attorney General (the first appointment of the Trump administration), an appointment Trump praised. But when a Special Prosecutor was appointed to investigate possible links between the Trump campaign & Russia, Sessions was forced to recuse himself 1) because he was part of the campaign, and 2) Had failed to reveal his OWN contacts with Russian officials during the campaign.

That confirmation was in February (with Sessions formally recusing himself on March 2nd.)

Now suddenly… 4-1/2 months later… Trump is grousing about Sessions accepting the job only to recuse himself just days later? Why now? As singer Glenn Fry once sang, “The heat is on.”

A flurry of very public criticisms (both on TV and on Twitter) of his “good friend” Sessions (Trump frequently whines about “loyalty”. He denies he asked Comey for it and demands it of his staff, but for Trump, “loyalty” is clearly a one-way street), it seemed pretty obvious Trump wanted Sessions to resign so he could replace him with someone who would fire Bob Mueller and quash the Russia investigation, but he couldn’t just fire Sessions without a better reason than “refusing to recuse himself from the Russia investigation.” Nothing improper about following the law. ANYONE Trump may have picked to be Attorney General… if they were connected to his campaign, they too would of had to recuse themselves (if you recall, both Chris Christie & Rudy Giuliani were also supposedly up for consideration for the job, and they too were part of the campaign and would of had to recuse themselves.)

Unable to fire Sessions, Trump tried to make Sessions quit, but Sessions (publicly) laughed it off (privately, Gingrich says Sessions is “very mad” at Trump.) So Trump is stuck with Sessions (and by extension, Mueller.)

In just the first six months, five SIX of Trump’s top level staffers have been fired (or forced to “quit”)…
 

Trump staff departures

 

(UPDATE 7/31/17: After just ten days, Spicer’s replacement, Anthony Scaramucci is out following a profanity laced tirade criticizing Priebus & Bannon.)
 

…with the latest being his Chief-of-Staff Reince Priebus last week just-appointed Communications Director Scaramucci. Priebus has always been in over his head in every job he’s had since he was still head of the RNC. He appeared on the Sunday talk shows regularly, embarrassing himself as he repeatedly tried (and failed) to sound clever and/or witty, with snarky responses about Democrats that always fell embarrassingly flat. But because of the Tea Party movement and a united Conservative front against Obama, the GOP Congress kept winning races in spite of him (though losing the presidency in 2012, and likely would have lost in 2016 as well had it not been for the last minute election chaos.) So it was probably only a matter of time before he was out as CoS, but the new Director of Communications, Tony Scaramucci, replacing Spicer, torpedoed Priebus, creating a vacancy.
 

And the wheels started to turn.
 

Trump picked acting NSA Director General John Kelly last week to be his new Chief of Staff (arguably a demotion), and suddenly, there’s a new “law enforcement” job opening in the Trump Administration. “Who do we get to fill it? Hmmmm. Ah! I know! How about the acting Attorney General who is preventing us from firing Mueller and shutting down the Russia investigation?”

Trump hasn’t done it yet, but you KNOW that’s what his puppet masters have in mind.

Members of Congress on BOTH sides of the aisle say that if Trump tries to replace Sessions with someone who might try to shutdown the Russia investigation, they say they’ll make him (pinky) swear that he won’t fire Mueller. Of course, you can always find an excuse after the fact. Accuse Mueller of being on a “Partisan Witch hunt”, accuse him of exceeding his authority, even claim “ethics violations”. Or just change the scope of his investigation, rendering him toothless. If they want Mueller gone, he’s gone.

So the red flag isn’t who gets picked to fill Sessions’ shoes, it’s whether or not Trump tries to appoint Sessions head of the NSA. After weeks of criticizing Sessions for “not being forthright” for failing to reveal in advance he’d recuse himself from anything relating to the Russia investigation, suddenly he may be just perfect to head up the most secretive security agency on the planet? (Before Bush-43, the joke was “NSA” stood for “No Such Agency” before Dubya confirmed their existence to rescue his butt from accusations of wiretapping Americans without a FISA warrant.)

If Trump even hints he may move Sessions to the NSA, know that there’s only ONE reason for doing so, and that’s so he can replace Sessions with someone not recused from intervening in the Russia investigation. Personally, I doubt Trump is THAT dumb, but his handlers (whomever they may be) might insist upon it. I’m certain Trump (and several members of his family) are huge blackmail risks and could be exposed as needed if Trump doesn’t do what they want. But with Trump’s massive ego and arrogant nature, he’s just as likely to do what he wants and dare his blackmailers to play their hand (and they will.)

The GOP Congress might let Trump get away with moving Sessions, and even approve a replacement who “swears to God, hope to die, Stick a needle in my eye” not to fire Mueller. But if he does, even a Republican-controlled Congress would not be able to ignore this gross obstruction of justice, and 6 to 8 months later (despite the midterms), Trump would be impeached, and depending on the mood of the electorate, out of office by the end of 2018.

But I doubt that will happen… not that quickly/obviously. I expect Trump will continue to grouse about Sessions, appoint someone else to the NSA, and wait for Sessions to quit (because despite his catch-phrase, reports are Trump really doesn’t like to fire people. Due to his desperate need to be adored… see: “I won the popular vote”… he prefers to bully people into quitting so he doesn’t look like the bad guy (yeah, I know that makes no sense.) By then, who knows where the Russia investigation will be? (In my not-so-humble opinion, Trump and those in his orbit are morons, too stupid to realize the Russians have been using & manipulating him for decades. There is ZERO doubt in my mind now that the Russian government and the Russian Mob (which are one & the same) literally bankrolled Trump’s presidential campaign (and much of his real estate empire via the buying & selling properties in Manhattan & Florida to Russian criminals/oligarchs/officials looking to launder millions in dirty money (see last week’s Op/Ed on the following the laundered money.) Or… just as likely… they knew and didn’t care as long as they got what they wanted out of it without concern for the consequence.)

And THAT is why Mueller is suddenly looking into Trump’s business dealings going back DECADES, and why only now Trump is complaining about Sessions’ inability to shutdown Mueller and the Russia investigations. The heat is on. Watch this space/vacancy.
 


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July 31, 2017 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Posted in: National Security, Politics, Right-wing Facism, Right-Wing Hypocrisy, Scandals, Seems Obvious to Me

Kushner Testifies. Self-Funded Campaign? Follow the money (launderers)

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Today/Monday, Trump’s wunderkind son-in-law and dumping ground for every boring job Trump doesn’t want to do, Jared Kushner, will be testifying before both the House & Senate Intelligence Committees behind closed doors, where they will grill him about his repeated interactions with representatives of the Russian government that he just kept forgetting to report on his “Security Clearance” application (until it was revealed by the so-called “fake” news… ie: “real” news.) Unfortunately, because of the National Security issues discussed, there will be no cameras and no reporters. But seriously, “because of the National Security issues”, Jared HIMSELF shouldn’t be allowed in the meeting because he would NEVER qualify for a “Top Secret” security clearance today knowing what we now know. First (as documented in my continually updated List of Trump/Russia Ties) he failed to reveal he joined Mike Flynn to meet with Russian Ambassador Kislyak… not once but TWICE. Then it was a meeting (along with another White House adviser) with “VEB” a Russian “Bank” (actually, a money laundering operation) while it was under U.S. sanctions, and now most recently exposed, joining Don Jr to host a secret meeting IN Trump Tower with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya to (supposedly) discuss “Russian/American adoption”… a meeting both Kushner and Don Jr (and campaign manager Manafort) all just “forgot” to mention meeting when asked about having ever met with “any Russians.” THEN it was revealed they didn’t meet with just one person but in fact FIVE… two of whom are naturalized former Russian citizens: a former “Soviet” military intelligence officer who served in the late 80’s, and convicted Russian money launderer Irakly Kaveladze, whom was charged with laundering $1.4 Billion dollars between US & Russian banks (and what better way to “clean” your stolen money than to funnel it through the presidential campaign of a dimwit candidate who’s about as clever as a two-story outhouse?) The lawyer, Veselnitskaya, made her bones representing Denis Katsyv another Russian money launderer in 2013, who was convicted of laundering $230 million dollars and ended up paying “millions” in fines (a slap on the wrist.) And if you recall, early in the Trump (cough, gag) presidency, he fired Federal Prosecutor Preet Bharara (despite telling him to stay on) after he called to audit the records of “DeutscheBank” in NY… of whom Trump is their largest debtor owing HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS… for their involvement in (you guessed it) a $10 BILLION dollar Russian money laundering scheme. (More on DeutscheBank’s laundering of millions from Russian-owned national oil company Gazprom here.)

And there’s those words again: “money launderer“. In any discussion of Trump’s connections to Russia, the phrase “money launderer” keeps popping up like weeds on a Trump golf course. That and the words “sweetheart deal” are rarely far behind. From nearly the beginning of his campaign, Trump claimed to be “self-funding” his campaign in order to suggest he was “beholden to no Special Interest” and answered to nobody. Well, it is now well documented that Trump’s “self-funded campaign” was a HUUUGE lie (forgive the Trumpism). He wasn’t even the biggest donor to his campaign (and yes, he only “loaned” money to his campaign expecting to be paid back.) He charged his own campaign for the use of his hotels and private offices. He had a number of SuperPAC’s, and… I posit… received MILLIONS in financial assistance from the Russian government and Russian government connected oligarchs. So if running a “self funded campaign” means one is “not beholden to anyone”, then what does it mean when your entire presidential campaign was practically bankrolled by a hostile foreign government? And not just ANY government, but one that considers North Korea, Syria and Iran among their allies, has invaded several of their neighbors (Crimea, Georgia & Ukraine), and whom Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Joseph Dunford called “the greatest threat to U.S. security” on the planet? (Remember when Obama was president and Republicans tried to claim “Romney was right [about Russia being our greatest threat]” after they invaded Crimea? Where are those Republicans now? Fawning over Putin, that’s where.

(ADDENDUM: In May, the Sessions Justice Department abruptly settled a lawsuit against Prevezon Holdings for a mere $6 Million. Prevezon stood accused of laundering millions in Russian crime money through real-estate investment in Manhattan. “Veselnitskaya represents the family of Pyotr Katsyv, the former vice governor of the Moscow region, whose son, Denis, owns the real-estate company Prevezon.”)

The possibility that the currently serving president actively & willingly accepted the support of an enemy of the United States (and threat to global security) in order to campaign for president, and that same hostile power may have even attempted to subvert our democracy to do it, AND not only does the acting president continue to deny/dismiss the evidence of those activities (and disparage those who collected it… our OWN intelligence agencies) but even actively seeks to REWARD Russia by promising to lift sanctions and return seized property for NOTHING in return… is the biggest political scandal in American history (FAR bigger than even Watergate.) Of course, I know there are those of you out there repeating the Trump talking point: “These are the SAME intelligence agencies who told us Iraq had WMD’s!” No. That bullshit won’t fly here. This blog is subtitled “Recording history for those who seek to rewrite it” for a reason. You may remember someone named Valery Plame? An undercover CIA agent who was outed by Cheney because her husband (Amb Joe Wilson) dared inform them their claim Iraq had purchased 20,000 tons of yellowcake uranium never happened? The CIA repeatedly told the Bush Administration that “the ‘intelligence’ provided by untrustworthy Iraqi exiles was garbage” (remember “curveball”?) And the IAEA repeatedly told Bush “NO, Iraq does NOT have WMD’s!” Bush’s response was to ignore them and swap generals until he found people willing to tell him what he wanted to hear. So don’t go claiming “the intelligence agencies are unreliable” as your defense of why evidence of collusion between the Trump Campaign and Russia can’t be trusted.

We have NEVER before seen a foreign adversary involve themselves in our election. Not only did they hack the DNC and steal the emails of Hillary’s campaign manager (which in the end was just revelations about some of the offensive crap pulled on Sanders, released to stir up discord among Democrats… which worked), but as we later discovered, they even attempted to hack the central voting servers (tabulators?) in 39 of 50 states. If that’s not a big deal to you, your patriotism and support for democracy is highly in question. But to think they MAY have done so with the support of the current occupant of the White House? There just are no words to describe just how… how… well, like I said, “no words”. “Appalling” just doesn’t cut it.

So when I hear others dismissing this story, making excuses, or people claiming to dislike Trump YET use Trump’s own talking points to dismiss the investigation, I just want to say, “What is WRONG with you???” Even most Republicans now agree Russia meddled in our election (both the House AND Senate voted to impose sanctions on Russia and Iran.) Trump supporters laugh about Democrats’ “obsession” with Russia. “Russia! Russia! Russia!” they joke (ala “Marsha! Marsha! Marsha!”), with one Right-Wing cartoon depicting the GOP elephant talking about “Healthcare, economy and Jobs, Jobs, Jobs” while the Democratic donkey (in a straight-jacket with crossed-eyes) ranting “Russia! Russia! Russia!” Funny, it wasn’t terribly long ago Democrats were the ones working on healthcare, jobs and the economy, yet blocked by UNPRECEDENTED GOP obstruction while Republicans ranted about “Benghazi! Benghazi! Benghazi!” and “Kenya! Kenya! Kenya!” So give me a freakin’ break as you try to claim the moral high-ground. “Recording History for Those Who Seek to Rewrite It”, remember? That crap won’t fly here.

So, as Mark “Deep throat” Felt told Bob Woodward during Watergate, let’s “follow the money”…

The 2016 Presidential race made history as “the first Billion-dollar Campaign” in history where each of the top two nominees spent an estimated one Billion dollars to run for president (Trump about 1/3 less than Hillary’s $1.4B thanks to all the free air time & publicity he received from The Media he now so loves to hate.) I remember in 1992 when having Billionaire Ross Perot in the race resulted in the near-scandalous first “$100 Million dollar presidential race.”) Accusations of Perot trying “to buy the presidency” abound. Did you ever hear that ONCE in 2016?

But Trump isn’t as successful a businessman as he claimed… a fact we could confirm if he dared release his private & corporate tax returns… which he will NEVER do (despite once promising he would after his audit, then after winning.) In fact, after having filed for bankruptcy FOUR TIMES, the man who claimed to be worth “over Ten Billion dollars”, according to Forbes Magazine was estimated to only have assets in total worth of about $3.5 Billion… not too shabby, but that’s not LIQUID assets, and his campaign would have cost him nearly a third of his total NET worth… meaning a firesale of Trump assets just to pay for any “self-funded” campaign.

But in terms of LIQUID assets (cash, stocks, bonds, etc), Trump only had about $270 Million in the bank before he’d have to start selling off hotels just to pay the fuel bills on his aging 707. And as I already pointed out, he wasn’t even the biggest investor in his own campaign. So where did all that cash come from?

Well, I’m no accountant and I am NOT about to attempt an itemized audit of all the money spent on the Trump campaign, but we know (see my aforementioned “List”) he received hundreds of millions in bank loans from known Russian money launderers (DeutscheBank AND VEB), sold a $40million dollar property in Florida to a Russian fertilizer magnate (Dmitry Rybolovlev) sight-unseen for $95million (who never once visited the property before having it bulldozed after the election and resold at a $60million dollar loss), and now all these interactions with individual Russian money launderers behind closed doors. “Self-funded campaign” my ass.

I’m sure Trump’s loyal devotees… and likely Trump himself… think he is “carrying on the Reagan Legacy”. Considering that Reagan was a staunch anti-Communist who branded Russia “the Evil Empire” and stirred up the Cold War to levels not seen since The Cuban Missile Crisis, one can hardly imagine St. Ronnie’s reaction to the possibility that the man currently occupying his chair got there with the help of Russian intelligence subverting our democracy and millions in laundered cash from Russia, who then denies Russia’s involvement while advocating for a lifting of sanctions and a return of seized property to Russia in exchange for NOTHING… no consolations, agreements, treaties or prosecutions. If he weren’t already dead, that would surely have killed him.

(UPDATE: My thanks to “The Rachel Maddow Show” for pointing out on their 7/24/17 episode that back in October… before the election… the “CrowdStrike” Internet Security organization detected an unusual link between a computer server belonging to the Trump campaign and computer servers belonging to yet another Russian bank… “Alfa Bank”. According to “CrowdStrike”, “When the researchers pinged the server, they received error messages” meaning this was a near “dedicated connection” between the two computer servers. “Eighty-seven percent of the DNS lookups (by the Trump server) involved the two Alfa Bank servers.” As a PC tech in civilian life, I understand the lingo of computer networking and find this revelation damning… likely not a bigger story due to it’s complexity, but to me, it’s like finding a key to a Putin Love Nest in Trump’s desk drawer wrapped in a bow.)

This is a Constitutional crisis. Trump himself tweeted about his “complete power” to pardon anyone… even himself, and consulted his own lawyer about his power to pardon members of his staff, his family (think Kushner & Don Jr) and (yes) even himself (“Why?” Trump’s new Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci was asked repeatedly yesterday. “If [Trump] has done nothing wrong, why is he asking about his power to pardon himself?” “He’s done nothing wrong” was the repeated non-answer answer.) There’s a gray area here because the Constitution grants the president the power to pardon “anyone”, but does not specify whether he has the power to pardon himself. During Watergate, the question was raised whether Nixon might try to pardon himself and if that was even legal. After all, if a president can pardon himself (or anyone acting under his direction), he can commit any crime (or order others to do so) and just pardon himself/them after the fact. Legal scholars surmised at the time that this would probably not be legal because a “pardon” is an admission of guilt, which would instantly disqualify him from office. But such a case has NEVER (AFAIK) come before the Supreme Court (I contacted Senator Bernie Sanders about the need to pass a Constitutional Amendment forbidding it before Trump has a chance to put it to the test in front of his now-stacked Supreme Court.

If you’re a partisan Trump supporter, there’s a “legitimate” question in your mind: Is Trump doing a good enough job that we should just ignore his possible crimes and subversion of democracy? “He’s doing a good job” (in THEIR opinion) “So, let him do the work of the people and just forget about how he got there!” They’d point to a record high stock market, falling unemployment, and an anti-immigration agenda they are foursquare in support of. Trump supporters only see the parts they like. A few weeks ago, my own father cited: “[Trump] stopped Ford from leaving the country” in praise of him, but when I pointed out they only closed a plant in Mexico (they had already planed to do in 2015, but I digress) but announced they will be moving production of the Ford Focus to China, he wasn’t quite so pleased with him (the “good” news on the Ford move: no jobs lost because the same US plant will start making a different vehicle. Bad news: no jobs GAINED either by them doing it.)

Honestly, we just don’t know the effects of the Trump economy yet. Each President’s budget doesn’t go into effect until October (and I have little doubt Trump’s will be delayed), so we are still coasting on the last Obama budget.

But even so, do we ignore crimes of this magnitude just because we like the job the criminal is doing? Ask yourself, is there ANY question in your mind that if the tables were turned and Hillary Clinton were in office now with a GOP Congress, that they’d ALREADY be drafting articles of impeachment with a FRACTION of the evidence we have against Donald Trump? Benghazi, private email server, the (widely debunked) sale of Uranium to Ukraine, something-something “Clinton Foundation”? You think these same Republicans would be arguing “Let it go! She’s doing a good job!” That doesn’t pass the Laugh Test.

Trump’s campaign was financed using millions in laundered Russian crime money. And the number of times the phrase “Russian money launder” and the name “Trump” appear in the same sentence is too frequent to just be a coincidence.

Update: “New Republic” magazine’s Craig Unger recently published his own investigation into the Russian Mob laundering crime money through Trump real estate… not just buying & selling, but in some cases operating out of offices in Trump Tower itself. (Brief video interview with Unger here.)
 


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July 24, 2017 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Tags: , , , , , , , ,  · Posted in: Crime, Election, mystery, National Security, Politics, Rants, Right-Wing Hypocrisy, Scandals, Seems Obvious to Me

Critics Say Trump Jr Investigation is Evidence of a “Witch Hunt”. Nope, Same Hunt.

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I upset a number of readers back in 2014 when I argued that “Snowden is no hero“. Unlike GENUINE whistle-blowers who have my utmost respect, Edward Snowden didn’t see a wrong and attempt to right it, he sought out a job that would give him access to classified info, then stole that info en mas without having any idea if what he was stealing contained anything of social import, fled the country into the open arms of a nation hostile to the U.S., THEN read through everything he stole and decided ON HIS OWN what we deserved to know and what we didn’t. He even blackmailed the U.S. government by threatening to release even more classified documents if they came after him (so we don’t deserve to know what’s in a document unless he’s threatened?) Nothing Snowden did qualifies him as a “whistle-blower” or “hero” worthy of praise in my book.

Someone who agreed with me at the time was American reporter (working for The UK Guardian) Glenn Greenwald who was also a Bernie Sanders supporter like myself. Greenwald criticized Snowden’s actions when the story broke, but quickly changed his tune when Snowden picked HIM to be his inside man to tell his story. I’ve been critical of Greenwald’s “ethics for sale” ever since.

So it came as little surprise to me over the weekend when I heard Greenwald taking the side of critics of the Democrat’s investigation into Donald Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer back in June 2016, questioning if investigating Junior has anything to do with the original mission of “Whether or not the Russians [attempted to] hack our election?” To Greenwald, the investigation of Trump Jr has nothing to do with the original stated purpose of the investigation into alleged Russian hacking, and therefore does indeed make it appear to be a Democratic “witch hunt” just as Trump Jr. claims.

Wrong.

The point of the investigation has ALWAYS been whether or not the Russians meddled in the 2016 presidential campaign (and tangentially, whether or not anyone in the Trump campaign knowingly/willingly accepted that help.) And by that definition, the investigation into Don Jr’s meeting with a Russian lawyer promising him dirt on Clinton is absolutely still well within the focus of the investigation and NOT evidence of any “witch hunt.”

Which is really quite insane coming from Conservatives. I guess one must be over the age of 40 (Junior is 39) to remember the Clinton Presidency and the ceaseless parade of ever-changing investigations of Bill Clinton. The GOP demanded (and got) a Special Prosecutor named Ken Starr… originally hired to investigate whether or not then-Governor Bill Clinton was shown favoritism in a failed Arkansas real estate deal known as “Whitewater”. That SAME investigation morphed REPEATEDLY over time to include investigations of the White House Christmas card list (“were taxpayers footing the bill for all those stamps?”), the “Socks the Cat Fan Club” mailing list (ditto), Trooper-gate (did then-Governor Clinton use local cops to shuttle girlfriends in & out of the Governors’ Mansion?) and eventually the Lewinski Scandal (with plenty of other investigations in between.) Was any of that related to “Whitewater” (their original stated purpose?) Of course not. Was any of that as great a threat to the very foundation of our democracy as the Russian Meddling investigation being conducted today?

And now Conservatives think Democrats are on a “witch hunt”… or so says the man who questioned his predecessor’s place of birth for eight straight years to make the case he was not a legitimate president.

A number of news sources have published timelines of the Don Jr meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskya to question who knew what & when (please note that… unlike in the United States… NOTHING happens concerning Russian citizens conducting business in another country without the Russian government’s knowledge & approval) to demonstrate that members of Trump’s inner-circle… including the man himself… LIED about having no contact with Russian officials during the campaign. To that, I’d like to add a couple of details:

  • June 3, 2016: A friend of the Trump’s, a man named Rob Goldstone, a British publicist who managed the 2013 Miss Universe pageant for Trump (held in Moscow that year), sent an email to Don Jr telling him that the Russian government wanted to assist his father’s campaign by providing him with “high-level information” about Hillary Clinton:
     

    Goldstone Email to Don Jr.

     

    Rather than be alarmed that a (hostile) foreign government was attempting to aid his father’s campaign, and then notify the FBI, Don Jr. held on to the message and waited several days before responding:

  •  

  • On June 6th, 2016, angered by allegations that anyone in his father’s campaign might be “colluding with the Russians” (later their defense would morph into “Russian officials“), Don Jr. went on ABC’s “Good Morning America” to angrily denounce any allegations that anyone in his fathers campaign had been in contact with “the Russians” (again, still not yet using the “officials” qualifier.)
  •  

  • June 7, 2016, THE VERY NEXT DAY, Trump Jr responds to Goldstone’s email, asking him to set up the meeting with Russian lawyer Veselnitskya and that they could meet at Trump Tower in NYC. Don then emails his brother-in-law Jared Kushner and his fathers campaign manager Paul Manafort (who would later be forced to resign when it was revealed he had worked as a lobbyist on behalf of the Russian government) and invites them to join him in the meeting with the Russian lawyer promising dirt on Clinton provided by the Russian government. The inclusion of Manafort is a HUGE problem for the Trump campaign because Don Jr could rationalize that nether he nor Kushner (at the time) actually worked FOR the campaign and therefor what he told GMA (and everyone else) was not a “lie”, but Manafort’s presence destroys that defense.
  •  

  • According to Don Jr, the stated purpose of the meeting was “to discuss Russian/American adoption”… which Putin had suspended in retaliation for the “Magnitsky Act”. Even if that were true, the only way the adoption embargo would end is if that Act (which made Putin quite angry) were repealed, so really, Veselnitskya’s goal was to seek the repeal of “The Magnitsky Act”, not concern over International adoption.
     
    But for Don Jr… who now claims the meeting was just about “adoption”… that was NOT why HE excitedly agreed to the meeting. HIS focus was the promise of “dirt” on Hillary Clinton provided by the Russian government.
  •  

  • Same day, just hours later, Trump Sr. declares he’s going to give “a major speech” in the coming days regarding “all of the things that have taken place with the Clinton’s” that he felt sure his supporters would find “very informative.”
  •  

  • June 9th, 2016, the meeting takes place in Trump Tower (one floor below his father’s office). It quickly becomes apparent to Kushner & Manafort that Veselnitskya had “nothing” and left after “10 minutes”. Don Jr also left the meeting after coming to the same conclusion after 20 minutes. Remember at the the time, accusations were flying that Russia was behind the hacking of the DNC and the stolen Podesta emails that had appeared on a Russian website.) Don Jr. was clearly expecting salacious information revealed in those emails. The fact they produced “nothing” highlights the fact there was nothing highly controversial in those stolen emails to begin with the way many continue to insist.
  •  

  • As a result of this “nothing burger”, Trump Sr’s “major speech” regarding the Clinton campaign never takes place (if he didn’t know about the meeting, then what “very interesting” information did he think he was about to reveal and what happened to it?)

The investigation into the details of Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer… and now we know (no thanks to him) that the meeting also included Goldstone, a Russian/American lobbyist named “Rinat Akhmetshin”, a translator, and a yet-to-be-identified Russian security officer… continues.

Trump Sr. says his son just did “what anyone would have done in his situation” when offered “opposition research”. During the 2000 presidential campaign, just prior to the September debate, the Al Gore Campaign received a package in the mail containing stolen material from the Bush campaign. The Gore Campaign’s response was to call the FBI.

Maybe “excitedly agreeing to meet with a hostile foreign power in hopes of obtaining stolen property you believe will benefit your campaign” is what “anyone with the last name of Trump” might do, but it is definitely not what “anyone” would have done in his position.

And continuing to investigate Russian efforts to meddle in our (past and FUTURE) election(s), and the apparent willingness of people associated with the Trump campaign to support those efforts, is ENTIRELY the point of the Democratic investigation into Russian meddling. A single hack is barely a footnote in this investigation, and if all we did was restrict our focus into “who hacked the DNC”, we’d be ignoring the greatest threat to our democracy since the War of 1812.
 

Conservatives turn on Trump, pt2

 


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July 17, 2017 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Posted in: Crime, Election, mystery, myth busting, National Security, Politics, rewriting history, Right-Wing Hypocrisy, Scandals

Republicans Can’t Devise a Health Care Plan because they DON’T WANT a plan

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Two weeks ago, everyone was expecting the GOP to vote to repeal “ObamaCare” before the July 4th break (with no replacement) just so they could return home to “cheering crowds” to whom they could announce, “We did it! We got rid of ObamaCare!”

Everyone… except Me that is.

I don’t know what kind of fantasy world these people live in, but their efforts to repeal the ACA with no replacement was NOT received warmly… unless you count “torches” as a “warm” reception.

Instead, in town halls across the country, angry voters ridiculed “heartless” GOP efforts to take away their existing healthcare and replace it “later”… “someday soon”… with something really peachy keen. Something “better” than “ObamaCare”, cover “more people” and provide “more choices”. Oh, and it’ll be “cheaper” too!

“Just don’t ask us how.”

The reason why Republicans have yet to devise a health care plan that meets all those criteria (besides the fact it has no basis in reality) is because the very thing they are trying to do… create an entire system of government regulations over health care… is an anathema to everything they believe in. A blind man might be able to paint, and hell, even Beethoven was almost totally deaf when he wrote his last symphony, but there’s a reason you don’t hire a Creationist to teach Science Class, or someone who hates children to babysit your kids. Their heart just isn’t in it. It would be like asking an arsonist to think up ways to put out fires (and once they do, would it shock you to find half their “solutions” require gasoline?)

And there’s a reason you don’t ask Republicans to write bills to regulate an entire life & death industry like health care: Because their first instinct is to burn it to the ground, not find ways to put the fire out.

So in the end, you have Republicans divided between those who WANT to ensure every American has health care, and those who don’t want the government involved in ANY way, shape or form. So is it any wonder Republicans can’t agree on a way to “fix” healthcare?

And they never will, because there just is no middle ground between those two extremes. In the end, if Republicans in Congress DO finally vote on a “solution”, it will be to pawn the whole mess off on the states and let each one come up with their own solution… without ANY assistance from the Federal government. Not in the form of Regulations and (doubtfully) not in the form of financial assistance. In short, the only answer Republicans will be able to agree upon is to do nothing and dump the problem off on someone else (the states.)

And states with Republican governors and/or legislatures won’t want to get involved either, so they will abdicate THEIR power… in this case their state insurance regulatory boards… and just let their residents buy insurance from whatever state with the most lax insurance laws allows them to buy the cheapest, most worthless policies imaginable.

If your goal is to improve the health of every American and improve outcomes, then this plan will fail miserably. But if your plan is for every American to be able to afford a worthless policy (or go completely without if they so choose) that gives everyone a false sense of security at a very low rate, then the GOP plan will be a triumphant success!

A week ago on “Meet the Press”, Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) said he wanted Republicans to devise a healthcare plan that moved “upper level” people off Medicare and onto “Private Insurance” because it would allow them to advance in their careers “without fear of losing their insurance” [because they’d make too much money to qualify for Medicare.] In Cassidy’s myopic Conservative view, he simply wants everyone off Medicare and sees it as a hindrance to occupational advancement. Meanwhile, Democrats like me wonder why EVERYONE isn’t guaranteed at least minimum basic coverage through Medicare? You can’t be “kicked off” just for making too much, so Cassidy’s odd concern for people worried about “making too much that may cost them their Medicare”, would no longer be a concern. Medicare is already an in-place and working health insurance program covering millions of Americans. No “new” government system would have to be devised if we just opened it up to everyone.

Think how much every American pays per year for Private Insurance? $5,000? $10,000 per family member? What if you didn’t have to buy private insurance at all (unless you want “Premium” care?) Would you be willing to pay an extra $99/month in taxes for guaranteed basic minimum coverage under Medicare if it meant eliminating those costly private insurance premiums? See any doctor you like (yes, “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.”) How much would you save? $400/month? $800? A $1,000?

And if you want “Premium” care, like “a private room” when you’re in the hospital, or “Specialists” to treat you when you get sick, you can buy a “supplemental” policy, keeping the insurance companies, medical billing agencies, etc all in business without destroying an entire industry and putting hundreds of thousands out of work?

If Senator Cassidy REALLY wants people to have something “guaranteed” that isn’t taken away just because they make too much money, maybe he needs to talk to some Democrats?

Another option: The Public Option. This is the simplest solution, where Medicare is allowed to compete with Private Insurance. Republicans complain of (Red) states where the people “only have ONE choice” of insurance provider. And without any competition, their rates skyrocket. Let Medicare compete with private insurance. Consumers are instantly given a second choice and private insurance must lower rates to compete. Problem solved.

Except for the fact Republicans DON’T WANT more people on a program they’ve been trying to kill since it’s inception. And private insurance would ALSO still have to accept people with “preexisting conditions” to ensure every person with PXC’s weren’t simply dumped off on Medicare. That’s a “regulation”, and Republicans HATE those! Ronald Reagan called Medicare “a foot in the door to Socialism”, and more recently, Ben “Sleepy” Carson and Sen. Rand Paul both equated guaranteed healthcare with “slavery [for physicians]” (yeah, don’t ask me to explain that.) Sarah Palin… who (shocker) had no clue what she was talking about… terrified the stupid by claiming that a public option would lead to “[government] death panels” (Medicare has been around since 1965. No “Death Panels”… unlike the PRIVATE insurance system we have now that denies thousands of claims daily.) A “Public Option” was part of the Democrats original healthcare plan in 2009. Democrats had exactly 60 senators (briefly. Just 24 working days), just enough to pass any legislation they wanted, except one “Democrat”… a disturbingly Conservative Democrat named Joe Liebermann (best remembered for being part of the Liebermann/McCain/Graham trio that pushed for war in Iraq and then continued to insist victory was always just around the corner for the remainder of the Bush presidency) declared that if The ACA included a “Public Option”, he’d vote with the Republicans to kill it. So the Public Option was stripped out (without a fight), rates went up for many poor Americans (because they could no longer get cheap worthless policies that covered nothing) and many Red state citizens were left with only one choice in their healthcare exchange. Republicans have been using every negative consequence of that decision as an excuse to kill off “ObamaCare” as a “failed” system.

But with the changes to health care Republicans are proposing, you will once again be able to get those cheap worthless policies whose greatest value is in the false sense of security they give you. And to keep rates low, insurance companies will once again be allowed to deny you coverage for a preexisting condition… because in Republican Land, survival of the insurance companies is more important than the survival of its citizens.

In 1994, during President Bill Clinton’s second State of the Union address, he announced his desire for Congress to create a National Healthcare System where every citizen was issued a government insurance card… similar to your Social Security card… that would entitle you to free (“taxpayer financed”) care in any hospital in the country. And Hillary Clinton would be in charge of developing this program. Democrats cheered. Republicans were horrified. A massive new taxpayer funded entitlement? But how to scare people into fearing “free” healthcare? The part about the magnetic strip on the back giving doctors access to all of your medical records was touted as an enormous security risk and/or privacy violation. “Just imagine what someone could DO with all that private information!” they cried. Of course, the technology in 1993 wasn’t advanced enough to fit all of your medical records on a tiny magnet strip that holds at most 256 characters worth of information. But critics started talking about “X-Rays and detailed medical records” all being stored on that tiny card. And “What if you lost it!” Gasp! All of your medical records GONE!

The hysteria reached epic proportions, and you just can’t reason with millions of hysterical irrational people who were being encouraged to be hysterical & irrational by Republicans in Congress. By the end of 1994, the hysteria helped bring about “The Gingrich Revolution” where Republicans seized control of the House of Representatives for the first time in over 40 years.) And with that, healthcare reform was dead.

Until a Democratic majority in the House and Democratic Super Majority in the Senate in 2009, unencumbered by Right Wing hysteria, made tackling it a very real possibility once again.

And now Republicans are in charge. But they don’t have a Super Majority in the Senate, so the only way they can change healthcare is if they do it through “Budget Reconciliation”… changing the existing law in such a way that it doesn’t cost any more money. And THAT only requires 50+1 votes. Yet so far, they can’t even do THAT because (as I pointed out), you can’t ask chronic Deregulators to write a host of new Regulations. Their natural instinct is to kill it.

…Or pass the buck off on the states and let them handle it… which is EXACTLY what I predict they will do (but not anytime soon.) To quote DNC Leader Tom Perez on “Meet the Press” yesterday, “You don’t fight a fire with only 5 gallons of gas.” [sic]
 


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July 10, 2017 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Posted in: Healthcare, Money, myth busting, Partisanship, Party of Life, Right-Wing Insanity, Seems Obvious to Me

The (In)Complete (and Growing) List of Ridiculous Trump Superlatives

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(Last update: 9/1/17)
 
When I was in high school, I had a friend who just couldn’t resist making up outrageous lies about himself. Claims of sexual conquests with women we’d never met and near super-human feats of fighting off bad guys with ninja weaponry that always took place just out of the sight of friends or witnesses. And it didn’t matter how much he was ridiculed for his tall tales, he just couldn’t stop himself from telling them. Truthfully, I think it was part of some desperate need to be liked, to impress people, and convince others he was more interesting than he really was. Similarly, the 71 year old man/child currently occupying the White House suffers from this same affliction, making ridiculous boasts of near super-human insight & abilities that you’d expect more from a toddler desperate for the attention of Mommy & Daddy than from the “Commander-in-Chief” of the United States (not “Leader of the Free World”… that title now belongs to German Chancellor Angela Merkel.) Last March, when I couldn’t find a really comprehensive list of every known connection between the Trump Campaign and Russia that I could direct reality-challenged Trump-Supporters to, I started my own. I found myself in a similar situation a couple of weeks ago when Toddler-Trump made his latest absurd claim that he… with the “possible” exception of FDR… had been “the most productive president in American history” by this point in their administration. “What?”, I hear you asking. “Is that true?” No, it’s not true (as if I had to tell you.) Actually, in total, Trump actually comes in fifth… IF you count ALL legislation AND every Executive Order (remember those? Those unbearably “unconstitutional” acts of presidential abuse of power Trump accused Obama of?) as equal. It also helps when you don’t have an “obstruct everything in sight… even stuff they supported” opposition Party in control of Congress stopping you at every turn the way Republicans did to Obama (but I digress.) Like that insecure high-school buddy of mine whom had an almost pathological need to spin tall tales about himself with no connection to reality in a desperate bid to impress people, Trump likewise has this absurd childlike need to convince everyone he is the biggest, greatest, “most successful”, smartest person on the planet and we mere mortals are damn lucky to have him toiling for us in the salt mines of Mar-a-Lago, asking nothing in return… all the while making absurd claims about himself often refuted by documented history, facts, even audio tapes and photographic evidence to the contrary.

I noticed this ridiculous habit of his early on in his campaign, but HBO’s Bill Maher also mentioned it on his show RealTime a few moths ago, noting how Trump can’t simply be “good” at something, he must always be “the best. No one is greater than me” to the point of absurdity.

Trump’s very first public meeting of his full cabinet a couple of weeks ago became an embarrassing spectacle as each cabinet member (sans McMaster) took turns stroking Trump’s massive ego & kissing his ass, fawning over him like he just cured cancer in his spare time, telling him what an amazing man he is and what an honor it is to be serving in his administration. Feeding his narcissism the way the office-lackey tells the boss his butt-ugly new baby is the most adorable child they’ve ever seen in their lives.

I searched online for a single comprehensive list of every absurd Trump superlative but only found a few lists of some of his “greatest hits”. So, like my continually updated list of Trump/Russia ties [link under “Most Popular” on right], I’ve decided to start my own continually updated list of Ridiculous Trump Superlatives that I plan to update for as long as he remains in office (which, God Willing, won’t be long.) Note that I’m quite confident I’ll be updating this list often because… no matter how many times you warn him, Toddler-Trump just HAS to touch the hot stove. If Sarah Palin has proven anything: birds gotta fly, fish gotta swim, and stupid people just gotta say stupid stuff in public. You might as well ask the wind to stop blowing.

So I scoured the Internet for ridiculous Trump claims of being “the best…” at something or “the most…” regarding himself or something that was impacted by his greatness. Here (in no particular order) is my Starter List of absurd Trump boasts (BTW, NONE of these boasts are true.) Try not to let your eyes roll out of your head:

  1. The incident that got me started on this list, Trump’s recent claim: Never has there been a president — with few exceptions, in the case of FDR he had a major Depression to handle — who’s passed more legislation, who’s done more things than what we’ve done.”June 12, 2017 (Trump has not had a single major legislative accomplishment since taking office despite having his own Party in control of Congress. No immigration bill, the wall still isn’t being been built, “ObamaCare” hasn’t been Replaced, ISIS hasn’t been defeated, China is still manipulating their currency, and on & on…)
  2.  

  3. Trump bragged of having the foresight to oppose the invasion of Iraq… even AFTER having been caught on tape SUPPORTING the war in an interview on Howard Stern’s radio show. Trump countered by claiming he had confided to Fox’s Sean Hannity… in private… that he had argued against the invasion of Iraq, citing an interview on Hannity’s radio show months AFTER the invasion as “proof”.
  4.  

  5. “Happy #CincoDeMayo! The best taco bowls are made in Trump Tower Grill. I love Hispanics!” – Trump’s Facebook page, May 5, 2016
  6.  

  7. “I write a book called The Art of the Deal, the No. 1 selling business book of all time.” – Trump on the Don Lemon radio show, July 1, 2015
  8.  

  9. “I am the least anti-Semitic person that you’ve ever seen in your entire life.” – Feb 16, 2017
  10.  

  11. “[P]riming the pump… Have you heard that expression used before? I haven’t heard it … I came up with it a couple of days ago and I thought it was good.” – Trump in an interview with The Economist, May 11, 2017 (I saw an old 1974 episode of Johnny Carson the other day where he joked about Nixon’s idea of “priming the pump” was to spike gas prices to distract from Watergate.)
  12.  

  13. [My building at 40 Wall Street] “is now the tallest building in Lower Manhattan.” – Trump calling in to WWOR Channel 9 News in NY making the false claim/brag just hours after the 9/11 attacks left nearly 3,000 people dead.
  14.  

  15. “Sorry losers and haters, but my I.Q. is one of the highest — and you all know it! Please don’t feel so stupid or insecure, it’s not your fault.” – in a 2013 tweet.
  16.  

  17. “I Know Words, I Have The Best Words.” – Dec 30, 2015
  18.  

  19. “I’m, like, a smart person.” […] “I went to the Wharton School of Finance. I got very good marks. I was a good student. It’s the best business school in the world, as far as I’m concerned.” […] “Look, if I were a liberal Democrat, people would say I’m the super genius of all time. The super genius of all time.”
  20.  

  21. “We have a lot of smart people. I tell you what. One thing we’ve learned. We have, by far, the highest IQ of any cabinet ever.” – Jan 19, 2017
  22.  

  23. “Just arrived in Italy for the G7. Trip has been very successful. We made and saved the USA many billions of dollars and millions of jobs.” — May 26, 2017.
  24.  

  25. Spicer: Trump’s “historic” speech to the leaders of more than 50 Arab and Muslim nations “was a historic turning point that people will be talking about for years to come” and “was met with nearly universal praise.” [The president] single-handedly united the civilized world in the fight against terrorism and extremism” and that his meetings at the Group of Seven summit in Sicily “were marked by outstanding success.”
  26.  

  27. “We’ve had ‘one of the most successful 13 weeks’ in history.” – Trump on his first 100 days. April 6, 2017
  28.  

  29. “In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.” – Nov 27, 2016 (No, no you didn’t.)
  30.  

  31. I’m the biggest developer in New York by far. There’s nobody even closer.” – Trump on the pilot episode of The Apprentice.
  32.  

  33. Trump in front of CIA memorial: [The inaugural crowd] “looked honestly like a million-and-a-half people. It went all the way back to the Washington Monument. [But instead of the crowds, the media showed] an empty field and it said we drew [only] 250,000 people. Now that’s not bad, but it’s a lie.”
    Sean Spicer the next day: “the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe”.
  34.  

  35. “I guess it was the biggest electoral college win since Ronald Reagan.” – Feb 16, 2017 (It wasn’t even the biggest Electoral College win since Obama. Only one-termers Poppy Bush and Carter received fewer EV’s.)
  36.  

  37. “Elijah Cummings was in my office and he said, ‘You will go down as one of the great presidents in the history of our country.’” (No. Actually, Cummings said “You could, IF you…”)
  38.  

  39. “This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!” – May 18, 2017. (So says the man who challenged the legitimacy of his predecessor by questioning his place of birth for nine years.)
  40.  

  41. [The] “most unfairly treated politician in history.” (So the list goes Trump, Gandhi, Mandela, Lincoln. Got it.)
  42.  

  43. I would use the greatest minds. I know the best negotiators. I’m in New York — I know the good ones, the bad ones. I always say: ‘I know the ones people think are good.’ I know people you’ve never heard of that are better than all of them.” (He then appoints Ben “Sleepy” Carson… a surgeon… to head HUD, and Rick “Oops” Perry to head the very department (DoE) he once said we needed to get rid of… not knowing it was in charge of our Nuclear Weapons.)
  44.  

  45. “Hillary Clinton was the worst secretary of state in the history of the United States. Hillary was the worst. In the history of the United States there’s never been a secretary of state so bad as Hillary.
     
  46.  

  47. I’m the most militaristic person.” (Except for that time he avoided serving in Vietnam. And is being “the most militaristic” really a good thing?)
  48.  

  49. “I will be the greatest jobs president that God ever created.” (Often, Trump attributes divine favor for his talents.) Fact-check: He’s off to a bad start.
  50.  
    And most famously…
     

  51. “If elected, Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.” Trump’s doctor, Dr. Harold Bornstein in the statement released by Trump’s campaign. Dec 14, 2015
     
    Fat Trump

 
(In case you’re looking for it, I thought Trump had said, “Nobody will be a bigger defender/supporter of LGBTQ Rights than me”… or something along those lines, but he never did. At the RNC Convention, he only promised: “As your president, I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology.” [I guess “foreign” being the operable word here.] And in a tweet, stated: “Thank you to the LGBT community! I will fight for you while Hillary brings in more people that will threaten your freedoms and beliefs.” And now that he’s in office, he (falsely) declares (part 1, part 2, part 3): After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow……” [cue 9 minute freak out as military wonders just what the Toddler-in-Chief “won’t allow”.] “….Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming…..” [4 more minutes] “….victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you”. Thank you? Seriously?)
 


 

Update #1: Found this video online of Trump claiming to be The Best at various things:
 


 

Claims made in the video:

  1. “No one can do it [the job of president] like me.”
  2.  

  3. “Nobody is stronger than me [as a candidate].”
  4.  

  5. “Nobody has better toys than I do.” (yeah, that’s what he said.)
  6.  

  7. “Nobody is bigger or better at the military than I am.” (Bigger?)
  8.  

  9. “Nobody loves the Bible more than I do.” (Sorry, Pope dude!)
  10.  

  11. “I will build a great wall . . . and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me.” – (China built a fairly “Great Wall”, too.)
  12.  

  13. “Nobody’s better to people with disabilities than me.” (yeah, we know how great you are towards the disabled.)
  14.  

  15. “Nobody is fighting for the veterans like I’m fighting for the veterans.” (In response to charges his veterans charity was a fraud.)
  16.  

  17. “There’s nobody who’s done so much for equality as I have.” – (Beyond his recent move to kick Transgender soldiers out of the military, on 8/31/17, Trump repealed a key component of the “Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act” that requires corporations to report pay by race & gender, saving corporations a whopping $400/yr.)
  18.  

  19. “There’s nobody more pro-Israel than I am.”
  20.  

  21. “There is nobody more Conservative than me.”
  22.  

  23. “There is no one who respects women more than I do.” (Just ask Megan Kelly!)
  24.  

  25. “Nobody would be tougher on ISIS than Donald Trump.” (There’s just something about people who refer to themselves in the third person…)
  26.  

  27. “Nobody has ever had crowds like Trump has had.”
  28.  

  29. “There’s nobody that understands the horror of nuclear [sic] better than me.” (Nuclear what? Weapons? Power? And the Empire of Japan would like to have a talk with you.)
  30.  

  31. “Nobody understands it better than me. It’s called ‘devaluation’ [of Chinese currency].” (He says while glancing down at his notes.)
  32.  

  33. “The sale of the uranium that nobody knows what it means. ‘I’ know what it means!”
  34.  

  35. “Nobody knows more about trade than me.”
  36.  

  37. “Nobody knows the game better than me.”
  38.  

  39. “Nobody in the history of this country has known so much about infrastructure as Donald Trump.”
  40.  

  41. “I know the H1B. I know the H2B. Nobody knows it better than me.” (Types of work visas for hiring foreigners.)
  42.  

  43. “Nobody knows politicians better than I do.”
  44.  

  45. “Nobody knows more about taxes than I do.” (Especially how to avoid paying them.)
  46.  

  47. “Nobody knows more about debt than I do.” (Because he’s spent so much time in it?)
  48.  

  49. “Nobody knows the system better than me.”

 
…and many, MANY more to come I’m sure. Trump calls The Media “liars” because they keep calling him out on his lies… lies that he is dead certain are in fact the truth. That list may seem much shorter than you were expecting (and I might have missed a few), but… while a few are several years old… for the most part, it comes to about two outrageous boasts per month since he declared his candidacy 24-months ago.
 


 
Update #2: Trump announced at a “rally” in Youngstown, Ohio (7/26/17) that, “With the exception of the late, great Abraham Lincoln, I can be more presidential than any president that’s ever held this office.” Previously in March of this year, Trump said of Lincoln, “Great president. Most people don’t even know he was a Republican. Right? Does anyone know? A lot of people don’t know that.” I guess he’s never heard HIS OWN PARTY refer to themselves as “The Party of Lincoln” for the past 37 years? Once again, Trump is amazed to learn something every child knows, because he only now at the age on 71 has started paying attention and thinks he’s imparting rare wisdom among the masses (his ego assumes if he didn’t know, then most people don’t.) And considering his fan-base, he may be right.

Update #3: Trump falsely claims the head of the Boy Scouts called to praise him for his speech before the Boy Scout jamboree last week claiming he was told he gave “the greatest speech that was ever made to them.” Trump’s speech was widely ridiculed for making the speech political (30 seconds after he said he wouldn’t), ridiculing President Obama for not visiting their last event and bragging of his (fictional) political “successes”. While it is possible the Scouts are the ones lying about calling Trump (yeah, right), it is unlikely they told him he gave “the greatest speech ever.”

Update #4: Even a natural disaster can’t simply be bad in the age of Trump, it must be The biggest ever. It’s historic. There’s never been anything like it.” (presumably to heighten his handling of it.) Hurricane Harvey strikes the Texas coast as a Category-4 and dumps a massive amount of rain. For the record, 31 Cat-5 hurricanes have struck the U.S. since 1924.

Update #5: In July, during his very first trip to Europe as president, Trump boasted of the reception he received in Poland, declaring: “So I go to Poland and make a speech. Enemies of mine in the media, enemies of mine are saying it was the greatest speech ever made on foreign soil by a president.

Update #5b: (Not a Trump superlative, but a crucial addition to this list) White House spokesperson KellyAnn Conway goes on the Christian Broadcasting Network and tells televangelist Pat Robertson (with a straight face) that Trump’s greatest trait is “his humility.”

Update #6: Also related to the above, from Trump’s post-victory interview on 60 Minutes, Trump bragging to Leslie Stahl about how humble he is, declaring “I think I’m more humble than YOU can understand.”
 

Bookmark this page and be sure to check back often.
 


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July 3, 2017 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,  · Posted in: General, myth busting, rewriting history, Right-Wing Insanity

Conway Admits Trump Told of Russian Hacking in JANUARY yet continued to deny. Pushed to ease sanctions.

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It was a bit like hearing someone mention in passing that “little green men” are advising Trump on foreign policy and thinking nothing of it. Yesterday/Sunday, the Trump administration allowed adviser KellyAnn Conway out of whatever box they’ve been hiding her in ever since she coined the term “Alternative facts” during “Meet the Press” last January, to repeat/defend Trump’s recent acknowledgement of reality the fact Russia DID indeed attempt to hack the 2016 election. Trump tweeted last week an accusation that Russian hacking took place “on Obama’s watch and yet he did nothing about it.” Ignoring for a moment the false charge that Obama “did nothing about it” (an extensive detailing of Obama’s response by the WaPo), the bigger news was that Trump seems to have finally acknowledged what he has denied ever since the election: that Russia DID indeed attempt to hack the U.S. presidential election. Trump has consistently denied this to be the case (yet never once ordering the FBI/CIA/NSA to look into it), rejecting the conclusion of SEVENTEEN (pdf) intelligence agencies and security firms ALL in agreement that without question, Vladimir Putin himself directed his intelligence/spy agencies to actively hack at least 21 state election servers during the 2016 election. So my ears perked up in astonishment when Conway let slip yesterday that Trump… while still president-elect… had been informed way back in JANUARY that Russia had attempted to hack our election AND that he called those actions “disgraceful”. So why… as recently as LAST WEEK… was Trump STILL dismissing claims of Russian hacking and pushing Congress to lift/ease sanctions on Russia imposed by the Obama Administration in retaliation for that meddling?

Here is the passing remark made by Conway during ABC’s ThisWeek that caused my eyes to bulge out of my head:
 

(:50 seconds)

 

WHAT??? Trump was not only informed of the hacking five months ago, but acknowledged it as both true and serious, yet not only continued to deny it, but even worked to REWARD them for it???

How is that not a scandal?

Ask yourself WHY would a president actively try to convince Americans that something “didn’t happen” that he himself already acknowledged months before to be true? Not only that, but then go on to actively try to reduce… or possibly lift entirely… sanctions that were imposed upon Russia as punishment for doing so?

Tell me again how the investigation into possible Trump/Russia collusion is “a witch hunt”?

I have continued to update my List of Trump’s Russia Ties since it was published last March. Since then, I have added more than TWENTY additional links (in addition to the more than dozen original links) between the Trump campaign and Russian officials/representatives. STILL, people ask “where’s the evidence of collusion?” (The next big line of defense to listen for: Right-Wingers are already arguing “collusion [a presidential candidate collaborating with a hostile foreign government to undermine our election] is not a crime.” Seriously. Think they’d be just as blase’ about it if it were Hillary? (I seem to remember Republicans making a big stink over All Gore accepting campaign contributions from Buddhist monks back in 2000.)

Defenders of Trump and/or Russia have little to no credibility. Present them with evidence, and their reaction is to simply dismiss it out-of-hand. But provide a link to a partisan hack with zero credibility defending Trump by citing something out of context, and THAT’S gospel. I group Russian-hacking deniers in the same crowd as Climate Change deniers. No amount of evidence is proof enough for them. Cranks with their own agenda talk about the ONE glacier that’s “growing” to distract from the 99 that are shrinking as some sort of “proof” that everything we’ve been told about Global Warming is some bizarre conspiracy to advance some insane agenda known only to them. “9/11 Truthers” continue to deny any evidence that contradicts what they’ve convinced themselves is true (the most sophisticated and massive conspiracy in history pulled off by the most inept administration in history just months into office) because it doesn’t comport with their reality. The only “truth” they trust is that which “confirms” what they already desperately want to believe (Fox built an entire network on that philosophy. And InfoWar’s Alex Jones is their light-bringer.)

James Clapper, former Director of National Intelligence testified on May 8th that he “can’t comment” on whether or not he has seen evidence linking Trump to Russia because it “impacts an [active] investigation.” Before FBI Director James Comey was fired, he asked for more resources to investigate Trump’s Russian business ties and had started receiving briefings on those ties daily instead of just weekly. Trump had already previously fired two people with the power to investigate him: Preet Bharara, NY State Attorney in charge of investigating NYC/Wall Street financial crimes, and acting Attorney General Sally Yates… who informed Trump his National Security Director (Mike Flynn) lied about his ties to Turkey & Russia yet kept him on for more than three weeks afterwards anyway, before firing him when the Press started asking questions.

If Hillary Clinton had won the election and was accused of these same acts, is there ANY doubt Republicans would already be drafting Articles of Impeachment against her? At the Comey hearing last month, several Republicans used the event to question Comey about Hillary Clinton, her emails, and her husband having a private “chat” with then Attorney General Loretta Lynch. For Republicans, Trump publicly admitting to “obstruction of justice” on national TV, and now one of his own top advisors admitting that he actively sought to convince the American public that a charge HE HIMSELF knew to be true (Russian hacking) was instead “fake news” and has been actively trying to reduce/remove the sanctions imposed on Russia for doing so in spite of knowing the truth, isn’t a matter worthy of our concern. That’s beyond outrageous…

…It’s grounds for impeachment.
 


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June 26, 2017 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,  · Posted in: Crime, Election, mystery, myth busting, National Security, Partisanship, Politics, Rants, rewriting history, Right-wing Facism, Right-Wing Insanity, Scandals, Seems Obvious to Me