I’ll Support Hillary, BUT… Making the case against Clinton (without helping Republicans)

 

First, the obligatory disclaimer: Though I am a Bernie supporter, if Hillary is the nominee, I will vote for her. Quite frankly, I resent even having to say that. My Democratic bona fides have never been in question, but for some reason, every criticism of Hillary Clinton has been deemed “sexist” and her critics “misogynists” (but for some reason, I can’t accuse them of being “anti-Semites” for attacking Bernie.) In 2004, I was an outspoken supporter of Howard Dean… an unabashed & unapologetic Liberal. I made the case for choosing Dean over his rivals, but when John Kerry became the Party’s nominee, I campaigned for him, even volunteering at the local DNC, making and distributing Kerry yard signs and manning the front desk at my local DNC campaign office. But before that, no one ever accused me of launching “personal attacks” against Kerry for questioning just how Liberal he truly was. In 2008, my preferred candidate was former UN Ambassador Bill Richardson because after eight years of George Bush’s war-mongering, I wanted a diplomat for president. I must admit I’ve never been a fan of Hillary Clinton because she has always been a “hawk” when it comes to using military force. Even now, as she tells audiences she would only use force “as a last resort, not first”, she is inconsistent (more on that below.) Yet, despite her vote for the Iraq War (a misnomer), when Richardson dropped out after the New Hampshire primary, I threw my support to Clinton, in part because of her history of supporting “Universal Health Care” (I also foolishly believed this nation was not ready to elect a “black” president, and also some concern his nomination would drive racist Republicans to the polls en masse to defeat him.) But as the race tightened and her “inevitable win” started to look less & less “inevitable”, her rhetoric became more and more aggressive as she saw the presidency slipping away. The capper was March 3, 2008 when she told reporters that “[Republican front-runner] John McCain” was “more prepared to be president” than Barack Obama. That day, I switched my support to Barack Obama and never looked back. I have not seen anything since, that demonstrates she won’t throw fellow Democrats under the bus if she thinks it will help her politically. To the contrary, she has only reinforced that belief.

When it comes to foreign policy, Hillary has always been a hawk. During the 2008 campaign, she was already saber-rattling against “Iran’s nuclear program”, threatening military action if they didn’t abandon their pursuit, to distinguish herself from Senator Obama who advocated “negotiations” (aka: “diplomacy”):
 


 
Then upon winning the presidency, Obama made her his chief diplomat (a decision that still baffles me), directing her to open a channel to begin negotiations with Iran… the very thing she criticized him for and is now taking credit for as making Obama’s historic nuclear agreement possible. YET, while she was Secretary of State, she was STILL publicly denouncing Iran as “a state sponsor of terrorism” and pursuing nuclear weapons… which might be true, but isn’t something your chief diplomat should be saying publicly when they’re trying to bring them to the negotiating table. Arguably, her adversarial rhetoric endangered the very diplomatic victory she now seeks to take credit for, and had she stayed on as “Secretary of State”, I’m not so confident we would have achieved the first disarmament agreement between the U.S. & Iran in nearly 40 years. In 2010, she told an audience:
 

“The United States is committed to pursuing [a] diplomatic path. But we will not compromise our commitment to preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons.”

 

Translation: “We’re using diplomacy now, but don’t push your luck.”

In 2014, barely a year & a half out of office, Hillary joined with Republicans… siding with John McCain (once again?) against her former boss… to publicly criticize President Obama for failing to “help [aka: arm] the Syrian rebels” to mitigate the growing crisis in Syria (note, a significant number of Syrian rebels turned out to be ISIS.) She is now running as the best person to continue President Obama’s policies.

During the CNN “Town Hall” two weeks ago, Clinton responded to criticism that she accepted $650,000 in speaking fees from Goldman-Sachs. Her defense was that “at the time [she] didn’t know if [she’d] be running for president”. So then, why was she siding with Republicans to publicly criticize her former boss in 2014? Who was she trying to appeal to? Republicans have admitted that their BenghaziTM “investigation” was all about derailing her inevitable run for president. Even they knew she was going to run. If you aren’t planning to run for president, why would you care what Republicans think? Was she trying to get on the good side of the BenghaziTM Committee? If so, how naive can you get? And who wants a president who will turn on their “friends” for personal gain?

She is still calling for a “No Fly Zone” over Syria, something both Sanders AND President Obama oppose. Not only is it provocative, but Russian fighter jets have performed some of those bombing runs. Do we start shooting down Russian MIG’s and start WWIII? Clinton says she would only go to war “as a last resort”, but foolish policies could push you into something whether you want it or not.

Her first instincts always seem to tend towards “threats of force” first. Even her explanation two weeks ago as to why she voted in 2002 to to give President Bush unilateral authority to declare war against Iraq… “to give him leverage in order to finish the inspections”… raises concern. Check that photo at the start of this column. It’s a copy of the ad MoveOn.org ran the month before the invasion of Iraq. It points out inspections WERE working and warned what might happen if we invade Iraq (with eerie accuracy.) It’s not like no one knew what might happen when she cast that vote. Hillary thinks her mistake was “trusting Bush” (already disqualifying in my book), NOT “threatening to go to war” when it clearly wasn’t necessary. I was one of the millions in early 2003 protesting the idea of invading Iraq.

Example: During that Town Hall two weeks ago [ibid “explanation” above], a young father expressed his concern of Clinton having “a history of interventionist foreign policy”. She assured him that she would only use force as a “last resort, not first”, but she keeps advocating actions that could inadvertently draw us into a war whether she wants it or not. IN THE SAME BREATH, after attempting to quell this mans fears of being too “interventionist”, she told him:
 

“I will not send American combat troops to Iraq or Syria. That is off the table. That would be a terrible mistake. We will continue to use Special Forces, and we have to because of the kinds of threats we face.”

 

Now, if sending “Special Forces” into another country isn’t “interventionist”, I don’t know what is. Remember the law of unintended consequences. What if those “Special Forces” are killed or captured? Once again, we find ourselves pulled into an unwanted military conflict despite claims of wanting to avoid military conflict. In 2004, John Kerry… the man who would later replace Clinton as Secretary of State… argued that “terrorism should be treated as a law-enforcement issue, not a military one”, a position that I still agree with to this day and think we would be MUCH further along if only we had taken his advice. THAT is the voice of a diplomat that seeks to avoid war.

Consider this: By the end of the next president’s first term, children who weren’t even BORN on 9/11 could be fighting in Afghanistan against other children who hadn’t even been born yet on 9/11. If your goal in choosing a president is to see the U.S. finally extricated from the Middle East, Hillary is not your candidate.

I add this without comment: Hillary Clinton Calls Henry Kissinger a Friend, Praises His Commitment to Democracy.
 

But “foreign policy” isn’t the only area in which I have grave concerns about Secretary Clinton. “Economic policy” is also a major issue with which we disagree.

Sanders has made “Campaign finance reform” a big part of his campaign (no SuperPAC). As mentioned above, Hillary has accepted over $650,000 just from Goldman-Sachs alone (and perhaps as much as $25 Million in 2014 alone) then “dared” anyone to find “evidence” she changed her position on an issue because or it.

Whether someone changes a particular stated position on an issue just because they were paid to speak is not the point. That rarely happens. Clinton has not been in office since early 2013, and hasn’t voted on any legislation since 2008, so daring people to find evidence of her changing her vote based on who gave her money is a safe challenge. No, the concern is not that she “flipped” a stated position after being paid to speak, it’s that money will influence her position on FUTURE legislation. When a company pays you that much money to speak privately, it’s for one of two reasons:

  1. Either they consider you an expert that will teach them how to make more money.
  2.  
    – OR –
     

  3. They are hoping to buy *influence*.

Now you tell me, do you think a major Wall Street investment firm was looking for “investment strategies” from a former “Secretary of State”? Or do you think they were hoping to “influence” the presumptive Democratic nominee and likely “next president of the United States”? (more on who is contributing to the Clinton Campaign below.)

McDonald-Douglas doesn’t advertise during the Sunday News Shows because they’re hoping to sell me a Stealth Bomber, they do it it’s because they know their money makes the network less likely to criticize them.

Something else that bugs the hell out of me:
 

Hillary's 2016 Logo

 

There is NO doubt in my mind that Hillary’s “Red Arrow” logo was an intentional subliminal reminder to GOP voters of her Conservative tendencies. I mean, how does one NOT see that when asked to approve the logo? Does anyone believe for one second the designers of that logo… an expert team of graphic designers that spend millions researching how the public responds to the images they see… didn’t know EXACTLY what they were doing when they came up with that design? I noticed the moment I first saw it. And once the Hillary Campaign started taking criticism for the design, first they denied its obvious implication, and then suddenly started offering attendees at her rallies an alternative poster using a blue arrow (but still pointing right):
 

Both Red and Blue arrows

 

And this is the Hillary campaign last Saturday in New Hampshire:
 

Only blue arrows now
Only blue arrows in NH

 

Tell me again that the arrow’s color & direction is just a coincidence.
 

Hillary has a history of voting with Conservatives. She opposed Same-Sex marriage, even taking to the Senate floor to declare she believed “marriage was between a man & a woman.” During last Friday’s New Hampshire debate, she (albeit reluctantly) restated her continued support for the Death Penalty (which affects minority voters disproportionately.) She voted for the Patriot Act in 2001, and again for the “revised” Patriot Act 2 in 2006. It was her husband who undid “Glass-Steagall”… enacted by FDR to prohibit banks from gambling with depositor’s money… in a futile bid to appease Republicans when they were trying to impeach him, so as you might expect, she is unwilling to admit that was a mistake or call for its reinstatement. However, during Friday’s debate, she did call for a “twenty-first century” version of the act. She originally supported the Keystone XL pipeline but now claims to oppose it. And perhaps most famously, she called the TPP (“Trans-Pacific Partnership”)… supported by every GOP candidate and most Republicans in Congress… “the Gold-Standard” of trade agreements before deciding she was against it just last year.

She says she wants “Universal Health care”, but then spent the two weeks leading up to the Iowa Caucus to attack Bernie Sanders for advocating a “Single Payer Universal Health Care system”, even going as far as to say Single-Payer will “never ever” happen, continuing to suggest a President Sanders would dismantle The Affordable Care Act before replacing it with an entirely new system built from scratch. She has been attacking Sanders on his support of some seemingly “pro-gun” legislation, singling out a vote to “allow firearms on Amtrak” trains. But she is knowingly committing the sin of omission by leaving out the fact that the law only permits firearms to be transported as “checked luggage” in the baggage compartment or trains, not carried around by passengers (Sanders comes from a rural state and hunters needed to be able to ship their weapons with them while traveling.) And during the New Hampshire debate, she made the disingenuous (and wholly Conservative) accusation that Bernie’s health care plan “would cost over a trillion dollars” (it wouldn’t.) As I pointed out above regarding her 2014 attack on Obama, Hillary has never been afraid to adopt Republican talking points to attack fellow Democrats for personal gain.

While touting her desire for “Clean Energy” to fight Global Warming, the Clinton campaign has yet to reveal her position on Fracking (even attending a fundraiser two weeks before Iowa in the headquarters of a major investor in Fracking) and her SuperPAC’s website brags about “Clinton’s aggressive pro-fracking record” [ibid]. When told her campaign received $150,000 from the oil & gas industry, she plead ignorance.

Most polls seem to indicate Clinton has the “African-American vote locked up”, in great part due to her husband being bestowed the label of “our first black president” for addressing minority issues. But Hillary may not be so worthy of their unquestioned support. During the 2008 race, she was the only candidate who refused to “retroactively reduce/repeal extended penalties of those convicted of using ‘crack’ cocaine vs ‘powdered’.” and she is presently only willing to consider “more research” on the legalization of medical marijuana despite a “sentencing disparity” that disproportional affects African-Americans. She opposes raising the Minimum Wage to $15/hour (only willing to go to $12) which affects more minorities than whites. And one might also wonder why the Private Prison industry is raising cash for the Clinton campaign (private prisons push for more & more “minimum sentencing” laws to fill up the prisons… and their coffers)… the scourge of African American voters.

In 2008, as the race tightened between her and then-Senator Obama, her attacks became more personal. I noted in the intro how she suggested John McCain was more ready to be president than Barack Obama… not once but twice, first stating McCain had more experience, and then dismissing Obama’s qualifications as nothing more than a speech he gave in 2002.” This is the same person now bemoaning criticism from Senator Sanders as “personal attacks”, and how “disappointed” she is that he has resorted to them. But as we are presently seeing, it appears she is quick to resort to misleading attacks and disparaging the character of her opponent as she sees the possibility of the presidency slipping away. I have no qualms against a “fighter”, but please don’t take pages from the Conservative playbook to do it (see: “Amtrak” above.)

Hillary IS a “Progressive”, though not exactly a strong “Liberal”. While first lady of Arkansas in 1980, she condemned prisoner abuses in Arkansas prior to her husband becoming governor. She had a “75% lifetime rating” with the ACLU prior to the 2008 election (though it took a bit of a nose-dive to just 67% in 2007 as she campaigned against Barack Obama for president (I’ll let you decide if that means anything.) Both she & Sanders have a 100% rating with NARAL Pro-Choice America and (while Senator) she had an 89% rating with the “Human Rights Campaign” (who endorsed her over Sanders with a 100% lifetime rating.) “Crowdpac”, the voter education website, rated Hillary at “6.5L” (or 65% Liberal) behind O’Malley (6.7L) and Sanders “7.6L” (for reference, Trump has a “0.4L” rating and Ted Cruz rates “9.5C”… 95% Conservative rating.)

Early last year, when people like me were urging Senator Sanders to enter the race, the thinking was “even if it is futile… with a Clinton victory already appearing inevitable… the idea of her running unopposed with no one there to push her to the Left was a distressing thought.” If nothing else, a competitive campaign would be good Debate-Prep for the General election. The last thing anyone wants is for their candidate to go in cold, having not participated in a “real” debate in nearly eight years. Simply forcing Hillary… with her Conservative tendencies… to track Left has already been a huge victory for the Sanders campaign.

Now, if it turns out Hillary wins the DNC nomination, as I stated in the intro, I will vote for her. I’m hoping my saying that doesn’t work against Sanders with people thinking the safe vote is Hillary since Bernie supporters have promised they’ll vote for her anyway. Bernie was right at the pre-New Hamphire debate last Friday that “both of us are 100x better on our worst day than anyone on the other side”, and the next president may end up nominating as many as THREE Supreme Court Justices (at least two of whom would be from the Liberal wing of the court.) I have FAR more faith in a President Hillary nominating a Progressive justice than a lunatic like Ted Cruz or Donald Trump. Even the seemingly benign Marco Rubio has repeated his support for a “fetal personhood Amendment that would outlaw many forms of birth control and turn every miscarriage into a murder investigation.

Before Clinton supporters start attacking me, I’ve backed up every accusation with links & sources. I invite you to draw your own conclusions.
 



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February 8, 2016 · Admin Mugsy · 5 Comments - Add
Posted in: Election, fake scandals, myth busting, National Security, War

Cruz Comfortably Beats Trump in Iowa. Dems still too close to call. Suspicious Clinton bounce repealed.

 

Going into the wee hours of the morning, I was watching Hillary Clinton’s delegate lead shrink all night, when around 9pm CST, with 18% of precincts left to go, leading by only 11 delegates, the Clinton campaign declared victory despite all the pollsters saying it was “too close to call.” Her lead continued to shrink with every update. By the time the number of precincts was down to just 10% remaining, her lead had shrunk to just THREE delegates when she decided to make her (pseudo) “victory” speech. Then suddenly, with an additional 1% of precincts, her lead suddenly jumped to a whopping ELEVEN delegates. That lead held for another 20 minutes when it suddenly plunged back down to just 3. The explanation? According to Chuck Todd: “A reporting error” was to blame that was caught & corrected. Hmmm. Those kind of “innocent mistakes” make me extremely uncomfortable.

With 2% of precincts still remaining as of midnight (around 1,600+ precincts), the Sanders campaign reported “90 Precincts presently had no DNC staff” (on site?), meaning no one available to count votes. Uncomfortable #2. The DNC rebuked the Sanders claim, though saying only the staff is “available” but not “on site” to tally those votes. Sounds to me like the Sanders’ campaign was right.

Most under-reported story of the night? How badly 5th place Rand Paul beat 6th place Jeb Bush (by roughly 3,200 votes.)

What does a second place finish mean for Trump? Consider his entire campaign has been one big ego trip, so coming in second was a wake-up call for him. He should win New Hampshire easily, but I doubt he’ll be taking future races for granted.

Final tally with “99% of precincts reporting” (not including those unstaffed 90 precincts and with recounts and “reporting errors” yet to be reviewed)… Hillary: 696 – Sanders: 693 – O’Malley: 8. Shortly after midnight, O’Malley officially dropped out. (note: by 12:50am, Bernies’ delegate count had fallen by one vote? Uncomfortable #3.) You can see my final hour Live-blog updates here.

MORNING UPDATE: Went to bed after 1AM. Super-Delegate count for Hillary & Bernie was 20 each. Was tied all night long. Woke up to see total is now Hillary-29/Bernie-21.
 
Rubio’s subtle hat-tip to the “Project for A New American Century”? (more here):

Rubio's nod to PNAC?

 
Ted Cruz flanked by the despicable Steve King and Cruz’s wacko-bird father (who held this exact pose for several minutes, staring straight ahead without blinking.)
The despicable threesome.

 



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February 2, 2016 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Posted in: Election, General, Politics, Predictions, voting

Amid Record Low Oil and Gas, Trump Says Keystone XL Needed ‘Desperately’. Then threatens to reject it

 

During another one of his “phone it in” TV interviews yesterday, Donald Trump told Meet the Press host Chuck Todd we “need the Keystone XL pipeline desperately“. However, at some other point in the day (before or after?), he told reporters that if we weren’t promised “a big chunk” of the profits, he’d reject it (link). Did I mention this was *yesterday* in the space of a few minutes? The price of oil “rallied” Friday to close up just over $32/barrel… $4 below where it was the day before we invaded Iraq. It had fallen as low as $26.55 last Wednesday. In 2012, the KXL was part of Newt Gingrich’s plan to get gas prices down to just $2.50/gallon by 2017. As I type this, the national average price for a gallon of gas is $1.83. The process of converting “tarsand” into oil is so expensive, oil needs to be over $65/barrel just to be cost effective. Not only would the KXL have NOT been a “job creator”, but the economy created a stunning 292,000 jobs last monthNEARLY SEVEN TIMES the number of (temp) jobs the KXL promised to create over TWO YEARS (and even that is doubtful.) So how exactly is it that we “desperately” need the Keystone XL pipeline? I really want to know. Every single one of the GOP presidential candidates supports the building of the KXL… the perfect symbol for today’s GOP: the very epitome of a white elephant.
 

Trump: “Keystone XL needed desperately (:08 seconds)

 

As I noted less than three weeks ago, the Republican congress made good on it’s threat to try to pass the “Keystone XL pipeline” one more time, in a juvenile move to pander to their childlike constituency. Not ONE Republican was willing to step up as the adult in the room (or perhaps too dumb to even know themselves) and point out that the price of oil is too low for the KXL to be economically feasible… not just due to current oil prices, but as OPEC has now proven, they can easily undercut the price of oil any time they like to make the KXL too costly to operate.

So if it’s not because “we need the jobs” and it’s not because “gas prices are too high” (oil producing states in the South and Alaska are actually being hit hard by job layoffs due to a lack of need for more oil), then what is it? A Google News search turns up no other mention of Trump explaining why we “desperately” need the KXL. More to the point, if NOT building it has hurt us, how do you then defend threatening to NOT build it yourself? If we need it so badly, wouldn’t “some” gain be better than none?

Clearly, “The Donald” is not talking about the loss of jobs, because those meager few jobs would have been created whether we got most of the profits or not. Nor is it about getting gas prices down for the same reason. Is it about “Energy independence” after he “bombs the Middle-East back to the Stone Age”? I bet’cha that’s what he’s thinking.

Except it wouldn’t.

I’ve already explained in great detail (see Keystone link in titlebar) how the Alberta tarsands would not get us anywhere CLOSE to “energy independence”. And OPEC would ensure it was ALWAYS too costly to operate.

As I just pointed out above, the price of oil is SO low now, the pipeline would operate at a loss for months/years to come (likely never turn a profit). TransCanada is suing the Obama Administration… not for the right to complete the pipeline, but for “damages”. This is a tacit admission that THEY DON’T WANT IT BUILT ANYMORE. The Obama Administration rejecting the pipeline likely saved their butts from incurring catastrophic losses that could have bankrupted the company, and suing for damages is a way to recover part of their losses for the portion they’ve already built. They could have suffered a loss of over $30 for every barrel of oil produced, and TransCanada predicted the KXL would transport/produce “1.1 million barrels of oil per day“… which translates to a loss of $31 Million/DAY (or roughly $11 Billion dollars a year). Just how long do you think they could have kept THAT up? (And this is AFTER the expense of completing the construction.) They should be thanking their lucky stars the pipeline was rejected.

I’m of the personal belief that the reason Trump thinks we “desperately” need the KXL is because of his plan to “bomb the $#!+” out of the Middle East. Like so many other clueless Republicans that have bought the hype, he clearly believes the KXL would make the United States “energy independent”, allowing us to not need to import a drop of foreign oil. Not only is that beyond ridiculous, but unless he also plans to take over the entire U.S. oil industry, NATIONALIZE it and ban all exports, oil prices will ALWAYS be set by the world market, still subjecting American consumers and TransCanada to the whims of the Middle East.

It’s also one more reminder why Republicans should NEVER be trusted with running our economy ever again if they STILL think we need the Keystone XL and rejecting it has been devastating to (or otherwise endangers) the U.S.. Ask the Southern states with all their oilfield job layoffs if they think now is the time for MORE oil glutting the market and driving prices down even further?

An aside: During an interview on Fox “news” Sunday yesterday, Marco Rubio vowed to “turn the country around.” Turn it around? Record job growth. Unemployment down. The deficit is down. Military deaths are down. Gas prices are WAY down. The stock market is up… explain to me why ANYONE would want the country to do an about-face and return us to the economic & national security disaster of just seven short years ago???

These ideologues are so clueless, they’re dangerous.

(Note: Iowa caucus is one week from tonight [Feb 1st], so expect a brief delay in next week’s column. – Mugsy)
 



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January 25, 2016 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Posted in: Economy, Election, Energy Independence, Jobs, Money, myth busting, Politics, Right-Wing Insanity

Republicans Bemoan Obama’s Iran Hostage Deal. But Republican presidents fared FAR worse

 

Last week, after two American navy patrol boats accidentally wandered into Iranian waters in the Persian gulf (far from Iranian mainland but close to Farsi Island, an island under Iranian control), they were captured and detained by Iran, but because The Obama Administration had already opened up diplomatic channels with Iran, the soldiers were quickly released only a few hours later. Yesterday morning, reports emerged that Iran was also releasing four more American political prisoners (and one American college student) in advance of the International easing of sanctions this week. To the Republicans (especially the GOP presidential candidates), this was a humiliating show of weakness and a direct result of Obama’s “failed foreign policy.” It is difficult (if not impossible) to see how things could have turned out better, but one thing is for sure, being an arrogant war-mongering bully didn’t prevent Americans from being taken hostage and held FAR longer during the Reagan or both Bush presidencies.

Reagan

In 1978 under President Carter, the collapse of the Iranian government with the “Islamic Revolution” led to them storming the American Embassy and holding all those inside hostage for 444 days. The hostages were not soldiers and we were not at war with Iran, so one can’t argue they were taken hostage due to any perceived “weakness” by the United States (unless you’re a Right-Wing nut who thinks Carter’s unwillingness to start any wars was a sign of “weakness”.) Those diplomats were held for over a year… not because Carter was weak but because… as we now know… Team Reagan made a backroom deal with Iran to hold them until Reagan’s inauguration (see: this report) in exchange for weapons & parts. Carter did secure the release of 14 American hostages (not including the six whom Canada helped evade capture and recovered with CIA assistance), but an additional 52 were detained until Reagan was sworn in on January 20th, 1981. Four years later, we again saw Reagan’s willingness to trade “arms for hostages” with Iran/Contra in 1985.

Also in 1985, TWA Flight 847 en route from Cairo to San Diego was taken hostage by Islamic Jihad seeking the release of 700 Muslim prisoners in Israeli custody. The fact The Mighty Gipper was in charge of a military flexing its muscle in every corner of the globe at the time didn’t stop terrorists from holding 138 passengers & 8 crew (including 78 Americans) hostage. Reagan himself did not intervene for SIXTEEN days.

In 1983, 299 American & French servicemen were killed when the U.S. Army barracks in Beirut was bombed by Lebanese militants. Reagan’s response? Attack? No, retreat from Lebanon.

In 1986, American hostage David Jacobsen was released after 17 months of being held hostage in Lebanon. One might wonder if Americans were are greater risk in Lebanon because Reagan “cut & ran” in 1983.

And lest we forget, the bombing of Pan-Am Flight 103 by Libya over Lockerbee, Scotland in 1988. Tell me again how a “strong” Republican president kept Americans safer?

For an additional history of Americans either taken hostage or executed while Saint Ronnie was president, I refer you to this list from PBS’s Frontline.

Bush-I

In December of 1989, “[a]t least one American, and possibly several more [actual number: 5] [were] held hostage in Panama by gunmen loyal to Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega” for three days. But they were not released out of fear or in response to threats of military force, the hostages were abandoned in a schoolhouse and had to plead with American forces to come and rescue them “before their captors returned.”

In April of 1990, “over one hundred” Americans were held hostage in our embassy in Kuwait City by Iraqi solders (a number that would grow in the months to come) and held as “human shields” across numerous “strategic sites” throughout Iraq. An estimated 2,000 more Americans were “in hiding” in Kuwait City evading capture.

Following extensive diplomatic missions via MidEast Ambassador Joe Wilson, 80 American hostages were released in September by Saddam Hussein. However, “thousands of others continued to be detained in Iraq”, prohibited from leaving, including the spouses of some of those who were released.

By December, Hussein declared Iraq was now “strong enough to fend off an American invasion” and released the remaining 120 American prisoners. It would be nearly a month before allied forces would launch an attack on Iraqi forces occupying Kuwait. 23 Americans would be taken prisoner during The Persian Gulf War.

Arguably, of the three Republican presidents, George HW Bush (41) has the most successful record of recovering (preventing?) Americans from being taken hostage.

Bush-II

The (s)election of George W. Bush in 2000 likewise did not strike fear in the hearts of our enemies. Randomly, two Americans were among 20 tourists taken hostage in the Philippines, and in another event, one American was killed and a half-dozen others were released following payment of ransom by owners of an American-owned oil field in Ecuador. That hostage negotiation took several months and without the assistance from the Bush Administration.

Then came 9/11. Osama bin Laden continued to mock & ridicule the Bush administration for years as he evaded capture and al Qaeda forces crowed over their ability to successfully hold American forces at bay. Bin Laden declared that the reason for the attacks was in retribution for American troops occupying the “Holy land” in Saudi Arabia. Bush’s response? The removal of all U.S. forces from our bases in Saudi Arabia on April 29, 2003.

Then came the invasion of Iraq. Negotiations had convinced Hussein to allow inspectors back into his country to prove he had been disarmed, yet the Bush Administration did anyway. The lesson our enemies learned from that was not to negotiate/disarm with a Republican president as they can not be trusted.

President Bush (43) continued to saber-rattle threats to strike Iran if they did not refrain from interfering with the war in Iraq. Iran’s response was to construct new nuclear facilities and to enrich Plutonium. And with Saddam Hussein gone and a Shi’ite government installed in Iraq, Iran now had a new ally in the Middle East thanks to George W. Bush.

The wars in Iraq & Afghanistan continued to rage out of control, reaching a hot boil in 2006 with roughly 100 American troops being killed each & every week. It took an outraged public voting en masse to elect a Democratic majority, switching control of BOTH houses of Congress, in order to get the Bush Administration to replace Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and change our strategy in Iraq.

In December of 2008 just before leaving office, Bush tried to renegotiate an agreement to hand local control of Iraq back over to the Iraqis, seeking to keep U.S. troops in that country beyond the agreed upon exit date… but only on the condition they would be free from prosecution for past crimes. But the Iraqi’s were so eager to see us go, they refused and Bush was forced to sign the “Status of Forces Agreement” stating that said ALL U.S. troops would be out of Iraq by the following October (on Obama’s watch.)

The wars continued to rage. G.W.Bush’s final year in office, 2008, was his deadliest year for coalition troops in Afghanistan with nearly 300 U.S. & coalition troops deaths. 314 American troops also died in Iraq that same year (which columnist Bill Kristol described as “at peace” when handed over to Obama), for a seven year total of nearly 5600 dead American troops.

Donald Trump and Ted Cruz (et al) have been blustering all week about how Iran took Americans prisoner and we responded by “lifting sanctions and apologizing”, giving Iran (and others) encouragement to do the same without fear of reprisal. If that’s the case, explain how “strong” Republican presidents failed to strike fear in the hearts of our enemies, suffering huge loses, FAR longer delays and in several cases, even rewarded our enemies with troop removals and financial gain?

Tell me again how Republicans have kept us safe and how our enemies are more fearful of a Republican Commander in Chief?
 

FOLLOW-UP: Same day as this Op/Ed, The Rachel Maddow Show also did a story on President Reagan’s true legacy on Iran:



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January 18, 2016 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Posted in: myth busting, National Security, Partisanship, Politics, rewriting history, Terrorism

Ingraham asks, “When have Republicans EVER obstructed President Obama?”

 

“They have been his best friend! What are you talking about?”, chuckled Conservative radio host Laura Ingraham during Fox “news” Sunday yesterday when Juan Williams said “This [Republican] Congress has relentlessly obstructed President Obama on everything!” “Where have they obstructed Obama?” she demanded incredulously. No, I didn’t make that up. Much to the chagrin of most of my readers, I “Live blog” Fox “news” Sunday every week. And granted, if I couldn’t tweet my reactions to some of the most disconnected, irrational and sometimes “just plain ugly” nonsense heard on the show each week, I probably wouldn’t watch either. But somehow, I feel a “duty” to rebuke their BS in real time before what they say has a chance to grow legs. (While I have no evidence of this, I believe my calling them out nearly two years ago for claiming Democrats switch from saying “Global Warming” to “Climate Change” whenever it’s cold outside is why they don’t make that ridiculous claim anymore. I informed them that the two terms are NOT “interchangeable” like they seem to think, pointing out that “one CAUSES the other”, closing with the hashtag “#ClimateMorons”. They have not made the accusation since.) The aforementioned discussion about Congress stemmed from a discussion regarding President Obama’s use (“abuse” in Wingnutistan) of “executive orders” to “bypass” Congress. So you can only imagine how wide my eyes grew when Ingraham apparently awoke from her seven year coma unable to recall a single time this GOP Controlled Congress ever obstructed President Obama (even when they didn’t control the Senate, they controlled the Senate through endless filibustering.)
 

Ingraham: This Congress has been Obama’s best friend! (1:16)

 
Earlier in the program, Wallace interviewed the president’s Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, and started out by citing “Article I of the Constitution” and how it specifically vests “all legislative power” to Congress. McDonough gave a very poor “political” response to the question that did him no favors. What he should have pointed out is that “Executive Orders are NOT ‘legislation’.” They don’t create any new laws. All they do is define how existing laws are executed… which is perhaps the very definition of the job of “Chief Executive.”

Now, taken from a strictly Wingnut perspective, there is a case to be made for Ingraham’s position that Congress has failed to “obstruct” Obama. After all “ObamaCare” has yet to be repealed (not for lack of trying), as has all of his cabinet appointees (after months of delay) and two Supreme Court nominees squeaked through. Republicans might have opposed them, but the fact they all eventually passed is “proof” they weren’t “obstructed“. And in Wingnutistan, you can’t claim anything that eventually passes was “obstructed”. Ingraham cites “the TPP”… a Conservative “Free-Trade” plan opposed by Democrats yet supported by most (not all) Republicans… as evidence this Congress isn’t obstructing President Obama.

So is she right? Is there NOTHING that President Obama has wanted that he didn’t eventually get, thus rendering his use of “Executive Orders” totally unnecessary and an abuse of power? Does she think this Congress has tried to work WITH President Obama??? (Exhibit A video). Want specifics, here is a list ten times Republicans opposed their own ideas the moment President Obama supported them.

But let’s simplify things a bit. As the above graphic points out, President Obama signed only 175 “Executive Orders”. To Republicans, “Executive Orders” are unconstitutional (except when Republicans use them) and Obama’s use of them is tantamount to a crime (a “crime” President Bush committed nearly twice as many times as Obama, and The Gipper committed nearly 250% more often.) Here are a few of those egregious “unconstitutional” & criminal Executive Actions taken by President Obama:

etc… I looked through the entire list and I defy anyone (who isn’t a Right Wing nut) to find 3 EO’s they consider an egregious abuse of power.

But Republicans are REALLY only outraged over three (maybe four) of the 175 Executive Actions taken by Obama:
 

  • His “Immigration Accountability Executive Action” (11/20/2014) instructing law enforcement to focus on “deporting felons, not families”, prioritizing felons over the so-called “Dreamers” (which the GOP has labeled “amnesty”). This EO is not “a new law”. It is completely within his Executive power to direct law enforcement.
  •  

  • Increasing the Minimum Wage paid by Government Contractors. A requirement that any company doing business on behalf of the United States of America pay its employees a minimum of $10.10/hour (less than $3 more than the Minimum Wage.) This EO does NOT apply to private businesses in the private sector, only those making a buck off Uncle Sam. This EO went into effect just over one year ago on January 1, 2015, so if you’re still holding your breath waiting for American corporations to crumble under the heady burden of such high wages… I doubt you endangered any brain cells.
  •  

  • Mandating that all health insurance companies pay for birth control, regardless of whether the patient’s employer pays for it. – I’m not even able to confirm this was an “Executive Action” at all. I can’t identify it in the list. But 193 corporations sued the government over the mandate. How many GOP presidential candidates do you think we’ll hear campaigning on their opposition to this order?
  •  

  • And his recent EO on guns? ZERO new laws. No “confiscation”. No ban on types of weapons you can buy. Not even a ban on large capacity clips. It DOES broaden the EXISTING requirements of under what conditions a “background check” must take place, lifts a restriction that omitted mental health records from background checks, and provides more money for “gun safety training”. That’s it. THAT is what has Republicans so outraged and questioning whether the president violated the Constitution.

“Where have they obstructed Obama?”, asked a disbelieving Ingraham. Well, before the GOP took control of the Senate, it was much easier to spot. We called them Filibusters. Since taking control of the Senate last year, obstruction is more subtle in the form of bills NOT taken up by Congress. Simply Google “Congress refuses to vote on” for some examples. It took them an unprecedented 9 weeks to approve Loretta Lynch as Attorney General.

The GOP controlled Congress has yet to approve President Obama’s nominee for “Under Secretary of the Treasury”, Adam Szubin. What’s the big deal? Well, as Rachel Maddow pointed out last November, part of Szubin’s job would be to track the finances of ISIS to block funding of their terrorist activities. This appointment was requested on April of last year. As far as I can tell, it appears this vacancy has yet to be filled. And not over any opposition to his qualifications. As Maddow pointed out, everyone agrees he is qualified and capable of doing the job. Considering the way the GOP candidates are running around… hair on fire… over terrorism and the rise of ISIS, one would think filling this position might be a priority.

“Obstruction? What obstruction? It’s Obama’s lawless Executive Actions that are the REAL partisan abuse of power here!” No Laura. Think again.
 



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

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January 11, 2016 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Posted in: myth busting, Partisanship, Politics, rewriting history, Right-Wing Insanity, Unconstitutional

Texas Lt.Gov Cites Ridiculous Disprovable Facts to Defend New Open Carry Law

 

“He was a real asshole.” So remarked my Conservative father about his former neighbor Dan Patrick when he announced his bid for Texas Lieutenant Governor in 2014. Patrick, a former TV Sports anchor turned far-Right radio host, turned Tea Party darling State Representative turned Lieutenant Governor, appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press yesterday to defend the state’s controversial new “Open Carry” gun law, citing a litany of easily disprovable lies and half truths to make his case. I really think someone needs to sit down with every Conservative politician in the country and explain to them that there’s something called “The Internet” (nod to the late Ted Stevens R-AK), which stands ready to fact-check whatever ridiculous claim they make in the blink of an eye. Patrick was brought on yesterday as the “rebuttal guest” to Astronaut Mark Kelly, husband of Gabbie Giffords, whom together started an organization to promote “responsible gun ownership” and sane gun laws (Kelly/Giffords both own guns and support ownership).

Capt. Kelly spoke about the need to close “the Gun Show loophole”, “rising gun violence”, and the fact Background Checks work.

Then comes on Patrick (you can see most of the interview here). Host Chuck Todd barely finishes his introductions before Patrick injects that Kelly is “totally wrong about gun ownership in the inner city” and on the number of legal permits being issued. I had to go back twice and rewatch the Kelly interview to try and figure out what he was talking about because NOT ONCE did Capt. Kelly mention “inner-city” or “urban” gun ownership. I still have no idea what Patrick thinks he heard Kelly say. I suspect he had a speech already worked out about what he thought the Captain would say and didn’t want it to go to waste. But Kelly never said a thing about a “decreased demand” for guns… not in urban areas or anywhere else. In fact, he instead made the case of “rising fear” promoting gun sales.

Patrick continues, citing that Texas is now “the 45th state to permit open carry”. True. Sad & Frighting, and not exactly a strong argument for helping “Quick-draw McGraw” stick a gun in your face two seconds faster than before, but true. Regardless, Patrick is implying that “Open Carry” is already common in almost every state in the union and not a factor in gun crime. Later in the interview, Patrick tells Todd with absolute certainty that “Everywhere we have more citizens carrying guns, CRIME. IS. LESS.” and that in states with “Concealed Carry and particularly Open Carry, crime is down 25% percent.”

Is that true? ARE states that permit Open Carry any safer than those that don’t? PolitiFact (notorious for their squishy ratings) rates the claim as “Half True”, but they note the difficulty of comparing dissimilar states that only permit “rural” areas to open carry, vs states that only allow those with “concealed” permits to open carry, vs states that allow ALL licensed gun owners to OC. And what was crime like BEFORE OC was permitted? Even Patrick notes Michigan has had OC for “175 years” and Vermont “has always had it”, so we really don’t know what effect OC has on crime in those states. Politifact concludes by citing a 2010 report that found that more legal gun owners resulted in no reduction in crime:
 

“The best available evidence suggests that “right to carry a concealed weapon” laws are associated with increases in aggravated assaults with guns, but have no measurable effect on population rates of murder and robbery.

 
(a more recent report conducted by Texas A&M last September came to the same conclusion.)

Todd asks Patrick (poorly) about the difficulty of discerning a legal “Open Carry” citizen from a criminal looking to do harm and the “chaos” that might create. Todd phrased his question terribly, giving Patrick plenty of wiggle room. He didn’t ask Patrick “How are the police… or for that matter other gun owners… are supposed to distinguish between the proverbial ‘Good Guy With a gun’ from ‘a Bad Guy With a gun’?” When the bullets start flying and “Officer Bob” arrives on the scene only to spot Captain America over there with his shiny new Glock firing at someone, not only might this numbnut end up with an air-conditioned colon, but the time Officer Bob wastes stopping our “Good Guy with a gun” is time Mr. Psychopath can spend killing another 20 people before the smoke clears.
 

Can she tell the Good Guy from the Bad Guy ?

 
Instead, Todd asks Patrick if people might erroneously “call 911” to report legal OC owners they spot in the Mall or Super Market as a possible threat, tying up police resources. Actually, this isn’t much of an issue because most people don’t keep 911 on speed dial and report a man with a gun to the police the moment they see them. After only a few seconds, you can typically tell if someone with a holstered weapon (the law states it must be holstered) is looking to use it. By concern-trolling over such an unlikely concern, Todd gave Patrick a gift, giving him something he could dismiss without needing to make any substantive case against.

Instead, Patrick cites a statistic that “people with a Concealed Carry permit are twelve times less likely to even commit a misdemeanor.” I don’t know where Patrick obtained this figure. Even using the broadest possible search phrase (“guns ‘less likely’ misdemeanor) on Google turns up nothing other than Patrick himself making the claim yesterday on the show. I checked the FBI website and they don’t carry such statistics, but I think it is reasonable to assume Patrick did not obtain that figure from any legitimate source. (I did find this unsourced blog comment claiming gun owners were “5 to 10 times less likely to commit a violent crime“, but that’s as close as I got.)

Patrick went on to say that he “respect(s) those who don’t like guns” adding “but don’t stop those of us who love guns…” Not “like” guns or “want” guns but “love” guns? They talk about them like they are crystal unicorn figurines or puppies. It makes the term “Ammosexual” seem all the more legitimate. But Todd does make a good point about different standards for gun ownership. Guns are deadly weapons whether they are on your hip or safely tucked away in a cigarbox on top of the TV. Why not just have one standard for ALL gun licensing? Patrick goes on a non-sequitur about the “Second Amendment”, which has nothing to do with different standards for laws regulating gun ownership. Patrick says gun laws are “an evolving issue”, suggesting that eventually we may reach a point when ALL gun laws are relaxed to the same level, permitting anyone with a gun license to Open Carry.

Now for the whopper. Patrick ends his interview claiming “Every one of the mass shootings except two in America since 1950 have been gun free zones.” Complete and total bullshit (it appears he got the feux stat from this Right-Wing website that got it from two moonbats on a local Conservative radio show with no sourcing. Now, of course, if you go all the way back to 1950 before most states even HAD open carry laws, nearly the entire country was a “gun free zone” (outside of your own home), so saying “all mass shootings before 1975 took place in gun free zones” is essentially saying “all mass shootings before 1975 took place outside the home.” It’s a meaningless statistic.

Since numbers going back to “1950” are hard to come by… and clearly unnecessary… we can go WAYYY back to, oh, I don’t know… the Obama Administration… to debunk this bit of nonsense:

  • November of 2009, the Ft. Hood shooting. A military base. NOT a “gun-free zone”. While general soldiers on premises did not carry weapons, ARMED GUARDS on the premises DID. Back when the shooting took place, a Right-Wing falsehood was circulated that “President Clinton” was to blame for making military bases “gun free zones” back in 1993 (not true, but even if it were, 1993 to 2009 would qualify as a pretty good record of safety), but the military merely instituted a policy in March of 1993 set by the G.H.W.Bush White House the year before instructing soldiers to lock up their weapons when not in use. The weapons were still accessible and on the premises. Not a “Gun Free Zone”. A better question might be how it happened again at Fort Hood in 2014 AFTER the restriction was lifted?
  •  

  • Ditto for the “Navy Yard” shooting in 2013. Ban lifted, yet a dozen civilians & personnel were murdered on a military based filled with “good guys with guns.”
  •  

  • January 2011, 6 killed, 11 injured in Tucson, Az. in a Supermarket parking lot where Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was delivering a speech. Super Market parking lot. In Arizona. Not a “gun free zone”.
  •  

  • October 2011, 8 killed, 1 injured at a hair salon in Seal Beach, Ca. – Private business. Not a “gun free zone”. (even if a business owner requested it, it wouldn’t be enforceable.)
  •  

  • August 2012, 6 killed, 3 injured at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wi. – Again, a private organization without a legally enforceable gun restriction. If someone wanted to carry a gun into the temple, they were free to do so. Obviously. The killer did, no?
  •  

  • September 2012, 6 killed, 2 injured at a sign makers offices in Minneapolis, Mn. – Not a GFZ. Minnesota, an Open Carry state.
  •  

  • June 2015, 9 dead at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C. by a racist kid that believed black people were taking over America. He didn’t target an all-black church because it was a “gun free zone”.
  •  

  • July 2015, 5 dead, 3 wounded at two Navy-Marine recruiting centers in Chattanooga, Tenn. – The killer, a radicalized young Muslim, opened fire on the centers… located in strip centers along the road… from the parking lot. Not a “gun free zone”. Not selected because it was a GFZ. If the officers inside had been wearing their weapons, it wouldn’t have made a bit of difference because it was a surprise attack from the outside.
  •  

  • October 2015, 9 dead, 9 injured at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Or. – Despite being a school, while the school requested guns not be carried on campus, several students DID have guns on them at the time of the shooting. Not only is Oregon an Open Carry state, but it is actually illegal to prohibit guns anywhere, including schools, and the local sheriff notoriously wrote a letter to VP Biden following Sandy Hook angrily refusing to enforce any new law in his town that would restrict the right to carry guns anywhere people wanted.
  •  

  • November 2015, 3 dead; 9 injured at a Planed Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Co. – Again, not a “gun free zone”, and definitely not selected because he thought it was. “No more baby parts” he droned, referring to a deceptively edited Right-Wing video. (Now if Patrick wants to argue Planned Parenthood staff should be allowed to protect themselves from Pro-Life nuts, I look forward to that conversation.)
  •  

  • December 2015, 14 dead, 21 wounded at a rehabilitation clinic in San Bernardino, Ca. – A Muslim man and his radicalized wife targeted the clinic where he once worked. Again, not selected because he believed it to be a “gun free zone” (which it legally was not.)

Of all five mass shootings that took place in 2015, not ONE took place in a “gun free zone”. Patrick is full of crap. Here is a map of all the mass shootings that have taken place just in 2015. You’ll notice that a lot (most) of them took place in states where it is legal to carry a firearm. Are these all “gun free zones”?
 

Mass Shootings in 2015

 

But even in cases that WERE “gun free zones” like “Sandy Hook Elementary” in Connecticut, the killer’s didn’t select their targets BECAUSE they were “gun free zones”. The Sandy Hook shooter was a nut that had just murdered his mother in her sleep and then attacked the last school he attended before that same mother… a teanut who taught her troubled son how to use an assault weapon to prepare for the day “Obama would bring about Armageddon”… pulled him out of public school to be home schooled. Many other school shootings were also committed by former students targeting the people they knew. They didn’t pick some random school out of the phone book because schools were “gun free zones”. Mass murderers don’t select their targets that way, and it is disgusting to suggested otherwise (“Your kid is dead because your kid’s teacher was not allowed to bring a gun into your child’s classroom.”)
 

Who's buying all the guns?

 



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

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January 4, 2016 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Posted in: Crime, Guns & Violence, myth busting

Predictions for 2016

 

Yes, it’s that time of year again when I poke fun at the so-called “psychics” and their predictions for the past year, review my own previous years record, and give you my predictions for the coming year… and I’m remarkably good at it, so take heed! Even on my worst days, “mainstream psychics” would envy my accuracy. Election years are always the most interesting & difficult to predict, and the insanity we’ve seen so far on the GOP-side was more than even *I* could have seen coming. Still, I did pretty good in my predictions for 2015.

As I write this on December 26th, wearing no shirt, no shoes, doors & windows open as I let the warm 80 degree breeze air out my home, I worry about the future as long as Conservative nihilists continue to deny the evidence of Climate Change. Predicting the political future is tricky enough when rational people are in charge, but when nearly half of the country belongs to a Death Cult known as The GOP, predicting the political future is a bit like chasing a salmon upstream.

My first attempt at predicting in 2006 (see results here) went poorly, scoring just two out of ten right. My low of just 20 percent my first time out of the gate would still earn me a place in the Psychics Hall of Fame if there were such a thing (mind you, I do NOT claim to be a “psychic”. There is no such thing, but I AM good at knowing which way the political winds are blowing). Learning from my mistakes, I did much better my second time out, setting the benchmark at 75% correct in 2008. The next few years saw a steady decline, down to just 7 of 18 for just 39% for 2014.

I think I’ll shake things up a bit this year and review MY OWN predictions for the past year first. So how did I do predicting 2015?

  • half-right“In a sweeping and feigned show of “bi-partisanship”, Republicans will quickly approve at least two of President Obama’s cabinet appointees (most notably the new Secretary of Defense) in an attempt to show just “how willing” they are “to work with the president”. They will then quickly return to their obstructionist ways though, passing bill after bill they know President Obama would never sign.” – with the GOP now in control of the Senate as well as the House, they did indeed “quickly” & “overwhelmingly” approved of Ash Carter as the new Secretary of Defense, but when it came to appointing Loretta Lynch as the first African-American woman Attorney General, the GOP dragged it’s feet for a record-setting 9 week delay as Senate Republicans held up her confirmation as extortion until “abortion-funding language” was removed from a “sex trafficking” bill that was also before Congress (no abortions for refugee sex-slaves raped by their Johns.) The appointment of a new SecDef was enough for them. They couldn’t even get in a second appointment before returning to their obstructionist ways. In the interim, they voted to gut Social Security benefits their first day in power, followed just two days later to pass the Keystone XL pipeline despite KNOWING President Obama would veto it because they wanted him to actually do it, expecting outrage from The Public that never came. Despite the delay on Lynch, I still grade this prediction as True.
  •  

  • wrong“NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio will finally chastise NYPD Union Head Pat Lynch (no relation to Loretta) by name for sowing discord between him and the NYPD.” – You may remember at the end of 2014, New York City’s newly elected Democratic mayor was publicly & repeatedly attacked by the Right-Wing head of the police officers union (who endorsed DeBlasio’s opponent) because DeBlasio… who is married to a black woman and has a black son… publicly admitted that he told his son how to behave if confronted by police in a way that suggested his son should fear the police. There had already been a string of disturbing confrontations between police officers and unarmed black “suspects” in 2014, which continued into 2015 igniting the “Black Lives Matter” movement. The low-point of the entire confrontation came when NYPD officers shamefully turned their backs on the Mayor when he eulogized a slain police officer, earning them some well-deserved scorn. DeBlasio publicly admonished the NYPD officers whom did so, but never singled out Lynch himself for his role in creating bad-blood between the mayor and the NYPD. Close, but no cigar.
  •  

  • right“Hillary will remain the Democratic front-runner all year as her few Democratic challengers fail to ever pose a serious threat to her candidacy. Bernie Sanders will get into the race (as a Democrat so he can take part in the debates) but Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren will not.” – I’m not sure what more I can say here. Hillary has indeed held onto her lead all year long (though Bernie did briefly top her at the height of the “BenghaziTM” hearings). Warren did indeed stay true to her word and rebuke pleas for her to run. – This one was a bullseye.
  •  

  • right“Fans of Ron Paul in 2012 will find Rand Paul a poor substitute and fail to flock to his candidacy as passionately as they did his father.” – Rand Paul never generated the devoted following that his father did in 2012 and as 2015 draws to a close, Paul, currently polling at just 3%, needed help just to qualify for the last Primetime GOP Debate of 2015 and has said if he doesn’t qualify for the next one, he’s dropping out.
  •  

  • right“Mitt Romney will not attempt to run again.” – In 2014, two GOP candidates already looked to be sucking all the oxygen out of the room: Jeb Bush & Chris Christie. After two failed bids, Romney’s ego wouldn’t dare risk being humiliated by subjecting himself to another close race only to lose for the third time. I was absolutely correct on this one, but Romney bowed out in January, months before Donald Trump started goosestepping his way into the hearts of the racist, bigot, xenophobes that have taken over the GOP.
  •  

  • right“ISIS will continue to grow, but not at nearly the same rate.” – ISIS had just over 30,000 members by the end of 2014. By the end of 2015, ISIS still has an estimated 30,000 members. Their rate of growth has barely kept up with the rate of their destruction as allied forces have increased their attacks. Their recklessness, immaturity and growing scorn among fellow Muslim nations has slowed their growth considerably. Recent attacks on a Russian passenger plane and the Paris “Friday the 13th” attacks last November have been viewed as desperate attempts by ISIS to appear as though they are still relevant & growing in strength, and the only people buying that line of bull are the GOP candidates running for president and their terrified followers flocking to the insane rantings of anyone that promises to protect them from the “evil Muz’lums”.
     
    If you listen to Republicans, ISIS is becoming a huge threat that is only growing and President Obama is a failure as Commander-in-Chief as… according to Rep. Peter King on “Meet the Press” yesterday… “ISIS is bigger today than they were 16 months ago!” Note that odd figure: Why sixteen months? Because ISIS is the same size or smaller than it was TWELVE months ago. And thanks to an increased international focus on getting ISIS, they suffered huge losses in 2015 and are starting to get desperate:
     

    After losing another city, ISIS calls for attacks on Israel. Dec 27, 2015 (:50)
  •  

  • right“We haven’t seen the last of Putin’s trouble-making.” – Putin, a former KGB agent, wants to see Russia return to its former glory as a world superpower, and that means taking provocative action against allies of the United States. 2014 saw Putin’s annexing of Ukraine, a former Soviet satellite that was threatening to join the European union. 2015 saw Putin aiding Syrian President Assad, bombing Syrian Rebel forces and causing a global refugee crisis.
  •  

  • wrong“Evidence will grow that North Korea was not directly responsible for the computer hacking of Sony Pictures late this year.” – You might remember that in late 2014, an international scandal arose when the computer servers of Sony Pictures was hacked and millions of dollars worth of movies that had yet to be released had been stolen. It was suspected at the time that North Korea was behind the attack in retaliation for the pending release of a comedy about two actors tasked with assassinating the leader of North Korea. I suspected that North Korea… barely a second-world nation with few computers much less widespread access to the Internet… lacked the technical know-how to pull off something like that on their own. But our own NSA confirmed that the country was indeed capable of such an attack because they themselves had hacked North Korea’s computers in 2010.
  •  

  • right“The GOP will NOT attempt to impeach President Obama in 2015.” – There was some debate late last year, now that the GOP had control of both Houses of Congress, if they might attempt to impeach President Obama as we prepare for the 2016 Presidential election. But I noted the public would have no appetite for such obvious partisan political games. Of course, the REAL target turned out to be Hillary Clinton, who went through the equivalent of her own “impeachment” with the GOP summoning her to no less than NINE hearings on “BenghaziTM“… the last of which turned out more devastating for the GOP than it was for Clinton when the leading nominee for “Speaker of the House” as much as admitted on national TV that the entire point of all these hearings was to bring down Clinton’s poll numbers.
  •  

  • right“Gitmo will still be in operation by years end.” – Barack Obama has stated he wishes to close Gitmo ever since he was still running for president in 2007. But despite his best attempts, a terrified GOP fearmongered their Party & their voter base into rejecting plans for the detainees to stand trial stateside in U.S. courts and… if convicted… placed in a superMAX prison also on U.S. soil. Prior to this year, the GOP had to rely on obstruction, but upon taking control on Congress, there was ZERO chance such a bill was ever to see the light of day in 2016. This was an easy one.
  •  

  • right“Expect interest in Cuba as a tourist destination to explode.” – The normalization of relations with Cuba marked a remarkable end to 2014 that I believe no one saw coming. And indeed, the possibility of opening up a new travel destination was just what the airlines and cruise lines ordered. In July, Carnival added Cuba to its list of cruise destinations, as did “Pearl Seas Cruise Lines”. Commercial air travel to Cuba was technically restored, but the GOP Congress has yet to lift the ban on public travel to the country. Shocker.
  •  

  • right – “Expect a push to get marijuana legalization on the 2016 ballot in more states.” – No small surprise following the success stories in Colorado, Washington and Oregon, a significant number of states are all pushing to get some form of marijuana legalization on the 2016 ballot.
  •  

  • right“Republicans will try to take credit for the record economy.” – Arguably, this could be scored either way. A mere 7 days into their retaking of Congress, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was already taking credit for the improving economy. With unemployment down to just 5.0 percent, gas prices below $2.00/gallon across the country, and amazing GDP that saw growth of 3.9% percent in the second quarter of this year, the GOP was more than happy to try and take credit for the successful economy. But now that the presidential election is underway, suddenly the economy is “terrible” and President Obama is a “failure”. Funny how that works.
  •  

  • wrong“Expect the price of oil to settle in around $58/barrel.” – Last year at this time, oil was $55/barrel. As of this writing, oil is now $35/barrel. The week before President Bush’s invasion of Iraq, the price of oil had jumped to $37.83/barrel, so the price of oil is now lower than it was before a war that arguably was launched specifically to drive oil prices up… and indeed it did, peaking at $147/barrel in mid-2008 before $4/gal gasoline crashed the U.S. (and by extension The World) economy. I expected the price of oil to stabilize once again but the unexpected crash of the Chinese Stock Market last Summer resulted in a glut of oil in the market due to a dramatic decrease in demand that depressed oil prices even lower. Speaking of which…
  •  

  • wrong“The DOW should flirt with the 20,000 mark by years end.” – As noted above, the crash of the Chinese stock market nearly took the global economy with it. Following China’s crash, the European Market suffered huge losses as well. The DOW also plunged over 1,600 points in just a few days, but the strength of the U.S. economy helped us… and Europe… quickly stabilize. Despite China’s market plunge, the strong DOW rebounded, closing at just over 17,500 on Christmas Eve… up from 15,666 two days after the China crash… a gain of nearly 2,000 points, meaning if nor for the China crash, our own market might very well have been “flirting with the 20,000 mark just as I predicted. Damn China for screwing up my record.

And there you have it. 11 out of 15 correct for a whopping 73% success rate, my second highest score (damn you China!)

Now let’s see how the competition did:

The site “Angles & Ghosts” posted the Predictions of three “psychics” for 2015:

  • Judy Heavenly (gee, I wonder if that’s a stage name?) predicted cars using self-driving and accident-avoidance technology. Arguably, she got this one right. But such technology is not new. Accident-avoidance systems were in development in 2013. Tesla did however make a “self-driving” car publicly available for the first time this year, so props on that prediction.
     
    But that is as far as Ms. “Heavenly” got. Apparently, no divine inspiration for: a new “Eurasian Union”, the death of “a famous religious leader and a former U.S. president”, Congress “banning the sale of guns to people with mental disorders” (THIS Congress???), 5G phones, the first “self-regulating” artificial heart, the end of Putin’s reign, the “end” of Kim Jung Un, the passing of Pope Frank, and “vision correcting” TV screens.
  •  

  • Psychic “Craig of the UK” arguably correctly predicted that India’s economy would grow faster than China’s (at least the crash of China’s stock market helped ONE person get an economic prediction right [chuckle]), and an earthquake (somewhere) in “Mexico“. But all of his disastrous predictions were dead wrong. No massive volcanic explosions leveling cities and Jeb is not the GOP front-runner.
  •  

  • Their third “psychic” is someone I razzed in 2014 as well: “Psychic to the stars Nikki”. Ms. Nikki seems to love predicting ridiculous catastrophes: city-leveling earthquakes, terrorists attacks… death & destruction is her game. And her “predictions” are SO bizarre, one wonders why anyone pays attention (and money, lots of money) to her? I can never say Nikki didn’t get anything right because you must pay to see all her predictions (well over 100), but among her Top 19 on the above site, Nikki went 0-for-19. Among her more fantastic predictions, DC was not struck by an earthquake, nor was Chicago, nor was Tokyo “destroyed” (not by an earthquake or even another Godzilla movie.) Not even San Francisco (typically a safe bet) suffered a massive quake. And New Zealand definitely was not struck by a meteor.
     
    In the “close-but-no-cigar” category, Nikki predicted a terrorist attack on London (not Paris), but she made the exact same prediction for 2014. Eventually she hopes to be right someday and credit her amazing psychic abilities. Nikki also predicted the discovery of “sunken treasure off the Florida coast”. Depending on how far you extend “off the Florida coast”, a 300 year old sunken treasure was found off the coast of Colombia, South America, IN the Gulf of Mexico but nowhere near Florida. People in Anchorage were not “attacked by eagles” but Donald Trump WAS (also nowhere near Alaska at the time though.)

I also poked fun at the so-called “Psychic Twins” last year, whom have their own radio & TV Show. One more “post hundreds of predictions till something sticks” scams, the “Twins” made some interesting predictions for 2015:

  • New treatments for “HIV / AIDS, Alzheimer’s, Arthritis, Autism, ADD, Diabetes”… if they name enough diseases, I’m sure they’ll get at least one right. “Two cyclones” DID hit Australia, so some props due there. And Niagara Falls DID freeze over that February, but predicting a deep freeze while you’re in the middle of a deep freeze doesn’t exactly make you a psychic. Wanna impress me? Predict people kayaking in Buffalo the following December.

Always good for a laugh, this was Fox “news” Sunday last year making their political predictions for 2015:
 

Fox Panel predictions for 2015 (4:52)

Their predictions:
 
Like me, they also predicted quick confirmations for Ash Carter & Loretta Lynch. It appears I wasn’t the only one to under-estimate GOP childishness & partisan game-playing. Frequent panelist and reliable Right-Wing tool Stephen Hayes was surprisingly right in predicting “early favorite Jeb would not be the front-runner and Hillary would look vulnerable a year from now” (because Democrats will have tired of her.) Poor Bob Woodward. I’ve been following his political predictions for a few years and I don’t believe he has yet to get a single one right. The economy was expected to do well, but just how well depended upon whom you asked.

You might be surprised to learn (or maybe not) that Fox “news” Sunday did NOT ask their Panel yesterday to make any prediction for 2016. Gee, I wonder why? Do you think maybe it’s because they know not a single GOP candidate has a prayer of winning next year but they don’t dare predict a “Democratic victory” because it’ll upset their viewers?
 

Well, whatever the reason, let’s get on with my Predictions for 2016:

Election-year political predictions are simultaneously the most fun AND the most dangerous. All it takes is one bad comment (eg: Biden calling Obama “clean” in 2007), one embarrassing photo-op (eg: Dukakis in the tank), or a family tragedy to reverse a candidate’s fortunes in the blink of an eye. Worst of all, I don’t wish to anger anyone by predicting that their candidate will lose.

Let’s start small:

  1. Will we see another “France-style” terrorist attack in 2016? I don’t think so. Now that it has happened, the world has been put on notice and everyone is more aware of their surroundings, making another such attack more difficult to pull off. Bombings and mass shootings in the warzone that is the Middle-East, yes. Another Bombing in Europe or the U.S.? Doubtful. Another “mass shooting” in the U.S. by ISIS or alQaeda sympathizers? As long as we continue to have easy access to guns and a GOP controlled Congress unwilling to do anything about it… that’s ALWAYS a possibility.
  2.  

  3. The world took notice when Germany welcomed over 500,000 Syrian Refugees earlier this year while Republicans in the U.S. fear-mongered to the point of denying entry to even a paltry 5,000 refugees into the United States. Shameful. However, following the Paris attacks, fear took over and a number of Germans started acting like… well… Germans. So what is to become of the Syrian Refugees? “Safe Zones” inside of Syria & Iraq are the most likely alternative. I think President Obama is too smart to order a “No Fly Zone” over any part of Syria (which Hillary is calling for but Bernie opposes), but WILL require ground forces to secure. Whether those ground forces will be mostly American is unlikely. At some point, I hope the “pro-No Fly Zone” candidates (ie: Hillary and EVERY GOP candidate) are asked “Just how do you prevent ISIS from hiding beneath that NFZ protected by American forces?” and “Do you shoot down a Russian MiG and start World War III if Russia enters the NFZ to attack the Syrian rebels?” War-mongers don’t think of things like that.
  4.  

  5. Just as I predicted last year, ISIS will still be about the same size as it is today… roughly 30,000 fighters. With an increased global focus on “destroying ISIS” thanks to their recent bombing of a Russian airliner killing all 224 people on board, and the attacks on Paris last November drawing increased military strikes by France, their numbers will not grow faster than they are killed, however not fast enough to wipe them out. There’s only one way to do that, and it doesn’t involve guns or bombs.
  6.  

  7. Russia WILL focus more on attacking ISIS and less on helping Assad destroy the Syrian rebels, BUT will not JOIN forces with the U.S. in alliance to destroy ISIS, opting to go after them on their own in a way that does not upset Assad. Mortal threats to Russia take precedence over mortal threats to Assad’s rule. Putin still wishes Russia to look like a Super Power on par with the U.S. once again, still looking to regain the glory of the former Soviet era. Notice how, despite recent tensions, Russia still assists the U.S. shuttling people & cargo back & forth to the International Space Station? As long as we depend upon them, they will be more than happy to assist the needy Americans. But that doesn’t mean serving along side them in war.
  8.  

  9. I may be going out on a limb here, but as Russia steps up its attacks on ISIS and away from helping Assad, Iran is likely to take up the slack, increasing their military aid to Assad. This puts Iran in a very precarious position because Russia is in no shape to bail out Iran should things go South. Dealing with Iran could once again become a major campaign issue as the year progresses.
  10.  

  11. And as you can plainly see, I fully expect the Syrian conflict to still be raging throughout the following year. When the Syrian conflict first broke out in late 2011, I expected it to be short-lived, predicting an end to the conflict by the end of 2012. I tried again the following year and was wrong again. By 2014, I learned my lesson and stopped trying to predict an end to the war in Syria (I even made that part of the title that year.) Now, I think only a “peace treaty” between Assad and the rebels that includes a promise of amnesty so long as they remain in cities far to the East of the capitol city of Damascus, can end the war there (and that will NOT take place in 2016.)
  12.  

  13. The Economy: Being an election year, with the GOP in control of Congress and needing to do everything they can to make President Obama’s economy look bad and in need of change, we will see a MILD economic decline as the year progresses. Slower GDP and Market growth, but growth none-the-less. We saw this in 2000 the last time a “Governor Bush” ran for president. With unemployment at a mere 3.9%, and a record-breaking stock market, Bush went around the country talking down the economy until it became a self-fulfilling prophecy. With unemployment now at 5.0 percent and falling, positive economic growth, and an electorate where the most xenophobic rank amateurs lead the pack and rational experienced moderates are as popular as a skunk at a garden-party, their only hope for a GOP victory in 2016 is to talk down the economy and suppress any policies that might make things better. That means a DOW still below 20,000 (or very close to it) and unemployment between 4.6% & 5.3%.
  14.  

  15. Gitmo. President Obama, being incredibly shrewd, I have long believed that moving to normalize relations with Cuba has been a part of his plan to close the Guantanamo Bay prison. The Cuban government has long wanted it gone, and keeping it open is a blight of America’s reputation and a stain on everything we stand for as a nation. While I expect Gitmo to still be in operation by the end of President Obama’s presidency, steps will finally be in place… as part of a deal with the Cuban government… to close it permanently before he leaves office.
  16.  

  17. Thanks to Gerrymandering, the GOP will retain control of the House following the election but lose the Senate as record turnout flocks to the polls in November. Democrats will NOT regain a Super Majority like they had briefly in 2008, but the message will be clear.
  18.  

  19. The 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio will be relatively uneventful. No terrorist attacks amid tight security. There will be some reports of widespread criminal nuisances like the pick-pocketing of tourists, and polluted seas for the water events, but high-profile events with lots of eyes and high-security require too much planning and resources for a terrorist group like ISIS made up mostly of uneducated young men with limited finances. Personally, I think alQaeda is happy to be out of the white hot spotlight for the time being.
  20.  
    And here’s where it gets interesting:
     
    Attempting to predict who will be each Party’s presidential nominee before even a single vote has been cast requires a bit of work.
     
    As of this writing, only 13 of the original 17 candidates are still running (and a case can be made that Governors Gilmore of Virgina and Pataki of New York were never really running to begin with. – UPDATE 12/29/15: Pataki drops out) And despite so many of them polling in the single digits, they refuse to drop out because they look at the candidates leading the polls and they think… as we all do… “people aren’t REALLY going to vote for these inexperienced bomb-throwers when they walk into that voting booth! They are going to suddenly see-the-light and vote for someone more rational that has an actual chance of victory come November, right? Please?” So they continue to hang on, hoping against hope that wiser heads will prevail. HA! Have they SEEN what has been happening to their Party over the last twelve years?
     
    So let’s look at those remaining thirteen (Graham, who is shown, has also since dropped out):
     

    GOP field, Dec 2015

     
    Well, we can scratch anyone polling below 3%. That just ain’t gonna happen. Dream on guys. So that eliminates (right to left): Gilmore, Santorum, Pataki, Graham (whom has already bowed out), Rand Paul (who needs to drop out to save his Senate seat), Huckabee, Fiorina, and Christie. These people have no chance.
     
    That leaves: Trump, Cruz, Rubio, Carson, Jeb Bush, and Kasich.
     
    Carson and Bush don’t have a prayer either, so scratch them (amazing considering before Trump, Jeb was the odds-on favorite, and Carson was the first candidate to top Trump in the polls as recently as last November.) Carson has made “brain surgeon” a punchline, and Jeb’s feud with Trump has only helped Trump and made the idea of “yet another Bush” less palatable (and who knew George would turn out to be the “smart” one?)
     
    Kasich is competent & sane… two things the GOP absolutely detests in a candidate this cycle. Plus he’s a moderate that has criticized Donald Trump (and by extension Trump voters), so he’s out of there.
     
    That leaves just Trump, Cruz, and Rubio. In any other year, Rubio would look like an attractive candidate. Young, enough of a Conservative nut to court the Evangelicals while looking white bread enough to make them forget about his Cuban roots, yet with a remote chance of winning over some of the Hispanic voters alienated by Donald Trump. But Rubio and Cruz are both trying to walk back statements of compassion & empathy towards Mexican immigrants that the modern GOP so despises. If this were any other year, I might have picked Rubio to end up being the nominee, but he has committed the unpardonable sin of… well. uh… I’m not really sure other than that whole “defense of Mexicans” thing. He’s also criticized Donald Trump, so scratch Rubio.
     
    The mainstream GOP hates Ted Cruz. A pushy screw-up that stormed into Congress like he knew better than Senators who had been there for decades. Cruz’s grand-standing late last year (2014) kept Congress in session long enough to force them to vote on approving TWENTY-FOUR of President Obama’s judicial appointments that the GOP had been intentionally dragging their feet on. That little fiasco probably made him more than a few enemies. A Tea Party favorite, Cruz is every bit as big a racist xenophobic bomb-thrower as Donald Trump, but without the record of success as a businessman. Like Rubio, Cruz is of Cuban decent and once spoke approvingly of helping Mexican immigrants… THE unpardonable GOP sin this election cycle. Born in Canada, both legally & technically Cruz is not even eligible to be president, but until recently it wasn’t much of an issue because he trailed so far behind in the polls. But after Trump made his “Register all Muslims, deny them entry (even U.S. citizens) [back] into the United States, and place all mosques under surveillance” speech, Cruz was the ONLY GOP candidate to not to publicly condemn Trump, catapulting him into second place. But outside the passionate GOP fringe, Cruz does not have enough support to be the GOP nominee (and as I noted, there’s still the whole “ineligibility” thing), Cruz will not be the nominee either.
     
    And that just leaves Donald Trump (but read to the end!)
     
    I didn’t think Trump would even run a year ago, and I still believe this is an ego trip for him, but he has held the lead virtually unbroken almost since the day he announced. And unlike in 2011 when every month seemed to produce a new front-runner that crashed & burned as Republicans kept looking for “anyone but Romney”, eventually forcing them to go with their “second choice”, Trump has held the lead but never peaked over his most recent high of 41%, meaning 59% of GOP voters would prefer someone else, but just can’t agree on whom that would be.
     
    MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell recently pointed out on his program: “If you take away the white supremacists, the Birthers and people who believe Obama is a Muslim, Trump would be polling in the single digits.” Yet…
     

  21. Trump will be the GOP nominee (a fact many Republican pundits refuse to accept… much like those candidates still polling in the single digits yet refuse to drop out because they expect the electorate to come to its senses) because GOP voters are enamored by wealth. Just as in 2012, “rank & file” Republicans hated Romney and keeps looking an alternative, but low-information GOP voters equate “wealth” with “success” and as each new usurper came & went they always came back to Romney. And such will be the case again in 2016 as Trump embodies both. A fixture on TV screens for decades, Trump with his flamboyant wealth, TV appearances, numerous casinos, super-model wife, books, clothing and other merchandise, he is a living caricature of wealth. Add to that his uncensored racism & misogyny, Trump says out loud things GOP members used to say only in private. Trump has liberated them! He has made being a Troglodyte socially acceptable. Starting out as “The Birther King” eight years ago, allowing racists to hide behind “politics” as an excuse to be openly racist, then hold rallies where 20,000 people could cheer without shame the idea of deporting some 20 Million undocumented immigrants AND their American-born children “back to Mexico” (even if they aren’t from Mexico), make openly sexist remarks about women… get called out for it by a female Fox “news” anchor… only to make an openly sexist remark about HER… and emerge unscathed, and now wantonly & conspicuously tread in none other than Adolph Hitlers footsteps resulting in a BOUNCE in the polls… Donald Trump IS who the GOP is today, and therefore will win the GOP nomination.
  22.  
    BUT…
     
    I’ve been pointing out almost since the day he announced his candidacy that Trump doesn’t really WANT to be President. It’s a GAME to him. A game he wants to win to prove he could be president if he really wanted to… except that he doesn’t actually want to DO the job:
     

    The Trump Chase

     
    Trump could start looking for an excuse to bow out if things start getting too real. If he decides he’s proved his point and can bow out gracefully… it’ll come early on after losing a few early primaries. But if he gets locked in a battle with the Democratic nominee, his ego will rope him in until the election in November.
     

  23. If that’s the case, expect Trump to name his running mate early… almost prematurely… as he picks someone to take his place should he choose to resign upon taking office. Trump’s most obvious choice for a running mate at this time is Ted Cruz, but should the primaries turn nasty as the two men compete for the same job, all bets are off.
  24.  
    And that leaves the Democratic nomination.
     
    I’m a Bernie Sanders voter. I think he is the best candidate, most consistent, always on the right side of social issues, was making the same economic arguments as Elizabeth Warren decades before she took office, and has a better chance of defeating any GOP nominee than Hillary does. But Bernie has some serious strikes against him going in.
     
    First, I think the average American voter is still freaked out by the “Socialist” label. And I shake my head in sad disbelief when I hear people reject Bernie because they think being a “Democratic Socialist” makes him a Communist or a Nazi only to then support Donald Trump… whose political speeches sound like they were lifted from “Mein Kampf”.
     
    Second, Bernie is terrible at defending himself and has a tin ear when it comes to how the “Socialist” label is perceived by voters. This was seen in the second Democratic debate when moderator John Dickerson quipped how the GOP campaign ad against him “writes itself”, and Bernie completely failing to make the case defending the Social Contract the U.S. government has made with its citizens, and how it is the job of government to ensure equal protection under the law. A major blunder he can ill afford to make should he become the nominee.
     
    Winston Churchill once said, “The best argument against Democracy is spending five minutes talking to the average voter.” Most voters don’t pay very close attention to their chosen candidate on the issues. It’s how so many otherwise rational people can support an inconsistent, misogynistic bomb-thrower like Donald Trump. How else do you explain Evangelical voters saying “Thank God” for a twice divorced serial adulterer who once said he’d protect a woman’s right to choose?
     

  25. And because of this, I predict Hillary to win the Democratic nomination. The typical Hillary voter knows only four things about her: She would be the first woman president, was married to Bill Clinton who was a successful president (with an assumption she’d govern just like him), she has a lot of political experience, and ran for President once before in 2008 so she must know what’s she’s doing. Never mind that she’s a hawk, a bit too cozy with Wall Street (“Goldman Sachs”), and has a history of throwing her fellow Democrats under the bus when it is politically advantageous for her to do so (eg: saying McCain would be a better president than Obama in 2008.)
  26.  

  27. And lastly, be it Hillary or Bernie, the Democratic nominee will win the election in November.
  28.  

  29. UPDATE 12/31/15: One more last second prediction: As ISIS begins to feel the pressure of increased international focus on the Iraq/Syria region, they will focus more on attracting outside sympathizers to commit terrorists attacks in their own countries in ISIS’s name (similar to the Paris & San Bernardino attacks in late 2015. I expect at least three such attacks in the coming year… which will of course become big campaign issues and the GOP nominee will hype to excess.)

So those are my predictions for 2016. And if I may make one more prediction, I don’t expect to do nearly as well next year as I did this year. However, on the brighter side, with so many of my predictions being on the disappointing side, I wouldn’t be too terribly upset is some of my most disappointing predictions don’t come true.
 



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December 28, 2015 · Admin Mugsy · One Comment - Add
Posted in: Election, Politics, Predictions

Win or Lose, Trump is Now the Face of GOP

 

Donald Trump and his brand of “harnessing hatred” to win the GOP election… whether the GOP likes it or not… is working. But it wouldn’t if this wasn’t already how a majority of Republican voters already feel. You could NEVER get present-day Democrats to rally around a hateful race-baiting conspiracy theorist like Donald Trump. But that is EXACTLY what Donald Trump has tapped into on the Republican side. As I first wrote years ago, the modern GOP has picked up the mantle of racist Southern Democrats from 60 years ago and expanded upon it. The election of the first black president didn’t magically turn Republicans into racists against their will. They were just suddenly free to come out of the closet and be openly racist by hiding behind “politics”. As I noted last week, the GOP has been sliding towards Fascism for decades now, but that’s not the end of the story. A few of Donald Trump’s opponents, and MANY in the Conservative media (outside of Hate-Talk Radio) have expressed concern that Trump may be “damaging the GOP brand” in a way that could not only cost them the White House AND Congress in 2016, but future elections for decades as minority voters are repulsed by an “angry & unwelcoming”, mostly white Christo-fascist political party that wants nothing to do with them.

Every Sunday, much to the amazement of my readers, I watch (and live-blog) Fox “news” Sunday, reporting on (and oft correcting) much of the misinformation, convenient memory-lapses, and sometime outright racist rhetoric that invariably comes up each & every week. Yesterday, they decided to comment on (but neither reject nor condemn) two incredibly offensive Tweets asked by their viewers:
 

Why not destroy an entire city to get ISIS?
Why not level an entire city to get a few thousand ISIS fighters?
 
Islam = Terrorist
The ‘I’ in ISIS stands for Terrorist

 

I’m not quite sure where to begin. First, the city of Raqqa, Syria didn’t just spring up out of nowhere to become the home of ISIS. The second largest city in Syria… Raqqa… population 220,000 men, women & children… was taken over by ISIS. It would be as if a gang moved into your neighborhood and took it over. Only this gang numbers in the thousands, has military hardware, and the police are scared to death of them. And warmongering Republican terror-monkeys with all the maturity of High school freshmen who watch Fox, wonder why we simply don’t just drop a bomb on the city of Raqqa and “kill off ISIS” all in one fell swoop. Well, beside the obvious moral vacuum of wiping out an entire city of hundreds of thousands just to get a few thousand “ISIS” fighters, the stupidity of thinking ALL of ISIS occupies a single city is too dumb for words. They control a region the size of South Carolina and this mental midget thinks they all commute back & forth to Raqqa each night? If ALL of ISIS were in one place, doesn’t he think we would have sent the military in after them by now? Of course not, because these people think President Obama is either too dumb to know he can simply level a single city to defeat ISIS, or that he’s “a secret Muslim” that deliberately isn’t trying to defeat ISIS. But I’m sure this same “uber-patriot” wouldn’t DARE tell a member of our military (whom I’m sure he praises at every opportunity) that they are just sitting around doing nothing to get ISIS.

The second Tweet might be more offensive than than the first. At least the first guy is just stupid. The second is unapologetically racist (and maybe stupid too, since there are TWO “I’s” in ISIS/ISIL). But Fox acknowledges that this viewers sentiments are NOT an aberration simply by taking the time to display & discuss his question on their show. The second viewer thinks that the “I” in ISIS means that “Islam = Terrorism”. I have no doubt that this same “patriot” would NEVER agree that the Evangelical “Planned Parenthood Shooter” in Colorado last month rating about “No more baby parts!” is representative of ALL Christians, yet somehow a murderous cult killing people in the name of Allah are somehow representative of all of Islam.

 

German students read violent/offensive Bible passages telling people they’re from the Koran.

 

I’ve noticed the past few weeks a number of interviews with “Trump voters” being asked to comment on some of the more outrageous/offensive things their candidate has said and asked if they agree or not with everything he says. And while many do (the ones you’d expect, old white Southern racists), the vast majority do not. YET, they all defend his “blunt, unfiltered” way of speaking even if they don’t agree with some of his positions. Well, what in the heck to they think he’ll do if he were to get elected? They all seem to think “Congress” would somehow restrain “President Trump” (cough) and somehow keep him in check. It’s a bit like shooting a pro athlete and arguing his excellent health will keep him alive. Why do that? Is that really what they want? A lose cannon in the White House (and finger on the nuclear trigger) and a Congress that spends all its time doing damage-control? Seriously? That’s the government they want for the next 4 years?

I watched the GOP presidential debate on “National Security” last week as well (funny mini-fact check by The Daily Show). Two-and-half hours long and almost entirely about rebooting the war in the Middle-East. Not a single veteran on stage, but all of them (sans Rand Paul, a GOP “fringe” candidate at 3%) frothing at the mouth for the chance to send someone else’s kids off to die in a war started by the LAST Republican president nearly 13 years ago. This was the first debate following the terrorist murder spree by a Muslim couple living in San Bernardino, CA (and the “Planned Parenthood” massacre two days before that, yet never mentioned), so naturally the candidates felt it necessary to fear monger over President Obama’s “failure” to prevent a couple of nuts deciding to play “Shooting Gallery” at one’s former place of work. What made this killing spree any more preventable than the five before that? This one was committed by a Muslim couple. One of the easiest ways to spot a growing threat and thwart a looming terrorist attack would be if they suddenly started stockpiling a bunch of weapons. But thanks to the NRA (aka: the GOP’s puppeteer), tracking gun purchases is illegal. Did a single candidate criticize the NRA for strapping the hands of law enforcement and allowing this possibly preventable crime from happening? Dream on.

Somehow, President Obama is expected to have precognition of a terrorist attack by two people in Southern California, but President Bush gets a pass for not acting on multiple warnings that 9/11 was coming. Can’t fathom why.

Donald Trump did another “live phone interview” on Meet the Press yesterday (one wonders if Trump would try to run the government via phone from his office in Manhattan?) where he called Hillary Clinton “a liar” for claiming during last Fridays debate that “ISIS is using footage of Trump’s racist rhetoric against Muslims in their recruiting videos”. He demanded “PROOF” that this is true. This same man is still insisting he saw news footage of “thousands of Muslims in New Jersey cheering the collapse of the World Trade Center on 9/11.” It never happened. The footage does not exist, and it is reasonable to believe Trump’s supporters are scouring the Internet for that imaginary footage. This same man insists President Obama was “born in Kenya” despite all the evidence to the contrary, and he dare demand “proof” from the Clinton campaign that something she claims is in fact true? Seriously? And his supporters don’t see a problem with that? Their candidate has ZERO credibility, yet they want to put him in charge of the most powerful nation on Earth.

During that same interview, Trump denied that he recently “praised” Russian President Putin following Putin’s praise of him, but when asked to defend saying ANYTHING nice about a man notorious for having journalists and his critics killed, Trump then spent the next five minutes demanding “proof” that Putin was indeed ordering the assassination of journalists. Keep in mind that not two minutes before he was demanding “proof” from Hillary that ISIS was using him in recruitment videos. Of course, we KNOW why Trump was so defensive of his blunder praising someone like Putin (friend of Assad as he attacks Syrian rebels). It’s because HE DIDN’T KNOW Putin was doing this. He was caught red-handed praising a terrible person, so his only defense was to demand “proof” and then question the evidence. Like every Republican before him, it’s just not possible for them to even fathom that they could be wrong about something (see “WMD’s”.) So phobic is the GOP of being made to look “dumb” by The Media they so despise that they twist themselves into pretzels to the point of looking ridiculous (see: Sarah Palin) trying to avoid looking ridiculous.

But let’s not forget who’s in SECOND place: Joe McCarthy’s doppelganger Ted Cruz. The Canadian-born Cruz is as big a bomb-thrower as Donald Trump. He was elected during Texas’ Tea Party wave of 2012 and quickly became one of their heroes. An immigrant himself (and technically not even eligible to run for president, yet is), Cruz has made his opposition to Mexican & Muslim immigration the cornerstone of his campaign. During the GOP Debate, Rubio & Cruz argued over who was more intolerant of immigrants… not accusing each other of intolerance but trying to insist each is MORE intolerant than the other, with Rubio… the son of Cuban immigrants… criticizing Cruz… the son of Cuban immigrants… of once supporting “a path to legalization” for immigrants and Cruz repeating his attack on President Obama for wanting to give “amnesty” (actually, only a path to citizenship) to “tens of thousands of illegal aliens”. Well let’s keep in mind who these “illegal aliens” are that Cruz is OUTRAGED might become citizens. Most of them are CHILDREN… the so-called “Dreamers” whose only crime was being brought to this country as children. America is the only country most of these kids have ever known, and Trump & Cruz want to deport the whole lot of them back to Mexico (though not all are from Mexico.) And did I mention that Cruz himself is an immigrant, brought to the U.S. by his Cuban-born father AFTER he was born in Canada (though nearly twice as many Republicans… 40%… think Cruz was born in the U.S. and that Obama was not.)

Cruz recently “joked” about hoping to find out “if sand glows in the dark”, threatening to nuke the entire Middle East (shades of McCain’s “bomb, bomb Iran”), and has defended (and even praised) Donald Trump even when the rest of the GOP field has refused to do so. And for that, Republican voters have rewarded him by catapulting him into second place in the national polls with most Trump voters citing Cruz as their “second choice” if their beloved Donald is not the nominee. And between them, Trump & Cruz make up nearly half of GOP voters (add in fellow nut Ben Carson and you leap well beyond the halfway mark of all Republican voters.)

The remainder of the GOP field is terrified of offending Trump’s base. Jeb Bush… once the front runner before Trump declared… has been engaged in a war-of-words with The Donald, and as Trump has rightly pointed out, Trump’s numbers have gone up while Bush polls only slightly higher than a plank of wood. And it’s not over “policy”, its over “style” as Jeb criticizes Trump for “insulting his way to the top”. Jeb has criticized Trump for his characterization of Mexicans, but is terrified of discussing any pathway to “citizenship” for undocumented immigrants because he knows his Party would tear him apart.

The very first vote of the 2016 campaign is only slightly more than a month away with the Iowa Caucus on February 1st. As Rachel Maddow pointed out in this video (around the 9:15 mark) that there is no rush for states to go first this time around the way they did in 2012 because THIS time, they expect a lot of lead changes as the GOP candidates vie for who can be the most offensive to draw away as many Trump supporters as possible while still maintaining the appearance of electability in the General election. So how exactly does one appeal to all the minority groups they’ve alienated… Mexicans, Muslims (and anyone who “looks” Muslim, like Indian Sikhs), Blacks, Gays, Pro-choice women, The Poor and anti-war Independents to win the election in November? Their old standby… “terror”… is starting to wear thin. Their noxious blend of racism, hatred & stupidity has made the GOP inhospitable to anyone that is not as noxious as they are. It’s a stench that is going to stick with them for at least the next four years.

(Note: Next week, be sure to check back for my annual “Predictions for 2016” edition. I did pretty good last year, reversing a downward trend, though my record is still WILDLY better than most other pundits & so-called psychics. Fun, fun. fun!)
 



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December 21, 2015 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Posted in: Election, General, Politics, Right-wing Facism, Right-Wing Insanity, Seems Obvious to Me

GOP’s Slide Toward Fascism Has Become Impossible To Ignore

 

As a Democrat, the obvious Republican shift towards “Corporatism” for the past 15 years has been painfully obvious. For years, it has been a struggle just to avoid violating “Godwin’s Law” against using Nazi analogies in a political debate with Conservatives. But just as the election of our first black president allowed so many closet-racists to finally be openly racist by hiding behind “politics”, the rise of corporate mogul Donald Trump to become the GOP’s indomitable front-runner has made the GOP’s shift towards Fascism impossible to ignore. Donald Trump first exposed the root racism hiding within the GOP during the 2008 presidential campaign. His first foray into politics was to question Barack Obama’s eligibility for president, questioning his place of birth, suggesting he was/is actually “a secret Muslim” born in Kenya (a suggestion he still makes to this day). So began Trump’s political career, with a race-baiting fueled attack against the first black president. And Republicans are suddenly appalled by his racist comments about Muslims? Please. Within a few months, the “TEA-Party” was born, showing up at “ObamaCare” protests waving signs depicting the president as a witch-doctor (complete with bone in the nose). (I know. I can hear you already: “Racism isn’t all there is to Fascism.” I know, bear with me, I’ve barely begun.) I have no doubt you, dear reader, already know that Mussolini famously called Fascism “Corporatism”, noting how it was a mixture of corporate power & politics. The GOP’s front-runner is a corporate mogul egomaniac whom is using hate & bigotry to stir up his supporters.

Trump began his 2015 political campaign by promising to “round up & deport” over 20 million undocumented Mexican Immigrants AND their U.S. born citizen children, and building a giant wall on the Mexican border (at Mexico’s expense.) But Trump wasn’t the first to vilify Mexican immigrants. In 2008, the GOP Presidential nominee John McCain ran ads of him walking the Mexican border with a Texas sheriff demanding we “Build the danged fence.” Following the terrorist attacks in Paris last month, anti-Muslim rhetoric exploded on the Right with nearly all of the GOP candidates in a 15-way fight to see who could be the most xenophobic. Then the terrorist attack by an Muslim-American couple in San Bernardino, CA two weeks ago only ratcheted up the anti-Muslim rhetoric to new heights. GOP candidates feigning being appalled by Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric aren’t exactly pure on the subject themselves. Jeb Bush… walking a tightrope between trying to appear compassionate towards the Syrian Refugees while trying not to offend the anti-Muslim bigots in his Party said he would allow in only “Christian” refugees (logistically impossible). Chris Christie said that in the current climate, he wouldn’t allow in “even Muslim orphans under the age of five” into the country. Donald Trump decided to go The Full Hitler by demanding that all American Muslims be “registered, forced to carry special ID cards,” and that we “put all mosques under surveillance.” Not to be outdone, Marco Rubio went even further, saying we should not just surveil mosques, but shutdown ANYPLACE Muslims congregate… including restaurants & cafes. But when The Public… followed by the critics… followed by The Media… followed by the GOP itself… was aghast by Trump’s comments and started to openly condemn him, only THEN did those same GOP competitors… who just called for the exclusion & surveillance of Muslims themselves… denounce Trump for his “un-American” comments about Muslims. This *really is* how Republicans feel. The only reason Cruz is in 2nd place Nationally among GOP voters (and now 1st place in Iowa), is because he’s the only GOP candidate repeatedly defending Trump’s bigotry. Trump isn’t “embarrassing” the GOP, he’s EXPOSING IT for the “racist, pro-corporatetax-cuts for the rich“, cut services to the poor, vilify minorities and those of differing religions Party that it has become. And I have now found it impossible to avoid pointing out the GOP’s obvious descent into Fascism and the Republican Party’s appetite for that kind of rhetoric.

While many Republicans are now openly using “The F-Word” (Fascist) to describe Trump, plenty more dare not, insisting that “Trump does not reflect the majority views of the GOP”. But the truth is clear: between them, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz represent nearly half… 49 percent… of the GOP:
 

Trump/Cruz hold 49% of GOP

 

…and the rest of the GOP field isn’t exactly in total disagreement with Trump on “the issues” because if they do, they risk alienating 65% of Conservative voters:
 


Trump’s poll numbers among GOP voters go UP after announcing his Muslim ban:
65% of GOP supports Trump's ban
 


(video link if above does not play)


 

The ancient Greek philosopher Plato, in his masterwork “Republic”, pointed out that the easiest way to spot the flaws in something is to magnify it. For example: Is it okay to steal a loaf of bread if you’re hungry? What if everyone if the city did it? Would it still be okay? Trump IS that magnification of the GOP. The latent racism, xenophobia, love of money  and “Cafeteria Christian” values who cherry-pick the Bible to justify their bigotry while worshiping the Almighty… Dollar. It’s all there in the majority of Conservatives, and why Trump has long held a 20+ percent lead Nationally over his next closest rival… another bomb-thrower named Ted Cruz whom… even when he (rarely/barely) criticizes “The Donald”, still finds time to kiss his ass:
 

The Establishment’s only hope: Trump & me in a cage match.

Sorry to disappoint — @realDonaldTrump is terrific. #DealWithIt@TedCruz

 

Former Trump supporters that are growing concerned by his questionable comments and lack of discipline are shifting their allegiance to “Trump-lite” Ted Cruz, the “Tea Party” darling who not only bears a striking resemblance to Joe McCarthy, but made his Senatorial debut by announcing that he “has a list of Communists who have infiltrated Harvard Law”, doesn’t get the point of Dr. Seuss’ “Green Eggs & Ham”, and jokes about “carpet-bombing the Middle-East till we know “if sand glows in the dark.”

TheWeek” magazine asked the “Trump/Fascist?” question as well last week (and you know what they say: “If you have to ask the question…”). Those who defended Trump against comparisons to Hitler or Mussolini compared Trump to those men at the height of their power, not during their rise to power. The GOP’s “sky-is-falling” rhetoric, preying on peoples fears, hyping that fear until common sense is tossed out the window, rallying around men who promise “greatness” once again, blaming all of societies problems on “inferior classes of people” and those of a particular religion… sound familiar?

As if to drive the point home, just below the aforementioned column where Republicans “pish-tosh” suggestions of the GOP descending into fascism, in an “Only-in-America” box, Alabama state Congressman Alan Harper warns his constituents not to shop at “anti-Christian owned” convenience stores because the owners are “using their profits to fund terrorism.” (Remind me again: How much oil do we buy from the Middle-East each day?) He concluded with a “Merry Christmas” and “God Bless”. Call me crazy, but something tells me his “Merry Christmas” is NOT being offered with love in his heart. Harper suffered no damage due to his comments, with the state GOP refusing to even take away his seat as Chairman of the State Board of Tourism (no, I’m not making that up.) “Welcome to Alabama! No, not you! Go back where you came from!”

In the 1930’s, the German people didn’t have a “Hitler” reference to look to to see what was coming and try to avoid going down that path. Today’s GOP does not have that excuse.

ADDENDUM: Trump asks his supporters to report on their neighbors. ‘Most likely you’ll be wrong, but that’s OK’, says Trump.

In George Orwell’s classic novel “1984” about a Fascist-controlled England, he described a government-mandated daily ritual known as 2-minutes of hate” where citizens stood and screamed at images of their enemies broadcast over video screens in their home, stoking Nationalism and hatred towards the people they are told to hate (and love for “Big Brother” who promises to protect them from those enemies). In today’s GOP, we have Fox News and Conservative (Hate) Talk Radio broadcasting that “2-minutes of hate” 24/7. In the novel, the job of the main character was to “eliminate unnecessary words from the dictionary” under the guise of “efficiency” but was actually a means of keeping people dumb with no words to express themselves. Today, we have Conservatives that want to eliminate the Department of Education and promote “home schooling” (where unqualified parents that lack basic math & science skills choose to teach their children theology as science.)

I find it fascinating that the same people who fear Bernie Sanders because they think “Socialist” means he’s a Nazi, are flocking to Donald Trump and Ted Cruz with their fascist rhetoric.

“Godwin’s Law” be damned, this is who the GOP is now. They are quite literally devolving into the Nazi Party. #DealWithIt.
 

Postscript: If you’ve never seen it, this ABC “After-school Special” entitled “The Wave” aired in 1981 (and remade into a German feature film in 2008) based on the amazing true story of a California high school classroom experiment on fascism in 1967 that went horribly awry. If you have a spare 44 minutes, WATCH THIS MOVIE! It explains a lot:
 

 



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December 14, 2015 · Admin Mugsy · 4 Comments - Add
Posted in: Election, Immigration Reform, National Security, Politics, Racism, Religion, Right-wing Facism, Seems Obvious to Me, Terrorism, War

When Do We Stop Listening to Conservatives on How to Fight Terrorism?

 

Today is Pearl Harbor Day. An American naval base was attacked by the Empire of Japan on this day in 1941, killing 2,400 American servicemen (half of which were aboard just one ship: The USS Arizona.) We declared war on Japan (NOT Germany), which in turn led to Germany declaring war on US (sorry Iraq War defenders.) That war ended 3-1/2 years later when the leaders of those nations surrendered and their citizens agreed to abide by that decision. Wars don’t end that way any more. In October of 2001, just SIX WEEKS after 9/11, president Bush declared he “wasn’t that concerned” about the man who had just orchestrated what was then called “a second Pearl Harbor”… the most deadly terrorist attack on U.S. soil in history… and instead started selling us on the idea that we need to instead focus on deposing Saddam Hussein. So manic was the Bush Administration’s focus on Saddam so recently after 9/11 that millions of Americans came to believe he was connected to 9/11. “He MUST have been” to be so important so soon after the attack with the war in Afghanistan still raging. It took another year-and-a-half of wild accusations about “Weapons of Mass Destruction” and the “imminent threat” posed by Saddam to get America to take its eye off the ball in Afghanistan and expand the war to Iraq. 14 years later, war still rages in both countries and the situation has only grown worse. So why are we still allowing the same people who got us into this mess to tell us how to get out?

In Greek mythology, after Pandora’s Box was opened and all the world’s ills spilled out, the only thing left inside was “hope”. But those ills are still out there and “hoping” it’ll get better has failed as a strategy. Control of Iraq was both figuratively & literally decapitated with the removal of Saddam… unquestionably a bad guy, but a pressure-valve on the pressure-cooker that is the Middle-East… a mess that we have yet to figure out how to clean up.

There’s an old saying: “fight fire with fire”. Now, a “hawk” will likely argue that this means going in BIGGER, using MORE troops and a LARGER military presence to bring the region under control. But let’s stop for a moment. The phrase “fight fire with fire” does NOT mean one should “burn down the village to save it”. No, ask any firefighter and they’ll tell you that it literally describes a method of depriving the fire of fuel (by setting tiny “back-fires”), not dropping incendiary bombs on the forest.

And THAT is what we must do: “Deprive the fire of fuel”. Going in bigger won’t make the region like us more. And no one-person in the Middle-East has the power to “surrender” on everyone’s behalf to bring the war to an end. Whether you like it or not, we’ve given the Muslim World reason to hate us. Sorry, but it’s true. We destabilized the Middle-East with the invasion of Iraq and created the power vacuum ISIL, Iraq & alQaeda are fighting over now. When Ron Paul made that point in 2011 (and NO I’m NOT a Ron Paul supporter), his fellow Republicans attacked him and accused him of “blaming America for 9/11″… a crass political ploy, accusing your opponent of being “soft on terror” while scoring cheap political points for yourself. How can one not be reminded of children accusing one another of having “cooties”?

Donald Trump leads the GOP field with his “bomb them into the stone age” rhetoric. Not only has he called for the return of “waterboarding” (against who? We don’t have any ISIS prisoners and we already know where they are) and forcing all Muslims to carry ID (so if a Muslim terrorist doesn’t have an ID, they must not be a Muslim terrorists?), but NOW he says the only way to “win” (like it’s some sort of game) is “to adopt their tactics” and “go after their families”. Great, the GOP front-runner is Kaiser Sosse:
 


 

It’s time for this nonsense to stop. Stop listening to the people who got us into this mess, have kept us there for over 14 years, and will keep us there for another 100 if we follow their advice. Abandoning their failed strategy after 14-years is NOT a sign of weakness, and you can’t embarrass us anymore by saying we have cooties if we do. “YOUR POLICIES HAVE FAILED! MOVE OVER, TIME TO LET THE ADULTS DRIVE.”

I won’t bore you yet again with my recommendation that we focus on improving the lives of the people in the middle-East, giving them less reason to hate us and taking the wind out of the sails of ISIS when they try to recruit people into attacking those who are making their life better. And if I may point out the obvious: war, bombing & occupation clearly isn’t working. We are allowing ourselves to be bullied by people like Donald Trump and (dear Lord) yet-another Bush (???) who think you can bomb people into loving you (or at least unwilling to do you harm.) Ask any 5-year old child if you can hurt someone into liking you, and I think you’ll find them smarter than the average Republican.

PS: President Obama delivered a rare address from the Oval Office on the subject of terrorism last night, citing not only the San Bernardino ISIS-wannabe terrorist couple in California, but the spread of terrorist ideology across the globe. He addressed the easy-availability of assault weapons in America and Congress’ lack of will to address the issue. But he also mentioned how vilifying & alienating Muslims in this country is counter-productive, potentially helping to radicalize people who could be our best “eyes & ears” inside the Muslim community… something I’ve talked about a lot lately since my column on the Syrian Refugees a few of weeks ago.

His plan “to defeat ISIL” cites four key activities:

  • (Good) “First, our military will continue to hunt down terrorist plotters in any country where it is necessary, using air strikes to take out ISIL leaders and their infrastructure in Iraq and Syria.”
  •  

  • (Questionable) “Second, we will continue to provide training and equipment to Iraqi and Syrian forces fighting ISIL on the ground so that we take away their safe havens.”
  •  

  • (Good) “Third, we are leading a coalition of 65 countries to stop ISIL’s operations by disrupting plots, cutting off their financing, and preventing them from recruiting more fighters.”
  •  

  • (Not enough) “Fourth, with American leadership, the international community has established a process and timeline to pursue cease-fires and a political resolution to the Syrian civil war.”

No mention of improving the lives of the people in the region to win over “hearts & minds” (he used the phrase only to describe the American people’s reaction to the San Bernardino attack), proposing no other grand strategy other than to continue the use of military force to wipe-out “ISIL”. In short, nothing new.

During “Meet the Press” Sunday morning, frequent round-table guest/pundit Conservative radio host Alex Castellanos pre-criticized President Obama’s Sunday night address as just “throwing more words at the problem.” This from a man whose own Party has done nothing but whine about how President Obama “refuses” to utter the words “Radical Islamic Terrorism” (like somehow using those words will make a difference.) These same people refuse to say “Radical Christian Terrorism” to describe the Planned Parenthood shooter just two days earlier.)

Go away Conservatives, you’ve had your shot. 14 years of failure is MORE than enough time to recognize that you don’t know how to drive and it’s time to stop handing you the keys. You’ve killed enough people. Scoot over.
 

ADDENDUM: Brilliant actor & activist Mandy Patinkin, on The Late Show (12/18/15) makes the same point I’ve been making that the ONLY way to end war is to IMPROVE the lives of those who hate us rather than give them more cause to continue their fight:
 


 

 



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December 7, 2015 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Posted in: Election, Immigration Reform, Infrastructure, Middle East, National Security, Politics, Right-Wing Insanity, Seems Obvious to Me, Terrorism

Thanksgiving With My Conservative Family Explains A Lot

 

When you’re the only Liberal in a family of Conservatives living in the South, getting together for the holidays can be a tricky thing. But mostly, it has taught me a lot about the Conservative Mind and particularly why they believe what they believe. First, you start with a foundation of bigotry. It may not be very deep, but it is always there. Mexicans, blacks, gays, Muslims… basically anyone that frightens them… which is just about anyone they don’t have anything in common with. And when something annoys them, it’s always the fault of one of these groups. Lots of crime? Blame the blacks. Bad drivers? Typically “foreigners” but not a hard & fast rule. Perceived immorality? Mexicans, Blacks and/or gays. You know the drill.

THEY (ie: White religious Conservatives) are the “oppressed minority”. The rest of the “Liberal Media” keeps trying to force them to accept blacks, Mexicans, gays, Muslim Refugees, etc as “equals”. They already know what’s true just by observing the world around them, and IF they consume any news at all (and believe it or not, they don’t watch a lot of Fox. In fact, they watch almost no news at all. It only angers them), Right-Wing Media merely confirms what they already believe to be true. For example, Donald Trump is CERTAIN that he saw ON TV “THOUSANDS” of Muslims IN NEW JERSEY cheering the fall of the WTC Towers on 9/11. Now, if it were “on TV”, SOME television station somewhere would have tape of it (archival footage is NEVER destroyed), but no one has produced any such footage because IT DOESN’T EXIST. Never happened. (He’s also implying that “thousands” of Muslims already living in the U.S. are terrorist sympathizers that had inside knowledge that this was an attack.) But it doesn’t hurt Trump’s poll numbers because Conservatives all believe they saw it too. Trump is merely confirming what they already believe is true, and no amount of evidence (or lack thereof) is going to sway them.

Conservatives all believe themselves to be “victims”. It’s the ultimate “victim mentality”. When in fact they are far more often the victimizers. Oppressing minorities and bullying the political system till they get their way. In their world, there is a “War on Christmas” if Starbucks removes the reindeer from their Xmas cups. But just why did Starbucks ever offer Xmas themed cups in the first place? Not Hanukkah cups or Kwanzaa cups, but ONLY cups with Christian Christmas themes on them. I never heard a Jewish person accuse Starbucks of a “War on Hanukkah”. No Atheists protested the use of Christmas cups in the first place. But take away a “privilege” they enjoyed that they never had to ask for in the first place… like being wished a “Merry Christmas” by the sales girl… and suddenly they are the victims of “Liberals” out to “destroy Christmas”.

And yet, the great irony is that they ARE victims. Not of The Media or Liberals, but of deliberate misinformation campaigns by the rich & powerful to get the reactionary, ill-informed Conservative masses to do their bidding. Just look at the list:

  • “ObamaCare”: Just before leaving for home, one of my family members said they were “refusing to buy ObamaCare even though the government was telling them they had to” because doing so “would only suggest I approve of it.” In what little time I had, I tried to explain, “You don’t buy ObamaCare. ObamaCare is not health insurance. It’s just a set of rules & regulations telling the insurance company they can’t deny you care or jack up your rates.” The reaction: “Then why are they telling me I have to to buy it?” “They aren’t. You only have to buy insurance. ANY insurance from any old insurance company.” A hand goes up about half-way. “Whatever!” as I was dismissed. My explanation didn’t comport with the “reality” she has been spoon-fed for years. I must not know what I’m talking about.
  •  

  • Planned Parenthood: Another Right-Wing lunatic with a gun murdered three people and wounding nine others last Friday at a Colorado Planned Parenthood, ranting about “President Obama” and “No more baby parts”… clearly a reference to the highly edited video disseminated by an anti-choice group earlier this year that falsely accused PPA of “profiting” of the sale of “baby parts”. Once again, reality was deliberately twisted to convince easily duped Right-Wing lunatics that something they already believed to be true to in fact be the case. It doesn’t matter that the facts don’t bear them out. Someone has already “confirmed” what they always believed to be true, and anyone trying to convince them otherwise is actively trying to deceive them. Meanwhile, yet another lunatic Evangelical white guy with a gun goes on a killing spree, but it’s desperate homeless Syrian refugees seeking shelter that we have to be afraid of.
  •  

  • Global Warming: There are some very powerful interests that don’t want you to believe it is true; the oil industry and the mega-church industry. And in the Deep Red South, there’s about a 99% chance you’re< connected to one or both. And despite the fact we are still seeing hurricanes nearly a month past the end of hurricane season and temperatures near 80′ for Thanksgiving in Houston, ANY cold weather is proof Climate Change isn’t real… because every “Snowmageddon” they’re told “How can there be both Global Warming AND record snowfall?” Don’t bother explaining concepts like “evaporation” and that “warm air holds more moisture” to them because they just tune you out. “Facts” mean nothing when it conflicts with what they already WANT to believe is true.
  •  

  • Tax hikes on the Wealthy are a tax increase on THEM no matter how poor: Despite being about as middle-class as can be, ANY tax increase…even on billionaires… is a tax increase on them personally. There are two reasons for this: 1) They think THEY are in the “Top 1%” if they own their own home. And 2) Tax increases are ALWAYS just passed on to the Consumer (despite their faith in the “Free-Market”.) This is what they’ve been told for years by the people manipulating them and what they already believe to be true.

While watching TV, over the Thanksgiving holiday, a promo for a new reality show came on. Only this one stars an Indian family living in California (IIRC). This quickly drew some agonized groans of annoyance from family members with the response, “this is what they do now. Put on shows about foreigners…” I quickly pointed out, “Not ‘foreigners’. Ethnicities. They’re not foreigners, they’re Americans that just happen to be Indian”, I said in exasperation. The Kardashian girls are Lebanese, but they are attractive, so that doesn’t count (until they bring home their black boyfriends that is.)

Critics of Donald Trump are wondering if his latest indefensible moment caught on video mocking a disabled reporter will finally be the thing that takes him down. Seriously? We’re talking about the same group of people who rushed to the defense of Rush Limbaugh when he mocked Michael J. Fox in nearly the exact same fashion in 2009. “If you can’t laugh at that, you’re just a politically correct Liberal buzz-kill.”

I noticed a few weeks ago that a lot of Fox “viewers” don’t actually listen to the program. It plays in the background while they do something else, occasionally flashing a glance at the TV to read the chyron when a particular word catches their ear. In one recent incident, they did a story about the political leanings of the latest round of students attending college. Their own polling showed that most new college students “tend to be Liberal both politically and Socially”, yet the chyron on the TV read, “College students more Conservative”. How? Well, while the poll found more students overall to be “Liberal”, the same poll found the number of students identifying as “Conservative” had grown over the year before by a few percentage points. Ergo, students are now “more Conservative” than they were a year ago (though still badly outnumbered.) But if you’re the typical Fox “news” viewer who only glaces at headlines without paying attention to the entire story, you might very well come away thinking there are “more” Conservative college students than Liberals. It only confirms what they already want to believe is true, and why study after study confirms Fox “news” viewers are the least well informed of all (less informed than even people who watch no news at all.) It’s also how Fox gets away with saying, “Hey, our stories aren’t biased! We defy you to find a clip where we lied!”
 
Two Fox “news” Chyrons following the conviction of Dick Cheney’s Chief of Staff I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby on 7 of 8 counts in March of 2007:
 

Libby Not Guilty Libby Not Guilty

 

Guilty on 7 of 8 counts, but Fox focused on the ONE count he was NOT convicted on, and the casual “glancing” Fox viewer only sees “Not guilty” then grumbles something about how “Librul’s” persecuted this poor man for months.

Oh, and by the way… that nut who shot up the Colorado Planned Parenthood last Friday? When he first moved into town, he recommended to a neighbor that he put a metal roof on his house “so the government couldn’t spy on him.” Why bother with a tinfoil hat when you can put a tin roof on your entire house?

He was then allowed to legally purchase an AR-15 assault rifle, a 9mm pistol and a .357 revolver.
 



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November 30, 2015 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Posted in: General, Healthcare, Partisanship, Party of Life, Politics, Right-Wing Insanity, Seems Obvious to Me

Home of the Brave? Govs & Congress Terrified of Refugees. GOP Front-runners Channel… you know who.

 

Following the Paris attacks, if anyone had just cause to fear strangers from a war zone entering their country, it was the French. Instead, they said to the world, “We will not be intimidated!” and recommitted themselves to accepting 30 Thousand additional Syrian Refugees (which, as I pointed out last week, is a very smart move.) Meanwhile, cowardly Republicans (and a handful of Democrats), in Congress, in governorship’s… and EVERY GOP candidate for president… who once ridiculed The French as cowardly for not supporting President Bush’s unwarranted invasion of Iraq… is now quaking in their boots over the possibility that some of these “wretched refuse” might actually be secret Daesh (ISIS) infiltrators sneaking into the country to do us harm. “Home of the brave”? Hardly. These terrified piss-ants have telegraphed to the world that we are so cowardly we’ll turn our backs on everything our nation once stood for out of fear of what Daesh might do to us. Accepting the Refugees would be a sign of STRENGTH. So what does turning them away tell the world? Worse, what does it confirm to the Refugees themselves about everything Daesh has told them about us? That we “hate & fear Muslims.” That we are “at war with Islam.” That Americans are “cowards” & “hypocrites”.

And if that weren’t bad enough, the extreme political neophytes leading the GOP presidential race appear to be channeling… of all people (with apologizes to Godwin) Adolf Hitler. Donald Trump wants a national databaseto start… of every Muslim living in the United States, forced to carry ID while we put every Mosque under surveillance. And how does he intend to pull off yet another Herculean task of rounding up every person of a particular ethnicity for identification/registration? “Management” [ibid].

Ben Carson, no slouch himself when it comes to dehumanizing people so that he can demonize them, compared the Syrian refugees to “rabid dogs” (now, he’ll say he was only calling Daesh rabid dogs, but he draws no distinction between the Refugees and Daesh to justify turning his very “Christian” back on people in need. Carson & Trump both believe we should bring back “waterboarding“… a particularly worthless & time-consuming means of obtaining information. Upon whom will we be subjecting these torture techniques? We don’t have any ISIS prisoners in our custody. France isn’t likely to turn over their own… not that it would matter since none of them were Syrians to begin with. So WHY exactly do we need to bring back waterboarding?

Ted Cruz took personal offense to President Obama saying all the GOP candidates are terrified of fleeing “women & children”. Says a swaggering Ted Cruz to the TV cameras, “Come and tell that to my face.” If Obama won’t, I will. You’re a terrified, bed-wetting coward and an embarrassment, Mr. Cruz. You’re a frightened little child whose racist xenophobia is endangering the security of this country, and if you can’t see that, you have no business even looking at the White House let alone running it. You’re calling out President Obama for calling you a coward. Well, he’s not the one soiling his shorts over a few refugees. Where’s your “Freedom Fries” now, tough guy?

Meet the Press included an incredible “Nerdscreen” segment yesterday:
 

Hysteria over Refugee “threat” unfounded (2:15)

 

As Chuck Todd points out in the video, “Since 9/11 (14 years ago), only 1/1000th of a percent of foreign refugees have been arrested on suspicion of terrorist activities.” Adding that “there are FAR easier ways to enter the U.S.” than to subject ones self to the Refugee process for months (if not years) with less than a one percent chance of successfully entering the country. And as the Paris attacks demonstrated, “the terrorists” are far more successful at convincing willing locals already in the country to do their bidding. NONE of the Paris bombers were Syrian or Iraqi citizens. They were ALL European Nationals. How do we know? Beside the fact we know their identities, the fact they didn’t attack THE freaking EIFFEL TOWER… the most recognized French landmark there is, confirms it. I mean, if you were going to travel 1,000 miles to attack Paris, wouldn’t the most obvious target be the Eiffel Tower? Not if you’re a local to whom it’s “no big deal.”

The GOP has become a national embarrassment. The same cowardice they once attributed to The French are now being shamed by the bravery & wisdom of those same French people. Meanwhile, their stark-raving terror of “Muz’lums” has them calling for more “papers please” laws, ID badges, registration of anyone of a particular religion and putting houses of worship under surveillance… all the while turning their backs on a community that could help us the most, potentially turning them into enemies.
 



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

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November 23, 2015 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Posted in: Election, Immigration Reform, Middle East, myth busting, National Security, Politics, Racism, Religion, Right-wing Facism, Right-Wing Insanity, Terrorism, War