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Keystone XL: Not Just a Potential Environmental Disaster But An Economic One Too.

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, November 17, 2014

Did you know about 1/2 of the Keystone XL Pipeline has ALREADY BEEN BUILT? The KXL project is a 1,200 mile long pipeline extending from Hardisty, Alberta to refineries in Houston, Texas near The Houston Ship Channel. The southern legs of the pipeline, one branch from Steele City, KS to the pipeline hub of Cushing, Okla., and the other to two refineries near Springfield, Ill, were constructed between 2011 and earlier this year. in The state of Kansas… which just reelected Governor Sam Brownback despite a record of extraordinary economic malpractice thanks to massive unpaid-for tax cuts strapping the state with a whopping $279 Million dollar budget deficit… gave the Canadian oil company “TransCanada”$15 Million dollar ANNUAL tax cut (ibid first link) to entice them into building the pipeline through their state. That’s like bribing a highway construction crew already knocking on your front door to reroute the freeway through your living room. The tax revenue lost to Brownback’s idiotic tax cut was NOT recovered in tax revenue from new employment. Worse, when that pipeline starts leaking… and it will… the state of Kansas can TRY to get TransCanada to pay for the cleanup, but the imposed fine (if there’s even one at all) won’t cover the actual cost of cleanup or damages. It never does. Who picks up that tab? But “health” and “cleanup” costs are just two of the half-dozen or so economic pitfalls from allowing this pipeline to continue. I already noted the loss of tax revenue in Kansas. Consider that land and the immediate area around it a dead zone for the next 100 years as people decide they don’t want to live near a pipeline (noisy, smelly, dangerous). And the list goes on.

Businesses near the pipeline will soon be forced to relocate as the local population moves away. That translates to fewer jobs and less tax revenue. At the destinations of these pipelines, not only will residents/businesses flee the pipeline itself, but the massive lakes of toxic waste (called: “tailing ponds”) will chase away new residents better than being told their house was the site of a brutal murder/suicide.

Ask anyone from South-East Texas about a place called “Texas City”, and the first thing they’ll mention is how bad it smells. “Texas City” is home to three major oil refineries, only a short hop away from “Port Arthur”… one of Keystone’s three destinations… with its three additional refineries. Trust me, no one lives there unless they have to (employed at the refineries). Not only does the air stink of rotten eggs (sulfur) for miles around, but the air actually burns your eyes and throat after just a few minutes (it is common local knowledge to “roll up your windows” when driving past this section of East Texas.)

I keep hearing supporters of the pipeline say, “It will create jobs!” like it’s a universally accepted statement of fact, and to doubt “that one simple fact” makes you irrational. During last Friday’s episode of “Real Time With Bill Maher”, CNN “Political Contributor” Margret Hoover stated as a fact: “The reality is that the Keystone XL Pipeline will create jobs. Who could be against that?” And MSNBC’s Chris Matthews also repeated the mythical “it will create jobs” claim during “Meet the Press” yesterday. In both cases, NO ONE challenged those assertions. JUST ONCE I’d like to hear someone ask the obvious (bleeping) follow-up: “DOING WHAT?” Seriously. Certainly not in the actual construction of the pipeline itself. As I’ve already pointed out, nearly HALF of the pipeline has already been built. And most of the steel pipe used to construct the pipeline has already been purchased from India. And if you think that Indian steel is stronger than American-made steel with less risk of rupture as 1million barrels a day of liquified dirt SANDBLASTS the walls of that pipe 24/7/365, I have a bird estuary to sell you. No surprise by the lack of pushback on MtP, but one would think that at least on a Left-leaning show like Maher’s, he’d challenge the notion. But he didn’t. Yesterday, ABC’s “ThisWeek” had on the CEO of TransCanda who conceded an AP report that the pipeline would create “just 50 permanent jobs in the U.S.”, but countered that it was still a “job creator” because it would also create “9,000 (low-paying temporary) construction jobs” and “42,000 indirect” jobs (over 2 years)“:
 

CEO of TransCanada, Bill Girling, concedes that the costly pipeline may create only FIFTY permanent jobs in the US and perhaps only 50,000 “temporary” and “indirect” jobs along the construction route over TWO years.

 

Seriously? These are the “jobs, jobs, jobs” Republicans have been promising? We’re risking certain environmental disaster to produce less than half as many jobs as the U.S. economy needs EACH MONTH just to keep up with population growth, over the span of TWO YEARS? Tell me we’re not being ruled by people THAT dumb!

UPDATE: Doing the math, best case scenario of 51,000 temp jobs (9,000 + 42,000) spread out over two years has the same impact as adding just 490 jobs a week for the next two years, or roughly a 0.45% increase in monthly job growth.

While live Facebooking/Tweeting the Sunday News Shows yesterday (click here to follow us on Twitter or here to follow us on Facebook), I found myself in a Twitter “debate” with a “Proud Truther” that thought I wasn’t very bright if I couldn’t figure out all the jobs that could be created from “Construction and maintenance” of the pipeline. Long story short, after I advocated promoting “Green jobs” over the pipeline, he responded with the familiar Republican claim that “government does not create jobs”. This is a common (and painfully stupid) response by Republicans whenever talking about using the government to promote job creation. The “logic” (if you can call it that) goes this way: “If the government creates the job, it costs tax dollars, for a net gain of zero.” And if government were the employer, he might have a point (he’d still be wrong, but at least a defensible argument.)

So I respond back, “Government doesn’t create jobs? That’s demonstrably false. The government creates jobs ALL THE TIME.” May I just point out that this mental midget was arguing with me OVER THE INTERNET… which was a government project and now responsible for hundreds of millions of jobs. Before that, we are STILL reaping the benefits of President Eisenhower’s “Interstate Highway Project” today. And the next time you drive over an eighty year old bridge built under FDR’s WPA (Work Projects Administration), ask yourself how much each of these things has contributed to Commerce in this country?

Remember that “failed” government program that lost millions on “Solyndra“… a GOP punchline for the past six years that Republicans pointed to as an example of “money wasted trying to promote green jobs”? Well, it’s slated to turn a $5 to 6 BILLION dollar profit next year as the majority of companies backed by the program more than out-performed the losses.

Some “reluctant” supporters of constructing the pipeline (and many Republicans, like Sen. John Thune, trying to straddle the fence on Fox “news” Sunday yesterday) like to say, “Construction of the pipeline is inevitable. They are going to sell that oil whether we build the pipeline or not, so we might as well just build it.” Few arguments in favor of the pipeline anger me more than this one. It’s the, “we’re all going to die someday so why not just put a bullet in our brains now?” argument. Former Talk Radio host Ed Schultz made this asinine argument on his radio show last year creating a firestorm. People like myself quickly set him straight and eventually he recanted, but the damage had been done and his show was off the air a few months later.

No. Construction of the pipeline is NOT “inevitable”. Turning tarsand into “oil” is an extremely expensive process, and it is only cost effective with oil between $65-$75/barrel (add this to the mess with ISIS and it’s just one more way the Bush Administration royally screwed this country.) Get the price of oil below $70/barrel and it is no longer cost effective to try to turn that sludge into “oil”. Last week, the price of oil fell below $75/barrel for the first time since 2006. The price of oil the week before the invasion of Iraq? $32/barrel. 

I heard numerous Conservative Commentators yesterday repeat the “common sense” logic that “increasing the supply of oil” (by tapping the Tarsands reserves) will bring down the price of oil. I’ve already detailed in my “Truth About the KXL” report how there isn’t enough oil in the Alberta tarsands (even when added to our our own Bakken shale reserves) to “glut the market”, and that even if there were, OPEC would simply cut production to drive the price back up. So any idea that the tarsands oil will mean lower gas prices is based on nonsense.

For FAR less money… with the side benefits of creating FAR more PERMANENT high-tech green jobs and without the double costs of environmental and economic disaster… we can REDUCE our dependence on oil… the ONLY thing that would actually have an impact on oil prices. I pointed out a couple of years ago that roughly 8% of our electricity is generated by oil-powered turbines. Replace them with windfarms and you DRAMATICALLY reduce the amount of oil this country consumes each year (FAR more than “8 percent”), which in turn would bring oil prices down… quickly. OPEC can’t simply drive prices up by cutting production of a product for which there is already less of a demand. They’ll just drive away customers.

There is no economic future in continuing our dependence on fossil fuels. Green jobs pay better and have an actual future, but our government is about to be dominated by people desperate to protect the Blacksmithing Industry from the invention of the Automobile. Senate Democrats are suddenly willing to hold a vote on Keystone because they think helping Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu agree with her opponent on the pipeline will save her job (bang head on wall repeatedly). Have they learned NOTHING from the beating they took just one week ago? Conceding your opponents position doesn’t win you elections. I can think of no better/safer time to kick Landrieu to the curb as a warning to other Democrats. Keeping this notorious DINO in office doesn’t change the balance of power. She’s about to vote with the Republicans (again) in opposition to President Obama (again), so tell me again why I should waste ONE DIME trying to save her seat in Washington? Keystone is a White Elephant for Democrats. Add to that the economic costs of cleanup and the decimation of local economies from “blight flight” (you like that? I just made it up) and Republican “tax cuts” to attract something any sane group would pay to keep away, and you have a project that is SO bad on SO many levels, it’s almost inconceivable that anyone is taking this idea seriously.
 



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Filed in Economy, Energy Independence, Environment, Global Warming, Greed, Jobs, Money, myth busting, Right-Wing Insanity November 17th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • 3 comments | Add/View

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Electorate Votes Big for Progressive Policies (and the people least likely to implement them)

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, November 10, 2014

What conclusions can be drawn from an electorate that voted overwhelmingly for Progressive policies in last Tuesday’s election only to also vote for the people LEAST likely to implement them? In EVERY state where raising the Minimum Wage was on the ballot, all Deep-RED states, it won. In EVERY state where marijuana legalization was on the ballot, it won. In EVERY state where increased gun control was on the ballot, it won. And in EVERY state where “personhood” for fertilized eggs was on the ballot, it lost. Yet in many of these same states, Republicans… who are the least likely to support these measures… won big. How does one account for that?

On The Rachel Maddow Show the night after the election, she provided an itemized list of Progressive victories the night before:
 

Howard Dean, who ran the DNC before Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, and whose “50 State Strategy” played a huge role in 2006 Democratic sweep of Congress, said the most brilliant thing on “Meet the Press” yesterday:

“The Republican strategy was simply to say, We’re not Obama. And the Democratic strategy was to say, We’re not Obama either. What in the Hell kind of strategy is that?”

In recent weeks, I too have lambasted Democrats for buying into the Republican meme that “President Obama is wildly unpopular” and running away from him and his policies when they should have been defending them. When given the choice between a Party that does nothing but criticize the president vs a Party that concedes their opponents criticism, why on Earth would anyone vote for the same Party as the president? It was beyond stupid. So it was only natural that the GOP candidates would defeat their wishy-washy opponents.

Yet, when it came to ballot issues, the voters STILL expressed a CLEAR preference for Progressive positions. People WANT Progressive government, but they also want stuff to get done. Republicans went out on the campaign trail and told voters that if they want to END GRIDLOCK, they need control of both Houses of Congress. With a metaphorical gun to the electorates’ head, Republicans told voters to, “Elect me before I obstruct again!” NOT ONCE did I hear a Democrat argue the opposite: that giving THEM control of both houses would also end the gridlock in Washington (I find it curious that, despite a 16% approval rating, Control of the House was never in question thanks to Gerrymandering). Republicans already blame President Obama for their own unprecedented obstruction of Congress, but even with control of both houses, President Obama still has his Veto Pen, so if Republicans think they can “repeal ObamaCare” or include the “deportation of 12 Million undocumented workers” in their border-security bill, we’re STILL going to see gridlock in Washington. And if the Tea Party extremists get their way and begin impeachment proceedings, just how much do you expect this Congress to get done?

So what’s going on here? Did voters just not draw a connection between the policies they were voting for and the people they were electing to implement them (FACT: The more educated you are, the more likely you are to vote Democrat), or something more sinister?

I despise Conspiracy Theories, and I think the moment you start arguing “election theft” when you lose, you lose all credibility when you win. “Voter Suppression” efforts were rampant across the country this election, but they account for the record low turnout (just 36.6%) not for the inconsistent way in which people voted. Yes, there were reports of “vote flipping” on “touch screen” based voting machines (built more than a decade before modern touch screen tablet technology and thus painfully due for an update), but machines were found to be flipping votes in both directions, an indication the problem is more a em>calibration issue than one of nefarious intent.

However…

If one WERE to rig voting machines so that GOP candidates in close races ended up winning big, and Democrats with huge leads ended up winning in squeakers, it is conceivable that the people rigging the machines didn’t think to rig the “ballot issues” as well to keep the results looking consistent. If I were the conspiracy-type, such a result would definitely be ringing alarm bells in my mind. But instead, I think the problem had more to do with an electorate that just didn’t link the candidates they were voting for to the issues they supported.

In Colorado, where “Personhood” was on the ballot, that measure lost by a whopping THIRTY-POINTS, and yet they elected an Evangelical senator that ran in support of personhood during the primaries only to flip-flop on the issue come the General Election. It was a reversal no Coloradoan could claim not to know about since his opponent, Tom Udall, ran so many ads on the subject he was branded: “Tom Uterus”. But like so many other Democrats, Udall ran away from President Obama’s record of success in spite of unprecedented GOP obstruction, suggesting there was some validity to the GOP’s claims of Obama being a failure, so when faced with the choice between the Party that has been saying for six years that Obama was a failure vs a Democrat that suddenly appears to be conceding his opponents argument, who are the voters going to vote for?

So what can we expect from the next two years? While I do expect to see a LOT of fighting, I predict most of it will be in-fighting amongst Republicans… the “old guard” Republicans that learned some lessons from the past, and brash Tea Party hotheads like Ted Cruz that will make “the repeal of ObamaCare” amongst his highest priorities (NOTE: Thanks to ObamaCare health insurance premiums are slated to rise at just 7.5% next year), as he openly ridicules his fellow Republicans for an unwillingness to consider impeaching Obama (while I still consider the possibility as quite high, I think there are enough Republicans old enough to remember the brusing 1999 impeachment of President Clinton, how it was widely viewed as “petty & vindictive”, and know that if they tried it again, the Press would crucify them.)

2014 was a case study in how NOT to run an election. This was NOT, repeat NOT, a “wave” election for Republicans. Record low turnout is not a “wave”. Did more people show up to vote Republican because they oppose the President, or did more people opposed to the president simply show up to vote? Clearly from all the Progressive ballot issues that won, voters don’t disapprove of the Democratic agenda. But don’t tell that to all the Republicans they just voted for to enact that agenda. 36.6% is not a “mandate”.
 



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Filed in Election, myth busting, Partisanship, Politics, Predictions, Rants, Seems Obvious to Me, voting November 10th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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One Number Explains Tuesday’s Miserable Election Results: 65 Percent

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Wednesday, November 5, 2014

65% say Country is on Wrong Track

One simple number explains the surprising scale of Democratic losses on Tuesday: 65% Percent of those Exit Polled said the country is on “the wrong track”.

o Unemployment is nearly half its 2009 post-Bush peak of 10.0%, down to 5.9% and falling.

o The Deficit is down TWO-THIRDS over what President Obama inherited.

o GDP is up to an amazing 3.5%

o Both the DOW and the S&P are at record highs.

And those exit polled overwhelmingly said the country is “on the wrong track” (only if “wrong track” to you means anything that makes Obama look good). That can ONLY be because Republican turnout was vastly superior to that of Democrats. Only a group of people SO DISCONNECTED from reality as to give this president an absurd SEVEN PERCENT approval rating (and President Bush a 63% approval rating his final year) despite a record like his could claim the country is on “the wrong track” with numbers like that.

Did the number of people believing the economy is on “the wrong track” drive people to vote Republican, or did more Republicans (who already believe the economy is “on the wrong track”) simply turn up to vote in greater numbers? I argue it was the latter.

Even races Democrats were expected to win easily were closer than expected. Many races that should have been close were blowouts. Why? TURNOUT. They had it, we didn’t. It’s that simple.

Nothing moves people to the polls like anger, and the GOP has been stoking Republican anger towards President Obama… who wasn’t even on the ballot… to the point where it moved Conservative voters to the polls in large numbers.

But one thing gnawed at me all last week: With just a 16% approval rating, how come “control of the HOUSE” was never in doubt? Think about it? How does a body with an approval rating lower than sour milk, one in which EVERY SINGLE MEMBER was up for (re)election, not only not have to worry about losing control of the House but actually PICK UP seats? Simple, rampant Gerrymandering, Voter Suppression and cuts to Early Voting locations/hours/days, all of which affect Democrats disproportionally.

Tuesday’s win wasn’t a victory for Republicans, it was a victory for ignorance, theft & apathy.
 



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Filed in Election, Partisanship, Politics, Right-Wing Insanity, voting November 5th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • 3 comments | Add/View

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History Has Shown Us What Happens With Republicans In Charge – and it’s not good

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, November 3, 2014

Probably THE reason I’ve been writing this blog every week for the last ten years is because of the importance of elections. As the subtitle says, “Recording History for those Who Seek to Rewrite it”. Of course, you wouldn’t need to be reminded of something if you had no power to change it. Not only is it about the elections, but also to remind voters of what happens when they vote while uninformed/misinformed. (Side-Note to anyone that thinks elections don’t matter: Ask the people spending BILLIONS trying to suppress your vote why do they bother if elections don’t matter?) Republicans are notorious for their hypocrisy when their politicians do the very things they claim to oppose (eg: GWB decrying “nation building” during the 2000 RNC Convention, to name but one) to a wholesale rewrite of the Reagan Legacy to turn the former union-leader that raised taxes 12 times, decried Assault Weapons, never attended church and granted amnesty to 10 million undocumented immigrants into “Jesus Meets John Wayne”. I’ve written multiple times of how the founder of “The Party of Lincoln” couldn’t get elected Dog Catcher by today’s GOP. And those are the Republicans we liked. But the past three-decades has produced what has to be the most noxious, partisan, short-sighted Republican Party I’ve ever seen. Republicans have left a long (slimy) trail of hypocrisy and economic disaster in their wake, yet somehow they keep managing to get elected by people with incredibly short memories and no foresight. I’ve likened it to psychotics that believe they “don’t need their meds” WHILE ON their meds (ie: Voting Republican after Democrats clean up their mess), discontinuing them only for disaster to ensue. So let’s take a little stroll down Memory Lane for a look back at the GOP Highlight Reel.

Reagan

During his 1980 Presidential campaign, Reagan criticized the Carter Administration for allowing the National Debt to grow to to a “staggering” $800-Billion dollars. Just days after entering office, in an address to Congress in February of 1981, Reagan’s speech-writers came up with the infamous “stack of dollar bills” analogy to give people a sense of just how much money “one Trillion dollars” really is. The Reagan prescription called for a massive tax-cut intended to (quote) “starve The Beast” [ie: government] in a misguided belief that less money coming in would force Congress to cut spending and reduce the Deficit. Sounds reasonable enough. But what the Reagan Administration didn’t count on was there there isn’t that much “fat” in the Federal Budget. And spending wasn’t exactly curbed when the staunch 1950’s anti-Communist decided that the way to defeat “The Red Menace” was to spend them into oblivion via a costly arms race. Before Reagan was governor of California, the former actor was the Head of “The Screen Actors Guild”… a union to protect the rights of people in the film industry… and volunteered to be an FBI informant in McCarthy’s anti-Communist witch-hunt that led to him testifying against “the Hollywood Ten”… a blacklist that ruined the careers of a number of prominent writers, actors and directors.

What the Reagan Administration did not count on was that sucking that much money out of the economy meant fewer paychecks. Less than two years later, Reagan’s Corporate tax cuts led to 10.8% unemployment, the highest since The Great Depression and a level not seen since. To get the unemployment rate back down, the Reagan Administration went on a hiring binge, greatly expanding the size of the Federal Government… which cost money, further exploding the Debt.

By the time Reagan ran for reelection in 1984… less than four years after lambasting the Carter Administration for allowing the National Debt to grow to $800-Billion dollars… “Reaganomics” had nearly doubled 204 years worth of accumulated Debt to $1.5-Trillion dollars. Because the government was borrowing so heavily to finance the Federal Government, people enjoyed all the benefits of low taxes AND a fully-funded Federal Government without realizing just how much they were putting on the National Credit Card. By the time Reagan left office, the National Debt had more than TRIPLED to $2.7-Trillion dollars. 12-years later, soon after taking office, Dick Cheney declared that “Reagan proved that Deficits don’t matter”. Then the Bush Administration proceeded to turn Clinton’s Surplus into a $1.4-Trillion dollar a year Deficit… which didn’t seem to bother Republicans all that much until Barack Obama inherited it. Then suddenly, The Debt (but not The Deficit which is shrinking) became an apocalypse waiting to happen. But I digress.

If the hypocrisy of Deficit Spending under Reagan weren’t enough, how about being “the most corrupt Administration in history”… a title that took some doing barely a decade after the Nixon Administration. Reagan’s presidency ended with ONE-HUNDRED AND THIRTY-EIGHT public officials being indicted or going to Federal prison, the most in American history thanks to things like the “Iran/Contra” scandal (selling arms to Iran to finance the Nicaraguan Contras). And I well remember when… after Congress rejected Reagan’s request to provide rebel Contra forces with money to buy guns, as “Commander-in-Chief”, “St. Ronnie” simply circumvented Congress (sound familiar?) by ordering the U.S. military to storm the beaches of Nicaragua loaded down with as much weaponry as they could carry, dump it all there on the beach, and walk away. The Contras got their guns and Congress was forced to spend the money anyway to rearm our military.

Bush-I

Despite the exploding Debt and record corruption, the country still elected Reagan’s Vice President, George HW Bush, to continue the Reagan presidency. Unfortunately for Republicans, Poppy Bush… who ran against Reagan in 1980 criticizing his economic policies as “Voodoo economics” (the belief that you can increase Federal Revenue by slashing taxes on the rich) was a bit more responsible when it came to Federal spending (not by much mind you, but enough.) Poppy Bush, after assuring cynical Republicans that he wouldn’t raise taxes with his infamous “Read. My. Lips.” pledge, was forced to do so when he saw what Reagan’s tax cuts were doing to the Deficit. So he agreed to a small tax increase in exchange for concessions on drastic spending cuts… inflicting the worst of both worlds on the economy, which thew itself headlong into a Recession.

Bill Clinton’s 1992 Campaign Theme was “It’s the economy, stupid”, ridiculing Poppy Bush for refusing to even mention the subject on the campaign trail. So upset were most Americans with the Bush-I economy, many (myself included) turned to Third-Party candidate Ross Perot. To this day, I wonder what disasters might have befallen the country if Perot had actually won the election… a man that it turned out had no interest in “negotiating” with Congress or anyone else, believing there was a “mandate” for what he believed was right for the country and would ignore anyone that told him otherwise (that’s not a guess. That’s what we learned after one of his campaign managers, Ed Rollins, revealed when he resigned in protest.) I view my support for Perot as a learning lesson for why it is so important to be an informed voter today.

The 1994 Gingrich Revolution

In 1994, following two years of vicious partisan attacks and recriminations by Republicans against a president they viewed as “illegitimate” (thanks to Perot’s third-party candidacy that allowed Clinton to win with less than 50% of the vote), House Minority Leader Newt Gingrich orchestrated the GOP takeover of Congress during the 1994 mid-terms resulting in six straight years of pointless costly investigations in a failed attempt to derail the Clinton presidency. When their partisan witch-hunt failed to deny Clinton reelection in 1996, the GOP controlled Congress turned its attention toward “impeachment” to ensure Clinton didn’t finish out his second term. But there was no “there” there. “White Water”… a failed land deal, never produced evidence of criminal wrong-doing. Clinton’s reported philandering was an embarrassment, but not criminal. For some inexplicable reason, President Clinton allowed the GOP to subpoena him and force him to testify under oath that he wasn’t cheating on his wife… again, scummy but not a crime. Under oath, Clinton denied the truthful accusation, which in itself was (arguably) criminal, thus handing the GOP on a silver platter the justification to impeach him.

Two of Clinton’s key critics, Rep. Newt Gingrich and Sen. Henry Hyde were both currently having extramarital affairs WHILE they were denouncing President Clinton for his, a fact that did not to come out until years later. The sum culmination of six-years of investigations of everything from “The White House Christmas Card List” to “Socks The Cat’s Fan Club”: $70 Million dollars, no conviction, and Clinton leaving office with a (legitimate) popularity that rivals that of St. Ronnie (illegitimate, based on the most whitewashed record imaginable).

Bush-II

During the 2000 presidential race, George W Bush… whose only claims to fame prior to being elected governor of Texas were being a chronically failed businessman, son of a former president, and managing a baseball team that traded away Sammy Sosa… crisscrossed the nation talking down the record-breaking Clinton economy, claiming that “If only a Republican president had been in charge with the Republican Congress for the last six years… just imagine how much better things might have been.” People bought it and (arguably) elected a Republican president to preside over THE SAME Republican Congress Clinton had. The result was a disaster. Economic gains reversed almost immediately and the Stock Market plunged nearly one thousand points from Bush’s first day in office (10,587 on 1/19/2001 to 9,605 on September 10, 2001… so no blaming 9/11). The incoming Bush Administration was too busy plotting the invasion of Iraq to listen to CIA warnings of an impending attack on the US mainland by alQaeda, resulting in the arguably avoidable disaster of 9/11. A wave of post-9/11 patriotic fervor swept the GOP back in power in 2002 and Bush (narrowly) back in office in 2004 despite the disastrous decision to invade Iraq on grounds that people were quickly beginning to realize were totally bogus… with the Bush Administration actually campaigning on “You don’t change horses in mid-stream”… a “stream” that ironically only existed because they blew up the dam.

The Stock Market continued to plunge and unemployment continued to climb as rising oil/gas prices (thanks to the invasion of Iraq) made everything more expensive, ushering in the first or TWO Bush Recessions. The Bush Administration’s solution was to cut interest rates to the bone and encourage people to invest in real-estate. Millions of people were talked into taking out “Adjustable Rate Mortgages” to purchase well beyond their means, but as the economy continued to decline, those ARM rates started to go up & up. As more money shifted from buying goods to paying high interest rates on their mortgages and $3/gal gasoline, the economy started to implode as people began losing their jobs and defaulting on their mortgages, resulting in the collapse of the Banking industry and the biggest economic bailout in history… ON TOP OF the ongoing costs of two wars… one of which we never should have been in and neither with a plan to get out. President Bush would be only the second president in history to leave office with the DOW lower the day he left than the day he took office (the first was Herbert Hoover.)

The GOP under Obama

This is the Sh!t storm President Obama inherited. Yet today, less than six years later, the economy is recovering DESPITE unprecedented Republican obstruction. The DOW has nearly TRIPLED where it was following the collapse of the Bush economy (from 6,547 in March of 2009 to 17,390 last Friday), unemployment has fallen to just 5.9% (below where it was when Obama took office) and GDP grew at 3.5%, the strongest rate in 10 years.

o Republicans said Raising taxes on the rich would crash the economy. President Obama raised taxes on the Rich. The economy is strong and getting stronger by the day. The Deficit is shrinking as a result and has NOT ONCE been larger than the Deficit left to him by President Bush.

o Republicans said ObamaCare would push up unemployment as companies laid off employees rather than insure them. Instead, unemployment is at it’s lowest level in over six years… helping prove the point that tax breaks for the rich don’t create jobs, consumer demand does. So employers are hiring, not firing, despite “ObamaCare”.

o Sarah Palin’s “Death Panels”? They never materialized. In fact, people who were denied coverage by insurance companies’ OWN “death panels” before ObamaCare are now covered. The GOP has vowed to repeal that coverage if they regain power.

o They told us “the only way to get gas prices down is to approve the (disastrous) Keystone XL pipeline”. Gas is below $3/gallon and falling thanks in part to increased competition among OPEC nations, not the construction of any pipeline.

o Obama is mishandling Ebola? ONE death by a man that was turned away from a hospital in a RED state. ZERO cases of Ebola spreading within the general public. By all accounts, handling of the Ebola outbreak has been WILDLY successful.

o Mishandling ISIS? First, let’s not forget there wouldn’t even BE an ISIS if it weren’t for the invasion of Iraq ala the GOP.

o Border crisis? As I pointed out last week, the GOP is actually running ads suggesting ISIS is entering into the U.S. across the Mexican border, while others openly wonder if those poor Central American children entering the country may be carrying the African disease of Ebola. Neither of which are true.

The Republican Party, unable to run on their own record or on Obama’s economic record, are instead doing what they always do: make baseless hypocritical claims of criminal wrongdoing (“Fast & Furious” and “IRS-gate” brought to you by the backers of Iran/Contra and Iraq/WMDs), hypocritical claims of incompetency (cries of “Benghazi!” from the people that brought you “9/11″), and threats of impeachment for circumventing GOP obstruction (the same Party that praises St. Ronnie despite circumventing Congress to arm the Contras.)

They can’t win on their record, so they’ve enacted Draconian “Voter ID” laws across the country, suppressing literally millions of traditionally Democratic low-income voters in the name of “voter fraud”… an activity so rare that more people are convicted of “migratory bird violations” each year than have been convicted of voter fraud in the past decade… not only incredibly rare but hardly enough to swing an election. Don’t think for a moment that they don’t know what they’re doing. If the voters were truly on their side, they’d be doing everything to encourage the vote, not suppress it. And, a question I’ve been asking all year: I’m still waiting for someone to explain what cutting Early Voting hours/days has to do with fighting “voter fraud”?

Ebola, ISIS and trumped up claims of wrongdoing. Fear & Smear. That’s all they have to offer this election season. “Be afraid! Be very afraid! Oh, and vote Republican!” The GOP thinks you should ignore the economic growth and their unprecedented obstruction, and put them back in charge. The amazing thing is that it seems to be working. Those who do not learn from history…
 



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Filed in Economy, Election, myth busting, rewriting history, Right-Wing Hypocrisy, Taxes, voting November 3rd, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Will Voters Overlook Shutdown, Sequester, Impeachment and Economic Chaos over ISIS & Ebola fears?

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, October 27, 2014

In mid-2004, the BBC ran a three-part miniseries entitled “The Power of Nightmares”. The subject of the documentary was the idea that where we once elected people with the brightest vision of our future (the “sunny optimist”), today we elect the people with the biggest fears, ridiculing their critics as “naive” and “inadequately concerned” of whatever mortal threat they can dream up, promising to keep us safe from those incredibly remote (if not entirely baseless) threats to life & limb. It doesn’t matter if their McCarthy-ite paranoid delusions are in fact just irrational fear-mongering, the hope is that easily cowed, chronically ill-informed voters (made worse by defunding education) will pull that lever for the guy that sees the dangers on the horizon that others miss, and then promises to protect you from it. In 2002, that danger was Saddam and his WMD’s. This year, it’s “Ebola” and “ISIS”. The big question then is: “Will voters, once angry over GOP game-playing that led to one Shutdown of the Federal government (with more to come?), The “Sequester” (a link I highly recommend clicking), endless mind-bogglingly stupid investigations (“Benghazi!”, “Fast & Furious” and “IRS-gate” to name a few… and that was WITHOUT control of the Senate), threats of “impeachment” over President Obama using his Executive powers to get things done when GOP obstructionists block everything in site (and how quickly we forget the economic basket case they turned the country into the last time they were in charge), hoping we’ll forget all that and put them back in charge over unwarranted fear over President Obama’s handling of “ISIS” and “Ebola”? Seriously? You could fit all the domestic deaths from Ebola and ISIS combined in a single pair of Levi’s jeans. And what’s more frightening is that it appears to be working.

In 2002, just weeks after 9/11, the Bush Administration was already hyping fears of “Saddam Hussein’s Weapons of Mass Destruction” to ensure “strong on Defense” Republicans didn’t lose the first mid-terms of the Bush presidency. And despite their catastrophic failure to “keep us safe” on 9/11, followed by the discovery that Iraq did NOT in fact have a WMD program, resulting in a pointless and costly war, the GOP was still able to successfully play The Fear Card to win the 2004 election. 12 years later, at least two current GOP candidates for Congress, Jodi Ernst and Steve Russell apparently never got the memo.

Remember “Death Panels” and how “gays in the military” would destroy “unit cohesion”? The Power of Nightmares, 2012 Edition.

About a week ago, someone tweeted the following incredible factoid:

You have a 400% better chance of marrying a Kardashian than you do of dying from Ebola in the U.S. (one death vs four Kardashian sisters).

Fox “news”… ground zero for “All fear, all the time”… has made encouraging Ebola panic part of their daily routine, seeking to terrify the slow-witted into voting against their own best interests because they want the person stoking their fears to protect them from a virtually nonexistent threat.

Just as “The Power of Nightmares” stated, there is always someone more paranoid with a wilder imagination that can concoct a bigger fear. Republicans LOVE to combine irrational fears into one giant “Super-scare” to convince you that the most paranoid among them is the most sane. “Ebola” plus “illegal immigrants” equals “Illegals crossing the border may be carrying Ebola”. (Yes, because desperately-poor immigrants just adore visiting Western Africa, traveling 8-hours back to America, then going on a 50 mile hike towards the Texas-Plains/Arizona-desert while bleeding from the eyes with a 103′ degree fever.

Problem is, no one can live in blinding fear of Ebola forever… especially when there just aren’t any more Americans dying from it since “Patient Zero” in Dallas last month. Remember ISIS? Weren’t they coming to “kill us all” three weeks ago? Poor guys can’t even grab a headline in your local Pennysaver today. Unfortunately for the GOP, “ISIS crossing the border” fearmongering was only working in border states. But that didn’t stop Arkansas GOP Senate candidate Tom Cotton from claiming ISIS may try to cross Mexican border to attack Arkansas. Right now, Cotton is leading in the polls.

Sorry guys. “ISIS” is yesterday’s news. Not terrifying enough.

So let’s add Ebola to the mix: Perhaps ISIS terrorists infected with Ebola are pouring across the Mexican border to infect Americans? You think I’m kidding? (WARNING: I cannot be held responsible for the stupidity you inflict upon yourself by clicking this RW nutjob link saying the same but worse. Needless to say, photos of “Ted Cruz” and “Sarah Palin” rest atop the header. Consider yourself warned.)

So the question remains: Are you going to forget about Shutdowns, Sequesters and pointless investigations, risking two years of eye-rolling impeachment hearings, all to put Republicans back in charge over fears of a disease you’re not going to catch (that by all accounts is being handled incredibly well) and/or a belief that terrorists fighting in Syria/Iraq are sneaking across the Mexican border carrying Ebola-infected piss in a Dixie-Cup?

Don’t think for a moment that Republicans won’t declare a capture of the Senate as some sort of “mandate” that Americans have “rejected Obama’s policies”… which includes more pointless investigations and attempts to repeal ObamaCare. And Lord help us all if another vacancy opens up on the Supreme Court.

The people are “frustrated” that their lives don’t seem to be improving “fast enough” (despite the fact most agree their lives ARE indeed improving vs where they were six years ago.) And that’s because of GOP obstruction, shutdowns and a seven month Sequester (that was agreed to only because the consequences of triggering it were so horrific, no one believed the GOP would actually let their budget-cutting insanity go that far.)

I’ve yet to figure out frustrated voters voting for the source of their frustration.

You know what’s next don’t you? Those cars with the defective airbags that resulted in four deaths from flying shrapnel? Perhaps as many as 30% of them were purchased during “Cash for Clunkers”. (Yes, I totally made that up, but doesn’t it sound like something they’d say?)

Be Afraid! Be very afraid… oh, and vote Republican!

The Friday “Rachel Maddow Show” opened with a look at dangerously misinformed House Republicans chairing a hearing on the spread of “e*Boli” from “Guyana”.

Expect more of this if they win the majority in the Senate.

 



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Filed in Election, Partisanship, Politics, Rants, Right-Wing Insanity, Seems Obvious to Me, Terrorism, voting October 27th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Ebola Hysteria Is A Greater Threat Than Ebola

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, October 20, 2014

In the Summer of 2001, before “9/11″, reports of an 8 year old Florida boy losing an arm after being attacked by a Bull Shark grabbed the headlines. A day or two later, a New York man vacationing in the Bahamas lost a leg in a shark attack. Barely a week after that, another Florida man was bitten six miles from the spot where the first boy was bitten. The media went into hysterics and suddenly it was “The Summer of the Shark”, despite the fact that the annual number of shark attacks was actually DOWN that year as compared to 1999 & 2000. But 2001 was already shaping up to be a slow news year and they needed something to fill the empty airtime. It was “tabloid TV” at its worst, creating fear & panic without justification just to give the Media something to talk about. And we’re seeing it again now with the hype over “Ebola”.

A grand total of THREE people in the entire United States have developed Ebola while here in the U.S., and ALL THREE linked to the same man. The family of the man that has since passed away… who had been living WITH him in the same house and were then imprisoned in their own home WITH his infected sheets and other personal items for weeks… did not contract the virus and are perfectly healthy. The health care worker that stupidly flew cross country WHILE running a fever… the man that sat next to her on the plane… he’s infection-free as well. For a disease that is so infectious (easily caught), it’s not turning out to be easily contagious (easily spread).

In 1978, a movie called “The Swarm” capitalized on the hysteria over a report that “Africanized Killer Bees” were making their way up from Central America, across our Southern border and into the United States. The movie may have bombed at the box office in part by people too afraid to leave their homes to go to the movie theater for fear of being attacked by bees. Eventually, the bees did get here, but in relatively small number and reports of “death by killer bees” are incredibly rare. But the panic at the time was very real. Of all the things people had to be frightened about, sky-darkening swarms of “Killer Bees” decimating entire cities wasn’t exactly one of them.

This really caught my attention yesterday morning (from the opening minutes of “Meet the Press”):
 

More deadly than Ebola

 

15 minutes into their hour long Fear Fest over Ebola, Chuck Todd produced the above list of things you have a FAR GREATER chance of dying from in the U.S. than Ebola, yet that didn’t stop them from spending the entire hour preying on people’s irrational fears for the sake of ratings (in fact, ALL FOUR major network Sunday Shows yesterday were dedicated to the topic of “Ebola”.) I’d just like to point out for the record that the name “ISIS” never came up once on ANY of these shows. Two weeks ago, we were “all gonna die” as ISIS/ISIL made it’s way into the U.S. across Rick Perry’s extraordinarily porous border with Mexico. Why must every mortal threat to Republicans cross the Mexican border?

You have an almost 54 THOUSAND TIMES greater chance of catching & dying from THE FLU than Ebola. And you are TWENTY-SIX TIMES more likely to be struck & killed by lightning, but for some reason, THREE cases… only one of which was fatal… all connected to the same man… has everyone in a panic.

And when I say “everyone”, I of course mean Republicans. Because, as I’ve been pointing out for weeks now, Republicans are terrified of EVERYTHING. They live in constant blinding fear of everything from “government plots” (see: “FEMA camps” and “Death panels”) to black kids in hoodies. They sleep with a gun under their pillows and think one guy with Ebola in Dallas is going to lead to a nation-wide pandemic (though by definition, a “pandemic” is global.)

A number of prominent Republicans are harnessing that irrational fear of Ebola for political gain, attacking President Obama’s “failed response to controlling the Ebola outbreak“… which I remind you has been just THREE people in Dallas. And it doesn’t help matters any when a spineless White House seems to concede their ridiculous claims by “admitting” they could have handled their response to the Ebola “crisis” better. And even when Chuck Todd gave several medical professionals an opening to criticize the GOP’s refusal to appoint a Surgeon General (who normally would be in charge of setting national policy on an issue such as this), they were quick to dismiss the idea that a Surgeon General is even necessary.

One of the (ridiculous) key criticisms being levied by the GOP against President Obama’s choice of “Ebola Czar” is that he’s “not a doctor” (which is stupid because no one expects The Manager to be able to do the job of his staff. Could your boss do YOUR job?). But you know who WOULD be “a doctor”? A Surgeon General, which the GOP has chosen to block (Sen. Roy Blunt defended the GOP’s year-long obstruction of Obama’s nominee by putting the blame on Obama for “not appointing someone they could support.” Does anyone reading this believe there is ANYONE Obama could have nominated they wouldn’t have blocked? They’ve blocked FAR less controversial nominations for purely political reasons. And now it looks as though voters that haven’t been paying attention will reward their unprecedented obstruction, awarding control of Congress to a Party with an approval rating lower than Ebola.)

The Big Talking Point right now that Republicans seem to be gaining the most traction with is a “Travel Ban” to/from nations in Ebola “Hot Zones”. This “quick-fix” has a lot of appeal to easily-panicked Americans that have been fed a steady diet of Fear by the GOP-led media for the past month. I mean, it seems so obvious! “Why hasn’t Obama cut off commercial travel to Ebola-infected territories?”

Here’s why:

  1. There are no direct flights between the U.S. and these tiny West African nations dealing with the disease, making identifying travelers a logistical nightmare. It’s not like you know which country a passenger is returning from when they arrive in the U.S.. It would be like trying to screen out people that visited Martha’s Vineyard before allowing them into California when there are no direct flights between the two.
  2. If you make travel to these regions “a crime”, you drive potentially infected travelers underground, afraid to seek help should they become ill for fear of being arrested.
  3. And following up on #2, a willingness to come forward and/or seek help means greater tracking & accountability. We are presently able to track/contact other passengers & coworkers that might have come in contact with infected patients. Drive the victims underground, and tracking their movements becomes impossible.
  4. “Bans” & “Restrictions” create panic. If we start restricting travel in & out of these countries, you’re going to see people trying to “sneak in”. And I don’t mean “across the Mexican border” like Rightwing fear-mongers would use to terrify their racist hoards, I’m talking about simply getting your passport stamped in a “non-restricted” country so they can fly in without being questioned.
  5. And when people start to panic, their irrational fears get the best of them. Soon you have every idiot with a mild fever clogging up the ER because their nephew’s classmate has a cousin from Liberia. Add to that, doctors spending additional time running (expensive) unnecessary tests checking otherwise healthy patients for a disease that’s less common than being mauled by a black bear and a brown bear on the same day.

Republican governors across the country that are suddenly worried about the spread of Ebola haven’t exactly helped matters any by refusing Federal Medicaid funding to provide health care to tens of thousands of poor Americans. So now you have an enormous pool of high-risk people that will be slow to seek medical help because they can’t afford it.

One of those governors is Rick “Oops” Perry, who is on a world tour criticizing President Obama (remember when criticizing the president overseas was a major no-no?) for refusing to ban travel to Ebola affected regions. Meanwhile, in the U.S., the ONLY place that has seen a person-to-person transmission of Ebola is Dallas in Perry’s home state. So when this idiot starts calling for a travel ban in & out of Texas and orders the closure Texas’ airports to the rest of the country, I’ll give him a listen. Till then, he’s just stoking fear to score some cheap political points.
 

REMINDER: In many states, Early Voting begins today. Don’t allow Republicans to be rewarded for their obstruction, Sequesters, Shutdowns, pointless investigations, refusal to expand Medicaid, and an almost certain likelihood of attempting to impeach President Obama, by allowing them to win control of the Senate or Governor’s race. Vote!
 



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Filed in Election, fake scandals, Healthcare, myth busting October 20th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Dems, If You Want To Win the Senate, stop accepting GOP line that Obama is a failure.

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, October 13, 2014

Obama's achievements only make them hate him more.

I don’t know what angers me more: Hearing every pundit on TV talk about how “unpopular” President Obama is citing questionable polling numbers as the basis for their opinion, or Democratic candidates who believe it and then run in fear of being associated with him (again, I’m looking at YOU Alison Lundergan-Grimes. You are about to lose to someone with a 31% approval rating… a race that was yours to lose… because you think eschewing Obama will win over Conservative McConnell voters? Seriously?)

For ONCE, do you know what I’d like to hear? How about just ONE of these candidates say in response to “Do you support Obama?”:

“You mean, do I support the guy that brought unemployment down to 5.9% just 22 months after Romney said he’d do it in four years? Do I support the guy who TRIPLED the stock Market since it bottomed out following the collapse of Wall Street six years ago? The guy who has already created over TEN MILLION NEW JOBS? The guy who has cut the Deficit to its lowest rate since Bill Clinton balanced the Budget in ’98? The guy whose healthcare reform has slowed the growth of rising insurance rates to its lowest in 30 years? And, of course, the guy who got bin Laden? Is THAT what you’re asking me? You think that’s something I should be ashamed of?”

As I’ve pointed out repeatedly here on M.R.S., Obama’s poll numbers are being DRAGGED DOWN BY INSANE UNJUSTIFIED REPUBLICAN HATRED FOR THE MAN. The better he does, the more they hate him. Amazingly, President Obama’s approval rating is still in the low 40’s despite having a stunning SEVEN PERCENT approval rating among Republicans. Seven percent? Are you freaking kidding me??? Hell, even Ebola gets nine. Tell me ONE legitimate thing that could justify a 7% approval rating? At the absolute BOTTOM of President Bush’s popularity in 2008, Democrats still lavished him with a 31% approval rating (ibid). Remember when Rush Limbaugh said he “hopes Obama fails” (despite knowing Obama’s failure means the country failing)? Because it’s more important to them that Democratic ideology doesn’t succeed, because if it does, we’ll see more off it. So if raising taxes on the rich leads to more tax-free reinvestment into their businesses spurring job and economic growth, that might mean more tax hikes in the future, meaning greedy bastards like Limbaugh or the Koch Brothers might have to pay higher taxes.

But what these Luddites fail to realize (and we saw this after the Clinton tax hikes of the 1990’s) is that the resulting economic growth means MORE profits and a healthier economy, while GOP policies eight years ago led to TWO Recessions and the collapse of Wall Street.
 

Complain about Obama’s handling of Ebola and I’ll raise you “Katrina”.

Complain about Obama’s handling of ISIS and I’ll ask you whose invasion of Iraq destabilized the entire region into the chaotic mess that led to their rise?

Complain about slow economic growth and I’ll point to THE MOST OBSTRUCTIVE GOP IN HISTORY BLOCKING THE PRESIDENT AT EVERY TURN, ensuring that nothing gets done so they can then turn around and blame him for the lack of progress, hoping you’ll be dumb enough to reward them for it in November.
 

Grimes wants to be like Mitch

This is how it works: A Republican prez makes a massive mess and an angered populace replaces him with a Democrat. Then a Republican Congress blocks him from doing anything to clean up that mess just so they can get (re)elected. And then, if that president uses his Constitutionally given powers to circumvent their obstruction (beating them at their own game), they become so outraged they threaten to impeach him for it (“We can’t have him getting around our attempts to keep him from getting anything done!”)

So manic is their obsession to stop President Obama from achieving anything, Sen. Jim Inhoff (R-Climate Change Denying Cuckoo Bird) actually withheld emergency funding to fight Ebola, relenting only after drawing sharp criticism for his craven partisan obstruction.

The more President Obama succeeds, the madder they get. So when pollsters ask people to rank the president’s job performance… numbers already artificially depressed due to Republican obstruction that has earned them a 16% approval rating… those numbers are dragged into the toilet by the seething hatred of all things Obama, turning mildly low numbers into the low forties.

Meanwhile, despite approval ratings in the single digits, a GOP controlled House is going to remain in GOP control, and a Senate that has been “Wag the Dogged” by unprecedented filibustering by the GOP is going to be REWARDED with additional seats to ensure even LESS gets done in President Obama’s final two years in office (because they’ll be too busy impeaching him for wearing black socks with sandals… or something equally stupid.)

But even with these artificially low poll numbers, President Obama is still wildly popular compared to President Bush when he left office (and the less said about Dick Cheney, the better.)

Remind me again why any Democrat is worried about being linked to this president?

The Rachel Maddow Show makes the same point on Monday’s show, questioning why Democrats seem to be running away from Obama this election season despite a legacy of achievement:

 



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Filed in Economy, Election, myth busting, Partisanship, Politics, Rants, Right-Wing Insanity, Seems Obvious to Me, voting October 13th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Ebola Is Only the Latest Terror Helping Conservative Find Their Pro-Big Government Roots (again)

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, October 6, 2014

Whenever someone whines “both Parties are the saaaaaaame!”, I tell them (after telling them they’re an idiot) that “the difference between Republicans and Democrats is that Republicans think government is a force of evil that can’t do anything right while Democrats see government as a Public Service that exists solely for the Public Good. You either believe one or the other. There is no middle ground.” So pardon me if I chuckle when Fox “news” Sunday opened yesterday morning with the predictable hysteria over “what is THE GOVERNMENT doing to keep us safe from the E-bola virus?” Funny how they spend nearly every week attacking the government and inviting on Conservative miscreants every week on how we need to CUT [the size of] government, defund various government agencies, and advance the idea that “the private sector can do it better/faster/cheaper.” But the moment something new terrifies them, they want to know where the government is to rescue them. In the run-up to the 2012 campaign, Libertarian darling Ron Paul believed “there are only two legitimate functions of government: police & national security.” Everything else should be turned over to the private sector. Most Republicans aren’t THAT far out in Crazy Land (yet), but Texas gov Rick “Oops” Perry did reach national prominence by failing to name the third government agency he’d cut (to which Ron Paul said the correct number was actually “five” not “three”). Now, it is highly unlikely Perry’s third unnamed agency was The CDC (Centers for Disease Control), but ideologically speaking, it could have. ANY government agency is a target for privatization among the GOP-faithful. Dig around on Conservative blogs and you’re sure to find more than a few threads on the “incompetency” or “dubious power” of the CDC… exemplifying government as a whole (too big, too powerful, too expensive and incompetent.) But we don’t have to imagine what medicine would be like in a Libertarian America because we’ve been living it for the past 237 years.

The fight against Ebola is one giant example of why a National Healthcare System is vastly superior to our privatized healthcare system.

Try to imagine if we had to rely on Private Industry to fight Ebola? Simple question: Is there more profit to be had in “curing” Ebola, or (secretly) helping it spread and then treating (but not curing) it as a chronic illness?

The most promising treatment for Ebola appears to be an experimental drug known as “ZMapp” (pronounced “zee-map”), developed by “Mapp Pharmaceuticals” thanks to millions in “government funding”. Why? Because there’s almost no profit to be made in providing a cure to an obscure disease found almost exclusively in central Africa. Producing more “ZMapp” in bulk will take spending lots of money for little-to-no financial gain… unless there’s a pandemic and you can sell the cure for $10,000 a dose… ensuring that only the Mega-Rich survive while we… The Rabble… that’s you & me…are left to fend for ourselves.

And the great irony is that when Republicans are scared… and they live their lives in constant fear… be it a black kid in a hoodie that convinces them they need to carry semi-automatic weapons into Kroger’s, unaccompanied immigrant children flooding over our Southern border, or the latest Middle-Eastern threat that demands a full-scale invasion to resolve… Republicans are quick to over-react and demand massive government intervention that usually involves spending lots & lots of money.

The perfect example: look at the GOP response to 9/11: Create the largest gov bureaucracy in history (DHS) and start invading unrelated Middle-Eastern nations on just the suspicion they might be planning to harm us. When Republicans are terrified (and that’s All. The. Time.) no government program is too big and no amount of money to deal with the problem is too small.

In the 1980’s, Reagan exploded our National Debt fighting the Cold War to spend the Soviet Union into oblivion. Among his most expensive boondoggles… “Star Wars”. Not the movie, but the government program of possibly putting satellites in orbit capable of shooting down inbound Soviet missiles… a threat that was about as likely as 1980’s me charging into the Kremlin with a knife clutched between my teeth and orders to rescue the last Romanoff from the secret prison beneath Red Square.

Two weeks ago, it was a terror-struck Lindsey Graham prepared to go to any expense to re-invade Iraq and invade Syria to defeat ISIS. This week, ISIS beheads its fourth hostage and it doesn’t even make the lead story of the evening news. Terror today, passé tomorrow. What will the next costly “save us, Mr. Government!” moment be for the GOP, and when do people start pointing out the obvious hypocrisy?
 



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Filed in Election, General, Healthcare, Right-Wing Hypocrisy, Right-Wing Insanity October 6th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • 1 comment | Add/View

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Boehner Says House Has “focused like a laser” on jobs. Seriously. (Fact-checked.)

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, September 29, 2014

We start this week with another quote:

“A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”Mark Twain

Even more true today in the age of the Internet.

And I hate to tell you this, but Democrats just lost the Senate. As soon as you start letting the other side frame the debate, you’ve lost. I don’t say this discourage you. I say this to EN-courage you… to get off your butt and vote this November. When you’re winning, you get complacent. The person everyone expects to come in second on American Idol ends up winning because his/her fans rally to help their fav win. (And remember what an all GOP Congress did in the last two years of a Democratic president: They impeached him.)

Few things annoy me more than Democrats that try to sound like Republicans in an attempt to win (re)election (I’m looking at you Alison Lundergan-Grimes.) When given the choice between a Dem-hating Republican or an “embarrassed to be associated with the president” Democrat, the Republican always wins. The FIRST thing they teach you in Debating-101 is to “NEVER concede your opponents position”. And in this case, it’s the GOP idea that President Obama is somehow a “failure” whose policies are unpopular. This is why Red States stay red despite obvious crushing failure (eight of the 10 richest states are Blue while nine of the ten poorest states are Red), and how Blue States elect Republican governors. As I’ve been noting for weeks now, we have record job growth (already THREE TIMES as many jobs created in six years than Bush created in eight.) The ACA (“ObamaCare”) has actually slowed the rate of growth in insurance premiums while ensuring everybody… and clearly did NOT cost jobs or “destroy the economy” as they claimed. No “Death Panels”. The same people that destroyed the economy in 2008 and threw Iraq into chaos in 2003 producing the likes of ISIS, are now telling us how “bad” things are and how we need to put them back in charge.
 

Boehner (9/28/14): “We have been focused like a laser on jobs.
Oh, and bi-partisan.”
(1:02)

Look at Boehner’s face there at the end. Even HE knows he’s full of shit. This has been THE least productive Congress in history… BY FAR. They’s made Truman’s “do-nothing Congress” look like work-a-holics. Number of days this congress worked: 133. Annual salary: $174,000.

After claiming to have “focused like a laser on jobs”, Boehner claims there are “over 40 bills sitting in the United States Senate” that Reid refuses to let come to a vote. Notice though that he carefully does not says “jobs” bills, though that is clearly what he’s implying. This Congress has voted at least 54 times to “repeal ObamaCare” (something that doesn’t exist.) Ted Cruz is declaring at every campaign stop (to raucous cheers) that “The Republican Party won’t rest until we have repealed EVERY WORD of ObamaCare!” That would include reinstating “pre-existing conditions”, kicking your college-aged children off your insurance, and making women pay for their birth control. “Lifetime caps?” You want ‘em? You’ve got ‘em! Insurance companies can go back to kicking sick people off their insurance as soon as they start costing them money (or even long before.) Bully for you, Senator Cruz. But pity the rest of us that must endure your jackassery because like-minded morons that have no clue of the consequences of your rhetoric rejoice in your hatred of all things Obama to the point of their own detriment.

So I checked out the list of bills passed by the House in search of those “40 jobs bills languishing in the Senate” (and it shouldn’t be too hard since they only passed 163.)

The first “jobs” related bill passed by this House was 113-24: Bureau of Reclamation Small Conduit Hydropower Development and Rural Jobs Act… not passed until August 9, 2013… eight months into their first year… and that bill WAS picked up and passed by the Senate. So, moving on…

Hmmm. Not a single other “jobs” bill passed the House in 2013. And I’m not being picky. Most of the bills looked something like these:

113-10 – An act to specify the size of the precious-metal blanks that will be used in the production of the National Baseball Hall of Fame commemorative coins.
113-43 – Congressional Award Program Reauthorization Act of 2013
113-49 – An act to name the Department of Veterans Affairs medical center in Bay Pines, Florida
113-64 – Community Fire Safety Act of 2013
113-103 – An act to amend the Act entitled “An Act to regulate the height of buildings in the District of Columbia”
113-112 – An act to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 14 Main Street in Brockport, New York, as the “Staff Sergeant Nicholas J. Reid Post Office Building”.

Moving on to 2014, “113-79 – Agricultural Act of 2014″ looks promising. Nope, it’s just a bill to let the DoA keep doing what it’s been doing, and it passed the Senate too. Still looking for those “40 jobs bills” supposedly passed by the House that Reid won’t let come to a vote. Heck, right now, I’d settle for just ONE “jobs” bill (the “jobs” bill mentioned above isn’t one either.)

Maybe I need to broaden my definition of “jobs”. How about “113-97 – Cooperative and Small Employer Charity Pension Flexibility Act”? Nope. That passed the Senate too. Hmm, we’re already a third of the way through 2014 and most of the 113th Congress’ entire session.

July 22, 2014. Have I finally stumbled upon a “jobs” bill? “113 – 128 – Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act”. Nope. Just a minor change to an existing law… and it too passed the Senate. The hunt goes on. Just 25 bills to go. How many [jobs] bills did Boehner claim the Senate is refusing to vote on? We’re not going to make it.

“113-144 – Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act”. A bill to allow people to switch carriers even on “locked” phones. Not a “jobs” bill and passed the Senate.

Not much point in continuing. You get the idea. I found NO “jobs” bills. ZERO, NADA. ZILCH. You think I’m kidding, check the list out for yourself. While I might be willing to concede some of the bills might have some tangential impact on jobs, NOT ONE was blocked by the Senate. Sorry Boehner, you’re full of crap on this one (like everything else.) But how many voters are going to take the time to peruse EVERY SINGLE BILL PASSED BY THE HOUSE OVER TWO YEARS to learn the truth? (I do the work so you don’t have to.)

Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) actually complained on Fox “news” Sunday yesterday that “Harry Reid” dismissed the Senate for “the second earliest recess in history.” (that may be bullshit too. Can’t verify.) Problem is, the House called for an early recess first, and the Senate can’t do a damn thing w/o the House. So, left with no choice, Reid recessed early as well. But Fox viewers that only know what they hear on Fox are going to blame Harry Reid for Congress doing nothing. Naturally, host Chris Wallace was all too willing to let Barrasso’s half-truth go unchallenged.

Democrats already have an uphill battle trying to hold onto the Senate. Unprecedented Gerrymandering has ensured the House will stay in GOP hands for perhaps the next decade (unless a mass revolt flips the House in 2020.) Dem’s don’t do themselves any favors when they allow the GOP to frame the debate, “conceding” that the President’s policies are a failure and/or unpopular… neither of which are true, and run AWAY from the President’s (successful) record rather than run on it.

Twain didn’t know how right he was.
 



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Filed in Election, Jobs, Money, myth busting, Partisanship, Politics, rewriting history, Right-Wing Hypocrisy, voting September 29th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • 1 comment | Add/View

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No Arming Syrian Rebels. Have we learned *nothing* from Iraq?

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, September 22, 2014

Two famous proverbs haunted me all last week:

 “Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.” – Edmund Burke, Irish Statesman (1729-1797)

 “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over & over, and expecting a different result each time.” – Author Rita Mae Brown (1983) as quoted by the AA/NA sobriety guides

The airwaves were all atwitter (literally) last week over President Obama reiterating his “Sherman-esque” pledge of “no boots on the ground” in Iraq [or Syria] to fight ISIL despite Gen. Dempsy’s statement before Congress that he could conceivably recommend sending ground troops into Iraq should the situation change. Somehow, having a general possibly suggest a differing course of action to the president was a scandal among the Beltway Press, apparently a sign of rebellion between the CiC and his Generals. (I was quite surprised yesterday when uber-Conservative George Will pointed out on Fox “news” Sunday that generals disagreeing with their Commander-in-Chief was hardly new, citing the fierce/frequent disagreements between Truman & MacArthur. I also noted during Ken Burns’ amazing documentary “The Roosevelt’s” last week, a clip of FDR in 1940 pledging that “every effort” would be made to keep America “neutral” and not get involved in the war in Europe:
 


 

A year later when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, FDR only asked Congress to declare war on Japan, and wisely waited for Japan’s allies, Germany & Italy, to declare war on US before we agreed to enter the war in Europe.

Things change.

Or do they? By 2003, the Bush Administration had already spent six months trying to convince the American people how grave the threat was from Saddam Hussein and how much safer the world would be with him gone. Look at the Middle East today. Feeling any safer? Removing Saddam left a massive power vacuum that the Extremists were only too happy to fill. It took years for Iraq to form a new government, and in the meantime, all hell broke lose. Thousands of American troops were killed… tens of thousands more permanently disabled. It seemed like once a month there was another story in the news of local fighters armed & trained by us ended up turning against us. And now the same people urging us to arm the rebels… the “moderate” rebels… not the ones you can easily spot with polka-dotted skin & bright green hair… that are seeking to overthrow Syria’s president Assad, are the exact same people that told us how much we needed to overthrow Saddam to make the Middle-East a safer place. Have we learned nothing?

Like FDR, President Obama has promised a “war-weary” nation that we will not get drawn into a ground fight with ISIL. But unlike FDR, Obama’s opposition WANTS another war. Like Lindsey Graham last week, these people (Rightwingers) are terrified, frightened little children that want a macho cod-piece wearing “Commander Guy” to save them from a bunch of punks on the other side of the planet trying to goad us (pardon me for saying “goat” us last week) into a ground war. ISIS wants a ground war because 1) they can’t counter an air war (despite their ballyhooed lucky shootdown of a Syrian fighter jet last week) and 2) picking a fight with the biggest/baddest military on the planet inflates their persona/importance. And the GOP is only too happy to accommodate them.

So here is the situation: There’s a fighting force smaller than the military of Lithuania (roughly 30,000 troops), which WANTS American ground troops to fight to make them look important; “Moderate” Sunni rebel forces that promise… pinky-swear… that if we give them guns & money they absolutely will only use them to fight “non-moderate” ISIS/ISIL rebels and not give/sell off those weapons or switch sides; a belief that this tiny fighting force of “pharmacists & doctors” can somehow takedown both the Assad regime AND ISIS with our help; a lingering question of who fills the power vacuum if they succeed; and a panic-stricken, terrified and reactionary GOP with the self-awareness of a gnat demanding we repeat our past mistakes and give ISIS/ISIL exactly what they want. Coming to a theater near you this Thanksgiving starring Pauly Shore as John McCain.

And despite his reassurances, there is still a chance President Obama may listen to them.

On “Meet the Press” yesterday, Republican Senator Ron Johnson told Chuck Todd that “we need only look back at history” to learn from our mistakes. But for Johnson, “history” only goes back three years to 2011 and the withdrawal of troops from Iraq… not 2003 and the mistake of sending them in in the first place.

I still can’t believe anyone is listening to these people… the same people that are labeling President Obama (quite successfully I may add) a “failure”, citing security concerns and a weak economy, as reasons to put them back in charge this November. You, dear reader, remember THEY created the security disaster that is now Iraq/ISIL. THEY destroyed the economy and haven’t lifted a finger to fix it, obstructing the president at every turn. And despite this, we’ve seen record job growth, a record stock market and NO attacks on the homeland. They’ve labeled this “a disaster” (for THEM, yes) and are (so far, successfully) convincing millions of Americans that the solution is to put them back in charge.

What was it the president said… “Don’t do stupid stuff”?
 



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Filed in Middle East, National Security, Seems Obvious to Me, Terrorism, War September 22nd, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Sunni Violence Against Americans Is Not New (2006 video)

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, September 15, 2014

This past week was packed wall-to-wall with Neocons and former “Bushies” alike criticizing President Obama for the rise of ISIS/ISIL. Senator McCain is still  blaming President Obama for “pulling all of our troops out of Iraq in 2011″ without leaving any residual forces behind… a claim that frustrates me to no end. The fact no one in the media ever challenges McCain on this point is bad enough, but even The White House doesn’t push back to correct the record. I’ve already pointed out in a prior column how it was President Bush, in one of his final acts as president, whom failed to convince the Iraqi’s to agree not to prosecute American soldiers for war crimes if we left troops there beyond their agreed-upon departure date set by President Bush. So when the time came in 2011 to pull our troops out, out they ALL came (thank goodness.) Senator McCain says that the Iraqi’s wanted some American troops to remain. Perhaps, but they also refused not to prosecute those who did. Senator McCain says that we didn’t have to negotiate the SoFA with the Maliki government. Wouldn’t THAT have gone over like a lead balloon! And I’ve yet to figure out how we stop the Maliki government from prosecuting any American troops that we might have left behind? Just because you circumvent the Maliki government (so much for Iraqi sovereignty), doesn’t mean you can stop them from arresting & prosecuting American troops, Senator. Please explain how you would have pulled that one off? I’d love to know… as I’m sure the White House would be as well. (I believe The Daily Show mentioned in an episode last week that “if we had left some five-to-ten thousand troops behind, does that mean alQaeda in Iraq would not have evolved into ISIS? We couldn’t control the violence with 150 THOUSAND troops” and these guys think a tiny residual force would have stopped the Sunni insurgency from forming?)

Saddam was Sunni. ISIS is Sunni. And this little “news-nugget” almost eight years to the day, is a stark reminder of from whence ISIS came:
 

70% of Iraqi Sunni’s support the insurgency
Sept 20, 2006 (1:52)

This was less than 6 weeks before the election, the results of which were BOTH houses of Congress flipping control from Republican to Democrat, and President Bush then firing Donald Rumsfeld… whom he had been insisting for months was “not going to be fired” because he had so much confidence in his ability as Secretary of Defense. Instead, just ONE DAY after the election, Rummy was gone.

2007 was the bloodiest year of the Iraq war averaging almost 100 American troop deaths per month before Gates came up with the brilliant idea of sending in more troops to quell the violence (violence that was a result of not sending in enough troops in the first place). This was Bush’s trademark “Surge”TM that supposedly “turned the tide in Iraq”. And though the new strategy reversed the trend of worsening violence against American troops, it did not end. An average of about two-dozen U.S. troops were still being killed each month in Iraq Bush’s final year in office, falling into the single digits under President Obama before our withdrawal by the end of 2011. Senator McCain had the stunning gall last week to claim “We had it won, thanks to the surge” (ibid: “McCain”) and then simultaneously argue that we needed to keep troops there to prevent the rise of ISIS.

Uh, excuse me? Either the war was won or the resistance was growing. Which is it? It can’t be both (well, in “MissionAccomplished-Land”, where a war can simultaneously be “won” and “not over”, I suppose it can.)

Sunni militants… the product of Bush’s invasion of Iraq… became “alQaeda in Iraq”, which begot “ISIS”, which begot “ISIL” (or just the “I.S.” according to them.) They were never gone, the war in Iraq was never “won”, and the idea that “if only” we had just left a few thousand troops behind, Iraq would be at peace today and all of this might have might have been avoided, is ludicrous.
 



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Filed in fake scandals, Middle East, myth busting, National Security, Politics, Terrorism, War September 15th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Republicans think “the world changed” on September 11th. No it didn’t. 17 months later it did.

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The world did not change on September 11th.

Maybe for Republicans it did, but for the rest of us, we were just as concerned about terrorism on September 10th as we were on September 11th. Just because Republicans were suddenly & violently awakened as to just how serious a threat “terrorism” was on “9/11″ doesn’t mean the threat wasn’t there on September 10th… or for the previous eight years when Bill Clinton made “keeping us safe” look easy (and Republicans accused his going after bin Laden as a “Wag the Dog” manufactured distraction.) The threat was there when the World Trade Center was bombed in February 1993, barely a month into Bill Clinton’s presidency. It was there when alQaeda was bombing U.S. embassies in Nairobi & Kenya in 1998. The threat was there when they tried & failed to bomb Seattle’s “New Years 2000″ celebration. And it was there when the USS Cole was attacked a month before the election. It was also there when National Security Advisor Richard Clark was desperately trying to get the incoming Bush Administration to pay attention to alQaeda, and it was there when President Bush ignored a Presidential Daily Briefing on August 6th, 2001 entitled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.”. Whenever I hear Republicans “accuse” Democrats of having a “pre-September 11th mentality”, it infuriates me because ONLY REPUBLICANS HAD A “DIFFERENT MENTALITY” ON SEPTEMBER 10TH. Democrats were well aware of the threat on September 10th. THEY are the ones who were caught by surprise.

But you know when the world DID change? When George W Bush unnecessarily invaded Iraq on March 19th, 2003. Only the most partisan “divorced-from-reality” neoconservative Republican’s still believe that the invasion of Iraq was necessary and that the mess we see in that region of the world today would still be taking place even if Saddam Hussein hadn’t of been removed from power.

Does anyone (sane) believe ISIS would have risen to power and been able to overtake nearly half of Iraq if Saddam Hussein were still in power? And even if you believe they still might have, how much stronger would our military be today to confront them if it hadn’t been decimated by eight years of chaos in Iraq?

And now it looks like we’re about to invade Syria to go after ISIS. In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past year, that’s where the ultra-violent yet highly-organized “Sunni rebel group” formed as part of the resistance to overthrow Syrian President Assad… the guy who gassed children. This is the same group of rebels John McCain was demanding we send weapons to as recently as January of this year, and is now demanding we go after as a threat to the stability of the entire Middle East.

Despite being made up of mostly young men (and a number of women as well), ISIS is extremely well organized, with a “command structure” and “supply lines” like a regular army. And that’s because the leadership of ISIS consists of a number of former Iraqi Army officers.

You see, despite Sunni’s being a minority in Iraq, Saddam Hussein was a Sunni, so he put Sunni’s in charge of everything, with an army made up mostly of Sunni men, and then ruled ruthlessly to suppress the Shia majority. When George Bush invaded Iraq and overthrew Saddam, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Bremmer disbanded the entire Iraqi Army… the closest thing they had left to a functioning police-force… telling them essentially, “You’re all fired. Go away and take your guns with you.” To make matters worse, the new president of Iraq, Nouri al-Maliki (a Shia) did exactly what you’d expect an Iraqi Shia to do after decades of repression: flip the government 180 degrees, putting Shia Iraqi’s in charge of everything and banning Sunni’s from power.

So, what’s an angry, unemployed, well-armed, well-trained former Iraqi soldier who can’t get a job because his country is in shambles and his government bans him from public service because of his religion… to do all day? First he joins the fight against the American soldiers occupying his country (ISIS began as “alQaeda in Iraq“), then when they leave, goes looking for “work” (as a soldier) where he thinks he’s needed most… supporting the Sunni rebels in neighboring Syria.

And of course, beside providing plenty of motivation, we supplied them with U.S. weapons & vehicles as well. How thoughtful of us!

And now they’re back in Iraq. Bigger & Badder than ever. All courtesy of the Bush/Cheney Administration and their invasion of Iraq. “The world” did not change on 9/11… Republicans did.
 



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Filed in General, Middle East, National Security, Politics, Terrorism, War September 10th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View