CALLING ALL CANDIDATES: Solving the Gun Crisis (part 3). Repeat: TAX GUNPOWDER.
August 12, 2019

Share
 

Gilroy, CA, El Paso, TX and Dayton, OH. Three deadly mass shootings in the space of less than a week earlier this month has brought the subject of “Gun Control” roaring back to the forefront of the 2020 Election. Way back in 2013, I wrote my first Op/Ed on the subject asking then Vice President Biden to “Focus on the Ammunition” instead of what I (correctly) predicted would be yet another failed attempt to restrict the guns themselves. Nearly five years later, I wrote again on how we could dramatically cut down on the number of mass shootings and save lives by taxing gunpowder/cordite. As I listen to all 20+ Democratic candidates again go down the same “doomed to fail” path of focusing on the guns themselves and trying to craft laws capable of predicting who is likely to go on a murderous rampage, it is clearly time to reexamine my FAR more doable idea of focusing on the ammunition instead of the guns themselves.

In my second Op/Ed (ibid), I remarked on comedian Chris Rock’s brilliant joke about how each bullet should cost “$5,000”. That’s a bit excessive, putting weapons of self-defense out of the hands of the “poor” and limiting them to the wealthy (most of whom can afford other security measures like alarms and guards.) Simply taxing the bullets would not solve the issue because MANY gun enthusiasts (my father included) make their own ammunition. When you do a lot of target shooting for fun, buying large amounts of commercially made ammunition can get quite costly. So many sportsmen “pack” their own ammunition. As such, simply taxing “pre-made” ammunition still leaves a gaping hole in limiting the number of bullets out there and risks driving the manufacture & sale of bullets underground (which would only make things worse.) But no one makes their own gunpowder (actually, bullets today use the more explosive propellant “cordite”, so we must include that in any tax), so there is little chance of getting around the ability to buy/make cheap ammunition in bulk.
 

#TaxGunpowder

So let’s examine the issues one-by-one:

1. Gun advocates believe their “Right to Bear Arms” is absolute. This is not the case. The only reason ANY restriction on gun ownership is legal is because the Second Amendment does NOT start with “dot dot dot” (as frequently seen in ads/banners/images of the text of the 2nd), it starts with the proviso: “Well Regulated”. Most people (even many gun rights supporters) falsely believe fully automatic weapons are illegal. They are not. They require extensive background checks, extremely steep licensing fees, proficiency certification, and a long waiting period, but you CAN still legally purchase a fully automatic weapon. So to some extent, they are correct that there is no such thing as a total gun ban. However, there is no “Constitutional Right” to an endless uninterrupted supply of cheap ammunition. In 2010, when Republicans tried & failed to get the “ObamaCare” mandate declared “unconstitutional”, Supreme Court Justice Roberts cast the deciding vote, noting that “Congress’s authority to tax is absolute. They could tax you for breathing if they wanted to”, he noted. Trying to restrict the purchase of ANY firearm is guaranteed to run into Constitutional challenges by the gun lobby which will tie the law up in court for years (during which time many more people will needlessly die) only for the bill to ultimately fail and nothing is actually done to prevent more gun deaths. Trying to ban certain types of guns is a waste of time. But a gun without ammunition is just a stick. Hashtag #ThinkOutsideTheBox.

2. Which brings us to “Background Checks”. Only people with a recorded history of criminal behavior or mental illness might be identified by a background check. How many times have we heard that the latest mass shooter “purchased their gun(s) legally?” The Bush-43 and Obama Administrations both saw the wisdom of preventing people suffering from “mental illness” from purchasing firearms. Yet, one of the FIRST things Trump did upon taking office was repeal the law that made it harder for the mentally ill to buy guns. Now they are all over the airways talking about how we need to stop the mentally ill from buying guns. Right. There is an extremely thin & blurry line between “dangerous nut who intends to murder people” vs “dangerous nut who thinks the gub’mint is out to get them.” In my humble opinion, anyone who hoards guns & ammo because they think the government coming to take away their hoard of guns & ammo is suffering from mental health issues and should be denied a gun. There is no “mental health check” that is going to accurately distinguish between the two. In the first month of the Clinton Administration when the FBI descended on Waco to stop a religious cult from selling unlicensed modified assault weapons across state lines, the siege was viewed by the gun-rights crowd as their worst fears realized: Democrats were coming for your guns. Lesson learned. Every time a Democrat is elected president, the NRA starts fear-mongering how “Democrats are coming to take your guns”. Yet in his eight years, the ONLY gun legislation signed into law by President Obama was to make it EASIER to bring a gun into a National Park. There is no way on God’s Green Earth you will ever be able to pass any meaningful/effective law that keeps guns out of the hands of “crazy people.” Those are the very people who BUY the most guns and keep the industry afloat. Background checks are still a vital tool towards stopping domestic violence, but not mass shootings like we saw in Gilroy, El Paso or Dayton barely a week ago. How many mass murderers were later found to have “passed a background check”? Instead, gun rights advocates would rather scapegoat things like “violent video games” rather than actually do anything meaningful about guns (yes, they’d rather place restrictions on buying “video games” than on the weapons players would then have to use to actually harm people.) Not only does every other nation on Earth play these games, but there are numerous studies showing “NO link between playing violent video games and real world violence”. To the contrary, they may actually provide potentially violent people with an outlet to act out their rage in the virtual world rather than in real life.

3. Also doomed to fail: Banning “certain types” of guns ambiguously classified as “assault weapons.” One of the biggest failures of the (otherwise effective) 1994 Assault Weapons Ban was that gun manufactures simply found ways around the law. A few simple changes to the appearance… removed the pistol grip, changed the stock to wood… turned an “AR15 Assault Rifle” into a completely legal “Ruger Mini-14”:
 

AR15 vs Ruger Mini-14

Same weapon. Same firing capability. Just a different look. Then there is the inevitable issue of “3D Printed Guns”. Cheap and No “background check”. Anyone with access to a 3D printer can make one. But no one is “3D printing” their own gunpowder. And what about the famed “gunshow loophole”, “strawman purchases” and private sales/gifting of firearms between individuals? All of these would continue to be missed by any enhanced “Background Check” process. But last I heard, they all still needed ammo.

4. Tax gunpowder to make “rapid-fire” weapons too costly to operate. If you are such a bad shot you require something capable of spraying bullets like confetti just to hit your target, you have no business firing a gun. The Dayton shooter had attached a “drum” magazine capable of holding 80 rounds of ammunition. Bullets would essentially be priced according to caliber. The more propellant/deadly, the higher the cost. If the Dayton shooter’s bullets cost $100 each (based on the amount of gunpowder in them), a fully-loaded magazine would have cost him $8,000. “Extended clips” were banned in the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban. George W. Bush allowed that law to lapse. But even a 15-round extended clip means spending $1,500. We live in a time where many people can’t afford a surprise $600 expense (like car repair or dental visit) let alone waste several thousand dollars on a few dozen bullets. How many school shootings were committed by young kids? You think most kids can afford to set aside $2,000-$3,000 just to buy 20/30 bullets?

5. People will say, “Yeah, but a tax on future sales of gunpowder/cordite will do nothing about people who already own stockpiles of ammunition.” Au contraire mon frère. People who already have stockpiles of ammo would begin to ration it as the cost of replacing it goes up. And eventually, those stockpiles will be used up. About a month ago, my local grocery store discontinued my favorite salad dressing, so I stocked up. And despite now having a huge supply, I went through it slowly knowing I would not be able to replace it. The same thing here. No matter how much you have, people expend their supply more slowly knowing it will be difficult to replace.

6. Another argument: What about all the people who “target shoot” for fun? And the cost of training people to shoot accurately? Well, “gun ranges” & “gun safety classes” can sell their own ammunition at a reduced rate, require you to account for every shot fired (turn in your spent shells), and require you to turn in any unused ammo for a refund. And they will comply if they wish to keep their license (and access to a supply of cheap ammo.)

7. “What about Fireworks & Demolition? Innocent victims of your tax on gunpowder?” Well, first off, as noted in #5, most bullets today use “cordite” not gunpowder because it has more kick. “Class-C” (Common) fireworks like you purchase at your local fireworks stand actually contain very little gunpowder (and most are mixed with chemicals like phosphorus that produce bright colors but render it ineffective for ammunition.) And demolition experts use “Nitro” (which is already highly regulated & expensive) not “gunpowder”. So neither would be significantly impacted (if at all.)

8. Some Republicans like to try the “holier than thou” moral argument linking gun control to abortion: “If Democrats were truly concerned about saving lives, they’d oppose abortion which kills 20x as many ‘children’ each year.” Ignoring the nonsequiteur for a moment, the day paranoid gun nuts decided the mass murder of twenty innocent First Graders and seven teachers at Sandy Hook was an acceptable price to pay just so they could continue to arm themselves to the teeth, they lost the moral high ground. But more to the point, there aren’t rogue doctors running around performing surprise-attack abortions… 20 to 30 in five minutes… against the will of the mother(s).

9. “People will still kill using cars, knives, even hammers.” Cars, knives & hammers have other uses. Bullets do not. And please list for me how many mass murders are committed in the United States each year using cars, knives or hammers? Stupid argument. And definitely not a legitimate reason for doing nothing about mass shootings that kill hundreds each year. The number of people killed by guns (including suicide) is the equivalent of a 9/11 every three weeks in this country. If al Qaeda were doing that instead of us doing it to ourselves, we would have dropped a nuclear bomb on them by now.

I tried to think of a Tenth good reason or bad excuse, but I couldn’t come up with one. No matter. Nine is more than enough. Tax gunpowder. Completely legal. Already deemed Constitutional by the Conservative Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Congress could enact it immediately. It’s a great compromise I think a lot of Conservatives would willingly embrace because it allows them to keep their word of protecting their constituents “Right to Bear Arms” while actually doing something constructive about gun violence. It takes the wind out of the sales of “Second Amendment” zealots who would fight to the death any restriction on their ability to purchase whatever firearm they want. And it is difficult to argue that anyone NEEDS hundreds of rounds of ammunition simply for personal safety. If you want to buy an AR15, an AK47, or even a MAC-10, I could care less. But if you want to load up with hundreds of rounds of military-caliber ammunition, prepare to lay out thousands of dollars and be red flagged by the ATF.


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

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

Share

August 12, 2019 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Posted in: Crime, Election, Guns & Violence, Party of Life, Politics, Right-Wing Insanity, Seems Obvious to Me, Taxes, Unconstitutional

Predictions for 2019. – You thought 2018 was tumultuous.
December 31, 2018

Share
 

I‘m back for my annual year end “Predictions” issue… something I’ve been doing for over a decade now with relative success. With Trump’s second year now in the rear-view mirror, and with what I expect will be a tumultuous year for politics not seen since the days of Watergate ahead of us, I’ve returned with yet another round of predictions.

First, as always, a fun/funny look back (read: “reality check”) at what others predicted for the year that was, followed by a scoring of my own Predictions for 2018 (link below), and finishing up with my predictions for the coming year.

As most of you know, I live-blog the three network Sunday political talks shows (Fox “news” Sunday, “Meet the Press” and ABC’s “ThisWeek”) on Twitter every week. I used to tweet via Facebook, but some troll convinced Facebook I’m not a real person, so they deleted my account w/o out explanation or recourse. Anyhoo… for some reason, those shows stopped trying to predict the future last year and didn’t try again this year… which is probably for the best because if you look back at my previous “Prediction” coverage, you’ll see that they were REALLY bad at it (all predicting the “repeal of ObamaCare in 2017″… it wasn’t. And how great certain members of the Trump Administration would do… whom instead were forced to resign amidst scandal.)

I love the predictions of so-called “psychics”. They make the most outlandish predictions… typically dozens… and should ONE of them prove correct (or interpreted that way), they use that as “proof” of their “psychic ability”. If they were truly psychic, wouldn’t their success rate be better? I point out every year that I AM NOT PSYCHIC. Nor have I ever claimed to be. My own predictions are not based on any “clairvoyance”. I’m just really good at spotting political trends.

PBS’s NewsHour posted “18 Predictions for 2018“. I think they got one, maybe two, right. No boom in the sale of human body parts (a frequent prediction I’ve never understood since doctors don’t accept organs they can’t source), Americans did not rally to boycott “Citgo” (Venezuela’s state-owned oil company), governments didn’t start hording fertilizer, nor did they start “taxing robots” to offset job losses. But there were some massive wildfires & earthquakes (a common prediction made by most “psychics” every year.)

But that was 2017. Predictions for 2018 were a bit more scatter-shot: Most people predicted Democrats would retake the house, but few predicted a #BlueWave that early on. And Yes, it was indeed a “Blue Wave” despite the fact Republicans not only retained control of the Senate but actually gained two seats. It took an awful lot of GOP Gerrymandering to undermine the will of so many voters:
 

Gerrymandering suppressed the Blue Wave

Notice how a smaller popular vote victory in 2010 resulted in Republicans winning more seats in Congress. And a massive Democratic win of the Popular Vote in 2018 resulted in Democrats winning far fewer seats than even the historic “Gingrich Revolution” of 1994? If not for Republican Gerrymandering, Trump would have suffered devastating losses in the mid-terms not seen since 1974 (the year both Nixon & Agnew resigned in disgrace.)

Forbes correctly predicted the Mueller investigation would still be going on by years end, and a sluggish Stock Market would encounter a “correction of at least 10% sometime during the year.” But they also predicted “Justice Stevens would not retire and deny Trump a second Supreme Court pick”, and Democrats would fail to retake the House.

After a bit of scrounging around the web, I’m finding that just about everyone avoided making any dramatic predictions for the U.S.. Even the far-Right Heritage Foundations stuck to only predicting “International” events (North Korea, Iran, Turkey) and for the most part, eschewed trying to predict what Trump would do… which is not surprising since trying to predict what our Toddler-in-Chief will do from one minute to the next is like trying to predict what any child with A.D.D. will fixate on next.

So let’s review my own predictions for 2018:

  • Mixed: – Expect the price of oil to continue to rise in 2018 and depress the economy. – On the final day of 2017, oil closed at “$61.19/barrel”. And while it did climb to $76.73 by the end of October, OPEC panicked when U.S. gasoline prices hit a 4 year high of $2.61/gal in November and inflation nearly broke 3% in July. Both US and Saudi oil production increased, dropping the price of oil to an average of just $50.12/barrel and gas to a national average of $2.27/gal by years end. So for the first 10 months, I was absolutely right. I didn’t count on last minute intervention that would so dramatically affect the price in such a short amount of time. Half-credit.
  •  

  • Wrong: As the Mueller investigation draws down on Trump, he [Trump] will respond by trying to make nice with Democrats. – I actually tried to give Trump the benefit of the doubt here. I forgot what a petulant snowflake he really is. Any rational person wouldn’t try to piss off their opponents, rile up the resistance and motivate them to come after you even more. Trump proudly ran for president on what a good negotiator he is. The Art of the Deal no less. But instead, he dug in his heels, continued to attack his political opponents… on BOTH sides of the aisle… and ended the year throwing a hissy-fit that shutdown the government because Democrats refuse to give him Billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars to waste on a costly & ineffective wall he repeatedly insisted “Mexico” would pay for. My bad.
  •  

  • Right: Expect Democrats to retake the House and possibly even the Senate come November. – (I said “possibly” the Senate <wink>.) The Blue Wave resulted in Democrats retaking the House of Representatives by winning 42 House races to give them a 36 seat majority for 2019. And while Republicans picked up two Senate seats, there was great controversy surrounding how some of those seats were won. Dumb-as-a-stump Cindy Hyde-Smith had to go through a runoff election in (of all places) Mississippi to defeat her opponent after proudly declaring she be “in the front row” for if we brought back public hangings (aka: lynchings), and her public statements explaining herself fell flat. But her opponent was black and Trumpster rednecks flocked to her defense. The GOP had to get creative to defeat Senate Democrat Heidi Heitkamp, passing a last-minute rule that you can not vote if you don’t have a street address… a rule invented specifically targeting Native Americans, whom live on Reservations and made the difference in Heitkamp’s last narrow victory six years ago. There was no such law during the primary, creating much confusion and disenfranchising hundreds.
  •  

  • Right: Expect an economic slowdown by years end (brought on by rising oil & gas prices. – As noted earlier, the price of oil & gas DID continue to rise and the economy DID begin to slow. And even with the eventual drop in oil & gas prices, Trump’s Trade-War with China (et al) and threat of a government shutdown sent the Stock Market into a tailspin on Christmas Eve (followed quick by an irrational record-setting 1000+ point gain right after Xmas for a near zero net gain.
  •  

  • Right: When the deficit starts to explode, Republicans will use it as an excuse to cut entitlements and programs for the poor. – Almost on cue, Trump announced (right before Christmas) new restrictions to make it more difficult to get Food Stamps. And Trump’s third Chief-of-Staff in two years (Mick Mulvaney) bragged how Trump had proposed a budget that would “cut entitlement spending” (ie: “MediCare & Social Security”) as part of their plan to reduce the Deficit (created by their massive tax cut for the rich.)
  •  

  • Wrong: Unemployment will be up by years end. – While I still expect a sharp increase in the unemployment rate early next year thanks in part to Trump’s shutdown, the economic slowdown, Trade War and Market instability, the Unemployment Rate is ending the year at a historic low of just 3.7%, below the 4.1% it was at when the year started, and far below the “6%” I feared we might see. Trump’s economy is still riding on the sugar-high of his massive tax cuts. We have yet to see the hangover of when the bill comes due. (I fear I might only have been slightly premature on that prediction.)
  •  

  • Right: No wall. No progress on getting his idiotic wall. Trump has shutdown the government because Democrats are refusing to give him FIVE BILLION DOLLARS to pay for a wall he repeatedly insisted “Mexico” would pay for. They DID briefly offer him “$1.6B for border security” IF he’d restore DACA (protection for the “Dreamers”), but he said “No. It’s $5 Billion or nothing.” They tried again, offering him $1.3B (who’s teaching whom how to negotiate?) to try and avoid a Shutdown, but again he said No. Now Democrats aren’t inclined to give him squat. And the polls are on their side.
  •  

  • Wrong: Trump’s approval rating will be below 30% by years end. – Despite the slowing economy and most people blaming him for the Shutdown, Trump’s approval rating is still an unfathomable 43% (down 5% since October.) I’ve been saying all year that the only thing Trump has left going for him is the strong economy, and should that go South, he’s going to be in deep doo-doo. But as for now, his numbers are still hanging in there.
  •  

  • Right: Mueller might wait until after the 2018 mid-terms to announce anything significant regarding the case against Trump, [but] will release some controversial findings before the mid-term election. – Mueller has not yet started levying charges against Donald Trump, and he waited until after the midterms to sentence Michael Cohen and Mike Flynn. A few “revelations” came out during the year, but the most notable ones (Trump’s lie about never pursuing a “Trump Tower Moscow” not only turned out to be a lie, but he pursued it for far longer than he claimed. And news of corruption of “The Trump Foundation” didn’t come out until after the election as well.)
  •  

  • Right: As controversy over GOP misconduct grows, Dem chances in the mid-terms improve. – Indeed, the Blue Wave was very much a result of people being fed up with a GOP that refused to hold Trump accountable for anything.
  •  

  • Right: [Trump] will find ways to distract the public from the growing controversy swirling around his Russia ties. – Master of Distraction that he is, Trump always knows how to concoct a new controversy to distract people from the last one. Most recently, when Michael Cohen was sentenced to 3-years in prison and his former National Security Advisor was about to receive the same, Trump chose that time to spontaneously declare (in a tweet no less) without consulting anyone that “we had defeated ISIS and were pulling all of our troops out of Syria”… which I’m sure was music to Putin’s ears but prompted his Secretary of Defense to resign in protest (a U.S. first.) I wish I still had access to my old Facebook account because I must have posted the following image a dozen times last year every time Trump found a way to change the subject:
  •  

    Distraction Accomplished

     

  • Right (arguably): One of the revelations to come out of the Mueller investigation is Trump’s business ties to the Russian Mob. – While no one revealed a direct connection between Trump and The Russian Mob, ample evidence turned up that all sorts of criminal enterprises knew Trump was more than eager to turn a blind eye to the origin of hundreds of millions in criminal cash being laundered through Trump’s “legitimate” real estate empire (in violation of U.S. law.)
  •  

  • Right: Republicans will grow increasingly desperate to discredit him. Possibly with Republicans launching an investigation of their own… into Mueller. – This one was a bit of a tough call because Congressional Republicans didn’t launch an “official” investigation into Mueller, but some Republicans were sufficiently worried enough about him to solicit a Vermont Law School professor to falsely claim she had been “sexually harassed” by Robert Mueller… someone she had never met. She described the email she received as “creepy” and forwarded it to the Special Prosecutor’s office.
  •  

  • TBD: Will Bernie Sanders declare he’s running for prez again after mid-terms? I suspect he will. Senator Sanders has not yet “officially” declared his candidacy, but he has given every indication that he is certainly thinking about it, which is understandable considering he came in second behind former VP Joe Biden as the preferred 2020 Democratic candidate (both of whom came in behind “someone new”.) No score.
  •  

  • Right: Cooler heads prevail and we see no significant conflict between the U.S. and North Korea in 2018. – It’s easy to forget that towards the end of 2017, tensions between the U.S. and North Korea were heating up with a flurry of provocative talk on both sides between two man-child leaders that crave attention and love talking big. But once the spotlight disappeared, so did their obsession with each other.
  •  

  • Wrong: Michael Flynn will testify in open court. – While Gen. Flynn did indeed go to court to be sentenced following pleading guilty to lying to the FBI (among other things), he never testified. But the judge basically urged Flynn’s lawyers to reconsider sentencing him now until he had done more to mitigate his crime (of secretly representing a foreign nation while serving as National Security Advisor to the President of the United States after lying about that conflict of interests to the FBI.) But it may still happen. Watch this space.
  •  

  • Mixed: Past tweeted statements [by Trump] will be used to contradict assertions he makes. – Like any Republican, when they become conspicuously indignant about something (like Bill Clinton’s affairs), just wait a bit and eventually you will discover they’re total hypocrites. And while Trump too has repeatedly proven himself a hypocrite many times over doing things he once criticized President Obama for doing, he has repeatedly falsely claimed he has said or done things that were contradicted by his own tweets (and typically video). For example, accusing Democrats of incorrectly believing his border wall “would be made of concrete”, only for video and a tweet to turn up of Trump on the campaign telling everyone “the wall will be made of concrete”. Or telling Chuck Schumer & Nancy Pelosi in a televised Oval Office meeting that “I won’t blame you if there’s a shutdown” [over refusing to pay for his border wall], only to then immediately blame Democrats for the Shutdown. But my thinking on this prediction was that buried deep in Trump’s tweet history, someone would uncover Trump admitting to doing something (like business with Russia) or being in a particular place/time when he was actually philandering with pornstars or some other activity connected to a crime he may be charged with. So in that regard, I was wrong. So this gets a “mixed” rating. Half-credit.
  •  

  • Right: [Some] Democratic leaders will (stupidly) do their best to downplay the possibility of “impeachment” in the lead up to the 2018 mid-term election. – Nancy Pelosi already did this once before during the 2006 midterms, so it was no surprise some Democrats might do so again in 2018. Republicans in 1994 practically campaigned on impeaching Bill Clinton and won in a landslide. But wishy-washy Democrats think voters don’t want them to hold a criminal Commander-in-Chief responsible for what appears to be an ever-growing litany of crimes. Texas Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke was not shy about saying that he believed we should impeach Donald Trump, and ended up losing in deep red Texas by only 2.6%, putting the fear of God into his opponent Ted Cruz.
  •  

  • Right: Puerto Rico will still be far from recovered from the devastation of the 2017 hurricane season. – I’m marking this one as right even though I predicted they might suffer additional damage in 2018. 2018 has ended with Puerto Rico STILL not fully recovered from being struck by Hurricane Maria in 2017. No additional recovery assistance has been forthcoming from the Trump Administration.
  •  

  • Right: The war in Afghanistan will still be going on by years end. – A bit of a gimme, SEVENTEEN YEARS LATER, we are still no closer to getting out of Afghanistan than were a decade ago. World War II took two & a half long years to finally win. Vietnam ended in shambles after 10 long years with no strategy on how to “win” the war (and long after it was decided there was no way to win.) The war in Afghanistan is on course to last twice that long with no end in sight.

So how did I do? 14 right, 4 wrong with one TBD: 78%. I think that’s a record, exceeding my previous record of 73% set in 2015, and well over my 10 year average of 59.5%. Not bad. Not bad.
 

Okay, so on to my predictions for 2019 (in no particular order.):

  1. Trump will not participate in most (or perhaps any) GOP presidential debates. – 2019 will be the start of the 2020 Presidential Race. Around the middle of the year we will see the first Presidential Debates, and at least several Republicans will challenge Trump for the 2020 nomination… particularly if the economy starts to go South (or if criminal charges against him begin to mount.) Trump will initially say he will take part in the debates, and might even take part in one or two early on, but just as he once declared he “100% would testify under oath” in the Mueller probe only to eventually only agree to answer written questions, he will also promise to take part in any GOP debates only to eventually refuse.
  2.  

  3. The economy will reverse course sharply before the end of the year. – I’ve been warning people to expect this sometime in late 2019 or early 2020 since before I wrote this Op/Ed last May. There is an economic crash coming that will make 2008 look like an economic hiccup. Interest rates MUST rise to compensate for Trump’s massive tax cuts. We saw a dramatic rise in oil prices that wasn’t reversed until serious intervention by U.S. oil companies and OPEC to increase production. But lower oil prices hurt the profits of oil producers, so don’t count on them coming to Trump’s rescue over & over again. Trump and the GOP will blame Democrats for this turnaround (natch), falsely claiming the reversal began after they took power (2018 ended with the DOW in freefall due to Trump’s Shutdown threat and eventual closure, as well as the protest-resignation of Defense Secretary Mattis in response to Trump’s spontaneous announcement of our complete & total withdrawal from Syria, threatening international stability.)
  4.  

  5. And it almost goes without saying that if the economy reverses course, Unemployment will jump. First due to the Government Shutdown taking place here at the end of 2018, and later due to interest rate increases and higher energy prices as Trump creates more instability in the Middle East. I was vastly over-estimating when I predicted a dramatic reversal hitting 6.0% by the end of 2018 last year, but I’m quite certain unemployment will be over 1% higher by the end of 2019 than it is as of this writing (3.7%).
  6.  

  7. The first U.S. soldier born after 9/11 will die in Afghanistan (the amorphous “War on Terror”.) – A tragic and sad milestone never before seen in American history. By the end of the year, we will have been at war in the Middle East for longer than most new recruits have been alive. And tragically, it’s almost inevitable that one of them will die in combat. I can only hope that this person’s tragic death will be a wake-up call for millions of Americans who’ve grown numb to the fact we have been in a state of perpetual war for a generation. And if this does occur, it is likely to become a subject of debate during the 2018 campaign.
  8.  

  9. Investigations of Trump will become more public. – To date, much of the Mueller investigation has taken place behind closed doors, and The Special Counsel’s office has done an amazing job of not leaking or responding to attacks that could reveal the status of their investigation (or allow anyone to paint it as “biased”.) But all that changes as the investigation begins to wrap up sometime in 2019, charges are filed, and Democrats in the House are freed up to reveal what they know and campaign on criminal prosecutions. Expect Trump’s most rabid supporters to go into deep denial… deeper than most already are… to the point of absurdity, as the walls start closing in. I’m not going to predict Trump’s Approval Rating by year’s end, but it will be low enough for the GOP to seriously debate whether or not he should be their 2020 nominee.
  10.  

  11. If economy turns, even many Republicans will begin to support impeaching Trump. – And to that end as described in the prediction above, expect just enough Republicans (including pundits) to openly consider impeaching Trump, to put the fear of God into him. How he responds to that is anyone’s guess (but it will almost certainly be characteristically childish.)
  12.  

  13. Hillary Clinton will NOT run again for president of the United States. – As the poll cited earlier (see: Biden reference above) shows, Hillary has the lowest “excited about” numbers and the highest “shouldn’t run” numbers of any major potential candidate of the 2020 election. Trump vs. Hillary? “Been there, done that, and we know how it turns out.”
  14.  

  15. Someone most people aren’t currently talking about will become an early front-runner in the Democratic race as voters look for “someone new” to take on Trump. – Democratic voters are not particularly excited about any of their choices. What they REALLY want is someone with “gravitas” that can effectively call out Trump’s bullshit when he starts making crap up in a debate. Some potential dark horse candidates include Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon, though I wouldn’t place bets on either becoming overwhelming favorites without some help.
  16.  

  17. And that help is likely to come in the form of Texas Representative Beto O’Rourke topping the list of every candidates’ shortlist of potential VP picks. – O’Rourke narrowly lost to Ted Cruz in deep red Texas. And a Democrat who could potentially bring in both California AND Texas is extremely attractive to many Democrats (though it wasn’t enough to help Mike Dukakis when he picked Texas Senator Lloyd Benson to be his running mate in 1988.) But in the end, O’Rourke DID lose his last race, and comes with some controversy of his own (chief among them, a claim he fled the scene of a traffic accident, supposedly the result of a DUI, when he was 26.) And we haven’t elected a Representative president since James Garfield in 1880 (I believe the ONLY person ever elected straight from the House to President.)
  18.  

  19. Another potential dark horse candidate is General Stanley McChrystal, the former Commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan. IF he should decide to run, he would likely jump to the front of the pack, particularly following his very public criticism of his former boss on national TV last weekend, calling Trump “immoral” and “doesn’t tell the truth”. McChrystal is a Registered Independent and I know absolutely nothing about his politics, but he certainly has the gravitas and seriousness of someone I think could seriously worry Trump about his reelection prospects. But he would need to change Party’s, run as a Democrat, and impress millions with his debating skills to get the nod from most voters. Will he or won’t he? I’m not hearing any rumblings from him about potentially running, so at this point I think it is unlikely. But if he does, he’ll be an early favorite.
  20.  

  21. Paul Manafort will not flip and start dishing dirt on Trump. He can’t. He’s terrified. Both the Trumpsters and Russia would ensure he (or someone close to him) died a horrible death should he implicate either side… and there’s no question he has the evidence to do so. Manafort was brought in to be Trump’s Campaign Manager specifically for his access to people (crime bosses, et al) with access to boatloads of dirty money. Russian (and Ukrainian) oligarchs, the Russian Mob, and the Russian government itself (his own business partner was Konstantin Kilimnik, Russian “political consultant” whom reportedly worked (works?) for the GRU (the Russian CIA.) But what he knows WILL come out eventually either in the form of documents, emails, phone calls or other records. Manafort is going to spend the rest of his life in prison… however long that may be.
  22.  

  23. I’m torn on the subject of when impeachment hearings might begin (and they will. Eventually.) On one hand, I think investigations take a long time and public support needs to grow before any serious action can be pursued. On the other hand, an impeachment smack-dab in the middle of the presidential race in 2020 would look purely partisan and surely backfire on Democrats before the election. In 1998, Republicans impeached Bill Clinton during the midterms, helping them in those elections. But avoided waiting until the presidential race in 2000. Democrats didn’t control the House prior to the midterms to impeach Trump at that time, and they’d be loath to start such a fight in the middle of the 2020 Primaries. So while I can’t predict the outcome, I’m reasonably confident we will see the first movement towards Impeachment Hearings by September… depending on the state of the economy or any increase in the number of “ISIS-related” acts of terrorism resulting from his precipitous withdrawal from Syria. (Trump better pray the economy holds out and Syria doesn’t dissolve into violence. If Republicans start to turn on him, they might grow just as eager to get rid of him.)
  24.  

  25. No border wall. Not gonna happen. Democrats have exactly ZERO incentive to give Trump FIVE BILLION DOLLARS of U.S. taxpayer money to pay for a Monument to his Racism along our Southern border. Democrats will likely give him a substantial (around $1.5B) amount for “Border Security” in exchange for reinstating DACA (which to me would be giving in to extortion, giving him incentive to take something else away, only to give that back in exchange for some concession), but as for a giant 2,000 mile long concrete wall, forgeddiboudit. Trump will, of course, declare victory, even if it takes convincing his Luddite supporters that “a virtual invisible security fence” is as good as a concrete wall (or “steel slats”, or whatever he’s calling it by then.)
  26.  

  27. The DOW began the year at 24,922.68, and peaked at 26,616.71 on January 26th. It ended the year at 23,327.46… a loss of over 3,000 points. The last time the DOW ended the year lower than where it began was The Great Recession of 2008. If the economy goes South like I predict the DOW is likely to close lower than where it began by the end of 2019 for the second year in a row. The DOW has NEVER closed lower than where it started two years in a row, and would completely destroy Trump’s leading credential as “a great businessman”. Not once during the Obama presidency did the Stock Market end the year lower than it started that year, and the only time it did so under Bill Clinton was during the 2000 Presidential election when Bush & Cheney were crisscrossing the country, talking down Clinton’s record economy, telling voters at every campaign stop that “the economy isn’t as good as they say” because he knew he couldn’t beat Gore on the economy. Bush ended up handing himself the first of two Recessions (and blaming them on the Democrats.)
  28.  

  29. Uh oh! Melania won’t be joining her hubby for New Years Eve after they spent Christmas apart as well (her at “Mar-a-lago” in Florida while Donnie whined about being “all alone” in DC.) While I don’t think we’ll see the first ever divorce in presidential history, much like the first few months of his presidency where she lived in NYC for months before finally moving to Washington, I expect we’ll see less & less of Melania in 2019, conspicuously missing some major events that will become harder & harder for the White House to explain.
  30.  

  31. More people connected to the 2016 Trump campaign will be indicted in 2019. Most likely suspects: Jerome “Swift Boaters for Freedom” Corsi and Rodger “proud Ratfucker” Stone. By the end of the year, the number of people connected to the Trump-2016 Campaign whom have either been indicted or confess to committing crimes will near a dozen (it is already over five.)
  32.  

  33. If Trump does indeed pull all U.S. forces out of Syria, expect the first attacks on The Kurds in Northern Iraq by Turkey and/or Iran. – And with Russia’s help, the genocide of Syrian rebels opposing Assad will be nearly complete.
  34.  

  35. And last but not least: We will finally see Trump’s tax returns. – Now that House Democrats will have subpoena power, we will finally get to see Trump’s tax returns (who knows how far back) as part of the Congressional investigation of Donald Trump’s business dealing both prior to & during the 2016 campaign.

And that’s about it. We’ll see if I do as well next year as I did this past one. – Mugsy


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

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

Share

December 31, 2018 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Posted in: Economy, Election, General, Middle East, Money, mystery, National Security, Partisanship, Politics, Predictions, Right-Wing Insanity, Russia, Scandals

Stop Blaming Bush’s Lies About WMD’s to justify your refusal to believe in Russian meddling today
July 23, 2018

Share
 


Few things anger me more than people who lie about easily provable truths in order to push a political agenda… except maybe for the people who willingly believe those lies w/o checking them out because it suits THEIR agenda. Some of the worst are people who post memes… false quotes, doctored photos, cherry-picked statistics… on Facebook & Twitter. I have literally spent hours on Facebook debunking false memes posted by pro-Trump Conservatives (just like the Bush years.) And right now, one that truly annoys me are all the people who simply refuse to believe Russia meddled in the 2016 election on the grounds that “the same sources told us Iraq had WMD’s too!” They reject out-of-hand any recognized news outfit that dares contradict Trump’s insane “everyone who disagrees with me is Fake News” narrative. Every legitimate, responsible journalistic outfit (New York Times, The Washington Post, any network or cable news)… even the NON-legitimate Conservative water-carriers over at Fox “news” who worked overtime to convince us we could trust Bush on WMD’s, today acknowledge the evidence of election tampering by Russia. Critics deride The Gray Lady as “fake news” and cite absurd spurious questionable websites (and yes, I get the irony, but I backup EVERY claim with at least one link) that are as credible as Aunt May’s bunion is at predicting the weather. “You can’t trust CNN or MSNBC” but “you CAN trust RT [Russia Today]!” Uh… riiiiight! Because THEY don’t have a dog in this fight??? The fact is, most news & intelligence agencies did NOT report as fact Iraq/Saddam had WMD’s. In fact, many had serious doubts. Time Magazine published an interview with former weapons inspector (and lead critic of the case for war) Scott Ritter. CNN ran a story claiming “Most experts agree Iraq has tons of chemical weapons” but the only “experts” they could find worked in the Bush White House. British newspaper The Guardian reported there was “considerable doubt” that Iraq actually possessed what was claimed. And note the corner photo above of millions of people around the globe who were not convinced of the danger the politicians were insisting we were in. The Bush Administration actually attempted to link Saddam to 9/11 ON 9/11. It took them 18 months to finally convince enough people that their claims were true before they finally got the green light to invade Iraq on March 19, 2003. That’s because the Media WASN’T rallying behind them on the need for war.

On September 11, 2001, then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld wrote on a note that we need to “Hit S.H. [Saddam Hussein] @ same timenot only UBL [bin laden]” and use 9/11 to “Sweep it all up. Thing [sic] related & not.” Yet it STILL took until March of 2003 to invade Iraq. Why? If all of our intelligence agencies were saying Iraq had WMD’s, and a compliant GOP controlled BOTH houses of Congress, why did it still take 18 months to convince enough people to support the invasion of Iraq on the grounds they possessed WMD’s? Because there WASN’T a consensus among our intelligence agencies.

Those of you old enough to remember the events 14 years ago, plenty of people were questioning the Bush Administration’s claims that Saddam Hussein possessed “vast quantities” of “chemical & biological weapons and was pursuing nuclear weapons.” THE DAY BEFORE Bush’s invasion of Iraq, the New York Times published: “Bush Clings To Dubious Allegations About Iraq”. “Dubious?” Why would they call the Bush Administration’s claims “dubious” if they were pushing for war? This is the same “mainstream media” Russia-gate deniers now say we can’t trust today because they lied to us about WMD’s. Among the many reports of doubt published, former U.S. Ambassador to the region, Joe Wilson famously rebuked (see linked photo: hand written notes are Cheney targeting Wilson’s wife) Bush’s infamous 2003 State of the Union claim that Saddam had purchased “20,000 tons of yellow-cake uranium from Africa” in an Op/Ed published in the NYTimes, stating matter-of-factly that there was NO way Bush’s claim was true. Among numerous reasons given, he pointed out there was just no way to transport such a massive amount of material on the tiny, muddy, unpaved dirt roads in Niger. Nor did they have any means by which to excavate such a massive amount of deadly material, no one witnessed any such massive excavation/transport of such material, nobody worked on any such project, and the mines showed no evidence of such activity, concluding (rightly) that there simply was no truth to the frightening claim President Bush made during his address. And just like with Trump, the only way for Dick Cheney to nullify Wilson’s report was to declare it “fake news”. VP Cheney exposed the fact Wilson’s wife worked for the CIA (endangering her life and anyone she may have worked with, burning an entire established CIA front organization that took years to develop) all in an effort to discredit Wilson’s op/ed as “lies” being spread by the CIA because they were “out to get” President Bush. Seriously. And Bush’s supporters rallied in support of President Bush against the evil CIA (which admittedly wasn’t a tough sell… though to this day no one has ever explained WHY they would want to do that.) Today, Trump tells everyone we can’t trust our own intelligence agencies… not just the CIA but the FBI, the DIA, the NSA or foreign intelligence like MI6. Bush forced our intelligence agencies to back up his baseless beliefs by feeding them false information. And you KNOW if Trump could do the same, he would. They won’t so he’s throwing a tantrum.

It took Cheney repeatedly flying to CIA headquarters in Langley, VA pushing them to produce “proof” that Saddam had WMD’s (what was later referred to as “stove-piping”.) Why was it necessary for Cheney to repeatedly fly down to CIA headquarters and push to produce evidence they did not have if they were already complicit in making the case for war? Because THEY WEREN’T. They were NOT telling the Bush neocons what they wanted to hear. It took Secretary of State Collin Powell’s now infamous United Nations slideshow to finally convince enough Americans that Saddam posed “an imminent threat”, instigating our first ever “First Strike” war.

So when I hear people today telling me they absolutely refuse to believe Russia meddled in our election (despite all the evidence) because the Media and our intelligence agencies lied about WMD’s because “they want to start another war”, that just isn’t the case. The biggest (I’ll generously call) “manipulator of the truth” was the Bush Administration. It wasn’t The Media or our Intelligence Agencies that were lying to advance their agenda. The only people with a motive to lie today are the same people who were the only ones with a motive to lie 14 years ago: the White House.

Trump routinely dismisses every inconvenient fact by simply calling it “Fake News!” It’s incredibly convenient. You don’t have to produce any evidence to contradict any claim, just say your accusers are not to be trusted. Say everyone is simply out to get you. “They’re just bitter because they lost!” Lie about known facts & evidence. Even claim photographs and audio tape of yourself is manufactured even when you KNOW it wasn’t (“Who ya gonna believe? Me or your lying eyes/ears?”) Trump’s entire life, growing up as a privileged rich kid, then the CEO Of his own company, no one ever dare tell him “No” or called him “a liar”. No one ever punished him or dare confront him when he was wrong. Children raised to lie with impunity continue doing so throughout their lives. Trump was able to get away with that as a child, or when he ran his own private companies (who’s going to tell the boss he’s wrong?) This is the first time in Trump’s life anyone has corrected him. He has an army of reporters fact-checking his every word in real time and he just doesn’t know how to handle it (other than to just accuse them all of lying. The way a child would.) “They ALL said I was going to lose in a landslide! They were wrong! How can you trust them now?” says Trump. It’s a convincing message if you’re a Trump fan who really wants to believe the majority of Americans think/feel like they do. And when those same reporters uncover evidence that the only reason Trump won was because he had help, you can dismiss that too. “They were wrong then, so they must be wrong now, right?” Unless they were Right back then and are Right now. All the evidence favors the latter. Trump’s loose relationship with the truth and questionable past business dealings don’t help matters any (for him at least.)

I‘ve often revealed to people that I used to be a Republican. I also used to be a devote believer in UFO’s. I stopped believing in both for the same reason: Every time I checked out something I was told was true, 90% of the time it turned out to be total crap. “This photo absolutely shows an unexplained UFO.” No, it’s the lid of a milk can. “If we raise taxes, it’ll torpedo the economy and cause a massive Recession.” No, as it turned out, both Bill Clinton and Obama raised taxes and the economy boomed. Both Bushes cut taxes and caused huge recessions (Bush-43’s second recession was global and nearly cataclysmic.)

Were there a lot of “news” sources pushing the unproven claim that Saddam had WMD’s? Yes. I don’t claim otherwise. But most of those were Conservative. Fox “news” was a leading offender of pushing the Bush narrative on WMD’s. And I think we’ve all learned to take Fox’s fealty to Trump (did somebody say, “Fox & Friends”?) with a grain of salt. Yet today, EVEN FOX isn’t uniformly touting the Trump line that there’s “no evidence of Russian meddling”. While there will always be ass-kissers like Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson over there desperate to protect any Republican anywhere for anything, we also have anchor Chris Wallace challenging Putin to his face when he rejects Mueller’s indictment of 12 members of the G.R.U. (Russian Intelligence). Trump claims he saw “no reason why Russia would meddle in our election” (emphasis HIS), nearly stripping his gears throwing it into reverse when he was universally condemned for taking the side of Putin over his own intelligence agencies, declaring he actually meant “wouldn’t” (moments before inviting Putin to the White House as an honored guest. Seriously? Is that what you do if you truly believed Russia meddled?) Trump’s track record for honestly is a hell of a lot weaker than that of his accusers. If I must choose between trusting Trump and trusting “The 4th Estate”, I’ll side with the newspapers all day long.

“Forget about Iraq. What about The Gulf of Tonkin?” This reminds me of the old joke about the man who repeatedly ignored red lights while driving, on the grounds “my brother does this all the time!” But then stops at green lights because “My brother might be coming the other way!”

One, I doubt most of the people who cite Tonkin could even tell you what happened and why it’s significant. And two, if you must go back 50 years to find the next credible example of “our intelligence lying to start a war”, you’re stopping at green lights.
 

Postscript: If there are any repeat readers of M.R.S. still out there, you may have noticed I have since discontinued weekly updates after 15 years, now posting only on an “as-needed” basis. I simply ran out of ways to say “You’re being lied to. And here’s the history to prove it.” Other past pages (such as my extensive lists of “known Trump/Russia connections” and “absurd Trump superlatives” (both links on right) will continue to be updated, so check back often.

 


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

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


 

Share

July 23, 2018 · Admin Mugsy · One Comment - Add
Posted in: Election, mystery, myth busting, National Security, rewriting history

Reconciling Trump’s Incompetency With Economic Success
May 7, 2018

Share
 


During the 1980 presidential race, GOP candidate Ronald Reagan attacked President Carter for allowing the National Debt to “skyrocket” from just $700 Billion to $900 Billion, a nearly 25% increase in the National Debt in just four years, implying “stunning fiscal irresponsibility” on Carter’s behalf. of course, what Reagan innocently forgot to mention was that all those loans to pay for the Vietnam War started to come due in 1976 (the year before Carter took office) and drove up the Debt, not because of any “fiscal irresponsibility” on Carter’s behalf. Then Reagan went on to become president, slashed taxes on the wealthy, and TRIPLED the National Debt in just eight years. But Republicans adored Reagan… and still do to this day… for producing a “fantastic” economy (actually, the Reagan economy was less successful Bill Clinton’s. And Carter did FAR better in his four years than Reagan did in his first four.) Reagan traded the short-term gain of tax cuts to rescue a struggling economy in the 80’s for a 300% increase in the National Debt that we’ll be paying off for generations. Short-term gain in exchange for delayed long-term pain. Republicans have a well-documented history (something I document here weekly) of ignoring the future consequences of decisions they make today in exchange for short-term gain.

I remember a few years back listening to a debate over whether or not “nuclear energy” should be included in any discussion of “Green Energy”. The short-term gainers argued that “anything that helps us get off fossil fuels that doesn’t produce CO2” should be considered “Green Energy”. One man pointed out that “If the ancient Egyptians had nuclear reactors and used them to power their cities 5-10 thousand years ago, we would STILL be stuck having to store their nuclear waste today.” That’s an amazing thought. Short-term gain in exchange for long-term pain.

We see this repeatedly among Republicans. “Damn the consequences! Full speed ahead… into Iraq… or exploding the Deficit with tax cuts that aren’t paid for… or rolling back regulations of coal mining (and not just “pollution” regulations either. West Virginia’s GOP Senate primary is being led by none other than Bill Blankenship, owner of the “Massey Energy Coal Mine” who went to prison after ordering supervisors to ignore coal mine safety regulations, resulting in the deaths of 29 coal miners in 2010. (But hey, they all had jobs!). Cutting taxes without regard for the Debt (until a Democrat becomes president)? That’s GOP-101.

Republicans hate “government regulations” the way children hate being told to eat their peas. Those “regulations”… like those mine safety regulations Blankenship ignored… were put in place for a reason. Rolling back regulations might help a few companies save a few bucks today and perhaps create a few more jobs… until one of the reasons those regulations were enacted in the first place comes back to bite them in the ass and ends up costing people a lot of money (or worse.) The consequences of many decisions might not be felt for years, but they always come. How many people predicted we’d still be at war in the Middle-East FIFTEEN YEARS after the invasion of Iraq (which was sold on the promise of an “Arab Spring” where the successful Democratization of Iraq would spread throughout the Middle-East as “dictatorships fall like dominoes?”)

So last week, unemployment fell to an amazing 3.9%… technically “full employment” (ie: if you don’t have a job, you probably don’t need one)… a low not seen since Bill Clinton’s second term. Add to that, the “meteoric” rise in the Stock Market after Trump was elected (the DOW closed at a record high of 26,616.71 on January 26th of this year… an increase of 25.5% since Obama left office. All very good news for the economy, and both are indexes I used to judge the strength/weakness of the economy under both Obama & Bush. And this far into Trump’s second year, he does deserve the majority of the credit for these good numbers (as much as it pains me to say it) because a year of unpopular economic decisions would just as easily have driven those numbers back up.
 

Unemployment rate since Bush's final year

 

Trump nearly derailed his own economy when he threatened to impose blanket indiscriminate tariffs on imported steel & aluminum without regard for country of origin, which threatened to spark a global trade war, first resulting in the DOW losing over a thousand points in one week, then losing a thousand points in one day the following Monday. So current numbers ARE a reflection of current policies.

Under Obama during the 2016 campaign, when unemployment fell from 4.9% to 4.6% on November 1st… three points in just one month… Trump called the numbers “fake” and an attempt by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to help Hillary Clinton. Now the numbers are totally accurate and proof his economic policies are working.

At the risk of sounding like a partisan pessimist unwilling to admit “success” under a Republican president, I’m seeing the same trends we saw under George W. Bush when he slashed interest rates NINE TIMES in 2001 (and don’t blame 9/11. Only TWO of those cuts came after 9/11) to get the economy moving again in his first term (if you have been paying attention this week, the last time unemployment fell to 3.9% was December of 2000JUST as the Republican candidates started talking down the economy as they started their run for president (again, trading short-term gain without regard for the consequences.) Interest rates near zero have left the Federal Reserve with no place to go but up… which we have been putting off ever since. When exploding gasoline prices (thanks to deregulated Commodity Traders) sucked TRILLIONS out of the economy by 2008, “cutting interest rates to kickstart the economy” was no longer an option. Global economic disaster ensued, forcing newly elected President Obama to borrow hundreds of Billions for his “Stimulus”.

Trump’s MASSIVE corporate tax cuts… permanent for the rich but temporary for everyone else… spurred enormous investment in the stock market (almost without regard for profits) because it meant corporations were going to be able to keep more of their profits. Many stocks are likely over-inflated, not justified by their sales figures, which makes them ripe for a crash. Trump is creating a bubble that will make The Crash of 2008 look like “The Good Old Days”. We can’t cut taxes to zero and still fund the government, so the days of goosing investment in the Stock Market with the promise of additional tax cuts are over. Once again, there’s no place for them to go but up. The flood of investors pouring money into stocks to take advantage of larger profit margins seemed to push the DOW to new record highs week-after-week for months. Those record highs stopped with that January 26th record close mentioned above. The DOW has not hit another record high since. By last Wednesday, the DOW was down more than 10% off that record high just three months earlier (though gaining a nice 300+ point bounce Friday thanks to the good jobs numbers for April.) And much of this has to do with an increase in Consumer spending thanks to those (temporary) tax cuts (that will blow a hole in the Deficit for the next guy to worry about.) Yes, those tax cuts for the Poor & Middle Class will come to an end over the next few years, but the Republican philosophy is that in a few years, with the economy growing, consumers won’t need those tax cuts anymore (but then watch how hard Republicans fight a few years from now to keep those tax cuts on the grounds ending them will hurt the economy. This is EXACTLY what Republicans did regarding “The Bush Tax Cuts” that were set to end under Obama.)

Okay, we’ve spurred the economy with tax cuts and deregulation. Now what? How do we keep the momentum going? Trust me. They got nothin’.

Tax cuts alone don’t drive economic growth. And thanks to Trump’s massive tax cut blowing a hole in the Deficit, they are going to HAVE TO raise interest rates (already a growing concern) to fund the government. That will suck Billions out of the economy, slow growth, and cause another Recession. Then Trump’s low-end tax cuts will expire, making the problem even worse (which as I note above, will be the excuse for extending those tax cuts even longer) and make an already bad problem even worse.

Gas prices are also on the rise. Republicans LOVE “Big Oil” and want unrestricted drilling EVERYWHERE. “Wanna drill for oil in the middle of a National Park? Go for it! So with all this additional drilling, why are oil/gas prices going up? The national average price of gasoline is now $0.55/gal higher today than when Obama left office. Oil… $52.42/barrel when Obama left office… is racing towards $70/barrel today. Why? Because the GOP’s love of “Big Oil” isn’t out of a desire to see cheap gas, it’s out of a desire to make oil company executives rich. Enjoy the “good times” while you can, folks!

There are plenty of movie & TV examples of “good intentions gone wrong”. But one of my favorites was a 2002 episode of “The Outer Limits” called “The New Breed” (44 minutes) about a brilliant scientist with a massive ego who invented microscopic “nanobots” that could repair damaged cells on a molecular level to cure everything. At first, the nanobots are a huge success. But then they start misinterpreting normal flaws as “mistakes” that need to be “fixed” (one example: giving the doctor “gills” because he kept testing to see how long he could hold his breath under water.) By the end, the brilliant scientist was begging for death.

And that’s how I feel every time I hear Republicans promising the moon today if we just jeopardize our future. “Too many regulations!” “Fighting Climate Change is costing us jobs!” “Corporations will regulate themselves if they wish to stay in business!” “Ice Cream & candy for dinner! We’ll worry about the tummy ache and cavities tomorrow!” They’ve done it time & time again.

A month ago, I wrote about my concern regarding a possible increasing willingness to overlook Trump’s crimes & disastrous policies should his economic policies turn out to be successful. How much is your soul worth? In exchange for short term economic growth, Reagan’s policies exploded the Debt, made “deregulation” a GOP mantra, and unleashed the Military Industrial Complex. Trump whined bitterly of the Mueller/Russia investigation last week, saying, “The country is running so smoothly”, suggesting the investigation into his campaign’s frequent and unresolved contacts with a hostile foreign power… (“meddling” that even Trump himself now concedes happened)… is just sour grapes by “losers” trying to derail his presidency before his “success” costs them the next election.

The cause for alarm here is that Trump is implementing every economic “trick” in the book… (tax cuts, “deregulation”, low interest rates) usually reserved for emergencies… all at once to goose the economy. The danger is that if things go bad, you’re left with no way to counter the damage and rescue the economy.

It drives me crazy that people can’t see that he’s a conman. PT Barnum in a cheap suit. Trump is (or was before the election) broke, pretending to be a billionaire. His entire shtick has been coning people into believing he must know what he’s talking about because he’s a billionaire. “Trump University”, “Trump Airways”, “Trump Vodka” (not wine but Russian vodka), “Trump Mail-Order Steaks” (I always wondered just how much money someone who made million dollar real estate deals thought he’d make selling steaks by mail?), presidential candidate, and now he’s selling the snake oil of “Trickle-Down” voodoo economics all over again.

And (for now), people are buying it. Lord help us all.
 


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

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


 

Share

May 7, 2018 · Admin Mugsy · One Comment - Add
Posted in: Economy, Jobs, mystery, myth busting, Partisanship, Politics, Predictions, rewriting history, Right-Wing Insanity, Seems Obvious to Me, Taxes

Peace At the Barrel of a Gun. Is Threatening to Nuke Our Enemies the Way to Encourage Peace Talks?
April 30, 2018

Share
 


In the movie “All the Presidents Men”, WaPo Editor Ben Bradley tells Woodward & Bernstein about Chuck Colson (special counsel to President Nixon): “There’s a cartoon on his wall. The caption reads, ‘When you’ve got ’em by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow.'” That scene has always stuck in my mind as perfectly describing to me the Republican philosophy towards working with others. “I don’t care if you like me just so long as you bend to my will.” The complete lack of respect for anyone who doesn’t think like they think; want what they want. And they will achieve those ends by any means possible. Damn the consequences (see: “deposing Saddam.”) Bully your opponents until they bend to your will. It’s the story of the fastest gun in the West who must live with his back against the wall in constant fear that one day, someone is going to test just how good a shot they really are. It’s the proverbial “gilded cage”… which is just fine I suppose if you’re a xenoaphobic isolationist like most Republicans who live in constant terror of the outside world “invading” theirs.

This philosophy suits Trump to a T. Like any Toddler, Trump doesn’t behave like a rational adult. He throws a tantrum until he gets what he wants. And in the case of North Korea, he threatened “fire & fury, the likes of which have never been seen”… should they threaten the United States with a missile test. And “suddenly”, Kim Jong Un is talking to South Korea about “denuclearization”… even signing a “pledge” to do it… someday (details yet to be hammered out following the Summit with Trump.) Trump bragged in Michigan, “They [the Media] are asking ‘What… if anything… did Trump have to do with it? Uh… EVERYTHING! (insert obnoxious bouncing smirk here.)” And for this, some Republicans are already talking about “a Nobel Peace Prize for Trump” if he successfully denuclearizes North Korea. Shortly after Bush-43 took office, Dubya’s inclusion of NK in his “Axis of Evil” speech (before invading Iraq) pushed them into starting a nuclear weapons program, even testing their first ever nuclear weapon in 2006 (during the Bush Administration.) The result was to bring BUSH to the negotiating table (though to Bush’s credit, they DID convince NK to dismantle their lone nuclear facility. And they didn’t have to resort to threatening a nuclear strike.) NK’s missile testing slowed (but never stopped) during Obama’s eight years, and when Trump started saber-rattling his first months in office, NK’s nuclear weapons development switched into hyperdrive, producing an ICBM in record time capable of reaching the U.S.… all thanks to Trump ramping up the rhetoric against North Korea. And now, suddenly, North Korea is meeting with South Korea, “pledging” denuclearization, and agreeing to face-to-face talks with Trump. Why? Trump’s threats? No.

Do we REALLY want to normalize presidents threatening the Nuclear Annihilation of our enemies as an effective means of inducing negotiations? And is someone who threatens nations with Nuclear Annihilation deserving of a “Nobel Peace Prize”? Trump’s governing style always reminds me of this old “MadTV” sketch: “Drunk President“, where a drunk guy wakes up to discover he was just re-elected president after getting things done by being a reckless drunk no one dare offend:
 


“Cuba’s now part of the U.S.. Anyone got a problem with that???”

 

You think North Korea & Iran don’t remember Bush invading Iraq AFTER they agreed to dismantle their al Samoud missiles and allow in inspectors to confirm they’ve been disarmed? Belligerence may get you what you want… THIS time. But eventually, the empty threats will get old. The neighborhood kids will stop playing with you, and one day, some kid who is tired of being bullied is going to call your bluff and/or shoot you dead on the playground with a homemade weapon he’s been constructing in Daddy’s basement for the past 18 months plotting revenge.

Trump is also threatening to tear up the Iran nuclear deal. As much as Trump man-crushed on French President Macron during his visit here, Macron (along with every other European leader) is begging Trump NOT to blow up the Iran deal (pardon the metaphor.) If Trump reneges on the Iran Nuclear Deal brokered by Obama (another “If the black guy did it, it must be bad” spurious reversal), what nation would EVER agree to ANY deal with the United States ever again if there was a possibility that in 4-to-8 years, the next president will simply rip it up, declare it “null & void”, and demand more from them? That makes us LESS safe, not more.

And Republicans want Trump to win the Nobel Peace Prize… WHILE he’s threatening to further destabilize the entire Middle-East.

I believe I mentioned previously, it wasn’t Trump’s belligerence (in his August 2017 “Fire & Fury” speech) that suddenly finally brought North Korea to the bargaining table in 2018. It was the Summer Olympics in South Korea. Kim Jong Un had never set foot in South Korea before last week. When the Olympics came to Seoul, South Korea called the North and proposed their athletes compete as one team. Kim sent his sister to the Olympics instead of going himself, then watched the ceremonies on TV. The technical glitz & glamour, and the comfortable modern lives of those living in South Korea in stark contrast to the impoverished, near Dark Ages lives of people starving in North Korea. And suddenly discovering the rest of the world he has refused to visit doesn’t all live in the same daily misery North Korea does. Kim’s sister returned home, likely regaling her brother with stories of brightly lit neon skyscrapers, restaurants serving every kind of cuisine you could imagine, and shopping to her hearts content bringing home modern conveniences one could only dream of in the North.

And THAT dear reader is what got North & South Korea talking. NOT Trump’s saber-rattling. That is quite literally the Mission of the Olympics… to bring enemies together, to share cultures and make friends. And it worked.

Meanwhile, Trump is already prepping us for failure. AFTER he announced his desire to sit down and talk to North Korea about denuclearization (after HE himself instigated a rocket-propelled arms race), Trump fired his chief ambassador… Secretary of State Tillerson… and replaced him with the head of the freaking CIA… and not just ANY CIA chief, but a hard right Conservative like Pompeo who is CURRENTLY advocating we tear up the Iran deal (you think our agreement with Iran doesn’t loom large in Kim’s mind as he plans to negotiate with Trump?) THEN, to make matters worse, Trump appoints one of the most dangerous men on the planet, insane “mustache of truth” John Bolton, to be his “National Security Advisor”… an Iraq War hawk who once joked on Fox that the way you can tell a North Korean official is lying is “their lips are moving”, has nothing but contempt for diplomacy and famously said the ONLY thing that should matter to the UN was what is in America’s best interest.

So Trump appoints Pompeo & Bolton to his staff in key roles that will influence negotiations, announces his list of demands of North Korea before negotiations even begin (including NK agreeing to “complete & total denuclearization”), and then start preparing the public for his possible (read: inevitable) walk-out on negotiations should he decide they aren’t proceeding as he likes.

And then what? Threaten to bomb them again? Peace at the point of a gun. Would that be before or after they award Trump his Nobel Peace Prize?
 

Iran Deal vs NK Deal

 


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

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


 

Share

April 30, 2018 · Admin Mugsy · One Comment - Add
Posted in: National Security, Partisanship, Rants, Right-Wing Insanity, War

FAKE NEWS. Republicans mastered it ages ago
April 23, 2018

Share
 


The earliest example of genuine “Fake News” I can recall is (of course) the invasion of Iraq… which of course was predicated on lies about Saddam Hussein’s “Weapons of Mass Destruction”. Lies spread with the assistance of willing Right-Wing news outlets (*cough*Fox*cough*) who abdicated their journalistic duty to only report claims they could verify, and instead choosing to advance the agenda of a Republican controlled White House and Congress. Worse: If you dared question the official line from the White House the way Ambassador Joe Wilson did in the New York Times, the White House made it their mission to destroy you (see Dick Cheney’s personal notes in the margins (ibid). It angers me today when people try to use claims of “Weapons of Mass Destruction” by the Media in 2002 as an excuse to mistrust News organizations today and trust the totally untrustworthy Trump White House. If anything, those claims of “WMD’s” proves the LEAST trustworthy creature on the planet is a Republican White House with a disturbingly close relationship with Fox “news” (*cough*Hannity*cough*.) But it’s one thing when the Media stops asking questions. It’s quite another when they are USED to disseminate propaganda completely written, packaged and distributed by Conservatives, and Republicans are old hands at that.

Five months after Bush gave his famous “We have prevailed [in Iraq]” speech before a giant banner reading “Mission Accomplished” WHILE we still had soldiers fighting and dying in Iraq, people started souring on the war. Those who didn’t ask questions going in were starting to ask after the fact: “Where are those Weapons of Mass Destruction they assured us were there in huge quantities?” “Where’s Saddam?” (If you recall, he had escaped and was not found until December.) “Mission Accomplished? Then why are we still there five months later?” Christmas was nearing and our troops were still dying at a rate of more than 100/week. “For what?” The presidential pre-election race was already in full swing and the 2004 Primaries were about to begin. The Bush White House was desperate for some good news… emphasis on the word “desperate”.

Suddenly, letters from soldiers serving in Iraq started showing up in local papers across the country. Positive upbeat letters from Home Town Heroes talking about the rewards they were seeing on a daily basis of Iraqis thanking them for “liberating” them from the oppressive Saddam regime. Those “flowers & chocolates” Cheney once quipped the Iraqis would shower our troops with seemed to be coming true. We may not have found those WMD’s, but we rescued an entire nation from a tyrant. “Relax! The invasion of Iraq was not all for naught.” America loves its heroes and cash-strapped small-town local papers were more than happy to reprint these “good news” stories that people loved reading at a time when Bush supporters were desperate for an excuse to continue supporting their president.

But even though “The Internet” wasn’t even a decade old yet at the time, it wasn’t long before tens of thousands of people sharing “local soldier’s letters home” printed in their hometown paper with their family & friends that people started to notice: “Huh. All these letters sound exactly the same except for a few minor details and the signature at the bottom.” News organizations picked up on the story only to discover the letters were being written by the White Housea form letter they were distributing to troops in combat for them to rewrite in their own hand, sign, and send home to give “their mission” (ie: the White House) some badly needed PR. Most troops were sour on the war too, yet there were always a few who found their own reasons to send their form letter home without revealing whose idea it was they write or why.

That was the first example I can recall of a White House actively manufacturing “fake news”… but it wasn’t the last.

During the election of 2004, with so many people down on the Iraq War and the nightly news reporting the death of dozens of troops each & every day in a war it was now clear we shouldn’t be fighting, the White House was desperate for TV stations across the country to report on something other than the continuing Iraq war. “Why aren’t they reporting all the GOOD news? Unemployment is still low (around 5.4%… up about a point & a half from the Clinton low of 3.9%.) Saddam has been captured and the Iraqi people are free!” The list of “positive Bush accomplishments” was short (and weak), but they were desperate,

So they started filming their own news reports using actors pretending to be reporters, reading scripted “good news’ reports, and distributing them to “small market” TV stations across the country who were thrilled to receive free content to pad their newscasts each night. They were caught here too… just not until after Bush’s reelection.

I was reminded of all this two weeks ago when “Sinclair Broadcasting”… another extremely conservative Media conglomerate more insidious than Fox (because at least Fox viewers KNOW they are listening to a Conservative media outlet) were caught asking anchors of dozens of stations across the country to “criticize fake news”, promising that THEY will NEVER report something they themselves haven’t thoroughly checked out first. Unfortunately for them, none of them bothered to question the efficacy of reading a scripted message on the news promising to never simply repeat scripted “fake news”. Oopsie!

The chairman of one of the largest media conglomerates in the country… “American Media Industries” (AMI) is a man named David Pecker… a close personal friend of Donald Trump. AMI owns “The National Enquirer”… the granddaddy of the tabloid industry. People once made fun of anyone who believed anything they read in it. But no more. Not in an age where real news is “fake news” and “fake news” is “real news”. Pecker’s Enquirer now runs headlines every week defending Donald Trump by attacking his accusers. Accusing Hillary, Mueller… anyone Trump supporters hate… of being guilty of crimes themselves. You’ll note they never challenge legitimate news stories of the latest criminal investigation or scandal to befall Trump. Instead, they employ the ever effective “Squirrel!” method of “Look over there!” distraction techniques.

Fortunately for them, the Trump Voter Demographic is precisely the same people who think “The National Enquirer” is legitimate news and “pro-wrestling” is real.

The lone example Conservatives have of genuine “fake news” (and possible bias) that they hold up as an example of why “The Media can’t be trusted”, was a quickly redacted mistaken claim on CNN right after Trump took office that he had removed the bust of “Martin Luther King Jr.” from the Oval Office (at the same time Trump was falsely accusing Obama of having a bust of Winston Churchill removed.) A clear case of hypocrisy, right? Unfortunately for this reporter, the bust of King was simply briefly obstructed by some curtains. The bust had not been removed, and the CNN story was quickly retracted.

But that’s all it took for Trump supporters to start dismissing EVERY damaging news report about the Trump Administration as “Fake News” by a “Liberal Media” that’s out to get him. They reported for over a year that Hillary had a huge lead in the polls and Trump had no chance of winning. Yet… “Trump won.” And it couldn’t possibly be because of election interference by a hostile foreign nation. That’s “fake news” too! The American people actually LOVE Donald Trump. Just look at the size of his inauguration crowd! What? Photos show a dismal turnout for Trump’s inauguration? That must be “fake news” too!

And now, EVERYTHING “the Media” reports that is critical of Trump is “a lie” too. “Just look at what they said about WMD’s!”
 


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

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


 

Share

April 23, 2018 · Admin Mugsy · One Comment - Add
Posted in: General, myth busting, Politics, Rants, rewriting history, Right-wing Facism, Right-Wing Hypocrisy

Trump Bombs Syria. Now what?
April 16, 2018

Share
 

(Okay, we’re back. We were offline last week, and on Easter Break the week before that, so this is our first Op/Ed in two weeks. – Mugsy)
 

UN Ambassador Nikki Haley appeared on Fox news Sunday to comment on the U.S. strike on Syria Friday, and I was quite surprised by the way host Chris Wallace challenged her on some of her assertions. Halley revealed that Assad has used chemical weapons fifty times” since the rebellion began in 2011. So why was this attack so special? “Was it because it was caught on video?” asked Wallace. He also asked her if the message we were sending Assad was, “You can attack your own people using conventional weapons, just not chemical weapons?” Both excellent points. While I agree that a response was necessary and bombing Assad’s chemical weapons facilities was proper, I don’t feel like the Trump Administration has a strategy for what comes next. Do we just “hope” he doesn’t do it again? How will Russia react to further sanctions (after Trump spent the last year undermining them?) No answer to the question: “Okay, now what?” We hindered Syria’s ability to use chemical weapons against the Syrian rebels, but we don’t appear to be doing anything to resolve the conflict there or defend the lives of the Syrian rebels. What now?

Trump is suddenly criticizing Russia as it starts to dawn on him that Putin isn’t one of the good guys. Shocker, I know. The whole time Trump was talking nice about Russia and praising Putin during the campaign, Putin was ordering hackers to meddle in our election, breaking into DNC (and attempting to hack RNC) computers, was constructing a “super cruise missile” unveiled a few weeks ago, was behind the attempted poisoning of a former Russian double-agent now living in the UK, has been defending Assad… someone Trump now concedes is “a monster”, and now Trump is obsessed with rumors of a “blackmail tape” (to put it politely) supposedly filmed when he was in Russia for his 2013 Miss Universe pageant (I don’t know about you, but I’d be worried too if the story were true, and not the least bit concerned if I knew it weren’t.) And just like that, Trump appears to be realizing that maybe… just maybe… Putin isn’t the noble leader he though him to be.

Now, there seems to be a plethora of Nervous Nellie’s whom think the ultimate end result of ANY conflict… verbal, trade, whatever… will ultimately/inevitably lead to Global Thermonuclear War with Russia. No. Chill folks. Not every International disagreement leads to World War III. Dr. Strangelove isn’t in charge of the Pentagon (even with mustachioed lunatic National Security Advisor John Bolton advising Trump.) Hmmm. I don’t feel I made a very convincing argument there. Just trust me. Relax. Even Bush didn’t bungle his way into WWIII.

Okay, so we’ve sent a message to Assad… loud & clear… that we draw the line at “chemical weapons” but when it comes to ending the seven year long civil war in Syria, we have no intention of interfering (even if Russia is.) And under Trump, even awarding asylum to the victims of “monster” Assad is not being discussed. Again, I was struck by the fact Fox News Sunday (yes, I conferred upon them a well-deserved Capital-N) pointed out the seeming heartlessness of the Trump Administration’s parsimonious “no Middle-Eastern Refugees” policy:
 

Dwindelling admitted Syrian refugees

 
As you will note from the above graphic, while the GOP controlled Congress worked overtime to tie Obama’s hands, we WERE still able to allow in over 15,000 refugees in 2016. So far, we have allowed all of 11 refugees into the U.S. in the first 3-1/2 months of the year. At that rate, the U.S. will have allowed all of 35 or 36 Syrian Refugees into our country by years end. That’s unforgivable. To call Assad “a monster”, but to then tell those same victims, “Stay away! We don’t want you here! You must remain in that place where a ‘monster’ is committing war crimes against you” is profane.

But also consider, the GOP’s (claimed) justification for not allowing in refugees is that “terrorists might sneak in among them.” If “terrorists” had snuck into the U.S. among those 15,000 refugees admitted in 2016, we would know it by now. The (made-up) justification Republicans are giving for not admitting refugees just isn’t born out by the facts.

As for: “Where do we go from here”, I’ve already previously presented my own plan on how to resolve the current crisis in the Middle-East non-militarily for FAR less money than we are spending now, and finally bring the war(s) in the region to a close. We can still do it. The White House may not have a plan, but I do.
 


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

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


 

Share

April 16, 2018 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Posted in: Immigration Reform, Middle East, National Security, Terrorism, War

From Bush to Trump, Republicans don’t think about consequences
March 26, 2018

Share
 


Way back in June of 2015, right after Trump declared his candidacy, I created the following graphic:
 

Trump's car chase

 

Even back then, it was already clear to me that Donald Trump was making a game out of running for president. He doesn’t really WANT to do the job… the tedious planning, making calls and hammering out “details”. He just wanted to prove he could win… if not the presidency, at least the GOP nomination. Some might point to the grueling campaigning and exhausting schedule as evidence he doesn’t mind hard work, but that’s all part of being a celebrity. You go on tour, cheering adoring fans flock to see you, they know your songs word-for-word, and lavish you with praise. Trump LOVES that part. It’s why within weeks of taking office, he was already back on the “campaign trail”. But like all Republicans, sitting behind a desk working out the details away from the cameras, exploring options and questioning the consequences of their actions is just too much work. I believe Trump once described himself as “a big picture guy“. During the campaign, Don Jr was asked… after describing all the jobs his father was delegating to others (particularly Kushner)… what would his father’s job be (with nothing else left?). Junior’s response? “[Dad will be] in charge of Making America Great again” (that sound you just heard were my eyes rolling out of my head.)

When Bush & Cheney made the decision to invade Iraq, they had NO plan for what to do next once Saddam was out of power. Fourteen years later, I still remember this 2004 interview with Lt. Paul Reikhoff on The Randi Rhodes Show, founder of IAVAW (“Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans Against the War”) describing the day they rolled into Baghdad after Saddam fled for his life:
 

We arrived in Baghdad and asked, “Okay, now what?”
and were told, “We’ll get back to you.”
(2:56)

 

Their one & only plan was to replace Saddam with Iraqi exile Ahmed Chalibi whom convinced a willing Bush & Cheney that Iraq had massive stockpiles of WMD’s. But when those stockpiles weren’t turning up, THEN they started asking questions. Realizing they had been duped, suddenly their one & only plan had fallen through. The mad scramble to come up with a “Plan B” is what turned the Middle East into the chaotic mess it is today.

Republicans just don’t like worrying about the details. Act first, “manage” the fallout later. When the Clinton Tax Rate resulted in a booming economy and a Surplus that was actually paying off the National Debt, George W Bush campaigned on cutting taxes on the rich on the grounds “a Surplus proves you’re paying too much!” (and THAT, dear reader, is why NO Republican president will EVER balance the budget.) The result? The Deficit exploded, from negative $200Billion/year to $1.2TRILLION/year. He couldn’t beat Clinton/Gore on the economy, so Bush & Cheney talked the economy into a Recession (confirming links have expired after 17 years) at every campaign stop claiming “the economy isn’t really as good as they say it is!” It became a self-fulfilling prophecy, the economy tanked (BEFORE 9/11), and once Bush was in the Oval Office, he was strapped with a sinking economy and exploding deficit.

They just didn’t think things through.

And now it is Trump’s turn.

Reports are Trump was as stunned as anyone when he won on Election night (“Fire & Fury” pg.24), making no plans for his transition and even promising Melania (whom told him she didn’t want to move to DC or live in the White House) “not to worry” because “he wasn’t going to win”, leading to “tears… and not of joy” from the new First Lady that “historic” night.

Trump’s White House is being fitted with a revolving door following all the departures. Trump promised to “Drain the swamp” in Washington if elected, and a reason to vote for him was that (as a CEO), he would “hire the best people”, then proceeded to staff his cabinet with incompetent sycophants. The only people being “drained” from Washington are people HE appointed. Interviewing qualified candidates to fill every position was just too much work (especially when after weeks of interviewing Secretary of State candidates, The Kremlin is simply going to put the kibosh on your decision. They hated Romney ever since that “Russia is the greatest threat” comment in 2012.)

And the latest rumor is that now Trump may fire his second Chief of Staff (Gen. John Kelly) and replace him with… nobody! Lord only knows who put that idea into his head (*cough*Fox news*cough*), but I have NO doubt with Trump’s massive ego, he thinks he doesn’t need one. Someone obviously told him, “JFK didn’t have a Chief of Staff! You don’t need one either!” Trump (of course) hasn’t thought this through. He doesn’t want to do his OWN job. Now he’s going to do his CoS’s job too?

Clearly, Fox “news” does all of Trump’s thinking for him. We have concrete proof Trump has changed his position on issues after watching “Fox & Friends” each morning. And he did so again last week after the Republican congress passed their massive $1.3-TRILLION omnibus spending bill (without reading it), “F&F” panned it, complaining that (among other things) the budget did not include any money for Trump’s ridiculous border wall (that Mexico was supposed to pay for.) Trump immediately then criticized the bill too and threatened to veto it. But w/o a budget by last Friday, we would of had a government shutdown, and there’d be no one to blame but Trump. He (obviously) didn’t think through his threat to veto (natch) and ended up having to eat his words. Bill Maher summed things up perfectly last Friday night: “In Russia, Putin controls the media and tells them what to say. Here it’s The Media that controls Trump and tells him what to say & do.

I find it interesting the GOP passed a 2,200 page deficit-exploding budget (Trump’s first, and three months late) without reading it first considering their chief complaints about the vote for The Affordable Care Act were it’s massive size (“Over 2,100 pages!”) and having “No time to read it before voting on it!” But the last thing they wanted was to be working the week of Easter Vacation to scrutinize and pass a budget before the March 23rd deadline, so suddenly, reading & voting on a massive spending bill… the budget for the entire United States… before leaving for vacation, just wasn’t that important. Consequences/Schmonsequences.

When Trump blurted out his idea for a blanket across-the-board tariff on ALL steel & aluminum coming into the U.S. without regard for country of origin, he clearly had not thought it through and was quickly forced to walk it back. Imposing tariff’s on countries with whom we have a Trade Surplus risked starting a Trade War. What he SHOULD have done was take the time to devise “targeted” tariffs against nations engaging in unfair trade practices against us. But actually taking the time to analyze the consequences of your actions before blurting out your plan without a moment’s consideration is simply lazy. And “lazy” is what Republicans do best.

One of the great fears of Trump appointing (yet another Fox news pundit, insane “mustache of Truth”) John Bolton to be his new National Security Advisor (Lord help us) just days after Bolton wrote an Op/Ed making the “legal” case for a “First Strike” against North Korea (and possibly Iran), is that Bolton has a history of preferring the use of force over diplomacy… which also takes work. Bolton believes… to this day… that invading Iraq was the right thing to do (something candidate Trump called “a tremendous disservice.”) “Bombing everyone” is simply… lazy… a means of solving every problem without the hard work of diplomacy… which is right up Trump’s alley. President Bush recess-appointed John Bolton… a man openly hostile to the United Nations… to be his Ambassador to the UN (which Congress promptly undid upon their return.) Tell me Bush thought that one thru. And now Trump has picked him to be his chief advisor on the use of military force with just as little forethought. If Trump believes Bolton knows more about North Korea (or Iran) than he does, he’s going to be loath to contradict him.

And it’s not just that Bolton is an insane warhawk with nothing but open contempt for the rest of the world, but the fact Lazy Trump (desperate to be liked) tends to always agree with the last person he talks to, afraid of offending them. So when Bolton starts telling Trump, “You’re wasting your time trying to talk to North Korea (something Trump said about Tillerson before firing him, then deciding to talk to them himself) and should instead simply “bomb them”, Trump might very well do it.

Consequences/Schmonsequences.
 


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

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


 

Share

March 26, 2018 · Admin Mugsy · One Comment - Add
Posted in: General, myth busting, Partisanship, Politics, Rants, rewriting history, Right-Wing Hypocrisy

March Madness: CONSERVATIVE Media lied to you about Iraq (and now Trump)
March 19, 2018

Share
 


The term “Mad as a March Hare” goes back nearly 500 years. It of course refers to the breeding frenzy rabbits go into in the Spring, where they behave so mindlessly as to be described as “harebrained” (not “hairbrained”.) And indeed, March seems to be the month of “harebrained” schemes.

It was 15 years ago today that George W. Bush invaded Iraq under false pretenses. And it bugs the hell out of me when Trump supporters (or anti-“everything government” children… many of whom are old enough to know better but only started paying attention to politics in 2016) use the excuse “the ‘Media’ [that is accusing Trump of collusion] is the SAME ‘Media’ that claimed there were ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’,” as an excuse to justify their own refusal to believe the legitimacy of the Mueller Investigation.

Sorry folks, that crap won’t fly here. “Recording History for those Who Seek to rewrite it”, remember?

“The Media” as a whole did NOT insist Iraq had WMD’s and push us into war. Oh sure, FOX believed it and pushed the narrative, but that’s Fox. They’ve always sided with Conservatives on every issue. But they did NOT represent the vast majority of the ‘Media’. Most of the media was HIGHLY skeptical of the White House’s claims of “stockpiles of chemical weapons”, “mobile weapons labs” and “an active nuclear weapons program.” Millions marched in the streets the world over unconvinced of the “imminent threat of Iraq”. The Bush Administration started making its claims about Iraq in mid-2002 (just months after 9/11), but public skepticism (both here & abroad) was SO high that Secretary of State Colin Powell had to be dispatched to the UN to deliver his infamous Iraq Slideshow (ibid next link). It wasn’t until that point that the media/public finally began to believe they had been shown what appeared to be the “incontrovertible evidence” Saddam Hussein really was doing everything Bush/Cheney had been claiming all along. But it took a LOT of convincing to get them to that point.

Of course, we now know the entire slideshow was total bullpucky (which I detailed here on the 10th Anniversary), using old pre-1991 Gulf War footage, “drawings” when they had no actual evidence, an intercepted audio conversation between two supposed Iraqi generals that Arabic speakers at the UN openly laughed at because the two men on the tape didn’t even have Iraqi accents, and Powell waving around a vile of Baby Powder as a prop to represent the amount of Sarin it would take to kill 10,000 people using highly modified (2001-era) drones with ridiculously long range.

Before that presentation, not a lot of people were buying it… myself among them. “The Media”… which had been asking for “proof” for nearly a year… were suddenly less sure about their position. But even then, FEW (outside the Conservative media) actually encouraged the invasion of Iraq. Many argued “we need to finish the war in Afghanistan and get Osama bin Laden before expanding the (Afghanistan) war into Iraq” to prevent something that seemed avoidable by peaceful means (UN weapons inspectors were IN Iraq, dismantling missiles, performing inspections, and finding NO evidence of WMD’s.)

After the invasion, with everyone now asking, “Where are the WMD’s? You said ‘stockpiles’. ‘20,000 tons of yellowcake’. Where is it?”, I started hearing from people who HADN’T been paying attention, thinking we DID find the WMD’s as well as proof “Saddam was involved in 9/11”, and I found myself spending an awful lot of time “setting the record straight” among friends & family about what was said before the invasion of Iraq (even LONG before 9/11) and what was (or wasn’t) found after the invasion. And so began this blog on the Fourth of July, 2004. (In 2007, during the 2008 Republican Presidential debates, SO many Republican candidates were rewriting the story of how we ended up in Iraq that I felt it necessary to produce the following video of news clips documenting what we knew in the lead-up to war, and how the Bush Administration already had their mind made up to invade:
 


 
Don’t blame “the Media” for pushing to invade Iraq, just to justify your own unwillingness to trust them now regarding Trump/Russia (one of Trump’s own talking points.) The irony is that the only “Media” that actively supported the invasion of Iraq is the SAME Conservative media that dismisses the accusations against Trump today. So if there is ONE Media outlet that got it wrong back then and undeserving of your trust today, it’s the same Conservative Media trying to convince you Trump is the innocent victim of a “witch hunt.”

And the March Madness continues. So far, this past month alone (which is barely half over), Trump has fired (or pushed to resign) SIX people: FBI Director McCabe, Deputy CoS Rick Dearborn, Communications Director Hope Hicks, Economics Advisor Gary Cohn, SoS Rex Tillerson, and Trump’s “Body Man” John McEntee…. in less than three weeks. Trump set a record for White House turnover long ago:
 

Trump Admin Departures
(March 13th. Already out of date.)

 
On October 1st last year, Trump declared that Tillerson was “wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man [North Korea]”, to which Tillerson responded by calling Trump “a f*****g moron” four days later. Trump let it slide (and recently agreed himself to a no-concessions meeting with Kim Jong Un). But it wasn’t until Tillerson openly sided with the UK on whether of not Russia was behind the poisoning/attempted-murder of a former Russian spy, did Trump decide (in a tweet natch) that it was time for Tillerson to go (because he no longer represented Trump’s views.) Trump has yet to give an “official” reason for why he abruptly fired his Secretary of State. The “Trump fired him because he called him a moron [SIX MONTHS AGO]” excuse isn’t playing. The “he allowed the State Department go unstaffed for too long” excuse doesn’t pass the laugh test either since that is EXACTLY what Trump WANTED his SoS to do… to decimate the very department Hillary once ran and Putin despises.

If you want to blame something for Republican insanity this time of year, blame “March Madness”. That’s a better excuse than believing Trump is rational and ‘The Media’ is not.
 


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

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


 

Share

March 19, 2018 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Posted in: General, myth busting, Partisanship, Politics, Rants, rewriting history, Right-Wing Hypocrisy, Right-Wing Insanity, Scandals

The Path to Hell: Trump Proposes Right Ideas in Worst Possible Way Making Things Worse
March 12, 2018

Share
 


Trump hosted a rally over the weekend for a Republican candidate for Congress in Pennsylvania, where he bragged about himself (natch) more than the candidate. Trump bragged that “Obama, Bush and [Bill] Clinton all talked about sitting down with North Korea, but only *I* got it done!” Yes, because those other presidents demanded concessions from North Korea first, and when they didn’t get them, THEY had the good sense to say “No”. And Clinton/Bush/Obama didn’t say No following a year of breakneck nuclear testing and the appalling death of an American hostage (Otto Warmbier) like Trump had. I keep thinking about the message Trump is sending other rogue nations like Syria & Iran by agreeing to meet with Kim Jong Un after such behavior? “Develop your nuclear capabilities, kill an American hostage, and threaten Washington DC, and Trump will meet with you too… without preconditions.” Good intentions. Worse outcome. I’m all for talking with your enemies, but you get CONCESSIONS first. And you send envoys first. Not the President himself. North Korea isn’t suddenly agreeing to talks because they fear Trump’s “bluster” (as Trump himself claimed over the weekend), they are agreeing because they want the SANCTIONS lifted (and seeing life in South Korea during the Olympics probably made them think a lot about their own miserable lives.)

Trump also declared… with no apparent forethought… to impose a blanket tariff of “25% on all steel and 10% on all aluminum imported into the United States” without regard for country of origin. Tariffs can be a GOOD thing… when applied on a case-by-case basis to deny impoverished nations an excuse to underpay their workers. But applying the same 25% tariff on German imports where workers are paid more than most American workers, as you impose on China where workers earn pennies a day, is wildly unfair. You’re punishing trading partners whom do us no harm. In fact, you punish some nations which we have a trade-SURPLUS with. And they WILL retaliate.

After an outraged Canada (our largest steel exporter) pointed out this was in violation of NAFTA, Trump amended his impulsive blanket tariff to “exclude Mexico & Canada”. Great! Now he just created a MASSIVE incentive for foreign steel exporters to move to Mexico. I’m sure Mexico is happy about that. American steel-workers? Not so much. So in the end, cheap foreign steel will continue to flow into the United states, but instead of by boat, now it’ll come in by truck/rail across our Southern border, lowering their export costs even more. Excellent work, President Dumbass. You may have just made things worse.

Following the (latest) school massacre in Florida, in a highly-staged meeting with both Republicans & Democrats on the subject of “gun control”, Trump bragged about how HE would “stand up to the NRA”, that HE wasn’t “afraid of them” and that HE would succeed where all his predecessors failed. Then he impulsively proposed “if someone is believed to be a danger, he’d even support taking the guns away first and “worry about Due Process later” (right sentiment. Wrong policy. If a Democrat had said that… OMG! Republicans would be rioting in the streets!), pretty much ensuring nothing gets done on gun control as Trump is forced to walk back his impetuous remark. So then he talks to a VERY upset NRA and they convince him the “solution” is MORE guns and to arm every teacher. Once again, right idea delivered in the worst possible way, resulting in a “compromise” that may actually end up making things worse. What did THE NRA concede? Nothing… though they did “lose” the fight to protect “Bump Stocks”… though they didn’t really put up much of a fight. I’m sure they are delighted that’s ALL they lost. They gladly soldout “bump stocks” (giving Trump his faux “victory”) to save the AR15.

Trump also declared recently that we need to invest in “infrastructure”. Democrats said this for a decade but Republicans repeatedly obstructed them (If you recall, just three days before the 2008 Republican National Convention in Minnesota, a bridge collapsed in MN killing four and injuring dozens more, yet STILL Republicans refused to support the Democratic call to invest in infrastructure. Then Trump starts making ridiculous promises of how we can get all of our infrastructure rebuilt on the cheap and Republicans swoon. Never mind the details. So then Trump announce his big plan on how to rebuild our infrastructure for very little money. We basically SELL-OFF OUR INFRASTRUCTURE TO CORPORATE AMERICA, who then turn our roads & bridges into TOLL roads & bridges, public schools into private schools. If you live in rural America where it would be harder for corporations to make their money back, tough luck. Your infrastructure is just going to have to wait. Once again, the right intentions implemented in the worst possible way, only ensuring to make matters worse.

He never actually “repealed” ObamaCare BTW. His followers think he did, but all he did was undermine it in a way that ensures MILLIONS of Americans will find themselves with no insurance (or inadequate policies where every claim is denied.) People were complaining that “costs had gone up too much” and (despite Obama’s assurances), if their doctor was not on their new plan, they could NOT keep their doctor. Well, policy prices went up because insurance companies could no longer sell you worthless “junk” policies where every claim is denied. And you COULD have kept your doctor if Conservatives hadn’t stripped out The Public Option. But now, thanks to “TrumpCare”, insurance companies can sell you worthless policies once again. You can even go totally without insurance if you so desire (driving rates up for everyone else.) But at least you’ll save a few bucks (until you get sick or injured.) And just like that, once again, Best Intentions resulting in a “solution” that makes matters far worse.

Trump rolled out his 2020 Campaign Slogan yesterday. Maybe he should consider “Trump 2020: Best Intentions Going Lousy Yesterday”… BIGLY.
 


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

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


 

Share

March 12, 2018 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Posted in: Economy, General, Guns & Violence, Healthcare, Infrastructure, Jobs, Money, myth busting, Partisanship, Rants, Right-Wing Hypocrisy, Right-Wing Insanity, Seems Obvious to Me, War

Survival Instinct. Trump to evade impeachment by befriending Democrats. How much would you Sell Out for?
March 5, 2018

Share
 


It’s something I’ve feared from the very beginning: With Republicans in control, Trump appears exclusively to Republicans. Should Democrats seize control of Congress, Trump will appeal almost exclusively to Democrats. It’s part of his survival instinct. He is the very epitome of: “If you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for anything.” Trump has no core beliefs. All he wants is to be adored (something he clearly never got from Mommy & Daddy.) His denial Obama got more votes than he did and had a bigger inaugural crowd, the cold fact Hillary got more votes, the entire Mueller investigation suggesting he needed help to win, and now the very real likelihood Democrats are going to retake one or both houses of Congress this year… all are tiny daggers to Trump’s massive ego that maybe, just maybe, he just isn’t as beloved as he thinks he is. And Trump desperately needs to be adored (not “loved”. There’s a difference. He doesn’t understand that.)

What concerns me most is that whomever Trump is “pleasing” at that particular moment, they apparently will sell out an awful lot of what they claim to believe in if they think it’ll get them what they want on another issue. “Gonna build that wall, and MEXICO is gonna pay for it! What? No? WE are going to pay for it? That’s okay! As long as he still agrees with us on keeping the Mex’cuns out.” Meanwhile, how much will Democrats overlook to get something done on “gun control”? Would they stop supporting the Mueller investigation? I honestly believe that is exactly what Trump is hoping when he publicly agrees with Democrats on guns, even going further than any Democrat has ever proposed: saying he actually supported “taking the guns away first, immediately, prior to Due Process,” if someone is suspected of being a threat. I’m not totally in favor with such a move but sure wouldn’t hate it if he did it (the entire subject would be a lot simpler if they just took my advice and “focused on the ammunition, not the guns.”) How many of your principles would you sellout to get what you wanted from this president? This isn’t just some hypothetical where you can answer knowing it’ll never happen. We now have a president with no core principles whom you really could talk into almost anything if it meant he’d be adored by one side or the other for doing it. And the big danger of that is how it affects the presidency from here on out. Do rules even matter any more? Do we set a precedent that the Chief Executive can get away with practically anything if he gives the Party in control of Congress whatever they want?

Remember what a “security risk” Hillary’s private email server was? Her “reckless behavior” was grounds for “locking her up” as far as Trump’s supporters are concerned. Meanwhile, Trump has had over 100 staffers in the Trump White House operating with “temporary” security clearances for over a year. At least three were discovered to have a history of “domestic abuse”, and Kushner was cashing-in on his plumb WH position by conducting personal business INSIDE the WH, securing over a half billion dollars in loans for his personal real estate business, making all of these men HUGE blackmail risks. But do you think his clueless minions care? No, they are STILL chanting “Lock Her Up!” at every Trump rally (and why is he still holding rallies? It’s that need for adoration.)

Trump complains about Media criticism of him, but he still watches it. All of it. Negative tweets from critics? He reads them. Even “bad” attention is still attention. He doesn’t care if one side vilifies him so long as the other “adores” him. And if that means pleasing Democrats one minute then pleasuring the NRA the next, that’s what he’ll do. I believe it was Senator Chuck Schumer who described negotiating with Trump “like trying to nail Jell-O to the wall.” Even Republicans have criticized him for always “agreeing with the last person he talks to”. Trump loved to sound defiant on the campaign trail: “You’re fired! Drain the swamp! Tell China they’re Currency Manipulators! I’ll stand up to the NRA!” But get him in private, face-to-face, and his desperate need for approval takes over: “Putin tells me they didn’t meddle, and I believe him.” “China isn’t a currency-manipulator, they are just doing what they think is best for their country”, after speaking with President Xi face-to-face. Then he talks to his Justice Dept and agrees Russia meddled. What Trump says to a faceless crowd isn’t always what he ends up saying in private. If you disagree with Trump on something, get him alone in a room to discuss it. It you have a solid grasp of your subject, he’ll agree with you (half out of wanting to please you and half out of not wanting to appear stupid if he doesn’t totally understand you.) But if the next person to talk to him is your opponent, he’ll flip-flop like an unwanted fish on the deck of a tuna boat. Consider, have you EVER heard Trump stick to his guns “on principle”? (“I hear what you’re saying, but I truly believe my position is the right one?”)

At Trump’s Media-laden roundtable on gun control surrounded by Democrats, Sen. Chris Murphy (CT) noted: “97% of the population supports background checks, but we just can’t get it done!” Trump responded, “That was before me! You’ve never had someone like ME president, before”, suggesting HE’LL stand up to the NRA and members of his own Party to finally get something done on gun control. The next day he he meets with the NRA and he immediately he starts walking it back. “That was before ME!” he told Senator Murphy. “No one else could get it done, but *I* will”. Now it looks like he too will get “nothing done”… just like all those presidents before him.

So now the issue is “tariffs”. After one of the most chaotic weeks of an administration that has been wall-to-wall chaos, Trump is going back to his bottomless well of campaign promises looking for something to please his supporters and regain their love. Republicans LOVE “Free Trade” and despise tariffs. Because the only way to keep prices low without cheapening out on the cost of materials or underpaying your employees is to cut corporate profits and exorbitant CEO salaries… the two groups Republicans are totally beholden to. Democrats have LONG made their hatred of “Free Trade” known. When President Obama proposed the “Trans-Pacific Partnership (“TPP”)“, Democratic voters were SO vocally opposed to it, they actually forced him to back down from pushing it thru before he left office. Hillary Clinton, while Secretary of State, called the TPP “the Gold-Standard of trade agreements”, but reversed her support for it (as she did on most issues where she took the Conservative position first until it proved unpopular) a few weeks into her campaign. Opposition to “Free Trade” is something both Liberal & Conservative voters alike oppose (briefly propelling Ross Perot into the lead in ’92 with his opposition to NAFTA.)

So now members of Trump’s Administration… Conservatives all… are filling the airwaves forced to defend AND support their bosses position on tariffs an opposition to “Free Trade”. Actually making the case that something Republicans in Washington have fought for for over 30 years is not necessarily a “good” thing.

But what if he flips yet again (as per his history?) All these people putting their reputations on the line, making the case that tariffs would actually be a “good” thing and “help” create jobs. What if Congressional Republicans get him alone in a room and convince him that “maybe tariffs aren’t such a good idea.” Then what? How do all these staffers who just made the case Trump’s idea for tariffs on imported steel & aluminum would be beneficial, then go back out there and say “tariffs might actually be bad” and come away with any credibility at all?

“To sleep, perchance to dream! Aye, there’s the rub!” said Hamlet. The “rub” was the gamble that in death, you’d have pleasant dreams for all eternity, not an eternity of nightmares from which you can’t awake.

Trump, after angering his own Party on tariffs and assault weapons, desperate to be adored, might very well become Democrats best friend just to avoid prosecution. The question is, do Democratic principles have a price?
 


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

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


 

Share

March 5, 2018 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Posted in: Crime, Greed, Money, myth busting, Politics, Rants, Right-Wing Hypocrisy, Right-Wing Insanity

Listening to Gun-Rights Advocates Reveals Why They Oppose Denying Guns from the Mentally Ill
February 26, 2018

Share
 


I was confronted on Facebook by a terrified Right-Wing gun owner whom took issue with my calling Assault Weapons “Weapons of War” because they are not actually issued by the government to soldiers for use on the battlefield, and just couldn’t resist (right off the bat) calling me a “pussy” for not wanting MORE guns in our classrooms as an answer to protecting our children (he also called me a “Nazi” presumably b/c he believes the Nazi’s took the guns away from their own citizens… which they did not (Hitler was adored and had nothing to fear of an armed uprising against him.) But clearly, my Facebook friend is terrified that if we take away his assault weapons, he’ll be defenseless when the jack-booted government comes knocking on his door to… to… I really have no idea. Make him eat tofu?

And that’s pretty much the problem in a “nutshell” (intentional metaphor). The most fearful, paranoid, irrational, DANGEROUS people are the ones setting our nation’s policy on guns.

Donald Trump thinks the solution to stopping gun violence in schools is to arm the teachers. (“Some are ex-military!” he declared. I’ve been a teacher and not a lot of ex-military go into the profession.) An NRA “solution” to be sure. Any “solution” that results in INCREASING gun sales is their goal as lobbyists for the gun industry. We won’t give just ANY teacher a gun of course. Just a select few who are willing to undergo “training” and WANT to bear the responsibility of engaging in a firefight in an enclosed classroom (“Shootout at the OK Classroom”, teacher and gunman firing at each other from behind overturned desks) full of kids with a crazed gunman wielding an assault weapon… possibly even wearing body armor… with multiple 30-round magazines and is NOT concerned where he fires. Quite honestly, any person who thinks they are capable of handling a nightmare scenario like that is exactly the kind of person I believe should not be allowed to own a firearm.

One Republican congressman, Rep. Masse of Kentucky, went on “Meet the Press” yesterday to repeat his belief that instead of raising the age to buy an AR15 from 18 to 21 like handguns (I still can’t fathom who thought that made sense), the age to buy a handgun should instead be LOWERED to 18 (why not 16?). The NRA of course also opposes raising the age at which you can buy an assault weapon because it will cut into gun sales… and that is, after all, what the NRA is all about. Forget the nonsense about “protecting the Second Amendment” or “the right of people to protect themselves”. If a gun restriction made the gun companies more money, they’d be all for it (during the debate over the ’94 Assault Weapons Ban, one of the items included was a requirement for “trigger locks”. Most gun owners opposed them, but the NRA didn’t fight them very hard because it was another accessory for gun manufacturers to sell. As a result, “trigger locks” successfully made it into the bill.) Just about every rational gun owner supports a ban on “bump stocks” like the one used in Vegas that basically turned a semi-automatic weapon into a FULLY automatic assault weapon that mowed down over NINE-HUNDRED concert-goers, yet the NRA opposes such a ban. They also oppose and a ban on “silencers” too (a ban Don Jr publicly opposed online last week and stared in a promo video for last October… as if you needed another example of the link between mental illness and a love of guns.) According to the NRA’s own poll:
 

Over three quarters of Americans support a ban on assault-style weapons (79%), a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds (78%), and a ban on firearm attachments like bump stocks (82%).

 
The Second Amendment does not protect your right to own “bump stocks” or a silencer (nor high capacity magazines.) They are not “arms.” But they ARE money-making accessories for the gun industry.

Trump and the GOP will make sure such restrictions never reach the floor of Congress.

I first wrote about my idea for “bullet control” (Taxing Gunpowder) about a year ago, and noted back then how ludicrous some of these gun rights advocates are, believing that if THEY were in that darkened movie theater in Aurora, CO when an insane man wearing body-armor, armed with multiple assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, whom had tossed in canisters of tear-gas prior to opening fire, THEY would of been able to “save the day” and take the guy out with their trusty side-arm with one… maybe two… shots to save the day. That kind of delusion is an excellent example of the kind of mentally ill people whom should not be allowed to own a firearm.

And that is EXACTLY why they are so fearful of denying guns to the mentally ill. Repealing that ban was (after all) one of the very first Executive Orders signed by Trump upon taking office. Just WHO though THAT was a good idea? Just WHO pushed for him to do that?

And now Trump is bemoaning “metal illness” as the cause of mass murder involving assault weapons. Way to go, Dickhead.

The NRA of course waited their requisite one week (as per their pattern) following the latest horrific mass-shooting before they started attacking the victims. NRA President (and Vietnam draft-dodger) Wayne LaPierre began by accusing people whom have had enough of the unnecessarily bloody aftermath of mass shootings that result from the availability of assault weapons, of “politicizing” the issue. His toady, Spokesperson Dana Loesch has been making the rounds accusing anyone who argues in favor of restricting guns as the REAL threat to the safety of our children. On ABC’s ThisWeek yesterday, Loesch had the gall to blame lax gun laws and the police for failing to do their jobs (from “heeding warnings” to the armed security officer at the school who failed to enter the school to confront the shooter.) Steph-O challenged her on her hypocrisy of complaining about lax/unenforced gun laws and political inaction, and the expectation that an armed teacher will respond more effectively than a trained officer. As if we don’t already expect too much from our teachers. Now they expect them to be Rambo too? But you can’t reason with an unreasonable person. (I’ve worked as a Substitute teacher, a teacher’s aid, and a Lab Proctor, and I’ve seen plenty of situations where I’m glad no teacher had easy access to a gun. And teachers can go nuts too BTW.)

“Politicizing” the issue indeed. Demanding lawmakers take action against rapid-fire weaponry isn’t “politicizing” an issue. Claiming the Second Amendment protects your “right” to own an assault-weapon (it doesn’t) so that they can continue to make their blood money… THAT is “politicizing” an issue. I tweeted after the Parkland school shooting:

 

Guns over Kids

 

At least one person took issue with that statement, trying to claim the people defending gun rights only do so out of a desire to protect their children… from guns. I find it a bit like telling someone to get over their fear of handling snakes by telling them to drink more poison… not simply say, “Hey idiot! Stop handling snakes!” Actually, I find little evidence that the people who want assault weapons to remain legal are actually worried about an erratic gunman attacking their family with an assault weapon. More often, they are like my “You’re a Nazi” friend who thinks the government is out to get them.

Now, as I wrote in that Op/Ed last year (ibid: “Taxing Gunpowder”), I am NOT advocating “gun confiscation”. Few people are (and they too are not totally rational on this issue.) But I DO support reinstating the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban. Given enough time (which Dubya did not by refusing to renew it in 2004), the production and availability of these weapons will decline over time. Republicans (natch) lobbied HARD for years to repeal/end the ban arguing that the April 1999 Columbine massacre using assault weapons… a mere 4-1/2 years into the ban… PROVED an assault weapons ban does not work. It takes years… perhaps even decades… for those weapons to eventually fade from society. We didn’t ban fully automatic machine guns until 1986. “Tommy Guns”… those machine guns seen in old 1930’s gangster films with the circular magazine… were legal until 1986. Where are they now? Museums mostly. Eventually, “fully automatic” machine guns faded from our streets (and the government never came busting down any innocent civilian’s door knowing they’d be unable to protect themselves without their trusty machine gun.)

In 1986, Reagan signed the ban on “fully automatic machine guns” and Armor-piercing “Cop killer” bullets (which he championed) that could rip through Kevlar vests (Damn those Democratic gun-grabbers!) One of just 21 members of Congress to vote against that ban was then-Representative Dick Cheney. Cheney was also one of only four members of Congress to vote against “plastic guns” that could slip past metal detectors, and voted to end the 7-day waiting period to buy a handgun in 1988. (If you ever needed more evidence of the connection between dangerous people and an irrational need to protect guns at any cost, I can think of none better.) The 1994 Assault Weapons Ban expanded Reagan’s restriction on “armor piecing” bullets to include not just “metal” bullets, but “polymer” rounds that were invented to evade that very ban. When Bush-43 allowed the ’94 Ban to lapse, that included that ban on polymer “Cop Killer” bullets. But Reagan’s ban on fully automatic machine guns and fragmenting metal rounds is still in effect… because, as you know, IOKWARDI (“It’s OK when a Republican does it.”)

Most people don’t remember anymore that back in 2004 when people were arguing over whether or not the ’94 Ban should be renewed, there were a LOT of Right-Wing gun nuts rights advocates (mostly online) defending “so-called cop killer bullets”, arguing “there is no such thing as a ‘cop killer’ bullet“… that it was just a term made up by Ted Kennedy to give good bullets a bad name (just Google: “cop killer” bullets 2004.) They distracted from the point so successfully that people stopped asking “Why” such ammunition was even necessary, and instead wasted time debating the definition of what constituted “a ‘cop killer’ bullet“, allowing the ’94 Ban on them to lapse.

Someone made the point last week (I forget who) that: “The moment you start arming teachers is the day you legalize teachers killing black students.” Because there WILL come an instance where some teacher claims they felt “threatened”, and justified in shooting & killing young Jamal because he appeared to be “reaching into his waistband” for “something”. We already don’t prosecute COPS for shooting & killing unarmed black kids. You think a teacher is ever going to be convicted when their defense is: “I was worried about the safety of my students!”

Now let me be clear: I am NOT claiming everyone whom owns a gun is mentally ill. By now, you have undoubtedly seen on the news footage of a mother & daughter operating a liquor store in Oklahoma when a masked gunman attempts to rob them. Instead, both mother & daughter pull out guns of their own and fire upon the would-be robber, striking him numerous times and thwarting the attack. The tearful duo appearing everywhere on the news this weekend crediting each other with saving each other’s lives. The video is being shopped everywhere as PROOF of the necessity of guns in the wake of the Parkland school shooting. I’d like to point out a few observations of my own:

1) The gunman had a handgun. Not an assault rifle. If the two women had attempted to take on a maniac with an assault rifle who entered firing, the outcome likely would have been very different.

2) I’m willing to bet this was not the robber’s first offense (no confirmation yet.) How does a repeat offender get his hands on a handgun? Answer: He buys one. Legally. That needs to change.

3) Screen-grab of the robbery:
 

Daughter fires at robber... AND her mother.
Daughter fires at robber… AND her mother.

Mom decided to take on the robber herself and a struggle ensued as she attempted to wrench the gun away from the robber. The daughter then points her gun at the two of them and fires, striking the robber in the back, narrowly missing her own mother. In fact, the bullet COULD have passed though the robber and struck her mother. And a spit second after being hit, the robber twists, tossing the mother directly between him and the armed daughter. Had she of fired twice in a row, Mom might be dead right now by her daughter’s hand, not the robber’s.

Now, of course, a gun-rights advocate would look at this and say, “Yeah, but none of that DID happen and both women are alive today because they knew how to handle themselves.” No. I’m sorry, nothing about that footage cries out: “Good Judgement”. Firing in the direction of the gunman with the person or persons you are trying to protect directly in the line of fire? This is EXACTLY the kind of reckless bad decision making you’d almost certainly see if we started arming teachers who THINK they know how to protect themselves. Things could just as easily turned out very bad for our heroes.

These same gun nuts will also “do the math” and argue “the mistaken death of ONE child is acceptable if it saves 20 others.” Are you willing to take that gamble with the life of YOUR child? And once again, anyone who thinks the accidental/preventable death of one (or maybe more) students is “acceptable” if it saves the lives of even more children is just the kind of person I don’t want to have access to a gun in school.

Listening to the gun nuts on Facebook & Twitter, one gets a sense they are terrified children whom without their guns would likely be huddled in a dark corner of their home, terrified of the outside world. That’s why they want Trump to build that idiotic Wall… even if WE end up paying for it despite telling them over & over again he could provide them with security from Mexicans at no charge. And they want Trump to protect them from “Muslims”… even that bloodied 3 year old boy photographed in the back of an ambulance that touched so many hearts last year. And now they want to arm the teachers because the surest way to protect children trapped in a classroom with a crazed gunman with an assault rife is, of course, crossfire. And any attempt to take away their blankie guns will be seen as the first step towards a government that comes knocking on their door to… to… again, I have no idea. The people most supportive of gun rights are clearly the most fearful, the most irrational, and know that if they were evaluated by a psychiatrist, their overwhelming fear of the outside world would be the very basis for which they would be labeled “mentally unstable” and prohibited from buying a gun.

And THAT, dear reader, is the REAL reason they oppose any gun ban.
 


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

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


 

Share

February 26, 2018 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Posted in: Crime, Guns & Violence, Party of Life, Right-Wing Hypocrisy, Right-Wing Insanity, Seems Obvious to Me