This is the Way Bad Presidencies END

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

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

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

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

Of course not.

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

(Hiatus)

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

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

Thanks.
 


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

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

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

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

 

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


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

Trump Has Been Great for Advancing Progressivism

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Timestamped inauguration comparisons

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

Trump on Iraq 2002

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Let’s Remember What “Fake News” REALLY Was

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Yes. That really happened.
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

  • July 2013, four Russian and one Ukrainian hackers hack NASDAQ servers and steal 160 million credit/debit card numbers and the passwords of 800,000 customer accounts.
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  • February 2014, the U.S. State Department is forced to warn anyone traveling to Russia for the Sochi Winter Olympics that their phones & laptops are being hacked by the Russian government almost from the moment their plane touches down.
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  • July 2014: U.S. Justice department arrests a Russian national for a series of hacks on U.S. retailers between 2009 & 2011.
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  • July 2014: FBI finds evidence suggesting the Russian government itself “slipped a digital bomb” onto NASDAQ servers with the intent of wreaking havoc on the U.S. economy (suggesting this was a continuation of the July 2013 NASDAQ hacking.)
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  • Sept 2014: It was determined that Gigabytes of data stolen from JP Morgan/Chase… the largest bank in America at the time… had been sent to “a large city in Russia.”
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  • October 2014: Russia is suspected as being behind a low-level hack of various unclassified government computer systems throughout the Administration.
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  • November 2014: Following the October hack of low-level White House computer systems, additional information emerges of FOUR such hacks by Russia into Washington government computers systems, going back as far as a 2008 breach of the Pentagon.
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  • December 2014 report finds the U.S. Energy grid was hacked 79 times in 2014… down from 145 times the previous year. Russian malware called “BlackEnergy” was discovered on computers that control turbines that generate electricity that could have been devastating if it had been activated.
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  • February 2015: the FBI offers a $3 million dollar reward for information leading to the arrest of a Russian hacker that siphoned over $100 Million out of American bank accounts.
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  • June 2015: German Chancellor Merkel’s computer became “patient zero” in a hack that involved the planting of trojan malware by Russian hackers to give them access to German government computers.
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  • July 2015: Russian Hackers use sophisticated malware called “Hammertoss” to hack U.S. government computers via Twitter and Github.
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  • August 2015: Russia hacked the Pentagon computers of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, shutting down the email system of 4,000 Pentagon employees for over ELEVEN DAYS.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Some highlights:

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

    Mike Needham:

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

Give it up, Mike.
 

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

 

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

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

  • wrong – “Will we see another “France-style” terrorist attack in 2016? I don’t think so.” 2015 saw the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris (including a suicide bomber detonating just outside the National soccer stadium), so it seemed unlikely anyone would be able to pull off a similar attack in 2016. But unfortunately, last June, suicide bombers killed 41 in a siege of the Istanbul International Airport in Turkey, and France’s Bastille Day celebrations came to a tragic end when lone disturbed ISIS Sympathizer killed 84 and mowed down hundreds more using a large truck. Germany also saw a less deadly but no less tragic mass murder using a large truck driven by another ISIS sympathizer.
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  • wrong – The establishment of “Safe Zones” inside of Syria & Iraq to counter the flood of refugees into other countries that were becoming increasingly unwelcome. Seriously, I am quite disgusted that six years later, we are still talking about the Syrian civil war. Unfortunately, the rest of the world found it easier to do nothing than to try and safeguard the civilian populations living in the region. The massacre in Syria has been a sticking point with me ever since I (incorrectly) predicted in 2011 massive international intervention to stop Assad from massacring his own people. But instead, Russia sided with their good friend King Assad, labeled the rebels “terrorists”, and made it impossible for anyone to intervene without risking a war with Russia. And instead, four years later, we’ve elected a president that sides with Russia on every controversy, and the city of Aleppo was pretty much obliterated and recaptured by Assad’s forces. Even more disturbing is the number of Trump supporters who believe photos like “Aleppo Boy” were “staged”. I’m not sure what has to die inside a person to look at that photo, call it a fake, and take the side of Syria & Russia.
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  • right – ISIS will still be about the same size as it is today… roughly 30,000 fighters. – While it is difficult (if not impossible) to get an accurate reading on the number of people fighting on the ground in the region of Syria & Northern Iraq, most analysts seem to agree that “ISIS is shrinking”, not growing, preferring instead to try to inspire weak-willed outcasts feeling ostracized by society to commit “lone wolf” attacks in other countries and then take credit for those attacks. It is difficult to inspire Muslim sympathizers to the ISIS cause when the majority of their targets are fellow Muslims (see the Turkey airport attack above.) I fear Trump’s “take no prisoners” scorched Earth plans for dealing with ISIS will do more to create sympathizers and grow ISIS than actually serve to defeat it.
  •  

  • wrong – Russia WILL focus more on attacking ISIS and less on helping Assad destroy the Syrian rebels – I was wrong about Russia suddenly growing a conscience and pulling back in it’s support of helping Assad crush him political opponents, though I was correct that they would not JOIN forces with the U.S. in alliance to destroy who they claim is a common enemy: ISIS. Poor naive Donald Trump has bought Russia’s line of bull that the Syrian civil war is all about fighting terrorism. Russia has only become more bold in its international meddling in 2016 as Putin sees an opportunity to regain its Soviet-era dominance in the world as America’s influence wanes as we begin our 15th year of war.
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  • right – Iran is likely to increase military aid to Assad as Russian support for the war wanes. – Iran “reportedly felt blindsided by the terms of the [Syrian] truce brokered in Turkey between Russia and the rebels.” Iran’s involvement in Syria has deepened as they disapprove of Russia focusing more on seizing more control in the region.
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  • right – The Syrian conflict [will] still be raging throughout the year, eventually culminating in a treaty between Assad & the rebels. – The Syrian Civil War is only now being declared “coming to an end” here in the final days of 2016 as Russia brokers yet-another cease fire treaty. After years of conflict, it has become clear that we have are now incapable of bringing wars to an end.
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  • wrong – We will see a MILD economic decline as the Republican controlled Congress stifles the economy to help the GOP presidential candidate. I’m actually quite stunned the GOP didn’t do more to cripple the economy to help the GOP nominee win the election. But then, I didn’t expect the GOP to be so unhappy with their candidate. In the end, they weren’t exactly enthusiastic about helping Donald Trump become the leader of their Party (and if you ask me, they are terrified of being branded “The Party of Trump”.) Instead, the Obama economy continued to grow at a remarkable rate.
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  • right – Gitmo to still be in operation by the end of President Obama’s presidency, [though] steps will finally be in place to close it permanently before he leaves office. – Yes on both counts. Our POW camp at Guantánamo Bay is indeed still in operation (though currently down to just 59 detainees that will reportedly be down to just 41 by the time Obama leaves office. In February, he did send his Guantánamo Closing Plan to Congress, but no action was taken. And Trump has vowed… not only to keep it open… but to even EXPAND it, so our giant “middle-finger” to all our principles will continue to operate for the foreseeable future.
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  • wrong – GOP will retain control of the House following the election but lose the Senate. – This did indeed become the conventional thinking in the final days of the election, and there’s no way of knowing if Russian meddling had any impact on the outcome, but Democrats did pick up two seats… three seats short of control of the Senate (under a Republican White House.)
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  • right – The 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio will be relatively uneventful. – No terrorist attacks, and despite concerns of rampant local crime, polluted water, and unfinished facilities, the Rio Olympics pretty much went off without a hitch.
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  • right – Trump will be the GOP nominee. – I’m surprised (well, maybe not) that so many people believed Republicans would come to their senses and pull back from the brink before allowing this cartoonish man-child to come within earshot of the presidency, but I was one of the few that knew better. Before the first primary of 2016, I knew from the 2012 nomination of Mitt Romney, “wealth = good” among low-information Republican voters. Bush & Cheney ran as “businessmen” in 2000 promising a “CEO presidency”, and it was an absolute disaster. But that didn’t stop them from nominating Mitt Romney in 2012 (regardless of how he made his money.) Just as in 2012, Republicans didn’t like the GOP front-runner (Romney) and constantly kept looking for someone to take the nomination away from him. But as each new front-runner crashed & burned, Romney kept floating back up to the top of the bowl. The same thing with Trump in 2016. There were a couple of brief scares when Ben Carson and Ted Cruz became the front runners momentarily, but they always came back to Trump as his rivals crashed & burned.

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

  •  

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

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

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

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

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

And now…

My Predictions for 2017:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     
    Trump in Wrestlemania
     
    Trump wrestles McMahon

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

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

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

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

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

    …to be continued.
     

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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


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

Why the Electoral College Should Wait Before Voting

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Lately, I’ve noticed I can’t shake the feeling Russia is actually *shaping* the Trump Administration. I don’t mean they are simply reaping the rewards of having an admirer of Putin defending them as Trump prepares to take the White House. I mean that the subject of “Russia” keeps popping up in places I never expected.

Case in point: When Donald Trump announced his short-list of nominees to be his Secretary of State, the current appointee… Rex Tillerson… was not on it. No one even floated his name as someone who should have been on that list. But you know who WAS on that list? Mitt Romney… much to the dismay of most of Team Trump because of his extraordinary criticism of their guy. But I was fairly certain Romney would get the job, not just because he added “dignity” to an incoming administration sorely lacking in it, but because Toddler Trump… petty, vindictive child that he is, would have just relished the idea of making Romney his “bish” for the next four years.

But this is the same Mitt Romney who… in 2012… declared that “Russia” was “our #1 geo-political foe“. Then… about ten days after the release of the list of candidates for SoS, and following several meetings between Trump & Romney… suddenly a new name was added to the list… Tillerson, the CEO of Exxon/Mobil, someone who also spoke fondly of Russia, had met with Putin himself frequently (telling him that “as CEO”, he only “represented the interests of Exxon, not the United States”), and was even awarded Russia’s highest foreign award… “The Medal of Friendship”… was not only suddenly added to the list from out of nowhere, but quickly catapulted into first place, and announced as the winner of the plum position less than a week later.

Did Trump give Tillerson the job because he liked his take on Russia, or (far more disturbing) did Russia themselves nix the Romney appointment and suggest their friend Tillerson to the Trump transition team? I mean… who ever thought to consider the CEO of freakin’ Exxon for Secretary of State? A man who spent his entire adult life working for Exxon with no discernible connection to politics (even Trump himself has been talking politics for decades and flirting with running for 20 years.) And as I pointed out last week, let us not forget, Trump’s first campaign manager, Paul Manifort, was forced to resign over his ties to Russia.

One of the reasons I despise conspiracy theories is because I despise conspiracy theorists. Few things are more annoying to me than people with all the training of a 6th Grade Algebra student citing as “absolute fact” things they have absolutely no training on, no familiarity with, and cite as “evidence” incredibly sketchy sources, while dismissing actual scientists, researchers, facts & evidence because it dare contradict their cockamamie theories. (I’ve noticed a parallel between Conspiracy theorists and Climate Change deniers. They ignore any and all facts, dismiss and belittle the authorities that produce those facts, and then cite ridiculous shady sources that “confirm” what they already believe is true.) Many of you in the Reality based world may be unaware that The Bush’s and Liberal billionaire “George Soros” are personally behind every political catastrophe of the last 60 years (though “Hillary Clinton” is rapidly gaining on Soros as the Republican-boogyman of choice.) I actually saw a number of people accusing Soros of being “a Nazi informant” during WWII (Apparently, he smuggled Top Secret documents in his diapers.) Name a disastrous event with political ramifications, and you’ll find someone out there (really “out there”) connecting Bush or Soros to it. “#PizzaGate” has the distinction of being linked to all three (Clinton, Soros and Bush. Google it. I won’t provide a link.) I consider myself a pretty tolerant person, but with nearly 5,000 Facebook “Friends”, I found myself “unfriending” someone for the very first time yesterday after they reposted the latest nonsense about “new evidence Obama’s birth certificate is a forgery.” I just couldn’t take it any more. The man has barely a month left in office and these racist Birther asshats are STILL trying to delegitimize his presidency (speaking of which, Trump’s future “Chief of Staff” Priebus, along with Karl Rove and The Heritage Foundation’s Mike Needham, all complained yesterday that claims of Russian involvement in Trump’s victory are all attempts to “delegitimize Trump’s presidency.” I kid you not.)

But I digress. So, I despise conspiracy theories. And the thought I may be entertaining one now gives me pause. But I’m not declaring anything as “fact”, I’m only pointing out observations that disturb me.

During the very first GOP debate in August of 2015, co-host Brett Baier gave Donald Trump the first question on foreign policy, asking him about recent reports that “a top Iranian general”, General Qassem Soleimani, blamed for hundreds of U.S. troops death in Iraq and Afghanistan, “travel[ed] to Moscow to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.” Trump criticized Obama for his recent hostage exchange to recover POW Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl (which had nothing to do with Iran or the meeting in Russia, but goes on to imply the Bergdahl exchange was with Iran when it was in fact with the Taliban). Trump said absolutely nothing regarding the meeting in Russia, instead criticizing the president on “foreign policy”, and declared he would be “the polar opposite” of Obama.

Instead of pressing Trump to answer the question, Baier moves on to the next question: “Another new development today, Senior Defense officials tell Fox they strongly suspect Russia was behind the cyber attack on the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs office… (shutting down the email system of some 4,000 Pentagon employees for ELEVEN DAYS.) Did you forget about this first report of Russian hacking? I sure did, and it appears most of the Media has too.

The subject of “Russia” does not come up again until the second GOP debate when host Jake Tapper asks Trump:
 

TAPPER: Russia is sending troops and tanks into Syria right now to prop up a U.S. enemy, Bashar al-Assad. President Obama’s incoming top general says, quote, “Russia presents the greatest threat to our national security.”

Mr. Trump, you say you can do business with President Vladimir Putin, you say you will get along, quote, “very well.” What would you do right now if you were president, to get the Russians out of Syria?

TRUMP: So, number one, they have to respect you. He [Putin] has absolutely no respect for President Obama. Zero.

Syria’s a mess. You look at what’s going on with ISIS in there, now think of this: we’re fighting ISIS. ISIS wants to fight Syria. Why are we fighting ISIS in Syria? Let them fight each other and pick up the remnants.

I would talk to him [Putin]. I would get along with him. I believe – and I may be wrong, in which case I’d probably have to take a different path, but I would get along with a lot of the world leaders that this country is not getting along with.

 

(I highlighted the “Why are we in Syria?” comment because Trump’s defenders were all over the TV yesterday criticizing Obama for not going into Syria to fight ISIS sooner.)

No criticism of Putin aiding America’s enemy Assad. Instead, he repeats his recent claim he would likely “get along with Putin”, and his response to Russia arming Syria would be to have a chat with Putin.

Somewhere between the first & second GOP debates is when Trump started speaking positively of Putin as someone he would likely “get along with.”

During ABC’s ThisWeek yesterday, host Martha Radditz said what I’ve been thinking as of late: “I remember when Republicans opposed the Russians on *everything*. And any Democrat that dared speak positively of them were roundly ridiculed by them.” And now we have Republicans defending Russia and the president-elect himself criticizing & doubting our own intelligence. His future Chief of Staff Priebus followed suit on “Meet the Press”, saying “If the CIA/FBI has any solid proof, let them hold a press conference and reveal it to the world.” And why not? After all, these are the same people who defended Dick Cheney for outing an undercover CIA agent for partisan reasons. Publicly exposing U.S. intelligence sources & methodologies comes second to defending the Republican Party.

I posed an observation on Facebook last week. I’m literally astonished by the number of people defending Russia over our own intelligence agencies on this issue, asking: “When did Russia become a paragon of virtue?” I can understand not trusting the word of the CIA (though most point to the CIA under George W Bush to justify that mistrust. Trump included.) But whatever you think of the CIA, Russia is 20x worse. Remember, Putin is former KGB and has basically appointed himself president for life, having been appointed to the job by his predecessor Boris Yeltsen back in 2000. And other than a brief interruption when he was term-limited into stepping down and turning the presidency over to Medvedev from 2008 to 2012 where Putin appointed himself “Prime-minister” until he and Dimitri could swap jobs four years later, Putin has been the defacto leader of Russia for nearly two decades. He arrests & imprisons his political opponents, and even has his critics assassinated (and now I’ll hear from all the Conspiracy Theorists on just how many people Hillary Clinton has had killed. Spare me.)

Here’s a question: Toddler Trump speaks approvingly of Putin now, but how will he deal with Russia (friend of Syria & Iran) once he becomes president? Trump doesn’t like Iran. But how does he go after Iran on any issue without angering Putin? Just how long does anyone expect that bromance to last? Remember that Trump and Ted Cruz had a little bromance going on when Cruz refused to join the chorus criticizing Donald Trump the way all his other opponents were before the Primary. Cruz even tweeted last December: “@realDonaldTrump is terrific. #DealWithIt”. And because of this, Cruz quickly rose to second place behind Trump in the polls. Threatened, once the primaries began, Trump and Cruz turned on one another quickly, soon becoming the worst of enemies. I have grave concerns regarding how quickly Trump turns on those who displease him. One of the reasons I didn’t support Hillary Clinton was her recklessness regarding the use of military force and her inability to foresee the possible consequences of that recklessness. She advocated for a No Fly Zone over Syria to protect the rebels. But Russia was bombing those same rebels from the air. Clinton’s policy could potentially had us firing upon Russian MiG’s and starting WWIII. And even if she avoided that, there was no predicting what mess her next hawkish actions would get us into.

In contrast, I think Trump’s unpredictability and childish fickleness makes him an even greater threat to the stability of national security. If his bromance with Putin goes the same as it did with Cruz, things could turn very nasty very quickly. And then what?

Today, the Electoral College will be voting for President of the United States based upon the result of the 2016 election. But in all due honesty, I’m not completely confident Donald Trump was the legitimate winner of the election. In such a close election, all anyone needed to do was flip just three key states that were within 1-percent, and that’s exactly what happened. Maybe he did so legitimately, but as long as we vote into Black Boxes that leave no paper trail, we’ll always be at risk of Election Fraud. Please sign & share my petition:
 

Petition for paper voting receipts

 

Our government would NEVER publicly admit our election was hacked and our next president was selected by an enemy nation even if an investigation proved it to be true. Without a safeguard like my petition above calls for, such an announcement would destroy what little faith millions of Americans have left in our Democracy and simply no longer bother to vote.

If electors are worried about not having enough time for such an investigation, I remind them that the inauguration doesn’t HAVE to be on January 20th. That date is not in the Constitution. In fact, before Franklin Roosevelt, most presidents were not inaugurated until March. It was FDR who moved up the date to January 20th so he could get back to work as quickly as possible in the midst of the Depression.

There have been only 8 “faithless” electors (Delegates that didn’t vote the same as their constituents) since 1900. Today, there could be as many as 80. That’s astounding. It is unlikely however that even these “unpledged” delegates will vote against the currently perceived state results without solid proof the outcome of the election was actually manipulated. And there’s no way to know that before today’s vote.

WaPo columnist Dan Balz had the same thought as me last week: It is possible, even likely, Trump is unwilling to admit even the possibility of Russian meddling in our election for fear it might influence the Electors and cost him the presidency. But perhaps after the vote today and his presidency is assured, THEN he might be willing to concede the possibility of Russian intervention in our election and even admit a willingness to do something about it if an investigations reveals it to be true. I doubt this however because it would be a blow to Trump’s massive ego. He will NEVER be willing to admit he didn’t win “fair & square”. Even now, he denies he lost the (meaningless) “Popular Vote”, stating he actually won “if you don’t include the millions who voted illegally”… a ridiculous & baseless claim with no foothold in reality. Behind the scenes though, if it turns out Russia *did* deprive Trump of “an honest victory”, he could become quite furious with Putin and the “bromance” would be over.

For anyone still questioning “How do we know Russia is behind the hacking of the DNC?”, I posted this ABC News video listing just a few of the ways we know. And former Secretary of Defense Bob Gates (who was also once head of the CIA under Poppy Bush) said yesterday that when the CIA says they are “certain” about something, there’s no question it’s true. For naysayers like Trump who point to claims of WMD’s, I point out that only Bush’s hand-picked stooge George Tenet called their existence a “slam dunk” despite concerns about the intel Dick Cheney was force-feeding them. But I can assure you that the examples cited in that video aren’t ALL the ways we know of Russian involvement. We almost certainly have spies working within the Russian government that have obtained classified documents and/or been privy to high-level meetings where the topic was discussed, but we can’t reveal that evidence without compromising those sources… and people like Priebus know it. Which is why it is so disingenuous of them to demand “a press conference where they lay out all their proof on the table.” Either they KNOW we can’t do that, or they really DON’T give a rats ass about jeopardizing our agents & sources the way Cheney did to Valery Plame and all of her secret sources (some of whom unquestionably died as a result.)

Trump’s frequent praise of Putin and defense of Russia even over our own intelligence, the people he has appointed to serve him having close ties to Russia (Manifort, Tillerson), people critical of Russia quickly thrown overboard (Romney), incidents of Russian hacking of government computers going back at least 18 months, and Trump is refusing classified briefings at a time when we KNOW much of it must be about the mounting evidence of Russian hacking. He doesn’t want to hear it, so he’s refusing those briefings. Those disturbing factoids are more than enough cause for me to say I can’t be 100% sure Russia didn’t meddle in our election. It could have been as innocent as finding out what the Clinton camp knew and leaking that information to people within the Trump campaign, or it could have been as severe as outright Election Theft, flipping a few key states to ensure the candidate friendly to them won, and the candidate Putin had a personal grudge against lost.

So yes, I have my doubts. And you’re a dishonest ideologue if you are certain one way or the other that you KNOW what happened… because you don’t.
 


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December 19, 2016 · Admin Mugsy · One Comment - Add
Posted in: Election, mystery, Politics, Scandals, Seems Obvious to Me

How Many Trump Appointments Also Have Conflicts of Interest?

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President-elect Trump seems to be going out of his way to pick the worst possible people to staff his cabinet & White House. But beyond appointing a neurosurgeon to run HUD, beyond putting “generals” in charge of making “peace”, beyond appointing an opponent of public schools to run our public schools, and beyond appointing a critic of Civil Rights to be in charge of the protecting Civil Rights, he’s putting a Climate Change denier in charge of the EPA, and billionaires in charge of agencies that could DIRECTLY affect their own personal wealth. Questions of “conflicts of interest” no longer begin & end with Trump himself. Trump announced on “60 Minutes” a few weeks ago that he would accept a salary of only “$1/year” as president. A magnanimous gesture even for a billionaire to give up a $420,000 salary. But evidently, he has asked his wealthy cabinet picks to follow suit, stating during his Fox “news” Sunday interview yesterday that his cabinet members will be paid only $1/year as well. And why wouldn’t they? Do you think 20th Century bank robber Willie Sutton would have turned down the job of bank guard if it only paid $1/year? No. They are more than happy to do these thankless jobs because they’ll finally be in control of the agencies that stood in their way all these years. They’re not agreeing to do these jobs out of the goodness of their hearts. They are out to destroy these agencies for personal gain (at the expense of the rest of us.) This is putting the foxes in charge of the hen house.

We already know about asinine picks like putting Ben Carson… a retired neurosurgeon… in charge of “Housing & Urban Development” on the grounds Carson “once lived in public housing”… which is like me saying I can land a 747 because I once flew in one. But I don’t think Carson has any “conflict of interest” where he or members of his family might stand to personally benefit from decisions he makes at HUD.

However, many of Trump’s other appointments do. Beyond the hypocrisy of appointing three former Goldman Sachs executives to his administration after blasting Hillary Clinton & Ted Cruz for their ties to the Wall Street bank, some of the Billionaires Trump has appointed to his cabinet will be running agencies they themselves have a personal grudge against… not because of any belief those agencies are not operating in the best interests of the PUBLIC, no. But because these agencies have been standing in the way of making these Billionaires even more obscenely wealthy than they already are (echos of Ted Kennedy asking, “When does the greed stop?”)

Among Trump’s appointees:

  • Steven Mnuchin – Trump’s pick for Treasury Secretary is not only one of those former Goldman Sachs bankers, Mnuchin left the firm to start his own bank, “OneWest“, that earned him the nickname “foreclosure machine” during the banking crisis for foreclosing on over 36 thousand home loans plus another 40 percent (16,200) of all reverse mortgages. As Treasury Secretary, Mnuchin will be able to set interest rates deciding how much banks like his will earn on the loans he makes.
  •  

  • Steven Pruitt – Trump’s pick to head the EPA… the former Oklahoma Attorney General… has sued the EPA at least 13 times. Why? Because Pruitt doesn’t believe in Global Warming (and not too sure about gravity either) and is currently suing the agency’s Clean Power Plan, which he called a “war on coal” for setting “pollution standards for power plants and statewide goals for cutting carbon pollution.” Is there any question why the AG from Oklahoma would be hostile towards any regulation of the Energy industry… which stands to make… not just millions or billions, but literally Trillions of dollars pending rollbacks of a host of environmental regulations… which he will now be able to do as head of the EPA. Those costly lawsuits he filed all go bye-bye. And I can assure you Pruitt’s wealthy friends won’t forget him when he’s looking for a job four years from now.
  •  

  • Andrew Puzder – Trump’s pick as Labor Secretary, the owner & founder of the Hardee’s and “Carl’s Jr” fast food chains, opposes raising the minimum wage (not just to $15, but thinks even $10.10 is “too high”), is a bit of a misogynist (like his boss), opposes expanding eligibility rules to qualify for overtime pay, and waxes poetic over the notion of replacing workers with robots:
     
    Puzder on automation
    “They’re always polite, they always upsell,
    they never take a vacation, they never show up late,
    there’s never a slip-and-fall, or an age,
    sex or race discrimination case.”

     
    If that sounds like employment nirvana that’ll make YOUR life happier & more prosperous… not Puzder’s… then the Puzder pick should make your short miserable life a little bit brighter.
  •  

  • And probably by the time you read this, Trump will have named Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson to be his Secretary of State. As Rachel Maddow pointed out last week, Tillerson has close ties to Russia, and as America’s chief diplomat, could easily choose to show favoritism towards nations either doing business with Exxon or are seeking to do business with Exxon. The State Department also brokers treaties and trade deals… all of which could prove to be highly lucrative for his company Exxon/Mobile.
  •  

  • And of course, we’ll always have the man himself, Trump, the mother of all “conflicts of interests”, whom last week announced he will still be an Executive Producer of his TV Show “Celebrity Apprentice” (which was canceled last year after his remarks about Mexicans, but was miraculously renewed with his election victory.) Trump does not think this is a “conflict of interests” because he thinks the term refers to “divided attention” (and no one dare correct the president-elect no matter how often he denies his business interests “aren’t a conflict of interests” because he can “do both at the same time.” Lord help us. The man is an idiot and our journalists won’t do their jobs.) Trump will still profit from his hotels as well. Every time a foreign dignitary chooses to stay in one of his hotels, they are greasing his sweaty orange palm in direct violation of The Emoluments Clause. The Embassy of Bahrain has made plans to host their “National Day” celebration at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. and the RNC themselves chose to host their Xmas party there as well. All that money goes right into his pocket. Trump says he intends to keep “a stake” in his empire. Good. That’ll make it that much easier to impeach his ass for accepting bribes two years from now.

Other Billionaires appointed to the Trump Administration: industrialist Wilbur Ross to head the Commerce Department, who has amassed a fortune of $2.5 Billion through decades at the helm of Rothschild’s bankruptcy practice and his own investment firm, and Todd Ricketts, son of a billionaire co-owner of the Chicago Cubs as his deputy. Betsy DeVos, Trump’s education secretary, is the daughter-in-law of Richard DeVos, co-founder of Amway, and transportation secretary Elaine Chao, wife of Mitch McConnell who previously worked as Bush’s Labor Secretary, is the daughter of a shipping magnate.

Do ANY of these people strike you as the altruistic type seeking only to serve their fellow man? How many of these Billionaires have established charities or actively served their communities? Editor of the National Review, Rich Lowry, said yesterday during ABC’s “ThisWeek” that all these Billionaire CEO’s “only want to see workers become more prosperous.” Really? Because all of these guys already employ tens of thousands. If all they want is “to see workers become more prosperous”, what’s stopping them? There’s no regulation prohibiting them from giving their employees a raise or increasing overtime pay. In fact, we know at least one of them (Puzder) is openly opposed to doing anything that profits his workers. He’d rather replace them with robots.

No, these people aren’t taking these jobs for “humanitarian” reasons or out of any sense of “public duty”. They are volunteering for these jobs because they seek to financially benefit Special Interests… which sometimes is the person staring back at them in the mirror.
 

Postscript: More news broke last week as the CIA confirmed that not only did Russia break into DNC servers during the Primaries, but they broke into RNC servers as well (but never released anything they found.) Reince Priebus on ABC’s “ThisWeek” yesterday conceded that Russia may have broken into DNC servers, but absolutely refused to admit they may have broken into RNC servers as well. I want you to think about that for a second. Is it so improbable that the RNC servers could have been hacked? Does he believe RNC servers are somehow less hackable than the DNC’s? If so, how would he know? Or perhaps they have been in communication with the Kremlin and have received assurances they wouldn’t be hacked? (Remember, Trump practically encouraged Russia to hack into either the DNC or Clinton’s private email server to dig up those “30,000 missing emails” during the campaign.) Or perhaps he knows the RNC servers WERE hacked because Russia admitted it to them, which would mean the RNC was aware Russia was hacking our election but said nothing about it. There is no “good” explanation for why Priebus would adamantly defend Russia and deny even the possibility of being hacked. Chuck Todd had to talk to Priebus like a child during “Meet the Press” yesterday as he futily tried to get the future Chief-of-Staff to understand how denying RNC servers were hacked didn’t negate the possibility of Russian meddling in our election. Exasperated, Todd was eventually forced to give up as they came upon a commercial break.

Trump himself attacked the CIA for suggesting Russia may have interfered with our election to help him win, saying “These are the same people who said Saddam had WMD’s.” (Well, no. Cheney stovepiped intel to Langley and changed Directors until they told him what he wanted to hear, but the one time they told the Bush Administration what they DIDN’T want to hear… “Bin Laden Determined to Attack in U.S.” on August 6th, 2001… they were dead on.)

Trump criticizes our own intelligence agencies while defending Russia… again. His likely Secretary of State pick was awarded the Russian “Medal of Friendship” by Putin himself, whom Trump bragged, “Has a very good working relationship with Russia” when defending Tillerson’s qualification to be Secretary of State, and most forget this his first campaign manager Paul Manifort was forced to resign because of his close financial ties to Russia.

Trump supporters don’t see how having the President-elect of the United States defending Russia… even over his own intelligence agencies… is a public relations coup for Russia.

Ronald Reagan is spinning in his grave like a top.
 


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December 12, 2016 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Posted in: Election, Environment, Global Warming, Greed, Jobs, Money, mystery, Politics, Right-wing Facism, Right-Wing Hypocrisy, Scandals, Unconstitutional

Trump Camp Desperate To Convince Us His Gaffes Are All According to Plan

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One thing I learned long ago is that you can’t use logic to convince an ideologue they are wrong. You can’t use reason to convince a religious person there is no God. You can’t use reason to convince a racist that the people they hate aren’t subhuman. And you can’t use facts to convince a Republican they are being conned. But now those whom have been conned are desperate to convince the rest of us that Trump’s parade of embarrassments, missteps and flip-flops are all “deliberate” and part of some “secret plan” the wily president-elect has up his sleeve. You buying it? No? Well, you’re not alone.

Case in point: Trump’s gaffe last week agreeing not only to accept a congratulatory phone call from Taiwan, but publicly referring to caller Tsai Ing-wen as “The President of Taiwan”. Diplomatically, this was a major feux-pas in that China does not recognize Taiwan as an independent nation but instead as a “rogue state” belonging to China. The U.S. has had no independent diplomatic contact with Taiwan since 1979. I highly doubt Mr. Trump was aware that accepting a call from someone claiming to be “the president of Taiwan” was a no-no. I certainly didn’t. And I doubt most Americans do either. But being president means knowing more than “most Americans”. More disturbing though is that no one on his staff apparently knew either. Just who is advising the president-elect, and is this the kind of guidance he can expect from his team in the years to come? Clearly those “best people” he selected to run his “so amazing you won’t believe it” staff dropped the ball by not warning him in advance about accepting calls from Pakistan or Taiwan. Instead, Trump & Pence, et al are denying that accepting the call was a mistake, instead simply choosing to downplay its significance. Pence himself on “Meet the Press” yesterday said it was simply Trump “being courteous” to “The President of Taiwan”… a title that China takes umbrage to as well since there is no such position as far as they are concerned. Rather than admit his mistake, Trump’s supporters want us to believe this was a “brilliant and deliberate tactical strategy” by Trump. To what end, that’s not clear. But whatever his reason for doing what he did, “it definitely wasn’t because he doesn’t have a clue about what he’s doing.” I ask them, “Why on Earth would he want to tick off the Chinese before he even enters office?” “Oh, it’s because China is our enemy!” So why did he praise Putin, asking voters “wouldn’t it be great if we got along with Russia?” I thought that was all about making friends of our enemies? I’ve never gotten an answer back on that one.

Like ALL Republicans, they are physically incapably of admitting a mistake or that they may not know something. Be it Dubya being so paranoid about possibly admitting he could be “fooled” that… with genuine confusion his face… had to alter the famous “fool me twice” saying; to Sarah Palin claiming to read “all the papers” after being asked to name a single one of the “newspaper” she JUST claimed to read in response to charges she was ill-informed. So when Trump makes a political blunder like he did with Taiwan, his devoted fans say it wasn’t the dumb mistake of a political novice, it was “shrewd political maneuvering” by the brilliant businessman for some future bargaining position against China over Taiwanese Independence. I mean, “it MUST be! How could it possibly be anything else? He’s not stupid! It must be part of some greater plan!” Which leads me to ask: Is Trump REALLY already planning a future confrontation with China over Taiwan? Like we don’t have enough on our foreign-policy plate already? Are you sure you want the job of cleaning up Trump’s foreign policy blunders, Mitt?

Speaking of which, Mitt Romney… who gave an extremely high-profile speech criticizing Trump and calling him “a phony and a con-man“… is now kissing Trump’s butt in Macy’s window as he angles for the job of Secretary of State… the most high-profile position in the any president’s cabinet. Even Trump’s own inner circle is divided on whether or not to “reward” such a treasonous critic with such a prestigious post within the Trump Administration. Many Trump supporters… most notably his former campaign manager Kellyann Conway… are “outraged” that Trump would even consider him for Secretary of State, with some even claiming Trump “isn’t really” considering Romney, he’s just “toying with him” in some childish ritual to “humiliate” Mitt before stomping on his dream. (Personally, I’m confident Romney WILL be appointed Secretary of State, just as Bush chose Collin Powell. Mitt will give the Administration an aire of “legitimacy” & “dignity” it is sorely lacking, but will shut him out of meetings and disregard most/all of his advice as they enjoy making him kowtow to the man he called “unfit” to be president. And with Mitt’s appointment, Trump supporters will praise the president-elect for “setting personal differences aside for the good of the country”.)

So if Romney doesn’t get the nod, who does? Also in contention for “Secretary of State”, Trump is considering disgraced former general turned FBI Director David Petraeus. You might remember that during the campaign, Trump threatened to “appoint a Special Prosecutor” to investigate Hillary Clinton for “endangering National Security” and “lock her up” over her emails. So it would seem odd (to anyone NOT a Trump supporter) that he would then consider Petraeus… a man convicted for willfully leaking classified information to his biographer/mistress… for Clinton’s old job. When Pence was asked about this obvious hypocrisy during ABC’s ThisWeek yesterday, Pence simply stated that Petraeus is “a hero.” Only a Trump loyalist could dismiss the obvious hypocrisy and call to appoint someone to “Secretary of State” that would either need to call his parole officer or receive a presidential pardon before he could leave the country to do his job.

Trump’s late night Twitter wars are becoming the stuff of legend (and a treasure trove of comic fodder). The notoriously thin-skinned orange Meanie has attacked “Saturday Night Live’s” portrayal of him on several occasions (including just this past weekend) as well as attacking the Broadway cast of “Hamilton” for “lecturing” his VP when he went to see the show a few weeks ago. But Trump getting into Twitter fights like some teenage girl or retweeting the questionable remarks from some truly disturbing people doesn’t “raise questions about his temperament” among his loyal followers, instead it’s the president-elect “personally reaching out” to his constituents as a “man of the people”. So much so that they question why the Trump White House even NEEDS a Press Secretary when he’s got Twitter, Breitbart and The Drudge Report? (which Trump loves because there are no reporters asking him questions, and he can easily ignore any issue he doesn’t like.)

During the campaign, Trump declared he wouldn’t “reward” corporations “like Carrier” threatening to move to Mexico, instead declaring he would simply tell them, “If you want to go, fine! But you’re going to pay a 35% tax on everything you reimport back into the United States”… a position very popular with workers but very UNpopular with Republican lawmakers looking out for the interests of Big Business. Trump made the claim repeatedly in the first few months of the year, but then said he had “no idea” he had ever made such a promise until he heard “Carrier A/C” employees on TV talking about how Trump had promised to save their jobs. Apparently, his promise to save those jobs wasn’t the only thing he forgot. He also clearly forgot his promise of just HOW he would convince those corporations not to do it. His “solution” in the end was to have his VP… the governor of the state “Carrier” resides in… promise them a $7million dollar tax break in exchange to keep some 800 jobs here in the U.S.. But about a 1,000 more jobs will STILL be leaving (as well as another 350 jobs at a neighboring plant one block up the road), and that tax break isn’t a permanent commitment. In a year or two, they may try to leave again. And Trump’s VP will no longer be the governor of Indiana to make the same sweetheart deal again. NAFTA prevents the president from imposing a tax on imports from Mexico, so those jobs are as good as gone already. All he did was buy himself some time… literally. But to Trump’s supporters, this was Trump “keeping his promise to American workers”. They’re hailing him as a hero this Christmas. We’ll see just how enamored they are of him a year from now. At a cost of over $8,200 dollars per job “saved”, the country won’t be able to afford a deal like that every time a corporation threatens to move to Mexico over the next four years. “The United States does not negotiate with terrorists”… unless it’s a major corporation threatening to move its factory to Mexico.

Another notorious gaffe was Trump dismissing his Conflicts of Interest regarding his corporate empire, claiming he could run “both” his businesses and the government simultaneously “just fine”. But as I pointed out last week, a string of examples of Trump’s business interests possibly dictating his foreign & domestic policy for his own personal financial gain led to Trump announcing last week that he would be “leaving” his business “to concentrate on running the country”. But this doesn’t resolve any “conflict of interest”, and I doubt he even understands that. He’ll simply be handing off the running of HIS business over to his kids. I think Trump believes “conflict of interests” simply means “divided attention” (and why not, he thinks “temperament” means “personality”), not concern over whether he might make decisions as president that benefit him personally. “We’d like to run our new pipeline straight through your competitor’s golf course!” “We’ll get you those permits to build your new casino President Trump, but first let’s talk about those nasty trade restrictions you want to impose on us.” “The workers in your hotel are demanding a raise in the Minimum Wage.” You can see how this could become a problem. You don’t? Then you must be a Trump supporter.

In the weeks before the election, everyone… including Trump himself… was so certain he was going to lose that he repeatedly called the race “Rigged”. Then once he “won” despite receiving over 2.5 million fewer votes, actually legitimized recount efforts his own team was protesting by claiming “millions voted illegally” to cost him the popular vote as well. Yet he opposes the recount that could prove it. Kellyann Conway actually said to those doing the recount during Fox “news” Sunday yesterday: “Give it up. It won’t change anything.” Well, if it “won’t change anything”, then why do they need to “give it up”? Your own boss is claiming massive voter fraud without an iota of proof. Wouldn’t you like that proof and give him the “popular vote” victory he already claims to have won to help legitimize his victory?

Another key “feature” of a Trump Administration was his promise to “drain the swamp” of “Washington insiders & Special Interests” running the White House, and instead appoint “the best people” to run his Administration. So who has he picked so far? “Special Interests”, “Lobbyists” and “Washington Insiders”. His pick to be “Secretary of Transportation?Elaine Chow, former “Secretary of Labor” under Bush-II when we saw the most anemic job growth since The Great Depression culminating in the most massive monthly job losses since “The Great Depression”… whom also happens to be the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. I’m not quite sure what skills Ms. Chow… the worst Labor Secretary of the last 50 years… might have picked up in the last eight years that makes her “the best person in the country” to be our Secretary of Transportation, but I’m willing to guess it wasn’t taking a job in the auto industry.

Trump’s pick for National Security Advisor? General Michael Flynn… a man who actually owns his own lobbying firm that was paid thousands of dollars by the Turkish government of Recep Erdogan (whom seized power in a military coup earlier this year.)

His pick to defend “Civil Rights” as Attorney General is Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions of Alabama, who has questionable positions on the civil rights of blacks, gays and other minorities he holds in contempt. I’m not quite sure we can call this pick a “gaffe” though. Definitely not what I’d call “draining the swamp of Washington Insiders from within the White House”. “Drain the Swamp” indeed… to make room for bigger alligators.

We are to believe that all of this is part of a “greater plan” that we’re just too dumb to see. But not to worry, the brilliant Donald J Trump knows exactly what he’s doing.

…And that’s the thought that frightens me most of all.
 


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December 5, 2016 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Posted in: General, myth busting, National Security, Partisanship, Politics, rewriting history, Right-Wing Hypocrisy, Scandals, Seems Obvious to Me

Will Trump Resolve His Business Conflicts Before His Inauguration? Doubtful.

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“I don’t care about hotel occupancy” President-elect Trump told Leslie Stahl of “60 Minutes” a few weeks ago. “It’s peanuts compared to what we’re doing.” That was the second time Trump tried to dismiss questions about possible conflicts of interest stemming from refusing to sell of his business holdings while president. The first time was during the very first GOP debate hosted by Fox “news”, where he was asked if he would liquidate his business and put his holdings in a blind trust to ensure there would be no conflict of interests. The problem is, despite repeatedly dismissing the importance of his business to him, it is becoming quite clear that he has no interest in liquidating his empire. And that’s because it IS important to him. All the more reason why he must sell it all off… which he’ll never do.

Incredibly, during that debate, Trump clearly didn’t understand what a “blind trust” is, saying:
 

“I’ll turn everything over to Ivanka & my kids. Is that a conflict of interests? I don’t know.”

 

YES! Yes you idiot! Of COURSE that’s a conflict of interests! How does a corporate mogul, worth just over $3-Billion dollars (not ten) who ran on his “business prowess” NOT know what a “conflict of interest” is??? The issue isn’t WHO controls your money (though even if you thought that, how do you conclude that putting your business in the hands of your own family, and profiting off those interests, to be a “blind trust”?), it’s whether you know WHERE your money’s invested! If you still know where the money is, it’s not “blind” at all! As long as there is a danger of you setting national policy according to what personally profits YOU (or your family) OR if there’s a danger someone might try to curry favor with you by appealing to your business interests, THAT (by definition) is a “conflict of interests.”

And regarding his Net Worth: All thru the campaign, Trump insisted he was worth “Ten Billion dollars”, yet repeatedly refused to release his taxes to prove it. And as a Bloomberg investigation revealed [ibid], while Trump has ASSETS in excess of $3-billion, he is actually deep in debt, with roughly $170-Million in liquid assets (cash, stocks, etc), yet owing “over $630-Million” to creditors (nearly double what he owed the year before.) According to “Fox Business” last month, Trump’s credit score (on a scale of 1 to 100) is a whopping NINETEEN (19). Anyone so deep in debt is a ripe target for financial manipulation (and therefore a threat to the interests of the United States.)

The good news (for him) is that he can easily solve BOTH problems by simply selling off his business empire. Eliminate any CoI’s, while simultaneously paying off his massive debt.

For example: the head of the Federal Reserve is not permitted to put his/her money in ANY kind of “interest bearing” bank account. And that is because they set Federal Interest rates, and we can’t have the Chairman of the Federal Reserve setting interest rates according to what might personally benefit them. I’m not even sure they can invest their savings in the stock market because raising/lowering interest rates tends to influence the stock market too. So, because of this, the Chairman of the Fed is well paid to compensate them for not being allowed to invest their money.

The same philosophy applies to members of Congress, Supreme Court justices, and all other government officials. But not to the president or vice president.

Just last Wednesday, in an statement eerily reminiscent of Richard Nixon’s “When the president does it, that means it is not illegal” comment, Trump cited a legal loophole exempting the President & Vice President from “conflict of interest laws”, stating “the president can’t have a conflict of interest.” “In theory I could run my business perfectly and then run the country perfectly” without running afoul of the law. This isn’t exactly true.

Article 1, Section 9, Clause 8 of the Constitution created “The Emoluments Clause” forbidding the president, “without the Consent of the Congress, [to] accept… any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign [head of] State.” And the Founders reasoning for this is clear: they didn’t want the president of the United States feeling obligated towards anyone for fear of him putting his own interests ahead of those of the country. Personally, I think the “foreign” dignitary loophole is a problem too. Is there any question Trump might be willing to push for a government project that benefits his personal friends? That “one trillion dollars” he claims to be willing to spend on “infrastructure”? Who gets those contracts when when you have a president who made his fortune in “construction”? His personal friends in the construction industry? And if a member of Congress doesn’t want a highway redirected past one of Trump’s hotels, who gets a phone call the next day telling him to “rethink” his opposition?

Of course, with a GOP Congress, they’ll never complain about a Republican president accepting anything others might consider a potential conflict of interests. As long as they remain in charge, he can enjoy whatever conflicts he wants. “Myself, my staff, and our entire delegation stayed in your wonderful hotel Mr. President. Now, let’s talk about that golf course you want to build in our country while we discuss that Trade Deal.”

Even SELLING his assets at this point is a potential conflict of interests if he knows WHO he’s selling to, because the buyer may overpay whatever the asset is worth to gain his favor. Trump would need a third party to liquidate every business he owns in every country he has assets in to ensure no one can manipulate him by holding his business interests hostage.

Just over a week ago, the president-elect met with three business partners from India in his office in Trump Tower. He is currently in development to build a luxury hotel in Pune, India with them. What kind of power does this give Trump’s business partners over the Indian government if they know the man in the White House is a personal friend of theirs?

The day after winning the presidency, Turkish President Erdogan called Donald Trump to congratulate him on his victory. During that call, Trump reportedly discussed a Turkish business partner of his that is licensing the Trump name to build a luxury hotel in Istanbul. So now Erdogan knows he can please the President of the United States by doing favors for someone in the president’s debt (literally).

The Donald keeps insisting that members of his family be present during high level meetings. Completely unacceptable, yet understandable once you realize what extraordinary trust issues Trump has, trusting no one but his own children to look after him (and his business interests.) And the one person he trusts most to look out for him most of all is his daughter Ivanka. So when the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was the first foreign leader to personally meet with the President-Elect a few weeks ago in New York, Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner… neither of whom with any security clearance… were in attendance. The problem is, (besides the whole “security” thing) Ivanka also serves as vice president for development and acquisitions at the Trump Organization, and owns her own jewelry line, Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry, which sells to a global market that includes Japan. This could conceivably give Trump’s business interests and those of his kids an unfair advantage competing in global markets.

When Argentine President Mauricio Macri called to congratulate Trump on his election victory, one Argentinian reporter claims Trump asked for help with permits for an office tower that bears his name being built in that country. Both Macri, Trump, and their mutual staffs all deny the subject ever came up during the call (natch), which would be an extraordinary and unprecedented conflict of interests if he did.

Before he announced he was running for president, Trump was furious over a plan to construct a series of off-shore wind turbines spoiling the view of his golf course in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, taking the Swedish company contracted to construct the turbines to court to stall if not stop the project entirely. But in June, the Swedish company announced its plan to proceed with the project anyway. So four days after winning the election, Trump contacted British MP Nigel Farage… a fellow far-Right xenophobe that campaigned with Trump… and “urged him and his fellow members of the European Parliament” to “oppose [all] off-shore wind farms.” Two other far-Right British corporate executives in attendance vowed to “[campaign] against wind farms in England, Scotland, and Wales.” So now, Trump’s business interests are dictating clean energy policy in other countries because it interferes with his corporate interests.

Not even president yet, Trump is already using the power of his office for personal financial gain. Cenk Uygur, host of “The Young Turks” Progressive Talk Show, was a guest on ABC’s ThisWeek yesterday and made the astute observation, “He [Trump] wasn’t worth ten-billion dollars coming into office, but he’ll be worth ten-billion dollars when he leaves.” What is to come once he’s sworn in and the reigns of power are turned over to him? Donald Trump MUST liquidate his business empire NOW. He minimalized it’s importance throughout the campaign (but only so he might downplay the need to divest himself from it), so there should be no problem giving it up. Right?

Except with that massive ego of his, giving up all those building & casinos bearing his name hoisted high in the skies over major cities around the globe is something he’ll never willingly give up without a fight… which is exactly what he’ll get.
 


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November 28, 2016 · Admin Mugsy · 2 Comments - Add
Posted in: Greed, Money, myth busting, National Security, Predictions, Right-Wing Hypocrisy, Unconstitutional