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The True Lesson of the Brown Win: the voters want a KISS
Jan 25th, 2010 by Admin Mugsy

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E=MC2: Energy equals Mass times the Speed of Light squared; the mathematical equation at the heart of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. One of the most complex mathematical theorems ever devised, reduced to an equation so simple that even Sarah Palin’s probably heard of it. And it is BECAUSE it is so simple that it’s lauded to this day. It’s the formula that explains both how the atomic bomb works, and how all matter is based on nothing but particles of energy.

“Keep It Simple, Stupid.” Wiser words were probably never spoken. People don’t like complexity. Republicans REALLY don’t like complexity. That’s why they voted for George W. Bush, Sarah Palin… and lest we forget the father of Republican Stupidity, former VP Dan Quayle (1989-1993). If you’re smart, they call you “an elitist”. And Democrats know oh so well that the more complicated things get, the less popular they become (see: Obama’s poll numbers).

There’s a word for government over-complication. We call it “bureaucracy”. When we think of “bureaucracy”, we think of filing our taxes, waiting in line at the DMV, or filling out hours of tedious government paperwork. We DON’T want “health care” to join that mental list. No one likes bureaucracy. And when government programs get complicated, they become “bureaucracies”.

The OPPOSITE of “bureaucracy” is “simplicity”.

The health care debate is one of those ideas that started out simple… cheap health insurance from the government… and was allowed to be edited, “tweaked”, patched and mangled into a bureaucratic nightmare that even many Democrats don’t support… and they said so with 19% of them voting for Scott Brown in the Massachusetts special election last week. As the Sunday shows pointed out yesterday, 75% of MA voters polled “want Scott Brown to work WITH Democrats on health care” to craft a new bill, not kill it entirely. And Brown himself, while opposing the Senate health care bill, NEVER criticized “Romney-care” (Massachusetts’ miserable, costly, fully-privatized public health care system), which Brown voted for. Nor did he come out in opposition to government-mandated health care.

I’ve mentioned before on here that I attended one of those Republican “Town Halls” last August… held in a funeral home… where the crowd was rabidly anti-government involvement in health care (yet equally protective of Medicare). Yet to my surprise, the guy calling me a “Commie” and accusing the president of “wanting to turn the country into Cuba” advocated (on his own, with no prompting from me) “simply opening up the existing Medicare system to everyone, rather than create a new government bureaucracy.” Simple. Easy to understand. People are already familiar with it, and Republicans have actually run ads and mailed (me) fliers vowing to protect it.

Keep It Simple, Stupid. Push through a bill “allowing ANYONE to buy into Medicare” using Budget Reconciliation (51 votes) and move on to concentrating on Jobs and The Economy. An entire year WASTED, with voters angrier than ever, with BOTH sides unhappy with the Frankenstein health care bill(s) coming out of Congress that promise to cover fewer and fewer people, full of sweet-heart deals that have turned the entire process into a laughing stock.

We keep hearing supporters say “pass anything” and “we’ll fix the problems later”. But the problems DON’T get fixed. This country turns “inefficiency” into major industries. We don’t fix the tax code, we build an entire industry around companies to file your taxes for you. We don’t reform health insurance billing practices, we create companies whose sole job it is is to handle Medical Billing. Even the internal combustion engine… a marvel of inefficiency with al its moving parts and dependency on dirty and increasingly rare fossil fuels… is functionally unchanged since its inception over 100 years ago. As long as someone profits from a particular inefficiency or loophole, there’ll be someone fighting to keep it. And with the recent horrendous Supreme Court ruling giving corporations… many of them foreign owned… near unlimited power to influence our elections, rest assured wasteful, costly, bureaucratic health care reform, once installed, will remain unchanged for decades to come.

If you’re comfortable with “fixing the problems later”, you shouldn’t have a problem with the “Medicare buy-in” proposal. Sure it doesn’t cover “everyone” right away, only “those who can afford it”, but currently, neither do the bills in either the House or Senate (including recent talk of stripping “pre-existing coverage requirements” from “all” down to just “children“). But the bill with the greatest chance of bringing those costs down sooner rather than later is the Medicare buy-in. The bill that is likely to see the LEAST Conservative opposition and the most support among Republican voters is the “buy-in”. The infrastructure is already in place. The bill can be passed in time for President Obama’s State of the Union on Wednesday, and he can then move on to focusing on jobs and the economy like most voters feel he needs to.

An entire year wasted. Another 3 million jobs lost since the inauguration one year ago, and the number of angry voters on the rise rather than the decline.

Another example of bureaucracy getting in the way of simple solutions: using the Stimulus to create Green jobs. The money isn’t being spent and much of which is being spent is being wasted. Instead, people hear about “bailing out Wall Street” while “Goldman/Sachs hands out $16.2 Billion in bonuses“. And they’re getting angry. Angry voters don’t re-elect incumbents.

Here’s a KISS idea: spend part of the Stimulus to “green-ify” millions of Federal office buildings across the United States. Solicit a contract for 5 million hybrid postal delivery vehicles that only (the struggling) U.S. automakers can bid on. Create tens of thousands of new “Green jobs” literally overnight… jobs that develop skills that workers can take to their next job. Building infrastructure that will return value to the country for decades to come while saving the government money on energy costs, all while helping the environment. Simultaneously forcing Republican opponents to campaign against the government creating jobs… that’ll go over with voters like peanutbutter-tunafish-pudding come November… or… seeing the obvious disadvantage to such opposition, might actually result in Republicans voting FOR spending Stimulus funds to create jobs. Imagine that! The bi-partisanship President Obama so deeply craves finally satisfied! But, even if they don’t, this too can be pushed through with just 51 votes using “budget reconciliation”. (And if you’re one of those people concerned with the abuse of “budget reconciliation” by its over use, I direct you to THIS GRAPH.)

It’s all just a matter of “keeping it simple”. Because no one likes “complexity”. When people are frustrated, the majority always loses because they have more seats to lose. It’s not a “rejection” of Democratic policies as much as a demonstration of “frustration” with the lack of progress.

If there’s one lesson President Obama should take away from the Scott Brown victory in MA, it’s Keep It Simple, Stupid! It worked for Albert Einstein!
 


UPDATE: New petition added (see link on left): Create tens of thousands of green jobs that build new job skills for less than the cost of one bank bailout. Isn’t this how we all thought the Stimulus was going to be spent in the first place?


 


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Might Coakley’s Loss Become a Democratic Victory?
Jan 20th, 2010 by Admin Mugsy

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January 20th. A Democratic win with the inauguration of President Obama, and one year later, the loss of a key Democratic seat in the Senate. Arguably, two victories for frustrated Democrats.

Liberals like myself have been frustrated by President Obama’s inexplicable need to court Conservatives to pass health care reform with 60 votes in the Senate. The result has been compromise after compromise, a watering down of any true health insurance reform while making unconscionable backroom deals with the likes of Bill Nelson and Joe Lieberman, while the most simple and effective solution: “Medicare for all” was all but ignored in a desperate attempt to reach 60 votes.

On ABC’s “This Week” last Sunday, guest panelist Tucker Carlson (sans bowtie) repeated the Conservative meme that “Democrats in the Senate have 60 votes. Everything that comes out of Washington… they own it.” Of course, this is absolute nonsense (as I’ve repeatedly pointed out), with Lieberman and the Blue Dogs (not a pop music group) obstructing every vote, Democrats have had no more than 52-53 reliable Progressive votes to pass anything. Meanwhile, Conservatives have turned being an “obstructionist” into an art form.

And now with no chance of achieving 60 votes for anything, maybe President Obama will FINALLY give up on trying to get 60 votes for everything, and pass health care reform with a STRONG public option using “budget reconciliation” (requiring only 51 votes).

MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell, filling in for Keith Olbermann on “Countdown”, suggested that a win for Brown could seriously screw up the GOP’s mid-term election agenda. Why? Because they hope to run on “repealing” everything passed by the Democratically controlled congress… healthcare, tax increases, etc. And how do you run on “repeal” if the programs never pass to begin with?

Losing Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat, a seat that he held for over 40 years, to a Republican so soon after his death is seriously disappointing, but the fact candidate Chris Brown ran from the label “Republican” like a GOP leper colony, not even using the word on his website, demonstrates that the label “Republican” is still toxic in parts of the country. Voters may be frustrated with Democrats, but Brown’s “win” isn’t exactly a victory for Republicans (though, of course, they’ll try their best to spin it that way… aided by the MSM… for weeks to come.)


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When did “Republican” become this nations fall-back position?
Jan 11th, 2010 by Admin Mugsy

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It’s 2010, an “election year”, and as the Sunday News Shows were “eager” to point out, “two prominent Democratic Senators are retiring, Chris Dodd (CT) and Byron Dorgan (ND)”. Suddenly, the Democrats “Super-Majority” is in question. Really? As DNC Chairman Tim Kaine pointed out on several shows Sunday morning, while two Democratic Senators are retiring, SIX Republican senators are retiring. Did the pundits ask if Republicans were worried about becoming even more marginalized than they already are? No. They simply noted how “historically”, the party that retakes the White House “typically” loses seats in the following mid-term election.

So, naturally, after huge Democratic wins in 2006 and 2008 because Republicans were driving this country into a ditch, the country must be ready to “give up” on Democrats because they haven’t undone the monumental damage of the past 8 years in just three. Why? “Because history shows us”. Ignore the fact that a Republican president with Republican Congress doubled the national debt in just six years (after being handed a balanced budget), mired the country in two Trillion-dollar wars with no exit strategy, created an economy that was shedding over 700,000 jobs and 1000 stock-points a month by the time Bush left office less than one year ago, and then dumped the entire mess in the lap of Barack Obama and the Democratic Congress… ignore all that because “history shows us” that the country typically turns back to the people they voted out en masse to bail them out just two years into a new presidency.

Republicans are the Party that dug this hole we’re in. And now that we’re finally starting to see the top and almost out, are we really going to reach out to the guys with the shovels to pull us out? And yet somehow, the “Media” keeps telling us “this is a center-Right nation” (despite all evidence to the contrary) and when Democrats “fail” to fix everything overnight, the country will naturally gravitate back to the Republican Party.

How did “Republican” become this country’s “fall back” position in elections? It has seemed to me for quite a while that voters are very quick (too quick imho) to give Republicans the benefit of the doubt and have very little patients with Democrats. Yet, as CNN’s Chris Mathews so delicately pointed out last week, “What has the Republican Party done for the country in the last 20 years?” (cue: crickets).

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Ronald Reagan quadrupled the national debt in his eight years from $1T when he came in to $4T when he left. Bush-41 added another $1T in his four years. Clinton, for all his *personal* faults, shrank the debt, balanced the budget and left a surplus. “Dubya” then turned that surplus into the biggest deficit in history and more than *doubled* the National Debt by adding another $5T to it in under seven years. And now, all the Republican “teabaggers” screaming about “spending” never said “boo” in the eight years Bush-43 and the (six year) Republican controlled Congress ran up all this debt and destroyed the economy. Add to that his violations of the Constitution, warrantless wiretaps, “free-speech zones” and suspension of Habeas Corpus for American citizens, only to have these same Republicans apoplectic, claiming President Obama wants to turn this country into “the Soviet Union” because he wants to reform health insurance. One bright spot in this economy? Gun sales. All the gun nuts are stockpiling as many weapons as they can get their hands on “before President Obama tries to take their guns away” despite not introducing one single piece of gun control legislation since taking office. In fact, “gun control” was not even discussed on the campaign trail if memory serves. But you know who WAS a threat to gun ownership? George W. Bush and his “Patriot Act” that gave the government the right to invade your home without a warrant and seize your property… including/especially guns… without telling you they’ve done so or even providing you with a way to get them back. That seems very much like the kind of thing they accuse Democrats of wanting to do. But a Democrat didn’t do it, a Republican did. And did you see huge angry mobs of NRA members picketing the White House protesting the Bush Administration? No, of course not. Because (to them), President Bush “was one of them”.

And now, some people are actually considering putting Republicans back in power to undo the damage they themselves caused? How stupid are we?

It wasn’t always this way. When the economy collapsed in 1929 in the wake of rampant real-estate speculation with no regulation (sound familiar?), it elected Franklin Roosevelt, a Progressive Democrat, in 1932 to undo the damage. Four years later, in 1936, the economy was still a mess. Double-digit unemployment, people standing in soup-lines, but did the nation rush back to the Republican Party to rescue them? No, they re-elected FDR because they saw signs of progress. By the end of FDR’s second term (1940), The Great Depression was over (I hope to post video proof of this in coming weeks) and the country was strong enough to fight two wars (Germany & Japan) following the attack on Pearl Harbor nearly two years later.

But today, now that President Obama hasn’t undone 28 years of Conservative mayhem in just 12 months, we’re taking polls on whether people are ready to rush back to the people that created this mess in the first place??? The pundits argue that with huge majorities in both the House & Senate, everything that comes out of Washington is entirely the Democrats doing and Republicans are blameless.

As I’ve pointed out on here before, Democrats really haven’t had a “super-majority”. Between the 6 Conservative “blue-dogs” that vote like Republicans on taxes, healthcare, and stimulus spending, plus GOP mole Joe Lieberman who sits in on DNC meetings so he can then report back to his RNC masters everything that was said, at best Democrats have had only 52-53 semi-reliable Progressive votes in the Senate. And the lack of the classic “stand-up filibuster” means every vote of consequence now requires an unconstitutional 60 vote super majority (interesting link. It’s to a 2003 WSJ op/ed accusing Democrats of abusing the filibuster to block Supreme Court nominee Miguel Estrada. My how times change. – UPDATE: Mother Jones just released an article on the unconstitutionality of the sit-down filibuster.) RNC Chairman Michael Steele is currently promoting his new book subtitled: “12 Steps to Defeating the Obama Agenda”. Yes, Steele really did use an “Alcoholics Anonymous” metaphor to describe the Republican Party. And yes, the book is all about how “The Party of ‘No'” needs to say “No” more often rather than offer an alternative positive agenda of their own.

I ask again… how did “Republican” become this nations fall-back position?
 

Postscript: Because it is such an amazing example of Republican hypocrisy as well as an incredibly insightful piece of journalism, and has some bearing on what I’ve been saying above, this recent expose from The Rachael Maddow Show should serve as a clear reminder why we don’t want these people back in control of the government again:
 


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Stating the Obvious: Terrorist Activity Has Risen in Sync with Troop Increases in Afghanistan
Jan 4th, 2010 by Admin Mugsy

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Sometimes, someone just needs to point out the obvious: As the number of troops in Afghanistan has gone up, so has terrorism.

The past two weeks, we’ve seen a marked increase in the amount of terrorist activity focused on the U.S.. There was of course the Underwear bomber on Christmas Day on a plane from Amsterdam bound for Detroit.

A week later on December 31st, the Taliban killed seven CIA agents using a suicide bomber posing as a possible informant.

Last Friday (January 1st) someone drove a car filled with explosives onto the football (soccer) field in Pakistan during a match, killing 88 and wounding 50 more.

Casualties in Afghanistan have skyrocketed since U.S. troop levels have increased. President Obama sent an additional 20,000 troops to Afghanistan last March and 30,000 more in November. The result: a dramatic rise in the number of targeted suicide attacks against the United States and its allies.

Meanwhile, as American troops depart Iraq, the number of U.S. troops killed there has plummeted to its lowest level since the war began, with “only” 150 American troops killed in all of 2009. December was the first month since the Iraq War began to have ZERO U.S. casualties. Meanwhile, the number of U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan saw its highest number ever last year: 319, more than double the year before (155)… which hasn’t happened since 2005 (when the number of those K.I.A. jumped from 52 in 2004 to 99 in 2005 – see previous link for data.)

Hmm. Maybe Iraq WASN’T “the central front in the War on Terror”?

When the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan were below 10K and the Taliban were slowly reclaiming the country, Republicans were preparing a victory party. Last September, it was determined the Taliban now has a PERMANENT presence in more than 80 percent of the country (pdf map).

A tiny group of insurgents don’t control 80% of a country the size of California without attracting new recruits. And THAT is where the Obama military policy in Afghanistan has failed. Last September, I wrote here on how a “non-military counter insurgency strategy” was the ONLY way to achieve victory in Afghanistan. Violence only serves as a recruiting tool for the other side, and they can recruit soldiers far faster than we can kill them. You don’t defeat an insurgency by creating martyrs. You win by depriving them of willing recruits. Give them reason to prefer you over your enemy. Where they offer only war & death, you build roads, and school houses, and hospitals. How many Afghan farmers could you subsidize for the cost of one Predator Drone ($3.2 million dollars)?

Again, just stating the obvious: the recent rise in terrorist activity is a direct result of the increased American troop presence in Afghanistan. Is there ANYONE that would dispute that? And yet, it seems like it needs to be said. The only question is: Will the Obama Administration recognize this simple fact and respond with a dramatic change in strategy for 2010, or will they follow “the Bush Game Plan” of sending in more and more troops until they can just hand the whole mess off to the next Administration?

POSTSCRIPT: Just a random thought that crossed my mind last week: If the Underwear Bomber was promised his “72 virgins” in the afterlife, just what did he plan on doing with them after blowing his junk to kingdom-come? <chuckle>

Also, while Mugsy’s Rap Sheet is a labor of love, it does not receive enough visitors each day to qualify for any of the prominent Progressive Advertising Webrings (ads that link sites). While I could sign up to include “generic” advertising via “Google Ad-Sense”, etc, I’ve resisted so far because I would have almost no control over the types of ads that would appear on this site (including Conservative advertising for agendas I oppose). So instead, I’ve willingly covered the small expense of hosting this blog and all the work that goes into it out of my own pocket & free time. But, times being what they are, the allure of recouping part or all of my expenses by allowing a few ads on this site is attractive. But since it is you, dear reader, that must look at them, I’ll leave it up to you:

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Thanks. I’ll rerun the poll till the end of the month. You’ll know what the results were if you start seeing ads on this site come February. 🙂
 

UPDATE: (Regarding last week’s review of my predictions for 2009: I am reminded by “Crook’s & Liars” that Attorney General Eric Holder DID investigate accusations of torturing detainees held in U.S. custody, so I’m upgrading this prediction to “partial” and giving myself credit.)
 


 

Please REGISTER to post comments or be notified by e-mail every time this Blog is updated! Firefox/IE7 users can use RSS for a browser link that lists the latest posts!
WRITERS WANTED – Keeping this blog current can be a bigger job than for just one person. “Mugsy’s Rap Sheet” is looking for VOLUNTEER guest writers to contribute to our blog to help make it worth visiting more than once a week. To contact us, please send an email to the address on our About Us page along with a sample and/or link to your writing skills. – Mugsy


 

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