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Anyone else remember why gas hit $4 in ’08? It was saber-rattling over Iran’s nukes.
Feb 27th, 2012 by Admin Mugsy

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War is a Racket

I find the short memory of the average voter endlessly frustrating. The Bush Presidency was an unmitigated disaster, from a DOW that had plunged over 1,000 points by September 10th, 2001; the refusal of the Bush Administration to focus on al Qaeda until it was too late; to the Iraq War itself launched under false pretenses, plunging an already weak economy over the cliff. Yet, three short years after Bush’s departure, the idea that we might launch ANOTHER needless preemptive war against a country three times the size of Iraq over suspicions that Iran might be developing “weapons of mass destruction” seems absolutely insane. Republicans are suddenly in a tizzy over “rising gas prices” and making hay over the possibility that we “might see $5/gallon gasoline by this Summer”. Where were they four years ago when gasoline… which hadn’t EVER broken $2/gallon before Bush… was on the brink of breaking $4/gallon in 2008? And just why DID gas hit $4/gallon by July of that year? Because President Bush had spent the better part of a year saber-rattling about possible military action against Iran. First, in 2007, it was because “Iran was meddling in the Iraq War”:
 

Failing to rally war-weary Americans into supporting another mindless preemptive war, President Bush then turned to fear-mongering over “Iran developing a ‘nukeular’ program”:

Bush Administration hyping the threat of Iran pursuing nuclear weapons…

Bush remains hawkish over Iran’s nuclear program. – Dec 4, 2007
US: “No confidence” Iran’s nuclear program peaceful. – Feb 22, 2008
IAEA to probe alleged Iranian nuclear weapons. – Mar 3, 2008
EU Widens Iran Sanctions, Shuts Bank Melli’s European Offices. – June 23, 2008
U.S. strike may delay, not stop Iran nuclear program. – June 25, 2008

…Gas hits a record high of $4.11/gallon on July 14, 2008.

US changes tack on Iran, giving diplomacy a chance. – July 17, 2008
U.S. fails to sway Iran at 7-nation nuclear talks. – July 20, 2008

(While President Bush was threatening military action over “Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons”: U.S. report says Iran halted nuclear weapons program in 2003. – Dec 3, 2007.)

By June, President Bush had convinced Europe to take part in sanctions against Iran until they halted their nuclear enrichment program. The following month, oil hit the previously unfathomable height of $147/barrel on July 11, 2008. Consider that:

On September 12, 2001, crude oil closed at $29 a barrel… the day after the attacks of 9/11. While the U.S. Stock & Mercantile markets may have been closed in the U.S., the rest of the world went on without us. The price of oil rose only slightly, up just $1.55 from the day before. Oil has now risen an additional $100 a barrel since 9/11.

If you were a Republican, you might stop there and exonerate President Bush by blaming current oil prices on “9/11”. But exactly 18 months later on March 11, 2003, the price of oil had climbed a mere $9 to just $37 a barrel a little over a week before the invasion of Iraq. 9/11 had NOTHING to do with the meteoric rise in gas prices that we see today.

Mugsy’s Rap Sheet, May 21, 2008

By 2008, I noticed a new trend among all the gas stations in my neighborhood. Digital signs. Gas prices had been climbing so fast and frequently, changing the plastic numbers on the marque was becoming a full-time job. Today, finding a station that still uses the old plastic numbers changed by hand is almost a novelty. So to hear Republicans today whine about gas prices that are still 50cents a gallon lower than they were six months before Bush left office is like fingernails on a chalkboard.

And that’s another thing: All these people (Republicans and Media alike) noting that “gas was just $1.79/gallon when Bush left office”… like that’s where it had been all eight years of Bush’s presidency. As I noted, gas prices hit a record $4.11/gallon just six months earlier, nearly doubling in price climbing $2/gallon in just 18 months. President Bush quickly stopped saber-rattling against Iran just long enough for oil prices to plummet 52%… and gas prices along with it… in time for the November election (having the Democratic Party presidential nominee and likely 2008 winner suggesting we TALK to Iran certainly didn’t hurt.)

Ronald Reagan’s former Budget Director David Stockman made the same observation on CNN last week:

As Stockman points out, the reason gas prices are as high as they are right now has nothing to do with the “supply” of oil and everything to do with “speculators” on Wall Street, driving up the price of oil regardless of output/availability. We used to require that people who purchased “Commodities” (like corn, cotton, wheat or oil) on the Mercantile Exchange prove they can actually take possession of the commodities they are buying. Not so today. Today, any ignorant Day-Trader living in a 1-bedroom apartment can buy 100 barrels of crude oil, “speculating” on the price, hoping to make a quick profit, driving up the price without regard for the impact on the economy.

I leave you with this:

“It is a particular sort of triumph that bankers have made the word “speculation” synonymous with “adventure”. – Charles Dickens’ “Nicholas Nickleby” – 1839


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Iranian Banking Scandal currently threatening leadership. War would be gift from GOP to Tehran. (UPDATED)
Feb 20th, 2012 by Admin Mugsy

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Change will come to IranDid you know that there is currently a HUGE banking scandal taking place in Iran? I actually had to watch the local English-language Chinese news network to learn this little tidbit (I watch British “BBC World News” every weekday and the Network News every evening, and yet this is the first I’ve heard of it. Perhaps it’s the first you’ve heard of it too?) The same chicken-hawks that hurried us into a war with Iraq nine years ago are now rushing us to “bomb-bomb-bomb Iran” because they think they are on the verge of developing a nuclear weapon. And the only thing holding back Israeli President Netanyahu from launching a unilateral airstike on the nation is President Obama telling him to “give sanctions a chance”. In a scandal that sounds all-too familiar here in the U.S., Israeli newspaper Haaretz.com is reporting:

“Thirty-two people suspected of involvement in a multi-billion dollar banking fraud with alleged links to the government of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have gone on trial in Tehran, the Iranian state news agency reported.

The record embezzlement case revolves around forged documents allegedly used by the directors of the Amir Mansour Arya Investment Company to secure loans totaling $2.6 billion dollars to buy state-owned companies under the government’s privatization scheme.

Misappropriation of government funds by some well-connected political insiders to purchase government owned businesses/land/property that were being “privatized” and sold off in no-bid contracts? Replace every reference to “Iran” and “Ahmadinejad” with “Wall Street” and “Bush”, and you’ve got yourself a headline ripped right from of the 2008 New York Times.

The Iranian government… particularly President Ahmadinejad himself… is in the middle of a HUGE financial scandal right now that could topple the current Iranian regime. This story… though current… isn’t new, breaking last September (ibid first link), and apparently has been consuming the airwaves over there ever since. Yet our own media has been completely mum. The people there are STILL furious over the apparent stolen election in 2009 that had THOUSANDS protesting in the streets. The LAST thing anyone should be thinking about right now is bombing Tehran and sending patriotic Iranians fleeing back into the waiting arms of the Ayatollah’s. Yet, if the GOP had its way, that’s exactly what they’d have us do, launching airstrikes tomorrow. In response to any military build-up in the region, Iranian ships would likely then start mining the Straights of Hormuz so that no oil gets in or out, causing oil prices to skyrocket and the world economy to crash.

The very fact that we even KNOW about this scandal is an incredible sign of the change (and political in-fighting) going on in Iran right now. In the past, any news story critical of the government would of been quickly & quietly swept under the rug. A media blackout would of been issued and no one would be the wiser.

Just think of the opportunity that now lies before us. The people are in open revolt of their leadership as unemployment in Iran tops 13.2%, and economic sanctions threaten to push that to 14.1% later this year. The Iranian people are STILL fuming over their stolen election in 2009, and the guy they tried to vote out two years ago has now been tied to: a massive banking scandal, embezzlement, a privatization scheme, and crony Capitalism. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to see the “Occupy” movement reach Tehran sometime this year.

Between sanctions already in place due to their leaders’ needless nuclear profligating, compounded by a financial scandal that has reached the heights of the Iranian government, we could see an “Arab Spring” reach Tehran by this Summer. OR we could bomb Iran into the stoneage the way these Conservative hawks want us to and see the coming change in Iran reverse course, with the people rallying around their corrupt leadership, urging them to develop nuclear weapons at an even faster pace to protect them from Israel and the U.S., while Ahmadinejad and The Ayatollahs get to say, “See! We told ya so! Trust us to protect you!” I couldn’t imagine a greater disaster than squandering such an incredible opportunity simply to appease the same impatient chicken-hawks that gave us Iraq and $4 a gallon gas four short years ago.

My learned “mistrust of Republicans” can’t help but wonder if the reason the Hawks are in such a hurry to bomb Iran is BECAUSE they see an Iranian “Arab Spring” on the horizon, so we need to bomb now before any spontaneous revolution gives Obama another foreign-policy coup, if we’re going to jack up the price of oil and cause an economic meltdown, transforming Obama’s presidency into “Jimmy Carter Redux” in time for the November election. Or is that being too cynical?
 
PS: It bears mentioning that Saudi Arabia and the surrounding Middle Eastern nations ALSO have a vested interest in Iran NOT obtaining a nuclear weapon and swinging the balance of power in the region. Add to that, Iranian parliamentary elections are due in March, with their presidential election next year, so expect more revelations by Ahmadinejad’s opponents as their election grows near. This isn’t Checkers, folks; it’s 3D Chess. Patients.

(UPDATE: Iranians went to the polls on March 1st. These comments in a CBS News report on the subject caught my eye:

Iran’s supreme leader urged Iranians to vote in large numbers as the country held parliamentary elections Friday, saying a high turnout would send a strong message to the enemies of the nation amid the nuclear standoff with the West.

CBS News correspondent Elizabeth Palmer reports that more than 3,000 candidates are running in the current elections – but all of them are conservatives. The liberal opposition that blossomed so dramatically in 2009 has since been crushed. Its activists are deep underground – and its leaders under house arrest.


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How do I know the election’s over? Because CPAC was obsessed with social issues not jobs.
Feb 13th, 2012 by Admin Mugsy

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Happy Valentine's DayLast week was the annual CPAC… “Conservative Political Action Conference”… held in D.C. each year. The very existence of CPAC is a testament to Conservative’s innate paranoia and feelings of inadequacy. Conservatives feel the need to get together each year and make a big show of Conservatism in America because if people don’t SEE a bunch of Conservatives all in one place praising Conservatism, then it doesn’t exist. Notice there is no “LPAC” on the Left where political heavyweights, mega-donors and Liberal Captains of Industry (like Warren Buffet, George Soros, and even Bill Gates to some degree) all getting together to cheerlead Progressive politics & policies. Republicans think they have to because “the Librul Media”, “Secular Progressives”, and “Hollywood” are all carrying water for the Democrats by pushing Progressive ideals upon an unwilling populace. They try (desperately) to convince us that this is a “center Right country” despite the fact that a healthy number of self-identified Conservatives LIKE Ron Paul’s “Liberal” positions of ending the wars, cutting the military, and legalizing vices like drugs & prostitution… proving that this is in fact a “center LEFT” country, NOT “center-Right”. So to convince America that they are in fact “the majority” when they clearly are not, they get together and host this high-profile, big-money, over-the-top spectacle that is CPAC each year. And what was their topic du jour this year? “Social issues” like “contraception” and “gay marriage” (which George Carlin once astutely pointed out: “These two groups should be natural allies! Who has fewer abortions than homosexuals?”). In an all-important presidential election year, all CPAC could talk about were “Social issues” because THAT’S ALL THEY’VE GOT LEFT.

Not “jobs” or the “economy”, but whether the government has the right to force people to “take personal responsibility” (which was the GOP mantra back when THEY introduced health care mandates ten years ago) to do things that are in the best interest of society as a whole. Their big issue at this years’ CPAC was the Obama Administration’s recent decree that churches whom stray from simply preaching the Gospel and into private industries like hospitals and colleges that accept public health care dollars must actually provide the same health care benefits as other private businesses that employ people whom may not share their beliefs. Conservatives (whom I’ve already pointed out above are “paranoid” and suffer from a deep “inferiority complex”) think this is “yet another example of government overreach by Liberal Democrats.” For example, on yesterday’s “Meet the Press”, Rick Santorum thought it “absurd” that a Federal Appeals Court could declare a state’s Constitutional Amendment “unconstitutional”:
 

Santorum thinks declaring a state’s Constitutional Amendment “unconstitutional” is “absurd.”

 

One can’t help but wonder if Ricky would think it just as “absurd” if a Federal Court overturned a California Constitutional Amendment to ban guns? Declaring laws… even constitutional amendments… “unconstitutional”, is the very definition of what the Supreme Court does. Somehow, Ricky doesn’t know that… at least when it comes to hating on “teh gays”. Personally, not understanding that just because a state passes a “Constitutional Amendment” doesn’t automatically make it constitutional, should instantly disqualify one from running for president. But that’s just me.

And if the very idea of Conservatives all getting together in one place every year to reassure each other that they’re right and everyone else is wrong isn’t disturbing enough, we also have “White Nationalist” Peter Brimlow as an invited guest, noted Birthers, and even a group that waxes nostalgic for Apartheid, all being invited to speak at CPAC. The only thing worse might be if they invited a couple of obnoxious Fox “news” contributors to do their own racist rap song (yes, they did that too.)

The GOP has become virulently anti-immigrant (read: Mexican), anti-gay, anti-womens’ health, anti-poor & middle-class, pro-rich & Big Business, and just can’t seem to help themselves when it comes to equating “black” with “poor” while questioning the citizenship of the first black president. Who’s left to alienate?

Sorry Republicans, but NO ONE has EVER won the presidency on “Social issues” alone, relying almost solely on the support of racist white Evangelical voters, in the midst of an improving economy, with job numbers on the rise and unemployment on the decline. Not to mention a president that ended the war in Iraq, aided the ouster of Kadafy without the loss of one single American troop at the cost of a mere $1-Billion dollars, and got Osama bin Laden. People remember the astoundingly incompetent presidency we just left four short years ago: one that turned a budget surplus into a $1T annual deficit, as well as added $5T to the National Debt BEFORE Democrats even retook control of Congress, gave us $2.00, $3.00 & $4.00 gasoline for the first time in history that sucked so much money out of the economy that it nearly pushed us into a second “Great Depression”, and a banking crisis that required a 3/4 of a TRILLION dollar bailout of Wall Street that saw unemployment jump nearly three full points in the last 11 months. We remember. And if they think we’re going back to those disastrous policies just four short years later just as things have started to turn around simply because the president thinks women shouldn’t have to pay for birth control… you’re out of your freakin’ minds (which almost goes without saying.)
 

(Postscript: The latest buzz in the news is that unrest in Syria and the Middle East, coupled with Iranian threats to blockade the Straits of Hormuz over anti-nuke sanctions, could push gasoline prices up to nearly $5 a gallon. If we see another huge spike in gas prices again like we saw under Bush, it will again suck billions out of the economy and push unemployment WAY up. This is almost exactly what happened to Jimmy Carter his final year in office despite creating nearly 10.5 MILLION jobs in just four years. Russia responded to our grain-embargo of them for supporting Iran during The Hostage Crisis, with an oil embargo that sent gas prices way up and threw the country into a deep recession. Republicans have been trying to equate Obama with Carter almost from the day he took office, and the Republicans in Congress made no secret of their desire to make Obama a one-term president. Ensuring an economic catastrophe like this could very well be the only way they get a Republican back into the White House this November. President Obama would be wise to avoid seeing history repeat itself this Summer.)
 


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Romney destroys own argument on the economy (video).
Feb 6th, 2012 by Admin Mugsy

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Even the GOP assumes Obama will win re-electionThe Super Bowl just ended and the blog post I started writing this evening was already starting to read too much like a post I wrote last March right after the GOP retook the House. I couldn’t help but point out how Speaker Boehner has been going around with his prop laminated “job-creation” pamphlet claiming “The President refuses to pass any of their 30 job creation bills”. And Mitt Romney is traveling around the country telling anyone who will listen how President Obama has “made things worse”. Yet, as we get closer to the election, if things continue to improve, the GOP will try and take credit, mark my words. They will credit the 2011 GOP takeover of the House and gains in the Senate for the turn-around in the economy… even though they are going around making a point of how President Obama has NOT enacted “any” of their ideas and “refused to work with them”. Will the public fall for it? Not if I have anything to say about it. But I’ve already covered that topic, so instead I’ve decided to keep this weeks’ entry short. Here is my latest YouTube video. Clipped together from a recent episode of “The Rachel Maddow Show”, it’s a devastating comment by Romney that could put the nail in the coffin of his chances of ever becoming president:
 


 

Even better videos to come in the following year. I promise.

BTW: Fun fact, the last time a candidate from the opposing Party tried to unseat an incumbent President with an improving economy despite hitting 10.0% unemployment in his first year, was Walter Mondale in 1984. Mondale won just one state… his home state of Minnesota… and D.C.. And Reagan went on to become the patron Saint of his Party. Think about it.

(ADDENDUM: Almost on cue: Gov. Bob McDonnell on CNN says Economy is Recovering Because of What Republican Governors Are Doing, Not the President.)
 


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