Email This Post Email This Post

Mugsy’s Predictions for 2013. Fight, fight, fight.

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, December 31, 2012

Ominous 2013Well, as the cliche’ goes: “It’s that time of year again” for my annual “Predictions” edition of Mugsy’s Rap Sheet, when we look back at how well I did last year, a little schadenfreude examining just how badly the so-called “psychics” did, and ending with my own predictions for the coming year. My own record (with all humility) is incredibly good, averaging well above 50%. But I think my call on the Constitutionality of “ObamaCare” (see more below) will stand out for years to come. Off-election-year political predicting is more difficult because there are no races to call, and politicians are far more predictable in an election year. Conservatives pick fights over things they might otherwise have ignored, attempting to rile their base to score cheap political points. Democrats trade their spines in for Jell-O as they try to look like “the reasonable ones” by compromising on everything they way voters claim to want (but really don’t because Republicans have no respect for people that don’t stand up for their principles, while Liberals become infuriated by Democrats repeatedly caving-in to GOP blackmail.) 2012 was one wild ride with the election & all. And despite my confidence in my predicting ability, there were plenty of times when I thought I’d be lucky if I got even one prediction right. And while I missed my share this past year, I think my hits outweigh my misses. So without further ado:

My 2012 Scorecard (17 predictions):

  1. Correct!“President Obama will win reelection. Handily. I’d say by roughly the same margin he beat John McCain (around 5% of the popular vote).” President Obama’s Electoral Vote victory was 332 to Romney’s 206, with a popular vote margin of nearly 4-percent (even with widespread attempts at voter disenfranchisement.)
  2. Correct!Romney will be the GOP nominee. As noted, other candidates came and went during the 2011 Debates as Republicans desperately searched for “anyone but Romney”, but Romney always hovered in the top-3 while his competitors imploded around him. (Gingrich did give me a fright there momentarily when he came back a second time to win South Carolina. But thankfully, his enormous ego did him in again.)
  3. Correct! – A lack of enthusiasm for Romney will have an effect “down ballot”, with Democrats making big gains in the House and holding onto at least five seats in the Senate. My final “pick-up” totals might have been off, but that “enthusiasm gap” did indeed crash the GOP. Appalling “gerrymandering” of voting districts ensured the GOP lost only 6 seats in the House despite receiving 1.2-million fewer votes. In the Senate, Democrats won all but 1 out of 22 incumbent races and picked up two more for a 54/46 majority (including two independents.)
  4. inconclusiveThe “Arab Spring” uprisings will finally reach Iraq. A string of “Arab Spring” uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya all leading to the ouster of their corrupt leaders and historic political reform, followed by a series of protests in Iraq led me to believe that Iraq would likely follow. And while weary Iraqi’s did not overthrow their corrupt government over the continued violence and lack of services in 2012, hints of such protests did indeed surface on Friday (in just under the wire), so I’ve upgraded this miss to “inconclusive” because if it is the dawn of an “Arab Spring” in Iraq, it will have definitely started in 2012 as predicted. Only time will tell.
  5. WrongGas prices will hit a new record high momentarily next Summer. Mercifully, this is one prediction I don’t mind getting wrong. While gas prices did indeed hit record highs in parts of the country or for “that particular time of year”, the “National Average” peaked at $3.92 last March, never breaking the $4.10/gal record set under President Bush in July of 2008.
  6. WrongSyria’s King Assad won’t still be in power by the end of 2012. While I could rate this “Correct” on a technicality, I never expected him to hang on this long. The revolution in Syria had already begun in mid-2011, and by the end of 2011, the Arab League had already sent 60 Monitors into Syria to witness/prevent the reported slaughter of civilians. Other “Arab Spring” nations fell in only a matter of months. But shocking support from Russia & China, even vetoing the use of force against Assad in July as part of the UN Security Council, allowed him to cling to power all year. And Arab League observers were forced to retreat barely a month later after incidents of violence against some of their own people by Syrian troops. Recent appalling acts of genocide could pressure Russia and China into reconsidering their longtime support for Syria sometime in the coming year. We’ll see.
  7. WrongCharges of “racism” surrounding Ron Paul will hurt him badly in early primary states. – While Paul’s notorious racist history always lingered just beneath the surface, he never drew enough “mainstream” support to make it an issue. Nothing could shake Ron’s loyal “Revolution” devotees’ fawning adoration of him, and “racism” doesn’t make the Top-10 List of Concerns in Republican primaries searching for the old white guy that will rescue them from the nation’s first black president whose very place of birth they question. So it came as no surprise that Paul’s racist past had little to no impact on his campaign.
  8. Correct!With Gingrich & Perry failing to get on the ballot in the Virginia primary, Romney will win Virginia easily (but with low voter turnout); Gingrich will take the state to court while Perry simply drops out. The headline after the VA Primary: “Mitt Romney Wins Virginia Primary With Lethargic Voter Turnout”. I was right on the legal challenge but got the names reversed. Perry was the one to go to court, dropped out after losing and endorsed Newt Gingrich.
  9. WrongThe “99%” Movement gains strength. Obama hosts a “99%” rally while the GOP candidates host “Tea Party” rallies. While the “Occupy Wall Street” movement did indeed have a substantial impact on the election… most notably in response to Romney’s devastating ”47%” video… the President did not host/attend any OWS rallies, nor did the GOP candidates host any “Tea Party” counter rallies.
  10. Correct! Correct! Correct!The Supreme Court will declare “ObamaCare” Constitutional, citing the government’s power to tax, in a 5-4 split decision. On June 28th, the Supreme court ruled “The Affordable Care Act” constitutional. The deciding vote in a 5-4 split decision was cast by none other than Conservative Chief Justice Roberts (now THAT I didn’t predict!) who specifically cited the government’s power to “tax” as what made the “mandate” portion of the law legal. I’d call that prediction a slam dunk! I’m counting it as three.
  11. Correct!Someone will FINALLY get around to asking the GOP candidates that “if they repeal ObamaCare, what would they replace it with?” The idea of simply “just going back to the way things were” before Health Care Reform was finally recognized as unacceptable. Many sources did indeed start asking about the “replace” portion of the GOP’s call to “repeal & replace”, but this exchange on “Fox news Sunday” on June 30th particularly stood out.
  12. Correct!The return of soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan won’t strain the job market as much as expected, but in fact have a mini stimulative effect with the increase in consumer demand. The return of all troops from Iraq in December of 2011 and 33,000 troops from Afghanistan last September did not push the unemployment rate up as soldiers returned home looking for work. Economic growth continued to rise slowly but did not in fact contract.
  13. Correct!Unemployment will be under 8% in time for the election. The unemployment rate fell to 7.8% at the end of September, ticking up to 7.9% by the end of October, but indeed below 8.0% as predicted.
  14. Correct!Gitmo will still be in service by the time of the November election. Probably not the most difficult of predictions. Such issues have a way of falling onto the back burner when attentions are drawn elsewhere.
  15. Wrong.The planned removal of  23,000  33,000 additional troops from Afghanistan by September 2012 will hit a snag. Not much to say here. I expected protests in Iraq that never materialized, coupled with civil war in Syria to derail the withdrawal of “Surge” troops from Afghanistan. I should of had more confidence in President Obama.
  16. Correct!The London Olympic Summer Games will go off without a hitch. No violence, terror threats, or major disruptions of any kind.
  17.  
    And the “Should have quit while I was ahead” award goes to:
     

  18. Wrong.If Mitt Romney does win his Party’s nomination as predicted, Virgina Governor Bob McDonnell will be his running mate. A last minute prediction I tossed in just before midnight on December 31st. McDonnell was campaigning hard for the job, and probably would have been the pick if he hadn’t gone off the rails and pushed a ”mandatory vaginal ultrasound” law for rape victims seeking an abortion. I suppose he thought it would endear him to the whacked-out Evangelical Right, but instead made him the poster-boy for the GOP “War on Women”. Not even I could have seen that coming.

The final tally: 12 of 18 (I’m counting #10 as three) correct, 6 wrong and one “inconclusive”. 66%. That’s a heck of a lot better than I thought I’d do after Newt won South Carolina and McDonnell imploded. Even if you count #10 as just one prediction, I still scored an impressive 62.5%.

So let’s look at how the so-called “psychics” and Political Pundits did:

Psychic Blair Robertson, who claims to have predicted the 2011 Japanese earthquake (which is a bit like predicting snow in Winter), the plane crash that killed Polish president Lech Kaczynski (no link to original prediction provided, so no way to verify the claim), along with some unnamed Soccer and Oscar predictions, was touted as a psychic whose track record of “successful forecasts” demonstrates he has the ability to “see into the future”. Let’s see:

Mr. Robertson predicted:

…a GOP Presidential victory, major volcanic activity in the Northwest and a “good chance” of a large eruption (none of which occurred), the “bombing of a cruise ship” (which I expect Robertson will point to the “Costa Concordia” being run aground by its captain as fulfilling his prophecy of a ”cruise ship disaster”), North Carolina heavily damaged by storms in April, Jennifer Aniston will marry (nope), major riots in Miami and London, a train crash in Southern Europe caused by sabotage (nada)… okay, by this point, I’m just rubbing it in. Of Mr. Robertson’s 26 “psychic” predictions, only one came to pass (arguably): “a baby for the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge” (pregnancy but no birth yet). 1 for 26 (0.4% accuracy).

Here is a sample of predictions from Cable TV’s “well known Long Island psychic” Janet Russell for 2012 (excuse me for picking on her for a second year in a row, but how is she “famous”? She truly sucks as predicting. 0-for-20 over the past two years):

…more people will be forgiven for their [home] loans and will be able to forgo foreclosures (I found no such widespread movement).

…one state will be open to “alternative lifestyle” and people will move to that state because they feel more comfortable (actually, same-sex marriage was on the ballot in four states in 2012, and passed in support of gay marriage in all of them. No mass migration into those states was reported.)

…the government will admit that we do have contact with other beings in other dimensions. (Uh… no.)

Several other “psychics to the stars” predictions appear on that same page (ibid: “Janet Russell”). Of the 50 or so predictions listed, I’m not sure a single one came to pass.

But that’s Hollywood. How did our friends over at Fox “news” do?

A Fox list of “5 Medical Advances in 2012″ is interesting:

  1. Medicine gets closer to treating cancer with vaccines. – There was actually plenty of news in 2012 to grant this a bonafide “Correct”. Vaccine treatments for cervical, lung, and breast cancer were all announced in 2012.
  2. An anticipated “Malaria vaccine” did not pan out.
  3. Millions will breathe easier, thanks to new EPA air pollution Regulations. – Gotta give this one a “No”. A minor “Cross-State Pollution Rule” was passed in 2012 (no surprise) that even their own best estimate was that it would improve life for up to 820,000 in the region, not “millions”. I think Fox’s own unfounded belief that Obama is a ”regulation-crazy” president, played a part in that prediction.
  4. Many crucial drugs will become cheaper. – While a WSJ report claimed “Name-brand Drug Prices Rise, But Generics Get Cheaper”, with some generics falling as much as 22%, reading the Fox prediction, the basis for their prediction was that the price of many “name brand drugs” would fall as their patents ran out, while insurance companies (under ObamaCare, seeking maximum profit) would push doctors into prescribing cheaper generics. This did not happen, so I rate this prediction a ”No” as well.
  5. Legislation will make it easier to choose health insurance. – There really was no “new” legislation specifically to aid in “choosing” a health insurance provider, so this is another swing & a miss.

Five predictions; one right: 20%. The fewer predictions you make, the easier it is to get a high score. Make one prediction and if you’re right, you score 100%. But even with that in their favor, they still tanked.

But medicine really isn’t in Fox’s wheelhouse. How did their “political” predictions go? On the Christmas Day 2011 edition of “Fox news Sunday”:

  1. Steve Hayes of “The Weekly Standard” predicted: “It’s more likely than not that Republicans win the White House in 2012 (later, “Probably Mitt Romney”), win the Senate in 2012, [and] despite some good Democratic recruits, keep the House of Representatives.” – One for three there, Steve. And the other two weren’t even close. Go fish.
  2. Liz Marlantes of the CSM predicted an Obama reelection and Republicans holding onto the House, but Democrats only “narrowly hold onto the Senate” losing “at least three seats”. For the record, Democrats increased their margins in both the House and Senate.
  3. Susan Ferrechio of “The Washington Examiner” disagreed with Marlantes, predicting Republicans regaining control of the Senate for an “all-Republican Congress”, but losing the White House. (Amazing how many Republicans, even back then, were pessimistic about unseating Obama.)
  4. Charles Lane of “The Washington Post” refused to reveal his prediction for the winner of the election, but was willing to predict they would “win the Electoral vote but not the popular vote”. Maybe he should have revealed his pick because it’s clear to me he was expecting Obama to win, so he would of gotten at least ONE thing right. And sorry Chuck, but Obama won both votes handily… just as *I* predicted.
  5. Hayes also predicted “economic growth will be under 2.5 percent every quarter of 2012″, and “unemployment on Election Day of 8.5 percent” (seconded by panelist Liz Marlantes.). – Sorry Steve & Liz. Economic growth was 3.1 percent in the fourth quarter, and the unemployment rate was under 8 percent by election day (again, as *I* predicted.)
  6. Lane called a General Motors rebound looking “a little iffy right now”. – To be clear, General Motors saw its second straight year of “robust profits”, earning “$1.48-Billion dollars” in 2012, well above Wall Street expectations. Hang it up now, Chuck.

Okay, enough of that. Conservatives suck at predicting politics because their predictions always follow their own personal biases and ignore reality. It’s a waste of time to guess what Republicans think because they are so damned predictable themselves. Time for my “Predictions for 2013″:

  1. I can’t really make a prediction regarding whether or not we’ll go over the imaginary “Fiscal cliff” because Congress is likely voting on it as you read this on December 31st, so let me split my 1st prediction depending on whether a deal is struck or not:
       o If a deal is made before the clock expires that comes very close to what President Obama already wanted ($250K ceiling with no cuts to Social Security & Medicare), Republicans will have done so only because they intend to hold the “Debt Ceiling” hostage once again to get what they want when they think they’ll have more power… an astoundingly dangerous and irresponsible game, playing Russian Roulette with “the full faith & credit of the United States”. Too many Teanuts in Congress mistakenly believe the Debt Ceiling has something to do with future spending, and refusing to raise it somehow means we’ll be forced to “live within our means”, instead of an agreement to raise money to pay for past obligations already passed by Congress.
       o If a deal is struck with Democrats making wholly unnecessary concessions, President Obama will have fudged on the cutoff figure, possibly agreeing to raise his “$250K” ceiling to “$500K”. But since 20 Republicans in the House already rejected Speaker Boehner’s “Plan B” that set the ceiling at “$1-Million”, the likelihood they’ll agree to a much lower “$500K” ceiling seems unlikely. And no sane Democrat should be willing to accept that deal either. Not only would it be a bad deal that makes the entire point of this fight moot, producing lots of pain for very little gain, but voters have already sided with the president, blaming Republicans for the obstruction. Caving in to GOP Blackmail is pointless because Democrats could obtain almost everything they asked for if they just hold out for a couple of weeks.
       o If no agreement is made before midnight and we “go over the imaginary cliff”, that puts Democrats in the cat-bird seat. The Bush Tax Cuts will expire for everyone, and Democrats will then propose The Obama Tax Cut in the exact form proposed by the President during the 2012 campaign. Until that time, the Stock Market will quake a little for about a week (or wildly roller-coaster for a month or two until the new tax cut is passed). Democrats will dare Republicans to vote against a tax cut for 98% of Americans, and anyone that refuses will only be proving to the entire country just where their loyalty lies: protecting the rich at the expense of the Poor & Middle Class. Since Republicans will have no choice but to vote for The Obama Tax Cut, it’s an absolute certainty that they’ll hold the “Debt Ceiling” hostage once again to get the concessions they lost in the tax fight.

     
    Of the three options, I expect the second to be the most likely. Which brings us to #2:

    (Dec 31, 2012 Update: Senate agrees to a last-minute compromise with the tax-cut threshold pushed up to $450K with spending cuts postponed for two months… so the end result was basically a hybrid of the first two scenarios. We shall see if the inevitable “Debt Ceiling” fight… and now a fight over the “sequester” at roughly the same time… will be a “hybrid” as well.)
     

  2. IF Republicans play chicken with the Debt Ceiling” once again and take us down to the wire once more (and #3 below does not come top pass), President Obama won’t play that game a second time around. The moment it looks like the GOP’s hostage crisis might jeopardize our credit rating again (and cost us BILLIONS in interest on the money we barrow), President Obama will circumvent Congress and raise the Debt Ceiling all on his own, invoking The 14th Amendment. To say the GOP will have a conniption will be an understatement. Had the GOP of won control of the Senate, we would assuredly see another round of “impeachment hearings” as the GOP attempts yet another coup against the second Democratic president in a row (which would not have gone well with the public). Thank your lucky stars the GOP didn’t win control of the Senate in 2012. (Addendum: See #3 below.)
     
    Which leads us to #3:
     
  3. While I despise making predictions that will be proven right or wrong within a day or two, expect Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to hold true to his word and pass a rules change on day one of the new Congress to reform the filibuster. I think it unlikely he’ll get all the reforms he wants, with plenty of Senators concerned about “the slippery slope of 1st day rules changes passed with a simple majority”, but passing a simple agreement to force a “standing filibuster” (also known as a ”talking filibuster”) is almost certain to pass w/o much of a fight. With Republicans still in control of the House for another two years, and another shot at retaking the Senate in 2014 and changing the rules back, there really isn’t much of a downside for them. The GOP House will ensure Republican Senators don’t have to filibuster anything that draws public fire, and they get to look like the reasonable affable ones by agreeing to “those power-crazed Democrats”. And let’s pray I’m right because should that “Debt Ceiling” fight come to pass, the change in the filibuster may be the only thing standing between us and default. I’m trying to imagine the public response to seeing a single GOP Senator holding the Senate hostage for hours… even days… and it won’t be pretty, making the likelihood of an extended challenge less likely. (Addendum: If I’m right and the Rules Change comes to pass, there will likely be no need for the President to invoke the 14th, negating prediction #2.)

    UPDATE 1: Sen. Reid delayed voting on filibuster reform on the first day of the new (113th) Congress, calling for a ”recess” rather than an ”adjournment” so that upon their return in three weeks, the Senate will still in its opening session.

    UPDATE 2 (1/24/13): In a move that has shocked Democrats, Reid has agreed to only mild changes to the filibuster rule, but otherwise leaves all of the GOP’s obstructive powers intact. When asked for an explanation, Reid said that he “didn’t feel it was time to get rid of the filibuster. But that argument does not wash since none of the proposed rules changes would have actually “abolished” the filibuster.

  4. Election Reform: Despite what President Obama said in his victory speech last November, since 2013 is not an election year, I wouldn’t expect much in the way of Election Reform this year… which is a shame because NON-election years are the best time to tackle the problem. More time to implement changes, and less paranoia on the Right over what those changes will do (everything from “helping ACORN… which went defunct in 2010… steal the election” to “helping illegal aliens vote”). I’ve finally come around in support of abolishing the Electoral College. I didn’t (and still don’t) like the idea that candidates can ignore less populated areas and simply focus all their efforts on big cities, but baldfaced attempts by the GOP to gerrymander electoral votes by district despite receiving over a million fewer votes in the House nationally, and an insane amount of focus on just one state (Ohio) deciding our election, I’m finally convinced that it is time for it to go. It’s a moot point, but I’m predicting little to no action on Election Reform in 2013. Damn shame too.
  5. The Unemployment Rate: Hmm, that’s a tricky one. Again, it depends on the “Fiscal Cliff” and “Debt Ceiling” votes. If the votes go (arguably) smoothly, I expect unemployment to be very close to 6.9% by the end of the year (give or take 3/10ths of a point). If however these votes become a long and protracted fight that drives the Stock Market nuts, it’s going to be very close to where it was in October (7.8%, give or take 3/10ths of a point.)
  6. Afghanistan: People are already asking, “why are we still there?” and the “Debt Ceiling” debate will thrust the cost of the war into the spotlight. I’m predicting that towards the end of the year, the idea of waiting another full year “until the end of 2014″ to bring our troops home will become increasingly unpopular, with calls to end the war in Afghanistan… if not by the end of 2013… then by early 2014 at the latest.
  7. Gas prices: Unlike during the Bush years where a stream of never-ending chaos kept the Middle East in turmoil for nearly a decade, President Obama has shown his desire not to rock-the-boat in the Middle East. Stability aids recovery. And gas prices go up FAR more easily than they go down. Gasoline over $3.00/gal is the new normal. Assuming nothing insanely stupid takes place like an Israeli attack on Iran sometime next year, expect gas prices to remain close to where they are today, hovering in the $3.50/gal range by years end.
  8. As such, I’ll also predict no U.S. or Israeli missile strike on Iran in 2013. I honestly don’t think Iran is suicidal. They may even be willing to negotiate in response to their devastated economy resulting from current sanctions. (This is a much easier prediction to make after Bill ”The Bloody” Kristol predicted yesterday a  U.S. or Israeli airstrike on Iran next year.)
  9. Syria and Assad: Dangerous territory for me, since I (incorrectly) predicted last year that he would no longer still be in power by year’s end, not foreseeing Chinese and Russian support for Assad. So with that in mind, the only thing left is for the Syrian people to overthrow Assad on their own, which would be a Herculean task. However, now that we know the score, expect the Assad regime to be “economically starved out of power”, with opposing countries refusing to do business with him, and commencing all business with a parallel government formed by the Syrian opposition. Seen as irrelevant, Assad will be left with no choice by to step down voluntarily from a meaningless “Presidency in name only”.
  10. The DOW: On December 28th, the last day of trading in 2012, the DOW closed at 12,938.11 (down 158 points on Friday, but was averaging above 13,000), up less than 1,000 points over 2011. But, assuming we avoid a nasty drawn-out debate over the “Debt Ceiling” and no missile strikes on Iran jacking up oil prices, a relatively stable economic situation means better-than-average economic growth in 2013. Expect the DOW to be up over 14,500 by the end of 2013.
  11. They say when the U.S. economy sneezes, the world catches cold. The reverse is also true. Positive economic growth in America will mean the first signs of economic recovery in Europe, particularly the hard-hit countries of Greece & Spain. Of course, a protracted debate over the “Debt Ceiling” would only help destabilize the world economy. With so much at stake, and while there is NO doubt in my mind the GOP is going to threaten to hold the “Debt Ceiling” hostage once again, I don’t think President Obama will let it get that far again. So I repeat my prediction for the first signs of economic recovery in some of the hardest-hit countries in Europe (and Conservatives will credit “Austerity” for their recovery.)
  12. Is 2013 the year we’ll see some serious Immigration reform? Don’t bet your Aunt Fanny on it. Will we see some “token” reform(s)? Yes. With the 2012 election still fresh in the GOP’s memory, and a recognition that they need to do damage-control with Hispanic voters, Republicans will agree to one or two minor changes in our immigration laws that poll well with Latino voters, but the Republican’s instincts (and deathly fear of offending their Redneck base) will win the day, making sure little to nothing substantial takes place in this non-election year. The time to gild-the-Lilly is in an election year, when pandering is most likely to help them at the polls. So, no, don’t expect much in the way of Immigration Reform this year.
  13. And finally, do Democrats finally pass an Assault Weapons Ban or pass meaningful restrictions on the amount of damage they can do (like limiting clip size)? This will be an ugly fight, so let’s pray Harry Reid does indeed pass filibuster reform, but yes, I do expect Democrats to pass something similar to the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban in 2013. Early on, many Republicans will express “support” for new gun laws, but when they don’t get their way on some “conditions” (eg: an armed guard in every school but with no explanation how to pay for it), the final vote will split almost straight down Party lines, passing with a few (less than 5) Republican votes in the Senate and maybe 20 in the House.

And that’s my list of 13 predictions for 2013. Seems appropriate, doesn’t it? 13 for ’13? Completely coincidental I assure you. This year is going to be a toughy. So much depends upon things that happen in just the first few days, I could be either incredibly accurate or incredibly wrong by this time next year. We’ll see. I encourage you to add your own predictions in the Comments below.

Postscript: How do you like the new look? Not sure I see myself sticking with it for a year or two if I can’t tweak it a bit more. We’ll see. Thumbs up or thumbs down?

 


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

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

 

Share
Filed in Economy, Environment, General, Guns & Violence, Healthcare, Jobs, Middle East, Money, Partisanship, Politics, Predictions, Taxes, Unconstitutional, War December 31st, 2012 by Admin Mugsy | • 3 comments | Add/View

Email This Post Email This Post

The NRA, Rampant Gun Violence, and Scapegoats

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, December 24, 2012

Guns don't kill people, movies do.On Friday, the head of the largest “lobbying firm for the promotion of gun sales” in the country (otherwise known as the “NRA”), Wayne LaPierre (who henceforth shall be referred to only as “GunNut” in accordance with my policy of not making celebrities out of mass murderers) blamed everyone & everything… EXCEPT guns… for the deaths of 26 people (technically, 28) children & teachers in a Connecticut school exactly one week earlier, blaming “violent movies & Video-games”. This is following several of his fellow Right-Wing lunatics blaming “the lack of God in our classrooms” for the deaths in Sandy Hook, not a mentally unstable kid’s access to a semi-automatic rifle and multiple 30-round magazines.

The whole debate over “arming teachers” and scapegoating “secularism” & “video games” strikes home for me in three very direct ways: 1) I worked as a substitute teacher and teachers aide for years, 2) I’m an Agnostic that has seen my share of “pious” idiots claiming moral superiority while treating other people like crap, threatening violence, swearing like Merchant Marines, defending war and astonishing greed, picking & choosing the parts of the Bible that support their hateful beliefs, while ignoring (or reinterpreting) those parts that don’t.

As a teacher, I noted recently that the likelihood of me being near a secured weapon in my desk in an emergency was remote. And I certainly wasn’t about to start a firefight in a classroom full of kids. My first objective (as it was for the teachers in Newtown) would be to move the students to safety. I wouldn’t dare carry a weapon ON me. Very young kids like to grab onto you, even sometimes grabbing onto my legs while I walked. And older kids… I couldn’t imagine the tragic results if an angry student wrestled a gun away from a teacher. Heck, even something as simple as a trip & fall could of had tragic consequences.

Also, 3) back in 2000, I worked tirelessly for two years to try and start one of the first Internet-gaming “Cyber Cafe’s” in the country back when most people were still using “modems” to connect to the Internet. Even back then, the debate over the influence violent video games had on children was a serious business hurdle I had to prepare for prior to making any pitch to SBA loan officers on the profitability of my idea (one bank agreed to back me provided I raise 20 percent of the startup cash on my own. Then the economy collapsed under Bush… BEFORE 9/11. Any chance of raising my funding vanished, which was the start of my visceral dislike of the Bush Administration.)

So when I hear people blame “a lack of God” or “violent movies & games” for some nut that murders a dozen people with a gun he snuck out of Daddy’s closet, I know it’s a load of crap.

First off, the idea that the massacre in CT took place because “we’ve taken God out of our schools”, as cited by the vile Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich (along with many, many other Right-Wing crackpots) is wildly offensive. Since the shooter was 20 years old and no longer in school, are these two creeps blaming the children for “not praying hard enough”? God wasn’t in that school? You know who was? Six teachers that GAVE THEIR LIVES PROTECTING THOSE CHILDREN. How many of these children/teachers attended church every Sunday only to get mowed down by a deranged man with access to Mommy’s assault weapon five days later? Does God only protect you while you’re in church? If that’s the case, explain all the church shootings just over the past year:

…just to name a few.

The idea that any decline in “public morality” is to blame for the deaths of all these people is truly offensive. Consider this: the Sandy Hook shooter and his mother attended church there in town. And while the shooter’s mother was an apocalyptic end-time Conservative gun-nut that purchased the Bushmaster semi-automatic rifle her son used to kill her and 26 others because she believed the insane Right-Wing hysteria of “a looming economic collapse under Obama”, she was by all accounts a concerned mother that taught her son how to shoot “to help him overcome his shyness” and (reportedly) “to become more sociable.” Worked like a charm, I’d say.

So, the Sandy Hook shooter grew up in an extremely Conservative home, regularly attended church, was taught about “proper firearm usage & safety” (which supposedly lifts the veil on the mystery of guns and makes kids less curious about them, promoting safety), all the things these Right-wing Cretins claim is necessary to counter the “immorality in our society” that leads to such acts of destruction.

GunNut’s “solution” Friday was that we need “armed guards in every school”. We’ll ignore for a moment that there are over 98-THOUSAND public schools in this country, and the average armed guard makes $50K/year (that’s nearly $5-Billion dollars for those of you keeping score at home), and that anti-tax zealot Grover Norquist is on the NRA’s board of directors, and that neither GunNut nor TaxNut explained just how they intend to pay for all those armed guards they insist we need… no, set that aside for a moment while I remind you that just days before Newtown, there was a shooting in a Portland, Oregon shopping mall, and last August was the Aurora movie theater shooting. So do we place armed guards in every mall and theater (not just one for the entire Cineplex, but an armed “Air-Marshall” in every screening room)? Is THAT GunNut’s “solution”? Of course not. They think the path to safety is to turn every classroom, shopping mall, church and movie theater in the country into the OK Corral.

So then, if it wasn’t a lack of “God”, it must have been “movies & video games”, right?

After hearing dozens of my fellow Lefties (and the President himself) concede the Right-Wing talking-point that “violent movies and video games” play a role in promoting violence in our culture, I angrily Tweeted out during GunNut’s Press Conference Friday:

#LaPierre is on now scapegoating movies & games that are available in EVERY country. No mention of the kids. #NRAkills #SandyHook @maddow

Guess what? The violent movies and games that are so popular in this country AREN’T SEEN IN JUST THIS COUNTRY! You think “Natural Born Killers” was violent? You should see “Tokyo Gore Police”, or any of the dozen ultra-violent “Manga” films coming out of Japan each year. And just where do you think many of these violent video games are produced? (though oddly, despite the Japanese apatite for ultra-violent films, ultra-violent video games aren’t big sellers in the land of “Super Mario Bros.”)

As the Washington Post reported last week: a Ten-country comparison suggests there’s little or no link between video games and gun murders. The U.S. actually spends a lot less per capita on video games (see chart) than almost every other industrialized nation where guns are legal, yet we dwarf every other nation on Earth when it comes to gun-related murders each year. The difference in those other countries? Super-strict gun laws.

GunNut actually cited (PDF transcript. Abridged version here) several movies and games that were released decades ago (or in one case, before the shooter was even born in 1992) for the violence in our society: “blood-soaked slasher films like ‘American Psycho’ (2000) and ‘Natural Born Killers’ (1994).” I couldn’t help but notice GunNut failed to mention Conserva-war-porn like “Zero Dark Thirty” or the recently released remake of “Red Dawn” where American kids with guns fight off an invasion by North Korea.

And the games? GunNut cites “Mortal Kombat”… a martial arts video-game with no guns that was popular in arcades (remember those?) around the time I finished high school in 1986, and a lame (and very sick) ten year old Flash-based game called “Kindergarten Killer” (screenshot). GunNut did NOT cite “Call of Duty”, a more recent game that glorifies the military and the shooter reportedly played (mystery solved). Meanwhile there is no evidence the shooter actually played any of the games or watched any of these movies that GunNut mentioned. All we DO know is he grew up in a Christian Conservative home with a mother that loved semi-automatic weapons and cared enough about her son to try and teach him how to use them.

You might find it interesting to learn (as I did) that while GunNut was decrying video games that glorify gunplay, the NRA itself released a target shooting game for kids called “NRA GunClub” for the PlayStation 2 back in 2007.

Other violent video games not mentioned: “Left Behind: Eternal Forces”, a video game connected to Rick Warren’s Saddleback Mega-church based on the best-selling Chri-Fi (my own word for Religious-based science fiction) book-series that directs a militia of armed foot soldiers to convert-or-eliminate the people “left behind” following The Rapture (I’ve never played the game myself, but I’m wondering why the player was not Raptured along with his fellow Christians, and instead “left behind” to blow away anyone that refused to come-to-Jehezus?)

Blowing away heathens didn’t satisfy your blood-lust with the first game? That’s alright. Part-2 was released less than a year later. (One of Warren’s top aides resigned in protest in 2006, citing the game’s violence, as avatars shout “Praise the Lord” as they blow-away infidels, and even the ability of players to join the other side and work for Satan. Warren was on “Fox news Sunday” yesterday, but there was no mention of the Rapture-themed video games his church once consulted on.

Jon Perr of “PERRspectives” pointed out last week that the same people fighting common-sense restrictions on Assault Weapons are the same people who defended the most abusive civil rights violations of the Bush Administration after 9/11 on the grounds: “None of your civil liberties matter much after you’re dead.” (Are you as sick of Right-Wing hypocrisy as I am?)

This is some pretty sick merde (pardon my French).

Conservative pundit and former Bush adviser Matt Dowd made this surprisingly sane & apt analogy during ABC’s “ThisWeek” yesterday:

“When you have a bully on the playground with a baseball bat, you don’t respond by giving every child a baseball bat. You take the bat away from the bully and take measures to make sure it never happens again.”

You know certain Republicans are going off the deep-end when other Republicans start calling them out for their extremism (eg: the entire Fox “Power Panel” yesterday… including Bill Kristol AND [Lord help us] Laura Ingraham all seemed to agree that House Republicans are being unreasonable, risking everyone going over the “Fiscal Cliff” just to secure tax cuts for millionaires, rather than simply accept President Obama’s deal to extend tax cuts for 98% of all Americans.) Good Lord! I feel like Alice Through the Looking Glass.

Both GunNut and every Republican that dared come out in support of gun rights yesterday all cited the 1999 ”Columbine” massacre as an example of the “failure of the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban”. Clearly, the ban on Assault Weapons and high capacity clips/magazines… passed only five years earlier… didn’t stop two kids from murdering a dozen classmates. I can’t help but find it a tad ironic/absurd that if Tax Cuts… which supposedly will “spur massive job growth” and “pay for themselves”… haven’t worked after 30 years, the problem is that “we didn’t cut taxes ENOUGH” and we need to “give them MORE TIME” (ie: “make the Bush tax cuts permanent”.) But when it comes to gun laws, if they aren’t a 100% smashing success in just five years, it proves the experiment was a total failure. It’s not like these weapons & magazines don’t magically disappear the moment you ban them, right? The moment Democrats banned Assault Weapons and high-capacity clips, all the existing ones simply faded away, right? How else do we explain their continued existence five years after we banned them?

If you are unwilling to address “access”, you’re part of the problem, not the solution.

PS: I added a new “Free Movie” link (see left margin) to Michael Moore’s Academy Award winning documentary, “Bowling for Columbine”.

Be sure to come back Monday for our annual End of Year Predictions edition!
 


 

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

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

 

Share
Filed in Crime, Guns & Violence, Healthcare, myth busting, Politics, Right-Wing Insanity December 24th, 2012 by Admin Mugsy | • 3 comments | Add/View

Email This Post Email This Post

Citizens United now has blood on its hands

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, December 17, 2012

NRA has blood on its handsMy headline might seem like an extreme declaration, but Friday’s massacre in a Connecticut First Grade schoolroom is only the latest in a string of mass murders just this year. As The Nation points out, there have been SIXTEEN mass shootings in 2012 alone accounting for 88 dead men, women & children, and the year isn’t even over with (barely 48 hours later: Man with 47 guns arrested after threatening school). And when I try to think of ways to greatly reduce the chances of something so soul-crushing from ever happening again, my ideas always end with: “the GOP would never let that happen”. As I pointed out last week, the Crazies really are holding the rest of us hostage. But they’re not the majority… or even a big enough minority to block all common-sense legislation that could greatly reduce the chances of something like this from ever happening again. No, the reason the votes aren’t there is because even sane Republicans (are there any?) cower in fear of an NRA that can now spend limitless funds to Primary someone that doesn’t support their agenda. NYC Mayor Bloomberg pointed out on “Meet the Press” yesterday that for all the money the NRA spent trying to defeat Democrats this year, they only won three of the seven races they threw money at. But, I’d point out, that was AFTER the Primaries, where candidates aren’t arguing over “who loves the NRA more“. In a GOP primary, every candidate is expected to be the NRA’s best friend, but only one of them is going to win that coveted endorsement. Double-whammy if the NRA decides to dump a few million bucks into the race to defeat you. Republicans are terrified of powerful lobbies like the NRA or “Reverend Bob’s Family First Caucus” or “Homeschoolers for Jesus” with deep pockets. Blazing Saddles said it best:

 

Blazing Saddles’ “Simple farmers” speech

 

Speaking of which, the ever-brilliant Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert actually said on “Fox news Sunday” yesterday that he wishes to God “the principle [of Sandy Hook Elementary] had an M4 [assault rifle] when she lunged at the shooter and “blown his head off”. Click that link and take a look at that photo. That’s what Gohmert wishes the school principal had been carrying in a school full of 6-to-10 year olds. Tell me these people are in-touch with reality. This was after Gohmert also made the case that most mass shootings take place in ‘gun-free’ zones” (better known as places with lots of “innocent bystanders”.) It always stuns me when these people… detached from reality… believe that the solution to gun crime is MORE guns, not less. Yes, what we need is Teachers and Rent-a-cops playing Rambo around our children. I’m often reminded of Bill Maher’s criticism a few years back: “Yes, because what you really want in a school shooting is crossfire.” Mother Jones Magazine reported Saturday that “of the 61 mass murders in the past 30 years, NOT ONE was stopped by a civilian with a gun.” Not one.

Having once worked as a teacher myself (as a substitute), I can tell you for a fact that if a gun-wielding psychopath burst into my room, there was about a 75% chance I’d be nowhere near my desk where any weapon might be stored. And then what? Start a firefight in a room full of children? But I digress.

Now that we have turned our elections into “free fire zones” of unlimited spending by Special Interest Groups to ensure members of Congress support policies… not in the best interest of their constituency, but in the interests of a tiny minority with deep pockets, the chances of us ever seeing any meaningful “gun-control” legislation come out of this disaster seems unlikely. “Meet the Press” noted at the end of Sundays show that “out of 31 pro-gun Senators [they] asked, not a single one” was willing to come on their show. And NBC World News reported Sunday night that “even the NRA has refused to release a statement just yet“, saying they are “waiting on all of the information to come out” before commenting. They are all lying-low right now, waiting for the outrage to subside, the spotlight to wane till they can crawl out like cockroaches, because they know they don’t have a finger-licking leg to stand on, and the public would crucify anyone that dare try to stand up for the rights of armed gunmen in this environment.

I read a great couple of comments on Facebook right after the shooting, where one person wondered how long it would take for some Right-Winger to suggest maybe we should have “armed the kids”. The reply was that “it would make no difference if you armed the kids”, because the moment they started shooting back, someone would defend the gunman’s right to “stand his ground.”

Just how futile is it to try and reason with irrational people? Consider that the same people that are “Pro-War, Pro-Gun and Pro-Death Penalty” also call themselves “Pro-Life”… yet think nothing of cutting off a mother with young children from Food Stamps and Public Assistance. You might remember that just this past July, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia actually surmised that… if such a Second Amendment case came before him… he might interpret “the right to bear arms” literally to mean you are allowed to any “hand-held” weapon… including rocket-propelled grenade launchers and surface-to-air missiles, but not a tank or a canon. Really, Antonin? Do you really think the distinction the Founding Fathers were concerned about was the weight of the weapon when they wrote “bear arms”? Hell, I’m sure there are enough muscle-bound body-builder types that could lift & fire a small canon. I think I saw that in a Schwarzenegger movie once. There are guns today that are 100x more dangerous than a Civil War era canon. What if we make the canons smaller? How big must a canon be before someone can no longer “bear” it?

Fortunately for us, the Louie Gohmert’s of the world are a dying breed. But in the meantime, as long as “Citizens United” keeps the blackmailing of our legislators legal, small canons aren’t the only thing I can “no longer bear.”
 


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

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

 

Share
Filed in Crime, Guns & Violence, Politics, Right-Wing Insanity December 17th, 2012 by Admin Mugsy | • 1 comment | Add/View

Email This Post Email This Post

Fiscal Cliff Divers (or, We’re being held hostage by a bunch of childish morons)

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, December 10, 2012

We need to ID the people behind our elections, not the votersIt’s not that I hate being broke. In fact, I kind of enjoy many of the freedoms that come with not being a wage-slave. My needs are few, and I don’t live on Credit beyond my means. If I can’t afford something, I don’t buy it. Period. Not that I’m not smart enough to be rich. Because in recent days we’ve seen that it doesn’t appear to require a whole lot of brain-power to run a multimillion dollar corporation (actually, as we just saw in this last election, it’s quite easy to become filthy rich if you’re willing to be a soulless bastard with no qualms about profiting off other people’s misery, then think you can absolve yourself by donating generously to your filthy-rich church… which often turns around and uses that money to commit more acts of evil.) And such has been the case in recent months, with Conservative CEO’s of the eateries “Applebees” and “Papa John’s Pizza” threatening to cut Full-time workers down to Part-time because of “ObamaCare”. DailyKOS provided a decent explanation yesterday as to just why their fears are unfounded, but my qualms with these people aren’t just that they are “misinformed”. They’re downright stupid. Like any other Republican, they believe the Party-line because it plays into their own Right-wing beliefs, and if they bothered to so much as actually think their plans through, they might realize that not only are they terrified over nothing, but their reaction might actually cost them MORE money than they think they might lose. Let me explain…

John Schnatter, Founder of “Papa John’s” publicly stated before the election that if ObamaCare forces him to provide health insurance to all his employees, he’d have to “increase the price of pizza” to make up for his loses (and losing business because of it, resulting in the firing of workers). But pressed for an actual dollar figure, we weren’t talking about a large pizza going from $16 to $22, or even $17. No, by Schnatter’s OWN calculations, providing his employees with health insurance would add a paltry 10-14 cents per pizza. And when “Managed Care Matters” looked into it, they found even that paltry figure to be 2-3 times too high, calculating that it would only add a trivial 3.4 to 4.6 cents per pizza (or in more dramatic terms, a 0.4 to 0.7 percent increase in “Papa’s John’s” overall expenses.)

William Black, owner of some 40 Applebee’s franchises made similar claims, saying that if President Obama were reelected and ObamaCare were not repealed, he will need to fire workers, cut existing workers to part-time (so that they don’t qualify for coverage), and cancel plans to open new restaurants. “Olive Garden” and “Darden Restaurants” made similar claims.

For the sake of argument, let’s say there’s no wide-scale public backlash (there actually has been some [ibid last link], forcing Schnatter and Darden to walk back their statements) and these restaurants cut their employees hours to just 29 hours a week, but the number of customers walking through their doors stays the same. Now what? They are going to have to hire more part-time employees to fill those vacant hours (assuming they can find enough people willing to work part-time, rotation schedules with no benefits). Now you’ve increased your workforce by 25% so your salary obligations are the same as before (sans the paltry cost of health care). Success? Not so fast. First off, you don’t instantly find enough employees to replenish your workforce overnight. You’re going to have to keep those employees on full-time until you find someone to take over their slot (and pray another 50% of your workforce doesn’t up & quit after you’ve cut their hours). Then, as with all new employees, you’ve got to train them, which requires time and still more money. And if you’ve ever been served by a trainee, you know how frustrating it can be. Now you are losing customers, fed up with all the low-skill trainees they have to deal with. ObamaCare doesn’t take full effect for another year, so for the next 12 months, you’ve got unmotivated trainees coming to work sick because… let’s face it, if they are working part-time for minimum-wage, they can’t afford to take a day off. Nothing better than having sick employees handling your food. One good lawsuit, and that 4 cents per pizza you thought you were saving could end up costing you millions.

I‘ve mentioned here before, that I used to be a Republican until the dawn of the Internet and I was able to check out the things I was being told, and amazingly, nothing ever seemed to pan out. “Tax cuts on businesses do NOT create jobs” and the Clinton tax increase did NOT wreck the economy.

I recently noticed these are the same insane people dictating our policy that believe THEY could have taken down “the Batman shooter” in that Colorado movie theater last Summer armed with just their trusty handgun, THEY could of saved all those people… in a darkened theater, filling with teargas, people screaming, children crying, people running all over the place while a madman wearing body armor with the element of surprise on his side, fired his semi-automatic rifle into the crowd. THEY KNOW they would have had the presence of mind to calmly take the guy down without hitting any innocent bystanders or getting killed themselves, mistaken for an accomplice by the police or another armed idiot in the theater who only sees a muzzle-flash and decides to shoot in that direction.

Just who are these people? They’re…

…the “female body has a way to shut down rapists sperm” crowd.

…the “snow in January means Global Warming isn’t real” crowd.

…the “evolution is a lie straight from the pit of Hell” crowd.

…the tri-corner hat wearing “FEMA Camps” & “Death Panels” Tea Party crowd.

…the “Obama is a secret Muslim that attended Reverend Wright’s Christian church for 20 years” crowd.

…the “black people just want free stuff” crowd. The “lets put poor school kids to work as janitors” crowd.

…the “Michelle Obama’s fist bump might be a terrorist fist-jab” crowd.

…the “George Bush deserves more credit for getting bin Laden than Obama does” crowd.

THESE are the people dictating policy to the rest of us.

People like Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) that thinks nothing of using the “Debt Ceiling as leverage” to force President Obama to negotiate with the GOP. “Leverage”. Think about that for a moment, using the full faith & credit of the United States as a bargaining chip. If that doesn’t scare the Hell out of you, either you don’t understand its significance or you’ve got your own private island in the Galapagos. The last time the GOP did this, our credit rating was cut and it added several Billion to our Deficit (because we now had to pay higher interest rates to convince people to lend us money with a greater risk of not being paid back.)

When the GOP played chicken with the Debt Ceiling in 2011, talk circulated of President Obama possibly invoking the 14th Amendment and bypassing Congress altogether. Thank your lucky stars we held onto the Senate, because if the GOP controlled both Houses and tried that again, I can assure you President Obama would use that authority and it would be 1998 all over again as the GOP unquestionably would attempt to impeach President Obama for circumventing them. The Insane Clown Posse that is the GOP has no problem going to the absolute extremes with the slightest provocation. These were the children that threatened to tell Mom that you “stole all their Halloween candy” and threw a tantrum until you apologized and gave them half your candy when all you did was swap one gumdrop for a Raisinette.

We’re all being held hostage by a bunch of childish morons.
 



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

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


 

Share
Filed in Economy, Election, Healthcare, Jobs, Money, Politics, Taxes December 10th, 2012 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

Email This Post Email This Post

“Fiscal Cliff” Negotiations Preview Importance of Filibuster Reform

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, December 3, 2012

Today's 'Do-Nothing' Congress vs Truman'sAs you probably know, the first day of each legislative session (ie: every two years) the House & Senate can set the rules for how that session operates with a simple majority vote. This is the ONLY day such changes can be made. After that, whatever rules are in place, Congress is stuck with for the next two years. After a stunning number of Republican filibusters during Obama’s first two years in office, many Democrats begged Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to change the filibuster rules to avoid another two years of gridlock. Reid foolishly said “No” as some sort of gesture of good faith with the GOP. What Reid failed to realize was that now that the House was in GOP hands, Senate Republicans didn’t HAVE to filibuster as often as before because they knew the new Republican-controlled House would just kill everything anyway, so promising not to filibuster so much was an easy promise to keep. Despite that, the Senate still came close to tying their 2009-2010 filibuster record these past two years. So Democrats are again begging Reid to wise up and stop thinking that if Democrats show deference to Republicans, they’ll return the favor (and it seems they may finally be getting the picture. And in a nick of time I might add.) Based on the reactions I saw on the Sunday shows yesterday, if the filibuster is not reformed, the GOP is all set to block everything in sight, disappointed from losing an election they thought they were sure to win, the GOP is ready, willing & able to “rule by proxy” and undermine Obama’s entire second term to advance their legislative agenda.

“Tea Party 2 is going to dwarf Tea Party 1 if Obama pushes us over the fiscal cliff.” – Grover Norquist on “Meet the Press” yesterday.

The “Fiscal Cliff” that America is supposedly careening towards like a racecar using a boat-anchor for brakes, arrives on January 1st as the “Bush Tax Cuts” for ALL Americans are finally allowed to expire as intended, two-years past their original termination date. The GOP is already holding the tax break for 98% of Americans hostage in order to avoid a 4.6% increase in taxes on people that gross over a quarter million dollars a year in income (Republicans argue that a substantial number of these filers are actually “small businesses” filing as individuals on their taxes, but the number of “small businesses” grossing between $250,000 and $388,000 and filing as “individuals” is actually quite small (and I’d argue, if you are grossing over a quarter Mil in profit, you ain’t no “small” business). And again, it bears pointing out that we’re only talking about an increase of just 4.6%, which on $300,000 of income, comes to an extra $2,300 in taxes… not even ONE TENTH the salary of a single middle-manager employee.

When President Obama presented his “opening bid” in the Debt Negotiations to Speaker Boehner and Senate Minority Leader McConnell, Boehner called it “not a serious proposal” on Fox “news” Sunday yesterday, and when host Chris Wallace asked him if it was true that McConnell “laughed out loud” at the offer, Boehner did not say a word. (How come when Biden “laughed at Paul Ryan” during the debates, he was being “obnoxious” and “immature”, but when McConnell does it, it’s legitimate criticism?) In any case, Boehner refused to say whether the GOP was willing to “go over the cliff” come January, only to imply that the GOP would find other ways to cut the budget if they don’t get their way (translation, the House will table every budget and the Senate minority will filibuster every bill.)

Part of President Obama’s proposal was to eliminate the need to vote on raising “the Debt Ceiling”. It’s an arcane and stupid rule that does NOT appear in the Constitution, so all this talk about the “Constitutional authority of Congress to raise the Debt Ceiling” is nonsense. In fact, the only thing in the Constitution even related to Debt (as we learned a year ago, is the 14th Amendment [ibid] that gives the president the power to CIRCUMVENT Congress and raise the ceiling all by himself to avoid default if necessary). A GOP filibuster of the Debt Ceiling in 2010 cost the U.S…. not only our AAA credit rating… but the resulting drop in our credit rating means we now must pay MORE in interest to convince people to lend us money to make up for the fear we might default and not pay them back. So while Republicans were screaming bloody murder over the size of the Deficit they actually made the problem WORSE with their shenanigans. It makes NO sense that the same body that approves spending is also the same body that votes on whether they will allow us to raise money to PAY for that spending. It’s nuts. And it needs to go. But when Grover Norquist was asked about this last week, he actually suggested we vote on raising the Debt Ceiling Monthly if he’s good. Weekly if he’s not” as if the president were a misbehaving child. This of course makes no sense because IT’S NOT THE PRESIDENT THAT APPROVES SPENDING, IT’S CONGRESS. The Debt Ceiling would only need to be raised to pay for CONGRESS’ spending. It has nothing to do with THE PRESIDENT’S behavior. Should our nation’s entire economy be held hostage by a man that doesn’t even seem to understand this one simple principle of how our Budget works?

Senator Clare McCaskill pointed out the obvious on “Meet the Press” yesterday regarding the “fiscal cliff”:

SEN. MCCASKILL: And here’s the deal. Here’s– here’s the reality. Let’s assume they [Republicans] won’t go for any raising of the rates, then all the Bush tax cuts are going to expire and then we would come back in January, first thing and pass a tax cut for everybody under 250. What, are the Republicans going to vote no on that?

Democrats hold ALL the cards in this “fiscal cliff” debate and the GOP knows it. Dems are offering to extend the “Bush Tax Cuts” for EVERYBODY on the first $250,000 in income RIGHT NOW, while the GOP is threatening to let EVERYBODY’S taxes go up “to protect millionaires & billionaires” (to quote Bill Kristol) from a 4.6% increase in taxes. And if they refuse to agree to Obama’s demands and take the country “over the cliff” (which actually isn’t a ”cliff” at all. More of a ”Reset Button”), then EVERYONE’S taxes go up and Democrats get to pass a totally separate “OBAMA Tax Cut” for 98% of Americans.

That is… if the GOP doesn’t threaten to filibuster it. Republicans are over a barrel on this one. Democrats don’t have to concede ANYTHING in this debate. And what can Republicans do to extract concessions from the Democrats? Nothing except the threat of obstruction if they don’t get their way. Time to defang this obstructionist “Do Nothing Republican Party” once and for all. Bring back “The Standing Filibuster” and force the obstructionists to stand before the cameras for all the world to see just who is stopping Congress from getting anything done.
 



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

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


 

Share
Filed in Economy, fake scandals, Money, Partisanship, Politics, Taxes December 3rd, 2012 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View