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Beginning of the End for Religious Bigotry Laws
Jun 29th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy

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Last weeks’ historic Supreme Court ruling declaring no legal basis to justify discrimination against Same-Sex couples was condemned by every single GOP presidential hopeful (sans Rand Paul who has a history of waiting to test the political mood before commenting on controversial issues) as being in violation of “religious liberty” laws protecting the right of bigots to be bigots. But in fact, the Supreme Court did NOT rule on so-called “Religious Freedom” laws passed in individual states. They only ruled on the rights of the targets of those laws… and even then… only a very specific subsection. However it is clear that they will have to (sooner rather than later) rule on the Constitutionality of such laws. It’s not just the baker that refuses to bake a “gay” wedding cake, or the caterer who refuses to cater a gay wedding, it’s also the County Clerk who refuses to issue marriage licenses to gay couples (Huckabee asserted this right yesterday on ABC’s ThisWeek), or the pharmacist who refuses to fill your prescription for Birth Control pills because it offends his/her religious sensibilities. If an employee cites “religious grounds” as the reason they can’t fulfill the duties of their job, then can their employer then fire them for not doing the job for which they were hired? What about refusing to hire someone if you think their religion might prevent them from doing their job? (that “pharmacist” link includes a response from CVS declaring their right to do just that.) Then, does the employer get sued for religious discrimination or violating their former employees’ Religious Freedom?

These attempts by individual states to circumvent the U.S. Supreme Court WILL eventually be challenged in the courts and They. Will. Lose. This nation fought a Civil War over whether or not Federal law superseded “states rights” (“The South” lost BTW, and Federal Law reigns supreme.) The Federal government passed a law banning Slavery, and the South would have to abide by it. (How ironic that we also saw a fight over the Confederate flag this past week as the EXACT SAME anti-federal government Southern bigots talk of “secession”, “armed revolt” and “states rights” by morons oblivious to the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War that just came to pass last April.)

We’ve had “equal housing” laws in this country since President Lyndon Johnson signed the “Fair Housing” Act into law in 1968. It was intended to protect African-Americans from being discriminated against when seeking housing, but over the years it has been expanded to prohibit discrimination against ANYONE for almost any reason. The Reagan Administration added the “Disabled” to the Act in 1988. So what happens now if someone tries to deny housing to a gay couple citing their “religious freedom” as their justification? How would that be any different than denying an inter-racial couple for the same reason? (Note: Justice Thomas, who voted in favor of allowing people to discriminate against marriages they object to on religious grounds, himself has an interracial marriage.)

The High Court will be *forced* to step in, and I can’t see how they could side against an employers right to fire someone who refuses do the job for which they were hired. An employee could cite “religious reasons” for everything from showing up late to work to drinking on the job, then what? The days of these nonsense “religious freedom” laws are now numbered. It’s inevitable. That case will go to the Supreme Court and those laws will be struck down. You have a right to worship as you wish in your personal life, but NOT “on the job”.

Such a case will pit “Big Business Conservatives” against “Religious Right Conservatives.” Get the popcorn.
 

BONUS:

Sen. Sanders discusses his record on Civil Rights (1:40)

 
Bernie responds to Hillary Clinton’s reported 91% to 3% lead among minority voters. Hillary comes in with a built-in advantage of minority support for her husband, while Sanders is still a relative unknown. Bernie talks about a life dedicated to Civil Rights, getting arrested in the 60’s protesting Segregation and marching with Martin Luther King Jr. (but left out the fact he witnessed King’s “I Have a Dream” speech in-person.)

 


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Let’s Face Facts: Spike in violence against Blacks tied to Right Wing hostility toward Obama
Jun 22nd, 2015 by Admin Mugsy

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After news broke of the mass murder of nine African-American members of the AME Church of Charleston, SC last Thursday, the “discovery” that the shooter was a Confederate Flag waving racist gun nut, surprised no one. What WAS surprising was the lengths to which Fox “news” went to to suggest that this might have been an attack on Christians by a possibly “liberal” youth driven to hatred of “religion” by The Left rather than a racially motivated crime driven by hatred towards blacks. And the impetus is obvious: the Shooter shares much in common with Fox’s core demographic: White Southern Conservative, loves guns, with some obviously racist views. Yes, the Right was openly suggesting this redneck jackass was not necessarily motivated by racism but by hatred of religion. And we all know why: Because one view makes Conservatives look bad while the other makes “Libruls” look bad. It has become political. And why might that be? We all KNOW why but it seems like no one is willing to admit it: Open hostility towards President Obama is feeding open hostility towards blacks in general. Trying to attach a political ideology to the S.C. shooter wouldn’t be necessary if there wasn’t already a reason to believe politics played a role in this latest mass murder. Think about it.

I mean, seriously. If “politics” played “No” part in shaping the motivations of the S.C. Shooter, then it wouldn’t matter if he were a Conservative, a Liberal, a Communist or an anarchist. The very fact Fox tried to shed doubt on the motivations of the shooter is (frankly) an ADMISSION that politics likely played a part in this crime.

A string of unarmed black people… several of them children for Christ sakes (Tamir Rice, Travon Martin and a bikini-clad black girl in McKinney, Texas) have been assaulted (or worse) by enraged white authority figures (numerous cops and two wannabees) that can’t fathom the idea of relating or even empathizing with blacks as equals that might make them less quick to draw their gun or wrestle a black person to the ground. And I can only attribute this to one thing: a lack of respect for our Commander-in-Chief, often couched in the subtle language of racism.

When a fight between two mostly white rival biker gangs broke out in Waco last month, police sat with the bikers and calmly arrested them. How many in the media called them “thugs” and questioned why “leaders of the biking community” hadn’t come out to “condemn” these rogue elements? “Where are the parents?” A biker jacket on a white guy is apparently less anti-social than a “hoodie” on a black kid.

A Facebook page of the shooter turned up with photos (video?) of him flying “White Power” & “Confederate battle” flags as well as photos of him burning the American flag. The day of the shooting, we already had photos of him in a jacket sporting the “Apartheid-era” flags of South Africa and Rhodesia (modern-day Zimbabwe) with a novelty Confederate flag license plate on the front of his car. If you’ve seen the photos, The Shooter is clearly in the woods, unquestionably nowhere near the downtown area. And yet, Fox “news” would have you believe this poor misguided (by Liberal hated of Christianity) God-fearing youth with a healthy love of guns (which in itself doesn’t gibe with the “Liberal” label) couldn’t find a church closer to his home and apparently had to drive 15-20 miles into the heart of downtown Charleston, where he just happened to choose an almost exclusively black church “by accident” so he may start killing “Christians”.

Seriously. Did Fox really believe the downtown Charleston AME church “just happened” to be the most convenient church to where the shooter lived? There weren’t dozens more churches along the way in which he could have stopped in to carry out his brutal Liberal-influenced attack on Christianity? Anyone that buys that desperate stretch of tortured logic is lying to themselves… and knows it.

I forget who said it yesterday (during the Sunday shows), but “guns make the weak feel powerful”. We now have an entire network dedicated to convincing people they are victims, and that the Federal government is their enemy. They already horde guns like a squirrel hording nuts for Winter, and the NRA makes Bank convincing the paranoid that the government is coming to take their guns away. With a mostly white Southern Conservative demographic that (unquestionably) already tends to lean a bit racist to begin with, linking their dislike of “blacks” to their dislike of “government” has become painfully easy now that the head of that government just happens to be black.

The S.C. Shooter told one black woman in the AME church that “[blacks] are taking over the country“. Now if you believe a 20-year old kid is upset over losing a string of jobs or college admission to “Affirmative Action” candidates, or had one-too-many black bankers turn him down for a loan, you’re sniffing glue. No, there is only ONE “black” in this kid’s mind that epitomizes having “taken over the country”, and that’s President Obama.
 

Nightly Show on Fox whitewashing of Charelston shooting

 

I’ve often said that “if a Conservative accuses you of doing something, it’s only because they’ve either done it themselves or thought of doing it and assume you’re every bit as devious as they are”, be it “election rigging” or “false flag” operations. Trust me.

And that second one, that belief that everything that makes Conservatives look bad is in fact a “false flag” operation meticulously carried out by “The Other Side” is actually a thing. In any other era, these candidates for the rubber room would be holding meetings in basements to discuss the fact the U.S. military is hiding alien bodies in a hangar in “Area-51”. Instead, these delusional paranoids have their own 24 hour cable news network that tells them, “No, you’re not paranoid! The government really is building FEMA interment camps where they plan to hold you prisoner for… well, that’s really not clear. Till you agree to give up your guns and sign up for socialized medicine? I seriously can not come up with a SANE explanation for why the Federal government might suddenly be building (“in total secret” mind you) internment camps to house hundreds/thousands/millions(?) of Americans or planning an invasion of Texas via secret underground passages in vacant Wal*Marts. For how long and what purpose? There’s not enough tinfoil in the world to explain that one.

But one thing is brutally clear, latent Conservative racism is being linked and stoked towards President Obama specifically and that racial animosity is bleeding over into the general population.
 


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STUNNING VIDEO: Iraqi soldiers say if US sends more troops, “We’ll fight them too!”
Jun 15th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy

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Iraqi soldiers: “If Obama sends more troops to fight ISIS, we’ll fight ISIS AND the Americans!” (2:48)

The full clip shows what a chaotic mess Iraq has become since the 2003 invasion. Not just from the constant fighting, but with the rise of Islamic militancy (women completely covered, schools closed, Christians threatened). America turned Iraq into this mess, and in Iraq, the thought of more American troops returning to reoccupy their country would be about as welcome as Dick Cheney at the DNC Convention. (Key section begins at the 2:05 mark.)
 

The latest entry into the GOP Presidential Clown Car, Sen. Lindsey Graham, is one of the few people left on Earth who still believes invading Iraq wasn’t a mistake (though he concedes in retrospect that if it were 2003, he “probably” wouldn’t support the 2003 invasion), and everything was going just great until Obama took over. He, and about a dozen other GOP contenders have all criticized President Obama for (standing by President Bush’s “Status of Forces Agreement” regarding) pulling our troops out of Iraq “too soon.” I’ve written about this absurd rewrite of history on several occasions (ibid), pointing out the fact that “Yes, technically, President Obama could have ignored the SoFA agreed to with the “sovereign” Iraqi government (remember when that was a big deal?) and just kept thousands of American troops there against the Iraqi’s wishes, but there is a reason President Bush agreed not to. Part of the agreement to let them stay was on the condition that American troops be shielded from prosecution for past “crimes”. The Iraqi’s said, “No. And if an American soldier accused of crimes is spotted on the streets, he/she will be arrested and put on trial before an Iraqi court.” So, President Bush agreed to pull out ALL troops “by the end of 2011.” President Obama abided by this agreement to the letter.

Now, just imagine if President Obama HADN’T withdrawn American troops from Iraq, only to have an American soldier turn up on TV, standing trial before an Iraqi court, forced to account for American atrocities against the Iraqi people (and there are many.) “This is how Obama ‘Supports the Troops!'”, they’d cry. “Shameful!”, “This wouldn’t have happened if only he had pulled our troops out like President Bush had so wisely agreed to do before leaving office!”, they’d shout in protest.

Graham isn’t the only warhawk calling to resend American combat troops back to Iraq (though he is the only one specifying an exact number of “10,000”) where they aren’t wanted (and keep them there “indefinitely“). Former NY Gov George Pataki and current Ohio Governor John Kasich both want to send an unspecified number of American troops into Iraq “right now”, and now that’s his handlers have finally told him how he is supposed to feel about the decision to invade Iraq in the first place, Jeb Bush is noncommittal on whether or not we should send more troops back into Iraq (if he didn’t, he’d be the first President Bush NOT to invade Iraq, so there’s THAT), but his assertion that “Obama refused to sign a plan to leave 10,000 troops in Iraq”, rated only one step above “Pants-On-Fire” on Politifact.com. Another GOP noncommittal commitment from Gov. Chris Christie, The Pompous One probably didn’t do himself any favors yesterday by using President Bush’s ridiculous “Coalition of the Willing” catch-phrase to describe his plan for securing Iraq. Chuck Norris’ favorite candidate, Mike Huckabee won’t say what he thinks Obama should do about Iraq, only to suggest that no one should join the military until after we’ve replaced Obama with a Republican Commander-in-Chief… where U.S. troops had a mortality rate that made a street-fight between the Crips & Bloods look like a stroll down the Champs d’Elysees.

Neither Gov. Scott Walker nor Hillary Clinton are willing to commit to whether or not they’d send troops back into Iraq, while youngster Marco Rubio… having perhaps watched one-too-many commando movies… thinks we can wipe out the whole lot of them by sending in a Special Forces Unit… which is essentially Donald Rumsfeld’s “small footprint” strategy that led to the disaster in Iraq in the first place.
 

Troops in Iraq say how they really feel about Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld (July 15, 2003)
 

 

But hey, as Rummy noted:

“Death has a tendency to encourage a depressing view of war.” – Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld – date unknown

 

Iraq is a mess. And it is impossible to fathom how sending in more troops into a place where they are not wanted… even by the people they are being sent there to help… would make things better. No one ever becomes more welcoming of you after you stick a gun in their face, kill their father/mother/brother/sister and turn their once peaceful & functioning nation into a basket case. Many Iraqi’s still hold hatred for all Americans simply for what we did to their country, and would welcome another opportunity to kill American soldiers. And that anger won’t go away simply because we are helping them fight ISIS… an enemy that wouldn’t exist had we not invaded in the first place. All of the GOP candidates… sans Rand Paul… seem to think sending troops back into Iraq is a great idea, and Hillary Clinton is the only Democratic candidate that has yet to come out against it. In the first video at the top of the page, the Iraqi soldiers still fighting consider American troops their enemy, while the lone former Iraqi solder… who hadn’t been paid in seven months and quickly decided it wasn’t worth risking HIS life to keep fighting ISIS… would like American troops to return to do the fighting for him.

And this is where we are. The decision whether or not to send American troops back into Iraq isn’t as cut & dry as most of the GOP candidates would have you believe. There is a VERY good chance they might be attacked from BOTH sides.

And I still don’t hear anyone proposing a NON-military solution to ending our wars in the Middle East (possibly Lincoln Chafee, but I can’t confirm). If all it took was sending in troops, the war would have ended 15 years ago.
 


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!

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Iraqis Showing the Route to Peace/Progress with Massive Infrastructure Project?
Jun 8th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy

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After 12 years of war, Iraq may be showing America and the rest of the world the path to peace: Iraqi’s are building an entire city, Bismayah, just outside Baghdad. The massive infrastructure project has already created hundreds (thousands?) of new construction jobs (and hundreds more tangential jobs, related and non to construction) and once completed will provide 100,000 middle-income homes to over 600,000 Iraqi’s. The plan is to eventually build one million such residences across Iraq as part of a massive Infrastructure & Revitalization project. Running these cities means still more jobs, from grocers to law enforcement. South Korean construction company “Hanwha” won the $8 BILLION DOLLAR bid to build the city (another American opportunity lost) and expects to have the first 7,000 apartments ready by the end of this year (with completion of the city scheduled for 2019). And while ISIS… most of whom are Iraqi’s themselves… is still a threat to workers, they don’t seem to be interested in bombing the newly constructed buildings that are bringing hope to so many Iraqis. The Turkish corporation “Enka Insaat” won an additional $3 Billion dollar contract to build a gas-powered Power Plant for the city, and another South Korean firm, LS Industrial Systems, won an additional $150 Million dollar deal to build the Power Grid to link it all together.
 

Construction of Bismayah (3:24)

 

Author Rita Mae Brown (not Einstein) coined the popular phrase (for AA): “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over & over, and expecting a different result each time.”  And famed 18th Century Irish statesman Edmund Burke warned us: “Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.” And here we are, now in our 15th year in the Middle East, and I don’t hear anyone questioning our strategy of how to end the wars and get us out of there.

Though I was never a fan on Rep. Dennis Kucinich, I have long thought that his idea of appointing a “Secretary of Peace” to find NON-military solutions to end & avoid war would not only make the world a safer place, but save literally HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS that could be put to better use here at home. Last January, I proposed a non-military solution to ending the wars in the Middle-East (specifically, Iraq, Afghanistan and Israel/Palestine): “Infrastructure”. Build schools, roads and hospitals. And if the enemy blows them up, build them again. Locals will get very tired of the anarchists very quick, doing nothing to help, only serving to make their lives miserable, and turn on them quickly (Just how many wanna-be Jihadi’s do you think ISIS will be able to recruit if they are seen as the ones doing nothing positive, serving only to make people’s lives miserable? Reconstruction projects mean jobs that revitalize the community, and Americans will be seen as a people of “hope & peace”, not “misery & war”. The cost of rebuilding infrastructure would be magnitudes cheaper than war, not only in blood & treasure but in greatly reducing the length of time we occupy those countries. And all the money saved could be spent on desperately needed infrastructure projects here at home.

“Tens of thousands of bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. A third of the nation’s highways are in poor or mediocre shape. Massively leaking water and sewage systems are creating health hazards and contaminating rivers and streams. Weakened and under-maintained levees and dams tower over communities and schools. And the power grid is increasingly maxed out, disrupting millions of lives and putting entire cities in the dark.” […] It gets worse. A New York Times report found that “a significant water line bursts on average every two minutes somewhere in the country”—or 720 times daily! – RealTruth Magazine

Throughout the country, many urban roads and highways built decades ago now carry five to 10 times the traffic the original engineers expected and require constant emergency repair — creating horrible traffic jams. Water and gas pipelines laid in the first half of the 20th century are failing, leading to explosions and floods. “Some of this infrastructure is more than 100 years old,” said Rick Grant, owner of a Maryland structural engineering firm, “but it wasn’t designed with more than a 50-year life span in mind.” – The Week, Aug 22, 2014

And as I noted recently: China and Japan are currently competing to build America’s very first bullet train between Los Angeles & San Franciso… a contract estimated to cost around $67 Billion dollars.

Tap the “Military Industrial Complex” to build bridges instead of bombs. Hospitals instead of Command Posts. Roads instead of rockets. You get the picture. I assure you, there is WAY more money to be made building infrastructure around the globe and in all 50 states than there is building bombs to kill a wedding party of two-dozen innocent by-standers.

All eyes will be on Iraq to see whether a job and decent place to live in peace can trump anarchists mad at the world for making their lives miserable and bent on destruction.
 


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Hastert Bribery Scandal Belies Troubling Question: Coach turned Politician turned Lobbyist has Millions in bank?
Jun 1st, 2015 by Admin Mugsy

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It’s the question everyone started to ask once the news that former Speaker of the House Denny Hastert was in the process of paying out millions in hush money” to a former male student claiming he “sexually molested him decades ago”: Where in the heck did a former High School wrestling coach turned Congressman turned Speaker of the House come up with “over $3.5 million” to spare ($1.7 million of which had already been paid), just sitting in the bank with enough left over that he could pay out that kind of cash without conspicuously impacting his standard of living?

Congress has been reluctant to pass significant legislation banning outgoing politicians from “cashing in” by becoming K-Street lobbyists after they leave office. Why is that a bad thing? Because a Congressperson with the intent of becoming a lobbyist may push legislation favorable to the people they hope to land a lobbying job with once they leave office… or worse, a corporation might promise a lucrative job in exchange for favorable legislation. The road from First Ave (Congress) to K Street may be few minutes by car, but that’s nothing compared to the express lane between the Capitol Building and plush leather chair in some lobbying firm. And Denny Hastert didn’t rake in millions for his ability to make a persuasive argument:
 

Hastert: “Middle-Class probably won’t get a tax cut”, but millionaires who will barely notice the extra dough, will. So vote for it!

I’m still trying to figure out Hastert’s line of reasoning here: If you make $40K a year, you won’t get a tax cut because you “probably don’t pay taxes anyway”. But you should support this budget-busting bill to give a $40K tax break for millionaires that’ll barely notice it anyway?
 

“Where are those 20,000 tons of Yellowcake, Mr. Speaker?” – Hastert on Fox “news” Sunday claiming the
uranium President Bush said Saddam bought in Africa is indeed there, in barrels, just waiting to be found.
(July 20, 2003)

 

But probably only about half of Denny’s millions were made lobbying after leaving office. The bulk of his wealth he made while still serving as Speaker of the House.

Now, this is by no means primarily a Republican failing, nor am I suggesting Conservatives are more likely to cash-in. Actually, the K-Street revolving door spins both ways fairly equally. But I’m not here to rant about the scourge of lobbying. What I want to know just how a former High School coach makes SO much money he can afford to pay out MILLIONS without his family/friends noticing?

Hastert entered Congress in 1998 with a net worth of about a quarter million dollars. As a Congressman in 2000, his annual salary was just over $161,000/year. Nothing to sneeze at, but definitely not enough to turn someone into a multi-millionaire just six years later. As Rachel Maddow pointed out last Thursday, one of Denny’s most lucrative deals took place while he was still speaker: earmarking a highway interchange that went directly through land that he just happened to own. By the time he left office in 2007, Hastert was worth between $4 million and $17 million dollars from “various” sources.

Upon leaving Congress, Hastert first started his own “Consulting” (read: lobbying) firm as well as worked as a lobbyist for others firms on behalf of Big Tobacco, earning him a few million more. But it was those land deals he made while in charge of the U.S. Congress that stuffed his piggy bank.

Revelations of Speaker Newt Gingrich’s marital affair while condemning President Clinton for his own, led to Newt’s ouster. The man picked to replace him, Bob Livingston, was forced to turn down the job upon revelations that he too had been caught cheating on his wife (BTW, Clinton’s chief critic in the Senate, Henry Hyde, was also found to be having an extra-martial affair at the time.) Hastert was picked to replace them because he was deemed “Mr. Clean” (whom now it appears was the dirtiest of them all.) This is your “Family Values”, obsessed with “Traditional Marriage” Party, folks.

We have a serious problem in this country when Members of Congress can legally cash-in on their jobs like this. Molesting a child and paying millions to cover it up may make the evening news, but the ability of members of Congress to “legally” use their jobs for lucrative personal gain should be every bit as controversial a story.
 


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!

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