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Trump Has Been Great for Advancing Progressivism
Jan 30th, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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


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First Official Act of Trump Press Secretary is to Lie About an Easily Disprovable Fact?
Jan 23rd, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Timestamped inauguration comparisons

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

Trump on Iraq 2002

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Let’s Remember What “Fake News” REALLY Was
Jan 16th, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Yes. That really happened.
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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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Yes, Russia Hacks. And you sound like an idiot joking about it.
Jan 9th, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

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

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

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

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

  • July 2013, four Russian and one Ukrainian hackers hack NASDAQ servers and steal 160 million credit/debit card numbers and the passwords of 800,000 customer accounts.
  •  

  • February 2014, the U.S. State Department is forced to warn anyone traveling to Russia for the Sochi Winter Olympics that their phones & laptops are being hacked by the Russian government almost from the moment their plane touches down.
  •  

  • July 2014: U.S. Justice department arrests a Russian national for a series of hacks on U.S. retailers between 2009 & 2011.
  •  

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

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

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

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

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

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


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