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Listening to Gun-Rights Advocates Reveals Why They Oppose Denying Guns from the Mentally Ill
Feb 26th, 2018 by Admin Mugsy

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I was confronted on Facebook by a terrified Right-Wing gun owner whom took issue with my calling Assault Weapons “Weapons of War” because they are not actually issued by the government to soldiers for use on the battlefield, and just couldn’t resist (right off the bat) calling me a “pussy” for not wanting MORE guns in our classrooms as an answer to protecting our children (he also called me a “Nazi” presumably b/c he believes the Nazi’s took the guns away from their own citizens… which they did not (Hitler was adored and had nothing to fear of an armed uprising against him.) But clearly, my Facebook friend is terrified that if we take away his assault weapons, he’ll be defenseless when the jack-booted government comes knocking on his door to… to… I really have no idea. Make him eat tofu?

And that’s pretty much the problem in a “nutshell” (intentional metaphor). The most fearful, paranoid, irrational, DANGEROUS people are the ones setting our nation’s policy on guns.

Donald Trump thinks the solution to stopping gun violence in schools is to arm the teachers. (“Some are ex-military!” he declared. I’ve been a teacher and not a lot of ex-military go into the profession.) An NRA “solution” to be sure. Any “solution” that results in INCREASING gun sales is their goal as lobbyists for the gun industry. We won’t give just ANY teacher a gun of course. Just a select few who are willing to undergo “training” and WANT to bear the responsibility of engaging in a firefight in an enclosed classroom (“Shootout at the OK Classroom”, teacher and gunman firing at each other from behind overturned desks) full of kids with a crazed gunman wielding an assault weapon… possibly even wearing body armor… with multiple 30-round magazines and is NOT concerned where he fires. Quite honestly, any person who thinks they are capable of handling a nightmare scenario like that is exactly the kind of person I believe should not be allowed to own a firearm.

One Republican congressman, Rep. Masse of Kentucky, went on “Meet the Press” yesterday to repeat his belief that instead of raising the age to buy an AR15 from 18 to 21 like handguns (I still can’t fathom who thought that made sense), the age to buy a handgun should instead be LOWERED to 18 (why not 16?). The NRA of course also opposes raising the age at which you can buy an assault weapon because it will cut into gun sales… and that is, after all, what the NRA is all about. Forget the nonsense about “protecting the Second Amendment” or “the right of people to protect themselves”. If a gun restriction made the gun companies more money, they’d be all for it (during the debate over the ’94 Assault Weapons Ban, one of the items included was a requirement for “trigger locks”. Most gun owners opposed them, but the NRA didn’t fight them very hard because it was another accessory for gun manufacturers to sell. As a result, “trigger locks” successfully made it into the bill.) Just about every rational gun owner supports a ban on “bump stocks” like the one used in Vegas that basically turned a semi-automatic weapon into a FULLY automatic assault weapon that mowed down over NINE-HUNDRED concert-goers, yet the NRA opposes such a ban. They also oppose and a ban on “silencers” too (a ban Don Jr publicly opposed online last week and stared in a promo video for last October… as if you needed another example of the link between mental illness and a love of guns.) According to the NRA’s own poll:
 

Over three quarters of Americans support a ban on assault-style weapons (79%), a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds (78%), and a ban on firearm attachments like bump stocks (82%).

 
The Second Amendment does not protect your right to own “bump stocks” or a silencer (nor high capacity magazines.) They are not “arms.” But they ARE money-making accessories for the gun industry.

Trump and the GOP will make sure such restrictions never reach the floor of Congress.

I first wrote about my idea for “bullet control” (Taxing Gunpowder) about a year ago, and noted back then how ludicrous some of these gun rights advocates are, believing that if THEY were in that darkened movie theater in Aurora, CO when an insane man wearing body-armor, armed with multiple assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, whom had tossed in canisters of tear-gas prior to opening fire, THEY would of been able to “save the day” and take the guy out with their trusty side-arm with one… maybe two… shots to save the day. That kind of delusion is an excellent example of the kind of mentally ill people whom should not be allowed to own a firearm.

And that is EXACTLY why they are so fearful of denying guns to the mentally ill. Repealing that ban was (after all) one of the very first Executive Orders signed by Trump upon taking office. Just WHO though THAT was a good idea? Just WHO pushed for him to do that?

And now Trump is bemoaning “metal illness” as the cause of mass murder involving assault weapons. Way to go, Dickhead.

The NRA of course waited their requisite one week (as per their pattern) following the latest horrific mass-shooting before they started attacking the victims. NRA President (and Vietnam draft-dodger) Wayne LaPierre began by accusing people whom have had enough of the unnecessarily bloody aftermath of mass shootings that result from the availability of assault weapons, of “politicizing” the issue. His toady, Spokesperson Dana Loesch has been making the rounds accusing anyone who argues in favor of restricting guns as the REAL threat to the safety of our children. On ABC’s ThisWeek yesterday, Loesch had the gall to blame lax gun laws and the police for failing to do their jobs (from “heeding warnings” to the armed security officer at the school who failed to enter the school to confront the shooter.) Steph-O challenged her on her hypocrisy of complaining about lax/unenforced gun laws and political inaction, and the expectation that an armed teacher will respond more effectively than a trained officer. As if we don’t already expect too much from our teachers. Now they expect them to be Rambo too? But you can’t reason with an unreasonable person. (I’ve worked as a Substitute teacher, a teacher’s aid, and a Lab Proctor, and I’ve seen plenty of situations where I’m glad no teacher had easy access to a gun. And teachers can go nuts too BTW.)

“Politicizing” the issue indeed. Demanding lawmakers take action against rapid-fire weaponry isn’t “politicizing” an issue. Claiming the Second Amendment protects your “right” to own an assault-weapon (it doesn’t) so that they can continue to make their blood money… THAT is “politicizing” an issue. I tweeted after the Parkland school shooting:

 

Guns over Kids

 

At least one person took issue with that statement, trying to claim the people defending gun rights only do so out of a desire to protect their children… from guns. I find it a bit like telling someone to get over their fear of handling snakes by telling them to drink more poison… not simply say, “Hey idiot! Stop handling snakes!” Actually, I find little evidence that the people who want assault weapons to remain legal are actually worried about an erratic gunman attacking their family with an assault weapon. More often, they are like my “You’re a Nazi” friend who thinks the government is out to get them.

Now, as I wrote in that Op/Ed last year (ibid: “Taxing Gunpowder”), I am NOT advocating “gun confiscation”. Few people are (and they too are not totally rational on this issue.) But I DO support reinstating the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban. Given enough time (which Dubya did not by refusing to renew it in 2004), the production and availability of these weapons will decline over time. Republicans (natch) lobbied HARD for years to repeal/end the ban arguing that the April 1999 Columbine massacre using assault weapons… a mere 4-1/2 years into the ban… PROVED an assault weapons ban does not work. It takes years… perhaps even decades… for those weapons to eventually fade from society. We didn’t ban fully automatic machine guns until 1986. “Tommy Guns”… those machine guns seen in old 1930’s gangster films with the circular magazine… were legal until 1986. Where are they now? Museums mostly. Eventually, “fully automatic” machine guns faded from our streets (and the government never came busting down any innocent civilian’s door knowing they’d be unable to protect themselves without their trusty machine gun.)

In 1986, Reagan signed the ban on “fully automatic machine guns” and Armor-piercing “Cop killer” bullets (which he championed) that could rip through Kevlar vests (Damn those Democratic gun-grabbers!) One of just 21 members of Congress to vote against that ban was then-Representative Dick Cheney. Cheney was also one of only four members of Congress to vote against “plastic guns” that could slip past metal detectors, and voted to end the 7-day waiting period to buy a handgun in 1988. (If you ever needed more evidence of the connection between dangerous people and an irrational need to protect guns at any cost, I can think of none better.) The 1994 Assault Weapons Ban expanded Reagan’s restriction on “armor piecing” bullets to include not just “metal” bullets, but “polymer” rounds that were invented to evade that very ban. When Bush-43 allowed the ’94 Ban to lapse, that included that ban on polymer “Cop Killer” bullets. But Reagan’s ban on fully automatic machine guns and fragmenting metal rounds is still in effect… because, as you know, IOKWARDI (“It’s OK when a Republican does it.”)

Most people don’t remember anymore that back in 2004 when people were arguing over whether or not the ’94 Ban should be renewed, there were a LOT of Right-Wing gun nuts rights advocates (mostly online) defending “so-called cop killer bullets”, arguing “there is no such thing as a ‘cop killer’ bullet“… that it was just a term made up by Ted Kennedy to give good bullets a bad name (just Google: “cop killer” bullets 2004.) They distracted from the point so successfully that people stopped asking “Why” such ammunition was even necessary, and instead wasted time debating the definition of what constituted “a ‘cop killer’ bullet“, allowing the ’94 Ban on them to lapse.

Someone made the point last week (I forget who) that: “The moment you start arming teachers is the day you legalize teachers killing black students.” Because there WILL come an instance where some teacher claims they felt “threatened”, and justified in shooting & killing young Jamal because he appeared to be “reaching into his waistband” for “something”. We already don’t prosecute COPS for shooting & killing unarmed black kids. You think a teacher is ever going to be convicted when their defense is: “I was worried about the safety of my students!”

Now let me be clear: I am NOT claiming everyone whom owns a gun is mentally ill. By now, you have undoubtedly seen on the news footage of a mother & daughter operating a liquor store in Oklahoma when a masked gunman attempts to rob them. Instead, both mother & daughter pull out guns of their own and fire upon the would-be robber, striking him numerous times and thwarting the attack. The tearful duo appearing everywhere on the news this weekend crediting each other with saving each other’s lives. The video is being shopped everywhere as PROOF of the necessity of guns in the wake of the Parkland school shooting. I’d like to point out a few observations of my own:

1) The gunman had a handgun. Not an assault rifle. If the two women had attempted to take on a maniac with an assault rifle who entered firing, the outcome likely would have been very different.

2) I’m willing to bet this was not the robber’s first offense (no confirmation yet.) How does a repeat offender get his hands on a handgun? Answer: He buys one. Legally. That needs to change.

3) Screen-grab of the robbery:
 

Daughter fires at robber... AND her mother.
Daughter fires at robber… AND her mother.

Mom decided to take on the robber herself and a struggle ensued as she attempted to wrench the gun away from the robber. The daughter then points her gun at the two of them and fires, striking the robber in the back, narrowly missing her own mother. In fact, the bullet COULD have passed though the robber and struck her mother. And a spit second after being hit, the robber twists, tossing the mother directly between him and the armed daughter. Had she of fired twice in a row, Mom might be dead right now by her daughter’s hand, not the robber’s.

Now, of course, a gun-rights advocate would look at this and say, “Yeah, but none of that DID happen and both women are alive today because they knew how to handle themselves.” No. I’m sorry, nothing about that footage cries out: “Good Judgement”. Firing in the direction of the gunman with the person or persons you are trying to protect directly in the line of fire? This is EXACTLY the kind of reckless bad decision making you’d almost certainly see if we started arming teachers who THINK they know how to protect themselves. Things could just as easily turned out very bad for our heroes.

These same gun nuts will also “do the math” and argue “the mistaken death of ONE child is acceptable if it saves 20 others.” Are you willing to take that gamble with the life of YOUR child? And once again, anyone who thinks the accidental/preventable death of one (or maybe more) students is “acceptable” if it saves the lives of even more children is just the kind of person I don’t want to have access to a gun in school.

Listening to the gun nuts on Facebook & Twitter, one gets a sense they are terrified children whom without their guns would likely be huddled in a dark corner of their home, terrified of the outside world. That’s why they want Trump to build that idiotic Wall… even if WE end up paying for it despite telling them over & over again he could provide them with security from Mexicans at no charge. And they want Trump to protect them from “Muslims”… even that bloodied 3 year old boy photographed in the back of an ambulance that touched so many hearts last year. And now they want to arm the teachers because the surest way to protect children trapped in a classroom with a crazed gunman with an assault rife is, of course, crossfire. And any attempt to take away their blankie guns will be seen as the first step towards a government that comes knocking on their door to… to… again, I have no idea. The people most supportive of gun rights are clearly the most fearful, the most irrational, and know that if they were evaluated by a psychiatrist, their overwhelming fear of the outside world would be the very basis for which they would be labeled “mentally unstable” and prohibited from buying a gun.

And THAT, dear reader, is the REAL reason they oppose any gun ban.
 


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“Now Is Not the Time to Talk About Guns.” Yes. Yes it is.
Feb 19th, 2018 by Admin Mugsy

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“Now is not the time to talk about guns.” We’ve heard that exact line so many times it’s practically a Republican catch-phrase. And we all know its intent: to suppress the issue until public interest/urgency wanes and people are distracted by other more “immediate” issues, ensuring nothing ever gets done so that the people who profit off the deaths of children can continue to make money. Remember all the talk about “Bump Stocks” following the Vegas shooting? Those spring-loaded rifle butts that use a gun’s recoil to fire like a fully automatic machine gun? Everyone… gun opponents and gun supporters alike, seemed to agree that something like “bump stocks” should be illegal. It seemed like a compromise everyone could support. Gun opponents get rid of a device that clearly serves no purpose other than to circumvent the ban on fully-automatic machine guns, and gun supporters get to pretend like they are actually doing something about gun control without actually removing a single weapon from the streets. Remember that?

That law never passed. It never even came up for a vote in the House (despite passing in the Senate.) House Republicans killed it in Committee (Senate Republicans often vote to support things they otherwise wouldn’t because they know House Republicans will bail them out.) Several state legislatures then tried to pass it on their own. Washington and Colorado succeeded. Virginia where the deadliest school shooting in history took place (“Virginia Tech”) a decade earlier, the bill was killed in a “Public Safety” subcommittee by a Party-Line vote (4-to-2… that’s right, just FOUR Republicans is all it took to keep bump stocks legal for the entire state of Virginia.) In Nevada where the massacre took place, state law actually forbids the banning of gun accessories like bump stocks. Insane.

Here are some of the most notable gun events in recent memory (and after each, nothing was done):

  1. “Virginia Tech” – 2007 (32 killed, 23 wounded)
  2. Northern Illinois University Shooting, 2008 (5 killed, 21 wounded)
  3. Fort Hood #1, Tx – 2009 (13K, 30W)
  4. Hartford Beer Distributor, Manchester, CT – 2010 (8K, 2W)
  5. Tuscon, AZ “Safeway Rally” shooting killing 6 and wounding 13 including Rep Gabby Giffords, 2011 (6K, 13W)
  6. Aurora Movie Theater shooting, CO – July 2012 (12K, 58W)
  7. Sandy Hook Elementary, Newtown CT – December 2012 (27K, 2W)
  8. D.C. Navy Yard shooting – December 2013 (12K, 8W)
  9. Fort Hood #2 (yes, a second shooting at the same place), TX – April 2014 (3K, 12W)
  10. Isla Vista mass murder, Santa Barbara, CA – May 2014 (6K, 13W)
  11. Charleston church shooting, VA – June 2015 (9K, 1W)… only the THIRD deadliest of seven mass shootings that year.
  12. Umpqua Community College, Roseburg, OR – October 2015 (9K, 9W)
  13. Planned Parenthood, Colorado Springs, CO – November 2015(3K, 9W)
  14. Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, CA – December 2015 (14K, 21W)
  15. Pulse Nightclub, Orlando, FL – June, 2016 (49K, 53W)
  16. The attempted murder of Congressman Steve Scalise on a DC baseball field last June 2017 (0K, 2W)
  17. The Vegas massacre last October 2017 (58 dead, 851 injured)
  18. Sutherland Springs church shooting, TX – November 2017 (27K, 20W)

…And now the horrific murder of 14 students and 3 teachers at a Florida high school last Ash Wednesday (which was also Valentine’s Day.) Lord only knows how many shootings I missed. (“Mother Jones” documented NINETY-SEVEN mass shootings in the past 35 years.)

According to the Gun Violence Archive, as of today, there have been 7,050 incidents of gun violence (where one civilian kills or injures another civilian using a gun)… not “in the past decade”, not “since Trump was elected”, not even “last year”, but in just 2018 ALONE. And we are only halfway through February. That’s nearly 147 SHOOTINGS PER DAY! That’s nuts.

Lately, I’ve begun to feel like everything there is to be said about certain subjects… be it guns, Trump/Russia or Republican hypocrisy in general… I’ve already talked about till I’m blue-in-the-face. This was one of those weeks.

But even more fascinating is that somehow, Republicans actually found a way for all three to overlap this time! According to Trump, the reason the FBI… a massive agency with thousands of agents investigating tens of thousands of crimes… “missed the warning signs” regarding the Florida shooting is because “they were too busy investigating him for collusion with Russia.” The man’s narcissism knows no bounds (Please note, despite all the tweeting acknowledging the FBI’s findings, not one word about responding to the ongoing Russian attack on our democracy. Not even a harsh word for Putin.) That photo of 12 Trump tweets in the upper left? All of them posted since the shooting on February 14th, and not a single mention of guns. Five of those tweets were posted just this weekend.

Guns, Russia… and then there’s the hypocrisy.

Republicans have been flooding the airwaves to attack Democrats for “politicizing the issue” by calling for action on guns while emotions are still running high. I don’t know about you, but the ONLY people I see “politicizing” this issue are REPUBLICANS accusing others of “politicizing” the issue in order to once again shut down any debate on the subject of gun control (ie: “Bullet Control.“) As I’ve repeatedly said, “When a Republican accuses you of something, it’s because THEY themselves are either doing it or would do it if they were in the same position, and naturally assume everyone else is/would too.”

No Corporate Lobby is making huge campaign contributions to Democrats in exchange for tighter gun laws. There’s no profit in that. But the NRA spends tens of millions each year on campaign contributions to politicians willing to kill off (pardon the phrase) sensible gun restrictions that might cost the gun industry millions. (I’m reminded of Republicans who try to claim “greedy scientists and colleges” who receive all that “Climate Change research funding” are actually the ones behind the “Global Warming Myth”… yes, there are Republicans who seriously believe that. Not the Trillion-dollar oil industry spending billions to sough seeds of doubt and quash any such legislation.)

Here in Houston, the 2018 primaries are rapidly approaching (March), and we already have one Republican woman candidate (whose name I won’t mention) who is running ubiquitous ads comparing herself to Trump, bragging of his “accomplishments” and her promise to help him fulfil his campaign promises (including that wall.) The same ad ran for weeks.

THE DAY AFTER the Florida school shooting, she released a new ad, posing with a (simple lever-action .22) rifle, touting how she “learned to shoot as a child” taught by her father, and how she would “fight to protect the Second Amendment.”

Seriously. The very next day.

If your FIRST reaction to the mass murder of 14 children and 3 teachers is to worry more about protecting GUNS than KIDS… YOU ARE THE PROBLEM! (Shall we talk some more about “Democrats politicizing” the gun issue?)

I can’t imagine what kind of hole a person must have in their soul if their first reaction to such a tragedy is to rush to pander to gun nuts to reassure them that you’ll protect their right to buy yet more guns… because you KNOW that audience already has them. That’s beyond disgusting. I pray I’m not the only person who noticed and was wildly offended by that.

After the Pulse Nightclub massacre in 2016, I pointed out that after every mass shooting, there’s always a parade of Conservative Gun Rights defenders claiming that if THEY had been “there” when the latest shooting was taking place, THEY could have taken down the shooter with their trusty handgun. I’ve NEVER heard one say they would have needed an assault weapon to achieve this amazing feat. Never has one ever said it’s impossible to stop such a crime unless THEY TOO had an assault weapon on them. I NEVER heard anyone claim it couldn’t be done without an extended clip holding 30 or more rounds, either.

Not once.

All they needed was a simple handgun. So why again do they need an assault rifle with 30 round clip “for protection”?

I actually heard Republican Senator Jim Lankford claim on “Meet the Press” yesterday that “some people actually DO hunt with an AR-15 rifle.” No, I didn’t make that up. In case you are wondering, Yes, you DID just hear a Republican senator argue that the weapon of choice of most mass murderers needs to remain legal because there are people who are such miserable shots they need an assault weapon to take down a moose. If you need a gun capable of spitting out 45 bullets/minute in order to hunt, you probably have no business firing such a powerful weapon… unless of course you just love liquefied deer meat.

Every time there is a mass shooting, we are told “Now is not the time to discuss gun reform.” Why? Because “emotions are running high” and gun-opponents might not be open to a “rational” discussion on restricting guns. But then, people soon forget about it and another important issue steals the spotlight. And should you bring the issue back up a month or two later (assuming there hasn’t been another mass slaughter since then), the issue is no longer seen as “urgent” and quickly falls by the wayside… until the next mass shooting and we are told once again, “Now is not the time”. In an age where people are developing the attention span of goldfish, “waiting” is to “issues” what “assault weapons” are to “human lives”: death.
 


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Stunning Trump & GOP Hypocrisy Amidst Wild Week
Feb 12th, 2018 by Admin Mugsy

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I‘ve always been keenly aware of Republican hypocrisy. It’s one of the things that drives Democrats like me nuts (which incidentally, gives Republicans orgasmic pleasure because… as I’ve repeatedly said… they’re provocateurs.) They also have an uncanny ability to turn it around and accuse their accusers of being the TRUE hypocrites. It wouldn’t be so bad if people didn’t keep falling for it. And we MAY just be nearing one of those tipping points.

The past few weeks of the Trump White House have been some of the worst weeks seen in ANY White House since the start of Nixon’s second term. But we are barely three weeks into Trump’s second year and they are already giving Nixon a run for his money when it comes to scandal. But when you layer ON TOP OF THAT the incompetency, the in-fighting, the chaos, disrespect for our own government institutions, the fiscal irresponsibility and just the stunning magnitude of their hypocrisy, not even Richard Nixon disgraced his office to the degree Donald Trump has (and continues to do.)

This isn’t an Op/Ed on a particular issue in a week FULL of controversy: A plunging DOW, another White House staffer accused of domestic violence is forced to resign, Trump approves the release of a GOP “Memo” attacking the Mueller investigation despite FBI security concerns, but a Democratic rebuttal memo is blocked by Trump citing “FBI concerns”, and #KimJongDon accusing Democrats of “treason” for not applauding his every word at the State of the Union… you know, the way Republicans did at every one of Obama’s State of the Union speeches (including the unprecedented disrespect of shouting “You lie!” at his first joint address of Congress). No, this is more a look at how Republicans… whom have ALWAYS been raging hypocrites… are becoming even more bereft of principle now than ever.

Don Jr… every bit as smug and disingenuous as his father… suggested black critics who once posed for photos with his father and accepted money from him were hypocrites… turning on him only once he became president. One of the people he singled out as a hypocrite was Reverend Al Sharpton… now host of his own show on MSNBC. Yesterday on his show, Sharpton pointed out (in so many words) that Trump’s critics are not the ones who changed upon entering office, it was Trump. Sharpton pointed out that he was one of Trump’s chief critics during the “Central Park 5” controversy, and if Trump actually DID donate any money to black causes, he never saw it.

Which illustrates a point: Republicans see the world through a very special prism. One where they are the benevolent ones contributing to society, and everyone else are the leeches who are a drain on society only to bite the hand (theirs) that feeds it. And because of that self-righteousness, any hypocrisy is excused on behalf of “the greater good.”

Budget/Deficit hypocrisy.

In 2000, Congress had balanced their second budget in a row. The Deficit was ZERO and we were actually paying off the Debt with the surplus. George W Bush campaigned across the country telling Republican voters at every stop that the surplus PROVED they were being over-taxed. “It’s not their money, it’s OUR money, and we want it back!” And the crowd cheered. And that’s why a Republican president will NEVER balance the budget, because the moment we collect enough in taxes to do so, they will point to it as an excuse to cut taxes. How will the government EVER bring down the Debt if every time we bring in enough tax revenue to start paying it off, they reverse it (arguing the resulting economic growth will result in even more tax revenue)? By the time Bush left office, the economy had collapsed and the deficit had exploded to $1.2Trillion dollars.

And when Obama became president, Republicans immediately blamed Obama for the $1.2T deficit… and I’m even hearing Trump and his supporters continuing to do so today (even though it was cut by nearly 2/3rds by the time he left.) In 2011, Congress was faced with raising the Debt Ceiling to pay for all the spending THEY approved. As I noted back in December (“If GOP Tax Bill Passes, here is how it will tank the economy“), self-proclaimed Head of The TEA Party, then Senator Mike Pence, said that if shutting down the government was what it took to get the National Debt/Deficit under control, “I say, shut it down!” Now VP, he defends Trump for saying we should shut down the government if Democrats DON’T pass his massive unfunded budget.

For decades, Republicans ran as “the Party of fiscal responsibility.” Ronald Reagan… after he exploded the deficit… audited the government to (famously) discover it was being wildly overcharged for simple items. Famously, things like “$37 screws, a $7,622 coffee maker, and a $640 toilet seat made headlines across the country. Over 30 years later, Republicans still cite those same overcharges as evidence there is always “fat” we can cut from the budget so we can cut taxes without increasing the deficit. Except they never do. Most of that “fat” was trimmed away decades ago, and the total saving from those cuts is NEVER greater than the resulting tax cut it is used to justify.

Flash forward to 2018. The MASSIVE corporate tax cut Trump just passed is going to create… at a minimum… a $1T hole in the Deficit (and I’m dead certain it will climb to over $2T by the 2020 election… not that I give a rat’s ass what it does to the GOP’s prospects that year. In the 1980 election, Reagan criticized Carter for allowing the National Debt… the total Debt NOT the deficit… to reach $800 Billion dollars. By the time Reagan left office, the Debt had tripled to $2.4 Trillion dollars. And now, I believe Trump’s corporate tax cut will eventually cost us that much money EVERY YEAR.

And how do Republicans dismiss warnings Trump’s tax cuts will explode the deficit? “Voodoo Economics” of course (the idea cutting taxes will result in MORE tax revenue via growth.) They KNOW it’s a lie (well, I’m sure they are plenty of true believers who still believe that crap despite history), yet they support it anyway because they get to tell their voters back home that they can continue to have candy for dinner and never get a cavity! No Republicans is willing to be the adult in the room and say, “No! You can’t have another tax cut! All those nice things you say you want the government to provide for you? Well, those things cost money. And if you don’t think the company you work for should pay for it, then the burden falls upon you.”

When Bush-43 became president, Dick Cheney famously said, “Ronald Reagan proved deficits don’t matter.” That huge deficits have no significant impact on the economy.

Except when a Democrat occupies the White House… then deficits are a tragedy beyond words.

The Handling of Top Secret info (aka: “Lock her up!”)

It seems like ages ago now when Trump and his supporters were accusing Hillary Clinton of “mishandling classified info.” The idea Hillary Clinton “recklessly” used an insecure private email server in her home that America’s enemies could (and they suggested “did”) hack into and uncover classified documents. They even pointed to Clinton forwarding emails with a “(C)” designation (for “Classified”) in the subject line as “proof” she was “extremely careless” with classified material (material which had been declassified by the time it was sent.)

Fast forward 6 months later. Donald Trump invites two Russian ambassadors and an entire Russian camera crew (but NO American reporters) into the Oval Office to show off, revealing Top Secret intel on what we knew about the location of (Russian made) North Korean submarines… Top Secret intel we obtained from British Intelligence. Trump revealed to the Russians… North Korea’s ally… that the Brits had infiltrated the NK government, who then likely notified them that they have a British spy in their midst (burning an invaluable asset.)

Once in the White House, Trump proceeded to surround himself with people who were incapable of obtaining a Top Secret security clearance. Rob Porter (Staff Secretary who regularly handled the MOST secret documents and whose job was to BURN those reports when done) could not obtain Top Secret security clearance because BOTH of his ex-wives accused him of domestic abuse. Despite that, he continued at his job handling the most sensitive information in government until he was forced to resign just last week.

White House speechwriter David Sorenson “resigned” as well last week after nearly seven months on the job amid domestic abuse charges of his own. While Sorenson didn’t have direct access to classified information, do you think Conspiracy-minded Trump supporters wouldn’t have been screaming about how “reckless” Hillary was for allowing a clear security threat to have free-reign within the White House?

And many forget Trump’s right-hand man, Steve Bannon, who likewise was unable to obtain Top Secret security clearance because of past charges of Domestic Violence. But that didn’t stop Trump from signing an Executive Order that permitted Bannon to sit in on NSC meetings.

Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner… the man whom he tasks with every boring job he doesn’t want to do… does NOT have Top Secret security clearance. Yet he sits in on top secret meetings in the Oval Office and handles some of the most sensitive security information imaginable.

And lets not forget Trump reportedly (and the White House denies) tried to obtain security clearances for his kids, Ivanka, Bevis AND Butthead, right after the election. Consider that this is mere DAYS after winning an election due in part to accusations Hillary Clinton was “reckless” with Top Secret information.

Sexual Misconduct

In addition to the White House staffers who were kept on for many months (even a year) despite allegations of Domestic Abuse, there is of course the man himself… Trump… whom they elected in spite of his history of philandering (cheated on wife #1 with future wife #2, and wife #2 with future wife #3), and despite his “Access Hollywood” confession caught on tape admitting to repeatedly committing sexual assault, grabbing & kissing women without their permission, they still voted for him. The same Republicans who decided Bill Clinton’s sexual misconduct made him unfit to occupy the Oval Office, were (surprisingly?) quick to defend Trump when news broke that his personal lawyer paid off two women… a pornstar named “Stormy Daniels” and a former Playmate named Karen McDougal… to stop them from revealing just before the election that they had had affairs with Trump (reportedly soon after Melania became pregnant with their son Barron.) At least seventeen women have come forward to accuse Trump of sexual misconduct, all of whom he has branded “liars” as part of a giant conspiracy to bring down his presidency.

And his supporters continue to believe & defend him. They believe in conspiracy theories, and Trump is the king of conspiracy theories (even giving the most offensive conspiracy theory lunatic on cable TV… InfoWars’ Alex Jonesa White House Press Pass.)

Dueling Memos

As you almost certainly know, Republicans in the House and Senate announced last month that they had “a memo” that proved… PROVED… Trump was the target of a partisan witch-hunt being waged by a “biased” FBI in an investigation that was initiated by Democrats during the campaign seeking dirt on Donald Trump.

That Earth-shattering memo “proving” malfeasance by the FBI? The GOP wrote it. Their claims were not true at all (the initial investigation was launched by one of Trump’s REPUBLICAN rivals… almost certainly Jeb Bush… then later passed along to Clinton, who continued it.) They publicly claimed the reason for the investigation were the findings of a biased British former MI6 agent (Chris Steele) yet on the last page of their own report, they concede the FBI investigation was initiated two months earlier based on a warning they received about another Trump advisor (George Papodopoulis). They flailed their arms wildly in outrage over text messages attacking Trump exchanged between two (of among a hundred) FBI agents working on the Russia investigation… agents who had already been removed from the case months ago because of those texts, and cited what was clearly a joke about a “secret society” within the FBI as evidence of some bizarre “Deep State” shadow government working behind the scenes to undermine our hero: poor, misunderstood Donald Trump. And despite security concerns from both the FBI & CIA about possibly revealing classified information should the GOP Memo be released, Trump ignored those warnings and approved the release of the misleading/erroneous memo anyway.

To which, Democrats demanded Trump likewise approve the release their own rebuttal memo correcting those false & misleading claims, to which Trump said he would… but when it reached his desk, NOW he was suddenly sensitive to FBI concerns over what classified intel it might reveal, and refused to approve it.
 

Memo Hypocrisy (:40)

 

Trump minion Marc Short actually defended Trump’s obvious hypocrisy on “Meet the Press” yesterday by claiming he believed Democratic Intel Committee Chair Adam Schiff deliberately inserted clearly classified material in the Democratic Memo in order to force Trump to reject it just to make him look bad. No. Seriously.

Trump fired FBI Director Jim Comey because he wouldn’t shut down the Russia investigation, and has publicly ridiculed his own Attorney General. Remember when Republicans were “the law & order Party” that had nothing but good things to say about our law enforcement agencies? Now they’re the “Trash the FBI. Trash the Justice Dept” Party.

Russia

Ronald Reagan… patron saint of the GOP… was the harshest critic and least trusting of Russia as any president in history. Republicans under Reagan justified spending over a Trillion dollars fighting the “Cold War” to defeat the Soviet Union. They were not to be trusted… least of all, someone connected to the KGB.

Today, we have a president who openly defends Russia and thinks former KGB agent Vladamir Putin… a ruthless dictator who has essentially appointed himself “President for Life”, has his critics imprisoned, murdered, or both… is telling him the truth when he insists over & over that he didn’t meddle in our election… something even Trump’s OWN STAFF now concedes is true:
 

Trump vs his own Administration on Russian meddling (:43)

 

And no wonder Trump prefers to believe Putin over his own staff. Because to concede Russia meddled is to concede that maybe… just maybe… Trump didn’t actually win the election on his own and would have lost to Hillary Clinton. And THAT though is just unfathomable to Trump. Remember this is the same guy who denied PHOTOS of the smallish crowd at his inauguration were accurate, and claimed he “actually won the popular vote too… if you don’t count the more than THREE MILLION illegal aliens who voted for Hillary”… an absurd claim with no foothold in reality. But SO fragile is this man’s ego, he’d rather do NOTHING to protect the NEXT election from meddling by a hostile foreign power (let alone investigate the LAST election) than do his job and protect American democracy. (He inaction COULD easily backfire on him. If Putin’s goal is “to sough chaos” in America, if he suddenly decides he doesn’t like Trump, Putin could help the Democrat win the next election and put Democrats on the defensive of trying to justify their own win against accusations of a fixed election. Talk about “chaos.” Do nothing at your own peril, Mr. Trump.

Trump critics make excuses for him when it suits them

Some of Trump’s harshest critics on the campaign trail suddenly discovered a new-found respect for the Billionaire CEO-turned-president as soon as it looked like it might benefit them personally.

We all remember the awkward “Somebody-help-me” smiles on Mitt Romney’s face as he auditioned for the job of Trump’s “Secretary of State”… strung along for weeks and posing for photo-ops groveling at Trump’s feet, stroking his ego, only to be rejected (with rumors everywhere that Romney was never truly under consideration, Trump just liked humiliating one of his critics, like the child sociopath who tears the wings off butterflies, taking pleasure in another’s pain.)

During the campaign, one of Trump’s harshest critics was GOP rival Lindsey Graham. Trump famously gave out Graham’s private cellphone number while on the campaign trail in retribution for some criticism Lindsey leveled upon him. Now suddenly Graham is Trump’s golfing buddy and a frequent defender of the Toddler-in-Chief in the Media. Why? Because Trump is advancing his pet issues. As long as Lindsey is getting what he wants, Trump isn’t an irrational man/child, he’s a patient chief executive who examines all sides of an issue.

We remember Chris Christie attacking Trump on the campaign trail, only to later see him standing behind Trump at campaign events, almost agog at what was spewing from the man’s mouth, all in hopes of being honored with the job of “Attorney General”… which he was was never going to get, only to be excluded from more & more administrative functions during the transition and not included in Trump’s cabinet.

Matt Dowd on ABC’s ThisWeek made the keen observation yesterday: “Trump’s greatest ability is that he reveals people for who they really are.”

Which brings me to the two biggest hypocrisies of all:

“Draining the Swamp” & “A CEO knows how to hire the best people”

These were the two biggest selling points to justify electing Donald Trump to be president. He would “drain the swamp” of Washington insiders, lackies & sycophants from the Federal Government and hire only the most qualified people to run our government as efficiently as he ran his corporations to become a multi-Billionaire.

Instead, to date, the only “swamp creatures” Trump has cut loose are people HE HIRED:
 

Trump Admin departures-Feb 9, 2018

 

He filled his administration full of Washington insiders, lackies & sycophants like Steve Bannon… the White Nationalist wife-beater who ran a Right-Wing online tabloid… to be his chief strategist. He appointed Jeff Sessions… the first (and for a long time only) Republican senator to endorse him, to be his Attorney General. He appointed a wealthy donor (and sister of the head of Blackwater)… whom had NEVER held a job in public education, to run his Department of Education. He appointed a Climate Change denier who sued the EPA more than a dozen times to run the EPA, appointed his own Son-in-Law his “chief advisor”, and a former model (Hope Hicks) who worked for his daughter Ivanka modeling her clothing line, to be Deputy Communications Director. Rick “Oops” Perry was appointed to run the very agency he wanted to shutdown… The Dept of Energy… an agency Perry was totally unaware was in charge of our nuclear arsenal. Before Perry, the job was last held by an MIT professor of physics, and before him, a Nobel laureate. And Trump appointed former brain surgeon Ben “Sleepy” Carson to be… not his Surgeon General… but the head of HUD (because Carson once lived in Public housing.) These were “The Best People” he could find to fill these jobs?

(An aside here as I note that EVERY business Trump has pursued outside of real estate empire has been a spectacular failure. Trump Airways, Trump Casinos, Trump Vodka, Trump Steaks, Trump University, Trump Magazine… just to name a few… all ended up declaring bankruptcy. His condos are “80% sold” and “80% vacant” because nobody lives in them. His ONLY “successful” business has been selling property to Russian mobsters looking to launder dirty money by purchasing real estate from a greedy moron who doesn’t ask questions when you pay him in cash. Trump isn’t “a brilliant businessman”. He’s the Russian mob’s “useful idiot”… and now they’ve put him in the White House.)

What we’ve learned about Republicans from the election of Donald Trump is that there is no principle they won’t sellout in the name of advancing their ideology. If their word is meaningless and they repeatedly prove their incompetence and inability to govern, why on Earth would anyone ever trust them again? Yet millions happily reject everything they’ve ever claimed to believe in… defenders of law & order, national security and fiscal responsibility… and have done a total 180′ standing all those principles on their head so long as it suits their agenda… which as far as I can tell is simply annoying their critics (because as I’ve said all along, “Republicans are provocateurs who get off on upsetting their critics.”)
 


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Is This the Beginning of the Trump Economy? DOW loses over 1,000 points to start 2018.
Feb 4th, 2018 by Admin Mugsy

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(UPDATE: Monday, DOW falls an additional 1,175 points… the largest one day drop in history.)
(UPDATE #2: DOW falls another 1,032 points on Thursday.)

Like the old saying goes: “Facts can be stubborn things.” Last week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average suffered it’s worst week (day?) in two years (I’m having some trouble confirming that statistic, but the 666 point drop on Friday may have been the biggest one-day drop since Bush-43’s final year in office.)

Now, there is no denying that the DOW set numerous records in Trump’s first year… which was easier to do when you START with a strong economy and the DOW already near it’s record high. Under Obama, the DOW grew nearly as quickly his first year in office (see corner thumbnail graph) as it has under Trump, but it wasn’t “setting records” because Bush left him an economy in free fall, needing to gain nearly 6,000 points just to get back up to where it was before the crash. So in very blunt terms, Trump had a 6,000 point “head start” on growing the Stock Market.

In reaction to a good jobs report for January (190K jobs created, first hourly wage increase in eight years), investors panicked… believing either (GOP version) the economy is doing SO good the Fed will be forced to raise interest rates next month to stave off inflation (which is nonsense because we’ve had periods of lower unemployment and higher job growth without needing to raise interest rates), or (MY interpretation) the jobs report confirmed what they already KNOW: that the Fed MUST raise interest rates next month… and will do so at the first opportunity… to fill the budget shortfall Trump’s massive tax cut for corporations and billionaires will create, which caused the DOW to plunge nearly 666 points… it’s worst one day drop since January 2016 (and the less said about that number, the better.)

And that “good jobs report” is terribly misleading: 1) Note the “jobs expansion” is now in its EIGHTH year (so this isn’t a new phenomena thanks to Trump) and Congress has YET to pass a new budget, so we are STILL operating under Obama’s final December 2016 budget.

2) The reported “first hourly wage increase in eight years” was a whopping NINE CENTS and due almost entirely to 18 states raising the Minimum Wage. Unless you have a healthy 401k or other investment in the Stock Market, the average person is actually seeing very little benefit from the rise in the Stock Market.
 

Job Growth by Presidental Budget
Job growth by president
(Trump’s first year in purple, but he has yet to pass a budget.)

 

That region in purple… a straightline continuation of the seven years before it… is what Trump has been taking bows for. As you can see from in the region in green, the last budget of the preceding president continues to impact the economy long after they are gone, and passing your own budget can set the trajectory of the remainder of your presidency. (That little spike at the start of Obama’s first budget is “The Stimulus”.)
 

Don’t be fooled. Trump deserves little (if ANY) significant credit for the good Jobs Report that came out last week (other than he has yet to do any “significant” damage.) And whether or not the economy “takes off like a rocket” as promised as a result of his policies (which are taking effect only now this year) is left to be seen. We won’t know for sure until well after he passes his first budget… and right now, that doesn’t look to be any time soon.

And because of Trump’s massive corporate tax cut, they are going to have to cut spending somewhere. And you KNOW the first place Republicans are going to look. They can’t look to the wealthy & corporations whom they just gave a massive tax cut to, and Republicans will NEVER cut the Military Budget (in fact, Trump wants to INCREASE IT… MASSIVELY… along with Billions to start his ridiculous border wall), so they are going where they always go… Medicare, Social Security and programs for the poor.

But not right away. Republicans still believe Trump’s massive tax cut will increase tax revenue due to all the “economic growth” they are certain it will create. Bush senior called this “Voodoo Economics”, and he was right. Both Reagan, Bush-41 and Bush-43 all tried it, exploding the deficit and massively increasing the National Debt. Reagan and Bush-41 both tried to mitigate the damage by raising taxes 11 times and by hiring tens of thousands of additional government employees. Bush-43 however gulped down the Kool-Aid, steadfastly refused to do either, and nearly tossed the entire planet into another Great Depression.

And now Trump and Republicans with an almost evangelical belief in “Trickledown Economics” are looking to do it again. (And this budget-timebomb is set to go off on the Democrats watch after retaking Congress in the midterms.)

Congress will be meeting again this week in yet another attempt to finally pass a budget. Don’t hold your breath. Nothing has changed and they are no closer to passing a budget now than they were when they kicked the can down the road two weeks ago. We have been operating under Obama’s final budget… passed in December 2016… Trump’s entire time in office. And for all of 2017, corporations have been operating under Obama’s tax rates and Obama’s “Job Killing” healthcare mandate. Trump simultaneously brags of the economy we’ve seen so far despite those “obstacles to growth” while claiming those same obstacles were “destroying jobs.” Clearly they weren’t. Extending the Obama budget may not be the worst thing to happen to Trump. Look how well it has served him so far. Unfortunately we can’t run on the same budget forever. New legislation needs funding. Old projects expire and no longer do. Eventually, Trump is going to have to remove the training wheels and peddle his own damn bike.

I noted in both of my last two Op/Ed’s that the federal government will HAVE to borrow Hundreds of Billions… pushing the Deficit into the stratosphere… to pay for Trump’s massive tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy. And the only way to encourage people/nations to lend us money to fund the federal government is to raise interest rates… which sucks Billions out of the economy as more & more people tie up their money in savings instead of spending it. This creates a deadly feedback loop… last seen during the economic collapse of 2008… where less money being spent means corporations need fewer workers and start laying off people, who now have no spare cash, slowing the economy still further. It’s Keynesian Economics 101 and why “Trickle-down Economics” doesn’t work.

Republicans insisted that Trump’s tax cuts will “turbocharge the economy” (here in Houston, we already have one Republican woman running for Congress using that exact phrase in her ads) as lower tax rates encourage corporations hiding “Trillions” overseas in tax shelters to bring that money home (because what company wouldn’t prefer to pay a low 25% corporate tax rate vs leaving the money overseas in a tax-free tax shelter? Right? #SMH)

I’m being factious, of course.

So last Monday (Jan 29th), The DOW plunged 177 points. On the 30th, it fell an additional 362. A slight rebound of 72 & 37 points on Wednesday & Thursday, only to lose a whopping 665.75 points on Friday (possibly the largest one-day loss since December 2008… Bush’s final full month in office.) And Update: An additional 1,175 points today/Monday.

And right now, there is NO reason for investors to believe the Fed ISN’T going to raise Interest Rates in March. They sure as heck didn’t take to the airwaves Friday to reassure investors that they were worried for nothing and they are unlikely to raise rates next month.

They didn’t say that because they CAN’T. hey KNOW Trump’s tax cuts are going to break the bank and they will HAVE to find a way to pay for it. That means a rate hike… whether the economy needs it or not.
 


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