SIDEBAR
»
S
I
D
E
B
A
R
«
Peace At the Barrel of a Gun. Is Threatening to Nuke Our Enemies the Way to Encourage Peace Talks?
Apr 30th, 2018 by Admin Mugsy

Share
 


In the movie “All the Presidents Men”, WaPo Editor Ben Bradley tells Woodward & Bernstein about Chuck Colson (special counsel to President Nixon): “There’s a cartoon on his wall. The caption reads, ‘When you’ve got ’em by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow.'” That scene has always stuck in my mind as perfectly describing to me the Republican philosophy towards working with others. “I don’t care if you like me just so long as you bend to my will.” The complete lack of respect for anyone who doesn’t think like they think; want what they want. And they will achieve those ends by any means possible. Damn the consequences (see: “deposing Saddam.”) Bully your opponents until they bend to your will. It’s the story of the fastest gun in the West who must live with his back against the wall in constant fear that one day, someone is going to test just how good a shot they really are. It’s the proverbial “gilded cage”… which is just fine I suppose if you’re a xenoaphobic isolationist like most Republicans who live in constant terror of the outside world “invading” theirs.

This philosophy suits Trump to a T. Like any Toddler, Trump doesn’t behave like a rational adult. He throws a tantrum until he gets what he wants. And in the case of North Korea, he threatened “fire & fury, the likes of which have never been seen”… should they threaten the United States with a missile test. And “suddenly”, Kim Jong Un is talking to South Korea about “denuclearization”… even signing a “pledge” to do it… someday (details yet to be hammered out following the Summit with Trump.) Trump bragged in Michigan, “They [the Media] are asking ‘What… if anything… did Trump have to do with it? Uh… EVERYTHING! (insert obnoxious bouncing smirk here.)” And for this, some Republicans are already talking about “a Nobel Peace Prize for Trump” if he successfully denuclearizes North Korea. Shortly after Bush-43 took office, Dubya’s inclusion of NK in his “Axis of Evil” speech (before invading Iraq) pushed them into starting a nuclear weapons program, even testing their first ever nuclear weapon in 2006 (during the Bush Administration.) The result was to bring BUSH to the negotiating table (though to Bush’s credit, they DID convince NK to dismantle their lone nuclear facility. And they didn’t have to resort to threatening a nuclear strike.) NK’s missile testing slowed (but never stopped) during Obama’s eight years, and when Trump started saber-rattling his first months in office, NK’s nuclear weapons development switched into hyperdrive, producing an ICBM in record time capable of reaching the U.S.… all thanks to Trump ramping up the rhetoric against North Korea. And now, suddenly, North Korea is meeting with South Korea, “pledging” denuclearization, and agreeing to face-to-face talks with Trump. Why? Trump’s threats? No.

Do we REALLY want to normalize presidents threatening the Nuclear Annihilation of our enemies as an effective means of inducing negotiations? And is someone who threatens nations with Nuclear Annihilation deserving of a “Nobel Peace Prize”? Trump’s governing style always reminds me of this old “MadTV” sketch: “Drunk President“, where a drunk guy wakes up to discover he was just re-elected president after getting things done by being a reckless drunk no one dare offend:
 


“Cuba’s now part of the U.S.. Anyone got a problem with that???”

 

You think North Korea & Iran don’t remember Bush invading Iraq AFTER they agreed to dismantle their al Samoud missiles and allow in inspectors to confirm they’ve been disarmed? Belligerence may get you what you want… THIS time. But eventually, the empty threats will get old. The neighborhood kids will stop playing with you, and one day, some kid who is tired of being bullied is going to call your bluff and/or shoot you dead on the playground with a homemade weapon he’s been constructing in Daddy’s basement for the past 18 months plotting revenge.

Trump is also threatening to tear up the Iran nuclear deal. As much as Trump man-crushed on French President Macron during his visit here, Macron (along with every other European leader) is begging Trump NOT to blow up the Iran deal (pardon the metaphor.) If Trump reneges on the Iran Nuclear Deal brokered by Obama (another “If the black guy did it, it must be bad” spurious reversal), what nation would EVER agree to ANY deal with the United States ever again if there was a possibility that in 4-to-8 years, the next president will simply rip it up, declare it “null & void”, and demand more from them? That makes us LESS safe, not more.

And Republicans want Trump to win the Nobel Peace Prize… WHILE he’s threatening to further destabilize the entire Middle-East.

I believe I mentioned previously, it wasn’t Trump’s belligerence (in his August 2017 “Fire & Fury” speech) that suddenly finally brought North Korea to the bargaining table in 2018. It was the Summer Olympics in South Korea. Kim Jong Un had never set foot in South Korea before last week. When the Olympics came to Seoul, South Korea called the North and proposed their athletes compete as one team. Kim sent his sister to the Olympics instead of going himself, then watched the ceremonies on TV. The technical glitz & glamour, and the comfortable modern lives of those living in South Korea in stark contrast to the impoverished, near Dark Ages lives of people starving in North Korea. And suddenly discovering the rest of the world he has refused to visit doesn’t all live in the same daily misery North Korea does. Kim’s sister returned home, likely regaling her brother with stories of brightly lit neon skyscrapers, restaurants serving every kind of cuisine you could imagine, and shopping to her hearts content bringing home modern conveniences one could only dream of in the North.

And THAT dear reader is what got North & South Korea talking. NOT Trump’s saber-rattling. That is quite literally the Mission of the Olympics… to bring enemies together, to share cultures and make friends. And it worked.

Meanwhile, Trump is already prepping us for failure. AFTER he announced his desire to sit down and talk to North Korea about denuclearization (after HE himself instigated a rocket-propelled arms race), Trump fired his chief ambassador… Secretary of State Tillerson… and replaced him with the head of the freaking CIA… and not just ANY CIA chief, but a hard right Conservative like Pompeo who is CURRENTLY advocating we tear up the Iran deal (you think our agreement with Iran doesn’t loom large in Kim’s mind as he plans to negotiate with Trump?) THEN, to make matters worse, Trump appoints one of the most dangerous men on the planet, insane “mustache of truth” John Bolton, to be his “National Security Advisor”… an Iraq War hawk who once joked on Fox that the way you can tell a North Korean official is lying is “their lips are moving”, has nothing but contempt for diplomacy and famously said the ONLY thing that should matter to the UN was what is in America’s best interest.

So Trump appoints Pompeo & Bolton to his staff in key roles that will influence negotiations, announces his list of demands of North Korea before negotiations even begin (including NK agreeing to “complete & total denuclearization”), and then start preparing the public for his possible (read: inevitable) walk-out on negotiations should he decide they aren’t proceeding as he likes.

And then what? Threaten to bomb them again? Peace at the point of a gun. Would that be before or after they award Trump his Nobel Peace Prize?
 

Iran Deal vs NK Deal

 


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

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


 

Share
FAKE NEWS. Republicans mastered it ages ago
Apr 23rd, 2018 by Admin Mugsy

Share
 


The earliest example of genuine “Fake News” I can recall is (of course) the invasion of Iraq… which of course was predicated on lies about Saddam Hussein’s “Weapons of Mass Destruction”. Lies spread with the assistance of willing Right-Wing news outlets (*cough*Fox*cough*) who abdicated their journalistic duty to only report claims they could verify, and instead choosing to advance the agenda of a Republican controlled White House and Congress. Worse: If you dared question the official line from the White House the way Ambassador Joe Wilson did in the New York Times, the White House made it their mission to destroy you (see Dick Cheney’s personal notes in the margins (ibid). It angers me today when people try to use claims of “Weapons of Mass Destruction” by the Media in 2002 as an excuse to mistrust News organizations today and trust the totally untrustworthy Trump White House. If anything, those claims of “WMD’s” proves the LEAST trustworthy creature on the planet is a Republican White House with a disturbingly close relationship with Fox “news” (*cough*Hannity*cough*.) But it’s one thing when the Media stops asking questions. It’s quite another when they are USED to disseminate propaganda completely written, packaged and distributed by Conservatives, and Republicans are old hands at that.

Five months after Bush gave his famous “We have prevailed [in Iraq]” speech before a giant banner reading “Mission Accomplished” WHILE we still had soldiers fighting and dying in Iraq, people started souring on the war. Those who didn’t ask questions going in were starting to ask after the fact: “Where are those Weapons of Mass Destruction they assured us were there in huge quantities?” “Where’s Saddam?” (If you recall, he had escaped and was not found until December.) “Mission Accomplished? Then why are we still there five months later?” Christmas was nearing and our troops were still dying at a rate of more than 100/week. “For what?” The presidential pre-election race was already in full swing and the 2004 Primaries were about to begin. The Bush White House was desperate for some good news… emphasis on the word “desperate”.

Suddenly, letters from soldiers serving in Iraq started showing up in local papers across the country. Positive upbeat letters from Home Town Heroes talking about the rewards they were seeing on a daily basis of Iraqis thanking them for “liberating” them from the oppressive Saddam regime. Those “flowers & chocolates” Cheney once quipped the Iraqis would shower our troops with seemed to be coming true. We may not have found those WMD’s, but we rescued an entire nation from a tyrant. “Relax! The invasion of Iraq was not all for naught.” America loves its heroes and cash-strapped small-town local papers were more than happy to reprint these “good news” stories that people loved reading at a time when Bush supporters were desperate for an excuse to continue supporting their president.

But even though “The Internet” wasn’t even a decade old yet at the time, it wasn’t long before tens of thousands of people sharing “local soldier’s letters home” printed in their hometown paper with their family & friends that people started to notice: “Huh. All these letters sound exactly the same except for a few minor details and the signature at the bottom.” News organizations picked up on the story only to discover the letters were being written by the White Housea form letter they were distributing to troops in combat for them to rewrite in their own hand, sign, and send home to give “their mission” (ie: the White House) some badly needed PR. Most troops were sour on the war too, yet there were always a few who found their own reasons to send their form letter home without revealing whose idea it was they write or why.

That was the first example I can recall of a White House actively manufacturing “fake news”… but it wasn’t the last.

During the election of 2004, with so many people down on the Iraq War and the nightly news reporting the death of dozens of troops each & every day in a war it was now clear we shouldn’t be fighting, the White House was desperate for TV stations across the country to report on something other than the continuing Iraq war. “Why aren’t they reporting all the GOOD news? Unemployment is still low (around 5.4%… up about a point & a half from the Clinton low of 3.9%.) Saddam has been captured and the Iraqi people are free!” The list of “positive Bush accomplishments” was short (and weak), but they were desperate,

So they started filming their own news reports using actors pretending to be reporters, reading scripted “good news’ reports, and distributing them to “small market” TV stations across the country who were thrilled to receive free content to pad their newscasts each night. They were caught here too… just not until after Bush’s reelection.

I was reminded of all this two weeks ago when “Sinclair Broadcasting”… another extremely conservative Media conglomerate more insidious than Fox (because at least Fox viewers KNOW they are listening to a Conservative media outlet) were caught asking anchors of dozens of stations across the country to “criticize fake news”, promising that THEY will NEVER report something they themselves haven’t thoroughly checked out first. Unfortunately for them, none of them bothered to question the efficacy of reading a scripted message on the news promising to never simply repeat scripted “fake news”. Oopsie!

The chairman of one of the largest media conglomerates in the country… “American Media Industries” (AMI) is a man named David Pecker… a close personal friend of Donald Trump. AMI owns “The National Enquirer”… the granddaddy of the tabloid industry. People once made fun of anyone who believed anything they read in it. But no more. Not in an age where real news is “fake news” and “fake news” is “real news”. Pecker’s Enquirer now runs headlines every week defending Donald Trump by attacking his accusers. Accusing Hillary, Mueller… anyone Trump supporters hate… of being guilty of crimes themselves. You’ll note they never challenge legitimate news stories of the latest criminal investigation or scandal to befall Trump. Instead, they employ the ever effective “Squirrel!” method of “Look over there!” distraction techniques.

Fortunately for them, the Trump Voter Demographic is precisely the same people who think “The National Enquirer” is legitimate news and “pro-wrestling” is real.

The lone example Conservatives have of genuine “fake news” (and possible bias) that they hold up as an example of why “The Media can’t be trusted”, was a quickly redacted mistaken claim on CNN right after Trump took office that he had removed the bust of “Martin Luther King Jr.” from the Oval Office (at the same time Trump was falsely accusing Obama of having a bust of Winston Churchill removed.) A clear case of hypocrisy, right? Unfortunately for this reporter, the bust of King was simply briefly obstructed by some curtains. The bust had not been removed, and the CNN story was quickly retracted.

But that’s all it took for Trump supporters to start dismissing EVERY damaging news report about the Trump Administration as “Fake News” by a “Liberal Media” that’s out to get him. They reported for over a year that Hillary had a huge lead in the polls and Trump had no chance of winning. Yet… “Trump won.” And it couldn’t possibly be because of election interference by a hostile foreign nation. That’s “fake news” too! The American people actually LOVE Donald Trump. Just look at the size of his inauguration crowd! What? Photos show a dismal turnout for Trump’s inauguration? That must be “fake news” too!

And now, EVERYTHING “the Media” reports that is critical of Trump is “a lie” too. “Just look at what they said about WMD’s!”
 


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

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


 

Share
Trump Bombs Syria. Now what?
Apr 16th, 2018 by Admin Mugsy

Share
 

(Okay, we’re back. We were offline last week, and on Easter Break the week before that, so this is our first Op/Ed in two weeks. – Mugsy)
 

UN Ambassador Nikki Haley appeared on Fox news Sunday to comment on the U.S. strike on Syria Friday, and I was quite surprised by the way host Chris Wallace challenged her on some of her assertions. Halley revealed that Assad has used chemical weapons fifty times” since the rebellion began in 2011. So why was this attack so special? “Was it because it was caught on video?” asked Wallace. He also asked her if the message we were sending Assad was, “You can attack your own people using conventional weapons, just not chemical weapons?” Both excellent points. While I agree that a response was necessary and bombing Assad’s chemical weapons facilities was proper, I don’t feel like the Trump Administration has a strategy for what comes next. Do we just “hope” he doesn’t do it again? How will Russia react to further sanctions (after Trump spent the last year undermining them?) No answer to the question: “Okay, now what?” We hindered Syria’s ability to use chemical weapons against the Syrian rebels, but we don’t appear to be doing anything to resolve the conflict there or defend the lives of the Syrian rebels. What now?

Trump is suddenly criticizing Russia as it starts to dawn on him that Putin isn’t one of the good guys. Shocker, I know. The whole time Trump was talking nice about Russia and praising Putin during the campaign, Putin was ordering hackers to meddle in our election, breaking into DNC (and attempting to hack RNC) computers, was constructing a “super cruise missile” unveiled a few weeks ago, was behind the attempted poisoning of a former Russian double-agent now living in the UK, has been defending Assad… someone Trump now concedes is “a monster”, and now Trump is obsessed with rumors of a “blackmail tape” (to put it politely) supposedly filmed when he was in Russia for his 2013 Miss Universe pageant (I don’t know about you, but I’d be worried too if the story were true, and not the least bit concerned if I knew it weren’t.) And just like that, Trump appears to be realizing that maybe… just maybe… Putin isn’t the noble leader he though him to be.

Now, there seems to be a plethora of Nervous Nellie’s whom think the ultimate end result of ANY conflict… verbal, trade, whatever… will ultimately/inevitably lead to Global Thermonuclear War with Russia. No. Chill folks. Not every International disagreement leads to World War III. Dr. Strangelove isn’t in charge of the Pentagon (even with mustachioed lunatic National Security Advisor John Bolton advising Trump.) Hmmm. I don’t feel I made a very convincing argument there. Just trust me. Relax. Even Bush didn’t bungle his way into WWIII.

Okay, so we’ve sent a message to Assad… loud & clear… that we draw the line at “chemical weapons” but when it comes to ending the seven year long civil war in Syria, we have no intention of interfering (even if Russia is.) And under Trump, even awarding asylum to the victims of “monster” Assad is not being discussed. Again, I was struck by the fact Fox News Sunday (yes, I conferred upon them a well-deserved Capital-N) pointed out the seeming heartlessness of the Trump Administration’s parsimonious “no Middle-Eastern Refugees” policy:
 

Dwindelling admitted Syrian refugees

 
As you will note from the above graphic, while the GOP controlled Congress worked overtime to tie Obama’s hands, we WERE still able to allow in over 15,000 refugees in 2016. So far, we have allowed all of 11 refugees into the U.S. in the first 3-1/2 months of the year. At that rate, the U.S. will have allowed all of 35 or 36 Syrian Refugees into our country by years end. That’s unforgivable. To call Assad “a monster”, but to then tell those same victims, “Stay away! We don’t want you here! You must remain in that place where a ‘monster’ is committing war crimes against you” is profane.

But also consider, the GOP’s (claimed) justification for not allowing in refugees is that “terrorists might sneak in among them.” If “terrorists” had snuck into the U.S. among those 15,000 refugees admitted in 2016, we would know it by now. The (made-up) justification Republicans are giving for not admitting refugees just isn’t born out by the facts.

As for: “Where do we go from here”, I’ve already previously presented my own plan on how to resolve the current crisis in the Middle-East non-militarily for FAR less money than we are spending now, and finally bring the war(s) in the region to a close. We can still do it. The White House may not have a plan, but I do.
 


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

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


 

Share
SIDEBAR
»
S
I
D
E
B
A
R
«
»  Substance:WordPress   »  Style:Ahren Ahimsa