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Despite History of Deceptively Edited Videos, Right Wing Videographers Still Taken Seriously

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, July 27, 2015

Right-Wing activists have a checkered history of posting deceptively edited video to suggest events are taking place that in fact aren’t, and despite acknowledging that these videos have been selectively edited by the author, The Media still takes them seriously and gives their “findings” an aire of legitimacy & respectability by suggesting they are evidence of something terrible. Then the accused is paraded around TV defending themselves having to point out (again) that the damning video was chopped & spliced within an inch of its life, and STILL the accusations are taken seriously.

Anyone else remember Shirley Sherrod? In 2010, an intentionally deceptively edited video of her talking about overcoming past prejudices and treating everyone with respect was promoted by a Right-Wing smear site called “Breitbart.com” (named for it’s RW ambush-videographer founder who had a history of doing this very thing) as PROOF of an openly racist appointee of the Obama Administration bragging of refusing to help an elderly white couple. Another infamous hack wannabee ambush-videographer named James O’Keefe used seriously & deceptively edited video to get the Social Services Organization “Acorn” defunded and put out of business by posting a video of himself claiming to be a pimp seeking housing assistance for him & his hoes, going so far as to post a ridiculous video of him and his girlfriend dressed like a cartoonish caricature of what he believed a pimp & prostitute looks like. Truth was, O’Keefe did NOT in fact wear his ridiculous costume during his interview, editing out responses by the dubious Acorn agent, not even AWARE of the phone call the agent made to authorities after O’Keefe left after playing along with his little ruse.

Seeking a return to the spotlight, craving his sudden fame from 2010, O’Keefe again tried to peddle yet another deceptively edited video during the 2012 election claiming to have evidence of undocumented immigrants and even “the dead” were casting ballots in South Carolina as evidence of the need for “Voter ID” laws. But O’Keefe’s reputation proceeded him, and further investigation found his claims to be utter horseshit.

Two more questionably edited videos were released in the past two weeks: one, showing the traffic stop & arrest of “Sandra Bland”, who was pulled over for “changing lanes without signalling” (an incredibly petty offense considering she appeared to be simply moving out of the way of the officer’s cruiser). An understandably annoyed Bland was screamed at, ordered out of her vehicle, wrestled to the ground and arrested, only to end up dead three days later, found hanging by the neck in her jail cell. The video of the event released by the police department was clearly edited, with passing vehicles appearing & disappearing) in a manner that raised questions about what was omitted and why. But one wonders why the video had to be chopped up (not just trimmed) in the first place? No news organization would show an entire FIVE minute arrest video live on the air without editing it themselves. Why did the Hempstead (TX) PD feel the need to release an edited version of the video?

And more recently, another deceptively edited video by “Pro-Life” activists discussing the purchase of fetal tissue for their research laboratory, was made public last week, creating a firestorm. While Planned Parenthood acknowledged and apologized for the “flippant” manner by which some of the people in the video discussed the subject, the video… which the authors claimed was PROOF of PPA profiting off fetal tissue donations (which is illegal)… “innocently” clipping out the ten times the agents pointed out that PPA does not profit from the “sale” of fetal tissue and that all payment simply goes to recoup the costs of getting the tissue/organs to the recipient intact and viable.
 

Republicans truly believe that if we closed every abortion clinic in the country, women would simply stop having abortions. Closing abortion clinics doesn’t prevent abortions, just SAFE abortions. It’s the whole reason they exist.
 

But “Planned Parenthood of America” (PPA) is FAR more than just an “abortion clinic”. Despite inviting on famed Medical Researcher Carly Fiorina (yes, that’s snark. Fiorina is the failed former tech CEO turned failed Senate candidate turned soon-to-be-failed 2016 presidential candidate) onto Fox “news” Sunday yesterday to criticize the organization, host Chris Wallace had to point out that “abortions” are only a small percentage of some of the healthcare services provided by PPA:
 

PPA Services
Wallace points out some PPA services that would be lost if their funding was cut

 

Fiorina’s snarky response: “I thought that’s what ObamaCare was for?” So now she NEEDS ObamaCare to allow her to eliminate a medical services provider? Besides being a monster hypocrite, let’s not forget that Fiorina (like EVERY Republican), wants to do away with “ObamaCare” too. And the REASON that PPA provides these services is because many clinics do not. Certainly not as cheaply.

(BTW: If you Google Fiorina’s exchange with Jess McIntosh of “Emily’s List” on FnS yesterday, Fiorina apparently “DESTROYED” McIntosh despite making bizarre non-sequitur arguments about “fetal heartbeat” in a discussion about donating tissue from deceased fetuses, and choosing instead to ignore any discussion regarding the lives that are SAVED by these tissue donations, instead complaining bitterly that the people outraged by this “highly edited” video didn’t seem to mind attacking “Mitt Romney” over his “heavily edited [97%] video or Edward Snowden.” Huh??? Unless someone spiced Romney’s words to form a sentence Romney never actually spoke, or left out him saying “of course we must care about everybody!”, she’s sounding pretty desperate by this point. And I have NO idea what she’s talking about regarding Snowden… whom, to the best of my knowledge, has only released documents, not a video.)

Outraged Republicans (are there any other kind?) are now demanding that we discontinue ALL Federal funding to PPA (something they’ve been looking for an excuse to do for years) over this video, claiming it is PROOF of crimes being committed by the organization. Actually, it’s more the flippant & cavalier attitudes of the agents filmed that is the source of their outrage. But just as in ANY social situation, we REFLECT the attitudes of the people we are talking to. The videographers were flippant & cavalier (even joking) about what they were requesting, and the agents unfortunately responded in kind. Most people don’t respond to smiling happy guests with the stern & dower seriousness that quite possibly might be called for in that situation.

So these clearly chopped up videos are shopped around, the mainstream media catches wind of them via a flurry of Right Wing outrage on The Twitter Machine, and they are hyped on the network news hoping to spur the very outrage & controversy the authors intended. Willing patsies, and one wonders if they even realize they are being used… or for that matter, if they even care.
 



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Filed in Abortion rights, Civil Rights, Crime, fake scandals, myth busting, Right-wing Facism, Scandals July 27th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Let’s Face Facts: Spike in violence against Blacks tied to Right Wing hostility toward Obama

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, June 22, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nightly Show on Fox whitewashing of Charelston shooting

 

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

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

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



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Filed in Crime, Guns & Violence, myth busting, Party of Life, Politics, Racism, Rants, Religion, Seems Obvious to Me, Terrorism June 22nd, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Hastert Bribery Scandal Belies Troubling Question: Coach turned Politician turned Lobbyist has Millions in bank?

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, June 1, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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



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Filed in Crime, mystery, Politics, Right-Wing Hypocrisy, Scandals June 1st, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Fox Tries to Pin Baltimore Poverty On Electing Democratic Mayors

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, May 4, 2015

As Bill Maher explained it last July, a “Zombie Lie” is a lie told by Republicans that is proven false & widely discredited, yet they keep telling them“, telling their idiot followers that the lie is in fact true. “Zombie Lies” include “ObamaCare will/has cost jobs” (ditto for “raising the minimum wage”), “no consensus on Climate Change” (a claim two Right-wingers advanced in the WSJ last year but couldn’t do more than claim the number wasn’t as high as 97%, and whose OWN conclusions were challenged by Scientific American), Keystone XL will create “a million jobs” and make us “energy independent”, “we need Voter ID laws to protect us from Voter Fraud“, ad infinitum. A year and a half ago, I wrote about Newt Gingrich informing former Labor Secretary Robert Reich that “Every major city which is a center of poverty is run by Democrats.” A majority perhaps, but the people in these cities aren’t poor because they vote Democrat, they vote Democrats because they are poor… typically minorities unwelcome by the GOP. But, as I pointed out, it’s a BS statistic because nearly every single desperately chronically poor STATE in the country is a Red State. So it should come as no surprise to anyone when 18 months later, Chris Wallace, host of Fox “news” Sunday, tried to suggest to Congresswoman Donna Edwards that Baltimore electing only Democratic mayors for the past 50 years might be proof Democratic polices don’t work:
 

Fox Tries to Blame Democratic Mayors for Black Poverty (2:08)

 

Since I already debunked this nonsense 18 months ago, there’s no need for me to kill the zombie again. But when Wallace asks if “Democratic” policies have failed because the lives of the people voting for them have not substantially improved, he’s suggesting that if they had just tried voting Republican, maybe they wouldn’t be so poor. Conversely, poor cities run by Republican mayors should show more signs of improvement than those run by Democrats. Let’s challenge this theory, shall we?

Earlier this year, CBS News listed The 11 Poorest Cities in America (slightly changed from 18 months ago):

1. Detroit, Michigan – Percentage of incomes under $25,000: 48%
2. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
3. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
4. Memphis, Tennessee
5. Tucson, Arizona – New
6. Baltimore, Maryland
7. Fresno, California
8. El Paso, Texas
9. Indianapolis, Indiana
10. Boston, Massachusetts – While #6 in wealthy residents, also has 29% of its population with incomes below $25,000.
11. Louisville, Kentucky – Percentage of incomes under $25,000: 29%

And as I pointed out 18 months ago, yes, most do indeed have Democratic mayors. Not all, but most. Not surprising when the poorest cities are also majority minority. Though Detroit’s entire city government was stripped of all power by its Far-Right Republican governor Rick Snyder. But what about those towns that elected Republican mayors, did it make a difference? Did their lives improve? And did stripping Detroit’s local government of all power turn the city around? Detroit is still #1 on that list two years running, so clearly the answer to the latter is No.

Tucson, Arizona… a purple city in a red state… is new to the list, electing a Democratic Mayor in December 2011 to replace a Republican one. Ouch, that looks bad, and if I were a Republican, I might stop there to suggest that is proof of something. But in fact, unemployment there has FALLEN from 7.9% to 4.9% (lower than the national average) since their Democratic mayor was elected. But wages aren’t rising to keep up with inflation, so poverty grows. And local mayors don’t control the Federal Minimum Wage (raising the Minimum Wage doesn’t just help the poor, IT RAISES THE FLOOR, raising wages across the board. Republicans don’t get this and continue to fight raising it.)

Miami fell off the list. A Republican mayor in a state with Republican governor. Like Tuscon, Miami’s unemployment rate has fallen 3 percentage points from 8.5 to 5.5. Another ouch for Democrats. Or is it? Miami made the list last September when, under its current Republican mayor, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that the median income for a household in the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale-West Palm Beach metro area was just $46,946 in 2013… the second lowest level in the nation’s top 25 metro areas. That’s “median”, not “average”. Because between Bill Gates and I, we have a combined average net worth of $30 Billion dollars. Trust me, I don’t have $30 Billion dollars. I’m as broke as a $2 watch. In 2013, the percentage of Miami residents living in poverty was 31.7%. Last March, the Dade County government reported that that percentage hasn’t changed (roughly 30% earning below $24,250.) So why was Miami removed from the list seeing as how the poverty rate has not changed? The explanation is that it didn’t. It’s a different list. The 2013 list from Wikipedia counted all cities with a population of “over 200,000”. The CBS report cites a study of “the 33 Poorest US cities with a population over 500,000“. The population of Miami: 417,000. Miami isn’t off the list because life substantially improved under a Republican mayor. It didn’t make the list because it was too small.

Indianapolis is new to the list. Their Republican mayor has been serving since January of 2008. Unemployment there did skyrocket following The Great Recession of 2008, piquing at 10.6% in March of 2010 (more than a year after piquing at 10.0% nationally), briefly came down as low as 7.4% in Sept. 2012 before rapidly climbing back up to 9.0% just four months later, but has slowly climbed back down as the U.S. economy improved as a whole, to 5.5%. The graph of Indianapolis’ unemployment rate (you’ll have to build it yourself) follows the same trajectory as the U.S. Unemployment Rate as a whole… though with a much “bouncier” ride… but indicates no benefit to electing a Republican mayor vs a Democrat.

What all these numbers demonstrate is that mayors of small poor, mostly minority cities have very little political power to affect the economic fortunes of their city. THAT power comes from the economic power of the citizens within these cities themselves. “Money” = “Power”. And poor people, whether they elect a Republican or a Democrat, don’t have a lot of political power to improve their lives. When your citizenry is mostly minority, you’re poor to begin with. And in a country where Republicans have decided that the wealthy can spend as much as they want influencing politicians, the only politicians with any REAL power to change the lives of the poor at the ones with at the higher levels of government. That’s not your local mayor.
 

Bill Maher: Zombie Lies (2014)

 



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Filed in Crime, Economy, myth busting, Politics, Racism, rewriting history May 4th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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OKC Bombing 20 years later. Remembering Right Wing Inspired Domestic Terrorism

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, April 20, 2015

Remember when terrorists were lily-white Conservative Americans? Religious fanatics and neo-Nazi’s alike, the people we had to fear most in this world weren’t the ones in the Middle East providing us with all that lovely oil, it was anti-government militia groups, bombing abortion clinics, the Olympic Park in Atlanta and a federal building in Oklahoma City. Those same gun-toting “anti-government” zealots are called “Patriotic Americans” today, and by no coincidence they gravitate towards the GOP and “The Tea Party”.

If, like me, you were in at least your 20’s during the late 1990’s and the Bill Clinton administration, you probably remember the visceral hatred the Far-Right had for the man. They hate President Obama too to be sure, but it’s nothing compared to the absolute loathing they had/have for Bill. It was the first time in my life that I can remember either Party actively stoking the flames of hatred for a president and his Administration. Even Jimmy Carter at the height of the Iranian hostage crisis didn’t have people frothing at the mouth they way they started to in the late 1990’s. I blame nothing short of the active, incessant, 24/7 non-stop Clinton-hatred-as-bloodsport atmosphere nurtured on the right for the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City 20 years ago yesterday. You keep turning up the heat on a Pressure Cooker and eventually it’s going to explode (and when was the last time anyone accused the GOP of over-analyzing the consequences of their actions?) With the election of Barack Obama, I’ve often wondered if they learned their lesson not to provoke anyone into doing something rash. Reel it in just a smidge? And I worry should Hillary win the presidency in a close race, will we see that seething hatred of all-things-Clinton return for another 4-to-8 years? (at the very start of the 2008 presidential race in late 2007, I wrote of my concern that we might be seeing a return to that extremism when a mentally disturbed New Hampshire man held a group of “Hillary For President” campaign workers hostage at gunpoint (as it turns out, the admittedly mentally disturbed man was making a point about his desire to see “mental health” coverage included in Clinton’s signature issue: health care reform.)

In a way, I see the “Tea Party” as the (believe it or not) more subdued step-child of the Republican rage of the 1990’s. Five years ago, I wrote about Republicans egging on Teabaggers from the Capitol balcony, concerned how they once again appeared to be cluelessly inciting hatred… much of it racial… for political gain, without concern for the consequences. And I thank my lucky stars every day that President Obama never did anything foolish like have an extra-martial affair for Republicans to use as an excuse to “crush” the man (because we all know just how much Republicans abhor adultery.)

During President George HW Bush’s final year in office (1992), the BATF attempted to arrest a white separatist by the name of “Randy Weaver” (why exactly isn’t all that clear even after reading the Wikipedia entry on the subject.) Weaver was already a “fear the government” zealot who moved his entire family to a cabin in the deep woods of Ruby Ridge, ID to live in isolation. When BATF officers stormed Weaver’s cabin, it was their worst fears come true… not just Weaver’s, but that of every anti-government separatist group in the country. “The government is coming to take your guns!” Weaver’s wife & young son were inadvertently killed by BATF officers during the siege, and in the end (IIRC) Weaver was acquitted of all charges. Fledgling militia groups across the country were outraged and the anti-government movement was born.

And this was during a Republican Administration mind you.

Republicans already hated Bill Clinton with a passion back when he was still just a candidate for president that same year. And they deemed him “illegitimate” for winning the presidency with less than 50% of the vote thanks to Ross Perot. (When George W. Bush was “awarded” the presidency by the US Supreme Court in 2000, did Democrats go on an 8 year manhunt of the man’s legacy because he was deemed “illegitimate”? No, they followed him into Iraq. But I digress.) So barely a month into the Clinton presidency when BATF agents once again attempted to carry out a search warrant of a Right-Wing cult known as the “Branch Davidian’s” in Waco, TX, it was their worst fears come true once again: “An out-of-control government coming to take your guns away so they can oppress you. And despite the fact the first such siege was ordered by a Republican president less than a year earlier, Republicans found a way to turn that mistrust of government… held not-coincidentally by mostly Evangelical, mostly white, mostly red-state, gun-loving sub-sub-suburbanites, into a “hate-the-Democrats” anti-government “they’re-coming-to-take-your-guns-away and lock-you-up-in-FEMA-Camps” movement that still exists to this day… broadened and made more palatable for public consumption by calling themselves the “Tea Party” (heavily financed by Billionaires who benefit by enraging the simple-minded over anything that might hurt Billionaires. But it’s still the same Right-Wing anti-government even-my-dog-has-a-gun-rack crowd we first laid eyes on in the 1990’s.

We very well COULD have seen a repeat of history had President Obama of taken the bait and sent an army of Federal officers in after that “Cliven Bundy” idiot when all those gun-toting anti-government right-wing “patriots” rushed to his defense in Nevada and pointed their guns at the local police & few Federal officers that were already there. Sometimes you just have to look these idiots in the eye and say, “You’re just not worth the trouble.”

The OKC bomber (whose well-known name I won’t repeat here) was one such person. Outraged by the events of Ruby Ridge, he was there in Waco to witness the siege for himself. There is no question the OKC Bomber was aghast by what he saw in Waco, but he didn’t carry out his attack against a government building the very next day, or even on the ONE year anniversary of the Waco siege. No, it was only after TWO long years of stoking his hatred against the federal government by Right-Wing talk radio and Republicans in Congress on the warpath against President Clinton, that his rage quite literally exploded into an act of terrorism that… before 9/11… was the deadliest act of domestic terrorism in American history.

And we still see it whenever some nut armed with a knife & gun jumps the White House fence in hopes of attacking the First Family. We see it when Tea Partiers strap assault rifles to their backs, daring the cops to try and take it away from them. It’s “artificial rage”, manufactured by people who have something to gain by whipping the stupid up into a frenzy. Be it Billionaires that don’t want to pay their fair share of taxes, health insurance companies that might see their profits decrease if they have to start paying out more claims and can’t indiscriminately raise premiums or cut people off when they get too sick, gun manufactures that stand to make billions if they can convince you the government is going to knock on your door and try to take your guns away, ad infinitum.

Anyways, the point is that Republican childishness stoked the fire that erupted into the OKC bombing 20 years ago yesterday. And no, I won’t take that back. I mean every word of it. They are as much to blame for those deaths as the man who built the bomb. And the Middle-East now awash in terrorism? You can thank the GOP for that too.
 



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Filed in Crime, Guns & Violence, National Security, Partisanship, Politics, Right-Wing Insanity, Terrorism, War April 20th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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These “Religious Freedom” laws were the same counter argument to the 1965 Civil Rights Act

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Tuesday, April 7, 2015

When the Johnson Administration pushed for equal rights for blacks in 1964, the Religious Right opposed the bill on the grounds that it was impinging on their rights. Their “religious” right to be a bigot. They claimed that The Almighty himself segregated the world by putting people of different races on different continents, and that forcing people of faith to mingle with “Negroes” was against “God’s Will”. There was “No need” for “integrated lunch counters” because if “they” didn’t like it, they could just eat someplace else. And if the public didn’t agree, they too could just patronize another shop. If enough people didn’t like it, “The Free Market” would either force that business to conform or go bankrupt. Problem was, in 350 years, NOT ONCE did public sentiment close a business over their treatment of minorities. Private businesses resented being forced to seat blacks at the lunch counter. “If you don’t like it, eat someplace else”, they were told. “There are plenty of other restaurants that are Separate But Equal to ours. Go there!” Does any of this sound familiar? The exact same “Religious rights” arguments made against the 1964 Civil Rights Act are being used again TODAY by the same people to defend pro-discrimination laws in Indiana and Arkansas 51 years later citing “Religious Freedom” as their defense. Only THIS time around, it’s the bigots that are in charge.

When people never spend any time around the “others” they look down upon, they remain alien to them, making it easy for them to discriminate. “Those disease-ridden, sinful, morally ambiguous degenerates!” They didn’t want to be around them or have anything to do with them. “Stay away and don’t corrupt my children!” They were an “offense to God” and treating them badly was “justified in the name of God.”

The genius of the 1964 Civil Rights Act was to spare NO ONE. No individual, no business, public nor private, was exempt. And once people got used to being around those “others”, they discovered that they were not in fact different from themselves. Open bigotry is actually publicly shamed by a majority of Americans today as more than half of America’s population has no memory of growing up in a time when the races were not regarded as equals.

When Indiana governor Mike “Shut it down” Pense trumpeted their new “Religious Freedom Restoration Act”… a Conservative law designed to protect the right of bigots to be bigots… he rightly immediately caught flack for it. He tried to argue this was a law designed to “protect” the rights of people claiming their religious freedom was being violated by being forced to serve people they disapproved of, contrary to their faith; not discrimination. The arguments made to defend the right of certain individuals to discriminate against “others” on “religious” grounds are the EXACT SAME arguments made 51 years before. And the “alternative remedies” being proposed are the same as well. “Let the Free Market decide!” They argue the REAL victims of discrimination here are the bigots… er “people of faith“. Victims of “reverse discrimination” (cue Jessie Helms’ “hands” ad here) by people intolerant of their intolerance. It’s the same argument the KKK uses to protest “Affirmative Action” and “Racial quotas”. “THEY are the bullies, not ME! THEY are violating MY right to practice my faith!”

Meanwhile, the scenario The Media has latched onto is the baker that was sued for refusing to bake a cake for a gay wedding. “Could they now legally refuse to serve a gay couple without the fear of being sued?”, repeatedly asks George Stephanopoulos of Pense, who repeatedly dodges the question like a weasel in a minefield.

This drastic over-simplification of the problem with the #RFRA may be doing more harm than good, possibly leading to a “fix” that barely scratches the surface of the harm this law can do.

While not providing a gay couple with Marie Antoinette’s favorite dish might be a travesty, and a pizzeria refusing to cater a gay wedding might go down in history as worse than Watergate, what about the pharmacist that refuses to provide your 16 year old daughter with birth control pills to treat her debilitatingly painful endometriosis… because he thinks she’s using it to have sex, which offends his fragile sensibilities?

What about the private (not public) school teacher that openly “shames” little Bobby, making him a target for bullies, because he has two dads?

I’m sure there are plenty of other examples, but you get the picture. Anyone can now claim “religious freedom” as a defense for things that could cause far more harm to a person than simply denying them baked goods.

BTW: What does a “gay” cake look like anyway? How does a baker know the wedding cake they are making is for a “gay” couple? The rainbow icing?
 



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Filed in Civil Rights, Crime, Politics, Racism, Religion April 7th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Where Is the Accusation of a CRIME to justify a Tax-Payer Funded Investigation into Hillary’s Emails?

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, March 16, 2015

Once again I find myself in the uncomfortable position of defending Hillary Clinton. Yesterday’s poli-talk shows all covered “Hillary Clinton’s emails” and the fact she didn’t turn over her personal private emails to the GOP controlled Congress for scrutiny. In fact Clinton freely admits that it was “probably a mistake to use just one email account” while Secretary of State for both her personal private email as well as for work, but I disagree. As Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA) pointed out during Fox “news” Sunday yesterday, if Clinton “had used two separate email accounts, Republicans would just be demanding she turn over her private emails as well”, accusing her of “hiding” things she didn’t want recorded on government servers by using her private email address… you know, the way EIGHTY  Republican officials did during the Bush Administration (Karl Rove freely admitted on FnS yesterday that he and other Republicans did this while working in the Bush White House, but claimed the “22 million missing emails were found by (note: NOT “turned over to”) investigators in the Obama Administration” (nearly two years later, and only after Bush left office) making what they are accusing Hillary of “completely different”.

But just WHAT are Republicans accusing Hillary Clinton OF?

The United States Congress… once again… is using taxpayer dollars to fund an investigation into the Clinton’s. In 1992 when Bill Clinton was still running for president, Republicans openly accused the Clinton’s of receiving preferential treatment when investing in a land deal known as “White Water”. The fact the Clinton’s LOST money on the deal didn’t matter (though one wonders how much “favorable” treatment the Clinton’s might have shown someone that lost them roughly $52,000… give-or-take $15 Grand), only the fact that the Clinton’s invested was at issue (I’ll save their Bob McDonnell hypocrisy for another column.) When the GOP retook control of Congress in the 1994 mid-terms, they immediately opened a taxpayer funded investigation into the Clinton’s involvement in “White Water” that quickly went nowhere.

But the SAME Special Prosecutor hired to investigate the Clinton’s over “White Water” (remember Ken Starr?) then shifted his investigation to “Trooper-gate”, and the claim that Governor Clinton misused tax-payer paid state employees (cops) to shuttle one of his mistresses in/out of the governor’s mansion (oh, the irony. A tax-payer funded partisan political investigation into whether Clinton misused tax-payer paid employees.)

After that, the investigations devolved into investigating Bill Clinton’s personal life… while sleazy, NOT A CRIME. President Clinton should have demanded the GOP present evidence that a CRIME had been committed before agreeing to allow tax-payer funds be used to pay for what was clearly partisan political dumpster-diving in hopes of derailing his 1996 re-election. But he didn’t for fear of appearing like he had “something to hide” in an election year.

And once again, as soon as the GOP re-seized control of both house of Congress last year, what’s the first thing they do? They launch a tax-payer funded investigation into the Clintons, with NO declaration of a crime to justify the investigation, in hopes of derailing a Clinton’s presidential aspirations.

They can’t help themselves. Like moths to a flame, Republicans with subpoena power will use tax-payer funds to pay for a political witch hunt into a Clinton seeking the presidency.

So I ask, WHAT IS THE CRIME THEY ARE SUPPOSEDLY INVESTIGATING to justify spending MY tax dollars demanding to see Hillary Clinton’s private emails? To date, I’m not aware of a single repeated declaration as to just WHY they need those emails so badly. Colin Powell admitted that HE used a private email account while Secretary of State even as the Bush White House was cooking up a case to justify the invasion of Iraq. This week he even admitted that he “didn’t keep” his emails while serving as SoS. One might think that such emails could have been very important had Democrats investigated the Bush Administration’s claims of “Weapons of Mass Destruction”… the core justification for the preemptive invasion of Iraq… the way Republican’s investigate the Clinton’s every February 2nd (“Groundhog’s Day” reference.)

Now, some Republicans have suggested that this TENTH investigation into Benghazi is necessary because the nine prior investigations that turned up no evidence of wrongdoing failed only because of a lack of evidence that might have been hidden somewhere in Clinton’s private emails. To date, that has been the ONLY suggestion as to why a TAXPAYER-FUNDED investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails could be justified. Beyond that, it’s a political smear campaign at the public expense.

If “Benghazi” is indeed the justification for demanding the release of Clinton’s emails, then someone needs to explain to the public EXACTLY what they are looking for. What information do they not have? What “lingering questions” remain unanswered? And I don’t mean Speaker Boehner claiming there are “a lot of unanswered questions” that have been repeatedly asked & answered, I mean a public declaration in writing listing precisely what justifies spending yet more tax-dollars investigating a political opponent.

Think about it. Just what “unanswered question” do they believe would be revealed by Clinton’s emails? Questions like, “Was there a ‘stand-down order’ by President Obama” or “Could U.S. fighter jets have arrived in time to save the people in the consulate” wouldn’t change based upon anything they might find in an email. Do they really believe they’re going to find an email between her and some NGO (non-governmental official… because .gov recipients emails are already archived) telling them NOT to save the people in that consulate? Do they think Hillary texted the pilots and secretly ordered them to “return to base” in mid-flight? Hmmm? Because I don’t know of another “crime” relating to “Benghazi” they could possibly still be investigating.

And think about this: Would YOU agree to hand over your private emails to police without a warrant? Because that is EXACTLY what Republicans are doing. With NO declaration of criminal wrong-doing, Republicans are ABUSING THEIR POWER to investigate a political opponent, simply insinuating that Ms. Clinton’s use of a private email was intended to hide evidence of a crime… a crime that NO ONE has publicly explained even took place. If police asked a judge for a search warrant to confiscate your private emails, the judge would demand they provide him with “just cause” for why he should issue them one. We don’t even have THAT.

The rule that all government email activity must take place on a governmental account wasn’t even a law until NEARLY TWO YEARS after she left the State Department (Clinton resigned in February 2013. President Obama signed “The Federal Records Act” December 1st of last year.) So she may have failed to comply with a rule or guideline, but not even Republicans can claim her doing so “broke the law”, so they don’t have that.

So, no claim of criminal wrong-doing regarding Benghazi, she broke no law regarding the preservation of Federal Records because there was no such law at the time.

It’s a really simple question: Just what crime are Republicans accusing the former Secretary of State of Committing that justifies a tax-payer funded investigation into her private emails?
 



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Filed in Crime, Election, fake scandals, National Security, Partisanship, Politics, Right-Wing Hypocrisy, Scandals, Taxes March 16th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Dear Torture Advocates: Not only does it not work, it makes things worse.

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, December 15, 2014

On March 23, 2003… three days into the invasion of Iraq, Private Jessica Lynch was captured by Iraqi forces following an ambush of her convoy. Publicists in the Bush Administration spun an elaborate tail of how “Blood & Guts” Lynch fired her weapon “til she emptied her clip” of ammo (Lynch had actually done no such thing, having been too badly injured to fight back) before she was captured by an enemy the Bush Administration feared was doing “Lord knows what” to her. An elaborate Commando-raid to rescue Lynch was devised, and on April 1st, a nighttime rescue raid on “Saddam (Public) Hospital” was conducted by Navy SEALs and Delta Force commandos that probably could have just walked in the front door in broad daylight. No Iraqi troops or weapons were used to “hold Lynch captive” and by ALL accounts… including Lynch herself… her wounds were cared for, and she was treated humanely by the staff, whom, according the Lynch, one nurse “sang her to sleep” so she wouldn’t be scared.

At it’s peak, the infamous “Abu Ghraib” prison in Iraq, where American troops sadistically tortured Iraqi prisoners, held as many as 3,800 detainees.
 

Former President Bush (41) shedding tears over the humane treatment
of Iraqi prisoners by US forces during the ’91 Gulf War
(2007)

 

It was rather disturbing to hear former Vice President Dick Cheney on “Meet the Press” yesterday cite “9/11” four (possibly five) times in defending the use of torture, arguing in essence that what WE did “was nothing in comparison to what was done to us on 9/11″… the classic, “yeah, but you…” defense. But shame on Chuck Todd for never pointing out that the vast majority of these tortured prisoners were Iraqi… who had NOTHING to do with 9/11. (BTW: when Todd pointed out that bad intelligence also led to “claims of Weapons of Mass Destruction that didn’t exist”, Cheney did NOT attempt to correct him or even challenge him on the claim like he has in the past. To me, that’s evidence that even Dick Cheney now concedes Iraq never had any WMD’s.)

“It wasn’t torture!” Dr. Karl Rove (yes, I’m being facetious) insisted to host Chris Wallace during Fox “news” Sunday yesterday. “In fact, the techniques were designed specifically NOT to be torture!” The example Rove gave… which I’m certain he thought up all on his own without consulting anyone… was the fact waterboarded prisoners legs “were elevated” (presumably, in Rove’s mind, to allow water to drain from their lungs) to keep them from drowning. In Rove’s fevered imagination, this is PROOF that we were behaving “humanely” and taking strides to NOT torture prisoners by showing concern for their lives. Of course, Rove is an idiot. Someone really should explain BREATHING to him and how difficult it is to do with a nose/mouth full of water. “Elevating the legs” of a waterboarding victim is designed to PROLONG the torture so that they don’t die on you before you’ve extracted the information you think they know. To suggest a technique devised to extend a victims suffering is humane because it prevents them from dying too quickly, is like arguing in favor of dying from Ebola vs a gunshot wound because a gunshot kills you too quick.

When the Iraqi’s denied they were hiding any “Weapons of Mass Destruction”, the Bush Administration called them liars and demanded they allow in UN Weapons Inspectors. When the inspectors failed to confirm what they were certain was true, they took the position that the Inspectors were too dumb to know they were being hoodwinked by Saddam, ordering all allied personnel out of Iraq and invaded anyway. Similarly, when detainees didn’t tell them what they wanted to hear… most notably regarding connections between Iraq and al Qaeda, they tortured them till they told them what they wanted to hear.

Cheney repeatedly argued that “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques” (an aside: if you have to use an euphemism to avoid calling something what it really is, it’s as good as an admission of guilt. – Mugsy) DID “provide good intel that lead to the capture” of a number of terrorists including OBL (which is a lie) and/or foiling plots. Even if true, the amount of time & money WASTED chasing down thousands of bad/false leads for every one “good” lead is incalculable. Some torture-defenders, when you ask them if torture was “the ONLY way” to obtain this information, most will hem & haw before admitting, “There’s no way to know that”. But we DO know that because, according to the CIA report summary (pdf), all of the high-profile intel successes were obtained BEFORE prisoners were tortured, and in many cases, detainees that were “singing like a tweety-birdsuddenly stopped talking after their minds were destroyed by torture (another valuable asset lost.)

Other torture advocates like to cite the “ticking time bomb” scenario, where there’s no time to wait for “traditional” interrogation techniques to work. But in the VAST majority of (arguably ALL) cases, there was no “time is of the essence” situation that was thwarted by way of information gleaned from torture. Of the TWENTY-SIX innocent detainees who were tortured, one was placed in solitary confinement for 19 months before he was asked a single question.

Not only does torture not work, but it is COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE, producing fewer results in more time at much greater expense. If you truly wished to see America fail, you couldn’t do much worse than to root for the continued use of torture. In 1988/89, the CIA produced two reports on the use of torture on prisoners, stating that “[p]ysical abuse or other degrading treatment was rejected not only because it was wrong, but because it has historically proven to be ineffective.

Downsides of Torture Program:

  1. False leads waste an enormous amount of time & money. How many bad leads did we obtain via torture for every good lead? There’s no way to know if a lead is no good until you investigate it. What better way to harm your captors than to waste their time chasing down false leads that you know they desperately want to believe are true? Very quickly, your enemies will learn the quickest route to ending their suffering is to feed you a really good pile of crap that you’ve been begging for. David Axelrod noted during “Meet the Press” yesterday that, according to the CIA report, “torture produced the intel that Iraq was supposedly connected to 9/11.”
  2.  

  3. Using torture prolongs war as your enemies dig in their heels and refuse to surrender 1) for fear of what might happen to them if they are captured and 2) it gives them the moral high-ground, with physical proof of their enemy’s barbarism. Ask yourself: “Might we still be at war 13+ years later because of those very reasons?” How many American soldiers died needlessly because they kept encountering enemies that would rather “fight to the death” than risk capture & torture?
  4.  

  5. Which naturally, creates more terrorists. No better recruiting poster than to point to the barbarism of your enemy. And to those (like Cheney) who’ll cite “beheadings” by our enemies, THERE WERE NO BEHEADINGS IN IRAQ PRIOR TO THE INVASION. Darth Cheney even had the gall to cite the barbarism of ISIS in defense of torture, but ISIS WOULDN’T EXIST IF HE HADN’T INVADED IRAQ.
  6.  

  7. The more barbaric your tactics, the more barbaric your enemy becomes in response. As noted above, no one was “beheading” Americans before Abu Ghraib.
  8.  

  9. Arguing that your techniques aren’t torture just helps ensure that your own troops are more likely to be tortured should they be captured, only to have your enemies use YOUR OWN DEFINITION of what is or isn’t “torture” against you.
  10.  

  11. As noted above, some prisoners that were cooperative PRIOR to being tortured may suddenly become useless AFTER being tortured… either out of spite or… in some circumstances, due to psychological or physical damage… even death.

 
If torture worked, you wouldn’t have to do it TWICE… let alone 187 times like they did to 9/11 “Mastermind” KSM. Seriously, if the goal of torture is to extract information from your prisoner and they are still able to withhold information from you that requires being tortured AGAIN to extract… and they KNOW they will be tortured again if they don’t reveal everything they know yet don’t reveal it anyway, then it clearly didn’t work.

So, if you’re all in favor of America wasting precious time chasing down false leads, destroying our image as a just & noble society, losing valuable intelligence assets as a direct result of abuse, giving our enemies the moral high-ground, putting our own troops in greater danger should they be captured (and then be left with no leg to stand on when you protest), extending wars so they last for decades fighting an enemy that would rather die than surrender, and aiding the enemy’s ability to recruit additional fighters to their side… then by all means defend the use of torture.

POSTSCRIPT: “Should any American soldier be so base and infamous as to injure any [prisoner]… I do most earnestly enjoin you to bring him to such severe and exemplary punishment as the enormity of the crime may require. Should it extend to death itself, it will not be disproportional to its guilt at such a time and in such a cause for by such conduct they bring shame, disgrace and ruin to themselves and their country.” – George Washington, charge to the Northern Expeditionary Force, Sept. 14, 1775



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Filed in Crime, myth busting, National Security, Party of Life, Right-Wing Insanity, Scandals, Terrorism, War December 15th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Ferguson Police Chief vs Prosecutor: Who’s Lying (video)

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, December 1, 2014

A week ago Monday, St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch announced (with a disturbing grin on his face) that the Grand Jury had decided NOT to indict Officer Darren Wilson for the shooting death of unarmed 18 year old Michael Brown. After a lengthy (and strikingly rare & questionable) ridiculing of the veracity of witnesses for the prosecution (something normally done during a TRIAL not a Grand Jury), McCulloch finally revealed that the Grand Jury had decided not to indict Officer Wilson, upon which he began to lay out the “facts” of the case, in which he clearly was implying that Officer Wilson was aware Brown was a robbery suspect and had received a description of him, stopping him only because he fit the description of said robbery suspect.

However, this is NOT what Ferguson police Chief Thomas Jackson repeatedly told reporters last August, following the questionable release of a highly prejudicial video of Brown stealing “cigarellos” from a nearby convenience store just minutes before.

Reporters asked Chief Jackson to explain the release of the video, wondering what… if anything… it had to do with the confrontation between Brown and Officer Wilson. Chief Jackson told the reporters that Wilson was “not aware that Brown was a suspect” and only stopped him because “he was walking down the middle of the street”, corroborated by both Officer Wilson and Brown’s friend who was with him at the time.

The reason for McCulloch implying Wilson stopped Brown because he matched the description of a robbery suspect is clear: to imply Wilson had reason to fear for his life from the moment he confronted Brown and was therefore justified in shooting him in self-defense.
 

Prosecutor McCulloch (11/24/2014) vs Chief Jackson (8/15/2014) – 4:17

 



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Filed in Crime, General, Guns & Violence, myth busting, Racism, rewriting history, Scandals, Seems Obvious to Me December 1st, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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A Way To Fix the Immigation System (that no one will ever do.)

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, November 24, 2014

In the 1996 movie “Phenomenon”, John Travolta’s character couldn’t figure out for the life of him how a wild rabbit kept finding its way into his garden despite building a fence around it. Suspecting the rabbit was burrowing beneath the fence, he kept burying it deeper & deeper only to discover each morning that his plants were still being eaten. Upon becoming a genius, his character figured out that the rabbit must have been living in the garden all along and burying the fence deeper had only trapped him inside. In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge established the “U.S. Border Patrol” in response to two new laws: 1) Prohibition and the need to stop people from smuggling alcohol into the country, and 2) the Immigration Acts of 1921 and 1924 that, for the first time, set limits on the number of people that may immigrate to the U.S.. That meant closing our borders. (No, I’m NOT advocating tearing down the border fence.) But just with Travolta’s rabbit, we prevent millions of undocumented immigrants from willingly leaving the country because of just how secure we’ve made our borders. Illegal immigration is a problem of our own creation and there is a sensible and rational solution on how to fix it… and for that very reason (“it’s sensible and rational“)… no one will ever do it: allow free travel across the border through a series of highly secure checkpoints. (Take a handful of sand and squeeze it. The tighter you squeeze, the more sand runs out. That’s what repeatedly tightening our border security is doing today.)

Many people are unaware that the United States only issues a limited number of visas to other countries each year, which people in those countries can then apply for to enter the U.S. legally. Because there is a limited number of visas, the application process can make them far too expensive for the average impoverished Mexican farm-worker to afford, and the visas these countries are given are snatched up quickly by the rich & powerful in those countries. So it angers me tremendously when I hear Teabagger morons like Canadian-born, son of a Cuban-national, Senator Raphael Edward “Ted” Cruz wonder aloud, “Why don’t they go through the process to come here legally?” Because, pinhead, when you’re broke & powerless, your chances of obtaining a legal visa are slightly lower then your chances of winning the lottery.

Since not everyone enters the country on foot across our Southern or Northern borders, we can’t do away with the visa system entirely, but when so much of the American economy actually DEPENDS on immigrant workers, it doesn’t make sense to turn them into criminals once they are here. As radio host Thom Hartmann says on his radio show on a near daily basis: “We don’t have an illegal immigrant problem in this country, we have an illegal EMPLOYER problem.” Thom advocates that if we start throwing some of these criminal employers in jail instead of the workers, maybe they won’t be so quick to offer the jobs that lure them here. That’s certainly true, but with the negative side effect of dramatically reducing the workforce, resulting in artificial shortages that drive prices up.

Many who are here in this country illegally would like nothing more than to go home and see their families, but because of our “rabbit-proof fence”, they know if they leave, it’ll be incredibly difficult (if not impossible) to get back. So the stay, trapped in the U.S., living underground, hiding in the shadows in constant fear of deportation.

The solution is painfully simple: establish a series of high-security border-crossing checkpoints and allow free travel across them. Border-patrol agents can check travelers for all forms of contraband, from drugs to guns, even human smuggling. Border-police will still patrol the fence for drug smugglers, gun-runners, even terrorists, but they won’t have to waste precious time & resources chasing/repelling/deporting construction workers, farmers & maids. Once they are here, they can return home whenever they like without fear of not being able to return. In fact, some people may actually choose to return home to their native country every night after work or on the weekends rather than remain in the U.S. permanently.

President Obama’s controversial move last week to suspend deportation of undocumented parents of American-born children or workers that have been living honest fruitful lives here for years, would be rendered moot.

Another positive resulting from allowing free-travel across the border is a dramatic reduction in “worker abuse”. No more will criminal employers be able to wield the threat of “deportation” over their undocumented workers heads, allowing them to get away with appalling abuses like dangerous working/living conditions, excessively long hours and criminally low wages… which is one more reason you’ll never see this happen. Because empowering workers, possibly even allowing them to unionize, goes against everything Corporate America (and by proxy, the GOP) stands for.

They can now call the police when they are victimized or witness a crime. And (costly) prison space won’t be wasted incarcerating peaceful “law-abiding” immigrants (no longer here “illegally” because they crossed through a legal checkpoint) and can be reserved for the truly criminal.

People who are not American citizens are already not entitled to the benefits of citizenship. They still won’t be able to apply for Food Stamps, get Social Security or qualify for “ObamaCare” subsidies. They WILL however be able to file a 1040 and pay taxes without worry of revealing their presence to the government.

I can’t help but think of the experiment in many states to legalize marijuana. Not only are these states saving millions by not policing/prosecuting/incarcerating many petty drug offenses, but they are actually PROFITING from all the new tax revenue. A double-boost to their economies. Likewise, revising the immigration system this way would save the government Billions wasted policing/prosecuting/incarcerating the vast majority of poor otherwise-honest immigrants, and instead actually PROFITING from the added tax revenue.

Nope. Makes too much sense, and D.C. is where Common Sense & Good Ideas go to die.
 



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Filed in Crime, General, Immigration Reform, National Security, Racism, Seems Obvious to Me November 24th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Where Are the Anti-Police State Cliven Bundy Supporters on Behalf of Michael Brown?

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, August 18, 2014

Last April, Federal agents from the Bureau of Land Management (BLS) arrived at the home of Cliven Bundy, a cattle rancher that has been grazing his cattle on public land for the last 20 years without reimbursing the government for upkeep of that land, to evict his cattle from said public land and demand he pay the $1 million dollars in back-owed grazing fees. This sparked a face-off between redneck anti-government armed militia “Freedom Riders” and federal law enforcement. Bundy supporters decried the “jack-booted” thuggary of Federal law enforcement and declared that THIS was “exactly why we have a Second Amendment!” (no, it’s not.) Four months later, an over-militarized police force in up-armored land-mine resistant vehicles with machine-gun turrets on top, launched teargas grenades and fired rubber bullets into crowds of protestors in Ferguson, Missouri, and the same people who vilified the authorities for attempting to force Bundy to comply with the law, are stunningly silent when it comes to defending the mostly black protesters being confronted by a paramilitary police force as they attempt to express their First Amendment right to publicly protest.

One can’t help but wonder what Bundy supporters’ reaction would be if hoards of armed black protestors were training their weapons on Federal law enforcement officers. Where are the militia teanuts rushing to the defense of black protesters in opposition to the heavy-handed police tactics being employed in Ferguson, Missouri? How is the almost-hyperbolic militaristic response to a public protest not a “call to arms” for every anti-government militia group in the country?

Rancher Bundy acknowledged that he was in defiance of the law and thumbing his nose at Federal Law enforcement, stating clearly that he simply “did not recognize the authority” of the Federal Government over him. He went to court numerous times to defend his right to use public land without paying for its upkeep, and lost every time. And when the BLS came knocking on his door, demanding he pay nearly a million dollars in 20 years worth of back-owed grazing fees, armed militia groups from neighboring states rushed to his defense, railing against the “Police-State” federal government’s “jack-booted thugs” persecuting a poor innocent cattle rancher. Yes, poor, innocent, admitted criminal, government welfare moocher Cliven Bundy. When those same supporters showed up with guns and trained them on police officers, the BLS wisely just backed off and said, “You’re not worth it.” Fox “news” gave the “Bundy Standoff” wall-to-wall coverage, sending camera crews to cast protestors in the most sympathetic light (until Bundy started talking about “the Neg’ras”.)
 

Protesters in Ferguson, MO defying police
Black protestors in Ferguson, MO

 

Protesters at Bundy Ranch in Nevada defying police
Bundy supporter Eric Parker from central Idaho
Militiaman in support of Cliven Bundy Militiaman blows war horn in Call to Arms Bundy supporters in defiance of Authorities

 

Let’s be clear about one thing: Those of us who defended the government against Bundy are NOT “hypocrites” for now criticizing the governments response to protesters regarding the shooting-death of an unarmed black teen (who was in the process of surrendering to authorities after already being shot twice, then shot three to six more times til he was dead) last week. Bundy was already in defiance of the law and there was no question of his guilt when federal authorities arrived to fine… not arrest… Mr. Bundy.

Despite a video released after-the-fact that appears to show Brown committing petty theft (taking a handful of cigars from a local convenience store), the officer who shot the unarmed Brown twice when he grabbed Brown through the window of his police car, then fired 3-6 more shots killing him as Brown attempted to surrender, did not know about the robbery when he confronted Brown. And regardless, YOU DON’T SHOOT AN UNARMED MAN EVEN ONCE (let alone EIGHT TIMES) while they are in the process of surrendering.

The always excellent Media Matters also noticed the hypocrisy of Fox radio host and frequent Fox “news” contributor Laura Ingraham, who chastised the Media for inflaming the situation in Ferguson, saying that their presence there was only making the situation worse as protesters were “playing to the cameras”, likening them to “a lynch mob”. But four months ago, Ingraham struck a very different tune as she appeared repeatedly on Fox to describe the pro-Bundy armed militia protesters as “engaging in an act of civil disobedience”, chastising the federal government for its “ridiculously disproportionate response.”

Quite honestly, when I started work on this op/ed and Googled “Cliven Bundy” “Michael Brown”, I expected to see… at the very least… a half dozen other sites questioning the stunningly different reactions towards the use of military-style police force against protesters… one white, armed to the teeth, defending a man in flagrant violation of the law threatening the use of violence against a very menacing-looking police force… the other black, unarmed (alleged reports of “Molotov-cocktails” being thrown at police have never been substantiated), teargassed and shot with rubber bullets by local police in military vehicles wearing camouflage (in the city?) in full riot gear. I didn’t. Not one single news story remarking on the disconnect, and not even a handful of stories on the web (perhaps three) commenting on the obvious hypocrisy. But I expect that number to grow quickly.

I also expect to see the NRA out there any day now defending the black protestors’ right to take up arms against local authorities.

NOT.

UPDATE: Almost on cue: Fox defends Ferguson police response as “What needed to happen”.

So predictable.

 



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Filed in Crime, Guns & Violence, Politics, Racism, Right-Wing Hypocrisy August 18th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • 15 comments | Add/View

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The Botched Execution and The Party of Life

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, May 5, 2014

Last Tuesday, the state of Oklahoma began the process of executing two death row inmates by “lethal injection”, which is no longer a simple matter. The original drug cocktail necessary to do the job is no longer made and actual doctors have been banned from taking part in executions… the kind of deadly combination one might actually want when administering the Death Penalty, but not if your goal is a quick & painless death. As you know by now, the execution in Oklahoma went horribly awry, and a parade of truly despicable people known collectively as “pro-life Republicans” were thrust before the cameras last week, either to defend the practice of State-sponsored executions, or to find the most incredibly offensive comparison they could think of to turn the focus off them and onto their political opponents.

Texas Governor Rick “Oops” Perry, the uber-Christian 2012 GOP presidential candidate that was cheered at one debate for executing prisoners via conveyor belt, and is so dumb he thinks wearing glasses will trick people into thinking he’s smart (kind of a “Clark Kent” for dullards), was invited on “Meet the Press” yesterday specifically to be asked if what happened in Oklahoma might change his thinking on his fevered use of the Death Penalty. Nope, of course not. But you already knew that. Then on the opposite end, we had Right-Wing bomb-thrower Laura Ingraham express her opposition to the Death Penalty by equating it with Abortion… because in Ingraham’s world, pregnant mothers are no different than Serial Killers. And while not related to the botched execution, fellow mental midget Congressman Jason Chaffetz (who frequents these Sunday shows despite speaking only in Talking Points with no real insight into any matter) actually said yesterday (in the same sentence no less) that, “I believe in peace through strength” and that if we had more war, we’d “see more peace” (sorry, no transcript yet and I can’t bear to watch the video again). Let that sink in for a moment. The world would be more peaceful if only the U.S. flexed its military might around the world more often. Just as incredible, no one ever asks Chaffetz what he means by that. Because, really, who cares? It’s such an inane talking point that the explanation doesn’t really matter. Chaffetz doesn’t really matter, so any follow-up is a waste of time anyway.

Another Right-Winger blasted “Lib’rulz” last week for criticizing the botched execution, claiming that they were taking the side of the sick & sadistic criminal and didn’t care about his victims. Outrage over this botched execution has NOTHING to do with the person being executed (you’ll notice that I haven’t, nor will I, mention his name) and everything to do with an imperfect government carrying out the most permanent of punishments that is fraught with error (117 people on Death Row… roughly 2%… have been exonerated since 1972) and applied wildly unequally among poor & minorities. But no matter, if you’re rich & white, it’s okay to support wars you’ll never fight, shut down government services you’ll never need, and cheer the use of a death penalty that no one would ever seek against you. And you can still feel good about yourself so long as there are “sluts” in the world that you can look down your nose at while you accuse them of “killing babies”.

I’ve always been somewhat bemused by the fact that the same “Pro-Life” crowd that thinks God is a Republican, is also pro-war (so long as it’s someone else doing the fighting & dying), pro-gun (unless that gun is in the hands of a black man) and pro-death penalty (for people, not corporations… which they think are people too.) One of the reasons I left the GOP over 30 years ago was the rampant unapologetic hypocrisy, latent (and sometimes overt) racism, disdain for the poor, and a mind-numbing pride in being outright stupid (or “common man” as they like to look at it). The reason so many people in college become Liberals is not because teachers are “indoctrinating students”, but because no one goes to college to stay stupid, and being an idiot in college is nothing to be proud of. That just left the Junior Fascists. Sorry dudes. No thanks. You’ll find me at the Young Democrats meeting across campus.

So how is it that the Party of Death is repeatedly brought on to these programs to judge the morality of their opponents? I’m really getting quite fed up with it all.

Postscript: On an unrelated note, after the illness, misdiagnosis of cancer, and eventual death of my cat, Lefty, a year ago, followed soon after by the illness, misdiagnosis of cancer and eventual death of my mother four weeks ago, last week, one of my remaining two cats became deathly ill from Salmonella tainted cat food (vomiting and bleeding from the eyes). I knew I’d have to quickly figure out what was wrong with her myself when the vet called and asked to have her tested for gastric cancer. I swear, I think these doctors/vets say “cancer” the moment they run out of ideas. I’m happy to say Knuckles is back home and recovering rapidly once I told the doctor what to treat her for. No discount on a $3,100 vet bill despite having to diagnose her myself. It’s bad enough we have to be our own doctors, now we have to be our own VETS too! – Mugsy

 



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Filed in Crime, Party of Life, Rants, Right-wing Facism May 5th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • 1 comment | Add/View