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Why the Chris Christie Bridge Scandal Matters

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, January 13, 2014

Whether NJ Governor Chris Christie actually ordered the closure of three out of the four outgoing lanes of the busiest bridge in the world is almost besides the point now. I’ll assume you already know the story rather than rehash it here. Last Thursday, Christie held a two hour Mea Culpa where he basically told everyone how betrayed he felt by his staff, all of whom assured him there was nothing to the story of how the 4-day closure of the GW Bridge was supposedly an act of political retribution (against whom? Rachel Maddow seems to have come up with a FAR more plausible target than the mayor of Fort Lee). But here’s the big problem with the governor’s “they lied to me” defense: Christie is a former U.S. Attorney. He earned a reputation as a tenacious prosecutor, a reputation he campaigned on when running for governor in 2009. So how is it that a (supposedly) dogged former U.S. attorney was so easily deceived by his own staff. Christie never asked any follow-up questions? “Who decided we needed a ’traffic study’ of the George Washington Bridge and why now? Just what did they expect to find?” “Why did they keep it going for FOUR DAYS even after Fort Lee’s Mayor Sokolich contacted them about how emergency vehicles were being delayed?” And most basic of all: “Where is this ‘traffic study’? Can I see it?” Christie’s defense that he had no idea what his own staffers were doing right under his nose hardly lends to his credibility if he plans on running for president in 2016. Not only did he not ask his staffers any follow-up questions, he is PROUD of his disinterest, declaring during his press conference that he “didn’t know and didn’t care why [they] did it.” But trust me, a prosecutor will be asking that question even if former prosecutor Christie does not.

Maybe Christie didn’t know what members of his own staff were doing right out of his own office. I don’t know. But the “political punishment” behavior does fit a pattern, playing right into his reputation as a vindictive “bully”, so if he wasn’t involved, it definitely rubbed off on his staff, who appear to have taken great pleasure in making the lives of Fort Lee commuters miserable for nearly a week.

In June of 2011, NJ gov Chris Christie went on “Caucus NJ”, a local public broadcast radio show (simulcast on TV for the big event) and took questions for nearly an hour. One questioner named “Gail” asked Christie if his willingness to cut funding for public schools might have something to do with the fact that he himself is wealthy enough to send his children to private school and is therefore unaffected by those cuts. Christie, clearly not listening to the woman, viciously attacked her for asking “where” he sends his kids to school, which any parent in his position could reasonably perceive as a threat. But “Gail” never asked Christie “where” he sends his kids to school, only asking if he felt it fair of him to do to her children something that clearly would not affect his own. He continued lambasting her for questioning the extravagance of sending his kids to private school… again, something she never brought up. His supporters cheered Christie’s defense of his children (whom, as I note, were never criticized nor threatened), and to this day I don’t think anyone has ever pointed out to him that he clearly misheard her, attacking her for things she never said, never did answer her very legitimate question, nor did he apologize for attacking someone for his own mistake.

During his two-hour round of damage control last week, the governor denied any involvement in the closure of the bridge, stating that doing something so vindictive for political purposes was not in his nature, actually telling reporters, “I’m not a bully”. The Daily Show had a bit of fun with that one:
 

The “tone” of the Christie administration (1:11)

“I’m not a bully.” If you’re thinking of Richard Nixon right about now, you’re not alone. Not just for his, “I’m not a crook” moment, but also in the way the circle seems to be closing in on Christie as investigations into top staffers bring us ever closer to the man himself. But the fact is, Nixon was a crook. And Christie also has his share of “shady” backroom deals: “deferred prosecution agreements” with major corporations made while he was still a prosecutor that dogged him while running for office. And last month, Firedog Lake reported on Christie’s stint as a Washington lobbyist, forging connections with some very deep pockets that became major contributors to his gubernatorial campaign a decade later.

The George Washington Bridge Scandal matters because it shines a white hot spotlight on Christie’s two biggest traits: 1) that he’s a bipartisan Republican that knows how to work with political opponents, and 2) that he’s a ”schoolyard bully” that likes to (forgive the pun) throw his weight around. Republicans hated #1 and loved him for #2. Democrats, just the reverse. How will this play out in the days/weeks/months to come? Stay tuned.
 



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Filed in Crime, Election, General, Politics, Scandals January 13th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • 5 comments | Add/View

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Mugsy’s Annual Predictions for 2014: No more predictions for Syria (kinda)

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, December 30, 2013

I never put any stock in “13″ being an “unlucky number”, but after the year I just had, one can’t help but wonder.

My predictions for 2013 were a bit rushed. I cranked them out at the last minute as I spent my days preoccupied trying to save the life of my beloved cat “Lefty”. One year later, my days are now preoccupied trying to save the life of my mother. And in both instances, gross medical negligence is to blame. The frustration I feel is profound as I watch helplessly as another loved-one fights for life following the harm done to them by incompetent doctors, with no legal recourse because of the state I live in (Texas). So please bear that in mind if my predictions for 2014 seem a bit bleak.

We begin by looking back at how well the “Professionals” did at making predictions for 2013. I may not get 100% of my predictions right… or even 75%…, but compared to some of the so-called “experts”, I should be sitting on a mountain top somewhere, an oracle allowing but a brave few to ask “Just one question”.

First off, can I just say that if publish your “Predictions” AFTER December 31st, you’re not “predicting”, you’re reporting the news.

With that said, here is what some famous “psychics” predicted we’d see in 2013:

Sylvia Browne

Maybe it’s a bit unfair, but I love picking on self-proclaimed “psychics” because their accuracy is always dismal. But they make so many predictions, that when one or two pan out, the media responds as if that person has “second sight” and deserving of being taken very seriously.

Famed “psychic” Sylvia Browne passed away in November. It almost seems crewel to “fact check” Miss Browne posthumously, but when you’re as big a name in the “predicting” biz as she was, maybe keeping her on the list is a sign of respect for her particular brand of hucksterism. In 2012, Ms. Browne predicted President Obama would NOT be reelected; in a 2006 appearance on “The Montel Williams Show”, she told the mother of one of the three girls that had been held captive by that nut in Ohio for over a decade only to escape earlier this year, that her daughter was dead and would be waiting for her on the other side (the mother died the next year), and on that same show, Browne told a widow whose husbands’ body “was never found” that he was “in water”, presumably lost at sea. It turns out the woman was the widow of a 9/11 fireman.

As I noted, Ms. Browne passed away in November. Apparently, she never saw it coming because she booked no less than 14 public appearances from December of 2013 to April of 2014. If you want to read her final list of predictions for 2013, you must purchase an ANNUAL membership to her “inner circle” for a minimum buy in of $49.95 or an EIGHTEEN MONTH membership for $79.95 (which, if you do the math, is slightly more expensive than just buying 1-year memberships.) Seeing as how Ms. Browne is no longer with us, anyone who purchases a 12 or 18 month membership at this point to find out what she has to say next deserves to have their money taken from them. They’re still taking Reservations if you wish to meet her.

Psychic-to-the-Stars: “Nikki”

It’s funny how many people bestow upon themselves the title “Psychic to the Stars”. I suppose if two “stars” just happen to meet the same psychic backstage at a taping of “A Sucker’s Born Every Minute”, they can call themselves a ”Psychic to the Stars”. But type the phrase into Google, and top of the list is “Nikki”… whom apparently shall remain last-nameless. Among Nikki’s predictions for 2013:

“Nikki’s” list of predictions for 2013 reads like a script for the next Hollywood blockbuster disaster movie. Of the 115 World Events she predicts, EIGHTY (by my count) fall into the “death & destruction” category.

Of course, when you make well over 100 predictions, random chance almost ensures a few hits (“even a blind squirrel finds a nut now & then”):

  1. More cyber attacks. – There were four notable instances of computer crime this year: Britain’s NatWest Bank was the victim of a distributed denial of service (“DDoS”) attack that inconvenienced thousands of customers for a few days, the Bank of China was hacked by (reportedly) some frustrated “BitCoin” users, North Korea is believed to be behind a cyber attack on South Korean TV stations and two banks, and, of course, more significantly, the recent hack of some 40 million “Target” store customer’s credit cards here in the U.S.. Personally, I suspect that if asked for more detail, Ms. Nikki was expecting an attack more along the lines of a ”terrorist” nature, not kids hacking credit cards.
  2. A major automobile company will go bankrupt. – You know what, I’m feeling generous and will give “Detroit Declares Bankruptcy” to Ms. Nikki. The auto-companies themselves might have declared “record PROFITS” this past year (their best since 2007), but the city synonymous with the auto-industry did in fact (thanks to a Republican appointed viceroy who dismantled the local government, disenfranchised nearly a million people and is now liquidating the city’s treasures) “declare bankruptcy”. Probably not what she was predicting, but there you are.
  3. Great floods in the US and in Europe – Yes, massive floods did indeed hit Colorado and Central Europe this year.

3-for-115 (she actually made many more predictions than that if you count “celebrity” predictions), for an accuracy rate of 2.6%… and that was after being a bit generous. It’s up to you to decide whether “Ms. Nikki” is psychic or just guessing.

The Psychic Twins

A sister duo dubbed “The Psychic Twins” are laying claim to a number of accurate predictions in 2013, including the “Lone Wolf” shootings in DC’s “Navy Yard” a knife attack by a mentally disturbed student at a Houston Community College (that I just happened to attend some 20 years ago) that ran around stabbing other students with a craft-knife, and an armed gunmen at North Carolina’s A&T University that was subdued before a single shot was fired.

They also predicted strict new gun laws passed in Connecticut just days after the Sandy Hook massacre. They MUST be psychic!

“The Psychic Twins” appear to only make their predictions on video, and I have neither the time nor the inclination to spend hours verifying their accuracy, though I have little doubt it would be another case of “throw everything at the wall and see what sticks”. This short second-hand list of their predictions for 2013 as documented by a fan is predictably (pun intended) hit & miss. Hits with further “Lone Wolf” attacks following Sandy Hook, misses on Economics (but also predicted “cyber attacks”) and vaguely all-too-general predictions of weather/natural disasters.

Last year I singled out another “celebrity psychic, Blair Robertson” for his poor performance in predicting what 2012 held in store for everyone. Mr. Robertson did a little better this year, (arguably) over his one correct prediction for 2012, correctly predicting this year that “a boxer would die in the ring” but falling short everywhere else. Robertson improved his score this year by a half-point for “predicting” Rhianna and Chris Brown would “tie the knot”. The couple played the Media like a fiddle, with photos of “a ring” and even rumors of a “secret wedding”, but no, the most famous dysfunctional couple in Hip-Hop did not in fact get married in 2013 (correct me if I’m wrong.)

Political Prognosticators

It’s a bit more difficult this year to find Republicans opining about 2013 after they all had just finished predicting a Mitt Romney landslide, “easily” winning the election as Americans were “fed up” with President Obama, “Obamacare”, “taxes” and “Benghazi”. That bubble they built up had some might thick glass.

So naturally, when Republicans carried out their threats of being even more obstructionist in 2013, the Right crowed… crowed I tell ya… how “Mitt Romney was right!” when he “predicted” a government Shutdown in 2013. It’s a bit like predicting your “homies” are going to “trash this place” if they don’t get their way, and then being lauded for your insight when they carry out your threats.

Mitt Romney also “predicted” (according to them) Detroit going bankrupt when he in fact only argued for it as being preferable to a bailout. As noted above, the only reason Detroit declared bankruptcy is because a Viceroy appointed by the state’s Republican governor made it so.

In 2010, Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn predicted that because of “Obamacare”: “There will be no insurance industry left in three years”. I have little doubt that Senator Coburn wishes millions of people had lost their insurance and the industry imploded, but darned the luck, they still exists and are expected to reap record profits next year.

Bloomberg Right-Wing News Columnist and “AEI Fellow” Ramesh Ponnuru made a number of negative predictions about President Obama and his policies. He actually didn’t do too bad until you consider how many Republican “predictions” were actually self-fulfilling prophecies. Ponnuru “predicted” the Healthcare Exchanges “would not open for business on October 1st” when Secretary Sebelius “admits the federal government won’t be ready by then.” The government was ready, the private contractors that built the glitchy website were not. They did indeed open on October 1st, but weren’t ready and had to be closed soon after for about a week. As a result, Ponnuru predicted support for Obamacare would continue to decline. If you do a Google News search for “poll support for Obamacare”, you’ll see lots of links to sites all claiming this to be true… ALL of them… each and every one… a Right Wing blog or media outlet (from the NRO to Glenn Beck). Interesting, because all the major networks are reporting how the number of people signing up for insurance through the Exchange “surged to over 1.1 Million” in December in a trend that is expected to continue.

Ponnuru also predicted the courts would continue to rebuke the Obama Administration on the rights of Catholic owned businesses to deny their employees contraception if they view it morally objectionable. The most notable of these cases, the “Hobby Lobby” case, is still waiting in the Supreme Court (see my own prediction on that below.) He also predicted The Supreme Court would find a way to weasel out of ruling on Same Sex Marriage. They didn’t, with repercussions that have led to legalization into deep Red Utah.

He predicted “a new monetary regime” between the U.S. and the U.K. that insulates both nations from the problems of Europe. No idea what he means by “a new monetary regime” even after reading his piece on the subject. Whatever it is, it never happened and Europe’s economy is starting to show signs of recovery.

More wishful thinking? “Paul Ryan,” feeling he can’t work within the GOP, “will resign” in order to “focus on running for president”? No date cited and hardly makes sense as a 2013 prediction, but maybe Ponnuru is looking to late 2014?

How I Did.

Now is the time I look back at my own predictions last year to see how I did. All year long, I thought about the predictions I made for 2013, and as I do every year, I am certain I did “incredibly poorly” that year only to look back at years end and find I didn’t do quite as bad as I thought.

  1. Correct: My first prediction regarding the “fiscal cliff”, and whether the GOP was irrational enough to go over it, had to be split into three scenarios: a) the GOP agrees to President Obama’s demand that taxes go up on people making over $250K per year, but only because they intend to hold the Debt Ceiling hostage again, b) a deal is reached only after Democrats concede to raise the starting point at which taxes go up to $500K, or c) the Bush Tax Cuts expire because no deal can be reached allowing Democrats to pass the “Obama tax cut”. It all depended upon how the GOP reacted. Knowing Scenario “c)” would be the worst possible outcome for them, the GOP agreed to a hybrid of “scenario A” and “scenario B” (pre-planning to hold the Debt Ceiling hostage while agreeing to a deal where the tax increase begins at $450K instead of $250K.)
  2. A Push: #2 was conditional on the GOP being suicidal enough to go over the cliff and refuse to raise the Debt Ceiling, forcing President Obama to invoke the 14th Amendment. They didn’t, so he didn’t have to. No way to know if he would have (though he said he wouldn’t.) I’m certain when faced with certain global economic catastrophe, he would have. And I think the GOP knew it too, the consequences of which would have been to render them irrelevant the next time a Debt Ceiling fight rolled around. So they had no choice but to cave.
  3. Wrong: Harry Reid would make good on his threat to “reform the filibuster” at the start of the session. While a ”Psychic to the Stars” might take credit for the eventual decision of Reid to “go nuclear” last November, I’m no hypocrite. I was hamstrung when I made my prediction late on December 31st by the fact it might be proved false in less than 24 hours. Considering the record-setting obstructionist year we had just had, and Reid’s own admission that he was “wrong” for not reforming the filibuster the way Democrats pleaded with him to do at the start of the 2011 session. it was almost unimaginable that he would make the same mistake twice. And while he dragged his feet and messaged Senate rules to extend his time to make a decision till the end of the month, Reid did eventually cave to Republican threats, agreeing only to minor, essentially irrelevant changes… something he quickly came to regret as the GOP shutdown the government months later. The reform he finally agreed to last November likewise was only a narrow rules change affecting only the President’s judicial & Cabinet appointments.
  4. Correct: Despite promises of “Election Reform” following the mass disenfranchisement of Poor & Middle Class voters seen during Early Voting and on Election Day 2012, not a damn thing was done about it. On to 2014!
  5. Correct: The Unemployment rate, which I predicted would be “very close to 6.9% by the end of the year (give or take 3/10ths of a point).” After November, the BLS reported the Unemployment Rate had fallen to 7.0%, a 5-year low and more than a full point below where it was the year before.
  6. Wrong: Sadly, concern over spending did not spark public pressure to exit Afghanistan by years end.
  7. Wrong (and happy about it): While they did remain fairly stable, my prediction that gas prices would still be close to $3.50/gal a year later turned out to be too high, with the national average presently at just under $3.30/gal. I can’t in good faith count that as “correct”. Maybe a difference of ten cents a gallon, but not twenty. And I didn’t foresee things like “nuclear talks with Iran” to bring down oil prices to a three year low.
  8. Correct: – No U.S. or Israeli strike on Iran. Funny to think how long this nonsense has been going on. And the fact no provocative moves have been made by Iran in all that time only goes to show how reality rarely lives up to the most wild militarist fantasies of Neoconservatives. Much to their chagrin, not only did Iran not do anything threatening, they even reluctantly have opened discussions of disarmament. Astounding.
  9. Wrong: Ah, Syria! It’s depressing to think that Civil War is now in it’s THIRD year. I was stung after my first prediction of the fall of Assad in 2011. A bit more cautious last year, I predicted Assad to fall into irrelevancy as the rest of the world just stopped recognizing him as the legitimate leader of Syria. They didn’t; he didn’t; so for 2014 , I won’t.
  10. Wrong (another “and happy about it”): I predicted the DOW would be around 14,500 points by years end, predicting an impressive rise of more than 1500 points in just one year. Instead, we saw an astonishing rise of nearly 3,500 points in just one year to a new record of just under 16,500 points. If President Obama is a  ”Socialist”, he’s a piss-poor one.
  11. Correct: As America’s economy recovers, so does Europe’s and the rest of the worlds.
  12. Correct (sadly): My exact words were: “Immigration reform? Don’t bet your Aunt Fanny on it.” Republicans said they wanted it. President Obama said he wanted it. So it was inevitable that nothing would get done.
  13. Wrong (sadly): Just days after Sandy Hook and the massacre of twenty 6/7-yearolds and six teachers, I couldn’t imagine even Republicans turning this into a partisan fight, caving to their gun-nut base and doing absolutely nothing to keep weapons of war out of the hands of children, the mentally unstable and known criminals. Lesson learned: Never under-estimate the depths of GOP cowardice or the ignorance of their base.

Final score: 6 out of 12 (#2 was inconclusive) for 50-percent. Not too shabby for a list I was certain all year long would be one big goose egg. Take that you “Psychics to the Stars” with your “2.6%” accuracy rating!

So now my Predictions for 2014:

  1. Failing to extend Unemployment benefits at the end of 2013 will mean great hardship that extends beyond Party Lines. Just as Republicans mistakenly believed that voters would side with them for “taking a principled stand” on the Government Shutdown even after it started to affect them personally, they undoubtedly believe the same is true here. As far as the GOP is concerned, only poor Minimum Wage slackers are home waiting for their Unemployment Checks to roll in while they sit on their lazy duffs. But their refusal to continue the extension of those benefits past the end of 2013 will come back to bite them in the butt, not realizing just how many “Poor & Middle-Class” workers make up their Redneck base. As a result, expect the GOP to agree to a ”compromise extension” of Unemployment benefits. There will be an insistence that it be “paid for”, but then there will be a huge fight on just what to cut. There will be an extension, just not the “90+ week” maximum some are seeing now. Probably something closer to “52 weeks”, double the standard length, with some “creative accounting” paying for it.
  2.  

  3. Where will the DOW be by the end of 2014? I sure as heck didn’t foresee the meteoric rise of 3,500 points in 2013. Another rise like that would have us knocking on the amazing “20,000 point” mark, and that’s going to make a lot of investors nervous about “over exuberant” investors buying stocks just to set a record. I expect the DOW to close just over the “19,200″ mark come years end… which is an incredible thought. Bill Clinton took the DOW from around 3700 points to over 11,700 points seven years later… an increase of OVER 300 percent. The DOW bottomed out barely a month after President Obama took office at just over 6600 points. A close of “19,200″ would be another rise of nearly 300% in just SIX years. George Bush cut the taxes of the Rich & Powerful, but cut their portfolio’s in half as the economy crashed. With numbers like that, it’s easy to see why Wall Street hates Democrats, and loves Republicans (yes, that’s snark.)
  4.  

  5. Marriage Equality – No surprise that more states will officially declare Same-Sex Marriage as legal, but with it suddenly legal in nearly half the states in the Union and no solid legal argument for why any group of people should be discriminated against, expect a positive ruling from the Supreme Court… probably 5/4 but possibly even 6/3… telling states where SSM is outlawed that they must recognize marriages performed in another state. As people flood to neighboring states to get married, laws banning SSM will become moot and fall like dominoes.
  6.  

  7. The Mid-term elections – AKA: “The Battle for the Senate”. Not surprisingly, with the House and the Senate so narrowly split, both sides will be pulling out all the stops seeking control of Congress. The big question? What will be the mood of the public come Election Time? Will problems with the health care law sour voters on the Obama Administration? Will unemployment continue to fall making them optimistic? And what role will record low approval ratings for Congress have on turnout? In the end, it’s pretty much a wash. The people that hate “Obamacare” will continue to whine about “Obamacare”. The people that like the law will continue to do so. I ran into a lot of Conservatives this past year that believe “Obamacare” is an insurance program that you must (MUST) buy into, and they can implode the entire system if they simply refuse to sign up. Little do most of them realize, “Obamacare” does not even apply to them because they already get insurance through their employer. They couldn’t “sign up” even if they wanted to. So the entire system doesn’t implode, and for most people, nothing changes for them. It will be hard to be “outraged” over health care reform come November. Good economic news will continue, so there will be little economic motive to head to the polls. And despite near single digit approval ratings for Congress, don’t expect control of either House to change hands, though, thanks to Gerrymandering, I think Democrats have a better chance of picking up seats in the Senate than the House.
  8.  

  9. Which of course takes us to the start of the 2016 campaign (hard to believe it’s already a topic.) Though she will try to wait until January 2015, Hillary WILL announce her intention to run for President, as will Chris Christie, whom even this far off, already look to be the front-runners. But anything can happen between now & then.
  10.  

  11. Paul Ryan & Patty Murray coming to a two-year budget deal here at the end of 2013 insures no “Fiscal Cliff, Debt Ceiling, Shutdown” economic brinksmanship before the election. No GOP manufactured crisis means we can expect a reasonably smooth, growing economy in 2014. Expect GDP growth in the 4.0+ range next year.
  12.  

  13. What will become of NSA Leaker Edward Snowden? I expect a move to South America sometime next year. The last shoe has yet to drop in that story because Snowden took FAR more material than he could possibly have read when he absconded from the NSA with all that Top Secret information. But time is not on his side as much of the information he took grows out of date. As he continues to pour through the files he stole, I expect few additional revelations, perhaps saving his biggest bombshell in time for the election.
  14.  

  15. Will Congress raise the Minimum Wage? If this weren’t an election year, I’d say yes, but since it is, the state of the economy will play a large part in whether it gets raised or not. A number of states won’t wait and raise it on their own, but nationally, if the economy continues to improve, forget it. With no Budget Battles for the GOP to hold hostage, they must dig their heels in somewhere, and The Minimum Wage is it.
  16.  

  17. The Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia is going to be a mess. Technical and scheduling issues as civil unrest disrupts the games. As I type this, we’ve already seen acts of terrorism very close to Sochi, and Putin won’t have a clue how to handle Gay Rights protests in a country where just holding a sign can land you in jail. International condemnation of Russia’s anti-gay laws will overshadow many events.
  18.  

  19. And while we’re on the subject of Sochi, in a separate prediction, I believe the reason President Obama chose former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to lead a delegation of openly gay athletes is because she herself intends to come out as gay upon her arrival in Sochi, almost daring the Russian government to arrest her.
  20.  

  21. So what will the Unemployment Rate look like by the end of 2014? If current trends continue, I don’t think an unemployment rate of 6.1% (give or take 3/10th of a point) is out of the realm of possibility. If it weren’t an election year, I’d might go lower than that, but it’s in the GOP’s interest to encourage a worsening economy going into the Mid-term elections. With no budget battles to destabilize the economy in an election year, it’ll be difficult. I’m interested in seeing how they pull it off.
  22.  

  23. What about Iran? I think a nuclear disarmament deal WILL be struck that allows Iran to continue to develop nuclear energy using Uranium bred outside the country (probably Russia.) IAEA inspectors will be allowed into the country to check for nuclear weapons development. In exchange, the U.S. will once again allow Iranian oil to be traded on the U.S. Market, causing a decline in the price of oil (maybe $80/barrel give or take $5?), lowering gas prices in the U.S., serving as a substantial boost to the American economy. 2014 will be a very good year for the U.S. economy.
  24.  

  25. Ted Cruz announces his intention to run for President. Outside of the (dwindling) Tea Party, support for his candidacy will not exceed that of Michele Bachmann in 2012, and his campaign will fizzle out early in 2015.
  26.  

  27. Hobby Lobby’s “my religious beliefs supersede yours because I’m your boss” Supreme Court case will return a verdict in favor of the Christian-owned craft store. Any other sane Supreme Court would realize that if a “Christian” owned company can decide what health care you can get, so could an Amish, Muslim or even Satanic boss dictate your health care choices. But an “Amish, Muslim or Satanic” corporation didn’t file this case. A “Christian” one did. And therefore, this Conservative Court will tie the Constitution into knots to accommodate them. Republicans will tout it as “a victory for Americans over the scourge of Obamacare.”
  28.  

  29. Following up on last year, no “Election Reform” bill will be taken up in an election year. Republican governors will step up their efforts to disenfranchise tens of thousands of Democratically leaning voter blocks… most of whom will be minorities.
  30.  

  31. As an homage to my “psychic” friends out there, a really big hurricane will hit someplace somewhere.
  32.  

  33. And another “Lone-wolf” gun nut will go on a shooting spree, killing over a dozen people. And what will come of it in terms of gun control? Nothing.
  34.  

  35. And finally, Syria. In 2011, I predicted Assad would be overthrown just like all the other “Arab Spring” nations did to their leaders. But Assad was willing to be far more brutal and had the army on his side. In 2012, I predicted him to become irrelevant as the rest of the world simply stopped recognizing his authority, but that didn’t happen either. So now, in year three, all I’m willing to wager is that the Syrian conflict will still be raging a year from now. That’s a prediction I’d be happy to get wrong.

Eighteen predictions. I can live with that. How do you think I did? Post your own predictions for 2014 in the Comments.
 


 


Writers Wanted

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Filed in Economy, Election, General, Guns & Violence, Healthcare, Jobs, Middle East, Partisanship, Politics, Predictions, Religion, Seems Obvious to Me, Taxes, voting, War December 30th, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • 1 comment | Add/View

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Why Don’t We Question Close Races AFTER We Win to See Why They Were So Close?

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, November 11, 2013

I don’t know why, but before every election in recent memory, we hear lots of reports of Republican attempts to disenfranchise tens of thousands (millions?) of legitimate legal voters all in the name of “protecting elections from (non-existent) voter fraud”. So they pass laws, new restrictions, and implement despicable practices like “voter caging” to stop LEGAL voters… uncoincidentally typically the young, poor, minorities, or any combination thereof, that just happen to vote Democrat… from voting. These attempts to stop tens of thousands of registered voters from exercising their Constitutional rights rarely make the news and gets a lot of Democrats very upset prior to the election. But then AFTER the election, once the Democrat wins ANYWAY (often by a razor-thin margin), no one ever seems to go back and wonder WHY the election was “so close” in the first place. We seem happy just to have won, so why poke the bear? Last week we saw this in action in Virginia, where polling showed the Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe leading the scandal-ridden, homophobic, Rightwing social-extremist Republican candidate Ken Cuccinelli by as much as 15 points in one poll (and an average of nearly 7 points, and growing, the day before the election) only to win by just 2.5% once all the votes were in. And no one seems to be asking, “How did that happen?”

The loser in this particular race, Cuccinelli, actually seemed to concede what an awful candidate he was in his own concession speech, arguing that the final result was so close “because of (a public rejection of) Obamacare”. Translation: “I was a terrible candidate and the race wouldn’t have even been close had it not been for people voting in protest of ObamaCare!” Which is an awful argument on two fronts. Besides admitting that if it weren’t for “ObamaCare”, you probably would have lost even worse, but the fact is the “PRO-ObamaCare” candidate WON, meaning that more people apparently like the program than don’t.

So why was the Virginia race WAY closer than any of the polls predicted? Maybe the fact that three weeks before the election, the GOP-controlled board of elections purged 38 THOUSAND registered voters from the elections rolls, most of whom by no coincidence fell into the Democratic demographic of young, poor & minorities. McAuliffe’s margin of victory was just 55,000 votes in a state with nearly 2 million votes cast.

The danger here of allowing Republicans to believe that the election was actually closer than it actually was while disregarding the tens of thousands they likely disenfranchised, is that it allows them to believe falsehoods like “ObamaCare is wildly unpopular”, “the Shutdown is the only reason Cuccinelli lost” or “if they had just spent more money on the Cuccinelli campaign, he would have won”, and therefore allow them to continue to their obstructionist ways and continue to push far-right legislation in the false belief that that’s what the people actually want. They then push the idea that the public is “evenly divided” and that there’s more support out there for the GOP Platform than there actually is, and the public… not knowing any better… believes it.

In 2008, Obama’s margin of victory over John McCain was SEVEN percent with 66.8 Million votes. Four years later, the margin of victory was cut to just 3.9 percent with Obama receiving nearly one million fewer votes than he did four years earlier despite an overall increase of 1.6 million more voters. Romney received 2.6 million more votes in 2012 than McCain did in 2008. Translation: You must believe either ONE MILLION Obama voters switched to Romney and despite population growth not a single new voter voted for Obama, OR that millions of Democratic votes were not counted because they were prevented from voting (ie: long lines, fewer voting days/hours, voter ID, being forced to vote absentee and then not have those ballots counted, etc.) I report, you decide.

The damage done by not questioning these “mysterious” razor-thin victories after all the polls predicted a comfortable lead prior to Election Day is immense. Democrats scratch their head, wonder what they did wrong, and decide that what the people want is for them to incorporate more Republican ideas into their policies. Meanwhile, Republican spin-meisters get to go around claiming that the election was “so close” because voters are “evenly divided” and don’t necessarily support the policies of the Democratic Party. And, having gotten away with it once, by the next election they push the envelop just a little bit farther. And then farther. And then farther, until election results like Bush/Gore in 2000 become common-place.
 



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Filed in Election, Politics, Unconstitutional, voting November 11th, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • 2 comments | Add/View

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First Rice Now Hagel. Why? Because They’re Not Senators

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, January 7, 2013

RW hypocrisy on nominationsFirst, the claws came out for Susan Rice, and by all reports, tomorrow/Tuesday President Obama will nominate Chuck Hagel to be his next Secretary of Defense, and the GOP will go after him with as much venom as they directed towards Ambassador Rice over the mere possibility she might nominated Secretary of State. I personally don’t believe Rice was ever really in contention for the job, but feigned GOP outrage, blaming the UN ambassador for (of all things) failing to provide added security (???) which is not her job… for our embassy in Benghazi prior to an attack that left four dead, virtually guaranteed any nomination would be DOA. But the alternative nominee… Senator John Kerry is receiving vociferous praise from the GOP, for whom they promise would sail through the nomination process. Next up: former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, despite being a Republican that John McCain once called a “close and dear friend”, should the retired Republican senator be nominated, the GOP has already said they plan to oppose his nomination and do everything in their power to stop him from becoming Secretary of Defense. Why? Republicans are all over the map on this one, and I could cite several “stated” reasons, but personally, I believe it is because he’s not a currently sitting Democratic Senator. Just as with the possible nomination of Ambassador Rice, Republicans already have their knives out over the possible nomination of retired Senator Hagel. And I don’t think it is a coincidence. With Democrats clinging to only a five vote majority in the Senate, the GOP sees these cabinet appointments as a backdoor way to swing control of the Senate and nullify President Obama’s second term by opposing ANY nominee that’s not a currently serving Democratic senator.

Now, I don’t think even the GOP believes they can overturn five Democratic Senators to give them a GOP majority (and of course, the President isn’t dumb enough to pilfer enough Senators to swing control of the Senate). But the objective here is “obstruction”, not “control”, and the fewer Bluedog Conserva-Dems they have to convince into voting their way, the fewer Senators they need to swing “split-decisions”.

Another “reason” often cited for opposing Hagel as SecDef is his “(lack of) support for Israel” based on a few choice comments the Right-Wing Pro-Israel lobby has objected to. But John Kerry isn’t exactly the Pro-Isreal lobby’s dream come true either (Kerry… among other things… chose Rep. Keith Elison, a… gasp… Muslim!… to work with him on addressing criticism of Israel.) So why the opposition to Hagel but not Kerry?

Both DailyKOS and Rachel Maddow (ibid) asked the obvious question: “Why do Democratic presidents insist on nominating Republicans as Secretary of Defense, adding false credence that Republicans are better at National Security?” Bill Clinton’s second SoD was Republican William Cohen, President Obama initially retained Bush’s SoD Republican Robert Gates (a move I advocated for because Gates was an early critic of invading Iraq and turned things around as SecDef), and now Obama is considering another Republican SoD to replace retiring Democratic SoD Leon Panetta. KOS & Rachel asked the obvious question: “Why Republicans?” After all, Republican’s don’t appoint Democrats as SoD. But neither wondered why the GOP has run so hot & cold (no ”medium” setting) over potential nominees, in near hysterics over the mere possibility that Rice or Hagel might be nominated, but fawning all over John Kerry… a man they “Swiftboated” into the ground in 2004, yet they now embrace as the perfect choice to represent the United States abroad? Doesn’t that strike anyone else as odd?

With Senator Kerry of Massachusetts out of the way, the GOP can throw a ton of money into getting freshly defeated Scott Brown back into the Senate following a ”special election”. (Current Senate makeup: 55/45 Dem/GOP.) That’s a two-seat swing with just one nomination.

So that’s my theory. President Obama could nominate Karl Rove or Rush Limbaugh to serve in his cabinet, and the GOP would vehemently oppose them. It has nothing to do with the candidate’s competency or positions on the issues. It’s all about Power. Anyone that isn’t a currently sitting Senator has about as much chance of winning GOP support as I have of ending up on the next cover of The Weekly Standard.

(Postscript: I’m trying out different themes over the next few of weeks. You’ll be able to vote for your favorite next month. Let me know what you think in the Comments.)
 


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Filed in Election, fake scandals, Partisanship, Politics, Seems Obvious to Me January 7th, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • 3 comments | Add/View

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Fiscal Cliff Divers (or, We’re being held hostage by a bunch of childish morons)

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, December 10, 2012

We need to ID the people behind our elections, not the votersIt’s not that I hate being broke. In fact, I kind of enjoy many of the freedoms that come with not being a wage-slave. My needs are few, and I don’t live on Credit beyond my means. If I can’t afford something, I don’t buy it. Period. Not that I’m not smart enough to be rich. Because in recent days we’ve seen that it doesn’t appear to require a whole lot of brain-power to run a multimillion dollar corporation (actually, as we just saw in this last election, it’s quite easy to become filthy rich if you’re willing to be a soulless bastard with no qualms about profiting off other people’s misery, then think you can absolve yourself by donating generously to your filthy-rich church… which often turns around and uses that money to commit more acts of evil.) And such has been the case in recent months, with Conservative CEO’s of the eateries “Applebees” and “Papa John’s Pizza” threatening to cut Full-time workers down to Part-time because of “ObamaCare”. DailyKOS provided a decent explanation yesterday as to just why their fears are unfounded, but my qualms with these people aren’t just that they are “misinformed”. They’re downright stupid. Like any other Republican, they believe the Party-line because it plays into their own Right-wing beliefs, and if they bothered to so much as actually think their plans through, they might realize that not only are they terrified over nothing, but their reaction might actually cost them MORE money than they think they might lose. Let me explain…

John Schnatter, Founder of “Papa John’s” publicly stated before the election that if ObamaCare forces him to provide health insurance to all his employees, he’d have to “increase the price of pizza” to make up for his loses (and losing business because of it, resulting in the firing of workers). But pressed for an actual dollar figure, we weren’t talking about a large pizza going from $16 to $22, or even $17. No, by Schnatter’s OWN calculations, providing his employees with health insurance would add a paltry 10-14 cents per pizza. And when “Managed Care Matters” looked into it, they found even that paltry figure to be 2-3 times too high, calculating that it would only add a trivial 3.4 to 4.6 cents per pizza (or in more dramatic terms, a 0.4 to 0.7 percent increase in “Papa’s John’s” overall expenses.)

William Black, owner of some 40 Applebee’s franchises made similar claims, saying that if President Obama were reelected and ObamaCare were not repealed, he will need to fire workers, cut existing workers to part-time (so that they don’t qualify for coverage), and cancel plans to open new restaurants. “Olive Garden” and “Darden Restaurants” made similar claims.

For the sake of argument, let’s say there’s no wide-scale public backlash (there actually has been some [ibid last link], forcing Schnatter and Darden to walk back their statements) and these restaurants cut their employees hours to just 29 hours a week, but the number of customers walking through their doors stays the same. Now what? They are going to have to hire more part-time employees to fill those vacant hours (assuming they can find enough people willing to work part-time, rotation schedules with no benefits). Now you’ve increased your workforce by 25% so your salary obligations are the same as before (sans the paltry cost of health care). Success? Not so fast. First off, you don’t instantly find enough employees to replenish your workforce overnight. You’re going to have to keep those employees on full-time until you find someone to take over their slot (and pray another 50% of your workforce doesn’t up & quit after you’ve cut their hours). Then, as with all new employees, you’ve got to train them, which requires time and still more money. And if you’ve ever been served by a trainee, you know how frustrating it can be. Now you are losing customers, fed up with all the low-skill trainees they have to deal with. ObamaCare doesn’t take full effect for another year, so for the next 12 months, you’ve got unmotivated trainees coming to work sick because… let’s face it, if they are working part-time for minimum-wage, they can’t afford to take a day off. Nothing better than having sick employees handling your food. One good lawsuit, and that 4 cents per pizza you thought you were saving could end up costing you millions.

I‘ve mentioned here before, that I used to be a Republican until the dawn of the Internet and I was able to check out the things I was being told, and amazingly, nothing ever seemed to pan out. “Tax cuts on businesses do NOT create jobs” and the Clinton tax increase did NOT wreck the economy.

I recently noticed these are the same insane people dictating our policy that believe THEY could have taken down “the Batman shooter” in that Colorado movie theater last Summer armed with just their trusty handgun, THEY could of saved all those people… in a darkened theater, filling with teargas, people screaming, children crying, people running all over the place while a madman wearing body armor with the element of surprise on his side, fired his semi-automatic rifle into the crowd. THEY KNOW they would have had the presence of mind to calmly take the guy down without hitting any innocent bystanders or getting killed themselves, mistaken for an accomplice by the police or another armed idiot in the theater who only sees a muzzle-flash and decides to shoot in that direction.

Just who are these people? They’re…

…the “female body has a way to shut down rapists sperm” crowd.

…the “snow in January means Global Warming isn’t real” crowd.

…the “evolution is a lie straight from the pit of Hell” crowd.

…the tri-corner hat wearing “FEMA Camps” & “Death Panels” Tea Party crowd.

…the “Obama is a secret Muslim that attended Reverend Wright’s Christian church for 20 years” crowd.

…the “black people just want free stuff” crowd. The “lets put poor school kids to work as janitors” crowd.

…the “Michelle Obama’s fist bump might be a terrorist fist-jab” crowd.

…the “George Bush deserves more credit for getting bin Laden than Obama does” crowd.

THESE are the people dictating policy to the rest of us.

People like Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) that thinks nothing of using the “Debt Ceiling as leverage” to force President Obama to negotiate with the GOP. “Leverage”. Think about that for a moment, using the full faith & credit of the United States as a bargaining chip. If that doesn’t scare the Hell out of you, either you don’t understand its significance or you’ve got your own private island in the Galapagos. The last time the GOP did this, our credit rating was cut and it added several Billion to our Deficit (because we now had to pay higher interest rates to convince people to lend us money with a greater risk of not being paid back.)

When the GOP played chicken with the Debt Ceiling in 2011, talk circulated of President Obama possibly invoking the 14th Amendment and bypassing Congress altogether. Thank your lucky stars we held onto the Senate, because if the GOP controlled both Houses and tried that again, I can assure you President Obama would use that authority and it would be 1998 all over again as the GOP unquestionably would attempt to impeach President Obama for circumventing them. The Insane Clown Posse that is the GOP has no problem going to the absolute extremes with the slightest provocation. These were the children that threatened to tell Mom that you “stole all their Halloween candy” and threw a tantrum until you apologized and gave them half your candy when all you did was swap one gumdrop for a Raisinette.

We’re all being held hostage by a bunch of childish morons.
 



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Filed in Economy, Election, Healthcare, Jobs, Money, Politics, Taxes December 10th, 2012 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Just Because We Won Doesn’t Mean Millions Weren’t Disenfranchised. My “Voter Security Act.”

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, November 12, 2012

5 steps of voter suppressionDemocrats won big Tuesday. Not only did President Obama rake in 126 more Electoral Votes than Mitt Romney, but nearly 3-Million more of the “Popular Vote”. Many Republicans, in licking their wounds following Tuesday’s shellacking, point to one stat to make them feel better: “President Obama dropped 6 Million in the popular vote from 2008 to 2012″, thereby “proving sinking approval levels.” No, there are a number of more likely explanations for Obama’s decreased draw of the popular vote, and chief among them is all the borderline-criminal attempts at voter suppression we saw across the country in just the past two years. I’m quick to remind people that “just because we won the election doesn’t mean millions of voters weren’t disenfranchised.” We just won big enough that it didn’t matter.

First off, the numbers: In 2008, just over 129-million people voted (69.4M + 59.9M). In 2012, only 120-million people voted (61.9M + 58.6M). That’s a reduction of just under 9-million fewer voters overall. But Democrats weren’t the only ones to see their numbers drop. A decline of 7.5-million Democratic votes means a decline of 1.3-million GOP votes as well. Considering that voter suppression laws targeted the Democrats’ demographics most (poor, the infirm, minorities and the young), it’s no surprise that in the end fewer of them voted.

And even after state after state was ordered to halt their voter obstruction efforts… “Voter ID”, “reduction in Early Voting days”, and “extra long ballots” designed to slow down voting to create long lines designed to turn voters away (most notably hourly workers, the disabled and the elderly)… they still continued to post billboards, run TV & Print ads and “accidentally” failed to update their websites to tell people about the fact that those laws would not be in effect on Election Day. It’s no coincidence that Florida, which passed “Voter ID” and cut Early Voting days from 14 to just 8 was the last to finish voting with it’s results not being certified until four days after the election… and this is AFTER Florida’s results would have NO impact on the outcome of the election. Just imagine if it had! I GUARANTEE we STILL would not know the result today. This is completely unacceptable!
 

Billboards in poor black neighborhoods designed to scare off legal voters
Threatening billboards in poor black neighborhoods
 

Long lines in Miami
Long lines in Miami 2012
 

Long lines in Virginia
Long lines in Virginia 2012
 

Long lines in Ohio
Long lines in Ohio 2012
 

Long lines in Colorado
Long lines in Colorado 2012
 

Long lines in Detroit, Michigan
Long lines in Detroit 2012
 

Long lines in Wisconsin
Long lines in Wisconsin 2012

 (Note there were long lines in some safely Blue states as well: New York, Maryland, New Jersey, etc. But chalk that up mostly due to Hurricane Sandy.)

I personally believe that had it not of been for all the attempts at blatant voter suppression across the country, President Obama might have won an additional 2-3 million votes, bringing him closer to his 2008 Popular Vote totals. I like to tell people: “If the GOP’s ideas are so great, why do they feel the need to restrict voting? You only do that when you know your ideas are unpopular and can’t win any other way.”

The worst thing that we could do now is become complacent and think Voter Obstruction is not as big an issue as once thought. Not only could voter suppression tactics potentially swing an election in the future, but think about all the Republicans out there right now challenging the notion of whether or not President Obama actually won “a mandate” to pursue HIS policies over those of the GOP? (I’ll save the discussion over “how many votes equal a mandate” for another day.) Hey, “he only won by 3-million votes! That’s just 0.6% of the total vote!” Still think losing votes even when you win isn’t a big deal?

I think now is the perfect time to push for election reform. No longer facing reelection himself, with the next big election two full years away, there is no better time to push for it. Even President Obama in his victory speech Tuesday night pointed to the long lines on Election Day, saying, “Oh, by the way. We have to fix that!”, to which the crowd cheered.

So I propose “The Electronic Voting Security Act”. Due to our sheer size, electronic voting is here to stay. There’s just no way we can get rid of electronic voting and switch to pen & paper the way they do in Australia. But there is NO excuse for having Millions of people voting into “Black Boxes”… built by private corporations using “proprietary” software protected from scrutiny as “trade secrets”… that provide no confirmation whatsoever that your vote was tallied correctly. So here is my list of proposed features in “The Electronic Voting Security Act”:

  1. Every voting machine must produce a hard copy print out of your voting selections, which you may then review and drop into a sealed ballot box that can be called upon should a recount become necessary. This provides both the immediacy of the electronic result with the security of paper ballots. It would also make “electronic vote tampering” far less likely if people know the result can simply be verified in a hand recount. Should those results differ, there would be no question of election tampering and immediately trigger a criminal investigation. We would NEVER deposit our money into an ATM that doesn’t give us a receipt. Why on Earth should we entrust something even more valuable… our vote… to some “sealed black box”?
  2. “Open Source” election software ONLY – Private contractors may still bid to compete on who actually makes the machines, but the software that runs on those machines will be standardized “Open Source” code written by a non-partisan elections board (most likely the Treasury Dept) and released into the public-domain. This means ANYONE can then scrutinize the code for flaws, backdoors, or other vote-manipulation code, and bring forth a challenge if they believe it somehow favors one candidate/Party over another. No more proprietary “secret software” or suspicious last-minute patches or conflicts of interest casting doubt into the minds of voters as to whether or not their vote will be recorded correctly. “Touch screen voting machines” have long been the scourge of election-monitors everywhere, and Election Day video of a voting machine registering a vote for “Romney” when “Obama” was selected (but not “Obama” when the candidate below him was selected) didn’t help matters, and if I had my druthers, I’d ban them entirely. But I feel that once “printouts” are added to voting machines and voters can confirm their vote was recorded correctly, we should see a lot fewer of these calibration “accidents”.
  3. No more long lines. – A number should be calculated and agreed upon balancing the “number of machines per number of registered voters in each district.” I’m not entirely sure what that number should be… perhaps one machine and one Early Voting day for every 1,000 voters? Someone needs to come up with a standardized figure and require every county in every state to comply. If lines persist, more machines should be provided to the precinct free-of-charge until long lines are no longer a problem.
  4. Likewise, no one should have to travel more than 10-miles to get to a polling station. Voters should be allowed to ride public transportation for free to their polling place on election day the same way many are allowed to ride for free when called for Jury Duty in cities across the country. This would also be of great benefit to the elderly, many of whom no longer drive.
  5. And on that note, Make Election Day a national holiday. – preferably a paid holiday because poor voters can least afford to lose a day of work, but I know Republicans would totally balk at that idea. The simple fact of the matter is that making time to vote on a workday can be exceedingly difficult. If you vote early in the morning before work, there’s the chance you may be late to work that morning. If you vote in the evenings, you must make sure to get there before the polls close. Early voting helps, but then the burden of the cost of additional voting days falls upon the state. People should not be worried about squeezing “voting” into their schedule.
  6. Auto-registration upon receiving a Social Security #. – With all the ridiculous hype over the nonexistent threat of “non-citizens voting”, if would be much simpler if every person were automatically registered to vote upon receiving their Social Security number (which only citizens get). And to any Trolls or nitpickers that wish to point out how many people receive a SS# at birth and not eligible to vote for another 18 years… uh… we know their age when we give them the number, and will know if someone tries to use that number before they are eligible.
  7. Implementation of “Instant Runoff Voting” (IRV). – If you aren’t familiar with “IRV”, here’s a great video primer:
     

    Basically, when you vote in a race with more than two candidates, you pick your preferred candidate first followed by your second choice (and so on) simultaneously should that candidate fail to make it into the Top 2. (Note: the video makes one mistake at the 2:00 mark. In a race with three candidates, you would only get two choices, not three.) With the advent of electronic voting, such a system is now easier than ever. And the benefits? No more Spoilers. No more elections being won by candidates with less than 50% of the vote. No more “two Party only” system. No more voting for “the lesser of two evils”. No more concern over “throwing your vote away”. With IRV, you can vote for Third Party candidates without fear of “helping the Party you hate win”. You could have voted for Nader in 2000 even if you lived in a swing state without worry over whether you cost Al Gore the election. And Rick Perry couldn’t have won reelection as governor of Texas in 2006 with just 39% of the vote because the GOP helped fund two “Independent” candidates to split the anti-Perry vote three ways. Sound nice? It’s no dream. It’s “Instant Runoff Voting”. And we need it. Now.

If Republicans continue to insist on ridiculous “Voter photo ID” requirements that amount to an illegal “poll tax” (if not simply a means of making it more difficult for the less-mobile to vote), I propose biometrics… thumb print, retinal scanners, etc… at every polling place. No need to “obtain” an ID; You ARE the ID! Simply record every voter’s biometrics at the next election and then compare that print to the one on record in successive elections. Republicans may balk at the cost of adding such scanners, but they had no problem passing off the cost of obtaining a useless “Voter ID” onto the voters. If they REALLY believe “voter identification” is a serious problem worthy of the expense, let them put their money where their mouth is.

As you might imagine, Floridians are getting pretty freakin’ tired (as is the rest of the country) of being a laughing stock every four years, repeatedly taking days to produce an accurate (?) count of that states’ votes. And this year, after taking nearly four days to finally figure out who won the state, Florida residents are understandably demanding an overhaul of that states’ voting procedures. The entire event was one big partisan mess, as Governor Rick Scott first pushed through (unconstitutional) Voter ID laws, followed by cutting Early Voting from 14 days to just eight. And we saw Republican governors across the nation attempted to duplicate this “creative chaos” in their own states for partisan advantage. NO ONE should be able to play partisan political games with something so integral to our democracy as “voting”.
 



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Filed in Crime, Election, Politics, voting November 12th, 2012 by Admin Mugsy | • 2 comments | Add/View

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Brief Note: Obama Wins both Electoral AND Popular Votes

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Whew! My greatest fear tonight wasn’t that Mitt Romney might win, but that President Obama would lose the Popular Vote yet win the Electoral Vote, winning in a way that would lead the Right to dog his Presidency as “illegitimate” for the next four years. I’m pleased to announce that won’t be the case, with the president winning both by healthy margins (at this writing): Nearly 100 more Electoral votes and 300,000 nearly 3,000,000 more popular votes.

Howard Finemann of the Huffington Post made the most salient observation that “Romney wanted this election to be a referendum on Obama, and IT WAS, with him and his policies winning” (despite some very wealthy donors throwing hundreds of millions of dollars in negative ads at him).

President Obama won enough swing states to have won reelection in numerous ways, winning Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin, Iowa and Colorado. So any chance of a challenge on just one is rendered moot.

Another powerful observation came from MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, who pointed out that EVERY president, regardless of Party, that wins reelection following a deep recession, that President’s Party goes on to reap the benefits for another 20 years, as the recovery blossoms in their second term and they reap the rewards.

A great thought to carry with you this morning following a great night.

(NOTE: I will keep the “Reasons to NOT…” pages up for a few more days as a resource for people needing to explain to their Right-Wing friends why a Romney loss & Obama victory is a good thing.)
 

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Filed in Election, General, Politics November 7th, 2012 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Victory Matrix: Your Handy Swing State Guide to 270

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Tuesday, November 6, 2012

NBC's Last Swing State Map before Election DayUsing NBC Political Director Chuck Todd’s latest map of “safe” states (left) for each candidate showing only seven swing states remaining… Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin, Colorado, New Hampshire, Iowa, and Virginia… I stayed up late last night compiling this simple “Victory Matrix”, a brief table showing the swing states each candidate needs to reach the minimum 270 Electoral Votes necessary to win.

Assuming a starting point of 243 bankable EV’s for Obama and 206 EV’s for Romney, here are the fewest swing states each candidate needs to reach the 270 vote threshold:
 

Victory Matrix

 

As you can see, if President Obama wins Florida, it’s game over for Romney. The President can lose every other swing state and still break 270 with just Florida. So the Sunshine State is a “must win” for Romney.

Obama also has many more paths to victory. If he loses Florida, he still has EIGHT more paths to victory. In fact, he can lose both Florida AND Ohio and still has FOUR paths to victory. There is no absolute “must win” state for President Obama.

Governor Romney on the other hand has a much steeper hill to climb, with far fewer paths to victory with (as noted) Florida being a “must win” for him or it is all over. Mitt has just five paths to victory (sans an upset in a “safely blue” state not listed here), all of which require winning at least four swing states, with “Iowa” and NH being the states he least needs to still win. So if President Obama is the first to win four, likewise the race should technically be over.

Three of Romney’s five paths require winning Ohio, while four require winning Virgina. So if he loses one, he MUST win the other to stay alive. Based on the latest polls, Romney has a much better chance of winning Virgina than Ohio (though he trails in both), so while everyone else will be watching Ohio, I will be watching Virgina. Romney has but one path to victory if he loses Virgina, so if Obama wins that, I predict the race to be over rather early.

You can use this table like a scorecard. Let’s just hope the race isn’t close enough to steal, with no surprises, and we’re all in bed by a decent hour.
 

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Filed in Election, Politics, voting November 6th, 2012 by Admin Mugsy | • 2 comments | Add/View

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Closing Arguments: Some thoughts on Romney

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, November 5, 2012

The GOP's idea of NegotiatingOver the past 18 months (since the first Republican debate in May of last year… yes, it has been that long), two things have always been clear: one, Mitt Romney would be the GOP nominee and two, Republicans hate him. This will be the first “post Citizens United” presidential race. And because of that, not only was this the first presidential campaign to cost over a Billion dollars, but BOTH candidates will have spent more than a Billion dollars EACH to win this race. Republicans had to spend like Ronald Reagan after finding Joe Stalin under his bed just to keep this race close, working overtime to convince Republicans to vote for a polished turd like Mitt Romney. Oh sure, they all now claim that they actually LIKE the former pro-choice, health-insurance mandating, French-speaking equivocator from “Taxachusetts”, and insist they are actually voting FOR him rather than just “against Obama”, but their sudden love for Romney rings about as hollow as the guy in Orwell’s “1984″, pitifully joyous over how great it is that they are having pudding for the eighteenth day in a row (sorry, I could find no clip). Romney is Double-plus-good. Over these last few weeks, I’ve made a few observations about the Romney campaign that I think deserve one last review before what is sure to be a VERY long election night.

Hurricane Sandy (IMHO) did almost as much damage to the Romney campaign as it did to the East Coast (no, I’m am NOT belittling the lives lost). While President Obama was (without even trying) showcasing the need & value of an effective government that comes to the rescue of its people in a crisis when no one else can, Governor Romney was a living example of just how inept and inadequate Corporate America is in an emergency. I wrote about this on “Crooks & Liars” at the time. If this race is a battle of ideologies… “Corporate America” vs “Big Government”… and you’re already on the record as advocating the privatization of FEMA, what better opportunity to PROVE your solutions are better than to put them in action during a natural disaster that (conveniently) strikes just days before the election? Think of it as a contest: “Which ideology can provide more relief, faster and more efficiently for less money?” Obama & FEMA vs Romney & Corporate America? The Governor could have responded to the disaster by trying to organize major corporations into donating: money, food & water, resources and heavy machinery, going out to devastated areas, rescue a few thousand people and provided electricity to a few million homes. Is that too much to ask? And all it would of cost them is a paltry $20-Billion dollars or so (assuming the race between Romney & FEMA were neck & neck) C’mon! Let’s see who’s REALLY better in an emergency!

But of course, Romney didn’t do that (assuming he even thought of it, which I can assure you he didn’t) because some problems are so big that only something the size of the Federal Government is big enough to take it on. Do you think that if such an option (a corporate rescue following a natural disaster) were even REMOTELY possible, Romney’s first instinct wouldn’t of been to hold a ”donation drive”? That’s how my mother responds to a disaster, not an entire government. Hell, the Romney Campaign didn’t even consider DISTRIBUTING those donations themselves. They were going to dump the entire load off on the Red Cross. One can’t help but think that under a Romney Administration, Republicans might try to do something stupid like “privatize FEMA” when all is calm, only to suddenly realize how much we actually need FEMA come the first disaster? Republicans never consider the consequences of their policies. That’s how you end up in Iraq & Afghanistan with no exit strategy.

This past week, desperate to diffuse the bi-partisan praise of President Obama and his handling of Hurricane Sandy, most notably from Romney’s own keynote speaker Chris Christie, Romney himself has started telling crowds of how HE will do a better job of “working across the aisle”… unlike President Obama who couldn’t convince Republicans to work with him on ANYTHING. Yes, President Obama kept seeking Republican support for his programs, and they instead fought him tooth & nail. What a loser. If you want a guy that knows how to work with the opposing party, you need a president that vetoed 844 bills as governor passed by an “85% ‘Democrat’ Congress” in just four years (MA’s legislature is only in session 150 days a year, so that’s more than one veto a day), who has vowed on “Day One” to undo every piece of legislation they passed under the previous administration and push through every Tea Party wet dream for the next four years. And by all means, keep using the noun “Democrat” as an adjective/pejorative. Democrats just love that.

Republicans are still trying to convince you there’s “an enthusiasm gap” among voters. Yep, but it ain’t on our side.

Last Friday saw the release of the latest Jobs numbers from the Department of Labor. The very good report was a decidedly mixed message, showing 171,000 new jobs were added in October, but coupled with last month’s drop in the Unemployment Rate to 7.8%, about 100,000 of the long-term unemployed rejoined the job-hunt, pushing the UE Rate UP by 1/10th of a point. The President touted the number of jobs created, while the Romney campaign was once again able to claim “unemployment is higher now than when Obama took office”… a debatable claim since UE was indeed 7.8% in JANUARY… Bush’s last month in office with Obama taking over on the 20th. But UE was already 8.3% by February and continued to rise like a bat out of Hell to 10.0% by October. That’s how bad things were when President Obama took over, and unemployment has not been as high since. Pointing to how “low” the unemployment rate was the day Bush left office and then blaming Obama for everything afterwards is like pointing out what “great condition” a house is the moment it catches fire and then blaming the firemen for how it looks 4 hours later.

Another thought crossed my mind in recent weeks: Ever notice how Republicans always stop at “FDR” when saying “Obama is the worst” on something? “No president has won re-election with unemployment this high since FDR.” “The highest spending as a percentage of GDP since FDR.” Ever notice that? Why always since FDR? What happened when FDR was president? Oh yeah, the economy collapsed and the nation found itself fighting two wars simultaneously. NOTHING like President Obama had to face. Maybe President Obama’s Debt & Unemployment haven’t been seen since FDR because we haven’t seen this level of crisis since FDR? Republicans pointing out that we haven’t seen such numbers since FDR is an implicit admission that things have not been THIS BAD since FDR.

Nearly two months after the Embassy attack in Benghazi, Libya, Fox “news” is still hyping a supposed “Intelligence failure” that led to American deaths on “September 11th”, accusing the president of demonstrating a lack of concern for those who had been killed, and even sitting and doing nothing while the attack was being carried out. The irony is palpable. But as we learned last week, the CIA responded to the attack within 25 minutes, while at the same time, Governor Romney was racing to the cameras to accuse the Obama Administration (and unwittingly, the embassy itself) of “sympathizing with the attackers” WHILE the attack was still underway.

Romney also took some heat last week for falsely claiming Chrysler might be shutting down “ALL” of its American factories and moving to China. Clearly desperate to make President Obama look worse for Detroit than his own suggestion of letting them go bankrupt, Romney seized on a report by a Conservative blogger that misinterpreted a Bloomberg News report of Chrysler opening additional factories in China to make cars for sale in China as suggesting the company was “shutting down factories in the U.S. and moving the jobs to China.” So not only did the blogger get the story wrong, but Romney embellished on it even further, falsely claiming Chrysler might be moving ALL production to China. When caught in the lie, rather than admit his mistake, Romney doubled-down, running carefully worded radio and TV ads saying Chrysler was going to “build cars in China”… which is true, but not at the cost of American jobs and not because business is bad for Chrysler. So unless you have a problem with selling cars to the Chinese, what is the point of the commercials?

(And, I might add, that total inability to admit you’re wrong… that’s how “shame on me” becomes “can’t get fooled again.”)

It deserves pointing out that just last June the Romney campaign defended “Offshoring” when Romney was criticized for “outsourcing” jobs to China while at Bain Capital. Romney adviser Andrea Saul quipped back that there is a difference between “outsourcing” and “offshoring… work done overseas to support U.S. exports“. So unless Mitt had a sudden epiphany that doing business overseas is a ”bad” thing, he is once again flip-flopping on something he took a stand on not five months ago, for crass political gain.

With less than 48 hours to go as of this writing, Obama leads Romney in EVERY Ohio poll (sans… of course, Rasmussen that shows them merely tied)… a must-win state for Romney (actually there are one or two skin-of-his-teeth paths to victory for Romney w/o winning Ohio, but they both require winning five of eight swing states… not a single one in which he currently leads. Romney has NEVER led in Ohio. If Ohio goes Red Tuesday night, there will be a LOT of people (myself included) suspecting something hinky on election night.

There are FAR more paths to victory for Obama. While Romney has to virtually run the table and pick up almost every swing state just to reach 270, President Obama can lose Nevada, Colorado, Wisconsin, Ohio, Virgina, Vermont AND North Carolina (seven of eight swing states), and STILL reach 272 Electoral Votes by simply winning Florida (along with all other states he currently leads in):
 

272 with JUST Florida

 

Likewise, he can swap Florida for Ohio and Virgina and still reach 274 EV’s:
 

274 without Florida

 

While everyone will be watching Ohio Tuesday night, I’ll be watching Virginia, which is a much closer race than Ohio and has a longer history of going red. If Romney loses Ohio… which looks very likely right now, he can’t win without Virgina. If he loses Virgina, he can’t with without Ohio.

So that’s Mitt. A former Republican governor with daddy issues (his father’s “brainwashed” remark that tanked his nomination “affected Mitt deeply” according the the PBS documentary: “The Choice 2012″) that can’t admit mistakes, believes tax cuts are the solution to every problem, is saber-rattling the threat of war in the Middle-East, and is now running as “a uniter, not a divider.” What could possibly go wrong?

And what in the heck is this? Keep calm?
 

Keep calm?
(click for full image)

Think maybe they’re a little worried over there at Romney headquarters?
 



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Filed in Economy, Election, General, Jobs, Money, Politics, Predictions, Rants, Taxes, voting November 5th, 2012 by Admin Mugsy | • 1 comment | Add/View

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Many Polls Say Romney Close or Leading, But Don’t You Believe It.

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, October 29, 2012

Mask sales accurate election predictorA recent Gallup Poll of “Likely Voters” taken after the FIRST debate showed a bounce for Governor Romney to give him a 2-Point Lead over President Obama. That’s to be expected. But after the SECOND debate, despite almost universal agreement that Obama won the second debate… a debate in which Romney was humiliated on the national stage over “when” exactly the president called the Benghazi attack “an act of terror”, showed total disrespect of both the moderator and The President, and his odd “binders full of women” remark where he never did get around to endorsing “pay equity for women”… President Obama enjoyed a strong rebound in the polls. Couple this with the drop in unemployment below 8-percent the week before, and many felt the president recovered everything he lost after the first debate. So the supposed CONTINUED gains by Governor Romney after the second & third debates among “likely voters” (by as much as a stunning SEVEN percent in one poll) is beyond logic. Fortunately, my faith in the American people was tempered slightly with Romney’s “bounce” now petering out in the waning days of the election. Despite this, Romney surrogates were all over the airwaves this weekend to ensure you that the “Romney comeback” is real and that the momentum in this election is his. But don’t you believe it. Most polls now show President Obama still leads among likely voters (49% to 46%), and Obama has never trailed in Ohio. But there are a number of other… let’s call them “factors”… to suggest the momentum still rides with Obama (some serious, others just curious coincidences):

1) Cellphones & “Caller ID” skewing polling:

Many polls still under-sample or otherwise avoid cellphone users, and a LOT of people use “Caller ID” to avoid pollsters. The older the voter, the less likely they are to use “Caller ID”. It’s no surprise that people with “Caller ID”… either in-home units and/or on their cell phones, will simply just not answer their phone when they see it’s a pollster bugging them for the 30th time that week to see if they’ve changed their vote since yesterday. It should also come as no surprise that the majority of these voters are young, who skew heavily for Obama, while voters that tend to shy away from such technology are typically older (Romney’s demographic). So when some polls show a “dead-heat” or even a Romney lead, be aware that they are hearing from a disproportionate number of older voters without “Caller ID” that also tend to vote Republican.

Pollster Gallup says they have upped the number of “cellphones” they poll to 50%, and Obama’s lead is stronger in polls that include cellphones. Republicans are already claiming the polls are “skewed towards Obama” because when they ask people if they are a ”Republican” or “Democrat”, more people say they are Democrats, therefore, Republicans claim this as evidence of “bias”, that polling companies are “unfairly polling more Democrats” (uh, guys? Just because more people call themselves Democrats, doesn’t mean pollsters are actively seeking them out). But I’d argue that simply sampling more cellphone users doesn’t give you an accurate picture of the voting public as a whole. Do cellphone users make up 50% the voting populace? If half your sample is cellphone users and half your sample is “land-line, no Caller ID” users, I’d argue your sample is unevenly weighted in Romney’s favor. That would be like walking into a women’s dress shop and polling on the popularity of mustache combs. If you manage to leave with your genitals intact, the responses you receive are probably not going to accurately reflect the popularity of “mustache combs” in general. Increasing the number of women you poll in that same environment isn’t going to do much good.

(UPDATE: MotherJones Magazine this week reports: “Pollster: Undercounted Cellphone Users Hide Obama’s Lead”.)

2) Early Voting is heavily in Obama’s favor

As Reuters pointed out Friday, President Obama leads Governor Romney 54% to 39% among early-voters. This is important for several reasons: First, it lays waste to the Republican claims of an “enthusiasm gap” that voters just aren’t excited about voting for Obama, while enthusiasm for Romney is supposedly growing. Second, if potential Romney voters are still debating whether or not to actually support him this late in the game, or are just not yet ready to check that box for him even in light of the very real possibility that the polls may be closed (or they otherwise can’t get to them) on Election Day because of Hurricane Sandy, then the fact that Early Votes weigh heavily in Obama’s favor matters a great deal.

Some lighter fare: 3) Halloween Mask Sales

Halloween mask sales has been an unusually good predictor of presidential elections. Think about it. Who wants to dress up as somebody no one likes for Halloween? People with enough enthusiasm to lay out $30-$50 for a custom rubber mask typically won’t waste their money buying the mask of the guy they don’t like. And this year, Obama masks are outselling Romney masks. BuyCostumes.com brags it has accurately predicted the winner of every presidential election since 2000, and this year, Obama/Biden mask sales lead Romney/Ryan mask sales by 4-percent.

Consider that for what it’s worth. Maybe nothing, but a fun fact none-the-less.

I might also point out that according to a few costumers, there was a run on BigBird masks following the second debate. Wanna bet people are making fun of Romney with those masks? I’d be comfortable putting “Big Bird mask buyers” in the Obama column as well.

Some other “not-so-serious” yet surprisingly good presidential predictors:

The GOP has alienated just about every minority group there is. Obama leads big among women, African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, The Poor, Gay-Americans, and the youth vote. The only group Romney leads big in is “White Men”. Amazingly, the “Kill Medicare” Team has the edge when it comes to seniors. And just as astonishing, the same “get-rid of Planned Parenthood, and make The Pill Unconstitutional” ticket is closing the gap among women… supposedly. Does that make sense to you? Of course not. It defies logic. So don’t you believe it.

Question: In what world does a candidate with this kind of Baggage seem likely to win:

And seriously, when did the GOP become our Fallback position? How does a Party screw up THAT bad, openly announce that their “#1 priority” is to obstruct every thing the President does for the next four years, and when Democrats don’t fix the Republicans’ mess “fast enough”, people are racing to REWARD that obstruction and put the Party that created this mess back in power just four short years later? Sorry, I refuse to believe this country is so easily duped (or has the memory of a goldfish).

Two weeks before the election, the Romney campaign is STILL sending Ryan to red states for fundraising less than two weeks before the election? You don’t do that when you’re winning.

And what about this? The Romney Campaign doctored a photo (badly) of a Nevada campaign event last week to make the crowd look twice as large as it actually was. You don’t do that when you’re winning either.
 

Romney Nevada event

Photoshopping of Romney Nevada event
Click to enlarge


 

The fact that some people are arguing “what is the role of government” as the basis for how they’ll vote this November, THAT’S A WIN! Why? Because we’re not talking about “war” or “losing 800,000 jobs a month”. If your focus this election is on esoteric things like “the proper role of government”, then the president is doing a damn good job. Remember, the last guy failed to prevent the most devastating terrorist attack in American history, quadrupled the price of oil, tripled the price of gas, launched America’s first unprovoked war against what turned out to be an unarmed country in a war based on lies, and crashed the global economy.

So when you hear all the pundits citing polls claiming this race is “neck & neck”, or Conservative pundits predicting a “huge” win for Mitt Romney, don’t you believe it. There’s not an ounce of evidence to support it… not even anecdotal.

PS: Just to let everyone know, I was recently tapped to be the newest contributing editor for “Crooks & Liars”. Despite this, Mugsy’s Rap Sheet will remain my primary focus, providing me with more editorial freedom and the ability to go into issues in much greater detail than I ever could under C&L’s rapid-fire high-turnover format. But I do encourage you to drop by C&L frequently for breaking updates. Look for posts “by Mugsy”, that’s me.



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Filed in Election, myth busting, Politics, Predictions, Seems Obvious to Me October 29th, 2012 by Admin Mugsy | • 3 comments | Add/View

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Why Would Anyone Vote for Someone With This Record (Romney)?

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, October 22, 2012

Truth in advertisingThis past week, I’ve listened incredulously to reports that President Obama’s lead over Governor Mitt Romney has continued to shrink following Romney’s impressive first debate performance despite his embarrassing second debate humiliation and VP Biden also being seen as “the winner” in his debate performance. Team Romney is 1-for-3 (and likely 1-for-4 tonight), and “fact checkers” have not been kind to Romney’s debate claims, yet we are to believe that none of this matters because… well, basically, because no matter what you believe, the governor has agreed with you at some point. But when you go down the list issue-by-issue, I find it unimaginable that this country would even consider putting these people back in control. But then again, I felt the same way leading up to the 2010 midterm elections. That prompted me the day before Election Day to openly wonder: When did “Republican” become this nations fall-back position? It seemed to me (and still does) that this country is WAY quicker to give Republicans’ the benefit of the doubt, and incredibly impatient with Democrats when they don’t fix the Republican’s mess fast enough, ready to go back to their “default” setting of Republicans in charge because they are really good at making themselves sound like they know what in the heck they are doing. But let’s look at that list issue-by-issue:

1) Fiscal Responsibility:

It has reached the point of “common knowledge” that “Republicans are the fiscally responsible ones” DESPITE the fact that TEN POINT THREE TRILLION of our $11.9 Trillion National Debt before Obama took office was run up by just three presidents: Reagan, Bush-41 & Bush-43. And Bush-43 took a projected $250-Billion dollar SURPLUS left to him by DEMOCRAT Bill Clinton, and stuck his successor, Barack Obama, with a $1.2-Trillion dollar annual DEFICIT. Hamstrung with the most astronomical deficit any president has ever left another administration, Obama’s presidency was hobbled from the day he took office by Trillion dollar annual deficits that HE DIDN’T CREATE. In fact, the Deficit will actually be LOWER next year (PDF) than it was when President Obama took office. Only two presidents have CUT SPENDING AND REDUCED THE DEFICIT in past 40 years: Bill Clinton and Barack Obama… both DEMOCRATS. So someone PLEASE explain to me where this myth of “Republican fiscal responsibility” comes from? Republicans LOVE to talk about the deficit, but only when DEMOCRATS are in charge.
 

Only Democrats cut spending

Imagine for a moment that a co-worker asked you to meet him for lunch at some fancy restaurant. He arrives an hour early, orders a steak and drinks a bottle of expensive wine, but when you arrive, all you see him with is a salad and a glass of water. Getting up to leave just as you arrive, he tells you, “Sorry, but I’ve been called away on an emergency”, and you generously offer to pay his bill, only to find out after he’s gone that he hosed you. You didn’t order so much as a slice of bread, but YOU are the one stuck with the huge bill. Meanwhile, you’re starving and can barely afford to buy yourself lunch. Worse, his buddies at the office all blame YOU for draining the expense account and try to get you fired. Republicans blaming president Obama for the size of the National Debt today is a lot like that. And how many years do you think it would take before you stopped criticizing the guy that hosed you?

2) National Security

Somehow, Republicans have an entirely undeserved record as being strong on “National Security” despite having a terrible track record (especially recently) when it comes to actually winning wars:

Wars since 1900 (only wars that have ended are shown in color):

Governor Romney OPPOSED pulling our troops out of Iraq, criticized our intervention in Libya to depose Qadaffy, and is already saber-rattling about using military force in Syria and Iran. And just like his Republican predecessor, wants to do it all on the Federal Credit Card while giving enormous fiscally irresponsible tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans. Republicans are BIG on increasing defense spending… even when the military doesn’t want it… because it makes them sound tough on national security (even though General Mike Mullen told President Bush that the National Debt is probably the greatest threat to our national security.

And as you already know, the latest batch of Neocons pimping all this war talk are notoriously short on military credentials. “In the Land of the Blind, the one eyed man is king”, and so was President Bush who (questionably) “served” stateside in the National Guard during Vietnam, placing him head and shoulders above the likes of “five deferments” Cheney and now Mitt ”went to talk French people out of drinking wine during Vietnam” Romney (the fact Romney actually protested IN SUPPORT of the Vietnam War makes it all the more sickening.)

3) Pro-Life, anti-abortion

I’ve often said, “You can’t be Pro-War, Pro-Gun and Pro-Death Penalty and still call yourself Pro-Life.” The fact is, three things reduce abortion rates more than anything else: a strong economy (so parents can support their children), access to affordable health care (especially prenatal care), and the availability of birth control. As you read here on M.R.S. last week, Passing Laws does NOT curb abortion“.

Under President Obama… with absolutely no help from Republicans, the economy is improving, everyone will have medical coverage under “ObamaCare”, and insurance plans MUST provide contraception coverage. The GOP has vowed to do away with the second two, and their “plan” to grow the economy is Bush-onomics on Steroids, continuing to believe despite ALL evidence to the contrary that if we just cut tax-rates… not just “a little more”, but by a staggering 20%… that’ll magically create jobs and balance the budget.

If you’re “Pro-Life” and want to reduce the number of abortions, simply passing a law doesn’t do it. All it does is drive the problem underground. If simply passing laws stopped things from happening, there would be no murders, no crime and no drugs. Look around. Do we still have murder, theft and drugs? Thinking you can stop abortion simply by passing laws prohibiting them should earn you some time in a rubber room somewhere.

If you want to bring down abortion rates, the LAST thing you should be calling for is to repeal “ObamaCare”, object to contraception coverage, and make The Pill illegal (and yes, that’s EXACTLY what Romney’s support for a ”Personhood Amendment” would do.)

4) Bain Capital didn’t “create jobs”, it DESTROYED them

This to me is insane. The idea that Mitt Romney knows anything about “creating jobs” because of his experience at Bain Capital is absurd. The business that Romney ran was a “venture capital” firm (which I’ve had plenty of experience with). They don’t RUN businesses. Early on, they gave out business loans to companies that someone else ran (Venture capitalists do typically sit on the Board and approve/reject decisions, but rarely MAKE those decisions unilaterally. So their record as a ”job creator” based on that is weak at best.

But soon, making money by giving out loans was deemed “too slow” (by Romney?), leading them to acts of (as Rick Perry called it) “Vulture Capitalism”, where they bought up successful yet cash-strapped companies, bled them for all they were worth, fired all the employees, and then sold off the empty husk, reaping huge profits.

Is THAT the kind of “business experience” you believe “creates jobs” and would be good for this country?

Meanwhile, our current president (and again I point this out because it can’t be said often enough), with NO help from the GOP, reversed a loss of 750,000 jobs a month to where we’ve actually been GAINING jobs each month (not as many as we’d like, but tell that to the Republicans who filibustered “The Jobs Act” or “The Veterans Jobs Bill”), with over 5-Million jobs created since taking office (more than twice the net number of jobs Bush created in eight).

And finally…

5) “No Core”

I still find it astounding that in 2004, Republicans savaged Presidential nominee John Kerry for ONE inartfully stated fact: a reporter asked him to explain his vote opposing supplemental funding for the Iraq War. This led to the famed “I was FOR it before I was against it” remark. What the Senator was referring to there was voting in favor of the funding when it was to be paid for by repealing the Bush Tax Cuts for the very wealthy, but then voted against the bill when that provision was stripped out by the GOP. And for that one poorly worded response, Kerry was branded a ”flip-flopper” by the Right like it were The Mark of Cain. Bush supporters showed up at rallies waving flip flops (the sandals), and the GOP ran TV ads of him engaging in the pretentious sport of “wind surfing” and saying his positions shift “as the wind blows”.

Flash forward just eight short years, and the GOP has nominated a man that a member of his own Party called “a perfectly lubricated [political] weather vane” in a TV ad depicting just a few of Romney’s flip-flops:
 

Jon Huntsman’s “Perfectly Lubricated Weather Vane” TV ad

 

Romney’s flip flopping has become legendary, clearly telling people whatever he thinks they want to hear at that particular time, and when caught, insists he has not changed positions. Probably the best example of this was when he ran for Senator in 1994, he gave an impassioned defense of how he was “pro-choice” as the result of a family tragedy regarding an illegal cross-border abortion in Mexico (his sister-in-law died), and because of that, would never change his position. He repeated that claim as he ran for governor of Massachusetts in 2002. No change, no way, no how. And when Mitt Romney gives you his word on something, you can take it to the bank.

One guy, John Kerry, was a wind-surfing elitist “flip flopper” on a single issue that Republicans used to paint him as out-of-touch and untrustworthy. The other, someone whose dancing “dressage horse” was entered into the Olympics, as he himself sets an Olympic record for “flip flopping” that would put Gabrielle Douglas to shame.

Mitt Romney has no core. He’s whatever you need him to be at that particular moment as a matter of political expediency. His own campaign director compared this philosophy to “an Etch-a-Sketch”. We got a real good look at this in action during the first presidential debate, where Romney basically “won” by abandoning just about every principle he’d ever had and repeatedly lied about his own position on various issues: from birth-control to the size of his tax plan. If the hypocrisy wasn’t bad enough to make Republicans question everything they believe, it should (at the very least) make you question your vote.
 

PS: And for those still asking, “Okay, you’ve given me plenty of reasons not to vote for Romney, but why should I vote FOR Obama?”
 

Obama lists many of his first-term accomplishments.

 



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Filed in Economy, Election, Energy Independence, Environment, Guns & Violence, Healthcare, Jobs, Middle East, Money, myth busting, Politics, Taxes, War October 22nd, 2012 by Admin Mugsy | • 2 comments | Add/View

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Guest Op/Ed: Does passing laws stop abortion?

By discontinued_user - Last updated: Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Special guest-commentary today by user “Tom J.” I met Tom during an OFA Viewing Party of President Obama’s big convention speech last August, where he posed some interesting questions about life in countries with strict anti-abortion laws vs those that keep abortion legal & freely available. Impressed, I asked him to share those thoughts with you today.

Several years ago I invited a public school colleague that I worked with to join the teachers’ union. Very unexpectedly he went off into a passionate discourse about “dead babies.” I didn’t get the connection at first until I later figured out that he associates the Union with Democrats and Democrats with abortion. His reaction was so emotional that I decided to investigate this issue. I have never lived abroad. I did read Jimmy Carter’s book “Our Endangered Values” which prompted the conclusions below, I have also included links to the World Health Organization website with the statistics cited.

Conservatives claim that life begins at the moment of conception and should not be taken once a woman is pregnant. OK, but what is their solution to stop it? All they have ever offered is to make it illegal. Will doing that stop abortions from happening? There is no correlation at all between illegality and abortion rates (PDF).

Let’s look at some other countries where this is being tried. In most South American countries abortion is completely and totally illegal and yet women still seek them out and obtain them illegally at the rate of 32 per thousand child-bearing aged women. The baby is still dead whether abortion is legal or not.

Now stop and examine countries like Belgium and the Netherlands. There abortion is legal under many circumstances and yet women seek out and obtain them only at the rate of just 7 per thousand even though it is legal. Quite a difference. What is happening? Well in those two countries and others like them they have universal health care and comprehensive sex education for young people. Turns out this is what stops abortion, not passing laws.

So, to those people who claim that the sanctity of human life is all important, I say this: If you really care about those unborn babies like you say you do, and this is not really about controlling women, then you have no choice but to support the political party that is promoting universal health care and comprehensive sex education for young people because that and only that is what has been proven to drastically curb abortion. Passing Laws doesn’t stop it!

Source: Our Endangered Values by Jimmy Carter (page 74 hard cover edition).
 

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Filed in Abortion rights, Election, Guest Blogger, Healthcare, myth busting, Politics, Religion October 16th, 2012 by discontinued_user | • No comments | Add/View