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Why a Shutdown? Here is what it would be like if Trump got everything he wanted
Jan 22nd, 2018 by Admin Mugsy

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“The only reason the government is shutdown today is because Trump made dozens of ridiculous promises that were impossible to keep.” – overheard in Congress.

A shutdown falls on the President’s lack of leadership. He can’t even control his party and get people together in a room. A shutdown means the President is weak.” – Donald Trump in 2013 during the last government shutdown.

Donald Trump made a LOT of unkeepable promises to his angry low-information devotees during the 2016 campaign, chief among them, his ridiculous promise not just to Wall-off the entire United States Southern border with Mexico, but that he would (“easily”) get Mexico to pay for it so it would not cost the American taxpayers one thin dime. He was also one of the few Republican candidates who felt is WAS indeed possible to round-up & deport over ten million undocumented Mexican immigrants. But then, once in the Oval Office, things got complicated.

While Trump never put his plan on paper, I’m quite sure in his simplistic child mind, he thought “all we need to do it block all Mexican goods from entering the United States” and they would then BEG to meet any insane demand Trump was making… including paying for his ludicrous 2,000 mile long border wall (I’m sure he pictured razor-wire across the top and guard towers every 1,000 yards, too.)

Then reality sunk in. That would also mean no Mexican/South American farm-produce crossing the border, and no immigrant farm workers, meaning food prices in the U.S. would skyrocket (not a big deal for a wealthy man like Trump, but a much bigger deal for his lower-middle class base. Add to that, WE trade with Mexico too! They would block all American goods from flowing South (including American crude/gasoline.) American plants in Mexico looking to ship their products back to the U.S.? They could stop that too. His corporate backers would NOT be happy with THAT.

So “Mexico isn’t going to pay for any F—-ing wall” as former Mexican President Vicente’ Fox put it. They aren’t powerless to stop it the way Trump imagined, and the only one “begging” right now is Trump… begging Democrats and the American taxpayers to furnish the first $20 Billion just to start building his moronic wall while he figures out a way to get Mexico to pay for it… which he never will.

Reality bites.

And you know how it is once America starts paying for some ridiculously expensive project? They convince Congress that we must continue to fund the project just “so all the money spent so far doesn’t go to waste” and “it wasn’t all for nothing” (that’s partly why it took so long to end the war in Iraq… regardless of how many “advisors” have been sent back since.)

In addition, I’m still quite astonished that no one ever seems to bring up the “unfeasibility” of building a wall across the entire Southern border: “Where would you PUT it?” You can’t build it on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande because that is THEIR land (as is half that river.) Do we build it on OUR side of the Rio Grand and forfeit the entire river to Mexico? Do we build the wall right down the middle of the river (rendering it unusable?) Less than half of all immigrants here illegally came across the border on foot. Most came here on worker/student/tourist visas and simply never went home. An enormous wall would have done nothing to stop those people from getting in. Walls don’t stop airplanes.

They also don’t stop tunnels. Our Southern border looks like Swiss cheese deep underground with tunnels dug to smuggle both drugs and immigrants into the country. You can’t bury a wall deep enough to stop someone from tunneling beneath it.

But Trump promised his base, so now he’s stuck. Democrats actually said they’d agree to funding that first $20 Billion IN EXCHANGE for Trump renewing the #DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program and not turning the “Dreamers” into hunted animals. And according to Senate Minority Leader Schumer, Trump actually agreed to that deal. Then he walked out of the room. About two hours later, members of Trump’s racist (I call ’em as I see ’em) Party got to him and convinced him it was a terrible deal (Reverend Al Sharpton on PoliticsNation yesterday said Schumer’s mistake was leaving Trump alone because “he always agrees with the last person he talks to.”) But not only did Trump back out of the deal, he couldn’t help but poison the well, tweeting: “The Dems just want illegal immigrants to pour into our nation unchecked. If stalemate continues, Republicans should go to 51% (Nuclear Option) and vote on real, long term budget, no C.R.’s!” accusing Democrats of siding with illegal immigrants over the American People. Republicans had to change the rules to get Gorsuch appointed to the Supreme Court, now Trump wants them to do it again… because the only way The Great Deal-Maker can get anything done is by One-Party rule.
 

Trump the Deal-Maker (:32)

Some Republicans truly believe tens of thousands of children… even infants… should have refused to allow their parents to bring them to this country. “If they are here illegally, they are criminals and must go back” they say. And of course, their “illegal” parents would have to be deported too. But many of these “Dreamers” are adults now with families… children… of their own. American Citizens born in this country. So you deport Mom and/or Dad and leave the kids here? Do we start deporting American Citizens in order to keep families together? I have NO doubt plenty of Trump’s followers fully support that idea. “Send them home. Send them ALL home… back to Africa… er, I mean Mexico!”

Unless the Trumptonions want to repeal the 14th Amendment that declares anyone born here a U.S. citizen… a move that would never get past Congress let alone be ratified by 33 states… the U.S. is just NOT going to start deporting American Citizens just because their parents were brought here illegally when they were just children themselves (but if they DO repeal the 14th, might I suggest they make it retroactive and deport Trump, born to an Irish immigrant mother who was not yet a citizen at the time?)

And once again, reality much teach Toddler Trump another lesson. Oh, but there’s more dear reader!

Most of these undocumented workers are TAXPAYERS. While many pay federal income taxes (particularly Dreamers, many of whom didn’t even know they were undocumented), nearly all pay Sales tax (Just five states have no state-wide sales tax: Delaware, Montana, Oregon, New Hampshire and Alaska), registration & licensing fees, etc. The loss of tax revenue would be enormous, vastly adding to the Deficit (another shortfall the Middle-class taxpayer would have to pick up for the corporations in Trump’s America.) And what about our investment in their education? Did we spend all that money to educate them to become productive workers just to ship them back to Mexico? How is it we’ll continue to pay for a useless military plane, a “bridge-to-nowhere” or even an unwinable war just so that all the money we’ve put into it so far wasn’t for nothing, but we’ll educate the scientists & inventors of tomorrow just to deport them to make some other country rich? That’s crazy.

And so, because of these ridiculous unkeepable promises, we’ve shutdown the government until the angry hoards start assigning blame, at which point, the losing side will come begging the other for mercy.

And isn’t that how we got into this mess?
 


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Debunking This Syria Conspiracy Stupidity (and saying goodbye to the tinfoil hat brigade)
Apr 10th, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

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Back when all my friends were going bonkers over “Star Wars” in the late 1970’s, I was obsessed with “Close Encounters of the Third Kind“. I even wanted to become a “ufologist” like Dr. J. Allen Hynek. I bought/read dozens of books and was absolutely convinced UFO’s and alien hijackings were real.

Then I grew up.

Once I started asking questions, the stories started to fall apart. Nothing stood up to scrutiny. Have I mentioned lately that I used to be a Republican? I stopped believing what Republicans were telling me for the same reason. Nothing I was told ever stood up to even the lightest of scrutiny (not to mention frequently steeped in racism and religious dogma.) Asking questions saved me (and my sanity.)

Anyone who has been following this blog for a while knows two things about me: 1) I DESPISE “conspiracy theories” (note my thorough debunking of “The Four Basic 9/11 Conspiracy Myths” written nearly ten years ago), and 2) I don’t suffer fools well. If you are going to attack me and demand (additional) “Proof!” that something I tell you is true, you had better be on firmer ground than I with “proof!” of your own at the ready. And if your idea of “legitimate trustworthy journalism” is a pro-Russian blogger in Minsk, while calling The New York Times and Washington Post “fake news”, your opinion carries all the weight of a mouse fart as far as I’m concerned.

The VERY ELECTION of Donald Trump seems to have birthed an entire legion of tinfoil hat wearing “Conspiracy Theory” paranoids. Hey, I get it. I supported Bernie, and the fact Cheetolini occupies the White House today still defies belief. But there was no “conspiracy” against Sanders and the Media didn’t decide the Primaries OR the General Election winners. The Super Delegates & Electoral College did. If you read some of the vitriol I see on my Facebook pageSTILLsix months after the election… towards Hillary Clinton, it’s difficult to understand how so many of these same Troglodytes foaming at the mouth over their hatred for Hillary could believe Trump needed “The Media’s” assistance to win, or how they made Hillary popular enough to defeat Bernie.

Like others have said: if you could reason with zealots, there wouldn’t BE any zealots.

And now, with this counter-attack on a Syrian airfield in response to their use of chemical weapons… and let’s not gloss over that detail as we grow numb to the words. Chem-i-cal Wea-pons“. Death by chemical weapons is beyond horrific… burning eyes & skin, choking to death as your lungs are scorched by acid, people/CHILDREN writhing in agony, vomiting blood till death is a welcome relief… the tinfoil hat wearing crowd… with all the expertise as a 9/11 armchair physicist… appear to be more than eager to defend Syrian President Assad… a brutal dictator (like his father before him) who has been bombing entire cities full of people who’ve dared oppose him for the last seven years… on the grounds that suddenly… after seven years of slaughtering 400,000 “of his own people”… are asking, “Why would he use chemical weapons on his own people? Especially when he was so close to winning?” Instead they seem incredibly quick & willing to believe that in fact their OWN country… the United States (admittedly no angels ourselves)… is actually framing poor innocent Assad. (Note, in the April 4th attack, not only did Syrian fighter jets drop chemical weapons, they also bombed grain silos with the goal of starving the rebels… whom we know aren’t simply “ISIS fighters”, but entire cities that include women & children.

Seriously? Okay, let’s pause for a moment and use some common sense here.

What is more likely?

a) A man who has been bombing & starving rebel critics of his administration for seven years and has all but turned Aleppo to dust saw an opportunity to wipe out his opponents once & for all after Trump & Tillerson gave him the “regime change is no longer our policy” greenlight, by using chemical weapons we KNOW he had as of 2014…

OR

b) Less than 24 hours after Trump referred to Assad’s presidency as “acknowledging [a] political realit[y]”, he then disguises American fighter jets as Syrian S22’s and orders them to fly in and drop chemical weapons we DON’T have on Syrian children in an attack that all but destroys the friendly relationship he was building with Putin making Trump look like a naive fool? And in a massive conspiracy not seen since Roswell, not a single pilot with a guilty conscience over dropping chemical weapons on children to come forward and say, “No, it wasn’t Syria. It was me.”

…because those are your options.

Some disbelievers claim this was a distraction from the salacious approval of Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court via the “nuclear option”. Hardly. Republicans acting like Republicans isn’t a catastrophe worthy of committing secret war crimes by dropping chemical weapons on children that would result in the Trump Administration being tried in The Hague for War Crimes should the truth ever come out. The “risk/benefit” ratio is wildly off there.

I can’t tell you how many people I’ve bumped heads with these past few days demanding “Proof!”, then respond to me by posting links to unverifiable videos on YouTube that are impossible to verify and without attribution, or links to websites that look like they coded it in their mother’s basement, citing questionable sources, produced by people they know absolutely nothing about who could FAR more easily be producing complete fiction to cloud the evidence to protect the guilty. They simply accept these questionable sources as fact because they confirm what they already believe to be true. One of the most popular video “proofs” I repeatedly get are links to a “reporter” named “Eva Bartlett” “demolishing” critics that dare suggest Assad is the aggressor and the rebels are anything but devious terrorists. But Bartlett is NOT a “reporter”. She works for no news agency and isn’t on the ground in Syria. She’s a Canadian blogger that works for “Russia Today” and has dedicated herself to defending Assad (one popular video is of her responding to another Canadian reporter at a conference… hosted by the Syrian government and invited to speak at their behest… where she makes a number of claims, including a popular one among the pro-Assad crowd, that one girl… the same girl… can be seen being rescued in three separate videos. It’s not true of course [ibid], but as Mark Twain reminded us, “A lie makes it halfway around the world before the truth gets its shoes on.”

They are wildly untrusting of Western Media, yet readily accepting of what documented vicious tyrants like Assad & Putin tell them. I just don’t get that. Once you reach THAT level of mistrust of your own government, it’s time for you to go… another country or a padded cell. It’s your choice.

Now a bit of history…

Following the Iranian hostage crisis in 1979-80, our greatest enemy was Iran. And when the Reagan Administration took over in 1981, they decided “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”, so they befriended Saddam Hussein (who had been at war with Iran for years.) And they gave (conventional) arms (and money) to Saddam (and… as we discovered later… to Iran too as part of the “Arms for Hostages” deal they secretly brokered). As the Iran/Iraq War escalated, Saddam used chemical weapons on Iran and we did nothing about it.

Then, at the very end of the Reagan Administration, Saddam used chemical weapons yet again… this time on his own people. Iraq has always been a nation of three violently opposite religious sects: The Shia, The Sunni’s and The Kurds. The Kurds despised Saddam and wanted him gone. And apparently the feeling was mutual as Saddam actually dispatched agents to assassinate Kurds that dare leave Iraq to live in London or Germany. Sounds completely counter-intuitive, right? Why would Saddam want to murder the people he hated for moving away? Because that’s just the kind of guy he was. He couldn’t make their lives miserable living abroad. He wanted them in Iraq where he could make them suffer.

In March of 1988, Saddam attacked the Kurdish occupied town of Halabja with chemical weapons. Again, we turned a blind eye (until Bush Jr used it as an excuse to invade Iraq in 2003.) “Why would he attack his own people” some of you might ask? (As you are asking of Assad today.) Because, as I already pointed out, they hated Saddam, launching attacks trying to assassinate him (and years later, a Kurdish ex-pat named Ahmed Chalibi would convince a gullible George W. Bush to take Saddam out for him by claiming the existence of “stockpiles of WMD’s” that no one had seen or could prove the existence of), and the feeling was mutual.

In 1990, President George Herbert Walker Bush’s “Ambassador to Iraq” was a woman named April Glaspie. That July, Saddam delivered a message to President Bush that he wished for “friendship” between Iraq and the United States, then… just one month later… invaded the neighboring kingdom of Kuwait. The month after that (September), Glaspie personally visited Saddam, shook his hand, and gave him the greenlight, telling him: “We have no opinion on your Arab-Arab conflicts, such as your dispute with Kuwait.” [ibid] (Kuwait had been accused of “slant-drilling” on the Iraqi border to steal Iraqi oil, and Saddam… still an American ally at the time… they felt was well within his rights to attack Kuwait over it.)

But the war in Kuwait dragged on… and on… and on… into 1991. The Kuwati’s had hardly no military to speak of (nothing to compare to Saddam’s “fourth largest army on the face of the earth” after the U.S., China, and Russia) offered little in the way of resistance. Then, news of “atrocities” (same real, some fake) begin to reach the U.S. Media, literally embarrassing the Bush Administration into responding.

And by late February 1991, Saddam had been kicked out of Kuwait and was now our sworn enemy.

Are you noticing the parallels yet? In December, then President-elect Trump appeared to side with Russia over the Syrian conflict and stated his opposition for any further support of the rebels, leading to the fall of Aleppo before he even took office. The result was the ratcheting up of an already ongoing war, yet four months later, rebel forces continued to hang on and Assad’s frustration continued to grow. The second largest city in rebellion against Assad, Idlib, became the new rebel stronghold.

And just as Saddam was told we wouldn’t interfere in 1990, Trump & Tillerson told Assad on April 4th that “regime change in Syria” was going to be left “up to the Syrian people” and that we would just have to live with Assad’s presidency as a fact of life. Given the green light of a new American president… friendly with their ally Russia… promising a non-interventionist policy regarding Syria, a frustrated Assad… who had a history of using chemical weapons (map)… even against his own people… leapt at the chance to crush the rebellion once and for all.

And this is where the doubters ask for “proof!” despite the fact there is nothing unusual or out-of-character for him here. “Assad would be “crazy” they proclaim to do this now “when he’s so close to victory”. That’s quite an assumption there. “So close to victory?” Says who? The fighting has been going on for seven years, and Aleppo fell four months ago, yet Assad’s opponents continue to fight.

First off, this was an aerial bombing. And launched just hours after Trump said we wouldn’t pursue regime change in Syria. Russia freely admits that. Russia (and Assad’s) defense against the accusation that Syria dropped “chemical weapons” (a war crime that, if true,… that would not only land Assad in the Hague, but Putin as well for being complicit in that crime. Russia actually has officers stationed at that Syrian base from which those planes were launched) on the rebels is that the rebel warehouses they bombed… unbeknownst to them… contained huge caches of chemical weapons that filled the air when they were bombed (in self defense.) So: “attack by air and by Assad”… not in dispute. Confirmed by Russia. And the very next day, Assad launched a SECOND aerial attack upon “Khan Shaykhun” from the very airstrip Trump ordered bombed the day before. ISIS doesn’t have an air force. Neither do the rebels. And if bombing the rebels “less than 24-hours” after Trump & Tillerson made their non-interventionist remarks made “no sense” to you before, then why are Syria & Russia admitting they did indeed do just that… launch an aerial strike against the rebels just hours later? (And I remind you that Russia & Assad are claiming they DID NOT KNOW there were supposedly chemical weapons in those warehouses they bombed, so they can’t use their presence as an excuse for why then went after them that day.)

Second question: Is it possible they are telling the truth about the chemical weapons released in the attack as belonging to the rebels, only to aerosol when bombed and carried away by the smoke? There are a number of problems with that scenario: One, the dispersal area is just too large to have come from individual warehouses being blown up and having the chemicals either rain down or spread by smoke. If this were the case, the chemicals would have dispersed downwind of the areas targeted, not localized at the point of impact. Yet maps of the areas that suffered chemical exposure are all localized with almost no drift:
 

WMD affected areas, Idlib Syria
WMD affected areas, Idlib Syria

 

It is impossible to verify whether of not every location where chemical weapon exposure occurred had a hidden cache of chemical weapons within it, but (Two) try to imagine the extraordinary stroke of good (bad?) luck required of all those Syrian fighter pilots to have stuck SO many hidden caches of deadly (and apparently wildly unstable) chemical weapons spread across Idlib province. They freely admit they had no idea they were there, and yet somehow they just happened to locate a dozen such caches precisely where they bombed? Assad needs to stock up on lottery tickets before his luck runs out.

Three, “Transporting” such dangerous chemical weapons for miles across Idlib Province would be incredibly dangerous with a high risk of accidental exposure that could kill thousands should an accident occur. So if the rebels produced those weapons, they didn’t move them around. They would have had to of been made locally… or more precisely at the very site that was bombed. Why? What use are they to them there?

Four, the ability to make such weapons is not a common skill, and not something you learn quickly. This would mean a merry band of wandering minstrels chemical bomb makers traveling from town to town to make a cache of chemical weapons for storage “right there” and then moving on. That seems unlikely… not impossible, but highly improbable.

And five, now we must ask, “How did they intend to use them?” As I’ve already pointed out, they don’t have an air force, and transporting large quantities of the weapons by ground is too dangerous. You’re not going to use them locally and risk exposing your own people, so that pretty much leaves one option: suicide bomber. Drive to Damascus some 300-350KM (4 hours) away in a vehicle loaded with deadly chemicals, pray you don’t hit any bumps along the way or get stopped by the Syrian police, and blow yourself up when you arrive. Sounds doable. So we check…

Number of suicide bombings in Syria over the past seven years that involved chemical weapons? ZERO.

Defenders of Assad keep asking “Why now when he was so close to victory?” So then, couldn’t we ask: If the rebels were “so close to defeat”, why would they sit on these huge stockpiles of chemical weapons and not use them? That makes even less sense.

Another popular question: “I thought Assad gave up all his chemical weapons in 2014?” That’s a fair question. Problem is, we just don’t know. According to their ally Russia, Syria turned over 1,300 tons of chemical weapons to them claiming it was their entire stockpile. It was also the job of Russia to close down all of Syria’s chemical weapons production facilities. Russia admits they were only able to shutdown 21 of 23 facilities because two of them were in warzones they could not safely enter.

As I’ve pointed out in other op/eds recently, the seething out & out boiling vitriol I read from Hillary haters on a daily basis now almost defies comprehension. I mean, I’m no fan of the woman and didn’t vote for her last November, but you’d think Hillary personally dropped by their house and boiled their bunny just to hurt them personally. I seriously think there are a few million alarmingly immature people out there in desperate need of psychotherapy… emphasis on the word “psycho”… driven to irrationality by the 2016 election.

It is now “a given” and forlorn “fact” to them that “Hillary Clinton gave those chemical weapons to the rebels” when she was secretary of state. So you ask simple questions like “How?”, “Where did she get them (since we don’t make them)?” and “How did she transport them to the rebels in Syria?” Often what I get in return are unrelated links to claims of what an evil person she secretly is, links to unrelated & debunked clams she sold 20% of our uranium stockpiles to Russia (not true, and has nothing to do with WMD’s or Syria), and inevitably childish name calling.

They like to compare the “false claims Saddam had WMD’s” to these claims against Assad, but when I point to the fact that both Saddam and Assad used chemical weapons against “their own people” numerous times before, they don’t see a connection. And while Saddam was only “accused” of having WMD’s, we have evidence here in this very attack in Syria that they actually exist (Russia and Assad admit it, claiming they belonged to the rebels but do not deny their existence)… only their “ownership” is in dispute.

During “Meet the Press” yesterday, Trump’s UN Ambassador Nikki Haley pointed out that Russia’s first reaction upon hearing the news of chemical weapons turning up in the attack was to defend Assad, not express horror or concern over victims of a chemical weapons attack. That seems quite disquieting in its own right. You hear civilians… including women and children… were exposed to chemical weapons, and your first reaction isn’t shock or questioning, but to defend someone THEY KNOW (remember, they admit to the bombing AND have troops stationed at that airfield) just dropped the bombs resulting in that chemical exposure? Lesson One in trying to convince people you’re not a cold-blooded killer: show a moment of sympathy for the exposed children and make a few calls before you rush to defend the bombers.

And on a personal note, people bashing “The Media” as “an enemy of the American people” is an anathema to the 1st Amendment and a greater threat to Democracy than anything these Conspiracy Theorists seem to think is actually going on.

People tend to not to ask questions about what they see/hear/read when that something tells them what they already want to believe to be true, is. Fox “news” has built an entire media empire on that very concept… and now I see people claiming to be “Progressives” doing it too. Fox viewers are repeatedly rated as the least well informed consumers of news in the country. Some polls have even shown that people who consume NO news at all are often better informed than Fox viewers because they come to a conclusion first, then look for a source to “confirm” it. And anyone who tells them differently is either “a liar”, “badly misinformed” because they don’t get their news from the “right” sources (like they do), or just don’t know what they’re talking about. “Facts be damned” and there’s no point in trying to present them with evidence to refute those beliefs.

And a greater question: In light of these recent brutal attacks, will Trump now recognize what the Refugees are fleeing from and show more sympathy towards letting them in? (If we go by Nikki Haley, that answer is “No”, calling for “even more” stringent background checks before even considering giving these people safe harbor. What have we become?)

Postscript: The past weeks insanity led me to do something I’ve never done before and delete nearly four dozen of my so-called “Facebook friends” who devolved into insult spewing, Conspiracy babbling, children. I just couldn’t take it any more. The head-pounding STUPIDITY was making my teeth hurt. But in return, I picked up about three dozen new “Facebook friends” and a couple hundred likes from people who agreed with me over the recent heightened level of insanity and coarseness of discourse. So to all my new friends, thank you and welcome.

Next weekend, M.R.S. will be on Easter hiatus, but I promise to return two weeks from now with more insights and history. See you then!
 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Timestamped inauguration comparisons

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

Trump on Iraq 2002

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Yes. That really happened.
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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I’ll Support Hillary, BUT… Making the case against Clinton (without helping Republicans)
Feb 8th, 2016 by Admin Mugsy

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First, the obligatory disclaimer: Though I am a Bernie supporter, if Hillary is the nominee, I will vote for her (2017 update: I didn’t. Events changed and I ended up writing in Bernie.) Quite frankly, I resent even having to say that. My Democratic bona fides have never been in question, but for some reason, every criticism of Hillary Clinton has been deemed “sexist” and her critics “misogynists” (but for some reason, I can’t accuse them of being “anti-Semites” for attacking Bernie.) In 2004, I was an outspoken supporter of Howard Dean… an unabashed & unapologetic Liberal. I made the case for choosing Dean over his rivals, but when John Kerry became the Party’s nominee, I campaigned for him, even volunteering at the local DNC, making and distributing Kerry yard signs and manning the front desk at my local DNC campaign office. But before that, no one ever accused me of launching “personal attacks” against Kerry for questioning just how Liberal he truly was. In 2008, my preferred candidate was former UN Ambassador Bill Richardson because after eight years of George Bush’s war-mongering, I wanted a diplomat for president. I must admit I’ve never been a fan of Hillary Clinton because she has always been a “hawk” when it comes to using military force. Even now, as she tells audiences she would only use force “as a last resort, not first”, she is inconsistent (more on that below.) Yet, despite her vote for the Iraq War (a misnomer), when Richardson dropped out after the New Hampshire primary, I threw my support to Clinton, in part because of her history of supporting “Universal Health Care” (I also foolishly believed this nation was not ready to elect a “black” president, and also some concern his nomination would drive racist Republicans to the polls en masse to defeat him.) But as the race tightened and her “inevitable win” started to look less & less “inevitable”, her rhetoric became more and more aggressive as she saw the presidency slipping away. The capper was March 3, 2008 when she told reporters that “[Republican front-runner] John McCain” was “more prepared to be president” than Barack Obama. That day, I switched my support to Barack Obama and never looked back. I have not seen anything since that demonstrates she won’t throw fellow Democrats under the bus if she thinks it will help her politically. To the contrary, she has only reinforced that belief.

When it comes to foreign policy, Hillary has always been a hawk. During the 2008 campaign, she was already saber-rattling against “Iran’s nuclear program”, threatening military action if they didn’t abandon their pursuit, to distinguish herself from Senator Obama who advocated “negotiations” (aka: “diplomacy”):
 


 
Then upon winning the presidency, Obama made her his chief diplomat (a decision that still baffles me), directing her to open a channel to begin negotiations with Iran… the very thing she criticized him for and is now taking credit for as making Obama’s historic nuclear agreement possible. YET, while she was Secretary of State, she was STILL publicly denouncing Iran as “a state sponsor of terrorism” and pursuing nuclear weapons… which might be true, but isn’t something your chief diplomat should be saying publicly when they’re trying to bring them to the negotiating table. Arguably, her adversarial rhetoric endangered the very diplomatic victory she now seeks to take credit for, and had she stayed on as “Secretary of State”, I’m not so confident we would have achieved the first disarmament agreement between the U.S. & Iran in nearly 40 years. In 2010, she told an audience:
 

“The United States is committed to pursuing [a] diplomatic path. But we will not compromise our commitment to preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons.”

 

Translation: “We’re using diplomacy now, but don’t push your luck.”

In 2014, barely a year & a half out of office, Hillary joined with Republicans… siding with John McCain (once again?) against her former boss… to publicly criticize President Obama for failing to “help [ie: arm] the Syrian rebels” to mitigate the growing crisis in Syria (note, a significant number of Syrian rebels turned out to be ISIS.) She is now running as the best person to continue President Obama’s policies.

During the CNN “Town Hall” two weeks ago, Clinton responded to criticism that she accepted $650,000 in speaking fees from Goldman-Sachs. Her defense was that “at the time [she] didn’t know if [she’d] be running for president”. So then, why was she siding with Republicans to publicly criticize her former boss in 2014? Who was she trying to appeal to? Republicans have admitted that their BenghaziTM “investigation” was all about derailing her inevitable run for president. Even they knew she was going to run. If you aren’t planning to run for president, why would you care what Republicans think? Was she trying to get on the good side of the BenghaziTM Committee? If so, how naive can you get? And who wants a president who will turn on their “friends” for personal gain?

She is still calling for a “No Fly Zone” over Syria, something both Sanders AND President Obama oppose. Not only is it provocative, but Russian fighter jets have performed some of those bombing runs. Do we start shooting down Russian MIG’s and start WWIII? Clinton says she would only go to war “as a last resort”, but foolish policies could push you into something whether you want it or not.

Her first instincts always seem to tend towards “threats of force” first. Even her explanation two weeks ago as to why she voted in 2002 to give President Bush unilateral authority to declare war against Iraq… “to give him leverage in order to finish the inspections”… raises concern. Check that photo at the start of this column. It’s a copy of the ad MoveOn.org ran the month before the invasion of Iraq. It points out inspections WERE working and warned what might happen if we invade Iraq (with eerie accuracy.) It’s not like no one knew what might happen when she cast that vote. Hillary thinks her mistake was “trusting Bush” (already disqualifying in my book), NOT “threatening to go to war” when it clearly wasn’t necessary. I was one of the millions in early 2003 protesting the idea of invading Iraq.

Example: During that Town Hall two weeks ago [ibid “explanation” above], a young father expressed his concern of Clinton having “a history of interventionist foreign policy”. She assured him that she would only use force as a “last resort, not first”, but she keeps advocating actions that could inadvertently draw us into a war whether she wants it or not. IN THE SAME BREATH, after attempting to quell this mans fears of being too “interventionist”, she told him:
 

“I will not send American combat troops to Iraq or Syria. That is off the table. That would be a terrible mistake. We will continue to use Special Forces, and we have to because of the kinds of threats we face.”

 

Now, if sending “Special Forces” into another country isn’t “interventionist”, I don’t know what is. Remember the law of unintended consequences. What if those “Special Forces” are killed or captured? Once again, we find ourselves drawn into an unwanted military conflict despite claims of wanting to avoid military conflict. In 2004, John Kerry… the man who would later replace Clinton as Secretary of State… argued that “terrorism should be treated as a law-enforcement issue, not a military one”, a position that I still agree with to this day and think we would be MUCH further along if only we had taken his advice. THAT is the voice of a diplomat that seeks to avoid war.

Consider this: By the end of the next president’s first term, children who weren’t even BORN on 9/11 could be fighting in Afghanistan against other children who hadn’t even been born yet on 9/11. If your goal in choosing a president is to see the U.S. finally extricated from the Middle East, Hillary is not your candidate.

I add this without comment: Hillary Clinton Calls Henry Kissinger a Friend, Praises His Commitment to Democracy.
 

But “foreign policy” isn’t the only area in which I have grave concerns about Secretary Clinton. “Economic policy” is also a major issue with which we disagree.

Sanders has made “Campaign finance reform” a big part of his campaign (no SuperPAC). As mentioned above, Hillary has accepted over $650,000 just from Goldman-Sachs (and perhaps as much as $25 Million in 2014 alone) then “dared” anyone to find “evidence” she changed her position on an issue because or it.

Whether someone changes a particular stated position on an issue just because they were paid to speak is not the point. That rarely happens. Clinton has not been in office since early 2013, and hasn’t voted on any legislation since 2008, so daring people to find evidence of her changing her vote based on who gave her money is a safe challenge. No, the concern is not that she “flipped” a stated position after being paid to speak, it’s that money will influence her position on FUTURE legislation. When a company pays you that much money to speak privately, it’s for one of two reasons:

  1. Either they consider you an expert that will teach them how to make more money.
  2.  
    – OR –
     

  3. They are hoping to buy *influence*.

Now you tell me, do you think a major Wall Street investment firm was looking for “investment strategies” from a former “Secretary of State”? Or do you think they were hoping to “influence” the presumptive Democratic nominee and likely “next president of the United States”? (more on who is contributing to the Clinton Campaign below.)

McDonald-Douglas doesn’t advertise during the Sunday News Shows because they’re hoping to sell me a Stealth Bomber, they do it because they know their money makes the network less likely to criticize them.

Something else that bugs the hell out of me:
 

Hillary's 2016 Logo

 

There is NO doubt in my mind that Hillary’s “Red Arrow” logo was an intentional subliminal reminder to GOP voters of her Conservative tendencies. I mean, how does one NOT see that when asked to approve the logo? Does anyone believe for one second the designers of that logo… an expert team of graphic designers that spend millions researching how the public responds to the images they see… didn’t know EXACTLY what they were doing when they came up with that design? I noticed the moment I first saw it. And once the Hillary Campaign started taking criticism for the design, first they denied its obvious implication, and then suddenly started offering attendees at her rallies an alternative poster using a blue arrow (but still pointing right):
 

Both Red and Blue arrows

 

And this is the Hillary campaign last Saturday in New Hampshire:
 

Only blue arrows now
Only blue arrows in NH

 

Tell me again that the arrow’s color & direction is just a coincidence.
 

Hillary has a history of voting with Conservatives. She opposed Same-Sex marriage, even taking to the Senate floor to declare she believed “marriage was between a man & a woman.” During last Friday’s New Hampshire debate, she (albeit reluctantly) restated her continued support for the Death Penalty (which affects minority voters disproportionately.) She voted for the Patriot Act in 2001, and again for the “revised” Patriot Act 2 in 2006. It was her husband who undid “Glass-Steagall”… enacted by FDR to prohibit banks from gambling with depositor’s money… in a futile bid to appease Republicans when they were trying to impeach him, so as you might expect, she is unwilling to admit that was a mistake or call for its reinstatement. However, during Friday’s debate, she did call for a “twenty-first century” version of the act. She originally supported the Keystone XL pipeline but now claims to oppose it. And perhaps most famously, she called the TPP (“Trans-Pacific Partnership”)… supported by every GOP candidate and most Republicans in Congress… “the Gold-Standard” of trade agreements before deciding she was against it just last year.

She says she wants “Universal Health care”, but then spent the two weeks leading up to the Iowa Caucus to attack Bernie Sanders for advocating a “Single Payer Universal Health Care system”, even going as far as to say Single-Payer will “never ever” happen, continuing to suggest a President Sanders would dismantle The Affordable Care Act before replacing it with an entirely new system built from scratch. She has been attacking Sanders on his support of some seemingly “pro-gun” legislation, singling out a vote to “allow firearms on Amtrak” trains. But she is knowingly committing the sin of omission by leaving out the fact that the law only permits firearms to be transported as “checked luggage” in the baggage compartment or trains, not carried around by passengers (Sanders comes from a rural state and hunters needed to be able to ship their weapons with them while traveling.) And during the New Hampshire debate, she made the disingenuous (and wholly Conservative) accusation that Bernie’s health care plan “would cost over a trillion dollars” (it wouldn’t.) As I pointed out above regarding her 2014 attack on Obama, Hillary has never been afraid to adopt Republican talking points to attack fellow Democrats for personal gain.

While touting her desire for “Clean Energy” to fight Global Warming, the Clinton campaign has yet to reveal her position on Fracking (even attending a fundraiser two weeks before Iowa in the headquarters of a major investor in Fracking) and her SuperPAC’s website brags about “Clinton’s aggressive pro-fracking record” [ibid]. When told her campaign received $150,000 from the oil & gas industry, she plead ignorance.

Most polls seem to indicate Clinton has the “African-American vote locked up”, in great part due to her husband being bestowed the label of “our first black president” for addressing minority issues. But Hillary may not be so worthy of their unquestioned support. During the 2008 race, she was the only candidate who refused to “retroactively reduce/repeal extended penalties of those convicted of using ‘crack’ cocaine vs ‘powdered’.” and she is presently only willing to consider “more research” on the legalization of medical marijuana despite a “sentencing disparity” that disproportional affects African-Americans. She opposes raising the Minimum Wage to $15/hour (only willing to go to $12) which affects more minorities than whites. And one might also wonder why the Private Prison industry is raising cash for the Clinton campaign (private prisons push for more & more “minimum sentencing” laws to fill up the prisons… and their coffers)… the scourge of African American voters.

In 2008, as the race tightened between her and then-Senator Obama, her attacks became more personal. I noted in the intro how she suggested John McCain was more ready to be president than Barack Obama… not once but twice, first stating McCain had more experience, and then dismissing Obama’s qualifications as nothing more than a speech he gave in 2002.” This is the same person now bemoaning criticism from Senator Sanders as “personal attacks”, and how “disappointed” she is that he has resorted to them. But as we are presently seeing, it appears she is quick to resort to misleading attacks and disparaging the character of her opponent as she sees the possibility of the presidency slipping away. I have no qualms against a “fighter”, but please don’t take pages from the Conservative playbook to do it (see: “Amtrak” above.)

Hillary IS a “Progressive”, though not exactly a strong “Liberal”. Her civil rights bona fides go back to 1972, when she investigated school discrimination in Dothan, Ala., for the Children’s Defense Fund. In 1980, she condemned prisoner abuses in Arkansas prior to her husband becoming governor. She had a “75% lifetime rating” with the ACLU prior to the 2008 election (though it took a bit of a nose-dive to just 67% in 2007 as she campaigned against Barack Obama for president (I’ll let you decide if that means anything.) Both she & Sanders have a 100% rating with NARAL Pro-Choice America and (while Senator) she had an 89% rating with the “Human Rights Campaign” (who endorsed her over Sanders with a 100% lifetime rating.) “Crowdpac”, the voter education website, rated Hillary at “6.5L” (or 65% Liberal) behind O’Malley (6.7L) and Sanders “7.6L” (for reference, Trump has a “0.4L” rating and Ted Cruz rates “9.5C”… 95% Conservative rating.)

Early last year, when people like me were urging Senator Sanders to enter the race, the thinking was “even if it is futile… with a Clinton victory already appearing inevitable… the idea of her running unopposed with no one there to push her to the Left was a distressing thought.” If nothing else, a competitive campaign would be good Debate-Prep for the General election. The last thing anyone wants is for their candidate to go in cold, having not participated in a “real” debate in nearly eight years. Simply forcing Hillary… with her Conservative tendencies… to track Left has already been a huge victory for the Sanders campaign.

Now, if it turns out Hillary wins the DNC nomination, as I stated in the intro, I will vote for her. I’m hoping my saying that doesn’t work against Sanders with people thinking the safe vote is Hillary since Bernie supporters have promised they’ll vote for her anyway. Bernie was right at the pre-New Hamphire debate last Friday that “both of us are 100x better on our worst day than anyone on the other side”, and the next president may end up nominating as many as THREE Supreme Court Justices (at least two of whom would be from the Liberal wing of the court.) I have FAR more faith in a President Hillary nominating a Progressive justice than a lunatic like Ted Cruz or Donald Trump. Even the seemingly benign Marco Rubio has repeated his support for a “fetal personhood Amendment that would outlaw many forms of birth control and turn every miscarriage into a murder investigation.

Before Clinton supporters start attacking me, I’ve backed up every accusation with links & sources. I invite you to draw your own conclusions.
 


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Why we NEED the Syrian Refugees (SPECIAL EDITION)
Nov 18th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy

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My letter to President Obama:

Dear Mr. President, Tx Sen. Ted Cruz said we would be “crazy” to allow in the Syrian Refugees right now. I say we would be “crazy” NOT TO!

Refugees are like an INOCULATION against domestic terrorism. They have seen the horrors of ISIS first hand, then integrate into their communities sharing their stories and dissuade others from supporting those who seek to do us harm.

They can become valuable resources, reporting to authorities when they see/suspect questionable activity, acting as translators and being more familiar with local customs/euphemisms.

ISIS sees the refugees as traitors and wish them harm. Barring refugees from safe haven only plays right into their hands as we do these people more harm. Turning them away only makes them like us less and more sympathetic to the terrorists, not to mention reinforcing the idea America is “at war with Islam”.

Not only is it the humanitarian thing to do, but it’s the SMART thing to do as well. Not only should we let them in, we NEED them!

 

UPDATE: Following attacks, Paris agrees to admit 30,000 more refugees.
 

Syrian Terrorists

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Dr Carson Revives Dangerous “Health Savings Account” Zombie from 2012
Oct 26th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy

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I have a long standing rule not to criticize truly awful GOP Primary candidates when they are winning. “When your opponent(s) are digging themselves into a hole, the only thing you should hand them is a shovel.” I’m going to break that rule this week because Dr. Ben Carson has decided to bring back a dangerous (and arguably deadly) idea from the 2012 election that a disturbing number of Conservative voters think is a good idea: doing away with Medicare/Obamacare (remember “Keep your government hands off my Medicare“?) and replacing them with “Health Savings Accounts”, only this time with a convoluted scheme that would impress even Rube Goldberg.

The GOP version went something like this: instead of everyone paying into Medicaid (an astoundingly safe & successful single-payer health insurance program run by the government), let people choose to “opt out” of Medicaid and put their money into a tax-free “Health Savings Account”, similar to an IRA, from which you pay your medical bills should you ever get sick. The “advantage” of such a scheme Conservatives argue is that the money remains in your possession should you ever need it for something else. Now, if you have a brain larger than a walnut, you can probably already see the (multitude of) problems with that. THAT is the GOP plan from 2012 (pdf). Carson’s new version supposedly “fixes” those flaws. Try to follow along as he “explains” his version of HSA’s to NBC’s Chuck Todd yesterday:
 

Carson explain his “Health Savings Account” scheme (2:18)

 

(Quite honestly, I could have dedicated this week’s entire post to Carson’s insane interview, but that could take weeks. This segment was following an equally disturbing ten minutes defending his prolific use of Nazi analogies to justify his positions on just about everything. From arguing that the Second Amendment exists to protect us from our our own government (it doesn’t), questioning the value of a mother’s life over that of her unborn child, to saying rape/incest victims should be forced-by-law to carry their unborn babies to term. (Whom exactly he’d prosecute if she didn’t was never asked and remains unclear.)

Todd never asks Carson the most obvious question about Medicare, “What’s wrong with the existing system?”, because HE KNOWS the answer he’d get: to a Conservative ANYTHING connected to the government is bad regardless of how successful it is, because in their mind, a government that “provides for the general welfare” is tantamount to “slavery” (a position he shares with the OTHER Right-Wing nut doctor in the race, Rand Paul.)

So let’s see if we can’t diagram Carson’s “alternative to Medicare”:

Step 1) Make everyone independently wealthy thanks to a roaring economy under his leadership. (You think I’m exaggerating? Watch the video.) That way, we “negate the need for Medicare”. So right off the bat, his plan relies on everyone suddenly striking it rich such that they will be able to pay cash for their health care needs. And just how do we accomplish that? Tax-free “Health Savings Accounts” that can be passed down from Generation to generation. And we KNOW this works because look at all the people who became stinking rich inheriting IRA’s from their parents (that’s snark by the way.) Somehow, I just don’t see a lot of people living paycheck-to-paycheck suddenly being able to sock away enough spare cash to pay for unregulated… because he does away with “ObamaCare” AND the buying power of Medicare… rising medical costs out-of-pocket with enough left over to leave to their children (a plan that doesn’t seem to take into account the prolonged medical costs of aging, people pilfering those accounts like a tax-free piggy bank, or unforeseen economic crisis’ that always seem to pop up during Republican administrations.)

In fact, Carson actually advocates allowing family members to raid their own HSA in order to help another family member pay their medical bills. Carson is a big believer in the Power of Prayer, and you’d better be too if you pilfer your trust fund in hopes you won’t need it. What was it Rep. Grayson said? The Republican Plan: Don’t get sick. But hey, everyone suddenly becoming wealthy enough to pay cash for all their medical expenses could happen, so let’s give him the benefit of the delusion… er, doubt, for a moment.

BTW: Carson acknowledged the “Liberal” meme that “we pay twice as much for our health care than the rest of the world”, but offers no explanation on how to counter it. In fact, quite the opposite. He wants to kill off the two government programs keeping those costs under control. If I had to guess, Carson appears to blame insurance companies for those outrageous healthcare costs. Yet the solution… “single payer” programs like Medicare… would wither & die under his “divert money from Medicare” scheme. Moving on…

Step 2) Insurance companies still have a role though: covering “catastrophic illness” that would decimate most HSA’s. Get them out of the business of covering more lucrative “basic health care” and instead limit them to covering only the mega-costly health care bills. Carson argues that by not having to cover “basic” heath care needs, it’ll save the insurance companies tons of money and drive down premiums. You buy that? No? You’d better because you’re going to have to (literally). Okay, so now you’re now pouring money into TWO forms of medical insurance: your personal HSA AND “catastrophic illness” insurance.

Those “basic” health care policies are where insurance companies make their biggest profits. Carson actually believes that insurance companies will make MORE money… AND charge you less for catastrophic care insurance… if you eliminate all that rarely-used coverage customers pay into and limit them to covering just the most costly long-term procedures. What do you think THOSE premiums will look like? There is nothing more expensive than “end-of-life” care… a cost 90%-95% of us will incur. “Wow” doesn’t begin the capture the mind-numbing stupidity of that Palinesque plan. If we’re all going to strike it rich under President (cough) Carson, it’d better happen damned quick.

Step 3) We don’t actually eliminate Medicare, we just allow people to “opt out”… which underfunds the program, which bankrupts it. It’s not Carson’s fault if underfunding Medicare kills it off. That just proves it wasn’t fit to survive in the first place (“survival of the fittest” seems like an odd defense for someone who doesn’t believe in evolution.) In the Jewish & Muslim faiths, it is a sin to take a life… any life… (“Thou shalt not kill”), so to kill an animal for the meat, they slit it’s throat so they can rationalize that the moment of death does not occur at their hand. It’s the same thing here. Carson doesn’t “kill” Medicare, he just slits its throat, and if it (and the people who depend upon it) dies, well that must have been God’s Will.

The Carson Plan: 1) Everyone becomes fabulously rich. 2) Puts their “spare” cash, once wasted on Medicare, into a Christmas Club. 3) Prays like hell they don’t need it. 4) Buys insurance anyway to cover “catastrophic care” which will be dirt cheap thanks to benevolent insurance companies saving a bundle on checkups and passing the savings onto you. 5) What you don’t spend, you leave to your children. 6) Repeat.

Remember “Let him die!” from the 2012 debate? If a person doesn’t pay into Medicare and refuses (or simply can’t afford) to put money in an HSA or buy insurance and suddenly gets sick, what do we do? Let them die? Conservatives like Carson think Medicare will just take care of people that never paid into the system. Ron Paul believed the burden should fall upon the churches. Who would put money in an HSA or buy insurance if you could be guaranteed care that way?

The raging stupidity of Carson’s plan should come as no surprise. It’s just one more drop of water in the Bucket-o-Crazy that is Ben Carson. Quite honestly, I can’t be entirely certain he wasn’t making it up as he went along. It really sounds like he hadn’t given it a lot of thought.

And you were wondering what it would take to dethrone Donald Trump.
 

Iowa GOP just as crazy as Carson
Iowa GOP poll 151023


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Despite History of Deceptively Edited Videos, Right Wing Videographers Still Taken Seriously
Jul 27th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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


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Where Is the Accusation of a CRIME to justify a Tax-Payer Funded Investigation into Hillary’s Emails?
Mar 16th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy

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

But just WHAT are Republicans accusing Hillary Clinton OF?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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GOP Should Be Last Ones to Accuse Hillary of Secrecy
Mar 9th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy

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The GOP thinks it has finally found the chink in Hillary’s armor. The one thing that could derail her presidential prospects… the fact she used her private email account for public business while working at the State Department. But when it comes to secrecy & email, Republicans are the LAST people on Earth who should be allowed to claim the moral high-ground regarding openness and transparency in government. One needn’t go all all the way back to Nixon, the most secretive White House in history, for an example. Nor even to the Reagan Administration (whom still holds the record as the most indicted Administration in history). No, as recently as the last Republican-controlled White House puts them all to shame when it comes to secrecy & obstruction of justice. WHEN the Bush White House agreed to turn over a document/email, there was a better than average chance it would look like the one above, highly redacted with almost no useful information exposed. Subpoena them to testify before an investigation and they simply refused to show up (or demand they not be put under oath.) From cover-ups regarding the failure to find weapons of mass destruction, wiretapping, or the abuses at Abu Ghraib, to President Bush’s chief of staff Karl Rove and at least SEVEN other high-ranking WH officials using a private email system run by the RNC for nearly all of their correspondence. “Pot, meet Kettle.”

Now I’m hardly the one to defend Hillary Clinton. I’ve made known in these pages my unhappiness with the way she conducts business (mostly, how quick she seems to be to throw her fellow Democrats under the bus for the sake of her own personal political advantage, not to mention how hawkish she has always been on National Defense), but this isn’t about Hillary. This is about GOP hypocrisy… my favorite topic.

Eleven years ago tomorrow, March 10, 2004, then Attorney General John Ashcroft was near death lying in a hospital bed when his temporary replacement, acting director James Comey received an urgent late-night phone call that White House Council Alberto Gonzales and Bush’s own Chief-of-Staff Andrew Card were racing to the hospital to try and get Ashcroft to reauthorize President Bush’s illegal NSA wiretap program because they knew Comey would not. Comey later testified that he alerted FBI Director Robert Mueller before racing off to the hospital to stop them. Fortunately, after he arrived, Ashcroft pointed to Comey as the only person having the authority to authorize anything as acting AG.

When the new Democratic majority investigated the incident in 2007, most of Muller’s emails looked like the one above, highly redacted with all pertinent information blacked out in the name of “national security”.

In 2006, following the reelection of President Bush in 2004, eight U.S. Attorneys… Republicans all… were fired by the Justice Department without explanation. The “official” reason later given was that it was part of the normal turnover of any new administration to appoint new judges, but this was two years into Bush’s second term, so that excuse raised more than a few eyebrows. Soon it was discovered that all eight of these attorneys had been ordered… and refused… to investigate Democrats for Election fraud prior to the  2004 election with absolutely no basis. When Democrats demanded Bush’s Senior Advisor Karl Rove turn over his private emails regarding the matter, that is when it was discovered Rove and seven other high-ranking WH officials had been using a private email server… set up by the RNC… to eschew the rules regulating to public availability of all government communications. Rove & company never did turn over those emails.

When Republicans took over the White House in 2001, the RNC gave all of their members free laptops with access to a private email server set up by them. The claim at the time was so that they were provided so they could conduct “fundraising” without using government property to do it (prohibited). But Rove & Company didn’t just use those private accounts for “fundraising”; they used them to conduct any business they wanted to keep secret… which in the Bush Administration was anything you did between breaths.

And just WHO gave Rove and “Scooter” Libby the green light to publicly expose the identity of CIA agent Valery Plame Wilson? That information was never revealed either. Libby was indicted for “obstruction of justice” by providing false information to the grand jury to prevent them from finding out the truth. When it comes to secrecy and hiding governmental information regarding likely criminal wrong-doing, no one can hold a candle to the GOP. So to hear them now feign OUTRAGE over the fact Hillary Clinton used her “private” email for all correspondence while she worked at the White House… couched in the accusation that she did so in order to “hide” information from investigators… just as Karl Rove did, and just as her predecessor Colin Powell did (Condi apparently used an “official” email account)… two years before new rules were written prohibiting this… is just the latest example of Republicans trying to turn smoke into fire in hopes of derailing her inevitable presidential bid.

And thanks to this nonsense with Hillary’s use of a private email account while conducting official business, every ginned up Obama White House “scandal” has been given new life. Why? There’s now TENTH investigation into Benghazi thanks to a baseless belief that the only reason NINE previous investigations turned up nothing is because the truth must have been in an email Clinton didn’t turn over… assuming there are any. I’ve often said that if a Republican accuses you of doing something wrong, it’s only because they either already did it themselves or considered doing it but never got around to it (see: “Acorn and voter fraud”), and naturally assume you’re as dishonorable as they are. “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Where there is no smoke, build a fire and accuse your opponent of setting it.”

(Postscript: Former SoS Colin Powell on “Meet the Press” yesterday pointed out that any email sent BY Clinton TO a “.gov” address “would be recorded/retained by the governmental servers.”)
 


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GOP Responds to Complaints of Obama Acting Unilaterally By Demanding He Have Unilateral Power to Declare War
Feb 16th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy

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Oh Republicans, you poor inconsistent clueless gnats. Yesterday, on no less than three network poli-talk shows (and probably more but I only watch three), Republicans… in the SAME rants mind you… defended refusing to budge on tying the “Homeland Security” budget to rescinding President Obama’s “illegal and unconstitutional” Executive Order not to prosecute the “Dreamers” (which IS Constitutional and completely within his powers)… only seconds later to decry President Obama asking that the power of the president to unilaterally declare war be stripped from him and returned to Congress like the Constitution requires. People (and I use that term lightly), either you want the president to adhere to the Constitution or you don’t. Make up your minds.

The “War Powers” Clause, Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 of the United States Constitution reads:

The Congress shall have the power…

(11) To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water.

Only Congress has the power to Declare War and arm fighters (I’d love to go off on a tangent here on how this might relate to the Second Amendment, but some other day). The Constitution gives the president the power to “enact” (ie: administer or carry out) that war once it has been declared, but it’s pretty clear the power to commit the nation to war was never supposed to reside in the hands of one person.

One week after 9/11, Congress passed the AUMF, Authorization to Use Military Force, giving President Bush the “[authority to] use [the] United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the recent attacks launched against the United States. (emphasis mine). It was strictly concerning 9/11, that’s it.

In 2002, President Bush could not cite the 2001 AUMF against “those who attacked us on 9/11” as giving him power to threaten Saddam Hussein into giving up weapons he didn’t have, so Congress instead passed a separate AUMF:Iraq, specifically citing the actions of Iraq under Saddam Hussein, arguing that it would give President Bush the leverage he needed to avoid war with Iraq. Democrats foolishly voted with Republicans to give him that power, which he quickly used to Declare War against Iraq even after Iraq started to comply with his demands.

13+ years later, President Obama continues to exercise the military authority granted to him by the 2001 & 2002 AUMF’s… not exactly willingly BTW, but the result of Congress refusing to reclaim the authority granted only to them by the Constitution, leaving the president with no choice but to rely on the AUMF’s in order to go after new threats like ISIS (which didn’t exist in 2001/2002). ISIS didn’t “attack us on 9/11” as per AUMF2001, and didn’t even exist to be in “non-compliance” with us as per AUMF2003. President Obama believes it’s time for Congress to take responsibility and stop dumping the choice off on him.

Republican after Republican (Chris Wallace & The Power Panel on Fox “news” Sunday and John McCain on “Meet the Press”) were aghast that President Obama would dare “strip the power” of the president to use military force on his/her say so alone (a power the president is not supposed to have in the first place) and dump it back in Congress’ lap (I remember telling Republicans in 2007/2008 not to “give Bush any power they didn’t want a President Hillary Clinton to have.”)

Meanwhile, in the SAME breath, they also defended possibly refusing to renew funding for the Department of Homeland Security until Democrats caved on “President Obama’s illegal and unconstitutional Executive Order” placing a moratorium on the prosecution of “Dreamers” (undocumented immigrant children that have lived in the U.S. for at least five years.)

That’s right. Without a hint of irony, Republicans are demanding President Obama retain the unconstitutional powers they abdicated to the Presidency while simultaneously blasting him for exercising his Constitutional power as the Chief Executive on the grounds that such power is “unconstitutional”.

Can you hear me now, Mr. Speaker?

BTW: the second half of Clause 11… “make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water”… if Congressional Republicans are so eager to bestow A1S8C11 powers upon the president, I’d demand they transfer ALL the powers stated in that clause over to him and then promptly shutdown Gitmo. Then just watch how quickly they take that power back.
 


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Ebola Hysteria Is A Greater Threat Than Ebola
Oct 20th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy

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In the Summer of 2001, before “9/11”, reports of an 8 year old Florida boy losing an arm after being attacked by a Bull Shark grabbed the headlines. A day or two later, a New York man vacationing in the Bahamas lost a leg in a shark attack. Barely a week after that, another Florida man was bitten six miles from the spot where the first boy was bitten. The media went into hysterics and suddenly it was “The Summer of the Shark”, despite the fact that the annual number of shark attacks was actually DOWN that year as compared to 1999 & 2000. But 2001 was already shaping up to be a slow news year and they needed something to fill the empty airtime. It was “tabloid TV” at its worst, creating fear & panic without justification just to give the Media something to talk about. And we’re seeing it again now with the hype over “Ebola”.

A grand total of THREE people in the entire United States have developed Ebola while here in the U.S., and ALL THREE linked to the same man. The family of the man that has since passed away… who had been living WITH him in the same house and were then imprisoned in their own home WITH his infected sheets and other personal items for weeks… did not contract the virus and are perfectly healthy. The health care worker that stupidly flew cross country WHILE running a fever… the man that sat next to her on the plane… he’s infection-free as well. For a disease that is so infectious (easily caught), it’s not turning out to be easily contagious (easily spread).

In 1978, a movie called “The Swarm” capitalized on the hysteria over a report that “Africanized Killer Bees” were making their way up from Central America, across our Southern border and into the United States. The movie may have bombed at the box office in part by people too afraid to leave their homes to go to the movie theater for fear of being attacked by bees. Eventually, the bees did get here, but in relatively small number and reports of “death by killer bees” are incredibly rare. But the panic at the time was very real. Of all the things people had to be frightened about, sky-darkening swarms of “Killer Bees” decimating entire cities wasn’t exactly one of them.

This really caught my attention yesterday morning (from the opening minutes of “Meet the Press”):
 

More deadly than Ebola

 

15 minutes into their hour long Fear Fest over Ebola, Chuck Todd produced the above list of things you have a FAR GREATER chance of dying from in the U.S. than Ebola, yet that didn’t stop them from spending the entire hour preying on people’s irrational fears for the sake of ratings (in fact, ALL FOUR major network Sunday Shows yesterday were dedicated to the topic of “Ebola”.) I’d just like to point out for the record that the name “ISIS” never came up once on ANY of these shows. Two weeks ago, we were “all gonna die” as ISIS/ISIL made it’s way into the U.S. across Rick Perry’s extraordinarily porous border with Mexico. Why must every mortal threat to Republicans cross the Mexican border?

You have an almost 54 THOUSAND TIMES greater chance of catching & dying from THE FLU than Ebola. And you are TWENTY-SIX TIMES more likely to be struck & killed by lightning, but for some reason, THREE cases… only one of which was fatal… all connected to the same man… has everyone in a panic.

And when I say “everyone”, I of course mean Republicans. Because, as I’ve been pointing out for weeks now, Republicans are terrified of EVERYTHING. They live in constant blinding fear of everything from “government plots” (see: “FEMA camps” and “Death panels”) to black kids in hoodies. They sleep with a gun under their pillows and think one guy with Ebola in Dallas is going to lead to a nation-wide pandemic (though by definition, a “pandemic” is global.)

A number of prominent Republicans are harnessing that irrational fear of Ebola for political gain, attacking President Obama’s “failed response to controlling the Ebola outbreak“… which I remind you has been just THREE people in Dallas. And it doesn’t help matters any when a spineless White House seems to concede their ridiculous claims by “admitting” they could have handled their response to the Ebola “crisis” better. And even when Chuck Todd gave several medical professionals an opening to criticize the GOP’s refusal to appoint a Surgeon General (who normally would be in charge of setting national policy on an issue such as this), they were quick to dismiss the idea that a Surgeon General is even necessary.

One of the (ridiculous) key criticisms being levied by the GOP against President Obama’s choice of “Ebola Czar” is that he’s “not a doctor” (which is stupid because no one expects The Manager to be able to do the job of his staff. Could your boss do YOUR job?). But you know who WOULD be “a doctor”? A Surgeon General, which the GOP has chosen to block (Sen. Roy Blunt defended the GOP’s year-long obstruction of Obama’s nominee by putting the blame on Obama for “not appointing someone they could support.” Does anyone reading this believe there is ANYONE Obama could have nominated they wouldn’t have blocked? They’ve blocked FAR less controversial nominations for purely political reasons. And now it looks as though voters that haven’t been paying attention will reward their unprecedented obstruction, awarding control of Congress to a Party with an approval rating lower than Ebola.)

The Big Talking Point right now that Republicans seem to be gaining the most traction with is a “Travel Ban” to/from nations in Ebola “Hot Zones”. This “quick-fix” has a lot of appeal to easily-panicked Americans that have been fed a steady diet of Fear by the GOP-led media for the past month. I mean, it seems so obvious! “Why hasn’t Obama cut off commercial travel to Ebola-infected territories?”

Here’s why:

  1. There are no direct flights between the U.S. and these tiny West African nations dealing with the disease, making identifying travelers a logistical nightmare. It’s not like you know which country a passenger is returning from when they arrive in the U.S.. It would be like trying to screen out people that visited Martha’s Vineyard before allowing them into California when there are no direct flights between the two.
  2. If you make travel to these regions “a crime”, you drive potentially infected travelers underground, afraid to seek help should they become ill for fear of being arrested.
  3. And following up on #2, a willingness to come forward and/or seek help means greater tracking & accountability. We are presently able to track/contact other passengers & coworkers that might have come in contact with infected patients. Drive the victims underground, and tracking their movements becomes impossible.
  4. “Bans” & “Restrictions” create panic. If we start restricting travel in & out of these countries, you’re going to see people trying to “sneak in”. And I don’t mean “across the Mexican border” like Rightwing fear-mongers would use to terrify their racist hoards, I’m talking about simply getting your passport stamped in a “non-restricted” country so they can fly in without being questioned.
  5. And when people start to panic, their irrational fears get the best of them. Soon you have every idiot with a mild fever clogging up the ER because their nephew’s classmate has a cousin from Liberia. Add to that, doctors spending additional time running (expensive) unnecessary tests checking otherwise healthy patients for a disease that’s less common than being mauled by a black bear and a brown bear on the same day.

Republican governors across the country that are suddenly worried about the spread of Ebola haven’t exactly helped matters any by refusing Federal Medicaid funding to provide health care to tens of thousands of poor Americans. So now you have an enormous pool of high-risk people that will be slow to seek medical help because they can’t afford it.

One of those governors is Rick “Oops” Perry, who is on a world tour criticizing President Obama (remember when criticizing the president overseas was a major no-no?) for refusing to ban travel to Ebola affected regions. Meanwhile, in the U.S., the ONLY place that has seen a person-to-person transmission of Ebola is Dallas in Perry’s home state. So when this idiot starts calling for a travel ban in & out of Texas and orders the closure Texas’ airports to the rest of the country, I’ll give him a listen. Till then, he’s just stoking fear to score some cheap political points.
 

REMINDER: In many states, Early Voting begins today. Don’t allow Republicans to be rewarded for their obstruction, Sequesters, Shutdowns, pointless investigations, refusal to expand Medicaid, and an almost certain likelihood of attempting to impeach President Obama, by allowing them to win control of the Senate or Governor’s race. Vote!
 


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