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Iraqis Showing the Route to Peace/Progress with Massive Infrastructure Project?

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, June 8, 2015

After 12 years of war, Iraq may be showing America and the rest of the world the path to peace: Iraqi’s are building an entire city, Bismayah, just outside Baghdad. The massive infrastructure project has already created hundreds (thousands?) of new construction jobs (and hundreds more tangential jobs, related and non to construction) and once completed will provide 100,000 middle-income homes to over 600,000 Iraqi’s. The plan is to eventually build one million such residences across Iraq as part of a massive Infrastructure & Revitalization project. Running these cities means still more jobs, from grocers to law enforcement. South Korean construction company “Hanwha” won the $8 BILLION DOLLAR bid to build the city (another American opportunity lost) and expects to have the first 7,000 apartments ready by the end of this year (with completion of the city scheduled for 2019). And while ISIS… most of whom are Iraqi’s themselves… is still a threat to workers, they don’t seem to be interested in bombing the newly constructed buildings that are bringing hope to so many Iraqis. The Turkish corporation “Enka Insaat” won an additional $3 Billion dollar contract to build a gas-powered Power Plant for the city, and another South Korean firm, LS Industrial Systems, won an additional $150 Million dollar deal to build the Power Grid to link it all together.
 

Construction of Bismayah (3:24)

 

Author Rita Mae Brown (not Einstein) coined the popular phrase (for AA): “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over & over, and expecting a different result each time.”  And famed 18th Century Irish statesman Edmund Burke warned us: “Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.” And here we are, now in our 15th year in the Middle East, and I don’t hear anyone questioning our strategy of how to end the wars and get us out of there.

Though I was never a fan on Rep. Dennis Kucinich, I have long thought that his idea of appointing a “Secretary of Peace” to find NON-military solutions to end & avoid war would not only make the world a safer place, but save literally HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS that could be put to better use here at home. Last January, I proposed a non-military solution to ending the wars in the Middle-East (specifically, Iraq, Afghanistan and Israel/Palestine): “Infrastructure”. Build schools, roads and hospitals. And if the enemy blows them up, build them again. Locals will get very tired of the anarchists very quick, doing nothing to help, only serving to make their lives miserable, and turn on them quickly (Just how many wanna-be Jihadi’s do you think ISIS will be able to recruit if they are seen as the ones doing nothing positive, serving only to make people’s lives miserable? Reconstruction projects mean jobs that revitalize the community, and Americans will be seen as a people of “hope & peace”, not “misery & war”. The cost of rebuilding infrastructure would be magnitudes cheaper than war, not only in blood & treasure but in greatly reducing the length of time we occupy those countries. And all the money saved could be spent on desperately needed infrastructure projects here at home.

“Tens of thousands of bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. A third of the nation’s highways are in poor or mediocre shape. Massively leaking water and sewage systems are creating health hazards and contaminating rivers and streams. Weakened and under-maintained levees and dams tower over communities and schools. And the power grid is increasingly maxed out, disrupting millions of lives and putting entire cities in the dark.” […] It gets worse. A New York Times report found that “a significant water line bursts on average every two minutes somewhere in the country”—or 720 times daily! – RealTruth Magazine

Throughout the country, many urban roads and highways built decades ago now carry five to 10 times the traffic the original engineers expected and require constant emergency repair — creating horrible traffic jams. Water and gas pipelines laid in the first half of the 20th century are failing, leading to explosions and floods. “Some of this infrastructure is more than 100 years old,” said Rick Grant, owner of a Maryland structural engineering firm, “but it wasn’t designed with more than a 50-year life span in mind.” – The Week, Aug 22, 2014

And as I noted recently: China and Japan are currently competing to build America’s very first bullet train between Los Angeles & San Franciso… a contract estimated to cost around $67 Billion dollars.

Tap the “Military Industrial Complex” to build bridges instead of bombs. Hospitals instead of Command Posts. Roads instead of rockets. You get the picture. I assure you, there is WAY more money to be made building infrastructure around the globe and in all 50 states than there is building bombs to kill a wedding party of two-dozen innocent by-standers.

All eyes will be on Iraq to see whether a job and decent place to live in peace can trump anarchists mad at the world for making their lives miserable and bent on destruction.
 



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Filed in General, Jobs, Middle East, National Security, Right-Wing Insanity, Seems Obvious to Me, War June 8th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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GOP Candidates All Adopting Language of Democrats to Remain Relevant

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, May 18, 2015

Last week, Jeb Bush found himself in Damage Control mode after telling a Fox “news” anchor that he’d still have gone into Iraq in 2003 despite “knowing what we know now”. His GOP opponents pounced, denouncing the very idea that anything good came out of the invasion of Iraq that mitigated the mind-numbing disaster to follow. In another Through-the-looking glass moment, Mike Huckabee again tweeted that, as president, he would stand for “all of us, not Wall Street”, two weeks after Jeb denounced the rise in “income inequality”. On Fox “news” Sunday yesterday, Marco Rubio defended supporting President Obama negotiating with Iran (“I don’t know WHO wouldn’t be in favor of a deal” he tells Chris Wallace (he should have asked Netanyahu when his Party invited him to DC). This came minutes after he blamed “the last election” (the GOP’s big 2014 victory) for why Congress “can’t muster the votes to pass comprehensive immigration reform”. Huckabee is also running ads that use the words “Maximum Wage” in big letters… echoing a Progressive idea to cap the wealth of the absurdly rich (but look closely, he’s not calling to cap “extreme wealth”, he’s suggesting there’s a “Maximum wage” for ALL of us, in ads intended to APPEAR deceptively Progressive.) ThinkProgress also noticed the sudden rise in the number of Republican candidates adopting Progressive positions on the issues. Even Hillary Clinton hit the campaign trail sounding a lot like Warren on the subject of “income inequality”. It is clear, if you want the voters to take you seriously, you’d better adopt adopt the language of Democrats on the big issues… and not just ANY Democrat, but Elizabeth Warren (and Bernie Sanders too BTW).

The Republican candidates are disavowing the policies of the last Republican candidate (though Jeb insists he isn’t), and while they love to invoke St. Reagan, there really isn’t a single specific policy of his they can cite that they’d like to revive should they win the nomination. No, the only policies that resonate with voters in this election are those of our side: the Democratic Left.

Watching the Republican candidates tie themselves up in knots trying to avoid denouncing their own Party’s failures while still trying to take credit for not supporting them, has been a wonder to behold. Fox “news” Sunday’s host Chris Wallace asked Marco Rubio the exact same question Jeb was asked: “Knowing what we know now, would you have invaded Iraq?” Hilarity ensues:
 

Rubio refuses to admit invading Iraq was a colossal mistake (1:54)

 

You “don’t understand the question”, Marco? Puhleez. The invasion of Iraq and overthrow of Saddam has left the Middle East in chaos. Iran is FAR more powerful as a result; ISIS (the remnants of Saddam’s Mahdi Army) only exist today because of it; we took our eye off the ball in Iraq rather than focus on wiping out alQaeda; and we find ourselves in the uncomfortable position of helping Syria fight ISIS. Rubio tells one interviewer that “the world is a safer place without Saddam in it” (clearly it isn’t), while telling Charlie Rose that… “knowing what we know now”… invading Iraq was “a mistake” (how can it be a mistake if we’re “better off”?)

When Jeb suggested he’d still have invaded Iraq despite “knowing what we know now”, the GOP cringed. Even a majority of Republicans now admit invading Iraq was a mistake. Jeb tried to suggest he “misunderstood the question”. Five days later, he was in full take-back mode, telling reporters that “mistakes were made”. Now Rubio is too-cute-by-half pretending he “doesn’t understand the question” when asked if invading Iraq has made the world less safe (Funny, because many of these SAME people question the wisdom of Obama “taking out” Gaddafi and destabilizing Libya, with no sense of irony.)

So we have Huckabee, Bush-3, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Ben Carson, Chris Christie (ad infinitum) all talking about “income inequality” (let’s not forget Mitt Romney too), all adopting the language of Warren & Sanders, and trying to pass themselves off as the Champion of the Little Guy.

Rubio says negotiating with Iran is a good thing. All the GOP candidates are suddenly against the Iraq war too.

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader (cough) Mitch McConnell praised President Obama for bucking his own Party as Republicans joined with him in supporting the disastrous “Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty” (TPP). (As an aside, there’s a part of me that wonders if President Obama didn’t actually pull a fast-one, outsmarting the GOP, noting last year that the moment he agrees with Republicans on something, suddenly they oppose it. So he publicly announces his support for the TPP, even calling Warren “wrong” on the issue, and watches the bill tank while earning some good will among Republicans in his final two years. If he really supported the idea, he’d be telling Congress to renegotiate to find something both sides can support. He isn’t because he’s glad it failed. But is he really that damned smart? We may never know.)

The GOP isn’t adopting the rhetoric of the Tea Party cranks as the path to victory in 2016. No, they’re all adopting the populist language of Democrats, and THAT, dear reader, more than anything else, should tell you where this election is going.
 



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Filed in Election, General, Middle East, myth busting, National Security, Partisanship, Politics, Right-Wing Hypocrisy, Seems Obvious to Me May 18th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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What If… Hillary’s Campaign Imploded? Who fills the void?

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

Most people believe that the Bush Administration invaded Iraq in 2003 without a plan for what to do once they had overthrown Saddam. But they DID have a plan. ONE plan. To replace him with a man named Ahmed Chalabi, an Iraqi exile that tried & failed for nearly a decade to convince the Clinton White House that Saddam possessed “stockpiles” of “Weapons of Mass Destruction” and that he needed to be overthrown to avoid an inevitable attack upon the United States. He failed to convince the Clinton White House, but found a far more receptive audience once the Bush neocons took over. Suddenly a plan was set in motion (“from day one”) to overthrow Saddam and replace him with Chalibi. But when we invaded and those “stockpiles” were nowhere to be found, the Bush Administration wasn’t about to “reward” the man that duped them into launching America’s very first preemptive war, so they suddenly found themselves without a “Plan B”. Chaos broke out and Iraq has yet to recover from that lack of planning. Might Democrats be making the same mistake by not seriously considering another candidate should Hillary falter? Who steps up to fill the void? What’s our “Plan B”?

The GOP scandal machine was switched on the day after President Obama was re-elected to a second term and a Hillary candidacy seemed inevitable. There was “Benghazi!TM” on September 11th of 2012, followed by demands for an investigation into Clinton’s handling of the incident (just imagine how they might of reacted if four THOUSAND people had died that 9/11 instead of just four?) Republican tears over Romney’s loss weren’t even dry before Karl Rove suggested Hillary might have suffered “brain damage” as a result of a head injury that left her hospitalized that December, with some Republicans even questioning the “timing” of her injury as happening “conveniently” just before yet another hearing on “Benghazi!TM. They ridiculed her attempt to “hit the reset button with Russia” while not seeing the Ukrainian crisis coming (this is the Party whose own leader less than a decade before claimed to able to “see into Putin’s soul” and praise him as “a reformer”), and the latest scandals-du-jour are “email-gate” and (an old chestnut) the Clinton’s fund-raising from “foreign” donors (Republicans are proud to be bought & paid for by a handful of AMERICAN Billionaires. “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!”)

With no other “serious” opponents on the Left to focus on, all 37 Republican contenders can focus nearly every dime of their ad buys against a single candidate. The GOP can use its control of Congress to host countless partisan investigations (all funded by the taxpayer) to try and accuse Clinton of everything from being “incompetent” to an outright “criminal”. That’s a lot of negative attention & scrutiny focused on just one person.
 

What if something sticks? Then what?
 

The GOP knows that… with no other Democratic contender with a serious shot at winning the presidency… all they have to do is take out Hillary and a GOP victory in 2016 will be so easy they may not even worry about enforcing strict “Voter ID” laws (aw, who am I kidding? An election is no fun if they can’t screw over enough Democrats so that the margin of victory is wide enough to claim an imagined “mandate”.) That’s a lot of targets on Hillary’s back. If a dog keeps digging long enough, he’s bound to find a bone. What then?

For many, the obvious answer is Sen. Elizabeth Warren, no matter how many times she insists she is not running. And as much as I adore Warren (having watched her as a frequent guest of Bill Moyers’ NOW long before she ran for the Senate), I just don’t see her as “Commander-in-Chief” of the United States military. And besides, we REALLY need her in the Senate.

I have a personal preference for Bernie Sanders. I was stunned to see him give an interview to Fox “news” Sunday last week, and host Chris Wallace brought up the fact Sanders is “a self-described Democratic-Socialist.” I could hear the sound of every #FnS viewer across the nation (all 17 of them) audibly gasp at the revelation that “a NAZI” and/or “admitted COMMUNIST” is a serving United States senator thinking about running for president! While I personally WANT Bernie to run… and run as a Democrat in order to share the stage with Hillary in a debate that pushes her to the Left… if HE were the nominee, he’d be spending 90% of his time explaining to the Trailer Park Crowd that a “Socialist” is not a “Communist” or a “Nazi”. It’s the third largest political Party in the UK (after the Conservative & Labor Parties) and is currently the ruling Party in France. But to Bubba on his Bass boat or the Sarah Palin’s of the world chewing on Moose Jerky (and even a few reliably Liberal voters that just don’t know better), “Socialism” is either “watered-down Communism” or the foundation for the “National Socialist (aka Nazi) Party” (actually, Hitler’s Fascists took-over Germany’s Socialist Party to give themselves credibility, but were in fact Corporate neocons.) I’d say a Bernie victory is less likely than the election of the first black president that just happened to share a (middle) name with one of America’s greatest enemies (“Hussein”). Not impossible, but very very unlikely. It took a catastrophic economic disaster at the hands of the GOP to do it. Bernie will have no such advantage unless the GOP Senate goes completely off the rails between now and Election Day.

Then there is the former governor of Maryland Martin O’Malley who is known for… uh… ummm… hmmm. I don’t think the former governor of Maryland is even known for being former governor of Maryland. If Hillary were to falter, does anyone see the nation rallying around Martin O’Malley?

That leaves Joe Biden. With the continued success of the economy, a stunning military victory in the Middle East could suddenly make a desire to “extend the Obama presidency to a (metaphorical) third term” very attractive. One big downside is Biden’s age, who… should he win… would be the oldest person ever elected president. It was Joe Biden who got the ball rolling on the sudden stunning wave of approval towards equal rights for gays, declaring his support for same-sex marriage on “Meet the Press” in the middle of the 2012 campaign when President Obama himself was reluctant to openly support gay marriage for fear of how it might play out in an election year.

It was Biden who first advocated for a “pathway to citizenship” for undocumented immigrants, once again forcing the White House to take a principled stand on an issue before they were ready.

While I’m not sure Biden should be actively challenging Hillary for the nomination, should there be a need for another candidate to step up, Vice President Biden is the obvious next best choice.

PS: And for your listening pleasure…

“You’re kicking the tires. Looking under the trunk.” (???) Hillary during a 2008 campaign appearance

 



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Filed in Election, General, Politics, Scandals, Seems Obvious to Me April 27th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Note to “9/11 Truthers”: GermanWings Air Disaster Destroys Your Last Good Argument

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, March 30, 2015

I hate “Conspiracy Theorists”, not that I think every Conspiracy Theory is false, but nothing seems to turn more delusional paranoids into Armchair Physicists than a good Conspiracy Theory. From “The Magic Bullet Theory” to questions about “the melting point of steel” in the WTC, suddenly every idiot with a High School understanding of basic physics is Steven “freakin'” Hawking. I first posted a “debunking” of The Four Key 9/11 Conspiracy Myths (see “Most Popular” links on left) nearly EIGHT YEARS AGO (with minor updates in the years that followed). One of the hardest things to “explain away” regarding the crashes into The Pentagon and the field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania was the lack of any recognizable “debris”, suggesting something other than a passenger plane crashed into those places (but there WAS visible plane wreckage in the streets of Manhattan, so why wreck planes in NYC but not DC or PA? “Logic” is never the Conspiracy Theorists’ friend.) Towards the end of my post, I had this to say on the lack of a quantity of debris in DC & PA that one might associate with a jumbo jet:

Where is the debris field we so often see in other plane crashes? We see no debris because in an *accident*, the pilots are trying NOT to crash. The plane is traveling at a reduced rate of speed and breaks up on impact. As we see both here here AND IN THE PENNSYLVANIA CRASH, there is no debris field because the hijackers were traveling at maximum speed with the intent of destroying the vehicle.

 

Damage to The Pentagon… a building built to withstand a nuclear bomb… after 9/11
Pentagon 9/11 damage
“Where is the plane?” asked conspiracy theorists.

 

But, in all honesty, that was more a theory on my part, and readers were left with just having to “take my word for it”… until now that is.

One of the first things I noticed about the “debris field” left behind by GermanWings Flight 9525 in the French Alps was how tiny the pieces were. The plane quite literally was obliterated on impact. Numerous reports all claim the plane struck the mountain at “full speed”, which for an Airbus A320 would be about 530 MPH, or Mach 0.80. The Boeing 757’s/767’s used on 9/11 have roughly the same top speed, which they too were being flown at at the time of their destruction.

No longer theory, we now have physical proof of what the wreckage of a jumbo jet deliberately crashed at full speed looks like, and precisely as I stated in that column eight long years ago, the lack of debris is consistent with the fact the plane was traveling at such a high rate of speed.

And THAT, Dear Reader, puts to rest the final idiotic “9/11 Conspiracy Factoid” supposedly proving that what we were told happened that fateful day did NOT in fact happen (not that I expect die hard 9/11 Conspiracy buffs to finally accept reality and abandon their tinfoil hats once & for all.)

BTW: Can someone PLEASE tell ABC News to stop repeating the name of the co-pilot that murdered all those people? Reports are that he was a hypochondriac that was taking prescription meds for a “psychosomatic illness”, believing he was about to die, and decided to kill himself in a manner that he believed would assure he was “remembered”. For this reason alone, the co-pilot should die “in obscurity”, his name forgotten to the ages, taking incentive away from the next nut who seeks to commit mass murder in hopes of getting their name in the papers.

I lost count in just the opening THREE MINUTES of ABC’s ThisWeek yesterday of how many times they mentioned him by name… with a repeat performance on the Evening News. Please stop. – Mugsy
 



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Filed in General, mystery, myth busting March 30th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • 1 comment | Add/View

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“I’m not a scientist”, #Ballgazi and #ClimateChange

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, January 26, 2015

My reaction to seeing the hashtag “#Ballgazi” regarding the controversy over whether or not the New England Patriots cheated to win the AFC Championship? #Facepalm. “Oh, dear God”, I remember thinking. “Seriously?” But the idea that the same people that see a “conspiracy” by the Patriots to win last week’s game are the same people that see a “conspiracy” regarding Benghazi, wouldn’t surprise me one bit. For the past ten years or so, whenever I heard someone start a sentence with, “I’m not a scientist, but…”, I could be reasonably sure what was to follow was a rant by some Right-Wing Climate Change Denier trying to explain away a pattern of extreme weather events in such a way that doesn’t make them look like a Climate Change denying imbecile to rational thinking people, yet without totally alienating their anti-science low-information base. But this past week, suddenly I could make no such assumption as defenders of the New England Patriots now use that same phrase to explain how their footballs “deflated” during the course of last week’s AFC Championship game against the Colts. Suddenly, “I’m not a scientist” pundits are saying it’s not possible that deflation of the footballs could be a “natural occurrence” and it “MUST be result of human activity.” And suddenly my eyes are buried in my palms again.

Uh, can we get our stories straight, guys?

Last week, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Sen Jim “The Greatest Hoax” Inhofe (yes, THAT Sen. Inhofe) co-sponsored a bill to declare that “Climate change is REAL and NOT a hoax.” You read that right, Inhofe co-sponsored (AND voted FOR) a bill declaring that climate change is NOT a hoax. Inhofe is another of those, “I’m not a scientist” guys.

I’m not entirely sure Inhofe even knew what his own bill was when he tweeted for his fellow senators to “join me in voting YES on Whitehouse’s amdmnt saying climate change IS a hoax, bc it is.” But afterwards, Inhofe snarkily explained that his argument is that climate change “is not man-made“… THAT is the “hoax”. So he’s admitting Climate Change exists but we should do nothing about it? I suppose that’s progress (doesn’t exactly explain his tweet though.) Inhofe went on to explain that something as insignificant as “Man” believing he can transform the climate of an entire planet “created by God” is (quote) “arrogant”. (Should God strike Inhofe’s home with lightning for admitting Climate Change is real, I hope the firemen suggest to him that since the fire was not “man-made”, it would be “arrogant” of them to attempt to put the fire out.)

There is a time when “heavier-than-air” flight was described as “contrary to the will of God” and “arrogant” for man to believe he could duplicate the power of flight that God uniquely bestowed upon birds. Moses was told that men that dared climb Mount Sinai all died for “daring to seek the face of God” when it is more likely they died of exposure to extreme cold and oxygen deprivation. Death by “arrogance”? Maybe. Death by ignorance? Definitely.

Healing through medicine instead of relying on prayer was once considered “arrogant” too. More recently, “cloning” and genetics were also powers limited to the Almighty. Only Zeus could cast lightning bolts (electricity) and dead witches’ bodies floated on water.

Muslims believe it is “arrogant” for any man to presume to know “the face of God” and therefore, drawings & paintings of “The Prophet” are matter-of-factly blasphemous. Nice company you find yourself in, Senator.

Jim, we’re not talking about “one man” all on his own countering God’s work, we’re talking about 7-BILLION PEOPLE, plus corporations & industries building giant factories that belch BILLIONS tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every year. Exact numbers are hard to come by, but American power-plants alone emit roughly “2.2 Billion tons of carbon-dioxide into the atmosphere annually, while the typical American family of four emits 85 tons of CO2 every year. It all adds up.

All these Greenhouse gases must go somewhere. They don’t magically disappear. Much of the heat and the carbon floats into the upper atmosphere and literally blankets the Earth, warming it up by trapping in heat. That which doesn’t float into the upper atmosphere is absorbed by our oceans which are quickly reaching their saturation point. Anyone here ever lived next to a pond in which a chemical spill killed all the fish and became so toxic nothing could live in it? Now just image that happening to a planet where 65% of its surface is covered by oceans teaming with life?

If you want to talk “arrogance”, let’s talk about believing YOU’RE right and ten thousand climate scientists are all wrong, risking the future of an entire planet on your personal belief that “man can not change what God created”… a belief than has been disproven again… and again… and again…


Traffic Jam-USA
Traffic jam in the USA
 
Traffic Jam-Sydney, AUS
Traffic Jam-Sydney, Australia
 
112 mile traffic jam-Sao Paolo, BRZ
112 mile traffic jam in Sao Paolo, Brazil
 
Coal plant-USA
Coal fired electric plant-USA
 
Factory in China
Factory in China
 
Streets of China
Streets of China
 
Oil Refinery in the USA
Oil Refinery in the USA


 

But what do I know? I’m not a scientist
(actually, I am. Got a degree and everything.)
 



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Filed in Environment, General, Global Warming, Scandals January 26th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • 1 comment | Add/View

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Republicans Vow First Order of Business Will Be A Pointless Exercise in Showing Who’s Boss by Approving KXL

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, January 5, 2015

As I noted a few weeks ago, I’m still surprised by the number of people that just don’t remember that gas was WELL below $2/gallon before… not just before George W. Bush… but two years into the Bush presidency before the invasion of Iraq in 2003. They just couldn’t fathom gas prices ever being as low as we’re seeing it today (close to $2/gallon.) In fact, in 2003, oil hit just $35/barrel the week before the invasion of Iraq after hovering around $29/barrel for years. (I’ve linked to this video of mine numerous times of how one economist predicted what the invasion of Iraq might bring… if not UNDER-ESTIMATING the costs, two weeks before the invasion. In the background you can see gas prices were still around $1.79/gallon in the North-East.) It took a second war and a President/Congress completely unwilling to regulate oil speculators to drive oil prices up to nearly $150/barrel and gas over $4/gallon, laying the groundwork for the ensuing global economic collapse. During the 2012 Presidential race, Newt Gingrich… struggling for a coherent message (“moonbases” just wasn’t packing them in)… settled on promising “$2.50/gallon gasoline by the end of his first term in office” (2016) by “approving the Keystone XL Pipeline” and drilling for oil in every backyard in America (interesting side-note: Mitt Romney vowed to bring Unemployment “below 6.5% by the end of [his] first term”). Yet in two years… not four… the price of gasoline is well below $2.50/gal nationally and can even be found for under $2/gal in many states (one local Exxon station near me here in Houston is selling Regular Unleaded for $1.89/gal.) And it all happened without approving the freaking pipeline. Fantastical promises of “1 million new jobs” were quickly/easily debunked. Most of the construction is already complete. The pipe itself has already been made/purchased. The company benefiting isn’t even American and the vast majority of the “oil” is already earmarked for export overseas, having little to no impact on domestic gas prices. And the process of converting greasy Canadian sludge into “oil” requires a per-barrel price-point nearly $20/barrel higher than it is now, making the entire project a money LOSER. Even if approved, “Trans-Canada” would likely not pursue it for years til the next Republican president drives oil prices back into the stratosphere. But as OPEC has now proven, all they have to do to eliminate the competition is to make the pipeline too costly to operate by simply pumping more oil. One might think that all this might convince even Republicans that completing the Keystone XL pipeline is an exercise in futility, but you’d be wrong. Undeterred, incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has declared that “the FIRST vote of the new Congress will be to approve the Keystone XL pipeline” (with WY Senator John Barrasso on “Meet the Press” yesterday citing those “42,000 jobs” as to why it is needed.) Whether either senator knows that that’s “42,000 low paying temp jobs stretched out over two years“, I couldn’t say. Nor do I think it would make a difference. No, Senate Republicans have already admitted that their true reason for making passage of the Keystone XL such a high priority is that it is “a test” [ibid] of political will in Washington. They’ve convinced enough brainless Right-wingers that approving the KXL is “a no-brainer” and that an Obama veto would be nothing more than a challenge to their authority… nay… “the will of the American people” that voted them into office this past year. And THAT is what this vote is all about. It’s not about “creating (imaginary) jobs” or “reducing gas prices”, it’s just more childish gamesmanship by the GOP in a pointless flexing of political muscle.

You might remember that just this past November, just days after the election, in a desperate/futile/pointless/asinine attempt to save DINO Mary Landrieu’s (D-LA) Senate seat in a runoff election, Congress voted on whether or not to approve the KXL. The bill failed to reach the 60-vote super-majority threshold necessary to overcome a Democratic filibuster. Landrieu did so poorly in the runoff election that it is doubtful passage of the bill would have affected the outcome of the election anyway. With the added seats in the Senate this year, Republican’s probably have the support of enough brain-dead Democrats to overcome a Democratic filibuster should it come up for a vote again, but NOWHERE NEAR the 67-vote Super-majority they’d need to override a presidential veto, making the entire exercise pointless & futile… IF passing the now irrelevant pipeline were indeed the point (which it isn’t.) It’s all about petty power-starved Republicans trying to show Americans “who’s boss”. They’ve built up this insane reality that exists only in their fevered imaginations where Americans hate President Obama and disagree with him on ever major issue. It’s a world in which Keystone means “jobs, jobs, jobs” and gas under $2.50 a gallon. It’s a world in which Sen. Ted Cruz can declare with a straight face that “Americans are suffering because of ObamaCare” and that “Benghazi” is the greatest political scandal since “Monica Lewinski”.

Republicans see no downside to creating “jobs” regardless of cost… so long as it is a Conservative-friendly industry (be it oil or bombs). They’ll give away Billions in tax incentives to oil companies and spend yet billions more in environmental cleanup in exchange for just 42,000 low-wage jobs (roughly $600K for every $20K/year job.) But tell them how investing in green technology produced a a $5-BILLION ROI, and all you’ll hear is snarky jokes about “Solyndra” (a $300 million loss).

Of course, all this political gamesmanship has nothing to do with “jobs” (last year, unemployment fell at its fastest rate in 30 years) or “bringing down oil prices” (oil now below $54/barrel with gas at $2.20/gallon, a full 1/3rd lower than it was one year ago) and everything to do with Republicans trying to show Obama “who’s boss”.
 



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Filed in Election, Energy Independence, General, Greed, Jobs, Money, myth busting, Partisanship, Politics, Right-Wing Insanity January 5th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • 1 comment | Add/View

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Mugsy’s Annual Predictions for 2015

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, December 29, 2014

This is arguably my favorite posting duty of the year, where I get to ridicule the so-called “psychics”, blast Conservative prognosticators, a look back at my own routinely successful record of predicting (averaging around 60%), followed by my own predictions for the coming year. Sure, I’ve had my good years (75% in 2008) and my bad (20% for 2007), but even on my worst day, I don’t suck at predicting as much as most (all?) Republicans. They say, “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it”, which explains why Republicans are just so Godawful at predicting. They lack ANY ability to learn from history and can’t see beyond their immediate goals (eg: invading Iraq and overthrowing Saddam without an exit strategy, wildly unrealistic expectations of the result, and zero preparation for the aftermath.) I can understand why the predictors keep predicting as long as there’s money to be made and people continue to trust their predictions despite a track-record of failure, but what I can’t understand is why people keep asking these notoriously bad pundits FOR their predictions. I swear I’ve owned hamsters that were better at predicting what happens next than some of the most famous Republican pundits. Case in point:

Bill Kristol (former Chief of Staff to Dan Quayle… which tells you all you need to know) is so routinely horribly bad at predicting, The Rachel Maddow Show actually did an entire segment on it last January (though they omitted his most famous wrong prediction:

“And on this issue of the Shia in Iraq, I think there’s been a certain amount of, frankly, Terry, a kind of pop sociology in America that, you know, somehow the Shia can’t get along with the Sunni and the Shia in Iraq just want to establish some kind of Islamic fundamentalist regime. There’s almost no evidence of that at all. Iraq’s always been very secular.” – Bill Kristol defending the decision to invade Iraq to ABC’s Terry Moran, April 1, 2003.

…”almost no evidence of that”… except maybe A THOUSAND YEARS of civil war. Iraq was only “secular” because Saddam knew it was the only way to control religious infighting. What did I say about Republicans and their knowledge of history? (Iraq was currently secular, ergo it has always been secular.)

The so-called “professional psychics” are so routinely bad, it’s almost no fun beating up on them anymore. This list of predictions for 2014 by some of the most famous in their field was so abysmally wrong that it’s easier just to read it than dissect it. Among my favorites: Vladimir Putin wins Nobel prize for his part in Syria and “A tornado destroys most of Kansas City” (KC Kansas or KC Missouri? …like it matters.)

Last year, I made a point of recording “Fox news Sunday’s” Predictions for 2014 on their year-end show. Host Chris Wallace joked that the segment comes under the heading “Often in Error but Never in Doubt”… which sums up Conservatism perfectly. Have you ever seen a group so sure of themselves despite being so consistently wrong about everything? Republicans are SO sure their beliefs are right that their predictions are “predictably” pro Right wing with absolutely no foothold in reality. (I skipped their predictions on “entertainment” and “sports”… which were just as wrong… focusing instead on their political & economic predictions:

2013 Fox’s “Power Panel” makes their predictions for 2014: (4:10)

To summarize:

It’s no surprise Fox chose not to (nor do they ever) replay their previous years’ predictions yesterday heading into this years’ segment.

The only one bullish on the economy was DINO Joe Liebermann, correctly predicting a strong economy for 2014, “over 3% GDP growth”, “the DOW will break 18,000″ (it did) “and the S&P will break 2,000″ (it did). But even he predicted “unemployment will [only] go down to 6.5%”. Last month, unemployment fell to just 5.8% following ten consecutive months of 200,000+ job growth… the first time that’s happened since the LAST time a Democrat occupied the White House.

Last week, this was the news on the economy (Dec 23, 2014):
 

ABC News: 2014 Ends With Record Economic Growth (1:56)

 

Remember that date because I promise you Republicans will be taking credit for the improved economy next year despite the fact it was a huge success BEFORE they ever took control of Congress.

On “Meet the Press” yesterday, Chuck Todd summed up the Obama economic record for 2014 with these figures:
 

2014: Year of the Economic Comeback (1:10)

By contrast, here is a compilation of news reports on the economy after six years of President Bush and Conservative control of Congress (5:54):
 

My first attempt at predicting the coming year was 2006 when I went a paltry 2 for 10 (20%) predicting 2007. Learning from my mistakes, in 2007 I went 9 for 12 (75%). 2008 went 11 for 15 (73%). 2009: just 45%, 2010: 68%, 2011: 66%, 2012: 50%. If you’re doing the math, that’s an average accuracy of just under 57%. So, how did I do in 2013 predicting the coming year? I can’t say if tending to my mother in her final days clouded my judgement, but you be the judge:

  1. Wrong: GOP to agree to a “compromise extension” of Unemployment benefits. – It’s easy to forget that just one year ago, the economy was still soft and unemployment was still nearly 7-percenct (finally falling to 6.7% by years end) Senate Republicans knew they could vote “Yes” on an extension because they knew it would never pass the GOP controlled House. House Leader Boehner hemmed & hawed for five months, finally rejecting an extension in mid-May. But by then, it was moot. Three straight months of job growth well over 100K and then two months of job growth over 200K, by then no one was decrying the need to extend unemployment benefits now that the jobs were coming back.
  2.  

  3. Wrong: expect the DOW to close just over the “19,200” mark come years end. – The market grew like gang-busters once again in 2014, but slightly slower than it did in 2013. Breaking 18,000 last week was still a record.
  4.  

  5. Wrong: Supreme Court to rule that states must recognize marriages performed in another state. – While the Supreme Court did overturn bans on same-sex marriage in Oklahoma, Utah & Kansas as unconstitutional, they did not go so far as to rule on any “interstate” recognition of marriage. But that’s primarily because no such case was ever brought before the high court. Based on three rulings of declaring state bans “unconstitutional”, there would be no excuse for defending a ban had such a case come before the court. So while I got this one wrong, I still feel vindicated.
  6.  

  7. Wrong: don’t expect control of either House to change hands – Well… half-wrong anyway, but no points for half credit. I never expected Democrats to just roll over and play dead like they did this year, eschewing the president and his robust economy with record job growth like he was an Ebola victim that crossed the border illegally. Never under-estimate a Democrats ability to not take credit for their success as well as Republicans ability to convince you that’s just warm yellow rain they’ve been showering you with.
  8.  

  9. Wrong: Hillary WILL announce her intention to run for President, as will Chris Christie – The years’ not over with yet as I type this, but I really thought the candidates would declare immediately after the mid-terms. But Hillary is waiting before pasting that target on her back, and enthusiasm for Christie just never grew as Democrats followed “Bridge-Gate” and Republicans still never forgave him for embracing President Obama after Hurricane Sandy.
  10.  

  11. Wrong: expect a reasonably smooth, growing economy in 2014. Expect GDP growth in the 4.0+ range next year. – First half right, but second half just missed the mark. I remember as I wrote that, that 4.0+% growth was probably a tad overly optimistic, but growth of over 3.5% wasn’t that far off the mark. Still not good enough for me to grade my prediction as correct.
  12.  

  13. Wrong: Snowden to move to South America. – As far as anyone is aware, he’s still in Russia, even agreeing to an interview with American television while in Moscow.
  14.  

  15. Right: Regarding Congress raising the Minimum Wage, with a number of states deciding no wait for Congress to act and raise it on their own, but nationally, if the economy continues to improve, forget it. – Ah, finally, a win! I was getting worried there. In his State of the Union Address, President Obama asked Congress to raise the Minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10/hour. Republicans in Congress have vowed to block any vote on raising the Minimum Wage, but as predicted, 21 states voted this year to raise their Minimum Wage on January 1st of 2015.
  16.  

  17. Wrong: The Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia is going to be a mess. – While I could make a case that I got this right (#SochiProblems was a trending hashtag on Twitter during the games following reports of “unfinished hotels” and a hiccup during the opening ceremonies as one of the Olympic rings failed to expand), but nothing like my expectation of events either being relocated or canceled, and threats of violence against the games that I expected. I’m no hack, so mark this one wrong as well.
  18.  

  19. Wrong: Janet Napolitano, hand-picked by Obama to lead a delegation of openly gay athletes to Sochi, was specifically chosen because she herself will come out as gay upon her arrival. – No idea if she is or not, but she certainly didn’t make any such announcement while she was there… not even during an interview with “The Advocate” magazine.
  20.  

  21. Right: I don’t think an unemployment rate of 6.1% (give or take 3/10th of a point) is out of the realm of possibility. – Not only was unemployment of just 6.1% obtainable, but the eventual 5.8% is indeed withing 3/10th of that figure as predicted.
  22.  

  23. Wrong, but with some caveats: a nuclear disarmament deal WILL be struck with Iran. – While Iran never did agree to give up its right to pursue nuclear weapons, I also noted an increase in the global supply of oil resulting in a plunge in the per barrel price (but guessing only around $80/$75, never dreaming we’d see sub-$60 numbers again. Iran is indeed trading its oil through OPEC.
  24.  

  25. Wrong: Ted Cruz announces his intention to run for President. – Sometimes reality wins out over ego. With just 2% support for a presidential run among Conservatives (a number that is likely falling following his end-of-year stunt that has the GOP faithful spitting nails in his direction) support for a Cruz candidacy just never materialized.
  26.  

  27. Right: Supreme Court will rule in-favor of Hobby Lobby. – There was no way on God’s Green Earth that this Conservative-leaning Court was going to rule against the Religious Wrong Right in this country. Had the company arguing its religious rights were being violated been Muslims, Hindu’s or Satanists, you can be damned sure the vote would have gone the other way. But the American Taliban wields great power in this country.
  28.  

  29. Right: no “Election Reform” bill will be taken up in an election year. – Admittedly, this one was pretty easy. Lots of talk about the need for “Election Reform” following the 2012 Election, but rampant voter disenfranchisement laws swept the country (in Red states) this past year, sweeping the GOP back to control both houses of Congress due in part to just 39% voter turnout (which is actually just slightly above average for a mid-term.)
  30.  

  31. Right: a really big hurricane will hit someplace somewhere. – I’ll admit I was half-joking on this one, but monster storms are becoming more & more common as Global Warming becomes a growing problem. Typhoon Nuri, the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the North Pacific (smashing a 37 year old record), brushed the East coast of Japan before breaking up in the Bering Sea.
  32.  

  33. Right, with caveats: another “Lone-wolf” gun nut will go on a shooting spree. – In the wake of Sandy Hook and the Colorado shooting sprees, it seemed most likely that another mass shooting would take place again. On May 23 in Isla Vista, CA, another disturbed young man went on a shooting spree killing six people and wounding thirteen others (I actually expected more deaths) before killing himself. Notably though, 2014 was more the “year of cops killing unarmed black men” (and one black child) than it was noted as a year of mass murders by a single gunman.
  34.  

  35. Right… though I’m almost tempted to mark this one wrong: the Syrian conflict will still be raging a year from now. After incorrectly predicting military action against Assad/Syria in 2012 AND 2013, I played things a bit closer to the vest for 2014 to predict only that the conflict would still be ongoing in 2014. And indeed it is. But ironically, Assad’s war on his own people has been disrupted by… of all things… the terrorist group ISIS seeking to take control of the entire region. In an odd and totally bizarre way, ISIS has managed to do what America (nor any coalition nation) has dared attempt: disrupt Syria’s war on its own people by drawing its fire against an even greater threat to their monarchy.

Totaling the damage, 7 of 18 for just 39%. Not my worst but pretty far off the mark. Let’s see if I can’t do better this year.
 

My predictions for 2015:

  1. Early in 2015, in a sweeping and feigned show of “bi-partisanship”, Republicans will quickly approve at least two of President Obama’s cabinet appointees (most notably the new Secretary of Defense) in an attempt to show just “how willing” they are “to work with the president”. They will then quickly return to their obstructionist ways though, passing bill after bill they know President Obama would never sign (additional tax cuts for the highest tax brackets, repealing ObamaCare, etc) and point to the president as “the obstructionist” standing in the way of “what the people want.”
    (Update 1/7/15: Republicans Move To Gut Social Security Benefits on Their First Day in Power)
    (Update 1/9/15: House votes to pass Keystone XL pipeline)
    (Update 4/23/15: After record-setting 9 week delay, U.S. Senate confirms Loretta Lynch as Attorney General.)
  2.  

  3. Tensions between NYC Mayor DiBlasio and the Right-Wing head of the NY “Policemans Benevolent Association” will reach a boiling point with the Mayor finally chastising Pat Lynch by name for breeding discord between him and the NYPD over his own personal political differences. I’m not sure how much longer New Yorkers will tolerate this nonsense. Mayor DiBlasio won with a majority of the vote. Where are they now and why aren’t they rushing to his defense?
    (Update 1/31/15: New York Mayor Bill De Blasio Says Back-Turning By Police Was ‘Really Inappropriate’ but doesn’t cite Lynch by name.)
  4.  

  5. Hillary will remain the Democratic front-runner all year as her few Democratic challengers fail to ever pose a serious threat to her candidacy. Bernie Sanders will get into the race (as a Democrat so he can take part in the debates) but Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren will not. She said no; she means no. “Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces” is not her style. Expect an endorsement from her late in the year (most likely for Hillary, but Hillary has a nasty habit of throwing her Democratic colleges under the bus, so it is difficult to say for sure.) Support for Bernie may swell after one or two good debate showings and may even help push Hillary to the Left some, but the chances of an admitted “European Socialist”… which translates in the dullard Teabagger ear as “Nazi”… becoming the nominee is about zero.
    (Update 4/30/15: Sen. Sanders Announces his candidacy for the Democratic Presidential nomination.)
  6.  

  7. Fans of Ron Paul in 2012 will find Rand Paul a poor substitute and fail to flock to his candidacy as passionately as they did his father.
    (Update 7/28/15: Politico: Inside Rand Paul’s downward spiral.)
  8.  

  9. I’m not sure I’m ready to pick the Republican front-runner at this time (my gut says Jeb Bush but I also never expected him to run), but I can tell you that not even Mitt Romney’s ego is big enough to convince him to run again against the likes of Jeb Bush and Chris Christie. There isn’t enough oxygen in the rarefied air that is the GOP-nomination for three egos that big. I’m not even confident there will be a clear GOP front-runner by years end. And remember folks: #Jeb4President, because two Iraq Wars and three Recessions just weren’t enough.
    (Update 1/30/15: Romney Announces He Won’t Run for President in 2016.)
  10.  

  11. ISIS will continue to grow, but not at nearly the same rate. Recent barbaric domestic attacks like the massacre of 145 school children in Pakistan by the Pakistani Taliban in response to the rise of ISIS there will anger weary neighbors tired of all the in-fighting. As fewer people flock to join ISIS, their growth will slow and less territory will be taken/held. I don’t expect ISIS to be significantly larger a year from now than it is today (roughly 31,500 members).
  12.  

  13. We haven’t seen the last of Putin’s trouble-making. Global insecurity raises oil prices. The recent plunge in oil prices has thrown the Russian economy into chaos, yet Putin still enjoys an 80% approval rating among Republicans er Russians because they suffer from the same classic inferiority complex as Conservatives (them against the world). So they rally around their dear leader as he makes mischief in the world trying to drive up oil prices by soughing unrest in Ukraine and the Middle East (and my money is on teenage Russian hackers being behind the hack of Sony Pictures that was blamed on North Korea.)
  14.  

  15. Which leads to North Korea. I suspect evidence will grow that North Korea was not directly responsible for the computer hacking of Sony Pictures late this year, but instead were only approached for “backing” or “support” just prior to the attack by third parties. Any early “sympathy” that might grow for North Korea as evidence suggests the hacking did not originate there will quickly dissolve as evidence suggests they had prior knowledge of… and were complicit in… the hacking attack.
    (Update 1/19/15: NSA confirms NK behind hack attack because they hacked NK’s computers back in 2010.)
  16.  

  17. The GOP will NOT attempt to impeach President Obama in 2015 (no bets on 2016 though). They know the voting public just has no appetite for two attempted impeachments of two Democratic presidencies in just the last eight years and would rightly crucify them for such crass political gamesmanship once again if they tried. An attempt to “sue” president Obama over “Executive Action” is still possible, but if they do (likely) it will be incredibly low-key.
  18.  

  19. Gitmo will still be in operation by years end. Republicans will raise a ruckus as more (already cleared) detainees are released, but for the most part, not much will have changed by years end. President Obama has tried to close it for six years, but with a Republican controlled Congress for his last two, forghedaboudit.
  20.  

  21. And that brings us to Cuba (where Gitmo is located.) I never dared predict a thaw in relations with Cuba this past year, but now that it has happened, expect interest in Cuba as a tourist destination to explode, much to the chagrin of Conservatives, torn between their hatred for the Castros/Communism and their love for the economic opportunities including corporations expanding cruise lines, building hotels and reviving the struggling cruiseline industry.
    UPDATE 7/23/15: Carnival Cruise Lines adds Cuba as destination.
  22.  

  23. With no elections this year, don’t expect any more states to pass marijuana legalization laws. But as the year comes to a close, expect a push to get it on the 2016 ballot in more states start to take shape. No, Democrats will not make it part of their 2016 platform and no, president Obama will not take any Executive Action… neither pro nor con… regarding the issue.
  24.  

  25. As noted above, Republicans will try to take credit for record economy that we’ve already started to see take shape before they’ve even taken control of Congress. When Republicans held control of both houses during President Clinton’s final six years, even they didn’t try to repeal the tax hike that Democrats passed in 1994 that led to a Balanced Budget and unprecedented economic growth. Nor will they try in 2015 because they know what it would do to the economy.
    (Update 1/7/15: Sen. Mitch McConnell says the economy is improving because Republicans are in charge)
     
  26. I’m stunned oil prices have plummeted so precipitously this past year, and while the decline may continue for a few months more, it has a floor. I’d be stunned if oil fell below $40/barrel in 2015 and if it does, it won’t stay down there for long. Even with Putin out there trying to stir up trouble to get oil prices back up to rescue the Russian economy, expect the price of oil to settle in around $58/barrel give or take around $5… roughly just about where it is right now ($55/barrel).
    (Update 4/30/15: Price per Barrel of Crude Oil: $59.21.)
  27.  

  28. The DOW will continue to rise but not at the same rate, as oil prices stagnate and Republican obstructionism leaves Washington in the doldrums. The DOW should flirt with the 20,000 mark by years end, another record but at a slower rate than 2013 or 2014.

And that’s my predictions for 2015. No big moves on the Environment or Renewable Energy. 2015 just won’t be a “shake things up” kind of year. With Hillary’s “inevitability”, even the Presidential Debates won’t draw a lot of interest. Other than Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and “Medicare” in 1965, can you name anything of significance happening in a year ending in “5” in the last 50 years? My batting average has fallen every year since 2008, so I’m due for some improvement. We’ll see.

Follow-up: In my Predictions for 2014, I predicted the Supreme Court would rule that same-sex marriages performed in one state must be recognized in other states and that it would eventually lead to National recognition of same-sex marriage since same-sex couples could then legally exist in all 50 states. I was wrong in 2014, but the same conclusion was reached by the Supreme Court on June 26, 2015, declaring bans on same-sex marriage unconstitutional.

 



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Filed in Economy, Election, General, Money, Predictions December 29th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • 1 comment | Add/View

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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Ebola Is Only the Latest Terror Helping Conservative Find Their Pro-Big Government Roots (again)

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, October 6, 2014

Whenever someone whines “both Parties are the saaaaaaame!”, I tell them (after telling them they’re an idiot) that “the difference between Republicans and Democrats is that Republicans think government is a force of evil that can’t do anything right while Democrats see government as a Public Service that exists solely for the Public Good. You either believe one or the other. There is no middle ground.” So pardon me if I chuckle when Fox “news” Sunday opened yesterday morning with the predictable hysteria over “what is THE GOVERNMENT doing to keep us safe from the E-bola virus?” Funny how they spend nearly every week attacking the government and inviting on Conservative miscreants every week on how we need to CUT [the size of] government, defund various government agencies, and advance the idea that “the private sector can do it better/faster/cheaper.” But the moment something new terrifies them, they want to know where the government is to rescue them. In the run-up to the 2012 campaign, Libertarian darling Ron Paul believed “there are only two legitimate functions of government: police & national security.” Everything else should be turned over to the private sector. Most Republicans aren’t THAT far out in Crazy Land (yet), but Texas gov Rick “Oops” Perry did reach national prominence by failing to name the third government agency he’d cut (to which Ron Paul said the correct number was actually “five” not “three”). Now, it is highly unlikely Perry’s third unnamed agency was The CDC (Centers for Disease Control), but ideologically speaking, it could have. ANY government agency is a target for privatization among the GOP-faithful. Dig around on Conservative blogs and you’re sure to find more than a few threads on the “incompetency” or “dubious power” of the CDC… exemplifying government as a whole (too big, too powerful, too expensive and incompetent.) But we don’t have to imagine what medicine would be like in a Libertarian America because we’ve been living it for the past 237 years.

The fight against Ebola is one giant example of why a National Healthcare System is vastly superior to our privatized healthcare system.

Try to imagine if we had to rely on Private Industry to fight Ebola? Simple question: Is there more profit to be had in “curing” Ebola, or (secretly) helping it spread and then treating (but not curing) it as a chronic illness?

The most promising treatment for Ebola appears to be an experimental drug known as “ZMapp” (pronounced “zee-map”), developed by “Mapp Pharmaceuticals” thanks to millions in “government funding”. Why? Because there’s almost no profit to be made in providing a cure to an obscure disease found almost exclusively in central Africa. Producing more “ZMapp” in bulk will take spending lots of money for little-to-no financial gain… unless there’s a pandemic and you can sell the cure for $10,000 a dose… ensuring that only the Mega-Rich survive while we… The Rabble… that’s you & me…are left to fend for ourselves.

And the great irony is that when Republicans are scared… and they live their lives in constant fear… be it a black kid in a hoodie that convinces them they need to carry semi-automatic weapons into Kroger’s, unaccompanied immigrant children flooding over our Southern border, or the latest Middle-Eastern threat that demands a full-scale invasion to resolve… Republicans are quick to over-react and demand massive government intervention that usually involves spending lots & lots of money.

The perfect example: look at the GOP response to 9/11: Create the largest gov bureaucracy in history (DHS) and start invading unrelated Middle-Eastern nations on just the suspicion they might be planning to harm us. When Republicans are terrified (and that’s All. The. Time.) no government program is too big and no amount of money to deal with the problem is too small.

In the 1980’s, Reagan exploded our National Debt fighting the Cold War to spend the Soviet Union into oblivion. Among his most expensive boondoggles… “Star Wars”. Not the movie, but the government program of possibly putting satellites in orbit capable of shooting down inbound Soviet missiles… a threat that was about as likely as 1980’s me charging into the Kremlin with a knife clutched between my teeth and orders to rescue the last Romanoff from the secret prison beneath Red Square.

Two weeks ago, it was a terror-struck Lindsey Graham prepared to go to any expense to re-invade Iraq and invade Syria to defeat ISIS. This week, ISIS beheads its fourth hostage and it doesn’t even make the lead story of the evening news. Terror today, passé tomorrow. What will the next costly “save us, Mr. Government!” moment be for the GOP, and when do people start pointing out the obvious hypocrisy?
 



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Filed in Election, General, Healthcare, Right-Wing Hypocrisy, Right-Wing Insanity October 6th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • 1 comment | Add/View

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Republicans think “the world changed” on September 11th. No it didn’t. 17 months later it did.

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The world did not change on September 11th.

Maybe for Republicans it did, but for the rest of us, we were just as concerned about terrorism on September 10th as we were on September 11th. Just because Republicans were suddenly & violently awakened as to just how serious a threat “terrorism” was on “9/11″ doesn’t mean the threat wasn’t there on September 10th… or for the previous eight years when Bill Clinton made “keeping us safe” look easy (and Republicans accused his going after bin Laden as a “Wag the Dog” manufactured distraction.) The threat was there when the World Trade Center was bombed in February 1993, barely a month into Bill Clinton’s presidency. It was there when alQaeda was bombing U.S. embassies in Nairobi & Kenya in 1998. The threat was there when they tried & failed to bomb Seattle’s “New Years 2000″ celebration. And it was there when the USS Cole was attacked a month before the election. It was also there when National Security Advisor Richard Clark was desperately trying to get the incoming Bush Administration to pay attention to alQaeda, and it was there when President Bush ignored a Presidential Daily Briefing on August 6th, 2001 entitled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.”. Whenever I hear Republicans “accuse” Democrats of having a “pre-September 11th mentality”, it infuriates me because ONLY REPUBLICANS HAD A “DIFFERENT MENTALITY” ON SEPTEMBER 10TH. Democrats were well aware of the threat on September 10th. THEY are the ones who were caught by surprise.

But you know when the world DID change? When George W Bush unnecessarily invaded Iraq on March 19th, 2003. Only the most partisan “divorced-from-reality” neoconservative Republican’s still believe that the invasion of Iraq was necessary and that the mess we see in that region of the world today would still be taking place even if Saddam Hussein hadn’t of been removed from power.

Does anyone (sane) believe ISIS would have risen to power and been able to overtake nearly half of Iraq if Saddam Hussein were still in power? And even if you believe they still might have, how much stronger would our military be today to confront them if it hadn’t been decimated by eight years of chaos in Iraq?

And now it looks like we’re about to invade Syria to go after ISIS. In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past year, that’s where the ultra-violent yet highly-organized “Sunni rebel group” formed as part of the resistance to overthrow Syrian President Assad… the guy who gassed children. This is the same group of rebels John McCain was demanding we send weapons to as recently as January of this year, and is now demanding we go after as a threat to the stability of the entire Middle East.

Despite being made up of mostly young men (and a number of women as well), ISIS is extremely well organized, with a “command structure” and “supply lines” like a regular army. And that’s because the leadership of ISIS consists of a number of former Iraqi Army officers.

You see, despite Sunni’s being a minority in Iraq, Saddam Hussein was a Sunni, so he put Sunni’s in charge of everything, with an army made up mostly of Sunni men, and then ruled ruthlessly to suppress the Shia majority. When George Bush invaded Iraq and overthrew Saddam, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Bremmer disbanded the entire Iraqi Army… the closest thing they had left to a functioning police-force… telling them essentially, “You’re all fired. Go away and take your guns with you.” To make matters worse, the new president of Iraq, Nouri al-Maliki (a Shia) did exactly what you’d expect an Iraqi Shia to do after decades of repression: flip the government 180 degrees, putting Shia Iraqi’s in charge of everything and banning Sunni’s from power.

So, what’s an angry, unemployed, well-armed, well-trained former Iraqi soldier who can’t get a job because his country is in shambles and his government bans him from public service because of his religion… to do all day? First he joins the fight against the American soldiers occupying his country (ISIS began as “alQaeda in Iraq“), then when they leave, goes looking for “work” (as a soldier) where he thinks he’s needed most… supporting the Sunni rebels in neighboring Syria.

And of course, beside providing plenty of motivation, we supplied them with U.S. weapons & vehicles as well. How thoughtful of us!

And now they’re back in Iraq. Bigger & Badder than ever. All courtesy of the Bush/Cheney Administration and their invasion of Iraq. “The world” did not change on 9/11… Republicans did.
 



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Filed in General, Middle East, National Security, Politics, Terrorism, War September 10th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Both Sides Are At Fault? Democrats Don’t Control the Senate. They Just Don’t.

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, August 4, 2014

Every time the news reported on how little Congress got done before embarking on their annual August Recess, some newscaster was always sure to point out the fact that “the Senate… controlled by Democrats…” likewise has been every bit as unproductive as the GOP-controlled House. The obvious implication being: “Both sides are equally to blame!”, followed by “The Democratically controlled Senate likewise went on recess without passing a bill [on XYZ subject]. Can’t blame just Republicans for doing nothing!” The hell I can’t. Since President Obama first took office in January of 2009, Democrats controlled Congress unobstructed for a total of just 24 working days. That’s it. Then the illness & death of both Sen. Byrd and Ted Kennedy denied Democrats of their “Super Majority” in the Senate, and Republicans Gerrymandered their way into majority control of the House in 2010. Other than those 24 days, Republicans have forced EVERY vote of consequence to require a 60 vote super majority just to pass, ensuring that Democrats can’t pass ANYTHING of consequence without the votes from the Republican minority. So while voters gave control of the Senate to Democrats (four times since 2006), and 50+1 votes is normally enough votes to pass anything, now even 55 votes (53 Democrats + 2 Independents that caucus with them) isn’t enough thanks to GOP obstructionism. Democrats don’t control EITHER half of Congress. They just don’t. Oh sure, Democrats may have the Majority in the Senate, and get to decide what bills they take up for a vote, but even then, there’s no point in even bringing a bill up for a vote without pandering to the lunatic fringe on the Right. The Minority is setting the agenda in the Senate. Meanwhile in the House, it’s strict “majority rules” over there. No “Super Majority” gamesmanship over there. Democrats are less-than-powerless in the House and castrated geldings in the Senate. So whenever I hear one of these talking heads tries to lay blame on “both sides”, pointing out that “the Democratically controlled Senate” is just as dysfunctional as the Republican controlled House, I want to reach through my TV and throttle them. The ONLY thing Democrats “control” is the White House, and Republicans are hard at work at bottling THAT up too, threatening to sue the president for doing anything on his own after they worked so hard to prevent Congress from getting anything done. So STOP apologetically “acknowledging” that “Democrats control the Senate” because they don’t. Except for 24 days back in 2009… and not all in a row mind you… Democrats have been blocked from getting ANYTHING of substance done.

Meanwhile, pollsters are asking people who probably couldn’t name the Vice President if you stuck a gun to their head, their opinion on who’s to blame for: [insert political issue here.] I heard one poll the Media breathlessly trumpeted that “33% of Americans think President Obama should be impeached” while “only 30% of Americans ever thought President Bush should have been impeached.” That’s because Republicans are insane. The poll in question reached 33% only because so many RepublicansFIFTY-SEVEN PERCENT… support impeachment while “just 35 percent of independent voters and 13 percent of Democrats” do. These are the same Republicans that still want to see President Obama’s Birth Certificate. It’s also the same Republican Party that is obstructing everything Democrats try to do, hoping Obama will get the blame. And those same people being polled… they don’t know why things don’t seem to be getting better fast enough, or in some cases, seem to be getting worse (eg: border security and Foreign Policy)… all they know is “Obama is in charge so he must be at fault.” They don’t know that our nation has been hijacked by a secret Republican coup ensuring nobody gets anything done.

And the Media plays the “both sides are to blame” game.
 


 

Fox “news” personality Greta van Susteren appeared on her home-away-from-home, ABC’s “ThisWeek” yesterday and demanded that President Obama “call Harry Reid and the Senate back into session”, yet made NO similar demand of Boehner and the GOP-controlled House.” Like the Senate could do anything with half of Congress still away on vacation. On a personal aside, Why do ABC, CBS & NBC have on so many Fox personalities on their shows as guest pundits week after week? You NEVER see pundits from any of the OTHER rival networks on FOX as guest commentators. When was the last time you saw Rachel Maddow on the “FnS Power Panel” or George Stephanopoulos guest-hosting “Fox & Friends”? But I digress. (BTW: That screenshot in the upper left is from the TV app on my PC listing information about ABC’s “ThisWeek”, but due to a programming flaw, longer descriptions of other programs aren’t erased by shorter ones, producing some rather comical descriptions.)

So the next time someone tries to “blame both sides” for the dysfunction in Congress by pointing out that “Democrats control the Senate”, correct them. On the spot. Don’t let them get away with it. Our country has been hijacked by Right-Wing ideologues controlling not only the House, but the U.S. Senate as well via unprecedented obstruction. One need look no further than the fact that before Bill Clinton, this nation had impeached only ONE president in our 222 year history. Now it looks as though this is what Republicans will do in the sixth year of EVERY Democratic presidency.

ANNOUNCEMENT: August 1st marks the 10-year Anniversary of Mugsy’s Rap Sheet. The site began life as a “Blogger.com” site back during the height of the 2004 Presidential election and in the wake of the invasion of Iraq over “WMD’s” that never materialized after a year of assurances with 100% certainty that they existed in great “stockpiles” being readied to be used against us. It has been the job of M.R.S. ever since to ensure that no Republican lies are ever forgotten, no misinformation goes unchallenged, and no hypocrisy goes unnoticed. – Mugsy

 



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Filed in Election, General, myth busting, Partisanship, Politics August 4th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View