Five Year Old Boy Shoots, Kills Toddler Sister. So which one was the “bad guy with a gun”?
May 6th, 2013 by Admin Mugsy


Caroline Sparks: death by idiot parentsLast December, with the echos of gunfire from “Sandy Hook” still ringing in our ears, NRA Spokesman Wayne LaPierre proudly declared, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun!” Last Friday in Jerkwater, Tennessee (not its real name), the parents of two young children (Caroline, aged 2 & her brother, turning 5 that same day) decided to celebrate by giving this FIVE YEAR OLD CHILD a loaded firearm… this firearm (see photo below)… for his birthday. According to witnesses, the loaded weapon “accidentally” discharged, striking and killing his young sister almost instantly. The weapon in question? A Crickett .22 “Synthetic Youth Rifle” made just for “children”, purchased at Wal*Mart (“Crickett”, what a darling name):


A Birthday present for a five year old?
Crickett .22 'Youth Rifle'
(click to enlarge)


Note the circled areas: “Must be 18 years old” and “Don’t forget your hunting license.” This young boy had not attained either, yet the parents still placed a loaded deadly firearm in the hands of a pre-schooler with disastrous results.

Well who could have seen THAT coming?

Caroline’s uncle called it “a tragedy that no one could have seen coming.” [ibid] Guess that answers THAT question.

Caroline died at her home before help could arrive. Her family says she is in “a better place” now. Hard to disagree with that.

Two lives were destroyed that day. Not just the fatally wounded toddler, but her young brother as well, who will now live the rest of his life with what could very-well be his earliest memory… him accidentally shooting & killing his young sister. The very idea that this weapon is marketed to children is disturbing enough (and while the Wal*Mart ad specifies “18 or older”, a Google image search shows dozens of children barely out of diapers wielding these firearms), but consider the culture & mindset of any group of people that thinks this is an appropriate gift for a five year old child? The argument goes that “if you expose children to firearms at a young age, teaching them responsibility and care, you remove the ‘mystery’ that attracts mischief that so often results in tragedy.” Yet, here we are.

So I find myself wondering:

  1. The Newtown shooter’s mother also “exposed her child to guns at a young age” and look how THAT turned out. Lanza’s mother took her son to the rifle range and taught him to shoot her Bushmaster 223 believing it would maker son (quote) “more sociable”. THAT sure worked like a charm! He shot her in the head with her own assault rifle while she slept before taking off for the local Elementary School to mow down another 20 first Graders and six Teachers.
  2. Doesn’t the same logic apply to “Sex Ed” and “Drugs”? The same people arguing that “early exposure takes away the lure of mystery” and teaches children to be more “responsible”, are the same people arguing “abstinence only education” when it comes to sex and “just say No” when it comes to drugs… two issues than can be every bit as life-ruining (even deadly) as guns.
  3. If “more guns” are the solution, might this tragedy have been prevented if only we had armed the 2-year old? Was the five year old the “bad guy with a gun” we were told to look out for? Did he need that rifle to fend off burglars ala “Home Alone 37”? Should we have armed the toddler so she could have defended herself? Who was the “bad guy” in this debacle that could have been prevented if only he had been shot first? (I’ll give you a second on that one.)

Undoubtedly, some Right-Winger will go after me for “making light of such a tragedy”, but rest assured, I am NOT. (As my redneck step-father used to say, “I’m as serious as a fart in church.”) I am highlighting “absurdity” with “absurdity”. This was not an unforeseeable tragedy that no one could have prevented. Those parents need to go to jail and their surviving son taken away for his own safety.

The NRA’s 142nd Annual Convention wrapped up here in Houston Sunday with a final speech by celebrity gun-nut (and all-around douchebag) “Ted Nugent” imploring:

…an enthusiastic crowd to increase NRA membership 20-fold as the “culture war” over guns continues.

“I want to show them how much we will fight for freedom.

Remember that this is a “man” that defecated in his jeans for two weeks to avoid “fighting for our freedom” in Vietnam. And if you dare express your First Amendment right to protest gun proliferation, you take your very life into your hands as these “lovers of freedom” turn their aggression towards you… quite possibly at the point of a gun… as they try to shut you down.

So tell me how “more guns” in this situation might have prevented this tragedy? Because I can sure as hell tell you how LESS guns would have prevented it.

(Maybe this will make the decision easier: The “Crickett”? Also available in pink.)

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Defenders of 2nd Amendment Quick To Throw 1st to the Wolves
Apr 22nd, 2013 by Admin Mugsy


Free Speech only when I sayWho could have seen last week coming? Certainly not my Sunday Night post, which was quickly upstaged by a deadly bombing in Boston and a fertilizer manufacturing plant explosion here in my home state. Also last week, even the pathetic watered-down gun-control bill with over 90-percent support couldn’t get past a Wingnut minority in the U.S. Senate… well, correction, technically it DID pass, winning “54 to 46”… which in any NORMAL government would have been enough to become law. But not in our now-dysfunctional government where it now takes a SUPER MAJORITY to pass ANYTHING the minority objects to. Bill Maher had it right last Friday when he said, “Senate Republicans sent a clear message to the terrorists last week. If you want to kill a lot of Americans, use a gun.” Gun advocates call the defeat “a victory for the 2nd Amendment!” But then ask them what we should do instead and the answer is invariably: “Censor/ban violent videogames and movies! Block dangerous websites! Don’t allow Muz’lims to build that Mosque!” Oh, and while we’re at it, let’s declare (our particular brand of) Christianity the official religion. “Free Speech”? There’s a zone for that! Isn’t that interesting?

You’ve probably heard this “battlecry” before:

The Gun Nut Battlecry


“The second amendment is there to protect the first!” Yeah, but who’s going to protect it from YOU, the gun-wielding nuts that seem ready, willing and able to sellout the first amendment if it means they get to keep their toys? President Bush violated The Bill of Rights left & right for seven years all in the name of “security”… which reminds us of another once-popular Right-Wing battlecry: “Those who would give up essential liberty in the name of security deserve neither!” Yet, that’s EXACTLY what they did under George Bush because he let them keep their guns (well, actually, he didn’t, but IOKIYAR.)

Jon Stewart also rightly pointed out last week that when it comes to “terrorism”… a FAR less frequent crime… Republicans are prepared to move heaven & earth, trample every constitutional right from “Habeus Corpus” or “Miranda”, to “indefinite detention of American citizens without trial”, all to prevent the next attack. But when it comes to far more prevalent (and lethal) acts of gun crime, we can’t even agree to make it harder for convicted felons (or even an alQaeda terrorist) from going to a gun show and buying a semi-automatic assault rifle no-questions-asked.

Last week I Tweeted (are you following M.R.S. yet?):

If there’s one person to blame for the inability of our government to pass even the most rudimentary and publicly popular piece of gun control legislation just four months after the slaughter of twenty 7 year olds and six teachers, look no further than Senate Majority Leader (for now) Harry Reid (D-NV) for refusing once again to reform the grossly abused filibuster. Senator Reid said recently that he “didn’t even have 40 votes” for an earlier form of the gun control bill to justify bringing it to a vote. Reid does not seem to understand that the “60 vote threshold” enables more people to vote “No”. If a Senator knows a bill is likely to fail because it won’t meet the olympian “60 vote threshold”, it’s a lot easier to vote No on a bill no one expected to pass anyway. Visa vie, few people want to be on the losing side having to explain why they didn’t vote for a popular bill. So arguing that you “didn’t have enough votes to reach SIXTY” is a canard because the ability to win over the 5 or so extra votes needed to pass is a LOT easier when they know you only need FIFTY (plus the VP) for something to pass.

But now, following their inability to pass even this “toothless” attempt at gun control, we hear Democrats adopting the rhetoric of the minority that obstructed them, saying “Yeah! Maybe we DO need to look at violent movies and videogames“… despite the fact these same violent movies and videogames are available in nearly every other country on Earth without the same bloody carnage seen in America day after day.

Republicans are now asking: “What is it about our culture that breeds such violence?” It couldn’t POSSIBLY be our balls-to-the-wall mega-macho gun culture where every idiot with a gun thinks he’s Wyatt Earp. Lord no! It must be those darned movies and videogames!

Postscript: Another popular battlecry during the gun-debate:

“The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.” – Thomas Jefferson.


is a fraud. He never said it. The closest he came was:

“No freeman shall be debarred the use of arms [within his own lands or tenements]”


…making NO mention of “government tyranny”. Just thought you’d like to know.


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Attention GOP: You can’t dismantle gun reform then go around calling the bill “ineffective”
Apr 15th, 2013 by Admin Mugsy


The REAL problemThis Thursday will be the 20th Anniversary of the end of the raid on the “Branch Davidian” compound in Waco, Texas where religious gun nuts holed up with a messianic cult-leader decided that a BATF raid (following the murder of a BATF Agent that tried to investigate them for illegally transporting and selling guns across state lines) was a fulfillment of End-Times prophecy of the government coming to take their guns away. April 20th, Friday, will be the 14th anniversary of the shooting at Columbine High School in 1999, where 12 students and one teacher were murdered and another 21 students were injured. April is a big month for “Deadly Rampage” anniversaries by nuts with guns. Today, following the worst school shooting in history, Republicans are making the rounds telling everyone that currently proposed legislation “would have done nothing to prevent the last four massacres“… those being Newtown, the Aurora/Batman theater shooting, the shooting of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, and a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, WI. What kind of legislation might then have actually mitigated those incidents? Two immediately spring to mind: a ban on assault weapons and a ban on high-capacity ammo clips… which WERE a part of the original bill. Who got those provisions removed? The same guys now calling the bill toothless.

The weapons used in the 1999 Columbine High School Massacre
The Columbine Weapons


Last week, Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe… the eye of every “GOP Crazy-Storm”… decided that enough time had passed since the Newtown Massacre that it was now okay to attack the parents of those murdered children, suggesting they are ignorant dupes, too stupid to realize President Obama is using them to push through gun legislation that would have “done nothing to save their children.”

Utah Senator Mike Lee said on “Meet the Press” yesterday that: “This bill, I believe, would do more to limit the rights of the law-abiding than it would to actually prevent violent crime.

I’m sorry, but if your first reaction to the murder of 20 first-graders and six teachers is to think “Obama/Liberals are going to take our guns away”, your priorities SUCK.

Inhofe, Lee, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul and Joe McCarthy’s paramour Ted Cruz (R-TX) all vowed to filibuster the gun reform bill if it included an “Assault Weapons” ban… something that WOULD have likely had a direct impact on the number of children murdered that day. But do you think any of them are insisting we put that ban back into the bill so it would actually make the ban more effective at actually addressing those concerns? Of course not! Rubio even went so far as to suggest we need to weaken, not strengthen our gun laws. Because more guns means a safer society (it’s nonsense of course.) Thinking “more guns” is the solution to gun violence is like thinking the to solution to drunk driving is “more alcohol”.

Also on the Sunday talk shows yesterday, Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) said “only better mental health laws will ensure that the Newtown mass shooting victims did not die in vain … that’s why I’m focused like a laser on the mental health component.” The “Affordable Care Act” (aka: ObamaCare) provides funding to expand coverage of… you guessed it… mental health care. Cornyn’s position on The ACA: “Why ObamaCare Must Go”, by Sen. John Cornyn. The Senator also voted against including assault weapons in the current gun legislation and has no stated position on limiting high capacity clips/magazines… the two things that would most directly would have impacted the deadliness of recent mass shootings.

Why is it that owning a gun is a right but being able to see a doctor when you’re sick is a privilege? Gun nuts say the REAL threat is “the mentally ill”, but when you try to increase funding for mental health care they scream “Marxist!”

Former Congressman turned NRA Spokesman Asa Hutchinson last week called “driving 30 miles into town” to obtain a background check “too burdensome” for rural residents. More children must die because some #@!$% doesn’t want to be “inconvenienced” by having to drive a few miles into town? If your priorities listed in order are: “1) Avoiding two hours of inconvenience; 2) Dead Children… you seriously need to rethink your priorities. Why is it that so many “Pro-LIFE Republican gun nuts seem more concerned with their own “inconvenience” than saving the life of a child?

2 seconds before Reagan was shot.

Gun regulations “infringe on people’s rights & liberty”, but regulating gay marriage and mandating vaginal ultrasounds are perfectly acceptable limits on our freedom. In America, Birth-Control and Marriage Licenses are harder to get than bullets. They actually say that “kicking God out of our schools” is more to blame for school shootings than the guns. If that’s so, then what’s the excuse for priests molesting children in our churches?

GOP priorities


Last week, Texas voted to drug-test every welfare applicant because 2.6% of them are drug users, yet these same legislators oppose background-checks before buying a gun despite the fact that at least 2.6% of them are probably on drugs.

Last Wednesday, Rachel Maddow pointed out that the NRA came to the defense of a former convicted felon that was arrested after being caught with a handgun and AK-47 with 30-round extended capacity clip in his possession. The man argued that the law prohibiting him from owning a gun was unconstitutional. They won. Was that REALLY a law that needed overturning to protect YOUR rights? The NRA says, “We don’t need MORE laws, we just need to enforce the ones already on the books!” And then they spend the rest of their time getting those laws overturned, even rushing to the defense of convicted felons. Attention NRA Members: If you think the NRA exists to protect YOU and not The Gun Industry, think again. They just fought for and won the right of convicted felons in Louisiana to own assault rifles, making you less safe thus ensuring you’ll need to buy more guns to protect yourself.

As The Daily Show’s John Oliver recently pointed out:

“One failed attempt at a shoe-bomb and now we all take our shoes off at the airport. 31 school shootings since Columbine and no change in the regulation of guns.”


These Congresssmen say banning high-capacity magazines only inconveniences “responsible gun owners”. If you need 30+ bullets to hit your target, you probably have no business firing a gun. They say, “Criminals don’t obey gun laws”. So by that logic, why do we have ANY laws at all? We have laws against stealing. People still steal. We have laws against speeding. People still speed. They say the REAL problem is “mental health care”, but then actively oppose allowing the government to do anything about it. They say, “Guns don’t kill people! PEOPLE kill people!” So why then do they need a gun? They say “a gun is no more dangerous than a knife, a hammer, or a car!” Well then, if you have a knife, a hammer, or a car, why do you need a gun? We have Congressmen actively crippling sensible legislation that WOULD of had a DIRECT impact on some of the most tragic mass murders of our time, and then once they’ve kicked the legs out from under those bills, they go around and talk about how toothless the proposed legislation is.

GOP hypocrisy is nothing new, but sadly, the Media’s failure to call them out on it this time around means MANY more people are going to die.

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The Right’s Irrational Arguments Against Gun Control
Mar 25th, 2013 by Admin Mugsy


Patriot: Yesterday vs TodayLast week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that he would be dropping the “assault weapons ban” from the Senate’s bill to ban Assault Weapons. If that’s not insane enough, how about his reasoning for doing so: Because it would fall “well short of the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster.” AND WHOSE [bleeping] FAULT IS THAT, YOU PIECE OF [bleep]?” (Reid argued he has only around 40 votes. But I GUARANTEE you that if he only needed TEN more Senators instead of twenty, you’d find a LOT of people wouldn’t want to be on the losing side of that vote. Translation: It’s easier to oppose a bill you know has no prayer of passing.) So where does that leave Gun Reform? The argument against Gun Control goes something like this: Criminals don’t obey laws, ergo, we shouldn’t pass any laws prohibiting weapons of war from our streets because the only people affected by these laws are good law-abiding citizens… you know, the way murderers obey laws against murder. And we can’t keep a national registry of “what gun belongs to whom” so we can trace a weapon used in a crime back to its owner, because when you start keeping a list of who owns what gun(s), it just makes it that much easier for Obama’s Stormtroopers to target your suburban 3-bed 2-1/2 bath split-level with garden-gnome  for a drone strike, or descend from the sky in black helicopters to bust down your front door and take your guns away!

Yes, these seem like perfectly sane & rational arguments to The Right.

As you well know, Democrats have been pushing for filibuster reform ever since the GOP wildly abused the power during the first two years of President Obama’s first term. When Senator Reid had the opportunity to do something about it in 2010, many of us were appalled when he said “No”. Upon retaking control of the House in 2010, Republican Senators had backed off a bit, knowing that they could let a few bills they opposed slip through, confident in the knowledge that their colleagues in the House would kill it for them (without incurring the bad PR of being obstructionist asshats). But the problem didn’t go away entirely (not by a longshot), and 17 months later, Reid took to the floor of the Senate for mea culpa, stating that his critics were “right” and he was “wrong” not to have reformed the filibuster when he had a chance.

So color everyone shocked when Reid balked at the opportunity YET AGAIN to reform the filibuster last January. His reasoning for doing so was basically a promise from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell that Republicans would be on their best behavior. Honest & true! We double-pinky swear! So of course, Reid caves, and the GOP goes right back to their miserable obstructionist ways (what is it with Democrats who keep looking for a glimmer of conscience in Republicans?) Personally, I wonder if some Conservative Power-Broker didn’t threaten the lives of Reid’s family if he didn’t back off filibuster reform. I certainly wouldn’t put it past them.

Anyway, back to Gun Control:

If you listen to The Far Right on ANY issue, fear & paranoia reign supreme. But what kills me is that this is only true when DEMOCRATS control the White House. Which is nuts because the biggest violators of the Constitution, personal privacy and civil rights were The Bush Administration with Republican control of both houses of Congress. I keep an ACLU flier from the 2006 election pinned to my corkboard entitled, “It’s Been a Tough Six Years for the Bill of Rights”, marking just a few of the ways one-party rule under Bush violated and outright eschewed the Constitution at every opportunity, hand-picking lawyers that would tell them that what they wanted to do was legal, and firing those that did not. Yet it’s the Democrats that keep them in constant fear of “Big Brother” coming to take their hunting rifle away and have an “illegal alien” gay-marry them to a donkey… oh, and tax them to pay for it.

Bush supported more Gun Control than Obama

As I noted on here a few weeks ago, when you ask a Right Winger for their position on a buzz-word that the Right has demonized… like “gun control” or “ObamaCare“… they flat out oppose it… not just mildly… but violently & irrationally, and base their reasoning on a plethora of misinformation they heard listening to Glenn Beck or Fox “news”. But then ask them how they feel about individual items IN those bills, and they’re all for it! Opponents of “gun reform” attend huge rallies across the nation, yet 87% of them support “background checks”, 82% support “temporarily” suspending the license of a dealer that can’t account for the whereabouts of 20 or more guns, and 81% disagree with the NRA that juveniles convicted of a serious crime needn’t wait ten years before being allowed to buy a gun (yes, the NRA opposes preventing gang-bangers from buying guns.) The NRA is in total misstep with its own members quite simply because the NRA doesn’t exist to represent the will of its members. It exists solely to represent the interests of gun manufacturers.

Listening to NRA President Wayne “Guns don’t kill people, violent video games do” Pierre blather on yesterday about how “gun laws” are used to oppress legitimate gun owners… and yet we should be “enforcing the laws already on the books” (because law enforcement has become too lax?) makes my head hurt. These aren’t rational people. There’s a reason the Republican leadership pushes “home schooling” and “faith-based education” (where you accept everything you are told on faith.)

And Democrats like Reid need to stop listening to them.

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Gun Nuts Across Houston Protest Laws No One Has Proposed (yet support ones that were)
Feb 25th, 2013 by Admin Mugsy


Mental Health Test for Gun OwnershipMy local news here in Houston Saturday night opened with an eye-rolling report on “hundreds” of “pro-Second Amendment Rights” protesters showing up for “Day of Resistance” rallies to protest “anti-gun control rallies” in opposition to “new gun legislation” they believed was forth-coming from the White House in violation of their second Amendment rights. I don’t normally report on “local” news stories, but these protests are anything but “local” now, springing up across the South. In Houston, gun nuts whining about the government is about as rare as gun-racks in pickup trucks, and as much fun to watch as a child wandering into traffic. But the most remarkable thing… and I know I’m not telling you anything new here… is the ocean of difference between the “perceived” threat that has them up in arms (no pun intended) and “reality“. But yesterday’s newscast was special in that the protesters actually appeared to KNOW what the reality is, yet showed up anyway. (Unfortunately, I can find no way to copy nor embed the video, so please visit the site to view it. It’s worth it.)

Crowd gathers for pro-gun rally in Houston

Why are Right-wing protesters always whiter than the driven snow?

Hosted by the “League City Tea Party” (natch), protestors came out to defend “their right to bear arms”… a right that NO ONE is threatening to take away. Mom & Dad never explained to these mental-midgets that just because they got a Ten-Speed for Christmas instead of a Harley doesn’t mean they are “the worst parents on the face of the Earth”. Likewise, just because you can’t have a military-grade AR15 with 100-Round drum doesn’t mean the government is “denying your right to bear arms”.

Protesters explain why they are there: It’s because of what they THINK Washington is going to do
and whether it worked before… two things EASILY verifiable with a simple Google search.
Protester says he THINKS crime didn't go down the last time they tried this

First protester: “I think the last time they tried this, gun crime did not go down.”

Second protester: “I really think that he’s trying to take our weapons away.”

You “think” the last time the government passed an assault weapons ban, crime didn’t go down? Well how about if you actually checked to see if that’s the case before you get yourself worked up into a lather to attend a protest to argue against something you admit you don’t know the answer to? Does he not own an “Internet Machine”? A two-second Google search is all it takes to find out that in fact crime involving Assault Weapons declined by “between 17% and 72%” (depending on the state, according to a 2004 University of Pennsylvania study – PDF). The study rightly points out that very little “crime” actually involves Assault Weapons (you don’t use an AW to rob a liquor store), so it’s not surprising over-all crime declined very little, but AW’s do in fact account for the lions-share of “innocent bystanders” outside of the intended target and mass-murder victims. And that is the point. The Assault Weapons ban isn’t intended to curb “robberies” or reduce the number of “car-jackings”, it’s to reduce the number of “innocents” being killed by homicidal maniacs that do things like “spray-fire” inside movie theaters and 1st grade classrooms.

But the remarkable thing is THEY ACTUALLY KNOW THIS: After asking the nutters what they (cough) “think” Washington is going to do, the reporter then gets specific to ask about ACTUAL proposed legislation:

Reporter: “League City residents say more gun laws are okay so long as they don’t infringe on the Second Amendment.

Third protester: “It’s got it’s pros and cons. Everything will have it’s ups and downs,” said Josh Weed. “I agree with the stricter regulations and everything, psych screenings and everything like that. That’s great.

Fourth protester: “I think it will help to a certain extent as far as doing mental checks and stuff like that, I think that would be good,” said Kathleen Weed.

So in general they are SO outraged that they show up by the “hundreds” to protest laws no one has proposed, but when you get specific and ask them about actual proposed legislation, they’re all for it. And these are Deep-South Texas Teabaggers from a town where earlier this week:

[The] League City [City Council]… approved a resolution [7-to-1] not to comply with any new gun laws from the federal government.

Now I have to ask these Luddites on the City Council just what Federal laws they’re going to ignore? No one is threatening “confiscation” of their personal property. The most likely gun legislation is “universal background checks” and banning the sale & manufacture of various assault weapons and high capacity magazines/clips. So what will they do differently? Do they plan on NOT performing background checks to prevent convicted felons and the mentally ill from buying guns in their town? Or perhaps they plan on allowing gun manufacturers to come to their town to make/sell assault weapons and high-capacity magazines for sale ONLY inside the “League City” city limits? I’m really really curious just which federal laws they’ve just agreed to ignore. Remember, these are the same people they lay claim to “The Party of Lincoln”… a president that fought the Civil War on the grounds that the rights of the Federal government supersedes the rights of state & local governments.

Look! A black guy! Clear the stage!
Why are there always more black guys on stage at Right-Wing rallies than in the audience?


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“Gun-free Zones” are NOT “magnets for crime”
Jan 21st, 2013 by Admin Mugsy


Hunters don't need Assault WeaponsOn the January 13th edition of Fox “news” Sunday, they invited Larry Pratt, Executive Director of “Gun Owners of America”… a man that makes the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre sound reasonable… to discuss gun control. Briefly, the GOA is a group that believes there should be absolutely NO gun laws, period, and that placing ANY restrictions on gun ownership is “unconstitutional” (never-mind that whole “well regulated” bit). Pratt’s insane rantings were too numerous to go into here, but his opening remark condemning “gun-free zones” was not original. Pratt pointed out that Texas Congressman Steve Stockman from “just outside of Houston” was going to propose a bill to:


“remove the gun-free zones that have been so much like a magnet to invite mass murderers into zones where they know nobody else will be able to shoot back.”

The Rachel Maddow Show covered the return of gun-nut Stockman to Washington on last Tuesday’s show. I had already heard Pratt’s same idiotic claim about “gun-free zones” from several Republicans by then, and several times more since. On yesterday’s Fox “news” Sunday, regular panelist Bill Kristol repeated Pratt’s ridiculous claim:

“I know everyone ridiculed the NRA for saying this, but maybe actually having armed guards at schools and not having gun-free zones where mass murderers know they can go in and kill people and no one will shoot them…”

News Flash: Psychotic mass murderers that target a school full of six year old children don’t weigh the pros & cons first as to whether that’s really a “safe” place for them to commit mass murder. If they were worried about people “shooting back”, why do so many of them end up committing suicide in the end?

The idea that “criminals are attracted to gun-free zones” has become a popular Right-Wing talking point over the past few weeks. And (of course), like most every other “fact” Republicans cite to support their case, it’s usually pure fantasy. Another “fact” pulled directly from their hind-quarters. Someone makes up some claim because it “sounds like it’s probably true”, and then never bothers to fact check to see if it actually IS true before spreading it as “fact” (why bother? Something that sounds plausable MUST be true, no?). So I checked the Houston Police Database and… gee, wouldn’t ya know it… gosh darn it, Pratt/Stockman’s claim is total bullshit (bet’cha didn’t see that one coming.)

Full disclosure, the HPD database does not break down “shooting” crime specifically, so I relied on a crime mapping website, “” to map out all shootings in the cities of Houston, Miami and Los Angeles for all of 2012:

Houston 2012 shootings
Click to enlarge

Houston 2012 shootings
Click to enlarge

Los Angeles
Houston 2012 shootings
Click to enlarge

These are maps of just “shootings” (between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2012) in which at least one person was actually wounded. They do NOT include “armed robbery” or other crimes where a gun was used but never fired. With that in mind, note that there were 84 separate incidents in gun-crazy Houston and 50 in Miami vs just 19 incidents in Los Angeles (including one shooting at USC last April in which two Vietnamese graduate students were shot & killed). Does this mean more of Los Angeles’ murders were “mass shootings”? No. A look at each incident shows that on average only one person was actually shot in most instances, with the largest being a family of three.

As you can see from the above maps, there are no “clusters” of shootings anywhere… let alone in “gun-free zones”. And if these maps suggest anything, gosh darn if it doesn’t look like you’re FAR safer in a city/state with strict gun laws (one incident for every 25,000 people in Houston vs one incident for every TWO-HUNDRED AND FIVE THOUSAND people in LA). “Gun-free zones” don’t see Murders any more often than any other area. In fact, reading through the results, the most common crimes in which someone was wounded with a gun are robberies, hold-ups at Convenience Stores and the like… where there is a VERY high probability the person behind the counter is armed by-the-way. And another news flash for “Bloody Bill”, both Columbine and Virginia Tech had armed guards on the premises. Hell, VT had its own freakin’ campus police force on the premises!

And now these Troglodytes are out there claiming “gun-free zones are a magnet for mass murder” (as if psychopaths worry about things like that.) It’s total nonsense of course… which I’m certain comes as no surprise to you, dear Reader.
Postscript: Something else interesting pointed out to me yesterday:
Can you spot the gun-free zone?
Homepage of Albuquerque’s News 4 in New Mexico yesterday/Sunday.

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Dear Mr. Biden. Focus on the Ammunition, not the guns.
Jan 14th, 2013 by Admin Mugsy


Grim Reaper will need to exchange his scythe for a ThresherAll day long, from 8am to 5pm Monday thru Friday, I listen to Progressive talk radio streaming from my PC (no Liberal Talk radio stations in Houston) all day long while I work, and a caller into one show the other day asked, “At what point does your right to ‘stay safe’ trump my Second Amendment rights?” Argh! Dumb people are going to be the end of this country. “Hey Moron!”, I shouted at my radio, “Just because we have a First Amendment right to Free Speech doesn’t mean we have the right to shout ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theater!” But you can bet if I shouted “Fire!” in a crowded room with this moron in it, it would have been proceeded by the words: “Ready! Aim!” We put “public safety constraints” on Constitutional “rights” all the time. The Supreme Court ruled long ago that issues of ‘public safety’ CAN trump Constitutional rights. And in fact, the Second has one built-in with that whole “well regulated” clause that makes licenses & background checks Constitutional (so said Justice Scalia).

Fox “news” Sunday contributor Bill Kristol dismissed the need for sweeping gun control legislation yesterday based on “one incident”. One incident? ONE??? Excuse me you soulless prick. Did you forget the Arizona mass murder that wounded Congresswoman Gabby Giffords two years ago? The Aurora, Colorado Theater shooting? The shooting in a Sikh Indian Temple in Wisconsin last year? The gunman that opened fire in a Portland shopping mall four days before the murder of 20 six year olds and six teachers in a Newtown, CT public school, followed by yet another school shooting just last week WHILE the Vice President was discussing the findings of his Task Force? ONE incident? Blow me, jackass.

Tomorrow/Tuesday, Vice President Biden releases the recommendations of his “Gun Violence Task Force”, which is expected to recommend something very similar to his 1994 “Assault Weapons Ban” which Republicans are declaring was an “absolute failure” (It wasn’t. This 2004 report (pdf) found that murders committed using Assault Weapons declined by 17% in just that ten year period… a decline that was likely to have only grown as discontinued weapons and magazines/clips became more scarce.) A repeat of the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban would face an uphill battle. Anything weaker is unlikely to do much good. Anything tougher will have an exceeding difficult time getting past a GOP controlled House (because they owe their very livelihood to kowtowing to their gun-crazed constituency.) We need to think differently.

Chris Rock famously joked about making every bullet “cost $5,000” because then there would “no longer be any innocent bystanders”. While I doubt making ammunition exorbitantly expensive would pass a Constitutional challenge, I do think Rock was absolutely on the right track: Focus on the ammunition! There are plenty of laws saying you can own just about any kind of gun you’d like, and plenty of pinhead Rednecks have threatened to go apes#!t if anyone tries to “take their gun away” (I won’t link to it, but one now-infamous numbnut said in a video last week that if the government tries to take away his guns, he’ll “start killing people.” Paranoia runs deep on the Right. You name the issue and there’s a badly misinformed Conservative nut threatening violence over it.)

Which brings up a point I’ve been making for a while now: Guns are useless without bullets. There is NO “constitutional right” to an endless supply of easily obtainable high-caliber ammunition. If we’re going to curb gun violence, I recommend we focus there (rather than the FAR more complicated balancing act of banning the guns themselves.)

My Conservative father is an avid gun collector that loves to go target shooting and has a concealed-carry permit. Dad also makes his own bullets because target shooting uses up a lot of ammo which can get real expensive real fast. So he bought a hand-powered shell packing machine, buys the brass shells and gunpowder, and makes his own bullets right there in the garage. But you know what else I noticed? He goes through his ammunition quite sparingly and wouldn’t think of using his own hand-packed ammo in a (semi) automatic weapon because he’d blow through it too fast. When it takes a minute or two to pack each shell, you’re going to be more reluctant to waste it in a machine that spits out 50 rounds/second. If you look closely, “spree” shooters don’t make their own bullets. They buy them pre-made and in bulk at Wal*Mart or some other conveniently located retailer. Presently, you can walk into Wal*Mart and fill up a shopping cart FULL of bullets without so much as a firearm’s license. And when bullets are that easy to come by, there’s no disincentive to use them in a weapon that spits out bullets like Rush Limbaugh spits out racist/misogynistic vulgarities.

Remember when you were a kid and Mom & Dad wanted to impress upon you “the value of a dollar”? Earning that dollar wasn’t easy, and because it was harder to come by, you weren’t so quick to waste it. And while you were pondering how best to spend it, you didn’t leave it lying around where someone might take it. You put it someplace safe until you were ready to use it. I think restrictions on ammunition would have the same effect. Pass laws prohibiting “bulk purchases” of bullets, require background checks for ammunition the same as we do for guns, and put limits on certain TYPES of ammunition. An “Assault Rifle” will do a lot less damage if it doesn’t have access to ammunition that looks like this:

.223 caliber ammunition used in Newtown shooting
.223 caliber ammunition used in Newtown shooting

Remember back during the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting how your redneck brother-in-law and his beer-swilling buddies all boasted how if THEY had just had a gun in that darkened crowded theater, with people running around screaming in a cloud of teargas, fleeing a mad-man in full body armor spiting out 30 bullets in 27 seconds, THEY “could have taken down the shooter” and saved all those people? How many times did you hear them say that the ONLY way they could have achieved this superhuman feat is if they too were armed with a semi-automatic assault rifle? I’ll bet you Mitt Romney’s $10,000 that you never ONCE heard one of these Right-Wing idiots with delusions of grandeur say they would have required matching firepower to bring down a madman with an assault rifle. No, they were ALL referring to a simple handgun. So the claim that people require assault weapons “for protection” is not only a myth, but debunked by their own words (or lack-there-of.)

You may have a right to own a gun, and the gun nuts are already apoplectic over the imaginary threat that the gub’mint is plotting to “take that right away”, but you do NOT have a Constitutional right to buy a shopping-cart full of armor-piercing M16 rounds without so much as a background check. Likewise, you don’t have a “right” against being “inconvenienced” by a clip/magazine that only holds 10 rounds before having to reload. If you can’t hit your target with ten bullets, you have no business using a firearm.

If the latest push to limit gun violence in this country is to succeed, they’ll have a FAR better chance at success if they focus more on bullets than the guns. Also worth pointing out… because THEY will… “closing the gunshow loophole” and banning the sale of certain firearms wouldn’t have prevented any of the most recent massacres. They will try to use that as an excuse not to enact most of the proposed legislation. But limits on ammunition/clips/etc WOULD of had an impact on these most recent massacres. We should channel our energies towards legislation with the greatest chance of success that would arguably of had a direct impact on recent events.

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Mugsy’s Predictions for 2013. Fight, fight, fight.
Dec 31st, 2012 by Admin Mugsy


Ominous 2013Well, as the cliche’ goes: “It’s that time of year again” for my annual “Predictions” edition of Mugsy’s Rap Sheet, when we look back at how well I did last year, a little schadenfreude examining just how badly the so-called “psychics” did, and ending with my own predictions for the coming year. My own record (with all humility) is incredibly good, averaging well above 50%. But I think my call on the Constitutionality of “ObamaCare” (see more below) will stand out for years to come. Off-election-year political predicting is more difficult because there are no races to call, and politicians are far more predictable in an election year. Conservatives pick fights over things they might otherwise have ignored, attempting to rile their base to score cheap political points. Democrats trade their spines in for Jell-O as they try to look like “the reasonable ones” by compromising on everything they way voters claim to want (but really don’t because Republicans have no respect for people that don’t stand up for their principles, while Liberals become infuriated by Democrats repeatedly caving-in to GOP blackmail.) 2012 was one wild ride with the election & all. And despite my confidence in my predicting ability, there were plenty of times when I thought I’d be lucky if I got even one prediction right. And while I missed my share this past year, I think my hits outweigh my misses. So without further ado:

My 2012 Scorecard (17 predictions):

  1. Correct!“President Obama will win reelection. Handily. I’d say by roughly the same margin he beat John McCain (around 5% of the popular vote).” President Obama’s Electoral Vote victory was 332 to Romney’s 206, with a popular vote margin of nearly 4-percent (even with widespread attempts at voter disenfranchisement.)
  2. Correct!Romney will be the GOP nominee. As noted, other candidates came and went during the 2011 Debates as Republicans desperately searched for “anyone but Romney”, but Romney always hovered in the top-3 while his competitors imploded around him. (Gingrich did give me a fright there momentarily when he came back a second time to win South Carolina. But thankfully, his enormous ego did him in again.)
  3. Correct! – A lack of enthusiasm for Romney will have an effect “down ballot”, with Democrats making big gains in the House and holding onto at least five seats in the Senate. My final “pick-up” totals might have been off, but that “enthusiasm gap” did indeed crash the GOP. Appalling “gerrymandering” of voting districts ensured the GOP lost only 6 seats in the House despite receiving 1.2-million fewer votes. In the Senate, Democrats won all but 1 out of 22 incumbent races and picked up two more for a 54/46 majority (including two independents.)
  4. inconclusiveThe “Arab Spring” uprisings will finally reach Iraq. A string of “Arab Spring” uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya all leading to the ouster of their corrupt leaders and historic political reform, followed by a series of protests in Iraq led me to believe that Iraq would likely follow. And while weary Iraqi’s did not overthrow their corrupt government over the continued violence and lack of services in 2012, hints of such protests did indeed surface on Friday (in just under the wire), so I’ve upgraded this miss to “inconclusive” because if it is the dawn of an “Arab Spring” in Iraq, it will have definitely started in 2012 as predicted. Only time will tell.
  5. WrongGas prices will hit a new record high momentarily next Summer. Mercifully, this is one prediction I don’t mind getting wrong. While gas prices did indeed hit record highs in parts of the country or for “that particular time of year”, the “National Average” peaked at $3.92 last March, never breaking the $4.10/gal record set under President Bush in July of 2008.
  6. WrongSyria’s King Assad won’t still be in power by the end of 2012. While I could rate this “Correct” on a technicality, I never expected him to hang on this long. The revolution in Syria had already begun in mid-2011, and by the end of 2011, the Arab League had already sent 60 Monitors into Syria to witness/prevent the reported slaughter of civilians. Other “Arab Spring” nations fell in only a matter of months. But shocking support from Russia & China, even vetoing the use of force against Assad in July as part of the UN Security Council, allowed him to cling to power all year. And Arab League observers were forced to retreat barely a month later after incidents of violence against some of their own people by Syrian troops. Recent appalling acts of genocide could pressure Russia and China into reconsidering their longtime support for Syria sometime in the coming year. We’ll see.
  7. WrongCharges of “racism” surrounding Ron Paul will hurt him badly in early primary states. – While Paul’s notorious racist history always lingered just beneath the surface, he never drew enough “mainstream” support to make it an issue. Nothing could shake Ron’s loyal “Revolution” devotees’ fawning adoration of him, and “racism” doesn’t make the Top-10 List of Concerns in Republican primaries searching for the old white guy that will rescue them from the nation’s first black president whose very place of birth they question. So it came as no surprise that Paul’s racist past had little to no impact on his campaign.
  8. Correct!With Gingrich & Perry failing to get on the ballot in the Virginia primary, Romney will win Virginia easily (but with low voter turnout); Gingrich will take the state to court while Perry simply drops out. The headline after the VA Primary: “Mitt Romney Wins Virginia Primary With Lethargic Voter Turnout”. I was right on the legal challenge but got the names reversed. Perry was the one to go to court, dropped out after losing and endorsed Newt Gingrich.
  9. WrongThe “99%” Movement gains strength. Obama hosts a “99%” rally while the GOP candidates host “Tea Party” rallies. While the “Occupy Wall Street” movement did indeed have a substantial impact on the election… most notably in response to Romney’s devastating “47%” video… the President did not host/attend any OWS rallies, nor did the GOP candidates host any “Tea Party” counter rallies.
  10. Correct! Correct! Correct!The Supreme Court will declare “ObamaCare” Constitutional, citing the government’s power to tax, in a 5-4 split decision. On June 28th, the Supreme court ruled “The Affordable Care Act” constitutional. The deciding vote in a 5-4 split decision was cast by none other than Conservative Chief Justice Roberts (now THAT I didn’t predict!) who specifically cited the government’s power to “tax” as what made the “mandate” portion of the law legal. I’d call that prediction a slam dunk! I’m counting it as three.
  11. Correct!Someone will FINALLY get around to asking the GOP candidates that “if they repeal ObamaCare, what would they replace it with?” The idea of simply “just going back to the way things were” before Health Care Reform was finally recognized as unacceptable. Many sources did indeed start asking about the “replace” portion of the GOP’s call to “repeal & replace”, but this exchange on “Fox news Sunday” on June 30th particularly stood out.
  12. Correct!The return of soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan won’t strain the job market as much as expected, but in fact have a mini stimulative effect with the increase in consumer demand. The return of all troops from Iraq in December of 2011 and 33,000 troops from Afghanistan last September did not push the unemployment rate up as soldiers returned home looking for work. Economic growth continued to rise slowly but did not in fact contract.
  13. Correct!Unemployment will be under 8% in time for the election. The unemployment rate fell to 7.8% at the end of September, ticking up to 7.9% by the end of October, but indeed below 8.0% as predicted.
  14. Correct!Gitmo will still be in service by the time of the November election. Probably not the most difficult of predictions. Such issues have a way of falling onto the back burner when attentions are drawn elsewhere.
  15. Wrong.The planned removal of  23,000  33,000 additional troops from Afghanistan by September 2012 will hit a snag. Not much to say here. I expected protests in Iraq that never materialized, coupled with civil war in Syria to derail the withdrawal of “Surge” troops from Afghanistan. I should of had more confidence in President Obama.
  16. Correct!The London Olympic Summer Games will go off without a hitch. No violence, terror threats, or major disruptions of any kind.
    And the “Should have quit while I was ahead” award goes to:

  18. Wrong.If Mitt Romney does win his Party’s nomination as predicted, Virgina Governor Bob McDonnell will be his running mate. A last minute prediction I tossed in just before midnight on December 31st. McDonnell was campaigning hard for the job, and probably would have been the pick if he hadn’t gone off the rails and pushed a “mandatory vaginal ultrasound” law for rape victims seeking an abortion. I suppose he thought it would endear him to the whacked-out Evangelical Right, but instead made him the poster-boy for the GOP “War on Women”. Not even I could have seen that coming.

The final tally: 12 of 18 (I’m counting #10 as three) correct, 6 wrong and one “inconclusive”. 66%. That’s a heck of a lot better than I thought I’d do after Newt won South Carolina and McDonnell imploded. Even if you count #10 as just one prediction, I still scored an impressive 62.5%.

So let’s look at how the so-called “psychics” and Political Pundits did:

Psychic Blair Robertson, who claims to have predicted the 2011 Japanese earthquake (which is a bit like predicting snow in Winter), the plane crash that killed Polish president Lech Kaczynski (no link to original prediction provided, so no way to verify the claim), along with some unnamed Soccer and Oscar predictions, was touted as a psychic whose track record of “successful forecasts” demonstrates he has the ability to “see into the future”. Let’s see:

Mr. Robertson predicted:

…a GOP Presidential victory, major volcanic activity in the Northwest and a “good chance” of a large eruption (none of which occurred), the “bombing of a cruise ship” (which I expect Robertson will point to the “Costa Concordia” being run aground by its captain as fulfilling his prophecy of a “cruise ship disaster”), North Carolina heavily damaged by storms in April, Jennifer Aniston will marry (nope), major riots in Miami and London, a train crash in Southern Europe caused by sabotage (nada)… okay, by this point, I’m just rubbing it in. Of Mr. Robertson’s 26 “psychic” predictions, only one came to pass (arguably): “a baby for the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge” (pregnancy but no birth yet). 1 for 26 (0.4% accuracy).

Here is a sample of predictions from Cable TV’s “well known Long Island psychic” Janet Russell for 2012 (excuse me for picking on her for a second year in a row, but how is she “famous”? She truly sucks as predicting. 0-for-20 over the past two years):

…more people will be forgiven for their [home] loans and will be able to forgo foreclosures (I found no such widespread movement).

…one state will be open to “alternative lifestyle” and people will move to that state because they feel more comfortable (actually, same-sex marriage was on the ballot in four states in 2012, and passed in support of gay marriage in all of them. No mass migration into those states was reported.)

…the government will admit that we do have contact with other beings in other dimensions. (Uh… no.)

Several other “psychics to the stars” predictions appear on that same page (ibid: “Janet Russell”). Of the 50 or so predictions listed, I’m not sure a single one came to pass.

But that’s Hollywood. How did our friends over at Fox “news” do?

A Fox list of “5 Medical Advances in 2012” is interesting:

  1. Medicine gets closer to treating cancer with vaccines. – There was actually plenty of news in 2012 to grant this a bonafide “Correct”. Vaccine treatments for cervical, lung, and breast cancer were all announced in 2012.
  2. An anticipated “Malaria vaccine” did not pan out.
  3. Millions will breathe easier, thanks to new EPA air pollution Regulations. – Gotta give this one a “No”. A minor “Cross-State Pollution Rule” was passed in 2012 (no surprise) that even their own best estimate was that it would improve life for up to 820,000 in the region, not “millions”. I think Fox’s own unfounded belief that Obama is a “regulation-crazy” president, played a part in that prediction.
  4. Many crucial drugs will become cheaper. – While a WSJ report claimed “Name-brand Drug Prices Rise, But Generics Get Cheaper”, with some generics falling as much as 22%, reading the Fox prediction, the basis for their prediction was that the price of many “name brand drugs” would fall as their patents ran out, while insurance companies (under ObamaCare, seeking maximum profit) would push doctors into prescribing cheaper generics. This did not happen, so I rate this prediction a “No” as well.
  5. Legislation will make it easier to choose health insurance. – There really was no “new” legislation specifically to aid in “choosing” a health insurance provider, so this is another swing & a miss.

Five predictions; one right: 20%. The fewer predictions you make, the easier it is to get a high score. Make one prediction and if you’re right, you score 100%. But even with that in their favor, they still tanked.

But medicine really isn’t in Fox’s wheelhouse. How did their “political” predictions go? On the Christmas Day 2011 edition of “Fox news Sunday”:

  1. Steve Hayes of “The Weekly Standard” predicted: “It’s more likely than not that Republicans win the White House in 2012 (later, “Probably Mitt Romney”), win the Senate in 2012, [and] despite some good Democratic recruits, keep the House of Representatives.” – One for three there, Steve. And the other two weren’t even close. Go fish.
  2. Liz Marlantes of the CSM predicted an Obama reelection and Republicans holding onto the House, but Democrats only “narrowly hold onto the Senate” losing “at least three seats”. For the record, Democrats increased their margins in both the House and Senate.
  3. Susan Ferrechio of “The Washington Examiner” disagreed with Marlantes, predicting Republicans regaining control of the Senate for an “all-Republican Congress”, but losing the White House. (Amazing how many Republicans, even back then, were pessimistic about unseating Obama.)
  4. Charles Lane of “The Washington Post” refused to reveal his prediction for the winner of the election, but was willing to predict they would “win the Electoral vote but not the popular vote”. Maybe he should have revealed his pick because it’s clear to me he was expecting Obama to win, so he would of gotten at least ONE thing right. And sorry Chuck, but Obama won both votes handily… just as *I* predicted.
  5. Hayes also predicted “economic growth will be under 2.5 percent every quarter of 2012”, and “unemployment on Election Day of 8.5 percent” (seconded by panelist Liz Marlantes.). – Sorry Steve & Liz. Economic growth was 3.1 percent in the fourth quarter, and the unemployment rate was under 8 percent by election day (again, as *I* predicted.)
  6. Lane called a General Motors rebound looking “a little iffy right now”. – To be clear, General Motors saw its second straight year of “robust profits”, earning “$1.48-Billion dollars” in 2012, well above Wall Street expectations. Hang it up now, Chuck.

Okay, enough of that. Conservatives suck at predicting politics because their predictions always follow their own personal biases and ignore reality. It’s a waste of time to guess what Republicans think because they are so damned predictable themselves. Time for my “Predictions for 2013”:

  1. I can’t really make a prediction regarding whether or not we’ll go over the imaginary “Fiscal cliff” because Congress is likely voting on it as you read this on December 31st, so let me split my 1st prediction depending on whether a deal is struck or not:
       o If a deal is made before the clock expires that comes very close to what President Obama already wanted ($250K ceiling with no cuts to Social Security & Medicare), Republicans will have done so only because they intend to hold the “Debt Ceiling” hostage once again to get what they want when they think they’ll have more power… an astoundingly dangerous and irresponsible game, playing Russian Roulette with “the full faith & credit of the United States”. Too many Teanuts in Congress mistakenly believe the Debt Ceiling has something to do with future spending, and refusing to raise it somehow means we’ll be forced to “live within our means”, instead of an agreement to raise money to pay for past obligations already passed by Congress.
       o If a deal is struck with Democrats making wholly unnecessary concessions, President Obama will have fudged on the cutoff figure, possibly agreeing to raise his “$250K” ceiling to “$500K”. But since 20 Republicans in the House already rejected Speaker Boehner’s “Plan B” that set the ceiling at “$1-Million”, the likelihood they’ll agree to a much lower “$500K” ceiling seems unlikely. And no sane Democrat should be willing to accept that deal either. Not only would it be a bad deal that makes the entire point of this fight moot, producing lots of pain for very little gain, but voters have already sided with the president, blaming Republicans for the obstruction. Caving in to GOP Blackmail is pointless because Democrats could obtain almost everything they asked for if they just hold out for a couple of weeks.
       o If no agreement is made before midnight and we “go over the imaginary cliff”, that puts Democrats in the cat-bird seat. The Bush Tax Cuts will expire for everyone, and Democrats will then propose The Obama Tax Cut in the exact form proposed by the President during the 2012 campaign. Until that time, the Stock Market will quake a little for about a week (or wildly roller-coaster for a month or two until the new tax cut is passed). Democrats will dare Republicans to vote against a tax cut for 98% of Americans, and anyone that refuses will only be proving to the entire country just where their loyalty lies: protecting the rich at the expense of the Poor & Middle Class. Since Republicans will have no choice but to vote for The Obama Tax Cut, it’s an absolute certainty that they’ll hold the “Debt Ceiling” hostage once again to get the concessions they lost in the tax fight.

    Of the three options, I expect the second to be the most likely. Which brings us to #2:

    (Dec 31, 2012 Update: Senate agrees to a last-minute compromise with the tax-cut threshold pushed up to $450K with spending cuts postponed for two months… so the end result was basically a hybrid of the first two scenarios. We shall see if the inevitable “Debt Ceiling” fight… and now a fight over the “sequester” at roughly the same time… will be a “hybrid” as well.)

  2. IF Republicans play chicken with the Debt Ceiling” once again and take us down to the wire once more (and #3 below does not come top pass), President Obama won’t play that game a second time around. The moment it looks like the GOP’s hostage crisis might jeopardize our credit rating again (and cost us BILLIONS in interest on the money we barrow), President Obama will circumvent Congress and raise the Debt Ceiling all on his own, invoking The 14th Amendment. To say the GOP will have a conniption will be an understatement. Had the GOP of won control of the Senate, we would assuredly see another round of “impeachment hearings” as the GOP attempts yet another coup against the second Democratic president in a row (which would not have gone well with the public). Thank your lucky stars the GOP didn’t win control of the Senate in 2012. (Addendum: See #3 below.)
    Which leads us to #3:
  3. While I despise making predictions that will be proven right or wrong within a day or two, expect Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to hold true to his word and pass a rules change on day one of the new Congress to reform the filibuster. I think it unlikely he’ll get all the reforms he wants, with plenty of Senators concerned about “the slippery slope of 1st day rules changes passed with a simple majority”, but passing a simple agreement to force a “standing filibuster” (also known as a “talking filibuster”) is almost certain to pass w/o much of a fight. With Republicans still in control of the House for another two years, and another shot at retaking the Senate in 2014 and changing the rules back, there really isn’t much of a downside for them. The GOP House will ensure Republican Senators don’t have to filibuster anything that draws public fire, and they get to look like the reasonable affable ones by agreeing to “those power-crazed Democrats”. And let’s pray I’m right because should that “Debt Ceiling” fight come to pass, the change in the filibuster may be the only thing standing between us and default. I’m trying to imagine the public response to seeing a single GOP Senator holding the Senate hostage for hours… even days… and it won’t be pretty, making the likelihood of an extended challenge less likely. (Addendum: If I’m right and the Rules Change comes to pass, there will likely be no need for the President to invoke the 14th, negating prediction #2.)

    UPDATE 1: Sen. Reid delayed voting on filibuster reform on the first day of the new (113th) Congress, calling for a “recess” rather than an “adjournment” so that upon their return in three weeks, the Senate will still in its opening session.

    UPDATE 2 (1/24/13): In a move that has shocked Democrats, Reid has agreed to only mild changes to the filibuster rule, but otherwise leaves all of the GOP’s obstructive powers intact. When asked for an explanation, Reid said that he “didn’t feel it was time to get rid of the filibuster. But that argument does not wash since none of the proposed rules changes would have actually “abolished” the filibuster.

  4. Election Reform: Despite what President Obama said in his victory speech last November, since 2013 is not an election year, I wouldn’t expect much in the way of Election Reform this year… which is a shame because NON-election years are the best time to tackle the problem. More time to implement changes, and less paranoia on the Right over what those changes will do (everything from “helping ACORN… which went defunct in 2010… steal the election” to “helping illegal aliens vote”). I’ve finally come around in support of abolishing the Electoral College. I didn’t (and still don’t) like the idea that candidates can ignore less populated areas and simply focus all their efforts on big cities, but baldfaced attempts by the GOP to gerrymander electoral votes by district despite receiving over a million fewer votes in the House nationally, and an insane amount of focus on just one state (Ohio) deciding our election, I’m finally convinced that it is time for it to go. It’s a moot point, but I’m predicting little to no action on Election Reform in 2013. Damn shame too.
  5. The Unemployment Rate: Hmm, that’s a tricky one. Again, it depends on the “Fiscal Cliff” and “Debt Ceiling” votes. If the votes go (arguably) smoothly, I expect unemployment to be very close to 6.9% by the end of the year (give or take 3/10ths of a point). If however these votes become a long and protracted fight that drives the Stock Market nuts, it’s going to be very close to where it was in October (7.8%, give or take 3/10ths of a point.)
  6. Afghanistan: People are already asking, “why are we still there?” and the “Debt Ceiling” debate will thrust the cost of the war into the spotlight. I’m predicting that towards the end of the year, the idea of waiting another full year “until the end of 2014” to bring our troops home will become increasingly unpopular, with calls to end the war in Afghanistan… if not by the end of 2013… then by early 2014 at the latest.
  7. Gas prices: Unlike during the Bush years where a stream of never-ending chaos kept the Middle East in turmoil for nearly a decade, President Obama has shown his desire not to rock-the-boat in the Middle East. Stability aids recovery. And gas prices go up FAR more easily than they go down. Gasoline over $3.00/gal is the new normal. Assuming nothing insanely stupid takes place like an Israeli attack on Iran sometime next year, expect gas prices to remain close to where they are today, hovering in the $3.50/gal range by years end.
  8. As such, I’ll also predict no U.S. or Israeli missile strike on Iran in 2013. I honestly don’t think Iran is suicidal. They may even be willing to negotiate in response to their devastated economy resulting from current sanctions. (This is a much easier prediction to make after Bill “The Bloody” Kristol predicted yesterday a  U.S. or Israeli airstrike on Iran next year.)
  9. Syria and Assad: Dangerous territory for me, since I (incorrectly) predicted last year that he would no longer still be in power by year’s end, not foreseeing Chinese and Russian support for Assad. So with that in mind, the only thing left is for the Syrian people to overthrow Assad on their own, which would be a Herculean task. However, now that we know the score, expect the Assad regime to be “economically starved out of power”, with opposing countries refusing to do business with him, and commencing all business with a parallel government formed by the Syrian opposition. Seen as irrelevant, Assad will be left with no choice by to step down voluntarily from a meaningless “Presidency in name only”.
  10. The DOW: On December 28th, the last day of trading in 2012, the DOW closed at 12,938.11 (down 158 points on Friday, but was averaging above 13,000), up less than 1,000 points over 2011. But, assuming we avoid a nasty drawn-out debate over the “Debt Ceiling” and no missile strikes on Iran jacking up oil prices, a relatively stable economic situation means better-than-average economic growth in 2013. Expect the DOW to be up over 14,500 by the end of 2013.
  11. They say when the U.S. economy sneezes, the world catches cold. The reverse is also true. Positive economic growth in America will mean the first signs of economic recovery in Europe, particularly the hard-hit countries of Greece & Spain. Of course, a protracted debate over the “Debt Ceiling” would only help destabilize the world economy. With so much at stake, and while there is NO doubt in my mind the GOP is going to threaten to hold the “Debt Ceiling” hostage once again, I don’t think President Obama will let it get that far again. So I repeat my prediction for the first signs of economic recovery in some of the hardest-hit countries in Europe (and Conservatives will credit “Austerity” for their recovery.)
  12. Is 2013 the year we’ll see some serious Immigration reform? Don’t bet your Aunt Fanny on it. Will we see some “token” reform(s)? Yes. With the 2012 election still fresh in the GOP’s memory, and a recognition that they need to do damage-control with Hispanic voters, Republicans will agree to one or two minor changes in our immigration laws that poll well with Latino voters, but the Republican’s instincts (and deathly fear of offending their Redneck base) will win the day, making sure little to nothing substantial takes place in this non-election year. The time to gild-the-Lilly is in an election year, when pandering is most likely to help them at the polls. So, no, don’t expect much in the way of Immigration Reform this year.
  13. And finally, do Democrats finally pass an Assault Weapons Ban or pass meaningful restrictions on the amount of damage they can do (like limiting clip size)? This will be an ugly fight, so let’s pray Harry Reid does indeed pass filibuster reform, but yes, I do expect Democrats to pass something similar to the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban in 2013. Early on, many Republicans will express “support” for new gun laws, but when they don’t get their way on some “conditions” (eg: an armed guard in every school but with no explanation how to pay for it), the final vote will split almost straight down Party lines, passing with a few (less than 5) Republican votes in the Senate and maybe 20 in the House.

And that’s my list of 13 predictions for 2013. Seems appropriate, doesn’t it? 13 for ’13? Completely coincidental I assure you. This year is going to be a toughy. So much depends upon things that happen in just the first few days, I could be either incredibly accurate or incredibly wrong by this time next year. We’ll see. I encourage you to add your own predictions in the Comments below.

Postscript: How do you like the new look? Not sure I see myself sticking with it for a year or two if I can’t tweak it a bit more. We’ll see. Thumbs up or thumbs down?


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The NRA, Rampant Gun Violence, and Scapegoats
Dec 24th, 2012 by Admin Mugsy


Guns don't kill people, movies do.On Friday, the head of the largest “lobbying firm for the promotion of gun sales” in the country (otherwise known as the “NRA”), Wayne LaPierre (who henceforth shall be referred to only as “GunNut” in accordance with my policy of not making celebrities out of mass murderers) blamed everyone & everything… EXCEPT guns… for the deaths of 26 people (technically, 28) children & teachers in a Connecticut school exactly one week earlier, blaming “violent movies & Video-games”. This is following several of his fellow Right-Wing lunatics blaming “the lack of God in our classrooms” for the deaths in Sandy Hook, not a mentally unstable kid’s access to a semi-automatic rifle and multiple 30-round magazines.

The whole debate over “arming teachers” and scapegoating “secularism” & “video games” strikes home for me in three very direct ways: 1) I worked as a substitute teacher and teachers aide for years, 2) I’m an Agnostic that has seen my share of “pious” idiots claiming moral superiority while treating other people like crap, threatening violence, swearing like Merchant Marines, defending war and astonishing greed, picking & choosing the parts of the Bible that support their hateful beliefs, while ignoring (or reinterpreting) those parts that don’t.

As a teacher, I noted recently that the likelihood of me being near a secured weapon in my desk in an emergency was remote. And I certainly wasn’t about to start a firefight in a classroom full of kids. My first objective (as it was for the teachers in Newtown) would be to move the students to safety. I wouldn’t dare carry a weapon ON me. Very young kids like to grab onto you, even sometimes grabbing onto my legs while I walked. And older kids… I couldn’t imagine the tragic results if an angry student wrestled a gun away from a teacher. Heck, even something as simple as a trip & fall could of had tragic consequences.

Also, 3) back in 2000, I worked tirelessly for two years to try and start one of the first Internet-gaming “Cyber Cafe’s” in the country back when most people were still using “modems” to connect to the Internet. Even back then, the debate over the influence violent video games had on children was a serious business hurdle I had to prepare for prior to making any pitch to SBA loan officers on the profitability of my idea (one bank agreed to back me provided I raise 20 percent of the startup cash on my own. Then the economy collapsed under Bush… BEFORE 9/11. Any chance of raising my funding vanished, which was the start of my visceral dislike of the Bush Administration.)

So when I hear people blame “a lack of God” or “violent movies & games” for some nut that murders a dozen people with a gun he snuck out of Daddy’s closet, I know it’s a load of crap.

First off, the idea that the massacre in CT took place because “we’ve taken God out of our schools”, as cited by the vile Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich (along with many, many other Right-Wing crackpots) is wildly offensive. Since the shooter was 20 years old and no longer in school, are these two creeps blaming the children for “not praying hard enough”? God wasn’t in that school? You know who was? Six teachers that GAVE THEIR LIVES PROTECTING THOSE CHILDREN. How many of these children/teachers attended church every Sunday only to get mowed down by a deranged man with access to Mommy’s assault weapon five days later? Does God only protect you while you’re in church? If that’s the case, explain all the church shootings just over the past year:

…just to name a few.

The idea that any decline in “public morality” is to blame for the deaths of all these people is truly offensive. Consider this: the Sandy Hook shooter and his mother attended church there in town. And while the shooter’s mother was an apocalyptic end-time Conservative gun-nut that purchased the Bushmaster semi-automatic rifle her son used to kill her and 26 others because she believed the insane Right-Wing hysteria of “a looming economic collapse under Obama”, she was by all accounts a concerned mother that taught her son how to shoot “to help him overcome his shyness” and (reportedly) “to become more sociable.” Worked like a charm, I’d say.

So, the Sandy Hook shooter grew up in an extremely Conservative home, regularly attended church, was taught about “proper firearm usage & safety” (which supposedly lifts the veil on the mystery of guns and makes kids less curious about them, promoting safety), all the things these Right-wing Cretins claim is necessary to counter the “immorality in our society” that leads to such acts of destruction.

GunNut’s “solution” Friday was that we need “armed guards in every school”. We’ll ignore for a moment that there are over 98-THOUSAND public schools in this country, and the average armed guard makes $50K/year (that’s nearly $5-Billion dollars for those of you keeping score at home), and that anti-tax zealot Grover Norquist is on the NRA’s board of directors, and that neither GunNut nor TaxNut explained just how they intend to pay for all those armed guards they insist we need… no, set that aside for a moment while I remind you that just days before Newtown, there was a shooting in a Portland, Oregon shopping mall, and last August was the Aurora movie theater shooting. So do we place armed guards in every mall and theater (not just one for the entire Cineplex, but an armed “Air-Marshall” in every screening room)? Is THAT GunNut’s “solution”? Of course not. They think the path to safety is to turn every classroom, shopping mall, church and movie theater in the country into the OK Corral.

So then, if it wasn’t a lack of “God”, it must have been “movies & video games”, right?

After hearing dozens of my fellow Lefties (and the President himself) concede the Right-Wing talking-point that “violent movies and video games” play a role in promoting violence in our culture, I angrily Tweeted out during GunNut’s Press Conference Friday:

#LaPierre is on now scapegoating movies & games that are available in EVERY country. No mention of the kids. #NRAkills #SandyHook @maddow

Guess what? The violent movies and games that are so popular in this country AREN’T SEEN IN JUST THIS COUNTRY! You think “Natural Born Killers” was violent? You should see “Tokyo Gore Police”, or any of the dozen ultra-violent “Manga” films coming out of Japan each year. And just where do you think many of these violent video games are produced? (though oddly, despite the Japanese apatite for ultra-violent films, ultra-violent video games aren’t big sellers in the land of “Super Mario Bros.”)

As the Washington Post reported last week: a Ten-country comparison suggests there’s little or no link between video games and gun murders. The U.S. actually spends a lot less per capita on video games (see chart) than almost every other industrialized nation where guns are legal, yet we dwarf every other nation on Earth when it comes to gun-related murders each year. The difference in those other countries? Super-strict gun laws.

GunNut actually cited (PDF transcript. Abridged version here) several movies and games that were released decades ago (or in one case, before the shooter was even born in 1992) for the violence in our society: “blood-soaked slasher films like ‘American Psycho’ (2000) and ‘Natural Born Killers’ (1994).” I couldn’t help but notice GunNut failed to mention Conserva-war-porn like “Zero Dark Thirty” or the recently released remake of “Red Dawn” where American kids with guns fight off an invasion by North Korea.

And the games? GunNut cites “Mortal Kombat”… a martial arts video-game with no guns that was popular in arcades (remember those?) around the time I finished high school in 1986, and a lame (and very sick) ten year old Flash-based game called “Kindergarten Killer” (screenshot). GunNut did NOT cite “Call of Duty”, a more recent game that glorifies the military and the shooter reportedly played (mystery solved). Meanwhile there is no evidence the shooter actually played any of the games or watched any of these movies that GunNut mentioned. All we DO know is he grew up in a Christian Conservative home with a mother that loved semi-automatic weapons and cared enough about her son to try and teach him how to use them.

You might find it interesting to learn (as I did) that while GunNut was decrying video games that glorify gunplay, the NRA itself released a target shooting game for kids called “NRA GunClub” for the PlayStation 2 back in 2007.

Other violent video games not mentioned: “Left Behind: Eternal Forces”, a video game connected to Rick Warren’s Saddleback Mega-church based on the best-selling Chri-Fi (my own word for Religious-based science fiction) book-series that directs a militia of armed foot soldiers to convert-or-eliminate the people “left behind” following The Rapture (I’ve never played the game myself, but I’m wondering why the player was not Raptured along with his fellow Christians, and instead “left behind” to blow away anyone that refused to come-to-Jehezus?)

Blowing away heathens didn’t satisfy your blood-lust with the first game? That’s alright. Part-2 was released less than a year later. (One of Warren’s top aides resigned in protest in 2006, citing the game’s violence, as avatars shout “Praise the Lord” as they blow-away infidels, and even the ability of players to join the other side and work for Satan. Warren was on “Fox news Sunday” yesterday, but there was no mention of the Rapture-themed video games his church once consulted on.

Jon Perr of “PERRspectives” pointed out last week that the same people fighting common-sense restrictions on Assault Weapons are the same people who defended the most abusive civil rights violations of the Bush Administration after 9/11 on the grounds: “None of your civil liberties matter much after you’re dead.” (Are you as sick of Right-Wing hypocrisy as I am?)

This is some pretty sick merde (pardon my French).

Conservative pundit and former Bush adviser Matt Dowd made this surprisingly sane & apt analogy during ABC’s “ThisWeek” yesterday:

“When you have a bully on the playground with a baseball bat, you don’t respond by giving every child a baseball bat. You take the bat away from the bully and take measures to make sure it never happens again.”

You know certain Republicans are going off the deep-end when other Republicans start calling them out for their extremism (eg: the entire Fox “Power Panel” yesterday… including Bill Kristol AND [Lord help us] Laura Ingraham all seemed to agree that House Republicans are being unreasonable, risking everyone going over the “Fiscal Cliff” just to secure tax cuts for millionaires, rather than simply accept President Obama’s deal to extend tax cuts for 98% of all Americans.) Good Lord! I feel like Alice Through the Looking Glass.

Both GunNut and every Republican that dared come out in support of gun rights yesterday all cited the 1999 “Columbine” massacre as an example of the “failure of the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban”. Clearly, the ban on Assault Weapons and high capacity clips/magazines… passed only five years earlier… didn’t stop two kids from murdering a dozen classmates. I can’t help but find it a tad ironic/absurd that if Tax Cuts… which supposedly will “spur massive job growth” and “pay for themselves”… haven’t worked after 30 years, the problem is that “we didn’t cut taxes ENOUGH” and we need to “give them MORE TIME” (ie: “make the Bush tax cuts permanent”.) But when it comes to gun laws, if they aren’t a 100% smashing success in just five years, it proves the experiment was a total failure. It’s not like these weapons & magazines don’t magically disappear the moment you ban them, right? The moment Democrats banned Assault Weapons and high-capacity clips, all the existing ones simply faded away, right? How else do we explain their continued existence five years after we banned them?

If you are unwilling to address “access”, you’re part of the problem, not the solution.

PS: I added a new “Free Movie” link (see left margin) to Michael Moore’s Academy Award winning documentary, “Bowling for Columbine”.

Be sure to come back Monday for our annual End of Year Predictions edition!


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Citizens United now has blood on its hands
Dec 17th, 2012 by Admin Mugsy


NRA has blood on its handsMy headline might seem like an extreme declaration, but Friday’s massacre in a Connecticut First Grade schoolroom is only the latest in a string of mass murders just this year. As The Nation points out, there have been SIXTEEN mass shootings in 2012 alone accounting for 88 dead men, women & children, and the year isn’t even over with (barely 48 hours later: Man with 47 guns arrested after threatening school). And when I try to think of ways to greatly reduce the chances of something so soul-crushing from ever happening again, my ideas always end with: “the GOP would never let that happen”. As I pointed out last week, the Crazies really are holding the rest of us hostage. But they’re not the majority… or even a big enough minority to block all common-sense legislation that could greatly reduce the chances of something like this from ever happening again. No, the reason the votes aren’t there is because even sane Republicans (are there any?) cower in fear of an NRA that can now spend limitless funds to Primary someone that doesn’t support their agenda. NYC Mayor Bloomberg pointed out on “Meet the Press” yesterday that for all the money the NRA spent trying to defeat Democrats this year, they only won three of the seven races they threw money at. But, I’d point out, that was AFTER the Primaries, where candidates aren’t arguing over “who loves the NRA more“. In a GOP primary, every candidate is expected to be the NRA’s best friend, but only one of them is going to win that coveted endorsement. Double-whammy if the NRA decides to dump a few million bucks into the race to defeat you. Republicans are terrified of powerful lobbies like the NRA or “Reverend Bob’s Family First Caucus” or “Homeschoolers for Jesus” with deep pockets. Blazing Saddles said it best:


Blazing Saddles’ “Simple farmers” speech


Speaking of which, the ever-brilliant Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert actually said on “Fox news Sunday” yesterday that he wishes to God “the principle [of Sandy Hook Elementary] had an M4 [assault rifle] when she lunged at the shooter and “blown his head off”. Click that link and take a look at that photo. That’s what Gohmert wishes the school principal had been carrying in a school full of 6-to-10 year olds. Tell me these people are in-touch with reality. This was after Gohmert also made the case that most mass shootings take place in ‘gun-free’ zones” (better known as places with lots of “innocent bystanders”.) It always stuns me when these people… detached from reality… believe that the solution to gun crime is MORE guns, not less. Yes, what we need is Teachers and Rent-a-cops playing Rambo around our children. I’m often reminded of Bill Maher’s criticism a few years back: “Yes, because what you really want in a school shooting is crossfire.” Mother Jones Magazine reported Saturday that “of the 61 mass murders in the past 30 years, NOT ONE was stopped by a civilian with a gun.” Not one.

Having once worked as a teacher myself (as a substitute), I can tell you for a fact that if a gun-wielding psychopath burst into my room, there was about a 75% chance I’d be nowhere near my desk where any weapon might be stored. And then what? Start a firefight in a room full of children? But I digress.

Now that we have turned our elections into “free fire zones” of unlimited spending by Special Interest Groups to ensure members of Congress support policies… not in the best interest of their constituency, but in the interests of a tiny minority with deep pockets, the chances of us ever seeing any meaningful “gun-control” legislation come out of this disaster seems unlikely. “Meet the Press” noted at the end of Sundays show that “out of 31 pro-gun Senators [they] asked, not a single one” was willing to come on their show. And NBC World News reported Sunday night that “even the NRA has refused to release a statement just yet“, saying they are “waiting on all of the information to come out” before commenting. They are all lying-low right now, waiting for the outrage to subside, the spotlight to wane till they can crawl out like cockroaches, because they know they don’t have a finger-licking leg to stand on, and the public would crucify anyone that dare try to stand up for the rights of armed gunmen in this environment.

I read a great couple of comments on Facebook right after the shooting, where one person wondered how long it would take for some Right-Winger to suggest maybe we should have “armed the kids”. The reply was that “it would make no difference if you armed the kids”, because the moment they started shooting back, someone would defend the gunman’s right to “stand his ground.”

Just how futile is it to try and reason with irrational people? Consider that the same people that are “Pro-War, Pro-Gun and Pro-Death Penalty” also call themselves “Pro-Life”… yet think nothing of cutting off a mother with young children from Food Stamps and Public Assistance. You might remember that just this past July, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia actually surmised that… if such a Second Amendment case came before him… he might interpret “the right to bear arms” literally to mean you are allowed to any “hand-held” weapon… including rocket-propelled grenade launchers and surface-to-air missiles, but not a tank or a canon. Really, Antonin? Do you really think the distinction the Founding Fathers were concerned about was the weight of the weapon when they wrote “bear arms”? Hell, I’m sure there are enough muscle-bound body-builder types that could lift & fire a small canon. I think I saw that in a Schwarzenegger movie once. There are guns today that are 100x more dangerous than a Civil War era canon. What if we make the canons smaller? How big must a canon be before someone can no longer “bear” it?

Fortunately for us, the Louie Gohmert’s of the world are a dying breed. But in the meantime, as long as “Citizens United” keeps the blackmailing of our legislators legal, small canons aren’t the only thing I can “no longer bear.”

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Why Would Anyone Vote for Someone With This Record (Romney)?
Oct 22nd, 2012 by Admin Mugsy


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

1) Fiscal Responsibility:

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

Only Democrats cut spending

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

2) National Security

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

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

  • World War I: President Woodrow Wilson. Democrat.
  • World War II: Presidents’ FDR and Truman. (Democrats), defeating both Germany in Europe and Japan in Asia.
  • Korea: War never ended. Armistice signed under Eisenhower (Republican). North Korea still exists and we are technically still at war with them today.
  • Vietnam: America falls behind under Nixon and pulls out under Ford (both Republicans).
  • Reagan: (the “Cold War” with Russia wasn’t an actual war.) It was fought with checkbooks, not artillery.
  • Gulf War-I: President George HW Bush (Republican) kicking Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait in 1991.
  • Bosnia: Clinton. Democrat.
  • Afghanistan: Started but not ended under Bush. Pending.
  • Iraq: President Obama (Democrat).

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

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

3) Pro-Life, anti-abortion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And finally…

5) “No Core”

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Obama lists many of his first-term accomplishments.


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10 Things You WON’T Hear Mentioned at the Republican Convention This Week
Aug 27th, 2012 by Admin Mugsy


Ask Mitt Anything* (*except...)As you know, the GOP will be holding its Presidential Convention & Cross Burning Clambake all this week in Tampa Bay. Well, not ALL week, because for the second convention in a row, the first day of the RNC Convention will be canceled due to a hurricane lashing the pavilion. In 2008, religious morons “prayed for rain” to disrupt the DNC Convention in Denver. Instead, they saw temps in the low 80’s, and the clouds parting on the night of Obama’s big acceptance speech. God is clearly a Democrat. Meanwhile, the GOP brazenly chose to host their convention at the site of Bush’s SECOND greatest failure (or, if you prefer, “Greatest failure of his SECOND term”), New Orleans during the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina (August 29, 2005). In response, God sent “Hurricane Gustav”, forcing the GOP to cancel Day-1 of their convention. Clearly, the GOP didn’t get the hint, because God decided in His infinite wisdom to disrupt the 2012 Convention as well with YET ANOTHER hurricane (“Isaac”) on the seventh anniversary of Katrina, once again headed for New Orleans. The Lord Almighty announced he’s “going to keep lobbing hurricanes at GOP Presidential Conventions until [they] admit Global Warming is real.” It’s true, I swear! God told me so himself (or maybe it was just Marcus Bachmann?)

And that’s Item #1 of things you WON’T hear being discussed at the Republican National Committee Convention this week: “Global Warming”. No, if history is any teacher, rather than ponder what effect turning our planet into a giant Easy-Bake Oven has on hurricanes, Asshats-in-cowboy-hats will be chanting, “Drill Baby, drill!” (or “Build the damn pipeline!”) despite the fact that oil production is higher now under President Obama than it EVER was under President Bush. (I have also pointed out that the KXL pipeline would result in HIGHER gas prices because giving up Refinery capacity to refine KXL oil for export means less gas for us, creating an artificial shortage that pushes prices UP.) But don’t confuse a Republican with “facts”. While Oil Billionaires in Tampa will be toasting the fact that hurricane in the Gulf means shutting down dozens of Refineries and Drilling Platforms across the Gulf Coast, pushing gas prices… and by extension… profits much higher (and the economy much lower), it will never occur to a single monsoon-soaked conventioneer that maybe what we should be looking for are ways to get OFF oil as a way to reduce prices, not suck the planet dry like the last Grape Nehi on Planet Diablo.

Number #2 on the list: While Governor Romney and several Convention Speakers will vow to “Repeal ObamaCare”, you will NOT hear ANYONE explain WHAT exactly they plan to replace ObamaCare with. On yesterday’s “Fox news Sunday”, host Chris Wallace interviewing Romney, asked him about “the consequences of repealing ObamaCare”. Romney ACTUALLY said that he would replace “ObamaCare” with “things”. You think I’m kidding?

Romney: (“the things I will replace ObamaCare with will also help hold down the cost of health care”)

Number #3: “Personhood”, or more specifically: “The Personhood Amendment. Oh, you’ll hear tons of lofty talk about the GOP being “The Party of Life” from a bunch of rabid pro-war, pro-gun, pro-death penalty zealots, and how the vile Liberal Left wants every woman to rely on Planned Parenthood for their health care so they can be talked into getting an abortion (especially if they’re black), but in the toxic fog of Rep. Todd Akin, any mention of the ultimate goal of that “pro-life” agenda will be harder to hear than a mouse-fart in church. If the camera catches glimpse of a single “Ban The Pill” or “Pass the Personhood Amendment” sign, you can bet that person will be yanked faster than a 6-inch nose hair.

No one during the entire event will connect the dots between “Personhood” and how it could ban most forms of hormonal contraception. In fact, you might even hear some Speaker claim that “No one is talking about banning contraception!” What a ridiculous thought!

Which of course leads to Number #4: Todd Akin. Last Monday, people were aghast by the Right-Wing nuttery of Republican Congressman Todd Akin for saying that victims of “legitimate rape” (RW code for suggesting there are a number of women who falsely claim rape simply to obtain an abortion) “secrete a substance” that prevents them from becoming pregnant (ergo, if you got pregnant, you must have wanted it.) But lets keep in mind that this is a Party where one of it’s leading presidential candidates… Ron Paulsaid almost the exact same thing last February, and no one on the Right said “Boo”.

As ThinkProgress pointed out, Paul Ryan teamed up with Akin on a slew of “personhood”, “anti-abortion” and “anti-contraception” acts of legislation as recently as THIS YEAR, so naturally the GOP makes him their Vice-Presidential nominee. If anyone brings up Akin or Ryan’s connection to him, it will be reporters, not anyone from the dais.

Number #5 on the list of thing you’ll never hear mentioned at this convention: The rash of recent “gun violence”. From the “Batman” shooting in Colorado, the near-fatal shooting of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, the attack on an Indian Seik Temple, or even the “suicide-by-cop” incident in front of The Empire State Building just last week. The GOP might as well change its name to The NRA for all the difference it would make. I’m sorry, but for a group of peacock-strutting macho Rednecks that loves guns & war, they sure talk tough, but I’ve never met a bigger bunch of frightened p@ssies in all my life. They live in constant terror of “Muslims”, “Illegal Immigrants”, “Black people”, “Black helicopters”… heck, the government in general. I couldn’t fathom living in their world. What a dark scary place they live in. It must be horrible living in such constant fear like that. So, if the word “gun” is mentioned at all during this Convention, it will be in the context of “Fast & Furious”… the botched “gun walking” program that never actually allowed a single gun to “walk”.

(UPDATE: On the morning of opening day of the Convention, a student at Perry Hall High School in Maryland was shot & wounded by another student opening fire in the school cafeteria.)

Number #6 on the list of things you’ll never hear at this convention: Mitt Romney’s tax returns or his tax shelters. While I wouldn’t be surprised if some minor league GOP “rising star” or disgruntled “Bachmann-type” in a waaaay off-primetime speaking slot ridicules the idea that anyone needs to see more than the one-years’ worth of tax returns that Mitt has already released, the very subject of Romney’s taxes will be verboten.

Number #7: The words “filibuster” or “obstruction”. It is imperative to the governor’s election chances that everyone forget that the last election wasn’t 2008, it was 2010. On yesterdays’ “ThisWeek” on ABC, Right-Wing putz George Will pointed to how little things have improved over the past year, and how that’s evidence “President Obama’s policies have failed”. Just once, I’d like someone to ask him if he thinks the GOP controlled Congress (yes, that includes the Dem-led Senate that has been held hostage via the filibuster) deserves ANY of the blame for the lack of improvement over the past two years? I mean, they DID come in promising “Jobs, jobs, jobs”, no? Or was I just imagining that? I’d almost bet cash/money that someone will (falsely) claim, “President Obama had a filibuster proof majority” his first two years (in truth, it was a grand total of only 24 working days) to support the idea he accomplished nothing (except pass the most sweeping health care reform law in 50 years.)

Number #8 on our list is “Voter ID” and the millions that are likely to be disenfranchised in order to “safeguard our elections” from a crime that’s rarer than death by lightning strike. The GOP is very excited about the passage of “Voter ID” laws that will require millions of legal Registered voters to unnecessarily jump through all sorts of ridiculous hoops just to exercise their Constitutional Right (“The Constitution”… you remember that Right-Wingers? It’s that thing you wrap yourselves in when it suits your purposes, and you push to “Amend” when it doesn’t?) They’ll ACTUALLY tell you, “It’s about making sure that only Citizens actually vote in our elections”, yet they accept a “Drivers License” (among other things) that doesn’t actually require proof of citizenship to get. In fact, NON-citizens can get a Drivers License, and do so all the time. Tell me again how “Voter ID” has anything to do with “making sure only citizens vote”? No, it’s just about making it more difficult for minorities and The Poor… groups that typically vote Democratic… to vote. I actually had one Right-Winger say to me, “Hey, if you can’t do something as simple as get an ID from the DMV, you shouldn’t be voting anyway!” Yes, it’s SO EASY for people WITHOUT A DRIVERS LICENSE OR A CAR to get to the DMV. It’s SO EASY for someone on Minimum Wage to take time off from work and wait in line all day at the DMV to get an ID they never needed before just to do something they’ve been doing for decades without incident. That taxi cab you might have to take to get to the DMV, or that time off you must take from work, that costs money and is tantamount to an illegal Poll Tax. If by some disaster Romney should “win” this November, you can BET “Voter ID” played a BIG part in making it happen.

Number #9: “The Dream Act”. Republicans are already on the outs with Millions of Hispanic voters for their “shoot first” at anyone that comes near their “1,100 mile long electrified fence” position on Border Security. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, who signed Arizona’s “Papers Please” law that gave local police the ability to stop anyone they deemed “suspicious” on any trumped-up charge they could think-up to give them legal justification to harass brown people, didn’t win them any friends in the Hispanic community. After alienating just about every sane black person in the country with their “Birther” nonsense, the GOP can’t afford to alienate any more minorities. But they’ve already labled President Obama’s “Dream Act”something that was once a GOP idea… “Amnesty”. In an interview on “Meet the Press” yesterday, Jeb Bush (who will be speaking at the convention while his brother will not) criticized his own party for being so anti-immigration, stressing the need for legal immigration. Jeb also acknowledged that President Obama “inherited a very difficult situation”, and will be using his speech to promote the need for “education” to a bunch of Home-Schoolers that want to abolish the Department of Education. So you can relax folks, there’s now ZERO chance we’ll ever see another Bush in the White House.

And last but not least…

Number #10 on the list of Things no one will hear mentioned at the RNC Convention? Osama bin Laden or Kadaffy.

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