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Trump Bombs Syria. Now what?
Apr 16th, 2018 by Admin Mugsy

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(Okay, we’re back. We were offline last week, and on Easter Break the week before that, so this is our first Op/Ed in two weeks. – Mugsy)
 

UN Ambassador Nikki Haley appeared on Fox news Sunday to comment on the U.S. strike on Syria Friday, and I was quite surprised by the way host Chris Wallace challenged her on some of her assertions. Halley revealed that Assad has used chemical weapons fifty times” since the rebellion began in 2011. So why was this attack so special? “Was it because it was caught on video?” asked Wallace. He also asked her if the message we were sending Assad was, “You can attack your own people using conventional weapons, just not chemical weapons?” Both excellent points. While I agree that a response was necessary and bombing Assad’s chemical weapons facilities was proper, I don’t feel like the Trump Administration has a strategy for what comes next. Do we just “hope” he doesn’t do it again? How will Russia react to further sanctions (after Trump spent the last year undermining them?) No answer to the question: “Okay, now what?” We hindered Syria’s ability to use chemical weapons against the Syrian rebels, but we don’t appear to be doing anything to resolve the conflict there or defend the lives of the Syrian rebels. What now?

Trump is suddenly criticizing Russia as it starts to dawn on him that Putin isn’t one of the good guys. Shocker, I know. The whole time Trump was talking nice about Russia and praising Putin during the campaign, Putin was ordering hackers to meddle in our election, breaking into DNC (and attempting to hack RNC) computers, was constructing a “super cruise missile” unveiled a few weeks ago, was behind the attempted poisoning of a former Russian double-agent now living in the UK, has been defending Assad… someone Trump now concedes is “a monster”, and now Trump is obsessed with rumors of a “blackmail tape” (to put it politely) supposedly filmed when he was in Russia for his 2013 Miss Universe pageant (I don’t know about you, but I’d be worried too if the story were true, and not the least bit concerned if I knew it weren’t.) And just like that, Trump appears to be realizing that maybe… just maybe… Putin isn’t the noble leader he though him to be.

Now, there seems to be a plethora of Nervous Nellie’s whom think the ultimate end result of ANY conflict… verbal, trade, whatever… will ultimately/inevitably lead to Global Thermonuclear War with Russia. No. Chill folks. Not every International disagreement leads to World War III. Dr. Strangelove isn’t in charge of the Pentagon (even with mustachioed lunatic National Security Advisor John Bolton advising Trump.) Hmmm. I don’t feel I made a very convincing argument there. Just trust me. Relax. Even Bush didn’t bungle his way into WWIII.

Okay, so we’ve sent a message to Assad… loud & clear… that we draw the line at “chemical weapons” but when it comes to ending the seven year long civil war in Syria, we have no intention of interfering (even if Russia is.) And under Trump, even awarding asylum to the victims of “monster” Assad is not being discussed. Again, I was struck by the fact Fox News Sunday (yes, I conferred upon them a well-deserved Capital-N) pointed out the seeming heartlessness of the Trump Administration’s parsimonious “no Middle-Eastern Refugees” policy:
 

Dwindelling admitted Syrian refugees

 
As you will note from the above graphic, while the GOP controlled Congress worked overtime to tie Obama’s hands, we WERE still able to allow in over 15,000 refugees in 2016. So far, we have allowed all of 11 refugees into the U.S. in the first 3-1/2 months of the year. At that rate, the U.S. will have allowed all of 35 or 36 Syrian Refugees into our country by years end. That’s unforgivable. To call Assad “a monster”, but to then tell those same victims, “Stay away! We don’t want you here! You must remain in that place where a ‘monster’ is committing war crimes against you” is profane.

But also consider, the GOP’s (claimed) justification for not allowing in refugees is that “terrorists might sneak in among them.” If “terrorists” had snuck into the U.S. among those 15,000 refugees admitted in 2016, we would know it by now. The (made-up) justification Republicans are giving for not admitting refugees just isn’t born out by the facts.

As for: “Where do we go from here”, I’ve already previously presented my own plan on how to resolve the current crisis in the Middle-East non-militarily for FAR less money than we are spending now, and finally bring the war(s) in the region to a close. We can still do it. The White House may not have a plan, but I do.
 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reality bites.

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

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

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

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

Trump the Deal-Maker (:32)

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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Trump & Race on MLK Day. Conservatives rush to defend Trump’s bigoted remarks
Jan 15th, 2018 by Admin Mugsy

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The first time most Americans had ever heard the name “Donald Trump” was 1989 when a young (white) female jogger running through Central Park was brutally raped, sodomized, beaten and left for dead. Five young men (four black, one Hispanic) were arrested for the crime (and a rash of similar attacks also in Central Park) and dubbed “The Central Park 5” by the media. Donald Trump was the most vocal voice, paying out of pocket to purchase full page ads in all four of New York’s major newspapers calling for the return of the Death Penalty and demanding the execution of “The Central Park 5” PRIOR to their trial, potentially tainting the jury pool. The five men confessed to committing the crime (having much to do with their concern of being able to receive a fair trial thanks to all the publicity bought & paid for by Trump) and the wealthy young real estate mogul was dubbed a champion of decent “law & order” New Yorkers. People rallied behind him also calling for the execution of the five young men even after questions started to emerge about whether their “confessions” were coerced and the men started pleading their innocence.

In 2002, a convicted serial rapist already in prison confessed to the crime and a DNA test proved it to be true. “The Central Park 5” were indeed innocent and immediately released from prison after 22 years. When Donald Trump was asked if he felt he owed the men an apology for his role in helping convict them and continuing to call for their execution even after questions of their innocence started to emerge, Trump offered no apology, dug in his heels and continued to defend his support for Capital Punishment even if it would have led to the death of five innocent young men who had been coerced into confessing to a crime they did not commit.

Trump’s history of bigotry didn’t begin in 1989 though. In the 1970’s, Donald and his father Fred Trump were accused of “Housing Discrimination” against minorities. An investigation by The Washington Post alleged that Trump employees marked minority applicants with codes, such as “No. 9” (ie: “Section 9” housing) or “C” for “colored.” And the doorman of the apartment building Trump owned told reporters that: “if a black person came to 2650 Ocean Parkway and inquired about an apartment for rent, […] I should tell him that the rent was twice as much as it really was.”

Trump’s history of being a proud bigot was well known LONG before he called Mexicans “rapists & drug dealers” in the speech where he declared his candidacy for president in 2015, or started demanding the birth certificate of the very first black presidential candidate to win his party’s nomination in 2008 (despite the fact Obama’s GOP opponent, John McCain, actually WAS born outside of the U.S. on a Panamanian military base two years before Congress passed the law making such children “American citizens.”)

Today, Monday January 15th, the country recognizes/celebrates the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. (on January 20th), made all the more poignant by Trump’s Oval Office comment last week calling Haiti, El Salvador & “some African countries” “shitholes” (Conservative pundit Rich Lowrey says some claim he said “shit houses, not shit holes.“) “Why can’t we have more immigrants from countries like Norway?” (likely thinking of his meeting with Norway’s PM the day before.) Trump naturally denied he ever said such a thing (though I expect him to reverse himself any minute now and claim there would be nothing wrong if he *had* said it because the countries he named are indeed “economic basket cases”… as if the economic state of the country people come from has any bearing on their worthiness to come here. People living in great conditions don’t have a lot of incentive to immigrate to the U.S…. especially now with someone like Trump in charge.)

The reason I half-expect Trump to reverse himself from “denial” to “admitting & defending” his remarks is mostly because of the outrageous number of Republican members of Congress and Conservative pundits who rushed to Trump’s defense yesterday on the Sunday news talk shows. Even the few who dared criticize their Party leader still used muted language. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan called Trump’s comment “very unfortunate” and “unhelpful”… something one ABC News reporter said was “something you say about a parking ticket, not a racist insult towards millions of people.” Ryan’s remarks were still more than Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has yet to muster, who has yet to make ANY public comment regarding Trump’s latest racist remark.

Many Republicans in Congress who criticized candidate Trump are now quick to defend him. Former Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul… a staunch Libertarian who got in trouble himself prior to the campaign for stating he likely would NOT have voted for the 1964 Civil Rights Act because “the federal government has no business telling private industry what to do” (ie: discriminate against an entire race of people)… vehemently defended Trump on “Meet the Press” yesterday, stating Trump simply stated a preference for people from “economically stable” countries (where the vast majority just happen to be white.)

On ABC’s ThisWeek, Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) was one of the six people present in the Oval Office and all but called Democratic Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL)… also present and stating categorically Trump did indeed call the mostly black nations “shitholes”… a liar, declaring “I haven’t heard any of those six sources other than Senator Durbin talk about what was said.” Stephanopoulos responded by telling Purdue that Republican Senator Lindsey Graham (also in the meeting) appeared to corroborate Durbin’s account of events, telling his co-Senator Tim Scott Trump’s comments were “unfortunate“, to which Purdue only called Durbin’s account, “a gross a gross misrepresentation” (no follow-up as to ask what the ‘correct’ language should have been.)

In addition to Purdue, another Deep South Republican senator, “Traitor Tom” Cotton, vehemently denied on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that Trump made the racist remark, stating, “Sen. Durbin has a history of misrepresenting what happens in White House meetings, though. So perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised by that.” There’s that word again, “misrepresenting“. Neither Cotton nor Puedue flat out call Durbin a liar nor state categorically that Trump never made any derogatory remark about those countries, yet seem to have no qualms slandering a fellow senator to defend Trump.

And how shocked do you think I was (answer: zero) to hear a representative of “The Christian Broadcast Network” go on “ThisWeek” to defend Trump for the same reason: He’s not a racist, he just prefers rich white guys like himself.

The REAL scandal last week wasn’t that a notorious bigot once again said something racist (as he seems to do at least once a month since the day of his announcement in 2015). It’s the number of Republicans… a Party already regarded as the refuge of bigots and unwelcoming of minorities… rushed to Trump’s defense, more than eager to try to convince us that his moronic bigotry was actually justified and/or not bigotry at all, simply “misunderstood”… just as they are.

Doctor King is surely rolling in his grave tonight.
 

Postscript: Also worthy of discussion this week but not mentioned once during the Sunday shows was the release of the “FusionGPS” testimony transcript. I am currently still reading the transcript (some 312 pages) and noticing some interesting details that I hope to report on in the future. From the 100+ pages I’ve read so far, the only reason I can see why Republicans fought so long/hard to suppress the release of the Transcript is that it shows former British MI6 agent Michael Steele’s role… whose “dossier” on Trump documented a plethora of troublesome contacts between Trump and Russia’s shady underground and numerous Russian officials… is hardly a substantial portion of the evidence against Trump. Most of the testimony is really just assessing the legitimacy of “FusionGPS” as a trustworthy research firm… of which by this testimony they clearly are.
 
Also of note: Friday is the latest “deadline” for Congress to pass a budget for 2018 (after agreeing to put it off for a month last month). If no agreement is made, we may once again be facing a “Government Shutdown by Friday. Democrats want a DACA agreement for the “Dreamers” to be part of any budget deal. Thanks to Trump’s latest racist remarks regarding black people from Haiti, El Salvador & Africa it seems unlikely Republicans will shutdown the government over a refusal to come to an agreement on the future of non-criminal minority immigrants. Particularly in an election year (where Republican Senator Jeff Flake admitted yesterday, “Republicans are no longer wondering IF they’ll lose the House in November, but by how much.”)

 


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Self-Proclaimed Protectors of America Hold Everything it Stands for in Contempt.
Oct 16th, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

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I think I’m running out of ways to say “The Far Right hates America.” Which is ironic because it’s the Far Right who continually accuses “The Left” of “hating America” for complaining about the direction it’s heading (headlong into Fascism.) I’ve been writing this blog since the end of Dubya Bush’s first term in office, and one thing I’ve noticed is that people have disturbingly short memories. I actually heard a progressive radio host last week say that he “didn’t remember the Bush Administration having as much contempt for the Freedom of Speech as the Trump Administration.” “SERIOUSLY?” I barked out loud. You don’t remember “Free Speech Zones”, “Loyalty oaths”, and “fake newscasts with actors pretending to be reporters using fake names” being produced in-house by the Bush Administration and distributed to small market low-budget TV stations across the nation who then played those fake newscasts without ever revealing their source and clearly unaware the reporters were actors? You telling me you don’t remember ANY of that? None of this is new. Trump’s contempt for “Freedom of the Press”, “Freedom of Speech“, “Freedom of Assembly” and a “Freedom of Religion” that only applies if you are Christian, are only the latest depths of Conservative anti-Americanism. Trump’s supporters openly spoke of “secession” when Obama was president, and hate immigrants (ironically, in a nation of immigrants… of which their forebearers almost certainly were) to a xenophobic level. Not only did Trump launch his campaign calling Mexican immigrants “drug dealers and rapists” (which his supporters cheered), and not only has he called for a ban on all immigration from the Middle East (to which he later tried to amend with exceptions based on religion), but they even tried to rewrite the story of the “Statue of Liberty” to claim the Lady with the Lamp guiding “the wretched refuse to our shores” was NOT intended to “welcome” immigrants, but instead was merely a monument to our greatness, adding that the famed poem describing the purpose of the statue “was added later.” If your hatred of the outside world is SO extreme you feel you must even rewrite Lady Liberty’s legacy, that’s beyond living in denial. They wave Confederate flags (the flag of rebels who broke apart from America and declared war upon it), hate half of the people who live here (blacks, minorities, non-Christians, Democrats) and think the purpose of the Second Amendment is to protect them from their own government. And the biggest problem is that the people who support all this anti-American activity ALSO claim to be America’s most fervent defenders/supporters.

As I’ve noted many times before, our Constitution mentions the word “TREASON” seven times and says the purpose of the 2nd Amendment is for its citizens to PROTECT AMERICA from those who seek to attack it. If you live here, it’s the FIRST Amendment that grants you the power to speak out against the government, petition it to redress your grievances, a free press to air those grievances and speak out against it, and a right to freely assemble/protest to bring about change. NO WHERE does it say “If you don’t like it, you can shoot your Congressman.” It’s there to guard against fascism (the merger of corporations, church & state). Guard against people who might seek to deny you your right of free speech. Guard against people who might do this country harm… by militarizing the police, polluting our air & streams, or keeping the nation in a perpetual state of war. The most fervent Second Amendment supporters are typically the same people who most live in fear of their own government, are the greatest supporters of those very same policies I just listed, and the quickest to threaten the use of force against it if the government strays from those very policies or endangers their right to own as much firepower as they can possibly amass over several lifetimes. The great irony in this country is that today’s Second Amendment supporters are the very people the Second Amendment was intended to protect us from.

These self-proclaimed “Protectors of America” hold everything this nation stands for in contempt: Immigrants, free speech, tolerance and a separation of Church & State.

With Trump’s new call for “Compulsory Patriotism” (demanding NFL team owners “suspend” any player who refuses to stand for the National Anthem in protest), we join the ranks of reviled dictatorships like Iran, North Korea, Nazi Germany and (of course) Soviet Russia. It should come as a surprise to no one that Trump admires dictators… fascists who don’t have to answer to anyone… and bemoans the fact he can’t just run the country the way a corporate tycoon runs his company… the lone decision maker where his word is law and everything is done by decree. (We all remember how bitterly Republicans accused President Obama of “acting like a dictator” by issuing “Executive Orders” to circumvent an obstructionist Congress. They declared that “Executive Orders” in and of themselves were “unconstitutional” for that very reason. So imagine my shock (sarcasm) when Trump did EXACTLY THAT, issuing an unconstitutional “Executive Order” of his own last week (for fun, type “Trump executive order” in a Google News search and see how many options come up) “decertifying” a key provision in “ObamaCare” to provide subsidies to help the working poor afford their insurance. And imagine my further surprise (read: none) when Conservative pundit Michael Needham on Fox “news” Sunday yesterday dared claim “Nobody ever said Conservatives oppose ALL “Executive Orders”, just the “unconstitutional” ones.” It’s not THEIR fault every single one of Obama’s “Executive Orders” just happened to be “unconstitutional” (because they were used to circumvent an obstructionist Congress, while Trump’s EO was done because… ah… oh… uh…)

Now, if you are a Conservative, you’re probably calling me a hypocrite for not yet mentioning recent college protests seeking to shutdown guest speakers who wish to perform/talk at their school. Typically, the object of their fury are Conservative hate-speech bomb-throwers like Ann Coulter or Steve Bannon, but they’ve also protested Left-Wing stand-up comics like Bill Maher whom they criticize for his criticism of Muslims as followers of “a hateful ideology”, though to be fair, he says the same thing about the religious Right (as do I.) So, “the Left” has its intolerant anti-free speech zealots as well. But while “the Left” has a few intolerant young college kids who should know better but don’t, the Right has ENTIRE ORGANIZATIONS (like The Family Research Council who just hosted Bannon’s latest little fascist-fest, the “AEI: American Enterprise Institute“, and most famously “The Heritage Foundation“) with multi-billionaire backers funding them dedicated to undermining the very principles of Democracy. A few intolerant kids at a select few colleges just doesn’t compare.

If you claim to “love America”, then you must also love everything it stands for. If only those who claim to be ready to fight to the death to protect the Second Amendment were as fanatical about protecting the First.
 


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

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Trump Has Been Great for Advancing Progressivism
Jan 30th, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

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They say you never appreciate what you’ve got until someone tries to take it away. One day after Donald J Trump was sworn into office, a massive GLOBAL protest took place condemning the new Commander-in-Chief on Women’s Rights. And just this past weekend, tens of thousands of protesters rallied to oppose Trump’s ill-conceived (and likely unconstitutional) “Muslim Ban” that singles out travelers from any of seven “red flagged” Middle Eastern nations, yet incredibly, excludes five nations, most with known links to terrorism inside the United States including Egypt, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia… where 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers came from, and Turkey, a close ally of the U.S. but where ISIS committed a brutal attack on the Istanbul Airport just last June (the fifth nation being the UAE, also linked to 9/11.) Perhaps unsurprisingly, Bloomberg pointed out Friday that the five exempted majority-Muslim nations all just happen to be countries in which Trump has business interests. Hmmm.

More people are talking about the potential negative consequences of enacting Trump’s extremist Conservative agenda in just the past week than have stood up and defended Progressive ideals in the past 30 years. When Obama took office in 2009, just WHO did we see taking to the street in massive protests? Teabagging idiots, carrying semi-automatic weapons, waving racist misspelled signs demanding: “keep your government hands off my Medicare!” If Hillary or (and it pains me to say this) even Bernie had won the election, just WHO would we see protesting in the streets today? The same racist teabagging idiots demanding we “build the wall”, take away their own health care, and “lock up” Hillary Clinton for something, something, BenghaziTM.

But instead, we see people flooding the streets demanding the protection of women’s rights, demanding fair treatment of non-Christian immigrants, welcoming refugees and pointing out all the problems with Trump’s ridiculous border wall with Mexico. Columnist Tom Friedman on “Meet the Press” yesterday pointed out that “Every time someone on the terrorist watch list flies into Mexico, the United States is notified. Just how willing will they be to continue such cooperation if Trump builds his wall?” And one of the proposed means of raising money to pay for the wall would be to “place a 20% import tax” on all goods entering the United States from Mexico. Well, who then pays that tax? YOU DO, not Mexico (of course, you could boycott all Mexican imports, but then YOU’RE STILL stuck with the bill since they’re not waiting for Mexico to pay for the wall before they start building it at YOUR expense.)

And because of all this Conservative stupidity, I’ve seen more Progressives on my TV in the last 8 days than I’ve seen in the last 8 YEARS.

On the flip side, there is one issue in which Progressives and Trump agree, and that’s the issue of “Free Trade”… or more precisely, OPPOSITION to it. Progressives have long railed against the nonsense of “Free Trade” while Conservatives have long championed it. In the 1990’s, President Clinton passed NAFTA with mostly Conservative votes. Republicans told us how “great” it would be for American business while Ross Perot warned of “a giant sucking sound” as American companies rushed to move their factories to Mexico for the cheap labor and then reimport it back into the US for sale. Trump’s opposition to NAFTA (or more precisely, Mexico since he never talks about “Free Trade” with Canada) and the TPP are driving Republicans nuts. Suddenly, they are forced to agree with their Party Leader that perhaps “Free Trade” isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and Progressives were right all along.

So while Trump is ranting about “US sovereignty” and railing against foreign countries taking advantage of us only to sell their goods back in the U.S. without benefiting a single American worker, he then signs an Executive Order granting permission to two Canadian oil companies to build a pipeline through the U.S. to produce “oil” that very little of which we can even use. As part of the deal, Trump is demanding the pipeline “be built using American steel”, thus “creating American jobs”, but as I pointed out [ibid], most of that pipe has already been purchased and there is no requirement they scrap all that leaky Chinese pipe and purchase all new American steel pipe. As such, the number of jobs created from providing steel pipe will be minimal.

In addition to Keystone, Trump also restored the controversial “Dakota Access Pipeline” (DAPL) that had hundreds of protesters… including veterans… protesting in the freezing cold of Northern North Dakota a few months back against the building of a pipeline from Canada through native American land and endangering their water supply. President Obama, who initially supported the plan, relented to protesters and shelved the project. Enter Donald Trump who reignited the controversy by allowing the project to resume, promising it will create more temporary jobs over several years than the U.S. economy needs EVERY WEEK just to keep up with population growth.

Also announced last week, hundreds of thousands of scientists are planning their own “@ScienceMarchInDC” in April to protest the Trump Administration’s anti-science policies, not just their disbelief in Climate Change that leads them to believe they can build those pipelines without consequence and go ahead with plans to reduce regulations on coal production. But in addition to Climate Change, they are also protesting “slashing funding and restricting scientists from communicating their findings (from tax-funded research!) with the public“, calling it “absurd.”

For six years, Republicans railed against “ObamaCare” and vaguely promised to “repeal & replace” it with “something better”. During the presidential campaign, Trump said he was “working on a plan” for a replacement to “ObamaCare” that would still “cover everyone”, continue to prohibit exclusions for “preexisting conditions”, all without a mandate or possibly causing you to lose your doctor. And every time people asked Trump or Republicans about “their plan” to replace “ObamaCare”, they always assured us they were “working on it” but it would be great. Trust us. Barely two weeks ago, just as Obama was preparing to leave office, the new Congress made voting to “repeal ObamaCare” (for the 66th time) one of their very first acts. The big cowards passed the bill before Obama left because they knew he’d veto it. But they don’t DARE pass it again NOW, forcing Trump to sign it before they have a plan to replace it.

So then, just this past Wednesday/Thursday, at a “retreat” in Philadelphia, Republican lawmakers got together to discuss what to replace “ObamaCare” with now that they finally have a president that’ll sign whatever they pass. Audio of the meeting (93 minutes) was described as Republicans “freaking out” over the fact they HAVE NO replacement, no plan, no clear ideas, no agreement regarding what to “replace” it with, and that coming up with their own plan is going to be a matter of months not “weeks” as they had hoped, was leaked to the Washington Post.

This is what Democrats have been saying all along. “They have no plan!” They “can’t keep just the parts they like and get rid of the parts that help pay for it!” Conservatives are irresponsible children and they appointed a reckless Toddler promising them candy for dinner, only to wake up with tummy aches. Conservatives are just starting to realize how empty those promises have been all along.

Trump ran for office on being a successful businessman who was adept at finding “the best people” to run the government. Then he nominates people like Rick “Oops” Perry to run a department he was forced to admit in his confirmation hearing that he didn’t realize everything the department did when he proposed shutting it down four+ years ago, and Ben “Sleepytime” Carson (a surgeon) who has been tapped to run the office of “Housing and Urban Development” (NOT Surgeon General) whose sole experience is that he “once lived in Public Housing” (by that logic, I should be flying jumbo jets around the globe.) And in case you were wondering (as I was), No, Trump has not yet picked a Surgeon General… someone he could use as the GOP hashes out their “ObamaCare” replacement.

Even Republicans are expressive concern now that Trump’s Travel Ban “wasn’t properly vetted” before it was enacted and they clearly did not think things through. McCain & Graham, who have openly criticized their new Party leader before, are expressing concern that the backlash from this travel ban could actually do more to harm national security than help it as we anger the few allies we have left in the Middle East and leave interpreters & guides wondering why they should help a country that views them as “the enemy” simply for their religion?
 

Global protest supporting women's rights
Global Anti-Trump protest in support of women’s rights – 1/21/2017

 

Global protest supporting women's rights
Global Anti-Trump protest in support of women’s rights – 1/21/2017

 

Travel ban protests across country
Tens of thousands protesting Trump’s Muslim Ban across the country – 1/28/2017

 

People are starting to realize the emperor has no clothes, and Progressives are the ones pointing it out. Ignored once, but rapidly organizing & growing. And it took electing an incompetent, racist man-child to mobilize them.
 


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Predictions for 2017: It’s the end of the world as we know it.
Dec 31st, 2016 by Admin Mugsy

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Okay. Maybe not the “The Apocalypse”. The election of a new president already provides lots of fodder for those making predictions. Literally EVERYTHING becomes an open question, but the $#!+storm awaiting us as a political novice with the impulse control of a toddler takes control of the most powerful office on the planet is difficult to quantify. No one (outside of the Trump campaign and his most ardent believers) thought he was going to win. But in the end, the Clinton campaign was a victim of its own success. They made Clinton’s victory seem SO inevitable, and Trump’s presidency SO unthinkable, that millions of Democrats didn’t even bother to vote, allowing a reality TV show star riding a wave of xenophobia to ascend to the presidency. And his choices to lead his Administration raise serious concern. Trump’s case for why he should be president was that… as a corporate CEO… he knows how to pick “the best people” to create an incredibly effective government. But instead, he has been awarding top-level cabinet-level positions to friends, lobbyists and far right ideologues the way other presidents awarded ambassadorships… not based on qualifications, but purely on their fealty to Trump himself.

We start off year nine of my prognostications as we do every year by looking back at the predictions of others. Always good for a laugh, I find myself wondering why anyone takes these people seriously with such miserable track records. Typically, most “psychics” make dozens… even hundreds… of incredibly vague predictions, then declare success when one of their predictions is twisted and massaged to where they can claim they accurately predicted some obscure global event. Some place no time-frame on their predictions, so they are never “wrong”, their predictions simply “haven’t come true yet.” I don’t do that. I don’t make “vague” predictions (the “Two moons will join as one” crap) and only make predictions for the coming year. If something I predict doesn’t happen within the next 12 months, that prediction is ruled “wrong”.

The Huffington Post declared “16 Shocking Predictions for 2016” written by clinical psychologist Dr. Carmen Harra. What a psychologist is doing making “psychic predictions” is anyone’s guess, but of her 16 predictions, I found none of them particularly “shocking”, and only one prediction… the election of a female South American president (Dilma Rousseff of Brazil)… appears to have come true. Even her “gimme” predictions (like “more extreme weather”) I’d classify as “wrong” because there were no widespread devastating weather catastrophes in 2016.

As many of you know, I live blog the top three political talk shows every Sunday: Fox “news” Sunday, “Meet the Press” and ABC’s ThisWeek. Typically, their final show of the year includes predictions for the coming year. I always find the predictions of Conservatives on Fox the most fascinating. It really is a window into their dark fantasy world. Simply put, Democrats will always usher in economic chaos, and Republican policies are always a resounding success:
 

Fox “news” Sunday’s Predictions for 2016 (8:57)

 

Some highlights:

  • “Common sense will prevail [within the GOP] and Trump won’t win the nomination”. – Oops. I guess it didn’t.
  •  

  • Economy will be down. “Recession.” – The U.S. economy continued to grow, growing at a remarkable 3.5% in the third quarter of this year.
  •  
    The political predictions end about halfway in, but I posted the full clip because it highlights just how routinely wrong the extremely partisan frequent guest panelist Mike Needham (of National Review Online) is. In previous years, “Bloody” Bill Kristol (of The Weekly Standard) was the Fox panelist that never got a single thing right before swapping places with George Will (a fixture on ABC’s ThisWeek for decades but became buttsore when they handed hosting duties over to Stephanopoulos). Like all Republicans, Needham is extremely sure of himself despite rarely ever being right on anything, and allows his partisanship to get in the way when making his predictions. Nothing connected to a Democrat ever turns out good. Nothing linked to a Republican ever turns out bad. I’m not sure Needham is EVER right on anything. But he tells Republicans what they like to hear, so he’s repeatedly asked back to give his opinions.

    Mike Needham:

  • “Low interest rates [are] maintaining the facade of Keynesian monetary policy.” – In Mike’s world, “Trickle-down” Reaganomics was a huge success while Keynesian “trickle up from the poor” economics is fantasy. Mike predicted that the Obama economy was being artificially propped up by low interest rates and once rates started to rise, the economy would start to implode. Interest rates are rising while Trump takes credit for the surge in the Stock Market.
  • Disagrees that Chicago (Hillary’s hometown) Cubs will win World Series. Instead picks the NY (Trump’s hometown) Mets. – While the Mets did okay in 2016, they came in sixteen games behind the World Series champion Cubs in the National League.
  • Picked “Batman vs Superman” to be the next big Hollywood blockbuster. – “Batman vs Superman” turned out to be a flop of epic proportions. Needham also predicted (noted Hollywood Liberal) Ben Affleck would go down as “the worst Batman in history.” To the contrary.

Give it up, Mike.
 

ABC’s ThisWeek predictions for 2016 (6:18)

 

Less drama (and fewer predictions) over on ABC’s ThisWeek. Everyone seemed to agree Trump had a better than average chance of winning the GOP nomination, with two of them even accurately picking “Tim Kaine” to be Hillary’s running mate.

Now let’s look back at my predictions from last year to give you some idea of just how seriously you should take me. Compared to “celebrity psychics”, even on my worst years, I totally crush them. The difference is that I freely admit that I’m no psychic. I’m just very good at spotting political trends and knowing how people think. So let’s take a look at my “Predictions for 2016”:

  • wrong – “Will we see another “France-style” terrorist attack in 2016? I don’t think so.” 2015 saw the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris (including a suicide bomber detonating just outside the National soccer stadium), so it seemed unlikely anyone would be able to pull off a similar attack in 2016. But unfortunately, last June, suicide bombers killed 41 in a siege of the Istanbul International Airport in Turkey, and France’s Bastille Day celebrations came to a tragic end when lone disturbed ISIS Sympathizer killed 84 and mowed down hundreds more using a large truck. Germany also saw a less deadly but no less tragic mass murder using a large truck driven by another ISIS sympathizer.
  •  

  • wrong – The establishment of “Safe Zones” inside of Syria & Iraq to counter the flood of refugees into other countries that were becoming increasingly unwelcome. Seriously, I am quite disgusted that six years later, we are still talking about the Syrian civil war. Unfortunately, the rest of the world found it easier to do nothing than to try and safeguard the civilian populations living in the region. The massacre in Syria has been a sticking point with me ever since I (incorrectly) predicted in 2011 massive international intervention to stop Assad from massacring his own people. But instead, Russia sided with their good friend King Assad, labeled the rebels “terrorists”, and made it impossible for anyone to intervene without risking a war with Russia. And instead, four years later, we’ve elected a president that sides with Russia on every controversy, and the city of Aleppo was pretty much obliterated and recaptured by Assad’s forces. Even more disturbing is the number of Trump supporters who believe photos like “Aleppo Boy” were “staged”. I’m not sure what has to die inside a person to look at that photo, call it a fake, and take the side of Syria & Russia.
  •  

  • right – ISIS will still be about the same size as it is today… roughly 30,000 fighters. – While it is difficult (if not impossible) to get an accurate reading on the number of people fighting on the ground in the region of Syria & Northern Iraq, most analysts seem to agree that “ISIS is shrinking”, not growing, preferring instead to try to inspire weak-willed outcasts feeling ostracized by society to commit “lone wolf” attacks in other countries and then take credit for those attacks. It is difficult to inspire Muslim sympathizers to the ISIS cause when the majority of their targets are fellow Muslims (see the Turkey airport attack above.) I fear Trump’s “take no prisoners” scorched Earth plans for dealing with ISIS will do more to create sympathizers and grow ISIS than actually serve to defeat it.
  •  

  • wrong – Russia WILL focus more on attacking ISIS and less on helping Assad destroy the Syrian rebels – I was wrong about Russia suddenly growing a conscience and pulling back in it’s support of helping Assad crush him political opponents, though I was correct that they would not JOIN forces with the U.S. in alliance to destroy who they claim is a common enemy: ISIS. Poor naive Donald Trump has bought Russia’s line of bull that the Syrian civil war is all about fighting terrorism. Russia has only become more bold in its international meddling in 2016 as Putin sees an opportunity to regain its Soviet-era dominance in the world as America’s influence wanes as we begin our 15th year of war.
  •  

  • right – Iran is likely to increase military aid to Assad as Russian support for the war wanes. – Iran “reportedly felt blindsided by the terms of the [Syrian] truce brokered in Turkey between Russia and the rebels.” Iran’s involvement in Syria has deepened as they disapprove of Russia focusing more on seizing more control in the region.
  •  

  • right – The Syrian conflict [will] still be raging throughout the year, eventually culminating in a treaty between Assad & the rebels. – The Syrian Civil War is only now being declared “coming to an end” here in the final days of 2016 as Russia brokers yet-another cease fire treaty. After years of conflict, it has become clear that we have are now incapable of bringing wars to an end.
  •  

  • wrong – We will see a MILD economic decline as the Republican controlled Congress stifles the economy to help the GOP presidential candidate. I’m actually quite stunned the GOP didn’t do more to cripple the economy to help the GOP nominee win the election. But then, I didn’t expect the GOP to be so unhappy with their candidate. In the end, they weren’t exactly enthusiastic about helping Donald Trump become the leader of their Party (and if you ask me, they are terrified of being branded “The Party of Trump”.) Instead, the Obama economy continued to grow at a remarkable rate.
  •  

  • right – Gitmo to still be in operation by the end of President Obama’s presidency, [though] steps will finally be in place to close it permanently before he leaves office. – Yes on both counts. Our POW camp at Guantánamo Bay is indeed still in operation (though currently down to just 59 detainees that will reportedly be down to just 41 by the time Obama leaves office. In February, he did send his Guantánamo Closing Plan to Congress, but no action was taken. And Trump has vowed… not only to keep it open… but to even EXPAND it, so our giant “middle-finger” to all our principles will continue to operate for the foreseeable future.
  •  

  • wrong – GOP will retain control of the House following the election but lose the Senate. – This did indeed become the conventional thinking in the final days of the election, and there’s no way of knowing if Russian meddling had any impact on the outcome, but Democrats did pick up two seats… three seats short of control of the Senate (under a Republican White House.)
  •  

  • right – The 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio will be relatively uneventful. – No terrorist attacks, and despite concerns of rampant local crime, polluted water, and unfinished facilities, the Rio Olympics pretty much went off without a hitch.
  •  

  • right – Trump will be the GOP nominee. – I’m surprised (well, maybe not) that so many people believed Republicans would come to their senses and pull back from the brink before allowing this cartoonish man-child to come within earshot of the presidency, but I was one of the few that knew better. Before the first primary of 2016, I knew from the 2012 nomination of Mitt Romney, “wealth = good” among low-information Republican voters. Bush & Cheney ran as “businessmen” in 2000 promising a “CEO presidency”, and it was an absolute disaster. But that didn’t stop them from nominating Mitt Romney in 2012 (regardless of how he made his money.) Just as in 2012, Republicans didn’t like the GOP front-runner (Romney) and constantly kept looking for someone to take the nomination away from him. But as each new front-runner crashed & burned, Romney kept floating back up to the top of the bowl. The same thing with Trump in 2016. There were a couple of brief scares when Ben Carson and Ted Cruz became the front runners momentarily, but they always came back to Trump as his rivals crashed & burned.

    I also predicted that Trump will plan to delegate most of his responsibilities as he has no interest in actually doing the job, which he & his son both confirmed last May.

  •  

  • wrong – Expect Trump to name his running mate early if he finds himself struggling to win the nomination. – This didn’t happen… with Trump. But it bears mentioning that this is EXACTLY what Ted Cruz did all the way back in April. Also of note, I included the caveat that “if [Trump] gets locked in a battle with the Democratic nominee, his ego will rope him in until the election in November” seeing his candidacy through to the bitter end, win or lose. And I was absolutely right on that. All the polls were predicting an easy win for Clinton, and even Trump himself was surprised when all of the “must win” races started falling his way, yet he stayed in to the very end with most expecting him to challenge the result if he lost… completely unwilling to believe this country might choose Hillary over him.
  •  

  • right – Hillary to win the Democratic nomination. – Probably my most painful prediction as a Bernie supporter, but this is what separates me from Republicans who shape their predictions to fit their personal ideology. And this is why their record of predicting things is so miserable. They are SO sure their beliefs are right, the possibility they could be wrong never crosses their minds.
  •  

  • wrong* – the Democratic nominee will win the election in November. – It is difficult to know if Russian meddling in our election may have altered the outcome, but I’m not aware of even one legitimate poll that predicted a Trump victory. The entire Trump candidacy was one embarrassment after another, from making racist & sexist remarks during his campaign, the embarrassing Convention with guest speakers like Scott Baio, culminating in the “Access Hollywood” (“grab them by the [meow]” tape.) And despite needing to sweep nearly every single swing state to win, that’s exactly what happened… an achievement suspicious in itself. But I didn’t factor possible election fraud into my prediction.
  •  

  • right – As ISIS begins to feel the pressure of increased international focus on defeating them, they will in turn focus more on inspiring outside sympathizers to commit “lone wolf” terrorist attacks in their respective countries. I predicted at least three such attacks in the coming year. – Indeed, this was the case, with terrorist attacks by ISIS sympathizers in Istanbul, Turkey, Nice, France, and the Christmas Market attack in Berlin, Germany.

8 right, 7 wrong. 53%. Not bad. I’ve done worse. That keeps my lifetime average well over 50%. I was one of the few to predict the presidential race to come down to Clinton vs Trump when must people were predicting a “Hillary vs Jeb” contest. I’m pretty proud of that.

And now…

My Predictions for 2017:

With a totally new administration full of billionaires, ideologues and sycophants with no track record of public service whatsoever, the possibilities are endless as what to expect from the coming year. As “president-elect Trump” rejects the need for a “Presidential Baily Briefing” (on the grounds the information is “repetitive”), I’m frequently reminded of how President Bush in 2001 repeatedly dismissed his own PDB’s while our intelligence agencies were desperately (“Lights were flashing red”) trying to get him to pay attention to the threat of alQaeda until it was too late with the attacks of 9/11 just eight months into office. Now Trump is doing the same while ISIS attacks seem to be growing in magnitude & frequency. Predicting the first year of any new administration is one big crap shoot, but I know how Trump and his ilk think.

  1. Trump is already taking credit for a rise in the Stock Market since his election while Obama is still president, but once he takes office, if the economy does not continue to improve, he’ll stop taking credit and start blaming Obama (remember how Republicans berated Obama the first couple of years for “blaming Bush” for the deep hole we were still digging our way out of?) Trump will be handed an economy that’s 180 degrees from what Obama inherited (soaring stock market, unemployment falls to just 4.6%), and President Obama’s final budget will still be in effect until October, so it is unlikely the economy will turn South in Trump’s first year unless he does something extremely provocative to spook the global financial (or oil) market. We’ll have to wait & see if Trump becomes a “don’t rock the boat” president, or (more likely) an impulsive hothead that doesn’t consider the consequences before acting (which is the defining characteristic of Republicans.)
  2.  
    Trump’s coziness with the Russians continues to disturb me. His first campaign spokesman, Paul Manafort, was forced to resign when it was discovered that he had been paid millions lobbying for pro-Russian Ukrainian oligarchs… not because of his Russia connection, but because he worked as a lobbyist at a time when Trump was still trying to act as though he disapproved of lobbyists and the Russian annexing of Ukraine was unpopular with most Americans. Yet, despite being fired, Manafort continued to live in Trump Tower (along with another fired Trump staffer, former campaign manager Cory Lewandowski.) This tells me Trump doesn’t learn from his mistakes, he just tucks them away until after the heat blows over.

    His eventual choice for Secretary of State, Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson, wasn’t even on the original lists of nominees. The person that appeared to have to best chance was Mitt Romney… who called Russia “our #1 Geo-political enemy” when he ran in 2012. Then suddenly, Romney was out and Tillerson… a man who was awarded the “Russian Medal of Friendship”…. was in.

    His daughter Ivanka was even caught palling around with Putin’s girlfriend in Croatia.

  3. Trump’s Russian ties will continue to haunt him in 2017, but with a GOP controlled Congress, nothing will ever come of it. Every move that involves Russia will draw additional scrutiny. Investigative reporters may start to report on concerns of Russian influence on the Trump White House, but President-elect Trump has been working hard to delegitimatize the Media as “Fake News” so that… should they report anything critical of his administration, he can simply dismiss it as “fake news”.
  4.  
    George Bush appointed a single unqualified mega-donor sycophant to his Administration (Michael “Heckuva job, Brownie” Brown)… an Arabian horse judge… to be in charge of FEMA, and we all know how that turned out. Trump’s cabinet is FULL of unqualified “Brownies”. He has been gifting crucial administration posts the way other presidents once awarded “ambassadorships” to friends & big donors. This is particularly disturbing when one of the key arguments Trump and his supporters gave to justify electing a “CEO President” with NO political experience to the presidency was that he’d appoint only “the best people” to manage his administration. Among some of Trump’s other “So good, you won’t believe it” appointees so far:

    Former opponent Dr. Ben Carson… NOT as Surgeon General which might make SOME sense… but as the head of “Housing & Urban Development” (which Carson himself justified due to having “once lived in Public Housing”. By that standard, I should be piloting 747’s because I once flew in one.)

    Co-founder of the WWE (“World Wrestling Entertainment”) Linda McMahon to head the SBA (“Small Business Administration”.) I think we know how she got the job:

     
    Trump in Wrestlemania
     
    Trump wrestles McMahon

    (Remember all the Republicans who whined Bill Clinton was destroying the dignity of the Oval Office?)

    The former Attorney General from the Oklahoma oil-patch, climate change denier Scott Pruitt to head the EPA. Pruitt repeatedly sued the EPA’s “Clean Power Plan” and “Clean Water Rule” while OK-AG, and even tried to pass off a letter written by oil company lobbyists critical of the EPA as his own. And now he will be in charge of the organization.

    While not yet appointed at this time, Trump is reportedly considering billionaire eccentric “Peter Thiel” to head the FDA. Like Ben Carson who believes he’s qualified to run HUD because he once lived in public housing, it is reported that Theil once ate food and took medicine.

    Trump appointed Steve Bannon the head of alt-Right website “Brietbart.com”… probably the only “news” outlet to endorse Trump… to be his Chief Strategist. While Team-Trump is working overtime to delegitimize the legitimate news as “fake news”, Brietbart is the very definition of “fake news”.

    Former Texas Governor and “Dancing with the Stars” reject Rick “Oops” Perry… who famously forgot that the Dept of Energy was the third government agency he would close as president… was appointed Trump’s Secretary of Energy. He will be replacing nuclear physicist Ernie Moniz.

    …to be continued.
     

  5. With so many incompetents put in charge of so many prominent offices within the Trump Administration, the chances of another “Brownie”-like disaster in the next few years increases exponentially. I predict at least one of Trump’s incompetent appointees will have their appointment questioned and perhaps even be forced to resign due some inexplicable cock-up that embarrasses the incoming Trump Administration.
  6.  

  7. Trump detests having to answer questions. He considers having to explain himself an indignity and the Press exists solely to try & discredit him. This is why he adores Twitter where he can simply ignore any question he doesn’t like. Trump will hold a record low number of Press Conferences, preferring instead to use Twitter to communicate with the American people. He, his staff, and his supporters will herald this as “a new era in unprecedented access to the Commander-in-Chief” that supposedly makes him more “accessible” by the American people, when the truth is it will quite the opposite: a new era of secrecy in presidential administrations that closely controls just how much access the fourth-estate has to it. (August 10 edition of “60 Minutes”, former Chief Strategist Steve Bannon praises Trump’s use of Twitter as “circumventing Big Media and speaking directly to the people.”)
  8.  
    In these final days of 2016, we keep seeing situations where the incoming Trump Administration is publicly disagreeing with… not just the outgoing Obama Administration, but U.S. foreign policy of the past 30 years when it comes to Israel and the pursuit of a “two state solution” to bring peace between the Israeli’s and the Palestinians. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is a neo-con, and his continued illegal building of settlements in occupied territory threatens to jeopardize any hope of peace in the Middle East. Secretary of State John Kerry condemned the recent construction of new Israeli settlements as provocative and not in the interests of achieving peace in the Middle East. Netanyahu… who never liked the Obama Administration and vocally condemned it for agreeing to lift sanctions on Iran… basically told the U.S. to mind its own business. Trump… breaking with decades of “one president at a time” tradition (an unwritten rule where the incoming administration doesn’t publicly contradict the outgoing administration, instead declaring “the U.S. speaks with one voice”), Trump again publicly criticized the outgoing Obama Administration, taking the side of Israel and declaring “things will be different” come “January 20th.”

  9. Taking the side Israel so publicly, there is NO way the U.S. can be seen as an honest broker in any possible future peace negotiations between Israel & Palestine. Trump’s chosen Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, is a pro-settlement bankruptcy lawyer with no relevant experience other than the fact he is president of the US fundraising arm for Bet El, a settlement built on occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank. Both Trump & Friedman have taken the unimaginably provocative position of calling to move the capital of Israel to the disputed city of Jerusalem… nothing short of spitting in the eye of a billion Muslims. Indeed, Osama bin Laden even cited the “Israeli occupation” and part of alQaeda’s justification for 9/11 and their war with the West. Trump has just made his job of achieving an end to the wars in the Middle East infinitely more difficult. Couple that with his pledge to “quickly, easily & completely” defeat ISIS, I have great difficultly in seeing how he can “defeat ISIS” and end the war in Afghanistan without doing something monumentally insane like declaring war on the entire Middle East and conquering it using nuclear weapons. No matter how nuts he may be, there are still enough sane people left in Congress to stop him from starting World War III. As such, I have little doubt that as Commander-in-Chief, Trump will still deploy between 100,000 and 300,000 troops back into Iraq & Afghanistan (and possibly Syria) by the end of the year, greatly expending the war rather than helping to resolve the conflict and bring America’s longest war to an end (cooler heads will prevail among his generals not to introduce nuclear weapons into this war, but reports will emerge that it was discussed).
  10.  

  11. In 2015, increased pressure on ISIS resulted in various domestic terrorist attacks overseas, and (as I correctly predicted) there were at least three more such incidents of domestic terrorism around the world as that pressure continued to grow. If Trump does indeed greatly expand the war in the Middle East, coupled with openly taking Israel’s side in promoting illegal settlements, expend the number of incidents of domestic terrorism committed in the name of ISIS to grow. I predict at least five such deadly mass casulty attacks across the world in the coming year.
  12.  

  13. The election of the first black president allowed a stunning number of closeted racists to feel liberated, coming out as openly racist, cloaking their racism as nothing more than “political differences”. The election of an openly bigoted xenophobe like Trump will worsen this three-fold as Trump-supporters feel they now have carte-blanc to be openly bigoted against Mexican’s and Muslims as well.
  14.  

  15. Which reminds us of Trump’s promise to “build a border wall along the U.S./Mexico border and make Mexico pay for it”, and deport… not just 11 million “illegal immigrants”, but in many cases their American-born children as well. There will be NO significant border wall construction in 2017 as the issue falls by the way-side. However, the Trump Administration may try to claim plans for a border wall are “in the works”. And rather than Mexico paying 100% of the cost, to save face, the Trump Administration will rely on some creative accounting to try and claim Mexico will be paying for it when they are in fact not.
    UPDATE: 1/6/2017 – Not even president yet, “Trump asks Congress, not Mexico, to pay for border wall.
  16.  

  17. During the primaries, a number of countries were so appalled by Donald’s Trump’s “racist & sexists remarks”, they went as far as to say the GOP candidate was “not welcome” in their country. Scotland declared Trump “unwelcome” in that country the day after the election and urged him not to visit. In January of 2016, the British Parliament had already discussed banning Trump from the UK. And in October (just before the election), Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau banned Trump from entering Canada until he apologized for his offensive remarks about Muslims & Mexicans. I predict that in the coming year, at least one nation will say Trump is not welcome in their country.
  18.  

  19. As I’ve been pointing out since the day he declared his candidacy in 2015, Trump only wanted to prove he could win the presidency if he wanted it, but has no interest in actually doing the job. Early on, he will appear to be doing his job, but gradually over time, we will see less & less of him as he tries to delegate more & more of his job over to others in his administration, setting up a Constitutional crisis.
  20.  

  21. Calls for investigations into all of Trump’s conflicts of interest will grow along with demands that he fully divest himself of his empire (which he’ll never do) as it becomes clear foreign countries are trying to curry favor with the American president though his investments. Trump’s massive ego will never permit him to sell off his empire. All those skyscrapers with his name on them feed his massive ego. If it becomes a serious enough problem for him, he’d resign his presidency before selling off his empire.
  22.  

  23. Speaking of which, every building with Trump’s name on it will become an instant terrorist target the moment he’s sworn in, and the cost of protecting those buildings will become a serious matter.
  24.  

  25. Beyond foreigners trying to get on the good side of America’s president by renting out his hotels & casinos and possibly giving him favorable treatment when his companies seek construction permits in foreign countries, simply being president gives Trump an unfair advantage over his American competitors that will open him up to all sorts of lawsuits. Expect at least one American company to file an “unfair trade practices” lawsuit against Trump.
  26.  

  27. Trump’s Climate-Change-Denying policies of promising to “greatly expend the use of coal” and “complete the Keystone XL Pipeline” will be met with a resounding thud as both projects prove to no longer be cost effective in the modern era. There just aren’t that many workers looking to get started in the lucrative business of digging coal (yes, that’s snark) in the 21st century, and for the mining/conversion of tarsands to “oil” to be cost effective, oil needs to be up over $70/barrel again. George W. Bush destroyed the global economy and brought the United States to the brink of economic collapse by pushing the price of oil from $30/barrel to nearly $150/barrel in six years. Oil prices are (at this writing) just above $50/barrel after having been much lower in recent years, and some analysts fear that if Trump greatly expands the war in the Middle East, the price of oil could shoot back up to over $100/barrel which would make both energy sources financially viable again. But if that happened, it would absolutely crush the U.S. economy. As friendly as the Trump Administration clearly will be with Big Oil, I have my doubts that even THEY could be THAT fiscally irresponsible.
  28.  

  29. Russia may find themselves wondering if they made a mistake by cozening up to Trump (and possibly aiding his election) as they quickly learn how erratic and vindictive he can be. Early in the primaries, Ted Cruz leaped into second place when he refused to criticize GOP front-runner Donald Trump like all of the other candidates. Just before the start of the 2016 primaries, Cruz even tweeted: “@realDonaldTrump is terrific. #DealWithIt” Then the race began, and as soon as Cruz became a threat, the bromance was over. By the Convention in July, the two were already the worst of enemies. I expect Trump’s relationship with Russia to become strained as he grows increasingly erratic.
  30.  

  31. As much as Trump and his supporters may want it, he will not be able to amass enough Republican votes (and zero Democratic votes) to repeal “ObamaCare” without having a replacement program ready to go first. Republicans will try (repeatedly) throughout the year to immediately end the program despite having no alternative, but Democrats need only three Republican Senators to stop any repeal from reaching the president’s desk. And while Republicans honestly believe Americans want to see the entire program scrapped, they are in for a rude awakening if 20 million Americans are suddenly faced with the potential loss of their insurance. Trump says he won’t allow insurance companies to deny patients with “preexisting conditions” from getting coverage again, but there is NO way to do that without the “mandate” they so deplore. And in eight years, no Republican has been able to devise a system that covers everyone that doesn’t include a mandate. So, no ObamaCare repeal. They will try. They will get close. They may even pass a bill severely limiting it, but no full repeal of the law.
  32.  

  33. Early on, Russia will test their new found relationship with the new administration to see just how much they can get away with and what reaction (if any) they get. Democrats in Congress will demand action. Republicans will not. And the public will be evenly split, ensuring nothing gets done.
  34.  

  35. Trump didn’t remember half of the promises he made during the campaign. He had completely forgotten he promised to stop the export of over 1,000 jobs at an Indiana “Carrier” plant until he heard a plant worker on TV state that he had personally promised them he’d save their jobs. He also forgot HOW he said he’d save them (by threatening to charge “Carrier” a reimportation tax.) Likewise his ridiculous threat to “lock her [Hillary] up” was quickly dismissed following his victory, the deportation of “11 Million illegal immigrants” quickly became only “a few million with criminal records” (illegal immigrants with criminal records are already deported upon capture), and his “border wall” was scaled down to “a fence in some locations.” Trump has a very short memory when it comes to his promises, so don’t be surprised if focus on many of his campaign promises are overshadowed by new catastrophes that develop in his first year.
  36.  

  37. In the final week of 2016, Trump startled the world by suggesting that we need to start expanding our nuclear arsenal again… reversing more than 30 years of American nuclear policy. Will Trump start a new Nuclear Arms Race? That takes money. Sadly, I don’t see enough sane Republicans in Congress willing to say “No” to Toddler-Trump and reject the possibility of attracting a few thousand defense industry jobs to their states, but I DO see just enough to side with Democrats to stop any such proposed increase in our nuclear stockpiles. No expansion.
  38.  

  39. And rounding on for an even 20, 2017 will be declared “the hottest year on record”.

 

Wow, that’s one incredibly dark miserable year I foresee. But Toddler-Trump is just too immature, too erratic and too impulsive to see things becoming anything other than a total mess in 2017.


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GOP’s Slide Toward Fascism Has Become Impossible To Ignore
Dec 14th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy

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As a Democrat, the obvious Republican shift towards “Corporatism” for the past 15 years has been painfully obvious. For years, it has been a struggle just to avoid violating “Godwin’s Law” against using Nazi analogies in a political debate with Conservatives. But just as the election of our first black president allowed so many closet-racists to finally be openly racist by hiding behind “politics”, the rise of corporate mogul Donald Trump to become the GOP’s indomitable front-runner has made the GOP’s shift towards Fascism impossible to ignore. Donald Trump first exposed the root racism hiding within the GOP during the 2008 presidential campaign. His first foray into politics was to question Barack Obama’s eligibility for president, questioning his place of birth, suggesting he was/is actually “a secret Muslim” born in Kenya (a suggestion he still makes to this day). So began Trump’s political career, with a race-baiting fueled attack against the first black president. And Republicans are suddenly appalled by his racist comments about Muslims? Please. Within a few months, the “TEA-Party” was born, showing up at “ObamaCare” protests waving signs depicting the president as a witch-doctor (complete with bone in the nose). (I know. I can hear you already: “Racism isn’t all there is to Fascism.” I know, bear with me, I’ve barely begun.) I have no doubt you, dear reader, already know that Mussolini famously called Fascism “Corporatism”, noting how it was a mixture of corporate power & politics. The GOP’s front-runner is a corporate mogul egomaniac whom is using hate & bigotry to stir up his supporters.

Trump began his 2015 political campaign by promising to “round up & deport” over 20 million undocumented Mexican Immigrants AND their U.S. born citizen children, and building a giant wall on the Mexican border (at Mexico’s expense.) But Trump wasn’t the first to vilify Mexican immigrants. In 2008, the GOP Presidential nominee John McCain ran ads of him walking the Mexican border with a Texas sheriff demanding we “Build the danged fence.” Following the terrorist attacks in Paris last month, anti-Muslim rhetoric exploded on the Right with nearly all of the GOP candidates in a 15-way fight to see who could be the most xenophobic. Then the terrorist attack by an Muslim-American couple in San Bernardino, CA two weeks ago only ratcheted up the anti-Muslim rhetoric to new heights. GOP candidates feigning being appalled by Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric aren’t exactly pure on the subject themselves. Jeb Bush… walking a tightrope between trying to appear compassionate towards the Syrian Refugees while trying not to offend the anti-Muslim bigots in his Party said he would allow in only “Christian” refugees (logistically impossible). Chris Christie said that in the current climate, he wouldn’t allow in “even Muslim orphans under the age of five” into the country. Donald Trump decided to go The Full Hitler by demanding that all American Muslims be “registered, forced to carry special ID cards,” and that we “put all mosques under surveillance.” Not to be outdone, Marco Rubio went even further, saying we should not just surveil mosques, but shutdown ANYPLACE Muslims congregate… including restaurants & cafes. But when The Public… followed by the critics… followed by The Media… followed by the GOP itself… was aghast by Trump’s comments and started to openly condemn him, only THEN did those same GOP competitors… who just called for the exclusion & surveillance of Muslims themselves… denounce Trump for his “un-American” comments about Muslims. This *really is* how Republicans feel. The only reason Cruz is in 2nd place Nationally among GOP voters (and now 1st place in Iowa), is because he’s the only GOP candidate repeatedly defending Trump’s bigotry. Trump isn’t “embarrassing” the GOP, he’s EXPOSING IT for the “racist, pro-corporatetax-cuts for the rich“, cut services to the poor, vilify minorities and those of differing religions Party that it has become. And I have now found it impossible to avoid pointing out the GOP’s obvious descent into Fascism and the Republican Party’s appetite for that kind of rhetoric.

While many Republicans are now openly using “The F-Word” (Fascist) to describe Trump, plenty more dare not, insisting that “Trump does not reflect the majority views of the GOP”. But the truth is clear: between them, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz represent nearly half… 49 percent… of the GOP:
 

Trump/Cruz hold 49% of GOP

 

…and the rest of the GOP field isn’t exactly in total disagreement with Trump on “the issues” because if they do, they risk alienating 65% of Conservative voters:
 


Trump’s poll numbers among GOP voters go UP after announcing his Muslim ban:
65% of GOP supports Trump's ban
 


(video link if above does not play)


 

The ancient Greek philosopher Plato, in his masterwork “Republic”, pointed out that the easiest way to spot the flaws in something is to magnify it. For example: Is it okay to steal a loaf of bread if you’re hungry? What if everyone if the city did it? Would it still be okay? Trump IS that magnification of the GOP. The latent racism, xenophobia, love of money  and “Cafeteria Christian” values who cherry-pick the Bible to justify their bigotry while worshiping the Almighty… Dollar. It’s all there in the majority of Conservatives, and why Trump has long held a 20+ percent lead Nationally over his next closest rival… another bomb-thrower named Ted Cruz whom… even when he (rarely/barely) criticizes “The Donald”, still finds time to kiss his ass:
 

The Establishment’s only hope: Trump & me in a cage match.

Sorry to disappoint — @realDonaldTrump is terrific. #DealWithIt@TedCruz

 

Former Trump supporters that are growing concerned by his questionable comments and lack of discipline are shifting their allegiance to “Trump-lite” Ted Cruz, the “Tea Party” darling who not only bears a striking resemblance to Joe McCarthy, but made his Senatorial debut by announcing that he “has a list of Communists who have infiltrated Harvard Law”, doesn’t get the point of Dr. Seuss’ “Green Eggs & Ham”, and jokes about “carpet-bombing the Middle-East till we know “if sand glows in the dark.”

TheWeek” magazine asked the “Trump/Fascist?” question as well last week (and you know what they say: “If you have to ask the question…”). Those who defended Trump against comparisons to Hitler or Mussolini compared Trump to those men at the height of their power, not during their rise to power. The GOP’s “sky-is-falling” rhetoric, preying on peoples fears, hyping that fear until common sense is tossed out the window, rallying around men who promise “greatness” once again, blaming all of societies problems on “inferior classes of people” and those of a particular religion… sound familiar?

As if to drive the point home, just below the aforementioned column where Republicans “pish-tosh” suggestions of the GOP descending into fascism, in an “Only-in-America” box, Alabama state Congressman Alan Harper warns his constituents not to shop at “anti-Christian owned” convenience stores because the owners are “using their profits to fund terrorism.” (Remind me again: How much oil do we buy from the Middle-East each day?) He concluded with a “Merry Christmas” and “God Bless”. Call me crazy, but something tells me his “Merry Christmas” is NOT being offered with love in his heart. Harper suffered no damage due to his comments, with the state GOP refusing to even take away his seat as Chairman of the State Board of Tourism (no, I’m not making that up.) “Welcome to Alabama! No, not you! Go back where you came from!”

In the 1930’s, the German people didn’t have a “Hitler” reference to look to to see what was coming and try to avoid going down that path. Today’s GOP does not have that excuse.

ADDENDUM: Trump asks his supporters to report on their neighbors. ‘Most likely you’ll be wrong, but that’s OK’, says Trump.

In George Orwell’s classic novel “1984” about a Fascist-controlled England, he described a government-mandated daily ritual known as 2-minutes of hate” where citizens stood and screamed at images of their enemies broadcast over video screens in their home, stoking Nationalism and hatred towards the people they are told to hate (and love for “Big Brother” who promises to protect them from those enemies). In today’s GOP, we have Fox News and Conservative (Hate) Talk Radio broadcasting that “2-minutes of hate” 24/7. In the novel, the job of the main character was to “eliminate unnecessary words from the dictionary” under the guise of “efficiency” but was actually a means of keeping people dumb with no words to express themselves. Today, we have Conservatives that want to eliminate the Department of Education and promote “home schooling” (where unqualified parents that lack basic math & science skills choose to teach their children theology as science.)

I find it fascinating that the same people who fear Bernie Sanders because they think “Socialist” means he’s a Nazi, are flocking to Donald Trump and Ted Cruz with their fascist rhetoric.

“Godwin’s Law” be damned, this is who the GOP is now. They are quite literally devolving into the Nazi Party. #DealWithIt.
 

Postscript: If you’ve never seen it, this ABC “After-school Special” entitled “The Wave” aired in 1981 (and remade into a German feature film in 2008) based on the amazing true story of a California high school classroom experiment on fascism in 1967 that went horribly awry. If you have a spare 44 minutes, WATCH THIS MOVIE! It explains a lot:
 

 


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When Do We Stop Listening to Conservatives on How to Fight Terrorism?
Dec 7th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy

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Today is Pearl Harbor Day. An American naval base was attacked by the Empire of Japan on this day in 1941, killing 2,400 American servicemen (half of which were aboard just one ship: The USS Arizona.) We declared war on Japan (NOT Germany), which in turn led to Germany declaring war on US (sorry Iraq War defenders.) That war ended 3-1/2 years later when the leaders of those nations surrendered and their citizens agreed to abide by that decision. Wars don’t end that way any more. In October of 2001, just SIX WEEKS after 9/11, president Bush declared he “wasn’t that concerned” about the man who had just orchestrated what was then called “a second Pearl Harbor”… the most deadly terrorist attack on U.S. soil in history… and instead started selling us on the idea that we need to instead focus on deposing Saddam Hussein. So manic was the Bush Administration’s focus on Saddam so recently after 9/11 that millions of Americans came to believe he was connected to 9/11. “He MUST have been” to be so important so soon after the attack with the war in Afghanistan still raging. It took another year-and-a-half of wild accusations about “Weapons of Mass Destruction” and the “imminent threat” posed by Saddam to get America to take its eye off the ball in Afghanistan and expand the war to Iraq. 14 years later, war still rages in both countries and the situation has only grown worse. So why are we still allowing the same people who got us into this mess to tell us how to get out?

In Greek mythology, after Pandora’s Box was opened and all the world’s ills spilled out, the only thing left inside was “hope”. But those ills are still out there and “hoping” it’ll get better has failed as a strategy. Control of Iraq was both figuratively & literally decapitated with the removal of Saddam… unquestionably a bad guy, but a pressure-valve on the pressure-cooker that is the Middle-East… a mess that we have yet to figure out how to clean up.

There’s an old saying: “fight fire with fire”. Now, a “hawk” will likely argue that this means going in BIGGER, using MORE troops and a LARGER military presence to bring the region under control. But let’s stop for a moment. The phrase “fight fire with fire” does NOT mean one should “burn down the village to save it”. No, ask any firefighter and they’ll tell you that it literally describes a method of depriving the fire of fuel (by setting tiny “back-fires”), not dropping incendiary bombs on the forest.

And THAT is what we must do: “Deprive the fire of fuel”. Going in bigger won’t make the region like us more. And no one-person in the Middle-East has the power to “surrender” on everyone’s behalf to bring the war to an end. Whether you like it or not, we’ve given the Muslim World reason to hate us. Sorry, but it’s true. We destabilized the Middle-East with the invasion of Iraq and created the power vacuum ISIL, Iraq & alQaeda are fighting over now. When Ron Paul made that point in 2011 (and NO I’m NOT a Ron Paul supporter), his fellow Republicans attacked him and accused him of “blaming America for 9/11″… a crass political ploy, accusing your opponent of being “soft on terror” while scoring cheap political points for yourself. How can one not be reminded of children accusing one another of having “cooties”?

Donald Trump leads the GOP field with his “bomb them into the stone age” rhetoric. Not only has he called for the return of “waterboarding” (against who? We don’t have any ISIS prisoners and we already know where they are) and forcing all Muslims to carry ID (so if a Muslim terrorist doesn’t have an ID, they must not be a Muslim terrorists?), but NOW he says the only way to “win” (like it’s some sort of game) is “to adopt their tactics” and “go after their families”. Great, the GOP front-runner is Kaiser Sosse:
 


 

It’s time for this nonsense to stop. Stop listening to the people who got us into this mess, have kept us there for over 14 years, and will keep us there for another 100 if we follow their advice. Abandoning their failed strategy after 14-years is NOT a sign of weakness, and you can’t embarrass us anymore by saying we have cooties if we do. “YOUR POLICIES HAVE FAILED! MOVE OVER, TIME TO LET THE ADULTS DRIVE.”

I won’t bore you yet again with my recommendation that we focus on improving the lives of the people in the middle-East, giving them less reason to hate us and taking the wind out of the sails of ISIS when they try to recruit people into attacking those who are making their life better. And if I may point out the obvious: war, bombing & occupation clearly isn’t working. We are allowing ourselves to be bullied by people like Donald Trump and (dear Lord) yet-another Bush (???) who think you can bomb people into loving you (or at least unwilling to do you harm.) Ask any 5-year old child if you can hurt someone into liking you, and I think you’ll find them smarter than the average Republican.

PS: President Obama delivered a rare address from the Oval Office on the subject of terrorism last night, citing not only the San Bernardino ISIS-wannabe terrorist couple in California, but the spread of terrorist ideology across the globe. He addressed the easy-availability of assault weapons in America and Congress’ lack of will to address the issue. But he also mentioned how vilifying & alienating Muslims in this country is counter-productive, potentially helping to radicalize people who could be our best “eyes & ears” inside the Muslim community… something I’ve talked about a lot lately since my column on the Syrian Refugees a few of weeks ago.

His plan “to defeat ISIL” cites four key activities:

  • (Good) “First, our military will continue to hunt down terrorist plotters in any country where it is necessary, using air strikes to take out ISIL leaders and their infrastructure in Iraq and Syria.”
  •  

  • (Questionable) “Second, we will continue to provide training and equipment to Iraqi and Syrian forces fighting ISIL on the ground so that we take away their safe havens.”
  •  

  • (Good) “Third, we are leading a coalition of 65 countries to stop ISIL’s operations by disrupting plots, cutting off their financing, and preventing them from recruiting more fighters.”
  •  

  • (Not enough) “Fourth, with American leadership, the international community has established a process and timeline to pursue cease-fires and a political resolution to the Syrian civil war.”

No mention of improving the lives of the people in the region to win over “hearts & minds” (he used the phrase only to describe the American people’s reaction to the San Bernardino attack), proposing no other grand strategy other than to continue the use of military force to wipe-out “ISIL”. In short, nothing new.

During “Meet the Press” Sunday morning, frequent round-table guest/pundit Conservative radio host Alex Castellanos pre-criticized President Obama’s Sunday night address as just “throwing more words at the problem.” This from a man whose own Party has done nothing but whine about how President Obama “refuses” to utter the words “Radical Islamic Terrorism” (like somehow using those words will make a difference.) These same people refuse to say “Radical Christian Terrorism” to describe the Planned Parenthood shooter just two days earlier.)

Go away Conservatives, you’ve had your shot. 14 years of failure is MORE than enough time to recognize that you don’t know how to drive and it’s time to stop handing you the keys. You’ve killed enough people. Scoot over.
 

ADDENDUM: Brilliant actor & activist Mandy Patinkin, on The Late Show (12/18/15) makes the same point I’ve been making that the ONLY way to end war is to IMPROVE the lives of those who hate us rather than give them more cause to continue their fight:
 


 

 


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Home of the Brave? Govs & Congress Terrified of Refugees. GOP Front-runners Channel… you know who.
Nov 23rd, 2015 by Admin Mugsy

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Following the Paris attacks, if anyone had just cause to fear strangers from a war zone entering their country, it was the French. Instead, they said to the world, “We will not be intimidated!” and recommitted themselves to accepting 30 Thousand additional Syrian Refugees (which, as I pointed out last week, is a very smart move.) Meanwhile, cowardly Republicans (and a handful of Democrats), in Congress, in governorship’s… and EVERY GOP candidate for president… who once ridiculed The French as cowardly for not supporting President Bush’s unwarranted invasion of Iraq… is now quaking in their boots over the possibility that some of these “wretched refuse” might actually be secret Daesh (ISIS) infiltrators sneaking into the country to do us harm. “Home of the brave”? Hardly. These terrified piss-ants have telegraphed to the world that we are so cowardly we’ll turn our backs on everything our nation once stood for out of fear of what Daesh might do to us. Accepting the Refugees would be a sign of STRENGTH. So what does turning them away tell the world? Worse, what does it confirm to the Refugees themselves about everything Daesh has told them about us? That we “hate & fear Muslims.” That we are “at war with Islam.” That Americans are “cowards” & “hypocrites”.

And if that weren’t bad enough, the extreme political neophytes leading the GOP presidential race appear to be channeling… of all people (with apologizes to Godwin) Adolf Hitler. Donald Trump wants a national databaseto start… of every Muslim living in the United States, forced to carry ID while we put every Mosque under surveillance. And how does he intend to pull off yet another Herculean task of rounding up every person of a particular ethnicity for identification/registration? “Management” [ibid].

Ben Carson, no slouch himself when it comes to dehumanizing people so that he can demonize them, compared the Syrian refugees to “rabid dogs” (now, he’ll say he was only calling Daesh rabid dogs, but he draws no distinction between the Refugees and Daesh to justify turning his very “Christian” back on people in need. Carson & Trump both believe we should bring back “waterboarding“… a particularly worthless & time-consuming means of obtaining information. Upon whom will we be subjecting these torture techniques? We don’t have any ISIS prisoners in our custody. France isn’t likely to turn over their own… not that it would matter since none of them were Syrians to begin with. So WHY exactly do we need to bring back waterboarding?

Ted Cruz took personal offense to President Obama saying all the GOP candidates are terrified of fleeing “women & children”. Says a swaggering Ted Cruz to the TV cameras, “Come and tell that to my face.” If Obama won’t, I will. You’re a terrified, bed-wetting coward and an embarrassment, Mr. Cruz. You’re a frightened little child whose racist xenophobia is endangering the security of this country, and if you can’t see that, you have no business even looking at the White House let alone running it. You’re calling out President Obama for calling you a coward. Well, he’s not the one soiling his shorts over a few refugees. Where’s your “Freedom Fries” now, tough guy?

Meet the Press included an incredible “Nerdscreen” segment yesterday:
 

Hysteria over Refugee “threat” unfounded (2:15)

 

As Chuck Todd points out in the video, “Since 9/11 (14 years ago), only 1/1000th of a percent of foreign refugees have been arrested on suspicion of terrorist activities.” Adding that “there are FAR easier ways to enter the U.S.” than to subject ones self to the Refugee process for months (if not years) with less than a one percent chance of successfully entering the country. And as the Paris attacks demonstrated, “the terrorists” are far more successful at convincing willing locals already in the country to do their bidding. NONE of the Paris bombers were Syrian or Iraqi citizens. They were ALL European Nationals. How do we know? Beside the fact we know their identities, the fact they didn’t attack THE freaking EIFFEL TOWER… the most recognized French landmark there is, confirms it. I mean, if you were going to travel 1,000 miles to attack Paris, wouldn’t the most obvious target be the Eiffel Tower? Not if you’re a local to whom it’s “no big deal.”

The GOP has become a national embarrassment. The same cowardice they once attributed to The French are now being shamed by the bravery & wisdom of those same French people. Meanwhile, their stark-raving terror of “Muz’lums” has them calling for more “papers please” laws, ID badges, registration of anyone of a particular religion and putting houses of worship under surveillance… all the while turning their backs on a community that could help us the most, potentially turning them into enemies.
 


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

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My letter to President Obama:

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Syrian Terrorists

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Republicans want to repeal the 14th Amendment? Maybe we should let them.
Aug 24th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy

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The question of whether or not to amend, or even flat-out repeal, the 14th Amendment… passed in 1868… is suddenly a hot topic in 2015. Donald Trump has put the issue of whether or not to continue “Birthright Citizenship” front & center in the debate over next years’ election. But the “14th Amendment” covers a lot more than just citizenship, so Republicans, don’t be so quick to say “Let’s do it!”. There is a case to be made, both pro & con for repealing the 14th by passing the 28th (a bit of mathematical poetry to that.)

Back during the 2008 presidential campaign, Sarah Palin was asked to name a Supreme Court decision… other than “Roe v Wade“… that she disagreed with. The Right howled in protest over an apparent “gotcha” question by “the Lib’rul Media” actively TRYING to “embarrass” her. Off the top of my head, I (and about 10 million other Lib’ruls) could easily cite “Plessy v Ferguson” (declaring “Separate but Equal” Constitutional) and “Dredd Scott” (slaves are Property) as examples of bad Supreme Court rulings, but how many of you have heard of “Buck vs Bell”?

Buck vs. Bell (1927) is the first Supreme Court case in which the 14th Amendment was cited as a defense. The issue? Whether or not the State of Virginia had the right to forcibly sterilize people (mostly the poor & “mentally ill”) against their will.

Yep.

Eighteen year old Carrie Buck, a girl who was institutionalized by her family at the age of 9 after her own cousin raped & impregnated her (most likely to hide their shame of being seen with a pregnant nine year old daughter), lost her case and was sterilized against her will despite the fact the law was supposedly intended only to prevent generations of reproduction by “the feeble minded” and “immoral” members of society (do I hear any nominations?)

While it is highly unlikely such a horrific case (a law which has never been repealed by the way) would rule the same if put before the High Court today, it does demonstrate weaknesses in the wording of the 14th Amendment that could be remedied by a rewrite.

I find it endlessly fascinating that the same people that DEMANDED President Obama “Read the Constitution” (or “Read the Consitution” as the case may be) over “ObamaCare” never seem to be able to print out their latest edit long enough for him to do so. Republican front-runner Ben Carson… who once compared “ObamaCare” to “slavery” (for forcing doctors to treat patients. “Damn the Hippocratic Oath!”), also announced his support to repeal the 14th which bestowed American citizenship upon former slaves. Offensive for ANY candidate to suggest, but stretching incredulity for the only black candidate in the race. Lately, I’ve taken to quoting TV’s “Bud Bundy” when speaking of Dr. Carson:

Bud (after being congratulated by his father for teaching Kelly a number of scientific facts): “there is one slight problem. See, if you take a gallon of knowledge and pour it into a shot glass of a brain, you’re gonna spill some. In other words, certain basic information had to be sacrificed.” – Season 3, episode 22 of “Married with Children”. – (starting at 16:08)

Dr. Carson (who compared being gay to “bestiality & pedophilia”) may be a brilliant neurosurgeon, but take him outside his field of expertise and he’s a blithering idiot. The same people who want to bestow Constitutional Rights upon fetuses from the moment of conception ALSO want to repeal one of two Amendments they are relying on as justification for such a law. Wrap your head around that one for a moment (details below).

There are actually FIVE sections/clauses to the 14th Amendment. Congress at the time cobbled together a whole wish list of rights they felt the Constitution lacked, pouring them into a single amendment that would either pass together, or go down in flames together. “Repealing” the 14th Amendment would have FAR broader implications than simply ending “Birthright Citizenship”. The part that most of the GOP is suddenly intent to repeal:
 

Section 1: The “Personhood” clause:

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States;

But that’s not even the ENTIRETY of Section 1. It continues:

…nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

The second half of section 1 actually includes things they ARE RELYING ON to support their own case for their ridiculous “fetal personhood” Amendment: extending “due process” and “equal protection” to zygotes by having them declared “persons” so that the 14th applies to them too. Talk about “throwing the baby out with the bathwater.” I’ve gotta wonder how many “pro-Lifers”… with the intellectual acumen of Sarah Palin… are also calling for the repeal of the 14th?

Section 1 bolsters the Right of “due process” established in the FIFTH Amendment and codifies the right of “equal protection” the 5th only hinted at:

“[N]or shall any person . . . be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law…” – from The Fifth Amendment

The 5th Amendment is why we detain “enemy combatants” in Gitmo (in the nation of Cuba) and not U.S. soil. Notice the right of due process extends to any “person”, not “citizen”. As Americans, we don’t deny people their human rights simply because they aren’t a citizen of our country. If you are on our land, you have basic human rights. Period. End of story. So does it come as anyone’s surprise that the GOP would also just LOVE to deny basic human rights to non-citizens? Repeal the 14th, and the right of “equal protection” becomes a matter for debate. Do we REALLY want THIS congress and THIS Court deciding the scope of “equal protection”? If anything, we need to repeal the “foreign soil loophole” in the 5th so that human rights extend to ANYONE in U.S. custody regardless of where they are held. This is what makes us better than they are. The ONLY way to win is to own the Moral High ground. Thanks to the GOP, “The Land of the Free” has maintained a beacon of hypocrisy 80 miles off-shore that has kept us at war for nearly a decade & a half.

Lack of the phrase “natural born” before “persons” in Section 1 is also what permited the “Citizens United” ruling that “Corporations are people” with the Constitutional right to donate limitless sums of money to political candidates.
 

Section 2: the “Equal Representation” clause:

Section 2: Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.

This is where we get Gerrymandering from. It’s why Governor Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts created a Congressional district shaped like a salamander to ensure his Party won control of The House of Representatives in 1812. Even though the Supreme Court ruled his shameless political grab unconstitutional, it hasn’t stopped politicians (on both sides) to this day from drawing bizarrely shaped voting districts based more on politics than population.

Despite receiving fewer overall votes in the 2012 & 2014 elections, Republicans retained control of The House thanks entirely to their 14th Amendment Right to redraw the district lines to favor their candidates. And should Democrats retake Congress in 2020 (which is the REAL “next big election”, not 2016), they too will rely on this right to draw those lines back. But to end this cycle of indefensible Gerrymandering, we need a Constitutional Amendment mandating a more mathematical, less political method of drawing district boundaries.)
 

Section 3: The “elect no traitors” clause:

Section 3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may, by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

Basically, this rule was added to prevent “traitors” from the Civil War who took an oath to defeat the United States, from being elected to Federal office. Doesn’t really apply much today… unless perhaps by some catastrophic galactic hiccup Rick Perry were to become the GOP nominee and forced to defend his (ridiculous & false) threat/belief that the State of Texas might seceded from the union over “ObamaCare”. Personally, I could argue either direction for whether this Section stays or goes.
 

Section 4: “The Public Debt shall not be questioned” clause:

Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

Remember this one? This was a hot topic when the GOP threatened (and eventually did) shut down the Federal Government over the issue of whether or not to raise the Cap on how much the Federal government could borrow to pay its obligations. It’s original intent was to prevent Southern states rejoining the Union after the Civil War from holding the Federal government hostage if it did not pay the South’s war debt.

Clearly, the wording here needs to be strengthened/clarified since it clearly was not enough to stop Republicans from questioning the Debt THEY THEMSELVES INCURRED.

And finally…
 

Section 5: Only Congress has the power to enforce these proclamation.

Section 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

How is the GOP able to abuse Section 1 (the Gitmo & “Citizens United” loopholes), Section 2 (Gerrymandering unconstitutional but they do it anyway) and Section 4 (unquestioned Debt) of the 14th Amendment? Look no further than Section 5. It’s gotta go.

So careful what you ask for Republicans. If it looks like 2016 is going to be a big year for Democrats and recapture of The House is a possibility, we just might be inclined to repeal that pesky 14th Amendment for you.
 


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GOP Frontrunners Reveal Their Moronic Dark Agendas for the Country
Aug 17th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy

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The presidential candidates of BOTH parties descended upon the Iowa State Fair this past weekend, but when reporters asked the GOP frontrunners for policy specifics, their horrifying agenda should send shivers down the spine of any sane voter. Donald Trump said the problem of illegal immigration has become SO bad we have “no choice” but to round up & deport… not just all 11 Million undocumented immigrants (at best a logistical nightmare if it were even possible at all, which it isn’t)… but their American-born children as well. That could mean deporting anywhere from 20 to 35 million people. The resources to pull off such a monumental (and COSTLY) task staggers the imagination. The cost/benefit alone is imperceptible. Trump sees this as a bizarre “act of kindness” to avoid “splitting up families” by revoking the Constitutional right of “Birthright Citizenship”. Neurosurgeon-turned-politician Ben Carson… who uses The Bible as his governing guidebook… continued to propose his moronic “10% Flat Tax” (based on 10% tithing). When asked about the morality of raising taxes on millions of poor people while giving a MASSIVE tax cut to millionaires & billionaires (yesterday on Fox “news” Sunday no less), his response was to talk about “fairness”. Taking 10% of the income of a poor person may be the difference between buying food or medicine that week after they’ve paid their rent & utilities on their meager minimum wage salary, but the billionaire who just saw his taxes plunge from 32% to just 10%… I don’t think he’ll be feeling an “equal” share of pain. And speaking of the “minimum wage”, Trump told Chuck Todd that he wants to “keep it right where it is”, because… you know… “American corporations are struggling” (which is what happens when you pay your customers sub-subsistence wages), yet they always seem to find a way to pay their CEO’s obscene milti-million dollar salaries and huge bonues. Rubio thinks Cuba is as dangerous as Iran, Jeb had a really bad day (again), and Governor Huckabee promised “6% economic growth” if elected. To call such a promise “clueless” would be (beyond) kind.

The United States has NEVER even approached a six percent growth rate. Not even close. Under the record-breaking economy of Bill Clinton, we enjoyed 3.8% economic growth. Only Truman, Kennedy and Johnson (all Progressive Democrats BTW) saw higher growth at 4.8%, 5.2% and 5.1% respectively. Wanna know what country DOES see a typical annual growth rate of well over 7%? China, with over 1.2 Billion factory workers paid pennies a day. So unless The Huckster is suggesting Communism as the solution to our “economic woes”, the fact he even thinks “6 percent economic growth” in a nation roughly 1/4 the population of China is feasible should already disqualify him from being put in charge of the largest economy in the world.

Back to Trump’s plan to deport 35 million undocumented immigrants AND their U.S. citizen children, which would come at extraordinary costs. 94% of these undocumented immigrants have committed no crime other than entering the country illegally. They are contributing members of society. ALL of them pay taxes, be it sales tax or in many cases even state & federal income taxes. The hit on food prices as the number of migrant farm workers plummets is also another tangential side-effect of Trump’s delusional goal worth considering. Meanwhile the crime rate among undocumented immigrants is actually LOWER than that of the general population despite what Trump and his devoted followers (ie: fellow bigots) believe. So the cost/benefit just doesn’t pan out… especially for someone who believes the Deficit is still growing (it’s not. It’s now less than half of what Bush handed Obama) and “expected to reach $2.3 Trillion dollars in the coming years”… a total nonsense figure that AFAICT he pulled out of his butt. But, in true-to-Republican form, Republicans NEVER consider the consequences of their actions (see: Iraq). They are creatures of instinct that think nuance is “gay”. Another Trump “solution”: Defeat ISIS by depriving them of “their chief source of revenue” ala “bombing the Iraqi oilfields”. By contrast, they think “sanctions” will stop Iran from building nukes, but the only way to stop ISIS from selling oil is to “BOMB THEM” (shades of George Carlin). Besides the fact I’m sure Iraq would be just thrilled if we started carpet bombing their oilfields, the “unforeseen” consequence would be to create an artificial oil shortage that causes international oil prices to spike. And the last time that happened, gasoline prices surpassed $4/gallon, the cost of production skyrocketed… as did consumer prices… resulting in global economic collapse.

Carson is also too much crazy for just one paragraph. Also interviewed at the Fair by Fox “news” Sunday, when asked about his staunch “no exceptions” position on abortion, Carson argued that in cases of rape or incest, the victim can simply be given “anti-ovulation drugs” to “prevent the egg from becoming fertilized in the first place” so that abortion is not necessary. Yes, maybe… if you administer the drug within hours of being raped. And thanks to the “slut-shaming” culture of our society, not every women is quick to reveal that she has been raped. Victims of violent rape are often too afraid to go to the police right away to promptly report the crime. Children are also slow to reveal when they have been raped. The drugs themselves are also not 100% effective. Did I mention Carson is a doctor? He clearly is a prime example of what happens when you pour a gallon of knowledge into a shotglass of a brain. You’re going to spill some. Clearly, Carson suffered brain-overload becoming a neurosurgeon with no room to learn anything more.

Marco Rubio… the child of Cuban immigrants… thinks improving relations with Cuba is as “dangerous” as our anti-nuclear treaty with Iran. The “threat” Cuba poses to U.S. security I haven’t quite deciphered just yet, and I’m not prepared to drop that much acid just to find out, so it is likely to remain a mystery.

Jeb Bush gave a speech that was as Milquetoast as toast soaking in milk. Looking every bit as uncomfortable and out-of-place as Mitt Romney four years ago did explaining to the same audience that “Corporations are people, my friend”, in the short one-minute clip seen below, Bush is challenged by an audience member when he tried to assert that President Obama “could have left some combat troops in Iraq” in violation of the “Status of Forces Agreement” signed by his own brother. But Bush goes completely off the rails in another question when he inadvertently points out that some of the same people advising President Obama on Iraq also advised his brother and his father, “two Republican administrations” he concedes… then pauses upon realizing he’s making his own case against himself:
 


 

Wow that’s painful to watch. I almost feel sorry for him. Almost.

The Top 4 GOP frontrunners as of just last week have already shifted according to the latest Fox “news” poll. Trump… following an underwhelming debate performance and post “Megyn Kelly dustup”… not only remains in first place but his lead has actually grown by 2 points (as I predicted last week). Cruz & Carson swapped places for 2nd & 3rd (with Carson now in 2nd place, also post-underwhelming debate performance), and Bush returned to the Top Tier (also as predicted months ago). Republican voters apparently started to remember why Fiorina wasn’t on the “Top-10 Debate” stage last week, as she quickly sinks from #4 to #7 in just three days.

During Fox “news” Sunday, George Will… who despises the reality-TV star Trump and thinks he is hurting the GOP, summed it up this way:

“Try to imagine putting nuclear weapons in the hands of Donald Trump.”

Is there a GOP candidate you could substitute for “Trump” in that statement and not be equally terrified?

Donald Trump, a xenophobic, racist, misogynistic homophobe is the GOP frontrunner… not “in spite of” the fact he is all those things, but BECAUSE he is all those things. Trump IS today’s GOP.
 


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

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