SIDEBAR
»
S
I
D
E
B
A
R
«
Reconciling Trump’s Incompetency With Economic Success
May 7th, 2018 by Admin Mugsy

Share
 


During the 1980 presidential race, GOP candidate Ronald Reagan attacked President Carter for allowing the National Debt to “skyrocket” from just $700 Billion to $900 Billion, a nearly 25% increase in the National Debt in just four years, implying “stunning fiscal irresponsibility” on Carter’s behalf. of course, what Reagan innocently forgot to mention was that all those loans to pay for the Vietnam War started to come due in 1976 (the year before Carter took office) and drove up the Debt, not because of any “fiscal irresponsibility” on Carter’s behalf. Then Reagan went on to become president, slashed taxes on the wealthy, and TRIPLED the National Debt in just eight years. But Republicans adored Reagan… and still do to this day… for producing a “fantastic” economy (actually, the Reagan economy was less successful Bill Clinton’s. And Carter did FAR better in his four years than Reagan did in his first four.) Reagan traded the short-term gain of tax cuts to rescue a struggling economy in the 80’s for a 300% increase in the National Debt that we’ll be paying off for generations. Short-term gain in exchange for delayed long-term pain. Republicans have a well-documented history (something I document here weekly) of ignoring the future consequences of decisions they make today in exchange for short-term gain.

I remember a few years back listening to a debate over whether or not “nuclear energy” should be included in any discussion of “Green Energy”. The short-term gainers argued that “anything that helps us get off fossil fuels that doesn’t produce CO2” should be considered “Green Energy”. One man pointed out that “If the ancient Egyptians had nuclear reactors and used them to power their cities 5-10 thousand years ago, we would STILL be stuck having to store their nuclear waste today.” That’s an amazing thought. Short-term gain in exchange for long-term pain.

We see this repeatedly among Republicans. “Damn the consequences! Full speed ahead… into Iraq… or exploding the Deficit with tax cuts that aren’t paid for… or rolling back regulations of coal mining (and not just “pollution” regulations either. West Virginia’s GOP Senate primary is being led by none other than Bill Blankenship, owner of the “Massey Energy Coal Mine” who went to prison after ordering supervisors to ignore coal mine safety regulations, resulting in the deaths of 29 coal miners in 2010. (But hey, they all had jobs!). Cutting taxes without regard for the Debt (until a Democrat becomes president)? That’s GOP-101.

Republicans hate “government regulations” the way children hate being told to eat their peas. Those “regulations”… like those mine safety regulations Blankenship ignored… were put in place for a reason. Rolling back regulations might help a few companies save a few bucks today and perhaps create a few more jobs… until one of the reasons those regulations were enacted in the first place comes back to bite them in the ass and ends up costing people a lot of money (or worse.) The consequences of many decisions might not be felt for years, but they always come. How many people predicted we’d still be at war in the Middle-East FIFTEEN YEARS after the invasion of Iraq (which was sold on the promise of an “Arab Spring” where the successful Democratization of Iraq would spread throughout the Middle-East as “dictatorships fall like dominoes?”)

So last week, unemployment fell to an amazing 3.9%… technically “full employment” (ie: if you don’t have a job, you probably don’t need one)… a low not seen since Bill Clinton’s second term. Add to that, the “meteoric” rise in the Stock Market after Trump was elected (the DOW closed at a record high of 26,616.71 on January 26th of this year… an increase of 25.5% since Obama left office. All very good news for the economy, and both are indexes I used to judge the strength/weakness of the economy under both Obama & Bush. And this far into Trump’s second year, he does deserve the majority of the credit for these good numbers (as much as it pains me to say it) because a year of unpopular economic decisions would just as easily have driven those numbers back up.
 

Unemployment rate since Bush's final year

 

Trump nearly derailed his own economy when he threatened to impose blanket indiscriminate tariffs on imported steel & aluminum without regard for country of origin, which threatened to spark a global trade war, first resulting in the DOW losing over a thousand points in one week, then losing a thousand points in one day the following Monday. So current numbers ARE a reflection of current policies.

Under Obama during the 2016 campaign, when unemployment fell from 4.9% to 4.6% on November 1st… three points in just one month… Trump called the numbers “fake” and an attempt by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to help Hillary Clinton. Now the numbers are totally accurate and proof his economic policies are working.

At the risk of sounding like a partisan pessimist unwilling to admit “success” under a Republican president, I’m seeing the same trends we saw under George W. Bush when he slashed interest rates NINE TIMES in 2001 (and don’t blame 9/11. Only TWO of those cuts came after 9/11) to get the economy moving again in his first term (if you have been paying attention this week, the last time unemployment fell to 3.9% was December of 2000JUST as the Republican candidates started talking down the economy as they started their run for president (again, trading short-term gain without regard for the consequences.) Interest rates near zero have left the Federal Reserve with no place to go but up… which we have been putting off ever since. When exploding gasoline prices (thanks to deregulated Commodity Traders) sucked TRILLIONS out of the economy by 2008, “cutting interest rates to kickstart the economy” was no longer an option. Global economic disaster ensued, forcing newly elected President Obama to borrow hundreds of Billions for his “Stimulus”.

Trump’s MASSIVE corporate tax cuts… permanent for the rich but temporary for everyone else… spurred enormous investment in the stock market (almost without regard for profits) because it meant corporations were going to be able to keep more of their profits. Many stocks are likely over-inflated, not justified by their sales figures, which makes them ripe for a crash. Trump is creating a bubble that will make The Crash of 2008 look like “The Good Old Days”. We can’t cut taxes to zero and still fund the government, so the days of goosing investment in the Stock Market with the promise of additional tax cuts are over. Once again, there’s no place for them to go but up. The flood of investors pouring money into stocks to take advantage of larger profit margins seemed to push the DOW to new record highs week-after-week for months. Those record highs stopped with that January 26th record close mentioned above. The DOW has not hit another record high since. By last Wednesday, the DOW was down more than 10% off that record high just three months earlier (though gaining a nice 300+ point bounce Friday thanks to the good jobs numbers for April.) And much of this has to do with an increase in Consumer spending thanks to those (temporary) tax cuts (that will blow a hole in the Deficit for the next guy to worry about.) Yes, those tax cuts for the Poor & Middle Class will come to an end over the next few years, but the Republican philosophy is that in a few years, with the economy growing, consumers won’t need those tax cuts anymore (but then watch how hard Republicans fight a few years from now to keep those tax cuts on the grounds ending them will hurt the economy. This is EXACTLY what Republicans did regarding “The Bush Tax Cuts” that were set to end under Obama.)

Okay, we’ve spurred the economy with tax cuts and deregulation. Now what? How do we keep the momentum going? Trust me. They got nothin’.

Tax cuts alone don’t drive economic growth. And thanks to Trump’s massive tax cut blowing a hole in the Deficit, they are going to HAVE TO raise interest rates (already a growing concern) to fund the government. That will suck Billions out of the economy, slow growth, and cause another Recession. Then Trump’s low-end tax cuts will expire, making the problem even worse (which as I note above, will be the excuse for extending those tax cuts even longer) and make an already bad problem even worse.

Gas prices are also on the rise. Republicans LOVE “Big Oil” and want unrestricted drilling EVERYWHERE. “Wanna drill for oil in the middle of a National Park? Go for it! So with all this additional drilling, why are oil/gas prices going up? The national average price of gasoline is now $0.55/gal higher today than when Obama left office. Oil… $52.42/barrel when Obama left office… is racing towards $70/barrel today. Why? Because the GOP’s love of “Big Oil” isn’t out of a desire to see cheap gas, it’s out of a desire to make oil company executives rich. Enjoy the “good times” while you can, folks!

There are plenty of movie & TV examples of “good intentions gone wrong”. But one of my favorites was a 2002 episode of “The Outer Limits” called “The New Breed” (44 minutes) about a brilliant scientist with a massive ego who invented microscopic “nanobots” that could repair damaged cells on a molecular level to cure everything. At first, the nanobots are a huge success. But then they start misinterpreting normal flaws as “mistakes” that need to be “fixed” (one example: giving the doctor “gills” because he kept testing to see how long he could hold his breath under water.) By the end, the brilliant scientist was begging for death.

And that’s how I feel every time I hear Republicans promising the moon today if we just jeopardize our future. “Too many regulations!” “Fighting Climate Change is costing us jobs!” “Corporations will regulate themselves if they wish to stay in business!” “Ice Cream & candy for dinner! We’ll worry about the tummy ache and cavities tomorrow!” They’ve done it time & time again.

A month ago, I wrote about my concern regarding a possible increasing willingness to overlook Trump’s crimes & disastrous policies should his economic policies turn out to be successful. How much is your soul worth? In exchange for short term economic growth, Reagan’s policies exploded the Debt, made “deregulation” a GOP mantra, and unleashed the Military Industrial Complex. Trump whined bitterly of the Mueller/Russia investigation last week, saying, “The country is running so smoothly”, suggesting the investigation into his campaign’s frequent and unresolved contacts with a hostile foreign power… (“meddling” that even Trump himself now concedes happened)… is just sour grapes by “losers” trying to derail his presidency before his “success” costs them the next election.

The cause for alarm here is that Trump is implementing every economic “trick” in the book… (tax cuts, “deregulation”, low interest rates) usually reserved for emergencies… all at once to goose the economy. The danger is that if things go bad, you’re left with no way to counter the damage and rescue the economy.

It drives me crazy that people can’t see that he’s a conman. PT Barnum in a cheap suit. Trump is (or was before the election) broke, pretending to be a billionaire. His entire shtick has been coning people into believing he must know what he’s talking about because he’s a billionaire. “Trump University”, “Trump Airways”, “Trump Vodka” (not wine but Russian vodka), “Trump Mail-Order Steaks” (I always wondered just how much money someone who made million dollar real estate deals thought he’d make selling steaks by mail?), presidential candidate, and now he’s selling the snake oil of “Trickle-Down” voodoo economics all over again.

And (for now), people are buying it. Lord help us all.
 


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!

RSS Please REGISTER to be notified by e-mail every time this Blog is updated! Firefox/IE users can use RSS for a browser link that lists the latest posts! RSS


 

Share
The Path to Hell: Trump Proposes Right Ideas in Worst Possible Way Making Things Worse
Mar 12th, 2018 by Admin Mugsy

Share
 


Trump hosted a rally over the weekend for a Republican candidate for Congress in Pennsylvania, where he bragged about himself (natch) more than the candidate. Trump bragged that “Obama, Bush and [Bill] Clinton all talked about sitting down with North Korea, but only *I* got it done!” Yes, because those other presidents demanded concessions from North Korea first, and when they didn’t get them, THEY had the good sense to say “No”. And Clinton/Bush/Obama didn’t say No following a year of breakneck nuclear testing and the appalling death of an American hostage (Otto Warmbier) like Trump had. I keep thinking about the message Trump is sending other rogue nations like Syria & Iran by agreeing to meet with Kim Jong Un after such behavior? “Develop your nuclear capabilities, kill an American hostage, and threaten Washington DC, and Trump will meet with you too… without preconditions.” Good intentions. Worse outcome. I’m all for talking with your enemies, but you get CONCESSIONS first. And you send envoys first. Not the President himself. North Korea isn’t suddenly agreeing to talks because they fear Trump’s “bluster” (as Trump himself claimed over the weekend), they are agreeing because they want the SANCTIONS lifted (and seeing life in South Korea during the Olympics probably made them think a lot about their own miserable lives.)

Trump also declared… with no apparent forethought… to impose a blanket tariff of “25% on all steel and 10% on all aluminum imported into the United States” without regard for country of origin. Tariffs can be a GOOD thing… when applied on a case-by-case basis to deny impoverished nations an excuse to underpay their workers. But applying the same 25% tariff on German imports where workers are paid more than most American workers, as you impose on China where workers earn pennies a day, is wildly unfair. You’re punishing trading partners whom do us no harm. In fact, you punish some nations which we have a trade-SURPLUS with. And they WILL retaliate.

After an outraged Canada (our largest steel exporter) pointed out this was in violation of NAFTA, Trump amended his impulsive blanket tariff to “exclude Mexico & Canada”. Great! Now he just created a MASSIVE incentive for foreign steel exporters to move to Mexico. I’m sure Mexico is happy about that. American steel-workers? Not so much. So in the end, cheap foreign steel will continue to flow into the United states, but instead of by boat, now it’ll come in by truck/rail across our Southern border, lowering their export costs even more. Excellent work, President Dumbass. You may have just made things worse.

Following the (latest) school massacre in Florida, in a highly-staged meeting with both Republicans & Democrats on the subject of “gun control”, Trump bragged about how HE would “stand up to the NRA”, that HE wasn’t “afraid of them” and that HE would succeed where all his predecessors failed. Then he impulsively proposed “if someone is believed to be a danger, he’d even support taking the guns away first and “worry about Due Process later” (right sentiment. Wrong policy. If a Democrat had said that… OMG! Republicans would be rioting in the streets!), pretty much ensuring nothing gets done on gun control as Trump is forced to walk back his impetuous remark. So then he talks to a VERY upset NRA and they convince him the “solution” is MORE guns and to arm every teacher. Once again, right idea delivered in the worst possible way, resulting in a “compromise” that may actually end up making things worse. What did THE NRA concede? Nothing… though they did “lose” the fight to protect “Bump Stocks”… though they didn’t really put up much of a fight. I’m sure they are delighted that’s ALL they lost. They gladly soldout “bump stocks” (giving Trump his faux “victory”) to save the AR15.

Trump also declared recently that we need to invest in “infrastructure”. Democrats said this for a decade but Republicans repeatedly obstructed them (If you recall, just three days before the 2008 Republican National Convention in Minnesota, a bridge collapsed in MN killing four and injuring dozens more, yet STILL Republicans refused to support the Democratic call to invest in infrastructure. Then Trump starts making ridiculous promises of how we can get all of our infrastructure rebuilt on the cheap and Republicans swoon. Never mind the details. So then Trump announce his big plan on how to rebuild our infrastructure for very little money. We basically SELL-OFF OUR INFRASTRUCTURE TO CORPORATE AMERICA, who then turn our roads & bridges into TOLL roads & bridges, public schools into private schools. If you live in rural America where it would be harder for corporations to make their money back, tough luck. Your infrastructure is just going to have to wait. Once again, the right intentions implemented in the worst possible way, only ensuring to make matters worse.

He never actually “repealed” ObamaCare BTW. His followers think he did, but all he did was undermine it in a way that ensures MILLIONS of Americans will find themselves with no insurance (or inadequate policies where every claim is denied.) People were complaining that “costs had gone up too much” and (despite Obama’s assurances), if their doctor was not on their new plan, they could NOT keep their doctor. Well, policy prices went up because insurance companies could no longer sell you worthless “junk” policies where every claim is denied. And you COULD have kept your doctor if Conservatives hadn’t stripped out The Public Option. But now, thanks to “TrumpCare”, insurance companies can sell you worthless policies once again. You can even go totally without insurance if you so desire (driving rates up for everyone else.) But at least you’ll save a few bucks (until you get sick or injured.) And just like that, once again, Best Intentions resulting in a “solution” that makes matters far worse.

Trump rolled out his 2020 Campaign Slogan yesterday. Maybe he should consider “Trump 2020: Best Intentions Going Lousy Yesterday”… BIGLY.
 


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!

RSS Please REGISTER to be notified by e-mail every time this Blog is updated! Firefox/IE users can use RSS for a browser link that lists the latest posts! RSS


 

Share
Is This the Beginning of the Trump Economy? DOW loses over 1,000 points to start 2018.
Feb 4th, 2018 by Admin Mugsy

Share
 

(UPDATE: Monday, DOW falls an additional 1,175 points… the largest one day drop in history.)
(UPDATE #2: DOW falls another 1,032 points on Thursday.)

Like the old saying goes: “Facts can be stubborn things.” Last week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average suffered it’s worst week (day?) in two years (I’m having some trouble confirming that statistic, but the 666 point drop on Friday may have been the biggest one-day drop since Bush-43’s final year in office.)

Now, there is no denying that the DOW set numerous records in Trump’s first year… which was easier to do when you START with a strong economy and the DOW already near it’s record high. Under Obama, the DOW grew nearly as quickly his first year in office (see corner thumbnail graph) as it has under Trump, but it wasn’t “setting records” because Bush left him an economy in free fall, needing to gain nearly 6,000 points just to get back up to where it was before the crash. So in very blunt terms, Trump had a 6,000 point “head start” on growing the Stock Market.

In reaction to a good jobs report for January (190K jobs created, first hourly wage increase in eight years), investors panicked… believing either (GOP version) the economy is doing SO good the Fed will be forced to raise interest rates next month to stave off inflation (which is nonsense because we’ve had periods of lower unemployment and higher job growth without needing to raise interest rates), or (MY interpretation) the jobs report confirmed what they already KNOW: that the Fed MUST raise interest rates next month… and will do so at the first opportunity… to fill the budget shortfall Trump’s massive tax cut for corporations and billionaires will create, which caused the DOW to plunge nearly 666 points… it’s worst one day drop since January 2016 (and the less said about that number, the better.)

And that “good jobs report” is terribly misleading: 1) Note the “jobs expansion” is now in its EIGHTH year (so this isn’t a new phenomena thanks to Trump) and Congress has YET to pass a new budget, so we are STILL operating under Obama’s final December 2016 budget.

2) The reported “first hourly wage increase in eight years” was a whopping NINE CENTS and due almost entirely to 18 states raising the Minimum Wage. Unless you have a healthy 401k or other investment in the Stock Market, the average person is actually seeing very little benefit from the rise in the Stock Market.
 

Job Growth by Presidental Budget
Job growth by president
(Trump’s first year in purple, but he has yet to pass a budget.)

 

That region in purple… a straightline continuation of the seven years before it… is what Trump has been taking bows for. As you can see from in the region in green, the last budget of the preceding president continues to impact the economy long after they are gone, and passing your own budget can set the trajectory of the remainder of your presidency. (That little spike at the start of Obama’s first budget is “The Stimulus”.)
 

Don’t be fooled. Trump deserves little (if ANY) significant credit for the good Jobs Report that came out last week (other than he has yet to do any “significant” damage.) And whether or not the economy “takes off like a rocket” as promised as a result of his policies (which are taking effect only now this year) is left to be seen. We won’t know for sure until well after he passes his first budget… and right now, that doesn’t look to be any time soon.

And because of Trump’s massive corporate tax cut, they are going to have to cut spending somewhere. And you KNOW the first place Republicans are going to look. They can’t look to the wealthy & corporations whom they just gave a massive tax cut to, and Republicans will NEVER cut the Military Budget (in fact, Trump wants to INCREASE IT… MASSIVELY… along with Billions to start his ridiculous border wall), so they are going where they always go… Medicare, Social Security and programs for the poor.

But not right away. Republicans still believe Trump’s massive tax cut will increase tax revenue due to all the “economic growth” they are certain it will create. Bush senior called this “Voodoo Economics”, and he was right. Both Reagan, Bush-41 and Bush-43 all tried it, exploding the deficit and massively increasing the National Debt. Reagan and Bush-41 both tried to mitigate the damage by raising taxes 11 times and by hiring tens of thousands of additional government employees. Bush-43 however gulped down the Kool-Aid, steadfastly refused to do either, and nearly tossed the entire planet into another Great Depression.

And now Trump and Republicans with an almost evangelical belief in “Trickledown Economics” are looking to do it again. (And this budget-timebomb is set to go off on the Democrats watch after retaking Congress in the midterms.)

Congress will be meeting again this week in yet another attempt to finally pass a budget. Don’t hold your breath. Nothing has changed and they are no closer to passing a budget now than they were when they kicked the can down the road two weeks ago. We have been operating under Obama’s final budget… passed in December 2016… Trump’s entire time in office. And for all of 2017, corporations have been operating under Obama’s tax rates and Obama’s “Job Killing” healthcare mandate. Trump simultaneously brags of the economy we’ve seen so far despite those “obstacles to growth” while claiming those same obstacles were “destroying jobs.” Clearly they weren’t. Extending the Obama budget may not be the worst thing to happen to Trump. Look how well it has served him so far. Unfortunately we can’t run on the same budget forever. New legislation needs funding. Old projects expire and no longer do. Eventually, Trump is going to have to remove the training wheels and peddle his own damn bike.

I noted in both of my last two Op/Ed’s that the federal government will HAVE to borrow Hundreds of Billions… pushing the Deficit into the stratosphere… to pay for Trump’s massive tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy. And the only way to encourage people/nations to lend us money to fund the federal government is to raise interest rates… which sucks Billions out of the economy as more & more people tie up their money in savings instead of spending it. This creates a deadly feedback loop… last seen during the economic collapse of 2008… where less money being spent means corporations need fewer workers and start laying off people, who now have no spare cash, slowing the economy still further. It’s Keynesian Economics 101 and why “Trickle-down Economics” doesn’t work.

Republicans insisted that Trump’s tax cuts will “turbocharge the economy” (here in Houston, we already have one Republican woman running for Congress using that exact phrase in her ads) as lower tax rates encourage corporations hiding “Trillions” overseas in tax shelters to bring that money home (because what company wouldn’t prefer to pay a low 25% corporate tax rate vs leaving the money overseas in a tax-free tax shelter? Right? #SMH)

I’m being factious, of course.

So last Monday (Jan 29th), The DOW plunged 177 points. On the 30th, it fell an additional 362. A slight rebound of 72 & 37 points on Wednesday & Thursday, only to lose a whopping 665.75 points on Friday (possibly the largest one-day loss since December 2008… Bush’s final full month in office.) And Update: An additional 1,175 points today/Monday.

And right now, there is NO reason for investors to believe the Fed ISN’T going to raise Interest Rates in March. They sure as heck didn’t take to the airwaves Friday to reassure investors that they were worried for nothing and they are unlikely to raise rates next month.

They didn’t say that because they CAN’T. hey KNOW Trump’s tax cuts are going to break the bank and they will HAVE to find a way to pay for it. That means a rate hike… whether the economy needs it or not.
 


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!

RSS Please REGISTER to be notified by e-mail every time this Blog is updated! Firefox/IE users can use RSS for a browser link that lists the latest posts! RSS


 

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

Share
 


“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!

RSS Please REGISTER to be notified by e-mail every time this Blog is updated! Firefox/IE users can use RSS for a browser link that lists the latest posts! RSS


 

Share
If GOP Tax Bill Passes, here is how it will tank the economy
Dec 4th, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

Share
 


There are two famous quotes I keep returning to again & again:
 

“Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.” – Edmund Burke, Irish Statesman (1729-1797)

and

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over & over, and expecting a different result each time.”
 – Author Rita Mae Brown (not Einstein) as quoted by the AA/NA sobriety guides (1983)

 

Every tax policy analyst who has looked at the Republican tax plan agrees that (if passed) it will create a huge hole in the Deficit and “add as much as $1.4 Trillion to the National Debt” (I believe they mean “Deficit”, not “Debt”)… which I can assure you is WILDLY understating what this bill would do to the Deficit, National Debt, and the economy as a whole.

I find myself actually stunned (well, not really) Republicans… self-proclaimed “Deficit Hawks” when Obama was president… would so blatantly try to sell us “Voodoo Economics” again with a straight face. They aren’t even being coy about it. They talk about Trump’s massive tax cut for the wealthy “supercharging” our economy as though it’s never been tried before. It appears Republicans now meet the definition of “insane”… doing the same thing over & over again, expecting a different result. Ronald Reagan slashed the top tax rate on the rich to “just 50%”… a rate we are wildly below today and Trump would have us more than slash in half (but assures us it wouldn’t benefit him personally)… and by the end of Reagan’s first budget (the end of his second year), unemployment had SOARED to 10.8%… despite November/December holiday shopping and seasonal hiring boosting the economy. The Federal budget for the coming year is passed every December. We are still coasting on Obama’s last budget (and Trump is taking credit for it.)

Senate Republicans passed their version of the next Federal Budget & Tax Reform last week by the skin of their teeth, just 51 to 49. Despite having a 52/48 majority in the Senate, every single Democrat and one Republican (Bob Corker R-TN) voted against the bill. Earlier in the year, Republicans in the House passed their own version of the budget and now Republicans have until Friday to pass a reconciled budget in time to avoid a government shutdown. We’ve already seen that this White House can’t organize a two-car parade, so if you believe House & Senate Republicans will come together to agree upon a budget & tax bill by Friday (Dec 8), you haven’t been paying attention the last 11 months. And they have no intention of trying to attract Democratic votes to help them pass their bill. During ABC’s ThisWeek yesterday, Mitch McConnell complained “There wasn’t a single Democrat who thought this tax bill was a good deal.” But Donald Trump thinks it is and if you’re a Republican, you trust the judgement of Donald J. Trump more than the entire Democratic Party (hell, they’d rather elect a suspected child-molester… Roy Moore… than a Democrat.) Let’s see how far that kind of judgement gets them.

Three separate Tax Policy institutes… Center, Left, and Right, have looked at the GOP Tax Bill and even the most Conservative estimate says it’ll blow a half-Trillion dollar hole in the annual Deficit…
 

Estimates of GOP Tax bill

 

…EVEN IF you factor in growth (that we’re unlikely to see), causing the National Debt… you know, that thing Republicans screamed about for eight years under Obama… to EXPLODE.

One of the things I most remember most about Mike Pence before he became VP was what a Teabagger tool he was as the self-appointed head of the Senate “Tea Party Caucus”. And in 2010, he declared that he’d rather shutdown the government and default on our Debt than raise the Debt Ceiling and accrue more debt:
 


Pence: “I say: Shut it down!”

 

And now they are trying to sell us “Voodoo Economics” once again (a term coined by then-presidential candidate George HW Bush in 1980 to describe his opponent, Ronald Reagan’s claim that massively cutting taxes on the rich will create so much economic growth the resulting tax revenue will offset the losses.) It didn’t of course. As I pointed out above, by the time Reagan’s first budget was over, unemployment nearly hit 11%, and before he left office, the National Debt had TRIPLED. Reagan tried to offset the losses by raising taxes TWELVE TIMES throughout the remainder of his presidency to stop the bleeding, but they never repealed that tax cut on the people who had all the money, so the Debt continued to grow.

In fact, the last time we balanced the budget and massively grew the economy was when Bill Clinton RAISED taxes on the wealthy to 39.5%, bringing in enough tax revenue to start paying off the debt and grow the economy. Bush-43 reversed that by cutting taxes again, turned that surplus into a $1.4 Trillion Deficit and triggering a Global economic collapse. Obama reversed course again with his own tax hike, cutting the Deficit by almost 2/3rds and spurred economic growth that we continue to enjoy to this day. Now, Trump is looking to repeat the mistakes of Reagan/Bush-41/Bush-43… except on steroids.

Reagan won reelection by massively increasing the size of government, rehiring hundreds of thousands of Federal employees nearly back to pre-Reagan levels, and spending like a drunken sailor, helping to bring the unemployment rate back down in time for the 1984 election:
 

Federal Hiring 1981-1982
Federal Hiring 1981-1982
(*in 1000’s)

 

That’s right, The Gipper was hailed as a hero for fixing a problem his own policies caused (by using a method he himself would have called “Communism” if a Democrat had done it.) And now Republicans want to do it again (because they’ve bought into the myth his policies were a huge success.)

Republicans have been all over the airwaves the past few weeks trying to sell us Voodoo Economics yet again. I don’t know if they themselves are in deep denial about what Reagan’s policies actually did, or perhaps they honestly don’t remember because they were either too young at the time or have simply bought into the myth after being spoon fed it by Conservatives for years. Right-Wing pundit Dan Castellanos argued yesterday that Trump’s tax plan would be like “rocket fuel for the economy”… a phrase Trump himself used. It is no longer clear if the pundits are quoting Trump or Trump is quoting the pundits. Either way, we have a vicious feedback loop not seen since Dick Cheney cited reporters who claimed Saddam had WMD’s… whose source for that claim was Dick Cheney himself. Conservative politicians/pundits are everywhere declaring with a perfectly straight face that “all the analysts are wrong”, that THEY know better than the experts and Trump’s massive tax cut for the rich will pay for itself in economic growth. “Voodoo Economics-101”.

So here is what’s going to happen if the GOP passes Trump’s massive tax cut for the rich:

First off, we won’t see any real effect on the economy until at least next May… after most Americans pay their taxes in April. The Poor & Middle Class typically file their taxes quickly… even early. And the increase in their taxes (mostly due to losing a number of exemptions/deductions) means less money going into the economy. Meanwhile, the wealthy (who pay most of the taxes because they have most of the money), typically have much more complicated taxes and will file extensions to give them longer to file and more time to pay. And in that gap between when “Regular People” pay their taxes and the wealthy do, the government must still operate with no money coming in. So they must borrow it, causing the Deficit to go up. But the only way to attract investment is to raise interest rates slowing the economy down even further. Vicious Feedback Loop part 2, the economy starts to sink like a stone. The Deficit & Debt explode, and the only way out of it is massive government hiring ala Reagan (maybe by building Trump’s Border Wall on the taxpayers dime.) All because they don’t want Rich people to pay their fair share in taxes.

Many years ago, I bought into the “Flat Tax” nonsense because the idea “everyone paying the same percentage” sounded fair to me. It wasn’t until years later that I realized the wealthy actually use FAR more “government” than the Poor & Middle Class do. Republicans would have you believe it’s the other way around, with all the poor people living on welfare and sucking up government resources. But the fact is, CORPORATE WELFARE dwarfs the amount of money spent on the poor. The wealthy also rely on the police more to protect their businesses/wealth, file complex lawsuits as part of doing business, need the government to make trade deals, and worst offenders of all, government contractors (particularly those in the Defense Industry.) The wealthy use FAR more government services than they pay for.

But the most obvious flaw with a “Flat Tax” is that you can’t make up BILLIONS in lost tax revenue from the Rich (via reducing the wealthy’s tax rate from 35% to just 15%) by raising taxes on the Poor (from 0% to 15%.)

And that is almost exactly what Republicans are trying to sell us now with this proposed massive tax cut on the rich. That somehow, we can cut HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS in tax revenue from the wealthy and make up for it in taxes paid by the Middle Class due to all the extra hiring corporations will do to meet the demand of all that economic growth.

Republicans argue that slashing the top tax rate will encourage all those wealthy tax cheats hiding their money overseas to finally bring that money home, resulting in a “three Trillion dollar boost to the economy.” I wonder if these people actually believe that. Do they ACTUALLY believe that millionaires/billionaires hiding “three trillion dollars” overseas are going to bring all that money home just to spend it??? Seriously?

So, what exactly would spur all this “economic growth” if we simply make the rich richer? “More money in people’s pocket” they say. Except the only people with “more money” in their pocket under Trump’s Tax Plan are people who ALREADY have a lot of money and yet aren’t spending it. If you give $10 to someone with no money, they’ll spend it right away. Give $10 to a wealthy person and they’ll just stick it in their pocket. If they needed anything, they would have bought it already.

No, what they’ll do with that savings is buy back their own stock to make themselves even richer (we are ALREADY seeing this in recent record Stock Market gains in anticipation of the cut.) They’ll continue to hide it in off-shore tax havens because ZERO percent is still better than 20%. And EVEN IF they spend it here, how many houses, cars & big screen TV’s can a person possibly buy to boost the economy? They think business owners will hire more people with all that extra money in their pocket. Why? Out of the goodness of their heart? DEMAND forces companies to hire more employees to meet that demand. If the demand isn’t there, why on Earth would anyone hire additional employees they don’t need? (I remember President George HW Bush pathetically begging corporations to “just hire one extra person and it’ll pull us out of the Recession (and save his presidency).” Of course, they didn’t. You can’t make corporations do something when they don’t need to. And if THAT is your plan to grow the economy… relying on the benevolence of corporations… we’re screwed.) The Unemployment Rate is ALREADY just 4.1% (a continued steady decline since President Obama passed his “Stimulus” in late 2009.) How much more growth do they think we can muster to offset those losses in tax revenue?

George HW Bush was right when he called it “Voodoo Economics”. You can’t make up for MASSIVE cuts in tax revenue through “growth”. The wealthy won’t spend more of their wealth just because we let them keep more of it. If they spent their money, they wouldn’t be wealthy in the first place, now would they?

Hang tight this week. Republicans are desperate to give Trump his one & only major legislative accomplishment of his first year in office. And huge tax cuts for rich people is the one thing they’ve always been able to agree upon.
 


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!

RSS Please REGISTER to be notified by e-mail every time this Blog is updated! Firefox/IE users can use RSS for a browser link that lists the latest posts! RSS


 

Share
And Your Halloween Horror Show This Year Is: The Entire Trump Presidency
Oct 30th, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

Share
 


It has become a bit of a tradition for me to post something humorous for the last post before Halloween. One of my favorites were photos of all the “Tea Party” nitwits seen in costume throughout most of the Obama presidency. Tri-corner hats, clothing made of American flags (tell me again how football players kneeling during the Anthem “disrespects the flag”, but wrapping your junk in the Stars & Stripes does not?), and just ordinary “Redneck Chic” in general that made every protest march look like a stroll through a Biloxi Wal*Mart. But now that this insane “poorly educated” electorate has seen fit to elect a Reality TV carnival huckster president of the United States, every day is Halloween! Will we live to see tomorrow or will he start a nuclear war with North Korea? Might you burn to death in a California wildfire made worse by Global Warning, or drown in a hurricane for the same reason? How about we take away your healthcare? Mass shootings are an argument for making guns more readily available. And perhaps we should expand the war in the Middle-East to Iran (it has already spread to central Africa.) “President Chaos is on the job!”

If you’ve managed to make it through the first nine months of the Trump presidency without your very life being put in mortal jeopardy, congratulations! You belong to a very exclusive club.

For the rest of us however, not a day has gone by that fills our lives with more dread than the words “President” and “Trump” back-to-back in the same sentence. A 70-year old manchild with the disposition of a toddler and less understanding of the issues than your Cocker Spaniel making policy decisions that threaten the entire planet is bad enough. But his legions of moron followers defending him and making excuses for him is enough to make a Billy Goat puke (yeah, I stole that line from “First Blood”.) The same people whose patron saint, Ronald Reagan… that staunch anti-Communist whom they praise endlessly for “defeating The Reds”… now spend their days defending Russia in order to defend Trump’s indefensible love of Russia and their “former-KGB” dictator-for-life leader Putin (whom Trump so admires he wishes to emulate them.)

Republicans find it easier to overlook Trump’s ridiculous behavior… 4am Twitter wars with anyone who dare criticize the thin-skinned egomaniac in the White House, suggesting a Gold Star widow is “a liar” because she dared claim Trump’s call to her was rude & insensitive (not the first time he’s taken to Twitter to insult a Gold Star family member who dared criticize him) and more… as long as the economy appears to be doing well. They boast of the Stock Market reaching record highs (performance of the DOW under Trump is actually slightly lower than it was when Barack Obama took over in 2009 following the worst economic disaster since The Great Depression), but the GOP Congress has yet to pass a new budget (only budget “recommendations”), so we are still operating under the last Obama budget for the past ten months. We’ll see how the economy does if Trump gets his way and the GOP once again embraces “Voodoo Economics” (the mistaken belief massive tax cuts for the wealthy will result in an economic boom that results in MORE tax revenue) once again. Despite the fact we all saw with our own eyes what “Reaganomics” did to the Debt/Deficit (and disastrously reproduced under Bush-43) with an effect on the economy that was easily outmatched by Democratic policies that actually raised taxes on the wealthy, they believe in the legend, not in reality.

Trump… Snake oil salesman that he is… is once again selling the myth that Reagan’s tax cuts created an economic boom. As I pointed out last week [ibid “Voodoo”], that’s not even close to the truth. And the harm Trump could inflict on the economy could be every bit as dire as the danger he has already posed to Global Stability, health care, and “The Truth” in general (still comatose since suggesting his inauguration crowd photos were faked.)

And let us all pray he is every bit as unsuccessful passing his budget as he has been failing to pass everything else. Happy Halloween!
 

Scary rich white men

 


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!

RSS Please REGISTER to be notified by e-mail every time this Blog is updated! Firefox/IE users can use RSS for a browser link that lists the latest posts! RSS


 

Share
The Reagan Tax Cuts did NOT Produce an Economic Boom (nor will Trump’s)
Oct 23rd, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

Share
 


“This year is the 46th anniversary of President Reagan’s tax reform bill”, cited Mitch McConnell during Fox “news” Sunday yesterday while discussing Trump’s plan to cut the corporate tax rate from 35% (which NO ONE pays) to a mere 20%. In McConnell’s foggy mind, the Reagan tax cuts resulted in an economic boom, ergo, so will Trump’s “plan” to slash taxes on the Top 1%. The GOP has been dutifully rewriting the Reagan legacy for so long they can no longer distinguish fact from fiction and are now setting policy based on a fantasy. Ronald Reagan’s 1981 Economic Recovery Tax Act did NOT result in an “economic boom”. It was an “economic bomb” that exploded the Deficit/Debt and caused unemployment to skyrocket. The GOP has so thoroughly whitewashed Reagan’s history that even people who lived through it recall only the “fictionalized” version: “Bonzo Goes to Washington” starring Ron Reagan.

The fictionalized Reagan years that exists only in the minds of Republicans goes like this: America… disparing the malaise of the Carter Administration (fact: Carter never used the word “malaise” in his infamous “Malaise Speech“)… elected the “sunny optimistic” Ronald Reagan, who… by the sheer magnitude of his personality… struck fear into the hearts of Iran, convincing them to release the hostages the moment he was inaugurated. He slashed taxes on the wealthy on a premise dubbed “Trickle-down Economics”, resulting in an economic boom that turned America into an economic powerhouse that convinced the Russians of the folly of Communism and brought about the end of the Soviet Union. Eight years of “peace & prosperity” all thanks to a strict adherence to Conservative principles.

None of it is true of course.

Iran didn’t simply release the hostages because they were terrified of the Gipper. Carter had actually arranged their release his final months in office, which Iran agreed to (in a final insult) the very HOUR Carter left office (Carter actually flew to Germany to welcome the released hostages immediately following the inauguration.)

The Soviet Union didn’t “see the error of its ways” and relent. It went bankrupt trying to keep pace with the U.S. in a costly arms race that proved to be too much for a country with almost no industry and an economy half the size of France’s. First, they had to cut loose some of their satellite nations to save money, which opened up a ridiculously long train route from East Germany, through Eastern Europe, and back around to West Germany, rendering The Berlin Wall all but pointless and eventually allowed to fall with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989.

The economy wasn’t miserable under Carter as Republican efforts have convinced you to believe. 10.3 Million jobs were created in the four years of the Carter Administration (compared to 15.8 Million jobs created in eight years under Reagan.) Unemployment in 1979 (link note: you’ll need to set the start/end dates manually) actually bounced just under 6.0% throughout the year. In 1980, economic turmoil did result from a grain embargo against Russia (for their support of Iran) that hurt farmers, and a retaliatory oil embargo by Russia against the U.S. caused gas prices (and eventually all else) to spike (just as it did in 2008 under Bush.) And while unemployment peaked at 7.8% in July of 1980, it was back down to 7.4% by the time Carter left office and continued to coast down to 7.2% by April, 1981.

Then “Reaganomics” took over. Reagan’s proposed “Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981″ [ibid top], promised to slash the top tax rate from 70% to just 50% and more than triple the base amount before the “Estate Tax” kicked in. And soon the unemployment rate started to take off. Up to 8.5% by the end of the year. The new tax policy went into effect on January 1, 1982 and by October, the unemployment rate had soared to 10.8% throughout the end of the year.

Reagan’s massive tax cut for the wealthy was NOT balanced out by any resulting “economic boom” in increased spending, creating jobs, resulting in more people paying taxes into the system the way Republicans predicted. Instead, corporations had less incentive to invest in their businesses and more incentive to just park their money in investments. The Deficit exploded due to the massive loss in tax revenue coupled with Reagan pouring money into National Defense. The problem was made exponentially worse thanks to a rash of tiny micro-wars Reagan launched throughout Central America: Panama, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, “Freedom Fighters”, “The Contras”… not to mention the growing Cold War with the Soviet Union and Reagan’s “Star Wars” missile defense program money pit (that never worked). Technology still being developed to this very day nearly 40 years later still has a less than 50% success rate (which Trump misrepresented as being “a 97% success rate (Trump was told our current technology had “a 97% chance” of hitting just ONE-of-FOUR missiles launched simultaneously.) Child that he is, Trump interpreted this as “a 97% chance” of taking out all four. (So now he has no reason to fear a retaliatory strike from North Korea.)

By the time Reagan left office, the economy had drastically improved. But he had to raise taxes ELEVEN TIMES to slow (but not stop) the hemorrhaging of cash into the National Debt… which had TRIPLED during his eight years in office. 204 years of Debt from 1776 to 1980 amounted to $800 Billion before Reagan took office in 1981. By the time he left in 1989, it was $2.4 TRILLION. Reagan even criticized President Carter for the size of the Debt during the 1980 Campaign. Unemployment reversed in large part to MASSIVE government hiring/spending. Reagan dramatically increased the size of the Federal government, from 16.3 million government employees when he took office to 17.7 million by the end of his second term, and hundreds of billions more in annual spending on government projects. We all know the story of the “$9,600 Allen Wrench” as the Reagan Administration blindly pumped hundreds of billions into the Pentagon budget, and only later as people started to take notice of the exploding Debt did anyone start investigating the spending only to uncover massive waste, fraud & abuse.

When Dick Cheney… Reagan’s former Secretary of Defense… ran for Vice President in 2000, he belittled praise for shrinking the National Debt due to the Budget Surplus under Bill Clinton by declaring “Reagan proved Deficits don’t matter.” “We don’t need to tax people so much that we start paying off the Debt!” We can (Cheney argued) tax people less and allow the Debt to grow again because “Reagan proved deficits don’t matter.

That is, until a Democrat takes office. Then the size of the Debt/Deficit is a travesty! A national disgrace that endangers our very way of life.

And this is why Republicans will NEVER eliminate the Deficit and start paying off the National Debt. Because the moment tax revenue starts exceeding government spending they will argue (just as Bush did in 2000) that is was proof Americans were being “over taxed” and deserved a tax cut.

And now we see Trump going straight down the same imaginary rabbit hole (falsely conflating his plan to give huge tax cuts to the rich with public support for tax “REFORM“), requesting a massive tax cut for the rich and declaring the “resulting economic growth… just like we saw under Reagan… will offset the loss in tax revenue due to massive tax cuts for the rich.” And WHY do the Rich need these huge tax cuts? Because (according to Republicans) we are “the most taxed nation on Earth” with a 38 percent top tax rate (side note. I find it fascinating that… according to Trump & the GOP… the rest of the world pays LESS in taxes and yet is still able to afford Healthcare for all… which according to snarky Dana Perino on Fox “news” Sunday yesterday “is something worth considering once we figure out how to pay for it.”) Trump’s explanation is bullshit of course, because thanks to all the absurd tax breaks and tax loopholes the wealthy already receive, almost nobody pays that top tax rate. Many billion-dollar corporations paid nothing at all in taxes last year. And thanks to massive corporate welfare, many Billion dollar corporations actually receive money BACK FROM the government to offset their business costs.

Hiring employees and buying property/equipment for your business are considered “business expenses” and are ALREADY tax deductible. So anyone who tries to tell you corporations need “tax cuts to grow their business” is either knowingly lying to you or is just too damn stupid to know better. Trump is (supposedly) a Billionaire businessman, but he’s also “a (bleeping) moron” and well documented liar, so I’ll let you decide if he’s just stupid or lying to you about the need for his tax plan.

And while were on the topic of Reagan’s legacy, what do you think “The Gipper” would say about the current occupant of the White House cozening up to Russia and even denying evidence of Russian interference in our democracy?
 


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!

RSS Please REGISTER to be notified by e-mail every time this Blog is updated! Firefox/IE users can use RSS for a browser link that lists the latest posts! RSS


 

Share
Two Cat-4 Hurricanes in Two Weeks. Ignoring Climate Change is getting VERY expensive
Sep 11th, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

Share
 


“This is the first time in history two Catagory-4 storms have made landfall in the same season.” – ABC News weather anchor Ginger Zee.

Hurricane Harvey raged outside my window as I typed my column two weeks ago. I was fortunate where I live to have avoided the flooding & power outages, but many around me were not so lucky. And at the time, they were already predicting the cost of Harvey to surpass the former record holder Hurricane Katrina ($160 Billion in damage vs $180 Billion). Now, as I type this a mere two weeks later, Hurricane Irma… briefly a Catagory-5 and presently a Cat-4, is lashing Florida’s West coast and is already predicted to beat out even Harvey in terms of destruction, for an estimated total cost to taxpayers of nearly $400 BILLION dollars in the space of two weeks (yet another Category-4 just beyond Irma lies “Juan”… which is presently predicted to turn North missing land entirely. Let’s pray they are right because the Texas Gulf Coast can’t endure much more of this.
 

Life imitates art

 

As Hurricane Harvey stalled over the Texas shoreline and dropped a record 27 TRILLION GALLONS OF WATER on the state, for days I carefully listened to the national news reports for ANY mention of “Climate Change” or “Global Warming”. I watch “BBC World News” regularly and thought “Surely the BBC will discuss it”. Alas, they never did. It wasn’t until the very end of Harvey before I heard my first mention, when a BBC reporter stuck a mic in the face of a man in a pickup truck driving through flooded streets who proclaimed: “If you don’t believe in Climate Change, you’re a moron.” That was it. The one and only mention of either “Climate Change” or “Global Warming” I had heard mentioned on any network news program during Hurricane Harvey.

As Hurricane Irma grew and approached Florida, I again listened closely for any mention of Climate Change. It wasn’t until Irma made landfall in the Florida keys Sunday morning that I heard ABC’s weather anchor Ginger Zee throw climate change deniers a lifeline with the tired “we just don’t know” bullcrap line of whether or not “Global Warming causes hurricanes.” This is bullcrap because THAT’S A BULLSHIT QUESTION. We don’t need to know what CAUSES hurricanes to know that WARMER WATER EQUALS MORE SEVERE STORMS. Every 1′ degree rise in ocean temps adds (roughly) 62 Million atomic bombs worth of energy to a hurricane. Continuing to suggest there is “uncertainty” about the EFFECTS of Global Warming by focusing on the more complex question of “what causes hurricanes in the first place” only allows the debate to drag on without anyone doing anything about it. Our house is burning. Stop arguing over WHY and put the damned fire out!

During the election, Donald Trump famously tweeted that “Climate Change is a hoax by the Chinese” to trick every other nation on Earth into “handcuffing” their major industries while China grows their economy by ignoring it. The problem is, China ISN’T ignoring it. THEY signed the Paris Accord and is one of (if not THE) biggest investor in Green Energy/Technology, building the largest solar farm in Earth (in the shape of a Panda no less), one of the largest wind farms in the world, and one of the fastest “MagLev” (Magnetic Levitation) bullet trains on the planet shuttling workers & travelers clear across the country at an average speed of 431KPH (271MPH) (with plans to build a 600Kph version soon), and (as previously reported) set a manufacturing goal of 12% of all new vehicles built in China to be full electric by 2020. Does THAT sound like a country that’s ignoring green technology because they think it stifles the economy?

And we’re falling behind. WAY behind.

While the rest of the world sees Green Tech as the way of the future, investing hundreds of billions of dollars that they expect to earn back 100x over, Republicans in this country believe “Global Warming is one big joke. A Liberal fantasy” to trick rednecks into eating Tofu.

“Regulations that force corporations to fight phantom Climate Change cost businesses billions of dollars in lost revenue, meaning lost jobs and higher prices” they claim. It’s bullshit of course. Tesla is already one of the fastest growing companies in America. Wind now rivals oil as producing the most energy in Texas. Anyone who looks at the exploding growth of the Green Tech industry in China & Europe knows that’s nonsense. BUT EVEN IF IT WERE TRUE (which it’s not), the cost of damage to our nation caused by IGNORING climate change is growing exponentially. Hurricanes are becoming more intense. Rising sea levels means more flooding. More frequent/severe tornado seasons. The cost of the damage simply due to severity grows each year, while these weather events simultaneously become more frequent. Any “savings” you think you’re enjoying by ignoring Global Warming is rapidly being gobbled up by the steadily rising cost of recovery from these weather catastrophes (and lost lives can not be replaced.)

And STILL they balk, make snide comments and ridicule anyone who dare accept reality.

Rush Limbaugh, who actually joked on air last week about the “Liberal hysteria” over calls to evacuate Florida ahead of Hurricane Irma, was himself forced to evacuate his home/studio from where he broadcasts his show in Southern Florida. What are the chances he admits he was wrong once he finally returns to work? Anyone taking bets?
 

Size comparison

 
In 2015, the GOP controlled Senate held a (mock) hearing on “Government Regulations” (claiming “Overregulation Harms Minorities” The GOP’s sudden concern for “minorities” was actually just a thinly veiled excuse to attack “Regulations” in general. Ted Cruz, mugging for cameras as he planned to run for president in 2016, attacked the president of the Sierra Club, Aaron Mair (to the delight of Conservatives) for daring to say “climate disruption should not be up for debate any more so than the science behind climate change itself.” Cruz feigned astonishment that someone claiming to be a scientist would declare that a matter of science was “not up for debate.”

Think about that. We don’t “debate” science FACT. No one debates that the Earth is round (except on Facebook) or revolves around the sun, that gravity exists and that “2+2=4”. And as Mair rightly pointed out, “when 97% of the worlds scientists agree on something” and the 3% who don’t are either politically motivated, financially motivated, or both… to sow seeds of doubt, then it becomes established fact. You don’t waste your time lending credibility to the Flat Earthers by continuing to debate the issue. ONLY in the United States, is there any widespread belief that “Climate Change isn’t real”… because it’s either a massive hoax perpetrated by “greedy scientists” or “tofu-eating Liberals” who resent giant SUV’s intimidating them while they drive their Prius, or “a hoax by the Chinese to slow down the competition”. All while trusting blindly in the integrity & nobility of oil companies and the coal mining industry who clearly DON’T have any financial motivation to lie about the harm their products produce. Oh, and cigarettes don’t cause cancer either.

The most notorious Climate Change denier of all is Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe, who once snarkilly tossed a snowball in Congress during a blizzard in the middle of Winter to ridicule “Global Warming”. We ridicule what we don’t understand, and Inhofe does not understand that “warm air holds more moisture”. In the Summer, we call these massive moisture events: “floods”. In the Winter, Republican’s guffaw as people call it a “Snowpocalypse”. In the most extreme coldest regions of Antarctica, it hasn’t snowed in over 10,000 years. It is so cold there it freezes the moisture right out of the air. Air needs a modicum of warmth to hold moisture. And warm air in Winter creates a LOT of wet heavy snow. Apparently, no one ever explained to Mr. Inhofe how “evaporation” works, and snow isn’t created by The Snow Fairy. Inhofe has been strangely “snarkless” during Harvey & Irma (other than to praise the new Climate Change denying head of the EPA for stripping the EPA down to “its smallest size since the Reagan Administration” on Sept. 6th AFTER Harvey hit Texas.) Inhofe’s chief argument against Climate Change is Biblical, claiming “the Bible says God created the Earth for mans use and would always exist for that purpose.” That didn’t stop Noah from building his Ark.

The 2016 Federal Budget was $3.5 Trillion dollars. The cost of recovery for just hurricane’s Harvey & Irma could be as much as $380 Billion, or 8-1/2% of the entire Federal budget… more than twice of what we spend on the VA each year (after 16 years at war with troops in seven countries.)

Which brings me to the fact that today is the 16th anniversary of 9/11. As Global Warming makes more of the Earth unlivable (either due to devastating droughts or catastrophic flooding due to sea level rise), wars will break out around the globe as more & more people fight over fewer & fewer resources. “Climate Refugees” come knocking on our doors, and even Trump’s ridiculous wall can’t keep them out. The humanitarian crisis that is coming if we continue to ignore the warming of our planet is going to look like we were worried about rescuing a roll of dimes from a bank fire.
 

Flag tattered by Irma.

 


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!

RSS Please REGISTER to be notified by e-mail every time this Blog is updated! Firefox/IE users can use RSS for a browser link that lists the latest posts! RSS


 

Share
Trump Says Paris Accord Too Tough. Staff Justifies Backing Out Because It Wasn’t Tough Enough
Jun 5th, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

Share
 


During his presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly dismissed the very existence of Global Warming, even tweeting (and publicly declaring) that “global warming” was just something “made up by the Chinese” to gain an economic advantage as everyone else supposedly curbs their manufacturing while they ramp up their own. He also dismissed it as a money-making industry”. What kind of “successful businessman” belittles the greatest business opportunity since The Internet as “just a way for people to make money”??? It is difficult to quantify the mind-numbing stupidity of such a remark. The fact it’s held by the man who ran for president on his reputation as “a successful businessman” who would know how to negotiate a great deal for the American people, and is now running the most powerful nation of Earth, is horrifying.

The concept of “Global Warming” is not new. It’s not a recent concoction of the Chinese made up in the 1990’s. And just WHO does Trump think is getting rich off promoting this “hoax”? Scientists? WHO has more financial motive to convince you “Climate Change” isn’t real? Scientists making teacher’s wages, or the Trillion dollar fossil fuel industry? If the goal of China is to convince others Global Warming is real only to distract other nations’ economies, how come China is one of the biggest investors in Green Technology, imposing some of the most stringent environmental regulations in the world upon itself? The Shanghai MagLev is the fastest commuter train in the world, ferrying people at a mind-blowing 360Kph. That wasn’t Capitalism that did that. That was the largest Communist dictatorship on Earth.

Former Vice President Al Gore, in his famed 2006 documentary “An Inconvenient Truth“, talked about his college professor back in the 1960’s first describing the infamous climate “hockey stick” graph projecting a rapid rise in average global temperatures over the coming century:
 

The hockey-stick graph

 
And that projection has been right on the money.

Seven years ago, I wrote an op/ed regarding how Conservatives like George Will would frequently cite false claims in the late 1970’s of “Global Cooling” and “the coming Ice Age” to justify ridiculing fears over “Global Warming” today. There were several flaws to this argument. First and foremost, there was almost NO science behind the claim. The consensus was simply “we’re due”. “It’s been over 10,000 years since the last Ice Age, and they occur roughly every 10,000 years”, so we’re past due. The same way California is “way overdue” for a massive Earthquake. Just because “we’re due” isn’t a scientific argument that compares to the MASSIVE amount of science to back up the evidence of man-made Climate Change we know to be true today. Second, what little science there was at the time, it WAS detecting changes in the climate even back then, except drawing the wrong conclusion: more particulate matter in the atmosphere isn’t “reflecting light” to result in a cooling of the planet, it’s trapping heat like a blanket and causing the Earth to warm. Right observation; wrong conclusion. Which leads to point #3: We know more about climate science today than we did 40 years ago.

So Trump has quite publicly taken the position of the Far Far Right… territory staked out by Evangelical End-Timers and tinfoil hat wearing conspiracy theorists… that Climate Change is either an invention of Lefty Liberal Scientists as a way to keep that sweet-sweet government funding flowing into their research coffers AND/OR a made-up invention of the Chinese to convince other countries to impose “job killing regulations” and waste Billions of dollars to hamper their industry while they… China & India… continue to pollute and gain an economic advantage. OF COURSE those are the people who can’t be trusted, and definitely NOT the Trillion-dollar fossil fuel industry and Rapture-pining Evangelical End-Timers who clearly have NO motivation to foster disbelief in Climate Change while assuring us all “we’ll be just fine” if we do absolutely nothing.

Except that it’s China & India who signed the Paris accord (as did Russia) and are imposing tight (almost draconian) environmental restrictions on themselves while investing Trillions to fight a problem Trump thinks they don’t believe is even real. China… which was globally shamed at the 2008 Beijing Olympics over their choking smog… is pledging to produce more Green energy by 2030 than the United States produces from ALL sources today. And India is pledging that by the same 2030 deadline, 100% of all vehicles produced in that country will be electric. And if you don’t think that’s a big deal, India’s “Tata Motors” is one of the largest auto makers in the world and owns “Jaguar” (taking them from near bankruptcy back to being a market leader today) and one of the largest producers of Mercedes-Benz vehicles in the world (building more than even Germany.) Try to imagine if Ford or Chevy vowed to build nothing but electric cars in little over a decade from now. THAT’S how big a deal this is.

So Trump is justifying backing out of the Paris Climate Accord on the grounds it will stifle American industry because the restrictions are too tough, while he sends out members of his Administration… EPA Chief Scott Pruitt and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley out to argue that the Paris accord is “too weak” and “doesn’t do ENOUGH” to prevent climate change (so why bother doing anything, right?) The problem with that argument is obvious. Trump isn’t demanding tougher restrictions or saying he’ll only sign if pollution regulations set forth in the accord are stronger, so sending out his flying monkeys to dismiss the treaty as “too weak” doesn’t pass the laugh test.

Pruitt went on all three (if not more) of the major network news talk shows yesterday, citing on each and every one of them that famed NASA Climatologist James Hansen had called the Paris agreement “a fraud and a fake”… which is true, but only because he’s one of those saying it needs to be stronger… MUCH stronger… because the looming ecological disaster demands FAR more serious action. Meanwhile, Pruitt is citing Hansen as an excuse to do nothing (and I’d argue, using Hansen’s “fake and a fraud” criticism of the accord in such a way as to imply even NASA’s to Climatologist doesn’t believe in Global Warming… which isn’t close to true.)

Trump called the agreement “a bad deal”, but the Paris Accord was a “non-binding agreement” there is no such thing as a “bad” “non-binding agreement”. If it turns out to not work or even be harmful, you simply STOP COMPLYING. There is simply NO excuse for backing out of a “non-binding” agreement other than to placate those Evangelical End-Timers and Tinfoil hat wearing Conspiracy theorists whom support you.

Trump met with Al Gore twice to discuss environmental policy. The first time was as president-elect, meeting with the former VP at Trump Tower, and again recently to discuss the Paris Accord, where Gore said yesterday he strongly urged Trump to sign the agreement by appealing to his business sense as a way to create jobs. And we now know how THAT turned out. Trump met with Gore the way he met with Romney when he was interviewing candidates for Secretary of State. He had absolutely no intention of joining with them. He already had his mind made up before he ever called them. It’s theater. He just wants to give the appearance of having an open mind and making it look like he’s taking advice from political rivals. But it’s all just a game to Toddler Trump getting his rocks off, humiliating his rivals by making them grovel at his feet, as he soaks in the praise for his “apparent” non-partisan “businessman-like” managerial skills, only to then ignore everything he was told and make some asinine decision for reasons with no basis in reality.

Making the Paris agreement “binding” and tougher on China & India would NOT have convinced Trump to sign the accord, so he needn’t waste our time sending out staffers to whine about how “weak” the agreement was, as if to suggest THAT was the reason he didn’t sign. Michigan Congressman Tim Walberg summed it up best last week when he said we needn’t worry about Climate Change because “God will sort it out”. What if God’s “fix” is to simply render us extinct? The planet doesn’t NEED *US* to survive. If you believe in The Bible, it wouldn’t be the first time God wiped out the entire planet and started over again (see: Noah.)
 


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!

RSS Please REGISTER to be notified by e-mail every time this Blog is updated! Firefox/IE users can use RSS for a browser link that lists the latest posts! RSS


 

Share
GOP Healthcare Plan Would Be Largest Shift in Income From Poor to Rich in History
May 8th, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

Share
 


Last Tuesday night in his “Late Show” monologue, Stephen Colbert responded to Trump’s insulting treatment of fellow CBS reporter John Dickerson with an insulting rant of his own that… while censored… still has the Right in near hysterics, calling for Colbert to be fired over his “disgusting” treatment of the disabled-reporter-mocking pussy-grabber-in-chief. How disrespectful! And they call US “snowflakes”? Please.

So if I may go on a little rant of my own…

Last week, the House passed H.R.1628 – The American Health Care Act of 2017. It was the GOP’s third attempt to repeal The Affordable Care Act since Trump took office, and passed with only Republican votes (remember when passing a heath care bill with votes from only one Party was a “bad” thing?) It passed by only four votes (217-213 despite 20 Republicans voting against it.) Republicans cheered! Finally! They completed the first of five hurdles in their 7+ year crusade to repeal something THAT DOESN’T EXIST: “ObamaCare”… the pejorative euphemism for The Affordable Care Act that has convinced millions of gullible Republican voters that they are being forced to purchase an insurance policy from the government to enroll in some misfit insurance program run by the IRS. And that’s not by accident. The GOP has been drumming that very misconception into people’s minds since before the ACA became law. It’s why there are people who say they “hate ObamaCare” but “like The Affordable Care Act“.

But Republicans don’t DARE call it by its true name because “The Affordable Care Act” is actually quite popular (61% now say keep it vs 37% who say scrap it.) Under Trump, “ObamaCare” is actually more popular than TRUMP. And why? Because the more they hear about the GOP’s alternative plan, the less they like it. Most notably, the likely loss of coverage for tens of millions and the very real possibility of the return of denials over “preexisting conditions”.

But perhaps the most heinous and indefensible policies in the “American Health Care Act” passed by the House is that it CUTS $880,000,000,000 ($880 Billion) in Medicaid subsidies the ACA offered the states to help them pay for expanding the state-run program, and using it to offset the cost of a massive honking tax cut for the wealthiest 2% of Americans. Part of the reason why “ObamaCare” failed to help as many Americans as it could have was because a huge swath of Republican governors refused to accept those Medicaid dollars “out of spite… er ‘principle'”, to help cover millions of the poorest Americans (Ironically, most of whom live in deep Red states in the South.)

The justification for cutting nearly $900 Billion in Medicaid subsides, according to Trump’s Chief of Staff Reince Priebus during Fox “news” Sunday yesterday was that they are simply eliminating “redundancy”… duplication of services covered by other agencies (which is nonsense.) When asked about concerns with the House bill, Priebus assured Andrea Mitchell that “the Senate bill will be better.” Which raises an interesting question: “If the House bill was inadequate, why was there such a rush to pass it… even before many House members even had a chance to read it? (another Republican complaint regarding passage of the ACA in 2009.) Wouldn’t it have made more sense to take your time and draft a single bill that was likely to pass BOTH houses without major changes ensuring easy passage? Instead, now, we have millions of Americans learning about this mess of a bill… NOT liking what they are hearing… waiting perhaps months before the Senate votes on a bill of their own (the earliest they could possibly vote is in a few weeks, but most say the Senate wants to write their own bill, which could take a while. Then wait for it to be scored by the CBO and debated. And Texas Senator Cornyn says they won’t vote for the bill until they can be sure they have “at least 51 votes”. Then add all the vacation days between now and then and I’m thinking… September by the earliest to complete “Step 2”?) Then comes the merging of the two bills into one (Step 3) where it is voted on again by both the House and Senate (Step 4) and then signed by Trump (Step 5). I figure it is possible “TrumpCare” could come up for a vote right in the middle of the 2018 midterm elections. We’ll see.
 

Seniors may pay more under AHCA

 
Fewer covered under AHCA

 

You KNOW a Republican bill is bad when even Fox isn’t buying it.

“Health & Human Services” Secretary Tom Price tried to argue during “Meet the Press” yesterday that a change that could result in pre-retirement seniors paying as much as FIVE TIMES more for health care, was actually a GOOD thing because the change would result in them having “more choices” than they do now (I’m assuming by adding DEATH to their list of options.)

As Salon Magazine pointed out last March, two taxes on the richest Americans to pay for the Medicare expansion in the ACA that TrumpCare eliminates is a $275 Billion dollar tax break for the richest 2% of Americans. If you earn less than $200,000/year, you will not see a single penny in tax cuts resulting in the elimination of those ACA tax increases. People who make between $500K & $1mil per year will see “a modest cut of about $4,700”, modest millionaires would get back around $54K/year, while the top 1/10th of 1% (those earning over $300 million/year) will get back around $7 Million dollars/year.

Republican Congressman Raul Labrador became the poster-boy for GOP cluelessness/heartlessness last week when he was caught on camera arguing to his constituents: “Nobody dies because they don’t have access to health care”. And it makes sense that he’d say this because it’s a Republican Talking Point that has been drummed into their heads for eight years. The argument is that “Emergency Rooms are required by law to provide care even if you can’t afford to pay. Ergo, no one dies due to an inability to afford health care.”

As the cook said to waitress Kelly Bundy, “You are one whopping moron!”

Let’s set aside for the moment that Emergency Room care is the most costly form of care there is and when patients can’t pay either the government pays or they swallow the cost. Forget that for now. Here are just a few scenarios off the top of my head where you could die from not having access to healthcare:

Scenario #1: Imagine a guy develops an infection (infected cut, steps on a nail, whatever) but he doesn’t have insurance, so he tries to treat it himself at home. But as time goes on, the infection gets worse & worse and eventually he has no choice but to be rushed to the hospital (assuming he hasn’t died in his sleep before then.) But he waited too long, the infection doesn’t respond to antibiotics, and he dies.

Scenario #2: You develop cancer. But you can’t afford treatment (chemo, radiation or both) so you never get treated. By the time you are so sick you are taken to the ER, the cancer has spread throughout your body and you die.

Scenario #3: You have diabetes and your kidney’s start to shutdown. You need dialysis but don’t have insurance and can’t afford to pay out of pocket. You never get treated and you die.

Scenario #4: You develop the flu. You can’t afford to go to the doctor so you try to treat it yourself at home using over-the-counter medicine. But it’s not the flu. It’s something worse. And by the time you get to the ER, there is nothing they can do.

Scenario #5: You develop the flu and try to treat it yourself. But you have small children. The baby catches your flu, develops a high fever and dies before you can get her to the hospital.

That’s just five scenarios off the top of my head where not having access to routine care could be deadly. Are you telling me no Republican is capable of envisioning a scenario where a person could get so sick even the ER can’t save them? Apparently, NO ONE WHO GOES TO THE E.R. EVER DIES IN GOP LAND (or Congressman Labradoodle’s world.) These people make me want to vomit.

When President Carter ran for reelection against Reagan in 1980, Reagan criticized Carter for allowing the National Debt to “balloon” to an ungodly “$800 Billion dollars” (Reagan then proceeded to more than TRIPLE 204 years worth of Debt to $2.5Trillion in just eight years.) The entire National Debt in 1980 was less than the size of the GOP’s proposed cut to Medicare over ten years or Trump’s proposed annual tax cut for the wealthy.

The GOP’s Health care bill would be the largest shift in income from the Poor up to the Richest Americans in U.S. history. Tell us again Trump voters how President Pussy-Grabber or lapdogs like Labrador are looking out for people like you?
 


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!

RSS Please REGISTER to be notified by e-mail every time this Blog is updated! Firefox/IE users can use RSS for a browser link that lists the latest posts! RSS


 

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

Share
 

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.


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!

RSS Please REGISTER to be notified by e-mail every time this Blog is updated! Firefox/IE users can use RSS for a browser link that lists the latest posts! RSS


 

Share
How Many Trump Appointments Also Have Conflicts of Interest?
Dec 12th, 2016 by Admin Mugsy

Share
 

President-elect Trump seems to be going out of his way to pick the worst possible people to staff his cabinet & White House. But beyond appointing a neurosurgeon to run HUD, beyond putting “generals” in charge of making “peace”, beyond appointing an opponent of public schools to run our public schools, and beyond appointing a critic of Civil Rights to be in charge of the protecting Civil Rights, he’s putting a Climate Change denier in charge of the EPA, and billionaires in charge of agencies that could DIRECTLY affect their own personal wealth. Questions of “conflicts of interest” no longer begin & end with Trump himself. Trump announced on “60 Minutes” a few weeks ago that he would accept a salary of only “$1/year” as president. A magnanimous gesture even for a billionaire to give up a $420,000 salary. But evidently, he has asked his wealthy cabinet picks to follow suit, stating during his Fox “news” Sunday interview yesterday that his cabinet members will be paid only $1/year as well. And why wouldn’t they? Do you think 20th Century bank robber Willie Sutton would have turned down the job of bank guard if it only paid $1/year? No. They are more than happy to do these thankless jobs because they’ll finally be in control of the agencies that stood in their way all these years. They’re not agreeing to do these jobs out of the goodness of their hearts. They are out to destroy these agencies for personal gain (at the expense of the rest of us.) This is putting the foxes in charge of the hen house.

We already know about asinine picks like putting Ben Carson… a retired neurosurgeon… in charge of “Housing & Urban Development” on the grounds Carson “once lived in public housing”… which is like me saying I can land a 747 because I once flew in one. But I don’t think Carson has any “conflict of interest” where he or members of his family might stand to personally benefit from decisions he makes at HUD.

However, many of Trump’s other appointments do. Beyond the hypocrisy of appointing three former Goldman Sachs executives to his administration after blasting Hillary Clinton & Ted Cruz for their ties to the Wall Street bank, some of the Billionaires Trump has appointed to his cabinet will be running agencies they themselves have a personal grudge against… not because of any belief those agencies are not operating in the best interests of the PUBLIC, no. But because these agencies have been standing in the way of making these Billionaires even more obscenely wealthy than they already are (echos of Ted Kennedy asking, “When does the greed stop?”)

Among Trump’s appointees:

  • Steven Mnuchin – Trump’s pick for Treasury Secretary is not only one of those former Goldman Sachs bankers, Mnuchin left the firm to start his own bank, “OneWest“, that earned him the nickname “foreclosure machine” during the banking crisis for foreclosing on over 36 thousand home loans plus another 40 percent (16,200) of all reverse mortgages. As Treasury Secretary, Mnuchin will be able to set interest rates deciding how much banks like his will earn on the loans he makes.
  •  

  • Steven Pruitt – Trump’s pick to head the EPA… the former Oklahoma Attorney General… has sued the EPA at least 13 times. Why? Because Pruitt doesn’t believe in Global Warming (and not too sure about gravity either) and is currently suing the agency’s Clean Power Plan, which he called a “war on coal” for setting “pollution standards for power plants and statewide goals for cutting carbon pollution.” Is there any question why the AG from Oklahoma would be hostile towards any regulation of the Energy industry… which stands to make… not just millions or billions, but literally Trillions of dollars pending rollbacks of a host of environmental regulations… which he will now be able to do as head of the EPA. Those costly lawsuits he filed all go bye-bye. And I can assure you Pruitt’s wealthy friends won’t forget him when he’s looking for a job four years from now.
  •  

  • Andrew Puzder – Trump’s pick as Labor Secretary, the owner & founder of the Hardee’s and “Carl’s Jr” fast food chains, opposes raising the minimum wage (not just to $15, but thinks even $10.10 is “too high”), is a bit of a misogynist (like his boss), opposes expanding eligibility rules to qualify for overtime pay, and waxes poetic over the notion of replacing workers with robots:
     
    Puzder on automation
    “They’re always polite, they always upsell,
    they never take a vacation, they never show up late,
    there’s never a slip-and-fall, or an age,
    sex or race discrimination case.”

     
    If that sounds like employment nirvana that’ll make YOUR life happier & more prosperous… not Puzder’s… then the Puzder pick should make your short miserable life a little bit brighter.
  •  

  • And probably by the time you read this, Trump will have named Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson to be his Secretary of State. As Rachel Maddow pointed out last week, Tillerson has close ties to Russia, and as America’s chief diplomat, could easily choose to show favoritism towards nations either doing business with Exxon or are seeking to do business with Exxon. The State Department also brokers treaties and trade deals… all of which could prove to be highly lucrative for his company Exxon/Mobile.
  •  

  • And of course, we’ll always have the man himself, Trump, the mother of all “conflicts of interests”, whom last week announced he will still be an Executive Producer of his TV Show “Celebrity Apprentice” (which was canceled last year after his remarks about Mexicans, but was miraculously renewed with his election victory.) Trump does not think this is a “conflict of interests” because he thinks the term refers to “divided attention” (and no one dare correct the president-elect no matter how often he denies his business interests “aren’t a conflict of interests” because he can “do both at the same time.” Lord help us. The man is an idiot and our journalists won’t do their jobs.) Trump will still profit from his hotels as well. Every time a foreign dignitary chooses to stay in one of his hotels, they are greasing his sweaty orange palm in direct violation of The Emoluments Clause. The Embassy of Bahrain has made plans to host their “National Day” celebration at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. and the RNC themselves chose to host their Xmas party there as well. All that money goes right into his pocket. Trump says he intends to keep “a stake” in his empire. Good. That’ll make it that much easier to impeach his ass for accepting bribes two years from now.

Other Billionaires appointed to the Trump Administration: industrialist Wilbur Ross to head the Commerce Department, who has amassed a fortune of $2.5 Billion through decades at the helm of Rothschild’s bankruptcy practice and his own investment firm, and Todd Ricketts, son of a billionaire co-owner of the Chicago Cubs as his deputy. Betsy DeVos, Trump’s education secretary, is the daughter-in-law of Richard DeVos, co-founder of Amway, and transportation secretary Elaine Chao, wife of Mitch McConnell who previously worked as Bush’s Labor Secretary, is the daughter of a shipping magnate.

Do ANY of these people strike you as the altruistic type seeking only to serve their fellow man? How many of these Billionaires have established charities or actively served their communities? Editor of the National Review, Rich Lowry, said yesterday during ABC’s “ThisWeek” that all these Billionaire CEO’s “only want to see workers become more prosperous.” Really? Because all of these guys already employ tens of thousands. If all they want is “to see workers become more prosperous”, what’s stopping them? There’s no regulation prohibiting them from giving their employees a raise or increasing overtime pay. In fact, we know at least one of them (Puzder) is openly opposed to doing anything that profits his workers. He’d rather replace them with robots.

No, these people aren’t taking these jobs for “humanitarian” reasons or out of any sense of “public duty”. They are volunteering for these jobs because they seek to financially benefit Special Interests… which sometimes is the person staring back at them in the mirror.
 

Postscript: More news broke last week as the CIA confirmed that not only did Russia break into DNC servers during the Primaries, but they broke into RNC servers as well (but never released anything they found.) Reince Priebus on ABC’s “ThisWeek” yesterday conceded that Russia may have broken into DNC servers, but absolutely refused to admit they may have broken into RNC servers as well. I want you to think about that for a second. Is it so improbable that the RNC servers could have been hacked? Does he believe RNC servers are somehow less hackable than the DNC’s? If so, how would he know? Or perhaps they have been in communication with the Kremlin and have received assurances they wouldn’t be hacked? (Remember, Trump practically encouraged Russia to hack into either the DNC or Clinton’s private email server to dig up those “30,000 missing emails” during the campaign.) Or perhaps he knows the RNC servers WERE hacked because Russia admitted it to them, which would mean the RNC was aware Russia was hacking our election but said nothing about it. There is no “good” explanation for why Priebus would adamantly defend Russia and deny even the possibility of being hacked. Chuck Todd had to talk to Priebus like a child during “Meet the Press” yesterday as he futily tried to get the future Chief-of-Staff to understand how denying RNC servers were hacked didn’t negate the possibility of Russian meddling in our election. Exasperated, Todd was eventually forced to give up as they came upon a commercial break.

Trump himself attacked the CIA for suggesting Russia may have interfered with our election to help him win, saying “These are the same people who said Saddam had WMD’s.” (Well, no. Cheney stovepiped intel to Langley and changed Directors until they told him what he wanted to hear, but the one time they told the Bush Administration what they DIDN’T want to hear… “Bin Laden Determined to Attack in U.S.” on August 6th, 2001… they were dead on.)

Trump criticizes our own intelligence agencies while defending Russia… again. His likely Secretary of State pick was awarded the Russian “Medal of Friendship” by Putin himself, whom Trump bragged, “Has a very good working relationship with Russia” when defending Tillerson’s qualification to be Secretary of State, and most forget this his first campaign manager Paul Manifort was forced to resign because of his close financial ties to Russia.

Trump supporters don’t see how having the President-elect of the United States defending Russia… even over his own intelligence agencies… is a public relations coup for Russia.

Ronald Reagan is spinning in his grave like a top.
 


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!

RSS Please REGISTER to be notified by e-mail every time this Blog is updated! Firefox/IE users can use RSS for a browser link that lists the latest posts! RSS


 

Share
SIDEBAR
»
S
I
D
E
B
A
R
«
»  Substance:WordPress   »  Style:Ahren Ahimsa