“Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.” – Edmund Burke, Irish Statesman (1729-1797)
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over & over, and expecting a different result each time.” – Author Rita Mae Brown (1983) as quoted by the AA/NA sobriety guides
The airwaves were all atwitter (literally) last week over President Obama reiterating his “Sherman-esque” pledge of “no boots on the ground” in Iraq [or Syria] to fight ISIL despite Gen. Dempsy’s statement before Congress that he could conceivably recommend sending ground troops into Iraq should the situation change. Somehow, having a general possibly suggest a differing course of action to the president was a scandal among the Beltway Press, apparently a sign of rebellion between the CiC and his Generals. (I was quite surprised yesterday when
A year later when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, FDR only asked Congress to declare war on Japan, and wisely waited for Japan’s allies, Germany & Italy, to declare war on US before we agreed to enter the war in Europe.
Or do they? By 2003, the Bush Administration had already spent six months trying to convince the American people how grave the threat was from Saddam Hussein and how much safer the world would be with him gone. Look at the Middle East today. Feeling any safer? Removing Saddam left a massive power vacuum that the Extremists were only too happy to fill. It took years for Iraq to form a new government, and in the meantime, all hell broke lose. Thousands of American troops were killed… tens of thousands more permanently disabled. It seemed like once a month there was another story in the news of local fighters
Like FDR, President Obama has promised a “war-weary” nation that we will not get drawn into a ground fight with ISIL. But unlike FDR, Obama’s opposition WANTS another war. Like Lindsey Graham last week, these people (Rightwingers) are terrified, frightened little children that want a macho
So here is the situation: There’s a fighting force smaller than the military of Lithuania (roughly 30,000 troops), which WANTS American ground troops to fight to make them look important; “Moderate” Sunni rebel forces that promise…
And despite his reassurances, there is still a chance President Obama may listen to them.
On “Meet the Press” yesterday, Republican Senator Ron Johnson told Chuck Todd that “we need only look back at history” to learn from our mistakes. But for Johnson, “history” only goes back three years to 2011 and the withdrawal of troops from Iraq… not 2003 and the mistake of sending them in in the first place.
I still can’t believe anyone is listening to these people… the same people that are labeling President Obama (quite successfully I may add) a “failure”, citing security concerns and
What was it the president said… “Don’t do stupid stuff”?
|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!|
This past week was packed wall-to-wall with Neocons and former “Bushies” alike criticizing President Obama for the rise of ISIS/ISIL. Senator McCain is still blaming President Obama for “pulling all of our troops out of Iraq in 2011″ without leaving any residual forces behind… a claim that frustrates me to no end. The fact no one in the media ever challenges McCain on this point is bad enough, but even The White House doesn’t push back to correct the record. I’ve already pointed out in a prior column how it was President Bush, in one of his final acts as president, whom failed to convince the Iraqi’s to agree not to prosecute American soldiers for war crimes if we left troops there beyond their
Saddam was Sunni. ISIS is Sunni. And this little “news-nugget” almost eight years to the day, is a stark reminder of from whence ISIS came:
Sept 20, 2006 (1:52)
This was less than 6 weeks before the election, the results of which were BOTH houses of Congress flipping control from Republican to Democrat, and President Bush then firing Donald Rumsfeld… whom he had been insisting for months was “not going to be fired” because he had so much confidence in his ability as
2007 was the bloodiest year of the Iraq war averaging almost 100 American troop deaths per month before Gates came up with the brilliant idea of sending in more troops to quell the violence (violence that was a result of not sending in enough troops in the first place). This was Bush’s trademark “Surge”TM that supposedly “turned the tide in Iraq”. And though the new strategy reversed the trend of worsening violence against American troops, it did not end. An average of about
Uh, excuse me? Either the war was won or the resistance was growing. Which is it? It can’t be both (well, in “MissionAccomplished-Land”, where a war can simultaneously be “won” and “not over”, I suppose it can.)
Sunni militants… the product of Bush’s invasion of Iraq… became “alQaeda in Iraq”, which begot “ISIS”, which begot “ISIL” (or just the “I.S.” according to them.) They were never gone, the war in Iraq was never “won”, and the idea that “if only” we had just left a few thousand troops behind, Iraq would be at peace today and all of this might have might have been avoided, is ludicrous.
|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!|
Maybe for Republicans it did, but for the rest of us, we were just as concerned about terrorism on September 10th as we were on September 11th. Just because Republicans were
But you know when the world DID change? When
Does anyone (sane) believe ISIS would have risen to power and been able to overtake nearly half of Iraq if Saddam Hussein were still in power? And even if you believe they still might have, how much stronger would our military be today to confront them if it hadn’t been decimated by eight years of chaos in Iraq?
And now it looks like we’re about to invade Syria to go after ISIS. In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past year, that’s where the
Despite being made up of mostly young men (and a number of women as well), ISIS is extremely well organized, with a “command structure” and “supply lines” like a regular army. And that’s because the leadership of ISIS consists of a number of former Iraqi Army officers.
You see, despite Sunni’s being a minority in Iraq, Saddam Hussein was a Sunni, so he put Sunni’s in charge of everything, with an army made up mostly of Sunni men, and then ruled ruthlessly to suppress the Shia majority. When George Bush invaded Iraq and overthrew Saddam, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Bremmer disbanded the entire Iraqi Army… the closest thing they had left to a functioning
So, what’s an angry, unemployed, well-armed, well-trained former Iraqi soldier who can’t get a job because his country is in shambles and his government bans him from public service because of his religion… to do all day? First he joins the fight against the American soldiers occupying his country (ISIS began as “alQaeda in Iraq“), then when they leave, goes looking for “work” (as a soldier) where he thinks he’s needed most… supporting the Sunni rebels in neighboring Syria.
And of course, beside providing plenty of motivation, we supplied them with U.S. weapons & vehicles as well. How thoughtful of us!
And now they’re back in Iraq. Bigger & Badder than ever. All courtesy of the Bush/Cheney Administration and their invasion of Iraq. “The world” did not change on 9/11… Republicans did.
|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!|
Last June, The Rachel Maddow Show commented on the number of former Bush Administration figures that were suddenly being booked on the Sunday Political Talkshows to pontificate on the rise of ISIS, the Sunni-based terrorist organization:
Yesterday on ABC’s ThisWeek, Bill Kristol (who apparently ABC got in the trade when George Will went to Fox to finally let his Conservative freakflag fly) bemoaned the fact that “President Obama didn’t leave 10,000 troops [behind] in Iraq” when he pulled them out at the end of 2010. I pointed out last June that the decision to pull ALL U.S. troops out of Iraq was not only what the majority of the American people wanted at the time (and that hasn’t changed), but the decision was made by the Bush Administration months before Barack Obama was elected president. It was President Bush that tried to convince the Iraqi’s to allow a contingency of thousands of American troops to stay behind in Iraq “in perpetuity”, but only if Iraq agreed to give them immunity for any perceived “past crimes”
But that still hasn’t stopped Conservatives… particularly people like Kristol who certainly know better… from continuing to blame President Obama for the rise of ISIS in Iraq. “If only we had left 10,000 troops behind in Iraq” then… what? ISIS wouldn’t have taken over much of Syria & Northern Iraq two years later? No, all that would have been accomplished is the death of several hundred more American soldiers. We’re talking about an army of more than a few hundred religious fundamentalist psychopaths that shoot children in the head because they pray to the wrong invisible man in the sky.
But can we all just pause for a moment and agree on one thing: NONE OF THIS MESS WOULD BE HAPPENING RIGHT NOW IF WE HADN’T INVADED IRAQ IN THE FIRST PLACE!
Can we all just agree on this one simple fact? Saddam was a Sunni Muslim, and gave Sunni’s all the political power in Iraq despite them being roughly only 10% of the Iraqi population. When we invaded Iraq and deposed Saddam,
In 2002, I warned a Conservative friend of mine who was cheerleading for the invasion of Iraq that if we invaded Iraq, we would “unleash the gates of Hell”, either as friends of Saddam rushed to his defense, or as different groups fought over the scraps like wild dogs.
We are now seeing the latter.
The gruesome beheading of an American reporter last week kicked Conservative fear & paranoia (the hallmarks of Conservatism… which I plan to dedicate an entire Op/Ed to someday) into overdrive. “They’re coming for us next!” “They’re coming to America!” We must invade Iraq [again] to stop this threat [that was brought about by our first invasion eleven years ago.]
“Invading” Iraq started this mess. Re-invading Iraq now won’t make it better.
Terrified Conservative believe, “We won’t be safe until every small town in America looks like Ferguson, Missouri, with local police dressed in desert camo, carrying semi-automatic assault rifles and driving down Main Street in an
…Well, every BLACK town in America. We don’t want Furer Obama and his “jackbooted thugs” marching through OUR town, pointing guns at us and telling us what to do, norsiree Bob!
POSTSCRIPT: Also on ThisWeek yesterday, Bill Kristol happened to praise Texas Governor Rick Perry’s handling of his indictment, noting that Perry “has been out on the campaign trail” in Iowa “talking intelligently about foreign policy.” I’d just like to point out that Kristol is the former
Chief of Stafffor the dumbest VP in history, Dan Quayle. High praise indeed Bill.
I had been thinking it for years before I tweeted last January: “Reminder on importance of 2014 mid-terms: GOP impeached Clinton his final two years. #MtP”. And like swallows returning to Capistrano, the GOP seems to think that “impeachment” is a perfectly acceptable response to circumventing every Democratic presidency in its sixth year. They’ve been looking for an excuse since November 7th, 2012 (the day after Obama’s
Exactly eleven years ago yesterday (July 27, 2003), four months after the invasion of Iraq and still no “WMD’s” to be found, Florida Senator Bob Gramm went of
lying us into war was far worse. (July 27, 2003)
And now Republicans are openly talking of impeachment over something President Obama *might* do? You gotta be kidding me.
Of course, as noted above, this is just their latest excuse to try and derail Obama’s presidency and permanently blemish his otherwise impressive legacy. He got us out of Iraq, he’s getting us out of Afghanistan, is getting the economy back on track (the 1.4 million new jobs created in the first six months of this year is the most since late 1999)… five of those months surpassing the 200,000 jobs mark… the DOW hit a new record high four or five times already this month, and it’s driving the GOP nuts!
Noted bow-tie enthusiast George Will showed an uncharacteristic (albeit brief) flash of sanity on Fox “news” Sunday yesterday, commenting on the immigration “crisis”:
“This country has seen and absorbed far more immigrants coming into our country than we are seeing today.” – George F. Will on Fox “news” Sunday yesterday
Whether it’s “Ben-GAH-zeee!” (Obama’s inability to foresee the deaths of four people on 9/11… 2012), extending the “ObamaCare” deadline for small businesses (which Republicans actually wanted), his use of “Executive Orders” to actually get something done (in this case, to force Federal Contractors to pay a higher minimum wage and prevent them from employment discrimination based on sexual orientation) when our (literally)
When polls showed the American public has no appetite for seeing yet another wildly partisan Republican Congress attempting to impeach yet another Democratic president, Speaker Boehner quickly shifted gears to suggest merely suing President Obama rather than impeaching him. “Sue him? For what?”, I hear you ask. Well, they haven’t quite worked that little detail out just yet. But consider this: If the president did something that he could be sued for in a Criminal court, then he must have broken the law… which is (by definition) an impeachable offense. So are they telling us President Obama committed a CRIME he can be SUED for, but it’s not anything for him to be impeached over.
Over the weekend, more violence erupted in Libya, forcing the Obama Administration to order the evacuation of our embassy in Tripoli. On FnS, the famed “Power Panel” discussed whether or not it was a mistake for President Obama to have “taken out Qadaffi.”
I kid you not. Hand-to-God. Really???
One has to wonder just how detached from reality these people must be to openly wonder if removing the brutal & violent dictator of a relatively peaceful Middle-Eastern nation was a good idea in light of the resulting violence, and not worry about being seen as raging hypocrites.
Of course, the big difference between 9/11/2012 and 9/11/2001, or the ousting of Saddam vs the ousting of Qadaffi is that the later “impeachable offenses” were both committed by a Democrat… which in itself is an impeachable offense in
“It was a natural reaction to the killing of a million of my people, the orphaning of 5 million children, the widowing of one million women, resulting in
I’m trying to imagine what the Right’s reaction would have been if President Obama had agreed to keep American forces in Iraq on the condition they could be prosecuted by a foreign government.
My TV survived another Sunday despite having to sit through this little exchange on Fox “news” Sunday yesterday. Michel Needham, the CEO of the Heritage Foundation’s “Heritage Action for America” super-PAC, lobbed this asinine accusation against President Obama (try not to toss your computer out the window):
“Six years ago, he [Obama] makes the decision to pull out of Iraq, leave no residual forces… the forces that could have been there identifying the intelligence and targeting the assets that would have prevented this [ISIS] from happening.”
(I especially like the end-part, where Needham agrees that he probably wouldn’t do anything different than President Obama, except to criticize the president’s lack of clairvoyance for not sending agents into Iraq “six months ago” to gather “intel”. Why on Earth would anyone have thought it necessary to gather intel on Iraq in late 2013? I did a Google search and I was unable to find ANY calls… not from Mr. Needham, the Heritage Foundation, nor anyone else on the right, demanding President Obama send agents into Iraq to gather “intel”. We WERE gathering intel in Syria six months ago, and ISIS was there. Lot of good that did.)
Oh Mr. Needham, where to begin. Well, first, I’m not going to nitpick that “six years ago”, Obama wasn’t president. “5+ years”, “six years”. Whatever. But something DID take place
As recently as last September, John McCain was still bemoaning the fact that President Obama was still refusing to arm the Syrian rebels fighting President Assad, saying his “friends in the
Last week also saw former Vice President Cheney rise from the crypt in his “undisclosed location” to attack President Obama… saying without a hint of irony… that “never has a president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many.” I can’t imagine the bubble this man has been living in over the past 13 years, but whatever he’s smoking in that bubble can’t be legal.
Mr. Vice President?I hate to wake you but, uh, that August 5th PDB warning that bin Laden was preparing an attack against the United States, well, it looks like it wasn’t ‘historical’ information after all and now 4,000 Americans are dead.”
Mr. Vice President?I hate to wake you but, uh, the Iraqi people did not greet us as ‘liberators’. Instead, they see us as ‘occupiers’ and have taken up arms against us.”
Mr. Vice President?I hate to wake you but, uh, those Weapons of Mass Destruction you assured everyone were there in Iraq? Well, they’re not, and before this war is over, another 4,500 American troops will be dead and 22,000 will be permanently disabled.”
Mr. Vice President?I hate to wake you but, uh, that massive Hurricane Katrina bearing down on New Orleans, well FEMA wasn’t sent down in time to evacuate everyone and now 1,500 people are dead.”
Mr. Vice President?I hate to wake you but, uh, it appears Wall Street was not capable of regulating itself and has resulted in a global economic catastrophe that will cost tax-payers three-quartersof a Trillion dollars to bail out the banks.”
Mr. Vice President?I hate to wake you but, uh, the Iraq War is taking longer than you promised and is it not only not going to pay for itself, but will cost tax-payersanother TWO TRILLION DOLLARSbefore it’s through.
Mr. Vice President?I hate to wake you but, uh, the invasion of Iraq didn’t result in $20/barrel oil. Instead, it hit $147/barrel and the price of gas… once $1.60/gallon, is now over $4, driving incredible inflation and economic hardship for millions.
Let’s read what Mr Cheney said again: “never has a president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many.”
As I like to point out, the objective of this site is to “Record history for those who seek to rewrite it”, and I could have spent literally WEEKS taring down all the asinine comments made by former Bush Administration officials and
And now, it’s this accusation that it is President Obama’s fault that the terrorist organization ISIS is taking over the region because HE refused to leave any American troops behind in Iraq after he pulled them all out in 2011. Sorry guys, we know better.
Oh, and before we go, a bonus clip from the same Fox “news” Sunday yesterday. Cleta Mitchell, attorney for “Tea Party groups” (gee, I wonder who hired her?) openly accused the Obama Administration of being behind the Cincinnati IRS “scandal”. When asked for the “hard evidence” she insisted she had, all she has was innuendo (this is what passes for “news” on Fox):
By now, you’ve already heard the “catastrophic”, “world-is-coming-to-an-end” news that a terrorist group “too extreme for alQaeda” (“too extreme” for a group that
If you clicked on the comic above to read it full sized, you’ll notice it’s from 2007… just four years after the start of the war in Iraq and before Bush left office. It’s an excellent reminder of all the warnings the opponents of invading Iraq gave. If ANYBODY should be saying “WE TOLD YA SO!”, it’s US. A few famous quotes from that comic:
“I will bet you the best dinner in the Gas Light District of San Diego that military action will not last more than a week.” – Bill O’Reilly on 1/29/03
“There is a certain amount of pop-psychology in America that the Shia can’t get along with the Sunni, and the Sunni can’t get along with the Shia… there’s almost no evidence of that at all.” – Bill Kristol, 4/1/03
“It’s amazing that more than two weeks into the liberation of Iraq, the anti-war crowd is still spinning a doomsday scenario.” – Brendan Miniter of OpinionJournal.com, 4/8/03
“The war was the hard part… and it gets easier. I mean, setting up a democracy is hard, but not as hard as winning a war.” – Fred Barns, 4/10/03
I nearly threw a brick through my TV yesterday as “Meet the Press” had on… of all people… PAUL F-ing WOLFOWITZ… often called “The Architect of the Iraq War”… to comment on the current situation in Iraq. The only reason this is even happening today is because of his
The organization that has all these pundits wetting their pants is “ISIS: Islamic State of Iraq and ash Sham” (not Iraq and Syria), formed in April of last year. Are they
ISIS is fighting to restore the Sunni minority back to power (Saddam was Sunni, and the Sunni controlled “Iraq” for centuries) after being marginalized by the al-Maliki government, which is Shia. President Obama openly chastised the Maliki government for excluding Sunni’s from his government. ISIS HATES the corrupt Miliki government. In Syria, Assad’s government in “Alawite”… a Shia sect. Iran is also Shia. ISIS hates them all and wants them all gone. Tell me again why were on the side or Assad, Maliki and Iran? Oh yeah, because they are “a threat to the United States”… or are they?
I went searching online for reports of terrorist attacks committed by ISIS (originally “ISI: The Islamic State of Iraq”). We’ve all heard/seen the coverage of the brutal attacks in Iraq, and have led the Civil War against Assad in Syria (including the brutal murder of seven children). But they have also launched attacks in Lebanon, and are threatening Israel from Gaza. To date, ALL of their terrorist activities have been “local” to that region of the world.
I don’t agree with Ron Paul on very much, but when he was lambasted during one of the 2008 RNC Debates for pointing out the obvious… that al Qaeda only attacked us because we had been meddling in the Middle East for decades… he was spot on. And if you want to see history repeat itself with ISIS, use American force to prop up the corrupt Maliki government and crush the Sunni opposition. As I tweeted yesterday:
#ISIS is only a threat to the U.S. if we involve ourselves in their civil war, propping up the corrupt Maliki gov’t.
The worst thing we can do now is get re-involved back in Iraq. Don’t give extremists another reason to hate us. Religious Extremists will always be there in that part of the world. It took a brutal Strong Man in Saddam Hussein to repress it for decades, and we took him out.
During the Eisenhower Administration, America overthrew the leadership in Iran and propped up a corrupt, brutal military dictator, The Sha. Iran went extremist, the Islamic Fundamentalists overthrew him, turned the nation into a theocracy, and became an enemy of the U.S.. Let’s not repeat that mistake in Iraq.
The current leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, spent
four years in American custody (UPDATE: a PolitiFact investigation finds Baghdadi spent ONE year in custody, not “four”, captured and released in 2004) at Camp Bucca, so he already has sufficient reason to hate the U.S.. Let’s not give him one more.
POSTSCRIPT: Blast-from-the-past. in 2007, then Senator Joe Biden partnered up with then Senator Sam Brownback to propose that the route to
Yesterday (June 1st), President Obama agreed to release five Taliban fighters in exchange for one American soldier, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who had been held prisoner for over five years. The tiny nation of Qatar was used as an intermediary to avoid direct contact/negotiations between Washington and The Taliban. Qatar also agreed to hold the five men
A few thoughts immediately crossed my mind:
- The decision to hold the released detainees in Qatar “for one year” isn’t some random number. That’s well after U.S. forces are scheduled to depart from Afghanistan. So if they “return to the battlefield”, WE WON’T BE THERE… well, not very many of us anyway. There are currently just under 33,000 American troops in Afghanistan, and after the end of this year, that number falls to 9,800 for one year and reduced dramatically every year after that. So if they’re planning on killing Americans on the “battlefield” (note to GOP, the entire country is a battlefield), it’s going to be slim pickin’s.
- Bergdahi was held for FIVE YEARS before a deal was struck for his release… and only then because of our impending departure. Capturing American soldiers in hopes of using them as collateral is not unlike thinking you can get rich recycling aluminum cans. A lot of time and effort for very little payoff.
- “Return to the battlefield”? Has anyone bothered to check the ages or condition of these men to see if they are even CAPABLE of “Returning to the battlefield”? Most have been held for almost a decade and they weren’t “kids” back then. Photos released of three of the Detainees arriving in Qatar yesterday/Sunday show these are no “young soldiers” ready to rush out and join the fighting. Most appear to be
in-or-around50 years of age. It is highly doubtful any of these men will be rushing out to rejoin the fighting… not now and especially not 12 months from now when they leave Qatar.
America has a looooong history of “prisoner exchanges”… dating back to before there even was
Quick note: Yesterday, June 1st, was the official start of hurricane season, and NOAA, the National Weather Service, released their estimate on the number of storms we can expect to see this season. So this may be a good time to go back and re-read my post from five years ago: “Global Warming will mean FEWER mid-Summer hurricanes, not more”. To date, it’s been
Ukraine exploded in violence last week. At the same time, a chemical gas attack against rebels may or may not have been committed by Syria (we must consider the possibility that some psychotic and/or desperate rebel faction/individual released a homemade chemical weapon against their own people in order to draw the U.S. into the Syrian conflict (now in its third year.) Conservatives like John McCain almost seemed to take pleasure in shuttling between political morning shows to basically call President Obama “spineless” for failing to involve the United States in a THIRD war for not acting after “his own red line” on Syria’s use of chemical weapons. And now that it has happened again, the drumbeat for war in Syria is bound to rise again on the Right. Russia is a major ally of Syria, and that backing is probably the only thing that has kept the United States out of Syria so far.
Meanwhile, violent protests broke out once again last week as “pro-Russian militants” stormed a Ukrainian police station in Slovyansk (in Eastern Ukraine). The
When Hitler (no, I’m not about to compare Putin to Hitler so I’m not violating Godwin’s Law) invaded Poland in 1939, it was because he was headed for Russia (map). So when the U.S. finally entered
Start of the Cold War?
Then came the “Red Scare” of the 1950’s. The Soviet Union backed the North Korean invasion of South Korea, and the U.S. sent troops into South Korea in what was essentially a “proxy war” where America used Korea as an excuse to go to “war” (technically called a “police-action”) with Russia. It was long (back when
In 1962, Russia attempted to place nuclear missiles in the newly Communist nation of Cuba. The 13 day stand-off between President’s Kennedy & Kruschev were consider the closest we ever came to an actual direct war (possibly even a nuclear one) between the two countries. By this time, Russia’s military involvement in Korea had already spread South to Vietnam, but, after Korea (and Japan during WWII), Americans were not eager to get involved in yet another war in the Pacific. But when Kennedy was assassinated 13 months later, LBJ was quick to believe Russia was behind it, and soon America was sending troops into Vietnam in yet another
Ronald Reagan, a staunch anti-Communist holdover from the 1950’s who believed Joe McCarthy was right, used the power of the presidency some 30 years later to finish what Joe began, launching a series of
Following Russia’s annexation of Crimea last month, and now the threat of annexing Eastern Ukraine before its government can join the European Union, America has become increasingly worried about President Putin’s reckless behavior. Russia is also allies with Syria and has been the leading obstical in the use of military force to stop
Late last year, Republicans (always looking for another excuse to criticize President Obama as well as start another war) were quick to mischaracterize President Obama’s “red line on Syria” speech to suggest that ANY use of chemical weapons in Iraq would be grounds for war. Two problems: 1) He said if we see “a whole lot” of chemical weapons being used in Syria (we didn’t. It was one small attack that killed a few dozen, raising serious doubts about whether it was actually committed by Syria. Risking a U.S. invasion simply to kill 20 people?) and 2) never any confirmation it was actually the Syrian government acting on the orders of Assad. Chicken Hawks are very quick to send the nation to war… so long as it’s someone else that’s doing the
But now this second use of chemical weapons might be harder to ignore. Add to that the lingering question of whether Syria will meet its agreed upon deadline to destroy it’s chemical stockpiles, and suddenly, military action in Syria starts to look
PS: What about The Space Station? The current crew consists of three Russians, two Americans and one Japanese astronaut. While the U.S. has suspended contact with the Russian government, the ISS is “exempt”. Russia has also been providing (small “s”) shuttle service to ferry crew
As I predicted last Monday, this was a bad week. Mom passed away Friday morning as I sat at her hospital bedside, holding her hand for 61 minutes after they switched off the ventilator and I slowly watched my mother’s heart rate fall to zero. It was agonizing, and a trauma I hope none of my readers ever have to endure. I couldn’t sue for malpractice while Mom was alive, but we sure as hell can file for “wrongful death” now that she’s gone. (UPDATE: Nope, can’t do that either. Texas put the same bleeping $250K cap on “wrongful death” suits as well, ensuring no lawyer will touch the case. Bastards.)
But I’m not here to reopen that wound and cause myself more pain. Another busy week ahead with the funeral, collecting evidence and calling lawyers, so this will have to be brief (pardon the dearth of links.)
On yesterday’s Fox “news” Sunday, former CIA/NSA director Gen. Michael Hayden was on to discuss (what else?) Benghazi and the second Ft. Hood shooting. The Benghazi (non)story is already on life-support, but Hayden brought Fox a step closer to pulling the plug. Quite honestly, I’m not quite sure why they keep inviting him on. Sure, in private, when he goes on the record only as “an anonymous source”, Hayden is a snarky bitter partisan, but when he makes statements in public, he’s frequently quick to defend the White House, be it Bush’s or Obama’s. Pretty soon they are going to stop having him on if he keeps defending Obama’s White House this way.
I’ve cobbled together a few highlights from yesterday’s lengthy interview. Wallace goes into the commercial break with the following teaser (and flat-out lie):
“Turns out it was the CIA that changed the Benghazi Talking Points to avoid embarrassing Hillary Clinton’s State Department.”
We return from the break and Wallace asks Hayden why Morell “ignored” the CIA’s own “Station Chief in Libya” who “repeatedly told him in the days after Benghazi that this was a terrorist attack”, choosing instead to take the word of CIA analysts back at Langley.
“How unusual is that to disregard the word of your own man in the field?“
“Disregard” the word of your own “man in the field”? Clearly, the suggestion here is that the guy who was actually IN Libya would know better about what happened in Benghazi than some
“Look, you give a lot of weight to your man-in-the-field, but keep in mind, our man-in-the-field was more than 500 miles away from the incident [in Tripoli].”
Not exactly an eye-witness. Hayden went on to point out that Morell also went so far as to inform the White House that there was a “dissenting opinion” as to what happened so they wouldn’t “put all their eggs in one basket.” Wallace quickly moves on (emphasis Wallace’s):
“Morell said that he went around his boss David Petraeus and took out [from the CIA's report] the fact that the CIA had repeatedly warned the State Department about the threat level in Benghazi”, followed by Wallace playing the clip of Morell testifying that he felt the claim was only there to allow the CIA to “pound its chest” and “lay all the blame on the State Department”.
Hayden again unspins Fox’s attempt to turn this into something sinister by pointing out that the CIA putting that line in about “repeatedly warning the State Department” was inappropriate, and removing it was an attempt to NOT politicize the issue rather than provide State with political cover.
The entire interview was sad all around and I may try to post it online in the near future when I have more time.
Then there was the (second) shooting (in 5 years) at Fort Hood. Right Wing Congressman Mike McCall went on Meet the Press to suggest that maybe restricting firearms on the military base was a bad idea and that maybe allowing everyone to go around packing heat would make the place much safer. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed as Former Joint Chief Admiral Mike Mullen came on later to disagree with McCall, noting that NOT having everyone going around armed has likely resulted in FEWER such incidents. Lord only knows how much worse it could get if every soldier with PTSD was allowed to carry a loaded semi-automatic firearm with them every where they went on one of the largest military bases in the country. And it’s not like they can’t GET guns quickly at Ft. Hood. One Right Wing argument for armed guards in schools is that no one had access to a gun to stop any rampage. Well at Fort Hood, they DID have guns. Heck, they were armed to the teeth, and this still happened… not once, but twice.
Later on in the evening, NBC hosted a special presentation on Global Warming and whether a tipping point had been reached. It was fairly good as one hour summaries of complex issues go, even taking time to explain how we can have “Global Warming” and the record-breaking freezing cold we’ve been having at the same time. But you really can’t do a topic as complex as Climate Change in just one hour, and while they mentioned the skeptics, I think not including
In truth, the GOP DESPISES the subject of Global Warming primarily because they associate it with Al Gore. So basically, this one tiny group of anti-science mental midgets that have chosen to interpret The Bible in such an extreme and narrow fashion that not even the Vatican agrees with them, is willing to risk global catastrophe rather than admit that maybe Al Gore was right. Really. That is all it boils down to.
And if Gore had been President on September 11th, do you think for a moment that they would have rallied around him the way Democrats embraced George Bush after 9/11? Hell no. They would have begun impeachment proceedings on 9/12. Don’t believe me? Just look at their outrage over four dead in Benghazi. Now multiply that by 1,000.
These people are twisted. They’re dangerous, and they’re endangering lives. My mother was just their latest victim.
As promised, here are seven posters/signs that I created for the Keystone XL Protest that I plan to attend this weekend.
As I mentioned on Monday, I believe it is FAR more effective to focus on NON-CO2 related reasons for opposing the pipeline when your goal is to convince people that don’t believe in “Global Warming” and have been
Previews are in JPG format. Each poster in both “tall” and “wide” formats for signs or posters. Click images to download in high resolution PhotoShop format:
If you find these posters useful, let us know. – Mugsy
My predictions for 2013 were a bit rushed. I cranked them out at the last minute as I spent my days preoccupied trying to save the life of my beloved cat “Lefty”. One year later, my days are now preoccupied trying to save the life of my mother. And in both instances, gross medical negligence is to blame. The frustration I feel is profound as I watch helplessly as another loved-one fights for life following the harm done to them by incompetent doctors, with no legal recourse because of the state I live in (Texas). So please bear that in mind if my predictions for 2014 seem a bit bleak.
We begin by looking back at how well the “Professionals” did at making predictions for 2013. I may not get 100% of my predictions right… or even 75%…, but compared to some of the
First off, can I just say that if you publish your “Predictions” AFTER December 31st, you’re not “predicting”, you’re reporting the news.
With that said, here is what some famous “psychics” predicted we’d see in 2013:
Maybe it’s a bit unfair, but I love picking on self-proclaimed “psychics” because their accuracy is always dismal. But they make so many predictions, that when one or two pan out, the media responds as if that person has “second sight” and deserving of being taken very seriously.
Famed “psychic” Sylvia Browne passed away in November. It almost seems crewel to “fact check” Miss Browne posthumously, but when you’re as big a name in the “predicting” biz as she was, maybe keeping her on the list is a sign of respect for her particular brand of hucksterism. In 2012, Ms. Browne predicted President Obama would NOT be reelected; in a 2006 appearance on “The Montel Williams Show”, she told the mother of one of the three girls that had been held captive by that nut in Ohio for over a decade only to escape earlier this year, that her daughter was dead and would be waiting for her on the other side (the mother died the next year), and on that same show, Browne told a widow whose husbands’ body “was never found” that he was “in water”, presumably lost at sea. It turns out the woman was the widow of a 9/11 fireman.
As I noted, Ms. Browne passed away in November. Apparently, she never saw it coming because she booked no less than 14 public appearances from December of 2013 to April of 2014. If you want to read her final list of predictions for 2013, you must purchase an ANNUAL membership to her “inner circle” for a minimum buy in of $49.95 or an EIGHTEEN MONTH membership for $79.95 (which, if you do the math, is slightly more expensive than just buying
It’s funny how many people bestow upon themselves the title “Psychic to the Stars”. I suppose if two “stars” just happen to meet the same psychic backstage at a taping of
- A subway explosion in New York City.
- A nuclear attack on “New York” (city or state? Doesn’t matter. Didn’t happen.)
- Another Super Storm like Sandy hitting the USA, Canada and Europe – Damn! If only she had included South-East Asia. The ONE place she didn’t include gets hit! What are the odds?
- A huge earthquake in the Caribbean – Damn again! Wrong ocean. That “Super Storm” that rocked the Philippines came one week after it was rocked by a 7.1 magnitude earthquake. Ms. Nikki has the worst luck.
- Man-eating plants – I don’t think even “Little Shop of Horrors” made an appearance in 2013.
- Civil War will break out in the USA (a teabaggers wishful thinking?)
- Problems escalating in the Middle East – Typically a “fish-barrel meets shotgun” prediction (especially with Syria having already been in a Civil War for more than a year), but 2013 was notable for its movements towards PEACE with the Iran talks and Syria voluntarily giving up it’s chemical weapons. Even the easy ones didn’t pan out, dabnabit!
- A space tragedy (does the movie “Gravity” count?)
- A tornado destroys most of Kansas City. – Would that be Kansas City, *Kansas* or Kansas City, *Missouri?* Either way, didn’t happen.
- A possible landing of a spaceship – I think I’ve seen this movie.
- More bird and animals attacks worldwide. – Did I mention that I think I’ve seen this movie?
- Giant prehistoric sea monsters under the sea. – Damn! What was the name of that movie?
- A worldwide power blackout.
- Terrorist attack in London, England.
“Nikki’s” list of predictions for 2013 reads like a script for the next Hollywood blockbuster disaster movie. Of the 115 World Events she predicts, EIGHTY (by my count) fall into the “
Of course, when you make well over 100 predictions, random chance almost ensures a few hits (“even a blind squirrel finds a nut now & then”):
- More cyber attacks. – There were four notable instances of computer crime this year: Britain’s NatWest Bank was the victim of a distributed denial of service (“DDoS”) attack that inconvenienced thousands of customers for a few days, the Bank of China was hacked by (reportedly) some frustrated “BitCoin” users, North Korea is believed to be behind a cyber attack on South Korean TV stations and two banks, and, of course, more significantly, the recent hack of some 40 million “Target” store customer’s credit cards here in the U.S.. Personally, I suspect that if asked for more detail, Ms. Nikki was expecting an attack more along the lines of a “terrorist” nature, not kids hacking credit cards.
- A major automobile company will go bankrupt. – You know what, I’m feeling generous and will give “Detroit Declares Bankruptcy” to Ms. Nikki. The auto-companies themselves might have declared “record PROFITS” this past year (their best since 2007), but the city synonymous with the auto-industry did in fact (thanks to a Republican appointed viceroy who dismantled the local government, disenfranchised nearly a million people and is now liquidating the city’s treasures) “declare bankruptcy”. Probably not what she was predicting, but there you are.
- Great floods in the US and in Europe – Yes, massive floods did indeed hit Colorado and Central Europe this year.
3-for-115 (she actually made many more predictions than that if you count “celebrity” predictions), for an accuracy rate of 2.6%… and that was after being a bit generous. It’s up to you to decide whether “Ms. Nikki” is psychic or just guessing.
The Psychic Twins
A sister duo dubbed “The Psychic Twins” are laying claim to a number of accurate predictions in 2013, including the “Lone Wolf” shootings in DC’s “Navy Yard” a knife attack by a mentally disturbed student at a Houston Community College (that I just happened to attend some 20 years ago) that ran around stabbing other students with
They also predicted strict new gun laws passed in Connecticut just days after the Sandy Hook massacre. They MUST be psychic!
“The Psychic Twins” appear to only make their predictions on video, and I have neither the time nor the inclination to spend hours verifying their accuracy, though I have little doubt it would be another case of “throw everything at the wall and see what sticks”. This short
Last year I singled out another “celebrity psychic, Blair Robertson” for his poor performance in predicting what 2012 held in store for everyone. Mr. Robertson did a little better this year, (arguably) over his one correct prediction for 2012, correctly predicting this year that “a boxer would die in the ring” but falling short everywhere else. Robertson improved his score this year by a half-point for “predicting” Rhianna and Chris Brown would “tie the knot”. The couple played the Media like a fiddle, with photos of “a ring” and even rumors of a “secret wedding”, but no, the most famous dysfunctional couple in
It’s a bit more difficult this year to find Republicans opining about 2013 after they all had just finished predicting a Mitt Romney landslide, “easily” winning the election as Americans were “fed up” with President Obama, “Obamacare”, “taxes” and “Benghazi”. That bubble they built up had some might thick glass.
So naturally, when Republicans carried out their threats of being even more obstructionist in 2013, the Right crowed… crowed I tell ya… how “Mitt Romney was right!” when he “predicted” a government Shutdown in 2013. It’s a bit like predicting your “homies” are going to “trash this place” if they don’t get their way, and then being lauded for your insight when they carry out your threats.
Mitt Romney also “predicted” (according to them) Detroit going bankrupt when he in fact only argued for it as being preferable to a bailout. As noted above, the only reason Detroit declared bankruptcy is because a Viceroy appointed by the state’s Republican governor made it so.
In 2010, Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn predicted that because of “Obamacare”: “There will be no insurance industry left in three years”. I have little doubt that Senator Coburn wishes millions of people had lost their insurance and the industry imploded, but darned the luck, they still exists and are expected to reap record profits next year.
Bloomberg Right-Wing News Columnist and “AEI Fellow” Ramesh Ponnuru made a number of negative predictions about President Obama and his policies. He actually didn’t do too bad until you consider how many Republican “predictions” were actually self-fulfilling prophecies. Ponnuru “predicted” the Healthcare Exchanges “would not open for business on October 1st” when Secretary Sebelius “admits the federal government won’t be ready by then.” The government was ready, the private contractors that built the glitchy website were not. They did indeed open on October 1st, but weren’t ready and had to be closed soon after for about a week. As a result, Ponnuru predicted support for Obamacare would continue to decline. If you do a Google News search for “poll support for Obamacare”, you’ll see lots of links to sites all claiming this to be true… ALL of them… each and every one… a Right Wing blog or media outlet (from the NRO to Glenn Beck). Interesting, because all the major networks are reporting how the number of people signing up for insurance through the Exchange “surged to over 1.1 Million” in December in a trend that is expected to continue.
Ponnuru also predicted the courts would continue to rebuke the Obama Administration on the rights of Catholic owned businesses to deny their employees contraception if they view it morally objectionable. The most notable of these cases, the “Hobby Lobby” case, is still waiting in the Supreme Court (see my own prediction on that below.) He also predicted The Supreme Court would find a way to weasel out of ruling on Same Sex Marriage. They didn’t, with repercussions that have led to legalization into
He predicted “a new monetary regime” between the U.S. and the U.K. that insulates both nations from the problems of Europe. No idea what he means by “a new monetary regime” even after reading his piece on the subject. Whatever it is, it never happened and Europe’s economy is starting to show signs of recovery.
More wishful thinking? “Paul Ryan,” feeling he can’t work within the GOP, “will resign” in order to “focus on running for president”? No date cited and hardly makes sense as a 2013 prediction, but maybe Ponnuru is looking to late 2014?
How I Did.
Now is the time I look back at my own predictions last year to see how I did. All year long, I thought about the predictions I made for 2013, and as I do every year, I am certain I did “incredibly poorly” that year only to look back at years end and find I didn’t do quite as bad as I thought.
- Correct: My first prediction regarding the “fiscal cliff”, and whether the GOP was irrational enough to go over it, had to be split into three scenarios: a) the GOP agrees to President Obama’s demand that taxes go up on people making over $250K per year, but only because they intend to hold the Debt Ceiling hostage again, b) a deal is reached only after Democrats concede to raise the starting point at which taxes go up to $500K, or c) the Bush Tax Cuts expire because no deal can be reached allowing Democrats to pass the “Obama tax cut”. It all depended upon how the GOP reacted. Knowing Scenario “c)” would be the worst possible outcome for them, the GOP agreed to a hybrid of “scenario A” and “scenario B” (pre-planning to hold the Debt Ceiling hostage while agreeing to a deal where the tax increase begins at $450K instead of $250K.)
- A Push: #2 was conditional on the GOP being suicidal enough to go over the cliff and refuse to raise the Debt Ceiling, forcing President Obama to invoke the 14th Amendment. They didn’t, so he didn’t have to. No way to know if he would have (though he said he wouldn’t.) I’m certain when faced with certain global economic catastrophe, he would have. And I think the GOP knew it too, the consequences of which would have been to render them irrelevant the next time a Debt Ceiling fight rolled around. So they had no choice but to cave.
- Wrong: Harry Reid would make good on his threat to “reform the filibuster” at the start of the session. While a “Psychic to the Stars” might take credit for the eventual decision of Reid to “go nuclear” last November, I’m no hypocrite. I was hamstrung when I made my prediction late on December 31st by the fact it might be proved false in less than 24 hours. Considering the
record-settingobstructionist year we had just had, and Reid’s own admission that he was “wrong” for not reforming the filibuster the way Democrats pleaded with him to do at the start of the 2011 session. it was almost unimaginable that he would make the same mistake twice. And while he dragged his feet and messaged Senate rules to extend his time to make a decision till the end of the month, Reid did eventually cave to Republican threats, agreeing only to minor, essentially irrelevant changes… something he quickly came to regret as the GOP shutdown the government months later. The reform he finally agreed to last November likewise was only a narrow rules change affecting only the President’s judicial & Cabinetappointments.
- Correct: Despite promises of “Election Reform” following the mass disenfranchisement of
Poor & Middle Classvoters seen during Early Voting and on Election Day 2012, not a damn thing was done about it. On to 2014!
- Correct: The Unemployment rate, which I predicted would be “very close to 6.9% by the end of the year (give or take 3/10ths of a point).” After November, the BLS reported the Unemployment Rate had fallen to 7.0%,
a 5-year lowand more than a full point below where it was the year before.
- Wrong: Sadly, concern over spending did not spark public pressure to exit Afghanistan by years end.
- Wrong (and happy about it): While they did remain fairly stable, my prediction that gas prices would still be close to $3.50/gal a year later turned out to be too high, with the national average presently at just under $3.30/gal. I can’t in good faith count that as “correct”. Maybe a difference of ten cents a gallon, but not twenty. And I didn’t foresee things like “nuclear talks with Iran” to bring down oil prices to a three year low.
- Correct: – No U.S. or Israeli strike on Iran. Funny to think how long this nonsense has been going on. And the fact no provocative moves have been made by Iran in all that time only goes to show how reality rarely lives up to the most wild militarist fantasies of Neoconservatives. Much to their chagrin, not only did Iran not do anything threatening, they even reluctantly have opened discussions of disarmament. Astounding.
- Wrong: Ah, Syria! It’s depressing to think that Civil War is now in it’s THIRD year. I was stung after my first prediction of the fall of Assad in 2011. A bit more cautious last year, I predicted Assad to fall into irrelevancy as the rest of the world just stopped recognizing him as the legitimate leader of Syria. They didn’t; he didn’t; so for 2014 , I won’t.
- Wrong (another “and happy about it”): I predicted the DOW would be around 14,500 points by years end, predicting an impressive rise of more than 1500 points in just one year. Instead, we saw an astonishing rise of nearly 3,500 points in just one year to a new record of just under 16,500 points. If President Obama is a “Socialist”, he’s
- Correct: As America’s economy recovers, so does Europe’s and the rest of the worlds.
- Correct (sadly): My exact words were: “Immigration reform? Don’t bet your Aunt Fanny on it.” Republicans said they wanted it. President Obama said he wanted it. So it was inevitable that nothing would get done.
- Wrong (sadly): Just days after Sandy Hook and the massacre of twenty 6/7-yearolds and six teachers, I couldn’t imagine even Republicans turning this into a partisan fight, caving to their
gun-nutbase and doing absolutely nothing to keep weapons of warout of the hands of children, the mentally unstable and known criminals. Lesson learned: Never under-estimatethe depths of GOP cowardice or the ignorance of their base.
Final score: 6 out of 12 (#2 was inconclusive) for 50-percent. Not too shabby for a list I was certain all year long would be one big goose egg. Take that you “Psychics to the Stars” with your “2.6%” accuracy rating!
So now my Predictions for 2014:
- Failing to extend Unemployment benefits at the end of 2013 will mean great hardship that extends beyond Party Lines. Just as Republicans mistakenly believed that voters would side with them for “taking a principled stand” on the Government Shutdown even after it started to affect them personally, they undoubtedly believe the same is true here. As far as the GOP is concerned, only poor Minimum Wage slackers are home waiting for their Unemployment Checks to roll in while they sit on their lazy duffs. But their refusal to continue the extension of those benefits past the end of 2013 will come back to bite them in the butt, not realizing just how many
“Poor & Middle-Class”workers make up their Redneck base. As a result, expect the GOP to agree to a “compromise extension” of Unemployment benefits. There will be an insistence that it be “paid for”, but then there will be a huge fight on just what to cut. There will be an extension, just not the “90+ week” maximum some are seeing now. Probably something closer to “52 weeks”, double the standard length, with some “creative accounting” paying for it.
- Where will the DOW be by the end of 2014? I sure as heck didn’t foresee the meteoric rise of 3,500 points in 2013. Another rise like that would have us knocking on the amazing “20,000 point” mark, and that’s going to make a lot of investors nervous about “over exuberant” investors buying stocks just to set a record. I expect the DOW to close just over the “19,200” mark come years end… which is an incredible thought. Bill Clinton took the DOW from around 3700 points to over 11,700 points seven years later… an increase of OVER 300 percent. The DOW bottomed out barely a month after President Obama took office at just over 6600 points. A close of “19,200” would be another rise of nearly 300% in just SIX years. George Bush cut the taxes of the
Rich & Powerful, but cut their portfolio’s in half as the economy crashed. With numbers like that, it’s easy to see why Wall Street hates Democrats, and loves Republicans (yes, that’s snark.)
- Marriage Equality – No surprise that more states will officially declare Same-Sex Marriage as legal, but with it suddenly legal in nearly half the states in the Union and no solid legal argument for why any group of people should be discriminated against, expect a positive ruling from the Supreme Court… probably 5/4 but possibly even 6/3… telling states where SSM is outlawed that they must recognize marriages performed in another state. As people flood to neighboring states to get married, laws banning SSM will become moot and fall like dominoes.
- The Mid-term elections – AKA: “The Battle for the Senate”. Not surprisingly, with the House and the Senate so narrowly split, both sides will be pulling out all the stops seeking control of Congress. The big question? What will be the mood of the public come Election Time? Will problems with the health care law sour voters on the Obama Administration? Will unemployment continue to fall making them optimistic? And what role will record low approval ratings for Congress have on turnout? In the end, it’s pretty much a wash. The people that hate “Obamacare” will continue to whine about “Obamacare”. The people that like the law will continue to do so. I ran into a lot of Conservatives this past year that believe “Obamacare” is an insurance program that you must (MUST) buy into, and they can implode the entire system if they simply refuse to sign up. Little do most of them realize, “Obamacare” does not even apply to them because they already get insurance through their employer. They couldn’t “sign up” even if they wanted to. So the entire system doesn’t implode, and for most people, nothing changes for them. It will be hard to be “outraged” over health care reform come November. Good economic news will continue, so there will be little economic motive to head to the polls. And despite near single digit approval ratings for Congress, don’t expect control of either House to change hands, though, thanks to Gerrymandering, I think Democrats have a better chance of picking up seats in the Senate than the House.
- Which of course takes us to the start of the 2016 campaign (hard to believe it’s already a topic.) Though she will try to wait until January 2015, Hillary WILL announce her intention to run for President, as will Chris Christie, whom even this far off, already look to be the front-runners. But anything can happen between now & then.
- Paul Ryan & Patty Murray coming to a two-year budget deal here at the end of 2013 insures no “Fiscal Cliff, Debt Ceiling, Shutdown” economic brinksmanship before the election. No GOP manufactured crisis means we can expect a reasonably smooth, growing economy in 2014. Expect GDP growth in the 4.0+ range next year.
- What will become of NSA Leaker Edward Snowden? I expect a move to South America sometime next year. The last shoe has yet to drop in that story because Snowden took FAR more material than he could possibly have read when he absconded from the NSA with all that Top Secret information. But time is not on his side as much of the information he took grows out of date. As he continues to pour through the files he stole, I expect few additional revelations, perhaps saving his biggest bombshell in time for the election.
- Will Congress raise the Minimum Wage? If this weren’t an election year, I’d say yes, but since it is, the state of the economy will play a large part in whether it gets raised or not. A number of states won’t wait and raise it on their own, but nationally, if the economy continues to improve, forget it. With no Budget Battles for the GOP to hold hostage, they must dig their heels in somewhere, and
The Minimum Wageis it.
- The Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia is going to be a mess. Technical and scheduling issues as civil unrest disrupts the games. As I type this, we’ve already seen acts of terrorism very close to Sochi, and Putin won’t have a clue how to handle Gay Rights protests in a country where just holding a sign can land you in jail. International condemnation of Russia’s anti-gay laws will overshadow many events.
- And while we’re on the subject of Sochi, in a separate prediction, I believe the reason President Obama chose former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to lead a delegation of openly gay athletes is because she herself intends to come out as gay upon her arrival in Sochi, almost daring the Russian government to arrest her.
- So what will the Unemployment Rate look like by the end of 2014? If current trends continue, I don’t think an unemployment rate of 6.1% (give or take 3/10th of a point) is out of the realm of possibility. If it weren’t an election year, I’d might go lower than that, but it’s in the GOP’s interest to encourage a worsening economy going into the Mid-term elections. With no budget battles to destabilize the economy in an election year, it’ll be difficult. I’m interested in seeing how they pull it off.
- What about Iran? I think a nuclear disarmament deal WILL be struck that allows Iran to continue to develop nuclear energy using Uranium bred outside the country (probably Russia.) IAEA inspectors will be allowed into the country to check for nuclear weapons development. In exchange, the U.S. will once again allow Iranian oil to be traded on the U.S. Market, causing a decline in the price of oil (maybe $80/barrel give or take $5?), lowering gas prices in the U.S., serving as a substantial boost to the American economy. 2014 will be a very good year for the U.S. economy.
- Ted Cruz announces his intention to run for President. Outside of the (dwindling) Tea Party, support for his candidacy will not exceed that of Michele Bachmann in 2012, and his campaign will fizzle out early in 2015.
- Hobby Lobby’s “my religious beliefs supersede yours because I’m your boss” Supreme Court case will return a verdict in favor of the Christian-owned craft store. Any other sane Supreme Court would realize that if a “Christian” owned company can decide what health care you can get, so could an Amish, Muslim or even Satanic boss dictate your health care choices. But an “Amish, Muslim or Satanic” corporation didn’t file this case. A “Christian” one did. And therefore, this Conservative Court will tie the Constitution into knots to accommodate them. Republicans will tout it as “a victory for Americans over the scourge of Obamacare.”
- Following up on last year, no “Election Reform” bill will be taken up in an election year. Republican governors will step up their efforts to disenfranchise tens of thousands of Democratically leaning voter blocks… most of whom will be minorities.
- As an homage to my “psychic” friends out there, a really big hurricane will hit someplace somewhere.
- And another “Lone-wolf” gun nut will go on a shooting spree, killing over a dozen people. And what will come of it in terms of gun control? Nothing.
- And finally, Syria. In 2011, I predicted Assad would be overthrown just like all the other “Arab Spring” nations did to their leaders. But Assad was willing to be far more brutal and had the army on his side.
In 2012, I predictedhim to become irrelevant as the rest of the world simply stopped recognizing his authority, but that didn’t happen either. So now, in year three, all I’m willing to wager is that the Syrian conflict will still be raging a year from now. That’s a prediction I’d be happy to get wrong.
Eighteen predictions. I can live with that. How do you think I did? Post your own predictions for 2014 in the Comments.
|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!|