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

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

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

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

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

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

Dwindelling admitted Syrian refugees

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

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

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


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Debunking This Syria Conspiracy Stupidity (and saying goodbye to the tinfoil hat brigade)
Apr 10th, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

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Back when all my friends were going bonkers over “Star Wars” in the late 1970’s, I was obsessed with “Close Encounters of the Third Kind“. I even wanted to become a “ufologist” like Dr. J. Allen Hynek. I bought/read dozens of books and was absolutely convinced UFO’s and alien hijackings were real.

Then I grew up.

Once I started asking questions, the stories started to fall apart. Nothing stood up to scrutiny. Have I mentioned lately that I used to be a Republican? I stopped believing what Republicans were telling me for the same reason. Nothing I was told ever stood up to even the lightest of scrutiny (not to mention frequently steeped in racism and religious dogma.) Asking questions saved me (and my sanity.)

Anyone who has been following this blog for a while knows two things about me: 1) I DESPISE “conspiracy theories” (note my thorough debunking of “The Four Basic 9/11 Conspiracy Myths” written nearly ten years ago), and 2) I don’t suffer fools well. If you are going to attack me and demand (additional) “Proof!” that something I tell you is true, you had better be on firmer ground than I with “proof!” of your own at the ready. And if your idea of “legitimate trustworthy journalism” is a pro-Russian blogger in Minsk, while calling The New York Times and Washington Post “fake news”, your opinion carries all the weight of a mouse fart as far as I’m concerned.

The VERY ELECTION of Donald Trump seems to have birthed an entire legion of tinfoil hat wearing “Conspiracy Theory” paranoids. Hey, I get it. I supported Bernie, and the fact Cheetolini occupies the White House today still defies belief. But there was no “conspiracy” against Sanders and the Media didn’t decide the Primaries OR the General Election winners. The Super Delegates & Electoral College did. If you read some of the vitriol I see on my Facebook pageSTILLsix months after the election… towards Hillary Clinton, it’s difficult to understand how so many of these same Troglodytes foaming at the mouth over their hatred for Hillary could believe Trump needed “The Media’s” assistance to win, or how they made Hillary popular enough to defeat Bernie.

Like others have said: if you could reason with zealots, there wouldn’t BE any zealots.

And now, with this counter-attack on a Syrian airfield in response to their use of chemical weapons… and let’s not gloss over that detail as we grow numb to the words. Chem-i-cal Wea-pons“. Death by chemical weapons is beyond horrific… burning eyes & skin, choking to death as your lungs are scorched by acid, people/CHILDREN writhing in agony, vomiting blood till death is a welcome relief… the tinfoil hat wearing crowd… with all the expertise as a 9/11 armchair physicist… appear to be more than eager to defend Syrian President Assad… a brutal dictator (like his father before him) who has been bombing entire cities full of people who’ve dared oppose him for the last seven years… on the grounds that suddenly… after seven years of slaughtering 400,000 “of his own people”… are asking, “Why would he use chemical weapons on his own people? Especially when he was so close to winning?” Instead they seem incredibly quick & willing to believe that in fact their OWN country… the United States (admittedly no angels ourselves)… is actually framing poor innocent Assad. (Note, in the April 4th attack, not only did Syrian fighter jets drop chemical weapons, they also bombed grain silos with the goal of starving the rebels… whom we know aren’t simply “ISIS fighters”, but entire cities that include women & children.

Seriously? Okay, let’s pause for a moment and use some common sense here.

What is more likely?

a) A man who has been bombing & starving rebel critics of his administration for seven years and has all but turned Aleppo to dust saw an opportunity to wipe out his opponents once & for all after Trump & Tillerson gave him the “regime change is no longer our policy” greenlight, by using chemical weapons we KNOW he had as of 2014…

OR

b) Less than 24 hours after Trump referred to Assad’s presidency as “acknowledging [a] political realit[y]”, he then disguises American fighter jets as Syrian S22’s and orders them to fly in and drop chemical weapons we DON’T have on Syrian children in an attack that all but destroys the friendly relationship he was building with Putin making Trump look like a naive fool? And in a massive conspiracy not seen since Roswell, not a single pilot with a guilty conscience over dropping chemical weapons on children to come forward and say, “No, it wasn’t Syria. It was me.”

…because those are your options.

Some disbelievers claim this was a distraction from the salacious approval of Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court via the “nuclear option”. Hardly. Republicans acting like Republicans isn’t a catastrophe worthy of committing secret war crimes by dropping chemical weapons on children that would result in the Trump Administration being tried in The Hague for War Crimes should the truth ever come out. The “risk/benefit” ratio is wildly off there.

I can’t tell you how many people I’ve bumped heads with these past few days demanding “Proof!”, then respond to me by posting links to unverifiable videos on YouTube that are impossible to verify and without attribution, or links to websites that look like they coded it in their mother’s basement, citing questionable sources, produced by people they know absolutely nothing about who could FAR more easily be producing complete fiction to cloud the evidence to protect the guilty. They simply accept these questionable sources as fact because they confirm what they already believe to be true. One of the most popular video “proofs” I repeatedly get are links to a “reporter” named “Eva Bartlett” “demolishing” critics that dare suggest Assad is the aggressor and the rebels are anything but devious terrorists. But Bartlett is NOT a “reporter”. She works for no news agency and isn’t on the ground in Syria. She’s a Canadian blogger that works for “Russia Today” and has dedicated herself to defending Assad (one popular video is of her responding to another Canadian reporter at a conference… hosted by the Syrian government and invited to speak at their behest… where she makes a number of claims, including a popular one among the pro-Assad crowd, that one girl… the same girl… can be seen being rescued in three separate videos. It’s not true of course [ibid], but as Mark Twain reminded us, “A lie makes it halfway around the world before the truth gets its shoes on.”

They are wildly untrusting of Western Media, yet readily accepting of what documented vicious tyrants like Assad & Putin tell them. I just don’t get that. Once you reach THAT level of mistrust of your own government, it’s time for you to go… another country or a padded cell. It’s your choice.

Now a bit of history…

Following the Iranian hostage crisis in 1979-80, our greatest enemy was Iran. And when the Reagan Administration took over in 1981, they decided “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”, so they befriended Saddam Hussein (who had been at war with Iran for years.) And they gave (conventional) arms (and money) to Saddam (and… as we discovered later… to Iran too as part of the “Arms for Hostages” deal they secretly brokered). As the Iran/Iraq War escalated, Saddam used chemical weapons on Iran and we did nothing about it.

Then, at the very end of the Reagan Administration, Saddam used chemical weapons yet again… this time on his own people. Iraq has always been a nation of three violently opposite religious sects: The Shia, The Sunni’s and The Kurds. The Kurds despised Saddam and wanted him gone. And apparently the feeling was mutual as Saddam actually dispatched agents to assassinate Kurds that dare leave Iraq to live in London or Germany. Sounds completely counter-intuitive, right? Why would Saddam want to murder the people he hated for moving away? Because that’s just the kind of guy he was. He couldn’t make their lives miserable living abroad. He wanted them in Iraq where he could make them suffer.

In March of 1988, Saddam attacked the Kurdish occupied town of Halabja with chemical weapons. Again, we turned a blind eye (until Bush Jr used it as an excuse to invade Iraq in 2003.) “Why would he attack his own people” some of you might ask? (As you are asking of Assad today.) Because, as I already pointed out, they hated Saddam, launching attacks trying to assassinate him (and years later, a Kurdish ex-pat named Ahmed Chalibi would convince a gullible George W. Bush to take Saddam out for him by claiming the existence of “stockpiles of WMD’s” that no one had seen or could prove the existence of), and the feeling was mutual.

In 1990, President George Herbert Walker Bush’s “Ambassador to Iraq” was a woman named April Glaspie. That July, Saddam delivered a message to President Bush that he wished for “friendship” between Iraq and the United States, then… just one month later… invaded the neighboring kingdom of Kuwait. The month after that (September), Glaspie personally visited Saddam, shook his hand, and gave him the greenlight, telling him: “We have no opinion on your Arab-Arab conflicts, such as your dispute with Kuwait.” [ibid] (Kuwait had been accused of “slant-drilling” on the Iraqi border to steal Iraqi oil, and Saddam… still an American ally at the time… they felt was well within his rights to attack Kuwait over it.)

But the war in Kuwait dragged on… and on… and on… into 1991. The Kuwati’s had hardly no military to speak of (nothing to compare to Saddam’s “fourth largest army on the face of the earth” after the U.S., China, and Russia) offered little in the way of resistance. Then, news of “atrocities” (same real, some fake) begin to reach the U.S. Media, literally embarrassing the Bush Administration into responding.

And by late February 1991, Saddam had been kicked out of Kuwait and was now our sworn enemy.

Are you noticing the parallels yet? In December, then President-elect Trump appeared to side with Russia over the Syrian conflict and stated his opposition for any further support of the rebels, leading to the fall of Aleppo before he even took office. The result was the ratcheting up of an already ongoing war, yet four months later, rebel forces continued to hang on and Assad’s frustration continued to grow. The second largest city in rebellion against Assad, Idlib, became the new rebel stronghold.

And just as Saddam was told we wouldn’t interfere in 1990, Trump & Tillerson told Assad on April 4th that “regime change in Syria” was going to be left “up to the Syrian people” and that we would just have to live with Assad’s presidency as a fact of life. Given the green light of a new American president… friendly with their ally Russia… promising a non-interventionist policy regarding Syria, a frustrated Assad… who had a history of using chemical weapons (map)… even against his own people… leapt at the chance to crush the rebellion once and for all.

And this is where the doubters ask for “proof!” despite the fact there is nothing unusual or out-of-character for him here. “Assad would be “crazy” they proclaim to do this now “when he’s so close to victory”. That’s quite an assumption there. “So close to victory?” Says who? The fighting has been going on for seven years, and Aleppo fell four months ago, yet Assad’s opponents continue to fight.

First off, this was an aerial bombing. And launched just hours after Trump said we wouldn’t pursue regime change in Syria. Russia freely admits that. Russia (and Assad’s) defense against the accusation that Syria dropped “chemical weapons” (a war crime that, if true,… that would not only land Assad in the Hague, but Putin as well for being complicit in that crime. Russia actually has officers stationed at that Syrian base from which those planes were launched) on the rebels is that the rebel warehouses they bombed… unbeknownst to them… contained huge caches of chemical weapons that filled the air when they were bombed (in self defense.) So: “attack by air and by Assad”… not in dispute. Confirmed by Russia. And the very next day, Assad launched a SECOND aerial attack upon “Khan Shaykhun” from the very airstrip Trump ordered bombed the day before. ISIS doesn’t have an air force. Neither do the rebels. And if bombing the rebels “less than 24-hours” after Trump & Tillerson made their non-interventionist remarks made “no sense” to you before, then why are Syria & Russia admitting they did indeed do just that… launch an aerial strike against the rebels just hours later? (And I remind you that Russia & Assad are claiming they DID NOT KNOW there were supposedly chemical weapons in those warehouses they bombed, so they can’t use their presence as an excuse for why then went after them that day.)

Second question: Is it possible they are telling the truth about the chemical weapons released in the attack as belonging to the rebels, only to aerosol when bombed and carried away by the smoke? There are a number of problems with that scenario: One, the dispersal area is just too large to have come from individual warehouses being blown up and having the chemicals either rain down or spread by smoke. If this were the case, the chemicals would have dispersed downwind of the areas targeted, not localized at the point of impact. Yet maps of the areas that suffered chemical exposure are all localized with almost no drift:
 

WMD affected areas, Idlib Syria
WMD affected areas, Idlib Syria

 

It is impossible to verify whether of not every location where chemical weapon exposure occurred had a hidden cache of chemical weapons within it, but (Two) try to imagine the extraordinary stroke of good (bad?) luck required of all those Syrian fighter pilots to have stuck SO many hidden caches of deadly (and apparently wildly unstable) chemical weapons spread across Idlib province. They freely admit they had no idea they were there, and yet somehow they just happened to locate a dozen such caches precisely where they bombed? Assad needs to stock up on lottery tickets before his luck runs out.

Three, “Transporting” such dangerous chemical weapons for miles across Idlib Province would be incredibly dangerous with a high risk of accidental exposure that could kill thousands should an accident occur. So if the rebels produced those weapons, they didn’t move them around. They would have had to of been made locally… or more precisely at the very site that was bombed. Why? What use are they to them there?

Four, the ability to make such weapons is not a common skill, and not something you learn quickly. This would mean a merry band of wandering minstrels chemical bomb makers traveling from town to town to make a cache of chemical weapons for storage “right there” and then moving on. That seems unlikely… not impossible, but highly improbable.

And five, now we must ask, “How did they intend to use them?” As I’ve already pointed out, they don’t have an air force, and transporting large quantities of the weapons by ground is too dangerous. You’re not going to use them locally and risk exposing your own people, so that pretty much leaves one option: suicide bomber. Drive to Damascus some 300-350KM (4 hours) away in a vehicle loaded with deadly chemicals, pray you don’t hit any bumps along the way or get stopped by the Syrian police, and blow yourself up when you arrive. Sounds doable. So we check…

Number of suicide bombings in Syria over the past seven years that involved chemical weapons? ZERO.

Defenders of Assad keep asking “Why now when he was so close to victory?” So then, couldn’t we ask: If the rebels were “so close to defeat”, why would they sit on these huge stockpiles of chemical weapons and not use them? That makes even less sense.

Another popular question: “I thought Assad gave up all his chemical weapons in 2014?” That’s a fair question. Problem is, we just don’t know. According to their ally Russia, Syria turned over 1,300 tons of chemical weapons to them claiming it was their entire stockpile. It was also the job of Russia to close down all of Syria’s chemical weapons production facilities. Russia admits they were only able to shutdown 21 of 23 facilities because two of them were in warzones they could not safely enter.

As I’ve pointed out in other op/eds recently, the seething out & out boiling vitriol I read from Hillary haters on a daily basis now almost defies comprehension. I mean, I’m no fan of the woman and didn’t vote for her last November, but you’d think Hillary personally dropped by their house and boiled their bunny just to hurt them personally. I seriously think there are a few million alarmingly immature people out there in desperate need of psychotherapy… emphasis on the word “psycho”… driven to irrationality by the 2016 election.

It is now “a given” and forlorn “fact” to them that “Hillary Clinton gave those chemical weapons to the rebels” when she was secretary of state. So you ask simple questions like “How?”, “Where did she get them (since we don’t make them)?” and “How did she transport them to the rebels in Syria?” Often what I get in return are unrelated links to claims of what an evil person she secretly is, links to unrelated & debunked clams she sold 20% of our uranium stockpiles to Russia (not true, and has nothing to do with WMD’s or Syria), and inevitably childish name calling.

They like to compare the “false claims Saddam had WMD’s” to these claims against Assad, but when I point to the fact that both Saddam and Assad used chemical weapons against “their own people” numerous times before, they don’t see a connection. And while Saddam was only “accused” of having WMD’s, we have evidence here in this very attack in Syria that they actually exist (Russia and Assad admit it, claiming they belonged to the rebels but do not deny their existence)… only their “ownership” is in dispute.

During “Meet the Press” yesterday, Trump’s UN Ambassador Nikki Haley pointed out that Russia’s first reaction upon hearing the news of chemical weapons turning up in the attack was to defend Assad, not express horror or concern over victims of a chemical weapons attack. That seems quite disquieting in its own right. You hear civilians… including women and children… were exposed to chemical weapons, and your first reaction isn’t shock or questioning, but to defend someone THEY KNOW (remember, they admit to the bombing AND have troops stationed at that airfield) just dropped the bombs resulting in that chemical exposure? Lesson One in trying to convince people you’re not a cold-blooded killer: show a moment of sympathy for the exposed children and make a few calls before you rush to defend the bombers.

And on a personal note, people bashing “The Media” as “an enemy of the American people” is an anathema to the 1st Amendment and a greater threat to Democracy than anything these Conspiracy Theorists seem to think is actually going on.

People tend to not to ask questions about what they see/hear/read when that something tells them what they already want to believe to be true, is. Fox “news” has built an entire media empire on that very concept… and now I see people claiming to be “Progressives” doing it too. Fox viewers are repeatedly rated as the least well informed consumers of news in the country. Some polls have even shown that people who consume NO news at all are often better informed than Fox viewers because they come to a conclusion first, then look for a source to “confirm” it. And anyone who tells them differently is either “a liar”, “badly misinformed” because they don’t get their news from the “right” sources (like they do), or just don’t know what they’re talking about. “Facts be damned” and there’s no point in trying to present them with evidence to refute those beliefs.

And a greater question: In light of these recent brutal attacks, will Trump now recognize what the Refugees are fleeing from and show more sympathy towards letting them in? (If we go by Nikki Haley, that answer is “No”, calling for “even more” stringent background checks before even considering giving these people safe harbor. What have we become?)

Postscript: The past weeks insanity led me to do something I’ve never done before and delete nearly four dozen of my so-called “Facebook friends” who devolved into insult spewing, Conspiracy babbling, children. I just couldn’t take it any more. The head-pounding STUPIDITY was making my teeth hurt. But in return, I picked up about three dozen new “Facebook friends” and a couple hundred likes from people who agreed with me over the recent heightened level of insanity and coarseness of discourse. So to all my new friends, thank you and welcome.

Next weekend, M.R.S. will be on Easter hiatus, but I promise to return two weeks from now with more insights and history. See you then!
 


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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Some highlights:

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

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

    Mike Needham:

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

Give it up, Mike.
 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  •  

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

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

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

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

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

And now…

My Predictions for 2017:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     
    Trump in Wrestlemania
     
    Trump wrestles McMahon

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

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

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

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

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

    …to be continued.
     

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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


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15 Years After 9/11. Doesn’t Anyone Know How to End a War? A 21st Century “Marshall Plan”.
Sep 12th, 2016 by Admin Mugsy

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Last week, NBC hosted their own “National Security Forum”. Only Trump & Clinton were invited, and neither provided a unique solution to ending nearly two-decades of war in the Middle East. With only an hour of airtime, each candidate received less than 30 minutes to answer questions regarding National Security. Host Matt Lauer wasted most of Clinton’s time talking about emails, and allowed Trump to (again) falsely claim he was opposed to the invasion of Iraq while failing to get him to provide even the smallest details of his “secret plan” (shades of Nixon) to “win the war”. The third party candidates were not invited as there clearly was no time, but made up for the unfairness by inviting them to various “morning shows” to make a case of their own:

To summarize:

Hillary: “No ground troops… in Iraq. Period. Do it from the air”. Translation: a massive escalation of the Drone Warfare program. Maybe ground troops in Syria, but definitely not in Iraq.

Trump: “I have a secret plan to end the war, and it definitely isn’t to simply drop a nuclear bomb on them (even though I said last May that I had a “foolproof plan” that would “100 percent” defeat ISIS “quickly”.)

Gary Johnson: “Aleppo? What’s Aleppo?” Later tried to claim he was thinking it was an acronym, but even when he was told it was “in Syria”, he didn’t suddenly go, “Oh! Aleppo!” He was still clueless what Aleppo was.

Jill Stein: “Stop funding ISIS. Stop buying their oil. Stop selling weapons to the Saudis.” And how does that result in the defeat of ISIS? That’s an aspiration, not a plan.

After 15 years of war, you’d think SOMEBODY could express a coherent plan to actually end the longest war in U.S. history. President Obama’s dramatic escalation of the Drone Warfare program has raised serious concerns regarding International law. True, American lives are spared by having fewer troops on the ground, but “bombs” are hardly “precision weaponry”, often resulting in dozens of innocents being injured, dismembered or killed. Wanna make some lifelong enemies? That’s the way to do it. We want a sanitized war with no American casualties. But there’s no such thing as a “clean” war, and thinking you can kill people without getting your hands dirty has a lot to do with why this war has gone on so long. (I’m reminded of the Star Trek episode: “A Taste of Armageddon” where a war between two planets had continued for hundreds of years because they had sanitized it to the point of making it easy.)

Donald Trump recently said he had a “foolproof” plan [ibid] to “quickly” “defeat ISIS” once and for all. The only method I can fathom that (in Trump’s mind) would result in a guaranteed and swift end to the war would be to do something like drop a nuclear bomb on the region. Trump himself DID say last November that he’d “bomb the shit out of them”, repeatedly asked during a security briefing why we can’t just use nuclear weapons, and his opponent Ted Cruz pondered finding out “if sand glows in the dark”. And Trump also suggested that the only reason President Obama has yet to do this himself must be because he’s sympathetic to ISIS (translation: “a secret Muslim.”)

Indeed, Genocide… murdering some 30 million people in the region of Eastern Syria & Northern Iraq just to vaporize some 30,000 ISIS fighters would certainly produce immediate results. But it would by no means be “permanent”, creating millions of sympathizers and angry survivors of the innocent lives lost now vowing to “fight to the death” to destroy the “infidels” who attacked them (the United States of America.) 15 years after 9/11 and we are still mourning the events of that day with some still vowing revenge. Do you think people on the other side of the world are any different? Suicide bombers in shopping malls, car bombs in rush-hour traffic jams, more mass shootings thanks to an endless supply of easily available firearms. George Bush justified invading Iraq on the grounds of “fighting them over there so we won’t have to fight them over here.” And yet, Republicans now believe we are indeed fighting them “over here”, so I guess that plan of his failed too. But you haven’t seen ANYTHING yet if we greatly increase the number of innocent casualties killed by bombs launched by an American president that can’t come up with an original solution to ending the war. And right now, NOT ONE has a unique and well laid out plan to ending the war in the Middle East (read mine below.)

Trump now insists his plan isn’t to simply drop a nuclear bomb on “them”… though I can assure you, if you asked his supporters, that’s exactly what a majority believe and want. So where exactly would Trump nuke? All of ISIS does not reside in just one city, or even one country. More than half of ISIS controlled territory is in Syria… a close ally of Russia. Is #ToddlerTrump going to start World War III with his new buddy Putin by nuking their ally Syria? Now that the Press has openly criticized Trump “IF” that’s his plan, he’s suddenly scrambling to come up with a new plan… yet insisting it’s not “new”, that it’s the same plan he has had all along… but it includes “asking the generals” what they think we should do, and if he likes their plan better than his own (which he doesn’t have), he’ll consider the General’s plan… after he’s fires a bunch of them first.

Hillary Clinton’s plan is just Donald Trump’s plan on a smaller scale. Can’t just drop one giant nuke, so we pepper the region from the air using planes and targeted drone strikes.

Of course, we’ve all heard the stories of dozens killed at a wedding party that was innocently mistaken for a meeting of al Qaeda. And quite honestly, if you shy away from targeting sites due to their proximity to innocents, you only ENSURE that more ISIS gatherings will take place in/near public venues, next to schools & hospitals, market places, etc. But Hillary has vowed no boots on the ground… in Iraq, ensuring plenty of wiggle-room for sending troops into Syria (not to mention the fact we ALREADY have troops on the ground in Iraq.) The “loophole” Clinton left herself by citing “Iraq” specifically is a prime example of why so many voters just don’t trust Hillary and see her as “just another politician.”

Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson’s campaign ended with that “Aleppo” gaffe. Just like Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones, he’s already dead, he just doesn’t know it yet. The genocide in Aleppo two weeks ago made front page news, and the photo of a shell shocked traumatized young boy pulled from the rubble went viral on the Internet. But even before that, Aleppo was known as the epicenter of the Civil War in Syria. And for Johnson to be so totally clueless about what “Aleppo” is was an instant disqualifier. I’ve heard people say they found it “refreshing” to hear a politician admit ignorance on a topic. That might be acceptable if it were some Joe Schmo running for a lower office. But not a person running for the highest office in the land where Syria will be on the front-burner.

Part of this is due to the fact Libertarians are “isolationists” when it comes to military intervention. To them, the genocide in Syria is not our concern. Ergo, Aleppo was not on his radar.

Green Party candidate Jill Stein did not fair much better. And while I agree with many of her platform positions of “stop making trouble in the rest of the world”, “enough of the militarism”, “stop empowering dictators” and “stop turning a blind eye to the despicable acts of people we call our ‘allies’ because we need their oil”, these are only aspirations, not actionable plans for dealing with an active genocide.

As a Sanders supporter during the primaries, much of Stein’s platform is appealing: increasing America’s focus on developing a green energy economy, phasing out fossil fuels (which in itself would help get us out of the Middle East and stop enabling dictators and human rights abusers), making advanced education at public colleges & universities tuition free, closing tax loopholes for the ultra-wealthy and tightening regulations on Wall Street, but one needs a record of political experience and a coherent plan on how to achieve those goals. Stein has none of that.

So, as you might imagine, with less than two months to go, I’m still at a loss for a candidate for president of the United States.

Several times last year, I wrote a few columns on how to end the wars in the Middle East through “infrastructure”. I don’t care if you’re alQaeda, ISIS, a redneck Republican, Progressive Democrat or a Green Party hippie, everyone wants the same thing: to live in peace. And they will put the world through hell to achieve it.

Anyone who thinks people who have had (or will have) their cities bombed into crumbing ghost towns will just peacefully “surrender” to the people who did it, haven’t been paying attention these past 15 years.

Instead of more bombs & killing… which has DEMONSTRABLY FAILED… let’s go into the towns of our FRIENDS & ALLIES and start building roads and schools and hospitals and an electrical grid and a working sewer system. Rebuild their destroyed infrastructure. A 21st Century “Marshall Plan”. START MAKING LIVES BETTER FOR OUR FRIENDS instead of making lives miserable for our enemies (spilling over onto our allies). Take the wind out of ISIS’s sails. It’s difficult to recruit people to attack those helping to rebuild your county and make life BETTER instead of worse. And No, we wouldn’t be “rewarding our enemies”. We reward our friends and later those who renounce terrorism and welcome us in. Soon, cities that were once openly hostile to the United States will be eager to become our friends, welcoming us with those flowers George Bush promised 13 years ago.

And it would be massively CHEAPER too. Compared to using $20 million dollar drones to fire million dollar missiles to take out a Toyota pickup truck with homemade rocket launcher in the back, the cost of rebuilding all the lost infrastructure can be done for pennies on the dollar. And the Military Industrial Complex that presently makes their money building bombs & bombers can build planes & runways. Literally “building bridges”. And unlike war, you’ll know when you are done rebuilding a city.

And while we’re rebuilding over there, how about putting some of that savings into rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure over HERE?

It’s not that complicated… and yet, I haven’t heard a single presidential candidate suggest it. It’s an actionable plan that could be implemented immediately with almost instant tangible results. It’s cheaper, and not only makes the world better but safer.

And apparently, it’s too complex of an idea for four people running for leader of the most powerful nation on Earth to come up with on their own. So I offer this idea to whomever wants it. No charge.
 

Question on 2007 gameshow “The Power of 10”
Pessimistic Americans under Bush
By end of Bush’s presidency, more than a quarter of all Americans believed the United States would no longer exist in 100 years.
(the contestants guessed too high.)

 


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Ted Cruz Promises Massive War if Elected. Vows to “get” ISIS using “overwhelming force”.
Mar 28th, 2016 by Admin Mugsy

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I agree with Andy Borowitz. “I’m concerned that our obsession with Trump is distracting us from how terrifying Ted Cruz is.” (link) As reported two weeks ago, Cruz is an Apocalyptic “End Times” evangelical nutcase. So when he started pledging a massive invasion of the Middle East using “overwhelming force” to “get ISIS”, I noticed. I’m not sure how many others did as well. Cruz was invited onto Fox “news” Sunday yesterday to rant about Trump criticizing his wife’s looks (and possible connection to claims of his infidelity by The National Enquirer), to fear-monger over the latest ISIS attack in Brussels, and then criticize the Obama Administration for failing to protect Europe from terrorism. Cruz then vowed… with all the simplicity of Sarah Palin… to “utterly defeat” ISIS once and for all by carpet-bombing an unspecified region of the Middle-East, “get” ISIS, and come home. I have no doubt that to Ted, it really is just that simple.
 

Cruz: If elected, I promise a massive war (:55)

 
This was following a long fear-filled rant about how “the terrorists are coming to get us!” But don’t worry! Elect me and I’ll go in and “carpet bomb” the entire region, wiping “them” out so you can go back to living in your happy little bubble where the outside world can’t hurt you! Hey, you’ve got a gun, right? So what are you so afraid of?

It was pointed out to Cruz during one of the GOP debates that “carpet bombing” is a war crime (when he said he would “carpet bomb” the city of Raqqa… population: 300,000… to “get” several thousand ISIS fighters (by no means ALL of them) hiding within. He explained that by indiscriminate “carpet” bombing, he actually meant “targeted” bombing… the exact opposite of “carpet bombing”. But now, here he is again, responding to criticism of his calling for “carpet bombing” by vowing to “carpet bomb” till we “get” ISIS. WHERE exactly does he plan to “carpet bomb”? He never actually says in that clip. (Remember this is the same many who “joked” about “finding out if sand glows in the dark” last year.)

But no matter. “Carpet bombing” wasn’t the only war crime Cruz promised to commit if elected. No more of this “refusing to torture prisoners” nonsense either. If elected, he vowed (like Trump), to end all this “political correctness” regarding our refusal to torture prisoners to collect insanely unreliable and dubious intel from prisoners using a process that takes twice as long as established & more reliable means. (Speaking of “political correctness”, Cruz also whined… yet again… over “President Obama’s refusal to use the words ‘Radical Islamic terrorism.” This is a popular complaint on the Right. Apparently, ISIS is like Beetlejuice. It doesn’t work unless you say their name.)

Part of his plan to “go in” involves “arming the Kurds”… something our close ally Turkey… the largest Muslim Democracy on the planet… would just adore us for. Turkey has been fighting Kurdish incursions into South East Turkey for decades (longer?) But who cares about Turkey? They’re just another Muslim nation that needs to fear us, right? It’s not like they’re helping us over there.

Cruz said he wants to “go in with overwhelming force”. “Go in?” Where? He seems to think all 30,000 ISIS fighters commute back home (to Raqqa?) each night. They probably share a split level condo, watch “Syria’s Got Talent” on Al Jazzera, and in the morning, pack a PB&J for lunch before heading out for a day of “terrorizing”.
 

ISIS lies mostly in Syria
ISIS mostly in Syria

 
ISIS resides mostly in Syria… which is not just a sovereign nation, but a close ally of Russia, protected by Russia, of whom would not hesitate to rush to their defense if the U.S. invaded in the name of “getting” ISIS. So (just as with Hillary Clinton and her “No Fly Zone”), you now have the U.S. at war with Russia. Iraq is also a sovereign nation (like it or not Ted), and they DON’T want U.S. troops back in their country. Could Ted get permission to send in a massive military force to get ISIS strongholds in Iraq? Possibly. But he ISN’T going to get permission to send hundreds of thousands of American troops into Syria. And… pardon the analogy… that’s like trying to kill your dogs fleas by washing only his hind legs.

So we send in hundreds of thousands of American troops. Where do they all come from? Hey, it’s not HIS kids he’ll be sending in as part of that “overwhelming force”. What’s a few thousand dead soldiers if it means saving the lives of… uh… how many Americans have died on U.S. soil at the hands of ISIS fighters who traveled here from the Middle East? Oh yeah. ZERO (no, the San Bernadino couple does not count. They were ISIS sympathizers, loners already in the U.S..) But according to Ted Cruz… an apocalyptic “End Times” religious radical, all we have to do is send in hundreds of thousands of YOUR kids into a war zone to get a bunch of apocalyptic “End Times” religious radicals. I’m sure they’ll all return safe & sound. And after we “get them”, that’ll be it. We can just come home. That was George Bush’s plan for Iraq, wasn’t it? There’s ZERO chance their angry followers, family members and orphaned children will follow in the footsteps of their beloved martyrs. They’ll be too terrified of President Cruz (cough) to risk us coming back to do it again. At least, that’s how it plays out in “Cruz Land”… the most delusional place on earth.

Everyone talks about how disastrous a Trump presidency would be (mostly for the GOP.) The fact that Ted Cruz is a terrified, paranoid, anti-Islamic, apocalyptic, Evangelical “End Times” xenophobe that talks of war like it’s something we can do in an afternoon and be home in time for supper concerns me FAR more than Trump’s clownish antics, racism and foppish misbehavior. No question both would be disastrous presidents, but I fear Ted Cruz for what he openly says he WANTS to do, not the catastrophic blundering Trump might stumble us into because thinks he has all the answers.. just so long as you don’t bother him with details.
 


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

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

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

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

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

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


 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


 

 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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


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

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My letter to President Obama:

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Syrian Terrorists

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Paris, Freedom Fries and The Problem of Jihadi Recruitment.
Nov 16th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy

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The terrorist attacks in Paris last Friday brought back memories of 9/11 for a lot of people. But for me, I was more reminded of how all this leads back to George Bush’s disastrous decision to invade Iraq in the first place… and the fact France warned us not to do it, calling military intervention in Iraq: “the worst possible solution.” (I bookmarked a great column back in September of 2003, six months after the invasion, comparing France to a “designated driver” that tried to “take away they keys” from drunk driver Bush. Recommended reading.)

Because of their opposition to invading Iraq, Republicans lambasted the French, calling them part of “the Axis of Weasel”, noting how “WE” rescued THEM from “Hitler” but THEY wouldn’t help us “defend ourselves” from “today’s Hitler: Saddam Hussein”. One outraged Republican demanded the Capitol cafeteria rename French Fries to “Freedom Fries”, and Bush himself renamed the French Toast aboard Air Force One : “Freedom Toast” (yes, that IS every bit as childish as it sounds) because of France’s opposition to the invasion of Iraq as long as inspections appeared to be working (and they were). Republicans called the French “surrender-monkeys”. France’s response: “We think that military intervention would be the worst possible solution.” And they were right.

Friday’s attack was just the latest catastrophe to come out of Bush’s reckless & unwarranted invasion of Iraq 12-1/2 years ago. To paraphrase, the definition of insanity is believing that after 14 years of war, the way to end the war is by more war. That’s just nuts… pardon my French.

If the Paris attacks confirm anything, it’s that the greatest threat to peace comes from ISIS SYMPATHIZERS more than ISIS itself. As I’ve written MANY, MANY, MANY times before, the people in these countries simply want a better life. When you bomb the areas where they live, you don’t just make martyrs out of those you kill, but you make enemies of the innocent who see their lives… their homes… their country left in ruins by foreigners dropping bombs on them… and you attract sympathizers in other countries. It’s a great recruiting tool.

President Obama said earlier this year that we had “stopped the expansion of ISIL.” But ISIL/ISIS doesn’t need to control huge swaths of land to “grow”. ISIS now “expands” via recruitment. Our goal should NOT be helping them recruit sympathizers by turning them into martyrs.

Many (most?) Republicans already talk about Muslims like they are all terrorists. Even when they don’t… qualifying their statement by saying things like “not all”… there is still that sense of having to “prove your innocence first”. They feel unwelcome even in their own country, only making it easier for groups like ISIS and alQaeda to recruit them, giving them a sense of belonging from a fellow group of outcasts. Even willing to die for their new found friends/family.

I proposed a question to all the presidential candidates last July: “How will we know when the war over there is over?” I mean, think about it. After 14 years, one thing we know is this isn’t going to end with the signing of a declaration of surrender on the Battleship Missouri. You can’t win a “war on terror” anymore than you can “win” a “war on drugs”.

So how do we end the war? Simple, by taking the wind out of their sails and crippling their ability to recruit. Invest in building schools and hospitals and roads and bridges. IMPROVE their lives. ISIS & alQaeda can’t expand if they can’t convince people to attack the people making their lives BETTER. And it’ll cost a HELL of a lot less. Eventually the radicals will become marginalized, societies will stabilize, and the war will truly be over. (Ironically, this method also works on Red-State Republicans. Just ask FDR.)

I knew when I work up Saturday morning that Republicans would find a way to blame President Obama for the Paris attacks. And sure enough, later that morning and during the Sunday shows yesterday, the Republican presidential candidates were already blaming the president’s “weak foreign policy” for the tragedy. Now let’s be clear, these are the same Republicans who just last month were praising Vladamir Putin’s aggressive foreign policy, only to see one of Russia’s passenger jets blown out of the sky with over 200 civilian passengers on board.

By Sunday morning, I added the Syrian refugees to that list of people the Right Wing wack-a-doodles would blame for the Paris attacks, and indeed, all the major network Sunday shows asked their guests what impact the Paris bombings would/should have on any decision to allow Syrian refugees into our country. Germany allowed in FAR more refugees than France, so why France? Russia is tough on ISIS and they are brutally attacked. France is far less involved and gets attacked too. So just whose “foreign policy” do Republicans think we should mimic to stay safe?

Speaking of which, what exactly do the Syrian Refugees have to do with the Paris attacks? Well, apparently, a passport was found belonging to one of the suicide bombers, revealing they were from Syria and had traveled through Greece (one of the lead destinations of the Syrian refugees.) Now, I’m not sure why a refugee would even HAVE a passport. It’s not like they entered the country through a checkpoint. It would be as if a Mexican immigrant was caught illegally crossing the border with a perfectly good passport in their back pocket. It makes no sense. Greece doesn’t issue Syrian passports, so why is anyone assuming this one terrorist was a refugee?

Two other bombers were identified as “French nationals” [ibid]. Evidence that they’ve even been to Iraq/Syria is sketchy at best, yet here they are killing Parisians in the name of ISIS. THAT is “expansion through recruitment” and is also why sending troops into Syria isn’t going to solve anything. I’m reminded of the old joke of the man searching for a lost quarter under a street light nowhere near where he dropped it only because “the light is better over here.” Bombing ISIS in Syria because of the actions of sympathizers in France is no less stupid.

Donald Trump said last January following the “Charley Hebdo” attack… and repeated last Saturday… that it somehow “is no coincidence” that ISIS would attack a country with “some of the strictest gun laws in all of Europe”. We’ve heard this before. It’s the: “mass murderers target gun-free zones” & “if only they had allowed guns in movie theaters” nonsense all over again. And I find myself wondering what his point is here. If France had the same lax gun laws as the U.S., France could enjoy 30,000 deaths a year instead of just 150? WTF are you talking about, Donald???

During the GOP debates last Saturday night, only Senator Sanders advocated for LESS U.S. military involvement in Syria… though not going as far as my “infrastructure-based” solution to ending the war… instead proposing to shift more of the burden onto those most directly affected by all this chaos in the Middle-East: The Middle-East itself.

As for the rest: Why on Earth would we elect anyone that thinks the way to end 14 years of war in the Middle East is thru more war?
 

MLK: Darkness can't fix Darkness

 


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Obama Extends The Longest War in U.S. History. Here’s How to End It
Oct 19th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy

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Last week, President Obama was forced to reluctantly concede that the War in Afghanistan was not going to end on his watch as hoped. One of his first acts upon entering office in 2009 was to send an additional 30,000 troops into Afghanistan (Side note: Republicans blame the continued fighting in Iraq on President Obama withdrawing our troops. So what’s their excuse for the continued violence in Afghanistan?) In 2011, the war looked much closer to being over as U.S. forces located and killed Osama bin Laden in neighboring Pakistan. I argued at the time that we should have then “declared victory” and came home (I said the same thing about Iraq after Saddam was found in late 2003). It was clear there was nothing more to be gained in Afghanistan, and the U.S. could have exited the region with the powerful message that “if you hurt us, we won’t rest until you’ve been brought to justice.” But we didn’t. Instead, we allowed Conservatives to drive the debate, arguing that the war would not be over until we had “crushed” OBL’s enabler’s: The Taliban and somehow ensured they could never return to power. How exactly would one go about doing that? And how would you know when you were done? It was a dubious unattainable goal set by the NeoConservative war hawks in Washington and their friends in the defense industry. The result? The war in Afghanistan is now in it’s 15th year with no end in sight. Bin Laden is gone but ISIS has moved in to take his place, enabled by the destabilization of the entire region. And what is the only “solution” under consideration? Staying longer and possibly sending in even more troops… ie: putting out a fire with gasoline.

In 1781, the British Army surrendered to the colonists in Yorktown, VA. ending the 6 year long Revolutionary War. British government soldiers a long way from home fighting an undisciplined army of locals with the home-field advantage. The foreign military lost only to return 31 years later for a rematch in 1812. Again the foreign invaders lost.

In 1939, Hitler’s Third Reich invaded Poland on their way to Russia, starting World War II. After attempting to invade nation after nation, Germany ended up surrendering 6 years later in 1945, followed by Japan, whom also attacked first, surrendering four months after that.

Then came Korea, the first war with US in the role of foreign invader. That war ended in stalemate after 2-1/2 years in 1953.

Vietnam began as a minor French offensive in 1955, but our involvement didn’t explode until after the assassination of President Kennedy when a suspicious President Johnson turned it into a proxy war against the Soviet Union (whom he suspected of orchestrating JFK’s murder). America’s heavy involvement in Vietnam lasted 11 years from mid-1964 to mid-1975. Part of the reason the war went on so long? No one wanted to be the first president to “lose” a war. The goal was no longer clear, yet the war went on for years more despite President Nixon conceding it was unwinnable. Eventually the war was abandoned as America became consumed by Watergate.

After the attacks on September 11, 2001, it was another month before we took action as the Bush Administration was forced to suspend their plan to invade Iraq and create a plan to respond to 9/11. That “plan” entailed invading Afghanistan and capturing Osama bin Laden. When American forces had cornered OBL in the mountains of Tora Bora, the army only surrounded him on three sides. OBL escaped, and, looking for a “win”, the Bush Administration decided to turn it’s attention back to Iraq rather than finish the war in Afghanistan. After dropping the ball so catastrophically on 9/11, the Bush Administration thought it could use the excuse of preventing “the NEXT big attack” as justification for invading Iraq. So now, we were fighting TWO wars on foreign soil with the U.S. in the role of “invader”. But the whole thing blew up in their face, and the Bush Administration found themselves mired in TWO wars with no exit strategy. As Iraq devolved into chaos, by late 2006 (sites like “IraqBodyCount.com” would report over 100 U.S. troop deaths a day for months), the decision to send in 20,000 reinforcements into Iraq in 2007 brought the death toll back down to a dull roar. But it didn’t last. alQaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (“AQAP”)… also known as “alQaeda in Iraq”… moved into neighboring Syria, now in civil war, to help the rebels overthrow President Assad, where they continued to grow. The new Shia government in Iraq made life miserable for the Sunni’s (of which ISIS belonged), denying them employment or even representation in government, so AQAP returned as “ISIS” to take back what was once theirs. And once again, just as in Vietnam, no one wants to be the president that “lost the war.” With no change in strategy, the war goes on forever.

Insert definition of “insanity” here.

It’s a topic I’ve returned to again & again this past year: The wars in Afghanistan & Iraq (and now Syria) will continue as long as our only strategy for fighting them continues unchanged as well. These are untraditional wars. They require an untraditional solution.

Be it Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan or even the United States, people want just ONE THING: A better life. For FAR less money, all of our wars in the Middle East could be brought to an end if we sent in engineers instead of bombardiers. Tractors instead of tanks. Hire local housing contractors instead of flying in thousands of military contractors from Halliburton or Black Water to act as mercenaries. People just want a better life, and they are going to embrace & defend those who are making their lives BETTER by building roads and schools and hospitals and a working power grid.

Do you know that the largest country in South America… Brazil… speaks Portuguese not Spanish? With all the Spanish Conquistadors all over The New World, why did the largest South American nation adopt the language of tiny Portugal? Because while Spain sent conquerors, Portugal sent merchants looking for TRADE. The Brazilian locals willingly learned the Portuguese language so that they could conduct trade with the Portuguese merchant sailors rather than adopt the language of the people that came to conquer them.

And because of that, 500 years later, the largest nation in South America speaks Portuguese while everyone else speaks Spanish. There’s a lesson to be learned there.

If we help the locals build a better life, just how long do you think they’ll tolerate groups like ISIS or alQaeda coming in and blowing things up? Locals who were once taking up arms and joining ISIS to fight the American invaders making their lives miserable are suddenly more apt to defend the people there making their lives better. Instead of breeding enemies plotting the next 9/11, we create friends seeking to replicate us and bring Democracy to their country. The end to the wars may finaly be within sight once we turn former enemies into friends. And that “magical flourishing spread of Democracy across the Middle East” that George Bush thought he could achieve at the barrel of a gun might actually take root once we put down the weapons and start making lives better instead of worse.

Oh… and besides being multitudes cheaper than what we’re doing now, shortening the length of the war would save us Trillions as well. Not creating any more disabled vets will save us Billions. The reduction in global instability would reduce the threat to us here at home, saving us still more money. Military contractors can still reap their rewards if they shift from building weapons of war to building infrastructure… both abroad and here at home. And the cost burden won’t be 100% on us anymore as other nations would gladly hire former military contractors to come in to rebuild infrastructure.

The wars are finally brought to an end, we save Billions (Trillions?) of dollars and tens of thousands of lives, we create lifelong friends instead of lifelong enemies looking to do us harm, military contractors make out like bandits providing infrastructure rebuilding services here at home and abroad… talk about a WIN/WIN/WIN. All it takes is political will and a president who won’t allow themselves to be bullied by the same clueless warmongers whose policies have led to America’s longest war in history with no end in site.
 

NOTE: I updated the site last week, adding a “Search” function (upper right column) so that you may now search through our entire eight year collection of past Op/Eds.

 


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Same People Telling Us More Guns Is Solution to Gun Violence Have Given Us 15 years of War in Mid East
Oct 12th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy

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WHILE President Obama was en route to Oregon to meet with families of the last mass school shooting at Umpqua Community College, TWO MORE school shootings took place, one at Northern Arizona University (one dead, three wounded) and one at Texas Southern University (one dead, one wounded). And as I pointed out last week, all the GOP candidates could do was shrug their shoulders and say “Hey, shit happens.” And these are the same people that want to be Commander-in-Chief of the largest military on the face of the planet (larger than the next ten militaries combined), saber-rattling against Syria, Iran, and… quite possibly… Russia (whom is now meddling in Syria after invading Georgia in 2008 and annexing Crimea in 2012.) They blame President Obama (not President Bush) for the rise of ISIS, saying he withdrew too early (ie: Bush’s timetable), hinting that if THEY were in charge, they’d be sending our troops right back into that meat grinder. I believe the majority of Americans want us OUT of the Middle East and an end to the wars there. Republicans think the solution to violence is more violence: more guns solves the problem of gun violence, and the way to end war is by sending more troops to war, back into Iraq, expand into Syria, destabilize Iran and play Chicken with Russia. Does ANYONE still wonder why the war in Afghanistan is now in its 15th year and why gun violence continues to spiral out of control?

So who’s to blame for all the gun violence breaking out in our schools? We’re not talking about “violent ‘inner-city’ public schools” as most Right-wing gun nuts would have you believe, but nice suburban colleges with a diverse student body. They try to blame the rising violence on movies & videogames, but those exist in other countries too. And it’s not just our schools. We also saw a mass shooting in a church earlier this year by a white kid seething with hatred towards blacks (wonder where he picked THAT up? Hint: It wasn’t movies & videogames) and yet another movie theater shooting, this time in Louisiana. “Hey, shit happens.” (also last week, a women decided to play vigilante and open fire on a shoplifter in a Home Depot parking lot last week. I assure you, that 46 year old woman didn’t decide that was acceptable behavior playing “Call of Duty III“.)

Following the Charleston, SC church shooting last August, and a spate of violence against blacks by white police officers, GOP candidate Ben Carson was hailed as “the GOP voice of reason” after chastising his fellow Republicans for failing to recognize that violence against blacks is still a problem in this country. But the pressure must have gotten to him, because following these most recent campus shootings, America learned that it IS possible to be both a “brain surgeon” AND a blithering moron simultaneously. Carson chuckled as he essentially blamed the victims of the Umpqua Community College shooting, arguably accusing them of cowardice, suggesting that more lives could have been saved if victims simply joined forces and “rushed the shooter” (like the thought hadn’t occurred to them). But when it was pointed out to him that one man, Chris Mintz, did exactly that and barely survived despite being shot SEVEN TIMES, Carson claimed it “proved his point”. NO. No it doesn’t you jackass! You suggested that rushing the shooter would “take him down and prevent others from being killed”, but this guy tried. The shooter was NOT taken down and Mintz nearly died while the shooter stepped over his bullet-riddled body and into his son’s classroom (I can’t confirm whether the three additional gunshot victims were shot before of after Mintz’s heroic act). His actions do NOT “prove your point.” It only proves what a clueless idiot you are.

(In a second interview the next morning, Carson admitted that when a robber shoved a gun in HIS ribs, HIS response was not “heroics” but to redirect the gunman to the cashier. My how brave!)

More guns. More troops. More tax breaks for the Rich. When reality fails to confirm your misconceptions, double-down. They create a catastrophe, and when the damage is pointed out to them, their “diagnosis” is that we just didn’t go in big enough. When I was a young teen, a neighbor’s infant son drank a half bottle of ammonia! I’d have thought that after the first sip, the child would have spit it out and knew it wasn’t drinkable, but it was explained to me that the child keeps drinking because they keep expecting it to get better. THAT’s the Republican Party! They are that child that sees the pretty glowing green liquid, concludes that something that appears so great can’t possibly be bad, then after they start to drink, no batter how bad it tastes or how sick they get, they just keep on drinking because they are certain if they just keep going it’ll get better. Thing is, the infant doesn’t go back later on and declare that the problem was that they just didn’t keep drinking long enough.

In 2006, then-President Bush visited Vietnam and actually compared the Vietnam War to Iraq… but not in the way you or I… or any sane person would. No, he argued that “the lesson of Vietnam” was that we left too soon. NO! “the lesson of Vietnam” was that WE NEVER SHOULD HAVE BEEN THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE! Both wars were based on lies, we stayed FAR too long, and a lot of innocent young kids gave their lives fighting a war we had no business fighting in the first place! At the time, I tried to imagine being the President of Vietnam, sitting there in that room, while the President of the United States argues that your war didn’t go on long enough and enough of your people didn’t die for nothing. (On a side note, Fox “news” dedicated a segment yesterday to trashing a new Robert Redford film called “Truth”, about the firing of Dan Rather from CBS after he dare report on “60 Minutes” the fact that then Private George Bush had gone AWOL while serving in the Alabama National Guard (the “Texas Air National Guard” came later.)

Conservatives think the “solution” to any problem is to mitigate the damage AFTER it’s begun (eg: Firing back at a shooter AFTER they’ve opened fire on your classmates, finally taking notice of terrorism AFTER the worst attack on U.S. soil in American history, or “going to the ER after you get sick” is a reasonable alternative to the “preventative” care the Affordable Care Act offers.) At least ONE person must die AFTER a crazed gunman starts shooting people before other armed people nearby can pull out their guns and return fire in a campus classroom or crowded movie theater. Carson actually said he has never seen a bullet-riddled body that was worse than denying people the right to own a gun. Seriously. So naturally, being allowed to “own a gun” means we can’t deny a person with a history of violence or mental illness from obtaining an assault weapon with 30-round clip.

Completely irrational. And it should comes as no surprise that these same irrational people actually believe that Mr. Maniac would never attempt such an act in the first place if they knew we were all packin’. But when 50% of mass shootings end in either suicide by their own hand or “suicide by cop”, the nuts committing these crimes aren’t terribly worried about getting killed themselves. If Mr. Maniac is worried about getting shot himself, he’s not going to simply decide not to commit mass murder, he’s going to find another way to do it, like shoot at cars on the freeway from a distance, or fire upon students from a clock tower.

And these people are telling us THEY KNOW how to end the wars in the Middle East. A few months ago, Donald Trump actually pontificated that he’d actually get along well with (megalomaniacs like) Putin or Assad. Of that I have little doubt. But would it lead to peace? Only if their solution is that we switch sides.

More war doesn’t lead to peace any more than Syria, Iraq & Afghanistan have become bastions of tranquility thanks to all the guns that have flooded into those countries.

“Your kid was killed in a school shooting, movie theater, or fighting a war we had no business fighting in the first place? Hey, shit happens.”

(Postscript: The first Democratic presidential debate is tomorrow/Tuesday. The “15 Questions” I suggested for the GOP candidates last July still haven’t been asked/answered. A few should also be asked of the DNC candidates.)
 


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American Parsimony Toward Syrian Refugees is a Disgrace. Let them in.
Sep 14th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy

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Just over four Million Syrian refugees have fled their homeland looking to escape the ravages of a war that WE are largely to blame for yet accept almost no responsibility for. President Obama has announced that the United States will allow in a paltry 10,000 Syrian refugees into the U.S…. NEXT YEAR… or ONE QUARTER OF ONE PERCENT. Meanwhile, Germany, a country 1/27th the size of the U.S., has agreed to accept 800,000 Syrian refugees (or 20%, fully ONE FIFTH). Makes you proud to be an American, don’t it?

America is indeed largely to blame for this crisis. The Syrian government is going after ISIS, which exists only because of Bush’s invasion of Iraq. “ISIS” used to be called “AQAP” or “alQaeda in the Arabian Peninsula” back when Bush was president, whose core leadership consisted of former Iraqi Military leaders. As Iraq became a hot mess, ISIS was invited by the Syrian rebels fighting & fleeing the Assad regime. There are in fact more ISIS fighters in Syria than there are in Iraq, protected by the fact that the U.S. was not in Syria. And this escalation has led to the refugee crisis we see today.

Republicans… whom I’ve repeatedly described as “terrified children” that live in constant blinding fear of everything (minorities, terrorists, “Homo’s”, the government, you name it) and pray to God with a Bible in one hand and their gun in another to protect them from whatever terrifying nightmare scenario their leaders can dream up next (see: “The Power of Nightmares”, a 2004 BBC documentary), are proactively slamming the door shut on allowing in any substantial number of Syrian refugees, fear-mongering that ISIS or alQaeda could secretly embed terrorists in with the refugees that we allow into this country.

And I’ll bet it’s crossed your mind too. The collateral damage of Republican “fear bombs”.

Two big problems with that: 1) We screen refugees before allowing them into the country, and 2) ISIS and alQaeda don’t need to embed terrorists in with the refugees to “sneak them into the country” when they are already recruiting sympathizers right here at home over the Internet. People that don’t need to pass a background check, speak fluent “American”, and are here already.

And don’t these same concerns apply to Germany & the rest of Europe as well? Germany has already allowed in so many Syrian refugees that they’ve had to put the breaks on (temporarily) so that they can process all the people flocking to their country. They too are performing “background checks” (can’t confirm, but they were checking “Iraqi” refugees as recently as 2009) while the German people stand cheering welcoming the refugees as they arrive. Americans… especially members of a certain Party that touts “Family Values” and has claimed Jesus Christ himself as one of their own… should be ashamed of themselves.

But they’re not.

Rep. Michael McCaul fear-mongered last week that the Obama Administration is opening up a “Jihadi Pipeline” for allowing in a paltry 10,000 refugees (which is up only slightly from the 5,000 to 8,000 we already allow each year) over the next two years. For weeks, the same GOP presidential candidates that have been encouraging their moron supporters (definitely not DIScouraging them) that President Obama is making a deal with Iran because “he’s one of them“, is now fear-mongering that Obama is blindly inviting “terrorists” into our country. The #2 GOP frontrunner, Ben Carson… whose brain I’ve compared to an overflowing shotglass… warned on ABC’s ThisWeek yesterday that we need to “screen” any Syrian refugees coming into this country. I’m sure he thinks he’s the first one to think of that.

When one million Iraqis were fleeing the violence in Iraq in a mass exodus in 2004/2005…
 


 

…the Bush Administration was criticized for focusing on Iraqi refugees that had aided U.S. forces in Iraq, but not so-much Iraqi civilians fleeing the war.

If the Obama Administration doesn’t want to be compared to the Bush Administration with regards to how welcoming we are to the people whom we are responsible for turning into “the wretched refuse”, it needs to make the case to the American people that it is our obligation… not just as a leading factor in their misery, but as the supposed “Christian nation” Republicans claim us to be… to allow in at least ten times as many Syrian refugees as we have already agreed to. The “security threat” is minimal, while the International Good Will it would generate is immeasurable.
 

BTW: Even if you think you’ve read the plaque on the Statue of Liberty, read it again, in full:
 

Lady Liberty’s credo: The New Colossus
Plaque on Lady Liberty

 

I turn your attention to the official name of the Statue of Liberty: “Mother of Exiles.”

Postscript: I was able to fix the bugs in the preferred “Emerald” theme chosen by readers last year, which hopefully you should find easier to read. – Mugsy

Addendum 9/29/15: John Oliver debunks RW fears over immigration. Not terrorists. Not a drain on society (actually a benefit.)
 


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