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This Is Why We Said No to Invading Iraq in 2003. Those who pushed for war, please shut up.

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, August 25, 2014

Last June, The Rachel Maddow Show commented on the number of former Bush Administration figures that were suddenly being booked on the Sunday Political Talkshows to pontificate on the rise of ISIS, the Sunni-based terrorist organization:

Attention Media: Stop booking Yahoos to advise on Iraq! (4:52)

Yesterday on ABC’s ThisWeek, Bill Kristol (who apparently ABC got in the trade when George Will went to Fox to finally let his Conservative freakflag fly) bemoaned the fact that “President Obama didn’t leave 10,000 troops [behind] in Iraq” when he pulled them out at the end of 2010. I pointed out last June that the decision to pull ALL U.S. troops out of Iraq was not only what the majority of the American people wanted at the time (and that hasn’t changed), but the decision was made by the Bush Administration months before Barack Obama was elected president. It was President Bush that tried to convince the Iraqi’s to allow a contingency of thousands of American troops to stay behind in Iraq “in perpetuity”, but only if Iraq agreed to give them immunity for any perceived “past crimes” (read: Abu Ghraib.) Iraq said “No” and thus it was agreed that we would withdraw ALL U.S. troops by the end of 2010. After five years of lip-service about Iraq being “a sovereign nation” once again, we couldn’t very well just ignore their wishes and install our troops in the middle of a foreign nation without their approval, now could we?

But that still hasn’t stopped Conservatives… particularly people like Kristol who certainly know better… from continuing to blame President Obama for the rise of ISIS in Iraq. “If only we had left 10,000 troops behind in Iraq” then… what? ISIS wouldn’t have taken over much of Syria & Northern Iraq two years later? No, all that would have been accomplished is the death of several hundred more American soldiers. We’re talking about an army of more than a few hundred religious fundamentalist psychopaths that shoot children in the head because they pray to the wrong invisible man in the sky.

But can we all just pause for a moment and agree on one thing: NONE OF THIS MESS WOULD BE HAPPENING RIGHT NOW IF WE HADN’T INVADED IRAQ IN THE FIRST PLACE!

Can we all just agree on this one simple fact? Saddam was a Sunni Muslim, and gave Sunni’s all the political power in Iraq despite them being roughly only 10% of the Iraqi population. When we invaded Iraq and deposed Saddam, Rumsfeld & Bremmer made the seriously bad decision to disband the entire Iraqi military… probably the closest thing they had left to a trained police force… leaving nearly 200,000 pissed off soldiers with guns and no job to go out and go to war against the American invaders. That’s right, much of ISIS is made up of former Iraqi Army personnel disenfranchised by the Bush Administration. They are organized, with a Command Structure, raising funds and distributing propaganda. In the Iraqi government, the Shia took over and excluded Sunni’s from ALL political positions, pissing them off still further. In neighboring Syria, President Assad declared war on the Sunni minority, even (apparently) gassing small children to death. “ISIS” is a direct result of the invasion of Iraq and ostracism of the Sunni minority that had previously held power.

In 2002, I warned a Conservative friend of mine who was cheerleading for the invasion of Iraq that if we invaded Iraq, we would “unleash the gates of Hell”, either as friends of Saddam rushed to his defense, or as different groups fought over the scraps like wild dogs.

We are now seeing the latter.

The gruesome beheading of an American reporter last week kicked Conservative fear & paranoia (the hallmarks of Conservatism… which I plan to dedicate an entire Op/Ed to someday) into overdrive. “They’re coming for us next!” “They’re coming to America!” We must invade Iraq [again] to stop this threat [that was brought about by our first invasion eleven years ago.]

“Invading” Iraq started this mess. Re-invading Iraq now won’t make it better.

Terrified Conservative believe, “We won’t be safe until every small town in America looks like Ferguson, Missouri, with local police dressed in desert camo, carrying semi-automatic assault rifles and driving down Main Street in an up-armored mine-resistant Humvee.”

…Well, every BLACK town in America. We don’t want Furer Obama and his “jackbooted thugs” marching through OUR town, pointing guns at us and telling us what to do, norsiree Bob!

POSTSCRIPT: Also on ThisWeek yesterday, Bill Kristol happened to praise Texas Governor Rick Perry’s handling of his indictment, noting that Perry “has been out on the campaign trail” in Iowa “talking intelligently about foreign policy.” I’d just like to point out that Kristol is the former Chief of Staff for the dumbest VP in history, Dan Quayle. High praise indeed Bill.



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Filed in Middle East, National Security, Politics, rewriting history, Terrorism, War August 25th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • 1 comment | Add/View

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Is Anyone Surprised Republicans Are Talking Impeachment?

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, July 28, 2014

I had been thinking it for years before I tweeted last January: “Reminder on importance of 2014 mid-terms: GOP impeached Clinton his final two years. #MtP”. And like swallows returning to Capistrano, the GOP seems to think that “impeachment” is a perfectly acceptable response to circumventing every Democratic presidency in its sixth year. They’ve been looking for an excuse since November 7th, 2012 (the day after Obama’s re-election.) Back in May when President Obama unilaterally agreed to a prisoner exchange to bring home ailing American POW Bowe Bergdahl, demon-spawn Liz Cheney was already citing it as an impeachable offense. Bush’s last Attorney General Michael Mukaseythe highest law  enforcement officer in the land… who should know the law better than anyone, actually said on Fox “news” Sunday last June that, “the president can legally do something and still be impeached [for it].” NO. No he can’t. The Constitution specifically states “high crimes and misdemeanors” as the only things a president can be impeached for. But that just goes to show you just how flippantly Republicans take something as serious as impeaching a president. For a group of people that seems to cite “The Constitution” so much, they sure seem to know damn little about it. I could start a list of things President Bush should have been impeached for… and we’re not talking the rinky-dink nonsense they impeached Clinton over or now want to impeach Obama over (when they finally settle on something, I’ll let you know). During the Bush presidency, the GOP lie silent (except to call you & me “unpatriotic” if we dare question our “Commander-in-Chief” in “a time of war!”) in response to a multitude of some VERY SERIOUS and clearly unconstitutional abuses of power. Shocking, I know. So what’s their latest reason for pondering “impeachment”? The (feux) “immigration crisis”. And what exactly has Obama done to warrant impeachment? Nothing. Literally. This latest round of impeachment talk is what to do IF the president unilaterally grants all these child refugees “amnesty” (yes, this is the same Obama currently deporting those same refugees faster than President Bush did.) And lest we forget St. Ronnie granting amnesty to TEN MILLION undocumented immigrants?

Exactly eleven years ago yesterday (July 27, 2003), four months after the invasion of Iraq and still no “WMD’s” to be found, Florida Senator Bob Gramm went of Fox “news” Sunday to suggest that perhaps President Bush should be impeached over invading Iraq on false pretenses. Please note Brit Hume’s high bar for whether or not President Bush did anything “impeachable”. He literally bristles with contempt towards Gramm (whose name they misspell, natch) at the very idea, unwilling to even let columnist Mara Liason (sitting next to Hume) to get a word in edgewise to ask a question (old video. I apologize for the quality):
 

Sen. Gramm: If what Clinton’s did was impeachable, Bush knowingly
lying us into war was far worse.
(July 27, 2003)
(4:04)

 

And now Republicans are openly talking of impeachment over something President Obama *might* do? You gotta be kidding me.

Of course, as noted above, this is just their latest excuse to try and derail Obama’s presidency and permanently blemish his otherwise impressive legacy. He got us out of Iraq, he’s getting us out of Afghanistan, is getting the economy back on track (the 1.4 million new jobs created in the first six months of this year is the most since late 1999)… five of those months surpassing the 200,000 jobs mark… the DOW hit a new record high four or five times already this month, and it’s driving the GOP nuts!

Noted bow-tie enthusiast George Will showed an uncharacteristic (albeit brief) flash of sanity on Fox “news” Sunday yesterday, commenting on the immigration “crisis”:

“This country has seen and absorbed far more immigrants coming into our country than we are seeing today.” – George F. Will on Fox “news” Sunday yesterday

Whether it’s “Ben-GAH-zeee!” (Obama’s inability to foresee the deaths of four people on 9/11… 2012), extending the “ObamaCare” deadline for small businesses (which Republicans actually wanted), his use of “Executive Orders” to actually get something done (in this case, to force Federal Contractors to pay a higher minimum wage and prevent them from employment discrimination based on sexual orientation) when our (literally) “do-nothing Congress” can’t organize a two-car parade, and now the basesless fear over what he might do over immigration… Republicans have been desperately looking for an excuse to impeach the president for years.

When polls showed the American public has no appetite for seeing yet another wildly partisan Republican Congress attempting to impeach yet another Democratic president, Speaker Boehner quickly shifted gears to suggest merely suing President Obama rather than impeaching him. “Sue him? For what?”, I hear you ask. Well, they haven’t quite worked that little detail out just yet. But consider this: If the president did something that he could be sued for in a Criminal court, then he must have broken the law… which is (by definition) an impeachable offense. So are they telling us President Obama committed a CRIME he can be SUED for, but it’s not anything for him to be impeached over.

Over the weekend, more violence erupted in Libya, forcing the Obama Administration to order the evacuation of our embassy in Tripoli. On FnS, the famed “Power Panel” discussed whether or not it was a mistake for President Obama to have “taken out Qadaffi.”

I kid you not. Hand-to-God. Really???

One has to wonder just how detached from reality these people must be to openly wonder if removing the brutal & violent dictator of a relatively peaceful Middle-Eastern nation was a good idea in light of the resulting violence, and not worry about being seen as raging hypocrites.

Of course, the big difference between 9/11/2012 and 9/11/2001, or the ousting of Saddam vs the ousting of Qadaffi is that the later “impeachable offenses” were both committed by a Democrat… which in itself is an impeachable offense in GOP-Land.
 



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Filed in Election, fake scandals, Middle East, myth busting, Partisanship, Politics, Predictions, Right-Wing Insanity, Seems Obvious to Me, Unconstitutional July 28th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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While President Bush Was Ducking Shoes… you missed the SOFA.

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, June 23, 2014

“It was a natural reaction to the killing of a million of my people, the orphaning of 5 million children, the widowing of one million women, resulting in tens of thousands of handicapped persons, tens of thousands of prisoners in American jails in Iraq, and the everyday scandals caused by the American occupation: rape, Abu Ghraib prison, bringing down roofs on peoples heads with Apache helicopters and F16 planes. Despite all this, Bush was saying the Iraqi people are happy, and the Americans liberated the Iraqi people, and the Iraqi people welcomed the Americans with flowers. [...] You lied. We did not welcome you with flowers, and instead, we are saying goodbye with our shoes.” So said Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al Zaidi explaining why he threw both of his shoes at President Bush during his final visit to Iraq. The reason for the visit? To announce an historic “Status of Forces Agreement”SoFA for short… between the U.S. and Iraq promising, quote, “the next president” would withdraw “ALL” U.S. troops out of Iraq by the end of 2011. Problem was, embedded in SoFA was a requirement for Iraq not to seek prosecution against any American soldiers for any crimes they may have committed while serving in Iraq. Because of this, Iraqi president al Maliki refused to sign SoFA. It was also because of this refusal to exempt American soldiers from prosecution, that President Obama did not leave residual American forces in Iraq. He negotiated with Maliki and tried to get him to agree to SoFA, but (as “Mother Jones reported), Iran demanded Maliki not allow ANY residual American forces in Iraq, “and Maliki owed them [Iran].” The Right has been going nuts for the past week trying to blame Obama for the crisis in Iraq that seems to be destabilizing the Middle East. That’s a bit like blaming the firemen for your house burning down after you set fire to it and then waited five hours before calling them.

I’m trying to imagine what the Right’s reaction would have been if President Obama had agreed to keep American forces in Iraq on the condition they could be prosecuted by a foreign government.

My TV survived another Sunday despite having to sit through this little exchange on Fox “news” Sunday yesterday. Michel Needham, the CEO of the Heritage Foundation’s “Heritage Action for America” super-PAC, lobbed this asinine accusation against President Obama (try not to toss your computer out the window):
 

“Six years ago, he [Obama] makes the decision to pull out of Iraq, leave no residual forces… the forces that could have been there identifying the intelligence and targeting the assets that would have prevented this [ISIS] from happening.”

(I especially like the end-part, where Needham agrees that he probably wouldn’t do anything different than President Obama, except to criticize the president’s lack of clairvoyance for not sending agents into Iraq “six months ago” to gather “intel”. Why on Earth would anyone have thought it necessary to gather intel on Iraq in late 2013? I did a Google search and I was unable to find ANY calls… not from Mr. Needham, the Heritage Foundation, nor anyone else on the right, demanding President Obama send agents into Iraq to gather “intel”. We WERE gathering intel in Syria six months ago, and ISIS was there. Lot of good that did.)

Oh Mr. Needham, where to begin. Well, first, I’m not going to nitpick that “six years ago”, Obama wasn’t president. “5+ years”, “six years”. Whatever. But something DID take place “six years ago” before Obama took office. it was President Bush, on December 15, 2008, with barely a month left in office, that sought an agreement with Iraq to withdraw ALL U.S. forces from Iraq. Iraq said, “Not unless we can prosecute them.” Bush said “No” and the agreement was never signed. But the plan to pull ALL American troops out… including any potential “residual force”… remained. President Bush wasn’t about to leave American troops at the mercy of the Iraqi courts. But apparently Mr. Needham wishes President Obama had agreed to let Iraq prosecute American soldiers just so long as we could have kept troops there? Yeah, right. And Mr. Needham must have some unspoken power of “time travel” where American troops could have magically skipped over the last two years and lived in Iraq incident-free to arrive at 2014 to stop ISIS from materializing? American forces couldn’t even stop Muqtada al-Sadr, the powerful and fiercely anti-American cleric, from rising to power. Leaving American forces in Iraq would not have prevented ISIS from rising to power. They started in SYRIA not Iraq. And they were drawn to Iraq in protest of the corrupt & inept Maliki government that was excluding Sunni’s from the political process. That would have taken place whether we left troops there or not. And as pointed out last week, whether it was one more or one hundred more years, the moment American forces left, a thousand years of jihad in Iraq would have picked up right where it left off (and will in Afghanistan too).

As recently as last September, John McCain was still bemoaning the fact that President Obama was still refusing to arm the Syrian rebels fighting President Assad, saying his “friends in the Free Syrian Army” would feel “abandoned” if we didn’t send them “arms”. McCain has been calling for the arming of Syrian rebels for YEARS. The largest of the Sunni anti-Assad militia groups McCain wanted to arm, you know today as “ISIS”, the alQaeda-trained terrorist organization now in control of nearly half the region. Yes, had “President” McCain of had his way, we could have been arming ISIS all along. Darned the luck! (How this idiot keeps getting booked on the Sunday shows without a single one of them pointing out this one simple fact, is a mystery to me… well, not really.)

Last week also saw former Vice President Cheney rise from the crypt in his “undisclosed location” to attack President Obama… saying without a hint of irony… that “never has a president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many.” I can’t imagine the bubble this man has been living in over the past 13 years, but whatever he’s smoking in that bubble can’t be legal.
 

 
Let’s read what Mr Cheney said again: “never has a president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many.”

As I like to point out, the objective of this site is to “Record history for those who seek to rewrite it”, and I could have spent literally WEEKS taring down all the asinine comments made by former Bush Administration officials and Right-Wing pundits last week that dare criticize President Obama’s handling of the shit-storm left to him by these “detached-from-reality” war criminals whose only audience should be in The Hague. But SO many others did such a great job of taking Cheney and the rest over their knee and slapping the malarky out of them that I didn’t have to.

And now, it’s this accusation that it is President Obama’s fault that the terrorist organization ISIS is taking over the region because HE refused to leave any American troops behind in Iraq after he pulled them all out in 2011. Sorry guys, we know better.
 
Oh, and before we go, a bonus clip from the same Fox “news” Sunday yesterday. Cleta Mitchell, attorney for “Tea Party groups” (gee, I wonder who hired her?) openly accused the Obama Administration of being behind the Cincinnati IRS “scandal”. When asked for the “hard evidence” she insisted she had, all she has was innuendo (this is what passes for “news” on Fox):
 

Mitchell: My “hard evidence” Obama is behind IRS scandal? He was secretly suggesting people do stuff.

 



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Filed in fake scandals, Middle East, myth busting, Partisanship, Politics, rewriting history, Terrorism, War June 23rd, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Is ISIS Really a Threat to the U.S.? The argument(s) for staying out of Iraq’s Civil War.

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, June 16, 2014

By now, you’ve already heard the “catastrophic”, “world-is-coming-to-an-end” news that a terrorist group “too extreme for alQaeda” (“too extreme” for a group that dive-bombed hijacked planes into buildings? Doubtful.) is slowly taking over Iraq, with Iraqi soldiers so afraid, they’re “stripping off their uniforms and running for their lives”. And… of course… a conga-line of Republicans taking to the airwaves to say “We told you so!” to President Obama for “leaving Iraq too early.” Okay, can we just stop with the nonsense and hyperbole for a moment. We were in Iraq for EIGHT YEARS… almost twice as long as America’s involvement in World War II. Trust me, if leaving after eight years was still “too soon”, NO amount of time would have been long enough. And in a country where the same people claiming we “left too soon” are also the LEAST likely to PAY for that involvement… is either taxes OR blood… they sure are eager to commit American forces to “Nation Building” once again… something Republicans so abhorred during the Clinton Administration that George W. Bush ridiculed the idea during the second presidential debate of 2000. And, news alert to those same Chickenhawks: THE SAME THING WILL HAPPEN WHEN WE LEAVE AFGHANISTAN after THIRTEEN YEARS. These regions have been at each others throats for CENTURIES, and they’re not going to stop now if we stay a few extra years.

If you clicked on the comic above to read it full sized, you’ll notice it’s from 2007… just four years after the start of the war in Iraq and before Bush left office. It’s an excellent reminder of all the warnings the opponents of invading Iraq gave. If ANYBODY should be saying “WE TOLD YA SO!”, it’s US. A few famous quotes from that comic:

“I will bet you the best dinner in the Gas Light District of San Diego that military action will not last more than a week.” – Bill O’Reilly on 1/29/03

“There is a certain amount of pop-psychology in America that the Shia can’t get along with the Sunni, and the Sunni can’t get along with the Shia… there’s almost no evidence of that at all.” – Bill Kristol, 4/1/03

“It’s amazing that more than two weeks into the liberation of Iraq, the anti-war crowd is still spinning a doomsday scenario.” – Brendan Miniter of OpinionJournal.com, 4/8/03

“The war was the hard part… and it gets easier. I mean, setting up a democracy is hard, but not as hard as winning a war.” – Fred Barns, 4/10/03

I nearly threw a brick through my TV yesterday as “Meet the Press” had on… of all people… PAUL F-ing WOLFOWITZ… often called “The Architect of the Iraq War”… to comment on the current situation in Iraq. The only reason this is even happening today is because of his pathetic & incomplete plan for the invasion of Iraq based upon false pretenses with no exit strategy. That’s like bringing on Richard Nixon to comment on Bill Clinton’s ethics. Fortunately for me, sanity prevailed and I simply switched off my TV rather than turn it into a fishtank. They also brought on Mitt Romney to criticize President Obama for withdrawing from Iraq… despite advocating the same thing himself in 2007 AND admitting that he is no longer privy to the daily intelligence briefings that are provided the president. And John McCain has spent more time in front of a camera since his loss in ’08 than he has his own wife. Please tell me how many times these shows brought on Al Gore or John Kerry to criticize George Bush after they lost their elections? “Liberal Media” my ass.

The organization that has all these pundits wetting their pants is “ISIS: Islamic State of Iraq and ash Sham” (not Iraq and Syria), formed in April of last year. Are they violent & brutal religious extremists? Yes (I’ve always found it curious how the most religious in any society have a tendency to be the most vicious & brutal, then justify their brutality with the Bible/Koran/Torrah). Would their take-over of Iraq be a big step backwards for Iraq? No question about it. But that doesn’t concern us. There are MANY brutal & dangerous Islamic fundamentalist states across the Middle East, and we don’t go invading all of them and try to “set them right”. It is ONLY a matter of concern for the United States if that organization is threatening to attack the United States, and that is NOT the case here.

ISIS is fighting to restore the Sunni minority back to power (Saddam was Sunni, and the Sunni controlled “Iraq” for centuries) after being marginalized by the al-Maliki government, which is Shia. President Obama openly chastised the Maliki government for excluding Sunni’s from his government. ISIS HATES the corrupt Miliki government. In Syria, Assad’s government in “Alawite”… a Shia sect. Iran is also Shia. ISIS hates them all and wants them all gone. Tell me again why were on the side or Assad, Maliki and Iran? Oh yeah, because they are “a threat to the United States”… or are they?

I went searching online for reports of terrorist attacks committed by ISIS (originally “ISI: The Islamic State of Iraq”). We’ve all heard/seen the coverage of the brutal attacks in Iraq, and have led the Civil War against Assad in Syria (including the brutal murder of seven children). But they have also launched attacks in Lebanon, and are threatening Israel from Gaza. To date, ALL of their terrorist activities have been “local” to that region of the world.

I don’t agree with Ron Paul on very much, but when he was lambasted during one of the 2008 RNC Debates for pointing out the obvious… that al Qaeda only attacked us because we had been meddling in the Middle East for decades… he was spot on. And if you want to see history repeat itself with ISIS, use American force to prop up the corrupt Maliki government and crush the Sunni opposition. As I tweeted yesterday:

#ISIS is only a threat to the U.S. if we involve ourselves in their civil war, propping up the corrupt Maliki gov’t.

The worst thing we can do now is get re-involved back in Iraq. Don’t give extremists another reason to hate us. Religious Extremists will always be there in that part of the world. It took a brutal Strong Man in Saddam Hussein to repress it for decades, and we took him out.

During the Eisenhower Administration, America overthrew the leadership in Iran and propped up a corrupt, brutal military dictator, The Sha. Iran went extremist, the Islamic Fundamentalists overthrew him, turned the nation into a theocracy, and became an enemy of the U.S.. Let’s not repeat that mistake in Iraq.

The current leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, spent four years in American custody (UPDATE: a PolitiFact investigation finds Baghdadi spent ONE year in custody, not “four”, captured and released in 2004) at Camp Bucca, so he already has sufficient reason to hate the U.S.. Let’s not give him one more.

POSTSCRIPT: Blast-from-the-past. in 2007, then Senator Joe Biden partnered up with then Senator Sam Brownback to propose that the route to peace & stability in Iraq may require breaking Iraq up into three regions, all controlled by a single centralized government. It seems now that he might have been right all along as ISIS, the Kurds and the Shia all seem to be moving in that direction on their own.
 



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Filed in Middle East, myth busting, National Security, Terrorism, War June 16th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • 1 comment | Add/View

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About Those “Terrorists” We Exchanged…

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, June 2, 2014

Yesterday (June 1st), President Obama agreed to release five Taliban fighters in exchange for one American soldier, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who had been held prisoner for over five years. The tiny nation of Qatar was used as an intermediary to avoid direct contact/negotiations between Washington and The Taliban. Qatar also agreed to hold the five men in-country for one year before allowing them to return to their countries of origin. Naturally, Republicans went into hysterics, as Republicans tend to do with everything “ter’ist related” ever since they dismissed a warning entitled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” back in August of 2001. Call it “over-compensation”. Call it “Operation Restore Fake Belief that Republicans Are Good at Security”. Whatever. Doesn’t matter. Ever since that major F-up on their watch, now every threat… real or imagined… becomes a “hair on fire” event. “The President negotiated with terrorists??? We don’t negotiate with terrorists! It only gives them an incentive to take more hostages!”

Nonsense.

A few thoughts immediately crossed my mind:

America has a looooong history of “prisoner exchanges”… dating back to before there even was a “United States of America”. General Washington was in charge of “prisoner exchanges” with the British during the Revolutionary War, and local governors negotiated with local Indian tribes… not just to exchange prisoners, but to stop them from attacking villages… so this is nothing new. But “negotiating with terrorists” is FAR broader than just a simple “prisoner exchange”… it can include giving them money and/or weapons. But we didn’t do that (THIS time). Can’t imagine what Republicans might have done if an American president had done something as reckless as “trade arms for hostages”.

Quick note: Yesterday, June 1st, was the official start of hurricane season, and NOAA, the National Weather Service, released their estimate on the number of storms we can expect to see this season. So this may be a good time to go back and re-read my post from five years ago: “Global Warming will mean FEWER mid-Summer hurricanes, not more”. To date, it’s been spot-on.



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Filed in Middle East, myth busting, National Security, rewriting history June 2nd, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • 4 comments | Add/View

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Ukraine in Chaos. Could Syria Become a Proxy War?

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, April 14, 2014

Ukraine exploded in violence last week. At the same time, a chemical gas attack against rebels may or may not have been committed by Syria (we must consider the possibility that some psychotic and/or desperate rebel faction/individual released a homemade chemical weapon against their own people in order to draw the U.S. into the Syrian conflict (now in its third year.) Conservatives like John McCain almost seemed to take pleasure in shuttling between political morning shows to basically call President Obama “spineless” for failing to involve the United States in a THIRD war for not acting after “his own red line” on Syria’s use of chemical weapons. And now that it has happened again, the drumbeat for war in Syria is bound to rise again on the Right. Russia is a major ally of Syria, and that backing is probably the only thing that has kept the United States out of Syria so far.

Meanwhile, violent protests broke out once again last week as “pro-Russian militants” stormed a Ukrainian police station in Slovyansk (in Eastern Ukraine). The American & European governments have stated their belief that the militants are actually members of the Russian military. Russia says they were really American “CIA” there to stir-up trouble. Either way, between events in Syria and now Ukraine, tensions between the U.S. and Russia haven’t been this high since the end of the Cold War 26 years ago.

When Hitler (no, I’m not about to compare Putin to Hitler so I’m not violating Godwin’s Law) invaded Poland in 1939, it was because he was headed for Russia (map). So when the U.S. finally entered World War II two years later, Russia became the epitome of “My enemy’s enemy is my friend.” An uneasy alliance was formed between the United States, England and Russia. But for the most part, America and England were appalled by some of Stalin’s tactics, and by the time the war was over, the allies had reason to be concerned about the way Russia was annexing smaller border nations to create a buffer zone around their country.
 

Scene from “The Right Stuff” (1983)
Start of the Cold War?

 

Then came the “Red Scare” of the 1950′s. The Soviet Union backed the North Korean invasion of South Korea, and the U.S. sent troops into South Korea in what was essentially a “proxy war” where America used Korea as an excuse to go to “war” (technically called a “police-action”) with Russia. It was long (back when 2-1/2 years to fight a war was still considered a long time) and bloody, and ended in stalemate. Senator Joe McCarthy (before he was reincarnated as Senator Ted Cruz) sent the nation on a nationalistic Communist witch hunt that ruined the lives of thousands of good Americans.

In 1962, Russia attempted to place nuclear missiles in the newly Communist nation of Cuba. The 13 day stand-off between President’s Kennedy & Kruschev were consider the closest we ever came to an actual direct war (possibly even a nuclear one) between the two countries. By this time, Russia’s military involvement in Korea had already spread South to Vietnam, but, after Korea (and Japan during WWII), Americans were not eager to get involved in yet another war in the Pacific. But when Kennedy was assassinated 13 months later, LBJ was quick to believe Russia was behind it, and soon America was sending troops into Vietnam in yet another proxy-war with Russia.

Ronald Reagan, a staunch anti-Communist holdover from the 1950′s who believed Joe McCarthy was right, used the power of the presidency some 30 years later to finish what Joe began, launching a series of micro proxy-wars in South America… El Salvador, Panama, Grenada, and to some extent even the Philippians.

Following Russia’s annexation of Crimea last month, and now the threat of annexing Eastern Ukraine before its government can join the European Union, America has become increasingly worried about President Putin’s reckless behavior. Russia is also allies with Syria and has been the leading obstical in the use of military force to stop President al-Assad from using WMD’s against his own people in rebellion against him (can’t imagine why they hate him).

Late last year, Republicans (always looking for another excuse to criticize President Obama as well as start another war) were quick to mischaracterize President Obama’s “red line on Syria” speech to suggest that ANY use of chemical weapons in Iraq would be grounds for war. Two problems: 1) He said if we see “a whole lot” of chemical weapons being used in Syria (we didn’t. It was one small attack that killed a few dozen, raising serious doubts about whether it was actually committed by Syria. Risking a U.S. invasion simply to kill 20 people?) and 2) never any confirmation it was actually the Syrian government acting on the orders of Assad. Chicken Hawks are very quick to send the nation to war… so long as it’s someone else that’s doing the fighting & dying. We saw that with Iraq.

But now this second use of chemical weapons might be harder to ignore. Add to that the lingering question of whether Syria will meet its agreed upon deadline to destroy it’s chemical stockpiles, and suddenly, military action in Syria starts to look more & more inevitable. And if Russia continues to thumbs it’s nose at the U.S. and attempts to annex Eastern Ukraine to prevent it from allying itself with The West, might we see the U.S. and Europe sending troops into Syria in yet another “proxy-war” with Russia? We can only hope that cooler heads prevail.

PS: What about The Space Station? The current crew consists of three Russians, two Americans and one Japanese astronaut. While the U.S. has suspended contact with the Russian government, the ISS is “exempt”. Russia has also been providing (small “s”) shuttle service to ferry crew to & from the ISS since the Space Shuttle was monthballed and we await its replacement. So what happens if the U.S. and Russia find themselves on opposite sides in a proxy-war? I suppose the ESA (European Space Agency) can take over shuttle service, but it’s nearly impossible to leave the ISS totally unmanned, and I shudder to think about the consequences of Russia starting a turf war in space as they refuse to remove their cosmonauts from the ISS. Interesting thought.

 



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Filed in Middle East, National Security, Predictions, Right-Wing Insanity, War April 14th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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These people are dangerous, and they’re costing lives

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, April 7, 2014

As I predicted last Monday, this was a bad week. Mom passed away Friday morning as I sat at her hospital bedside, holding her hand for 61 minutes after they switched off the ventilator and I slowly watched my mother’s heart rate fall to zero. It was agonizing, and a trauma I hope none of my readers ever have to endure. I couldn’t sue for malpractice while Mom was alive, but we sure as hell can file for “wrongful death” now that she’s gone. (UPDATE: Nope, can’t do that either. Texas put the same bleeping $250K cap on “wrongful death” suits as well, ensuring no lawyer will touch the case. Bastards.)

But I’m not here to reopen that wound and cause myself more pain. Another busy week ahead with the funeral, collecting evidence and calling lawyers, so this will have to be brief (pardon the dearth of links.)

On yesterday’s Fox “news” Sunday, former CIA/NSA director Gen. Michael Hayden was on to discuss (what else?) Benghazi and the second Ft. Hood shooting. The Benghazi (non)story is already on life-support, but Hayden brought Fox a step closer to pulling the plug. Quite honestly, I’m not quite sure why they keep inviting him on. Sure, in private, when he goes on the record only as “an anonymous source”, Hayden is a snarky bitter partisan, but when he makes statements in public, he’s frequently quick to defend the White House, be it Bush’s or Obama’s. Pretty soon they are going to stop having him on if he keeps defending Obama’s White House this way.

I’ve cobbled together a few highlights from yesterday’s lengthy interview. Wallace goes into the commercial break with the following teaser (and flat-out lie):

   “Turns out it was the CIA that changed the Benghazi Talking Points to avoid embarrassing Hillary Clinton’s State Department.”

We return from the break and Wallace asks Hayden why Morell “ignored” the CIA’s own “Station Chief in Libya” who “repeatedly told him in the days after Benghazi that this was a terrorist attack”, choosing instead to take the word of CIA analysts back at Langley.

   “How unusual is that to disregard the word of your own man in the field?

“Disregard” the word of your own “man in the field”? Clearly, the suggestion here is that the guy who was actually IN Libya would know better about what happened in Benghazi than some pencil-pusher 8,000 miles away back at CIA headquarters. Hayden jumps to Morell’s defense quickly:

   “Look, you give a lot of weight to your man-in-the-field, but keep in mind, our man-in-the-field was more than 500 miles away from the incident [in Tripoli].”

Not exactly an eye-witness. Hayden went on to point out that Morell also went so far as to inform the White House that there was a “dissenting opinion” as to what happened so they wouldn’t “put all their eggs in one basket.” Wallace quickly moves on (emphasis Wallace’s):

   “Morell said that he went around his boss David Petraeus and took out [from the CIA's report] the fact that the CIA had repeatedly warned the State Department about the threat level in Benghazi”, followed by Wallace playing the clip of Morell testifying that he felt the claim was only there to allow the CIA to “pound its chest” and “lay all the blame on the State Department”.

Hayden again unspins Fox’s attempt to turn this into something sinister by pointing out that the CIA putting that line in about “repeatedly warning the State Department” was inappropriate, and removing it was an attempt to NOT politicize the issue rather than provide State with political cover.

The entire interview was sad all around and I may try to post it online in the near future when I have more time.

Then there was the (second) shooting (in 5 years) at Fort Hood. Right Wing Congressman Mike McCall went on Meet the Press to suggest that maybe restricting firearms on the military base was a bad idea and that maybe allowing everyone to go around packing heat would make the place much safer. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed as Former Joint Chief Admiral Mike Mullen came on later to disagree with McCall, noting that NOT having everyone going around armed has likely resulted in FEWER such incidents. Lord only knows how much worse it could get if every soldier with PTSD was allowed to carry a loaded semi-automatic firearm with them every where they went on one of the largest military bases in the country. And it’s not like they can’t GET guns quickly at Ft. Hood. One Right Wing argument for armed guards in schools is that no one had access to a gun to stop any rampage. Well at Fort Hood, they DID have guns. Heck, they were armed to the teeth, and this still happened… not once, but twice.

Later on in the evening, NBC hosted a special presentation on Global Warming and whether a tipping point had been reached. It was fairly good as one hour summaries of complex issues go, even taking time to explain how we can have “Global Warming” and the record-breaking freezing cold we’ve been having at the same time. But you really can’t do a topic as complex as Climate Change in just one hour, and while they mentioned the skeptics, I think not including Jesus-freaks Paul “lies straight from the pit of Hell” Broun and Jim “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on mankind” Inhoff in the story was an opportunity lost. These Ludites are more than willing to jeopardize the lives of tens of millions based on their own personal interpretation of a 5000 year old Harry Potter novel known as The Bible. I say “their” interpretation because even the freaking Pope believes in Climate Change and released a report on the subject (pdf) in 2011.

In truth, the GOP DESPISES the subject of Global Warming primarily because they associate it with Al Gore. So basically, this one tiny group of anti-science mental midgets that have chosen to interpret The Bible in such an extreme and narrow fashion that not even the Vatican agrees with them, is willing to risk global catastrophe rather than admit that maybe Al Gore was right. Really. That is all it boils down to.

And if Gore had been President on September 11th, do you think for a moment that they would have rallied around him the way Democrats embraced George Bush after 9/11? Hell no. They would have begun impeachment proceedings on 9/12. Don’t believe me? Just look at their outrage over four dead in Benghazi. Now multiply that by 1,000.

These people are twisted. They’re dangerous, and they’re endangering lives. My mother was just their latest victim.
 



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Filed in fake scandals, Middle East, myth busting, National Security, Politics, Scandals, Terrorism April 7th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • 1 comment | Add/View

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Keystone XL Protest Signs for Download

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Friday, February 28, 2014

As promised, here are seven posters/signs that I created for the Keystone XL Protest that I plan to attend this weekend.

As I mentioned on Monday, I believe it is FAR more effective to focus on NON-CO2 related reasons for opposing the pipeline when your goal is to convince people that don’t believe in “Global Warming” and have been spoon-fed a steady stream of lies of “Job Jobs Jobs”, “cheap gas” and “Energy Independence”, to vote against something they’ve been told would be a magic bullet for the economy.

Previews are in JPG format. Each poster in both “tall” and “wide” formats for signs or posters. Click images to download in high resolution PhotoShop format:


The oil is to be EXPORTED - The oil is to be EXPORTED


HIGHER prices NOT lower -  - HIGHER prices NOT lower


The JOBS myth - The JOBS myth


No good for gasoline - No good for gasoline


Massive Tailing Ponds - Massive Tailing Ponds


An ENORMOUS waste of fresh water - An ENORMOUS waste of fresh water


Summary poster - Summary poster

If you find these posters useful, let us know. – Mugsy
 


 

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Filed in Economy, Energy Independence, Environment, Global Warming, Greed, Jobs, Middle East, myth busting, Politics February 28th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Mugsy’s Annual Predictions for 2014: No more predictions for Syria (kinda)

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, December 30, 2013

I never put any stock in “13″ being an “unlucky number”, but after the year I just had, one can’t help but wonder.

My predictions for 2013 were a bit rushed. I cranked them out at the last minute as I spent my days preoccupied trying to save the life of my beloved cat “Lefty”. One year later, my days are now preoccupied trying to save the life of my mother. And in both instances, gross medical negligence is to blame. The frustration I feel is profound as I watch helplessly as another loved-one fights for life following the harm done to them by incompetent doctors, with no legal recourse because of the state I live in (Texas). So please bear that in mind if my predictions for 2014 seem a bit bleak.

We begin by looking back at how well the “Professionals” did at making predictions for 2013. I may not get 100% of my predictions right… or even 75%…, but compared to some of the so-called “experts”, I should be sitting on a mountain top somewhere, an oracle allowing but a brave few to ask “Just one question”.

First off, can I just say that if you publish your “Predictions” AFTER December 31st, you’re not “predicting”, you’re reporting the news.

With that said, here is what some famous “psychics” predicted we’d see in 2013:

Sylvia Browne

Maybe it’s a bit unfair, but I love picking on self-proclaimed “psychics” because their accuracy is always dismal. But they make so many predictions, that when one or two pan out, the media responds as if that person has “second sight” and deserving of being taken very seriously.

Famed “psychic” Sylvia Browne passed away in November. It almost seems crewel to “fact check” Miss Browne posthumously, but when you’re as big a name in the “predicting” biz as she was, maybe keeping her on the list is a sign of respect for her particular brand of hucksterism. In 2012, Ms. Browne predicted President Obama would NOT be reelected; in a 2006 appearance on “The Montel Williams Show”, she told the mother of one of the three girls that had been held captive by that nut in Ohio for over a decade only to escape earlier this year, that her daughter was dead and would be waiting for her on the other side (the mother died the next year), and on that same show, Browne told a widow whose husbands’ body “was never found” that he was “in water”, presumably lost at sea. It turns out the woman was the widow of a 9/11 fireman.

As I noted, Ms. Browne passed away in November. Apparently, she never saw it coming because she booked no less than 14 public appearances from December of 2013 to April of 2014. If you want to read her final list of predictions for 2013, you must purchase an ANNUAL membership to her “inner circle” for a minimum buy in of $49.95 or an EIGHTEEN MONTH membership for $79.95 (which, if you do the math, is slightly more expensive than just buying 1-year memberships.) Seeing as how Ms. Browne is no longer with us, anyone who purchases a 12 or 18 month membership at this point to find out what she has to say next deserves to have their money taken from them. They’re still taking Reservations if you wish to meet her.

Psychic-to-the-Stars: “Nikki”

It’s funny how many people bestow upon themselves the title “Psychic to the Stars”. I suppose if two “stars” just happen to meet the same psychic backstage at a taping of “A Sucker’s Born Every Minute”, they can call themselves a “Psychic to the Stars”. But type the phrase into Google, and top of the list is “Nikki”… whom apparently shall remain last-nameless. Among Nikki’s predictions for 2013:

“Nikki’s” list of predictions for 2013 reads like a script for the next Hollywood blockbuster disaster movie. Of the 115 World Events she predicts, EIGHTY (by my count) fall into the “death & destruction” category.

Of course, when you make well over 100 predictions, random chance almost ensures a few hits (“even a blind squirrel finds a nut now & then”):

  1. More cyber attacks. – There were four notable instances of computer crime this year: Britain’s NatWest Bank was the victim of a distributed denial of service (“DDoS”) attack that inconvenienced thousands of customers for a few days, the Bank of China was hacked by (reportedly) some frustrated “BitCoin” users, North Korea is believed to be behind a cyber attack on South Korean TV stations and two banks, and, of course, more significantly, the recent hack of some 40 million “Target” store customer’s credit cards here in the U.S.. Personally, I suspect that if asked for more detail, Ms. Nikki was expecting an attack more along the lines of a “terrorist” nature, not kids hacking credit cards.
  2. A major automobile company will go bankrupt. – You know what, I’m feeling generous and will give “Detroit Declares Bankruptcy” to Ms. Nikki. The auto-companies themselves might have declared “record PROFITS” this past year (their best since 2007), but the city synonymous with the auto-industry did in fact (thanks to a Republican appointed viceroy who dismantled the local government, disenfranchised nearly a million people and is now liquidating the city’s treasures) “declare bankruptcy”. Probably not what she was predicting, but there you are.
  3. Great floods in the US and in Europe – Yes, massive floods did indeed hit Colorado and Central Europe this year.

3-for-115 (she actually made many more predictions than that if you count “celebrity” predictions), for an accuracy rate of 2.6%… and that was after being a bit generous. It’s up to you to decide whether “Ms. Nikki” is psychic or just guessing.

The Psychic Twins

A sister duo dubbed “The Psychic Twins” are laying claim to a number of accurate predictions in 2013, including the “Lone Wolf” shootings in DC’s “Navy Yard” a knife attack by a mentally disturbed student at a Houston Community College (that I just happened to attend some 20 years ago) that ran around stabbing other students with a craft-knife, and an armed gunmen at North Carolina’s A&T University that was subdued before a single shot was fired.

They also predicted strict new gun laws passed in Connecticut just days after the Sandy Hook massacre. They MUST be psychic!

“The Psychic Twins” appear to only make their predictions on video, and I have neither the time nor the inclination to spend hours verifying their accuracy, though I have little doubt it would be another case of “throw everything at the wall and see what sticks”. This short second-hand list of their predictions for 2013 as documented by a fan is predictably (pun intended) hit & miss. Hits with further “Lone Wolf” attacks following Sandy Hook, misses on Economics (but also predicted “cyber attacks”) and vaguely all-too-general predictions of weather/natural disasters.

Last year I singled out another “celebrity psychic, Blair Robertson” for his poor performance in predicting what 2012 held in store for everyone. Mr. Robertson did a little better this year, (arguably) over his one correct prediction for 2012, correctly predicting this year that “a boxer would die in the ring” but falling short everywhere else. Robertson improved his score this year by a half-point for “predicting” Rhianna and Chris Brown would “tie the knot”. The couple played the Media like a fiddle, with photos of “a ring” and even rumors of a “secret wedding”, but no, the most famous dysfunctional couple in Hip-Hop did not in fact get married in 2013 (correct me if I’m wrong.)

Political Prognosticators

It’s a bit more difficult this year to find Republicans opining about 2013 after they all had just finished predicting a Mitt Romney landslide, “easily” winning the election as Americans were “fed up” with President Obama, “Obamacare”, “taxes” and “Benghazi”. That bubble they built up had some might thick glass.

So naturally, when Republicans carried out their threats of being even more obstructionist in 2013, the Right crowed… crowed I tell ya… how “Mitt Romney was right!” when he “predicted” a government Shutdown in 2013. It’s a bit like predicting your “homies” are going to “trash this place” if they don’t get their way, and then being lauded for your insight when they carry out your threats.

Mitt Romney also “predicted” (according to them) Detroit going bankrupt when he in fact only argued for it as being preferable to a bailout. As noted above, the only reason Detroit declared bankruptcy is because a Viceroy appointed by the state’s Republican governor made it so.

In 2010, Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn predicted that because of “Obamacare”: “There will be no insurance industry left in three years”. I have little doubt that Senator Coburn wishes millions of people had lost their insurance and the industry imploded, but darned the luck, they still exists and are expected to reap record profits next year.

Bloomberg Right-Wing News Columnist and “AEI Fellow” Ramesh Ponnuru made a number of negative predictions about President Obama and his policies. He actually didn’t do too bad until you consider how many Republican “predictions” were actually self-fulfilling prophecies. Ponnuru “predicted” the Healthcare Exchanges “would not open for business on October 1st” when Secretary Sebelius “admits the federal government won’t be ready by then.” The government was ready, the private contractors that built the glitchy website were not. They did indeed open on October 1st, but weren’t ready and had to be closed soon after for about a week. As a result, Ponnuru predicted support for Obamacare would continue to decline. If you do a Google News search for “poll support for Obamacare”, you’ll see lots of links to sites all claiming this to be true… ALL of them… each and every one… a Right Wing blog or media outlet (from the NRO to Glenn Beck). Interesting, because all the major networks are reporting how the number of people signing up for insurance through the Exchange “surged to over 1.1 Million” in December in a trend that is expected to continue.

Ponnuru also predicted the courts would continue to rebuke the Obama Administration on the rights of Catholic owned businesses to deny their employees contraception if they view it morally objectionable. The most notable of these cases, the “Hobby Lobby” case, is still waiting in the Supreme Court (see my own prediction on that below.) He also predicted The Supreme Court would find a way to weasel out of ruling on Same Sex Marriage. They didn’t, with repercussions that have led to legalization into deep Red Utah.

He predicted “a new monetary regime” between the U.S. and the U.K. that insulates both nations from the problems of Europe. No idea what he means by “a new monetary regime” even after reading his piece on the subject. Whatever it is, it never happened and Europe’s economy is starting to show signs of recovery.

More wishful thinking? “Paul Ryan,” feeling he can’t work within the GOP, “will resign” in order to “focus on running for president”? No date cited and hardly makes sense as a 2013 prediction, but maybe Ponnuru is looking to late 2014?

How I Did.

Now is the time I look back at my own predictions last year to see how I did. All year long, I thought about the predictions I made for 2013, and as I do every year, I am certain I did “incredibly poorly” that year only to look back at years end and find I didn’t do quite as bad as I thought.

  1. Correct: My first prediction regarding the “fiscal cliff”, and whether the GOP was irrational enough to go over it, had to be split into three scenarios: a) the GOP agrees to President Obama’s demand that taxes go up on people making over $250K per year, but only because they intend to hold the Debt Ceiling hostage again, b) a deal is reached only after Democrats concede to raise the starting point at which taxes go up to $500K, or c) the Bush Tax Cuts expire because no deal can be reached allowing Democrats to pass the “Obama tax cut”. It all depended upon how the GOP reacted. Knowing Scenario “c)” would be the worst possible outcome for them, the GOP agreed to a hybrid of “scenario A” and “scenario B” (pre-planning to hold the Debt Ceiling hostage while agreeing to a deal where the tax increase begins at $450K instead of $250K.)
  2. A Push: #2 was conditional on the GOP being suicidal enough to go over the cliff and refuse to raise the Debt Ceiling, forcing President Obama to invoke the 14th Amendment. They didn’t, so he didn’t have to. No way to know if he would have (though he said he wouldn’t.) I’m certain when faced with certain global economic catastrophe, he would have. And I think the GOP knew it too, the consequences of which would have been to render them irrelevant the next time a Debt Ceiling fight rolled around. So they had no choice but to cave.
  3. Wrong: Harry Reid would make good on his threat to “reform the filibuster” at the start of the session. While a “Psychic to the Stars” might take credit for the eventual decision of Reid to “go nuclear” last November, I’m no hypocrite. I was hamstrung when I made my prediction late on December 31st by the fact it might be proved false in less than 24 hours. Considering the record-setting obstructionist year we had just had, and Reid’s own admission that he was “wrong” for not reforming the filibuster the way Democrats pleaded with him to do at the start of the 2011 session. it was almost unimaginable that he would make the same mistake twice. And while he dragged his feet and messaged Senate rules to extend his time to make a decision till the end of the month, Reid did eventually cave to Republican threats, agreeing only to minor, essentially irrelevant changes… something he quickly came to regret as the GOP shutdown the government months later. The reform he finally agreed to last November likewise was only a narrow rules change affecting only the President’s judicial & Cabinet appointments.
  4. Correct: Despite promises of “Election Reform” following the mass disenfranchisement of Poor & Middle Class voters seen during Early Voting and on Election Day 2012, not a damn thing was done about it. On to 2014!
  5. Correct: The Unemployment rate, which I predicted would be “very close to 6.9% by the end of the year (give or take 3/10ths of a point).” After November, the BLS reported the Unemployment Rate had fallen to 7.0%, a 5-year low and more than a full point below where it was the year before.
  6. Wrong: Sadly, concern over spending did not spark public pressure to exit Afghanistan by years end.
  7. Wrong (and happy about it): While they did remain fairly stable, my prediction that gas prices would still be close to $3.50/gal a year later turned out to be too high, with the national average presently at just under $3.30/gal. I can’t in good faith count that as “correct”. Maybe a difference of ten cents a gallon, but not twenty. And I didn’t foresee things like “nuclear talks with Iran” to bring down oil prices to a three year low.
  8. Correct: – No U.S. or Israeli strike on Iran. Funny to think how long this nonsense has been going on. And the fact no provocative moves have been made by Iran in all that time only goes to show how reality rarely lives up to the most wild militarist fantasies of Neoconservatives. Much to their chagrin, not only did Iran not do anything threatening, they even reluctantly have opened discussions of disarmament. Astounding.
  9. Wrong: Ah, Syria! It’s depressing to think that Civil War is now in it’s THIRD year. I was stung after my first prediction of the fall of Assad in 2011. A bit more cautious last year, I predicted Assad to fall into irrelevancy as the rest of the world just stopped recognizing him as the legitimate leader of Syria. They didn’t; he didn’t; so for 2014 , I won’t.
  10. Wrong (another “and happy about it”): I predicted the DOW would be around 14,500 points by years end, predicting an impressive rise of more than 1500 points in just one year. Instead, we saw an astonishing rise of nearly 3,500 points in just one year to a new record of just under 16,500 points. If President Obama is a  “Socialist”, he’s a piss-poor one.
  11. Correct: As America’s economy recovers, so does Europe’s and the rest of the worlds.
  12. Correct (sadly): My exact words were: “Immigration reform? Don’t bet your Aunt Fanny on it.” Republicans said they wanted it. President Obama said he wanted it. So it was inevitable that nothing would get done.
  13. Wrong (sadly): Just days after Sandy Hook and the massacre of twenty 6/7-yearolds and six teachers, I couldn’t imagine even Republicans turning this into a partisan fight, caving to their gun-nut base and doing absolutely nothing to keep weapons of war out of the hands of children, the mentally unstable and known criminals. Lesson learned: Never under-estimate the depths of GOP cowardice or the ignorance of their base.

Final score: 6 out of 12 (#2 was inconclusive) for 50-percent. Not too shabby for a list I was certain all year long would be one big goose egg. Take that you “Psychics to the Stars” with your “2.6%” accuracy rating!

So now my Predictions for 2014:

  1. Failing to extend Unemployment benefits at the end of 2013 will mean great hardship that extends beyond Party Lines. Just as Republicans mistakenly believed that voters would side with them for “taking a principled stand” on the Government Shutdown even after it started to affect them personally, they undoubtedly believe the same is true here. As far as the GOP is concerned, only poor Minimum Wage slackers are home waiting for their Unemployment Checks to roll in while they sit on their lazy duffs. But their refusal to continue the extension of those benefits past the end of 2013 will come back to bite them in the butt, not realizing just how many “Poor & Middle-Class” workers make up their Redneck base. As a result, expect the GOP to agree to a “compromise extension” of Unemployment benefits. There will be an insistence that it be “paid for”, but then there will be a huge fight on just what to cut. There will be an extension, just not the “90+ week” maximum some are seeing now. Probably something closer to “52 weeks”, double the standard length, with some “creative accounting” paying for it.
  2.  

  3. Where will the DOW be by the end of 2014? I sure as heck didn’t foresee the meteoric rise of 3,500 points in 2013. Another rise like that would have us knocking on the amazing “20,000 point” mark, and that’s going to make a lot of investors nervous about “over exuberant” investors buying stocks just to set a record. I expect the DOW to close just over the “19,200″ mark come years end… which is an incredible thought. Bill Clinton took the DOW from around 3700 points to over 11,700 points seven years later… an increase of OVER 300 percent. The DOW bottomed out barely a month after President Obama took office at just over 6600 points. A close of “19,200″ would be another rise of nearly 300% in just SIX years. George Bush cut the taxes of the Rich & Powerful, but cut their portfolio’s in half as the economy crashed. With numbers like that, it’s easy to see why Wall Street hates Democrats, and loves Republicans (yes, that’s snark.)
  4.  

  5. Marriage Equality – No surprise that more states will officially declare Same-Sex Marriage as legal, but with it suddenly legal in nearly half the states in the Union and no solid legal argument for why any group of people should be discriminated against, expect a positive ruling from the Supreme Court… probably 5/4 but possibly even 6/3… telling states where SSM is outlawed that they must recognize marriages performed in another state. As people flood to neighboring states to get married, laws banning SSM will become moot and fall like dominoes.
  6.  

  7. The Mid-term elections – AKA: “The Battle for the Senate”. Not surprisingly, with the House and the Senate so narrowly split, both sides will be pulling out all the stops seeking control of Congress. The big question? What will be the mood of the public come Election Time? Will problems with the health care law sour voters on the Obama Administration? Will unemployment continue to fall making them optimistic? And what role will record low approval ratings for Congress have on turnout? In the end, it’s pretty much a wash. The people that hate “Obamacare” will continue to whine about “Obamacare”. The people that like the law will continue to do so. I ran into a lot of Conservatives this past year that believe “Obamacare” is an insurance program that you must (MUST) buy into, and they can implode the entire system if they simply refuse to sign up. Little do most of them realize, “Obamacare” does not even apply to them because they already get insurance through their employer. They couldn’t “sign up” even if they wanted to. So the entire system doesn’t implode, and for most people, nothing changes for them. It will be hard to be “outraged” over health care reform come November. Good economic news will continue, so there will be little economic motive to head to the polls. And despite near single digit approval ratings for Congress, don’t expect control of either House to change hands, though, thanks to Gerrymandering, I think Democrats have a better chance of picking up seats in the Senate than the House.
  8.  

  9. Which of course takes us to the start of the 2016 campaign (hard to believe it’s already a topic.) Though she will try to wait until January 2015, Hillary WILL announce her intention to run for President, as will Chris Christie, whom even this far off, already look to be the front-runners. But anything can happen between now & then.
  10.  

  11. Paul Ryan & Patty Murray coming to a two-year budget deal here at the end of 2013 insures no “Fiscal Cliff, Debt Ceiling, Shutdown” economic brinksmanship before the election. No GOP manufactured crisis means we can expect a reasonably smooth, growing economy in 2014. Expect GDP growth in the 4.0+ range next year.
  12.  

  13. What will become of NSA Leaker Edward Snowden? I expect a move to South America sometime next year. The last shoe has yet to drop in that story because Snowden took FAR more material than he could possibly have read when he absconded from the NSA with all that Top Secret information. But time is not on his side as much of the information he took grows out of date. As he continues to pour through the files he stole, I expect few additional revelations, perhaps saving his biggest bombshell in time for the election.
  14.  

  15. Will Congress raise the Minimum Wage? If this weren’t an election year, I’d say yes, but since it is, the state of the economy will play a large part in whether it gets raised or not. A number of states won’t wait and raise it on their own, but nationally, if the economy continues to improve, forget it. With no Budget Battles for the GOP to hold hostage, they must dig their heels in somewhere, and The Minimum Wage is it.
  16.  

  17. The Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia is going to be a mess. Technical and scheduling issues as civil unrest disrupts the games. As I type this, we’ve already seen acts of terrorism very close to Sochi, and Putin won’t have a clue how to handle Gay Rights protests in a country where just holding a sign can land you in jail. International condemnation of Russia’s anti-gay laws will overshadow many events.
  18.  

  19. And while we’re on the subject of Sochi, in a separate prediction, I believe the reason President Obama chose former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to lead a delegation of openly gay athletes is because she herself intends to come out as gay upon her arrival in Sochi, almost daring the Russian government to arrest her.
  20.  

  21. So what will the Unemployment Rate look like by the end of 2014? If current trends continue, I don’t think an unemployment rate of 6.1% (give or take 3/10th of a point) is out of the realm of possibility. If it weren’t an election year, I’d might go lower than that, but it’s in the GOP’s interest to encourage a worsening economy going into the Mid-term elections. With no budget battles to destabilize the economy in an election year, it’ll be difficult. I’m interested in seeing how they pull it off.
  22.  

  23. What about Iran? I think a nuclear disarmament deal WILL be struck that allows Iran to continue to develop nuclear energy using Uranium bred outside the country (probably Russia.) IAEA inspectors will be allowed into the country to check for nuclear weapons development. In exchange, the U.S. will once again allow Iranian oil to be traded on the U.S. Market, causing a decline in the price of oil (maybe $80/barrel give or take $5?), lowering gas prices in the U.S., serving as a substantial boost to the American economy. 2014 will be a very good year for the U.S. economy.
  24.  

  25. Ted Cruz announces his intention to run for President. Outside of the (dwindling) Tea Party, support for his candidacy will not exceed that of Michele Bachmann in 2012, and his campaign will fizzle out early in 2015.
  26.  

  27. Hobby Lobby’s “my religious beliefs supersede yours because I’m your boss” Supreme Court case will return a verdict in favor of the Christian-owned craft store. Any other sane Supreme Court would realize that if a “Christian” owned company can decide what health care you can get, so could an Amish, Muslim or even Satanic boss dictate your health care choices. But an “Amish, Muslim or Satanic” corporation didn’t file this case. A “Christian” one did. And therefore, this Conservative Court will tie the Constitution into knots to accommodate them. Republicans will tout it as “a victory for Americans over the scourge of Obamacare.”
  28.  

  29. Following up on last year, no “Election Reform” bill will be taken up in an election year. Republican governors will step up their efforts to disenfranchise tens of thousands of Democratically leaning voter blocks… most of whom will be minorities.
  30.  

  31. As an homage to my “psychic” friends out there, a really big hurricane will hit someplace somewhere.
  32.  

  33. And another “Lone-wolf” gun nut will go on a shooting spree, killing over a dozen people. And what will come of it in terms of gun control? Nothing.
  34.  

  35. And finally, Syria. In 2011, I predicted Assad would be overthrown just like all the other “Arab Spring” nations did to their leaders. But Assad was willing to be far more brutal and had the army on his side. In 2012, I predicted him to become irrelevant as the rest of the world simply stopped recognizing his authority, but that didn’t happen either. So now, in year three, all I’m willing to wager is that the Syrian conflict will still be raging a year from now. That’s a prediction I’d be happy to get wrong.

Eighteen predictions. I can live with that. How do you think I did? Post your own predictions for 2014 in the Comments.
 


 


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Filed in Economy, Election, General, Guns & Violence, Healthcare, Jobs, Middle East, Partisanship, Politics, Predictions, Religion, Seems Obvious to Me, Taxes, voting, War December 30th, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • 2 comments | Add/View

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Iran Deal Underscores Need to Abandon Nuclear Energy as a Power Source

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, November 25, 2013

Nearly two years ago, I wrote about how the GOP presidential candidates were saber-rattling over “Iran’s nuclear program”, completely devoid of any self awareness as they simultaneously complained about rising gas prices without connecting the two events… not now, not in the eight years it was happening under President Bush (side note: gas prices have been steadily falling for months, dropping to a national average of just $3.19/gal last week and for me locally as low as $2.75/gal. You have to go back to November of 2010 when we were still shaking off the last vestiges of The Great Recession to find the last time gas prices were that low). The first treaty between the U.S. and Iran in nearly 35 years is both amazing and historic. And if it were not for our continued/pointless war in Afghanistan and recent reports that we might still be there for another decade, I’d be first in line to nominate President Obama for a second Nobel Peace Prize. He ended the war in Iraq, ousted Kadaffi without sending in a single troop, got Syria to (first admit and then) give up their chemical weapons without resorting to force, and now the first treaty of ANY kind with Iran in over a third of a century let alone one to start the ball rolling on nuclear disarmament. Criticism from The Right on whether or not this is a good deal sounds remarkably similar to their arguments against ObamaCare: “It doesn’t solve the problem 100 percent” to everyone’s satisfaction, and therefore anything short of “perfection” means the entire thing must be scrapped. But my problem with the Iranian deal isn’t that it doesn’t stop Iran from becoming a nuclear power. My problem is that we don’t have a leg to stand on to stop Iran from developing so-called “peaceful” nuclear power (that the hawks believe could be misused in the future) so long as we continue to believe there is such a thing as “good” nuclear power. I’ve said this many times before: NUCLEAR POWER ISN’T GREEN. We should be PHASING OUT our use of nuclear energy. And it would be infinitely easier to tell Iran “no nuclear development of ANY kind. Period” if we ourselves didn’t continue to believe there is such a thing as “good” nuclear energy.

The nuclear energy industry has been quite successful at convincing the world that nuclear power is “green”. “No smokestacks! No carbon! Doesn’t promote Global Warming! See! It’s great for the environment!” There is an enormous (and dangerous) misconception that nuclear energy is “clean” simply because it does not emit greenhouse gasses.

“Air” pollution is but one of many types of pollution we should concern ourselves with. And while nuclear power plants don’t pollute the air like coal-fired plants do, they (as you know) produce tens of thousands of barrels of nuclear waste-water in their lifetime (typically a mere 20-30 years), and “cooling” of the reactors requires Millions of gallons of cold water. The heat they produce is then pumped back into rivers & streams where it kills the fish and aquatic plant-life. In essence, you are trading off a power plant that emits one form of pollution for a plant that emits TWO. Add to that the mining of uranium… a finite energy source not unlike the coal or oil used in fossil-fuel powered power plants. Nuclear power is not “renewable”… the hallmark of “green” energy.

Consider that if the ancient Egyptians had used nuclear power 5,000 years ago, we would STILL be dealing with their nuclear waste today and for another 10,000 years, all so they could enjoy 30 years worth of electricity five millennia ago.

Wind, Solar, Tidal & Geothermal are ALL 100% POLLUTION FREE ways of generating enormous amounts of power upon which we should be concentrating all our resources.

$11 Billion to build one plant. 20-40 years of useful life at a cost of $1.5-3 Billion per year just to operate. 150 YEARS to decommission one plant at a cost of another $3-6 billion/yr. Best case costs for one plant (20 years+150 years to decommission): $491 Billion dollars. Worst case costs (40 years+150 years to decommission): $1.3 TRILLION dollars (or over $84 per kWh). Check your electric bill. Does eighty-four bucks an hour sound like a bargain to you? And neither of those price tags take into account the cost of another nuclear disaster like Fukashima.

It takes ELEVEN YEARS of nuclear power generation to counter the air pollution created in the construction of the plant and the mining of the ore used in it. And nuclear power plants are also a prime terrorist target. We should be getting RID of the ones we have, not building more… let alone encouraging countries like Iran to get into the business.

And ask the fishermen off the coast of New Orleans following the BP disaster if they’d rather be fishermen off the coast of Fukashima.

Nuclear War & Peace

Then there are other concerns. Saudi Arabia is likewise terrified of a nuclear armed Iran tipping the balance of power in the region. Might this provoke Saudi Arabia into starting a nuclear program of their own? How do we tell an ally that they can’t go nuclear after allowing Iran to? Could this be the start of a nuclear arms race in the very heart THE most unstable region of the world today?

As long as we continue this absurd belief that there is such a thing as “good” nuclear energy, how do we tell Iran that’s it’s not okay to pursue nuclear energy without the concern that that technology might be misused? It would be SO MUCH easier if we could simply say to Iran, “No nuclear power of ANY kind. Period. We’re are in the process of getting RID of our OWN nuclear power-plants, not building more.” If, after Fukashima, the Iran Treaty doesn’t underscore how much easier our lives would be without nukes, nothing will.

 

THANKSGIVING ASIDE DISH

Over the past few weeks, we’ve learned that a number of major retail outlets will be open Thanksgiving Day, forcing their employees to work rather than spend the holiday with their families. The silence from the “War on Christmas” crowd has been deafening. No protests of greedy corporations having no respect for “families” or the holiday season. And if you don’t think “Thanksgiving” is a religious holiday, ask yourself just WHO are you supposed to be “thanking”?

The Rachel Maddow Show last week reported on all the employees that are being forced to work on Thanksgiving, including the story of an Ohio Wal*Mart putting donation bins out for co-workers to donate food to fellow employees… people that work for a living and yet might otherwise go hungry this holiday:
 


If you had any question just how disingenuous the whole Right-Wing “War on Christmas” outrage is, look no further.

 


 


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Filed in Energy Independence, Environment, fake scandals, General, Middle East November 25th, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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The Syria Compromise Was No Accident

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, September 16, 2013

Last week, Secretary Kerry was asked by a London reporter if there was anything Assad’s government could do to avoid a military strike, he nonchalantly replied, “Sure, he could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week.” And while the response was perceived by most as a passing off-the-cuff remark, Russia seized on Kerry’s words, desperate to avoid having their ally drag them into a war, and told Assad to take Kerry up on his generous offer. But if you think that Kerry’s comment was just an innocent “slip of the tongue”, you don’t know how Washington works.

Last August, both President Obama and his Secretary of State… two men known for their staunch criticism of the Bush Administration and the Iraq War… started using the EXACT SAME cowboy language as former President Bush on the need to “disarm a dictator” with “Weapons of Mass Destruction” through the use of “military force“. They even started courting former Bush Administration officials to make the case for invading Syria, and quoting those who agreed with them. The goal was obvious: to convince Syria & Russia that President Obama was serious (and he was) about using military action to disarm Assad. Russia & Syria NEVER would have moved on this issue had President Obama not threatened the use of force. Congress gave President Bush the “authorization to use force” against Saddam Hussein in 2002, hoping that simply giving the president the “power” to declare war on his own would be enough to scare Saddam into complying with inspectors in order to avoid war. AND IT WORKED. Congress just never expected that President Bush would then go ahead and take the country to war anyway. President Obama is simply using that power the way in which it was originally intended: Let the enemy know you are Ready, Willing & Able to use force so they’ll do anything to avoid it. But that power was worthless if Obama didn’t sound like another reckless cowboy-President that readily used that power before. So he took to the airwaves sounding very much like President Bush, upping the anti by having Secretary Kerry echo the same language, talking about “disarming a tyrant” with “weapons of mass destruction”.

About two weeks later, President Obama let it be known that he had canceled a scheduled meeting with Vladimir Putin while attending the “G20″ Summit in Russia because of Putin’s decision to give American “whistleblower” Edward Snowden asylum. While at the G20, the two leaders were kept at a distance from one another and shared little more than a handshake when Obama first arrived. While there, President Obama reminds reporters that he was elected “to end wars, not start them.”

Then suddenly, on his final full work day of the trip, the Press revealed that President Obama had secretly met with President Putin. The details of the meeting are unknown other than that the two leaders “still disagree on Syria”. I think it’s safe to assume then that they talked about Syria, not Snowden.

The Global Media went into a tizzy. It suddenly looked like war was inevitable. America was going to start yet another war in the Middle East, taken there by a president that was awarded The Nobel Peace Prize almost immediately upon taking office, ended the war in Iraq as promised, has started winding down the war in Afghanistan, and helped unseat Qadaffy without committing a single ground troop. This president, the most unlikely of all presidents, was sounding more like his predecessor than the president we had come to know as a peace-maker.

As public opposition to starting yet another war in the Middle East grew, President Obama found a way to let the pot simmer a little longer by saying he would leave the decision to invade up to Congress, all the while making it known that he didn’t HAVE to go to Congress and that he retained the power to use military force regardless of what Congress decided (translation: Don’t think you’re off the hook if Congress votes “No”, Assad.)

With no breakthrough in sight and Congress looking more & more like they might undermine President Obama any day now, Secretary Kerry conveniently let it slip that there’s still a way for Assad to avoid war, thus throwing Russia & Syria a lifeline just as war with the U.S. was starting to look inevitable.

There’s an old saying in Washington (if you consider the 1970′s “old”), a paraphrase of something FDR said in 1935: “In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens you can bet it was planned that way.” It’s a phrase that Republicans love to cite when trying to miscast Democrats or their bills as having an evil ulterior motive (see: “ObamaCare”). So it only stands that the same must also be true when things go right, right? Apparently not in Right-Wing World.

Almost from the moment Russian President Putin publicly took Kerry up on his offer, the Media (both Left and Right) started proclaiming that Putin had come to the “rescue” of the “bumbling” Obama Administration to “save-the-day”. Even the great political cartoonist Mark Fiore came up with:
 

Operation Accidental Diplomacy

 
Consider, one thing NOBODY on ANY White House staff EVER does while representing the president is “ad-lib” or express a personal opinion when it comes to U.S. policy without clearing it with the White House first. Try to imagine if White House Press Secretary Jay Carney had suggested Assad could avoid war by baking cookies for the orphans. He’d be out of a job before his words ceased echoing in the room.

GOP pundits are already calling this success-story “a failure” because it does nothing to remove Assad from power, punish Assad for using chemical weapons, or do anything to end the war. Of course not! That’s not our job and none our business. Meanwhile, President Putin gets to “strut around” looking like he saved President Obama’s bacon. The Chickenhawks can’t understand that it’s not our place to overthrow the Syrian government, play “World Policeman”, or meddle in Syria’s Civil War.
 

Fox’s Rodger Ailes Suggested Syria Resolution Strategy a Year Ago
Ailes: “Let Putin have all the credit.”

 
After hearing GOP pundits take to the airwaves to ridicule Obama as needing to be “bailed out by Putin”, I was reminded of a 2004 episode of The West Wing where WH Communications Director Toby Ziegler saw an opportunity to “save Social Security”. But in the end, the only way to get the two sides to come to the table was to forfeit taking any credit for bringing the two sides together (try to imagine President Obama and John Kerry having this conversation before Kerry’s “off-hand remark” to the Press):
 
West Wing (2004): “The only way to do this is to not take credit.”

 
One would think they learned their lesson after Iraq. Snort! Republican Congressman Mike McCaul correctly pointed out yesterday that, “Both sides are not good actors. Assad is a dictator who used chemical weapons. Rebel forces have been infiltrated in large part by alQaeda factions.” The ONLY goal here to rid the world of weapons that might be used against US. That’s the ONLY thing that should concern the United States.

John McCain was on “Meet the Press” yesterday (yes, again) and restated his support for arming the Syrian Rebels. The idea to “arm the rebels”… something John McCain has been begging for almost since the Syrian conflict began in 2011… was a non-starter from the moment it became known some Rebel factions were courting alQaeda to aid them in overthrowing Assad. (Yes, if McCain/Palin had won in ’08, we likely would have been arming alQaeda by 2012.) Ain’t that a comforting thought?

The pundits say that all this stalling is simply giving Assad time to move/hide his weapons. Irrelevant. Any time Assad spends “hiding” his weapons is time he’s spending not USING his weapons. “Hidden” weapons are not at-the-ready to be deployed. And the moment he tries using them, it’s all over. He reveals not only their existence but their location. And once the International Community sees that he’s been lying all along and can’t be trusted, he’s toast. “Hiding weapons” is tantamount to rendering them useless.

Fill-in host John Roberts (the anchor, not the judge) on Fox “news” Sunday yesterday called it “a torturous week for President Obama” as the Media lambasted his handling of the Syrian conflict as “inept”. Really??? “Inept”? A ruthless dictator that denied even HAVING chemical weapons two weeks ago is suddenly considering giving up his chemical weapons stockpiles and allow U.N. Weapons Inspectors in without President Obama firing a single shot… is an example of “ineptitude”? Does anyone (anyone SANE I suppose) REALLY believe this was anything other than an incredibly well-orchestrated success?

If president Obama pulls this off, he deserves a second Nobel Peace Prize.
 



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Filed in fake scandals, Middle East, Partisanship, Politics, Right-Wing Insanity, Seems Obvious to Me, War September 16th, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • 1 comment | Add/View

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What Happens in Syria on Day Two?

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, September 9, 2013

It’s the one question, yet arguably the most important, that few people seem to be asking: “What happens on Day Two following a U.S. bombing of Syria?” As I noted last week, the desire to “do something” to stop Assad is visceral. The mere thought of anyone using chemical weapons is SO abhorrent to us that it is only natural for us to want to punish those who do. So let’s say we do. Let’s say we use what remains of our already-stretched thin military might against the Assad Regime and targets unknown. We can’t bomb the weapons themselves for fear they’d “aerosol” and poison the nearby civilian population. So our exact targets are a bit of a mystery. Day One: We carpet-bomb Assad. Then what? Recall our ships and bombers after Assad throws up his hands in surrender, begging for mercy? You know, the way the Bushies expected Saddam to in response to “Shock & Awe”. Is THAT the plan? So far, no one seems to know just what is supposed to happen AFTER we attack Syria. And what is “Plan B” if everything doesn’t go according to plan (and when does the use of force ever go according to plan?)

Believe it or not, the Bush Administration actually DID have a plan for the invasion of Iraq. ONE plan. The plan was to force Saddam out of power and replace him with Ahmed Chalibi of the “Iraqi National Congress”… a made up group of Iraqi dissidents living in exile, seeking the overthrow of Saddam by convincing the Bush Administration Saddam was stockpiling massive amounts of chemical & biological weapons as well as secretly developing nukes. But once we went in and found there WERE NO Weapons of Mass Destruction and Chalibi had tricked his willing dupes into taking out Saddam for him, suddenly the Bushies found themselves with no Plan B. They couldn’t reward Chalibi by putting him in charge of Iraq (they instead ended up accusing him of being “an Iranian spy”), so they found themselves winging-it for the next 5+ years, desperately trying to control chaos until an interim government and “free” elections could be held (which were a disastrous failure.) David Gregory of “Meet the Press” said yesterday: “Part of the failure of Iraq was a failure to anticipate what could go wrong.” Good for Gregory. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while.

One of the first signs you’re making a huge mistake: you start quoting former Bush Administration officials to sway Republican support for attacking Syria. The former Bushies LOVE the idea of President Obama seemingly vindicating Bush’s use of force against Iraq over WMD’s (Yes, Saddam used them… WHILE he was our ally. We looked the other way when Saddam used WMD’s against his own people as well as Iran in the early 80′s, and conveniently ignored that little hypocrisy when Bush used those same attacks to justify war 20 years later.

So here we are one decade later being told by another president that we must wage war against another Middle Eastern nation over “Weapons of Mass Destruction”. And just as no one knew the Bush Administration’s “Plan-A” in 2003, no one quite seems to know the Obama Administration’s “Plan-A” in 2013. And do they even have a “Plan-B”? When the guy in charge of “strategic planning” for the Iraq War starts endorsing your plan, maybe you need a new plan.

They say we must act because “America’s credibility is at risk. If we don’t act now, it’s like giving Iran, North Korea, etc a green light” that they can do whatever they want without fear of the United States using force to stop them!” Nonsense. Anyone else buy that… that our enemies will now think they have nothing to fear from us? America’s credibility is NOT at risk. The day after Congress votes “No” on using force against Syria, the FIRST reaction from the Assad Regime (out of view of the cameras) will be a huge sigh of relief. Trust me. They might claim victory on TV, but no one’s going to poke the bear the next morning. NOT attacking Syria might actually improve America’s image in the Middle East as they come to realize that the American People don’t necessarily agree with everything our government does, that the government abides by what its people say, and that we’re not a nation of warmongers eager to topple every Middle Eastern country. Even Assad won’t dare use chemical weapons again because he’ll know that while he got away with it once, the world would never stand by and let him do it again. And if you believe that just because we don’t bomb Assad this time, Iran will think it can start developing nukes without fear of reprisal… you’re living in a dream world.

The Obama Administration seems certain that we can simply bomb Syria, dust off our hands and it’ll all be over in just a few hours. Supporters of military action mention Bosnia & Rawanda as examples of genocide where hundreds of thousands were murdered before we finally intervened. The problem with those examples: both those wars went on for YEARS. How do we intervene without becoming DEEPLY involved in Syria’s civil war? Once we begin using military force to aid one side over another, their war becomes OUR war. There’s no way to extricate ourselves from that. President Obama answered questions of “why it always seems to be OUR job to play the part of ‘the World’s Policeman?’”, saying in effect that the rest of the world looks to us to lead.

I’m reminded of the story of how a man saw a butterfly struggling to emerge from its cocoon. The shell seemed a little tight so the man decided to assist the butterfly by cracking open the cocoon to free it. But once he did, the butterfly was unable to fly away. It was too heavy. Unbeknownst to the man, the butterfly needed to squeeze it’s way out of its cocoon to drain its water weight, making it light enough to fly. By helping the butterfly, he had actually done it harm. I am NOT referring to the Syrian people here by suggesting they need to work this out for themselves. No I’m referring to the International Community, which sits back and says to themselves, “Don’t worry. America will handle it”, incurring the wrath of the Middle East, while the rest of the world spends their money on education & infrastructure. As Randi Rhodes said on the radio Friday, “We’ve become hitmen for hire.” We just don’t get paid.

The four nations bordering Syria, three of them our allies… Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan & Iraq, all oppose military action. No one is more deeply affected by what’s going on in Syria than they are. MILLIONS of refugees are spilling over their borders, and if anyone should be concerned about a madman living next door using chemical weapons, it’s them. Yet, even they don’t want us getting involved. And the next two largest military’s on the face of the Earth… Russia & China… both allies of Assad, oppose an attack by the United States. This country has already endured (at least) three major “proxy-wars” with Russia/China (Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan in the 1980′s and about a dozen micro-wars under Reagan in South America). Do we really want to risk starting another one?

What’s probably most maddening as a Democrat is that some of the same arguments being used by Republican opponents of using force against Syria (like Rand Paul and Ted Cruz) were the SAME arguments DEMOCRATS used against going into Iraq in 2002. Sen. Ted Cruz on ABC’s “ThisWeek” actually said:
 

Sen. Cruz: I think a military attack is a mistake.

George Stephanopoulos: Why?

Cruz: For two reasons. One, because I think the Administration’s proceeding with the wrong objective, and Two, because they have no viable plan for success.

 
Always the cautious ones, those Republicans.

Don’t doubt for one moment that if Romney had become president (I’ll never use the phrase “Pr——- Romney” in these pages even in the abstract), we’d have put boots on the ground in Syria over a year ago with the full support of the GOP, with no one like Cruz calling it “a mistake”. The typically great Gretta Van Sustren mentioned the “bad optics” of President Obama “playing golf” and failing to “recall Congress from its August recess” as sending mixed messages over the urgency of attacking Syria. Agreed, but how do you mention Obama “playing golf” and not mention: “Now watch this drive!”. When the Bush Administration was asked about failing to recall Congress for a vote on Iraq during that year’s Summer recess, their response was that “You don’t roll out a new product in August.”

So what happens in Syria on Day Two if we bomb the Syrian government? While you MAY cripple Assad’s ability to attack his own people (temporarily), what’s to stop Iran from smuggling weapons to Hezbollah in a retaliatory strike against Israel? How would Russia react? And you can forget about China’s cooperation the next time North Korea’s boy king gets bored and starts firing rockets into South Korea or the Sea of Japan again.

Or maybe you think of “non-military” ways of bringing about a peaceful end to the Syrian conflict, earn the respect of world, and give the international community incentive to act on their own the next time there’s a crisis, and not just sit back and wait for America to police the world for them?

Postscript: Wednesday will also be the 12th anniversary of “911″. Will we commemorate it with yet another war that is certain to be misinterpreted as having something to do with that day, or shall we honor that anniversary with a vote of peace?
 



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Filed in Middle East, Predictions, War September 9th, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • 1 comment | Add/View