SIDEBAR
»
S
I
D
E
B
A
R
«
The Path to Hell: Trump Proposes Right Ideas in Worst Possible Way Making Things Worse
Mar 12th, 2018 by Admin Mugsy

Share
 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


 

Share
Survival Instinct. Trump to evade impeachment by befriending Democrats. How much would you Sell Out for?
Mar 5th, 2018 by Admin Mugsy

Share
 


It’s something I’ve feared from the very beginning: With Republicans in control, Trump appears exclusively to Republicans. Should Democrats seize control of Congress, Trump will appeal almost exclusively to Democrats. It’s part of his survival instinct. He is the very epitome of: “If you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for anything.” Trump has no core beliefs. All he wants is to be adored (something he clearly never got from Mommy & Daddy.) His denial Obama got more votes than he did and had a bigger inaugural crowd, the cold fact Hillary got more votes, the entire Mueller investigation suggesting he needed help to win, and now the very real likelihood Democrats are going to retake one or both houses of Congress this year… all are tiny daggers to Trump’s massive ego that maybe, just maybe, he just isn’t as beloved as he thinks he is. And Trump desperately needs to be adored (not “loved”. There’s a difference. He doesn’t understand that.)

What concerns me most is that whomever Trump is “pleasing” at that particular moment, they apparently will sell out an awful lot of what they claim to believe in if they think it’ll get them what they want on another issue. “Gonna build that wall, and MEXICO is gonna pay for it! What? No? WE are going to pay for it? That’s okay! As long as he still agrees with us on keeping the Mex’cuns out.” Meanwhile, how much will Democrats overlook to get something done on “gun control”? Would they stop supporting the Mueller investigation? I honestly believe that is exactly what Trump is hoping when he publicly agrees with Democrats on guns, even going further than any Democrat has ever proposed: saying he actually supported “taking the guns away first, immediately, prior to Due Process,” if someone is suspected of being a threat. I’m not totally in favor with such a move but sure wouldn’t hate it if he did it (the entire subject would be a lot simpler if they just took my advice and “focused on the ammunition, not the guns.”) How many of your principles would you sellout to get what you wanted from this president? This isn’t just some hypothetical where you can answer knowing it’ll never happen. We now have a president with no core principles whom you really could talk into almost anything if it meant he’d be adored by one side or the other for doing it. And the big danger of that is how it affects the presidency from here on out. Do rules even matter any more? Do we set a precedent that the Chief Executive can get away with practically anything if he gives the Party in control of Congress whatever they want?

Remember what a “security risk” Hillary’s private email server was? Her “reckless behavior” was grounds for “locking her up” as far as Trump’s supporters are concerned. Meanwhile, Trump has had over 100 staffers in the Trump White House operating with “temporary” security clearances for over a year. At least three were discovered to have a history of “domestic abuse”, and Kushner was cashing-in on his plumb WH position by conducting personal business INSIDE the WH, securing over a half billion dollars in loans for his personal real estate business, making all of these men HUGE blackmail risks. But do you think his clueless minions care? No, they are STILL chanting “Lock Her Up!” at every Trump rally (and why is he still holding rallies? It’s that need for adoration.)

Trump complains about Media criticism of him, but he still watches it. All of it. Negative tweets from critics? He reads them. Even “bad” attention is still attention. He doesn’t care if one side vilifies him so long as the other “adores” him. And if that means pleasing Democrats one minute then pleasuring the NRA the next, that’s what he’ll do. I believe it was Senator Chuck Schumer who described negotiating with Trump “like trying to nail Jell-O to the wall.” Even Republicans have criticized him for always “agreeing with the last person he talks to”. Trump loved to sound defiant on the campaign trail: “You’re fired! Drain the swamp! Tell China they’re Currency Manipulators! I’ll stand up to the NRA!” But get him in private, face-to-face, and his desperate need for approval takes over: “Putin tells me they didn’t meddle, and I believe him.” “China isn’t a currency-manipulator, they are just doing what they think is best for their country”, after speaking with President Xi face-to-face. Then he talks to his Justice Dept and agrees Russia meddled. What Trump says to a faceless crowd isn’t always what he ends up saying in private. If you disagree with Trump on something, get him alone in a room to discuss it. It you have a solid grasp of your subject, he’ll agree with you (half out of wanting to please you and half out of not wanting to appear stupid if he doesn’t totally understand you.) But if the next person to talk to him is your opponent, he’ll flip-flop like an unwanted fish on the deck of a tuna boat. Consider, have you EVER heard Trump stick to his guns “on principle”? (“I hear what you’re saying, but I truly believe my position is the right one?”)

At Trump’s Media-laden roundtable on gun control surrounded by Democrats, Sen. Chris Murphy (CT) noted: “97% of the population supports background checks, but we just can’t get it done!” Trump responded, “That was before me! You’ve never had someone like ME president, before”, suggesting HE’LL stand up to the NRA and members of his own Party to finally get something done on gun control. The next day he he meets with the NRA and he immediately he starts walking it back. “That was before ME!” he told Senator Murphy. “No one else could get it done, but *I* will”. Now it looks like he too will get “nothing done”… just like all those presidents before him.

So now the issue is “tariffs”. After one of the most chaotic weeks of an administration that has been wall-to-wall chaos, Trump is going back to his bottomless well of campaign promises looking for something to please his supporters and regain their love. Republicans LOVE “Free Trade” and despise tariffs. Because the only way to keep prices low without cheapening out on the cost of materials or underpaying your employees is to cut corporate profits and exorbitant CEO salaries… the two groups Republicans are totally beholden to. Democrats have LONG made their hatred of “Free Trade” known. When President Obama proposed the “Trans-Pacific Partnership (“TPP”)“, Democratic voters were SO vocally opposed to it, they actually forced him to back down from pushing it thru before he left office. Hillary Clinton, while Secretary of State, called the TPP “the Gold-Standard of trade agreements”, but reversed her support for it (as she did on most issues where she took the Conservative position first until it proved unpopular) a few weeks into her campaign. Opposition to “Free Trade” is something both Liberal & Conservative voters alike oppose (briefly propelling Ross Perot into the lead in ’92 with his opposition to NAFTA.)

So now members of Trump’s Administration… Conservatives all… are filling the airwaves forced to defend AND support their bosses position on tariffs an opposition to “Free Trade”. Actually making the case that something Republicans in Washington have fought for for over 30 years is not necessarily a “good” thing.

But what if he flips yet again (as per his history?) All these people putting their reputations on the line, making the case that tariffs would actually be a “good” thing and “help” create jobs. What if Congressional Republicans get him alone in a room and convince him that “maybe tariffs aren’t such a good idea.” Then what? How do all these staffers who just made the case Trump’s idea for tariffs on imported steel & aluminum would be beneficial, then go back out there and say “tariffs might actually be bad” and come away with any credibility at all?

“To sleep, perchance to dream! Aye, there’s the rub!” said Hamlet. The “rub” was the gamble that in death, you’d have pleasant dreams for all eternity, not an eternity of nightmares from which you can’t awake.

Trump, after angering his own Party on tariffs and assault weapons, desperate to be adored, might very well become Democrats best friend just to avoid prosecution. The question is, do Democratic principles have a price?
 


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

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


 

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

Share
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m being factious, of course.

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

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

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


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

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


 

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

Share
 


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

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

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

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

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

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

Reality bites.

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

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

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

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

Trump the Deal-Maker (:32)

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


 

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

Share
 


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

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

and

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

 

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

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

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

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

Estimates of GOP Tax bill

 

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

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


Pence: “I say: Shut it down!”

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


 

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

Share
 


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

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

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

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

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

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

Scary rich white men

 


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

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


 

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

Share
 


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

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

None of it is true of course.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


 

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

Share
 


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


 

Share
Puerto Rico Crisis the Result of Years of Conservatism. Coming soon to a state near you.
Oct 2nd, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

Share
 


I will admit I know very little about Puerto Rico other than the fact it’s an island in the Caribbean, it’s not a state, and everyone there is an American citizen… which I’m certain is at least one thing more than Donald Trump knew before last week. So when Trump responded to the crisis in Puerto Rico by attacking them for their poverty instead of showing the same concern he showed Texas & Florida after their respective hurricanes, it was doubly insulting. Not only did he decide that the middle of a humanitarian crisis was the time to blame them for how poor they are, but the fact is, Conservative policies… like the one Trump is planning to roll out with his massive tax cut for the Super Rich… that are to blame for their economic state.

From the 70’s to the early 00’s, Puerto Rico was a haven for corporations looking to evade U.S. taxes:

In Puerto Rico, over a quarter of the country’s gross domestic product already comes from pharmaceutical manufacturing. That shouldn’t be surprising. According to the U.S. Federal Tax Reform Act of 1976, manufacturers are permitted to repatriate profits from Puerto Rico to the U.S. free of U.S. federal taxes. And by the way, the Puerto Rico withholding tax is only 10%.Counterpunch, 11/21/2006

(Reminder, “1976” was Ford, not Carter.)

But all those U.S. corporations relocating their headquarters to Puerto Rico wasn’t a boom to the Puerto Rican economy. They didn’t hire locally (many HQ’s were little more than P.O.Boxes), and paid little to nothing in taxes (thanks to Republican tax policies.)

Rather than dive into the weeds of tax policy and attempt to explain why all this was very illegal, just understand that all these Republican tax loopholes that allowed corporations to hide in Puerto Rico to avoid paying taxes and turn it into an economic black hole, was made even more devastating following the massive global economic crash Bush’s final year in office, putting what few corporations left hiding in PR out of business and taking what few jobs they provided with them.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, there was an effort by the GOP Congress to inflict mandatory “austerity” measures upon bankrupt PR until they repaid their massive debt to the government… with no say in the matter themselves. I wrote about this back in June of last year when Hillary supported the GOP plan and Bernie opposed it, visiting Puerto Rico before their primary to receive his usual large reception. (The mayor of San Juan… Carmen Yulín Cruz… whom we’ve seen on TV quite a bit recently after being attacked by Trump… made headlines last year when she joined with the former governor to switch her support from Hillary to Bernie, after which Hillary declared she too was now opposed to the GOP austerity plan and never really supported it. But I digress.

Turning Puerto Rico into a massive tax shelter where corporations moved there to avoid paying income taxes and consuming local resources without paying for it, was strike one. Resulting in few jobs and no tax revenue to put into rebuilding their infrastructure.

The GOP Congress imposing “austerity measures” upon them (with no say in the matter) when they were already bankrupt with an economy that was decimated by the crash on 2008, was strike two.

And… arguably… the devastation caused by two Cat-4 hurricanes just weeks apart was made even worse by Republican denial of Climate Change, making these storms exponentially more destructive. Strike three against Puerto Rico.

And now the GOP is about to do what they did to Puerto Rico to the entire nation. They’ve already kneecapped our efforts to fight Global warming, but now Trump’s proposed tax plan is “Voodoo Economics” all over again. In case you need a refresher, “Voodoo Economics” is what George Bush Sr. called Ronald Reagan’s claim that a massive tax cut would pay for itself by all the economic growth it would create. Poppy Bush was right, by November of Reagan’s second year in office, unemployment soared to 10.8% and he was forced to raise taxes TWELVE TIMES before leaving office to stop the bleeding (which never stopped but did significantly slow.)

They called it “Trickle Down economics”, the theory that giving massive tax breaks to corporations and the wealthy, all that wealth would eventually “trickle down” to the rest of us in the form of jobs and investment. The problem is, corporations don’t reinvest their savings back into the company without incentive (like a tax break in exchange for doing so) or unless there’s a need for it due to increased demand. As Keynesian economics proved, money doesn’t “trickle down” like rain, it is “absorbed up” like a sponge. Put the money in the hands of those who spend it and they create DEMAND, which forces companies to expand to meet that demand, hiring more people who buy more products, thus creating more demand.

It’s not just theory. We have decades of economic history… both Republican and Democratic… to prove it. Reagan cut taxes for corporations and created an economic crisis that tripled the entire accumulated 204 years National Debt in just eight. Poppy Bush tried to follow suit, but the man who coined the phrase “Voodoo Economics” tried to do it without the massive borrowing Reagan relied on to fund the government and ended up creating a nasty recession that cost him his job.

Then Bill Clinton took office and raised the top tax rate 3%… which Republicans claimed would throw us into an even deeper Recession than Poppy Bush put us in. The result? Not only did we see the healthiest economy in fifty years, but unemployment fell to a stunning 3.9% (which the Republican congress tried… and continues to try to this day… take credit for) and a balanced budget.

Then Bush Jr took office claiming that being able to pay off our Debt only proved we were “overtaxed” and therefore deserved a tax cut (which is EXACTLY why no Republican administration will EVER cut the National Debt… because the moment we do, they’ll argue it’s proof people are “over taxed” and therefore deserve a tax cut.) The result? Not one but TWO massive Recessions (the second nearly destroying the GLOBAL economy) and turning a budget SURPLUS into a $1.4 TRILLION annual DEFICIT.

That mess was handed to President Obama in 2008, who raised taxes on the wealthy again, cut the deficit, and took unemployment back down to under 5.0% again.

And here we go again. Trump’s new tax plan is “Voodoo Economics” on steroids. Trump’s Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin (who ironically needs a “new chin”) made the rounds yesterday pushing this ridiculous strategy once again like no one has ever tried it before, insisting that isn’t a massive tax cut for the rich and that “trickle down economics” works. In a move that was almost comical, Mnuchin started to qualify his plan as not a massive “INCOME” tax cut for the rich after it was pointed out that slashing the Estate Tax… which multi-millionaire Mnuchin kept using the GOP trick of calling it a “death tax” to make it sound ridiculous & unfair… from 35% to just 20%… meaning a loss of tens of billions in tax revenue all going to the top 2/10ths of 1%. Trump unveiled his tax plan a speech where he assured his idiot followers that it was NOT in fact “a huge tax cut for rich people like myself… Believe me.” A little tip: any time Trump says “Believe me”, he’s lying.

As George Stephanopoulos pointed out to Mnuchin yesterday, “Since Trump refuses to release his taxes, how do we KNOW his tax plan won’t benefit him?” Mnuchin’s non-answer answer was basically a reassurance that we can trust the Snakeoil-salesman-in-Chief, founder of “Trump University”, promised Mexico would pay for his wall, and told the “LGBTQ community” he had their back before proposing the military kick active duty soldiers out of the Service… when he says his plan won’t be a huge gift to himself, we can believe him. So there! (Though analysis of the only tax return of his that we have… the two pages he leaked earlier this year of a return that made him look as good as possible when he was seeking citizenship for Melania… still show his tax plan could save him over a billion dollars.)

And all these economic (and environmental) policies that decimated Puerto Rico are about to be tried on the U.S. as a whole. But don’t worry, they won’t fail THIS time.

Believe me.
 


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

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


 

Share
The GOP Can’t Replace ObamaCare Because They Don’t Have a Solution
Sep 25th, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

Share
 


I guess Republicans are hoping the old saying is true: “Seventy-first time’s the charm” as they attempt to repeal “The Affordable Care Act” for the SEVENTY-FIRST TIME (not an exaggeration) sometime this week before the September 30th deadline.

Yes, that’s correct. The GOP’s last failed attempt to repeal The Affordable Care Act last July was attempt #70, and their next attempt before the looming deadline next Saturday is supposed to take place sometime this week… or will it? Because at the moment, Senate Republicans don’t have the minimum 50 votes (plus a Mike Pence tie-breaker) necessary to make that happen… thank goodness.

This time around, it’s the Graham/Cassidy bill, and their “solution” (as I predicted) is to dump the whole problem on the states (the “don’t blame me” approach.) The big selling point this time around is that “Senator Cassidy” is DOCTOR Bill Cassidy”… and who knows better about how to fix healthcare than a doctor, right? Problem is, Cassidy retired from private practice in 2006. The Affordable Care Act was passed in 2009 and wasn’t fully invoked until it survived a Supreme Court challenge in 2010. Cassidy NEVER dealt with the ACA as a doctor. He never saw all the additional patients who could now afford insurance thanks to “ObamaCare”, and never had to direct patients to the National Exchange because his home state of Louisiana refused to establish a state exchange. He has absolutely no personal experience dealing with the ACA as a doctor.

That would be like a wealthy real-estate mogul who had never held ANY public office before thinking he can be president and easily solve every problem “better & cheaper” “on day one”.

Co-author Lindsey Graham declared repeatedly yesterday that “Everywhere you look, ObamaCare is imploding. It’s a failure.” Nonsense, in states where the governor supports it, it’s working quite well (though no one argues it’s in need of improvement), while in states where the governors oppose it and are ACTIVELY working to sabotage it, then Yes, it is “imploding”. No program can succeed where people are working hard to ensure it doesn’t.

Democrats know there are basically four ways to guarantee affordable universal coverage:

    1) A universal government run medical system like the V.A. or seen in most of Europe, which would require privatizing a multi-Trillion dollar industry, confiscating Hundreds of billions in private property, and turning every doctor into a government employee. That’s not happening.

    2) “Single Payer v1”, where the government takes over the entire health insurance industry and turn it into a non-profit. That’s not happening.

    3) The “Affordable Care Act” (aka: “ObamaCare”), where you mandate every person purchase private insurance, and in exchange, private insurers agree to price controls and to not reject anyone due to a preexisting condition.

    4) “Medicare for All” (or “Single Payer v2”), where every citizen is entitled to minimal basic care paid for by the government (paid for in increased taxes, but you no longer need costly more-expensive private insurance, for a net savings.) If you wish to have additional/premium care, you can purchase a supplemental private plan. This is the best solution IMHO and is Bernie Sander’s currently pending bill.

While Republicans have attempted to dismantle all or part of The ACA a total of 71 times now, they have actually only proposed a “replacement” six times (four under Trump), and each and every time, the proposed “alternative solution” has been different.

Oh sure, some aspects never change… like cuts to Medicare (the government program so many Tea-baggers demanded the government not touch during the ACA debate), getting rid of the mandate, and tax-cuts for rich people (the GOP can’t rename a post-office without include a tax cut for millionaires.) But NONE of those things do ANYTHING to ensure “more people are covered for less money.”

I went back and tried to figure out what the GOP “solution” was for ensuring “affordable guaranteed coverage of every man, woman & child in the US” for every plan put forth since Trump became president, but it really is impossible. Other than stripping out the parts of “ObamaCare” that they don’t like, they typically offer NO solution(s)… things they KNOW will work and therefore must be part of any GOP Plan.

The closest thing I can find to a “consistent” solution is tax free “Health Savings Accounts”… this mind-numbingly clueless “solution” of theirs is to “permit” hundreds of millions of American’s (most of whom are already deep in debt and/or living paycheck-to-paycheck) are given the opportunity to save hundreds of thousands of dollars in a tax free savings account to help cover their expenses when they get sick. If you’re a middle-income American making around $50k/yr with $16,000 in credit card debt (the national average), just how long do you think it will take you to save $100-$200 Thousand dollars that you could afford to set aside and not touch? What if you get sick long before then? And let’s hope little Billy wasn’t planning on attending college. Now imagine you are in the 70% of Americans that aren’t even THAT well off. It’s just yet another way for millionaires to avoid paying taxes, not a “solution” towards making healthcare more affordable for every American.

And it DEFINITELY does not ensure guaranteed acceptance.

During “PoliticsNation” yesterday, a critic of the GOP replacement bill made an excellent point: “Access to healthcare is not the same thing as Affordable healthcare. You may be covered, but if the cost of your out-of-pocket cost is $250,000/year, you won’t have healthcare because you can’t afford it.” That’s one simple fact I think Republican’s just don’t get.

Interestingly enough, talk show host Jimmy Kimmel has become a leading voice in exposing GOP efforts to return to the bad old days of preexisting conditions and worthless policies that cover nothing and deny you for anything. Kimmel had on Sen. Cassidy recently to explain what he meant by “The Jimmy Kimmel Test” he applies to access & affordability of any plan, only to have Cassidy either knowing lie to Jimmy’s face about what his bill would do, or is totally clueless as to what his own bill would permit (I’m betting on the latter. Clueless.) The GOP’s “solutions” aren’t. If they actually worked, they’d never allow it. For instance, it’s just not possible to “mandate” insurance companies cover everyone without also a “mandate” that everyone have insurance. You just can’t separate the two. Republican’s think you can. That’s not dealing with reality.

Another consistent non-solution in every GOP Plan is the absurd idea that “the Free Market will control prices.” Somebody PLEASE inform these hedgehogs that THAT is the system we had before the ACA, and health insurance costs were rising out of control to the point it became THE dominant campaign issue of 2008. And just as in 2008, Republicans had no clear solutions (and nothing original.) The most popular Republican solution is to allow consumers in one state to bypass their state insurance regulation board and purchase coverage “across state lines” from another state with more lax insurance laws/regulations… the very definition of “race to the bottom” as states try to outdo each other by allowing insurance companies to sell the most worthless policies imaginable for the lowest price possible.

Now Graham & Cassidy insist that “preexisting conditions are still covered by their bill” (which turns control of healthcare over to the states.) But their bill permits states to issue “waivers” that allows them to exempt insurance companies from any regulation they see fit (so it’s guaranteed to happen.) And with all those states competing to draw all those consumer dollars to their state looking for the cheapest policy possible, how many states do you think will start issuing waivers that allow them to deny coverage for preexisting conditions (PXC’s) if it means they can sell cheap worthless policies en masse? And the reason Graham & Cassidy can insist PXC’s are still covered is because they don’t actually repeal the ACA. They are relying on the part of the bill that mandates insurance companies cover them… despite introducing a loophole big enough to drive an HMO through.

And WHY aren’t they actually “repealing” the ACA? Because they can’t. Republicans have been talking about “repealing ObamaCare” for years, but they really can’t do that because it would take at least 60 votes in the Senate… and they can’t muster 50. So instead, they’re using something called “Budget Reconciliation” to GUT the existing law, keep what they like and insert their own changes, which only requires 50+1 votes. It’s a bit like gutting a Toyota and replacing the engine with a hamster in a wheel and milk crates for seats, then promising you can buy a better hamster from “Sally’s Hamsters & Things” in Milwaukee and seat belts & airbags from “Joe’s Body Shop & Sushi” in Podunk, Mississippi.

And of course, the GOP is once again in a rush to pass another healthcare bill before the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) has a chance to score it. It’s basically an open admission that they KNOW once the bill is scrutinized, everyone will know how bad it really is. And they are so desperate to pass ANYTHING… no matter how bad… just to fulfill a ridiculous promise to their clueless minions.

Fortunately… as of this writing… two more Republican senators (Collins-ME & Cruz-TX) have announced they currently don’t support the bill… both for very different reasons. Collins says she doubts it will cover more people for less money. Cruz (who says he is working to get to a “Yes”) says he doesn’t believe the GOP bill allows for enough competition to bring insurance prices down. Cruz is staunchly opposed to a “Public Option”, and there are only around five major insurance providers in the entire United States. So either he wants a bill that’ll create new insurance companies out of thin air, thinks “Mutual of Mars” should be allowed to sell policies on Earth, or he’s just blowing smoke because he wants the GOP to beg him for his support.

No matter. It’s a miserable bill and they all know it. Consumers know it. They don’t have the votes to pass a bad bill in an obvious rush, and once again, Trump has made a  promise the GOP’s ass can’t keep.
 


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

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


 

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

Share
 


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

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

Life imitates art

 

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

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

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

And we’re falling behind. WAY behind.

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

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

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

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

Size comparison

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

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

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

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

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

Flag tattered by Irma.

 


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

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


 

Share
All the circumstantial evidence points to one thing: Trump is broke
Aug 7th, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

Share
 


(UPDATED: 9/20/17)

The key selling point of a “Donald Trump presidency” was that a “successful businessman” such as himself would know how to run the U.S. government efficiently. “I know all the best people”, he told adoring fans. “I’m worth $10 Billion dollars” he told the masses. And because of his success as a businessman, he supposedly would be able to run this massive “corporation” we now call The Federal Government (never mind the fact a government isn’t a corporation.) Trump claimed at the very start of his campaign that… because of his fantastic wealth… he “couldn’t be bought” and would only work in YOUR best interests, not those of the “Special Interests”. He would “take no money” from those same “Special Interests” and run a “self funded campaign using his own money to run for president. But in fact Trump did NOT self-finance his campaign. When he DID spend his own money on his campaign, it was only a loan where he charged his own campaign to pay him back. Even then, Trump wasn’t even the biggest donor to his own campaign. No “Special Interests”? He had multiple “SuperPACs” pouring money into his campaign as well, and as I posited two weeks ago, there is a trail of laundered Russian money leading to Trump’s back pocket like a trail of breadcrumbs. And despite all of Trump’s innuendo regarding money pouring into “The Clinton Foundation” and whether or not some of it was making its way to the Clinton campaign, Trump repeatedly refused/refuses to release his tax returns (no, this is not about Trump’s taxes) on the grounds he was “under audit” (which was NOT preventing him from from doing so) yet promising “as soon as the audit is over, I’ll release them.” But even after the election was over, Trump continued to refuse to release his taxes. And once he was sworn in and no longer under audit, he argued his taxes “no longer mattered”… “nobody cares except the sore losers”. Trump’s tax return for 2016… the year AFTER the one that was audited… the year he was running for president… was NEVER under audit, yet he never released that year either (nor were his tax returns for ANY other prior year.) To this day, we have never seen Donald Trump’s tax returns. Why? What doesn’t he want us to see? Then there is the question of “Emoluments” and whether Trump is using the presidency to make himself rich. Any time the subject of “money” comes up regarding Trump, it suggests he’s desperately trying to prevent his “true wealth” from becoming public knowledge. And the braggart & raging egomaniac that Trump is, does anyone think if he was even more fantastically rich than he has publicly claimed, that he wouldn’t be tweeting it from the rooftops? Of course he would! Trump’s entire shtick is that he is qualified purely due to being a business & financial success. So, what if it turns out he isn’t? After filing four bankruptcies, two divorces, being sued multiple times (settling his “Trump University” fraud case for $20 Million dollars rather than continue fighting), closing failed casinos, and a list of failed businesses longer than my arm, how does one suffer SO much failure and expense, and still be worth over $10 Billion dollars? Simple… he isn’t. He’s deep in debt and owes some very powerful people a lot of money.

…But he can’t admit it without being exposed as the lying Snake Oil salesman he is and disappointing his legions of “poorly educated” fans.

As I stated above, there is a troubling record of Russian money finding it’s way into Trump’s campaign coffers to the point I no longer have ANY doubt the Russian government… by way of well-connected Russian oligarchs… bankrolled the bulk of Donald Trump’s political campaign. From the Russian fertilizer magnate who paid 2-1/2 times the value for a Florida mansion belonging to Trump… sight unseen… just as Trump was being forced to pay a multi-million dollar judgement against him… only to have the property demolished without the new owner having ever visited it even once, and sold for a $60 million dollar loss… to the private computer server in the Trump Tower campaign headquarters with a dedicated hotline connection to a Russian bank, to millions in laundered Russian Mafia crime money poured into Manhattan real estate purchased from Trump (no questions asked)… Trump owes much of his wealth to (criminal) Russian investment.

But that’s just half the story.

Immediately after his inauguration, Trump doubled the membership fee to his “Mar-a-lago” Resort from $100,000/yr to $200,000/yr. The rich & powerful… those “Special Interests” Trump bemoaned… were buying up memberships hoping to hob-knob with The President himself. But Trump wasn’t about to divest himself of his prized resort in which the wealthy could rub elbows with the Commander-in-Chief himself if the price is right, nor did Trump set any rules against “unsolicited fraternization”. If you’ve got the bucks, you might just luck into a private meeting with The President of the United States. What percentage of Trump’s “regular Americans” do you think he’ll run into down there at that price?

Trump’s hotels around the world, in New York and in DC, the profits from those hotels still feed into Trump’s pocket. When wealthy Saudi’s came to DC, rather than stay in the same posh hotel they normally booked, this year they chose to stay in a Trump-owned hotel (I’ll give you three guesses why, and the second two don’t count.) Overseas, the paperwork and court cases holding up development of Trump hotels and golf courses are suddenly fast-tracked and shown preferential treatment over Trump’s competitors. The Founding Fathers called such gifts & favoritism “emoluments”, and they are illegal. Yet Trump has refused to sell off his holdings and divest himself from these conflicts of interest (and No, turning the “running” of the business over to his sons does NOT resolve those conflicts of interest or shield him from violating the Emoluments clause.)

We know that as a real estate mogul in NY, Trump had a history of not paying his workers/suppliers/vendors, and he suggested during the campaign that only dumb people pay taxes, so much of Trump’s wealth came from being a deadbeat… something he can no longer get away with as president of the United States.

I mentioned above that Trump only LOANED his own campaign money to finance it, but we also learned just last week that Trump blatantly overcharged the Secret Service to rent space in Trump Tower to provide security for his wife & son Barron while they lived in New York. To charge them anything at all to stay in a hotel HE OWNS when they are there purely to protect him & his family when in New York is bad enough, but to scam the American taxpayers to pay double the normal rent to do it? Does he REALLY need the money THAT bad?

Also breaking news last week, not only did Independent Council Bob Mueller impanel a Grand Jury to hear evidence connecting Trump to Russia, we also learned Mueller is “investigating Trump’s personal & business finances”… not just campaign finances as they may relate to the Russia investigation. Trump is reportedly very angry about this. Why would Mueller be investigating Trump’s “private” finances as part of his Russia investigation? Because, like me, Mueller also believes Trump’s businesses were used to launder Russian crime money into his presidential campaign.

Republicans have pined for a “CEO president” for 20 years. It was part of their sales pitch for Bush & Cheney in 2000 (touting their “CEO” credentials.) Bush had a string of disastrous business failures behind him (requiring bailouts from Daddy’s friends) while Cheney bilked the government for Billions as a government contractor. THAT was their record as “businessmen”. And one might think that the disastrous Bush/Cheney presidency would have soured Republicans on the idea of electing another “CEO President” promising to run the country “like a business”, but they did it again with Donald Trump. And once again we find another failed businessman who’s really good at scamming people, declaring bankruptcy and asking Uncle Sam for a bailout.

So look at the list of financial matters connected to the Trump campaign: He refused/refuses to release his taxes… the first to do so since Nixon. He charged his own campaign to reimburse him for all the money he loaned it, he over-charged the Secret Service rent to protect his own family in his own hotel, he also doubled the Mar-a-Lago Membership Fee, there is all the Emoluments/profiteering off his business interests that he refuses to divest himself from, there’s his four bankruptcies, two divorces and failed casinos, has bragged about paying no taxes (not just the wealthy, but people deep in debt also pay no taxes), legal judgements totaling MILLIONS against him, a string of failed business ventures including “Trump University”, which turned out to be one giant scam, and a Russian-cash expressway between the Kremlin and Trump’s real-estate holdings around the world. That blue “TRUMP” 707 he flew around in during the campaign is all that’s left of “Trump Airlines” that was born & died in the late 1990’s.

For a man supposedly worth $10 Billion dollars, he sure seems to be nickle & diming the Federal government while spending very little of his own money (as I write this, I’m noticing how Trump nor his Wife & son, have ever vacationed any place Trump didn’t already own (either Trump Tower in NYC or Mar-a-Lago in Florida).

Every time a Republican calls for “Running government like a business”, point out to them that businesses are NOT Democracies. They are “Dictatorships” or “Monarchies” run to turn a profit. Governments are services that SPEND money to provide those services. THAT is what we pay taxes for! Trump himself once said: “In government, every decision requires you to have a heart. In business, it’s the opposite. In fact, it may be better if you have no heart at all.” And this is whom they elected to run the largest public service on the planet.

Businesses are run to make a profit for the CEO and pay off shareholders. Who know who Donald thinks the CEO is. One wonders whom he thinks his “shareholders” are? Whom does he owe? Who OWNS HIM?

ADDENDUM: The day after I wrote this, “The Rachel Maddow Show” actually explored the question of all the money Trump is making off the presidency and its legality. RECOMMENDED VIEWING.

UPDATE 9/20/17: Reuters is reporting that the RNC is paying Don Jr’s personal legal bills, and Trump is using his Election & Re-election Campaign funds to pay for his own (and his family’s) legal bills in the Russia investigation. This helps explain why he launched his “reelection campaign” THE DAY HE TOOK OFFICE [ibid].

Trump raised $107 MILLION for his “pre-inaugural concert” (more than TWICE the $53M Obama raised for his 2009 star-studded even) and promised to donate the unused portion to charity. The Trump campaign wildly overpaid $25M on a handful of low budget events including one cover band, highschool marching bands and baton twirlers, then and kept the rest.

Trump DID keep his promise to *personally* donate $1 Million to victims of hurricane Harvey (which was split 12 ways), though it bears pointing out that for a man who claimed during the campaign to be worth over $10 Billion dollars, a donation of a mere $1 Milion amounts to 1/10,000th of his claimed total net worth… roughly equivalent to a person worth $550K (including home) and $50K salary) donating just $55.
 


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

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


 

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