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These people are dangerous, and they’re costing lives

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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Keystone XL Protest Signs for Download

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

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

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

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


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


HIGHER prices NOT lower -  - HIGHER prices NOT lower


The JOBS myth - The JOBS myth


No good for gasoline - No good for gasoline


Massive Tailing Ponds - Massive Tailing Ponds


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


Summary poster - Summary poster

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


 

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

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No, the Keystone Tar Sand Oil is NOT Inevitable

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, February 24, 2014

A little birdy tells me that President Obama is now considering approving the final leg of the infamous “Keystone XL” pipeline because some big names on the Left have resigned themselves to the idea that the tar sands making it to market is “inevitable”, so we might as well be the ones to do it before a “less” environmentally conscientious nation “like China” (who is investing heavily in Green energy and focusing on pollution after Beijing started hitting blindingly toxic levels of smog prior to the 2008 Olympics.) Meanwhile, ask North Carolina and West Virginia what they think about our environmental record. Quite honestly, anyone claiming to be “a Liberal” that tells you the KXL “is inevitable so we might as well do it”, isn’t really a Liberal. Because a true Liberal finds the better way. They don’t just throw up their hands and say, “Okay Big Money, you win! I surrender!” Screw you and the Iron Horse you rode in on. That’s like saying, “Wall Street is going to find a way to screw us out of our money anyways so we might as well deregulate the whole damned thing.” No, Naysayers, the tar sands oil making it to market is NOT “inevitable.” Answer me this: That “tar sand” has been there for tens of thousands of years. Why now? Why are we suddenly considering using it “now”? Was there a sudden drop in the supply of oil that I’m not aware of? Are we running out of places to drill? Has OPEC suddenly cut back production because oil is suddenly harder to find? No. The reason… the ONLY reason they are suddenly looking at it is because it’s suddenly economically feasible thanks to the Bush Administration driving oil prices into the stratosphere. In the past, converting tar sand into “oil” was just too damned expensive. Now, with $95/barrel oil, suddenly, the process is cost effective. Wanna stop the tar sand’s from being used, GET THE PRICE OF OIL DOWN. And there’s several ways to do it.

As I reported last week, if the price of oil were to fall $30 to just $65/barrel, excavating the tar sands would no longer be cost efficient. And arguably, I don’t see the U.S. refining tar sand for China. If they want it, they are going to have to ship it someplace else to refine it. Suddenly, we’re not looking at $65/barrel, you’re looking at more like $75/barrel before it becomes too expensive for a foreign country to try an utilize it.

Ever wonder why CANADA doesn’t just simply refine it THERE in Canada? Why not simply build a refinery there rather than bisect the United States with a 1,800 mile long pipeline to the Gulf? Because they plan to EXPORT that oil once it has been refined. No port, no profit. And as long as oil is in the $75+ range, there’s profit to be made. Get that price down, and all your worries about Keystone go too.

I personally believe that protesters that focus on the catastrophic environmental damage the KXL would do are doing themselves a tremendous disservice. If your target audience is people that don’t believe in “Global Warming” and believe in all the lies they’ve been fed about what an economic boom it would be, you might as well be claiming the KXL kills “Spotted Owls” for all the good it would do. No, you’ve gotta hit them where they live. TELL THEM that it WON’T “create a million jobs” like they’ve been told. TELL THEM that it WON’T lower… but in fact RAISE… the price of gas. TELL THEM that it means an enormous 11-foot deep lake of black toxic sludge the size of Central Park (840 acres) in their backyard blighting the landscape, stinking the air, and lowering their property values. Hit them where they live. And be ready to answer question when they ask you to defend your claims. Because as long as these lies are allowed to persist, they become the truth. “Everyone” was gung-ho to invade Iraq over “Weapons of Mass Destruction” that we were literally guaranteed were there (“slam dunk”). But afterward when the weapons didn’t turn up, suddenly everyone realized they had been lied to for someone else’s personal gain and WE were stuck with the check.

I plan on taking part in a “Stop the Keystone XL pipeline” protest this Saturday, and I hope to create some nice “ready-to-print” signs that I can distribute in file format to fellow protesters. If I do, I’ll be sure to post them here on M.R.S. for free download sometime this week.
 



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Filed in Economy, Energy Independence, Environment, Global Warming, Jobs, Money, myth busting, Seems Obvious to Me February 24th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Apathy Latest Enemy In Fighting Keystone XL Pipeline

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, February 3, 2014

Back in April of 2011, I wrote a lengthy post detailing all the misconceptions, deceptions and outright lies being spread by supporters of the “Keystone XL” pipeline. It was popular and important enough that I gave that post its own page, linked from the Top Menu above. Quite literally, EVERY benefit being claimed about the pipeline is complete & utter nonsense: a million new jobs, lower gas prices, and energy independence with minimal impact on the environment. All of it, total bullshit (read my report for details.) In March of last year, the U.S. State Dept declared that they believed the pipeline would have a “negligible” impact on the environment (based on a report prepared for them by people working for TransCanada), which I reported on at the time. Last week, the State Dept released its follow-up report on the environmental impact of the KXL, declaring their belief that it would in fact have “minimal impact”, giving President Obama cover should he decide to approve the final/key leg of the pipeline, extending it up to the Alberta Tarsands itself. Critics of opponents like me think the only reason we oppose the KXL is because of its impact on “Global Warming”… which they deny anyway, so we’re easy to dismiss. We’re just a bunch of squishes that “over-react” when it comes to the Environment. Well, as I pointed out in my post last year, even if you don’t believe in Climate Change, there are plenty of other reasons to oppose the KXL. Few jobs (would you believe fewer than FIFTY permanent jobs?), HIGHER (not “lower”) gas prices, and other environmental hazards like incredibly frequent massive spills of thick gooey tar (292 in North Dakota alone in less than two years) that are next to impossible to clean up. They say “pipeline technology has improved” to the point where such spills are rare. Since when? How long must we go without a pipeline rupturing that we can start calling them “rare”? Because last I checked, we haven’t gone a full 7-months yet without a pipeline leaking tens of thousands of gallons of oil somewhere in the United States.

The State Department report is rubbish. It has already been revealed, once again, that “consultants” hired to write the report were lobbyist for a trade group linked to TransCanada (owners of the pipeline). And their “conclusion” that the pipeline would have a negligible impact is based on the enormously questionable belief that if the pipeline were not built, the “oil” would just be “shipped by rail”, getting out into the market anyway (meaning the “pipeline” would have little impact, not the oil). Not only does rail not move as much product (I’m not calling it “oil” because it’s not. It’s a thick mud called “bitumen”) as a pipeline would, but as The Washington Post points out, if the price of oil falls to roughly $70/barrel, shipping by rail is no longer cost efficient. And if the price of oil falls below $65/barrel, it doesn’t matter how it’s transported, it’ll be cheaper just to leave the tar-sand in the ground. So the assumption that “we might as well just transport it by pipeline since it’s going to be delivered one way or another” is questionable at best.

I don’t like the fact that opposition to the KXL seems to have waned in the Progressive Media as of late. I hear Progressives talk about the KXL almost with a sense of futility that it’s going to happen eventually no matter what. We’ve been talking about this pipeline “for years now” and nothing bad has happened “so far” so maybe the criticism was overblown? “Nothing” has happened “so far” because it hasn’t been built! It reminds me of critics of health care reform blaming “Obamacare” for things that happened before it went into effect. Progressive radio host Ed Schultz… who has been on my shit-list ever since he spent an entire show in 2009 defending dog-killer Michael Vick’s right to earn millions of dollars playing football the same day Blue-dog “Democrat” Max Baucus (D-MT) announced that he would be siding with the GOP to deny Democrats a 60-vote Super Majority if the Health Care Reform bill included a Public Option… stated on his show last Thursday that he “supports” the KXL pipeline and “thinks it should be done” (then spent Friday’s show talking about the Super Bowl). Bye-bye, Ed. I’m done with you. I suggest you find a new job as a sportscaster, since that seems to be where your interests really lie.

Here are some new photos, and a video clip, to go with my earlier reports on the Keystone XL pipeline:

Tailing pond pipe in Alberta, Canada
Tailing pond pipe
 

Tailing pond with pipes (left)
Tailing pond, Alberta
 

Tailing pond dwarfs rig
Tailing pond, Alberta
 

Oil sands, Canada
Oil sands, Canada
 

Mildred Lake, tailing pond
Mildred Lake
 

Pipes in Sudbury tailing pond
Sudbury tailing pond
 

More pipes
Tailing pond pipes
 

Tarsands oil contains 17% more carbon than conventional crude oil.
17percent more emissions
 

More Alberta tarsands
Alberta tarsands
 

More Alberta tarsands
Alberta tarsands
 

More Alberta tarsands
Alberta tarsands
 

Closeup of tailing pond:
Tailing pond

All of these tailing pipes gush toxic waste 24-hours a day, 365 days a year.
Gusher
 

Video clip showing that gushing pipe in action (11sec)


So I’m posting this brief reminder/update on the Keystone XL Pipeline before I hear any more foolishness about the “futility” in fighting a pipeline that seems to be inevitable. That’s how they win, by wearing us down. They have deep pockets to drag this out for as long as they need until they lull us into believing, “Smoking’s good for you. Never mind the “licorice smell in your water, West Virginia. Oh, and the check is in the mail.”

Starting on February 5th, the State Department will begin an “open commenting period” of just 30 days allowing people to write them in opposition/support of the Keystone XL pipeline. Be sure to make your voice heard (don’t contact them before the 5th or risk having your message ignored.)
 



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Filed in Economy, Energy Independence, Environment, Global Warming, Jobs, myth busting, Politics February 3rd, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Pinging the Bullshit Meter: Gingrich Says Poorest Big Cities All Have Dem Mayors

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

“Sorry Newt, that’s a Bullshit statistic.” That was my immediate reaction to Newt Gingrich’s claim that, “Every major city which is a center of poverty is run by Democrats. Every major city!” He said it as a rebuke to Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich’s suggestion that the GOP was responsible for the inability of so many people to move out of poverty. Having lived in the South almost my entire life, and in a very tiny town for much of that, if there’s one thing I know: Most dirt-poor rural residents vote Republican. The poorest states in the Union are deep red states like Mississippi and Louisiana, where some of the richest are deep blue like Massachusetts and California. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard that “statistic” about “Democrats running the poorest cities” (and “Detroit” always tops their list), but it’s a bit like arguing that ALL Republicans are soulless turds because all of the 2012 GOP Presidential candidates were soulless turds. It’s a highly selective feux-”statistic” that is representative of nothing. If nothing else, Gingrich is guilty of wildly over-simplifying the matter.

Wiki (for what it’s worth) lists the top 10 poorest major cities in the United States (w/percentage living in poverty):

  1. Detroit, Michigan – 42.3% – Democratic Mayor
  2. Cleveland, Ohio – 36.1% – Democratic Mayor
  3. Cincinnati, Ohio – 34.1% – Democratic Mayor
  4. Miami, Florida – 31.7% – Republican Mayor
  5. Fresno, California – 31.5% – Republican Mayor
  6. Buffalo, New York – 30.9% – Democratic Mayor
  7. Newark, New Jersey – 30.4% – Democratic Mayor
  8. Toledo, Ohio – 30.1% – Independent Mayor
  9. Milwaukee, Wisconsin – 29.9% – Democratic Mayor
  10. St. Louis, Missouri – 29.2% – Democratic Mayor

(I would like to point out that Michigan’s Republican governor stripped Detroit’s mayor and City Council of ANY power, declared bankruptcy, and is about to liquidate the city’s assets, treasure-for-treasure, with NO plan to grow the local economy. Of the seven Democratically run cities on that list, FIVE are in states with Republican governors.)

Is the list top-heavy with Democrats? Yes. Is it exclusively Democrats? No. So what does this prove? Nothing. Inner-cities typically have larger minority populations that tend to vote Democratic. So are they poor because they vote Democratic or do they vote Democratic because they’re poor? That same Wiki page lists the Top-100 poorest cities in America regardless of size. By my count, EIGHTY-FOUR of the top-100 poorest cities in America are in Red states (with Texas accounting for more than 1/4 of the 100.) Of the Top TWENTY states with the highest per capita income, only TWO are Red states (Alaska at #8 and Wyoming at #17). The rest are all Blue. of the Top-20 Poorest states, just two are blue states (Michigan, the least poor at #30 and New Mexico at #45.) The rest are all Red.

(I feel I could do a far more in-depth analysis of this nonsense pseudo-”statistic”, looking back at whether previous mayors were Republican or Democrat and which Party’s policies were more responsible for the poor economic conditions in these cities, but that would only lend credibility to this particular bit of nonsense.)

In the 60′s many large cities fell victim to “White Flight”, a phenomena where many affluent whites fled to the suburbs, leaving behind large minority populations in the inner city. Poverty and unemployment are higher among Blacks and Latinos than whites. So it just goes to follow that poverty and unemployment are higher in the city than in the suburbs. They also tend to vote Democrat. Newt and the GOP would have you believe that the poverty-stricken people in these big cities are either too dumb to figure out that voting for Democrats is why they are still poor, or that they’re just lazy and like all the “free stuff” Democrats promise them.

Gingrich has had a problem with viewing Blacks as a different breed of human being altogether. “Poor work ethics” are responsible for their chronic poverty that can be cured if we just gave all their kids janitorial jobs at school, and the only “work” Black kids are interested in is crime where they can make a lot of money with very little effort. They vote Democratic because they’re clearly too stupid to figure out that Republican policies will lift them out of poverty… the way it did under the last two Republican presidents (Bush-I and Bush-II) but not under Clinton (yes, that’s snark.)

Newt Gingrich is just one of those Republicans that bugs the crap out of me. Like Rush Limbaugh. They are race-baiting pseudo-intellectuals that make ridiculous claims with all the authority of Stephen Hawking, pass morality judgements upon others when they themselves are guilty of the same or far worse, and the Media showers them with undeserving praise & respect as authority figures even though they are ALWAYS wrong. And I do mean ALWAYS.
 


 

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Filed in Economy, General, Jobs, Money, myth busting, Politics, Seems Obvious to Me December 16th, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Unprepared for Misinformation on Turkey-Day

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, December 2, 2013

Did you know that British police have started carrying guns? I was told that chestnut, among many others, during Thanksgiving dinner at my father’s last week. My father and Step-Mother are Republicans, as are most of their friends, and I’ve come to notice over the years that they believe an absurd amount of misinformation. Where does that misinformation come from? Surprisingly, rarely does it come from watching Fox “news” themselves. I’ve found that most of the faulty “facts” that shape their politics comes from their friends… likewise misinformed Republicans… who either “embellished” on some grain of truth in an otherwise legitimate news story they half-heard incorrectly (“UK police resist calls to give cops guns despite double murder“) or your usual laundry list of RW Talk Radio offenders (Rush, Beck, etc.) Now, like you, I consider myself better informed than most others with regards to politics. And when asked for my opinion on something, I can support my position with the facts. But EVERY time I  stray into “Right-Wing World”, I always, always, ALWAYS am confronted by someone suggesting something that sounds completely ludicrous, but I can’t just call “bulls#!t” because unlike them, I don’t claim to know otherwise unless I can back it up with facts. So rather than anger people that I otherwise am friends with, I keep my mouth shut or provide an unconvincing rationalization that only reinforces my friends’ mistaken beliefs… which is an opportunity lost. For nearly a decade, I’ve been correcting Conservative misinformation on this blog, yet when surprised by the outrageous, I frequently find myself ill-prepared. And it haunts me.

Besides the “Bobbies carrying guns” myth, there was the oft-heard repeated myth of how “states with the toughest gun laws have the highest rate of crime” (“Chicago” and “D.C.” mentioned by name), arguing against strict gun laws. The grain of truth? A WaPo report last September announced that Chicago surpassed New York as the murder capital of the U.S.. Why? While Chicago saw an uptick in the number of murders (500 up from 431), NYC’s murder-rate plunged (from 515 to 419). NYC has some of the strictest gun laws in the country. And while I already knew that most of the guns used in crimes in Chicago come from outside of Chicago where the laws are more lax, I didn’t already know the above fact. Instead, I simply pointed out that “guns are not the problem, unemployment is the problem” because “poverty breeds crime” (and in fact, crime in Chicago is actually going down, which gun advocates attribute to a lifting of gun laws and not the sinking unemployment rate). As for D.C., I had forgotten at the time that just before Bush left office, the Supreme Court rolled back DC’s strict gun-control laws. But I’d just as soon not open that “Second Amendment” can of worms.

Also on the hit parade, “Obamacare”, insurance rates going up, people losing coverage, and that disastrous website (a subject I was better suited to deal with as a former web developer). Did you know “Facebook and Google offered to help fix the Healthcare.gov website and Obama turned them down?” No, that’s because it’s not true. I too had heard mention of “Facebook and Google” in reference to fixing “healthcare.gov”, but forgot the context, so I could not muster much of a response. A quick Google search reveals that Facebook NEVER offered to fix the Federal Health Exchange website (which is probably for the best considering all the “privacy” landmines they’ve been setting off all year, and Google actually IS among five tech companies working to fix the healthcare.gov website. Damn that Obama!

My best response of the evening, “They should have just let anyone that wanted to buy into Medicare just buy into it”, to which the response was, “That would have been easier, wouldn’t it!”

Do you think I was about to point out that “Medicare for All” was the basis for Sarah Palin’s “government takeover of healthcare!” (the argument being private companies would go out of business, unable to compete with terrible, awful government healthcare and it’s “Death Panels” full of “government bureaucrats deciding who lives or dies?” No.

A win’s a win.

Guess I know what I need for Christmas.
 



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Filed in myth busting December 2nd, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • 3 comments | Add/View

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It Must Be Exhausting to Be A Republican

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, November 4, 2013

I could never do it. I mean, being a Republican nowadays means living in a CONSTANT state of utter OUTRAGE! It must be exhausting to be a Republican. And if you’re a Teabagger? OMG, forget it! I’d be too tired to pull the trigger on the gun in my mouth. Yesterday’s Sunday shows were a primer in cluelessness. I watch all three of the network Sunday shows (plus “Up” on MSNBC) back to back each week, and I don’t think they went more than 15 minutes in those four hours without some Republican expressing “OUTRAGE”… not just over something minor, but sometimes over things President Bush did as well (if not worse). I swear that these people can’t hear themselves speak or else they wouldn’t say things so demonstrably stupid (and frequently disproven by their own words on tape.) A few examples:

Starting with our first show, “Up” on MSNBC, they spoke of the fact that Republicans are OUTRAGED that President Obama dare try to fill THREE vacancies in the D.C. first circuit court, accusing the president of “court packing”… a term dating back to when FDR attempted to add six more justices to the Supreme Court, thus ensuring that more decisions would fall in his favor. But President Obama isn’t seeking to ADD judges to the court, just fill the existing vacancies. Those three vacancies on the Court didn’t open up overnight. If President Obama filled ONE vacancy, would that be “Court packing”? Of course not. But because Republicans REFUSED to fill those vacancies as they opened up, trying to fill them now is “court packing”. Once again, Republicans CREATED a problem by refusing to cooperate, and then when the inevitable happens, they accuse The President of mucking it up. Oh, and they’re OUTRAGED!

Outrage #1: Republicans create a problem by refusing to confirm nominees, and then when the president tries to fill those vacancies, it’s “an OUTRAGE!”

So now we switch over to Fox “news” Sunday where they live in a perpetual state of outrage. And for the second week in a row, Republicans are outraged that President Obama “clearly did not tell the truth when he said if you like your insurance, you can keep your insurance.” Unfortunately for then-Senator Obama, he didn’t insert the caveat: “as long as your insurance meets certain minimum requirements.” Clearly, he failed to account for the fact that lots of Republicans LIKE sub-standard policies that would hang them out to dry if they got hit by a bus, so long as it’s cheap (how many times have I written in these pages that Republicans lack any ability to consider the consequences of their actions). THE WHOLE POINT of the health care “mandate” if that everyone is covered by insurance rather than become a drain on society if they don’t have coverage. So yes, if your sucky policy doesn’t include “hospitalization”, then “NO, you CAN’T keep your policy.” Deal with it.

Outrage #2: President Obama failed to anticipate that some people (Republicans) would be “OUTRAGED” that they might be forced by their insurance company to give up their junk policy for one that actually provides real coverage, just because their crap policy was cheap. And offering them the opportunity to buy BETTER coverage wouldn’t make them happy. Then again, what does?

Oh, but Fox had an entire hour to fill with non-stop outrage, so for the second week in a row, they repeated the (intentionally?) deceptive claim that “Florida Blue”… Florida’s “Blue Shield” provider… “is canceling the policies of 300,000 customers because of ObamaCare.” Problem is, the CEO of “Florida Blue” already appeared on “Meet the Press” last week to deny the claim, stating that no ones policy had been “canceled”, but in fact their policies were being “transformed” into policies that meet the new basic minimum standards of The Affordable Care Act. Naturally, this will make the policies more expensive, but Obama’s promise was not violated: “If you like your policy, and your doctors, you can keep your policy and your doctors.” You might have to pay more to stay with that policy, but then, with more options opened up by the Exchanges, your insurance company might lower rates in order to compete (or as one Fox pundit put it yesterday: a sinister plan to “put the insurance companies out of business.” Hashtag #FreeMarketHypocrits). If you don’t want to pay more, and “cost” is more important to you than keeping your doctor, then YOU can choose to cancel your policy, but that is YOUR decision.

Of course, if you’re a selfish bastard of the “bootstraps” persuasion, it should come as no surprise that the folks at Fox are outraged that some people have to pay for things they won’t need, like men paying for “maternity care” or women paying for “prostate-cancer screenings”. Someone please explain to these people that THAT’S HOW INSURANCE WORKS. You may pay for things you don’t need, but others pay for things you may need that they don’t.

Outrage #3: “ObamaCare” is “canceling” junk insurance policies that don’t meet basic minimal standards. Only, they’re not. They’re not “canceling” anything. They are only bringing those policies into compliance. And yes, they may cost more, BUT YOU’RE GETTING MORE IN RETURN, and for less money than it would have before The ACA. Outrageous!

Of course, it wouldn’t be Fox if they didn’t bring up their favorite outrage of the year: Ben-gha-zi!!!. If you haven’t heard, on September 11th, terrorists attacked a place where Americans were known to reside. The Administration was caught off guard, and a number of Americans starting with the numeral “4″ were killed. In 2012, that number was “4″. Period. In 2001, that “4″ was followed by three zeros. So which one do you think Fox viewers believe is more deserving of 14 straight months of “outrage” and calls for the president’s resignation? If you guessed “2012″, go to the head of the class.

Of course, if it’s Sunday, you’re going to see either John McCain or Lindsey Graham on your TV (Joe Lieberman was the third Stooge before he retired.) And since the topic was Benghazi, naturally Fox brought on Graham to opine on the latest calls for “an investigation into just what happened.” These are the same people that said calls to investigate 9/11/2001 were “unpatriotic”. So Graham is “outraged” that Obama is refusing to allow members of his own Administration to testify before a GOP kangaroo court because there’s an investigation already underway. Graham indignantly tells host Chris Wallace, “Can you imagine if President Bush had said, you can’t talk to these people because there’s an ongoing investigation?” BUSH DID SAY THAT! On numerous occasions! He said that during the “9/11 Commission” and he said it during the “Valery Plame” investigation. How many members of his Administration refused to testify in the Plame Affair? Heck, Alberto Gonzales and Harriet Meyers both flat-out defied a court order to testify. And “Scooter” Libby was convicted of perjury. So PLEASE Lady Graham, don’t start getting all indignant because the Obama White House is refusing to perform in the Center Ring of your circus.

Outrage #4: Terrorists attacked and killed a number of Americans on September 11th. The White House seemed to ignore all the warnings leading up to the attack and then “allowed” it to happen anyway. There’s even rumors that they watched it unfold on TV! The Administration rejected calls for a public investigation, and when that failed, they simply refused to cooperate, citing “an ongoing investigation”. Which 9/11 am I referring to?

The botched roll out of the Healthcare.gov website is on the short list of Republican “outrages” this week. Why? At the same time they are cheering the “obvious failure of ObamaCare” (because they equate a website with an entire healthcare reform law), they are also “outraged” that people can’t “enroll in ObamaCare”. None-the-less, it’s grounds for yet another “hearing” in which Republicans get to question the Administration over just how it could have botched something they assured us for months would be a slam-dunk work just fine. Which one do you think was more deserving of an intense Congressional investigation? The invasion of another country on false pretenses that costs Billions of dollars, left 4,000 American soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis dead sparking a civil war that continues to this day, or the utter failure of a government contractor (that’s NOT named “Halliburton”) to deliver as promised? That’s a rhetorical question, of course.

Over on “Meet the Press”, OUTRAGE over the “ObamaCare” website (notice how the “Liberal Media” never uses the true name, “Affordable Care Act”?) continued, with The Gregory bringing on twice-failed presidential candidate Mitt Romney to critique the implementation of his own health care program that he repeatedly touted as “a model for the nation”. An “outraged” Romney jumped on the “Obama Lied” bandwagon and said that the president HAD to know he was lying when he said everyone could keep their plan because when he (Romney) passed “RomneyCare” in Massachusetts, that’s exactly what happened. Some people had to give up their plan (and the world didn’t come to an end). So clearly, RomneyCare was a disastrous failure, right folks at Fox? (Hope you’re not waiting on me to answer that one.)

Outrage #5: They want ObamaCare to fail. They shutdown the government demanding that it not be allowed to go into effect. They actively sabotaged the program so it would fail, so when the website failed and the consequences are that millions of people might have to wait a couple of extra months to save hundreds of dollars on their health insurance, it’s an “OUTRAGE!”

So what’s the lesson in all this? It’s that, if you’re a Democrat, no matter what you do, it’s grounds for OUTRAGE! And in EVERY case that I’ve described, the source of the “OUTRAGE” is a direct result of Republican action/inaction to ensure it came out that way. Meanwhile, ACTUAL things deserving of genuine OUTRAGE that in some cases cost thousands of lives and billions of dollars, were not only NOT sources of outrage, but they actually held those who WERE outraged in contempt.

I could never be a Republican. Too exhausting living in a state of perpetual OUTRAGE, lurching from one manufactured crisis to the next.
 

Postscript: While I thank so many of you for dropping by to read about my Mother’s ongoing crisis (we hit some record numbers for non-referral traffic last week), few of you actually spread the word to help get her story into the Media. Apathy is indeed a stubborn enemy. - Mugsy



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Filed in fake scandals, Healthcare, myth busting, Partisanship, Politics, Right-Wing Insanity November 4th, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Republicans Sabotaged Obamacare Rollout, then point to problems as proof the ACA is a failure.

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, October 21, 2013

Everywhere I turned yesterday on the Sunday talk shows, some Right Winger was pointing to the botched rollout of the Federal “Health Care Exchange” website as evidence “Obamacare” was a failure. As both a former website developer AND small-business owner, I take great umbrage to the idea that if the website is a “failure” that the company is also a failure (unless the company in questions builds websites.) Let’s get one thing perfectly clear: A WEBSITE IS NOT “OBAMACARE”. Just because the signup website buckled under the strain of immense interest, does not mean “The Affordable Care Act” isn’t working. And the Federal Exchange website wouldn’t have been so wildly overloaded had it not been for 26 states with either Republican governors or Republican controlled legislatures refusing to create a state Exchange, thus forcing half the country to use the Federal website. That’s like shooting a guy in the foot and then ridiculing his inability to dance. In states like Virginia (correction) Kentucky and California where they created a state Exchange like they were supposed to, the system worked perfectly, signing up literally thousands of applicants. You can’t sabotage the Exchange and then call it a failure when it fails.

As I said, I’m a computer guy. I got my first computer long before IBM ever dreamed up the PC and Microsoft was selling software for the Apple ][ in ziplock bags via magazine ads. So you might say I know a thing or two about computers.

We’ve all heard about “computer attacks” from “hackers” shutting down entire computer systems (the most recent and well known is a group called “Anonymous”). One of the “easiest” ways to shutdown a website is via a “Denial of Service” attack. This is achieved by accessing a particular website hundreds (even thousands) of times per second until the host computer crashes, unable to handle so many hits at once. Have you ever poured water down a funnel too fast only to have it overflow and make a mess? That’s what happened to the Exchange website last week.

Now, let it be known that the Federal Exchange was NOT the victim of a DoS attack (that is easy to figure out just by checking the logs), but the identical thing happened legitimately when millions of people all hit the Federal site in the span of just a few days. And why were so many people all trying to access the website at once? Because of all those red states that left its residents with nowhere else to go.

It is incredibly stupid to say, “I hate Obamacare so much I’m going to give up any power I have to control how it is implemented in my state!” And you have to extra dumb… I mean Tea Party dumb… to tell the government that you’re turning down free money from the government both to create a state Exchange at no cost to the state, AND turn down millions in Federal Medicaid funding, all because you stubbornly oppose something you clearly don’t even understand.

After the rollout debacle, I spent about a week debating Right-Wingers on Facebook actually advising people to “not sign up for Obamacare and it’ll collapse under its own weight.” I pointed out 1) “Obamacare” is not “an insurance program” that you sign up for, and 2) I question the logic of telling people that having “NO” insurance is better than even (what they believe to be) “overpriced” insurance. And naturally, after much debate, it was clear NONE of these critics had actually gone on the Exchange to compare prices and find cheaper insurance (of course, the bungled rollout made that impossible… but the fact remains, they hadn’t even tried and therefore had no proof that insurance purchased via the Exchange would be more expensive.) And after several days of correcting nonsense, my sparring partners were STILL talking about “Obamacare” as if it were an “insurance program” that they were going to be forced “by law” to sign up for. Another was telling me how she got better deals by negotiating with her doctor to pay “over time in cash”. Try doing that when your hospital stays runs into the hundreds of thousands. And of course, the old Romney chestnut that “no one in this country lacks health care as long as we have ER’s” (the most costly care there is, which drives up everyone’s rates covering the uninsured, while providing no “maintenance” care like “chemo”, “check-ups” or “dialysis”.) It was as futile as sweeping back the rolling tide. Conservatism is a bottomless pit of stupid from which wisdom neither enters nor escapes.

And yes, sites like “Facebook” and “YouTube” handle “millions of visitors per day. But they didn’t on DAY ONE. They started out small and added capacity as their popularity grew over months and years. Opening “Healthcare.gov” was like launching “Facebook” or “YouTube” at their current level of popularity without knowing you were doing so. And as someone who has built large websites, arguments that “they should have known what to expect” make me very uncomfortable. It doesn’t matter how prepared you think you are, you never are once those hits start rolling in.

I was one of the Beta testers for “Windows 7″ before it was released. We tested it for nearly a year through four or five rewrites seeking out bugs before it was finally declared “bug-free”. And yet Microsoft still had to release a “Service Pack” to patch numerous security holes less than a year after its launch. Trust me, it doesn’t matter how prepared you think you are, after millions of people get their hands on your work, someone’s going to break it. There’s an old saying in the computer biz:

It doesn’t matter how foolproof you make something, someone always comes along and builds a better fool.”

So in the coming weeks (not months), the government contractors that were wildly overpaid to build Healthcare.gov will be fixing their own work. I don’t know if the Canadian company that built the site will be paid even more to fix it, but one thing is for sure, it wouldn’t have needed fixing if we had 50 state Exchanges instead of just 24.
 

(Postscript: I predicted three weeks ago that the true goal of the Republican Shutdown was to set up President Obama for impeachment, and Gohmert’s like Rep. Louie Gohmert seemed to confirm what I had been saying all along, but in the end, there were just enough sane Moderate Republicans left to side with a united Democratic caucus to avoid default for another 90 days. But keep in mind that on the very last day, 144 Republicans voted against raising the Debt Ceiling and allowing the nation to default, which would have sparked world-wide economic disaster, thwarting what I believe were the Teanut’s intentions all along… impeaching Obama in an election year the way they did Clinton in ’98. But it’s not over yet. There’s still February.)

UPDATE: New Jersey Congressman Frank Pallone (D) blasted the Republicans chairing a hearing on problems with the website rollout, accusing them of fear-mongering by suggesting the site was collecting sensitive medical history information from applicants:
 

 



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Filed in Economy, fake scandals, General, Healthcare, myth busting, Partisanship, Politics, Right-Wing Insanity October 21st, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • 5 comments | Add/View

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You’re DAMN Right I Like ObamaCare. Will critcs change tune as more experience benefits for themselves?

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Tuesday, June 25, 2013

I know. I know. I’m not supposed to call it “ObamaCare”. It’s “The Affordable Care Act”, passed in 2010 and upheld by the Supreme Court one year ago this month. But to me, “ObamaCare” isn’t a pejorative. I have no problem linking President Obama to the first major health care reform bill in 50 years. And I hope 50 years from now, we see Right-Wing morons standing in front of the Capitol holding up signs saying, “Hands off my ObamaCare!”. And while there’s still six more months until it’s fully implemented, millions of Americans are already seeing the benefits… of which my mother is now one. As mentioned yesterday, my own mother is in the hospital, currently the ICU but being prepared to move to a “regular” room sometime today after 11 days of Intensive Care. Mom is 76, on a fixed income and on Medicare, so she’s among the first to enjoy the benefits of the new law: most notably she won’t go bankrupt trying to pay off an astronomical hospital bill thanks to a CAP on how much this nightmare will cost her. And whataya know? No “Death Panel” showed up to deny her treatment or refuse to pay for a needed procedure (the GOP saves that for women seeking an abortion). No government bureaucrat showed up to say she had to leave the ICU after only a week because it was costing too much. Every other insane nightmare scenario peddled by Sarah Palin or Glenn Beck… sorry you lunatic bastards, but you’re full of $#it and you know it. And right now, I’m pretty damned happy about “ObamaCare”.

About nine weeks ago (the same week as the Boston bombings), my mother was told that she needed chemotherapy to treat a lump in her cheek. (I was opposed to it, but that’s another story.) “Three treatments over six weeks” (one immediate, then two more every three weeks.) After each round, she responded poorly, first losing all her hair almost immediately, then mild pneumonia and a lung infection after the second round (at which point they should have stopped the damn chemo wiping out her immune system, not just put her on antibiotics), and finally, severe diarrhea and a fever of 102′. I rushed her to the Emergency Room where they stabilized her and placed her in the ICU, where she has been ever since.

Having spent more than my share of time in hospital emergency rooms, I can tell you that those visits don’t come cheap. They are (WITHOUT QUESTION) the most expensive form of health care there is… which is of course why Republicans think it’s a perfectly acceptable means of providing health care to the poor (see how that works?) Depending on the severity of your injuries, an ER visit can easily account for half your entire hospital bill (running into the thousands). Add to that a two-week stay in the ICU and we’re talking about some serious money.

The “care” Mom received before this mess… her chemo and doctors visits… were already costing her hundreds of dollars. Naturally, we became concerned about the cost of all this health care quite quickly, so a friend of my mother’s looked it up in her 2013 Medicare Benefits book (which every recipient receives in the mail each year.) This one includes a section on the “Benefits of the New Health Care Reform Legislation”. According to the new law (pdf), depending upon income, no individual will have to pay more than $5,950/year out of pocket ($11,900 for families) for their treatment… and that’s a COMBINED sum for ALL medical expenses in an entire year. That’s it. Period. End of story. That means Mom’s chemo, doctor co-pays, the trip to the 24hour Emergency Clinic two nights before that ended with me driving her back to her apartment at 2am only to have to rush her to the ER 36 hours later, are all included in that cap. And since she is nowhere near the highest income earners, her cap is likely to be closer to just $3,000. Before “ObamaCare”, her ER visit alone would have come close to that.

Now there are still a number of problems I have with “The Affordable Care Act”. It still leaves too much power in the hands of the insurance companies, doing little to control the cost of “premiums” that the insurance companies can charge you, or stop profiteering by hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, and the people selling those “Rascal Scooters” that you see fat people riding around in at Wal*Mart everyday, that makes health care far more expensive than it needs to be. There are also a number of “loopholes” for employers to exploit to deny employees coverage (like cutting worker hours). And while wildly cheaper than before, even $3,000 is still a hefty “out-of-pocket” expense for someone living on a fixed income, but right now if you ask me, “Do you like ObamaCare?” You’re DAMN Right I Like ObamaCare. And I’m willing to bet that as more & more people begin to experience the benefits for themselves the way I have this past month, the rest of the public will come to appreciate it as well.
 



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Filed in Economy, General, Healthcare, Money, myth busting June 25th, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • 4 comments | Add/View

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Why Aren’t Obama’s Scandals Gaining Traction? Because the public knows the messengers have no credibility.

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, June 3, 2013

Bachmann's retirement means a lot of fact-checkers will be laid off.Godwin’s Law states that the longer any political argument goes on, the greater the likelihood is someone will compare the other side to Hitler. It’s a sound law that has withstood the test of time. But not only is it reliable, it points out a very important point when arguing politics: eventually one side… clearly seeing that it is losing… will try to minimize the misdeeds of their side by comparing them to the most objectionable thing everyone can agree upon: The Nazi’s. “What your side did/doing is just like what the Nazi’s did” or “What my side did is nothing compared to what the Nazi’s did”. “Mugsy’s Corollary” to Godwin’s Law is that Republicans will compare “fake scandals” invented by the GOP to very real scandals that took place under a Republican Administration (Nixon/Reagan/Bush-II) to suggest: “both sides do it”, “both sides are equally guilty” and lately, “Bush’s scandals were nothing compared to Obama’s.” We saw it during the Clinton Administration. It seemed like every week there was a new “scandal”. Rachel Maddow reminded everyone on her show last Thursday of how the GOP spent weeks (and tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars) to investigate “the White House Christmas Card List”. I’d add to that “infinite playlist” of imaginary scandals: the investigation into “Socks”… the White House cat’s… fanclub letters (“who paid for the postage?”) GOP scandal-mongering in the late 90′s didn’t just border on the ridiculous, it sailed over that cliff like Thelma & Louise. The initial unspoken intent of the scandal-mongering back then was to limit Bill Clinton to a single term. But following Clinton’s re-election, the GOP scandal-machine went into overdrive to try and ensure he didn’t finish out his second term. And now we are seeing it again. In Obama’s first term, with no real scandals to pursue, Conservatives prattled on about “Where’s the Birth Certificate?” and the “Secret Muslim” nonsense to try and paint the president as an “other”. But by 2012, with desperation creeping in, we started hearing about “Fast and Furious” and (late in the game): “Benghazi”. And now, just months into Obama’s second term, we have no fewer than THREE almost legitimate “scandals” (“Benghazi”, “IRS scrutinizing Tea Party groups applying for tax-free status”, and the subpoena of reporter’s phone records to track a WH leak) with (almost certainly) more on the way, Republicans are crowing about a recent poll that shows President Obama Job Approval falling three whole points (polls are a fickle thing) the same month The Stock Market hits another record high, new home sales are up 10.3% in just one year, and Consumer Confidence hits “a five year high”. A 3-point decline is cause for celebration? (Fox “news” Sunday spent a good portion of their show yesterday making hay of it.) I guess they have to take their victories where they can find them. Maybe these “scandals” aren’t gaining any traction because they’re not scandals?

If I hadn’t heard it with my own ears, I’d of of thought it was a joke or taken out of context. Two notorious Right-wing bomb-throwers… RW radio host Laura Ingraham and WaPo’s columnist Jeniffer Rubin both tried to compare the made-up “IRS scandal” to the outing of undercover CIA Agent Valery Plame:
 

On subject of AG Holder investigating a Fox reporter to track down a WH leak:

Ingraham: …just like that: “We [the AG's office] never thought we would prosecute him [Fox reporter James Rosen].” Well, what were you really after here? I think… there’s so many questions.” … “for people to just blow this off [as] overreach by the Republicans. How many times did we hear about overreach in the Valery Plame prosecution? I don’t remember one time.

Rubin: “But he [Obama] has not sent out an order as George Bush did in the Valery Plame decision, “I do not want anyone in this Administration to refuse to cooperate.

 
“Mugsy’s Corollary” in action. These two pundits are ACTUALLY claiming the Bush Administration was “cooperative” in the Plame investigation. Is that how you remember it? Because I sure as hell don’t. The person all of us are quite certain gave the order to leak the identity of Ambassador Wilson’s wife, Vice President Dick Cheney, never testified under oath before the Special Prosecutor. Oh, he (and Bush together) agreed to testify, but only until assurances they would not have to do so “under oath”. Rove had to be subpoenaed FOUR times because new evidence kept coming to light that he “conveniently” left out of his prior testimonies. Libby was actually prosecuted/convicted for “obstruction of justice” for refusing to admit who gave him permission to leak the fact “Ambassador Wilson’s wife worked for the CIA.” To hear these two tell it, President Bush had no tolerance for anyone wishing to obstruct justice. Yet, not only do we STILL not know (for a fact) who gave the order to leak Ms. Plame’s identity, but Bush commuted Libby’s prison sentence. Absolute models of integrity that Bush Administration was.

Ingram ends by noting that she can’t remember one time anyone… not just the White House, but “people” in general… accused the Plame Investigation of “overreach”. REALLY? The White House itself never accused Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald of “overreach” primarily because Fitzgerald didn’t “overreach”. In fact, quite the opposite. To the consternation of most Democrats, Fitzgerald “limited the scope of his investigation” from the get-go:
 

Fitzgerald: “The Special Counsel is limited by the specific scope of the investigation he was directed to conduct. Accordingly, the Special Counsel cannot make any decisions that extend beyond his express jurisdiction. The Court further concluded that the Special Counsel had no authority to disregard Department of Justice policies promulgated by the Attorney General [Gonzales].”

 
The Bush White House might not have accused the Special Prosecutor of “overreach” itself, but accusations that Fitzgerald was going “beyond his assignment” was the mating call of the injured RW Loon for nine months. Another reason the Bush White House didn’t cry “prosecutorial misconduct” is because there was no question a crime had been committed… unlike these made-up scandals under Obama. What is the “crime” of Benghazi? “Failing to provide additional security”? I’m pretty sure you’re not going to find that law on the books. The “IRS scandal”? NOT ONE SINGLE RIGHT-WING APPLICANT WAS DENIED their application (which is a scandal unto itself). If the IRS was abusing it’s authority, it did a really lousy job of it (and as TV’s Stephen Colbert pointed out, you don’t need to “wait for approval” to declare yourself a 501(c)4 and start accepting anonymous tax-free contributions.) And the AP/Leak investigation? As the HuffPo reported a few weeks ago:
 

Since the 1970s, the Supreme Court has ruled that information recorded by third parties like cellphone carriers is not protected by the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment safeguards against unreasonable searches. So law enforcement need not obtain a warrant from a judge to gain access to records of who we call and when.

 
The AP is (rightly) concerned that if the government can see the phone records of everyone that called a particular reporter, and potential informants know that, they’ll stop talking. The problem here is that The AP is accepting NONE of the responsibility for publicly revealing sensitive national security information (regarding what we knew of North Korea’s missile program.) Someone in the White House revealed Top Secret information to the Press. And rather than ask, “Should you be telling us this?” and/or “Is the public’s right-to-know on this matter more important than National Security?”, they just printed it anyway without regard for the consequences. Maybe if The AP had shown just a little discretion, there would be no reason for “legitimate” sources to be concerned for their privacy. If there was a “crime” here, it was committed by whomever leaked that information to The Press. And the White House needs to know so it can prosecute that person. Compare that to the leaking of the identity of Valery Plame, where the goal of the White House was to PROTECT the leaker, not seek them out for prosecution.

Last week also brought the announced retirement of Michele Bachmann: Self-proclaimed leader of the Teanuts and Conspiracy Theorist-in-Chief. I don’t think there’s an “Oh-BHA-MA” conspiracy she didn’t buy into whole-hog. And like all Obama-hating Conspiracy Theorists, she never bothered to verify anything she was (supposedly) told (see: seven-foot doctor” or “mother who told her HPV vaccine caused mental retardation in children”) before repeating it on national TV claiming it was “the God’s honest truth”. If it confirms your own worst fears, why would you want to debunk it?

That just leaves us with Sarah Palin, Rand Paul, Louie Gohmert, Ted Cruz, Darryl Issa, Jim Inhoffe… ah, the Hell with it. The whole damn GOP. As Bob Dole so accurately pointed out last week, neither he, nor Reagan nor “certainly not Nixon” could get elected by today’s FAR FAR Right GOP. And that’s why the Public isn’t running for the pitchforks & torches over any of these made-up “worse than Watergate” imaginary “scandals”: they are well acquainted with the Messengers.

UPDATE 6/4/13: DailyKOS charts how President Obama’s approval rating has barely budged over the past three months because the primary concern of voters isn’t the IRS or Benghazi, “it’s the economy, Stupid”, and that seems to be improving.
 



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Filed in fake scandals, Jobs, myth busting, Partisanship, Politics, Right-Wing Insanity, Taxes, Unconstitutional June 3rd, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • 4 comments | Add/View

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Yes, Even Late May Snow Is Evidence of Climate Change (aka Global Warming)

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, May 27, 2013

Broken HeartlandIt’s as inevitable as the sunrise and twice as predictable: a freak Late-May snowfall causes Right-Wingers to declare that it is PROOF that “Global Warming is a hoax”, and gee, don’t all us “environmental wackos” feel foolish? Of course, not once does it occur to these “authorities” in the Meteorological Sciences that “freak” weather events are EXACTLY what “Climate Change” science predicts. To top it off, the same time the upper-North-East is seeing snow in late may, Moore, Oklahoma was just leveled by an incredibly rare “EF5″ tornado for the second time in less than 15 years, and as of Sunday morning, the postman needed a whitewater raft to deliver the mail in downtown San Antonio. As a former teacher, I always feel obligated to “educate” the people that send me snotty letters informing me of just how “stupid” I must feel every time more than 20 inches of snow falls in the middle of Winter. But this latest spate of near-Summer snow in the North-East has the deniers absolutely giddy. It NEVER occurs to them to ask, “Just where did all that snow come from in the first place?” Yes, even late May snow is evidence of climate change.

I’ve noticed in my dealings with these people that a big part of the problem is the phrase “Global Warming”, used as shorthand by the Wingnut-o-sphere for “Summer in the Wintertime.” I think we’d be a lot further along in fighting “Climate Change” if it weren’t for that “easily debunked by looking out the window” misimpression. Despite what they say every year on the right, “Climate Change” isn’t a “new” term that Environmentalists are “suddenly” using because “Global Warming” keeps making them look foolish. “Global Warning” doesn’t mean “an end to Winter”. That’s some bizarre definition the Right made up because it’s so easy to debunk. When you don’t have a clue about what the heck you’re talking about to begin with, it is EASY (and takes balls of stone) to declare YOU, with your Associate degree in Journalism from the prestigious North Idaho Community College (Palin’s alma mater) are right and several thousand Climatologists (many with PH.D’s in the subject) are all wrong.

CBS’s “Face the Nation” actually took a moment yesterday (albeit in the second half hour of their program that many local stations don’t even carry) to question whether all this wild weather we’ve been seeing lately… from late May snowstorms to massive tornadoes and flooding…. might be due to Climate Change. With no representatives of BigOil on the panel, all agreed that recent freak weather events are in fact being made worse by Climate Change. With no “Meet the Republicans Press” or “ThisWeek” competing for airtime yesterday, more people probably tuned into “Face the Nation” than usual, so it’s a shame they waited until after most stations broke away following the first half, to discuss the issue, but we’ll take our victories where we can find them. Of course, they could have run the program in primetime hosted by Toby Keith and half this country would have chosen to watch “Wheel of Fortune” reruns instead.

The note I received Sunday morning was mercifully brief (and not my first from this particular person):

“[It's] May 26th and my hometown just got a foot of snow overnight! Good luck with that whole ‘Global Warming’ thing.”

Feeling compelled to beat my head against their thick skull just once more, I (knowingly in vain) just had to reply:
 

Sadly, anti-science Luddites like yourself who don’t understand the first thing about Climate Change are going to be the death of us all.

First off, the term is “Climate Change”, not “Global Warming”. GW is the shorthand description used by Deniers like yourself b/c you think it means “100′ days in Winter”. It doesn’t. It ONLY refers to a tiny increase in GLOBAL temperature of 1-6 degrees. If you don’t think 1′ is a big deal, ask an ice cube what the difference is between 32′ & 33′.

Second, you’re confusing “Climate” (a permanent condition) with “Weather” (a daily event). If it were to snow in Miami one year, you wouldn’t suddenly say “Miami has a cold *climate*”. Just because we still have cold weather doesn’t mean Climate Change isn’t real.

Third, while you saw record *snowfall*, you saw very few “record *low* temperatures”. Cold temperatures do not guarantee “snow”. There are parts of the South Pole where it hasn’t snowed in 10,000 years because it’s just too cold. You don’t need “record cold” to get snow. For every “one” record “cold” temp each year, we see TWO record highs (and that gap is growing).

Fourth, if you don’t think “freak late May snow storms” are a sign of “Climate Change”, you’re not paying attention. WHERE DO YOU THINK ALL THAT SNOW CAME FROM? Increased evaporation means more water in the air, and warm air holds more water than cold air. Once all that moisture moves over a colder region, you get snow… and LOTS of it. (The video you replied to w/o watching explains this.)

Lastly, we just saw an entire town wiped out after being hit by an EXTREMELY rare EF5 tornado for the second time since 1999 and the third outbreak of EF5′s in the last decade (Joplin). We’ve seen more EF5′s in the last 15 years than we’ve seen in the prior FIVE DECADES.

Please share this information with your fellow Climate Change Deniers and stop making a fool of yourself by telling people freak weather events disprove Climate Change.

 
You too may have noticed that the critics never use the term “Climate Change”. They always say “Global Warming” because every snowfall “disproves” it. “Aha! See! Global Warming isn’t real” because the temperature didn’t do what I falsely claimed you said would happen. The standard straw-man argument: They setup an easily disprovable condition, then when it fails, it’s proof they were right all along. See how that works?

“Democrats think all Republicans are racists, but millions of Republicans voted for Hermann Cain”, ergo you clearly have no idea what you are talking about! Never mind the fact that I never called “ALL” Republicans “racists”, or the fact you are using a generalization to disprove a generalization. They create a false narrative that they KNOW already isn’t supported by the “facts”, and then declare you a fool for believing something you never claimed to believe.

“It’s snowing in May! Global Warming is a hoax!” Oh what short memories we have. Barely year ago last January, everyone on the news was wondering, “Where is the snow?” A month into Winter, and a “heat wave” meant many cities across the country had yet to experience their first snowfall of the season:

January 2012 Winter Heat Wave (1:41)

Incredibly (well, probably not), Breitbart.com recently ran a story (no, I will not link to it) claiming the last week of April saw “32 record lows for every record high”. Naturally, curiosity got the better of me and I had to check the story out. Eight lines long with just one link to the website of a Climate Change denier who found a map on a weather website that showed an unusual number of record low temperatures that particular week.

One commenter on Breitbart.com was clear-headed enough to point out that “32:1″ isn’t exactly a sign of “normal” weather either. But regardless, claiming that a cluster of record “low” days one week somehow nullifies all the other weeks of record “highs” is a bit like declaring that a coin will “always” come up tails just because it came up tails ten times in a row.

By March, 2012, that record Winter heat wave had confirmed what we already knew:

I wonder where the Deniers were THAT week?

ADDENDUM: I forgot to mention that two weeks ago, we finally surpassed the much warned of “400ppm (parts per million)” mark concentration of CO2 in our atmosphere. 520 Environmental Scientists released this statement demanding action on our rapidly changing climate, including a laundry list of consequences if we don’t act quickly.
 



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Filed in Environment, Global Warming, myth busting May 27th, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • 4 comments | Add/View

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The Big Lie: ONLY Conservative Groups Targeted by IRS? That’s not true.

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, May 20, 2013

Why us?Last week, the GOP unveiled its latest stalking horse: the idea that someone in the White House ordered city-level IRS offices across the country to single out “Conservative” organizations seeking “tax-exempt status” for additional scrutiny. And not just ANY “Conservative” groups, but “T.E.A. Party” groups. Set aside for a moment the fact that for YEARS the Tea Party has denied being a Republican or even “partisan” organization, as far as “scandals” go, this one is pretty weak tea (pun intended). To buy into this absurd conspiracy theory, one must believe that the White House decided that delaying the approval of “501(c)(4) status” for Conservative groups (because remember, despite “targeting” them, they APPROVED their applications anyway) was a priority worth risking criminal prosecution and possible impeachment for “abuse of power” 18-months before President Obama even began his reelection campaign. Hearings in the House last week revealed that this was little more than a bureaucratic snafu of overworked local IRS staffers looking for “shortcuts” to process a flood of Conservative groups seeking “tax-exempt” status in the wake of the “Citizens United” decision. Republicans could already feel the issue slipping away last week as polls showed the President not losing any ground over the issue. So over the weekend, Republicans started to declare that “ONLY Conservative groups were TARGETED by the IRS”. Why? Because if “ONLY” Conservative groups were targeted, that must mean someone consciously singled them out because of their political beliefs. And “targeted” sounds much more malicious than “singled out”. Problem (for them) is, IT’S NOT TRUE. It’s an absolute total lie. Plenty of “Liberal” groups received the same additional scrutiny, and in one case, was actually denied their application for 501(c)(4) status (unlike EVERY. SINGLE. CONSERVATIVE group, who were ALL approved.) Yet they are making the claim everywhere (even the floor of the Senate) without anyone calling them out for lying, hoping to push the false narrative that something dastardly was afoot at the IRS… an organization Republicans have been vilifying for decades. “Liberal” groups applying for tax exempt status also received additional scrutiny, but not as many were scrutinized as “Conservative” groups only because far fewer of them applied.

But first, some background: in 2011 following the Citizens United decision, the IRS did indeed start cracking down on “political” organizations seeking 501(c)(4) protection as a way to illegally conceal their donors. That’s the “fraud and abuse” portion of the “waste, fraud and abuse” Republicans say they’re always on the lookout for. One of those “tax loopholes” Mitt Romney suggested we close before we raise anyone’s taxes.

It’s a sad sad day when Fox “news” is the lone broadcast network to point out the fact that the IRS did not focus exclusively on “Tea Party” affiliated groups for extra scrutiny:
 

Fox Debunks Lie That ONLY Conservative Groups Targeted by IRS (1:15)

 
Rep. Paul Ryan later claimed in the interview that “the White House released private confidential tax information to the public”. Whose? Ryan never says and Wallace never asks, but after some digging, according the the NYT:

The 2010 incident involved an offhand comment by the White House economist Austan Goolsbee that Koch Industries had not paid corporate income taxes because it pays taxes through the personal income tax code. As it turned out, that was not true, but the assertion was made in a discussion of tax reform ideas, not politics.

 
So that “confidential tax information” wasn’t even real. It was one guy repeating something he had “heard”… NOT “factual tax information” provided to him by the IRS.

IMPEACH!  (Which reminds me, last weeks Op/Ed on all the uninvestigated Bush Era scandals was so popular that I was still updating it as recently as Saturday, so check it out again if you haven’t been back recently.)

On ABC’s “ThisWeek”, interminable Conservative douchebag George Will said accusingly yesterday:

[One must believe that IRS targeting] “JUST HAPPENED to fall disproportionately on Conservatives” [without malice or forethought].

Yes George. Conservative Groups did indeed “just happen” to receive a disproportionate amount of scrutiny because a disproportionate amount of APPLICANTS were Conservative.

Something to consider: If you were going to comb through 70,000 applications (Cincinnati in just one year) for “tax free status” and wanted to target “Liberal” groups specifically in your brute-force search of political organizations masquerading as charities, what keywords would you choose? Words like “Liberal” or “Progressive” to be sure. Maybe “Democratic” too though “Democracy” is no sure thing. But what else? What other Liberal “political” keyword might you include in your search to “target” Progressive groups? If you can think of even one more, you’re a better man than I am, Charlie Brown. But when it comes to Right-leaning groups, besides “Conservative” or “Republican” there’s “Tea Party”, “Patriot(s)”, “Militia”, “(fair, flat) Tax (fairness, etc)” … heck, I think even “Freedom” has been co-opted by The Right as their own personal brand. And in the immediate aftermath of the “Citizens United” decision, Conservatives were applying for “tax exempt status” en masse because… not only do they despise paying taxes (read: paying for the government services they use), but 501(c)(4)’s are not required by law to disclose their contributors, allowing them to operate in total secrecy… just the way Karl Rove (et al) likes it.

So is it any wonder Conservative groups were so easily caught up in the drag-net (and I use that term almost literally.) These local under-staffed IRS offices used a quick & dirty search using obvious political keywords to filter the “suspicious” applicants from the genuine ones.

And being dragged into this Dog & Pony Show is ObamaCare via “Sarah Hall Ingraham”. If you’ve never heard of her before now, you are forgiven. She was the evil genius in charge of overseeing just who did & did not qualify for “tax exempt status” when this “scandal” was taking place (2009-2012). That would be the same evil genius that “targeted” Conservative groups only to then go ahead and give them 501(c)(4) status anyway. Ingraham is now the director of the IRS’ Affordable Care Act office… basically, the person tasked with “enforcing” the insurance mandate with absolutely no power to actually do so. So naturally, Republicans are freaking out because… well… I’m not exactly sure. Why do Republicans ever freak out? Do they think she’ll only enforce the Federal mandate against Conservatives (read: whites) and let everyone else (read: blacks/Mexicans) slide? Because if the current IRS “scandal” is any indication, the people most likely to skate are Conservatives. Do they believe she’s incompetent? Then they should be thrilled that someone was appointed to the job that could take down ObamaCare for them. CLEARLY they aren’t worried that she’s SO competent that she’ll make ObamaCare a roaring success. So what’s their problem? There’s just no pleasing these people.

Personally, the REAL IRS “scandal” is that ANY political group has received tax-exempt status. Who “targets” an entire group of people for additional scrutiny and then goes ahead and approves them anyway? WORST. SCANDAL. EVER.

(Postscript: Since my departure from Crooks & Liars a few weeks ago, if you are missing my weekly live-blogging of the Sunday Talk Shows, you can now follow my updates on Facebook and Twitter. I didn’t do this earlier because the people I accused of being “petty & childish” were checking up on my Facebook page to see if I was saying anything bad about them. Pretty much says it all, don’tcha think? I believe enough time has passed where I can safely resume my duties without worrying that I might be assisting them in any way.)
 



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Filed in fake scandals, myth busting, Partisanship, Politics, Taxes May 20th, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • 3 comments | Add/View