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Reconciling Trump’s Incompetency With Economic Success
May 7th, 2018 by Admin Mugsy

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During the 1980 presidential race, GOP candidate Ronald Reagan attacked President Carter for allowing the National Debt to “skyrocket” from just $700 Billion to $900 Billion, a nearly 25% increase in the National Debt in just four years, implying “stunning fiscal irresponsibility” on Carter’s behalf. of course, what Reagan innocently forgot to mention was that all those loans to pay for the Vietnam War started to come due in 1976 (the year before Carter took office) and drove up the Debt, not because of any “fiscal irresponsibility” on Carter’s behalf. Then Reagan went on to become president, slashed taxes on the wealthy, and TRIPLED the National Debt in just eight years. But Republicans adored Reagan… and still do to this day… for producing a “fantastic” economy (actually, the Reagan economy was less successful Bill Clinton’s. And Carter did FAR better in his four years than Reagan did in his first four.) Reagan traded the short-term gain of tax cuts to rescue a struggling economy in the 80’s for a 300% increase in the National Debt that we’ll be paying off for generations. Short-term gain in exchange for delayed long-term pain. Republicans have a well-documented history (something I document here weekly) of ignoring the future consequences of decisions they make today in exchange for short-term gain.

I remember a few years back listening to a debate over whether or not “nuclear energy” should be included in any discussion of “Green Energy”. The short-term gainers argued that “anything that helps us get off fossil fuels that doesn’t produce CO2” should be considered “Green Energy”. One man pointed out that “If the ancient Egyptians had nuclear reactors and used them to power their cities 5-10 thousand years ago, we would STILL be stuck having to store their nuclear waste today.” That’s an amazing thought. Short-term gain in exchange for long-term pain.

We see this repeatedly among Republicans. “Damn the consequences! Full speed ahead… into Iraq… or exploding the Deficit with tax cuts that aren’t paid for… or rolling back regulations of coal mining (and not just “pollution” regulations either. West Virginia’s GOP Senate primary is being led by none other than Bill Blankenship, owner of the “Massey Energy Coal Mine” who went to prison after ordering supervisors to ignore coal mine safety regulations, resulting in the deaths of 29 coal miners in 2010. (But hey, they all had jobs!). Cutting taxes without regard for the Debt (until a Democrat becomes president)? That’s GOP-101.

Republicans hate “government regulations” the way children hate being told to eat their peas. Those “regulations”… like those mine safety regulations Blankenship ignored… were put in place for a reason. Rolling back regulations might help a few companies save a few bucks today and perhaps create a few more jobs… until one of the reasons those regulations were enacted in the first place comes back to bite them in the ass and ends up costing people a lot of money (or worse.) The consequences of many decisions might not be felt for years, but they always come. How many people predicted we’d still be at war in the Middle-East FIFTEEN YEARS after the invasion of Iraq (which was sold on the promise of an “Arab Spring” where the successful Democratization of Iraq would spread throughout the Middle-East as “dictatorships fall like dominoes?”)

So last week, unemployment fell to an amazing 3.9%… technically “full employment” (ie: if you don’t have a job, you probably don’t need one)… a low not seen since Bill Clinton’s second term. Add to that, the “meteoric” rise in the Stock Market after Trump was elected (the DOW closed at a record high of 26,616.71 on January 26th of this year… an increase of 25.5% since Obama left office. All very good news for the economy, and both are indexes I used to judge the strength/weakness of the economy under both Obama & Bush. And this far into Trump’s second year, he does deserve the majority of the credit for these good numbers (as much as it pains me to say it) because a year of unpopular economic decisions would just as easily have driven those numbers back up.
 

Unemployment rate since Bush's final year

 

Trump nearly derailed his own economy when he threatened to impose blanket indiscriminate tariffs on imported steel & aluminum without regard for country of origin, which threatened to spark a global trade war, first resulting in the DOW losing over a thousand points in one week, then losing a thousand points in one day the following Monday. So current numbers ARE a reflection of current policies.

Under Obama during the 2016 campaign, when unemployment fell from 4.9% to 4.6% on November 1st… three points in just one month… Trump called the numbers “fake” and an attempt by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to help Hillary Clinton. Now the numbers are totally accurate and proof his economic policies are working.

At the risk of sounding like a partisan pessimist unwilling to admit “success” under a Republican president, I’m seeing the same trends we saw under George W. Bush when he slashed interest rates NINE TIMES in 2001 (and don’t blame 9/11. Only TWO of those cuts came after 9/11) to get the economy moving again in his first term (if you have been paying attention this week, the last time unemployment fell to 3.9% was December of 2000JUST as the Republican candidates started talking down the economy as they started their run for president (again, trading short-term gain without regard for the consequences.) Interest rates near zero have left the Federal Reserve with no place to go but up… which we have been putting off ever since. When exploding gasoline prices (thanks to deregulated Commodity Traders) sucked TRILLIONS out of the economy by 2008, “cutting interest rates to kickstart the economy” was no longer an option. Global economic disaster ensued, forcing newly elected President Obama to borrow hundreds of Billions for his “Stimulus”.

Trump’s MASSIVE corporate tax cuts… permanent for the rich but temporary for everyone else… spurred enormous investment in the stock market (almost without regard for profits) because it meant corporations were going to be able to keep more of their profits. Many stocks are likely over-inflated, not justified by their sales figures, which makes them ripe for a crash. Trump is creating a bubble that will make The Crash of 2008 look like “The Good Old Days”. We can’t cut taxes to zero and still fund the government, so the days of goosing investment in the Stock Market with the promise of additional tax cuts are over. Once again, there’s no place for them to go but up. The flood of investors pouring money into stocks to take advantage of larger profit margins seemed to push the DOW to new record highs week-after-week for months. Those record highs stopped with that January 26th record close mentioned above. The DOW has not hit another record high since. By last Wednesday, the DOW was down more than 10% off that record high just three months earlier (though gaining a nice 300+ point bounce Friday thanks to the good jobs numbers for April.) And much of this has to do with an increase in Consumer spending thanks to those (temporary) tax cuts (that will blow a hole in the Deficit for the next guy to worry about.) Yes, those tax cuts for the Poor & Middle Class will come to an end over the next few years, but the Republican philosophy is that in a few years, with the economy growing, consumers won’t need those tax cuts anymore (but then watch how hard Republicans fight a few years from now to keep those tax cuts on the grounds ending them will hurt the economy. This is EXACTLY what Republicans did regarding “The Bush Tax Cuts” that were set to end under Obama.)

Okay, we’ve spurred the economy with tax cuts and deregulation. Now what? How do we keep the momentum going? Trust me. They got nothin’.

Tax cuts alone don’t drive economic growth. And thanks to Trump’s massive tax cut blowing a hole in the Deficit, they are going to HAVE TO raise interest rates (already a growing concern) to fund the government. That will suck Billions out of the economy, slow growth, and cause another Recession. Then Trump’s low-end tax cuts will expire, making the problem even worse (which as I note above, will be the excuse for extending those tax cuts even longer) and make an already bad problem even worse.

Gas prices are also on the rise. Republicans LOVE “Big Oil” and want unrestricted drilling EVERYWHERE. “Wanna drill for oil in the middle of a National Park? Go for it! So with all this additional drilling, why are oil/gas prices going up? The national average price of gasoline is now $0.55/gal higher today than when Obama left office. Oil… $52.42/barrel when Obama left office… is racing towards $70/barrel today. Why? Because the GOP’s love of “Big Oil” isn’t out of a desire to see cheap gas, it’s out of a desire to make oil company executives rich. Enjoy the “good times” while you can, folks!

There are plenty of movie & TV examples of “good intentions gone wrong”. But one of my favorites was a 2002 episode of “The Outer Limits” called “The New Breed” (44 minutes) about a brilliant scientist with a massive ego who invented microscopic “nanobots” that could repair damaged cells on a molecular level to cure everything. At first, the nanobots are a huge success. But then they start misinterpreting normal flaws as “mistakes” that need to be “fixed” (one example: giving the doctor “gills” because he kept testing to see how long he could hold his breath under water.) By the end, the brilliant scientist was begging for death.

And that’s how I feel every time I hear Republicans promising the moon today if we just jeopardize our future. “Too many regulations!” “Fighting Climate Change is costing us jobs!” “Corporations will regulate themselves if they wish to stay in business!” “Ice Cream & candy for dinner! We’ll worry about the tummy ache and cavities tomorrow!” They’ve done it time & time again.

A month ago, I wrote about my concern regarding a possible increasing willingness to overlook Trump’s crimes & disastrous policies should his economic policies turn out to be successful. How much is your soul worth? In exchange for short term economic growth, Reagan’s policies exploded the Debt, made “deregulation” a GOP mantra, and unleashed the Military Industrial Complex. Trump whined bitterly of the Mueller/Russia investigation last week, saying, “The country is running so smoothly”, suggesting the investigation into his campaign’s frequent and unresolved contacts with a hostile foreign power… (“meddling” that even Trump himself now concedes happened)… is just sour grapes by “losers” trying to derail his presidency before his “success” costs them the next election.

The cause for alarm here is that Trump is implementing every economic “trick” in the book… (tax cuts, “deregulation”, low interest rates) usually reserved for emergencies… all at once to goose the economy. The danger is that if things go bad, you’re left with no way to counter the damage and rescue the economy.

It drives me crazy that people can’t see that he’s a conman. PT Barnum in a cheap suit. Trump is (or was before the election) broke, pretending to be a billionaire. His entire shtick has been coning people into believing he must know what he’s talking about because he’s a billionaire. “Trump University”, “Trump Airways”, “Trump Vodka” (not wine but Russian vodka), “Trump Mail-Order Steaks” (I always wondered just how much money someone who made million dollar real estate deals thought he’d make selling steaks by mail?), presidential candidate, and now he’s selling the snake oil of “Trickle-Down” voodoo economics all over again.

And (for now), people are buying it. Lord help us all.
 


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Peace At the Barrel of a Gun. Is Threatening to Nuke Our Enemies the Way to Encourage Peace Talks?
Apr 30th, 2018 by Admin Mugsy

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In the movie “All the Presidents Men”, WaPo Editor Ben Bradley tells Woodward & Bernstein about Chuck Colson (special counsel to President Nixon): “There’s a cartoon on his wall. The caption reads, ‘When you’ve got ’em by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow.'” That scene has always stuck in my mind as perfectly describing to me the Republican philosophy towards working with others. “I don’t care if you like me just so long as you bend to my will.” The complete lack of respect for anyone who doesn’t think like they think; want what they want. And they will achieve those ends by any means possible. Damn the consequences (see: “deposing Saddam.”) Bully your opponents until they bend to your will. It’s the story of the fastest gun in the West who must live with his back against the wall in constant fear that one day, someone is going to test just how good a shot they really are. It’s the proverbial “gilded cage”… which is just fine I suppose if you’re a xenoaphobic isolationist like most Republicans who live in constant terror of the outside world “invading” theirs.

This philosophy suits Trump to a T. Like any Toddler, Trump doesn’t behave like a rational adult. He throws a tantrum until he gets what he wants. And in the case of North Korea, he threatened “fire & fury, the likes of which have never been seen”… should they threaten the United States with a missile test. And “suddenly”, Kim Jong Un is talking to South Korea about “denuclearization”… even signing a “pledge” to do it… someday (details yet to be hammered out following the Summit with Trump.) Trump bragged in Michigan, “They [the Media] are asking ‘What… if anything… did Trump have to do with it? Uh… EVERYTHING! (insert obnoxious bouncing smirk here.)” And for this, some Republicans are already talking about “a Nobel Peace Prize for Trump” if he successfully denuclearizes North Korea. Shortly after Bush-43 took office, Dubya’s inclusion of NK in his “Axis of Evil” speech (before invading Iraq) pushed them into starting a nuclear weapons program, even testing their first ever nuclear weapon in 2006 (during the Bush Administration.) The result was to bring BUSH to the negotiating table (though to Bush’s credit, they DID convince NK to dismantle their lone nuclear facility. And they didn’t have to resort to threatening a nuclear strike.) NK’s missile testing slowed (but never stopped) during Obama’s eight years, and when Trump started saber-rattling his first months in office, NK’s nuclear weapons development switched into hyperdrive, producing an ICBM in record time capable of reaching the U.S.… all thanks to Trump ramping up the rhetoric against North Korea. And now, suddenly, North Korea is meeting with South Korea, “pledging” denuclearization, and agreeing to face-to-face talks with Trump. Why? Trump’s threats? No.

Do we REALLY want to normalize presidents threatening the Nuclear Annihilation of our enemies as an effective means of inducing negotiations? And is someone who threatens nations with Nuclear Annihilation deserving of a “Nobel Peace Prize”? Trump’s governing style always reminds me of this old “MadTV” sketch: “Drunk President“, where a drunk guy wakes up to discover he was just re-elected president after getting things done by being a reckless drunk no one dare offend:
 


“Cuba’s now part of the U.S.. Anyone got a problem with that???”

 

You think North Korea & Iran don’t remember Bush invading Iraq AFTER they agreed to dismantle their al Samoud missiles and allow in inspectors to confirm they’ve been disarmed? Belligerence may get you what you want… THIS time. But eventually, the empty threats will get old. The neighborhood kids will stop playing with you, and one day, some kid who is tired of being bullied is going to call your bluff and/or shoot you dead on the playground with a homemade weapon he’s been constructing in Daddy’s basement for the past 18 months plotting revenge.

Trump is also threatening to tear up the Iran nuclear deal. As much as Trump man-crushed on French President Macron during his visit here, Macron (along with every other European leader) is begging Trump NOT to blow up the Iran deal (pardon the metaphor.) If Trump reneges on the Iran Nuclear Deal brokered by Obama (another “If the black guy did it, it must be bad” spurious reversal), what nation would EVER agree to ANY deal with the United States ever again if there was a possibility that in 4-to-8 years, the next president will simply rip it up, declare it “null & void”, and demand more from them? That makes us LESS safe, not more.

And Republicans want Trump to win the Nobel Peace Prize… WHILE he’s threatening to further destabilize the entire Middle-East.

I believe I mentioned previously, it wasn’t Trump’s belligerence (in his August 2017 “Fire & Fury” speech) that suddenly finally brought North Korea to the bargaining table in 2018. It was the Summer Olympics in South Korea. Kim Jong Un had never set foot in South Korea before last week. When the Olympics came to Seoul, South Korea called the North and proposed their athletes compete as one team. Kim sent his sister to the Olympics instead of going himself, then watched the ceremonies on TV. The technical glitz & glamour, and the comfortable modern lives of those living in South Korea in stark contrast to the impoverished, near Dark Ages lives of people starving in North Korea. And suddenly discovering the rest of the world he has refused to visit doesn’t all live in the same daily misery North Korea does. Kim’s sister returned home, likely regaling her brother with stories of brightly lit neon skyscrapers, restaurants serving every kind of cuisine you could imagine, and shopping to her hearts content bringing home modern conveniences one could only dream of in the North.

And THAT dear reader is what got North & South Korea talking. NOT Trump’s saber-rattling. That is quite literally the Mission of the Olympics… to bring enemies together, to share cultures and make friends. And it worked.

Meanwhile, Trump is already prepping us for failure. AFTER he announced his desire to sit down and talk to North Korea about denuclearization (after HE himself instigated a rocket-propelled arms race), Trump fired his chief ambassador… Secretary of State Tillerson… and replaced him with the head of the freaking CIA… and not just ANY CIA chief, but a hard right Conservative like Pompeo who is CURRENTLY advocating we tear up the Iran deal (you think our agreement with Iran doesn’t loom large in Kim’s mind as he plans to negotiate with Trump?) THEN, to make matters worse, Trump appoints one of the most dangerous men on the planet, insane “mustache of truth” John Bolton, to be his “National Security Advisor”… an Iraq War hawk who once joked on Fox that the way you can tell a North Korean official is lying is “their lips are moving”, has nothing but contempt for diplomacy and famously said the ONLY thing that should matter to the UN was what is in America’s best interest.

So Trump appoints Pompeo & Bolton to his staff in key roles that will influence negotiations, announces his list of demands of North Korea before negotiations even begin (including NK agreeing to “complete & total denuclearization”), and then start preparing the public for his possible (read: inevitable) walk-out on negotiations should he decide they aren’t proceeding as he likes.

And then what? Threaten to bomb them again? Peace at the point of a gun. Would that be before or after they award Trump his Nobel Peace Prize?
 

Iran Deal vs NK Deal

 


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From Bush to Trump, Republicans don’t think about consequences
Mar 26th, 2018 by Admin Mugsy

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Way back in June of 2015, right after Trump declared his candidacy, I created the following graphic:
 

Trump's car chase

 

Even back then, it was already clear to me that Donald Trump was making a game out of running for president. He doesn’t really WANT to do the job… the tedious planning, making calls and hammering out “details”. He just wanted to prove he could win… if not the presidency, at least the GOP nomination. Some might point to the grueling campaigning and exhausting schedule as evidence he doesn’t mind hard work, but that’s all part of being a celebrity. You go on tour, cheering adoring fans flock to see you, they know your songs word-for-word, and lavish you with praise. Trump LOVES that part. It’s why within weeks of taking office, he was already back on the “campaign trail”. But like all Republicans, sitting behind a desk working out the details away from the cameras, exploring options and questioning the consequences of their actions is just too much work. I believe Trump once described himself as “a big picture guy“. During the campaign, Don Jr was asked… after describing all the jobs his father was delegating to others (particularly Kushner)… what would his father’s job be (with nothing else left?). Junior’s response? “[Dad will be] in charge of Making America Great again” (that sound you just heard were my eyes rolling out of my head.)

When Bush & Cheney made the decision to invade Iraq, they had NO plan for what to do next once Saddam was out of power. Fourteen years later, I still remember this 2004 interview with Lt. Paul Reikhoff on The Randi Rhodes Show, founder of IAVAW (“Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans Against the War”) describing the day they rolled into Baghdad after Saddam fled for his life:
 

We arrived in Baghdad and asked, “Okay, now what?”
and were told, “We’ll get back to you.”
(2:56)

 

Their one & only plan was to replace Saddam with Iraqi exile Ahmed Chalibi whom convinced a willing Bush & Cheney that Iraq had massive stockpiles of WMD’s. But when those stockpiles weren’t turning up, THEN they started asking questions. Realizing they had been duped, suddenly their one & only plan had fallen through. The mad scramble to come up with a “Plan B” is what turned the Middle East into the chaotic mess it is today.

Republicans just don’t like worrying about the details. Act first, “manage” the fallout later. When the Clinton Tax Rate resulted in a booming economy and a Surplus that was actually paying off the National Debt, George W Bush campaigned on cutting taxes on the rich on the grounds “a Surplus proves you’re paying too much!” (and THAT, dear reader, is why NO Republican president will EVER balance the budget.) The result? The Deficit exploded, from negative $200Billion/year to $1.2TRILLION/year. He couldn’t beat Clinton/Gore on the economy, so Bush & Cheney talked the economy into a Recession (confirming links have expired after 17 years) at every campaign stop claiming “the economy isn’t really as good as they say it is!” It became a self-fulfilling prophecy, the economy tanked (BEFORE 9/11), and once Bush was in the Oval Office, he was strapped with a sinking economy and exploding deficit.

They just didn’t think things through.

And now it is Trump’s turn.

Reports are Trump was as stunned as anyone when he won on Election night (“Fire & Fury” pg.24), making no plans for his transition and even promising Melania (whom told him she didn’t want to move to DC or live in the White House) “not to worry” because “he wasn’t going to win”, leading to “tears… and not of joy” from the new First Lady that “historic” night.

Trump’s White House is being fitted with a revolving door following all the departures. Trump promised to “Drain the swamp” in Washington if elected, and a reason to vote for him was that (as a CEO), he would “hire the best people”, then proceeded to staff his cabinet with incompetent sycophants. The only people being “drained” from Washington are people HE appointed. Interviewing qualified candidates to fill every position was just too much work (especially when after weeks of interviewing Secretary of State candidates, The Kremlin is simply going to put the kibosh on your decision. They hated Romney ever since that “Russia is the greatest threat” comment in 2012.)

And the latest rumor is that now Trump may fire his second Chief of Staff (Gen. John Kelly) and replace him with… nobody! Lord only knows who put that idea into his head (*cough*Fox news*cough*), but I have NO doubt with Trump’s massive ego, he thinks he doesn’t need one. Someone obviously told him, “JFK didn’t have a Chief of Staff! You don’t need one either!” Trump (of course) hasn’t thought this through. He doesn’t want to do his OWN job. Now he’s going to do his CoS’s job too?

Clearly, Fox “news” does all of Trump’s thinking for him. We have concrete proof Trump has changed his position on issues after watching “Fox & Friends” each morning. And he did so again last week after the Republican congress passed their massive $1.3-TRILLION omnibus spending bill (without reading it), “F&F” panned it, complaining that (among other things) the budget did not include any money for Trump’s ridiculous border wall (that Mexico was supposed to pay for.) Trump immediately then criticized the bill too and threatened to veto it. But w/o a budget by last Friday, we would of had a government shutdown, and there’d be no one to blame but Trump. He (obviously) didn’t think through his threat to veto (natch) and ended up having to eat his words. Bill Maher summed things up perfectly last Friday night: “In Russia, Putin controls the media and tells them what to say. Here it’s The Media that controls Trump and tells him what to say & do.

I find it interesting the GOP passed a 2,200 page deficit-exploding budget (Trump’s first, and three months late) without reading it first considering their chief complaints about the vote for The Affordable Care Act were it’s massive size (“Over 2,100 pages!”) and having “No time to read it before voting on it!” But the last thing they wanted was to be working the week of Easter Vacation to scrutinize and pass a budget before the March 23rd deadline, so suddenly, reading & voting on a massive spending bill… the budget for the entire United States… before leaving for vacation, just wasn’t that important. Consequences/Schmonsequences.

When Trump blurted out his idea for a blanket across-the-board tariff on ALL steel & aluminum coming into the U.S. without regard for country of origin, he clearly had not thought it through and was quickly forced to walk it back. Imposing tariff’s on countries with whom we have a Trade Surplus risked starting a Trade War. What he SHOULD have done was take the time to devise “targeted” tariffs against nations engaging in unfair trade practices against us. But actually taking the time to analyze the consequences of your actions before blurting out your plan without a moment’s consideration is simply lazy. And “lazy” is what Republicans do best.

One of the great fears of Trump appointing (yet another Fox news pundit, insane “mustache of Truth”) John Bolton to be his new National Security Advisor (Lord help us) just days after Bolton wrote an Op/Ed making the “legal” case for a “First Strike” against North Korea (and possibly Iran), is that Bolton has a history of preferring the use of force over diplomacy… which also takes work. Bolton believes… to this day… that invading Iraq was the right thing to do (something candidate Trump called “a tremendous disservice.”) “Bombing everyone” is simply… lazy… a means of solving every problem without the hard work of diplomacy… which is right up Trump’s alley. President Bush recess-appointed John Bolton… a man openly hostile to the United Nations… to be his Ambassador to the UN (which Congress promptly undid upon their return.) Tell me Bush thought that one thru. And now Trump has picked him to be his chief advisor on the use of military force with just as little forethought. If Trump believes Bolton knows more about North Korea (or Iran) than he does, he’s going to be loath to contradict him.

And it’s not just that Bolton is an insane warhawk with nothing but open contempt for the rest of the world, but the fact Lazy Trump (desperate to be liked) tends to always agree with the last person he talks to, afraid of offending them. So when Bolton starts telling Trump, “You’re wasting your time trying to talk to North Korea (something Trump said about Tillerson before firing him, then deciding to talk to them himself) and should instead simply “bomb them”, Trump might very well do it.

Consequences/Schmonsequences.
 


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March Madness: CONSERVATIVE Media lied to you about Iraq (and now Trump)
Mar 19th, 2018 by Admin Mugsy

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The term “Mad as a March Hare” goes back nearly 500 years. It of course refers to the breeding frenzy rabbits go into in the Spring, where they behave so mindlessly as to be described as “harebrained” (not “hairbrained”.) And indeed, March seems to be the month of “harebrained” schemes.

It was 15 years ago today that George W. Bush invaded Iraq under false pretenses. And it bugs the hell out of me when Trump supporters (or anti-“everything government” children… many of whom are old enough to know better but only started paying attention to politics in 2016) use the excuse “the ‘Media’ [that is accusing Trump of collusion] is the SAME ‘Media’ that claimed there were ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’,” as an excuse to justify their own refusal to believe the legitimacy of the Mueller Investigation.

Sorry folks, that crap won’t fly here. “Recording History for those Who Seek to rewrite it”, remember?

“The Media” as a whole did NOT insist Iraq had WMD’s and push us into war. Oh sure, FOX believed it and pushed the narrative, but that’s Fox. They’ve always sided with Conservatives on every issue. But they did NOT represent the vast majority of the ‘Media’. Most of the media was HIGHLY skeptical of the White House’s claims of “stockpiles of chemical weapons”, “mobile weapons labs” and “an active nuclear weapons program.” Millions marched in the streets the world over unconvinced of the “imminent threat of Iraq”. The Bush Administration started making its claims about Iraq in mid-2002 (just months after 9/11), but public skepticism (both here & abroad) was SO high that Secretary of State Colin Powell had to be dispatched to the UN to deliver his infamous Iraq Slideshow (ibid next link). It wasn’t until that point that the media/public finally began to believe they had been shown what appeared to be the “incontrovertible evidence” Saddam Hussein really was doing everything Bush/Cheney had been claiming all along. But it took a LOT of convincing to get them to that point.

Of course, we now know the entire slideshow was total bullpucky (which I detailed here on the 10th Anniversary), using old pre-1991 Gulf War footage, “drawings” when they had no actual evidence, an intercepted audio conversation between two supposed Iraqi generals that Arabic speakers at the UN openly laughed at because the two men on the tape didn’t even have Iraqi accents, and Powell waving around a vile of Baby Powder as a prop to represent the amount of Sarin it would take to kill 10,000 people using highly modified (2001-era) drones with ridiculously long range.

Before that presentation, not a lot of people were buying it… myself among them. “The Media”… which had been asking for “proof” for nearly a year… were suddenly less sure about their position. But even then, FEW (outside the Conservative media) actually encouraged the invasion of Iraq. Many argued “we need to finish the war in Afghanistan and get Osama bin Laden before expanding the (Afghanistan) war into Iraq” to prevent something that seemed avoidable by peaceful means (UN weapons inspectors were IN Iraq, dismantling missiles, performing inspections, and finding NO evidence of WMD’s.)

After the invasion, with everyone now asking, “Where are the WMD’s? You said ‘stockpiles’. ‘20,000 tons of yellowcake’. Where is it?”, I started hearing from people who HADN’T been paying attention, thinking we DID find the WMD’s as well as proof “Saddam was involved in 9/11”, and I found myself spending an awful lot of time “setting the record straight” among friends & family about what was said before the invasion of Iraq (even LONG before 9/11) and what was (or wasn’t) found after the invasion. And so began this blog on the Fourth of July, 2004. (In 2007, during the 2008 Republican Presidential debates, SO many Republican candidates were rewriting the story of how we ended up in Iraq that I felt it necessary to produce the following video of news clips documenting what we knew in the lead-up to war, and how the Bush Administration already had their mind made up to invade:
 


 
Don’t blame “the Media” for pushing to invade Iraq, just to justify your own unwillingness to trust them now regarding Trump/Russia (one of Trump’s own talking points.) The irony is that the only “Media” that actively supported the invasion of Iraq is the SAME Conservative media that dismisses the accusations against Trump today. So if there is ONE Media outlet that got it wrong back then and undeserving of your trust today, it’s the same Conservative Media trying to convince you Trump is the innocent victim of a “witch hunt.”

And the March Madness continues. So far, this past month alone (which is barely half over), Trump has fired (or pushed to resign) SIX people: FBI Director McCabe, Deputy CoS Rick Dearborn, Communications Director Hope Hicks, Economics Advisor Gary Cohn, SoS Rex Tillerson, and Trump’s “Body Man” John McEntee…. in less than three weeks. Trump set a record for White House turnover long ago:
 

Trump Admin Departures
(March 13th. Already out of date.)

 
On October 1st last year, Trump declared that Tillerson was “wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man [North Korea]”, to which Tillerson responded by calling Trump “a f*****g moron” four days later. Trump let it slide (and recently agreed himself to a no-concessions meeting with Kim Jong Un). But it wasn’t until Tillerson openly sided with the UK on whether of not Russia was behind the poisoning/attempted-murder of a former Russian spy, did Trump decide (in a tweet natch) that it was time for Tillerson to go (because he no longer represented Trump’s views.) Trump has yet to give an “official” reason for why he abruptly fired his Secretary of State. The “Trump fired him because he called him a moron [SIX MONTHS AGO]” excuse isn’t playing. The “he allowed the State Department go unstaffed for too long” excuse doesn’t pass the laugh test either since that is EXACTLY what Trump WANTED his SoS to do… to decimate the very department Hillary once ran and Putin despises.

If you want to blame something for Republican insanity this time of year, blame “March Madness”. That’s a better excuse than believing Trump is rational and ‘The Media’ is not.
 


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The Path to Hell: Trump Proposes Right Ideas in Worst Possible Way Making Things Worse
Mar 12th, 2018 by Admin Mugsy

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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.
 


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Stunning Trump & GOP Hypocrisy Amidst Wild Week
Feb 12th, 2018 by Admin Mugsy

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I‘ve always been keenly aware of Republican hypocrisy. It’s one of the things that drives Democrats like me nuts (which incidentally, gives Republicans orgasmic pleasure because… as I’ve repeatedly said… they’re provocateurs.) They also have an uncanny ability to turn it around and accuse their accusers of being the TRUE hypocrites. It wouldn’t be so bad if people didn’t keep falling for it. And we MAY just be nearing one of those tipping points.

The past few weeks of the Trump White House have been some of the worst weeks seen in ANY White House since the start of Nixon’s second term. But we are barely three weeks into Trump’s second year and they are already giving Nixon a run for his money when it comes to scandal. But when you layer ON TOP OF THAT the incompetency, the in-fighting, the chaos, disrespect for our own government institutions, the fiscal irresponsibility and just the stunning magnitude of their hypocrisy, not even Richard Nixon disgraced his office to the degree Donald Trump has (and continues to do.)

This isn’t an Op/Ed on a particular issue in a week FULL of controversy: A plunging DOW, another White House staffer accused of domestic violence is forced to resign, Trump approves the release of a GOP “Memo” attacking the Mueller investigation despite FBI security concerns, but a Democratic rebuttal memo is blocked by Trump citing “FBI concerns”, and #KimJongDon accusing Democrats of “treason” for not applauding his every word at the State of the Union… you know, the way Republicans did at every one of Obama’s State of the Union speeches (including the unprecedented disrespect of shouting “You lie!” at his first joint address of Congress). No, this is more a look at how Republicans… whom have ALWAYS been raging hypocrites… are becoming even more bereft of principle now than ever.

Don Jr… every bit as smug and disingenuous as his father… suggested black critics who once posed for photos with his father and accepted money from him were hypocrites… turning on him only once he became president. One of the people he singled out as a hypocrite was Reverend Al Sharpton… now host of his own show on MSNBC. Yesterday on his show, Sharpton pointed out (in so many words) that Trump’s critics are not the ones who changed upon entering office, it was Trump. Sharpton pointed out that he was one of Trump’s chief critics during the “Central Park 5” controversy, and if Trump actually DID donate any money to black causes, he never saw it.

Which illustrates a point: Republicans see the world through a very special prism. One where they are the benevolent ones contributing to society, and everyone else are the leeches who are a drain on society only to bite the hand (theirs) that feeds it. And because of that self-righteousness, any hypocrisy is excused on behalf of “the greater good.”

Budget/Deficit hypocrisy.

In 2000, Congress had balanced their second budget in a row. The Deficit was ZERO and we were actually paying off the Debt with the surplus. George W Bush campaigned across the country telling Republican voters at every stop that the surplus PROVED they were being over-taxed. “It’s not their money, it’s OUR money, and we want it back!” And the crowd cheered. And that’s why a Republican president will NEVER balance the budget, because the moment we collect enough in taxes to do so, they will point to it as an excuse to cut taxes. How will the government EVER bring down the Debt if every time we bring in enough tax revenue to start paying it off, they reverse it (arguing the resulting economic growth will result in even more tax revenue)? By the time Bush left office, the economy had collapsed and the deficit had exploded to $1.2Trillion dollars.

And when Obama became president, Republicans immediately blamed Obama for the $1.2T deficit… and I’m even hearing Trump and his supporters continuing to do so today (even though it was cut by nearly 2/3rds by the time he left.) In 2011, Congress was faced with raising the Debt Ceiling to pay for all the spending THEY approved. As I noted back in December (“If GOP Tax Bill Passes, here is how it will tank the economy“), self-proclaimed Head of The TEA Party, then Senator Mike Pence, said that if shutting down the government was what it took to get the National Debt/Deficit under control, “I say, shut it down!” Now VP, he defends Trump for saying we should shut down the government if Democrats DON’T pass his massive unfunded budget.

For decades, Republicans ran as “the Party of fiscal responsibility.” Ronald Reagan… after he exploded the deficit… audited the government to (famously) discover it was being wildly overcharged for simple items. Famously, things like “$37 screws, a $7,622 coffee maker, and a $640 toilet seat made headlines across the country. Over 30 years later, Republicans still cite those same overcharges as evidence there is always “fat” we can cut from the budget so we can cut taxes without increasing the deficit. Except they never do. Most of that “fat” was trimmed away decades ago, and the total saving from those cuts is NEVER greater than the resulting tax cut it is used to justify.

Flash forward to 2018. The MASSIVE corporate tax cut Trump just passed is going to create… at a minimum… a $1T hole in the Deficit (and I’m dead certain it will climb to over $2T by the 2020 election… not that I give a rat’s ass what it does to the GOP’s prospects that year. In the 1980 election, Reagan criticized Carter for allowing the National Debt… the total Debt NOT the deficit… to reach $800 Billion dollars. By the time Reagan left office, the Debt had tripled to $2.4 Trillion dollars. And now, I believe Trump’s corporate tax cut will eventually cost us that much money EVERY YEAR.

And how do Republicans dismiss warnings Trump’s tax cuts will explode the deficit? “Voodoo Economics” of course (the idea cutting taxes will result in MORE tax revenue via growth.) They KNOW it’s a lie (well, I’m sure they are plenty of true believers who still believe that crap despite history), yet they support it anyway because they get to tell their voters back home that they can continue to have candy for dinner and never get a cavity! No Republicans is willing to be the adult in the room and say, “No! You can’t have another tax cut! All those nice things you say you want the government to provide for you? Well, those things cost money. And if you don’t think the company you work for should pay for it, then the burden falls upon you.”

When Bush-43 became president, Dick Cheney famously said, “Ronald Reagan proved deficits don’t matter.” That huge deficits have no significant impact on the economy.

Except when a Democrat occupies the White House… then deficits are a tragedy beyond words.

The Handling of Top Secret info (aka: “Lock her up!”)

It seems like ages ago now when Trump and his supporters were accusing Hillary Clinton of “mishandling classified info.” The idea Hillary Clinton “recklessly” used an insecure private email server in her home that America’s enemies could (and they suggested “did”) hack into and uncover classified documents. They even pointed to Clinton forwarding emails with a “(C)” designation (for “Classified”) in the subject line as “proof” she was “extremely careless” with classified material (material which had been declassified by the time it was sent.)

Fast forward 6 months later. Donald Trump invites two Russian ambassadors and an entire Russian camera crew (but NO American reporters) into the Oval Office to show off, revealing Top Secret intel on what we knew about the location of (Russian made) North Korean submarines… Top Secret intel we obtained from British Intelligence. Trump revealed to the Russians… North Korea’s ally… that the Brits had infiltrated the NK government, who then likely notified them that they have a British spy in their midst (burning an invaluable asset.)

Once in the White House, Trump proceeded to surround himself with people who were incapable of obtaining a Top Secret security clearance. Rob Porter (Staff Secretary who regularly handled the MOST secret documents and whose job was to BURN those reports when done) could not obtain Top Secret security clearance because BOTH of his ex-wives accused him of domestic abuse. Despite that, he continued at his job handling the most sensitive information in government until he was forced to resign just last week.

White House speechwriter David Sorenson “resigned” as well last week after nearly seven months on the job amid domestic abuse charges of his own. While Sorenson didn’t have direct access to classified information, do you think Conspiracy-minded Trump supporters wouldn’t have been screaming about how “reckless” Hillary was for allowing a clear security threat to have free-reign within the White House?

And many forget Trump’s right-hand man, Steve Bannon, who likewise was unable to obtain Top Secret security clearance because of past charges of Domestic Violence. But that didn’t stop Trump from signing an Executive Order that permitted Bannon to sit in on NSC meetings.

Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner… the man whom he tasks with every boring job he doesn’t want to do… does NOT have Top Secret security clearance. Yet he sits in on top secret meetings in the Oval Office and handles some of the most sensitive security information imaginable.

And lets not forget Trump reportedly (and the White House denies) tried to obtain security clearances for his kids, Ivanka, Bevis AND Butthead, right after the election. Consider that this is mere DAYS after winning an election due in part to accusations Hillary Clinton was “reckless” with Top Secret information.

Sexual Misconduct

In addition to the White House staffers who were kept on for many months (even a year) despite allegations of Domestic Abuse, there is of course the man himself… Trump… whom they elected in spite of his history of philandering (cheated on wife #1 with future wife #2, and wife #2 with future wife #3), and despite his “Access Hollywood” confession caught on tape admitting to repeatedly committing sexual assault, grabbing & kissing women without their permission, they still voted for him. The same Republicans who decided Bill Clinton’s sexual misconduct made him unfit to occupy the Oval Office, were (surprisingly?) quick to defend Trump when news broke that his personal lawyer paid off two women… a pornstar named “Stormy Daniels” and a former Playmate named Karen McDougal… to stop them from revealing just before the election that they had had affairs with Trump (reportedly soon after Melania became pregnant with their son Barron.) At least seventeen women have come forward to accuse Trump of sexual misconduct, all of whom he has branded “liars” as part of a giant conspiracy to bring down his presidency.

And his supporters continue to believe & defend him. They believe in conspiracy theories, and Trump is the king of conspiracy theories (even giving the most offensive conspiracy theory lunatic on cable TV… InfoWars’ Alex Jonesa White House Press Pass.)

Dueling Memos

As you almost certainly know, Republicans in the House and Senate announced last month that they had “a memo” that proved… PROVED… Trump was the target of a partisan witch-hunt being waged by a “biased” FBI in an investigation that was initiated by Democrats during the campaign seeking dirt on Donald Trump.

That Earth-shattering memo “proving” malfeasance by the FBI? The GOP wrote it. Their claims were not true at all (the initial investigation was launched by one of Trump’s REPUBLICAN rivals… almost certainly Jeb Bush… then later passed along to Clinton, who continued it.) They publicly claimed the reason for the investigation were the findings of a biased British former MI6 agent (Chris Steele) yet on the last page of their own report, they concede the FBI investigation was initiated two months earlier based on a warning they received about another Trump advisor (George Papodopoulis). They flailed their arms wildly in outrage over text messages attacking Trump exchanged between two (of among a hundred) FBI agents working on the Russia investigation… agents who had already been removed from the case months ago because of those texts, and cited what was clearly a joke about a “secret society” within the FBI as evidence of some bizarre “Deep State” shadow government working behind the scenes to undermine our hero: poor, misunderstood Donald Trump. And despite security concerns from both the FBI & CIA about possibly revealing classified information should the GOP Memo be released, Trump ignored those warnings and approved the release of the misleading/erroneous memo anyway.

To which, Democrats demanded Trump likewise approve the release their own rebuttal memo correcting those false & misleading claims, to which Trump said he would… but when it reached his desk, NOW he was suddenly sensitive to FBI concerns over what classified intel it might reveal, and refused to approve it.
 

Memo Hypocrisy (:40)

 

Trump minion Marc Short actually defended Trump’s obvious hypocrisy on “Meet the Press” yesterday by claiming he believed Democratic Intel Committee Chair Adam Schiff deliberately inserted clearly classified material in the Democratic Memo in order to force Trump to reject it just to make him look bad. No. Seriously.

Trump fired FBI Director Jim Comey because he wouldn’t shut down the Russia investigation, and has publicly ridiculed his own Attorney General. Remember when Republicans were “the law & order Party” that had nothing but good things to say about our law enforcement agencies? Now they’re the “Trash the FBI. Trash the Justice Dept” Party.

Russia

Ronald Reagan… patron saint of the GOP… was the harshest critic and least trusting of Russia as any president in history. Republicans under Reagan justified spending over a Trillion dollars fighting the “Cold War” to defeat the Soviet Union. They were not to be trusted… least of all, someone connected to the KGB.

Today, we have a president who openly defends Russia and thinks former KGB agent Vladamir Putin… a ruthless dictator who has essentially appointed himself “President for Life”, has his critics imprisoned, murdered, or both… is telling him the truth when he insists over & over that he didn’t meddle in our election… something even Trump’s OWN STAFF now concedes is true:
 

Trump vs his own Administration on Russian meddling (:43)

 

And no wonder Trump prefers to believe Putin over his own staff. Because to concede Russia meddled is to concede that maybe… just maybe… Trump didn’t actually win the election on his own and would have lost to Hillary Clinton. And THAT though is just unfathomable to Trump. Remember this is the same guy who denied PHOTOS of the smallish crowd at his inauguration were accurate, and claimed he “actually won the popular vote too… if you don’t count the more than THREE MILLION illegal aliens who voted for Hillary”… an absurd claim with no foothold in reality. But SO fragile is this man’s ego, he’d rather do NOTHING to protect the NEXT election from meddling by a hostile foreign power (let alone investigate the LAST election) than do his job and protect American democracy. (He inaction COULD easily backfire on him. If Putin’s goal is “to sough chaos” in America, if he suddenly decides he doesn’t like Trump, Putin could help the Democrat win the next election and put Democrats on the defensive of trying to justify their own win against accusations of a fixed election. Talk about “chaos.” Do nothing at your own peril, Mr. Trump.

Trump critics make excuses for him when it suits them

Some of Trump’s harshest critics on the campaign trail suddenly discovered a new-found respect for the Billionaire CEO-turned-president as soon as it looked like it might benefit them personally.

We all remember the awkward “Somebody-help-me” smiles on Mitt Romney’s face as he auditioned for the job of Trump’s “Secretary of State”… strung along for weeks and posing for photo-ops groveling at Trump’s feet, stroking his ego, only to be rejected (with rumors everywhere that Romney was never truly under consideration, Trump just liked humiliating one of his critics, like the child sociopath who tears the wings off butterflies, taking pleasure in another’s pain.)

During the campaign, one of Trump’s harshest critics was GOP rival Lindsey Graham. Trump famously gave out Graham’s private cellphone number while on the campaign trail in retribution for some criticism Lindsey leveled upon him. Now suddenly Graham is Trump’s golfing buddy and a frequent defender of the Toddler-in-Chief in the Media. Why? Because Trump is advancing his pet issues. As long as Lindsey is getting what he wants, Trump isn’t an irrational man/child, he’s a patient chief executive who examines all sides of an issue.

We remember Chris Christie attacking Trump on the campaign trail, only to later see him standing behind Trump at campaign events, almost agog at what was spewing from the man’s mouth, all in hopes of being honored with the job of “Attorney General”… which he was was never going to get, only to be excluded from more & more administrative functions during the transition and not included in Trump’s cabinet.

Matt Dowd on ABC’s ThisWeek made the keen observation yesterday: “Trump’s greatest ability is that he reveals people for who they really are.”

Which brings me to the two biggest hypocrisies of all:

“Draining the Swamp” & “A CEO knows how to hire the best people”

These were the two biggest selling points to justify electing Donald Trump to be president. He would “drain the swamp” of Washington insiders, lackies & sycophants from the Federal Government and hire only the most qualified people to run our government as efficiently as he ran his corporations to become a multi-Billionaire.

Instead, to date, the only “swamp creatures” Trump has cut loose are people HE HIRED:
 

Trump Admin departures-Feb 9, 2018

 

He filled his administration full of Washington insiders, lackies & sycophants like Steve Bannon… the White Nationalist wife-beater who ran a Right-Wing online tabloid… to be his chief strategist. He appointed Jeff Sessions… the first (and for a long time only) Republican senator to endorse him, to be his Attorney General. He appointed a wealthy donor (and sister of the head of Blackwater)… whom had NEVER held a job in public education, to run his Department of Education. He appointed a Climate Change denier who sued the EPA more than a dozen times to run the EPA, appointed his own Son-in-Law his “chief advisor”, and a former model (Hope Hicks) who worked for his daughter Ivanka modeling her clothing line, to be Deputy Communications Director. Rick “Oops” Perry was appointed to run the very agency he wanted to shutdown… The Dept of Energy… an agency Perry was totally unaware was in charge of our nuclear arsenal. Before Perry, the job was last held by an MIT professor of physics, and before him, a Nobel laureate. And Trump appointed former brain surgeon Ben “Sleepy” Carson to be… not his Surgeon General… but the head of HUD (because Carson once lived in Public housing.) These were “The Best People” he could find to fill these jobs?

(An aside here as I note that EVERY business Trump has pursued outside of real estate empire has been a spectacular failure. Trump Airways, Trump Casinos, Trump Vodka, Trump Steaks, Trump University, Trump Magazine… just to name a few… all ended up declaring bankruptcy. His condos are “80% sold” and “80% vacant” because nobody lives in them. His ONLY “successful” business has been selling property to Russian mobsters looking to launder dirty money by purchasing real estate from a greedy moron who doesn’t ask questions when you pay him in cash. Trump isn’t “a brilliant businessman”. He’s the Russian mob’s “useful idiot”… and now they’ve put him in the White House.)

What we’ve learned about Republicans from the election of Donald Trump is that there is no principle they won’t sellout in the name of advancing their ideology. If their word is meaningless and they repeatedly prove their incompetence and inability to govern, why on Earth would anyone ever trust them again? Yet millions happily reject everything they’ve ever claimed to believe in… defenders of law & order, national security and fiscal responsibility… and have done a total 180′ standing all those principles on their head so long as it suits their agenda… which as far as I can tell is simply annoying their critics (because as I’ve said all along, “Republicans are provocateurs who get off on upsetting their critics.”)
 


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

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“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?
 


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Soon-to-be-Fired & Furious: Trump’s History of Childish Behavior
Jan 8th, 2018 by Admin Mugsy

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To paraphrase most magicians, “Pick a tweet. Any tweet.”

Happy New Year. If someone were looking for evidence of Trump’s incessant childish behavior and immaturity, one need look no further than his Twitter feed. Last week, author Michael Wolff released his new book, “Fire and Fury”, that left millions nodding their heads in agreement as Wolff revealed the dysfunction he witnessed while chronicling the Trump campaign and the first weeks of the Trump White House… which (not surprisingly) was met with “Fire and Fury” BY the Trump White House. And likewise, also to no ones surprise, Trump’s response(s) only seemed to confirm exactly what Wolff reportedly witnessed: that the White House is being run by a thin-skinned temperamental man-child who lacks the maturity and intelligence to run the most powerful nation on Earth.

Trump… in his usual reserved, mature Trumpian style… denied Wolff’s claims by calling him (and his own former Chief strategist, Bannon) names, and himself a “genius”:
 

Trump calls himself a genius

 

Anyone who has been paying attention since Trump declared his presidency in mid-2015 KNOWS what a ridiculous thin-skinned egomaniac Trump is. My (In)Complete (and Growing) List of Ridiculous Trump Superlatives records at least 79 such instances of absurd Trump self-aggrandizement (I’m certain I’ve missed a few.) And like any “toddler” (which I’ve been calling Trump for over a year now), he continually behaves in ways indicative of a 5 year old child.

Trump lies like a small child. Habitually. He not only insists he’s the only one telling the truth and everyone else are the liars, he does so even when he’s caught on tape or photographic proof exists to contradict him (I’m reminded of the TV commercial of the father recording video of his two young boys, covered in paint, denying they got into the paint.) One of the clearest signs someone is lying: their story continually changes as evidence emerges to contradict them. A mature adult will reach a point where they can no longer deny the truth without looking ridiculous and losing all credibility. Children don’t have that maturity. The more the evidence mounts against them, the more they dig in their heels and deny reality. They may even try to redirect your attention to someone else. Last week, Special prosecutor Robert Muller announced that he had obtained confirmation via hand-written notes taken by then Chief-of-Staff Reince Priebus, that the reason Trump summoned then FBI Director James Comey to the Oval Office was to urge him to publicly declare that he was not under investigation by the FBI as part of the Russia investigation… just as Comey claimed and Trump denied. Caught in yet another lie.

After some Conservative pundit visiting Trump’s favorite TV show, “Fox & Friends”, speculated that the voice on the infamous “Access Hollywood tape” was not in fact Trump, but “faked” by someone trying to frame Trump, Trump himself… who already ADMITTED it was him on the tape and the words were his but he didn’t mean it… floated the idea that it quite possibly WASN’T him on that tape and it’s possible he was indeed framed. Does he no longer KNOW whether or not he spoke those words? Did he forget he already admitted he said it? Did he forget he was talking to someone else (Billy Bush) at the time who confirmed the conversation took place? Did he REALLY think he could now convince people he didn’t say it after already admitting he did? That’s something a child might try to do.

For nearly a year, Trump insisted he “didn’t collude” with the Russians. But when some Conservatives tried arguing “collusion is okay” and that there’s nothing “illegal” about a “president-elect contacting foreign governments, Trump too started arguing that there was “nothing illegal” about the many contacts between his campaign and Russian officials. Someone then clearly had to remind him that the investigation was regarding contacts between his campaign prior to his election, and that admitting to “established relationships” by the time he won might raise questions as to when those relationships began, and suddenly… child that he is… he was back to denying any “collusion” ever took place between his campaign and Russia. (Speaking of which, according to Trump’s new buddy Lindsey Graham, Trump now concedes that it was Russia… not “China or some 600lb person from their bed”… who hacked the DNC and stole emails off their servers. That means Trump now concedes Russian “meddling” DID take place in the election, and clearly with the intent of helping him and hurting Hillary Clinton. There can be no other purpose/explanation. Yet STILL Trump refuses to admit the Russians helped him win, and has asked for no consequences/penalty against Russia for their crime of attempting to interfere/undermine the American election.)

This coming year will be Trump’s first year where we finally see the consequences of decisions belonging to Trump and Trump alone. Last year, he was still operating under Obama’s final budget, Obama’s tax rates and “job-killing” ObamaCare (under which unemployment fell to just 4.1% and the economy continued its streak of huge monthly jobs gains)… which he simultaneously took credit for AND ridiculed to justify the most massive corporate tax cut in history on the grounds they would “promote job growth”…

…That’s the kind of Cognitive Dissonance once could only come to expect from a child.
 


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Is Trump White House Trying to Create an Excuse to Fire Mueller? Hypocritical claims of private email being private
Dec 18th, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

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It was 1992. The presidential race was already in full-swing and accusations Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton having had multiple extramarital affairs were already common in Republican circles. They even found a former lounge singer named Gennifer Flowers to claim she had had an affair with Clinton while he was governor. But despite those claims, Bill Clinton was still elected the 42nd President of the United States. Clinton had Democratic majorities in both the House & Senate to shield him from a congressional investigation, but years of accusing the president of criminal wrongdoing (“Whitewater”) and “extramarital affairs” while he was governor of Arkansas helped flip control of BOTH houses of Congress to the Republicans in 1994, leading to the appointment of a Special prosecutor named “Ken Starr” who… on the taxpayers dime, investigated Bill Clinton for everything from “Whitewater” (a failed land deal where the Clinton’s actually lost money) to the “White House Christmas Card List”. And there was (essentially) nothing President Clinton could do about it. The most he could have done is ordered his Attorney General Janet Reno to fire Starr, but it was understood that that would only make him look even more guilty. So he never did. And it was only when they managed to get President Clinton to agree to testify under oath, that they were finally able to prosecute/impeach him… not for any actual crime committed while governor, nor of committing any crime relating to an extramarital affair while in the White House, but for the crime of “lying under oath” about even having an affair. And for that, they impeached him (note, an “impeachment” is an indictment, NOT a conviction.)

Flash forward to 2016. Another Clinton is running for president and her Republican opponent was already accusing her of criminal wrongdoing. “She used a private email server while she was Secretary of State to hide evidence of currying political favors in exchange for contributions to her charitable foundation”… or something along those lines. It actually was never entirely clear what “crime” they were accusing Hillary of attempting to conceal (reports of the nonsensical “Uranium One” deal came much later) by setting up a private email server in her home, suggesting only that it looked mighty suspicious. And when news broke she deleted some “30,000 private messages” (using professional deletion software called “Bleach” that overwrites old data so it can’t be recovered) that she herself deemed unrelated to her tenure as Secretary of State and not pertinent to any investigation, chants of “Lock her up (for obstruction of justice)” started to be repeated at every campaign event through the rest of the election (and in many cases, continue to this day as Trump attends partisan events.) Trump himself… alluding to the Russian hacking of the DNC in an attempt to meddle in our election… half-jokingly encouraged the Russians to “find the 30,000 missing emails”… ostensibly by committing further acts of cyber-crime against the United States… encouraged by the GOP front-runner for President of the United States.

Outgoing President Obama learned that December that we had solid evidence Russia meddled in the 2016 Presidential Election and may have even received assistance from members of the Trump campaign. A Special Prosecutor admired by Republicans and Democrats alike… a hold-over from the Bush Administration… Robert Mueller, was tasked with finding out whether or not members of the Trump Campaign may have “colluded” with the Russian Government to help them win the election. Like Janet Reno in 1993, only the Attorney General… the highest ranking law enforcement officer in the nation… has the power to fire a special prosecutor. Trump bestowed that position to Jeff Sessions, an early supporter and member of his campaign, who ended up having to recuse himself from anything related to that investigation (including the ability to fire Mueller, which made Trump furious.)

And here we are now at the end of Trump’s first year in office, characterized by lurching from one self-inflicted controversy to the next and a criminal investigation of a sitting president that just won’t go away. Like Bill Clinton before him, Trump entered office with his own party in charge of both houses of Congress, essentially shielding him from impeachment hearings of a Congressional investigation. But if past is prologue, and the recent upset with Alabama electing its first Democratic senator in 25 years are signs of what’s yet to come, Trump very well could be looking at a Democratic takeover of congress 13 months from now and impeachment hearings by mid 2019.

The GOP’s best hope of avoiding this fate is to start laying the groundwork for painting the Mueller investigation as a “partisan witch hunt” to justify the dismissal of Robert Mueller and quashing the case against Donald Trump before it’s too late. And that effort appears to have already begun, first (updated 12/19/17), the scandal (“evidence of bias”) was Mueller NOT investigating the “unmasking of names by the Obama Administration of just “who leaked the fact Flynn was meeting with Russians?”, then it was the “controversy” that Mueller was NOT investigating Hillary Clinton over the “Uranium One” deal. Then it was his not investigating “the DNC paying British Agent Christopher Steele to continue his dossier on Trump by contacting Russian (among other) agents, and now the news Mueller himself fired two members of his investigative team last Summer (“Peter Strzok” & “Lisa Page”) when it was discovered they had exchanged text messages criticizing candidate Trump (as well as Hillary Clinton, Sanders, O’Malley, Richard Clarke, Eric Holder and even Chelsea) in July of 2016… right around the time Trump was criticizing FBI Director James Comey for refusing to prosecute Hillary Clinton for her handling of her emails from when she was Secretary of State. So it should hardly come as a surprise to no one (no one sane) that members of the Justice Department might have been a wee bit unhappy with Donald Trump. It’s not like Washington (aka: “The Swamp” according to him) was “Trump Country” to begin with (Hillary won DC with 92.8% of the vote.) I’d be astonished if MORE people working for the Justice Department hadn’t sent “unkind” emails ridiculing Trump and favoring Clinton.

Revelations of partisan bias expressed in emails during the campaign already had Republicans accusing the Mueller investigation of being “filled” with “thousands” of biased Justice Department officials (keep in mind, only TWO people were found to have exchanged biased emails more than a year & a half ago) and therefore the investigation is nothing more than a partisan witch hunt (which, I assumed wasn’t until AFTER they investigate Trump’s Christmas Card List.) But last Saturday, Trump’s lawyers accused Mueller of “illegally” obtaining the transition team’s “private emails” from a source other than them. Mueller asked the Trump Transition Team to turn over all of their private emails, to which Team Trump said, “Sure, just as soon as we… uh… move (read: delete) thousands of private messages we don’t believe have anything to do with your investigation.” Sound familiar? Mueller, rightfully concerned Team Trump could be… wittingly or unwittingly… destroying evidence, circumvented them and obtained the emails from a different source (presumably their ISP’s servers.) This has Trump’s lawyers feigning outrage, calling the confiscation of their private emails “illegal” (Mueller assures them he either had the author’s permission or legal authority granted by a judge to obtain the emails the way he did.)

If there is one thing Trump is good at, it’s the art of “scandal fatigue”. And I believe his objective here… and for the next 10 months… is to repeatedly accuse the Mueller investigation of criminal misconduct… throwing everything but the kitchen sink at him until they find something that sticks… much the way Ken Starr did in the 90’s investigating President Clinton for nearly a dozen different “scandals” (including, as I’ve mentioned before, “Socks the Cat’s Fan Club Mailing list” to find out if taxpayers were footing the bill for all those stamps.) They are hoping that eventually, after hearing (accusations of) “scandal after scandal” day-after-day for months, voters will just come to accept that the Mueller investigation itself is corrupt and should be disbanded, without cries of protest by the American Public.

The problem with THAT theory is that voters already are not on Trump’s side (with an approval rating already below 40% and falling fast) and may welcome an investigation that could lead to his impeachment if it means getting him out of office sooner-rather-than-later. “Help us Obi Mueller, you’re our only hope!” Now deliver that message, R2!
 


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If You Don’t Believe Roy Moore’s Accusers, then believe Roy Moore
Dec 11th, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

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Just a quick observation this week as we await the results of the Alabama Senate race.

“For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” – Mark 8:36

Good question. Right now, Evangelicals Republicans have chosen to abandon every principle they claim to believe in, in the name of political gain. How else do Evangelicals explain:

1) Supporting a thrice-married serial adulterer billionaire who BRAGGED about committing sexual assault only to defend his disturbing language by claiming he was lying… “It was just ‘Locker Room’ talk’.” (And more recently, even suggesting it might not have even been him on that tape… despite already admitting it was, and the fact there’s a witness… the man who was interviewing him at the time [Billy Bush.])

2) Supporting someone like Roy Moore, suspected of serial sexual abuse of young girls… one as young as fourteen… when he was a 30 year old District Attorney, only to further assault his accusers by calling them all “liars” EVEN THOUGH WE HAVE EVIDENCE they are telling the truth.

3) Supporting Televangelist Joel Osteen even after he refused to open the doors of his massive mega church in Houston to Hurricane flood victims… a “church” BTW that does not have a cross ANYWHERE on it.

Moore is running to fill the Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions. Alabama is a deep Red state with a lot of Evangelical voters. So red, it very well could elect someone accused of sexually assaulting children over a man who prosecuted two men for the murder of four little girls in the 1960. “Yellow-dog Democrats” of the 1950’s have become the “Yellow-dog Republicans” of today (people who would vote for a yellow dog before voting for the other Party.)

Moore’s supporters deeply mistrust “The Media”… thanks to being told day-after-day by the likes of Donald Trump that The Media can’t be trusted. “They lied”, says Trump, about the chances of him winning the election. “They lied”, says Trump, about his losing the Popular Vote. “They lied”, says Trump, about the number of people who attended his inauguration. And now they are “lying” (says Trump) about Russian meddling in the election. It’s all one giant conspiracy.

So when Roy Moore claims there’s “a conspiracy” out to get him too, it rings true to them. “All these women are lying. I never did what they’re claiming.”

Problem is, we don’t have to take THEIR word for it. Just listen to Moore himself.

In his first interview with Fox’s Sean Hannity, he was asked if he ever dated girls that young when he was in his 30s. “Not generally, no” was Moore’s reply. Not a flat-out ‘No’, but “not generally“? Moore added that when he did, he was sure to ask the mothers permission first.” That to me doesn’t sound like a man that didn’t pursue underaged girls when he was in his 30’s.

Then in another interview, Moore recalls the time he met his future wife at a Christmas party… when he was 38 and she was just 23… already a 15 year age difference, but legal. Moore laughingly recalled recognizing her name from a “college dance recital” he attended “eight years earlier”… which would have made him 30 and her just 15. He doesn’t say they met or spoke, but the thought of that 15 year old girl stood out in his memory.

Two things stick out to me in that anecdote of his: 1) Colleges don’t hold “dance recitals”, public schools do. If his future wife was only 15, she was NOT attending a Junior College where Moore claimed to have seen her. Changing the place he saw her from a “High School” to “a Junior College” to me suggests “consciousness of guilt”. He KNOWS how it would sound if he admitted first seeing her while she was still just a high school freshman.

And 2) What was an unmarried 30 year old man with no children doing attending a high school recital? That seems very odd to me. Moore did NOT claim he went with “a friend” or family members to see their own children perform. As far as I’m aware, he has never explained what he was doing there.

I heard an Alabama Moore-supporter on TV Sunday dismiss the idea of a 30 year old man pursuing 14 year old girls by saying “Things were very different 40 years ago. Most parents would have been THRILLED if a 30 year old District Attorney wanted to date their 14 year old daughter.” Seriously. He said that.

Two problems there: 1) Moore categorically denies he did this. So this voter believes Moore is lying and yet intends to vote for him anyway. And 2) “40 years ago” was only the late 1970’s. I’m old enough to remember living in the South in the late 70’s. Older men dating teenage girls was NOT generally approved of. MAYBE in the early 1950’s, but NOT the late 1970’s. That defense is nonsense. (ADDENDUM: Someone mentioned how scandalous it was when Southern Rock legend Jerry Lee Lewis married his 13-year old cousin in 1957.)

So, like I said, YOU DON’T HAVE TO believe Moore’s accusers. Believe Moore himself. It will be interesting to see how this vote turns out. Personally, the way I see it, if Moore loses, Alabama gets its first Democratic senator in decades, splitting the Senate 49/51 (Dem/Rep) and a huge loss for Donald Trump. If Moore wins, either the GOP will be forced to defend Moore for the next 11 months (till the 2018 mid-terms) making them look like the Party where sexual predators go for career advancement and will end up investigating/prosecuting Moore (while their Party leader Trump is also under investigation), or Alabama elects its first Democratic senator since 1992, reducing the GOP margin to just one vote and handing Trump (and Bannon) another huge loss.

I see that as a Win/Win.
 


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

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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.
 


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Discussion we’re having on sexual assault is the discussion we should of had about guns
Nov 20th, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

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As you may or may not know, I live-blog the Sunday political talk shows on Facebook & Twitter every week, and yesterday I was growing increasingly agitated listening to perplexed pundits on both sides of the aisle bemoaning the recent spate of men accused of sexually assaulting women, asking, “Why does this keep happening?” and “What… if anything… can we do about it?” I asked myself, “Why does this sound so familiar?” Oh yeah, it’s the same questions everyone was asking about JUST TWO WEEKS AGO following the mass shooting in a Texas church. And one month before that, it was another mass shooting in Las Vegas (ad infinitum). Except when people tried to ask those same questions back then, they were immediately shut down, told it was “too soon” to discuss the failures that facilitated those horrific acts; ensuring that nothing would be done about them.

“Was the Texas church shooting really just two weeks ago“, I hear you asking yourself? Yes. Yes it was. How quickly we forget… and that’s the point. Is it still “too soon” to discuss the most recent gun tragedy? Maybe not. But now that the public has a new distraction to keep them occupied, no one is thinking about the last mass shooting anymore. All attention is on the sudden rash of accusations of sexual misconduct by men in positions of power. Distraction accomplished. The urgency is gone. And that’s the entire point of the “too soon” talking point. Wait it out and soon everyone will just forget about it. Well, I haven’t forgotten about it, and you shouldn’t either.

It’s easy to forget this started with Donald Trump himself thirteen months ago with the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape… at least many might have forgotten if #ToddlerTrump hadn’t decided to attack Al Franken on Twitter for groping a Playmate during a USO event. People asked members of Trump’s staff, “Why on Earth would he attack Senator Franken for doing something he himself has been accused of, only to revive scrutiny of his OWN misbehavior? “He just couldn’t resist!” was the unanimous reply. Funny, he has resisted commenting on the FAR more serious charges being made against Judge Roy Moore these past few weeks. Yet he couldn’t resist attacking Franken (even calling him the childish name of “Frankenstein“.) Undisciplined, immature and lacking impulse control. What does that remind you of? A toddler, perhaps? White House Press Secretary Huckabee-Sanders defended Trump’s decision to selectively attack Franken but not Moore with the justification, “Franken has admitted wrong-doing while Moore has not.” I find it hilarious that anyone might think that was a rational defense. That’s one of those answers that earns a confused head-tilt from my dog. So the guy who has stepped forward and accepted responsibility is the one worthy of criticism, not the serial pedophile who is claiming a giant joint Media/GOP/Democratic conspiracy against him where his nine accusers are all lying and he’s the most persecuted man-of-God since Jesus himself?
 

“We live in a country where the president of the United States has yet to come out and forcefully condemn the sexual predation of children.” – Megan Murphy, Editor Bloomberg Business during ABC’s ThisWeek yesterday.

 

Before Trump we had Rep. Anthony Weiner. After Trump we had Bill O’Reilly and Rodger Ailes of Fox “news”. And since then, a laundry list of celebrities & politicians from Bill Cosby to Judge Roy Moore, and now Senator Franken (BREAKING: And now actor Jeffery Tambor… whom I’ll always remember as the stuffy neighbor with the hot wife on the short-lived “Three’s Company” spin-off: “The Ropers”.) Clearly, “sexual assault” has no party affiliation. The only thing these men have in common was being in a position of authority over the women (and men in the case of Spacey) they assaulted.

But it’s the helpless cries that have gotten under my skin. Not because of anything having to do with any lack of sympathy for the victims, but just knowing more is likely to come out of asking THE EXACT SAME QUESTIONS to prevent more incidents of sexual assault than following every mass shooting. It’s maddening. People were being mowed down by automatic gunfire barely six weeks ago… and then again two weeks ago, and yet more immediate action is likely to take place prosecuting these men for things they did decades ago than will be done to stop the next mass murder using an assault weapon that is likely to occur again any day now.

When each shooting rampage takes place, Gun Rights Advocates cry that it is “too soon” to talk about how to stop the next one. And when someone is accused of sexual misconduct that took place years ago, the abusers’ defense is “Why did they wait so long?” And in the time in between, we get distracted by the latest Hollywood/political scandal. There’s just no way to win.

“Why does this keep happening and what are we going to do about it?” Well, we KNOW why “sexual abuse” keeps happening, and “what we’re going to do about it” is force some resignations while some of the more powerful people will voluntarily check themselves into therapy. No real changes will take place, and in the meantime, another delusional crazyman in a position of power will assault another dozen people.

Huh. Same questions. Same consequences. I guess the two situations aren’t that different after all.

Never mind.
 

Famous predators

 


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