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Republicans want to repeal the 14th Amendment? Maybe we should let them.

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, August 24, 2015

The question of whether or not to amend, or even flat-out repeal, the 14th Amendment… passed in 1868… is suddenly a hot topic in 2015. Donald Trump has put the issue of whether or not to continue “Birthright Citizenship” front & center in the debate over next years’ election. But the “14th Amendment” covers a lot more than just citizenship, so Republicans, don’t be so quick to say “Let’s do it!”. There is a case to be made, both pro & con for repealing the 14th by passing the 28th (a bit of mathematical poetry to that.)

Back during the 2008 presidential campaign, Sarah Palin was asked to name a Supreme Court decision… other than “Roe v Wade“… that she disagreed with. The Right howled in protest over an apparent “gotcha” question by “the Lib’rul Media” actively TRYING to “embarrass” her. Off the top of my head, I (and about 10 million other Lib’ruls) could easily cite “Plessy v Ferguson” (declaring “Separate but Equal” Constitutional) and “Dredd Scott” (slaves are Property) as examples of bad Supreme Court rulings, but how many of you have heard of “Buck vs Bell”?

Buck vs. Bell (1927) is the first Supreme Court case in which the 14th Amendment was cited as a defense. The issue? Whether or not the State of Virginia had the right to forcibly sterilize people (mostly the poor & “mentally ill”) against their will.

Yep.

Eighteen year old Carrie Buck, a girl who was institutionalized by her family at the age of 9 after her own cousin raped & impregnated her (most likely to hide their shame of being seen with a pregnant nine year old daughter), lost her case and was sterilized against her will despite the fact the law was supposedly intended only to prevent generations of reproduction by “the feeble minded” and “immoral” members of society (do I hear any nominations?)

While it is highly unlikely such a horrific case (a law which has never been repealed by the way) would rule the same if put before the High Court today, it does demonstrate weaknesses in the wording of the 14th Amendment that could be remedied by a rewrite.

I find it endlessly fascinating that the same people that DEMANDED President Obama “Read the Constitution” (or “Read the Consitution” as the case may be) over “ObamaCare” never seem to be able to print out their latest edit long enough for him to do so. Republican front-runner Ben Carson… who once compared “ObamaCare” to “slavery” (for forcing doctors to treat patients. “Damn the Hippocratic Oath!”), also announced his support to repeal the 14th which bestowed American citizenship upon former slaves. Offensive for ANY candidate to suggest, but stretching incredulity for the only black candidate in the race. Lately, I’ve taken to quoting TV’s “Bud Bundy” when speaking of Dr. Carson:

Bud (after being congratulated by his father for teaching Kelly a number of scientific facts): “there is one slight problem. See, if you take a gallon of knowledge and pour it into a shot glass of a brain, you’re gonna spill some. In other words, certain basic information had to be sacrificed.” – Season 3, episode 22 of “Married with Children”. – (starting at 16:08)

Dr. Carson (who compared being gay to “bestiality & pedophilia”) may be a brilliant neurosurgeon, but take him outside his field of expertise and he’s a blithering idiot. The same people who want to bestow Constitutional Rights upon fetuses from the moment of conception ALSO want to repeal one of two Amendments they are relying on as justification for such a law. Wrap your head around that one for a moment (details below).

There are actually FIVE sections/clauses to the 14th Amendment. Congress at the time cobbled together a whole wish list of rights they felt the Constitution lacked, pouring them into a single amendment that would either pass together, or go down in flames together. “Repealing” the 14th Amendment would have FAR broader implications than simply ending “Birthright Citizenship”. The part that most of the GOP is suddenly intent to repeal:
 

Section 1: The “Personhood” clause:

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States;

But that’s not even the ENTIRETY of Section 1. It continues:

…nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

The second half of section 1 actually includes things they ARE RELYING ON to support their own case for their ridiculous “fetal personhood” Amendment: extending “due process” and “equal protection” to zygotes by having them declared “persons” so that the 14th applies to them too. Talk about “throwing the baby out with the bathwater.” I’ve gotta wonder how many “pro-Lifers”… with the intellectual acumen of Sarah Palin… are also calling for the repeal of the 14th?

Section 1 bolsters the Right of “due process” established in the FIFTH Amendment and codifies the right of “equal protection” the 5th only hinted at:

“[N]or shall any person . . . be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law…” – from The Fifth Amendment

The 5th Amendment is why we detain “enemy combatants” in Gitmo (in the nation of Cuba) and not U.S. soil. Notice the right of due process extends to any “person”, not “citizen”. As Americans, we don’t deny people their human rights simply because they aren’t a citizen of our country. If you are on our land, you have basic human rights. Period. End of story. So does it come as anyone’s surprise that the GOP would also just LOVE to deny basic human rights to non-citizens? Repeal the 14th, and the right of “equal protection” becomes a matter for debate. Do we REALLY want THIS congress and THIS Court deciding the scope of “equal protection”? If anything, we need to repeal the “foreign soil loophole” in the 5th so that human rights extend to ANYONE in U.S. custody regardless of where they are held. This is what makes us better than they are. The ONLY way to win is to own the Moral High ground. Thanks to the GOP, “The Land of the Free” has maintained a beacon of hypocrisy 80 miles off-shore that has kept us at war for nearly a decade & a half.

Lack of the phrase “natural born” before “persons” in Section 1 is also what permited the “Citizens United” ruling that “Corporations are people” with the Constitutional right to donate limitless sums of money to political candidates.
 

Section 2: the “Equal Representation” clause:

Section 2: Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.

This is where we get Gerrymandering from. It’s why Governor Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts created a Congressional district shaped like a salamander to ensure his Party won control of The House of Representatives in 1812. Even though the Supreme Court ruled his shameless political grab unconstitutional, it hasn’t stopped politicians (on both sides) to this day from drawing bizarrely shaped voting districts based more on politics than population.

Despite receiving fewer overall votes in the 2012 & 2014 elections, Republicans retained control of The House thanks entirely to their 14th Amendment Right to redraw the district lines to favor their candidates. And should Democrats retake Congress in 2020 (which is the REAL “next big election”, not 2016), they too will rely on this right to draw those lines back. But to end this cycle of indefensible Gerrymandering, we need a Constitutional Amendment mandating a more mathematical, less political method of drawing district boundaries.)
 

Section 3: The “elect no traitors” clause:

Section 3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may, by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

Basically, this rule was added to prevent “traitors” from the Civil War who took an oath to defeat the United States, from being elected to Federal office. Doesn’t really apply much today… unless perhaps by some catastrophic galactic hiccup Rick Perry were to become the GOP nominee and forced to defend his (ridiculous & false) threat/belief that the State of Texas might seceded from the union over “ObamaCare”. Personally, I could argue either direction for whether this Section stays or goes.
 

Section 4: “The Public Debt shall not be questioned” clause:

Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

Remember this one? This was a hot topic when the GOP threatened (and eventually did) shut down the Federal Government over the issue of whether or not to raise the Cap on how much the Federal government could borrow to pay its obligations. It’s original intent was to prevent Southern states rejoining the Union after the Civil War from holding the Federal government hostage if it did not pay the South’s war debt.

Clearly, the wording here needs to be strengthened/clarified since it clearly was not enough to stop Republicans from questioning the Debt THEY THEMSELVES INCURRED.

And finally…
 

Section 5: Only Congress has the power to enforce these proclamation.

Section 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

How is the GOP able to abuse Section 1 (the Gitmo & “Citizens United” loopholes), Section 2 (Gerrymandering unconstitutional but they do it anyway) and Section 4 (unquestioned Debt) of the 14th Amendment? Look no further than Section 5. It’s gotta go.

So careful what you ask for Republicans. If it looks like 2016 is going to be a big year for Democrats and recapture of The House is a possibility, we just might be inclined to repeal that pesky 14th Amendment for you.
 



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Filed in Civil Rights, Election, Immigration Reform, myth busting, Partisanship, Party of Life, Politics, Racism, rewriting history, Right-Wing Hypocrisy, Unconstitutional August 24th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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What the “Trump Bump” tells us about today’s GOP

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, July 6, 2015

Two weeks ago (June 16th), “dead rat toupee enthusiast” Donald Trump officially announced his candidacy for the GOP presidential nomination before a crowd of paid-to-cheer casting extras in one of the most offensive, bigoted, dystopic announcement speeches since Strom Thurmond ran for president in 1948 as the “States Rights” Party (sound familiar) nominee vowing to fight efforts to end segregation. The week before Trump’s big announcement, he stood at 4% support among GOP primary voters, just between Chris Christie (4.8%) and Rick Perry (3.0%). Five days later, a Fox “news” poll shows him in second place at 11%, just below Jeb “what’s-my-last-name?” Bush (15%). Lest you believe it was simply the standard “post-announcement bounce” EVERY candidate enjoys (as one person tweeted me), Christie & Jindal both also announced last week. Christie fell from 4% to 3.8% following his announcement and Jindal… who still polls 50% lower than the margin of error… saw a “bump” from 1.2% to 1.3% (ibid). “Trump’s Bump” is (was?) not some “hmm, let’s hear him out” sudden mild rise in interest, this is cheering enthusiastic support as a DIRECT result of his offensive race-baiting speech. And that speaks volumes about who his supporters are.

When other mega-corporations, from Univision to Macy’s… all who cater to a large minority population… started to sever ties with the real estate mogul, Trump did what any offensive deluded bigot with no self-awareness would do, he doubled-down. During a national news talk program, when asked specifically about calling Mexican immigrants “rapists”, Trump’s response was Somebody is doing the raping!” Can’t be white guys, and it’s impolitic to accuse “the blacks” (that love him so), so it MUST be the Mexicans. They’re all that’s left. Since race has little-to-nothing to do with how likely a person is to be a rapist, such statistics are typically not tallied, but in the last report for which we do have data… a survey conducted in 1995 (pdf):

56% of arrestees for rape in 1995 were white, 42% were black, and 2% were of other races. White arrestees accounted for a substantially larger share of those arrested for other sex offenses, composing 75% of those arrested for these types of offenses in 1995. (ibid)

Somebody is doing the raping!” It must be the “illegals”. Actually, 47% of victims are raped by someone they know, making it less likely to be someone that entered the country recently.

But why the sudden concern for “raping”? Are rapes suddenly on the rise to the point it has become a presidential campaign issue? If Wiki can be trusted, between 2003 & 2010, reported incidents of rape have declined from 32.2% to 27.3%, including a 0.1% uptick in 2004 and the greatest decline from 2009 to 2010 (and “reporting” has gone up not down over the last 20 years, so it’s not that.)

So why is Trump suddenly decrying “Mexican rapists”? Because he knows his audience, that’s why. And clearly, it worked.

Of course, Trump didn’t just complain about Mexican “rapists”. According to him, they’re “drug dealers” and “murderers” too. Setting aside for a moment that the most egregious & lethal drug dealers in this country are the billion dollar pharmaceutical companies with a network of licensed pushers around the country (you call them “doctors”) that’ll dispense 100% legal narcotics so long as they have a brand name stamped on them (like “Pfizer”), in fact, if you are white and middle-class, you are seven times more likely to use drugs yet less likely to go to prison.

Even if we give Trump the benefit of the doubt and claim all those poor white folks are victims of Mexican pushers (and if there is one thing we’ve learned over the years, it’s how deep “white victimhood” runs in GOP-Land), there is almost no way for him to know statistics regarding the race of Drug Dealers because it is not widely reported. We DO know however that if you’re a white drug dealer, you’re more likely to get off. More people of any particular race being arrested does not necessarily mean more of them are actually committing crime, they are just more likely to be found guilty (by juries that… by simple math… are more likely to be white.)

Ditto for murderers.

It bothers me that after becoming The Birther King, demanding to see the birth certificate of the nations first black president, Trump wasn’t called out for his blatant racism, and NBC continued to carry his “reality” TV show for five more seasons, only to suddenly be “Shocked! Shocked!” by Trump’s comments about Mexicans years later.

There is no statistical data to support Trump’s racist claims. If the numbers were on his side, one could at least argue he was simply stating a documented fact. He isn’t. He’s doing what all racists do and that’s make a broad generalization about a group of people that makes him feel “oogy” because he knows his audience… an entire sub-class of low-information racists looking for someone to blame for the “hellhole” they have been told America has become (a place where unemployment “really isn’t” 5.3%, the National Debt is over $22-Trillion and ISIS is hosting gay weddings in an abandoned North Texas Wal*Mart.)

(UPDATE 1: 12 More notorious racist Trump comments.)

(UPDATE 2: Trump says the “initial” response to his comments were “overwhelmingly positive” and he received “numerous calls & letters of congratulations”… only making my point.)

(UPDATE 3 – 7/17/15: Trump now leads the GOP field at 18%, ahead of long-time leaders Walker & Bush, up 7% in just one week. Adding credence to my claims that Republican’s embrace a “victim” mentality and “persecution” complex, rallying around a guy they now perceive as a “victim” of the Media.)
 



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Filed in Election, myth busting, Partisanship, Politics, Racism, Right-Wing Insanity July 6th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Beginning of the End for Religious Bigotry Laws

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, June 29, 2015

Last weeks’ historic Supreme Court ruling declaring no legal basis to justify discrimination against Same-Sex couples was condemned by every single GOP presidential hopeful (sans Rand Paul who has a history of waiting to test the political mood before commenting on controversial issues) as being in violation of “religious liberty” laws protecting the right of bigots to be bigots. But in fact, the Supreme Court did NOT rule on so-called “Religious Freedom” laws passed in individual states. They only ruled on the rights of the targets of those laws… and even then… only a very specific subsection. However it is clear that they will have to (sooner rather than later) rule on the Constitutionality of such laws. It’s not just the baker that refuses to bake a “gay” wedding cake, or the caterer who refuses to cater a gay wedding, it’s also the County Clerk who refuses to issue marriage licenses to gay couples (Huckabee asserted this right yesterday on ABC’s ThisWeek), or the pharmacist who refuses to fill your prescription for Birth Control pills because it offends his/her religious sensibilities. If an employee cites “religious grounds” as the reason they can’t fulfill the duties of their job, then can their employer then fire them for not doing the job for which they were hired? What about refusing to hire someone if you think their religion might prevent them from doing their job? (that “pharmacist” link includes a response from CVS declaring their right to do just that.) Then, does the employer get sued for religious discrimination or violating their former employees’ Religious Freedom?

These attempts by individual states to circumvent the U.S. Supreme Court WILL eventually be challenged in the courts and They. Will. Lose. This nation fought a Civil War over whether or not Federal law superseded “states rights” (“The South” lost BTW, and Federal Law reigns supreme.) The Federal government passed a law banning Slavery, and the South would have to abide by it. (How ironic that we also saw a fight over the Confederate flag this past week as the EXACT SAME anti-federal government Southern bigots talk of “secession”, “armed revolt” and “states rights” by morons oblivious to the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War that just came to pass last April.)

We’ve had “equal housing” laws in this country since President Lyndon Johnson signed the “Fair Housing” Act into law in 1968. It was intended to protect African-Americans from being discriminated against when seeking housing, but over the years it has been expanded to prohibit discrimination against ANYONE for almost any reason. The Reagan Administration added the “Disabled” to the Act in 1988. So what happens now if someone tries to deny housing to a gay couple citing their “religious freedom” as their justification? How would that be any different than denying an inter-racial couple for the same reason? (Note: Justice Thomas, who voted in favor of allowing people to discriminate against marriages they object to on religious grounds, himself has an interracial marriage.)

The High Court will be *forced* to step in, and I can’t see how they could side against an employers right to fire someone who refuses do the job for which they were hired. An employee could cite “religious reasons” for everything from showing up late to work to drinking on the job, then what? The days of these nonsense “religious freedom” laws are now numbered. It’s inevitable. That case will go to the Supreme Court and those laws will be struck down. You have a right to worship as you wish in your personal life, but NOT “on the job”.

Such a case will pit “Big Business Conservatives” against “Religious Right Conservatives.” Get the popcorn.
 

BONUS:

Sen. Sanders discusses his record on Civil Rights (1:40)

 
Bernie responds to Hillary Clinton’s reported 91% to 3% lead among minority voters. Hillary comes in with a built-in advantage of minority support for her husband, while Sanders is still a relative unknown. Bernie talks about a life dedicated to Civil Rights, getting arrested in the 60’s protesting Segregation and marching with Martin Luther King Jr. (but left out the fact he witnessed King’s “I Have a Dream” speech in-person.)

 



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Filed in Civil Rights, Partisanship, Predictions, Religion, Seems Obvious to Me, Unconstitutional June 29th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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GOP Candidates All Adopting Language of Democrats to Remain Relevant

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, May 18, 2015

Last week, Jeb Bush found himself in Damage Control mode after telling a Fox “news” anchor that he’d still have gone into Iraq in 2003 despite “knowing what we know now”. His GOP opponents pounced, denouncing the very idea that anything good came out of the invasion of Iraq that mitigated the mind-numbing disaster to follow. In another Through-the-looking glass moment, Mike Huckabee again tweeted that, as president, he would stand for “all of us, not Wall Street”, two weeks after Jeb denounced the rise in “income inequality”. On Fox “news” Sunday yesterday, Marco Rubio defended supporting President Obama negotiating with Iran (“I don’t know WHO wouldn’t be in favor of a deal” he tells Chris Wallace (he should have asked Netanyahu when his Party invited him to DC). This came minutes after he blamed “the last election” (the GOP’s big 2014 victory) for why Congress “can’t muster the votes to pass comprehensive immigration reform”. Huckabee is also running ads that use the words “Maximum Wage” in big letters… echoing a Progressive idea to cap the wealth of the absurdly rich (but look closely, he’s not calling to cap “extreme wealth”, he’s suggesting there’s a “Maximum wage” for ALL of us, in ads intended to APPEAR deceptively Progressive.) ThinkProgress also noticed the sudden rise in the number of Republican candidates adopting Progressive positions on the issues. Even Hillary Clinton hit the campaign trail sounding a lot like Warren on the subject of “income inequality”. It is clear, if you want the voters to take you seriously, you’d better adopt adopt the language of Democrats on the big issues… and not just ANY Democrat, but Elizabeth Warren (and Bernie Sanders too BTW).

The Republican candidates are disavowing the policies of the last Republican candidate (though Jeb insists he isn’t), and while they love to invoke St. Reagan, there really isn’t a single specific policy of his they can cite that they’d like to revive should they win the nomination. No, the only policies that resonate with voters in this election are those of our side: the Democratic Left.

Watching the Republican candidates tie themselves up in knots trying to avoid denouncing their own Party’s failures while still trying to take credit for not supporting them, has been a wonder to behold. Fox “news” Sunday’s host Chris Wallace asked Marco Rubio the exact same question Jeb was asked: “Knowing what we know now, would you have invaded Iraq?” Hilarity ensues:
 

Rubio refuses to admit invading Iraq was a colossal mistake (1:54)

 

You “don’t understand the question”, Marco? Puhleez. The invasion of Iraq and overthrow of Saddam has left the Middle East in chaos. Iran is FAR more powerful as a result; ISIS (the remnants of Saddam’s Mahdi Army) only exist today because of it; we took our eye off the ball in Iraq rather than focus on wiping out alQaeda; and we find ourselves in the uncomfortable position of helping Syria fight ISIS. Rubio tells one interviewer that “the world is a safer place without Saddam in it” (clearly it isn’t), while telling Charlie Rose that… “knowing what we know now”… invading Iraq was “a mistake” (how can it be a mistake if we’re “better off”?)

When Jeb suggested he’d still have invaded Iraq despite “knowing what we know now”, the GOP cringed. Even a majority of Republicans now admit invading Iraq was a mistake. Jeb tried to suggest he “misunderstood the question”. Five days later, he was in full take-back mode, telling reporters that “mistakes were made”. Now Rubio is too-cute-by-half pretending he “doesn’t understand the question” when asked if invading Iraq has made the world less safe (Funny, because many of these SAME people question the wisdom of Obama “taking out” Gaddafi and destabilizing Libya, with no sense of irony.)

So we have Huckabee, Bush-3, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Ben Carson, Chris Christie (ad infinitum) all talking about “income inequality” (let’s not forget Mitt Romney too), all adopting the language of Warren & Sanders, and trying to pass themselves off as the Champion of the Little Guy.

Rubio says negotiating with Iran is a good thing. All the GOP candidates are suddenly against the Iraq war too.

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader (cough) Mitch McConnell praised President Obama for bucking his own Party as Republicans joined with him in supporting the disastrous “Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty” (TPP). (As an aside, there’s a part of me that wonders if President Obama didn’t actually pull a fast-one, outsmarting the GOP, noting last year that the moment he agrees with Republicans on something, suddenly they oppose it. So he publicly announces his support for the TPP, even calling Warren “wrong” on the issue, and watches the bill tank while earning some good will among Republicans in his final two years. If he really supported the idea, he’d be telling Congress to renegotiate to find something both sides can support. He isn’t because he’s glad it failed. But is he really that damned smart? We may never know.)

The GOP isn’t adopting the rhetoric of the Tea Party cranks as the path to victory in 2016. No, they’re all adopting the populist language of Democrats, and THAT, dear reader, more than anything else, should tell you where this election is going.
 



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Filed in Election, General, Middle East, myth busting, National Security, Partisanship, Politics, Right-Wing Hypocrisy, Seems Obvious to Me May 18th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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OKC Bombing 20 years later. Remembering Right Wing Inspired Domestic Terrorism

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, April 20, 2015

Remember when terrorists were lily-white Conservative Americans? Religious fanatics and neo-Nazi’s alike, the people we had to fear most in this world weren’t the ones in the Middle East providing us with all that lovely oil, it was anti-government militia groups, bombing abortion clinics, the Olympic Park in Atlanta and a federal building in Oklahoma City. Those same gun-toting “anti-government” zealots are called “Patriotic Americans” today, and by no coincidence they gravitate towards the GOP and “The Tea Party”.

If, like me, you were in at least your 20’s during the late 1990’s and the Bill Clinton administration, you probably remember the visceral hatred the Far-Right had for the man. They hate President Obama too to be sure, but it’s nothing compared to the absolute loathing they had/have for Bill. It was the first time in my life that I can remember either Party actively stoking the flames of hatred for a president and his Administration. Even Jimmy Carter at the height of the Iranian hostage crisis didn’t have people frothing at the mouth they way they started to in the late 1990’s. I blame nothing short of the active, incessant, 24/7 non-stop Clinton-hatred-as-bloodsport atmosphere nurtured on the right for the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City 20 years ago yesterday. You keep turning up the heat on a Pressure Cooker and eventually it’s going to explode (and when was the last time anyone accused the GOP of over-analyzing the consequences of their actions?) With the election of Barack Obama, I’ve often wondered if they learned their lesson not to provoke anyone into doing something rash. Reel it in just a smidge? And I worry should Hillary win the presidency in a close race, will we see that seething hatred of all-things-Clinton return for another 4-to-8 years? (at the very start of the 2008 presidential race in late 2007, I wrote of my concern that we might be seeing a return to that extremism when a mentally disturbed New Hampshire man held a group of “Hillary For President” campaign workers hostage at gunpoint (as it turns out, the admittedly mentally disturbed man was making a point about his desire to see “mental health” coverage included in Clinton’s signature issue: health care reform.)

In a way, I see the “Tea Party” as the (believe it or not) more subdued step-child of the Republican rage of the 1990’s. Five years ago, I wrote about Republicans egging on Teabaggers from the Capitol balcony, concerned how they once again appeared to be cluelessly inciting hatred… much of it racial… for political gain, without concern for the consequences. And I thank my lucky stars every day that President Obama never did anything foolish like have an extra-martial affair for Republicans to use as an excuse to “crush” the man (because we all know just how much Republicans abhor adultery.)

During President George HW Bush’s final year in office (1992), the BATF attempted to arrest a white separatist by the name of “Randy Weaver” (why exactly isn’t all that clear even after reading the Wikipedia entry on the subject.) Weaver was already a “fear the government” zealot who moved his entire family to a cabin in the deep woods of Ruby Ridge, ID to live in isolation. When BATF officers stormed Weaver’s cabin, it was their worst fears come true… not just Weaver’s, but that of every anti-government separatist group in the country. “The government is coming to take your guns!” Weaver’s wife & young son were inadvertently killed by BATF officers during the siege, and in the end (IIRC) Weaver was acquitted of all charges. Fledgling militia groups across the country were outraged and the anti-government movement was born.

And this was during a Republican Administration mind you.

Republicans already hated Bill Clinton with a passion back when he was still just a candidate for president that same year. And they deemed him “illegitimate” for winning the presidency with less than 50% of the vote thanks to Ross Perot. (When George W. Bush was “awarded” the presidency by the US Supreme Court in 2000, did Democrats go on an 8 year manhunt of the man’s legacy because he was deemed “illegitimate”? No, they followed him into Iraq. But I digress.) So barely a month into the Clinton presidency when BATF agents once again attempted to carry out a search warrant of a Right-Wing cult known as the “Branch Davidian’s” in Waco, TX, it was their worst fears come true once again: “An out-of-control government coming to take your guns away so they can oppress you. And despite the fact the first such siege was ordered by a Republican president less than a year earlier, Republicans found a way to turn that mistrust of government… held not-coincidentally by mostly Evangelical, mostly white, mostly red-state, gun-loving sub-sub-suburbanites, into a “hate-the-Democrats” anti-government “they’re-coming-to-take-your-guns-away and lock-you-up-in-FEMA-Camps” movement that still exists to this day… broadened and made more palatable for public consumption by calling themselves the “Tea Party” (heavily financed by Billionaires who benefit by enraging the simple-minded over anything that might hurt Billionaires. But it’s still the same Right-Wing anti-government even-my-dog-has-a-gun-rack crowd we first laid eyes on in the 1990’s.

We very well COULD have seen a repeat of history had President Obama of taken the bait and sent an army of Federal officers in after that “Cliven Bundy” idiot when all those gun-toting anti-government right-wing “patriots” rushed to his defense in Nevada and pointed their guns at the local police & few Federal officers that were already there. Sometimes you just have to look these idiots in the eye and say, “You’re just not worth the trouble.”

The OKC bomber (whose well-known name I won’t repeat here) was one such person. Outraged by the events of Ruby Ridge, he was there in Waco to witness the siege for himself. There is no question the OKC Bomber was aghast by what he saw in Waco, but he didn’t carry out his attack against a government building the very next day, or even on the ONE year anniversary of the Waco siege. No, it was only after TWO long years of stoking his hatred against the federal government by Right-Wing talk radio and Republicans in Congress on the warpath against President Clinton, that his rage quite literally exploded into an act of terrorism that… before 9/11… was the deadliest act of domestic terrorism in American history.

And we still see it whenever some nut armed with a knife & gun jumps the White House fence in hopes of attacking the First Family. We see it when Tea Partiers strap assault rifles to their backs, daring the cops to try and take it away from them. It’s “artificial rage”, manufactured by people who have something to gain by whipping the stupid up into a frenzy. Be it Billionaires that don’t want to pay their fair share of taxes, health insurance companies that might see their profits decrease if they have to start paying out more claims and can’t indiscriminately raise premiums or cut people off when they get too sick, gun manufactures that stand to make billions if they can convince you the government is going to knock on your door and try to take your guns away, ad infinitum.

Anyways, the point is that Republican childishness stoked the fire that erupted into the OKC bombing 20 years ago yesterday. And no, I won’t take that back. I mean every word of it. They are as much to blame for those deaths as the man who built the bomb. And the Middle-East now awash in terrorism? You can thank the GOP for that too.
 



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Filed in Crime, Guns & Violence, National Security, Partisanship, Politics, Right-Wing Insanity, Terrorism, War April 20th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Birthers Rejoice On News Canadian-born Rafael “Ted” Cruz will Run for President

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, March 23, 2015

Ted Cruz's birth certificate  (real)
Ted Cruz’s official, Canadian birth certificate.

Section 1 of Article Two of the United States Constitution states:

No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

Personally, I don’t really care if someone running for president was actually born a citizen or became one later in life, but then, I never made the citizenship of a presidential candidate an issue. Not even when the candidate was John McCain, who had an eligibility question of his own back in 2008 having been born in “the Panama Canal Zone” to a father serving in the U.S. military (a law was passed giving such children U.S. citizenship, but it didn’t go into effect until McCain was already a year old.) Meanwhile, the darling of the “Tea Party” (“Birther HQ”) is ready to rally in support of “Ted Cruz for President”. Show me someone that is surprised by the Far-Right’s hypocrisy/duplicity and I’ll show you someone that hasn’t been paying attention for the last two decades.

Ted Cruz is a case study in Conservative “cognitive dissonance”. How is it that a man born in Alberta, Canada to a Cuban-National father (mother’s U.S. citizenship ruled irrelevant), having served less than one full term as Senator, be regarded as eligible/worthy of running for President of the United States by the same people who pronounced that “the black guy” was not? (I think I just answered my own question.) And if he were the nominee and the Supreme Court were forced to step in, then what?

Personally, I don’t think the US Supreme Court has to worry about deciding Cruz’s eligibility anytime soon.
 

Birthers for Cruz 2016

 

My own local Houston Chronicle broke the news yesterday of Cruz’s intention to run, and I’m not quite sure who’s happier, The Extreme Far-Right or Democrats? NBC Nightly News reported yesterday on a Wall Street Journal poll that damned Cruz with faint praise over this sufficiently vague poll question: If Ted Cruz were to run for president, could you see yourself supporting him?”
 

Cruz unlikely to win even majority of the Republican vote.
Left with no other choice, 40 of Republicans could support Cruz

 

Before they really get to know him, already 60% of Republicans look at Cruz and say “Hmm, who else you got?” Is it any wonder Joe McCarthy’s doppelganger didn’t bother with an “exploratory committee” to evaluate if he could even win? But hey, Bush invaded Iraq with the same amount of planning and that didn’t turn out so bad, did it? One of these days, a Republican will stop & think before doing something stupid, and the world will pause in stunned silence. Whether that occurs in your or my lifetime is anybody’s guess.

Most of the “old guard” GOP was fuming at the freshman senator, less than a year in office, for his stunt that led down to another government shutdown the first two weeks of October 2013, something Republicans were rightly lambasted for during the Clinton Administration and tried desperately to avoid this time around, fearing public backlash over yet another example of Republicans, again in total disarray, unable to govern, a year before the mid-term election. But fortunately for them (and Cruz), voters have very short memories.

Last December, just before the Christmas Recess, Cruz once again earned the GOP’s ire with another stunt, delaying the immigration vote that forced Congress to stay in session over the weekend and allow the (long delayed) confirmation of twenty-four presidential appointments.

“Ted” Cruz lives in a fascinating universe: one where the majority of Americans are “Tea Party Republicans” that despise President Obama, think “ObamaCare” is a government insurance program “worse than any war” that you are being forced to buy under threat of imprisonment by the IRS (accountants who could be put to better use securing our Southern border), where you can round-up & deport 12 million undocumented immigrants, colleges are full of Communists, and he… the Canadian born son of a Cuban dissident… can legally run for president of the United States.

Run Ted, run! And I say that as a proud Liberal Democrat.
 



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Filed in Election, Partisanship, Politics, Racism, Right-Wing Hypocrisy, Right-Wing Insanity March 23rd, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Where Is the Accusation of a CRIME to justify a Tax-Payer Funded Investigation into Hillary’s Emails?

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, March 16, 2015

Once again I find myself in the uncomfortable position of defending Hillary Clinton. Yesterday’s poli-talk shows all covered “Hillary Clinton’s emails” and the fact she didn’t turn over her personal private emails to the GOP controlled Congress for scrutiny. In fact Clinton freely admits that it was “probably a mistake to use just one email account” while Secretary of State for both her personal private email as well as for work, but I disagree. As Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA) pointed out during Fox “news” Sunday yesterday, if Clinton “had used two separate email accounts, Republicans would just be demanding she turn over her private emails as well”, accusing her of “hiding” things she didn’t want recorded on government servers by using her private email address… you know, the way EIGHTY  Republican officials did during the Bush Administration (Karl Rove freely admitted on FnS yesterday that he and other Republicans did this while working in the Bush White House, but claimed the “22 million missing emails were found by (note: NOT “turned over to”) investigators in the Obama Administration” (nearly two years later, and only after Bush left office) making what they are accusing Hillary of “completely different”.

But just WHAT are Republicans accusing Hillary Clinton OF?

The United States Congress… once again… is using taxpayer dollars to fund an investigation into the Clinton’s. In 1992 when Bill Clinton was still running for president, Republicans openly accused the Clinton’s of receiving preferential treatment when investing in a land deal known as “White Water”. The fact the Clinton’s LOST money on the deal didn’t matter (though one wonders how much “favorable” treatment the Clinton’s might have shown someone that lost them roughly $52,000… give-or-take $15 Grand), only the fact that the Clinton’s invested was at issue (I’ll save their Bob McDonnell hypocrisy for another column.) When the GOP retook control of Congress in the 1994 mid-terms, they immediately opened a taxpayer funded investigation into the Clinton’s involvement in “White Water” that quickly went nowhere.

But the SAME Special Prosecutor hired to investigate the Clinton’s over “White Water” (remember Ken Starr?) then shifted his investigation to “Trooper-gate”, and the claim that Governor Clinton misused tax-payer paid state employees (cops) to shuttle one of his mistresses in/out of the governor’s mansion (oh, the irony. A tax-payer funded partisan political investigation into whether Clinton misused tax-payer paid employees.)

After that, the investigations devolved into investigating Bill Clinton’s personal life… while sleazy, NOT A CRIME. President Clinton should have demanded the GOP present evidence that a CRIME had been committed before agreeing to allow tax-payer funds be used to pay for what was clearly partisan political dumpster-diving in hopes of derailing his 1996 re-election. But he didn’t for fear of appearing like he had “something to hide” in an election year.

And once again, as soon as the GOP re-seized control of both house of Congress last year, what’s the first thing they do? They launch a tax-payer funded investigation into the Clintons, with NO declaration of a crime to justify the investigation, in hopes of derailing a Clinton’s presidential aspirations.

They can’t help themselves. Like moths to a flame, Republicans with subpoena power will use tax-payer funds to pay for a political witch hunt into a Clinton seeking the presidency.

So I ask, WHAT IS THE CRIME THEY ARE SUPPOSEDLY INVESTIGATING to justify spending MY tax dollars demanding to see Hillary Clinton’s private emails? To date, I’m not aware of a single repeated declaration as to just WHY they need those emails so badly. Colin Powell admitted that HE used a private email account while Secretary of State even as the Bush White House was cooking up a case to justify the invasion of Iraq. This week he even admitted that he “didn’t keep” his emails while serving as SoS. One might think that such emails could have been very important had Democrats investigated the Bush Administration’s claims of “Weapons of Mass Destruction”… the core justification for the preemptive invasion of Iraq… the way Republican’s investigate the Clinton’s every February 2nd (“Groundhog’s Day” reference.)

Now, some Republicans have suggested that this TENTH investigation into Benghazi is necessary because the nine prior investigations that turned up no evidence of wrongdoing failed only because of a lack of evidence that might have been hidden somewhere in Clinton’s private emails. To date, that has been the ONLY suggestion as to why a TAXPAYER-FUNDED investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails could be justified. Beyond that, it’s a political smear campaign at the public expense.

If “Benghazi” is indeed the justification for demanding the release of Clinton’s emails, then someone needs to explain to the public EXACTLY what they are looking for. What information do they not have? What “lingering questions” remain unanswered? And I don’t mean Speaker Boehner claiming there are “a lot of unanswered questions” that have been repeatedly asked & answered, I mean a public declaration in writing listing precisely what justifies spending yet more tax-dollars investigating a political opponent.

Think about it. Just what “unanswered question” do they believe would be revealed by Clinton’s emails? Questions like, “Was there a ‘stand-down order’ by President Obama” or “Could U.S. fighter jets have arrived in time to save the people in the consulate” wouldn’t change based upon anything they might find in an email. Do they really believe they’re going to find an email between her and some NGO (non-governmental official… because .gov recipients emails are already archived) telling them NOT to save the people in that consulate? Do they think Hillary texted the pilots and secretly ordered them to “return to base” in mid-flight? Hmmm? Because I don’t know of another “crime” relating to “Benghazi” they could possibly still be investigating.

And think about this: Would YOU agree to hand over your private emails to police without a warrant? Because that is EXACTLY what Republicans are doing. With NO declaration of criminal wrong-doing, Republicans are ABUSING THEIR POWER to investigate a political opponent, simply insinuating that Ms. Clinton’s use of a private email was intended to hide evidence of a crime… a crime that NO ONE has publicly explained even took place. If police asked a judge for a search warrant to confiscate your private emails, the judge would demand they provide him with “just cause” for why he should issue them one. We don’t even have THAT.

The rule that all government email activity must take place on a governmental account wasn’t even a law until NEARLY TWO YEARS after she left the State Department (Clinton resigned in February 2013. President Obama signed “The Federal Records Act” December 1st of last year.) So she may have failed to comply with a rule or guideline, but not even Republicans can claim her doing so “broke the law”, so they don’t have that.

So, no claim of criminal wrong-doing regarding Benghazi, she broke no law regarding the preservation of Federal Records because there was no such law at the time.

It’s a really simple question: Just what crime are Republicans accusing the former Secretary of State of Committing that justifies a tax-payer funded investigation into her private emails?
 



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Filed in Crime, Election, fake scandals, National Security, Partisanship, Politics, Right-Wing Hypocrisy, Scandals, Taxes March 16th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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GOP Should Be Last Ones to Accuse Hillary of Secrecy

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, March 9, 2015

The GOP thinks it has finally found the chink in Hillary’s armor. The one thing that could derail her presidential prospects… the fact she used her private email account for public business while working at the State Department. But when it comes to secrecy & email, Republicans are the LAST people on Earth who should be allowed to claim the moral high-ground regarding openness and transparency in government. One needn’t go all all the way back to Nixon, the most secretive White House in history, for an example. Nor even to the Reagan Administration (whom still holds the record as the most indicted Administration in history). No, as recently as the last Republican-controlled White House puts them all to shame when it comes to secrecy & obstruction of justice. WHEN the Bush White House agreed to turn over a document/email, there was a better than average chance it would look like the one above, highly redacted with almost no useful information exposed. Subpoena them to testify before an investigation and they simply refused to show up (or demand they not be put under oath.) From cover-ups regarding the failure to find weapons of mass destruction, wiretapping, or the abuses at Abu Ghraib, to President Bush’s chief of staff Karl Rove and at least SEVEN other high-ranking WH officials using a private email system run by the RNC for nearly all of their correspondence. “Pot, meet Kettle.”

Now I’m hardly the one to defend Hillary Clinton. I’ve made known in these pages my unhappiness with the way she conducts business (mostly, how quick she seems to be to throw her fellow Democrats under the bus for the sake of her own personal political advantage, not to mention how hawkish she has always been on National Defense), but this isn’t about Hillary. This is about GOP hypocrisy… my favorite topic.

Eleven years ago tomorrow, March 10, 2004, then Attorney General John Ashcroft was near death lying in a hospital bed when his temporary replacement, acting director James Comey received an urgent late-night phone call that White House Council Alberto Gonzales and Bush’s own Chief-of-Staff Andrew Card were racing to the hospital to try and get Ashcroft to reauthorize President Bush’s illegal NSA wiretap program because they knew Comey would not. Comey later testified that he alerted FBI Director Robert Mueller before racing off to the hospital to stop them. Fortunately, after he arrived, Ashcroft pointed to Comey as the only person having the authority to authorize anything as acting AG.

When the new Democratic majority investigated the incident in 2007, most of Muller’s emails looked like the one above, highly redacted with all pertinent information blacked out in the name of “national security”.

In 2006, following the reelection of President Bush in 2004, eight U.S. Attorneys… Republicans all… were fired by the Justice Department without explanation. The “official” reason later given was that it was part of the normal turnover of any new administration to appoint new judges, but this was two years into Bush’s second term, so that excuse raised more than a few eyebrows. Soon it was discovered that all eight of these attorneys had been ordered… and refused… to investigate Democrats for Election fraud prior to the  2004 election with absolutely no basis. When Democrats demanded Bush’s Senior Advisor Karl Rove turn over his private emails regarding the matter, that is when it was discovered Rove and seven other high-ranking WH officials had been using a private email server… set up by the RNC… to eschew the rules regulating to public availability of all government communications. Rove & company never did turn over those emails.

When Republicans took over the White House in 2001, the RNC gave all of their members free laptops with access to a private email server set up by them. The claim at the time was so that they were provided so they could conduct “fundraising” without using government property to do it (prohibited). But Rove & Company didn’t just use those private accounts for “fundraising”; they used them to conduct any business they wanted to keep secret… which in the Bush Administration was anything you did between breaths.

And just WHO gave Rove and “Scooter” Libby the green light to publicly expose the identity of CIA agent Valery Plame Wilson? That information was never revealed either. Libby was indicted for “obstruction of justice” by providing false information to the grand jury to prevent them from finding out the truth. When it comes to secrecy and hiding governmental information regarding likely criminal wrong-doing, no one can hold a candle to the GOP. So to hear them now feign OUTRAGE over the fact Hillary Clinton used her “private” email for all correspondence while she worked at the White House… couched in the accusation that she did so in order to “hide” information from investigators… just as Karl Rove did, and just as her predecessor Colin Powell did (Condi apparently used an “official” email account)… two years before new rules were written prohibiting this… is just the latest example of Republicans trying to turn smoke into fire in hopes of derailing her inevitable presidential bid.

And thanks to this nonsense with Hillary’s use of a private email account while conducting official business, every ginned up Obama White House “scandal” has been given new life. Why? There’s now TENTH investigation into Benghazi thanks to a baseless belief that the only reason NINE previous investigations turned up nothing is because the truth must have been in an email Clinton didn’t turn over… assuming there are any. I’ve often said that if a Republican accuses you of doing something wrong, it’s only because they either already did it themselves or considered doing it but never got around to it (see: “Acorn and voter fraud”), and naturally assume you’re as dishonorable as they are. “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Where there is no smoke, build a fire and accuse your opponent of setting it.”

(Postscript: Former SoS Colin Powell on “Meet the Press” yesterday pointed out that any email sent BY Clinton TO a “.gov” address “would be recorded/retained by the governmental servers.”)
 



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Filed in Election, fake scandals, Partisanship, Politics, Right-Wing Hypocrisy, Scandals March 9th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Just IMAGINE the Howls of OUTRAGE by GOP had Dems Invited Jacques Chirac to Lobby Congress Under Bush

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, March 2, 2015

Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to address a joint session of Congress regarding our Iran policy, invited by the GOP without informing the President of the United States first. Likewise, Netanyahu himself did not bother to tell the President he was coming, learning of the visit only after he was told by staffers and Democratic members of Congress. The level of disrespect for this president in both stunning & unparallelled. From the time of being called a “liar” during his first speech before Congress in 2009, to this unannounced visit by a foreign leader to lobby Congress on behalf of the interests of a foreign nation. In 2002/2003, both Germany & France (but for some reason, people only seem to remember “France”) opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq, asking President Bush to give UN Inspectors “more time” to verify whether or not Saddam Hussein did indeed posses “Weapons of Mass Destruction”. Just TRY to imagine the HOWLS of outrage one would have heard from the Right if Democrats had invited French President Jacques Chirac to lobby Congress against undermining France’s interest’s in Iraq, requesting that they undermine President Bush’s authority as Commander-in-Chief to protect those interests?

Republicans would have accused Democrats of “TREASON!” and Fox “News” would have started every “newscast” with a countdown clock marking the hours left till “the end of Democracy!”

The fact I’ve always put “news” in quotes when citing Fox is not just a slam or poking-the-bear, it is a hard & true fact. What legitimate news organization would post a story like this on their website (emphasis my own):

Fox News Report: Obama Threatened To Shoot Down Israeli Planes

A Kuwaiti newspaper is reporting that President Obama, angered at Israeli plans to strike Iran nuclear facilities in 2014, threatened to shoot down Israeli planes before they could reach their targets.

The paper, Al Jarida, cites only anonymous sources and just a handful of other publications have followed the story. But according to israelnationalnews.com [the “Fox News” of Israel -Mugsy], the Arabic newspaper quoted “well-placed” sources as saying Benjamin Netanyahu and two top aides “had decided to carry out air strikes against Iran’s nuclear program after consultations with top security commanders.”

To call this the height of irresponsible journalism would be kind. They openly admit in the article they have NO evidence the president “threatened” to shoot down anything. Citing anonymous sources to accuse the president of something someone believes he might have done IF a particular event had taken place, is not “news”, it’s gossip. But the only important thing to them is the headline, because that’s all most Fox viewers ever read. They don’t bother to click on the story to find it nothing but rumor & innuendo based on mere speculation by unidentified sources before they are already posting on blogs and Tweeting their friend how “the Mus’lim in the White House threatened to attack Israel if they tried to bomb his ‘good buddy’ Iran.” If these people based their political views on facts & evidence, they wouldn’t be Republicans (and by no coincidence, neo-Christians.)

But back to the topic at hand: It would be one thing if the Israeli Prime Minster were here to impart wisdom to warn Congress not to make the same mistake they made, regarding something that might hurt America. But Netanyahu is here to influence American policy towards a third country with regard only for how it benefits Israel first & foremost. President Obama is attempting to use diplomacy with Iran, because while we don’t want them pursuing nuclear weapons, we ALSO could use their help in defeating our mutual enemy: ISIS, and provoking Iran with threats of military force is (at best) counter-productive. The President of the United States has a LOT more to consider when forming U.S. Foreign Policy than just “what’s in the best interest of Israel.” And regardless of what a neo-Conservative like Netanyahu thinks, promoting a positive relationship with Iran is ALSO in Israel’s best interests. Meanwhile, the U.S. Congress showing extreme favoritism towards Israel while we are in the middle of delicate negotiations with Iran certainly doesn’t help matters any.

Netanyahu’s snub of President Obama isn’t playing well in Israel either as they gear up for their own elections less than two weeks from now. Endangering Israel’s relationship with America’s Commander-in-Chief at a time when the Middle East has never been more volatile with ISIS making alQaeda look almost demure with each passing day as new outrageous acts make the headlines almost daily. One would be forgiven to think Bibi’s speech were just a crass political ploy ahead of the election. And American Republicans seem more than happy to be used in this way if it means they get to disrespect our president, to the delight of their base, one more time.

I know there is a fine line between criticizing American policy that affects Israel vs criticizing Israel itself. But before I’m accused of being “anti-Semitic”, notice that my criticism above would apply equally to the leader of ANY foreign nation coming to America to lobby on behalf of that country’s interest. Republicans love to accuse President Obama of “criticizing America” (see Rudy and Huckabee) because they conflate “criticizing Republicans” with “criticizing America“. Likewise, not agreeing with how THEY think President Obama should handle Iran does not make him an “anti-Semitic Mus’lim terr’ist“.

If the GOP seeks to derail our negotiations with Iran purely for political advantage, in hopes of “embarrassing” President Obama or derailing Hillary Clinton’s campaign before it has even begun, then one can & should call THAT “treason.”

UPDATE: The Rachel Maddow Show on Tuesday night noted just how wrong Netanyahu was in 2002 when he hyped the EXACT SAME fear mongering over Iraq in a Congressional hearing. Not only was he dead wrong thirteen years ago, but the “preemptive war” he prescribed is responsible for the absolute chaos the Middle East finds itself in today… and perhaps an even GREATER threat to Israel than what the noted neoconservative Prime Minister fear-mongered at the time. How much worse off is Israel today because of his Right-Wing hysteria?



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Filed in National Security, Partisanship, Politics, Right-Wing Hypocrisy, Terrorism, War March 2nd, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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GOP Responds to Complaints of Obama Acting Unilaterally By Demanding He Have Unilateral Power to Declare War

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, February 16, 2015

Oh Republicans, you poor inconsistent clueless gnats. Yesterday, on no less than three network poli-talk shows (and probably more but I only watch three), Republicans… in the SAME rants mind you… defended refusing to budge on tying the “Homeland Security” budget to rescinding President Obama’s “illegal and unconstitutional” Executive Order not to prosecute the “Dreamers” (which IS Constitutional and completely within his powers)… only seconds later to decry President Obama asking that the power of the president to unilaterally declare war be stripped from him and returned to Congress like the Constitution requires. People (and I use that term lightly), either you want the president to adhere to the Constitution or you don’t. Make up your minds.

The “War Powers” Clause, Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 of the United States Constitution reads:

The Congress shall have the power…

(11) To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water.

Only Congress has the power to Declare War and arm fighters (I’d love to go off on a tangent here on how this might relate to the Second Amendment, but some other day). The Constitution gives the president the power to “enact” (ie: administer or carry out) that war once it has been declared, but it’s pretty clear the power to commit the nation to war was never supposed to reside in the hands of one person.

One week after 9/11, Congress passed the AUMF, Authorization to Use Military Force, giving President Bush the “[authority to] use [the] United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the recent attacks launched against the United States. (emphasis mine). It was strictly concerning 9/11, that’s it.

In 2002, President Bush could not cite the 2001 AUMF against “those who attacked us on 9/11” as giving him power to threaten Saddam Hussein into giving up weapons he didn’t have, so Congress instead passed a separate AUMF:Iraq, specifically citing the actions of Iraq under Saddam Hussein, arguing that it would give President Bush the leverage he needed to avoid war with Iraq. Democrats foolishly voted with Republicans to give him that power, which he quickly used to Declare War against Iraq even after Iraq started to comply with his demands.

13+ years later, President Obama continues to exercise the military authority granted to him by the 2001 & 2002 AUMF’s… not exactly willingly BTW, but the result of Congress refusing to reclaim the authority granted only to them by the Constitution, leaving the president with no choice but to rely on the AUMF’s in order to go after new threats like ISIS (which didn’t exist in 2001/2002). ISIS didn’t “attack us on 9/11” as per AUMF2001, and didn’t even exist to be in “non-compliance” with us as per AUMF2003. President Obama believes it’s time for Congress to take responsibility and stop dumping the choice off on him.

Republican after Republican (Chris Wallace & The Power Panel on Fox “news” Sunday and John McCain on “Meet the Press”) were aghast that President Obama would dare “strip the power” of the president to use military force on his/her say so alone (a power the president is not supposed to have in the first place) and dump it back in Congress’ lap (I remember telling Republicans in 2007/2008 not to “give Bush any power they didn’t want a President Hillary Clinton to have.”)

Meanwhile, in the SAME breath, they also defended possibly refusing to renew funding for the Department of Homeland Security until Democrats caved on “President Obama’s illegal and unconstitutional Executive Order” placing a moratorium on the prosecution of “Dreamers” (undocumented immigrant children that have lived in the U.S. for at least five years.)

That’s right. Without a hint of irony, Republicans are demanding President Obama retain the unconstitutional powers they abdicated to the Presidency while simultaneously blasting him for exercising his Constitutional power as the Chief Executive on the grounds that such power is “unconstitutional”.

Can you hear me now, Mr. Speaker?

BTW: the second half of Clause 11… “make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water”… if Congressional Republicans are so eager to bestow A1S8C11 powers upon the president, I’d demand they transfer ALL the powers stated in that clause over to him and then promptly shutdown Gitmo. Then just watch how quickly they take that power back.
 



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Filed in fake scandals, National Security, Partisanship, Politics, Right-Wing Hypocrisy, Unconstitutional February 16th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Republicans Vow First Order of Business Will Be A Pointless Exercise in Showing Who’s Boss by Approving KXL

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, January 5, 2015

As I noted a few weeks ago, I’m still surprised by the number of people that just don’t remember that gas was WELL below $2/gallon before… not just before George W. Bush… but two years into the Bush presidency before the invasion of Iraq in 2003. They just couldn’t fathom gas prices ever being as low as we’re seeing it today (close to $2/gallon.) In fact, in 2003, oil hit just $35/barrel the week before the invasion of Iraq after hovering around $29/barrel for years. (I’ve linked to this video of mine numerous times of how one economist predicted what the invasion of Iraq might bring… if not UNDER-ESTIMATING the costs, two weeks before the invasion. In the background you can see gas prices were still around $1.79/gallon in the North-East.) It took a second war and a President/Congress completely unwilling to regulate oil speculators to drive oil prices up to nearly $150/barrel and gas over $4/gallon, laying the groundwork for the ensuing global economic collapse. During the 2012 Presidential race, Newt Gingrich… struggling for a coherent message (“moonbases” just wasn’t packing them in)… settled on promising “$2.50/gallon gasoline by the end of his first term in office” (2016) by “approving the Keystone XL Pipeline” and drilling for oil in every backyard in America (interesting side-note: Mitt Romney vowed to bring Unemployment “below 6.5% by the end of [his] first term”). Yet in two years… not four… the price of gasoline is well below $2.50/gal nationally and can even be found for under $2/gal in many states (one local Exxon station near me here in Houston is selling Regular Unleaded for $1.89/gal.) And it all happened without approving the freaking pipeline. Fantastical promises of “1 million new jobs” were quickly/easily debunked. Most of the construction is already complete. The pipe itself has already been made/purchased. The company benefiting isn’t even American and the vast majority of the “oil” is already earmarked for export overseas, having little to no impact on domestic gas prices. And the process of converting greasy Canadian sludge into “oil” requires a per-barrel price-point nearly $20/barrel higher than it is now, making the entire project a money LOSER. Even if approved, “Trans-Canada” would likely not pursue it for years til the next Republican president drives oil prices back into the stratosphere. But as OPEC has now proven, all they have to do to eliminate the competition is to make the pipeline too costly to operate by simply pumping more oil. One might think that all this might convince even Republicans that completing the Keystone XL pipeline is an exercise in futility, but you’d be wrong. Undeterred, incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has declared that “the FIRST vote of the new Congress will be to approve the Keystone XL pipeline” (with WY Senator John Barrasso on “Meet the Press” yesterday citing those “42,000 jobs” as to why it is needed.) Whether either senator knows that that’s “42,000 low paying temp jobs stretched out over two years“, I couldn’t say. Nor do I think it would make a difference. No, Senate Republicans have already admitted that their true reason for making passage of the Keystone XL such a high priority is that it is “a test” [ibid] of political will in Washington. They’ve convinced enough brainless Right-wingers that approving the KXL is “a no-brainer” and that an Obama veto would be nothing more than a challenge to their authority… nay… “the will of the American people” that voted them into office this past year. And THAT is what this vote is all about. It’s not about “creating (imaginary) jobs” or “reducing gas prices”, it’s just more childish gamesmanship by the GOP in a pointless flexing of political muscle.

You might remember that just this past November, just days after the election, in a desperate/futile/pointless/asinine attempt to save DINO Mary Landrieu’s (D-LA) Senate seat in a runoff election, Congress voted on whether or not to approve the KXL. The bill failed to reach the 60-vote super-majority threshold necessary to overcome a Democratic filibuster. Landrieu did so poorly in the runoff election that it is doubtful passage of the bill would have affected the outcome of the election anyway. With the added seats in the Senate this year, Republican’s probably have the support of enough brain-dead Democrats to overcome a Democratic filibuster should it come up for a vote again, but NOWHERE NEAR the 67-vote Super-majority they’d need to override a presidential veto, making the entire exercise pointless & futile… IF passing the now irrelevant pipeline were indeed the point (which it isn’t.) It’s all about petty power-starved Republicans trying to show Americans “who’s boss”. They’ve built up this insane reality that exists only in their fevered imaginations where Americans hate President Obama and disagree with him on ever major issue. It’s a world in which Keystone means “jobs, jobs, jobs” and gas under $2.50 a gallon. It’s a world in which Sen. Ted Cruz can declare with a straight face that “Americans are suffering because of ObamaCare” and that “Benghazi” is the greatest political scandal since “Monica Lewinski”.

Republicans see no downside to creating “jobs” regardless of cost… so long as it is a Conservative-friendly industry (be it oil or bombs). They’ll give away Billions in tax incentives to oil companies and spend yet billions more in environmental cleanup in exchange for just 42,000 low-wage jobs (roughly $600K for every $20K/year job.) But tell them how investing in green technology produced a a $5-BILLION ROI, and all you’ll hear is snarky jokes about “Solyndra” (a $300 million loss).

Of course, all this political gamesmanship has nothing to do with “jobs” (last year, unemployment fell at its fastest rate in 30 years) or “bringing down oil prices” (oil now below $54/barrel with gas at $2.20/gallon, a full 1/3rd lower than it was one year ago) and everything to do with Republicans trying to show Obama “who’s boss”.
 



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Filed in Election, Energy Independence, General, Greed, Jobs, Money, myth busting, Partisanship, Politics, Right-Wing Insanity January 5th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • 1 comment | Add/View

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Electorate Votes Big for Progressive Policies (and the people least likely to implement them)

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, November 10, 2014

What conclusions can be drawn from an electorate that voted overwhelmingly for Progressive policies in last Tuesday’s election only to also vote for the people LEAST likely to implement them? In EVERY state where raising the Minimum Wage was on the ballot, all Deep-RED states, it won. In EVERY state where marijuana legalization was on the ballot, it won. In EVERY state where increased gun control was on the ballot, it won. And in EVERY state where “personhood” for fertilized eggs was on the ballot, it lost. Yet in many of these same states, Republicans… who are the least likely to support these measures… won big. How does one account for that?

On The Rachel Maddow Show the night after the election, she provided an itemized list of Progressive victories the night before:
 

Howard Dean, who ran the DNC before Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, and whose “50 State Strategy” played a huge role in 2006 Democratic sweep of Congress, said the most brilliant thing on “Meet the Press” yesterday:

“The Republican strategy was simply to say, We’re not Obama. And the Democratic strategy was to say, We’re not Obama either. What in the Hell kind of strategy is that?”

In recent weeks, I too have lambasted Democrats for buying into the Republican meme that “President Obama is wildly unpopular” and running away from him and his policies when they should have been defending them. When given the choice between a Party that does nothing but criticize the president vs a Party that concedes their opponents criticism, why on Earth would anyone vote for the same Party as the president? It was beyond stupid. So it was only natural that the GOP candidates would defeat their wishy-washy opponents.

Yet, when it came to ballot issues, the voters STILL expressed a CLEAR preference for Progressive positions. People WANT Progressive government, but they also want stuff to get done. Republicans went out on the campaign trail and told voters that if they want to END GRIDLOCK, they need control of both Houses of Congress. With a metaphorical gun to the electorates’ head, Republicans told voters to, “Elect me before I obstruct again!” NOT ONCE did I hear a Democrat argue the opposite: that giving THEM control of both houses would also end the gridlock in Washington (I find it curious that, despite a 16% approval rating, Control of the House was never in question thanks to Gerrymandering). Republicans already blame President Obama for their own unprecedented obstruction of Congress, but even with control of both houses, President Obama still has his Veto Pen, so if Republicans think they can “repeal ObamaCare” or include the “deportation of 12 Million undocumented workers” in their border-security bill, we’re STILL going to see gridlock in Washington. And if the Tea Party extremists get their way and begin impeachment proceedings, just how much do you expect this Congress to get done?

So what’s going on here? Did voters just not draw a connection between the policies they were voting for and the people they were electing to implement them (FACT: The more educated you are, the more likely you are to vote Democrat), or something more sinister?

I despise Conspiracy Theories, and I think the moment you start arguing “election theft” when you lose, you lose all credibility when you win. “Voter Suppression” efforts were rampant across the country this election, but they account for the record low turnout (just 36.6%) not for the inconsistent way in which people voted. Yes, there were reports of “vote flipping” on “touch screen” based voting machines (built more than a decade before modern touch screen tablet technology and thus painfully due for an update), but machines were found to be flipping votes in both directions, an indication the problem is more a em>calibration issue than one of nefarious intent.

However…

If one WERE to rig voting machines so that GOP candidates in close races ended up winning big, and Democrats with huge leads ended up winning in squeakers, it is conceivable that the people rigging the machines didn’t think to rig the “ballot issues” as well to keep the results looking consistent. If I were the conspiracy-type, such a result would definitely be ringing alarm bells in my mind. But instead, I think the problem had more to do with an electorate that just didn’t link the candidates they were voting for to the issues they supported.

In Colorado, where “Personhood” was on the ballot, that measure lost by a whopping THIRTY-POINTS, and yet they elected an Evangelical senator that ran in support of personhood during the primaries only to flip-flop on the issue come the General Election. It was a reversal no Coloradoan could claim not to know about since his opponent, Tom Udall, ran so many ads on the subject he was branded: “Tom Uterus”. But like so many other Democrats, Udall ran away from President Obama’s record of success in spite of unprecedented GOP obstruction, suggesting there was some validity to the GOP’s claims of Obama being a failure, so when faced with the choice between the Party that has been saying for six years that Obama was a failure vs a Democrat that suddenly appears to be conceding his opponents argument, who are the voters going to vote for?

So what can we expect from the next two years? While I do expect to see a LOT of fighting, I predict most of it will be in-fighting amongst Republicans… the “old guard” Republicans that learned some lessons from the past, and brash Tea Party hotheads like Ted Cruz that will make “the repeal of ObamaCare” amongst his highest priorities (NOTE: Thanks to ObamaCare health insurance premiums are slated to rise at just 7.5% next year), as he openly ridicules his fellow Republicans for an unwillingness to consider impeaching Obama (while I still consider the possibility as quite high, I think there are enough Republicans old enough to remember the brusing 1999 impeachment of President Clinton, how it was widely viewed as “petty & vindictive”, and know that if they tried it again, the Press would crucify them.)

2014 was a case study in how NOT to run an election. This was NOT, repeat NOT, a “wave” election for Republicans. Record low turnout is not a “wave”. Did more people show up to vote Republican because they oppose the President, or did more people opposed to the president simply show up to vote? Clearly from all the Progressive ballot issues that won, voters don’t disapprove of the Democratic agenda. But don’t tell that to all the Republicans they just voted for to enact that agenda. 36.6% is not a “mandate”.
 



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Filed in Election, myth busting, Partisanship, Politics, Predictions, Rants, Seems Obvious to Me, voting November 10th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View