Email This Post Email This Post

Obama, Putin, and The Right’s Daddy Issues

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

Conservatives have “Daddy” issues. I’m not making a joke, I’m pointing out a demonstrative fact.

For the past week, Republicans have been quick to express their admiration, if not outright praise, for “Vladamir Putin: Man of Action” for the way he (supposedly) bested President Obama (supposedly, once again) by invading the Crimean peninsula without any apparent concern for how President Obama might react… apparently because (according to Genius Grant Award Winner Sarah Palin) Putin is a manly-man who “wrestles bears” vs “Mom jeans” wearing, “equivocating” (read: “thinks before acting”) President Obama. Republicans praised Putin as a bare-chested man of action. However, I imagine that if Putin had to run every decision past a rabidly obstructionist Congress the way Obama must, he probably wouldn’t appear quite so “decisive”. As The Daily Show pointed out last week, these are the same people that went ballistic barely one month ago when President Obama dared to suggest that he might act on his own if Congress didn’t (re: raising the minimum wage). They called Obama “a dictator” and attacked him for (falsely) threatening to ignore Congress and enact legislation on his own (using his Executive Authority to raise the Minimum Wage for Government Contractors is WELL within his Constitutional Powers.) Just this past week on Fox (where else?), Rudy Giuliani praised Putin as “what you call a [real] leader” adding (quote) “Putin decides what he wants to do and acts in a half a day.” If there is one thing we all learned from last weeks fetishism of Putin by the Right, it’s that their “ideal leader” is a neo-Communist dictator with a rubber-stamp Congress… which by no coincidence perfectly describes President Bush invading Iraq in 2003. He wanted to invade, and a GOP controlled Congress gave him the power to do it. And if you dared criticize The President of the United States, you “hated America” and were urged to “move to France”. If Obama threatens to act if Congress does not, he’s “a dictator”, but if Putin “makes a decision and acts in half a day”, he’s “a leader”. And praising a foreign enemy of freedom while ridiculing your own president makes you a patriot.

Living in a Red state as I do with Conservative family members, my first thought is always: “How would they explain this inconsistency?” And the conclusion I came to was that they would say “National security is different.” Because “war” is for “manly men”. “Manly men” invade countries on false pretenses, love guns, use force as a first resort (be it invading another country like Iraq or killing a black kid carrying Skittles and an Iced Tea), hunts (tranquilized) tigers, and just generally acts like a bully (unless of course they happen to be black, then they’re “thugs”.) Oh, and incidentally, they’re misogynists too (even the women). From the spokes-models over at Fox “news” to “Sarah Palin”, do you think ANY of these women would be as prominent in the Republican Party if they looked like Madalyn Albright? Have you ever seen so many Right-Wing homophobes openly fawning over all things masculine (most conspicuously, a shirtless former KGB agent?) And probably uncoincidentally, they all seem to suffer from a serious inferiority/paranoid/delusional complex. “The Media” is out to “get them“, to “silence” them, is on the side of their critics and is actively working against them. So they flock to Fox “news” where they receive the ego-stroking praise they didn’t receive from Mom or Dad as a child. “You’re right! They ARE out to get you! Everything you believe is absolutely correct! How smart of you! No, you’re not a racist, you’re just misunderstood! And those awful lazy poor people want to take your hard-earned money!” (and killing a child before it is born is an abomination, but cutting off food stamps or school lunches to that child AFTER it is born which could lead to malnutrition and even death is just “God’s Will.”)

People that think before acting and trust science over “their gut” are regarded as “weak”, and Bullies, by their very nature, love to pick on the weak. So they raz those who believe in sciencey things like “Global Warming” (it is stunning to watch a group of people as massive as Climate Change Deniers ridicule something they clearly don’t understand, like joking about “Global Warming”… but never “Climate Change”… during a historic freak Winter snow-storm) and look down their noses at people who attended college as “Elitists”.

Pick any prominent Republican leader and I’ll show you someone who had an authoritarian father. John McCain? His father was a Navy Admiral during World War II. Ted Cruz’s father, Rafael Cruz (which BTW is “Ted’s” REAL name. He’s a Jr), is a certifiable Right-Wing nut that was a fire & brimstone preacher who proclaims the same God who Commanded “Thou Shalt Not Kill” ordained the Death Penalty in Chapter One of The Bible, “thank[s] God for Glenn Beck”, and still wants to know where the Birth Certificate is. John Boehner (who recently conceded that it is indeed pronounced “boner”) is the son of a saloon-owner, and Sarah Palin’s dad? A Track coach. Or there are those Republicans who were traumatized by their fathers masculinity being attacked like George W. Bush’s dad being called a ”wimp” or Mitt Romney’s father who was forced out of the presidential race after using the unfortunate phrase “brainwashed” about himself regarding his prior support for the Vietnam War. Is it any wonder that a group of people so obsessed with being seen as “manly” would also be full of homophobes? (And the less said about Mitch McConnell, currently fighting for his political life amidst charges of “weakness” in confronting Obama, walking onto the stage at CPAC holding a giant phallic symbol aloft over his head, the better.)

And if you think about it, who’s the most manly-man of all? God. The ultimate authoritarian figure. A judgmental eye-in-the-sky that watches your every move, who laid out his “Commandments” and threatens to banish anyone that doesn’t comply into the pit of Hell for all eternity. You can’t get any more authoritarian than that. And they’ve claimed him as their own.

Who’s your Daddy, Mr. GOP?
 



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

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


 

Share
Filed in General, National Security, Partisanship, Politics, Rants, Right-Wing Insanity, War March 10th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • 1 comment | Add/View

Email This Post Email This Post

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sylvia Browne

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

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

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

Psychic-to-the-Stars: “Nikki”

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

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

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

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

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

The Psychic Twins

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

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

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

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

Political Prognosticators

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How I Did.

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

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

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

So now my Predictions for 2014:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


 


Writers Wanted

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


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


 

Share
Filed in Economy, Election, General, Guns & Violence, Healthcare, Jobs, Middle East, Partisanship, Politics, Predictions, Religion, Seems Obvious to Me, Taxes, voting, War December 30th, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • 1 comment | Add/View

Email This Post Email This Post

The Lesson of Christmas this Year is to Always Look at Things Differently.

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, December 23, 2013

Back when I was in college, I was having lunch with a group of friends, one of which was a girl from Switzerland (one of the great things about college is it’s one of the few times in your life when you’ll frequently come in contact with people from other countries). The topic? What we miss most being away from home on Christmas. I mentioned how I missed all the Christmas lights & decorations. My friend from Switzerland said bluntly, “I hate American Christmas.” This took me by surprise. “What? Why?” What do Americans do different at Christmas that makes it so awful, I wondered? “It’s so tacky. Plastic trees strung with electric wires and colored lights. Houses covered with the same gaudy lights so they look more like used car lots than homes.” Thinking about it, I couldn’t quite disagree. “Geez, when you put it that way, it really does sound awful.” But I had to ask the obvious, “If you don’t use electric lights on your trees, how do you light them?”

“Candles!”

“Isn’t that dangerous?”

“No. We spray the trees with fire retardant and blow out the candles at night, lighting them only when company comes over.”

Suddenly, the Christmas lights I missed moments ago now embarrassed me.

And I must admit, the mental-picture of a Christmas tree covered in candles does sound awfully nice. Ever since that exchange 25 years ago this month, I’ve never looked at American Christmas quite the same again. There are TV Shows now that pit families against each other to see who can turn their house into the gaudiest electric light show this side of Vegas in hopes of winning $50,000 bucks in Christmas cash… which, of course, is what Christmas is all about. No?

As 2013 grinds to a miserable (for me, your mileage may vary) close, I’m happy to report that our continuing War on ChristmasTM has attracted a big-name supporter: Pope Francis, who is driving the Religious Right batty with his intolerance… dare I say even outright disgust, for the way the Religious Right in America has somehow melded the teachings of Christ with Bigotry, Consumerism, hatred of the Poor, the sick and Immigrants.

Mark Fiore: Jesus Rebranded
Jesus Rebranded

I grew up in a very religious Italian family. My grandparents had a shellacked & framed “Last Supper” jigsaw puzzle hanging just above portraits of Jesus Christ and FDR on the kitchen wall. Holy Ghost salt & pepper shakers rested on the back of the stove beneath a plastic crucifix, and dinner always started with “Giving Thanks”. I knew what it was like to be around “religious” people growing up, which is probably why the people claiming to be the “Family Values” “Religious Right” seem so alien to me. Pope Francis would have fit right in as my long-lost Uncle Frank (though I do have trouble imagining him in a wine-stained “wife-beater” undershirt and Bermuda Shorts with black socks & sandals.)

Rush Limbaugh called the Pope “a Marxist” for criticizing (without specifying, but we all know who he meant) America’s Religious Right’s embrace of Greed & Capitalism and seeming hatred for The Poor. Noted theologian Sarah Palin, while plugging her new book criticizing the commercialization of Christmas, rushed to the defense of commercialism:

“I`m not saying it’s way too commercialized. I love the commercialization of Christmas because it spreads the Christmas cheers [sic],”

When the “Family Values” Party decided that Christmas Time was the perfect time to cut back the Food Stamp program for hungry families, they turned (as they always do) to The Bible to defend their heartlessness as being right in line with the teachings of Jesus:

“Anyone unwilling to work should not eat.” 2 Thessalonians 3:10

Read in context however, the “work” referred to in that passage includes “prayer” and service to the church. Of course, The Bible is probably the most abused, quoted out-of-context book in existence used to justify whatever hateful position the worst in any society can dream up so they may claim to be “on the side of God”. The most obvious response to the “unwilling to work” justification for starving the poor is to point out the obvious: that not everyone on Food Stamps is “unwilling to work”. Many (most?) HAVE jobs and ARE working, but (thanks to GOP policies) don’t make enough to feed their family. Many more are actively searching for work. Personally, I find the passage immediately preceding more informative:

“Therefore God sends upon them a strong delusion, to make them believe what is false, so that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12

Which passage do you think The Right should be more worried about? Merry Christmas, and remember to always look at things differently.

Note: Next week will be our annual “Predictions for 2014″. Don’t miss it.
 


 


Writers Wanted

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


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


 

Share
Filed in Economy, General, Partisanship, Religion December 23rd, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • 2 comments | Add/View

Email This Post Email This Post

It Must Be Exhausting to Be A Republican

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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


 

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

Email This Post Email This Post

Guest Op/Ed: The Hunting Of Yet Another President

By Ebon - Last updated: Wednesday, October 23, 2013

They’re going to impeach President Obama.

I don’t know what their justification will be yet. The right is still obsessed with Benghazi so it might be that (wanna have some fun, ask a winger exactly what happened at Benghazi that they’re pissed about). It might be something to do with the budget. Maybe they’ll find some minor breach of protocol that they can use as an excuse like they did with Bill Clinton. But they’re going to impeach President Obama, it’s just a matter of time and if they have the votes in the House.

During the Nineties, David Brock, now founder of the Liberal media watchdog site “Media Matters for America”, was one of the worst Conservative mudslingers of his time. He “broke” a lot of the scandals that plagued the Clinton administration (most notoriously, “Troopergate”). Brock never outright fabricated anything but he didn’t bother to distinguish between rumour, hearsay, unfounded accusation and responsible reportage. Simply making an accusation became something the Clinton’s had to defend themselves against. It was the attitude of the Inquisitions, accusation is itself proof. Brock did a lot of damage in his day, something he now regrets. Over time, Brock gained a conscience and did an about-face. Since then, he’s written a fair biography of Hillary Clinton and several books in conjunction with Media Matters.

Brock also wrote his account of being at the centre of the right-wing effort to smear the Clinton’s in Blinded By The Right. The book is enlightening for it’s account of the organized effort to destroy the Clinton’s (Hillary wasn’t entirely wrong when she talked of a “vast right-wing conspiracy”) but there’s also a fascinating explanation of the right-wing mentality. The power players of the far-right felt that they were entitled to the Presidency, that any Democratic President was, by definition, illegitimate and therefore, it was not just their right but their duty to destroy him by any means necessary. Elections were meaningless. To some extent, so were policies. It was entirely about whether the President had a (D) or an (R) after his name.

In Brock’s day, that mentality was largely confined to the far-right. It’s difficult to understand now but there was a time when there was a divide, a firewall, between the craziness of the far-right and the governance of the centre-right. But during the Clinton years, several things erased that divide. Firstly, the rise of conservative talk radio which was dedicated to attacking Clinton 24/7. It’s no coincidence that Rush Limbaugh hit the big time during the Clinton administration. Secondly, the religious right completed it’s takeover of the Republican party at the state level. One has to understand, the religious right was never simply a case of pushing for Christian values. In fact, a lot of positions currently put forward by the religious right are directly counter to Jesus’ teachings. The objective from the start was to turn politics into holy war, to give divine backing to Republican policies. Thirdly, Fox News launched in 1996. I’m not going to bother enumerating examples of Fox’s bias here because it goes without saying but suffice to say that Fox brought the 24/7 ceaseless antagonism of conservative talk radio into the TV studio.

Those three factors meant that the divide between the crazy right and the respectable right was gradually erased, first to attack Clinton and later to cheerlead Bush. It became unremarkable to say any crazy thing about the President. Accusations of socialism, communism, fascism (all mutually exclusive) and a quite staggering level of racism, all of this would once have been confined to the crazies on the far-right but with that divide erased, all of this became mainstream. Even elected officials said it. That mentality, that any Democratic president was illegitimate by definition, moved from the far-right to the mainstream right. Accusations started on some far-right blog, got picked up by Drudge, then repeated by Limbaugh and would then be reported on by Fox (who would then attack responsible media outlets for not reporting on them).

During the recent shutdown of the government, Louie Gohmert (R-Crazytown) said that the debt ceiling being broken would be an impeachable offense by the President. Remember, it was Republicans who shut down the government by refusing to bring up a clean CR (“Continuing Resolution”). It was always up to Republicans when the government was going to come back and whether the debt ceiling was breached. So what Gohmert was actually saying was that if Republicans breached the debt ceiling, it would be grounds to impeach a Democratic president (elected twice by large margins) for not appeasing Republicans enough.

These people are not interested in governing. They have proven this time and again through an unprecedented abuse of the filibuster to block virtually everything. It’s that same mentality that the President is illegitimate and therefore by definition must be destroyed by any means necessary. They’re not worried about getting re-elected in their exquisitely gerrymandered districts and the crazies that were once confined to the fringes are now running the party. They obstructed everything. That didn’t work. They’ve shut down the government. That didn’t work. They’ve threatened a debt default. That didn’t work. They feel that their only remaining option is impeachment. So they’re going to impeach Obama on the first excuse they can find (or outright invent) and they’re probably going to try doing it in the run-up to the 2014 midterms.

Now, this approach didn’t work too well for them during the Clinton administration but hell, if Republicans had any sense of history, they’d be Democrats.



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

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


 

Share
Filed in Guest Blogger, Partisanship, Politics, Predictions, Right-wing Facism October 23rd, 2013 by Ebon | • 2 comments | Add/View

Email This Post Email This Post

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 



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

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


 

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

Email This Post Email This Post

Time to Liberate the Debt Ceiling Hostage

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, October 14, 2013

Why do we even HAVE a “debt ceiling”? Plenty of people have asked this question in the past and no one seems to have a good answer. It doesn’t limit spending. Spending is decided in The House, and clearly Congress doesn’t keep the Debt Ceiling in mind when passing a Budget or appropriations. It’s a self-imposed limitation passed in 1917 during the First World War as a way to streamline the government by allowing it to spend money whenever it felt it necessary without putting every expenditure to a vote. Senator Coburn (R-OK) blithely stated last week that “We don’t [actually] have a Debt Ceiling” [because we just keep raising it anyway]. That’s not the point. ALL spending originates in the House, and this House is controlled by Republicans. And how many times have I pointed out that Republicans apparently lack the gene that allows them to foresee the consequences of their actions [see: Iraq]? So they pass spending bills and tax cuts without any consideration for how they’ll pay for them (Iraq was to be paid for with “Iraqi oil revenues” and “tax cuts pay for themselves”.) Then when we run out of money, they simply raise the Debt Ceiling. That’s what they did eighteen times under Reagan and six times under GWBush (three under Clinton and now Obama). If the ceiling exists only “in concept” (according to Coburn), then why would the GOP go apoplectic if President Obama were to bypass Congress and simply raise it on his own to avoid certain economic catastrophe inflicted by a select few Teabaggers with a third-grade understanding of economics telling them that sucking a half Trillion dollars out of the economy won’t hurt us? Because then you take away their hostage.

Two weeks ago, I predicted that the Tea Party extremists that think nothing bad will happen if we fail to raise the Debt Ceiling have a secret goal in mind: forcing President Obama to invoke the 14th Amendment to circumvent Congress and avoid default, and therefore provide them with an excuse to begin impeachment hearings in the House against the president in an election year. It’s a win/win for Teanuts with NO incentive to give-in and raise the Debt Ceiling before the deadline. If the deadline passes and the ceiling is not raised, they do irreparable harm to the government and they win. If President Obama invokes the 14th, the House begins impeachment hearings and they win again. The Teanuts have NO incentive to compromise as long as they stay insane. However, it appears the “Tea Party” is about as popular with the public right now as a pimple on a first date, and Moderate Republicans are starting to have second thoughts about being seen as aligned with them. If a clean vote to raise the Debt Ceiling comes to the floor before the ceiling expires, there’s probably not enough Teanuts to prevent the bill from passing and their grand scheme falls apart.

IF however they convince enough Republicans that saying “No” is a “win/win”, they might very well take us to the brink.

Consider for a moment though that if the Debt Ceiling is raised at the last minute once again, it’s future value as a threat drops to nil, and the GOP knows it. Because the next time they do it, the rest of the world will just yawn, knowing it’s just the GOP playing games again, confident in the knowledge that it will eventually be raised at the last second. So we might as well just abolish it. Take it away from Congress so the full faith & credit of the United States can’t be held for ransom once again. (Knowing it’s future value as a hostage drops precipitously after this, only increases the odds there will be no deal by the end of the week. “Impeachment” may be the only thing of value they can extract from this final losing battle.)

If the Debt Ceiling is not raised, we’ll have to raise interest rates to entice other countries into loaning money to a nation that might not pay them back. Every 1-point increase in interest rates would costs us an additional $120-Billion dollars a year. So much for claims of “fiscal responsibility” to justify this charade.

President Obama, screw the GOP. Invoke the 14th Amendment and deny the GOP this hostage now & forever. If you give a child a gun and that child threatens you with it till you exchange it for a cookie, you don’t then turn around and give the gun back. “ObamaCare” passed Congress and it became law on the condition that it not take effect until AFTER the 2012 election (believing the public will so hate it, they’ll elect a Republican to overturn it.) It survived a Constitutional challenge in the Supreme Court AND the 2012 Election, yet less than half of one-half of one-third of the U.S. government (the Teanut minority in the House) is now holding the Debt Ceiling hostage in order to extort everything they lost in the 2012 election out of the other 5/6ths.

It’s time to stop handing this hostage back over to the kidnappers and set it free.
 

Reagan on Raising the Debt Ceiling: 1983/85/87 (1:45)

 



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

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


 

Share
Filed in Economy, Money, Partisanship, Politics, Predictions, Right-Wing Insanity, Unconstitutional October 14th, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • 1 comment | Add/View

Email This Post Email This Post

The Shutdown Gets Personal: Getting Mom to a Doctor

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, October 7, 2013

I‘ve spoken to you several times recently regarding my mother’s sudden & ongoing medical crisis following a string of medical mistakes (and incompetence) that turned my otherwise healthy mother into a (for lack of a better word) “vegetable” last June. I blame her HMO for creating this mess, and we had to fight them just to get her into a rehabilitation hospital, then fight them again when they threatened to cut her off if we didn’t bury their mistake by putting Mom in a nursing home. I’ve been wanting for months to take her to a specialist, but the HMO refused to cover any doctor that did not work for them. When I finally found a specialist willing to see her, I had to fight again to get her out of that #@!*% HMO and back onto good old-fashioned Medicare (which just about EVERY doctor accepts.) I’m pleased to report that as of October 1st, Mom is back on Medicare and scheduled to see a specialist Wednesday… just as the Teanuts have Shutdown the government and are now threatening to Default on the Debt Ceiling. Which means the Social Security checks paying for Mom’s rehab could stop, and Medicare won’t have the money to pay her doctor. Suddenly, this artificial Tea Party invented “crisis” has become very personal.

Conservative icon “George Will” finally faced up to the fact he wasn’t fooling anyone pretending to be a “Moderate” Republican over there on ABC for the past 20 years, and joined the cast of The Biggest Loser, er, Fox “news”, expressing opinions that put him squarely to the Right of Ted Cruz. On Fox “news” Sunday yesterday, when asked about the possibility of Default on the Federal Budget, Will declared “there will be no default” by pointing out the meaningless fact that, “We collect 10 times as much in tax revenue as is needed to service the Debt” (ergo, we have enough money to avoid Default.) This is classic George Will bull$hit (and an opinion held only by the most FAR right Tea Baggers). Yes, that’s absolutely true that we “collect 10 times as much in tax revenue than we pay in interest on the Debt”… which wouldn’t be a problem if didn’t have all these other expenses like… oh… like PAYING THE MILITARY or for the War in Afghanistan (which, as Bill Maher rightly pointed out Friday, if we ended now, would save us nearly $100 Billion dollars.), or paying outrageous prescription drug prices as a part of the “Medicare Part-D” program THEY created under GW Bush where they themselves made it illegal for the Federal Government to negotiate lower drug prices. We just saw massive forest fires in the West… the result of historic drought due to their denial of Climate Change… and massive flooding in the East as all the moisture sucked dry from the West was dumped in the East for the same reason (disasters which create OTHER disasters in their wake.) These states have already declared themselves “Disaster Areas” entitled to Disaster Relief funding. Where do they get the money for that?

Republicans… consisting of an awful lot of “Cafeteria Christians”… want a “Cafeteria Budget” where they can pick & choose what government functions they fund on a case-by-case basis upon discovering there are a lot of things people actually need government to do. That’s no way to run a $3-Trillion dollar government. The National Institute of Health is shutdown, then when someone points out that there are sick children that won’t be receiving their cancer treatments, suddenly they’re asking for a special exemption for those poor kids they clearly were never even aware of before they took us on this joy-ride (how many times have I written about the fact Republicans NEVER think about the consequences before they act? [see: Iraq]). They shutdown the National Parks and then attack a furloughed park ranger for telling a busload of World War II veterans that the park is closed. The Shutdown lays off nearly 15,000 FEMA employees, but when a Tropical Storm develops off the waters of a half dozen red states, suddenly FEMA is allowed to call over 11,000 of them (nearly 80 percent) back to work… as they suddenly realize, “Hey! The Federal Government really is necessary!”

Of course, if the anarchists in the GOP get their way, they won’t allow an increase in the Debt Ceiling, meaning we won’t have the money to carve out any of these special exemptions. No cancer treatments for sick children, no bringing back FEMA employees in an emergency, Mom doesn’t get her Social Security check, and Medicare lacks the funds to pay for her doctor’s appointment. Seal Team 6, which just pulled off another spectacular capture of an alQaeda terrorist guilty of killing Americans back in the 90′s, who eluded a Bush Administration distracted by their obsession with Iraq, but found and killed by the Obama Administration 15 years after committing his crimes. Do we carve out a special exemption for them too? Where are they going to get the money to pay for all these exemptions? They’ll NEVER raise taxes. That just leaves “cuts”.

As Treasury Secretary Jack Lew reminded everyone on “Meet the Press” yesterday, we are STILL operating under “The Sequester” from earlier this year, deep across-the-board indiscriminate budget cuts. We have been financing the government using “budget tricks” up to now, but as of October 17th, those “tricks” will have been exhausted. No more rabbits left to pull out of anyone’s hat. Yet these haters of all things government” keep finding programs they want keep while the only thing they can think of to cut is the one thing the CBO says will actually SAVE us Billions each year. (“ObamaCare” if you haven’t figured it out.)

Prior to the Shutdown, the GOP was heavily hyping a CBO report (pdf) on a Republican House Bill (H.R. 2668) that found that “delaying the implementation of The Affordable Care Act by one year” would “save us $35 Billion dollars.” Google “CBO ObamaCare saves billions”, and the first two pages are nothing but Right Wing links to the same report. So I checked out the report myself. It concluded a ”savings” of “$35 Billion OVER TEN YEARS” simply by delaying those start-up costs (and reductions in funding to programs like CHIP… the Children’s Health Insurance Program). I don’t know about you, but I don’t think a savings of $3.5 Billion a year0.3% of the Federal Budget… on the backs of sick children is going to be enough to offset our expenses if they fail to raise the Debt Ceiling 10 days from now. (A brief scan of the CBO report appears to not take into consideration any SAVINGS resulting from the new health care law over those 10 years. Only the expenses incurred in the first year of roll out.)

So, what do you cut to come up with the money for all those government services you suddenly feel aren’t so bad? Remember, George Will already pointed out that 1/10th of the Federal Budget is spoken for (servicing our debt.) Republicans are GREAT at complaining about “wasteful spending”, but when it comes to actually naming those “wasteful” programs…

In the infamous words of Gov. Rick Perry, it’s “Energy, Commerce, and… er, uh, I forget. Oops.”
 



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

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


 

Share
Filed in Economy, Healthcare, Partisanship, Right-Wing Insanity October 7th, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • 2 comments | Add/View

Email This Post Email This Post

What the Debt Ceiling Fight is REALLY About: Impeachment

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Tuesday, October 1, 2013

By the time you read this, you’ll already know whether or not the GOP has once again Shutdown the Federal Government for the first time since they last did it 17 years ago. But let me make a last minute prediction that in the wee hours of the morning, both sides will agree to a one-month extension, at which point we’ll be right back here to start all over again. But first, a refresher: Almost from the moment Bill Clinton was sworn in as the 42nd President of the United States in 1993, the Republican Party was already hell-bent on destroying him. And the reason for their endless “Scandal-du-Jour” hysteria couldn’t have been more clear: they were plotting his defeat in 1996. But their plan backfired following, not one but TWO incredibly unpopular government shutdowns in 1995 & 1996 that the public clearly knew was purely partisan gamesmanship. They demonized the president for four straight years and STILL he won reelection, meaning they were now “stuck” with him for another four years. Any of this sounding familiar? Once again, extreme partisans within the GOP are threatening… not only the shutdown of the Federal government, but a possible default on the National Debt by refusing to raise the debt ceiling to pay for the things THEY THEMSELVES already agreed to spend money on, the results of which would be catastrophic. So why are they doing it? “Why”, I pondered previously, “would anyone invite CERTAIN economic disaster to prevent something they only speculate would be an economic disaster?” (and as I’ve heard others point out, you would think the GOP would be EAGER to see “ObamaCare” implemented only to crash & burn). No, what they REALLY want is something much more sinister/cynical: they want President Obama to invoke the “14th Amendment” to unilaterally raise the Debt Ceiling on his own so they may use it as grounds for impeachment.

Why? Because that’s what Republicans apparently do now when a Democrat is in charge. They are childish sore losers that can’t bear the idea of a Democratic president advancing Democratic solutions only to see them succeed and last another 80 years the way Social Security has (It’s a damn shame they didn’t call it “FDR-Care” only to hear Republicans defend it today.)

The relevant portion of the “14th Amendment” regarding the Debt reads as follows:

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.

But the infamous “14th Amendment”, passed in 1868, isn’t just “Section 4″. No, Republicans want to make The 14th a 2014 campaign issue because it’s just chock full of headaches for the GOP:

Section 1 is where anyone born “in the United States” is automatically a citizen regardless of the parents’ citizenship… a clause that is the source of unlimited pain for the Nationalists in the GOP, which I’m certain they’d love to see stricken. Unfortunately, the next line of that SAME clause mentions not “depriving life” of any “person without first receiving due process”… a clause commonly used by the Pro-Birth Life crowd to argue the unconstitutionality of Abortion.

Section 2 is regarding the appointment of Representatives based on the number of adult males in each state. Irrelevant here.

Section 3 is regarding “insurrection” in support of the Confederacy. Also irrelevant.

Section 4 noted above is regarding ensuring that the Federal Government will always pay its debts (translation: the repatriated South can’t stop the Government from repaying debts incurred by the North during the war, and by that same token, the Federal Government is not obligated to repay debts incurred by the Confederacy because they weren’t part of the U.S..)

Section 5 gives Congress the power to enforce the prior four Articles.

Clearly #5 is the stickler. Since this is a Constitutional Amendment, it’s not a “law” and therefore can not be ignored nor repealed. But it also doesn’t give the power of “enforcement” to the president. So what happens if Congress fails to comply with the “Enforcement Clause”? That’s one for the courts… The Supreme Court to be exact. And with a 5/4 Conservative advantage, I’d be willing to bet that young “Tea Party” Conservatives full of piss & vinegar like Ted Cruz are more than happy to push this to the Supreme Court…

…for “what” exactly, who knows? It certainly wouldn’t get past a Democratically controlled Senate to remove President Obama from office. No, for that, they need to retake the Senate as well. And, gee, let me think… What mid-term election issue can we think of that would attract Conservative morons to the polls in 2014? Maybe if we delayed the implementation of “ObamaCare” for one year? And it’ll be a lot easier to clinch that vote if they institute a bunch of voter ID laws and reduced voting hours to keep a whole bunch of the “wrong” people from voting… say the poor and minorities… the very people who would benefit the most from “ObamaCare”?

Are you starting to see how this all fits together?

My prediction? If I’m right, the GOP will have agreed to a one-month extension of the Budget just to move the “Shutdown” vote until AFTER the Debt Ceiling vote, which they will then refuse to pass come mid-October when the Federal Government runs out of money. Then at the stroke of midnight on that day in mid-October when the government runs out of money, President Obama will invoke the 14th Amendment and extend the Debt Ceiling on his own, prompting a feux “Constitutional Crisis” set up by “outraged” Republicans. Impeachment proceedings will begin in the GOP-controlled House in early 2014 and extend thru the year till Election Day. Efforts to disenfranchise typically Democratic voters will go into over-drive in “Red” states next year as efforts to recapture the Senate become the GOP’s top priority.

Bookmark this post.
 



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

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


 

Share
Filed in Economy, fake scandals, General, Healthcare, Money, Partisanship, Politics, Predictions, rewriting history, Right-Wing Insanity, Unconstitutional October 1st, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • 1 comment | Add/View

Email This Post Email This Post

Ted Cruz, The Debt Ceiling, Guns and Mental Health

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, September 23, 2013

(Note: Theme has been changed temporarily upon finding a bug in the theme we normally use. My apologies for any inconvenience. – Mugsy)
 

“There’s something WRONG with these people.” I’ve said it. I know YOU’VE said it. Our country is being held hostage by people with a tenuous grip on reality. Paranoid delusionals that believe government conspiracies are real. They get their “news” from Conspiracy Nuts like “Glenn Beck”, “Infowars” and “World Nut News Daily”. They believe everything Fox “news” tells them without question because it simply reaffirms what they already know in their heart-of-hearts to be true, and with that “confirmation”, they reject all other evidence to the contrary. It’s a world where… when a ruthless Middle-Eastern dictator gasses hundreds of his own citizens… they see an Obama-orchestrated conspiracy designed to distract Congress from investigating “Benghazi”. It’s a world in which… when Tea Party darling and “Joe McCarthy-wannabee” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is publicly ridiculed for repeating his insane beliefs in public… they decide he MUST be a secret Liberal infiltrator out to discredit the movement from within (despite the fact that what he says is EXACTLY what they too believe… never making the connection that that means the public has declared their own views to be “nuts”.) You know, because that’s what evil Liberals do: they run as Republicans (and win because Republicans are apparently incredibly easy to fool), vote with Republicans on every issue, and then go out and push for something The Tea Party WANTS, knowing it will draw ridicule, discrediting the movement. This is not the thinking of a sane group of people.

The Federal Government runs out of money one week from today on September 30th. If Congress does not agree to raise the Debt ceiling… something they did FIVE TIMES under President Bush (four of them under GOP control of BOTH houses of Congress)… and shuts down the U.S. government, it will do something it has NEVER done in its 237 year history: default on its debts… the result of which would be catastrophic for the U.S. economy.

Sen. Cruz is leading the charge in the threat to shutdown the government if “ObamaCare” is not repealed on the grounds that “ObamaCare will be devastating to American businesses… unlike defaulting on our National Debt. Shorter Ted Cruz: “I’ll destroy the economy if we don’t stop ObamaCare from destroying the economy!” Makes perfect sense (in Wingnutistan.)

Sorry to tell you folks, but Cruz isn’t pretending. The Tea Party really is that nuts. Check the Comments beneath any news story of Cruz’s latest insane remark (from claiming there were more declared Communists in Harvard Law School than Republicans, his recent praise for the late racist Senator Jessie Helms… who incidentally would have been no friend to a guy named “Cruz”… or his latest promise to hold the Debt Ceiling hostage if we don’t defund “ObamaCare”) and you’ll find no shortage of Wingnuts supporting him.

So, how do you run a Federal Government when 1/4 of Congress is certifiably insane? I’ve written about “Right-Wing Insanity” so often I had to give it its own Tag. In 2011… the last time we had this fight… Republicans were threatening to default on The Debt if we didn’t cut the Deficit, complaining that the government “spends too much” (the deficit will have been cut in half by the end of this year under Obama). Had we of defaulted on our debt FOR EVEN ONE DAY, we would of had to raise interest rates to convince people to lend us money knowing they might not get paid back. Do you (read: “they”) have any idea what “raising interest rates” would have done to our Debt and our economy? Just the dance up to the precipice prompted the Standard & Poors credit rating agency to downgrade our nations credit rating from “AAA” to “AA+”. And just how much money does stopping the paychecks of nearly 2 million Federal employees suck out of the economy?

And here we are again, with a whole new crop of Tea Bagger Republicans that weren’t in Congress the last time the Teanuts tried this two years ago. If it were just “the full faith & credit of the United States” that these ideologues were endangering, that would be bad enough. But it’s not:

Liberal Democrats see a guy walk into a schoolhouse and murder 20 First Graders and 6 teachers with a semi-automatic assault rifle, and feel the need to pass laws to prevent it from ever happening again.

Tea Party Republicans see a guy walk into a schoolhouse and murder 20 First Graders and 6 teachers with a semi-automatic assault rifle, and see a (“false flag”) government conspiracy orchestrated by President Obama to give him an excuse to confiscate their guns, and once disarmed, round them up and put them in Concentration Camps run by FEMA.

This is not the thinking of sane people. This is the thinking of paranoid delusionals.

On occasion, I’ve also mentioned the insane rantings of Right Wing nuts commenting on my YouTube video archive. This past week, one gadfly, an oldie but a goodie I’ve affectionately dubbed “Gasbag”… a corruption of his username… made a surprise reappearance and started ranting about “Socialized Medicine” following a report by a retired British doctor that once ran the NHS (the UK hospital system) reporting a 45% higher mortality rate among British NHS patients than in US hospitals as proof positive that the American System is superior to “Socialized Medicine”. When I started pointing out serious flaws in the report (like the fact that the NHS treats EVERYONE including the Poor, drug users, etc, where our poor may never go to the hospital due to their inability to pay, or end up in the ER to receive beyond-ordinary care), naturally he became outraged that I couldn’t see what was patently obvious to him, cursing, changing what I actually said (never could understand people who claim that you said something other than what’s clearly typed just a few paragraphs above) and attacking me for refusing to “accept facts”. Naturally, his comments quickly drifted off into rants about “lazy people on Welfare” and this absurd claim from (where else?) Fox “news” that a whopping EIGHTY PERCENT of our Federal Budget is spent on Welfare (for the record, it’s actually about 10%)… which would be 50% more than the annual cost of the Iraq War. Pointing our just how ridiculous a figure that number was, was pointless. Fox said it, and “the numbers come from the GAO”, ergo it’s indisputably true. Well, no. In fact (not surprisingly), Fox included “Entitlements” like “Social Security”, “Medicare” and “Unemployment Benefits” as “Welfare”.

I eventually received the inevitable post ending with a dismissive “Goodbye!”… which as you may have guessed… wasn’t actually his last post. He’s still at it, now desperate to convince me that “Social Security” is Welfare because some people draw out more than they put in (demonstrating not only that he doesn’t understand how Social Security funding works, but by that standard, ALL insurance programs could be labeled “welfare”.)

This is not the thinking of sane people.

For some inexplicable reason, another mental deficient, a white supremacist with delusions of grandeur (supposedly running for state office in Louisiana) seized upon a recent post of mine as the appropriate place to start ranting about “gun violence among ‘coons’ in Chicago.” I have no doubt he believes his eventual electoral victory is certain.

This is not the thinking of sane people.

We saw yet another mass shooting last week in which a man with a documented history of mental illness was able to purchase a shotgun the week before and murder 12 people in the museum-section of the U.S. Navy Yard in Washington DC. And just as they did following the Sandy Hook massacre of 20 school children, NBC’s “Meet the Press” invited NRA president Wayne LaPierre to advocate for MORE guns. When it was pointed out to him that two “good guys with guns”… the station guards… were “gunned down and killed” by the armed intruder, LaPierre defended his claim by pointing out that it was “good guys with guns” that (30 minutes later) took down the insane gunman (AFTER he had murdered 12 people in cold blood.) He argued that stricter gun laws preventing those who have been ADJUDICATED mentally-ill from obtaining firearms are necessary (yet would not have prevented this particular mass-murder… nor the Aurora or Sandy Hook mass murders). Problem is, the gun-nuts I’ve spoken to actually believe that perfectly sane people might be labeled “insane” by a government appointed psychiatrist or activist judge for no more reason than the fact they love guns… all as part of a secret plot to disarm them, and would therefore never support a law such as the one LaPierre just proposed.

This is not the thinking of sane people.

Fortunately for us, the recent rash of mass shootings by mentally ill gunmen is likely to prompt new gun laws targeting the mentally ill.

The GOP has been trying desperately for years to kill “ObamaCare”… which includes provisions for Mental Health Care. Coincidence? Crazy people don’t want Mental Health Care any more than bacteria want antibiotics (sorry, I wracked my brain for a better metaphor to no avail. I am not calling Republicans “bacteria”.) Almost as if to make the point crystal-clear, the arguments against “ObamaCare” read like a crazy-ass hit parade: paranoia over “Death Panels” where “government bureaucrats make health care decisions” instead of your insurance agent doctor, and transforming our multi-trillion dollar private health care industry into evil “socialized medicine” overnight, with “long lines” similar to “the post office” or “The DMV” as you wait for hours to see a ”civil servant” doctor.

This is not the thinking of sane people.

- Mugsy
 


Postscript: According to the National Weather Service, Tropical Storm Humberto reached hurricane status on September 10th, just shy of setting the record for the longest it has ever taken to reach the first full-fledged hurricane of the season. I bring this up because FOUR YEARS AGO I told you that Global Warming would mean FEWER hurricanes, not “more”. It’s worth re-reading.

Note: If you haven’t already, be sure to join our Facebook & Twitter feeds for the latest commentary on current events.

 



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

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


 

Share
Filed in Crime, Economy, Guns & Violence, Partisanship, Politics, Right-Wing Insanity September 23rd, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • 8 comments | Add/View

Email This Post Email This Post

The Syria Compromise Was No Accident

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Operation Accidental Diplomacy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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


 

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

Email This Post Email This Post

Today’s GOP Putting King’s Dream Back to Sleep

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, August 26, 2013

Fifty years ago this Wednesday, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his rousing “I Have a Dream” speech (text) to a crowd of 250,000 (give or take 50K) mostly (but not exclusively) black supporters. King spoke of “Negros” not being seen as equals “in the eyes of the law”. He spoke of economic injustice that restricts “basic mobility [...] from a smaller ghetto to a larger one”, and that Negros “cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote”. If you’re a Republican, you’d probably point to the fact that this country elected a black man… not once but twice… to the Presidency (no thanks to them), and we therefore may now pass some of the most discriminatory voting regulations since The Voting Rights Act became law in 1965. (It’s an awful lot like when Republican politicians attend ribbon-cutting ceremonies for Stimulus projects they tried to kill, touting how great they will be for the community.) How many Conservatives argued “If only Trayvon Martin had had a gun?” Fox “news” Sunday yesterday continued their clueless positing of just why “President Obama and Al Sharpton” were not “speaking out” in response to the “Thrill Kill” murder of an Australian tourist by three f-ed up teenagers… one of whom was white, the same way they spoke out following the murder of Trayvon Martin (uh, maybe because no one is out there DEFENDING the teenage murderers, and the fact the victim wasn’t targeted for his race, Jackasses?) But it’s not just that Republicans seem clueless on matters of race today, but that ever since the election of our first black president, they suddenly feel they have Carte Blanc to be openly & unashamedly racist. “It’s okay” to say openly racists things now because “the election of a black president proves we’re not racists.” So suddenly, we can roll back voting rights, question the birthplace of the president to label him an ”other”, even openly disrespect him during his first address before a joint session of Congress (Rep. Joe Wilson’s “You lie!” outburst in 2009) all because America is “no longer a racist country.” Got that?

Last week, the New York Times printed the results of their “racial equality” poll where they asked people across the racial spectrum what they thought of race-relations today. They also included a number of statistical facts as a basis for comparison. Fewer than “one in three” black Americans felt we have made “a lot” of progress towards racial equality since King gave his historic speech in 1963. Forty-five years later (since 1967), the average three-member black family earns just 59 percent of what the average three-member white family earns (ibid)… not because they are paid less for doing the same job (though I’m sure there’s some of that going on as well), but mostly due to the average black worker working at lower paying jobs than most whites. 50 years ago, a black man was 5 times as likely to go to prison than a white man. Today, that ratio is SIX-to-one (ibid). Why? Because we now have a justice system that’s tilted heavily in favor of the rich, and (as noted above), if you’re poor in this country, you’re nearly twice as likely to be black.

The Conservatives on the Supreme Court gutted the 1965 Voting Rights Act, citing the apparent lack of need for it in the age of Obama. And within hours, we already had Southern states clamoring to pass an avalanche of voter suppression laws that would have been illegal literally minutes before.

It seems to me (and probably you as well) that only recently (since the 2008 presidential campaign) that closet-racists that used to keep their true feelings hidden suddenly feel that they can now say & do openly racist things and not fear any backlash because so many of their neighbors are saying it too. But don’t you DARE call them “racists”! They’ll point to the black Tea Party member giving a speech before a sea of white faces. They’ll point to all the black NRA members (the ones that don’t look “Gangsta”) they are “friends” with (yet whose home they’ve never visited nor shared a beer with.)

How white do you have to be to wonder aloud if a “fist bump” might be “a Terrorist fist jab?” because the first people you’ve ever seen do it happened to be black? I’m a 40-something white guy and even *I* had seen (and performed) a ”fist bump” before. That remark was just downright embarrassing.

What I don’t understand is: why do they still act like there’s something WRONG with being called a racist? Accusing a racist of being a “racist” is still an open invitation to a punch in the mouth. Why? They certainly don’t have to worry about offending their friends, and a growing number of them are saying & doing things in public without a scintilla of shame or even self-awareness that we didn’t hear with such regularity even a decade ago. Rush Limbaugh sings “Barack, the magic negro” on his radio show and his fans leaped to his defense, arguing that the song wasn’t racist (if racists could recognize racism, they wouldn’t be racists). Donald Trump, who made a second career of questioning President Obama’s legitimacy because he believed Obama’s “birth certificate” was faked to cover up the “fact” he was born in another country and was therefore ineligible to be president, has been uncharacteristically quiet following the announcement that Ted “Jose McCarthy” Cruz, whom appears to be eying a run at the presidency in 2016, was ADMITTEDLY born in Canada. Cruz’s response? His mother was born in America so therefore he’s an American citizen too (unlike President Obama, whose mother was born in the distant nation of Kansas.) And when Birther opponents of Obama are asked about the inconsistency of supporting Cruz, hilarity ensues their rationalization is that “Canada isn’t foreign”.

“Who us? Racists? Just because we prefer Paula Dean over Martin Luther King (73% to 59%)? What kind of N-word lovin’ question is that to ask?”
 

BTW: If you used to enjoy following my real-time highlights during the “Sunday Morning Roundup” over on Crooks & Liars before they attacked me and stripped me of my editorial privileges because I didn’t “volunteer enough” during my mothers’ illness to be so presumptive as to ask for some common courtesy, I’ve resumed my duties on my Facebook page every Sunday morning. Be sure to drop on by and “friend” me.

 



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

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


 

Share
Filed in General, Partisanship, Politics, Racism, voting August 26th, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • 1 comment | Add/View