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Listening to Gun-Rights Advocates Reveals Why They Oppose Denying Guns from the Mentally Ill
Feb 26th, 2018 by Admin Mugsy

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I was confronted on Facebook by a terrified Right-Wing gun owner whom took issue with my calling Assault Weapons “Weapons of War” because they are not actually issued by the government to soldiers for use on the battlefield, and just couldn’t resist (right off the bat) calling me a “pussy” for not wanting MORE guns in our classrooms as an answer to protecting our children (he also called me a “Nazi” presumably b/c he believes the Nazi’s took the guns away from their own citizens… which they did not (Hitler was adored and had nothing to fear of an armed uprising against him.) But clearly, my Facebook friend is terrified that if we take away his assault weapons, he’ll be defenseless when the jack-booted government comes knocking on his door to… to… I really have no idea. Make him eat tofu?

And that’s pretty much the problem in a “nutshell” (intentional metaphor). The most fearful, paranoid, irrational, DANGEROUS people are the ones setting our nation’s policy on guns.

Donald Trump thinks the solution to stopping gun violence in schools is to arm the teachers. (“Some are ex-military!” he declared. I’ve been a teacher and not a lot of ex-military go into the profession.) An NRA “solution” to be sure. Any “solution” that results in INCREASING gun sales is their goal as lobbyists for the gun industry. We won’t give just ANY teacher a gun of course. Just a select few who are willing to undergo “training” and WANT to bear the responsibility of engaging in a firefight in an enclosed classroom (“Shootout at the OK Classroom”, teacher and gunman firing at each other from behind overturned desks) full of kids with a crazed gunman wielding an assault weapon… possibly even wearing body armor… with multiple 30-round magazines and is NOT concerned where he fires. Quite honestly, any person who thinks they are capable of handling a nightmare scenario like that is exactly the kind of person I believe should not be allowed to own a firearm.

One Republican congressman, Rep. Masse of Kentucky, went on “Meet the Press” yesterday to repeat his belief that instead of raising the age to buy an AR15 from 18 to 21 like handguns (I still can’t fathom who thought that made sense), the age to buy a handgun should instead be LOWERED to 18 (why not 16?). The NRA of course also opposes raising the age at which you can buy an assault weapon because it will cut into gun sales… and that is, after all, what the NRA is all about. Forget the nonsense about “protecting the Second Amendment” or “the right of people to protect themselves”. If a gun restriction made the gun companies more money, they’d be all for it (during the debate over the ’94 Assault Weapons Ban, one of the items included was a requirement for “trigger locks”. Most gun owners opposed them, but the NRA didn’t fight them very hard because it was another accessory for gun manufacturers to sell. As a result, “trigger locks” successfully made it into the bill.) Just about every rational gun owner supports a ban on “bump stocks” like the one used in Vegas that basically turned a semi-automatic weapon into a FULLY automatic assault weapon that mowed down over NINE-HUNDRED concert-goers, yet the NRA opposes such a ban. They also oppose and a ban on “silencers” too (a ban Don Jr publicly opposed online last week and stared in a promo video for last October… as if you needed another example of the link between mental illness and a love of guns.) According to the NRA’s own poll:
 

Over three quarters of Americans support a ban on assault-style weapons (79%), a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds (78%), and a ban on firearm attachments like bump stocks (82%).

 
The Second Amendment does not protect your right to own “bump stocks” or a silencer (nor high capacity magazines.) They are not “arms.” But they ARE money-making accessories for the gun industry.

Trump and the GOP will make sure such restrictions never reach the floor of Congress.

I first wrote about my idea for “bullet control” (Taxing Gunpowder) about a year ago, and noted back then how ludicrous some of these gun rights advocates are, believing that if THEY were in that darkened movie theater in Aurora, CO when an insane man wearing body-armor, armed with multiple assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, whom had tossed in canisters of tear-gas prior to opening fire, THEY would of been able to “save the day” and take the guy out with their trusty side-arm with one… maybe two… shots to save the day. That kind of delusion is an excellent example of the kind of mentally ill people whom should not be allowed to own a firearm.

And that is EXACTLY why they are so fearful of denying guns to the mentally ill. Repealing that ban was (after all) one of the very first Executive Orders signed by Trump upon taking office. Just WHO though THAT was a good idea? Just WHO pushed for him to do that?

And now Trump is bemoaning “metal illness” as the cause of mass murder involving assault weapons. Way to go, Dickhead.

The NRA of course waited their requisite one week (as per their pattern) following the latest horrific mass-shooting before they started attacking the victims. NRA President (and Vietnam draft-dodger) Wayne LaPierre began by accusing people whom have had enough of the unnecessarily bloody aftermath of mass shootings that result from the availability of assault weapons, of “politicizing” the issue. His toady, Spokesperson Dana Loesch has been making the rounds accusing anyone who argues in favor of restricting guns as the REAL threat to the safety of our children. On ABC’s ThisWeek yesterday, Loesch had the gall to blame lax gun laws and the police for failing to do their jobs (from “heeding warnings” to the armed security officer at the school who failed to enter the school to confront the shooter.) Steph-O challenged her on her hypocrisy of complaining about lax/unenforced gun laws and political inaction, and the expectation that an armed teacher will respond more effectively than a trained officer. As if we don’t already expect too much from our teachers. Now they expect them to be Rambo too? But you can’t reason with an unreasonable person. (I’ve worked as a Substitute teacher, a teacher’s aid, and a Lab Proctor, and I’ve seen plenty of situations where I’m glad no teacher had easy access to a gun. And teachers can go nuts too BTW.)

“Politicizing” the issue indeed. Demanding lawmakers take action against rapid-fire weaponry isn’t “politicizing” an issue. Claiming the Second Amendment protects your “right” to own an assault-weapon (it doesn’t) so that they can continue to make their blood money… THAT is “politicizing” an issue. I tweeted after the Parkland school shooting:

 

Guns over Kids

 

At least one person took issue with that statement, trying to claim the people defending gun rights only do so out of a desire to protect their children… from guns. I find it a bit like telling someone to get over their fear of handling snakes by telling them to drink more poison… not simply say, “Hey idiot! Stop handling snakes!” Actually, I find little evidence that the people who want assault weapons to remain legal are actually worried about an erratic gunman attacking their family with an assault weapon. More often, they are like my “You’re a Nazi” friend who thinks the government is out to get them.

Now, as I wrote in that Op/Ed last year (ibid: “Taxing Gunpowder”), I am NOT advocating “gun confiscation”. Few people are (and they too are not totally rational on this issue.) But I DO support reinstating the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban. Given enough time (which Dubya did not by refusing to renew it in 2004), the production and availability of these weapons will decline over time. Republicans (natch) lobbied HARD for years to repeal/end the ban arguing that the April 1999 Columbine massacre using assault weapons… a mere 4-1/2 years into the ban… PROVED an assault weapons ban does not work. It takes years… perhaps even decades… for those weapons to eventually fade from society. We didn’t ban fully automatic machine guns until 1986. “Tommy Guns”… those machine guns seen in old 1930’s gangster films with the circular magazine… were legal until 1986. Where are they now? Museums mostly. Eventually, “fully automatic” machine guns faded from our streets (and the government never came busting down any innocent civilian’s door knowing they’d be unable to protect themselves without their trusty machine gun.)

In 1986, Reagan signed the ban on “fully automatic machine guns” and Armor-piercing “Cop killer” bullets (which he championed) that could rip through Kevlar vests (Damn those Democratic gun-grabbers!) One of just 21 members of Congress to vote against that ban was then-Representative Dick Cheney. Cheney was also one of only four members of Congress to vote against “plastic guns” that could slip past metal detectors, and voted to end the 7-day waiting period to buy a handgun in 1988. (If you ever needed more evidence of the connection between dangerous people and an irrational need to protect guns at any cost, I can think of none better.) The 1994 Assault Weapons Ban expanded Reagan’s restriction on “armor piecing” bullets to include not just “metal” bullets, but “polymer” rounds that were invented to evade that very ban. When Bush-43 allowed the ’94 Ban to lapse, that included that ban on polymer “Cop Killer” bullets. But Reagan’s ban on fully automatic machine guns and fragmenting metal rounds is still in effect… because, as you know, IOKWARDI (“It’s OK when a Republican does it.”)

Most people don’t remember anymore that back in 2004 when people were arguing over whether or not the ’94 Ban should be renewed, there were a LOT of Right-Wing gun nuts rights advocates (mostly online) defending “so-called cop killer bullets”, arguing “there is no such thing as a ‘cop killer’ bullet“… that it was just a term made up by Ted Kennedy to give good bullets a bad name (just Google: “cop killer” bullets 2004.) They distracted from the point so successfully that people stopped asking “Why” such ammunition was even necessary, and instead wasted time debating the definition of what constituted “a ‘cop killer’ bullet“, allowing the ’94 Ban on them to lapse.

Someone made the point last week (I forget who) that: “The moment you start arming teachers is the day you legalize teachers killing black students.” Because there WILL come an instance where some teacher claims they felt “threatened”, and justified in shooting & killing young Jamal because he appeared to be “reaching into his waistband” for “something”. We already don’t prosecute COPS for shooting & killing unarmed black kids. You think a teacher is ever going to be convicted when their defense is: “I was worried about the safety of my students!”

Now let me be clear: I am NOT claiming everyone whom owns a gun is mentally ill. By now, you have undoubtedly seen on the news footage of a mother & daughter operating a liquor store in Oklahoma when a masked gunman attempts to rob them. Instead, both mother & daughter pull out guns of their own and fire upon the would-be robber, striking him numerous times and thwarting the attack. The tearful duo appearing everywhere on the news this weekend crediting each other with saving each other’s lives. The video is being shopped everywhere as PROOF of the necessity of guns in the wake of the Parkland school shooting. I’d like to point out a few observations of my own:

1) The gunman had a handgun. Not an assault rifle. If the two women had attempted to take on a maniac with an assault rifle who entered firing, the outcome likely would have been very different.

2) I’m willing to bet this was not the robber’s first offense (no confirmation yet.) How does a repeat offender get his hands on a handgun? Answer: He buys one. Legally. That needs to change.

3) Screen-grab of the robbery:
 

Daughter fires at robber... AND her mother.
Daughter fires at robber… AND her mother.

Mom decided to take on the robber herself and a struggle ensued as she attempted to wrench the gun away from the robber. The daughter then points her gun at the two of them and fires, striking the robber in the back, narrowly missing her own mother. In fact, the bullet COULD have passed though the robber and struck her mother. And a spit second after being hit, the robber twists, tossing the mother directly between him and the armed daughter. Had she of fired twice in a row, Mom might be dead right now by her daughter’s hand, not the robber’s.

Now, of course, a gun-rights advocate would look at this and say, “Yeah, but none of that DID happen and both women are alive today because they knew how to handle themselves.” No. I’m sorry, nothing about that footage cries out: “Good Judgement”. Firing in the direction of the gunman with the person or persons you are trying to protect directly in the line of fire? This is EXACTLY the kind of reckless bad decision making you’d almost certainly see if we started arming teachers who THINK they know how to protect themselves. Things could just as easily turned out very bad for our heroes.

These same gun nuts will also “do the math” and argue “the mistaken death of ONE child is acceptable if it saves 20 others.” Are you willing to take that gamble with the life of YOUR child? And once again, anyone who thinks the accidental/preventable death of one (or maybe more) students is “acceptable” if it saves the lives of even more children is just the kind of person I don’t want to have access to a gun in school.

Listening to the gun nuts on Facebook & Twitter, one gets a sense they are terrified children whom without their guns would likely be huddled in a dark corner of their home, terrified of the outside world. That’s why they want Trump to build that idiotic Wall… even if WE end up paying for it despite telling them over & over again he could provide them with security from Mexicans at no charge. And they want Trump to protect them from “Muslims”… even that bloodied 3 year old boy photographed in the back of an ambulance that touched so many hearts last year. And now they want to arm the teachers because the surest way to protect children trapped in a classroom with a crazed gunman with an assault rife is, of course, crossfire. And any attempt to take away their blankie guns will be seen as the first step towards a government that comes knocking on their door to… to… again, I have no idea. The people most supportive of gun rights are clearly the most fearful, the most irrational, and know that if they were evaluated by a psychiatrist, their overwhelming fear of the outside world would be the very basis for which they would be labeled “mentally unstable” and prohibited from buying a gun.

And THAT, dear reader, is the REAL reason they oppose any gun ban.
 


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“Now Is Not the Time to Talk About Guns.” Yes. Yes it is.
Feb 19th, 2018 by Admin Mugsy

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“Now is not the time to talk about guns.” We’ve heard that exact line so many times it’s practically a Republican catch-phrase. And we all know its intent: to suppress the issue until public interest/urgency wanes and people are distracted by other more “immediate” issues, ensuring nothing ever gets done so that the people who profit off the deaths of children can continue to make money. Remember all the talk about “Bump Stocks” following the Vegas shooting? Those spring-loaded rifle butts that use a gun’s recoil to fire like a fully automatic machine gun? Everyone… gun opponents and gun supporters alike, seemed to agree that something like “bump stocks” should be illegal. It seemed like a compromise everyone could support. Gun opponents get rid of a device that clearly serves no purpose other than to circumvent the ban on fully-automatic machine guns, and gun supporters get to pretend like they are actually doing something about gun control without actually removing a single weapon from the streets. Remember that?

That law never passed. It never even came up for a vote in the House (despite passing in the Senate.) House Republicans killed it in Committee (Senate Republicans often vote to support things they otherwise wouldn’t because they know House Republicans will bail them out.) Several state legislatures then tried to pass it on their own. Washington and Colorado succeeded. Virginia where the deadliest school shooting in history took place (“Virginia Tech”) a decade earlier, the bill was killed in a “Public Safety” subcommittee by a Party-Line vote (4-to-2… that’s right, just FOUR Republicans is all it took to keep bump stocks legal for the entire state of Virginia.) In Nevada where the massacre took place, state law actually forbids the banning of gun accessories like bump stocks. Insane.

Here are some of the most notable gun events in recent memory (and after each, nothing was done):

  1. “Virginia Tech” – 2007 (32 killed, 23 wounded)
  2. Northern Illinois University Shooting, 2008 (5 killed, 21 wounded)
  3. Fort Hood #1, Tx – 2009 (13K, 30W)
  4. Hartford Beer Distributor, Manchester, CT – 2010 (8K, 2W)
  5. Tuscon, AZ “Safeway Rally” shooting killing 6 and wounding 13 including Rep Gabby Giffords, 2011 (6K, 13W)
  6. Aurora Movie Theater shooting, CO – July 2012 (12K, 58W)
  7. Sandy Hook Elementary, Newtown CT – December 2012 (27K, 2W)
  8. D.C. Navy Yard shooting – December 2013 (12K, 8W)
  9. Fort Hood #2 (yes, a second shooting at the same place), TX – April 2014 (3K, 12W)
  10. Isla Vista mass murder, Santa Barbara, CA – May 2014 (6K, 13W)
  11. Charleston church shooting, VA – June 2015 (9K, 1W)… only the THIRD deadliest of seven mass shootings that year.
  12. Umpqua Community College, Roseburg, OR – October 2015 (9K, 9W)
  13. Planned Parenthood, Colorado Springs, CO – November 2015(3K, 9W)
  14. Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, CA – December 2015 (14K, 21W)
  15. Pulse Nightclub, Orlando, FL – June, 2016 (49K, 53W)
  16. The attempted murder of Congressman Steve Scalise on a DC baseball field last June 2017 (0K, 2W)
  17. The Vegas massacre last October 2017 (58 dead, 851 injured)
  18. Sutherland Springs church shooting, TX – November 2017 (27K, 20W)

…And now the horrific murder of 14 students and 3 teachers at a Florida high school last Ash Wednesday (which was also Valentine’s Day.) Lord only knows how many shootings I missed. (“Mother Jones” documented NINETY-SEVEN mass shootings in the past 35 years.)

According to the Gun Violence Archive, as of today, there have been 7,050 incidents of gun violence (where one civilian kills or injures another civilian using a gun)… not “in the past decade”, not “since Trump was elected”, not even “last year”, but in just 2018 ALONE. And we are only halfway through February. That’s nearly 147 SHOOTINGS PER DAY! That’s nuts.

Lately, I’ve begun to feel like everything there is to be said about certain subjects… be it guns, Trump/Russia or Republican hypocrisy in general… I’ve already talked about till I’m blue-in-the-face. This was one of those weeks.

But even more fascinating is that somehow, Republicans actually found a way for all three to overlap this time! According to Trump, the reason the FBI… a massive agency with thousands of agents investigating tens of thousands of crimes… “missed the warning signs” regarding the Florida shooting is because “they were too busy investigating him for collusion with Russia.” The man’s narcissism knows no bounds (Please note, despite all the tweeting acknowledging the FBI’s findings, not one word about responding to the ongoing Russian attack on our democracy. Not even a harsh word for Putin.) That photo of 12 Trump tweets in the upper left? All of them posted since the shooting on February 14th, and not a single mention of guns. Five of those tweets were posted just this weekend.

Guns, Russia… and then there’s the hypocrisy.

Republicans have been flooding the airwaves to attack Democrats for “politicizing the issue” by calling for action on guns while emotions are still running high. I don’t know about you, but the ONLY people I see “politicizing” this issue are REPUBLICANS accusing others of “politicizing” the issue in order to once again shut down any debate on the subject of gun control (ie: “Bullet Control.“) As I’ve repeatedly said, “When a Republican accuses you of something, it’s because THEY themselves are either doing it or would do it if they were in the same position, and naturally assume everyone else is/would too.”

No Corporate Lobby is making huge campaign contributions to Democrats in exchange for tighter gun laws. There’s no profit in that. But the NRA spends tens of millions each year on campaign contributions to politicians willing to kill off (pardon the phrase) sensible gun restrictions that might cost the gun industry millions. (I’m reminded of Republicans who try to claim “greedy scientists and colleges” who receive all that “Climate Change research funding” are actually the ones behind the “Global Warming Myth”… yes, there are Republicans who seriously believe that. Not the Trillion-dollar oil industry spending billions to sough seeds of doubt and quash any such legislation.)

Here in Houston, the 2018 primaries are rapidly approaching (March), and we already have one Republican woman candidate (whose name I won’t mention) who is running ubiquitous ads comparing herself to Trump, bragging of his “accomplishments” and her promise to help him fulfil his campaign promises (including that wall.) The same ad ran for weeks.

THE DAY AFTER the Florida school shooting, she released a new ad, posing with a (simple lever-action .22) rifle, touting how she “learned to shoot as a child” taught by her father, and how she would “fight to protect the Second Amendment.”

Seriously. The very next day.

If your FIRST reaction to the mass murder of 14 children and 3 teachers is to worry more about protecting GUNS than KIDS… YOU ARE THE PROBLEM! (Shall we talk some more about “Democrats politicizing” the gun issue?)

I can’t imagine what kind of hole a person must have in their soul if their first reaction to such a tragedy is to rush to pander to gun nuts to reassure them that you’ll protect their right to buy yet more guns… because you KNOW that audience already has them. That’s beyond disgusting. I pray I’m not the only person who noticed and was wildly offended by that.

After the Pulse Nightclub massacre in 2016, I pointed out that after every mass shooting, there’s always a parade of Conservative Gun Rights defenders claiming that if THEY had been “there” when the latest shooting was taking place, THEY could have taken down the shooter with their trusty handgun. I’ve NEVER heard one say they would have needed an assault weapon to achieve this amazing feat. Never has one ever said it’s impossible to stop such a crime unless THEY TOO had an assault weapon on them. I NEVER heard anyone claim it couldn’t be done without an extended clip holding 30 or more rounds, either.

Not once.

All they needed was a simple handgun. So why again do they need an assault rifle with 30 round clip “for protection”?

I actually heard Republican Senator Jim Lankford claim on “Meet the Press” yesterday that “some people actually DO hunt with an AR-15 rifle.” No, I didn’t make that up. In case you are wondering, Yes, you DID just hear a Republican senator argue that the weapon of choice of most mass murderers needs to remain legal because there are people who are such miserable shots they need an assault weapon to take down a moose. If you need a gun capable of spitting out 45 bullets/minute in order to hunt, you probably have no business firing such a powerful weapon… unless of course you just love liquefied deer meat.

Every time there is a mass shooting, we are told “Now is not the time to discuss gun reform.” Why? Because “emotions are running high” and gun-opponents might not be open to a “rational” discussion on restricting guns. But then, people soon forget about it and another important issue steals the spotlight. And should you bring the issue back up a month or two later (assuming there hasn’t been another mass slaughter since then), the issue is no longer seen as “urgent” and quickly falls by the wayside… until the next mass shooting and we are told once again, “Now is not the time”. In an age where people are developing the attention span of goldfish, “waiting” is to “issues” what “assault weapons” are to “human lives”: death.
 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I see that as a Win/Win.
 


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!

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Never mind.
 

Famous predators

 


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Yet another mass shooting. 27 dead in a Texas Church. Conservatives send prayers, oblivious to irony
Nov 6th, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

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Donald Trump tweeted (natch) from Japan on his Asia trip, “May God be w/the people of Sutherland Springs, Texas.” As I type this, news has broken of yet another mass shooting, this time in a small church in the tiny mid-Texas town of Sutherland Springs (described by the mayor as a “one flashing light town” with a population of less than 500 people. I was raised in such a town. Everybody knows everybody else and there are almost as many churches as people. So I know of what I speak when I talk about Conservatives and their guns, and trying to make sense of people with a Glock in one hand and a Bible in the other. Reports as of this writing are that as many as 27 people have been killed and another 24 injured. Texas Governor Greg Abbott tweeted out, “Our prayers are with all who were harmed by this evil act.” Texas Senator Ted Cruz likewise tweeted, “Keeping all harmed in Sutherland Springs in our prayers.” I doubt a single one of them probably pondered the irony for a micro-second of “praying” for the well-being of people who were just shot in a church. Damnit! “Thoughts & Prayers” aren’t enough! We need to get serious about gun control and it needs to happen yesterday! The same people who believe “Just say ‘No'” is an adequate policy response to drug abuse and teen pregnancy, and that hurricanes are God’s punishment for immorality (yet they never seem to hit Las Vegas), also seem to believe “thoughts & prayers” are an adequate response to every mass shooting… and we’ve been having quite a few of them lately.
 

Thoughts & Prayers: The Game
(Click to enter The GOP Arcade)

 

Of course, there are a “significant” number of people (disconnected from reality) who believe every mass shooting is a government conspiracy to “take away their guns.” These frightening people will scream at you, get in your face, accuse you of endangering their lives by wanting to deny mentally disturbed people (like themselves) from owning enough guns to start their own Pan American army, and then threaten your life in return (the brother of the Vegas shooter said his brother was such a Second Amendment zealot, he believed anyone who DIDN’T own a gun was a danger to the country, unprepared to defend it. One might wonder if his motive for the shooting… yet to be determined… was to convince more people of the need to arm themselves?) And because these crazy people with guns are so frightening & so dangerous, they are also the people Republican lawmakers listen to most when setting gun policy for the nation. Angry, paranoid gun nuts buy a LOT of guns, making the gun lobby extraordinarily powerful. Because in a government where “money” has been raised to the status of “speech”, and a controlling Party on the brink of imbuing Corporations with Constitutional Rights as “people”, ACTUAL people now have fewer rights than does “money” (you can’t lock up a dollar bill, and who was the last CEO to go to jail?)

Now I’m not saying we must ban all guns. I don’t think any rational person can/would make that argument. To me, people who think we could ban all guns, confiscate every weapon and repeal the Second Amendment are no more rational than the paranoid “False Flag” gun nuts. Short of going back in time and asking the Founding Fathers for a little more clarity when writing the Second Amendment, we’re stuck with it. The genie is out of the bottle. Pandora’s Box has been opened. Pick your metaphor. The guns are out there and there’s no going back.

The question then becomes, “How do we move forward?” Do we continue to do nothing… or worse, WEAKEN existing gun laws… ensuring the problem only gets worse, or do we finally get serious about Common Sense limitations on the types of weapons we continue to sell, their destructive power, and availability? Or do we finally say “Enough is enough” and stop allowing the most paranoid among us set the policy for the rest of the nation?

Right after the Vegas shooting (less than a month ago), I (again) proposed the idea of taxing gun powder as a Constitutional means of getting around the Second Amendment. You may have the Constitutional right to own more guns than a Panamanian drug lord, but nowhere does it say you have a right to a cheap, uninterrupted supply of ammunition (high capacity clips). Yet, there is more we can do than just tax bullets.

Like restore the “Assault Weapons” ban… particularly the ban on high capacity clips. Few details of the Texas church shooting have emerged as I write this, but there is no doubt in my mind the shooter was armed with an Assault Weapon with high-capacity clip (update: reports are the shooter was finally stopped “when he stepped outside to reload”… after killing 27 and injuring 10-20 more. That’s roughly 50 uninterrupted shots.) As I noted earlier, I grew up in a small Texas town much like Sutherland Springs, and I guarantee you at least a half dozen of those parishioners were packing. “Good guys with guns.” Problem is, no number of “good guys with guns” are a match for a nut with a semi-automatic and the element of surprise on their side.

“Mass shootings” are so prevalent in this country, we feel the need to put them into categories simply to tell them apart. This latest “mass shooting” may be “the fourth deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history” (with 27, just behind Sandy Hook with 28), but it has already been sub-classified as “the deadly mass shooting… in a church. If all we do after each mass shooting is simply “pray” it doesn’t happen again, it’s going to happen again. If a mass shooting in a CHURCH of all places doesn’t highlight the worthlessness of relying on “prayer” as a strategy of dealing with continued (and escalating) gun violence, then I’m not sure what will.
 

Post-script: Before news of the Sutherland Springs shooting broke, I was preparing to write about DNC Chairwoman Donna Brazile’s “revelation” that they “colluded” with the Clinton campaign (and defiantly telling her critics to “go to hell”), and the fact that readers of this Op/Ed (and most Sanders supporters) were already well aware of this fact when I wrote well over a year ago my June 6th & June 20th, 2016 Op/Eds regarding DNC misbehavior.
 


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Can’t ban guns? Try taxing gunpowder.
Oct 9th, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

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In 1999, comedian Chris Rock had a brilliant comedy routine called the “The $5,000 bullet”:
 


 
I don’t know how serious he was, and I’m not sure Rock appreciated how brilliant his idea was at the time, but every time there’s a mass shooting in this country (the murder of four or more people by a single gunman takes place in the United States more than once a day), people are directed to Rock’s routine by others equally impressed, looking to spread this brilliant idea, and viewers wonder why no one has thought of it before.

“We don’t need gun-control. We need bullet control. If a bullet costs $5,000, there’ll be no more innocent bystanders”, Rock declares. Random indiscriminate rapid fire weapons would be incredibly costly to use and ammunition difficult to come by.

Rock’s brilliant solution has one minor flaw: A large number of gun enthusiasts make their own ammunition (my father being one of them.) If you fire lots of bullets target shooting, buying commercial ammunition can already get quite expensive, so many will pack their own bullets for pennies on the dollar. Simply making pre-made bullets more expensive will only drive more people to make their own ammunition, even foster an underground market for homemade bullets. That’s the last thing we want or need. We should instead focus on the propellant. And I’m not sure “$5,000/bullet” is realistic either. But that’s a minor detail people can work out later.

When I first suggested “taxing gunpowder” about then years ago (and still, few have heard of the idea), I was informed that most bullets don’t use “gunpowder” any more. They use a more powerful powdered propellant called “Cordite”, so since then, I’ve always made sure to include “Cordite” in any proposed ban. You can’t just focus on one and not the other because all you’ll do is make the untaxed propellant more popular. Ideally, ANY explosive or propellant that can be used to make bullets should be heavily taxed, including liquids (like nitroglycerine) and clays (like C4.) If it goes “Boom” when ignited, it shouldn’t be cheap or easily available. Seems pretty obvious if you ask me.

Last week’s mass shooting in Vegas was just the latest to leave us all scratching our heads asking “How do we fix this?” As a result, I sent the following request to Senator Bernie Sanders:
 

Subject: Can’t ban guns? Try taxing gunpowder.
 

All attempts to “ban” any type of weapon always runs into “2nd Amendment” issues of violating the “Right to bear arms”. But no such right extends to “unlimited ammunition.”

PLEASE propose a steep tax on gunpowder/cordite to make bullets too expensive to be fired indiscriminately and/or in high quantity as an alternative to a prolonged & ultimately futile debate over a “gun ban”.

Placing such a tax on the propellant and not just the bullets themselves serves two purposes: One, many gun enthusiasts pack/make their own ammunition, and two, it would also impact “bomb creation”. And if someone purchases a large quantity of gunpowder/cordite, it will raise flags at the FBI whereas ammunition purchases typically do not.

People can own as many weapons as they like. But there is nothing in the Constitution guaranteeing a right to a cheap/endless supply of ammunition. I think this is an alternative way around the always contentious fight to ban a particular weapon (which is always followed by the minutia of deciding what weapons specifically qualify for the ban and which don’t.)

Thank you.

 

In 1994, Democrats passed the “Assault Weapons Ban” that made many (but not all) rapid-fire rifles (but not handguns) illegal. Included in the ban was a provision to make “high capacity magazines” that held more than 12-rounds illegal. No one needs a clip that holds more than 12 rounds and allows them to fire indiscriminately just to hunt deer. And if there are so many bad guys on your doorstep that you need more than 12 rounds of uninterrupted firepower to protect yourself, you aren’t going to win that fight without help anyway. Not only was it a brilliant move (focusing on the ammunition instead of the guns), but it also turned out to be quite effective. A 2016 investigation by the Washington Post found that the number of “Assault Weapons” recovered by police at crime scenes fell from a high of 16 percent in 1997/98, to a low of just 9 percent (and falling) when the Bush-43 Administration repealed the ban in 2004, calling it “a failure” (we heard this lie repeated again yesterday on “Meet the Press” as representatives of the Trump Administration claimed the ’94 ban “failed”… using the same logic that if a medicine doesn’t cure 100% of the patients who take it, the drug is clearly “a failure” and therefore needs to be prohibited.
 

Effectiveness of 1994 AW Ban

 

The only way Democrats were able to pass the ban in 1994 over GOP opposition was to insert a ten year sunset-clause into the bill, so when the bill came up for renewal during a Republican presidency in an Election year, its fate was sealed. It didn’t matter if it was a success or not, it’s mere existence was more offensive to Republicans than the lives lost without it. So the ban was dropped and the criminal use of assault weapons took off like a bullet.

If you do a Google search on the effectiveness of banning “high capacity” magazines, the results look like a search on whether or not Global Warming is real. Nine results supporting the claim for every one opposed. And by no coincidence, Republicans make up the minority on both. Yet, despite majority support, the minority opinion rules the day… much the way an exhausted parent gives in to their screaming toddler throwing a tantrum in the middle of the supermarket: sometimes it’s just easier to let them have their way if you are to ever get anything else done.

Almost immediately following the Vegas massacre, Republicans started looking for ways to deflect public outrage long enough to ride out the storm so that once again we do nothing. One incredibly offensive popular Conservative meme repeated after every mass shooting (including this one) is, “It’s just too soon to start talking about gun legislation.” Really? As Rep. Jim Hines (D-CT) pointed out last week, “No one said after 9/11: ‘It’s too soon to ask what happened and talk about how to prevent it from happening again.” (When IS the right time to talk about gun restrictions in this country? When Trump is busy threatening to nuke North Korea?) As others have pointed out, the day we allowed 20 First Graders and 6 teachers to be brutally gunned down in cold blood by a nut with an assault rifle and did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to prevent it from happening again is the day we decided the rights of gun owners was more important than the lives of children.

In January of 2013, one month after the Newtown massacre, Democrats tried to bring back the ’94 Assault Weapons Ban. It failed despite having majority support, blocked by 41 Republicans and five Conservo-Dems:
 

46 voted to do nothing after Sandy Hook

 

One of the things included in the failed 2013 Ban were those “Bump/Slide-fire stocks” like the ones used by the Vegas shooter last week.

Earlier this year, another mentally deranged lone gunman opened fire on politicians (of both parties) playing softball in a friendly annual inter-Party game, nearly killing Tea Party Republican Congressman Steve Scalise. I wondered following the Vegas shooting if Scalise would emerge “a hero” and kick the NRA to the curb by finally conceding that something needs to be done about the easy availability of guns, or would “blind partisan ideology” reign and continue to defend the practice? Guess which path he chose? Scalise: “Why doesn’t the Media report the Good News on guns?” If you ever needed proof the love of guns is a mental disorder, now you have it.

On one Sunday show yesterday, one Right-Winger hailed Scalise’s inability to see the consequences of making guns as ubiquitous as Tic Tacs as “a triumph of not allowing his emotions cloud his political judgement.” Seriously. I’m certain if this man’s son jumped off the roof with a towel tied around his neck thinking it would give him the ability to fly, this pundit would praise his son’s persistence for trying again the moment the cast was removed from his fractured skull. Failing to recognize the consequences of your actions isn’t an act of courage. It’s an act of stupidity. It’s ideology over common-sense and DEFINITELY not worthy of praise.

Saturday Night Live’s “Weekend Update” was inspired last weekend, pointing out that anyone owning 47 of anything is the sign of an unwell person. “If you had 47 cats, they’d call you ‘Crazy Cat Lady’, take the cats away from you and have you treated by a court-appointed psychiatrist.” Also pointed out, “38 of his 47 weapons were purchased in just the past year, yet it raised no red flags?” That’s because the NRA (and gun nuts) are absolutely paranoid of a “national gun registry”, because they don’t want the gub’mint knowing how many guns they got. Ask them “Why?” sometime and prepare to dive down the rabbit-hole of government conspiracy theories of how the government plans on rounding everyone up, taking away their guns, and locking them up in “FEMA Camps” where they’ll be forced to eat Tofu and drink soymilk with every meal. Or maybe the government simply wants to “take their land” (because the use of “eminent-domain” laws have been so unsuccessful?) Never look for logic among illogical people. Remember, these are the same people who thought “Jade Helm” was an Obama plot to “invade Texas”… a U.S. state… via underground passages beneath vacant Wal*Marts (with a governor who sent National Guard troops to the Texas/Oklahoma border to keep an eye on them.)

And these are the people we allow to dictate our gun policy.

If you buy 38 guns in one year… or even one DAY… there are no “red flags” to be raised because the Gun Rights advocates won’t let gun retailers record who buys what & when. So while buying 38 guns in one big purchase might lead a concerned retailer to contact the authorities, buying 38 guns over the course of a few hours from multiple retailers wouldn’t raise any red flags. NO ONE… not even the Federal agency running the background checks… is allowed to keep a record of who bought what, when & where. There would be no way to know all those weapons were being purchased by the same person because of the NRA paranoia over a “gun registry”.

Master of Distraction Trump used the old racist GOP chestnut of pointing to “Chicago, with it’s tight restrictions on gun ownership yet having the highest gun murder rate in the country” as “proof” that “gun control laws don’t work.” NRA Executive Director Chris Cox repeated the half-truth as well during Fox “news” Sunday yesterday.

If Chicago has such tight restrictions on gun sales, then where are they getting all those guns? Ever look at a map? The distance from Chicago’s “East Side” to deep Red state Indiana can be measured in Raisinettes. Neighboring Indiana… the state where Mike Pense just left as governor to be Trump’s VP… has some of the most lax gun laws in the nation. You could literally walk out your back door on Chicago’s South-Side and make a strawman purchase of a dozen guns from someone living in Indiana, and there’s be no way for the authorities to know. Or one could drive ten minutes down the road and across the border to any of several gun retailers (or several Wal*Marts) to buy your guns legally. Is it any wonder Chicago continues to have such a problem with gun violence despite tight restrictions on gun purchases when circumventing the law is as easy as crossing the street?

Off course, ALL of the Sunday shows yesterday bemoaned the rise in gun violence, talking about our apparent inability to “come together as a nation” regardless the tragedy to agree upon “common-sense gun legislation.” “What,” they ask, “can we do? As long as the gun nuts will fight to the death to protect the Second Amendment, then all hope is lost!”

Well, there ARE things we can do, and we should start by focusing less on the guns and more on the ammunition.

The 1994 ban on high capacity clips was a step in the right direction, thinking outside of the box. The Constitution (arguably) protects your right to own a firearm. It does NOT guarantee you the right not to be inconvenienced by having to stop & reload after firing more than a few rounds. The Republicans only defense against the ban on high-capacity clips was to lie and claim the ban “didn’t work” after just a few years. They couldn’t argue the ban was “unconstitutional” or that people had an inalienable right to not to be inconvenienced (if that was a right, all those Conservative voter suppression laws would be toast), so all they were left with was to lie.

We’ve tried banning certain “types” of guns and all it did was make gun makers more creative in finding ways to circumvent the law. We banned “fully automatic weapons”, so someone invented “the Bump Stock” that allows a semi-automatic rifle to fire like a fully automatic one. They say “Guns don’t kill people!” Well a gun with no ammunition doesn’t kill anyone (unless they use it like a club to beat you to death.)

Background checks… while crucial… have a high failure rate. The Vegas shooter passed his background checks with flying colors. No criminal history, and despite (reportedly) being a pro-Second Amendment zealot who believed anyone who did NOT own a gun was a danger to society (mull that irony over for a moment), there were no warning signs to give anyone reason not to sell him his arsenal in the first place. And there’s no “waiting period” or “background check” to buy tons of ammunition or aftermarket modifications like a “bump stock”.

The kid who murdered nine parishioners in Charleston, SC two years ago would have failed a background check, but was still allowed to legally buy his guns because the background check process “took too long” (over 36 hours) and by law, you can’t force anyone to wait more than 36 hours to buy a gun.

The Newtown murderer got his gun from his Mom… another gun nut. She trained her socially awkward son how to shoot because she feared Obama was coming to take her guns and wanted to give him confidence… which he apparently found as he used her own Bushmaster to murder her in her sleep before trotting off to his old Elementary school where he had been teased as a child nearly a decade before.

The “2nd Amendment is there to protect you from your government” myth is probably THE most pervasive/destructive misconception about guns that the NRA & Gun Rights Advocates have been working overtime to convince the already paranoid anti-government low-education demographic for decades is why they need an arsenal in their home. They truly believe that the only thing keeping the government from coming into their home (for no clear reason) is the fact they own 47 guns. The military may have tanks and Hellfire-armed drones, but Bubba with his AR15 and a cooler full of Coors is going to turn them away if they come knockin’.

Pro-gun rights groups love to claim “the Nazi’s banned the Jews from owning guns” to suggest that the only thing standing between Fascism & Freedom are gun-loving ‘mercuns like themselves (who then vote for rich corporate fascists who show nothing but contempt for The First Amendment & Voting Rights and call actual Nazi’s “very good people”.) While it is true Hitler denied the Jews the right to own guns in 1938, the idea that it was responsible for what happened to them is a stretch. Much like these same gun-nuts here who think they could fend off the entire United States military if they showed up on their doorstep, Jewish people armed with a few handguns and rifles would have been no match for a military that came close to conquering the world… much of which DID have weapons… fully armed militaries with tanks & planes. In 1943, the “Warsaw Ghetto Uprising” took place where thousands of Polish Jews who were walled off from the rest of Germany attacked the German army from behind their walled off neighborhood. They lost. 13,000 Jews died while only a few Germans were killed. The uprising was the subject of the Academy Award winning 2002 film “The Pianist”

As I’ve cited on this blog several times, the Constitution uses the word “treason” SEVEN TIMES. Not once does it say you have the right to shoot your congressman if you disagree with them. Instead, they gave us the FIRST Amendment, which grants us the right to free speech to redress our grievances, and the ballot box to vote out anyone we don’t like. It even says the purpose of the Second Amendment is to “secure a free state“. Protect the country from those who seek to attack it. Yet amazingly, Second Amendment zealots are quick to ridicule the Right to Free Speech (“How dare those people disrespect the flag by kneeling during the anthem!”), find new & creative ways to deny people their right to vote, and threaten to attack the government if they feel threatened by it (“Yeehaw! The South shall rise again!”)… arguably, today’s Second Amendment zealots are the very people the Second Amendment was intended to protect us from! If only supporters of the Second Amendment were as fanatical about protecting The First.

Never look for logic where none exists.
 

RedRidingHood banned for bottle of wine on cover

 

Stricter background checks by themselves are not the answer. “Mental health checks” & “background checks” only catch people who ALREADY have problems and personally purchase their weapons through a licensed dealer. Roughly 45% of all gun sales do not go through a commercial dealer in a gun store. We’ve all heard of the “Gunshow Loophole”, then there’s the “gifting” of weapons, the sale of “used” weapons person-to-person, and most Internet sales. None of which are subject to a background check.

Banning certain “types” of weapons doesn’t work because gun manufacturers and “after-market” equipment makers simply find legal ways to circumvent the law.

But all guns need ammunition. It’s not a protected right that is not immune to regulation or restriction.

When Justice Roberts infuriated Conservatives by declaring the “ObamaCare mandate” to be legal, he justified it by saying the government can legally tax you for ANY reason. “If it wants to, the government can tax you for breathing”, he said in his decision. And such is the case with “ammunition”. The Second Amendment does not guarantee you a right to a cheap, unlimited & uninterrupted supply of ammunition. If the government wants to tax the hell out of bullets to make them too expensive to be fired indiscriminately and making mass murder by rapid fire weapon too costly, then there is no law against it. Conservative Justice Roberts says so.

Focusing on devices/mods like “Bump stocks” is a distraction. It’s a sacrificial lamb the Right will willingly toss to the wolves to protect unfettered gun ownership overall. Not only are “bump stocks” a small and obscure market, they’re actually only ONE OF SEVERAL aftermarket modifications you can attach to any semiautomatic weapon to make it perform like a fully automatic. There is also a device called a “Gat Crank” that basically turns any semi into a Gatling Gun (I wonder how readily the guy in the video would have cranked off between $3,000 and $30,000 worth of ammunition for the 5 seconds of fun he had showing off his new toy?). Another device is called the “Hellfire Trigger”, a simple spring that makes pulling the trigger easier so you can fire faster. And that’s just the two I personally know of (and I know next to nothing about guns.) So restricting/banning just one particular gun mod isn’t enough either. It’s time to think outside the box on this one.

I’ve always found it slightly ironic that the “Party of Life” is full of gun zealots who think Jesus was born a Republican with a gun in one hand and a guide to Capitalism in the other. But then I remember that “Conservatism is a Death Cult” and I remember once again why things are the way they are.
 

GOP is a Death Cult

 


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Republicans Can’t Devise a Health Care Plan because they DON’T WANT a plan
Jul 10th, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

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Two weeks ago, everyone was expecting the GOP to vote to repeal “ObamaCare” before the July 4th break (with no replacement) just so they could return home to “cheering crowds” to whom they could announce, “We did it! We got rid of ObamaCare!”

Everyone… except Me that is.

I don’t know what kind of fantasy world these people live in, but their efforts to repeal the ACA with no replacement was NOT received warmly… unless you count “torches” as a “warm” reception.

Instead, in town halls across the country, angry voters ridiculed “heartless” GOP efforts to take away their existing healthcare and replace it “later”… “someday soon”… with something really peachy keen. Something “better” than “ObamaCare”, cover “more people” and provide “more choices”. Oh, and it’ll be “cheaper” too!

“Just don’t ask us how.”

The reason why Republicans have yet to devise a health care plan that meets all those criteria (besides the fact it has no basis in reality) is because the very thing they are trying to do… create an entire system of government regulations over health care… is an anathema to everything they believe in. A blind man might be able to paint, and hell, even Beethoven was almost totally deaf when he wrote his last symphony, but there’s a reason you don’t hire a Creationist to teach Science Class, or someone who hates children to babysit your kids. Their heart just isn’t in it. It would be like asking an arsonist to think up ways to put out fires (and once they do, would it shock you to find half their “solutions” require gasoline?)

And there’s a reason you don’t ask Republicans to write bills to regulate an entire life & death industry like health care: Because their first instinct is to burn it to the ground, not find ways to put the fire out.

So in the end, you have Republicans divided between those who WANT to ensure every American has health care, and those who don’t want the government involved in ANY way, shape or form. So is it any wonder Republicans can’t agree on a way to “fix” healthcare?

And they never will, because there just is no middle ground between those two extremes. In the end, if Republicans in Congress DO finally vote on a “solution”, it will be to pawn the whole mess off on the states and let each one come up with their own solution… without ANY assistance from the Federal government. Not in the form of Regulations and (doubtfully) not in the form of financial assistance. In short, the only answer Republicans will be able to agree upon is to do nothing and dump the problem off on someone else (the states.)

And states with Republican governors and/or legislatures won’t want to get involved either, so they will abdicate THEIR power… in this case their state insurance regulatory boards… and just let their residents buy insurance from whatever state with the most lax insurance laws allows them to buy the cheapest, most worthless policies imaginable.

If your goal is to improve the health of every American and improve outcomes, then this plan will fail miserably. But if your plan is for every American to be able to afford a worthless policy (or go completely without if they so choose) that gives everyone a false sense of security at a very low rate, then the GOP plan will be a triumphant success!

A week ago on “Meet the Press”, Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) said he wanted Republicans to devise a healthcare plan that moved “upper level” people off Medicare and onto “Private Insurance” because it would allow them to advance in their careers “without fear of losing their insurance” [because they’d make too much money to qualify for Medicare.] In Cassidy’s myopic Conservative view, he simply wants everyone off Medicare and sees it as a hindrance to occupational advancement. Meanwhile, Democrats like me wonder why EVERYONE isn’t guaranteed at least minimum basic coverage through Medicare? You can’t be “kicked off” just for making too much, so Cassidy’s odd concern for people worried about “making too much that may cost them their Medicare”, would no longer be a concern. Medicare is already an in-place and working health insurance program covering millions of Americans. No “new” government system would have to be devised if we just opened it up to everyone.

Think how much every American pays per year for Private Insurance? $5,000? $10,000 per family member? What if you didn’t have to buy private insurance at all (unless you want “Premium” care?) Would you be willing to pay an extra $99/month in taxes for guaranteed basic minimum coverage under Medicare if it meant eliminating those costly private insurance premiums? See any doctor you like (yes, “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.”) How much would you save? $400/month? $800? A $1,000?

And if you want “Premium” care, like “a private room” when you’re in the hospital, or “Specialists” to treat you when you get sick, you can buy a “supplemental” policy, keeping the insurance companies, medical billing agencies, etc all in business without destroying an entire industry and putting hundreds of thousands out of work?

If Senator Cassidy REALLY wants people to have something “guaranteed” that isn’t taken away just because they make too much money, maybe he needs to talk to some Democrats?

Another option: The Public Option. This is the simplest solution, where Medicare is allowed to compete with Private Insurance. Republicans complain of (Red) states where the people “only have ONE choice” of insurance provider. And without any competition, their rates skyrocket. Let Medicare compete with private insurance. Consumers are instantly given a second choice and private insurance must lower rates to compete. Problem solved.

Except for the fact Republicans DON’T WANT more people on a program they’ve been trying to kill since it’s inception. And private insurance would ALSO still have to accept people with “preexisting conditions” to ensure every person with PXC’s weren’t simply dumped off on Medicare. That’s a “regulation”, and Republicans HATE those! Ronald Reagan called Medicare “a foot in the door to Socialism”, and more recently, Ben “Sleepy” Carson and Sen. Rand Paul both equated guaranteed healthcare with “slavery [for physicians]” (yeah, don’t ask me to explain that.) Sarah Palin… who (shocker) had no clue what she was talking about… terrified the stupid by claiming that a public option would lead to “[government] death panels” (Medicare has been around since 1965. No “Death Panels”… unlike the PRIVATE insurance system we have now that denies thousands of claims daily.) A “Public Option” was part of the Democrats original healthcare plan in 2009. Democrats had exactly 60 senators (briefly. Just 24 working days), just enough to pass any legislation they wanted, except one “Democrat”… a disturbingly Conservative Democrat named Joe Liebermann (best remembered for being part of the Liebermann/McCain/Graham trio that pushed for war in Iraq and then continued to insist victory was always just around the corner for the remainder of the Bush presidency) declared that if The ACA included a “Public Option”, he’d vote with the Republicans to kill it. So the Public Option was stripped out (without a fight), rates went up for many poor Americans (because they could no longer get cheap worthless policies that covered nothing) and many Red state citizens were left with only one choice in their healthcare exchange. Republicans have been using every negative consequence of that decision as an excuse to kill off “ObamaCare” as a “failed” system.

But with the changes to health care Republicans are proposing, you will once again be able to get those cheap worthless policies whose greatest value is in the false sense of security they give you. And to keep rates low, insurance companies will once again be allowed to deny you coverage for a preexisting condition… because in Republican Land, survival of the insurance companies is more important than the survival of its citizens.

In 1994, during President Bill Clinton’s second State of the Union address, he announced his desire for Congress to create a National Healthcare System where every citizen was issued a government insurance card… similar to your Social Security card… that would entitle you to free (“taxpayer financed”) care in any hospital in the country. And Hillary Clinton would be in charge of developing this program. Democrats cheered. Republicans were horrified. A massive new taxpayer funded entitlement? But how to scare people into fearing “free” healthcare? The part about the magnetic strip on the back giving doctors access to all of your medical records was touted as an enormous security risk and/or privacy violation. “Just imagine what someone could DO with all that private information!” they cried. Of course, the technology in 1993 wasn’t advanced enough to fit all of your medical records on a tiny magnet strip that holds at most 256 characters worth of information. But critics started talking about “X-Rays and detailed medical records” all being stored on that tiny card. And “What if you lost it!” Gasp! All of your medical records GONE!

The hysteria reached epic proportions, and you just can’t reason with millions of hysterical irrational people who were being encouraged to be hysterical & irrational by Republicans in Congress. By the end of 1994, the hysteria helped bring about “The Gingrich Revolution” where Republicans seized control of the House of Representatives for the first time in over 40 years.) And with that, healthcare reform was dead.

Until a Democratic majority in the House and Democratic Super Majority in the Senate in 2009, unencumbered by Right Wing hysteria, made tackling it a very real possibility once again.

And now Republicans are in charge. But they don’t have a Super Majority in the Senate, so the only way they can change healthcare is if they do it through “Budget Reconciliation”… changing the existing law in such a way that it doesn’t cost any more money. And THAT only requires 50+1 votes. Yet so far, they can’t even do THAT because (as I pointed out), you can’t ask chronic Deregulators to write a host of new Regulations. Their natural instinct is to kill it.

…Or pass the buck off on the states and let them handle it… which is EXACTLY what I predict they will do (but not anytime soon.) To quote DNC Leader Tom Perez on “Meet the Press” yesterday, “You don’t fight a fire with only 5 gallons of gas.” [sic]
 


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GOP Healthcare Plan Would Be Largest Shift in Income From Poor to Rich in History
May 8th, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

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Last Tuesday night in his “Late Show” monologue, Stephen Colbert responded to Trump’s insulting treatment of fellow CBS reporter John Dickerson with an insulting rant of his own that… while censored… still has the Right in near hysterics, calling for Colbert to be fired over his “disgusting” treatment of the disabled-reporter-mocking pussy-grabber-in-chief. How disrespectful! And they call US “snowflakes”? Please.

So if I may go on a little rant of my own…

Last week, the House passed H.R.1628 – The American Health Care Act of 2017. It was the GOP’s third attempt to repeal The Affordable Care Act since Trump took office, and passed with only Republican votes (remember when passing a heath care bill with votes from only one Party was a “bad” thing?) It passed by only four votes (217-213 despite 20 Republicans voting against it.) Republicans cheered! Finally! They completed the first of five hurdles in their 7+ year crusade to repeal something THAT DOESN’T EXIST: “ObamaCare”… the pejorative euphemism for The Affordable Care Act that has convinced millions of gullible Republican voters that they are being forced to purchase an insurance policy from the government to enroll in some misfit insurance program run by the IRS. And that’s not by accident. The GOP has been drumming that very misconception into people’s minds since before the ACA became law. It’s why there are people who say they “hate ObamaCare” but “like The Affordable Care Act“.

But Republicans don’t DARE call it by its true name because “The Affordable Care Act” is actually quite popular (61% now say keep it vs 37% who say scrap it.) Under Trump, “ObamaCare” is actually more popular than TRUMP. And why? Because the more they hear about the GOP’s alternative plan, the less they like it. Most notably, the likely loss of coverage for tens of millions and the very real possibility of the return of denials over “preexisting conditions”.

But perhaps the most heinous and indefensible policies in the “American Health Care Act” passed by the House is that it CUTS $880,000,000,000 ($880 Billion) in Medicaid subsidies the ACA offered the states to help them pay for expanding the state-run program, and using it to offset the cost of a massive honking tax cut for the wealthiest 2% of Americans. Part of the reason why “ObamaCare” failed to help as many Americans as it could have was because a huge swath of Republican governors refused to accept those Medicaid dollars “out of spite… er ‘principle'”, to help cover millions of the poorest Americans (Ironically, most of whom live in deep Red states in the South.)

The justification for cutting nearly $900 Billion in Medicaid subsides, according to Trump’s Chief of Staff Reince Priebus during Fox “news” Sunday yesterday was that they are simply eliminating “redundancy”… duplication of services covered by other agencies (which is nonsense.) When asked about concerns with the House bill, Priebus assured Andrea Mitchell that “the Senate bill will be better.” Which raises an interesting question: “If the House bill was inadequate, why was there such a rush to pass it… even before many House members even had a chance to read it? (another Republican complaint regarding passage of the ACA in 2009.) Wouldn’t it have made more sense to take your time and draft a single bill that was likely to pass BOTH houses without major changes ensuring easy passage? Instead, now, we have millions of Americans learning about this mess of a bill… NOT liking what they are hearing… waiting perhaps months before the Senate votes on a bill of their own (the earliest they could possibly vote is in a few weeks, but most say the Senate wants to write their own bill, which could take a while. Then wait for it to be scored by the CBO and debated. And Texas Senator Cornyn says they won’t vote for the bill until they can be sure they have “at least 51 votes”. Then add all the vacation days between now and then and I’m thinking… September by the earliest to complete “Step 2”?) Then comes the merging of the two bills into one (Step 3) where it is voted on again by both the House and Senate (Step 4) and then signed by Trump (Step 5). I figure it is possible “TrumpCare” could come up for a vote right in the middle of the 2018 midterm elections. We’ll see.
 

Seniors may pay more under AHCA

 
Fewer covered under AHCA

 

You KNOW a Republican bill is bad when even Fox isn’t buying it.

“Health & Human Services” Secretary Tom Price tried to argue during “Meet the Press” yesterday that a change that could result in pre-retirement seniors paying as much as FIVE TIMES more for health care, was actually a GOOD thing because the change would result in them having “more choices” than they do now (I’m assuming by adding DEATH to their list of options.)

As Salon Magazine pointed out last March, two taxes on the richest Americans to pay for the Medicare expansion in the ACA that TrumpCare eliminates is a $275 Billion dollar tax break for the richest 2% of Americans. If you earn less than $200,000/year, you will not see a single penny in tax cuts resulting in the elimination of those ACA tax increases. People who make between $500K & $1mil per year will see “a modest cut of about $4,700”, modest millionaires would get back around $54K/year, while the top 1/10th of 1% (those earning over $300 million/year) will get back around $7 Million dollars/year.

Republican Congressman Raul Labrador became the poster-boy for GOP cluelessness/heartlessness last week when he was caught on camera arguing to his constituents: “Nobody dies because they don’t have access to health care”. And it makes sense that he’d say this because it’s a Republican Talking Point that has been drummed into their heads for eight years. The argument is that “Emergency Rooms are required by law to provide care even if you can’t afford to pay. Ergo, no one dies due to an inability to afford health care.”

As the cook said to waitress Kelly Bundy, “You are one whopping moron!”

Let’s set aside for the moment that Emergency Room care is the most costly form of care there is and when patients can’t pay either the government pays or they swallow the cost. Forget that for now. Here are just a few scenarios off the top of my head where you could die from not having access to healthcare:

Scenario #1: Imagine a guy develops an infection (infected cut, steps on a nail, whatever) but he doesn’t have insurance, so he tries to treat it himself at home. But as time goes on, the infection gets worse & worse and eventually he has no choice but to be rushed to the hospital (assuming he hasn’t died in his sleep before then.) But he waited too long, the infection doesn’t respond to antibiotics, and he dies.

Scenario #2: You develop cancer. But you can’t afford treatment (chemo, radiation or both) so you never get treated. By the time you are so sick you are taken to the ER, the cancer has spread throughout your body and you die.

Scenario #3: You have diabetes and your kidney’s start to shutdown. You need dialysis but don’t have insurance and can’t afford to pay out of pocket. You never get treated and you die.

Scenario #4: You develop the flu. You can’t afford to go to the doctor so you try to treat it yourself at home using over-the-counter medicine. But it’s not the flu. It’s something worse. And by the time you get to the ER, there is nothing they can do.

Scenario #5: You develop the flu and try to treat it yourself. But you have small children. The baby catches your flu, develops a high fever and dies before you can get her to the hospital.

That’s just five scenarios off the top of my head where not having access to routine care could be deadly. Are you telling me no Republican is capable of envisioning a scenario where a person could get so sick even the ER can’t save them? Apparently, NO ONE WHO GOES TO THE E.R. EVER DIES IN GOP LAND (or Congressman Labradoodle’s world.) These people make me want to vomit.

When President Carter ran for reelection against Reagan in 1980, Reagan criticized Carter for allowing the National Debt to “balloon” to an ungodly “$800 Billion dollars” (Reagan then proceeded to more than TRIPLE 204 years worth of Debt to $2.5Trillion in just eight years.) The entire National Debt in 1980 was less than the size of the GOP’s proposed cut to Medicare over ten years or Trump’s proposed annual tax cut for the wealthy.

The GOP’s Health care bill would be the largest shift in income from the Poor up to the Richest Americans in U.S. history. Tell us again Trump voters how President Pussy-Grabber or lapdogs like Labrador are looking out for people like you?
 


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GOP Leads in ‘Unprecedented’ Behavior re: SCOTUS Nomination
Apr 3rd, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

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You have to go back to 1991 for the last time a Supreme Court vacancy was filed when Democrats controlled both the House and Senate. The nominee was “Clarence Thomas“, and his nomination went down in history as one of the most controversial picks ever after a former subordinate of his at the EEoC, Law Professor Anita Hill, testified that she had been subjected to years of sexual harassment by her boss, Mr. Thomas. And while Democrats won the White House in 1992, Republicans have controlled either the House, the Senate, or both TEN of the last twelve congresses (27 of the last 31 years.) So it is only by an incredible stroke of luck that the Supreme Court doesn’t have more Conservatives on it that it already does. (Two weeks ago, my weekly Op/Ed was an acknowledgement that fighting the Gorsuch nomination… an even swap of one far-Right judge for another… was not worth distracting from the FAR more serious effort to investigate the Trump Administrations dealings with Russia during the campaign. I ended up DELETING that Op/Ed when I learned that Gorsuch endorsed the appointment of prominent voter suppression activist Hans von Spakovsky to the Federal Election Commission.) So right now, I couldn’t care less how “offended” Republicans are that Democrats might break with tradition and filibuster his nomination. Republicans are whining that “NO Supreme Court nominee has EVER been filibustered in the 200+ year history of our nation.” Yes, but that’s ONLY because the GOP controlled all of Congress when President Obama nominated Republican judge Merrick Garland (widely regarded another neutral vote like Kennedy) to fill the current vacancy (not that I’m shedding any tears over that lost nomination.) Don’t think for ONE moment they wouldn’t do EXACTLY what Democrats are now threatening to do now if THEY had been in the minority.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell admitted exactly that during “Meet the Press” yesterday, claiming Democrats would likewise have held the SCOTUS seat open for 13 months if the roles had been reversed. Chuck Todd asked McConnell the obvious follow-up, “Do we now pass a rule: No Supreme Court nominations in even-numbered (election) years?” McConnell simply laughed and dismissed the question, but it is a valid point. If no president should be allowed to fill a Supreme Court vacancy in an election year where “the will of the voters” is about to be determined at the ballot-box, then you have JUST (in effect) made EVERY OTHER even numbered year “off limits” for appointing & filling Supreme Court vacancies. And other than the vote for President, just as many members of Congress are replaced every mid-term election. Don’t they too decide “the will of the voters”? It’s a legitimate question as a result of “unprecedented obstruction never before seen in our 200+ year history as a nation.” Sorry Republicans, you don’t now get to point fingers and accuse Democrats of extreme partisanship by doing something “never before done by either side of Congress.”

But Democrats requiring a 60 vote “Super Majority” before a vote can be held on a nominee wouldn’t be the only ones breaking with “200+ years of precedent”. Should the GOP decide to use “the nuclear option” and change the Senate Rules, that too would be “unprecedented”.

And it’s not as simple as Republicans simply saying, “We hereby pass a new rule that says it now takes only 51 votes for a SCOTUS nominee to be brought up for a vote.” No. Because changing the Senate Rules ALSO requires a “Super Majority”, so to honestly change a long standing rule against requiring a “Super Majority”, they would likewise need a “Super Majority”. Catch-22.

To get around this, Republican will have to creatively reinterpret Senate rules such as to claim that rendering SCOTUS nominations immune to the filibuster, they aren’t “changing” an existing rule. Noooo. They’re “creating a NEW rule.” Setting precedent. And THAT only requires FIFTY-ONE votes! Nothing funny going on there!

If that sounds a little smarmy to you, you’re not alone. The GOP absolutely does not have the high road on this, and for them to act like innocent victims who would simply be taking advantage of a clearly defined “right” they are entitled to if Democrats engage in “unprecedented” behavior, by my count, they’ll lead the “unprecedented” olympics two scuzzy deeds to one.
 


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Predictions for 2017: It’s the end of the world as we know it.
Dec 31st, 2016 by Admin Mugsy

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Okay. Maybe not the “The Apocalypse”. The election of a new president already provides lots of fodder for those making predictions. Literally EVERYTHING becomes an open question, but the $#!+storm awaiting us as a political novice with the impulse control of a toddler takes control of the most powerful office on the planet is difficult to quantify. No one (outside of the Trump campaign and his most ardent believers) thought he was going to win. But in the end, the Clinton campaign was a victim of its own success. They made Clinton’s victory seem SO inevitable, and Trump’s presidency SO unthinkable, that millions of Democrats didn’t even bother to vote, allowing a reality TV show star riding a wave of xenophobia to ascend to the presidency. And his choices to lead his Administration raise serious concern. Trump’s case for why he should be president was that… as a corporate CEO… he knows how to pick “the best people” to create an incredibly effective government. But instead, he has been awarding top-level cabinet-level positions to friends, lobbyists and far right ideologues the way other presidents awarded ambassadorships… not based on qualifications, but purely on their fealty to Trump himself.

We start off year nine of my prognostications as we do every year by looking back at the predictions of others. Always good for a laugh, I find myself wondering why anyone takes these people seriously with such miserable track records. Typically, most “psychics” make dozens… even hundreds… of incredibly vague predictions, then declare success when one of their predictions is twisted and massaged to where they can claim they accurately predicted some obscure global event. Some place no time-frame on their predictions, so they are never “wrong”, their predictions simply “haven’t come true yet.” I don’t do that. I don’t make “vague” predictions (the “Two moons will join as one” crap) and only make predictions for the coming year. If something I predict doesn’t happen within the next 12 months, that prediction is ruled “wrong”.

The Huffington Post declared “16 Shocking Predictions for 2016” written by clinical psychologist Dr. Carmen Harra. What a psychologist is doing making “psychic predictions” is anyone’s guess, but of her 16 predictions, I found none of them particularly “shocking”, and only one prediction… the election of a female South American president (Dilma Rousseff of Brazil)… appears to have come true. Even her “gimme” predictions (like “more extreme weather”) I’d classify as “wrong” because there were no widespread devastating weather catastrophes in 2016.

As many of you know, I live blog the top three political talk shows every Sunday: Fox “news” Sunday, “Meet the Press” and ABC’s ThisWeek. Typically, their final show of the year includes predictions for the coming year. I always find the predictions of Conservatives on Fox the most fascinating. It really is a window into their dark fantasy world. Simply put, Democrats will always usher in economic chaos, and Republican policies are always a resounding success:
 

Fox “news” Sunday’s Predictions for 2016 (8:57)

 

Some highlights:

  • “Common sense will prevail [within the GOP] and Trump won’t win the nomination”. – Oops. I guess it didn’t.
  •  

  • Economy will be down. “Recession.” – The U.S. economy continued to grow, growing at a remarkable 3.5% in the third quarter of this year.
  •  
    The political predictions end about halfway in, but I posted the full clip because it highlights just how routinely wrong the extremely partisan frequent guest panelist Mike Needham (of National Review Online) is. In previous years, “Bloody” Bill Kristol (of The Weekly Standard) was the Fox panelist that never got a single thing right before swapping places with George Will (a fixture on ABC’s ThisWeek for decades but became buttsore when they handed hosting duties over to Stephanopoulos). Like all Republicans, Needham is extremely sure of himself despite rarely ever being right on anything, and allows his partisanship to get in the way when making his predictions. Nothing connected to a Democrat ever turns out good. Nothing linked to a Republican ever turns out bad. I’m not sure Needham is EVER right on anything. But he tells Republicans what they like to hear, so he’s repeatedly asked back to give his opinions.

    Mike Needham:

  • “Low interest rates [are] maintaining the facade of Keynesian monetary policy.” – In Mike’s world, “Trickle-down” Reaganomics was a huge success while Keynesian “trickle up from the poor” economics is fantasy. Mike predicted that the Obama economy was being artificially propped up by low interest rates and once rates started to rise, the economy would start to implode. Interest rates are rising while Trump takes credit for the surge in the Stock Market.
  • Disagrees that Chicago (Hillary’s hometown) Cubs will win World Series. Instead picks the NY (Trump’s hometown) Mets. – While the Mets did okay in 2016, they came in sixteen games behind the World Series champion Cubs in the National League.
  • Picked “Batman vs Superman” to be the next big Hollywood blockbuster. – “Batman vs Superman” turned out to be a flop of epic proportions. Needham also predicted (noted Hollywood Liberal) Ben Affleck would go down as “the worst Batman in history.” To the contrary.

Give it up, Mike.
 

ABC’s ThisWeek predictions for 2016 (6:18)

 

Less drama (and fewer predictions) over on ABC’s ThisWeek. Everyone seemed to agree Trump had a better than average chance of winning the GOP nomination, with two of them even accurately picking “Tim Kaine” to be Hillary’s running mate.

Now let’s look back at my predictions from last year to give you some idea of just how seriously you should take me. Compared to “celebrity psychics”, even on my worst years, I totally crush them. The difference is that I freely admit that I’m no psychic. I’m just very good at spotting political trends and knowing how people think. So let’s take a look at my “Predictions for 2016”:

  • wrong – “Will we see another “France-style” terrorist attack in 2016? I don’t think so.” 2015 saw the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris (including a suicide bomber detonating just outside the National soccer stadium), so it seemed unlikely anyone would be able to pull off a similar attack in 2016. But unfortunately, last June, suicide bombers killed 41 in a siege of the Istanbul International Airport in Turkey, and France’s Bastille Day celebrations came to a tragic end when lone disturbed ISIS Sympathizer killed 84 and mowed down hundreds more using a large truck. Germany also saw a less deadly but no less tragic mass murder using a large truck driven by another ISIS sympathizer.
  •  

  • wrong – The establishment of “Safe Zones” inside of Syria & Iraq to counter the flood of refugees into other countries that were becoming increasingly unwelcome. Seriously, I am quite disgusted that six years later, we are still talking about the Syrian civil war. Unfortunately, the rest of the world found it easier to do nothing than to try and safeguard the civilian populations living in the region. The massacre in Syria has been a sticking point with me ever since I (incorrectly) predicted in 2011 massive international intervention to stop Assad from massacring his own people. But instead, Russia sided with their good friend King Assad, labeled the rebels “terrorists”, and made it impossible for anyone to intervene without risking a war with Russia. And instead, four years later, we’ve elected a president that sides with Russia on every controversy, and the city of Aleppo was pretty much obliterated and recaptured by Assad’s forces. Even more disturbing is the number of Trump supporters who believe photos like “Aleppo Boy” were “staged”. I’m not sure what has to die inside a person to look at that photo, call it a fake, and take the side of Syria & Russia.
  •  

  • right – ISIS will still be about the same size as it is today… roughly 30,000 fighters. – While it is difficult (if not impossible) to get an accurate reading on the number of people fighting on the ground in the region of Syria & Northern Iraq, most analysts seem to agree that “ISIS is shrinking”, not growing, preferring instead to try to inspire weak-willed outcasts feeling ostracized by society to commit “lone wolf” attacks in other countries and then take credit for those attacks. It is difficult to inspire Muslim sympathizers to the ISIS cause when the majority of their targets are fellow Muslims (see the Turkey airport attack above.) I fear Trump’s “take no prisoners” scorched Earth plans for dealing with ISIS will do more to create sympathizers and grow ISIS than actually serve to defeat it.
  •  

  • wrong – Russia WILL focus more on attacking ISIS and less on helping Assad destroy the Syrian rebels – I was wrong about Russia suddenly growing a conscience and pulling back in it’s support of helping Assad crush him political opponents, though I was correct that they would not JOIN forces with the U.S. in alliance to destroy who they claim is a common enemy: ISIS. Poor naive Donald Trump has bought Russia’s line of bull that the Syrian civil war is all about fighting terrorism. Russia has only become more bold in its international meddling in 2016 as Putin sees an opportunity to regain its Soviet-era dominance in the world as America’s influence wanes as we begin our 15th year of war.
  •  

  • right – Iran is likely to increase military aid to Assad as Russian support for the war wanes. – Iran “reportedly felt blindsided by the terms of the [Syrian] truce brokered in Turkey between Russia and the rebels.” Iran’s involvement in Syria has deepened as they disapprove of Russia focusing more on seizing more control in the region.
  •  

  • right – The Syrian conflict [will] still be raging throughout the year, eventually culminating in a treaty between Assad & the rebels. – The Syrian Civil War is only now being declared “coming to an end” here in the final days of 2016 as Russia brokers yet-another cease fire treaty. After years of conflict, it has become clear that we have are now incapable of bringing wars to an end.
  •  

  • wrong – We will see a MILD economic decline as the Republican controlled Congress stifles the economy to help the GOP presidential candidate. I’m actually quite stunned the GOP didn’t do more to cripple the economy to help the GOP nominee win the election. But then, I didn’t expect the GOP to be so unhappy with their candidate. In the end, they weren’t exactly enthusiastic about helping Donald Trump become the leader of their Party (and if you ask me, they are terrified of being branded “The Party of Trump”.) Instead, the Obama economy continued to grow at a remarkable rate.
  •  

  • right – Gitmo to still be in operation by the end of President Obama’s presidency, [though] steps will finally be in place to close it permanently before he leaves office. – Yes on both counts. Our POW camp at Guantánamo Bay is indeed still in operation (though currently down to just 59 detainees that will reportedly be down to just 41 by the time Obama leaves office. In February, he did send his Guantánamo Closing Plan to Congress, but no action was taken. And Trump has vowed… not only to keep it open… but to even EXPAND it, so our giant “middle-finger” to all our principles will continue to operate for the foreseeable future.
  •  

  • wrong – GOP will retain control of the House following the election but lose the Senate. – This did indeed become the conventional thinking in the final days of the election, and there’s no way of knowing if Russian meddling had any impact on the outcome, but Democrats did pick up two seats… three seats short of control of the Senate (under a Republican White House.)
  •  

  • right – The 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio will be relatively uneventful. – No terrorist attacks, and despite concerns of rampant local crime, polluted water, and unfinished facilities, the Rio Olympics pretty much went off without a hitch.
  •  

  • right – Trump will be the GOP nominee. – I’m surprised (well, maybe not) that so many people believed Republicans would come to their senses and pull back from the brink before allowing this cartoonish man-child to come within earshot of the presidency, but I was one of the few that knew better. Before the first primary of 2016, I knew from the 2012 nomination of Mitt Romney, “wealth = good” among low-information Republican voters. Bush & Cheney ran as “businessmen” in 2000 promising a “CEO presidency”, and it was an absolute disaster. But that didn’t stop them from nominating Mitt Romney in 2012 (regardless of how he made his money.) Just as in 2012, Republicans didn’t like the GOP front-runner (Romney) and constantly kept looking for someone to take the nomination away from him. But as each new front-runner crashed & burned, Romney kept floating back up to the top of the bowl. The same thing with Trump in 2016. There were a couple of brief scares when Ben Carson and Ted Cruz became the front runners momentarily, but they always came back to Trump as his rivals crashed & burned.

    I also predicted that Trump will plan to delegate most of his responsibilities as he has no interest in actually doing the job, which he & his son both confirmed last May.

  •  

  • wrong – Expect Trump to name his running mate early if he finds himself struggling to win the nomination. – This didn’t happen… with Trump. But it bears mentioning that this is EXACTLY what Ted Cruz did all the way back in April. Also of note, I included the caveat that “if [Trump] gets locked in a battle with the Democratic nominee, his ego will rope him in until the election in November” seeing his candidacy through to the bitter end, win or lose. And I was absolutely right on that. All the polls were predicting an easy win for Clinton, and even Trump himself was surprised when all of the “must win” races started falling his way, yet he stayed in to the very end with most expecting him to challenge the result if he lost… completely unwilling to believe this country might choose Hillary over him.
  •  

  • right – Hillary to win the Democratic nomination. – Probably my most painful prediction as a Bernie supporter, but this is what separates me from Republicans who shape their predictions to fit their personal ideology. And this is why their record of predicting things is so miserable. They are SO sure their beliefs are right, the possibility they could be wrong never crosses their minds.
  •  

  • wrong* – the Democratic nominee will win the election in November. – It is difficult to know if Russian meddling in our election may have altered the outcome, but I’m not aware of even one legitimate poll that predicted a Trump victory. The entire Trump candidacy was one embarrassment after another, from making racist & sexist remarks during his campaign, the embarrassing Convention with guest speakers like Scott Baio, culminating in the “Access Hollywood” (“grab them by the [meow]” tape.) And despite needing to sweep nearly every single swing state to win, that’s exactly what happened… an achievement suspicious in itself. But I didn’t factor possible election fraud into my prediction.
  •  

  • right – As ISIS begins to feel the pressure of increased international focus on defeating them, they will in turn focus more on inspiring outside sympathizers to commit “lone wolf” terrorist attacks in their respective countries. I predicted at least three such attacks in the coming year. – Indeed, this was the case, with terrorist attacks by ISIS sympathizers in Istanbul, Turkey, Nice, France, and the Christmas Market attack in Berlin, Germany.

8 right, 7 wrong. 53%. Not bad. I’ve done worse. That keeps my lifetime average well over 50%. I was one of the few to predict the presidential race to come down to Clinton vs Trump when must people were predicting a “Hillary vs Jeb” contest. I’m pretty proud of that.

And now…

My Predictions for 2017:

With a totally new administration full of billionaires, ideologues and sycophants with no track record of public service whatsoever, the possibilities are endless as what to expect from the coming year. As “president-elect Trump” rejects the need for a “Presidential Baily Briefing” (on the grounds the information is “repetitive”), I’m frequently reminded of how President Bush in 2001 repeatedly dismissed his own PDB’s while our intelligence agencies were desperately (“Lights were flashing red”) trying to get him to pay attention to the threat of alQaeda until it was too late with the attacks of 9/11 just eight months into office. Now Trump is doing the same while ISIS attacks seem to be growing in magnitude & frequency. Predicting the first year of any new administration is one big crap shoot, but I know how Trump and his ilk think.

  1. Trump is already taking credit for a rise in the Stock Market since his election while Obama is still president, but once he takes office, if the economy does not continue to improve, he’ll stop taking credit and start blaming Obama (remember how Republicans berated Obama the first couple of years for “blaming Bush” for the deep hole we were still digging our way out of?) Trump will be handed an economy that’s 180 degrees from what Obama inherited (soaring stock market, unemployment falls to just 4.6%), and President Obama’s final budget will still be in effect until October, so it is unlikely the economy will turn South in Trump’s first year unless he does something extremely provocative to spook the global financial (or oil) market. We’ll have to wait & see if Trump becomes a “don’t rock the boat” president, or (more likely) an impulsive hothead that doesn’t consider the consequences before acting (which is the defining characteristic of Republicans.)
  2.  
    Trump’s coziness with the Russians continues to disturb me. His first campaign spokesman, Paul Manafort, was forced to resign when it was discovered that he had been paid millions lobbying for pro-Russian Ukrainian oligarchs… not because of his Russia connection, but because he worked as a lobbyist at a time when Trump was still trying to act as though he disapproved of lobbyists and the Russian annexing of Ukraine was unpopular with most Americans. Yet, despite being fired, Manafort continued to live in Trump Tower (along with another fired Trump staffer, former campaign manager Cory Lewandowski.) This tells me Trump doesn’t learn from his mistakes, he just tucks them away until after the heat blows over.

    His eventual choice for Secretary of State, Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson, wasn’t even on the original lists of nominees. The person that appeared to have to best chance was Mitt Romney… who called Russia “our #1 Geo-political enemy” when he ran in 2012. Then suddenly, Romney was out and Tillerson… a man who was awarded the “Russian Medal of Friendship”…. was in.

    His daughter Ivanka was even caught palling around with Putin’s girlfriend in Croatia.

  3. Trump’s Russian ties will continue to haunt him in 2017, but with a GOP controlled Congress, nothing will ever come of it. Every move that involves Russia will draw additional scrutiny. Investigative reporters may start to report on concerns of Russian influence on the Trump White House, but President-elect Trump has been working hard to delegitimatize the Media as “Fake News” so that… should they report anything critical of his administration, he can simply dismiss it as “fake news”.
  4.  
    George Bush appointed a single unqualified mega-donor sycophant to his Administration (Michael “Heckuva job, Brownie” Brown)… an Arabian horse judge… to be in charge of FEMA, and we all know how that turned out. Trump’s cabinet is FULL of unqualified “Brownies”. He has been gifting crucial administration posts the way other presidents once awarded “ambassadorships” to friends & big donors. This is particularly disturbing when one of the key arguments Trump and his supporters gave to justify electing a “CEO President” with NO political experience to the presidency was that he’d appoint only “the best people” to manage his administration. Among some of Trump’s other “So good, you won’t believe it” appointees so far:

    Former opponent Dr. Ben Carson… NOT as Surgeon General which might make SOME sense… but as the head of “Housing & Urban Development” (which Carson himself justified due to having “once lived in Public Housing”. By that standard, I should be piloting 747’s because I once flew in one.)

    Co-founder of the WWE (“World Wrestling Entertainment”) Linda McMahon to head the SBA (“Small Business Administration”.) I think we know how she got the job:

     
    Trump in Wrestlemania
     
    Trump wrestles McMahon

    (Remember all the Republicans who whined Bill Clinton was destroying the dignity of the Oval Office?)

    The former Attorney General from the Oklahoma oil-patch, climate change denier Scott Pruitt to head the EPA. Pruitt repeatedly sued the EPA’s “Clean Power Plan” and “Clean Water Rule” while OK-AG, and even tried to pass off a letter written by oil company lobbyists critical of the EPA as his own. And now he will be in charge of the organization.

    While not yet appointed at this time, Trump is reportedly considering billionaire eccentric “Peter Thiel” to head the FDA. Like Ben Carson who believes he’s qualified to run HUD because he once lived in public housing, it is reported that Theil once ate food and took medicine.

    Trump appointed Steve Bannon the head of alt-Right website “Brietbart.com”… probably the only “news” outlet to endorse Trump… to be his Chief Strategist. While Team-Trump is working overtime to delegitimize the legitimate news as “fake news”, Brietbart is the very definition of “fake news”.

    Former Texas Governor and “Dancing with the Stars” reject Rick “Oops” Perry… who famously forgot that the Dept of Energy was the third government agency he would close as president… was appointed Trump’s Secretary of Energy. He will be replacing nuclear physicist Ernie Moniz.

    …to be continued.
     

  5. With so many incompetents put in charge of so many prominent offices within the Trump Administration, the chances of another “Brownie”-like disaster in the next few years increases exponentially. I predict at least one of Trump’s incompetent appointees will have their appointment questioned and perhaps even be forced to resign due some inexplicable cock-up that embarrasses the incoming Trump Administration.
  6.  

  7. Trump detests having to answer questions. He considers having to explain himself an indignity and the Press exists solely to try & discredit him. This is why he adores Twitter where he can simply ignore any question he doesn’t like. Trump will hold a record low number of Press Conferences, preferring instead to use Twitter to communicate with the American people. He, his staff, and his supporters will herald this as “a new era in unprecedented access to the Commander-in-Chief” that supposedly makes him more “accessible” by the American people, when the truth is it will quite the opposite: a new era of secrecy in presidential administrations that closely controls just how much access the fourth-estate has to it. (August 10 edition of “60 Minutes”, former Chief Strategist Steve Bannon praises Trump’s use of Twitter as “circumventing Big Media and speaking directly to the people.”)
  8.  
    In these final days of 2016, we keep seeing situations where the incoming Trump Administration is publicly disagreeing with… not just the outgoing Obama Administration, but U.S. foreign policy of the past 30 years when it comes to Israel and the pursuit of a “two state solution” to bring peace between the Israeli’s and the Palestinians. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is a neo-con, and his continued illegal building of settlements in occupied territory threatens to jeopardize any hope of peace in the Middle East. Secretary of State John Kerry condemned the recent construction of new Israeli settlements as provocative and not in the interests of achieving peace in the Middle East. Netanyahu… who never liked the Obama Administration and vocally condemned it for agreeing to lift sanctions on Iran… basically told the U.S. to mind its own business. Trump… breaking with decades of “one president at a time” tradition (an unwritten rule where the incoming administration doesn’t publicly contradict the outgoing administration, instead declaring “the U.S. speaks with one voice”), Trump again publicly criticized the outgoing Obama Administration, taking the side of Israel and declaring “things will be different” come “January 20th.”

  9. Taking the side Israel so publicly, there is NO way the U.S. can be seen as an honest broker in any possible future peace negotiations between Israel & Palestine. Trump’s chosen Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, is a pro-settlement bankruptcy lawyer with no relevant experience other than the fact he is president of the US fundraising arm for Bet El, a settlement built on occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank. Both Trump & Friedman have taken the unimaginably provocative position of calling to move the capital of Israel to the disputed city of Jerusalem… nothing short of spitting in the eye of a billion Muslims. Indeed, Osama bin Laden even cited the “Israeli occupation” and part of alQaeda’s justification for 9/11 and their war with the West. Trump has just made his job of achieving an end to the wars in the Middle East infinitely more difficult. Couple that with his pledge to “quickly, easily & completely” defeat ISIS, I have great difficultly in seeing how he can “defeat ISIS” and end the war in Afghanistan without doing something monumentally insane like declaring war on the entire Middle East and conquering it using nuclear weapons. No matter how nuts he may be, there are still enough sane people left in Congress to stop him from starting World War III. As such, I have little doubt that as Commander-in-Chief, Trump will still deploy between 100,000 and 300,000 troops back into Iraq & Afghanistan (and possibly Syria) by the end of the year, greatly expending the war rather than helping to resolve the conflict and bring America’s longest war to an end (cooler heads will prevail among his generals not to introduce nuclear weapons into this war, but reports will emerge that it was discussed).
  10.  

  11. In 2015, increased pressure on ISIS resulted in various domestic terrorist attacks overseas, and (as I correctly predicted) there were at least three more such incidents of domestic terrorism around the world as that pressure continued to grow. If Trump does indeed greatly expand the war in the Middle East, coupled with openly taking Israel’s side in promoting illegal settlements, expend the number of incidents of domestic terrorism committed in the name of ISIS to grow. I predict at least five such deadly mass casulty attacks across the world in the coming year.
  12.  

  13. The election of the first black president allowed a stunning number of closeted racists to feel liberated, coming out as openly racist, cloaking their racism as nothing more than “political differences”. The election of an openly bigoted xenophobe like Trump will worsen this three-fold as Trump-supporters feel they now have carte-blanc to be openly bigoted against Mexican’s and Muslims as well.
  14.  

  15. Which reminds us of Trump’s promise to “build a border wall along the U.S./Mexico border and make Mexico pay for it”, and deport… not just 11 million “illegal immigrants”, but in many cases their American-born children as well. There will be NO significant border wall construction in 2017 as the issue falls by the way-side. However, the Trump Administration may try to claim plans for a border wall are “in the works”. And rather than Mexico paying 100% of the cost, to save face, the Trump Administration will rely on some creative accounting to try and claim Mexico will be paying for it when they are in fact not.
    UPDATE: 1/6/2017 – Not even president yet, “Trump asks Congress, not Mexico, to pay for border wall.
  16.  

  17. During the primaries, a number of countries were so appalled by Donald’s Trump’s “racist & sexists remarks”, they went as far as to say the GOP candidate was “not welcome” in their country. Scotland declared Trump “unwelcome” in that country the day after the election and urged him not to visit. In January of 2016, the British Parliament had already discussed banning Trump from the UK. And in October (just before the election), Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau banned Trump from entering Canada until he apologized for his offensive remarks about Muslims & Mexicans. I predict that in the coming year, at least one nation will say Trump is not welcome in their country.
  18.  

  19. As I’ve been pointing out since the day he declared his candidacy in 2015, Trump only wanted to prove he could win the presidency if he wanted it, but has no interest in actually doing the job. Early on, he will appear to be doing his job, but gradually over time, we will see less & less of him as he tries to delegate more & more of his job over to others in his administration, setting up a Constitutional crisis.
  20.  

  21. Calls for investigations into all of Trump’s conflicts of interest will grow along with demands that he fully divest himself of his empire (which he’ll never do) as it becomes clear foreign countries are trying to curry favor with the American president though his investments. Trump’s massive ego will never permit him to sell off his empire. All those skyscrapers with his name on them feed his massive ego. If it becomes a serious enough problem for him, he’d resign his presidency before selling off his empire.
  22.  

  23. Speaking of which, every building with Trump’s name on it will become an instant terrorist target the moment he’s sworn in, and the cost of protecting those buildings will become a serious matter.
  24.  

  25. Beyond foreigners trying to get on the good side of America’s president by renting out his hotels & casinos and possibly giving him favorable treatment when his companies seek construction permits in foreign countries, simply being president gives Trump an unfair advantage over his American competitors that will open him up to all sorts of lawsuits. Expect at least one American company to file an “unfair trade practices” lawsuit against Trump.
  26.  

  27. Trump’s Climate-Change-Denying policies of promising to “greatly expend the use of coal” and “complete the Keystone XL Pipeline” will be met with a resounding thud as both projects prove to no longer be cost effective in the modern era. There just aren’t that many workers looking to get started in the lucrative business of digging coal (yes, that’s snark) in the 21st century, and for the mining/conversion of tarsands to “oil” to be cost effective, oil needs to be up over $70/barrel again. George W. Bush destroyed the global economy and brought the United States to the brink of economic collapse by pushing the price of oil from $30/barrel to nearly $150/barrel in six years. Oil prices are (at this writing) just above $50/barrel after having been much lower in recent years, and some analysts fear that if Trump greatly expands the war in the Middle East, the price of oil could shoot back up to over $100/barrel which would make both energy sources financially viable again. But if that happened, it would absolutely crush the U.S. economy. As friendly as the Trump Administration clearly will be with Big Oil, I have my doubts that even THEY could be THAT fiscally irresponsible.
  28.  

  29. Russia may find themselves wondering if they made a mistake by cozening up to Trump (and possibly aiding his election) as they quickly learn how erratic and vindictive he can be. Early in the primaries, Ted Cruz leaped into second place when he refused to criticize GOP front-runner Donald Trump like all of the other candidates. Just before the start of the 2016 primaries, Cruz even tweeted: “@realDonaldTrump is terrific. #DealWithIt” Then the race began, and as soon as Cruz became a threat, the bromance was over. By the Convention in July, the two were already the worst of enemies. I expect Trump’s relationship with Russia to become strained as he grows increasingly erratic.
  30.  

  31. As much as Trump and his supporters may want it, he will not be able to amass enough Republican votes (and zero Democratic votes) to repeal “ObamaCare” without having a replacement program ready to go first. Republicans will try (repeatedly) throughout the year to immediately end the program despite having no alternative, but Democrats need only three Republican Senators to stop any repeal from reaching the president’s desk. And while Republicans honestly believe Americans want to see the entire program scrapped, they are in for a rude awakening if 20 million Americans are suddenly faced with the potential loss of their insurance. Trump says he won’t allow insurance companies to deny patients with “preexisting conditions” from getting coverage again, but there is NO way to do that without the “mandate” they so deplore. And in eight years, no Republican has been able to devise a system that covers everyone that doesn’t include a mandate. So, no ObamaCare repeal. They will try. They will get close. They may even pass a bill severely limiting it, but no full repeal of the law.
  32.  

  33. Early on, Russia will test their new found relationship with the new administration to see just how much they can get away with and what reaction (if any) they get. Democrats in Congress will demand action. Republicans will not. And the public will be evenly split, ensuring nothing gets done.
  34.  

  35. Trump didn’t remember half of the promises he made during the campaign. He had completely forgotten he promised to stop the export of over 1,000 jobs at an Indiana “Carrier” plant until he heard a plant worker on TV state that he had personally promised them he’d save their jobs. He also forgot HOW he said he’d save them (by threatening to charge “Carrier” a reimportation tax.) Likewise his ridiculous threat to “lock her [Hillary] up” was quickly dismissed following his victory, the deportation of “11 Million illegal immigrants” quickly became only “a few million with criminal records” (illegal immigrants with criminal records are already deported upon capture), and his “border wall” was scaled down to “a fence in some locations.” Trump has a very short memory when it comes to his promises, so don’t be surprised if focus on many of his campaign promises are overshadowed by new catastrophes that develop in his first year.
  36.  

  37. In the final week of 2016, Trump startled the world by suggesting that we need to start expanding our nuclear arsenal again… reversing more than 30 years of American nuclear policy. Will Trump start a new Nuclear Arms Race? That takes money. Sadly, I don’t see enough sane Republicans in Congress willing to say “No” to Toddler-Trump and reject the possibility of attracting a few thousand defense industry jobs to their states, but I DO see just enough to side with Democrats to stop any such proposed increase in our nuclear stockpiles. No expansion.
  38.  

  39. And rounding on for an even 20, 2017 will be declared “the hottest year on record”.

 

Wow, that’s one incredibly dark miserable year I foresee. But Toddler-Trump is just too immature, too erratic and too impulsive to see things becoming anything other than a total mess in 2017.


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Thanksgiving With My Conservative Family Explains A Lot
Nov 30th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy

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When you’re the only Liberal in a family of Conservatives living in the South, getting together for the holidays can be a tricky thing. But mostly, it has taught me a lot about the Conservative Mind and particularly why they believe what they believe. First, you start with a foundation of bigotry. It may not be very deep, but it is always there. Mexicans, blacks, gays, Muslims… basically anyone that frightens them… which is just about anyone they don’t have anything in common with. And when something annoys them, it’s always the fault of one of these groups. Lots of crime? Blame the blacks. Bad drivers? Typically “foreigners” but not a hard & fast rule. Perceived immorality? Mexicans, Blacks and/or gays. You know the drill.

THEY (ie: White religious Conservatives) are the “oppressed minority”. The rest of the “Liberal Media” keeps trying to force them to accept blacks, Mexicans, gays, Muslim Refugees, etc as “equals”. They already know what’s true just by observing the world around them, and IF they consume any news at all (and believe it or not, they don’t watch a lot of Fox. In fact, they watch almost no news at all. It only angers them), Right-Wing Media merely confirms what they already believe to be true. For example, Donald Trump is CERTAIN that he saw ON TV “THOUSANDS” of Muslims IN NEW JERSEY cheering the fall of the WTC Towers on 9/11. Now, if it were “on TV”, SOME television station somewhere would have tape of it (archival footage is NEVER destroyed), but no one has produced any such footage because IT DOESN’T EXIST. Never happened. (He’s also implying that “thousands” of Muslims already living in the U.S. are terrorist sympathizers that had inside knowledge that this was an attack.) But it doesn’t hurt Trump’s poll numbers because Conservatives all believe they saw it too. Trump is merely confirming what they already believe is true, and no amount of evidence (or lack thereof) is going to sway them.

Conservatives all believe themselves to be “victims”. It’s the ultimate “victim mentality”. When in fact they are far more often the victimizers. Oppressing minorities and bullying the political system till they get their way. In their world, there is a “War on Christmas” if Starbucks removes the reindeer from their Xmas cups. But just why did Starbucks ever offer Xmas themed cups in the first place? Not Hanukkah cups or Kwanzaa cups, but ONLY cups with Christian Christmas themes on them. I never heard a Jewish person accuse Starbucks of a “War on Hanukkah”. No Atheists protested the use of Christmas cups in the first place. But take away a “privilege” they enjoyed that they never had to ask for in the first place… like being wished a “Merry Christmas” by the sales girl… and suddenly they are the victims of “Liberals” out to “destroy Christmas”.

And yet, the great irony is that they ARE victims. Not of The Media or Liberals, but of deliberate misinformation campaigns by the rich & powerful to get the reactionary, ill-informed Conservative masses to do their bidding. Just look at the list:

  • “ObamaCare”: Just before leaving for home, one of my family members said they were “refusing to buy ObamaCare even though the government was telling them they had to” because doing so “would only suggest I approve of it.” In what little time I had, I tried to explain, “You don’t buy ObamaCare. ObamaCare is not health insurance. It’s just a set of rules & regulations telling the insurance company they can’t deny you care or jack up your rates.” The reaction: “Then why are they telling me I have to to buy it?” “They aren’t. You only have to buy insurance. ANY insurance from any old insurance company.” A hand goes up about half-way. “Whatever!” as I was dismissed. My explanation didn’t comport with the “reality” she has been spoon-fed for years. I must not know what I’m talking about.
  •  

  • Planned Parenthood: Another Right-Wing lunatic with a gun murdered three people and wounding nine others last Friday at a Colorado Planned Parenthood, ranting about “President Obama” and “No more baby parts”… clearly a reference to the highly edited video disseminated by an anti-choice group earlier this year that falsely accused PPA of “profiting” of the sale of “baby parts”. Once again, reality was deliberately twisted to convince easily duped Right-Wing lunatics that something they already believed to be true to in fact be the case. It doesn’t matter that the facts don’t bear them out. Someone has already “confirmed” what they always believed to be true, and anyone trying to convince them otherwise is actively trying to deceive them. Meanwhile, yet another lunatic Evangelical white guy with a gun goes on a killing spree, but it’s desperate homeless Syrian refugees seeking shelter that we have to be afraid of.
  •  

  • Global Warming: There are some very powerful interests that don’t want you to believe it is true; the oil industry and the mega-church industry. And in the Deep Red South, there’s about a 99% chance you’re< connected to one or both. And despite the fact we are still seeing hurricanes nearly a month past the end of hurricane season and temperatures near 80′ for Thanksgiving in Houston, ANY cold weather is proof Climate Change isn’t real… because every “Snowmageddon” they’re told “How can there be both Global Warming AND record snowfall?” Don’t bother explaining concepts like “evaporation” and that “warm air holds more moisture” to them because they just tune you out. “Facts” mean nothing when it conflicts with what they already WANT to believe is true.
  •  

  • Tax hikes on the Wealthy are a tax increase on THEM no matter how poor: Despite being about as middle-class as can be, ANY tax increase…even on billionaires… is a tax increase on them personally. There are two reasons for this: 1) They think THEY are in the “Top 1%” if they own their own home. And 2) Tax increases are ALWAYS just passed on to the Consumer (despite their faith in the “Free-Market”.) This is what they’ve been told for years by the people manipulating them and what they already believe to be true.

While watching TV, over the Thanksgiving holiday, a promo for a new reality show came on. Only this one stars an Indian family living in California (IIRC). This quickly drew some agonized groans of annoyance from family members with the response, “this is what they do now. Put on shows about foreigners…” I quickly pointed out, “Not ‘foreigners’. Ethnicities. They’re not foreigners, they’re Americans that just happen to be Indian”, I said in exasperation. The Kardashian girls are Lebanese, but they are attractive, so that doesn’t count (until they bring home their black boyfriends that is.)

Critics of Donald Trump are wondering if his latest indefensible moment caught on video mocking a disabled reporter will finally be the thing that takes him down. Seriously? We’re talking about the same group of people who rushed to the defense of Rush Limbaugh when he mocked Michael J. Fox in nearly the exact same fashion in 2009. “If you can’t laugh at that, you’re just a politically correct Liberal buzz-kill.”

I noticed a few weeks ago that a lot of Fox “viewers” don’t actually listen to the program. It plays in the background while they do something else, occasionally flashing a glance at the TV to read the chyron when a particular word catches their ear. In one recent incident, they did a story about the political leanings of the latest round of students attending college. Their own polling showed that most new college students “tend to be Liberal both politically and Socially”, yet the chyron on the TV read, “College students more Conservative”. How? Well, while the poll found more students overall to be “Liberal”, the same poll found the number of students identifying as “Conservative” had grown over the year before by a few percentage points. Ergo, students are now “more Conservative” than they were a year ago (though still badly outnumbered.) But if you’re the typical Fox “news” viewer who only glaces at headlines without paying attention to the entire story, you might very well come away thinking there are “more” Conservative college students than Liberals. It only confirms what they already want to believe is true, and why study after study confirms Fox “news” viewers are the least well informed of all (less informed than even people who watch no news at all.) It’s also how Fox gets away with saying, “Hey, our stories aren’t biased! We defy you to find a clip where we lied!”
 
Two Fox “news” Chyrons following the conviction of Dick Cheney’s Chief of Staff I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby on 7 of 8 counts in March of 2007:
 

Libby Not Guilty Libby Not Guilty

 

Guilty on 7 of 8 counts, but Fox focused on the ONE count he was NOT convicted on, and the casual “glancing” Fox viewer only sees “Not guilty” then grumbles something about how “Librul’s” persecuted this poor man for months.

Oh, and by the way… that nut who shot up the Colorado Planned Parenthood last Friday? When he first moved into town, he recommended to a neighbor that he put a metal roof on his house “so the government couldn’t spy on him.” Why bother with a tinfoil hat when you can put a tin roof on your entire house?

He was then allowed to legally purchase an AR-15 assault rifle, a 9mm pistol and a .357 revolver.
 


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Same People Telling Us More Guns Is Solution to Gun Violence Have Given Us 15 years of War in Mid East
Oct 12th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy

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WHILE President Obama was en route to Oregon to meet with families of the last mass school shooting at Umpqua Community College, TWO MORE school shootings took place, one at Northern Arizona University (one dead, three wounded) and one at Texas Southern University (one dead, one wounded). And as I pointed out last week, all the GOP candidates could do was shrug their shoulders and say “Hey, shit happens.” And these are the same people that want to be Commander-in-Chief of the largest military on the face of the planet (larger than the next ten militaries combined), saber-rattling against Syria, Iran, and… quite possibly… Russia (whom is now meddling in Syria after invading Georgia in 2008 and annexing Crimea in 2012.) They blame President Obama (not President Bush) for the rise of ISIS, saying he withdrew too early (ie: Bush’s timetable), hinting that if THEY were in charge, they’d be sending our troops right back into that meat grinder. I believe the majority of Americans want us OUT of the Middle East and an end to the wars there. Republicans think the solution to violence is more violence: more guns solves the problem of gun violence, and the way to end war is by sending more troops to war, back into Iraq, expand into Syria, destabilize Iran and play Chicken with Russia. Does ANYONE still wonder why the war in Afghanistan is now in its 15th year and why gun violence continues to spiral out of control?

So who’s to blame for all the gun violence breaking out in our schools? We’re not talking about “violent ‘inner-city’ public schools” as most Right-wing gun nuts would have you believe, but nice suburban colleges with a diverse student body. They try to blame the rising violence on movies & videogames, but those exist in other countries too. And it’s not just our schools. We also saw a mass shooting in a church earlier this year by a white kid seething with hatred towards blacks (wonder where he picked THAT up? Hint: It wasn’t movies & videogames) and yet another movie theater shooting, this time in Louisiana. “Hey, shit happens.” (also last week, a women decided to play vigilante and open fire on a shoplifter in a Home Depot parking lot last week. I assure you, that 46 year old woman didn’t decide that was acceptable behavior playing “Call of Duty III“.)

Following the Charleston, SC church shooting last August, and a spate of violence against blacks by white police officers, GOP candidate Ben Carson was hailed as “the GOP voice of reason” after chastising his fellow Republicans for failing to recognize that violence against blacks is still a problem in this country. But the pressure must have gotten to him, because following these most recent campus shootings, America learned that it IS possible to be both a “brain surgeon” AND a blithering moron simultaneously. Carson chuckled as he essentially blamed the victims of the Umpqua Community College shooting, arguably accusing them of cowardice, suggesting that more lives could have been saved if victims simply joined forces and “rushed the shooter” (like the thought hadn’t occurred to them). But when it was pointed out to him that one man, Chris Mintz, did exactly that and barely survived despite being shot SEVEN TIMES, Carson claimed it “proved his point”. NO. No it doesn’t you jackass! You suggested that rushing the shooter would “take him down and prevent others from being killed”, but this guy tried. The shooter was NOT taken down and Mintz nearly died while the shooter stepped over his bullet-riddled body and into his son’s classroom (I can’t confirm whether the three additional gunshot victims were shot before of after Mintz’s heroic act). His actions do NOT “prove your point.” It only proves what a clueless idiot you are.

(In a second interview the next morning, Carson admitted that when a robber shoved a gun in HIS ribs, HIS response was not “heroics” but to redirect the gunman to the cashier. My how brave!)

More guns. More troops. More tax breaks for the Rich. When reality fails to confirm your misconceptions, double-down. They create a catastrophe, and when the damage is pointed out to them, their “diagnosis” is that we just didn’t go in big enough. When I was a young teen, a neighbor’s infant son drank a half bottle of ammonia! I’d have thought that after the first sip, the child would have spit it out and knew it wasn’t drinkable, but it was explained to me that the child keeps drinking because they keep expecting it to get better. THAT’s the Republican Party! They are that child that sees the pretty glowing green liquid, concludes that something that appears so great can’t possibly be bad, then after they start to drink, no batter how bad it tastes or how sick they get, they just keep on drinking because they are certain if they just keep going it’ll get better. Thing is, the infant doesn’t go back later on and declare that the problem was that they just didn’t keep drinking long enough.

In 2006, then-President Bush visited Vietnam and actually compared the Vietnam War to Iraq… but not in the way you or I… or any sane person would. No, he argued that “the lesson of Vietnam” was that we left too soon. NO! “the lesson of Vietnam” was that WE NEVER SHOULD HAVE BEEN THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE! Both wars were based on lies, we stayed FAR too long, and a lot of innocent young kids gave their lives fighting a war we had no business fighting in the first place! At the time, I tried to imagine being the President of Vietnam, sitting there in that room, while the President of the United States argues that your war didn’t go on long enough and enough of your people didn’t die for nothing. (On a side note, Fox “news” dedicated a segment yesterday to trashing a new Robert Redford film called “Truth”, about the firing of Dan Rather from CBS after he dare report on “60 Minutes” the fact that then Private George Bush had gone AWOL while serving in the Alabama National Guard (the “Texas Air National Guard” came later.)

Conservatives think the “solution” to any problem is to mitigate the damage AFTER it’s begun (eg: Firing back at a shooter AFTER they’ve opened fire on your classmates, finally taking notice of terrorism AFTER the worst attack on U.S. soil in American history, or “going to the ER after you get sick” is a reasonable alternative to the “preventative” care the Affordable Care Act offers.) At least ONE person must die AFTER a crazed gunman starts shooting people before other armed people nearby can pull out their guns and return fire in a campus classroom or crowded movie theater. Carson actually said he has never seen a bullet-riddled body that was worse than denying people the right to own a gun. Seriously. So naturally, being allowed to “own a gun” means we can’t deny a person with a history of violence or mental illness from obtaining an assault weapon with 30-round clip.

Completely irrational. And it should comes as no surprise that these same irrational people actually believe that Mr. Maniac would never attempt such an act in the first place if they knew we were all packin’. But when 50% of mass shootings end in either suicide by their own hand or “suicide by cop”, the nuts committing these crimes aren’t terribly worried about getting killed themselves. If Mr. Maniac is worried about getting shot himself, he’s not going to simply decide not to commit mass murder, he’s going to find another way to do it, like shoot at cars on the freeway from a distance, or fire upon students from a clock tower.

And these people are telling us THEY KNOW how to end the wars in the Middle East. A few months ago, Donald Trump actually pontificated that he’d actually get along well with (megalomaniacs like) Putin or Assad. Of that I have little doubt. But would it lead to peace? Only if their solution is that we switch sides.

More war doesn’t lead to peace any more than Syria, Iraq & Afghanistan have become bastions of tranquility thanks to all the guns that have flooded into those countries.

“Your kid was killed in a school shooting, movie theater, or fighting a war we had no business fighting in the first place? Hey, shit happens.”

(Postscript: The first Democratic presidential debate is tomorrow/Tuesday. The “15 Questions” I suggested for the GOP candidates last July still haven’t been asked/answered. A few should also be asked of the DNC candidates.)
 


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!

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