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Party That Swift-Boated John Kerry in 2004 is Outraged By Trump’s Attack on McCain

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

Maybe you remember this from 2004:
 

RNC Conventioneers mocking John Kerry's Purple Heart
Attendees at the 2004 RNC Convention mocking Sen John Kerry’s Purple Heart
by wearing “Purple Heart Band-Aids” and claiming his injuries were little more than a scratch.
Campaign officials told Conventioneers to stop, but Bush/Cheney never publicly condemned them.

 

“Donald Trump Slams John McCain’s Military Service!”  The Sunday shows yesterday all covered the OUTRAGE over Donald Trump’s “offensive” comments regarding John McCain’s military service (after demanding to see the presidents’ birth certificate for six years, and slamming an entire race of people, NOW they’re outraged?) Here they are in case you missed them:
 

Trump: “John McCain is a hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”

Now, everyone listening to those comments knows EXACTLY what he meant:

There is no question THAT is what Trump meant. (And listening to him respond to the parade of reporters detailing McCain’s service, it is also clear the only thing he knew about McCain’s service was that “he was a POW.” Far be it for me to take Sen. McCain’s side on just about anything, but there is no question his heroism post capture earned him that distinction.)

But instead, he defended himself… NOT by defending his comments but by implying he was saying something different from what everyone KNOWS he meant. Trump… live via phone on ABC’s “ThisWeek”… told Martha Radditz that “I didn’t say [McCain] wasn’t a war hero. I said he WAS a war hero [pause] becausehewascaptured.” Radditz followed up by asking what he meant by: “I like people who weren’t captured”? Trump’s response was to suggest he felt troops that aren’t captured don’t receive the Media attention that captured soldiers do.

He never explained why one should have any reason to “prefer” one over the other. Likewise, Trump will NEVER apologize because THAT would mean admitting he made a mistake, and Conservatives are completely phobic over even the possibility of admitting to a mistake.

But all that is but a side-show in the GOP circus. What gets me is the sudden feigned OUTRAGE by the GOP and the other Republican candidates over how Donald Trump “denigrated the service of a military hero.”

I’m sure Secretary John Kerry, watching the news last week, had to hold his eyes shut with both hands to keep them from rolling out of his head.

Give me a freaking break! Conservative reverence for our troops starts & ends with the soldier’s [perceived] Party affiliation. We already know this to be the fact. During the 2004 Presidential race, throughout most of 2003, it appeared Liberal hero Howard Dean was going to be the Democratic nominee, with Kerry running in 3rd place. But when the race turned nasty between the top two Democratic front-runners on the eve of the New Hampshire primary, Kerry filled the void as unsophisticated primary voters believed Kerry’s war hero status would be impossible for the Draft-dodging duo of Bush/Cheney to defeat. Silly them.

Rank & file Republicans found it difficult… if not impossible… to defend President Bush’s “military record”, so the solution was to neutralize Kerry’s “war hero” status by latching onto the claims of a longtime Kerry critic… another Vietnam “swiftboat vet”… that never actually served with John Kerry, claiming to know for a fact Kerry’s medals were not “earned” and “unjustified”, claiming his injuries were “self-inflicted”, and that he never actually killed the enemy soldier for which he earned him his Silver Star (Kerry also earned a Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts.) BTW: If you can find a copy of “Going Up River”… a documentary about John Kerry volunteering for military service in Vietnam only to return to champion the fight to end it… I highly recommend it. I came away far more impressed with him than expected.

(Note: Rewatching movie now and was reminded of how Republican Senate candidate Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)… whom never served… compared his opponent Max Cleland… who left three limbs on the battlefield in Vietnam,,, to Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. Chambliss won.)

By the time you read these words, we should already know if Right-Wing talk radio has decided to stand by Trump or throw him under the bus. But my prediction is that because so many of them are fellow racist Chicken-Hawk draft dodgers like him that likewise despise John McCain, and still feel their beloved Birther King represents them on the issues, they’ll either defend him or find a completely different reason to toss him overboard (such as his comments about “religion” in the same speech.)
 

Birther King

 



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Filed in Election, Politics, Predictions, Right-Wing Hypocrisy July 20th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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15 Questions That Should Be Asked of Every Presidential Candidate

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, July 13, 2015

Exactly three weeks from today, Fox will be hosting the first of nine GOP Presidential debates (Democrats have yet to settle on a debate schedule). While everyone is busy questioning Fox’s right to choose which of the 16 declared GOP candidates makes the cut (debate performances should decide the polls, not the other way around), no one seems to be discussing the TOPICS they should be asked about. Should we build on the Obama Administration’s efforts to undo the disastrous policies of the Bush Administration or return to them? Now that the GOP has alienated every non-white demographic there is, what positions do they think will lead to their recapturing the White House? Every election season, Republicans only ask the questions they think matter to Republicans (“Elvis or Johnny Cash?”), and Democrats only ask the questions they think matter to Democrats (“Obama & Flag-pin gate“). So while Republicans this year are asked about “BenghaziTM” and “repealing ObamaCare”, Democrats are asked questions about their support for the removal of the Confederate flag from Public grounds. Then, once the two (three?) candidates face off in the cross-Party debates, the subjects that matter most to most Americans haven’t even been brought up yet. They’ll dance around the issues, do their best to avoid giving straight answers, and in the end, the need to “move on before the next debate” will ensure those questions are never answered.

Below is a short list of the 10 12 15 questions I believe should be asked of every presidential candidate this cycle (no dumb questions like: “Name your favorite Supreme Court justice?”):

  1. The War in Afghanistan, which is about to begin its 15th year… almost as long as World War II and Vietnam put together… how will we know when the war there is over? How do you see that result being brought about?
  2.  

  3. Do you believe in Man-Made Climate Change? If so, do you believe Man is the leading contributor, and what… if anything… should be done about it?
  4.  

  5. Do you support the right of gay couples to marry? If not, do you support a Constitutional Amendment to ban it?
  6.  

  7. Do you believe “in-person” voter fraud (the kind “Voter ID” laws are intended to thwart) is a problem in this country? And if so, do you believe the risk of disenfranchising tens of thousands of eligible voters is offset by the number of “ineligible” voters who are stopped?
  8.  

  9. Do you believe if we shut down every abortion clinic in the country, women would simply stop having abortions?
  10.  

  11. Describe in detail your plan for Immigration Reform.
  12.  

  13. How do you account for the widening gap in “income inequality” over the past 30 years?
  14.  

  15. During the 2004 presidential race, the nominees Bush & Kerry agreed that “a nuclear armed Iran” was the most serious threat facing our nation. During the 2008 race, Senator McCain joked how he’d “Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran” if they didn’t halt their nuclear ambitions. How do you explain the apparent disconnect between the looming “immediate” threat of a nuclear-armed Iran and the fact that such fears are now in their 12th year?
  16.  

  17. Do you support a path to “legal status” for the over 10 million undocumented immigrants already in the country illegally? If not, what is your solution?
  18.  

  19. What lessons have you learned from the decision to invade Iraq in 2003? Do you believe the chaos currently inhabiting that region can be traced back to that decision?
  20.  

  21. Do you believe we need to repeal The Affordable Care Act, ie: “ObamaCare”, and if so, what is your solution to providing care to the 50 million people who now have insurance as a direct result of the law?
  22.  

  23. Do you support or oppose a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines like the ones used in the Aurora, CO theater shooting, the Giffords campaign shooting in Tuscon, AZ and the massacre of twenty 1st graders and six adults in Newtown, CT?
  24.  

  25. Which do you believe costs the American Taxpayer more each year: Food Stamps or subsidies to major corporations?
  26.  

  27. JUST FOUR of the largest banks in the U.S. (thanks to mergers & acquisitions following the 2008 crash) control more than a third… nearly $7.5-TRILLION… of the U.S. economy. Propose a solution to prevent another $700 Billion dollar bailout of Wall Street.
  28.  

  29. Should corporations that move their operations overseas to avoid paying income taxes be allowed to import their goods back into the United States tax free?

That’s just off the top of my head. I’m sure you can think of some more. Add your own questions for the candidates in the Comments.
 



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Filed in Election, Politics July 13th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ditto for murderers.

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

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

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

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

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



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

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Let’s Face Facts: Spike in violence against Blacks tied to Right Wing hostility toward Obama

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, June 22, 2015

After news broke of the mass murder of nine African-American members of the AME Church of Charleston, SC last Thursday, the “discovery” that the shooter was a Confederate Flag waving racist gun nut, surprised no one. What WAS surprising was the lengths to which Fox “news” went to to suggest that this might have been an attack on Christians by a possibly “liberal” youth driven to hatred of “religion” by The Left rather than a racially motivated crime driven by hatred towards blacks. And the impetus is obvious: the Shooter shares much in common with Fox’s core demographic: White Southern Conservative, loves guns, with some obviously racist views. Yes, the Right was openly suggesting this redneck jackass was not necessarily motivated by racism but by hatred of religion. And we all know why: Because one view makes Conservatives look bad while the other makes “Libruls” look bad. It has become political. And why might that be? We all KNOW why but it seems like no one is willing to admit it: Open hostility towards President Obama is feeding open hostility towards blacks in general. Trying to attach a political ideology to the S.C. shooter wouldn’t be necessary if there wasn’t already a reason to believe politics played a role in this latest mass murder. Think about it.

I mean, seriously. If “politics” played “No” part in shaping the motivations of the S.C. Shooter, then it wouldn’t matter if he were a Conservative, a Liberal, a Communist or an anarchist. The very fact Fox tried to shed doubt on the motivations of the shooter is (frankly) an ADMISSION that politics likely played a part in this crime.

A string of unarmed black people… several of them children for Christ sakes (Tamir Rice, Travon Martin and a bikini-clad black girl in McKinney, Texas) have been assaulted (or worse) by enraged white authority figures (numerous cops and two wannabees) that can’t fathom the idea of relating or even empathizing with blacks as equals that might make them less quick to draw their gun or wrestle a black person to the ground. And I can only attribute this to one thing: a lack of respect for our Commander-in-Chief, often couched in the subtle language of racism.

When a fight between two mostly white rival biker gangs broke out in Waco last month, police sat with the bikers and calmly arrested them. How many in the media called them “thugs” and questioned why “leaders of the biking community” hadn’t come out to “condemn” these rogue elements? “Where are the parents?” A biker jacket on a white guy is apparently less anti-social than a “hoodie” on a black kid.

A Facebook page of the shooter turned up with photos (video?) of him flying “White Power” & “Confederate battle” flags as well as photos of him burning the American flag. The day of the shooting, we already had photos of him in a jacket sporting the “Apartheid-era” flags of South Africa and Rhodesia (modern-day Zimbabwe) with a novelty Confederate flag license plate on the front of his car. If you’ve seen the photos, The Shooter is clearly in the woods, unquestionably nowhere near the downtown area. And yet, Fox “news” would have you believe this poor misguided (by Liberal hated of Christianity) God-fearing youth with a healthy love of guns (which in itself doesn’t gibe with the “Liberal” label) couldn’t find a church closer to his home and apparently had to drive 15-20 miles into the heart of downtown Charleston, where he just happened to choose an almost exclusively black church “by accident” so he may start killing “Christians”.

Seriously. Did Fox really believe the downtown Charleston AME church “just happened” to be the most convenient church to where the shooter lived? There weren’t dozens more churches along the way in which he could have stopped in to carry out his brutal Liberal-influenced attack on Christianity? Anyone that buys that desperate stretch of tortured logic is lying to themselves… and knows it.

I forget who said it yesterday (during the Sunday shows), but “guns make the weak feel powerful”. We now have an entire network dedicated to convincing people they are victims, and that the Federal government is their enemy. They already horde guns like a squirrel hording nuts for Winter, and the NRA makes Bank convincing the paranoid that the government is coming to take their guns away. With a mostly white Southern Conservative demographic that (unquestionably) already tends to lean a bit racist to begin with, linking their dislike of “blacks” to their dislike of “government” has become painfully easy now that the head of that government just happens to be black.

The S.C. Shooter told one black woman in the AME church that “[blacks] are taking over the country“. Now if you believe a 20-year old kid is upset over losing a string of jobs or college admission to “Affirmative Action” candidates, or had one-too-many black bankers turn him down for a loan, you’re sniffing glue. No, there is only ONE “black” in this kid’s mind that epitomizes having “taken over the country”, and that’s President Obama.
 

Nightly Show on Fox whitewashing of Charelston shooting

 

I’ve often said that “if a Conservative accuses you of doing something, it’s only because they’ve either done it themselves or thought of doing it and assume you’re every bit as devious as they are”, be it “election rigging” or “false flag” operations. Trust me.

And that second one, that belief that everything that makes Conservatives look bad is in fact a “false flag” operation meticulously carried out by “The Other Side” is actually a thing. In any other era, these candidates for the rubber room would be holding meetings in basements to discuss the fact the U.S. military is hiding alien bodies in a hangar in “Area-51″. Instead, these delusional paranoids have their own 24 hour cable news network that tells them, “No, you’re not paranoid! The government really is building FEMA interment camps where they plan to hold you prisoner for… well, that’s really not clear. Till you agree to give up your guns and sign up for socialized medicine? I seriously can not come up with a SANE explanation for why the Federal government might suddenly be building (“in total secret” mind you) internment camps to house hundreds/thousands/millions(?) of Americans or planning an invasion of Texas via secret underground passages in vacant Wal*Marts. For how long and what purpose? There’s not enough tinfoil in the world to explain that one.

But one thing is brutally clear, latent Conservative racism is being linked and stoked towards President Obama specifically and that racial animosity is bleeding over into the general population.
 



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Filed in Crime, Guns & Violence, myth busting, Party of Life, Politics, Racism, Rants, Religion, Seems Obvious to Me, Terrorism June 22nd, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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STUNNING VIDEO: Iraqi soldiers say if US sends more troops, “We’ll fight them too!”

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, June 15, 2015

Iraqi soldiers: “If Obama sends more troops to fight ISIS, we’ll fight ISIS AND the Americans!” (2:48)

The full clip shows what a chaotic mess Iraq has become since the 2003 invasion. Not just from the constant fighting, but with the rise of Islamic militancy (women completely covered, schools closed, Christians threatened). America turned Iraq into this mess, and in Iraq, the thought of more American troops returning to reoccupy their country would be about as welcome as Dick Cheney at the DNC Convention. (Key section begins at the 2:05 mark.)
 

The latest entry into the GOP Presidential Clown Car, Sen. Lindsey Graham, is one of the few people left on Earth who still believes invading Iraq wasn’t a mistake (though he concedes in retrospect that if it were 2003, he “probably” wouldn’t support the 2003 invasion), and everything was going just great until Obama took over. He, and about a dozen other GOP contenders have all criticized President Obama for (standing by President Bush’s “Status of Forces Agreement” regarding) pulling our troops out of Iraq “too soon.” I’ve written about this absurd rewrite of history on several occasions (ibid), pointing out the fact that “Yes, technically, President Obama could have ignored the SoFA agreed to with the “sovereign” Iraqi government (remember when that was a big deal?) and just kept thousands of American troops there against the Iraqi’s wishes, but there is a reason President Bush agreed not to. Part of the agreement to let them stay was on the condition that American troops be shielded from prosecution for past “crimes”. The Iraqi’s said, “No. And if an American soldier accused of crimes is spotted on the streets, he/she will be arrested and put on trial before an Iraqi court.” So, President Bush agreed to pull out ALL troops “by the end of 2011.” President Obama abided by this agreement to the letter.

Now, just imagine if President Obama HADN’T withdrawn American troops from Iraq, only to have an American soldier turn up on TV, standing trial before an Iraqi court, forced to account for American atrocities against the Iraqi people (and there are many.) “This is how Obama ‘Supports the Troops!'”, they’d cry. “Shameful!”, “This wouldn’t have happened if only he had pulled our troops out like President Bush had so wisely agreed to do before leaving office!”, they’d shout in protest.

Graham isn’t the only warhawk calling to resend American combat troops back to Iraq (though he is the only one specifying an exact number of “10,000”) where they aren’t wanted (and keep them there “indefinitely“). Former NY Gov George Pataki and current Ohio Governor John Kasich both want to send an unspecified number of American troops into Iraq “right now”, and now that’s his handlers have finally told him how he is supposed to feel about the decision to invade Iraq in the first place, Jeb Bush is noncommittal on whether or not we should send more troops back into Iraq (if he didn’t, he’d be the first President Bush NOT to invade Iraq, so there’s THAT), but his assertion that “Obama refused to sign a plan to leave 10,000 troops in Iraq”, rated only one step above “Pants-On-Fire” on Politifact.com. Another GOP noncommittal commitment from Gov. Chris Christie, The Pompous One probably didn’t do himself any favors yesterday by using President Bush’s ridiculous “Coalition of the Willing” catch-phrase to describe his plan for securing Iraq. Chuck Norris’ favorite candidate, Mike Huckabee won’t say what he thinks Obama should do about Iraq, only to suggest that no one should join the military until after we’ve replaced Obama with a Republican Commander-in-Chief… where U.S. troops had a mortality rate that made a street-fight between the Crips & Bloods look like a stroll down the Champs d’Elysees.

Neither Gov. Scott Walker nor Hillary Clinton are willing to commit to whether or not they’d send troops back into Iraq, while youngster Marco Rubio… having perhaps watched one-too-many commando movies… thinks we can wipe out the whole lot of them by sending in a Special Forces Unit… which is essentially Donald Rumsfeld’s “small footprint” strategy that led to the disaster in Iraq in the first place.
 

Troops in Iraq say how they really feel about Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld (July 15, 2003)
 

 

But hey, as Rummy noted:

“Death has a tendency to encourage a depressing view of war.” – Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld – date unknown

 

Iraq is a mess. And it is impossible to fathom how sending in more troops into a place where they are not wanted… even by the people they are being sent there to help… would make things better. No one ever becomes more welcoming of you after you stick a gun in their face, kill their father/mother/brother/sister and turn their once peaceful & functioning nation into a basket case. Many Iraqi’s still hold hatred for all Americans simply for what we did to their country, and would welcome another opportunity to kill American soldiers. And that anger won’t go away simply because we are helping them fight ISIS… an enemy that wouldn’t exist had we not invaded in the first place. All of the GOP candidates… sans Rand Paul… seem to think sending troops back into Iraq is a great idea, and Hillary Clinton is the only Democratic candidate that has yet to come out against it. In the first video at the top of the page, the Iraqi soldiers still fighting consider American troops their enemy, while the lone former Iraqi solder… who hadn’t been paid in seven months and quickly decided it wasn’t worth risking HIS life to keep fighting ISIS… would like American troops to return to do the fighting for him.

And this is where we are. The decision whether or not to send American troops back into Iraq isn’t as cut & dry as most of the GOP candidates would have you believe. There is a VERY good chance they might be attacked from BOTH sides.

And I still don’t hear anyone proposing a NON-military solution to ending our wars in the Middle East (possibly Lincoln Chafee, but I can’t confirm). If all it took was sending in troops, the war would have ended 15 years ago.
 



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Filed in Election, Middle East, National Security, Politics, rewriting history, Right-Wing Insanity, Terrorism, War June 15th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Hastert Bribery Scandal Belies Troubling Question: Coach turned Politician turned Lobbyist has Millions in bank?

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, June 1, 2015

It’s the question everyone started to ask once the news that former Speaker of the House Denny Hastert was in the process of paying out millions in hush money” to a former male student claiming he “sexually molested him decades ago”: Where in the heck did a former High School wrestling coach turned Congressman turned Speaker of the House come up with “over $3.5 million” to spare ($1.7 million of which had already been paid), just sitting in the bank with enough left over that he could pay out that kind of cash without conspicuously impacting his standard of living?

Congress has been reluctant to pass significant legislation banning outgoing politicians from “cashing in” by becoming K-Street lobbyists after they leave office. Why is that a bad thing? Because a Congressperson with the intent of becoming a lobbyist may push legislation favorable to the people they hope to land a lobbying job with once they leave office… or worse, a corporation might promise a lucrative job in exchange for favorable legislation. The road from First Ave (Congress) to K Street may be few minutes by car, but that’s nothing compared to the express lane between the Capitol Building and plush leather chair in some lobbying firm. And Denny Hastert didn’t rake in millions for his ability to make a persuasive argument:
 

Hastert: “Middle-Class probably won’t get a tax cut”, but millionaires who will barely notice the extra dough, will. So vote for it!

I’m still trying to figure out Hastert’s line of reasoning here: If you make $40K a year, you won’t get a tax cut because you “probably don’t pay taxes anyway”. But you should support this budget-busting bill to give a $40K tax break for millionaires that’ll barely notice it anyway?
 

“Where are those 20,000 tons of Yellowcake, Mr. Speaker?” – Hastert on Fox “news” Sunday claiming the
uranium President Bush said Saddam bought in Africa is indeed there, in barrels, just waiting to be found.
(July 20, 2003)

 

But probably only about half of Denny’s millions were made lobbying after leaving office. The bulk of his wealth he made while still serving as Speaker of the House.

Now, this is by no means primarily a Republican failing, nor am I suggesting Conservatives are more likely to cash-in. Actually, the K-Street revolving door spins both ways fairly equally. But I’m not here to rant about the scourge of lobbying. What I want to know just how a former High School coach makes SO much money he can afford to pay out MILLIONS without his family/friends noticing?

Hastert entered Congress in 1998 with a net worth of about a quarter million dollars. As a Congressman in 2000, his annual salary was just over $161,000/year. Nothing to sneeze at, but definitely not enough to turn someone into a multi-millionaire just six years later. As Rachel Maddow pointed out last Thursday, one of Denny’s most lucrative deals took place while he was still speaker: earmarking a highway interchange that went directly through land that he just happened to own. By the time he left office in 2007, Hastert was worth between $4 million and $17 million dollars from “various” sources.

Upon leaving Congress, Hastert first started his own “Consulting” (read: lobbying) firm as well as worked as a lobbyist for others firms on behalf of Big Tobacco, earning him a few million more. But it was those land deals he made while in charge of the U.S. Congress that stuffed his piggy bank.

Revelations of Speaker Newt Gingrich’s marital affair while condemning President Clinton for his own, led to Newt’s ouster. The man picked to replace him, Bob Livingston, was forced to turn down the job upon revelations that he too had been caught cheating on his wife (BTW, Clinton’s chief critic in the Senate, Henry Hyde, was also found to be having an extra-martial affair at the time.) Hastert was picked to replace them because he was deemed “Mr. Clean” (whom now it appears was the dirtiest of them all.) This is your “Family Values”, obsessed with “Traditional Marriage” Party, folks.

We have a serious problem in this country when Members of Congress can legally cash-in on their jobs like this. Molesting a child and paying millions to cover it up may make the evening news, but the ability of members of Congress to “legally” use their jobs for lucrative personal gain should be every bit as controversial a story.
 



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Filed in Crime, mystery, Politics, Right-Wing Hypocrisy, Scandals June 1st, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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GOP Desperately Needs You to Forget How the Iraq War Started. Woodward: I found no lies.

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, May 25, 2015

First it was “Benghazi!”, and the unmitigated OUTRAGE on the Right over the deaths of four Americans on 9/11/12 on the watch of a Democratic president (9/11/01? Four THOUSAND dead under a Republican President and Republican Congress? That’s not an “outrage”, that’s something to campaign on!) Next was Jeb Bush last week desperately hoping to convince everyone that “everybody” thought Saddam had WMD’s and war was unavoidable (this lie is still being pandered but mercifully, appears to be dying on the vine.) And now, the History-Revisionists are at it again, out to convince you “Iraq was… if not peaceful… on the road to recovery when George Bush left and President Obama screwed it up.” I’ve already compared this to an arsonist blaming the firemen for not doing a better job of putting out the fire he started.) And, naturally, Republican history-revisionists have a very good reason for this sudden spate of attempts to rewrite the history of Iraq: the coming elections and the Right-Wing’s desperate hope that enough time has passed that voters have either forgotten, or were too young to remember, how they got us into this mess.

Fox “news” Sunday invited on The Mustache of Fear, former “Ambassador” John Bolton (the very idea anyone picked this paranoid delusional war-monger, openly hostile to the U.N., to be our Ambassador to the U.N., is still beyond belief.) Astoundingly devoid of self-awareness (check out that link BTW), Bolton declared his belief that “ISIS is winning” and “President Obama is losing the war in Iraq”… a statement echoed by GOP candidate Mike Huckabee later in the show. Fox host Chris Wallace helpfully provided the following graphic to help “support” the Huckster’s point:
 

Territory now under ISIS control:
ISIS mostly in Syria not Iraq

 

But look closely at that map. More than half of the territory controlled by ISIS (which I’ve circled in green) is in SYRIA, not Iraq. And that’s significant for two reasons: 1) We have the support of the Iraqi government to fight ISIS in Iraq and provide Iraqi soldiers with arms & training, and 2) We don’t have that authority (nor do we want it) in Syria. Worse, by fighting ISIS in Syria, we’re actually HELPING Assad, the brutal dictator in charge of Syria. In fact, it was Assad’s attacks on the Syrian rebels in the East that gave rise to ISIS in the first place (drawing disenfranchised former Iraqi solders across the border to fight on their behalf.) I have yet to hear a Conservative pundit explain how to defeat ISIS in Syria without helping Assad. They’re REAL GOOD at pointing out problems they created (once they’ve been handed off to Democrats), but never very forthcoming with solutions (as a general rule, that goes far beyond Iraq, applying equally well to economic issues, usually beginning & ending with “tax cuts”.)

So let’s recap how we got here:

Yes, Saddam was a bad guy. But the world is FULL of bad guys (this one just had the misfortune of sitting atop a lot of oil.) Not only is it clear now his Strong-Man tactics probably kept a Civil War at bay for decades, but the very arguments at the time for why he was a global threat were being knocked down one-by-one. Bob Woodward, a frequent guest of Fox “news” Sunday declared yesterday that in all his investigations of how the Iraq War was started, “while you can make a strong case that mistakes were made that shouldn’t have been”, he “never found any evidence that anyone [knowingly] lied us into war. Seriously. Either Bob doesn’t know how to use The Google Machine, or he’s being deliberately obtuse. Let’s see if we can’t help Bob out, shall we? (This is an extremely annotated list):
 

Seven big lies used to sell the Iraq War:

First, President Bush KNEW the famed “sixteen words” claiming Iraq sought to purchase “uranium from Africa” (presumably to build a nuclear bomb) were not true when he said them during his 2003 State of the Union address. He was told the claim wasn’t true, yet he made the claim anyway during a national address carried by all three networks where it was sure to have maximum impact, to help stoke the public fears into supporting his war.

Second, those “mobile labs” Saddam was supposedly using to produce chemical & biological weapons? Those too had already been found to be nothing of the sort when President Bush told the world that we had found those same mobile WMD labs (though to be fair to Woodward, their discovery and subsequent lie took place AFTER the invasion.)

Third, remember those “aluminum tubes” with “anodized coating” found by U.N. inspectors that the Bush Administration claimed were intended for use in a “nuclear centrifuge” to breed Plutonium? Well, not only were the tubes totally inappropriate for use in a nuclear centrifuge (poor quality, cracks, etc) but that damning “anodized coating” they made sure to cite, would actually have to be milled off before anyone could even think of using them for such a purpose. Despite that, they knowingly pandered that lie frequently & easily (the small tubes were actually for building conventional short-range rockets).

Which brings us to #4, VP Cheney’s “leak” to “reporter” Judith Miller about those tubes. While technically not a “lie”, it was unquestionably evidence of willful deception when VP Cheney cited the NYT investigative journalist’s reporting that Saddam had acquired the aluminum tubes for use in a nuclear centrifuge. What Cheney did not reveal was that HE was Miller’s source for the claim. Despite unquestionably knowing the VP was disingenuously quoting her quoting him, Miller continued to defend her reporting and chose to go to jail rather than reveal that Cheney was her source once the excrement impacted the rotary ventilator.

Fifth, how about Dick Cheney’s “Pretty well confirmed” lie about 9/11 ringleader Mohammed Atta “meeting with Iraqi Intelligence in Prague”? While Cheney now hedges on the assertion, it’s a claim he refuses to admit was total BS even to this day (saying now that the once “pretty well confirmed” claim, though never proven, has never been “disproven” either.) That’s the level of intellectual dishonesty we’re dealing with here. My finger one inch from your nose technically isn’t “touching you.” Mom!

Sixth, the Bush Administration’s key source for intel on Iraq’s WMD program was a man they dubbed “Curveball“… a mid-level Iraqi intelligence advisor with an ax to grind, who German Intelligence had already labeled “highly unreliable”. But they chose… not only to heavily rely on his unsubstantiated claims of WMD production… but publicly cite those unreliable & unsubstantiated claims whenever making their case for war.

Seventh, if accurate, investigative journalist Ron Suskind revealed that the Bush Administration knowingly & purposefully directed the CIA to fake a link between Iraq and 9/11 in order to drum up support for an invasion:
 


 

The GOP needs you to forget all of this. “War with Iraq? President Bush is the REAL victim here! Blame all the bad intel the CIA was feeding him!” (Google the phrases “stove-piping” & “cherry-picking” for a refresher. Go ahead, I’ll wait.)

Seriously Mr. Woodward? You couldn’t find ANY evidence that the Bush Administration knowingly lied us into war? Here are seven (six?) good leads for your next book. I’m seriously beginning to doubt you ever broke Watergate.
 

ADDENDUM from Mother Jones: “George W. Bush’s CIA Briefer: Bush and Cheney Falsely Presented WMD Intelligence to Public“.May 19, 2015
 



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Filed in Election, Middle East, myth busting, National Security, Politics, rewriting history, Right-Wing Hypocrisy, War May 25th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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GOP Candidates All Adopting Language of Democrats to Remain Relevant

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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Fox Tries to Pin Baltimore Poverty On Electing Democratic Mayors

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, May 4, 2015

As Bill Maher explained it last July, a “Zombie Lie” is a lie told by Republicans that is proven false & widely discredited, yet they keep telling them“, telling their idiot followers that the lie is in fact true. “Zombie Lies” include “ObamaCare will/has cost jobs” (ditto for “raising the minimum wage”), “no consensus on Climate Change” (a claim two Right-wingers advanced in the WSJ last year but couldn’t do more than claim the number wasn’t as high as 97%, and whose OWN conclusions were challenged by Scientific American), Keystone XL will create “a million jobs” and make us “energy independent”, “we need Voter ID laws to protect us from Voter Fraud“, ad infinitum. A year and a half ago, I wrote about Newt Gingrich informing former Labor Secretary Robert Reich that “Every major city which is a center of poverty is run by Democrats.” A majority perhaps, but the people in these cities aren’t poor because they vote Democrat, they vote Democrats because they are poor… typically minorities unwelcome by the GOP. But, as I pointed out, it’s a BS statistic because nearly every single desperately chronically poor STATE in the country is a Red State. So it should come as no surprise to anyone when 18 months later, Chris Wallace, host of Fox “news” Sunday, tried to suggest to Congresswoman Donna Edwards that Baltimore electing only Democratic mayors for the past 50 years might be proof Democratic polices don’t work:
 

Fox Tries to Blame Democratic Mayors for Black Poverty (2:08)

 

Since I already debunked this nonsense 18 months ago, there’s no need for me to kill the zombie again. But when Wallace asks if “Democratic” policies have failed because the lives of the people voting for them have not substantially improved, he’s suggesting that if they had just tried voting Republican, maybe they wouldn’t be so poor. Conversely, poor cities run by Republican mayors should show more signs of improvement than those run by Democrats. Let’s challenge this theory, shall we?

Earlier this year, CBS News listed The 11 Poorest Cities in America (slightly changed from 18 months ago):

1. Detroit, Michigan – Percentage of incomes under $25,000: 48%
2. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
3. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
4. Memphis, Tennessee
5. Tucson, Arizona – New
6. Baltimore, Maryland
7. Fresno, California
8. El Paso, Texas
9. Indianapolis, Indiana
10. Boston, Massachusetts – While #6 in wealthy residents, also has 29% of its population with incomes below $25,000.
11. Louisville, Kentucky – Percentage of incomes under $25,000: 29%

And as I pointed out 18 months ago, yes, most do indeed have Democratic mayors. Not all, but most. Not surprising when the poorest cities are also majority minority. Though Detroit’s entire city government was stripped of all power by its Far-Right Republican governor Rick Snyder. But what about those towns that elected Republican mayors, did it make a difference? Did their lives improve? And did stripping Detroit’s local government of all power turn the city around? Detroit is still #1 on that list two years running, so clearly the answer to the latter is No.

Tucson, Arizona… a purple city in a red state… is new to the list, electing a Democratic Mayor in December 2011 to replace a Republican one. Ouch, that looks bad, and if I were a Republican, I might stop there to suggest that is proof of something. But in fact, unemployment there has FALLEN from 7.9% to 4.9% (lower than the national average) since their Democratic mayor was elected. But wages aren’t rising to keep up with inflation, so poverty grows. And local mayors don’t control the Federal Minimum Wage (raising the Minimum Wage doesn’t just help the poor, IT RAISES THE FLOOR, raising wages across the board. Republicans don’t get this and continue to fight raising it.)

Miami fell off the list. A Republican mayor in a state with Republican governor. Like Tuscon, Miami’s unemployment rate has fallen 3 percentage points from 8.5 to 5.5. Another ouch for Democrats. Or is it? Miami made the list last September when, under its current Republican mayor, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that the median income for a household in the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale-West Palm Beach metro area was just $46,946 in 2013… the second lowest level in the nation’s top 25 metro areas. That’s “median”, not “average”. Because between Bill Gates and I, we have a combined average net worth of $30 Billion dollars. Trust me, I don’t have $30 Billion dollars. I’m as broke as a $2 watch. In 2013, the percentage of Miami residents living in poverty was 31.7%. Last March, the Dade County government reported that that percentage hasn’t changed (roughly 30% earning below $24,250.) So why was Miami removed from the list seeing as how the poverty rate has not changed? The explanation is that it didn’t. It’s a different list. The 2013 list from Wikipedia counted all cities with a population of “over 200,000″. The CBS report cites a study of “the 33 Poorest US cities with a population over 500,000“. The population of Miami: 417,000. Miami isn’t off the list because life substantially improved under a Republican mayor. It didn’t make the list because it was too small.

Indianapolis is new to the list. Their Republican mayor has been serving since January of 2008. Unemployment there did skyrocket following The Great Recession of 2008, piquing at 10.6% in March of 2010 (more than a year after piquing at 10.0% nationally), briefly came down as low as 7.4% in Sept. 2012 before rapidly climbing back up to 9.0% just four months later, but has slowly climbed back down as the U.S. economy improved as a whole, to 5.5%. The graph of Indianapolis’ unemployment rate (you’ll have to build it yourself) follows the same trajectory as the U.S. Unemployment Rate as a whole… though with a much “bouncier” ride… but indicates no benefit to electing a Republican mayor vs a Democrat.

What all these numbers demonstrate is that mayors of small poor, mostly minority cities have very little political power to affect the economic fortunes of their city. THAT power comes from the economic power of the citizens within these cities themselves. “Money” = “Power”. And poor people, whether they elect a Republican or a Democrat, don’t have a lot of political power to improve their lives. When your citizenry is mostly minority, you’re poor to begin with. And in a country where Republicans have decided that the wealthy can spend as much as they want influencing politicians, the only politicians with any REAL power to change the lives of the poor at the ones with at the higher levels of government. That’s not your local mayor.
 

Bill Maher: Zombie Lies (2014)

 



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Filed in Crime, Economy, myth busting, Politics, Racism, rewriting history May 4th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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What If… Hillary’s Campaign Imploded? Who fills the void?

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, April 27, 2015

Most people believe that the Bush Administration invaded Iraq in 2003 without a plan for what to do once they had overthrown Saddam. But they DID have a plan. ONE plan. To replace him with a man named Ahmed Chalabi, an Iraqi exile that tried & failed for nearly a decade to convince the Clinton White House that Saddam possessed “stockpiles” of “Weapons of Mass Destruction” and that he needed to be overthrown to avoid an inevitable attack upon the United States. He failed to convince the Clinton White House, but found a far more receptive audience once the Bush neocons took over. Suddenly a plan was set in motion (“from day one”) to overthrow Saddam and replace him with Chalibi. But when we invaded and those “stockpiles” were nowhere to be found, the Bush Administration wasn’t about to “reward” the man that duped them into launching America’s very first preemptive war, so they suddenly found themselves without a “Plan B”. Chaos broke out and Iraq has yet to recover from that lack of planning. Might Democrats be making the same mistake by not seriously considering another candidate should Hillary falter? Who steps up to fill the void? What’s our “Plan B”?

The GOP scandal machine was switched on the day after President Obama was re-elected to a second term and a Hillary candidacy seemed inevitable. There was “Benghazi!TM” on September 11th of 2012, followed by demands for an investigation into Clinton’s handling of the incident (just imagine how they might of reacted if four THOUSAND people had died that 9/11 instead of just four?) Republican tears over Romney’s loss weren’t even dry before Karl Rove suggested Hillary might have suffered “brain damage” as a result of a head injury that left her hospitalized that December, with some Republicans even questioning the “timing” of her injury as happening “conveniently” just before yet another hearing on “Benghazi!TM. They ridiculed her attempt to “hit the reset button with Russia” while not seeing the Ukrainian crisis coming (this is the Party whose own leader less than a decade before claimed to able to “see into Putin’s soul” and praise him as “a reformer”), and the latest scandals-du-jour are “email-gate” and (an old chestnut) the Clinton’s fund-raising from “foreign” donors (Republicans are proud to be bought & paid for by a handful of AMERICAN Billionaires. “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!”)

With no other “serious” opponents on the Left to focus on, all 37 Republican contenders can focus nearly every dime of their ad buys against a single candidate. The GOP can use its control of Congress to host countless partisan investigations (all funded by the taxpayer) to try and accuse Clinton of everything from being “incompetent” to an outright “criminal”. That’s a lot of negative attention & scrutiny focused on just one person.
 

What if something sticks? Then what?
 

The GOP knows that… with no other Democratic contender with a serious shot at winning the presidency… all they have to do is take out Hillary and a GOP victory in 2016 will be so easy they may not even worry about enforcing strict “Voter ID” laws (aw, who am I kidding? An election is no fun if they can’t screw over enough Democrats so that the margin of victory is wide enough to claim an imagined “mandate”.) That’s a lot of targets on Hillary’s back. If a dog keeps digging long enough, he’s bound to find a bone. What then?

For many, the obvious answer is Sen. Elizabeth Warren, no matter how many times she insists she is not running. And as much as I adore Warren (having watched her as a frequent guest of Bill Moyers’ NOW long before she ran for the Senate), I just don’t see her as “Commander-in-Chief” of the United States military. And besides, we REALLY need her in the Senate.

I have a personal preference for Bernie Sanders. I was stunned to see him give an interview to Fox “news” Sunday last week, and host Chris Wallace brought up the fact Sanders is “a self-described Democratic-Socialist.” I could hear the sound of every #FnS viewer across the nation (all 17 of them) audibly gasp at the revelation that “a NAZI” and/or “admitted COMMUNIST” is a serving United States senator thinking about running for president! While I personally WANT Bernie to run… and run as a Democrat in order to share the stage with Hillary in a debate that pushes her to the Left… if HE were the nominee, he’d be spending 90% of his time explaining to the Trailer Park Crowd that a “Socialist” is not a “Communist” or a “Nazi”. It’s the third largest political Party in the UK (after the Conservative & Labor Parties) and is currently the ruling Party in France. But to Bubba on his Bass boat or the Sarah Palin’s of the world chewing on Moose Jerky (and even a few reliably Liberal voters that just don’t know better), “Socialism” is either “watered-down Communism” or the foundation for the “National Socialist (aka Nazi) Party” (actually, Hitler’s Fascists took-over Germany’s Socialist Party to give themselves credibility, but were in fact Corporate neocons.) I’d say a Bernie victory is less likely than the election of the first black president that just happened to share a (middle) name with one of America’s greatest enemies (“Hussein”). Not impossible, but very very unlikely. It took a catastrophic economic disaster at the hands of the GOP to do it. Bernie will have no such advantage unless the GOP Senate goes completely off the rails between now and Election Day.

Then there is the former governor of Maryland Martin O’Malley who is known for… uh… ummm… hmmm. I don’t think the former governor of Maryland is even known for being former governor of Maryland. If Hillary were to falter, does anyone see the nation rallying around Martin O’Malley?

That leaves Joe Biden. With the continued success of the economy, a stunning military victory in the Middle East could suddenly make a desire to “extend the Obama presidency to a (metaphorical) third term” very attractive. One big downside is Biden’s age, who… should he win… would be the oldest person ever elected president. It was Joe Biden who got the ball rolling on the sudden stunning wave of approval towards equal rights for gays, declaring his support for same-sex marriage on “Meet the Press” in the middle of the 2012 campaign when President Obama himself was reluctant to openly support gay marriage for fear of how it might play out in an election year.

It was Biden who first advocated for a “pathway to citizenship” for undocumented immigrants, once again forcing the White House to take a principled stand on an issue before they were ready.

While I’m not sure Biden should be actively challenging Hillary for the nomination, should there be a need for another candidate to step up, Vice President Biden is the obvious next best choice.

PS: And for your listening pleasure…

“You’re kicking the tires. Looking under the trunk.” (???) Hillary during a 2008 campaign appearance

 



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Filed in Election, General, Politics, Scandals, Seems Obvious to Me April 27th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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

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

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

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

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

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

And this was during a Republican Administration mind you.

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

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

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

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

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



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

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If Hillary is nominee in 2016, she has my vote. Here is how to win my SUPPORT.

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, April 13, 2015

At the start of the 2008 presidential race, I was a Hillary Clinton supporter. I was a “Health care Reform” voter and she had made reform a key plank in her campaign. But as the race dragged on (with the help of Republican’s engaging in what Rush Limbaugh coined “Operation Chaos”), the debate turned nasty between her and Obama, at which point she lost me. I didn’t become an Obama supporter right away though until Hillary told some reporters during a campaign stop in Fort Worth that “McCain would be better than Obama.” Bye-bye, Hillary. Hello, Barack. Since then, I’ve repeatedly watched her reflexively toss fellow Democrats… President Obama chief among them… under the bus for the sake of her own political advancement. Needless to say, I’m not a fan. However, outside of “National Defense” issues, she has a good Progressive record, and I’d much rather have her possibly picking the next four members of the Supreme Court than ANY Republican. But she STILL hasn’t taken a position on the potentially disastrous Keystone XL pipeline… which to me is a bit like not taking a position on whether or not water is wet. If she’s the nominee, she’ll have my vote. But if she wants my “support” (ie: “money” & “activism”), I need to see a few things first:

1) Peace. Hillary was a hawk during the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, clearly trying to avoid looking like “another weak on National Defense” Democrat (an absurd rewrite of history successfully spun by Republicans), when she should have been asking the kind of serious questions that needed to be asked prior to committing the nation to its very first preemptive war. As noted above, she expressed a position similar to that of John McCain that perhaps “if only” we had armed the Syrian Rebels, there might be no ISIS today. No Hillary, many of the Syrian Rebels WERE ISIS and had we of armed them, just imagine how much worse that region might be than it already is today. “If only” we had NEVER INVADED IRAQ IN THE FIRST PLACE, there would be no ISIS today (remnants of Saddam’s Mahdi Army.) I need to know if she has learned her lesson. Where does she stand on the peace talks with Iran and Cuba? Good thing or bad?

2) The Keystone XL pipeline. There’s no wiggle-room on this one. President Obama has already conceded too much ground to Republicans. So much so that should disaster strike and a member of the current GOP Clown Car were to win the presidency, they’re just one presidential signature away from lighting the fuse on the most devastating ecological bomb in the history of mankind. It’s not enough to “just say No” however. The next President needs to SELL the idea of a “Green Jobs Economy” being a bridge to the future, not a slide backwards into the past. Will she ensure the KXL is never built? Will she be smart enough to point out the greater opportunities by investing in Green Energy jobs instead of one leaky pipeline?

3) No equivocation on Climate Change. The time for debate is over on this one. The house is on fire and some Republicans are still debating whether the fire started “naturally” or was “man made”, while others pick up a bucket of water in DC and joke how its existence proves there’s no drought in California. Not only is Global Warming real, but it’s an incredible business opportunity and should be talked about in that context. Not only am I looking for someone to take a stand on Climate Change, but being clever enough to know how to SELL IT to Republicans so that everyone is on-board.

4) The TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership). If there is one issue President Obama and I deeply disagree on, it’s the potentially disastrous 12 nation “Trans-Pacific Partnership” free-trade agreement he hopes to pass before the end of the year. Hillary’s presidential announcement yesterday sounded very much like she’s decided to adopt the Elisabeth Warren narrative of being “a champion of the Middle Class”. Warren is (rightly) fiercely opposed to the TPP… NAFTA on steroids. In 2007, Hillary called NAFTA… signed into law by her husband to appease the unappeasable GOP… “a mistake”. If she wants to distance herself from Obama to appeal to both middle-class Republicans and Democrats alike, this would be an excellent place to take her stand, as most Republicans hate NAFTA as well, and couching the TPP in those terms would win support from both sides. But the corporate money is on the side of the TPP. Will her desire to be president and raise enough money to defeat the eventual GOP nominee win out over choosing what’s right? Will she take a brave stand early or drag out taking a position on the issue for as long as the money rolls in?

5) Defend the Obama economic record. Democrats allowed the GOP to spin the fantasy that President Obama is “unpopular” and siding with him during the 2014 mid-terms would lead to their defeat. So they ran away from the amazing Obama economic record (tripling the stock market since it bottomed out two-months after Bush left office, record job growth, America the world’s #1 Auto Maker again after being on the brink of bankruptcy under Bush, etc) and ended up losing anyway. Of course, as I’ve pointed out numerous times, the “low Obama poll numbers” are a myth, dragged down by insanely irrational Republicans that still think he’s “a Kenyan Socialist Muslim” on the Tea Party side, and those who believe he’s “The Anti-Christ” on the Religious Right. Take those irrational people out of the mix and President Obama’s approval ratings would likely shoot into the mid-60’s. Eschewing President Obama’s economic record and buying the GOP narrative that he’s a failure (“Bush? Bush, who?”) could do for her campaign exactly what it did for spineless Democrats in 2014. Will she defend President Obama’s economic record or downplay it?

6) Stop throwing Democrats under the bus. Ronald Reagan got one thing (and only one thing) right: “Never speak ill of a fellow Republican”. With the huge lead in the polls Hillary has over any potential Democratic challenger, she should feel safe enough to say, “My Democratic challenger would make a great president. We simply disagree on policy”, and be prepared to answer when inevitably asked for examples. Because you can disagree with Democrats on “policy”, but there should be no question which Party’s agenda is better for the nation. This will be a “yellow flag” indicator whether it’s all about “winning” or about Democratic ideals. Will she turn on her fellow Democrats in pursuit of the White House?

7) Learn to play chess. Maybe not literally, but there is one core principle of the game: every move can’t just be a defensive one, it must also be an offensive move that distracts your opponent from relentlessly attacking you. Once all you’re doing is playing defense, the game is over. If they try to go after her on Benghazi, not only should she point out the NINE Republican witch hunts that turned up absolutely nothing, but don’t be afraid to bring up all the Embassy attacks under President Bush that went uninvestigated by these hypocrites. Those emails? Romney destroyed hard drives and Karl Rove “misplaced” 2 million emails of his own. Turn it back on them. Get the Press asking THEM, “yeah, what about that, Senator Schmuck?” or “What would you have done differently, Governor Gasbag?” Show me you know how to go on the offensive (and not just against Democrats.)

8) A new strategy for the Middle East. If 15 years of war (by the end of 2016) isn’t enough to convince you that maybe it’s time to try something new, nothing will. Hillary’s inclination to be a hawk is the most disturbing thing about her, and I fear that she believes being seen as willing to use military force makes her look “tough”. That’s how we ended up with 50 years of sanctions against Cuba that went absolutely nowhere, and a “drug war” that has done little-to-nothing to stem drug use in this country. Will Hillary be a hawk or will she be open to new ideas?

Winning over ambivalent Democrats like myself is going to be Hillary’s greatest challenge this election season. She may have my vote as a Democrat, but if she wants to win in the General, she’s going to need my enthusiastic support as well. Winning over a few Moderate Republican voters will be no easy feat either, yet Hillary’s reputation as a “hawk” that is quick to throw her fellow Democrats overboard does win her some approval on the Right. Meanwhile, I recommend you check out some of the Youtube comments in response to Hillary’s announcement video yesterday. Within minutes, frothing mad Conservatives… sounding very much like irrational pre-teens that didn’t start paying attention to politics until “the black guy” got elected… were already posting vicious personal attacks against her. But what you’ll also notice is a near total absence of anything of substance in their criticisms. Oh sure, a few still cite “Benghazi”, blaming her for the deaths of four people on 9/11… 2012, and maybe some old-timers accusing her of murdering Vince Foster in the 90’s, but almost nothing of substance. “Harpy” will be the new socially-acceptable “N-word” of the 2016 campaign. Speaking as one who dreads the thought of The GOP firing up the old “Destroy the Clinton’s at all costs” machine once again, and what another four-to-eight years of wildly partisan obstructionism might mean for our country, I’m really hoping Hillary gives me something to be enthusiastic about this time around.
 



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Filed in Election, Politics, Rants, Scandals, Seems Obvious to Me, War April 13th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View