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Predictions for 2016
Dec 28th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy

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Yes, it’s that time of year again when I poke fun at the so-called “psychics” and their predictions for the past year, review my own previous years record, and give you my predictions for the coming year… and I’m remarkably good at it, so take heed! Even on my worst days, “mainstream psychics” would envy my accuracy. Election years are always the most interesting & difficult to predict, and the insanity we’ve seen so far on the GOP-side was more than even *I* could have seen coming. Still, I did pretty good in my predictions for 2015.

As I write this on December 26th, wearing no shirt, no shoes, doors & windows open as I let the warm 80 degree breeze air out my home, I worry about the future as long as Conservative nihilists continue to deny the evidence of Climate Change. Predicting the political future is tricky enough when rational people are in charge, but when nearly half of the country belongs to a Death Cult known as The GOP, predicting the political future is a bit like chasing a salmon upstream.

My first attempt at predicting in 2006 (see results here) went poorly, scoring just two out of ten right. My low of just 20 percent my first time out of the gate would still earn me a place in the Psychics Hall of Fame if there were such a thing (mind you, I do NOT claim to be a “psychic”. There is no such thing, but I AM good at knowing which way the political winds are blowing). Learning from my mistakes, I did much better my second time out, setting the benchmark at 75% correct in 2008. The next few years saw a steady decline, down to just 7 of 18 for just 39% for 2014.

I think I’ll shake things up a bit this year and review MY OWN predictions for the past year first. So how did I do predicting 2015?

  • half-right“In a sweeping and feigned show of “bi-partisanship”, Republicans will quickly approve at least two of President Obama’s cabinet appointees (most notably the new Secretary of Defense) in an attempt to show just “how willing” they are “to work with the president”. They will then quickly return to their obstructionist ways though, passing bill after bill they know President Obama would never sign.” – with the GOP now in control of the Senate as well as the House, they did indeed “quickly” & “overwhelmingly” approved of Ash Carter as the new Secretary of Defense, but when it came to appointing Loretta Lynch as the first African-American woman Attorney General, the GOP dragged it’s feet for a record-setting 9 week delay as Senate Republicans held up her confirmation as extortion until “abortion-funding language” was removed from a “sex trafficking” bill that was also before Congress (no abortions for refugee sex-slaves raped by their Johns.) The appointment of a new SecDef was enough for them. They couldn’t even get in a second appointment before returning to their obstructionist ways. In the interim, they voted to gut Social Security benefits their first day in power, followed just two days later to pass the Keystone XL pipeline despite KNOWING President Obama would veto it because they wanted him to actually do it, expecting outrage from The Public that never came. Despite the delay on Lynch, I still grade this prediction as True.
  •  

  • wrong“NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio will finally chastise NYPD Union Head Pat Lynch (no relation to Loretta) by name for sowing discord between him and the NYPD.” – You may remember at the end of 2014, New York City’s newly elected Democratic mayor was publicly & repeatedly attacked by the Right-Wing head of the police officers union (who endorsed DeBlasio’s opponent) because DeBlasio… who is married to a black woman and has a black son… publicly admitted that he told his son how to behave if confronted by police in a way that suggested his son should fear the police. There had already been a string of disturbing confrontations between police officers and unarmed black “suspects” in 2014, which continued into 2015 igniting the “Black Lives Matter” movement. The low-point of the entire confrontation came when NYPD officers shamefully turned their backs on the Mayor when he eulogized a slain police officer, earning them some well-deserved scorn. DeBlasio publicly admonished the NYPD officers whom did so, but never singled out Lynch himself for his role in creating bad-blood between the mayor and the NYPD. Close, but no cigar.
  •  

  • right“Hillary will remain the Democratic front-runner all year as her few Democratic challengers fail to ever pose a serious threat to her candidacy. Bernie Sanders will get into the race (as a Democrat so he can take part in the debates) but Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren will not.” – I’m not sure what more I can say here. Hillary has indeed held onto her lead all year long (though Bernie did briefly top her at the height of the “BenghaziTM” hearings). Warren did indeed stay true to her word and rebuke pleas for her to run. – This one was a bullseye.
  •  

  • right“Fans of Ron Paul in 2012 will find Rand Paul a poor substitute and fail to flock to his candidacy as passionately as they did his father.” – Rand Paul never generated the devoted following that his father did in 2012 and as 2015 draws to a close, Paul, currently polling at just 3%, needed help just to qualify for the last Primetime GOP Debate of 2015 and has said if he doesn’t qualify for the next one, he’s dropping out.
  •  

  • right“Mitt Romney will not attempt to run again.” – In 2014, two GOP candidates already looked to be sucking all the oxygen out of the room: Jeb Bush & Chris Christie. After two failed bids, Romney’s ego wouldn’t dare risk being humiliated by subjecting himself to another close race only to lose for the third time. I was absolutely correct on this one, but Romney bowed out in January, months before Donald Trump started goosestepping his way into the hearts of the racist, bigot, xenophobes that have taken over the GOP.
  •  

  • right“ISIS will continue to grow, but not at nearly the same rate.” – ISIS had just over 30,000 members by the end of 2014. By the end of 2015, ISIS still has an estimated 30,000 members. Their rate of growth has barely kept up with the rate of their destruction as allied forces have increased their attacks. Their recklessness, immaturity and growing scorn among fellow Muslim nations has slowed their growth considerably. Recent attacks on a Russian passenger plane and the Paris “Friday the 13th” attacks last November have been viewed as desperate attempts by ISIS to appear as though they are still relevant & growing in strength, and the only people buying that line of bull are the GOP candidates running for president and their terrified followers flocking to the insane rantings of anyone that promises to protect them from the “evil Muz’lums”.
     
    If you listen to Republicans, ISIS is becoming a huge threat that is only growing and President Obama is a failure as Commander-in-Chief as… according to Rep. Peter King on “Meet the Press” yesterday… “ISIS is bigger today than they were 16 months ago!” Note that odd figure: Why sixteen months? Because ISIS is the same size or smaller than it was TWELVE months ago. And thanks to an increased international focus on getting ISIS, they suffered huge losses in 2015 and are starting to get desperate:
     

    After losing another city, ISIS calls for attacks on Israel. Dec 27, 2015 (:50)
  •  

  • right“We haven’t seen the last of Putin’s trouble-making.” – Putin, a former KGB agent, wants to see Russia return to its former glory as a world superpower, and that means taking provocative action against allies of the United States. 2014 saw Putin’s annexing of Ukraine, a former Soviet satellite that was threatening to join the European union. 2015 saw Putin aiding Syrian President Assad, bombing Syrian Rebel forces and causing a global refugee crisis.
  •  

  • wrong“Evidence will grow that North Korea was not directly responsible for the computer hacking of Sony Pictures late this year.” – You might remember that in late 2014, an international scandal arose when the computer servers of Sony Pictures was hacked and millions of dollars worth of movies that had yet to be released had been stolen. It was suspected at the time that North Korea was behind the attack in retaliation for the pending release of a comedy about two actors tasked with assassinating the leader of North Korea. I suspected that North Korea… barely a second-world nation with few computers much less widespread access to the Internet… lacked the technical know-how to pull off something like that on their own. But our own NSA confirmed that the country was indeed capable of such an attack because they themselves had hacked North Korea’s computers in 2010.
  •  

  • right“The GOP will NOT attempt to impeach President Obama in 2015.” – There was some debate late last year, now that the GOP had control of both Houses of Congress, if they might attempt to impeach President Obama as we prepare for the 2016 Presidential election. But I noted the public would have no appetite for such obvious partisan political games. Of course, the REAL target turned out to be Hillary Clinton, who went through the equivalent of her own “impeachment” with the GOP summoning her to no less than NINE hearings on “BenghaziTM“… the last of which turned out more devastating for the GOP than it was for Clinton when the leading nominee for “Speaker of the House” as much as admitted on national TV that the entire point of all these hearings was to bring down Clinton’s poll numbers.
  •  

  • right“Gitmo will still be in operation by years end.” – Barack Obama has stated he wishes to close Gitmo ever since he was still running for president in 2007. But despite his best attempts, a terrified GOP fearmongered their Party & their voter base into rejecting plans for the detainees to stand trial stateside in U.S. courts and… if convicted… placed in a superMAX prison also on U.S. soil. Prior to this year, the GOP had to rely on obstruction, but upon taking control on Congress, there was ZERO chance such a bill was ever to see the light of day in 2016. This was an easy one.
  •  

  • right“Expect interest in Cuba as a tourist destination to explode.” – The normalization of relations with Cuba marked a remarkable end to 2014 that I believe no one saw coming. And indeed, the possibility of opening up a new travel destination was just what the airlines and cruise lines ordered. In July, Carnival added Cuba to its list of cruise destinations, as did “Pearl Seas Cruise Lines”. Commercial air travel to Cuba was technically restored, but the GOP Congress has yet to lift the ban on public travel to the country. Shocker.
  •  

  • right – “Expect a push to get marijuana legalization on the 2016 ballot in more states.” – No small surprise following the success stories in Colorado, Washington and Oregon, a significant number of states are all pushing to get some form of marijuana legalization on the 2016 ballot.
  •  

  • right“Republicans will try to take credit for the record economy.” – Arguably, this could be scored either way. A mere 7 days into their retaking of Congress, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was already taking credit for the improving economy. With unemployment down to just 5.0 percent, gas prices below $2.00/gallon across the country, and amazing GDP that saw growth of 3.9% percent in the second quarter of this year, the GOP was more than happy to try and take credit for the successful economy. But now that the presidential election is underway, suddenly the economy is “terrible” and President Obama is a “failure”. Funny how that works.
  •  

  • wrong“Expect the price of oil to settle in around $58/barrel.” – Last year at this time, oil was $55/barrel. As of this writing, oil is now $35/barrel. The week before President Bush’s invasion of Iraq, the price of oil had jumped to $37.83/barrel, so the price of oil is now lower than it was before a war that arguably was launched specifically to drive oil prices up… and indeed it did, peaking at $147/barrel in mid-2008 before $4/gal gasoline crashed the U.S. (and by extension The World) economy. I expected the price of oil to stabilize once again but the unexpected crash of the Chinese Stock Market last Summer resulted in a glut of oil in the market due to a dramatic decrease in demand that depressed oil prices even lower. Speaking of which…
  •  

  • wrong“The DOW should flirt with the 20,000 mark by years end.” – As noted above, the crash of the Chinese stock market nearly took the global economy with it. Following China’s crash, the European Market suffered huge losses as well. The DOW also plunged over 1,600 points in just a few days, but the strength of the U.S. economy helped us… and Europe… quickly stabilize. Despite China’s market plunge, the strong DOW rebounded, closing at just over 17,500 on Christmas Eve… up from 15,666 two days after the China crash… a gain of nearly 2,000 points, meaning if nor for the China crash, our own market might very well have been “flirting with the 20,000 mark just as I predicted. Damn China for screwing up my record.

And there you have it. 11 out of 15 correct for a whopping 73% success rate, my second highest score (damn you China!)

Now let’s see how the competition did:

The site “Angles & Ghosts” posted the Predictions of three “psychics” for 2015:

  • Judy Heavenly (gee, I wonder if that’s a stage name?) predicted cars using self-driving and accident-avoidance technology. Arguably, she got this one right. But such technology is not new. Accident-avoidance systems were in development in 2013. Tesla did however make a “self-driving” car publicly available for the first time this year, so props on that prediction.
     
    But that is as far as Ms. “Heavenly” got. Apparently, no divine inspiration for: a new “Eurasian Union”, the death of “a famous religious leader and a former U.S. president”, Congress “banning the sale of guns to people with mental disorders” (THIS Congress???), 5G phones, the first “self-regulating” artificial heart, the end of Putin’s reign, the “end” of Kim Jung Un, the passing of Pope Frank, and “vision correcting” TV screens.
  •  

  • Psychic “Craig of the UK” arguably correctly predicted that India’s economy would grow faster than China’s (at least the crash of China’s stock market helped ONE person get an economic prediction right [chuckle]), and an earthquake (somewhere) in “Mexico“. But all of his disastrous predictions were dead wrong. No massive volcanic explosions leveling cities and Jeb is not the GOP front-runner.
  •  

  • Their third “psychic” is someone I razzed in 2014 as well: “Psychic to the stars Nikki”. Ms. Nikki seems to love predicting ridiculous catastrophes: city-leveling earthquakes, terrorists attacks… death & destruction is her game. And her “predictions” are SO bizarre, one wonders why anyone pays attention (and money, lots of money) to her? I can never say Nikki didn’t get anything right because you must pay to see all her predictions (well over 100), but among her Top 19 on the above site, Nikki went 0-for-19. Among her more fantastic predictions, DC was not struck by an earthquake, nor was Chicago, nor was Tokyo “destroyed” (not by an earthquake or even another Godzilla movie.) Not even San Francisco (typically a safe bet) suffered a massive quake. And New Zealand definitely was not struck by a meteor.
     
    In the “close-but-no-cigar” category, Nikki predicted a terrorist attack on London (not Paris), but she made the exact same prediction for 2014. Eventually she hopes to be right someday and credit her amazing psychic abilities. Nikki also predicted the discovery of “sunken treasure off the Florida coast”. Depending on how far you extend “off the Florida coast”, a 300 year old sunken treasure was found off the coast of Colombia, South America, IN the Gulf of Mexico but nowhere near Florida. People in Anchorage were not “attacked by eagles” but Donald Trump WAS (also nowhere near Alaska at the time though.)

I also poked fun at the so-called “Psychic Twins” last year, whom have their own radio & TV Show. One more “post hundreds of predictions till something sticks” scams, the “Twins” made some interesting predictions for 2015:

  • New treatments for “HIV / AIDS, Alzheimer’s, Arthritis, Autism, ADD, Diabetes”… if they name enough diseases, I’m sure they’ll get at least one right. “Two cyclones” DID hit Australia, so some props due there. And Niagara Falls DID freeze over that February, but predicting a deep freeze while you’re in the middle of a deep freeze doesn’t exactly make you a psychic. Wanna impress me? Predict people kayaking in Buffalo the following December.

Always good for a laugh, this was Fox “news” Sunday last year making their political predictions for 2015:
 

Fox Panel predictions for 2015 (4:52)

Their predictions:
 
Like me, they also predicted quick confirmations for Ash Carter & Loretta Lynch. It appears I wasn’t the only one to under-estimate GOP childishness & partisan game-playing. Frequent panelist and reliable Right-Wing tool Stephen Hayes was surprisingly right in predicting “early favorite Jeb would not be the front-runner and Hillary would look vulnerable a year from now” (because Democrats will have tired of her.) Poor Bob Woodward. I’ve been following his political predictions for a few years and I don’t believe he has yet to get a single one right. The economy was expected to do well, but just how well depended upon whom you asked.

You might be surprised to learn (or maybe not) that Fox “news” Sunday did NOT ask their Panel yesterday to make any prediction for 2016. Gee, I wonder why? Do you think maybe it’s because they know not a single GOP candidate has a prayer of winning next year but they don’t dare predict a “Democratic victory” because it’ll upset their viewers?
 

Well, whatever the reason, let’s get on with my Predictions for 2016:

Election-year political predictions are simultaneously the most fun AND the most dangerous. All it takes is one bad comment (eg: Biden calling Obama “clean” in 2007), one embarrassing photo-op (eg: Dukakis in the tank), or a family tragedy to reverse a candidate’s fortunes in the blink of an eye. Worst of all, I don’t wish to anger anyone by predicting that their candidate will lose.

Let’s start small:

  1. Will we see another “France-style” terrorist attack in 2016? I don’t think so. Now that it has happened, the world has been put on notice and everyone is more aware of their surroundings, making another such attack more difficult to pull off. Bombings and mass shootings in the warzone that is the Middle-East, yes. Another Bombing in Europe or the U.S.? Doubtful. Another “mass shooting” in the U.S. by ISIS or alQaeda sympathizers? As long as we continue to have easy access to guns and a GOP controlled Congress unwilling to do anything about it… that’s ALWAYS a possibility.
    (UPDATE 7/15/16: Suicide bombers kill 41 in a siege of the Istanbul International Airport in Turkey on June 29, and a lone disturbed ISIS Sympathizer in France kills 84 and mowes down hundreds more using a large truck during Bastille Day celebrations. Arguably, “Turkey” is not Europe, and a lone nut is not a “coordinated” attack.)
  2.  

  3. The world took notice when Germany welcomed over 500,000 Syrian Refugees earlier this year while Republicans in the U.S. fear-mongered to the point of denying entry to even a paltry 5,000 refugees into the United States. Shameful. However, following the Paris attacks, fear took over and a number of Germans started acting like… well… Germans. So what is to become of the Syrian Refugees? “Safe Zones” inside of Syria & Iraq are the most likely alternative. I think President Obama is too smart to order a “No Fly Zone” over any part of Syria (which Hillary is calling for but Bernie opposes), but WILL require ground forces to secure. Whether those ground forces will be mostly American is unlikely. At some point, I hope the “pro-No Fly Zone” candidates (ie: Hillary and EVERY GOP candidate) are asked “Just how do you prevent ISIS from hiding beneath that NFZ protected by American forces?” and “Do you shoot down a Russian MiG and start World War III if Russia enters the NFZ to attack the Syrian rebels?” War-mongers don’t think of things like that.
  4.  

  5. Just as I predicted last year, ISIS will still be about the same size as it is today… roughly 30,000 fighters. With an increased global focus on “destroying ISIS” thanks to their recent bombing of a Russian airliner killing all 224 people on board, and the attacks on Paris last November drawing increased military strikes by France, their numbers will not grow faster than they are killed, however not fast enough to wipe them out. There’s only one way to do that, and it doesn’t involve guns or bombs.
  6.  

  7. Russia WILL focus more on attacking ISIS and less on helping Assad destroy the Syrian rebels, BUT will not JOIN forces with the U.S. in alliance to destroy ISIS, opting to go after them on their own in a way that does not upset Assad. Mortal threats to Russia take precedence over mortal threats to Assad’s rule. Putin still wishes Russia to look like a Super Power on par with the U.S. once again, still looking to regain the glory of the former Soviet era. Notice how, despite recent tensions, Russia still assists the U.S. shuttling people & cargo back & forth to the International Space Station? As long as we depend upon them, they will be more than happy to assist the needy Americans. But that doesn’t mean serving along side them in war.
    (UPDATE 5/4/16: Russian foreign minister says Moscow only supports Syria’s president in the fight against terror.)
  8.  

  9. I may be going out on a limb here, but as Russia steps up its attacks on ISIS and away from helping Assad, Iran is likely to take up the slack, increasing their military aid to Assad. This puts Iran in a very precarious position because Russia is in no shape to bail out Iran should things go South. Dealing with Iran could once again become a major campaign issue as the year progresses.
  10.  

  11. And as you can plainly see, I fully expect the Syrian conflict to still be raging throughout the following year. When the Syrian conflict first broke out in late 2011, I expected it to be short-lived, predicting an end to the conflict by the end of 2012. I tried again the following year and was wrong again. By 2014, I learned my lesson and stopped trying to predict an end to the war in Syria (I even made that part of the title that year.) Now, I think only a “peace treaty” between Assad and the rebels that includes a promise of amnesty so long as they remain in cities far to the East of the capitol city of Damascus, can end the war there (and that will NOT take place in 2016.)
  12.  

  13. The Economy: Being an election year, with the GOP in control of Congress and needing to do everything they can to make President Obama’s economy look bad and in need of change, we will see a MILD economic decline as the year progresses. Slower GDP and Market growth, but growth none-the-less. We saw this in 2000 the last time a “Governor Bush” ran for president. With unemployment at a mere 3.9%, and a record-breaking stock market, Bush went around the country talking down the economy until it became a self-fulfilling prophecy. With unemployment now at 5.0 percent and falling, positive economic growth, and an electorate where the most xenophobic rank amateurs lead the pack and rational experienced moderates are as popular as a skunk at a garden-party, their only hope for a GOP victory in 2016 is to talk down the economy and suppress any policies that might make things better. That means a DOW still below 20,000 (or very close to it) and unemployment between 4.6% & 5.3%.
  14.  

  15. Gitmo. President Obama, being incredibly shrewd, I have long believed that moving to normalize relations with Cuba has been a part of his plan to close the Guantanamo Bay prison. The Cuban government has long wanted it gone, and keeping it open is a blight on America’s reputation and a stain on everything we stand for as a nation. While I expect Gitmo to still be in operation by the end of President Obama’s presidency, steps will finally be in place… as part of a deal with the Cuban government… to close it permanently before he leaves office.
    (UPDATE 2/22/16: Obama Sends Guantánamo Closing Plan to Congress)
  16.  

  17. Thanks to Gerrymandering, the GOP will retain control of the House following the election but lose the Senate as record turnout flocks to the polls in November. Democrats will NOT regain a Super Majority like they had briefly in 2008, but the message will be clear.
  18.  

  19. The 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio will be relatively uneventful. No terrorist attacks amid tight security. There will be some reports of widespread criminal nuisances like the pick-pocketing of tourists, and polluted seas for the water events, but high-profile events with lots of eyes and high-security require too much planning and resources for a terrorist group like ISIS made up mostly of uneducated young men with limited finances. Personally, I think alQaeda is happy to be out of the white hot spotlight for the time being.
  20.  
    And here’s where it gets interesting:
     
    Attempting to predict who will be each Party’s presidential nominee before even a single vote has been cast requires a bit of work.
     
    As of this writing, only 13 of the original 17 candidates are still running (and a case can be made that Governors Gilmore of Virgina and Pataki of New York were never really running to begin with. – UPDATE 12/29/15: Pataki drops out) And despite so many of them polling in the single digits, they refuse to drop out because they look at the candidates leading the polls and they think… as we all do… “people aren’t REALLY going to vote for these inexperienced bomb-throwers when they walk into that voting booth! They are going to suddenly see-the-light and vote for someone more rational that has an actual chance of victory come November, right? Please?” So they continue to hang on, hoping against hope that wiser heads will prevail. HA! Have they SEEN what has been happening to their Party over the last twelve years?
     
    So let’s look at those remaining thirteen (Graham, who is shown, has also since dropped out):
     

    GOP field, Dec 2015

     
    Well, we can scratch anyone polling below 3%. That just ain’t gonna happen. Dream on guys. So that eliminates (right to left): Gilmore, Santorum, Pataki, Graham (whom has already bowed out), Rand Paul (who needs to drop out to save his Senate seat), Huckabee, Fiorina, and Christie. These people have no chance.
     
    That leaves: Trump, Cruz, Rubio, Carson, Jeb Bush, and Kasich.
     
    Carson and Bush don’t have a prayer either, so scratch them (amazing considering before Trump, Jeb was the odds-on favorite, and Carson was the first candidate to top Trump in the polls as recently as last November.) Carson has made “brain surgeon” a punchline, and Jeb’s feud with Trump has only helped Trump and made the idea of “yet another Bush” less palatable (and who knew George would turn out to be the “smart” one?)
     
    Kasich is competent & sane… two things the GOP absolutely detests in a candidate this cycle. Plus he’s a moderate that has criticized Donald Trump (and by extension Trump voters), so he’s out of there.
     
    That leaves just Trump, Cruz, and Rubio. In any other year, Rubio would look like an attractive candidate. Young, enough of a Conservative nut to court the Evangelicals while looking white bread enough to make them forget about his Cuban roots, yet with a remote chance of winning over some of the Hispanic voters alienated by Donald Trump. But Rubio and Cruz are both trying to walk back statements of compassion & empathy towards Mexican immigrants that the modern GOP so despises. If this were any other year, I might have picked Rubio to end up being the nominee, but he has committed the unpardonable sin of… well. uh… I’m not really sure other than that whole “defense of Mexicans” thing. He’s also criticized Donald Trump, so scratch Rubio.
     
    The mainstream GOP hates Ted Cruz. A pushy screw-up that stormed into Congress like he knew better than Senators who had been there for decades. Cruz’s grand-standing late last year (2014) kept Congress in session long enough to force them to vote on approving TWENTY-FOUR of President Obama’s judicial appointments that the GOP had been intentionally dragging their feet on. That little stunt probably made him more than a few enemies. A Tea Party favorite, Cruz is every bit as big a racist xenophobic bomb-thrower as Donald Trump, but without the record of success as a businessman. Like Rubio, Cruz is of Cuban decent and once spoke approvingly of helping Mexican immigrants… THE unpardonable GOP sin this election cycle. Born in Canada, both legally & technically Cruz is not even eligible to be president, but until recently it wasn’t much of an issue because he trailed so far behind in the polls. But after Trump made his “Register all Muslims, deny them entry (even U.S. citizens) [back] into the United States, and place all mosques under surveillance” speech, Cruz was the ONLY GOP candidate to not to publicly condemn Trump, catapulting him into second place. But outside the passionate GOP fringe, Cruz does not have enough support to be the GOP nominee (and as I noted, there’s still the whole “ineligibility” thing), Cruz will not be the nominee either.
     
    And that just leaves Donald Trump (but read to the end!)
     
    I didn’t think Trump would even run a year ago, and I still believe this is an ego trip for him, but he has held the lead virtually unbroken almost since the day he announced. And unlike in 2011 when every month seemed to produce a new front-runner that crashed & burned as Republicans kept looking for “anyone but Romney”, eventually forcing them to go with their “second choice”, Trump has held the lead but never peaked over his most recent high of 41%, meaning 59% of GOP voters would prefer someone else, but just can’t agree on whom that would be.
     
    MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell recently pointed out on his program: “If you take away the white supremacists, the Birthers and people who believe Obama is a Muslim, Trump would be polling in the single digits.” Yet…
     

  21. Trump will be the GOP nominee (a fact many Republican pundits refuse to accept… much like those candidates still polling in the single digits yet refuse to drop out because they expect the electorate to come to its senses) because GOP voters are enamored by wealth. Just as in 2012, “rank & file” Republicans hated Romney and keeps looking for an alternative, but low-information GOP voters equate “wealth” with “success” and as each new usurper came & went they always came back to Romney. And such will be the case again in 2016 as Trump embodies both. A fixture on TV screens for decades, Trump with his flamboyant wealth, TV appearances, numerous casinos, super-model wife, books, clothing and other merchandise, he is a living caricature of wealth. Add to that his uncensored racism & misogyny, Trump says out loud things GOP members used to say only in private. Trump has liberated them! He has made being a Troglodyte socially acceptable. Starting out as “The Birther King” eight years ago, allowing racists to hide behind “politics” as an excuse to be openly racist, then hold rallies where 20,000 people could cheer without shame the idea of deporting some 20 Million undocumented immigrants AND their American-born children “back to Mexico” (even if they aren’t from Mexico), make openly sexist remarks about women… get called out for it by a female Fox “news” anchor… only to make an openly sexist remark about HER… and emerge unscathed, and now wantonly & conspicuously tread in none other than Adolph Hitlers footsteps resulting in a BOUNCE in the polls… Donald Trump IS who the GOP is today, and therefore will win the GOP nomination.
    (UPDATE 5/26/16: Trump officially clinches the GOP nomination.)
  22.  
    BUT…
     
    I’ve been pointing out almost since the day he announced his candidacy that Trump doesn’t really WANT to be President. It’s a GAME to him. A game he wants to win to prove he could be president if he really wanted to… except that he doesn’t actually want to DO the job:
    (UPDATE 5/26/16: Trump says he’ll outsource the day-to-day tasks to his VP.)
     

    The Trump Chase

     
    Trump could start looking for an excuse to bow out if things start getting too real. If he decides he’s proved his point and can bow out gracefully… it’ll come early on after losing a few early primaries. But if he gets locked in a battle with the Democratic nominee, his ego will rope him in until the election in November.
     

  23. If that’s the case, expect Trump to name his running mate early… almost prematurely… as he picks someone to take his place should he choose to resign upon taking office. Trump’s most obvious choice for a running mate at this time is Ted Cruz, but should the primaries turn nasty as the two men compete for the same job, all bets are off.
    (UPDATE 1/15/16: The Trump/Cruz bromance is over.)
    (UPDATE 4/27/16: Struggling Ted Cruz names his VP pick early.)
  24.  
    And that leaves the Democratic nomination.
     
    I’m a Bernie Sanders voter. I think he is the best candidate, most consistent, always on the right side of social issues, was making the same economic arguments as Elizabeth Warren decades before she took office, and has a better chance of defeating any GOP nominee than Hillary does. But Bernie has some serious strikes against him going in.
     
    First, I think the average American voter is still freaked out by the “Socialist” label. And I shake my head in sad disbelief when I hear people reject Bernie because they think being a “Democratic Socialist” makes him a Communist or a Nazi only to then support Donald Trump… whose political speeches sound like they were lifted from “Mein Kampf”.
     
    Second, Bernie is terrible at defending himself and has a tin ear when it comes to how the “Socialist” label is perceived by voters. This was seen in the second Democratic debate when moderator John Dickerson quipped how the GOP campaign ad against him “writes itself”, and Bernie completely failing to make the case defending the Social Contract the U.S. government has made with its citizens, and how it is the job of government to ensure equal protection under the law. A major blunder he can ill afford to make should he become the nominee.
     
    Winston Churchill once said, “The best argument against Democracy is spending five minutes talking to the average voter.” Most voters don’t pay very close attention to their chosen candidate on the issues. It’s how so many otherwise rational people can support an inconsistent, misogynistic bomb-thrower like Donald Trump. How else do you explain Evangelical voters saying “Thank God” for a twice divorced serial adulterer who once said he’d protect a woman’s right to choose?
     

  25. And because of this, I predict Hillary to win the Democratic nomination. The typical Hillary voter knows only four things about her: She would be the first woman president, was married to Bill Clinton who was a successful president (with an assumption she’d govern just like him), she has a lot of political experience, and ran for President once before in 2008 so she must know what’s she’s doing. Never mind that she’s a hawk, a bit too cozy with Wall Street (“Goldman Sachs”), and has a history of throwing her fellow Democrats under the bus when it is politically advantageous for her to do so (eg: saying McCain would be a better president than Obama in 2008.)
    (UPDATE 6/7/16: While it was proclaimed slightly prematurely and under questionable circumstances, Hillary “clinched” the Democrat nomination on the day of the California primary.)
  26.  

  27. And lastly, be it Hillary or Bernie, the Democratic nominee will win the election in November.
  28.  

  29. UPDATE 12/31/15: One more last second prediction: As ISIS begins to feel the pressure of increased international focus on the Iraq/Syria region, they will focus more on attracting outside sympathizers to commit terrorists attacks in their own countries in ISIS’s name (similar to the Paris & San Bernardino attacks in late 2015. I expect at least three such attacks in the coming year… which will of course become big campaign issues and the GOP nominee will hype to excess.)
    (UPDATE: See #1 above regarding attacks in Istanbul, Turkey & Nice, France.)

So those are my predictions for 2016. And if I may make one more prediction, I don’t expect to do nearly as well next year as I did this year. However, on the brighter side, with so many of my predictions being on the disappointing side, I wouldn’t be too terribly upset is some of my most disappointing predictions don’t come true.
 


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CORRECTION UPDATE on Last Week’s Jobs Report
Nov 9th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy

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I‘m on sabbatical this week, but a quick follow-up on last weeks “expectation” that the October Jobs Report was going to be “disappointing” to say the least, only for it to in fact be spectacular. Serves me right for listening to pundits of the Obama Administration.

One of the main reasons for the pundits expecting a disappointing jobs report: “low gas prices” (resulting job cuts in the oil industry), which… as I’ve pointed out previously… cheap gas is like a shot of adrenaline to the U.S. economy. Cheap energy actually DOES for the average consumer what Republicans THINK tax cuts for the rich do. It leaves consumers with more money to spend on other things. I need point no further than what $4/gal gas did in the final months of the Bush Administration.

Media Matters notes how Fox “news” hilariously tried to spin last months amazing jobs report by reporting that “ONLY 271,000 jobs were created last month.” (If I had the time to research, I’m almost 100% positive that the Bush Administration never once broke the 2K mark (let alone near the 3K threshold.)

“I shall return!”… to my regular posting duties next Monday. Be sure to join me! – Mugsy.
 


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The Tinfoil Hat Crowd Now Controls the GOP
Sep 21st, 2015 by Admin Mugsy

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“We have a problem in this country, it’s called Muslims.” proclaimed an angry bigoted man man at a Trump campaign event last Thursday. “We know our current president IS one” he snarks. “Right!”, responds the current GOP front-runner. “Wasn’t even born in America, YOU know THAT!” continues the supporter. “We have Training Camps growing, where they want to kill us…”A few audience members recoil in astonishment by the man’s unabashed bigotry. The man is 100% serious and 100% delusional. But The Donald isn’t about to set him straight… not just because he fears the backlash of displeasing a supporter, but there is little doubt Trump himself holds those same beliefs. YOU know THAT! He does. FEMA Camps, “Jade Helm”, “vaccines cause Autism”, “Obama is a Muslim born in Kenya”, “Death Panels”, “They’re coming for your guns”… you’ve heard them all, and they’re no longer the the GOP “fringe”. As Fox “news” Sunday pointed out yesterday, NEARLY HALF (43%) of all Republicans now believe President Obama “is a Muslim”. They also know he drinks, eats pork, shaves, gives money to Israel for its defense, and attended the church of Reverend Jeremiah Wright for 20 years. There is a reason why people such as Donald Trump and Sarah Palin can continue to say some of the most ridiculous things, flip-flop wildly without consequence, be exposed as total hypocrites without an ounce of shame, and remain Republican rock-stars, and that’s because they now TYPIFY the mainstream political Right. The new tinfoil hat crowd aren’t the “9/11 Conspiracists”, it’s the mainstream Republican Right. The self-identified Tea Party crazies who believe the most fanciful nonsense anyone with a microphone and seething hatred for all things Obama, can dream up.

Let’s face facts. The GOP is no longer controlled by any sane group of people. They’ve been spoon-fed fear & bigotry for eight years (and paranoia for over 20). And it wasn’t forced upon them either, they begged for it. Crazy people like being told, “No, you’re not crazy.” Problem is, the people telling them that are crazy themselves. They have a built-in motivation to encourage this nonsense: “ratings” & “votes” (depending upon whether you’re Fox or a politician.)

This is the Religious Right, for whom even The Pope… the freaking POPE… is “too Liberal” for them. And Climate scientists “have an agenda”… unlike the oil company executives that tell them Global Warming is “The Greatest Hoax” in Human history.

As I tweeted out yesterday:
 

GOP not on side of Pope OR science

 

It’s no coincidence that the same people leading the GOP field are also the least experienced (Trump, Carson & Fiorina have never held elective office) and offer the fewest details on how they’ll achieve their miraculous promises. Nor do GOP voters care. On at least two programs yesterday, Donald Trump criticized President Obama’s handling of Syria and the fact Russia now has Surface-to-Air missiles on the ground there, clearly intended to protect Assad from U.S./Allied warplanes. When asked how he would have dealt with Putin differently than the president, Trump simply said that “Assad & Putin would have ‘more respect’ for him than Obama” and therefore would not be taking the liberties with him that they’ve been taking with Obama. It’s the old “Iran released the hostages the moment Reagan was sworn in because they feared him” fantasy (see: Iran/Contra). Earlier in the week, Trump suggested that he’d probably “get along better with Assad & Putin” than Obama does. Somehow, arguing “Megalomanics luv me” hardly seems like a selling point when selecting a president.

Also yesterday, Ben Carson complained about President Obama’s failure to follow through on his “red line” threat against Assad in Syria and hasn’t pushed back against Putin’s stationing SAM’s there. Translation: “Why aren’t we starting another war… not just with Syria but with Russia?” Carson added that ISIS now controls the “oil-rich Anbar Province” of Iraq and that was somehow intolerable. If you’re a Republican, sending your kids off to die for oil is their first response, not suggesting that maybe we could use LESS OIL (depriving ISIS of funds, increasing our energy independence, saving the planet… and spare some American lives while we’re at it.)

No, their first response is their “snap-decision” gut response: “Bomb them!” When you’re a frightened child, all you care about is being protected from the scary people. When you’re terrified, you don’t care how they do it or how much it costs (which is the idea). Just “protect me! And if the neighbor’s kid has to die, then so be it.” No time to think things through! “They’re coming!” The typical GOP voter is not “details oriented”. Policy discussions bore them to tears. Just give me a snappy once sentence statement that you share my paranoid delusional fears, and assure me you’ll somehow make it all better. And I don’t need the details because you’re more successful than I am, so clearly you know what you’re doing.

I honestly believe the average Republican voter still has frequent nightmares about 9/11. Something in them snapped that day. So when President Bush told them we needed to invade an unrelated country to keep them safe, they didn’t ask questions. “Okay, you’ve sufficiently terrified me about those Iraqi’s, now go get’em. Do whatever it takes. I’ll wait right here and turn a blind eye while you do it.”

The “Lunatic Fringe”… now the “Lunatic Mainstream”… is pushing the Republican Party candidates to the FAR right, fatally wounding them in the General should they win the Primaries. Even if they eschew the positions of Trump, the fact so many Republicans are in agreement with him has helped ensure certain demographics will NEVER vote Republican.

And for that, Donald Trump has done us all a HUUUUUGE service.
 


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21 Things I (Re)learned From the GOP Debates
Aug 10th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy

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All SEVENTEEN Republican presidential candidates took part in at least one of three GOP debates last week (one on CSPAN & two on Fox.) I don’t know how many of you also watched the full 2-hour Prime Time GOP debate on Fox last Thursday, but I definitely wasn’t surprised by anything I heard (other than the fact Ronald Reagan’s name was only mentioned 2 [3?] times. Probably a record low.) Fox doesn’t like Donald Trump, that much was made clear, and… in case you didn’t hear it the first 47 times, Rubio’s parents were poor emigres from Cuba and Kasich’s dad was a mailman. The two big winners of the primetime debate weren’t even on the stage: Carly Fiorina, who had a clip of her from the earlier “Kid’s Table” debate replayed during the Prime Time debate, and Bernie Sanders, whose own Live Tweets during the debate were more re-Tweeted than ANY of the GOP candidates’ comments. Beyond that, there were plenty of things I pretty-much already knew about the candidates that they only helped solidify in my memory:

The first “debate” on C-SPAN last Monday… really just a “getting-to-know-you” series of interviews… consisting of 11 in-person candidates + 3 via remote, couldn’t fill a 500 seat theater. And during the first Fox “Kid’s Table” debate of the bottom seven polling candidates, there were more people on stage than in the audience. Those are the only polls you need.

Okay, so what I learned last week:

  1. Accepting Medicaid funding under “ObamaCare” dramatically slowed the rate of growth in state health care costs, yet “ObamaCare” must absolutely be repealed. – Ohio Gov. Kasich defended accepting Medicaid funds under the ACA by citing the fact that doing so led to Ohio having the slowest health care cost growth in the nation, an “achievement” that was wildly cheered by the Conservative audience… as was every call to fully repeal “every word” of “ObamaCare”.
  2. The best way to fight crime is to strip cities of their federal law-enforcement funding. – Jeb Bush blasted so-called “sanctuary cities” (cities that don’t actively seek out undocumented immigrants for deportation/arrest) following the shooting death of a 32 year old woman in San Francisco by a man arrested three times for being in the country illegally. The proposed solution? Strip these cities of their federal law-enforcement funding until they agree to waste precious resources seeking out & prosecuting undocumented immigrants… the vast majority of whom actually pay taxes and commit no crime other than simply being here illegally. And just how did he get a gun anyway?
  3. The best way to fight abortion is to defund the leading provider of free birth control. – Nearly all (if not all) of the candidates on stage, reacting to their revulsion to a series of heavily edited and highly prejudicial under-cover videos of Planned Parenthood of America employees taken by an anti-abortion group out to “expose” the organization as illegally profiting off abortions, vowed to defund the organization. PPA is the largest provider of free birth control in the country, and defunding them could mean a huge increase in the number of unplanned pregnancies. And Republicans truly believe that if you close every abortion clinic in the country, women will simply stop having abortions.
  4. You’re weak on terror if you can’t admit all terrorists are Muslims. – Ted Cruz (natch) asked how can we expect President Obama to protect us from terrorism if he won’t even acknowledge that all terrorists are “Muslims”. The president’s unwillingness to offend an entire religion of 1.3 billion people by lumping them in with a sub-culture of several thousand religious extremists proves he’s a danger to the country.
  5. Jeb blames Obama for the SoFA signed by his brother. The younger Bush blamed President Obama for the withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of 2011, leading to the rise of ISIS. The decision to withdraw ALL U.S. forces from Iraq by the end of 2011 was one of President Bush’s final acts as president, signing the “Status of Forces Agreement” in December of 2008. Jeb may have missed this announcement because his brother was busy ducking shoes at the time. ISIS actually already existed at the time, but known by a different name: “al Quida in the Arabian Peninsula” or “AQAP” for short.
  6. A Bush can promise an almost unheard of 4% GDP growth despite the fact his brother & dad had 2 of the WORST GDP growth rates in the past 100 years. The lesser Shrub repeated his belief that he could achieve an astounding 4% annual GDP growth (really good growth would be about 3.5%) if elected and we followed his economic policies. His brother, GW, dismissed the Clinton economy when he ran in 2000, asking voters to imagine “how much better” the astounding Clinton economy could have been if only a Republican president had been in charge of the Republican controlled congress of the past six years. And so, armed with the EXACT SAME Republican-controlled Congress for the next 6 years, economic disaster befell the country, resulting in global economic collapse.
  7. The Iran deal is a disaster. You don’t make a deal with your enemies unless you get absolutely everything you want up front. – Mike Huckabee blasted the Iran deal for failing to get Iran to concede to ALL of our demands, including the release of political prisoners, first… a move that unquestionably would have insured NO deal at all. President Obama has rightly made the point that it will be much easier to negotiate those things later with an “unarmed” Iran than trying to do so with one with nukes. Conservative pundit George Will probably epitomized this irrational line of thinking during yesterday’s Fox “news” Sunday when he pointed out that WITHOUT an agreement, Iran gets “14 new global trading partners and work begins on a nuclear bomb tomorrow using all that new wealth” BUT the deal is a BAD thing because WITH the deal, Iran gets 15 new trading partners, and work begins on a nuclear weapon (apparently under the noses of inspectors) EIGHT YEARS from now.
  8. You can oppose gay marriage and still attend a gay wedding. – Governor Kasich was asked to explain how he could oppose gay marriage and yet attend a gay wedding between two friends. He couched his answer in saying that if his daughter came out as gay, he would “still love & support her”, calling it “unconditional love.” But when it comes to marriage, apparently there is still just one condition.
  9. Rand Paul & Trump conceded the painful truth that our politicians can be bought, but Republicans just don’t care. – The first question of the debate led to a heated exchange between Rand Paul and Donald Trump, who defended contributing to candidates of BOTH Parties as a way to control them. Paul conceded this is exactly what is taking place, but was not followed up by ANY discussion of the fact that TWO (if not more) presidential candidate just acknowledgment that our politicians can be controlled by big money donors, or the poisonous influence of money in politics. Instead, in fact, one or two candidates on stage with Trump laughingly asked him for money.
  10. Kasich apparently balanced the budget in spite of Clinton tax increase. – Numerous times before the debates and twice on stage, Governor Kasich bragged about how he led the last U.S. Congressional Budget Committee to balance the budget. But not once has Kasich conceded that the 1994 Clinton tax increase on the wealthy is what made balancing the budget possible.
  11. Republican governors like to cite their achievements under Obama & Clinton but not under Bush. – It’s a maxim that Democratic presidents make Republican governors look good. George W. Bush, as governor of Texas, gave no credit to the Clinton economy for the economic success of his state while running in 2000. In 2008, neither Romney nor Huckabee ran on the economic success of their states under the Bush Administration. In 2012, Governor Perry tried to credit the “amazing Texas recovery” under Obama’s first term to his own leadership and not soaring oil prices and rampant state public sector hiring. But there wouldn’t have been anything to recover from had it not of been for his good buddy President Bush.
  12. A Flat Tax doesn’t favor the rich, and raising taxes on the poor helps the poor. – At least three (and almost certainly more) of the GOP contenders advocated the absurd flat or “Fair” tax as the cure for our fiscal woes. Rand Paul wants a 14.5% across-the-board flat tax on everyone, while Evangelical Ben Carson suggested a 10% flat tax… a number taken from The Bible based on a 10% tithe… as the perfect tax rate for the country. Paul, on Fox “news” Sunday yesterday repeatedly denied that DRASTICALLY reducing the tax rate on millionaires & billionaires would create a $3-Trillion dollar annual deficit, which he apparently believes can be made up by drastically raising taxes on the poor and cutting government spending… which naturally would include cutting services to the poor. All this he said would in fact “help” the poor, not hurt them. And someone really should explain to Carson the difference between funding a church to provide church services and funding a $1.5 Tillion dollar government with its own Army currently engaged in two wars.
  13. Post debate, the Top 4 GOP favorites are presently a 2nd year foreign born senator and 3 political novices who have never held public office. – You may remember that the primary knocks on Obama by Republicans during the 2008 election was that he was not experienced enough to be president after serving as Senator for “only two years”, and that he was supposedly “born in another country (Kenya)”, rendering him ineligible to be president. Check out the graphic at the start of this post. After last Thursday’s debate, the Top 4 favorite candidates among Republican voters is three people who have NEVER held public office (Trump, Carson & Fiorina), and a Senator who not only took office a mere two years ago before deciding to run for president, but was in fact born in another country (a fact Cruz does not dispute, but claims he is still eligible because his mother was born in the U.S…. unlike Obama whose mother was born in Kansas.)
  14. Trump, Walker, Rubio, Carson & Huckabee, all talked about how “pro-Life” they are… except when it comes to the life of the mother. – Sen. Rubio on Meet the Press yesterday, defending his opposition to an abortion exception even to protect the life of the mother… a position so extreme it puts him at odds with 87% of the American people, said: “If I’m going to err, it’s going to be on side of life.” Unless of course it’s the life of the mother. The other candidates mentioned shared this view. The irony is that if a pregnancy endangers the mother’s life and the fetus is not viable, BOTH will die anyway. And in many cases, the mother will die a horrible and excruciating death. These same Holy Rollers also believe a fetus has Constitutional rights at the moment of conception (Huckabee: “5th & 14th”). So bye-bye hormonal birth control (“The Pill”) or invitro-fertilization.
  15. The only two GOP candidates to express any belief in Climate Change still call it “a theory” that’s “not proven.” – In 2012, Governor Kasich took some heat (forgive the pun) from Republicans for daring to suggest that Climate Change is real and that maybe we would should be doing something about it. But when that position was roundly booed by the academics in Thursday’s audience (snark), Kasich quickly backtracked, turning to the famed “it’s still an unproven theory” chestnut… you know, like gravity or Relativity. The only believer/non-believer, Rand Paul, said he is “not sure anybody exactly knows why” the Earth is warming and therefore we needent go to extreme lengths… like impose “regulations”… to curb it.
  16. Record job growth and plunging unemployment proves Obama’s economic record is a disaster and the economy still needs to be “jump started.” – The day after the debate, the latest BLS jobs report proclaimed that 215,000 new jobs were created in July. You have to go back to March of this year to find a month that produced fewer than 200,000 jobs. The Unemployment Rate held steady at 5.3% as more and more long-term unemployed optimistically resume looking for work. With a year and a half left in the Obama presidency, an unemployment rate of just 4.9%… just 0.4% below where it is now… is not out of the realm of possibility. 4.9% was the record low unemployment rate when President Clinton supposedly handed President Bush a Recession.
  17. Trump: “Our vets have to be taken care of and we must end ObamaCare.” – We must take care of our vets. Screw everyone else.
  18. The VA is a vital part of caring for our veterans, but Socialized Medicine is evil. – Senator Rubio praised the Veterans Administration while criticizing the poor state befalling it under President Obama… of which Republicans refused to increase funding commensurate with the demand created by two simultaneous wars. Someone should point out that the VA he so praised and promises to support is 100% Socialized Medicine where the hospitals are all owned by the government and every doctor is a government employee.
  19. Ted Cruz thinks we get to pick & choose where we place our embassies in foreign countries. – In a troubling and widely overlooked comment, Senator Cruz vowed to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Not only does the U.S. (nor any country) get to dictate where its embassy is located within another country, but vowing to plant our flag in the disputed territory of Jerusalem would not only be wildly inflammatory to the Muslim world and widely (and correctly) seen as us “taking sides” in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, but it would almost certainly make our embassy a prime target for terrorism, endangering the lives of every American inside. But hey, it’s not like this is Benghazi or anything, right?
  20. “Our newest B2 Bomber” is from 1962. – Huckabee bemoaned the fact that our military is still using outdated weaponry dating back decades, citing the fact our “newest” B2 Bomber still in active duty was built when Kennedy was still president. Perhaps it’s because we use B1 Stealth Bombers now, not WWII era “flying fortresses”. This is the SAME argument held over from the 2012 campaign, when President Obama had to point out to Gov. Romney that “old” weapons of war… like “horses and bayonets” are phased out over time and replaced with more modern weaponry.
  21. Iran released the hostages the moment Ronald Reagan was sworn in because they were terrified of him, not because he had already struck an illegal deal with them. – Sen. Cruz… who apparently learned everything he knows about Ronald Reagan listening to Conservative Talk Radio, said that a Cruz presidency would strike the same fear into the hearts of our enemies as Ronald Reagan did. The Iranians were apparently SO fearful of what President Reagan might do to them that they released the hostages the moment he was sworn in. NOT because it was an intentional slap-in-the-face to President Carter by Iran, nor did it have anything to do with Reagan secretly promising to trade “arms for hostages”, subverting the negotiating process under Carter and possibly keeping the hostages prisoner for longer than they might have been otherwise.

 

The big question after the debate was whether Trump’s unpopular refusal to say he wouldn’t go 3rd Party, plus his poor response to some pointed questions during the debate, followed by some offensive… possibly misogynistic… comments about Fox’s Megyn Kelly for calling out his misogyny during the debate, would finally hurt Trump in the polls? Are you kidding? Of course not! Republicans carry the ultimate “persecution complex”. They epitomize the “victim” mentality. The blacks & Mexicans are all criminals out to do them bodily harm and a drain on society costing them money. The “gays” are converting the U.S. to accept their immorality and “destroying the very fabric of our nation”. There is even a “War on Christmas”. Everyone is out the get them. And the more The Media attacks their leader Donald Trump, the more they identify with him and will dig in their heels to defend him. Even disparaging POW’s and past video of him saying totally contradictory things is not enough to sway them. This current spat with Fox’s Kelly is the closest thing I’ve seen yet that could endanger his standing in the polls. The more Trump is marginalized, the more his supporters will dig in. Nothing shy of him making openly misogynistic comments about another female Conservative darling could tarnish Trump in the eyes of his fellow “victims”.

Prior to the GOP Debate, Democrats were popping popcorn. After the GOP Debate, Democrats were popping champagne corks. Meanwhile, Republicans were popping Tums. And for good reason. 17 candidates, and this is the best they’ve got.

 


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Party That Swift-Boated John Kerry in 2004 is Outraged By Trump’s Attack on McCain
Jul 20th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy

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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:

  • “John McCain is a hero [ONLY] because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured [because if you were captured, you must have done something wrong/foolish].

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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Beginning of the End for Religious Bigotry Laws
Jun 29th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy

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

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

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

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

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

BONUS:

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

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

 


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Mugsy’s Annual Predictions for 2015
Dec 29th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy

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This is arguably my favorite posting duty of the year, where I get to ridicule the so-called “psychics”, blast Conservative prognosticators, a look back at my own routinely successful record of predicting (averaging around 60%), followed by my own predictions for the coming year. Sure, I’ve had my good years (75% in 2008) and my bad (20% for 2007), but even on my worst day, I don’t suck at predicting as much as most (all?) Republicans. They say, “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it”, which explains why Republicans are just so Godawful at predicting. They lack ANY ability to learn from history and can’t see beyond their immediate goals (eg: invading Iraq and overthrowing Saddam without an exit strategy, wildly unrealistic expectations of the result, and zero preparation for the aftermath.) I can understand why the predictors keep predicting as long as there’s money to be made and people continue to trust their predictions despite a track-record of failure, but what I can’t understand is why people keep asking these notoriously bad pundits FOR their predictions. I swear I’ve owned hamsters that were better at predicting what happens next than some of the most famous Republican pundits. Case in point:

Bill Kristol (former Chief of Staff to Dan Quayle… which tells you all you need to know) is so routinely horribly bad at predicting, The Rachel Maddow Show actually did an entire segment on it last January (though they omitted his most famous wrong prediction:

“And on this issue of the Shia in Iraq, I think there’s been a certain amount of, frankly, Terry, a kind of pop sociology in America that, you know, somehow the Shia can’t get along with the Sunni and the Shia in Iraq just want to establish some kind of Islamic fundamentalist regime. There’s almost no evidence of that at all. Iraq’s always been very secular.” – Bill Kristol defending the decision to invade Iraq to ABC’s Terry Moran, April 1, 2003.

…”almost no evidence of that”… except maybe A THOUSAND YEARS of civil war. Iraq was only “secular” because Saddam knew it was the only way to control religious infighting. What did I say about Republicans and their knowledge of history? (Iraq was currently secular, ergo it has always been secular.)

The so-called “professional psychics” are so routinely bad, it’s almost no fun beating up on them anymore. This list of predictions for 2014 by some of the most famous in their field was so abysmally wrong that it’s easier just to read it than dissect it. Among my favorites: Vladimir Putin wins Nobel prize for his part in Syria and “A tornado destroys most of Kansas City” (KC Kansas or KC Missouri? …like it matters.)

Last year, I made a point of recording “Fox news Sunday’s” Predictions for 2014 on their year-end show. Host Chris Wallace joked that the segment comes under the heading “Often in Error but Never in Doubt”… which sums up Conservatism perfectly. Have you ever seen a group so sure of themselves despite being so consistently wrong about everything? Republicans are SO sure their beliefs are right that their predictions are “predictably” pro Right wing with absolutely no foothold in reality. (I skipped their predictions on “entertainment” and “sports”… which were just as wrong… focusing instead on their political & economic predictions:

2013 Fox’s “Power Panel” makes their predictions for 2014: (4:10)

To summarize:

  • ObamaCare will continue to “unravel” and cause economic chaos.
  • Republicans win control of the Senate… due to the poor economy.
  • An airstrike on Iran’s nuclear facilities by the U.S. or Israel.
  • Economy will improve, but not by enough to significantly reduce unemployment.
  • GDP growth under 3% (it broke 3.5%)
  • “ObamaCare crushes jobs”. Unemployment goes down only because people give up looking for work.

It’s no surprise Fox chose not to (nor do they ever) replay their previous years’ predictions yesterday heading into this years’ segment.

The only one bullish on the economy was DINO Joe Liebermann, correctly predicting a strong economy for 2014, “over 3% GDP growth”, “the DOW will break 18,000” (it did) “and the S&P will break 2,000” (it did). But even he predicted “unemployment will [only] go down to 6.5%”. Last month, unemployment fell to just 5.8% following ten consecutive months of 200,000+ job growth… the first time that’s happened since the LAST time a Democrat occupied the White House.

Last week, this was the news on the economy (Dec 23, 2014):
 

ABC News: 2014 Ends With Record Economic Growth (1:56)

 

Remember that date because I promise you Republicans will be taking credit for the improved economy next year despite the fact it was a huge success BEFORE they ever took control of Congress.

On “Meet the Press” yesterday, Chuck Todd summed up the Obama economic record for 2014 with these figures:
 

2014: Year of the Economic Comeback (1:10)

By contrast, here is a compilation of news reports on the economy after six years of President Bush and Conservative control of Congress (5:54):
 

My first attempt at predicting the coming year was 2006 when I went a paltry 2 for 10 (20%) predicting 2007. Learning from my mistakes, in 2007 I went 9 for 12 (75%). 2008 went 11 for 15 (73%). 2009: just 45%, 2010: 68%, 2011: 66%, 2012: 50%. If you’re doing the math, that’s an average accuracy of just under 57%. So, how did I do in 2013 predicting the coming year? I can’t say if tending to my mother in her final days clouded my judgement, but you be the judge:

  1. Wrong: GOP to agree to a “compromise extension” of Unemployment benefits. – It’s easy to forget that just one year ago, the economy was still soft and unemployment was still nearly 7-percenct (finally falling to 6.7% by years end) Senate Republicans knew they could vote “Yes” on an extension because they knew it would never pass the GOP controlled House. House Leader Boehner hemmed & hawed for five months, finally rejecting an extension in mid-May. But by then, it was moot. Three straight months of job growth well over 100K and then two months of job growth over 200K, by then no one was decrying the need to extend unemployment benefits now that the jobs were coming back.
  2.  

  3. Wrong: expect the DOW to close just over the “19,200” mark come years end. – The market grew like gang-busters once again in 2014, but slightly slower than it did in 2013. Breaking 18,000 last week was still a record.
  4.  

  5. Wrong: Supreme Court to rule that states must recognize marriages performed in another state. – While the Supreme Court did overturn bans on same-sex marriage in Oklahoma, Utah & Kansas as unconstitutional, they did not go so far as to rule on any “interstate” recognition of marriage. But that’s primarily because no such case was ever brought before the high court. Based on three rulings of declaring state bans “unconstitutional”, there would be no excuse for defending a ban had such a case come before the court. So while I got this one wrong, I still feel vindicated.
  6.  

  7. Wrong: don’t expect control of either House to change hands – Well… half-wrong anyway, but no points for half credit. I never expected Democrats to just roll over and play dead like they did this year, eschewing the president and his robust economy with record job growth like he was an Ebola victim that crossed the border illegally. Never under-estimate a Democrats ability to not take credit for their success as well as Republicans ability to convince you that’s just warm yellow rain they’ve been showering you with.
  8.  

  9. Wrong: Hillary WILL announce her intention to run for President, as will Chris Christie – The years’ not over with yet as I type this, but I really thought the candidates would declare immediately after the mid-terms. But Hillary is waiting before pasting that target on her back, and enthusiasm for Christie just never grew as Democrats followed “Bridge-Gate” and Republicans still never forgave him for embracing President Obama after Hurricane Sandy.
  10.  

  11. Wrong: expect a reasonably smooth, growing economy in 2014. Expect GDP growth in the 4.0+ range next year. – First half right, but second half just missed the mark. I remember as I wrote that, that 4.0+% growth was probably a tad overly optimistic, but growth of over 3.5% wasn’t that far off the mark. Still not good enough for me to grade my prediction as correct.
  12.  

  13. Wrong: Snowden to move to South America. – As far as anyone is aware, he’s still in Russia, even agreeing to an interview with American television while in Moscow.
  14.  

  15. Right: Regarding Congress raising the Minimum Wage, with a number of states deciding no wait for Congress to act and raise it on their own, but nationally, if the economy continues to improve, forget it. – Ah, finally, a win! I was getting worried there. In his State of the Union Address, President Obama asked Congress to raise the Minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10/hour. Republicans in Congress have vowed to block any vote on raising the Minimum Wage, but as predicted, 21 states voted this year to raise their Minimum Wage on January 1st of 2015.
  16.  

  17. Wrong: The Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia is going to be a mess. – While I could make a case that I got this right (#SochiProblems was a trending hashtag on Twitter during the games following reports of “unfinished hotels” and a hiccup during the opening ceremonies as one of the Olympic rings failed to expand), but nothing like my expectation of events either being relocated or canceled, and threats of violence against the games that I expected. I’m no hack, so mark this one wrong as well.
  18.  

  19. Wrong: Janet Napolitano, hand-picked by Obama to lead a delegation of openly gay athletes to Sochi, was specifically chosen because she herself will come out as gay upon her arrival. – No idea if she is or not, but she certainly didn’t make any such announcement while she was there… not even during an interview with “The Advocate” magazine.
  20.  

  21. Right: I don’t think an unemployment rate of 6.1% (give or take 3/10th of a point) is out of the realm of possibility. – Not only was unemployment of just 6.1% obtainable, but the eventual 5.8% is indeed withing 3/10th of that figure as predicted.
  22.  

  23. Wrong, but with some caveats: a nuclear disarmament deal WILL be struck with Iran. – While Iran never did agree to give up its right to pursue nuclear weapons, I also noted an increase in the global supply of oil resulting in a plunge in the per barrel price (but guessing only around $80/$75, never dreaming we’d see sub-$60 numbers again. Iran is indeed trading its oil through OPEC.
  24.  

  25. Wrong: Ted Cruz announces his intention to run for President. – Sometimes reality wins out over ego. With just 2% support for a presidential run among Conservatives (a number that is likely falling following his end-of-year stunt that has the GOP faithful spitting nails in his direction) support for a Cruz candidacy just never materialized.
  26.  

  27. Right: Supreme Court will rule in-favor of Hobby Lobby. – There was no way on God’s Green Earth that this Conservative-leaning Court was going to rule against the Religious Wrong Right in this country. Had the company arguing its religious rights were being violated been Muslims, Hindu’s or Satanists, you can be damned sure the vote would have gone the other way. But the American Taliban wields great power in this country.
  28.  

  29. Right: no “Election Reform” bill will be taken up in an election year. – Admittedly, this one was pretty easy. Lots of talk about the need for “Election Reform” following the 2012 Election, but rampant voter disenfranchisement laws swept the country (in Red states) this past year, sweeping the GOP back to control both houses of Congress due in part to just 39% voter turnout (which is actually just slightly above average for a mid-term.)
  30.  

  31. Right: a really big hurricane will hit someplace somewhere. – I’ll admit I was half-joking on this one, but monster storms are becoming more & more common as Global Warming becomes a growing problem. Typhoon Nuri, the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the North Pacific (smashing a 37 year old record), brushed the East coast of Japan before breaking up in the Bering Sea.
  32.  

  33. Right, with caveats: another “Lone-wolf” gun nut will go on a shooting spree. – In the wake of Sandy Hook and the Colorado shooting sprees, it seemed most likely that another mass shooting would take place again. On May 23 in Isla Vista, CA, another disturbed young man went on a shooting spree killing six people and wounding thirteen others (I actually expected more deaths) before killing himself. Notably though, 2014 was more the “year of cops killing unarmed black men” (and one black child) than it was noted as a year of mass murders by a single gunman.
  34.  

  35. Right… though I’m almost tempted to mark this one wrong: the Syrian conflict will still be raging a year from now. After incorrectly predicting military action against Assad/Syria in 2012 AND 2013, I played things a bit closer to the vest for 2014 to predict only that the conflict would still be ongoing in 2014. And indeed it is. But ironically, Assad’s war on his own people has been disrupted by… of all things… the terrorist group ISIS seeking to take control of the entire region. In an odd and totally bizarre way, ISIS has managed to do what America (nor any coalition nation) has dared attempt: disrupt Syria’s war on its own people by drawing its fire against an even greater threat to their monarchy.

Totaling the damage, 7 of 18 for just 39%. Not my worst but pretty far off the mark. Let’s see if I can’t do better this year.
 

My predictions for 2015:

  1. Early in 2015, in a sweeping and feigned show of “bi-partisanship”, Republicans will quickly approve at least two of President Obama’s cabinet appointees (most notably the new Secretary of Defense) in an attempt to show just “how willing” they are “to work with the president”. They will then quickly return to their obstructionist ways though, passing bill after bill they know President Obama would never sign (additional tax cuts for the highest tax brackets, repealing ObamaCare, etc) and point to the president as “the obstructionist” standing in the way of “what the people want.”
    (Update 1/7/15: Republicans Move To Gut Social Security Benefits on Their First Day in Power)
    (Update 1/9/15: House votes to pass Keystone XL pipeline)
    (Update 4/23/15: After record-setting 9 week delay, U.S. Senate confirms Loretta Lynch as Attorney General.)
  2.  

  3. Tensions between NYC Mayor DiBlasio and the Right-Wing head of the NY “Policemans Benevolent Association” will reach a boiling point with the Mayor finally chastising Pat Lynch by name for breeding discord between him and the NYPD over his own personal political differences. I’m not sure how much longer New Yorkers will tolerate this nonsense. Mayor DiBlasio won with a majority of the vote. Where are they now and why aren’t they rushing to his defense?
    (Update 1/31/15: New York Mayor Bill De Blasio Says Back-Turning By Police Was ‘Really Inappropriate’ but doesn’t cite Lynch by name.)
  4.  

  5. Hillary will remain the Democratic front-runner all year as her few Democratic challengers fail to ever pose a serious threat to her candidacy. Bernie Sanders will get into the race (as a Democrat so he can take part in the debates) but Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren will not. She said no; she means no. “Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces” is not her style. Expect an endorsement from her late in the year (most likely for Hillary, but Hillary has a nasty habit of throwing her Democratic colleges under the bus, so it is difficult to say for sure.) Support for Bernie may swell after one or two good debate showings and may even help push Hillary to the Left some, but the chances of an admitted “European Socialist”… which translates in the dullard Teabagger ear as “Nazi”… becoming the nominee is about zero.
    (Update 4/30/15: Sen. Sanders Announces his candidacy for the Democratic Presidential nomination.)
  6.  

  7. Fans of Ron Paul in 2012 will find Rand Paul a poor substitute and fail to flock to his candidacy as passionately as they did his father.
    (Update 7/28/15: Politico: Inside Rand Paul’s downward spiral.)
    (Update 10/14/15: Campaign stunt exposes Rand Paul misery.)
  8.  

  9. I’m not sure I’m ready to pick the Republican front-runner at this time (my gut says Jeb Bush but I also never expected him to run), but I can tell you that not even Mitt Romney’s ego is big enough to convince him to run again against the likes of Jeb Bush and Chris Christie. There isn’t enough oxygen in the rarefied air that is the GOP-nomination for three egos that big. I’m not even confident there will be a clear GOP front-runner by years end. And remember folks: #Jeb4President, because two Iraq Wars and three Recessions just weren’t enough.
    (Update 1/30/15: Romney Announces He Won’t Run for President in 2016.)
    (Update 10/15/15: Jeb Bush’s poll numbers tank despite increased spending.)
  10.  

  11. ISIS will continue to grow, but not at nearly the same rate. Recent barbaric domestic attacks like the massacre of 145 school children in Pakistan by the Pakistani Taliban in response to the rise of ISIS there will anger weary neighbors tired of all the in-fighting. As fewer people flock to join ISIS, their growth will slow and less territory will be taken/held. I don’t expect ISIS to be significantly larger a year from now than it is today (roughly 31,500 members).
    (Update 10/12/15: Despite growth, number of ISIS fighters is still roughly the same size as it was a year ago: 20K-30K.)
  12.  

  13. We haven’t seen the last of Putin’s trouble-making. Global insecurity raises oil prices. The recent plunge in oil prices has thrown the Russian economy into chaos, yet Putin still enjoys an 80% approval rating among Republicans er Russians because they suffer from the same classic inferiority complex as Conservatives (them against the world). So they rally around their dear leader as he makes mischief in the world trying to drive up oil prices by soughing unrest in Ukraine and the Middle East (and my money is on teenage Russian hackers being behind the hack of Sony Pictures that was blamed on North Korea.)
    (Update 10/1/15: In Syria, Putin’s Meddling Is Muddling U.S. Plans.)
    (Update 10/12/15: Putin: Russian airstrikes in Syria aimed at helping al-Assad regime.)
  14.  

  15. Which leads to North Korea. I suspect evidence will grow that North Korea was not directly responsible for the computer hacking of Sony Pictures late this year, but instead were only approached for “backing” or “support” just prior to the attack by third parties. Any early “sympathy” that might grow for North Korea as evidence suggests the hacking did not originate there will quickly dissolve as evidence suggests they had prior knowledge of… and were complicit in… the hacking attack.
    (Update 1/19/15: NSA confirms NK behind hack attack because they hacked NK’s computers back in 2010.)
  16.  

  17. The GOP will NOT attempt to impeach President Obama in 2015 (no bets on 2016 though). They know the voting public just has no appetite for two attempted impeachments of two Democratic presidencies in just the last eight years and would rightly crucify them for such crass political gamesmanship once again if they tried. An attempt to “sue” president Obama over “Executive Action” is still possible, but if they do (likely) it will be incredibly low-key.
  18.  

  19. Gitmo will still be in operation by years end. Republicans will raise a ruckus as more (already cleared) detainees are released, but for the most part, not much will have changed by years end. President Obama has tried to close it for six years, but with a Republican controlled Congress for his last two, forghedaboudit.
  20.  

  21. And that brings us to Cuba (where Gitmo is located.) I never dared predict a thaw in relations with Cuba this past year, but now that it has happened, expect interest in Cuba as a tourist destination to explode, much to the chagrin of Conservatives, torn between their hatred for the Castros/Communism and their love for the economic opportunities including corporations expanding cruise lines, building hotels and reviving the struggling cruiseline industry.
    (Update 7/23/15: Carnival Cruise Lines adds Cuba as destination.)
    (2015 ad for “Pearl Seas Cruises” to Cuba)
  22.  

  23. With no elections this year, don’t expect any more states to pass marijuana legalization laws. But as the year comes to a close, expect a push to get it on the 2016 ballot in more states start to take shape. No, Democrats will not make it part of their 2016 platform and no, president Obama will not take any Executive Action… neither pro nor con… regarding the issue.
    (Update 10/13/15: Bernie Sanders Says He Would Support Legalizing Weed If Given The Chance)
  24.  

  25. As noted above, Republicans will try to take credit for record economy that we’ve already started to see take shape before they even took control of Congress. When Republicans held control of both houses during President Clinton’s final six years, even they didn’t try to repeal the tax hike that Democrats passed in 1994 that led to a Balanced Budget and unprecedented economic growth. Nor will they try in 2015 because they know what it would do to the economy.
    (Update 1/7/15: Sen. Mitch McConnell says the economy is improving because Republicans are in charge)
  26.  

  27. I’m stunned oil prices have plummeted so precipitously this past year, and while the decline may continue for a few months more, it has a floor. I’d be stunned if oil fell below $40/barrel in 2015 and if it does, it won’t stay down there for long. Even with Putin out there trying to stir up trouble to get oil prices back up to rescue the Russian economy, expect the price of oil to settle in around $58/barrel give or take around $5… roughly just about where it is right now ($55/barrel).
    (Update 4/30/15: Price per Barrel of Crude Oil: $59.21.)
    (Update 10/15/15: Oil prices fall [to $45.41 per barrel] after inventory data show a big build.)
  28.  

  29. The DOW will continue to rise but not at the same rate, as oil prices stagnate and Republican obstructionism leaves Washington in the doldrums. The DOW should flirt with the 20,000 mark by years end, another record but at a slower rate than 2013 or 2014.
    (Update 8/23/15: World markets plunge as China stocks crash)

And that’s my predictions for 2015. No big moves on the Environment or Renewable Energy. 2015 just won’t be a “shake things up” kind of year. With Hillary’s “inevitability”, even the Presidential Debates won’t draw a lot of interest. Other than Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and “Medicare” in 1965, can you name anything of significance happening in a year ending in “5” in the last 50 years? My batting average has fallen every year since 2008, so I’m due for some improvement. We’ll see.

Follow-up: In my Predictions for 2014, I predicted the Supreme Court would rule that same-sex marriages performed in one state must be recognized in other states and that it would eventually lead to National recognition of same-sex marriage since same-sex couples could then legally exist in all 50 states. I was wrong in 2014, but the same conclusion was reached by the Supreme Court on June 26, 2015, declaring bans on same-sex marriage unconstitutional.

 


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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Plunge in Oil Prices Foretells Looming Economic Disaster. Aribrary pricing can go up easier than it came down.
Dec 8th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy

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During the 2000 presidential campaign, after oil climbed a whopping 72cents in one day (yes, that’s sarcasm) to $33.05/barrel, causing gasoline prices to hit an “unthinkable” $1.68/gallon nationally, Interstate “long-haul” truckers across the country threatened to go on strike saying that the soaring price of fuel was putting them out of business. Naturally, the leading candidates, Bush & Gore, were both forced to respond. On June 22nd of that year, George W Bush openly criticized the Clinton Administration for rising gas prices, saying (famously) that if HE were president, he’d tell OPEC to “open up the spigots” to bring down gas [sic] prices. Over the prior two decades, the price of gasoline had not fluctuated by more than a few cents a year until the “dime a gallon” spikes we saw in early 2000. But that stability vanished following G.W.Bush’s ascent to the presidency:

DoE graph of weekly oil prices from 1991 to Present (link)
Weekly gas prices 1991 to present

The range circled in yellow is the relatively flat/stable gasoline prices we had become accustomed to for decades, with a slight dip following 9/11. Gas prices rarely rose more than a couple of pennies per gallon in a month let alone a single day. After becoming president, the price of gasoline under George W Bush remained in the “strike zone”… and by that, I mean quite literally the “over $1.50/gal” price point at which truckers had threatened to strike… for the next three years. The day AFTER 9/11… and for the next two years… oil was still (roughly) only $29/barrel. It took the unwarranted invasion of Iraq and tossing the Middle East into chaos to drive the price of oil into the stratosphere (I’ll let you decide if that was the goal all along.)

The range circled in red is the dramatic plunge in gasoline prices after peaking at just over $4.10/gallon in July of 2008 (reportedly, one journalist asked President Bush at the time what he thought about the price of gas breaking $4/gallon, to which a startled president Bush… who last saw gas prices around $1.68/gal during the 2000 campaign… supposedly said in surprise, “How much???”) Breaking the $4.00 barrier was probably the final straw in the looming collapse of the economy, the bankrupting of the banking industry and the implosion of Wall Street, with the price of gas falling to a national average of just $1.89/per gallon in just seven months. The election of President Obama and the promise of getting out of Iraq was seen as likely to bring some stability to the Middle East (don’t laugh), which in turn would reduce the threat to our oil supply, allowing prices to quickly “rebound” back to the “new normal” of over $2.50/gallon in less than a few months (and over $3.50/gal in the year to follow). Again, as you can see from the graph, gas prices began to flatten out (relatively) until this most recent plunge (circled in green.)

I’ve been writing about the skyrocketing price of oil under Bush for many years now, so one might think I’d be thrilled to death to see the price of oil (and gas) plunge back to Earth… and under a Democratic president no less to really rub it in Republican’s faces. Low gas prices are like a shot of nitrous in the economic gas tank. What Republicans think “tax cuts” do for the economy, falling gas prices actually DO (because the benefits hit the Poor & Middle-Class FAR more directly/substantially.) But sadly, this current plunge has only highlighted a big flashing neon-sign at just how arbitrary oil pricing was to begin with, and how likely this rubberband is poised to snap back in our faces. Not to sound like a “Debbie Downer”, but there is a reason oil prices have been falling so precipitously in recent months and the chance they could shoot back up at almost any time is very real (if not likely)… the consequences of which could get very ugly.

The reason oil prices are falling are manifold. First, the United States, under President Obama, has dramatically increased oil production to a 38 year high. The “Drill here! Drill now!” crowd that vilified Obama during the 2008 & 2012 presidential races has an unexpected ally in President Obama. While touting the need to cut our dependence on fossil fuel and invest in renewable energy, President Obama has disappointingly been very supportive of increased drilling across the country (mercifully, he stood up against the “Keystone XL pipeline”, but have you noticed since the vote failed in the Senate, Republicans aren’t exactly banging the drum on how they’ll hold another vote after they take control of Congress?)

Increased U.S. production has triggered a price-war with OPEC… which represents about 1/3 of all the oil produced in the world… increasing their own production to compete with America. So right now, it’s a fight to see “who blinks first”. Two weeks ago, OPEC voted on whether they should CUT production in an attempt to drive prices back up. In the end, they voted “No” because they knew they would lose Billions in sales as more people purchased American oil. OPEC’s response was that they could withstand the price of oil falling to as low as $50/barrel again… a price not seen since right after the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

But American oil companies are likely to blink first before allowing oil prices to fall that low again, and would cut their own production to drive prices back up. OPEC would happily cut their own production in turn, the price of oil would skyrocket overnight and the U.S. economy could crash.

And American oil companies have ample incentive to drive prices up. First, when you sell a product billions of people literally can’t do without, you can almost charge whatever you want. And if they want $75 oil again, they wouldn’t break a sweat getting it back up there. And if you’re “TransCanada” and have millions of acres of oily sludge just begging to be turned into a pile of cash if only it were cost-effective to do so (presently, oil needs to be over $75/barrel to make converting tarsands sludge into oil profitable), nothing would make them (or their investors) happier than to see the price of oil shoot back up.

Of course, U.S. oil production can’t remain at this pace forever. Eventually (very soon I believe), production is going to start falling off (either from actual shortages or artificial ones), thus prices will start inching back up and the U.S. economy will falter. Desperate to eschew blame, Republicans… having missed the lesson entirely… will cry, “If only Democrats hadn’t blocked the Keystone pipeline in 2014, it would be built by now (actually, most of it is already built) and the price of oil wouldn’t be so high!”

No, the lesson to be learned here is that now more than ever, while oil prices are low and the economy is growing, we need to be investing in Green Energy now more than ever. Think of it as a “rainy day fund”. You don’t put money in the fund when you’re struggling and need it most, you fill it when times are good and need it least. We shouldn’t allow our… nay The World’s economy to be subject to the whims of the Oil Cartels. They’ve already subjected us to ONE global economic disaster. Do we REALLY wanna try for TWO… especially with so much warning?

POSTSCRIPT: I decided not to report on the recent protests regarding the deaths of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and whomever is next because the subject is already being covered thoroughly by others. Rush Limbaugh went on Fox “news” Sunday yesterday to blame “high taxes on cigarettes” for the death of Eric Garner (the “logic” being that the only reason there was a market for him to sell lose cigarettes was because of the high taxes on them, and the city’s dependence on that tax revenue is why “so many” cops descended upon him to the point of taking his life.) Yes Rush, blame the government; blame the victim; just don’t blame the guy with his arm around Garner’s neck… which “wasn’t a choke hold” because the cops told him so.

Limbaugh… the man who sang “Barack the Magic Negro” on his radio show to the same Teanut listeners who carried signs of Obama dressed like a witch doctor while protesting “ObamaCare”… complained bitterly that “people thought electing a black president would move the country past racism” (an irony lost on Limbaugh), but instead President Obama is to blame for an even greater racial divide in this country. He went on to lament that “you can’t criticize Obama without being accused of being a racist.” No Rush, before Obama, closet racists like yourself kept their racism in check. Once they were able to openly use racial code to criticize a black politician under the protective guise of simply “criticizing the president”, that’s when you and your ilk were exposed as the racists asshats we always knew you to be.

 


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Electorate Votes Big for Progressive Policies (and the people least likely to implement them)
Nov 10th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

However…

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

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

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

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


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Is Anyone Surprised Republicans Are Talking Impeachment?
Jul 28th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy

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I had been thinking it for years before I tweeted last January: “Reminder on importance of 2014 mid-terms: GOP impeached Clinton his final two years. #MtP”. And like swallows returning to Capistrano, the GOP seems to think that “impeachment” is a perfectly acceptable response to circumventing every Democratic presidency in its sixth year. They’ve been looking for an excuse since November 7th, 2012 (the day after Obama’s re-election.) Back in May when President Obama unilaterally agreed to a prisoner exchange to bring home ailing American POW Bowe Bergdahl, demon-spawn Liz Cheney was already citing it as an impeachable offense. Bush’s last Attorney General Michael Mukaseythe highest law  enforcement officer in the land… who should know the law better than anyone, actually said on Fox “news” Sunday last June that, “the president can legally do something and still be impeached [for it].” NO. No he can’t. The Constitution specifically states “high crimes and misdemeanors” as the only things a president can be impeached for. But that just goes to show you just how flippantly Republicans take something as serious as impeaching a president. For a group of people that seems to cite “The Constitution” so much, they sure seem to know damn little about it. I could start a list of things President Bush should have been impeached for… and we’re not talking the rinky-dink nonsense they impeached Clinton over or now want to impeach Obama over (when they finally settle on something, I’ll let you know). During the Bush presidency, the GOP lie silent (except to call you & me “unpatriotic” if we dare question our “Commander-in-Chief” in “a time of war!”) in response to a multitude of some VERY SERIOUS and clearly unconstitutional abuses of power. Shocking, I know. So what’s their latest reason for pondering “impeachment”? The (feux) “immigration crisis”. And what exactly has Obama done to warrant impeachment? Nothing. Literally. This latest round of impeachment talk is what to do IF the president unilaterally grants all these child refugees “amnesty” (yes, this is the same Obama currently deporting those same refugees faster than President Bush did.) And lest we forget St. Ronnie granting amnesty to TEN MILLION undocumented immigrants?

Exactly eleven years ago yesterday (July 27, 2003), four months after the invasion of Iraq and still no “WMD’s” to be found, Florida Senator Bob Gramm went of Fox “news” Sunday to suggest that perhaps President Bush should be impeached over invading Iraq on false pretenses. Please note Brit Hume’s high bar for whether or not President Bush did anything “impeachable”. He literally bristles with contempt towards Gramm (whose name they misspell, natch) at the very idea, unwilling to even let columnist Mara Liason (sitting next to Hume) to get a word in edgewise to ask a question (old video. I apologize for the quality):
 

Sen. Gramm: If what Clinton’s did was impeachable, Bush knowingly
lying us into war was far worse.
(July 27, 2003)
(4:04)

 

And now Republicans are openly talking of impeachment over something President Obama *might* do? You gotta be kidding me.

Of course, as noted above, this is just their latest excuse to try and derail Obama’s presidency and permanently blemish his otherwise impressive legacy. He got us out of Iraq, he’s getting us out of Afghanistan, is getting the economy back on track (the 1.4 million new jobs created in the first six months of this year is the most since late 1999)… five of those months surpassing the 200,000 jobs mark… the DOW hit a new record high four or five times already this month, and it’s driving the GOP nuts!

Noted bow-tie enthusiast George Will showed an uncharacteristic (albeit brief) flash of sanity on Fox “news” Sunday yesterday, commenting on the immigration “crisis”:

“This country has seen and absorbed far more immigrants coming into our country than we are seeing today.” – George F. Will on Fox “news” Sunday yesterday

Whether it’s “Ben-GAH-zeee!” (Obama’s inability to foresee the deaths of four people on 9/11… 2012), extending the “ObamaCare” deadline for small businesses (which Republicans actually wanted), his use of “Executive Orders” to actually get something done (in this case, to force Federal Contractors to pay a higher minimum wage and prevent them from employment discrimination based on sexual orientation) when our (literally) “do-nothing Congress” can’t organize a two-car parade, and now the basesless fear over what he might do over immigration… Republicans have been desperately looking for an excuse to impeach the president for years.

When polls showed the American public has no appetite for seeing yet another wildly partisan Republican Congress attempting to impeach yet another Democratic president, Speaker Boehner quickly shifted gears to suggest merely suing President Obama rather than impeaching him. “Sue him? For what?”, I hear you ask. Well, they haven’t quite worked that little detail out just yet. But consider this: If the president did something that he could be sued for in a Criminal court, then he must have broken the law… which is (by definition) an impeachable offense. So are they telling us President Obama committed a CRIME he can be SUED for, but it’s not anything for him to be impeached over.

Over the weekend, more violence erupted in Libya, forcing the Obama Administration to order the evacuation of our embassy in Tripoli. On FnS, the famed “Power Panel” discussed whether or not it was a mistake for President Obama to have “taken out Qadaffi.”

I kid you not. Hand-to-God. Really???

One has to wonder just how detached from reality these people must be to openly wonder if removing the brutal & violent dictator of a relatively peaceful Middle-Eastern nation was a good idea in light of the resulting violence, and not worry about being seen as raging hypocrites.

Of course, the big difference between 9/11/2012 and 9/11/2001, or the ousting of Saddam vs the ousting of Qadaffi is that the later “impeachable offenses” were both committed by a Democrat… which in itself is an impeachable offense in GOP-Land.
 


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Ukraine in Chaos. Could Syria Become a Proxy War?
Apr 14th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy

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Ukraine exploded in violence last week. At the same time, a chemical gas attack against rebels may or may not have been committed by Syria (we must consider the possibility that some psychotic and/or desperate rebel faction/individual released a homemade chemical weapon against their own people in order to draw the U.S. into the Syrian conflict (now in its third year.) Conservatives like John McCain almost seemed to take pleasure in shuttling between political morning shows to basically call President Obama “spineless” for failing to involve the United States in a THIRD war for not acting after “his own red line” on Syria’s use of chemical weapons. And now that it has happened again, the drumbeat for war in Syria is bound to rise again on the Right. Russia is a major ally of Syria, and that backing is probably the only thing that has kept the United States out of Syria so far.

Meanwhile, violent protests broke out once again last week as “pro-Russian militants” stormed a Ukrainian police station in Slovyansk (in Eastern Ukraine). The American & European governments have stated their belief that the militants are actually members of the Russian military. Russia says they were really American “CIA” there to stir-up trouble. Either way, between events in Syria and now Ukraine, tensions between the U.S. and Russia haven’t been this high since the end of the Cold War 26 years ago.

When Hitler (no, I’m not about to compare Putin to Hitler so I’m not violating Godwin’s Law) invaded Poland in 1939, it was because he was headed for Russia (map). So when the U.S. finally entered World War II two years later, Russia became the epitome of “My enemy’s enemy is my friend.” An uneasy alliance was formed between the United States, England and Russia. But for the most part, America and England were appalled by some of Stalin’s tactics, and by the time the war was over, the allies had reason to be concerned about the way Russia was annexing smaller border nations to create a buffer zone around their country.
 

Scene from “The Right Stuff” (1983)
Start of the Cold War?

 

Then came the “Red Scare” of the 1950’s. The Soviet Union backed the North Korean invasion of South Korea, and the U.S. sent troops into South Korea in what was essentially a “proxy war” where America used Korea as an excuse to go to “war” (technically called a “police-action”) with Russia. It was long (back when 2-1/2 years to fight a war was still considered a long time) and bloody, and ended in stalemate. Senator Joe McCarthy (before he was reincarnated as Senator Ted Cruz) sent the nation on a nationalistic Communist witch hunt that ruined the lives of thousands of good Americans.

In 1962, Russia attempted to place nuclear missiles in the newly Communist nation of Cuba. The 13 day stand-off between President’s Kennedy & Kruschev were consider the closest we ever came to an actual direct war (possibly even a nuclear one) between the two countries. By this time, Russia’s military involvement in Korea had already spread South to Vietnam, but, after Korea (and Japan during WWII), Americans were not eager to get involved in yet another war in the Pacific. But when Kennedy was assassinated 13 months later, LBJ was quick to believe Russia was behind it, and soon America was sending troops into Vietnam in yet another proxy-war with Russia.

Ronald Reagan, a staunch anti-Communist holdover from the 1950’s who believed Joe McCarthy was right, used the power of the presidency some 30 years later to finish what Joe began, launching a series of micro proxy-wars in South America… El Salvador, Panama, Grenada, and to some extent even the Philippians.

Following Russia’s annexation of Crimea last month, and now the threat of annexing Eastern Ukraine before its government can join the European Union, America has become increasingly worried about President Putin’s reckless behavior. Russia is also allies with Syria and has been the leading obstical in the use of military force to stop President al-Assad from using WMD’s against his own people in rebellion against him (can’t imagine why they hate him).

Late last year, Republicans (always looking for another excuse to criticize President Obama as well as start another war) were quick to mischaracterize President Obama’s “red line on Syria” speech to suggest that ANY use of chemical weapons in Iraq would be grounds for war. Two problems: 1) He said if we see “a whole lot” of chemical weapons being used in Syria (we didn’t. It was one small attack that killed a few dozen, raising serious doubts about whether it was actually committed by Syria. Risking a U.S. invasion simply to kill 20 people?) and 2) never any confirmation it was actually the Syrian government acting on the orders of Assad. Chicken Hawks are very quick to send the nation to war… so long as it’s someone else that’s doing the fighting & dying. We saw that with Iraq.

But now this second use of chemical weapons might be harder to ignore. Add to that the lingering question of whether Syria will meet its agreed upon deadline to destroy it’s chemical stockpiles, and suddenly, military action in Syria starts to look more & more inevitable. And if Russia continues to thumbs it’s nose at the U.S. and attempts to annex Eastern Ukraine to prevent it from allying itself with The West, might we see the U.S. and Europe sending troops into Syria in yet another “proxy-war” with Russia? We can only hope that cooler heads prevail.

PS: What about The Space Station? The current crew consists of three Russians, two Americans and one Japanese astronaut. While the U.S. has suspended contact with the Russian government, the ISS is “exempt”. Russia has also been providing (small “s”) shuttle service to ferry crew to & from the ISS since the Space Shuttle was monthballed and we await its replacement. So what happens if the U.S. and Russia find themselves on opposite sides in a proxy-war? I suppose the ESA (European Space Agency) can take over shuttle service, but it’s nearly impossible to leave the ISS totally unmanned, and I shudder to think about the consequences of Russia starting a turf war in space as they refuse to remove their cosmonauts from the ISS. Interesting thought.

 


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Let’s Not Be So Quick to Vilify the Flight 370 Pilots Before the Facts Are In
Mar 24th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy

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I‘ve been quite bothered these past few weeks over the way everyone… both on the Right AND the Left… seems to be leaping to conclusions about what exactly happened to Malaysia Flight370 that disappeared without a trace nearly two weeks ago (as I write this, ships & spotter planes are racing to the Indian Ocean to examine what appears to be large pieces of debris floating in the ocean 1,500 miles off the Southwest coast of Australia.) Fox and Conservative talk radio seems certain this was an act of terrorism likely perpetrated by the Mus’lim pilots or onboard hijackers, while Progressive radio’s Randi Rhodes has been entertaining the idea that the plane was electronically hijacked by people using cellphones. And CNN? When the “legitimate news” network isn’t bringing on psychics as if they were legitimate sources of information, they wonder aloud if God Almighty or possibly UFO’s didn’t snatch the plane out of the sky like the “Prize Claw” in a Chuck-E-Cheese.

I pointed out more than a week ago that the Boeing 777 is the first “fly-by-wire” aircraft with no mechanical link between the flight-yoke and the actual steering of the plane. This makes the electrical system one giant weak-spot. Most of the plane’s electrical system, including the bright orange “black boxes”, is housed in the tail of the aircraft. An electrical fire could have slowly compromised the plane a bit at a time. First knocking out the radio/communications, triggering the plane to automatically execute the secondary (Emergency) flight plan programmed in hours before.

My personal belief is that this will be “Payne Stewart” all over again, but on a massive scale, with a fire in the tail-section slowly disabling the plane’s electrical system, knocking out the radio, transponders, and eventually the steering (fly-by-wire) while the passengers & crew were overcome by smoke/co2. At the first sign of problems, the plane’s onboard computer would likely have automatically executed the Secondary (Emergency) flight plan, turning back towards Kuala Lumpur and reducing altitude, before failing entirely. If the radio went first, there would have been no way for the pilots to send a distress call. While autopilot can steer/turn the plane, pilots are still required for takeoff and landing. So the radio goes out, the plane starts to turn around, the transponders go out (which is why we know the plane turned without the pilots radioing it in), then the electronic steering goes out so the pilots can’t correct course or land the plane. Struggling to regain control of the aircraft in any way possible, they might have even coaxed the plane into changing altitude. The plane then flies in a straight line out towards the Indian Ocean until it runs out of fuel approximately 6.5 hours later (based on the estimated amount of fuel onboard after departure) and glides into the water, leaving the plane mostly intact and limiting the debris field. Consider this, if the plane were “hijacked”, the passengers had almost 7 hours to break down the door and regain control of the aircraft. Early on, while still near/over land, passengers could have used their cell phones or “air-phones” on the plane unless overcome by smoke or knocked unconscious by “explosive decompression” due to a hole in the aircraft. The flight attendants, who’ve made this trip dozens of times, would have immediately known something was up the moment the plane made unscheduled a U-Turn and/or was out over open water for more than an hour. Yet in all that time, no one was able to regain control of the aircraft? You can’t land a plane that size on an aircraft carrier. As soon as they were near land, cell phones would have started working again (no, terrorists could not have confiscated and disabled/destroyed them all that fast, and dumping them would have made for one giant “homing beacon”), so the plane never landed. And think about this: Why has Boeing been so mum on this disaster? They are always on TV following an air disaster involving one of their planes. So where are they now? They are still reeling from the botched 787 rollout and don’t need buyers now panicking over the 777 suffering catastrophic electrical failure.

I’m also bugged by the “suspicion” surrounding the fact the Captain had an elaborate “flight simulator” in his home and posted YouTube videos using it. This is simply a man that loved his job. I work on computers for a living, yet here I am spending hours every week online, reading political websites, researching news material and writing this blog. They say, “If you do what you love for a living, you’ll never work a day in your life.” We are supposed to believe that after logging more than EIGHTEEN THOUSAND HOURS of flight experience, this was the day he suddenly decided to lure hundreds to their death in an elaborate suicide that didn’t involve almost immediately crashing the plane into the ground but instead waiting hours to fly out to sea? And he had a flight simulator in his home, yet never “practice flew” his “act of terrorism” before leaving? Yeah, right. I knew a guy who dreamed of becoming a pilot when he was a kid. He carried around toy planes and read books about flying. No, the fact the Captain had a flight simulator in his home is significant of nothing other than the fact he loved his job. I don’t know too much about the co-pilot other than the fact that he too had racked up several thousand hours of flying time, again raising the question: “why now?” Why crash a plane now when the opportunity presented itself literally hundreds of times over the past dozen years.

So now the search is on. Once the Black Boxes are found, we may very well likely learn that the pilots that so many have been quick to suspect of terrorism, may have in fact have actually been heroes, fighting heroically/futilely to regain control of a crippled aircraft. Can we PLEASE wait until all the facts are in before we slander these men?

Postscript: Apparently, I’m not the only one postulating the simple “electrical fire” theory.
 


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