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Scientists of convenience: “Life begins at conception”?

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, July 7, 2014

If you’re like me, you probably noticed loooooong ago that “Conservatives” and “Science” go together like horseshit & ice cream. In October of 2012, Congressman Paul Broun (in)famously declared that sciences like “global warming” and “evolution” were “lies straight from the pit of hell.” During the 2004 Presidential Campaign, John Kerry was called an “elitist” because he was fluent in two languages (English & French). President George W Bush compared himself to Moses in a Bible passage referring to him as “slow of tongue” (ie: not very bright). And the less said about Sarah Palin and Dan Quayle, the better. Yes, the GOP has celebrated “stupidity” for decades, calling it “being folksy”. “Elitist college professors” turn students into “Liberals” (no, actually education turns students into Liberals. People who are incurious about the world typically don’t seek higher education.) Yes, Conservatives have had a hate/hate relationship with science for as long as I can remember… except in ONE very specific subject: “conception”… specifically, when “life” begins. Then suddenly, they’re all freaking Doctor Killdare. And they can tell you with 100% scientific certainty that “life begins at the moment of fertilization and will go on to explain in great biological detail why that’s true.

 

“Life begins at conception”? How exactly do they come to that conclusion?
 

Well, because “we can see under a microscope how a cell immediately begins to divide at the moment of fertilization. And at x# of weeks, “we can see” that the “child” responds to pain.

So the basis for their opinion on this ONE, AND ONLY ONE, ISSUE is SCIENCE, NOT The Bible.
 

Is it just me or does that strike you as particularly odd as well?
 

The same people that think the Law of Gravity is up for debate, and that standard light bulbs don’t waste electricity, rely on science… not The Bible… heavily to defend their position on just when life begins. They’ll tell you how the moment the sperm breaks the membrane of a woman’s ova, “cell division”… and the process of creating a fetus… begins. They suddenly know enough about DNA to put OJ away for murder, and declare with great authority that “a child” has been created and to destroy that fertilized egg is therefore an abortion.

Actually, The Bible says life begins “at life’s first breath” (502 passages reference “life” and “breath”), which they are TOTALLY willing to IGNORE when it’s convenient. Yet, when it comes to “homosexuality” (of which the Bible says nothing) or “Climate Change” (ditto), the Bible trumps all science.

As TV/radio-host/comedian/pundit John Fugelsang noted on the radio all last week, “if a fertilized egg is a child, then that makes God the most prolific serial abortionist in history!” Gotta wonder just how much sanctity God puts on human life when he designed the female body so that it could rid itself of “fertilized eggs” so easily (Monty Python anyone?)

And God opposes abortion? Says who? The Bible? If you don’t know already, The Bible actually contains detailed instructions on how to perform an abortion. And all those women The Bible said should be “stoned to death” for committing adultery (or be so reckless as to let herself get pregnant after being raped), what do they think became of those unborn children they were carrying? (and I’d like to point out, if you think the husband knew his wife was pregnant before she was showing, guess again. Can you say “third-trimester abortion” boys & girls?

Since 2010, the GOP House has been OBSESSED with passing anti-abortion legislation that they KNOW doesn’t have a prayer (pun intended) of passing, yet during the first six years of the Bush-II Presidency, when the GOP controlled BOTH Houses AND the White House, they didn’t attempt to pass a single piece of anti-abortion legislation. They don’t REALLY want to overturn Roe because it’s a big cash-cow for them.

So, back to my original point: when it comes to sciences like “paleontology” or “the ozone layer”, science is “evil” and “knowledge” only “clouds your mind from knowing The Truth.” But when it comes to “Conception”, suddenly science is their best friend (until you try to point out that the fertilized egg will soon stop dividing and no longer continue to grow if it doesn’t attach itself to the uterine wall to provide it with nourishment, ergo, an egg that is never implanted will NEVER become a “child”), you’ve just introduced an inconvenient fact that doesn’t jibe with their reality, and suddenly science is no longer their best friend.

If I believed in The Bible the way these people believe in science… oh wait, I do… what do you think they’d say about my claiming to be an authority on The Bible?

POSTSCRIPT: Chuck Lorre, the producer of several thousand CBS sitcoms, likes to insert “vanity cards” at the end of every episode of every show he produces. Some are just for laughs, while some take a humorous look at a serious subject. At the end of a “Two and a Half Men” episode last April, Chuck inserted the following Vanity Card that I just happened to catch:
 

Women's Rights - April 3, 2014

 



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Filed in Abortion rights, myth busting, Party of Life, Politics, Rants, Religion, Right-Wing Insanity July 7th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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You can always find another lunch counter, er, baker, florist

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, March 3, 2014

I‘m fairly convinced by this point that Conservatives just don’t listen to themselves when they speak. How else do you explain Fox’s George Will or ABC guest pundit Rich Lowrey decrying yesterday the veto of Arizona’s noxious “(bigotry in the name of) Religious Freedom Act”, saying, “Hey, if a baker or florist refuses to cater your gay wedding, there are plenty of other bakers & florists. Just find one who will.” I’m certain there were plenty of other lunch counters those young black men could have patronized in 1960 as well. In fact, no one told those young men in Greensboro they couldn’t eat in that particular Woolworth’s. The establishment was perfectly happy to serve them in a booth, just not up front at the lunch counter where Farmer John might have to rub elbows with some Darkie. And Sen. Rand Paul was abundantly clear when he stated he believed the Federal government had no right to tell private establishments (like Woolworth’s) that they couldn’t discriminate based solely on skin color. And now, 54 years later, we are once again having the same fight with “Social Conservatives” (Democrats back then, Republicans today) that honesty believe that bigots should be allowed to oppress a group of people they hate if they claim it’s “in the name of God.”

I’m about as Done with people using “God” as an excuse to justify every hateful thing imaginable, as one can be. The greatest evil ever inflicted upon the world has to be “organized religion”… with a few notable exceptions like the late Mother Theressa and the current Pope Francis… but then, they are just “individuals”, while the church they represent doesn’t exactly have the best record… from protecting child-molesting priests, to codifying women’s subservience to men, and even this Pope still regards homosexuality a “sin”, so there’s that. When you look at just about every war in the Middle East, Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” bill (that was walked back to just “lifetime imprisonment”), on through to the Religious Right in this country fomenting hate towards every “Other” you can name: “Illegal Aliens” (that, by no coincidence, just happen to be Mexicans, not Canadians or Europeans), the (lazy, shiftless) Poor (begging for food stamps), “Thugs” (the new “N-word”), Women that use birth control… even their proclaimed “love” of Israel is a façade for their true motivation… ensuring that the “Armageddon” prophecy of an end-of-the-world conflict between Christian’s & Jews takes place… and they all call The Republican Party home.

And now it’s Teh Gays. “Law’s telling me I must treat you like a human being is a violation of my Religious right to be a bigot!”

I believe it all started when God kicked Adam & Eve out of The Garden of Eden because they didn’t comport with God’s idea of morality (the “serpent” that “enticed” Eve was Adam’s penis. The “forbidden fruit of knowledge” was “lust” and the discovery of “sex for pleasure”. That’s the version they don’t teach you in Bible class.)

Unfortunately for them, there wasn’t another “Garden” down the road that they could have patronized instead. So apparently being a judgmental bigot is next to Godliness.

During the Civil Rights struggle, bigots used religion to justify their bigotry back then as well. “The Almighty separated the races by putting them on different continents” they proclaimed in defense of segregation. Except that’s not true. China and Russia are on the same continent, yet those races couldn’t be more different. “Europe” is labeled a “continent” despite being (for the most part) physically connected to the same land mass as “Asia”. And European “Whites” were not native to North America, so arguably, bigots of European decent continuing to live in the United States were in violation of God’s desire to separate the races by continent. Oops!

Long long ago… way back in 2012… I remember Republican idiots having a conniption over “Sharia Law” and their (mistaken) belief that some Federal judges were allowing Muslims to violate Federal Law on the grounds that the Federal law violated their religious rights. This was just another example of “our Muz’lum prez’dent” slowly-but-surely allowing Islam to overtake the American judicial system.

And now, just one short year later, those very same people are rushing to the defense of “Sharia Law” and Muslim’s right to ignore Federal law based on their religious beliefs. I know, right? Whoda’thunkit?

If you’re looking for “consistency” from the Religious Right… what is WRONG with you? Have you been asleep these past two decades? You should know better by now. My advice to them: stop using religion to justify your bigotry. This fight has been fought before. Been there, done that. And when you say stupid things like, “Just find another wedding photographer”, ask your self, “Why should they have to?”
 



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Filed in fake scandals, General, Racism, Religion March 3rd, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • 1 comment | Add/View

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sylvia Browne

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

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

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

Psychic-to-the-Stars: “Nikki”

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

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

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

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

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

The Psychic Twins

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

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

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

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

Political Prognosticators

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How I Did.

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

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

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

So now my Predictions for 2014:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


 


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Filed in Economy, Election, General, Guns & Violence, Healthcare, Jobs, Middle East, Partisanship, Politics, Predictions, Religion, Seems Obvious to Me, Taxes, voting, War December 30th, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • 2 comments | Add/View

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

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

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

“Candles!”

“Isn’t that dangerous?”

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

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

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

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

Mark Fiore: Jesus Rebranded
Jesus Rebranded

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


 


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

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Republicans Desire for Us the Worst of Every Society

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, April 1, 2013

GOP 'logic'.Just a short hit & run on this holiday weekend folks. Have you ever noticed how Republicans seem to look at some of the most deplorable aspects of any society and say, “Hey! I like that!” I first noticed this after 9/11, when after we were attacked by religious zealots stationed in a middle-Eastern theocracy, Conservatives started “admiring” (for lack of a better word) the strict religious teaching methods of Madrassas, and the “dedication” of the very people they raged against. Don’t believe me? Check out the movie “Jesus Camp” where parents sent their young children to be “God Warriors” for Christ. President Bush famously referred to the wars in Iraq & Afghanistan as “a crusade”. The anachronism of the Pro-“Life” Holy-Roller Party also being the Pro-gun, Pro-war, Pro-Death penalty Party is never lost on me. But lately, it seems to go beyond that.

Here’s something to think about: What do “Austerity” and “The Black Plague” have in common? In the mid 1300’s (yes, I promise to keep this short), a deadly disease swept through Europe killing millions. This was centuries before anyone knew of the existence of bacteria or viruses. “Illness” was either a punishment from God or inflicted by “Evil”. One of the ways people dealt with The Plague was to kill stray cats by the hundreds because cats were considered “minions of the Devil” or Hosts for witches that would then go about making people ill. The irony is that The Plague was actually being spread by fleas on rats, which the cats might have killed and kept the spread of the disease under control.

So, what does that have to do with “Austerity”, you ask? Right now in Europe, The UK is in danger of having their credit-rating downgraded again (last February, The UK’s credit rating was downgraded from “AAA” to “AA1″ because their economy isn’t growing like it should. Why? Austerity! While President Obama passed a “Stimulus Package” of spending to stimulate growth in this country, the Brits went the other way and imposed economic austerity, deep spending cuts and raising taxes on the Poor. Now there is talk of a possible second downgrade barely six weeks after the first one, and the answer from Brittan’s ruling Conservative Party? Stay the course. More austerity. Once again, Europeans have decided that the “cure” for their ills is to do the very thing that… not only didn’t make things better, but in fact are almost guaranteed to make things worse.

And here in this country, Republicans who think “President Obama wants to turn America into Europe”, keep pushing European-style “austerity” in this country, demonizing Stimulus spending and thinking up ways to shift the tax burden from the Rich to the Poor.

Oh, but it gets better my friends.

Ever get the feeling many Republicans would like to see the return of “Jim Crow”? Ron and Rand Paul aren’t the only ones that think including “private businesses” in the 1964 Civil Rights Act” was a mistake. And now, we are… quite literally… hearing the same “separate but equal” arguments being made about “Same Sex Marriage”. “I’m comfortable with giving gay couples all the rights of ‘straight’ couples, from tax breaks to ‘hospital visitation rights’. Everything except the right to marry”, said GOP Spokesperson Ed Gillespi on “Meet the Press” yesterday. Adding that the GOP still supports an “anti-gay marriage amendment” to the Constitution. I’m still waiting for someone on that side to produce a convincing legal argument for why it is in the Federal governments’ interest to go to such lengths to prevent gays from marrying and the catastrophic consequences if they do, of such danger & magnitude that it demands amending the freaking Constitution.

Republicans do this amazing dance where they denounce the most obvious flaws in other societies, and then go right out and start advocating for us to emulate them.

Remember Gov. Romney’s “Razor-wired factory” story from his infamous “47%” video? He talked about how, in his “private-equity days”, he went to China to buy a factory and was stunned to see “razor wire” along the prison-like walls around the factory. When Romney inquired about it, he was told… and believed… that “the razor wire is there to keep people on the outside from getting IN, not the other way around.” He described the horrid sweat-shop conditions, even noting how some workers… once they got out for some national holiday or what have you… never returned, opening up spots for someone new. Now, if the jobs were so desirable, why would workers not return? Such a question clearly never crossed Mitt’s mind. Instead, he relates this anecdote to his $20,000 a plate guests as a GOOD thing, possibly even a model for work-conditions in America.

In China, underage workers are common-place. Children as young as 12 can be found working in factories. In this country, Newt Gingrich thinks they should be janitors. No OSHA in China or the third-world either. That’s just more “job-killing regulations!” No minimum wage. 12 hour workdays. Republican paradise.

There’s the “Free Marketeers” that want Government completely out of the way to let business do its thing. I believe it was radio’s “Sam Seeder” that first pointed out that the only purely “unregulated Free Market” economy on Earth is Somalia. “You want to see what an unregulated Free Market economy looks like? Move to Somalia!”, said Sam.

And of course, (yes, with “Godwin’s Law” in mind) Government run by & for the Corporations… also known as “Corporatism”… better known as “Fascism”… the worst of all possible societies which Republicans claim to despise and use as The Ultimate Parjorative in describing things they hate, is also something they seem quite eager to emulate. Think about it.
 



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Filed in Economy, General, Middle East, Politics, Racism, Religion, Right-wing Facism, Seems Obvious to Me, Taxes, War April 1st, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Guest Op/Ed: Does passing laws stop abortion?

By discontinued_user - Last updated: Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Special guest-commentary today by user “Tom J.” I met Tom during an OFA Viewing Party of President Obama’s big convention speech last August, where he posed some interesting questions about life in countries with strict anti-abortion laws vs those that keep abortion legal & freely available. Impressed, I asked him to share those thoughts with you today.

Several years ago I invited a public school colleague that I worked with to join the teachers’ union. Very unexpectedly he went off into a passionate discourse about “dead babies.” I didn’t get the connection at first until I later figured out that he associates the Union with Democrats and Democrats with abortion. His reaction was so emotional that I decided to investigate this issue. I have never lived abroad. I did read Jimmy Carter’s book “Our Endangered Values” which prompted the conclusions below, I have also included links to the World Health Organization website with the statistics cited.

Conservatives claim that life begins at the moment of conception and should not be taken once a woman is pregnant. OK, but what is their solution to stop it? All they have ever offered is to make it illegal. Will doing that stop abortions from happening? There is no correlation at all between illegality and abortion rates (PDF).

Let’s look at some other countries where this is being tried. In most South American countries abortion is completely and totally illegal and yet women still seek them out and obtain them illegally at the rate of 32 per thousand child-bearing aged women. The baby is still dead whether abortion is legal or not.

Now stop and examine countries like Belgium and the Netherlands. There abortion is legal under many circumstances and yet women seek out and obtain them only at the rate of just 7 per thousand even though it is legal. Quite a difference. What is happening? Well in those two countries and others like them they have universal health care and comprehensive sex education for young people. Turns out this is what stops abortion, not passing laws.

So, to those people who claim that the sanctity of human life is all important, I say this: If you really care about those unborn babies like you say you do, and this is not really about controlling women, then you have no choice but to support the political party that is promoting universal health care and comprehensive sex education for young people because that and only that is what has been proven to drastically curb abortion. Passing Laws doesn’t stop it!

Source: Our Endangered Values by Jimmy Carter (page 74 hard cover edition).
 

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Filed in Abortion rights, Election, Guest Blogger, Healthcare, myth busting, Politics, Religion October 16th, 2012 by discontinued_user | • No comments | Add/View

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Romney Rehab Week 2: The Full Quayle

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, September 17, 2012

Obama's huge lead over Romney on Foreign PolicyTwenty years ago this past May, while campaigning in California, the Sarah Palin of the 1980’s… Vice President Dan Quayle… publicly humiliated himself once again by criticizing TV’s “Murphy Brown” for “having a child out of wedlock.” The man was already a laughing-stock for his endless list of gaffes (most notably “correcting” a Spelling-Bee champion for “misspelling” the word “potato” by insisting he return to the blackboard and tack on the missing “e” to the end), and now, here he was in a battle of wits with a fictional TV character… and losing. But then something interesting happened. Rather than be humiliated over this latest Quayle blooper in a campaign year, the GOP proudly inserted Quayle’s defense of “Family Values” into the Party Platform at their convention that year and made “traditional marriage” integral to their campaign. That was probably the first example I can think of of the GOP turning a major weakness into an “advantage”. And in fact, twenty years on, Republicans are still defending Quayle’s inability to separate fact from fiction as nothing short of visionary. And now it is Mitt Romney’s turn to receive (what I have proudly dubbed) “The Full Quayle”.

Last week, DURING the siege on the American Embassy in Benghazi, Libya, Romney rushed to the microphones to criticize President Obama for a statement released by that same American embassy (not Obama) PRIOR to the attack, disavowing the anti-Muslim video released by an anti-Muslim hate group in the U.S.. Romney accused the president of “sympathizing with the people who attacked [the embassy]” and murdered an American Ambassador. Of course, President Obama never “sympathized” with the people that murdered American citizens, nor did he not fail to “defend American principles”. (I’m assuming “freedom of speech”? Does Romney think the president should have defended the video?) Romney himself expressed the same “sympathies” as Obama in his own response to the riots.

Of course, once the facts came out, Governor Romney was roundly criticized by both the Left AND the Right for “jumping the gun” and for failing the “politics stop at the waters’ edge” test. Add this to his gaffe-a-thon world tour during the Olympics where Romney couldn’t help but insult the nations he visited, and is it any wonder President Obama now leads Gov. Romney by double-digits on “Foreign Policy”?

So what do you do when you make a huge gaffe just seven weeks before an election you’ve never led by more than two-points and now trail by almost four? You go to the Rove playbook and try to turn your opponents’ greatest strength into their greatest weakness (ala “War Hero John Kerry” vs. “Draft dodger George Bush”).

Romney surrogates have spent the last few days trying to claim, “Governor Romney was right” about the Obama Administration’s response to the attacks, even though the “response” Romney criticized was not actually released by the White House, nor was it a “response” at all, but a prophylactic message to discourage violence. Fox “news” hit a new low when they posted the following wildly misleading headline on their website:
 

Fox: Obama thanks Libyan president after Americans are murdered

 

The back story: Libyan President Mohamed Magarief publicly condemned the attacks and led a police sweep that has to-date led to the arrest of 50 men connected to the deadly assault on the American Embassy, for which President Obama’s called to express thanks. But if you’re the typical low-information Obama-hating Fox viewer that only reads headlines and doesn’t bother clicking the link to read further because the headline “confirms” everything you already believe about our “Kenyan-Muslim-Terrorists-sympathizing president”, that headline already served its purpose.

Back in college, on a lark, I purchased a copy of the “Weekly World News” (ala “batboy” fame) because a story on the cover claimed “Pit bull Eats Mobile Home” (pitbull attacks were everywhere in the news at the time), only to learn inside that the dog simply chewed through the wall to get to a chihuahua in heat. I note this only because I can no longer tell the difference between Fox “news” and a supermarket tabloid… except maybe that tabloids have higher standards when it comes to the truth. (And is it just me, or does Paul Ryan resemble “Batboy”?)

As NBC’s ubiquitous warzone reporter Richard Engle pointed out several times last week, the violent protests in these cities across the Middle East are surprisingly confined to the area right around the embassies… and not just AMERICAN embassies. Violent mobs have also attacked the British and German embassies as well… who had NOTHING to do with the video and released no such “sympathetic statements” to protesters. They’re just seen as “pro-Western” and therefore “anti-Muslim”. Meanwhile, just a few blocks away from these protests, life continues as normal, with many people in the region just wishing the whole mess would just go away. Believe it our not, ABC’s George Will got this one right yesterday when he said that “the video is being used as a pretext for violence, and if it hadn’t of been the video, it would of been something else.” I think he actually got one right there. And evidence that the deadly embassy attack may of had nothing to with the video continues to grow (it bears pointing out that these anti-video riots are NOT taking place in Afghanistan.)
 

Libyan’s counter protest in support of the U.S., condemning the attacks on U.S. embassies:

Libyan counter protest in support of U.S.

Libyan counter protest in support of U.S.

Libyan counter protest in support of U.S.

Libyan counter protest in support of U.S.
(Note: Yes, the fourth guy is indeed holding the EXACT same piece of paper as the first guy. They are sharing the message.)

But Team Romney and his supporters are starting to see the writing on the wall, and have clearly decided this is Mitt’s “Murphy Brown” moment. To hear them tell it, the Middle East is awash in violence, and President Obama has become “Jimmy Carter redux”. But that’s nothing new. Back during the 2008 campaign, Fox-regular Bill Kristol was ALREADY comparing Obama to Jimmy Carter in a video I uploaded to our YouTube archive years ago.

The reality is (of course) devastating to Republicans. If nothing else, President Bush’s move to “democratize the Middle East” (2005 pdf) and paint Iraq as “the first domino” in what they believed would lead to surrounding Muslim nations copying the success of a democratic Iraq, in fact “uncorked the bottle” of anti-U.S. rage over prolonged war & military occupation by the U.S. in the Middle East. America’s standing in the Middle East had never been lower.

The global economic collapse President Bush unleashed on the planet hit the Middle East especially hard. In Tunisia, a man protesting economic hardship and violence against him by his government doused himself in gasoline and set himself on fire in protest. This led to the protests that toppled the Tunisian government, which spread to Egypt protesting similar mistreatment by their own government. As the protests spread, they were dubbed “The Arab Spring”, and neocons quickly tried to give President Bush credit for the “spread of democracy” he predicted would take place as they witnessed the flowering of Iraq (the fact that people were protesting in Iraq (pdf) as well was ignored).

While the Neocons were quick to take credit for “The Arab Spring”, now that those same people are protesting the U.S., suddenly it has become “Obama’s Arab Autumn” (cited during Fox “news” Sunday yesterday). Bush “uncorked the bottle”, but all they found inside were bitter grapes.

They so desperately want this to be Carter/Reagan again. But Obama is not Jimmy Carter, this election is not 1980, and Mitt Romney is definitely not Ronald Reagan. Word to the wise though: All it would take is for Republican governors to go on a Public Sector firing binge in September & October to negate any Private Sector employment gains, and a “hostage situation” in an American embassy, to put the outcome of this election back in the “toss-up” column.

The REAL trick will be stopping the governor from pulling another Quaylism before the election.

(Note: Issues with the videos on our new “Must See Videos” page has been corrected, so if you were experiencing problems before, please try again now. Sorry for any confusion. – Mugsy)

 



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Filed in Election, Middle East, Politics, Religion, Terrorism, War September 17th, 2012 by Admin Mugsy | • 9 comments | Add/View

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Special guest comment: Our Changing Relationship with Gaza

By Grant in Texas - Last updated: Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Special Guest blogger “Grant from Texas” recalls his time working in Israel in the mid-1970’s and how much our relationship with the people in that region has changed since then. Minor edits, a few corrections and some supporting links were added for clarity.

Romney is on TV this morning accusing President Obama of “sympathizing” with the protesters in Libya and Egypt that killed four Americans. How offensive! Now it looks like Lebanon may be next!!!

I lived in Israel in 1975 working as a supervisor on a $23 million U.S. funded project to build military bases from Port Said along the east side of the Suez all the way down to Sharm el-Sheikh. I went to work there 100% behind Israel mostly based upon the propaganda I grew up with in the U.S.A.. I even had to fill out a 10 page extensive questionnaire to be reviewed by the MOSSAD (that took weeks) and ended up with a higher security classification than many in the Israeli Defense Forces. However, I broke some rules like never talking to an Arab, but it was hard not to have contact. The ones I befriended I liked. We Texans on the job called Arabs the “Mexicans” of Israel as they did most of the service work at the time in hotels, restaurants, taxis.

I also drove through Gaza weekly on the way to and from our job in the Sinai as it was the shortest route. The detour through Israel was longer. We 33 American supervisors (had an Israeli work force) lived at the Ramada Intercontinental (now the Renaissance on the beach) four days every other weekend. I was warned that with yellow Jewish license plates on my truck, I would take rocks or worse bullets. However, stopping for gasoline, food and drinks in El Arish, I was always treated with respect, even admiration for being an American (however, this was 1975). I was appalled at the time seeing Israel building a high fence topped with razor wire and gun towers on the Gaza border. Since then, Gaza has become most similar to the Warsaw Ghetto, a cramped prison for Gazans. Gazans used to commute daily to jobs in Israel, but now banned those jobs are now mostly filled by low wage Eastern Europeans.

I would like to go back to visit Israel but maybe with some of the comments I’ve made online now, that might keep me from getting a visa. One never knows the extent of MOSSAD review. I left Israel in the autumn of 1975 with my viewpoints changed nearly 180 degrees. I saw much mistreatment of Arabs, and sadly, some of the Israelis were visiting the same injustices done to them by fascists, now visiting similar upon the Arabs. However, there is a peace-seeking liberal minority in Israel who don’t go along with Likud, and The Jerusalem Post (where Wolf Blitzer once worked) is most right-wing, but there is a liberal voice in Ha-aretz.

Also of note, I am seriously worried about the election this fall. I see that our Texas Republican Secretary of State sent a list of 80,000 supposedly deceased voters to counties saying these voters need to be purged from the voter roles (fortunately, the list was challenged and rejected, but it’s not the first attempt nor is not likely to be the last – Mugsy). The state says they got their list from the Social Security Administration but people who received letters from the state checking to see if they are dead are saying if they are dead, then “why are our Social Security checks coming every month?” So far the undead have one thing in common… most of them voted in the Democratic Primary! You’d think maybe the GOP here is afraid that Obama might take our electoral votes? How absurd with all of the gerrymandering and voter suppression tricks they are trying to pull.
 

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Filed in General, Guest Blogger, Middle East, Politics, Rants, Religion, Terrorism, War September 12th, 2012 by Grant in Texas | • 6 comments | Add/View

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10 Things You WON’T Hear Mentioned at the Republican Convention This Week

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, August 27, 2012

Ask Mitt Anything* (*except...)As you know, the GOP will be holding its Presidential Convention & Cross Burning Clambake all this week in Tampa Bay. Well, not ALL week, because for the second convention in a row, the first day of the RNC Convention will be canceled due to a hurricane lashing the pavilion. In 2008, religious morons “prayed for rain” to disrupt the DNC Convention in Denver. Instead, they saw temps in the low 80’s, and the clouds parting on the night of Obama’s big acceptance speech. God is clearly a Democrat. Meanwhile, the GOP brazenly chose to host their convention at the site of Bush’s SECOND greatest failure (or, if you prefer, “Greatest failure of his SECOND term”), New Orleans during the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina (August 29, 2005). In response, God sent “Hurricane Gustav”, forcing the GOP to cancel Day-1 of their convention. Clearly, the GOP didn’t get the hint, because God decided in His infinite wisdom to disrupt the 2012 Convention as well with YET ANOTHER hurricane (“Isaac”) on the seventh anniversary of Katrina, once again headed for New Orleans. The Lord Almighty announced he’s “going to keep lobbing hurricanes at GOP Presidential Conventions until [they] admit Global Warming is real.” It’s true, I swear! God told me so himself (or maybe it was just Marcus Bachmann?)

And that’s Item #1 of things you WON’T hear being discussed at the Republican National Committee Convention this week: “Global Warming”. No, if history is any teacher, rather than ponder what effect turning our planet into a giant Easy-Bake Oven has on hurricanes, Asshats-in-cowboy-hats will be chanting, “Drill Baby, drill!” (or “Build the damn pipeline!”) despite the fact that oil production is higher now under President Obama than it EVER was under President Bush. (I have also pointed out that the KXL pipeline would result in HIGHER gas prices because giving up Refinery capacity to refine KXL oil for export means less gas for us, creating an artificial shortage that pushes prices UP.) But don’t confuse a Republican with “facts”. While Oil Billionaires in Tampa will be toasting the fact that hurricane in the Gulf means shutting down dozens of Refineries and Drilling Platforms across the Gulf Coast, pushing gas prices… and by extension… profits much higher (and the economy much lower), it will never occur to a single monsoon-soaked conventioneer that maybe what we should be looking for are ways to get OFF oil as a way to reduce prices, not suck the planet dry like the last Grape Nehi on Planet Diablo.

Number #2 on the list: While Governor Romney and several Convention Speakers will vow to “Repeal ObamaCare”, you will NOT hear ANYONE explain WHAT exactly they plan to replace ObamaCare with. On yesterday’s “Fox news Sunday”, host Chris Wallace interviewing Romney, asked him about “the consequences of repealing ObamaCare”. Romney ACTUALLY said that he would replace “ObamaCare” with “things”. You think I’m kidding?

Romney: (“the things I will replace ObamaCare with will also help hold down the cost of health care”)

Number #3: “Personhood”, or more specifically: “The Personhood Amendment. Oh, you’ll hear tons of lofty talk about the GOP being “The Party of Life” from a bunch of rabid pro-war, pro-gun, pro-death penalty zealots, and how the vile Liberal Left wants every woman to rely on Planned Parenthood for their health care so they can be talked into getting an abortion (especially if they’re black), but in the toxic fog of Rep. Todd Akin, any mention of the ultimate goal of that “pro-life” agenda will be harder to hear than a mouse-fart in church. If the camera catches glimpse of a single “Ban The Pill” or “Pass the Personhood Amendment” sign, you can bet that person will be yanked faster than a 6-inch nose hair.

No one during the entire event will connect the dots between “Personhood” and how it could ban most forms of hormonal contraception. In fact, you might even hear some Speaker claim that “No one is talking about banning contraception!” What a ridiculous thought!

Which of course leads to Number #4: Todd Akin. Last Monday, people were aghast by the Right-Wing nuttery of Republican Congressman Todd Akin for saying that victims of “legitimate rape” (RW code for suggesting there are a number of women who falsely claim rape simply to obtain an abortion) “secrete a substance” that prevents them from becoming pregnant (ergo, if you got pregnant, you must have wanted it.) But lets keep in mind that this is a Party where one of it’s leading presidential candidates… Ron Paulsaid almost the exact same thing last February, and no one on the Right said “Boo”.

As ThinkProgress pointed out, Paul Ryan teamed up with Akin on a slew of “personhood”, “anti-abortion” and “anti-contraception” acts of legislation as recently as THIS YEAR, so naturally the GOP makes him their Vice-Presidential nominee. If anyone brings up Akin or Ryan’s connection to him, it will be reporters, not anyone from the dais.

Number #5 on the list of thing you’ll never hear mentioned at this convention: The rash of recent “gun violence”. From the “Batman” shooting in Colorado, the near-fatal shooting of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, the attack on an Indian Seik Temple, or even the “suicide-by-cop” incident in front of The Empire State Building just last week. The GOP might as well change its name to The NRA for all the difference it would make. I’m sorry, but for a group of peacock-strutting macho Rednecks that loves guns & war, they sure talk tough, but I’ve never met a bigger bunch of frightened p@ssies in all my life. They live in constant terror of “Muslims”, “Illegal Immigrants”, “Black people”, “Black helicopters”… heck, the government in general. I couldn’t fathom living in their world. What a dark scary place they live in. It must be horrible living in such constant fear like that. So, if the word “gun” is mentioned at all during this Convention, it will be in the context of “Fast & Furious”… the botched “gun walking” program that never actually allowed a single gun to “walk”.

(UPDATE: On the morning of opening day of the Convention, a student at Perry Hall High School in Maryland was shot & wounded by another student opening fire in the school cafeteria.)

Number #6 on the list of things you’ll never hear at this convention: Mitt Romney’s tax returns or his tax shelters. While I wouldn’t be surprised if some minor league GOP “rising star” or disgruntled “Bachmann-type” in a waaaay off-primetime speaking slot ridicules the idea that anyone needs to see more than the one-years’ worth of tax returns that Mitt has already released, the very subject of Romney’s taxes will be verboten.

Number #7: The words “filibuster” or “obstruction”. It is imperative to the governor’s election chances that everyone forget that the last election wasn’t 2008, it was 2010. On yesterdays’ “ThisWeek” on ABC, Right-Wing putz George Will pointed to how little things have improved over the past year, and how that’s evidence “President Obama’s policies have failed”. Just once, I’d like someone to ask him if he thinks the GOP controlled Congress (yes, that includes the Dem-led Senate that has been held hostage via the filibuster) deserves ANY of the blame for the lack of improvement over the past two years? I mean, they DID come in promising “Jobs, jobs, jobs”, no? Or was I just imagining that? I’d almost bet cash/money that someone will (falsely) claim, “President Obama had a filibuster proof majority” his first two years (in truth, it was a grand total of only 24 working days) to support the idea he accomplished nothing (except pass the most sweeping health care reform law in 50 years.)

Number #8 on our list is “Voter ID” and the millions that are likely to be disenfranchised in order to “safeguard our elections” from a crime that’s rarer than death by lightning strike. The GOP is very excited about the passage of “Voter ID” laws that will require millions of legal Registered voters to unnecessarily jump through all sorts of ridiculous hoops just to exercise their Constitutional Right (“The Constitution”… you remember that Right-Wingers? It’s that thing you wrap yourselves in when it suits your purposes, and you push to “Amend” when it doesn’t?) They’ll ACTUALLY tell you, “It’s about making sure that only Citizens actually vote in our elections”, yet they accept a “Drivers License” (among other things) that doesn’t actually require proof of citizenship to get. In fact, NON-citizens can get a Drivers License, and do so all the time. Tell me again how “Voter ID” has anything to do with “making sure only citizens vote”? No, it’s just about making it more difficult for minorities and The Poor… groups that typically vote Democratic… to vote. I actually had one Right-Winger say to me, “Hey, if you can’t do something as simple as get an ID from the DMV, you shouldn’t be voting anyway!” Yes, it’s SO EASY for people WITHOUT A DRIVERS LICENSE OR A CAR to get to the DMV. It’s SO EASY for someone on Minimum Wage to take time off from work and wait in line all day at the DMV to get an ID they never needed before just to do something they’ve been doing for decades without incident. That taxi cab you might have to take to get to the DMV, or that time off you must take from work, that costs money and is tantamount to an illegal Poll Tax. If by some disaster Romney should “win” this November, you can BET “Voter ID” played a BIG part in making it happen.

Number #9: “The Dream Act”. Republicans are already on the outs with Millions of Hispanic voters for their “shoot first” at anyone that comes near their “1,100 mile long electrified fence” position on Border Security. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, who signed Arizona’s “Papers Please” law that gave local police the ability to stop anyone they deemed “suspicious” on any trumped-up charge they could think-up to give them legal justification to harass brown people, didn’t win them any friends in the Hispanic community. After alienating just about every sane black person in the country with their “Birther” nonsense, the GOP can’t afford to alienate any more minorities. But they’ve already labled President Obama’s “Dream Act”something that was once a GOP idea… “Amnesty”. In an interview on “Meet the Press” yesterday, Jeb Bush (who will be speaking at the convention while his brother will not) criticized his own party for being so anti-immigration, stressing the need for legal immigration. Jeb also acknowledged that President Obama “inherited a very difficult situation”, and will be using his speech to promote the need for “education” to a bunch of Home-Schoolers that want to abolish the Department of Education. So you can relax folks, there’s now ZERO chance we’ll ever see another Bush in the White House.

And last but not least…

Number #10 on the list of Things no one will hear mentioned at the RNC Convention? Osama bin Laden or Kadaffy.

(Note: Be sure to visit our new pages: “GOP Nonsense” and “Must See Videos” linked on the toolbar above.) And for more humor, observations and breaking news throughout the week, be sure to subscribe to our Twitter Feed.)
 



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Filed in Economy, Election, Energy Independence, Environment, General, Global Warming, Guns & Violence, Healthcare, Middle East, Politics, Predictions, Religion, Right-wing Facism, Right-Wing Insanity, Taxes, voting, War August 27th, 2012 by Admin Mugsy | • 6 comments | Add/View

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So much stupid (part 2). The Kingmakers, Global Warming denied and the key is not Keystone

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The GOP StoogesContinuing from Monday, there was plenty of stupidity to report last week. A man that had no business even being in Afghanistan was overextended to the point tragedy. And there was the stupidity of a Media that inflicts John McCain upon us for yet one more Sunday show appearance to critique the man he lost to. Do you know how many times John Kerry AND Al Gore were invited on these Sunday shows to comment on George W Bush? If you held up two fingers, you raised one too many. Also, the normally brilliant and well-prepared Rachel Maddow completely botched an exclusive interview with America’s preeminent Global Warming denier, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) last Thursday, failing to challenge him on ANY of his ridiculous arguments… not just climate change, but Inhofe even argues that the planet is “cooling”. Unchallenged, I’m sure this incredibly dangerous man went home more confident in his delusions than ever before. And the GOP… most notably the Republican candidates, have been ramping up the rhetoric and even outright boldfaced lying about the supposed benefits of the “Keystone XL pipeline”. But let’s start with the topic I didn’t have time to get to on Monday:

The Kingmakers: Gingrich & Paul:

With the most recent primary results, most people looking at the numbers agree the GOP Primary is now a “two man race” (UPDATE: Last night, the Illinois Primary ended with Gingrich and Paul in single digits.) Gingrich said he “needed to win either Alabama and/or Mississippi to remain a credible candidate”, but despite losing both, Gingrich announced that he was “going all the way to the convention” in Tampa this year. And mathematically, there’s no path to victory for Ron Paul either. So why are they still in the race? Simple. If Newt were to drop out, not all of his supporters would automatically switch to Rick Santorum. About a quarter of Newt’s supporters say they would go to Romney. So by staying in the race, Gingrich can deny Romney those future delegates and perhaps prevent Romney from reaching the 1,144 delegates he needs to clinch the nomination, forcing a brokered convention. Newt can then hand ALL of his delegates to Santorum in exchange for the VP spot. This is not so unlikely, since Gingrich frequently praised Santorum on everything from his record on Iran to “running a positive campaign.”

On last Sunday’s “ThisWeek” on ABC, Santorum was given the opportunity to criticize Gingrich and suggest that he drop out of the race. He didn’t. Instead, choosing to attack Romney for not being “a true Conservative”. This follows another opportunity earlier this month when Rick was asked if he thought Newt should “get out of the race”. Again, Rick eschewed criticizing Gingrich, instead simply stating (jokingly) that if would be nice “if everyone dropped out of the race… including President Obama…” and just handed him the presidency. Two chances to tell Newt to get out of the race and he side-stepped both. That tells me he’s thinking the same thing I am: Don’t piss off the Kingmaker.

Meanwhile, Ron Paul has been quietly collecting delegates… more than most people realize, focusing on “caucus” states where the delegates are selected independent of the number of votes received. Using this strategy, Paul may be the actual “winner” in Iowa. While Santorum and Romney were fighting over who received the most votes in Iowa, the Paul campaign was quietly working behind the scenes to make sure they had the most Precinct Captains who actually choose the delegates. Should we see a “Brokered Convention”, Paul could provide Romney with the extra votes needed to put him over the top in exchange for the VP spot… either for himself or (more likely IMHO) his idiot son Rand. And there is plenty of good reason to suspect this: Paul has NEVER criticized Romney in a debate. Not once. And Romney has spoken positively of Paul and his supporters on more than one occasion. He knows he may need those votes.

So don’t bother asking Santorum or Romney if they think the other candidates should get out of the race. It’s far preferable to convince one man to give you ALL of his delegates, then take your chances trying to win over their supporters. And the other two know it.

Next up: The abysmal Maddow/Inhofe interview. A week later and I’m still fuming.

I watch the “Rachel Maddow Show” video podcast each & every weekday. There isn’t a better, more consistently brilliant Lefty political show on TV imho, so it pains me greatly to criticize her for failing so miserably to swat down the giant softball that was Jim Inhofe. Rachel even took the day off the day before her big interview, and I was hoping it was to do show-prep for their big “show-down”. So you can imagine my disappointment.

Senator Inhofe is the King of the Global Warming deniers, having just completed a book entitled “The Greatest Hoax”, where he not only denies the existence of Global Warming, but tries to claim the opposite, that the Earth is in fact “cooling“. The senator’s lead argument against Global Warming is to (selectively) quote The Bible and passages that say God gave us the Earth to use as we see fit and that it will always be with us for that purpose. NOT EVEN THE POPE denies the existence of Global Warming. But to my great disappointment, Rachel didn’t challenge the Senator on a whole host of points:

  1. During the blizzard of 2010 (“Snowmageddon”) Senator, you dubbed the “igloo” your grandkids built in their front yard: ‘Al Gore’s Summer Home’. Question: Where do you think all that snow came from? (hint: Think massive evaporation.) If he says the snow is evidence it is getting colder, point out that there are regions of Antarctica where it hasn’t snowed in over 10,000 years. Cold weather does not equal snow.
  2. Senator, you cite Bible passages that claim God said, “the Earth will always be at the service of man” to refute Climate Change, yet you believe in “Global Cooling“… a theory that not only has FAR less evidence to support it, but would be every bit as destructive to the Earth as Global Warming, and refuted by those very same Bible passages you use to refute Global Warming. Please explain the inconsistency.
  3. Senator, do you believe that the Sun revolves around the Earth? Because the Bible (Joshua 10:13) was used to torture & imprison Galileo for claiming “the Earth revolves around the Sun”, and suppress science for hundreds of years. How can you use the Bible as your basis for refuting any scientific matter knowing this?
  4. A question I would of like to of heard the answer to: Is it okay for any person or group of people to put their own religious beliefs ahead of the personal safety of over SIX BILLION PEOPLE?
  5. The Vatican has warned of: “serious and potentially irreversible impacts of global warming caused by the anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases…”, and that “humans must act decisively now to avert a coming crisis”. Why are you right and The Pope wrong?

And those are just off the top of my head. As for his “Global Cooling” stupidity, I’m certain he bases his belief on “increased snowfall” (due to increased evaporation) and “tree ring data”. Tree rings were once used to determine “cold” years, but with rising temperatures, tree rings have narrowed in “warm” years as well. Inhofe likely believes recent narrow tree rings prove that it has been getting “colder” (never mind that we have temperature records. Those can be faked, right?) rather than simply recording “inclimate” weather when the tree did not flourish. Not only did Rachel not point this fact out, she actually said, “we don’t know why” tree ring data is now considered “unreliable”. Rachel, you seriously let us down.

Three REAL ways to bring down gas prices quickly:

The GOP thinks it has found a winning issue when it comes to the infamous “Keystone XL Pipeline” (KXL for short). The benefits of KXL has been ridiculously overblown while the dangers have been almost totally absent from the conversation thanks to a multi-million dollar PR campaign by Big Oil to convince Americans that construction of KXL will mean “1 million new jobs” (a lie the Washington Post fact checker gives two Pinocchios) and lower prices at the pump (which WaPo gives one Pinocchio… but fails to take into consideration the loss of refinery capacity). As I’ve noted on here repeatedly, the number of jobs has been WILDLY over-hyped, they want the pipeline to go to the Gulf for a reason: Export. And reallocating refinery capacity… currently used to refine gasoline for OUR use… to instead refine tarsand into diesel for sale in South America and Europe means LESS gasoline will be produced, driving prices UP not “down”.

But even if you don’t believe any of that, simply ask yourself “why would the oil companies spend $100million dollars in advertising to do something that would drive prices (and their profits) DOWN?”

Oh, and BTW: While Republicans are in hysterics over the number of “jobs that would be created” by the KXL, House Republicans have threatened to block the Highway Transportation Bill that would create over 1 million jobs. Hard to take The Right seriously when they claim to support the pipeline for the jobs it would create, and then threaten to block a desperately needed highway infrastructure bill that would create more jobs in less time.

“Supply” only has an effect on the price of oil when supply is LOW, and right now, production is higher than it was at any point under the Bush Administration, and (thanks to people cutting back due to high prices and environmental concerns), gasoline consumption is at its lowest in 15 years. So why are gas prices climbing back into the stratosphere? When supply is high (like now), the price is manipulated in two ways: “speculation” and “manipulation”.

  1. Speculation – Speculators on Wall Street take every opportunity to drive prices up to increase profits. Be it a busted pipeline in the Gulf of Mexico or saber-rattling of war with Iran, Speculators will invest in “oil futures” on the Commodities Market or purchase “Hedge Funds” betting against a decline in the price of oil, driving the price up regardless of supply. Over a decade ago, we used to require anyone that invests in the Commodities Market to PROVE they can “take delivery” of the commodities they invest in. Today, any schmuck living in Mommy’s basement with a “Trading App” on their iPhone can purchase 100 barrels of oil. We need to bring this rule back, allowing only those who can take possession of the Commodities they purchase, actually buy them. This will DRAMATICALLY reduce speculation by people simply looking to make a quick buck off driving up prices. (Some have expressed concern to me that such Regulation will simply drive investors to overseas markets w/o the restriction. Where the price is higher? I don’t think so. The big investors are going to go where the Commodities are cheapest, driving the price down everywhere else.)
  2.  

  3. Make “hoarding” illegal. – Okay, “hoarding” is a bit of a misnomer here. Oil companies aren’t actually filling tankers up with oil to send floating out to sea for months on end. Nor are they filling up giant land-based tanks with unrefined petroleum waiting for the price to go up. Why go through all that when the oil is already being “stored” just fine underground? No, “hoarding” in this case refers to active wells being “capped” deliberately, creating artificial shortages to drive prices up. Admittedly, this is very difficult to prove. If oil companies WERE actually storing oil in tanks/tankers, it would be easy to prove “hoarding”, but with capping wells, it would take a substantial amount of “hoarding” to affect the global price of oil and prove manipulation.
  4.  

  5. Refinery closures – You might remember in the late 1990’s, Enron bought out most of the electricity generation plants in California and then randomly ordered those plants to shut down (for totally made-up reasons), creating artificial shortages to drive the price up (The Tonight Show even did an episode in the dark in June of 2001 because of it). Oil companies today are doing the same with refineries, closing down plants and refining less oil (so says a 2006 FTC investigation) to deliberately drive up prices (I even wrote about this back in May of 2007), and it should be illegal.

(Please note that the words “Drill” and “Keystone” appear nowhere in that list.)

And while we’re at it, how about we end those Billion dollar tax subsidies to Big Oil at a time when they are already reaping record profits that have made Exxon the richest corporation on the face of the planet?

Three quick and simple ways to bring down gas prices quickly. Good luck finding a politician with the stones to call the oil companies and Wall Street out on it.

And another hat-tip to the WaPo Fact Checker for debunking the current GOP meme that “President Obama and his staff said they actually WANT higher gas prices.” That ridiculous bit of nonsense earned Three Pinocchio’s. Why do Republicans insist on making crap up when it’s so easy to debunk?

It’s no wonder Republicans wax nostalgic for the 1950’s. No videotape.



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Filed in Economy, Election, Energy Independence, Environment, Global Warming, myth busting, Politics, Religion March 21st, 2012 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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So much stupid, so little time (part 1). Afghanistan, the Kingmakers & John McCain (again)

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, March 19, 2012

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If GOP campaign buttons were honestI had great difficulty deciding on just one topic to focus on in this week. A week that saw a U.S. soldier go “nuts”, sneak out under cover of darkness and murder 16 Afghan civilians (NINE of whom were children); A week that saw the otherwise brilliant Rachel Maddow completely blow an exclusive interview (full podcast here) with lead Global Warming denier Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), wasting half of the interview to confront him on his support for Uganda’s “kill the gays” legislation and never actually challenging him on his anti-Climate Change crackpottery; and yesterday watching as ABC’s “ThisWeek” bring on Fmr. Gov Haley “pardoned 210 felons” Barbour (R-MS) to critique President Obama (only later, fill-in host Karl directing viewers to “visit the ABC News website for their discussion of Barbour’s controversial pardons). Oh, and “Meet The Press” officially declared its irrelevance and became “The John McCain Show” after (as Gregory admitted by the end) McCain’s “68th appearance” on that program (with the Iraq War now over, McCain only leaves his tent in the NBC courtyard long enough to appear on other network shows). With all that, I decided it was best to split this op/ed into two parts, rather than allow any “one” topic to fester in my brain any longer than necessary.

First, the Afghanistan Massacre. Question: Why was a soldier sent on his FOURTH deployment DESPITE having suffered a traumatic brain injury and loss of half of one foot (yet never received a Purple Heart and was passed up for promotion) even IN Afghanistan? And despite supposedly lauded service prior to this incident, what was someone with a civilian criminal record even doing in the military? THAT little loophole came courtesy of President George W Bush in 2005, when he granted “moral waivers”, allowing the recruitment of people with “criminal records, emotional problems, and weak educational backgrounds” after he started running out of cannon-fodder to feed the Iraq War Machine he switched on but couldn’t switch off.

As horrific as this crime was, people are once again asking, “Why are we still there?” The consensus finally appears to be that it is time to leave. Even Conservative icon George Will said on ABC’s “ThisWeek” yesterday: “It is time. To. Come. Home.” The lone holdout? John “100 Years” McCain, who revived his old reasoning for staying in Iraq, declaring there’s no reason to not stay in Afghanistan indefinitely, telling MtP’s David Gregory, “We still have troops in Korea and Germany.” Good point, Senator. why in the Hell are we still in THOSE countries too?

McCain flat-out lies to The Gregory, claiming that Afghan President Hamid Karzai wants us to stay longer, but after President Obama unilaterally declared a timetable for our withdrawal, Karzai was left with no option but to come out in support of it. Complete bullshit. As author/vet Wes Moore pointed out later in the broadcast, “Obama didn’t set the 2014 deadline. Karzai did!”

Also of note yesterday, both Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum were invited on as “exclusive guests” to several Sunday shows. Romney appeared on Fox “news” Sunday, while Santorum appeared on ABC’s “ThisWeek” and CNN’s “State of the Union”. On FnS, Romney accused President Obama of a “Failure of leadership” in Afghanistan, claiming Obama is “not engaged” and that if he/Romney were president, he’d “be on the phone with Karzai every day”.

He says this twice. And I’m wondering, “What exactly would Mittens be telling the president of Afghanistan to do? Order Karzai to tell his people to please stop shooting at us?” Maybe have him politely ask the Afghans not to burn the American flag when they protest the massacre of seven adults and nine children? What exactly does Romney think he can fix with daily phone calls to Afghanistan? I’m mean, seriously.

Romney goes on to say, “Time and again he proves this is a president that just does not have experience in tough situations.

Forget for a moment bin Laden, Iraq, Libya, Egypt, et al I’m wondering just what “experience” Romney has in “tough situations” that makes him more qualified to be president? “Nerves of steel” that allowed him to fire thousands of workers and still sleep at night? “Tough situations” like “calmly pulling over to hose off the car when your terrified dog loses all bowel control after you strapped him to the roof? (Note: The reporter that first documented the anecdote in a profile of Mitt Romney said it was meant to illustrate Romney’s “emotion-free crisis management” skills. No, I’m not kidding.)

Then came Rick Santorum, who doubled down on his ridiculous lie to the people of Puerto Rico, telling them that their statehood was legally dependent upon their ability to speak English. More bovine excrement. There is no “you must speak English before you’re granted statehood” law or Constitutional requirement. Rick just pulled that out of his Santorum. But when asked about his comment on ABC’s “ThisWeek”, Santorum claimed that “in the past, SOME states were required to speak English first before becoming states.” Another flat-out lie. This would come as a huge surprise to Alaska or Hawaii… the last two states admitted to the union. Just before them, New Mexico and Arizona were granted statehood simultaneously in 1906. 50% of New Mexicans spoke Spanish while 20% of Arizonians were Native American. It’s also worth noting most Puerto Ricans ALREADY speak English. Rick probably got the idea from the “English only requirement” that elected officials… both state & Federal… must speak English. But this has nothing to do with statehood. Conservatives have NO problem making up ridiculous nonsense out of thin air simply to support their mistaken beliefs. Just watch Fox “news” for half a day and I guarantee you’ll hear at least five examples before lunch.

Well, that’s enough head shaking and eye-rolling for one morning. I’ll have to get to the “Kingmarkers: Gingrich & Paul, later. Be sure to return Wednesday for Part-2. Oh, and… as noted above… be sure to subscribe to our Twitter Feed.



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Filed in Economy, Energy Independence, Environment, Global Warming, Middle East, Religion, Right-Wing Insanity, War March 19th, 2012 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Mugsy’s predictions for 2012: “The apocalypse never comes when you want it” Edition (UPDATED)

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, December 26, 2011

Apocalypse Now?Where to start? Every year since 2006 I’ve dug deep into my toy-chest, pulled out the turban from my “Ancient Secrets Magic Kit”, rubbed my lucky penny for good luck, and concocted my annual “Predictions for the coming year”. And by the end of that year, I always expect to find I did really poorly… but my track record is surprisingly good. Even the dismal 20% I scored my first time out in 2006 was still (arguably) better than average compared to all the “psychics” out there. Oh, that’s another tradition of mine: mocking all the “professional psychics” and economic/trend forecasters that did worse than me. I’d never wager any money or bet the Stock Market based upon any of my predictions, but I must be doing something right. Of my predictions:

o in 2007 (no longer online), I achieved the aforementioned 20% (2 out of 10).

o by 2008, I learned from my mistakes and went “7 for 12″ (arguably 9 for 12 with partial credit.)

o …in 2009, I went 11 for 15 (again, with partial credit). 73%. Not too shabby.

o …in 2010, the trend reversed. Even with partial credit, I only scored 4-1/2 out of 10 (45%). Almost 50% and still more than twice as good as I did my first time out, so hell…

And now, a review of last years’ predictions for 2011. Last year, I threw caution to the wind and (recklessly) made 19 predictions (in 16 items):

1] Following a series of reports of the McCain’s (John vs wife Cindy and daughter Meghan) differing on a host of issues… most notably in support of the right of Gays to marry, and repeal of DADT, I predicted the McCain’s would separate (in lieu of a divorce): Bzzzt. I clearly got that one Wrong. The McCain’s are still a happily married couple, and (as far I or anyone else knows) are still living in one of their eight mansions. That prediction was a bit out of my field anyway, so I’m not surprised I got it wrong.

2] Despite a slew of Tea Party GOP candidates running for Congress promising to “shut down the government”, and the GOP then winning control of the House, I predicted they would NOT in fact “shutdown” the government, having learned their lesson in 1996 when Newt Gingrich’s Congress shutdown the government thinking the American people would “rally behind their principled stand.” They didn’t. They were inconvenienced and turned their anger on the GOP. Lesson learned, but rather than leave empty handed, Republicans would instead demands deep budget cuts while repeatedly bringing the nation to brink of default: Could I of been any more correct on that one?

3] Unemployment won’t fall below 8.6%: Wrong (revised) Correct. I first marked this as “wrong” because I felt I was including “exactly 8.6%” in that figure. But, as it was pointed out to me, unemployment did NOT fall “below” 8.6% as I predicted (falling to exactly 8.6%), so I’m upgrading this prediction to “Correct”.

4] National Debt tops $15T: Correct. The Debt broke the $15T mark in November.

5] Gold would peak at $1,600/oz: Correct. Gold closed last week at $1611/oz, and shouldn’t fluctuate much beyond that in these final five days.

6] Senate Democrats do NOT reform the filibuster (Correct), opting to ban “secret holds” instead: Correct.

7] I predicted there would be more filibusters in 2011 (48 out of 235 for 20%) than there were in 2010 (90 out of 299 for 30%): Wrong. I failed to take into account the need for a filibuster plunges when Senate Republicans know a GOP controlled House won’t pass anything they oppose anyway (fewer bills even made it to a vote).

8] No “official” action would take place on health care reform (neither “repeal” nor “expansion”). Correct. And ALL of the GOP candidates would campaign on promising to “repeal HCR”: Correct. Every single GOP candidate has promised to “repeal ObamaCare”.

9] Gas prices would crack $4/gallon again: Correct. As a result, I also predicted Chevy Volt sales boom as a result (Wrong). Volt sales were respectable, but the continuing sluggish economy has stifled ALL car sales in the U.S..

10] Palin would NOT run for the GOP nomination: Correct, but would toy with idea of 3rd/Tea Party candidacy: also Correct. As I wrote, “the GOP frontrunner right now is the Mittster, but ‘RomneyCare’… which ObamaCare mirrors… will hurt him badly. There will still be no clear ‘runaway frontrunner’ for the GOP nomination by years end.Spot on. “No Democratic challenger to Obama”: Correct. “Ron Paul won’t run again.” Big Wrong. I would of thought Paul would of have figured out the last time he ran in 2008 that the GOP establishment would NEVER support him no matter what. Clearly, Paul’s ego (or ambition, or both) are far bigger than I imagined.

11] All troops would be out of Iraq by years end as promised: Correct. A token withdrawal of 5,000 troops from Afghanistan (wrong) to satisfy Obama’s July-2011 deadline did not come to pass because Congress voted it down, but Obama’s promise to pull “10,000 troops out of Afghanistan by years end” DID come to pass, pulling out all 10,000 in one fell swoop just last week. (23,000 more are supposed to be out by next September. We’ll see.)

12] Gitmo will still be open and in operation, despite 2008 campaign promise: Correct

13] “Michael Steele will be reelected as head of the GOP”: Wrong (Steel was pressured to drop out before the GOP vote took place.) I argued that, despite Steele’s incredible incompetence, the GOP would keep him on as the Face of the GOP to avoid reinforcing their image as the “Old Rich White Men” Party. Clearly, the GOP doesn’t mind that perception at all.

14] (quote) “Will Congress raise the Debt Ceiling over the protests of the Tea Party? They’ll hem. They’ll haw. They’ll drag it out for weeks, and flirt with shutting down the government over it, but in the end, they pretty much have no choice. Tea Party candidates that think it is unnecessary and say they’ll vote against it, will be allowed to vote “No” knowing that Democrats will give them cover, allowing teanuts like Rand Paul to take “a principled stand” from which they can safely lob grenades at responsible Democrats.” Couldn’t of been more Correct.

15] “will we see significant inflation in 2011? I say No.” Correct.

16] Osama bin Laden will not be caught or release another video: Wow was I wrong on that one… or was I? He wasn’t “captured” and didn’t release another video, did he? Okay, that’s pushing it. I honestly thought that would be the only “safe” prediction I made, guaranteeing me at least one right. Never been so happy to be wrong for a prediction.

Final tally: 12 13 out of 19 correct (63% 68%). I’ll take it.

And now for my favorite part: How did I fare against “professional” prognosticators?

Cable TV “Celebrity Psychic” Janet Russell went 0 for 11 (unless you count “predicting” Universal Health Care passing… which passed in 2009. And as far as I’m aware, Atlantis did not resurface. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

And clearly, Rick Perry isn’t the only person having trouble with three item lists:

Mentalist/futurist/”psychic” Sidney Friedman sees good news coming, including a dropping unemployment rate, an Oscar for Colin Firth, and a gropey three-way for Justin Bieber.

Los Angeles psychic Judy Hevenly sees an increase in work-from-home jobs, strong markets for oil and gold, and a special steel pendant that repels common cold germs through ionic means.

Is it just me, or do they seem to go totally off the rails on those third predictions?

A “loose organization” of Christians led by notorious End-Times crackpot “Harold Camping” predicted May 21st would be “the end of the world”. In case you didn’t notice, we’re all still here. When May 21st came and went, Camping claimed a “spiritual Rapture” had indeed taken place on that date (so everyone was running around with no soul’s? Where did he live? D.C.?) and that the “physical” (or “bodily”) Rapture would actually occur on October 21. Another swing and a miss.

Famed psychic Sylvia Browne predicted the tsunami that hit Japan last March! Wow! Mmmm, no. No she predicted an “Asian tsunami in 2009″ and… as famed “debunk artist James Randi” points out, Browne predicts an Asian tsunami just about EVERY year. And while Browne was IN Hawaii the day before the earthquake hit giving a TV interview, the famed “psychic” never once mentioned the earthquake that was about to strike, nor the tsunami to follow (or the nuclear disaster after that.) Instead, she talked about her planned (foreseen?) visit to Japan “next year”. Gee, you’d think a “real” psychic would detect impending doom of that magnitude, no? Compared to these people, I’m freaking Nostradamus.

Being a major election year, 2012 is a great year for “predicting”. So here are MY predictions for 2012:

  1. The first one is easy: President Obama will win reelection. Handily. I’d say by roughly the same margin he beat John McCain (around 5% of the popular vote). I’ve been saying this for nearly a year, and I’m more sure now than I’ve ever been. I kept waiting for Republican’s to tire of trying desperately to find someone… ANYONE… other than Mitt Romney to run against President Obama, but here we are at the end of the year and “Family Values” Republicans actually rallied behind Newt Gingrich of all people. And as the Iowa Caucus draws near, Newtie’s poll number have begun to slip as Conservatives remember just what a turd-in-the-punchbowl he really is. And this leads to two more “predictions”…
  2. Update: 11/7/12 – Obama wins reelection, defeating Mitt Romney 332 to 206 Electoral Votes and 2.67 Million (4.2% more) Popular Votes. Obama defeated McCain 365-173 in 2008.

     

  3. Romney will be the GOP nominee. That is clear. Other candidates have peaked & vallied around him all year long, but Romney has steadily polled in the mid-20’s all year long. Challengers may come and go, but Mitt has remained in the “Top Tier” the whole time. Evangelical voters will NEVER vote for a Mormon out of fear of “legitimizing” a religion they perceive to be a “cult”. And that’s a BIG problem for Romney since Evangelicals make up THE most fervent, motivated and reliable voting block for the GOP (“Dubya” could never have “won” without the Evangelical vote.) That “enthusiasm gap” will ensure Romney never draws the support he needs to win.
  4.  

  5. And with disappointed, unenthusiastic Republicans not motivated enough to get out to the polls and pull the lever for Mitt Romney, coupled with angry motivated Democrats annoyed by endless GOP obstruction in Congress delaying any recovery simply to score political points, expect Romney’s “enthusiasm gap” to have an effect “down ballot”, with Democrats making big gains in the House and picking up holding onto at least five seats in the Senate. (I modified this prediction on Dec 30 upon realizing Democrats are giving up 7 of the 9 Senate seats that will be up for grabs in 2012, making any gain incredibly difficult. Democrats would have to run the table, winning every single Senate race in order to gain two seats. Unlikely. 2012 hasn’t started yet, so I’m invoking Authors’ Privilege here and changing this prediction.)
  6. Update 11/7/12: Republicans tried to claim the “enthusiasm gap” lie with Democrats, even though Early Voting went HEAVILY to Obama. In the end, not only did Obama win big over Romney, but Democrats retained ALL 23 Democratic Senate seats PLUS two of 10 Republican seats.

     

  7. The “Arab Spring” uprisings will finally reach Iraq now that all American troops have left the country. I’m going to go out on a limb here and disagree with most pundits predicting a civil war in Iraq next year. I think that after eight years, the Iraq’s feel they’ve had enough war disrupting their lives and will instead focus on demanding the services expected of an effective modern government… like more than just one-hour of electricity per day. I DON”T expect Shia & Sunni’s to protest together in the streets… not at first anyway. Maybe separate demonstrations made up of like tribe members. IF the protests go on for more than a month, the two groups may actually decide there is strength in numbers and protest together, greatly increasing their numbers, all fighting for a common cause. If so, the positive repercussions could be incredible, bringing some much needed stability in that region of the world.
  8.  

  9. Gas prices will hit a new record high momentarily next Summer (over $4.25 nationally) as the protests in the Middle East grow, but will come back down to nearly $3/gal in time for the November election.
  10.  

  11. Syria’s King Assad won’t still be in power by the end of 2012, and out even earlier if the Arab League gets involved… which they may feel they have no choice but to do if the Syrian government continues to massacre its own people. The United States will NOT get involved in the war or the removal of Assad.
     
    UPDATE: Not even 2012 yet, the Arab League has already sent 60 Monitors into Syria, resulting in the government withdrawing tanks and “suspending military operations” against protesters.
  12.  

  13. After doing well in Iowa, the charges of “racism” surrounding Ron Paul will hurt him badly in early primary states as Paul fails miserably to explain his involvement with his racists “newsletters” from the early 90’s. If Paul wins a primary after April, he will run as an Independent, eroding the Romney vote even more.
  14.  

  15. Since both Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry failed to collect enough signatures to get on the ballot in time for the Virgina primary, Romney will win the state easily (but with low voter turnout). Gingrich will take the VA Elections Commission to court challenging their decision not to place him on the ballot. Perry, on the other hand, after doing poorly in previous states, will drop out of the race BEFORE the Virgina primary, rendering his “not appearing on the ballot” feux pas moot.
  16. (Follow-up: 1/19/2012 – Perry, still polling in the single digits in South Carolina, drops out of the race and endorsed Newt Gingrich following a failed challenge of the VA Elections Commission to get on the ballot.)
     

  17. The 99% movement will gain strength in the lead up to the November election. Republicans will continue to mock & ignore them while President Obama actually holds a rally addressing them specifically. GOP candidates will counter by addressing “Tea Party” rallies, finally confirming what we’ve always known: that the Tea Party and the “Occupy Wall Street” protests are polar opposites of one another.
  18.  

  19. The Supreme Court will finally rule on the legality of “ObamaCare” and the Federal Governments’ power to make you buy something. The court has already indicated that they agree such power is well within the purview of the Federal government. The fact is, “ObamaCare” does NOT force you to buy insurance like its critics claim. The government has simply created a new tax to offset the cost of covering the uninsured, which you’re exempted from paying if you purchase insurance. Your choice. I expect AT LEAST a 5-4 victory upholding the constitutionality of “ObamaCare”, resulting in the GOP candidates campaigning on the need to appoint “much more Conservative” judges to the Supreme Court that would never have agreed with this Court’s decision, promising to appoint judges that will “overturn” the offending decision. (Sub-prediction: Democrats will AGAIN fail to point out the utter hypocrisy of Republicans accusing Democrats of wanting to appoint “activist judges” to overturn legislation they don’t like.)
  20. (Addendum: As noted Insurance Industry whistleblower Wendel Potter pointed out, it’s not just Democrats. insurance companies want the mandate too.)
    (Update: June 28, Supreme Court rules The Affordable Care Act… as well as the Mandate… completely Constitutional, declaring that though the “penalty” is not a “tax”, the governments’ power to issue a penalty is the same as the governments’ power to tax.)

     

  21. Someone will FINALLY get around to asking the GOP candidates that “if they repeal ObamaCare, what would they replace it with?” “Nothing” will not be seen an acceptable answer. Whatever response the GOP candidate(s) give will be used (effectively) in campaign ads against them.
  22. (Update: Many sources did indeed start asking about the “replace” portion of the GOP’s call to “repeal & replace”, but this exchange on “Fox news Sunday” on June 30th in particular stands out.)

     

  23. Surprisingly, the return of soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan won’t strain the job market as much as expected. Instead, the sudden influx of tens of thousands of consumers still receiving their government paychecks pouring money into the economy will create an unexpected “mini-stimulus”.
  24.  

  25. Despite a rise in Republican obstruction in the House (as prospects for a GOP victory in November grow ever more bleak), Unemployment will be under 8% in time for the election.
  26.  

  27. Gitmo will still be in service by the time of the November election. Military tribunals will resume in the Summer.
  28.  

  29. The planned removal of 23,000 additional soldiers from Afghanistan by September 2012 will hit a snag as my predicted protests rise in Iraq and unrest in Syria continues to climb. House Republicans will do everything within their power to scuttle a vote on that withdrawal. The extraction should still take place, but not on schedule.
  30. Wrong: Final surge troops leave Afghanistan – September 20.

     

  31. Thanks to incredibly tight security, the London Olympic Summer Games will go off without a hitch.
  32.  
    (UPDATED DEC, 31… EDITORS’ PRIVILEGE)

  33. I forgot to include: If Mitt Romney does win his Party’s nomination as predicted, Virgina Governor Bob McDonnell will be his running mate.

So that’s it. Another 16 17 predictions, one more than last year. I think out of all my predictions, the ones about unemployment and the state of our economy are the most volatile, depending heavily upon just how badly Republicans in Congress are willing to tank the economy just to hurt the president by November. But it’s a Kamikaze mission because a bad economy hurts ALL incumbents, including the GOP Controlled House. Are they all dumb enough to think they can damage the economy (and by extension, Obama) and emerge unscathed? Are they really… as my grandmother used to say of herself… “sharp as a whip”?

Happy New Year folks! See you in January. It’s going to be quite a year.

(Reminder: I’ve posted direct links to my “List II” reviews of the remaining GOP candidates in the righthand column under “ELECTION 2012″. Be sure to recheck them frequently as they are being undated constantly.)
 


Sign my petition for GREEN JOBS TOMORROW fast & cheap. Use those $4 Billion in oil subsidies to put Solar Panels on the roofs of 40,000 government buildings, or order 100,000 hybrid mail-trucks. Not only would this INSTANTLY CREATE JOBS, it would spark ENTIRE INDUSTRIES with a future, reduce our dependency on oil, reduce greenhouse emissions, and quickly pay for itself (and cut future expenses) with the energy savings. We need 5,000 signatures by December 20th (extended to January 20th).


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Filed in Economy, Election, Healthcare, Jobs, Middle East, Money, Politics, Predictions, Racism, Religion, Taxes, War December 26th, 2011 by Admin Mugsy | • 3 comments | Add/View