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FAKE NEWS. Republicans mastered it ages ago
Apr 23rd, 2018 by Admin Mugsy

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The earliest example of genuine “Fake News” I can recall is (of course) the invasion of Iraq… which of course was predicated on lies about Saddam Hussein’s “Weapons of Mass Destruction”. Lies spread with the assistance of willing Right-Wing news outlets (*cough*Fox*cough*) who abdicated their journalistic duty to only report claims they could verify, and instead choosing to advance the agenda of a Republican controlled White House and Congress. Worse: If you dared question the official line from the White House the way Ambassador Joe Wilson did in the New York Times, the White House made it their mission to destroy you (see Dick Cheney’s personal notes in the margins (ibid). It angers me today when people try to use claims of “Weapons of Mass Destruction” by the Media in 2002 as an excuse to mistrust News organizations today and trust the totally untrustworthy Trump White House. If anything, those claims of “WMD’s” proves the LEAST trustworthy creature on the planet is a Republican White House with a disturbingly close relationship with Fox “news” (*cough*Hannity*cough*.) But it’s one thing when the Media stops asking questions. It’s quite another when they are USED to disseminate propaganda completely written, packaged and distributed by Conservatives, and Republicans are old hands at that.

Five months after Bush gave his famous “We have prevailed [in Iraq]” speech before a giant banner reading “Mission Accomplished” WHILE we still had soldiers fighting and dying in Iraq, people started souring on the war. Those who didn’t ask questions going in were starting to ask after the fact: “Where are those Weapons of Mass Destruction they assured us were there in huge quantities?” “Where’s Saddam?” (If you recall, he had escaped and was not found until December.) “Mission Accomplished? Then why are we still there five months later?” Christmas was nearing and our troops were still dying at a rate of more than 100/week. “For what?” The presidential pre-election race was already in full swing and the 2004 Primaries were about to begin. The Bush White House was desperate for some good news… emphasis on the word “desperate”.

Suddenly, letters from soldiers serving in Iraq started showing up in local papers across the country. Positive upbeat letters from Home Town Heroes talking about the rewards they were seeing on a daily basis of Iraqis thanking them for “liberating” them from the oppressive Saddam regime. Those “flowers & chocolates” Cheney once quipped the Iraqis would shower our troops with seemed to be coming true. We may not have found those WMD’s, but we rescued an entire nation from a tyrant. “Relax! The invasion of Iraq was not all for naught.” America loves its heroes and cash-strapped small-town local papers were more than happy to reprint these “good news” stories that people loved reading at a time when Bush supporters were desperate for an excuse to continue supporting their president.

But even though “The Internet” wasn’t even a decade old yet at the time, it wasn’t long before tens of thousands of people sharing “local soldier’s letters home” printed in their hometown paper with their family & friends that people started to notice: “Huh. All these letters sound exactly the same except for a few minor details and the signature at the bottom.” News organizations picked up on the story only to discover the letters were being written by the White Housea form letter they were distributing to troops in combat for them to rewrite in their own hand, sign, and send home to give “their mission” (ie: the White House) some badly needed PR. Most troops were sour on the war too, yet there were always a few who found their own reasons to send their form letter home without revealing whose idea it was they write or why.

That was the first example I can recall of a White House actively manufacturing “fake news”… but it wasn’t the last.

During the election of 2004, with so many people down on the Iraq War and the nightly news reporting the death of dozens of troops each & every day in a war it was now clear we shouldn’t be fighting, the White House was desperate for TV stations across the country to report on something other than the continuing Iraq war. “Why aren’t they reporting all the GOOD news? Unemployment is still low (around 5.4%… up about a point & a half from the Clinton low of 3.9%.) Saddam has been captured and the Iraqi people are free!” The list of “positive Bush accomplishments” was short (and weak), but they were desperate,

So they started filming their own news reports using actors pretending to be reporters, reading scripted “good news’ reports, and distributing them to “small market” TV stations across the country who were thrilled to receive free content to pad their newscasts each night. They were caught here too… just not until after Bush’s reelection.

I was reminded of all this two weeks ago when “Sinclair Broadcasting”… another extremely conservative Media conglomerate more insidious than Fox (because at least Fox viewers KNOW they are listening to a Conservative media outlet) were caught asking anchors of dozens of stations across the country to “criticize fake news”, promising that THEY will NEVER report something they themselves haven’t thoroughly checked out first. Unfortunately for them, none of them bothered to question the efficacy of reading a scripted message on the news promising to never simply repeat scripted “fake news”. Oopsie!

The chairman of one of the largest media conglomerates in the country… “American Media Industries” (AMI) is a man named David Pecker… a close personal friend of Donald Trump. AMI owns “The National Enquirer”… the granddaddy of the tabloid industry. People once made fun of anyone who believed anything they read in it. But no more. Not in an age where real news is “fake news” and “fake news” is “real news”. Pecker’s Enquirer now runs headlines every week defending Donald Trump by attacking his accusers. Accusing Hillary, Mueller… anyone Trump supporters hate… of being guilty of crimes themselves. You’ll note they never challenge legitimate news stories of the latest criminal investigation or scandal to befall Trump. Instead, they employ the ever effective “Squirrel!” method of “Look over there!” distraction techniques.

Fortunately for them, the Trump Voter Demographic is precisely the same people who think “The National Enquirer” is legitimate news and “pro-wrestling” is real.

The lone example Conservatives have of genuine “fake news” (and possible bias) that they hold up as an example of why “The Media can’t be trusted”, was a quickly redacted mistaken claim on CNN right after Trump took office that he had removed the bust of “Martin Luther King Jr.” from the Oval Office (at the same time Trump was falsely accusing Obama of having a bust of Winston Churchill removed.) A clear case of hypocrisy, right? Unfortunately for this reporter, the bust of King was simply briefly obstructed by some curtains. The bust had not been removed, and the CNN story was quickly retracted.

But that’s all it took for Trump supporters to start dismissing EVERY damaging news report about the Trump Administration as “Fake News” by a “Liberal Media” that’s out to get him. They reported for over a year that Hillary had a huge lead in the polls and Trump had no chance of winning. Yet… “Trump won.” And it couldn’t possibly be because of election interference by a hostile foreign nation. That’s “fake news” too! The American people actually LOVE Donald Trump. Just look at the size of his inauguration crowd! What? Photos show a dismal turnout for Trump’s inauguration? That must be “fake news” too!

And now, EVERYTHING “the Media” reports that is critical of Trump is “a lie” too. “Just look at what they said about WMD’s!”
 


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Trump & Race on MLK Day. Conservatives rush to defend Trump’s bigoted remarks
Jan 15th, 2018 by Admin Mugsy

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The first time most Americans had ever heard the name “Donald Trump” was 1989 when a young (white) female jogger running through Central Park was brutally raped, sodomized, beaten and left for dead. Five young men (four black, one Hispanic) were arrested for the crime (and a rash of similar attacks also in Central Park) and dubbed “The Central Park 5” by the media. Donald Trump was the most vocal voice, paying out of pocket to purchase full page ads in all four of New York’s major newspapers calling for the return of the Death Penalty and demanding the execution of “The Central Park 5” PRIOR to their trial, potentially tainting the jury pool. The five men confessed to committing the crime (having much to do with their concern of being able to receive a fair trial thanks to all the publicity bought & paid for by Trump) and the wealthy young real estate mogul was dubbed a champion of decent “law & order” New Yorkers. People rallied behind him also calling for the execution of the five young men even after questions started to emerge about whether their “confessions” were coerced and the men started pleading their innocence.

In 2002, a convicted serial rapist already in prison confessed to the crime and a DNA test proved it to be true. “The Central Park 5” were indeed innocent and immediately released from prison after 22 years. When Donald Trump was asked if he felt he owed the men an apology for his role in helping convict them and continuing to call for their execution even after questions of their innocence started to emerge, Trump offered no apology, dug in his heels and continued to defend his support for Capital Punishment even if it would have led to the death of five innocent young men who had been coerced into confessing to a crime they did not commit.

Trump’s history of bigotry didn’t begin in 1989 though. In the 1970’s, Donald and his father Fred Trump were accused of “Housing Discrimination” against minorities. An investigation by The Washington Post alleged that Trump employees marked minority applicants with codes, such as “No. 9” (ie: “Section 9” housing) or “C” for “colored.” And the doorman of the apartment building Trump owned told reporters that: “if a black person came to 2650 Ocean Parkway and inquired about an apartment for rent, […] I should tell him that the rent was twice as much as it really was.”

Trump’s history of being a proud bigot was well known LONG before he called Mexicans “rapists & drug dealers” in the speech where he declared his candidacy for president in 2015, or started demanding the birth certificate of the very first black presidential candidate to win his party’s nomination in 2008 (despite the fact Obama’s GOP opponent, John McCain, actually WAS born outside of the U.S. on a Panamanian military base two years before Congress passed the law making such children “American citizens.”)

Today, Monday January 15th, the country recognizes/celebrates the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. (on January 20th), made all the more poignant by Trump’s Oval Office comment last week calling Haiti, El Salvador & “some African countries” “shitholes” (Conservative pundit Rich Lowrey says some claim he said “shit houses, not shit holes.“) “Why can’t we have more immigrants from countries like Norway?” (likely thinking of his meeting with Norway’s PM the day before.) Trump naturally denied he ever said such a thing (though I expect him to reverse himself any minute now and claim there would be nothing wrong if he *had* said it because the countries he named are indeed “economic basket cases”… as if the economic state of the country people come from has any bearing on their worthiness to come here. People living in great conditions don’t have a lot of incentive to immigrate to the U.S…. especially now with someone like Trump in charge.)

The reason I half-expect Trump to reverse himself from “denial” to “admitting & defending” his remarks is mostly because of the outrageous number of Republican members of Congress and Conservative pundits who rushed to Trump’s defense yesterday on the Sunday news talk shows. Even the few who dared criticize their Party leader still used muted language. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan called Trump’s comment “very unfortunate” and “unhelpful”… something one ABC News reporter said was “something you say about a parking ticket, not a racist insult towards millions of people.” Ryan’s remarks were still more than Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has yet to muster, who has yet to make ANY public comment regarding Trump’s latest racist remark.

Many Republicans in Congress who criticized candidate Trump are now quick to defend him. Former Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul… a staunch Libertarian who got in trouble himself prior to the campaign for stating he likely would NOT have voted for the 1964 Civil Rights Act because “the federal government has no business telling private industry what to do” (ie: discriminate against an entire race of people)… vehemently defended Trump on “Meet the Press” yesterday, stating Trump simply stated a preference for people from “economically stable” countries (where the vast majority just happen to be white.)

On ABC’s ThisWeek, Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) was one of the six people present in the Oval Office and all but called Democratic Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL)… also present and stating categorically Trump did indeed call the mostly black nations “shitholes”… a liar, declaring “I haven’t heard any of those six sources other than Senator Durbin talk about what was said.” Stephanopoulos responded by telling Purdue that Republican Senator Lindsey Graham (also in the meeting) appeared to corroborate Durbin’s account of events, telling his co-Senator Tim Scott Trump’s comments were “unfortunate“, to which Purdue only called Durbin’s account, “a gross a gross misrepresentation” (no follow-up as to ask what the ‘correct’ language should have been.)

In addition to Purdue, another Deep South Republican senator, “Traitor Tom” Cotton, vehemently denied on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that Trump made the racist remark, stating, “Sen. Durbin has a history of misrepresenting what happens in White House meetings, though. So perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised by that.” There’s that word again, “misrepresenting“. Neither Cotton nor Puedue flat out call Durbin a liar nor state categorically that Trump never made any derogatory remark about those countries, yet seem to have no qualms slandering a fellow senator to defend Trump.

And how shocked do you think I was (answer: zero) to hear a representative of “The Christian Broadcast Network” go on “ThisWeek” to defend Trump for the same reason: He’s not a racist, he just prefers rich white guys like himself.

The REAL scandal last week wasn’t that a notorious bigot once again said something racist (as he seems to do at least once a month since the day of his announcement in 2015). It’s the number of Republicans… a Party already regarded as the refuge of bigots and unwelcoming of minorities… rushed to Trump’s defense, more than eager to try to convince us that his moronic bigotry was actually justified and/or not bigotry at all, simply “misunderstood”… just as they are.

Doctor King is surely rolling in his grave tonight.
 

Postscript: Also worthy of discussion this week but not mentioned once during the Sunday shows was the release of the “FusionGPS” testimony transcript. I am currently still reading the transcript (some 312 pages) and noticing some interesting details that I hope to report on in the future. From the 100+ pages I’ve read so far, the only reason I can see why Republicans fought so long/hard to suppress the release of the Transcript is that it shows former British MI6 agent Michael Steele’s role… whose “dossier” on Trump documented a plethora of troublesome contacts between Trump and Russia’s shady underground and numerous Russian officials… is hardly a substantial portion of the evidence against Trump. Most of the testimony is really just assessing the legitimacy of “FusionGPS” as a trustworthy research firm… of which by this testimony they clearly are.
 
Also of note: Friday is the latest “deadline” for Congress to pass a budget for 2018 (after agreeing to put it off for a month last month). If no agreement is made, we may once again be facing a “Government Shutdown by Friday. Democrats want a DACA agreement for the “Dreamers” to be part of any budget deal. Thanks to Trump’s latest racist remarks regarding black people from Haiti, El Salvador & Africa it seems unlikely Republicans will shutdown the government over a refusal to come to an agreement on the future of non-criminal minority immigrants. Particularly in an election year (where Republican Senator Jeff Flake admitted yesterday, “Republicans are no longer wondering IF they’ll lose the House in November, but by how much.”)

 


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How to Avoid Another War with North Korea: Declare an end to the LAST one
Nov 13th, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

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Trump couldn’t help but poke the bear (not Putin, though he may have done that too) during his Asia trip, getting into yet another Twitter fight with North Korea’s own irrational, undisciplined BabyMan leader, Kim Jong Un. Much of the reason for North Korea’s belligerence towards the U.S. is because they fear invasion by the U.S. ever since George W. Bush included them in his “Axis of Evil” (“Iraq, Iran & North Korea“) shortly before invading the first of those three nations in 2003. As isolated and paranoid as North Korea is, it doesn’t help that The Korean War never officially ended. Only an “armistice” was declared, the war was ruled “a draw”, the Korean peninsula was split in two, and everyone just assumed it was “over.”

Everyone except for the North Korean’s, that is.

As far as they are concerned, the war is still going on, and a militaristic United States is just champing at the bit to invade and retake the North. And rhetoric from Donald Trump suggesting wiping them off the face of the Earth doesn’t help.

On Veterans Day last Saturday, ABC News asked Korean War Vets what they thought about the possibility Trump might restart the Korean War? To-a-man, each and every one of them said that would be a terrible mistake. They all agree that if we were to restart the war with the massive military might we wield today, there is no question we would win (not a sure bet. China would likely intercede on behalf of North Korea today just as they did in 1952.) The question then is who will be the adult in the room and AVOID war with North Korea? The very idea we might go back into NK all these years later and pick up where those Veterans left off… trying to win an unwinnable war… is insanity.

Speaking of “insanity”, I remind you North Korea endorsed Donald Trump in May 2016, after Trump criticized South Korea for not paying enough for its own defense… even threatening to pull support for South Korea till they do:
 

“It turns out that Trump is not the rough-talking, screwy, ignorant candidate they say he is, but is actually a wise politician and a prescient presidential candidate.” – Unnamed North Korean scholar in a NK newspaper column.

 

If you want to prevent the next Korean War, you can start by officially ending the last one.
 

Most (if not all) nations on the planet now recognize “North Korea” as a separate sovereign nation. It has been nearly 65 years since the “unofficial” end of the Korean War. It is time we finally accepted the fact there are now TWO Korea’s and whether or not the two nations ever become one again is entirely up to the people of those two nations.

Trump could take the wind out of Kim Jong Un’s sails by formally declaring an end to the Korean War, having representatives from both sides sitting down for a dramatic “Signing Ceremony” in Geneva, declaring that the United States now recognizes North Korea as a separate and independent nation and formally declare The Korean War over.

North Korean TV would happily show “Dear Leader” on the world stage, sitting across from Donald Trump as an equal, “forcing” the United States to “accept defeat” as they sign an agreement officially declaring an end to the Korean War. And after showing such an event nationwide on state-run TV, it would be difficult for them to then make the case the U.S. still wants to invade their country, justifying the need for further provocative action.

And for Trump (and his ego), he can proudly declare that HE finally brought the Korean War to an end after more than 60 years and how he is actually “a man of peace”, not the belligerent war-happy third-world Dictator his critics make him out to be.

The problem is we have two irrational, childish, trigger-happy lunatics in charge of each country. We desperately need someone to step up and be the adult in the room. Show of hands how many of you think Trump is up to the task?
 

Yeah, me either.
 


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

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Self-Proclaimed Protectors of America Hold Everything it Stands for in Contempt.
Oct 16th, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

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I think I’m running out of ways to say “The Far Right hates America.” Which is ironic because it’s the Far Right who continually accuses “The Left” of “hating America” for complaining about the direction it’s heading (headlong into Fascism.) I’ve been writing this blog since the end of Dubya Bush’s first term in office, and one thing I’ve noticed is that people have disturbingly short memories. I actually heard a progressive radio host last week say that he “didn’t remember the Bush Administration having as much contempt for the Freedom of Speech as the Trump Administration.” “SERIOUSLY?” I barked out loud. You don’t remember “Free Speech Zones”, “Loyalty oaths”, and “fake newscasts with actors pretending to be reporters using fake names” being produced in-house by the Bush Administration and distributed to small market low-budget TV stations across the nation who then played those fake newscasts without ever revealing their source and clearly unaware the reporters were actors? You telling me you don’t remember ANY of that? None of this is new. Trump’s contempt for “Freedom of the Press”, “Freedom of Speech“, “Freedom of Assembly” and a “Freedom of Religion” that only applies if you are Christian, are only the latest depths of Conservative anti-Americanism. Trump’s supporters openly spoke of “secession” when Obama was president, and hate immigrants (ironically, in a nation of immigrants… of which their forebearers almost certainly were) to a xenophobic level. Not only did Trump launch his campaign calling Mexican immigrants “drug dealers and rapists” (which his supporters cheered), and not only has he called for a ban on all immigration from the Middle East (to which he later tried to amend with exceptions based on religion), but they even tried to rewrite the story of the “Statue of Liberty” to claim the Lady with the Lamp guiding “the wretched refuse to our shores” was NOT intended to “welcome” immigrants, but instead was merely a monument to our greatness, adding that the famed poem describing the purpose of the statue “was added later.” If your hatred of the outside world is SO extreme you feel you must even rewrite Lady Liberty’s legacy, that’s beyond living in denial. They wave Confederate flags (the flag of rebels who broke apart from America and declared war upon it), hate half of the people who live here (blacks, minorities, non-Christians, Democrats) and think the purpose of the Second Amendment is to protect them from their own government. And the biggest problem is that the people who support all this anti-American activity ALSO claim to be America’s most fervent defenders/supporters.

As I’ve noted many times before, our Constitution mentions the word “TREASON” seven times and says the purpose of the 2nd Amendment is for its citizens to PROTECT AMERICA from those who seek to attack it. If you live here, it’s the FIRST Amendment that grants you the power to speak out against the government, petition it to redress your grievances, a free press to air those grievances and speak out against it, and a right to freely assemble/protest to bring about change. NO WHERE does it say “If you don’t like it, you can shoot your Congressman.” It’s there to guard against fascism (the merger of corporations, church & state). Guard against people who might seek to deny you your right of free speech. Guard against people who might do this country harm… by militarizing the police, polluting our air & streams, or keeping the nation in a perpetual state of war. The most fervent Second Amendment supporters are typically the same people who most live in fear of their own government, are the greatest supporters of those very same policies I just listed, and the quickest to threaten the use of force against it if the government strays from those very policies or endangers their right to own as much firepower as they can possibly amass over several lifetimes. The great irony in this country is that today’s Second Amendment supporters are the very people the Second Amendment was intended to protect us from.

These self-proclaimed “Protectors of America” hold everything this nation stands for in contempt: Immigrants, free speech, tolerance and a separation of Church & State.

With Trump’s new call for “Compulsory Patriotism” (demanding NFL team owners “suspend” any player who refuses to stand for the National Anthem in protest), we join the ranks of reviled dictatorships like Iran, North Korea, Nazi Germany and (of course) Soviet Russia. It should come as a surprise to no one that Trump admires dictators… fascists who don’t have to answer to anyone… and bemoans the fact he can’t just run the country the way a corporate tycoon runs his company… the lone decision maker where his word is law and everything is done by decree. (We all remember how bitterly Republicans accused President Obama of “acting like a dictator” by issuing “Executive Orders” to circumvent an obstructionist Congress. They declared that “Executive Orders” in and of themselves were “unconstitutional” for that very reason. So imagine my shock (sarcasm) when Trump did EXACTLY THAT, issuing an unconstitutional “Executive Order” of his own last week (for fun, type “Trump executive order” in a Google News search and see how many options come up) “decertifying” a key provision in “ObamaCare” to provide subsidies to help the working poor afford their insurance. And imagine my further surprise (read: none) when Conservative pundit Michael Needham on Fox “news” Sunday yesterday dared claim “Nobody ever said Conservatives oppose ALL “Executive Orders”, just the “unconstitutional” ones.” It’s not THEIR fault every single one of Obama’s “Executive Orders” just happened to be “unconstitutional” (because they were used to circumvent an obstructionist Congress, while Trump’s EO was done because… ah… oh… uh…)

Now, if you are a Conservative, you’re probably calling me a hypocrite for not yet mentioning recent college protests seeking to shutdown guest speakers who wish to perform/talk at their school. Typically, the object of their fury are Conservative hate-speech bomb-throwers like Ann Coulter or Steve Bannon, but they’ve also protested Left-Wing stand-up comics like Bill Maher whom they criticize for his criticism of Muslims as followers of “a hateful ideology”, though to be fair, he says the same thing about the religious Right (as do I.) So, “the Left” has its intolerant anti-free speech zealots as well. But while “the Left” has a few intolerant young college kids who should know better but don’t, the Right has ENTIRE ORGANIZATIONS (like The Family Research Council who just hosted Bannon’s latest little fascist-fest, the “AEI: American Enterprise Institute“, and most famously “The Heritage Foundation“) with multi-billionaire backers funding them dedicated to undermining the very principles of Democracy. A few intolerant kids at a select few colleges just doesn’t compare.

If you claim to “love America”, then you must also love everything it stands for. If only those who claim to be ready to fight to the death to protect the Second Amendment were as fanatical about protecting the First.
 


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you.

 

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

Effectiveness of 1994 AW Ban

 

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

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

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

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

46 voted to do nothing after Sandy Hook

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Never look for logic where none exists.
 

RedRidingHood banned for bottle of wine on cover

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

GOP is a Death Cult

 


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The Subtle “Implied Racism” of Trump’s Presidency
Aug 14th, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

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“On many sides.” Three little words that speak volumes.

After a White Supremacist “Nazi sympathizer” plowed his car into a crowd of counter protesters, killing a young female counter-protester (two police officers were also killed in a helicopter crash patrolling the protest) and injuring dozens more, it was HOURS before Trump responded to the attack, and when he finally did, reading from a printed script (because teleprompters are bad and prove you’re stupid), appeared to blame “both sides” for the violence:

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence… on many sides… on many sides.”

 

…never once using the terms “White Supremacists”, “Nazis”, “White Nationalists” or “terrorism”. Recall that all through the presidential campaign, Republicans roundly condemned President Obama for refusing to utter the words “Radical Islamic terrorism”? Trump himself repeatedly argued that “If you can’t say it, you can’t defeat it!” So what do we make of Trump’s inability/refusal to condemn Nazi’s and White Supremacists by name?

Does the tactic of plowing a car through a crowd of people sound vaguely familiar? That’s because that is the EXACT same tactic used by ISIS sympathizers across Europe over the past year to commit acts of terror. Is there ANY doubt that if the person driving the car in Charlottesville had been a Muslim, this would have been labeled a “terrorist attack” and condemned by Trump within minutes of it happening? So what’s different? You know, and so do I.

But it should comes as no surprise. Since the very day Trump announced he was running for president, his entire campaign & presidency has been peppered with subtle (and sometimes overt) acts of racism. As we all remember, Trump’s candidacy announcement included calling Mexicans “Drug dealers, criminals, rapists… and some… I assume are good people” (the qualifier tacked onto the end to avoid being overtly declared a racist.) And it was because of this (wildly overstated) rampant crime wave being committed by “illegals” that we needed to build “a wall” clear across our Southern border.

And so began the Trump campaign. And the racists swooned.

20 years ago, there was a lot less public tolerance of racism, and it remained mostly in the shadows. The election of the first black president started to provide racists with some cover, couching their overt racist hatred as merely being “political differences” with the Commander-in-Chief. They’d claim: “I don’t hate that Kenyan Muslim in the White House because he’s black! I simply have a legitimate difference of opinion on political issues!” For eight years, Trump stoked that racist hatred of Obama by championing the insane “birther” conspiracy theory that Obama was actually “born in Kenya” and therefore ineligible to be president of the United States… ergo, it was okay to hate him because his presidency was illegitimate.

I won’t go back down the “Birther” rabbit hole. You know the story: birth certificate, “long-form” birth certificate, newspaper birth announcements were “fakes”, Ted Cruz… who was ACTUALLY born in another country… was eligible because “his mother was an American”… unlike Obama’s mother who was born in Kansas. Never look for logic among illogical people.

Long before Trump became known as “the Birther Guy”, there was “The Central Park 5“. In 1989, a group of five black & Latino teenagers were accused of “assaulting and raping a white woman in Central Park.” Trump spent $85,000 of his own money taking out full-page ads in the four New York City daily papers, calling for the return of the death penalty for “muggers and murderers”, never mentioning the boys by name but everyone knew who he meant. 14 years later, the boys… now all grown up… were exonerated by DNA testing, yet Trump never apologized, citing the fact that “the police said they were guilty.”

Trump’s campaign rallies started to look like… well… maybe not “Klan rallies”, but unquestionably angry, with lots of shouting and peppered with violence. When protesters began showing up to condemn the racist dog-whistles Trump was sending out at every campaign event, his supporters grew violent, and rather than condemn the violence, Trump egged it on, saying things like “Throw the bum out,” “Get them out of here,” “Take his coat and throw him out in the cold,” and most famously, promising to pay the legal bills of anyone who might be sued for roughing up a protester.

That was his campaign. From birtherism, to demonizing Mexicans, “Black Lives Matter”, and Muslim Bans, Trump’s entire candidacy was catapulted by racists who heard a kindred spirit in Trump’s rhetoric… emboldened by how he’d “unapologetically” say exactly what they were feeling. For years they were made to feel embarrassed & ashamed for their primordial beliefs. Now they felt America had legitimized their beliefs by electing someone like Trump.

Trump’s first (and for a LONG time only) Congressional endorsement was Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions of Alabama. A Deep South congressman with a troublesome civil rights record of his own, once calling the NAACP and ACLUun-American“, criticizing “The Voting Rights Act”, and most famously (supposedly) saying he once admired the Klan till he found out “they smoke pot.” In any case, despite his record, because of his loyalty, Sessions was Trump’s very first appointee… naming him Attorney General, which put him directly in charge of enforcing the very Voting Rights Act he once criticized.

During the campaign, Trump was endorsed by none other than “David Duke”, the openly racist former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klowns Klan turned politician turned RW Talk Radio host. When Trump was asked if he accepted the endorsement of Duke, he feigned having any knowledge of who Duke was and did not directly reject the endorsement (at first) fearing to offend like-minded racists who make up a large proportion of his base. It was only after repeated & prolonged criticism that Trump… weakly… finally rejected Duke’s endorsement THREE DAYS LATER. CNN reported:
 

“David Duke is a bad person, who [sic] I disavowed on numerous occasions over the years. Do you want me to do it again for the 12th time?” Trump said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” – March 3, 2016

 

“A bad person”? Whoa there, Mr. Trump! Give a guy some warning before you go using language like that! “Who I disavowed on numerous occasions over the years” twelve times? Just three days earlier, he denied even knowing who Duke was. Now suddenly he recalls disavowing him “12 times over the years”? Which is it?

Duke “took credit” for White Nationalists like himself helping get Trump elected, responding to Trump’s (muted & delayed) condemnation of the events hours earlier in Charlottesville by criticizing Trump’s criticism, telling/threatening Trump to “remember who got you elected”… clearly implying Trump owes his election to the very White Supremacists and neo-Nazis he just condemned (albeit half-heartedly, evenly distributing blame for the violence and murders equally between the protesters & counter-protesters alike.) Trump never used the words “White supremacists” or “neo-Nazis” in his scripted response to the deadly rampage in Charlottesville.

Trump’s favorite show “Fox & Freaks Friends” (we know based on the number of times he comments & tweets about them) declared that Trump’s “both sides are to blame” condemnation of the Charlottesville riots & murders “nailed it”, repeating his “both sides” criticism, suggesting the Klan marchers might have a legitimate grievance that deserves being listened to, and asserting Trump’s remarks were the perfect response to the neo-Nazi march the day before that killed three.

When Trump’s campaign manager Paul Manafort was forced to step down, Trump hired the editor of the most popular “Alt-Right” online publication and his biggest fan/defender… Steve Bannon of “Breitbart News”… to be his new campaign manager. Bannon has been described as one of the “foremost peddlers of White Supremacist themes and rhetoric” on the Internet. Trump was a fan of Bannon for taking up his “Birther” attack on President Obama and carrying it to new heights. Once the election was over, Trump appointed Bannon to be his “chief strategist”… the job once held by Karl Rove in the Bush-43 administration.

As mentioned above, Trump had already announced Jeff Sessions as his pick to be AG. Another of Trump’s disturbing political appointees was “Stephen Miller” to be an “advisor”. You might know Miller as the “White Power” hand-gesture guy (see photo inset at top.) Vanity Fair magazine did a disturbing expose of Miller last month, from his early days as an unliked political provocateur (all Conservatives are. They get off on making others angry/upset) in High School, rising to fame defending the 2012 Duke University Lacrosse Team members in their Rape trial (where three white players were accused of raping a black stripper, chasing her (and another stripper) down shouting “N*gg*r, N*gg*r, N*gg*r!”, to his appointment to the Trump White House (where he ended a royal defense of Trump, declaring “The powers of the president to protect our country are substantial and will not be questioned! ending with that awkward aforementioned hand gesture.) And two weeks ago when Trump tweeted that he intended to institute “means testing of immigrants to the United States”… a slap in the face to the “Give me your poor…” poem placed on the Statue of Liberty, Miller was quick (without pause) to point out that poem “was added later” and not part of the original statue (does that matter?) which he said was merely meant as a symbol of America’s “guidance” of the rest of the world (Bullcrap. Liberty’s torch is the light that guides the world’s “wretched refuse” to our shores.) Anti-immigrant white supremacists like Miller & Bannon love to rewrite history to fit their personal views. Why they continue to do so in the age of the Internet when confirmation is just a key-click away, is a mystery. Still, they persist.

Another Trump advisor, his deputy counter-terrorism advisor, Sebastian Gorka, made news when he attended the Trump’s Inaugural Ball wearing the honorary medal awarded his late father by Hungarian nationalist organization Vitezi Rend, who are “believed to have been complicit in the murder of some of the hundreds of thousands of Hungarian Jews toward the end of World War II.” Gorka claims to have “distanced himself” from any white-supremacist or Nazi ideology [ibid]. Yet still, these are the people drawn to Trump, and whom Trump himself is drawn to when staffing his White House.

This is the bubble Trump lives in.
 


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Is the firing of Priebus a backdoor attempt to fire Special Prosecutor Mueller?
Jul 31st, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

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Last week was described as… not just the most chaotic of the young Trump Administration… but as capping off “the worst first six months of ANY administration” in the 241 year history of the United States (which, according to Trump, has been “the most successful first six months of any administration in history”… despite not having one single legislative accomplishment and Trump having gone back on nearly every major campaign promise.) “Worst six months” may be a bit of an exaggeration considering Abraham Lincoln’s first days were met with the entire Southern delegation seceding from the Union, but it’s gotta be right up there (Lincoln was a Republican by the way. Did you know that? Trump apparently didn’t until just last March.) For weeks, Trump has been publicly lambasting his “good friend” Attorney General Jeff Sessions for agreeing to accept the job of AG back in February only to recuse himself from having anything to do with the Russia investigation by March. Sessions was the first (and for a very long time only) Senator to endorse Donald Trump. He traveled around the country with him and repeated Trump’s slogan that Trump would “Make America Great Again.” His reward was to be appointed Attorney General (the first appointment of the Trump administration), an appointment Trump praised. But when a Special Prosecutor was appointed to investigate possible links between the Trump campaign & Russia, Sessions was forced to recuse himself 1) because he was part of the campaign, and 2) Had failed to reveal his OWN contacts with Russian officials during the campaign.

That confirmation was in February (with Sessions formally recusing himself on March 2nd.)

Now suddenly… 4-1/2 months later… Trump is grousing about Sessions accepting the job only to recuse himself just days later? Why now? As singer Glenn Fry once sang, “The heat is on.”

A flurry of very public criticisms (both on TV and on Twitter) of his “good friend” Sessions (Trump frequently whines about “loyalty”. He denies he asked Comey for it and demands it of his staff, but for Trump, “loyalty” is clearly a one-way street), it seemed pretty obvious Trump wanted Sessions to resign so he could replace him with someone who would fire Bob Mueller and quash the Russia investigation, but he couldn’t just fire Sessions without a better reason than “refusing to recuse himself from the Russia investigation.” Nothing improper about following the law. ANYONE Trump may have picked to be Attorney General… if they were connected to his campaign, they too would of had to recuse themselves (if you recall, both Chris Christie & Rudy Giuliani were also supposedly up for consideration for the job, and they too were part of the campaign and would of had to recuse themselves.)

Unable to fire Sessions, Trump tried to make Sessions quit, but Sessions (publicly) laughed it off (privately, Gingrich says Sessions is “very mad” at Trump.) So Trump is stuck with Sessions (and by extension, Mueller.)

In just the first six months, five SIX of Trump’s top level staffers have been fired (or forced to “quit”)…
 

Trump staff departures

 

(UPDATE 7/31/17: After just ten days, Spicer’s replacement, Anthony Scaramucci is out following a profanity laced tirade criticizing Priebus & Bannon.)
 

…with the latest being his Chief-of-Staff Reince Priebus last week just-appointed Communications Director Scaramucci. Priebus has always been in over his head in every job he’s had since he was still head of the RNC. He appeared on the Sunday talk shows regularly, embarrassing himself as he repeatedly tried (and failed) to sound clever and/or witty, with snarky responses about Democrats that always fell embarrassingly flat. But because of the Tea Party movement and a united Conservative front against Obama, the GOP Congress kept winning races in spite of him (though losing the presidency in 2012, and likely would have lost in 2016 as well had it not been for the last minute election chaos.) So it was probably only a matter of time before he was out as CoS, but the new Director of Communications, Tony Scaramucci, replacing Spicer, torpedoed Priebus, creating a vacancy.
 

And the wheels started to turn.
 

Trump picked acting NSA Director General John Kelly last week to be his new Chief of Staff (arguably a demotion), and suddenly, there’s a new “law enforcement” job opening in the Trump Administration. “Who do we get to fill it? Hmmmm. Ah! I know! How about the acting Attorney General who is preventing us from firing Mueller and shutting down the Russia investigation?”

Trump hasn’t done it yet, but you KNOW that’s what his puppet masters have in mind.

Members of Congress on BOTH sides of the aisle say that if Trump tries to replace Sessions with someone who might try to shutdown the Russia investigation, they say they’ll make him (pinky) swear that he won’t fire Mueller. Of course, you can always find an excuse after the fact. Accuse Mueller of being on a “Partisan Witch hunt”, accuse him of exceeding his authority, even claim “ethics violations”. Or just change the scope of his investigation, rendering him toothless. If they want Mueller gone, he’s gone.

So the red flag isn’t who gets picked to fill Sessions’ shoes, it’s whether or not Trump tries to appoint Sessions head of the NSA. After weeks of criticizing Sessions for “not being forthright” for failing to reveal in advance he’d recuse himself from anything relating to the Russia investigation, suddenly he may be just perfect to head up the most secretive security agency on the planet? (Before Bush-43, the joke was “NSA” stood for “No Such Agency” before Dubya confirmed their existence to rescue his butt from accusations of wiretapping Americans without a FISA warrant.)

If Trump even hints he may move Sessions to the NSA, know that there’s only ONE reason for doing so, and that’s so he can replace Sessions with someone not recused from intervening in the Russia investigation. Personally, I doubt Trump is THAT dumb, but his handlers (whomever they may be) might insist upon it. I’m certain Trump (and several members of his family) are huge blackmail risks and could be exposed as needed if Trump doesn’t do what they want. But with Trump’s massive ego and arrogant nature, he’s just as likely to do what he wants and dare his blackmailers to play their hand (and they will.)

The GOP Congress might let Trump get away with moving Sessions, and even approve a replacement who “swears to God, hope to die, Stick a needle in my eye” not to fire Mueller. But if he does, even a Republican-controlled Congress would not be able to ignore this gross obstruction of justice, and 6 to 8 months later (despite the midterms), Trump would be impeached, and depending on the mood of the electorate, out of office by the end of 2018.

But I doubt that will happen… not that quickly/obviously. I expect Trump will continue to grouse about Sessions, appoint someone else to the NSA, and wait for Sessions to quit (because despite his catch-phrase, reports are Trump really doesn’t like to fire people. Due to his desperate need to be adored… see: “I won the popular vote”… he prefers to bully people into quitting so he doesn’t look like the bad guy (yeah, I know that makes no sense.) By then, who knows where the Russia investigation will be? (In my not-so-humble opinion, Trump and those in his orbit are morons, too stupid to realize the Russians have been using & manipulating him for decades. There is ZERO doubt in my mind now that the Russian government and the Russian Mob (which are one & the same) literally bankrolled Trump’s presidential campaign (and much of his real estate empire via the buying & selling properties in Manhattan & Florida to Russian criminals/oligarchs/officials looking to launder millions in dirty money (see last week’s Op/Ed on the following the laundered money.) Or… just as likely… they knew and didn’t care as long as they got what they wanted out of it without concern for the consequence.)

And THAT is why Mueller is suddenly looking into Trump’s business dealings going back DECADES, and why only now Trump is complaining about Sessions’ inability to shutdown Mueller and the Russia investigations. The heat is on. Watch this space/vacancy.
 


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Conway Admits Trump Told of Russian Hacking in JANUARY yet continued to deny. Pushed to ease sanctions.
Jun 26th, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

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It was a bit like hearing someone mention in passing that “little green men” are advising Trump on foreign policy and thinking nothing of it. Yesterday/Sunday, the Trump administration allowed adviser KellyAnn Conway out of whatever box they’ve been hiding her in ever since she coined the term “Alternative facts” during “Meet the Press” last January, to repeat/defend Trump’s recent acknowledgement of reality the fact Russia DID indeed attempt to hack the 2016 election. Trump tweeted last week an accusation that Russian hacking took place “on Obama’s watch and yet he did nothing about it.” Ignoring for a moment the false charge that Obama “did nothing about it” (an extensive detailing of Obama’s response by the WaPo), the bigger news was that Trump seems to have finally acknowledged what he has denied ever since the election: that Russia DID indeed attempt to hack the U.S. presidential election. Trump has consistently denied this to be the case (yet never once ordering the FBI/CIA/NSA to look into it), rejecting the conclusion of SEVENTEEN (pdf) intelligence agencies and security firms ALL in agreement that without question, Vladimir Putin himself directed his intelligence/spy agencies to actively hack at least 21 state election servers during the 2016 election. So my ears perked up in astonishment when Conway let slip yesterday that Trump… while still president-elect… had been informed way back in JANUARY that Russia had attempted to hack our election AND that he called those actions “disgraceful”. So why… as recently as LAST WEEK… was Trump STILL dismissing claims of Russian hacking and pushing Congress to lift/ease sanctions on Russia imposed by the Obama Administration in retaliation for that meddling?

Here is the passing remark made by Conway during ABC’s ThisWeek that caused my eyes to bulge out of my head:
 

(:50 seconds)

 

WHAT??? Trump was not only informed of the hacking five months ago, but acknowledged it as both true and serious, yet not only continued to deny it, but even worked to REWARD them for it???

How is that not a scandal?

Ask yourself WHY would a president actively try to convince Americans that something “didn’t happen” that he himself already acknowledged months before to be true? Not only that, but then go on to actively try to reduce… or possibly lift entirely… sanctions that were imposed upon Russia as punishment for doing so?

Tell me again how the investigation into possible Trump/Russia collusion is “a witch hunt”?

I have continued to update my List of Trump’s Russia Ties since it was published last March. Since then, I have added more than TWENTY additional links (in addition to the more than dozen original links) between the Trump campaign and Russian officials/representatives. STILL, people ask “where’s the evidence of collusion?” (The next big line of defense to listen for: Right-Wingers are already arguing “collusion [a presidential candidate collaborating with a hostile foreign government to undermine our election] is not a crime.” Seriously. Think they’d be just as blase’ about it if it were Hillary? (I seem to remember Republicans making a big stink over All Gore accepting campaign contributions from Buddhist monks back in 2000.)

Defenders of Trump and/or Russia have little to no credibility. Present them with evidence, and their reaction is to simply dismiss it out-of-hand. But provide a link to a partisan hack with zero credibility defending Trump by citing something out of context, and THAT’S gospel. I group Russian-hacking deniers in the same crowd as Climate Change deniers. No amount of evidence is proof enough for them. Cranks with their own agenda talk about the ONE glacier that’s “growing” to distract from the 99 that are shrinking as some sort of “proof” that everything we’ve been told about Global Warming is some bizarre conspiracy to advance some insane agenda known only to them. “9/11 Truthers” continue to deny any evidence that contradicts what they’ve convinced themselves is true (the most sophisticated and massive conspiracy in history pulled off by the most inept administration in history just months into office) because it doesn’t comport with their reality. The only “truth” they trust is that which “confirms” what they already desperately want to believe (Fox built an entire network on that philosophy. And InfoWar’s Alex Jones is their light-bringer.)

James Clapper, former Director of National Intelligence testified on May 8th that he “can’t comment” on whether or not he has seen evidence linking Trump to Russia because it “impacts an [active] investigation.” Before FBI Director James Comey was fired, he asked for more resources to investigate Trump’s Russian business ties and had started receiving briefings on those ties daily instead of just weekly. Trump had already previously fired two people with the power to investigate him: Preet Bharara, NY State Attorney in charge of investigating NYC/Wall Street financial crimes, and acting Attorney General Sally Yates… who informed Trump his National Security Director (Mike Flynn) lied about his ties to Turkey & Russia yet kept him on for more than three weeks afterwards anyway, before firing him when the Press started asking questions.

If Hillary Clinton had won the election and was accused of these same acts, is there ANY doubt Republicans would already be drafting Articles of Impeachment against her? At the Comey hearing last month, several Republicans used the event to question Comey about Hillary Clinton, her emails, and her husband having a private “chat” with then Attorney General Loretta Lynch. For Republicans, Trump publicly admitting to “obstruction of justice” on national TV, and now one of his own top advisors admitting that he actively sought to convince the American public that a charge HE HIMSELF knew to be true (Russian hacking) was instead “fake news” and has been actively trying to reduce/remove the sanctions imposed on Russia for doing so in spite of knowing the truth, isn’t a matter worthy of our concern. That’s beyond outrageous…

…It’s grounds for impeachment.
 


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Wanna Understand Trump? Think Omerta
Jun 12th, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

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Let’s imagine for a moment that Donald Trump is totally innocent and his campaign did not knowingly welcome or accept Russian assistance during the 2016 election, any other mature & conscientious president of the United States would want to know if reports that a hostile foreign government… one Trump has praised and repeatedly spoken of in favorable terms (even suggesting he’d revoke sanctions against them in exchange for NOTHING)… may or may not be true. One might want to know if that hostile foreign power attempted to subvert our election (even if it were in their favor.) But immature man-child Toddler Trump thinks ANY discussion of Russia is merely “sour grapes” by his opponents seeking to undermine his legitimacy. James Comey testified last week that Russia attempted “hundreds… perhaps even a thousand… but at least hundreds” of times to hack into election computers. This is not the simple stealing of private emails, folks, this is actively attempting to undermine our very democracy itself! And Donald Trump (and Republicans at large) don’t seem to care. As Comey also pointed out, “They will try this again! They will try in 2018 and 2020.” So WHY isn’t Trump concerned? I posit because he already knows the answer and KNOWS any closer investigation might lead back to him, so instead of calling for an investigation to reveal the truth (knowing he has nothing to fear), he repeatedly tries to shutdown that investigation.

Trump acts as though he’s “untouchable”… with all the confidence of a crooked mayor knowing he has the cops on his payroll. A Mob Boss that’s in control of the police dept. No need to worry about any investigation. He’ll just order them to drop it, and if they don’t, fire them and replace them until he finds someone who will (a few weeks ago we discussed Nixon’s “Saturday Night Massacre” where he kept replacing his Attorney General until he found one who would fire the Special Prosecutor investigating him (Archie Cox.) Trump fired NY Attorney General Prett Bharara (who gave his first interview since Trump fired him on ABC’s “ThisWeek” yesterday where he clearly sided with Comey and questioned Trump’s veracity), the man in charge of investigating Trump’s New York business dealings. According to Bharara, then “president-elect” Trump called him “twice” to “shoot the breeze” (aka: letting him know he’s on Trump’s radar. A subtle form of intimidation)… something he felt was odd having never spoken to President Bush and only once to President Obama as he left office. Trump personally summoned Bharara to Trump Tower to ask if he was staying on, twice encouraging him to do so. Since Trump was only “president-elect” at the time, he chalked it up to his unfamiliarity with procedure, but when Trump called him a third time… this time as acting president… Bharara refused to return the call. Shortly after, he was fired.

Before Congress had approved Trump’s pick of Jeff Sessions for Attorney General, the job was temporarily filled by the former Assistant AG Sally Yates… again at Trump’s insistence. Yates was fired the week before Sessions was confirmed when she started bringing up the fact she had warned the Trump campaign months before that Michael Flynn lied about his lobbying activity and was a potential blackmail risk, yet Trump hired him anyway. Session was approved a week later in a contentious vote that was anything but a sure thing (we could have been left without an Attorney General for weeks… possibly even months when he fired Yates.

Then came James Comey. Like Bharara & Yates before him, Trump had personally asked Comey to stay on and never hinted as to having any problem with his past work. Yet, suddenly, he was fired, and the excuse given (his mistreatment of Hillary), still doesn’t pass the Smell Test.

It is a rare day when Senator Lindsey Graham and I agree on anything, but yesterday on “Face the Nation”, he pointed out that Russian meddling does NOT necessarily mean Trump’s win wasn’t legitimate. He was absolutely correct in pointing out the two things are not mutually exclusive. It IS possible for Trump to have won fair & square AND for Russia to have attempted to meddle in our election. I often wonder what it would be like if the roles were reversed, if Hillary had won and there was a question that a country like Saudi Arabia may have attempted to hack the election in her favor? But instead of investigating the Saudi’s, Hillary praised them and proposed favorable legislation that benefited them. “Nothing suspicious there! No’siree, Bob!” And any suggestion otherwise is “a witch hunt” designed to sabotage her presidency. (Hell, even during Comey’s testimony, several Republican Senators grilled him regarding the investigation into Hillary’s emails, including one very confused John McCain calling it “a double standard” to have closed the investigation into Hillary’s emails with the question of Russian hacking still open (yeah, don’t bother trying to figure that one out.)

Comey testified last Thursday that he was so concerned about Trump’s “history of saying untruthful things”… later even going so far as to use the “L” Word several times… that he started taking contemporaneous notes after every encounter, and that he never felt the need to do so when working for Bush or Obama. That’s disturbing. The Head of the FBI expressing his concern that The President of the United States’ “history of “lying” was so concerning to him that he immediately felt… from their very first meeting… the need to not just to document their conversations, but immediately share what he was told with his colleagues in the Justice Department after each encounter.

A clearly confused Donald Trump accused Comey of lying under oath when he stated that Trump had suggested to him that he “drop the Flynn investigation”. Trump was asked whether he himself would ALSO testify “under oath”. “ONE HUNDRED PERCENT” Trump replied… “Not under oath” he immediately added. So, would he or wouldn’t he be willing to testify “under oath”? (You might remember that Bush & Cheney refused to testify “under oath” and only together not separately… assummedly to ensure they kept their stories straight.)

I’m still not entirely clear as to what Trump was trying to say in that clip. [ibid] The first time I heard it (and what prompted me to go back and record it) was him saying “Not under oath” after just saying he’d be willing to testify under oath “100%”. But after repeated viewings, Trump seems to be going back to Comey claiming he asked him for his “loyalty”… calling THAT “under oath… a pledge of allegiance? Who does that?” Trump… in a Palinesque moment… seemed to think the reporter was trying to “trick him” in some way. “How” is anyone’s guess. But chronically dumb Republicans (Palin, Bachmann, Perry, Carson, and now Trump) that are routinely embarrassed by their moronic statements become SO paranoid that they second-guess every question they are asked as some sort of “gotcha” question designed to make them look dumb. So they overthink their answer and inevitably end up sounding every bit the moron we know them to be. And (I suspect), such was the case here. I also think “Two Corinthians” Trump has no qualms against perjuring himself when it’s just “my word against yours” with no other witnesses but “God”.

So, back to Trump’s suspicious behavior.

I strive not to reveal details about myself as much as possible on this blog, but in this instance, I think it’s important to make an exception: I’m Italian. 3rd generation. The Mafia is very real, alive & well in the U.S. as well as Italy and not just the stuff of movies. Trump’s Mob ties are well documented. One can’t be in the Real Estate business in a major metropolitan area without dealing with Construction firms & Contractors linked to The Mob, and no one gets very far in the Real Estate Development business in New York (or Vegas, or Atlantic City, or Miami Beach, etc) unless they please The Mob. People often ask why the 58-story Trump Tower is constructed out of brick & concrete instead of steel & glass (roughly the maximum height for a concrete structure.) That’s because The Mob ain’t IN the “steel & glass” business. They’re in the “brick & mortar” business (“cement shoes” are easy to come by when you make your own cement). A close relationship formed, and the bigger & more powerful you are, the closer that relationship becomes. One might even begin to think that dealing with dictators like Putin or Kim Jong Un might be easy compared to working with the criminal underworld.

One thing you learn working with The Mafia are their techniques for staying out of trouble. There’s a reason they called John Gotti “The Teflon Don”. It’s because he knew how to make sure there was never any clear evidence linking him to any of The Mafia’s crimes. The word “Omerta” (oh-MARE-tah) is the Italian Mob word for “Code of Silence”. Keep your mouth shut and don’t cross The Don. We all know their famous use of innuendo from the movies: “You’se wants me to take cares of him, Boss?” They take pains not use words like “kill” or “shoot him” when giving orders, just in case someone’s listening in. “Ah ha! There! He gave the order himself to have someone murdered! Bust him!” Instead, it’s “take care of” someone as if they were their sweet old mother. How the person receiving that request reacts is totally up to them, or so we should believe. So Trump saying, “I hope you’ll drop this” and now hiding behind “I never ordered him to do anything” doesn’t pass the smell test. Trump is a hotel mogul. If he told the manager of one of his hotels, “I hope the Penthouse is ready when my friends come to visit tomorrow”, you can be DAMN-well sure that Penthouse will be immaculate by tomorrow. And if the manager simply took it as a “suggestion, not an order” (the way Trump is now implying) and does nothing, is there ANY question that manager would be out of a job the following day?

Another thing The Mob is known for: “Family is everything.” That’s why they’re known as Crime Families, because when you get right down to it, the only people they trust are “family”. There is NO outsider they completely trust, so their circle of most trusted advisers are members of their own family. Sound like anyone you know? Trump’s top advisors are his daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared. And the more they feel the world around them is closing in on them as their paranoia grows, the more they turn to those close family members for support & advice as the only people in the world they trust. And if you want to keep your job, you’ll kiss the Don’s ring. “Loyalty is very important to me.” (The “Capisce?” at the end is implied.)

Once you realize that Trump views EVERYTHING through the prism of being a Mob-connected shady real estate developer, working with known criminals, making questionable business deals under the table, hiding your taxes and avoiding saying anything “directly” that might get him in trouble due to the paranoia that you’re under constant surveillance, his entire behavior to date starts to make sense.

So Trump ushered everyone else out of the room to talk to FBI Director Comey privately about Mike Flynn. Not even Attorney General Jeff Sessions and wunderkind Son-in-Law Jared Kushner were allowed to remain. Why? Comey describes them “lingering, reluctant to leave” after they were asked to do so by Trump. And this is understandable if you’ve spent as much time around Trump as they have and know that when he asks everyone to leave so he can speak to someone “in private”, it means he’s about to do something he probably shouldn’t and wants to make sure there are “no witnesses” who might contradict him later or otherwise testify against him… just the way a Mob Boss might do.

The mere fact Trump told everyone… even his AG… to leave the room before speaking to Comey suggests “consciousness of guilt”. He KNEW he was about to say or do something that might get him in trouble. As Bharara pointed out yesterday: Trump campaigned for days criticizing the fact former President Clinton met in private with then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch onboard a private jet on the Phoenix airport tarmac (possibly to discuss the investigation into Hillary’s emails), so “he KNEW that a president discussing an open investigation with the person in charge was improper” (possibly even “criminal”), “so Trump can’t claim ignorance” (“hypocrisy” definitely, but not “ignorance”.)

After Comey went public with their conversation (which everyone from Trump on down is now calling Comey “a leaker” for doing), Trump later said Comey “better hope there are no recordings” of their private conversation, yet refuses to say if he himself made a recording of their conversation. I’ve always thought it very odd for Trump to question whether or not he himself might have made a recording of something that took place in the Oval Office. Wouldn’t he know? Why not just say, “I have proof! I recorded our conversation!” Instead, he’s suggesting (not “promising”) he may release something in the next few days that would be “very disappointing” to his accusers (the only thing that would “disappoint” us is if this just turned out to be yet another lie.) BTW: Comey releasing his own private notes of a conversation that was NOT classified is not “leaking”. If that were the case, simply speaking to any reporter would be a crime. Fortunately, we have a First Amendment (for now.)

If Trump has a recording that exonerates him, why would he hem & haw about releasing it, acting coy regarding its very existence? Reporters simply asked if he was insinuating he recorded their conversation and yet he won’t say. Remember what I said above about “Palinesque paranoia”? I believe Trump thinks he’s under surveillance and that someone else surreptitiously recorded their conversation. Remember when he falsely accused President Obama of secretly wiretapping him? I have NO doubt Trump believes the Oval Office is bugged and that “someone” must have recorded his private conversation with Comey. All he needs are “a few days” for his Justice Department, the Secret Service, private bodyguards or P.I.’s to dig up this fanciful recording that (in his paranoia) he is certain must exist yet can’t produce, believing it will fully exonerate him.

Or maybe he has good reason to believe “someone else” is bugging his office. Could it be that Trump has reason to believe the Russians have bugged the Oval Office? Might he have received subtle messages that suggest they overheard private conversations they could not possibly have known of otherwise? Maybe he thinks he just needs a few days to convince the Russians to turn over the tape of his conversation with Comey? And Trump doesn’t have to reveal where the recording came from once he releases it, he can just say he recorded it himself.

Another point is that The Italian Mob isn’t the only “Mafia” out there. What about The Russian Mob? Could it be we are looking at the wrong Russians? Just a thought.

(UPDATE 7/27/17: A member of the Russian Mob, Oleg Deripaska, paid Paul Manafort $7.5 Million to manage the attempted 2008 redevelopment of The Drake Hotel in NYC by Manafort and Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro Firtash.)
 


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Trump Says Paris Accord Too Tough. Staff Justifies Backing Out Because It Wasn’t Tough Enough
Jun 5th, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

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During his presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly dismissed the very existence of Global Warming, even tweeting (and publicly declaring) that “global warming” was just something “made up by the Chinese” to gain an economic advantage as everyone else supposedly curbs their manufacturing while they ramp up their own. He also dismissed it as a money-making industry”. What kind of “successful businessman” belittles the greatest business opportunity since The Internet as “just a way for people to make money”??? It is difficult to quantify the mind-numbing stupidity of such a remark. The fact it’s held by the man who ran for president on his reputation as “a successful businessman” who would know how to negotiate a great deal for the American people, and is now running the most powerful nation of Earth, is horrifying.

The concept of “Global Warming” is not new. It’s not a recent concoction of the Chinese made up in the 1990’s. And just WHO does Trump think is getting rich off promoting this “hoax”? Scientists? WHO has more financial motive to convince you “Climate Change” isn’t real? Scientists making teacher’s wages, or the Trillion dollar fossil fuel industry? If the goal of China is to convince others Global Warming is real only to distract other nations’ economies, how come China is one of the biggest investors in Green Technology, imposing some of the most stringent environmental regulations in the world upon itself? The Shanghai MagLev is the fastest commuter train in the world, ferrying people at a mind-blowing 360Kph. That wasn’t Capitalism that did that. That was the largest Communist dictatorship on Earth.

Former Vice President Al Gore, in his famed 2006 documentary “An Inconvenient Truth“, talked about his college professor back in the 1960’s first describing the infamous climate “hockey stick” graph projecting a rapid rise in average global temperatures over the coming century:
 

The hockey-stick graph

 
And that projection has been right on the money.

Seven years ago, I wrote an op/ed regarding how Conservatives like George Will would frequently cite false claims in the late 1970’s of “Global Cooling” and “the coming Ice Age” to justify ridiculing fears over “Global Warming” today. There were several flaws to this argument. First and foremost, there was almost NO science behind the claim. The consensus was simply “we’re due”. “It’s been over 10,000 years since the last Ice Age, and they occur roughly every 10,000 years”, so we’re past due. The same way California is “way overdue” for a massive Earthquake. Just because “we’re due” isn’t a scientific argument that compares to the MASSIVE amount of science to back up the evidence of man-made Climate Change we know to be true today. Second, what little science there was at the time, it WAS detecting changes in the climate even back then, except drawing the wrong conclusion: more particulate matter in the atmosphere isn’t “reflecting light” to result in a cooling of the planet, it’s trapping heat like a blanket and causing the Earth to warm. Right observation; wrong conclusion. Which leads to point #3: We know more about climate science today than we did 40 years ago.

So Trump has quite publicly taken the position of the Far Far Right… territory staked out by Evangelical End-Timers and tinfoil hat wearing conspiracy theorists… that Climate Change is either an invention of Lefty Liberal Scientists as a way to keep that sweet-sweet government funding flowing into their research coffers AND/OR a made-up invention of the Chinese to convince other countries to impose “job killing regulations” and waste Billions of dollars to hamper their industry while they… China & India… continue to pollute and gain an economic advantage. OF COURSE those are the people who can’t be trusted, and definitely NOT the Trillion-dollar fossil fuel industry and Rapture-pining Evangelical End-Timers who clearly have NO motivation to foster disbelief in Climate Change while assuring us all “we’ll be just fine” if we do absolutely nothing.

Except that it’s China & India who signed the Paris accord (as did Russia) and are imposing tight (almost draconian) environmental restrictions on themselves while investing Trillions to fight a problem Trump thinks they don’t believe is even real. China… which was globally shamed at the 2008 Beijing Olympics over their choking smog… is pledging to produce more Green energy by 2030 than the United States produces from ALL sources today. And India is pledging that by the same 2030 deadline, 100% of all vehicles produced in that country will be electric. And if you don’t think that’s a big deal, India’s “Tata Motors” is one of the largest auto makers in the world and owns “Jaguar” (taking them from near bankruptcy back to being a market leader today) and one of the largest producers of Mercedes-Benz vehicles in the world (building more than even Germany.) Try to imagine if Ford or Chevy vowed to build nothing but electric cars in little over a decade from now. THAT’S how big a deal this is.

So Trump is justifying backing out of the Paris Climate Accord on the grounds it will stifle American industry because the restrictions are too tough, while he sends out members of his Administration… EPA Chief Scott Pruitt and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley out to argue that the Paris accord is “too weak” and “doesn’t do ENOUGH” to prevent climate change (so why bother doing anything, right?) The problem with that argument is obvious. Trump isn’t demanding tougher restrictions or saying he’ll only sign if pollution regulations set forth in the accord are stronger, so sending out his flying monkeys to dismiss the treaty as “too weak” doesn’t pass the laugh test.

Pruitt went on all three (if not more) of the major network news talk shows yesterday, citing on each and every one of them that famed NASA Climatologist James Hansen had called the Paris agreement “a fraud and a fake”… which is true, but only because he’s one of those saying it needs to be stronger… MUCH stronger… because the looming ecological disaster demands FAR more serious action. Meanwhile, Pruitt is citing Hansen as an excuse to do nothing (and I’d argue, using Hansen’s “fake and a fraud” criticism of the accord in such a way as to imply even NASA’s to Climatologist doesn’t believe in Global Warming… which isn’t close to true.)

Trump called the agreement “a bad deal”, but the Paris Accord was a “non-binding agreement” there is no such thing as a “bad” “non-binding agreement”. If it turns out to not work or even be harmful, you simply STOP COMPLYING. There is simply NO excuse for backing out of a “non-binding” agreement other than to placate those Evangelical End-Timers and Tinfoil hat wearing Conspiracy theorists whom support you.

Trump met with Al Gore twice to discuss environmental policy. The first time was as president-elect, meeting with the former VP at Trump Tower, and again recently to discuss the Paris Accord, where Gore said yesterday he strongly urged Trump to sign the agreement by appealing to his business sense as a way to create jobs. And we now know how THAT turned out. Trump met with Gore the way he met with Romney when he was interviewing candidates for Secretary of State. He had absolutely no intention of joining with them. He already had his mind made up before he ever called them. It’s theater. He just wants to give the appearance of having an open mind and making it look like he’s taking advice from political rivals. But it’s all just a game to Toddler Trump getting his rocks off, humiliating his rivals by making them grovel at his feet, as he soaks in the praise for his “apparent” non-partisan “businessman-like” managerial skills, only to then ignore everything he was told and make some asinine decision for reasons with no basis in reality.

Making the Paris agreement “binding” and tougher on China & India would NOT have convinced Trump to sign the accord, so he needn’t waste our time sending out staffers to whine about how “weak” the agreement was, as if to suggest THAT was the reason he didn’t sign. Michigan Congressman Tim Walberg summed it up best last week when he said we needn’t worry about Climate Change because “God will sort it out”. What if God’s “fix” is to simply render us extinct? The planet doesn’t NEED *US* to survive. If you believe in The Bible, it wouldn’t be the first time God wiped out the entire planet and started over again (see: Noah.)
 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Seniors may pay more under AHCA

 
Fewer covered under AHCA

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Trump Has Been Great for Advancing Progressivism
Jan 30th, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

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They say you never appreciate what you’ve got until someone tries to take it away. One day after Donald J Trump was sworn into office, a massive GLOBAL protest took place condemning the new Commander-in-Chief on Women’s Rights. And just this past weekend, tens of thousands of protesters rallied to oppose Trump’s ill-conceived (and likely unconstitutional) “Muslim Ban” that singles out travelers from any of seven “red flagged” Middle Eastern nations, yet incredibly, excludes five nations, most with known links to terrorism inside the United States including Egypt, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia… where 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers came from, and Turkey, a close ally of the U.S. but where ISIS committed a brutal attack on the Istanbul Airport just last June (the fifth nation being the UAE, also linked to 9/11.) Perhaps unsurprisingly, Bloomberg pointed out Friday that the five exempted majority-Muslim nations all just happen to be countries in which Trump has business interests. Hmmm.

More people are talking about the potential negative consequences of enacting Trump’s extremist Conservative agenda in just the past week than have stood up and defended Progressive ideals in the past 30 years. When Obama took office in 2009, just WHO did we see taking to the street in massive protests? Teabagging idiots, carrying semi-automatic weapons, waving racist misspelled signs demanding: “keep your government hands off my Medicare!” If Hillary or (and it pains me to say this) even Bernie had won the election, just WHO would we see protesting in the streets today? The same racist teabagging idiots demanding we “build the wall”, take away their own health care, and “lock up” Hillary Clinton for something, something, BenghaziTM.

But instead, we see people flooding the streets demanding the protection of women’s rights, demanding fair treatment of non-Christian immigrants, welcoming refugees and pointing out all the problems with Trump’s ridiculous border wall with Mexico. Columnist Tom Friedman on “Meet the Press” yesterday pointed out that “Every time someone on the terrorist watch list flies into Mexico, the United States is notified. Just how willing will they be to continue such cooperation if Trump builds his wall?” And one of the proposed means of raising money to pay for the wall would be to “place a 20% import tax” on all goods entering the United States from Mexico. Well, who then pays that tax? YOU DO, not Mexico (of course, you could boycott all Mexican imports, but then YOU’RE STILL stuck with the bill since they’re not waiting for Mexico to pay for the wall before they start building it at YOUR expense.)

And because of all this Conservative stupidity, I’ve seen more Progressives on my TV in the last 8 days than I’ve seen in the last 8 YEARS.

On the flip side, there is one issue in which Progressives and Trump agree, and that’s the issue of “Free Trade”… or more precisely, OPPOSITION to it. Progressives have long railed against the nonsense of “Free Trade” while Conservatives have long championed it. In the 1990’s, President Clinton passed NAFTA with mostly Conservative votes. Republicans told us how “great” it would be for American business while Ross Perot warned of “a giant sucking sound” as American companies rushed to move their factories to Mexico for the cheap labor and then reimport it back into the US for sale. Trump’s opposition to NAFTA (or more precisely, Mexico since he never talks about “Free Trade” with Canada) and the TPP are driving Republicans nuts. Suddenly, they are forced to agree with their Party Leader that perhaps “Free Trade” isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and Progressives were right all along.

So while Trump is ranting about “US sovereignty” and railing against foreign countries taking advantage of us only to sell their goods back in the U.S. without benefiting a single American worker, he then signs an Executive Order granting permission to two Canadian oil companies to build a pipeline through the U.S. to produce “oil” that very little of which we can even use. As part of the deal, Trump is demanding the pipeline “be built using American steel”, thus “creating American jobs”, but as I pointed out [ibid], most of that pipe has already been purchased and there is no requirement they scrap all that leaky Chinese pipe and purchase all new American steel pipe. As such, the number of jobs created from providing steel pipe will be minimal.

In addition to Keystone, Trump also restored the controversial “Dakota Access Pipeline” (DAPL) that had hundreds of protesters… including veterans… protesting in the freezing cold of Northern North Dakota a few months back against the building of a pipeline from Canada through native American land and endangering their water supply. President Obama, who initially supported the plan, relented to protesters and shelved the project. Enter Donald Trump who reignited the controversy by allowing the project to resume, promising it will create more temporary jobs over several years than the U.S. economy needs EVERY WEEK just to keep up with population growth.

Also announced last week, hundreds of thousands of scientists are planning their own “@ScienceMarchInDC” in April to protest the Trump Administration’s anti-science policies, not just their disbelief in Climate Change that leads them to believe they can build those pipelines without consequence and go ahead with plans to reduce regulations on coal production. But in addition to Climate Change, they are also protesting “slashing funding and restricting scientists from communicating their findings (from tax-funded research!) with the public“, calling it “absurd.”

For six years, Republicans railed against “ObamaCare” and vaguely promised to “repeal & replace” it with “something better”. During the presidential campaign, Trump said he was “working on a plan” for a replacement to “ObamaCare” that would still “cover everyone”, continue to prohibit exclusions for “preexisting conditions”, all without a mandate or possibly causing you to lose your doctor. And every time people asked Trump or Republicans about “their plan” to replace “ObamaCare”, they always assured us they were “working on it” but it would be great. Trust us. Barely two weeks ago, just as Obama was preparing to leave office, the new Congress made voting to “repeal ObamaCare” (for the 66th time) one of their very first acts. The big cowards passed the bill before Obama left because they knew he’d veto it. But they don’t DARE pass it again NOW, forcing Trump to sign it before they have a plan to replace it.

So then, just this past Wednesday/Thursday, at a “retreat” in Philadelphia, Republican lawmakers got together to discuss what to replace “ObamaCare” with now that they finally have a president that’ll sign whatever they pass. Audio of the meeting (93 minutes) was described as Republicans “freaking out” over the fact they HAVE NO replacement, no plan, no clear ideas, no agreement regarding what to “replace” it with, and that coming up with their own plan is going to be a matter of months not “weeks” as they had hoped, was leaked to the Washington Post.

This is what Democrats have been saying all along. “They have no plan!” They “can’t keep just the parts they like and get rid of the parts that help pay for it!” Conservatives are irresponsible children and they appointed a reckless Toddler promising them candy for dinner, only to wake up with tummy aches. Conservatives are just starting to realize how empty those promises have been all along.

Trump ran for office on being a successful businessman who was adept at finding “the best people” to run the government. Then he nominates people like Rick “Oops” Perry to run a department he was forced to admit in his confirmation hearing that he didn’t realize everything the department did when he proposed shutting it down four+ years ago, and Ben “Sleepytime” Carson (a surgeon) who has been tapped to run the office of “Housing and Urban Development” (NOT Surgeon General) whose sole experience is that he “once lived in Public Housing” (by that logic, I should be flying jumbo jets around the globe.) And in case you were wondering (as I was), No, Trump has not yet picked a Surgeon General… someone he could use as the GOP hashes out their “ObamaCare” replacement.

Even Republicans are expressive concern now that Trump’s Travel Ban “wasn’t properly vetted” before it was enacted and they clearly did not think things through. McCain & Graham, who have openly criticized their new Party leader before, are expressing concern that the backlash from this travel ban could actually do more to harm national security than help it as we anger the few allies we have left in the Middle East and leave interpreters & guides wondering why they should help a country that views them as “the enemy” simply for their religion?
 

Global protest supporting women's rights
Global Anti-Trump protest in support of women’s rights – 1/21/2017

 

Global protest supporting women's rights
Global Anti-Trump protest in support of women’s rights – 1/21/2017

 

Travel ban protests across country
Tens of thousands protesting Trump’s Muslim Ban across the country – 1/28/2017

 

People are starting to realize the emperor has no clothes, and Progressives are the ones pointing it out. Ignored once, but rapidly organizing & growing. And it took electing an incompetent, racist man-child to mobilize them.
 


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