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Ukraine in Chaos. Could Syria Become a Proxy War?

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, April 14, 2014

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 



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Filed in Middle East, National Security, Right-Wing Insanity, War April 14th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Mom Near Death, my letter to the White House

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, March 31, 2014

I‘ve spoken to you several times over the past 10 months regarding my mother’s ongoing medical catastrophe. Last week, she had to be rushed to the hospital after developing pneumonia. After just five days, the hospital discharged her back to the nursing home. 22 hours later, she went into cardiac arrest and is now in extremely serious condition, having seizures every few seconds and not even able to close/blink her eyes.
 
Early this morning, I took the time to write the following letter to the White House (actually, I had to trim it nearly in half to accommodate their 2470 character limit):

Dear President Obama.

In 2004, Texas Governor Rick Perry (and current GOP gov candidate Greg Abbott) lobbied HARD for a “Medical Liability Tort Reform Law” that was the GOP cure to soaring health care costs by capping legal judgements at just $250,000 for a lifetime of care (from which you must also pay legal fees) be you 1 or 100 at the time you were harmed. And greedy Texas voters fell for it, lured by the promise of cheap insurance. The result? Hospitals, doctors and insurance companies saved millions, Texas fell to 50th in the percentage of people covered, and health care & insurance costs continued to soar.

Last May, an over-zealous Oncologist convinced my mother that she needed Chemo. I told her doctor, “No, absolutely not! Chemo is for people *riddled* with cancer. She doesn’t have cancer in her FEET!”, but the doctor convinced my mother she was indeed riddled with cancer (she wasn’t) and talked her into having the chemo against my wishes.

By her third & final treatment (6 weeks later), I had to rush my mother to the hospital, dehydrated from severe diarrhea, a 102′ fever with Walking Pneumonia.

The hospital gave my mother “something to cough up the phlegm” and after 3 days of non-stop coughing, suffered a collapsed lung. Six days after that, she told her nurse that she hadn’t had a bowel movement in “FIVE DAYS” (how do they *not* know?), requesting a laxative and a Commode Chair.

The nurses got my mother up out of bed for only the 3rd time in two weeks to use the toilet. Constipated with a collapsed lung and chest tubes hanging out her side, she suffered a cardiac arrest and ended up in a near-vegetative state. (To make matters worse, they left her lying motionless in a hospital bed for two months and we did not know she had developed a severe bed sore until she arrived at the nursing home and they inspected her.)

When I asked her doctors to explain what had happened to account for her state, they assured me that she was “revived in under two minutes”. It was only after hiring a Patient Advocate to review her records that I found out she had actually been technically dead for roughly TWENTY minutes and was on the verge of being pronounced clinically dead when they revived her.

My mother took extremely good care of herself, walking 3-miles twice a week, using the gym and went dancing on the weekends… all at the age of 75. The horrible irony of all this is that the ONLY reason she ended up in this condition is because she was trying to take care of herself.

I’ve since spoken to 15 lawfirms, all of whom agree I have an excellent case, but not one is willing to pursue it because “it would cost more to prosecute that you could win due to Texas’ Medical Tort Reform cap”. One lawfirm did say they were willing to sue over *the bedsore* because it was a “should never happen” event, but I refused because suing over a bedsore would be like suing over a splinter following a plane crash (plus, anything she won would quickly be eaten up by her hospitalization after being dropped by Medicaid.) The sad fact is, if she had *died* that morning, I could have sued for “wrongful death”, but because they managed to revive her, they insured they wouldn’t be sued.

So the people who harmed my mother go unpunished, with no incentive to correct their behavior and continue to treat patients unaware they are taking their very lives in their hands. The insurance companies get fabulously rich, and the only people who are punished are victims like my mother who had to become a burden on the State via Medicare/Medicaid as she languishes in a hospital bed.

Last night my mother suffered a second cardiac arrest that seriously worsened her already serious condition. I’m not sure how much longer she has to live.

I have contacted (as noted above) 15 lawfirms, 4 TV stations, 2 members of Congress and Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis. Of them, only Rep. Rodney Ellis has replied.

Not only do Republican “solutions” to health care reform not work, but they are actively doing great harm. This message needs to get out there. I’ve tried for the past ten months to spread my mother’s story in hopes of finding her help, to no avail. Now it seems it is too late and my mother is beyond help. All I can hope for now is that her story serves a warning to others.

Thank you.

(PS: The one bright-spot in this entire tragedy was that the ACA limited my mother’s liability before she qualified for Medicaid, preventing her from going bankrupt as we dealt with her situation.)

This is going to be a bad week.
 



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Filed in Crime, Greed, Healthcare, Right-Wing Insanity March 31st, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • 3 comments | Add/View

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Obama, Putin, and The Right’s Daddy Issues

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, March 10, 2014

Conservatives have “Daddy” issues. I’m not making a joke, I’m pointing out a demonstrative fact.

For the past week, Republicans have been quick to express their admiration, if not outright praise, for “Vladamir Putin: Man of Action” for the way he (supposedly) bested President Obama (supposedly, once again) by invading the Crimean peninsula without any apparent concern for how President Obama might react… apparently because (according to Genius Grant Award Winner Sarah Palin) Putin is a manly-man who “wrestles bears” vs “Mom jeans” wearing, “equivocating” (read: “thinks before acting”) President Obama. Republicans praised Putin as a bare-chested man of action. However, I imagine that if Putin had to run every decision past a rabidly obstructionist Congress the way Obama must, he probably wouldn’t appear quite so “decisive”. As The Daily Show pointed out last week, these are the same people that went ballistic barely one month ago when President Obama dared to suggest that he might act on his own if Congress didn’t (re: raising the minimum wage). They called Obama “a dictator” and attacked him for (falsely) threatening to ignore Congress and enact legislation on his own (using his Executive Authority to raise the Minimum Wage for Government Contractors is WELL within his Constitutional Powers.) Just this past week on Fox (where else?), Rudy Giuliani praised Putin as “what you call a [real] leader” adding (quote) “Putin decides what he wants to do and acts in a half a day.” If there is one thing we all learned from last weeks fetishism of Putin by the Right, it’s that their “ideal leader” is a neo-Communist dictator with a rubber-stamp Congress… which by no coincidence perfectly describes President Bush invading Iraq in 2003. He wanted to invade, and a GOP controlled Congress gave him the power to do it. And if you dared criticize The President of the United States, you “hated America” and were urged to “move to France”. If Obama threatens to act if Congress does not, he’s “a dictator”, but if Putin “makes a decision and acts in half a day”, he’s “a leader”. And praising a foreign enemy of freedom while ridiculing your own president makes you a patriot.

Living in a Red state as I do with Conservative family members, my first thought is always: “How would they explain this inconsistency?” And the conclusion I came to was that they would say “National security is different.” Because “war” is for “manly men”. “Manly men” invade countries on false pretenses, love guns, use force as a first resort (be it invading another country like Iraq or killing a black kid carrying Skittles and an Iced Tea), hunts (tranquilized) tigers, and just generally acts like a bully (unless of course they happen to be black, then they’re “thugs”.) Oh, and incidentally, they’re misogynists too (even the women). From the spokes-models over at Fox “news” to “Sarah Palin”, do you think ANY of these women would be as prominent in the Republican Party if they looked like Madalyn Albright? Have you ever seen so many Right-Wing homophobes openly fawning over all things masculine (most conspicuously, a shirtless former KGB agent?) And probably uncoincidentally, they all seem to suffer from a serious inferiority/paranoid/delusional complex. “The Media” is out to “get them“, to “silence” them, is on the side of their critics and is actively working against them. So they flock to Fox “news” where they receive the ego-stroking praise they didn’t receive from Mom or Dad as a child. “You’re right! They ARE out to get you! Everything you believe is absolutely correct! How smart of you! No, you’re not a racist, you’re just misunderstood! And those awful lazy poor people want to take your hard-earned money!” (and killing a child before it is born is an abomination, but cutting off food stamps or school lunches to that child AFTER it is born which could lead to malnutrition and even death is just “God’s Will.”)

People that think before acting and trust science over “their gut” are regarded as “weak”, and Bullies, by their very nature, love to pick on the weak. So they raz those who believe in sciencey things like “Global Warming” (it is stunning to watch a group of people as massive as Climate Change Deniers ridicule something they clearly don’t understand, like joking about “Global Warming”… but never “Climate Change”… during a historic freak Winter snow-storm) and look down their noses at people who attended college as “Elitists”.

Pick any prominent Republican leader and I’ll show you someone who had an authoritarian father. John McCain? His father was a Navy Admiral during World War II. Ted Cruz’s father, Rafael Cruz (which BTW is “Ted’s” REAL name. He’s a Jr), is a certifiable Right-Wing nut that was a fire & brimstone preacher who proclaims the same God who Commanded “Thou Shalt Not Kill” ordained the Death Penalty in Chapter One of The Bible, “thank[s] God for Glenn Beck”, and still wants to know where the Birth Certificate is. John Boehner (who recently conceded that it is indeed pronounced “boner”) is the son of a saloon-owner, and Sarah Palin’s dad? A Track coach. Or there are those Republicans who were traumatized by their fathers masculinity being attacked like George W. Bush’s dad being called a ”wimp” or Mitt Romney’s father who was forced out of the presidential race after using the unfortunate phrase “brainwashed” about himself regarding his prior support for the Vietnam War. Is it any wonder that a group of people so obsessed with being seen as “manly” would also be full of homophobes? (And the less said about Mitch McConnell, currently fighting for his political life amidst charges of “weakness” in confronting Obama, walking onto the stage at CPAC holding a giant phallic symbol aloft over his head, the better.)

And if you think about it, who’s the most manly-man of all? God. The ultimate authoritarian figure. A judgmental eye-in-the-sky that watches your every move, who laid out his “Commandments” and threatens to banish anyone that doesn’t comply into the pit of Hell for all eternity. You can’t get any more authoritarian than that. And they’ve claimed him as their own.

Who’s your Daddy, Mr. GOP?
 



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Filed in General, National Security, Partisanship, Politics, Rants, Right-Wing Insanity, War March 10th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • 1 comment | Add/View

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It Must Be Exhausting to Be A Republican

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, November 4, 2013

I could never do it. I mean, being a Republican nowadays means living in a CONSTANT state of utter OUTRAGE! It must be exhausting to be a Republican. And if you’re a Teabagger? OMG, forget it! I’d be too tired to pull the trigger on the gun in my mouth. Yesterday’s Sunday shows were a primer in cluelessness. I watch all three of the network Sunday shows (plus “Up” on MSNBC) back to back each week, and I don’t think they went more than 15 minutes in those four hours without some Republican expressing “OUTRAGE”… not just over something minor, but sometimes over things President Bush did as well (if not worse). I swear that these people can’t hear themselves speak or else they wouldn’t say things so demonstrably stupid (and frequently disproven by their own words on tape.) A few examples:

Starting with our first show, “Up” on MSNBC, they spoke of the fact that Republicans are OUTRAGED that President Obama dare try to fill THREE vacancies in the D.C. first circuit court, accusing the president of “court packing”… a term dating back to when FDR attempted to add six more justices to the Supreme Court, thus ensuring that more decisions would fall in his favor. But President Obama isn’t seeking to ADD judges to the court, just fill the existing vacancies. Those three vacancies on the Court didn’t open up overnight. If President Obama filled ONE vacancy, would that be “Court packing”? Of course not. But because Republicans REFUSED to fill those vacancies as they opened up, trying to fill them now is “court packing”. Once again, Republicans CREATED a problem by refusing to cooperate, and then when the inevitable happens, they accuse The President of mucking it up. Oh, and they’re OUTRAGED!

Outrage #1: Republicans create a problem by refusing to confirm nominees, and then when the president tries to fill those vacancies, it’s “an OUTRAGE!”

So now we switch over to Fox “news” Sunday where they live in a perpetual state of outrage. And for the second week in a row, Republicans are outraged that President Obama “clearly did not tell the truth when he said if you like your insurance, you can keep your insurance.” Unfortunately for then-Senator Obama, he didn’t insert the caveat: “as long as your insurance meets certain minimum requirements.” Clearly, he failed to account for the fact that lots of Republicans LIKE sub-standard policies that would hang them out to dry if they got hit by a bus, so long as it’s cheap (how many times have I written in these pages that Republicans lack any ability to consider the consequences of their actions). THE WHOLE POINT of the health care “mandate” if that everyone is covered by insurance rather than become a drain on society if they don’t have coverage. So yes, if your sucky policy doesn’t include “hospitalization”, then “NO, you CAN’T keep your policy.” Deal with it.

Outrage #2: President Obama failed to anticipate that some people (Republicans) would be “OUTRAGED” that they might be forced by their insurance company to give up their junk policy for one that actually provides real coverage, just because their crap policy was cheap. And offering them the opportunity to buy BETTER coverage wouldn’t make them happy. Then again, what does?

Oh, but Fox had an entire hour to fill with non-stop outrage, so for the second week in a row, they repeated the (intentionally?) deceptive claim that “Florida Blue”… Florida’s “Blue Shield” provider… “is canceling the policies of 300,000 customers because of ObamaCare.” Problem is, the CEO of “Florida Blue” already appeared on “Meet the Press” last week to deny the claim, stating that no ones policy had been “canceled”, but in fact their policies were being “transformed” into policies that meet the new basic minimum standards of The Affordable Care Act. Naturally, this will make the policies more expensive, but Obama’s promise was not violated: “If you like your policy, and your doctors, you can keep your policy and your doctors.” You might have to pay more to stay with that policy, but then, with more options opened up by the Exchanges, your insurance company might lower rates in order to compete (or as one Fox pundit put it yesterday: a sinister plan to “put the insurance companies out of business.” Hashtag #FreeMarketHypocrits). If you don’t want to pay more, and “cost” is more important to you than keeping your doctor, then YOU can choose to cancel your policy, but that is YOUR decision.

Of course, if you’re a selfish bastard of the “bootstraps” persuasion, it should come as no surprise that the folks at Fox are outraged that some people have to pay for things they won’t need, like men paying for “maternity care” or women paying for “prostate-cancer screenings”. Someone please explain to these people that THAT’S HOW INSURANCE WORKS. You may pay for things you don’t need, but others pay for things you may need that they don’t.

Outrage #3: “ObamaCare” is “canceling” junk insurance policies that don’t meet basic minimal standards. Only, they’re not. They’re not “canceling” anything. They are only bringing those policies into compliance. And yes, they may cost more, BUT YOU’RE GETTING MORE IN RETURN, and for less money than it would have before The ACA. Outrageous!

Of course, it wouldn’t be Fox if they didn’t bring up their favorite outrage of the year: Ben-gha-zi!!!. If you haven’t heard, on September 11th, terrorists attacked a place where Americans were known to reside. The Administration was caught off guard, and a number of Americans starting with the numeral “4″ were killed. In 2012, that number was “4″. Period. In 2001, that “4″ was followed by three zeros. So which one do you think Fox viewers believe is more deserving of 14 straight months of “outrage” and calls for the president’s resignation? If you guessed “2012″, go to the head of the class.

Of course, if it’s Sunday, you’re going to see either John McCain or Lindsey Graham on your TV (Joe Lieberman was the third Stooge before he retired.) And since the topic was Benghazi, naturally Fox brought on Graham to opine on the latest calls for “an investigation into just what happened.” These are the same people that said calls to investigate 9/11/2001 were “unpatriotic”. So Graham is “outraged” that Obama is refusing to allow members of his own Administration to testify before a GOP kangaroo court because there’s an investigation already underway. Graham indignantly tells host Chris Wallace, “Can you imagine if President Bush had said, you can’t talk to these people because there’s an ongoing investigation?” BUSH DID SAY THAT! On numerous occasions! He said that during the “9/11 Commission” and he said it during the “Valery Plame” investigation. How many members of his Administration refused to testify in the Plame Affair? Heck, Alberto Gonzales and Harriet Meyers both flat-out defied a court order to testify. And “Scooter” Libby was convicted of perjury. So PLEASE Lady Graham, don’t start getting all indignant because the Obama White House is refusing to perform in the Center Ring of your circus.

Outrage #4: Terrorists attacked and killed a number of Americans on September 11th. The White House seemed to ignore all the warnings leading up to the attack and then “allowed” it to happen anyway. There’s even rumors that they watched it unfold on TV! The Administration rejected calls for a public investigation, and when that failed, they simply refused to cooperate, citing “an ongoing investigation”. Which 9/11 am I referring to?

The botched roll out of the Healthcare.gov website is on the short list of Republican “outrages” this week. Why? At the same time they are cheering the “obvious failure of ObamaCare” (because they equate a website with an entire healthcare reform law), they are also “outraged” that people can’t “enroll in ObamaCare”. None-the-less, it’s grounds for yet another “hearing” in which Republicans get to question the Administration over just how it could have botched something they assured us for months would be a slam-dunk work just fine. Which one do you think was more deserving of an intense Congressional investigation? The invasion of another country on false pretenses that costs Billions of dollars, left 4,000 American soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis dead sparking a civil war that continues to this day, or the utter failure of a government contractor (that’s NOT named “Halliburton”) to deliver as promised? That’s a rhetorical question, of course.

Over on “Meet the Press”, OUTRAGE over the “ObamaCare” website (notice how the “Liberal Media” never uses the true name, “Affordable Care Act”?) continued, with The Gregory bringing on twice-failed presidential candidate Mitt Romney to critique the implementation of his own health care program that he repeatedly touted as “a model for the nation”. An “outraged” Romney jumped on the “Obama Lied” bandwagon and said that the president HAD to know he was lying when he said everyone could keep their plan because when he (Romney) passed “RomneyCare” in Massachusetts, that’s exactly what happened. Some people had to give up their plan (and the world didn’t come to an end). So clearly, RomneyCare was a disastrous failure, right folks at Fox? (Hope you’re not waiting on me to answer that one.)

Outrage #5: They want ObamaCare to fail. They shutdown the government demanding that it not be allowed to go into effect. They actively sabotaged the program so it would fail, so when the website failed and the consequences are that millions of people might have to wait a couple of extra months to save hundreds of dollars on their health insurance, it’s an “OUTRAGE!”

So what’s the lesson in all this? It’s that, if you’re a Democrat, no matter what you do, it’s grounds for OUTRAGE! And in EVERY case that I’ve described, the source of the “OUTRAGE” is a direct result of Republican action/inaction to ensure it came out that way. Meanwhile, ACTUAL things deserving of genuine OUTRAGE that in some cases cost thousands of lives and billions of dollars, were not only NOT sources of outrage, but they actually held those who WERE outraged in contempt.

I could never be a Republican. Too exhausting living in a state of perpetual OUTRAGE, lurching from one manufactured crisis to the next.
 

Postscript: While I thank so many of you for dropping by to read about my Mother’s ongoing crisis (we hit some record numbers for non-referral traffic last week), few of you actually spread the word to help get her story into the Media. Apathy is indeed a stubborn enemy. - Mugsy



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Filed in fake scandals, Healthcare, myth busting, Partisanship, Politics, Right-Wing Insanity November 4th, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Strike Nine. No lawyer will take Mom’s case because of Texas tort law. Help.

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, October 28, 2013

Over the past few months, I’ve kept you apprised of the situation regarding my mother, first ending up in a Houston hospital after receiving chemo over my objections, reporting on how Obamacare has already helped her, and my update this past week on how the Shutdown created still more problems for her. Well, as the saying goes, “it gets worse”. My mother was unquestionably catastrophically harmed by a series of medical mistakes from incompetent doctors, and getting her the care she needs will be incredibly expensive (no, this is NOT a plea for money). Mom’s sole source of income is Social Security and a tiny pension (remember those?) of about $80/month. I’m as poor as a church-mouse myself, so who’s left to pay for the extraordinary care she really needs? Well, apparently, no one. My attempts to find a lawyer fell flat. NINE lawfirms have now all refused to take her case deeming it “too complicated with too little payoff”, all citing Texas’ draconian 2003 “Tort Reform” law pushed through by Governor Rick Perry, the GOP, and their overlords from the insurance industry.

A brief recap of what happened to Mom: Last April, my nearly 76 year old mother was told that she needed full-body chemo to treat a lump in her cheek. I told her doctor, “No! Absolutely not!”, but the doctor convinced my health-obsessed mother that if she didn’t have the chemo she’d die. As expected, the chemo made her seriously ill after developing a chest cold, and rather than stop the chemo, her Oncologist simply prescribed antibiotics and pressed on. Mom ended up in the hospital where additional mistakes resulted in a collapsed lung. A week later when she told her nurse she was constipated and hadn’t had a bowel movement in five days (how do the nurses not know?), they got her out of bed for only the third time in two weeks to use a commode-chair despite a collapsed lung and chest tubes hanging out her side. She immediately went into respiratory distress & cardiac arrest that resulted in severe brain damage, leaving her in her in a vegetative state. The doctors then attempted to cover up their mistake by repeatedly lying to us about how she was revived in “under two minutes” and couldn’t account for her condition. We later learned from reviewing her medical records that she actually flatlined for nearly twenty minutes before she was revived.

So that happened.

My mother is now in serious need of diagnostic tests and intensive therapy if she is to ever regain even a modicum of recovery. With every passing day, we see the light flicker out of Mom’s eyes. Once slightly responsive, looking at faces with her eyes and turning her head slowly with interest, those actions are becoming more & more rare after only four months. Time is definitely not on our side. But tests and therapy are expensive and my mother is on Medicare and Social Security (without which, she would be destitute). I’ve contacted NINE Medical Malpractice attorneys here in Texas (including a few ambulance chasers that advertise on TV), but no one will take her case, ALL citing our ridiculous “Tort Reform” law here in Texas.

In 2002, Governor Rick Perry (America only had to endure President Bush for eight years, but in Texas, we had Bush and his Lt. Gov Perry going back to 1996 followed by “Governor Oops” taking over in 2000 where he has remained, long past Bush leaving office, until he retires at the end of next year… 18 years total) pushed for “Medical Malpractice Tort Reform” that he (with the aid of massive funding from the Insurance lobby) claimed would “control soaring health care costs”. It didn’t. All it did do was limit judgements to a mere $250,000… including lawyer-fees… to cover a lifetime of care (whether the victim be 1 or 100.) Unless your case is incredibly simple or you can join in a class-action lawsuit, there’s just too little payoff for a lawfirm to pursue a complex case like my mother’s. Translation: The bastards that ruined my mother’s life will never be held accountable, and are still out there treating unwitting patients.

I’ve contacted one local TV station (I may try others now) and several national TV shows seeking help. None have responded to my emails. Over the weekend, I contacted my local Democratic State Senator and Democratic US Representative (everyone else is a Republican and a likely waste of time, but I’m probably going to try contacting them as well now), but I don’t know what any of them can do short of reversing a ten year old state law in a matter of weeks.

I know some people turn to Facebook, starting Action pages seeking help on an individual level. But I just don’t see something like that going viral based on my one lonely voice. So I come to you dear reader, looking for advice/support/assistance on how to get out the word on how The System has failed my mother and is desperate for your help. This wasn’t a ”crack” that Mom slipped through, this is a gaping chasm crowbarred open beneath her feet by Rick Perry, The GOP, and clueless voters that voted this nonsense into law without considering the consequences, all on the false-promise of saving a few bucks on their insurance.

(Please share this story on your Facebook page or Tweet it to your friends. The more people that hear about her story, the better the chances are of finding help. Thanks. – Mugsy)
 



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Filed in Crime, General, Healthcare, Money, Politics, Rants, Right-Wing Insanity October 28th, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • 8 comments | Add/View

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Republicans Sabotaged Obamacare Rollout, then point to problems as proof the ACA is a failure.

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, October 21, 2013

Everywhere I turned yesterday on the Sunday talk shows, some Right Winger was pointing to the botched rollout of the Federal “Health Care Exchange” website as evidence “Obamacare” was a failure. As both a former website developer AND small-business owner, I take great umbrage to the idea that if the website is a ”failure” that the company is also a failure (unless the company in questions builds websites.) Let’s get one thing perfectly clear: A WEBSITE IS NOT “OBAMACARE”. Just because the signup website buckled under the strain of immense interest, does not mean “The Affordable Care Act” isn’t working. And the Federal Exchange website wouldn’t have been so wildly overloaded had it not been for 26 states with either Republican governors or Republican controlled legislatures refusing to create a state Exchange, thus forcing half the country to use the Federal website. That’s like shooting a guy in the foot and then ridiculing his inability to dance. In states like Virginia (correction) Kentucky and California where they created a state Exchange like they were supposed to, the system worked perfectly, signing up literally thousands of applicants. You can’t sabotage the Exchange and then call it a failure when it fails.

As I said, I’m a computer guy. I got my first computer long before IBM ever dreamed up the PC and Microsoft was selling software for the Apple ][ in ziplock bags via magazine ads. So you might say I know a thing or two about computers.

We’ve all heard about “computer attacks” from “hackers” shutting down entire computer systems (the most recent and well known is a group called “Anonymous”). One of the “easiest” ways to shutdown a website is via a “Denial of Service” attack. This is achieved by accessing a particular website hundreds (even thousands) of times per second until the host computer crashes, unable to handle so many hits at once. Have you ever poured water down a funnel too fast only to have it overflow and make a mess? That’s what happened to the Exchange website last week.

Now, let it be known that the Federal Exchange was NOT the victim of a DoS attack (that is easy to figure out just by checking the logs), but the identical thing happened legitimately when millions of people all hit the Federal site in the span of just a few days. And why were so many people all trying to access the website at once? Because of all those red states that left its residents with nowhere else to go.

It is incredibly stupid to say, “I hate Obamacare so much I’m going to give up any power I have to control how it is implemented in my state!” And you have to extra dumb… I mean Tea Party dumb… to tell the government that you’re turning down free money from the government both to create a state Exchange at no cost to the state, AND turn down millions in Federal Medicaid funding, all because you stubbornly oppose something you clearly don’t even understand.

After the rollout debacle, I spent about a week debating Right-Wingers on Facebook actually advising people to “not sign up for Obamacare and it’ll collapse under its own weight.” I pointed out 1) ”Obamacare” is not “an insurance program” that you sign up for, and 2) I question the logic of telling people that having “NO” insurance is better than even (what they believe to be) “overpriced” insurance. And naturally, after much debate, it was clear NONE of these critics had actually gone on the Exchange to compare prices and find cheaper insurance (of course, the bungled rollout made that impossible… but the fact remains, they hadn’t even tried and therefore had no proof that insurance purchased via the Exchange would be more expensive.) And after several days of correcting nonsense, my sparring partners were STILL talking about “Obamacare” as if it were an “insurance program” that they were going to be forced “by law” to sign up for. Another was telling me how she got better deals by negotiating with her doctor to pay “over time in cash”. Try doing that when your hospital stays runs into the hundreds of thousands. And of course, the old Romney chestnut that “no one in this country lacks health care as long as we have ER’s” (the most costly care there is, which drives up everyone’s rates covering the uninsured, while providing no “maintenance” care like “chemo”, “check-ups” or “dialysis”.) It was as futile as sweeping back the rolling tide. Conservatism is a bottomless pit of stupid from which wisdom neither enters nor escapes.

And yes, sites like “Facebook” and “YouTube” handle “millions of visitors per day. But they didn’t on DAY ONE. They started out small and added capacity as their popularity grew over months and years. Opening “Healthcare.gov” was like launching “Facebook” or “YouTube” at their current level of popularity without knowing you were doing so. And as someone who has built large websites, arguments that “they should have known what to expect” make me very uncomfortable. It doesn’t matter how prepared you think you are, you never are once those hits start rolling in.

I was one of the Beta testers for “Windows 7″ before it was released. We tested it for nearly a year through four or five rewrites seeking out bugs before it was finally declared “bug-free”. And yet Microsoft still had to release a ”Service Pack” to patch numerous security holes less than a year after its launch. Trust me, it doesn’t matter how prepared you think you are, after millions of people get their hands on your work, someone’s going to break it. There’s an old saying in the computer biz:

It doesn’t matter how foolproof you make something, someone always comes along and builds a better fool.”

So in the coming weeks (not months), the government contractors that were wildly overpaid to build Healthcare.gov will be fixing their own work. I don’t know if the Canadian company that built the site will be paid even more to fix it, but one thing is for sure, it wouldn’t have needed fixing if we had 50 state Exchanges instead of just 24.
 

(Postscript: I predicted three weeks ago that the true goal of the Republican Shutdown was to set up President Obama for impeachment, and Gohmert’s like Rep. Louie Gohmert seemed to confirm what I had been saying all along, but in the end, there were just enough sane Moderate Republicans left to side with a united Democratic caucus to avoid default for another 90 days. But keep in mind that on the very last day, 144 Republicans voted against raising the Debt Ceiling and allowing the nation to default, which would have sparked world-wide economic disaster, thwarting what I believe were the Teanut’s intentions all along… impeaching Obama in an election year the way they did Clinton in ’98. But it’s not over yet. There’s still February.)

UPDATE: New Jersey Congressman Frank Pallone (D) blasted the Republicans chairing a hearing on problems with the website rollout, accusing them of fear-mongering by suggesting the site was collecting sensitive medical history information from applicants:
 

 



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Filed in Economy, fake scandals, General, Healthcare, myth busting, Partisanship, Politics, Right-Wing Insanity October 21st, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • 5 comments | Add/View

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Time to Liberate the Debt Ceiling Hostage

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, October 14, 2013

Why do we even HAVE a “debt ceiling”? Plenty of people have asked this question in the past and no one seems to have a good answer. It doesn’t limit spending. Spending is decided in The House, and clearly Congress doesn’t keep the Debt Ceiling in mind when passing a Budget or appropriations. It’s a self-imposed limitation passed in 1917 during the First World War as a way to streamline the government by allowing it to spend money whenever it felt it necessary without putting every expenditure to a vote. Senator Coburn (R-OK) blithely stated last week that “We don’t [actually] have a Debt Ceiling” [because we just keep raising it anyway]. That’s not the point. ALL spending originates in the House, and this House is controlled by Republicans. And how many times have I pointed out that Republicans apparently lack the gene that allows them to foresee the consequences of their actions [see: Iraq]? So they pass spending bills and tax cuts without any consideration for how they’ll pay for them (Iraq was to be paid for with “Iraqi oil revenues” and “tax cuts pay for themselves”.) Then when we run out of money, they simply raise the Debt Ceiling. That’s what they did eighteen times under Reagan and six times under GWBush (three under Clinton and now Obama). If the ceiling exists only “in concept” (according to Coburn), then why would the GOP go apoplectic if President Obama were to bypass Congress and simply raise it on his own to avoid certain economic catastrophe inflicted by a select few Teabaggers with a third-grade understanding of economics telling them that sucking a half Trillion dollars out of the economy won’t hurt us? Because then you take away their hostage.

Two weeks ago, I predicted that the Tea Party extremists that think nothing bad will happen if we fail to raise the Debt Ceiling have a secret goal in mind: forcing President Obama to invoke the 14th Amendment to circumvent Congress and avoid default, and therefore provide them with an excuse to begin impeachment hearings in the House against the president in an election year. It’s a win/win for Teanuts with NO incentive to give-in and raise the Debt Ceiling before the deadline. If the deadline passes and the ceiling is not raised, they do irreparable harm to the government and they win. If President Obama invokes the 14th, the House begins impeachment hearings and they win again. The Teanuts have NO incentive to compromise as long as they stay insane. However, it appears the “Tea Party” is about as popular with the public right now as a pimple on a first date, and Moderate Republicans are starting to have second thoughts about being seen as aligned with them. If a clean vote to raise the Debt Ceiling comes to the floor before the ceiling expires, there’s probably not enough Teanuts to prevent the bill from passing and their grand scheme falls apart.

IF however they convince enough Republicans that saying “No” is a “win/win”, they might very well take us to the brink.

Consider for a moment though that if the Debt Ceiling is raised at the last minute once again, it’s future value as a threat drops to nil, and the GOP knows it. Because the next time they do it, the rest of the world will just yawn, knowing it’s just the GOP playing games again, confident in the knowledge that it will eventually be raised at the last second. So we might as well just abolish it. Take it away from Congress so the full faith & credit of the United States can’t be held for ransom once again. (Knowing it’s future value as a hostage drops precipitously after this, only increases the odds there will be no deal by the end of the week. “Impeachment” may be the only thing of value they can extract from this final losing battle.)

If the Debt Ceiling is not raised, we’ll have to raise interest rates to entice other countries into loaning money to a nation that might not pay them back. Every 1-point increase in interest rates would costs us an additional $120-Billion dollars a year. So much for claims of “fiscal responsibility” to justify this charade.

President Obama, screw the GOP. Invoke the 14th Amendment and deny the GOP this hostage now & forever. If you give a child a gun and that child threatens you with it till you exchange it for a cookie, you don’t then turn around and give the gun back. “ObamaCare” passed Congress and it became law on the condition that it not take effect until AFTER the 2012 election (believing the public will so hate it, they’ll elect a Republican to overturn it.) It survived a Constitutional challenge in the Supreme Court AND the 2012 Election, yet less than half of one-half of one-third of the U.S. government (the Teanut minority in the House) is now holding the Debt Ceiling hostage in order to extort everything they lost in the 2012 election out of the other 5/6ths.

It’s time to stop handing this hostage back over to the kidnappers and set it free.
 

Reagan on Raising the Debt Ceiling: 1983/85/87 (1:45)

 



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Filed in Economy, Money, Partisanship, Politics, Predictions, Right-Wing Insanity, Unconstitutional October 14th, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • 1 comment | Add/View

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The Shutdown Gets Personal: Getting Mom to a Doctor

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, October 7, 2013

I‘ve spoken to you several times recently regarding my mother’s sudden & ongoing medical crisis following a string of medical mistakes (and incompetence) that turned my otherwise healthy mother into a (for lack of a better word) “vegetable” last June. I blame her HMO for creating this mess, and we had to fight them just to get her into a rehabilitation hospital, then fight them again when they threatened to cut her off if we didn’t bury their mistake by putting Mom in a nursing home. I’ve been wanting for months to take her to a specialist, but the HMO refused to cover any doctor that did not work for them. When I finally found a specialist willing to see her, I had to fight again to get her out of that #@!*% HMO and back onto good old-fashioned Medicare (which just about EVERY doctor accepts.) I’m pleased to report that as of October 1st, Mom is back on Medicare and scheduled to see a specialist Wednesday… just as the Teanuts have Shutdown the government and are now threatening to Default on the Debt Ceiling. Which means the Social Security checks paying for Mom’s rehab could stop, and Medicare won’t have the money to pay her doctor. Suddenly, this artificial Tea Party invented “crisis” has become very personal.

Conservative icon “George Will” finally faced up to the fact he wasn’t fooling anyone pretending to be a “Moderate” Republican over there on ABC for the past 20 years, and joined the cast of The Biggest Loser, er, Fox “news”, expressing opinions that put him squarely to the Right of Ted Cruz. On Fox “news” Sunday yesterday, when asked about the possibility of Default on the Federal Budget, Will declared “there will be no default” by pointing out the meaningless fact that, “We collect 10 times as much in tax revenue as is needed to service the Debt” (ergo, we have enough money to avoid Default.) This is classic George Will bull$hit (and an opinion held only by the most FAR right Tea Baggers). Yes, that’s absolutely true that we “collect 10 times as much in tax revenue than we pay in interest on the Debt”… which wouldn’t be a problem if didn’t have all these other expenses like… oh… like PAYING THE MILITARY or for the War in Afghanistan (which, as Bill Maher rightly pointed out Friday, if we ended now, would save us nearly $100 Billion dollars.), or paying outrageous prescription drug prices as a part of the “Medicare Part-D” program THEY created under GW Bush where they themselves made it illegal for the Federal Government to negotiate lower drug prices. We just saw massive forest fires in the West… the result of historic drought due to their denial of Climate Change… and massive flooding in the East as all the moisture sucked dry from the West was dumped in the East for the same reason (disasters which create OTHER disasters in their wake.) These states have already declared themselves “Disaster Areas” entitled to Disaster Relief funding. Where do they get the money for that?

Republicans… consisting of an awful lot of “Cafeteria Christians”… want a “Cafeteria Budget” where they can pick & choose what government functions they fund on a case-by-case basis upon discovering there are a lot of things people actually need government to do. That’s no way to run a $3-Trillion dollar government. The National Institute of Health is shutdown, then when someone points out that there are sick children that won’t be receiving their cancer treatments, suddenly they’re asking for a special exemption for those poor kids they clearly were never even aware of before they took us on this joy-ride (how many times have I written about the fact Republicans NEVER think about the consequences before they act? [see: Iraq]). They shutdown the National Parks and then attack a furloughed park ranger for telling a busload of World War II veterans that the park is closed. The Shutdown lays off nearly 15,000 FEMA employees, but when a Tropical Storm develops off the waters of a half dozen red states, suddenly FEMA is allowed to call over 11,000 of them (nearly 80 percent) back to work… as they suddenly realize, “Hey! The Federal Government really is necessary!”

Of course, if the anarchists in the GOP get their way, they won’t allow an increase in the Debt Ceiling, meaning we won’t have the money to carve out any of these special exemptions. No cancer treatments for sick children, no bringing back FEMA employees in an emergency, Mom doesn’t get her Social Security check, and Medicare lacks the funds to pay for her doctor’s appointment. Seal Team 6, which just pulled off another spectacular capture of an alQaeda terrorist guilty of killing Americans back in the 90′s, who eluded a Bush Administration distracted by their obsession with Iraq, but found and killed by the Obama Administration 15 years after committing his crimes. Do we carve out a special exemption for them too? Where are they going to get the money to pay for all these exemptions? They’ll NEVER raise taxes. That just leaves “cuts”.

As Treasury Secretary Jack Lew reminded everyone on “Meet the Press” yesterday, we are STILL operating under “The Sequester” from earlier this year, deep across-the-board indiscriminate budget cuts. We have been financing the government using “budget tricks” up to now, but as of October 17th, those “tricks” will have been exhausted. No more rabbits left to pull out of anyone’s hat. Yet these haters of all things government” keep finding programs they want keep while the only thing they can think of to cut is the one thing the CBO says will actually SAVE us Billions each year. (“ObamaCare” if you haven’t figured it out.)

Prior to the Shutdown, the GOP was heavily hyping a CBO report (pdf) on a Republican House Bill (H.R. 2668) that found that “delaying the implementation of The Affordable Care Act by one year” would “save us $35 Billion dollars.” Google “CBO ObamaCare saves billions”, and the first two pages are nothing but Right Wing links to the same report. So I checked out the report myself. It concluded a ”savings” of “$35 Billion OVER TEN YEARS” simply by delaying those start-up costs (and reductions in funding to programs like CHIP… the Children’s Health Insurance Program). I don’t know about you, but I don’t think a savings of $3.5 Billion a year0.3% of the Federal Budget… on the backs of sick children is going to be enough to offset our expenses if they fail to raise the Debt Ceiling 10 days from now. (A brief scan of the CBO report appears to not take into consideration any SAVINGS resulting from the new health care law over those 10 years. Only the expenses incurred in the first year of roll out.)

So, what do you cut to come up with the money for all those government services you suddenly feel aren’t so bad? Remember, George Will already pointed out that 1/10th of the Federal Budget is spoken for (servicing our debt.) Republicans are GREAT at complaining about “wasteful spending”, but when it comes to actually naming those “wasteful” programs…

In the infamous words of Gov. Rick Perry, it’s “Energy, Commerce, and… er, uh, I forget. Oops.”
 



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Filed in Economy, Healthcare, Partisanship, Right-Wing Insanity October 7th, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • 2 comments | Add/View

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What the Debt Ceiling Fight is REALLY About: Impeachment

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Tuesday, October 1, 2013

By the time you read this, you’ll already know whether or not the GOP has once again Shutdown the Federal Government for the first time since they last did it 17 years ago. But let me make a last minute prediction that in the wee hours of the morning, both sides will agree to a one-month extension, at which point we’ll be right back here to start all over again. But first, a refresher: Almost from the moment Bill Clinton was sworn in as the 42nd President of the United States in 1993, the Republican Party was already hell-bent on destroying him. And the reason for their endless “Scandal-du-Jour” hysteria couldn’t have been more clear: they were plotting his defeat in 1996. But their plan backfired following, not one but TWO incredibly unpopular government shutdowns in 1995 & 1996 that the public clearly knew was purely partisan gamesmanship. They demonized the president for four straight years and STILL he won reelection, meaning they were now “stuck” with him for another four years. Any of this sounding familiar? Once again, extreme partisans within the GOP are threatening… not only the shutdown of the Federal government, but a possible default on the National Debt by refusing to raise the debt ceiling to pay for the things THEY THEMSELVES already agreed to spend money on, the results of which would be catastrophic. So why are they doing it? “Why”, I pondered previously, “would anyone invite CERTAIN economic disaster to prevent something they only speculate would be an economic disaster?” (and as I’ve heard others point out, you would think the GOP would be EAGER to see “ObamaCare” implemented only to crash & burn). No, what they REALLY want is something much more sinister/cynical: they want President Obama to invoke the “14th Amendment” to unilaterally raise the Debt Ceiling on his own so they may use it as grounds for impeachment.

Why? Because that’s what Republicans apparently do now when a Democrat is in charge. They are childish sore losers that can’t bear the idea of a Democratic president advancing Democratic solutions only to see them succeed and last another 80 years the way Social Security has (It’s a damn shame they didn’t call it “FDR-Care” only to hear Republicans defend it today.)

The relevant portion of the “14th Amendment” regarding the Debt reads as follows:

Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

But the infamous “14th Amendment”, passed in 1868, isn’t just “Section 4″. No, Republicans want to make The 14th a 2014 campaign issue because it’s just chock full of headaches for the GOP:

Section 1 is where anyone born “in the United States” is automatically a citizen regardless of the parents’ citizenship… a clause that is the source of unlimited pain for the Nationalists in the GOP, which I’m certain they’d love to see stricken. Unfortunately, the next line of that SAME clause mentions not “depriving life” of any “person without first receiving due process”… a clause commonly used by the Pro-Birth Life crowd to argue the unconstitutionality of Abortion.

Section 2 is regarding the appointment of Representatives based on the number of adult males in each state. Irrelevant here.

Section 3 is regarding “insurrection” in support of the Confederacy. Also irrelevant.

Section 4 noted above is regarding ensuring that the Federal Government will always pay its debts (translation: the repatriated South can’t stop the Government from repaying debts incurred by the North during the war, and by that same token, the Federal Government is not obligated to repay debts incurred by the Confederacy because they weren’t part of the U.S..)

Section 5 gives Congress the power to enforce the prior four Articles.

Clearly #5 is the stickler. Since this is a Constitutional Amendment, it’s not a “law” and therefore can not be ignored nor repealed. But it also doesn’t give the power of “enforcement” to the president. So what happens if Congress fails to comply with the “Enforcement Clause”? That’s one for the courts… The Supreme Court to be exact. And with a 5/4 Conservative advantage, I’d be willing to bet that young “Tea Party” Conservatives full of piss & vinegar like Ted Cruz are more than happy to push this to the Supreme Court…

…for “what” exactly, who knows? It certainly wouldn’t get past a Democratically controlled Senate to remove President Obama from office. No, for that, they need to retake the Senate as well. And, gee, let me think… What mid-term election issue can we think of that would attract Conservative morons to the polls in 2014? Maybe if we delayed the implementation of “ObamaCare” for one year? And it’ll be a lot easier to clinch that vote if they institute a bunch of voter ID laws and reduced voting hours to keep a whole bunch of the “wrong” people from voting… say the poor and minorities… the very people who would benefit the most from “ObamaCare”?

Are you starting to see how this all fits together?

My prediction? If I’m right, the GOP will have agreed to a one-month extension of the Budget just to move the “Shutdown” vote until AFTER the Debt Ceiling vote, which they will then refuse to pass come mid-October when the Federal Government runs out of money. Then at the stroke of midnight on that day in mid-October when the government runs out of money, President Obama will invoke the 14th Amendment and extend the Debt Ceiling on his own, prompting a feux “Constitutional Crisis” set up by “outraged” Republicans. Impeachment proceedings will begin in the GOP-controlled House in early 2014 and extend thru the year till Election Day. Efforts to disenfranchise typically Democratic voters will go into over-drive in “Red” states next year as efforts to recapture the Senate become the GOP’s top priority.

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Filed in Economy, fake scandals, General, Healthcare, Money, Partisanship, Politics, Predictions, rewriting history, Right-Wing Insanity, Unconstitutional October 1st, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • 1 comment | Add/View

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Ted Cruz, The Debt Ceiling, Guns and Mental Health

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

(Note: Theme has been changed temporarily upon finding a bug in the theme we normally use. My apologies for any inconvenience. – Mugsy)
 

“There’s something WRONG with these people.” I’ve said it. I know YOU’VE said it. Our country is being held hostage by people with a tenuous grip on reality. Paranoid delusionals that believe government conspiracies are real. They get their “news” from Conspiracy Nuts like “Glenn Beck”, “Infowars” and “World Nut News Daily”. They believe everything Fox “news” tells them without question because it simply reaffirms what they already know in their heart-of-hearts to be true, and with that “confirmation”, they reject all other evidence to the contrary. It’s a world where… when a ruthless Middle-Eastern dictator gasses hundreds of his own citizens… they see an Obama-orchestrated conspiracy designed to distract Congress from investigating “Benghazi”. It’s a world in which… when Tea Party darling and “Joe McCarthy-wannabee” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is publicly ridiculed for repeating his insane beliefs in public… they decide he MUST be a secret Liberal infiltrator out to discredit the movement from within (despite the fact that what he says is EXACTLY what they too believe… never making the connection that that means the public has declared their own views to be “nuts”.) You know, because that’s what evil Liberals do: they run as Republicans (and win because Republicans are apparently incredibly easy to fool), vote with Republicans on every issue, and then go out and push for something The Tea Party WANTS, knowing it will draw ridicule, discrediting the movement. This is not the thinking of a sane group of people.

The Federal Government runs out of money one week from today on September 30th. If Congress does not agree to raise the Debt ceiling… something they did FIVE TIMES under President Bush (four of them under GOP control of BOTH houses of Congress)… and shuts down the U.S. government, it will do something it has NEVER done in its 237 year history: default on its debts… the result of which would be catastrophic for the U.S. economy.

Sen. Cruz is leading the charge in the threat to shutdown the government if “ObamaCare” is not repealed on the grounds that “ObamaCare will be devastating to American businesses… unlike defaulting on our National Debt. Shorter Ted Cruz: “I’ll destroy the economy if we don’t stop ObamaCare from destroying the economy!” Makes perfect sense (in Wingnutistan.)

Sorry to tell you folks, but Cruz isn’t pretending. The Tea Party really is that nuts. Check the Comments beneath any news story of Cruz’s latest insane remark (from claiming there were more declared Communists in Harvard Law School than Republicans, his recent praise for the late racist Senator Jessie Helms… who incidentally would have been no friend to a guy named “Cruz”… or his latest promise to hold the Debt Ceiling hostage if we don’t defund “ObamaCare”) and you’ll find no shortage of Wingnuts supporting him.

So, how do you run a Federal Government when 1/4 of Congress is certifiably insane? I’ve written about “Right-Wing Insanity” so often I had to give it its own Tag. In 2011… the last time we had this fight… Republicans were threatening to default on The Debt if we didn’t cut the Deficit, complaining that the government “spends too much” (the deficit will have been cut in half by the end of this year under Obama). Had we of defaulted on our debt FOR EVEN ONE DAY, we would of had to raise interest rates to convince people to lend us money knowing they might not get paid back. Do you (read: “they”) have any idea what “raising interest rates” would have done to our Debt and our economy? Just the dance up to the precipice prompted the Standard & Poors credit rating agency to downgrade our nations credit rating from “AAA” to “AA+”. And just how much money does stopping the paychecks of nearly 2 million Federal employees suck out of the economy?

And here we are again, with a whole new crop of Tea Bagger Republicans that weren’t in Congress the last time the Teanuts tried this two years ago. If it were just “the full faith & credit of the United States” that these ideologues were endangering, that would be bad enough. But it’s not:

Liberal Democrats see a guy walk into a schoolhouse and murder 20 First Graders and 6 teachers with a semi-automatic assault rifle, and feel the need to pass laws to prevent it from ever happening again.

Tea Party Republicans see a guy walk into a schoolhouse and murder 20 First Graders and 6 teachers with a semi-automatic assault rifle, and see a (“false flag”) government conspiracy orchestrated by President Obama to give him an excuse to confiscate their guns, and once disarmed, round them up and put them in Concentration Camps run by FEMA.

This is not the thinking of sane people. This is the thinking of paranoid delusionals.

On occasion, I’ve also mentioned the insane rantings of Right Wing nuts commenting on my YouTube video archive. This past week, one gadfly, an oldie but a goodie I’ve affectionately dubbed “Gasbag”… a corruption of his username… made a surprise reappearance and started ranting about “Socialized Medicine” following a report by a retired British doctor that once ran the NHS (the UK hospital system) reporting a 45% higher mortality rate among British NHS patients than in US hospitals as proof positive that the American System is superior to “Socialized Medicine”. When I started pointing out serious flaws in the report (like the fact that the NHS treats EVERYONE including the Poor, drug users, etc, where our poor may never go to the hospital due to their inability to pay, or end up in the ER to receive beyond-ordinary care), naturally he became outraged that I couldn’t see what was patently obvious to him, cursing, changing what I actually said (never could understand people who claim that you said something other than what’s clearly typed just a few paragraphs above) and attacking me for refusing to “accept facts”. Naturally, his comments quickly drifted off into rants about “lazy people on Welfare” and this absurd claim from (where else?) Fox “news” that a whopping EIGHTY PERCENT of our Federal Budget is spent on Welfare (for the record, it’s actually about 10%)… which would be 50% more than the annual cost of the Iraq War. Pointing our just how ridiculous a figure that number was, was pointless. Fox said it, and “the numbers come from the GAO”, ergo it’s indisputably true. Well, no. In fact (not surprisingly), Fox included “Entitlements” like “Social Security”, “Medicare” and “Unemployment Benefits” as “Welfare”.

I eventually received the inevitable post ending with a dismissive “Goodbye!”… which as you may have guessed… wasn’t actually his last post. He’s still at it, now desperate to convince me that “Social Security” is Welfare because some people draw out more than they put in (demonstrating not only that he doesn’t understand how Social Security funding works, but by that standard, ALL insurance programs could be labeled “welfare”.)

This is not the thinking of sane people.

For some inexplicable reason, another mental deficient, a white supremacist with delusions of grandeur (supposedly running for state office in Louisiana) seized upon a recent post of mine as the appropriate place to start ranting about “gun violence among ‘coons’ in Chicago.” I have no doubt he believes his eventual electoral victory is certain.

This is not the thinking of sane people.

We saw yet another mass shooting last week in which a man with a documented history of mental illness was able to purchase a shotgun the week before and murder 12 people in the museum-section of the U.S. Navy Yard in Washington DC. And just as they did following the Sandy Hook massacre of 20 school children, NBC’s “Meet the Press” invited NRA president Wayne LaPierre to advocate for MORE guns. When it was pointed out to him that two “good guys with guns”… the station guards… were “gunned down and killed” by the armed intruder, LaPierre defended his claim by pointing out that it was “good guys with guns” that (30 minutes later) took down the insane gunman (AFTER he had murdered 12 people in cold blood.) He argued that stricter gun laws preventing those who have been ADJUDICATED mentally-ill from obtaining firearms are necessary (yet would not have prevented this particular mass-murder… nor the Aurora or Sandy Hook mass murders). Problem is, the gun-nuts I’ve spoken to actually believe that perfectly sane people might be labeled “insane” by a government appointed psychiatrist or activist judge for no more reason than the fact they love guns… all as part of a secret plot to disarm them, and would therefore never support a law such as the one LaPierre just proposed.

This is not the thinking of sane people.

Fortunately for us, the recent rash of mass shootings by mentally ill gunmen is likely to prompt new gun laws targeting the mentally ill.

The GOP has been trying desperately for years to kill “ObamaCare”… which includes provisions for Mental Health Care. Coincidence? Crazy people don’t want Mental Health Care any more than bacteria want antibiotics (sorry, I wracked my brain for a better metaphor to no avail. I am not calling Republicans “bacteria”.) Almost as if to make the point crystal-clear, the arguments against “ObamaCare” read like a crazy-ass hit parade: paranoia over “Death Panels” where “government bureaucrats make health care decisions” instead of your insurance agent doctor, and transforming our multi-trillion dollar private health care industry into evil “socialized medicine” overnight, with “long lines” similar to “the post office” or “The DMV” as you wait for hours to see a ”civil servant” doctor.

This is not the thinking of sane people.

- Mugsy
 


Postscript: According to the National Weather Service, Tropical Storm Humberto reached hurricane status on September 10th, just shy of setting the record for the longest it has ever taken to reach the first full-fledged hurricane of the season. I bring this up because FOUR YEARS AGO I told you that Global Warming would mean FEWER hurricanes, not “more”. It’s worth re-reading.

Note: If you haven’t already, be sure to join our Facebook & Twitter feeds for the latest commentary on current events.

 



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Filed in Crime, Economy, Guns & Violence, Partisanship, Politics, Right-Wing Insanity September 23rd, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • 8 comments | Add/View

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The Syria Compromise Was No Accident

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, September 16, 2013

Last week, Secretary Kerry was asked by a London reporter if there was anything Assad’s government could do to avoid a military strike, he nonchalantly replied, “Sure, he could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week.” And while the response was perceived by most as a passing off-the-cuff remark, Russia seized on Kerry’s words, desperate to avoid having their ally drag them into a war, and told Assad to take Kerry up on his generous offer. But if you think that Kerry’s comment was just an innocent “slip of the tongue”, you don’t know how Washington works.

Last August, both President Obama and his Secretary of State… two men known for their staunch criticism of the Bush Administration and the Iraq War… started using the EXACT SAME cowboy language as former President Bush on the need to “disarm a dictator” with “Weapons of Mass Destruction” through the use of “military force“. They even started courting former Bush Administration officials to make the case for invading Syria, and quoting those who agreed with them. The goal was obvious: to convince Syria & Russia that President Obama was serious (and he was) about using military action to disarm Assad. Russia & Syria NEVER would have moved on this issue had President Obama not threatened the use of force. Congress gave President Bush the “authorization to use force” against Saddam Hussein in 2002, hoping that simply giving the president the “power” to declare war on his own would be enough to scare Saddam into complying with inspectors in order to avoid war. AND IT WORKED. Congress just never expected that President Bush would then go ahead and take the country to war anyway. President Obama is simply using that power the way in which it was originally intended: Let the enemy know you are Ready, Willing & Able to use force so they’ll do anything to avoid it. But that power was worthless if Obama didn’t sound like another reckless cowboy-President that readily used that power before. So he took to the airwaves sounding very much like President Bush, upping the anti by having Secretary Kerry echo the same language, talking about “disarming a tyrant” with “weapons of mass destruction”.

About two weeks later, President Obama let it be known that he had canceled a scheduled meeting with Vladimir Putin while attending the “G20″ Summit in Russia because of Putin’s decision to give American “whistleblower” Edward Snowden asylum. While at the G20, the two leaders were kept at a distance from one another and shared little more than a handshake when Obama first arrived. While there, President Obama reminds reporters that he was elected “to end wars, not start them.”

Then suddenly, on his final full work day of the trip, the Press revealed that President Obama had secretly met with President Putin. The details of the meeting are unknown other than that the two leaders “still disagree on Syria”. I think it’s safe to assume then that they talked about Syria, not Snowden.

The Global Media went into a tizzy. It suddenly looked like war was inevitable. America was going to start yet another war in the Middle East, taken there by a president that was awarded The Nobel Peace Prize almost immediately upon taking office, ended the war in Iraq as promised, has started winding down the war in Afghanistan, and helped unseat Qadaffy without committing a single ground troop. This president, the most unlikely of all presidents, was sounding more like his predecessor than the president we had come to know as a peace-maker.

As public opposition to starting yet another war in the Middle East grew, President Obama found a way to let the pot simmer a little longer by saying he would leave the decision to invade up to Congress, all the while making it known that he didn’t HAVE to go to Congress and that he retained the power to use military force regardless of what Congress decided (translation: Don’t think you’re off the hook if Congress votes “No”, Assad.)

With no breakthrough in sight and Congress looking more & more like they might undermine President Obama any day now, Secretary Kerry conveniently let it slip that there’s still a way for Assad to avoid war, thus throwing Russia & Syria a lifeline just as war with the U.S. was starting to look inevitable.

There’s an old saying in Washington (if you consider the 1970′s “old”), a paraphrase of something FDR said in 1935: “In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens you can bet it was planned that way.” It’s a phrase that Republicans love to cite when trying to miscast Democrats or their bills as having an evil ulterior motive (see: ”ObamaCare”). So it only stands that the same must also be true when things go right, right? Apparently not in Right-Wing World.

Almost from the moment Russian President Putin publicly took Kerry up on his offer, the Media (both Left and Right) started proclaiming that Putin had come to the “rescue” of the “bumbling” Obama Administration to “save-the-day”. Even the great political cartoonist Mark Fiore came up with:
 

Operation Accidental Diplomacy

 
Consider, one thing NOBODY on ANY White House staff EVER does while representing the president is “ad-lib” or express a personal opinion when it comes to U.S. policy without clearing it with the White House first. Try to imagine if White House Press Secretary Jay Carney had suggested Assad could avoid war by baking cookies for the orphans. He’d be out of a job before his words ceased echoing in the room.

GOP pundits are already calling this success-story “a failure” because it does nothing to remove Assad from power, punish Assad for using chemical weapons, or do anything to end the war. Of course not! That’s not our job and none our business. Meanwhile, President Putin gets to “strut around” looking like he saved President Obama’s bacon. The Chickenhawks can’t understand that it’s not our place to overthrow the Syrian government, play “World Policeman”, or meddle in Syria’s Civil War.
 

Fox’s Rodger Ailes Suggested Syria Resolution Strategy a Year Ago
Ailes: “Let Putin have all the credit.”

 
After hearing GOP pundits take to the airwaves to ridicule Obama as needing to be “bailed out by Putin”, I was reminded of a 2004 episode of The West Wing where WH Communications Director Toby Ziegler saw an opportunity to “save Social Security”. But in the end, the only way to get the two sides to come to the table was to forfeit taking any credit for bringing the two sides together (try to imagine President Obama and John Kerry having this conversation before Kerry’s “off-hand remark” to the Press):
 
West Wing (2004): “The only way to do this is to not take credit.”

 
One would think they learned their lesson after Iraq. Snort! Republican Congressman Mike McCaul correctly pointed out yesterday that, “Both sides are not good actors. Assad is a dictator who used chemical weapons. Rebel forces have been infiltrated in large part by alQaeda factions.” The ONLY goal here to rid the world of weapons that might be used against US. That’s the ONLY thing that should concern the United States.

John McCain was on “Meet the Press” yesterday (yes, again) and restated his support for arming the Syrian Rebels. The idea to “arm the rebels”… something John McCain has been begging for almost since the Syrian conflict began in 2011… was a non-starter from the moment it became known some Rebel factions were courting alQaeda to aid them in overthrowing Assad. (Yes, if McCain/Palin had won in ’08, we likely would have been arming alQaeda by 2012.) Ain’t that a comforting thought?

The pundits say that all this stalling is simply giving Assad time to move/hide his weapons. Irrelevant. Any time Assad spends “hiding” his weapons is time he’s spending not USING his weapons. “Hidden” weapons are not at-the-ready to be deployed. And the moment he tries using them, it’s all over. He reveals not only their existence but their location. And once the International Community sees that he’s been lying all along and can’t be trusted, he’s toast. “Hiding weapons” is tantamount to rendering them useless.

Fill-in host John Roberts (the anchor, not the judge) on Fox “news” Sunday yesterday called it “a torturous week for President Obama” as the Media lambasted his handling of the Syrian conflict as “inept”. Really??? “Inept”? A ruthless dictator that denied even HAVING chemical weapons two weeks ago is suddenly considering giving up his chemical weapons stockpiles and allow U.N. Weapons Inspectors in without President Obama firing a single shot… is an example of “ineptitude”? Does anyone (anyone SANE I suppose) REALLY believe this was anything other than an incredibly well-orchestrated success?

If president Obama pulls this off, he deserves a second Nobel Peace Prize.
 



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Filed in fake scandals, Middle East, Partisanship, Politics, Right-Wing Insanity, Seems Obvious to Me, War September 16th, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • 1 comment | Add/View

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Florida Codifies that Your Stalker Can Legally Murder You If Threatened

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, July 15, 2013

Last Saturday night, the Florida jury in the George Zimmerman murder trial declared that if you defend yourself against an armed stalker to the point where your stalker fears bodily injury, he can kill you “in self defense”. It doesn’t even matter if that fear is justified or not. All they have to do is claim they feared for their life, and anything they do after that is justified. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a more asinine ruling in my life. Think about it. If Trayvon Martin had been an attractive white girl that was being followed by a man with a gun, and she took it upon herself to kick his ass, at which point he shoots & kills her in the name of “self defense”, is there any question Zimmerman would be sitting in a concrete room with striped sunlight right about now? What is even more troublesome is that the Florida ruling has just provided criminals with an added incentive to kill their victims to ensure that only one side of the story (theirs) is ever heard. The most mind-boggling thing in all this is just how many people see this completely differently; that Zimmerman’s claim of “self defense” was justified and that he never should of even been arrested in the first place.

Living in a deep read state like Texas, I’ve had my share of encounters with Zimmerman Defenders. One thing I’ve noticed among ALL of them (without exception) is that, to them, the Zimmerman Case has nothing to do with Zimmerman or the crime itself, it’s all about the Second Amendment and their own right to shoot and kill anyone they feel threatened by… which is a dangerous thing when you consider that they’re all paranoid gun-nuts that think blacks, immigrants, alQaeda and Uncle Sam (in no particular order) are all out to get them. It should come as no surprise that the SAME people defending Zimmerman’s right to shoot & kill an unarmed young black kid that he took upon himself to pursue, are the SAME people that believe THEY could of taken out the Colorado movie theater shooter if only THEY had been there with their gun (in a fire fight with a man dressed in full body armor, firing a semi automatic rifle in a darkened theater filled with teargas and people running around fleeing for their lives.) To say these people don’t live in the Reality-Based Community is an understatement.

In order to conclude Zimmerman “did nothing wrong”, you must totally disregard how the two men came in contact with one another in the first place (another shocker from the same people that think the Second Amendment begins with “dot dot dot”). Because if Zimmerman had not been looking out his window that night (or had just stayed home and not taken it upon himself to pursue Martin), Trayvon simply would have walked home uneventfully with his purchases from the convenience store and lived to see another day. Zimmerman put himself “in harms way” by following someone he had profiled as “up to no good”. So concerned was he that the person he was pursuing might be dangerous that he brought along a loaded weapon. Upon confronting Martin, he didn’t identify himself as from “the neighborhood watch”. Likewise, Trayvon was living in that neighborhood, so in fact, Zimmerman’s job was to protect Trayvon. He didn’t ask him, “Where are you going?” or “Let me walk you home so you’ll be safe out here at night”… something I’d betcha $1000 he would have done if Trayvon has been an attractive white girl. No, George only saw a ”suspicious” black male supposedly “looking in windows” (the defense never produced a single witness to substantiate that claim) that he was determined to “detain” until the cops arrived.

“They always get away.”

One of my first thoughts upon learning of the verdict yesterday was the Rodney King Trial and how the assault of King was actually caught ON TAPE and yet the jury STILL acquitted the people that assaulted him. There too, the prosecution played the “dangerous black man” card, suggesting the FIVE armed police officers surrounding King (only four were tried IIRC) were justified in feeling threatened by the severely injured, unarmed black man they had just beaten to a bloody pulp. No one ever claimed King, with a lengthy arrest record, was a choir boy, but there was NO justification for beating the crap out of him rather than simply handcuffing King and throwing him in the back of a squad car.

The Defense’s case looked like it had been ripped from the pages of a “lynching” trial in the 1930′s, showing carefully selected B&W photos of a frightening looking black man to the all female, mostly white, jury, suggesting that the victim was someone white women needed protecting from and the world is now a safer place without Trayvon in it.

I learned yesterday that I hate ABC’s “Dan Abrams”, who was brought on to both “ThisWeek” and the World News Tonight as an “expert”, declaring that “the only thing that mattered was whether or not Zimmerman reasonably feared for his life as the moment he pulled the trigger”. Bullshit. PURSUERS CAN NOT CLAIM SELF DEFENSE. Period. End of story. As I noted two weeks ago, the two men should never have come in contact with one another in the first place. Zimmerman had NO justification for leaving the safety of his home that night to pursue Martin. He’s not a cop and it wasn’t his job to “detain” people he deemed suspicious. Hell, the “neighborhood watch” didn’t even permit watchers to carry firearms. This was a wannabee cop that called 911 so many times (sometimes 2-3 times a night) that he was on a first name basis with the operator (note the number of times Zimmerman called to report a ”suspicious black male”). His job was to report “suspicious” activity to the police and let them handle it, NOT take matters into his own hands and try to detain a suspect at gunpoint.

“They always get away.”

So ANY discussion of what happened after he left the safety of his home is irrelevant. At that point, he had knowingly placed himself (and Trayvon) in harms way.

The act of pursuing makes you the instigator. The Florida verdict sets a very bad precedent. It declares that ANYONE… including Stalkers, Rapists, thugs of any kind… can now pursue someone, and should that person try to defend themselves, their attacker can kill them and claim they “feared for their life”. I nearly said, “as long as they don’t attack first…”, but that doesn’t matter either, because now the Stalker has an incentive to kill their victim to ensure they can’t challenge their side of the story in a court of law. “I didn’t touch her! She just walked up and attacked ME for no reason! And fearing for my life, I shot & killed her. Those cuts & bruises on her are from when SHE attacked ME, not because I attacked her.” Sounds absurd, doesn’t it? Yet that is EXACTLY the defense George Zimmerman used to justify killing Trayvon Martin.

I find it interesting that the all-female six-member jury is in hiding tonight and have refused to speak to the Press. Do you think maybe they’re afraid some nut with a gun might walk up to them in the middle of the night and shoot them? I can’t imagine why.
 



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Filed in Crime, General, Guns & Violence, Racism, Rants, Right-Wing Insanity July 15th, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • 8 comments | Add/View