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Two more cold blooded gun murders, one on live TV, and nothing will change (once again.)

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, August 31, 2015

“Any chance of sane gun-control legislation in this country disappeared the moment we decided the brutal mass murder of 20 innocent school children was acceptable.” An acceptable price to pay to protect the availability of guns. We did that. I wish I could take credit for this quote, but I read it and can’t remember where. It’s not exact so a Google search has proved fruitless. It’s the saddest, most sobering summation of our gun-crazy culture I’ve ever heard. Every time there is a mass murder by some lone nut with a gun, people ask, “Will THIS be the turning point? The one event that finally wakes up the American people and demands their government finally do something about the easy availability of guns?” And time & again the answer is a resounding “No”. Not the mass murder of 20 school children and 6 teachers; not the murder of 12 movie-goers and wounding of 58 others in a theater in Aurora, Colorado; Not the murder of 9 church-goers in Charleston, SC; and now, not the murder of 2 TV reporters live on TV nor the “execution-style” murder of a Houston Sheriff’s Deputy, apparently targeted simply for being a police officer, by a black man allegedly angry over national news reports of police shootings of unarmed blacks (though none recently to explain the sudden burst of rage.) And once again, as sure as I’m sitting here typing this, not a damn thing will change as a result.

The gun-rights lunatics are already arguing that “if only the reporters and interviewee had been armed, this never would have happened.” Because in their fevered imaginations, everyone should be sporting a six-gun on their hips, ready to fire upon an approaching marauder at a moments’ notice… even in the middle of a TV interview.

GOP front-runner “The Donald”, says the murder of two TV journalists live on the air is not evidence of a “gun” problem but one of mental health.”

No, sorry Donald, while you and your followers may choose to blame the shooter’s mental state, the fact is, HE DIDN’T USE HIS CAR to kill those reporters (he could have just as easily have run them over in the parking lot), and he didn’t go after them with a knife, HE CHOSE A GUN. And he was able to get one. There are a LOT of crazy people in this world. We need basic common sense to keep guns out of their hands. And the guns they DO get, need to be less lethal.

Where is it written that an attacker is not stopped unless they are dead? Seriously wounding your attacker isn’t enough? Gun rights advocates like to play up the “crazed killer doped up on crack that keeps coming after you like The Terminator even after firing 12 rounds into them” scenario. How often does that REALLY happen? I mean seriously? We all need to be armed with a semi-automatic assault-rifle loaded with a high-capacity magazine stuffed with armor-piecing rounds “just-in-case” of this insanely rare nightmare scenario?

In their dark world, one in which the Federal Government is planning to attack Texas via underground passages in abandoned Wal*Marts, the answer is “Yes”. And THESE are the people shaping our gun legislation.

I truly believe that many politicians are afraid to anger this insane minority because they have access to lots of guns, go from zero-to-OUTRAGE faster than Daddy’s pickup, and believe The 2nd Amendment was written to give them the right to overthrow the government if they disapprove (it doesn’t.)

I actually heard one pro-gun-rights caller on the radio Friday say that “you can kill a guy with a paperclip.” So, how is it “you can kill a guy with a paperclip” and yet need enough military grade hardware to take down a charging rhino in order to protect your home from burglars?

Even Justice Scalia suggested a year or two ago that he could argue that the 2nd Amendment could apply to ANY handheld weapon (“bear” arms, meaning if you can hold it, you have a right to it), including “Surface-to-Air missiles” and even “a cannon if it were small enough”. (Amazing how far they’ll go to define the word “bear” but not the word “militia”.)

We have a Second Amendment right to bear arms. Fine. But you DON’T have a right to an “uninterrupted supply of armor piercing bullets” via 100-round drum-magazine. There is no Constitutional Amendment against prohibiting the production of anything more than a 38-caliber round. And just where in the Second Amendment does it say you have a right to “fingerprint-proof” gun-grips/rifle-stocks?

The only reason the NRA can’t fight the requirement to have a “gun license” is that pesky “well regulated” line, but if they could do away with it, you know they would in a heartbeat. The NRA has NOTHING to do with “gun-rights” and is all about promoting gun sales for the gun lobby. And nothing promotes sales like selling fear. “The bad guys are going to get you!”, so you buy a gun. But the bad guy is hopped up on drugs, so you need a bigger gun. “The government is coming for your guns”, so you need to buy an arsenal to fight them off. The NRA tipped its hand long ago when they started fighting for the gun rights of former felons, which only serves to heighten peoples fears and thus promote more gun sales.

The NRA’s Wayne LaPierre in 2013:

“I don’t know why the N.R.A. or the Second Amendment and lawful gun owners have to somehow end up in a story every time some crazy person goes off and kills children.”

“Every time”.

“More than once” and likely to happen again. That’s a chilling admission. The fact that even this sick SOB acknowledges that this is a reoccurring problem, says a lot. The fact that we’ve been unwilling to do anything about it says even more. Not the mass shooting of movie-goers in Colorado or Louisiana. Not the cold-blooded murder of a Houston police officer as he pumped gas into his patrol car. Not even the execution of two young journalists on live TV will be enough to pass the majority’s views on gun-control
 

Let's make a deal

 



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Filed in Crime, Guns & Violence, Party of Life, Rants, Right-Wing Insanity August 31st, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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GOP Frontrunners Reveal Their Moronic Dark Agendas for the Country

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, August 17, 2015

The presidential candidates of BOTH parties descended upon the Iowa State Fair this past weekend, but when reporters asked the GOP frontrunners for policy specifics, their horrifying agenda should send shivers down the spine of any sane voter. Donald Trump said the problem of illegal immigration has become SO bad we have “no choice” but to round up & deport… not just all 11 Million undocumented immigrants (at best a logistical nightmare if it were even possible at all, which it isn’t)… but their American-born children as well. That could mean deporting anywhere from 20 to 35 million people. The resources to pull off such a monumental (and COSTLY) task staggers the imagination. The cost/benefit alone is imperceptible. Trump sees this as a bizarre “act of kindness” to avoid “splitting up families” by revoking the Constitutional right of “Birthright Citizenship”. Neurosurgeon-turned-politician Ben Carson… who uses The Bible as his governing guidebook… continued to propose his moronic “10% Flat Tax” (based on 10% tithing). When asked about the morality of raising taxes on millions of poor people while giving a MASSIVE tax cut to millionaires & billionaires (yesterday on Fox “news” Sunday no less), his response was to talk about “fairness”. Taking 10% of the income of a poor person may be the difference between buying food or medicine that week after they’ve paid their rent & utilities on their meager minimum wage salary, but the billionaire who just saw his taxes plunge from 32% to just 10%… I don’t think he’ll be feeling an “equal” share of pain. And speaking of the “minimum wage”, Trump told Chuck Todd that he wants to “keep it right where it is”, because… you know… “American corporations are struggling” (which is what happens when you pay your customers sub-subsistence wages), yet they always seem to find a way to pay their CEO’s obscene milti-million dollar salaries and huge bonues. Rubio thinks Cuba is as dangerous as Iran, Jeb had a really bad day (again), and Governor Huckabee promised “6% economic growth” if elected. To call such a promise “clueless” would be (beyond) kind.

The United States has NEVER even approached a six percent growth rate. Not even close. Under the record-breaking economy of Bill Clinton, we enjoyed 3.8% economic growth. Only Truman, Kennedy and Johnson (all Progressive Democrats BTW) saw higher growth at 4.8%, 5.2% and 5.1% respectively. Wanna know what country DOES see a typical annual growth rate of well over 7%? China, with over 1.2 Billion factory workers paid pennies a day. So unless The Huckster is suggesting Communism as the solution to our “economic woes”, the fact he even thinks “6 percent economic growth” in a nation roughly 1/4 the population of China is feasible should already disqualify him from being put in charge of the largest economy in the world.

Back to Trump’s plan to deport 35 million undocumented immigrants AND their U.S. citizen children, which would come at extraordinary costs. 94% of these undocumented immigrants have committed no crime other than entering the country illegally. They are contributing members of society. ALL of them pay taxes, be it sales tax or in many cases even state & federal income taxes. The hit on food prices as the number of migrant farm workers plummets is also another tangential side-effect of Trump’s delusional goal worth considering. Meanwhile the crime rate among undocumented immigrants is actually LOWER than that of the general population despite what Trump and his devoted followers (ie: fellow bigots) believe. So the cost/benefit just doesn’t pan out… especially for someone who believes the Deficit is still growing (it’s not. It’s now less than half of what Bush handed Obama) and “expected to reach $2.3 Trillion dollars in the coming years”… a total nonsense figure that AFAICT he pulled out of his butt. But, in true-to-Republican form, Republicans NEVER consider the consequences of their actions (see: Iraq). They are creatures of instinct that think nuance is “gay”. Another Trump “solution”: Defeat ISIS by depriving them of “their chief source of revenue” ala “bombing the Iraqi oilfields”. By contrast, they think “sanctions” will stop Iran from building nukes, but the only way to stop ISIS from selling oil is to “BOMB THEM” (shades of George Carlin). Besides the fact I’m sure Iraq would be just thrilled if we started carpet bombing their oilfields, the “unforeseen” consequence would be to create an artificial oil shortage that causes international oil prices to spike. And the last time that happened, gasoline prices surpassed $4/gallon, the cost of production skyrocketed… as did consumer prices… resulting in global economic collapse.

Carson is also too much crazy for just one paragraph. Also interviewed at the Fair by Fox “news” Sunday, when asked about his staunch “no exceptions” position on abortion, Carson argued that in cases of rape or incest, the victim can simply be given “anti-ovulation drugs” to “prevent the egg from becoming fertilized in the first place” so that abortion is not necessary. Yes, maybe… if you administer the drug within hours of being raped. And thanks to the “slut-shaming” culture of our society, not every women is quick to reveal that she has been raped. Victims of violent rape are often too afraid to go to the police right away to promptly report the crime. Children are also slow to reveal when they have been raped. The drugs themselves are also not 100% effective. Did I mention Carson is a doctor? He clearly is a prime example of what happens when you pour a gallon of knowledge into a shotglass of a brain. You’re going to spill some. Clearly, Carson suffered brain-overload becoming a neurosurgeon with no room to learn anything more.

Marco Rubio… the child of Cuban immigrants… thinks improving relations with Cuba is as “dangerous” as our anti-nuclear treaty with Iran. The “threat” Cuba poses to U.S. security I haven’t quite deciphered just yet, and I’m not prepared to drop that much acid just to find out, so it is likely to remain a mystery.

Jeb Bush gave a speech that was as Milquetoast as toast soaking in milk. Looking every bit as uncomfortable and out-of-place as Mitt Romney four years ago did explaining to the same audience that “Corporations are people, my friend”, in the short one-minute clip seen below, Bush is challenged by an audience member when he tried to assert that President Obama “could have left some combat troops in Iraq” in violation of the “Status of Forces Agreement” signed by his own brother. But Bush goes completely off the rails in another question when he inadvertently points out that some of the same people advising President Obama on Iraq also advised his brother and his father, “two Republican administrations” he concedes… then pauses upon realizing he’s making his own case against himself:
 


 

Wow that’s painful to watch. I almost feel sorry for him. Almost.

The Top 4 GOP frontrunners as of just last week have already shifted according to the latest Fox “news” poll. Trump… following an underwhelming debate performance and post “Megyn Kelly dustup”… not only remains in first place but his lead has actually grown by 2 points (as I predicted last week). Cruz & Carson swapped places for 2nd & 3rd (with Carson now in 2nd place, also post-underwhelming debate performance), and Bush returned to the Top Tier (also as predicted months ago). Republican voters apparently started to remember why Fiorina wasn’t on the “Top-10 Debate” stage last week, as she quickly sinks from #4 to #7 in just three days.

During Fox “news” Sunday, George Will… who despises the reality-TV star Trump and thinks he is hurting the GOP, summed it up this way:

“Try to imagine putting nuclear weapons in the hands of Donald Trump.”

Is there a GOP candidate you could substitute for “Trump” in that statement and not be equally terrified?

Donald Trump, a xenophobic, racist, misogynistic homophobe is the GOP frontrunner… not “in spite of” the fact he is all those things, but BECAUSE he is all those things. Trump IS today’s GOP.
 



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Filed in Abortion rights, Economy, Election, Immigration Reform, Jobs, Middle East, Money, Party of Life, Politics, Right-Wing Insanity, Taxes, Unconstitutional August 17th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ditto for murderers.

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

But hey, as Rummy noted:

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

 

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

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

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



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

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Iraqis Showing the Route to Peace/Progress with Massive Infrastructure Project?

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, June 8, 2015

After 12 years of war, Iraq may be showing America and the rest of the world the path to peace: Iraqi’s are building an entire city, Bismayah, just outside Baghdad. The massive infrastructure project has already created hundreds (thousands?) of new construction jobs (and hundreds more tangential jobs, related and non to construction) and once completed will provide 100,000 middle-income homes to over 600,000 Iraqi’s. The plan is to eventually build one million such residences across Iraq as part of a massive Infrastructure & Revitalization project. Running these cities means still more jobs, from grocers to law enforcement. South Korean construction company “Hanwha” won the $8 BILLION DOLLAR bid to build the city (another American opportunity lost) and expects to have the first 7,000 apartments ready by the end of this year (with completion of the city scheduled for 2019). And while ISIS… most of whom are Iraqi’s themselves… is still a threat to workers, they don’t seem to be interested in bombing the newly constructed buildings that are bringing hope to so many Iraqis. The Turkish corporation “Enka Insaat” won an additional $3 Billion dollar contract to build a gas-powered Power Plant for the city, and another South Korean firm, LS Industrial Systems, won an additional $150 Million dollar deal to build the Power Grid to link it all together.
 

Construction of Bismayah (3:24)

 

Author Rita Mae Brown (not Einstein) coined the popular phrase (for AA): “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over & over, and expecting a different result each time.”  And famed 18th Century Irish statesman Edmund Burke warned us: “Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.” And here we are, now in our 15th year in the Middle East, and I don’t hear anyone questioning our strategy of how to end the wars and get us out of there.

Though I was never a fan on Rep. Dennis Kucinich, I have long thought that his idea of appointing a “Secretary of Peace” to find NON-military solutions to end & avoid war would not only make the world a safer place, but save literally HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS that could be put to better use here at home. Last January, I proposed a non-military solution to ending the wars in the Middle-East (specifically, Iraq, Afghanistan and Israel/Palestine): “Infrastructure”. Build schools, roads and hospitals. And if the enemy blows them up, build them again. Locals will get very tired of the anarchists very quick, doing nothing to help, only serving to make their lives miserable, and turn on them quickly (Just how many wanna-be Jihadi’s do you think ISIS will be able to recruit if they are seen as the ones doing nothing positive, serving only to make people’s lives miserable? Reconstruction projects mean jobs that revitalize the community, and Americans will be seen as a people of “hope & peace”, not “misery & war”. The cost of rebuilding infrastructure would be magnitudes cheaper than war, not only in blood & treasure but in greatly reducing the length of time we occupy those countries. And all the money saved could be spent on desperately needed infrastructure projects here at home.

“Tens of thousands of bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. A third of the nation’s highways are in poor or mediocre shape. Massively leaking water and sewage systems are creating health hazards and contaminating rivers and streams. Weakened and under-maintained levees and dams tower over communities and schools. And the power grid is increasingly maxed out, disrupting millions of lives and putting entire cities in the dark.” […] It gets worse. A New York Times report found that “a significant water line bursts on average every two minutes somewhere in the country”—or 720 times daily! – RealTruth Magazine

Throughout the country, many urban roads and highways built decades ago now carry five to 10 times the traffic the original engineers expected and require constant emergency repair — creating horrible traffic jams. Water and gas pipelines laid in the first half of the 20th century are failing, leading to explosions and floods. “Some of this infrastructure is more than 100 years old,” said Rick Grant, owner of a Maryland structural engineering firm, “but it wasn’t designed with more than a 50-year life span in mind.” – The Week, Aug 22, 2014

And as I noted recently: China and Japan are currently competing to build America’s very first bullet train between Los Angeles & San Franciso… a contract estimated to cost around $67 Billion dollars.

Tap the “Military Industrial Complex” to build bridges instead of bombs. Hospitals instead of Command Posts. Roads instead of rockets. You get the picture. I assure you, there is WAY more money to be made building infrastructure around the globe and in all 50 states than there is building bombs to kill a wedding party of two-dozen innocent by-standers.

All eyes will be on Iraq to see whether a job and decent place to live in peace can trump anarchists mad at the world for making their lives miserable and bent on destruction.
 



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Filed in General, Jobs, Middle East, National Security, Right-Wing Insanity, Seems Obvious to Me, War June 8th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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

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

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

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

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

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

And this was during a Republican Administration mind you.

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

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

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

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

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



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

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Birthers Rejoice On News Canadian-born Rafael “Ted” Cruz will Run for President

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, March 23, 2015

Ted Cruz's birth certificate  (real)
Ted Cruz’s official, Canadian birth certificate.

Section 1 of Article Two of the United States Constitution states:

No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

Personally, I don’t really care if someone running for president was actually born a citizen or became one later in life, but then, I never made the citizenship of a presidential candidate an issue. Not even when the candidate was John McCain, who had an eligibility question of his own back in 2008 having been born in “the Panama Canal Zone” to a father serving in the U.S. military (a law was passed giving such children U.S. citizenship, but it didn’t go into effect until McCain was already a year old.) Meanwhile, the darling of the “Tea Party” (“Birther HQ”) is ready to rally in support of “Ted Cruz for President”. Show me someone that is surprised by the Far-Right’s hypocrisy/duplicity and I’ll show you someone that hasn’t been paying attention for the last two decades.

Ted Cruz is a case study in Conservative “cognitive dissonance”. How is it that a man born in Alberta, Canada to a Cuban-National father (mother’s U.S. citizenship ruled irrelevant), having served less than one full term as Senator, be regarded as eligible/worthy of running for President of the United States by the same people who pronounced that “the black guy” was not? (I think I just answered my own question.) And if he were the nominee and the Supreme Court were forced to step in, then what?

Personally, I don’t think the US Supreme Court has to worry about deciding Cruz’s eligibility anytime soon.
 

Birthers for Cruz 2016

 

My own local Houston Chronicle broke the news yesterday of Cruz’s intention to run, and I’m not quite sure who’s happier, The Extreme Far-Right or Democrats? NBC Nightly News reported yesterday on a Wall Street Journal poll that damned Cruz with faint praise over this sufficiently vague poll question: If Ted Cruz were to run for president, could you see yourself supporting him?”
 

Cruz unlikely to win even majority of the Republican vote.
Left with no other choice, 40 of Republicans could support Cruz

 

Before they really get to know him, already 60% of Republicans look at Cruz and say “Hmm, who else you got?” Is it any wonder Joe McCarthy’s doppelganger didn’t bother with an “exploratory committee” to evaluate if he could even win? But hey, Bush invaded Iraq with the same amount of planning and that didn’t turn out so bad, did it? One of these days, a Republican will stop & think before doing something stupid, and the world will pause in stunned silence. Whether that occurs in your or my lifetime is anybody’s guess.

Most of the “old guard” GOP was fuming at the freshman senator, less than a year in office, for his stunt that led down to another government shutdown the first two weeks of October 2013, something Republicans were rightly lambasted for during the Clinton Administration and tried desperately to avoid this time around, fearing public backlash over yet another example of Republicans, again in total disarray, unable to govern, a year before the mid-term election. But fortunately for them (and Cruz), voters have very short memories.

Last December, just before the Christmas Recess, Cruz once again earned the GOP’s ire with another stunt, delaying the immigration vote that forced Congress to stay in session over the weekend and allow the (long delayed) confirmation of twenty-four presidential appointments.

“Ted” Cruz lives in a fascinating universe: one where the majority of Americans are “Tea Party Republicans” that despise President Obama, think “ObamaCare” is a government insurance program “worse than any war” that you are being forced to buy under threat of imprisonment by the IRS (accountants who could be put to better use securing our Southern border), where you can round-up & deport 12 million undocumented immigrants, colleges are full of Communists, and he… the Canadian born son of a Cuban dissident… can legally run for president of the United States.

Run Ted, run! And I say that as a proud Liberal Democrat.
 



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Filed in Election, Partisanship, Politics, Racism, Right-Wing Hypocrisy, Right-Wing Insanity March 23rd, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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STUNNING VIDEO: Kristol claims “Iraq was safe and peaceful when George Bush left.” Seriously.

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, February 23, 2015

My eyebrows hit the ceiling: “OMG! Did he really just say that???” Resident Right-Wing Chief Revisionist Historian and iconic Chicken-hawk Bill Kristol actually said during yesterday’s episode of ABC’s ThisWeek that “George Bush left Iraq safe & peaceful when he left office in 2008.” You think I’m kidding? Watch:

Kristol: “Bush left Iraq safe & peaceful” (14 seconds)

Are you freakin’ kidding me? Are. You. Freakin’. Kidding. Me??? Bush left Iraq “safe & peaceful”??? Wow. Just wow. There are no words. On what planet does this guy live? That has to be THE most completely disconnected from reality statement I’ve heard in a while from the GOP (and that’s saying something.)
 

“Recording History for those Who Seek to Rewrite it.”  Mugsy’s Rap Sheet exists because of people like this asshat. It’s why we’re here, to spotlight this nonsense and crush it before they can convince millions of their simple-minded followers that their rewrite of history is the truth.
 

“We’ve always been at war with East Asia.”
 

“The high of 1,550 attacks a week fell below 800 — nearly a 50 percent reduction.”Bob Woodward praising the reduction of violence in Iraq to “JUST 800 attacks per week” on September 8, 2008

Now granted, violence dropped significantly after the so-called “SurgeTM” in 2007. Violence in Iraq exploded in 2006 as Bush and DefSec Rumsfeld refused to admit their “small footprint” strategy in Iraq was a failure. Bush repeatedly reassured voters that Rummy’s job was safe prior to the mid-term elections, but when Democrats retook both the House AND Senate greatly out of anger over the Iraq War, Rummy was gone quicker than you can say “nu-cu-lar”. New SecDef Gates sent in 20,000 additional troops (that’s not a “surge” BTW, that’s “reinforcements”) to try and stabilize things. The word “Greenzone” became part of the American lexicon in 2008, referring to the supposed “safe zone” inside Baghdad where American Command was stationed, and the move to “stop calling it a ‘green’ zone arose because it implied ‘safety’ when it was routinely being shelled by insurgents (that’s a January 2009 link BTW). To stem the violence, U.S. forces built a wall around “Sadr City” rather than address WHY it was a source of so much violence, and “ethnic cleansing” of neighborhoods took care of the rest. (Watch/listen to this video from May of 2008 and tell me just how “peaceful” Iraq looks/sounds to you as Bush prepares to leave office):

As NBC reporter Tom Aspell points out in this 2007 video, “violence is down in Iraq” because “much of it has been ethnically cleaned.”

ISIS EXISTS BECAUSE OF THE INVASION OF IRAQ. Many of the ISIS commanders are former Iraqi military. When Bush & Rumsfeld decided to simply disband Saddam’s Sunni army… “go away and take and take your guns with you”… most of them became the “insurgency” that turned Iraq into the mess we see today. When the new Shia Iraqi government decided not to integrate former Sunni’s into the new government and deny them employment, they responded by forming ISIS and proceeded to conquer one Iraqi city after another in an attempt to recapture the entire region into one giant Islamic “caliphate” (I hate that word.) ISIS may not have existed when George Bush left office, but he planted the seed.

Saying “Iraq was peaceful when Bush left” and then blaming President Obama for the violence there today is like blaming the raging fire you set on the firemen, declaring: “It was only a spark when I called you!”

I just have to type it one more time: “Iraq was safe and peaceful when George Bush left.”

Nope. Still the stupidest thing I’ve heard any Republican say in the last… oh… what time is it now?
 



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Filed in Middle East, myth busting, National Security, rewriting history, Right-Wing Insanity, War February 23rd, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • 1 comment | Add/View

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Cruz & Carson Latest Republicans to Complain About Income Inequality

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, February 9, 2015

Now don’t get me wrong, while I applaud the GOP’s new found concern over “income inequality” and the stagnation of the middle-class, I’m reminded of the old joke when The Menendez Brothers were on trial for murdering their parents and the possibility of them asking the judge for leniency because they were orphans. Last month, Democrats understandably rolled their eyes in disbelief when Mitt “Not Concerned About the bottom 47%” Romney complained bitterly about the rise in “income inequality since Barack Obama was elected President”… as if the Republican Party hadn’t been praying at the altar of “trickle-down economics” for the last 35 years. Whether “Mitt” (a man who made his millions closing factories & raiding pension funds as a corporate raider) planned on running on a platform of “I (heart) poor people” we’ll never know because the GOP… led by that champion of the Middle Class Donald Trump… quickly nixed the idea of a third Romney run while attending a “Meet-the-Candidates” rally hosted by the Mega-Billionaire Koch brothers. And now during yesterday’s Sunday Poli-talk Shows, two leading GOP candidates tried to claim the mantle of “income inequality”: Ted “List of Communists” Cruz and BenProgressives are Nazi’sCarson. Cue the clown music.
 

Ted Cruz & Ben Carson on “Income Inequality” (3.25)

I don’t know what’s funnier: the idea that these guys think voters will buy them as “champions of the Middle Class” or the fact even Steph-O & Wallace clearly aren’t buying it either?

The two greatest problems facing the World today are religious zealots and unchecked corporate power. And which Political Party just happens to represents both?
 

So why the sudden feigned concern by the GOP over “income inequality”? Because the ONLY person making inroads in the inevitability of a “President Hillary Clinton” is Elizabeth Warren… a woman for whom battling “income inequality” has been her stock & trade for over two decades and has risen to prominence as a champion of the Middle-Class. It was Warren who first proposed the idea of a federal “Consumer Financial Protection Bureau” before being elected to public office, and when President Obama announced not only was he going to create The CFPB but put Warren in charge of it, Republicans behaved like they always do… threw a hissy fit, screamed bloody murder and stonewalled creation of the new agency until Warren’s name was withdrawn from contention.

Elizabeth Warren didn’t just suddenly discover the plight of the Poor & Middle Class last month as a convenient political tool, here she was talking to Bill Moyers about the plight of the Middle-Class in September, 2004 (whom I saw a frequently on his PBS program “Now”) Ignore the dopy YouTube title. She’s talking about bankruptcy:
 


 

For a long time, Republicans were proud to describe “The Tea Party” as the Conservative equivalent of “Occupy Wall Street”… an organization that identified more with The Left than The Right, born out of outrage over the Bush Administrations’ bailout of the Big Banks, Wall Street and the Top 1% (not one of whom went to jail BTW), while millions of middle-class Americans went bankrupt, lost their homes, and even threatened with arrest through no fault of their own. Meanwhile, T.E.A.: The “Taxed Enough Already” crowd sprouted wings. But these middle-class teanuts… their taxes weren’t going up. In fact, just the opposite. No, they were protesting increasing taxes on the Mega-Wealthy (the political term for this is “useful idiots”.)

So what are the solutions of these newly converted champions of the Middle Class? Just how do they intend to close that widening gap between the rich & poor (a gap they created with a crowbar in one hand and the tax-code in the other)? Well, they pretty much don’t say. They don’t DARE say… even if they did have a plan (which we know they don’t) because they know it would be ripped to shreds in seconds as the same old “trickle-down” economics that they’ve been selling us for the last 35 years and got us into this mess in the first place. And if it weren’t for my jaded sense of the media, I’d be amazed by how all these miraculous Keynesian-converts (I’m assuming) have gotten away with not being asked EVEN ONCE just how they plan to close that gap.

Seriously now. (Serious? Look who I’m talking about.)

PS: Which Party has fought against revoking tax cuts for corporations that ship jobs overseas? Which Party has made busting Unions a plank in their Party Platform (front-runner WI gov Scott Walker rose to fame by surviving a recall effort as he threatened to push through a law that would have destroyed the labor unions… NOT by changing minds but by convincing protesters to wait until the general election.) Which Party fights to GIVE wealthy corporations all sorts of perks like tax cuts & subsidies, then calls the bottom 47% “Takers” for wanting Healthcare & Food Stamps? Which Party has made vilifying blacks & Hispanics synonymous with the word: Republican? And, most obviously, which Party just flocked to Kansas at the behest of the billionaire Koch Brothers?

And which Party would accuse me of “Class Warfare” for calling them out for their hypocrisy?
 



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Filed in Economy, Election, Greed, Money, myth busting, Politics, rewriting history, Right-Wing Hypocrisy, Right-Wing Insanity, Taxes February 9th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Republicans Vow First Order of Business Will Be A Pointless Exercise in Showing Who’s Boss by Approving KXL

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, January 5, 2015

As I noted a few weeks ago, I’m still surprised by the number of people that just don’t remember that gas was WELL below $2/gallon before… not just before George W. Bush… but two years into the Bush presidency before the invasion of Iraq in 2003. They just couldn’t fathom gas prices ever being as low as we’re seeing it today (close to $2/gallon.) In fact, in 2003, oil hit just $35/barrel the week before the invasion of Iraq after hovering around $29/barrel for years. (I’ve linked to this video of mine numerous times of how one economist predicted what the invasion of Iraq might bring… if not UNDER-ESTIMATING the costs, two weeks before the invasion. In the background you can see gas prices were still around $1.79/gallon in the North-East.) It took a second war and a President/Congress completely unwilling to regulate oil speculators to drive oil prices up to nearly $150/barrel and gas over $4/gallon, laying the groundwork for the ensuing global economic collapse. During the 2012 Presidential race, Newt Gingrich… struggling for a coherent message (“moonbases” just wasn’t packing them in)… settled on promising “$2.50/gallon gasoline by the end of his first term in office” (2016) by “approving the Keystone XL Pipeline” and drilling for oil in every backyard in America (interesting side-note: Mitt Romney vowed to bring Unemployment “below 6.5% by the end of [his] first term”). Yet in two years… not four… the price of gasoline is well below $2.50/gal nationally and can even be found for under $2/gal in many states (one local Exxon station near me here in Houston is selling Regular Unleaded for $1.89/gal.) And it all happened without approving the freaking pipeline. Fantastical promises of “1 million new jobs” were quickly/easily debunked. Most of the construction is already complete. The pipe itself has already been made/purchased. The company benefiting isn’t even American and the vast majority of the “oil” is already earmarked for export overseas, having little to no impact on domestic gas prices. And the process of converting greasy Canadian sludge into “oil” requires a per-barrel price-point nearly $20/barrel higher than it is now, making the entire project a money LOSER. Even if approved, “Trans-Canada” would likely not pursue it for years til the next Republican president drives oil prices back into the stratosphere. But as OPEC has now proven, all they have to do to eliminate the competition is to make the pipeline too costly to operate by simply pumping more oil. One might think that all this might convince even Republicans that completing the Keystone XL pipeline is an exercise in futility, but you’d be wrong. Undeterred, incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has declared that “the FIRST vote of the new Congress will be to approve the Keystone XL pipeline” (with WY Senator John Barrasso on “Meet the Press” yesterday citing those “42,000 jobs” as to why it is needed.) Whether either senator knows that that’s “42,000 low paying temp jobs stretched out over two years“, I couldn’t say. Nor do I think it would make a difference. No, Senate Republicans have already admitted that their true reason for making passage of the Keystone XL such a high priority is that it is “a test” [ibid] of political will in Washington. They’ve convinced enough brainless Right-wingers that approving the KXL is “a no-brainer” and that an Obama veto would be nothing more than a challenge to their authority… nay… “the will of the American people” that voted them into office this past year. And THAT is what this vote is all about. It’s not about “creating (imaginary) jobs” or “reducing gas prices”, it’s just more childish gamesmanship by the GOP in a pointless flexing of political muscle.

You might remember that just this past November, just days after the election, in a desperate/futile/pointless/asinine attempt to save DINO Mary Landrieu’s (D-LA) Senate seat in a runoff election, Congress voted on whether or not to approve the KXL. The bill failed to reach the 60-vote super-majority threshold necessary to overcome a Democratic filibuster. Landrieu did so poorly in the runoff election that it is doubtful passage of the bill would have affected the outcome of the election anyway. With the added seats in the Senate this year, Republican’s probably have the support of enough brain-dead Democrats to overcome a Democratic filibuster should it come up for a vote again, but NOWHERE NEAR the 67-vote Super-majority they’d need to override a presidential veto, making the entire exercise pointless & futile… IF passing the now irrelevant pipeline were indeed the point (which it isn’t.) It’s all about petty power-starved Republicans trying to show Americans “who’s boss”. They’ve built up this insane reality that exists only in their fevered imaginations where Americans hate President Obama and disagree with him on ever major issue. It’s a world in which Keystone means “jobs, jobs, jobs” and gas under $2.50 a gallon. It’s a world in which Sen. Ted Cruz can declare with a straight face that “Americans are suffering because of ObamaCare” and that “Benghazi” is the greatest political scandal since “Monica Lewinski”.

Republicans see no downside to creating “jobs” regardless of cost… so long as it is a Conservative-friendly industry (be it oil or bombs). They’ll give away Billions in tax incentives to oil companies and spend yet billions more in environmental cleanup in exchange for just 42,000 low-wage jobs (roughly $600K for every $20K/year job.) But tell them how investing in green technology produced a a $5-BILLION ROI, and all you’ll hear is snarky jokes about “Solyndra” (a $300 million loss).

Of course, all this political gamesmanship has nothing to do with “jobs” (last year, unemployment fell at its fastest rate in 30 years) or “bringing down oil prices” (oil now below $54/barrel with gas at $2.20/gallon, a full 1/3rd lower than it was one year ago) and everything to do with Republicans trying to show Obama “who’s boss”.
 



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Filed in Election, Energy Independence, General, Greed, Jobs, Money, myth busting, Partisanship, Politics, Right-Wing Insanity January 5th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • 1 comment | Add/View

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Dear Torture Advocates: Not only does it not work, it makes things worse.

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, December 15, 2014

On March 23, 2003… three days into the invasion of Iraq, Private Jessica Lynch was captured by Iraqi forces following an ambush of her convoy. Publicists in the Bush Administration spun an elaborate tail of how “Blood & Guts” Lynch fired her weapon “til she emptied her clip” of ammo (Lynch had actually done no such thing, having been too badly injured to fight back) before she was captured by an enemy the Bush Administration feared was doing “Lord knows what” to her. An elaborate Commando-raid to rescue Lynch was devised, and on April 1st, a nighttime rescue raid on “Saddam (Public) Hospital” was conducted by Navy SEALs and Delta Force commandos that probably could have just walked in the front door in broad daylight. No Iraqi troops or weapons were used to “hold Lynch captive” and by ALL accounts… including Lynch herself… her wounds were cared for, and she was treated humanely by the staff, whom, according the Lynch, one nurse “sang her to sleep” so she wouldn’t be scared.

At it’s peak, the infamous “Abu Ghraib” prison in Iraq, where American troops sadistically tortured Iraqi prisoners, held as many as 3,800 detainees.
 

Former President Bush (41) shedding tears over the humane treatment
of Iraqi prisoners by US forces during the ’91 Gulf War
(2007)

 

It was rather disturbing to hear former Vice President Dick Cheney on “Meet the Press” yesterday cite “9/11” four (possibly five) times in defending the use of torture, arguing in essence that what WE did “was nothing in comparison to what was done to us on 9/11″… the classic, “yeah, but you…” defense. But shame on Chuck Todd for never pointing out that the vast majority of these tortured prisoners were Iraqi… who had NOTHING to do with 9/11. (BTW: when Todd pointed out that bad intelligence also led to “claims of Weapons of Mass Destruction that didn’t exist”, Cheney did NOT attempt to correct him or even challenge him on the claim like he has in the past. To me, that’s evidence that even Dick Cheney now concedes Iraq never had any WMD’s.)

“It wasn’t torture!” Dr. Karl Rove (yes, I’m being facetious) insisted to host Chris Wallace during Fox “news” Sunday yesterday. “In fact, the techniques were designed specifically NOT to be torture!” The example Rove gave… which I’m certain he thought up all on his own without consulting anyone… was the fact waterboarded prisoners legs “were elevated” (presumably, in Rove’s mind, to allow water to drain from their lungs) to keep them from drowning. In Rove’s fevered imagination, this is PROOF that we were behaving “humanely” and taking strides to NOT torture prisoners by showing concern for their lives. Of course, Rove is an idiot. Someone really should explain BREATHING to him and how difficult it is to do with a nose/mouth full of water. “Elevating the legs” of a waterboarding victim is designed to PROLONG the torture so that they don’t die on you before you’ve extracted the information you think they know. To suggest a technique devised to extend a victims suffering is humane because it prevents them from dying too quickly, is like arguing in favor of dying from Ebola vs a gunshot wound because a gunshot kills you too quick.

When the Iraqi’s denied they were hiding any “Weapons of Mass Destruction”, the Bush Administration called them liars and demanded they allow in UN Weapons Inspectors. When the inspectors failed to confirm what they were certain was true, they took the position that the Inspectors were too dumb to know they were being hoodwinked by Saddam, ordering all allied personnel out of Iraq and invaded anyway. Similarly, when detainees didn’t tell them what they wanted to hear… most notably regarding connections between Iraq and al Qaeda, they tortured them till they told them what they wanted to hear.

Cheney repeatedly argued that “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques” (an aside: if you have to use an euphemism to avoid calling something what it really is, it’s as good as an admission of guilt. – Mugsy) DID “provide good intel that lead to the capture” of a number of terrorists including OBL (which is a lie) and/or foiling plots. Even if true, the amount of time & money WASTED chasing down thousands of bad/false leads for every one “good” lead is incalculable. Some torture-defenders, when you ask them if torture was “the ONLY way” to obtain this information, most will hem & haw before admitting, “There’s no way to know that”. But we DO know that because, according to the CIA report summary (pdf), all of the high-profile intel successes were obtained BEFORE prisoners were tortured, and in many cases, detainees that were “singing like a tweety-birdsuddenly stopped talking after their minds were destroyed by torture (another valuable asset lost.)

Other torture advocates like to cite the “ticking time bomb” scenario, where there’s no time to wait for “traditional” interrogation techniques to work. But in the VAST majority of (arguably ALL) cases, there was no “time is of the essence” situation that was thwarted by way of information gleaned from torture. Of the TWENTY-SIX innocent detainees who were tortured, one was placed in solitary confinement for 19 months before he was asked a single question.

Not only does torture not work, but it is COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE, producing fewer results in more time at much greater expense. If you truly wished to see America fail, you couldn’t do much worse than to root for the continued use of torture. In 1988/89, the CIA produced two reports on the use of torture on prisoners, stating that “[p]ysical abuse or other degrading treatment was rejected not only because it was wrong, but because it has historically proven to be ineffective.

Downsides of Torture Program:

  1. False leads waste an enormous amount of time & money. How many bad leads did we obtain via torture for every good lead? There’s no way to know if a lead is no good until you investigate it. What better way to harm your captors than to waste their time chasing down false leads that you know they desperately want to believe are true? Very quickly, your enemies will learn the quickest route to ending their suffering is to feed you a really good pile of crap that you’ve been begging for. David Axelrod noted during “Meet the Press” yesterday that, according to the CIA report, “torture produced the intel that Iraq was supposedly connected to 9/11.”
  2.  

  3. Using torture prolongs war as your enemies dig in their heels and refuse to surrender 1) for fear of what might happen to them if they are captured and 2) it gives them the moral high-ground, with physical proof of their enemy’s barbarism. Ask yourself: “Might we still be at war 13+ years later because of those very reasons?” How many American soldiers died needlessly because they kept encountering enemies that would rather “fight to the death” than risk capture & torture?
  4.  

  5. Which naturally, creates more terrorists. No better recruiting poster than to point to the barbarism of your enemy. And to those (like Cheney) who’ll cite “beheadings” by our enemies, THERE WERE NO BEHEADINGS IN IRAQ PRIOR TO THE INVASION. Darth Cheney even had the gall to cite the barbarism of ISIS in defense of torture, but ISIS WOULDN’T EXIST IF HE HADN’T INVADED IRAQ.
  6.  

  7. The more barbaric your tactics, the more barbaric your enemy becomes in response. As noted above, no one was “beheading” Americans before Abu Ghraib.
  8.  

  9. Arguing that your techniques aren’t torture just helps ensure that your own troops are more likely to be tortured should they be captured, only to have your enemies use YOUR OWN DEFINITION of what is or isn’t “torture” against you.
  10.  

  11. As noted above, some prisoners that were cooperative PRIOR to being tortured may suddenly become useless AFTER being tortured… either out of spite or… in some circumstances, due to psychological or physical damage… even death.

 
If torture worked, you wouldn’t have to do it TWICE… let alone 187 times like they did to 9/11 “Mastermind” KSM. Seriously, if the goal of torture is to extract information from your prisoner and they are still able to withhold information from you that requires being tortured AGAIN to extract… and they KNOW they will be tortured again if they don’t reveal everything they know yet don’t reveal it anyway, then it clearly didn’t work.

So, if you’re all in favor of America wasting precious time chasing down false leads, destroying our image as a just & noble society, losing valuable intelligence assets as a direct result of abuse, giving our enemies the moral high-ground, putting our own troops in greater danger should they be captured (and then be left with no leg to stand on when you protest), extending wars so they last for decades fighting an enemy that would rather die than surrender, and aiding the enemy’s ability to recruit additional fighters to their side… then by all means defend the use of torture.

POSTSCRIPT: “Should any American soldier be so base and infamous as to injure any [prisoner]… I do most earnestly enjoin you to bring him to such severe and exemplary punishment as the enormity of the crime may require. Should it extend to death itself, it will not be disproportional to its guilt at such a time and in such a cause for by such conduct they bring shame, disgrace and ruin to themselves and their country.” – George Washington, charge to the Northern Expeditionary Force, Sept. 14, 1775



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Filed in Crime, myth busting, National Security, Party of Life, Right-Wing Insanity, Scandals, Terrorism, War December 15th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Keystone XL: Not Just a Potential Environmental Disaster But An Economic One Too.

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, November 17, 2014

Did you know about 1/2 of the Keystone XL Pipeline has ALREADY BEEN BUILT? The KXL project is a 1,200 mile long pipeline extending from Hardisty, Alberta to refineries in Houston, Texas near The Houston Ship Channel. The southern legs of the pipeline, one branch from Steele City, KS to the pipeline hub of Cushing, Okla., and the other to two refineries near Springfield, Ill, were constructed between 2011 and earlier this year. in The state of Kansas… which just reelected Governor Sam Brownback despite a record of extraordinary economic malpractice thanks to massive unpaid-for tax cuts strapping the state with a whopping $279 Million dollar budget deficit… gave the Canadian oil company “TransCanada”$15 Million dollar ANNUAL tax cut (ibid first link) to entice them into building the pipeline through their state. That’s like bribing a highway construction crew already knocking on your front door to reroute the freeway through your living room. The tax revenue lost to Brownback’s idiotic tax cut was NOT recovered in tax revenue from new employment. Worse, when that pipeline starts leaking… and it will… the state of Kansas can TRY to get TransCanada to pay for the cleanup, but the imposed fine (if there’s even one at all) won’t cover the actual cost of cleanup or damages. It never does. Who picks up that tab? But “health” and “cleanup” costs are just two of the half-dozen or so economic pitfalls from allowing this pipeline to continue. I already noted the loss of tax revenue in Kansas. Consider that land and the immediate area around it a dead zone for the next 100 years as people decide they don’t want to live near a pipeline (noisy, smelly, dangerous). And the list goes on.

Businesses near the pipeline will soon be forced to relocate as the local population moves away. That translates to fewer jobs and less tax revenue. At the destinations of these pipelines, not only will residents/businesses flee the pipeline itself, but the massive lakes of toxic waste (called: “tailing ponds”) will chase away new residents better than being told their house was the site of a brutal murder/suicide.

Ask anyone from South-East Texas about a place called “Texas City”, and the first thing they’ll mention is how bad it smells. “Texas City” is home to three major oil refineries, only a short hop away from “Port Arthur”… one of Keystone’s three destinations… with its three additional refineries. Trust me, no one lives there unless they have to (employed at the refineries). Not only does the air stink of rotten eggs (sulfur) for miles around, but the air actually burns your eyes and throat after just a few minutes (it is common local knowledge to “roll up your windows” when driving past this section of East Texas.)

I keep hearing supporters of the pipeline say, “It will create jobs!” like it’s a universally accepted statement of fact, and to doubt “that one simple fact” makes you irrational. During last Friday’s episode of “Real Time With Bill Maher”, CNN “Political Contributor” Margret Hoover stated as a fact: “The reality is that the Keystone XL Pipeline will create jobs. Who could be against that?” And MSNBC’s Chris Matthews also repeated the mythical “it will create jobs” claim during “Meet the Press” yesterday. In both cases, NO ONE challenged those assertions. JUST ONCE I’d like to hear someone ask the obvious (bleeping) follow-up: “DOING WHAT?” Seriously. Certainly not in the actual construction of the pipeline itself. As I’ve already pointed out, nearly HALF of the pipeline has already been built. And most of the steel pipe used to construct the pipeline has already been purchased from India. And if you think that Indian steel is stronger than American-made steel with less risk of rupture as 1million barrels a day of liquified dirt SANDBLASTS the walls of that pipe 24/7/365, I have a bird estuary to sell you. No surprise by the lack of pushback on MtP, but one would think that at least on a Left-leaning show like Maher’s, he’d challenge the notion. But he didn’t. Yesterday, ABC’s “ThisWeek” had on the CEO of TransCanda who conceded an AP report that the pipeline would create “just 50 permanent jobs in the U.S.”, but countered that it was still a “job creator” because it would also create “9,000 (low-paying temporary) construction jobs” and “42,000 indirect” jobs (over 2 years)“:
 

CEO of TransCanada, Bill Girling, concedes that the costly pipeline may create only FIFTY permanent jobs in the US and perhaps only 50,000 “temporary” and “indirect” jobs along the construction route over TWO years.

 

Seriously? These are the “jobs, jobs, jobs” Republicans have been promising? We’re risking certain environmental disaster to produce less than half as many jobs as the U.S. economy needs EACH MONTH just to keep up with population growth, over the span of TWO YEARS? Tell me we’re not being ruled by people THAT dumb!

UPDATE: Doing the math, best case scenario of 51,000 temp jobs (9,000 + 42,000) spread out over two years has the same impact as adding just 490 jobs a week for the next two years, or roughly a 0.45% increase in monthly job growth.

While live Facebooking/Tweeting the Sunday News Shows yesterday (click here to follow us on Twitter or here to follow us on Facebook), I found myself in a Twitter “debate” with a “Proud Truther” that thought I wasn’t very bright if I couldn’t figure out all the jobs that could be created from “Construction and maintenance” of the pipeline. Long story short, after I advocated promoting “Green jobs” over the pipeline, he responded with the familiar Republican claim that “government does not create jobs”. This is a common (and painfully stupid) response by Republicans whenever talking about using the government to promote job creation. The “logic” (if you can call it that) goes this way: “If the government creates the job, it costs tax dollars, for a net gain of zero.” And if government were the employer, he might have a point (he’d still be wrong, but at least a defensible argument.)

So I respond back, “Government doesn’t create jobs? That’s demonstrably false. The government creates jobs ALL THE TIME.” May I just point out that this mental midget was arguing with me OVER THE INTERNET… which was a government project and now responsible for hundreds of millions of jobs. Before that, we are STILL reaping the benefits of President Eisenhower’s “Interstate Highway Project” today. And the next time you drive over an eighty year old bridge built under FDR’s WPA (Work Projects Administration), ask yourself how much each of these things has contributed to Commerce in this country?

Remember that “failed” government program that lost millions on “Solyndra“… a GOP punchline for the past six years that Republicans pointed to as an example of “money wasted trying to promote green jobs”? Well, it’s slated to turn a $5 to 6 BILLION dollar profit next year as the majority of companies backed by the program more than out-performed the losses.

Some “reluctant” supporters of constructing the pipeline (and many Republicans, like Sen. John Thune, trying to straddle the fence on Fox “news” Sunday yesterday) like to say, “Construction of the pipeline is inevitable. They are going to sell that oil whether we build the pipeline or not, so we might as well just build it.” Few arguments in favor of the pipeline anger me more than this one. It’s the, “we’re all going to die someday so why not just put a bullet in our brains now?” argument. Former Talk Radio host Ed Schultz made this asinine argument on his radio show last year creating a firestorm. People like myself quickly set him straight and eventually he recanted, but the damage had been done and his show was off the air a few months later.

No. Construction of the pipeline is NOT “inevitable”. Turning tarsand into “oil” is an extremely expensive process, and it is only cost effective with oil between $65-$75/barrel (add this to the mess with ISIS and it’s just one more way the Bush Administration royally screwed this country.) Get the price of oil below $70/barrel and it is no longer cost effective to try to turn that sludge into “oil”. Last week, the price of oil fell below $75/barrel for the first time since 2006. The price of oil the week before the invasion of Iraq? $32/barrel. 

I heard numerous Conservative Commentators yesterday repeat the “common sense” logic that “increasing the supply of oil” (by tapping the Tarsands reserves) will bring down the price of oil. I’ve already detailed in my “Truth About the KXL” report how there isn’t enough oil in the Alberta tarsands (even when added to our our own Bakken shale reserves) to “glut the market”, and that even if there were, OPEC would simply cut production to drive the price back up. So any idea that the tarsands oil will mean lower gas prices is based on nonsense.

For FAR less money… with the side benefits of creating FAR more PERMANENT high-tech green jobs and without the double costs of environmental and economic disaster… we can REDUCE our dependence on oil… the ONLY thing that would actually have an impact on oil prices. I pointed out a couple of years ago that roughly 8% of our electricity is generated by oil-powered turbines. Replace them with windfarms and you DRAMATICALLY reduce the amount of oil this country consumes each year (FAR more than “8 percent”), which in turn would bring oil prices down… quickly. OPEC can’t simply drive prices up by cutting production of a product for which there is already less of a demand. They’ll just drive away customers.

There is no economic future in continuing our dependence on fossil fuels. Green jobs pay better and have an actual future, but our government is about to be dominated by people desperate to protect the Blacksmithing Industry from the invention of the Automobile. Senate Democrats are suddenly willing to hold a vote on Keystone because they think helping Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu agree with her opponent on the pipeline will save her job (bang head on wall repeatedly). Have they learned NOTHING from the beating they took just one week ago? Conceding your opponents position doesn’t win you elections. I can think of no better/safer time to kick Landrieu to the curb as a warning to other Democrats. Keeping this notorious DINO in office doesn’t change the balance of power. She’s about to vote with the Republicans (again) in opposition to President Obama (again), so tell me again why I should waste ONE DIME trying to save her seat in Washington? Keystone is a White Elephant for Democrats. Add to that the economic costs of cleanup and the decimation of local economies from “blight flight” (you like that? I just made it up) and Republican “tax cuts” to attract something any sane group would pay to keep away, and you have a project that is SO bad on SO many levels, it’s almost inconceivable that anyone is taking this idea seriously.
 



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Filed in Economy, Energy Independence, Environment, Global Warming, Greed, Jobs, Money, myth busting, Right-Wing Insanity November 17th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • 3 comments | Add/View