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Is Anyone Surprised Republicans Are Talking Impeachment?

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, July 28, 2014

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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Filed in Election, fake scandals, Middle East, myth busting, Partisanship, Politics, Predictions, Right-Wing Insanity, Seems Obvious to Me, Unconstitutional July 28th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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If Obama’s “Talk of Amnesty” is “Luring” Immigrants, Why Aren’t More of Them From Mexico?

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, July 21, 2014

I kept wishing someone would say (while shaking their head slowly), “Have you no shame, Senator Cruz?” The reincarnation of anti-Communist witch-hunter Senator Joe McCarthy went on “Meet the Press” yesterday and was given free network airtime to repeat the asinine GOP claim that it is President Obama’s “talk of amnesty” that is drawing this flood of refugee children to the U.S. Border (I should note that Cruz… son of a “refugee” himself, refuses to call these kids “refugees”, because that would be admitting they are fleeing something deadly.) It has become a ubiquitous GOP Talking point that it is President Obama’s “sudden” talk about pursuing a “path to citizenship” for the children of undocumented immigrants that is responsible for the recent flood of immigrant children from Southern Central America. It’s nonsense of course. And I keep waiting in vain for one of these vapid “Sunday show” hosts to challenge the claim, but they never do because either they don’t think there is anything wrong with their “logic” or they actually agree with the claim.

Two big flaws in their argument:

  1. While the flood of refugee children appears to be sudden & recent, President Obama’s talk of “a pathway to citizenship” for the children of immigrants is not.
  2.  

  3. If talk of “Amnesty” is what’s drawing them here, why aren’t an increasing number of them coming from Mexico?

Let’s start with Myth #1: The idea that President Obama has only recently started talking about “a pathway to citizenship”. Certainly discussion of “immigration reform” increased recently after House Republicans… after saying they would finally take up the issue of immigration reform after 14 months of giving it lip service… suddenly found a new excuse not to take up the issue: they “couldn’t trust Obama to uphold the law” after he suddenly “unilaterally” decided to extend the “ObamaCare Deadline” for thousands of small businesses (something the GOP actually wanted). But Obama has been talking about “a pathway to citizenship” ever since he was Candidate Obama in 2007:

When [Mr.] Obama was asked whether or not he would allow undocumented immigrants to work in the US [during] the Dec. 4, 2007 Democratic Debate on NPR, he said:
 
“No, no, no, no. I think that, if they’re illegal, then they should not be able to work in this country. That is part of the principle of comprehensive reform.”
 
“But I also want to give them a pathway so that they can earn citizenship, earn a legal status, start learning English, pay a significant fine, go to the back of the line, but they can then stay here and they can have the ability to enforce a minimum wage that they’re paid, make sure the worker safety laws are available, make sure that they can join a union.”

Democrats have been futility trying to shame Republicans (how do you shame people with no shame?) into taking up Immigration Reform ever since Mitt Romney and the GOP took a shellacking among Hispanic voters in 2012. On November 8, 2012… just two days after the election… Speaker Boehner declared that “immigration reform” would be “a priority” for the GOP in 2013 (to be fair, he didn’t say how high a priority it would be) adding: “This issue has been around far too long” and “[a] comprehensive approach is long overdue“.

Flash forward more than a year later and the first time it looks like they’ll actually take up the matter in Congress, they miraculously find an excuse not too.

As pointed out in last weeks’ column, this “sudden” surge in immigration actually started back in 2011. The spike in illegal immigration is by no means “sudden”. It just seems that way since Republicans (cynically) started making it an issue (in order to avoid taking up immigration reform once again, citing the need to stem this “sudden” surge in refugee children first before they’ll take up the issue.) It’s a bit like refusing to go to an AA Meeting until you get your drinking under control first.

#2) The idea that it is President Obama’s talk of “Amnesty” that is drawing them here: If the (false) promise of “citizenship for children” is what’s enticing people South of the Border to come to the U.S., how come 74 percent of the increase is coming from the “Northern Triangle” region South of Mexico? Yes, in sheer numbers, more of the refugee children are coming from Mexico. But it’s a much larger country. The “sudden surge” (over 700%) is coming from the equatorial nations. Are Mexicans suddenly not interested in “easy American Citizenship” so that when they (supposedly) hear President Obama talk about “Amnesty” for immigrant kids, they now yawn and say, “Not interested”? Yet other children are willing to make the 1,000 mile trek, risking life & limb upon hearing that same promise? Does that make sense to anyone… anyone SANE or not hosting a Sunday talkshow I mean.

I wonder just how eager these bastards would be to send these children back to almost certain death if they had to take them there themselves and look them in the eye as they leave them there and drive away?
 



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Filed in fake scandals, Immigration Reform, myth busting, Partisanship, Politics, Racism, Seems Obvious to Me July 21st, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Must a President Be a Failure to Be a Success?

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, May 19, 2014

I was watching former Vice President Dick Cheney and his with Lynn pollute my TV screen yesterday on Fox “news” Sunday, and I’m always struck by how stunningly self-UNaware Cheney is about the havoc his administration caused. Naturally, both Cheney’s blamed President Obama for America’s lack of credibility around the world, because he “drew a red line in Syria” (that wasn’t actually crossed), and apparently has nothing to do with the Bush Administration invading Iraq on false pretenses. And naturally, President Obama’s reluctance to send American troops into Syria or Ukraine has nothing to do with the fact we still haven’t finished the LAST war these numbnuts got us into yet couldn’t finish. Our military has been stretched to its near breaking point and the American people have no appetite to see us get involved in yet another war. But tell that to The Vader Family.

(More info on that corner photo. It’s Cheney’s memoir, “My Life” on the right. I snapped this photo with my cell phone at my local grocery store on 9/1/11, the same week the book was released. It was already marked down “40% off” and placed next to a copy of James Patterson’s “Kill Me”. Note: I live in Texas.)

The Bush-II Administration was mind-numbingly incompetent. Yet, President Bush’s approval ratings were never higher than immediately after 9/11… the worst terrorist attack on American soil in history, of which we now know they ignored numerous warnings from the CIA because they were too preoccupied planning the invasion of Iraq. President Clinton said something interesting last week regarding the foiled “Millennium Bomb Plot”, about how no president ever gets credit for the terrorist attacks they thwarted because no one ever knows about them. There’s nothing for people to “rally around”.

And this got me wondering about how when things appear to be going smoothly, no one takes notice or credits the Administration in charge. It’s only during times of upheaval, lurching from crisis-to-crisis that people seem to take notice of the ongoings of Washington. Must a President create & fail in managing multiple disasters before they look like a “Leader” and achieve high approval ratings?

On December 22, 2008, just days before leaving office, Cheney defended President Bush’s record on fighting terrorism. Strange thing though, he could just as easily have been talking about President Clinton’s record without changing a single word:

Let’s look at Bush’s REAL record: Ignored multiple warnings that might have prevented 9/11. Two Recessions. Katrina and the catastrophic consequences of putting a Horse Show director in charge of FEMA. Gas prices explode creating global Economic disaster. Stock Market lost nearly half it’s value (first decline since Hoover). National Debt doubled where it was previously shrinking. Iraq. Never got Bin Laden. The Patriot Act. Began the practice of widespread warrantless domestic wiretaps. A deregulated “credit ratings” industry that led to the biggest banking scandal & bailout in American history.

We already heard Cheney defend the Clinton record. What about Obama? No attacks on US soil. Period. Got Bin Laden. Ended the war in Iraq and is ending the war in Afghanistan this year. A stable and growing economy with both the DOW and S&P 500 closing at record highs last week, NO Recessions. NO FEMA failures. First president to pass sweeping healthcare regulations mandating minimum basic care standards and a competitive market to keep insurance rates down. Housing sales are back on the rise. Created the “Consumer Financial Protection Bureau” to protect consumers from deceptive credit/banking practices.

In a way, President Clinton was a victim of his own success, making the job of president look so easy that even someone like George W. Bush could do it. I don’t think anything believes President Obama has had an easy time of it these past 5+ years, but he sure as heck doesn’t seem to be getting any credit for all the disasters that HAVEN’T taken place on his watch. (Note: the current “VA controversy” has more to do with GOP-underfunding and Bush’s wars dumping an additional two million wounded vets into an already stretched system. Local Administrators cooked the books precisely to deceive Washington, and Republicans want to fire Shinseki because he didn’t know he was being deceived.)
 



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Filed in Economy, Election, General, Partisanship, Politics, Right-Wing Insanity, Seems Obvious to Me May 19th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • 1 comment | Add/View

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It’s Well-Past Time We Start Questioning Republican Patriotism

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, May 12, 2014

On Wednesday, November 7th, 2012, the day after President Obama’s reelection, I already knew what to expect for the next four years. I remembered quite well how Republicans flat-out lost their friggin’ minds after President Clinton was reelected to a second term and was already reminding people what happened the last time Republicans controlled Congress after a Democrat was reelected president. The GOP was going to spend the next four years doing nothing but looking for (read: “inventing”) scandals for which they could impeach President Obama, or at the very least, marring his place in history as a successful president.

By the time of President Clinton’s reelection, Republicans had spent the prior four years investigating/inventing scandals (everything from a land deal that took place before he became president where he actually LOST money, to the their cat’s Christmas Card List) trying to make the first Democratic president since Lyndon Johnson out to be a bigger crook than Richard Nixon (in 2005, after 30 years in office, Republican Congressman Henry Hyde openly admitted that the impeachment of President Clinton… the first Democratic president since LBJ, was possibly “payback for the [threatened] impeachment [and ultimate resignation] of [President] Nixon”) all in hopes of denying him a second term. But when they were blindsided by Clinton’s reelection, they knew the only way left to stop him from serving out his full second term was to “impeach” him. And the GOP Scandal Machine went into overdrive. But when the GOP lost seats in the House following the 1998 midterm election, the lame-duck Congress knew it only had two months to try and impeach President Clinton. So sure were they that all of America hated President Obama as much as they did, that they were once again blindsided when he beat Mitt Romney handily, leaving them with no choice but to start looking for a way to impeach him before he could complete his second term and his presidency go down in history as a successful one (dimming the GOP’s prospects in the future.) The GOP has done… quite literally… NOTHING since retaining the House in the 2012 mid-terms except attack the President and his Administration. I was told by Right-Wingers for the first seven years of the Bush Presidency that if I criticized the president, my “patriotism” was suspect and that I should “move back to France” (I’m not French.) Yet I’ve seen the GOP do nothing but attack this president, not only questioning HIS patriotism (remember the “flag pin” nonsense?) but even questioning his citizenship. And now it seems like we have a scandal-a-week as Republicans desperately grasp at straws trying to derail The President of the United States before he can serve out his full second term. Well, I for one am sick of it. They dared question MY patriotism when I dared protest President Bush sending this country into a second massive and wholly unnecessary war, called ME a traitor for daring to question the “Patriot Act”, calling me a “Communist” for believing every person should be able to afford health insurance… enough is enough. When do Democrats start questioning the patriotism of Republicans in congress that lurch from one made-up scandal to the next, openly admitting: “We’re probably one email away from Benghazi being an impeachable offense”.

That’s just how petty and partisan these Cretins are. Before President Clinton, only ONE president had EVER been impeached in all of U.S. history, Andrew Johnson, after he succeeded President Lincoln. That’s just how big a deal “impeachment” is… or was now that it looks like the GOP is going to attempt to impeach every Democratic president that dare win a second term.

The Bush Administration was an abject disaster. From not convening to even discuss terrorism until the week before 9/11 despite receiving some VERY specific warnings with titles like “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.”, almost THREE THOUSAND Americans were murdered ON U.S. SOIL. Can you just IMAGINE the Republican OUTRAGE if they learned President Obama had received advance warning of the attack in Benghazi where just FOUR brave Americans lost their lives? And besides 9/11, there were no fewer than THIRTEEN embassy/Consulate attacks under President Bush, killing SEVENTY-SEVEN Americans and injuring dozens more. How many Republican calls for an investigation did you hear? Not only did they not demand a single investigation, but YOU were branded “unpatriotic” for daring to criticize him.

If Democrats had tried to impeach Bush over any one of those embassy attacks… let alone 9/11… what do you think the response on the Right would have been?

The GOP has shown nothing but contempt for Democracy for the last five years. From their blatant war on voting rights by disenfranchising millions of legitimate voters among Democratic-leaning demographics (tell me what cutting early voting hours/days has to do with fighting “voter fraud”?), to Southern politicians openly threatening “secession” (which ironically didn’t stop noted tree-stump Texas Governor Rick Perry from wanting to run for president), these people HATE Democracy.

Republicans were quick to make a hero of free-loading Arizona cattle rancher Cliven Bundy who openly declared that he “didn’t recognize the existence [sic: legitimacy] of the United States government” and defended his secessionist movement when his militia friends took up sniper positions on a nearby bridge and aimed their weapons at the heads of Federal law enforcement officers.

House Majority Leader Boehner actually said about the Obama Administration last week: “They’ve not told them the truth about Benghazi, they have not told the truth about the IRS, they’ve not told the truth about Fast and Furious.” There have been no less than TWO extensive investigations of “Benghazi” already… one of them by Republicans themselves… that found NO EVIDENCE of any “stand down order” or refusal to send aid to the Embassy during the attack. And NOW their latest Talking Point appears to be, “Why were we even IN Benghazi in the first place?” Well, the consulate was there before the overthrow of Kadaffi, and needed even more following his death as the country was left rudderless. Can you just imagine the howls of protests on the Right if President Obama had abandoned Libya following the overthrow of Kadaffi, leaving it ripe for Iran or AQAP to seize control? And now they dare ask why we were “still there”?

There is the mind-numbingly stupid “IRS scandal” where Republicans actually believe the Obama White House was micro-managing the Cincinnati, Ohio IRS, telling them to single out “Conservative Groups” applying for tax-free status for extra scrutiny. Once you get past the ludicrousness of the Obama White House directing the Cincinnati IRS, there’s the problem of the fact the office also singled out Progressive organizations for extra scrutiny as well. Their answer for that? “Yeah, but not at the same rate!” So apparently, including a few Liberal groups in the list was just a smokescreen to hide their true goal of targeting Conservatives (none of whom were actually denied “tax-free” status… which to me is a bigger scandal.)

Then there’s “Fast & Furious”, the BATF code-name for the investigation of gun smuggling across the U.S. border into Mexico. The insane Conservative “scandal” here appears to be (pardon me if I get this wrong because I don’t speak Teanut) that the Obama Administration was “giving guns to Mexican terrorists” in some bizarre plot to stir up public outrage over gun violence and demand more laws restricting gun ownership… at least that’s what I think the imaginary scandal is because they rarely (if ever) actually spell out exactly what they believe the goal of Obama Administration supposedly was by “arming Mexican drug runners.”

Problem is, U.S. law restricting gun purchases contains a massive loophole left in place by pro-gun rights Republicans and defended vigorously by the NRA… preventing U.S. law enforcement from preventing “strawman” purchases of massive quantities of guns, who then go and sell then off to criminals that could never pass a background check. And that is why you rarely hear “Fast & Furious” mentioned very often any more, and when you do, is never more than the use of that particular phrase without ever going into detail about what exactly the Obama Administration supposedly did wrong. Ask the average outraged Republican what “Fast & Furious” is all about and I guarantee 99% of them will get it wrong (with the one lone right answer being “Obama”.) And wouldn’t it seem more likely that a rise in gun violence would INCREASE gun sales in the U.S. by fearful Americans? If “banning guns” is your goal, it seems like an incredibly ineffective solution with a major probability of having the exact opposite of their (supposed) desired effect.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, the reoccurring theme here is that Republicans believe Democrats are every bit as petty and vindictive as they are. And they KNOW Democrats are doing all this because THAT’S WHAT THEY’D DO if they were in our position. So we MUST be doing everything they imagine us to be doing!

So I ask you, “what has the GOP done in the last 5 years other than obstruct everything this President has tried to do and invent scandals where none exist? They have NO record of accomplishment. They have done NOTHING to help President Obama create jobs, and when the latest jobs report shows surprising job growth, they are left with nothing but to look for the negative (Bush had staggeringly anemic “job growth” for most of his presidency, yet they cheered “52 months of consecutive job growth” until that whole “economic collapse” put the Global economy in a tailspin. Did you ever hear them ONCE talk about the “hidden bad news” behind those job numbers? Me neither.)

I’m sorry, but they questioned my patriotism for NINE years (from my asking questions about 9/11 to calling me a Commie for supporting ObamaCare). They impeached one president for purely partisan gain and are now talking about doing it again. Those same bastards who are openly hostile towards Democracy, our president, and the very “legitimacy” of the United States government, are still being treated like patriots? Like hell they are. These people are not “patriots”. They HATE America, and I say it’s well past time we start questioning THEIR patriotism the way they gleefully questioned ours.
 



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Filed in fake scandals, Partisanship, Politics, Rants, Right-Wing Insanity, Scandals, Seems Obvious to Me May 12th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • 3 comments | Add/View

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Maybe Howard Dean Was Right on Affirmative Action?

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, April 28, 2014

On January 15, 2003, President Bush stopped by the University of Michigan while campaigning for re-election. UMich had recently implemented new state restrictions on the use of race when deciding just who they’d admit enrollment to, and he condemned Affirmative Action measures as “a quota system”. Democratic presidential frontrunner Howard Dean later condemned President Bush’s remarks for injecting race into the campaign. And while Dean made the case for Affirmative Action himself (weakly), his Democratic rivals pounced on the front-runner, pointing to a 1995 comment of his suggesting affirmative action should be based “not on race, but on class.” Dean went on to defend his 1995 remark by suggesting it’s time to consider economic based Affirmative Action where poor students who excel despite difficult circumstances, be they black or white, receive preference over wealthier students that grew up with all the advantages of being rich, be they black or white. And it does make sense that a wealthy minority probably doesn’t need a leg up as much as a poor white student. Dean was wrong of course a decade ago, but considering the recent Supreme Court ruling upholding Michigan’s anti-Affirmative Action law, might it not be a good idea today now that there is the very real danger of “race-based” Affirmative Action being abolished across the country?

President Bush went on to add in that 2003 speech that, “Our Constitution makes it clear that people of all races must be treated equally under the law.” Of course, if I may state the obvious, a university is not a court of law, and despite what the Constitution says now (because for 150+ years, “3/5ths” was the measure of a black man), it rarely works out that way. Minorities just aren’t treated equally in our society. That’s a fact. Whether “Affirmative Action” helps level the playing field may be up for debate, but there is no question that simply being a minority is an instant disadvantage in our society.

Last week, this fact was made startlingly clear, first with the racist remarks by Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy questioning whether “the nig’ras” were better off as slaves than they are “dependent on the government” (said the man dependent on government land to feed his cattle rather than pay for it himself). Then again, less than a week later with the comments of LA Clippers owner Don Sterling, who chastised his young girlfriend (?) for posting photos of herself posing with black athletes on her Facebook page, demanding she not bring “black people” with her to basketball games, and patting himself on the back for being the benefactor of so many black men. (Though to be fair, the 80 year old Sterling was not openly hostile towards “blacks”, blaming societal norms for his discomfort, whereas Bundy was just plain ol’ Deep South shit-for-brains ignorant.)

So in the same week that we have Bundy and Sterling demonstrating that race is still very much an issue in this country, our Conservative-leaning Supreme Court brands racism a thing of the past, and that any effort to counter that racism is, in itself, “racist”. See how that works?

Two weeks ago on Fox “news” Sunday (yes, I watch it every week. The things I do for you people)… the same week token black Moderate Juan Williams was not there… quite by coincidence I’m sure… Brit Hume (or was it George Will?) decided to accuse President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder of “making everything about race” and in effect accusing them of reverse racism. Of course, neither Obama nor Holder “make every issue about race”… at least, not to the degree Conservatives on Fox do… but it casts a spotlight on the fact that we just can’t talk about race anymore without some Right Wing idiot accusing you of racism for doing so.

And that brings us back to Howard Dean. Ten years ago, GOP racism was still mostly underground, and being caught making racists remarks was cause for embarrassment and a public outcry for an apology. Today, GOPundits like Rush Limbaugh proudly wear their racism like a badge of honor, singing “Barack the Magic Negro” live on the air and then defending doing so, while the Supreme Court undoes wide swaths of the 1965 “Voting Rights Act” (which was created specifically to empower the 1964 Civil Rights Act). I dare say Deep South Republicans of 2014 haven’t been so comfortable being openly racist since they were Deep South Democrats in 1952.

With the Supreme Court last week declaring Michigan’s anti-Affirmative Action law to be “Constitutional”, the obvious next question is whether other states might follow suit? Could this be the beginning of the end for Affirmative Action?

An Affirmative Action based on income would still disproportionately benefit minorities without carrying the stigma of “skin color” being attached to a student’s achievements. It would also deny racists one more ignorant talking point of how they are the truly oppressed ones, and how “Mr. Black” only got where he is because of race (everyone remembers the deplorable Jesse Helms “Hands” ad that helped him win reelection in 1990). If the choice is between “Affirmative Action for the poor” vs no Affirmative Action at all, I think a lot of people might suddenly become very comfortable with Dean’s idea. Howard Dean was right, just a little ahead of his time (again.)
 



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Filed in General, Racism, Seems Obvious to Me April 28th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Putin Response to Snowden on Domestic Spying Sounds Awfully Familiar

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, April 21, 2014

(Just a quick observation as I type this up Easter Evening.)

Pseudo-patriot Edward Snowden made an appearance on Russian TV last Thursday and given the opportunity to ask President Putin what I’m certain he believed was an uncomfortable question about domestic spying. He flopped, of course. But all I could think about was how Putin’s response sounded so eerily familiar.

The exchange seemed to highlight everything I, as a proud Liberal, dislike about Edward Snowden. The “self-importance”. The obvious pride in having an opportunity most American journalists would have given their eye-teeth for, to put Putin on-the-spot before a live television audience to possibly embarrass him. A chance to watch him squirm.

Instead, Putin got to ridicule Snowden, criticize the United States, and claim a nonexistent moral high ground, all while eliciting approving laughter & applause from his hand-picked audience. It was uncomfortable all right… for Snowden and his ego.

Exchange begins around the 1:30 mark:

Transcript:

Snowden: Does Russia intercept, store or analyze in any way the communications of millions of individuals?

Putin: Dear Mr. Snowden, you are a former agent. I used to be part of the secret service [sic] myself [laughter/applause]. Let us speak in a professional manner. There is no such widespread surveillance. There is no uncontrolled surveillance. We do not allow ourselves to do that. We hope… *I* hope… we never do it. We do not have the technical means [n]or the money to do that like the U.S.. Most importantly, our Secret Services, thank God, are under strict control of the government and the people, and their activities are regulated by the law.

Nothing remarkable about his predicable (to apparently everyone but Snowden) response to a softball question. The only part I found interesting was Putin’s statement that he “hopes” his government isn’t doing it. Does the Russian government do anything without Putin’s approval? That’s an interesting thought, especially in light of events in Ukraine.

Putin’s response sounded eerily familiar to me. Exactly ten years ago to the day as I type this (April 20th.)

President Bush in an April 20, 2004 public event on “Domestic Security”, responds to a question about Domestic Spying under the “Patriot Act”:

President Bush: Secondly, uh… there is [sic] such things as “roving wiretaps”. Now, by the way, anytime you hear the United States government talking about “wiretap”, it requires… a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed by the way. When we’re talking about chasing down terrorists, we’re talking about getting a court order before we do so. It’s important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think “Patriot Act”, Constitutional guarantees are in place… when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland because we value the Constitution.
 

Of course, he was lying his ass off too. You could practically swap each mans’ response for the others without changing a word.

I’m not sure whether this shows how much President Bush was like a power-mad crazed Russian lunatic with machinations of recreating the old Soviet Union, or how much Putin learned from President Bush about how to lie to the Press, stage your response before a friendly audience, and get away with Domestic Spying.

Personally, I think BOTH are true.
 



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Filed in National Security, Politics, Rants, Right-wing Facism, Seems Obvious to Me, Unconstitutional April 21st, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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No, the Keystone Tar Sand Oil is NOT Inevitable

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, February 24, 2014

A little birdy tells me that President Obama is now considering approving the final leg of the infamous “Keystone XL” pipeline because some big names on the Left have resigned themselves to the idea that the tar sands making it to market is “inevitable”, so we might as well be the ones to do it before a “less” environmentally conscientious nation “like China” (who is investing heavily in Green energy and focusing on pollution after Beijing started hitting blindingly toxic levels of smog prior to the 2008 Olympics.) Meanwhile, ask North Carolina and West Virginia what they think about our environmental record. Quite honestly, anyone claiming to be “a Liberal” that tells you the KXL “is inevitable so we might as well do it”, isn’t really a Liberal. Because a true Liberal finds the better way. They don’t just throw up their hands and say, “Okay Big Money, you win! I surrender!” Screw you and the Iron Horse you rode in on. That’s like saying, “Wall Street is going to find a way to screw us out of our money anyways so we might as well deregulate the whole damned thing.” No, Naysayers, the tar sands oil making it to market is NOT “inevitable.” Answer me this: That “tar sand” has been there for tens of thousands of years. Why now? Why are we suddenly considering using it “now”? Was there a sudden drop in the supply of oil that I’m not aware of? Are we running out of places to drill? Has OPEC suddenly cut back production because oil is suddenly harder to find? No. The reason… the ONLY reason they are suddenly looking at it is because it’s suddenly economically feasible thanks to the Bush Administration driving oil prices into the stratosphere. In the past, converting tar sand into “oil” was just too damned expensive. Now, with $95/barrel oil, suddenly, the process is cost effective. Wanna stop the tar sand’s from being used, GET THE PRICE OF OIL DOWN. And there’s several ways to do it.

As I reported last week, if the price of oil were to fall $30 to just $65/barrel, excavating the tar sands would no longer be cost efficient. And arguably, I don’t see the U.S. refining tar sand for China. If they want it, they are going to have to ship it someplace else to refine it. Suddenly, we’re not looking at $65/barrel, you’re looking at more like $75/barrel before it becomes too expensive for a foreign country to try an utilize it.

Ever wonder why CANADA doesn’t just simply refine it THERE in Canada? Why not simply build a refinery there rather than bisect the United States with a 1,800 mile long pipeline to the Gulf? Because they plan to EXPORT that oil once it has been refined. No port, no profit. And as long as oil is in the $75+ range, there’s profit to be made. Get that price down, and all your worries about Keystone go too.

I personally believe that protesters that focus on the catastrophic environmental damage the KXL would do are doing themselves a tremendous disservice. If your target audience is people that don’t believe in “Global Warming” and believe in all the lies they’ve been fed about what an economic boom it would be, you might as well be claiming the KXL kills “Spotted Owls” for all the good it would do. No, you’ve gotta hit them where they live. TELL THEM that it WON’T “create a million jobs” like they’ve been told. TELL THEM that it WON’T lower… but in fact RAISE… the price of gas. TELL THEM that it means an enormous 11-foot deep lake of black toxic sludge the size of Central Park (840 acres) in their backyard blighting the landscape, stinking the air, and lowering their property values. Hit them where they live. And be ready to answer question when they ask you to defend your claims. Because as long as these lies are allowed to persist, they become the truth. “Everyone” was gung-ho to invade Iraq over “Weapons of Mass Destruction” that we were literally guaranteed were there (“slam dunk”). But afterward when the weapons didn’t turn up, suddenly everyone realized they had been lied to for someone else’s personal gain and WE were stuck with the check.

I plan on taking part in a “Stop the Keystone XL pipeline” protest this Saturday, and I hope to create some nice “ready-to-print” signs that I can distribute in file format to fellow protesters. If I do, I’ll be sure to post them here on M.R.S. for free download sometime this week.
 



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Filed in Economy, Energy Independence, Environment, Global Warming, Jobs, Money, myth busting, Seems Obvious to Me February 24th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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A Liberal Look: Snowden No Hero

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, January 6, 2014

In 1992, the short-lived ABC investigative news program “Primetime Live”, following up on reports by former employees, revealed that national grocery chain “Food Lion” was engaging in “cost cutting measures” that included cleaning old food that had already been tossed in the dumpster (eg: cutting off the discolored spots on broccoli), washing expired meat with bleach and then repackaging it as fresh, and changing the expiration date on meat that had already been on the shelves past their original expiration date. The grocery chain sued ABC News… not for false reporting (though they claimed such) or defamation, but the fact that reporters “lied on their job applications” to gain access behind the scenes. And in 1997, a jury ruled that two of ABC’s journalists had gone “too far”, ruling in favor of “Food Lion”. I remember how incredulous many of us were to learn that jury deliberations took so long (5 days) because one juror, an elderly woman, stubbornly argued that “Food Lion” had done “nothing wrong” and believed the $5.5 million dollar judgement against ABC News wasn’t harsh enough. There was outrage among many in the public… myself included… that ABC should have to pay anything while the grocery chain got off scot-free. They had done us all a great service by exposing “Food Lion’s” practices, and deserved our praise, not slapped with a huge fine that might discourage similar investigations in the future. With that in mind, I now find myself on the opposite side of many of my fellow Liberals because I don’t consider NSA Leaker Edward Snowden to be “a hero” nor a “Whistle Blower”. With a twinge of false modesty, Snowden himself declared, “I’m neither a traitor nor a hero. I’m an American.” No Mr. Snowden, you’re another Wannabee-cop not unlike George Zimmerman. And now there’s a movement to grant Mr. Snowden “clemency” that would allow him to return to the U.S. if he promises to turn over all the data he took and not leak any further information. And I find myself asking, “How is it I can defend ABC for exposing Food Lion’s criminal practices 21 years ago, but not support Edward Snowden today?” Does that make me a hypocrite? It’s a question I’ve been wrestling with for weeks now because my #1 Pet Peeve in this world are hypocrites, and the last thing I want to be accused of is being a hypocrite (synonymous with “Republican” in my book.)

Clemency for Snowden?

That’s the big question. Why promise Snowden that you won’t prosecute him (“clemency” and “pardon” mean the same thing, requiring an admission of guilt, unlike “amnesty” which is protection from prosecution) in exchange for his cooperation? I’m reminded… fairly or unfairly… of promising a kidnapper or thief that you won’t prosecute them so long as they return your belongings safe & sound. Does Snowden deserve to be compared to a kidnapper? Well, he IS threatening further harm to his “hostage” (National Security) if we don’t meet his demands. So there’s that.

One of my favorite movies ever is 2005’s “V for Vendetta” about a man, once tortured by a brutal fascist regime that had taken over the government by staging a fake terrorist attack, who exacts revenge by murdering each of the government officials that brutalized him, murdered hundreds of thousands, and assisted their takeover of England. He is branded a “terrorist” by the government, and then executes a terrorist attack to bring down the brutal and criminal dictatorship that was repressing its citizenry. The movie has become an “anti-hero anthem” among critics of the government, often donning “Guy Fawkes” masks identical to the one worn in the movie, to hide their identity (though the movie character did so partly because he had been disfigured in a fire, not because he was seeking anonymity). Again, I find myself asking, “How is what Snowden doing any different?” (Listen to the linked clip above in the context of Snowden and it does seem to make a convincing case.)

First off, let’s get a few facts straight. Snowden sought out jobs that would give him access to Top Secret information with the intent of revealing it. He wasn’t an investigative reporter sent on assignment by his Editor. He’s not “Woodward & Bernstein”, he’s James O’Keefe. He decided he wanted to play rent-a-cop to expose the extent of NSA wiretapping that was already in the news. He’s not “V”, he’s George Zimmerman. He hadn’t been personally victimized as far as he knew or suffered any detriment by the government misdeeds (not crimes) that he suspected them of doing. He didn’t act on any specific information. He’s not Daniel Ellsberg, he’s Edward Snowden. Neither Hero nor Traitor, but definitely not a “Whistle Blower”. He sought out a job with the intent to “expose something” but knew not what. He took FAR more Top Secret info than he could possibly have read (over 20,000 documents by some estimates), has threatened to trade on that information for personal gain (seeking asylum), and is now deciding for himself what we do or do not deserve to know.

Even if you disagree with our government’s wholesale warrantless domestic spying program (that began under Bush’s “Patriot Act” and has only grown under Obama), we’re not a brutal fascist dictatorship that rules by fear. That’s the GOP:

Convention of Fear

The 2004 Republican National Convention

Snowden isn’t “exacting revenge” upon the people who “harmed him” personally. And, unlike “V”, in the end (spoiler alert), “V” was willing to die for what he believed in.

Snowden has been described by some on the Right as a “Liberal Hero”. That bugs the crap out of me. Because this is one Liberal that does not consider him a “hero”. And judging by the replies to radio-host Randi Rhodes’ question whether Snowden is a “hero or a traitor?”, many of my fellow Lefties feel the same way.

Before Edward Snowden, there was Private Bradley (turned Chelsey) Manning who leaked to the public the largest collection of Top Secret Intelligence documents in history. Manning didn’t go looking for material to steal. He actually SAW evidence of crimes while on the job that he knew needed to be exposed (most notably the “Baghdad airstrike” video), released the information, accepted responsibility and then stood trial. Snowden’s case is the exact opposite in every instance.

On Fox “news” Sunday yesterday, Sen. Rand Paul cited former Director of National Intelligence “James Clapper” who lied to Congress last March when he testified that the government does not collect “any type of data on hundreds of millions of Americans.” Turns out that was a total lie, and it is only because of Snowden’s leaks that we now know this not to be true. Unsurprisingly, Paul says he does not defend Snowden’s actions and believes he needs to stand trial. This is another of those rare times where Paul & I agree. Snowden’s revelations HAVE exposed some great misdeeds by our government. I shall not deny that. But do the ends justify the means? The 1st Amendment doesn’t protect “Whistle Blowers” from prosecution and being held responsible for their actions. I think that was the lesson we all tried to explain to “Duck Dynasty” fans two weeks ago defending cast member Phil Robertson who was (as it turned out, temporarily) fired after being caught on a viral video going on a jaw-dropping homophobic rant that offended hundreds of thousands (if not millions). Fans of the show protested that Robertson’s “Right to Free Speech” had been “violated” by the network, and it took Liberals like myself to point out that “free speech” is not “freedom from consequences”. Even Fox “news” Sunday shocked me when the entire panel took the side of “A&E” over defenders of Mr. Robertson (a leading Fox demographic), pointing out that “the government” isn’t suppressing Robertson’s ability to speak, he can still go out and say whatever he wants, just not on his employers TV show (at least not then, but in an amazing show of spinelessness, A&E rehired Robertson following a torrent of redneck outrage.)

So does the fact that some good has come from Snowden’s revelations negate the way in which he came by that information? As in the “Food Lion” case I spoke of earlier, exposing Food Lion didn’t aid those who wish to harm us. Unlike Snowden’s revelations, lives were not put at risk by ABC’s revelations. ABC’s reporters weren’t vigilantes operating on their own seeking personal glory, and when the s#it hit the fan, they accepted responsibility as their network went to trial. So, No, I don’t consider myself a hypocrite for defending REAL “whistle blowers” like ABC News or Private Manning while condemning the actions of Edward Snowden. I hope you agree.
 

Snowden trading on secrets

Note: I added a new video to our “FREE MOVIES” section: “Freedom Fries: And Other Stupidity We’ll Have to Explain to Our Grandchildren”; a look at the linking of “Patriotism” to “Consumerism”. Enjoy!

 


 


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Filed in Crime, Rants, Scandals, Seems Obvious to Me, Unconstitutional January 6th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • 2 comments | Add/View

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sylvia Browne

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

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

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

Psychic-to-the-Stars: “Nikki”

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

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

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

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

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

The Psychic Twins

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

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

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

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

Political Prognosticators

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How I Did.

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

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

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

So now my Predictions for 2014:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


 


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

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Pinging the Bullshit Meter: Gingrich Says Poorest Big Cities All Have Dem Mayors

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

“Sorry Newt, that’s a Bullshit statistic.” That was my immediate reaction to Newt Gingrich’s claim that, “Every major city which is a center of poverty is run by Democrats. Every major city!” He said it as a rebuke to Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich’s suggestion that the GOP was responsible for the inability of so many people to move out of poverty. Having lived in the South almost my entire life, and in a very tiny town for much of that, if there’s one thing I know: Most dirt-poor rural residents vote Republican. The poorest states in the Union are deep red states like Mississippi and Louisiana, where some of the richest are deep blue like Massachusetts and California. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard that “statistic” about “Democrats running the poorest cities” (and “Detroit” always tops their list), but it’s a bit like arguing that ALL Republicans are soulless turds because all of the 2012 GOP Presidential candidates were soulless turds. It’s a highly selective feux-“statistic” that is representative of nothing. If nothing else, Gingrich is guilty of wildly over-simplifying the matter.

Wiki (for what it’s worth) lists the top 10 poorest major cities in the United States (w/percentage living in poverty):

  1. Detroit, Michigan – 42.3% – Democratic Mayor
  2. Cleveland, Ohio – 36.1% – Democratic Mayor
  3. Cincinnati, Ohio – 34.1% – Democratic Mayor
  4. Miami, Florida – 31.7% – Republican Mayor
  5. Fresno, California – 31.5% – Republican Mayor
  6. Buffalo, New York – 30.9% – Democratic Mayor
  7. Newark, New Jersey – 30.4% – Democratic Mayor
  8. Toledo, Ohio – 30.1% – Independent Mayor
  9. Milwaukee, Wisconsin – 29.9% – Democratic Mayor
  10. St. Louis, Missouri – 29.2% – Democratic Mayor

(I would like to point out that Michigan’s Republican governor stripped Detroit’s mayor and City Council of ANY power, declared bankruptcy, and is about to liquidate the city’s assets, treasure-for-treasure, with NO plan to grow the local economy. Of the seven Democratically run cities on that list, FIVE are in states with Republican governors.)

Is the list top-heavy with Democrats? Yes. Is it exclusively Democrats? No. So what does this prove? Nothing. Inner-cities typically have larger minority populations that tend to vote Democratic. So are they poor because they vote Democratic or do they vote Democratic because they’re poor? That same Wiki page lists the Top-100 poorest cities in America regardless of size. By my count, EIGHTY-FOUR of the top-100 poorest cities in America are in Red states (with Texas accounting for more than 1/4 of the 100.) Of the Top TWENTY states with the highest per capita income, only TWO are Red states (Alaska at #8 and Wyoming at #17). The rest are all Blue. of the Top-20 Poorest states, just two are blue states (Michigan, the least poor at #30 and New Mexico at #45.) The rest are all Red.

(I feel I could do a far more in-depth analysis of this nonsense pseudo-“statistic”, looking back at whether previous mayors were Republican or Democrat and which Party’s policies were more responsible for the poor economic conditions in these cities, but that would only lend credibility to this particular bit of nonsense.)

In the 60’s many large cities fell victim to “White Flight”, a phenomena where many affluent whites fled to the suburbs, leaving behind large minority populations in the inner city. Poverty and unemployment are higher among Blacks and Latinos than whites. So it just goes to follow that poverty and unemployment are higher in the city than in the suburbs. They also tend to vote Democrat. Newt and the GOP would have you believe that the poverty-stricken people in these big cities are either too dumb to figure out that voting for Democrats is why they are still poor, or that they’re just lazy and like all the “free stuff” Democrats promise them.

Gingrich has had a problem with viewing Blacks as a different breed of human being altogether. “Poor work ethics” are responsible for their chronic poverty that can be cured if we just gave all their kids janitorial jobs at school, and the only “work” Black kids are interested in is crime where they can make a lot of money with very little effort. They vote Democratic because they’re clearly too stupid to figure out that Republican policies will lift them out of poverty… the way it did under the last two Republican presidents (Bush-I and Bush-II) but not under Clinton (yes, that’s snark.)

Newt Gingrich is just one of those Republicans that bugs the crap out of me. Like Rush Limbaugh. They are race-baiting pseudo-intellectuals that make ridiculous claims with all the authority of Stephen Hawking, pass morality judgements upon others when they themselves are guilty of the same or far worse, and the Media showers them with undeserving praise & respect as authority figures even though they are ALWAYS wrong. And I do mean ALWAYS.
 


 

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Filed in Economy, General, Jobs, Money, myth busting, Politics, Seems Obvious to Me December 16th, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Where Would We Be Today Had JFK Not Been Assassinated? (UPDATED)

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, November 18, 2013

There’s an old parlor-game in which a person is asked: “If you had a time machine, would you go back and kill Hitler even if it meant changing history so you were never born?” (One stipulation is that you don’t worry about the obvious paradox of how you kill Hitler if you were never born.) It’s mostly a morality game but also one designed to test one’s selfishness, but the REAL fun comes in questioning how history might have changed. The war brought technological advancements. Everything from rocket-power to M&M’s to America’s rise as an industrial power were birthed by The War. No more arguments where you can compare your opponent to “Hitler” (now synonymous with “Evil”). Certain global alliances/partnerships might not exist today. The nation of Israel might not exist either. And what would The History Channel show all day? If you killed Hitler, the world would be a very different place today. The same game could be played in reverse if you prevented President Kennedy from ever being assassinated. Would we be where we are today had that terrible event 50 years ago this Friday had not come to pass?

The Space Race

Just four months into his presidency and one month after Russian Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space (the fact his name is in my browser’s dictionary only emphasizes the significance of that event), President Kennedy delivered his famous “land a man on the moon by the end of the decade” speech before a joint session of Congress at Rice University in Houston. Less than four years earlier, Russia leapfrogged the rest of the world in Space Technology by putting the first man-made satellite, Sputnik, into orbit, and now they had put a man in space. The Cold War had already begun and now America feared “going to bed at night by the light of a Communist moon.” The two biggest space-achievements had already been claimed by the Soviet Union. Kennedy raised the bar by targeting The Moon as the next big achievement. And consider the goal: NASA was still in diapers, not even three years old yet, and had JUST put it’s first man in space not three weeks before.

The goal to land a man on the moon “by the end of the century” was seen as fulfilling Kennedy’s challenge when Apollo 11 landed on the moon on July 20, 1969. The mission carried with it the added weight of getting in just under the wire to meet that goal. But consider that this costly endeavor took place in the midst of the Vietnam War and the battle over Civil Rights. Had President Kennedy not been assassinated in 1963, the odds are the race to the moon probably would have petered out as “more pressing priorities” took over. We probably would not have the world-class space program that we have today. Russia could very well be the country the rest of the world turned to today to put their satellites into orbit (okay, with the Shuttle retired, this is indeed now the case). There likely would never have been a Space Shuttle, “International Space Station”, “GPS” or cell-phones , not even “Star Trek” had America not become obsessed with the “Space Race” and getting to the moon before December 31, 1969. If you don’t believe it, consider how quickly our interest in the Space Race waned after 1970. The TV networks didn’t even carry the launch of the third mission (Apollo-13) and the final mission, “Apollo-18” was scrapped due to lack of interest/support (and ultimately fodder for a really bad horror flick.)

Vietnam

One of Kennedy’s first acts as President of the United States was “The Bay of Pigs” fiasco, a botched plan to overthrow the new dictator Fidel Castro. A year later, the world was taken to the brink of nuclear war with The Cuban Missile Crisis as Kennedy ordered the U.S. Navy to blockade Russian attempts to put nuclear warheads in Cuba. The Space Race was our tamest “war” with the Soviet Union that decade.

Less than two months before he was assassinated, President Kennedy spoke out against America becoming even more involved in Vietnam, a war in which the Soviet-backed Communist North invaded the Democratic South, but added that “to withdraw” would be “a great mistake.” The fear was that Vietnam might become a “proxy war” similar to Korea where “Fighting Communism” was an euphemism for “Fighting the Russians”.

When it was learned that Kennedy’s assassin, Oswald, was an avowed Communist that once defected to the Soviet Union and trained by their military only to return to the U.S. to kill the president of the United States, Lyndon Johnson, now president, was rumored to have been absolutely convinced that the Soviets were behind the assassination of President Kennedy.
 

Recording one week after assassination shows LBJ immediately suspected Russia
(or some other country with nuclear missiles [ie: none].)

 
Johnson greatly increased U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War (but waited until just days after the election to act because he needed the support of anti-war Kennedy voters) in retribution for what I believe Johnson believed was retaliation for the assassination of President Kennedy. Had Kennedy not been assassinated, the likelihood is the U.S. never would have become so embroiled in the Vietnam War. The anti-war turmoil of the 1960’s might never have happened and we might very well still have a “military draft” today. No “Hippies”, no peace-movement, a decade of some of amazing music and protest songs. No “Kent State” Massacre, tens of thousands of American & Vietnamese soldiers would never have died. Nixon would of had no “secret war in Cambodia” and Liz Cheney might never have been born as Daddy conceived her to evade the Draft.

Civil Rights

As senator, Kennedy voted against Eisenhower’s 1957 Civil Rights Act to stay in the good graces of the (then) very racist Democratic Party, but by the 1960 presidential campaign, Kennedy backed off his 1957 vote (in a move cynics view as a way to draw black support away from Nixon and “The Party of Lincoln”). The significance of being president 100 years after Abraham Lincoln was not lost on Kennedy. As president, Kennedy appointed 40 African-Americans to senior federal positions including five federal judgeships (ibid), and tasked his brother, Robert, appointed as the new Attorney General, to pursue cases of illegal discrimination in the South (57 cases in all) including enforcing new school desegregation laws. Kennedy’s poll numbers in the South plummeted over 15-points in just a matter of months and that morning in Dallas, flyers accusing Kennedy of being a “race traitor deserving of “impeachment” (or worse) were passed out among the crowds.

Following the assassination of Kennedy, pushing through Civil Rights legislation was seen as advancing Kennedy’s will, and Johnson, who already blamed Russian involvement in his predecessors’ death, couldn’t discount the hatred of racist as wanting Kennedy dead as well (Russia has always been notoriously anti-Semitic… attracting many American racists to their folds). A Liberal Texan like Johnson pushing through “Civil Rights” after Kennedy’s assassination was one giant “screw you” to the racist South that had turned on Kennedy in his final days.

Despite advancing the rights of blacks, as president, Kennedy never called for a re-vote on the 1957 Civil Rights Act, instead using his brother to ensure that federal funds for “separate-but-equal” facilities were fully spent. He courted the black vote in 1960, but actually gave them very little in return to justify voting for him again. Had Kennedy not been assassinated, it is quite possible there never would have been a 1964 Civil Rights Act, nor a “Voting Rights Act” the following year. “Separate-but-equal” might still have been the law of the land for another decade or two. The Democratic Party might still be the Party of white Southern racists, and “The Party of Lincoln” might still actually be “The Party of Lincoln” today instead of the Modern Neo-Confederate Party of Teaagging asshats.

America would look very different today had JFK of not been assassinated 50 years ago this week. That’s the lesson boys & girls. Hitler had to live and Kennedy had to die. What a screwed up world we live in.
 



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Filed in General, rewriting history, Seems Obvious to Me November 18th, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • 3 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