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Beginning of the End for Religious Bigotry Laws

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, June 29, 2015

Last weeks’ historic Supreme Court ruling declaring no legal basis to justify discrimination against Same-Sex couples was condemned by every single GOP presidential hopeful (sans Rand Paul who has a history of waiting to test the political mood before commenting on controversial issues) as being in violation of “religious liberty” laws protecting the right of bigots to be bigots. But in fact, the Supreme Court did NOT rule on so-called “Religious Freedom” laws passed in individual states. They only ruled on the rights of the targets of those laws… and even then… only a very specific subsection. However it is clear that they will have to (sooner rather than later) rule on the Constitutionality of such laws. It’s not just the baker that refuses to bake a “gay” wedding cake, or the caterer who refuses to cater a gay wedding, it’s also the County Clerk who refuses to issue marriage licenses to gay couples (Huckabee asserted this right yesterday on ABC’s ThisWeek), or the pharmacist who refuses to fill your prescription for Birth Control pills because it offends his/her religious sensibilities. If an employee cites “religious grounds” as the reason they can’t fulfill the duties of their job, then can their employer then fire them for not doing the job for which they were hired? What about refusing to hire someone if you think their religion might prevent them from doing their job? (that “pharmacist” link includes a response from CVS declaring their right to do just that.) Then, does the employer get sued for religious discrimination or violating their former employees’ Religious Freedom?

These attempts by individual states to circumvent the U.S. Supreme Court WILL eventually be challenged in the courts and They. Will. Lose. This nation fought a Civil War over whether or not Federal law superseded “states rights” (“The South” lost BTW, and Federal Law reigns supreme.) The Federal government passed a law banning Slavery, and the South would have to abide by it. (How ironic that we also saw a fight over the Confederate flag this past week as the EXACT SAME anti-federal government Southern bigots talk of “secession”, “armed revolt” and “states rights” by morons oblivious to the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War that just came to pass last April.)

We’ve had “equal housing” laws in this country since President Lyndon Johnson signed the “Fair Housing” Act into law in 1968. It was intended to protect African-Americans from being discriminated against when seeking housing, but over the years it has been expanded to prohibit discrimination against ANYONE for almost any reason. The Reagan Administration added the “Disabled” to the Act in 1988. So what happens now if someone tries to deny housing to a gay couple citing their “religious freedom” as their justification? How would that be any different than denying an inter-racial couple for the same reason? (Note: Justice Thomas, who voted in favor of allowing people to discriminate against marriages they object to on religious grounds, himself has an interracial marriage.)

The High Court will be *forced* to step in, and I can’t see how they could side against an employers right to fire someone who refuses do the job for which they were hired. An employee could cite “religious reasons” for everything from showing up late to work to drinking on the job, then what? The days of these nonsense “religious freedom” laws are now numbered. It’s inevitable. That case will go to the Supreme Court and those laws will be struck down. You have a right to worship as you wish in your personal life, but NOT “on the job”.

Such a case will pit “Big Business Conservatives” against “Religious Right Conservatives.” Get the popcorn.
 

BONUS:

Sen. Sanders discusses his record on Civil Rights (1:40)

 
Bernie responds to Hillary Clinton’s reported 91% to 3% lead among minority voters. Hillary comes in with a built-in advantage of minority support for her husband, while Sanders is still a relative unknown. Bernie talks about a life dedicated to Civil Rights, getting arrested in the 60’s protesting Segregation and marching with Martin Luther King Jr. (but left out the fact he witnessed King’s “I Have a Dream” speech in-person.)

 



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Filed in Civil Rights, Partisanship, Predictions, Religion, Seems Obvious to Me, Unconstitutional June 29th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Let’s Face Facts: Spike in violence against Blacks tied to Right Wing hostility toward Obama

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, June 22, 2015

After news broke of the mass murder of nine African-American members of the AME Church of Charleston, SC last Thursday, the “discovery” that the shooter was a Confederate Flag waving racist gun nut, surprised no one. What WAS surprising was the lengths to which Fox “news” went to to suggest that this might have been an attack on Christians by a possibly “liberal” youth driven to hatred of “religion” by The Left rather than a racially motivated crime driven by hatred towards blacks. And the impetus is obvious: the Shooter shares much in common with Fox’s core demographic: White Southern Conservative, loves guns, with some obviously racist views. Yes, the Right was openly suggesting this redneck jackass was not necessarily motivated by racism but by hatred of religion. And we all know why: Because one view makes Conservatives look bad while the other makes “Libruls” look bad. It has become political. And why might that be? We all KNOW why but it seems like no one is willing to admit it: Open hostility towards President Obama is feeding open hostility towards blacks in general. Trying to attach a political ideology to the S.C. shooter wouldn’t be necessary if there wasn’t already a reason to believe politics played a role in this latest mass murder. Think about it.

I mean, seriously. If “politics” played “No” part in shaping the motivations of the S.C. Shooter, then it wouldn’t matter if he were a Conservative, a Liberal, a Communist or an anarchist. The very fact Fox tried to shed doubt on the motivations of the shooter is (frankly) an ADMISSION that politics likely played a part in this crime.

A string of unarmed black people… several of them children for Christ sakes (Tamir Rice, Travon Martin and a bikini-clad black girl in McKinney, Texas) have been assaulted (or worse) by enraged white authority figures (numerous cops and two wannabees) that can’t fathom the idea of relating or even empathizing with blacks as equals that might make them less quick to draw their gun or wrestle a black person to the ground. And I can only attribute this to one thing: a lack of respect for our Commander-in-Chief, often couched in the subtle language of racism.

When a fight between two mostly white rival biker gangs broke out in Waco last month, police sat with the bikers and calmly arrested them. How many in the media called them “thugs” and questioned why “leaders of the biking community” hadn’t come out to “condemn” these rogue elements? “Where are the parents?” A biker jacket on a white guy is apparently less anti-social than a “hoodie” on a black kid.

A Facebook page of the shooter turned up with photos (video?) of him flying “White Power” & “Confederate battle” flags as well as photos of him burning the American flag. The day of the shooting, we already had photos of him in a jacket sporting the “Apartheid-era” flags of South Africa and Rhodesia (modern-day Zimbabwe) with a novelty Confederate flag license plate on the front of his car. If you’ve seen the photos, The Shooter is clearly in the woods, unquestionably nowhere near the downtown area. And yet, Fox “news” would have you believe this poor misguided (by Liberal hated of Christianity) God-fearing youth with a healthy love of guns (which in itself doesn’t gibe with the “Liberal” label) couldn’t find a church closer to his home and apparently had to drive 15-20 miles into the heart of downtown Charleston, where he just happened to choose an almost exclusively black church “by accident” so he may start killing “Christians”.

Seriously. Did Fox really believe the downtown Charleston AME church “just happened” to be the most convenient church to where the shooter lived? There weren’t dozens more churches along the way in which he could have stopped in to carry out his brutal Liberal-influenced attack on Christianity? Anyone that buys that desperate stretch of tortured logic is lying to themselves… and knows it.

I forget who said it yesterday (during the Sunday shows), but “guns make the weak feel powerful”. We now have an entire network dedicated to convincing people they are victims, and that the Federal government is their enemy. They already horde guns like a squirrel hording nuts for Winter, and the NRA makes Bank convincing the paranoid that the government is coming to take their guns away. With a mostly white Southern Conservative demographic that (unquestionably) already tends to lean a bit racist to begin with, linking their dislike of “blacks” to their dislike of “government” has become painfully easy now that the head of that government just happens to be black.

The S.C. Shooter told one black woman in the AME church that “[blacks] are taking over the country“. Now if you believe a 20-year old kid is upset over losing a string of jobs or college admission to “Affirmative Action” candidates, or had one-too-many black bankers turn him down for a loan, you’re sniffing glue. No, there is only ONE “black” in this kid’s mind that epitomizes having “taken over the country”, and that’s President Obama.
 

Nightly Show on Fox whitewashing of Charelston shooting

 

I’ve often said that “if a Conservative accuses you of doing something, it’s only because they’ve either done it themselves or thought of doing it and assume you’re every bit as devious as they are”, be it “election rigging” or “false flag” operations. Trust me.

And that second one, that belief that everything that makes Conservatives look bad is in fact a “false flag” operation meticulously carried out by “The Other Side” is actually a thing. In any other era, these candidates for the rubber room would be holding meetings in basements to discuss the fact the U.S. military is hiding alien bodies in a hangar in “Area-51″. Instead, these delusional paranoids have their own 24 hour cable news network that tells them, “No, you’re not paranoid! The government really is building FEMA interment camps where they plan to hold you prisoner for… well, that’s really not clear. Till you agree to give up your guns and sign up for socialized medicine? I seriously can not come up with a SANE explanation for why the Federal government might suddenly be building (“in total secret” mind you) internment camps to house hundreds/thousands/millions(?) of Americans or planning an invasion of Texas via secret underground passages in vacant Wal*Marts. For how long and what purpose? There’s not enough tinfoil in the world to explain that one.

But one thing is brutally clear, latent Conservative racism is being linked and stoked towards President Obama specifically and that racial animosity is bleeding over into the general population.
 



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Filed in Crime, Guns & Violence, myth busting, Party of Life, Politics, Racism, Rants, Religion, Seems Obvious to Me, Terrorism June 22nd, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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

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

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

Construction of Bismayah (3:24)

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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GOP Candidates All Adopting Language of Democrats to Remain Relevant

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, May 18, 2015

Last week, Jeb Bush found himself in Damage Control mode after telling a Fox “news” anchor that he’d still have gone into Iraq in 2003 despite “knowing what we know now”. His GOP opponents pounced, denouncing the very idea that anything good came out of the invasion of Iraq that mitigated the mind-numbing disaster to follow. In another Through-the-looking glass moment, Mike Huckabee again tweeted that, as president, he would stand for “all of us, not Wall Street”, two weeks after Jeb denounced the rise in “income inequality”. On Fox “news” Sunday yesterday, Marco Rubio defended supporting President Obama negotiating with Iran (“I don’t know WHO wouldn’t be in favor of a deal” he tells Chris Wallace (he should have asked Netanyahu when his Party invited him to DC). This came minutes after he blamed “the last election” (the GOP’s big 2014 victory) for why Congress “can’t muster the votes to pass comprehensive immigration reform”. Huckabee is also running ads that use the words “Maximum Wage” in big letters… echoing a Progressive idea to cap the wealth of the absurdly rich (but look closely, he’s not calling to cap “extreme wealth”, he’s suggesting there’s a “Maximum wage” for ALL of us, in ads intended to APPEAR deceptively Progressive.) ThinkProgress also noticed the sudden rise in the number of Republican candidates adopting Progressive positions on the issues. Even Hillary Clinton hit the campaign trail sounding a lot like Warren on the subject of “income inequality”. It is clear, if you want the voters to take you seriously, you’d better adopt adopt the language of Democrats on the big issues… and not just ANY Democrat, but Elizabeth Warren (and Bernie Sanders too BTW).

The Republican candidates are disavowing the policies of the last Republican candidate (though Jeb insists he isn’t), and while they love to invoke St. Reagan, there really isn’t a single specific policy of his they can cite that they’d like to revive should they win the nomination. No, the only policies that resonate with voters in this election are those of our side: the Democratic Left.

Watching the Republican candidates tie themselves up in knots trying to avoid denouncing their own Party’s failures while still trying to take credit for not supporting them, has been a wonder to behold. Fox “news” Sunday’s host Chris Wallace asked Marco Rubio the exact same question Jeb was asked: “Knowing what we know now, would you have invaded Iraq?” Hilarity ensues:
 

Rubio refuses to admit invading Iraq was a colossal mistake (1:54)

 

You “don’t understand the question”, Marco? Puhleez. The invasion of Iraq and overthrow of Saddam has left the Middle East in chaos. Iran is FAR more powerful as a result; ISIS (the remnants of Saddam’s Mahdi Army) only exist today because of it; we took our eye off the ball in Iraq rather than focus on wiping out alQaeda; and we find ourselves in the uncomfortable position of helping Syria fight ISIS. Rubio tells one interviewer that “the world is a safer place without Saddam in it” (clearly it isn’t), while telling Charlie Rose that… “knowing what we know now”… invading Iraq was “a mistake” (how can it be a mistake if we’re “better off”?)

When Jeb suggested he’d still have invaded Iraq despite “knowing what we know now”, the GOP cringed. Even a majority of Republicans now admit invading Iraq was a mistake. Jeb tried to suggest he “misunderstood the question”. Five days later, he was in full take-back mode, telling reporters that “mistakes were made”. Now Rubio is too-cute-by-half pretending he “doesn’t understand the question” when asked if invading Iraq has made the world less safe (Funny, because many of these SAME people question the wisdom of Obama “taking out” Gaddafi and destabilizing Libya, with no sense of irony.)

So we have Huckabee, Bush-3, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Ben Carson, Chris Christie (ad infinitum) all talking about “income inequality” (let’s not forget Mitt Romney too), all adopting the language of Warren & Sanders, and trying to pass themselves off as the Champion of the Little Guy.

Rubio says negotiating with Iran is a good thing. All the GOP candidates are suddenly against the Iraq war too.

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader (cough) Mitch McConnell praised President Obama for bucking his own Party as Republicans joined with him in supporting the disastrous “Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty” (TPP). (As an aside, there’s a part of me that wonders if President Obama didn’t actually pull a fast-one, outsmarting the GOP, noting last year that the moment he agrees with Republicans on something, suddenly they oppose it. So he publicly announces his support for the TPP, even calling Warren “wrong” on the issue, and watches the bill tank while earning some good will among Republicans in his final two years. If he really supported the idea, he’d be telling Congress to renegotiate to find something both sides can support. He isn’t because he’s glad it failed. But is he really that damned smart? We may never know.)

The GOP isn’t adopting the rhetoric of the Tea Party cranks as the path to victory in 2016. No, they’re all adopting the populist language of Democrats, and THAT, dear reader, more than anything else, should tell you where this election is going.
 



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Filed in Election, General, Middle East, myth busting, National Security, Partisanship, Politics, Right-Wing Hypocrisy, Seems Obvious to Me May 18th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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What If… Hillary’s Campaign Imploded? Who fills the void?

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, April 27, 2015

Most people believe that the Bush Administration invaded Iraq in 2003 without a plan for what to do once they had overthrown Saddam. But they DID have a plan. ONE plan. To replace him with a man named Ahmed Chalabi, an Iraqi exile that tried & failed for nearly a decade to convince the Clinton White House that Saddam possessed “stockpiles” of “Weapons of Mass Destruction” and that he needed to be overthrown to avoid an inevitable attack upon the United States. He failed to convince the Clinton White House, but found a far more receptive audience once the Bush neocons took over. Suddenly a plan was set in motion (“from day one”) to overthrow Saddam and replace him with Chalibi. But when we invaded and those “stockpiles” were nowhere to be found, the Bush Administration wasn’t about to “reward” the man that duped them into launching America’s very first preemptive war, so they suddenly found themselves without a “Plan B”. Chaos broke out and Iraq has yet to recover from that lack of planning. Might Democrats be making the same mistake by not seriously considering another candidate should Hillary falter? Who steps up to fill the void? What’s our “Plan B”?

The GOP scandal machine was switched on the day after President Obama was re-elected to a second term and a Hillary candidacy seemed inevitable. There was “Benghazi!TM” on September 11th of 2012, followed by demands for an investigation into Clinton’s handling of the incident (just imagine how they might of reacted if four THOUSAND people had died that 9/11 instead of just four?) Republican tears over Romney’s loss weren’t even dry before Karl Rove suggested Hillary might have suffered “brain damage” as a result of a head injury that left her hospitalized that December, with some Republicans even questioning the “timing” of her injury as happening “conveniently” just before yet another hearing on “Benghazi!TM. They ridiculed her attempt to “hit the reset button with Russia” while not seeing the Ukrainian crisis coming (this is the Party whose own leader less than a decade before claimed to able to “see into Putin’s soul” and praise him as “a reformer”), and the latest scandals-du-jour are “email-gate” and (an old chestnut) the Clinton’s fund-raising from “foreign” donors (Republicans are proud to be bought & paid for by a handful of AMERICAN Billionaires. “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!”)

With no other “serious” opponents on the Left to focus on, all 37 Republican contenders can focus nearly every dime of their ad buys against a single candidate. The GOP can use its control of Congress to host countless partisan investigations (all funded by the taxpayer) to try and accuse Clinton of everything from being “incompetent” to an outright “criminal”. That’s a lot of negative attention & scrutiny focused on just one person.
 

What if something sticks? Then what?
 

The GOP knows that… with no other Democratic contender with a serious shot at winning the presidency… all they have to do is take out Hillary and a GOP victory in 2016 will be so easy they may not even worry about enforcing strict “Voter ID” laws (aw, who am I kidding? An election is no fun if they can’t screw over enough Democrats so that the margin of victory is wide enough to claim an imagined “mandate”.) That’s a lot of targets on Hillary’s back. If a dog keeps digging long enough, he’s bound to find a bone. What then?

For many, the obvious answer is Sen. Elizabeth Warren, no matter how many times she insists she is not running. And as much as I adore Warren (having watched her as a frequent guest of Bill Moyers’ NOW long before she ran for the Senate), I just don’t see her as “Commander-in-Chief” of the United States military. And besides, we REALLY need her in the Senate.

I have a personal preference for Bernie Sanders. I was stunned to see him give an interview to Fox “news” Sunday last week, and host Chris Wallace brought up the fact Sanders is “a self-described Democratic-Socialist.” I could hear the sound of every #FnS viewer across the nation (all 17 of them) audibly gasp at the revelation that “a NAZI” and/or “admitted COMMUNIST” is a serving United States senator thinking about running for president! While I personally WANT Bernie to run… and run as a Democrat in order to share the stage with Hillary in a debate that pushes her to the Left… if HE were the nominee, he’d be spending 90% of his time explaining to the Trailer Park Crowd that a “Socialist” is not a “Communist” or a “Nazi”. It’s the third largest political Party in the UK (after the Conservative & Labor Parties) and is currently the ruling Party in France. But to Bubba on his Bass boat or the Sarah Palin’s of the world chewing on Moose Jerky (and even a few reliably Liberal voters that just don’t know better), “Socialism” is either “watered-down Communism” or the foundation for the “National Socialist (aka Nazi) Party” (actually, Hitler’s Fascists took-over Germany’s Socialist Party to give themselves credibility, but were in fact Corporate neocons.) I’d say a Bernie victory is less likely than the election of the first black president that just happened to share a (middle) name with one of America’s greatest enemies (“Hussein”). Not impossible, but very very unlikely. It took a catastrophic economic disaster at the hands of the GOP to do it. Bernie will have no such advantage unless the GOP Senate goes completely off the rails between now and Election Day.

Then there is the former governor of Maryland Martin O’Malley who is known for… uh… ummm… hmmm. I don’t think the former governor of Maryland is even known for being former governor of Maryland. If Hillary were to falter, does anyone see the nation rallying around Martin O’Malley?

That leaves Joe Biden. With the continued success of the economy, a stunning military victory in the Middle East could suddenly make a desire to “extend the Obama presidency to a (metaphorical) third term” very attractive. One big downside is Biden’s age, who… should he win… would be the oldest person ever elected president. It was Joe Biden who got the ball rolling on the sudden stunning wave of approval towards equal rights for gays, declaring his support for same-sex marriage on “Meet the Press” in the middle of the 2012 campaign when President Obama himself was reluctant to openly support gay marriage for fear of how it might play out in an election year.

It was Biden who first advocated for a “pathway to citizenship” for undocumented immigrants, once again forcing the White House to take a principled stand on an issue before they were ready.

While I’m not sure Biden should be actively challenging Hillary for the nomination, should there be a need for another candidate to step up, Vice President Biden is the obvious next best choice.

PS: And for your listening pleasure…

“You’re kicking the tires. Looking under the trunk.” (???) Hillary during a 2008 campaign appearance

 



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Filed in Election, General, Politics, Scandals, Seems Obvious to Me April 27th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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If Hillary is nominee in 2016, she has my vote. Here is how to win my SUPPORT.

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, April 13, 2015

At the start of the 2008 presidential race, I was a Hillary Clinton supporter. I was a “Health care Reform” voter and she had made reform a key plank in her campaign. But as the race dragged on (with the help of Republican’s engaging in what Rush Limbaugh coined “Operation Chaos”), the debate turned nasty between her and Obama, at which point she lost me. I didn’t become an Obama supporter right away though until Hillary told some reporters during a campaign stop in Fort Worth that “McCain would be better than Obama.” Bye-bye, Hillary. Hello, Barack. Since then, I’ve repeatedly watched her reflexively toss fellow Democrats… President Obama chief among them… under the bus for the sake of her own political advancement. Needless to say, I’m not a fan. However, outside of “National Defense” issues, she has a good Progressive record, and I’d much rather have her possibly picking the next four members of the Supreme Court than ANY Republican. But she STILL hasn’t taken a position on the potentially disastrous Keystone XL pipeline… which to me is a bit like not taking a position on whether or not water is wet. If she’s the nominee, she’ll have my vote. But if she wants my “support” (ie: “money” & “activism”), I need to see a few things first:

1) Peace. Hillary was a hawk during the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, clearly trying to avoid looking like “another weak on National Defense” Democrat (an absurd rewrite of history successfully spun by Republicans), when she should have been asking the kind of serious questions that needed to be asked prior to committing the nation to its very first preemptive war. As noted above, she expressed a position similar to that of John McCain that perhaps “if only” we had armed the Syrian Rebels, there might be no ISIS today. No Hillary, many of the Syrian Rebels WERE ISIS and had we of armed them, just imagine how much worse that region might be than it already is today. “If only” we had NEVER INVADED IRAQ IN THE FIRST PLACE, there would be no ISIS today (remnants of Saddam’s Mahdi Army.) I need to know if she has learned her lesson. Where does she stand on the peace talks with Iran and Cuba? Good thing or bad?

2) The Keystone XL pipeline. There’s no wiggle-room on this one. President Obama has already conceded too much ground to Republicans. So much so that should disaster strike and a member of the current GOP Clown Car were to win the presidency, they’re just one presidential signature away from lighting the fuse on the most devastating ecological bomb in the history of mankind. It’s not enough to “just say No” however. The next President needs to SELL the idea of a “Green Jobs Economy” being a bridge to the future, not a slide backwards into the past. Will she ensure the KXL is never built? Will she be smart enough to point out the greater opportunities by investing in Green Energy jobs instead of one leaky pipeline?

3) No equivocation on Climate Change. The time for debate is over on this one. The house is on fire and some Republicans are still debating whether the fire started “naturally” or was “man made”, while others pick up a bucket of water in DC and joke how its existence proves there’s no drought in California. Not only is Global Warming real, but it’s an incredible business opportunity and should be talked about in that context. Not only am I looking for someone to take a stand on Climate Change, but being clever enough to know how to SELL IT to Republicans so that everyone is on-board.

4) The TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership). If there is one issue President Obama and I deeply disagree on, it’s the potentially disastrous 12 nation “Trans-Pacific Partnership” free-trade agreement he hopes to pass before the end of the year. Hillary’s presidential announcement yesterday sounded very much like she’s decided to adopt the Elisabeth Warren narrative of being “a champion of the Middle Class”. Warren is (rightly) fiercely opposed to the TPP… NAFTA on steroids. In 2007, Hillary called NAFTA… signed into law by her husband to appease the unappeasable GOP… “a mistake”. If she wants to distance herself from Obama to appeal to both middle-class Republicans and Democrats alike, this would be an excellent place to take her stand, as most Republicans hate NAFTA as well, and couching the TPP in those terms would win support from both sides. But the corporate money is on the side of the TPP. Will her desire to be president and raise enough money to defeat the eventual GOP nominee win out over choosing what’s right? Will she take a brave stand early or drag out taking a position on the issue for as long as the money rolls in?

5) Defend the Obama economic record. Democrats allowed the GOP to spin the fantasy that President Obama is “unpopular” and siding with him during the 2014 mid-terms would lead to their defeat. So they ran away from the amazing Obama economic record (tripling the stock market since it bottomed out two-months after Bush left office, record job growth, America the world’s #1 Auto Maker again after being on the brink of bankruptcy under Bush, etc) and ended up losing anyway. Of course, as I’ve pointed out numerous times, the “low Obama poll numbers” are a myth, dragged down by insanely irrational Republicans that still think he’s “a Kenyan Socialist Muslim” on the Tea Party side, and those who believe he’s “The Anti-Christ” on the Religious Right. Take those irrational people out of the mix and President Obama’s approval ratings would likely shoot into the mid-60’s. Eschewing President Obama’s economic record and buying the GOP narrative that he’s a failure (“Bush? Bush, who?”) could do for her campaign exactly what it did for spineless Democrats in 2014. Will she defend President Obama’s economic record or downplay it?

6) Stop throwing Democrats under the bus. Ronald Reagan got one thing (and only one thing) right: “Never speak ill of a fellow Republican”. With the huge lead in the polls Hillary has over any potential Democratic challenger, she should feel safe enough to say, “My Democratic challenger would make a great president. We simply disagree on policy”, and be prepared to answer when inevitably asked for examples. Because you can disagree with Democrats on “policy”, but there should be no question which Party’s agenda is better for the nation. This will be a “yellow flag” indicator whether it’s all about “winning” or about Democratic ideals. Will she turn on her fellow Democrats in pursuit of the White House?

7) Learn to play chess. Maybe not literally, but there is one core principle of the game: every move can’t just be a defensive one, it must also be an offensive move that distracts your opponent from relentlessly attacking you. Once all you’re doing is playing defense, the game is over. If they try to go after her on Benghazi, not only should she point out the NINE Republican witch hunts that turned up absolutely nothing, but don’t be afraid to bring up all the Embassy attacks under President Bush that went uninvestigated by these hypocrites. Those emails? Romney destroyed hard drives and Karl Rove “misplaced” 2 million emails of his own. Turn it back on them. Get the Press asking THEM, “yeah, what about that, Senator Schmuck?” or “What would you have done differently, Governor Gasbag?” Show me you know how to go on the offensive (and not just against Democrats.)

8) A new strategy for the Middle East. If 15 years of war (by the end of 2016) isn’t enough to convince you that maybe it’s time to try something new, nothing will. Hillary’s inclination to be a hawk is the most disturbing thing about her, and I fear that she believes being seen as willing to use military force makes her look “tough”. That’s how we ended up with 50 years of sanctions against Cuba that went absolutely nowhere, and a “drug war” that has done little-to-nothing to stem drug use in this country. Will Hillary be a hawk or will she be open to new ideas?

Winning over ambivalent Democrats like myself is going to be Hillary’s greatest challenge this election season. She may have my vote as a Democrat, but if she wants to win in the General, she’s going to need my enthusiastic support as well. Winning over a few Moderate Republican voters will be no easy feat either, yet Hillary’s reputation as a “hawk” that is quick to throw her fellow Democrats overboard does win her some approval on the Right. Meanwhile, I recommend you check out some of the Youtube comments in response to Hillary’s announcement video yesterday. Within minutes, frothing mad Conservatives… sounding very much like irrational pre-teens that didn’t start paying attention to politics until “the black guy” got elected… were already posting vicious personal attacks against her. But what you’ll also notice is a near total absence of anything of substance in their criticisms. Oh sure, a few still cite “Benghazi”, blaming her for the deaths of four people on 9/11… 2012, and maybe some old-timers accusing her of murdering Vince Foster in the 90’s, but almost nothing of substance. “Harpy” will be the new socially-acceptable “N-word” of the 2016 campaign. Speaking as one who dreads the thought of The GOP firing up the old “Destroy the Clinton’s at all costs” machine once again, and what another four-to-eight years of wildly partisan obstructionism might mean for our country, I’m really hoping Hillary gives me something to be enthusiastic about this time around.
 



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Filed in Election, Politics, Rants, Scandals, Seems Obvious to Me, War April 13th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Are Oil Prices Returning To Their Pre-Bush Trajectory?

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, January 19, 2015

A number of “concern trolls” on the Right and on Wall Street have been desperate to find ways to paint the recent plunge in oil prices as a BAD thing worthy of “serious concern” (remember when they WANTED to bring down the price of oil with their 2008 “Drill here. Drill now!” campaign rhetoric and Newt’s promise of $2.50/gal gas by approving Keystone?) A lot of amateur-economists talked about the “popping of the tech bubble” in 2000 as some sort of devastating aberration. Something “no one saw coming” and could have been sustained if only it had been handled properly. Poppycock. I was there. What happened to the tech boom of the late ’90’s was not a “popping of the tech bubble” but a CORRECTION (prepping for “Y2K” was the biggest contributor, which we knew would be over by 2000.) The tech bubble didn’t devastate the U.S. economy in 2000 the way it was following the Market Crash of 2008. Likewise, this recent drop in oil prices should not be seen as a “crash” but a “correction”. Before George W. Bush became president in 2001… and on til the invasion of Iraq in 2003… the per-barrel price of oil remained pretty much where it had been for the past two decades… below $30/barrel. It took the invasion of Iraq to drive it into the stratosphere. And now that the economy is finally starting to shake off the last vestiges of the Bush years, oil prices should be seen as simply returning to that slow-rise to $30 trajectory it started in the early 80’s.
 

Oil price per balled, 1981-Present

 

The above graph is a chart of the annual price of oil since 1981. That yellow line shows roughly the trajectory upon which oil prices were rising in that time (going back to 1977 prior to the Iran/Hostage Crisis, see teaser-graph at start of post for more detail), bouncing around the mid-$20’s during most of that time. 1990 & 2000 fall right on that line, and if oil prices had continued on this same trajectory unabated by the Bush-II years, the natural price of oil would be closer to $35/barrel today.

As I pointed out recently (and frequently in the past), the price of gasoline was WELL below $2/gal prior to the invasion of Iraq. In 2000, long-haul truckers threatened to go on strike when the price of diesel hit a crushing $1.89/gal, demanding that the White House do something to stop the sudden rise in gas prices. Candidate George Bush declared that if he were elected president, he’d tell OPEC to “open up the spigots” [ibid] to get prices down (gas prices were never lower during the entire Bush presidency than they were that day.) Two weeks before the invasion of Iraq, the price oil was $29/barrel and Dick Cheney suggested that one of the consequences of invading Iraq and “removing Saddam Hussein” might be oil “as low as $15/barrel”.
 

Percentage change in oil prices, 1981 to Present
Percentage change in oil prices, 1981 to Present

 

As you can see from the above graph, this recent plunge in the price of oil is certainly not the first nor the largest. That honor goes to the Reagan Administration, whom I believe Republicans give high marks to. The decline in 1998 was also not the forebearer of economic catastrophe. Only the plunge of 2008… which took place AFTER the economic crash that year… was a sign that something was wrong. And NOT ONCE in any of those cases did the steep decline in the price of oil provoke a severe economic downturn. In fact, the opposite is true. Ronald Reagan’s second term saw economic growth. The plunge of 1998 saw the start of explosive growth in the tech sector that fueled the Clinton Jobs Machine. And now in 2015, the economy is on the rebound, creating more than 200,000 jobs a month for the past three months (with 12 of the last 36 months seeing >200K jobs created.)

Oil companies were incredibly successful for decades with oil prices around $30/barrel, and are hardly “struggling” today because oil prices recently (momentarily) fell to $45/barrel last week. Before the Bush presidency, I remember being upset when gas hit $1.49/gal in the Summer of 2000. Today, locally, I can find gasoline for $1.89/gal, getting very close to that $1.50/gal price I fretted over in 2000, and right on par where I’d expect it to be today if prices had continued to rise at the same rate. The idea that sub-$50 oil would be some sort of economic disaster for the oil companies is nonsense. They became addicted to the outrageous profits of the last decade that made companies like Exxon/Mobil “the most profitable corporation on the face of the Earth”, and now they want to convince you that $3/gal gas should be the norm.

It’s nonsense of course. The current decline in gasoline prices is NOT a harbinger of economic devastation to come. Oil companies did just fine with oil close to $25/barrel for decades, and will do so again if necessary.



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Filed in Economy, myth busting, Seems Obvious to Me, War January 19th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Plunge in Oil Prices Foretells Looming Economic Disaster. Aribrary pricing can go up easier than it came down.

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, December 8, 2014

During the 2000 presidential campaign, after oil climbed a whopping 72cents in one day (yes, that’s sarcasm) to $33.05/barrel, causing gasoline prices to hit an “unthinkable” $1.68/gallon nationally, Interstate “long-haul” truckers across the country threatened to go on strike saying that the soaring price of fuel was putting them out of business. Naturally, the leading candidates, Bush & Gore, were both forced to respond. On June 22nd of that year, George W Bush openly criticized the Clinton Administration for rising gas prices, saying (famously) that if HE were president, he’d tell OPEC to “open up the spigots” to bring down gas [sic] prices. Over the prior two decades, the price of gasoline had not fluctuated by more than a few cents a year until the “dime a gallon” spikes we saw in early 2000. But that stability vanished following G.W.Bush’s ascent to the presidency:

DoE graph of weekly oil prices from 1991 to Present (link)
Weekly gas prices 1991 to present

The range circled in yellow is the relatively flat/stable gasoline prices we had become accustomed to for decades, with a slight dip following 9/11. Gas prices rarely rose more than a couple of pennies per gallon in a month let alone a single day. After becoming president, the price of gasoline under George W Bush remained in the “strike zone”… and by that, I mean quite literally the “over $1.50/gal” price point at which truckers had threatened to strike… for the next three years. The day AFTER 9/11… and for the next two years… oil was still (roughly) only $29/barrel. It took the unwarranted invasion of Iraq and tossing the Middle East into chaos to drive the price of oil into the stratosphere (I’ll let you decide if that was the goal all along.)

The range circled in red is the dramatic plunge in gasoline prices after peaking at just over $4.10/gallon in July of 2008 (reportedly, one journalist asked President Bush at the time what he thought about the price of gas breaking $4/gallon, to which a startled president Bush… who last saw gas prices around $1.68/gal during the 2000 campaign… supposedly said in surprise, “How much???”) Breaking the $4.00 barrier was probably the final straw in the looming collapse of the economy, the bankrupting of the banking industry and the implosion of Wall Street, with the price of gas falling to a national average of just $1.89/per gallon in just seven months. The election of President Obama and the promise of getting out of Iraq was seen as likely to bring some stability to the Middle East (don’t laugh), which in turn would reduce the threat to our oil supply, allowing prices to quickly “rebound” back to the “new normal” of over $2.50/gallon in less than a few months (and over $3.50/gal in the year to follow). Again, as you can see from the graph, gas prices began to flatten out (relatively) until this most recent plunge (circled in green.)

I’ve been writing about the skyrocketing price of oil under Bush for many years now, so one might think I’d be thrilled to death to see the price of oil (and gas) plunge back to Earth… and under a Democratic president no less to really rub it in Republican’s faces. Low gas prices are like a shot of nitrous in the economic gas tank. What Republicans think “tax cuts” do for the economy, falling gas prices actually DO (because the benefits hit the Poor & Middle-Class FAR more directly/substantially.) But sadly, this current plunge has only highlighted a big flashing neon-sign at just how arbitrary oil pricing was to begin with, and how likely this rubberband is poised to snap back in our faces. Not to sound like a “Debbie Downer”, but there is a reason oil prices have been falling so precipitously in recent months and the chance they could shoot back up at almost any time is very real (if not likely)… the consequences of which could get very ugly.

The reason oil prices are falling are manifold. First, the United States, under President Obama, has dramatically increased oil production to a 38 year high. The “Drill here! Drill now!” crowd that vilified Obama during the 2008 & 2012 presidential races has an unexpected ally in President Obama. While touting the need to cut our dependence on fossil fuel and invest in renewable energy, President Obama has disappointingly been very supportive of increased drilling across the country (mercifully, he stood up against the “Keystone XL pipeline”, but have you noticed since the vote failed in the Senate, Republicans aren’t exactly banging the drum on how they’ll hold another vote after they take control of Congress?)

Increased U.S. production has triggered a price-war with OPEC… which represents about 1/3 of all the oil produced in the world… increasing their own production to compete with America. So right now, it’s a fight to see “who blinks first”. Two weeks ago, OPEC voted on whether they should CUT production in an attempt to drive prices back up. In the end, they voted “No” because they knew they would lose Billions in sales as more people purchased American oil. OPEC’s response was that they could withstand the price of oil falling to as low as $50/barrel again… a price not seen since right after the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

But American oil companies are likely to blink first before allowing oil prices to fall that low again, and would cut their own production to drive prices back up. OPEC would happily cut their own production in turn, the price of oil would skyrocket overnight and the U.S. economy could crash.

And American oil companies have ample incentive to drive prices up. First, when you sell a product billions of people literally can’t do without, you can almost charge whatever you want. And if they want $75 oil again, they wouldn’t break a sweat getting it back up there. And if you’re “TransCanada” and have millions of acres of oily sludge just begging to be turned into a pile of cash if only it were cost-effective to do so (presently, oil needs to be over $75/barrel to make converting tarsands sludge into oil profitable), nothing would make them (or their investors) happier than to see the price of oil shoot back up.

Of course, U.S. oil production can’t remain at this pace forever. Eventually (very soon I believe), production is going to start falling off (either from actual shortages or artificial ones), thus prices will start inching back up and the U.S. economy will falter. Desperate to eschew blame, Republicans… having missed the lesson entirely… will cry, “If only Democrats hadn’t blocked the Keystone pipeline in 2014, it would be built by now (actually, most of it is already built) and the price of oil wouldn’t be so high!”

No, the lesson to be learned here is that now more than ever, while oil prices are low and the economy is growing, we need to be investing in Green Energy now more than ever. Think of it as a “rainy day fund”. You don’t put money in the fund when you’re struggling and need it most, you fill it when times are good and need it least. We shouldn’t allow our… nay The World’s economy to be subject to the whims of the Oil Cartels. They’ve already subjected us to ONE global economic disaster. Do we REALLY wanna try for TWO… especially with so much warning?

POSTSCRIPT: I decided not to report on the recent protests regarding the deaths of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and whomever is next because the subject is already being covered thoroughly by others. Rush Limbaugh went on Fox “news” Sunday yesterday to blame “high taxes on cigarettes” for the death of Eric Garner (the “logic” being that the only reason there was a market for him to sell lose cigarettes was because of the high taxes on them, and the city’s dependence on that tax revenue is why “so many” cops descended upon him to the point of taking his life.) Yes Rush, blame the government; blame the victim; just don’t blame the guy with his arm around Garner’s neck… which “wasn’t a choke hold” because the cops told him so.

Limbaugh… the man who sang “Barack the Magic Negro” on his radio show to the same Teanut listeners who carried signs of Obama dressed like a witch doctor while protesting “ObamaCare”… complained bitterly that “people thought electing a black president would move the country past racism” (an irony lost on Limbaugh), but instead President Obama is to blame for an even greater racial divide in this country. He went on to lament that “you can’t criticize Obama without being accused of being a racist.” No Rush, before Obama, closet racists like yourself kept their racism in check. Once they were able to openly use racial code to criticize a black politician under the protective guise of simply “criticizing the president”, that’s when you and your ilk were exposed as the racists asshats we always knew you to be.

 



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Filed in Economy, Energy Independence, Greed, Money, Predictions, Seems Obvious to Me December 8th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Ferguson Police Chief vs Prosecutor: Who’s Lying (video)

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, December 1, 2014

A week ago Monday, St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch announced (with a disturbing grin on his face) that the Grand Jury had decided NOT to indict Officer Darren Wilson for the shooting death of unarmed 18 year old Michael Brown. After a lengthy (and strikingly rare & questionable) ridiculing of the veracity of witnesses for the prosecution (something normally done during a TRIAL not a Grand Jury), McCulloch finally revealed that the Grand Jury had decided not to indict Officer Wilson, upon which he began to lay out the “facts” of the case, in which he clearly was implying that Officer Wilson was aware Brown was a robbery suspect and had received a description of him, stopping him only because he fit the description of said robbery suspect.

However, this is NOT what Ferguson police Chief Thomas Jackson repeatedly told reporters last August, following the questionable release of a highly prejudicial video of Brown stealing “cigarellos” from a nearby convenience store just minutes before.

Reporters asked Chief Jackson to explain the release of the video, wondering what… if anything… it had to do with the confrontation between Brown and Officer Wilson. Chief Jackson told the reporters that Wilson was “not aware that Brown was a suspect” and only stopped him because “he was walking down the middle of the street”, corroborated by both Officer Wilson and Brown’s friend who was with him at the time.

The reason for McCulloch implying Wilson stopped Brown because he matched the description of a robbery suspect is clear: to imply Wilson had reason to fear for his life from the moment he confronted Brown and was therefore justified in shooting him in self-defense.
 

Prosecutor McCulloch (11/24/2014) vs Chief Jackson (8/15/2014) – 4:17

 



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Filed in Crime, General, Guns & Violence, myth busting, Racism, rewriting history, Scandals, Seems Obvious to Me December 1st, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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A Way To Fix the Immigation System (that no one will ever do.)

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

In the 1996 movie “Phenomenon”, John Travolta’s character couldn’t figure out for the life of him how a wild rabbit kept finding its way into his garden despite building a fence around it. Suspecting the rabbit was burrowing beneath the fence, he kept burying it deeper & deeper only to discover each morning that his plants were still being eaten. Upon becoming a genius, his character figured out that the rabbit must have been living in the garden all along and burying the fence deeper had only trapped him inside. In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge established the “U.S. Border Patrol” in response to two new laws: 1) Prohibition and the need to stop people from smuggling alcohol into the country, and 2) the Immigration Acts of 1921 and 1924 that, for the first time, set limits on the number of people that may immigrate to the U.S.. That meant closing our borders. (No, I’m NOT advocating tearing down the border fence.) But just with Travolta’s rabbit, we prevent millions of undocumented immigrants from willingly leaving the country because of just how secure we’ve made our borders. Illegal immigration is a problem of our own creation and there is a sensible and rational solution on how to fix it… and for that very reason (“it’s sensible and rational“)… no one will ever do it: allow free travel across the border through a series of highly secure checkpoints. (Take a handful of sand and squeeze it. The tighter you squeeze, the more sand runs out. That’s what repeatedly tightening our border security is doing today.)

Many people are unaware that the United States only issues a limited number of visas to other countries each year, which people in those countries can then apply for to enter the U.S. legally. Because there is a limited number of visas, the application process can make them far too expensive for the average impoverished Mexican farm-worker to afford, and the visas these countries are given are snatched up quickly by the rich & powerful in those countries. So it angers me tremendously when I hear Teabagger morons like Canadian-born, son of a Cuban-national, Senator Raphael Edward “Ted” Cruz wonder aloud, “Why don’t they go through the process to come here legally?” Because, pinhead, when you’re broke & powerless, your chances of obtaining a legal visa are slightly lower then your chances of winning the lottery.

Since not everyone enters the country on foot across our Southern or Northern borders, we can’t do away with the visa system entirely, but when so much of the American economy actually DEPENDS on immigrant workers, it doesn’t make sense to turn them into criminals once they are here. As radio host Thom Hartmann says on his radio show on a near daily basis: “We don’t have an illegal immigrant problem in this country, we have an illegal EMPLOYER problem.” Thom advocates that if we start throwing some of these criminal employers in jail instead of the workers, maybe they won’t be so quick to offer the jobs that lure them here. That’s certainly true, but with the negative side effect of dramatically reducing the workforce, resulting in artificial shortages that drive prices up.

Many who are here in this country illegally would like nothing more than to go home and see their families, but because of our “rabbit-proof fence”, they know if they leave, it’ll be incredibly difficult (if not impossible) to get back. So the stay, trapped in the U.S., living underground, hiding in the shadows in constant fear of deportation.

The solution is painfully simple: establish a series of high-security border-crossing checkpoints and allow free travel across them. Border-patrol agents can check travelers for all forms of contraband, from drugs to guns, even human smuggling. Border-police will still patrol the fence for drug smugglers, gun-runners, even terrorists, but they won’t have to waste precious time & resources chasing/repelling/deporting construction workers, farmers & maids. Once they are here, they can return home whenever they like without fear of not being able to return. In fact, some people may actually choose to return home to their native country every night after work or on the weekends rather than remain in the U.S. permanently.

President Obama’s controversial move last week to suspend deportation of undocumented parents of American-born children or workers that have been living honest fruitful lives here for years, would be rendered moot.

Another positive resulting from allowing free-travel across the border is a dramatic reduction in “worker abuse”. No more will criminal employers be able to wield the threat of “deportation” over their undocumented workers heads, allowing them to get away with appalling abuses like dangerous working/living conditions, excessively long hours and criminally low wages… which is one more reason you’ll never see this happen. Because empowering workers, possibly even allowing them to unionize, goes against everything Corporate America (and by proxy, the GOP) stands for.

They can now call the police when they are victimized or witness a crime. And (costly) prison space won’t be wasted incarcerating peaceful “law-abiding” immigrants (no longer here “illegally” because they crossed through a legal checkpoint) and can be reserved for the truly criminal.

People who are not American citizens are already not entitled to the benefits of citizenship. They still won’t be able to apply for Food Stamps, get Social Security or qualify for “ObamaCare” subsidies. They WILL however be able to file a 1040 and pay taxes without worry of revealing their presence to the government.

I can’t help but think of the experiment in many states to legalize marijuana. Not only are these states saving millions by not policing/prosecuting/incarcerating many petty drug offenses, but they are actually PROFITING from all the new tax revenue. A double-boost to their economies. Likewise, revising the immigration system this way would save the government Billions wasted policing/prosecuting/incarcerating the vast majority of poor otherwise-honest immigrants, and instead actually PROFITING from the added tax revenue.

Nope. Makes too much sense, and D.C. is where Common Sense & Good Ideas go to die.
 



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Filed in Crime, General, Immigration Reform, National Security, Racism, Seems Obvious to Me November 24th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Electorate Votes Big for Progressive Policies (and the people least likely to implement them)

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

What conclusions can be drawn from an electorate that voted overwhelmingly for Progressive policies in last Tuesday’s election only to also vote for the people LEAST likely to implement them? In EVERY state where raising the Minimum Wage was on the ballot, all Deep-RED states, it won. In EVERY state where marijuana legalization was on the ballot, it won. In EVERY state where increased gun control was on the ballot, it won. And in EVERY state where “personhood” for fertilized eggs was on the ballot, it lost. Yet in many of these same states, Republicans… who are the least likely to support these measures… won big. How does one account for that?

On The Rachel Maddow Show the night after the election, she provided an itemized list of Progressive victories the night before:
 

Howard Dean, who ran the DNC before Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, and whose “50 State Strategy” played a huge role in 2006 Democratic sweep of Congress, said the most brilliant thing on “Meet the Press” yesterday:

“The Republican strategy was simply to say, We’re not Obama. And the Democratic strategy was to say, We’re not Obama either. What in the Hell kind of strategy is that?”

In recent weeks, I too have lambasted Democrats for buying into the Republican meme that “President Obama is wildly unpopular” and running away from him and his policies when they should have been defending them. When given the choice between a Party that does nothing but criticize the president vs a Party that concedes their opponents criticism, why on Earth would anyone vote for the same Party as the president? It was beyond stupid. So it was only natural that the GOP candidates would defeat their wishy-washy opponents.

Yet, when it came to ballot issues, the voters STILL expressed a CLEAR preference for Progressive positions. People WANT Progressive government, but they also want stuff to get done. Republicans went out on the campaign trail and told voters that if they want to END GRIDLOCK, they need control of both Houses of Congress. With a metaphorical gun to the electorates’ head, Republicans told voters to, “Elect me before I obstruct again!” NOT ONCE did I hear a Democrat argue the opposite: that giving THEM control of both houses would also end the gridlock in Washington (I find it curious that, despite a 16% approval rating, Control of the House was never in question thanks to Gerrymandering). Republicans already blame President Obama for their own unprecedented obstruction of Congress, but even with control of both houses, President Obama still has his Veto Pen, so if Republicans think they can “repeal ObamaCare” or include the “deportation of 12 Million undocumented workers” in their border-security bill, we’re STILL going to see gridlock in Washington. And if the Tea Party extremists get their way and begin impeachment proceedings, just how much do you expect this Congress to get done?

So what’s going on here? Did voters just not draw a connection between the policies they were voting for and the people they were electing to implement them (FACT: The more educated you are, the more likely you are to vote Democrat), or something more sinister?

I despise Conspiracy Theories, and I think the moment you start arguing “election theft” when you lose, you lose all credibility when you win. “Voter Suppression” efforts were rampant across the country this election, but they account for the record low turnout (just 36.6%) not for the inconsistent way in which people voted. Yes, there were reports of “vote flipping” on “touch screen” based voting machines (built more than a decade before modern touch screen tablet technology and thus painfully due for an update), but machines were found to be flipping votes in both directions, an indication the problem is more a em>calibration issue than one of nefarious intent.

However…

If one WERE to rig voting machines so that GOP candidates in close races ended up winning big, and Democrats with huge leads ended up winning in squeakers, it is conceivable that the people rigging the machines didn’t think to rig the “ballot issues” as well to keep the results looking consistent. If I were the conspiracy-type, such a result would definitely be ringing alarm bells in my mind. But instead, I think the problem had more to do with an electorate that just didn’t link the candidates they were voting for to the issues they supported.

In Colorado, where “Personhood” was on the ballot, that measure lost by a whopping THIRTY-POINTS, and yet they elected an Evangelical senator that ran in support of personhood during the primaries only to flip-flop on the issue come the General Election. It was a reversal no Coloradoan could claim not to know about since his opponent, Tom Udall, ran so many ads on the subject he was branded: “Tom Uterus”. But like so many other Democrats, Udall ran away from President Obama’s record of success in spite of unprecedented GOP obstruction, suggesting there was some validity to the GOP’s claims of Obama being a failure, so when faced with the choice between the Party that has been saying for six years that Obama was a failure vs a Democrat that suddenly appears to be conceding his opponents argument, who are the voters going to vote for?

So what can we expect from the next two years? While I do expect to see a LOT of fighting, I predict most of it will be in-fighting amongst Republicans… the “old guard” Republicans that learned some lessons from the past, and brash Tea Party hotheads like Ted Cruz that will make “the repeal of ObamaCare” amongst his highest priorities (NOTE: Thanks to ObamaCare health insurance premiums are slated to rise at just 7.5% next year), as he openly ridicules his fellow Republicans for an unwillingness to consider impeaching Obama (while I still consider the possibility as quite high, I think there are enough Republicans old enough to remember the brusing 1999 impeachment of President Clinton, how it was widely viewed as “petty & vindictive”, and know that if they tried it again, the Press would crucify them.)

2014 was a case study in how NOT to run an election. This was NOT, repeat NOT, a “wave” election for Republicans. Record low turnout is not a “wave”. Did more people show up to vote Republican because they oppose the President, or did more people opposed to the president simply show up to vote? Clearly from all the Progressive ballot issues that won, voters don’t disapprove of the Democratic agenda. But don’t tell that to all the Republicans they just voted for to enact that agenda. 36.6% is not a “mandate”.
 



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Filed in Election, myth busting, Partisanship, Politics, Predictions, Rants, Seems Obvious to Me, voting November 10th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Will Voters Overlook Shutdown, Sequester, Impeachment and Economic Chaos over ISIS & Ebola fears?

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, October 27, 2014

In mid-2004, the BBC ran a three-part miniseries entitled “The Power of Nightmares”. The subject of the documentary was the idea that where we once elected people with the brightest vision of our future (the “sunny optimist”), today we elect the people with the biggest fears, ridiculing their critics as “naive” and “inadequately concerned” of whatever mortal threat they can dream up, promising to keep us safe from those incredibly remote (if not entirely baseless) threats to life & limb. It doesn’t matter if their McCarthy-ite paranoid delusions are in fact just irrational fear-mongering, the hope is that easily cowed, chronically ill-informed voters (made worse by defunding education) will pull that lever for the guy that sees the dangers on the horizon that others miss, and then promises to protect you from it. In 2002, that danger was Saddam and his WMD’s. This year, it’s “Ebola” and “ISIS”. The big question then is: “Will voters, once angry over GOP game-playing that led to one Shutdown of the Federal government (with more to come?), The “Sequester” (a link I highly recommend clicking), endless mind-bogglingly stupid investigations (“Benghazi!”, “Fast & Furious” and “IRS-gate” to name a few… and that was WITHOUT control of the Senate), threats of “impeachment” over President Obama using his Executive powers to get things done when GOP obstructionists block everything in site (and how quickly we forget the economic basket case they turned the country into the last time they were in charge), hoping we’ll forget all that and put them back in charge over unwarranted fear over President Obama’s handling of “ISIS” and “Ebola”? Seriously? You could fit all the domestic deaths from Ebola and ISIS combined in a single pair of Levi’s jeans. And what’s more frightening is that it appears to be working.

In 2002, just weeks after 9/11, the Bush Administration was already hyping fears of “Saddam Hussein’s Weapons of Mass Destruction” to ensure “strong on Defense” Republicans didn’t lose the first mid-terms of the Bush presidency. And despite their catastrophic failure to “keep us safe” on 9/11, followed by the discovery that Iraq did NOT in fact have a WMD program, resulting in a pointless and costly war, the GOP was still able to successfully play The Fear Card to win the 2004 election. 12 years later, at least two current GOP candidates for Congress, Jodi Ernst and Steve Russell apparently never got the memo.

Remember “Death Panels” and how “gays in the military” would destroy “unit cohesion”? The Power of Nightmares, 2012 Edition.

About a week ago, someone tweeted the following incredible factoid:

You have a 400% better chance of marrying a Kardashian than you do of dying from Ebola in the U.S. (one death vs four Kardashian sisters).

Fox “news”… ground zero for “All fear, all the time”… has made encouraging Ebola panic part of their daily routine, seeking to terrify the slow-witted into voting against their own best interests because they want the person stoking their fears to protect them from a virtually nonexistent threat.

Just as “The Power of Nightmares” stated, there is always someone more paranoid with a wilder imagination that can concoct a bigger fear. Republicans LOVE to combine irrational fears into one giant “Super-scare” to convince you that the most paranoid among them is the most sane. “Ebola” plus “illegal immigrants” equals “Illegals crossing the border may be carrying Ebola”. (Yes, because desperately-poor immigrants just adore visiting Western Africa, traveling 8-hours back to America, then going on a 50 mile hike towards the Texas-Plains/Arizona-desert while bleeding from the eyes with a 103′ degree fever.

Problem is, no one can live in blinding fear of Ebola forever… especially when there just aren’t any more Americans dying from it since “Patient Zero” in Dallas last month. Remember ISIS? Weren’t they coming to “kill us all” three weeks ago? Poor guys can’t even grab a headline in your local Pennysaver today. Unfortunately for the GOP, “ISIS crossing the border” fearmongering was only working in border states. But that didn’t stop Arkansas GOP Senate candidate Tom Cotton from claiming ISIS may try to cross Mexican border to attack Arkansas. Right now, Cotton is leading in the polls.

Sorry guys. “ISIS” is yesterday’s news. Not terrifying enough.

So let’s add Ebola to the mix: Perhaps ISIS terrorists infected with Ebola are pouring across the Mexican border to infect Americans? You think I’m kidding? (WARNING: I cannot be held responsible for the stupidity you inflict upon yourself by clicking this RW nutjob link saying the same but worse. Needless to say, photos of “Ted Cruz” and “Sarah Palin” rest atop the header. Consider yourself warned.)

So the question remains: Are you going to forget about Shutdowns, Sequesters and pointless investigations, risking two years of eye-rolling impeachment hearings, all to put Republicans back in charge over fears of a disease you’re not going to catch (that by all accounts is being handled incredibly well) and/or a belief that terrorists fighting in Syria/Iraq are sneaking across the Mexican border carrying Ebola-infected piss in a Dixie-Cup?

Don’t think for a moment that Republicans won’t declare a capture of the Senate as some sort of “mandate” that Americans have “rejected Obama’s policies”… which includes more pointless investigations and attempts to repeal ObamaCare. And Lord help us all if another vacancy opens up on the Supreme Court.

The people are “frustrated” that their lives don’t seem to be improving “fast enough” (despite the fact most agree their lives ARE indeed improving vs where they were six years ago.) And that’s because of GOP obstruction, shutdowns and a seven month Sequester (that was agreed to only because the consequences of triggering it were so horrific, no one believed the GOP would actually let their budget-cutting insanity go that far.)

I’ve yet to figure out frustrated voters voting for the source of their frustration.

You know what’s next don’t you? Those cars with the defective airbags that resulted in four deaths from flying shrapnel? Perhaps as many as 30% of them were purchased during “Cash for Clunkers”. (Yes, I totally made that up, but doesn’t it sound like something they’d say?)

Be Afraid! Be very afraid… oh, and vote Republican!

The Friday “Rachel Maddow Show” opened with a look at dangerously misinformed House Republicans chairing a hearing on the spread of “e*Boli” from “Guyana”.

Expect more of this if they win the majority in the Senate.

 



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

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Filed in Election, Partisanship, Politics, Rants, Right-Wing Insanity, Seems Obvious to Me, Terrorism, voting October 27th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View