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GOP Frontrunners Reveal Their Moronic Dark Agendas for the Country

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


 

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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21 Things I (Re)learned From the GOP Debates

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, August 10, 2015

All SEVENTEEN Republican presidential candidates took part in at least one of three GOP debates last week (one on CSPAN & two on Fox.) I don’t know how many of you also watched the full 2-hour Prime Time GOP debate on Fox last Thursday, but I definitely wasn’t surprised by anything I heard (other than the fact Ronald Reagan’s name was only mentioned 2 [3?] times. Probably a record low.) Fox doesn’t like Donald Trump, that much was made clear, and… in case you didn’t hear it the first 47 times, Rubio’s parents were poor emigres from Cuba and Kasich’s dad was a mailman. The two big winners of the primetime debate weren’t even on the stage: Carly Fiorina, who had a clip of her from the earlier “Kid’s Table” debate replayed during the Prime Time debate, and Bernie Sanders, whose own Live Tweets during the debate were more re-Tweeted than ANY of the GOP candidates’ comments. Beyond that, there were plenty of things I pretty-much already knew about the candidates that they only helped solidify in my memory:

The first “debate” on C-SPAN last Monday… really just a “getting-to-know-you” series of interviews… consisting of 11 in-person candidates + 3 via remote, couldn’t fill a 500 seat theater. And during the first Fox “Kid’s Table” debate of the bottom seven polling candidates, there were more people on stage than in the audience. Those are the only polls you need.

Okay, so what I learned last week:

  1. Accepting Medicaid funding under “ObamaCare” dramatically slowed the rate of growth in state health care costs, yet “ObamaCare” must absolutely be repealed. – Ohio Gov. Kasich defended accepting Medicaid funds under the ACA by citing the fact that doing so led to Ohio having the slowest health care cost growth in the nation, an “achievement” that was wildly cheered by the Conservative audience… as was every call to fully repeal “every word” of “ObamaCare”.
  2. The best way to fight crime is to strip cities of their federal law-enforcement funding. – Jeb Bush blasted so-called “sanctuary cities” (cities that don’t actively seek out undocumented immigrants for deportation/arrest) following the shooting death of a 32 year old woman in San Francisco by a man arrested three times for being in the country illegally. The proposed solution? Strip these cities of their federal law-enforcement funding until they agree to waste precious resources seeking out & prosecuting undocumented immigrants… the vast majority of whom actually pay taxes and commit no crime other than simply being here illegally. And just how did he get a gun anyway?
  3. The best way to fight abortion is to defund the leading provider of free birth control. – Nearly all (if not all) of the candidates on stage, reacting to their revulsion to a series of heavily edited and highly prejudicial under-cover videos of Planned Parenthood of America employees taken by an anti-abortion group out to “expose” the organization as illegally profiting off abortions, vowed to defund the organization. PPA is the largest provider of free birth control in the country, and defunding them could mean a huge increase in the number of unplanned pregnancies. And Republicans truly believe that if you close every abortion clinic in the country, women will simply stop having abortions.
  4. You’re weak on terror if you can’t admit all terrorists are Muslims. – Ted Cruz (natch) asked how can we expect President Obama to protect us from terrorism if he won’t even acknowledge that all terrorists are “Muslims”. The president’s unwillingness to offend an entire religion of 1.3 billion people by lumping them in with a sub-culture of several thousand religious extremists proves he’s a danger to the country.
  5. Jeb blames Obama for the SoFA signed by his brother. The younger Bush blamed President Obama for the withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of 2011, leading to the rise of ISIS. The decision to withdraw ALL U.S. forces from Iraq by the end of 2011 was one of President Bush’s final acts as president, signing the “Status of Forces Agreement” in December of 2008. Jeb may have missed this announcement because his brother was busy ducking shoes at the time. ISIS actually already existed at the time, but known by a different name: “al Quida in the Arabian Peninsula” or “AQAP” for short.
  6. A Bush can promise an almost unheard of 4% GDP growth despite the fact his brother & dad had 2 of the WORST GDP growth rates in the past 100 years. The lesser Shrub repeated his belief that he could achieve an astounding 4% annual GDP growth (really good growth would be about 3.5%) if elected and we followed his economic policies. His brother, GW, dismissed the Clinton economy when he ran in 2000, asking voters to imagine “how much better” the astounding Clinton economy could have been if only a Republican president had been in charge of the Republican controlled congress of the past six years. And so, armed with the EXACT SAME Republican-controlled Congress for the next 6 years, economic disaster befell the country, resulting in global economic collapse.
  7. The Iran deal is a disaster. You don’t make a deal with your enemies unless you get absolutely everything you want up front. – Mike Huckabee blasted the Iran deal for failing to get Iran to concede to ALL of our demands, including the release of political prisoners, first… a move that unquestionably would have insured NO deal at all. President Obama has rightly made the point that it will be much easier to negotiate those things later with an “unarmed” Iran than trying to do so with one with nukes. Conservative pundit George Will probably epitomized this irrational line of thinking during yesterday’s Fox “news” Sunday when he pointed out that WITHOUT an agreement, Iran gets “14 new global trading partners and work begins on a nuclear bomb tomorrow using all that new wealth” BUT the deal is a BAD thing because WITH the deal, Iran gets 15 new trading partners, and work begins on a nuclear weapon (apparently under the noses of inspectors) EIGHT YEARS from now.
  8. You can oppose gay marriage and still attend a gay wedding. – Governor Kasich was asked to explain how he could oppose gay marriage and yet attend a gay wedding between two friends. He couched his answer in saying that if his daughter came out as gay, he would “still love & support her”, calling it “unconditional love.” But when it comes to marriage, apparently there is still just one condition.
  9. Rand Paul & Trump conceded the painful truth that our politicians can be bought, but Republicans just don’t care. – The first question of the debate led to a heated exchange between Rand Paul and Donald Trump, who defended contributing to candidates of BOTH Parties as a way to control them. Paul conceded this is exactly what is taking place, but was not followed up by ANY discussion of the fact that TWO (if not more) presidential candidate just acknowledgment that our politicians can be controlled by big money donors, or the poisonous influence of money in politics. Instead, in fact, one or two candidates on stage with Trump laughingly asked him for money.
  10. Kasich apparently balanced the budget in spite of Clinton tax increase. – Numerous times before the debates and twice on stage, Governor Kasich bragged about how he led the last U.S. Congressional Budget Committee to balance the budget. But not once has Kasich conceded that the 1994 Clinton tax increase on the wealthy is what made balancing the budget possible.
  11. Republican governors like to cite their achievements under Obama & Clinton but not under Bush. – It’s a maxim that Democratic presidents make Republican governors look good. George W. Bush, as governor of Texas, gave no credit to the Clinton economy for the economic success of his state while running in 2000. In 2008, neither Romney nor Huckabee ran on the economic success of their states under the Bush Administration. In 2012, Governor Perry tried to credit the “amazing Texas recovery” under Obama’s first term to his own leadership and not soaring oil prices and rampant state public sector hiring. But there wouldn’t have been anything to recover from had it not of been for his good buddy President Bush.
  12. A Flat Tax doesn’t favor the rich, and raising taxes on the poor helps the poor. – At least three (and almost certainly more) of the GOP contenders advocated the absurd flat or “Fair” tax as the cure for our fiscal woes. Rand Paul wants a 14.5% across-the-board flat tax on everyone, while Evangelical Ben Carson suggested a 10% flat tax… a number taken from The Bible based on a 10% tithe… as the perfect tax rate for the country. Paul, on Fox “news” Sunday yesterday repeatedly denied that DRASTICALLY reducing the tax rate on millionaires & billionaires would create a $3-Trillion dollar annual deficit, which he apparently believes can be made up by drastically raising taxes on the poor and cutting government spending… which naturally would include cutting services to the poor. All this he said would in fact “help” the poor, not hurt them. And someone really should explain to Carson the difference between funding a church to provide church services and funding a $1.5 Tillion dollar government with its own Army currently engaged in two wars.
  13. Post debate, the Top 4 GOP favorites are presently a 2nd year foreign born senator and 3 political novices who have never held public office. – You may remember that the primary knocks on Obama by Republicans during the 2008 election was that he was not experienced enough to be president after serving as Senator for “only two years”, and that he was supposedly “born in another country (Kenya)”, rendering him ineligible to be president. Check out the graphic at the start of this post. After last Thursday’s debate, the Top 4 favorite candidates among Republican voters is three people who have NEVER held public office (Trump, Carson & Fiorina), and a Senator who not only took office a mere two years ago before deciding to run for president, but was in fact born in another country (a fact Cruz does not dispute, but claims he is still eligible because his mother was born in the U.S…. unlike Obama whose mother was born in Kansas.)
  14. Trump, Walker, Rubio, Carson & Huckabee, all talked about how “pro-Life” they are… except when it comes to the life of the mother. – Sen. Rubio on Meet the Press yesterday, defending his opposition to an abortion exception even to protect the life of the mother… a position so extreme it puts him at odds with 87% of the American people, said: “If I’m going to err, it’s going to be on side of life.” Unless of course it’s the life of the mother. The other candidates mentioned shared this view. The irony is that if a pregnancy endangers the mother’s life and the fetus is not viable, BOTH will die anyway. And in many cases, the mother will die a horrible and excruciating death. These same Holy Rollers also believe a fetus has Constitutional rights at the moment of conception (Huckabee: “5th & 14th”). So bye-bye hormonal birth control (“The Pill”) or invitro-fertilization.
  15. The only two GOP candidates to express any belief in Climate Change still call it “a theory” that’s “not proven.” – In 2012, Governor Kasich took some heat (forgive the pun) from Republicans for daring to suggest that Climate Change is real and that maybe we would should be doing something about it. But when that position was roundly booed by the academics in Thursday’s audience (snark), Kasich quickly backtracked, turning to the famed “it’s still an unproven theory” chestnut… you know, like gravity or Relativity. The only believer/non-believer, Rand Paul, said he is “not sure anybody exactly knows why” the Earth is warming and therefore we needent go to extreme lengths… like impose “regulations”… to curb it.
  16. Record job growth and plunging unemployment proves Obama’s economic record is a disaster and the economy still needs to be “jump started.” – The day after the debate, the latest BLS jobs report proclaimed that 215,000 new jobs were created in July. You have to go back to March of this year to find a month that produced fewer than 200,000 jobs. The Unemployment Rate held steady at 5.3% as more and more long-term unemployed optimistically resume looking for work. With a year and a half left in the Obama presidency, an unemployment rate of just 4.9%… just 0.4% below where it is now… is not out of the realm of possibility. 4.9% was the record low unemployment rate when President Clinton supposedly handed President Bush a Recession.
  17. Trump: “Our vets have to be taken care of and we must end ObamaCare.” – We must take care of our vets. Screw everyone else.
  18. The VA is a vital part of caring for our veterans, but Socialized Medicine is evil. – Senator Rubio praised the Veterans Administration while criticizing the poor state befalling it under President Obama… of which Republicans refused to increase funding commensurate with the demand created by two simultaneous wars. Someone should point out that the VA he so praised and promises to support is 100% Socialized Medicine where the hospitals are all owned by the government and every doctor is a government employee.
  19. Ted Cruz thinks we get to pick & choose where we place our embassies in foreign countries. – In a troubling and widely overlooked comment, Senator Cruz vowed to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Not only does the U.S. (nor any country) get to dictate where its embassy is located within another country, but vowing to plant our flag in the disputed territory of Jerusalem would not only be wildly inflammatory to the Muslim world and widely (and correctly) seen as us “taking sides” in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, but it would almost certainly make our embassy a prime target for terrorism, endangering the lives of every American inside. But hey, it’s not like this is Benghazi or anything, right?
  20. “Our newest B2 Bomber” is from 1962. – Huckabee bemoaned the fact that our military is still using outdated weaponry dating back decades, citing the fact our “newest” B2 Bomber still in active duty was built when Kennedy was still president. Perhaps it’s because we use B1 Stealth Bombers now, not WWII era “flying fortresses”. This is the SAME argument held over from the 2012 campaign, when President Obama had to point out to Gov. Romney that “old” weapons of war… like “horses and bayonets” are phased out over time and replaced with more modern weaponry.
  21. Iran released the hostages the moment Ronald Reagan was sworn in because they were terrified of him, not because he had already struck an illegal deal with them. – Sen. Cruz… who apparently learned everything he knows about Ronald Reagan listening to Conservative Talk Radio, said that a Cruz presidency would strike the same fear into the hearts of our enemies as Ronald Reagan did. The Iranians were apparently SO fearful of what President Reagan might do to them that they released the hostages the moment he was sworn in. NOT because it was an intentional slap-in-the-face to President Carter by Iran, nor did it have anything to do with Reagan secretly promising to trade “arms for hostages”, subverting the negotiating process under Carter and possibly keeping the hostages prisoner for longer than they might have been otherwise.

 

The big question after the debate was whether Trump’s unpopular refusal to say he wouldn’t go 3rd Party, plus his poor response to some pointed questions during the debate, followed by some offensive… possibly misogynistic… comments about Fox’s Megyn Kelly for calling out his misogyny during the debate, would finally hurt Trump in the polls? Are you kidding? Of course not! Republicans carry the ultimate “persecution complex”. They epitomize the “victim” mentality. The blacks & Mexicans are all criminals out to do them bodily harm and a drain on society costing them money. The “gays” are converting the U.S. to accept their immorality and “destroying the very fabric of our nation”. There is even a “War on Christmas”. Everyone is out the get them. And the more The Media attacks their leader Donald Trump, the more they identify with him and will dig in their heels to defend him. Even disparaging POW’s and past video of him saying totally contradictory things is not enough to sway them. This current spat with Fox’s Kelly is the closest thing I’ve seen yet that could endanger his standing in the polls. The more Trump is marginalized, the more his supporters will dig in. Nothing shy of him making openly misogynistic comments about another female Conservative darling could tarnish Trump in the eyes of his fellow “victims”.

Prior to the GOP Debate, Democrats were popping popcorn. After the GOP Debate, Democrats were popping champagne corks. Meanwhile, Republicans were popping Tums. And for good reason. 17 candidates, and this is the best they’ve got.

 



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Filed in Election, Party of Life, Politics, Predictions, Religion, rewriting history, Taxes August 10th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Where Is the Accusation of a CRIME to justify a Tax-Payer Funded Investigation into Hillary’s Emails?

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, March 16, 2015

Once again I find myself in the uncomfortable position of defending Hillary Clinton. Yesterday’s poli-talk shows all covered “Hillary Clinton’s emails” and the fact she didn’t turn over her personal private emails to the GOP controlled Congress for scrutiny. In fact Clinton freely admits that it was “probably a mistake to use just one email account” while Secretary of State for both her personal private email as well as for work, but I disagree. As Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA) pointed out during Fox “news” Sunday yesterday, if Clinton “had used two separate email accounts, Republicans would just be demanding she turn over her private emails as well”, accusing her of “hiding” things she didn’t want recorded on government servers by using her private email address… you know, the way EIGHTY  Republican officials did during the Bush Administration (Karl Rove freely admitted on FnS yesterday that he and other Republicans did this while working in the Bush White House, but claimed the “22 million missing emails were found by (note: NOT “turned over to”) investigators in the Obama Administration” (nearly two years later, and only after Bush left office) making what they are accusing Hillary of “completely different”.

But just WHAT are Republicans accusing Hillary Clinton OF?

The United States Congress… once again… is using taxpayer dollars to fund an investigation into the Clinton’s. In 1992 when Bill Clinton was still running for president, Republicans openly accused the Clinton’s of receiving preferential treatment when investing in a land deal known as “White Water”. The fact the Clinton’s LOST money on the deal didn’t matter (though one wonders how much “favorable” treatment the Clinton’s might have shown someone that lost them roughly $52,000… give-or-take $15 Grand), only the fact that the Clinton’s invested was at issue (I’ll save their Bob McDonnell hypocrisy for another column.) When the GOP retook control of Congress in the 1994 mid-terms, they immediately opened a taxpayer funded investigation into the Clinton’s involvement in “White Water” that quickly went nowhere.

But the SAME Special Prosecutor hired to investigate the Clinton’s over “White Water” (remember Ken Starr?) then shifted his investigation to “Trooper-gate”, and the claim that Governor Clinton misused tax-payer paid state employees (cops) to shuttle one of his mistresses in/out of the governor’s mansion (oh, the irony. A tax-payer funded partisan political investigation into whether Clinton misused tax-payer paid employees.)

After that, the investigations devolved into investigating Bill Clinton’s personal life… while sleazy, NOT A CRIME. President Clinton should have demanded the GOP present evidence that a CRIME had been committed before agreeing to allow tax-payer funds be used to pay for what was clearly partisan political dumpster-diving in hopes of derailing his 1996 re-election. But he didn’t for fear of appearing like he had “something to hide” in an election year.

And once again, as soon as the GOP re-seized control of both house of Congress last year, what’s the first thing they do? They launch a tax-payer funded investigation into the Clintons, with NO declaration of a crime to justify the investigation, in hopes of derailing a Clinton’s presidential aspirations.

They can’t help themselves. Like moths to a flame, Republicans with subpoena power will use tax-payer funds to pay for a political witch hunt into a Clinton seeking the presidency.

So I ask, WHAT IS THE CRIME THEY ARE SUPPOSEDLY INVESTIGATING to justify spending MY tax dollars demanding to see Hillary Clinton’s private emails? To date, I’m not aware of a single repeated declaration as to just WHY they need those emails so badly. Colin Powell admitted that HE used a private email account while Secretary of State even as the Bush White House was cooking up a case to justify the invasion of Iraq. This week he even admitted that he “didn’t keep” his emails while serving as SoS. One might think that such emails could have been very important had Democrats investigated the Bush Administration’s claims of “Weapons of Mass Destruction”… the core justification for the preemptive invasion of Iraq… the way Republican’s investigate the Clinton’s every February 2nd (“Groundhog’s Day” reference.)

Now, some Republicans have suggested that this TENTH investigation into Benghazi is necessary because the nine prior investigations that turned up no evidence of wrongdoing failed only because of a lack of evidence that might have been hidden somewhere in Clinton’s private emails. To date, that has been the ONLY suggestion as to why a TAXPAYER-FUNDED investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails could be justified. Beyond that, it’s a political smear campaign at the public expense.

If “Benghazi” is indeed the justification for demanding the release of Clinton’s emails, then someone needs to explain to the public EXACTLY what they are looking for. What information do they not have? What “lingering questions” remain unanswered? And I don’t mean Speaker Boehner claiming there are “a lot of unanswered questions” that have been repeatedly asked & answered, I mean a public declaration in writing listing precisely what justifies spending yet more tax-dollars investigating a political opponent.

Think about it. Just what “unanswered question” do they believe would be revealed by Clinton’s emails? Questions like, “Was there a ‘stand-down order’ by President Obama” or “Could U.S. fighter jets have arrived in time to save the people in the consulate” wouldn’t change based upon anything they might find in an email. Do they really believe they’re going to find an email between her and some NGO (non-governmental official… because .gov recipients emails are already archived) telling them NOT to save the people in that consulate? Do they think Hillary texted the pilots and secretly ordered them to “return to base” in mid-flight? Hmmm? Because I don’t know of another “crime” relating to “Benghazi” they could possibly still be investigating.

And think about this: Would YOU agree to hand over your private emails to police without a warrant? Because that is EXACTLY what Republicans are doing. With NO declaration of criminal wrong-doing, Republicans are ABUSING THEIR POWER to investigate a political opponent, simply insinuating that Ms. Clinton’s use of a private email was intended to hide evidence of a crime… a crime that NO ONE has publicly explained even took place. If police asked a judge for a search warrant to confiscate your private emails, the judge would demand they provide him with “just cause” for why he should issue them one. We don’t even have THAT.

The rule that all government email activity must take place on a governmental account wasn’t even a law until NEARLY TWO YEARS after she left the State Department (Clinton resigned in February 2013. President Obama signed “The Federal Records Act” December 1st of last year.) So she may have failed to comply with a rule or guideline, but not even Republicans can claim her doing so “broke the law”, so they don’t have that.

So, no claim of criminal wrong-doing regarding Benghazi, she broke no law regarding the preservation of Federal Records because there was no such law at the time.

It’s a really simple question: Just what crime are Republicans accusing the former Secretary of State of Committing that justifies a tax-payer funded investigation into her private emails?
 



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Filed in Crime, Election, fake scandals, National Security, Partisanship, Politics, Right-Wing Hypocrisy, Scandals, Taxes March 16th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Cruz & Carson Latest Republicans to Complain About Income Inequality

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


 

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

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

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

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

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



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

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History Has Shown Us What Happens With Republicans In Charge – and it’s not good

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, November 3, 2014

Probably THE reason I’ve been writing this blog every week for the last ten years is because of the importance of elections. As the subtitle says, “Recording History for those Who Seek to Rewrite it”. Of course, you wouldn’t need to be reminded of something if you had no power to change it. Not only is it about the elections, but also to remind voters of what happens when they vote while uninformed/misinformed. (Side-Note to anyone that thinks elections don’t matter: Ask the people spending BILLIONS trying to suppress your vote why do they bother if elections don’t matter?) Republicans are notorious for their hypocrisy when their politicians do the very things they claim to oppose (eg: GWB decrying “nation building” during the 2000 RNC Convention, to name but one) to a wholesale rewrite of the Reagan Legacy to turn the former union-leader that raised taxes 12 times, decried Assault Weapons, never attended church and granted amnesty to 10 million undocumented immigrants into “Jesus Meets John Wayne”. I’ve written multiple times of how the founder of “The Party of Lincoln” couldn’t get elected Dog Catcher by today’s GOP. And those are the Republicans we liked. But the past three-decades has produced what has to be the most noxious, partisan, short-sighted Republican Party I’ve ever seen. Republicans have left a long (slimy) trail of hypocrisy and economic disaster in their wake, yet somehow they keep managing to get elected by people with incredibly short memories and no foresight. I’ve likened it to psychotics that believe they “don’t need their meds” WHILE ON their meds (ie: Voting Republican after Democrats clean up their mess), discontinuing them only for disaster to ensue. So let’s take a little stroll down Memory Lane for a look back at the GOP Highlight Reel.

Reagan

During his 1980 Presidential campaign, Reagan criticized the Carter Administration for allowing the National Debt to grow to to a “staggering” $800-Billion dollars. Just days after entering office, in an address to Congress in February of 1981, Reagan’s speech-writers came up with the infamous “stack of dollar bills” analogy to give people a sense of just how much money “one Trillion dollars” really is. The Reagan prescription called for a massive tax-cut intended to (quote) “starve The Beast” [ie: government] in a misguided belief that less money coming in would force Congress to cut spending and reduce the Deficit. Sounds reasonable enough. But what the Reagan Administration didn’t count on was there there isn’t that much “fat” in the Federal Budget. And spending wasn’t exactly curbed when the staunch 1950’s anti-Communist decided that the way to defeat “The Red Menace” was to spend them into oblivion via a costly arms race. Before Reagan was governor of California, the former actor was the Head of “The Screen Actors Guild”… a union to protect the rights of people in the film industry… and volunteered to be an FBI informant in McCarthy’s anti-Communist witch-hunt that led to him testifying against “the Hollywood Ten”… a blacklist that ruined the careers of a number of prominent writers, actors and directors.

What the Reagan Administration did not count on was that sucking that much money out of the economy meant fewer paychecks. Less than two years later, Reagan’s Corporate tax cuts led to 10.8% unemployment, the highest since The Great Depression and a level not seen since. To get the unemployment rate back down, the Reagan Administration went on a hiring binge, greatly expanding the size of the Federal Government… which cost money, further exploding the Debt.

By the time Reagan ran for reelection in 1984… less than four years after lambasting the Carter Administration for allowing the National Debt to grow to $800-Billion dollars… “Reaganomics” had nearly doubled 204 years worth of accumulated Debt to $1.5-Trillion dollars. Because the government was borrowing so heavily to finance the Federal Government, people enjoyed all the benefits of low taxes AND a fully-funded Federal Government without realizing just how much they were putting on the National Credit Card. By the time Reagan left office, the National Debt had more than TRIPLED to $2.7-Trillion dollars. 12-years later, soon after taking office, Dick Cheney declared that “Reagan proved that Deficits don’t matter”. Then the Bush Administration proceeded to turn Clinton’s Surplus into a $1.4-Trillion dollar a year Deficit… which didn’t seem to bother Republicans all that much until Barack Obama inherited it. Then suddenly, The Debt (but not The Deficit which is shrinking) became an apocalypse waiting to happen. But I digress.

If the hypocrisy of Deficit Spending under Reagan weren’t enough, how about being “the most corrupt Administration in history”… a title that took some doing barely a decade after the Nixon Administration. Reagan’s presidency ended with ONE-HUNDRED AND THIRTY-EIGHT public officials being indicted or going to Federal prison, the most in American history thanks to things like the “Iran/Contra” scandal (selling arms to Iran to finance the Nicaraguan Contras). And I well remember when… after Congress rejected Reagan’s request to provide rebel Contra forces with money to buy guns, as “Commander-in-Chief”, “St. Ronnie” simply circumvented Congress (sound familiar?) by ordering the U.S. military to storm the beaches of Nicaragua loaded down with as much weaponry as they could carry, dump it all there on the beach, and walk away. The Contras got their guns and Congress was forced to spend the money anyway to rearm our military.

Bush-I

Despite the exploding Debt and record corruption, the country still elected Reagan’s Vice President, George HW Bush, to continue the Reagan presidency. Unfortunately for Republicans, Poppy Bush… who ran against Reagan in 1980 criticizing his economic policies as “Voodoo economics” (the belief that you can increase Federal Revenue by slashing taxes on the rich) was a bit more responsible when it came to Federal spending (not by much mind you, but enough.) Poppy Bush, after assuring cynical Republicans that he wouldn’t raise taxes with his infamous “Read. My. Lips.” pledge, was forced to do so when he saw what Reagan’s tax cuts were doing to the Deficit. So he agreed to a small tax increase in exchange for concessions on drastic spending cuts… inflicting the worst of both worlds on the economy, which thew itself headlong into a Recession.

Bill Clinton’s 1992 Campaign Theme was “It’s the economy, stupid”, ridiculing Poppy Bush for refusing to even mention the subject on the campaign trail. So upset were most Americans with the Bush-I economy, many (myself included) turned to Third-Party candidate Ross Perot. To this day, I wonder what disasters might have befallen the country if Perot had actually won the election… a man that it turned out had no interest in “negotiating” with Congress or anyone else, believing there was a “mandate” for what he believed was right for the country and would ignore anyone that told him otherwise (that’s not a guess. That’s what we learned after one of his campaign managers, Ed Rollins, revealed when he resigned in protest.) I view my support for Perot as a learning lesson for why it is so important to be an informed voter today.

The 1994 Gingrich Revolution

In 1994, following two years of vicious partisan attacks and recriminations by Republicans against a president they viewed as “illegitimate” (thanks to Perot’s third-party candidacy that allowed Clinton to win with less than 50% of the vote), House Minority Leader Newt Gingrich orchestrated the GOP takeover of Congress during the 1994 mid-terms resulting in six straight years of pointless costly investigations in a failed attempt to derail the Clinton presidency. When their partisan witch-hunt failed to deny Clinton reelection in 1996, the GOP controlled Congress turned its attention toward “impeachment” to ensure Clinton didn’t finish out his second term. But there was no “there” there. “White Water”… a failed land deal, never produced evidence of criminal wrong-doing. Clinton’s reported philandering was an embarrassment, but not criminal. For some inexplicable reason, President Clinton allowed the GOP to subpoena him and force him to testify under oath that he wasn’t cheating on his wife… again, scummy but not a crime. Under oath, Clinton denied the truthful accusation, which in itself was (arguably) criminal, thus handing the GOP on a silver platter the justification to impeach him.

Two of Clinton’s key critics, Rep. Newt Gingrich and Sen. Henry Hyde were both currently having extramarital affairs WHILE they were denouncing President Clinton for his, a fact that did not to come out until years later. The sum culmination of six-years of investigations of everything from “The White House Christmas Card List” to “Socks The Cat’s Fan Club”: $70 Million dollars, no conviction, and Clinton leaving office with a (legitimate) popularity that rivals that of St. Ronnie (illegitimate, based on the most whitewashed record imaginable).

Bush-II

During the 2000 presidential race, George W Bush… whose only claims to fame prior to being elected governor of Texas were being a chronically failed businessman, son of a former president, and managing a baseball team that traded away Sammy Sosa… crisscrossed the nation talking down the record-breaking Clinton economy, claiming that “If only a Republican president had been in charge with the Republican Congress for the last six years… just imagine how much better things might have been.” People bought it and (arguably) elected a Republican president to preside over THE SAME Republican Congress Clinton had. The result was a disaster. Economic gains reversed almost immediately and the Stock Market plunged nearly one thousand points from Bush’s first day in office (10,587 on 1/19/2001 to 9,605 on September 10, 2001… so no blaming 9/11). The incoming Bush Administration was too busy plotting the invasion of Iraq to listen to CIA warnings of an impending attack on the US mainland by alQaeda, resulting in the arguably avoidable disaster of 9/11. A wave of post-9/11 patriotic fervor swept the GOP back in power in 2002 and Bush (narrowly) back in office in 2004 despite the disastrous decision to invade Iraq on grounds that people were quickly beginning to realize were totally bogus… with the Bush Administration actually campaigning on “You don’t change horses in mid-stream”… a “stream” that ironically only existed because they blew up the dam.

The Stock Market continued to plunge and unemployment continued to climb as rising oil/gas prices (thanks to the invasion of Iraq) made everything more expensive, ushering in the first or TWO Bush Recessions. The Bush Administration’s solution was to cut interest rates to the bone and encourage people to invest in real-estate. Millions of people were talked into taking out “Adjustable Rate Mortgages” to purchase well beyond their means, but as the economy continued to decline, those ARM rates started to go up & up. As more money shifted from buying goods to paying high interest rates on their mortgages and $3/gal gasoline, the economy started to implode as people began losing their jobs and defaulting on their mortgages, resulting in the collapse of the Banking industry and the biggest economic bailout in history… ON TOP OF the ongoing costs of two wars… one of which we never should have been in and neither with a plan to get out. President Bush would be only the second president in history to leave office with the DOW lower the day he left than the day he took office (the first was Herbert Hoover.)

The GOP under Obama

This is the Sh!t storm President Obama inherited. Yet today, less than six years later, the economy is recovering DESPITE unprecedented Republican obstruction. The DOW has nearly TRIPLED where it was following the collapse of the Bush economy (from 6,547 in March of 2009 to 17,390 last Friday), unemployment has fallen to just 5.9% (below where it was when Obama took office) and GDP grew at 3.5%, the strongest rate in 10 years.

o Republicans said Raising taxes on the rich would crash the economy. President Obama raised taxes on the Rich. The economy is strong and getting stronger by the day. The Deficit is shrinking as a result and has NOT ONCE been larger than the Deficit left to him by President Bush.

o Republicans said ObamaCare would push up unemployment as companies laid off employees rather than insure them. Instead, unemployment is at it’s lowest level in over six years… helping prove the point that tax breaks for the rich don’t create jobs, consumer demand does. So employers are hiring, not firing, despite “ObamaCare”.

o Sarah Palin’s “Death Panels”? They never materialized. In fact, people who were denied coverage by insurance companies’ OWN “death panels” before ObamaCare are now covered. The GOP has vowed to repeal that coverage if they regain power.

o They told us “the only way to get gas prices down is to approve the (disastrous) Keystone XL pipeline”. Gas is below $3/gallon and falling thanks in part to increased competition among OPEC nations, not the construction of any pipeline.

o Obama is mishandling Ebola? ONE death by a man that was turned away from a hospital in a RED state. ZERO cases of Ebola spreading within the general public. By all accounts, handling of the Ebola outbreak has been WILDLY successful.

o Mishandling ISIS? First, let’s not forget there wouldn’t even BE an ISIS if it weren’t for the invasion of Iraq ala the GOP.

o Border crisis? As I pointed out last week, the GOP is actually running ads suggesting ISIS is entering into the U.S. across the Mexican border, while others openly wonder if those poor Central American children entering the country may be carrying the African disease of Ebola. Neither of which are true.

The Republican Party, unable to run on their own record or on Obama’s economic record, are instead doing what they always do: make baseless hypocritical claims of criminal wrongdoing (“Fast & Furious” and “IRS-gate” brought to you by the backers of Iran/Contra and Iraq/WMDs), hypocritical claims of incompetency (cries of “Benghazi!” from the people that brought you “9/11”), and threats of impeachment for circumventing GOP obstruction (the same Party that praises St. Ronnie despite circumventing Congress to arm the Contras.)

They can’t win on their record, so they’ve enacted Draconian “Voter ID” laws across the country, suppressing literally millions of traditionally Democratic low-income voters in the name of “voter fraud”… an activity so rare that more people are convicted of “migratory bird violations” each year than have been convicted of voter fraud in the past decade… not only incredibly rare but hardly enough to swing an election. Don’t think for a moment that they don’t know what they’re doing. If the voters were truly on their side, they’d be doing everything to encourage the vote, not suppress it. And, a question I’ve been asking all year: I’m still waiting for someone to explain what cutting Early Voting hours/days has to do with fighting “voter fraud”?

Ebola, ISIS and trumped up claims of wrongdoing. Fear & Smear. That’s all they have to offer this election season. “Be afraid! Be very afraid! Oh, and vote Republican!” The GOP thinks you should ignore the economic growth and their unprecedented obstruction, and put them back in charge. The amazing thing is that it seems to be working. Those who do not learn from history…
 



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Filed in Economy, Election, myth busting, rewriting history, Right-Wing Hypocrisy, Taxes, voting November 3rd, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Guest Blogger: A Degree Of Civilization; The American Prison System

By Ebon - Last updated: Monday, January 20, 2014

The degree of civilization in a society may be judged by entering it’s prisons” ~ Dostoevsky

Pop quiz, kids: Which nation has more of it’s populace imprisoned than any other country on earth?

Nope, it’s not China. It’s not Russia either. Cuba? Good guess but they’re number five. According to Wikipedia (which has it’s problems but is generally fairly reliable), the number one prison population on earth is the USA, both per capita and in sheer numbers. In per capita terms, the US locks up around 743 people per 100k. In absolute terms, the BBC tells me that there are 2,193,798 people in prison in the USA. Obviously, that number rises and falls slightly each day as people get imprisoned and released but still, over 2 million people. Red China, where the government is outright oppressive and dictatorial, has around 1.5 million under lock and key but free and democratic America has two million and change locked down.

Of those, around a quarter are there for drug offenses of various kinds. That’s the population of San Bernadino locked up for drug offenses. According to the Department of Justice, 17% of state and 18% of federal prisoners committed their crimes to obtain money for drugs (Bureau of Justice). According to DrugWarFacts.org, around fifty thousand total are held purely for offenses relating to cannabis. Full disclosure: I haven’t smoked pot in about twenty years but I did when I was a teenager and I’m sure a fair few of you did as well. Were we dumb to smoke pot as teenagers? Yeah, probably. But we were teenagers, making dumb decisions is what teenagers do. Another piece of full disclosure: I think pot should be legalized. Age-restricted but otherwise legal, just like alcohol. I still wouldn’t smoke it because taking any form of mind-altering substance is a very bad idea but it makes no difference to me if my neighbour chooses to smoke a joint rather than have a drink. I also don’t want to turn this into a rant about the virtues of legalising weed (although, if you’ve a mind, Salon has a chilling piece about pot sentences) so let’s move on.

Around 40% of the US prison population are black. According to the Census, black people comprise about 14% of the US population but around 40% of prisoners. What explains that? Well, partly, it’s because black people are more likely to live in poverty and poverty is the most reliable indicator of criminal acts during life but it’s mostly because the average prison sentence handed down to a black guy is 20% longer than the sentence for the same crime committed by a white guy (Wall Street Journal). The 100-1 ratio of crack to cocaine sentences has led to the incarceration of thousands of non-violent drug offenders. Even though that difference has been reduced to 18-1, those prisoners remain in the system. The US prison population was mostly static from 1925 onwards. It started to rise in the late Seventies (as crime always rises during recessions) but then it exploded during the Eighties and onwards (Wikimedia). Why is that?

Two reasons. Firstly, the drug war. Let’s be honest here, the drug war has been lost. It is no more difficult to buy a hit of heroin now than it was in 1975. It hasn’t been a success and it can’t be a success. It can’t be a success due to a basic fact of human nature: Where a demand exists, people will appear to meet that demand. That’s just how things work, a basic law of humanity. So the laws against drugs are commonly broken and, by that breaking, a massive number of people are classified as criminals. Now, proponents of the drug war would argue that the laws against murder are commonly broken so should we abandon them too? That’s a fair question. The difference is that murder harms someone else whereas taking drugs, in and of themselves, harms only the taker. What about the crimes committed to support a drug habit, like theft? What about them? We already have laws against theft and I’m not proposing the legalization of all drugs anyway, just of certain soft drugs like pot.

The other thing that changed was the rise of mandatory minimum sentencing laws. This is one of the stupidest movements in human history. The whole reason we have a judge deciding sentencing is so that the sentence can reflect the circumstances of the crime and the perp. Mandatory minimums throw out all that human wisdom in favour of flat sentencing that pays no attention to circumstances. In New York, for example, possessing (note that’s possession, not supply) more than four ounces of any hard drug will get you a minimum of fifteen to life. There are easily found stories of people locked up for life under three-strikes laws for offenses as minor as stealing a slice of pizza or a loaf of bread.

And the US does a lousy job of rehabilitating prisoners as well. We’ve all been shown on tv that prisoners get to complete their education. There are good reasons to educate prisoners. A prisoner who earns their GED inside is half as likely to re-offend. A prisoner who earns their college degree will almost certainly never see the inside of a prison again. You might say it’s unfair that people get sent to prison and get a free education. I would respond that firstly, I’d like to make everyone’s education free and secondly, look at the facts. According to a study conducted by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy, every dollar spent on inmate education saves twelve dollars in future crimes (ABC News). Another study by UCLA found that a million dollar investment in incarceration produced 350 jobs while that same million invested in education, produced 600 jobs (ibid.). Prisoners used to be able to apply for Pell grants to cover the cost of their courses but that was eliminated in the mid-Nineties. The result is that there isn’t funding for prisoners to get educated. Prison budgets are constantly being cut and the first thing to go, after the gyms that tv thinks are in every prison, are education programs.

Oh, and your prisons are over capacity as well.

So what happens when the average prisoner gets released? He probably hasn’t had a chance to finish his education. Because of the prejudice against ex-cons (in fairness, not entirely undeserved prejudice), he’s probably not going to be able to get a job. Ex-cons are routinely discriminated against in housing, public assistance and education (Guardian). So what does he do simply to get by? Chances are pretty good he goes back to crime. That’s why the recidivism rate in 2004 was about 67% (Bureau of Justice). In countries that take rehabilitation seriously, like Sweden or Canada, it’s about 35% (Released & Restored).

Some would say that we send people to prison to be punished. But we don’t. The prison is the punishment. With the exception of lifers, we send people to prison in the hopes that prison will, in some rough and ready fashion, turn them into honest people. The lifers, we’re just warehousing them until they die (or, in some cases, executing them) but for the rest, we have to acknowledge that they will eventually be released and, if we want them to become productive members of society, we have to equip them to be productive members of society. That means educating them. It means drug rehab facilities, preferably at the end of their prison stay (works better that way). It means making an effort to ensure that ex-cons can find work. Look, I’m not saying that we can just open the gates and let all prisoners free. That would be stupid and, more importantly, unjust. But it’s also unjust that people whose only offense was puffing a joint years ago should be rotting in jail twenty years later. It’s unjust to impose a life as a member of the underclass on someone who has paid their debt to society.

And that’s not even touching on the subject of private prisons. This is another incredibly stupid idea brought to you by the worship of private enterprise. The states and the Fed already do prisons about as cheaply as it’s possible to do them so the only way private prisons can do it cheaper is to cut corners. Less guards, less nutritious food, less education. And the corporations that run private prisons are going to behave like any other corporation, they’re going to try to maximize their profits. That means they’re going to lobby for more and longer prison sentences. That means that your government, which is already thoroughly corrupted by campaign contributions and lobbying, have every incentive to create more crimes with longer sentences. That means your prison population will continue to grow. And those prisoners are increasingly being used as a profit centre for big businesses too (Global Research). Workers who work for pennies an hour, can’t unionize, can’t refuse to work or quit, who have very few rights and to whom their employers owe nothing. The corporate dream. The rich against the rest, as always.
 



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Filed in Crime, Greed, Guest Blogger, Money, Taxes January 20th, 2014 by Ebon | • 1 comment | 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 cruel 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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Thinking Outside the GOP Box: Creating New Jobs Without Resorting to Tax Cuts

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, August 5, 2013

Last Tuesday, President Obama began his “Better Bargain” jobs tour promising to “overhaul business taxes” in exchange for jobs created here at home. Every time I hear a Democrat using the language of Republicans, suggesting “tax cuts” as a way to create jobs, I cringe. There are PLENTY of ways to encourage job growth here at home without destroying the tax base. Corporations are ALREADY paying next to nothing in taxes (see blue line in chart on left) by exploiting the dozens (hundreds?) of tax loopholes already provided them by the GOP (see: Arthur Andersen/Enron). “Why do they need more tax cuts?” It seems like the only solution anyone in Washington (BOTH parties) can think of the encourage businesses development here at home rather than overseas is to give huge tax breaks to corporations (destroying the greatest source of tax revenue we have) and shifting the tax burden to workers so that they end up footing the bill for all public services (including roads, security and fire safety of the business itself). And in the end, the companies that receive these imperious gifts rarely produce enough jobs to make up for the lost tax revenue. There’s a better way. Zero interest loans, Free use of publicly owned buildings and/or land, faster/easier licensing, local infrastructure improvements (roads/bridges/beautification) that benefit the surrounding area around a business to make it more attractive (which also creates public jobs), for starters.

I find it appalling that many Democrats… even Moderate ones like President Obama… are quick to jump onto the “tax cuts create jobs” bandwagon. Lord knows there’s ample evidence that “corporate tax cuts do nothing to promote job creation” and actually do more harm than good. If there’s one thing Progressives are good at is thinking “outside the box”, so it is maddening when a Democratic president and head of our own Party continues to promote the GOP gospel of “tax cuts” as a panacea for job growth.

Over the years, I have written extensively about ways to create jobs without resorting to budget-busting tax cuts. Yet still, the myth persists.

Sign my petition on the White House website:

Corporate tax cuts do NOT create jobs. Here’s a half dozen ways to create new jobs without resorting to costly tax cuts:

Be sure to click the link at the bottom of the petition to promote it on Facebook & Twitter. Thanks to Teabaggers and “9/11 Truthers”, it now takes 100,000 signatures in 30 days to reach the president’s desk, and 150 signatures just to get on the Front page of the White House’s Petition website. So please help out by spreading the word.
 



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Filed in Economy, General, Jobs, Money, Seems Obvious to Me, Taxes August 5th, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • 1 comment | Add/View

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Why Aren’t Obama’s Scandals Gaining Traction? Because the public knows the messengers have no credibility.

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, June 3, 2013

Bachmann's retirement means a lot of fact-checkers will be laid off.Godwin’s Law states that the longer any political argument goes on, the greater the likelihood is someone will compare the other side to Hitler. It’s a sound law that has withstood the test of time. But not only is it reliable, it points out a very important point when arguing politics: eventually one side… clearly seeing that it is losing… will try to minimize the misdeeds of their side by comparing them to the most objectionable thing everyone can agree upon: The Nazi’s. “What your side did/doing is just like what the Nazi’s did” or “What my side did is nothing compared to what the Nazi’s did”. “Mugsy’s Corollary” to Godwin’s Law is that Republicans will compare “fake scandals” invented by the GOP to very real scandals that took place under a Republican Administration (Nixon/Reagan/Bush-II) to suggest: “both sides do it”, “both sides are equally guilty” and lately, “Bush’s scandals were nothing compared to Obama’s.” We saw it during the Clinton Administration. It seemed like every week there was a new “scandal”. Rachel Maddow reminded everyone on her show last Thursday of how the GOP spent weeks (and tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars) to investigate “the White House Christmas Card List”. I’d add to that “infinite playlist” of imaginary scandals: the investigation into “Socks”… the White House cat’s… fanclub letters (“who paid for the postage?”) GOP scandal-mongering in the late 90’s didn’t just border on the ridiculous, it sailed over that cliff like Thelma & Louise. The initial unspoken intent of the scandal-mongering back then was to limit Bill Clinton to a single term. But following Clinton’s re-election, the GOP scandal-machine went into overdrive to try and ensure he didn’t finish out his second term. And now we are seeing it again. In Obama’s first term, with no real scandals to pursue, Conservatives prattled on about “Where’s the Birth Certificate?” and the “Secret Muslim” nonsense to try and paint the president as an “other”. But by 2012, with desperation creeping in, we started hearing about “Fast and Furious” and (late in the game): “Benghazi”. And now, just months into Obama’s second term, we have no fewer than THREE almost legitimate “scandals” (“Benghazi”, “IRS scrutinizing Tea Party groups applying for tax-free status”, and the subpoena of reporter’s phone records to track a WH leak) with (almost certainly) more on the way, Republicans are crowing about a recent poll that shows President Obama Job Approval falling three whole points (polls are a fickle thing) the same month The Stock Market hits another record high, new home sales are up 10.3% in just one year, and Consumer Confidence hits “a five year high”. A 3-point decline is cause for celebration? (Fox “news” Sunday spent a good portion of their show yesterday making hay of it.) I guess they have to take their victories where they can find them. Maybe these “scandals” aren’t gaining any traction because they’re not scandals?

If I hadn’t heard it with my own ears, I’d of of thought it was a joke or taken out of context. Two notorious Right-wing bomb-throwers… RW radio host Laura Ingraham and WaPo’s columnist Jeniffer Rubin both tried to compare the made-up “IRS scandal” to the outing of undercover CIA Agent Valery Plame:
 

On subject of AG Holder investigating a Fox reporter to track down a WH leak:

Ingraham: …just like that: “We [the AG’s office] never thought we would prosecute him [Fox reporter James Rosen].” Well, what were you really after here? I think… there’s so many questions.” … “for people to just blow this off [as] overreach by the Republicans. How many times did we hear about overreach in the Valery Plame prosecution? I don’t remember one time.

Rubin: “But he [Obama] has not sent out an order as George Bush did in the Valery Plame decision, “I do not want anyone in this Administration to refuse to cooperate.

 
“Mugsy’s Corollary” in action. These two pundits are ACTUALLY claiming the Bush Administration was “cooperative” in the Plame investigation. Is that how you remember it? Because I sure as hell don’t. The person all of us are quite certain gave the order to leak the identity of Ambassador Wilson’s wife, Vice President Dick Cheney, never testified under oath before the Special Prosecutor. Oh, he (and Bush together) agreed to testify, but only until assurances they would not have to do so “under oath”. Rove had to be subpoenaed FOUR times because new evidence kept coming to light that he “conveniently” left out of his prior testimonies. Libby was actually prosecuted/convicted for “obstruction of justice” for refusing to admit who gave him permission to leak the fact “Ambassador Wilson’s wife worked for the CIA.” To hear these two tell it, President Bush had no tolerance for anyone wishing to obstruct justice. Yet, not only do we STILL not know (for a fact) who gave the order to leak Ms. Plame’s identity, but Bush commuted Libby’s prison sentence. Absolute models of integrity that Bush Administration was.

Ingram ends by noting that she can’t remember one time anyone… not just the White House, but “people” in general… accused the Plame Investigation of “overreach”. REALLY? The White House itself never accused Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald of “overreach” primarily because Fitzgerald didn’t “overreach”. In fact, quite the opposite. To the consternation of most Democrats, Fitzgerald “limited the scope of his investigation” from the get-go:
 

Fitzgerald: “The Special Counsel is limited by the specific scope of the investigation he was directed to conduct. Accordingly, the Special Counsel cannot make any decisions that extend beyond his express jurisdiction. The Court further concluded that the Special Counsel had no authority to disregard Department of Justice policies promulgated by the Attorney General [Gonzales].”

 
The Bush White House might not have accused the Special Prosecutor of “overreach” itself, but accusations that Fitzgerald was going “beyond his assignment” was the mating call of the injured RW Loon for nine months. Another reason the Bush White House didn’t cry “prosecutorial misconduct” is because there was no question a crime had been committed… unlike these made-up scandals under Obama. What is the “crime” of Benghazi? “Failing to provide additional security”? I’m pretty sure you’re not going to find that law on the books. The “IRS scandal”? NOT ONE SINGLE RIGHT-WING APPLICANT WAS DENIED their application (which is a scandal unto itself). If the IRS was abusing it’s authority, it did a really lousy job of it (and as TV’s Stephen Colbert pointed out, you don’t need to “wait for approval” to declare yourself a 501(c)4 and start accepting anonymous tax-free contributions.) And the AP/Leak investigation? As the HuffPo reported a few weeks ago:
 

Since the 1970s, the Supreme Court has ruled that information recorded by third parties like cellphone carriers is not protected by the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment safeguards against unreasonable searches. So law enforcement need not obtain a warrant from a judge to gain access to records of who we call and when.

 
The AP is (rightly) concerned that if the government can see the phone records of everyone that called a particular reporter, and potential informants know that, they’ll stop talking. The problem here is that The AP is accepting NONE of the responsibility for publicly revealing sensitive national security information (regarding what we knew of North Korea’s missile program.) Someone in the White House revealed Top Secret information to the Press. And rather than ask, “Should you be telling us this?” and/or “Is the public’s right-to-know on this matter more important than National Security?”, they just printed it anyway without regard for the consequences. Maybe if The AP had shown just a little discretion, there would be no reason for “legitimate” sources to be concerned for their privacy. If there was a “crime” here, it was committed by whomever leaked that information to The Press. And the White House needs to know so it can prosecute that person. Compare that to the leaking of the identity of Valery Plame, where the goal of the White House was to PROTECT the leaker, not seek them out for prosecution.

Last week also brought the announced retirement of Michele Bachmann: Self-proclaimed leader of the Teanuts and Conspiracy Theorist-in-Chief. I don’t think there’s an “Oh-BHA-MA” conspiracy she didn’t buy into whole-hog. And like all Obama-hating Conspiracy Theorists, she never bothered to verify anything she was (supposedly) told (see: seven-foot doctor” or “mother who told her HPV vaccine caused mental retardation in children”) before repeating it on national TV claiming it was “the God’s honest truth”. If it confirms your own worst fears, why would you want to debunk it?

That just leaves us with Sarah Palin, Rand Paul, Louie Gohmert, Ted Cruz, Darryl Issa, Jim Inhoffe… ah, the Hell with it. The whole damn GOP. As Bob Dole so accurately pointed out last week, neither he, nor Reagan nor “certainly not Nixon” could get elected by today’s FAR FAR Right GOP. And that’s why the Public isn’t running for the pitchforks & torches over any of these made-up “worse than Watergate” imaginary “scandals”: they are well acquainted with the Messengers.

UPDATE 6/4/13: DailyKOS charts how President Obama’s approval rating has barely budged over the past three months because the primary concern of voters isn’t the IRS or Benghazi, “it’s the economy, Stupid”, and that seems to be improving.
 



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Filed in fake scandals, Jobs, myth busting, Partisanship, Politics, Right-Wing Insanity, Taxes, Unconstitutional June 3rd, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • 4 comments | Add/View

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The Big Lie: ONLY Conservative Groups Targeted by IRS? That’s not true.

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, May 20, 2013

Why us?Last week, the GOP unveiled its latest stalking horse: the idea that someone in the White House ordered city-level IRS offices across the country to single out “Conservative” organizations seeking “tax-exempt status” for additional scrutiny. And not just ANY “Conservative” groups, but “T.E.A. Party” groups. Set aside for a moment the fact that for YEARS the Tea Party has denied being a Republican or even “partisan” organization, as far as “scandals” go, this one is pretty weak tea (pun intended). To buy into this absurd conspiracy theory, one must believe that the White House decided that delaying the approval of “501(c)(4) status” for Conservative groups (because remember, despite “targeting” them, they APPROVED their applications anyway) was a priority worth risking criminal prosecution and possible impeachment for “abuse of power” 18-months before President Obama even began his reelection campaign. Hearings in the House last week revealed that this was little more than a bureaucratic snafu of overworked local IRS staffers looking for “shortcuts” to process a flood of Conservative groups seeking “tax-exempt” status in the wake of the “Citizens United” decision. Republicans could already feel the issue slipping away last week as polls showed the President not losing any ground over the issue. So over the weekend, Republicans started to declare that “ONLY Conservative groups were TARGETED by the IRS”. Why? Because if “ONLY” Conservative groups were targeted, that must mean someone consciously singled them out because of their political beliefs. And “targeted” sounds much more malicious than “singled out”. Problem (for them) is, IT’S NOT TRUE. It’s an absolute total lie. Plenty of “Liberal” groups received the same additional scrutiny, and in one case, was actually denied their application for 501(c)(4) status (unlike EVERY. SINGLE. CONSERVATIVE group, who were ALL approved.) Yet they are making the claim everywhere (even the floor of the Senate) without anyone calling them out for lying, hoping to push the false narrative that something dastardly was afoot at the IRS… an organization Republicans have been vilifying for decades. “Liberal” groups applying for tax exempt status also received additional scrutiny, but not as many were scrutinized as “Conservative” groups only because far fewer of them applied.

But first, some background: in 2011 following the Citizens United decision, the IRS did indeed start cracking down on “political” organizations seeking 501(c)(4) protection as a way to illegally conceal their donors. That’s the “fraud and abuse” portion of the “waste, fraud and abuse” Republicans say they’re always on the lookout for. One of those “tax loopholes” Mitt Romney suggested we close before we raise anyone’s taxes.

It’s a sad sad day when Fox “news” is the lone broadcast network to point out the fact that the IRS did not focus exclusively on “Tea Party” affiliated groups for extra scrutiny:
 

Fox Debunks Lie That ONLY Conservative Groups Targeted by IRS (1:15)

 
Rep. Paul Ryan later claimed in the interview that “the White House released private confidential tax information to the public”. Whose? Ryan never says and Wallace never asks, but after some digging, according the the NYT:

The 2010 incident involved an offhand comment by the White House economist Austan Goolsbee that Koch Industries had not paid corporate income taxes because it pays taxes through the personal income tax code. As it turned out, that was not true, but the assertion was made in a discussion of tax reform ideas, not politics.

 
So that “confidential tax information” wasn’t even real. It was one guy repeating something he had “heard”… NOT “factual tax information” provided to him by the IRS.

IMPEACH!  (Which reminds me, last weeks Op/Ed on all the uninvestigated Bush Era scandals was so popular that I was still updating it as recently as Saturday, so check it out again if you haven’t been back recently.)

On ABC’s “ThisWeek”, interminable Conservative douchebag George Will said accusingly yesterday:

[One must believe that IRS targeting] “JUST HAPPENED to fall disproportionately on Conservatives” [without malice or forethought].

Yes George. Conservative Groups did indeed “just happen” to receive a disproportionate amount of scrutiny because a disproportionate amount of APPLICANTS were Conservative.

Something to consider: If you were going to comb through 70,000 applications (Cincinnati in just one year) for “tax free status” and wanted to target “Liberal” groups specifically in your brute-force search of political organizations masquerading as charities, what keywords would you choose? Words like “Liberal” or “Progressive” to be sure. Maybe “Democratic” too though “Democracy” is no sure thing. But what else? What other Liberal “political” keyword might you include in your search to “target” Progressive groups? If you can think of even one more, you’re a better man than I am, Charlie Brown. But when it comes to Right-leaning groups, besides “Conservative” or “Republican” there’s “Tea Party”, “Patriot(s)”, “Militia”, “(fair, flat) Tax (fairness, etc)” … heck, I think even “Freedom” has been co-opted by The Right as their own personal brand. And in the immediate aftermath of the “Citizens United” decision, Conservatives were applying for “tax exempt status” en masse because… not only do they despise paying taxes (read: paying for the government services they use), but 501(c)(4)’s are not required by law to disclose their contributors, allowing them to operate in total secrecy… just the way Karl Rove (et al) likes it.

So is it any wonder Conservative groups were so easily caught up in the drag-net (and I use that term almost literally.) These local under-staffed IRS offices used a quick & dirty search using obvious political keywords to filter the “suspicious” applicants from the genuine ones.

And being dragged into this Dog & Pony Show is ObamaCare via “Sarah Hall Ingraham”. If you’ve never heard of her before now, you are forgiven. She was the evil genius in charge of overseeing just who did & did not qualify for “tax exempt status” when this “scandal” was taking place (2009-2012). That would be the same evil genius that “targeted” Conservative groups only to then go ahead and give them 501(c)(4) status anyway. Ingraham is now the director of the IRS’ Affordable Care Act office… basically, the person tasked with “enforcing” the insurance mandate with absolutely no power to actually do so. So naturally, Republicans are freaking out because… well… I’m not exactly sure. Why do Republicans ever freak out? Do they think she’ll only enforce the Federal mandate against Conservatives (read: whites) and let everyone else (read: blacks/Mexicans) slide? Because if the current IRS “scandal” is any indication, the people most likely to skate are Conservatives. Do they believe she’s incompetent? Then they should be thrilled that someone was appointed to the job that could take down ObamaCare for them. CLEARLY they aren’t worried that she’s SO competent that she’ll make ObamaCare a roaring success. So what’s their problem? There’s just no pleasing these people.

Personally, the REAL IRS “scandal” is that ANY political group has received tax-exempt status. Who “targets” an entire group of people for additional scrutiny and then goes ahead and approves them anyway? WORST. SCANDAL. EVER.

(Postscript: Since my departure from Crooks & Liars a few weeks ago, if you are missing my weekly live-blogging of the Sunday Talk Shows, you can now follow my updates on Facebook and Twitter. I didn’t do this earlier because the people I accused of being “petty & childish” were checking up on my Facebook page to see if I was saying anything bad about them. Pretty much says it all, don’tcha think? I believe enough time has passed where I can safely resume my duties without worrying that I might be assisting them in any way.)
 



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Filed in fake scandals, myth busting, Partisanship, Politics, Taxes May 20th, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • 3 comments | Add/View

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Republicans Desire for Us the Worst of Every Society

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, April 1, 2013

GOP 'logic'.Just a short hit & run on this holiday weekend folks. Have you ever noticed how Republicans seem to look at some of the most deplorable aspects of any society and say, “Hey! I like that!” I first noticed this after 9/11, when after we were attacked by religious zealots stationed in a middle-Eastern theocracy, Conservatives started “admiring” (for lack of a better word) the strict religious teaching methods of Madrassas, and the “dedication” of the very people they raged against. Don’t believe me? Check out the movie “Jesus Camp” where parents sent their young children to be “God Warriors” for Christ. President Bush famously referred to the wars in Iraq & Afghanistan as “a crusade”. The anachronism of the Pro-“Life” Holy-Roller Party also being the Pro-gun, Pro-war, Pro-Death penalty Party is never lost on me. But lately, it seems to go beyond that.

Here’s something to think about: What do “Austerity” and “The Black Plague” have in common? In the mid 1300’s (yes, I promise to keep this short), a deadly disease swept through Europe killing millions. This was centuries before anyone knew of the existence of bacteria or viruses. “Illness” was either a punishment from God or inflicted by “Evil”. One of the ways people dealt with The Plague was to kill stray cats by the hundreds because cats were considered “minions of the Devil” or Hosts for witches that would then go about making people ill. The irony is that The Plague was actually being spread by fleas on rats, which the cats might have killed and kept the spread of the disease under control.

So, what does that have to do with “Austerity”, you ask? Right now in Europe, The UK is in danger of having their credit-rating downgraded again (last February, The UK’s credit rating was downgraded from “AAA” to “AA1” because their economy isn’t growing like it should. Why? Austerity! While President Obama passed a “Stimulus Package” of spending to stimulate growth in this country, the Brits went the other way and imposed economic austerity, deep spending cuts and raising taxes on the Poor. Now there is talk of a possible second downgrade barely six weeks after the first one, and the answer from Brittan’s ruling Conservative Party? Stay the course. More austerity. Once again, Europeans have decided that the “cure” for their ills is to do the very thing that… not only didn’t make things better, but in fact are almost guaranteed to make things worse.

And here in this country, Republicans who think “President Obama wants to turn America into Europe”, keep pushing European-style “austerity” in this country, demonizing Stimulus spending and thinking up ways to shift the tax burden from the Rich to the Poor.

Oh, but it gets better my friends.

Ever get the feeling many Republicans would like to see the return of “Jim Crow”? Ron and Rand Paul aren’t the only ones that think including “private businesses” in the 1964 Civil Rights Act” was a mistake. And now, we are… quite literally… hearing the same “separate but equal” arguments being made about “Same Sex Marriage”. “I’m comfortable with giving gay couples all the rights of ‘straight’ couples, from tax breaks to ‘hospital visitation rights’. Everything except the right to marry”, said GOP Spokesperson Ed Gillespi on “Meet the Press” yesterday. Adding that the GOP still supports an “anti-gay marriage amendment” to the Constitution. I’m still waiting for someone on that side to produce a convincing legal argument for why it is in the Federal governments’ interest to go to such lengths to prevent gays from marrying and the catastrophic consequences if they do, of such danger & magnitude that it demands amending the freaking Constitution.

Republicans do this amazing dance where they denounce the most obvious flaws in other societies, and then go right out and start advocating for us to emulate them.

Remember Gov. Romney’s “Razor-wired factory” story from his infamous “47%” video? He talked about how, in his “private-equity days”, he went to China to buy a factory and was stunned to see “razor wire” along the prison-like walls around the factory. When Romney inquired about it, he was told… and believed… that “the razor wire is there to keep people on the outside from getting IN, not the other way around.” He described the horrid sweat-shop conditions, even noting how some workers… once they got out for some national holiday or what have you… never returned, opening up spots for someone new. Now, if the jobs were so desirable, why would workers not return? Such a question clearly never crossed Mitt’s mind. Instead, he relates this anecdote to his $20,000 a plate guests as a GOOD thing, possibly even a model for work-conditions in America.

In China, underage workers are common-place. Children as young as 12 can be found working in factories. In this country, Newt Gingrich thinks they should be janitors. No OSHA in China or the third-world either. That’s just more “job-killing regulations!” No minimum wage. 12 hour workdays. Republican paradise.

There’s the “Free Marketeers” that want Government completely out of the way to let business do its thing. I believe it was radio’s “Sam Seeder” that first pointed out that the only purely “unregulated Free Market” economy on Earth is Somalia. “You want to see what an unregulated Free Market economy looks like? Move to Somalia!”, said Sam.

And of course, (yes, with “Godwin’s Law” in mind) Government run by & for the Corporations… also known as “Corporatism”… better known as “Fascism”… the worst of all possible societies which Republicans claim to despise and use as The Ultimate Parjorative in describing things they hate, is also something they seem quite eager to emulate. Think about it.
 



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Filed in Economy, General, Middle East, Politics, Racism, Religion, Right-wing Facism, Seems Obvious to Me, Taxes, War April 1st, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Obama’s Successes Equal Failure in GOP-speak.

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, March 11, 2013

One job created by the GOPBack when I was in High School, there was this one kid that desperately wanted “the cool kids” to like him. And even though he had friends like me willing to hang out with him, he wouldn’t hesitate to abandon us for the greener pastures of “the in-crowd”… a group that lived to make his life miserable… in the futile hope that he’d convince them to like him. Of course, they never did. They happily invited him over, then instructed him to perform various tasks (from fetching food to doing their homework), all the while ridiculing him behind his back. We tried to tell him he was being used, but he’d have none of it, defending his “friends”, even taking the blame once for something he didn’t do just to keep one of the cool kids out of trouble. Pathetic. I got that same sick feeling in the pit of my stomach last week when President Obama invited a group of Republicans to dinner (again) in hopes of convincing them to stop hating him long enough to get things done. Everyone but Charlie Brown always seems to know Lucy is going to yank the football away, yet he keeps trying. But Lucy was just mean, not demented. It’s not like she went around afterward telling everyone how much better “The Easter Beagle” is at place-kicking. And such was the case on several Sunday shows yesterday. Repeatedly, Republicans pointed to their own failures as “evidence” that President Obama’s policies are a failure. First up, Paul Ryan:

Making an appearance on Fox “news” Sunday Ryan introduced his (third & latest) plan to destroy Medicare by dumping it off on the states, claiming this could save the Federal Government “$770 billion over the next ten years”. Republicans LOVE to play this game… not necessarily with “Medicare” but with ALL government programs… suggesting that the way to “save the Federal government money and reduce the Deficit” is to simply dump every social program off on the states. So YOU… the taxpayer… don’t actually pay less in taxes, you just send the check to a different location (your State Treasurer instead of the Fed). In fact, with the loss of efficiency that comes from consolidating all these programs in one place, there is a VERY good chance… ESPECIALLY if you live in an impoverished Red state… that you’ll end up paying MORE for these services. Meanwhile, Ryan and his ilk get to strut around like peacocks bragging about how they’ve “cut Federal spending” and “reduced the Deficit” without actually improving anything.

But that wasn’t enough. Chris Wallace noted that for the numbers in Ryan’s own budget to work out, he’s depending on the current rate of economic growth under Obama to continue for the next ten years, not plunge into the abyss the way it did the last time we had a Republican president whose solution to every problem was “tax cuts”. Economy good? Tax cut! Economy bad? Tax cuts plus Stimulus Checks! Ryan didn’t dare try and calculate his budget using the rate of economic growth under George W. Bush because he knew it would be impossible. They want us to return to Bush’s policies, but only Obama’s numbers make it possible. It’s not unlike when an insane person thinks they don’t need their meds while they are on them and feeling good.

Repeatedly for the past two months during the “Sequester” fight, I heard Republicans (most notably Speaker Boehner) argue that President Obama “got his tax hike” and therefore additional revenue is “off the table” as a means of closing an “$84 Billion dollar” shortfall in the Budget. Republicans previously put “closing loopholes” and “limiting deductions” on the table as ways to shore-up the Budget to avoid the Sequester. But now that President Obama “got his tax hike in January”, anything other than further budget cuts are off the table.

Problem is, President Obama did NOT get “his” tax hike. He wanted the tax hike to begin on incomes of $250K. Republicans held “the Fiscal Cliff” hostage in exchange for raising the starting amount to “$500K”. Extrapolating from one website that claimed starting the new top tax rate at $250K would raise “only $800 Billion in additional revenue”, and another report saying that starting the top rate at $450K will raise “$396 Billion” in additional revenue, that’s a shortfall of roughly $400 Billion… which would have MORE than made up for the “$84 Billion dollar budget gap”. So once again, Republicans are being obstructionist asshats over a problem of their own creation.

But ABC’s George Will took the cake. Whatever this guy is smoking, it must be strong stuff. On ABC’s “ThisWeek” yesterday, the Roundtable discussion turned to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs report announcing that 236,000 jobs were created in February (the shortest month of the year BTW). Not only was this number well above what was “expected” (a number I could not find anywhere), but it’s more than twice the number of jobs the economy must produce each month just to keep up with population growth. The number of people filing new jobless claims fell as well, pushing the unemployment rate down to 7.7%… the lowest since December of 2008 at the height of the collapse on Wall Street. Add to that the fact the adjusted job-creation figures for December were revised up from 196,000 to 219,000 (though January was revised down from 157,000 to 119,000.) For comparison-sake, by this point in George Bush’s presidency, unemployment had gone from 4.2% to 5.4%. (set dates manually at link.) Under Obama, job creation is up, while unemployment, jobless claims and The Deficit are all shrinking… which makes the following comment by ABC’s “ThisWeek” resident Conservative hack George Will all the more mind-numbing:
 

WILL: If the workforce participation rate were as high today as it was just 12 months ago, the unemployment rate would be 8.3 percent. If the workforce participation rate were as high today as it was when Mr. Obama was inaugurated, the unemployment rate would be over 10 percent.

 
Think about what George Will is arguing here: job growth under Obama isn’t growing fast enough to to make up for the MILLIONS of jobs lost under President Bush, ergo Obama’s policies are a total failure and we need to return to the Conservative economic policies that got us into this mess in the first place.
 

Kaboom!

 



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Filed in Economy, Jobs, Partisanship, Politics, Right-Wing Insanity, Taxes March 11th, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View