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Reconciling Trump’s Incompetency With Economic Success
May 7th, 2018 by Admin Mugsy

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During the 1980 presidential race, GOP candidate Ronald Reagan attacked President Carter for allowing the National Debt to “skyrocket” from just $700 Billion to $900 Billion, a nearly 25% increase in the National Debt in just four years, implying “stunning fiscal irresponsibility” on Carter’s behalf. of course, what Reagan innocently forgot to mention was that all those loans to pay for the Vietnam War started to come due in 1976 (the year before Carter took office) and drove up the Debt, not because of any “fiscal irresponsibility” on Carter’s behalf. Then Reagan went on to become president, slashed taxes on the wealthy, and TRIPLED the National Debt in just eight years. But Republicans adored Reagan… and still do to this day… for producing a “fantastic” economy (actually, the Reagan economy was less successful Bill Clinton’s. And Carter did FAR better in his four years than Reagan did in his first four.) Reagan traded the short-term gain of tax cuts to rescue a struggling economy in the 80’s for a 300% increase in the National Debt that we’ll be paying off for generations. Short-term gain in exchange for delayed long-term pain. Republicans have a well-documented history (something I document here weekly) of ignoring the future consequences of decisions they make today in exchange for short-term gain.

I remember a few years back listening to a debate over whether or not “nuclear energy” should be included in any discussion of “Green Energy”. The short-term gainers argued that “anything that helps us get off fossil fuels that doesn’t produce CO2” should be considered “Green Energy”. One man pointed out that “If the ancient Egyptians had nuclear reactors and used them to power their cities 5-10 thousand years ago, we would STILL be stuck having to store their nuclear waste today.” That’s an amazing thought. Short-term gain in exchange for long-term pain.

We see this repeatedly among Republicans. “Damn the consequences! Full speed ahead… into Iraq… or exploding the Deficit with tax cuts that aren’t paid for… or rolling back regulations of coal mining (and not just “pollution” regulations either. West Virginia’s GOP Senate primary is being led by none other than Bill Blankenship, owner of the “Massey Energy Coal Mine” who went to prison after ordering supervisors to ignore coal mine safety regulations, resulting in the deaths of 29 coal miners in 2010. (But hey, they all had jobs!). Cutting taxes without regard for the Debt (until a Democrat becomes president)? That’s GOP-101.

Republicans hate “government regulations” the way children hate being told to eat their peas. Those “regulations”… like those mine safety regulations Blankenship ignored… were put in place for a reason. Rolling back regulations might help a few companies save a few bucks today and perhaps create a few more jobs… until one of the reasons those regulations were enacted in the first place comes back to bite them in the ass and ends up costing people a lot of money (or worse.) The consequences of many decisions might not be felt for years, but they always come. How many people predicted we’d still be at war in the Middle-East FIFTEEN YEARS after the invasion of Iraq (which was sold on the promise of an “Arab Spring” where the successful Democratization of Iraq would spread throughout the Middle-East as “dictatorships fall like dominoes?”)

So last week, unemployment fell to an amazing 3.9%… technically “full employment” (ie: if you don’t have a job, you probably don’t need one)… a low not seen since Bill Clinton’s second term. Add to that, the “meteoric” rise in the Stock Market after Trump was elected (the DOW closed at a record high of 26,616.71 on January 26th of this year… an increase of 25.5% since Obama left office. All very good news for the economy, and both are indexes I used to judge the strength/weakness of the economy under both Obama & Bush. And this far into Trump’s second year, he does deserve the majority of the credit for these good numbers (as much as it pains me to say it) because a year of unpopular economic decisions would just as easily have driven those numbers back up.
 

Unemployment rate since Bush's final year

 

Trump nearly derailed his own economy when he threatened to impose blanket indiscriminate tariffs on imported steel & aluminum without regard for country of origin, which threatened to spark a global trade war, first resulting in the DOW losing over a thousand points in one week, then losing a thousand points in one day the following Monday. So current numbers ARE a reflection of current policies.

Under Obama during the 2016 campaign, when unemployment fell from 4.9% to 4.6% on November 1st… three points in just one month… Trump called the numbers “fake” and an attempt by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to help Hillary Clinton. Now the numbers are totally accurate and proof his economic policies are working.

At the risk of sounding like a partisan pessimist unwilling to admit “success” under a Republican president, I’m seeing the same trends we saw under George W. Bush when he slashed interest rates NINE TIMES in 2001 (and don’t blame 9/11. Only TWO of those cuts came after 9/11) to get the economy moving again in his first term (if you have been paying attention this week, the last time unemployment fell to 3.9% was December of 2000JUST as the Republican candidates started talking down the economy as they started their run for president (again, trading short-term gain without regard for the consequences.) Interest rates near zero have left the Federal Reserve with no place to go but up… which we have been putting off ever since. When exploding gasoline prices (thanks to deregulated Commodity Traders) sucked TRILLIONS out of the economy by 2008, “cutting interest rates to kickstart the economy” was no longer an option. Global economic disaster ensued, forcing newly elected President Obama to borrow hundreds of Billions for his “Stimulus”.

Trump’s MASSIVE corporate tax cuts… permanent for the rich but temporary for everyone else… spurred enormous investment in the stock market (almost without regard for profits) because it meant corporations were going to be able to keep more of their profits. Many stocks are likely over-inflated, not justified by their sales figures, which makes them ripe for a crash. Trump is creating a bubble that will make The Crash of 2008 look like “The Good Old Days”. We can’t cut taxes to zero and still fund the government, so the days of goosing investment in the Stock Market with the promise of additional tax cuts are over. Once again, there’s no place for them to go but up. The flood of investors pouring money into stocks to take advantage of larger profit margins seemed to push the DOW to new record highs week-after-week for months. Those record highs stopped with that January 26th record close mentioned above. The DOW has not hit another record high since. By last Wednesday, the DOW was down more than 10% off that record high just three months earlier (though gaining a nice 300+ point bounce Friday thanks to the good jobs numbers for April.) And much of this has to do with an increase in Consumer spending thanks to those (temporary) tax cuts (that will blow a hole in the Deficit for the next guy to worry about.) Yes, those tax cuts for the Poor & Middle Class will come to an end over the next few years, but the Republican philosophy is that in a few years, with the economy growing, consumers won’t need those tax cuts anymore (but then watch how hard Republicans fight a few years from now to keep those tax cuts on the grounds ending them will hurt the economy. This is EXACTLY what Republicans did regarding “The Bush Tax Cuts” that were set to end under Obama.)

Okay, we’ve spurred the economy with tax cuts and deregulation. Now what? How do we keep the momentum going? Trust me. They got nothin’.

Tax cuts alone don’t drive economic growth. And thanks to Trump’s massive tax cut blowing a hole in the Deficit, they are going to HAVE TO raise interest rates (already a growing concern) to fund the government. That will suck Billions out of the economy, slow growth, and cause another Recession. Then Trump’s low-end tax cuts will expire, making the problem even worse (which as I note above, will be the excuse for extending those tax cuts even longer) and make an already bad problem even worse.

Gas prices are also on the rise. Republicans LOVE “Big Oil” and want unrestricted drilling EVERYWHERE. “Wanna drill for oil in the middle of a National Park? Go for it! So with all this additional drilling, why are oil/gas prices going up? The national average price of gasoline is now $0.55/gal higher today than when Obama left office. Oil… $52.42/barrel when Obama left office… is racing towards $70/barrel today. Why? Because the GOP’s love of “Big Oil” isn’t out of a desire to see cheap gas, it’s out of a desire to make oil company executives rich. Enjoy the “good times” while you can, folks!

There are plenty of movie & TV examples of “good intentions gone wrong”. But one of my favorites was a 2002 episode of “The Outer Limits” called “The New Breed” (44 minutes) about a brilliant scientist with a massive ego who invented microscopic “nanobots” that could repair damaged cells on a molecular level to cure everything. At first, the nanobots are a huge success. But then they start misinterpreting normal flaws as “mistakes” that need to be “fixed” (one example: giving the doctor “gills” because he kept testing to see how long he could hold his breath under water.) By the end, the brilliant scientist was begging for death.

And that’s how I feel every time I hear Republicans promising the moon today if we just jeopardize our future. “Too many regulations!” “Fighting Climate Change is costing us jobs!” “Corporations will regulate themselves if they wish to stay in business!” “Ice Cream & candy for dinner! We’ll worry about the tummy ache and cavities tomorrow!” They’ve done it time & time again.

A month ago, I wrote about my concern regarding a possible increasing willingness to overlook Trump’s crimes & disastrous policies should his economic policies turn out to be successful. How much is your soul worth? In exchange for short term economic growth, Reagan’s policies exploded the Debt, made “deregulation” a GOP mantra, and unleashed the Military Industrial Complex. Trump whined bitterly of the Mueller/Russia investigation last week, saying, “The country is running so smoothly”, suggesting the investigation into his campaign’s frequent and unresolved contacts with a hostile foreign power… (“meddling” that even Trump himself now concedes happened)… is just sour grapes by “losers” trying to derail his presidency before his “success” costs them the next election.

The cause for alarm here is that Trump is implementing every economic “trick” in the book… (tax cuts, “deregulation”, low interest rates) usually reserved for emergencies… all at once to goose the economy. The danger is that if things go bad, you’re left with no way to counter the damage and rescue the economy.

It drives me crazy that people can’t see that he’s a conman. PT Barnum in a cheap suit. Trump is (or was before the election) broke, pretending to be a billionaire. His entire shtick has been coning people into believing he must know what he’s talking about because he’s a billionaire. “Trump University”, “Trump Airways”, “Trump Vodka” (not wine but Russian vodka), “Trump Mail-Order Steaks” (I always wondered just how much money someone who made million dollar real estate deals thought he’d make selling steaks by mail?), presidential candidate, and now he’s selling the snake oil of “Trickle-Down” voodoo economics all over again.

And (for now), people are buying it. Lord help us all.
 


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Is This the Beginning of the Trump Economy? DOW loses over 1,000 points to start 2018.
Feb 4th, 2018 by Admin Mugsy

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(UPDATE: Monday, DOW falls an additional 1,175 points… the largest one day drop in history.)
(UPDATE #2: DOW falls another 1,032 points on Thursday.)

Like the old saying goes: “Facts can be stubborn things.” Last week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average suffered it’s worst week (day?) in two years (I’m having some trouble confirming that statistic, but the 666 point drop on Friday may have been the biggest one-day drop since Bush-43’s final year in office.)

Now, there is no denying that the DOW set numerous records in Trump’s first year… which was easier to do when you START with a strong economy and the DOW already near it’s record high. Under Obama, the DOW grew nearly as quickly his first year in office (see corner thumbnail graph) as it has under Trump, but it wasn’t “setting records” because Bush left him an economy in free fall, needing to gain nearly 6,000 points just to get back up to where it was before the crash. So in very blunt terms, Trump had a 6,000 point “head start” on growing the Stock Market.

In reaction to a good jobs report for January (190K jobs created, first hourly wage increase in eight years), investors panicked… believing either (GOP version) the economy is doing SO good the Fed will be forced to raise interest rates next month to stave off inflation (which is nonsense because we’ve had periods of lower unemployment and higher job growth without needing to raise interest rates), or (MY interpretation) the jobs report confirmed what they already KNOW: that the Fed MUST raise interest rates next month… and will do so at the first opportunity… to fill the budget shortfall Trump’s massive tax cut for corporations and billionaires will create, which caused the DOW to plunge nearly 666 points… it’s worst one day drop since January 2016 (and the less said about that number, the better.)

And that “good jobs report” is terribly misleading: 1) Note the “jobs expansion” is now in its EIGHTH year (so this isn’t a new phenomena thanks to Trump) and Congress has YET to pass a new budget, so we are STILL operating under Obama’s final December 2016 budget.

2) The reported “first hourly wage increase in eight years” was a whopping NINE CENTS and due almost entirely to 18 states raising the Minimum Wage. Unless you have a healthy 401k or other investment in the Stock Market, the average person is actually seeing very little benefit from the rise in the Stock Market.
 

Job Growth by Presidental Budget
Job growth by president
(Trump’s first year in purple, but he has yet to pass a budget.)

 

That region in purple… a straightline continuation of the seven years before it… is what Trump has been taking bows for. As you can see from in the region in green, the last budget of the preceding president continues to impact the economy long after they are gone, and passing your own budget can set the trajectory of the remainder of your presidency. (That little spike at the start of Obama’s first budget is “The Stimulus”.)
 

Don’t be fooled. Trump deserves little (if ANY) significant credit for the good Jobs Report that came out last week (other than he has yet to do any “significant” damage.) And whether or not the economy “takes off like a rocket” as promised as a result of his policies (which are taking effect only now this year) is left to be seen. We won’t know for sure until well after he passes his first budget… and right now, that doesn’t look to be any time soon.

And because of Trump’s massive corporate tax cut, they are going to have to cut spending somewhere. And you KNOW the first place Republicans are going to look. They can’t look to the wealthy & corporations whom they just gave a massive tax cut to, and Republicans will NEVER cut the Military Budget (in fact, Trump wants to INCREASE IT… MASSIVELY… along with Billions to start his ridiculous border wall), so they are going where they always go… Medicare, Social Security and programs for the poor.

But not right away. Republicans still believe Trump’s massive tax cut will increase tax revenue due to all the “economic growth” they are certain it will create. Bush senior called this “Voodoo Economics”, and he was right. Both Reagan, Bush-41 and Bush-43 all tried it, exploding the deficit and massively increasing the National Debt. Reagan and Bush-41 both tried to mitigate the damage by raising taxes 11 times and by hiring tens of thousands of additional government employees. Bush-43 however gulped down the Kool-Aid, steadfastly refused to do either, and nearly tossed the entire planet into another Great Depression.

And now Trump and Republicans with an almost evangelical belief in “Trickledown Economics” are looking to do it again. (And this budget-timebomb is set to go off on the Democrats watch after retaking Congress in the midterms.)

Congress will be meeting again this week in yet another attempt to finally pass a budget. Don’t hold your breath. Nothing has changed and they are no closer to passing a budget now than they were when they kicked the can down the road two weeks ago. We have been operating under Obama’s final budget… passed in December 2016… Trump’s entire time in office. And for all of 2017, corporations have been operating under Obama’s tax rates and Obama’s “Job Killing” healthcare mandate. Trump simultaneously brags of the economy we’ve seen so far despite those “obstacles to growth” while claiming those same obstacles were “destroying jobs.” Clearly they weren’t. Extending the Obama budget may not be the worst thing to happen to Trump. Look how well it has served him so far. Unfortunately we can’t run on the same budget forever. New legislation needs funding. Old projects expire and no longer do. Eventually, Trump is going to have to remove the training wheels and peddle his own damn bike.

I noted in both of my last two Op/Ed’s that the federal government will HAVE to borrow Hundreds of Billions… pushing the Deficit into the stratosphere… to pay for Trump’s massive tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy. And the only way to encourage people/nations to lend us money to fund the federal government is to raise interest rates… which sucks Billions out of the economy as more & more people tie up their money in savings instead of spending it. This creates a deadly feedback loop… last seen during the economic collapse of 2008… where less money being spent means corporations need fewer workers and start laying off people, who now have no spare cash, slowing the economy still further. It’s Keynesian Economics 101 and why “Trickle-down Economics” doesn’t work.

Republicans insisted that Trump’s tax cuts will “turbocharge the economy” (here in Houston, we already have one Republican woman running for Congress using that exact phrase in her ads) as lower tax rates encourage corporations hiding “Trillions” overseas in tax shelters to bring that money home (because what company wouldn’t prefer to pay a low 25% corporate tax rate vs leaving the money overseas in a tax-free tax shelter? Right? #SMH)

I’m being factious, of course.

So last Monday (Jan 29th), The DOW plunged 177 points. On the 30th, it fell an additional 362. A slight rebound of 72 & 37 points on Wednesday & Thursday, only to lose a whopping 665.75 points on Friday (possibly the largest one-day loss since December 2008… Bush’s final full month in office.) And Update: An additional 1,175 points today/Monday.

And right now, there is NO reason for investors to believe the Fed ISN’T going to raise Interest Rates in March. They sure as heck didn’t take to the airwaves Friday to reassure investors that they were worried for nothing and they are unlikely to raise rates next month.

They didn’t say that because they CAN’T. hey KNOW Trump’s tax cuts are going to break the bank and they will HAVE to find a way to pay for it. That means a rate hike… whether the economy needs it or not.
 


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If GOP Tax Bill Passes, here is how it will tank the economy
Dec 4th, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

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There are two famous quotes I keep returning to again & again:
 

“Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.” – Edmund Burke, Irish Statesman (1729-1797)

and

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over & over, and expecting a different result each time.”
 – Author Rita Mae Brown (not Einstein) as quoted by the AA/NA sobriety guides (1983)

 

Every tax policy analyst who has looked at the Republican tax plan agrees that (if passed) it will create a huge hole in the Deficit and “add as much as $1.4 Trillion to the National Debt” (I believe they mean “Deficit”, not “Debt”)… which I can assure you is WILDLY understating what this bill would do to the Deficit, National Debt, and the economy as a whole.

I find myself actually stunned (well, not really) Republicans… self-proclaimed “Deficit Hawks” when Obama was president… would so blatantly try to sell us “Voodoo Economics” again with a straight face. They aren’t even being coy about it. They talk about Trump’s massive tax cut for the wealthy “supercharging” our economy as though it’s never been tried before. It appears Republicans now meet the definition of “insane”… doing the same thing over & over again, expecting a different result. Ronald Reagan slashed the top tax rate on the rich to “just 50%”… a rate we are wildly below today and Trump would have us more than slash in half (but assures us it wouldn’t benefit him personally)… and by the end of Reagan’s first budget (the end of his second year), unemployment had SOARED to 10.8%… despite November/December holiday shopping and seasonal hiring boosting the economy. The Federal budget for the coming year is passed every December. We are still coasting on Obama’s last budget (and Trump is taking credit for it.)

Senate Republicans passed their version of the next Federal Budget & Tax Reform last week by the skin of their teeth, just 51 to 49. Despite having a 52/48 majority in the Senate, every single Democrat and one Republican (Bob Corker R-TN) voted against the bill. Earlier in the year, Republicans in the House passed their own version of the budget and now Republicans have until Friday to pass a reconciled budget in time to avoid a government shutdown. We’ve already seen that this White House can’t organize a two-car parade, so if you believe House & Senate Republicans will come together to agree upon a budget & tax bill by Friday (Dec 8), you haven’t been paying attention the last 11 months. And they have no intention of trying to attract Democratic votes to help them pass their bill. During ABC’s ThisWeek yesterday, Mitch McConnell complained “There wasn’t a single Democrat who thought this tax bill was a good deal.” But Donald Trump thinks it is and if you’re a Republican, you trust the judgement of Donald J. Trump more than the entire Democratic Party (hell, they’d rather elect a suspected child-molester… Roy Moore… than a Democrat.) Let’s see how far that kind of judgement gets them.

Three separate Tax Policy institutes… Center, Left, and Right, have looked at the GOP Tax Bill and even the most Conservative estimate says it’ll blow a half-Trillion dollar hole in the annual Deficit…
 

Estimates of GOP Tax bill

 

…EVEN IF you factor in growth (that we’re unlikely to see), causing the National Debt… you know, that thing Republicans screamed about for eight years under Obama… to EXPLODE.

One of the things I most remember most about Mike Pence before he became VP was what a Teabagger tool he was as the self-appointed head of the Senate “Tea Party Caucus”. And in 2010, he declared that he’d rather shutdown the government and default on our Debt than raise the Debt Ceiling and accrue more debt:
 


Pence: “I say: Shut it down!”

 

And now they are trying to sell us “Voodoo Economics” once again (a term coined by then-presidential candidate George HW Bush in 1980 to describe his opponent, Ronald Reagan’s claim that massively cutting taxes on the rich will create so much economic growth the resulting tax revenue will offset the losses.) It didn’t of course. As I pointed out above, by the time Reagan’s first budget was over, unemployment nearly hit 11%, and before he left office, the National Debt had TRIPLED. Reagan tried to offset the losses by raising taxes TWELVE TIMES throughout the remainder of his presidency to stop the bleeding, but they never repealed that tax cut on the people who had all the money, so the Debt continued to grow.

In fact, the last time we balanced the budget and massively grew the economy was when Bill Clinton RAISED taxes on the wealthy to 39.5%, bringing in enough tax revenue to start paying off the debt and grow the economy. Bush-43 reversed that by cutting taxes again, turned that surplus into a $1.4 Trillion Deficit and triggering a Global economic collapse. Obama reversed course again with his own tax hike, cutting the Deficit by almost 2/3rds and spurred economic growth that we continue to enjoy to this day. Now, Trump is looking to repeat the mistakes of Reagan/Bush-41/Bush-43… except on steroids.

Reagan won reelection by massively increasing the size of government, rehiring hundreds of thousands of Federal employees nearly back to pre-Reagan levels, and spending like a drunken sailor, helping to bring the unemployment rate back down in time for the 1984 election:
 

Federal Hiring 1981-1982
Federal Hiring 1981-1982
(*in 1000’s)

 

That’s right, The Gipper was hailed as a hero for fixing a problem his own policies caused (by using a method he himself would have called “Communism” if a Democrat had done it.) And now Republicans want to do it again (because they’ve bought into the myth his policies were a huge success.)

Republicans have been all over the airwaves the past few weeks trying to sell us Voodoo Economics yet again. I don’t know if they themselves are in deep denial about what Reagan’s policies actually did, or perhaps they honestly don’t remember because they were either too young at the time or have simply bought into the myth after being spoon fed it by Conservatives for years. Right-Wing pundit Dan Castellanos argued yesterday that Trump’s tax plan would be like “rocket fuel for the economy”… a phrase Trump himself used. It is no longer clear if the pundits are quoting Trump or Trump is quoting the pundits. Either way, we have a vicious feedback loop not seen since Dick Cheney cited reporters who claimed Saddam had WMD’s… whose source for that claim was Dick Cheney himself. Conservative politicians/pundits are everywhere declaring with a perfectly straight face that “all the analysts are wrong”, that THEY know better than the experts and Trump’s massive tax cut for the rich will pay for itself in economic growth. “Voodoo Economics-101”.

So here is what’s going to happen if the GOP passes Trump’s massive tax cut for the rich:

First off, we won’t see any real effect on the economy until at least next May… after most Americans pay their taxes in April. The Poor & Middle Class typically file their taxes quickly… even early. And the increase in their taxes (mostly due to losing a number of exemptions/deductions) means less money going into the economy. Meanwhile, the wealthy (who pay most of the taxes because they have most of the money), typically have much more complicated taxes and will file extensions to give them longer to file and more time to pay. And in that gap between when “Regular People” pay their taxes and the wealthy do, the government must still operate with no money coming in. So they must borrow it, causing the Deficit to go up. But the only way to attract investment is to raise interest rates slowing the economy down even further. Vicious Feedback Loop part 2, the economy starts to sink like a stone. The Deficit & Debt explode, and the only way out of it is massive government hiring ala Reagan (maybe by building Trump’s Border Wall on the taxpayers dime.) All because they don’t want Rich people to pay their fair share in taxes.

Many years ago, I bought into the “Flat Tax” nonsense because the idea “everyone paying the same percentage” sounded fair to me. It wasn’t until years later that I realized the wealthy actually use FAR more “government” than the Poor & Middle Class do. Republicans would have you believe it’s the other way around, with all the poor people living on welfare and sucking up government resources. But the fact is, CORPORATE WELFARE dwarfs the amount of money spent on the poor. The wealthy also rely on the police more to protect their businesses/wealth, file complex lawsuits as part of doing business, need the government to make trade deals, and worst offenders of all, government contractors (particularly those in the Defense Industry.) The wealthy use FAR more government services than they pay for.

But the most obvious flaw with a “Flat Tax” is that you can’t make up BILLIONS in lost tax revenue from the Rich (via reducing the wealthy’s tax rate from 35% to just 15%) by raising taxes on the Poor (from 0% to 15%.)

And that is almost exactly what Republicans are trying to sell us now with this proposed massive tax cut on the rich. That somehow, we can cut HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS in tax revenue from the wealthy and make up for it in taxes paid by the Middle Class due to all the extra hiring corporations will do to meet the demand of all that economic growth.

Republicans argue that slashing the top tax rate will encourage all those wealthy tax cheats hiding their money overseas to finally bring that money home, resulting in a “three Trillion dollar boost to the economy.” I wonder if these people actually believe that. Do they ACTUALLY believe that millionaires/billionaires hiding “three trillion dollars” overseas are going to bring all that money home just to spend it??? Seriously?

So, what exactly would spur all this “economic growth” if we simply make the rich richer? “More money in people’s pocket” they say. Except the only people with “more money” in their pocket under Trump’s Tax Plan are people who ALREADY have a lot of money and yet aren’t spending it. If you give $10 to someone with no money, they’ll spend it right away. Give $10 to a wealthy person and they’ll just stick it in their pocket. If they needed anything, they would have bought it already.

No, what they’ll do with that savings is buy back their own stock to make themselves even richer (we are ALREADY seeing this in recent record Stock Market gains in anticipation of the cut.) They’ll continue to hide it in off-shore tax havens because ZERO percent is still better than 20%. And EVEN IF they spend it here, how many houses, cars & big screen TV’s can a person possibly buy to boost the economy? They think business owners will hire more people with all that extra money in their pocket. Why? Out of the goodness of their heart? DEMAND forces companies to hire more employees to meet that demand. If the demand isn’t there, why on Earth would anyone hire additional employees they don’t need? (I remember President George HW Bush pathetically begging corporations to “just hire one extra person and it’ll pull us out of the Recession (and save his presidency).” Of course, they didn’t. You can’t make corporations do something when they don’t need to. And if THAT is your plan to grow the economy… relying on the benevolence of corporations… we’re screwed.) The Unemployment Rate is ALREADY just 4.1% (a continued steady decline since President Obama passed his “Stimulus” in late 2009.) How much more growth do they think we can muster to offset those losses in tax revenue?

George HW Bush was right when he called it “Voodoo Economics”. You can’t make up for MASSIVE cuts in tax revenue through “growth”. The wealthy won’t spend more of their wealth just because we let them keep more of it. If they spent their money, they wouldn’t be wealthy in the first place, now would they?

Hang tight this week. Republicans are desperate to give Trump his one & only major legislative accomplishment of his first year in office. And huge tax cuts for rich people is the one thing they’ve always been able to agree upon.
 


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

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And Your Halloween Horror Show This Year Is: The Entire Trump Presidency
Oct 30th, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

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It has become a bit of a tradition for me to post something humorous for the last post before Halloween. One of my favorites were photos of all the “Tea Party” nitwits seen in costume throughout most of the Obama presidency. Tri-corner hats, clothing made of American flags (tell me again how football players kneeling during the Anthem “disrespects the flag”, but wrapping your junk in the Stars & Stripes does not?), and just ordinary “Redneck Chic” in general that made every protest march look like a stroll through a Biloxi Wal*Mart. But now that this insane “poorly educated” electorate has seen fit to elect a Reality TV carnival huckster president of the United States, every day is Halloween! Will we live to see tomorrow or will he start a nuclear war with North Korea? Might you burn to death in a California wildfire made worse by Global Warning, or drown in a hurricane for the same reason? How about we take away your healthcare? Mass shootings are an argument for making guns more readily available. And perhaps we should expand the war in the Middle-East to Iran (it has already spread to central Africa.) “President Chaos is on the job!”

If you’ve managed to make it through the first nine months of the Trump presidency without your very life being put in mortal jeopardy, congratulations! You belong to a very exclusive club.

For the rest of us however, not a day has gone by that fills our lives with more dread than the words “President” and “Trump” back-to-back in the same sentence. A 70-year old manchild with the disposition of a toddler and less understanding of the issues than your Cocker Spaniel making policy decisions that threaten the entire planet is bad enough. But his legions of moron followers defending him and making excuses for him is enough to make a Billy Goat puke (yeah, I stole that line from “First Blood”.) The same people whose patron saint, Ronald Reagan… that staunch anti-Communist whom they praise endlessly for “defeating The Reds”… now spend their days defending Russia in order to defend Trump’s indefensible love of Russia and their “former-KGB” dictator-for-life leader Putin (whom Trump so admires he wishes to emulate them.)

Republicans find it easier to overlook Trump’s ridiculous behavior… 4am Twitter wars with anyone who dare criticize the thin-skinned egomaniac in the White House, suggesting a Gold Star widow is “a liar” because she dared claim Trump’s call to her was rude & insensitive (not the first time he’s taken to Twitter to insult a Gold Star family member who dared criticize him) and more… as long as the economy appears to be doing well. They boast of the Stock Market reaching record highs (performance of the DOW under Trump is actually slightly lower than it was when Barack Obama took over in 2009 following the worst economic disaster since The Great Depression), but the GOP Congress has yet to pass a new budget (only budget “recommendations”), so we are still operating under the last Obama budget for the past ten months. We’ll see how the economy does if Trump gets his way and the GOP once again embraces “Voodoo Economics” (the mistaken belief massive tax cuts for the wealthy will result in an economic boom that results in MORE tax revenue) once again. Despite the fact we all saw with our own eyes what “Reaganomics” did to the Debt/Deficit (and disastrously reproduced under Bush-43) with an effect on the economy that was easily outmatched by Democratic policies that actually raised taxes on the wealthy, they believe in the legend, not in reality.

Trump… Snake oil salesman that he is… is once again selling the myth that Reagan’s tax cuts created an economic boom. As I pointed out last week [ibid “Voodoo”], that’s not even close to the truth. And the harm Trump could inflict on the economy could be every bit as dire as the danger he has already posed to Global Stability, health care, and “The Truth” in general (still comatose since suggesting his inauguration crowd photos were faked.)

And let us all pray he is every bit as unsuccessful passing his budget as he has been failing to pass everything else. Happy Halloween!
 

Scary rich white men

 


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The Reagan Tax Cuts did NOT Produce an Economic Boom (nor will Trump’s)
Oct 23rd, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

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“This year is the 46th anniversary of President Reagan’s tax reform bill”, cited Mitch McConnell during Fox “news” Sunday yesterday while discussing Trump’s plan to cut the corporate tax rate from 35% (which NO ONE pays) to a mere 20%. In McConnell’s foggy mind, the Reagan tax cuts resulted in an economic boom, ergo, so will Trump’s “plan” to slash taxes on the Top 1%. The GOP has been dutifully rewriting the Reagan legacy for so long they can no longer distinguish fact from fiction and are now setting policy based on a fantasy. Ronald Reagan’s 1981 Economic Recovery Tax Act did NOT result in an “economic boom”. It was an “economic bomb” that exploded the Deficit/Debt and caused unemployment to skyrocket. The GOP has so thoroughly whitewashed Reagan’s history that even people who lived through it recall only the “fictionalized” version: “Bonzo Goes to Washington” starring Ron Reagan.

The fictionalized Reagan years that exists only in the minds of Republicans goes like this: America… disparing the malaise of the Carter Administration (fact: Carter never used the word “malaise” in his infamous “Malaise Speech“)… elected the “sunny optimistic” Ronald Reagan, who… by the sheer magnitude of his personality… struck fear into the hearts of Iran, convincing them to release the hostages the moment he was inaugurated. He slashed taxes on the wealthy on a premise dubbed “Trickle-down Economics”, resulting in an economic boom that turned America into an economic powerhouse that convinced the Russians of the folly of Communism and brought about the end of the Soviet Union. Eight years of “peace & prosperity” all thanks to a strict adherence to Conservative principles.

None of it is true of course.

Iran didn’t simply release the hostages because they were terrified of the Gipper. Carter had actually arranged their release his final months in office, which Iran agreed to (in a final insult) the very HOUR Carter left office (Carter actually flew to Germany to welcome the released hostages immediately following the inauguration.)

The Soviet Union didn’t “see the error of its ways” and relent. It went bankrupt trying to keep pace with the U.S. in a costly arms race that proved to be too much for a country with almost no industry and an economy half the size of France’s. First, they had to cut loose some of their satellite nations to save money, which opened up a ridiculously long train route from East Germany, through Eastern Europe, and back around to West Germany, rendering The Berlin Wall all but pointless and eventually allowed to fall with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989.

The economy wasn’t miserable under Carter as Republican efforts have convinced you to believe. 10.3 Million jobs were created in the four years of the Carter Administration (compared to 15.8 Million jobs created in eight years under Reagan.) Unemployment in 1979 (link note: you’ll need to set the start/end dates manually) actually bounced just under 6.0% throughout the year. In 1980, economic turmoil did result from a grain embargo against Russia (for their support of Iran) that hurt farmers, and a retaliatory oil embargo by Russia against the U.S. caused gas prices (and eventually all else) to spike (just as it did in 2008 under Bush.) And while unemployment peaked at 7.8% in July of 1980, it was back down to 7.4% by the time Carter left office and continued to coast down to 7.2% by April, 1981.

Then “Reaganomics” took over. Reagan’s proposed “Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981″ [ibid top], promised to slash the top tax rate from 70% to just 50% and more than triple the base amount before the “Estate Tax” kicked in. And soon the unemployment rate started to take off. Up to 8.5% by the end of the year. The new tax policy went into effect on January 1, 1982 and by October, the unemployment rate had soared to 10.8% throughout the end of the year.

Reagan’s massive tax cut for the wealthy was NOT balanced out by any resulting “economic boom” in increased spending, creating jobs, resulting in more people paying taxes into the system the way Republicans predicted. Instead, corporations had less incentive to invest in their businesses and more incentive to just park their money in investments. The Deficit exploded due to the massive loss in tax revenue coupled with Reagan pouring money into National Defense. The problem was made exponentially worse thanks to a rash of tiny micro-wars Reagan launched throughout Central America: Panama, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, “Freedom Fighters”, “The Contras”… not to mention the growing Cold War with the Soviet Union and Reagan’s “Star Wars” missile defense program money pit (that never worked). Technology still being developed to this very day nearly 40 years later still has a less than 50% success rate (which Trump misrepresented as being “a 97% success rate (Trump was told our current technology had “a 97% chance” of hitting just ONE-of-FOUR missiles launched simultaneously.) Child that he is, Trump interpreted this as “a 97% chance” of taking out all four. (So now he has no reason to fear a retaliatory strike from North Korea.)

By the time Reagan left office, the economy had drastically improved. But he had to raise taxes ELEVEN TIMES to slow (but not stop) the hemorrhaging of cash into the National Debt… which had TRIPLED during his eight years in office. 204 years of Debt from 1776 to 1980 amounted to $800 Billion before Reagan took office in 1981. By the time he left in 1989, it was $2.4 TRILLION. Reagan even criticized President Carter for the size of the Debt during the 1980 Campaign. Unemployment reversed in large part to MASSIVE government hiring/spending. Reagan dramatically increased the size of the Federal government, from 16.3 million government employees when he took office to 17.7 million by the end of his second term, and hundreds of billions more in annual spending on government projects. We all know the story of the “$9,600 Allen Wrench” as the Reagan Administration blindly pumped hundreds of billions into the Pentagon budget, and only later as people started to take notice of the exploding Debt did anyone start investigating the spending only to uncover massive waste, fraud & abuse.

When Dick Cheney… Reagan’s former Secretary of Defense… ran for Vice President in 2000, he belittled praise for shrinking the National Debt due to the Budget Surplus under Bill Clinton by declaring “Reagan proved Deficits don’t matter.” “We don’t need to tax people so much that we start paying off the Debt!” We can (Cheney argued) tax people less and allow the Debt to grow again because “Reagan proved deficits don’t matter.

That is, until a Democrat takes office. Then the size of the Debt/Deficit is a travesty! A national disgrace that endangers our very way of life.

And this is why Republicans will NEVER eliminate the Deficit and start paying off the National Debt. Because the moment tax revenue starts exceeding government spending they will argue (just as Bush did in 2000) that is was proof Americans were being “over taxed” and deserved a tax cut.

And now we see Trump going straight down the same imaginary rabbit hole (falsely conflating his plan to give huge tax cuts to the rich with public support for tax “REFORM“), requesting a massive tax cut for the rich and declaring the “resulting economic growth… just like we saw under Reagan… will offset the loss in tax revenue due to massive tax cuts for the rich.” And WHY do the Rich need these huge tax cuts? Because (according to Republicans) we are “the most taxed nation on Earth” with a 38 percent top tax rate (side note. I find it fascinating that… according to Trump & the GOP… the rest of the world pays LESS in taxes and yet is still able to afford Healthcare for all… which according to snarky Dana Perino on Fox “news” Sunday yesterday “is something worth considering once we figure out how to pay for it.”) Trump’s explanation is bullshit of course, because thanks to all the absurd tax breaks and tax loopholes the wealthy already receive, almost nobody pays that top tax rate. Many billion-dollar corporations paid nothing at all in taxes last year. And thanks to massive corporate welfare, many Billion dollar corporations actually receive money BACK FROM the government to offset their business costs.

Hiring employees and buying property/equipment for your business are considered “business expenses” and are ALREADY tax deductible. So anyone who tries to tell you corporations need “tax cuts to grow their business” is either knowingly lying to you or is just too damn stupid to know better. Trump is (supposedly) a Billionaire businessman, but he’s also “a (bleeping) moron” and well documented liar, so I’ll let you decide if he’s just stupid or lying to you about the need for his tax plan.

And while were on the topic of Reagan’s legacy, what do you think “The Gipper” would say about the current occupant of the White House cozening up to Russia and even denying evidence of Russian interference in our democracy?
 


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Can’t ban guns? Try taxing gunpowder.
Oct 9th, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

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In 1999, comedian Chris Rock had a brilliant comedy routine called the “The $5,000 bullet”:
 


 
I don’t know how serious he was, and I’m not sure Rock appreciated how brilliant his idea was at the time, but every time there’s a mass shooting in this country (the murder of four or more people by a single gunman takes place in the United States more than once a day), people are directed to Rock’s routine by others equally impressed, looking to spread this brilliant idea, and viewers wonder why no one has thought of it before.

“We don’t need gun-control. We need bullet control. If a bullet costs $5,000, there’ll be no more innocent bystanders”, Rock declares. Random indiscriminate rapid fire weapons would be incredibly costly to use and ammunition difficult to come by.

Rock’s brilliant solution has one minor flaw: A large number of gun enthusiasts make their own ammunition (my father being one of them.) If you fire lots of bullets target shooting, buying commercial ammunition can already get quite expensive, so many will pack their own bullets for pennies on the dollar. Simply making pre-made bullets more expensive will only drive more people to make their own ammunition, even foster an underground market for homemade bullets. That’s the last thing we want or need. We should instead focus on the propellant. And I’m not sure “$5,000/bullet” is realistic either. But that’s a minor detail people can work out later.

When I first suggested “taxing gunpowder” about then years ago (and still, few have heard of the idea), I was informed that most bullets don’t use “gunpowder” any more. They use a more powerful powdered propellant called “Cordite”, so since then, I’ve always made sure to include “Cordite” in any proposed ban. You can’t just focus on one and not the other because all you’ll do is make the untaxed propellant more popular. Ideally, ANY explosive or propellant that can be used to make bullets should be heavily taxed, including liquids (like nitroglycerine) and clays (like C4.) If it goes “Boom” when ignited, it shouldn’t be cheap or easily available. Seems pretty obvious if you ask me.

Last week’s mass shooting in Vegas was just the latest to leave us all scratching our heads asking “How do we fix this?” As a result, I sent the following request to Senator Bernie Sanders:
 

Subject: Can’t ban guns? Try taxing gunpowder.
 

All attempts to “ban” any type of weapon always runs into “2nd Amendment” issues of violating the “Right to bear arms”. But no such right extends to “unlimited ammunition.”

PLEASE propose a steep tax on gunpowder/cordite to make bullets too expensive to be fired indiscriminately and/or in high quantity as an alternative to a prolonged & ultimately futile debate over a “gun ban”.

Placing such a tax on the propellant and not just the bullets themselves serves two purposes: One, many gun enthusiasts pack/make their own ammunition, and two, it would also impact “bomb creation”. And if someone purchases a large quantity of gunpowder/cordite, it will raise flags at the FBI whereas ammunition purchases typically do not.

People can own as many weapons as they like. But there is nothing in the Constitution guaranteeing a right to a cheap/endless supply of ammunition. I think this is an alternative way around the always contentious fight to ban a particular weapon (which is always followed by the minutia of deciding what weapons specifically qualify for the ban and which don’t.)

Thank you.

 

In 1994, Democrats passed the “Assault Weapons Ban” that made many (but not all) rapid-fire rifles (but not handguns) illegal. Included in the ban was a provision to make “high capacity magazines” that held more than 12-rounds illegal. No one needs a clip that holds more than 12 rounds and allows them to fire indiscriminately just to hunt deer. And if there are so many bad guys on your doorstep that you need more than 12 rounds of uninterrupted firepower to protect yourself, you aren’t going to win that fight without help anyway. Not only was it a brilliant move (focusing on the ammunition instead of the guns), but it also turned out to be quite effective. A 2016 investigation by the Washington Post found that the number of “Assault Weapons” recovered by police at crime scenes fell from a high of 16 percent in 1997/98, to a low of just 9 percent (and falling) when the Bush-43 Administration repealed the ban in 2004, calling it “a failure” (we heard this lie repeated again yesterday on “Meet the Press” as representatives of the Trump Administration claimed the ’94 ban “failed”… using the same logic that if a medicine doesn’t cure 100% of the patients who take it, the drug is clearly “a failure” and therefore needs to be prohibited.
 

Effectiveness of 1994 AW Ban

 

The only way Democrats were able to pass the ban in 1994 over GOP opposition was to insert a ten year sunset-clause into the bill, so when the bill came up for renewal during a Republican presidency in an Election year, its fate was sealed. It didn’t matter if it was a success or not, it’s mere existence was more offensive to Republicans than the lives lost without it. So the ban was dropped and the criminal use of assault weapons took off like a bullet.

If you do a Google search on the effectiveness of banning “high capacity” magazines, the results look like a search on whether or not Global Warming is real. Nine results supporting the claim for every one opposed. And by no coincidence, Republicans make up the minority on both. Yet, despite majority support, the minority opinion rules the day… much the way an exhausted parent gives in to their screaming toddler throwing a tantrum in the middle of the supermarket: sometimes it’s just easier to let them have their way if you are to ever get anything else done.

Almost immediately following the Vegas massacre, Republicans started looking for ways to deflect public outrage long enough to ride out the storm so that once again we do nothing. One incredibly offensive popular Conservative meme repeated after every mass shooting (including this one) is, “It’s just too soon to start talking about gun legislation.” Really? As Rep. Jim Hines (D-CT) pointed out last week, “No one said after 9/11: ‘It’s too soon to ask what happened and talk about how to prevent it from happening again.” (When IS the right time to talk about gun restrictions in this country? When Trump is busy threatening to nuke North Korea?) As others have pointed out, the day we allowed 20 First Graders and 6 teachers to be brutally gunned down in cold blood by a nut with an assault rifle and did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to prevent it from happening again is the day we decided the rights of gun owners was more important than the lives of children.

In January of 2013, one month after the Newtown massacre, Democrats tried to bring back the ’94 Assault Weapons Ban. It failed despite having majority support, blocked by 41 Republicans and five Conservo-Dems:
 

46 voted to do nothing after Sandy Hook

 

One of the things included in the failed 2013 Ban were those “Bump/Slide-fire stocks” like the ones used by the Vegas shooter last week.

Earlier this year, another mentally deranged lone gunman opened fire on politicians (of both parties) playing softball in a friendly annual inter-Party game, nearly killing Tea Party Republican Congressman Steve Scalise. I wondered following the Vegas shooting if Scalise would emerge “a hero” and kick the NRA to the curb by finally conceding that something needs to be done about the easy availability of guns, or would “blind partisan ideology” reign and continue to defend the practice? Guess which path he chose? Scalise: “Why doesn’t the Media report the Good News on guns?” If you ever needed proof the love of guns is a mental disorder, now you have it.

On one Sunday show yesterday, one Right-Winger hailed Scalise’s inability to see the consequences of making guns as ubiquitous as Tic Tacs as “a triumph of not allowing his emotions cloud his political judgement.” Seriously. I’m certain if this man’s son jumped off the roof with a towel tied around his neck thinking it would give him the ability to fly, this pundit would praise his son’s persistence for trying again the moment the cast was removed from his fractured skull. Failing to recognize the consequences of your actions isn’t an act of courage. It’s an act of stupidity. It’s ideology over common-sense and DEFINITELY not worthy of praise.

Saturday Night Live’s “Weekend Update” was inspired last weekend, pointing out that anyone owning 47 of anything is the sign of an unwell person. “If you had 47 cats, they’d call you ‘Crazy Cat Lady’, take the cats away from you and have you treated by a court-appointed psychiatrist.” Also pointed out, “38 of his 47 weapons were purchased in just the past year, yet it raised no red flags?” That’s because the NRA (and gun nuts) are absolutely paranoid of a “national gun registry”, because they don’t want the gub’mint knowing how many guns they got. Ask them “Why?” sometime and prepare to dive down the rabbit-hole of government conspiracy theories of how the government plans on rounding everyone up, taking away their guns, and locking them up in “FEMA Camps” where they’ll be forced to eat Tofu and drink soymilk with every meal. Or maybe the government simply wants to “take their land” (because the use of “eminent-domain” laws have been so unsuccessful?) Never look for logic among illogical people. Remember, these are the same people who thought “Jade Helm” was an Obama plot to “invade Texas”… a U.S. state… via underground passages beneath vacant Wal*Marts (with a governor who sent National Guard troops to the Texas/Oklahoma border to keep an eye on them.)

And these are the people we allow to dictate our gun policy.

If you buy 38 guns in one year… or even one DAY… there are no “red flags” to be raised because the Gun Rights advocates won’t let gun retailers record who buys what & when. So while buying 38 guns in one big purchase might lead a concerned retailer to contact the authorities, buying 38 guns over the course of a few hours from multiple retailers wouldn’t raise any red flags. NO ONE… not even the Federal agency running the background checks… is allowed to keep a record of who bought what, when & where. There would be no way to know all those weapons were being purchased by the same person because of the NRA paranoia over a “gun registry”.

Master of Distraction Trump used the old racist GOP chestnut of pointing to “Chicago, with it’s tight restrictions on gun ownership yet having the highest gun murder rate in the country” as “proof” that “gun control laws don’t work.” NRA Executive Director Chris Cox repeated the half-truth as well during Fox “news” Sunday yesterday.

If Chicago has such tight restrictions on gun sales, then where are they getting all those guns? Ever look at a map? The distance from Chicago’s “East Side” to deep Red state Indiana can be measured in Raisinettes. Neighboring Indiana… the state where Mike Pense just left as governor to be Trump’s VP… has some of the most lax gun laws in the nation. You could literally walk out your back door on Chicago’s South-Side and make a strawman purchase of a dozen guns from someone living in Indiana, and there’s be no way for the authorities to know. Or one could drive ten minutes down the road and across the border to any of several gun retailers (or several Wal*Marts) to buy your guns legally. Is it any wonder Chicago continues to have such a problem with gun violence despite tight restrictions on gun purchases when circumventing the law is as easy as crossing the street?

Off course, ALL of the Sunday shows yesterday bemoaned the rise in gun violence, talking about our apparent inability to “come together as a nation” regardless the tragedy to agree upon “common-sense gun legislation.” “What,” they ask, “can we do? As long as the gun nuts will fight to the death to protect the Second Amendment, then all hope is lost!”

Well, there ARE things we can do, and we should start by focusing less on the guns and more on the ammunition.

The 1994 ban on high capacity clips was a step in the right direction, thinking outside of the box. The Constitution (arguably) protects your right to own a firearm. It does NOT guarantee you the right not to be inconvenienced by having to stop & reload after firing more than a few rounds. The Republicans only defense against the ban on high-capacity clips was to lie and claim the ban “didn’t work” after just a few years. They couldn’t argue the ban was “unconstitutional” or that people had an inalienable right to not to be inconvenienced (if that was a right, all those Conservative voter suppression laws would be toast), so all they were left with was to lie.

We’ve tried banning certain “types” of guns and all it did was make gun makers more creative in finding ways to circumvent the law. We banned “fully automatic weapons”, so someone invented “the Bump Stock” that allows a semi-automatic rifle to fire like a fully automatic one. They say “Guns don’t kill people!” Well a gun with no ammunition doesn’t kill anyone (unless they use it like a club to beat you to death.)

Background checks… while crucial… have a high failure rate. The Vegas shooter passed his background checks with flying colors. No criminal history, and despite (reportedly) being a pro-Second Amendment zealot who believed anyone who did NOT own a gun was a danger to society (mull that irony over for a moment), there were no warning signs to give anyone reason not to sell him his arsenal in the first place. And there’s no “waiting period” or “background check” to buy tons of ammunition or aftermarket modifications like a “bump stock”.

The kid who murdered nine parishioners in Charleston, SC two years ago would have failed a background check, but was still allowed to legally buy his guns because the background check process “took too long” (over 36 hours) and by law, you can’t force anyone to wait more than 36 hours to buy a gun.

The Newtown murderer got his gun from his Mom… another gun nut. She trained her socially awkward son how to shoot because she feared Obama was coming to take her guns and wanted to give him confidence… which he apparently found as he used her own Bushmaster to murder her in her sleep before trotting off to his old Elementary school where he had been teased as a child nearly a decade before.

The “2nd Amendment is there to protect you from your government” myth is probably THE most pervasive/destructive misconception about guns that the NRA & Gun Rights Advocates have been working overtime to convince the already paranoid anti-government low-education demographic for decades is why they need an arsenal in their home. They truly believe that the only thing keeping the government from coming into their home (for no clear reason) is the fact they own 47 guns. The military may have tanks and Hellfire-armed drones, but Bubba with his AR15 and a cooler full of Coors is going to turn them away if they come knockin’.

Pro-gun rights groups love to claim “the Nazi’s banned the Jews from owning guns” to suggest that the only thing standing between Fascism & Freedom are gun-loving ‘mercuns like themselves (who then vote for rich corporate fascists who show nothing but contempt for The First Amendment & Voting Rights and call actual Nazi’s “very good people”.) While it is true Hitler denied the Jews the right to own guns in 1938, the idea that it was responsible for what happened to them is a stretch. Much like these same gun-nuts here who think they could fend off the entire United States military if they showed up on their doorstep, Jewish people armed with a few handguns and rifles would have been no match for a military that came close to conquering the world… much of which DID have weapons… fully armed militaries with tanks & planes. In 1943, the “Warsaw Ghetto Uprising” took place where thousands of Polish Jews who were walled off from the rest of Germany attacked the German army from behind their walled off neighborhood. They lost. 13,000 Jews died while only a few Germans were killed. The uprising was the subject of the Academy Award winning 2002 film “The Pianist”

As I’ve cited on this blog several times, the Constitution uses the word “treason” SEVEN TIMES. Not once does it say you have the right to shoot your congressman if you disagree with them. Instead, they gave us the FIRST Amendment, which grants us the right to free speech to redress our grievances, and the ballot box to vote out anyone we don’t like. It even says the purpose of the Second Amendment is to “secure a free state“. Protect the country from those who seek to attack it. Yet amazingly, Second Amendment zealots are quick to ridicule the Right to Free Speech (“How dare those people disrespect the flag by kneeling during the anthem!”), find new & creative ways to deny people their right to vote, and threaten to attack the government if they feel threatened by it (“Yeehaw! The South shall rise again!”)… arguably, today’s Second Amendment zealots are the very people the Second Amendment was intended to protect us from! If only supporters of the Second Amendment were as fanatical about protecting The First.

Never look for logic where none exists.
 

RedRidingHood banned for bottle of wine on cover

 

Stricter background checks by themselves are not the answer. “Mental health checks” & “background checks” only catch people who ALREADY have problems and personally purchase their weapons through a licensed dealer. Roughly 45% of all gun sales do not go through a commercial dealer in a gun store. We’ve all heard of the “Gunshow Loophole”, then there’s the “gifting” of weapons, the sale of “used” weapons person-to-person, and most Internet sales. None of which are subject to a background check.

Banning certain “types” of weapons doesn’t work because gun manufacturers and “after-market” equipment makers simply find legal ways to circumvent the law.

But all guns need ammunition. It’s not a protected right that is not immune to regulation or restriction.

When Justice Roberts infuriated Conservatives by declaring the “ObamaCare mandate” to be legal, he justified it by saying the government can legally tax you for ANY reason. “If it wants to, the government can tax you for breathing”, he said in his decision. And such is the case with “ammunition”. The Second Amendment does not guarantee you a right to a cheap, unlimited & uninterrupted supply of ammunition. If the government wants to tax the hell out of bullets to make them too expensive to be fired indiscriminately and making mass murder by rapid fire weapon too costly, then there is no law against it. Conservative Justice Roberts says so.

Focusing on devices/mods like “Bump stocks” is a distraction. It’s a sacrificial lamb the Right will willingly toss to the wolves to protect unfettered gun ownership overall. Not only are “bump stocks” a small and obscure market, they’re actually only ONE OF SEVERAL aftermarket modifications you can attach to any semiautomatic weapon to make it perform like a fully automatic. There is also a device called a “Gat Crank” that basically turns any semi into a Gatling Gun (I wonder how readily the guy in the video would have cranked off between $3,000 and $30,000 worth of ammunition for the 5 seconds of fun he had showing off his new toy?). Another device is called the “Hellfire Trigger”, a simple spring that makes pulling the trigger easier so you can fire faster. And that’s just the two I personally know of (and I know next to nothing about guns.) So restricting/banning just one particular gun mod isn’t enough either. It’s time to think outside the box on this one.

I’ve always found it slightly ironic that the “Party of Life” is full of gun zealots who think Jesus was born a Republican with a gun in one hand and a guide to Capitalism in the other. But then I remember that “Conservatism is a Death Cult” and I remember once again why things are the way they are.
 

GOP is a Death Cult

 


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Puerto Rico Crisis the Result of Years of Conservatism. Coming soon to a state near you.
Oct 2nd, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

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I will admit I know very little about Puerto Rico other than the fact it’s an island in the Caribbean, it’s not a state, and everyone there is an American citizen… which I’m certain is at least one thing more than Donald Trump knew before last week. So when Trump responded to the crisis in Puerto Rico by attacking them for their poverty instead of showing the same concern he showed Texas & Florida after their respective hurricanes, it was doubly insulting. Not only did he decide that the middle of a humanitarian crisis was the time to blame them for how poor they are, but the fact is, Conservative policies… like the one Trump is planning to roll out with his massive tax cut for the Super Rich… that are to blame for their economic state.

From the 70’s to the early 00’s, Puerto Rico was a haven for corporations looking to evade U.S. taxes:

In Puerto Rico, over a quarter of the country’s gross domestic product already comes from pharmaceutical manufacturing. That shouldn’t be surprising. According to the U.S. Federal Tax Reform Act of 1976, manufacturers are permitted to repatriate profits from Puerto Rico to the U.S. free of U.S. federal taxes. And by the way, the Puerto Rico withholding tax is only 10%.Counterpunch, 11/21/2006

(Reminder, “1976” was Ford, not Carter.)

But all those U.S. corporations relocating their headquarters to Puerto Rico wasn’t a boom to the Puerto Rican economy. They didn’t hire locally (many HQ’s were little more than P.O.Boxes), and paid little to nothing in taxes (thanks to Republican tax policies.)

Rather than dive into the weeds of tax policy and attempt to explain why all this was very illegal, just understand that all these Republican tax loopholes that allowed corporations to hide in Puerto Rico to avoid paying taxes and turn it into an economic black hole, was made even more devastating following the massive global economic crash Bush’s final year in office, putting what few corporations left hiding in PR out of business and taking what few jobs they provided with them.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, there was an effort by the GOP Congress to inflict mandatory “austerity” measures upon bankrupt PR until they repaid their massive debt to the government… with no say in the matter themselves. I wrote about this back in June of last year when Hillary supported the GOP plan and Bernie opposed it, visiting Puerto Rico before their primary to receive his usual large reception. (The mayor of San Juan… Carmen Yulín Cruz… whom we’ve seen on TV quite a bit recently after being attacked by Trump… made headlines last year when she joined with the former governor to switch her support from Hillary to Bernie, after which Hillary declared she too was now opposed to the GOP austerity plan and never really supported it. But I digress.

Turning Puerto Rico into a massive tax shelter where corporations moved there to avoid paying income taxes and consuming local resources without paying for it, was strike one. Resulting in few jobs and no tax revenue to put into rebuilding their infrastructure.

The GOP Congress imposing “austerity measures” upon them (with no say in the matter) when they were already bankrupt with an economy that was decimated by the crash on 2008, was strike two.

And… arguably… the devastation caused by two Cat-4 hurricanes just weeks apart was made even worse by Republican denial of Climate Change, making these storms exponentially more destructive. Strike three against Puerto Rico.

And now the GOP is about to do what they did to Puerto Rico to the entire nation. They’ve already kneecapped our efforts to fight Global warming, but now Trump’s proposed tax plan is “Voodoo Economics” all over again. In case you need a refresher, “Voodoo Economics” is what George Bush Sr. called Ronald Reagan’s claim that a massive tax cut would pay for itself by all the economic growth it would create. Poppy Bush was right, by November of Reagan’s second year in office, unemployment soared to 10.8% and he was forced to raise taxes TWELVE TIMES before leaving office to stop the bleeding (which never stopped but did significantly slow.)

They called it “Trickle Down economics”, the theory that giving massive tax breaks to corporations and the wealthy, all that wealth would eventually “trickle down” to the rest of us in the form of jobs and investment. The problem is, corporations don’t reinvest their savings back into the company without incentive (like a tax break in exchange for doing so) or unless there’s a need for it due to increased demand. As Keynesian economics proved, money doesn’t “trickle down” like rain, it is “absorbed up” like a sponge. Put the money in the hands of those who spend it and they create DEMAND, which forces companies to expand to meet that demand, hiring more people who buy more products, thus creating more demand.

It’s not just theory. We have decades of economic history… both Republican and Democratic… to prove it. Reagan cut taxes for corporations and created an economic crisis that tripled the entire accumulated 204 years National Debt in just eight. Poppy Bush tried to follow suit, but the man who coined the phrase “Voodoo Economics” tried to do it without the massive borrowing Reagan relied on to fund the government and ended up creating a nasty recession that cost him his job.

Then Bill Clinton took office and raised the top tax rate 3%… which Republicans claimed would throw us into an even deeper Recession than Poppy Bush put us in. The result? Not only did we see the healthiest economy in fifty years, but unemployment fell to a stunning 3.9% (which the Republican congress tried… and continues to try to this day… take credit for) and a balanced budget.

Then Bush Jr took office claiming that being able to pay off our Debt only proved we were “overtaxed” and therefore deserved a tax cut (which is EXACTLY why no Republican administration will EVER cut the National Debt… because the moment we do, they’ll argue it’s proof people are “over taxed” and therefore deserve a tax cut.) The result? Not one but TWO massive Recessions (the second nearly destroying the GLOBAL economy) and turning a budget SURPLUS into a $1.4 TRILLION annual DEFICIT.

That mess was handed to President Obama in 2008, who raised taxes on the wealthy again, cut the deficit, and took unemployment back down to under 5.0% again.

And here we go again. Trump’s new tax plan is “Voodoo Economics” on steroids. Trump’s Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin (who ironically needs a “new chin”) made the rounds yesterday pushing this ridiculous strategy once again like no one has ever tried it before, insisting that isn’t a massive tax cut for the rich and that “trickle down economics” works. In a move that was almost comical, Mnuchin started to qualify his plan as not a massive “INCOME” tax cut for the rich after it was pointed out that slashing the Estate Tax… which multi-millionaire Mnuchin kept using the GOP trick of calling it a “death tax” to make it sound ridiculous & unfair… from 35% to just 20%… meaning a loss of tens of billions in tax revenue all going to the top 2/10ths of 1%. Trump unveiled his tax plan a speech where he assured his idiot followers that it was NOT in fact “a huge tax cut for rich people like myself… Believe me.” A little tip: any time Trump says “Believe me”, he’s lying.

As George Stephanopoulos pointed out to Mnuchin yesterday, “Since Trump refuses to release his taxes, how do we KNOW his tax plan won’t benefit him?” Mnuchin’s non-answer answer was basically a reassurance that we can trust the Snakeoil-salesman-in-Chief, founder of “Trump University”, promised Mexico would pay for his wall, and told the “LGBTQ community” he had their back before proposing the military kick active duty soldiers out of the Service… when he says his plan won’t be a huge gift to himself, we can believe him. So there! (Though analysis of the only tax return of his that we have… the two pages he leaked earlier this year of a return that made him look as good as possible when he was seeking citizenship for Melania… still show his tax plan could save him over a billion dollars.)

And all these economic (and environmental) policies that decimated Puerto Rico are about to be tried on the U.S. as a whole. But don’t worry, they won’t fail THIS time.

Believe me.
 


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GOP Healthcare Plan Would Be Largest Shift in Income From Poor to Rich in History
May 8th, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

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Last Tuesday night in his “Late Show” monologue, Stephen Colbert responded to Trump’s insulting treatment of fellow CBS reporter John Dickerson with an insulting rant of his own that… while censored… still has the Right in near hysterics, calling for Colbert to be fired over his “disgusting” treatment of the disabled-reporter-mocking pussy-grabber-in-chief. How disrespectful! And they call US “snowflakes”? Please.

So if I may go on a little rant of my own…

Last week, the House passed H.R.1628 – The American Health Care Act of 2017. It was the GOP’s third attempt to repeal The Affordable Care Act since Trump took office, and passed with only Republican votes (remember when passing a heath care bill with votes from only one Party was a “bad” thing?) It passed by only four votes (217-213 despite 20 Republicans voting against it.) Republicans cheered! Finally! They completed the first of five hurdles in their 7+ year crusade to repeal something THAT DOESN’T EXIST: “ObamaCare”… the pejorative euphemism for The Affordable Care Act that has convinced millions of gullible Republican voters that they are being forced to purchase an insurance policy from the government to enroll in some misfit insurance program run by the IRS. And that’s not by accident. The GOP has been drumming that very misconception into people’s minds since before the ACA became law. It’s why there are people who say they “hate ObamaCare” but “like The Affordable Care Act“.

But Republicans don’t DARE call it by its true name because “The Affordable Care Act” is actually quite popular (61% now say keep it vs 37% who say scrap it.) Under Trump, “ObamaCare” is actually more popular than TRUMP. And why? Because the more they hear about the GOP’s alternative plan, the less they like it. Most notably, the likely loss of coverage for tens of millions and the very real possibility of the return of denials over “preexisting conditions”.

But perhaps the most heinous and indefensible policies in the “American Health Care Act” passed by the House is that it CUTS $880,000,000,000 ($880 Billion) in Medicaid subsidies the ACA offered the states to help them pay for expanding the state-run program, and using it to offset the cost of a massive honking tax cut for the wealthiest 2% of Americans. Part of the reason why “ObamaCare” failed to help as many Americans as it could have was because a huge swath of Republican governors refused to accept those Medicaid dollars “out of spite… er ‘principle'”, to help cover millions of the poorest Americans (Ironically, most of whom live in deep Red states in the South.)

The justification for cutting nearly $900 Billion in Medicaid subsides, according to Trump’s Chief of Staff Reince Priebus during Fox “news” Sunday yesterday was that they are simply eliminating “redundancy”… duplication of services covered by other agencies (which is nonsense.) When asked about concerns with the House bill, Priebus assured Andrea Mitchell that “the Senate bill will be better.” Which raises an interesting question: “If the House bill was inadequate, why was there such a rush to pass it… even before many House members even had a chance to read it? (another Republican complaint regarding passage of the ACA in 2009.) Wouldn’t it have made more sense to take your time and draft a single bill that was likely to pass BOTH houses without major changes ensuring easy passage? Instead, now, we have millions of Americans learning about this mess of a bill… NOT liking what they are hearing… waiting perhaps months before the Senate votes on a bill of their own (the earliest they could possibly vote is in a few weeks, but most say the Senate wants to write their own bill, which could take a while. Then wait for it to be scored by the CBO and debated. And Texas Senator Cornyn says they won’t vote for the bill until they can be sure they have “at least 51 votes”. Then add all the vacation days between now and then and I’m thinking… September by the earliest to complete “Step 2”?) Then comes the merging of the two bills into one (Step 3) where it is voted on again by both the House and Senate (Step 4) and then signed by Trump (Step 5). I figure it is possible “TrumpCare” could come up for a vote right in the middle of the 2018 midterm elections. We’ll see.
 

Seniors may pay more under AHCA

 
Fewer covered under AHCA

 

You KNOW a Republican bill is bad when even Fox isn’t buying it.

“Health & Human Services” Secretary Tom Price tried to argue during “Meet the Press” yesterday that a change that could result in pre-retirement seniors paying as much as FIVE TIMES more for health care, was actually a GOOD thing because the change would result in them having “more choices” than they do now (I’m assuming by adding DEATH to their list of options.)

As Salon Magazine pointed out last March, two taxes on the richest Americans to pay for the Medicare expansion in the ACA that TrumpCare eliminates is a $275 Billion dollar tax break for the richest 2% of Americans. If you earn less than $200,000/year, you will not see a single penny in tax cuts resulting in the elimination of those ACA tax increases. People who make between $500K & $1mil per year will see “a modest cut of about $4,700”, modest millionaires would get back around $54K/year, while the top 1/10th of 1% (those earning over $300 million/year) will get back around $7 Million dollars/year.

Republican Congressman Raul Labrador became the poster-boy for GOP cluelessness/heartlessness last week when he was caught on camera arguing to his constituents: “Nobody dies because they don’t have access to health care”. And it makes sense that he’d say this because it’s a Republican Talking Point that has been drummed into their heads for eight years. The argument is that “Emergency Rooms are required by law to provide care even if you can’t afford to pay. Ergo, no one dies due to an inability to afford health care.”

As the cook said to waitress Kelly Bundy, “You are one whopping moron!”

Let’s set aside for the moment that Emergency Room care is the most costly form of care there is and when patients can’t pay either the government pays or they swallow the cost. Forget that for now. Here are just a few scenarios off the top of my head where you could die from not having access to healthcare:

Scenario #1: Imagine a guy develops an infection (infected cut, steps on a nail, whatever) but he doesn’t have insurance, so he tries to treat it himself at home. But as time goes on, the infection gets worse & worse and eventually he has no choice but to be rushed to the hospital (assuming he hasn’t died in his sleep before then.) But he waited too long, the infection doesn’t respond to antibiotics, and he dies.

Scenario #2: You develop cancer. But you can’t afford treatment (chemo, radiation or both) so you never get treated. By the time you are so sick you are taken to the ER, the cancer has spread throughout your body and you die.

Scenario #3: You have diabetes and your kidney’s start to shutdown. You need dialysis but don’t have insurance and can’t afford to pay out of pocket. You never get treated and you die.

Scenario #4: You develop the flu. You can’t afford to go to the doctor so you try to treat it yourself at home using over-the-counter medicine. But it’s not the flu. It’s something worse. And by the time you get to the ER, there is nothing they can do.

Scenario #5: You develop the flu and try to treat it yourself. But you have small children. The baby catches your flu, develops a high fever and dies before you can get her to the hospital.

That’s just five scenarios off the top of my head where not having access to routine care could be deadly. Are you telling me no Republican is capable of envisioning a scenario where a person could get so sick even the ER can’t save them? Apparently, NO ONE WHO GOES TO THE E.R. EVER DIES IN GOP LAND (or Congressman Labradoodle’s world.) These people make me want to vomit.

When President Carter ran for reelection against Reagan in 1980, Reagan criticized Carter for allowing the National Debt to “balloon” to an ungodly “$800 Billion dollars” (Reagan then proceeded to more than TRIPLE 204 years worth of Debt to $2.5Trillion in just eight years.) The entire National Debt in 1980 was less than the size of the GOP’s proposed cut to Medicare over ten years or Trump’s proposed annual tax cut for the wealthy.

The GOP’s Health care bill would be the largest shift in income from the Poor up to the Richest Americans in U.S. history. Tell us again Trump voters how President Pussy-Grabber or lapdogs like Labrador are looking out for people like you?
 


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Trump Failures Demonstrating Why You Can’t Run Government Like a Business
May 1st, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

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It was touted as his biggest selling point & greatest asset: Successful businessman. And if you think back to the Bush/Cheney Administration, they too referred to themselves as “the CEO presidency”… a failed Texas oilman with a string of failed business behind him that required repeated bailouts by his well-connected Daddy, and a running mate who struck it rich running one of the largest government contractors in the country (Halliburton)… to explain why they were the most qualified to run this country. And we all know how THAT turned out.

“Governments” are not “businesses”. They are not run for profit. They exist solely to provide their citizens with services. Services necessary to maintain a healthy stable society.

For example, to survive in a modern society, people need to work. That means building schools and hiring teachers to educate our children so they can do those jobs. It means building roads to get to work, and get to the stores to purchase the products people produce. If you don’t drive, it means providing buses, bus stops, bus drivers and bus stations. If you DO drive, it means providing places to obtain a drivers license, providing highway patrol officers to ensure public safety. It means traffic lights & road signs. It means providing police, and courts to prosecute criminals and settle disputes. It’s a Service, not a “business.” Meanwhile, if a private enterprise builds a road, that’s a huge expense they would have to charge you for to make their money back. If private industry built all of our infrastructure, every road would be a toll road, every bridge would be a toll bridge. The government owns every airport because we can’t have every airline building its own, and the air traffic controllers are all government employees because we can’t have controllers working for one particular airline giving takeoff/landing preference to whatever airline they happen to work for. And do we REALLY want a corporation… desperate to save money… cutting corners on police, fire fighters and Air Traffic Control… overworking already stressed out controllers using outdated equipment to land passenger jets filled with as many as 200, 300, even 400 passengers? (In many instances, this is ALREADY taking place as Republicans in Congress see no connection between defunding this vital service only to then fly home later that evening and then drive the rest of the way home on public roads.)

Trump is presently promising “The largest tax cut in history”… something EVERY Republican president since (and including) Reagan has promised. And when asked how the country can afford such massive tax cuts without exploding the Debt/Deficit, Trump’s answer is the same answer all of his Republican predecessors gave: “growth” would offset the cost. George HW Bush… while running for president against Reagan in 1980… called Reagan’s scheme: “Voodoo economics.” And he was right. Massive tax cuts do not create enough growth to offset their cost.

When Reagan slashed taxes in 1981, the Deficit exploded, unemployment continued to soar to 10.8% twenty-one months later, and he was finally forced to raise taxes eleven times to stop the bleeding. Bush-41 did the same thing (despite his own warnings) and he too ended up with rising unemployment and having to raise taxes to stop the exploding Deficit.

After him, Bill Clinton RAISED taxes on the wealthy in what Newt Gingrich called “the largest tax increase in history” that he was CERTAIN would send the country plunging into another Recession. Instead, by the end of his second term, we had balanced the budget (twice) and unemployment had fallen to just 3.9%.

Then Bush-43 told voters on the campaign trail that the fact we were taking in enough tax revenue to pay off the deficit, we were clearly taxing people too much (ergo, we will NEVER pay off the Debt under a Republican president because the moment revenue exceeds our expenses, they will use it to justify another tax cut.) “It’s not their money! It’s YOUR money!” Bush told cheering crowds. And when he became president, he passed another massive tax cut that he promised “would pay for itself with all the growth it would create.” Instead, the Deficit exploded, the global economy tanked, we went from a projected $250 Billion Surplus to a $1.4Trillion dollar Deficit, and sent unemployment soaring that would hit 10% before President Obama was able to pass his “stimulus”.

Like President Clinton, President Obama raised taxes too. The result? The Deficit was cut by 2/3rds, unemployment fell to just 4.6%, and the economy was creating over 200,000 jobs per month by the time he left office last January.

And now Trump is promising to Repeat the mistakes of the last three Republican presidents before him by slashing taxes once again, promising that the inevitable growth will offset the cost.

Republicans are ideologues. History be damned. If something “sounds right”, it MUST be true. Cutting taxes: Good. Raising taxes: Bad. Don’t bother looking back at the last three Republican presidencies where they did the exact same thing to disastrous results. And definitely don’t copy the last two Democratic presidents and their successful results as any kind of guide (Those who don’t learn from history… are Republicans.) If you are the CEO Of a corporation, cutting your tax burden increases your profits, and that’s a GOOD thing. But taxes to a corporation are AN EXPENSE. In government, taxes are your REVENUE. What kind of successful businessman thinks the path to success is to cut their revenue? Trump is thinking from the perspective of a business owner, and that “business success” translates into “economic success for the country.” It’s a bit like a dog worrying about what’s good for his ticks.

Businesses are not Democracies. They are Dictatorships, where one person… the “CEO”… makes all the decisions and does not have to answer to anyone. Trump is not used to having to answer to others before he’s permitted to do something. If they want something done, they just do it… well, maybe not themselves personally. Most CEO’s… like Donald Trump… typically “farm out” individual duties. They hire (as Trump himself put it) “the best people” to do individual jobs for them (such as putting Rick Perry in charge of our nukes, a befuddled former brain surgeon in charge of housing, and a lobbyist paid by Russia advising him on national security). Rarely does the CEO of a company do all the work themselves. In fact, during the campaign, Donald Trump Jr. told a reporter that his father would likely “outsource foreign AND domestic policy” to his VP. When asked the obvious follow-up, WTF will your DAD be doing then? He’d be busy “making America great again” was the reply (whatever in the hell THAT means.)

The problem is, the president can’t just hand off his duties to a subordinate. The VP does not have the authority to sign legislation or set policy. So when Trump said two weeks ago how surprised he was to learn how HARD the job of being president is, saying (quote) “I thought it would be easier” (someone owes Obama an apology then), the rest of us just shook our heads in disbelief. Meet the Press found several clips of Trump on the campaign trail saying how “easy” it would be to do so many of the things he was promising. And he really couldn’t figure out why things appeared to be so difficult for everyone else to do (clearly, those other presidents just didn’t posses his business acumen.) But now that he’s actually IN the job, he’s discovering that it’s actual work. And he can’t just hand off his responsibilities to his VP (or his advisor/son-in-law Jared). He must actually do the work himself (remember all the times Bush whined about how “hard” it was being president and all the “hard work” that goes into it?)

One hundred days in office, Trump has ZERO policy accomplishments. The ONLY campaign promise he can point to as having accomplished since becoming president is getting hard-right Conservative Judge Gorsuch onto the Supreme Court, and even THAT piddling “accomplishment” required breaking the rules (“the Nuclear Option”.) He criticized President Obama for his use of military force, yet in just his first 100 days, he has attacked Syria, dropped “The Mother Of All Bombs” on Afghanistan, and may be pushing the United States to the brink of nuclear war with South Korea.

“Repealing ObamaCare” AND covering “preexisting conditions” without a mandate was going to be easy-peasy-orange-squeezy, and he knew how to make Mexico pay for The Wall. I’m sure he believed the job of president was to be “CEO of the entire country” (aka king) and it was Congresses job to fulfill the president’s every wish (which makes it easier to understand why Conservative voters blame Obama exclusively for everything and leave the most obstructionist Congress in history blameless.) Suddenly, being president is “hard” once again, and running the country isn’t the same as running a corporation.

On the flip side, I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard Republicans pronounce “America is a Republic, not a Democracy!” They love saying that because in their diminutive home-schooled brains (as far as I can figure out), “Republics” should be run by “Republicans” while “Democracies” are run by Democrats. And you CAN’T just put Democrats in charge of a REPUBLIC, now can you? That’s when I remind them the former Soviet Union… the U.S.S.R.… the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics… was a “Republic”, as is the “Republic of China”. So what exactly is their point about American being a “Republic”? (I’ve never received a coherent answer to that one.)

So America isn’t a business. And Republics don’t require Republicans to lead them. Is there ANYTHING about government Republicans get right?

Throughout the campaign, Trump complained bitterly of “all of President Obama unconstitutional Executive Orders.” And I have NO doubt that Trump believed at that time that ALL “Executive Orders”, in and of themselves, were “unconstitutional”. Whoever was advising Trump (Twitter?) was likely telling him that President Obama was passing laws… laws that never went through Congress… in violation of the Constitution. And “on Day One” he would “repeal every one of Obama’s unconstitutional Executive Orders”, only to get into office and sign 31 Executive Orders of his own in just his first 100days. And why not? Signing Executive Orders where one person makes all the rules (not laws) without requiring the approval of Congress is the most “CEO-like” power bestowed upon the president. And because of that, expect to see A LOT more of it before Trump leaves office.

To quote Trump himself told The Associated Press two weeks ago: “Here, everything, pretty much everything you do in government involves heart, whereas in business most things don’t involve heart. In fact, in business you’re actually better off without it.

And 62 million Americans said, “Yes, we want a heartless corporate tycoon in charge of our government and making decisions that affect our lives, because THAT is how we’ll ‘Make America Great Again’.” People without heart… without empathy… are called “Sociopaths” and have no business running a public service. (pardon the pun.)
 


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Predictions for 2017: It’s the end of the world as we know it.
Dec 31st, 2016 by Admin Mugsy

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Okay. Maybe not the “The Apocalypse”. The election of a new president already provides lots of fodder for those making predictions. Literally EVERYTHING becomes an open question, but the $#!+storm awaiting us as a political novice with the impulse control of a toddler takes control of the most powerful office on the planet is difficult to quantify. No one (outside of the Trump campaign and his most ardent believers) thought he was going to win. But in the end, the Clinton campaign was a victim of its own success. They made Clinton’s victory seem SO inevitable, and Trump’s presidency SO unthinkable, that millions of Democrats didn’t even bother to vote, allowing a reality TV show star riding a wave of xenophobia to ascend to the presidency. And his choices to lead his Administration raise serious concern. Trump’s case for why he should be president was that… as a corporate CEO… he knows how to pick “the best people” to create an incredibly effective government. But instead, he has been awarding top-level cabinet-level positions to friends, lobbyists and far right ideologues the way other presidents awarded ambassadorships… not based on qualifications, but purely on their fealty to Trump himself.

We start off year nine of my prognostications as we do every year by looking back at the predictions of others. Always good for a laugh, I find myself wondering why anyone takes these people seriously with such miserable track records. Typically, most “psychics” make dozens… even hundreds… of incredibly vague predictions, then declare success when one of their predictions is twisted and massaged to where they can claim they accurately predicted some obscure global event. Some place no time-frame on their predictions, so they are never “wrong”, their predictions simply “haven’t come true yet.” I don’t do that. I don’t make “vague” predictions (the “Two moons will join as one” crap) and only make predictions for the coming year. If something I predict doesn’t happen within the next 12 months, that prediction is ruled “wrong”.

The Huffington Post declared “16 Shocking Predictions for 2016” written by clinical psychologist Dr. Carmen Harra. What a psychologist is doing making “psychic predictions” is anyone’s guess, but of her 16 predictions, I found none of them particularly “shocking”, and only one prediction… the election of a female South American president (Dilma Rousseff of Brazil)… appears to have come true. Even her “gimme” predictions (like “more extreme weather”) I’d classify as “wrong” because there were no widespread devastating weather catastrophes in 2016.

As many of you know, I live blog the top three political talk shows every Sunday: Fox “news” Sunday, “Meet the Press” and ABC’s ThisWeek. Typically, their final show of the year includes predictions for the coming year. I always find the predictions of Conservatives on Fox the most fascinating. It really is a window into their dark fantasy world. Simply put, Democrats will always usher in economic chaos, and Republican policies are always a resounding success:
 

Fox “news” Sunday’s Predictions for 2016 (8:57)

 

Some highlights:

  • “Common sense will prevail [within the GOP] and Trump won’t win the nomination”. – Oops. I guess it didn’t.
  •  

  • Economy will be down. “Recession.” – The U.S. economy continued to grow, growing at a remarkable 3.5% in the third quarter of this year.
  •  
    The political predictions end about halfway in, but I posted the full clip because it highlights just how routinely wrong the extremely partisan frequent guest panelist Mike Needham (of National Review Online) is. In previous years, “Bloody” Bill Kristol (of The Weekly Standard) was the Fox panelist that never got a single thing right before swapping places with George Will (a fixture on ABC’s ThisWeek for decades but became buttsore when they handed hosting duties over to Stephanopoulos). Like all Republicans, Needham is extremely sure of himself despite rarely ever being right on anything, and allows his partisanship to get in the way when making his predictions. Nothing connected to a Democrat ever turns out good. Nothing linked to a Republican ever turns out bad. I’m not sure Needham is EVER right on anything. But he tells Republicans what they like to hear, so he’s repeatedly asked back to give his opinions.

    Mike Needham:

  • “Low interest rates [are] maintaining the facade of Keynesian monetary policy.” – In Mike’s world, “Trickle-down” Reaganomics was a huge success while Keynesian “trickle up from the poor” economics is fantasy. Mike predicted that the Obama economy was being artificially propped up by low interest rates and once rates started to rise, the economy would start to implode. Interest rates are rising while Trump takes credit for the surge in the Stock Market.
  • Disagrees that Chicago (Hillary’s hometown) Cubs will win World Series. Instead picks the NY (Trump’s hometown) Mets. – While the Mets did okay in 2016, they came in sixteen games behind the World Series champion Cubs in the National League.
  • Picked “Batman vs Superman” to be the next big Hollywood blockbuster. – “Batman vs Superman” turned out to be a flop of epic proportions. Needham also predicted (noted Hollywood Liberal) Ben Affleck would go down as “the worst Batman in history.” To the contrary.

Give it up, Mike.
 

ABC’s ThisWeek predictions for 2016 (6:18)

 

Less drama (and fewer predictions) over on ABC’s ThisWeek. Everyone seemed to agree Trump had a better than average chance of winning the GOP nomination, with two of them even accurately picking “Tim Kaine” to be Hillary’s running mate.

Now let’s look back at my predictions from last year to give you some idea of just how seriously you should take me. Compared to “celebrity psychics”, even on my worst years, I totally crush them. The difference is that I freely admit that I’m no psychic. I’m just very good at spotting political trends and knowing how people think. So let’s take a look at my “Predictions for 2016”:

  • wrong – “Will we see another “France-style” terrorist attack in 2016? I don’t think so.” 2015 saw the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris (including a suicide bomber detonating just outside the National soccer stadium), so it seemed unlikely anyone would be able to pull off a similar attack in 2016. But unfortunately, last June, suicide bombers killed 41 in a siege of the Istanbul International Airport in Turkey, and France’s Bastille Day celebrations came to a tragic end when lone disturbed ISIS Sympathizer killed 84 and mowed down hundreds more using a large truck. Germany also saw a less deadly but no less tragic mass murder using a large truck driven by another ISIS sympathizer.
  •  

  • wrong – The establishment of “Safe Zones” inside of Syria & Iraq to counter the flood of refugees into other countries that were becoming increasingly unwelcome. Seriously, I am quite disgusted that six years later, we are still talking about the Syrian civil war. Unfortunately, the rest of the world found it easier to do nothing than to try and safeguard the civilian populations living in the region. The massacre in Syria has been a sticking point with me ever since I (incorrectly) predicted in 2011 massive international intervention to stop Assad from massacring his own people. But instead, Russia sided with their good friend King Assad, labeled the rebels “terrorists”, and made it impossible for anyone to intervene without risking a war with Russia. And instead, four years later, we’ve elected a president that sides with Russia on every controversy, and the city of Aleppo was pretty much obliterated and recaptured by Assad’s forces. Even more disturbing is the number of Trump supporters who believe photos like “Aleppo Boy” were “staged”. I’m not sure what has to die inside a person to look at that photo, call it a fake, and take the side of Syria & Russia.
  •  

  • right – ISIS will still be about the same size as it is today… roughly 30,000 fighters. – While it is difficult (if not impossible) to get an accurate reading on the number of people fighting on the ground in the region of Syria & Northern Iraq, most analysts seem to agree that “ISIS is shrinking”, not growing, preferring instead to try to inspire weak-willed outcasts feeling ostracized by society to commit “lone wolf” attacks in other countries and then take credit for those attacks. It is difficult to inspire Muslim sympathizers to the ISIS cause when the majority of their targets are fellow Muslims (see the Turkey airport attack above.) I fear Trump’s “take no prisoners” scorched Earth plans for dealing with ISIS will do more to create sympathizers and grow ISIS than actually serve to defeat it.
  •  

  • wrong – Russia WILL focus more on attacking ISIS and less on helping Assad destroy the Syrian rebels – I was wrong about Russia suddenly growing a conscience and pulling back in it’s support of helping Assad crush him political opponents, though I was correct that they would not JOIN forces with the U.S. in alliance to destroy who they claim is a common enemy: ISIS. Poor naive Donald Trump has bought Russia’s line of bull that the Syrian civil war is all about fighting terrorism. Russia has only become more bold in its international meddling in 2016 as Putin sees an opportunity to regain its Soviet-era dominance in the world as America’s influence wanes as we begin our 15th year of war.
  •  

  • right – Iran is likely to increase military aid to Assad as Russian support for the war wanes. – Iran “reportedly felt blindsided by the terms of the [Syrian] truce brokered in Turkey between Russia and the rebels.” Iran’s involvement in Syria has deepened as they disapprove of Russia focusing more on seizing more control in the region.
  •  

  • right – The Syrian conflict [will] still be raging throughout the year, eventually culminating in a treaty between Assad & the rebels. – The Syrian Civil War is only now being declared “coming to an end” here in the final days of 2016 as Russia brokers yet-another cease fire treaty. After years of conflict, it has become clear that we have are now incapable of bringing wars to an end.
  •  

  • wrong – We will see a MILD economic decline as the Republican controlled Congress stifles the economy to help the GOP presidential candidate. I’m actually quite stunned the GOP didn’t do more to cripple the economy to help the GOP nominee win the election. But then, I didn’t expect the GOP to be so unhappy with their candidate. In the end, they weren’t exactly enthusiastic about helping Donald Trump become the leader of their Party (and if you ask me, they are terrified of being branded “The Party of Trump”.) Instead, the Obama economy continued to grow at a remarkable rate.
  •  

  • right – Gitmo to still be in operation by the end of President Obama’s presidency, [though] steps will finally be in place to close it permanently before he leaves office. – Yes on both counts. Our POW camp at Guantánamo Bay is indeed still in operation (though currently down to just 59 detainees that will reportedly be down to just 41 by the time Obama leaves office. In February, he did send his Guantánamo Closing Plan to Congress, but no action was taken. And Trump has vowed… not only to keep it open… but to even EXPAND it, so our giant “middle-finger” to all our principles will continue to operate for the foreseeable future.
  •  

  • wrong – GOP will retain control of the House following the election but lose the Senate. – This did indeed become the conventional thinking in the final days of the election, and there’s no way of knowing if Russian meddling had any impact on the outcome, but Democrats did pick up two seats… three seats short of control of the Senate (under a Republican White House.)
  •  

  • right – The 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio will be relatively uneventful. – No terrorist attacks, and despite concerns of rampant local crime, polluted water, and unfinished facilities, the Rio Olympics pretty much went off without a hitch.
  •  

  • right – Trump will be the GOP nominee. – I’m surprised (well, maybe not) that so many people believed Republicans would come to their senses and pull back from the brink before allowing this cartoonish man-child to come within earshot of the presidency, but I was one of the few that knew better. Before the first primary of 2016, I knew from the 2012 nomination of Mitt Romney, “wealth = good” among low-information Republican voters. Bush & Cheney ran as “businessmen” in 2000 promising a “CEO presidency”, and it was an absolute disaster. But that didn’t stop them from nominating Mitt Romney in 2012 (regardless of how he made his money.) Just as in 2012, Republicans didn’t like the GOP front-runner (Romney) and constantly kept looking for someone to take the nomination away from him. But as each new front-runner crashed & burned, Romney kept floating back up to the top of the bowl. The same thing with Trump in 2016. There were a couple of brief scares when Ben Carson and Ted Cruz became the front runners momentarily, but they always came back to Trump as his rivals crashed & burned.

    I also predicted that Trump will plan to delegate most of his responsibilities as he has no interest in actually doing the job, which he & his son both confirmed last May.

  •  

  • wrong – Expect Trump to name his running mate early if he finds himself struggling to win the nomination. – This didn’t happen… with Trump. But it bears mentioning that this is EXACTLY what Ted Cruz did all the way back in April. Also of note, I included the caveat that “if [Trump] gets locked in a battle with the Democratic nominee, his ego will rope him in until the election in November” seeing his candidacy through to the bitter end, win or lose. And I was absolutely right on that. All the polls were predicting an easy win for Clinton, and even Trump himself was surprised when all of the “must win” races started falling his way, yet he stayed in to the very end with most expecting him to challenge the result if he lost… completely unwilling to believe this country might choose Hillary over him.
  •  

  • right – Hillary to win the Democratic nomination. – Probably my most painful prediction as a Bernie supporter, but this is what separates me from Republicans who shape their predictions to fit their personal ideology. And this is why their record of predicting things is so miserable. They are SO sure their beliefs are right, the possibility they could be wrong never crosses their minds.
  •  

  • wrong* – the Democratic nominee will win the election in November. – It is difficult to know if Russian meddling in our election may have altered the outcome, but I’m not aware of even one legitimate poll that predicted a Trump victory. The entire Trump candidacy was one embarrassment after another, from making racist & sexist remarks during his campaign, the embarrassing Convention with guest speakers like Scott Baio, culminating in the “Access Hollywood” (“grab them by the [meow]” tape.) And despite needing to sweep nearly every single swing state to win, that’s exactly what happened… an achievement suspicious in itself. But I didn’t factor possible election fraud into my prediction.
  •  

  • right – As ISIS begins to feel the pressure of increased international focus on defeating them, they will in turn focus more on inspiring outside sympathizers to commit “lone wolf” terrorist attacks in their respective countries. I predicted at least three such attacks in the coming year. – Indeed, this was the case, with terrorist attacks by ISIS sympathizers in Istanbul, Turkey, Nice, France, and the Christmas Market attack in Berlin, Germany.

8 right, 7 wrong. 53%. Not bad. I’ve done worse. That keeps my lifetime average well over 50%. I was one of the few to predict the presidential race to come down to Clinton vs Trump when must people were predicting a “Hillary vs Jeb” contest. I’m pretty proud of that.

And now…

My Predictions for 2017:

With a totally new administration full of billionaires, ideologues and sycophants with no track record of public service whatsoever, the possibilities are endless as what to expect from the coming year. As “president-elect Trump” rejects the need for a “Presidential Baily Briefing” (on the grounds the information is “repetitive”), I’m frequently reminded of how President Bush in 2001 repeatedly dismissed his own PDB’s while our intelligence agencies were desperately (“Lights were flashing red”) trying to get him to pay attention to the threat of alQaeda until it was too late with the attacks of 9/11 just eight months into office. Now Trump is doing the same while ISIS attacks seem to be growing in magnitude & frequency. Predicting the first year of any new administration is one big crap shoot, but I know how Trump and his ilk think.

  1. Trump is already taking credit for a rise in the Stock Market since his election while Obama is still president, but once he takes office, if the economy does not continue to improve, he’ll stop taking credit and start blaming Obama (remember how Republicans berated Obama the first couple of years for “blaming Bush” for the deep hole we were still digging our way out of?) Trump will be handed an economy that’s 180 degrees from what Obama inherited (soaring stock market, unemployment falls to just 4.6%), and President Obama’s final budget will still be in effect until October, so it is unlikely the economy will turn South in Trump’s first year unless he does something extremely provocative to spook the global financial (or oil) market. We’ll have to wait & see if Trump becomes a “don’t rock the boat” president, or (more likely) an impulsive hothead that doesn’t consider the consequences before acting (which is the defining characteristic of Republicans.)
  2.  
    Trump’s coziness with the Russians continues to disturb me. His first campaign spokesman, Paul Manafort, was forced to resign when it was discovered that he had been paid millions lobbying for pro-Russian Ukrainian oligarchs… not because of his Russia connection, but because he worked as a lobbyist at a time when Trump was still trying to act as though he disapproved of lobbyists and the Russian annexing of Ukraine was unpopular with most Americans. Yet, despite being fired, Manafort continued to live in Trump Tower (along with another fired Trump staffer, former campaign manager Cory Lewandowski.) This tells me Trump doesn’t learn from his mistakes, he just tucks them away until after the heat blows over.

    His eventual choice for Secretary of State, Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson, wasn’t even on the original lists of nominees. The person that appeared to have to best chance was Mitt Romney… who called Russia “our #1 Geo-political enemy” when he ran in 2012. Then suddenly, Romney was out and Tillerson… a man who was awarded the “Russian Medal of Friendship”…. was in.

    His daughter Ivanka was even caught palling around with Putin’s girlfriend in Croatia.

  3. Trump’s Russian ties will continue to haunt him in 2017, but with a GOP controlled Congress, nothing will ever come of it. Every move that involves Russia will draw additional scrutiny. Investigative reporters may start to report on concerns of Russian influence on the Trump White House, but President-elect Trump has been working hard to delegitimatize the Media as “Fake News” so that… should they report anything critical of his administration, he can simply dismiss it as “fake news”.
  4.  
    George Bush appointed a single unqualified mega-donor sycophant to his Administration (Michael “Heckuva job, Brownie” Brown)… an Arabian horse judge… to be in charge of FEMA, and we all know how that turned out. Trump’s cabinet is FULL of unqualified “Brownies”. He has been gifting crucial administration posts the way other presidents once awarded “ambassadorships” to friends & big donors. This is particularly disturbing when one of the key arguments Trump and his supporters gave to justify electing a “CEO President” with NO political experience to the presidency was that he’d appoint only “the best people” to manage his administration. Among some of Trump’s other “So good, you won’t believe it” appointees so far:

    Former opponent Dr. Ben Carson… NOT as Surgeon General which might make SOME sense… but as the head of “Housing & Urban Development” (which Carson himself justified due to having “once lived in Public Housing”. By that standard, I should be piloting 747’s because I once flew in one.)

    Co-founder of the WWE (“World Wrestling Entertainment”) Linda McMahon to head the SBA (“Small Business Administration”.) I think we know how she got the job:

     
    Trump in Wrestlemania
     
    Trump wrestles McMahon

    (Remember all the Republicans who whined Bill Clinton was destroying the dignity of the Oval Office?)

    The former Attorney General from the Oklahoma oil-patch, climate change denier Scott Pruitt to head the EPA. Pruitt repeatedly sued the EPA’s “Clean Power Plan” and “Clean Water Rule” while OK-AG, and even tried to pass off a letter written by oil company lobbyists critical of the EPA as his own. And now he will be in charge of the organization.

    While not yet appointed at this time, Trump is reportedly considering billionaire eccentric “Peter Thiel” to head the FDA. Like Ben Carson who believes he’s qualified to run HUD because he once lived in public housing, it is reported that Theil once ate food and took medicine.

    Trump appointed Steve Bannon the head of alt-Right website “Brietbart.com”… probably the only “news” outlet to endorse Trump… to be his Chief Strategist. While Team-Trump is working overtime to delegitimize the legitimate news as “fake news”, Brietbart is the very definition of “fake news”.

    Former Texas Governor and “Dancing with the Stars” reject Rick “Oops” Perry… who famously forgot that the Dept of Energy was the third government agency he would close as president… was appointed Trump’s Secretary of Energy. He will be replacing nuclear physicist Ernie Moniz.

    …to be continued.
     

  5. With so many incompetents put in charge of so many prominent offices within the Trump Administration, the chances of another “Brownie”-like disaster in the next few years increases exponentially. I predict at least one of Trump’s incompetent appointees will have their appointment questioned and perhaps even be forced to resign due some inexplicable cock-up that embarrasses the incoming Trump Administration.
  6.  

  7. Trump detests having to answer questions. He considers having to explain himself an indignity and the Press exists solely to try & discredit him. This is why he adores Twitter where he can simply ignore any question he doesn’t like. Trump will hold a record low number of Press Conferences, preferring instead to use Twitter to communicate with the American people. He, his staff, and his supporters will herald this as “a new era in unprecedented access to the Commander-in-Chief” that supposedly makes him more “accessible” by the American people, when the truth is it will quite the opposite: a new era of secrecy in presidential administrations that closely controls just how much access the fourth-estate has to it. (August 10 edition of “60 Minutes”, former Chief Strategist Steve Bannon praises Trump’s use of Twitter as “circumventing Big Media and speaking directly to the people.”)
  8.  
    In these final days of 2016, we keep seeing situations where the incoming Trump Administration is publicly disagreeing with… not just the outgoing Obama Administration, but U.S. foreign policy of the past 30 years when it comes to Israel and the pursuit of a “two state solution” to bring peace between the Israeli’s and the Palestinians. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is a neo-con, and his continued illegal building of settlements in occupied territory threatens to jeopardize any hope of peace in the Middle East. Secretary of State John Kerry condemned the recent construction of new Israeli settlements as provocative and not in the interests of achieving peace in the Middle East. Netanyahu… who never liked the Obama Administration and vocally condemned it for agreeing to lift sanctions on Iran… basically told the U.S. to mind its own business. Trump… breaking with decades of “one president at a time” tradition (an unwritten rule where the incoming administration doesn’t publicly contradict the outgoing administration, instead declaring “the U.S. speaks with one voice”), Trump again publicly criticized the outgoing Obama Administration, taking the side of Israel and declaring “things will be different” come “January 20th.”

  9. Taking the side Israel so publicly, there is NO way the U.S. can be seen as an honest broker in any possible future peace negotiations between Israel & Palestine. Trump’s chosen Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, is a pro-settlement bankruptcy lawyer with no relevant experience other than the fact he is president of the US fundraising arm for Bet El, a settlement built on occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank. Both Trump & Friedman have taken the unimaginably provocative position of calling to move the capital of Israel to the disputed city of Jerusalem… nothing short of spitting in the eye of a billion Muslims. Indeed, Osama bin Laden even cited the “Israeli occupation” and part of alQaeda’s justification for 9/11 and their war with the West. Trump has just made his job of achieving an end to the wars in the Middle East infinitely more difficult. Couple that with his pledge to “quickly, easily & completely” defeat ISIS, I have great difficultly in seeing how he can “defeat ISIS” and end the war in Afghanistan without doing something monumentally insane like declaring war on the entire Middle East and conquering it using nuclear weapons. No matter how nuts he may be, there are still enough sane people left in Congress to stop him from starting World War III. As such, I have little doubt that as Commander-in-Chief, Trump will still deploy between 100,000 and 300,000 troops back into Iraq & Afghanistan (and possibly Syria) by the end of the year, greatly expending the war rather than helping to resolve the conflict and bring America’s longest war to an end (cooler heads will prevail among his generals not to introduce nuclear weapons into this war, but reports will emerge that it was discussed).
  10.  

  11. In 2015, increased pressure on ISIS resulted in various domestic terrorist attacks overseas, and (as I correctly predicted) there were at least three more such incidents of domestic terrorism around the world as that pressure continued to grow. If Trump does indeed greatly expand the war in the Middle East, coupled with openly taking Israel’s side in promoting illegal settlements, expend the number of incidents of domestic terrorism committed in the name of ISIS to grow. I predict at least five such deadly mass casulty attacks across the world in the coming year.
  12.  

  13. The election of the first black president allowed a stunning number of closeted racists to feel liberated, coming out as openly racist, cloaking their racism as nothing more than “political differences”. The election of an openly bigoted xenophobe like Trump will worsen this three-fold as Trump-supporters feel they now have carte-blanc to be openly bigoted against Mexican’s and Muslims as well.
  14.  

  15. Which reminds us of Trump’s promise to “build a border wall along the U.S./Mexico border and make Mexico pay for it”, and deport… not just 11 million “illegal immigrants”, but in many cases their American-born children as well. There will be NO significant border wall construction in 2017 as the issue falls by the way-side. However, the Trump Administration may try to claim plans for a border wall are “in the works”. And rather than Mexico paying 100% of the cost, to save face, the Trump Administration will rely on some creative accounting to try and claim Mexico will be paying for it when they are in fact not.
    UPDATE: 1/6/2017 – Not even president yet, “Trump asks Congress, not Mexico, to pay for border wall.
  16.  

  17. During the primaries, a number of countries were so appalled by Donald’s Trump’s “racist & sexists remarks”, they went as far as to say the GOP candidate was “not welcome” in their country. Scotland declared Trump “unwelcome” in that country the day after the election and urged him not to visit. In January of 2016, the British Parliament had already discussed banning Trump from the UK. And in October (just before the election), Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau banned Trump from entering Canada until he apologized for his offensive remarks about Muslims & Mexicans. I predict that in the coming year, at least one nation will say Trump is not welcome in their country.
  18.  

  19. As I’ve been pointing out since the day he declared his candidacy in 2015, Trump only wanted to prove he could win the presidency if he wanted it, but has no interest in actually doing the job. Early on, he will appear to be doing his job, but gradually over time, we will see less & less of him as he tries to delegate more & more of his job over to others in his administration, setting up a Constitutional crisis.
  20.  

  21. Calls for investigations into all of Trump’s conflicts of interest will grow along with demands that he fully divest himself of his empire (which he’ll never do) as it becomes clear foreign countries are trying to curry favor with the American president though his investments. Trump’s massive ego will never permit him to sell off his empire. All those skyscrapers with his name on them feed his massive ego. If it becomes a serious enough problem for him, he’d resign his presidency before selling off his empire.
  22.  

  23. Speaking of which, every building with Trump’s name on it will become an instant terrorist target the moment he’s sworn in, and the cost of protecting those buildings will become a serious matter.
  24.  

  25. Beyond foreigners trying to get on the good side of America’s president by renting out his hotels & casinos and possibly giving him favorable treatment when his companies seek construction permits in foreign countries, simply being president gives Trump an unfair advantage over his American competitors that will open him up to all sorts of lawsuits. Expect at least one American company to file an “unfair trade practices” lawsuit against Trump.
  26.  

  27. Trump’s Climate-Change-Denying policies of promising to “greatly expend the use of coal” and “complete the Keystone XL Pipeline” will be met with a resounding thud as both projects prove to no longer be cost effective in the modern era. There just aren’t that many workers looking to get started in the lucrative business of digging coal (yes, that’s snark) in the 21st century, and for the mining/conversion of tarsands to “oil” to be cost effective, oil needs to be up over $70/barrel again. George W. Bush destroyed the global economy and brought the United States to the brink of economic collapse by pushing the price of oil from $30/barrel to nearly $150/barrel in six years. Oil prices are (at this writing) just above $50/barrel after having been much lower in recent years, and some analysts fear that if Trump greatly expands the war in the Middle East, the price of oil could shoot back up to over $100/barrel which would make both energy sources financially viable again. But if that happened, it would absolutely crush the U.S. economy. As friendly as the Trump Administration clearly will be with Big Oil, I have my doubts that even THEY could be THAT fiscally irresponsible.
  28.  

  29. Russia may find themselves wondering if they made a mistake by cozening up to Trump (and possibly aiding his election) as they quickly learn how erratic and vindictive he can be. Early in the primaries, Ted Cruz leaped into second place when he refused to criticize GOP front-runner Donald Trump like all of the other candidates. Just before the start of the 2016 primaries, Cruz even tweeted: “@realDonaldTrump is terrific. #DealWithIt” Then the race began, and as soon as Cruz became a threat, the bromance was over. By the Convention in July, the two were already the worst of enemies. I expect Trump’s relationship with Russia to become strained as he grows increasingly erratic.
  30.  

  31. As much as Trump and his supporters may want it, he will not be able to amass enough Republican votes (and zero Democratic votes) to repeal “ObamaCare” without having a replacement program ready to go first. Republicans will try (repeatedly) throughout the year to immediately end the program despite having no alternative, but Democrats need only three Republican Senators to stop any repeal from reaching the president’s desk. And while Republicans honestly believe Americans want to see the entire program scrapped, they are in for a rude awakening if 20 million Americans are suddenly faced with the potential loss of their insurance. Trump says he won’t allow insurance companies to deny patients with “preexisting conditions” from getting coverage again, but there is NO way to do that without the “mandate” they so deplore. And in eight years, no Republican has been able to devise a system that covers everyone that doesn’t include a mandate. So, no ObamaCare repeal. They will try. They will get close. They may even pass a bill severely limiting it, but no full repeal of the law.
  32.  

  33. Early on, Russia will test their new found relationship with the new administration to see just how much they can get away with and what reaction (if any) they get. Democrats in Congress will demand action. Republicans will not. And the public will be evenly split, ensuring nothing gets done.
  34.  

  35. Trump didn’t remember half of the promises he made during the campaign. He had completely forgotten he promised to stop the export of over 1,000 jobs at an Indiana “Carrier” plant until he heard a plant worker on TV state that he had personally promised them he’d save their jobs. He also forgot HOW he said he’d save them (by threatening to charge “Carrier” a reimportation tax.) Likewise his ridiculous threat to “lock her [Hillary] up” was quickly dismissed following his victory, the deportation of “11 Million illegal immigrants” quickly became only “a few million with criminal records” (illegal immigrants with criminal records are already deported upon capture), and his “border wall” was scaled down to “a fence in some locations.” Trump has a very short memory when it comes to his promises, so don’t be surprised if focus on many of his campaign promises are overshadowed by new catastrophes that develop in his first year.
  36.  

  37. In the final week of 2016, Trump startled the world by suggesting that we need to start expanding our nuclear arsenal again… reversing more than 30 years of American nuclear policy. Will Trump start a new Nuclear Arms Race? That takes money. Sadly, I don’t see enough sane Republicans in Congress willing to say “No” to Toddler-Trump and reject the possibility of attracting a few thousand defense industry jobs to their states, but I DO see just enough to side with Democrats to stop any such proposed increase in our nuclear stockpiles. No expansion.
  38.  

  39. And rounding on for an even 20, 2017 will be declared “the hottest year on record”.

 

Wow, that’s one incredibly dark miserable year I foresee. But Toddler-Trump is just too immature, too erratic and too impulsive to see things becoming anything other than a total mess in 2017.


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Smart Businessmen don’t Lose a Billion Dollars, Mr Trump
Oct 3rd, 2016 by Admin Mugsy

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According to Rudy Giuliani across several Sunday shows yesterday, the possibility Donald Trump may not have paid any income taxes for 18 years because he ran his company into the ground in 1995 makes him “a genius!”. Seriously. I’m not making that up. The former NYC mayor repeatedly defended the possibility that Trump may have paid absolutely nothing in income taxes from 1992 to 2010 as proof that Trump is a brilliant businessman who (quote) “is someone I’d like working for me!” The problem is, the ONLY reason Trump was even eligible to do so was because he reported a nearly ONE BILLION dollar loss on his 1995 income taxes after running his empire into the ground (according to a breaking NYT report Sunday.) Calling someone a “genius” because that same “genius” figured out how to dig themselves out a massive sinkhole of their own creation is like calling your mechanic a “genius” for fixing your car after he totaled it taking it out for a joyride.

Trump’s entire shtick is that he’s a brilliant businessman who should be put in charge of running the country like a business. The problem with that argument (besides the fact the government isn’t a “business” and not run for “profit”) is the assumption Donald Trump is a successful businessman. And someone who bankrupts his empire four times and is forced to declare nearly a Billion dollar loss in a single year can hardly be described as a “successful businessman”.

Indeed, a “successful” businessman… one whom you might want running your company/country… would be someone who “started with nothing” and built a wildly successful Fortune 100 corporation that NEVER had to declare bankruptcy, but instead returned a respectable profit each & every year while treating it’s employees with respect and paying them handsomely.

Donald Trump is NONE of that. Born on second-base to a multi-millionaire father with a world of business connections that in & of themselves were worth a fortune. His father loaned him a fortune (a million dollars back in [IIRC] 1973, which would be worth $5-8million today) to buy up prime real estate in Manhattan (a guaranteed goldmine). And despite that, he swindled suppliers, stiffed contractors, and STILL managed to declare bankruptcy FOUR times.

And that amazing talent that allowed him to recover following a $916 Billion dollar loss of his own doing? Not only did he have to exploit a tax loophole for the ridiculously wealthy like himself just to recover, but what of the investors/creditors that were left high & dry when Trump stiffed them by declaring bankruptcy? The employees who lost their jobs (and pensions… if any… to boot)? What of THEIR loses? Do THEY think Trump is a “genius”?

One problem I’ve always had with Trump’s declaring bankruptcy to save his business (other than the fact it he took advantage of a government bailout) is that the president can’t simply declare the United States “bankrupt” to bail itself out when he gets into trouble (who bails out the bailer?)

There is still the question as to whether Trump went nearly two decades (if not longer) without paying a dime in income taxes. And thanks to last weeks’ debate, I believe we can now say with absolute 100% certainty that he did not. How? Because Trump declared that not paying taxes would be proof he’s “smart”. Ergo, if he DID pay any taxes, he must be dumb, correct? And since Trump would never call himself dumb or admit to doing anything as “dumb” as paying taxes, it’s safe to assume he didn’t. Q.E.D..

The entire argument justifying a Trump presidency was itself built on a foundation of sand… his four bankruptcies. But if the NYT report is correct (and at this point, there’s no reason to believe it isn’t) and Trump did indeed have to declare $915,729,923 in loses in a single year, that’s not exactly the sign of a “great” businessman.

BUT…

He declared that loss for 1995… and that’s significant. Why? because 1995 was the start of “the Clinton Boom Years“, the start of Bill Clinton’s second term in office when the economy started taking off like a rocket. During Bill Clinton’s first term in office, unemployment fell from 7.3% to 5.6% by the end of 1995 (data from BLS) and the Stock Market rose from 3241.95 to 5117.12 during those same three years (nearly 37%), yet somehow Donald Trump… this astoundingly successful businessman… managed to run his companies into the ground and report nearly a *billion* dollars in losses (when he could have nearly doubled his fortune simply investing it in the stock market.)

Tell us again what a “successful businessman” Donald J Trump is? If he’s allowed to do for the country what he did to his corporate empire, we’re doomed.
 

Sad Trump

 


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GOP Frontrunners Reveal Their Moronic Dark Agendas for the Country
Aug 17th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy

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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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