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Trump Bombs Syria. Now what?
Apr 16th, 2018 by Admin Mugsy

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(Okay, we’re back. We were offline last week, and on Easter Break the week before that, so this is our first Op/Ed in two weeks. – Mugsy)
 

UN Ambassador Nikki Haley appeared on Fox news Sunday to comment on the U.S. strike on Syria Friday, and I was quite surprised by the way host Chris Wallace challenged her on some of her assertions. Halley revealed that Assad has used chemical weapons fifty times” since the rebellion began in 2011. So why was this attack so special? “Was it because it was caught on video?” asked Wallace. He also asked her if the message we were sending Assad was, “You can attack your own people using conventional weapons, just not chemical weapons?” Both excellent points. While I agree that a response was necessary and bombing Assad’s chemical weapons facilities was proper, I don’t feel like the Trump Administration has a strategy for what comes next. Do we just “hope” he doesn’t do it again? How will Russia react to further sanctions (after Trump spent the last year undermining them?) No answer to the question: “Okay, now what?” We hindered Syria’s ability to use chemical weapons against the Syrian rebels, but we don’t appear to be doing anything to resolve the conflict there or defend the lives of the Syrian rebels. What now?

Trump is suddenly criticizing Russia as it starts to dawn on him that Putin isn’t one of the good guys. Shocker, I know. The whole time Trump was talking nice about Russia and praising Putin during the campaign, Putin was ordering hackers to meddle in our election, breaking into DNC (and attempting to hack RNC) computers, was constructing a “super cruise missile” unveiled a few weeks ago, was behind the attempted poisoning of a former Russian double-agent now living in the UK, has been defending Assad… someone Trump now concedes is “a monster”, and now Trump is obsessed with rumors of a “blackmail tape” (to put it politely) supposedly filmed when he was in Russia for his 2013 Miss Universe pageant (I don’t know about you, but I’d be worried too if the story were true, and not the least bit concerned if I knew it weren’t.) And just like that, Trump appears to be realizing that maybe… just maybe… Putin isn’t the noble leader he though him to be.

Now, there seems to be a plethora of Nervous Nellie’s whom think the ultimate end result of ANY conflict… verbal, trade, whatever… will ultimately/inevitably lead to Global Thermonuclear War with Russia. No. Chill folks. Not every International disagreement leads to World War III. Dr. Strangelove isn’t in charge of the Pentagon (even with mustachioed lunatic National Security Advisor John Bolton advising Trump.) Hmmm. I don’t feel I made a very convincing argument there. Just trust me. Relax. Even Bush didn’t bungle his way into WWIII.

Okay, so we’ve sent a message to Assad… loud & clear… that we draw the line at “chemical weapons” but when it comes to ending the seven year long civil war in Syria, we have no intention of interfering (even if Russia is.) And under Trump, even awarding asylum to the victims of “monster” Assad is not being discussed. Again, I was struck by the fact Fox News Sunday (yes, I conferred upon them a well-deserved Capital-N) pointed out the seeming heartlessness of the Trump Administration’s parsimonious “no Middle-Eastern Refugees” policy:
 

Dwindelling admitted Syrian refugees

 
As you will note from the above graphic, while the GOP controlled Congress worked overtime to tie Obama’s hands, we WERE still able to allow in over 15,000 refugees in 2016. So far, we have allowed all of 11 refugees into the U.S. in the first 3-1/2 months of the year. At that rate, the U.S. will have allowed all of 35 or 36 Syrian Refugees into our country by years end. That’s unforgivable. To call Assad “a monster”, but to then tell those same victims, “Stay away! We don’t want you here! You must remain in that place where a ‘monster’ is committing war crimes against you” is profane.

But also consider, the GOP’s (claimed) justification for not allowing in refugees is that “terrorists might sneak in among them.” If “terrorists” had snuck into the U.S. among those 15,000 refugees admitted in 2016, we would know it by now. The (made-up) justification Republicans are giving for not admitting refugees just isn’t born out by the facts.

As for: “Where do we go from here”, I’ve already previously presented my own plan on how to resolve the current crisis in the Middle-East non-militarily for FAR less money than we are spending now, and finally bring the war(s) in the region to a close. We can still do it. The White House may not have a plan, but I do.
 


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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

 


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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The Subtle “Implied Racism” of Trump’s Presidency
Aug 14th, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

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“On many sides.” Three little words that speak volumes.

After a White Supremacist “Nazi sympathizer” plowed his car into a crowd of counter protesters, killing a young female counter-protester (two police officers were also killed in a helicopter crash patrolling the protest) and injuring dozens more, it was HOURS before Trump responded to the attack, and when he finally did, reading from a printed script (because teleprompters are bad and prove you’re stupid), appeared to blame “both sides” for the violence:

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence… on many sides… on many sides.”

 

…never once using the terms “White Supremacists”, “Nazis”, “White Nationalists” or “terrorism”. Recall that all through the presidential campaign, Republicans roundly condemned President Obama for refusing to utter the words “Radical Islamic terrorism”? Trump himself repeatedly argued that “If you can’t say it, you can’t defeat it!” So what do we make of Trump’s inability/refusal to condemn Nazi’s and White Supremacists by name?

Does the tactic of plowing a car through a crowd of people sound vaguely familiar? That’s because that is the EXACT same tactic used by ISIS sympathizers across Europe over the past year to commit acts of terror. Is there ANY doubt that if the person driving the car in Charlottesville had been a Muslim, this would have been labeled a “terrorist attack” and condemned by Trump within minutes of it happening? So what’s different? You know, and so do I.

But it should comes as no surprise. Since the very day Trump announced he was running for president, his entire campaign & presidency has been peppered with subtle (and sometimes overt) acts of racism. As we all remember, Trump’s candidacy announcement included calling Mexicans “Drug dealers, criminals, rapists… and some… I assume are good people” (the qualifier tacked onto the end to avoid being overtly declared a racist.) And it was because of this (wildly overstated) rampant crime wave being committed by “illegals” that we needed to build “a wall” clear across our Southern border.

And so began the Trump campaign. And the racists swooned.

20 years ago, there was a lot less public tolerance of racism, and it remained mostly in the shadows. The election of the first black president started to provide racists with some cover, couching their overt racist hatred as merely being “political differences” with the Commander-in-Chief. They’d claim: “I don’t hate that Kenyan Muslim in the White House because he’s black! I simply have a legitimate difference of opinion on political issues!” For eight years, Trump stoked that racist hatred of Obama by championing the insane “birther” conspiracy theory that Obama was actually “born in Kenya” and therefore ineligible to be president of the United States… ergo, it was okay to hate him because his presidency was illegitimate.

I won’t go back down the “Birther” rabbit hole. You know the story: birth certificate, “long-form” birth certificate, newspaper birth announcements were “fakes”, Ted Cruz… who was ACTUALLY born in another country… was eligible because “his mother was an American”… unlike Obama’s mother who was born in Kansas. Never look for logic among illogical people.

Long before Trump became known as “the Birther Guy”, there was “The Central Park 5“. In 1989, a group of five black & Latino teenagers were accused of “assaulting and raping a white woman in Central Park.” Trump spent $85,000 of his own money taking out full-page ads in the four New York City daily papers, calling for the return of the death penalty for “muggers and murderers”, never mentioning the boys by name but everyone knew who he meant. 14 years later, the boys… now all grown up… were exonerated by DNA testing, yet Trump never apologized, citing the fact that “the police said they were guilty.”

Trump’s campaign rallies started to look like… well… maybe not “Klan rallies”, but unquestionably angry, with lots of shouting and peppered with violence. When protesters began showing up to condemn the racist dog-whistles Trump was sending out at every campaign event, his supporters grew violent, and rather than condemn the violence, Trump egged it on, saying things like “Throw the bum out,” “Get them out of here,” “Take his coat and throw him out in the cold,” and most famously, promising to pay the legal bills of anyone who might be sued for roughing up a protester.

That was his campaign. From birtherism, to demonizing Mexicans, “Black Lives Matter”, and Muslim Bans, Trump’s entire candidacy was catapulted by racists who heard a kindred spirit in Trump’s rhetoric… emboldened by how he’d “unapologetically” say exactly what they were feeling. For years they were made to feel embarrassed & ashamed for their primordial beliefs. Now they felt America had legitimized their beliefs by electing someone like Trump.

Trump’s first (and for a LONG time only) Congressional endorsement was Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions of Alabama. A Deep South congressman with a troublesome civil rights record of his own, once calling the NAACP and ACLUun-American“, criticizing “The Voting Rights Act”, and most famously (supposedly) saying he once admired the Klan till he found out “they smoke pot.” In any case, despite his record, because of his loyalty, Sessions was Trump’s very first appointee… naming him Attorney General, which put him directly in charge of enforcing the very Voting Rights Act he once criticized.

During the campaign, Trump was endorsed by none other than “David Duke”, the openly racist former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klowns Klan turned politician turned RW Talk Radio host. When Trump was asked if he accepted the endorsement of Duke, he feigned having any knowledge of who Duke was and did not directly reject the endorsement (at first) fearing to offend like-minded racists who make up a large proportion of his base. It was only after repeated & prolonged criticism that Trump… weakly… finally rejected Duke’s endorsement THREE DAYS LATER. CNN reported:
 

“David Duke is a bad person, who [sic] I disavowed on numerous occasions over the years. Do you want me to do it again for the 12th time?” Trump said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” – March 3, 2016

 

“A bad person”? Whoa there, Mr. Trump! Give a guy some warning before you go using language like that! “Who I disavowed on numerous occasions over the years” twelve times? Just three days earlier, he denied even knowing who Duke was. Now suddenly he recalls disavowing him “12 times over the years”? Which is it?

Duke “took credit” for White Nationalists like himself helping get Trump elected, responding to Trump’s (muted & delayed) condemnation of the events hours earlier in Charlottesville by criticizing Trump’s criticism, telling/threatening Trump to “remember who got you elected”… clearly implying Trump owes his election to the very White Supremacists and neo-Nazis he just condemned (albeit half-heartedly, evenly distributing blame for the violence and murders equally between the protesters & counter-protesters alike.) Trump never used the words “White supremacists” or “neo-Nazis” in his scripted response to the deadly rampage in Charlottesville.

Trump’s favorite show “Fox & Freaks Friends” (we know based on the number of times he comments & tweets about them) declared that Trump’s “both sides are to blame” condemnation of the Charlottesville riots & murders “nailed it”, repeating his “both sides” criticism, suggesting the Klan marchers might have a legitimate grievance that deserves being listened to, and asserting Trump’s remarks were the perfect response to the neo-Nazi march the day before that killed three.

When Trump’s campaign manager Paul Manafort was forced to step down, Trump hired the editor of the most popular “Alt-Right” online publication and his biggest fan/defender… Steve Bannon of “Breitbart News”… to be his new campaign manager. Bannon has been described as one of the “foremost peddlers of White Supremacist themes and rhetoric” on the Internet. Trump was a fan of Bannon for taking up his “Birther” attack on President Obama and carrying it to new heights. Once the election was over, Trump appointed Bannon to be his “chief strategist”… the job once held by Karl Rove in the Bush-43 administration.

As mentioned above, Trump had already announced Jeff Sessions as his pick to be AG. Another of Trump’s disturbing political appointees was “Stephen Miller” to be an “advisor”. You might know Miller as the “White Power” hand-gesture guy (see photo inset at top.) Vanity Fair magazine did a disturbing expose of Miller last month, from his early days as an unliked political provocateur (all Conservatives are. They get off on making others angry/upset) in High School, rising to fame defending the 2012 Duke University Lacrosse Team members in their Rape trial (where three white players were accused of raping a black stripper, chasing her (and another stripper) down shouting “N*gg*r, N*gg*r, N*gg*r!”, to his appointment to the Trump White House (where he ended a royal defense of Trump, declaring “The powers of the president to protect our country are substantial and will not be questioned! ending with that awkward aforementioned hand gesture.) And two weeks ago when Trump tweeted that he intended to institute “means testing of immigrants to the United States”… a slap in the face to the “Give me your poor…” poem placed on the Statue of Liberty, Miller was quick (without pause) to point out that poem “was added later” and not part of the original statue (does that matter?) which he said was merely meant as a symbol of America’s “guidance” of the rest of the world (Bullcrap. Liberty’s torch is the light that guides the world’s “wretched refuse” to our shores.) Anti-immigrant white supremacists like Miller & Bannon love to rewrite history to fit their personal views. Why they continue to do so in the age of the Internet when confirmation is just a key-click away, is a mystery. Still, they persist.

Another Trump advisor, his deputy counter-terrorism advisor, Sebastian Gorka, made news when he attended the Trump’s Inaugural Ball wearing the honorary medal awarded his late father by Hungarian nationalist organization Vitezi Rend, who are “believed to have been complicit in the murder of some of the hundreds of thousands of Hungarian Jews toward the end of World War II.” Gorka claims to have “distanced himself” from any white-supremacist or Nazi ideology [ibid]. Yet still, these are the people drawn to Trump, and whom Trump himself is drawn to when staffing his White House.

This is the bubble Trump lives in.
 


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Debunking This Syria Conspiracy Stupidity (and saying goodbye to the tinfoil hat brigade)
Apr 10th, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

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Back when all my friends were going bonkers over “Star Wars” in the late 1970’s, I was obsessed with “Close Encounters of the Third Kind“. I even wanted to become a “ufologist” like Dr. J. Allen Hynek. I bought/read dozens of books and was absolutely convinced UFO’s and alien hijackings were real.

Then I grew up.

Once I started asking questions, the stories started to fall apart. Nothing stood up to scrutiny. Have I mentioned lately that I used to be a Republican? I stopped believing what Republicans were telling me for the same reason. Nothing I was told ever stood up to even the lightest of scrutiny (not to mention frequently steeped in racism and religious dogma.) Asking questions saved me (and my sanity.)

Anyone who has been following this blog for a while knows two things about me: 1) I DESPISE “conspiracy theories” (note my thorough debunking of “The Four Basic 9/11 Conspiracy Myths” written nearly ten years ago), and 2) I don’t suffer fools well. If you are going to attack me and demand (additional) “Proof!” that something I tell you is true, you had better be on firmer ground than I with “proof!” of your own at the ready. And if your idea of “legitimate trustworthy journalism” is a pro-Russian blogger in Minsk, while calling The New York Times and Washington Post “fake news”, your opinion carries all the weight of a mouse fart as far as I’m concerned.

The VERY ELECTION of Donald Trump seems to have birthed an entire legion of tinfoil hat wearing “Conspiracy Theory” paranoids. Hey, I get it. I supported Bernie, and the fact Cheetolini occupies the White House today still defies belief. But there was no “conspiracy” against Sanders and the Media didn’t decide the Primaries OR the General Election winners. The Super Delegates & Electoral College did. If you read some of the vitriol I see on my Facebook pageSTILLsix months after the election… towards Hillary Clinton, it’s difficult to understand how so many of these same Troglodytes foaming at the mouth over their hatred for Hillary could believe Trump needed “The Media’s” assistance to win, or how they made Hillary popular enough to defeat Bernie.

Like others have said: if you could reason with zealots, there wouldn’t BE any zealots.

And now, with this counter-attack on a Syrian airfield in response to their use of chemical weapons… and let’s not gloss over that detail as we grow numb to the words. Chem-i-cal Wea-pons“. Death by chemical weapons is beyond horrific… burning eyes & skin, choking to death as your lungs are scorched by acid, people/CHILDREN writhing in agony, vomiting blood till death is a welcome relief… the tinfoil hat wearing crowd… with all the expertise as a 9/11 armchair physicist… appear to be more than eager to defend Syrian President Assad… a brutal dictator (like his father before him) who has been bombing entire cities full of people who’ve dared oppose him for the last seven years… on the grounds that suddenly… after seven years of slaughtering 400,000 “of his own people”… are asking, “Why would he use chemical weapons on his own people? Especially when he was so close to winning?” Instead they seem incredibly quick & willing to believe that in fact their OWN country… the United States (admittedly no angels ourselves)… is actually framing poor innocent Assad. (Note, in the April 4th attack, not only did Syrian fighter jets drop chemical weapons, they also bombed grain silos with the goal of starving the rebels… whom we know aren’t simply “ISIS fighters”, but entire cities that include women & children.

Seriously? Okay, let’s pause for a moment and use some common sense here.

What is more likely?

a) A man who has been bombing & starving rebel critics of his administration for seven years and has all but turned Aleppo to dust saw an opportunity to wipe out his opponents once & for all after Trump & Tillerson gave him the “regime change is no longer our policy” greenlight, by using chemical weapons we KNOW he had as of 2014…

OR

b) Less than 24 hours after Trump referred to Assad’s presidency as “acknowledging [a] political realit[y]”, he then disguises American fighter jets as Syrian S22’s and orders them to fly in and drop chemical weapons we DON’T have on Syrian children in an attack that all but destroys the friendly relationship he was building with Putin making Trump look like a naive fool? And in a massive conspiracy not seen since Roswell, not a single pilot with a guilty conscience over dropping chemical weapons on children to come forward and say, “No, it wasn’t Syria. It was me.”

…because those are your options.

Some disbelievers claim this was a distraction from the salacious approval of Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court via the “nuclear option”. Hardly. Republicans acting like Republicans isn’t a catastrophe worthy of committing secret war crimes by dropping chemical weapons on children that would result in the Trump Administration being tried in The Hague for War Crimes should the truth ever come out. The “risk/benefit” ratio is wildly off there.

I can’t tell you how many people I’ve bumped heads with these past few days demanding “Proof!”, then respond to me by posting links to unverifiable videos on YouTube that are impossible to verify and without attribution, or links to websites that look like they coded it in their mother’s basement, citing questionable sources, produced by people they know absolutely nothing about who could FAR more easily be producing complete fiction to cloud the evidence to protect the guilty. They simply accept these questionable sources as fact because they confirm what they already believe to be true. One of the most popular video “proofs” I repeatedly get are links to a “reporter” named “Eva Bartlett” “demolishing” critics that dare suggest Assad is the aggressor and the rebels are anything but devious terrorists. But Bartlett is NOT a “reporter”. She works for no news agency and isn’t on the ground in Syria. She’s a Canadian blogger that works for “Russia Today” and has dedicated herself to defending Assad (one popular video is of her responding to another Canadian reporter at a conference… hosted by the Syrian government and invited to speak at their behest… where she makes a number of claims, including a popular one among the pro-Assad crowd, that one girl… the same girl… can be seen being rescued in three separate videos. It’s not true of course [ibid], but as Mark Twain reminded us, “A lie makes it halfway around the world before the truth gets its shoes on.”

They are wildly untrusting of Western Media, yet readily accepting of what documented vicious tyrants like Assad & Putin tell them. I just don’t get that. Once you reach THAT level of mistrust of your own government, it’s time for you to go… another country or a padded cell. It’s your choice.

Now a bit of history…

Following the Iranian hostage crisis in 1979-80, our greatest enemy was Iran. And when the Reagan Administration took over in 1981, they decided “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”, so they befriended Saddam Hussein (who had been at war with Iran for years.) And they gave (conventional) arms (and money) to Saddam (and… as we discovered later… to Iran too as part of the “Arms for Hostages” deal they secretly brokered). As the Iran/Iraq War escalated, Saddam used chemical weapons on Iran and we did nothing about it.

Then, at the very end of the Reagan Administration, Saddam used chemical weapons yet again… this time on his own people. Iraq has always been a nation of three violently opposite religious sects: The Shia, The Sunni’s and The Kurds. The Kurds despised Saddam and wanted him gone. And apparently the feeling was mutual as Saddam actually dispatched agents to assassinate Kurds that dare leave Iraq to live in London or Germany. Sounds completely counter-intuitive, right? Why would Saddam want to murder the people he hated for moving away? Because that’s just the kind of guy he was. He couldn’t make their lives miserable living abroad. He wanted them in Iraq where he could make them suffer.

In March of 1988, Saddam attacked the Kurdish occupied town of Halabja with chemical weapons. Again, we turned a blind eye (until Bush Jr used it as an excuse to invade Iraq in 2003.) “Why would he attack his own people” some of you might ask? (As you are asking of Assad today.) Because, as I already pointed out, they hated Saddam, launching attacks trying to assassinate him (and years later, a Kurdish ex-pat named Ahmed Chalibi would convince a gullible George W. Bush to take Saddam out for him by claiming the existence of “stockpiles of WMD’s” that no one had seen or could prove the existence of), and the feeling was mutual.

In 1990, President George Herbert Walker Bush’s “Ambassador to Iraq” was a woman named April Glaspie. That July, Saddam delivered a message to President Bush that he wished for “friendship” between Iraq and the United States, then… just one month later… invaded the neighboring kingdom of Kuwait. The month after that (September), Glaspie personally visited Saddam, shook his hand, and gave him the greenlight, telling him: “We have no opinion on your Arab-Arab conflicts, such as your dispute with Kuwait.” [ibid] (Kuwait had been accused of “slant-drilling” on the Iraqi border to steal Iraqi oil, and Saddam… still an American ally at the time… they felt was well within his rights to attack Kuwait over it.)

But the war in Kuwait dragged on… and on… and on… into 1991. The Kuwati’s had hardly no military to speak of (nothing to compare to Saddam’s “fourth largest army on the face of the earth” after the U.S., China, and Russia) offered little in the way of resistance. Then, news of “atrocities” (same real, some fake) begin to reach the U.S. Media, literally embarrassing the Bush Administration into responding.

And by late February 1991, Saddam had been kicked out of Kuwait and was now our sworn enemy.

Are you noticing the parallels yet? In December, then President-elect Trump appeared to side with Russia over the Syrian conflict and stated his opposition for any further support of the rebels, leading to the fall of Aleppo before he even took office. The result was the ratcheting up of an already ongoing war, yet four months later, rebel forces continued to hang on and Assad’s frustration continued to grow. The second largest city in rebellion against Assad, Idlib, became the new rebel stronghold.

And just as Saddam was told we wouldn’t interfere in 1990, Trump & Tillerson told Assad on April 4th that “regime change in Syria” was going to be left “up to the Syrian people” and that we would just have to live with Assad’s presidency as a fact of life. Given the green light of a new American president… friendly with their ally Russia… promising a non-interventionist policy regarding Syria, a frustrated Assad… who had a history of using chemical weapons (map)… even against his own people… leapt at the chance to crush the rebellion once and for all.

And this is where the doubters ask for “proof!” despite the fact there is nothing unusual or out-of-character for him here. “Assad would be “crazy” they proclaim to do this now “when he’s so close to victory”. That’s quite an assumption there. “So close to victory?” Says who? The fighting has been going on for seven years, and Aleppo fell four months ago, yet Assad’s opponents continue to fight.

First off, this was an aerial bombing. And launched just hours after Trump said we wouldn’t pursue regime change in Syria. Russia freely admits that. Russia (and Assad’s) defense against the accusation that Syria dropped “chemical weapons” (a war crime that, if true,… that would not only land Assad in the Hague, but Putin as well for being complicit in that crime. Russia actually has officers stationed at that Syrian base from which those planes were launched) on the rebels is that the rebel warehouses they bombed… unbeknownst to them… contained huge caches of chemical weapons that filled the air when they were bombed (in self defense.) So: “attack by air and by Assad”… not in dispute. Confirmed by Russia. And the very next day, Assad launched a SECOND aerial attack upon “Khan Shaykhun” from the very airstrip Trump ordered bombed the day before. ISIS doesn’t have an air force. Neither do the rebels. And if bombing the rebels “less than 24-hours” after Trump & Tillerson made their non-interventionist remarks made “no sense” to you before, then why are Syria & Russia admitting they did indeed do just that… launch an aerial strike against the rebels just hours later? (And I remind you that Russia & Assad are claiming they DID NOT KNOW there were supposedly chemical weapons in those warehouses they bombed, so they can’t use their presence as an excuse for why then went after them that day.)

Second question: Is it possible they are telling the truth about the chemical weapons released in the attack as belonging to the rebels, only to aerosol when bombed and carried away by the smoke? There are a number of problems with that scenario: One, the dispersal area is just too large to have come from individual warehouses being blown up and having the chemicals either rain down or spread by smoke. If this were the case, the chemicals would have dispersed downwind of the areas targeted, not localized at the point of impact. Yet maps of the areas that suffered chemical exposure are all localized with almost no drift:
 

WMD affected areas, Idlib Syria
WMD affected areas, Idlib Syria

 

It is impossible to verify whether of not every location where chemical weapon exposure occurred had a hidden cache of chemical weapons within it, but (Two) try to imagine the extraordinary stroke of good (bad?) luck required of all those Syrian fighter pilots to have stuck SO many hidden caches of deadly (and apparently wildly unstable) chemical weapons spread across Idlib province. They freely admit they had no idea they were there, and yet somehow they just happened to locate a dozen such caches precisely where they bombed? Assad needs to stock up on lottery tickets before his luck runs out.

Three, “Transporting” such dangerous chemical weapons for miles across Idlib Province would be incredibly dangerous with a high risk of accidental exposure that could kill thousands should an accident occur. So if the rebels produced those weapons, they didn’t move them around. They would have had to of been made locally… or more precisely at the very site that was bombed. Why? What use are they to them there?

Four, the ability to make such weapons is not a common skill, and not something you learn quickly. This would mean a merry band of wandering minstrels chemical bomb makers traveling from town to town to make a cache of chemical weapons for storage “right there” and then moving on. That seems unlikely… not impossible, but highly improbable.

And five, now we must ask, “How did they intend to use them?” As I’ve already pointed out, they don’t have an air force, and transporting large quantities of the weapons by ground is too dangerous. You’re not going to use them locally and risk exposing your own people, so that pretty much leaves one option: suicide bomber. Drive to Damascus some 300-350KM (4 hours) away in a vehicle loaded with deadly chemicals, pray you don’t hit any bumps along the way or get stopped by the Syrian police, and blow yourself up when you arrive. Sounds doable. So we check…

Number of suicide bombings in Syria over the past seven years that involved chemical weapons? ZERO.

Defenders of Assad keep asking “Why now when he was so close to victory?” So then, couldn’t we ask: If the rebels were “so close to defeat”, why would they sit on these huge stockpiles of chemical weapons and not use them? That makes even less sense.

Another popular question: “I thought Assad gave up all his chemical weapons in 2014?” That’s a fair question. Problem is, we just don’t know. According to their ally Russia, Syria turned over 1,300 tons of chemical weapons to them claiming it was their entire stockpile. It was also the job of Russia to close down all of Syria’s chemical weapons production facilities. Russia admits they were only able to shutdown 21 of 23 facilities because two of them were in warzones they could not safely enter.

As I’ve pointed out in other op/eds recently, the seething out & out boiling vitriol I read from Hillary haters on a daily basis now almost defies comprehension. I mean, I’m no fan of the woman and didn’t vote for her last November, but you’d think Hillary personally dropped by their house and boiled their bunny just to hurt them personally. I seriously think there are a few million alarmingly immature people out there in desperate need of psychotherapy… emphasis on the word “psycho”… driven to irrationality by the 2016 election.

It is now “a given” and forlorn “fact” to them that “Hillary Clinton gave those chemical weapons to the rebels” when she was secretary of state. So you ask simple questions like “How?”, “Where did she get them (since we don’t make them)?” and “How did she transport them to the rebels in Syria?” Often what I get in return are unrelated links to claims of what an evil person she secretly is, links to unrelated & debunked clams she sold 20% of our uranium stockpiles to Russia (not true, and has nothing to do with WMD’s or Syria), and inevitably childish name calling.

They like to compare the “false claims Saddam had WMD’s” to these claims against Assad, but when I point to the fact that both Saddam and Assad used chemical weapons against “their own people” numerous times before, they don’t see a connection. And while Saddam was only “accused” of having WMD’s, we have evidence here in this very attack in Syria that they actually exist (Russia and Assad admit it, claiming they belonged to the rebels but do not deny their existence)… only their “ownership” is in dispute.

During “Meet the Press” yesterday, Trump’s UN Ambassador Nikki Haley pointed out that Russia’s first reaction upon hearing the news of chemical weapons turning up in the attack was to defend Assad, not express horror or concern over victims of a chemical weapons attack. That seems quite disquieting in its own right. You hear civilians… including women and children… were exposed to chemical weapons, and your first reaction isn’t shock or questioning, but to defend someone THEY KNOW (remember, they admit to the bombing AND have troops stationed at that airfield) just dropped the bombs resulting in that chemical exposure? Lesson One in trying to convince people you’re not a cold-blooded killer: show a moment of sympathy for the exposed children and make a few calls before you rush to defend the bombers.

And on a personal note, people bashing “The Media” as “an enemy of the American people” is an anathema to the 1st Amendment and a greater threat to Democracy than anything these Conspiracy Theorists seem to think is actually going on.

People tend to not to ask questions about what they see/hear/read when that something tells them what they already want to believe to be true, is. Fox “news” has built an entire media empire on that very concept… and now I see people claiming to be “Progressives” doing it too. Fox viewers are repeatedly rated as the least well informed consumers of news in the country. Some polls have even shown that people who consume NO news at all are often better informed than Fox viewers because they come to a conclusion first, then look for a source to “confirm” it. And anyone who tells them differently is either “a liar”, “badly misinformed” because they don’t get their news from the “right” sources (like they do), or just don’t know what they’re talking about. “Facts be damned” and there’s no point in trying to present them with evidence to refute those beliefs.

And a greater question: In light of these recent brutal attacks, will Trump now recognize what the Refugees are fleeing from and show more sympathy towards letting them in? (If we go by Nikki Haley, that answer is “No”, calling for “even more” stringent background checks before even considering giving these people safe harbor. What have we become?)

Postscript: The past weeks insanity led me to do something I’ve never done before and delete nearly four dozen of my so-called “Facebook friends” who devolved into insult spewing, Conspiracy babbling, children. I just couldn’t take it any more. The head-pounding STUPIDITY was making my teeth hurt. But in return, I picked up about three dozen new “Facebook friends” and a couple hundred likes from people who agreed with me over the recent heightened level of insanity and coarseness of discourse. So to all my new friends, thank you and welcome.

Next weekend, M.R.S. will be on Easter hiatus, but I promise to return two weeks from now with more insights and history. See you then!
 


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Trump Has Been Great for Advancing Progressivism
Jan 30th, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

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They say you never appreciate what you’ve got until someone tries to take it away. One day after Donald J Trump was sworn into office, a massive GLOBAL protest took place condemning the new Commander-in-Chief on Women’s Rights. And just this past weekend, tens of thousands of protesters rallied to oppose Trump’s ill-conceived (and likely unconstitutional) “Muslim Ban” that singles out travelers from any of seven “red flagged” Middle Eastern nations, yet incredibly, excludes five nations, most with known links to terrorism inside the United States including Egypt, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia… where 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers came from, and Turkey, a close ally of the U.S. but where ISIS committed a brutal attack on the Istanbul Airport just last June (the fifth nation being the UAE, also linked to 9/11.) Perhaps unsurprisingly, Bloomberg pointed out Friday that the five exempted majority-Muslim nations all just happen to be countries in which Trump has business interests. Hmmm.

More people are talking about the potential negative consequences of enacting Trump’s extremist Conservative agenda in just the past week than have stood up and defended Progressive ideals in the past 30 years. When Obama took office in 2009, just WHO did we see taking to the street in massive protests? Teabagging idiots, carrying semi-automatic weapons, waving racist misspelled signs demanding: “keep your government hands off my Medicare!” If Hillary or (and it pains me to say this) even Bernie had won the election, just WHO would we see protesting in the streets today? The same racist teabagging idiots demanding we “build the wall”, take away their own health care, and “lock up” Hillary Clinton for something, something, BenghaziTM.

But instead, we see people flooding the streets demanding the protection of women’s rights, demanding fair treatment of non-Christian immigrants, welcoming refugees and pointing out all the problems with Trump’s ridiculous border wall with Mexico. Columnist Tom Friedman on “Meet the Press” yesterday pointed out that “Every time someone on the terrorist watch list flies into Mexico, the United States is notified. Just how willing will they be to continue such cooperation if Trump builds his wall?” And one of the proposed means of raising money to pay for the wall would be to “place a 20% import tax” on all goods entering the United States from Mexico. Well, who then pays that tax? YOU DO, not Mexico (of course, you could boycott all Mexican imports, but then YOU’RE STILL stuck with the bill since they’re not waiting for Mexico to pay for the wall before they start building it at YOUR expense.)

And because of all this Conservative stupidity, I’ve seen more Progressives on my TV in the last 8 days than I’ve seen in the last 8 YEARS.

On the flip side, there is one issue in which Progressives and Trump agree, and that’s the issue of “Free Trade”… or more precisely, OPPOSITION to it. Progressives have long railed against the nonsense of “Free Trade” while Conservatives have long championed it. In the 1990’s, President Clinton passed NAFTA with mostly Conservative votes. Republicans told us how “great” it would be for American business while Ross Perot warned of “a giant sucking sound” as American companies rushed to move their factories to Mexico for the cheap labor and then reimport it back into the US for sale. Trump’s opposition to NAFTA (or more precisely, Mexico since he never talks about “Free Trade” with Canada) and the TPP are driving Republicans nuts. Suddenly, they are forced to agree with their Party Leader that perhaps “Free Trade” isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and Progressives were right all along.

So while Trump is ranting about “US sovereignty” and railing against foreign countries taking advantage of us only to sell their goods back in the U.S. without benefiting a single American worker, he then signs an Executive Order granting permission to two Canadian oil companies to build a pipeline through the U.S. to produce “oil” that very little of which we can even use. As part of the deal, Trump is demanding the pipeline “be built using American steel”, thus “creating American jobs”, but as I pointed out [ibid], most of that pipe has already been purchased and there is no requirement they scrap all that leaky Chinese pipe and purchase all new American steel pipe. As such, the number of jobs created from providing steel pipe will be minimal.

In addition to Keystone, Trump also restored the controversial “Dakota Access Pipeline” (DAPL) that had hundreds of protesters… including veterans… protesting in the freezing cold of Northern North Dakota a few months back against the building of a pipeline from Canada through native American land and endangering their water supply. President Obama, who initially supported the plan, relented to protesters and shelved the project. Enter Donald Trump who reignited the controversy by allowing the project to resume, promising it will create more temporary jobs over several years than the U.S. economy needs EVERY WEEK just to keep up with population growth.

Also announced last week, hundreds of thousands of scientists are planning their own “@ScienceMarchInDC” in April to protest the Trump Administration’s anti-science policies, not just their disbelief in Climate Change that leads them to believe they can build those pipelines without consequence and go ahead with plans to reduce regulations on coal production. But in addition to Climate Change, they are also protesting “slashing funding and restricting scientists from communicating their findings (from tax-funded research!) with the public“, calling it “absurd.”

For six years, Republicans railed against “ObamaCare” and vaguely promised to “repeal & replace” it with “something better”. During the presidential campaign, Trump said he was “working on a plan” for a replacement to “ObamaCare” that would still “cover everyone”, continue to prohibit exclusions for “preexisting conditions”, all without a mandate or possibly causing you to lose your doctor. And every time people asked Trump or Republicans about “their plan” to replace “ObamaCare”, they always assured us they were “working on it” but it would be great. Trust us. Barely two weeks ago, just as Obama was preparing to leave office, the new Congress made voting to “repeal ObamaCare” (for the 66th time) one of their very first acts. The big cowards passed the bill before Obama left because they knew he’d veto it. But they don’t DARE pass it again NOW, forcing Trump to sign it before they have a plan to replace it.

So then, just this past Wednesday/Thursday, at a “retreat” in Philadelphia, Republican lawmakers got together to discuss what to replace “ObamaCare” with now that they finally have a president that’ll sign whatever they pass. Audio of the meeting (93 minutes) was described as Republicans “freaking out” over the fact they HAVE NO replacement, no plan, no clear ideas, no agreement regarding what to “replace” it with, and that coming up with their own plan is going to be a matter of months not “weeks” as they had hoped, was leaked to the Washington Post.

This is what Democrats have been saying all along. “They have no plan!” They “can’t keep just the parts they like and get rid of the parts that help pay for it!” Conservatives are irresponsible children and they appointed a reckless Toddler promising them candy for dinner, only to wake up with tummy aches. Conservatives are just starting to realize how empty those promises have been all along.

Trump ran for office on being a successful businessman who was adept at finding “the best people” to run the government. Then he nominates people like Rick “Oops” Perry to run a department he was forced to admit in his confirmation hearing that he didn’t realize everything the department did when he proposed shutting it down four+ years ago, and Ben “Sleepytime” Carson (a surgeon) who has been tapped to run the office of “Housing and Urban Development” (NOT Surgeon General) whose sole experience is that he “once lived in Public Housing” (by that logic, I should be flying jumbo jets around the globe.) And in case you were wondering (as I was), No, Trump has not yet picked a Surgeon General… someone he could use as the GOP hashes out their “ObamaCare” replacement.

Even Republicans are expressive concern now that Trump’s Travel Ban “wasn’t properly vetted” before it was enacted and they clearly did not think things through. McCain & Graham, who have openly criticized their new Party leader before, are expressing concern that the backlash from this travel ban could actually do more to harm national security than help it as we anger the few allies we have left in the Middle East and leave interpreters & guides wondering why they should help a country that views them as “the enemy” simply for their religion?
 

Global protest supporting women's rights
Global Anti-Trump protest in support of women’s rights – 1/21/2017

 

Global protest supporting women's rights
Global Anti-Trump protest in support of women’s rights – 1/21/2017

 

Travel ban protests across country
Tens of thousands protesting Trump’s Muslim Ban across the country – 1/28/2017

 

People are starting to realize the emperor has no clothes, and Progressives are the ones pointing it out. Ignored once, but rapidly organizing & growing. And it took electing an incompetent, racist man-child to mobilize them.
 


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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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15 Years After 9/11. Doesn’t Anyone Know How to End a War? A 21st Century “Marshall Plan”.
Sep 12th, 2016 by Admin Mugsy

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Last week, NBC hosted their own “National Security Forum”. Only Trump & Clinton were invited, and neither provided a unique solution to ending nearly two-decades of war in the Middle East. With only an hour of airtime, each candidate received less than 30 minutes to answer questions regarding National Security. Host Matt Lauer wasted most of Clinton’s time talking about emails, and allowed Trump to (again) falsely claim he was opposed to the invasion of Iraq while failing to get him to provide even the smallest details of his “secret plan” (shades of Nixon) to “win the war”. The third party candidates were not invited as there clearly was no time, but made up for the unfairness by inviting them to various “morning shows” to make a case of their own:

To summarize:

Hillary: “No ground troops… in Iraq. Period. Do it from the air”. Translation: a massive escalation of the Drone Warfare program. Maybe ground troops in Syria, but definitely not in Iraq.

Trump: “I have a secret plan to end the war, and it definitely isn’t to simply drop a nuclear bomb on them (even though I said last May that I had a “foolproof plan” that would “100 percent” defeat ISIS “quickly”.)

Gary Johnson: “Aleppo? What’s Aleppo?” Later tried to claim he was thinking it was an acronym, but even when he was told it was “in Syria”, he didn’t suddenly go, “Oh! Aleppo!” He was still clueless what Aleppo was.

Jill Stein: “Stop funding ISIS. Stop buying their oil. Stop selling weapons to the Saudis.” And how does that result in the defeat of ISIS? That’s an aspiration, not a plan.

After 15 years of war, you’d think SOMEBODY could express a coherent plan to actually end the longest war in U.S. history. President Obama’s dramatic escalation of the Drone Warfare program has raised serious concerns regarding International law. True, American lives are spared by having fewer troops on the ground, but “bombs” are hardly “precision weaponry”, often resulting in dozens of innocents being injured, dismembered or killed. Wanna make some lifelong enemies? That’s the way to do it. We want a sanitized war with no American casualties. But there’s no such thing as a “clean” war, and thinking you can kill people without getting your hands dirty has a lot to do with why this war has gone on so long. (I’m reminded of the Star Trek episode: “A Taste of Armageddon” where a war between two planets had continued for hundreds of years because they had sanitized it to the point of making it easy.)

Donald Trump recently said he had a “foolproof” plan [ibid] to “quickly” “defeat ISIS” once and for all. The only method I can fathom that (in Trump’s mind) would result in a guaranteed and swift end to the war would be to do something like drop a nuclear bomb on the region. Trump himself DID say last November that he’d “bomb the shit out of them”, repeatedly asked during a security briefing why we can’t just use nuclear weapons, and his opponent Ted Cruz pondered finding out “if sand glows in the dark”. And Trump also suggested that the only reason President Obama has yet to do this himself must be because he’s sympathetic to ISIS (translation: “a secret Muslim.”)

Indeed, Genocide… murdering some 30 million people in the region of Eastern Syria & Northern Iraq just to vaporize some 30,000 ISIS fighters would certainly produce immediate results. But it would by no means be “permanent”, creating millions of sympathizers and angry survivors of the innocent lives lost now vowing to “fight to the death” to destroy the “infidels” who attacked them (the United States of America.) 15 years after 9/11 and we are still mourning the events of that day with some still vowing revenge. Do you think people on the other side of the world are any different? Suicide bombers in shopping malls, car bombs in rush-hour traffic jams, more mass shootings thanks to an endless supply of easily available firearms. George Bush justified invading Iraq on the grounds of “fighting them over there so we won’t have to fight them over here.” And yet, Republicans now believe we are indeed fighting them “over here”, so I guess that plan of his failed too. But you haven’t seen ANYTHING yet if we greatly increase the number of innocent casualties killed by bombs launched by an American president that can’t come up with an original solution to ending the war. And right now, NOT ONE has a unique and well laid out plan to ending the war in the Middle East (read mine below.)

Trump now insists his plan isn’t to simply drop a nuclear bomb on “them”… though I can assure you, if you asked his supporters, that’s exactly what a majority believe and want. So where exactly would Trump nuke? All of ISIS does not reside in just one city, or even one country. More than half of ISIS controlled territory is in Syria… a close ally of Russia. Is #ToddlerTrump going to start World War III with his new buddy Putin by nuking their ally Syria? Now that the Press has openly criticized Trump “IF” that’s his plan, he’s suddenly scrambling to come up with a new plan… yet insisting it’s not “new”, that it’s the same plan he has had all along… but it includes “asking the generals” what they think we should do, and if he likes their plan better than his own (which he doesn’t have), he’ll consider the General’s plan… after he’s fires a bunch of them first.

Hillary Clinton’s plan is just Donald Trump’s plan on a smaller scale. Can’t just drop one giant nuke, so we pepper the region from the air using planes and targeted drone strikes.

Of course, we’ve all heard the stories of dozens killed at a wedding party that was innocently mistaken for a meeting of al Qaeda. And quite honestly, if you shy away from targeting sites due to their proximity to innocents, you only ENSURE that more ISIS gatherings will take place in/near public venues, next to schools & hospitals, market places, etc. But Hillary has vowed no boots on the ground… in Iraq, ensuring plenty of wiggle-room for sending troops into Syria (not to mention the fact we ALREADY have troops on the ground in Iraq.) The “loophole” Clinton left herself by citing “Iraq” specifically is a prime example of why so many voters just don’t trust Hillary and see her as “just another politician.”

Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson’s campaign ended with that “Aleppo” gaffe. Just like Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones, he’s already dead, he just doesn’t know it yet. The genocide in Aleppo two weeks ago made front page news, and the photo of a shell shocked traumatized young boy pulled from the rubble went viral on the Internet. But even before that, Aleppo was known as the epicenter of the Civil War in Syria. And for Johnson to be so totally clueless about what “Aleppo” is was an instant disqualifier. I’ve heard people say they found it “refreshing” to hear a politician admit ignorance on a topic. That might be acceptable if it were some Joe Schmo running for a lower office. But not a person running for the highest office in the land where Syria will be on the front-burner.

Part of this is due to the fact Libertarians are “isolationists” when it comes to military intervention. To them, the genocide in Syria is not our concern. Ergo, Aleppo was not on his radar.

Green Party candidate Jill Stein did not fair much better. And while I agree with many of her platform positions of “stop making trouble in the rest of the world”, “enough of the militarism”, “stop empowering dictators” and “stop turning a blind eye to the despicable acts of people we call our ‘allies’ because we need their oil”, these are only aspirations, not actionable plans for dealing with an active genocide.

As a Sanders supporter during the primaries, much of Stein’s platform is appealing: increasing America’s focus on developing a green energy economy, phasing out fossil fuels (which in itself would help get us out of the Middle East and stop enabling dictators and human rights abusers), making advanced education at public colleges & universities tuition free, closing tax loopholes for the ultra-wealthy and tightening regulations on Wall Street, but one needs a record of political experience and a coherent plan on how to achieve those goals. Stein has none of that.

So, as you might imagine, with less than two months to go, I’m still at a loss for a candidate for president of the United States.

Several times last year, I wrote a few columns on how to end the wars in the Middle East through “infrastructure”. I don’t care if you’re alQaeda, ISIS, a redneck Republican, Progressive Democrat or a Green Party hippie, everyone wants the same thing: to live in peace. And they will put the world through hell to achieve it.

Anyone who thinks people who have had (or will have) their cities bombed into crumbing ghost towns will just peacefully “surrender” to the people who did it, haven’t been paying attention these past 15 years.

Instead of more bombs & killing… which has DEMONSTRABLY FAILED… let’s go into the towns of our FRIENDS & ALLIES and start building roads and schools and hospitals and an electrical grid and a working sewer system. Rebuild their destroyed infrastructure. A 21st Century “Marshall Plan”. START MAKING LIVES BETTER FOR OUR FRIENDS instead of making lives miserable for our enemies (spilling over onto our allies). Take the wind out of ISIS’s sails. It’s difficult to recruit people to attack those helping to rebuild your county and make life BETTER instead of worse. And No, we wouldn’t be “rewarding our enemies”. We reward our friends and later those who renounce terrorism and welcome us in. Soon, cities that were once openly hostile to the United States will be eager to become our friends, welcoming us with those flowers George Bush promised 13 years ago.

And it would be massively CHEAPER too. Compared to using $20 million dollar drones to fire million dollar missiles to take out a Toyota pickup truck with homemade rocket launcher in the back, the cost of rebuilding all the lost infrastructure can be done for pennies on the dollar. And the Military Industrial Complex that presently makes their money building bombs & bombers can build planes & runways. Literally “building bridges”. And unlike war, you’ll know when you are done rebuilding a city.

And while we’re rebuilding over there, how about putting some of that savings into rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure over HERE?

It’s not that complicated… and yet, I haven’t heard a single presidential candidate suggest it. It’s an actionable plan that could be implemented immediately with almost instant tangible results. It’s cheaper, and not only makes the world better but safer.

And apparently, it’s too complex of an idea for four people running for leader of the most powerful nation on Earth to come up with on their own. So I offer this idea to whomever wants it. No charge.
 

Question on 2007 gameshow “The Power of 10”
Pessimistic Americans under Bush
By end of Bush’s presidency, more than a quarter of all Americans believed the United States would no longer exist in 100 years.
(the contestants guessed too high.)

 


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Pro-Gun Supporters ALREADY Told Us They Don’t Need an Assault Weapon to Stop One
Jun 13th, 2016 by Admin Mugsy

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“If *I* had been in that (latest mass shooting location), *I* could have taken that guy out!” You’ve heard them too I’ll bet. Those chest-beating low-brow far Right gun nuts telling us how if THEY had been there with THEIR pistol/Glock/etc when all those people were being shot, THEY could have taken out the mass shooter with all the precision of SEAL Team 6 and saved Lord knows how many lives. We heard it after the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, we heard it after the school shootings in Newtown & Oregon, again after the after the attacks in Paris, and we are going to hear it again after this latest mass murder in Orlando, Florida yesterday… the largest mass shooting in American history with “50 dead and 53 wounded.”

How come no one has ever pointed out the fact that NOT ONCE did anyone hear one of these armchair heroes ever claim, “I would NOT have been able to stop the shooter UNLESS I too were wielding an assault rifle.” Never. Not once. Each and every one of them were confident that all they needed to take down a maniac firing 50 rounds/minute was “Old Blue”, their trusty Red Rider BB Gun semi-automatic side-arm. Hell, I never even heard anyone say they’d require even “an extended clip” to do it! Nope! Just one clear shot is all they needed. Am I right? Every damn one of them insisted all they needed to take down a lunatic with an assault riffle spitting out bullets like a Pez dispenser in a darkened auditorium as people ran around screaming is an ordinary unmodified handgun (and their rock-steady nerves.)

Well, if you don’t need an assault rifle to take down a nut with an assault rifle, WHY THEN DO WE NEED ASSAULT RIFLES???

It’s not rocket science. Such weapons are good for only two things… obliterating targets at a shooting range, and obliterating people… as many as quickly as possible.

It’s time to reinstate the “Assault Weapons Ban” from the ’90’s. And that includes the ban on extended magazines/clips. If you can’t hit your target in 10 shots, you probably have no business firing a gun in the first place. I’d also suggest imposing a stiff tax on cordite/gunpowder. Taxing bullets is no use when people can pack their own ammunition in their garage (many sports-shooters do so to save money). And home made pipe-bombs aren’t sold at your local gun store. I assure you, Mr. Maniac isn’t mixing gunpowder in his basement. Both bullets & bombs require purchasing gunpowder, and a heavy tax means fewer sold/made.

Now, the “No limits on the Second Amendment” crowd who decry limits on clip-size argue that “no one has the right to deny someone their right to fire 50 bullets without stopping to reload just because they’re a lousy shot!” (Note: There is NOTHING in the Second Amendment that says the “convenience” of a gun owner must be taken into consideration.) And while most Americans are not THAT unyielding to common-sense gun restrictions, those voices are the loudest thanks to the “Industrial sized” NRA-bullhorn they carry with them everywhere. It’s also why nothing ever gets done in Congress every time we have another mass murder.

The gun lobby & their Congressional puppets sold their souls when they decided the mass murder of twenty 7-yearold children & 6 faculty members was an acceptable price to pay for doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING following the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT. They again did nothing following the mass shootings in Charleston & Chattanooga.

Snarky Right wingers joke about Democrats wanting to pass “more useless gun laws every time there’s a mass shooting”. “What good would it do?”, they ask. “Criminals don’t follow gun laws!” Their fallacy is that… while we demand new gun laws… typically targeting gun manufacturers not “criminals”… THEY NEVER GET PASSED! Dems call for them. Republicans block them. Nothing happens and no new common-sense restrictions are instituted. Worse! Existing gun laws are weakened, repealed or allowed to expire (eg: the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban). So when it happens again, the gun nuts decry, “Every time there’s a mass shooting, you demand more useless gun laws!” Yes! And one of these days, we’d actually like to see one of them PASSED!

If you ask a gun nut why anyone “needs” an assault rifle (once you get past the inevitable, “it’s not about need! It’s about my right to bear arms” nonsense), their justification usually comes down to: “fighting off the government when they come knocking on my door” (and why would they do that? To take away the gun I need to protect me from them taking away this gun!” The circular logic is mind-numbing.) The second most popular rationalization is the “in case my home is attacked by “a gang”, mob or “rioting hoards”. First off, if you live in a neighborhood where a street gang declares war on your home, you’re probably not one of those law abiding gun owners to begin with. The second/third excuses… the “desperate hoards looking to break into their Emergency Shelter when the Nuclear/Zombie Apocalypse comes” excuse only highlights their paranoia. Why are crazy people setting our gun policy? None of these excuses are rational justifications for owning military-grade weaponry for use in civilian life. And I’ve already explained a multitude of times that THE SECOND AMENDMENT DOES NOT PERMIT YOU TO GO TO WAR WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. Nowhere in the Second Amendment does it even HINT that you could conceivably turn your weapon on your own government. That’s called “TREASON”, and THAT word appears in the Constitution SEVEN TIMES. All those times you demanded we “Read the Constitution”, it’s your turn. It’s the FIRST Amendment that exists to protect you from your government, granting you the power to redress your grievances… via the Press, Protest (speech), and meetings (Assembly), NOT the Second. The Second Amendment does NOT protect your right to get into a gunfight with your neighbor, “Weekend-warrior Bob” serving in the National Guard, sitting atop an M1 tank as he threatens to knock down your door (or whatever your fevered imagination has dreamt up.)

At the Far Right end of the spectrum, there are the Libertarians who believe there should be no limits on Constitutional rights. If you want a shoulder-fired surface-to-air missile to shoot down those U.N. Black Helicopters coming to put you in a FEMA Camp, you should have that right. A paranoids paradise where the sane get caught up in an arms race with the INsane because no one is willing deny the delusional their right to any weapon they desire.

By Sunday afternoon, the news was reporting that the Orlando gunman called the police just prior to his rampage to tell them he had “pledged allegiance to the leader of ISIS.” But this was no ISIS-trained radical that traveled 10,000 miles and snuck into the U.S. with an AR15 or AK47 assault rifle in his knapsack. No, this yutz was a security guard for a gated community in South Florida who had a gun permit and purchased his weapons legally in a state with some of the most lax gun laws in the country. The ONLY link between the Orlando shooter & The War on Terror is that our 15 year long war is radicalizing domestic nuts with easy access to guns. We need to bring back the ban on Assault Weapons. Opponents say, “If you ban assault weapons, only the bad guys will have assault weapons!” Fine, but you’ve already BRAGGED to anyone willing to listen that you don’t NEED “an assault rifle” to stop a maniac with “an assault rifle”. Over time, as fewer assault rifles are produced, their numbers will eventually dwindle (as they stop functioning, become valuable collectors items, or are destroyed.) And with no new ones being made or sold, as they become more & more rare, so will the mass carnage they create. That will take time, which is why the more immediate step of taxing the explosive material (cordite/gunpowder) that makes such mass shootings possible will have more of an immediate impact until the weapons ban bears fruit 5/10/20 years down the line.
 


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Ted Cruz Promises Massive War if Elected. Vows to “get” ISIS using “overwhelming force”.
Mar 28th, 2016 by Admin Mugsy

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I agree with Andy Borowitz. “I’m concerned that our obsession with Trump is distracting us from how terrifying Ted Cruz is.” (link) As reported two weeks ago, Cruz is an Apocalyptic “End Times” evangelical nutcase. So when he started pledging a massive invasion of the Middle East using “overwhelming force” to “get ISIS”, I noticed. I’m not sure how many others did as well. Cruz was invited onto Fox “news” Sunday yesterday to rant about Trump criticizing his wife’s looks (and possible connection to claims of his infidelity by The National Enquirer), to fear-monger over the latest ISIS attack in Brussels, and then criticize the Obama Administration for failing to protect Europe from terrorism. Cruz then vowed… with all the simplicity of Sarah Palin… to “utterly defeat” ISIS once and for all by carpet-bombing an unspecified region of the Middle-East, “get” ISIS, and come home. I have no doubt that to Ted, it really is just that simple.
 

Cruz: If elected, I promise a massive war (:55)

 
This was following a long fear-filled rant about how “the terrorists are coming to get us!” But don’t worry! Elect me and I’ll go in and “carpet bomb” the entire region, wiping “them” out so you can go back to living in your happy little bubble where the outside world can’t hurt you! Hey, you’ve got a gun, right? So what are you so afraid of?

It was pointed out to Cruz during one of the GOP debates that “carpet bombing” is a war crime (when he said he would “carpet bomb” the city of Raqqa… population: 300,000… to “get” several thousand ISIS fighters (by no means ALL of them) hiding within. He explained that by indiscriminate “carpet” bombing, he actually meant “targeted” bombing… the exact opposite of “carpet bombing”. But now, here he is again, responding to criticism of his calling for “carpet bombing” by vowing to “carpet bomb” till we “get” ISIS. WHERE exactly does he plan to “carpet bomb”? He never actually says in that clip. (Remember this is the same many who “joked” about “finding out if sand glows in the dark” last year.)

But no matter. “Carpet bombing” wasn’t the only war crime Cruz promised to commit if elected. No more of this “refusing to torture prisoners” nonsense either. If elected, he vowed (like Trump), to end all this “political correctness” regarding our refusal to torture prisoners to collect insanely unreliable and dubious intel from prisoners using a process that takes twice as long as established & more reliable means. (Speaking of “political correctness”, Cruz also whined… yet again… over “President Obama’s refusal to use the words ‘Radical Islamic terrorism.” This is a popular complaint on the Right. Apparently, ISIS is like Beetlejuice. It doesn’t work unless you say their name.)

Part of his plan to “go in” involves “arming the Kurds”… something our close ally Turkey… the largest Muslim Democracy on the planet… would just adore us for. Turkey has been fighting Kurdish incursions into South East Turkey for decades (longer?) But who cares about Turkey? They’re just another Muslim nation that needs to fear us, right? It’s not like they’re helping us over there.

Cruz said he wants to “go in with overwhelming force”. “Go in?” Where? He seems to think all 30,000 ISIS fighters commute back home (to Raqqa?) each night. They probably share a split level condo, watch “Syria’s Got Talent” on Al Jazzera, and in the morning, pack a PB&J for lunch before heading out for a day of “terrorizing”.
 

ISIS lies mostly in Syria
ISIS mostly in Syria

 
ISIS resides mostly in Syria… which is not just a sovereign nation, but a close ally of Russia, protected by Russia, of whom would not hesitate to rush to their defense if the U.S. invaded in the name of “getting” ISIS. So (just as with Hillary Clinton and her “No Fly Zone”), you now have the U.S. at war with Russia. Iraq is also a sovereign nation (like it or not Ted), and they DON’T want U.S. troops back in their country. Could Ted get permission to send in a massive military force to get ISIS strongholds in Iraq? Possibly. But he ISN’T going to get permission to send hundreds of thousands of American troops into Syria. And… pardon the analogy… that’s like trying to kill your dogs fleas by washing only his hind legs.

So we send in hundreds of thousands of American troops. Where do they all come from? Hey, it’s not HIS kids he’ll be sending in as part of that “overwhelming force”. What’s a few thousand dead soldiers if it means saving the lives of… uh… how many Americans have died on U.S. soil at the hands of ISIS fighters who traveled here from the Middle East? Oh yeah. ZERO (no, the San Bernadino couple does not count. They were ISIS sympathizers, loners already in the U.S..) But according to Ted Cruz… an apocalyptic “End Times” religious radical, all we have to do is send in hundreds of thousands of YOUR kids into a war zone to get a bunch of apocalyptic “End Times” religious radicals. I’m sure they’ll all return safe & sound. And after we “get them”, that’ll be it. We can just come home. That was George Bush’s plan for Iraq, wasn’t it? There’s ZERO chance their angry followers, family members and orphaned children will follow in the footsteps of their beloved martyrs. They’ll be too terrified of President Cruz (cough) to risk us coming back to do it again. At least, that’s how it plays out in “Cruz Land”… the most delusional place on earth.

Everyone talks about how disastrous a Trump presidency would be (mostly for the GOP.) The fact that Ted Cruz is a terrified, paranoid, anti-Islamic, apocalyptic, Evangelical “End Times” xenophobe that talks of war like it’s something we can do in an afternoon and be home in time for supper concerns me FAR more than Trump’s clownish antics, racism and foppish misbehavior. No question both would be disastrous presidents, but I fear Ted Cruz for what he openly says he WANTS to do, not the catastrophic blundering Trump might stumble us into because thinks he has all the answers.. just so long as you don’t bother him with details.
 


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Republicans Bemoan Obama’s Iran Hostage Deal. But Republican presidents fared FAR worse
Jan 18th, 2016 by Admin Mugsy

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Last week, after two American navy patrol boats accidentally wandered into Iranian waters in the Persian gulf (far from Iranian mainland but close to Farsi Island, an island under Iranian control), they were captured and detained by Iran, but because The Obama Administration had already opened up diplomatic channels with Iran, the soldiers were quickly released only a few hours later. Yesterday morning, reports emerged that Iran was also releasing four more American political prisoners (and one American college student) in advance of the International easing of sanctions this week. To the Republicans (especially the GOP presidential candidates), this was a humiliating show of weakness and a direct result of Obama’s “failed foreign policy.” It is difficult (if not impossible) to see how things could have turned out better, but one thing is for sure, being an arrogant war-mongering bully didn’t prevent Americans from being taken hostage and held FAR longer during the Reagan or both Bush presidencies.

Reagan

In 1978 under President Carter, the collapse of the Iranian government with the “Islamic Revolution” led to them storming the American Embassy and holding all those inside hostage for 444 days. The hostages were not soldiers and we were not at war with Iran, so one can’t argue they were taken hostage due to any perceived “weakness” by the United States (unless you’re a Right-Wing nut who thinks Carter’s unwillingness to start any wars was a sign of “weakness”.) Those diplomats were held for over a year… not because Carter was weak but because… as we now know… Team Reagan made a backroom deal with Iran to hold them until Reagan’s inauguration (see: this report) in exchange for weapons & parts. Carter did secure the release of 14 American hostages (not including the six whom Canada helped evade capture and recovered with CIA assistance), but an additional 52 were detained until Reagan was sworn in on January 20th, 1981. Four years later, we again saw Reagan’s willingness to trade “arms for hostages” with Iran/Contra in 1985.

Also in 1985, TWA Flight 847 en route from Cairo to San Diego was taken hostage by Islamic Jihad seeking the release of 700 Muslim prisoners in Israeli custody. The fact The Mighty Gipper was in charge of a military flexing its muscle in every corner of the globe at the time didn’t stop terrorists from holding 138 passengers & 8 crew (including 78 Americans) hostage. Reagan himself did not intervene for SIXTEEN days.

In 1983, 299 American & French servicemen were killed when the U.S. Army barracks in Beirut was bombed by Lebanese militants. Reagan’s response? Attack? No, retreat from Lebanon.

In 1986, American hostage David Jacobsen was released after 17 months of being held hostage in Lebanon. One might wonder if Americans were are greater risk in Lebanon because Reagan “cut & ran” in 1983.

And lest we forget, the bombing of Pan-Am Flight 103 by Libya over Lockerbee, Scotland in 1988. Tell me again how a “strong” Republican president kept Americans safer?

For an additional history of Americans either taken hostage or executed while Saint Ronnie was president, I refer you to this list from PBS’s Frontline.

Bush-I

In December of 1989, “[a]t least one American, and possibly several more [actual number: 5] [were] held hostage in Panama by gunmen loyal to Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega” for three days. But they were not released out of fear or in response to threats of military force, the hostages were abandoned in a schoolhouse and had to plead with American forces to come and rescue them “before their captors returned.”

In April of 1990, “over one hundred” Americans were held hostage in our embassy in Kuwait City by Iraqi solders (a number that would grow in the months to come) and held as “human shields” across numerous “strategic sites” throughout Iraq. An estimated 2,000 more Americans were “in hiding” in Kuwait City evading capture.

Following extensive diplomatic missions via MidEast Ambassador Joe Wilson, 80 American hostages were released in September by Saddam Hussein. However, “thousands of others continued to be detained in Iraq”, prohibited from leaving, including the spouses of some of those who were released.

By December, Hussein declared Iraq was now “strong enough to fend off an American invasion” and released the remaining 120 American prisoners. It would be nearly a month before allied forces would launch an attack on Iraqi forces occupying Kuwait. 23 Americans would be taken prisoner during The Persian Gulf War.

Arguably, of the three Republican presidents, George HW Bush (41) has the most successful record of recovering (preventing?) Americans from being taken hostage.

Bush-II

The (s)election of George W. Bush in 2000 likewise did not strike fear in the hearts of our enemies. Randomly, two Americans were among 20 tourists taken hostage in the Philippines, and in another event, one American was killed and a half-dozen others were released following payment of ransom by owners of an American-owned oil field in Ecuador. That hostage negotiation took several months and without the assistance from the Bush Administration.

Then came 9/11. Osama bin Laden continued to mock & ridicule the Bush administration for years as he evaded capture and al Qaeda forces crowed over their ability to successfully hold American forces at bay. Bin Laden declared that the reason for the attacks was in retribution for American troops occupying the “Holy land” in Saudi Arabia. Bush’s response? The removal of all U.S. forces from our bases in Saudi Arabia on April 29, 2003.

Then came the invasion of Iraq. Negotiations had convinced Hussein to allow inspectors back into his country to prove he had been disarmed, yet the Bush Administration did anyway. The lesson our enemies learned from that was not to negotiate/disarm with a Republican president as they can not be trusted.

President Bush (43) continued to saber-rattle threats to strike Iran if they did not refrain from interfering with the war in Iraq. Iran’s response was to construct new nuclear facilities and to enrich Plutonium. And with Saddam Hussein gone and a Shi’ite government installed in Iraq, Iran now had a new ally in the Middle East thanks to George W. Bush.

The wars in Iraq & Afghanistan continued to rage out of control, reaching a hot boil in 2006 with roughly 100 American troops being killed each & every week. It took an outraged public voting en masse to elect a Democratic majority, switching control of BOTH houses of Congress, in order to get the Bush Administration to replace Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and change our strategy in Iraq.

In December of 2008 just before leaving office, Bush tried to renegotiate an agreement to hand local control of Iraq back over to the Iraqis, seeking to keep U.S. troops in that country beyond the agreed upon exit date… but only on the condition they would be free from prosecution for past crimes. But the Iraqi’s were so eager to see us go, they refused and Bush was forced to sign the “Status of Forces Agreement” stating that said ALL U.S. troops would be out of Iraq by the following October (on Obama’s watch.)

The wars continued to rage. G.W.Bush’s final year in office, 2008, was his deadliest year for coalition troops in Afghanistan with nearly 300 U.S. & coalition troops deaths. 314 American troops also died in Iraq that same year (which columnist Bill Kristol described as “at peace” when handed over to Obama), for a seven year total of nearly 5600 dead American troops.

Donald Trump and Ted Cruz (et al) have been blustering all week about how Iran took Americans prisoner and we responded by “lifting sanctions and apologizing”, giving Iran (and others) encouragement to do the same without fear of reprisal. If that’s the case, explain how “strong” Republican presidents failed to strike fear in the hearts of our enemies, suffering huge loses, FAR longer delays and in several cases, even rewarded our enemies with troop removals and financial gain?

Tell me again how Republicans have kept us safe and how our enemies are more fearful of a Republican Commander in Chief?
 

FOLLOW-UP: Same day as this Op/Ed, The Rachel Maddow Show also did a story on President Reagan’s true legacy on Iran:


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GOP’s Slide Toward Fascism Has Become Impossible To Ignore
Dec 14th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy

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As a Democrat, the obvious Republican shift towards “Corporatism” for the past 15 years has been painfully obvious. For years, it has been a struggle just to avoid violating “Godwin’s Law” against using Nazi analogies in a political debate with Conservatives. But just as the election of our first black president allowed so many closet-racists to finally be openly racist by hiding behind “politics”, the rise of corporate mogul Donald Trump to become the GOP’s indomitable front-runner has made the GOP’s shift towards Fascism impossible to ignore. Donald Trump first exposed the root racism hiding within the GOP during the 2008 presidential campaign. His first foray into politics was to question Barack Obama’s eligibility for president, questioning his place of birth, suggesting he was/is actually “a secret Muslim” born in Kenya (a suggestion he still makes to this day). So began Trump’s political career, with a race-baiting fueled attack against the first black president. And Republicans are suddenly appalled by his racist comments about Muslims? Please. Within a few months, the “TEA-Party” was born, showing up at “ObamaCare” protests waving signs depicting the president as a witch-doctor (complete with bone in the nose). (I know. I can hear you already: “Racism isn’t all there is to Fascism.” I know, bear with me, I’ve barely begun.) I have no doubt you, dear reader, already know that Mussolini famously called Fascism “Corporatism”, noting how it was a mixture of corporate power & politics. The GOP’s front-runner is a corporate mogul egomaniac whom is using hate & bigotry to stir up his supporters.

Trump began his 2015 political campaign by promising to “round up & deport” over 20 million undocumented Mexican Immigrants AND their U.S. born citizen children, and building a giant wall on the Mexican border (at Mexico’s expense.) But Trump wasn’t the first to vilify Mexican immigrants. In 2008, the GOP Presidential nominee John McCain ran ads of him walking the Mexican border with a Texas sheriff demanding we “Build the danged fence.” Following the terrorist attacks in Paris last month, anti-Muslim rhetoric exploded on the Right with nearly all of the GOP candidates in a 15-way fight to see who could be the most xenophobic. Then the terrorist attack by an Muslim-American couple in San Bernardino, CA two weeks ago only ratcheted up the anti-Muslim rhetoric to new heights. GOP candidates feigning being appalled by Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric aren’t exactly pure on the subject themselves. Jeb Bush… walking a tightrope between trying to appear compassionate towards the Syrian Refugees while trying not to offend the anti-Muslim bigots in his Party said he would allow in only “Christian” refugees (logistically impossible). Chris Christie said that in the current climate, he wouldn’t allow in “even Muslim orphans under the age of five” into the country. Donald Trump decided to go The Full Hitler by demanding that all American Muslims be “registered, forced to carry special ID cards,” and that we “put all mosques under surveillance.” Not to be outdone, Marco Rubio went even further, saying we should not just surveil mosques, but shutdown ANYPLACE Muslims congregate… including restaurants & cafes. But when The Public… followed by the critics… followed by The Media… followed by the GOP itself… was aghast by Trump’s comments and started to openly condemn him, only THEN did those same GOP competitors… who just called for the exclusion & surveillance of Muslims themselves… denounce Trump for his “un-American” comments about Muslims. This *really is* how Republicans feel. The only reason Cruz is in 2nd place Nationally among GOP voters (and now 1st place in Iowa), is because he’s the only GOP candidate repeatedly defending Trump’s bigotry. Trump isn’t “embarrassing” the GOP, he’s EXPOSING IT for the “racist, pro-corporatetax-cuts for the rich“, cut services to the poor, vilify minorities and those of differing religions Party that it has become. And I have now found it impossible to avoid pointing out the GOP’s obvious descent into Fascism and the Republican Party’s appetite for that kind of rhetoric.

While many Republicans are now openly using “The F-Word” (Fascist) to describe Trump, plenty more dare not, insisting that “Trump does not reflect the majority views of the GOP”. But the truth is clear: between them, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz represent nearly half… 49 percent… of the GOP:
 

Trump/Cruz hold 49% of GOP

 

…and the rest of the GOP field isn’t exactly in total disagreement with Trump on “the issues” because if they do, they risk alienating 65% of Conservative voters:
 


Trump’s poll numbers among GOP voters go UP after announcing his Muslim ban:
65% of GOP supports Trump's ban
 


(video link if above does not play)


 

The ancient Greek philosopher Plato, in his masterwork “Republic”, pointed out that the easiest way to spot the flaws in something is to magnify it. For example: Is it okay to steal a loaf of bread if you’re hungry? What if everyone if the city did it? Would it still be okay? Trump IS that magnification of the GOP. The latent racism, xenophobia, love of money  and “Cafeteria Christian” values who cherry-pick the Bible to justify their bigotry while worshiping the Almighty… Dollar. It’s all there in the majority of Conservatives, and why Trump has long held a 20+ percent lead Nationally over his next closest rival… another bomb-thrower named Ted Cruz whom… even when he (rarely/barely) criticizes “The Donald”, still finds time to kiss his ass:
 

The Establishment’s only hope: Trump & me in a cage match.

Sorry to disappoint — @realDonaldTrump is terrific. #DealWithIt@TedCruz

 

Former Trump supporters that are growing concerned by his questionable comments and lack of discipline are shifting their allegiance to “Trump-lite” Ted Cruz, the “Tea Party” darling who not only bears a striking resemblance to Joe McCarthy, but made his Senatorial debut by announcing that he “has a list of Communists who have infiltrated Harvard Law”, doesn’t get the point of Dr. Seuss’ “Green Eggs & Ham”, and jokes about “carpet-bombing the Middle-East till we know “if sand glows in the dark.”

TheWeek” magazine asked the “Trump/Fascist?” question as well last week (and you know what they say: “If you have to ask the question…”). Those who defended Trump against comparisons to Hitler or Mussolini compared Trump to those men at the height of their power, not during their rise to power. The GOP’s “sky-is-falling” rhetoric, preying on peoples fears, hyping that fear until common sense is tossed out the window, rallying around men who promise “greatness” once again, blaming all of societies problems on “inferior classes of people” and those of a particular religion… sound familiar?

As if to drive the point home, just below the aforementioned column where Republicans “pish-tosh” suggestions of the GOP descending into fascism, in an “Only-in-America” box, Alabama state Congressman Alan Harper warns his constituents not to shop at “anti-Christian owned” convenience stores because the owners are “using their profits to fund terrorism.” (Remind me again: How much oil do we buy from the Middle-East each day?) He concluded with a “Merry Christmas” and “God Bless”. Call me crazy, but something tells me his “Merry Christmas” is NOT being offered with love in his heart. Harper suffered no damage due to his comments, with the state GOP refusing to even take away his seat as Chairman of the State Board of Tourism (no, I’m not making that up.) “Welcome to Alabama! No, not you! Go back where you came from!”

In the 1930’s, the German people didn’t have a “Hitler” reference to look to to see what was coming and try to avoid going down that path. Today’s GOP does not have that excuse.

ADDENDUM: Trump asks his supporters to report on their neighbors. ‘Most likely you’ll be wrong, but that’s OK’, says Trump.

In George Orwell’s classic novel “1984” about a Fascist-controlled England, he described a government-mandated daily ritual known as 2-minutes of hate” where citizens stood and screamed at images of their enemies broadcast over video screens in their home, stoking Nationalism and hatred towards the people they are told to hate (and love for “Big Brother” who promises to protect them from those enemies). In today’s GOP, we have Fox News and Conservative (Hate) Talk Radio broadcasting that “2-minutes of hate” 24/7. In the novel, the job of the main character was to “eliminate unnecessary words from the dictionary” under the guise of “efficiency” but was actually a means of keeping people dumb with no words to express themselves. Today, we have Conservatives that want to eliminate the Department of Education and promote “home schooling” (where unqualified parents that lack basic math & science skills choose to teach their children theology as science.)

I find it fascinating that the same people who fear Bernie Sanders because they think “Socialist” means he’s a Nazi, are flocking to Donald Trump and Ted Cruz with their fascist rhetoric.

“Godwin’s Law” be damned, this is who the GOP is now. They are quite literally devolving into the Nazi Party. #DealWithIt.
 

Postscript: If you’ve never seen it, this ABC “After-school Special” entitled “The Wave” aired in 1981 (and remade into a German feature film in 2008) based on the amazing true story of a California high school classroom experiment on fascism in 1967 that went horribly awry. If you have a spare 44 minutes, WATCH THIS MOVIE! It explains a lot:
 

 


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When Do We Stop Listening to Conservatives on How to Fight Terrorism?
Dec 7th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy

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Today is Pearl Harbor Day. An American naval base was attacked by the Empire of Japan on this day in 1941, killing 2,400 American servicemen (half of which were aboard just one ship: The USS Arizona.) We declared war on Japan (NOT Germany), which in turn led to Germany declaring war on US (sorry Iraq War defenders.) That war ended 3-1/2 years later when the leaders of those nations surrendered and their citizens agreed to abide by that decision. Wars don’t end that way any more. In October of 2001, just SIX WEEKS after 9/11, president Bush declared he “wasn’t that concerned” about the man who had just orchestrated what was then called “a second Pearl Harbor”… the most deadly terrorist attack on U.S. soil in history… and instead started selling us on the idea that we need to instead focus on deposing Saddam Hussein. So manic was the Bush Administration’s focus on Saddam so recently after 9/11 that millions of Americans came to believe he was connected to 9/11. “He MUST have been” to be so important so soon after the attack with the war in Afghanistan still raging. It took another year-and-a-half of wild accusations about “Weapons of Mass Destruction” and the “imminent threat” posed by Saddam to get America to take its eye off the ball in Afghanistan and expand the war to Iraq. 14 years later, war still rages in both countries and the situation has only grown worse. So why are we still allowing the same people who got us into this mess to tell us how to get out?

In Greek mythology, after Pandora’s Box was opened and all the world’s ills spilled out, the only thing left inside was “hope”. But those ills are still out there and “hoping” it’ll get better has failed as a strategy. Control of Iraq was both figuratively & literally decapitated with the removal of Saddam… unquestionably a bad guy, but a pressure-valve on the pressure-cooker that is the Middle-East… a mess that we have yet to figure out how to clean up.

There’s an old saying: “fight fire with fire”. Now, a “hawk” will likely argue that this means going in BIGGER, using MORE troops and a LARGER military presence to bring the region under control. But let’s stop for a moment. The phrase “fight fire with fire” does NOT mean one should “burn down the village to save it”. No, ask any firefighter and they’ll tell you that it literally describes a method of depriving the fire of fuel (by setting tiny “back-fires”), not dropping incendiary bombs on the forest.

And THAT is what we must do: “Deprive the fire of fuel”. Going in bigger won’t make the region like us more. And no one-person in the Middle-East has the power to “surrender” on everyone’s behalf to bring the war to an end. Whether you like it or not, we’ve given the Muslim World reason to hate us. Sorry, but it’s true. We destabilized the Middle-East with the invasion of Iraq and created the power vacuum ISIL, Iraq & alQaeda are fighting over now. When Ron Paul made that point in 2011 (and NO I’m NOT a Ron Paul supporter), his fellow Republicans attacked him and accused him of “blaming America for 9/11″… a crass political ploy, accusing your opponent of being “soft on terror” while scoring cheap political points for yourself. How can one not be reminded of children accusing one another of having “cooties”?

Donald Trump leads the GOP field with his “bomb them into the stone age” rhetoric. Not only has he called for the return of “waterboarding” (against who? We don’t have any ISIS prisoners and we already know where they are) and forcing all Muslims to carry ID (so if a Muslim terrorist doesn’t have an ID, they must not be a Muslim terrorists?), but NOW he says the only way to “win” (like it’s some sort of game) is “to adopt their tactics” and “go after their families”. Great, the GOP front-runner is Kaiser Sosse:
 


 

It’s time for this nonsense to stop. Stop listening to the people who got us into this mess, have kept us there for over 14 years, and will keep us there for another 100 if we follow their advice. Abandoning their failed strategy after 14-years is NOT a sign of weakness, and you can’t embarrass us anymore by saying we have cooties if we do. “YOUR POLICIES HAVE FAILED! MOVE OVER, TIME TO LET THE ADULTS DRIVE.”

I won’t bore you yet again with my recommendation that we focus on improving the lives of the people in the middle-East, giving them less reason to hate us and taking the wind out of the sails of ISIS when they try to recruit people into attacking those who are making their life better. And if I may point out the obvious: war, bombing & occupation clearly isn’t working. We are allowing ourselves to be bullied by people like Donald Trump and (dear Lord) yet-another Bush (???) who think you can bomb people into loving you (or at least unwilling to do you harm.) Ask any 5-year old child if you can hurt someone into liking you, and I think you’ll find them smarter than the average Republican.

PS: President Obama delivered a rare address from the Oval Office on the subject of terrorism last night, citing not only the San Bernardino ISIS-wannabe terrorist couple in California, but the spread of terrorist ideology across the globe. He addressed the easy-availability of assault weapons in America and Congress’ lack of will to address the issue. But he also mentioned how vilifying & alienating Muslims in this country is counter-productive, potentially helping to radicalize people who could be our best “eyes & ears” inside the Muslim community… something I’ve talked about a lot lately since my column on the Syrian Refugees a few of weeks ago.

His plan “to defeat ISIL” cites four key activities:

  • (Good) “First, our military will continue to hunt down terrorist plotters in any country where it is necessary, using air strikes to take out ISIL leaders and their infrastructure in Iraq and Syria.”
  •  

  • (Questionable) “Second, we will continue to provide training and equipment to Iraqi and Syrian forces fighting ISIL on the ground so that we take away their safe havens.”
  •  

  • (Good) “Third, we are leading a coalition of 65 countries to stop ISIL’s operations by disrupting plots, cutting off their financing, and preventing them from recruiting more fighters.”
  •  

  • (Not enough) “Fourth, with American leadership, the international community has established a process and timeline to pursue cease-fires and a political resolution to the Syrian civil war.”

No mention of improving the lives of the people in the region to win over “hearts & minds” (he used the phrase only to describe the American people’s reaction to the San Bernardino attack), proposing no other grand strategy other than to continue the use of military force to wipe-out “ISIL”. In short, nothing new.

During “Meet the Press” Sunday morning, frequent round-table guest/pundit Conservative radio host Alex Castellanos pre-criticized President Obama’s Sunday night address as just “throwing more words at the problem.” This from a man whose own Party has done nothing but whine about how President Obama “refuses” to utter the words “Radical Islamic Terrorism” (like somehow using those words will make a difference.) These same people refuse to say “Radical Christian Terrorism” to describe the Planned Parenthood shooter just two days earlier.)

Go away Conservatives, you’ve had your shot. 14 years of failure is MORE than enough time to recognize that you don’t know how to drive and it’s time to stop handing you the keys. You’ve killed enough people. Scoot over.
 

ADDENDUM: Brilliant actor & activist Mandy Patinkin, on The Late Show (12/18/15) makes the same point I’ve been making that the ONLY way to end war is to IMPROVE the lives of those who hate us rather than give them more cause to continue their fight:
 


 

 


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