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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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No Arming Syrian Rebels. Have we learned *nothing* from Iraq?

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, September 22, 2014

Two famous proverbs haunted me all last week:

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

 “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over & over, and expecting a different result each time.” – Author Rita Mae Brown (1983) as quoted by the AA/NA sobriety guides

The airwaves were all atwitter (literally) last week over President Obama reiterating his “Sherman-esque” pledge of “no boots on the ground” in Iraq [or Syria] to fight ISIL despite Gen. Dempsy’s statement before Congress that he could conceivably recommend sending ground troops into Iraq should the situation change. Somehow, having a general possibly suggest a differing course of action to the president was a scandal among the Beltway Press, apparently a sign of rebellion between the CiC and his Generals. (I was quite surprised yesterday when uber-Conservative George Will pointed out on Fox “news” Sunday that generals disagreeing with their Commander-in-Chief was hardly new, citing the fierce/frequent disagreements between Truman & MacArthur. I also noted during Ken Burns’ amazing documentary “The Roosevelt’s” last week, a clip of FDR in 1940 pledging that “every effort” would be made to keep America “neutral” and not get involved in the war in Europe:


A year later when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, FDR only asked Congress to declare war on Japan, and wisely waited for Japan’s allies, Germany & Italy, to declare war on US before we agreed to enter the war in Europe.

Things change.

Or do they? By 2003, the Bush Administration had already spent six months trying to convince the American people how grave the threat was from Saddam Hussein and how much safer the world would be with him gone. Look at the Middle East today. Feeling any safer? Removing Saddam left a massive power vacuum that the Extremists were only too happy to fill. It took years for Iraq to form a new government, and in the meantime, all hell broke lose. Thousands of American troops were killed… tens of thousands more permanently disabled. It seemed like once a month there was another story in the news of local fighters armed & trained by us ended up turning against us. And now the same people urging us to arm the rebels… the “moderate” rebels… not the ones you can easily spot with polka-dotted skin & bright green hair… that are seeking to overthrow Syria’s president Assad, are the exact same people that told us how much we needed to overthrow Saddam to make the Middle-East a safer place. Have we learned nothing?

Like FDR, President Obama has promised a “war-weary” nation that we will not get drawn into a ground fight with ISIL. But unlike FDR, Obama’s opposition WANTS another war. Like Lindsey Graham last week, these people (Rightwingers) are terrified, frightened little children that want a macho cod-piece wearing “Commander Guy” to save them from a bunch of punks on the other side of the planet trying to goad us (pardon me for saying “goat” us last week) into a ground war. ISIS wants a ground war because 1) they can’t counter an air war (despite their ballyhooed lucky shootdown of a Syrian fighter jet last week) and 2) picking a fight with the biggest/baddest military on the planet inflates their persona/importance. And the GOP is only too happy to accommodate them.

So here is the situation: There’s a fighting force smaller than the military of Lithuania (roughly 30,000 troops), which WANTS American ground troops to fight to make them look important; “Moderate” Sunni rebel forces that promise… pinky-swear… that if we give them guns & money they absolutely will only use them to fight “non-moderate” ISIS/ISIL rebels and not give/sell off those weapons or switch sides; a belief that this tiny fighting force of “pharmacists & doctors” can somehow takedown both the Assad regime AND ISIS with our help; a lingering question of who fills the power vacuum if they succeed; and a panic-stricken, terrified and reactionary GOP with the self-awareness of a gnat demanding we repeat our past mistakes and give ISIS/ISIL exactly what they want. Coming to a theater near you this Thanksgiving starring Pauly Shore as John McCain.

And despite his reassurances, there is still a chance President Obama may listen to them.

On “Meet the Press” yesterday, Republican Senator Ron Johnson told Chuck Todd that “we need only look back at history” to learn from our mistakes. But for Johnson, “history” only goes back three years to 2011 and the withdrawal of troops from Iraq… not 2003 and the mistake of sending them in in the first place.

I still can’t believe anyone is listening to these people… the same people that are labeling President Obama (quite successfully I may add) a “failure”, citing security concerns and a weak economy, as reasons to put them back in charge this November. You, dear reader, remember THEY created the security disaster that is now Iraq/ISIL. THEY destroyed the economy and haven’t lifted a finger to fix it, obstructing the president at every turn. And despite this, we’ve seen record job growth, a record stock market and NO attacks on the homeland. They’ve labeled this “a disaster” (for THEM, yes) and are (so far, successfully) convincing millions of Americans that the solution is to put them back in charge.

What was it the president said… “Don’t do stupid stuff”?

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

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Filed in Middle East, National Security, Seems Obvious to Me, Terrorism, War September 22nd, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Sunni Violence Against Americans Is Not New (2006 video)

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, September 15, 2014

This past week was packed wall-to-wall with Neocons and former “Bushies” alike criticizing President Obama for the rise of ISIS/ISIL. Senator McCain is still  blaming President Obama for “pulling all of our troops out of Iraq in 2011″ without leaving any residual forces behind… a claim that frustrates me to no end. The fact no one in the media ever challenges McCain on this point is bad enough, but even The White House doesn’t push back to correct the record. I’ve already pointed out in a prior column how it was President Bush, in one of his final acts as president, whom failed to convince the Iraqi’s to agree not to prosecute American soldiers for war crimes if we left troops there beyond their agreed-upon departure date set by President Bush. So when the time came in 2011 to pull our troops out, out they ALL came (thank goodness.) Senator McCain says that the Iraqi’s wanted some American troops to remain. Perhaps, but they also refused not to prosecute those who did. Senator McCain says that we didn’t have to negotiate the SoFA with the Maliki government. Wouldn’t THAT have gone over like a lead balloon! And I’ve yet to figure out how we stop the Maliki government from prosecuting any American troops that we might have left behind? Just because you circumvent the Maliki government (so much for Iraqi sovereignty), doesn’t mean you can stop them from arresting & prosecuting American troops, Senator. Please explain how you would have pulled that one off? I’d love to know… as I’m sure the White House would be as well. (I believe The Daily Show mentioned in an episode last week that “if we had left some five-to-ten thousand troops behind, does that mean alQaeda in Iraq would not have evolved into ISIS? We couldn’t control the violence with 150 THOUSAND troops” and these guys think a tiny residual force would have stopped the Sunni insurgency from forming?)

Saddam was Sunni. ISIS is Sunni. And this little “news-nugget” almost eight years to the day, is a stark reminder of from whence ISIS came:

70% of Iraqi Sunni’s support the insurgency
Sept 20, 2006 (1:52)

This was less than 6 weeks before the election, the results of which were BOTH houses of Congress flipping control from Republican to Democrat, and President Bush then firing Donald Rumsfeld… whom he had been insisting for months was “not going to be fired” because he had so much confidence in his ability as Secretary of Defense. Instead, just ONE DAY after the election, Rummy was gone.

2007 was the bloodiest year of the Iraq war averaging almost 100 American troop deaths per month before Gates came up with the brilliant idea of sending in more troops to quell the violence (violence that was a result of not sending in enough troops in the first place). This was Bush’s trademark “Surge”TM that supposedly “turned the tide in Iraq”. And though the new strategy reversed the trend of worsening violence against American troops, it did not end. An average of about two-dozen U.S. troops were still being killed each month in Iraq Bush’s final year in office, falling into the single digits under President Obama before our withdrawal by the end of 2011. Senator McCain had the stunning gall last week to claim “We had it won, thanks to the surge” (ibid: “McCain”) and then simultaneously argue that we needed to keep troops there to prevent the rise of ISIS.

Uh, excuse me? Either the war was won or the resistance was growing. Which is it? It can’t be both (well, in “MissionAccomplished-Land”, where a war can simultaneously be “won” and “not over”, I suppose it can.)

Sunni militants… the product of Bush’s invasion of Iraq… became “alQaeda in Iraq”, which begot “ISIS”, which begot “ISIL” (or just the “I.S.” according to them.) They were never gone, the war in Iraq was never “won”, and the idea that “if only” we had just left a few thousand troops behind, Iraq would be at peace today and all of this might have might have been avoided, is ludicrous.

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

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Filed in fake scandals, Middle East, myth busting, National Security, Politics, Terrorism, War September 15th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Republicans think “the world changed” on September 11th. No it didn’t. 17 months later it did.

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The world did not change on September 11th.

Maybe for Republicans it did, but for the rest of us, we were just as concerned about terrorism on September 10th as we were on September 11th. Just because Republicans were suddenly & violently awakened as to just how serious a threat “terrorism” was on “9/11″ doesn’t mean the threat wasn’t there on September 10th… or for the previous eight years when Bill Clinton made “keeping us safe” look easy (and Republicans accused his going after bin Laden as a “Wag the Dog” manufactured distraction.) The threat was there when the World Trade Center was bombed in February 1993, barely a month into Bill Clinton’s presidency. It was there when alQaeda was bombing U.S. embassies in Nairobi & Kenya in 1998. The threat was there when they tried & failed to bomb Seattle’s “New Years 2000″ celebration. And it was there when the USS Cole was attacked a month before the election. It was also there when National Security Advisor Richard Clark was desperately trying to get the incoming Bush Administration to pay attention to alQaeda, and it was there when President Bush ignored a Presidential Daily Briefing on August 6th, 2001 entitled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.”. Whenever I hear Republicans “accuse” Democrats of having a “pre-September 11th mentality”, it infuriates me because ONLY REPUBLICANS HAD A “DIFFERENT MENTALITY” ON SEPTEMBER 10TH. Democrats were well aware of the threat on September 10th. THEY are the ones who were caught by surprise.

But you know when the world DID change? When George W Bush unnecessarily invaded Iraq on March 19th, 2003. Only the most partisan “divorced-from-reality” neoconservative Republican’s still believe that the invasion of Iraq was necessary and that the mess we see in that region of the world today would still be taking place even if Saddam Hussein hadn’t of been removed from power.

Does anyone (sane) believe ISIS would have risen to power and been able to overtake nearly half of Iraq if Saddam Hussein were still in power? And even if you believe they still might have, how much stronger would our military be today to confront them if it hadn’t been decimated by eight years of chaos in Iraq?

And now it looks like we’re about to invade Syria to go after ISIS. In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past year, that’s where the ultra-violent yet highly-organized “Sunni rebel group” formed as part of the resistance to overthrow Syrian President Assad… the guy who gassed children. This is the same group of rebels John McCain was demanding we send weapons to as recently as January of this year, and is now demanding we go after as a threat to the stability of the entire Middle East.

Despite being made up of mostly young men (and a number of women as well), ISIS is extremely well organized, with a “command structure” and “supply lines” like a regular army. And that’s because the leadership of ISIS consists of a number of former Iraqi Army officers.

You see, despite Sunni’s being a minority in Iraq, Saddam Hussein was a Sunni, so he put Sunni’s in charge of everything, with an army made up mostly of Sunni men, and then ruled ruthlessly to suppress the Shia majority. When George Bush invaded Iraq and overthrew Saddam, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Bremmer disbanded the entire Iraqi Army… the closest thing they had left to a functioning police-force… telling them essentially, “You’re all fired. Go away and take your guns with you.” To make matters worse, the new president of Iraq, Nouri al-Maliki (a Shia) did exactly what you’d expect an Iraqi Shia to do after decades of repression: flip the government 180 degrees, putting Shia Iraqi’s in charge of everything and banning Sunni’s from power.

So, what’s an angry, unemployed, well-armed, well-trained former Iraqi soldier who can’t get a job because his country is in shambles and his government bans him from public service because of his religion… to do all day? First he joins the fight against the American soldiers occupying his country (ISIS began as “alQaeda in Iraq“), then when they leave, goes looking for “work” (as a soldier) where he thinks he’s needed most… supporting the Sunni rebels in neighboring Syria.

And of course, beside providing plenty of motivation, we supplied them with U.S. weapons & vehicles as well. How thoughtful of us!

And now they’re back in Iraq. Bigger & Badder than ever. All courtesy of the Bush/Cheney Administration and their invasion of Iraq. “The world” did not change on 9/11… Republicans did.

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

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Filed in General, Middle East, National Security, Politics, Terrorism, War September 10th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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This Is Why We Said No to Invading Iraq in 2003. Those who pushed for war, please shut up.

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, August 25, 2014

Last June, The Rachel Maddow Show commented on the number of former Bush Administration figures that were suddenly being booked on the Sunday Political Talkshows to pontificate on the rise of ISIS, the Sunni-based terrorist organization:

Attention Media: Stop booking Yahoos to advise on Iraq! (4:52)

Yesterday on ABC’s ThisWeek, Bill Kristol (who apparently ABC got in the trade when George Will went to Fox to finally let his Conservative freakflag fly) bemoaned the fact that “President Obama didn’t leave 10,000 troops [behind] in Iraq” when he pulled them out at the end of 2010. I pointed out last June that the decision to pull ALL U.S. troops out of Iraq was not only what the majority of the American people wanted at the time (and that hasn’t changed), but the decision was made by the Bush Administration months before Barack Obama was elected president. It was President Bush that tried to convince the Iraqi’s to allow a contingency of thousands of American troops to stay behind in Iraq “in perpetuity”, but only if Iraq agreed to give them immunity for any perceived “past crimes” (read: Abu Ghraib.) Iraq said “No” and thus it was agreed that we would withdraw ALL U.S. troops by the end of 2010. After five years of lip-service about Iraq being “a sovereign nation” once again, we couldn’t very well just ignore their wishes and install our troops in the middle of a foreign nation without their approval, now could we?

But that still hasn’t stopped Conservatives… particularly people like Kristol who certainly know better… from continuing to blame President Obama for the rise of ISIS in Iraq. “If only we had left 10,000 troops behind in Iraq” then… what? ISIS wouldn’t have taken over much of Syria & Northern Iraq two years later? No, all that would have been accomplished is the death of several hundred more American soldiers. We’re talking about an army of more than a few hundred religious fundamentalist psychopaths that shoot children in the head because they pray to the wrong invisible man in the sky.

But can we all just pause for a moment and agree on one thing: NONE OF THIS MESS WOULD BE HAPPENING RIGHT NOW IF WE HADN’T INVADED IRAQ IN THE FIRST PLACE!

Can we all just agree on this one simple fact? Saddam was a Sunni Muslim, and gave Sunni’s all the political power in Iraq despite them being roughly only 10% of the Iraqi population. When we invaded Iraq and deposed Saddam, Rumsfeld & Bremmer made the seriously bad decision to disband the entire Iraqi military… probably the closest thing they had left to a trained police force… leaving nearly 200,000 pissed off soldiers with guns and no job to go out and go to war against the American invaders. That’s right, much of ISIS is made up of former Iraqi Army personnel disenfranchised by the Bush Administration. They are organized, with a Command Structure, raising funds and distributing propaganda. In the Iraqi government, the Shia took over and excluded Sunni’s from ALL political positions, pissing them off still further. In neighboring Syria, President Assad declared war on the Sunni minority, even (apparently) gassing small children to death. “ISIS” is a direct result of the invasion of Iraq and ostracism of the Sunni minority that had previously held power.

In 2002, I warned a Conservative friend of mine who was cheerleading for the invasion of Iraq that if we invaded Iraq, we would “unleash the gates of Hell”, either as friends of Saddam rushed to his defense, or as different groups fought over the scraps like wild dogs.

We are now seeing the latter.

The gruesome beheading of an American reporter last week kicked Conservative fear & paranoia (the hallmarks of Conservatism… which I plan to dedicate an entire Op/Ed to someday) into overdrive. “They’re coming for us next!” “They’re coming to America!” We must invade Iraq [again] to stop this threat [that was brought about by our first invasion eleven years ago.]

“Invading” Iraq started this mess. Re-invading Iraq now won’t make it better.

Terrified Conservative believe, “We won’t be safe until every small town in America looks like Ferguson, Missouri, with local police dressed in desert camo, carrying semi-automatic assault rifles and driving down Main Street in an up-armored mine-resistant Humvee.”

…Well, every BLACK town in America. We don’t want Furer Obama and his “jackbooted thugs” marching through OUR town, pointing guns at us and telling us what to do, norsiree Bob!

POSTSCRIPT: Also on ThisWeek yesterday, Bill Kristol happened to praise Texas Governor Rick Perry’s handling of his indictment, noting that Perry “has been out on the campaign trail” in Iowa “talking intelligently about foreign policy.” I’d just like to point out that Kristol is the former Chief of Staff for the dumbest VP in history, Dan Quayle. High praise indeed Bill.

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

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Filed in Middle East, National Security, Politics, rewriting history, Terrorism, War August 25th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • 1 comment | Add/View

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While President Bush Was Ducking Shoes… you missed the SOFA.

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, June 23, 2014

“It was a natural reaction to the killing of a million of my people, the orphaning of 5 million children, the widowing of one million women, resulting in tens of thousands of handicapped persons, tens of thousands of prisoners in American jails in Iraq, and the everyday scandals caused by the American occupation: rape, Abu Ghraib prison, bringing down roofs on peoples heads with Apache helicopters and F16 planes. Despite all this, Bush was saying the Iraqi people are happy, and the Americans liberated the Iraqi people, and the Iraqi people welcomed the Americans with flowers. […] You lied. We did not welcome you with flowers, and instead, we are saying goodbye with our shoes.” So said Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al Zaidi explaining why he threw both of his shoes at President Bush during his final visit to Iraq. The reason for the visit? To announce an historic “Status of Forces Agreement”SoFA for short… between the U.S. and Iraq promising, quote, “the next president” would withdraw “ALL” U.S. troops out of Iraq by the end of 2011. Problem was, embedded in SoFA was a requirement for Iraq not to seek prosecution against any American soldiers for any crimes they may have committed while serving in Iraq. Because of this, Iraqi president al Maliki refused to sign SoFA. It was also because of this refusal to exempt American soldiers from prosecution, that President Obama did not leave residual American forces in Iraq. He negotiated with Maliki and tried to get him to agree to SoFA, but (as “Mother Jones reported), Iran demanded Maliki not allow ANY residual American forces in Iraq, “and Maliki owed them [Iran].” The Right has been going nuts for the past week trying to blame Obama for the crisis in Iraq that seems to be destabilizing the Middle East. That’s a bit like blaming the firemen for your house burning down after you set fire to it and then waited five hours before calling them.

I’m trying to imagine what the Right’s reaction would have been if President Obama had agreed to keep American forces in Iraq on the condition they could be prosecuted by a foreign government.

My TV survived another Sunday despite having to sit through this little exchange on Fox “news” Sunday yesterday. Michel Needham, the CEO of the Heritage Foundation’s “Heritage Action for America” super-PAC, lobbed this asinine accusation against President Obama (try not to toss your computer out the window):

“Six years ago, he [Obama] makes the decision to pull out of Iraq, leave no residual forces… the forces that could have been there identifying the intelligence and targeting the assets that would have prevented this [ISIS] from happening.”

(I especially like the end-part, where Needham agrees that he probably wouldn’t do anything different than President Obama, except to criticize the president’s lack of clairvoyance for not sending agents into Iraq “six months ago” to gather “intel”. Why on Earth would anyone have thought it necessary to gather intel on Iraq in late 2013? I did a Google search and I was unable to find ANY calls… not from Mr. Needham, the Heritage Foundation, nor anyone else on the right, demanding President Obama send agents into Iraq to gather “intel”. We WERE gathering intel in Syria six months ago, and ISIS was there. Lot of good that did.)

Oh Mr. Needham, where to begin. Well, first, I’m not going to nitpick that “six years ago”, Obama wasn’t president. “5+ years”, “six years”. Whatever. But something DID take place “six years ago” before Obama took office. it was President Bush, on December 15, 2008, with barely a month left in office, that sought an agreement with Iraq to withdraw ALL U.S. forces from Iraq. Iraq said, “Not unless we can prosecute them.” Bush said “No” and the agreement was never signed. But the plan to pull ALL American troops out… including any potential “residual force”… remained. President Bush wasn’t about to leave American troops at the mercy of the Iraqi courts. But apparently Mr. Needham wishes President Obama had agreed to let Iraq prosecute American soldiers just so long as we could have kept troops there? Yeah, right. And Mr. Needham must have some unspoken power of “time travel” where American troops could have magically skipped over the last two years and lived in Iraq incident-free to arrive at 2014 to stop ISIS from materializing? American forces couldn’t even stop Muqtada al-Sadr, the powerful and fiercely anti-American cleric, from rising to power. Leaving American forces in Iraq would not have prevented ISIS from rising to power. They started in SYRIA not Iraq. And they were drawn to Iraq in protest of the corrupt & inept Maliki government that was excluding Sunni’s from the political process. That would have taken place whether we left troops there or not. And as pointed out last week, whether it was one more or one hundred more years, the moment American forces left, a thousand years of jihad in Iraq would have picked up right where it left off (and will in Afghanistan too).

As recently as last September, John McCain was still bemoaning the fact that President Obama was still refusing to arm the Syrian rebels fighting President Assad, saying his “friends in the Free Syrian Army” would feel “abandoned” if we didn’t send them “arms”. McCain has been calling for the arming of Syrian rebels for YEARS. The largest of the Sunni anti-Assad militia groups McCain wanted to arm, you know today as “ISIS”, the alQaeda-trained terrorist organization now in control of nearly half the region. Yes, had “President” McCain of had his way, we could have been arming ISIS all along. Darned the luck! (How this idiot keeps getting booked on the Sunday shows without a single one of them pointing out this one simple fact, is a mystery to me… well, not really.)

Last week also saw former Vice President Cheney rise from the crypt in his “undisclosed location” to attack President Obama… saying without a hint of irony… that “never has a president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many.” I can’t imagine the bubble this man has been living in over the past 13 years, but whatever he’s smoking in that bubble can’t be legal.

Let’s read what Mr Cheney said again: “never has a president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many.”

As I like to point out, the objective of this site is to “Record history for those who seek to rewrite it”, and I could have spent literally WEEKS taring down all the asinine comments made by former Bush Administration officials and Right-Wing pundits last week that dare criticize President Obama’s handling of the shit-storm left to him by these “detached-from-reality” war criminals whose only audience should be in The Hague. But SO many others did such a great job of taking Cheney and the rest over their knee and slapping the malarky out of them that I didn’t have to.

And now, it’s this accusation that it is President Obama’s fault that the terrorist organization ISIS is taking over the region because HE refused to leave any American troops behind in Iraq after he pulled them all out in 2011. Sorry guys, we know better.
Oh, and before we go, a bonus clip from the same Fox “news” Sunday yesterday. Cleta Mitchell, attorney for “Tea Party groups” (gee, I wonder who hired her?) openly accused the Obama Administration of being behind the Cincinnati IRS “scandal”. When asked for the “hard evidence” she insisted she had, all she has was innuendo (this is what passes for “news” on Fox):

Mitchell: My “hard evidence” Obama is behind IRS scandal? He was secretly suggesting people do stuff.


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Filed in fake scandals, Middle East, myth busting, Partisanship, Politics, rewriting history, Terrorism, War June 23rd, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Is ISIS Really a Threat to the U.S.? The argument(s) for staying out of Iraq’s Civil War.

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, June 16, 2014

By now, you’ve already heard the “catastrophic”, “world-is-coming-to-an-end” news that a terrorist group “too extreme for alQaeda” (“too extreme” for a group that dive-bombed hijacked planes into buildings? Doubtful.) is slowly taking over Iraq, with Iraqi soldiers so afraid, they’re “stripping off their uniforms and running for their lives”. And… of course… a conga-line of Republicans taking to the airwaves to say “We told you so!” to President Obama for “leaving Iraq too early.” Okay, can we just stop with the nonsense and hyperbole for a moment. We were in Iraq for EIGHT YEARS… almost twice as long as America’s involvement in World War II. Trust me, if leaving after eight years was still “too soon”, NO amount of time would have been long enough. And in a country where the same people claiming we “left too soon” are also the LEAST likely to PAY for that involvement… is either taxes OR blood… they sure are eager to commit American forces to “Nation Building” once again… something Republicans so abhorred during the Clinton Administration that George W. Bush ridiculed the idea during the second presidential debate of 2000. And, news alert to those same Chickenhawks: THE SAME THING WILL HAPPEN WHEN WE LEAVE AFGHANISTAN after THIRTEEN YEARS. These regions have been at each others throats for CENTURIES, and they’re not going to stop now if we stay a few extra years.

If you clicked on the comic above to read it full sized, you’ll notice it’s from 2007… just four years after the start of the war in Iraq and before Bush left office. It’s an excellent reminder of all the warnings the opponents of invading Iraq gave. If ANYBODY should be saying “WE TOLD YA SO!”, it’s US. A few famous quotes from that comic:

“I will bet you the best dinner in the Gas Light District of San Diego that military action will not last more than a week.” – Bill O’Reilly on 1/29/03

“There is a certain amount of pop-psychology in America that the Shia can’t get along with the Sunni, and the Sunni can’t get along with the Shia… there’s almost no evidence of that at all.” – Bill Kristol, 4/1/03

“It’s amazing that more than two weeks into the liberation of Iraq, the anti-war crowd is still spinning a doomsday scenario.” – Brendan Miniter of, 4/8/03

“The war was the hard part… and it gets easier. I mean, setting up a democracy is hard, but not as hard as winning a war.” – Fred Barns, 4/10/03

I nearly threw a brick through my TV yesterday as “Meet the Press” had on… of all people… PAUL F-ing WOLFOWITZ… often called “The Architect of the Iraq War”… to comment on the current situation in Iraq. The only reason this is even happening today is because of his pathetic & incomplete plan for the invasion of Iraq based upon false pretenses with no exit strategy. That’s like bringing on Richard Nixon to comment on Bill Clinton’s ethics. Fortunately for me, sanity prevailed and I simply switched off my TV rather than turn it into a fishtank. They also brought on Mitt Romney to criticize President Obama for withdrawing from Iraq… despite advocating the same thing himself in 2007 AND admitting that he is no longer privy to the daily intelligence briefings that are provided the president. And John McCain has spent more time in front of a camera since his loss in ’08 than he has his own wife. Please tell me how many times these shows brought on Al Gore or John Kerry to criticize George Bush after they lost their elections? “Liberal Media” my ass.

The organization that has all these pundits wetting their pants is “ISIS: Islamic State of Iraq and ash Sham” (not Iraq and Syria), formed in April of last year. Are they violent & brutal religious extremists? Yes (I’ve always found it curious how the most religious in any society have a tendency to be the most vicious & brutal, then justify their brutality with the Bible/Koran/Torrah). Would their take-over of Iraq be a big step backwards for Iraq? No question about it. But that doesn’t concern us. There are MANY brutal & dangerous Islamic fundamentalist states across the Middle East, and we don’t go invading all of them and try to “set them right”. It is ONLY a matter of concern for the United States if that organization is threatening to attack the United States, and that is NOT the case here.

ISIS is fighting to restore the Sunni minority back to power (Saddam was Sunni, and the Sunni controlled “Iraq” for centuries) after being marginalized by the al-Maliki government, which is Shia. President Obama openly chastised the Maliki government for excluding Sunni’s from his government. ISIS HATES the corrupt Miliki government. In Syria, Assad’s government in “Alawite”… a Shia sect. Iran is also Shia. ISIS hates them all and wants them all gone. Tell me again why were on the side or Assad, Maliki and Iran? Oh yeah, because they are “a threat to the United States”… or are they?

I went searching online for reports of terrorist attacks committed by ISIS (originally “ISI: The Islamic State of Iraq”). We’ve all heard/seen the coverage of the brutal attacks in Iraq, and have led the Civil War against Assad in Syria (including the brutal murder of seven children). But they have also launched attacks in Lebanon, and are threatening Israel from Gaza. To date, ALL of their terrorist activities have been “local” to that region of the world.

I don’t agree with Ron Paul on very much, but when he was lambasted during one of the 2008 RNC Debates for pointing out the obvious… that al Qaeda only attacked us because we had been meddling in the Middle East for decades… he was spot on. And if you want to see history repeat itself with ISIS, use American force to prop up the corrupt Maliki government and crush the Sunni opposition. As I tweeted yesterday:

#ISIS is only a threat to the U.S. if we involve ourselves in their civil war, propping up the corrupt Maliki gov’t.

The worst thing we can do now is get re-involved back in Iraq. Don’t give extremists another reason to hate us. Religious Extremists will always be there in that part of the world. It took a brutal Strong Man in Saddam Hussein to repress it for decades, and we took him out.

During the Eisenhower Administration, America overthrew the leadership in Iran and propped up a corrupt, brutal military dictator, The Sha. Iran went extremist, the Islamic Fundamentalists overthrew him, turned the nation into a theocracy, and became an enemy of the U.S.. Let’s not repeat that mistake in Iraq.

The current leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, spent four years in American custody (UPDATE: a PolitiFact investigation finds Baghdadi spent ONE year in custody, not “four”, captured and released in 2004) at Camp Bucca, so he already has sufficient reason to hate the U.S.. Let’s not give him one more.

POSTSCRIPT: Blast-from-the-past. in 2007, then Senator Joe Biden partnered up with then Senator Sam Brownback to propose that the route to peace & stability in Iraq may require breaking Iraq up into three regions, all controlled by a single centralized government. It seems now that he might have been right all along as ISIS, the Kurds and the Shia all seem to be moving in that direction on their own.

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

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Filed in Middle East, myth busting, National Security, Terrorism, War June 16th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • 1 comment | Add/View

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Right Suddenly Outraged By A “Deserter” After Electing One President

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, June 9, 2014

First off, let’s get a few facts straight. I am NOT defending Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, nor am I excusing him going AWOL (and let’s be clear, he’s NOT a “deserter”, you’re only AWOL the first 30 days, and he was captured long before then.)

Second, it seems that the GOP would now have us put every American POW on trial in absentia before deciding if they are worthy of rescue or not.

Third, regardless of the reasons for why Bergdahl walked off, WE DON’T OUTSOURCE OUR PUNISHMENT TO THE TALIBAN. We don’t leave POWs in the hands of the enemy to punish them for past deeds.

And lastly, don’t start screaming about how “dishonorable” it is to abandon your outfit in a time of war after rallying behind one such “deserter” to elect them Commander-in-Chief. Desertion is just as bad today as it was when Democrats complained 14 years ago about what George W. Bush did during Vietnam. (Disappeared from his “champagne” Unit in the Texas Air National Guard to work in a political campaign in Arkansas, only to turn up 18 months later without a valid excuse.)

Yes, I went there.

I got into a little argument with a Republican friend of mine last week (the topic is irrelevant because these arguments rarely stay on topic), and I was chastised (once again) for pointing out former President Bush did the same or worse than whatever the RWNM (Right Wing Noise Machine) was telling him to be outraged at Obama for that particular day. “Don’t you ever tire of blaming Bush?”, I was asked. “Absolutely. But it’s painfully necessary when so many Republican suffering from short-term memory loss are suddenly OUTRAGED by things Democrats complained about for eight years under Bush only to have their patriotism challenged.” Republicans have a tendency to blame Democrats for robbing the bank after Republicans planned the robbery, brought the dynamite, jimmied the door, blew open the safe and walked away with their pockets full… all while waving at the cameras.

“Sgt” Bergdahl’s (he has said he does not want the promotion he received while in captivity) family has been receiving Death Threats. This is a direct result of the outrage being whipped up on the Right (the same Right that was quick to praise Bergdahl’s release and call him a “hero”, then try to erase any evidence they did), commenting on the issue without knowing all the facts and in some circumstances, based on completely false allegations. But that’s their Demographic: “Blind faith” zealots that have had it drummed into them since their first day of Sunday School to accept everything you already believe “on faith” and NEVER question anything that might challenge those beliefs. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of Liberals calling family members of people they didn’t like, verbally abusing them and threatening them with violence. Maybe it’s happened. I don’t know. But I’d bet cash/money it doesn’t happen with the regularity or ferocity of Right Wingers.

Republicans love trying to make “Support the Troops” sound like a Republican brand, as if “nasty Democrats hate the troops”. But this too is an absolute myth. Conservatives only “Support the Troops” because they believe “the troops” believe as they do (why does “love the troops… so long as they agree with me, then gut the VA when they come home”, remind me of “love the fetus, hate the child?” Coincidence?) They think the troops are all Republicans, support Bush’s wars, are all flag-waving patriots, and vote the same way as they do. But time & time again, from the Swiftboating of John Kerry to Saxby Chandless comparing Democrat Max Cleland… a Vietnam vet that left three limbs on the battlefield… to Osama bin Laden just to win an election… they’ve repeatedly proven otherwise. Jimmy Carter was in the Navy. The only uniform St. Ronnie ever wore came from the MGM wardrobe department.  But they despise Carter to this day and kiss the ground Reagan walked on.

Republican support for the troops is about as empty as their rhetoric about “securing elections from (non-existent) voter fraud” that just coincidentally happens to disenfranchise millions of low-income & minority Democrats. They only want the people that agree with THEM to vote (the Rich and people with gun permits, but not the Poor or students with college ID’s.)

All the facts are not yet in about why Bergdahl left his outfit that day. At this point, the possibility that he stepped out to take a leak and got himself kidnapped has as much evidence to support it as any of the other allegations out there.

Other thoughts: Republicans are all claiming that “The Taliban 5″… the ominous name they’ve given to five 50 year old “gray-beards”… may return to their groups to rejoin the fight and kill Americans. Ignoring for the moment that their release from Qatar won’t be until AFTER most American troops have come home, what if we secretly implanted TRACKING DEVICES in the detainees we just released? Might support for the deal go up if Obama’s plan all along was to secretly track them back to their organizations? Or how about the possibility that their former groups may not want to have anything to do with them now out of fear of the same? Either way, it’s a win/win for us.

Republican “outrage” over the fact that the U.S. government “paid such a high price” to bring home “a deserter” after electing one… not once but twice… to be the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, and then questioned the patriotism of anyone that dare question the judgement of that same president… I’m sorry but it just seems to be a little too self serving to me if you know what I mean.

POSTSCRIPT/Update: Not 12 hours after I wrote about how Conservatives whip up hate in their constituents, a loonytoons Redneck couple, anti-BLM (“Bureau of Land Management”) supporters of rancher Cliven Bundy in Nevada, gunned down two Nevada police officers in cold blood as they ate lunch, draped the officers bodies in the “Gadsden (teaparty) flag” and painted Swastikas on them. Then killing another random person at the store across the street, before committing suicide. The couple left a note on their Facebook page, seething with hate for the government and law enforcement before embarking on their murder/suicide pact. I ask you… just who whipped up THAT intensity of hatred towards the government?

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

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Filed in National Security, Partisanship, Politics, Rants, Right-Wing Insanity, Scandals, Terrorism, War June 9th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • 3 comments | Add/View

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These people are dangerous, and they’re costing lives

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, April 7, 2014

As I predicted last Monday, this was a bad week. Mom passed away Friday morning as I sat at her hospital bedside, holding her hand for 61 minutes after they switched off the ventilator and I slowly watched my mother’s heart rate fall to zero. It was agonizing, and a trauma I hope none of my readers ever have to endure. I couldn’t sue for malpractice while Mom was alive, but we sure as hell can file for “wrongful death” now that she’s gone. (UPDATE: Nope, can’t do that either. Texas put the same bleeping $250K cap on “wrongful death” suits as well, ensuring no lawyer will touch the case. Bastards.)

But I’m not here to reopen that wound and cause myself more pain. Another busy week ahead with the funeral, collecting evidence and calling lawyers, so this will have to be brief (pardon the dearth of links.)

On yesterday’s Fox “news” Sunday, former CIA/NSA director Gen. Michael Hayden was on to discuss (what else?) Benghazi and the second Ft. Hood shooting. The Benghazi (non)story is already on life-support, but Hayden brought Fox a step closer to pulling the plug. Quite honestly, I’m not quite sure why they keep inviting him on. Sure, in private, when he goes on the record only as “an anonymous source”, Hayden is a snarky bitter partisan, but when he makes statements in public, he’s frequently quick to defend the White House, be it Bush’s or Obama’s. Pretty soon they are going to stop having him on if he keeps defending Obama’s White House this way.

I’ve cobbled together a few highlights from yesterday’s lengthy interview. Wallace goes into the commercial break with the following teaser (and flat-out lie):

   “Turns out it was the CIA that changed the Benghazi Talking Points to avoid embarrassing Hillary Clinton’s State Department.”

We return from the break and Wallace asks Hayden why Morell “ignored” the CIA’s own “Station Chief in Libya” who “repeatedly told him in the days after Benghazi that this was a terrorist attack”, choosing instead to take the word of CIA analysts back at Langley.

   “How unusual is that to disregard the word of your own man in the field?

“Disregard” the word of your own “man in the field”? Clearly, the suggestion here is that the guy who was actually IN Libya would know better about what happened in Benghazi than some pencil-pusher 8,000 miles away back at CIA headquarters. Hayden jumps to Morell’s defense quickly:

   “Look, you give a lot of weight to your man-in-the-field, but keep in mind, our man-in-the-field was more than 500 miles away from the incident [in Tripoli].”

Not exactly an eye-witness. Hayden went on to point out that Morell also went so far as to inform the White House that there was a “dissenting opinion” as to what happened so they wouldn’t “put all their eggs in one basket.” Wallace quickly moves on (emphasis Wallace’s):

   “Morell said that he went around his boss David Petraeus and took out [from the CIA’s report] the fact that the CIA had repeatedly warned the State Department about the threat level in Benghazi”, followed by Wallace playing the clip of Morell testifying that he felt the claim was only there to allow the CIA to “pound its chest” and “lay all the blame on the State Department”.

Hayden again unspins Fox’s attempt to turn this into something sinister by pointing out that the CIA putting that line in about “repeatedly warning the State Department” was inappropriate, and removing it was an attempt to NOT politicize the issue rather than provide State with political cover.

The entire interview was sad all around and I may try to post it online in the near future when I have more time.

Then there was the (second) shooting (in 5 years) at Fort Hood. Right Wing Congressman Mike McCall went on Meet the Press to suggest that maybe restricting firearms on the military base was a bad idea and that maybe allowing everyone to go around packing heat would make the place much safer. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed as Former Joint Chief Admiral Mike Mullen came on later to disagree with McCall, noting that NOT having everyone going around armed has likely resulted in FEWER such incidents. Lord only knows how much worse it could get if every soldier with PTSD was allowed to carry a loaded semi-automatic firearm with them every where they went on one of the largest military bases in the country. And it’s not like they can’t GET guns quickly at Ft. Hood. One Right Wing argument for armed guards in schools is that no one had access to a gun to stop any rampage. Well at Fort Hood, they DID have guns. Heck, they were armed to the teeth, and this still happened… not once, but twice.

Later on in the evening, NBC hosted a special presentation on Global Warming and whether a tipping point had been reached. It was fairly good as one hour summaries of complex issues go, even taking time to explain how we can have “Global Warming” and the record-breaking freezing cold we’ve been having at the same time. But you really can’t do a topic as complex as Climate Change in just one hour, and while they mentioned the skeptics, I think not including Jesus-freaks Paul “lies straight from the pit of Hell” Broun and Jim “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on mankind” Inhoff in the story was an opportunity lost. These Ludites are more than willing to jeopardize the lives of tens of millions based on their own personal interpretation of a 5000 year old Harry Potter novel known as The Bible. I say “their” interpretation because even the freaking Pope believes in Climate Change and released a report on the subject (pdf) in 2011.

In truth, the GOP DESPISES the subject of Global Warming primarily because they associate it with Al Gore. So basically, this one tiny group of anti-science mental midgets that have chosen to interpret The Bible in such an extreme and narrow fashion that not even the Vatican agrees with them, is willing to risk global catastrophe rather than admit that maybe Al Gore was right. Really. That is all it boils down to.

And if Gore had been President on September 11th, do you think for a moment that they would have rallied around him the way Democrats embraced George Bush after 9/11? Hell no. They would have begun impeachment proceedings on 9/12. Don’t believe me? Just look at their outrage over four dead in Benghazi. Now multiply that by 1,000.

These people are twisted. They’re dangerous, and they’re endangering lives. My mother was just their latest victim.

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

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Filed in fake scandals, Middle East, myth busting, National Security, Politics, Scandals, Terrorism April 7th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • 1 comment | Add/View

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If You Want to Help the Syrian People, Help the Syrian People.

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Tuesday, September 3, 2013

“So let me get this straight”, the boy asked his teacher. “Because Syria bombed Syria, we’re going to bomb Syria for bombing Syria?” It seems almost surreal, yet that is the question. And I must admit that my initial reaction to the news that Syria used chemical weapons on “1,500 of its own citizens… including “at least 426 children“, I too was outraged, believing nothing short of an immediate military response was required. Ah, but is the report accurate? Yesterday, French Intelligence reported that they found (just) “281 people” had been killed in a chemical attack… a fraction of the number being reported by American Intelligence. (Great minds think alike? Truthout has a more detailed report on the questionable numbers emerging from Syria.) Shades of the Bush Administration’s wildly fluctuating intelligence reports on Iraq’s WMD’s in the ramp-up to war in 2003. But the fact is, the victims are crying out for America to help those who have ALREADY been attacked. What they REALLY want is for us to help the people hurting now, not to worry about who might be attacked next. If you want to help the Syrian people, then start by actually helping the Syrian people. Medical aide and sanctuary (perhaps a no-fly zone over refugee camps on the borders of Jordan, Iraq and Turkey. You could find FULL U.N. support for something like that.

The use of military force against Syria is already fraught with potentially huge negative consequences. How do you use military force in Syria and guarantee it won’t escalate or spread and we won’t have to go back? We already know that UN approval of military action against Syria is not forthcoming thanks to a veto threat from both Russia & China. Russia… an ally of Assad… has sent a reconnaissance ship to monitor American warships parked off the Syrian coast, and Iran has likewise issued a thinly veiled threat that attacking Syria would “result in a conflict that would engulf the region”. Are we toying with war with Russia? Might Iran start lobbing SCUD missiles into Israel? Might Assad give chemical weapons to Hezbollah? And what if we do bomb Syria and a few weeks later, Assad uses chemical weapons again? Then what? A ground invasion?

The point of ANY punishment is to dissuade OTHERS (eg: Iran, North Korea, etc) from doing the same thing in the future. It does nothing to help those already injured. And in this case, military action doesn’t even ensure that it won’t happen again. It may even INCREASE the possibility of chemical weapons being used again… if not on the Syrian people, then perhaps in Tel Aviv… or maybe even New York?

We are already hearing stories of the Syrian regime “celebrating the start of President Obama’s retreat.” Screw ‘em. Let them “celebrate”. They’re not even fooling themselves. For over a decade, Saddam Hussein used to celebrate the day Iraq “defeated” the American Military in the 1991 Gulf War. Assad is still quaking in his boots that we may attack in the next week or two, and I guarantee you, he won’t be dropping any more chemical weapons in the next two weeks. And does anyone really think that because we’re questioning using military force in Syria that they can just thumb their nose at America and do something stupid and not see a squadron of Blackhawks overhead the next morning? Of course not. Let them celebrate. Every conflict must be taken on its own merits. We can’t allow “emboldening our enemies” for the next war dictate how we deal with a current situation.

President Obama finds himself on the side of GOP Chickenhawks when in comes to bombing Syria without regard for the consequences. And as I’ve been saying all week: “Only Republicans use military force without thinking about the consequences.” They think you can just bomb another country and be home in time for supper. And the country we attack will drop to their knees and say, “No more! We promise we’ll be good!” Yes, by all means, let’s take advice from the people that got it wrong on Iraq.

So we have questionable reports on the number of people killed that appear to wildly inflate the numbers (why? Isn’t “281” bad enough?) and a plethora of negative consequences if military force is used (becoming a regional conflict; Spilling over into Israel; Provoking Russian involvement; Escalation if WMDs are used again; etc), no support from Great Britain or even the majority of the American people.

But then, there are questions about whether actual “prohibited” chemical weapons were even used. We know that things like “incendiary bombs” were dropped on school children killing ten, but “incendiary bombs” are not “nerve gas”. Secretary of State Kerry slammed Syria the other day, for its use of chemical weapons on civilians… which is a war-crime. Yet, in his own announcement, Kerry made the eerily Iraq-ish claim:

“In the last 24 hours, we have learned through samples that were provided to the United States that have now been tested from first responders in east Damascus and hair samples and blood samples have tested positive for signatures of Sarin.”

Did he just say “signatures of sarin”? I hate when politicians start using qualifiers when making the case for war. Congressman (and personal hero) Alan Grayson pointed out Friday that the effects of chemical weapons like Sarin are lingering. You get it on your skin and your clothes, and then anyone that comes in contact with your skin or clothes will get sick & die for WEEKS to come. Why aren’t we hearing about people still dying of chemical weapons exposure days or even weeks after the attack? The USE of White Phosphorous as a weapon may be a war-crime, but not its possession. WE use “Willy Pete” on the battlefield (as illumination), but that doesn’t make its possession a crime. We’d better be DAMNED sure that illegal weapons were used before we ourselves embark on what could very well be another illegal war.

Sen. Rand Paul made a disturbing argument on Fox “news” Sunday questioning whether we were even fighting on the right side, noting that Assad had “protected Christians inside Syria for decades, while the rebels are allied with alQaeda.” A disturbing argument to be sure, but the “alQaeda connection” is still a valid point.

Tavis Smiley on “Meet the Press” Sunday said, “Mass doses of violence never solve our problems”, adding that “The same week we honored Martin Luther King’s words, we dishonor him with our deeds.” Well said.

Writers Wanted
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Filed in Middle East, Seems Obvious to Me, Terrorism, War September 3rd, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Revealing Surveillance Methods Just Result In More Complex Surveillance

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, June 10, 2013

Back in the 1980’s/90’s, the National Security Agency (NSA) was so top secret, the joke around Washington was that “NSA” stood for “No Such Agency”, because no one would even confirm its existence. I can remember when saying that you believe such a super-secret agency even exists made you sound like a conspiracy nut. But in January of 2000 (under President Clinton), the existence of the NSA was finally confirmed. Not only was it real, but had been around since 1951 (or 1948 under a different name). The reason for the sudden big reveal? Republican investigations into the anti-terrorism surveillance activities of the Clinton Administration had made its existence all but common knowledge. The endless GOP investigations into the Clinton Administration had found that the NSA had been instructed to monitor all electronic communications for terrorist threats. Cellphones were exceedingly rare, and the Internet was still in its infancy, so the bulk of surveillance was electronic monitoring of phone calls for word combinations like “bomb” & “target”. AlQaeda was already a huge and growing threat with a series of bombings and terrorist attacks across the Middle East (see the Khobar Towers bombing and the bombing of U.S. Embassies in Kenya & Tanzania). Thanks to the GOP’s obsession with bringing down President Clinton, the terrorists now knew that we were monitoring them, driving terrorist activities further underground. There was no longer any point in denying the existence of The National Security Agency, thus the big reveal. And so it continues. Republicans scream about violations of privacy when a Democrat is in the White House even if it jeopardizes public safety, and dismisses the president’s critics when a Republican is in office. The more they reveal, the more they “tip our hand” to the terrorists, forcing the NSA to become more intrusive trying to stay one step ahead of the terrorists. (I won’t be arguing the merits of the surveillance program here, only how it is being made worse by revealing its practices.)

It has been odd this past week listening to Progressives who feel upset & critical of President Obama (expressing everything from dismay to an outright feeling of betrayal), while many Republicans (like Bill Kristol) defend him. But there are also Republicans who… without a hint of shame or irony… are attacking Obama for doing the same thing as President Bush as just “one more example” of him using the government to trample our Civil Liberties (along with the IRS “scandal” and “Fast & Furious”)… unlike the guy who gave us The PATRIOT Act.

I am decidedly torn on the surveillance program. Personally, I was more bothered by the Bush Administration eschewing the FISA Court and Congress for permission than by the surveillance itself:

Bush 2004: Wiretapping only with a (FISA) court order.
Bush 2006: FISA was written in 1978
(explaining why they didn’t bother seeking a court order.)

Flash forward to yesterday (June 9, 2013):

Former NSA Director Gen. Michael Hayden on Fox “news” Sunday says
Obama has added “incredible oversight mechanisms” to surveillance program:

So the idea that what Bush did and President Obama is doing are “the same thing” is horse-pucky. In fact, the more we learn about the surveillance program under Obama, the more the argument against it falls apart. Where the Bush Administration flat out lied about seeking permission to do something clearly illegal, the Obama Administration has gone out of its way to keep the program “above board”.

But can’t such monitoring also be a good thing? In England, “CCTV” (Closed Circuit Television) cameras are everywhere as a crime-fighting tool. The 7/7/2005 London Bombings suspects were captured & convicted thanks to being spotted on surveillance cameras positioned throughout the city. And knowing that the cameras are there has likely proved as a deterrent against future attacks.

Others see such invasive surveillance as a “Big Brother” government invasion of privacy. ThinkProgress stated on Saturday that the tangible harm of these programs is that it “changes your behavior” so that even people who never do anything wrong feel they must act/behave a certain way for fear of reprisal.

Well, I’ve got news for you: You just defined RELIGION… the belief that an omnipotent being with the power to punish you is watching your every move to ensure that you’re being a good little boy or girl.

This also defines Santa Claus.

Americans are perfectly fine with the idea of “being constantly watched” as a means of “protection” and “behavior modification”. So anyone that whines about “Big Brother” on their way to church on Sunday… clearly you have no problem with the concept, so what’s your beef?

Conservative columnist Matt Dowd on ABC’s “ThisWeek” yesterday pointed out that “the same Conservatives supporting NSA snooping as an acceptable violation of their Civil Liberties in exchange for a little safety are the very same people unwilling to accept even the most modest gun control laws. I love when someone points out glaring Conservative hypocrisy.

But I digress.

As the presidents’ (whomever he may be) critics publicly reveal more & more about the types of information that is gathered, the MORE information they’ll have to collect as a result of our enemies now knowing what devices/words we are monitoring. If the president’s critics reveal we are checking Hotmail accounts for word like “bomb” and “embassy” in close proximity (the way I just did meaning this Op/Ed has been flagged as you have been too for reading it), they’ll just start using Yahoo mail instead and substituting words like “comb” or “qwoq” for what they really mean, making it tougher to catch them.

Some argue that there’s an upside to all this: Tell them that we’re monitoring cell phones and they’ll go back to using land lines. Tell them that we’re reading their emails and they’ll switch to snail-mail, greatly slowing down and hindering their efforts.

Problem is, our enemies are tech savvy now too. They’re not going to rely on “Smoke Signals” or “the Pony Express” (as suggested by Mary Matalin on ABC’s “ThisWeek” yesterday) to avoid having their communications intercepted, they’re going to get MORE sophisticated, not “less”. Hell, alQaeda publishes its own online magazine on its own website. Does anyone REALLY believe they’re going to get LESS sophisticated to avoid detection? Of course not. All these “revelations” do are push our enemies into using more complex methods to avoid detection, forcing US in turn to become ever more invasive. By that logic then, all we need to do is simply lie about how powerful we are and our enemies will just give up trying to attack us. (Hey, it worked for Saddam, right?)

We are sweeping up more data now because we’ve revealed the existence of these programs, putting our enemies on alert. We had all the information needed to prevent 9/11 before the attack without the extensive invasion of our privacy that we see today, we just didn’t analyze that data in time to prevent the attack. We didn’t have to collect the MASSIVE amount of data we do today from an infinite number of sources. Now we do because the existence and methods of these agencies have been revealed. These very revelations are driving the ever growing invasions of privacy the critics are screaming about. These leaks aren’t making us safer, and they DEFINITELY aren’t resulting in greater privacy.

Note: M.R.S. will be off next week for Father’s Day but will return to our regular schedule on June 24th.

Writers Wanted
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Filed in Crime, fake scandals, Politics, Terrorism, Unconstitutional June 10th, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • 4 comments | Add/View

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Republicans Seem Eager to Invade Syria Over WMDs On Ten Year Anniversary of “Mission Accomplished”

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, April 29, 2013

Iraq 1 year later (2004 cartoon)In 2006, three years after “Mission Accomplished”, the GOP controlled Congress set aside $20 million dollars in the 2007 Defense Budget for “a victory party” to celebrate the end of the Iraq & Afghanistan wars. (note: the linked story is dated “2009” because it was updated, but I’ve had it bookmarked since October 2006, as the date in the URL confirms.) It seems that the only people that didn’t know that Iraq had turned into the very “quagmire” Defense Secretary Rumsfeld dismissed as even a possibility before the war began, were the people that cheerleaded us into that war. The invasion of Iraq was a horrendous mistake, and the voters let them know it in a big way in the mid-term election that year, switching control of BOTH houses of Congress over to the Democrats. Rumsfeld was fired and a Republican critic of possibly invading Iraq in 1991 (Robert Gates) was nominated to take his place. That anger over being mislead into a costly and totally unnecessary war of choice with no exit-strategy after 5-1/2 years played a significant part in Barack Obama’s decisive victory over John McCain in 2008. In December 2011, President Obama successfully pulled the last American combat troop out of Iraq, a move supported by 75 percent of all Americans. And now, almost ten years to the day (May 1st) of President Bush’s “Top Gun” moment off the coast of San Diego to announce the end of a war that would continue for NINE more years, with recent news that traces of “Sarin nerve gas” have been found in tissue samples of victims in Syria’s civil war, the same chicken-hawks that couldn’t wait for us to invade Iraq are now suggesting this phantom “red line” that President Obama understandably drew in the sand on Syria, has been crossed and demands military intervention.

Except that that was NOT the “red line” President Obama drew in the sand:

President Obama (8/21/2012): “We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around and being utilized.”

Clearly the red line has been crossed” announced both Fox’s Chris Wallace and ABC’s George Stephanopoulos during yesterday’s Sunday Talk Shows. John McCain was out there as well last week, once again eager to embroil the U.S. military against yet another Middle-Eastern nation, declaring that it was “clear” that “a red line has been crossed.”

NO! It is NOT “clear” AT ALL! What was reported last week was NOT “a whole bunch” of chemical weapons, as NBC’s roving warzone reporter Richard Engel pointed out on The Rachel Maddow Show Friday night:

Engel: “There are some holes [in the case against Syria having used Sarin].”

Engel: “What doesn’t make sense however is: Why? and How?, you don’t use Weapons of Mass Destruction to do minimal killing [less than two dozen people].”

“Imagine: A nuclear weapon… we’re gonna make just an acorn-sized one and see what the world does. That seems strange.”

While there is little reason to doubt that Syria does indeed have “stockpiles” of chemical weapons, it has never been confirmed. Syria began pursuing chemical weapons in the 80’s to counter Israel’s development of nuclear weapons, but has never actually used them in combat [ibid]. No inspectors have been allowed in to document Syria’s stockpile of WMD’s. It all sounds a tad too familiar:

Saddam: “I lied about Weapons to scare off Iran.”

So a brutal dictator with a “stockpile” of chemical weapons used just enough of his Weapon of MASS Destruction to murder only a handful of people that were nowhere near the capitol? Why? Was it just a test? Could someone… a member of the resistance or maybe even a rival nation… have been trying to draw the U.S. into a war with Syria? Might a member of the opposition have been trying to develop their own homemade Sarin gas in an experiment gone horribly awry? We just don’t know. These scenarios might be unlikely, but we DID just arrest a man Saturday that sent homemade Ricin nerve toxin through the mail, so the possibility that the Syrian government didn’t in fact actually “cross that red line” must be considered before using military force against yet another Middle-Eastern nation. But as Bill Kristol said on yesterday’s Fox “news” Sunday: “Ya gotta do what ya gotta do” (invade Syria for “crossing the red line”.)

There are a LOT of unanswered questions before we do something like use military force against another country. It’s heartening to see that the lessons of Iraq were not lost on our current Commander-in-Chief even if his opposition has the memory of a goldfish.

Editors’ aside: My departure from “Crooks & Liars”:

First some background…

If you are a regular visitor to Mugsy’s Rap Sheet, you probably know that last year I was asked if I’d like to be a volunteer contributing editor to the popular video blog “Crooks & Liars”. The offer was made out of appreciation for my weekly contribution to their “Sunday Morning Bobbleheads” thread for the last six-and-a-half years, live-blogging highlights from the major network Sunday talkshows for 3-4 hours nearly every Sunday morning since 2006. However, that wasn’t the first time I was asked if I’d like to be an Administrator. Back in 2008, I turned down the same offer because I wanted to focus on getting my own blog better established first… a move I later regretted because M.R.S. was not achieving the numbers I had hoped. So when the offer was made again during the 2012 Election Season, I said yes. I was given low-level Admin access, shown how to create posts of my own, and added to the “Team” mailing list. This is useful for people seeking “help” researching a particular topic or needing help finding a photo/video (of which I was able to provide several times). I was pleased to help in any way I could.

I continued to live-blog the Sunday Morning thread each week, and during the busy election season, I even found time to write several posts. When the Sandy Hook massacre occurred last December, I volunteered to live-blog a one hour “discussion” on “gun control”, citing my unique position of living in Texas, having been raised around guns and gun-owners that are extremely protective of their “Right to Bear Arms”.

But as an unpaid volunteer, I was not a frequent contributor to the site. Who exactly can afford to spend hours upon hours during the work week monitoring the Conservative News Outlets and scrounging the web for choice comments from random insane Right-Wingers when they’re not being paid to do so? Hell, I only update THIS site once a week, and I do that on Sunday evening (which it now is as I write this). C&L has a lot of “editors”, but most of them do not post every day (I dare say I’d be surprised if some contributors post even once a month.) One of the reasons I finally agreed to join the team was that I often heard my favorite Liberal talk-radio hosts quote stories they had read on “Crooks & Liars” on their radio shows, reaching tens of thousands. My hope then was to have something I wrote quoted on the radio and perhaps translate into traffic to my own site. But unfortunately, I quickly discovered that if your story isn’t Breaking News, the chances something I wrote would appear on C&L during the daytime hours was close to nil. Timing the appearance of ones post was a lesson in futility. Even posting the night before provided no increased likelihood that my posts would appear early the next day. Being a bit of an historian, I sometimes wrote on a subject a day in advance of the anniversary of such & such, then having to carefully monitor the site to make sure my post did not go up too soon. A posts that announces: “Today is the anniversary of…” looks kind of stupid if it appears a day too early or around 7pm when the day is nearly through and the fact “Today is the anniversary of…” is already old news. The long delay between submitting a story and it actually appearing on the site long after the height of the talk radio day was over negated any benefit I had hoped to gain from my writings, providing me with less & less incentive to contribute.

Anyway, two weeks ago following the Boston Bombings, I did not post anything or provide any research on any of the stories being covered that week. The bombing took place on a Monday and an arrest was made by Friday. It was, as you know, a frenetic news week, and while I wasn’t able to provide any “scoops” from my home in Texas, I was still the recipient of a growing flood of “Team” email every day… something I can understand and fully appreciate… when it is people seeking legitimate help.

I was already directing my “Team” mail to a separate Inbox, but that didn’t alleve me of the burden of going through every message looking for ones of people seeking help. At first the amount of mail was manageable, but despite checking my mail just before bedtime (10pm), I awoke last Wednesday morning to find an astounding TWO-HUNDRED & TWENTY-SIX messages waiting for me. I wouldn’t have minded so much, but after reading my 12th “Thankyou” and “Your Welcome”, I sent a brief note to the Team asking them: “if a message does not need to go out to everyone, to please take a moment to change the “Reply-To” address to the person you are responding to, and don’t just click ‘Reply’. There is no reason to send a ‘Thankyou’ intended for ONE person to everybody on the Team mailing list.”

Am I wrong?

I quickly received a terse response from “Nicole Belle”, one of the higher-ups at C&L (and incidentally the Moderator of the Sunday Bobbleheads thread) telling me that I “had not contributed enough during last weeks’ Boston Bombing” to start telling “us” how to run “our” business. The response seemed a might over-the-top for such a mild (and polite I might add) request. And the “us” really irked me since the clear implication was that I was still considered an “outsider”.

Not being a hypocrite, I sent Nicole a polite reply to her personal address rather than the Team Account explaining that I was only requesting that team members show a little consideration before replying, and I didn’t feel that was deserving of such a hostile response. I also noted that her “you” vs “us” characterization of me in response was disturbing, and that if she felt the amount of time I was “volunteering” was “inadequate”, to please let me know and I’d “do what I could to rectify the situation” (meaning, relieve her of the burden of having me as an unpaid contributor.) Telling a volunteer that they didn’t “volunteer enough” was particularly galling. For all she knew, that was the week I started driving my mother to Chemo each morning and was stuck at the hospital waiting for hours. (It’s not my job to provide you with content each day, Ms. Belle.) She responded with a nasty reply, telling me she was “done with me” and would be removing my name from the group email account. Oh, and did I mention that she changed the Reply-To address of her response back to the “Team” mailing list just so she could have an audience while she told me how difficult and time-consuming it is to change the Reply-To address?

Again, I replied privately to Nicole and again she changed the Reply-To address so she could attack me publicly, saying I had been removed from the Team mailing list. She told me of how she herself regularly receives “something like 400 emails every day and [C&L founder] John Amato regularly receives over 5,000 [ListServe messages a day].” Well, that’s not MY problem. I didn’t make Nicole sign up for all those mailing lists, and if she has a problem with them, then she can always unsubscribe. I was only trying to control my tiny corner of the world. (I found it curious though that she would complain to me about the amount of mail she receives each day after attacking me for doing the same thing.) I mentioned to her that it seemed my suggestion would not only benefit me, but apparently her as well.

Fortunately, there were other members of the team that showed deference towards me, and The Big Cheese himself, John Amato, asked if I wanted to be removed from the Mailing List. I told him, “No,” only that it would be nice if people didn’t address messages to Everyone that were intended for just one person, to help cut down on the amount of unnecessary mail we all receive each day. Again, I didn’t (and still don’t) feel I was asking too much of anyone. I assume John had my email added back to the mailing list because I continued to receive “Team” email.

Last Thursday, one of the messages I received mentioned something I felt I could help with, so I replied and my Server quickly responded that I “didn’t have the right to send messages to this account.” I was still receiving “Team” email, but couldn’t respond to them. So what was the point? I quickly concluded that the sole purpose of sending me messages I could not respond to could be for no other purpose than to “annoy me”. Unable to send a “Team” email, I sent an email to the personal address of all the primary members of C&L telling them to “discontinue my relationship with them” if the sole purpose of sending me email I could not respond to was “simply to annoy me”. A short while later, I received a friendly reply from a supporter telling me an “error” had been made by adding the wrong one of my email addresses to the mailing list (which confirmed to me that Nicole had indeed deleted me from the mailing list and was ordered to add me back), which is why my replies were being rejected, but, I was told, “the problem was now fixed and I should be able to contribute again.” I tried again about an hour later but my message was still being rejected. I visited the C&L website to find all my Administrator privileges had been revoked.

A few weeks before being asked aboard last year, I noticed one Sunday that I seemed to be the only one posting to the “BobbleHeads” thread for several weeks in a row. So I wrote John to express my concern that I seemed to be “monopolizing” the Sunday Thread and would be willing to back off for awhile until traffic resumed if they’d like. I quickly received a reply telling me that it was perfectly fine to keep live-blogging my weekly highlights. It wasn’t until I was asked to join the Team a few weeks later that I discovered that the Sunday Show highlights I had been reporting each week were being sent to everyone on the Team mailing list that same morning to provide others with post-ideas throughout the week… as I had hoped. I was told around that same time how everybody there “freaked out” when I had offered to take a sabbatical weeks before because they had all come to depend upon my weekly contributions.

“If C&L does not want my input, they certainly don’t need my continued contributions to the Sunday Morning Bobblehead thread”, I decided Friday. (A simple demonstration of Nicole’s pettiness can be seen in the fact that… I was later told… she had deleted my post to the Sunday Morning thread yesterday where I let everyone know I would not be doing my weekly highlights anymore. I used no profanity and even noted that it would be inappropriate for me go into detail of my dispute with her on their site. And despite receiving a number of replies from friends telling me I would be missed, I was told she posted yet another nasty and dismissive response before deleting my post.)

So following my “excommunication” by Nicole, I knew that there was absolutely no reason for me to continue providing assistance to someone that didn’t appreciate my contributions to the team. Crooks & Liars financially profited from my assistance each week, for which I received nothing in return other than hostility and called an outsider that wasn’t volunteering enough to be considered part of the team.

And that is why I am no longer contributing to their site. – Mugsy

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

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Filed in Middle East, Politics, rewriting history, Right-wing Facism, Terrorism, War April 29th, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • 12 comments | Add/View