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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you.

 

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

Effectiveness of 1994 AW Ban

 

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

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

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

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

46 voted to do nothing after Sandy Hook

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Never look for logic where none exists.
 

RedRidingHood banned for bottle of wine on cover

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

GOP is a Death Cult

 


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With Arpaio Pardon, Trump drops pretense he’s not a racist
Aug 28th, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

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I write this under the persistent rain of Hurricane (now Tropical Storm) Harvey. I’m one of the lucky ones who saw no flooding and never lost power, but many around me were not so lucky. NBC Nightly News showed a highway intersection near me and noticed some “splashing” in the middle of the highway underpass not realizing it was a guy in a bathing cap swimming in 5 feet of water in the middle of the highway. People are weird.

Speaking of which, a mere 72 hours after “Glorious Leader” feigned offense at being criticized for defending Nazi’s & White Supremacists, Trump used the hurricane as a distraction to pardon racist former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio. Arpaio was convicted last month of criminal contempt for ignoring a judge’s order (because The Law does not apply to people like Arpaio & Trump) to stop detaining people he suspected were undocumented immigrants based merely on their race (or what race they appeared to be.) And I have NO doubt Trump believed Arpaio’s only crime was benign “profiling”, making it easy to excuse a fellow disgusting bigot for his “misbehavior”. It’s easy to forget that the controversy surrounding Arizona’s infamous Sheriff Joe goes all the way back to the Bush Administration, when he was charged in 2008 with using/abusing his office (and its financial resources) to target his political enemies (including arresting a reporter in his home in the dead of night after criticizing him, in 2007). Arpaio’s antics reached a fever pitch during the 2012 election when he became a problem for Mitt Romney, who didn’t want to be seen as defending Arpaio and Arizona’s horrendous “papers please” bill (that codified Arpaio’s “detain and ask questions later” way of doing business) while simultaneously not wanting to offend a key GOP demographic: racists & bigots.

160 people DIED in Arpaio’s custody… 73 of “unexplained” causes (ibid). In 2009, a pregnant Latina woman… and American citizen… was racially profiled and arrested by one of Arpaio’s goon squads. They shackled her hands and feet, and did not unshackle her even after going into labor (where was she going to go?), giving birth in the jail and separating her from her newborn child for 72 hours. This is the man Trump deemed worthy of a Presidential Pardon. Please note that the pardon was over Arpaio’s refusal to comply with a court order, which carried with it a whopping six months (some say only “60 days”) in jail. Trump deliberately angered millions and upset an entire minority population just to spare an old racist bastard 60 days in jail? #ToddlerTrump once again being intentionally provocative just to tick off his political enemies.

Of course, Arpaio was also a huge “Birther” (which pretty much goes without saying) and fan of Trump’s racist Birther crusade against Obama, creating his own “Birther Squad” where the Maricopa County sheriff concluded (with the help of World Nut Daily and “Swift Boater” jackass Jerome Corsi) in 2012 that president Obama’s birth certificate was “a forgery and a fraud”. Why was an Arizona sheriff investigating Obama’s birth certificate? Didn’t he have better things to do? Apparently not.

But Arpaio is just one example.

As I’ve previously mentioned, there are/were three conspicuous racists serving in Trump’s inner circle: his “Chief Strategist”… known “White Nationalist” Steve Bannon, military analyst and deputy assistant to the president Sebastian “Nazi Medal” Gorka, and “political advisor” “White Power hand gesture guy” Stephen Miller. Following Trump’s botched response to the Charlottesville protest, he fired Bannon (one of the founders of the “Alt-Right” movement)… a fellow loose-canon that reportedly did not get along with others (reportedly, “The Mooch”… during his brief 10 days on the job, wanted both Bannon & Priebus fired. Priebus got the ax first and many believe incoming Chief-of-Staff Kelly finished the job with Bannon.) Gorka says he quit. Everyone else says Trump fired him. Why? Because Gorka and Bannon were good friends, and Gorka was not happy about Bannon’s firing. And now only Miller remains.

After firing two prominent racists, Trump’s base needed some red meat. Following the conviction of Arpaio, Trump announced he was flying to Arizona for “a rally”, but it was widely suspected he was going there to pardon Arpaio. Like all racist cowards, Trump flinched under the white hot spotlight of criticism of possibly issuing his first-ever pardon to a ridiculous racist asshat like Sheriff Joe a mere three days after Trump was criticized for defending Nazi’s. Trump instead waited until 9pm EDT… just as a hurricane was making landfall in Texas and people were being killed… to announce he was pardoning him. If you wait until late Friday evening while the nation is distracted by a natural disaster to do something, you CLEARLY know you’re doing something wrong. Something you know you’d be roundly criticized for if the nation were not distracted by millions of people in mortal danger in Texas.

I was going to write about Trump’s childish attacks upon Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) for his lack of loyalty (there’s that word again), but the storm outside suddenly just got that much worse that I need to end this here.

It all seems like this all took place over the course of a month. It’s difficult to believe it was only one week ago. What a week.
 


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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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How Many Trump Appointments Also Have Conflicts of Interest?
Dec 12th, 2016 by Admin Mugsy

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President-elect Trump seems to be going out of his way to pick the worst possible people to staff his cabinet & White House. But beyond appointing a neurosurgeon to run HUD, beyond putting “generals” in charge of making “peace”, beyond appointing an opponent of public schools to run our public schools, and beyond appointing a critic of Civil Rights to be in charge of the protecting Civil Rights, he’s putting a Climate Change denier in charge of the EPA, and billionaires in charge of agencies that could DIRECTLY affect their own personal wealth. Questions of “conflicts of interest” no longer begin & end with Trump himself. Trump announced on “60 Minutes” a few weeks ago that he would accept a salary of only “$1/year” as president. A magnanimous gesture even for a billionaire to give up a $420,000 salary. But evidently, he has asked his wealthy cabinet picks to follow suit, stating during his Fox “news” Sunday interview yesterday that his cabinet members will be paid only $1/year as well. And why wouldn’t they? Do you think 20th Century bank robber Willie Sutton would have turned down the job of bank guard if it only paid $1/year? No. They are more than happy to do these thankless jobs because they’ll finally be in control of the agencies that stood in their way all these years. They’re not agreeing to do these jobs out of the goodness of their hearts. They are out to destroy these agencies for personal gain (at the expense of the rest of us.) This is putting the foxes in charge of the hen house.

We already know about asinine picks like putting Ben Carson… a retired neurosurgeon… in charge of “Housing & Urban Development” on the grounds Carson “once lived in public housing”… which is like me saying I can land a 747 because I once flew in one. But I don’t think Carson has any “conflict of interest” where he or members of his family might stand to personally benefit from decisions he makes at HUD.

However, many of Trump’s other appointments do. Beyond the hypocrisy of appointing three former Goldman Sachs executives to his administration after blasting Hillary Clinton & Ted Cruz for their ties to the Wall Street bank, some of the Billionaires Trump has appointed to his cabinet will be running agencies they themselves have a personal grudge against… not because of any belief those agencies are not operating in the best interests of the PUBLIC, no. But because these agencies have been standing in the way of making these Billionaires even more obscenely wealthy than they already are (echos of Ted Kennedy asking, “When does the greed stop?”)

Among Trump’s appointees:

  • Steven Mnuchin – Trump’s pick for Treasury Secretary is not only one of those former Goldman Sachs bankers, Mnuchin left the firm to start his own bank, “OneWest“, that earned him the nickname “foreclosure machine” during the banking crisis for foreclosing on over 36 thousand home loans plus another 40 percent (16,200) of all reverse mortgages. As Treasury Secretary, Mnuchin will be able to set interest rates deciding how much banks like his will earn on the loans he makes.
  •  

  • Steven Pruitt – Trump’s pick to head the EPA… the former Oklahoma Attorney General… has sued the EPA at least 13 times. Why? Because Pruitt doesn’t believe in Global Warming (and not too sure about gravity either) and is currently suing the agency’s Clean Power Plan, which he called a “war on coal” for setting “pollution standards for power plants and statewide goals for cutting carbon pollution.” Is there any question why the AG from Oklahoma would be hostile towards any regulation of the Energy industry… which stands to make… not just millions or billions, but literally Trillions of dollars pending rollbacks of a host of environmental regulations… which he will now be able to do as head of the EPA. Those costly lawsuits he filed all go bye-bye. And I can assure you Pruitt’s wealthy friends won’t forget him when he’s looking for a job four years from now.
  •  

  • Andrew Puzder – Trump’s pick as Labor Secretary, the owner & founder of the Hardee’s and “Carl’s Jr” fast food chains, opposes raising the minimum wage (not just to $15, but thinks even $10.10 is “too high”), is a bit of a misogynist (like his boss), opposes expanding eligibility rules to qualify for overtime pay, and waxes poetic over the notion of replacing workers with robots:
     
    Puzder on automation
    “They’re always polite, they always upsell,
    they never take a vacation, they never show up late,
    there’s never a slip-and-fall, or an age,
    sex or race discrimination case.”

     
    If that sounds like employment nirvana that’ll make YOUR life happier & more prosperous… not Puzder’s… then the Puzder pick should make your short miserable life a little bit brighter.
  •  

  • And probably by the time you read this, Trump will have named Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson to be his Secretary of State. As Rachel Maddow pointed out last week, Tillerson has close ties to Russia, and as America’s chief diplomat, could easily choose to show favoritism towards nations either doing business with Exxon or are seeking to do business with Exxon. The State Department also brokers treaties and trade deals… all of which could prove to be highly lucrative for his company Exxon/Mobile.
  •  

  • And of course, we’ll always have the man himself, Trump, the mother of all “conflicts of interests”, whom last week announced he will still be an Executive Producer of his TV Show “Celebrity Apprentice” (which was canceled last year after his remarks about Mexicans, but was miraculously renewed with his election victory.) Trump does not think this is a “conflict of interests” because he thinks the term refers to “divided attention” (and no one dare correct the president-elect no matter how often he denies his business interests “aren’t a conflict of interests” because he can “do both at the same time.” Lord help us. The man is an idiot and our journalists won’t do their jobs.) Trump will still profit from his hotels as well. Every time a foreign dignitary chooses to stay in one of his hotels, they are greasing his sweaty orange palm in direct violation of The Emoluments Clause. The Embassy of Bahrain has made plans to host their “National Day” celebration at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. and the RNC themselves chose to host their Xmas party there as well. All that money goes right into his pocket. Trump says he intends to keep “a stake” in his empire. Good. That’ll make it that much easier to impeach his ass for accepting bribes two years from now.

Other Billionaires appointed to the Trump Administration: industrialist Wilbur Ross to head the Commerce Department, who has amassed a fortune of $2.5 Billion through decades at the helm of Rothschild’s bankruptcy practice and his own investment firm, and Todd Ricketts, son of a billionaire co-owner of the Chicago Cubs as his deputy. Betsy DeVos, Trump’s education secretary, is the daughter-in-law of Richard DeVos, co-founder of Amway, and transportation secretary Elaine Chao, wife of Mitch McConnell who previously worked as Bush’s Labor Secretary, is the daughter of a shipping magnate.

Do ANY of these people strike you as the altruistic type seeking only to serve their fellow man? How many of these Billionaires have established charities or actively served their communities? Editor of the National Review, Rich Lowry, said yesterday during ABC’s “ThisWeek” that all these Billionaire CEO’s “only want to see workers become more prosperous.” Really? Because all of these guys already employ tens of thousands. If all they want is “to see workers become more prosperous”, what’s stopping them? There’s no regulation prohibiting them from giving their employees a raise or increasing overtime pay. In fact, we know at least one of them (Puzder) is openly opposed to doing anything that profits his workers. He’d rather replace them with robots.

No, these people aren’t taking these jobs for “humanitarian” reasons or out of any sense of “public duty”. They are volunteering for these jobs because they seek to financially benefit Special Interests… which sometimes is the person staring back at them in the mirror.
 

Postscript: More news broke last week as the CIA confirmed that not only did Russia break into DNC servers during the Primaries, but they broke into RNC servers as well (but never released anything they found.) Reince Priebus on ABC’s “ThisWeek” yesterday conceded that Russia may have broken into DNC servers, but absolutely refused to admit they may have broken into RNC servers as well. I want you to think about that for a second. Is it so improbable that the RNC servers could have been hacked? Does he believe RNC servers are somehow less hackable than the DNC’s? If so, how would he know? Or perhaps they have been in communication with the Kremlin and have received assurances they wouldn’t be hacked? (Remember, Trump practically encouraged Russia to hack into either the DNC or Clinton’s private email server to dig up those “30,000 missing emails” during the campaign.) Or perhaps he knows the RNC servers WERE hacked because Russia admitted it to them, which would mean the RNC was aware Russia was hacking our election but said nothing about it. There is no “good” explanation for why Priebus would adamantly defend Russia and deny even the possibility of being hacked. Chuck Todd had to talk to Priebus like a child during “Meet the Press” yesterday as he futily tried to get the future Chief-of-Staff to understand how denying RNC servers were hacked didn’t negate the possibility of Russian meddling in our election. Exasperated, Todd was eventually forced to give up as they came upon a commercial break.

Trump himself attacked the CIA for suggesting Russia may have interfered with our election to help him win, saying “These are the same people who said Saddam had WMD’s.” (Well, no. Cheney stovepiped intel to Langley and changed Directors until they told him what he wanted to hear, but the one time they told the Bush Administration what they DIDN’T want to hear… “Bin Laden Determined to Attack in U.S.” on August 6th, 2001… they were dead on.)

Trump criticizes our own intelligence agencies while defending Russia… again. His likely Secretary of State pick was awarded the Russian “Medal of Friendship” by Putin himself, whom Trump bragged, “Has a very good working relationship with Russia” when defending Tillerson’s qualification to be Secretary of State, and most forget this his first campaign manager Paul Manifort was forced to resign because of his close financial ties to Russia.

Trump supporters don’t see how having the President-elect of the United States defending Russia… even over his own intelligence agencies… is a public relations coup for Russia.

Ronald Reagan is spinning in his grave like a top.
 


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Will Trump Resolve His Business Conflicts Before His Inauguration? Doubtful.
Nov 28th, 2016 by Admin Mugsy

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“I don’t care about hotel occupancy” President-elect Trump told Leslie Stahl of “60 Minutes” a few weeks ago. “It’s peanuts compared to what we’re doing.” That was the second time Trump tried to dismiss questions about possible conflicts of interest stemming from refusing to sell of his business holdings while president. The first time was during the very first GOP debate hosted by Fox “news”, where he was asked if he would liquidate his business and put his holdings in a blind trust to ensure there would be no conflict of interests. The problem is, despite repeatedly dismissing the importance of his business to him, it is becoming quite clear that he has no interest in liquidating his empire. And that’s because it IS important to him. All the more reason why he must sell it all off… which he’ll never do.

Incredibly, during that debate, Trump clearly didn’t understand what a “blind trust” is, saying:
 

“I’ll turn everything over to Ivanka & my kids. Is that a conflict of interests? I don’t know.”

 

YES! Yes you idiot! Of COURSE that’s a conflict of interests! How does a corporate mogul, worth just over $3-Billion dollars (not ten) who ran on his “business prowess” NOT know what a “conflict of interest” is??? The issue isn’t WHO controls your money (though even if you thought that, how do you conclude that putting your business in the hands of your own family, and profiting off those interests, to be a “blind trust”?), it’s whether you know WHERE your money’s invested! If you still know where the money is, it’s not “blind” at all! As long as there is a danger of you setting national policy according to what personally profits YOU (or your family) OR if there’s a danger someone might try to curry favor with you by appealing to your business interests, THAT (by definition) is a “conflict of interests.”

And regarding his Net Worth: All thru the campaign, Trump insisted he was worth “Ten Billion dollars”, yet repeatedly refused to release his taxes to prove it. And as a Bloomberg investigation revealed [ibid], while Trump has ASSETS in excess of $3-billion, he is actually deep in debt, with roughly $170-Million in liquid assets (cash, stocks, etc), yet owing “over $630-Million” to creditors (nearly double what he owed the year before.) According to “Fox Business” last month, Trump’s credit score (on a scale of 1 to 100) is a whopping NINETEEN (19). Anyone so deep in debt is a ripe target for financial manipulation (and therefore a threat to the interests of the United States.)

The good news (for him) is that he can easily solve BOTH problems by simply selling off his business empire. Eliminate any CoI’s, while simultaneously paying off his massive debt.

For example: the head of the Federal Reserve is not permitted to put his/her money in ANY kind of “interest bearing” bank account. And that is because they set Federal Interest rates, and we can’t have the Chairman of the Federal Reserve setting interest rates according to what might personally benefit them. I’m not even sure they can invest their savings in the stock market because raising/lowering interest rates tends to influence the stock market too. So, because of this, the Chairman of the Fed is well paid to compensate them for not being allowed to invest their money.

The same philosophy applies to members of Congress, Supreme Court justices, and all other government officials. But not to the president or vice president.

Just last Wednesday, in an statement eerily reminiscent of Richard Nixon’s “When the president does it, that means it is not illegal” comment, Trump cited a legal loophole exempting the President & Vice President from “conflict of interest laws”, stating “the president can’t have a conflict of interest.” “In theory I could run my business perfectly and then run the country perfectly” without running afoul of the law. This isn’t exactly true.

Article 1, Section 9, Clause 8 of the Constitution created “The Emoluments Clause” forbidding the president, “without the Consent of the Congress, [to] accept… any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign [head of] State.” And the Founders reasoning for this is clear: they didn’t want the president of the United States feeling obligated towards anyone for fear of him putting his own interests ahead of those of the country. Personally, I think the “foreign” dignitary loophole is a problem too. Is there any question Trump might be willing to push for a government project that benefits his personal friends? That “one trillion dollars” he claims to be willing to spend on “infrastructure”? Who gets those contracts when when you have a president who made his fortune in “construction”? His personal friends in the construction industry? And if a member of Congress doesn’t want a highway redirected past one of Trump’s hotels, who gets a phone call the next day telling him to “rethink” his opposition?

Of course, with a GOP Congress, they’ll never complain about a Republican president accepting anything others might consider a potential conflict of interests. As long as they remain in charge, he can enjoy whatever conflicts he wants. “Myself, my staff, and our entire delegation stayed in your wonderful hotel Mr. President. Now, let’s talk about that golf course you want to build in our country while we discuss that Trade Deal.”

Even SELLING his assets at this point is a potential conflict of interests if he knows WHO he’s selling to, because the buyer may overpay whatever the asset is worth to gain his favor. Trump would need a third party to liquidate every business he owns in every country he has assets in to ensure no one can manipulate him by holding his business interests hostage.

Just over a week ago, the president-elect met with three business partners from India in his office in Trump Tower. He is currently in development to build a luxury hotel in Pune, India with them. What kind of power does this give Trump’s business partners over the Indian government if they know the man in the White House is a personal friend of theirs?

The day after winning the presidency, Turkish President Erdogan called Donald Trump to congratulate him on his victory. During that call, Trump reportedly discussed a Turkish business partner of his that is licensing the Trump name to build a luxury hotel in Istanbul. So now Erdogan knows he can please the President of the United States by doing favors for someone in the president’s debt (literally).

The Donald keeps insisting that members of his family be present during high level meetings. Completely unacceptable, yet understandable once you realize what extraordinary trust issues Trump has, trusting no one but his own children to look after him (and his business interests.) And the one person he trusts most to look out for him most of all is his daughter Ivanka. So when the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was the first foreign leader to personally meet with the President-Elect a few weeks ago in New York, Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner… neither of whom with any security clearance… were in attendance. The problem is, (besides the whole “security” thing) Ivanka also serves as vice president for development and acquisitions at the Trump Organization, and owns her own jewelry line, Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry, which sells to a global market that includes Japan. This could conceivably give Trump’s business interests and those of his kids an unfair advantage competing in global markets.

When Argentine President Mauricio Macri called to congratulate Trump on his election victory, one Argentinian reporter claims Trump asked for help with permits for an office tower that bears his name being built in that country. Both Macri, Trump, and their mutual staffs all deny the subject ever came up during the call (natch), which would be an extraordinary and unprecedented conflict of interests if he did.

Before he announced he was running for president, Trump was furious over a plan to construct a series of off-shore wind turbines spoiling the view of his golf course in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, taking the Swedish company contracted to construct the turbines to court to stall if not stop the project entirely. But in June, the Swedish company announced its plan to proceed with the project anyway. So four days after winning the election, Trump contacted British MP Nigel Farage… a fellow far-Right xenophobe that campaigned with Trump… and “urged him and his fellow members of the European Parliament” to “oppose [all] off-shore wind farms.” Two other far-Right British corporate executives in attendance vowed to “[campaign] against wind farms in England, Scotland, and Wales.” So now, Trump’s business interests are dictating clean energy policy in other countries because it interferes with his corporate interests.

Not even president yet, Trump is already using the power of his office for personal financial gain. Cenk Uygur, host of “The Young Turks” Progressive Talk Show, was a guest on ABC’s ThisWeek yesterday and made the astute observation, “He [Trump] wasn’t worth ten-billion dollars coming into office, but he’ll be worth ten-billion dollars when he leaves.” What is to come once he’s sworn in and the reigns of power are turned over to him? Donald Trump MUST liquidate his business empire NOW. He minimalized it’s importance throughout the campaign (but only so he might downplay the need to divest himself from it), so there should be no problem giving it up. Right?

Except with that massive ego of his, giving up all those building & casinos bearing his name hoisted high in the skies over major cities around the globe is something he’ll never willingly give up without a fight… which is exactly what he’ll get.
 


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Dallas and The Slippery Slope of Allowing Police to Play Executioner
Jul 11th, 2016 by Admin Mugsy

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Last week was another tragic week following the deaths of two black men at the hands of police under dubious circumstances and five police officers in Dallas by a disturbed black man using a #BlackLivesMatter protest as cover. But just as disturbing was the method used to “stop” the Dallas shooter… not “capture”, “arrest” or “subdue”, but the outright “execution” of the gunman… former military and possibly suffering from PTSD. After shooting and killing FIVE of Dallas’ finest, the man HAD to be stopped. There is no question of that. But the “final solution” (pun intended) was to bypass DUE PROCESS and simply execute the gunman by sending in a robot to plant a bomb and detonate it with him inside.

Now, NO ONE is defending the life of the gunman over the lives of the officers he killed. If you think that’s what this story is about, you’re sadly mistaken. No. This is about the “slippery slope” of granting an already overly-militarized police force the power to perform summary battlefield executions without benefit of trial.

Back in the 1976, an obscure British comic book anti-hero was created called Judge Dredd (you’re more likely to know the mediocre 1995 Stallone film of the same name [or its 2012 remake].) Dredd was a future police officer in the far-off year of 2000. Thanks to an over-burdened court system due to too many criminals thanks to the collapse of society, officers like Dredd were bestowed the power of “Judge, Jury & Executioner“. Don’t bother arresting a person if caught red-handed, simply sentence them to “death” and execute them on the spot based solely on the officers own judgement. No muss. No fuss.

Police officers in this country have the SOLE job of apprehending criminals to stand trial. Officers may carry guns to protect themselves and others. They may NOT simply execute a suspect, denying them “due process”, and certainly not by planting a bomb. to blow them up when they won’t surrender.

Again, I repeat my point about not defending the shooter nor his actions. That’s not the point. His crime is not the point. Whether he deserved what he got is not the point. This is about power we are ceding to an already over-militrized police force that is looking more and more like an occupying army with each passing year. Gone are the days of “Officer Bob” patrolling his beat… the same city-street day after day, getting to know the residents by name. Urban sprawl has made that all but impossible today. And with a Congress that is unwilling to deny the mentally impaired or even terrorist suspects from purchasing a firearm, no wonder our streets look more like warzones and our police like soldiers.

The late Pierre Salenger, former Press Secretary to President Kennedy (later reporter for ABC News) once told the following story: “Back in 1962 during The Cuban Missile Crisis, President Kennedy had to leave an event early to deal with an emergency. Rather than tell the Press he had matters to attend to without the inevitable Q&A, Kennedy instead lied to the Press about why he had to leave early. A little white lie. No big deal, and no one would think twice of it today. But it marked the first time a president willfully lied to the American people.” And so the “slippery slope” began. Soon it became totally accepted that a president may just lie to the country and no one thinks twice about it. We may even tell ourselves “they’re doing it for our own good.”

Following the scandalous Nixon presidency, Jimmy Carter ran for president vowing to “never lie to the American people”. No way to know if he kept that promise, but we KNOW no one else since has. Whether or not it is ever justified is not the question. It’s a power we surrendered to those who have proven they can’t be trusted with that kind of power.

Right now, there are several million paranoid white NRA members that are stockpiling guns & ammunition for the day “the gub’ment” is coming to “take their guns away”. How different are THEY from the “Black Lives Matter” people in fearing for their lives from the government? And how many of those white NRA members do you think sided with the government against the BLM protesters? (I reiterate that the Dallas shooter was NOT affiliated with BLM. Reports are that he had been planning an attack on police for months, well before the killings of Alton Sterling and Philandro Castile. The shooting may have triggered him to snap, or he may have simply used the protests as cover.)

In the Dallas Shooter case, WHAT IF police had instead pumped the building full of tear-gas or sleeping-gas, allowing them to take him alive? If that were an option, would you STILL have advocated the use of a BOMB sent in by robot to execute him? Would it matter to you if this were a former soldier suffering from PTSD? We’ve all seen police in riot gear with bullet-proof plexiglass shields. If the police could not go in after him, could a “hostage negotiator” have talked him into coming out with his hands up (don’t shoot)? Was the weaponry he was using too deadly to make that worth risking? And if so, whose fault is THAT? If you’re asking why an irrational man committing an irrational act didn’t rationally surrender to spare his own life, that in itself is not rational. And just how certain were they he didn’t have a hostage or that no one else was in that building before setting off that bomb?

I stress again that this is NOT about defending the man who killed five police officers. It is about deciding whether or not we want to confer the power to deny Due Process… a right established in our Constitution and reserved to the COURTS… to a police force that already behaves like an occupying army in the middle of a warzone (and further justifying the sale of military-grade hardware to the general public). It’s a slippery-slope… or so the gun nuts keep telling me.
 


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Ingraham asks, “When have Republicans EVER obstructed President Obama?”
Jan 11th, 2016 by Admin Mugsy

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“They have been his best friend! What are you talking about?”, chuckled Conservative radio host Laura Ingraham during Fox “news” Sunday yesterday when Juan Williams said “This [Republican] Congress has relentlessly obstructed President Obama on everything!” “Where have they obstructed Obama?” she demanded incredulously. No, I didn’t make that up. Much to the chagrin of most of my readers, I “Live blog” Fox “news” Sunday every week. And granted, if I couldn’t tweet my reactions to some of the most disconnected, irrational and sometimes “just plain ugly” nonsense heard on the show each week, I probably wouldn’t watch either. But somehow, I feel a “duty” to rebuke their BS in real time before what they say has a chance to grow legs. (While I have no evidence of this, I believe my calling them out nearly two years ago for claiming Democrats switch from saying “Global Warming” to “Climate Change” whenever it’s cold outside is why they don’t make that ridiculous claim anymore. I informed them that the two terms are NOT “interchangeable” like they seem to think, pointing out that “one CAUSES the other”, closing with the hashtag “#ClimateMorons”. They have not made the accusation since.) The aforementioned discussion about Congress stemmed from a discussion regarding President Obama’s use (“abuse” in Wingnutistan) of “executive orders” to “bypass” Congress. So you can only imagine how wide my eyes grew when Ingraham apparently awoke from her seven year coma unable to recall a single time this GOP Controlled Congress ever obstructed President Obama (even when they didn’t control the Senate, they controlled the Senate through endless filibustering.)
 

Ingraham: This Congress has been Obama’s best friend! (1:16)

 
Earlier in the program, Wallace interviewed the president’s Chief of Staff Denis McDonough regarding Obama’s use of “Executive Orders”, and started out by citing “Article I of the Constitution” and how it specifically vests “all legislative power” to Congress. McDonough gave a very poor “political” response to the question that did him no favors. What he should have pointed out is that “Executive Orders are NOT ‘legislation’.” They don’t create any new laws. All they do is define how existing laws are executed… which is perhaps the very definition of the job of “Chief Executive.”

Now, taken from a strictly Wingnut perspective, there is a case to be made for Ingraham’s position that Congress has failed to “obstruct” Obama. After all “ObamaCare” has yet to be repealed (not for lack of trying), as has all of his cabinet appointees (after months of delay) and two Supreme Court nominees squeaked through. Republicans might have opposed them, but the fact they all eventually passed is “proof” they weren’t “obstructed“. And in Wingnutistan, you can’t claim anything that eventually passes was “obstructed”. Ingraham cites “the TPP”… a Conservative “Free-Trade” plan opposed by Democrats yet supported by most (not all) Republicans… as evidence this Congress isn’t obstructing President Obama.

So is she right? Is there NOTHING that President Obama has wanted that he didn’t eventually get, thus rendering his use of “Executive Orders” totally unnecessary and an abuse of power? Does she think this Congress has tried to work WITH President Obama??? (Exhibit A video). Want specifics, here is a list ten times Republicans opposed their own ideas the moment President Obama supported them.

But let’s simplify things a bit. As the above graphic points out, President Obama signed only 175 “Executive Orders”. To Republicans, “Executive Orders” are unconstitutional (except when Republicans use them) and Obama’s use of them is tantamount to a crime (a “crime” President Bush committed nearly twice as many times as Obama, and The Gipper committed nearly 250% more often.) Here are a few of those egregious “unconstitutional” & criminal Executive Actions taken by President Obama:

etc… I looked through the entire list and I defy anyone (who isn’t a Right Wing nut) to find 3 EO’s they consider an egregious abuse of power.

But Republicans are REALLY only outraged over three (maybe four) of the 175 Executive Actions taken by Obama:
 

  • His “Immigration Accountability Executive Action” (11/20/2014) instructing law enforcement to focus on “deporting felons, not families”, prioritizing felons over the so-called “Dreamers” (which the GOP has labeled “amnesty”). This EO is not “a new law”. It is completely within his Executive power to direct law enforcement.
  •  

  • Increasing the Minimum Wage paid by Government Contractors. A requirement that any company doing business on behalf of the United States of America pay its employees a minimum of $10.10/hour (less than $3 more than the Minimum Wage.) This EO does NOT apply to private businesses in the private sector, only those making a buck off Uncle Sam. This EO went into effect just over one year ago on January 1, 2015, so if you’re still holding your breath waiting for American corporations to crumble under the heady burden of such high wages… I doubt you endangered any brain cells.
  •  

  • Mandating that all health insurance companies pay for birth control, regardless of whether the patient’s employer pays for it. – I’m not even able to confirm this was an “Executive Action” at all. I can’t identify it in the list. But 193 corporations sued the government over the mandate. How many GOP presidential candidates do you think we’ll hear campaigning on their opposition to this order?
  •  

  • And his recent EO on guns? ZERO new laws. No “confiscation”. No ban on types of weapons you can buy. Not even a ban on large capacity clips. It DOES broaden the EXISTING requirements of under what conditions a “background check” must take place, lifts a restriction that omitted mental health records from background checks, and provides more money for “gun safety training”. That’s it. THAT is what has Republicans so outraged and questioning whether the president violated the Constitution.

“Where have they obstructed Obama?”, asked a disbelieving Ingraham. Well, before the GOP took control of the Senate, it was much easier to spot. We called them Filibusters. Since taking control of the Senate last year, obstruction is more subtle in the form of bills NOT taken up by Congress. Simply Google “Congress refuses to vote on” for some examples. It took them an unprecedented 9 weeks to approve Loretta Lynch as Attorney General.

The GOP controlled Congress has yet to approve President Obama’s nominee for “Under Secretary of the Treasury”, Adam Szubin. What’s the big deal? Well, as Rachel Maddow pointed out last November, part of Szubin’s job would be to track the finances of ISIS to block funding of their terrorist activities. This appointment was requested on April of last year. As far as I can tell, it appears this vacancy has yet to be filled. And not over any opposition to his qualifications. As Maddow pointed out, everyone agrees he is qualified and capable of doing the job. Considering the way the GOP candidates are running around… hair on fire… over terrorism and the rise of ISIS, one would think filling this position might be a priority.

“Obstruction? What obstruction? It’s Obama’s lawless Executive Actions that are the REAL partisan abuse of power here!” No Laura. Think again.
 


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Republicans want to repeal the 14th Amendment? Maybe we should let them.
Aug 24th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy

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The question of whether or not to amend, or even flat-out repeal, the 14th Amendment… passed in 1868… is suddenly a hot topic in 2015. Donald Trump has put the issue of whether or not to continue “Birthright Citizenship” front & center in the debate over next years’ election. But the “14th Amendment” covers a lot more than just citizenship, so Republicans, don’t be so quick to say “Let’s do it!”. There is a case to be made, both pro & con for repealing the 14th by passing the 28th (a bit of mathematical poetry to that.)

Back during the 2008 presidential campaign, Sarah Palin was asked to name a Supreme Court decision… other than “Roe v Wade“… that she disagreed with. The Right howled in protest over an apparent “gotcha” question by “the Lib’rul Media” actively TRYING to “embarrass” her. Off the top of my head, I (and about 10 million other Lib’ruls) could easily cite “Plessy v Ferguson” (declaring “Separate but Equal” Constitutional) and “Dredd Scott” (slaves are Property) as examples of bad Supreme Court rulings, but how many of you have heard of “Buck vs Bell”?

Buck vs. Bell (1927) is the first Supreme Court case in which the 14th Amendment was cited as a defense. The issue? Whether or not the State of Virginia had the right to forcibly sterilize people (mostly the poor & “mentally ill”) against their will.

Yep.

Eighteen year old Carrie Buck, a girl who was institutionalized by her family at the age of 9 after her own cousin raped & impregnated her (most likely to hide their shame of being seen with a pregnant nine year old daughter), lost her case and was sterilized against her will despite the fact the law was supposedly intended only to prevent generations of reproduction by “the feeble minded” and “immoral” members of society (do I hear any nominations?)

While it is highly unlikely such a horrific case (a law which has never been repealed by the way) would rule the same if put before the High Court today, it does demonstrate weaknesses in the wording of the 14th Amendment that could be remedied by a rewrite.

I find it endlessly fascinating that the same people that DEMANDED President Obama “Read the Constitution” (or “Read the Consitution” as the case may be) over “ObamaCare” never seem to be able to print out their latest edit long enough for him to do so. Republican front-runner Ben Carson… who once compared “ObamaCare” to “slavery” (for forcing doctors to treat patients. “Damn the Hippocratic Oath!”), also announced his support to repeal the 14th which bestowed American citizenship upon former slaves. Offensive for ANY candidate to suggest, but stretching incredulity for the only black candidate in the race. Lately, I’ve taken to quoting TV’s “Bud Bundy” when speaking of Dr. Carson:

Bud (after being congratulated by his father for teaching Kelly a number of scientific facts): “there is one slight problem. See, if you take a gallon of knowledge and pour it into a shot glass of a brain, you’re gonna spill some. In other words, certain basic information had to be sacrificed.” – Season 3, episode 22 of “Married with Children”. – (starting at 16:08)

Dr. Carson (who compared being gay to “bestiality & pedophilia”) may be a brilliant neurosurgeon, but take him outside his field of expertise and he’s a blithering idiot. The same people who want to bestow Constitutional Rights upon fetuses from the moment of conception ALSO want to repeal one of two Amendments they are relying on as justification for such a law. Wrap your head around that one for a moment (details below).

There are actually FIVE sections/clauses to the 14th Amendment. Congress at the time cobbled together a whole wish list of rights they felt the Constitution lacked, pouring them into a single amendment that would either pass together, or go down in flames together. “Repealing” the 14th Amendment would have FAR broader implications than simply ending “Birthright Citizenship”. The part that most of the GOP is suddenly intent to repeal:
 

Section 1: The “Personhood” clause:

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States;

But that’s not even the ENTIRETY of Section 1. It continues:

…nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

The second half of section 1 actually includes things they ARE RELYING ON to support their own case for their ridiculous “fetal personhood” Amendment: extending “due process” and “equal protection” to zygotes by having them declared “persons” so that the 14th applies to them too. Talk about “throwing the baby out with the bathwater.” I’ve gotta wonder how many “pro-Lifers”… with the intellectual acumen of Sarah Palin… are also calling for the repeal of the 14th?

Section 1 bolsters the Right of “due process” established in the FIFTH Amendment and codifies the right of “equal protection” the 5th only hinted at:

“[N]or shall any person . . . be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law…” – from The Fifth Amendment

The 5th Amendment is why we detain “enemy combatants” in Gitmo (in the nation of Cuba) and not U.S. soil. Notice the right of due process extends to any “person”, not “citizen”. As Americans, we don’t deny people their human rights simply because they aren’t a citizen of our country. If you are on our land, you have basic human rights. Period. End of story. So does it come as anyone’s surprise that the GOP would also just LOVE to deny basic human rights to non-citizens? Repeal the 14th, and the right of “equal protection” becomes a matter for debate. Do we REALLY want THIS congress and THIS Court deciding the scope of “equal protection”? If anything, we need to repeal the “foreign soil loophole” in the 5th so that human rights extend to ANYONE in U.S. custody regardless of where they are held. This is what makes us better than they are. The ONLY way to win is to own the Moral High ground. Thanks to the GOP, “The Land of the Free” has maintained a beacon of hypocrisy 80 miles off-shore that has kept us at war for nearly a decade & a half.

Lack of the phrase “natural born” before “persons” in Section 1 is also what permited the “Citizens United” ruling that “Corporations are people” with the Constitutional right to donate limitless sums of money to political candidates.
 

Section 2: the “Equal Representation” clause:

Section 2: Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.

This is where we get Gerrymandering from. It’s why Governor Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts created a Congressional district shaped like a salamander to ensure his Party won control of The House of Representatives in 1812. Even though the Supreme Court ruled his shameless political grab unconstitutional, it hasn’t stopped politicians (on both sides) to this day from drawing bizarrely shaped voting districts based more on politics than population.

Despite receiving fewer overall votes in the 2012 & 2014 elections, Republicans retained control of The House thanks entirely to their 14th Amendment Right to redraw the district lines to favor their candidates. And should Democrats retake Congress in 2020 (which is the REAL “next big election”, not 2016), they too will rely on this right to draw those lines back. But to end this cycle of indefensible Gerrymandering, we need a Constitutional Amendment mandating a more mathematical, less political method of drawing district boundaries.)
 

Section 3: The “elect no traitors” clause:

Section 3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may, by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

Basically, this rule was added to prevent “traitors” from the Civil War who took an oath to defeat the United States, from being elected to Federal office. Doesn’t really apply much today… unless perhaps by some catastrophic galactic hiccup Rick Perry were to become the GOP nominee and forced to defend his (ridiculous & false) threat/belief that the State of Texas might seceded from the union over “ObamaCare”. Personally, I could argue either direction for whether this Section stays or goes.
 

Section 4: “The Public Debt shall not be questioned” clause:

Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

Remember this one? This was a hot topic when the GOP threatened (and eventually did) shut down the Federal Government over the issue of whether or not to raise the Cap on how much the Federal government could borrow to pay its obligations. It’s original intent was to prevent Southern states rejoining the Union after the Civil War from holding the Federal government hostage if it did not pay the South’s war debt.

Clearly, the wording here needs to be strengthened/clarified since it clearly was not enough to stop Republicans from questioning the Debt THEY THEMSELVES INCURRED.

And finally…
 

Section 5: Only Congress has the power to enforce these proclamation.

Section 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

How is the GOP able to abuse Section 1 (the Gitmo & “Citizens United” loopholes), Section 2 (Gerrymandering unconstitutional but they do it anyway) and Section 4 (unquestioned Debt) of the 14th Amendment? Look no further than Section 5. It’s gotta go.

So careful what you ask for Republicans. If it looks like 2016 is going to be a big year for Democrats and recapture of The House is a possibility, we just might be inclined to repeal that pesky 14th Amendment for you.
 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


 

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Beginning of the End for Religious Bigotry Laws
Jun 29th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy

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

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

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

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

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

BONUS:

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

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

 


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GOP Responds to Complaints of Obama Acting Unilaterally By Demanding He Have Unilateral Power to Declare War
Feb 16th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy

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Oh Republicans, you poor inconsistent clueless gnats. Yesterday, on no less than three network poli-talk shows (and probably more but I only watch three), Republicans… in the SAME rants mind you… defended refusing to budge on tying the “Homeland Security” budget to rescinding President Obama’s “illegal and unconstitutional” Executive Order not to prosecute the “Dreamers” (which IS Constitutional and completely within his powers)… only seconds later to decry President Obama asking that the power of the president to unilaterally declare war be stripped from him and returned to Congress like the Constitution requires. People (and I use that term lightly), either you want the president to adhere to the Constitution or you don’t. Make up your minds.

The “War Powers” Clause, Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 of the United States Constitution reads:

The Congress shall have the power…

(11) To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water.

Only Congress has the power to Declare War and arm fighters (I’d love to go off on a tangent here on how this might relate to the Second Amendment, but some other day). The Constitution gives the president the power to “enact” (ie: administer or carry out) that war once it has been declared, but it’s pretty clear the power to commit the nation to war was never supposed to reside in the hands of one person.

One week after 9/11, Congress passed the AUMF, Authorization to Use Military Force, giving President Bush the “[authority to] use [the] United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the recent attacks launched against the United States. (emphasis mine). It was strictly concerning 9/11, that’s it.

In 2002, President Bush could not cite the 2001 AUMF against “those who attacked us on 9/11” as giving him power to threaten Saddam Hussein into giving up weapons he didn’t have, so Congress instead passed a separate AUMF:Iraq, specifically citing the actions of Iraq under Saddam Hussein, arguing that it would give President Bush the leverage he needed to avoid war with Iraq. Democrats foolishly voted with Republicans to give him that power, which he quickly used to Declare War against Iraq even after Iraq started to comply with his demands.

13+ years later, President Obama continues to exercise the military authority granted to him by the 2001 & 2002 AUMF’s… not exactly willingly BTW, but the result of Congress refusing to reclaim the authority granted only to them by the Constitution, leaving the president with no choice but to rely on the AUMF’s in order to go after new threats like ISIS (which didn’t exist in 2001/2002). ISIS didn’t “attack us on 9/11” as per AUMF2001, and didn’t even exist to be in “non-compliance” with us as per AUMF2003. President Obama believes it’s time for Congress to take responsibility and stop dumping the choice off on him.

Republican after Republican (Chris Wallace & The Power Panel on Fox “news” Sunday and John McCain on “Meet the Press”) were aghast that President Obama would dare “strip the power” of the president to use military force on his/her say so alone (a power the president is not supposed to have in the first place) and dump it back in Congress’ lap (I remember telling Republicans in 2007/2008 not to “give Bush any power they didn’t want a President Hillary Clinton to have.”)

Meanwhile, in the SAME breath, they also defended possibly refusing to renew funding for the Department of Homeland Security until Democrats caved on “President Obama’s illegal and unconstitutional Executive Order” placing a moratorium on the prosecution of “Dreamers” (undocumented immigrant children that have lived in the U.S. for at least five years.)

That’s right. Without a hint of irony, Republicans are demanding President Obama retain the unconstitutional powers they abdicated to the Presidency while simultaneously blasting him for exercising his Constitutional power as the Chief Executive on the grounds that such power is “unconstitutional”.

Can you hear me now, Mr. Speaker?

BTW: the second half of Clause 11… “make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water”… if Congressional Republicans are so eager to bestow A1S8C11 powers upon the president, I’d demand they transfer ALL the powers stated in that clause over to him and then promptly shutdown Gitmo. Then just watch how quickly they take that power back.
 


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