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A Liberal Look: Snowden No Hero

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, January 6, 2014

In 1992, the short-lived ABC investigative news program “Primetime Live”, following up on reports by former employees, revealed that national grocery chain “Food Lion” was engaging in “cost cutting measures” that included cleaning old food that had already been tossed in the dumpster (eg: cutting off the discolored spots on broccoli), washing expired meat with bleach and then repackaging it as fresh, and changing the expiration date on meat that had already been on the shelves past their original expiration date. The grocery chain sued ABC News… not for false reporting (though they claimed such) or defamation, but the fact that reporters “lied on their job applications” to gain access behind the scenes. And in 1997, a jury ruled that two of ABC’s journalists had gone “too far”, ruling in favor of “Food Lion”. I remember how incredulous many of us were to learn that jury deliberations took so long (5 days) because one juror, an elderly woman, stubbornly argued that “Food Lion” had done “nothing wrong” and believed the $5.5 million dollar judgement against ABC News wasn’t harsh enough. There was outrage among many in the public… myself included… that ABC should have to pay anything while the grocery chain got off scot-free. They had done us all a great service by exposing “Food Lion’s” practices, and deserved our praise, not slapped with a huge fine that might discourage similar investigations in the future. With that in mind, I now find myself on the opposite side of many of my fellow Liberals because I don’t consider NSA Leaker Edward Snowden to be “a hero” nor a ”Whistle Blower”. With a twinge of false modesty, Snowden himself declared, “I’m neither a traitor nor a hero. I’m an American.” No Mr. Snowden, you’re another Wannabee-cop not unlike George Zimmerman. And now there’s a movement to grant Mr. Snowden “clemency” that would allow him to return to the U.S. if he promises to turn over all the data he took and not leak any further information. And I find myself asking, “How is it I can defend ABC for exposing Food Lion’s criminal practices 21 years ago, but not support Edward Snowden today?” Does that make me a hypocrite? It’s a question I’ve been wrestling with for weeks now because my #1 Pet Peeve in this world are hypocrites, and the last thing I want to be accused of is being a hypocrite (synonymous with “Republican” in my book.)

Clemency for Snowden?

That’s the big question. Why promise Snowden that you won’t prosecute him (“clemency” and “pardon” mean the same thing, requiring an admission of guilt, unlike “amnesty” which is protection from prosecution) in exchange for his cooperation? I’m reminded… fairly or unfairly… of promising a kidnapper or thief that you won’t prosecute them so long as they return your belongings safe & sound. Does Snowden deserve to be compared to a kidnapper? Well, he IS threatening further harm to his “hostage” (National Security) if we don’t meet his demands. So there’s that.

One of my favorite movies ever is 2005′s “V for Vendetta” about a man, once tortured by a brutal fascist regime that had taken over the government by staging a fake terrorist attack, who exacts revenge by murdering each of the government officials that brutalized him, murdered hundreds of thousands, and assisted their takeover of England. He is branded a ”terrorist” by the government, and then executes a terrorist attack to bring down the brutal and criminal dictatorship that was repressing its citizenry. The movie has become an “anti-hero anthem” among critics of the government, often donning “Guy Fawkes” masks identical to the one worn in the movie, to hide their identity (though the movie character did so partly because he had been disfigured in a fire, not because he was seeking anonymity). Again, I find myself asking, “How is what Snowden doing any different?” (Listen to the linked clip above in the context of Snowden and it does seem to make a convincing case.)

First off, let’s get a few facts straight. Snowden sought out jobs that would give him access to Top Secret information with the intent of revealing it. He wasn’t an investigative reporter sent on assignment by his Editor. He’s not “Woodward & Bernstein”, he’s James O’Keefe. He decided he wanted to play rent-a-cop to expose the extent of NSA wiretapping that was already in the news. He’s not “V”, he’s George Zimmerman. He hadn’t been personally victimized as far as he knew or suffered any detriment by the government misdeeds (not crimes) that he suspected them of doing. He didn’t act on any specific information. He’s not Daniel Ellsberg, he’s Edward Snowden. Neither Hero nor Traitor, but definitely not a “Whistle Blower”. He sought out a job with the intent to “expose something” but knew not what. He took FAR more Top Secret info than he could possibly have read (over 20,000 documents by some estimates), has threatened to trade on that information for personal gain (seeking asylum), and is now deciding for himself what we do or do not deserve to know.

Even if you disagree with our government’s wholesale warrantless domestic spying program (that began under Bush’s “Patriot Act” and has only grown under Obama), we’re not a brutal fascist dictatorship that rules by fear. That’s the GOP:

Convention of Fear

The 2004 Republican National Convention

Snowden isn’t “exacting revenge” upon the people who “harmed him” personally. And, unlike ”V”, in the end (spoiler alert), “V” was willing to die for what he believed in.

Snowden has been described by some on the Right as a “Liberal Hero”. That bugs the crap out of me. Because this is one Liberal that does not consider him a ”hero”. And judging by the replies to radio-host Randi Rhodes’ question whether Snowden is a “hero or a traitor?”, many of my fellow Lefties feel the same way.

Before Edward Snowden, there was Private Bradley (turned Chelsey) Manning who leaked to the public the largest collection of Top Secret Intelligence documents in history. Manning didn’t go looking for material to steal. He actually SAW evidence of crimes while on the job that he knew needed to be exposed (most notably the “Baghdad airstrike” video), released the information, accepted responsibility and then stood trial. Snowden’s case is the exact opposite in every instance.

On Fox “news” Sunday yesterday, Sen. Rand Paul cited former Director of National Intelligence “James Clapper” who lied to Congress last March when he testified that the government does not collect “any type of data on hundreds of millions of Americans.” Turns out that was a total lie, and it is only because of Snowden’s leaks that we now know this not to be true. Unsurprisingly, Paul says he does not defend Snowden’s actions and believes he needs to stand trial. This is another of those rare times where Paul & I agree. Snowden’s revelations HAVE exposed some great misdeeds by our government. I shall not deny that. But do the ends justify the means? The 1st Amendment doesn’t protect “Whistle Blowers” from prosecution and being held responsible for their actions. I think that was the lesson we all tried to explain to “Duck Dynasty” fans two weeks ago defending cast member Phil Robertson who was (as it turned out, temporarily) fired after being caught on a viral video going on a jaw-dropping homophobic rant that offended hundreds of thousands (if not millions). Fans of the show protested that Robertson’s “Right to Free Speech” had been “violated” by the network, and it took Liberals like myself to point out that “free speech” is not “freedom from consequences”. Even Fox “news” Sunday shocked me when the entire panel took the side of “A&E” over defenders of Mr. Robertson (a leading Fox demographic), pointing out that “the government” isn’t suppressing Robertson’s ability to speak, he can still go out and say whatever he wants, just not on his employers TV show (at least not then, but in an amazing show of spinelessness, A&E rehired Robertson following a torrent of redneck outrage.)

So does the fact that some good has come from Snowden’s revelations negate the way in which he came by that information? As in the “Food Lion” case I spoke of earlier, exposing Food Lion didn’t aid those who wish to harm us. Unlike Snowden’s revelations, lives were not put at risk by ABC’s revelations. ABC’s reporters weren’t vigilantes operating on their own seeking personal glory, and when the s#it hit the fan, they accepted responsibility as their network went to trial. So, No, I don’t consider myself a hypocrite for defending REAL “whistle blowers” like ABC News or Private Manning while condemning the actions of Edward Snowden. I hope you agree.
 

Snowden trading on secrets

Note: I added a new video to our “FREE MOVIES” section: “Freedom Fries: And Other Stupidity We’ll Have to Explain to Our Grandchildren”; a look at the linking of “Patriotism” to “Consumerism”. Enjoy!

 


 


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Filed in Crime, Rants, Scandals, Seems Obvious to Me, Unconstitutional January 6th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • 2 comments | Add/View

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Why Don’t We Question Close Races AFTER We Win to See Why They Were So Close?

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

I don’t know why, but before every election in recent memory, we hear lots of reports of Republican attempts to disenfranchise tens of thousands (millions?) of legitimate legal voters all in the name of “protecting elections from (non-existent) voter fraud”. So they pass laws, new restrictions, and implement despicable practices like “voter caging” to stop LEGAL voters… uncoincidentally typically the young, poor, minorities, or any combination thereof, that just happen to vote Democrat… from voting. These attempts to stop tens of thousands of registered voters from exercising their Constitutional rights rarely make the news and gets a lot of Democrats very upset prior to the election. But then AFTER the election, once the Democrat wins ANYWAY (often by a razor-thin margin), no one ever seems to go back and wonder WHY the election was “so close” in the first place. We seem happy just to have won, so why poke the bear? Last week we saw this in action in Virginia, where polling showed the Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe leading the scandal-ridden, homophobic, Rightwing social-extremist Republican candidate Ken Cuccinelli by as much as 15 points in one poll (and an average of nearly 7 points, and growing, the day before the election) only to win by just 2.5% once all the votes were in. And no one seems to be asking, “How did that happen?”

The loser in this particular race, Cuccinelli, actually seemed to concede what an awful candidate he was in his own concession speech, arguing that the final result was so close “because of (a public rejection of) Obamacare”. Translation: “I was a terrible candidate and the race wouldn’t have even been close had it not been for people voting in protest of ObamaCare!” Which is an awful argument on two fronts. Besides admitting that if it weren’t for “ObamaCare”, you probably would have lost even worse, but the fact is the “PRO-ObamaCare” candidate WON, meaning that more people apparently like the program than don’t.

So why was the Virginia race WAY closer than any of the polls predicted? Maybe the fact that three weeks before the election, the GOP-controlled board of elections purged 38 THOUSAND registered voters from the elections rolls, most of whom by no coincidence fell into the Democratic demographic of young, poor & minorities. McAuliffe’s margin of victory was just 55,000 votes in a state with nearly 2 million votes cast.

The danger here of allowing Republicans to believe that the election was actually closer than it actually was while disregarding the tens of thousands they likely disenfranchised, is that it allows them to believe falsehoods like “ObamaCare is wildly unpopular”, “the Shutdown is the only reason Cuccinelli lost” or “if they had just spent more money on the Cuccinelli campaign, he would have won”, and therefore allow them to continue to their obstructionist ways and continue to push far-right legislation in the false belief that that’s what the people actually want. They then push the idea that the public is “evenly divided” and that there’s more support out there for the GOP Platform than there actually is, and the public… not knowing any better… believes it.

In 2008, Obama’s margin of victory over John McCain was SEVEN percent with 66.8 Million votes. Four years later, the margin of victory was cut to just 3.9 percent with Obama receiving nearly one million fewer votes than he did four years earlier despite an overall increase of 1.6 million more voters. Romney received 2.6 million more votes in 2012 than McCain did in 2008. Translation: You must believe either ONE MILLION Obama voters switched to Romney and despite population growth not a single new voter voted for Obama, OR that millions of Democratic votes were not counted because they were prevented from voting (ie: long lines, fewer voting days/hours, voter ID, being forced to vote absentee and then not have those ballots counted, etc.) I report, you decide.

The damage done by not questioning these “mysterious” razor-thin victories after all the polls predicted a comfortable lead prior to Election Day is immense. Democrats scratch their head, wonder what they did wrong, and decide that what the people want is for them to incorporate more Republican ideas into their policies. Meanwhile, Republican spin-meisters get to go around claiming that the election was “so close” because voters are “evenly divided” and don’t necessarily support the policies of the Democratic Party. And, having gotten away with it once, by the next election they push the envelop just a little bit farther. And then farther. And then farther, until election results like Bush/Gore in 2000 become common-place.
 



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Filed in Election, Politics, Unconstitutional, voting November 11th, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • 2 comments | Add/View

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Time to Liberate the Debt Ceiling Hostage

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, October 14, 2013

Why do we even HAVE a “debt ceiling”? Plenty of people have asked this question in the past and no one seems to have a good answer. It doesn’t limit spending. Spending is decided in The House, and clearly Congress doesn’t keep the Debt Ceiling in mind when passing a Budget or appropriations. It’s a self-imposed limitation passed in 1917 during the First World War as a way to streamline the government by allowing it to spend money whenever it felt it necessary without putting every expenditure to a vote. Senator Coburn (R-OK) blithely stated last week that “We don’t [actually] have a Debt Ceiling” [because we just keep raising it anyway]. That’s not the point. ALL spending originates in the House, and this House is controlled by Republicans. And how many times have I pointed out that Republicans apparently lack the gene that allows them to foresee the consequences of their actions [see: Iraq]? So they pass spending bills and tax cuts without any consideration for how they’ll pay for them (Iraq was to be paid for with “Iraqi oil revenues” and “tax cuts pay for themselves”.) Then when we run out of money, they simply raise the Debt Ceiling. That’s what they did eighteen times under Reagan and six times under GWBush (three under Clinton and now Obama). If the ceiling exists only “in concept” (according to Coburn), then why would the GOP go apoplectic if President Obama were to bypass Congress and simply raise it on his own to avoid certain economic catastrophe inflicted by a select few Teabaggers with a third-grade understanding of economics telling them that sucking a half Trillion dollars out of the economy won’t hurt us? Because then you take away their hostage.

Two weeks ago, I predicted that the Tea Party extremists that think nothing bad will happen if we fail to raise the Debt Ceiling have a secret goal in mind: forcing President Obama to invoke the 14th Amendment to circumvent Congress and avoid default, and therefore provide them with an excuse to begin impeachment hearings in the House against the president in an election year. It’s a win/win for Teanuts with NO incentive to give-in and raise the Debt Ceiling before the deadline. If the deadline passes and the ceiling is not raised, they do irreparable harm to the government and they win. If President Obama invokes the 14th, the House begins impeachment hearings and they win again. The Teanuts have NO incentive to compromise as long as they stay insane. However, it appears the “Tea Party” is about as popular with the public right now as a pimple on a first date, and Moderate Republicans are starting to have second thoughts about being seen as aligned with them. If a clean vote to raise the Debt Ceiling comes to the floor before the ceiling expires, there’s probably not enough Teanuts to prevent the bill from passing and their grand scheme falls apart.

IF however they convince enough Republicans that saying “No” is a “win/win”, they might very well take us to the brink.

Consider for a moment though that if the Debt Ceiling is raised at the last minute once again, it’s future value as a threat drops to nil, and the GOP knows it. Because the next time they do it, the rest of the world will just yawn, knowing it’s just the GOP playing games again, confident in the knowledge that it will eventually be raised at the last second. So we might as well just abolish it. Take it away from Congress so the full faith & credit of the United States can’t be held for ransom once again. (Knowing it’s future value as a hostage drops precipitously after this, only increases the odds there will be no deal by the end of the week. “Impeachment” may be the only thing of value they can extract from this final losing battle.)

If the Debt Ceiling is not raised, we’ll have to raise interest rates to entice other countries into loaning money to a nation that might not pay them back. Every 1-point increase in interest rates would costs us an additional $120-Billion dollars a year. So much for claims of “fiscal responsibility” to justify this charade.

President Obama, screw the GOP. Invoke the 14th Amendment and deny the GOP this hostage now & forever. If you give a child a gun and that child threatens you with it till you exchange it for a cookie, you don’t then turn around and give the gun back. “ObamaCare” passed Congress and it became law on the condition that it not take effect until AFTER the 2012 election (believing the public will so hate it, they’ll elect a Republican to overturn it.) It survived a Constitutional challenge in the Supreme Court AND the 2012 Election, yet less than half of one-half of one-third of the U.S. government (the Teanut minority in the House) is now holding the Debt Ceiling hostage in order to extort everything they lost in the 2012 election out of the other 5/6ths.

It’s time to stop handing this hostage back over to the kidnappers and set it free.
 

Reagan on Raising the Debt Ceiling: 1983/85/87 (1:45)

 



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Filed in Economy, Money, Partisanship, Politics, Predictions, Right-Wing Insanity, Unconstitutional October 14th, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • 1 comment | Add/View

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What the Debt Ceiling Fight is REALLY About: Impeachment

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Tuesday, October 1, 2013

By the time you read this, you’ll already know whether or not the GOP has once again Shutdown the Federal Government for the first time since they last did it 17 years ago. But let me make a last minute prediction that in the wee hours of the morning, both sides will agree to a one-month extension, at which point we’ll be right back here to start all over again. But first, a refresher: Almost from the moment Bill Clinton was sworn in as the 42nd President of the United States in 1993, the Republican Party was already hell-bent on destroying him. And the reason for their endless “Scandal-du-Jour” hysteria couldn’t have been more clear: they were plotting his defeat in 1996. But their plan backfired following, not one but TWO incredibly unpopular government shutdowns in 1995 & 1996 that the public clearly knew was purely partisan gamesmanship. They demonized the president for four straight years and STILL he won reelection, meaning they were now “stuck” with him for another four years. Any of this sounding familiar? Once again, extreme partisans within the GOP are threatening… not only the shutdown of the Federal government, but a possible default on the National Debt by refusing to raise the debt ceiling to pay for the things THEY THEMSELVES already agreed to spend money on, the results of which would be catastrophic. So why are they doing it? “Why”, I pondered previously, “would anyone invite CERTAIN economic disaster to prevent something they only speculate would be an economic disaster?” (and as I’ve heard others point out, you would think the GOP would be EAGER to see “ObamaCare” implemented only to crash & burn). No, what they REALLY want is something much more sinister/cynical: they want President Obama to invoke the “14th Amendment” to unilaterally raise the Debt Ceiling on his own so they may use it as grounds for impeachment.

Why? Because that’s what Republicans apparently do now when a Democrat is in charge. They are childish sore losers that can’t bear the idea of a Democratic president advancing Democratic solutions only to see them succeed and last another 80 years the way Social Security has (It’s a damn shame they didn’t call it “FDR-Care” only to hear Republicans defend it today.)

The relevant portion of the “14th Amendment” regarding the Debt reads as follows:

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.

But the infamous “14th Amendment”, passed in 1868, isn’t just “Section 4″. No, Republicans want to make The 14th a 2014 campaign issue because it’s just chock full of headaches for the GOP:

Section 1 is where anyone born “in the United States” is automatically a citizen regardless of the parents’ citizenship… a clause that is the source of unlimited pain for the Nationalists in the GOP, which I’m certain they’d love to see stricken. Unfortunately, the next line of that SAME clause mentions not “depriving life” of any “person without first receiving due process”… a clause commonly used by the Pro-Birth Life crowd to argue the unconstitutionality of Abortion.

Section 2 is regarding the appointment of Representatives based on the number of adult males in each state. Irrelevant here.

Section 3 is regarding “insurrection” in support of the Confederacy. Also irrelevant.

Section 4 noted above is regarding ensuring that the Federal Government will always pay its debts (translation: the repatriated South can’t stop the Government from repaying debts incurred by the North during the war, and by that same token, the Federal Government is not obligated to repay debts incurred by the Confederacy because they weren’t part of the U.S..)

Section 5 gives Congress the power to enforce the prior four Articles.

Clearly #5 is the stickler. Since this is a Constitutional Amendment, it’s not a “law” and therefore can not be ignored nor repealed. But it also doesn’t give the power of “enforcement” to the president. So what happens if Congress fails to comply with the “Enforcement Clause”? That’s one for the courts… The Supreme Court to be exact. And with a 5/4 Conservative advantage, I’d be willing to bet that young “Tea Party” Conservatives full of piss & vinegar like Ted Cruz are more than happy to push this to the Supreme Court…

…for “what” exactly, who knows? It certainly wouldn’t get past a Democratically controlled Senate to remove President Obama from office. No, for that, they need to retake the Senate as well. And, gee, let me think… What mid-term election issue can we think of that would attract Conservative morons to the polls in 2014? Maybe if we delayed the implementation of “ObamaCare” for one year? And it’ll be a lot easier to clinch that vote if they institute a bunch of voter ID laws and reduced voting hours to keep a whole bunch of the “wrong” people from voting… say the poor and minorities… the very people who would benefit the most from “ObamaCare”?

Are you starting to see how this all fits together?

My prediction? If I’m right, the GOP will have agreed to a one-month extension of the Budget just to move the “Shutdown” vote until AFTER the Debt Ceiling vote, which they will then refuse to pass come mid-October when the Federal Government runs out of money. Then at the stroke of midnight on that day in mid-October when the government runs out of money, President Obama will invoke the 14th Amendment and extend the Debt Ceiling on his own, prompting a feux “Constitutional Crisis” set up by “outraged” Republicans. Impeachment proceedings will begin in the GOP-controlled House in early 2014 and extend thru the year till Election Day. Efforts to disenfranchise typically Democratic voters will go into over-drive in “Red” states next year as efforts to recapture the Senate become the GOP’s top priority.

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Filed in Economy, fake scandals, General, Healthcare, Money, Partisanship, Politics, Predictions, rewriting history, Right-Wing Insanity, Unconstitutional October 1st, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • 1 comment | Add/View

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A Market Plunge/Rally, Trayvon, DOMA, Voting Rights and Paula Deen. The Heat is On.

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

So much has happened these past couple of weeks, I could have spent hours discussing each one: We saw a series of triple-digit plunges in the DOW in just a few days caused by what? GOOD news on the economy. (WTF?) The “Zimmerman Trial” finally got underway… with a Knock-Knock Joke. The Supreme Court declared Same-Sex Marriage legal in states where it is already legal, but left the door open for state-bans where it isn’t… essentially GUARANTEEING an inevitable return to the Supreme Court when a married couple from one state moves to a state where their marriage is not recognized. And while the Supreme Court was extending marriage rights to gay couples, it was taking Voting Rights away from millions of minorities, essentially declaring that racism in the South was dead the same week people excused famed Southern TV Chef Paula Deen for using “The N-Word” because… “she’s from The South and that’s just how they are.” (I wish I could say I was surprised Justice Thomas would vote against the Voting Rights Act, but he’s always been an OREO… and yes, that is meant to be as offensive as it sounds.) And to cap it all off, the nation closed out the first week of Summer with a record-breaking heatwave, with my hometown of Houston hitting a stifling 107′ at 5:00 in the freaking evening (most years the temperature here peaks around 101′ the first week of August.)

Let’s take them one at a time:

First, the Stock Market: I used to write about The DJIA (“DOW Jones Industrial Average”) frequently  during  the  Bush  Presidency. Plunges of 250 points or more became commonplace, culminating with a total collapse of Wall Street and the financial industry Bush’s final year in office. There were no extraordinary one-day gains to balance out the declines, and just about every plunge could be tied to a stupid decision made by The GOP and/or The Bush Administration (the skyrocketing price of oil as a result of invading Iraq; deregulating the financial ratings industry that led to Trillions in bad investments being labeled: ”AAA”; and cutting deregulated mortgage interest rates to zero resulting in a wildly over-valued market bubble balanced on the point of a pin).

But during the Obama Administration, I’ve written very little regarding the Stock Market. Primarily, because fluctuations in the DOW of less than 200 points have very little to do with the health of the general economy, and because every series of declines over the past four years have been brief, followed soon after by upswings that more than made up for the losses.

The DOW, at its lowest point following the Bush Presidency and the Financial Collapse, barely a month after Obama took office, bottomed out at 6,443.27 on March 6, 2009. Last month, the DOW closed at a record high of just over 15,400… that’s an increase of almost 240 percent in just four years. If President Obama is a ”Socialist”, he’s a piss-poor one.

So what caused last week’s momentary 800-point drop in the DJIA over 3 days a few weeks ago? Believe it or not, “good” news from the Federal Reserve that the economy is recovering so well that it may be able to halt “quantitative easing” (IE: ”Stimulus”)… pumping $85 Billion dollars a month into the economy. On that news, the price of Gold and Treasury Bonds plunged because Gold & Bonds are where you put your money when the economy is bad. Fears that the Fed would stop pumping money into the economy brought about fears that they might also raise interest rates to keep the economy from growing too fast. But quickly, cooler heads prevailed as news of a healthy economy might actually be a good thing, and the DOW is already back up near the 15K mark.

Oh, and the S&P 500 saw its best six months since the heights of the Clinton Bull Rally in 1998.

Next is the “Zimmerman” trial over the murder of Travon Martin. As you already know, Zimmerman’s lawyer opened with a Knock-Knock joke, but that’s probably not the most damaging thing he did to his clients’ case last week. He is NOT using the “Stand Your Ground” law as the basis of his client’s defense, and with good reason. As Zimmerman’s lawyer himself pointed out, “Travon Martin was not unarmed that night”, pointing out that Martin “didn’t have a gun or a knife that night”; his weapon was “the concrete sidewalk”. So basically, he just admitted Trayvon was “standing his ground using the sidewalk as his only weapon”. Had he of used a gun, he might have shot & killed his stalker… who was armed with a gun himself and confronted Martin with it in the middle of the night… at which point Martin would have been arrested and thrown in jail for murdering Zimmerman. Trial not included.

The moment Zimmerman… who is not a police officer… left his mother’s basement with a gun to play “rent-a-cop” in the middle of the night the moment he saw a black kid walk past his window, he himself was responsible for anything that happened. And we know WHY he left his home to pursue Martin: Because “they always get away”, he is heard saying on the 911 tape after the operator asked him if he was following Martin and told him “We don’t need you to do that.” But a young black guy… for whom there was NO reason to suspect had done anything other than walk through the neighborhood at night… was “about to get away”. After doing what? There were no alarms going off. No one shouting, “I’ve just been robbed!” I find it hard to believe even Zimmerman could mistake a can of iced tea and a bag of Skittles for handfuls of stolen property. So why exactly was Zimmerman following him? Why did he think it necessary to “call the police” and detain Martin himself until they arrived?

Think about it? Why was Zimmerman following Martin?

Zimmerman… armed with a gun and was stalking Martin in the dead of night, then confronted Martin. Probably even pulled his gun on him and ordered him to stop. At some point, they came in close enough contact to grab one another and fight. Unarmed, Martin used the only weapon within reach: the concrete… as Zimmerman’s own lawyer pointed out. Now in a struggle he himself provoked without regard for the consequences (what if Martin HAD been an armed robber? Was it wise for Zimmerman to put himself in harms way?), he pulled out his gun and killed the man he himslf provoked a confrontation with.

The fact that anyone in this insane country even thinks Zimmerman has a leg to stand on here, justifying the need for a trial, highlights just how screwed up our gun-crazy culture has become in this country.

Next, we saw the Supreme Court rule of Marriage Equality. While the High Court’s narrow 5/4 ruling is seen as a victory for the Gay Rights movement, the ruling basically threw the decision back to the states.

Now here is where it gets clear as mud: The Supreme Court basically ruled that a state law establishing Marriage Equality is just as valid as a state law BANNING Marriage Equality. So basically, the highest court in the land that rules on the National efficacy of a law, has declared that something can be both legal AND illegal at the same time depending upon where you live. Why do I get the feeling this isn’t over?

The Supreme Court also decided to strike down key parts of the 1965 “Voting Rights Act”, calling it “outdated” because “times have changed”. No word on their updated ruling on The Second Amendment.

And finally, a record heatwave was parked over most of the Southern United States last week, tying & breaking records across the U.S.. But don’t worry, Global Warming is still a hoax and we’ll be seeing snow in July any minute now.

Any minute now.

I said, “any minute now.”

Hello? Snow? Where are you? Hey, I’d settle for a cool breeze right about now.

(Oh, and an update on Mom. If you read last weeks post, things are not going well and my mother had had a bit of a setback, unconscious in the ICU, I’ve been visiting her hospital bed every day now and hoping for things to improve. As such, I haven’t been as on top of the news as much as I might otherwise have been, and posting may become a bit erratic in the common weeks. Hopefully, Mom’s recovery will be swift and full. – Mugsy)
 



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Filed in Crime, Economy, Global Warming, Guns & Violence, Healthcare, Politics, Racism, Rants, Unconstitutional July 1st, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • 7 comments | Add/View

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Revealing Surveillance Methods Just Result In More Complex Surveillance

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

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

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

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

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

 
Flash forward to yesterday (June 9, 2013):

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


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

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

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

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

This also defines Santa Claus.

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

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

But I digress.

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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Okay Wingnuts, Ya Wanna Talk Impeachment, Let’s Talk Impeachment

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, May 13, 2013

Since 2006, I’ve had two bumper stickers in the rear window of my car (affixed with Scotch Tape). The first reading “EndlessThis War” from MoveOn.org that… fittingly… blew out of my car window last month when the tape cracked & dried with age, and the other reading: “Support Our Troops. Impeach Bush-Cheney”. Every once in a while someone asks me why I haven’t removed it since neither are still in office, and I explain to them that “you don’t have to still be in office to be impeached. An impeachment is a trial that takes place in the House [of Representatives]. They can still be impeached.” Right wingers have been hot to impeach President Obama almost quite literally from the day he took office. But ask them specifically what “high crimes or misdemeanors” President Obama himself is supposedly guilty of, and you’d be hard pressed for an answer, but the latest reason is “Benghazi”. What was the crime there? “Coverup!” they cry. Not the actual incident itself, but what they perceive is the White House’s unwillingness to “reveal the truth about what really happened” (ie:  gross incompetence.) Gee, I can’t imagine why… two months before the election, the White House was reluctant to hand Republicans anything they might use as a political weapon (remember, Romney and the GOP were already trying to make an issue over just when the President finally called the attack “terrorism”.) John McCain had to be coaxed out of hiding for the 832nd time to appear on one of the Sunday shows yesterday to parse words like the petulant sore-loser he is, and claim Obama didn’t actually call the Benghazi attack “terrorism”, but just “demonstrations LIKE the one in Benghazi acts of terror.” (Can you hear my eyes rolling?) Right-wingers even LOVE to cite the date of the incident as: ”9/11″… NOT ”9/11/2012″… oh no, just ”9/11″. “Can you believe what happened on 9/11 on President Obama’s watch???” they cry! “They ignored all sorts of warnings, turned a blind eye, and now four Americans are dead! Impeach him!” they say without a hint of irony. Okay Wingnuts, you wanna talk “impeachment”, let’s talk Impeachment.

I’ve been mulling this project for months now, but the always excellent “Rachel Maddow Show” pretty much forced my hand last Friday following her own tackling of the subject:
 

Conservatives have been desperate to “impeach” since day one. (13:15)

But perhaps even better was her all-too-brief rundown of just a few of the “scandals” that took place during the Bush Administration (I put “scandals” in quotes only because no one in the media actually called them “scandals” at the time, nor did they pursue any of them with the same ferocity as the the non-story of “Benghazi” today).

Bush era scandals that went uninvestigated (2:38)

Rachel’s “partial list” of Bush-Era scandals (additional info added by me, in parenthesis):

  1. Cheney’s secret “energy task force” that invited oil & coal company executives to the White House to write the Energy Policy for the entire nation (a meeting whose records are still classified to this day.)
  2. The multi-million dollar “no-bid contracts” to Halliburton (the company Cheney was the CEO of before becoming VP, and still holds stock in to this day, which performed many basic tasks and provided basic services/supplies at huge markups… including $20 icecube trays.)
  3. The outing of covert CIA Agent Valery Plame (not just exposing her, but jeopardizing the life of every overseas contact she had ever worked with, and completely destroying the CIA front corporation that she worked under, Brewster/Jennings… an invaluable intelligence asset which took tens of millions of dollars and YEARS to establish), and the trashing of the reputation of both her and her husband, who dare question President Bush’s reasoning for why we needed to invade Iraq.
  4. Cheney’s Chief-of-Staff, “Scooter” Libby, found guilty (unless you watch Fox), convicted on five of six counts, for his role in the outing of Ms. Plame (Libby was convicted for “obstructing” the investigation. We still… to this day… do not know who authorized him to leak that information to the press.)
  5. President Bush then commuted Libby’s sentence (someone say “coverup”?), allowing him to avoid jail.
  6. Abu Ghraib and the systematic torture & murder of prisoners held in U.S. custody overseas under the direction of “Top Brass” in the Bush Administration.
  7. The NSA illegally wiretapping Americans without a warrant (or even showing “just cause” after the fact.)
  8. The firing of eight (Republican) U.S. Attorneys (for refusing to prosecute Democratic organizations for alleged “voter fraud” after finding “no basis” for the Bush Administrations claims) by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales (who was yet another example of Bush nepotism having been Bush’s friend in Texas) and replaced with attorneys more to their liking.
  9. Administrators at the MMO (“Minerals Management Organization”)… appointed by the Bush Administration… accused of systemic corruption including bribery, sex, and even “snorting crystal-meth off the toaster.”
  10. White House produced “fake news” clips (scripted by the White House and cast with actors using fake names, pretending to be legitimate newscasters) which were then distributed across the country (and played during evening news casts without attribution as if they were legitimate news stories and not propaganda); and the mass-submission of identical newspaper editorials praising the Bush Administration, written by the military and distributed to newspapers across the country as genuine letters from readers (not once but twice);
  11. The Bush White House selectively editing scientific reports (by spin-doctors with no actual proficiency in the science whose reports they were editing) on subjects like “climate change” (leading Bush’s own Surgeon General to blast him and his “anti-science administration.”).
  12. Karl Rove violating the “Hatch Act” in 2006 by hosting & funding political strategy sessions IN the White House and on the tax payers’ dime to get Republicans elected across the country.
  13. A Conservative blogger and gay male prostitute going by the fake name of “Jeff Gannon” (supposedly passing an FBI background check) not only being allowed into the White House press room repeatedly but even allowed to ask the president (leading) questions (about what a wonderful and misunderstood guy President Bush was.)
  14. (The botched handling of) Hurricane Katrina that left over 2,000 people dead (with dead bodies floating in the streets), and thousands more stranded in the New Orleans Superdome for days afterwards with no electricity, minimal food and no working plumbing after appointing yet another Bush crony (Michael “Heck’uva Job Brownie” Brown) with NO Emergency Management experience to head FEMA, whose last job was head of The Arabian Horse Association. (I would also add, cutting funding for strengthening the levies… approved during the Clinton Administration then CUT by the Bush Administration. Government funding for rebuilding the city afterwards was likewise never forthcoming and much of the city is still a ghost town to this day.)

…to name just a few.

 
I personally would add to that list:

  1. Most know about the infamous “August 6th [2001] PDB {Presidential Daily Briefing)” by the CIA entitled “Bin Laden Determined to Attack in U.S.”, but most do not know the Bush Administration received no less than EIGHT prior warnings that an attack by alQaeda inside America was imminent. After ignoring report after report, the August 6th PDB was given a title the CIA believed would be “impossible for Bush to ignore”. Ha! He sure showed them!
  2. There was the exposing of British informant Muhammad Noor Khan for political gain, forcing the Brits to close their investigation into the London bombings before they could fully ascertain who was behind them, infuriating British Intelligence.
  3. Allowed [politically connected] members of the bin Laden family to flee the U.S. after 9/11 before they could be questioned.
  4. Various Bush admin officials repeatedly ignored subpoenas to appear & testify before Congress.
  5. Declared waterbording or any form of torture just short of “permanent physical injury or death” as “legal”.
  6. The stovepiping of information, manipulating intelligence, and willfully ignoring facts that contradicted what they wanted to hear, and then repeatedly lying to the American people about what they already knew not to be true, all in an effort to make a case for war with Iraq. (Note: In the section just above on the eight warnings prior to the August 6 PDB, one of the reasons given for not believing there was a legitimate threat from alQaeda was that (quote) “alQaeda was only pretending to be planning an attack to distract the U.S. from Saddam Hussein. Think about that for a moment. BEFORE 9/11, the Bush Administration was already focused on Iraq… something they have repeatedly denied, and alleging a connection between (Suni) Saddam and (Shia) alQaeda. Bush’s Treasury Secretary John P. O’Neill said upon resigning in 2004 that Bush was already “talking about invading Iraq from day one” of his administration. And I’ve already shown you the video of Bush threatening Saddam Hussein over his “weapons of mass destruction” at the VERY BEGINNING of his 2000 campaign.)

ADDENDUM (5/14): I almost forgot about the nearly $12 BILLION DOLLARS that just up & vanished in Iraq shortly after the start of the Iraq War; relying on an informant called Curveball (whom British and German Intelligence had already deemed as “unreliable and highly questionable”) as their source re: Saddam’s WMD program; their invitation of Ahmed Chalabi to the 2004 State of the Union… a man they later denounced as “an Iranian spy” after his claims of Saddam’s “stockpiles of WMD’s” didn’t pan out; the 2005 IRS audit of an Episcopal Church in Pasadena, CA for daring to preach an “anti-war” message before the 2004 Election (unlike Obama, the Bush Administration themselves actually used the IRS as a weapon to target Liberal groups like the NAACP and Greenpeace); and I’m sure there are dozens more I’m forgetting.
 

The entire basis for the Iraq War and the assurances of “Weapons of Mass Destruction” alone is worthy of a Congressional investigation. Claims that “everyone [else in the world intelligence community] believed the same thing”, have been thoroughly debunked.

This latest pathetic attempt to turn “Benghazi” into something that might lead to the impeachment of President Obama (or, dare they dream, resign in disgrace ala Nixon) is as transparent as their motives. But think for a moment what this “impeachable offense” actually was. An American consulate (not “embassy”) fell victim to a preplanned attack by alQaeda (sound familiar?) But unlike the FIRST 9/11, there were no actual warnings of an impending attack other than the fact it was the eleventh anniversary of 9/11. Conservatives claim “the U.S. should have been on high alert on the anniversary of 9/11. There had been NO attacks on the anniversary in 2009, 2010 or 2011. Yet somehow, the Obama Administration “should have seen it coming” in 2012… an attack by alQaeda on an obscure consulate NOT in the Libyan capitol of Tripoli but in Benghazi hundreds of miles away (American troops WERE on guard at the embassy in Tripoli) “They didn’t immediately send fighter planes or an ARMED drone when reports came in that the consulate was under attack”, the Nutters cry. The nearest U.S. Air Force Base was nearly 500 miles away in Sigonella, Italy (Eastern Sicily):
 

Distance from nearest AFB to Benghazi: 465 miles:

(click to enlarge)

For reference, 500 miles is basically an hour away. No fighter jet could have arrived at the Benghazi consulate in time to save the lives of those who died… a fact Obama’s chief accusers readily admit. And the only reason the military even had planes THAT close is because the Obama Administration put them there.

Then there’s the alleged “cover up” after the fact of “what they knew and when”, but to date, NO ONE has been able to explain just what harm might have befell the Obama Administration if they had just “admitted” what we now know to be true: that this was a pre-planned “terrorist” attack and not a ”spontaneous demonstration” (information that does not change the facts of the case one iota.)

During the Clinton Administration, we all remember how the GOP hunted Bill Clinton for his entire presidency with investigation after investigation until they finally found something that would stick… eventually settling for… not an actual “crime”, but “lying under oath” about an affair in a hearing that was only taking place BECAUSE of the partisan witch-hunt to “get” Bill Clinton. Had he of just ignored that subpoena the way a half dozen Bush officials did, he never would have been under oath (but then they would have impeached him for refusing to respond to a subpoena.)

In 2006, Nancy Pelosi infuriated millions of Democrats by promising to “take impeachment [of Bush] off the table” in order to assuage voters (supposed) fears that a Democratic Congress… if given control in the mid-term election that year… would not do to President Bush what the GOP did to President Clinton in HIS final two years in office.

The difference is, the Bush Administration actually NEEDS to be investigated (yes, present tense) whereas the multitude of Clinton investigations were frivolous (the White House cats’ Xmas Card mailing list? Seriously???) But the GOP never shows ANY such concern of being seen as “petty” or “vindictive” because THEY ARE “petty” and “vindictive” and EVERYONE KNOWS that. So when they abuse their power and start calling for “impeachment” over the latest imagined “scandal” to drool out the mouth of some Right-Wing radio loon, it’s not only not a surprise, but EXPECTED (I am convinced the only thing holding them back right now is that they don’t control the Senate.) But heaven help us if a Democrat dare suggest impeaching (or even just investigating) a Republican president!

(Democrats think they must promise to NOT impeach to get elected. Republicans campaign on the “need to impeach” to get elected.)

And as I’ve shown you, the list of Bush Era scandals worthy of investigation is/was long.
 



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Filed in fake scandals, myth busting, Partisanship, Politics, Rants, rewriting history, Right-Wing Insanity, Unconstitutional May 13th, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • 18 comments | Add/View

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Attention GOP: You can’t dismantle gun reform then go around calling the bill “ineffective”

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, April 15, 2013

The REAL problemThis Thursday will be the 20th Anniversary of the end of the raid on the “Branch Davidian” compound in Waco, Texas where religious gun nuts holed up with a messianic cult-leader decided that a BATF raid (following the murder of a BATF Agent that tried to investigate them for illegally transporting and selling guns across state lines) was a fulfillment of End-Times prophecy of the government coming to take their guns away. April 20th, Friday, will be the 14th anniversary of the shooting at Columbine High School in 1999, where 12 students and one teacher were murdered and another 21 students were injured. April is a big month for “Deadly Rampage” anniversaries by nuts with guns. Today, following the worst school shooting in history, Republicans are making the rounds telling everyone that currently proposed legislation “would have done nothing to prevent the last four massacres“… those being Newtown, the Aurora/Batman theater shooting, the shooting of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, and a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, WI. What kind of legislation might then have actually mitigated those incidents? Two immediately spring to mind: a ban on assault weapons and a ban on high-capacity ammo clips… which WERE a part of the original bill. Who got those provisions removed? The same guys now calling the bill toothless.

The weapons used in the 1999 Columbine High School Massacre
The Columbine Weapons

 

Last week, Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe… the eye of every “GOP Crazy-Storm”… decided that enough time had passed since the Newtown Massacre that it was now okay to attack the parents of those murdered children, suggesting they are ignorant dupes, too stupid to realize President Obama is using them to push through gun legislation that would have “done nothing to save their children.”

Utah Senator Mike Lee said on “Meet the Press” yesterday that: “This bill, I believe, would do more to limit the rights of the law-abiding than it would to actually prevent violent crime.

I’m sorry, but if your first reaction to the murder of 20 first-graders and six teachers is to think “Obama/Liberals are going to take our guns away”, your priorities SUCK.

Inhofe, Lee, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul and Joe McCarthy’s paramour Ted Cruz (R-TX) all vowed to filibuster the gun reform bill if it included an “Assault Weapons” ban… something that WOULD have likely had a direct impact on the number of children murdered that day. But do you think any of them are insisting we put that ban back into the bill so it would actually make the ban more effective at actually addressing those concerns? Of course not! Rubio even went so far as to suggest we need to weaken, not strengthen our gun laws. Because more guns means a safer society (it’s nonsense of course.) Thinking “more guns” is the solution to gun violence is like thinking the to solution to drunk driving is “more alcohol”.

Also on the Sunday talk shows yesterday, Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) said “only better mental health laws will ensure that the Newtown mass shooting victims did not die in vain … that’s why I’m focused like a laser on the mental health component.” The “Affordable Care Act” (aka: ObamaCare) provides funding to expand coverage of… you guessed it… mental health care. Cornyn’s position on The ACA: “Why ObamaCare Must Go”, by Sen. John Cornyn. The Senator also voted against including assault weapons in the current gun legislation and has no stated position on limiting high capacity clips/magazines… the two things that would most directly would have impacted the deadliness of recent mass shootings.

Why is it that owning a gun is a right but being able to see a doctor when you’re sick is a privilege? Gun nuts say the REAL threat is “the mentally ill”, but when you try to increase funding for mental health care they scream “Marxist!”

Former Congressman turned NRA Spokesman Asa Hutchinson last week called “driving 30 miles into town” to obtain a background check “too burdensome” for rural residents. More children must die because some #@!$% doesn’t want to be “inconvenienced” by having to drive a few miles into town? If your priorities listed in order are: “1) Avoiding two hours of inconvenience; 2) Dead Children… you seriously need to rethink your priorities. Why is it that so many “Pro-LIFE Republican gun nuts seem more concerned with their own “inconvenience” than saving the life of a child?
 

2 seconds before Reagan was shot.

 
Gun regulations “infringe on people’s rights & liberty”, but regulating gay marriage and mandating vaginal ultrasounds are perfectly acceptable limits on our freedom. In America, Birth-Control and Marriage Licenses are harder to get than bullets. They actually say that “kicking God out of our schools” is more to blame for school shootings than the guns. If that’s so, then what’s the excuse for priests molesting children in our churches?
 

GOP priorities

 

Last week, Texas voted to drug-test every welfare applicant because 2.6% of them are drug users, yet these same legislators oppose background-checks before buying a gun despite the fact that at least 2.6% of them are probably on drugs.

Last Wednesday, Rachel Maddow pointed out that the NRA came to the defense of a former convicted felon that was arrested after being caught with a handgun and AK-47 with 30-round extended capacity clip in his possession. The man argued that the law prohibiting him from owning a gun was unconstitutional. They won. Was that REALLY a law that needed overturning to protect YOUR rights? The NRA says, “We don’t need MORE laws, we just need to enforce the ones already on the books!” And then they spend the rest of their time getting those laws overturned, even rushing to the defense of convicted felons. Attention NRA Members: If you think the NRA exists to protect YOU and not The Gun Industry, think again. They just fought for and won the right of convicted felons in Louisiana to own assault rifles, making you less safe thus ensuring you’ll need to buy more guns to protect yourself.

As The Daily Show’s John Oliver recently pointed out:
 

“One failed attempt at a shoe-bomb and now we all take our shoes off at the airport. 31 school shootings since Columbine and no change in the regulation of guns.”

 

These Congresssmen say banning high-capacity magazines only inconveniences “responsible gun owners”. If you need 30+ bullets to hit your target, you probably have no business firing a gun. They say, “Criminals don’t obey gun laws”. So by that logic, why do we have ANY laws at all? We have laws against stealing. People still steal. We have laws against speeding. People still speed. They say the REAL problem is “mental health care”, but then actively oppose allowing the government to do anything about it. They say, “Guns don’t kill people! PEOPLE kill people!” So why then do they need a gun? They say “a gun is no more dangerous than a knife, a hammer, or a car!” Well then, if you have a knife, a hammer, or a car, why do you need a gun? We have Congressmen actively crippling sensible legislation that WOULD of had a DIRECT impact on some of the most tragic mass murders of our time, and then once they’ve kicked the legs out from under those bills, they go around and talk about how toothless the proposed legislation is.

GOP hypocrisy is nothing new, but sadly, the Media’s failure to call them out on it this time around means MANY more people are going to die.
 



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Filed in Crime, Guns & Violence, Money, Partisanship, Politics, Right-Wing Insanity, Unconstitutional April 15th, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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The Right’s Irrational Arguments Against Gun Control

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, March 25, 2013

Patriot: Yesterday vs TodayLast week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that he would be dropping the “assault weapons ban” from the Senate’s bill to ban Assault Weapons. If that’s not insane enough, how about his reasoning for doing so: Because it would fall “well short of the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster.” AND WHOSE [bleeping] FAULT IS THAT, YOU PIECE OF [bleep]?” (Reid argued he has only around 40 votes. But I GUARANTEE you that if he only needed TEN more Senators instead of twenty, you’d find a LOT of people wouldn’t want to be on the losing side of that vote. Translation: It’s easier to oppose a bill you know has no prayer of passing.) So where does that leave Gun Reform? The argument against Gun Control goes something like this: Criminals don’t obey laws, ergo, we shouldn’t pass any laws prohibiting weapons of war from our streets because the only people affected by these laws are good law-abiding citizens… you know, the way murderers obey laws against murder. And we can’t keep a national registry of “what gun belongs to whom” so we can trace a weapon used in a crime back to its owner, because when you start keeping a list of who owns what gun(s), it just makes it that much easier for Obama’s Stormtroopers to target your suburban 3-bed 2-1/2 bath split-level with garden-gnome  for a drone strike, or descend from the sky in black helicopters to bust down your front door and take your guns away!

Yes, these seem like perfectly sane & rational arguments to The Right.

As you well know, Democrats have been pushing for filibuster reform ever since the GOP wildly abused the power during the first two years of President Obama’s first term. When Senator Reid had the opportunity to do something about it in 2010, many of us were appalled when he said ”No”. Upon retaking control of the House in 2010, Republican Senators had backed off a bit, knowing that they could let a few bills they opposed slip through, confident in the knowledge that their colleagues in the House would kill it for them (without incurring the bad PR of being obstructionist asshats). But the problem didn’t go away entirely (not by a longshot), and 17 months later, Reid took to the floor of the Senate for mea culpa, stating that his critics were “right” and he was “wrong” not to have reformed the filibuster when he had a chance.

So color everyone shocked when Reid balked at the opportunity YET AGAIN to reform the filibuster last January. His reasoning for doing so was basically a promise from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell that Republicans would be on their best behavior. Honest & true! We double-pinky swear! So of course, Reid caves, and the GOP goes right back to their miserable obstructionist ways (what is it with Democrats who keep looking for a glimmer of conscience in Republicans?) Personally, I wonder if some Conservative Power-Broker didn’t threaten the lives of Reid’s family if he didn’t back off filibuster reform. I certainly wouldn’t put it past them.

Anyway, back to Gun Control:

If you listen to The Far Right on ANY issue, fear & paranoia reign supreme. But what kills me is that this is only true when DEMOCRATS control the White House. Which is nuts because the biggest violators of the Constitution, personal privacy and civil rights were The Bush Administration with Republican control of both houses of Congress. I keep an ACLU flier from the 2006 election pinned to my corkboard entitled, “It’s Been a Tough Six Years for the Bill of Rights”, marking just a few of the ways one-party rule under Bush violated and outright eschewed the Constitution at every opportunity, hand-picking lawyers that would tell them that what they wanted to do was legal, and firing those that did not. Yet it’s the Democrats that keep them in constant fear of “Big Brother” coming to take their hunting rifle away and have an “illegal alien” gay-marry them to a donkey… oh, and tax them to pay for it.
 

Bush supported more Gun Control than Obama

As I noted on here a few weeks ago, when you ask a Right Winger for their position on a buzz-word that the Right has demonized… like “gun control” or “ObamaCare“… they flat out oppose it… not just mildly… but violently & irrationally, and base their reasoning on a plethora of misinformation they heard listening to Glenn Beck or Fox ”news”. But then ask them how they feel about individual items IN those bills, and they’re all for it! Opponents of “gun reform” attend huge rallies across the nation, yet 87% of them support “background checks”, 82% support “temporarily” suspending the license of a dealer that can’t account for the whereabouts of 20 or more guns, and 81% disagree with the NRA that juveniles convicted of a serious crime needn’t wait ten years before being allowed to buy a gun (yes, the NRA opposes preventing gang-bangers from buying guns.) The NRA is in total misstep with its own members quite simply because the NRA doesn’t exist to represent the will of its members. It exists solely to represent the interests of gun manufacturers.

Listening to NRA President Wayne “Guns don’t kill people, violent video games do” Pierre blather on yesterday about how “gun laws” are used to oppress legitimate gun owners… and yet we should be “enforcing the laws already on the books” (because law enforcement has become too lax?) makes my head hurt. These aren’t rational people. There’s a reason the Republican leadership pushes “home schooling” and “faith-based education” (where you accept everything you are told on faith.)

And Democrats like Reid need to stop listening to them.
 



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Filed in Crime, Guns & Violence, Partisanship, Politics, Right-Wing Insanity, Seems Obvious to Me, Unconstitutional March 25th, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • 3 comments | Add/View

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Did Rand Paul get his “Killing Americans with Drones” Idea from a Sitcom?

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Thursday, March 14, 2013

Meet 'Droney!'Someone needs to ask.

The holdup of President Obama’s choice for CIA Director John Brennan came to a dramatic head last week following Senator Rand Paul’s high-profile 13-hour filibuster on the Senate floor, demanding that the president “answer a simple question: Can the President of the United States order the assassination of an American citizen on U.S. soil?”

I’m not here to debate the efficacy of the President’s choice of someone like Brennan to head the CIA, or whether or not Sen. Paul’s question has merit (remember, Cheney already gave himself the authority to shoot down a passenger plane full of Americans on 9/11), and no one seems to have mentioned the fact that U.S. embassies in foreign countries also count as “U.S. soil”, it’s merely the timing of Paul’s question that strikes me funny

I personally don’t watch the show, but Season 1, Episode 4 of NBC’s sitcom “1600 Penn” entitled “Meet the Parent” included a line in the opening scene that stuck in my memory (I edited up clips from that episodes’ opening of the line in question):

1600 Penn: “I have robots that roam the skies!”

 
The week prior to the January 24th episode, the network was running promos where the fictional “President Gilchrist” was threatening his daughter’s suitor with “robots that roam the skies.” Suddenly, Sen. Paul was declaring his intention to hold up Brennan’s appointment until he got an answer to the question. “Can a president use armed drones against Americans on U.S. soil?”

I did a quick Google News search, and interestingly, the first instance I can find of anyone asking that very question is The World Socialist Website (link) on February 9th. I doubt Sen. Paul is reading TWSW, but hey…

(The Right Wing “Twitchy” website run by perennial teanut Michelle Malkin that claims to “debunk Left-wing Tweets”, attacked MSN on February 11th for supposedly claiming the LAPD might use a killer drone to get that deranged cop that holed himself up in a cabin after going on a killing spree last month.)

“Loyal Liberal Lefties™” like myself have expressed concern over “domestic drones” for years mostly on privacy grounds, and RW paranoia over the use of drones within the U.S. has been a popular Tea Party talking point for years (going back to the use of drones on the U.S./Mexico border). The subject seemed to fall off the radar during the 2012 campaign, but the sudden concern over using “armed” drones “against American citizens” on the Right seems to have risen only within the past few weeks. NBC ran promos for its show between January 18th-24th. Senator Paul first announced his intention to block the Brennan nomination over drones on February 15th. A Google News Search for “drones kill American soil” going back to 2011 turned up nothing other than the links mentioned above.

In any case, I find it interesting… the “timing” anyway… that a sitting U.S. Senator may have held up the appointment of the head of the Central Intelligence Agency over a made up question about the President’s ability to “kill Americans on American soil”… a power that hasn’t been in doubt since The Civil War, and reaffirmed by a GOP that repeatedly passed/renewed The PATRIOT Act (that gives the President the power to detain an American Citizen indefinitely without charge… even “disappear” them to Gitmo or a foreign country to be tortured) over a line in a TV sitcom.



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Filed in fake scandals, General, Partisanship, Politics, Right-Wing Insanity, Seems Obvious to Me, Unconstitutional, War March 14th, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Dear Mr. Biden. Focus on the Ammunition, not the guns.

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, January 14, 2013

Grim Reaper will need to exchange his scythe for a ThresherAll day long, from 8am to 5pm Monday thru Friday, I listen to Progressive talk radio streaming from my PC (no Liberal Talk radio stations in Houston) all day long while I work, and a caller into one show the other day asked, “At what point does your right to ‘stay safe’ trump my Second Amendment rights?” Argh! Dumb people are going to be the end of this country. “Hey Moron!”, I shouted at my radio, “Just because we have a First Amendment right to Free Speech doesn’t mean we have the right to shout ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theater!” But you can bet if I shouted “Fire!” in a crowded room with this moron in it, it would have been proceeded by the words: ”Ready! Aim!” We put “public safety constraints” on Constitutional “rights” all the time. The Supreme Court ruled long ago that issues of ‘public safety’ CAN trump Constitutional rights. And in fact, the Second has one built-in with that whole “well regulated” clause that makes licenses & background checks Constitutional (so said Justice Scalia).

Fox “news” Sunday contributor Bill Kristol dismissed the need for sweeping gun control legislation yesterday based on “one incident”. One incident? ONE??? Excuse me you soulless prick. Did you forget the Arizona mass murder that wounded Congresswoman Gabby Giffords two years ago? The Aurora, Colorado Theater shooting? The shooting in a Sikh Indian Temple in Wisconsin last year? The gunman that opened fire in a Portland shopping mall four days before the murder of 20 six year olds and six teachers in a Newtown, CT public school, followed by yet another school shooting just last week WHILE the Vice President was discussing the findings of his Task Force? ONE incident? Blow me, jackass.

Tomorrow/Tuesday, Vice President Biden releases the recommendations of his “Gun Violence Task Force”, which is expected to recommend something very similar to his 1994 “Assault Weapons Ban” which Republicans are declaring was an “absolute failure” (It wasn’t. This 2004 report (pdf) found that murders committed using Assault Weapons declined by 17% in just that ten year period… a decline that was likely to have only grown as discontinued weapons and magazines/clips became more scarce.) A repeat of the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban would face an uphill battle. Anything weaker is unlikely to do much good. Anything tougher will have an exceeding difficult time getting past a GOP controlled House (because they owe their very livelihood to kowtowing to their gun-crazed constituency.) We need to think differently.

Chris Rock famously joked about making every bullet “cost $5,000″ because then there would “no longer be any innocent bystanders”. While I doubt making ammunition exorbitantly expensive would pass a Constitutional challenge, I do think Rock was absolutely on the right track: Focus on the ammunition! There are plenty of laws saying you can own just about any kind of gun you’d like, and plenty of pinhead Rednecks have threatened to go apes#!t if anyone tries to “take their gun away” (I won’t link to it, but one now-infamous numbnut said in a video last week that if the government tries to take away his guns, he’ll “start killing people.” Paranoia runs deep on the Right. You name the issue and there’s a badly misinformed Conservative nut threatening violence over it.)

Which brings up a point I’ve been making for a while now: Guns are useless without bullets. There is NO “constitutional right” to an endless supply of easily obtainable high-caliber ammunition. If we’re going to curb gun violence, I recommend we focus there (rather than the FAR more complicated balancing act of banning the guns themselves.)

My Conservative father is an avid gun collector that loves to go target shooting and has a concealed-carry permit. Dad also makes his own bullets because target shooting uses up a lot of ammo which can get real expensive real fast. So he bought a hand-powered shell packing machine, buys the brass shells and gunpowder, and makes his own bullets right there in the garage. But you know what else I noticed? He goes through his ammunition quite sparingly and wouldn’t think of using his own hand-packed ammo in a (semi) automatic weapon because he’d blow through it too fast. When it takes a minute or two to pack each shell, you’re going to be more reluctant to waste it in a machine that spits out 50 rounds/second. If you look closely, “spree” shooters don’t make their own bullets. They buy them pre-made and in bulk at Wal*Mart or some other conveniently located retailer. Presently, you can walk into Wal*Mart and fill up a shopping cart FULL of bullets without so much as a firearm’s license. And when bullets are that easy to come by, there’s no disincentive to use them in a weapon that spits out bullets like Rush Limbaugh spits out racist/misogynistic vulgarities.

Remember when you were a kid and Mom & Dad wanted to impress upon you “the value of a dollar”? Earning that dollar wasn’t easy, and because it was harder to come by, you weren’t so quick to waste it. And while you were pondering how best to spend it, you didn’t leave it lying around where someone might take it. You put it someplace safe until you were ready to use it. I think restrictions on ammunition would have the same effect. Pass laws prohibiting “bulk purchases” of bullets, require background checks for ammunition the same as we do for guns, and put limits on certain TYPES of ammunition. An “Assault Rifle” will do a lot less damage if it doesn’t have access to ammunition that looks like this:

.223 caliber ammunition used in Newtown shooting
.223 caliber ammunition used in Newtown shooting

Remember back during the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting how your redneck brother-in-law and his beer-swilling buddies all boasted how if THEY had just had a gun in that darkened crowded theater, with people running around screaming in a cloud of teargas, fleeing a mad-man in full body armor spiting out 30 bullets in 27 seconds, THEY “could have taken down the shooter” and saved all those people? How many times did you hear them say that the ONLY way they could have achieved this superhuman feat is if they too were armed with a semi-automatic assault rifle? I’ll bet you Mitt Romney’s $10,000 that you never ONCE heard one of these Right-Wing idiots with delusions of grandeur say they would have required matching firepower to bring down a madman with an assault rifle. No, they were ALL referring to a simple handgun. So the claim that people require assault weapons “for protection” is not only a myth, but debunked by their own words (or lack-there-of.)

You may have a right to own a gun, and the gun nuts are already apoplectic over the imaginary threat that the gub’mint is plotting to “take that right away”, but you do NOT have a Constitutional right to buy a shopping-cart full of armor-piercing M16 rounds without so much as a background check. Likewise, you don’t have a ”right” against being “inconvenienced” by a clip/magazine that only holds 10 rounds before having to reload. If you can’t hit your target with ten bullets, you have no business using a firearm.

If the latest push to limit gun violence in this country is to succeed, they’ll have a FAR better chance at success if they focus more on bullets than the guns. Also worth pointing out… because THEY will… “closing the gunshow loophole” and banning the sale of certain firearms wouldn’t have prevented any of the most recent massacres. They will try to use that as an excuse not to enact most of the proposed legislation. But limits on ammunition/clips/etc WOULD of had an impact on these most recent massacres. We should channel our energies towards legislation with the greatest chance of success that would arguably of had a direct impact on recent events.

Note: Trying out a new look for the blog this week. Let me know what you think in the comments. One more theme to try out next week at which point I’ll give you the opportunity to vote for your favorite (along with screen shots.)

 


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Filed in Crime, Guns & Violence, myth busting, Politics, Rants, Seems Obvious to Me, Unconstitutional January 14th, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • 4 comments | Add/View