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Electorate Votes Big for Progressive Policies (and the people least likely to implement them)

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, November 10, 2014

What conclusions can be drawn from an electorate that voted overwhelmingly for Progressive policies in last Tuesday’s election only to also vote for the people LEAST likely to implement them? In EVERY state where raising the Minimum Wage was on the ballot, all Deep-RED states, it won. In EVERY state where marijuana legalization was on the ballot, it won. In EVERY state where increased gun control was on the ballot, it won. And in EVERY state where “personhood” for fertilized eggs was on the ballot, it lost. Yet in many of these same states, Republicans… who are the least likely to support these measures… won big. How does one account for that?

On The Rachel Maddow Show the night after the election, she provided an itemized list of Progressive victories the night before:
 

Howard Dean, who ran the DNC before Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, and whose “50 State Strategy” played a huge role in 2006 Democratic sweep of Congress, said the most brilliant thing on “Meet the Press” yesterday:

“The Republican strategy was simply to say, We’re not Obama. And the Democratic strategy was to say, We’re not Obama either. What in the Hell kind of strategy is that?”

In recent weeks, I too have lambasted Democrats for buying into the Republican meme that “President Obama is wildly unpopular” and running away from him and his policies when they should have been defending them. When given the choice between a Party that does nothing but criticize the president vs a Party that concedes their opponents criticism, why on Earth would anyone vote for the same Party as the president? It was beyond stupid. So it was only natural that the GOP candidates would defeat their wishy-washy opponents.

Yet, when it came to ballot issues, the voters STILL expressed a CLEAR preference for Progressive positions. People WANT Progressive government, but they also want stuff to get done. Republicans went out on the campaign trail and told voters that if they want to END GRIDLOCK, they need control of both Houses of Congress. With a metaphorical gun to the electorates’ head, Republicans told voters to, “Elect me before I obstruct again!” NOT ONCE did I hear a Democrat argue the opposite: that giving THEM control of both houses would also end the gridlock in Washington (I find it curious that, despite a 16% approval rating, Control of the House was never in question thanks to Gerrymandering). Republicans already blame President Obama for their own unprecedented obstruction of Congress, but even with control of both houses, President Obama still has his Veto Pen, so if Republicans think they can “repeal ObamaCare” or include the “deportation of 12 Million undocumented workers” in their border-security bill, we’re STILL going to see gridlock in Washington. And if the Tea Party extremists get their way and begin impeachment proceedings, just how much do you expect this Congress to get done?

So what’s going on here? Did voters just not draw a connection between the policies they were voting for and the people they were electing to implement them (FACT: The more educated you are, the more likely you are to vote Democrat), or something more sinister?

I despise Conspiracy Theories, and I think the moment you start arguing “election theft” when you lose, you lose all credibility when you win. “Voter Suppression” efforts were rampant across the country this election, but they account for the record low turnout (just 36.6%) not for the inconsistent way in which people voted. Yes, there were reports of “vote flipping” on “touch screen” based voting machines (built more than a decade before modern touch screen tablet technology and thus painfully due for an update), but machines were found to be flipping votes in both directions, an indication the problem is more a em>calibration issue than one of nefarious intent.

However…

If one WERE to rig voting machines so that GOP candidates in close races ended up winning big, and Democrats with huge leads ended up winning in squeakers, it is conceivable that the people rigging the machines didn’t think to rig the “ballot issues” as well to keep the results looking consistent. If I were the conspiracy-type, such a result would definitely be ringing alarm bells in my mind. But instead, I think the problem had more to do with an electorate that just didn’t link the candidates they were voting for to the issues they supported.

In Colorado, where “Personhood” was on the ballot, that measure lost by a whopping THIRTY-POINTS, and yet they elected an Evangelical senator that ran in support of personhood during the primaries only to flip-flop on the issue come the General Election. It was a reversal no Coloradoan could claim not to know about since his opponent, Tom Udall, ran so many ads on the subject he was branded: “Tom Uterus”. But like so many other Democrats, Udall ran away from President Obama’s record of success in spite of unprecedented GOP obstruction, suggesting there was some validity to the GOP’s claims of Obama being a failure, so when faced with the choice between the Party that has been saying for six years that Obama was a failure vs a Democrat that suddenly appears to be conceding his opponents argument, who are the voters going to vote for?

So what can we expect from the next two years? While I do expect to see a LOT of fighting, I predict most of it will be in-fighting amongst Republicans… the “old guard” Republicans that learned some lessons from the past, and brash Tea Party hotheads like Ted Cruz that will make “the repeal of ObamaCare” amongst his highest priorities (NOTE: Thanks to ObamaCare health insurance premiums are slated to rise at just 7.5% next year), as he openly ridicules his fellow Republicans for an unwillingness to consider impeaching Obama (while I still consider the possibility as quite high, I think there are enough Republicans old enough to remember the brusing 1999 impeachment of President Clinton, how it was widely viewed as “petty & vindictive”, and know that if they tried it again, the Press would crucify them.)

2014 was a case study in how NOT to run an election. This was NOT, repeat NOT, a “wave” election for Republicans. Record low turnout is not a “wave”. Did more people show up to vote Republican because they oppose the President, or did more people opposed to the president simply show up to vote? Clearly from all the Progressive ballot issues that won, voters don’t disapprove of the Democratic agenda. But don’t tell that to all the Republicans they just voted for to enact that agenda. 36.6% is not a “mandate”.
 



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Filed in Election, myth busting, Partisanship, Politics, Predictions, Rants, Seems Obvious to Me, voting November 10th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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One Number Explains Tuesday’s Miserable Election Results: 65 Percent

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Wednesday, November 5, 2014

65% say Country is on Wrong Track

One simple number explains the surprising scale of Democratic losses on Tuesday: 65% Percent of those Exit Polled said the country is on “the wrong track”.

o Unemployment is nearly half its 2009 post-Bush peak of 10.0%, down to 5.9% and falling.

o The Deficit is down TWO-THIRDS over what President Obama inherited.

o GDP is up to an amazing 3.5%

o Both the DOW and the S&P are at record highs.

And those exit polled overwhelmingly said the country is “on the wrong track” (only if “wrong track” to you means anything that makes Obama look good). That can ONLY be because Republican turnout was vastly superior to that of Democrats. Only a group of people SO DISCONNECTED from reality as to give this president an absurd SEVEN PERCENT approval rating (and President Bush a 63% approval rating his final year) despite a record like his could claim the country is on “the wrong track” with numbers like that.

Did the number of people believing the economy is on “the wrong track” drive people to vote Republican, or did more Republicans (who already believe the economy is “on the wrong track”) simply turn up to vote in greater numbers? I argue it was the latter.

Even races Democrats were expected to win easily were closer than expected. Many races that should have been close were blowouts. Why? TURNOUT. They had it, we didn’t. It’s that simple.

Nothing moves people to the polls like anger, and the GOP has been stoking Republican anger towards President Obama… who wasn’t even on the ballot… to the point where it moved Conservative voters to the polls in large numbers.

But one thing gnawed at me all last week: With just a 16% approval rating, how come “control of the HOUSE” was never in doubt? Think about it? How does a body with an approval rating lower than sour milk, one in which EVERY SINGLE MEMBER was up for (re)election, not only not have to worry about losing control of the House but actually PICK UP seats? Simple, rampant Gerrymandering, Voter Suppression and cuts to Early Voting locations/hours/days, all of which affect Democrats disproportionally.

Tuesday’s win wasn’t a victory for Republicans, it was a victory for ignorance, theft & apathy.
 



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Filed in Election, Partisanship, Politics, Right-Wing Insanity, voting November 5th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • 3 comments | Add/View

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History Has Shown Us What Happens With Republicans In Charge – and it’s not good

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, November 3, 2014

Probably THE reason I’ve been writing this blog every week for the last ten years is because of the importance of elections. As the subtitle says, “Recording History for those Who Seek to Rewrite it”. Of course, you wouldn’t need to be reminded of something if you had no power to change it. Not only is it about the elections, but also to remind voters of what happens when they vote while uninformed/misinformed. (Side-Note to anyone that thinks elections don’t matter: Ask the people spending BILLIONS trying to suppress your vote why do they bother if elections don’t matter?) Republicans are notorious for their hypocrisy when their politicians do the very things they claim to oppose (eg: GWB decrying “nation building” during the 2000 RNC Convention, to name but one) to a wholesale rewrite of the Reagan Legacy to turn the former union-leader that raised taxes 12 times, decried Assault Weapons, never attended church and granted amnesty to 10 million undocumented immigrants into “Jesus Meets John Wayne”. I’ve written multiple times of how the founder of “The Party of Lincoln” couldn’t get elected Dog Catcher by today’s GOP. And those are the Republicans we liked. But the past three-decades has produced what has to be the most noxious, partisan, short-sighted Republican Party I’ve ever seen. Republicans have left a long (slimy) trail of hypocrisy and economic disaster in their wake, yet somehow they keep managing to get elected by people with incredibly short memories and no foresight. I’ve likened it to psychotics that believe they “don’t need their meds” WHILE ON their meds (ie: Voting Republican after Democrats clean up their mess), discontinuing them only for disaster to ensue. So let’s take a little stroll down Memory Lane for a look back at the GOP Highlight Reel.

Reagan

During his 1980 Presidential campaign, Reagan criticized the Carter Administration for allowing the National Debt to grow to to a “staggering” $800-Billion dollars. Just days after entering office, in an address to Congress in February of 1981, Reagan’s speech-writers came up with the infamous “stack of dollar bills” analogy to give people a sense of just how much money “one Trillion dollars” really is. The Reagan prescription called for a massive tax-cut intended to (quote) “starve The Beast” [ie: government] in a misguided belief that less money coming in would force Congress to cut spending and reduce the Deficit. Sounds reasonable enough. But what the Reagan Administration didn’t count on was there there isn’t that much “fat” in the Federal Budget. And spending wasn’t exactly curbed when the staunch 1950’s anti-Communist decided that the way to defeat “The Red Menace” was to spend them into oblivion via a costly arms race. Before Reagan was governor of California, the former actor was the Head of “The Screen Actors Guild”… a union to protect the rights of people in the film industry… and volunteered to be an FBI informant in McCarthy’s anti-Communist witch-hunt that led to him testifying against “the Hollywood Ten”… a blacklist that ruined the careers of a number of prominent writers, actors and directors.

What the Reagan Administration did not count on was that sucking that much money out of the economy meant fewer paychecks. Less than two years later, Reagan’s Corporate tax cuts led to 10.8% unemployment, the highest since The Great Depression and a level not seen since. To get the unemployment rate back down, the Reagan Administration went on a hiring binge, greatly expanding the size of the Federal Government… which cost money, further exploding the Debt.

By the time Reagan ran for reelection in 1984… less than four years after lambasting the Carter Administration for allowing the National Debt to grow to $800-Billion dollars… “Reaganomics” had nearly doubled 204 years worth of accumulated Debt to $1.5-Trillion dollars. Because the government was borrowing so heavily to finance the Federal Government, people enjoyed all the benefits of low taxes AND a fully-funded Federal Government without realizing just how much they were putting on the National Credit Card. By the time Reagan left office, the National Debt had more than TRIPLED to $2.7-Trillion dollars. 12-years later, soon after taking office, Dick Cheney declared that “Reagan proved that Deficits don’t matter”. Then the Bush Administration proceeded to turn Clinton’s Surplus into a $1.4-Trillion dollar a year Deficit… which didn’t seem to bother Republicans all that much until Barack Obama inherited it. Then suddenly, The Debt (but not The Deficit which is shrinking) became an apocalypse waiting to happen. But I digress.

If the hypocrisy of Deficit Spending under Reagan weren’t enough, how about being “the most corrupt Administration in history”… a title that took some doing barely a decade after the Nixon Administration. Reagan’s presidency ended with ONE-HUNDRED AND THIRTY-EIGHT public officials being indicted or going to Federal prison, the most in American history thanks to things like the “Iran/Contra” scandal (selling arms to Iran to finance the Nicaraguan Contras). And I well remember when… after Congress rejected Reagan’s request to provide rebel Contra forces with money to buy guns, as “Commander-in-Chief”, “St. Ronnie” simply circumvented Congress (sound familiar?) by ordering the U.S. military to storm the beaches of Nicaragua loaded down with as much weaponry as they could carry, dump it all there on the beach, and walk away. The Contras got their guns and Congress was forced to spend the money anyway to rearm our military.

Bush-I

Despite the exploding Debt and record corruption, the country still elected Reagan’s Vice President, George HW Bush, to continue the Reagan presidency. Unfortunately for Republicans, Poppy Bush… who ran against Reagan in 1980 criticizing his economic policies as “Voodoo economics” (the belief that you can increase Federal Revenue by slashing taxes on the rich) was a bit more responsible when it came to Federal spending (not by much mind you, but enough.) Poppy Bush, after assuring cynical Republicans that he wouldn’t raise taxes with his infamous “Read. My. Lips.” pledge, was forced to do so when he saw what Reagan’s tax cuts were doing to the Deficit. So he agreed to a small tax increase in exchange for concessions on drastic spending cuts… inflicting the worst of both worlds on the economy, which thew itself headlong into a Recession.

Bill Clinton’s 1992 Campaign Theme was “It’s the economy, stupid”, ridiculing Poppy Bush for refusing to even mention the subject on the campaign trail. So upset were most Americans with the Bush-I economy, many (myself included) turned to Third-Party candidate Ross Perot. To this day, I wonder what disasters might have befallen the country if Perot had actually won the election… a man that it turned out had no interest in “negotiating” with Congress or anyone else, believing there was a “mandate” for what he believed was right for the country and would ignore anyone that told him otherwise (that’s not a guess. That’s what we learned after one of his campaign managers, Ed Rollins, revealed when he resigned in protest.) I view my support for Perot as a learning lesson for why it is so important to be an informed voter today.

The 1994 Gingrich Revolution

In 1994, following two years of vicious partisan attacks and recriminations by Republicans against a president they viewed as “illegitimate” (thanks to Perot’s third-party candidacy that allowed Clinton to win with less than 50% of the vote), House Minority Leader Newt Gingrich orchestrated the GOP takeover of Congress during the 1994 mid-terms resulting in six straight years of pointless costly investigations in a failed attempt to derail the Clinton presidency. When their partisan witch-hunt failed to deny Clinton reelection in 1996, the GOP controlled Congress turned its attention toward “impeachment” to ensure Clinton didn’t finish out his second term. But there was no “there” there. “White Water”… a failed land deal, never produced evidence of criminal wrong-doing. Clinton’s reported philandering was an embarrassment, but not criminal. For some inexplicable reason, President Clinton allowed the GOP to subpoena him and force him to testify under oath that he wasn’t cheating on his wife… again, scummy but not a crime. Under oath, Clinton denied the truthful accusation, which in itself was (arguably) criminal, thus handing the GOP on a silver platter the justification to impeach him.

Two of Clinton’s key critics, Rep. Newt Gingrich and Sen. Henry Hyde were both currently having extramarital affairs WHILE they were denouncing President Clinton for his, a fact that did not to come out until years later. The sum culmination of six-years of investigations of everything from “The White House Christmas Card List” to “Socks The Cat’s Fan Club”: $70 Million dollars, no conviction, and Clinton leaving office with a (legitimate) popularity that rivals that of St. Ronnie (illegitimate, based on the most whitewashed record imaginable).

Bush-II

During the 2000 presidential race, George W Bush… whose only claims to fame prior to being elected governor of Texas were being a chronically failed businessman, son of a former president, and managing a baseball team that traded away Sammy Sosa… crisscrossed the nation talking down the record-breaking Clinton economy, claiming that “If only a Republican president had been in charge with the Republican Congress for the last six years… just imagine how much better things might have been.” People bought it and (arguably) elected a Republican president to preside over THE SAME Republican Congress Clinton had. The result was a disaster. Economic gains reversed almost immediately and the Stock Market plunged nearly one thousand points from Bush’s first day in office (10,587 on 1/19/2001 to 9,605 on September 10, 2001… so no blaming 9/11). The incoming Bush Administration was too busy plotting the invasion of Iraq to listen to CIA warnings of an impending attack on the US mainland by alQaeda, resulting in the arguably avoidable disaster of 9/11. A wave of post-9/11 patriotic fervor swept the GOP back in power in 2002 and Bush (narrowly) back in office in 2004 despite the disastrous decision to invade Iraq on grounds that people were quickly beginning to realize were totally bogus… with the Bush Administration actually campaigning on “You don’t change horses in mid-stream”… a “stream” that ironically only existed because they blew up the dam.

The Stock Market continued to plunge and unemployment continued to climb as rising oil/gas prices (thanks to the invasion of Iraq) made everything more expensive, ushering in the first or TWO Bush Recessions. The Bush Administration’s solution was to cut interest rates to the bone and encourage people to invest in real-estate. Millions of people were talked into taking out “Adjustable Rate Mortgages” to purchase well beyond their means, but as the economy continued to decline, those ARM rates started to go up & up. As more money shifted from buying goods to paying high interest rates on their mortgages and $3/gal gasoline, the economy started to implode as people began losing their jobs and defaulting on their mortgages, resulting in the collapse of the Banking industry and the biggest economic bailout in history… ON TOP OF the ongoing costs of two wars… one of which we never should have been in and neither with a plan to get out. President Bush would be only the second president in history to leave office with the DOW lower the day he left than the day he took office (the first was Herbert Hoover.)

The GOP under Obama

This is the Sh!t storm President Obama inherited. Yet today, less than six years later, the economy is recovering DESPITE unprecedented Republican obstruction. The DOW has nearly TRIPLED where it was following the collapse of the Bush economy (from 6,547 in March of 2009 to 17,390 last Friday), unemployment has fallen to just 5.9% (below where it was when Obama took office) and GDP grew at 3.5%, the strongest rate in 10 years.

o Republicans said Raising taxes on the rich would crash the economy. President Obama raised taxes on the Rich. The economy is strong and getting stronger by the day. The Deficit is shrinking as a result and has NOT ONCE been larger than the Deficit left to him by President Bush.

o Republicans said ObamaCare would push up unemployment as companies laid off employees rather than insure them. Instead, unemployment is at it’s lowest level in over six years… helping prove the point that tax breaks for the rich don’t create jobs, consumer demand does. So employers are hiring, not firing, despite “ObamaCare”.

o Sarah Palin’s “Death Panels”? They never materialized. In fact, people who were denied coverage by insurance companies’ OWN “death panels” before ObamaCare are now covered. The GOP has vowed to repeal that coverage if they regain power.

o They told us “the only way to get gas prices down is to approve the (disastrous) Keystone XL pipeline”. Gas is below $3/gallon and falling thanks in part to increased competition among OPEC nations, not the construction of any pipeline.

o Obama is mishandling Ebola? ONE death by a man that was turned away from a hospital in a RED state. ZERO cases of Ebola spreading within the general public. By all accounts, handling of the Ebola outbreak has been WILDLY successful.

o Mishandling ISIS? First, let’s not forget there wouldn’t even BE an ISIS if it weren’t for the invasion of Iraq ala the GOP.

o Border crisis? As I pointed out last week, the GOP is actually running ads suggesting ISIS is entering into the U.S. across the Mexican border, while others openly wonder if those poor Central American children entering the country may be carrying the African disease of Ebola. Neither of which are true.

The Republican Party, unable to run on their own record or on Obama’s economic record, are instead doing what they always do: make baseless hypocritical claims of criminal wrongdoing (“Fast & Furious” and “IRS-gate” brought to you by the backers of Iran/Contra and Iraq/WMDs), hypocritical claims of incompetency (cries of “Benghazi!” from the people that brought you “9/11″), and threats of impeachment for circumventing GOP obstruction (the same Party that praises St. Ronnie despite circumventing Congress to arm the Contras.)

They can’t win on their record, so they’ve enacted Draconian “Voter ID” laws across the country, suppressing literally millions of traditionally Democratic low-income voters in the name of “voter fraud”… an activity so rare that more people are convicted of “migratory bird violations” each year than have been convicted of voter fraud in the past decade… not only incredibly rare but hardly enough to swing an election. Don’t think for a moment that they don’t know what they’re doing. If the voters were truly on their side, they’d be doing everything to encourage the vote, not suppress it. And, a question I’ve been asking all year: I’m still waiting for someone to explain what cutting Early Voting hours/days has to do with fighting “voter fraud”?

Ebola, ISIS and trumped up claims of wrongdoing. Fear & Smear. That’s all they have to offer this election season. “Be afraid! Be very afraid! Oh, and vote Republican!” The GOP thinks you should ignore the economic growth and their unprecedented obstruction, and put them back in charge. The amazing thing is that it seems to be working. Those who do not learn from history…
 



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Filed in Economy, Election, myth busting, rewriting history, Right-Wing Hypocrisy, Taxes, voting November 3rd, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 



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

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

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Dems, If You Want To Win the Senate, stop accepting GOP line that Obama is a failure.

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, October 13, 2014

Obama's achievements only make them hate him more.

I don’t know what angers me more: Hearing every pundit on TV talk about how “unpopular” President Obama is citing questionable polling numbers as the basis for their opinion, or Democratic candidates who believe it and then run in fear of being associated with him (again, I’m looking at YOU Alison Lundergan-Grimes. You are about to lose to someone with a 31% approval rating… a race that was yours to lose… because you think eschewing Obama will win over Conservative McConnell voters? Seriously?)

For ONCE, do you know what I’d like to hear? How about just ONE of these candidates say in response to “Do you support Obama?”:

“You mean, do I support the guy that brought unemployment down to 5.9% just 22 months after Romney said he’d do it in four years? Do I support the guy who TRIPLED the stock Market since it bottomed out following the collapse of Wall Street six years ago? The guy who has already created over TEN MILLION NEW JOBS? The guy who has cut the Deficit to its lowest rate since Bill Clinton balanced the Budget in ’98? The guy whose healthcare reform has slowed the growth of rising insurance rates to its lowest in 30 years? And, of course, the guy who got bin Laden? Is THAT what you’re asking me? You think that’s something I should be ashamed of?”

As I’ve pointed out repeatedly here on M.R.S., Obama’s poll numbers are being DRAGGED DOWN BY INSANE UNJUSTIFIED REPUBLICAN HATRED FOR THE MAN. The better he does, the more they hate him. Amazingly, President Obama’s approval rating is still in the low 40’s despite having a stunning SEVEN PERCENT approval rating among Republicans. Seven percent? Are you freaking kidding me??? Hell, even Ebola gets nine. Tell me ONE legitimate thing that could justify a 7% approval rating? At the absolute BOTTOM of President Bush’s popularity in 2008, Democrats still lavished him with a 31% approval rating (ibid). Remember when Rush Limbaugh said he “hopes Obama fails” (despite knowing Obama’s failure means the country failing)? Because it’s more important to them that Democratic ideology doesn’t succeed, because if it does, we’ll see more off it. So if raising taxes on the rich leads to more tax-free reinvestment into their businesses spurring job and economic growth, that might mean more tax hikes in the future, meaning greedy bastards like Limbaugh or the Koch Brothers might have to pay higher taxes.

But what these Luddites fail to realize (and we saw this after the Clinton tax hikes of the 1990’s) is that the resulting economic growth means MORE profits and a healthier economy, while GOP policies eight years ago led to TWO Recessions and the collapse of Wall Street.
 

Complain about Obama’s handling of Ebola and I’ll raise you “Katrina”.

Complain about Obama’s handling of ISIS and I’ll ask you whose invasion of Iraq destabilized the entire region into the chaotic mess that led to their rise?

Complain about slow economic growth and I’ll point to THE MOST OBSTRUCTIVE GOP IN HISTORY BLOCKING THE PRESIDENT AT EVERY TURN, ensuring that nothing gets done so they can then turn around and blame him for the lack of progress, hoping you’ll be dumb enough to reward them for it in November.
 

Grimes wants to be like Mitch

This is how it works: A Republican prez makes a massive mess and an angered populace replaces him with a Democrat. Then a Republican Congress blocks him from doing anything to clean up that mess just so they can get (re)elected. And then, if that president uses his Constitutionally given powers to circumvent their obstruction (beating them at their own game), they become so outraged they threaten to impeach him for it (“We can’t have him getting around our attempts to keep him from getting anything done!”)

So manic is their obsession to stop President Obama from achieving anything, Sen. Jim Inhoff (R-Climate Change Denying Cuckoo Bird) actually withheld emergency funding to fight Ebola, relenting only after drawing sharp criticism for his craven partisan obstruction.

The more President Obama succeeds, the madder they get. So when pollsters ask people to rank the president’s job performance… numbers already artificially depressed due to Republican obstruction that has earned them a 16% approval rating… those numbers are dragged into the toilet by the seething hatred of all things Obama, turning mildly low numbers into the low forties.

Meanwhile, despite approval ratings in the single digits, a GOP controlled House is going to remain in GOP control, and a Senate that has been “Wag the Dogged” by unprecedented filibustering by the GOP is going to be REWARDED with additional seats to ensure even LESS gets done in President Obama’s final two years in office (because they’ll be too busy impeaching him for wearing black socks with sandals… or something equally stupid.)

But even with these artificially low poll numbers, President Obama is still wildly popular compared to President Bush when he left office (and the less said about Dick Cheney, the better.)

Remind me again why any Democrat is worried about being linked to this president?

The Rachel Maddow Show makes the same point on Monday’s show, questioning why Democrats seem to be running away from Obama this election season despite a legacy of achievement:

 



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Boehner Says House Has “focused like a laser” on jobs. Seriously. (Fact-checked.)

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, September 29, 2014

We start this week with another quote:

“A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”Mark Twain

Even more true today in the age of the Internet.

And I hate to tell you this, but Democrats just lost the Senate. As soon as you start letting the other side frame the debate, you’ve lost. I don’t say this discourage you. I say this to EN-courage you… to get off your butt and vote this November. When you’re winning, you get complacent. The person everyone expects to come in second on American Idol ends up winning because his/her fans rally to help their fav win. (And remember what an all GOP Congress did in the last two years of a Democratic president: They impeached him.)

Few things annoy me more than Democrats that try to sound like Republicans in an attempt to win (re)election (I’m looking at you Alison Lundergan-Grimes.) When given the choice between a Dem-hating Republican or an “embarrassed to be associated with the president” Democrat, the Republican always wins. The FIRST thing they teach you in Debating-101 is to “NEVER concede your opponents position”. And in this case, it’s the GOP idea that President Obama is somehow a “failure” whose policies are unpopular. This is why Red States stay red despite obvious crushing failure (eight of the 10 richest states are Blue while nine of the ten poorest states are Red), and how Blue States elect Republican governors. As I’ve been noting for weeks now, we have record job growth (already THREE TIMES as many jobs created in six years than Bush created in eight.) The ACA (“ObamaCare”) has actually slowed the rate of growth in insurance premiums while ensuring everybody… and clearly did NOT cost jobs or “destroy the economy” as they claimed. No “Death Panels”. The same people that destroyed the economy in 2008 and threw Iraq into chaos in 2003 producing the likes of ISIS, are now telling us how “bad” things are and how we need to put them back in charge.
 

Boehner (9/28/14): “We have been focused like a laser on jobs.
Oh, and bi-partisan.”
(1:02)

Look at Boehner’s face there at the end. Even HE knows he’s full of shit. This has been THE least productive Congress in history… BY FAR. They’s made Truman’s “do-nothing Congress” look like work-a-holics. Number of days this congress worked: 133. Annual salary: $174,000.

After claiming to have “focused like a laser on jobs”, Boehner claims there are “over 40 bills sitting in the United States Senate” that Reid refuses to let come to a vote. Notice though that he carefully does not says “jobs” bills, though that is clearly what he’s implying. This Congress has voted at least 54 times to “repeal ObamaCare” (something that doesn’t exist.) Ted Cruz is declaring at every campaign stop (to raucous cheers) that “The Republican Party won’t rest until we have repealed EVERY WORD of ObamaCare!” That would include reinstating “pre-existing conditions”, kicking your college-aged children off your insurance, and making women pay for their birth control. “Lifetime caps?” You want ‘em? You’ve got ‘em! Insurance companies can go back to kicking sick people off their insurance as soon as they start costing them money (or even long before.) Bully for you, Senator Cruz. But pity the rest of us that must endure your jackassery because like-minded morons that have no clue of the consequences of your rhetoric rejoice in your hatred of all things Obama to the point of their own detriment.

So I checked out the list of bills passed by the House in search of those “40 jobs bills languishing in the Senate” (and it shouldn’t be too hard since they only passed 163.)

The first “jobs” related bill passed by this House was 113-24: Bureau of Reclamation Small Conduit Hydropower Development and Rural Jobs Act… not passed until August 9, 2013… eight months into their first year… and that bill WAS picked up and passed by the Senate. So, moving on…

Hmmm. Not a single other “jobs” bill passed the House in 2013. And I’m not being picky. Most of the bills looked something like these:

113-10 – An act to specify the size of the precious-metal blanks that will be used in the production of the National Baseball Hall of Fame commemorative coins.
113-43 – Congressional Award Program Reauthorization Act of 2013
113-49 – An act to name the Department of Veterans Affairs medical center in Bay Pines, Florida
113-64 – Community Fire Safety Act of 2013
113-103 – An act to amend the Act entitled “An Act to regulate the height of buildings in the District of Columbia”
113-112 – An act to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 14 Main Street in Brockport, New York, as the “Staff Sergeant Nicholas J. Reid Post Office Building”.

Moving on to 2014, “113-79 – Agricultural Act of 2014″ looks promising. Nope, it’s just a bill to let the DoA keep doing what it’s been doing, and it passed the Senate too. Still looking for those “40 jobs bills” supposedly passed by the House that Reid won’t let come to a vote. Heck, right now, I’d settle for just ONE “jobs” bill (the “jobs” bill mentioned above isn’t one either.)

Maybe I need to broaden my definition of “jobs”. How about “113-97 – Cooperative and Small Employer Charity Pension Flexibility Act”? Nope. That passed the Senate too. Hmm, we’re already a third of the way through 2014 and most of the 113th Congress’ entire session.

July 22, 2014. Have I finally stumbled upon a “jobs” bill? “113 – 128 – Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act”. Nope. Just a minor change to an existing law… and it too passed the Senate. The hunt goes on. Just 25 bills to go. How many [jobs] bills did Boehner claim the Senate is refusing to vote on? We’re not going to make it.

“113-144 – Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act”. A bill to allow people to switch carriers even on “locked” phones. Not a “jobs” bill and passed the Senate.

Not much point in continuing. You get the idea. I found NO “jobs” bills. ZERO, NADA. ZILCH. You think I’m kidding, check the list out for yourself. While I might be willing to concede some of the bills might have some tangential impact on jobs, NOT ONE was blocked by the Senate. Sorry Boehner, you’re full of crap on this one (like everything else.) But how many voters are going to take the time to peruse EVERY SINGLE BILL PASSED BY THE HOUSE OVER TWO YEARS to learn the truth? (I do the work so you don’t have to.)

Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) actually complained on Fox “news” Sunday yesterday that “Harry Reid” dismissed the Senate for “the second earliest recess in history.” (that may be bullshit too. Can’t verify.) Problem is, the House called for an early recess first, and the Senate can’t do a damn thing w/o the House. So, left with no choice, Reid recessed early as well. But Fox viewers that only know what they hear on Fox are going to blame Harry Reid for Congress doing nothing. Naturally, host Chris Wallace was all too willing to let Barrasso’s half-truth go unchallenged.

Democrats already have an uphill battle trying to hold onto the Senate. Unprecedented Gerrymandering has ensured the House will stay in GOP hands for perhaps the next decade (unless a mass revolt flips the House in 2020.) Dem’s don’t do themselves any favors when they allow the GOP to frame the debate, “conceding” that the President’s policies are a failure and/or unpopular… neither of which are true, and run AWAY from the President’s (successful) record rather than run on it.

Twain didn’t know how right he was.
 



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Mugsy’s Annual Predictions for 2014: No more predictions for Syria (kinda)

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, December 30, 2013

I never put any stock in “13” being an “unlucky number”, but after the year I just had, one can’t help but wonder.

My predictions for 2013 were a bit rushed. I cranked them out at the last minute as I spent my days preoccupied trying to save the life of my beloved cat “Lefty”. One year later, my days are now preoccupied trying to save the life of my mother. And in both instances, gross medical negligence is to blame. The frustration I feel is profound as I watch helplessly as another loved-one fights for life following the harm done to them by incompetent doctors, with no legal recourse because of the state I live in (Texas). So please bear that in mind if my predictions for 2014 seem a bit bleak.

We begin by looking back at how well the “Professionals” did at making predictions for 2013. I may not get 100% of my predictions right… or even 75%…, but compared to some of the so-called “experts”, I should be sitting on a mountain top somewhere, an oracle allowing but a brave few to ask “Just one question”.

First off, can I just say that if you publish your “Predictions” AFTER December 31st, you’re not “predicting”, you’re reporting the news.

With that said, here is what some famous “psychics” predicted we’d see in 2013:

Sylvia Browne

Maybe it’s a bit unfair, but I love picking on self-proclaimed “psychics” because their accuracy is always dismal. But they make so many predictions, that when one or two pan out, the media responds as if that person has “second sight” and deserving of being taken very seriously.

Famed “psychic” Sylvia Browne passed away in November. It almost seems crewel to “fact check” Miss Browne posthumously, but when you’re as big a name in the “predicting” biz as she was, maybe keeping her on the list is a sign of respect for her particular brand of hucksterism. In 2012, Ms. Browne predicted President Obama would NOT be reelected; in a 2006 appearance on “The Montel Williams Show”, she told the mother of one of the three girls that had been held captive by that nut in Ohio for over a decade only to escape earlier this year, that her daughter was dead and would be waiting for her on the other side (the mother died the next year), and on that same show, Browne told a widow whose husbands’ body “was never found” that he was “in water”, presumably lost at sea. It turns out the woman was the widow of a 9/11 fireman.

As I noted, Ms. Browne passed away in November. Apparently, she never saw it coming because she booked no less than 14 public appearances from December of 2013 to April of 2014. If you want to read her final list of predictions for 2013, you must purchase an ANNUAL membership to her “inner circle” for a minimum buy in of $49.95 or an EIGHTEEN MONTH membership for $79.95 (which, if you do the math, is slightly more expensive than just buying 1-year memberships.) Seeing as how Ms. Browne is no longer with us, anyone who purchases a 12 or 18 month membership at this point to find out what she has to say next deserves to have their money taken from them. They’re still taking Reservations if you wish to meet her.

Psychic-to-the-Stars: “Nikki”

It’s funny how many people bestow upon themselves the title “Psychic to the Stars”. I suppose if two “stars” just happen to meet the same psychic backstage at a taping of “A Sucker’s Born Every Minute”, they can call themselves a “Psychic to the Stars”. But type the phrase into Google, and top of the list is “Nikki”… whom apparently shall remain last-nameless. Among Nikki’s predictions for 2013:

“Nikki’s” list of predictions for 2013 reads like a script for the next Hollywood blockbuster disaster movie. Of the 115 World Events she predicts, EIGHTY (by my count) fall into the “death & destruction” category.

Of course, when you make well over 100 predictions, random chance almost ensures a few hits (“even a blind squirrel finds a nut now & then”):

  1. More cyber attacks. – There were four notable instances of computer crime this year: Britain’s NatWest Bank was the victim of a distributed denial of service (“DDoS”) attack that inconvenienced thousands of customers for a few days, the Bank of China was hacked by (reportedly) some frustrated “BitCoin” users, North Korea is believed to be behind a cyber attack on South Korean TV stations and two banks, and, of course, more significantly, the recent hack of some 40 million “Target” store customer’s credit cards here in the U.S.. Personally, I suspect that if asked for more detail, Ms. Nikki was expecting an attack more along the lines of a “terrorist” nature, not kids hacking credit cards.
  2. A major automobile company will go bankrupt. – You know what, I’m feeling generous and will give “Detroit Declares Bankruptcy” to Ms. Nikki. The auto-companies themselves might have declared “record PROFITS” this past year (their best since 2007), but the city synonymous with the auto-industry did in fact (thanks to a Republican appointed viceroy who dismantled the local government, disenfranchised nearly a million people and is now liquidating the city’s treasures) “declare bankruptcy”. Probably not what she was predicting, but there you are.
  3. Great floods in the US and in Europe – Yes, massive floods did indeed hit Colorado and Central Europe this year.

3-for-115 (she actually made many more predictions than that if you count “celebrity” predictions), for an accuracy rate of 2.6%… and that was after being a bit generous. It’s up to you to decide whether “Ms. Nikki” is psychic or just guessing.

The Psychic Twins

A sister duo dubbed “The Psychic Twins” are laying claim to a number of accurate predictions in 2013, including the “Lone Wolf” shootings in DC’s “Navy Yard” a knife attack by a mentally disturbed student at a Houston Community College (that I just happened to attend some 20 years ago) that ran around stabbing other students with a craft-knife, and an armed gunmen at North Carolina’s A&T University that was subdued before a single shot was fired.

They also predicted strict new gun laws passed in Connecticut just days after the Sandy Hook massacre. They MUST be psychic!

“The Psychic Twins” appear to only make their predictions on video, and I have neither the time nor the inclination to spend hours verifying their accuracy, though I have little doubt it would be another case of “throw everything at the wall and see what sticks”. This short second-hand list of their predictions for 2013 as documented by a fan is predictably (pun intended) hit & miss. Hits with further “Lone Wolf” attacks following Sandy Hook, misses on Economics (but also predicted “cyber attacks”) and vaguely all-too-general predictions of weather/natural disasters.

Last year I singled out another “celebrity psychic, Blair Robertson” for his poor performance in predicting what 2012 held in store for everyone. Mr. Robertson did a little better this year, (arguably) over his one correct prediction for 2012, correctly predicting this year that “a boxer would die in the ring” but falling short everywhere else. Robertson improved his score this year by a half-point for “predicting” Rhianna and Chris Brown would “tie the knot”. The couple played the Media like a fiddle, with photos of “a ring” and even rumors of a “secret wedding”, but no, the most famous dysfunctional couple in Hip-Hop did not in fact get married in 2013 (correct me if I’m wrong.)

Political Prognosticators

It’s a bit more difficult this year to find Republicans opining about 2013 after they all had just finished predicting a Mitt Romney landslide, “easily” winning the election as Americans were “fed up” with President Obama, “Obamacare”, “taxes” and “Benghazi”. That bubble they built up had some might thick glass.

So naturally, when Republicans carried out their threats of being even more obstructionist in 2013, the Right crowed… crowed I tell ya… how “Mitt Romney was right!” when he “predicted” a government Shutdown in 2013. It’s a bit like predicting your “homies” are going to “trash this place” if they don’t get their way, and then being lauded for your insight when they carry out your threats.

Mitt Romney also “predicted” (according to them) Detroit going bankrupt when he in fact only argued for it as being preferable to a bailout. As noted above, the only reason Detroit declared bankruptcy is because a Viceroy appointed by the state’s Republican governor made it so.

In 2010, Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn predicted that because of “Obamacare”: “There will be no insurance industry left in three years”. I have little doubt that Senator Coburn wishes millions of people had lost their insurance and the industry imploded, but darned the luck, they still exists and are expected to reap record profits next year.

Bloomberg Right-Wing News Columnist and “AEI Fellow” Ramesh Ponnuru made a number of negative predictions about President Obama and his policies. He actually didn’t do too bad until you consider how many Republican “predictions” were actually self-fulfilling prophecies. Ponnuru “predicted” the Healthcare Exchanges “would not open for business on October 1st” when Secretary Sebelius “admits the federal government won’t be ready by then.” The government was ready, the private contractors that built the glitchy website were not. They did indeed open on October 1st, but weren’t ready and had to be closed soon after for about a week. As a result, Ponnuru predicted support for Obamacare would continue to decline. If you do a Google News search for “poll support for Obamacare”, you’ll see lots of links to sites all claiming this to be true… ALL of them… each and every one… a Right Wing blog or media outlet (from the NRO to Glenn Beck). Interesting, because all the major networks are reporting how the number of people signing up for insurance through the Exchange “surged to over 1.1 Million” in December in a trend that is expected to continue.

Ponnuru also predicted the courts would continue to rebuke the Obama Administration on the rights of Catholic owned businesses to deny their employees contraception if they view it morally objectionable. The most notable of these cases, the “Hobby Lobby” case, is still waiting in the Supreme Court (see my own prediction on that below.) He also predicted The Supreme Court would find a way to weasel out of ruling on Same Sex Marriage. They didn’t, with repercussions that have led to legalization into deep Red Utah.

He predicted “a new monetary regime” between the U.S. and the U.K. that insulates both nations from the problems of Europe. No idea what he means by “a new monetary regime” even after reading his piece on the subject. Whatever it is, it never happened and Europe’s economy is starting to show signs of recovery.

More wishful thinking? “Paul Ryan,” feeling he can’t work within the GOP, “will resign” in order to “focus on running for president”? No date cited and hardly makes sense as a 2013 prediction, but maybe Ponnuru is looking to late 2014?

How I Did.

Now is the time I look back at my own predictions last year to see how I did. All year long, I thought about the predictions I made for 2013, and as I do every year, I am certain I did “incredibly poorly” that year only to look back at years end and find I didn’t do quite as bad as I thought.

  1. Correct: My first prediction regarding the “fiscal cliff”, and whether the GOP was irrational enough to go over it, had to be split into three scenarios: a) the GOP agrees to President Obama’s demand that taxes go up on people making over $250K per year, but only because they intend to hold the Debt Ceiling hostage again, b) a deal is reached only after Democrats concede to raise the starting point at which taxes go up to $500K, or c) the Bush Tax Cuts expire because no deal can be reached allowing Democrats to pass the “Obama tax cut”. It all depended upon how the GOP reacted. Knowing Scenario “c)” would be the worst possible outcome for them, the GOP agreed to a hybrid of “scenario A” and “scenario B” (pre-planning to hold the Debt Ceiling hostage while agreeing to a deal where the tax increase begins at $450K instead of $250K.)
  2. A Push: #2 was conditional on the GOP being suicidal enough to go over the cliff and refuse to raise the Debt Ceiling, forcing President Obama to invoke the 14th Amendment. They didn’t, so he didn’t have to. No way to know if he would have (though he said he wouldn’t.) I’m certain when faced with certain global economic catastrophe, he would have. And I think the GOP knew it too, the consequences of which would have been to render them irrelevant the next time a Debt Ceiling fight rolled around. So they had no choice but to cave.
  3. Wrong: Harry Reid would make good on his threat to “reform the filibuster” at the start of the session. While a “Psychic to the Stars” might take credit for the eventual decision of Reid to “go nuclear” last November, I’m no hypocrite. I was hamstrung when I made my prediction late on December 31st by the fact it might be proved false in less than 24 hours. Considering the record-setting obstructionist year we had just had, and Reid’s own admission that he was “wrong” for not reforming the filibuster the way Democrats pleaded with him to do at the start of the 2011 session. it was almost unimaginable that he would make the same mistake twice. And while he dragged his feet and messaged Senate rules to extend his time to make a decision till the end of the month, Reid did eventually cave to Republican threats, agreeing only to minor, essentially irrelevant changes… something he quickly came to regret as the GOP shutdown the government months later. The reform he finally agreed to last November likewise was only a narrow rules change affecting only the President’s judicial & Cabinet appointments.
  4. Correct: Despite promises of “Election Reform” following the mass disenfranchisement of Poor & Middle Class voters seen during Early Voting and on Election Day 2012, not a damn thing was done about it. On to 2014!
  5. Correct: The Unemployment rate, which I predicted would be “very close to 6.9% by the end of the year (give or take 3/10ths of a point).” After November, the BLS reported the Unemployment Rate had fallen to 7.0%, a 5-year low and more than a full point below where it was the year before.
  6. Wrong: Sadly, concern over spending did not spark public pressure to exit Afghanistan by years end.
  7. Wrong (and happy about it): While they did remain fairly stable, my prediction that gas prices would still be close to $3.50/gal a year later turned out to be too high, with the national average presently at just under $3.30/gal. I can’t in good faith count that as “correct”. Maybe a difference of ten cents a gallon, but not twenty. And I didn’t foresee things like “nuclear talks with Iran” to bring down oil prices to a three year low.
  8. Correct: – No U.S. or Israeli strike on Iran. Funny to think how long this nonsense has been going on. And the fact no provocative moves have been made by Iran in all that time only goes to show how reality rarely lives up to the most wild militarist fantasies of Neoconservatives. Much to their chagrin, not only did Iran not do anything threatening, they even reluctantly have opened discussions of disarmament. Astounding.
  9. Wrong: Ah, Syria! It’s depressing to think that Civil War is now in it’s THIRD year. I was stung after my first prediction of the fall of Assad in 2011. A bit more cautious last year, I predicted Assad to fall into irrelevancy as the rest of the world just stopped recognizing him as the legitimate leader of Syria. They didn’t; he didn’t; so for 2014 , I won’t.
  10. Wrong (another “and happy about it”): I predicted the DOW would be around 14,500 points by years end, predicting an impressive rise of more than 1500 points in just one year. Instead, we saw an astonishing rise of nearly 3,500 points in just one year to a new record of just under 16,500 points. If President Obama is a  “Socialist”, he’s a piss-poor one.
  11. Correct: As America’s economy recovers, so does Europe’s and the rest of the worlds.
  12. Correct (sadly): My exact words were: “Immigration reform? Don’t bet your Aunt Fanny on it.” Republicans said they wanted it. President Obama said he wanted it. So it was inevitable that nothing would get done.
  13. Wrong (sadly): Just days after Sandy Hook and the massacre of twenty 6/7-yearolds and six teachers, I couldn’t imagine even Republicans turning this into a partisan fight, caving to their gun-nut base and doing absolutely nothing to keep weapons of war out of the hands of children, the mentally unstable and known criminals. Lesson learned: Never under-estimate the depths of GOP cowardice or the ignorance of their base.

Final score: 6 out of 12 (#2 was inconclusive) for 50-percent. Not too shabby for a list I was certain all year long would be one big goose egg. Take that you “Psychics to the Stars” with your “2.6%” accuracy rating!

So now my Predictions for 2014:

  1. Failing to extend Unemployment benefits at the end of 2013 will mean great hardship that extends beyond Party Lines. Just as Republicans mistakenly believed that voters would side with them for “taking a principled stand” on the Government Shutdown even after it started to affect them personally, they undoubtedly believe the same is true here. As far as the GOP is concerned, only poor Minimum Wage slackers are home waiting for their Unemployment Checks to roll in while they sit on their lazy duffs. But their refusal to continue the extension of those benefits past the end of 2013 will come back to bite them in the butt, not realizing just how many “Poor & Middle-Class” workers make up their Redneck base. As a result, expect the GOP to agree to a “compromise extension” of Unemployment benefits. There will be an insistence that it be “paid for”, but then there will be a huge fight on just what to cut. There will be an extension, just not the “90+ week” maximum some are seeing now. Probably something closer to “52 weeks”, double the standard length, with some “creative accounting” paying for it.
  2.  

  3. Where will the DOW be by the end of 2014? I sure as heck didn’t foresee the meteoric rise of 3,500 points in 2013. Another rise like that would have us knocking on the amazing “20,000 point” mark, and that’s going to make a lot of investors nervous about “over exuberant” investors buying stocks just to set a record. I expect the DOW to close just over the “19,200” mark come years end… which is an incredible thought. Bill Clinton took the DOW from around 3700 points to over 11,700 points seven years later… an increase of OVER 300 percent. The DOW bottomed out barely a month after President Obama took office at just over 6600 points. A close of “19,200” would be another rise of nearly 300% in just SIX years. George Bush cut the taxes of the Rich & Powerful, but cut their portfolio’s in half as the economy crashed. With numbers like that, it’s easy to see why Wall Street hates Democrats, and loves Republicans (yes, that’s snark.)
  4.  

  5. Marriage Equality – No surprise that more states will officially declare Same-Sex Marriage as legal, but with it suddenly legal in nearly half the states in the Union and no solid legal argument for why any group of people should be discriminated against, expect a positive ruling from the Supreme Court… probably 5/4 but possibly even 6/3… telling states where SSM is outlawed that they must recognize marriages performed in another state. As people flood to neighboring states to get married, laws banning SSM will become moot and fall like dominoes.
  6.  

  7. The Mid-term elections – AKA: “The Battle for the Senate”. Not surprisingly, with the House and the Senate so narrowly split, both sides will be pulling out all the stops seeking control of Congress. The big question? What will be the mood of the public come Election Time? Will problems with the health care law sour voters on the Obama Administration? Will unemployment continue to fall making them optimistic? And what role will record low approval ratings for Congress have on turnout? In the end, it’s pretty much a wash. The people that hate “Obamacare” will continue to whine about “Obamacare”. The people that like the law will continue to do so. I ran into a lot of Conservatives this past year that believe “Obamacare” is an insurance program that you must (MUST) buy into, and they can implode the entire system if they simply refuse to sign up. Little do most of them realize, “Obamacare” does not even apply to them because they already get insurance through their employer. They couldn’t “sign up” even if they wanted to. So the entire system doesn’t implode, and for most people, nothing changes for them. It will be hard to be “outraged” over health care reform come November. Good economic news will continue, so there will be little economic motive to head to the polls. And despite near single digit approval ratings for Congress, don’t expect control of either House to change hands, though, thanks to Gerrymandering, I think Democrats have a better chance of picking up seats in the Senate than the House.
  8.  

  9. Which of course takes us to the start of the 2016 campaign (hard to believe it’s already a topic.) Though she will try to wait until January 2015, Hillary WILL announce her intention to run for President, as will Chris Christie, whom even this far off, already look to be the front-runners. But anything can happen between now & then.
  10.  

  11. Paul Ryan & Patty Murray coming to a two-year budget deal here at the end of 2013 insures no “Fiscal Cliff, Debt Ceiling, Shutdown” economic brinksmanship before the election. No GOP manufactured crisis means we can expect a reasonably smooth, growing economy in 2014. Expect GDP growth in the 4.0+ range next year.
  12.  

  13. What will become of NSA Leaker Edward Snowden? I expect a move to South America sometime next year. The last shoe has yet to drop in that story because Snowden took FAR more material than he could possibly have read when he absconded from the NSA with all that Top Secret information. But time is not on his side as much of the information he took grows out of date. As he continues to pour through the files he stole, I expect few additional revelations, perhaps saving his biggest bombshell in time for the election.
  14.  

  15. Will Congress raise the Minimum Wage? If this weren’t an election year, I’d say yes, but since it is, the state of the economy will play a large part in whether it gets raised or not. A number of states won’t wait and raise it on their own, but nationally, if the economy continues to improve, forget it. With no Budget Battles for the GOP to hold hostage, they must dig their heels in somewhere, and The Minimum Wage is it.
  16.  

  17. The Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia is going to be a mess. Technical and scheduling issues as civil unrest disrupts the games. As I type this, we’ve already seen acts of terrorism very close to Sochi, and Putin won’t have a clue how to handle Gay Rights protests in a country where just holding a sign can land you in jail. International condemnation of Russia’s anti-gay laws will overshadow many events.
  18.  

  19. And while we’re on the subject of Sochi, in a separate prediction, I believe the reason President Obama chose former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to lead a delegation of openly gay athletes is because she herself intends to come out as gay upon her arrival in Sochi, almost daring the Russian government to arrest her.
  20.  

  21. So what will the Unemployment Rate look like by the end of 2014? If current trends continue, I don’t think an unemployment rate of 6.1% (give or take 3/10th of a point) is out of the realm of possibility. If it weren’t an election year, I’d might go lower than that, but it’s in the GOP’s interest to encourage a worsening economy going into the Mid-term elections. With no budget battles to destabilize the economy in an election year, it’ll be difficult. I’m interested in seeing how they pull it off.
  22.  

  23. What about Iran? I think a nuclear disarmament deal WILL be struck that allows Iran to continue to develop nuclear energy using Uranium bred outside the country (probably Russia.) IAEA inspectors will be allowed into the country to check for nuclear weapons development. In exchange, the U.S. will once again allow Iranian oil to be traded on the U.S. Market, causing a decline in the price of oil (maybe $80/barrel give or take $5?), lowering gas prices in the U.S., serving as a substantial boost to the American economy. 2014 will be a very good year for the U.S. economy.
  24.  

  25. Ted Cruz announces his intention to run for President. Outside of the (dwindling) Tea Party, support for his candidacy will not exceed that of Michele Bachmann in 2012, and his campaign will fizzle out early in 2015.
  26.  

  27. Hobby Lobby’s “my religious beliefs supersede yours because I’m your boss” Supreme Court case will return a verdict in favor of the Christian-owned craft store. Any other sane Supreme Court would realize that if a “Christian” owned company can decide what health care you can get, so could an Amish, Muslim or even Satanic boss dictate your health care choices. But an “Amish, Muslim or Satanic” corporation didn’t file this case. A “Christian” one did. And therefore, this Conservative Court will tie the Constitution into knots to accommodate them. Republicans will tout it as “a victory for Americans over the scourge of Obamacare.”
  28.  

  29. Following up on last year, no “Election Reform” bill will be taken up in an election year. Republican governors will step up their efforts to disenfranchise tens of thousands of Democratically leaning voter blocks… most of whom will be minorities.
  30.  

  31. As an homage to my “psychic” friends out there, a really big hurricane will hit someplace somewhere.
  32.  

  33. And another “Lone-wolf” gun nut will go on a shooting spree, killing over a dozen people. And what will come of it in terms of gun control? Nothing.
  34.  

  35. And finally, Syria. In 2011, I predicted Assad would be overthrown just like all the other “Arab Spring” nations did to their leaders. But Assad was willing to be far more brutal and had the army on his side. In 2012, I predicted him to become irrelevant as the rest of the world simply stopped recognizing his authority, but that didn’t happen either. So now, in year three, all I’m willing to wager is that the Syrian conflict will still be raging a year from now. That’s a prediction I’d be happy to get wrong.

Eighteen predictions. I can live with that. How do you think I did? Post your own predictions for 2014 in the Comments.
 


 


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Filed in Economy, Election, General, Guns & Violence, Healthcare, Jobs, Middle East, Partisanship, Politics, Predictions, Religion, Seems Obvious to Me, Taxes, voting, War December 30th, 2013 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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Today’s GOP Putting King’s Dream Back to Sleep

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, August 26, 2013

Fifty years ago this Wednesday, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his rousing “I Have a Dream” speech (text) to a crowd of 250,000 (give or take 50K) mostly (but not exclusively) black supporters. King spoke of “Negros” not being seen as equals “in the eyes of the law”. He spoke of economic injustice that restricts “basic mobility […] from a smaller ghetto to a larger one”, and that Negros “cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote”. If you’re a Republican, you’d probably point to the fact that this country elected a black man… not once but twice… to the Presidency (no thanks to them), and we therefore may now pass some of the most discriminatory voting regulations since The Voting Rights Act became law in 1965. (It’s an awful lot like when Republican politicians attend ribbon-cutting ceremonies for Stimulus projects they tried to kill, touting how great they will be for the community.) How many Conservatives argued “If only Trayvon Martin had had a gun?” Fox “news” Sunday yesterday continued their clueless positing of just why “President Obama and Al Sharpton” were not “speaking out” in response to the “Thrill Kill” murder of an Australian tourist by three f-ed up teenagers… one of whom was white, the same way they spoke out following the murder of Trayvon Martin (uh, maybe because no one is out there DEFENDING the teenage murderers, and the fact the victim wasn’t targeted for his race, Jackasses?) But it’s not just that Republicans seem clueless on matters of race today, but that ever since the election of our first black president, they suddenly feel they have Carte Blanc to be openly & unashamedly racist. “It’s okay” to say openly racists things now because “the election of a black president proves we’re not racists.” So suddenly, we can roll back voting rights, question the birthplace of the president to label him an “other”, even openly disrespect him during his first address before a joint session of Congress (Rep. Joe Wilson’s “You lie!” outburst in 2009) all because America is “no longer a racist country.” Got that?

Last week, the New York Times printed the results of their “racial equality” poll where they asked people across the racial spectrum what they thought of race-relations today. They also included a number of statistical facts as a basis for comparison. Fewer than “one in three” black Americans felt we have made “a lot” of progress towards racial equality since King gave his historic speech in 1963. Forty-five years later (since 1967), the average three-member black family earns just 59 percent of what the average three-member white family earns (ibid)… not because they are paid less for doing the same job (though I’m sure there’s some of that going on as well), but mostly due to the average black worker working at lower paying jobs than most whites. 50 years ago, a black man was 5 times as likely to go to prison than a white man. Today, that ratio is SIX-to-one (ibid). Why? Because we now have a justice system that’s tilted heavily in favor of the rich, and (as noted above), if you’re poor in this country, you’re nearly twice as likely to be black.

The Conservatives on the Supreme Court gutted the 1965 Voting Rights Act, citing the apparent lack of need for it in the age of Obama. And within hours, we already had Southern states clamoring to pass an avalanche of voter suppression laws that would have been illegal literally minutes before.

It seems to me (and probably you as well) that only recently (since the 2008 presidential campaign) that closet-racists that used to keep their true feelings hidden suddenly feel that they can now say & do openly racist things and not fear any backlash because so many of their neighbors are saying it too. But don’t you DARE call them “racists”! They’ll point to the black Tea Party member giving a speech before a sea of white faces. They’ll point to all the black NRA members (the ones that don’t look “Gangsta”) they are “friends” with (yet whose home they’ve never visited nor shared a beer with.)

How white do you have to be to wonder aloud if a “fist bump” might be “a Terrorist fist jab?” because the first people you’ve ever seen do it happened to be black? I’m a 40-something white guy and even *I* had seen (and performed) a “fist bump” before. That remark was just downright embarrassing.

What I don’t understand is: why do they still act like there’s something WRONG with being called a racist? Accusing a racist of being a “racist” is still an open invitation to a punch in the mouth. Why? They certainly don’t have to worry about offending their friends, and a growing number of them are saying & doing things in public without a scintilla of shame or even self-awareness that we didn’t hear with such regularity even a decade ago. Rush Limbaugh sings “Barack, the magic negro” on his radio show and his fans leaped to his defense, arguing that the song wasn’t racist (if racists could recognize racism, they wouldn’t be racists). Donald Trump, who made a second career of questioning President Obama’s legitimacy because he believed Obama’s “birth certificate” was faked to cover up the “fact” he was born in another country and was therefore ineligible to be president, has been uncharacteristically quiet following the announcement that Ted “Jose McCarthy” Cruz, whom appears to be eying a run at the presidency in 2016, was ADMITTEDLY born in Canada. Cruz’s response? His mother was born in America so therefore he’s an American citizen too (unlike President Obama, whose mother was born in the distant nation of Kansas.) And when Birther opponents of Obama are asked about the inconsistency of supporting Cruz, hilarity ensues their rationalization is that “Canada isn’t foreign”.

“Who us? Racists? Just because we prefer Paula Dean over Martin Luther King (73% to 59%)? What kind of N-word lovin’ question is that to ask?”
 

BTW: If you used to enjoy following my real-time highlights during the “Sunday Morning Roundup” over on Crooks & Liars before they attacked me and stripped me of my editorial privileges because I didn’t “volunteer enough” during my mothers’ illness to be so presumptive as to ask for some common courtesy, I’ve resumed my duties on my Facebook page every Sunday morning. Be sure to drop on by and “friend” me.

 



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Filed in General, Partisanship, Politics, Racism, voting August 26th, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • 2 comments | Add/View

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Can You still Call It a “Response” If You Wrote It in Advance?

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013

We've heard this bull before.I‘ll try to be brief. I just finished listening to President Obama’s first State of the Union speech of his second term. Great as always, he seemed to hit on every topic, from ending America’s longest war (sounding at times like he was about to call for its conclusion by the end of this year, only to again disappointingly cite “the end of 2014″ as the target date), tackling Climate Change as a smart business move, to reigning in gun violence, and even spending several minutes on “voting reform”… an issue close to my heart that I wholly expected to fall by the wayside once the election was over. But the President brought it up in his victory speech last November and now again in the SotU, so I’m feeling hopeful that we could (at the very least) see a “voting reform” bill come before Congress sometime this year. Also of note, the President talked about the high cost of education and calling for funding for “universal preschool” to give all children a headstart. He talked about a balanced approach to reducing our deficit through both spending cuts and asking the wealthiest to pay a little bit more in taxes. Then came “The Republican Response” presented this year by Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who clearly was reading a pre-written “response” that criticized President Obama over and over again for things he never said (“he keeps blaming the previous administration” and “we can’t reduce our deficit by increased taxes alone”), knocking over strawman after strawman. At other times, saying he “disagreed” with the President only to make the exact same argument President Obama had just made ten minutes earlier (Rubio calling for increased education funding for young children.) One quickly got the feeling Senator Rubio didn’t even bother to listen to the President’s speech. I mean, how do you pre-write a speech, and then after having just heard the President call for the same things as you, not tailor your own speech as appropriate, then go on to criticize the President for not suggesting the very thing he just advocated for? Either you are being deliberately deceitful (hoping your listeners didn’t bother listening to the President’s speech either), or you didn’t even bother to listen to the speech you are about to criticize (or, third-choice, you’re a whopping moron.)

Each year, the GOP’s “response” has been given by someone that was considered at the time to be an “up & comer”, only to flame out in the months to come. Remember 2010’s “Governor Ultrasound” Bob McDonnell? 2011 was Paul Ryan’s big year, and 2012 was Indiana Governor (and former Bush economic adviser) Mitch Daniels. Does anyone forsee any of them being major players in tomorrows’ GOP? We can only hope for the same for Mr. Rubio.
 



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Filed in Economy, Partisanship, Politics, voting February 13th, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Just Because We Won Doesn’t Mean Millions Weren’t Disenfranchised. My “Voter Security Act.”

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, November 12, 2012

5 steps of voter suppressionDemocrats won big Tuesday. Not only did President Obama rake in 126 more Electoral Votes than Mitt Romney, but nearly 3-Million more of the “Popular Vote”. Many Republicans, in licking their wounds following Tuesday’s shellacking, point to one stat to make them feel better: “President Obama dropped 6 Million in the popular vote from 2008 to 2012″, thereby “proving sinking approval levels.” No, there are a number of more likely explanations for Obama’s decreased draw of the popular vote, and chief among them is all the borderline-criminal attempts at voter suppression we saw across the country in just the past two years. I’m quick to remind people that “just because we won the election doesn’t mean millions of voters weren’t disenfranchised.” We just won big enough that it didn’t matter.

First off, the numbers: In 2008, just over 129-million people voted (69.4M + 59.9M). In 2012, only 120-million people voted (61.9M + 58.6M). That’s a reduction of just under 9-million fewer voters overall. But Democrats weren’t the only ones to see their numbers drop. A decline of 7.5-million Democratic votes means a decline of 1.3-million GOP votes as well. Considering that voter suppression laws targeted the Democrats’ demographics most (poor, the infirm, minorities and the young), it’s no surprise that in the end fewer of them voted.

And even after state after state was ordered to halt their voter obstruction efforts… “Voter ID”, “reduction in Early Voting days”, and “extra long ballots” designed to slow down voting to create long lines designed to turn voters away (most notably hourly workers, the disabled and the elderly)… they still continued to post billboards, run TV & Print ads and “accidentally” failed to update their websites to tell people about the fact that those laws would not be in effect on Election Day. It’s no coincidence that Florida, which passed “Voter ID” and cut Early Voting days from 14 to just 8 was the last to finish voting with it’s results not being certified until four days after the election… and this is AFTER Florida’s results would have NO impact on the outcome of the election. Just imagine if it had! I GUARANTEE we STILL would not know the result today. This is completely unacceptable!
 

Billboards in poor black neighborhoods designed to scare off legal voters
Threatening billboards in poor black neighborhoods
 

Long lines in Miami
Long lines in Miami 2012
 

Long lines in Virginia
Long lines in Virginia 2012
 

Long lines in Ohio
Long lines in Ohio 2012
 

Long lines in Colorado
Long lines in Colorado 2012
 

Long lines in Detroit, Michigan
Long lines in Detroit 2012
 

Long lines in Wisconsin
Long lines in Wisconsin 2012

 (Note there were long lines in some safely Blue states as well: New York, Maryland, New Jersey, etc. But chalk that up mostly due to Hurricane Sandy.)

I personally believe that had it not of been for all the attempts at blatant voter suppression across the country, President Obama might have won an additional 2-3 million votes, bringing him closer to his 2008 Popular Vote totals. I like to tell people: “If the GOP’s ideas are so great, why do they feel the need to restrict voting? You only do that when you know your ideas are unpopular and can’t win any other way.”

The worst thing that we could do now is become complacent and think Voter Obstruction is not as big an issue as once thought. Not only could voter suppression tactics potentially swing an election in the future, but think about all the Republicans out there right now challenging the notion of whether or not President Obama actually won “a mandate” to pursue HIS policies over those of the GOP? (I’ll save the discussion over “how many votes equal a mandate” for another day.) Hey, “he only won by 3-million votes! That’s just 0.6% of the total vote!” Still think losing votes even when you win isn’t a big deal?

I think now is the perfect time to push for election reform. No longer facing reelection himself, with the next big election two full years away, there is no better time to push for it. Even President Obama in his victory speech Tuesday night pointed to the long lines on Election Day, saying, “Oh, by the way. We have to fix that!”, to which the crowd cheered.

So I propose “The Electronic Voting Security Act”. Due to our sheer size, electronic voting is here to stay. There’s just no way we can get rid of electronic voting and switch to pen & paper the way they do in Australia. But there is NO excuse for having Millions of people voting into “Black Boxes”… built by private corporations using “proprietary” software protected from scrutiny as “trade secrets”… that provide no confirmation whatsoever that your vote was tallied correctly. So here is my list of proposed features in “The Electronic Voting Security Act”:

  1. Every voting machine must produce a hard copy print out of your voting selections, which you may then review and drop into a sealed ballot box that can be called upon should a recount become necessary. This provides both the immediacy of the electronic result with the security of paper ballots. It would also make “electronic vote tampering” far less likely if people know the result can simply be verified in a hand recount. Should those results differ, there would be no question of election tampering and immediately trigger a criminal investigation. We would NEVER deposit our money into an ATM that doesn’t give us a receipt. Why on Earth should we entrust something even more valuable… our vote… to some “sealed black box”?
  2. “Open Source” election software ONLY – Private contractors may still bid to compete on who actually makes the machines, but the software that runs on those machines will be standardized “Open Source” code written by a non-partisan elections board (most likely the Treasury Dept) and released into the public-domain. This means ANYONE can then scrutinize the code for flaws, backdoors, or other vote-manipulation code, and bring forth a challenge if they believe it somehow favors one candidate/Party over another. No more proprietary “secret software” or suspicious last-minute patches or conflicts of interest casting doubt into the minds of voters as to whether or not their vote will be recorded correctly. “Touch screen voting machines” have long been the scourge of election-monitors everywhere, and Election Day video of a voting machine registering a vote for “Romney” when “Obama” was selected (but not “Obama” when the candidate below him was selected) didn’t help matters, and if I had my druthers, I’d ban them entirely. But I feel that once “printouts” are added to voting machines and voters can confirm their vote was recorded correctly, we should see a lot fewer of these calibration “accidents”.
  3. No more long lines. – A number should be calculated and agreed upon balancing the “number of machines per number of registered voters in each district.” I’m not entirely sure what that number should be… perhaps one machine and one Early Voting day for every 1,000 voters? Someone needs to come up with a standardized figure and require every county in every state to comply. If lines persist, more machines should be provided to the precinct free-of-charge until long lines are no longer a problem.
  4. Likewise, no one should have to travel more than 10-miles to get to a polling station. Voters should be allowed to ride public transportation for free to their polling place on election day the same way many are allowed to ride for free when called for Jury Duty in cities across the country. This would also be of great benefit to the elderly, many of whom no longer drive.
  5. And on that note, Make Election Day a national holiday. – preferably a paid holiday because poor voters can least afford to lose a day of work, but I know Republicans would totally balk at that idea. The simple fact of the matter is that making time to vote on a workday can be exceedingly difficult. If you vote early in the morning before work, there’s the chance you may be late to work that morning. If you vote in the evenings, you must make sure to get there before the polls close. Early voting helps, but then the burden of the cost of additional voting days falls upon the state. People should not be worried about squeezing “voting” into their schedule.
  6. Auto-registration upon receiving a Social Security #. – With all the ridiculous hype over the nonexistent threat of “non-citizens voting”, if would be much simpler if every person were automatically registered to vote upon receiving their Social Security number (which only citizens get). And to any Trolls or nitpickers that wish to point out how many people receive a SS# at birth and not eligible to vote for another 18 years… uh… we know their age when we give them the number, and will know if someone tries to use that number before they are eligible.
  7. Implementation of “Instant Runoff Voting” (IRV). – If you aren’t familiar with “IRV”, here’s a great video primer:
     

    Basically, when you vote in a race with more than two candidates, you pick your preferred candidate first followed by your second choice (and so on) simultaneously should that candidate fail to make it into the Top 2. (Note: the video makes one mistake at the 2:00 mark. In a race with three candidates, you would only get two choices, not three.) With the advent of electronic voting, such a system is now easier than ever. And the benefits? No more Spoilers. No more elections being won by candidates with less than 50% of the vote. No more “two Party only” system. No more voting for “the lesser of two evils”. No more concern over “throwing your vote away”. With IRV, you can vote for Third Party candidates without fear of “helping the Party you hate win”. You could have voted for Nader in 2000 even if you lived in a swing state without worry over whether you cost Al Gore the election. And Rick Perry couldn’t have won reelection as governor of Texas in 2006 with just 39% of the vote because the GOP helped fund two “Independent” candidates to split the anti-Perry vote three ways. Sound nice? It’s no dream. It’s “Instant Runoff Voting”. And we need it. Now.

If Republicans continue to insist on ridiculous “Voter photo ID” requirements that amount to an illegal “poll tax” (if not simply a means of making it more difficult for the less-mobile to vote), I propose biometrics… thumb print, retinal scanners, etc… at every polling place. No need to “obtain” an ID; You ARE the ID! Simply record every voter’s biometrics at the next election and then compare that print to the one on record in successive elections. Republicans may balk at the cost of adding such scanners, but they had no problem passing off the cost of obtaining a useless “Voter ID” onto the voters. If they REALLY believe “voter identification” is a serious problem worthy of the expense, let them put their money where their mouth is.

As you might imagine, Floridians are getting pretty freakin’ tired (as is the rest of the country) of being a laughing stock every four years, repeatedly taking days to produce an accurate (?) count of that states’ votes. And this year, after taking nearly four days to finally figure out who won the state, Florida residents are understandably demanding an overhaul of that states’ voting procedures. The entire event was one big partisan mess, as Governor Rick Scott first pushed through (unconstitutional) Voter ID laws, followed by cutting Early Voting from 14 days to just eight. And we saw Republican governors across the nation attempted to duplicate this “creative chaos” in their own states for partisan advantage. NO ONE should be able to play partisan political games with something so integral to our democracy as “voting”.
 



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Filed in Crime, Election, Politics, voting November 12th, 2012 by Admin Mugsy | • 2 comments | Add/View

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Victory Matrix: Your Handy Swing State Guide to 270

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Tuesday, November 6, 2012

NBC's Last Swing State Map before Election DayUsing NBC Political Director Chuck Todd’s latest map of “safe” states (left) for each candidate showing only seven swing states remaining… Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin, Colorado, New Hampshire, Iowa, and Virginia… I stayed up late last night compiling this simple “Victory Matrix”, a brief table showing the swing states each candidate needs to reach the minimum 270 Electoral Votes necessary to win.

Assuming a starting point of 243 bankable EV’s for Obama and 206 EV’s for Romney, here are the fewest swing states each candidate needs to reach the 270 vote threshold:
 

Victory Matrix

 

As you can see, if President Obama wins Florida, it’s game over for Romney. The President can lose every other swing state and still break 270 with just Florida. So the Sunshine State is a “must win” for Romney.

Obama also has many more paths to victory. If he loses Florida, he still has EIGHT more paths to victory. In fact, he can lose both Florida AND Ohio and still has FOUR paths to victory. There is no absolute “must win” state for President Obama.

Governor Romney on the other hand has a much steeper hill to climb, with far fewer paths to victory with (as noted) Florida being a “must win” for him or it is all over. Mitt has just five paths to victory (sans an upset in a “safely blue” state not listed here), all of which require winning at least four swing states, with “Iowa” and NH being the states he least needs to still win. So if President Obama is the first to win four, likewise the race should technically be over.

Three of Romney’s five paths require winning Ohio, while four require winning Virgina. So if he loses one, he MUST win the other to stay alive. Based on the latest polls, Romney has a much better chance of winning Virgina than Ohio (though he trails in both), so while everyone else will be watching Ohio, I will be watching Virgina. Romney has but one path to victory if he loses Virgina, so if Obama wins that, I predict the race to be over rather early.

You can use this table like a scorecard. Let’s just hope the race isn’t close enough to steal, with no surprises, and we’re all in bed by a decent hour.
 

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Filed in Election, Politics, voting November 6th, 2012 by Admin Mugsy | • 2 comments | Add/View