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OKC Bombing 20 years later. Remembering Right Wing Inspired Domestic Terrorism

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, April 20, 2015

Remember when terrorists were lily-white Conservative Americans? Religious fanatics and neo-Nazi’s alike, the people we had to fear most in this world weren’t the ones in the Middle East providing us with all that lovely oil, it was anti-government militia groups, bombing abortion clinics, the Olympic Park in Atlanta and a federal building in Oklahoma City. Those same gun-toting “anti-government” zealots are called “Patriotic Americans” today, and by no coincidence they gravitate towards the GOP and “The Tea Party”.

If, like me, you were in at least your 20’s during the late 1990’s and the Bill Clinton administration, you probably remember the visceral hatred the Far-Right had for the man. They hate President Obama too to be sure, but it’s nothing compared to the absolute loathing they had/have for Bill. It was the first time in my life that I can remember either Party actively stoking the flames of hatred for a president and his Administration. Even Jimmy Carter at the height of the Iranian hostage crisis didn’t have people frothing at the mouth they way they started to in the late 1990’s. I blame nothing short of the active, incessant, 24/7 non-stop Clinton-hatred-as-bloodsport atmosphere nurtured on the right for the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City 20 years ago yesterday. You keep turning up the heat on a Pressure Cooker and eventually it’s going to explode (and when was the last time anyone accused the GOP of over-analyzing the consequences of their actions?) With the election of Barack Obama, I’ve often wondered if they learned their lesson not to provoke anyone into doing something rash. Reel it in just a smidge? And I worry should Hillary win the presidency in a close race, will we see that seething hatred of all-things-Clinton return for another 4-to-8 years? (at the very start of the 2008 presidential race in late 2007, I wrote of my concern that we might be seeing a return to that extremism when a mentally disturbed New Hampshire man held a group of “Hillary For President” campaign workers hostage at gunpoint (as it turns out, the admittedly mentally disturbed man was making a point about his desire to see “mental health” coverage included in Clinton’s signature issue: health care reform.)

In a way, I see the “Tea Party” as the (believe it or not) more subdued step-child of the Republican rage of the 1990’s. Five years ago, I wrote about Republicans egging on Teabaggers from the Capitol balcony, concerned how they once again appeared to be cluelessly inciting hatred… much of it racial… for political gain, without concern for the consequences. And I thank my lucky stars every day that President Obama never did anything foolish like have an extra-martial affair for Republicans to use as an excuse to “crush” the man (because we all know just how much Republicans abhor adultery.)

During President George HW Bush’s final year in office (1992), the BATF attempted to arrest a white separatist by the name of “Randy Weaver” (why exactly isn’t all that clear even after reading the Wikipedia entry on the subject.) Weaver was already a “fear the government” zealot who moved his entire family to a cabin in the deep woods of Ruby Ridge, ID to live in isolation. When BATF officers stormed Weaver’s cabin, it was their worst fears come true… not just Weaver’s, but that of every anti-government separatist group in the country. “The government is coming to take your guns!” Weaver’s wife & young son were inadvertently killed by BATF officers during the siege, and in the end (IIRC) Weaver was acquitted of all charges. Fledgling militia groups across the country were outraged and the anti-government movement was born.

And this was during a Republican Administration mind you.

Republicans already hated Bill Clinton with a passion back when he was still just a candidate for president that same year. And they deemed him “illegitimate” for winning the presidency with less than 50% of the vote thanks to Ross Perot. (When George W. Bush was “awarded” the presidency by the US Supreme Court in 2000, did Democrats go on an 8 year manhunt of the man’s legacy because he was deemed “illegitimate”? No, they followed him into Iraq. But I digress.) So barely a month into the Clinton presidency when BATF agents once again attempted to carry out a search warrant of a Right-Wing cult known as the “Branch Davidian’s” in Waco, TX, it was their worst fears come true once again: “An out-of-control government coming to take your guns away so they can oppress you. And despite the fact the first such siege was ordered by a Republican president less than a year earlier, Republicans found a way to turn that mistrust of government… held not-coincidentally by mostly Evangelical, mostly white, mostly red-state, gun-loving sub-sub-suburbanites, into a “hate-the-Democrats” anti-government “they’re-coming-to-take-your-guns-away and lock-you-up-in-FEMA-Camps” movement that still exists to this day… broadened and made more palatable for public consumption by calling themselves the “Tea Party” (heavily financed by Billionaires who benefit by enraging the simple-minded over anything that might hurt Billionaires. But it’s still the same Right-Wing anti-government even-my-dog-has-a-gun-rack crowd we first laid eyes on in the 1990’s.

We very well COULD have seen a repeat of history had President Obama of taken the bait and sent an army of Federal officers in after that “Cliven Bundy” idiot when all those gun-toting anti-government right-wing “patriots” rushed to his defense in Nevada and pointed their guns at the local police & few Federal officers that were already there. Sometimes you just have to look these idiots in the eye and say, “You’re just not worth the trouble.”

The OKC bomber (whose well-known name I won’t repeat here) was one such person. Outraged by the events of Ruby Ridge, he was there in Waco to witness the siege for himself. There is no question the OKC Bomber was aghast by what he saw in Waco, but he didn’t carry out his attack against a government building the very next day, or even on the ONE year anniversary of the Waco siege. No, it was only after TWO long years of stoking his hatred against the federal government by Right-Wing talk radio and Republicans in Congress on the warpath against President Clinton, that his rage quite literally exploded into an act of terrorism that… before 9/11… was the deadliest act of domestic terrorism in American history.

And we still see it whenever some nut armed with a knife & gun jumps the White House fence in hopes of attacking the First Family. We see it when Tea Partiers strap assault rifles to their backs, daring the cops to try and take it away from them. It’s “artificial rage”, manufactured by people who have something to gain by whipping the stupid up into a frenzy. Be it Billionaires that don’t want to pay their fair share of taxes, health insurance companies that might see their profits decrease if they have to start paying out more claims and can’t indiscriminately raise premiums or cut people off when they get too sick, gun manufactures that stand to make billions if they can convince you the government is going to knock on your door and try to take your guns away, ad infinitum.

Anyways, the point is that Republican childishness stoked the fire that erupted into the OKC bombing 20 years ago yesterday. And no, I won’t take that back. I mean every word of it. They are as much to blame for those deaths as the man who built the bomb. And the Middle-East now awash in terrorism? You can thank the GOP for that too.
 



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Filed in Crime, Guns & Violence, National Security, Partisanship, Politics, Right-Wing Insanity, Terrorism, War April 20th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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If Hillary is nominee in 2016, she has my vote. Here is how to win my SUPPORT.

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, April 13, 2015

At the start of the 2008 presidential race, I was a Hillary Clinton supporter. I was a “Health care Reform” voter and she had made reform a key plank in her campaign. But as the race dragged on (with the help of Republican’s engaging in what Rush Limbaugh coined “Operation Chaos”), the debate turned nasty between her and Obama, at which point she lost me. I didn’t become an Obama supporter right away though until Hillary told some reporters during a campaign stop in Fort Worth that “McCain would be better than Obama.” Bye-bye, Hillary. Hello, Barack. Since then, I’ve repeatedly watched her reflexively toss fellow Democrats… President Obama chief among them… under the bus for the sake of her own political advancement. Needless to say, I’m not a fan. However, outside of “National Defense” issues, she has a good Progressive record, and I’d much rather have her possibly picking the next four members of the Supreme Court than ANY Republican. But she STILL hasn’t taken a position on the potentially disastrous Keystone XL pipeline… which to me is a bit like not taking a position on whether or not water is wet. If she’s the nominee, she’ll have my vote. But if she wants my “support” (ie: “money” & “activism”), I need to see a few things first:

1) Peace. Hillary was a hawk during the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, clearly trying to avoid looking like “another weak on National Defense” Democrat (an absurd rewrite of history successfully spun by Republicans), when she should have been asking the kind of serious questions that needed to be asked prior to committing the nation to its very first preemptive war. As noted above, she expressed a position similar to that of John McCain that perhaps “if only” we had armed the Syrian Rebels, there might be no ISIS today. No Hillary, many of the Syrian Rebels WERE ISIS and had we of armed them, just imagine how much worse that region might be than it already is today. “If only” we had NEVER INVADED IRAQ IN THE FIRST PLACE, there would be no ISIS today (remnants of Saddam’s Mahdi Army.) I need to know if she has learned her lesson. Where does she stand on the peace talks with Iran and Cuba? Good thing or bad?

2) The Keystone XL pipeline. There’s no wiggle-room on this one. President Obama has already conceded too much ground to Republicans. So much so that should disaster strike and a member of the current GOP Clown Car were to win the presidency, they’re just one presidential signature away from lighting the fuse on the most devastating ecological bomb in the history of mankind. It’s not enough to “just say No” however. The next President needs to SELL the idea of a “Green Jobs Economy” being a bridge to the future, not a slide backwards into the past. Will she ensure the KXL is never built? Will she be smart enough to point out the greater opportunities by investing in Green Energy jobs instead of one leaky pipeline?

3) No equivocation on Climate Change. The time for debate is over on this one. The house is on fire and some Republicans are still debating whether the fire started “naturally” or was “man made”, while others pick up a bucket of water in DC and joke how its existence proves there’s no drought in California. Not only is Global Warming real, but it’s an incredible business opportunity and should be talked about in that context. Not only am I looking for someone to take a stand on Climate Change, but being clever enough to know how to SELL IT to Republicans so that everyone is on-board.

4) The TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership). If there is one issue President Obama and I deeply disagree on, it’s the potentially disastrous 12 nation “Trans-Pacific Partnership” free-trade agreement he hopes to pass before the end of the year. Hillary’s presidential announcement yesterday sounded very much like she’s decided to adopt the Elisabeth Warren narrative of being “a champion of the Middle Class”. Warren is (rightly) fiercely opposed to the TPP… NAFTA on steroids. In 2007, Hillary called NAFTA… signed into law by her husband to appease the unappeasable GOP… “a mistake”. If she wants to distance herself from Obama to appeal to both middle-class Republicans and Democrats alike, this would be an excellent place to take her stand, as most Republicans hate NAFTA as well, and couching the TPP in those terms would win support from both sides. But the corporate money is on the side of the TPP. Will her desire to be president and raise enough money to defeat the eventual GOP nominee win out over choosing what’s right? Will she take a brave stand early or drag out taking a position on the issue for as long as the money rolls in?

5) Defend the Obama economic record. Democrats allowed the GOP to spin the fantasy that President Obama is “unpopular” and siding with him during the 2014 mid-terms would lead to their defeat. So they ran away from the amazing Obama economic record (tripling the stock market since it bottomed out two-months after Bush left office, record job growth, America the world’s #1 Auto Maker again after being on the brink of bankruptcy under Bush, etc) and ended up losing anyway. Of course, as I’ve pointed out numerous times, the “low Obama poll numbers” are a myth, dragged down by insanely irrational Republicans that still think he’s “a Kenyan Socialist Muslim” on the Tea Party side, and those who believe he’s “The Anti-Christ” on the Religious Right. Take those irrational people out of the mix and President Obama’s approval ratings would likely shoot into the mid-60’s. Eschewing President Obama’s economic record and buying the GOP narrative that he’s a failure (“Bush? Bush, who?”) could do for her campaign exactly what it did for spineless Democrats in 2014. Will she defend President Obama’s economic record or downplay it?

6) Stop throwing Democrats under the bus. Ronald Reagan got one thing (and only one thing) right: “Never speak ill of a fellow Republican”. With the huge lead in the polls Hillary has over any potential Democratic challenger, she should feel safe enough to say, “My Democratic challenger would make a great president. We simply disagree on policy”, and be prepared to answer when inevitably asked for examples. Because you can disagree with Democrats on “policy”, but there should be no question which Party’s agenda is better for the nation. This will be a “yellow flag” indicator whether it’s all about “winning” or about Democratic ideals. Will she turn on her fellow Democrats in pursuit of the White House?

7) Learn to play chess. Maybe not literally, but there is one core principle of the game: every move can’t just be a defensive one, it must also be an offensive move that distracts your opponent from relentlessly attacking you. Once all you’re doing is playing defense, the game is over. If they try to go after her on Benghazi, not only should she point out the NINE Republican witch hunts that turned up absolutely nothing, but don’t be afraid to bring up all the Embassy attacks under President Bush that went uninvestigated by these hypocrites. Those emails? Romney destroyed hard drives and Karl Rove “misplaced” 2 million emails of his own. Turn it back on them. Get the Press asking THEM, “yeah, what about that, Senator Schmuck?” or “What would you have done differently, Governor Gasbag?” Show me you know how to go on the offensive (and not just against Democrats.)

8) A new strategy for the Middle East. If 15 years of war (by the end of 2016) isn’t enough to convince you that maybe it’s time to try something new, nothing will. Hillary’s inclination to be a hawk is the most disturbing thing about her, and I fear that she believes being seen as willing to use military force makes her look “tough”. That’s how we ended up with 50 years of sanctions against Cuba that went absolutely nowhere, and a “drug war” that has done little-to-nothing to stem drug use in this country. Will Hillary be a hawk or will she be open to new ideas?

Winning over ambivalent Democrats like myself is going to be Hillary’s greatest challenge this election season. She may have my vote as a Democrat, but if she wants to win in the General, she’s going to need my enthusiastic support as well. Winning over a few Moderate Republican voters will be no easy feat either, yet Hillary’s reputation as a “hawk” that is quick to throw her fellow Democrats overboard does win her some approval on the Right. Meanwhile, I recommend you check out some of the Youtube comments in response to Hillary’s announcement video yesterday. Within minutes, frothing mad Conservatives… sounding very much like irrational pre-teens that didn’t start paying attention to politics until “the black guy” got elected… were already posting vicious personal attacks against her. But what you’ll also notice is a near total absence of anything of substance in their criticisms. Oh sure, a few still cite “Benghazi”, blaming her for the deaths of four people on 9/11… 2012, and maybe some old-timers accusing her of murdering Vince Foster in the 90’s, but almost nothing of substance. “Harpy” will be the new socially-acceptable “N-word” of the 2016 campaign. Speaking as one who dreads the thought of The GOP firing up the old “Destroy the Clinton’s at all costs” machine once again, and what another four-to-eight years of wildly partisan obstructionism might mean for our country, I’m really hoping Hillary gives me something to be enthusiastic about this time around.
 



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Filed in Election, Politics, Rants, Scandals, Seems Obvious to Me, War April 13th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Just IMAGINE the Howls of OUTRAGE by GOP had Dems Invited Jacques Chirac to Lobby Congress Under Bush

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, March 2, 2015

Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to address a joint session of Congress regarding our Iran policy, invited by the GOP without informing the President of the United States first. Likewise, Netanyahu himself did not bother to tell the President he was coming, learning of the visit only after he was told by staffers and Democratic members of Congress. The level of disrespect for this president in both stunning & unparallelled. From the time of being called a “liar” during his first speech before Congress in 2009, to this unannounced visit by a foreign leader to lobby Congress on behalf of the interests of a foreign nation. In 2002/2003, both Germany & France (but for some reason, people only seem to remember “France”) opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq, asking President Bush to give UN Inspectors “more time” to verify whether or not Saddam Hussein did indeed posses “Weapons of Mass Destruction”. Just TRY to imagine the HOWLS of outrage one would have heard from the Right if Democrats had invited French President Jacques Chirac to lobby Congress against undermining France’s interest’s in Iraq, requesting that they undermine President Bush’s authority as Commander-in-Chief to protect those interests?

Republicans would have accused Democrats of “TREASON!” and Fox “News” would have started every “newscast” with a countdown clock marking the hours left till “the end of Democracy!”

The fact I’ve always put “news” in quotes when citing Fox is not just a slam or poking-the-bear, it is a hard & true fact. What legitimate news organization would post a story like this on their website (emphasis my own):

Fox News Report: Obama Threatened To Shoot Down Israeli Planes

A Kuwaiti newspaper is reporting that President Obama, angered at Israeli plans to strike Iran nuclear facilities in 2014, threatened to shoot down Israeli planes before they could reach their targets.

The paper, Al Jarida, cites only anonymous sources and just a handful of other publications have followed the story. But according to israelnationalnews.com [the “Fox News” of Israel -Mugsy], the Arabic newspaper quoted “well-placed” sources as saying Benjamin Netanyahu and two top aides “had decided to carry out air strikes against Iran’s nuclear program after consultations with top security commanders.”

To call this the height of irresponsible journalism would be kind. They openly admit in the article they have NO evidence the president “threatened” to shoot down anything. Citing anonymous sources to accuse the president of something someone believes he might have done IF a particular event had taken place, is not “news”, it’s gossip. But the only important thing to them is the headline, because that’s all most Fox viewers ever read. They don’t bother to click on the story to find it nothing but rumor & innuendo based on mere speculation by unidentified sources before they are already posting on blogs and Tweeting their friend how “the Mus’lim in the White House threatened to attack Israel if they tried to bomb his ‘good buddy’ Iran.” If these people based their political views on facts & evidence, they wouldn’t be Republicans (and by no coincidence, neo-Christians.)

But back to the topic at hand: It would be one thing if the Israeli Prime Minster were here to impart wisdom to warn Congress not to make the same mistake they made, regarding something that might hurt America. But Netanyahu is here to influence American policy towards a third country with regard only for how it benefits Israel first & foremost. President Obama is attempting to use diplomacy with Iran, because while we don’t want them pursuing nuclear weapons, we ALSO could use their help in defeating our mutual enemy: ISIS, and provoking Iran with threats of military force is (at best) counter-productive. The President of the United States has a LOT more to consider when forming U.S. Foreign Policy than just “what’s in the best interest of Israel.” And regardless of what a neo-Conservative like Netanyahu thinks, promoting a positive relationship with Iran is ALSO in Israel’s best interests. Meanwhile, the U.S. Congress showing extreme favoritism towards Israel while we are in the middle of delicate negotiations with Iran certainly doesn’t help matters any.

Netanyahu’s snub of President Obama isn’t playing well in Israel either as they gear up for their own elections less than two weeks from now. Endangering Israel’s relationship with America’s Commander-in-Chief at a time when the Middle East has never been more volatile with ISIS making alQaeda look almost demure with each passing day as new outrageous acts make the headlines almost daily. One would be forgiven to think Bibi’s speech were just a crass political ploy ahead of the election. And American Republicans seem more than happy to be used in this way if it means they get to disrespect our president, to the delight of their base, one more time.

I know there is a fine line between criticizing American policy that affects Israel vs criticizing Israel itself. But before I’m accused of being “anti-Semitic”, notice that my criticism above would apply equally to the leader of ANY foreign nation coming to America to lobby on behalf of that country’s interest. Republicans love to accuse President Obama of “criticizing America” (see Rudy and Huckabee) because they conflate “criticizing Republicans” with “criticizing America“. Likewise, not agreeing with how THEY think President Obama should handle Iran does not make him an “anti-Semitic Mus’lim terr’ist“.

If the GOP seeks to derail our negotiations with Iran purely for political advantage, in hopes of “embarrassing” President Obama or derailing Hillary Clinton’s campaign before it has even begun, then one can & should call THAT “treason.”

UPDATE: The Rachel Maddow Show on Tuesday night noted just how wrong Netanyahu was in 2002 when he hyped the EXACT SAME fear mongering over Iraq in a Congressional hearing. Not only was he dead wrong thirteen years ago, but the “preemptive war” he prescribed is responsible for the absolute chaos the Middle East finds itself in today… and perhaps an even GREATER threat to Israel than what the noted neoconservative Prime Minister fear-mongered at the time. How much worse off is Israel today because of his Right-Wing hysteria?



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Filed in National Security, Partisanship, Politics, Right-Wing Hypocrisy, Terrorism, War March 2nd, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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STUNNING VIDEO: Kristol claims “Iraq was safe and peaceful when George Bush left.” Seriously.

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, February 23, 2015

My eyebrows hit the ceiling: “OMG! Did he really just say that???” Resident Right-Wing Chief Revisionist Historian and iconic Chicken-hawk Bill Kristol actually said during yesterday’s episode of ABC’s ThisWeek that “George Bush left Iraq safe & peaceful when he left office in 2008.” You think I’m kidding? Watch:

Kristol: “Bush left Iraq safe & peaceful” (14 seconds)

Are you freakin’ kidding me? Are. You. Freakin’. Kidding. Me??? Bush left Iraq “safe & peaceful”??? Wow. Just wow. There are no words. On what planet does this guy live? That has to be THE most completely disconnected from reality statement I’ve heard in a while from the GOP (and that’s saying something.)
 

“Recording History for those Who Seek to Rewrite it.”  Mugsy’s Rap Sheet exists because of people like this asshat. It’s why we’re here, to spotlight this nonsense and crush it before they can convince millions of their simple-minded followers that their rewrite of history is the truth.
 

“We’ve always been at war with East Asia.”
 

“The high of 1,550 attacks a week fell below 800 — nearly a 50 percent reduction.”Bob Woodward praising the reduction of violence in Iraq to “JUST 800 attacks per week” on September 8, 2008

Now granted, violence dropped significantly after the so-called “SurgeTM” in 2007. Violence in Iraq exploded in 2006 as Bush and DefSec Rumsfeld refused to admit their “small footprint” strategy in Iraq was a failure. Bush repeatedly reassured voters that Rummy’s job was safe prior to the mid-term elections, but when Democrats retook both the House AND Senate greatly out of anger over the Iraq War, Rummy was gone quicker than you can say “nu-cu-lar”. New SecDef Gates sent in 20,000 additional troops (that’s not a “surge” BTW, that’s “reinforcements”) to try and stabilize things. The word “Greenzone” became part of the American lexicon in 2008, referring to the supposed “safe zone” inside Baghdad where American Command was stationed, and the move to “stop calling it a ‘green’ zone arose because it implied ‘safety’ when it was routinely being shelled by insurgents (that’s a January 2009 link BTW). To stem the violence, U.S. forces built a wall around “Sadr City” rather than address WHY it was a source of so much violence, and “ethnic cleansing” of neighborhoods took care of the rest. (Watch/listen to this video from May of 2008 and tell me just how “peaceful” Iraq looks/sounds to you as Bush prepares to leave office):

As NBC reporter Tom Aspell points out in this 2007 video, “violence is down in Iraq” because “much of it has been ethnically cleaned.”

ISIS EXISTS BECAUSE OF THE INVASION OF IRAQ. Many of the ISIS commanders are former Iraqi military. When Bush & Rumsfeld decided to simply disband Saddam’s Sunni army… “go away and take and take your guns with you”… most of them became the “insurgency” that turned Iraq into the mess we see today. When the new Shia Iraqi government decided not to integrate former Sunni’s into the new government and deny them employment, they responded by forming ISIS and proceeded to conquer one Iraqi city after another in an attempt to recapture the entire region into one giant Islamic “caliphate” (I hate that word.) ISIS may not have existed when George Bush left office, but he planted the seed.

Saying “Iraq was peaceful when Bush left” and then blaming President Obama for the violence there today is like blaming the raging fire you set on the firemen, declaring: “It was only a spark when I called you!”

I just have to type it one more time: “Iraq was safe and peaceful when George Bush left.”

Nope. Still the stupidest thing I’ve heard any Republican say in the last… oh… what time is it now?
 



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Filed in Middle East, myth busting, National Security, rewriting history, Right-Wing Insanity, War February 23rd, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • 1 comment | Add/View

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Are Oil Prices Returning To Their Pre-Bush Trajectory?

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, January 19, 2015

A number of “concern trolls” on the Right and on Wall Street have been desperate to find ways to paint the recent plunge in oil prices as a BAD thing worthy of “serious concern” (remember when they WANTED to bring down the price of oil with their 2008 “Drill here. Drill now!” campaign rhetoric and Newt’s promise of $2.50/gal gas by approving Keystone?) A lot of amateur-economists talked about the “popping of the tech bubble” in 2000 as some sort of devastating aberration. Something “no one saw coming” and could have been sustained if only it had been handled properly. Poppycock. I was there. What happened to the tech boom of the late ’90’s was not a “popping of the tech bubble” but a CORRECTION (prepping for “Y2K” was the biggest contributor, which we knew would be over by 2000.) The tech bubble didn’t devastate the U.S. economy in 2000 the way it was following the Market Crash of 2008. Likewise, this recent drop in oil prices should not be seen as a “crash” but a “correction”. Before George W. Bush became president in 2001… and on til the invasion of Iraq in 2003… the per-barrel price of oil remained pretty much where it had been for the past two decades… below $30/barrel. It took the invasion of Iraq to drive it into the stratosphere. And now that the economy is finally starting to shake off the last vestiges of the Bush years, oil prices should be seen as simply returning to that slow-rise to $30 trajectory it started in the early 80’s.
 

Oil price per balled, 1981-Present

 

The above graph is a chart of the annual price of oil since 1981. That yellow line shows roughly the trajectory upon which oil prices were rising in that time (going back to 1977 prior to the Iran/Hostage Crisis, see teaser-graph at start of post for more detail), bouncing around the mid-$20’s during most of that time. 1990 & 2000 fall right on that line, and if oil prices had continued on this same trajectory unabated by the Bush-II years, the natural price of oil would be closer to $35/barrel today.

As I pointed out recently (and frequently in the past), the price of gasoline was WELL below $2/gal prior to the invasion of Iraq. In 2000, long-haul truckers threatened to go on strike when the price of diesel hit a crushing $1.89/gal, demanding that the White House do something to stop the sudden rise in gas prices. Candidate George Bush declared that if he were elected president, he’d tell OPEC to “open up the spigots” [ibid] to get prices down (gas prices were never lower during the entire Bush presidency than they were that day.) Two weeks before the invasion of Iraq, the price oil was $29/barrel and Dick Cheney suggested that one of the consequences of invading Iraq and “removing Saddam Hussein” might be oil “as low as $15/barrel”.
 

Percentage change in oil prices, 1981 to Present
Percentage change in oil prices, 1981 to Present

 

As you can see from the above graph, this recent plunge in the price of oil is certainly not the first nor the largest. That honor goes to the Reagan Administration, whom I believe Republicans give high marks to. The decline in 1998 was also not the forebearer of economic catastrophe. Only the plunge of 2008… which took place AFTER the economic crash that year… was a sign that something was wrong. And NOT ONCE in any of those cases did the steep decline in the price of oil provoke a severe economic downturn. In fact, the opposite is true. Ronald Reagan’s second term saw economic growth. The plunge of 1998 saw the start of explosive growth in the tech sector that fueled the Clinton Jobs Machine. And now in 2015, the economy is on the rebound, creating more than 200,000 jobs a month for the past three months (with 12 of the last 36 months seeing >200K jobs created.)

Oil companies were incredibly successful for decades with oil prices around $30/barrel, and are hardly “struggling” today because oil prices recently (momentarily) fell to $45/barrel last week. Before the Bush presidency, I remember being upset when gas hit $1.49/gal in the Summer of 2000. Today, locally, I can find gasoline for $1.89/gal, getting very close to that $1.50/gal price I fretted over in 2000, and right on par where I’d expect it to be today if prices had continued to rise at the same rate. The idea that sub-$50 oil would be some sort of economic disaster for the oil companies is nonsense. They became addicted to the outrageous profits of the last decade that made companies like Exxon/Mobil “the most profitable corporation on the face of the Earth”, and now they want to convince you that $3/gal gas should be the norm.

It’s nonsense of course. The current decline in gasoline prices is NOT a harbinger of economic devastation to come. Oil companies did just fine with oil close to $25/barrel for decades, and will do so again if necessary.



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Filed in Economy, myth busting, Seems Obvious to Me, War January 19th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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When Your Only Tool for Peace is a Military Hammer…

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, January 12, 2015

This past week saw the bloody attack on French satirical magazine “Charlie Hebdo” and a nearby Jewish deli by three Muslim extremists (trained by ISIS… or was it AQAP? No one seems to be sure) out to “avenge The Prophet!” for being depicted in a cartoon (question: If no one if allowed to draw “The Prophet”, how do you know that’s a cartoon of Him? How do you know what He looks like?). First, may I just point out for the record that if your “Prophet’s” ego is so frickin’ fragile that he demands you murder innocents in cold blood that dare insult him, maybe you need a new prophet. How thin-skinned can you get? Whatever. But I also couldn’t help but notice all the Muslim clerics that then came out and publicly denounced these acts of terror. (I found myself wondering when was the last time American Christian leaders came out en masse and publicly denounced the bombing of a Planned Parenthood or threats against immigrant children?) But the REAL question is WHY is the Muslim Community so outraged? Why is the Middle East still in flames after more than a decade of war? And most importantly, what to do about it? American psychologist Abraham Maslow famously wrote, “I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.” When it comes to fighting Terrorism, the only tool in the American arsenal is apparently the Military Hammer (and remember Pentagon Hammers don’t come cheap.) I was never a fan of Dennis Kucinich (mostly b/c when he wasn’t running for president, he was nowhere to be found), but one idea of his stuck with me: creating a Cabinet-Level position of “Secretary of Peace”. Someone whose job it would be to solve crises via non-military means. Not unlike JFK’s “Peace Corp” concept but on a much larger scale (something with a multi-billion dollar budget… magnitudes cheaper than the Pentagon’s budget, yet more effective.) Clearly, “bombing” our enemies isn’t getting the job done. It’s time for a change in strategy.

So what exactly would a “Secretary of Peace” do? Consider this idea: “Infrastructure”. Pay locals to build schools & hospitals in regions threatened by ISIS or Al Qaeda. Trust me, people will like you a lot more when you build a new electric power-plant in their town that doesn’t leave them without electricity 18 hours a day. They’re going to be protective of it, and if ISIS or Al Qaeda tries to destroy it, who do you think they’re going to side with? And if the enemy DOES destroy it, you build it again. Pretty soon, they’re going to get pretty damned tired of building the same school over and over again. When a single Cruise Missile goes for about a million a pop, you can build infrastructure for a faction the cost of destroying it, with a far greater payoff in return… spending less money on guns, bombs, bullets, missiles, armored vehicles, dead & injured soldiers, fighting generations FOR generations… it all adds up. And money saved abroad can be spent on infrastructure here at home.

“War by the rich is called ‘war’. War by the poor is called ‘terrorism.” – unknown

People who live in a constant state of hopelessness and see no future for themselves are more willing to fight because they believe they have nothing to lose. Right now, we are fighting people that see death as their only route to a better “life”. Their real lives are Hell. Tell me, does war make that better or worse? A man that believes he has nothing to lose will die to protect what little he has. Give them something to live for. Give them reason to NOT want to fight.

In his farewell address, President Eisenhower warned us of “the Military Industrial Complex”, which is shorthand for corporations that have turned War into big business. They have a strong financial incentive to ensure America stays in a perpetual state of war. So how about we give them a strong financial incentive for peace? Use these same military contractors to build infrastructure… both here & abroad? Definitely no shortage of need after decades of war around the globe.

Ike was right. JFK was right. Everyone to come after was wrong. Thomas Jefferson warned of the danger of “standing armies”… a permanent military whose only function is to fight wars and isn’t going to sit around twiddling its thumbs waiting for the next war to start. We’ve made “war” a business in this country. Maybe it’s time to try the same with “peace”?
 



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Filed in Middle East, National Security, Religion, Terrorism, War January 12th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Dear Torture Advocates: Not only does it not work, it makes things worse.

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

On March 23, 2003… three days into the invasion of Iraq, Private Jessica Lynch was captured by Iraqi forces following an ambush of her convoy. Publicists in the Bush Administration spun an elaborate tail of how “Blood & Guts” Lynch fired her weapon “til she emptied her clip” of ammo (Lynch had actually done no such thing, having been too badly injured to fight back) before she was captured by an enemy the Bush Administration feared was doing “Lord knows what” to her. An elaborate Commando-raid to rescue Lynch was devised, and on April 1st, a nighttime rescue raid on “Saddam (Public) Hospital” was conducted by Navy SEALs and Delta Force commandos that probably could have just walked in the front door in broad daylight. No Iraqi troops or weapons were used to “hold Lynch captive” and by ALL accounts… including Lynch herself… her wounds were cared for, and she was treated humanely by the staff, whom, according the Lynch, one nurse “sang her to sleep” so she wouldn’t be scared.

At it’s peak, the infamous “Abu Ghraib” prison in Iraq, where American troops sadistically tortured Iraqi prisoners, held as many as 3,800 detainees.
 

Former President Bush (41) shedding tears over the humane treatment
of Iraqi prisoners by US forces during the ’91 Gulf War
(2007)

 

It was rather disturbing to hear former Vice President Dick Cheney on “Meet the Press” yesterday cite “9/11″ four (possibly five) times in defending the use of torture, arguing in essence that what WE did “was nothing in comparison to what was done to us on 9/11″… the classic, “yeah, but you…” defense. But shame on Chuck Todd for never pointing out that the vast majority of these tortured prisoners were Iraqi… who had NOTHING to do with 9/11. (BTW: when Todd pointed out that bad intelligence also led to “claims of Weapons of Mass Destruction that didn’t exist”, Cheney did NOT attempt to correct him or even challenge him on the claim like he has in the past. To me, that’s evidence that even Dick Cheney now concedes Iraq never had any WMD’s.)

“It wasn’t torture!” Dr. Karl Rove (yes, I’m being facetious) insisted to host Chris Wallace during Fox “news” Sunday yesterday. “In fact, the techniques were designed specifically NOT to be torture!” The example Rove gave… which I’m certain he thought up all on his own without consulting anyone… was the fact waterboarded prisoners legs “were elevated” (presumably, in Rove’s mind, to allow water to drain from their lungs) to keep them from drowning. In Rove’s fevered imagination, this is PROOF that we were behaving “humanely” and taking strides to NOT torture prisoners by showing concern for their lives. Of course, Rove is an idiot. Someone really should explain BREATHING to him and how difficult it is to do with a nose/mouth full of water. “Elevating the legs” of a waterboarding victim is designed to PROLONG the torture so that they don’t die on you before you’ve extracted the information you think they know. To suggest a technique devised to extend a victims suffering is humane because it prevents them from dying too quickly, is like arguing in favor of dying from Ebola vs a gunshot wound because a gunshot kills you too quick.

When the Iraqi’s denied they were hiding any “Weapons of Mass Destruction”, the Bush Administration called them liars and demanded they allow in UN Weapons Inspectors. When the inspectors failed to confirm what they were certain was true, they took the position that the Inspectors were too dumb to know they were being hoodwinked by Saddam, ordering all allied personnel out of Iraq and invaded anyway. Similarly, when detainees didn’t tell them what they wanted to hear… most notably regarding connections between Iraq and al Qaeda, they tortured them till they told them what they wanted to hear.

Cheney repeatedly argued that “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques” (an aside: if you have to use an euphemism to avoid calling something what it really is, it’s as good as an admission of guilt. – Mugsy) DID “provide good intel that lead to the capture” of a number of terrorists including OBL (which is a lie) and/or foiling plots. Even if true, the amount of time & money WASTED chasing down thousands of bad/false leads for every one “good” lead is incalculable. Some torture-defenders, when you ask them if torture was “the ONLY way” to obtain this information, most will hem & haw before admitting, “There’s no way to know that”. But we DO know that because, according to the CIA report summary (pdf), all of the high-profile intel successes were obtained BEFORE prisoners were tortured, and in many cases, detainees that were “singing like a tweety-birdsuddenly stopped talking after their minds were destroyed by torture (another valuable asset lost.)

Other torture advocates like to cite the “ticking time bomb” scenario, where there’s no time to wait for “traditional” interrogation techniques to work. But in the VAST majority of (arguably ALL) cases, there was no “time is of the essence” situation that was thwarted by way of information gleaned from torture. Of the TWENTY-SIX innocent detainees who were tortured, one was placed in solitary confinement for 19 months before he was asked a single question.

Not only does torture not work, but it is COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE, producing fewer results in more time at much greater expense. If you truly wished to see America fail, you couldn’t do much worse than to root for the continued use of torture. In 1988/89, the CIA produced two reports on the use of torture on prisoners, stating that “[p]ysical abuse or other degrading treatment was rejected not only because it was wrong, but because it has historically proven to be ineffective.

Downsides of Torture Program:

  1. False leads waste an enormous amount of time & money. How many bad leads did we obtain via torture for every good lead? There’s no way to know if a lead is no good until you investigate it. What better way to harm your captors than to waste their time chasing down false leads that you know they desperately want to believe are true? Very quickly, your enemies will learn the quickest route to ending their suffering is to feed you a really good pile of crap that you’ve been begging for. David Axelrod noted during “Meet the Press” yesterday that, according to the CIA report, “torture produced the intel that Iraq was supposedly connected to 9/11.”
  2.  

  3. Using torture prolongs war as your enemies dig in their heels and refuse to surrender 1) for fear of what might happen to them if they are captured and 2) it gives them the moral high-ground, with physical proof of their enemy’s barbarism. Ask yourself: “Might we still be at war 13+ years later because of those very reasons?” How many American soldiers died needlessly because they kept encountering enemies that would rather “fight to the death” than risk capture & torture?
  4.  

  5. Which naturally, creates more terrorists. No better recruiting poster than to point to the barbarism of your enemy. And to those (like Cheney) who’ll cite “beheadings” by our enemies, THERE WERE NO BEHEADINGS IN IRAQ PRIOR TO THE INVASION. Darth Cheney even had the gall to cite the barbarism of ISIS in defense of torture, but ISIS WOULDN’T EXIST IF HE HADN’T INVADED IRAQ.
  6.  

  7. The more barbaric your tactics, the more barbaric your enemy becomes in response. As noted above, no one was “beheading” Americans before Abu Ghraib.
  8.  

  9. Arguing that your techniques aren’t torture just helps ensure that your own troops are more likely to be tortured should they be captured, only to have your enemies use YOUR OWN DEFINITION of what is or isn’t “torture” against you.
  10.  

  11. As noted above, some prisoners that were cooperative PRIOR to being tortured may suddenly become useless AFTER being tortured… either out of spite or… in some circumstances, due to psychological or physical damage… even death.

 
If torture worked, you wouldn’t have to do it TWICE… let alone 187 times like they did to 9/11 “Mastermind” KSM. Seriously, if the goal of torture is to extract information from your prisoner and they are still able to withhold information from you that requires being tortured AGAIN to extract… and they KNOW they will be tortured again if they don’t reveal everything they know yet don’t reveal it anyway, then it clearly didn’t work.

So, if you’re all in favor of America wasting precious time chasing down false leads, destroying our image as a just & noble society, losing valuable intelligence assets as a direct result of abuse, giving our enemies the moral high-ground, putting our own troops in greater danger should they be captured (and then be left with no leg to stand on when you protest), extending wars so they last for decades fighting an enemy that would rather die than surrender, and aiding the enemy’s ability to recruit additional fighters to their side… then by all means defend the use of torture.

POSTSCRIPT: “Should any American soldier be so base and infamous as to injure any [prisoner]… I do most earnestly enjoin you to bring him to such severe and exemplary punishment as the enormity of the crime may require. Should it extend to death itself, it will not be disproportional to its guilt at such a time and in such a cause for by such conduct they bring shame, disgrace and ruin to themselves and their country.” – George Washington, charge to the Northern Expeditionary Force, Sept. 14, 1775



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Filed in Crime, myth busting, National Security, Party of Life, Right-Wing Insanity, Scandals, Terrorism, War December 15th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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

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

Two famous proverbs haunted me all last week:

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

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

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


 

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

Things change.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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Sunni Violence Against Americans Is Not New (2006 video)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

The world did not change on September 11th.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We are now seeing the latter.

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

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

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

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

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



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

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John Goodman Explains the Start of WWI 100 Years Ago Today (video)

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Saturday, June 28, 2014

Exactly 100 years ago today (June 28th, 1914), the Austro-Hungarian Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian throne, was murdered by Serbian nationalists while visiting neighboring Sarajevo. One week later, the murder of the Archduke precipitated the start of World War I. In the Season 4 cliffhanger of NBC’s “The West Wing”, President Bartlett’s daughter Zoey is kidnapped by terrorists, leading to President Bartlett needing to temporarily resign as president and hand the presidency over to the (Republican) Speaker of the House, played brilliantly by John Goodman. The Speaker, upon taking over as president, gives the staff a quick history lesson on how a terrorist act against the member of a head of state can have unexpected, global consequences. Definitely worth sharing on this historic anniversary:
 

Acting President Walken explains the start of WWI (:59)

 

That was 100 years ago this very day. And the speech he just gave explaining the start of World War I is more than 99.9% of Americans still know about a war that killed SIXTEEN MILLION PEOPLE (and wounded another 20 Million more).

Violence is now erupting in Iraq as the nation convulses in the wake of our invasion 11 years ago. And in 2103, when people are asked about why we went to war in Iraq, how many do you think will be able to give you a clear answer? Hell, forget about 100 years from now, how many can give you a clear explanation even today?

 



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Filed in General, War June 28th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View