Soon-to-be-Fired & Furious: Trump’s History of Childish Behavior
January 8, 2018

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To paraphrase most magicians, “Pick a tweet. Any tweet.”

Happy New Year. If someone were looking for evidence of Trump’s incessant childish behavior and immaturity, one need look no further than his Twitter feed. Last week, author Michael Wolff released his new book, “Fire and Fury”, that left millions nodding their heads in agreement as Wolff revealed the dysfunction he witnessed while chronicling the Trump campaign and the first weeks of the Trump White House… which (not surprisingly) was met with “Fire and Fury” BY the Trump White House. And likewise, also to no ones surprise, Trump’s response(s) only seemed to confirm exactly what Wolff reportedly witnessed: that the White House is being run by a thin-skinned temperamental man-child who lacks the maturity and intelligence to run the most powerful nation on Earth.

Trump… in his usual reserved, mature Trumpian style… denied Wolff’s claims by calling him (and his own former Chief strategist, Bannon) names, and himself a “genius”:
 

Trump calls himself a genius

 

Anyone who has been paying attention since Trump declared his presidency in mid-2015 KNOWS what a ridiculous thin-skinned egomaniac Trump is. My (In)Complete (and Growing) List of Ridiculous Trump Superlatives records at least 79 such instances of absurd Trump self-aggrandizement (I’m certain I’ve missed a few.) And like any “toddler” (which I’ve been calling Trump for over a year now), he continually behaves in ways indicative of a 5 year old child.

Trump lies like a small child. Habitually. He not only insists he’s the only one telling the truth and everyone else are the liars, he does so even when he’s caught on tape or photographic proof exists to contradict him (I’m reminded of the TV commercial of the father recording video of his two young boys, covered in paint, denying they got into the paint.) One of the clearest signs someone is lying: their story continually changes as evidence emerges to contradict them. A mature adult will reach a point where they can no longer deny the truth without looking ridiculous and losing all credibility. Children don’t have that maturity. The more the evidence mounts against them, the more they dig in their heels and deny reality. They may even try to redirect your attention to someone else. Last week, Special prosecutor Robert Muller announced that he had obtained confirmation via hand-written notes taken by then Chief-of-Staff Reince Priebus, that the reason Trump summoned then FBI Director James Comey to the Oval Office was to urge him to publicly declare that he was not under investigation by the FBI as part of the Russia investigation… just as Comey claimed and Trump denied. Caught in yet another lie.

After some Conservative pundit visiting Trump’s favorite TV show, “Fox & Friends”, speculated that the voice on the infamous “Access Hollywood tape” was not in fact Trump, but “faked” by someone trying to frame Trump, Trump himself… who already ADMITTED it was him on the tape and the words were his but he didn’t mean it… floated the idea that it quite possibly WASN’T him on that tape and it’s possible he was indeed framed. Does he no longer KNOW whether or not he spoke those words? Did he forget he already admitted he said it? Did he forget he was talking to someone else (Billy Bush) at the time who confirmed the conversation took place? Did he REALLY think he could now convince people he didn’t say it after already admitting he did? That’s something a child might try to do.

For nearly a year, Trump insisted he “didn’t collude” with the Russians. But when some Conservatives tried arguing “collusion is okay” and that there’s nothing “illegal” about a “president-elect contacting foreign governments, Trump too started arguing that there was “nothing illegal” about the many contacts between his campaign and Russian officials. Someone then clearly had to remind him that the investigation was regarding contacts between his campaign prior to his election, and that admitting to “established relationships” by the time he won might raise questions as to when those relationships began, and suddenly… child that he is… he was back to denying any “collusion” ever took place between his campaign and Russia. (Speaking of which, according to Trump’s new buddy Lindsey Graham, Trump now concedes that it was Russia… not “China or some 600lb person from their bed”… who hacked the DNC and stole emails off their servers. That means Trump now concedes Russian “meddling” DID take place in the election, and clearly with the intent of helping him and hurting Hillary Clinton. There can be no other purpose/explanation. Yet STILL Trump refuses to admit the Russians helped him win, and has asked for no consequences/penalty against Russia for their crime of attempting to interfere/undermine the American election.)

This coming year will be Trump’s first year where we finally see the consequences of decisions belonging to Trump and Trump alone. Last year, he was still operating under Obama’s final budget, Obama’s tax rates and “job-killing” ObamaCare (under which unemployment fell to just 4.1% and the economy continued its streak of huge monthly jobs gains)… which he simultaneously took credit for AND ridiculed to justify the most massive corporate tax cut in history on the grounds they would “promote job growth”…

…That’s the kind of Cognitive Dissonance once could only come to expect from a child.
 


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January 8, 2018 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Posted in: General, myth busting, Partisanship, Politics, Rants, rewriting history, Right-Wing Hypocrisy, Right-Wing Insanity, Seems Obvious to Me

Predictions for 2018: Fasten Your Seatbelts
January 1, 2018

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In the cinematic classic “All About Eve”, Betty Davis tells a room full of partiers to “Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy night.” Meaning they should prepare for trouble as she comes to realize she’s been played the fool. I stopped wondering early on when Trump supporters would come around and realize they’d been “played” by this irrational, egomaniacal blowhard braggart who’ll say absolutely anything just to win, when they continued to make excuses for him over & over again no matter how easily disproven his assertions were (starting day-one with actual photographs of the crowd size attending his inauguration), continuing to believe this side-show carnival barker as long as he continues to put a “respectable” face on “bigotry”, “hate” and (as with George W. Bush) being “dumb” as something to be proud of. While Mugsy’s Rap Sheet began in 2003 shortly after Bush’s invasion of Iraq and people were just starting to realize they had been duped and there were no “Weapons of Mass Destruction”… just as I predicted, I didn’t start my annual “Predictions” tradition until December 2007 on the old “BI30 Archive” blog (which no longer exists) making predictions for 2008. Ten years later, I have wracked up quite the track record. My success rate over 10 years averages out to 59.5%. Personally, I think anyone who’s predictions are right nearly 60% of the time should be taken seriously (big smile.)

2017 was a challenge having nothing but Trump’s performance on the campaign trail to judge how he might perform once in the Oval Office. But one character-trait was already obvious and has only cemented over time: Trump is a giant toddler, impulsive, easily offended, asserts things as “true” simply because he believes them to be true (whether they are or not), and can’t resist touching the hot stove no matter how many times you tell him “No”. And like any spoiled rich kid (or child of a powerful monarch) whom no one dares say “No” to, he stumbles his way through any endeavor, takes credit for the achievements of others (2017 economy under Obama’s final budget/tax-rates, and Iraqi soldiers achievement in pushing back ISIS), blames his failures on whomever he deems is “out to get him” that particular day (repeated failure to pass ANY major policy initiative promised on the campaign trail… from the “repeal & replace of ObamaCare” that he said would be incredibly easy, only to eventually concede reforming health care was “Harder than ‘anybody’ thought”, to his promise to get Mexico to pay for a massive Border Wall), and then declares himself to be the greatest to do whatever it is he thinks he’s done (even when he’s dead last). I worry my head will fall off my shoulders in 2018 from all the shaking in disbelief.

As usual, we begin by looking back at the predictions of others for comparison sake. You can’t be impressed by my success rate if you don’t know how bad everyone else seems to be at it. And as usual, I remind you that I’m no psychic. I make no claim of amazing mental powers other than my ability to spot political trends and understanding of human behavior.

I’m not going to bother reviewing any famous “psychics” this year. Their act is to simply make dozens (sometimes hundreds) of vague predictions, and when one appears to have come true, they crow like roosters at sunrise until people “praise” them for their “amazing psychic ability.” It has become quite old and a waste of time. Looking back at past years reviews, their track record is somewhere between zero & 1 percent.

No, I enjoy reviewing & critiquing my fellow political pundits… especially self-righteous Conservatives whose predictions always seem to align with their own agenda. “Democrats bad! Conservatives good! Argh!” (wave outstretched arms for effect.) It can really get quite absurd. Why anyone listens to these people is beyond me. Like the saying goes, “Always certain. Rarely right.” Remind you of anyone?
 

The Competition

Fortune Magazine does predictions every year, mostly economic, but will also predict political actions that might affect the economy. If it’s any indication, their Predictions for 2017 included “AOL Will Get Cool Again” (spoiler alert: It didn’t.) So now that you have some idea just how unrealistic their predicting can be…

Fortune’s first political prediction right off the bat: “The U.S. Gets a Giant New Infrastructure Bill”. Yeah, that didn’t happen. Republicans LOVE to promise “infrastructure”… as long as they don’t have to pay for it. Despite controlling BOTH houses of Congress and the White House, Republicans didn’t even mention “infrastructure” in the massive budget they passed last week with enormous tax cuts for corporations and the Top 1%… which will make paying for that “infrastructure” Trump promised next to impossible.

Fortune made only four “political” predictions, and the remaining three were (arguably) all correct… though predicting a GOP-controlled congress with Republican president will cut taxes is a bit like predicting Trump will poop-tweet something stupid at 6am. Ditto for predicting a roll-back of many Climate-Change regulations, continued anti-immigrant rhetoric, and “tax-reform” where they give corporations a huge tax cut (that “will pay for itself with all the corporate revenue it encourages to return from overseas”… dream on.) Barrel of fish? Meet “shotgun”.

Our next contestant is CNN, pitting thirteen in-house advisors against each other to answer the same eight questions… only three of which are political in nature: “location of Trump’s first overseas visit”, “status of the DOW”, and “Trump’s approval rating.” Trump waited until May to make his first overseas trip, visiting nine cities (in five countries) in nine days:
 

Trump's 1st overseas trip.

 

Four (of the 13) analysts get partial credit for saying “Israel” (though technically the first stop was… oddly enough… Saudi Arabia) which was stop #2 on day two of his first ever overseas trip. Honorable Mention to the last pundit (Jeff Yang) for the most honest prediction: “Depends on where he wants to build his next hotel.” Maybe he was the only one to get that question right?

While only two pundits predicted the DOW to lose ground, no one predicted the DOW to close up over 24,000 as corporations poured Billions into buying back their own stock (something that used to be illegal before Reagan) to artificially pump up the price ahead of the massive GOP tax cut for those same corporations and their wealthy owners/investors (allowing them to pocket more of those dividends.) The reason this was once illegal is because stock price used to reflect the health of a company. If a company was successful, it was a safe investment. But now that stock value no longer has anything to do with their success as a company, buying stock is quite-literally legalized gambling. Watch the 2015 movie “The Big Short” for a primer on how over-inflated stock & real-estate values created the 2008 Wall Street bubble that resulted in global economic devastation. (Again, props to Yang for wondering if the DOW will be measured in rubles.)

Trump’s approval rating by the end of the year? Six of the 13 were reasonably close to predict the mid-30’s to 40%. Five said it would be over 50% (one thinking 60%), and radio host Dean Obeidallah being the only one to correctly guess Trump would end his first year with “the lowest approval rating in history.” Such polls only started with Eisenhower in 1953, but Trump did end the year with the all-time lowest approval rating at just 39.3% (the second lowest was Ronald Reagan ten points higher at 49%.) Trump himself believes (of course) that he ends his first year with nearly the exact same approval rating President Obama had at the end of his first year (Trump: 46%, Obama: 47%). Problem is, Trump is citing a single very pro-Republican Rasmussen poll for his figures. Obama’s 12-poll average by December 2009 was 49.9%… more than 10-1/2 points higher than Trump’s… which I’m certain Trump consoles himself by believing that’s “Fake News!”

And again, props to Yang for wondering if Trump’s poll numbers could be negative.

ABC’s “ThisWeek” asked its Roundtable to make some predictions for 2017:
 


Some Predictions for 2017 (1:20)

 

Question: Biggest promise Trump delivers on and biggest promise broken? They did fairly well. While “ObamaCare” wasn’t repealed, it was kneecapped. No Wall. No “Muslim Ban”. Trump tried repeatedly at the latter, and while the Supreme Court eventually ruled a “watered down” version was legal, the appeals courts are still challenging it. So the year ends with no absurd “Muslim Ban”.

And last but not least, my favorite each year, the folks over at Fox “news” Sunday.

This is my favorite part of the prediction game, looking back at how absurdly wrong Conservative pundits get it year after year. The more Conservative they are, the more smug they are when making their predictions. Fortunately for them, #FnS spends no time whatsoever to look back at how they did the previous year, for if they did, several might think twice before daring to make any on-camera predictions year-after-year.
 


Fox “news” Sunday pundits predictions for 2017 (8:49)

 

Laura Ingraham predicts Trump nominates “a judicial Conservative well-liked by the rank & file GOP and is approved by Congress”, but doesn’t cite Neil Gorsuch. Gorsuch is eventually approved… but ONLY after the GOP changes the rules, passes “The Nuclear Option”, and approves him with a simple majority (final vote 54-45 thanks to two Democratic defectors.)

Julie Pace only predicts “2017 will be unpredictable.” There, she was right.

NRO’s Mike Needham, a man working had to inherit the mantle of “Worst predictor since Bill Kristol”, said matter of factly, “Obamacare WILL be repealed; HHS Sec Tom Price will do a great job” (he was forced to resign); and the result will be “better, more affordable healthcare.” GOP never came up with a replacement. Their only change was to abolish the “tax mandate” which will result in higher premiums and 18 Million low-income Americans losing coverage.

Juan Williams predicted President Obama to stay heavily in the public eye and become a DC “powerbroker”. Instead, Obama totally eschewed public life altogether, coming out only to partake in a BBC interview last week where he was asked questions by Prince Harry. Obama urging “people in leadership positions not to use social media in a way that fosters division” is probably his strongest rebuke of Trump his entire first year… and even here, never mentions Trump by name.

I’ll let you watch the rest of the video and judge for yourselves the accuracy of their predictions (note: Needham then goes on to describe Obama’s final year… with monthly job gains pushing 200K, unemployment down to 4.6% and GDP of 3.5%… as “anemic” and expected continued job growth under Trump and a GDP of “3%” as “roaring back.”
 

Now, a look back. How did I do predicting 2017? Pretty damn good if I do say so myself. Though if I had stopped after 10, I would have scored a personal best. Oh, well. My first four predictions were so spot-on, you’d be forgiven for thinking I cheated and wrote them last week (I assure you, I didn’t.)

  1. Right: “President Obama’s final budget will still be in effect until October (Republicans actually didn’t pass a new budget until December), so it is unlikely the economy will turn South in Trump’s first year.” – Trump of course is not only taking full credit for his first year economy, but it ALL happened under Obama’s final budget, Obama’s tax rates, and with “job-killingObamaCare in full effect. Trump not only took credit for the economy, he simultaneously criticized Obama’s policies as “hurting job growth” (despite unemployment now down to 4.1%), justifying his massive tax cut for corporations and the Top 1% at the expense of anyone earning less than $75K/year.
  2.  

  3. Right: Trump’s Russian ties will continue to haunt him in 2017, but with a GOP controlled Congress, nothing will ever come of it. – The Mueller investigation continues. Startling revelations emerged of Don Jr, Jared Kushner (Trump’s wunderkind go-to guy for every boring job) and Trump’s own campaign manager Paul Manafort, actually meeting with a Russian lawyer promising “dirt” on Hillary Clinton, IN Trump Tower… two floors below Trump’s office, and still he insists (16 times in his last interview of the year) that no collusion ever took place between his campaign and the Russians. Four people working for the Trump campaign have been indicted. Two have plead guilty (Papadopoulos and Mike Flynn), and just the other day we learned Papadopoulos bragged to an Australian diplomat that the Russians “had thousands of emails on Hillary Clinton”… before news broke that the DNC has been hacked.
  4.  

  5. Right: At least one of Trump’s incompetent appointees will have their appointment questioned and perhaps even be forced to resign due some inexplicable cock-up that embarrasses the incoming Trump Administration. – Enter Mike Flynn, who was fired after serving a mere 24 days as National Security Advisor. The excuse given was that he “lied to the FBI” (about his overseas business interests)… EIGHTEEN DAYS AFTER acting Attorney General Sally Yates TOLD the Trump Administration Flynn had lied to the FBI and was therefore a blackmail/security risk.
     
    Here is the final list of Trump Administration staffers who either were fired, forced to resign, or were “reassigned” (grab your magnifying glass.)
     
    Trump Admin 2017 Departures

     
    Trump promised to “Drain the swamp”, but so far, the only people leaving are people HE hired.
  6.  

  7. Right: Trump will hold a record low number of Press Conferences, preferring instead to use Twitter. No huge surprise here. Trump held exactly ONE Press Conference his entire first year in office.
  8.  

  9. Wrong: Trump will deploy between 100,000 and 300,000 troops back into Iraq & Afghanistan. – Happily, this didn’t turn out to be the case (at least, as far as we know.) Instead, he deployed an additional 3,900 “advisors” into Iraq, Afghanistan & Syria to push back against ISIS. Growing anger against ISIS in those countries for targeting their fellow Muslims (something I had predicted for 2016) has made them quite unpopular, and huge defeats at the hands of the Iraqi army has hurt ISIS recruiting, decimating their numbers (unlike 2015 & 2016, I did not attempt to predict the size of ISIS by the end of 2017, but I did not see the Muslim backlash against ISIS growing so intense in just one year, so I probably would have gotten it wrong if I had.)
  10.  
    Right: – I predict at least five such deadly mass casualty [ISIS inspired] attacks across the world. 2017 was a busy year for ISIS-inspired terrorist attacks around the world:
     

    • New Years day: Istanbul nightclub – 39 killed.
    • March: Car runs over pedestrians on Westminster Bridge in London. – 4 killed.
    • May: Ariana Grande concert in Manchester – 22 killed
    • June: Eight people are killed when a van strikes pedestrians on London Bridge.
    • April: St. Petersburg underground is the target of a suicide bomber – 15 killed
    • April: Uzbek asylum seeker kills seven people when he rams a lorry into a crowded shopping street in Stockholm
    • April: At least 27 people die in an explosion inside a church in the city of Tanta, Egypt. Another blast kills at least 16 in front of a church in the coastal city of Alexandria, Egypt.
    • August: a van rams into crowds on the Ramblas in Barcelona killing 15.
    • October: eight people are killed when a terrorist in a rental truck speeds down a popular cycle lane in lower Manhattan on October 31.
    • November 24: more than 300 are killed by gunmen in a mosque during prayer in the city of Bir al-Abed, the main city in northern Sinai.

     
    In all, there were 1,128 terrorist attacks (mostly in Muslim countries) in 2017. Is it any wonder Muslim refugees were desperate to come here seeking to escape the rampaging warzone their countries have become?
     

  11. Right: The election of an openly bigoted xenophobe like Trump will worsen [acts of open racism] three-fold. – “Three-fold” is a rather arbitrary figure, but the open protesting of neo-Nazis protesting the removal of Confederate monuments earlier in the year (even resulting in one death as one neo-Nazi plowed his car into a crowd of counter-protesters) was seen in numbers not seen since the 1930’s. And Trump, afraid to offend his white supremacist followers, declared (just minutes after that young girl was run down & killed) that there were “very good people on both sides” of the protest, and that “both sides” shared in the blame for what happened.
  12.  

  13. Right: There will be NO significant border wall construction in 2017. – Shocker, I know. Anyone who actually believed construction would begin on Trump’s ridiculous pointless border wall (and that Mexico would pay for it) are what Turnip-Trucks were invented for. In fact, two weeks before his inauguration, Trump was already walking back the “Mexico will pay for it” claim, and proposed asking Congress to pay for it now with the promise he’ll find a way to get Mexico for it later. Seriously.
  14.  

  15. Right: At least one nation will say Trump is not welcome in their country. – The mayor of London said Trump is not welcome there after retweeting a video by a Far Right British anti-Muslim hate-group falsely claiming to be that of Muslims attacking a disabled Dutch boy, and the British Parliament demanded PM Theresa May dis-invite Trump from a scheduled state visit. Trump is as welcome in Europe as a skunk at a garden party. Trump was also met with protests in Germany during his visit to Hamburg, And during the G7 Economic Summit, the “most fit president in history” who ridiculed Hillary Clinton’s stamina, ended up following the other world leaders in a golf cart as they strolled the streets of Taormina, Sicily, and protests in France against Trump erupted when he snubbed the Paris Climate Accords… a treaty that was signed by EVERY other nation in the world… even Syria & Iran who both failed to initially sign but later came back to sign the treaty. Even China… the country Trump claimed made up the “Global Warming ‘Hoax'” to gain economic advantage as everyone but them agreed to the restrictions… agreed to the restrictions. Russia too signed the accord. Only Trump/U.S. did not.
  16.  

  17. Wrong: We will gradually see less & less of Trump over time [as he comes to hate the job he won but never actually wanted.] – In at least one way, I could have rated this True, with Trump holding a record low ONE Press Conference and spending a full THIRD of his entire presidency on vacation… which I’m certain is likely a record… even after ridiculing Obama on the campaign trail for all the time he spent golfing. But Trump, a total narcissist, lives to be in front of the cameras. Instead of press conferences and giving interviews, Trump hit the “campaign trail” and gave speeches to his throngs of adoring fans.
  18.  

  19. Wrong: Calls for investigations into all of Trump’s conflicts of interest will grow. – I believe the only reason this didn’t gain more traction is because the subject was overwhelmed by the non-stop controversies that seem to emanate from this White House day after day.
  20.  

  21. Wrong: Every building with Trump’s name on it will become an instant terrorist target the moment he’s sworn in, and the cost of protecting those buildings will become a serious matter. Again, also wrong, and again, for the same reason. Just too much other breaking news sucking all the oxygen out of the room. Many have expressed concern over the cost of defending Trump’s multitude of properties, but surprisingly, there have been no reports of attempts to attack Trump hotels/offices around the world. (Note: There HAS been concern relating to the cost of securing all of Trump’s properties while he visits them on “vacation”.)
  22.  

  23. Wrong: Expect at least one American company to file an “unfair trade practices” lawsuit against Trump. I expected businesses and foreign governments seeking to curry favor with Trump by choosing to do business with Trump (booking stays in his hotels vs a competitor, etc) would result in many of his competitors crying foul. But Trump’s global unpopularity has made that less of an issue than expected.
  24.  

  25. Wrong: The promise to “greatly expand the use of coal” and “completion of the Keystone XL Pipeline” will be met with a resounding thud as both projects prove to no longer be cost effective. – I’m going to rate this one wrong, even though the demand for coal did not rise significantly (7.8% in 2017) and is expected to rise only an additional 1% in 2018. Keystone XL output has likewise been slightly depressed as oil prices remained too low to make it economically viable. But oil prices closed at just under $67/barrel… up from $52.42/barrel when Obama left office. (National avg price/gal of gas also up 44cents since Obama left office.)
  26.  

  27. Wrong: I expect Trump’s relationship with Russia to become strained as he grows increasingly erratic. Generally, Trump’s relationship with Putin/Russia is about the same as it was when he took office. In fact, Russia & Israel are the only two places where Trump’s approval rating is higher than Obama’s (see: “skunk” above.)
  28.  

  29. Right: Trump will not be able to amass enough Republican votes (and zero Democratic votes) to repeal “ObamaCare”. Regardless of what they say now, Trump absolutely did NOT “repeal ‘ObamaCare’.” The GOP tax bill did severely harm it and threatens to undermine the program (which will cost taxpayers Billions as 18 Million lose their healthcare), but the program itself, with its requirement insurance companies accept people with preexisting conditions and limit rate increases… are all still there.
  30.  

  31. Wrong: Russia will test their new found relationship with the new administration to see just how much they can get away with. – I really thought Putin would thumb his nose at Trump and ramp up their support of Assad given the opportunity, and possibly become more aggressive annexing neighboring (former Soviet block) countries now that Trump was in office, but they already seem to have everything they want.
  32.  

  33. Right: Don’t be surprised if focus on many of Trump’s campaign promises are overshadowed by catastrophes that develop in his first year. – And by “catastrophes”, I mean problems of his own making. The daily scandals flowing out of this White House (Trump promised to “Drain the swamp”, but so far, just about everyone “drained” from Washington are Trump appointees. Fully ONE-THIRD of Trump’s original staff resigned, fired, or was reassigned) became almost daily news. No one is asking “Where’s the wall” because just about everyone knew it was total bullshit the day he promised it.
  34.  

  35. Right: Trump’s proposed “ten-fold” expansion of our nuclear arsenal? I see just enough Republicans to side with Democrats to stop any such proposed increase in our nuclear stockpiles. No expansion. – Just dumb to begin with. Completely unnecessary and a total waste of money. Plus no one saw it as “a pressing need” that demanded we follow through on it.
  36.  

  37. Wrong: 2017 will be declared “the hottest year on record”. – Damn! This was supposed to be a “gimme”! But 2017 “only” scored in the Top 5.

 
Ten right, nine wrong for an average of 53%. I can live with that, considering how little I had to go on for what to expect what life would be like under Donald Trump.
 

So how about my predictions for 2018? Predicting Trump is like predicting a toddler’s next move. If I could do that, I’d be making a fortune writing books on child rearing. But if you want to know what Trump will do in any situation, you’ll probably do best guessing what an undisciplined child that no one says “No” to, would do in that same situation.
 

  1. We’ve already seen the price of oil (as noted above) rise 20% in just Trump’s first year in office. Completion on the “Keystone XL” and increased coal production were supposed to reduce energy costs as we made ourselves more self sufficient, but the market had other ideas. Investors in the KXL need oil prices close to $75/barrel again to make the project cost efficient, and angering OPEC with his “anti-Muslim” rhetoric certainly doesn’t help matters any. So expect the price of oil to continue to rise in 2018 and the resulting increase in gas prices to start depressing the economy (as well as a number of other factors I will go into below.)
  2.  

  3. The Mueller investigation will continue to cause trouble for the Trump Administration as more & more revelations emerge. And as the controversy deepens and Trump becomes more worried, expect to see him spending more time trying to befriend Democrats as he grows concerned of a GOP rout come the November mid-terms that could lead to impeachment hearings by mid-2019.
  4.  

  5. And as I just hinted at above, rising trouble for Trump at home (more on that below) will make a Democratic rout in November seem inevitable. Expect Democrats to retake the Senate and possibly even the House come November. We already saw major election upsets in Virginia & Alabama. Expect that trend to continue into the 2018 mid-terms.
  6.  

  7. As the price of oil continues to rise (and the price of gas with it), sucking more and more money out of the economy, expect an economic slowdown by years end. Not only will rising gas prices suck billions out of the economy just as it did leading up to the 2008 crash, but expect interest rates to continue to rise (already raised three times in 2017) as the Fed finds it must lure investors to pay for the $1.5 Trillion dollar deficit Trump’s budget will create thanks to his irresponsible tax cuts (“deficits” only matter to Republicans when a Democrat is in office), the cost of doing business will also rise. Rising prices and less money in the system (because of more people putting their money in the bank to take advantage of rising rates), means a slowing economy. Trump took credit for the economy under Obama’s final budget & tax rates, but 2018 belongs to Trump. The economy, the unemployment rate, the deficit, wherever it goes from here, there’ll be no one to blame but himself.
  8.  
    (Note: Kind of a prediction for 2019, but I can already see Republicans are setting Democrats up for a fall. As the economy slows and controversy sweeps Democrats into power, the slowdown will continue into 2019, and many of the causes… like Trump’s massive tax cut for corporations… they just can’t be undone with a massive 19.5% corporate tax hike during a slumping economy headed for Recession. Republicans will be sure to point to Democrats and blame them for the economic timebomb they left them. But that’s a prediction for 2019.)
     

  9. And when the deficit starts to explode, Republicans will use it as an excuse to cut entitlements and programs for the poor.
  10.  

  11. And as such, unemployment will be up by years end. It is currently 4.1%. I would not be surprised to see unemployment close to 6% by years end if the economic slowdown I predict comes to pass.
  12.  

  13. The Wall? Yeah, that’s still going nowhere. Congress isn’t going to pay for it… especially in light of the rapidly increasing deficit thanks to the massive irresponsible tax cut Republican’s passed. There will be no significant progress on any “border wall” in 2018. There will be too much other stuff for Republicans to worry about in the coming year.
  14.  

  15. Trump’s approval rating? Already in the toilet (as noted earlier), with a slowing economy, major promises that continue to go unkept, increased “scandal” stemming from the Mueller investigation, I would not be surprised if Trump’s approval rating is below 30% by years end. Presidential approval ratings tracks with the Economy, and Trump is already in the low 30’s in a good economy.
  16.  

  17. And on that note, I question whether Mueller acts in time for the mid-terms. Much in the way former FBI Director James Comey was paranoid about possibly being accused of “shielding” Hillary Clinton if he hadn’t disclosed they were reopening the investigation into her missing emails after it was discovered disgraced former congressman Anthony Weiner had been sharing emails with his wife, Huma Abadeen. I have some concern Mueller might consider waiting until after the 2018 mid-terms to announce anything significant regarding the case against Trump. I’m going to predict that does NOT happen, Mueller releases some controversial findings before the mid-term election, but will wait so long he will be criticized for “waiting too long” to have a greater impact on the election.
  18.  

  19. Republican Party also used info obtained from Russian hackers to target down-ballot races. As controversy over GOP misconduct grows, Dem chances in the mid-terms improve.
  20.  

  21. And Trump, Master of Distraction that he is, will find ways to distract the public from the growing controversy swirling around his Russia ties during the campaign. “Russia-Gate” will continue to dog Trump throughout 2018, but I have my concerns over just how desperate he’ll become to distract from the controversy. A year ago (before he took office), I might have worried he might start a war with North Korea just to escape scrutiny over his Russia ties or business dealings, but he didn’t send hundreds of thousands of troops into Afghanistan like I expected, so maybe he’s more adverse to military conflict than I first suspected. There’s always a chance his incompetent bungling could provoke an attack, but I don’t see him initiating one just to distract from his problems at home.
  22.  

  23. And speaking of Trump’s “business dealings”, I would be surprised if one of the revelations to come out of the Mueller investigation is Trump’s business ties to the Russian Mob. We already have significant (if not incontrovertible) proof Trump did business with the Russian Mob in his real estate dealings, and Russian money launders permeate his campaign like stench on a cowpie, but Mueller will make it official in 2018 as it is revealed they uncovered evidence of Russian Mob money finding its way into the “Trump 2016” campaign.
  24.  

  25. And as Mueller’s reports grow more & more damning of the Trump Campaign’s links to Russia, Republicans will grow increasingly desperate to discredit him. Possibly with Republicans launching an investigation of their own… into Mueller to accuse him of being on a “partisan witch hunt”. Republican will continue to try to discredit Mueller and the FBI in much the same way they try to discredit legitimate investigative news as “fake news” so that no matter the findings, they can simply dismiss them as coming from an unreliable source no matter how airtight the evidence (ala “The OJ Trial”.)
  26.  

  27. Will Bernie declare he’s running for prez again after mid-terms? I suspect he will. He is already (in 2017) traveling the country, giving speeches, and energizing crowds in key election states like Iowa.
  28.  

  29. North Korea. Despite a flurry of activity in mid/late 2017, I think Toddler Trump grew weary of his new toy and stopped paying as much attention to Kim Jong Un… who in turn is talking less about Trump. While I do worry that growing provocative rhetoric between these two powerful spoiled children that no one says “No” to could lead to one one of them doing something stupid, I’m going to predict cooler heads prevail and we see no significant conflict between the U.S. and North Korea in 2018.
  30.  

  31. I predict Michael Flynn will testify in open court about what Trump knew about Russian involvement/support of his campaign.
  32.  

  33. Trump’s history of incessant Tweeting will come back to haunt him as past tweeted statements will be used to contradict assertions he makes to defend himself in Russia investigation (and trying to discredit witnesses.)
  34.  

  35. Democratic leaders (but maybe not Congressional candidates themselves) will (stupidly) do their best to downplay the possibility of “impeachment” in the lead up to the 2018 mid-term election. This is exactly what they did in 2004, and despite American’s realizing they were lied to about “Weapons of Mass Destruction” as a pretext for launching an unnecessary war of aggression against Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein, and that war still raging more than a year later, Democrats were afraid that if voters thought they’d spend all their time impeaching the president, they wouldn’t be focused on their jobs. The result? Republicans retained control of both the House and Senate, leading up to the economic downturn that led to the crash of 2008.
  36.  

  37. Puerto Rico will still be far from recovered from the devastation of the 2017 hurricane season before suffering additional damage in the 2018 season.
  38.  

  39. The war in Afghanistan will still be going on by years end. The first recruits who weren’t even born yet on 9/11 will be signing up to join the military and preparing to be sent overseas to fight a war older than they are.

 

And that’s my list of predictions for 2018. Sorry for all the doom & gloom. But at least I don’t foresee a war with North Korea. That’s something, right?
 


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January 1, 2018 · Admin Mugsy · 4 Comments - Add
Posted in: Civil Rights, Economy, Election, Politics, Predictions

Merry Christmas (hiatus)
December 25, 2017

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M.R.S. is off for Christmas, but check back soon for our big annual
 
“Predictions for Next Year” edition.

Till then, go back and review my predictions for 2017. How did I do?

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December 25, 2017 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Posted in: Politics

Is Trump White House Trying to Create an Excuse to Fire Mueller? Hypocritical claims of private email being private
December 18, 2017

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It was 1992. The presidential race was already in full-swing and accusations Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton having had multiple extramarital affairs were already common in Republican circles. They even found a former lounge singer named Gennifer Flowers to claim she had had an affair with Clinton while he was governor. But despite those claims, Bill Clinton was still elected the 42nd President of the United States. Clinton had Democratic majorities in both the House & Senate to shield him from a congressional investigation, but years of accusing the president of criminal wrongdoing (“Whitewater”) and “extramarital affairs” while he was governor of Arkansas helped flip control of BOTH houses of Congress to the Republicans in 1994, leading to the appointment of a Special prosecutor named “Ken Starr” who… on the taxpayers dime, investigated Bill Clinton for everything from “Whitewater” (a failed land deal where the Clinton’s actually lost money) to the “White House Christmas Card List”. And there was (essentially) nothing President Clinton could do about it. The most he could have done is ordered his Attorney General Janet Reno to fire Starr, but it was understood that that would only make him look even more guilty. So he never did. And it was only when they managed to get President Clinton to agree to testify under oath, that they were finally able to prosecute/impeach him… not for any actual crime committed while governor, nor of committing any crime relating to an extramarital affair while in the White House, but for the crime of “lying under oath” about even having an affair. And for that, they impeached him (note, an “impeachment” is an indictment, NOT a conviction.)

Flash forward to 2016. Another Clinton is running for president and her Republican opponent was already accusing her of criminal wrongdoing. “She used a private email server while she was Secretary of State to hide evidence of currying political favors in exchange for contributions to her charitable foundation”… or something along those lines. It actually was never entirely clear what “crime” they were accusing Hillary of attempting to conceal (reports of the nonsensical “Uranium One” deal came much later) by setting up a private email server in her home, suggesting only that it looked mighty suspicious. And when news broke she deleted some “30,000 private messages” (using professional deletion software called “Bleach” that overwrites old data so it can’t be recovered) that she herself deemed unrelated to her tenure as Secretary of State and not pertinent to any investigation, chants of “Lock her up (for obstruction of justice)” started to be repeated at every campaign event through the rest of the election (and in many cases, continue to this day as Trump attends partisan events.) Trump himself… alluding to the Russian hacking of the DNC in an attempt to meddle in our election… half-jokingly encouraged the Russians to “find the 30,000 missing emails”… ostensibly by committing further acts of cyber-crime against the United States… encouraged by the GOP front-runner for President of the United States.

Outgoing President Obama learned that December that we had solid evidence Russia meddled in the 2016 Presidential Election and may have even received assistance from members of the Trump campaign. A Special Prosecutor admired by Republicans and Democrats alike… a hold-over from the Bush Administration… Robert Mueller, was tasked with finding out whether or not members of the Trump Campaign may have “colluded” with the Russian Government to help them win the election. Like Janet Reno in 1993, only the Attorney General… the highest ranking law enforcement officer in the nation… has the power to fire a special prosecutor. Trump bestowed that position to Jeff Sessions, an early supporter and member of his campaign, who ended up having to recuse himself from anything related to that investigation (including the ability to fire Mueller, which made Trump furious.)

And here we are now at the end of Trump’s first year in office, characterized by lurching from one self-inflicted controversy to the next and a criminal investigation of a sitting president that just won’t go away. Like Bill Clinton before him, Trump entered office with his own party in charge of both houses of Congress, essentially shielding him from impeachment hearings of a Congressional investigation. But if past is prologue, and the recent upset with Alabama electing its first Democratic senator in 25 years are signs of what’s yet to come, Trump very well could be looking at a Democratic takeover of congress 13 months from now and impeachment hearings by mid 2019.

The GOP’s best hope of avoiding this fate is to start laying the groundwork for painting the Mueller investigation as a “partisan witch hunt” to justify the dismissal of Robert Mueller and quashing the case against Donald Trump before it’s too late. And that effort appears to have already begun, first (updated 12/19/17), the scandal (“evidence of bias”) was Mueller NOT investigating the “unmasking of names by the Obama Administration of just “who leaked the fact Flynn was meeting with Russians?”, then it was the “controversy” that Mueller was NOT investigating Hillary Clinton over the “Uranium One” deal. Then it was his not investigating “the DNC paying British Agent Christopher Steele to continue his dossier on Trump by contacting Russian (among other) agents, and now the news Mueller himself fired two members of his investigative team last Summer (“Peter Strzok” & “Lisa Page”) when it was discovered they had exchanged text messages criticizing candidate Trump (as well as Hillary Clinton, Sanders, O’Malley, Richard Clarke, Eric Holder and even Chelsea) in July of 2016… right around the time Trump was criticizing FBI Director James Comey for refusing to prosecute Hillary Clinton for her handling of her emails from when she was Secretary of State. So it should hardly come as a surprise to no one (no one sane) that members of the Justice Department might have been a wee bit unhappy with Donald Trump. It’s not like Washington (aka: “The Swamp” according to him) was “Trump Country” to begin with (Hillary won DC with 92.8% of the vote.) I’d be astonished if MORE people working for the Justice Department hadn’t sent “unkind” emails ridiculing Trump and favoring Clinton.

Revelations of partisan bias expressed in emails during the campaign already had Republicans accusing the Mueller investigation of being “filled” with “thousands” of biased Justice Department officials (keep in mind, only TWO people were found to have exchanged biased emails more than a year & a half ago) and therefore the investigation is nothing more than a partisan witch hunt (which, I assumed wasn’t until AFTER they investigate Trump’s Christmas Card List.) But last Saturday, Trump’s lawyers accused Mueller of “illegally” obtaining the transition team’s “private emails” from a source other than them. Mueller asked the Trump Transition Team to turn over all of their private emails, to which Team Trump said, “Sure, just as soon as we… uh… move (read: delete) thousands of private messages we don’t believe have anything to do with your investigation.” Sound familiar? Mueller, rightfully concerned Team Trump could be… wittingly or unwittingly… destroying evidence, circumvented them and obtained the emails from a different source (presumably their ISP’s servers.) This has Trump’s lawyers feigning outrage, calling the confiscation of their private emails “illegal” (Mueller assures them he either had the author’s permission or legal authority granted by a judge to obtain the emails the way he did.)

If there is one thing Trump is good at, it’s the art of “scandal fatigue”. And I believe his objective here… and for the next 10 months… is to repeatedly accuse the Mueller investigation of criminal misconduct… throwing everything but the kitchen sink at him until they find something that sticks… much the way Ken Starr did in the 90’s investigating President Clinton for nearly a dozen different “scandals” (including, as I’ve mentioned before, “Socks the Cat’s Fan Club Mailing list” to find out if taxpayers were footing the bill for all those stamps.) They are hoping that eventually, after hearing (accusations of) “scandal after scandal” day-after-day for months, voters will just come to accept that the Mueller investigation itself is corrupt and should be disbanded, without cries of protest by the American Public.

The problem with THAT theory is that voters already are not on Trump’s side (with an approval rating already below 40% and falling fast) and may welcome an investigation that could lead to his impeachment if it means getting him out of office sooner-rather-than-later. “Help us Obi Mueller, you’re our only hope!” Now deliver that message, R2!
 


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December 18, 2017 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Posted in: Crime, Partisanship, Politics, Right-Wing Hypocrisy, Scandals

If You Don’t Believe Roy Moore’s Accusers, then believe Roy Moore
December 11, 2017

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Just a quick observation this week as we await the results of the Alabama Senate race.

“For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” – Mark 8:36

Good question. Right now, Evangelicals Republicans have chosen to abandon every principle they claim to believe in, in the name of political gain. How else do Evangelicals explain:

1) Supporting a thrice-married serial adulterer billionaire who BRAGGED about committing sexual assault only to defend his disturbing language by claiming he was lying… “It was just ‘Locker Room’ talk’.” (And more recently, even suggesting it might not have even been him on that tape… despite already admitting it was, and the fact there’s a witness… the man who was interviewing him at the time [Billy Bush.])

2) Supporting someone like Roy Moore, suspected of serial sexual abuse of young girls… one as young as fourteen… when he was a 30 year old District Attorney, only to further assault his accusers by calling them all “liars” EVEN THOUGH WE HAVE EVIDENCE they are telling the truth.

3) Supporting Televangelist Joel Osteen even after he refused to open the doors of his massive mega church in Houston to Hurricane flood victims… a “church” BTW that does not have a cross ANYWHERE on it.

Moore is running to fill the Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions. Alabama is a deep Red state with a lot of Evangelical voters. So red, it very well could elect someone accused of sexually assaulting children over a man who prosecuted two men for the murder of four little girls in the 1960. “Yellow-dog Democrats” of the 1950’s have become the “Yellow-dog Republicans” of today (people who would vote for a yellow dog before voting for the other Party.)

Moore’s supporters deeply mistrust “The Media”… thanks to being told day-after-day by the likes of Donald Trump that The Media can’t be trusted. “They lied”, says Trump, about the chances of him winning the election. “They lied”, says Trump, about his losing the Popular Vote. “They lied”, says Trump, about the number of people who attended his inauguration. And now they are “lying” (says Trump) about Russian meddling in the election. It’s all one giant conspiracy.

So when Roy Moore claims there’s “a conspiracy” out to get him too, it rings true to them. “All these women are lying. I never did what they’re claiming.”

Problem is, we don’t have to take THEIR word for it. Just listen to Moore himself.

In his first interview with Fox’s Sean Hannity, he was asked if he ever dated girls that young when he was in his 30s. “Not generally, no” was Moore’s reply. Not a flat-out ‘No’, but “not generally“? Moore added that when he did, he was sure to ask the mothers permission first.” That to me doesn’t sound like a man that didn’t pursue underaged girls when he was in his 30’s.

Then in another interview, Moore recalls the time he met his future wife at a Christmas party… when he was 38 and she was just 23… already a 15 year age difference, but legal. Moore laughingly recalled recognizing her name from a “college dance recital” he attended “eight years earlier”… which would have made him 30 and her just 15. He doesn’t say they met or spoke, but the thought of that 15 year old girl stood out in his memory.

Two things stick out to me in that anecdote of his: 1) Colleges don’t hold “dance recitals”, public schools do. If his future wife was only 15, she was NOT attending a Junior College where Moore claimed to have seen her. Changing the place he saw her from a “High School” to “a Junior College” to me suggests “consciousness of guilt”. He KNOWS how it would sound if he admitted first seeing her while she was still just a high school freshman.

And 2) What was an unmarried 30 year old man with no children doing attending a high school recital? That seems very odd to me. Moore did NOT claim he went with “a friend” or family members to see their own children perform. As far as I’m aware, he has never explained what he was doing there.

I heard an Alabama Moore-supporter on TV Sunday dismiss the idea of a 30 year old man pursuing 14 year old girls by saying “Things were very different 40 years ago. Most parents would have been THRILLED if a 30 year old District Attorney wanted to date their 14 year old daughter.” Seriously. He said that.

Two problems there: 1) Moore categorically denies he did this. So this voter believes Moore is lying and yet intends to vote for him anyway. And 2) “40 years ago” was only the late 1970’s. I’m old enough to remember living in the South in the late 70’s. Older men dating teenage girls was NOT generally approved of. MAYBE in the early 1950’s, but NOT the late 1970’s. That defense is nonsense. (ADDENDUM: Someone mentioned how scandalous it was when Southern Rock legend Jerry Lee Lewis married his 13-year old cousin in 1957.)

So, like I said, YOU DON’T HAVE TO believe Moore’s accusers. Believe Moore himself. It will be interesting to see how this vote turns out. Personally, the way I see it, if Moore loses, Alabama gets its first Democratic senator in decades, splitting the Senate 49/51 (Dem/Rep) and a huge loss for Donald Trump. If Moore wins, either the GOP will be forced to defend Moore for the next 11 months (till the 2018 mid-terms) making them look like the Party where sexual predators go for career advancement and will end up investigating/prosecuting Moore (while their Party leader Trump is also under investigation), or Alabama elects its first Democratic senator since 1992, reducing the GOP margin to just one vote and handing Trump (and Bannon) another huge loss.

I see that as a Win/Win.
 


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December 11, 2017 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Posted in: Election, mystery, myth busting, Partisanship, Party of Life, Politics, Religion, Right-Wing Hypocrisy

If GOP Tax Bill Passes, here is how it will tank the economy
December 4, 2017

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There are two famous quotes I keep returning to again & again:
 

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

and

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over & over, and expecting a different result each time.”
 – Author Rita Mae Brown (not Einstein) as quoted by the AA/NA sobriety guides (1983)

 

Every tax policy analyst who has looked at the Republican tax plan agrees that (if passed) it will create a huge hole in the Deficit and “add as much as $1.4 Trillion to the National Debt” (I believe they mean “Deficit”, not “Debt”)… which I can assure you is WILDLY understating what this bill would do to the Deficit, National Debt, and the economy as a whole.

I find myself actually stunned (well, not really) Republicans… self-proclaimed “Deficit Hawks” when Obama was president… would so blatantly try to sell us “Voodoo Economics” again with a straight face. They aren’t even being coy about it. They talk about Trump’s massive tax cut for the wealthy “supercharging” our economy as though it’s never been tried before. It appears Republicans now meet the definition of “insane”… doing the same thing over & over again, expecting a different result. Ronald Reagan slashed the top tax rate on the rich to “just 50%”… a rate we are wildly below today and Trump would have us more than slash in half (but assures us it wouldn’t benefit him personally)… and by the end of Reagan’s first budget (the end of his second year), unemployment had SOARED to 10.8%… despite November/December holiday shopping and seasonal hiring boosting the economy. The Federal budget for the coming year is passed every December. We are still coasting on Obama’s last budget (and Trump is taking credit for it.)

Senate Republicans passed their version of the next Federal Budget & Tax Reform last week by the skin of their teeth, just 51 to 49. Despite having a 52/48 majority in the Senate, every single Democrat and one Republican (Bob Corker R-TN) voted against the bill. Earlier in the year, Republicans in the House passed their own version of the budget and now Republicans have until Friday to pass a reconciled budget in time to avoid a government shutdown. We’ve already seen that this White House can’t organize a two-car parade, so if you believe House & Senate Republicans will come together to agree upon a budget & tax bill by Friday (Dec 8), you haven’t been paying attention the last 11 months. And they have no intention of trying to attract Democratic votes to help them pass their bill. During ABC’s ThisWeek yesterday, Mitch McConnell complained “There wasn’t a single Democrat who thought this tax bill was a good deal.” But Donald Trump thinks it is and if you’re a Republican, you trust the judgement of Donald J. Trump more than the entire Democratic Party (hell, they’d rather elect a suspected child-molester… Roy Moore… than a Democrat.) Let’s see how far that kind of judgement gets them.

Three separate Tax Policy institutes… Center, Left, and Right, have looked at the GOP Tax Bill and even the most Conservative estimate says it’ll blow a half-Trillion dollar hole in the annual Deficit…
 

Estimates of GOP Tax bill

 

…EVEN IF you factor in growth (that we’re unlikely to see), causing the National Debt… you know, that thing Republicans screamed about for eight years under Obama… to EXPLODE.

One of the things I most remember most about Mike Pence before he became VP was what a Teabagger tool he was as the self-appointed head of the Senate “Tea Party Caucus”. And in 2010, he declared that he’d rather shutdown the government and default on our Debt than raise the Debt Ceiling and accrue more debt:
 


Pence: “I say: Shut it down!”

 

And now they are trying to sell us “Voodoo Economics” once again (a term coined by then-presidential candidate George HW Bush in 1980 to describe his opponent, Ronald Reagan’s claim that massively cutting taxes on the rich will create so much economic growth the resulting tax revenue will offset the losses.) It didn’t of course. As I pointed out above, by the time Reagan’s first budget was over, unemployment nearly hit 11%, and before he left office, the National Debt had TRIPLED. Reagan tried to offset the losses by raising taxes TWELVE TIMES throughout the remainder of his presidency to stop the bleeding, but they never repealed that tax cut on the people who had all the money, so the Debt continued to grow.

In fact, the last time we balanced the budget and massively grew the economy was when Bill Clinton RAISED taxes on the wealthy to 39.5%, bringing in enough tax revenue to start paying off the debt and grow the economy. Bush-43 reversed that by cutting taxes again, turned that surplus into a $1.4 Trillion Deficit and triggering a Global economic collapse. Obama reversed course again with his own tax hike, cutting the Deficit by almost 2/3rds and spurred economic growth that we continue to enjoy to this day. Now, Trump is looking to repeat the mistakes of Reagan/Bush-41/Bush-43… except on steroids.

Reagan won reelection by massively increasing the size of government, rehiring hundreds of thousands of Federal employees nearly back to pre-Reagan levels, and spending like a drunken sailor, helping to bring the unemployment rate back down in time for the 1984 election:
 

Federal Hiring 1981-1982
Federal Hiring 1981-1982
(*in 1000’s)

 

That’s right, The Gipper was hailed as a hero for fixing a problem his own policies caused (by using a method he himself would have called “Communism” if a Democrat had done it.) And now Republicans want to do it again (because they’ve bought into the myth his policies were a huge success.)

Republicans have been all over the airwaves the past few weeks trying to sell us Voodoo Economics yet again. I don’t know if they themselves are in deep denial about what Reagan’s policies actually did, or perhaps they honestly don’t remember because they were either too young at the time or have simply bought into the myth after being spoon fed it by Conservatives for years. Right-Wing pundit Dan Castellanos argued yesterday that Trump’s tax plan would be like “rocket fuel for the economy”… a phrase Trump himself used. It is no longer clear if the pundits are quoting Trump or Trump is quoting the pundits. Either way, we have a vicious feedback loop not seen since Dick Cheney cited reporters who claimed Saddam had WMD’s… whose source for that claim was Dick Cheney himself. Conservative politicians/pundits are everywhere declaring with a perfectly straight face that “all the analysts are wrong”, that THEY know better than the experts and Trump’s massive tax cut for the rich will pay for itself in economic growth. “Voodoo Economics-101”.

So here is what’s going to happen if the GOP passes Trump’s massive tax cut for the rich:

First off, we won’t see any real effect on the economy until at least next May… after most Americans pay their taxes in April. The Poor & Middle Class typically file their taxes quickly… even early. And the increase in their taxes (mostly due to losing a number of exemptions/deductions) means less money going into the economy. Meanwhile, the wealthy (who pay most of the taxes because they have most of the money), typically have much more complicated taxes and will file extensions to give them longer to file and more time to pay. And in that gap between when “Regular People” pay their taxes and the wealthy do, the government must still operate with no money coming in. So they must borrow it, causing the Deficit to go up. But the only way to attract investment is to raise interest rates slowing the economy down even further. Vicious Feedback Loop part 2, the economy starts to sink like a stone. The Deficit & Debt explode, and the only way out of it is massive government hiring ala Reagan (maybe by building Trump’s Border Wall on the taxpayers dime.) All because they don’t want Rich people to pay their fair share in taxes.

Many years ago, I bought into the “Flat Tax” nonsense because the idea “everyone paying the same percentage” sounded fair to me. It wasn’t until years later that I realized the wealthy actually use FAR more “government” than the Poor & Middle Class do. Republicans would have you believe it’s the other way around, with all the poor people living on welfare and sucking up government resources. But the fact is, CORPORATE WELFARE dwarfs the amount of money spent on the poor. The wealthy also rely on the police more to protect their businesses/wealth, file complex lawsuits as part of doing business, need the government to make trade deals, and worst offenders of all, government contractors (particularly those in the Defense Industry.) The wealthy use FAR more government services than they pay for.

But the most obvious flaw with a “Flat Tax” is that you can’t make up BILLIONS in lost tax revenue from the Rich (via reducing the wealthy’s tax rate from 35% to just 15%) by raising taxes on the Poor (from 0% to 15%.)

And that is almost exactly what Republicans are trying to sell us now with this proposed massive tax cut on the rich. That somehow, we can cut HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS in tax revenue from the wealthy and make up for it in taxes paid by the Middle Class due to all the extra hiring corporations will do to meet the demand of all that economic growth.

Republicans argue that slashing the top tax rate will encourage all those wealthy tax cheats hiding their money overseas to finally bring that money home, resulting in a “three Trillion dollar boost to the economy.” I wonder if these people actually believe that. Do they ACTUALLY believe that millionaires/billionaires hiding “three trillion dollars” overseas are going to bring all that money home just to spend it??? Seriously?

So, what exactly would spur all this “economic growth” if we simply make the rich richer? “More money in people’s pocket” they say. Except the only people with “more money” in their pocket under Trump’s Tax Plan are people who ALREADY have a lot of money and yet aren’t spending it. If you give $10 to someone with no money, they’ll spend it right away. Give $10 to a wealthy person and they’ll just stick it in their pocket. If they needed anything, they would have bought it already.

No, what they’ll do with that savings is buy back their own stock to make themselves even richer (we are ALREADY seeing this in recent record Stock Market gains in anticipation of the cut.) They’ll continue to hide it in off-shore tax havens because ZERO percent is still better than 20%. And EVEN IF they spend it here, how many houses, cars & big screen TV’s can a person possibly buy to boost the economy? They think business owners will hire more people with all that extra money in their pocket. Why? Out of the goodness of their heart? DEMAND forces companies to hire more employees to meet that demand. If the demand isn’t there, why on Earth would anyone hire additional employees they don’t need? (I remember President George HW Bush pathetically begging corporations to “just hire one extra person and it’ll pull us out of the Recession (and save his presidency).” Of course, they didn’t. You can’t make corporations do something when they don’t need to. And if THAT is your plan to grow the economy… relying on the benevolence of corporations… we’re screwed.) The Unemployment Rate is ALREADY just 4.1% (a continued steady decline since President Obama passed his “Stimulus” in late 2009.) How much more growth do they think we can muster to offset those losses in tax revenue?

George HW Bush was right when he called it “Voodoo Economics”. You can’t make up for MASSIVE cuts in tax revenue through “growth”. The wealthy won’t spend more of their wealth just because we let them keep more of it. If they spent their money, they wouldn’t be wealthy in the first place, now would they?

Hang tight this week. Republicans are desperate to give Trump his one & only major legislative accomplishment of his first year in office. And huge tax cuts for rich people is the one thing they’ve always been able to agree upon.
 


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December 4, 2017 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Posted in: Economy, Greed, Jobs, Money, myth busting, Partisanship, Predictions, rewriting history, Right-Wing Insanity, Taxes

Evidence Emerges Russia Meddled in #Brexit As Well (just as I speculated last April)
November 27, 2017

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I think I started hating Conspiracy Theorists during the OJ Trial. I was home sick that Summer for months with nothing to do except watch the trial live on TV. I watched more of the trial than Judge Ito (literally, one week he had to be excused due to a conflict of interests.) It drove me nuts as the evidence mounted, OJ’s lawyers defense kept changing (sans the consistent yet nonsensical “He was framed by the LAPD!” defense), and despite the overwhelming evidence against him, a huge portion of the population simply dismissed all the evidence on the grounds his accusers could not be trusted. And no matter how absurd the manner in which the “frameup” would of had to have taken place (planting evidence with an eyedropper, “flying DNA”, all without even knowing if OJ had an airtight alibi at the time), there was just no convincing them that just because you don’t trust the accuser, sometimes the accusations are true.

Then came the 9/11 Conspiracy Theorists. No matter how much rational evidence there is, they concoct absurd explanations for why it isn’t true. I think my “favorite” absurd claim is the “holographic planes” argument to argue “NO planes actually hit the Towers.” Don’t ask me to explain the “logic” behind that one because I can’t. But the basis for their disbelief remains the same: “You can’t trust the government!” If you believe our own government was behind 9/11, then you MUST also believe Osama bin Laden and alQaeda were framed and the incompetent Bush Administration pulled off the conspiracy of the century after only eight months in office (never to achieve such masterful misdirection again.) And if there’s one time they could have used such a brilliant air-tight frame-up, it would have been against Iraq. They would have “found” those WMD’s they insisted were there instead of being exposed as bumbling incompetents who lied us into an unnecessary war, nearly costing them the 2004 election.

Some conspiracy theories make me angry beyond words. The claim “Sandy Hook was a ‘false flag’ operation” and “no children were actually killed” theory (because it’s impossible for them to believe ANY gun owner could be so mentally deranged as to murder twenty first graders and six teachers) makes my blood boil. These people have even called the parents of these dead children at home to threaten them if they don’t stop “lying” about what happened. Something so horrific was “clearly” a ruse to push anti-gun legislation… a massive and incredibly complex conspiracy… all for nothing because all it took was 40 Republican lawmakers beholden to the NRA to refuse to pass any new anti-gun legislation. You’d think conspirators THAT clever would have also planned for such a contingency.

And if you listen to conspiracy theorists, the REAL conspiracy is all the people working to convince you the simplest/sanest explanation is the true “conspiracy”, and all evidence can be ignored no matter how solid it is. Trump can admit ON TAPE of committing sexual assault and all it takes is for him to say “I was lying!” for them to trust him again. Roy Moore and his supporters ask “Why now?” are all these accusers suddenly appearing after all these years? (Why? Because first one person speaks up, then others discover they weren’t the only one and start coming forward too.) Clearly, it’s “a conspiracy to stop him from getting elected to the Senate!” (Ironically, the worst witness against Moore is Moore himself, who admitted to Sean Hannity that he never asked out a girl “without getting the mother’s approval first”, then admitting the first time he met his future wife was when she was just 15 during a “school recital”. And STILL they call his accusers liars.) But these same conspiracy theorists are quick to believe Sen. Al Franken’s accusers. They impeached Bill Clinton because they trusted his accusers more than him to the point of getting him to testify under oath about his sexual misconduct (at which point he lied.) How many Republicans ran to his defense asking “why now?” (And yes, I know some Democrats did the same thing. Lesson learned.)

And the one that irks me most of all is the “this is the same government that told us Iraq had WMD’s!” argument for why you can’t trust anything that anyone “official” says. Can’t trust the government. Can’t trust “the lying Media” (one phrase I pray I never hear again after Trump leaves office is “Fake News”. A simplistic catch-all excuse to dismiss anything they don’t like.) Well, *I* remember Ambassador Joe Wilson and his wife Valery Plame being destroyed by the Bush Administration for daring to report there was no way in Hell Saddam bought/transported “20,000 tons of Yellowcake uranium from Niger.” *I* remember VP Dick Cheney repeatedly flying down to CIA headquarters in Langley to put pressure on them to say “Saddam had WMD’s” when the evidence just wasn’t there. Apparently, today’s conspiracy theorists DID trust the government back then, and have resolved never to make that mistake again. Yet, that is EXACTLY what they are doing, making the SAME mistake again, ignoring solid evidence in favor of absurd conspiracy theories (frequently spread by Trump himself.)

Ridiculous.

So, “conspiracies”. The claim Russia meddled in our election isn’t a conspiracy theory. Believing they DIDN’T despite all the evidence on the grounds it either comes from untrustworthy sources, or an elaborate fabrication being spread by someone they hate even more… Hillary Clinton and the DNC. THAT is a conspiracy theory.

Well, last April I noted (in my extensive… and still being updated… list of Trump Administration officials and family members who were in contact with Russian officials during the presidential campaign) my suspicion that Russian meddling in the politics of their enemies was likely not limited to just the United States but that they were probably involved in #Brexit too (“Update 12a”.) We know they meddled in the French election (Update 11) and I suspect they also played a part in the recent split of the province of Caledonia from the rest of Spain.

So it should come as no surprise that that Yes, we now have evidence the Russians DID play a part in promoting #Brexit last June (if you don’t know, #Brexit was a vote in the UK on whether or not to split from the European Union.) The “pro-Brexit” side were virulently anti-Muslim, anti-European, anti-immigrant nativists with a desire to “close the borders” to Middle-Eastern immigrants (sound familiar?)

BuzzFeed reported Friday they found evidence of 45 fake Twitter accounts belonging to Russian bots that did nothing but spread Russian propaganda. During the French elections, the site would push pro-LePen/anti-Macron propaganda in French, then anti-Angela Merkel propaganda in German during her reelection campaign, then instantly switch to English to push pro-Brexit propaganda during the Brexit vote. “20 of the accounts also tweeted about Trump” during the U.S. election.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that Russia would want to break up the EU, throw every Western nation into chaos (getting Trump elected certainly achieved that here), and promote anti-Muslim/pro-Russia/anti-NATO leaders like Trump, LePen (the French Nazi) and the Far-Right anti-immigrant “AfD” Party in Germany who won seats in the German parliament for the first time EVER. Russia is the big winner in the decision for the UK to split from the EU. Putin has been staunchly anti-Muslim for decades. His bloody & brutal war against Chechen Muslims predates 9/11 (1994); and the Russian government has been working hard to elect people who oppose NATO, as well as the sanctions placed on Russia by the EU/US ever since they invaded Ukraine in 2014.
 

Impact of EU sanctions on Russia

 

…so is it any surprise they are going to such lengths to actively promote candidates who oppose NATO and oppose sanctions on Russia… or in the case of #Brexit… splitting off England from the EU? And it’s so easy! All it takes is a few hackers in a troll farm targeting voters on social networks with “fake news” reported on “RT (“Russia Today”) and “Sputnik”, or spending a few bucks to buy ads on Facebook & Twitter to promote one candidate over another, influence public opinion just enough to sway 1%-2% of the vote in an extremely close election The rewards VASTLY outweigh the expense/effort. And even if you get caught, you can use THE SAME PROPAGANDA MACHINE to convince just enough people that the “rumors” of Russian meddling are just “sour grapes”… propaganda spread by the losers to explain away their loss (sound familiar Part Deux?)

Of course, as I write this, I know there are also 100 Million “conspiracy theorists” out there ready to accuse me of promoting my own “conspiracy theory” because I “refuse to accept” that the hateful racist oligarchs are more in touch with popular sentiment than their opponents. Only difference is, I have facts & evidence on my side, and they have Nazi’s and Holographic Jumbo Jets on theirs.
 


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November 27, 2017 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,  · Posted in: Crime, mystery, myth busting, National Security, Politics, Predictions, rewriting history, Right-Wing Insanity, Scandals

Discussion we’re having on sexual assault is the discussion we should of had about guns
November 20, 2017

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As you may or may not know, I live-blog the Sunday political talk shows on Facebook & Twitter every week, and yesterday I was growing increasingly agitated listening to perplexed pundits on both sides of the aisle bemoaning the recent spate of men accused of sexually assaulting women, asking, “Why does this keep happening?” and “What… if anything… can we do about it?” I asked myself, “Why does this sound so familiar?” Oh yeah, it’s the same questions everyone was asking about JUST TWO WEEKS AGO following the mass shooting in a Texas church. And one month before that, it was another mass shooting in Las Vegas (ad infinitum). Except when people tried to ask those same questions back then, they were immediately shut down, told it was “too soon” to discuss the failures that facilitated those horrific acts; ensuring that nothing would be done about them.

“Was the Texas church shooting really just two weeks ago“, I hear you asking yourself? Yes. Yes it was. How quickly we forget… and that’s the point. Is it still “too soon” to discuss the most recent gun tragedy? Maybe not. But now that the public has a new distraction to keep them occupied, no one is thinking about the last mass shooting anymore. All attention is on the sudden rash of accusations of sexual misconduct by men in positions of power. Distraction accomplished. The urgency is gone. And that’s the entire point of the “too soon” talking point. Wait it out and soon everyone will just forget about it. Well, I haven’t forgotten about it, and you shouldn’t either.

It’s easy to forget this started with Donald Trump himself thirteen months ago with the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape… at least many might have forgotten if #ToddlerTrump hadn’t decided to attack Al Franken on Twitter for groping a Playmate during a USO event. People asked members of Trump’s staff, “Why on Earth would he attack Senator Franken for doing something he himself has been accused of, only to revive scrutiny of his OWN misbehavior? “He just couldn’t resist!” was the unanimous reply. Funny, he has resisted commenting on the FAR more serious charges being made against Judge Roy Moore these past few weeks. Yet he couldn’t resist attacking Franken (even calling him the childish name of “Frankenstein“.) Undisciplined, immature and lacking impulse control. What does that remind you of? A toddler, perhaps? White House Press Secretary Huckabee-Sanders defended Trump’s decision to selectively attack Franken but not Moore with the justification, “Franken has admitted wrong-doing while Moore has not.” I find it hilarious that anyone might think that was a rational defense. That’s one of those answers that earns a confused head-tilt from my dog. So the guy who has stepped forward and accepted responsibility is the one worthy of criticism, not the serial pedophile who is claiming a giant joint Media/GOP/Democratic conspiracy against him where his nine accusers are all lying and he’s the most persecuted man-of-God since Jesus himself?
 

“We live in a country where the president of the United States has yet to come out and forcefully condemn the sexual predation of children.” – Megan Murphy, Editor Bloomberg Business during ABC’s ThisWeek yesterday.

 

Before Trump we had Rep. Anthony Weiner. After Trump we had Bill O’Reilly and Rodger Ailes of Fox “news”. And since then, a laundry list of celebrities & politicians from Bill Cosby to Judge Roy Moore, and now Senator Franken (BREAKING: And now actor Jeffery Tambor… whom I’ll always remember as the stuffy neighbor with the hot wife on the short-lived “Three’s Company” spin-off: “The Ropers”.) Clearly, “sexual assault” has no party affiliation. The only thing these men have in common was being in a position of authority over the women (and men in the case of Spacey) they assaulted.

But it’s the helpless cries that have gotten under my skin. Not because of anything having to do with any lack of sympathy for the victims, but just knowing more is likely to come out of asking THE EXACT SAME QUESTIONS to prevent more incidents of sexual assault than following every mass shooting. It’s maddening. People were being mowed down by automatic gunfire barely six weeks ago… and then again two weeks ago, and yet more immediate action is likely to take place prosecuting these men for things they did decades ago than will be done to stop the next mass murder using an assault weapon that is likely to occur again any day now.

When each shooting rampage takes place, Gun Rights Advocates cry that it is “too soon” to talk about how to stop the next one. And when someone is accused of sexual misconduct that took place years ago, the abusers’ defense is “Why did they wait so long?” And in the time in between, we get distracted by the latest Hollywood/political scandal. There’s just no way to win.

“Why does this keep happening and what are we going to do about it?” Well, we KNOW why “sexual abuse” keeps happening, and “what we’re going to do about it” is force some resignations while some of the more powerful people will voluntarily check themselves into therapy. No real changes will take place, and in the meantime, another delusional crazyman in a position of power will assault another dozen people.

Huh. Same questions. Same consequences. I guess the two situations aren’t that different after all.

Never mind.
 

Famous predators

 


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November 20, 2017 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Tags: , , , , , , ,  · Posted in: Crime, Guns & Violence, mystery, Partisanship, Party of Life, Politics, Rants, Religion, Right-Wing Hypocrisy, Scandals

How to Avoid Another War with North Korea: Declare an end to the LAST one
November 13, 2017

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Trump couldn’t help but poke the bear (not Putin, though he may have done that too) during his Asia trip, getting into yet another Twitter fight with North Korea’s own irrational, undisciplined BabyMan leader, Kim Jong Un. Much of the reason for North Korea’s belligerence towards the U.S. is because they fear invasion by the U.S. ever since George W. Bush included them in his “Axis of Evil” (“Iraq, Iran & North Korea“) shortly before invading the first of those three nations in 2003. As isolated and paranoid as North Korea is, it doesn’t help that The Korean War never officially ended. Only an “armistice” was declared, the war was ruled “a draw”, the Korean peninsula was split in two, and everyone just assumed it was “over.”

Everyone except for the North Korean’s, that is.

As far as they are concerned, the war is still going on, and a militaristic United States is just champing at the bit to invade and retake the North. And rhetoric from Donald Trump suggesting wiping them off the face of the Earth doesn’t help.

On Veterans Day last Saturday, ABC News asked Korean War Vets what they thought about the possibility Trump might restart the Korean War? To-a-man, each and every one of them said that would be a terrible mistake. They all agree that if we were to restart the war with the massive military might we wield today, there is no question we would win (not a sure bet. China would likely intercede on behalf of North Korea today just as they did in 1952.) The question then is who will be the adult in the room and AVOID war with North Korea? The very idea we might go back into NK all these years later and pick up where those Veterans left off… trying to win an unwinnable war… is insanity.

Speaking of “insanity”, I remind you North Korea endorsed Donald Trump in May 2016, after Trump criticized South Korea for not paying enough for its own defense… even threatening to pull support for South Korea till they do:
 

“It turns out that Trump is not the rough-talking, screwy, ignorant candidate they say he is, but is actually a wise politician and a prescient presidential candidate.” – Unnamed North Korean scholar in a NK newspaper column.

 

If you want to prevent the next Korean War, you can start by officially ending the last one.
 

Most (if not all) nations on the planet now recognize “North Korea” as a separate sovereign nation. It has been nearly 65 years since the “unofficial” end of the Korean War. It is time we finally accepted the fact there are now TWO Korea’s and whether or not the two nations ever become one again is entirely up to the people of those two nations.

Trump could take the wind out of Kim Jong Un’s sails by formally declaring an end to the Korean War, having representatives from both sides sitting down for a dramatic “Signing Ceremony” in Geneva, declaring that the United States now recognizes North Korea as a separate and independent nation and formally declare The Korean War over.

North Korean TV would happily show “Dear Leader” on the world stage, sitting across from Donald Trump as an equal, “forcing” the United States to “accept defeat” as they sign an agreement officially declaring an end to the Korean War. And after showing such an event nationwide on state-run TV, it would be difficult for them to then make the case the U.S. still wants to invade their country, justifying the need for further provocative action.

And for Trump (and his ego), he can proudly declare that HE finally brought the Korean War to an end after more than 60 years and how he is actually “a man of peace”, not the belligerent war-happy third-world Dictator his critics make him out to be.

The problem is we have two irrational, childish, trigger-happy lunatics in charge of each country. We desperately need someone to step up and be the adult in the room. Show of hands how many of you think Trump is up to the task?
 

Yeah, me either.
 


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November 13, 2017 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Tags: , , , , , , ,  · Posted in: National Security, Politics, Rants, Right-wing Facism, Right-Wing Insanity, Seems Obvious to Me, War

Yet another mass shooting. 27 dead in a Texas Church. Conservatives send prayers, oblivious to irony
November 6, 2017

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Donald Trump tweeted (natch) from Japan on his Asia trip, “May God be w/the people of Sutherland Springs, Texas.” As I type this, news has broken of yet another mass shooting, this time in a small church in the tiny mid-Texas town of Sutherland Springs (described by the mayor as a “one flashing light town” with a population of less than 500 people. I was raised in such a town. Everybody knows everybody else and there are almost as many churches as people. So I know of what I speak when I talk about Conservatives and their guns, and trying to make sense of people with a Glock in one hand and a Bible in the other. Reports as of this writing are that as many as 27 people have been killed and another 24 injured. Texas Governor Greg Abbott tweeted out, “Our prayers are with all who were harmed by this evil act.” Texas Senator Ted Cruz likewise tweeted, “Keeping all harmed in Sutherland Springs in our prayers.” I doubt a single one of them probably pondered the irony for a micro-second of “praying” for the well-being of people who were just shot in a church. Damnit! “Thoughts & Prayers” aren’t enough! We need to get serious about gun control and it needs to happen yesterday! The same people who believe “Just say ‘No'” is an adequate policy response to drug abuse and teen pregnancy, and that hurricanes are God’s punishment for immorality (yet they never seem to hit Las Vegas), also seem to believe “thoughts & prayers” are an adequate response to every mass shooting… and we’ve been having quite a few of them lately.
 

Thoughts & Prayers: The Game
(Click to enter The GOP Arcade)

 

Of course, there are a “significant” number of people (disconnected from reality) who believe every mass shooting is a government conspiracy to “take away their guns.” These frightening people will scream at you, get in your face, accuse you of endangering their lives by wanting to deny mentally disturbed people (like themselves) from owning enough guns to start their own Pan American army, and then threaten your life in return (the brother of the Vegas shooter said his brother was such a Second Amendment zealot, he believed anyone who DIDN’T own a gun was a danger to the country, unprepared to defend it. One might wonder if his motive for the shooting… yet to be determined… was to convince more people of the need to arm themselves?) And because these crazy people with guns are so frightening & so dangerous, they are also the people Republican lawmakers listen to most when setting gun policy for the nation. Angry, paranoid gun nuts buy a LOT of guns, making the gun lobby extraordinarily powerful. Because in a government where “money” has been raised to the status of “speech”, and a controlling Party on the brink of imbuing Corporations with Constitutional Rights as “people”, ACTUAL people now have fewer rights than does “money” (you can’t lock up a dollar bill, and who was the last CEO to go to jail?)

Now I’m not saying we must ban all guns. I don’t think any rational person can/would make that argument. To me, people who think we could ban all guns, confiscate every weapon and repeal the Second Amendment are no more rational than the paranoid “False Flag” gun nuts. Short of going back in time and asking the Founding Fathers for a little more clarity when writing the Second Amendment, we’re stuck with it. The genie is out of the bottle. Pandora’s Box has been opened. Pick your metaphor. The guns are out there and there’s no going back.

The question then becomes, “How do we move forward?” Do we continue to do nothing… or worse, WEAKEN existing gun laws… ensuring the problem only gets worse, or do we finally get serious about Common Sense limitations on the types of weapons we continue to sell, their destructive power, and availability? Or do we finally say “Enough is enough” and stop allowing the most paranoid among us set the policy for the rest of the nation?

Right after the Vegas shooting (less than a month ago), I (again) proposed the idea of taxing gun powder as a Constitutional means of getting around the Second Amendment. You may have the Constitutional right to own more guns than a Panamanian drug lord, but nowhere does it say you have a right to a cheap, uninterrupted supply of ammunition (high capacity clips). Yet, there is more we can do than just tax bullets.

Like restore the “Assault Weapons” ban… particularly the ban on high capacity clips. Few details of the Texas church shooting have emerged as I write this, but there is no doubt in my mind the shooter was armed with an Assault Weapon with high-capacity clip (update: reports are the shooter was finally stopped “when he stepped outside to reload”… after killing 27 and injuring 10-20 more. That’s roughly 50 uninterrupted shots.) As I noted earlier, I grew up in a small Texas town much like Sutherland Springs, and I guarantee you at least a half dozen of those parishioners were packing. “Good guys with guns.” Problem is, no number of “good guys with guns” are a match for a nut with a semi-automatic and the element of surprise on their side.

“Mass shootings” are so prevalent in this country, we feel the need to put them into categories simply to tell them apart. This latest “mass shooting” may be “the fourth deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history” (with 27, just behind Sandy Hook with 28), but it has already been sub-classified as “the deadly mass shooting… in a church. If all we do after each mass shooting is simply “pray” it doesn’t happen again, it’s going to happen again. If a mass shooting in a CHURCH of all places doesn’t highlight the worthlessness of relying on “prayer” as a strategy of dealing with continued (and escalating) gun violence, then I’m not sure what will.
 

Post-script: Before news of the Sutherland Springs shooting broke, I was preparing to write about DNC Chairwoman Donna Brazile’s “revelation” that they “colluded” with the Clinton campaign (and defiantly telling her critics to “go to hell”), and the fact that readers of this Op/Ed (and most Sanders supporters) were already well aware of this fact when I wrote well over a year ago my June 6th & June 20th, 2016 Op/Eds regarding DNC misbehavior.
 


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November 6, 2017 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Posted in: Crime, Guns & Violence, Party of Life, Rants, Religion, Right-Wing Insanity

And Your Halloween Horror Show This Year Is: The Entire Trump Presidency
October 30, 2017

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It has become a bit of a tradition for me to post something humorous for the last post before Halloween. One of my favorites were photos of all the “Tea Party” nitwits seen in costume throughout most of the Obama presidency. Tri-corner hats, clothing made of American flags (tell me again how football players kneeling during the Anthem “disrespects the flag”, but wrapping your junk in the Stars & Stripes does not?), and just ordinary “Redneck Chic” in general that made every protest march look like a stroll through a Biloxi Wal*Mart. But now that this insane “poorly educated” electorate has seen fit to elect a Reality TV carnival huckster president of the United States, every day is Halloween! Will we live to see tomorrow or will he start a nuclear war with North Korea? Might you burn to death in a California wildfire made worse by Global Warning, or drown in a hurricane for the same reason? How about we take away your healthcare? Mass shootings are an argument for making guns more readily available. And perhaps we should expand the war in the Middle-East to Iran (it has already spread to central Africa.) “President Chaos is on the job!”

If you’ve managed to make it through the first nine months of the Trump presidency without your very life being put in mortal jeopardy, congratulations! You belong to a very exclusive club.

For the rest of us however, not a day has gone by that fills our lives with more dread than the words “President” and “Trump” back-to-back in the same sentence. A 70-year old manchild with the disposition of a toddler and less understanding of the issues than your Cocker Spaniel making policy decisions that threaten the entire planet is bad enough. But his legions of moron followers defending him and making excuses for him is enough to make a Billy Goat puke (yeah, I stole that line from “First Blood”.) The same people whose patron saint, Ronald Reagan… that staunch anti-Communist whom they praise endlessly for “defeating The Reds”… now spend their days defending Russia in order to defend Trump’s indefensible love of Russia and their “former-KGB” dictator-for-life leader Putin (whom Trump so admires he wishes to emulate them.)

Republicans find it easier to overlook Trump’s ridiculous behavior… 4am Twitter wars with anyone who dare criticize the thin-skinned egomaniac in the White House, suggesting a Gold Star widow is “a liar” because she dared claim Trump’s call to her was rude & insensitive (not the first time he’s taken to Twitter to insult a Gold Star family member who dared criticize him) and more… as long as the economy appears to be doing well. They boast of the Stock Market reaching record highs (performance of the DOW under Trump is actually slightly lower than it was when Barack Obama took over in 2009 following the worst economic disaster since The Great Depression), but the GOP Congress has yet to pass a new budget (only budget “recommendations”), so we are still operating under the last Obama budget for the past ten months. We’ll see how the economy does if Trump gets his way and the GOP once again embraces “Voodoo Economics” (the mistaken belief massive tax cuts for the wealthy will result in an economic boom that results in MORE tax revenue) once again. Despite the fact we all saw with our own eyes what “Reaganomics” did to the Debt/Deficit (and disastrously reproduced under Bush-43) with an effect on the economy that was easily outmatched by Democratic policies that actually raised taxes on the wealthy, they believe in the legend, not in reality.

Trump… Snake oil salesman that he is… is once again selling the myth that Reagan’s tax cuts created an economic boom. As I pointed out last week [ibid “Voodoo”], that’s not even close to the truth. And the harm Trump could inflict on the economy could be every bit as dire as the danger he has already posed to Global Stability, health care, and “The Truth” in general (still comatose since suggesting his inauguration crowd photos were faked.)

And let us all pray he is every bit as unsuccessful passing his budget as he has been failing to pass everything else. Happy Halloween!
 

Scary rich white men

 


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October 30, 2017 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Posted in: Economy, General, Greed, Jobs, Money, myth busting, Partisanship, Politics, Right-Wing Hypocrisy, Right-Wing Insanity, Scandals, Taxes

The Reagan Tax Cuts did NOT Produce an Economic Boom (nor will Trump’s)
October 23, 2017

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“This year is the 46th anniversary of President Reagan’s tax reform bill”, cited Mitch McConnell during Fox “news” Sunday yesterday while discussing Trump’s plan to cut the corporate tax rate from 35% (which NO ONE pays) to a mere 20%. In McConnell’s foggy mind, the Reagan tax cuts resulted in an economic boom, ergo, so will Trump’s “plan” to slash taxes on the Top 1%. The GOP has been dutifully rewriting the Reagan legacy for so long they can no longer distinguish fact from fiction and are now setting policy based on a fantasy. Ronald Reagan’s 1981 Economic Recovery Tax Act did NOT result in an “economic boom”. It was an “economic bomb” that exploded the Deficit/Debt and caused unemployment to skyrocket. The GOP has so thoroughly whitewashed Reagan’s history that even people who lived through it recall only the “fictionalized” version: “Bonzo Goes to Washington” starring Ron Reagan.

The fictionalized Reagan years that exists only in the minds of Republicans goes like this: America… disparing the malaise of the Carter Administration (fact: Carter never used the word “malaise” in his infamous “Malaise Speech“)… elected the “sunny optimistic” Ronald Reagan, who… by the sheer magnitude of his personality… struck fear into the hearts of Iran, convincing them to release the hostages the moment he was inaugurated. He slashed taxes on the wealthy on a premise dubbed “Trickle-down Economics”, resulting in an economic boom that turned America into an economic powerhouse that convinced the Russians of the folly of Communism and brought about the end of the Soviet Union. Eight years of “peace & prosperity” all thanks to a strict adherence to Conservative principles.

None of it is true of course.

Iran didn’t simply release the hostages because they were terrified of the Gipper. Carter had actually arranged their release his final months in office, which Iran agreed to (in a final insult) the very HOUR Carter left office (Carter actually flew to Germany to welcome the released hostages immediately following the inauguration.)

The Soviet Union didn’t “see the error of its ways” and relent. It went bankrupt trying to keep pace with the U.S. in a costly arms race that proved to be too much for a country with almost no industry and an economy half the size of France’s. First, they had to cut loose some of their satellite nations to save money, which opened up a ridiculously long train route from East Germany, through Eastern Europe, and back around to West Germany, rendering The Berlin Wall all but pointless and eventually allowed to fall with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989.

The economy wasn’t miserable under Carter as Republican efforts have convinced you to believe. 10.3 Million jobs were created in the four years of the Carter Administration (compared to 15.8 Million jobs created in eight years under Reagan.) Unemployment in 1979 (link note: you’ll need to set the start/end dates manually) actually bounced just under 6.0% throughout the year. In 1980, economic turmoil did result from a grain embargo against Russia (for their support of Iran) that hurt farmers, and a retaliatory oil embargo by Russia against the U.S. caused gas prices (and eventually all else) to spike (just as it did in 2008 under Bush.) And while unemployment peaked at 7.8% in July of 1980, it was back down to 7.4% by the time Carter left office and continued to coast down to 7.2% by April, 1981.

Then “Reaganomics” took over. Reagan’s proposed “Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981″ [ibid top], promised to slash the top tax rate from 70% to just 50% and more than triple the base amount before the “Estate Tax” kicked in. And soon the unemployment rate started to take off. Up to 8.5% by the end of the year. The new tax policy went into effect on January 1, 1982 and by October, the unemployment rate had soared to 10.8% throughout the end of the year.

Reagan’s massive tax cut for the wealthy was NOT balanced out by any resulting “economic boom” in increased spending, creating jobs, resulting in more people paying taxes into the system the way Republicans predicted. Instead, corporations had less incentive to invest in their businesses and more incentive to just park their money in investments. The Deficit exploded due to the massive loss in tax revenue coupled with Reagan pouring money into National Defense. The problem was made exponentially worse thanks to a rash of tiny micro-wars Reagan launched throughout Central America: Panama, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, “Freedom Fighters”, “The Contras”… not to mention the growing Cold War with the Soviet Union and Reagan’s “Star Wars” missile defense program money pit (that never worked). Technology still being developed to this very day nearly 40 years later still has a less than 50% success rate (which Trump misrepresented as being “a 97% success rate (Trump was told our current technology had “a 97% chance” of hitting just ONE-of-FOUR missiles launched simultaneously.) Child that he is, Trump interpreted this as “a 97% chance” of taking out all four. (So now he has no reason to fear a retaliatory strike from North Korea.)

By the time Reagan left office, the economy had drastically improved. But he had to raise taxes ELEVEN TIMES to slow (but not stop) the hemorrhaging of cash into the National Debt… which had TRIPLED during his eight years in office. 204 years of Debt from 1776 to 1980 amounted to $800 Billion before Reagan took office in 1981. By the time he left in 1989, it was $2.4 TRILLION. Reagan even criticized President Carter for the size of the Debt during the 1980 Campaign. Unemployment reversed in large part to MASSIVE government hiring/spending. Reagan dramatically increased the size of the Federal government, from 16.3 million government employees when he took office to 17.7 million by the end of his second term, and hundreds of billions more in annual spending on government projects. We all know the story of the “$9,600 Allen Wrench” as the Reagan Administration blindly pumped hundreds of billions into the Pentagon budget, and only later as people started to take notice of the exploding Debt did anyone start investigating the spending only to uncover massive waste, fraud & abuse.

When Dick Cheney… Reagan’s former Secretary of Defense… ran for Vice President in 2000, he belittled praise for shrinking the National Debt due to the Budget Surplus under Bill Clinton by declaring “Reagan proved Deficits don’t matter.” “We don’t need to tax people so much that we start paying off the Debt!” We can (Cheney argued) tax people less and allow the Debt to grow again because “Reagan proved deficits don’t matter.

That is, until a Democrat takes office. Then the size of the Debt/Deficit is a travesty! A national disgrace that endangers our very way of life.

And this is why Republicans will NEVER eliminate the Deficit and start paying off the National Debt. Because the moment tax revenue starts exceeding government spending they will argue (just as Bush did in 2000) that is was proof Americans were being “over taxed” and deserved a tax cut.

And now we see Trump going straight down the same imaginary rabbit hole (falsely conflating his plan to give huge tax cuts to the rich with public support for tax “REFORM“), requesting a massive tax cut for the rich and declaring the “resulting economic growth… just like we saw under Reagan… will offset the loss in tax revenue due to massive tax cuts for the rich.” And WHY do the Rich need these huge tax cuts? Because (according to Republicans) we are “the most taxed nation on Earth” with a 38 percent top tax rate (side note. I find it fascinating that… according to Trump & the GOP… the rest of the world pays LESS in taxes and yet is still able to afford Healthcare for all… which according to snarky Dana Perino on Fox “news” Sunday yesterday “is something worth considering once we figure out how to pay for it.”) Trump’s explanation is bullshit of course, because thanks to all the absurd tax breaks and tax loopholes the wealthy already receive, almost nobody pays that top tax rate. Many billion-dollar corporations paid nothing at all in taxes last year. And thanks to massive corporate welfare, many Billion dollar corporations actually receive money BACK FROM the government to offset their business costs.

Hiring employees and buying property/equipment for your business are considered “business expenses” and are ALREADY tax deductible. So anyone who tries to tell you corporations need “tax cuts to grow their business” is either knowingly lying to you or is just too damn stupid to know better. Trump is (supposedly) a Billionaire businessman, but he’s also “a (bleeping) moron” and well documented liar, so I’ll let you decide if he’s just stupid or lying to you about the need for his tax plan.

And while were on the topic of Reagan’s legacy, what do you think “The Gipper” would say about the current occupant of the White House cozening up to Russia and even denying evidence of Russian interference in our democracy?
 


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October 23, 2017 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Posted in: Economy, Greed, Jobs, Money, myth busting, rewriting history, Taxes