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About Those “Terrorists” We Exchanged…

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, June 2, 2014

Yesterday (June 1st), President Obama agreed to release five Taliban fighters in exchange for one American soldier, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who had been held prisoner for over five years. The tiny nation of Qatar was used as an intermediary to avoid direct contact/negotiations between Washington and The Taliban. Qatar also agreed to hold the five men in-country for one year before allowing them to return to their countries of origin. Naturally, Republicans went into hysterics, as Republicans tend to do with everything “ter’ist related” ever since they dismissed a warning entitled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” back in August of 2001. Call it “over-compensation”. Call it “Operation Restore Fake Belief that Republicans Are Good at Security”. Whatever. Doesn’t matter. Ever since that major F-up on their watch, now every threat… real or imagined… becomes a “hair on fire” event. “The President negotiated with terrorists??? We don’t negotiate with terrorists! It only gives them an incentive to take more hostages!”

Nonsense.

A few thoughts immediately crossed my mind:

America has a looooong history of “prisoner exchanges”… dating back to before there even was a “United States of America”. General Washington was in charge of “prisoner exchanges” with the British during the Revolutionary War, and local governors negotiated with local Indian tribes… not just to exchange prisoners, but to stop them from attacking villages… so this is nothing new. But “negotiating with terrorists” is FAR broader than just a simple “prisoner exchange”… it can include giving them money and/or weapons. But we didn’t do that (THIS time). Can’t imagine what Republicans might have done if an American president had done something as reckless as “trade arms for hostages”.

Quick note: Yesterday, June 1st, was the official start of hurricane season, and NOAA, the National Weather Service, released their estimate on the number of storms we can expect to see this season. So this may be a good time to go back and re-read my post from five years ago: “Global Warming will mean FEWER mid-Summer hurricanes, not more”. To date, it’s been spot-on.



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Filed in Middle East, myth busting, National Security, rewriting history June 2nd, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • 4 comments | Add/View

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VA or Private Care: Denied Care Is Always Bad Care and GOP to Blame for Both

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, May 26, 2014

These past few weeks, the biggest news (prior to a young douchebag with a history of mental problems being able to buy a gun and kill a half dozen classmates because no girl would date the creepy bastard) was that Administrators of the Arizona Veterans Administration had been cooking the books, intentionally deceiving the VA HQ, in order to win performance bonuses. Last March, Senate Republicans blocked a $24 Billion increase in funding for the VA that would have included the construction of twenty-seven new medical facilities to accommodate the over two million additional wounded vets suddenly thrust into an already stressed out VA hospital system thanks to Bush’s perpetual wars. On the other end of the spectrum, we have seen no less than FIFTY-ONE votes by the GOP-led House to “repeal ObamaCare” and Red state governors refusing federal funds to expand medicaid that would have provided health care to the poor. What do these things have in common? Republicans. The only problem with the VA is that people are prevented from seeing a doctor in a timely manner because Republicans refused to expand the program. Ditto for Medicaid AND the ObamaCare Exchanges. Note to GOP: ALL “health care”, be it in the private sector or government run, is bad WHEN YOU ARE DENIED ACCESS TO IT!

One of the reasons Mugsy’s Rap Sheet exists is… as our tagline points out… “Recording history for those who seek to rewrite it”, and indeed, that seems to be the new stock & trade of the GOP. Because I remember well how towards the end of the Bush Administration, news broke of deplorable conditions at Walter Reed. Media Matters reminded everyone last week of the “Walter Reed Scandal” that Salon broke in early 2007. Crumbling plaster, mold in patient rooms, roaches, you name it. And the response on the Right? “Scandal? What scandal?” BTW: Walter Reed is NOT a VA hospital. Your average vet can’t just call up and make an appointment there. It’s reserved for the “crem de’ la crem”: Top Brass and government officials. The reason given by the Bush Administration for the poor conditions at Walter Reed? It was scheduled for closure, and things just deteriorated rather than keep up the maintenance prior to that time (even though it was still serving patients.) The same hospital that first-term President Bush praised in a visit there in 2003, the jewel of the Military Hospital System, fell into disrepair just four short years later under a Republican president that sought to privatize the VA.

Oh yes, my friends. Just one month before the invasion of Iraq, with U.S. Troops in Afghanistan, President Bush proposed partially privatizing the VA, suggesting we “halt new enrollments” and charge existing non-active duty vets a “$250 a year enrollment fee“, plus co-pays… probably because he knew just how busy the VA was about to get and he didn’t want to pay for it. The backlash was swift and the GOP was… for lack of a better word… “shamed” into increasing funding for the VA… seeing as how it was their wars and all that were suddenly creating all those new Wounded Warriors.

The soaring cost of health care, putting it out of the reach of millions of Americans, is nothing new. What IS new is the fact that in BOTH systems (Public AND Private), Republican obstruction is to blame for that loss of access. Refusing to expand VA funding to accommodate the growing number of veterans means wait times for vets were bound to grow. And the refusal to expand Medicaid likewise means a denial of care for millions more. Meanwhile, Republican pundits are running around pointing at this VA cockup as an example of why they’ve been fighting so hard to repeal ObamaCare. Which is a bit like blaming electric-car fires for why we need to defund Amtrak.

Veterans that manage to get in to see their doctors and receive treatment actually have a very favorable opinion of the VA. In fact, VA hospitals are routinely rated among the best in patient satisfaction. Likewise, doctors and nurses like working for VA hospitals more than regular hospitals. As “OpEdNews” put it in 2007:

Many VA employees work there for idealistic reasons. One technician told me she got “fed up with the paperwork” in private sector medicine and switched to the VA to devote herself to caring for patients full-time.

Happy doctors. Happy patients. And GOP Bouncers at the door turning patients away because they don’t want to fully-fund an incredibly successful system that makes a mockery of everything they’ve been telling us about “government healthcare”. Same thing with ObamaCare. Millions now have insurance that couldn’t afford it before. The soaring rise in insurance rates has suddenly begun to slow for the first time in 30 years. And remember all that trouble with the “ObamaCare website” last October? The site kept crashing because too many people were forced to use it because their Republican governors had refused to create a State Exchange that would have lightened the burden on the Federal Exchange (what ever happened to the “states can do it better” position of the GOP?) No “Death Panels”, and just about every (if not every) “ObamaCare horror story” the GOP has tried to dig up has fallen apart. The only strategy left open to them: deny access by denying funding, and then point to the inevitable failures as PROOF they were right about them all along.

So on this Memorial Day when we are thinking about those who lost their life in service to our country, let us not forget those… both vets AND private citizens… who have died or are going to die as a result of a GOP working overtime to obstruct access to heath care.

Links of interest:

 



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Filed in Healthcare, Partisanship, Party of Life, Politics, rewriting history, Scandals May 26th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • 7 comments | Add/View

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Must a President Be a Failure to Be a Success?

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, May 19, 2014

I was watching former Vice President Dick Cheney and his with Lynn pollute my TV screen yesterday on Fox “news” Sunday, and I’m always struck by how stunningly self-UNaware Cheney is about the havoc his administration caused. Naturally, both Cheney’s blamed President Obama for America’s lack of credibility around the world, because he “drew a red line in Syria” (that wasn’t actually crossed), and apparently has nothing to do with the Bush Administration invading Iraq on false pretenses. And naturally, President Obama’s reluctance to send American troops into Syria or Ukraine has nothing to do with the fact we still haven’t finished the LAST war these numbnuts got us into yet couldn’t finish. Our military has been stretched to its near breaking point and the American people have no appetite to see us get involved in yet another war. But tell that to The Vader Family.

(More info on that corner photo. It’s Cheney’s memoir, “My Life” on the right. I snapped this photo with my cell phone at my local grocery store on 9/1/11, the same week the book was released. It was already marked down “40% off” and placed next to a copy of James Patterson’s “Kill Me”. Note: I live in Texas.)

The Bush-II Administration was mind-numbingly incompetent. Yet, President Bush’s approval ratings were never higher than immediately after 9/11… the worst terrorist attack on American soil in history, of which we now know they ignored numerous warnings from the CIA because they were too preoccupied planning the invasion of Iraq. President Clinton said something interesting last week regarding the foiled “Millennium Bomb Plot”, about how no president ever gets credit for the terrorist attacks they thwarted because no one ever knows about them. There’s nothing for people to “rally around”.

And this got me wondering about how when things appear to be going smoothly, no one takes notice or credits the Administration in charge. It’s only during times of upheaval, lurching from crisis-to-crisis that people seem to take notice of the ongoings of Washington. Must a President create & fail in managing multiple disasters before they look like a “Leader” and achieve high approval ratings?

On December 22, 2008, just days before leaving office, Cheney defended President Bush’s record on fighting terrorism. Strange thing though, he could just as easily have been talking about President Clinton’s record without changing a single word:

Let’s look at Bush’s REAL record: Ignored multiple warnings that might have prevented 9/11. Two Recessions. Katrina and the catastrophic consequences of putting a Horse Show director in charge of FEMA. Gas prices explode creating global Economic disaster. Stock Market lost nearly half it’s value (first decline since Hoover). National Debt doubled where it was previously shrinking. Iraq. Never got Bin Laden. The Patriot Act. Began the practice of widespread warrantless domestic wiretaps. A deregulated “credit ratings” industry that led to the biggest banking scandal & bailout in American history.

We already heard Cheney defend the Clinton record. What about Obama? No attacks on US soil. Period. Got Bin Laden. Ended the war in Iraq and is ending the war in Afghanistan this year. A stable and growing economy with both the DOW and S&P 500 closing at record highs last week, NO Recessions. NO FEMA failures. First president to pass sweeping healthcare regulations mandating minimum basic care standards and a competitive market to keep insurance rates down. Housing sales are back on the rise. Created the “Consumer Financial Protection Bureau” to protect consumers from deceptive credit/banking practices.

In a way, President Clinton was a victim of his own success, making the job of president look so easy that even someone like George W. Bush could do it. I don’t think anything believes President Obama has had an easy time of it these past 5+ years, but he sure as heck doesn’t seem to be getting any credit for all the disasters that HAVEN’T taken place on his watch. (Note: the current “VA controversy” has more to do with GOP-underfunding and Bush’s wars dumping an additional two million wounded vets into an already stretched system. Local Administrators cooked the books precisely to deceive Washington, and Republicans want to fire Shinseki because he didn’t know he was being deceived.)
 



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Filed in Economy, Election, General, Partisanship, Politics, Right-Wing Insanity, Seems Obvious to Me May 19th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • 1 comment | Add/View

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It’s Well-Past Time We Start Questioning Republican Patriotism

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, May 12, 2014

On Wednesday, November 7th, 2012, the day after President Obama’s reelection, I already knew what to expect for the next four years. I remembered quite well how Republicans flat-out lost their friggin’ minds after President Clinton was reelected to a second term and was already reminding people what happened the last time Republicans controlled Congress after a Democrat was reelected president. The GOP was going to spend the next four years doing nothing but looking for (read: “inventing”) scandals for which they could impeach President Obama, or at the very least, marring his place in history as a successful president.

By the time of President Clinton’s reelection, Republicans had spent the prior four years investigating/inventing scandals (everything from a land deal that took place before he became president where he actually LOST money, to the their cat’s Christmas Card List) trying to make the first Democratic president since Lyndon Johnson out to be a bigger crook than Richard Nixon (in 2005, after 30 years in office, Republican Congressman Henry Hyde openly admitted that the impeachment of President Clinton… the first Democratic president since LBJ, was possibly “payback for the [threatened] impeachment [and ultimate resignation] of [President] Nixon”) all in hopes of denying him a second term. But when they were blindsided by Clinton’s reelection, they knew the only way left to stop him from serving out his full second term was to “impeach” him. And the GOP Scandal Machine went into overdrive. But when the GOP lost seats in the House following the 1998 midterm election, the lame-duck Congress knew it only had two months to try and impeach President Clinton. So sure were they that all of America hated President Obama as much as they did, that they were once again blindsided when he beat Mitt Romney handily, leaving them with no choice but to start looking for a way to impeach him before he could complete his second term and his presidency go down in history as a successful one (dimming the GOP’s prospects in the future.) The GOP has done… quite literally… NOTHING since retaining the House in the 2012 mid-terms except attack the President and his Administration. I was told by Right-Wingers for the first seven years of the Bush Presidency that if I criticized the president, my “patriotism” was suspect and that I should “move back to France” (I’m not French.) Yet I’ve seen the GOP do nothing but attack this president, not only questioning HIS patriotism (remember the “flag pin” nonsense?) but even questioning his citizenship. And now it seems like we have a scandal-a-week as Republicans desperately grasp at straws trying to derail The President of the United States before he can serve out his full second term. Well, I for one am sick of it. They dared question MY patriotism when I dared protest President Bush sending this country into a second massive and wholly unnecessary war, called ME a traitor for daring to question the “Patriot Act”, calling me a “Communist” for believing every person should be able to afford health insurance… enough is enough. When do Democrats start questioning the patriotism of Republicans in congress that lurch from one made-up scandal to the next, openly admitting: “We’re probably one email away from Benghazi being an impeachable offense”.

That’s just how petty and partisan these Cretins are. Before President Clinton, only ONE president had EVER been impeached in all of U.S. history, Andrew Johnson, after he succeeded President Lincoln. That’s just how big a deal “impeachment” is… or was now that it looks like the GOP is going to attempt to impeach every Democratic president that dare win a second term.

The Bush Administration was an abject disaster. From not convening to even discuss terrorism until the week before 9/11 despite receiving some VERY specific warnings with titles like “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.”, almost THREE THOUSAND Americans were murdered ON U.S. SOIL. Can you just IMAGINE the Republican OUTRAGE if they learned President Obama had received advance warning of the attack in Benghazi where just FOUR brave Americans lost their lives? And besides 9/11, there were no fewer than THIRTEEN embassy/Consulate attacks under President Bush, killing SEVENTY-SEVEN Americans and injuring dozens more. How many Republican calls for an investigation did you hear? Not only did they not demand a single investigation, but YOU were branded “unpatriotic” for daring to criticize him.

If Democrats had tried to impeach Bush over any one of those embassy attacks… let alone 9/11… what do you think the response on the Right would have been?

The GOP has shown nothing but contempt for Democracy for the last five years. From their blatant war on voting rights by disenfranchising millions of legitimate voters among Democratic-leaning demographics (tell me what cutting early voting hours/days has to do with fighting “voter fraud”?), to Southern politicians openly threatening “secession” (which ironically didn’t stop noted tree-stump Texas Governor Rick Perry from wanting to run for president), these people HATE Democracy.

Republicans were quick to make a hero of free-loading Arizona cattle rancher Cliven Bundy who openly declared that he “didn’t recognize the existence [sic: legitimacy] of the United States government” and defended his secessionist movement when his militia friends took up sniper positions on a nearby bridge and aimed their weapons at the heads of Federal law enforcement officers.

House Majority Leader Boehner actually said about the Obama Administration last week: “They’ve not told them the truth about Benghazi, they have not told the truth about the IRS, they’ve not told the truth about Fast and Furious.” There have been no less than TWO extensive investigations of “Benghazi” already… one of them by Republicans themselves… that found NO EVIDENCE of any “stand down order” or refusal to send aid to the Embassy during the attack. And NOW their latest Talking Point appears to be, “Why were we even IN Benghazi in the first place?” Well, the consulate was there before the overthrow of Kadaffi, and needed even more following his death as the country was left rudderless. Can you just imagine the howls of protests on the Right if President Obama had abandoned Libya following the overthrow of Kadaffi, leaving it ripe for Iran or AQAP to seize control? And now they dare ask why we were “still there”?

There is the mind-numbingly stupid “IRS scandal” where Republicans actually believe the Obama White House was micro-managing the Cincinnati, Ohio IRS, telling them to single out “Conservative Groups” applying for tax-free status for extra scrutiny. Once you get past the ludicrousness of the Obama White House directing the Cincinnati IRS, there’s the problem of the fact the office also singled out Progressive organizations for extra scrutiny as well. Their answer for that? “Yeah, but not at the same rate!” So apparently, including a few Liberal groups in the list was just a smokescreen to hide their true goal of targeting Conservatives (none of whom were actually denied “tax-free” status… which to me is a bigger scandal.)

Then there’s “Fast & Furious”, the BATF code-name for the investigation of gun smuggling across the U.S. border into Mexico. The insane Conservative “scandal” here appears to be (pardon me if I get this wrong because I don’t speak Teanut) that the Obama Administration was “giving guns to Mexican terrorists” in some bizarre plot to stir up public outrage over gun violence and demand more laws restricting gun ownership… at least that’s what I think the imaginary scandal is because they rarely (if ever) actually spell out exactly what they believe the goal of Obama Administration supposedly was by “arming Mexican drug runners.”

Problem is, U.S. law restricting gun purchases contains a massive loophole left in place by pro-gun rights Republicans and defended vigorously by the NRA… preventing U.S. law enforcement from preventing “strawman” purchases of massive quantities of guns, who then go and sell then off to criminals that could never pass a background check. And that is why you rarely hear “Fast & Furious” mentioned very often any more, and when you do, is never more than the use of that particular phrase without ever going into detail about what exactly the Obama Administration supposedly did wrong. Ask the average outraged Republican what “Fast & Furious” is all about and I guarantee 99% of them will get it wrong (with the one lone right answer being “Obama”.) And wouldn’t it seem more likely that a rise in gun violence would INCREASE gun sales in the U.S. by fearful Americans? If “banning guns” is your goal, it seems like an incredibly ineffective solution with a major probability of having the exact opposite of their (supposed) desired effect.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, the reoccurring theme here is that Republicans believe Democrats are every bit as petty and vindictive as they are. And they KNOW Democrats are doing all this because THAT’S WHAT THEY’D DO if they were in our position. So we MUST be doing everything they imagine us to be doing!

So I ask you, “what has the GOP done in the last 5 years other than obstruct everything this President has tried to do and invent scandals where none exist? They have NO record of accomplishment. They have done NOTHING to help President Obama create jobs, and when the latest jobs report shows surprising job growth, they are left with nothing but to look for the negative (Bush had staggeringly anemic “job growth” for most of his presidency, yet they cheered “52 months of consecutive job growth” until that whole “economic collapse” put the Global economy in a tailspin. Did you ever hear them ONCE talk about the “hidden bad news” behind those job numbers? Me neither.)

I’m sorry, but they questioned my patriotism for NINE years (from my asking questions about 9/11 to calling me a Commie for supporting ObamaCare). They impeached one president for purely partisan gain and are now talking about doing it again. Those same bastards who are openly hostile towards Democracy, our president, and the very “legitimacy” of the United States government, are still being treated like patriots? Like hell they are. These people are not “patriots”. They HATE America, and I say it’s well past time we start questioning THEIR patriotism the way they gleefully questioned ours.
 



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Filed in fake scandals, Partisanship, Politics, Rants, Right-Wing Insanity, Scandals, Seems Obvious to Me May 12th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • 3 comments | Add/View

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The Botched Execution and The Party of Life

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, May 5, 2014

Last Tuesday, the state of Oklahoma began the process of executing two death row inmates by “lethal injection”, which is no longer a simple matter. The original drug cocktail necessary to do the job is no longer made and actual doctors have been banned from taking part in executions… the kind of deadly combination one might actually want when administering the Death Penalty, but not if your goal is a quick & painless death. As you know by now, the execution in Oklahoma went horribly awry, and a parade of truly despicable people known collectively as “pro-life Republicans” were thrust before the cameras last week, either to defend the practice of State-sponsored executions, or to find the most incredibly offensive comparison they could think of to turn the focus off them and onto their political opponents.

Texas Governor Rick “Oops” Perry, the uber-Christian 2012 GOP presidential candidate that was cheered at one debate for executing prisoners via conveyor belt, and is so dumb he thinks wearing glasses will trick people into thinking he’s smart (kind of a “Clark Kent” for dullards), was invited on “Meet the Press” yesterday specifically to be asked if what happened in Oklahoma might change his thinking on his fevered use of the Death Penalty. Nope, of course not. But you already knew that. Then on the opposite end, we had Right-Wing bomb-thrower Laura Ingraham express her opposition to the Death Penalty by equating it with Abortion… because in Ingraham’s world, pregnant mothers are no different than Serial Killers. And while not related to the botched execution, fellow mental midget Congressman Jason Chaffetz (who frequents these Sunday shows despite speaking only in Talking Points with no real insight into any matter) actually said yesterday (in the same sentence no less) that, “I believe in peace through strength” and that if we had more war, we’d “see more peace” (sorry, no transcript yet and I can’t bear to watch the video again). Let that sink in for a moment. The world would be more peaceful if only the U.S. flexed its military might around the world more often. Just as incredible, no one ever asks Chaffetz what he means by that. Because, really, who cares? It’s such an inane talking point that the explanation doesn’t really matter. Chaffetz doesn’t really matter, so any follow-up is a waste of time anyway.

Another Right-Winger blasted “Lib’rulz” last week for criticizing the botched execution, claiming that they were taking the side of the sick & sadistic criminal and didn’t care about his victims. Outrage over this botched execution has NOTHING to do with the person being executed (you’ll notice that I haven’t, nor will I, mention his name) and everything to do with an imperfect government carrying out the most permanent of punishments that is fraught with error (117 people on Death Row… roughly 2%… have been exonerated since 1972) and applied wildly unequally among poor & minorities. But no matter, if you’re rich & white, it’s okay to support wars you’ll never fight, shut down government services you’ll never need, and cheer the use of a death penalty that no one would ever seek against you. And you can still feel good about yourself so long as there are “sluts” in the world that you can look down your nose at while you accuse them of “killing babies”.

I’ve always been somewhat bemused by the fact that the same “Pro-Life” crowd that thinks God is a Republican, is also pro-war (so long as it’s someone else doing the fighting & dying), pro-gun (unless that gun is in the hands of a black man) and pro-death penalty (for people, not corporations… which they think are people too.) One of the reasons I left the GOP over 30 years ago was the rampant unapologetic hypocrisy, latent (and sometimes overt) racism, disdain for the poor, and a mind-numbing pride in being outright stupid (or “common man” as they like to look at it). The reason so many people in college become Liberals is not because teachers are “indoctrinating students”, but because no one goes to college to stay stupid, and being an idiot in college is nothing to be proud of. That just left the Junior Fascists. Sorry dudes. No thanks. You’ll find me at the Young Democrats meeting across campus.

So how is it that the Party of Death is repeatedly brought on to these programs to judge the morality of their opponents? I’m really getting quite fed up with it all.

Postscript: On an unrelated note, after the illness, misdiagnosis of cancer, and eventual death of my cat, Lefty, a year ago, followed soon after by the illness, misdiagnosis of cancer and eventual death of my mother four weeks ago, last week, one of my remaining two cats became deathly ill from Salmonella tainted cat food (vomiting and bleeding from the eyes). I knew I’d have to quickly figure out what was wrong with her myself when the vet called and asked to have her tested for gastric cancer. I swear, I think these doctors/vets say “cancer” the moment they run out of ideas. I’m happy to say Knuckles is back home and recovering rapidly once I told the doctor what to treat her for. No discount on a $3,100 vet bill despite having to diagnose her myself. It’s bad enough we have to be our own doctors, now we have to be our own VETS too! – Mugsy

 



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Filed in Crime, Party of Life, Rants, Right-wing Facism May 5th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • 1 comment | Add/View

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Maybe Howard Dean Was Right on Affirmative Action?

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, April 28, 2014

On January 15, 2003, President Bush stopped by the University of Michigan while campaigning for re-election. UMich had recently implemented new state restrictions on the use of race when deciding just who they’d admit enrollment to, and he condemned Affirmative Action measures as “a quota system”. Democratic presidential frontrunner Howard Dean later condemned President Bush’s remarks for injecting race into the campaign. And while Dean made the case for Affirmative Action himself (weakly), his Democratic rivals pounced on the front-runner, pointing to a 1995 comment of his suggesting affirmative action should be based “not on race, but on class.” Dean went on to defend his 1995 remark by suggesting it’s time to consider economic based Affirmative Action where poor students who excel despite difficult circumstances, be they black or white, receive preference over wealthier students that grew up with all the advantages of being rich, be they black or white. And it does make sense that a wealthy minority probably doesn’t need a leg up as much as a poor white student. Dean was wrong of course a decade ago, but considering the recent Supreme Court ruling upholding Michigan’s anti-Affirmative Action law, might it not be a good idea today now that there is the very real danger of “race-based” Affirmative Action being abolished across the country?

President Bush went on to add in that 2003 speech that, “Our Constitution makes it clear that people of all races must be treated equally under the law.” Of course, if I may state the obvious, a university is not a court of law, and despite what the Constitution says now (because for 150+ years, “3/5ths” was the measure of a black man), it rarely works out that way. Minorities just aren’t treated equally in our society. That’s a fact. Whether “Affirmative Action” helps level the playing field may be up for debate, but there is no question that simply being a minority is an instant disadvantage in our society.

Last week, this fact was made startlingly clear, first with the racist remarks by Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy questioning whether “the nig’ras” were better off as slaves than they are “dependent on the government” (said the man dependent on government land to feed his cattle rather than pay for it himself). Then again, less than a week later with the comments of LA Clippers owner Don Sterling, who chastised his young girlfriend (?) for posting photos of herself posing with black athletes on her Facebook page, demanding she not bring “black people” with her to basketball games, and patting himself on the back for being the benefactor of so many black men. (Though to be fair, the 80 year old Sterling was not openly hostile towards “blacks”, blaming societal norms for his discomfort, whereas Bundy was just plain ol’ Deep South shit-for-brains ignorant.)

So in the same week that we have Bundy and Sterling demonstrating that race is still very much an issue in this country, our Conservative-leaning Supreme Court brands racism a thing of the past, and that any effort to counter that racism is, in itself, “racist”. See how that works?

Two weeks ago on Fox “news” Sunday (yes, I watch it every week. The things I do for you people)… the same week token black Moderate Juan Williams was not there… quite by coincidence I’m sure… Brit Hume (or was it George Will?) decided to accuse President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder of “making everything about race” and in effect accusing them of reverse racism. Of course, neither Obama nor Holder “make every issue about race”… at least, not to the degree Conservatives on Fox do… but it casts a spotlight on the fact that we just can’t talk about race anymore without some Right Wing idiot accusing you of racism for doing so.

And that brings us back to Howard Dean. Ten years ago, GOP racism was still mostly underground, and being caught making racists remarks was cause for embarrassment and a public outcry for an apology. Today, GOPundits like Rush Limbaugh proudly wear their racism like a badge of honor, singing “Barack the Magic Negro” live on the air and then defending doing so, while the Supreme Court undoes wide swaths of the 1965 “Voting Rights Act” (which was created specifically to empower the 1964 Civil Rights Act). I dare say Deep South Republicans of 2014 haven’t been so comfortable being openly racist since they were Deep South Democrats in 1952.

With the Supreme Court last week declaring Michigan’s anti-Affirmative Action law to be “Constitutional”, the obvious next question is whether other states might follow suit? Could this be the beginning of the end for Affirmative Action?

An Affirmative Action based on income would still disproportionately benefit minorities without carrying the stigma of “skin color” being attached to a student’s achievements. It would also deny racists one more ignorant talking point of how they are the truly oppressed ones, and how “Mr. Black” only got where he is because of race (everyone remembers the deplorable Jesse Helms “Hands” ad that helped him win reelection in 1990). If the choice is between “Affirmative Action for the poor” vs no Affirmative Action at all, I think a lot of people might suddenly become very comfortable with Dean’s idea. Howard Dean was right, just a little ahead of his time (again.)
 



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Filed in General, Racism, Seems Obvious to Me April 28th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Putin Response to Snowden on Domestic Spying Sounds Awfully Familiar

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, April 21, 2014

(Just a quick observation as I type this up Easter Evening.)

Pseudo-patriot Edward Snowden made an appearance on Russian TV last Thursday and given the opportunity to ask President Putin what I’m certain he believed was an uncomfortable question about domestic spying. He flopped, of course. But all I could think about was how Putin’s response sounded so eerily familiar.

The exchange seemed to highlight everything I, as a proud Liberal, dislike about Edward Snowden. The “self-importance”. The obvious pride in having an opportunity most American journalists would have given their eye-teeth for, to put Putin on-the-spot before a live television audience to possibly embarrass him. A chance to watch him squirm.

Instead, Putin got to ridicule Snowden, criticize the United States, and claim a nonexistent moral high ground, all while eliciting approving laughter & applause from his hand-picked audience. It was uncomfortable all right… for Snowden and his ego.

Exchange begins around the 1:30 mark:

Transcript:

Snowden: Does Russia intercept, store or analyze in any way the communications of millions of individuals?

Putin: Dear Mr. Snowden, you are a former agent. I used to be part of the secret service [sic] myself [laughter/applause]. Let us speak in a professional manner. There is no such widespread surveillance. There is no uncontrolled surveillance. We do not allow ourselves to do that. We hope… *I* hope… we never do it. We do not have the technical means [n]or the money to do that like the U.S.. Most importantly, our Secret Services, thank God, are under strict control of the government and the people, and their activities are regulated by the law.

Nothing remarkable about his predicable (to apparently everyone but Snowden) response to a softball question. The only part I found interesting was Putin’s statement that he “hopes” his government isn’t doing it. Does the Russian government do anything without Putin’s approval? That’s an interesting thought, especially in light of events in Ukraine.

Putin’s response sounded eerily familiar to me. Exactly ten years ago to the day as I type this (April 20th.)

President Bush in an April 20, 2004 public event on “Domestic Security”, responds to a question about Domestic Spying under the “Patriot Act”:

President Bush: Secondly, uh… there is [sic] such things as “roving wiretaps”. Now, by the way, anytime you hear the United States government talking about “wiretap”, it requires… a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed by the way. When we’re talking about chasing down terrorists, we’re talking about getting a court order before we do so. It’s important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think “Patriot Act”, Constitutional guarantees are in place… when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland because we value the Constitution.
 

Of course, he was lying his ass off too. You could practically swap each mans’ response for the others without changing a word.

I’m not sure whether this shows how much President Bush was like a power-mad crazed Russian lunatic with machinations of recreating the old Soviet Union, or how much Putin learned from President Bush about how to lie to the Press, stage your response before a friendly audience, and get away with Domestic Spying.

Personally, I think BOTH are true.
 



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Filed in National Security, Politics, Rants, Right-wing Facism, Seems Obvious to Me, Unconstitutional April 21st, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Ukraine in Chaos. Could Syria Become a Proxy War?

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, April 14, 2014

Ukraine exploded in violence last week. At the same time, a chemical gas attack against rebels may or may not have been committed by Syria (we must consider the possibility that some psychotic and/or desperate rebel faction/individual released a homemade chemical weapon against their own people in order to draw the U.S. into the Syrian conflict (now in its third year.) Conservatives like John McCain almost seemed to take pleasure in shuttling between political morning shows to basically call President Obama “spineless” for failing to involve the United States in a THIRD war for not acting after “his own red line” on Syria’s use of chemical weapons. And now that it has happened again, the drumbeat for war in Syria is bound to rise again on the Right. Russia is a major ally of Syria, and that backing is probably the only thing that has kept the United States out of Syria so far.

Meanwhile, violent protests broke out once again last week as “pro-Russian militants” stormed a Ukrainian police station in Slovyansk (in Eastern Ukraine). The American & European governments have stated their belief that the militants are actually members of the Russian military. Russia says they were really American “CIA” there to stir-up trouble. Either way, between events in Syria and now Ukraine, tensions between the U.S. and Russia haven’t been this high since the end of the Cold War 26 years ago.

When Hitler (no, I’m not about to compare Putin to Hitler so I’m not violating Godwin’s Law) invaded Poland in 1939, it was because he was headed for Russia (map). So when the U.S. finally entered World War II two years later, Russia became the epitome of “My enemy’s enemy is my friend.” An uneasy alliance was formed between the United States, England and Russia. But for the most part, America and England were appalled by some of Stalin’s tactics, and by the time the war was over, the allies had reason to be concerned about the way Russia was annexing smaller border nations to create a buffer zone around their country.
 

Scene from “The Right Stuff” (1983)
Start of the Cold War?

 

Then came the “Red Scare” of the 1950′s. The Soviet Union backed the North Korean invasion of South Korea, and the U.S. sent troops into South Korea in what was essentially a “proxy war” where America used Korea as an excuse to go to “war” (technically called a “police-action”) with Russia. It was long (back when 2-1/2 years to fight a war was still considered a long time) and bloody, and ended in stalemate. Senator Joe McCarthy (before he was reincarnated as Senator Ted Cruz) sent the nation on a nationalistic Communist witch hunt that ruined the lives of thousands of good Americans.

In 1962, Russia attempted to place nuclear missiles in the newly Communist nation of Cuba. The 13 day stand-off between President’s Kennedy & Kruschev were consider the closest we ever came to an actual direct war (possibly even a nuclear one) between the two countries. By this time, Russia’s military involvement in Korea had already spread South to Vietnam, but, after Korea (and Japan during WWII), Americans were not eager to get involved in yet another war in the Pacific. But when Kennedy was assassinated 13 months later, LBJ was quick to believe Russia was behind it, and soon America was sending troops into Vietnam in yet another proxy-war with Russia.

Ronald Reagan, a staunch anti-Communist holdover from the 1950′s who believed Joe McCarthy was right, used the power of the presidency some 30 years later to finish what Joe began, launching a series of micro proxy-wars in South America… El Salvador, Panama, Grenada, and to some extent even the Philippians.

Following Russia’s annexation of Crimea last month, and now the threat of annexing Eastern Ukraine before its government can join the European Union, America has become increasingly worried about President Putin’s reckless behavior. Russia is also allies with Syria and has been the leading obstical in the use of military force to stop President al-Assad from using WMD’s against his own people in rebellion against him (can’t imagine why they hate him).

Late last year, Republicans (always looking for another excuse to criticize President Obama as well as start another war) were quick to mischaracterize President Obama’s “red line on Syria” speech to suggest that ANY use of chemical weapons in Iraq would be grounds for war. Two problems: 1) He said if we see “a whole lot” of chemical weapons being used in Syria (we didn’t. It was one small attack that killed a few dozen, raising serious doubts about whether it was actually committed by Syria. Risking a U.S. invasion simply to kill 20 people?) and 2) never any confirmation it was actually the Syrian government acting on the orders of Assad. Chicken Hawks are very quick to send the nation to war… so long as it’s someone else that’s doing the fighting & dying. We saw that with Iraq.

But now this second use of chemical weapons might be harder to ignore. Add to that the lingering question of whether Syria will meet its agreed upon deadline to destroy it’s chemical stockpiles, and suddenly, military action in Syria starts to look more & more inevitable. And if Russia continues to thumbs it’s nose at the U.S. and attempts to annex Eastern Ukraine to prevent it from allying itself with The West, might we see the U.S. and Europe sending troops into Syria in yet another “proxy-war” with Russia? We can only hope that cooler heads prevail.

PS: What about The Space Station? The current crew consists of three Russians, two Americans and one Japanese astronaut. While the U.S. has suspended contact with the Russian government, the ISS is “exempt”. Russia has also been providing (small “s”) shuttle service to ferry crew to & from the ISS since the Space Shuttle was monthballed and we await its replacement. So what happens if the U.S. and Russia find themselves on opposite sides in a proxy-war? I suppose the ESA (European Space Agency) can take over shuttle service, but it’s nearly impossible to leave the ISS totally unmanned, and I shudder to think about the consequences of Russia starting a turf war in space as they refuse to remove their cosmonauts from the ISS. Interesting thought.

 



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Filed in Middle East, National Security, Predictions, Right-Wing Insanity, War April 14th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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These people are dangerous, and they’re costing lives

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, April 7, 2014

As I predicted last Monday, this was a bad week. Mom passed away Friday morning as I sat at her hospital bedside, holding her hand for 61 minutes after they switched off the ventilator and I slowly watched my mother’s heart rate fall to zero. It was agonizing, and a trauma I hope none of my readers ever have to endure. I couldn’t sue for malpractice while Mom was alive, but we sure as hell can file for “wrongful death” now that she’s gone. (UPDATE: Nope, can’t do that either. Texas put the same bleeping $250K cap on “wrongful death” suits as well, ensuring no lawyer will touch the case. Bastards.)

But I’m not here to reopen that wound and cause myself more pain. Another busy week ahead with the funeral, collecting evidence and calling lawyers, so this will have to be brief (pardon the dearth of links.)

On yesterday’s Fox “news” Sunday, former CIA/NSA director Gen. Michael Hayden was on to discuss (what else?) Benghazi and the second Ft. Hood shooting. The Benghazi (non)story is already on life-support, but Hayden brought Fox a step closer to pulling the plug. Quite honestly, I’m not quite sure why they keep inviting him on. Sure, in private, when he goes on the record only as “an anonymous source”, Hayden is a snarky bitter partisan, but when he makes statements in public, he’s frequently quick to defend the White House, be it Bush’s or Obama’s. Pretty soon they are going to stop having him on if he keeps defending Obama’s White House this way.

I’ve cobbled together a few highlights from yesterday’s lengthy interview. Wallace goes into the commercial break with the following teaser (and flat-out lie):

   “Turns out it was the CIA that changed the Benghazi Talking Points to avoid embarrassing Hillary Clinton’s State Department.”

We return from the break and Wallace asks Hayden why Morell “ignored” the CIA’s own “Station Chief in Libya” who “repeatedly told him in the days after Benghazi that this was a terrorist attack”, choosing instead to take the word of CIA analysts back at Langley.

   “How unusual is that to disregard the word of your own man in the field?

“Disregard” the word of your own “man in the field”? Clearly, the suggestion here is that the guy who was actually IN Libya would know better about what happened in Benghazi than some pencil-pusher 8,000 miles away back at CIA headquarters. Hayden jumps to Morell’s defense quickly:

   “Look, you give a lot of weight to your man-in-the-field, but keep in mind, our man-in-the-field was more than 500 miles away from the incident [in Tripoli].”

Not exactly an eye-witness. Hayden went on to point out that Morell also went so far as to inform the White House that there was a “dissenting opinion” as to what happened so they wouldn’t “put all their eggs in one basket.” Wallace quickly moves on (emphasis Wallace’s):

   “Morell said that he went around his boss David Petraeus and took out [from the CIA's report] the fact that the CIA had repeatedly warned the State Department about the threat level in Benghazi”, followed by Wallace playing the clip of Morell testifying that he felt the claim was only there to allow the CIA to “pound its chest” and “lay all the blame on the State Department”.

Hayden again unspins Fox’s attempt to turn this into something sinister by pointing out that the CIA putting that line in about “repeatedly warning the State Department” was inappropriate, and removing it was an attempt to NOT politicize the issue rather than provide State with political cover.

The entire interview was sad all around and I may try to post it online in the near future when I have more time.

Then there was the (second) shooting (in 5 years) at Fort Hood. Right Wing Congressman Mike McCall went on Meet the Press to suggest that maybe restricting firearms on the military base was a bad idea and that maybe allowing everyone to go around packing heat would make the place much safer. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed as Former Joint Chief Admiral Mike Mullen came on later to disagree with McCall, noting that NOT having everyone going around armed has likely resulted in FEWER such incidents. Lord only knows how much worse it could get if every soldier with PTSD was allowed to carry a loaded semi-automatic firearm with them every where they went on one of the largest military bases in the country. And it’s not like they can’t GET guns quickly at Ft. Hood. One Right Wing argument for armed guards in schools is that no one had access to a gun to stop any rampage. Well at Fort Hood, they DID have guns. Heck, they were armed to the teeth, and this still happened… not once, but twice.

Later on in the evening, NBC hosted a special presentation on Global Warming and whether a tipping point had been reached. It was fairly good as one hour summaries of complex issues go, even taking time to explain how we can have “Global Warming” and the record-breaking freezing cold we’ve been having at the same time. But you really can’t do a topic as complex as Climate Change in just one hour, and while they mentioned the skeptics, I think not including Jesus-freaks Paul “lies straight from the pit of Hell” Broun and Jim “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on mankind” Inhoff in the story was an opportunity lost. These Ludites are more than willing to jeopardize the lives of tens of millions based on their own personal interpretation of a 5000 year old Harry Potter novel known as The Bible. I say “their” interpretation because even the freaking Pope believes in Climate Change and released a report on the subject (pdf) in 2011.

In truth, the GOP DESPISES the subject of Global Warming primarily because they associate it with Al Gore. So basically, this one tiny group of anti-science mental midgets that have chosen to interpret The Bible in such an extreme and narrow fashion that not even the Vatican agrees with them, is willing to risk global catastrophe rather than admit that maybe Al Gore was right. Really. That is all it boils down to.

And if Gore had been President on September 11th, do you think for a moment that they would have rallied around him the way Democrats embraced George Bush after 9/11? Hell no. They would have begun impeachment proceedings on 9/12. Don’t believe me? Just look at their outrage over four dead in Benghazi. Now multiply that by 1,000.

These people are twisted. They’re dangerous, and they’re endangering lives. My mother was just their latest victim.
 



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Filed in fake scandals, Middle East, myth busting, National Security, Politics, Scandals, Terrorism April 7th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • 1 comment | Add/View

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Mom Near Death, my letter to the White House

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, March 31, 2014

I‘ve spoken to you several times over the past 10 months regarding my mother’s ongoing medical catastrophe. Last week, she had to be rushed to the hospital after developing pneumonia. After just five days, the hospital discharged her back to the nursing home. 22 hours later, she went into cardiac arrest and is now in extremely serious condition, having seizures every few seconds and not even able to close/blink her eyes.
 
Early this morning, I took the time to write the following letter to the White House (actually, I had to trim it nearly in half to accommodate their 2470 character limit):

Dear President Obama.

In 2004, Texas Governor Rick Perry (and current GOP gov candidate Greg Abbott) lobbied HARD for a “Medical Liability Tort Reform Law” that was the GOP cure to soaring health care costs by capping legal judgements at just $250,000 for a lifetime of care (from which you must also pay legal fees) be you 1 or 100 at the time you were harmed. And greedy Texas voters fell for it, lured by the promise of cheap insurance. The result? Hospitals, doctors and insurance companies saved millions, Texas fell to 50th in the percentage of people covered, and health care & insurance costs continued to soar.

Last May, an over-zealous Oncologist convinced my mother that she needed Chemo. I told her doctor, “No, absolutely not! Chemo is for people *riddled* with cancer. She doesn’t have cancer in her FEET!”, but the doctor convinced my mother she was indeed riddled with cancer (she wasn’t) and talked her into having the chemo against my wishes.

By her third & final treatment (6 weeks later), I had to rush my mother to the hospital, dehydrated from severe diarrhea, a 102′ fever with Walking Pneumonia.

The hospital gave my mother “something to cough up the phlegm” and after 3 days of non-stop coughing, suffered a collapsed lung. Six days after that, she told her nurse that she hadn’t had a bowel movement in “FIVE DAYS” (how do they *not* know?), requesting a laxative and a Commode Chair.

The nurses got my mother up out of bed for only the 3rd time in two weeks to use the toilet. Constipated with a collapsed lung and chest tubes hanging out her side, she suffered a cardiac arrest and ended up in a near-vegetative state. (To make matters worse, they left her lying motionless in a hospital bed for two months and we did not know she had developed a severe bed sore until she arrived at the nursing home and they inspected her.)

When I asked her doctors to explain what had happened to account for her state, they assured me that she was “revived in under two minutes”. It was only after hiring a Patient Advocate to review her records that I found out she had actually been technically dead for roughly TWENTY minutes and was on the verge of being pronounced clinically dead when they revived her.

My mother took extremely good care of herself, walking 3-miles twice a week, using the gym and went dancing on the weekends… all at the age of 75. The horrible irony of all this is that the ONLY reason she ended up in this condition is because she was trying to take care of herself.

I’ve since spoken to 15 lawfirms, all of whom agree I have an excellent case, but not one is willing to pursue it because “it would cost more to prosecute that you could win due to Texas’ Medical Tort Reform cap”. One lawfirm did say they were willing to sue over *the bedsore* because it was a “should never happen” event, but I refused because suing over a bedsore would be like suing over a splinter following a plane crash (plus, anything she won would quickly be eaten up by her hospitalization after being dropped by Medicaid.) The sad fact is, if she had *died* that morning, I could have sued for “wrongful death”, but because they managed to revive her, they insured they wouldn’t be sued.

So the people who harmed my mother go unpunished, with no incentive to correct their behavior and continue to treat patients unaware they are taking their very lives in their hands. The insurance companies get fabulously rich, and the only people who are punished are victims like my mother who had to become a burden on the State via Medicare/Medicaid as she languishes in a hospital bed.

Last night my mother suffered a second cardiac arrest that seriously worsened her already serious condition. I’m not sure how much longer she has to live.

I have contacted (as noted above) 15 lawfirms, 4 TV stations, 2 members of Congress and Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis. Of them, only Rep. Rodney Ellis has replied.

Not only do Republican “solutions” to health care reform not work, but they are actively doing great harm. This message needs to get out there. I’ve tried for the past ten months to spread my mother’s story in hopes of finding her help, to no avail. Now it seems it is too late and my mother is beyond help. All I can hope for now is that her story serves a warning to others.

Thank you.

(PS: The one bright-spot in this entire tragedy was that the ACA limited my mother’s liability before she qualified for Medicaid, preventing her from going bankrupt as we dealt with her situation.)

This is going to be a bad week.
 



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Filed in Crime, Greed, Healthcare, Right-Wing Insanity March 31st, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • 3 comments | Add/View

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Let’s Not Be So Quick to Vilify the Flight 370 Pilots Before the Facts Are In

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, March 24, 2014

I‘ve been quite bothered these past few weeks over the way everyone… both on the Right AND the Left… seems to be leaping to conclusions about what exactly happened to Malaysia Flight370 that disappeared without a trace nearly two weeks ago (as I write this, ships & spotter planes are racing to the Indian Ocean to examine what appears to be large pieces of debris floating in the ocean 1,500 miles off the Southwest coast of Australia.) Fox and Conservative talk radio seems certain this was an act of terrorism likely perpetrated by the Mus’lim pilots or onboard hijackers, while Progressive radio’s Randi Rhodes has been entertaining the idea that the plane was electronically hijacked by people using cellphones. And CNN? When the “legitimate news” network isn’t bringing on psychics as if they were legitimate sources of information, they wonder aloud if God Almighty or possibly UFO’s didn’t snatch the plane out of the sky like the “Prize Claw” in a Chuck-E-Cheese.

I pointed out more than a week ago that the Boeing 777 is the first “fly-by-wire” aircraft with no mechanical link between the flight-yoke and the actual steering of the plane. This makes the electrical system one giant weak-spot. Most of the plane’s electrical system, including the bright orange “black boxes”, is housed in the tail of the aircraft. An electrical fire could have slowly compromised the plane a bit at a time. First knocking out the radio/communications, triggering the plane to automatically execute the secondary (Emergency) flight plan programmed in hours before.

My personal belief is that this will be “Payne Stewart” all over again, but on a massive scale, with a fire in the tail-section slowly disabling the plane’s electrical system, knocking out the radio, transponders, and eventually the steering (fly-by-wire) while the passengers & crew were overcome by smoke/co2. At the first sign of problems, the plane’s onboard computer would likely have automatically executed the Secondary (Emergency) flight plan, turning back towards Kuala Lumpur and reducing altitude, before failing entirely. If the radio went first, there would have been no way for the pilots to send a distress call. While autopilot can steer/turn the plane, pilots are still required for takeoff and landing. So the radio goes out, the plane starts to turn around, the transponders go out (which is why we know the plane turned without the pilots radioing it in), then the electronic steering goes out so the pilots can’t correct course or land the plane. Struggling to regain control of the aircraft in any way possible, they might have even coaxed the plane into changing altitude. The plane then flies in a straight line out towards the Indian Ocean until it runs out of fuel approximately 6.5 hours later (based on the estimated amount of fuel onboard after departure) and glides into the water, leaving the plane mostly intact and limiting the debris field. Consider this, if the plane were “hijacked”, the passengers had almost 7 hours to break down the door and regain control of the aircraft. Early on, while still near/over land, passengers could have used their cell phones or “air-phones” on the plane unless overcome by smoke or knocked unconscious by “explosive decompression” due to a hole in the aircraft. The flight attendants, who’ve made this trip dozens of times, would have immediately known something was up the moment the plane made unscheduled a U-Turn and/or was out over open water for more than an hour. Yet in all that time, no one was able to regain control of the aircraft? You can’t land a plane that size on an aircraft carrier. As soon as they were near land, cell phones would have started working again (no, terrorists could not have confiscated and disabled/destroyed them all that fast, and dumping them would have made one for giant “homing beacon”), so the plane never landed. And think about this: Why has Boeing been so mum on this disaster? They are always on TV following an air disaster involving one of their planes. So where are they now? They are still reeling from the botched 787 rollout and don’t need buyers now panicking over the 777 suffering catastrophic electrical failure.

I’m also bugged by the “suspicion” surrounding the fact the Captain had an elaborate “flight simulator” in his home and posted YouTube videos using it. This is simply a man that loved his job. I work on computers for a living, yet here I am spending hours every week online, reading political websites, researching news material and writing this blog. They say, “If you do what you love for a living, you’ll never work a day in your life.” We are supposed to believe that after logging more than EIGHTEEN THOUSAND HOURS of flight experience, this was the day he suddenly decided to lure hundreds to their death in an elaborate suicide that didn’t involve almost immediately crashing the plane into the ground but instead waiting hours to fly out to sea? And he had a flight simulator in his home, yet never “practice flew” his “act of terrorism” before leaving? Yeah, right. I knew a guy who dreamed of becoming a pilot when he was a kid. He carried around toy planes and read books about flying. No, the fact the Captain had a flight simulator in his home is significant of nothing other than the fact he loved his job. I don’t know too much about the co-pilot other than the fact that he too had racked up several thousand hours of flying time, again raising the question: “why now?” Why crash a plane now when the opportunity presented itself literally hundreds of times over the past dozen years.

So now the search is on. Once the Black Boxes are found, we may very well likely learn that the pilots that so many have been quick to suspect of terrorism, may have in fact have actually been heroes, fighting heroically/futilely to regain control of a crippled aircraft. Can we PLEASE wait until all the facts are in before we slander these men?

Postscript: Apparently, I’m not the only one postulating the simple “electrical fire” theory.
 



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Filed in fake scandals, Predictions, Rants March 24th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Guest Op/Ed – Ukraine Crisis: Lessons Obama Should Learn

By Daphne - Last updated: Monday, March 17, 2014

Recent events in Crimea carry political consequences in the United States, calling the Obama administration to action in response to Vladimir Putin’s show of strength in the region.  Already fettered by friction due to Edward Snowden being granted asylum by Russia last year, and noted diplomatic discord between Obama and Putin since they have shared the world stage, negotiations have gone nowhere between the two leaders.

According to some pundits, Obama has no leverage in this game of chicken, due to his wavering on the Syrian chemical weapons issue last year.  What they fail to understand, however, is that Putin has a long history of human rights abuses and it should be no surprise to see his emboldened behavior in this case; regardless of Obama’s diplomatic prowess.  The situation is complicated, and while we may be in the early stages of the conflict, Putin appears to be rolling onward with his agenda, despite the Obama administration’s attempts to rein him in.

An important lesson for Obama, which he appears to be coming to terms with, is that President Bush’s foreign policy yielded many of the same characteristic responses from Putin as those seen by the current President’s administration.  As much as Republicans would like to point out differences between the two Presidents’ approaches, it is hypocritical to say Bush’s diplomatic track record with Putin was any more successful than Obama’s (outside of Bush gazing longingly into Putin’s eyes to see the soul of a man after his own heart. – Mugsy)

Putin’s Position

Simply put, Putin’s justification for acting in Ukraine is to protect the rights of native Russians settled there, in the face of attacks from Ukrainian nationalists.  On the other hand, Crimea is of strategic importance, so it is easy to extrapolate motivations beyond protecting human rights.  Putin does not acknowledge the legitimacy of the Kiev government, so he claims his actions are reasonable and just.

President Obama has initiated diplomacy by phone, recently issuing a warning of sorts, which appears to have fallen flat.  To conservative analysts, Obama’s true message is that we will not intervene in the affair; prompting Putin to disregard the President altogether.  While the President spoke of consequences, the political right believes him to have patronized Putin and weakened United States foreign policy.  Unfortunately for detractors, Putin’s past behavior mirrors his agenda here, so hanging the Obama administration out to dry for foreign policy failures does little to acknowledge Putin’s tendencies to act unilaterally and aggressively.

Abuse of Power Plagues Putin

Putin retains leadership in Russia as a result of his own willingness to abuse power.  After serving two terms as President, he became Prime Minister only to transfer the powers of government to his new position.  After Putin regained the presidency in 2012, term limits were extended; cementing Putin’s iron-fisted rule for years to come.

Based on centralized control of elections and media, Putin’s legacy is one of “power at any price”, including the lives and well-being of his countrymen.

Putin [and his cronies - editor] is believed to have siphoned billions off of the Russian economy for himself; distributed across Europe among a myriad of business ventures, to launder the funds. (As we saw with the “SuperBowl Ring” dust-up last year, Putin clearly takes whatever he wants. – Mugsy) Since gaining power in 2000, independent television does not operate in Putin’s Russia.  Instead, conditions resemble Soviet-era control of media and other segments of society.  Political opposition is quashed and foreigners are expelled at the whim of Russian leadership.  Even the way local government is established favors Putin.  By replacing elected governors, and local representation, Putin extended central control by creating a system where regional leaders are appointed by the Kremlin.

As clear as the autocratic message has been from Putin, there is another case-study showing exactly how the Ukrainian situation is likely to unfold.  Putin’s invasion of Georgia provides a blueprint to study, furnishing valuable insight into what we can expect in today’s Ukrainian conflict.  In 2008 Putin relentlessly bombed Georgia, despite warnings from the West.  Eventually he reached accord with the European Union to cease occupation there, but never really complied.  There are many similarities present in the prevailing actions of Putin in Crimea, which show no signs of shifting significantly.

Georgia: Russia bombed village (CNN, Aug 8, 2008)

Russian jets attack Georgian town (BBC, Aug 9, 2008)

Georgia, Russia move closer to full-blown war (LA Times, Aug 10, 2008)

To understand where Putin is headed, Obama detractors and the President himself should lean heavily on the Russian President’s history of transgressions, for clues.  Republicans’ politicizing the Ukrainian issue at home ignores Putin’s potential to act aggressively and unilaterally, despite the United States’ stance. Even in opposition to the present administration’s foreign policy, Republicans need to see Putin for who he is – looking to the similar way the Russian leader treated Bush over Georgia.  For Obama, the clear lesson to be learned is that despite diametric foreign policy divides between he and Bush, both leaders have seen the same Putin.

Author:

Daphne Holmes contributed this guest post. She is a writer from ArrestRecords.com and you can reach her at (only Registered users may view).


Addendum by Mugsy

In keeping this post current, I felt it necessary to comment on recent events.

Crimea voted to rejoin Russia over the weekend. In a landslide victory typically only seen in Communist dictatorships, Crimeans voted overwhelmingly, “95.7%”, in support of rejoining Russia. While the outcome was never really in doubt, Russia still felt it necessary to intimidate its critics, with one local man showing an NBC Nightly News reporter flyers that were being posted in his neighborhood alerting local residents that “a traitor” lies in their midst’s.

I couldn’t help but be reminded, oddly, of the Watergate Break-in. The 1972 Presidential campaign was going just awful for Democrats and there was little doubt that President Nixon would win re-election, and still he felt it necessary to bug Democratic headquarters to find out their campaign strategy. But Nixon was just that obsessed with winning, unwilling to leave anything to chance. Putin showed himself to be quite Nixonian in this regard.

Republican critics on the major network news talk shows yesterday continued to repeat the latest nonsense talking point that some apparent display of “weakness” by President Obama in dealing with Syria, that only Republicans and former-KGB spies can detect, somehow “emboldened” Putin to invade Crimea. As noted above, Putin needed no such “display of weakness” by President Bush when he invaded Georgia in 2008… a fact that Sen. Durbin (D-IL) pointed out to Sen. Corker (R-TN) on Meet the Press. This fact has been brought up repeatedly, yet it hasn’t seemed to have made a wit of difference as they continue to accuse a president that got both bin Laden and Kadaffy as well as a prolific use of drones and initiated a troop surge in Afghanistan, of “weakness”, continuing to ignore the facts and make their ridiculous claim anyway (sound familiar? It’s a pattern with them.)

The Rachel Maddow Show last week also picked on on Putin’s “pattern of behavior” and what to look out for next:
 


 



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Filed in fake scandals, Guest Blogger, National Security, Politics, rewriting history, War March 17th, 2014 by Daphne | • 1 comment | Add/View