Paris, Freedom Fries and The Problem of Jihadi Recruitment.


The terrorist attacks in Paris last Friday brought back memories of 9/11 for a lot of people. But for me, I was more reminded of how all this leads back to George Bush’s disastrous decision to invade Iraq in the first place… and the fact France warned us not to do it, calling military intervention in Iraq: “the worst possible solution.” (I bookmarked a great column back in September of 2003, six months after the invasion, comparing France to a “designated driver” that tried to “take away they keys” from drunk driver Bush. Recommended reading.)

Because of their opposition to invading Iraq, Republicans lambasted the French, calling them part of “the Axis of Weasel”, noting how “WE” rescued THEM from “Hitler” but THEY wouldn’t help us “defend ourselves” from “today’s Hitler: Saddam Hussein”. One outraged Republican demanded the Capitol cafeteria rename French Fries to “Freedom Fries”, and Bush himself renamed the French Toast aboard Air Force One : “Freedom Toast” (yes, that IS every bit as childish as it sounds) because of France’s opposition to the invasion of Iraq as long as inspections appeared to be working (and they were). Republicans called the French “surrender-monkeys”. France’s response: “We think that military intervention would be the worst possible solution.” And they were right.

Friday’s attack was just the latest catastrophe to come out of Bush’s reckless & unwarranted invasion of Iraq 12-1/2 years ago. To paraphrase, the definition of insanity is believing that after 14 years of war, the way to end the war is by more war. That’s just nuts… pardon my French.

If the Paris attacks confirm anything, it’s that the greatest threat to peace comes from ISIS SYMPATHIZERS more than ISIS itself. As I’ve written MANY, MANY, MANY times before, the people in these countries simply want a better life. When you bomb the areas where they live, you don’t just make martyrs out of those you kill, but you make enemies of the innocent who see their lives… their homes… their country left in ruins by foreigners dropping bombs on them… and you attract sympathizers in other countries. It’s a great recruiting tool.

President Obama said earlier this year that we had “stopped the expansion of ISIL.” But ISIL/ISIS doesn’t need to control huge swaths of land to “grow”. ISIS now “expands” via recruitment. Our goal should NOT be helping them recruit sympathizers by turning them into martyrs.

Many (most?) Republicans already talk about Muslims like they are all terrorists. Even when they don’t… qualifying their statement by saying things like “not all”… there is still that sense of having to “prove your innocence first”. They feel unwelcome even in their own country, only making it easier for groups like ISIS and alQaeda to recruit them, giving them a sense of belonging from a fellow group of outcasts. Even willing to die for their new found friends/family.

I proposed a question to all the presidential candidates last July: “How will we know when the war over there is over?” I mean, think about it. After 14 years, one thing we know is this isn’t going to end with the signing of a declaration of surrender on the Battleship Missouri. You can’t win a “war on terror” anymore than you can “win” a “war on drugs”.

So how do we end the war? Simple, by taking the wind out of their sails and crippling their ability to recruit. Invest in building schools and hospitals and roads and bridges. IMPROVE their lives. ISIS & alQaeda can’t expand if they can’t convince people to attack the people making their lives BETTER. And it’ll cost a HELL of a lot less. Eventually the radicals will become marginalized, societies will stabilize, and the war will truly be over. (Ironically, this method also works on Red-State Republicans. Just ask FDR.)

I knew when I work up Saturday morning that Republicans would find a way to blame President Obama for the Paris attacks. And sure enough, later that morning and during the Sunday shows yesterday, the Republican presidential candidates were already blaming the president’s “weak foreign policy” for the tragedy. Now let’s be clear, these are the same Republicans who just last month were praising Vladamir Putin’s aggressive foreign policy, only to see one of Russia’s passenger jets blown out of the sky with over 200 civilian passengers on board.

By Sunday morning, I added the Syrian refugees to that list of people the Right Wing wack-a-doodles would blame for the Paris attacks, and indeed, all the major network Sunday shows asked their guests what impact the Paris bombings would/should have on any decision to allow Syrian refugees into our country. Germany allowed in FAR more refugees than France, so why France? Russia is tough on ISIS and they are brutally attacked. France is far less involved and gets attacked too. So just whose “foreign policy” do Republicans think we should mimic to stay safe?

Speaking of which, what exactly do the Syrian Refugees have to do with the Paris attacks? Well, apparently, a passport was found belonging to one of the suicide bombers, revealing they were from Syria and had traveled through Greece (one of the lead destinations of the Syrian refugees.) Now, I’m not sure why a refugee would even HAVE a passport. It’s not like they entered the country through a checkpoint. It would be as if a Mexican immigrant was caught illegally crossing the border with a perfectly good passport in their back pocket. It makes no sense. Greece doesn’t issue Syrian passports, so why is anyone assuming this one terrorist was a refugee?

Two other bombers were identified as “French nationals” [ibid]. Evidence that they’ve even been to Iraq/Syria is sketchy at best, yet here they are killing Parisians in the name of ISIS. THAT is “expansion through recruitment” and is also why sending troops into Syria isn’t going to solve anything. I’m reminded of the old joke of the man searching for a lost quarter under a street light nowhere near where he dropped it only because “the light is better over here.” Bombing ISIS in Syria because of the actions of sympathizers in France is no less stupid.

Donald Trump said last January following the “Charley Hebdo” attack… and repeated last Saturday… that it somehow “is no coincidence” that ISIS would attack a country with “some of the strictest gun laws in all of Europe”. We’ve heard this before. It’s the: “mass murderers target gun-free zones” & “if only they had allowed guns in movie theaters” nonsense all over again. And I find myself wondering what his point is here. If France had the same lax gun laws as the U.S., France could enjoy 30,000 deaths a year instead of just 150? WTF are you talking about, Donald???

During the GOP debates last Saturday night, only Senator Sanders advocated for LESS U.S. military involvement in Syria… though not going as far as my “infrastructure-based” solution to ending the war… instead proposing to shift more of the burden onto those most directly affected by all this chaos in the Middle-East: The Middle-East itself.

As for the rest: Why on Earth would we elect anyone that thinks the way to end 14 years of war in the Middle East is thru more war?

MLK: Darkness can't fix Darkness


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November 16, 2015 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Posted in: Infrastructure, Middle East, myth busting, National Security, Right-Wing Insanity, Seems Obvious to Me, Terrorism, War

CORRECTION UPDATE on Last Week’s Jobs Report


I‘m on sabbatical this week, but a quick follow-up on last weeks “expectation” that the October Jobs Report was going to be “disappointing” to say the least, only for it to in fact be spectacular. Serves me right for listening to pundits of the Obama Administration.

One of the main reasons for the pundits expecting a disappointing jobs report: “low gas prices” (resulting job cuts in the oil industry), which… as I’ve pointed out previously… cheap gas is like a shot of adrenaline to the U.S. economy. Cheap energy actually DOES for the average consumer what Republicans THINK tax cuts for the rich do. It leaves consumers with more money to spend on other things. I need point no further than what $4/gal gas did in the final months of the Bush Administration.

Media Matters notes how Fox “news” hilariously tried to spin last months amazing jobs report by reporting that “ONLY 271,000 jobs were created last month.” (If I had the time to research, I’m almost 100% positive that the Bush Administration never once broke the 2K mark (let alone near the 3K threshold.)

“I shall return!”… to my regular posting duties next Monday. Be sure to join me! – Mugsy.

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November 9, 2015 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Posted in: Economy, Jobs, Predictions

Analysts Expect a Weak Jobs Report Friday. Why that Concern is Misleading


Next Friday, the Federal Reserve is expected to release it’s latest “Jobs Report” for October, and the expectation is that it will show underwhelming job growth of probably less than 130,000 new jobs created… a figure the GOP Presidential candidates are sure to pounce upon, citing it at every opportunity as “evidence” of a “weak Obama economy”. But is it?

The economy needs to create roughly 110,000 jobs a month just to keep up with “population growth”. That’s young people entering the economy for the first time and immigrants moving to our country. Anything over that is growth. In a bad economy that has seen a lot of job losses, low job growth is a very bad problem. But that’s not what’s happening here.

Low job growth numbers aren’t great when there are still a lot of people unemployed/underemployed, but just because the number of jobs created is low, it’s not always proof of a bad economy. Quite the reverse in fact.

Imagine for a moment that we miraculously hit 0.0% unemployment and every single “job-aged” citizen had a job. A company could advertise that they were hiring all day and not create a single new job because everyone already had one. The number of jobs created in that extreme scenario would be ZERO, yet we certainly wouldn’t say “zero jobs created is evidence of a bad economy” (at least no one SANE.)

So we’ve established that just because the job creation numbers are low, that’s not always evidence that the economy is doing poorly. But what does it mean in THIS case?

The same month Republicans will be pointing to next week (October) as evidence the economy is floundering under Obama also set a four year record for Stock Growth, with the Market rising nearly 1,000 points in just one month. This, following the disastrous crash of the Chinese Stock Market last August that sent shock waves around the globe. Yet the resilient American economy under Obama emerged virtually unscathed.

During the GOP debate last week, Carly Fiorina… whom like Palin & Bachmann before her… appears to get all her talking points from Right Wing Talk Radio (and then never bothers to fact check them), repeating the 2012 Romney claim that women have been particularly devastated by President Obama’s economic policies (You may remember this as part of his “binders full of women” gaffe), citing a 2012 stat that “92% of job losses from 2009 to 2012 were among women.”

There are a number of problems with that claim (that were already pointed out to Romney three years ago). First (as the linked video points out), you can’t blame President Obama’s economic policies for jobs lost in January 2009 when he didn’t take office until the 20th, nor before his policies were even passed by Congress in early 2009. The reason so many of those early job losses disproportionately affected women in Obama’s first term was because MEN were typically hit first, losing their jobs back when Bush was still president. Thanks to income inequality, men typically earn more and were the first to go. Lower-paying jobs more commonly held by women came later.

By 2012, the employment situation for women had rebounded under President Obama’s economic policies (a fact Fiorina was forced to concede last week) and have steadily improved ever since. So if your big talking point is how bad Obama has been for women and the facts end up proving otherwise, what else can you do but go on network TV and argue that the “facts” are on your side! (ibid)

The very idea that the GOP has a leg to stand on when it comes to “what it takes to create a successful economy” is utter nonsense. The “Gingrich Revolution” of 1994 retook Congress by campaigning on the claim that Democrats raising the top tax rate from 34.5% to 39.6% on top income earners would result in “another Recession” (the last one being the end of the Bush-I Administration) and destroy the economy. Instead, the exact opposite happened. The economy boomed and the Federal Government took in so much money it was able to balance the budget and start paying off the National Debt.

George W Bush, running for President in 2000, couldn’t very well credit Bill Clinton for the economy, so instead he credited the GOP controlled Congress… the same Congress that said raising the rate would be a disaster and then never attempted to repeal it. He told supporters that, while the economy was good, to “imagine how much better the economy could have been if only we had had a Republican president in charge with a Republican Congress for the last six years!” He cited our ability to start paying down the [National] Debt as evidence that people were being “taxed too much” (and why NO Republican will EVER pay off the Debt because the moment we have a surplus, they’ll use it as an excuse to cut taxes) and promptly undid the Clinton tax hike they said would crash the economy (but didn’t.)

So Bush got his Republican presidency with Republican congress… the EXACT SAME Republican controlled Congress under President Clinton that Bush credited with the booming economy… and it was an absolute disaster. As I’ve pointed out before, Bush & Cheney “talked the economy into a Recession”, and the DJIA had already fallen nearly 1,000 points by September 10th, 2001. Who did they blame for THAT? Bush? No. Perhaps the GOP Congress whom Bush credited for the Clinton economic boom? Of course not! No, THIS was “Bill Clinton’s fault!” His predecessor “handed him a Recession!” they railed. But unlike Obama, the economy never improved under George W. Bush the way it has under Obama.

By the time Bush left office, the Stock Market was actually LOWER than the day he took office (the only other time that has happened was under Herbert Hoover during The Great Depression) and his “jobs reports” revealed that we were hemorrhaging 700,000 jobs a month.

So when the “jobs report” with those low job numbers comes out next Friday, keep in mind that low job growth during a period of low unemployment isn’t terribly surprising, nor is it necessarily indicative of a weak economy. Could the numbers be better given our current situation? Of course. But the fact we have positive job growth at all despite a hostile Republican-controlled congress avoiding doing anything that might make the president look good in an election year, and despite the economic earthquake in China barely a month ago that rattled Europe to its core, any growth at all is quite remarkable…

…and is yet one more example of how Republicans just don’t understand basic economics.

(UPDATE: Report released today/Friday reveals the RW naysayers were full of crap. The US economy added 271,000 jobs in October, about 90,000 more than expected. The unemployment rate dropped to 5%. Serves me right for listening to them. – Mugsy)

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November 2, 2015 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Posted in: Economy, Jobs, myth busting

Dr Carson Revives Dangerous “Health Savings Account” Zombie from 2012


I have a long standing rule not to criticize truly awful GOP Primary candidates when they are winning. “When your opponent(s) are digging themselves into a hole, the only thing you should hand them is a shovel.” I’m going to break that rule this week because Dr. Ben Carson has decided to bring back a dangerous (and arguably deadly) idea from the 2012 election that a disturbing number of Conservative voters think is a good idea: doing away with Medicare/Obamacare (remember “Keep your government hands off my Medicare“?) and replacing them with “Health Savings Accounts”, only this time with a convoluted scheme that would impress even Rube Goldberg.

The GOP version went something like this: instead of everyone paying into Medicaid (an astoundingly safe & successful single-payer health insurance program run by the government), let people choose to “opt out” of Medicaid and put their money into a tax-free “Health Savings Account”, similar to an IRA, from which you pay your medical bills should you ever get sick. The “advantage” of such a scheme Conservatives argue is that the money remains in your possession should you ever need it for something else. Now, if you have a brain larger than a walnut, you can probably already see the (multitude of) problems with that. THAT is the GOP plan from 2012 (pdf). Carson’s new version supposedly “fixes” those flaws. Try to follow along as he “explains” his version of HSA’s to NBC’s Chuck Todd yesterday:

Carson explain his “Health Savings Account” scheme (2:18)


(Quite honestly, I could have dedicated this week’s entire post to Carson’s insane interview, but that could take weeks. This segment was following an equally disturbing ten minutes defending his prolific use of Nazi analogies to justify his positions on just about everything. From arguing that the Second Amendment exists to protect us from our our own government (it doesn’t), questioning the value of a mother’s life over that of her unborn child, to saying rape/incest victims should be forced-by-law to carry their unborn babies to term. (Whom exactly he’d prosecute if she didn’t was never asked and remains unclear.)

Todd never asks Carson the most obvious question about Medicare, “What’s wrong with the existing system?”, because HE KNOWS the answer he’d get: to a Conservative ANYTHING connected to the government is bad regardless of how successful it is, because in their mind, a government that “provides for the general welfare” is tantamount to “slavery” (a position he shares with the OTHER Right-Wing nut doctor in the race, Rand Paul.)

So let’s see if we can’t diagram Carson’s “alternative to Medicare”:

Step 1) Make everyone independently wealthy thanks to a roaring economy under his leadership. (You think I’m exaggerating? Watch the video.) That way, we “negate the need for Medicare”. So right off the bat, his plan relies on everyone suddenly striking it rich such that they will be able to pay cash for their health care needs. And just how do we accomplish that? Tax-free “Health Savings Accounts” that can be passed down from Generation to generation. And we KNOW this works because look at all the people who became stinking rich inheriting IRA’s from their parents (that’s snark by the way.) Somehow, I just don’t see a lot of people living paycheck-to-paycheck suddenly being able to sock away enough spare cash to pay for unregulated… because he does away with “ObamaCare” AND the buying power of Medicare… rising medical costs out-of-pocket with enough left over to leave to their children (a plan that doesn’t seem to take into account the prolonged medical costs of aging, people pilfering those accounts like a tax-free piggy bank, or unforeseen economic crisis’ that always seem to pop up during Republican administrations.)

In fact, Carson actually advocates allowing family members to raid their own HSA in order to help another family member pay their medical bills. Carson is a big believer in the Power of Prayer, and you’d better be too if you pilfer your trust fund in hopes you won’t need it. What was it Rep. Grayson said? The Republican Plan: Don’t get sick. But hey, everyone suddenly becoming wealthy enough to pay cash for all their medical expenses could happen, so let’s give him the benefit of the delusion… er, doubt, for a moment.

BTW: Carson acknowledged the “Liberal” meme that “we pay twice as much for our health care than the rest of the world”, but offers no explanation on how to counter it. In fact, quite the opposite. He wants to kill off the two government programs keeping those costs under control. If I had to guess, Carson appears to blame insurance companies for those outrageous healthcare costs. Yet the solution… “single payer” programs like Medicare… would wither & die under his “divert money from Medicare” scheme. Moving on…

Step 2) Insurance companies still have a role though: covering “catastrophic illness” that would decimate most HSA’s. Get them out of the business of covering more lucrative “basic health care” and instead limit them to covering only the mega-costly health care bills. Carson argues that by not having to cover “basic” heath care needs, it’ll save the insurance companies tons of money and drive down premiums. You buy that? No? You’d better because you’re going to have to (literally). Okay, so now you’re now pouring money into TWO forms of medical insurance: your personal HSA AND “catastrophic illness” insurance.

Those “basic” health care policies are where insurance companies make their biggest profits. Carson actually believes that insurance companies will make MORE money… AND charge you less for catastrophic care insurance… if you eliminate all that rarely-used coverage customers pay into and limit them to covering just the most costly long-term procedures. What do you think THOSE premiums will look like? There is nothing more expensive than “end-of-life” care… a cost 90%-95% of us will incur. “Wow” doesn’t begin the capture the mind-numbing stupidity of that Palinesque plan. If we’re all going to strike it rich under President (cough) Carson, it’d better happen damned quick.

Step 3) We don’t actually eliminate Medicare, we just allow people to “opt out”… which underfunds the program, which bankrupts it. It’s not Carson’s fault if underfunding Medicare kills it off. That just proves it wasn’t fit to survive in the first place (“survival of the fittest” seems like an odd defense for someone who doesn’t believe in evolution.) In the Jewish & Muslim faiths, it is a sin to take a life… any life… (“Thou shalt not kill”), so to kill an animal for the meat, they slit it’s throat so they can rationalize that the moment of death does not occur at their hand. It’s the same thing here. Carson doesn’t “kill” Medicare, he just slits its throat, and if it (and the people who depend upon it) dies, well that must have been God’s Will.

The Carson Plan: 1) Everyone becomes fabulously rich. 2) Puts their “spare” cash, once wasted on Medicare, into a Christmas Club. 3) Prays like hell they don’t need it. 4) Buys insurance anyway to cover “catastrophic care” which will be dirt cheap thanks to benevolent insurance companies saving a bundle on checkups and passing the savings onto you. 5) What you don’t spend, you leave to your children. 6) Repeat.

Remember “Let him die!” from the 2012 debate? If a person doesn’t pay into Medicare and refuses (or simply can’t afford) to put money in an HSA or buy insurance and suddenly gets sick, what do we do? Let them die? Conservatives like Carson think Medicare will just take care of people that never paid into the system. Ron Paul believed the burden should fall upon the churches. Who would put money in an HSA or buy insurance if you could be guaranteed care that way?

The raging stupidity of Carson’s plan should come as no surprise. It’s just one more drop of water in the Bucket-o-Crazy that is Ben Carson. Quite honestly, I can’t be entirely certain he wasn’t making it up as he went along. It really sounds like he hadn’t given it a lot of thought.

And you were wondering what it would take to dethrone Donald Trump.

Iowa GOP just as crazy as Carson
Iowa GOP poll 151023

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October 26, 2015 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Posted in: Economy, Election, fake scandals, Greed, Healthcare, Money, myth busting, Politics, Right-Wing Insanity

Obama Extends The Longest War in U.S. History. Here’s How to End It


Last week, President Obama was forced to reluctantly concede that the War in Afghanistan was not going to end on his watch as hoped. One of his first acts upon entering office in 2009 was to send an additional 30,000 troops into Afghanistan (Side note: Republicans blame the continued fighting in Iraq on President Obama withdrawing our troops. So what’s their excuse for the continued violence in Afghanistan?) In 2011, the war looked much closer to being over as U.S. forces located and killed Osama bin Laden in neighboring Pakistan. I argued at the time that we should have then “declared victory” and came home (I said the same thing about Iraq after Saddam was found in late 2003). It was clear there was nothing more to be gained in Afghanistan, and the U.S. could have exited the region with the powerful message that “if you hurt us, we won’t rest until you’ve been brought to justice.” But we didn’t. Instead, we allowed Conservatives to drive the debate, arguing that the war would not be over until we had “crushed” OBL’s enabler’s: The Taliban and somehow ensured they could never return to power. How exactly would one go about doing that? And how would you know when you were done? It was a dubious unattainable goal set by the NeoConservative war hawks in Washington and their friends in the defense industry. The result? The war in Afghanistan is now in it’s 15th year with no end in sight. Bin Laden is gone but ISIS has moved in to take his place, enabled by the destabilization of the entire region. And what is the only “solution” under consideration? Staying longer and possibly sending in even more troops… ie: putting out a fire with gasoline.

In 1781, the British Army surrendered to the colonists in Yorktown, VA. ending the 6 year long Revolutionary War. British government soldiers a long way from home fighting an undisciplined army of locals with the home-field advantage. The foreign military lost only to return 31 years later for a rematch in 1812. Again the foreign invaders lost.

In 1939, Hitler’s Third Reich invaded Poland on their way to Russia, starting World War II. After attempting to invade nation after nation, Germany ended up surrendering 6 years later in 1945, followed by Japan, whom also attacked first, surrendering four months after that.

Then came Korea, the first war with US in the role of foreign invader. That war ended in stalemate after 2-1/2 years in 1953.

Vietnam began as a minor French offensive in 1955, but our involvement didn’t explode until after the assassination of President Kennedy when a suspicious President Johnson turned it into a proxy war against the Soviet Union (whom he suspected of orchestrating JFK’s murder). America’s heavy involvement in Vietnam lasted 11 years from mid-1964 to mid-1975. Part of the reason the war went on so long? No one wanted to be the first president to “lose” a war. The goal was no longer clear, yet the war went on for years more despite President Nixon conceding it was unwinnable. Eventually the war was abandoned as America became consumed by Watergate.

After the attacks on September 11, 2001, it was another month before we took action as the Bush Administration was forced to suspend their plan to invade Iraq and create a plan to respond to 9/11. That “plan” entailed invading Afghanistan and capturing Osama bin Laden. When American forces had cornered OBL in the mountains of Tora Bora, the army only surrounded him on three sides. OBL escaped, and, looking for a “win”, the Bush Administration decided to turn it’s attention back to Iraq rather than finish the war in Afghanistan. After dropping the ball so catastrophically on 9/11, the Bush Administration thought it could use the excuse of preventing “the NEXT big attack” as justification for invading Iraq. So now, we were fighting TWO wars on foreign soil with the U.S. in the role of “invader”. But the whole thing blew up in their face, and the Bush Administration found themselves mired in TWO wars with no exit strategy. As Iraq devolved into chaos, by late 2006 (sites like “” would report over 100 U.S. troop deaths a day for months), the decision to send in 20,000 reinforcements into Iraq in 2007 brought the death toll back down to a dull roar. But it didn’t last. alQaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (“AQAP”)… also known as “alQaeda in Iraq”… moved into neighboring Syria, now in civil war, to help the rebels overthrow President Assad, where they continued to grow. The new Shia government in Iraq made life miserable for the Sunni’s (of which ISIS belonged), denying them employment or even representation in government, so AQAP returned as “ISIS” to take back what was once theirs. And once again, just as in Vietnam, no one wants to be the president that “lost the war.” With no change in strategy, the war goes on forever.

Insert definition of “insanity” here.

It’s a topic I’ve returned to again & again this past year: The wars in Afghanistan & Iraq (and now Syria) will continue as long as our only strategy for fighting them continues unchanged as well. These are untraditional wars. They require an untraditional solution.

Be it Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan or even the United States, people want just ONE THING: A better life. For FAR less money, all of our wars in the Middle East could be brought to an end if we sent in engineers instead of bombardiers. Tractors instead of tanks. Hire local housing contractors instead of flying in thousands of military contractors from Halliburton or Black Water to act as mercenaries. People just want a better life, and they are going to embrace & defend those who are making their lives BETTER by building roads and schools and hospitals and a working power grid.

Do you know that the largest country in South America… Brazil… speaks Portuguese not Spanish? With all the Spanish Conquistadors all over The New World, why did the largest South American nation adopt the language of tiny Portugal? Because while Spain sent conquerors, Portugal sent merchants looking for TRADE. The Brazilian locals willingly learned the Portuguese language so that they could conduct trade with the Portuguese merchant sailors rather than adopt the language of the people that came to conquer them.

And because of that, 500 years later, the largest nation in South America speaks Portuguese while everyone else speaks Spanish. There’s a lesson to be learned there.

If we help the locals build a better life, just how long do you think they’ll tolerate groups like ISIS or alQaeda coming in and blowing things up? Locals who were once taking up arms and joining ISIS to fight the American invaders making their lives miserable are suddenly more apt to defend the people there making their lives better. Instead of breeding enemies plotting the next 9/11, we create friends seeking to replicate us and bring Democracy to their country. The end to the wars may finaly be within sight once we turn former enemies into friends. And that “magical flourishing spread of Democracy across the Middle East” that George Bush thought he could achieve at the barrel of a gun might actually take root once we put down the weapons and start making lives better instead of worse.

Oh… and besides being multitudes cheaper than what we’re doing now, shortening the length of the war would save us Trillions as well. Not creating any more disabled vets will save us Billions. The reduction in global instability would reduce the threat to us here at home, saving us still more money. Military contractors can still reap their rewards if they shift from building weapons of war to building infrastructure… both abroad and here at home. And the cost burden won’t be 100% on us anymore as other nations would gladly hire former military contractors to come in to rebuild infrastructure.

The wars are finally brought to an end, we save Billions (Trillions?) of dollars and tens of thousands of lives, we create lifelong friends instead of lifelong enemies looking to do us harm, military contractors make out like bandits providing infrastructure rebuilding services here at home and abroad… talk about a WIN/WIN/WIN. All it takes is political will and a president who won’t allow themselves to be bullied by the same clueless warmongers whose policies have led to America’s longest war in history with no end in site.

NOTE: I updated the site last week, adding a “Search” function (upper right column) so that you may now search through our entire eight year collection of past Op/Eds.


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October 19, 2015 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Posted in: Infrastructure, Middle East, National Security, Seems Obvious to Me, Terrorism, War

Same People Telling Us More Guns Is Solution to Gun Violence Have Given Us 15 years of War in Mid East


WHILE President Obama was en route to Oregon to meet with families of the last mass school shooting at Umpqua Community College, TWO MORE school shootings took place, one at Northern Arizona University (one dead, three wounded) and one at Texas Southern University (one dead, one wounded). And as I pointed out last week, all the GOP candidates could do was shrug their shoulders and say “Hey, shit happens.” And these are the same people that want to be Commander-in-Chief of the largest military on the face of the planet (larger than the next ten militaries combined), saber-rattling against Syria, Iran, and… quite possibly… Russia (whom is now meddling in Syria after invading Georgia in 2008 and annexing Crimea in 2012.) They blame President Obama (not President Bush) for the rise of ISIS, saying he withdrew too early (ie: Bush’s timetable), hinting that if THEY were in charge, they’d be sending our troops right back into that meat grinder. I believe the majority of Americans want us OUT of the Middle East and an end to the wars there. Republicans think the solution to violence is more violence: more guns solves the problem of gun violence, and the way to end war is by sending more troops to war, back into Iraq, expand into Syria, destabilize Iran and play Chicken with Russia. Does ANYONE still wonder why the war in Afghanistan is now in its 15th year and why gun violence continues to spiral out of control?

So who’s to blame for all the gun violence breaking out in our schools? We’re not talking about “violent ‘inner-city’ public schools” as most Right-wing gun nuts would have you believe, but nice suburban colleges with a diverse student body. They try to blame the rising violence on movies & videogames, but those exist in other countries too. And it’s not just our schools. We also saw a mass shooting in a church earlier this year by a white kid seething with hatred towards blacks (wonder where he picked THAT up? Hint: It wasn’t movies & videogames) and yet another movie theater shooting, this time in Louisiana. “Hey, shit happens.” (also last week, a women decided to play vigilante and open fire on a shoplifter in a Home Depot parking lot last week. I assure you, that 46 year old woman didn’t decide that was acceptable behavior playing “Call of Duty III“.)

Following the Charleston, SC church shooting last August, and a spate of violence against blacks by white police officers, GOP candidate Ben Carson was hailed as “the GOP voice of reason” after chastising his fellow Republicans for failing to recognize that violence against blacks is still a problem in this country. But the pressure must have gotten to him, because following these most recent campus shootings, America learned that it IS possible to be both a “brain surgeon” AND a blithering moron simultaneously. Carson chuckled as he essentially blamed the victims of the Umpqua Community College shooting, arguably accusing them of cowardice, suggesting that more lives could have been saved if victims simply joined forces and “rushed the shooter” (like the thought hadn’t occurred to them). But when it was pointed out to him that one man, Chris Mintz, did exactly that and barely survived despite being shot SEVEN TIMES, Carson claimed it “proved his point”. NO. No it doesn’t you jackass! You suggested that rushing the shooter would “take him down and prevent others from being killed”, but this guy tried. The shooter was NOT taken down and Mintz nearly died while the shooter stepped over his bullet-riddled body and into his son’s classroom (I can’t confirm whether the three additional gunshot victims were shot before of after Mintz’s heroic act). His actions do NOT “prove your point.” It only proves what a clueless idiot you are.

(In a second interview the next morning, Carson admitted that when a robber shoved a gun in HIS ribs, HIS response was not “heroics” but to redirect the gunman to the cashier. My how brave!)

More guns. More troops. More tax breaks for the Rich. When reality fails to confirm your misconceptions, double-down. They create a catastrophe, and when the damage is pointed out to them, their “diagnosis” is that we just didn’t go in big enough. When I was a young teen, a neighbor’s infant son drank a half bottle of ammonia! I’d have thought that after the first sip, the child would have spit it out and knew it wasn’t drinkable, but it was explained to me that the child keeps drinking because they keep expecting it to get better. THAT’s the Republican Party! They are that child that sees the pretty glowing green liquid, concludes that something that appears so great can’t possibly be bad, then after they start to drink, no batter how bad it tastes or how sick they get, they just keep on drinking because they are certain if they just keep going it’ll get better. Thing is, the infant doesn’t go back later on and declare that the problem was that they just didn’t keep drinking long enough.

In 2006, then-President Bush visited Vietnam and actually compared the Vietnam War to Iraq… but not in the way you or I… or any sane person would. No, he argued that “the lesson of Vietnam” was that we left too soon. NO! “the lesson of Vietnam” was that WE NEVER SHOULD HAVE BEEN THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE! Both wars were based on lies, we stayed FAR too long, and a lot of innocent young kids gave their lives fighting a war we had no business fighting in the first place! At the time, I tried to imagine being the President of Vietnam, sitting there in that room, while the President of the United States argues that your war didn’t go on long enough and enough of your people didn’t die for nothing. (On a side note, Fox “news” dedicated a segment yesterday to trashing a new Robert Redford film called “Truth”, about the firing of Dan Rather from CBS after he dare report on “60 Minutes” the fact that then Private George Bush had gone AWOL while serving in the Alabama National Guard (the “Texas Air National Guard” came later.)

Conservatives think the “solution” to any problem is to mitigate the damage AFTER it’s begun (eg: Firing back at a shooter AFTER they’ve opened fire on your classmates, finally taking notice of terrorism AFTER the worst attack on U.S. soil in American history, or “going to the ER after you get sick” is a reasonable alternative to the “preventative” care the Affordable Care Act offers.) At least ONE person must die AFTER a crazed gunman starts shooting people before other armed people nearby can pull out their guns and return fire in a campus classroom or crowded movie theater. Carson actually said he has never seen a bullet-riddled body that was worse than denying people the right to own a gun. Seriously. So naturally, being allowed to “own a gun” means we can’t deny a person with a history of violence or mental illness from obtaining an assault weapon with 30-round clip.

Completely irrational. And it should comes as no surprise that these same irrational people actually believe that Mr. Maniac would never attempt such an act in the first place if they knew we were all packin’. But when 50% of mass shootings end in either suicide by their own hand or “suicide by cop”, the nuts committing these crimes aren’t terribly worried about getting killed themselves. If Mr. Maniac is worried about getting shot himself, he’s not going to simply decide not to commit mass murder, he’s going to find another way to do it, like shoot at cars on the freeway from a distance, or fire upon students from a clock tower.

And these people are telling us THEY KNOW how to end the wars in the Middle East. A few months ago, Donald Trump actually pontificated that he’d actually get along well with (megalomaniacs like) Putin or Assad. Of that I have little doubt. But would it lead to peace? Only if their solution is that we switch sides.

More war doesn’t lead to peace any more than Syria, Iraq & Afghanistan have become bastions of tranquility thanks to all the guns that have flooded into those countries.

“Your kid was killed in a school shooting, movie theater, or fighting a war we had no business fighting in the first place? Hey, shit happens.”

(Postscript: The first Democratic presidential debate is tomorrow/Tuesday. The “15 Questions” I suggested for the GOP candidates last July still haven’t been asked/answered. A few should also be asked of the DNC candidates.)

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

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October 12, 2015 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Posted in: Crime, Election, Guns & Violence, Middle East, National Security, Party of Life, Politics, Racism, Religion, Right-Wing Insanity, Seems Obvious to Me, Terrorism, War

GOP Perpetuating Deadly Myth States with Strictest Gun Laws Have the Worst Crime


Both Donald Trump and Chris Christie yesterday repeated a popular (and long debunked) Right-Wing myth that “states with the strictest gun laws have the worst crime”, and BOTH men cited the great state of “Chicago” as their “proof”. I wish I could simply say, “No, the exact opposite is true”, but it’s not that simple. While in fact states with the strictest guns laws DON’T have the worst crime rates, the improvement is surprisingly small and possibly attributable to other factors such as the poverty rate (Connecticut: strict laws, low crime, low poverty. DC: strict laws, high crime, high poverty.) Yet they go around proclaiming strict gun laws actually make things worse? That borders on criminal and definitely someone we don’t want anywhere near the White House.

In all due honesty, I’d probably fall short of analyzing the link between gun laws & crime, trying to make a broad assumption about such a complex issue without doing weeks of research on all the variables. So instead, I direct you to this excellent article on “” (though it relies a bit too heavily on Wikipedia for my comfort) released just last Friday. As they point out, the states with the strictest gun laws have marginally LESS crime than states with the most lax gun laws (eg one stat showing a “Gun homicide rate: 4.02 per 100,000 [in lax states], compared to 3.41 for the other [restrictive] states.”) One example of the complexity: a very rural yet very large state like Wyoming has a very low homicide rate despite very lax gun laws. Does this surprise anyone? You’re not going to see a lot of homicides when your closest neighbor is 3 miles away. Likewise, cities like Chicago & D.C. have a very low number of registered gun owners, yet an extremely high gun homicide rate. The guns are clearly already there. Is pouring MORE guns into Chicago or DC going to make things safer? The problem isn’t “strict gun laws keeping guns out of the hands of the virtuous”, it’s the easy availability of guns… period. Particularly “NON-hunting” weapons intended for “protection” but being used on the streets.

During The Cold War, Ronald Reagan tried to draw a distinction between nuclear weapons that are only used for “defense” vs “First Strike” nuclear weapons in order to justify his nuclear build up against the Soviet Union. But all it did was encourage an arms race with Russia. Increasing our stockpile of nuclear weapons didn’t make us safer, it only raised our anxiety over the likelihood of nuclear war (“Shall we play a game?”)

No, what I want to talk about is this reckless dangerous game Republicans are playing by perpetrating this deadly myth that strict gun laws make gun violence worse. It’s not true. Not even close. But Conservative voters are buying it, then electing politicians that believe it, who in turn start eliminating restrictions on guns that cost people their lives.

A prime example came just last week following the latest mass murder gun shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon. Within hours, the Republican presidential candidates were already defending gun ownership and shrugging their shoulders when asked “what can we do to stop this?”

Marco Rubio dismissed the idea of any more gun laws, stating that “Crazy people don’t follow gun laws.” True, but do we need to make it easier for them to get one?

Mike Huckabee: “I keep waiting for someone to tell me what new gun law would have prevented this”. Fact: the shooter purchased 13 weapons and a flak jacket inside of 3 years without raising any alarm bells. Why were those guns so easy to get so quickly? Someone that “needs” that much armament in such a short period of time should be required to have a “Dealers” license. Here’s an idea for you Huckster: If we were allowed to track the number of purchases by a single buyer over time, we could spot trends that trigger a more thorough background check. Even the most cursory “beyond medical/criminal” records search would have have found his Facebook page filled with violent rants and support for the defunct “Irish Republican Army” terrorist organization (if you’re going to say, “mass-murderers will just stop logging their intentions on Facebook”, I direct you to Rubio’s statement above about “Crazies” not behaving rationally.) Speaking of which…

Ben Carson also went the “unpredictable crazies” route, declaring “[Gun laws] doesn’t work for crazies.” This demonstrates a glaring stupidity with Republicans: the childish belief laws are only for criminals. As has been frequently pointed out: If your argument against gun laws is that “criminals don’t obey laws”, then why have ANY laws? Why have laws against speeding or stealing? Yet this same person would NEVER say the same thing about our drug laws. Simple game: substitute the word “drugs” for “guns” in ANY comment by ANY Republican on the subject of gun control and ask yourself if they hold the same position. Fun fun fun.

John Kasich followed suit, condemning gun laws with: “You take guns away from people who are law abiding, the people who are going to cause these horrible things are still going to have them.” First, NO ONE is arguing for “gun confiscation”. That’s a straw man argument. Second, clearly, the ONLY two options are Lots of guns or No guns at all. There apparently is no middle-ground in Conservastan.

Donald Trump, when asked what can we do, simply shrugged his shoulders and said “these things happen”, adding that sane people sometimes go nuts so “What are you going to do, institutionalize everybody?” Just what you want in a Commander-in-Chief. Someone, when faced with a difficult matter of Life & Death can’t define the problem, shrugs his shoulders helplessly, and proclaims if you can’t stop EVERYBODY, why bother stopping ANYBODY?

Likewise, Jeb Bush used the helpless “stuff happens” line… clearly channeling his brothers’ Secretary of Defense. My response to “Jebby” is the same as the video’s response to Rummy: “Irresponsible’s a pretty harsh word but basically irresponsible.” Imagine you’re the parent of one of the young people who were murdered last week in Umpqua, or the parent of a child killed at Sandy Hook, and your Commander-in-Chief responds “Hey, stuff happens!”

But Carly Fiorina wins the prize for going “the full Bachmann”, openly declaring as fact something she heard on Right Wing radio. Fiorina “pointed out” that the shooter “managed to get on campus with several guns” despite “being a gun-free zone”. Uh, no. UCC’s campus may of had a “rule” against guns on campus, but it was NOT a “gun-free zone”. In fact, a half-dozen students were carrying concealed weapons on campus that day, and Oregon state law forbids laws restricting “concealed weapons” *anywhere*… including schools.) Worse, the local County Sheriff had written an angry & defiant letter to Vice President Biden following the Sandy Hook massacre, proclaiming that he would refuse to enforce any new “gun-control laws”, which included restricting guns on campus. Now he has 9 more lives to answer for.

NOT ONE of the GOP candidates proposed a solution or even the tiniest suggestion of how to help prevent these things from happening again. Every answer was either “helplessness” or “we need more guns”. Wonderful.

A BIG part of the problem when it comes to passing laws restricting gun ownership is that there is a huge (“Euuuuugh”) number of BADLY misinformed people in this country who (wrongfully) believe the reason for the Second Amendment is “to protect the people from the government.” To protect themselves if “Big Brother” comes knocking on their door. And thus, any move by the government to deny people the right to own a gun gives government “the upper hand”, rendering the people helpless.

This paranoid, delusional fantasy that the U.S. military is going to come knocking on their door to enslave them, toss people that disagree with the government into “FEMA Camps” and force them to drink fluoridated water, is quite simply nuts. Yet these insane people are dictating U.S. gun policy, and people are dying because of it. These same Troglodytes believe every mass murder is a “false flag” operation conducted by the government in order to advance this not-so-secret agenda.

The Constitution does NOT say you can take up arms against the government. The Founding Fathers didn’t write “If you don’t like what we’re doing, you can shoot us.” That does NOT appear anywhere in the Constitution. What DOES appear in the Constitution? The word “treason“… seven times. Number of times “shoot your Congressman” appears? ZERO. Your defense against a government that does things you don’t like? The FIRST Amendment. The Freedom of the Press and your right to “Assemble” into groups and protest using your “Freedom of Speech”. Your right to “petition” the government for a “redress of grievances”. Shooting cops & Congressman? Not in there. I checked.

The people spreading lies & misinformation about a Constitution they angrily demand we “READ” every time the government does something they hate, yet clearly don’t know themselves, are tearing this nation apart. It’s a deadly game they’re playing. Their ignorance is costing people their lives, and they have no answers. Rendered impotent by people with a financial interest in selling military hardware in bulk to paranoid morons, convincing them something that’s simply flat out not true.

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

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October 5, 2015 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Posted in: Crime, Election, Guns & Violence, myth busting, Politics

Boehner Ousted by the Tea Party He Helped Create. Lesson Learned? Doubtful.


In 2010 during the first mid-term election of Obama’s presidency, House Minority Leader John Boehner knew that in order for the GOP to retake the majority (and make him the Speaker), he would have to court the Tea Party crazies that were seizing control of the GOP, adopting their insane ramblings like “BenghaziTM, threatening to sue the president over… uh… I forgot already, and a willingness to shutdown the government over refusing to raise the Debt Ceiling to pay for the GOP’s own budget. (speaking of which, Rep. Tom Cole on Fox “news” Sunday yesterday defended the Speakers’ record by noting “he cut the Deficit by a trillion dollars.” The GOP has spent the last few years trying to convince everyone that the National Debt is “exploding” under Obama because of “runaway spending”.) John Boehner helped create this monster and it never loved him back. So when Tea Party darlings Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio announced Boehner’s resignation to cheering/applauding crowds, it came as a surprise to no one.

The Tea Party has hated John Boehner from the beginning. ANY move by him to “cooperate” with Democrats to keep the government functioning was branded “treasonous”. In Teanutistan, Speaker Boehner has been labeled a RINO… which I’m sure would come as a shock to most Democrats… and (worst insult of all) “Obama’s friend.” And it didn’t matter how much he tried to appease them with countless Benghazi hearings, turning the (appropriate investigative) actions of an IRS office in Cincinnati into a national scandal leading all the way to the Oval Office, or agreeing to shutdown the government in 2013 and then lambasted for bringing it to an end as the GOP was (rightly) blamed, Boehner has now resigned in advance of yet another asinine shutdown… this time over a demand to defund Planned Parenthood… the largest provider of health care to poor inner-city women… over a gruesome nonexistent depiction of an abortion that another Tea Party candidate, Carly Fiorina continues to insist is accurate despite being thoroughly debunked by just about every major newspaper and “fact-checking” organization (the “scene” she described is maliciously inserted footage of a miscarriage, NOT an abortion, and NOT at a Planned Parenthood clinic. The line Fiorina is frequently quoted from the last GOP debate… a nurse saying “we must keep it (the kicking baby) alive in order to harvest its brain”… is a (ridiculous) unsubstantiated claim made by a nurse earlier in the doctored video. And despite repeatedly being told this, Fiorina digs in her heels and insists she “saw the video” and knows for a fact she saw what she saw. Please explain to us why the baby would need to be alive in order to “harvest its brain”? And there’s no such thing as a “brain transplant” (as badly as some people clearly need them) in which such a bizarre procedure would be necessary. The fact Fiorina unquestionably believes this event to be real should automatically disqualify her for running for president (or ANY political office.)

And now the Tea Party wants to shutdown the government over it.

They want to shutdown the government because they “don’t want any tax payer money going to fund abortions.” They don’t. You know the facts, I won’t bore you with them here. This is not about Planned Parenthood. It’s about the inmates running the asylum… and the GOP that invited them in, handed them the keys and treated their every insane ranting as if it were legitimate and worthy of a Congressional investigation.

“Ever dance with the Devil in the pale moonlight?” asked Jack Nicolson’s “Joker” in the 1989 Batman movie. “What does that mean?” he was asked. “Nothing. Just something I like to say.” Dancing with the Devil. An apt description.

Boehner’s likely replacement? Current Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. You’re forgiven if you don’t know who that is. Most people don’t. He’s the “not-Steve-Doocy” of the “Young Guns”… the GOP trio that supposedly ushered in “a new brand” of (Tea Party) Conservatism in 2010. McCarthy, along with better-known Republicans Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan promised to reshape the GOP in the Teanut’s image. Cantor is now gone (also ousted by the Tea Party), and you didn’t hear anyone clamoring for former darling Ryan to pick up the Romney torch and run for president in 2016. McCarthy is the third-wheel of a tricycle that has already lost one wheel.

McCarthy has two options: either follow Boehner’s lead and pay lip-service to the Tea Party crazies while working with Moderate Republicans to get ANYTHING done during Obama’s final two years in office in which case he too will be run out of office in two years, or cater to the Teanut Crazies to protect his own job while driving his Party so far to the Right as to alienate… not just Independents but every Moderate Republican left in the country… turning them into a permanent minority.

Here’s hoping for the latter.

ADDENDUM 9/28/15: Boehner calls the Right Wing hardliners in his Party “unrealistic” and “false prophets“.

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

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September 28, 2015 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Posted in: Election, Partisanship, Party of Life, Politics, Rants, Right-Wing Insanity

The Tinfoil Hat Crowd Now Controls the GOP


“We have a problem in this country, it’s called Muslims.” proclaimed an angry bigoted man man at a Trump campaign event last Thursday. “We know our current president IS one” he snarks. “Right!”, responds the current GOP front-runner. “Wasn’t even born in America, YOU know THAT!” continues the supporter. “We have Training Camps growing, where they want to kill us…”A few audience members recoil in astonishment by the man’s unabashed bigotry. The man is 100% serious and 100% delusional. But The Donald isn’t about to set him straight… not just because he fears the backlash of displeasing a supporter, but there is little doubt Trump himself holds those same beliefs. YOU know THAT! He does. FEMA Camps, “Jade Helm”, “vaccines cause Autism”, “Obama is a Muslim born in Kenya”, “Death Panels”, “They’re coming for your guns”… you’ve heard them all, and they’re no longer the the GOP “fringe”. As Fox “news” Sunday pointed out yesterday, NEARLY HALF (43%) of all Republicans now believe President Obama “is a Muslim”. They also know he drinks, eats pork, shaves, gives money to Israel for its defense, and attended the church of Reverend Jeremiah Wright for 20 years. There is a reason why people such as Donald Trump and Sarah Palin can continue to say some of the most ridiculous things, flip-flop wildly without consequence, be exposed as total hypocrites without an ounce of shame, and remain Republican rock-stars, and that’s because they now TYPIFY the mainstream political Right. The new tinfoil hat crowd aren’t the “9/11 Conspiracists”, it’s the mainstream Republican Right. The self-identified Tea Party crazies who believe the most fanciful nonsense anyone with a microphone and seething hatred for all things Obama, can dream up.

Let’s face facts. The GOP is no longer controlled by any sane group of people. They’ve been spoon-fed fear & bigotry for eight years (and paranoia for over 20). And it wasn’t forced upon them either, they begged for it. Crazy people like being told, “No, you’re not crazy.” Problem is, the people telling them that are crazy themselves. They have a built-in motivation to encourage this nonsense: “ratings” & “votes” (depending upon whether you’re Fox or a politician.)

This is the Religious Right, for whom even The Pope… the freaking POPE… is “too Liberal” for them. And Climate scientists “have an agenda”… unlike the oil company executives that tell them Global Warming is “The Greatest Hoax” in Human history.

As I tweeted out yesterday:

GOP not on side of Pope OR science


It’s no coincidence that the same people leading the GOP field are also the least experienced (Trump, Carson & Fiorina have never held elective office) and offer the fewest details on how they’ll achieve their miraculous promises. Nor do GOP voters care. On at least two programs yesterday, Donald Trump criticized President Obama’s handling of Syria and the fact Russia now has Surface-to-Air missiles on the ground there, clearly intended to protect Assad from U.S./Allied warplanes. When asked how he would have dealt with Putin differently than the president, Trump simply said that “Assad & Putin would have ‘more respect’ for him than Obama” and therefore would not be taking the liberties with him that they’ve been taking with Obama. It’s the old “Iran released the hostages the moment Reagan was sworn in because they feared him” fantasy (see: Iran/Contra). Earlier in the week, Trump suggested that he’d probably “get along better with Assad & Putin” than Obama does. Somehow, arguing “Megalomanics luv me” hardly seems like a selling point when selecting a president.

Also yesterday, Ben Carson complained about President Obama’s failure to follow through on his “red line” threat against Assad in Syria and hasn’t pushed back against Putin’s stationing SAM’s there. Translation: “Why aren’t we starting another war… not just with Syria but with Russia?” Carson added that ISIS now controls the “oil-rich Anbar Province” of Iraq and that was somehow intolerable. If you’re a Republican, sending your kids off to die for oil is their first response, not suggesting that maybe we could use LESS OIL (depriving ISIS of funds, increasing our energy independence, saving the planet… and spare some American lives while we’re at it.)

No, their first response is their “snap-decision” gut response: “Bomb them!” When you’re a frightened child, all you care about is being protected from the scary people. When you’re terrified, you don’t care how they do it or how much it costs (which is the idea). Just “protect me! And if the neighbor’s kid has to die, then so be it.” No time to think things through! “They’re coming!” The typical GOP voter is not “details oriented”. Policy discussions bore them to tears. Just give me a snappy once sentence statement that you share my paranoid delusional fears, and assure me you’ll somehow make it all better. And I don’t need the details because you’re more successful than I am, so clearly you know what you’re doing.

I honestly believe the average Republican voter still has frequent nightmares about 9/11. Something in them snapped that day. So when President Bush told them we needed to invade an unrelated country to keep them safe, they didn’t ask questions. “Okay, you’ve sufficiently terrified me about those Iraqi’s, now go get’em. Do whatever it takes. I’ll wait right here and turn a blind eye while you do it.”

The “Lunatic Fringe”… now the “Lunatic Mainstream”… is pushing the Republican Party candidates to the FAR right, fatally wounding them in the General should they win the Primaries. Even if they eschew the positions of Trump, the fact so many Republicans are in agreement with him has helped ensure certain demographics will NEVER vote Republican.

And for that, Donald Trump has done us all a HUUUUUGE service.

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

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September 21, 2015 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Posted in: Election, General, Predictions, Racism, Right-wing Facism, Right-Wing Hypocrisy, Right-Wing Insanity, Seems Obvious to Me

American Parsimony Toward Syrian Refugees is a Disgrace. Let them in.


Just over four Million Syrian refugees have fled their homeland looking to escape the ravages of a war that WE are largely to blame for yet accept almost no responsibility for. President Obama has announced that the United States will allow in a paltry 10,000 Syrian refugees into the U.S…. NEXT YEAR… or ONE QUARTER OF ONE PERCENT. Meanwhile, Germany, a country 1/27th the size of the U.S., has agreed to accept 800,000 Syrian refugees (or 20%, fully ONE FIFTH). Makes you proud to be an American, don’t it?

America is indeed largely to blame for this crisis. The Syrian government is going after ISIS, which exists only because of Bush’s invasion of Iraq. “ISIS” used to be called “AQAP” or “alQaeda in the Arabian Peninsula” back when Bush was president, whose core leadership consisted of former Iraqi Military leaders. As Iraq became a hot mess, ISIS was invited by the Syrian rebels fighting & fleeing the Assad regime. There are in fact more ISIS fighters in Syria than there are in Iraq, protected by the fact that the U.S. was not in Syria. And this escalation has led to the refugee crisis we see today.

Republicans… whom I’ve repeatedly described as “terrified children” that live in constant blinding fear of everything (minorities, terrorists, “Homo’s”, the government, you name it) and pray to God with a Bible in one hand and their gun in another to protect them from whatever terrifying nightmare scenario their leaders can dream up next (see: “The Power of Nightmares”, a 2004 BBC documentary), are proactively slamming the door shut on allowing in any substantial number of Syrian refugees, fear-mongering that ISIS or alQaeda could secretly embed terrorists in with the refugees that we allow into this country.

And I’ll bet it’s crossed your mind too. The collateral damage of Republican “fear bombs”.

Two big problems with that: 1) We screen refugees before allowing them into the country, and 2) ISIS and alQaeda don’t need to embed terrorists in with the refugees to “sneak them into the country” when they are already recruiting sympathizers right here at home over the Internet. People that don’t need to pass a background check, speak fluent “American”, and are here already.

And don’t these same concerns apply to Germany & the rest of Europe as well? Germany has already allowed in so many Syrian refugees that they’ve had to put the breaks on (temporarily) so that they can process all the people flocking to their country. They too are performing “background checks” (can’t confirm, but they were checking “Iraqi” refugees as recently as 2009) while the German people stand cheering welcoming the refugees as they arrive. Americans… especially members of a certain Party that touts “Family Values” and has claimed Jesus Christ himself as one of their own… should be ashamed of themselves.

But they’re not.

Rep. Michael McCaul fear-mongered last week that the Obama Administration is opening up a “Jihadi Pipeline” for allowing in a paltry 10,000 refugees (which is up only slightly from the 5,000 to 8,000 we already allow each year) over the next two years. For weeks, the same GOP presidential candidates that have been encouraging their moron supporters (definitely not DIScouraging them) that President Obama is making a deal with Iran because “he’s one of them“, is now fear-mongering that Obama is blindly inviting “terrorists” into our country. The #2 GOP frontrunner, Ben Carson… whose brain I’ve compared to an overflowing shotglass… warned on ABC’s ThisWeek yesterday that we need to “screen” any Syrian refugees coming into this country. I’m sure he thinks he’s the first one to think of that.

When one million Iraqis were fleeing the violence in Iraq in a mass exodus in 2004/2005…


…the Bush Administration was criticized for focusing on Iraqi refugees that had aided U.S. forces in Iraq, but not so-much Iraqi civilians fleeing the war.

If the Obama Administration doesn’t want to be compared to the Bush Administration with regards to how welcoming we are to the people whom we are responsible for turning into “the wretched refuse”, it needs to make the case to the American people that it is our obligation… not just as a leading factor in their misery, but as the supposed “Christian nation” Republicans claim us to be… to allow in at least ten times as many Syrian refugees as we have already agreed to. The “security threat” is minimal, while the International Good Will it would generate is immeasurable.

BTW: Even if you think you’ve read the plaque on the Statue of Liberty, read it again, in full:

Lady Liberty’s credo: The New Colossus
Plaque on Lady Liberty


I turn your attention to the official name of the Statue of Liberty: “Mother of Exiles.”

Postscript: I was able to fix the bugs in the preferred “Emerald” theme chosen by readers last year, which hopefully you should find easier to read. – Mugsy

Addendum 9/29/15: John Oliver debunks RW fears over immigration. Not terrorists. Not a drain on society (actually a benefit.)

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

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September 14, 2015 · Admin Mugsy · 4 Comments - Add
Posted in: General, Middle East, National Security, Seems Obvious to Me, Terrorism, War

Two more cold blooded gun murders, one on live TV, and nothing will change (once again.)


“Any chance of sane gun-control legislation in this country disappeared the moment we decided the brutal mass murder of 20 innocent school children was acceptable.” An acceptable price to pay to protect the availability of guns. We did that. I wish I could take credit for this quote, but I read it and can’t remember where. It’s not exact so a Google search has proved fruitless. It’s the saddest, most sobering summation of our gun-crazy culture I’ve ever heard. Every time there is a mass murder by some lone nut with a gun, people ask, “Will THIS be the turning point? The one event that finally wakes up the American people and demands their government finally do something about the easy availability of guns?” And time & again the answer is a resounding “No”. Not the mass murder of 20 school children and 6 teachers; not the murder of 12 movie-goers and wounding of 58 others in a theater in Aurora, Colorado; Not the murder of 9 church-goers in Charleston, SC; and now, not the murder of 2 TV reporters live on TV nor the “execution-style” murder of a Houston Sheriff’s Deputy, apparently targeted simply for being a police officer, by a black man allegedly angry over national news reports of police shootings of unarmed blacks (though none recently to explain the sudden burst of rage.) And once again, as sure as I’m sitting here typing this, not a damn thing will change as a result.

The gun-rights lunatics are already arguing that “if only the reporters and interviewee had been armed, this never would have happened.” Because in their fevered imaginations, everyone should be sporting a six-gun on their hips, ready to fire upon an approaching marauder at a moments’ notice… even in the middle of a TV interview.

GOP front-runner “The Donald”, says the murder of two TV journalists live on the air is not evidence of a “gun” problem but one of mental health.”

No, sorry Donald, while you and your followers may choose to blame the shooter’s mental state, the fact is, HE DIDN’T USE HIS CAR to kill those reporters (he could have just as easily have run them over in the parking lot), and he didn’t go after them with a knife, HE CHOSE A GUN. And he was able to get one. There are a LOT of crazy people in this world. We need basic common sense to keep guns out of their hands. And the guns they DO get, need to be less lethal.

Where is it written that an attacker is not stopped unless they are dead? Seriously wounding your attacker isn’t enough? Gun rights advocates like to play up the “crazed killer doped up on crack that keeps coming after you like The Terminator even after firing 12 rounds into them” scenario. How often does that REALLY happen? I mean seriously? We all need to be armed with a semi-automatic assault-rifle loaded with a high-capacity magazine stuffed with armor-piecing rounds “just-in-case” of this insanely rare nightmare scenario?

In their dark world, one in which the Federal Government is planning to attack Texas via underground passages in abandoned Wal*Marts, the answer is “Yes”. And THESE are the people shaping our gun legislation.

I truly believe that many politicians are afraid to anger this insane minority because they have access to lots of guns, go from zero-to-OUTRAGE faster than Daddy’s pickup, and believe The 2nd Amendment was written to give them the right to overthrow the government if they disapprove (it doesn’t.)

I actually heard one pro-gun-rights caller on the radio Friday say that “you can kill a guy with a paperclip.” So, how is it “you can kill a guy with a paperclip” and yet need enough military grade hardware to take down a charging rhino in order to protect your home from burglars?

Even Justice Scalia suggested a year or two ago that he could argue that the 2nd Amendment could apply to ANY handheld weapon (“bear” arms, meaning if you can hold it, you have a right to it), including “Surface-to-Air missiles” and even “a cannon if it were small enough”. (Amazing how far they’ll go to define the word “bear” but not the word “militia”.)

We have a Second Amendment right to bear arms. Fine. But you DON’T have a right to an “uninterrupted supply of armor piercing bullets” via 100-round drum-magazine. There is no Constitutional Amendment against prohibiting the production of anything more than a 38-caliber round. And just where in the Second Amendment does it say you have a right to “fingerprint-proof” gun-grips/rifle-stocks?

The only reason the NRA can’t fight the requirement to have a “gun license” is that pesky “well regulated” line, but if they could do away with it, you know they would in a heartbeat. The NRA has NOTHING to do with “gun-rights” and is all about promoting gun sales for the gun lobby. And nothing promotes sales like selling fear. “The bad guys are going to get you!”, so you buy a gun. But the bad guy is hopped up on drugs, so you need a bigger gun. “The government is coming for your guns”, so you need to buy an arsenal to fight them off. The NRA tipped its hand long ago when they started fighting for the gun rights of former felons, which only serves to heighten peoples fears and thus promote more gun sales.

The NRA’s Wayne LaPierre in 2013:

“I don’t know why the N.R.A. or the Second Amendment and lawful gun owners have to somehow end up in a story every time some crazy person goes off and kills children.”

“Every time”.

“More than once” and likely to happen again. That’s a chilling admission. The fact that even this sick SOB acknowledges that this is a reoccurring problem, says a lot. The fact that we’ve been unwilling to do anything about it says even more. Not the mass shooting of movie-goers in Colorado or Louisiana. Not the cold-blooded murder of a Houston police officer as he pumped gas into his patrol car. Not even the execution of two young journalists on live TV will be enough to pass the majority’s views on gun-control

Let's make a deal


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August 31, 2015 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Posted in: Crime, Guns & Violence, Party of Life, Rants, Right-Wing Insanity

Republicans want to repeal the 14th Amendment? Maybe we should let them.


The question of whether or not to amend, or even flat-out repeal, the 14th Amendment… passed in 1868… is suddenly a hot topic in 2015. Donald Trump has put the issue of whether or not to continue “Birthright Citizenship” front & center in the debate over next years’ election. But the “14th Amendment” covers a lot more than just citizenship, so Republicans, don’t be so quick to say “Let’s do it!”. There is a case to be made, both pro & con for repealing the 14th by passing the 28th (a bit of mathematical poetry to that.)

Back during the 2008 presidential campaign, Sarah Palin was asked to name a Supreme Court decision… other than “Roe v Wade“… that she disagreed with. The Right howled in protest over an apparent “gotcha” question by “the Lib’rul Media” actively TRYING to “embarrass” her. Off the top of my head, I (and about 10 million other Lib’ruls) could easily cite “Plessy v Ferguson” (declaring “Separate but Equal” Constitutional) and “Dredd Scott” (slaves are Property) as examples of bad Supreme Court rulings, but how many of you have heard of “Buck vs Bell”?

Buck vs. Bell (1927) is the first Supreme Court case in which the 14th Amendment was cited as a defense. The issue? Whether or not the State of Virginia had the right to forcibly sterilize people (mostly the poor & “mentally ill”) against their will.


Eighteen year old Carrie Buck, a girl who was institutionalized by her family at the age of 9 after her own cousin raped & impregnated her (most likely to hide their shame of being seen with a pregnant nine year old daughter), lost her case and was sterilized against her will despite the fact the law was supposedly intended only to prevent generations of reproduction by “the feeble minded” and “immoral” members of society (do I hear any nominations?)

While it is highly unlikely such a horrific case (a law which has never been repealed by the way) would rule the same if put before the High Court today, it does demonstrate weaknesses in the wording of the 14th Amendment that could be remedied by a rewrite.

I find it endlessly fascinating that the same people that DEMANDED President Obama “Read the Constitution” (or “Read the Consitution” as the case may be) over “ObamaCare” never seem to be able to print out their latest edit long enough for him to do so. Republican front-runner Ben Carson… who once compared “ObamaCare” to “slavery” (for forcing doctors to treat patients. “Damn the Hippocratic Oath!”), also announced his support to repeal the 14th which bestowed American citizenship upon former slaves. Offensive for ANY candidate to suggest, but stretching incredulity for the only black candidate in the race. Lately, I’ve taken to quoting TV’s “Bud Bundy” when speaking of Dr. Carson:

Bud (after being congratulated by his father for teaching Kelly a number of scientific facts): “there is one slight problem. See, if you take a gallon of knowledge and pour it into a shot glass of a brain, you’re gonna spill some. In other words, certain basic information had to be sacrificed.” – Season 3, episode 22 of “Married with Children”. – (starting at 16:08)

Dr. Carson (who compared being gay to “bestiality & pedophilia”) may be a brilliant neurosurgeon, but take him outside his field of expertise and he’s a blithering idiot. The same people who want to bestow Constitutional Rights upon fetuses from the moment of conception ALSO want to repeal one of two Amendments they are relying on as justification for such a law. Wrap your head around that one for a moment (details below).

There are actually FIVE sections/clauses to the 14th Amendment. Congress at the time cobbled together a whole wish list of rights they felt the Constitution lacked, pouring them into a single amendment that would either pass together, or go down in flames together. “Repealing” the 14th Amendment would have FAR broader implications than simply ending “Birthright Citizenship”. The part that most of the GOP is suddenly intent to repeal:

Section 1: The “Personhood” clause:

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States;

But that’s not even the ENTIRETY of Section 1. It continues:

…nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

The second half of section 1 actually includes things they ARE RELYING ON to support their own case for their ridiculous “fetal personhood” Amendment: extending “due process” and “equal protection” to zygotes by having them declared “persons” so that the 14th applies to them too. Talk about “throwing the baby out with the bathwater.” I’ve gotta wonder how many “pro-Lifers”… with the intellectual acumen of Sarah Palin… are also calling for the repeal of the 14th?

Section 1 bolsters the Right of “due process” established in the FIFTH Amendment and codifies the right of “equal protection” the 5th only hinted at:

“[N]or shall any person . . . be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law…” – from The Fifth Amendment

The 5th Amendment is why we detain “enemy combatants” in Gitmo (in the nation of Cuba) and not U.S. soil. Notice the right of due process extends to any “person”, not “citizen”. As Americans, we don’t deny people their human rights simply because they aren’t a citizen of our country. If you are on our land, you have basic human rights. Period. End of story. So does it come as anyone’s surprise that the GOP would also just LOVE to deny basic human rights to non-citizens? Repeal the 14th, and the right of “equal protection” becomes a matter for debate. Do we REALLY want THIS congress and THIS Court deciding the scope of “equal protection”? If anything, we need to repeal the “foreign soil loophole” in the 5th so that human rights extend to ANYONE in U.S. custody regardless of where they are held. This is what makes us better than they are. The ONLY way to win is to own the Moral High ground. Thanks to the GOP, “The Land of the Free” has maintained a beacon of hypocrisy 80 miles off-shore that has kept us at war for nearly a decade & a half.

Lack of the phrase “natural born” before “persons” in Section 1 is also what permited the “Citizens United” ruling that “Corporations are people” with the Constitutional right to donate limitless sums of money to political candidates.

Section 2: the “Equal Representation” clause:

Section 2: Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.

This is where we get Gerrymandering from. It’s why Governor Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts created a Congressional district shaped like a salamander to ensure his Party won control of The House of Representatives in 1812. Even though the Supreme Court ruled his shameless political grab unconstitutional, it hasn’t stopped politicians (on both sides) to this day from drawing bizarrely shaped voting districts based more on politics than population.

Despite receiving fewer overall votes in the 2012 & 2014 elections, Republicans retained control of The House thanks entirely to their 14th Amendment Right to redraw the district lines to favor their candidates. And should Democrats retake Congress in 2020 (which is the REAL “next big election”, not 2016), they too will rely on this right to draw those lines back. But to end this cycle of indefensible Gerrymandering, we need a Constitutional Amendment mandating a more mathematical, less political method of drawing district boundaries.)

Section 3: The “elect no traitors” clause:

Section 3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may, by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

Basically, this rule was added to prevent “traitors” from the Civil War who took an oath to defeat the United States, from being elected to Federal office. Doesn’t really apply much today… unless perhaps by some catastrophic galactic hiccup Rick Perry were to become the GOP nominee and forced to defend his (ridiculous & false) threat/belief that the State of Texas might seceded from the union over “ObamaCare”. Personally, I could argue either direction for whether this Section stays or goes.

Section 4: “The Public Debt shall not be questioned” clause:

Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

Remember this one? This was a hot topic when the GOP threatened (and eventually did) shut down the Federal Government over the issue of whether or not to raise the Cap on how much the Federal government could borrow to pay its obligations. It’s original intent was to prevent Southern states rejoining the Union after the Civil War from holding the Federal government hostage if it did not pay the South’s war debt.

Clearly, the wording here needs to be strengthened/clarified since it clearly was not enough to stop Republicans from questioning the Debt THEY THEMSELVES INCURRED.

And finally…

Section 5: Only Congress has the power to enforce these proclamation.

Section 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

How is the GOP able to abuse Section 1 (the Gitmo & “Citizens United” loopholes), Section 2 (Gerrymandering unconstitutional but they do it anyway) and Section 4 (unquestioned Debt) of the 14th Amendment? Look no further than Section 5. It’s gotta go.

So careful what you ask for Republicans. If it looks like 2016 is going to be a big year for Democrats and recapture of The House is a possibility, we just might be inclined to repeal that pesky 14th Amendment for you.

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

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August 24, 2015 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Posted in: Civil Rights, Election, Immigration Reform, myth busting, Partisanship, Party of Life, Politics, Racism, rewriting history, Right-Wing Hypocrisy, Unconstitutional