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While President Bush Was Ducking Shoes… you missed the SOFA.

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, June 23, 2014

“It was a natural reaction to the killing of a million of my people, the orphaning of 5 million children, the widowing of one million women, resulting in tens of thousands of handicapped persons, tens of thousands of prisoners in American jails in Iraq, and the everyday scandals caused by the American occupation: rape, Abu Ghraib prison, bringing down roofs on peoples heads with Apache helicopters and F16 planes. Despite all this, Bush was saying the Iraqi people are happy, and the Americans liberated the Iraqi people, and the Iraqi people welcomed the Americans with flowers. [...] You lied. We did not welcome you with flowers, and instead, we are saying goodbye with our shoes.” So said Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al Zaidi explaining why he threw both of his shoes at President Bush during his final visit to Iraq. The reason for the visit? To announce an historic “Status of Forces Agreement”SoFA for short… between the U.S. and Iraq promising, quote, “the next president” would withdraw “ALL” U.S. troops out of Iraq by the end of 2011. Problem was, embedded in SoFA was a requirement for Iraq not to seek prosecution against any American soldiers for any crimes they may have committed while serving in Iraq. Because of this, Iraqi president al Maliki refused to sign SoFA. It was also because of this refusal to exempt American soldiers from prosecution, that President Obama did not leave residual American forces in Iraq. He negotiated with Maliki and tried to get him to agree to SoFA, but (as “Mother Jones reported), Iran demanded Maliki not allow ANY residual American forces in Iraq, “and Maliki owed them [Iran].” The Right has been going nuts for the past week trying to blame Obama for the crisis in Iraq that seems to be destabilizing the Middle East. That’s a bit like blaming the firemen for your house burning down after you set fire to it and then waited five hours before calling them.

I’m trying to imagine what the Right’s reaction would have been if President Obama had agreed to keep American forces in Iraq on the condition they could be prosecuted by a foreign government.

My TV survived another Sunday despite having to sit through this little exchange on Fox “news” Sunday yesterday. Michel Needham, the CEO of the Heritage Foundation’s “Heritage Action for America” super-PAC, lobbed this asinine accusation against President Obama (try not to toss your computer out the window):
 

“Six years ago, he [Obama] makes the decision to pull out of Iraq, leave no residual forces… the forces that could have been there identifying the intelligence and targeting the assets that would have prevented this [ISIS] from happening.”

(I especially like the end-part, where Needham agrees that he probably wouldn’t do anything different than President Obama, except to criticize the president’s lack of clairvoyance for not sending agents into Iraq “six months ago” to gather “intel”. Why on Earth would anyone have thought it necessary to gather intel on Iraq in late 2013? I did a Google search and I was unable to find ANY calls… not from Mr. Needham, the Heritage Foundation, nor anyone else on the right, demanding President Obama send agents into Iraq to gather “intel”. We WERE gathering intel in Syria six months ago, and ISIS was there. Lot of good that did.)

Oh Mr. Needham, where to begin. Well, first, I’m not going to nitpick that “six years ago”, Obama wasn’t president. “5+ years”, “six years”. Whatever. But something DID take place “six years ago” before Obama took office. it was President Bush, on December 15, 2008, with barely a month left in office, that sought an agreement with Iraq to withdraw ALL U.S. forces from Iraq. Iraq said, “Not unless we can prosecute them.” Bush said “No” and the agreement was never signed. But the plan to pull ALL American troops out… including any potential “residual force”… remained. President Bush wasn’t about to leave American troops at the mercy of the Iraqi courts. But apparently Mr. Needham wishes President Obama had agreed to let Iraq prosecute American soldiers just so long as we could have kept troops there? Yeah, right. And Mr. Needham must have some unspoken power of “time travel” where American troops could have magically skipped over the last two years and lived in Iraq incident-free to arrive at 2014 to stop ISIS from materializing? American forces couldn’t even stop Muqtada al-Sadr, the powerful and fiercely anti-American cleric, from rising to power. Leaving American forces in Iraq would not have prevented ISIS from rising to power. They started in SYRIA not Iraq. And they were drawn to Iraq in protest of the corrupt & inept Maliki government that was excluding Sunni’s from the political process. That would have taken place whether we left troops there or not. And as pointed out last week, whether it was one more or one hundred more years, the moment American forces left, a thousand years of jihad in Iraq would have picked up right where it left off (and will in Afghanistan too).

As recently as last September, John McCain was still bemoaning the fact that President Obama was still refusing to arm the Syrian rebels fighting President Assad, saying his “friends in the Free Syrian Army” would feel “abandoned” if we didn’t send them “arms”. McCain has been calling for the arming of Syrian rebels for YEARS. The largest of the Sunni anti-Assad militia groups McCain wanted to arm, you know today as “ISIS”, the alQaeda-trained terrorist organization now in control of nearly half the region. Yes, had “President” McCain of had his way, we could have been arming ISIS all along. Darned the luck! (How this idiot keeps getting booked on the Sunday shows without a single one of them pointing out this one simple fact, is a mystery to me… well, not really.)

Last week also saw former Vice President Cheney rise from the crypt in his “undisclosed location” to attack President Obama… saying without a hint of irony… that “never has a president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many.” I can’t imagine the bubble this man has been living in over the past 13 years, but whatever he’s smoking in that bubble can’t be legal.
 

 
Let’s read what Mr Cheney said again: “never has a president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many.”

As I like to point out, the objective of this site is to “Record history for those who seek to rewrite it”, and I could have spent literally WEEKS taring down all the asinine comments made by former Bush Administration officials and Right-Wing pundits last week that dare criticize President Obama’s handling of the shit-storm left to him by these “detached-from-reality” war criminals whose only audience should be in The Hague. But SO many others did such a great job of taking Cheney and the rest over their knee and slapping the malarky out of them that I didn’t have to.

And now, it’s this accusation that it is President Obama’s fault that the terrorist organization ISIS is taking over the region because HE refused to leave any American troops behind in Iraq after he pulled them all out in 2011. Sorry guys, we know better.
 
Oh, and before we go, a bonus clip from the same Fox “news” Sunday yesterday. Cleta Mitchell, attorney for “Tea Party groups” (gee, I wonder who hired her?) openly accused the Obama Administration of being behind the Cincinnati IRS “scandal”. When asked for the “hard evidence” she insisted she had, all she has was innuendo (this is what passes for “news” on Fox):
 

Mitchell: My “hard evidence” Obama is behind IRS scandal? He was secretly suggesting people do stuff.

 



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Filed in fake scandals, Middle East, myth busting, Partisanship, Politics, rewriting history, Terrorism, War June 23rd, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Is ISIS Really a Threat to the U.S.? The argument(s) for staying out of Iraq’s Civil War.

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, June 16, 2014

By now, you’ve already heard the “catastrophic”, “world-is-coming-to-an-end” news that a terrorist group “too extreme for alQaeda” (“too extreme” for a group that dive-bombed hijacked planes into buildings? Doubtful.) is slowly taking over Iraq, with Iraqi soldiers so afraid, they’re “stripping off their uniforms and running for their lives”. And… of course… a conga-line of Republicans taking to the airwaves to say “We told you so!” to President Obama for “leaving Iraq too early.” Okay, can we just stop with the nonsense and hyperbole for a moment. We were in Iraq for EIGHT YEARS… almost twice as long as America’s involvement in World War II. Trust me, if leaving after eight years was still “too soon”, NO amount of time would have been long enough. And in a country where the same people claiming we “left too soon” are also the LEAST likely to PAY for that involvement… is either taxes OR blood… they sure are eager to commit American forces to “Nation Building” once again… something Republicans so abhorred during the Clinton Administration that George W. Bush ridiculed the idea during the second presidential debate of 2000. And, news alert to those same Chickenhawks: THE SAME THING WILL HAPPEN WHEN WE LEAVE AFGHANISTAN after THIRTEEN YEARS. These regions have been at each others throats for CENTURIES, and they’re not going to stop now if we stay a few extra years.

If you clicked on the comic above to read it full sized, you’ll notice it’s from 2007… just four years after the start of the war in Iraq and before Bush left office. It’s an excellent reminder of all the warnings the opponents of invading Iraq gave. If ANYBODY should be saying “WE TOLD YA SO!”, it’s US. A few famous quotes from that comic:

“I will bet you the best dinner in the Gas Light District of San Diego that military action will not last more than a week.” – Bill O’Reilly on 1/29/03

“There is a certain amount of pop-psychology in America that the Shia can’t get along with the Sunni, and the Sunni can’t get along with the Shia… there’s almost no evidence of that at all.” – Bill Kristol, 4/1/03

“It’s amazing that more than two weeks into the liberation of Iraq, the anti-war crowd is still spinning a doomsday scenario.” – Brendan Miniter of OpinionJournal.com, 4/8/03

“The war was the hard part… and it gets easier. I mean, setting up a democracy is hard, but not as hard as winning a war.” – Fred Barns, 4/10/03

I nearly threw a brick through my TV yesterday as “Meet the Press” had on… of all people… PAUL F-ing WOLFOWITZ… often called “The Architect of the Iraq War”… to comment on the current situation in Iraq. The only reason this is even happening today is because of his pathetic & incomplete plan for the invasion of Iraq based upon false pretenses with no exit strategy. That’s like bringing on Richard Nixon to comment on Bill Clinton’s ethics. Fortunately for me, sanity prevailed and I simply switched off my TV rather than turn it into a fishtank. They also brought on Mitt Romney to criticize President Obama for withdrawing from Iraq… despite advocating the same thing himself in 2007 AND admitting that he is no longer privy to the daily intelligence briefings that are provided the president. And John McCain has spent more time in front of a camera since his loss in ’08 than he has his own wife. Please tell me how many times these shows brought on Al Gore or John Kerry to criticize George Bush after they lost their elections? “Liberal Media” my ass.

The organization that has all these pundits wetting their pants is “ISIS: Islamic State of Iraq and ash Sham” (not Iraq and Syria), formed in April of last year. Are they violent & brutal religious extremists? Yes (I’ve always found it curious how the most religious in any society have a tendency to be the most vicious & brutal, then justify their brutality with the Bible/Koran/Torrah). Would their take-over of Iraq be a big step backwards for Iraq? No question about it. But that doesn’t concern us. There are MANY brutal & dangerous Islamic fundamentalist states across the Middle East, and we don’t go invading all of them and try to “set them right”. It is ONLY a matter of concern for the United States if that organization is threatening to attack the United States, and that is NOT the case here.

ISIS is fighting to restore the Sunni minority back to power (Saddam was Sunni, and the Sunni controlled “Iraq” for centuries) after being marginalized by the al-Maliki government, which is Shia. President Obama openly chastised the Maliki government for excluding Sunni’s from his government. ISIS HATES the corrupt Miliki government. In Syria, Assad’s government in “Alawite”… a Shia sect. Iran is also Shia. ISIS hates them all and wants them all gone. Tell me again why were on the side or Assad, Maliki and Iran? Oh yeah, because they are “a threat to the United States”… or are they?

I went searching online for reports of terrorist attacks committed by ISIS (originally “ISI: The Islamic State of Iraq”). We’ve all heard/seen the coverage of the brutal attacks in Iraq, and have led the Civil War against Assad in Syria (including the brutal murder of seven children). But they have also launched attacks in Lebanon, and are threatening Israel from Gaza. To date, ALL of their terrorist activities have been “local” to that region of the world.

I don’t agree with Ron Paul on very much, but when he was lambasted during one of the 2008 RNC Debates for pointing out the obvious… that al Qaeda only attacked us because we had been meddling in the Middle East for decades… he was spot on. And if you want to see history repeat itself with ISIS, use American force to prop up the corrupt Maliki government and crush the Sunni opposition. As I tweeted yesterday:

#ISIS is only a threat to the U.S. if we involve ourselves in their civil war, propping up the corrupt Maliki gov’t.

The worst thing we can do now is get re-involved back in Iraq. Don’t give extremists another reason to hate us. Religious Extremists will always be there in that part of the world. It took a brutal Strong Man in Saddam Hussein to repress it for decades, and we took him out.

During the Eisenhower Administration, America overthrew the leadership in Iran and propped up a corrupt, brutal military dictator, The Sha. Iran went extremist, the Islamic Fundamentalists overthrew him, turned the nation into a theocracy, and became an enemy of the U.S.. Let’s not repeat that mistake in Iraq.

The current leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, spent four years in American custody (UPDATE: a PolitiFact investigation finds Baghdadi spent ONE year in custody, not “four”, captured and released in 2004) at Camp Bucca, so he already has sufficient reason to hate the U.S.. Let’s not give him one more.

POSTSCRIPT: Blast-from-the-past. in 2007, then Senator Joe Biden partnered up with then Senator Sam Brownback to propose that the route to peace & stability in Iraq may require breaking Iraq up into three regions, all controlled by a single centralized government. It seems now that he might have been right all along as ISIS, the Kurds and the Shia all seem to be moving in that direction on their own.
 



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Filed in Middle East, myth busting, National Security, Terrorism, War June 16th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • 1 comment | Add/View

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Right Suddenly Outraged By A “Deserter” After Electing One President

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, June 9, 2014

First off, let’s get a few facts straight. I am NOT defending Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, nor am I excusing him going AWOL (and let’s be clear, he’s NOT a “deserter”, you’re only AWOL the first 30 days, and he was captured long before then.)

Second, it seems that the GOP would now have us put every American POW on trial in absentia before deciding if they are worthy of rescue or not.

Third, regardless of the reasons for why Bergdahl walked off, WE DON’T OUTSOURCE OUR PUNISHMENT TO THE TALIBAN. We don’t leave POWs in the hands of the enemy to punish them for past deeds.

And lastly, don’t start screaming about how “dishonorable” it is to abandon your outfit in a time of war after rallying behind one such “deserter” to elect them Commander-in-Chief. Desertion is just as bad today as it was when Democrats complained 14 years ago about what George W. Bush did during Vietnam. (Disappeared from his “champagne” Unit in the Texas Air National Guard to work in a political campaign in Arkansas, only to turn up 18 months later without a valid excuse.)

Yes, I went there.

I got into a little argument with a Republican friend of mine last week (the topic is irrelevant because these arguments rarely stay on topic), and I was chastised (once again) for pointing out former President Bush did the same or worse than whatever the RWNM (Right Wing Noise Machine) was telling him to be outraged at Obama for that particular day. “Don’t you ever tire of blaming Bush?”, I was asked. “Absolutely. But it’s painfully necessary when so many Republican suffering from short-term memory loss are suddenly OUTRAGED by things Democrats complained about for eight years under Bush only to have their patriotism challenged.” Republicans have a tendency to blame Democrats for robbing the bank after Republicans planned the robbery, brought the dynamite, jimmied the door, blew open the safe and walked away with their pockets full… all while waving at the cameras.

“Sgt” Bergdahl’s (he has said he does not want the promotion he received while in captivity) family has been receiving Death Threats. This is a direct result of the outrage being whipped up on the Right (the same Right that was quick to praise Bergdahl’s release and call him a “hero”, then try to erase any evidence they did), commenting on the issue without knowing all the facts and in some circumstances, based on completely false allegations. But that’s their Demographic: “Blind faith” zealots that have had it drummed into them since their first day of Sunday School to accept everything you already believe “on faith” and NEVER question anything that might challenge those beliefs. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of Liberals calling family members of people they didn’t like, verbally abusing them and threatening them with violence. Maybe it’s happened. I don’t know. But I’d bet cash/money it doesn’t happen with the regularity or ferocity of Right Wingers.

Republicans love trying to make “Support the Troops” sound like a Republican brand, as if “nasty Democrats hate the troops”. But this too is an absolute myth. Conservatives only “Support the Troops” because they believe “the troops” believe as they do (why does “love the troops… so long as they agree with me, then gut the VA when they come home”, remind me of “love the fetus, hate the child?” Coincidence?) They think the troops are all Republicans, support Bush’s wars, are all flag-waving patriots, and vote the same way as they do. But time & time again, from the Swiftboating of John Kerry to Saxby Chandless comparing Democrat Max Cleland… a Vietnam vet that left three limbs on the battlefield… to Osama bin Laden just to win an election… they’ve repeatedly proven otherwise. Jimmy Carter was in the Navy. The only uniform St. Ronnie ever wore came from the MGM wardrobe department.  But they despise Carter to this day and kiss the ground Reagan walked on.

Republican support for the troops is about as empty as their rhetoric about “securing elections from (non-existent) voter fraud” that just coincidentally happens to disenfranchise millions of low-income & minority Democrats. They only want the people that agree with THEM to vote (the Rich and people with gun permits, but not the Poor or students with college ID’s.)

All the facts are not yet in about why Bergdahl left his outfit that day. At this point, the possibility that he stepped out to take a leak and got himself kidnapped has as much evidence to support it as any of the other allegations out there.

Other thoughts: Republicans are all claiming that “The Taliban 5″… the ominous name they’ve given to five 50 year old “gray-beards”… may return to their groups to rejoin the fight and kill Americans. Ignoring for the moment that their release from Qatar won’t be until AFTER most American troops have come home, what if we secretly implanted TRACKING DEVICES in the detainees we just released? Might support for the deal go up if Obama’s plan all along was to secretly track them back to their organizations? Or how about the possibility that their former groups may not want to have anything to do with them now out of fear of the same? Either way, it’s a win/win for us.

Republican “outrage” over the fact that the U.S. government “paid such a high price” to bring home “a deserter” after electing one… not once but twice… to be the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, and then questioned the patriotism of anyone that dare question the judgement of that same president… I’m sorry but it just seems to be a little too self serving to me if you know what I mean.

POSTSCRIPT/Update: Not 12 hours after I wrote about how Conservatives whip up hate in their constituents, a loonytoons Redneck couple, anti-BLM (“Bureau of Land Management”) supporters of rancher Cliven Bundy in Nevada, gunned down two Nevada police officers in cold blood as they ate lunch, draped the officers bodies in the “Gadsden (teaparty) flag” and painted Swastikas on them. Then killing another random person at the store across the street, before committing suicide. The couple left a note on their Facebook page, seething with hate for the government and law enforcement before embarking on their murder/suicide pact. I ask you… just who whipped up THAT intensity of hatred towards the government?
 



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Filed in National Security, Partisanship, Politics, Rants, Right-Wing Insanity, Scandals, Terrorism, War June 9th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • 3 comments | Add/View

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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.
 



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

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