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Keystone XL Protest Signs for Download
Feb 28th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy

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As promised, here are seven posters/signs that I created for the Keystone XL Protest that I plan to attend this weekend.

As I mentioned on Monday, I believe it is FAR more effective to focus on NON-CO2 related reasons for opposing the pipeline when your goal is to convince people that don’t believe in “Global Warming” and have been spoon-fed a steady stream of lies of “Job Jobs Jobs”, “cheap gas” and “Energy Independence”, to vote against something they’ve been told would be a magic bullet for the economy.

Previews are in JPG format. Each poster in both “tall” and “wide” formats for signs or posters. Click images to download in high resolution PhotoShop format:


The oil is to be EXPORTED – The oil is to be EXPORTED


HIGHER prices NOT lower –  – HIGHER prices NOT lower


The JOBS myth – The JOBS myth


No good for gasoline – No good for gasoline


Massive Tailing Ponds – Massive Tailing Ponds


An ENORMOUS waste of fresh water – An ENORMOUS waste of fresh water


Summary poster – Summary poster

If you find these posters useful, let us know. – Mugsy
 


 

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No, the Keystone Tar Sand Oil is NOT Inevitable
Feb 24th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy

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A little birdy tells me that President Obama is now considering approving the final leg of the infamous “Keystone XL” pipeline because some big names on the Left have resigned themselves to the idea that the tar sands making it to market is “inevitable”, so we might as well be the ones to do it before a “less” environmentally conscientious nation “like China” (who is investing heavily in Green energy and focusing on pollution after Beijing started hitting blindingly toxic levels of smog prior to the 2008 Olympics.) Meanwhile, ask North Carolina and West Virginia what they think about our environmental record. Quite honestly, anyone claiming to be “a Liberal” that tells you the KXL “is inevitable so we might as well do it”, isn’t really a Liberal. Because a true Liberal finds the better way. They don’t just throw up their hands and say, “Okay Big Money, you win! I surrender!” Screw you and the Iron Horse you rode in on. That’s like saying, “Wall Street is going to find a way to screw us out of our money anyways so we might as well deregulate the whole damned thing.” No, Naysayers, the tar sands oil making it to market is NOT “inevitable.” Answer me this: That “tar sand” has been there for tens of thousands of years. Why now? Why are we suddenly considering using it “now”? Was there a sudden drop in the supply of oil that I’m not aware of? Are we running out of places to drill? Has OPEC suddenly cut back production because oil is suddenly harder to find? No. The reason… the ONLY reason they are suddenly looking at it is because it’s suddenly economically feasible thanks to the Bush Administration driving oil prices into the stratosphere. In the past, converting tar sand into “oil” was just too damned expensive. Now, with $95/barrel oil, suddenly, the process is cost effective. Wanna stop the tar sand’s from being used, GET THE PRICE OF OIL DOWN. And there’s several ways to do it.

  • First off, the most immediate effect would come by cracking down on rampant speculation in the Oil Commodities Market. Bring back the requirement that no one can purchase oil on the open market that doesn’t have a place to take delivery of all that oil they just bought. No more Day-Traders at home in their bathrobes sitting in front of their computers spiking the price of oil to make a quick profit with no consideration for what it may do to the economy. That’ll cut down on wild fluctuations in the market post haste. And knowing that the rules change is coming will convince thousands of Billy Bob’s sitting on loads of Oil Futures to dump their shares, rapidly driving down the price of oil.
     
    Critics might say that if “We” tighten Regulations on Oil Trading, they’ll just do their investing overseas. A few may at first, yes. But when you institute the regulations here in the U.S., that means no brokerage IN the U.S. can handle those trades. A brave few might just start buying their oil from overseas brokers, but most will not. And I guarantee that it WE Regulate it and it makes a dent, most other industrialized nations will quickly follow suit. That’s number 1.
     
  • Second, invest heavily in GREEN energy. Not only do you create jobs this way, but jobs with an actual future. Good paying High-Tech jobs. Jobs where your energy source is unlimited (the tar sands will only last about a dozen years, then what?). Promote technologies that shift us AWAY from fossil fuels (larger tax credits for hybrid cars, solar panels on your roof, insulating your home, etc), thus driving demand… AND oil prices… down even further.
  •  

  • And third, update the electric grid. Did you know that for less than the lifetime cost of just ONE nuclear power plant, we could update our desperately degrading electric grid, conserving as much electricity (wasted in heat and inefficiency) produced by OVER ONE HUNDRED nuclear power plants? And cheaper electricity means fewer people using oil, which (again) drives down oil prices.

As I reported last week, if the price of oil were to fall $30 to just $65/barrel, excavating the tar sands would no longer be cost efficient. And arguably, I don’t see the U.S. refining tar sand for China. If they want it, they are going to have to ship it someplace else to refine it. Suddenly, we’re not looking at $65/barrel, you’re looking at more like $75/barrel before it becomes too expensive for a foreign country to try an utilize it.

Ever wonder why CANADA doesn’t just simply refine it THERE in Canada? Why not simply build a refinery there rather than bisect the United States with a 1,800 mile long pipeline to the Gulf? Because they plan to EXPORT that oil once it has been refined. No port, no profit. And as long as oil is in the $75+ range, there’s profit to be made. Get that price down, and all your worries about Keystone go too.

I personally believe that protesters that focus on the catastrophic environmental damage the KXL would do are doing themselves a tremendous disservice. If your target audience is people that don’t believe in “Global Warming” and believe in all the lies they’ve been fed about what an economic boom it would be, you might as well be claiming the KXL kills “Spotted Owls” for all the good it would do. No, you’ve gotta hit them where they live. TELL THEM that it WON’T “create a million jobs” like they’ve been told. TELL THEM that it WON’T lower… but in fact RAISE… the price of gas. TELL THEM that it means an enormous 11-foot deep lake of black toxic sludge the size of Central Park (840 acres) in their backyard blighting the landscape, stinking the air, and lowering their property values. Hit them where they live. And be ready to answer question when they ask you to defend your claims. Because as long as these lies are allowed to persist, they become the truth. “Everyone” was gung-ho to invade Iraq over “Weapons of Mass Destruction” that we were literally guaranteed were there (“slam dunk”). But afterward when the weapons didn’t turn up, suddenly everyone realized they had been lied to for someone else’s personal gain and WE were stuck with the check.

I plan on taking part in a “Stop the Keystone XL pipeline” protest this Saturday, and I hope to create some nice “ready-to-print” signs that I can distribute in file format to fellow protesters. If I do, I’ll be sure to post them here on M.R.S. for free download sometime this week.
 


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An Unintended Stroll Down Memory Lane
Feb 17th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy

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Last week, the company that hosts M.R.S. wouldn’t let me in to update the blog. at first, I thought the problem might lie on my end because my computer had recently started acting funny. As a computer-tech by trade, my first thought was that I had a virus, but several thorough scans pronounced my PC as safe & clean. The next morning when I switched on my PC, one entire hard drive (I have three) was gone. And not just any drive, my primary 1.0-Terabyebyte data drive that was nearly full, containing most of my data. All my photos (family & otherwise), all my documents, hundreds of videos, artwork, program configurations… POOF! All gone. No virus, the reason the computer was acting funny was because my hard drive was dying. Now, for the average user, this is where panic would set in. 850 GIGABYTES of unbacked up data, gone! Holy crap! But I was “reasonably” confident that I could recover most if not all my data. Long story short, one brute-force utility was able to “recover” about 60% of my data. 310-Thousand files with NO FILENAMES (assigning names like “f873625.bmp” or “f123456.doc”). So now I’ve begun the laborious task of opening nearly every file one at a time, seeing what it is, assigning a name to it, and moving it someplace safe. I figure at the rate I’m going, I should have relabled all of my recovered files by Easter… of 2020.

Among the media stored on that drive, about eleven years worth of political news video clips going back to May of 2003 (and a couple of audio clips going back to 2002) when I first started recording stories about the Iraq War and phantom WMD’s. I had been very outspoken around the people I knew in the lead-up to the war, but I didn’t start writing about politics for about another year when those “stockpiles” of “chemical & biological weapons” that President Bush so adamantly insisted were in Iraq being readied to use against us failed to materialize. Well… you know the story from there.

So, anyway, here I am, going through literally hundreds of old videos, repeatedly amazed by how much I had forgotten and just how bad things were in this country under the Bush Administration, and in the light of current GOP “outrage” over everything-Obama, how ridiculous Republicans look actually threatening impeachment of president Obama over delaying… yes, delaying… implementing the health care mandate that they so despise. Here is just an oh-so-brief list of some of the clips that caught my attention:

  • 60 Minutes did a couple of stories about “Remote Area Medical” and their globetrotting doctors, who provide free medical services to refugees in third-world countries, setting up shop in downtown LA and Michigan, where THOUSANDS of desperate Americans drove hundreds of miles for free medical/dental care.
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  • About a dozen reports on the Bush Administration changing the justification for invading Iraq after no weapons were found, trying to claim it wasn’t about the WMD’s, and two reports on the U.N. wondering if they should open a CRIMINAL (read: war crimes) investigation.
  •  

  • The Bush Administration slashing federal worker’s salaries to pay for the soaring cost of the Iraq war without raising taxes. Then, on top of that, lowering the standards to be labeled a “manager” so that your company could deny you over-time pay.
  •  

  • Another dozen stories about the “exploding national Debt & Deficit” (and the GOP dismissing it.)
  •  

  • Rapidly rising unemployment being a major issue as far back as mid-2003, with every month reporting another “decade long record high increase”.
  •  

  • Remember that major blackout in August of 2003 that left almost the entire North Eastern seaboard… including New York City… in the dark? The outage was traced back to a failure of the Power Grid in Ohio (owned by a politically well-connected family there). That’s when people started talking about the desperate need to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure… which is 10 years older now.
  •  

  • And speaking of stories that have been going on for far longer than I realized, Republicans were already calling for war with Iran (just months after invading Iraq while the Bushies were scrambling to explain the missing WMD’s) over its nuclear program, which they were CERTAIN was NOT for peaceful purposes like the Iranians were claiming, and were supposedly on track to build a nuclear bomb by 2008.
  •  

  • Fake news reports, extolling the successes of the Bush Administration, produced by the White House with fake reporters using fake names, being broadcast in small-market TV locations as legitimate news. (also fake letters from vets appearing in newspapers across the country in support of the war, sometimes the same letter appearing in multiple cities.)
  •  

  • The Bush Administration embracing known-terrorist Mohamar Quadaffi in exchange for oil, taking him off the terrorist watch list. (You might recall, while the Bush WH befriended Quadaffi, President Obama took him out, and which one did the GOP call a “terrorist sympathizer”?)
  •  

  • The price of oil climbing into the stratosphere, peaking at $147.22 a barrel before the economy collapsed in on itself.
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  • The Bush White House repeatedly editing EPA reports on Climate Change (specifically, by interns with no scientific training) that said things they didn’t like.
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  • Draft-dodger George Bush giving a speech before the VFW, telling a room full of vets that our biggest mistake was leaving Vietnam too soon, that if we had just hung on a little bit longer, we would have won that war (and Vietnam wouldn’t be the hell-hole it is today?) and that he wouldn’t make that same mistake in Iraq.
  •  

  • The discussion of “same sex marriage” was already a hot topic in 2003, and amazing ABC reporter Michelle Martin being the first to school George Will that if “procreation” were the standard for marriage, the infertile and the elderly would be banned from marrying as well.
  •  

  • Riot police attacking peaceful protesters, including a particularly brutal take-down of “Democracy Now!” host Amy Gooodman despite her Press credentials clearly visible around her neck as she cries “Press! Press! Press!”

Yeah, it was a miserable eight years. I had almost forgotten just how miserable it was until I started rewatching all these old news clips I forgot I even had. And when I live-blogged the Sunday shows on Facebook yesterday, the sheer chutzpah of Republicans accusing President Obama of “abuse of power” even “unconstitutional criminality” because he is using the powers given to him by the Founding Fathers to raise the Minimum Wage for federal contract workers on his own, or threaten impeachment because he delays implementing a law those same Republicans openly despise, all I can do is shake my head.

If you’ve ever moved out of a home you’ve lived in for years, you may remember how amazed you were by all the old things you found that you either forgot about or thought you lost forever? That’s what sifting through these hundreds of thousands of old files was like for me this past week. Maybe everyone’s computer should crash once a decade to force us to go through and rediscover all those things we forgot about?

On second thought…
 


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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(Server down over weekend. Next update TBA.)
Feb 10th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy

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My apologies to our regular readers that came looking for this weeks latest Op/Ed. The web-host serving “Mugsy’s Rap Sheet” was down all weekend and was not restored until Monday morning. Please check back again soon for (or become a free member to receive automatic notification by email of) our next update. – Mugsy

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Apathy Latest Enemy In Fighting Keystone XL Pipeline
Feb 3rd, 2014 by Admin Mugsy

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Back in April of 2011, I wrote a lengthy post detailing all the misconceptions, deceptions and outright lies being spread by supporters of the “Keystone XL” pipeline. It was popular and important enough that I gave that post its own page, linked from the Top Menu above. Quite literally, EVERY benefit being claimed about the pipeline is complete & utter nonsense: a million new jobs, lower gas prices, and energy independence with minimal impact on the environment. All of it, total bullshit (read my report for details.) In March of last year, the U.S. State Dept declared that they believed the pipeline would have a “negligible” impact on the environment (based on a report prepared for them by people working for TransCanada), which I reported on at the time. Last week, the State Dept released its follow-up report on the environmental impact of the KXL, declaring their belief that it would in fact have “minimal impact”, giving President Obama cover should he decide to approve the final/key leg of the pipeline, extending it up to the Alberta Tarsands itself. Critics of opponents like me think the only reason we oppose the KXL is because of its impact on “Global Warming”… which they deny anyway, so we’re easy to dismiss. We’re just a bunch of squishes that “over-react” when it comes to the Environment. Well, as I pointed out in my post last year, even if you don’t believe in Climate Change, there are plenty of other reasons to oppose the KXL. Few jobs (would you believe fewer than FIFTY permanent jobs?), HIGHER (not “lower”) gas prices, and other environmental hazards like incredibly frequent massive spills of thick gooey tar (292 in North Dakota alone in less than two years) that are next to impossible to clean up. They say “pipeline technology has improved” to the point where such spills are rare. Since when? How long must we go without a pipeline rupturing that we can start calling them “rare”? Because last I checked, we haven’t gone a full 7-months yet without a pipeline leaking tens of thousands of gallons of oil somewhere in the United States.

The State Department report is rubbish. It has already been revealed, once again, that “consultants” hired to write the report were lobbyist for a trade group linked to TransCanada (owners of the pipeline). And their “conclusion” that the pipeline would have a negligible impact is based on the enormously questionable belief that if the pipeline were not built, the “oil” would just be “shipped by rail”, getting out into the market anyway (meaning the “pipeline” would have little impact, not the oil). Not only does rail not move as much product (I’m not calling it “oil” because it’s not. It’s a thick mud called “bitumen”) as a pipeline would, but as The Washington Post points out, if the price of oil falls to roughly $70/barrel, shipping by rail is no longer cost efficient. And if the price of oil falls below $65/barrel, it doesn’t matter how it’s transported, it’ll be cheaper just to leave the tar-sand in the ground. So the assumption that “we might as well just transport it by pipeline since it’s going to be delivered one way or another” is questionable at best.

I don’t like the fact that opposition to the KXL seems to have waned in the Progressive Media as of late. I hear Progressives talk about the KXL almost with a sense of futility that it’s going to happen eventually no matter what. We’ve been talking about this pipeline “for years now” and nothing bad has happened “so far” so maybe the criticism was overblown? “Nothing” has happened “so far” because it hasn’t been built! It reminds me of critics of health care reform blaming “Obamacare” for things that happened before it went into effect. Progressive radio host Ed Schultz… who has been on my shit-list ever since he spent an entire show in 2009 defending dog-killer Michael Vick’s right to earn millions of dollars playing football the same day Blue-dog “Democrat” Max Baucus (D-MT) announced that he would be siding with the GOP to deny Democrats a 60-vote Super Majority if the Health Care Reform bill included a Public Option… stated on his show last Thursday that he “supports” the KXL pipeline and “thinks it should be done” (then spent Friday’s show talking about the Super Bowl). Bye-bye, Ed. I’m done with you. I suggest you find a new job as a sportscaster, since that seems to be where your interests really lie.

Here are some new photos, and a video clip, to go with my earlier reports on the Keystone XL pipeline:

Tailing pond pipe in Alberta, Canada
Tailing pond pipe
 

Tailing pond with pipes (left)
Tailing pond, Alberta
 

Tailing pond dwarfs rig
Tailing pond, Alberta
 

Oil sands, Canada
Oil sands, Canada
 

Mildred Lake, tailing pond
Mildred Lake
 

Pipes in Sudbury tailing pond
Sudbury tailing pond
 

More pipes
Tailing pond pipes
 

Tarsands oil contains 17% more carbon than conventional crude oil.
17percent more emissions
 

More Alberta tarsands
Alberta tarsands
 

More Alberta tarsands
Alberta tarsands
 

More Alberta tarsands
Alberta tarsands
 

Closeup of tailing pond:
Tailing pond

All of these tailing pipes gush toxic waste 24-hours a day, 365 days a year.
Gusher
 

Video clip showing that gushing pipe in action (11sec)


So I’m posting this brief reminder/update on the Keystone XL Pipeline before I hear any more foolishness about the “futility” in fighting a pipeline that seems to be inevitable. That’s how they win, by wearing us down. They have deep pockets to drag this out for as long as they need until they lull us into believing, “Smoking’s good for you. Never mind the “licorice smell in your water, West Virginia. Oh, and the check is in the mail.”

Starting on February 5th, the State Department will begin an “open commenting period” of just 30 days allowing people to write them in opposition/support of the Keystone XL pipeline. Be sure to make your voice heard (don’t contact them before the 5th or risk having your message ignored.)
 


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!

RSS Please REGISTER to be notified by e-mail every time this Blog is updated! Firefox/IE users can use RSS for a browser link that lists the latest posts! RSS


 

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