A number of “concern trolls” on the Right and on Wall Street have been desperate to find ways to paint the recent plunge in oil prices as a BAD thing worthy of “serious concern” (remember when they WANTED to bring down the price of oil with their
The above graph is a chart of the annual price of oil since 1981. That yellow line shows roughly the trajectory upon which oil prices were rising in that time (going back
As I pointed out recently (and frequently in the past), the price of gasoline was WELL below $2/gal prior to the invasion of Iraq. In 2000, long-haul truckers threatened to go on strike when the price of diesel hit
As you can see from the above graph, this recent plunge in the price of oil is certainly not the first nor the largest. That honor goes to the Reagan Administration, whom I believe Republicans give high marks to. The decline in 1998 was also not the forebearer of economic catastrophe. Only the plunge of 2008… which took place AFTER the economic crash that year… was a sign that something was wrong. And NOT ONCE in any of those cases did the steep decline in the price of oil provoke a severe economic downturn. In fact, the opposite is true. Ronald Reagan’s second term saw economic growth. The plunge of 1998 saw the start of explosive growth in the tech sector that fueled the
Oil companies were incredibly successful for decades with oil prices around $30/barrel, and are hardly “struggling” today because oil prices recently (momentarily) fell to $45/barrel last week. Before the Bush presidency, I remember being upset when gas hit $1.49/gal in the Summer of 2000. Today, locally, I can find gasoline for $1.89/gal, getting very close to
It’s nonsense of course. The current decline in gasoline prices is NOT a harbinger of economic devastation to come. Oil companies did just fine with oil close to $25/barrel for decades, and will do so again if necessary.
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This is arguably my favorite posting duty of the year, where I get to ridicule the
Bill Kristol (former Chief of Staff to Dan Quayle… which tells you all you need to know) is so routinely horribly bad at predicting, The Rachel Maddow Show actually did an entire segment on it last January (though they omitted his most famous wrong prediction:
“And on this issue of the Shia in Iraq, I think there’s been a certain amount of, frankly, Terry, a kind of pop sociology in America that, you know, somehow the Shia can’t get along with the Sunni and the Shia in Iraq just want to establish some kind of Islamic fundamentalist regime. There’s almost no evidence of that at all. Iraq’s always been very secular.” – Bill Kristol defending the decision to invade Iraq to ABC’s Terry Moran, April 1, 2003.
…”almost no evidence of that”… except maybe A THOUSAND YEARS of civil war. Iraq was only “secular” because Saddam knew it was the only way to control religious infighting. What did I say about Republicans and their knowledge of history? (Iraq was currently secular, ergo it has always been secular.)
The so-called “professional psychics” are so routinely bad, it’s almost no fun beating up on them anymore. This list of predictions for 2014 by some of the most famous in their field was so abysmally wrong that it’s easier just to read it than dissect it. Among my favorites: Vladimir Putin wins Nobel prize for his part in Syria and “A tornado destroys most of Kansas City” (KC Kansas or KC Missouri? …like it matters.)
Last year, I made a point of recording “Fox news Sunday’s” Predictions for 2014 on their year-end show. Host Chris Wallace joked that the segment comes under the heading “Often in Error but Never in Doubt”… which sums up Conservatism perfectly. Have you ever seen a group so sure of themselves despite being so consistently wrong about everything? Republicans are SO sure their beliefs are right that their predictions are “predictably”
- ObamaCare will continue to “unravel” and cause economic chaos.
- Republicans win control of the Senate… due to the poor economy.
- An airstrike on Iran’s nuclear facilities by the U.S. or Israel.
- Economy will improve, but not by enough to significantly reduce unemployment.
- GDP growth under 3% (it broke 3.5%)
- “ObamaCare crushes jobs”. Unemployment goes down only because people give up looking for work.
It’s no surprise Fox chose not to (no do they ever) replay their previous years’ predictions yesterday heading into this years’ segment.
The only one bullish on the economy was DINO Joe Liebermann, correctly predicting a strong economy for 2014, “over 3% GDP growth”, “the DOW will break 18,000″ (it did) “and the S&P will break 2,000″ (it did). But even he predicted “unemployment will [only] go down to 6.5%”. Last month, unemployment fell to just 5.8% following
Last week, this was the news on the economy (Dec 23, 2014):
Remember that date because I promise you Republicans will be taking credit for the improved economy next year despite the fact it was a huge success BEFORE they ever took control of Congress.
On “Meet the Press” yesterday, Chuck Todd summed up the Obama economic record for 2014 with these figures:
By contrast, here is a compilation of news reports on the economy after six years of President Bush and Conservative control of Congress (5:54):
My first attempt at predicting the coming year was 2006 when I went a paltry 2 for 10 (20%) predicting 2007. Learning from my mistakes, in 2007 I went 9 for 12 (75%). 2008 went 11 for 15 (73%).
- Wrong: GOP to agree to a “compromise extension” of Unemployment benefits. – It’s easy to forget that just one year ago, the economy was still soft and unemployment was still nearly
7-percenct (finally falling to 6.7% by years end)Senate Republicans knew they could vote “Yes” on an extension because they knew it would never pass the GOP controlled House. House Leader Boehner hemmed & hawedfor five months, finally rejecting an extension in mid-May. But by then, it was moot. Three straight months of job growth well over 100K and then two months of job growth over 200K, by then no one was decrying the need to extend unemployment benefits now that the jobs were coming back.
- Wrong: expect the DOW to close just over the “19,200” mark come years end. – The market grew like gang-busters once again in 2014, but slightly slower than it did in 2013. Breaking 18,000 last week was still a record.
- Wrong: Supreme Court to rule that states must recognize marriages performed in another state. – While the Supreme Court did overturn bans on same-sex marriage in
Oklahoma, Utah & Kansasas unconstitutional, they did not go so far as to rule on any “interstate” recognition of marriage. But that’s primarily because no such case was ever brought before the high court. Based on three rulings of declaring state bans “unconstitutional”, there would be no excuse for defending a ban had such a case come before the court. So while I got this one wrong, I still feel vindicated.
- Wrong: don’t expect control of either House to change hands – Well… half-wrong anyway, but no points for half credit. I never expected Democrats to just roll over and play dead like they did this year, eschewing the president and his robust economy with record job growth like he was an Ebola victim that crossed the border illegally. Never
under-estimatea Democrats ability to not take credit for their success as well as Republicans ability to convince you that’s just warm yellow rain they’ve been showering you with.
- Wrong: Hillary WILL announce her intention to run for President, as will Chris Christie – The years’ not over with yet as I type this, but I really thought the candidates would declare immediately after the
mid-terms. But Hillary is waiting before pasting that target on her back, and enthusiasm for Christie just never grew as Democrats followed “Bridge-Gate”and Republicans still never forgave him for embracing President Obama after Hurricane Sandy.
- Wrong: expect a reasonably smooth, growing economy in 2014. Expect GDP growth in the 4.0+ range next year. – First half right, but second half just missed the mark. I remember as I wrote that, that 4.0+% growth was probably a tad overly optimistic, but growth of
over 3.5%wasn’t that far off the mark. Still not good enough for me to grade my prediction as correct.
- Wrong: Snowden to move to South America. – As far as anyone is aware, he’s still in Russia, even agreeing to an interview with American television while in Moscow.
- Right: Regarding Congress raising the Minimum Wage, with a number of states deciding no wait for Congress to act and raise it on their own, but nationally, if the economy continues to improve, forget it. – Ah, finally, a win! I was getting worried there. In his State of the Union Address, President Obama asked Congress to raise the Minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10/hour. Republicans in Congress have vowed to block any vote on raising the Minimum Wage, but as predicted, 21 states voted this year to raise their Minimum Wage on January 1st of 2015.
- Wrong: The Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia is going to be a mess. – While I could make a case that I got this right (#SochiProblems was a trending hashtag on Twitter during the games following reports of “unfinished hotels” and a hiccup during the opening ceremonies as one of the Olympic rings failed to expand), but nothing like my expectation of events either being relocated or canceled, and threats of violence against the games that I expected. I’m no hack, so mark this one wrong as well.
- Wrong: Janet Napolitano, hand-picked by Obama to lead a delegation of openly gay athletes to Sochi, was specifically chosen because she herself will come out as gay upon her arrival. – No idea if she is or not, but she certainly didn’t make any such announcement while she was there… not even during an interview with “The Advocate” magazine.
- Right: I don’t think an unemployment rate of 6.1% (give or take 3/10th of a point) is out of the realm of possibility. – Not only was unemployment of just 6.1% obtainable, but the eventual 5.8% is indeed withing 3/10th of that figure as predicted.
- Wrong, but with some caveats: a nuclear disarmament deal WILL be struck with Iran. – While Iran never did agree to give up its right to pursue nuclear weapons, I also noted an increase in the global supply of oil resulting in a plunge in the per barrel price (but guessing only around $80/$75, never dreaming we’d see
sub-$60 numbersagain. Iran is indeed trading its oil through OPEC.
- Wrong: Ted Cruz announces his intention to run for President. – Sometimes reality wins out over ego. With just 2% support for a presidential run among Conservatives (a number that is likely falling following his
end-of-yearstunt that has the GOP faithful spitting nails in his direction) support for a Cruz candidacy just never materialized.
- Right: Supreme Court will rule in-favor of Hobby Lobby. – There was no way on God’s Green Earth that this Conservative-leaning Court was going to rule against the Religious
WrongRight in this country. Had the company arguing its religious rights were being violated been Muslims, Hindu’s or Satanists, you can be damned sure the vote would have gone the other way. But the American Taliban wields great power in this country.
- Right: no “Election Reform” bill will be taken up in an election year. – Admittedly, this one was pretty easy. Lots of talk about the need for “Election Reform” following the 2012 Election, but rampant voter disenfranchisement laws swept the country (in Red states) this past year, sweeping the GOP back to control both houses of Congress due in part to just 39% voter turnout (which is actually just slightly above average for
- Right: a really big hurricane will hit someplace somewhere. – I’ll admit I was half-joking on this one, but monster storms are becoming
more & morecommon as Global Warming becomes a growing problem. Typhoon Nuri, the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the North Pacific (smashing a 37 year oldrecord), brushed the East coast of Japan before breaking up in the Bering Sea.
- Right, with caveats: another “Lone-wolf” gun nut will go on a shooting spree. – In the wake of Sandy Hook and the Colorado shooting sprees, it seemed most likely that another mass shooting would take place again. On May 23 in Isla Vista, CA, another disturbed young man went on a shooting spree killing six people and wounding thirteen others (I actually expected more deaths) before killing himself. Notably though, 2014 was more the “year of cops killing unarmed black men” (and one black child) than it was noted as a year of mass murders by a single gunman.
- Right… though I’m almost tempted to mark this one wrong: the Syrian conflict will still be raging a year from now. After incorrectly predicting military action against Assad/Syria in
2012 AND 2013, I played things a bit closer to the vest for 2014 topredict only that the conflict would still be ongoing in 2014. And indeed it is. But ironically, Assad’s war on his own people has been disrupted by… of all things… the terrorist group ISIS seeking to take control of the entire region. In an odd and totally bizarre way, ISIS has managed to do what America (nor any coalition nation) has dared attempt: disrupt Syria’s war on its own people by drawing its fire against an even greater threat to their monarchy.
Totaling the damage, 7 of 18 for just 39%. Not my worst but pretty far off the mark. Let’s see if I can’t do better this year.
My predictions for 2015:
- Early in 2015, in a sweeping and feigned show of “bi-partisanship”, Republicans will quickly approve at least two of President Obama’s cabinet appointees (most notably the new Secretary of Defense) in an attempt to show just “how willing” they are “to work with the president”. They will then quickly return to their obstructionist ways though, passing bill after bill they know President Obama would never sign (additional tax cuts for the highest tax brackets, repealing ObamaCare, etc) and point to the president as “the obstructionist” standing in the way of “what the people want.”
(Update 1/7/15: Republicans Move To Gut Social Security Benefits on Their First Day in Power)
(Update 1/9/15: House votes to pass Keystone XL pipeline)
- Tensions between NYC Mayor DiBlasio and the Right-Wing head of the NY “Policemans Benevolent Association” will reach a boiling point with the Mayor finally chastising Pat Lynch by name for breeding discord between him and the NYPD over his own personal political differences. I’m not sure how much longer New Yorkers will tolerate this nonsense. Mayor DiBlasio won with a majority of the vote. Where are they now and why aren’t they rushing to his defense?
(Update 1/31/15: New York Mayor Bill De Blasio Says Back-Turning By Police Was ‘Really Inappropriate’) but doesn’t cite Lynch by name.)
- Hillary will remain the Democratic front-runner all year as her few Democratic challengers fail to ever pose a serious threat to her candidacy. Bernie Sanders will get into the race (as a Democrat so he can take part in the debates) but Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren will not. She said no; she means no. “
Commander-in-Chiefof the Armed Forces” is not her style. Expect an endorsement from her late in the year (most likely for Hillary, but Hillary has a nasty habit of throwing her Democratic colleges under the bus, so it is difficult to say for sure.) Support for Bernie may swell after one or two good debate showings and may even help push Hillary to the Left some, but the chances of an admitted “European Socialist”… which translates in the dullard Teabagger ear as “Nazi”… becoming the nominee is about zero.
- Fans of Ron Paul in 2012 will find Rand Paul a poor substitute and fail to flock to his candidacy as passionately as they did his father.
- I’m not sure I’m ready to pick the Republican front-runner at this time (my gut says Jeb Bush but I also never expected him to run), but I can tell you that not even Mitt Romney’s ego is big enough to convince him to run again against the likes of Jeb Bush and Chris Christie. There isn’t enough oxygen in the rarefied air that is the
GOP-nominationfor three egos that big. I’m not even confident there will be a clear GOP front-runner by years end. And remember folks: #Jeb4President, because two Iraq Wars and three Recessions just weren’t enough.
(Update 1/30/15: Romney Announces He Won’t Run for President in 2016.)
- ISIS will continue to grow, but not at nearly the same rate. Recent barbaric domestic attacks like the massacre of 145 school children in Pakistan by the Pakistani Taliban in response to the rise of ISIS there will anger weary neighbors tired of all the in-fighting. As fewer people flock to join ISIS, their growth will slow and less territory will be taken/held. I don’t expect ISIS to be significantly larger a year from now than it is today (roughly 31,500 members).
- We haven’t seen the last of Putin’s trouble-making. Global insecurity raises oil prices. The recent plunge in oil prices has thrown the Russian economy into chaos, yet Putin still enjoys an 80% approval rating among
Republicanser Russians because they suffer from the same classic inferiority complex as Conservatives (them against the world). So they rally around their dear leader as he makes mischief in the world trying to drive up oil prices by soughing unrest in Ukraine and the Middle East (and my money is on teenage Russian hackers being behind the hack of Sony Pictures that was blamed on North Korea.)
- Which leads to North Korea. I suspect evidence will grow that North Korea was not directly responsible for the computer hacking of Sony Pictures late this year, but instead were only approached for “backing” or “support” just prior to the attack by third parties. Any early “sympathy” that might grow for North Korea as evidence suggests the hacking did not originate there will quickly dissolve as evidence suggests they had prior knowledge of… and were complicit in… the hacking attack.
(Update 1/19/15: NSA confirms NK behind hack attack because they hacked NK’s computers back in 2010.)
- The GOP will NOT attempt to impeach President Obama in 2015 (no bets on 2016 though). They know the voting public just has no appetite for two attempted impeachments of two Democratic presidencies in just the last eight years and would rightly crucify them for such crass political gamesmanship once again if they tried. An attempt to “sue” president Obama over “Executive Action” is still possible, but if they do (likely) it will be incredibly
- Gitmo will still be in operation by years end. Republicans will raise a ruckus as more (already cleared) detainees are released, but for the most part, not much will have changed by years end. President Obama has tried to close it for six years, but with a Republican controlled Congress for his last two, forghedaboudit.
- And that brings us to Cuba (where Gitmo is located.) I never dared predict a thaw in relations with Cuba this past year, but now that it has happened, expect interest in Cuba as a tourist destination to explode, much to the chagrin of Conservatives, torn between their hatred for the Castros/Communism and their love for the economic opportunities including corporations expanding cruise lines, building hotels and reviving the struggling cruiseline industry.
- With no elections this year, don’t expect any more states to pass marijuana legalization laws. But as the year comes to a close, expect a push to get it on the 2016 ballot in more states start to take shape. No, Democrats will not make it part of their 2016 platform and no, president Obama will not take any Executive Action… neither pro nor con… regarding the issue.
- As noted above, Republicans will try to take credit for record economy that we’ve already started to see take shape before they’ve even taken control of Congress. When Republicans held control of both houses during President Clinton’s final six years, even they didn’t try to repeal the tax hike that Democrats passed in 1994 that led to
a Balanced Budgetand unprecedented economic growth. Nor will they try in 2015 because they know what it would do to the economy.
(Update 1/7/15: Sen. Mitch McConnell says the economy is improving because Republicans are in charge)
- I’m stunned oil prices have plummeted so precipitously this past year, and while the decline may continue for a few months more, it has a floor. I’d be stunned if oil fell below $40/barrel in 2015 and if it does, it won’t stay down there for long. Even with Putin out there trying to stir up trouble to get oil prices back up to rescue the Russian economy, expect the price of oil to settle in around $58/barrel give or take around $5… roughly just about where it is right now ($55/barrel).
- The DOW will continue to rise but not at the same rate, as oil prices stagnate and Republican obstructionism leaves Washington in the doldrums. The DOW should flirt with the 20,000 mark by years end, another record but at a slower rate than
2013 or 2014.
And that’s my predictions for 2015. No big moves on the Environment or Renewable Energy. 2015 just won’t be a “shake things up” kind of year. With Hillary’s “inevitability”, even the Presidential Debates won’t draw a lot of interest. Other than Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and “Medicare” in 1965, can you name anything of significance happening in a year ending in “5” in the last 50 years? My batting average has fallen every year since 2008, so I’m due for some improvement. We’ll see.
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Plunge in Oil Prices Foretells Looming Economic Disaster. Aribrary pricing can go up easier than it came down.
During the 2000 presidential campaign, after oil climbed a whopping 72cents in one day (yes, that’s sarcasm) to $33.05/barrel, causing gasoline prices to hit an “unthinkable” $1.68/gallon nationally, Interstate “long-haul” truckers across the country threatened to go on strike saying that the soaring price of fuel was putting them out of business. Naturally, the leading candidates,
The range circled in yellow is the relatively flat/stable gasoline prices we had become accustomed to for decades, with a slight dip following 9/11. Gas prices rarely rose more than a couple of pennies per gallon in a month let alone a single day. After becoming president, the price of gasoline under
The range circled in red is the dramatic plunge in gasoline prices after peaking at just over $4.10/gallon in July of 2008 (reportedly, one journalist asked President Bush at the time what he thought about the price of gas breaking $4/gallon, to which a startled president Bush… who last saw gas prices around $1.68/gal during the 2000 campaign… supposedly said in surprise, “How much???”) Breaking the $4.00 barrier was probably the final straw in the looming collapse of the economy, the bankrupting of the banking industry and the implosion of Wall Street, with the price of gas falling to a national average of just $1.89/per gallon in just seven months. The election of President Obama and the promise of getting out of Iraq was seen as likely to bring some stability to the Middle East (don’t laugh), which in turn would reduce the threat to our oil supply, allowing prices to quickly “rebound” back to the “new normal” of over $2.50/gallon in less than a few months (and over $3.50/gal in the year to follow). Again, as you can see from the graph, gas prices began to flatten out (relatively) until this most recent plunge (circled in green.)
I’ve been writing about the skyrocketing price of oil under Bush for many years now, so one might think I’d be thrilled to death to see the price of oil (and gas) plunge back to Earth… and under a Democratic president no less to really rub it in Republican’s faces. Low gas prices are like a shot of nitrous in the economic gas tank. What Republicans think “tax cuts” do for the economy, falling gas prices actually DO (because the benefits hit the
The reason oil prices are falling are manifold. First, the United States, under President Obama, has dramatically increased oil production to
Increased U.S. production has triggered a price-war with OPEC… which represents about 1/3 of all the oil produced in the world… increasing their own production to compete with America. So right now, it’s a fight to see “who blinks first”. Two weeks ago, OPEC voted on whether they should CUT production in an attempt to drive prices back up. In the end, they voted “No” because they knew they would lose Billions in sales as more people purchased American oil. OPEC’s response was that they could withstand the price of oil falling to as low as $50/barrel again… a price not seen since right after the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
But American oil companies are likely to blink first before allowing oil prices to fall that low again, and would cut their own production to drive prices back up. OPEC would happily cut their own production in turn, the price of oil would skyrocket overnight and the U.S. economy could crash.
And American oil companies have ample incentive to drive prices up. First, when you sell a product billions of people literally can’t do without, you can almost charge whatever you want. And if they want $75 oil again, they wouldn’t break a sweat getting it back up there. And if you’re “TransCanada” and have millions of acres of oily sludge just begging to be turned into a pile of cash if only it were
Of course, U.S. oil production can’t remain at this pace forever. Eventually (very soon I believe), production is going to start falling off (either from actual shortages or artificial ones), thus prices will start inching back up and the U.S. economy will falter. Desperate to eschew blame, Republicans… having missed the lesson entirely… will cry, “If only Democrats hadn’t blocked the Keystone pipeline in 2014, it would be built by now (actually, most of it is already built) and the price of oil wouldn’t be so high!”
No, the lesson to be learned here is that now more than ever, while oil prices are low and the economy is growing, we need to be investing in Green Energy now more than ever. Think of it as
POSTSCRIPT: I decided not to report on the recent protests regarding the deaths of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and whomever is next because the subject is already being covered thoroughly by others. Rush Limbaugh went on Fox “news” Sunday yesterday to blame “high taxes on cigarettes” for the death of Eric Garner (the “logic” being that the only reason there was a market for him to sell lose cigarettes was because of the high taxes on them, and the city’s dependence on that tax revenue is why “so many” cops descended upon him to the point of taking his life.) Yes Rush, blame the government; blame the victim; just don’t blame the guy with his arm around Garner’s neck… which “wasn’t
a choke hold”because the cops told him so.
Limbaugh… the man who sang “Barack the Magic Negro” on his radio show to the same Teanut listeners who carried signs of Obama dressed like a witch doctor while protesting “ObamaCare”… complained bitterly that “people thought electing a black president would move the country past racism” (an irony lost on Limbaugh), but instead President Obama is to blame for an even greater racial divide in this country. He went on to lament that “you can’t criticize Obama without being accused of being a racist.” No Rush, before Obama, closet racists like yourself kept their racism in check. Once they were able to openly use racial code to criticize a black politician under the protective guise of simply “criticizing the president”, that’s when you and your ilk were exposed as the racists asshats we always knew you to be.
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Did you know about 1/2 of the Keystone XL Pipeline has ALREADY BEEN BUILT? The KXL project is a 1,200 mile long pipeline extending from Hardisty, Alberta to refineries in Houston, Texas near
Businesses near the pipeline will soon be forced to relocate as the local population moves away. That translates to fewer jobs and less tax revenue. At the destinations of these pipelines, not only will residents/businesses flee the pipeline itself, but the massive lakes of toxic waste (called: “tailing ponds”) will chase away new residents better than being told their house was the site of a brutal murder/suicide.
Ask anyone from South-East Texas about a place called “Texas City”, and the first thing they’ll mention is how bad it smells. “Texas City” is home to three major oil refineries, only a short hop away from “Port Arthur”… one of Keystone’s three destinations… with its three additional refineries. Trust me, no one lives there unless they have to (employed at the refineries). Not only does the air stink of rotten eggs (sulfur) for miles around, but the air actually burns your eyes and throat after just a few minutes (it is common local knowledge to “roll up your windows” when driving past this section of East Texas.)
I keep hearing supporters of the pipeline say, “It will create jobs!” like it’s a universally accepted statement of fact, and to doubt “that one simple fact” makes you irrational. During last Friday’s episode of “Real Time With Bill Maher”, CNN “Political Contributor” Margret Hoover stated as a fact: “The reality is that the Keystone XL Pipeline will create jobs. Who could be against that?” And MSNBC’s Chris Matthews also repeated the mythical “it will create jobs” claim during
Seriously? These are the “jobs, jobs, jobs” Republicans have been promising? We’re risking certain environmental disaster to produce less than half as many jobs as the U.S. economy needs EACH MONTH just to keep up with population growth, over the span of TWO YEARS? Tell me we’re not being ruled by people THAT dumb!
UPDATE: Doing the math, best case scenario of 51,000 temp jobs (9,000 + 42,000) spread out over two years has the same impact as adding just 490 jobs a week for the next two years, or roughly a 0.45% increase in monthly job growth.
While live Facebooking/Tweeting the Sunday News Shows yesterday (click here to follow us on Twitter or here to follow us on Facebook), I found myself in a Twitter “debate” with a “Proud Truther” that thought I wasn’t very bright if I couldn’t figure out all the jobs that could be created from “Construction and maintenance” of the pipeline. Long story short, after I advocated promoting “Green jobs” over the pipeline, he responded with the familiar Republican claim that “government does not create jobs”. This is a common (and painfully stupid) response by Republicans whenever talking about using the government to promote job creation. The “logic” (if you can call it that) goes this way: “If the government creates the job, it costs tax dollars, for a net gain of zero.” And if government were the employer, he might have a point (he’d still be wrong, but at least a defensible argument.)
So I respond back, “Government doesn’t create jobs? That’s demonstrably false. The government creates jobs ALL THE TIME.” May I just point out that this mental midget was arguing with me OVER THE INTERNET… which was a government project and now responsible for
Remember that “failed” government program that lost millions on “Solyndra“… a GOP punchline for the past six years that Republicans pointed to as an example of “money wasted trying to promote green jobs”? Well, it’s slated to turn
Some “reluctant” supporters of constructing the pipeline (and many Republicans, like Sen. John Thune, trying to straddle the fence on Fox “news” Sunday yesterday) like to say, “Construction of the pipeline is inevitable. They are going to sell that oil whether we build the pipeline or not, so we might as well just build it.” Few arguments in favor of the pipeline anger me more than this one. It’s the, “we’re all going to die someday so why not just put a bullet in our brains now?” argument. Former Talk Radio host Ed Schultz made this asinine argument on his radio show last year creating a firestorm. People like myself quickly set him straight and eventually he recanted, but the damage had been done and his show was off the air a few months later.
No. Construction of the pipeline is NOT “inevitable”. Turning tarsand into “oil” is an extremely expensive process, and it is only cost effective with oil between
I heard numerous Conservative Commentators yesterday repeat the “common sense” logic that “increasing the supply of oil” (by tapping the Tarsands reserves) will bring down the price of oil. I’ve already detailed in my “Truth About the KXL” report how there isn’t enough oil in the Alberta tarsands (even when added to our our own Bakken shale reserves) to “glut the market”, and that even if there were, OPEC would simply cut production to drive the price back up. So any idea that the tarsands oil will mean lower gas prices is based on nonsense.
For FAR less money… with the side benefits of creating FAR more PERMANENT high-tech green jobs and without the double costs of environmental and economic disaster… we can REDUCE our dependence on oil… the ONLY thing that would actually have an impact on oil prices. I pointed out a couple of years ago that
There is no economic future in continuing our dependence on fossil fuels. Green jobs pay better and have an actual future, but our government is about to be dominated by people desperate to protect the Blacksmithing Industry from the invention of the Automobile. Senate Democrats are suddenly willing to hold a vote on Keystone because they think helping Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu agree with her opponent on the pipeline will save her job (bang head on wall repeatedly). Have they learned NOTHING from the beating they took just one week ago? Conceding your opponents position doesn’t win you elections. I can think of no better/safer time to kick Landrieu to the curb as a warning to other Democrats. Keeping this notorious DINO in office doesn’t change the balance of power. She’s about to vote with the Republicans (again) in opposition to President Obama (again), so tell me again why I should waste ONE DIME trying to save her seat in Washington? Keystone is
Probably THE reason I’ve been writing this blog every week for the last ten years is because of the importance of elections. As the subtitle says, “Recording History for those Who Seek to Rewrite it”. Of course, you wouldn’t need to be reminded of something if you had no power to change it. Not only is it about the elections, but also to remind voters of what happens when they vote while uninformed/misinformed. (Side-Note to anyone that thinks elections don’t matter: Ask the people spending BILLIONS trying to suppress your vote why do they bother if elections don’t matter?) Republicans are notorious for their hypocrisy when their politicians do the very things they claim to oppose (eg: GWB decrying “nation building” during the 2000 RNC Convention, to name but one) to a wholesale rewrite of the Reagan Legacy to turn the former
During his 1980 Presidential campaign, Reagan criticized the Carter Administration for allowing the National Debt to grow to to a “staggering” $800-Billion dollars. Just days after entering office, in an address to Congress in February of 1981, Reagan’s speech-writers came up with the infamous “stack of dollar bills” analogy to give people a sense of just how much money “one Trillion dollars” really is. The Reagan prescription called for a massive
What the Reagan Administration did not count on was that sucking that much money out of the economy meant fewer paychecks. Less than two years later, Reagan’s Corporate tax cuts led to 10.8% unemployment, the highest since
By the time Reagan ran for reelection in 1984… less than four years after lambasting the Carter Administration for allowing the National Debt to grow to $800-Billion dollars… “Reaganomics” had nearly doubled 204 years worth of accumulated Debt
If the hypocrisy of Deficit Spending under Reagan weren’t enough, how about being “the most corrupt Administration in history”… a title that took some doing barely a decade after the Nixon Administration. Reagan’s presidency ended with
Despite the exploding Debt and record corruption, the country still elected Reagan’s Vice President, George HW Bush, to continue the Reagan presidency. Unfortunately for Republicans, Poppy Bush… who ran against Reagan in 1980 criticizing his economic policies as “Voodoo economics” (the belief that you can increase Federal Revenue by slashing taxes on the rich) was a bit more responsible when it came to Federal spending (not by much mind you, but enough.) Poppy Bush, after assuring cynical Republicans that he wouldn’t raise taxes with his infamous
Bill Clinton’s 1992 Campaign Theme was “It’s the economy, stupid”, ridiculing Poppy Bush for refusing to even mention the subject on the campaign trail. So upset were most Americans with the Bush-I economy, many (myself included) turned to Third-Party candidate Ross Perot. To this day, I wonder what disasters might have befallen the country if Perot had actually won the election… a man that it turned out had no interest in “negotiating” with Congress or anyone else, believing there was a “mandate” for what he believed was right for the country and would ignore anyone that told him otherwise (that’s not a guess. That’s what we learned after one of his campaign managers, Ed Rollins, revealed when he resigned in protest.) I view my support for Perot as a learning lesson for why it is so important to be an informed voter today.
The 1994 Gingrich Revolution
In 1994, following two years of vicious partisan attacks and recriminations by Republicans against a president they viewed as “illegitimate” (thanks to Perot’s third-party candidacy that allowed Clinton to win with less than 50% of the vote), House Minority Leader Newt Gingrich orchestrated the GOP takeover of Congress during the 1994
Two of Clinton’s key critics, Rep. Newt Gingrich and Sen. Henry Hyde were both currently having extramarital affairs WHILE they were denouncing President Clinton for his, a fact that did not to come out until years later. The sum culmination of six-years of investigations of everything from
During the 2000 presidential race,
The Stock Market continued to plunge and unemployment continued to climb as rising oil/gas prices (thanks to the invasion of Iraq) made everything more expensive, ushering in the first or TWO Bush Recessions. The Bush Administration’s solution was to cut interest rates to the bone and encourage people to invest in real-estate. Millions of people were talked into taking out “Adjustable Rate Mortgages” to purchase well beyond their means, but as the economy continued to decline, those ARM rates started to go
The GOP under Obama
This is the Sh!t storm President Obama inherited. Yet today, less than six years later, the economy is recovering DESPITE unprecedented Republican obstruction. The DOW has nearly TRIPLED where it was following the collapse of the Bush economy (from 6,547 in March of 2009 to 17,390 last Friday), unemployment has fallen to just 5.9% (below where it was when Obama took office) and GDP grew at 3.5%, the strongest rate in 10 years.
o Republicans said Raising taxes on the rich would crash the economy. President Obama raised taxes on the Rich. The economy is strong and getting stronger by the day. The Deficit is shrinking as a result and has NOT ONCE been larger than the Deficit left to him by President Bush.
o Republicans said ObamaCare would push up unemployment as companies laid off employees rather than insure them. Instead, unemployment is at it’s lowest level in over six years… helping prove the point that tax breaks for the rich don’t create jobs, consumer demand does. So employers are hiring, not firing, despite “ObamaCare”.
o Sarah Palin’s “Death Panels”? They never materialized. In fact, people who were denied coverage by insurance companies’ OWN “death panels” before ObamaCare are now covered. The GOP has vowed to repeal that coverage if they regain power.
o They told us “the only way to get gas prices down is to approve the (disastrous) Keystone XL pipeline”. Gas is below $3/gallon and falling thanks in part to increased competition among OPEC nations, not the construction of any pipeline.
o Obama is mishandling Ebola? ONE death by a man that was turned away from a hospital in a RED state. ZERO cases of Ebola spreading within the general public. By all accounts, handling of the Ebola outbreak has been WILDLY successful.
o Mishandling ISIS? First, let’s not forget there wouldn’t even BE an ISIS if it weren’t for the invasion of Iraq ala the GOP.
o Border crisis? As I pointed out last week, the GOP is actually running ads suggesting ISIS is entering into the U.S. across the Mexican border, while others openly wonder if those poor Central American children entering the country may be carrying the African disease of Ebola. Neither of which are true.
The Republican Party, unable to run on their own record or on Obama’s economic record, are instead doing what they always do: make baseless hypocritical claims of criminal wrongdoing (“Fast & Furious” and “IRS-gate” brought to you by the backers of Iran/Contra and Iraq/WMDs), hypocritical claims of incompetency (cries of “Benghazi!” from the people that brought you “9/11″), and threats of impeachment for circumventing GOP obstruction (the same Party that praises St. Ronnie despite circumventing Congress to arm the Contras.)
They can’t win on their record, so they’ve enacted Draconian “Voter ID” laws across the country, suppressing literally millions of traditionally Democratic
Ebola, ISIS and trumped up claims of wrongdoing. Fear & Smear. That’s all they have to offer this election season. “Be afraid! Be very afraid! Oh, and vote Republican!” The GOP thinks you should ignore the economic growth and their unprecedented obstruction, and put them back in charge. The amazing thing is that it seems to be working. Those who do not learn from history…
I don’t know what angers me more: Hearing every pundit on TV talk about how “unpopular” President Obama is citing questionable polling numbers as the basis for their opinion, or Democratic candidates who believe it and then run in fear of being associated with him (again, I’m looking at YOU Alison Lundergan-Grimes. You are about to lose to someone with a
For ONCE, do you know what I’d like to hear? How about just ONE of these candidates say in response to “Do you support Obama?”:
“You mean, do I support the guy that brought unemployment down to 5.9% just 22 months after Romney said he’d do it in four years? Do I support the guy who TRIPLED the stock Market since it bottomed out following the collapse of Wall Street six years ago? The guy who has already created over TEN MILLION NEW JOBS? The guy who has cut the Deficit to its lowest rate since Bill Clinton balanced the Budget in ’98? The guy whose healthcare reform has slowed the growth of rising insurance rates to its lowest in 30 years? And, of course, the guy who got bin Laden? Is THAT what you’re asking me? You think that’s something I should be ashamed of?”
As I’ve pointed out repeatedly here on M.R.S., Obama’s poll numbers are being DRAGGED DOWN BY INSANE UNJUSTIFIED REPUBLICAN HATRED FOR THE MAN. The better he does, the more they hate him. Amazingly, President Obama’s approval rating is still in the low 40’s despite having a stunning SEVEN PERCENT approval rating among Republicans. Seven percent? Are you freaking kidding me??? Hell, even Ebola gets nine. Tell me ONE legitimate thing that could justify a 7% approval rating? At the absolute BOTTOM of President Bush’s popularity in 2008, Democrats still lavished him with a 31% approval rating (ibid). Remember when Rush Limbaugh said he “hopes Obama fails” (despite knowing Obama’s failure means the country failing)? Because it’s more important to them that Democratic ideology doesn’t succeed, because if it does, we’ll see more off it. So if raising taxes on the rich leads to more tax-free reinvestment into their businesses spurring job and economic growth, that might mean more tax hikes in the future, meaning greedy bastards like Limbaugh or the Koch Brothers might have to pay higher taxes.
But what these Luddites fail to realize (and we saw this after the Clinton tax hikes of the 1990’s) is that the resulting economic growth means MORE profits and a healthier economy, while GOP policies eight years ago led to TWO Recessions and the collapse of Wall Street.
Complain about Obama’s handling of Ebola and I’ll raise you “Katrina”.
Complain about Obama’s handling of ISIS and I’ll ask you whose invasion of Iraq destabilized the entire region into the chaotic mess that led to their rise?
Complain about slow economic growth and I’ll point to THE MOST OBSTRUCTIVE GOP IN HISTORY BLOCKING THE PRESIDENT AT EVERY TURN, ensuring that nothing gets done so they can then turn around and blame him for the lack of progress, hoping you’ll be dumb enough to reward them for it in November.
This is how it works: A Republican prez makes a massive mess and an angered populace replaces him with a Democrat. Then a Republican Congress blocks him from doing anything to clean up that mess just so they can get (re)elected. And then, if that president uses his Constitutionally given powers to circumvent their obstruction (beating them at their own game), they become so outraged they threaten to impeach him for it (“We can’t have him getting around our attempts to keep him from getting anything done!”)
So manic is their obsession to stop President Obama from achieving anything, Sen. Jim Inhoff (R-Climate Change Denying Cuckoo Bird) actually withheld emergency funding to fight Ebola, relenting only after drawing sharp criticism for his craven partisan obstruction.
The more President Obama succeeds, the madder they get. So when pollsters ask people to rank the president’s job performance… numbers already artificially depressed due to Republican obstruction that has earned them
Meanwhile, despite approval ratings in the single digits, a GOP controlled House is going to remain in GOP control, and a Senate that has been “Wag the Dogged” by unprecedented filibustering by the GOP is going to be REWARDED with additional seats to ensure even LESS gets done in President Obama’s final two years in office (because they’ll be too busy impeaching him for wearing black socks with sandals… or something equally stupid.)
Remind me again why any Democrat is worried about being linked to this president?
The Rachel Maddow Show makes the same point on Monday’s show, questioning why Democrats seem to be running away from Obama this election season despite a legacy of achievement:
On this Labor Day, I’ll let the video do the talking (I apologize for the low quality. Recording technology has improved greatly since I recorded this ELEVEN YEARS AGO TODAY):
September 1, 2003
The woman in the video that “doesn’t blame” President Bush for rapidly rising unemployment because “[the economy] was bad before he got in there” pretty much says it all. When Bush took office in January 2001, the unemployment rate
Now try to imagine if President Obama had inherited the same record economy George W Bush did (22 Million new jobs and a balanced budget) and turned it into a basket case in less than three years; took the country into an unnecessary war after asserting as “fact” that another
And Republicans cheered Bush… and gleefully reelected him. His average approval rating that year: 62.2%.
Let’s contrast this with President Obama’s record:
Inherited the worst economy since The Great Depression where we were losing nearly 800,000 jobs per month, a 3/4 of a TRILLION dollar bailout of Wall Street, a Stock Market in freefall, and turned it all around, having already created more than THREE TIMES as many jobs in just six years than Bush did in eight.
Six straight months of an economy that’s producing more than 200,000 jobs per month… the first time that’s happened since 1997… the start of the Clinton boom years. (And the Conservative response: yeah, but the numbers are “lower than expected”, “still too many people out of work” and… my favorite… “we needed that many jobs just to recover what we lost” [unspoken: under Bush].)
And President Obama’s approval rating among Republicans? An absurd 10.7%, dragging down his overall approval to just 42%.
At the height of the economic mess in 2008, President Bush’s approval rating among Republicans was
Another helpful reminder of where we were more than a year before President Obama took office:
Disaster Presidency: Two weeks in November 2007.
That was after six years of a Republican president and Republican Congress.
And if you think this current “Do-nothing Congress” (with its 15% approval rating) is bad, just imagine what the next two years will be like if Republicans gain control of the Senate and spend the next two years impeaching Obama the way they did at the end of Clinton’s presidency.
Republicans would love to credit themselves for the economic turnaround. But what actions could they point to to justify it? “Stopping Obama” via unprecedented obstruction? Two signature accomplishments they failed to obstruct… his “tax hike” and “ObamaCare”… they said would kill jobs and destroy the economy. They clearly didn’t. The deficit is shrinking rapidly and I’ve already pointed out record job growth. Republicans have done nothing, even threatening to sue the president for doing “too much.”
During the 2000 Presidential campaign,
Bush & Cheneyinsisted that the Clinton economy “wasn’t as good as it would have been if only we had had a Republican president in charge of the Republican Congress. We gave it to him and you saw the result. Now they want you to imagine how much “worse” the recovery would have been if they hadn’t been there to obstruct everything for the past four years. You buying it?
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
(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
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.
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
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
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:
If you find these posters useful, let us know. – Mugsy
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-Tradersat 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
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.
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
The State Department report is rubbish. It has already been revealed, once again, that “consultants” hired to write the report were lobbyist for
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
Here are some new photos, and a video clip, to go with my earlier reports on the Keystone XL pipeline:
Tailing pond with pipes (left)
Tailing pond dwarfs rig
Oil sands, Canada
Mildred Lake, tailing pond
Pipes in Sudbury tailing pond
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.)
My predictions for 2013 were a bit rushed. I cranked them out at the last minute as I spent my days preoccupied trying to save the life of my beloved cat “Lefty”. One year later, my days are now preoccupied trying to save the life of my mother. And in both instances, gross medical negligence is to blame. The frustration I feel is profound as I watch helplessly as another loved-one fights for life following the harm done to them by incompetent doctors, with no legal recourse because of the state I live in (Texas). So please bear that in mind if my predictions for 2014 seem a bit bleak.
We begin by looking back at how well the “Professionals” did at making predictions for 2013. I may not get 100% of my predictions right… or even 75%…, but compared to some of the
First off, can I just say that if you publish your “Predictions” AFTER December 31st, you’re not “predicting”, you’re reporting the news.
With that said, here is what some famous “psychics” predicted we’d see in 2013:
Maybe it’s a bit unfair, but I love picking on self-proclaimed “psychics” because their accuracy is always dismal. But they make so many predictions, that when one or two pan out, the media responds as if that person has “second sight” and deserving of being taken very seriously.
Famed “psychic” Sylvia Browne passed away in November. It almost seems cruel to “fact check” Miss Browne posthumously, but when you’re as big a name in the “predicting” biz as she was, maybe keeping her on the list is a sign of respect for her particular brand of hucksterism. In 2012, Ms. Browne predicted President Obama would NOT be reelected; in a 2006 appearance on “The Montel Williams Show”, she told the mother of one of the three girls that had been held captive by that nut in Ohio for over a decade only to escape earlier this year, that her daughter was dead and would be waiting for her on the other side (the mother died the next year), and on that same show, Browne told a widow whose husbands’ body “was never found” that he was “in water”, presumably lost at sea. It turns out the woman was the widow of a 9/11 fireman.
As I noted, Ms. Browne passed away in November. Apparently, she never saw it coming because she booked no less than 14 public appearances from December of 2013 to April of 2014. If you want to read her final list of predictions for 2013, you must purchase an ANNUAL membership to her “inner circle” for a minimum buy in of $49.95 or an EIGHTEEN MONTH membership for $79.95 (which, if you do the math, is slightly more expensive than just buying
It’s funny how many people bestow upon themselves the title “Psychic to the Stars”. I suppose if two “stars” just happen to meet the same psychic backstage at a taping of
- A subway explosion in New York City.
- A nuclear attack on “New York” (city or state? Doesn’t matter. Didn’t happen.)
- Another Super Storm like Sandy hitting the USA, Canada and Europe – Damn! If only she had included South-East Asia. The ONE place she didn’t include gets hit! What are the odds?
- A huge earthquake in the Caribbean – Damn again! Wrong ocean. That “Super Storm” that rocked the Philippines came one week after it was rocked by a 7.1 magnitude earthquake. Ms. Nikki has the worst luck.
- Man-eating plants – I don’t think even “Little Shop of Horrors” made an appearance in 2013.
- Civil War will break out in the USA (a teabaggers wishful thinking?)
- Problems escalating in the Middle East – Typically a “fish-barrel meets shotgun” prediction (especially with Syria having already been in a Civil War for more than a year), but 2013 was notable for its movements towards PEACE with the Iran talks and Syria voluntarily giving up it’s chemical weapons. Even the easy ones didn’t pan out, dabnabit!
- A space tragedy (does the movie “Gravity” count?)
- A tornado destroys most of Kansas City. – Would that be Kansas City, *Kansas* or Kansas City, *Missouri?* Either way, didn’t happen.
- A possible landing of a spaceship – I think I’ve seen this movie.
- More bird and animals attacks worldwide. – Did I mention that I think I’ve seen this movie?
- Giant prehistoric sea monsters under the sea. – Damn! What was the name of that movie?
- A worldwide power blackout.
- Terrorist attack in London, England.
“Nikki’s” list of predictions for 2013 reads like a script for the next Hollywood blockbuster disaster movie. Of the 115 World Events she predicts, EIGHTY (by my count) fall into the “
Of course, when you make well over 100 predictions, random chance almost ensures a few hits (“even a blind squirrel finds a nut now & then”):
- More cyber attacks. – There were four notable instances of computer crime this year: Britain’s NatWest Bank was the victim of a distributed denial of service (“DDoS”) attack that inconvenienced thousands of customers for a few days, the Bank of China was hacked by (reportedly) some frustrated “BitCoin” users, North Korea is believed to be behind a cyber attack on South Korean TV stations and two banks, and, of course, more significantly, the recent hack of some 40 million “Target” store customer’s credit cards here in the U.S.. Personally, I suspect that if asked for more detail, Ms. Nikki was expecting an attack more along the lines of a “terrorist” nature, not kids hacking credit cards.
- A major automobile company will go bankrupt. – You know what, I’m feeling generous and will give “Detroit Declares Bankruptcy” to Ms. Nikki. The auto-companies themselves might have declared “record PROFITS” this past year (their best since 2007), but the city synonymous with the auto-industry did in fact (thanks to a Republican appointed viceroy who dismantled the local government, disenfranchised nearly a million people and is now liquidating the city’s treasures) “declare bankruptcy”. Probably not what she was predicting, but there you are.
- Great floods in the US and in Europe – Yes, massive floods did indeed hit Colorado and Central Europe this year.
3-for-115 (she actually made many more predictions than that if you count “celebrity” predictions), for an accuracy rate of 2.6%… and that was after being a bit generous. It’s up to you to decide whether “Ms. Nikki” is psychic or just guessing.
The Psychic Twins
A sister duo dubbed “The Psychic Twins” are laying claim to a number of accurate predictions in 2013, including the “Lone Wolf” shootings in DC’s “Navy Yard” a knife attack by a mentally disturbed student at a Houston Community College (that I just happened to attend some 20 years ago) that ran around stabbing other students with
They also predicted strict new gun laws passed in Connecticut just days after the Sandy Hook massacre. They MUST be psychic!
“The Psychic Twins” appear to only make their predictions on video, and I have neither the time nor the inclination to spend hours verifying their accuracy, though I have little doubt it would be another case of “throw everything at the wall and see what sticks”. This short
Last year I singled out another “celebrity psychic, Blair Robertson” for his poor performance in predicting what 2012 held in store for everyone. Mr. Robertson did a little better this year, (arguably) over his one correct prediction for 2012, correctly predicting this year that “a boxer would die in the ring” but falling short everywhere else. Robertson improved his score this year by a half-point for “predicting” Rhianna and Chris Brown would “tie the knot”. The couple played the Media like a fiddle, with photos of “a ring” and even rumors of a “secret wedding”, but no, the most famous dysfunctional couple in
It’s a bit more difficult this year to find Republicans opining about 2013 after they all had just finished predicting a Mitt Romney landslide, “easily” winning the election as Americans were “fed up” with President Obama, “Obamacare”, “taxes” and “Benghazi”. That bubble they built up had some might thick glass.
So naturally, when Republicans carried out their threats of being even more obstructionist in 2013, the Right crowed… crowed I tell ya… how “Mitt Romney was right!” when he “predicted” a government Shutdown in 2013. It’s a bit like predicting your “homies” are going to “trash this place” if they don’t get their way, and then being lauded for your insight when they carry out your threats.
Mitt Romney also “predicted” (according to them) Detroit going bankrupt when he in fact only argued for it as being preferable to a bailout. As noted above, the only reason Detroit declared bankruptcy is because a Viceroy appointed by the state’s Republican governor made it so.
In 2010, Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn predicted that because of “Obamacare”: “There will be no insurance industry left in three years”. I have little doubt that Senator Coburn wishes millions of people had lost their insurance and the industry imploded, but darned the luck, they still exists and are expected to reap record profits next year.
Bloomberg Right-Wing News Columnist and “AEI Fellow” Ramesh Ponnuru made a number of negative predictions about President Obama and his policies. He actually didn’t do too bad until you consider how many Republican “predictions” were actually self-fulfilling prophecies. Ponnuru “predicted” the Healthcare Exchanges “would not open for business on October 1st” when Secretary Sebelius “admits the federal government won’t be ready by then.” The government was ready, the private contractors that built the glitchy website were not. They did indeed open on October 1st, but weren’t ready and had to be closed soon after for about a week. As a result, Ponnuru predicted support for Obamacare would continue to decline. If you do a Google News search for “poll support for Obamacare”, you’ll see lots of links to sites all claiming this to be true… ALL of them… each and every one… a Right Wing blog or media outlet (from the NRO to Glenn Beck). Interesting, because all the major networks are reporting how the number of people signing up for insurance through the Exchange “surged to over 1.1 Million” in December in a trend that is expected to continue.
Ponnuru also predicted the courts would continue to rebuke the Obama Administration on the rights of Catholic owned businesses to deny their employees contraception if they view it morally objectionable. The most notable of these cases, the “Hobby Lobby” case, is still waiting in the Supreme Court (see my own prediction on that below.) He also predicted The Supreme Court would find a way to weasel out of ruling on Same Sex Marriage. They didn’t, with repercussions that have led to legalization into
He predicted “a new monetary regime” between the U.S. and the U.K. that insulates both nations from the problems of Europe. No idea what he means by “a new monetary regime” even after reading his piece on the subject. Whatever it is, it never happened and Europe’s economy is starting to show signs of recovery.
More wishful thinking? “Paul Ryan,” feeling he can’t work within the GOP, “will resign” in order to “focus on running for president”? No date cited and hardly makes sense as a 2013 prediction, but maybe Ponnuru is looking to late 2014?
How I Did.
Now is the time I look back at my own predictions last year to see how I did. All year long, I thought about the predictions I made for 2013, and as I do every year, I am certain I did “incredibly poorly” that year only to look back at years end and find I didn’t do quite as bad as I thought.
- Correct: My first prediction regarding the “fiscal cliff”, and whether the GOP was irrational enough to go over it, had to be split into three scenarios: a) the GOP agrees to President Obama’s demand that taxes go up on people making over $250K per year, but only because they intend to hold the Debt Ceiling hostage again, b) a deal is reached only after Democrats concede to raise the starting point at which taxes go up to $500K, or c) the Bush Tax Cuts expire because no deal can be reached allowing Democrats to pass the “Obama tax cut”. It all depended upon how the GOP reacted. Knowing Scenario “c)” would be the worst possible outcome for them, the GOP agreed to a hybrid of “scenario A” and “scenario B” (pre-planning to hold the Debt Ceiling hostage while agreeing to a deal where the tax increase begins at $450K instead of $250K.)
- A Push: #2 was conditional on the GOP being suicidal enough to go over the cliff and refuse to raise the Debt Ceiling, forcing President Obama to invoke the 14th Amendment. They didn’t, so he didn’t have to. No way to know if he would have (though he said he wouldn’t.) I’m certain when faced with certain global economic catastrophe, he would have. And I think the GOP knew it too, the consequences of which would have been to render them irrelevant the next time a Debt Ceiling fight rolled around. So they had no choice but to cave.
- Wrong: Harry Reid would make good on his threat to “reform the filibuster” at the start of the session. While a “Psychic to the Stars” might take credit for the eventual decision of Reid to “go nuclear” last November, I’m no hypocrite. I was hamstrung when I made my prediction late on December 31st by the fact it might be proved false in less than 24 hours. Considering the
record-settingobstructionist year we had just had, and Reid’s own admission that he was “wrong” for not reforming the filibuster the way Democrats pleaded with him to do at the start of the 2011 session. it was almost unimaginable that he would make the same mistake twice. And while he dragged his feet and messaged Senate rules to extend his time to make a decision till the end of the month, Reid did eventually cave to Republican threats, agreeing only to minor, essentially irrelevant changes… something he quickly came to regret as the GOP shutdown the government months later. The reform he finally agreed to last November likewise was only a narrow rules change affecting only the President’s judicial & Cabinetappointments.
- Correct: Despite promises of “Election Reform” following the mass disenfranchisement of
Poor & Middle Classvoters seen during Early Voting and on Election Day 2012, not a damn thing was done about it. On to 2014!
- Correct: The Unemployment rate, which I predicted would be “very close to 6.9% by the end of the year (give or take 3/10ths of a point).” After November, the BLS reported the Unemployment Rate had fallen to 7.0%,
a 5-year lowand more than a full point below where it was the year before.
- Wrong: Sadly, concern over spending did not spark public pressure to exit Afghanistan by years end.
- Wrong (and happy about it): While they did remain fairly stable, my prediction that gas prices would still be close to $3.50/gal a year later turned out to be too high, with the national average presently at just under $3.30/gal. I can’t in good faith count that as “correct”. Maybe a difference of ten cents a gallon, but not twenty. And I didn’t foresee things like “nuclear talks with Iran” to bring down oil prices to a three year low.
- Correct: – No U.S. or Israeli strike on Iran. Funny to think how long this nonsense has been going on. And the fact no provocative moves have been made by Iran in all that time only goes to show how reality rarely lives up to the most wild militarist fantasies of Neoconservatives. Much to their chagrin, not only did Iran not do anything threatening, they even reluctantly have opened discussions of disarmament. Astounding.
- Wrong: Ah, Syria! It’s depressing to think that Civil War is now in it’s THIRD year. I was stung after my first prediction of the fall of Assad in 2011. A bit more cautious last year, I predicted Assad to fall into irrelevancy as the rest of the world just stopped recognizing him as the legitimate leader of Syria. They didn’t; he didn’t; so for 2014 , I won’t.
- Wrong (another “and happy about it”): I predicted the DOW would be around 14,500 points by years end, predicting an impressive rise of more than 1500 points in just one year. Instead, we saw an astonishing rise of nearly 3,500 points in just one year to a new record of just under 16,500 points. If President Obama is a “Socialist”, he’s
- Correct: As America’s economy recovers, so does Europe’s and the rest of the worlds.
- Correct (sadly): My exact words were: “Immigration reform? Don’t bet your Aunt Fanny on it.” Republicans said they wanted it. President Obama said he wanted it. So it was inevitable that nothing would get done.
- Wrong (sadly): Just days after Sandy Hook and the massacre of twenty 6/7-yearolds and six teachers, I couldn’t imagine even Republicans turning this into a partisan fight, caving to their
gun-nutbase and doing absolutely nothing to keep weapons of warout of the hands of children, the mentally unstable and known criminals. Lesson learned: Never under-estimatethe depths of GOP cowardice or the ignorance of their base.
Final score: 6 out of 12 (#2 was inconclusive) for 50-percent. Not too shabby for a list I was certain all year long would be one big goose egg. Take that you “Psychics to the Stars” with your “2.6%” accuracy rating!
So now my Predictions for 2014:
- Failing to extend Unemployment benefits at the end of 2013 will mean great hardship that extends beyond Party Lines. Just as Republicans mistakenly believed that voters would side with them for “taking a principled stand” on the Government Shutdown even after it started to affect them personally, they undoubtedly believe the same is true here. As far as the GOP is concerned, only poor Minimum Wage slackers are home waiting for their Unemployment Checks to roll in while they sit on their lazy duffs. But their refusal to continue the extension of those benefits past the end of 2013 will come back to bite them in the butt, not realizing just how many
“Poor & Middle-Class”workers make up their Redneck base. As a result, expect the GOP to agree to a “compromise extension” of Unemployment benefits. There will be an insistence that it be “paid for”, but then there will be a huge fight on just what to cut. There will be an extension, just not the “90+ week” maximum some are seeing now. Probably something closer to “52 weeks”, double the standard length, with some “creative accounting” paying for it.
- Where will the DOW be by the end of 2014? I sure as heck didn’t foresee the meteoric rise of 3,500 points in 2013. Another rise like that would have us knocking on the amazing “20,000 point” mark, and that’s going to make a lot of investors nervous about “over exuberant” investors buying stocks just to set a record. I expect the DOW to close just over the “19,200” mark come years end… which is an incredible thought. Bill Clinton took the DOW from around 3700 points to over 11,700 points seven years later… an increase of OVER 300 percent. The DOW bottomed out barely a month after President Obama took office at just over 6600 points. A close of “19,200” would be another rise of nearly 300% in just SIX years. George Bush cut the taxes of the
Rich & Powerful, but cut their portfolio’s in half as the economy crashed. With numbers like that, it’s easy to see why Wall Street hates Democrats, and loves Republicans (yes, that’s snark.)
- Marriage Equality – No surprise that more states will officially declare Same-Sex Marriage as legal, but with it suddenly legal in nearly half the states in the Union and no solid legal argument for why any group of people should be discriminated against, expect a positive ruling from the Supreme Court… probably 5/4 but possibly even 6/3… telling states where SSM is outlawed that they must recognize marriages performed in another state. As people flood to neighboring states to get married, laws banning SSM will become moot and fall like dominoes.
- The Mid-term elections – AKA: “The Battle for the Senate”. Not surprisingly, with the House and the Senate so narrowly split, both sides will be pulling out all the stops seeking control of Congress. The big question? What will be the mood of the public come Election Time? Will problems with the health care law sour voters on the Obama Administration? Will unemployment continue to fall making them optimistic? And what role will record low approval ratings for Congress have on turnout? In the end, it’s pretty much a wash. The people that hate “Obamacare” will continue to whine about “Obamacare”. The people that like the law will continue to do so. I ran into a lot of Conservatives this past year that believe “Obamacare” is an insurance program that you must (MUST) buy into, and they can implode the entire system if they simply refuse to sign up. Little do most of them realize, “Obamacare” does not even apply to them because they already get insurance through their employer. They couldn’t “sign up” even if they wanted to. So the entire system doesn’t implode, and for most people, nothing changes for them. It will be hard to be “outraged” over health care reform come November. Good economic news will continue, so there will be little economic motive to head to the polls. And despite near single digit approval ratings for Congress, don’t expect control of either House to change hands, though, thanks to Gerrymandering, I think Democrats have a better chance of picking up seats in the Senate than the House.
- Which of course takes us to the start of the 2016 campaign (hard to believe it’s already a topic.) Though she will try to wait until January 2015, Hillary WILL announce her intention to run for President, as will Chris Christie, whom even this far off, already look to be the front-runners. But anything can happen between now & then.
- Paul Ryan & Patty Murray coming to a two-year budget deal here at the end of 2013 insures no “Fiscal Cliff, Debt Ceiling, Shutdown” economic brinksmanship before the election. No GOP manufactured crisis means we can expect a reasonably smooth, growing economy in 2014. Expect GDP growth in the 4.0+ range next year.
- What will become of NSA Leaker Edward Snowden? I expect a move to South America sometime next year. The last shoe has yet to drop in that story because Snowden took FAR more material than he could possibly have read when he absconded from the NSA with all that Top Secret information. But time is not on his side as much of the information he took grows out of date. As he continues to pour through the files he stole, I expect few additional revelations, perhaps saving his biggest bombshell in time for the election.
- Will Congress raise the Minimum Wage? If this weren’t an election year, I’d say yes, but since it is, the state of the economy will play a large part in whether it gets raised or not. A number of states won’t wait and raise it on their own, but nationally, if the economy continues to improve, forget it. With no Budget Battles for the GOP to hold hostage, they must dig their heels in somewhere, and
The Minimum Wageis it.
- The Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia is going to be a mess. Technical and scheduling issues as civil unrest disrupts the games. As I type this, we’ve already seen acts of terrorism very close to Sochi, and Putin won’t have a clue how to handle Gay Rights protests in a country where just holding a sign can land you in jail. International condemnation of Russia’s anti-gay laws will overshadow many events.
- And while we’re on the subject of Sochi, in a separate prediction, I believe the reason President Obama chose former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to lead a delegation of openly gay athletes is because she herself intends to come out as gay upon her arrival in Sochi, almost daring the Russian government to arrest her.
- So what will the Unemployment Rate look like by the end of 2014? If current trends continue, I don’t think an unemployment rate of 6.1% (give or take 3/10th of a point) is out of the realm of possibility. If it weren’t an election year, I’d might go lower than that, but it’s in the GOP’s interest to encourage a worsening economy going into the Mid-term elections. With no budget battles to destabilize the economy in an election year, it’ll be difficult. I’m interested in seeing how they pull it off.
- What about Iran? I think a nuclear disarmament deal WILL be struck that allows Iran to continue to develop nuclear energy using Uranium bred outside the country (probably Russia.) IAEA inspectors will be allowed into the country to check for nuclear weapons development. In exchange, the U.S. will once again allow Iranian oil to be traded on the U.S. Market, causing a decline in the price of oil (maybe $80/barrel give or take $5?), lowering gas prices in the U.S., serving as a substantial boost to the American economy. 2014 will be a very good year for the U.S. economy.
- Ted Cruz announces his intention to run for President. Outside of the (dwindling) Tea Party, support for his candidacy will not exceed that of Michele Bachmann in 2012, and his campaign will fizzle out early in 2015.
- Hobby Lobby’s “my religious beliefs supersede yours because I’m your boss” Supreme Court case will return a verdict in favor of the Christian-owned craft store. Any other sane Supreme Court would realize that if a “Christian” owned company can decide what health care you can get, so could an Amish, Muslim or even Satanic boss dictate your health care choices. But an “Amish, Muslim or Satanic” corporation didn’t file this case. A “Christian” one did. And therefore, this Conservative Court will tie the Constitution into knots to accommodate them. Republicans will tout it as “a victory for Americans over the scourge of Obamacare.”
- Following up on last year, no “Election Reform” bill will be taken up in an election year. Republican governors will step up their efforts to disenfranchise tens of thousands of Democratically leaning voter blocks… most of whom will be minorities.
- As an homage to my “psychic” friends out there, a really big hurricane will hit someplace somewhere.
- And another “Lone-wolf” gun nut will go on a shooting spree, killing over a dozen people. And what will come of it in terms of gun control? Nothing.
- And finally, Syria. In 2011, I predicted Assad would be overthrown just like all the other “Arab Spring” nations did to their leaders. But Assad was willing to be far more brutal and had the army on his side.
In 2012, I predictedhim to become irrelevant as the rest of the world simply stopped recognizing his authority, but that didn’t happen either. So now, in year three, all I’m willing to wager is that the Syrian conflict will still be raging a year from now. That’s a prediction I’d be happy to get wrong.
Eighteen predictions. I can live with that. How do you think I did? Post your own predictions for 2014 in the Comments.
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