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Plunge in Oil Prices Foretells Looming Economic Disaster. Aribrary pricing can go up easier than it came down.

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, December 8, 2014

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, Bush & Gore, were both forced to respond. On June 22nd of that year, George W Bush openly criticized the Clinton Administration for rising gas prices, saying (famously) that if HE were president, he’d tell OPEC to “open up the spigots” to bring down gas [sic] prices. Over the prior two decades, the price of gasoline had not fluctuated by more than a few cents a year until the “dime a gallon” spikes we saw in early 2000. But that stability vanished following G.W.Bush’s ascent to the presidency:

DoE graph of weekly oil prices from 1991 to Present (link)
Weekly gas prices 1991 to present

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 George W Bush remained in the “strike zone”… and by that, I mean quite literally the “over $1.50/gal” price point at which truckers had threatened to strike… for the next three years. The day AFTER 9/11… and for the next two years… oil was still (roughly) only $29/barrel. It took the unwarranted invasion of Iraq and tossing the Middle East into chaos to drive the price of oil into the stratosphere (I’ll let you decide if that was the goal all along.)

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 Poor & Middle-Class FAR more directly/substantially.) But sadly, this current plunge has only highlighted a big flashing neon-sign at just how arbitrary oil pricing was to begin with, and how likely this rubberband is poised to snap back in our faces. Not to sound like a “Debbie Downer”, but there is a reason oil prices have been falling so precipitously in recent months and the chance they could shoot back up at almost any time is very real (if not likely)… the consequences of which could get very ugly.

The reason oil prices are falling are manifold. First, the United States, under President Obama, has dramatically increased oil production to a 38 year high. The “Drill here! Drill now!” crowd that vilified Obama during the 2008 & 2012 presidential races has an unexpected ally in President Obama. While touting the need to cut our dependence on fossil fuel and invest in renewable energy, President Obama has disappointingly been very supportive of increased drilling across the country (mercifully, he stood up against the “Keystone XL pipeline”, but have you noticed since the vote failed in the Senate, Republicans aren’t exactly banging the drum on how they’ll hold another vote after they take control of Congress?)

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 cost-effective to do so (presently, oil needs to be over $75/barrel to make converting tarsands sludge into oil profitable), nothing would make them (or their investors) happier than to see the price of oil shoot back up.

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 a “rainy day fund”. You don’t put money in the fund when you’re struggling and need it most, you fill it when times are good and need it least. We shouldn’t allow our… nay The World’s economy to be subject to the whims of the Oil Cartels. They’ve already subjected us to ONE global economic disaster. Do we REALLY wanna try for TWO… especially with so much warning?

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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Filed in Economy, Energy Independence, Greed, Money, Predictions, Seems Obvious to Me December 8th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Keystone XL: Not Just a Potential Environmental Disaster But An Economic One Too.

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, November 17, 2014

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 The Houston Ship Channel. The southern legs of the pipeline, one branch from Steele City, KS to the pipeline hub of Cushing, Okla., and the other to two refineries near Springfield, Ill, were constructed between 2011 and earlier this year. in The state of Kansas… which just reelected Governor Sam Brownback despite a record of extraordinary economic malpractice thanks to massive unpaid-for tax cuts strapping the state with a whopping $279 Million dollar budget deficit… gave the Canadian oil company “TransCanada”$15 Million dollar ANNUAL tax cut (ibid first link) to entice them into building the pipeline through their state. That’s like bribing a highway construction crew already knocking on your front door to reroute the freeway through your living room. The tax revenue lost to Brownback’s idiotic tax cut was NOT recovered in tax revenue from new employment. Worse, when that pipeline starts leaking… and it will… the state of Kansas can TRY to get TransCanada to pay for the cleanup, but the imposed fine (if there’s even one at all) won’t cover the actual cost of cleanup or damages. It never does. Who picks up that tab? But “health” and “cleanup” costs are just two of the half-dozen or so economic pitfalls from allowing this pipeline to continue. I already noted the loss of tax revenue in Kansas. Consider that land and the immediate area around it a dead zone for the next 100 years as people decide they don’t want to live near a pipeline (noisy, smelly, dangerous). And the list goes on.

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 “Meet the Press” yesterday. In both cases, NO ONE challenged those assertions. JUST ONCE I’d like to hear someone ask the obvious (bleeping) follow-up: “DOING WHAT?” Seriously. Certainly not in the actual construction of the pipeline itself. As I’ve already pointed out, nearly HALF of the pipeline has already been built. And most of the steel pipe used to construct the pipeline has already been purchased from India. And if you think that Indian steel is stronger than American-made steel with less risk of rupture as 1million barrels a day of liquified dirt SANDBLASTS the walls of that pipe 24/7/365, I have a bird estuary to sell you. No surprise by the lack of pushback on MtP, but one would think that at least on a Left-leaning show like Maher’s, he’d challenge the notion. But he didn’t. Yesterday, ABC’s “ThisWeek” had on the CEO of TransCanda who conceded an AP report that the pipeline would create “just 50 permanent jobs in the U.S.”, but countered that it was still a “job creator” because it would also create “9,000 (low-paying temporary) construction jobs” and “42,000 indirect” jobs (over 2 years)“:
 

CEO of TransCanada, Bill Girling, concedes that the costly pipeline may create only FIFTY permanent jobs in the US and perhaps only 50,000 “temporary” and “indirect” jobs along the construction route over TWO years.

 

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 hundreds of millions of jobs. Before that, we are STILL reaping the benefits of President Eisenhower’s “Interstate Highway Project” today. And the next time you drive over an eighty year old bridge built under FDR’s WPA (Work Projects Administration), ask yourself how much each of these things has contributed to Commerce in this country?

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 a $5 to 6 BILLION dollar profit next year as the majority of companies backed by the program more than out-performed the losses.

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 $65-$75/barrel (add this to the mess with ISIS and it’s just one more way the Bush Administration royally screwed this country.) Get the price of oil below $70/barrel and it is no longer cost effective to try to turn that sludge into “oil”. Last week, the price of oil fell below $75/barrel for the first time since 2006. The price of oil the week before the invasion of Iraq? $32/barrel. 

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 roughly 8% of our electricity is generated by oil-powered turbines. Replace them with windfarms and you DRAMATICALLY reduce the amount of oil this country consumes each year (FAR more than “8 percent”), which in turn would bring oil prices down… quickly. OPEC can’t simply drive prices up by cutting production of a product for which there is already less of a demand. They’ll just drive away customers.

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 a White Elephant for Democrats. Add to that the economic costs of cleanup and the decimation of local economies from “blight flight” (you like that? I just made it up) and Republican “tax cuts” to attract something any sane group would pay to keep away, and you have a project that is SO bad on SO many levels, it’s almost inconceivable that anyone is taking this idea seriously.
 



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Filed in Economy, Energy Independence, Environment, Global Warming, Greed, Jobs, Money, myth busting, Right-Wing Insanity November 17th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • 3 comments | Add/View

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Keystone XL Protest Signs for Download

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Friday, February 28, 2014

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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Filed in Economy, Energy Independence, Environment, Global Warming, Greed, Jobs, Middle East, myth busting, Politics February 28th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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No, the Keystone Tar Sand Oil is NOT Inevitable

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

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.

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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Filed in Economy, Energy Independence, Environment, Global Warming, Jobs, Money, myth busting, Seems Obvious to Me February 24th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Apathy Latest Enemy In Fighting Keystone XL Pipeline

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, February 3, 2014

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.)
 



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Filed in Economy, Energy Independence, Environment, Global Warming, Jobs, myth busting, Politics February 3rd, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Good Economic News Despite Shutdown? Thank low gas prices

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, December 9, 2013

It’s a point I’ve been making for years: Gas Prices have THE MOST direct impact on the economy than any other factor. When gas prices go up, consumers have less money to spend elsewhere. In addition, the costs of production go up, as does the price of shipping those goods to market. So not only do you have less money to spend, but you’re buying fewer products because the prices have all gone up as well. And when companies sell fewer products, they need fewer employees to MAKE those products… starting a vicious cycle. It would be bad enough if the cost of fuel was the only negative impact, but unlike higher prices for DOMESTIC products where at least the money stays in the United States, most “petro dollars” go overseas and stay there rather than be recycled back into the American economy. The Economic Collapse of 2008 (under two Texas oilmen Bush & Cheney who pined for the days of $50/barrel oil during the 70’s “energy crisis”) can be traced straight back to the invasion of Iraq and the resulting skyrocketing price of oil & gas (and you thought “Mission Accomplished” was about the end of war in Iraq. Silly you.) This past week brought a bevy of sorely needed good economic news to the Obama Administration. Unemployment fell to just 7.0 percenta full 1.3 points in just the past 16 months (and NOT because of people dropping out the workforce.) Jobless claims plunged to 298,000 and the number of layoffs declined. Even before these positive jobs numbers, the Stock Market also hit a new record high last month as well. And it all happened at a time when everyone expected BAD economic consequences following the Government Shutdown last October and Republican catcalls over the “job-killing” implementation of “Obamacare”. What’s the reason for all this positive economic news in spite of everything Republicans did to derail the economy? Lower gas prices thanks to positive news on the diplomatic front in the Middle East… first with avoiding war with Syria and then the nuclear deal with Iran. So while everyone else is running around scratching their heads trying to figure out “just what went right” for the economy to improve despite all the attempts to sabotage it by the GOP these last two months, know this: Nothing demonstrates better how closely tied our economy is to Energy, and how developing a Green Energy Industry would promote economic growth.

Remember all the Wingnuts complaining about Obama bowing?

On ABC’s “ThisWeek” yesterday, the chronically incredulous Mary Matalin (wife of James Carville) dismissed the good economic news by saying, “This is the worst economic recovery in seven decades!” I responded on Facebook (where I live-blog the network Sunday Shows each week):

Mary Matalin on #ThisWeek says this is “the worst recovery in 7 decades”. It’s also the most partisan obstructive GOP in 7 decades. Coincidence?

Please note that even President Obama’s worst critics must admit that the economy is in “recovery” and not getting worse. In the third quarter on this year, the economy grew at a rate of 3.6%, well above estimates. The Bush Administration used to “brag” incessantly about “52 months of consecutive private sector job growth” just prior to The Great Recession (a streak the Obama Administration will surpass next May). But the economy was astoundingly weak that entire time (and if this chart is to be believed, the growth rate never broke 0.7% during the entire Bush presidency.) They can’t claim President Obama’s economic policies are making the economy “worse”, and lord knows if it were, they’d be blaming yet-to-have-gone-into-effect “Obamacare”. You KNOW that if this latest jobs report had been bad, Republicans would NOT have blamed their Shutdown of the Federal government in October, no, they would have claimed “Corporations and Small businesses aren’t hiring out of concern over ‘Obamacare’ being implemented on January 1st!” You KNOW they would have said that.

But instead all they can do is scratch their heads and wonder, “Just what do we have to do to stop this guy?”

So now we know the secret on how to grow an economy. And the irony is, it’s not too different from the Republican dogma on how “tax cuts” are supposed to be a panacea for economic growth. Conservatives believe that “cutting taxes leaves more money in people’s pockets so they can go out and buy stuff, sparking the economy.” That’s their entire ideology in a nutshell. The problem with that is that the people paying the most in taxes don’t need more money just to buy stuff. Tax cuts help only a very small percentage of the population. If you’re extremely poor, you’re not paying any taxes anyway. The Wealthy don’t “buy more stuff”, and business expenses like “equipment” and “hiring more employees” are ALREADY tax deductible, so “tax cuts” are a horrible way to promote economic growth. Republicans love to say, “poor people don’t create jobs.” My response has always been, “Really? Ask Wal*Mart if poor people create jobs.” The Walton Family is the wealthiest family in the nation, with SIX family members on the Forbes-400 list of wealthiest people in the world. Trust me, that money didn’t come from selling cheap crap to The Rich. Another sad irony is the fact that plenty of clueless low-income Teanuts probably voted for these Cretins, creating THEIR jobs. But government jobs apparently don’t count.

But lower gas prices affect EVERYBODY, and benefits The Working Class FAR more than “tax cuts” for a fraction of a fraction of the population. Cheap energy is like a “tax cut” for the poor, and a FAR more direct stimulus for the economy. Sen. Rand Paul (Wingnut-KY) was on Fox “news” Sunday yesterday where he proposed “Economic Freedom Zones” (don’tcha just love the Orwellian Double-speak?) in economically depressed cities like Detroit where everybody would pay a FIVE PERCENT FLAT TAX. This is the height of Conservative arrogance and the epitome of Libertarian cluelessness. The idea that wildly plunging the tax rate on corporations and the very wealthy will be offset by raising taxes on the extremely poor. Because what rich person wouldn’t want to move to a slum where the tax rate is just 5-percent? Of course, we know Paul’s thinking is that if the tax rate were just 5-percent, businesses will use that savings to “hire more people”. But as I already pointed out, hiring people is already taxed at ZERO, so this would INCREASE the cost of hiring new employees. And for some inexplicable reason, Republicans just can’t seem to figure out that DEMAND drives hiring. It doesn’t matter how low you cut a company’s taxes, if there’s no demand, they are not going to hire more employees. They just can’t get this simple fact through their thick skulls.

Locally, gas is still selling for under $3.00/gallon. It’s the holiday season, so people are already out spending more money now than any other time of year. And this year, because of lower gas prices, more of that money is being spent here at home. And it’s having a direct stimulative effect on the economy. There’s no denying it. One can only wonder how the economy might have done last month had it not been for GOP obstructionism, the Shutdown and yet another round of manufactured fiscal crisis.

Oh, and just a reminder, the 90-day budget deal to end the Shutdown and reopen the government expires in January. Do you think the GOP has learned their lesson? Is The Pope Jewish?
 



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Filed in Economy, Energy Independence, General, Jobs December 9th, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • 1 comment | Add/View

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Iran Deal Underscores Need to Abandon Nuclear Energy as a Power Source

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, November 25, 2013

Nearly two years ago, I wrote about how the GOP presidential candidates were saber-rattling over “Iran’s nuclear program”, completely devoid of any self awareness as they simultaneously complained about rising gas prices without connecting the two events… not now, not in the eight years it was happening under President Bush (side note: gas prices have been steadily falling for months, dropping to a national average of just $3.19/gal last week and for me locally as low as $2.75/gal. You have to go back to November of 2010 when we were still shaking off the last vestiges of The Great Recession to find the last time gas prices were that low). The first treaty between the U.S. and Iran in nearly 35 years is both amazing and historic. And if it were not for our continued/pointless war in Afghanistan and recent reports that we might still be there for another decade, I’d be first in line to nominate President Obama for a second Nobel Peace Prize. He ended the war in Iraq, ousted Kadaffi without sending in a single troop, got Syria to (first admit and then) give up their chemical weapons without resorting to force, and now the first treaty of ANY kind with Iran in over a third of a century let alone one to start the ball rolling on nuclear disarmament. Criticism from The Right on whether or not this is a good deal sounds remarkably similar to their arguments against ObamaCare: “It doesn’t solve the problem 100 percent” to everyone’s satisfaction, and therefore anything short of “perfection” means the entire thing must be scrapped. But my problem with the Iranian deal isn’t that it doesn’t stop Iran from becoming a nuclear power. My problem is that we don’t have a leg to stand on to stop Iran from developing so-called “peaceful” nuclear power (that the hawks believe could be misused in the future) so long as we continue to believe there is such a thing as “good” nuclear power. I’ve said this many times before: NUCLEAR POWER ISN’T GREEN. We should be PHASING OUT our use of nuclear energy. And it would be infinitely easier to tell Iran “no nuclear development of ANY kind. Period” if we ourselves didn’t continue to believe there is such a thing as “good” nuclear energy.

The nuclear energy industry has been quite successful at convincing the world that nuclear power is “green”. “No smokestacks! No carbon! Doesn’t promote Global Warming! See! It’s great for the environment!” There is an enormous (and dangerous) misconception that nuclear energy is “clean” simply because it does not emit greenhouse gasses.

“Air” pollution is but one of many types of pollution we should concern ourselves with. And while nuclear power plants don’t pollute the air like coal-fired plants do, they (as you know) produce tens of thousands of barrels of nuclear waste-water in their lifetime (typically a mere 20-30 years), and “cooling” of the reactors requires Millions of gallons of cold water. The heat they produce is then pumped back into rivers & streams where it kills the fish and aquatic plant-life. In essence, you are trading off a power plant that emits one form of pollution for a plant that emits TWO. Add to that the mining of uranium… a finite energy source not unlike the coal or oil used in fossil-fuel powered power plants. Nuclear power is not “renewable”… the hallmark of “green” energy.

Consider that if the ancient Egyptians had used nuclear power 5,000 years ago, we would STILL be dealing with their nuclear waste today and for another 10,000 years, all so they could enjoy 30 years worth of electricity five millennia ago.

Wind, Solar, Tidal & Geothermal are ALL 100% POLLUTION FREE ways of generating enormous amounts of power upon which we should be concentrating all our resources.

$11 Billion to build one plant. 20-40 years of useful life at a cost of $1.5-3 Billion per year just to operate. 150 YEARS to decommission one plant at a cost of another $3-6 billion/yr. Best case costs for one plant (20 years+150 years to decommission): $491 Billion dollars. Worst case costs (40 years+150 years to decommission): $1.3 TRILLION dollars (or over $84 per kWh). Check your electric bill. Does eighty-four bucks an hour sound like a bargain to you? And neither of those price tags take into account the cost of another nuclear disaster like Fukashima.

It takes ELEVEN YEARS of nuclear power generation to counter the air pollution created in the construction of the plant and the mining of the ore used in it. And nuclear power plants are also a prime terrorist target. We should be getting RID of the ones we have, not building more… let alone encouraging countries like Iran to get into the business.

And ask the fishermen off the coast of New Orleans following the BP disaster if they’d rather be fishermen off the coast of Fukashima.

Nuclear War & Peace

Then there are other concerns. Saudi Arabia is likewise terrified of a nuclear armed Iran tipping the balance of power in the region. Might this provoke Saudi Arabia into starting a nuclear program of their own? How do we tell an ally that they can’t go nuclear after allowing Iran to? Could this be the start of a nuclear arms race in the very heart THE most unstable region of the world today?

As long as we continue this absurd belief that there is such a thing as “good” nuclear energy, how do we tell Iran that’s it’s not okay to pursue nuclear energy without the concern that that technology might be misused? It would be SO MUCH easier if we could simply say to Iran, “No nuclear power of ANY kind. Period. We’re are in the process of getting RID of our OWN nuclear power-plants, not building more.” If, after Fukashima, the Iran Treaty doesn’t underscore how much easier our lives would be without nukes, nothing will.

 

THANKSGIVING ASIDE DISH

Over the past few weeks, we’ve learned that a number of major retail outlets will be open Thanksgiving Day, forcing their employees to work rather than spend the holiday with their families. The silence from the “War on Christmas” crowd has been deafening. No protests of greedy corporations having no respect for “families” or the holiday season. And if you don’t think “Thanksgiving” is a religious holiday, ask yourself just WHO are you supposed to be “thanking”?

The Rachel Maddow Show last week reported on all the employees that are being forced to work on Thanksgiving, including the story of an Ohio Wal*Mart putting donation bins out for co-workers to donate food to fellow employees… people that work for a living and yet might otherwise go hungry this holiday:
 


If you had any question just how disingenuous the whole Right-Wing “War on Christmas” outrage is, look no further.

 


 


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Filed in Energy Independence, Environment, fake scandals, General, Middle East November 25th, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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10th Anniversary of the Iraq War, the Price of Gas, and the Mess We’re In Today

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, March 18, 2013

Iraqi alSamoud missiles on way to being destroyed. (Feb 2003)Tuesday marks the tenth anniversary of the saddest chapter of the George W. Bush presidency. Every disaster to follow… to this day… can be traced back to that decision to invade a relatively unarmed nation that had not attacked us, under the false pretense of “Weapons of Mass Destruction”. Our exploding National Debt, our decimated economy (from gas prices that led to the mortgage crisis that led to the Wall Street bailout), to even our muted response to North Korea’s latest reckless provocation. It all goes back to the decision to invade Iraq. So on this inauspicious anniversary, we should pause for a moment to reflect on how it all ties in.

It all began, incredibly enough, back in April of 1993 when Former President George H.W. Bush (“Bush-41″), fresh off his reelection defeat to Bill Clinton, traveled to Kuwait to bask in his “greatest achievement” as president: Winning the “Gulf War” and kicking Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait (after we basically gave him the green light to do so). While in Kuwait, a plot to assassinate the former president by Saddam’s military was uncovered and thwarted. Newly sworn-in President Clinton responded by launching a missile strike on the HQ of Iraqi Intelligence, but that wasn’t enough for Bush’s son, “George W”, who never forgave… nor forgot… the attempt on his father’s life.

A group of Right Wing pro-military extremists… few of which had actually ever served in the military… calling themselves “Neo-Conservatives” (“neocons” for short) formed a group called “Project for a New American Century” (“PNAC”) and repeatedly urged President Clinton to overthrow Saddam Hussein… a dictator that was in charge of the world’s fourth largest oil reserves, on the grounds he was developing “Weapons of Mass Destruction” (most notably Sarin nerve gas.) President Clinton did in fact take the bait several times, first launching a missile strike against what was believed to be an Iraqi “chemical weapons plant” in Sudan in August of 1998 that turned out to be nothing more than a pharmaceutical company making generic Tylenol for export to Iraq (in a program approved by the U.N.) and then again in December 1998 in response to Saddam’s continued refusal to comply with U.N. weapons inspectors. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott called the timing of the strike on Iraq “suspect” and “cursory”… “an effort by President Clinton to distract Americans from his pending impeachment.” After both strikes failed to turn up any evidence of WMD’s, the Clinton Administration never again claimed Saddam Hussein currently possessed “Weapons of Mass Destruction” (sans one remark by Sec. Albright in 1999 noting that UN monitors “had yet to verify” Saddam had been disarmed, and another mention in September of 2000 of not wanting Iraq to “reconstitute” its [defunct] WMD program.)

Why was Saddam refusing to cooperate with weapons inspectors when he had no weapons?

Shortly after his execution, Saddam’s closest American confidant while in captivity revealed that the Iraqi dictator admitted, “I lied about WMD’s to scare off Iran”… the country he had been at war with for eight years. If Iran knew that following the 1991 Gulf War he had been left defenseless, Iran would invade. If the U.S. believed he had WMD’s, so would the Iranians. Little did he realize he had more to fear from gullible American Neo-cons than he did from Iran.

It wasn’t until Texas Governor George W. Bush entered the Presidential race in February of 2000 that anyone started claiming Iraq “still possessed” and might be actively pursuing WMD’s.

Two Texas oilmen, George Bush & Dick Cheney, took office planning the invasion of Iraq & overthrow of Saddam Hussein “from Day One”. So single-minded focused on Iraq was he, Bush “ignored” the threat of alQaeda, despite multiple recent bombings including the attack on the USS Cole less than one month before the election.

Rather than go into the weeds regarding all the warnings President Bush ignored prior to 9/11, I’ll simply refer you to this NYT article. Worthy of note:
 

“[N]eoconservative leaders who had recently assumed power at the Pentagon were warning the White House that the C.I.A. had been fooled [re: warnings of a stateside attack by alQaeda]; according to this theory, Bin Laden was merely pretending to be planning an attack to distract the administration from Saddam Hussein, whom the neoconservatives saw as a greater threat.”

 
Moving on…

The Bush Administration started cooking up a reason to invade Iraq from day one, but “9/11″ helped seal the deal, praying on the fears of a panic-stricken populace with daily warnings of another looming attack on the “homeland”. It didn’t matter that prior to “9/11″, President Bush’s own Secretary of State and National Security Adviser (Colin “Slideshow” Powell and Condi “Mushroom Cloud” Rice respectively) had already spent the preceding year reassuring people that Saddam had been “disarmed” and “no longer a threat”:
 


 
Barely two years in office, with the war in Afghanistan still going on and the economy in the toilet, people were asking if we could even afford to start a second war. The Bush Administration worked overtime to allay fears that the invasion of Iraq would not only “pay for itself” but possibly even turn a profit as the price of oil plunged from the heady highs of $30+ dollars a barrel to a more reasonable $18 dollars/barrel once Saddam was no longer in control of all that luscious oil (reminder, five years later, oil was hitting a then unimaginable high of $145/barrel, and still hovers close to $100 to this day.) “No blood for oil!” the people cried. “Blood for oil?”, asked the Bushies perplexed. Why on Earth would anyone think Operation Iraqi Liberation” had anything to do with “oil”?

Current TV’s John Fugelsang recalled last week how much the war that was promised “to pay for itself in Iraqi oil revenues” actually ended up costing us (roughly $1-TRILLION dollars… not counting the economic catastrophe, the loss of over 4,000 American troops, or the future cost of caring for our wounded warriors:
 

Fugelsang on Iraq War cost:

 
Finally on the evening on March 19th, 2003 (just after midnight, March 20th Baghdad time), despite months of unimpeded UN weapons inspections, Bush gave the order to invade Iraq. Between 9/11/01 and 3/20/03, the price of oil barely fluctuated from its close of $28.03/barrel on September 8, 2001 to $29.88/barrel on March 20, 2003. Yet one year after “Mission Accomplished”, oil closed at $40/barrel after the Energy Department warned in April of 2004 that oil was likely to hit the lofty height of $51/barrel by 2025. Oil broke that “distant future 2025″ price by September. And you thought “Mission Accomplished” had something to do with the end of the war. Silly you.
 

 
As I described in detail about a year ago, the rising price of gasoline meant people had less money to spend elsewhere. And when people aren’t buying, companies need fewer employees, causing the economy to contract even more. To make matters worse, a deregulated banking industry took advantage of interest rates being cut to the bone after 9/11, and continued to rate “mortgaged backed securities” as “AAA” even after newly unemployed Americans were defaulting on their Adjustable Rate Mortgages left & right as rates started to spike. Suddenly, the Bush Administration was faced with having to bailout Wall Street to the tune of $700 BILLION dollars… or about 40 percent MORE than the ENTIRE 2008 Federal Deficit. As a result, the Deficit exploded from just $459 Billion in 2008 to over $1.4 Trillion in 2009 (both budgets written by the Bush Administration as a “fiscal year” stretches from October 1st to September 30th.)

So the Obama Administration took office after being handed a $1.4T Deficit. With the Bailout behind them, the next Deficit would only be around $500-Billion, but in May, “The Stimulus” added back $787-Billion to the Deficit for 2010. The following year, it was revealed that for the past seven years, the Bush Administration had been running two wars “off the books” funded entirely with “Emergency Supplementals” (PDF). In late 2010, despite the 2008 Wall Street bailout being behind us and the 2009 “Stimulus” over & done with, the wars were put on the books and the Deficit remained at the “over $1 Trillion” level until just this year with the latest budget coming in just under the $1T mark. And just as the Market was trained to accept $100 oil as “the new normal”, so will military spending in the hundreds of billions become commonplace even after the war in Afghanistan is over.

And here we are. Happy 10th Anniversary Everybody!
 

The Neocons that brought us Iraq

Now go put some air in your tires and cheat the oil companies out of a few bucks.
 



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Filed in Economy, Energy Independence, Middle East, Money, Politics, Right-wing Facism, Terrorism, War March 18th, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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State Dept Says Modified Keystone Would Have Negligible Impact? (updated)

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, March 4, 2013

IT'S A MIRACLE!Last May, after the original Keystone XL Pipeline proposal had been rejected by the Obama Administration, TransCanada submitted a new modified proposal for a shorter, more direct route for the same pipeline to pipe saturated tarsands “oil” from Alberta, Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast. After a ten-month review, the U.S. State Department released a preliminary report on Friday concluding that the revised pipeline is “unlikely to have a significant impact on the environment”. Why? Well basically, because compared to the old KXL proposal, the new one seems almost sane (it isn’t). The revised pipeline would be shorter (in theory, only because it only extends to Nebraska where it will hookup with the already approved “Keystone extension” approved by the Obama Administration last year.) I wrote about the myths surrounding the original KXL project way back in April of 2011. ThinkProgress reported on the State Departments’ positive review of the revised plan last Friday and noted that for the next 45 days, the State Department would be accepting public comments (keystonecomments@state.gov) on the matter before a final decision is made. Here is a copy of my own comments. I highly encourage you to do the same:

 

Dear Sir or Madam,
  I am writing to express my deep disappointment and serious concern regarding the potential approval of a revised Keystone XL Pipeline project. Based on my own research, it is quite clear that the KXL would not only be an environmental catastrophe, but would not produce an abundance of jobs as many have claimed, and would in fact lead to higher gas prices (also in direct contradiction to stated claims) to go along with the aforementioned ecological disaster.

Even the premise of the pipeline “lowering gas prices” is absurd on its face. WHY would any company lobby so hard and spend tens of millions to push a project that would REDUCE their profits?

Reading the latest report on the revised pipeline proposal, right from the beginning I find myself gravely concerned that what is to be pumped through this pipeline being referred to as “oil” as it is not. It is in fact an oily sludge called “bitumen” that must be extracted from the sand and converted into oil. Thick bitumen sludge does not flow like oil, so it must be mixed with water… and LOTS of it (a minimum ratio of 3:1) to liquify it to the point it can be “pumped” like oil. That’s a horrendous waste of fresh water at a time when record heat means record drought.

Upon arrival at its destination, much of the water must then be extracted before the refining process may begin. The waste water… now a muddy chemical sludge, is dumped into giant “tailing ponds” of toxic waste that seep into the ground water, poison the soil for centuries, and kill off local wildlife.

The resulting “heavy-sour crude” is unsuitable for the production of gasoline (which relies on “light-sweet crude”), making it only suitable for producing “diesel” for export to Europe & South America. American refineries will have to give up roughly 15% of their existing refining capacity to convert this sludge into diesel, diverting gasoline production intended for the U.S. market to diesel production for export. Less gasoline being produced means HIGHER prices, not lower.

And there is no question “export” is the ultimate goal. Why else build a pipeline to the Gulf of Mexico? Wouldn’t it be cheaper/faster/easier to simply build a refinery in Canada (or anyplace between Alberta and the Gulf Coast?)

So TransCanada (the owners of the resulting “oil”) gets to export its oil and reap huge profits, while we get higher gas prices, toxic waste ponds and a leaky pipeline bisecting the nation and endangering ground water (and it WILL leak, as the sandy sludge “sandblasts” the thin metal pipeline transporting it.)

We also learned this past week that construction of the pipeline itself would produce no more that 42,100 temporary jobs and only between 35-50 permanent jobs. That’s a FAR cry from the “nearly 1 million jobs” falsely claimed by the pipeline’s supporters.

The solution to America’s energy problems is not to further embed our dependence on fossil fuels from one of the worst sources of oil on the planet, for an energy supply that would last only a few years (not “100+” as claimed), wreak havoc with our environment, increase gas prices and not produce anything close to a significant number of jobs to justify such a costly project. For a fraction of the cost, making our energy grid more efficient and investing in Green energy technology would produce FAR more “bang for the buck”… more jobs, better paying sustainable jobs with an actual future.

The idea that a revised pipeline proposal might be approved simply because the “new” proposal isn’t as an environmentally devastating as the first one is simply insane.

Thank you.

In the same report that says the pipeline is “unlikely” to have any affect on the GPA (“Great Plains Aquifer”) because the groundwater runs too deep and below bedrock, just three bullet points down it says this:
 

There are 2,537 wells within 1 mile of the proposed Project, including 39 public water supply wells and 20 private wells within 100 feet of the pipeline ROW. The vast majority of these wells are in Nebraska. Those wells that were in the vicinity may be affected by a petroleum release from the proposed Project.Executive Summary, pg.12.

 
Tell us again how the pipeline is “unlikely” to affect the ground water?
 

UPDATE: A week after release of the report (March 9th), an investigation revealed that this latest report claiming a negligible impact of the Keystone XL Pipeline on the environment was not prepared by neutral government officials, but instead:“Environmental Resources Management (ERM) was paid an undisclosed amount under contract to TransCanada to write the statement.” Color me shocked.

 

Just for fun, and a reminder of what once was, the intro from the 2008 Apocalyptic comedy “Zombie Strippers” joked about “Bush’s Fourth Term”:


 



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Filed in Economy, Energy Independence, Environment, Global Warming, Jobs, myth busting March 4th, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Why Would Anyone Vote for Someone With This Record (Romney)?

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, October 22, 2012

Truth in advertisingThis past week, I’ve listened incredulously to reports that President Obama’s lead over Governor Mitt Romney has continued to shrink following Romney’s impressive first debate performance despite his embarrassing second debate humiliation and VP Biden also being seen as “the winner” in his debate performance. Team Romney is 1-for-3 (and likely 1-for-4 tonight), and “fact checkers” have not been kind to Romney’s debate claims, yet we are to believe that none of this matters because… well, basically, because no matter what you believe, the governor has agreed with you at some point. But when you go down the list issue-by-issue, I find it unimaginable that this country would even consider putting these people back in control. But then again, I felt the same way leading up to the 2010 midterm elections. That prompted me the day before Election Day to openly wonder: When did “Republican” become this nations fall-back position? It seemed to me (and still does) that this country is WAY quicker to give Republicans’ the benefit of the doubt, and incredibly impatient with Democrats when they don’t fix the Republican’s mess fast enough, ready to go back to their “default” setting of Republicans in charge because they are really good at making themselves sound like they know what in the heck they are doing. But let’s look at that list issue-by-issue:

1) Fiscal Responsibility:

It has reached the point of “common knowledge” that “Republicans are the fiscally responsible ones” DESPITE the fact that TEN POINT THREE TRILLION of our $11.9 Trillion National Debt before Obama took office was run up by just three presidents: Reagan, Bush-41 & Bush-43. And Bush-43 took a projected $250-Billion dollar SURPLUS left to him by DEMOCRAT Bill Clinton, and stuck his successor, Barack Obama, with a $1.2-Trillion dollar annual DEFICIT. Hamstrung with the most astronomical deficit any president has ever left another administration, Obama’s presidency was hobbled from the day he took office by Trillion dollar annual deficits that HE DIDN’T CREATE. In fact, the Deficit will actually be LOWER next year (PDF) than it was when President Obama took office. Only two presidents have CUT SPENDING AND REDUCED THE DEFICIT in past 40 years: Bill Clinton and Barack Obama… both DEMOCRATS. So someone PLEASE explain to me where this myth of “Republican fiscal responsibility” comes from? Republicans LOVE to talk about the deficit, but only when DEMOCRATS are in charge.
 

Only Democrats cut spending

Imagine for a moment that a co-worker asked you to meet him for lunch at some fancy restaurant. He arrives an hour early, orders a steak and drinks a bottle of expensive wine, but when you arrive, all you see him with is a salad and a glass of water. Getting up to leave just as you arrive, he tells you, “Sorry, but I’ve been called away on an emergency”, and you generously offer to pay his bill, only to find out after he’s gone that he hosed you. You didn’t order so much as a slice of bread, but YOU are the one stuck with the huge bill. Meanwhile, you’re starving and can barely afford to buy yourself lunch. Worse, his buddies at the office all blame YOU for draining the expense account and try to get you fired. Republicans blaming president Obama for the size of the National Debt today is a lot like that. And how many years do you think it would take before you stopped criticizing the guy that hosed you?

2) National Security

Somehow, Republicans have an entirely undeserved record as being strong on “National Security” despite having a terrible track record (especially recently) when it comes to actually winning wars:

Wars since 1900 (only wars that have ended are shown in color):

Governor Romney OPPOSED pulling our troops out of Iraq, criticized our intervention in Libya to depose Qadaffy, and is already saber-rattling about using military force in Syria and Iran. And just like his Republican predecessor, wants to do it all on the Federal Credit Card while giving enormous fiscally irresponsible tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans. Republicans are BIG on increasing defense spending… even when the military doesn’t want it… because it makes them sound tough on national security (even though General Mike Mullen told President Bush that the National Debt is probably the greatest threat to our national security.

And as you already know, the latest batch of Neocons pimping all this war talk are notoriously short on military credentials. “In the Land of the Blind, the one eyed man is king”, and so was President Bush who (questionably) “served” stateside in the National Guard during Vietnam, placing him head and shoulders above the likes of “five deferments” Cheney and now Mitt “went to talk French people out of drinking wine during Vietnam” Romney (the fact Romney actually protested IN SUPPORT of the Vietnam War makes it all the more sickening.)

3) Pro-Life, anti-abortion

I’ve often said, “You can’t be Pro-War, Pro-Gun and Pro-Death Penalty and still call yourself Pro-Life.” The fact is, three things reduce abortion rates more than anything else: a strong economy (so parents can support their children), access to affordable health care (especially prenatal care), and the availability of birth control. As you read here on M.R.S. last week, Passing Laws does NOT curb abortion“.

Under President Obama… with absolutely no help from Republicans, the economy is improving, everyone will have medical coverage under “ObamaCare”, and insurance plans MUST provide contraception coverage. The GOP has vowed to do away with the second two, and their “plan” to grow the economy is Bush-onomics on Steroids, continuing to believe despite ALL evidence to the contrary that if we just cut tax-rates… not just “a little more”, but by a staggering 20%… that’ll magically create jobs and balance the budget.

If you’re “Pro-Life” and want to reduce the number of abortions, simply passing a law doesn’t do it. All it does is drive the problem underground. If simply passing laws stopped things from happening, there would be no murders, no crime and no drugs. Look around. Do we still have murder, theft and drugs? Thinking you can stop abortion simply by passing laws prohibiting them should earn you some time in a rubber room somewhere.

If you want to bring down abortion rates, the LAST thing you should be calling for is to repeal “ObamaCare”, object to contraception coverage, and make The Pill illegal (and yes, that’s EXACTLY what Romney’s support for a “Personhood Amendment” would do.)

4) Bain Capital didn’t “create jobs”, it DESTROYED them

This to me is insane. The idea that Mitt Romney knows anything about “creating jobs” because of his experience at Bain Capital is absurd. The business that Romney ran was a “venture capital” firm (which I’ve had plenty of experience with). They don’t RUN businesses. Early on, they gave out business loans to companies that someone else ran (Venture capitalists do typically sit on the Board and approve/reject decisions, but rarely MAKE those decisions unilaterally. So their record as a “job creator” based on that is weak at best.

But soon, making money by giving out loans was deemed “too slow” (by Romney?), leading them to acts of (as Rick Perry called it) “Vulture Capitalism”, where they bought up successful yet cash-strapped companies, bled them for all they were worth, fired all the employees, and then sold off the empty husk, reaping huge profits.

Is THAT the kind of “business experience” you believe “creates jobs” and would be good for this country?

Meanwhile, our current president (and again I point this out because it can’t be said often enough), with NO help from the GOP, reversed a loss of 750,000 jobs a month to where we’ve actually been GAINING jobs each month (not as many as we’d like, but tell that to the Republicans who filibustered “The Jobs Act” or “The Veterans Jobs Bill”), with over 5-Million jobs created since taking office (more than twice the net number of jobs Bush created in eight).

And finally…

5) “No Core”

I still find it astounding that in 2004, Republicans savaged Presidential nominee John Kerry for ONE inartfully stated fact: a reporter asked him to explain his vote opposing supplemental funding for the Iraq War. This led to the famed “I was FOR it before I was against it” remark. What the Senator was referring to there was voting in favor of the funding when it was to be paid for by repealing the Bush Tax Cuts for the very wealthy, but then voted against the bill when that provision was stripped out by the GOP. And for that one poorly worded response, Kerry was branded a “flip-flopper” by the Right like it were The Mark of Cain. Bush supporters showed up at rallies waving flip flops (the sandals), and the GOP ran TV ads of him engaging in the pretentious sport of “wind surfing” and saying his positions shift “as the wind blows”.

Flash forward just eight short years, and the GOP has nominated a man that a member of his own Party called “a perfectly lubricated [political] weather vane” in a TV ad depicting just a few of Romney’s flip-flops:
 

Jon Huntsman’s “Perfectly Lubricated Weather Vane” TV ad

 

Romney’s flip flopping has become legendary, clearly telling people whatever he thinks they want to hear at that particular time, and when caught, insists he has not changed positions. Probably the best example of this was when he ran for Senator in 1994, he gave an impassioned defense of how he was “pro-choice” as the result of a family tragedy regarding an illegal cross-border abortion in Mexico (his sister-in-law died), and because of that, would never change his position. He repeated that claim as he ran for governor of Massachusetts in 2002. No change, no way, no how. And when Mitt Romney gives you his word on something, you can take it to the bank.

One guy, John Kerry, was a wind-surfing elitist “flip flopper” on a single issue that Republicans used to paint him as out-of-touch and untrustworthy. The other, someone whose dancing “dressage horse” was entered into the Olympics, as he himself sets an Olympic record for “flip flopping” that would put Gabrielle Douglas to shame.

Mitt Romney has no core. He’s whatever you need him to be at that particular moment as a matter of political expediency. His own campaign director compared this philosophy to “an Etch-a-Sketch”. We got a real good look at this in action during the first presidential debate, where Romney basically “won” by abandoning just about every principle he’d ever had and repeatedly lied about his own position on various issues: from birth-control to the size of his tax plan. If the hypocrisy wasn’t bad enough to make Republicans question everything they believe, it should (at the very least) make you question your vote.
 

PS: And for those still asking, “Okay, you’ve given me plenty of reasons not to vote for Romney, but why should I vote FOR Obama?”
 

Obama lists many of his first-term accomplishments.

 



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Filed in Economy, Election, Energy Independence, Environment, Guns & Violence, Healthcare, Jobs, Middle East, Money, myth busting, Politics, Taxes, War October 22nd, 2012 by Admin Mugsy | • 2 comments | Add/View

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10 Things You WON’T Hear Mentioned at the Republican Convention This Week

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, August 27, 2012

Ask Mitt Anything* (*except...)As you know, the GOP will be holding its Presidential Convention & Cross Burning Clambake all this week in Tampa Bay. Well, not ALL week, because for the second convention in a row, the first day of the RNC Convention will be canceled due to a hurricane lashing the pavilion. In 2008, religious morons “prayed for rain” to disrupt the DNC Convention in Denver. Instead, they saw temps in the low 80’s, and the clouds parting on the night of Obama’s big acceptance speech. God is clearly a Democrat. Meanwhile, the GOP brazenly chose to host their convention at the site of Bush’s SECOND greatest failure (or, if you prefer, “Greatest failure of his SECOND term”), New Orleans during the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina (August 29, 2005). In response, God sent “Hurricane Gustav”, forcing the GOP to cancel Day-1 of their convention. Clearly, the GOP didn’t get the hint, because God decided in His infinite wisdom to disrupt the 2012 Convention as well with YET ANOTHER hurricane (“Isaac”) on the seventh anniversary of Katrina, once again headed for New Orleans. The Lord Almighty announced he’s “going to keep lobbing hurricanes at GOP Presidential Conventions until [they] admit Global Warming is real.” It’s true, I swear! God told me so himself (or maybe it was just Marcus Bachmann?)

And that’s Item #1 of things you WON’T hear being discussed at the Republican National Committee Convention this week: “Global Warming”. No, if history is any teacher, rather than ponder what effect turning our planet into a giant Easy-Bake Oven has on hurricanes, Asshats-in-cowboy-hats will be chanting, “Drill Baby, drill!” (or “Build the damn pipeline!”) despite the fact that oil production is higher now under President Obama than it EVER was under President Bush. (I have also pointed out that the KXL pipeline would result in HIGHER gas prices because giving up Refinery capacity to refine KXL oil for export means less gas for us, creating an artificial shortage that pushes prices UP.) But don’t confuse a Republican with “facts”. While Oil Billionaires in Tampa will be toasting the fact that hurricane in the Gulf means shutting down dozens of Refineries and Drilling Platforms across the Gulf Coast, pushing gas prices… and by extension… profits much higher (and the economy much lower), it will never occur to a single monsoon-soaked conventioneer that maybe what we should be looking for are ways to get OFF oil as a way to reduce prices, not suck the planet dry like the last Grape Nehi on Planet Diablo.

Number #2 on the list: While Governor Romney and several Convention Speakers will vow to “Repeal ObamaCare”, you will NOT hear ANYONE explain WHAT exactly they plan to replace ObamaCare with. On yesterday’s “Fox news Sunday”, host Chris Wallace interviewing Romney, asked him about “the consequences of repealing ObamaCare”. Romney ACTUALLY said that he would replace “ObamaCare” with “things”. You think I’m kidding?

Romney: (“the things I will replace ObamaCare with will also help hold down the cost of health care”)

Number #3: “Personhood”, or more specifically: “The Personhood Amendment. Oh, you’ll hear tons of lofty talk about the GOP being “The Party of Life” from a bunch of rabid pro-war, pro-gun, pro-death penalty zealots, and how the vile Liberal Left wants every woman to rely on Planned Parenthood for their health care so they can be talked into getting an abortion (especially if they’re black), but in the toxic fog of Rep. Todd Akin, any mention of the ultimate goal of that “pro-life” agenda will be harder to hear than a mouse-fart in church. If the camera catches glimpse of a single “Ban The Pill” or “Pass the Personhood Amendment” sign, you can bet that person will be yanked faster than a 6-inch nose hair.

No one during the entire event will connect the dots between “Personhood” and how it could ban most forms of hormonal contraception. In fact, you might even hear some Speaker claim that “No one is talking about banning contraception!” What a ridiculous thought!

Which of course leads to Number #4: Todd Akin. Last Monday, people were aghast by the Right-Wing nuttery of Republican Congressman Todd Akin for saying that victims of “legitimate rape” (RW code for suggesting there are a number of women who falsely claim rape simply to obtain an abortion) “secrete a substance” that prevents them from becoming pregnant (ergo, if you got pregnant, you must have wanted it.) But lets keep in mind that this is a Party where one of it’s leading presidential candidates… Ron Paulsaid almost the exact same thing last February, and no one on the Right said “Boo”.

As ThinkProgress pointed out, Paul Ryan teamed up with Akin on a slew of “personhood”, “anti-abortion” and “anti-contraception” acts of legislation as recently as THIS YEAR, so naturally the GOP makes him their Vice-Presidential nominee. If anyone brings up Akin or Ryan’s connection to him, it will be reporters, not anyone from the dais.

Number #5 on the list of thing you’ll never hear mentioned at this convention: The rash of recent “gun violence”. From the “Batman” shooting in Colorado, the near-fatal shooting of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, the attack on an Indian Seik Temple, or even the “suicide-by-cop” incident in front of The Empire State Building just last week. The GOP might as well change its name to The NRA for all the difference it would make. I’m sorry, but for a group of peacock-strutting macho Rednecks that loves guns & war, they sure talk tough, but I’ve never met a bigger bunch of frightened p@ssies in all my life. They live in constant terror of “Muslims”, “Illegal Immigrants”, “Black people”, “Black helicopters”… heck, the government in general. I couldn’t fathom living in their world. What a dark scary place they live in. It must be horrible living in such constant fear like that. So, if the word “gun” is mentioned at all during this Convention, it will be in the context of “Fast & Furious”… the botched “gun walking” program that never actually allowed a single gun to “walk”.

(UPDATE: On the morning of opening day of the Convention, a student at Perry Hall High School in Maryland was shot & wounded by another student opening fire in the school cafeteria.)

Number #6 on the list of things you’ll never hear at this convention: Mitt Romney’s tax returns or his tax shelters. While I wouldn’t be surprised if some minor league GOP “rising star” or disgruntled “Bachmann-type” in a waaaay off-primetime speaking slot ridicules the idea that anyone needs to see more than the one-years’ worth of tax returns that Mitt has already released, the very subject of Romney’s taxes will be verboten.

Number #7: The words “filibuster” or “obstruction”. It is imperative to the governor’s election chances that everyone forget that the last election wasn’t 2008, it was 2010. On yesterdays’ “ThisWeek” on ABC, Right-Wing putz George Will pointed to how little things have improved over the past year, and how that’s evidence “President Obama’s policies have failed”. Just once, I’d like someone to ask him if he thinks the GOP controlled Congress (yes, that includes the Dem-led Senate that has been held hostage via the filibuster) deserves ANY of the blame for the lack of improvement over the past two years? I mean, they DID come in promising “Jobs, jobs, jobs”, no? Or was I just imagining that? I’d almost bet cash/money that someone will (falsely) claim, “President Obama had a filibuster proof majority” his first two years (in truth, it was a grand total of only 24 working days) to support the idea he accomplished nothing (except pass the most sweeping health care reform law in 50 years.)

Number #8 on our list is “Voter ID” and the millions that are likely to be disenfranchised in order to “safeguard our elections” from a crime that’s rarer than death by lightning strike. The GOP is very excited about the passage of “Voter ID” laws that will require millions of legal Registered voters to unnecessarily jump through all sorts of ridiculous hoops just to exercise their Constitutional Right (“The Constitution”… you remember that Right-Wingers? It’s that thing you wrap yourselves in when it suits your purposes, and you push to “Amend” when it doesn’t?) They’ll ACTUALLY tell you, “It’s about making sure that only Citizens actually vote in our elections”, yet they accept a “Drivers License” (among other things) that doesn’t actually require proof of citizenship to get. In fact, NON-citizens can get a Drivers License, and do so all the time. Tell me again how “Voter ID” has anything to do with “making sure only citizens vote”? No, it’s just about making it more difficult for minorities and The Poor… groups that typically vote Democratic… to vote. I actually had one Right-Winger say to me, “Hey, if you can’t do something as simple as get an ID from the DMV, you shouldn’t be voting anyway!” Yes, it’s SO EASY for people WITHOUT A DRIVERS LICENSE OR A CAR to get to the DMV. It’s SO EASY for someone on Minimum Wage to take time off from work and wait in line all day at the DMV to get an ID they never needed before just to do something they’ve been doing for decades without incident. That taxi cab you might have to take to get to the DMV, or that time off you must take from work, that costs money and is tantamount to an illegal Poll Tax. If by some disaster Romney should “win” this November, you can BET “Voter ID” played a BIG part in making it happen.

Number #9: “The Dream Act”. Republicans are already on the outs with Millions of Hispanic voters for their “shoot first” at anyone that comes near their “1,100 mile long electrified fence” position on Border Security. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, who signed Arizona’s “Papers Please” law that gave local police the ability to stop anyone they deemed “suspicious” on any trumped-up charge they could think-up to give them legal justification to harass brown people, didn’t win them any friends in the Hispanic community. After alienating just about every sane black person in the country with their “Birther” nonsense, the GOP can’t afford to alienate any more minorities. But they’ve already labled President Obama’s “Dream Act”something that was once a GOP idea… “Amnesty”. In an interview on “Meet the Press” yesterday, Jeb Bush (who will be speaking at the convention while his brother will not) criticized his own party for being so anti-immigration, stressing the need for legal immigration. Jeb also acknowledged that President Obama “inherited a very difficult situation”, and will be using his speech to promote the need for “education” to a bunch of Home-Schoolers that want to abolish the Department of Education. So you can relax folks, there’s now ZERO chance we’ll ever see another Bush in the White House.

And last but not least…

Number #10 on the list of Things no one will hear mentioned at the RNC Convention? Osama bin Laden or Kadaffy.

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Filed in Economy, Election, Energy Independence, Environment, General, Global Warming, Guns & Violence, Healthcare, Middle East, Politics, Predictions, Religion, Right-wing Facism, Right-Wing Insanity, Taxes, voting, War August 27th, 2012 by Admin Mugsy | • 6 comments | Add/View

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Some rants: JobsJobsJobs, Oil, Hypocrisy and My Integrity (UPDATED)

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, June 4, 2012

In Mitt's upside-down world.There was so much going on last week, that I couldn’t pick a single topic to focus on. First off was (of course) the dismal jobs report for May released last week. Republicans were quick to pounce on the disappointing figures, pointing to it was “PROOF!” that President Obama’s economic policies are a failure. Also, it came as little relief last week when the price of oil fell below $90/barrel for the first time since last October (when I think about how oil used to be below $30/barrel for decades, and gas never broke $2/gallon before President Bush invaded Iraq, I get nauseous). And Mitt Romney gave a “top secret” presser in front of “Solyndra”… “top secret” because he claimed fearing “Obama-campaign inference” had it of been publicly announced… at the same time the Romney campaign sent its OWN campaign goon-squad to heckle Obama-spokesman David Axelrod during a campaign event of his own, once again demonstrating my long-held belief that “if Republicans accuse you of doing something, it’s either because they ARE doing it themselves or WOULD do it if they were in a position to do so (ie: “projection”). And lastly, my big report last week questioning the disturbing appearance of cronyism by Romney while governor of Massachusetts, was criticized and contested… calling my own integrity into question… by picking at the fringes while never addressing the core issue. Let’s take these one at a time:

First off, that dismal “jobs report”. Am I the only person wondering just how Republicans… who were swept into office in 2010 promising “jobs, jobs, jobs”… can get away with laying all the blame for the bad jobs numbers at the feet of President Obama? Really now, Conservatives. You ran to the polls and voted en masse for Republicans promising “a laser-like focus on jobs”, and this is what you got (actually, THIS is what you got). And now you want to blame President Obama solely for the poor economy? Do you get it yet? This is a Party willing to unemploy hundreds of thousands of people just to put one man out of work. You doubt me? This is the same Party that threatened to throw this nation into default just to score some cheap political points during last years Debt Ceiling debacle (a move that cost us our Triple-A bond rating.) And now they are threatening to do it again. I urge you to take a good long look at the infamous “bikini graph” once more:
 

Job Creation by president (yellow line added by me for emphasis)
Job creation chart to May 2012
(click to enlarge)

Note that yellow line. That’s job creation under a DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS before Republicans decided to make spending a campaign issue, and started blocking everything in sight. Now you want to reward these same obstructionists on the grounds that President Obama failed to get anything done? When you have the Senate Minority Leader saying his Party’s “#1 political goal is to make President Obama a one-term president“, or when the Indiana GOP nominee for Senate says that “bipartisanship is when Democrats give in to Republicans”, you’re only rewarding bad behavior that puts partisan-politics ahead of the good of the country. And don’t be surprised if Democrats then turn around and use the exact same techniques against Republicans if Romney wins in November. (Of course, Republicans would do a FAR better job of vilifying the Democrats for doing it if they did.) Why do we allow the obstructionists to criticize Obama’s “lack of progress”, and get away with it?

Political junkies like you and me who probably watched all the Sunday shows yesterday… did you ONCE hear anyone ask these Republicans, “You came in promising jobs, jobs, jobs. And here we are. Don’t you think YOU deserve a share of the blame for these poor jobs numbers?” If anyone asked that question yesterday, I sure missed it. Sorry Republicans, but you can’t claim all the credit when things look good, and assume none of the blame when things look bad. That’s called “taking personal responsibility.” Ah, but look who I’m talking to! You know all about “personal responsibility”. It’s your catch-phrase… or it least it used to be when you proposed “insurance mandates” before “ObamaCare” took them up.

A blog posting I wrote back in January entitled “Why the economy is so bad. And why Obama should be trusted to fix it” started picking up a number of fresh hits last week. I encourage you to go back and give it a second read.

Several factors played into the poor jobs numbers for May. Continued Republican insistence on “austerity” being high on that list. Once again, while the number of jobs created was low, the unnecessary loss of 13,000 Public Sector jobs made it worse. That’s another 13,000 people competing for the same jobs as millions of longterm unemployed. You now have to create another 13,000 jobs just to get the number of unemployed back the to where it was before the layoffs. Can we all just finally agree that this insane adherence to “austerity” demanded by Republicans is killing our recovery (by design?) As I pointed out three weeks ago, while Democrats and President Obama are stupidly cutting public employment, Republican governors have been on a hiring binge to make their unemployment numbers look good.

Another factor: oil & gas prices… while coming down… are sucking the lifeblood out of our economy. While the price of oil fell below $90/barrel for the first time since last October, the National Average price for a gallon of gas is 17cents higher today than it was back then, once again demonstrating the lack of a connection between falling oil prices and a decline in gas prices (while the opposite is imminently true). I just want to shout from the rooftops (and metaphorically speaking, that’s what this blog is): “It’s the dependence on oil, Stupid!” (apologies to Clinton’s 1992 campaign catch-phrase). While I heard multiple Talking Heads on TV yesterday excoriate President Obama’s obstruction of “the keystone XL pipeline” (read my rant on that subject here), I heard NO ONE suggest that maybe we should focus on using LESS oil rather than continuing our dependence upon it (and the Middle East)… not to mention inviting certain environmental disaster, all for short-term gain that won’t have an impact on the market for at least three years. I actually heard Romney’s campaign manager on “Meet the Press” ridicule obstruction of the KXL, calling it “a project that would create thousands of jobs immediately.” Thousands? Thousands? We need 110,000 jobs every month just to keep up with population growth. What happened to the “million” jobs they were boasting of just a few months ago? (ibid my KXL rant) Are we (read: “they”) really so stupid that we’d pass a construction project two-to-three times as massive as the Alaskan Pipeline just to create a few thousand low-paying construction jobs in an industry that doesn’t need government help to make money? I can think of A DOZEN other ways to create TENS of thousands of green energy jobs… long-term, high-paying, high-tech GREEN jobs with a future… in less time for a fraction of the cost. Roughly 8 percent of our electricity is still generated using oil-powered turbines. Replace them with Wind, Solar, tidal or geothermal plants. That would have a MASSIVE and direct impact on this nation’s oil consumption, and a direct impact on global oil prices. One might easily jump to the conclusion that this would be the equivalent of removing 8% of all the cars off America’s roads, but in fact, it would be MUCH more. Keep in mind these massive plants run 24 hours a day 7 days a week, using FAR more oil than the equivalent of “8% of all U.S. cars on the road”. Yank that demand off the world market and watch oil prices PLUNGE. Gas prices would fall in conjunction (though not at the same rate) providing a huge economic boost to the country. Plus all the new jobs building/running these new plants, not to mention the benefit to the environment. And it could all be paid for by rescinding those asinine $6Billion/year oil subsidies the GOP fought to keep. I certainly wouldn’t stop there. There are still some 600 coal fired powerplants in the U.S. that need to be phased out… though “coal” is a MUCH more touchy subject since the “fuel” for these plants comes from mining jobs here in the U.S..

Of course, convincing this parsimonious Congress to agree to spend even one dime on something that might create jobs and help the president’s reelection chances in November is about as unlikely as our Milky Way galaxy colliding with another galaxy. Both are likely to happen in about four-Billion years time.

Next issue: Romney’s “top secret” press conference in front of the closed Solyndra plant. This was a joke from start-to-finish. First off, the Big Show the Romney campaign made about having to having to keep the location of his speech secret (bringing the Press along but not telling them where) under the claim that it was done that way to thwart Obama-Campaign saboteurs. At the same time on the other side of the country the Romney campaign organized hecklers via Twitter to disrupt a speech by Obama advisor David Axelrod… once again proving my contention that “if a Republican accuses you of doing something, it is only because they are either doing it themselves or would do it if they were in your shoes.” I’ve seen it at least once a week for the past 12 years (starting with the 2000 Florida fight when Republicans accused Democrats of trying to steal the election.)

Okay. If you’re one of those people that thinks political campaigns should operate with all the maturity of a Redneck kindergarten class, then score one for Romney. Unless of course, facts matter to you and not just showmanship. Romney actually claimed that President Obama had engaged in illegal activity, claiming that “the Inspector General found” that President Obama steered the Solyndra contract to “friends and family.” That’s a flatout lie. The truth is… at Right-wing prompting… the Inspector General looked into the possibility and found “no evidence” of cronyism. In truth, the contract approval process began under President Bush, and I can assure you they weren’t looking to do him any favors.

To compound the issue, it turns out Romney has TWO THREE FOUR numerous failed high-tech firms (many, many belonging to Romney supporters or run by Bain Capital) in his own closet that received millions from the Romney Administration while he was governor of Massachusetts. Two biotech firms called “Acusphere” and “Spherics Inc” received/lost a combined $2.1 million in loans and Two solar energy companies. Company number three was a solar energy company called “Konarka Technologies”, which filed for Chapter-7 bankruptcy the day after Romney’s speech before solar energy company Solyndra, After Konarka received $1.5 Million in state funds, Romney himself praised the deal, claiming it would act as “an economic springboard”. Number four I learned about only after posting today’s blog entry. “Evergreen Solar” went belly up just last year after receiving $2.5 Million from the Romney Administration. Just one more example of Republicans attacking Democrats for things they themselves do or did. This goes beyond hypocrisy, wading into the realm of “mental disorder”.

A brief aside on these failed high-tech firms: The REAL scandal here isn’t the allegations of cronyism, or the viability of green energy, or even the economic downturn (started under Bush) that put them out of business. No, the REAL scandal here is HOW they were put out of business. THEY COULDN’T COMPETE AGAINST CHEAP CHINESE TECHNOLOGIES SUBSIDIZED BY THE CHINESE GOVERNMENT. This absurd Conservative belief that “tariffs would create a trade war” rather than make our products competitive enough to create jobs here at home, is burying America in a hole it might never dig its way out of. Ross Perot was right about that “giant sucking sound” of jobs leaving the country if we massively expanded (so-called) “Free Trade”.

Another bug up my butt this week: all of last month, I railed about how “public sector job losses” were dragging down the recovery, and the hypocrisy of Republicans… who have a LONG history of using government-jobs to bring down unemployment… turn a blind-eye to Republican governors CURRENTLY doing that very thing, at the same time they are attacking President Obama on “spending” and “weak jobs numbers”.

So imagine my surprise last week to see my beloved ThinkProgress link to a story Friday on how “public sector job creation soared under President Bush” while it has plunged under President Obama. Glad to see them FINALLY come to the Party, but I emailed them my own coverage of the topic nearly a month ago. A “hat-tip” would of been nice (not that I do this for the attaboys).

Also of note, Tuesday will be the Recall election of Wisconsin governor Scott Walker. It is almost unimaginable that someone who: publicly (and unwittingly) confessed to considering “planting troublemakers within anti-Walker protest rallies”, admitted that his plan to break up public unions had nothing to do with balancing the states’ budget, and even admitted (again unwittingly) on camera that his strategy to “permanently turn the state red” was “divide & conquer” (pitting the people against unions until the unions were destroyed), and carries the distinction of being “the only governor in the nation with a criminal defense fund“… could be leading the polls by as many as 7-points the weekend before the election. But then again, thanks to the “Citizens United” ruling, a flood of money from some very rich special interests from outside the state that would also like to see the unions destroyed, have flooded money into the Walker campaign at a more than 10-to-1 cash advantage, to the point where even some union members are supporting him (that’s a link to the “Union Members for Walker” Facebook page.) All I can ask is: “Are you out of your freakin’ minds?” I pray that the polls are wildly off because they don’t poll the most motivated anti-Walker voters: young people with cell phones.

Republicans, I have to ask: Do you believe in Class Action Lawsuits? That’s when a group of people harmed by the same corporation join forces to sue as a group because no single person could go up against a Billion dollar company and not get squashed like a bug. THAT’S what a UNION is. It levels the playing field between corporations with all the money and employees with limited resources. Destroy the unions and you better pray you never have to go up against them in court. As the bumper sticker says:
 

United We Stand

Another topic on my mind this week, I want to rant for a moment about My Integrity… or more precisely, Republicans who call it into question.

Last weeks column was on a very complex subject deserving (as I noted repeatedly) deeper investigation by people with more time & resources than myself. While examining Governor Romney’s “job creation” record, I came away with more questions than I started, namely, why a close friend of Mitt’s came to him with a “jobs program” in which all of the risk fell on himself and asked nothing of the state? Then, when I found two criminal indictments before the Massachusetts state court connected to the same bank at the same time as their deal with the governor, it certainly got my Spidey-sense tingling.

But I made a small error in my report (which I updated to note), saying that Romney had recently cost the state “4,000 jobs” by allowing a merger to go through that he had to power to stop but didn’t (and thus in need of a lifeline.) But, as was pointed out to me in the comments, the “4,000 figure” was the “total number of jobs affected by the merger” (the entire company workforce), not “lost”. My integrity was also called into question for not pointing out that the same sweetheart deal offered Romney was also going on in Pennsylvania by the same bank. (Note: If it matters, the same bank was being sued in Pennsylvania for “copyright infringement” at the same time.)

Note, I don’t blog for a living. As you’ve noticed, there are no adds on this site, nor requests for donations. It’s a hobby. It’s my “rooftop” to shout from that I pay for out of pocket. I tried ads once, but when they started showing ads for people/causes that I don’t support, I dumped them. And while mistakes are bound to be made, I take great pains not to flub The Big Stuff. Hopefully you’ve noticed that I attempt to provide a link to EVERY assertion I make to back me up. And like my “4,000” flub, if I make a mistake, let me know and I’ll correct it. I find it almost comical that anyone would accuse me of “hiding” something that they only know BECAUSE I LINKED TO IT.

But that’s what Conservatives do. When presented with something they can’t refute, they’ll pick it apart for the tiniest flaw, then go after that tiny flaw like a dog that hasn’t eaten in a week, believing that if they can destroy that one thing, they’ve destroyed your entire argument. “How can you trust anything he says when he got this one simple thing wrong?” Once again, if I’m not certain about something, I’ll say so, and recommend further investigation. Do NOT question my integrity you little Brownshirt crotch-lice.

Note to Republicans: Just because you tell me you “hate Mitt Romney” DOESN’T MEAN YOU’RE NOT A REPUBLICAN. Only in GOP-land does a 100% adherence to each and every thing your Party says or does make you “a Republican”, and if you disagree on anything, that makes you “an Independent”. No children, I disagree with my Party… even President Obama… frequently. But I still call myself a Democrat. That’s because I’m an adult. I believe in an “ideal”, not an “ideology”.

Whew! Glad to get all that off my chest.
 



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Filed in Economy, Election, Energy Independence, Environment, Jobs, Money, Politics, Rants, Taxes June 4th, 2012 by Admin Mugsy | • 4 comments | Add/View