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Oil Lobby Paid Washington Post and Atlantic to Host Climate-Change Deniers at RNC

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Corporate control of US government is moving to corporate control of media messaging. Alex Emmons reports in The Intercept:

AT THE AWARD-WINNING seafood restaurant in downtown Cleveland thatThe Atlantic rented out for the entire four-day Republican National Convention, GOP Rep. Bill Johnson turned to me and explained that solar panels are not a viable energy source because “the sun goes down.”

Johnson had just stepped off the stage where he was one the two featured guests speaking at The Atlantic’scocktail caucus,” where restaurant staff served complimentary wine, cocktails, and “seafood towers” of shrimp, crab cakes, oysters, and mussels to delegates, guests, reporters and, of course, the people paying the bills.

The event was sponsored by the American Petroleum Institute, the lobbying arm of fossil fuel giants like ExxonMobil, Chevron, and ConocoPhilips.

Johnson, a climate denier and influential member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, spoke of a future when American scientists “solve these big problems” and “figure out how to harness the sun’s energy, and store it up, so that we can put it out over time.” His hypothetical invention, of course, is called a battery, and was invented over 200 years ago.

Instead of balancing Johnson with an environmentalist or a climate scientist,The Atlantic paired Johnson with another notorious climate denier: Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., who is an energy adviser to Donald Trump. Cramer hascalled global warming “fraudulent science by the EPA,” and once told a radio audience in 2012 that “we know the globe is cooling.”

Both congressmen went nearly unchallenged by the moderator, The Atlantic’sWashington Editor Steve Clemons, who said he wasn’t able to find an opposing speaker, but went ahead with the event anyway.

Lewis Finkel, a top lobbyist for the American Petroleum Institute gave the opening remarks. “We are pushing forward for a robust energy discussion during this election cycle,” he said.

Evidence of human-made climate change is so conclusive that it’s wrong for journalists to treat its denial like a reasonable point of view. But it is a new low for major media groups to sell their brand to lobbyists and let climate truthers go unchallenged.

And The Atlantic was hardly alone. At the Republican National Convention, the American Petroleum Institute also paid the Washington Post and Politico to host panel conversations where API literature was distributed, API representatives gave opening remarks, and not one speaker was an environmentalist, climate expert, scientists, or Democrat.

At The Atlantic‘s event, Cramer and Johnson both downplayed concerns about climate science. “The 97 percent of the scientists who believe its real, don’t all believe the exact same level,” said Cramer. “Whose fault it is, what’s going to stop it, … there’s a wide range in that spectrum.”

Johnson told the audience “climate change is probably not in most American’s top 10, top 20 issues.”

Clemons offered only limited pushback. When Johnson argued that alternative energy should not receive federal subsidies, Clemons pointed out that “the natural gas and the oil industry and the fossil fuel sector also have massive subsidies built into them,” and asked Johnson, “Would you remove all of those? How do you have that discussion?”

Johnson replied with a non-answer: “You let the energy market drive the innovation. I am not against incentives … for companies trying to pursue energy-efficient projects.” Clemons did not press him on the point. . .

Continue reading. Video at the link.

It will be interesting to see what, if anything, James Fallows has to say about this.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 July 2016 at 6:35 pm

“Five Things I Learned Making a Chart Out of Body Parts”

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A must-read.

Written by LeisureGuy

13 July 2016 at 1:17 pm

Posted in Health, Media, Medical, Memes, Writing

Not snark: David Brooks wrote an interesting column.

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See what you think.

The previous post was written before I read Brooks’s column, but they seem to be on the same wave length.

BTW, it seems perfectly clear that David Brooks, like so many, has been following the James Fallows series on American Futures in his travels across America.

Roger Ailes opts for secrecy, cowardice in face of Gretchen Carlson suit

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Erik Wemple writes in the Washington Post:

After Gretchen Carlson filed her stunning sexual harassment/retaliation lawsuit against Fox News chief Roger Ailes, the cable-news giant responded, in part, by affirming that the complaint was “wholly without merit and will be defended vigorously.” An outside observer might just have concluded that Ailes was girding for a showdown in which his side of the story could get a full hearing. A fair fight within the confines of the civil justice system.

Nope, wrong impression: Ailes wants this thing to recede into the shadows, where the particulars of his dispute with Carlson won’t reach the media. This, from one of the titans of American media.

A filing Friday by attorneys David W. Garland and Barry Asen in a New Jersey federal court signaled Ailes’s intent to pluck the case out of the court system and into an arbitration proceeding, pursuant to Carlson’s now-expired contract with Fox News, from which she was terminated on June 23. She served as an afternoon news host after spending eight years as a co-host of the inimitably awful morning show “Fox & Friends.”  The filing cites the following arbitration clause in Carlson’s contract:

Any controversy, claim or dispute arising out of or relating to this Agreement or Performer’s [Plaintiff’s] employment shall be brought before a mutually selected three-member arbitration panel and held in New York City in accordance with the rules of the American Arbitration Association [“AAA”] then in effect. … Such arbitration, all filings, evidence and testimony connected with the arbitration, and all relevant allegations and events leading up to the arbitration, shall be held in strict confidence.

Now why would Ailes be looking to pull off such a maneuver? Well, the filing itself provides a hint or two. Indulge in the following language: “Plaintiff improperly filed her public Complaint with the Superior Court, as opposed to filing it with the AAA and adhering to her contractually-required confidentiality obligation, so that her counsel could tar Mr. Ailes’s reputation publicly, try this case in the media press, and coerce him to settle. Plaintiff’s counsel has been on a non-stop tour of major media outlets ever since, making one false and defamatory statement after another,” reads the filing, in part.

Oh, Roger Ailes! Where to even start? You are a towering public figure, a big shot in broadcasting, in politics, in New York, everywhere — and you run a network that has specialized in dragging the political opponents of Fox News through the dirt every day via innuendo, grave-sounding anchor voices and occasional falsehoods — especially on Carlson’s miserable former haunt “Fox & Friends.” The Erik Wemple Blog thanks you for this frenzy of self-unawareness; we promise to reference it many, many times in the future.

Back to the merits. From the start, Carlson’s complaint contained one peculiarity, aside from all the allegations that Ailes had propositioned her, had asked her to turn around so he could observer her “posterior,” had instructed her to “get along with the boys” who were allegedly harassing her and had retaliated against her after complaints. That one peculiarity is that the suit was lodged solely against Ailes and did not go after Fox News Channel. The filing by Ailes’s attorneys, with the firm Epstein Becker & Green, P.C., tilts at this ploy: . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

10 July 2016 at 3:32 pm

Posted in Business, Daily life, Law, Media

Major Political News Outlets Offer Interviews for Sale at DNC and RNC Conventions

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They have to make a profit, after all, and they are willing to use any means at all to increase those profits. Lee Fang reports in The Intercept.

Written by LeisureGuy

1 July 2016 at 3:41 pm

Obama drone casualty numbers a fraction of those recorded by the Bureau

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No great surprise. Jack Serle reports for the Bureau of Investigative Journalism:

The US government today claimed it has killed between 64 and 116 “non-combatants” in 473 counter-terrorism strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Libya between January 2009 and the end of 2015.

This is a fraction of the 380 to 801 civilian casualty range recorded by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism from reports by local and international journalists, NGO investigators, leaked government documents, court papers and the result of field investigations.

While the number of civilian casualties recorded by the Bureau is six times higher than the US Government’s figure, the assessments of the minimum total number of people killed were strikingly similar. The White House put this figure at 2,436, whilst the Bureau has recorded 2,753.

Since becoming president in 2009, Barack Obama has significantly extended the use of drones in the War on Terror. Operating outside declared battlefields, such as Afghanistan and Iraq, this air war has been largely fought in Pakistan and Yemen.

Related story: Covert US strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia – our methodology

The White House’s announcement today is long-awaited. It comes three years after the White House first said it planned to publish casualty figures, and four months after President Obama’s chief counter-terrorism adviser, Lisa Monaco, said the data would be released.

The figures released do not include civilians killed in drones strikes that happened under George W Bush, who instigated the use of counter-terrorism strikes outside declared war zones and in 58 strikes killed 174 reported civilians. . .

Continue reading. Chart at link.

Written by LeisureGuy

1 July 2016 at 1:35 pm

A wonderful comparison, contra Dr. Johnson

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Here’s the counterexample. Watch the entire video and think about it.

And they’re right: no TV series would use a plot device of a reality-show host running for president, knowing absolutely nothing about any of the issues and decisions, and winning the nomination: as a plot, it would get an absolute thumbs down, along the lines of the thumbs down that the plot device, “… and it all turned out to be a dream!” would get: pretty firm.

Written by LeisureGuy

1 July 2016 at 12:41 pm

Posted in Election, GOP, Media

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