For years, politicians wanting to block legislation on climate change have bolstered their arguments by pointing to the work of a handful of scientists who claim that greenhouse gases pose little risk to humanity.
One of the names they invoke most often is Wei-Hock Soon, known as Willie, a scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics who claims that variations in the sun’s energy can largely explain recent global warming. He has often appeared on conservative news programs, testified before Congress and in state capitals, and starred at conferences of people who deny the risks of global warming.
But newly released documents show the extent to which Dr. Soon’s work has been tied to funding he received from corporate interests.
He has accepted more than $1.2 million in money from the fossil-fuel industry over the last decade while failing to disclose that conflict of interest in most of his scientific papers. At least 11 papers he has published since 2008 omitted such a disclosure, and in at least eight of those cases, he appears to have violated ethical guidelines of the journals that published his work.
The documents show that Dr. Soon, in correspondence with his corporate funders, described many of his scientific papers as “deliverables” that he completed in exchange for their money. He used the same term to describe testimony he prepared for Congress…
The documents were obtained by Greenpeace, the environmental group, under the Freedom of Information Act. Greenpeace and an allied group, the Climate Investigations Center…
Historians and sociologists of science say that since the tobacco wars of the 1960s, corporations trying to block legislation that hurts their interests have employed a strategy of creating the appearance of scientific doubt, usually with the help of ostensibly independent researchers who accept industry funding.
Fossil-fuel interests have followed this approach for years, but the mechanics of their activities remained largely hidden…
Environmentalists have long questioned Dr. Soon’s work, and his acceptance of funding from the fossil-fuel industry was previously known. But the full extent of the links was not; the documents show that corporate contributions were tied to specific papers and were not disclosed, as required by modern standards of publishing.
Hypocrites and liars defame their scientific credentials – while scumbag politicians who never have deserved respect use them to justify corrupt practices. There are damned few of the former – witness the overwhelming majority of collective and individual researchers who have defined the problems of climate change we face. The latter? Well, Congress and especially the majority of Republicans in that cesspool have a lower acceptability rating than Adolf Hitler and Bubonic Plague.
And the plague is innocent of decision-making.
Gallup CEO Jim Clifton has discovered a shocking secret about unemployment: its definition.
Those Chicago guys didn’t even bother to hide this one in plain sight. It’s just sitting there in plain sight, right on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ homepage: only people who don’t have a job but are actively looking for one count as unemployed. That means someone who wants work but has given up looking for it because things seem so hopeless isn’t “unemployed.” Neither is someone who works part-time but can’t find the full-time job that they want. Or someone who does whatever odd jobs they can find. Add it all up, and our 5.6 percent unemployment rate is a “Big Lie,” according to Clifton…
If the unemployment rate is so flawed how come we pay so much attention to it? Well, because it’s the worst stat about labor market slack except for all the others. The problem is figuring out which people who don’t have jobs are really jobless.
Take discouraged workers. The unemployment understates how bad things are by ignoring them, but we wouldn’t want to count everyone who’s not working and not looking for a job as unemployed, would we? If we did, then we’d be saying that college students and stay-at-home parents and even retirees are just as unemployed as someone who’s sending out resumés everyday.
But even that’s not clear cut since some people go to school because they can’t find a job, and some people stay at home since child care would cost more than they’d make, and some people are forced into retirement. That’s why we look, for example, at the so-called prime-age participation rate—the percent of people between 25 and 54 years old who have or are looking for a job—to figure out far away we are from a real recovery. And by that measure, we still have a ways to go…
But even that’s imperfect because it doesn’t tell us why people aren’t looking for work. It could be that the crisis convinced more people to go to college, regardless of whether they could find a job now. That’d be good.
Or it could be that wages have been flat for so long and childcare’s gotten so expensive that it’s not worth it for people to work now or anytime soon. That’d be bad.
Or it could be both. But if either is true, it’d mean that the unemployment rate is more accurate than you might think. In other words, since we can’t read people’s minds, the best way we can tell what they want is to look at what they’ve done. That’s not entirely right, but it’s the least wrong.
So the unemployment rate’s not a big lie. But calling it one is.
All this crap got started back in the Nixon era. Yes, essential labor statistics were screwed with to make unemployment look like less of a problem. It’s called Republican arithmetic.
But, most of the whines since are just that. Beancounteers crying in their beer over a small fractional adjustment for whatever reason. Which has nothing to do with either cyclical or, especially, structural unemployment.
So, just tell your favorite whiner to put a cork in it and spend their time trying to find solutions instead of putting all their energy into a lament about people they ignore 99% of the rest of their lives.
Thanks to my favorite Recovering Republican
One of Reuters’ environment pictures of the year. A graveyard is seen underwater in the village of Moorland in south west England, February 7, 2014.
But, don’t worry. Dick Cheney says climate change isn’t anymore likely to occur than the United States torturing people.
One of the few times John McCain displays integrity is about torture. With good reason, of course. Wish he could find the same experience somewhere in his gold-plated heart to find solidarity with people who work for a living.
As for his criminal peers in the CIA, retired pricks like Bush and Cheney – these are the kind of evil thugs who would have willinglky sold out the American Revolution for a guaranteed spot in the Colonial government.
Especially if the Brits had discovered oil that early.
One of the GOP candidates swept into office Tuesday in Colorado was a former Navy chaplain who believes gays are “unhuman” and once performed an on-air exorcism of President Barack Obama.
Gordon Klingenschmitt won just under 70 percent of the vote in the state’s 15th House district, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette. Republicans outnumber Democrats in that district by more than 2 to 1.
Klingenschmitt heads up the Pray in Jesus Name Project, which is designated as an anti-LGBT hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The former chaplain hosts a daily “Pray in Jesus Name” program, where homosexuality is by far his favorite topic of discussion.
Right Wing Watch has a great round-up of Klingenschmitt’s most extreme statements. Here’s a sampling:
On gays: “They’re cooperating with the Devil and there is something unhuman inside of them.”
On “curing” a transgender teen: “The parents are encouraging that and really what the parents ought to do is take that boy to an exorcist, take that boy to a minister or at least discipline the boy, maybe give him a spanking…”
On exorcising Obama: “Father in Heaven, we pray against the domestic enemies of the Constitution, against the demon of tyranny who is using the White House occupant and that demonic spirit is oppressing us.”
Apparently, Klingenschmitt himself has realized that those extreme statements could prove problematic during his time as a legislator…”I would say it is time for people of good will on both sides of the political debate to come together to have reasonable discussions about these issues,”
Like most Republicans whose self-image is bound up in the constipated world view of the 14th Century – Klingenschmitt is a liar. Like most of his peers who ran for state and federal office in Colorado – he is a liar. Like most of his peers who ran for national office throughout the United States – he is a liar.
But, that’s OK with the folks who voted for him. They know he is a liar. They accept he is lying to the public in general to get elected and they are smug about being in on the lie. It’s all for a good cause in their tiny little brains – thoroughly absent the part that requires ethics and understands that a changing society offers a chance to learn more about the world and life.
Lying is good. Especially if it leads to Christian Sharia rule.
Iranians have used social media to mock Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, after he suggested they were not allowed to wear jeans.
In an interview with BBC Persian TV Mr Netanyahu said that if Iranians were free they would wear blue jeans, and listen to Western music.
Hundreds of Iranians both in Iran and abroad reacted on social media sites…Many posts showed mainly young Iranians wearing jeans and listening to Western music, some in comic poses.
Others mocked up scenes from ancient Persian history with the protagonists wearing denim.
Jeans are not banned in Iran, where an Islamic dress code requires women to cover their hair and wear modest outer clothing. Some Western music or Western-style music is tolerated.
One picture on social media sites showed a young boy in jeans whispering into the ear of the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Another is a doctored photograph of Mr Netanyahu’s address at the UN last year in which he drew a red line across a sketch of a bomb, to warn that Iran was moving closer to the metaphorical “red line” of gaining enough highly-enriched uranium for a nuclear bomb.
In the mocked-up picture, widely-shared on Twitter, the bomb has been replaced with a picture of a female figure wearing jeans, with the Israeli prime minister appearing to draw a red line across the thighs.
One Iranian response on a Facebook page that has attracted hundreds of followers read: “He thinks he saw our bomb but he hasn’t seen our jeans.”
Most Americans probably can legitimately claim to be ignorant of the role our nation played in suppressing democracy in Iran – laying the groundwork for an Islamic revolution. Israelis really can’t. They can’t avoid a certain amount of history and knowledge. Though, obviously, their right-wing prime minister tries hard to portray himself as the theocratic village idiot.
Obama loves anyone who loves military drones!
A former senior FBI official implicated in surveillance abuses is poised to become a federal judge in one of the US’s most important courts for terrorism cases…Valerie Caproni, the FBI’s top lawyer from 2003 to 2011, is scheduled to receive a vote on Monday in the Senate for a seat on the southern district court of New York.
Caproni has come under bipartisan criticism over the years for enabling widespread surveillance later found to be inappropriate or illegal. During her tenure as the FBI’s general counsel, she clashed with Congress and even the Fisa surveillance court over the proper scope of the FBI’s surveillance powers.
And Caproni faces renewed skepticism for describing surveillance conducted under the Patriot Act as more limited than it actually is, now that the Guardian has revealed and the Obama administration confirmed that the National Security Agency uses the act to collect and store the telephone records of hundreds of millions of Americans…
“Government officials that secretly approved of overbroad surveillance programs the public is only seeing now because of leaks, and whose testimony on the issue obscured rather than revealed these abuses, should be held to account for their actions in a public forum,” said Mike German, a former FBI agent.
German, now a lawyer with the ACLU, would not comment on Caproni specifically, citing ACLU policy of neutrality on nominations. But he continued: “Excessive secrecy always threatens democracy, but misleading and incomplete testimony before Congress and the courts simply cannot stand unaddressed without doing real damage to constitutional government.”
This is a good article detailing Caproni’s history of coming down on the side of a surveillance state. Big Brother lives on in her heart. Meanwhile, she ain’t doing half-bad while waiting to roll on into Obama’s legal structure – currently working for Northrop Grumman.
Just a few weeks ago, the secure email service Lavabit — which Edward Snowden used while corresponding with Guardian writer Glenn Greenwald about NSA leaks, ironically — shut down because of the founder’s concern about government surveillance, as did fellow email provider Silent Circle. Now, the well-respected legal discussion forum Groklaw has done the same, driven by what its founder has called the “forced exposure” of NSA surveillance. How many more web services do we have to lose before NSA chilling effects become a serious drain on the internet we all take for granted?
In his note about the closure of his secure email service, Lavabit founder Ladar Levison said that if we knew what he knows about the security of the global email system, we wouldn’t use email at all. Pamela Jones, the founder of Groklaw, said in her own closure notice that this warning started to gnaw away at her, and finally she couldn’t stomach running her web forum and email list any longer, because of a fear that its entire contents were available to the NSA.
“The simple truth is, no matter how good the motives might be for collecting and screening everything we say to one another, and no matter how ‘clean’ we all are ourselves from the standpoint of the screeners, I don’t know how to function in such an atmosphere…”
How much of what we value about the internet is in jeopardy because of the sheer scale of the surveillance that is going on all around us? It’s one thing to lose a secure email service or a legal discussion forum, but how long until other more mainstream services are affected? And it doesn’t have to be outright shutdowns or closures — just a series of restrictions or the gradual decline in usage by users who are (rightly) concerned about the information they are putting online or the digital cookie crumbs they are leaving behind them.
What else can we do? We can all use secure email tools like PGP, as John Biggs of TechCrunch suggests, and refuse to use services that identify us — but even the latter restricts the available web to a tiny fraction of what we once took for granted. Perhaps all that is left is for us is to take Blake’s advice and rage against the dying of the light.
Destroying the freedom of the Internet is something many of us have feared, prepared for – prepared in the sense of readying for political battles in the parliament of your choice. In my case – the United States Congress – one of the slimiest elective dungheaps in the world.
As much as we prepared, though – none foresaw the purportedly liberal voice in the White House as the abuser who would take his skills as constitutional lawyer and wrap them around the task of Big Brother. But, he has. Until – and unless – his followers in the Democrat Party commit to reversing this crap policy they do not deserve to hold office.
“When I finish this rewrite, it will hardly be worth taking to the bathroom”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, the Democratic ranking member on the House Oversight Committee, released more than 200 pages of interview transcripts Tuesday afternoon after the committee’s Chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), refused to do so…
Cummings released transcripts with an IRS screening group manager described as a “conservative Republican,” who said that the targeting of the Tea Party groups applying for tax-exempt status started with low-level workers in Cincinnati. The witness also said that there was no communication on the targeting with any senior IRS officials or with anyone in Washington or the Obama administration.
Democrats have posted the key portion of the transcript here, in which the manager says he initially was made aware of a case involving a Tea Party group when an agent “asked for guidance.” He agreed with the agent that there “wasn’t enough information” to determine whether the group should have a tax-exempt status, and said he elevated the issue to his “area manager…”
“I do not believe that the screening of these cases had anything to do other than consistency and identifying issues that needed to have further development,” the manager said.
He also told the Oversight Committee that he believed no one from the White House was involved in the IRS’ screening of Tea Party groups.
Cummings called on Issa to release the entire transcripts, which Issa said would harm the investigation. Cummings asked him for specific reasons, and demanded he respond by Monday. When Issa didn’t respond, Cummings released the entirety of the transcripts.
Issa’s office also did not respond to requests from multiple media outlets — including this one — that asked whether he would eventually release full transcripts.
Like any rightwing punk, Issa is pissed that the actual transcript of the hearing is available for ordinary citizens to read and review. The Republican habit of clipping snippets of information to give an opposite view of reality is notorious; but, this example of a hypocrite and liar like Issa trying to get away with doing the same – with information that’s part of the congressional record – is despicable.
Of course he’s pissed off. Like most populist four-flushers he can’t stand to have reality interfere with ideology. The humorous bit is that just about the only time the IRS was ever proven to be complicit in political attacks was at the hands of a Republican president. A scumbag named Nixon.
Jon Stewart rocks!
It will be nothing but fun to watch the Birthers who ran all their Trumped-up blather over a non-white Democrat born in Hawaii running for president. Even worse – winning.
Now, they get to flip-flop when the same silly questions on presidential eligibility are asked of their favorite white Republican Kool Aid Party Kandidate – born in Calgary.