Kind of looks that way. From Dan Gillmor in the Guardian:This time, Twitter has suspended the account of a British journalist who tweeted the corporate email address of an NBC executive. The reporter, Guy Adams of the Independent, has been acerbic in his criticisms of NBC's (awful) performance during the Olympics in London.Adams has posted his correspondence with Twitter, which claims he...
In the wake of yet another controversial stop on his campaign trip abroad, a host of international media criticized Mitt Romney’s positions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as damaging to prospects for reviving the stalled peace process.
While in Jerusalem, Romney’s remarks must have been music to the ears of his hand-picked right-wing audience of donors and political figures. But he caused a stir with the Palestinians by putting their economic woes down to their “culture” and declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel (most of the world won’t do so because Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state).
Here’s a round-up of what some of the international media is saying about Romney’s trip to Jerusalem:
GERMANY: In an opinion piece for the centrist Süddeutsche Zeitung, Germany’s biggest daily, Christian Wernicke wrote:
The trip to Israel may help Romney in the short term. In the long term, however, the Republican has done damage: The Middle East needs the United States as mediator. As such, the would-be president has already disqualified himself.
(H)e delivered a speech declaring himself “very moved” to find himself Jerusalem, “the capital of Israel.”
This while the U.S. does not officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Their embassy, ??like those of virtually all the countries represented in Israel, is in Tel Aviv.
AUSTRIA: The Vienna-based Kurier newspaper set the stage by mentioning the harsh British reaction to Romney’s visit to London and, in harsh terms, placed his Jerusalem comments in that context:
Now the next occasion of putting his foot in his mouth: on Sunday, the Republican called Jerusalem the “capital of Israel.”
UNITED KINGDOM: In a in opinion column for the Rupert Murdoch-owned Times of London, Hugo Rifkind wrote:
Mr. Romney’s behavior in Israel is… a throwback to a time when U.S. foreign policy considered the bulk of the Middle East to be irredeemably horrible; a great morass of messy “other” with which grown-up engagement was close to impossible. As a response to the patchwork of petty tyranny that the region used to be, this made some sense. Today, it makes none at all.
Perhaps the harshest opinion came here at home, where a New York Times editorial ripped Romney for his counter-productive pandering that does “no favors” for American interests:
Despite what Mr. Romney says, all American presidents have been pro-Israel, including Mr. Obama. But that doesn?t mean subcontracting American policy to Israeli leaders or donors. [... Romney's] policies would complicate America?s ability to act as a broker in Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts.
How’s Romney handling the coverage given to him by the world’s media? Not well. Before leaving Poland to travel back Stateside, Romney told Fox News he blamed the media for all his stumbling blocks abroad.
The presidential election is still more than three months away, but if fundraising is any indication, America’s top chief executives have already chosen their preferred candidate. The CEOs of Fortune 500 companies have given four times more to Mitt Romney’s campaign than to President Obama’s, according to an analysis by NBC News. Romney has taken $322,000 from those CEOs compared to Obama’s $75,500 according to the analysis. Perhaps Romney’s success with the CEOs is no surprise — he has promised massive tax cuts for both wealthy individuals and corporations should he become president, as well as a reform package that would make it easier for corporations to ship jobs overseas and hide foreign profits in tax havens.
Extreme heat waves across the country have claimed hundreds of lives over the past few years, including at least 52 heat-related deaths between June 30 and July 6 alone. And prison inmates are especially at risk for succumbing to heat-related health issues, according to a federal court that has ruled in favor of an advocacy group that alleges Texas prison officials are violating prisoners’ constitutional rights with poor conditions during high-temperatures days.
Although federal courts have held that prison temperatures over 90 degrees are unconstitutional, the Texas Civil Rights Project claims that Texas prison facilities put their inmates’ lives in jeopardy by allowing indoor heat indexes to reach temperatures well over 100 degrees. Ten inmates of the state prison system died from heat-related causes over a ten-day period last summer, all of whom were housed in prison facilities without air-conditioning.
The Texas Civil Rights Project filed a lawsuit against state prison officials over the wrongful death of Larry Gene McCollum, who died last summer while serving just a two-year prison term. The advocacy group released a press release detailing the prison conditions at the time of McCollum’s death:
Mr. McCollum, 58, died of heat stroke in July 2011 at the Hutchins State Jail in Dallas after the indoor heat index reached almost 130 degrees. When Mr. McCollum was hospitalized after collapsing on July 22, 2011, doctors recorded his body temperature exceeded 109 degrees. That day, the high temperature in Dallas was 98 degrees with 79 percent humidity. The autopsy found he died from living ?in a hot environment without air conditioning.”
Living areas in Texas Department of Criminal Justice prisons, including the Hutchins State Jail, are not air conditioned. When Mr. McCollum died, fans at the prison were broken or nonexistent, though officials knew temperature conditions were extremely dangerous. Prison policies prohibited Mr. McCollum from even having a cup to drink water from. When he arrived at the Hutchins State Jail, just weeks before his death, officers told him ?welcome to Hell.?
In what the group’s director called “a huge victory for all Texas prisoners,” the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in their favor on Monday, determining that prison staff prison staff “were deliberately indifferent” to the conditions in the facility that contributed to McCollum’s death. The federal court agreed that extreme heat can violate prisoners’ rights.
This ruling may lead to significant reforms at Gov. Rick Perry’s (R-TX) Texas Department of Criminal Justice, where only 21 of the 111 units are fully air-conditioned. Considering the fact that extreme weather patterns are on the rise due to climate change, and heat-related deaths could increase by the thousands over the next few decades, prisoners can’t afford to wait for Perry’s appointees to address their substandard living conditions.
by Robert J. Brulle, via Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
In a summer dominated by heat waves and a devastating nationwide drought, it would seem that climate change would be a major issue in the US presidential campaign. However, quite the opposite is happening. Neither President Barack Obama nor the presumptive Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, has focused any attention on this critical issue.
In a recent speech on the Senate floor, Senator John Kerry characterized the political discourse in the United States as a “conspiracy of silence ? a story of disgraceful denial, back-pedaling, and delay that has brought us perilously close to a climate change catastrophe.” This silence means that we can expect further delays in addressing climate change, delays that we cannot afford.
Presidential politics. Both presidential campaigns have ignored climate change on their web sites. The Romney site advocates vigorous energy development of coal, gas, oil, and nuclear power. Obama’s site focuses on an “all of the above” energy strategy, which advocates the development of all energy sources, including “clean” coal and alternative energy. The statements by the candidates echo this approach.
Romney, at one time, believed in climate change. In his 2010 book No Apology: The Case for American Greatness, Romney wrote: “I believe that climate change is occurring — the reduction in the size of global ice caps is hard to ignore. I also believe that human activity is a contributing factor. I am uncertain how much of the warming, however, is attributable to factors out of our control.” Even this lukewarm statement blurred as the presidential primary contest heated up and opposition to climate change became a litmus test for Republican presidential candidates. At a January 2012 campaign event in Pittsburgh, Romney was uncertain regarding the cause of global climate change: “My view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet. And the idea of spending trillions and trillions of dollars to try to reduce CO2 emissions is not the right course for us.”
President Obama has seemingly forgotten about climate change. As recently as Earth Day 2011, Obama was forthright about the need to address climate change: “Today, our world faces the major global environmental challenge of a changing climate. Our entire planet must address this problem because no nation, however larger or small, wealthy or poor, can escape the impact of climate change.” Now Obama cannot even say the words “climate change.” In his 2012 Earth Day address, he coupled auto efficiency standards with “reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” but Obama made no mention of climate change or why emissions should be reduced. In a major address on energy one month later, Obama omitted any reference to climate change, greenhouse gases, or even air pollution.
Public concern. The failure of either candidate to address climate change has had a significant effect on the level of public concern about this issue. Social science research shows that public opinion is heavily influenced by cues from elites — for example, statements issued by prominent politicians and their parties. Citizens use media coverage of controversial issues to gauge the positions of elites they find credible, and then interpret the news based on ideology and party identifications. In a recent study, my colleagues and I found partisan statements to be the largest single factor explaining the ups and downs of public worries about the threat of climate change — and a much more important factor than extreme weather events.
Overall, climate change and other environmental issues have consistently ranked at the bottom of public concerns. A frequently used measure is the “most important problem” question asked by Gallup pollsters. Over the past 40 years, the percentage of respondents naming an environmental issue as the country’s most important problem has rarely exceeded 3 percent. Within subcategories of environmental concerns, global warming or climate change is usually at the bottom. In recent monthly Gallup polls, environmental concerns were mentioned by only 1 percent of respondents as the most important problem facing the nation. Among those mentioning environmental concerns in the March 2012 poll, 78 percent worried a “great deal” or “fair amount” about toxic waste and water pollution. Out of seven environmental issues, global warming was ranked last, with only 55 percent of the public worried a great deal or a fair amount. The presidential campaigns follow these polls, and have thus concluded that addressing climate change is not a high priority. By avoiding the issue, the candidates further drive down public concern — a circular process.
Committed to climate change. The consequence of this inattention is an irreversible commitment to dangerous climate change. Twenty years ago, the United States signed, and the Senate ratified, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The objective of this treaty was to “prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system,” which was defined in the Copenhagen Accord of 2009 as limiting the overall temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius. There are three reasons why that goal is now unobtainable. First, even if greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere could be held steady at 2005 levels, scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography have calculated that global temperature would rise by 2.4 degrees Celsius if not for the air pollution that is masking the warming by blocking some of the sun’s rays. Second, as a 2011 paper by British climate researchers explains, emissions reductions that are constrained to levels thought to be compatible with economic growth are not sufficient to stay below 2 degrees Celsius. Only a period of planned austerity and an intensive effort to build a carbon-free energy system could now achieve the goal of avoiding dangerous climate change. Finally, the International Energy Agency has estimated that the carbon-emitting energy infrastructure that will push global temperature rise beyond 2 degrees Celsius is already 80 percent complete, and will be fully installed by 2017. This will lock in future emissions unless capital equipment is retired earlier than anticipated. The best we can now hope for is to avoid catastrophic global warming in excess of 4 degrees Celsius, which will require an aggressive response by governments around the world.
Listening to the presidential campaign, you would be hard pressed to find any inkling of this situation. The official statements still maintain that there is no reason for alarm, and that we can still avoid dangerous climate change. While ignoring climate change might be a good political strategy, both the Obama and Romney approaches are intellectually disingenuous and morally irresponsible. Romney’s position is ridiculous, as it ignores the enormous scientific literature on anthropogenic climate change. But is Obama’s position any better? Any delay increases the probability of reaching a tipping point beyond which mitigation measures will be too little and too late to avoid catastrophic consequences. Yet the Obama administration has ignored this threat, offering instead a thin and uncompelling case for developing clean energy.
Dealing effectively with greenhouse gas emissions will require substantial transformations of both our economic and energy systems, and adoption of politically unpopular measures such as a carbon tax. Rather than attempting to build a public consensus to address climate change, the Obama administration is perpetuating the cultural delusion that we can continue business as usual, and that climate change does not require substantial and politically painful actions. While this strategy might prove to be advantageous in the short term, it saddles future administrations and generations with a heavy political, economic, and environmental burden. Even if Obama wins, he will have built no mandate for action during his second term.
Putting climate on the public agenda. To end the conspiracy of silence, environmental organizations must challenge the irresponsibility of both presidential candidates. One example of how organizations can change the public agenda was the mobilization over the Keystone XL Pipeline. In August 2011, a series of protests and non-violent civil disobedience successfully forced the Obama administration to delay the pipeline.
A second example is the “Flat Earth Five” campaign by the League of Conservation Voters. This campaign has targeted five US Congressional representatives, who deny the basic science of anthropogenic climate change, for defeat in the fall election.
These sorts of approaches need to be applied to the presidential campaign. Both presidential candidates are maintaining the conspiracy of silence, abandoning citizens and future generations to the relentless onslaught of global warming. This political tactic must be challenged. The environmental movement should redouble its efforts to move climate change onto the presidential agenda.
Robert J. Brulle is a Professor of Sociology and Environmental Science at Drexel University. This piece was originally published at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and was reprinted with permission.
A series of paramilitary-style raids were conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) against activists in Portland, Oregon, on July 25. Author and writer for GreenIstheNewRed.com, Will Potter, has been following this as it develops as well.[...]
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As you can see from the trendlines above, Iowa is quite competitive this year. So in an election where marginal parochial issues may make a difference, it's surprising that ethanol isn't center stage. It's wind power.
The lines are now drawn on a political hot button in Iowa: a lucrative tax break for wind energy.
Mitt Romney is against it, President Barack Obama favors it ? opposing stances that could have political and economic implications in Iowa, which has more wind energy jobs than any other state in the nation.
And it's not just Democrats attacking Romney for his position.
Top GOP leaders in Iowa ? including Republican Gov. Terry Branstad and the entire congressional delegation ? champion the tax break as a vital economic development tool.This is sort of a bizarro West Virginia, where the dirty coal industry dominates both parties. Only difference?West Virginia isn't a swing state. Thus Romney's stance is particularly costly:
Monday evening, U.S. Rep. Tom Latham said the position Team Romney laid out ?shows a lack of full understanding of how important the wind energy tax credit is for Iowa and our nation. It?s the wrong decision.? Latham called for Romney to re-evaluate.
A spokeswoman for U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley said Monday he considers the tax credit he authored to be a tremendous success, but he has been talking with wind backers ?about options that include a multi-year phase-out along with tax reform.?
The American Wind Energy Association poll, conducted by Public Opinion Strategies' Glen Bolger, shows 57 percent of voters, including 41 percent of GOPers, less likely to support a presidential hopeful who isn't for expanding that form of power.The fact that this is even controversial at all is galling, given the ridiculous amount of taxpayer support that the fossil fuel industry continues to receive.
Some 85 percent of the state's voters see it as positive for Iowa.
The wind production tax credit costs the federal government less than the combined tax subsidies for oil, coal and natural gas by a 4 to 1 margin, wind advocates said. They expect the industry to need at least another five years of support.The Romney campaign claims they want to "create a level playing field on which all sources of energy can compete on their merits," yet their candidate has been clear in his continued support of subsidies and other giveaways to the fossil fuel industry.
This has nothing to do with any "level playing fields," obviously, and everything to do with fueling conservative hatred for all things green. Their defense of dirty energy doesn't usually cost them anything. In fact, it helps fill their campaign coffers. But for once, it looks to bite them in the ass.
Relive the glory of Mitt Romney in LondonSo Mitt Romney goes to London and the first thing he says is that he finds Olympic preparations to be "disconcerting." Then he uses the wrong title to address one of his hosts. Then he brags about meeting with the head of the top-secret MI6. And then he starts talking about looking out Number 10's backside, not realizing that that it sounded like he was saying he was admiring the view from the White House's ass. He wasn't done, however, because he went to Israel where he managed to insult not only Palestinians, but also Mexicans and Ecuadorians by saying their economies weren't as strong as neighboring countries because their neighboring countries had better cultures.
But Mr. No Apologies isn't taking any of the responsibility for making an ass of himself on his overseas adventure.
Asked about his missteps in an interview with Fox News? Carl Cameron before he left Poland on Tuesday, Romney accused reporters of trivializing the substance of his trip and trying to divert attention from President Obama?s stewardship of the economy.Does the buck ever stop with Mitt Romney? Will he ever take responsibility when something goes wrong? I'm telling you, if Mitt Romney loses this election, it won't be long before he claims he wasn't even the nominee. He'll say he was CEO of Bain or something.
?And I realize that there will be some in the Fourth Estate, or whichever estate, who are far more interested in finding something to write about that is unrelated to the economy, to geopolitics, to the threat of war, to the reality of conflict in Afghanistan today, to a nuclearization of Iran,? Romney said, according to a transcript of the interview that aired on Tuesday morning. ?They?ll instead try and find anything else to divert from the fact that these last four years have been tough years for our country.?
Germany, the largest and most influential member of the eurozone, poured a degree of cold water on the hopes for more aggressive action by the ECB
It was pretty much baked . . . → Read More: Stock markets rejoice but uncertainties remain
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