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Interview with Thorsten Polleit

May 5, 2013 in Economics

By Mark Thornton

It Isn’t Capitalism That Has Caused the Crisis!
Interview with Thorsten Polleit by Lars Schall

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Cynical Companies Are Already Scheming How Getting Rich off Global Warming

May 5, 2013 in Blogs

By Alexander Zaitchik, Salon

Local officials and enviros are making plans for a post-global warming America. And so are profit-seeking businesses.


On the opening morning of the inaugural National Adaptation Forum, I was eating breakfast at a stand-up table in the exhibition hall when a mustachioed man of middle age plopped his cherry Danish next to my pile of conference literature, a mess of pamphlets and reports with titles like Getting Climate Smart: A Water Preparedness Guide for State Action, and Successful Adaptation: Linking Science and Policy in a Rapidly Changing World. The nametag dangling above the Danish identified the man as Michael Hughes, director of public works for the Chicago suburb of Elmhurst. Like many attendees, Hughes was part of a new national emergency-response team without being fully aware of it. He had arrived in Denver knowing little about “adaptation,” the anemic catchall for attempts to fortify our natural and built environments against the epochal temperature spike in progress.

“I hadn’t even heard the term ‘adaptation’ a month ago,” he told me, taking a bite.

He didn’t know anything about the 20 federal agencies that just released adaptation planning studies, or the dozen coastal states negotiating the early stages of “managed retreat” and “coastal abandonment,” buzzwords for the work, underway from Puget Sound to Brighton Beach, of accommodating rising seas by contracting the contours of the U.S. map. Hughes didn’t know about any of this. He just knew that the Elmhurst sewage and water systems were buckling under the strains of the new normal, and that his job was figuring out what to do about it. “The floods keep coming, they keep getting worse, and every time there’s damage, everyone blames me,” he said. “I’m here to learn more about what’s happening, and talk to people dealing with the same problems.”

For three days in April, the downtown Denver Marriot was Mecca for people like Hughes. More than 500 registrants from the government, NGO, and university research worlds gathered to network and strategize amid a dense schedule of workshops that could double as creative sessions for the next Roland Emmerich cataclysm flick. Overflow crowds …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Inside the Collapsing Media Empire of Deceased GOP Sleaze-Peddler Andrew Breitbart

May 5, 2013 in Blogs

By Mark Ames, Max Blumenthal, Not Safe for Work Corporation

In the year after Breitbart's death, his heirs have produced a string of grotesque episodes that have embarrassed even their own impossible-to-shame allies on the right.


This article first appeared at Not Safe for Work Corporation.

This March was a cruel month for the American press. The 10th anniversary of the Iraq War briefly punctured the country's cultural amnesia, forcing hacks to sweat out another round of cringing mea culpas.

March was also the anniversary of another less epic media failure, but this one came and went without a whimper: The death of Andrew Breitbart, on March 1, 2012.

In the immediate aftermath of Breitbart's death last year, at age 43, the Beltway media reflexively whitewashed and glorified his work and legacy, canonizing a reactionary circus barker as some kind of American Icon, a gonzo iconoclast, a conservative punk rocker, or a “Zany, Magnetic Media Hacker,” as Wired's Noah Shachtman put it. Publications ranging from Time, the Washington Post and Slate sang Breitbart's praises; scores of ambitious up-and-coming media figures burned both ends of the candle to compose the seminal Andrew Breitbart funeral tribute.

Some examples:

  • The Los Angeles Times: “His genius was rooted in the realization that in the new media universe, being outrageous often gets far more attention than being authoritative…In many ways, Breitbart was a throwback to the subversive media manipulators of the 1960s, especially counterculture provocateurs like Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin. They courted the media with bizarre antics. Breitbart often did the same.”
  • Jack Shafer in Reuters: “I admired the way he ignored journalistic convention and the usual ethical standards to pursue the stories that were important to him. I admired his entrepreneurial approach to journalism and his disdain for the credentialed, self-important press corps.”
  • Time: “Breitbart gave hard and must have expected to get it back hard. He came out of the American political tradition that if you cared about things, then you fought about them…Part of Breitbart's legacy is a rise in the power of openly partisan journalism outlets and contested news. But if another part of his legacy–as exemplified by the first reaction to his …read more

    Source: ALTERNET

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Howard Kurtz’s Belated Comeuppance: The Media Critic's Firing Comes After a Long History of Journalistic Abuses

May 5, 2013 in Blogs

By Robert Parry, Consortium News

Throughout his career, he has consistently -– and unfairly -– punished journalists who had the courage to ask tough questions and pursue truly important stories.


For nearly a quarter century, Howard Kurtz has served as hall monitor for Washington’s conventional wisdom, handing out demerits to independent-minded journalists who don’t abide by the mainstream rules. So, there is some understandable pleasure seeing Kurtz face some accountability in his ouster as bureau chief for Newsweek and The Daily Beast.

However, the more salient point is that Kurtz, who continues to host CNN’s “Reliable Sources” show, should never have achieved the level of influence in journalism that he did. Throughout his career, he has consistently – and unfairly – punished journalists who had the courage to ask tough questions and pursue truly important stories.

When one looks at the mess that is modern journalism in the United States, a chief culprit has been Howard Kurtz. Yet, his downfall did not come because of his smearing of fellow journalists – like Gary Webb and Helen Thomas – but rather from a blog post that unfairly criticized basketball player Jason Collins after he revealed that he was gay.

Kurtz faulted Collins for supposedly not revealing that he had once been engaged to a woman, but Collins had mentioned those marriage plans. Twitter exploded with comments about Kurtz’s sloppy error. On Thursday, The Daily Beast retracted the post, and the Web site’s editor-in-chief Tina Brown announced that Kurtz would be departing.

However, Kurtz has committed far more serious offenses during his years destroying the careers of journalists who dared make life a bit uncomfortable for Official Washington’s powerful elites. For instance, Kurtz played a key role in the destruction of investigative reporter Gary Webb, who had the courage to revive the long-suppressed Contra-cocaine story in the mid-1990s.

Working at the San Jose Mercury-News, Webb produced a multi-part series in 1996 revealing how cocaine that was smuggled into the United States by operatives connected to the Nicaraguan Contra war of the 1980s had contributed to the “crack cocaine” epidemic that ravaged U.S. cities. Webb’s articles put the major U.S. news media on the …read more

Source: ALTERNET