Romm on the Media’s Conspiracy of Silence

Joseph Romm continues to speak the truth about climate change, including in this item about non-coverage in the US media of the results of the recent Copenhagen Climate Science Congress: Conspiracy of silence.

In the last two years, our scientific understanding of business-as-usual projections for global warming has changed dramatically (see here and here). Yet, much of the U.S. public — especially conservatives — remain in the dark about just how dire the situation is (see here).

Why? Because the U.S. media is largely ignoring the story.

Romm goes on to summarize the key messages to come out of the conference, including that worst-case IPCC scenario trajectories for atmospheric CO2 concentrations (or worse) are being realized, and that “inaction is inexcusable.” Romm’s response?

What is inexcusable is US media coverage and the blinkered conservative strategy of scientific denial — what can only be described as a murder-suicide pact with the human race (see here).

41 Responses to “Romm on the Media’s Conspiracy of Silence”

  1. J.A.Y.S.O.N. Says:

    Well, since we are doomed anyway, I’m going to the liquor store.

  2. enkidu Says:

    That’s the spirits!

  3. knarlyknight Says:

    You’re not driving a carbon emitting vehicle to the liquor store, right? ;-)

    In keeping with the end of the world tone and our struggle to find meaningful solutions, here is “Idea #1″ http://pakalert.wordpress.com/2009/03/19/so-you-want-some-ideas-america/

  4. J.A.Y.S.O.N. Says:

    No. If you pass through NE Ohio and see a man riding a bicycle with a bottle of brown liquor, you’ll know you’ve seen me.

  5. shcb Says:

    Solar panels and turtles.

    Here is an article that is sort of on topic.

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/03/21/feinstein-dont-spoil-desert-solar-panels/

  6. shcb Says:

    Oh boy, here we go

    WASHINGTON — The Obama administration will call for increased oversight of executive pay at all banks, Wall Street firms and possibly other companies as part of a sweeping plan to overhaul financial regulation, government officials said…. the administration could seek to put the changes into effect through regulations rather than through legislation.

    This my friends is getting scary.

    On how many levels is this wrong:

    1. Socialism/fascism
    2. Bypassing the legislative process
    3. Bypassing checks and balances
    4. Punishing the producers
    5. Ruling by opinion poll

    I wonder if anyone will notice?

  7. knarlyknight Says:

    shcb,
    Is getting scary? Did you just crawl out of a cave? Where have you been for the past six months? At this point Wall Street executives are lucky to be avoiding lynch mobs.

    Your five points are a very nice description, except #4 which is quite silly, as the “producers” don’t make anything tangible at all. They provide a service by matching investment funds to business ventures, etc. and are loaned cash by the Federal Reserve corporation to lend out at higher rates. The hardest part of their job is coming up with ever more complex ways to charge fees and commissions on the same funds by lending it between themselves ad nauseum, ensuring they accumulate
    vast fortune regular workers can only dream about.

    Before you respond shcb, you might want to leaarn a little about the people who you are defending so blindly on “principle” This is as good a place to start as any: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/26793903/the_big_takeover/1 it is a long article but I think it clearly explains why so many Americans feel that a fascist reaction to the Wall street “bastards” is still far too kind.

  8. shcb Says:

    Obviously where this crosses the line is the word “all”. If the people you are talking about did something illegal by all means charge them, fine them, imprison them. If they did something unethical, pull whatever license they need to do their jobs, but this is going way, way too far. And what is this “and other companies”? There isn’t going to be a recovery if you start punishing the producers, the CEOs, bankers, and stock brokers that have done nothing wrong. My credit union wasn’t part of this mess, which is why it is my credit union, my insurance company wasn’t part of this mess, which is why they are my insurance company. Why should they be punished?

    I saw Dick Morris the other night say that there is a pot of money, don’t remember how muck, it was in the tens of billions I think that the administration wanted hedge fund administrators to distribute, which is ok. Only a small amount of the money has been distributed because only three hedge funds of the several hundred needed have signed on because they don’t want the intrusion and are worried they will be subjected to the $250k cap, or worse, if public sentiment changes since this seems the justification for decisions made by this young, inexperienced president. So money that could be easing this crisis is being held up for the mob’s blood lust. Not much leadership there. I wish we had more time for on the job training of this young man, but we don’t

  9. knarlyknight Says:

    Yes, “all” is rather broad isn’t it?

    Let’s hope Obama has some great advisors with fresh views, strong ethics, courage, respect for sovereign states and a belief that all people should enjoy freedom. Does he?

  10. shcb Says:

    The article says all, at least in the financial sector. How much intrusion, and who are these “other companies”, who knows? But that in and of itself is a problem, there doesn’t seem to be a clear plan. And I’m not saying you have to make a plan and then be a slave to it but you need to let people know what they can expect in the coming weeks and months so they can plan.

    Part of the problem is he doesn’t seem to have advisors, people have been withdrawing their names from nomination at the treasury department for deputy positions right and left. Geithner is sort of there by himself, why this is I don’t know. It may be that these guys don’t like Obama’s plan or lack of a plan or they just don’t want this on their resume’s at this time, who knows, but there is a problem.

    Look what happened when Iran told Obama to pack sand after he offered an olive branch, he had nothing, he just expects to do what he thinks is right and the rest of the world will follow. This is the problem with electing people that have no experience leading, McCain wouldn’t have been much better.

  11. knarlyknight Says:

    The Iran offer was the first (peace) salvo. Expect more will follow, Iran’s response was reasonable given prior US actions, basically they welcome the sentiment but talk is cheap: “show us you are no longer a belligerant bully and then we’ll lower our guard.”

    I would think the difficulty in finding people willing to take on the financial debacle on Obama, I’d bet few good people want their name associated with this collosal mess. After all, you are talking about the people who would be responsible for completing and rounding out the “plan” (if there is one.) My guess is that any plan or action at this point is going to look like an utter failure as the only solution is a period of economic pain to work the excesses (Wall street bonuses included) out of the system.

  12. enkidu Says:

    wait a second shcb, so now you are FOR solar power?
    if a D, any D, says – whoa, make sure we develop solar in the right places, we shouldn’t put solar plants in the middle of nature preserves – suddenly you are FOR solar power?

    Weren’t you the wwnj who said “solar power won’t produce a single gallon of gasoline? or that solar won’t ever produce the magical 10% or some such (honestly, when you propose powering our civilization with magic, what do you take us for, a bunch of muggles?) I mean you do know that we can’t kill people w solar power right? It isn’t a ‘magical’ death ray like ronnie wanted to build up in space like that talkie he saw once.

    And the constant barrage of fox links… get a clue. Obama is rolling back the worst of the fascist crap that happened under shrubco, but he’s a fascist if he wants to spend money on infrastructure and education? He’s a socialist if he wants to roll back the shrubco tax breaks for the richest Americans? I recall reading someplace that the new Obama plan basically returns us to the Reagan era tax structure or thereabouts. I had no idea ronny raygun was such a pinko socialist commie etc.

    So basically you want John Q Tax Payer to foot the bill for ‘rescuing’ these mega corporations, but we should have no ownership, no oversight, no control and no vote? I can think of just one word to describe the nuances of your position: moran.

    Thanks for the laugh lil ricky! Please keep it up, you are just marginalizing yourself and the rest of the whackjobs. heck of a job lil ricky, heck of a job!
    lol

  13. shcb Says:

    I agree. There are usually a couple or a few ways to solve a problem and you can usually get some people to sign on if they agree with the plan, whatever that plan is. I have found you have trouble getting people on board when they don’t perceive you are in control of the situation. If Obama’s plan is rampant socialism I would think there would be folks that would jump on that wagon same as if his plan was rampant capitalism. Just an observation.

    Now this doesn’t mean the situation is terminal, he can still show leadership. Maybe this has just been an extended deer in the headlights, reading a book about a goat period, this is an incredibly complex situation we are dealing with, but he needs to get a grip on the situation soon or we will just muddle along until the economy finds its own way, and as you say, that may be all that can be done.

    I read the Fed took control of a couple credit unions that had under reported losses, this is a good thing, something that should have been happening for the last decade at least, probably 3 decades, so we’re doing some things right, but doing 1 thing right and 3 wrong isn’t progress.

  14. shcb Says:

    that last post was to Knarly

  15. J.A.Y.S.O.N. Says:

    1. Socialism/fascism – Buzzwords and pejoratives, neither technically applicable here. May as well add a few other meaningless, negative appellations like drunk drivers and pedophiles.

    2. Bypassing the legislative process – Except this went before congress.

    3. Bypassing checks and balances – Except that it went through congress to the president, and then if there is an issue there will be suits and it will go to the Supreme Court.

    4. Punishing the producers – Ha. Producers of what exactly? Financial products? This is the same mentality that want to classify restaurants as ‘manufacturing.’ AIG executives are not producers.

    5. Ruling by opinion poll – Except that this is supposed to be representative democracy we’re living in. This is American citizens money, it was only given to alleviate a crisis, using TARP money for bonuses is akin to awarding a Grammy to Nero for his performance as Rome burned.

  16. knarlyknight Says:

    Jayson, good post and perfect analogy.

    Enk, thanks for sticking up for the muggles.

    shcb, funny the way your post followed Enk’s, I thought those kinds of cosmic jokes only happened to me. I agree with your recent points, except not you saying that this is all very complicated. Now, invading and occupying Iraq was complicated, but Bush just assigned black and white hats and sent in the troops. Epic fail. But such simplicity of thought might be exactly what is needed here. di you read the Rolling stone article? It deals with the “complex financial instruments” red herring very convincingly. I would suggest that what’s needed here is more of the white hat / black hat mentality: – after all, bad banks or investment firms that lose money have bankruptcy laws to protect them while matters get sorted out. We’ve seen that trying to figure matters out by throwing trillions of dollars at the same people who caused the mess in the first place is getting you nowhere fast.

  17. enkidu Says:

    ‘punishing the producers’
    puh-lease
    Punishing the people who ‘produced’ this mess is the right thing to do.
    Or they will simply do it all over again. See Iran Contra and bush era… tho the case is still out (or yet to be filed ;-) on that last one. We’ll see what Leahy finds out.

    jayson
    1 true
    2 true
    3 true
    4 lol
    5 LOL!

  18. shcb Says:

    Enky,

    I thought the solar panel piece was funny on oh so many levels. First you have the obvious NIMBYism of Californians. Then we have one group of greenies upsetting another set of enviros. Now I like these conservancy groups that simply buy the property and then use it the way they want, which is to not use it at all, that is the American way. So while I sympathize with them, it is still kind of funny in a perverse snail darter way to see the government want to use land in a way the owner doesn’t want the land used for even though usually the folks that want to steal the land would normally approve of the use of the land in the way the land owner is using it. Kind ‘a cool.

  19. knarlyknight Says:

    Update on Vancouver airport Taser killing (more of the same, police continue stapler defence, contradict the video, and now argue amoung themselves about when orders to fire the tazer)

    March 23, 2009 at 2:34 PM EDT

    VANCOUVER — The supervising RCMP officer on duty the night Robert Dziekanski died at Vancouver’s airport says he gave the command to stun the man with a taser.

    Cpl. Benjamin Monty Robinson, the senior officer on duty the night Dziekanski died, is the fourth officer to testify at a public inquiry.

    Cpl. Robinson says he gave Const. Kwesi Millington the order to use the taser when Mr. Dziekanski picked up a stapler.

    Const. Millington testified earlier that the only time Robinson told him to use the taser was before the third deployment, when Mr. Dziekanski was already on the ground.

  20. shcb Says:

    Jayson,

    You must be confused with something else, this is just a proposal, nothing has gone to congress, Obama is just talking about it at this point, read the article. Is says he will do it with rule change and bypass legislation, read the article.

  21. J.A.Y.S.O.N. Says:

    Ok, will do.

  22. knarlyknight Says:

    … “funny in a perverse snail darter kind of way”

    I like it.

  23. knarlyknight Says:

    “It’s the American way” nice jingo but doesn’t necessarily mean its the best policy going forward. Maybe it is, but maybe not. In a perfect world all people who benefit (from presevervationists who buy up land to maintain or return it to nature) would contribute to the costs of purchase and ongoing protection and taxes on that land. As it is, a very few people who buy these tracts for preservation are paying the costs for the vast majority of other people who benefit from the clean air, and other benefits of maintaining the web of life. That’s not fair for so many people to get a free ride – is that the American way?
    Maybe it is. Or was. But times are a changin.

    Flora & fauna and the rest of nature does not have much cash, and our wellbeing is based on the environment at least as much as it is on cash.

  24. shcb Says:

    I’m not suggesting we turn all public lands into private, in Colorado something like 50% or our state is in public lands and I don’t think anyone wants to change that, very few anyway. These groups serve a useful middle ground in some specific cases. We had a case here in Denver where a developer wanted to expand his shopping center, he wanted to expand it into an area where there was a pond and some natural ground between his shopping center and some industrial buildings, the land wasn’t really valuable but the owner didn’t want to sell it because he enjoyed the separation, it also provided a buffer to some houses. The shopping center petitioned to have the property seized under eminent domain so the city could get more tax revenue, one of these conservancy groups bought it and with their clout they were able to turn the property into a wildlife preserve.

    In some of these cases simply buying the property is the cleanest solution.

    Now of course this is much larger project, imagine how much work went into putting together the money and all the thousands of hours of volunteer time to put together a deal that would allow a private group to buy land half the size of Rhode Island, and now someone wants to just take it away because they think their purpose is more pure. The problem is the solar panel project is just a passing fad, at some point it will become apparent that that huge expanse of land, half a state, full of billions of dollars of glass and plastic produces .03% of the power of our coal plants. But all those turtles will be dead.

  25. shcb Says:

    Such a finding “will officially end the era of denial on global warming,” said Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., whose Energy and Commerce subcommittee is crafting global warming legislation. He said such an endangerment finding is long overdue because of the Bush administration’s refusal to address the issue.

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/03/23/epa-says-global-warming-public-danger/

  26. J.A.Y.S.O.N. Says:

    Ok, I’ve read the article on the theoretical bonus regulations.

    My basic 5 points still stand. You can add ‘will go before’

    This is ultimately a logical end based on the chain of events. There is a CEO bonus culture that doesn’t actually seem to be relative to the success or failure of a given financial institution. In the financial sector, the desire for bonuses has led to egregious behavior that has resulted in worldwide financial panic. This is typically how our system works. Failure to exercise freedom in a responsible manner leads to legislation that attempts to de-incentivize unwise choices.

    The individuals who may be subject to this potential legislation are not Andrew Carnegie building America into a manufacturing powerhouse. They lack the patriotism/nationalism of the great ‘titans of industry’ of days gone by and the desire to even whitewash their legacies and be remembered as great men. For the most part, they just seem to want the money and have zero regard for the consequences of any actions they take to get it.

    Still this doesn’t bother me. If its a tremendous failure it’ll either be ruled as unconstitutional or be rescinded as law by a future administration.

  27. shcb Says:

    Unfortunately it is hampering the short term recovery that we need right now.

  28. knarlyknight Says:

    Nice analysis Jayson, thanks for the summary / opinions thus saving me the trouble of reading it…

    That was a week response shcb. It’s better to fix things right (e.g. repair the severed artery) than to do the expedient thing (e.g. throw more bandages on the gash).

    You say “hampering”, isn’t that what one does with dirty laundry?

  29. shcb Says:

    Here is a piece that explains it better than I:

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2009/03/american_capitalism_besieged.html

  30. shcb Says:

    You know Jayson, I’m a little befuddled at how you can stand by your points when they were all based on a false assumption, I’m not surprised the other two are still following. Odd, very odd.

  31. J.A.Y.S.O.N. Says:

    That’s a pretty good article, but it underscores a fundamental failure of understanding of the need for regulation.

    “American capitalism has flourished despite being subjected to repeated restrictions by disgruntled legislators. Consider the transformation. In 1889, there was no anti-trust law (1890), no corporate income tax (1909), no Securities and Exchange Commission (1934) and no Environmental Protection Agency (1970).”

    What I find disturbing about this paragraph is the failure to realize that those particular regulatory periods were both positive and necessary. All that legislation came to pass because business and business leaders failed to act wisely and caused a great deal of human suffering and environmental damage.

    “We have subordinated unrestrained profit-seeking to other values.” This is only correct. Profit over other values demonstrates a frightening lack of wisdom and any moral center.

    “through taxes, laws and regulations — weaken the profit motive and interfere with markets” This is true, however we have a clear historical record of the damage that the motive for profit causes when it is unrestrained and ungoverned.

    The issue I have is that when conservatives speak in defense of capitalism it is always a euphemism for the the One True Capitalism that is completely free of restraints and regulations, based on the Wealth of Nations. I am personally very tired of this, because we should have enough evidence that lassiez-faire is a colossal failure where the rubber meets the road. Wealth of Nations is predicated on his earlier work, The Theory of Moral Sentiments where, in summary, he states that 80% of people are nice and moral.

    Smith failed to realize one crucial thing, its other 20% that are the ones that really really want a “free” market. If you could send Smith a copy of anything by Rand or Neitzche, he’d have revised his own theory, after all an Atlas or ubermensch doesn’t have to follow any of our silly rules, because they’re a superior being their actions are self-justifying. (Although I’d wager it’s not that complex for most of these people.)

    This is a sad joke. It’s always said that markets will regulate themselves, yet we have a preponderance of historical evidence that they do not. If one was to suggest that we forgo criminal law, that communities would regulate themselves, perhaps through vigilantism, no one would want to accept this. There are always individuals who’s motive for profit (or motive for other malfeasance) will cause them act in a manner that is destructive for others. This is why we have criminal law, it is an attempt through regulation and resultant penalty to disincentivize destructive actions.

    It is only logical that governments would legislate to prevent destructive actions in an economic system, just as they do in other aspects of society.

  32. knarlyknight Says:

    Awesome read Jayson, thanks. The answer of course is where the line is drawn. Attaining an acceptible balance of regulation without being overly oppressive is the difficult part, as there is no simple answer. Some people will want lots of regulation for “protection”, others are more trusting of the morality and good will of those who might otherwise be subject to regulation. And accepted morality or the socially acceptible excesses of a corporate culture may shift over time as different players become involved, suggesting there is always a need for certain safeguards for the public in the future even at times when businesses appear to be on their best behaviour.

  33. J.A.Y.S.O.N. Says:

    I think the article agrees with me, actually.

  34. knarlyknight Says:

    Decent commentary here: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090323.wcowent24/BNStory/Front concludes with this:

    I hate the idea of governments trying to manage by imposing pay caps. I’m horrified at the demagogues determined to seize innocent people’s bonus cheques. Bloodlust and mass hysteria are never a pretty sight. But when you mix toxic debt and toxic compensation with public outrage, the results are bound to be explosive. “Whenever an undesirable impact is not prevented by [business], it ultimately boomerangs,” Peter Drucker said. “It leads to regulation, to punitive laws, and to outside interference.”

    Too bad the business elites didn’t pay attention.

  35. shcb Says:

    good comments guys

  36. knarlyknight Says:

    shcb – especially good from Jayson… and to think that just 5 days ago he was wobbling around NE Ohio on a bicycle drinking a brown liquor…

  37. shcb Says:

    Yes, but your comment tempered his nicely. I agree for the most part, I don’t think Smith was as anti regulation as Jayson is making it sound, and I wouldn’t call Rand a conservative, more libertarian. But that is a bit nitpicky for a good post. I’m not sure it relates to my article but we seem to have moved past that. I’m off to get some of that brown liquid and then I have a date with the Le Hussard tonight, final planking the starboard side tonight, and tomorrow, and tomorrow’s tomorrow…

  38. enkidu Says:

    knarls, NL
    I just found a link to the Trailer Park Boys from Cañada via boingboing.net
    that is some seriously weird stuff u wacky Yonkees be gettin up to =)

    I’ve only seen clips so far, but it looks good (might have to trrnt the first few shows to see if I can buy it down here in Dumfarkistan)

  39. knarlyknight Says:

    TP Boys has its moments, many are hilarious but haven’t watched much because when it’s bad it is too bad to sit through. For a taste of the Canadian culture that I grew up with, nothing beats Bob and Doug McKenzie, lots of guys in my high school were bigger hosers than Bob and Doug.

  40. NorthernLite Says:

    I have seen every single episode of the Trailer Park Boys – I love that show. Make sure you watch the Canadian versions of the episodes, as I believe when it was re-broadcasted in the US it was stripped of a lot of the good stuff. Also, try to start at Season 1.

  41. NorthernLite Says:

    I love the “Rickyisms”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TR3QHoqfhX8

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