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Utah Tar Sands Panel

Utah Tar Sands Panel


The Utah Department of Natural Resource’s Division of Oil, Gas and Mining held a hearing yesterday morning because a Canadian energy corporation has plans to mine large areas of Utah tar sands. Under state law, a hearing must be held if residents have objections.

I was worried nobody would be there to document the proceedings, so I took my camcorder to the event. The first part of the meeting was consumed by representatives for “U.S. Oil Sands”, defending the Calgary based company from questions about it’s protection of Utah’s water resources.

The Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret Morning News did stories on the matter, but I’m pretty sure I was the only one who filmed the meeting. Television crews sometimes cover things getting set up and then leave when important public events get underway.

I’m only presenting comments given by the Utah activists and citizens who showed up and elected to speak. Obviously I didn’t have a tripod. Nothing has been edited except for where the second speaker gives his name. My battery had to be changed.

Enjoy:

After the public comments, John Baza, who presided over the hearing said, “There are things that have been said here today that have touched me and I am sensitive to those.” My opinion is that the corporation will get everything it wants. Am I being cynical again?

UPDATE: Here is the panel discussion portion of the hearing. This is virtually the entire conversation. The short gaps were due to small camera adjustments. I’m still learning how to use it. :)

The man closest to, and facing away from my camera during the video and in the top picture of this post is University of Utah geology professor, Bill Johnson. He is fighting hard for Utah’s lands:

Please go to “Utah Tar Sands Resistance” to participate in stopping the destruction of our beautiful Utah lands or Donate!

UPDATE: Jill Merritt made up this handy list to navigate the first video. Thanks Jill!
speaker list

8 Comments

Are Americans Now Incapable Of Making Simple Decisions?

What Do I Do?

What Do I Do?

Some of the decision making abilities of our society have been purposefully confused by special interest groups who have misleading names. This has been a very successful strategy of right-leaning leaders in industry and government for many years because they know their interest in making more money, rarely if ever aligns with the average American’s real needs and wants, especially in the climate change arena.

A confusion strategy is used on bills introduced in congress and ballot issues too. You may know the name of a bill you want to contact your congressman about, but advertising on television and radio is sometimes dishonest. Added on, and last minute provisions, specifically designed to contradict the intent of a bill might even elude your congressman. It would be easy to introduce bills with names that simply give the aim of a bill, but that almost never happens today unless that bill is being introduced by Alan Grayson or Bernie Sanders.

But I thought of something the other day that really baffles me.

The supreme court has been arguing a case before them, concerning capitol punishment involving the agonizing death of an inmate due to an inability to obtain drugs from other countries that won’t sell them here, because of their opposition to capitol punishment.

Some states here allow assisted suicide as an end-of-life option. I haven’t heard of a single instance of that going bad. How did this get to the supreme court and why can’t the court see the obvious solution to this simple problem?

12 Comments

Faux News: Paying people for the hours that they actually work ‘undercuts work ethic’

Dilbert unpaid overtime

Via Media Matters:

Throughout the day on June 10, Fox News and Fox Business personalities derided an expected proposal from the Labor Department that would expand guaranteed overtime pay to millions of American workers who currently work uncompensated hours.

…Under current federal guidelines, salaried employees are only guaranteed overtime pay if they earn up to $23,660 per year. Raising the threshold to $52,000 would expand overtime protections to at least 6.1 million additional American workers, and bring the policy roughly in line with federal standards last witnessed in 1975, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

On the Faux News Channel, commentators worry that paying people for the hours that they actually work “undercuts work ethic.” Seriously?

44 Comments

Hastert Indicted For Treason?

DennisHastert_indicted

Well, all I can do is speculate, since they won’t tell us why he’s being indicted.

As usual, I had NPR on this morning when I heard that the former speaker of the house, Dennis Hastert, had been indicted for undisclosed reasons. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of secret, public indictments before. Have you?

From USA today:

The indictment did not specify the nature of the misconduct. A spokeswoman for the federal prosecutor in Northern Illinois declined to offer further detail about the alleged wrongdoing by the former speaker.

Hastert who was brought in as speaker of the house to replace Bob Livingston who had replaced Newt Gringrich a couple of weeks earlier, when it became known that both men, who had been attacking Bill Clinton during the hyper-media frenzy about his famous extramarital affair, were exposed for having more serious adultery. The kindly looking Hastert was billed as, sort of, a Jimmy Carter like moralistic figure that was going to bring dignity and moderation back to the mess on capitol hill.

Even though the media won’t, I think I can give you some background on what is actually happening here and why this is much more serious then most of us who haven’t been to my favorite website, BradBlog.com. know.

Brad has been reporting on this story since 2006.

Here’s a paragraph from a story posted there in 2008:

It appears that these arrangements aren’t the typical ‘Revolving Door’ retirement packages, but rather specific quid pro quo deals. People like Hastert and Grossman and the others quite literally sell out their government while in office on the specific promise that they will be rewarded when they leave.

To make a long story really short: the indictment that must not be known is most likely about Dennis Hastert being bribed by Turkey while in office, and taking a lobbying job there after leaving office. If you want the long version, it’s unfolding in the real American news media at BradBlog right now: HERE.

Pertinent video primer from 2008:


.

UPDATE: What, they couldn’t let this out this morning? Is this a cover story cooked up to make this go away? Couldn’t happen in America. :)

UPDATE: Although this sixty minutes story doesn’t cover Sybil Edmonds’s allegations against Hastert in the previous video, it’s obvious she has credibility.

10 Comments

People Who Believed the Media About Ebola Were The Least Informed

Ebola hysteria
Remember this?

Media Matters for America asks a great question: Where’s The Media’s Ebola Mea Culpa?

Before the 2014 elections, broadcast and cable news aired more than 975 segments raising the alarm about the (extremely unlikely) danger of an Ebola epidemic in America. The story was quickly dropped after Election Day. One survey found that the people who were paying the most attention to the Ebola story were the ones least informed about it.

Eric Boehlert:

I’d suggest the news media’s collective malfeasance ranks not far behind the run-up to the Iraq War in terms of a fundamental failure to inform the public about a life-and-death issue. Thankfully, Ebola did not plunder the U.S. Treasury and cost thousands of American lives like the Iraq War did. But Ebola did require leveled-headed journalism, which was often missing.

Faux News Channel led the way, but most other media followed them with nonstop unfounded hysteria timed right before an election. When do we get an apology?

39 Comments

A Republican I Could Vote For

Bob Inglis

Never thought I’d say that, but this man has some good ideas and I’m sure that’s why the fake grassroots movement of the wealthy made sure he didn’t get elected again. Utahn’s should remember that “The Tea Party” defeated another Bob. Our long standing senator from Utah got gone because he wasn’t crazy enough. I guess you could call this other Bob from South Carolina an old style Republican.

Any Republican who puts himself on the air with Brad Friedman already has my admiration, but he probably knows Brad will be respectful, yet inquisitive. That’s his job as one of Americas best and most informed journalists. South Carolina’s Representative, Bob Englis had me on his side right away, when he admitted that for the first six years of being in office, he hadn’t done any research on climate change and opposed it because Al Gore was for it. He reconsidered his stance when his son said to him, “Dad, I’ll vote for you, but you have to clean up your act on the environment”. His other children and wife agreed. Yikes!

It’s easy to understand why the supporters of “citizens united” wanted this guy gone when he started to say that socializing cleanup for the industries who pollute was not the way to go. Since we all know by now that when industries on any continent polute, all of the planet is affected. The congressman was pushing for making corporations clean up THEIR act everywhere. If, for instance, China didn’t deal with the problem, and tax it’s corporations over there, it would face that cost when importing it’s products to this country. Pretty damn smart!

Listen to the interview on this post starting at about 16:00 minutes in. You’ll hear a promotional spot from Daniel Elsberg, who launched Brad’s new daily radio program with his appearance. I’ve already learned a lot from the program which can be downloaded for free from BradBlog. Please DONATE though. I’ve been donating for years. The revolution in media isn’t going to be free.

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This Time Someone Got It on Video

In South Carolina, a police officer has been charged with the murder of an unarmed man shot in the back and killed while running away – the entire incident caught on video. The officer claimed self-defense, but he was lying. The incident began as a routine traffic stop.

The authorities in this case are doing the right thing. But what if there was no video?

36 Comments

Jon Stewart: 50 Faux News Lies In 6 Seconds

I watched “The Daily Show” last night, and it was obvious this would go viral. Of course, there’s really no way to tally all of the Faux News Channel’s lies. It’s a constant stream every day.

More info:
Jon Stewart Pulls Out The Big Guns, Unveils ’50 Fox News Lies In 6 Seconds’

6 Comments

Cenk Uygur to Media: ‘Please don’t pretend you have integrity now’

Cenk Uygur’s rant is worth quoting:

People think that Brian Williams is the problem because he exaggerated a war story about Iraq? Are you kidding me? The whole war was based on a monstrous lie that almost the entire media enabled and perpetuated. That’s the real problem.

If the rest of the press scapegoat Williams and feign righteous indignation over his lie, as they are in the middle of doing now, it will be unbearable. Where were all of those people when we were being sold a bill of goods on Iraq? Oh I know, on air. They sold us those lies en masse. So, please don’t pretend you have integrity now. Please don’t pretend that the real problem is an exaggeration about a tiny story in the middle of the war.

Sixty-nine percent of Americans believed that Saddam Hussein was personally responsible for 9/11 when we invaded Iraq. That is the biggest failure of the media I have ever seen. Has anyone apologized for that yet? Has anyone been fired for that yet? If you want to fire all of the executives and editors who let that lie be sold to the American people through their media outlets, then I’m 100% with you. Then we can also fire Brian Williams.

I have nothing to add, except the furor over Brian Williams really pegs the absurdity meter.

More info:
David Westin: Brian Williams’ Lies Are ‘Miniscule’ Compared To Iraq Lead-Up (Video)

UPDATE:
Brian Williams Suspended From NBC for 6 Months Without Pay

15 Comments

Because a Policy is Wildly Unpopular in America Doesn’t Mean It Won’t Happen

Comcast

Consumerist’s Worst Company In America for 2014 (you guessed Comcast, didn’t you? – right on!) is trying to get bigger and more powerful. Where is democracy when we need it?

Comcast is trying to merge with another of America’s largest cable and Internet providers, Time Warner Cable. The proposed Comcast-TWC merger would create a juggernaut of a company that almost no one would be able to compete with. The merged company — which will be named Comcast — would control more than two-thirds of all cable television subscriptions in the country, and some 40% of the home Internet market.

Alternet:

Survey after survey shows that Americans wholeheartedly oppose the proposed merger. The latest survey, by Consumer Reports, finds nearly three-quarters of Americans believe it will result in higher cable and Internet rates, while two-thirds say it will likely have a negative impact on customer service and that Comcast would have no incentive to improve.

Let’s recall that Comcast is an enemy of net neutrality, which they underscored by the Netflix shakedown last summer. They are notorious for throttling your Internet connection. Comcast is currently trying to turn user home routers into publicly-accessible hotspots without telling customers. Their prices are too high (but it’s a local monopoly controlled by nobody). And of course their customer “service” is totally evil.

Will the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice roll over and play dead, letting this merger go through? Stay tuned.

More info:
You Thought Comcast Couldn’t Get Any Worse? Think Again
When Your Cable Company Attacks: Why Comcast Abuses Its Customers
Insults directed at consumers are proof that Comcast is rotten to the core.

3 Comments

All Your ‘No Go Zones’ Are Belong To Us

Young Turks host Cenk Uygur breaks it down. The amazing Faux News Channel lie about the supposed existence of European “no go zones” where Sharia law applies and non-Muslims can never set foot wasn’t simply a mistake by one so-called “terrorism expert.” They are professional liars, it’s what they do!

To be fair, after two weeks of repeating the “no go zone” lie across multiple programs, Faux News offered an extremely rare on-air apology admitting there is “no credible information” for what they claimed was an everyday fact of life in England and France. But not before Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal latched on to this, with incredibly bad timing.

More info:
Fox ‘Expert’ Totally Wrong But How The Internet Responds Is A Thing Of Beauty (Video)
CNN Correspondent Confronts Bobby Jindal Over False Comments About Muslims
Fox Host Apologizes For Letting Muslim “No-Go Zone” Myth Go “Unchallenged And Uncorrected
French Comedians Parody Terrified Fox Reporters In Paris ‘No-Go Zones’

UPDATE:
The Man Who Spawned “#FoxNewsFacts” Also Advises the U.S. Government on Terror

Self-styled “terror expert” Steve Emerson set off a sort of global laugh track last week when he claimed that parts of the United Kingdom had been completely taken over by Muslims, and that the city of Birmingham no longer allowed non-Muslims to enter. Emerson’s fact-free rant spawned the Twitter hashtag #FoxNewsFacts, prompting users to conjure up outlandishly satirical tales that mocked with the farcical quality of Fox News analysis. “When I heard this, frankly, I choked on my porridge and I thought it must be April Fool’s Day,” British Prime Minister David Cameron said of Emerson’s remarks. “This guy’s clearly a complete idiot.”

…Emerson is a shadowy figure who levels ridiculously defamatory claims against Muslims on a regular basis, reaping millions of dollars in profits in the process. His analysis is highly suspect, and yet he has been repeatedly called upon as a knowledgeable witness by government officials. The question is whether the snafu that made him the object of global ridicule finally end his status as “expert.”

Maybe Emerson is a complete idiot, but he’s apparently smarter than the people who pay all that money to his “Investigative Project on Terrorism.”

23 Comments

Keystone XL Zombie Lie

Via Media Matters.

Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed a bill approving the controversial Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Virtually all the Republicans and 28 Democrats voted for this foreign-owned project, which is likely to impose significant environmental costs, cause an increase in American gasoline prices, and contribute to global warming. The proposed 1,200 mile dirty oil pipeline would carry bitumen — a tar-like substance mined from the Alberta tar sands, chemically diluted, and heated to improve flow — at high pressure across Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas to Gulf Coast refineries. Existing pipelines of this type spring dozens of leaks every year, and the mess is much more difficult to clean up than a crude oil spill.

Why allow this? Right-wing propagandists insist that Keystone XL will create “42,000 jobs.” This is false.

The State Department concluded that the Keystone XL project will result in just 50 jobs, including “35 permanent employees and 15 temporary contractors.” Further, their report stated that spending on the project would support only 3,900 temporary construction jobs if construction lasted one year and just 1,950 temporary construction jobs if construction lasted two years.

President Obama has threatened to veto the congressional attempt to force the issue, however he seems to be keeping the option open to ultimately approve this disastrous project.

UPDATE:
Senate Advances Bill To Approve Keystone Pipeline Despite Obama’s Veto Threat

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