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Emrys

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Gender: Do not display
Current location: Scotland
Member since: Mon Sep 7, 2009, 12:57 AM
Number of posts: 5,975

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Downfall: Tankie Edition. [Twitter video]

https://twitter.com/KvotheTheArcane/status/1570910665703059456

[X-posted in Video & Multimedia (Forum)]

Downfall: Tankie Edition. [Twitter video]

https://twitter.com/KvotheTheArcane/status/1570910665703059456

[X-posted in General Discussion (Group)]

American Dark Money, the Mercers and the Conservative Party: A Network of Influence

A special investigation by Nafeez Ahmed exposes the transatlantic connections between an extremist US pro-Trump lobby and organisations influencing Liz Truss’ Conservative Cabinet

Two powerful Conservative Party pressure groups with extensive financial ties to Liz Truss’ Cabinet have institutional and funding links to the pro-Trump Mercer Family Foundation, Byline Times can reveal.

Robert and Rebekah Mercer are the billionaire philanthropists credited with being among Donald Trump’s biggest financial backers. They have funded a range of far-right groups in America – including white supremacists and supporters of the January 6 Capitol attack. Renowned Republican political strategist Steve Schmidt has described them as among “the chief financiers of the fascist movement”.

In a special investigation, Byline Times has found that six of Liz Truss’ Cabinet appointments have funding ties to Conservative organisations connected to the Mercer lobby. While two of her formal advisors, and two independent advisors involved in shaping ‘Trussonomics’, come from these groups.

The Deputy Prime Minister and Health and Social Care Secretary, the Chancellor, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, the Northern Ireland Minister, the Home Secretary, the Justice Secretary, and the Leader of the House – and the Prime Minister herself – all have institutional and financial links to the controversial Mercer lobby.

https://bylinetimes.com/2022/09/14/american-dark-money-the-mercers-and-the-conservative-party-a-network-of-influence/


The article covers areas of influence under the headings "Anti-Abortion", "The Cherish Freedom Foundation", "'Trussonomics' and Climate Denial" and "Britannia Unchained".

[X-posted in United Kingdom (Group)]

American Dark Money, the Mercers and the Conservative Party: A Network of Influence

A special investigation by Nafeez Ahmed exposes the transatlantic connections between an extremist US pro-Trump lobby and organisations influencing Liz Truss’ Conservative Cabinet

Two powerful Conservative Party pressure groups with extensive financial ties to Liz Truss’ Cabinet have institutional and funding links to the pro-Trump Mercer Family Foundation, Byline Times can reveal.

Robert and Rebekah Mercer are the billionaire philanthropists credited with being among Donald Trump’s biggest financial backers. They have funded a range of far-right groups in America – including white supremacists and supporters of the January 6 Capitol attack. Renowned Republican political strategist Steve Schmidt has described them as among “the chief financiers of the fascist movement”.

In a special investigation, Byline Times has found that six of Liz Truss’ Cabinet appointments have funding ties to Conservative organisations connected to the Mercer lobby. While two of her formal advisors, and two independent advisors involved in shaping ‘Trussonomics’, come from these groups.

The Deputy Prime Minister and Health and Social Care Secretary, the Chancellor, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, the Northern Ireland Minister, the Home Secretary, the Justice Secretary, and the Leader of the House – and the Prime Minister herself – all have institutional and financial links to the controversial Mercer lobby.

https://bylinetimes.com/2022/09/14/american-dark-money-the-mercers-and-the-conservative-party-a-network-of-influence/


The article covers areas of influence under the headings "Anti-Abortion", "The Cherish Freedom Foundation", "'Trussonomics' and Climate Denial" and "Britannia Unchained".

[X-posted in Editorials & Other Articles (Forum)]

Why UK energy prices are rising much faster than in Europe

London (CNN Business) - Millions of people in the United Kingdom are steeling themselves for colossal rises to their energy bills over the next few months, a coda to a year already marked by record price increases.

The crisis is not unique to the country. Prices have shot up across Europe since last fall, driven by a spike in demand as countries lifted pandemic lockdowns. Russia's invasion of Ukraine in late February, and the subsequent drop in Moscow's oil and natural gas exports to Europe, have pushed prices even higher.

But UK energy prices are now higher than in comparable economies like France and Italy, analysts told CNN Business. And Brits have suffered much bigger price increases than in most European countries, including Germany, where decades of energy policy has been turned on its head by the Ukraine war.

https://edition.cnn.com/2022/08/19/energy/energy-prices-uk-europe-explainer/index.html


I thought this was a very well balanced article, and a useful antidote to the shameless gaslighting on the subject from the likes of Nadhim Zahawi.

It breaks down the problems under the headings "A broken market", "Lack of storage", and "Minimal government support".

Emily Maitlis says 'active Tory party agent' shaping BBC news output

Former Newsnight presenter says former No 10 communications chief Sir Robbie Gibb on board acting as ‘arbiter of impartiality’
...
The former Newsnight presenter highlighted the role of Sir Robbie Gibb, who previously worked as Theresa May’s director of communications and helped to found the rightwing GB News channel.

Last year he was appointed to the BBC’s board by Boris Johnson’s government and has since influenced a series of ongoing reviews of the broadcaster’s editorial output.

Maitlis also raised concerns about the BBC’s relationship with the Conservative government, saying the broadcaster went out of its way to “pacify” Downing Street after she criticised Dominic Cummings for his breach of lockdown rules during the pandemic.

The presenter said the corporation’s bosses panicked after Maitlis told Newsnight viewers in 2020 that Johnson’s former aide had “broken the rules” and “the country can see that, and it’s shocked the government cannot”.

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2022/aug/24/emily-maitlis-says-active-tory-party-agent-shaping-bbc-news-output


The whole article's worth a read, if only to confirm what many of us already knew.

Ofgem director resigns over energy price cap hike

Christine Farnish ‘could not support’ decision to add hundreds of pounds to bills
...
Her resignation led to accusations that the government is “asleep at the wheel” on regulation of the energy market as families and businesses face surging costs.
...
Ms Farnish, who served on the Ofgem board for several years, told The Times: “I resigned from the Ofgem board because I could not support a key decision to recover additional supplier costs from consumer bills this winter.”

She believes the move will “add several hundred pounds to everyone’s bill in order to support a number of suppliers in the coming months”.

It is understood her resignation is linked to Ofgem’s decision to change the methodology of the price cap to allow suppliers to recover some of the high energy “backwardation” costs sooner rather than later.

Energy bills for the average UK household are on course to hit a devastating £4,266 a year in January as wholesale gas prices surge.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/ofgem-director-resigns-energy-price-cap-b2147195.html


Much as I applaud Ms Farnish's stand, I don't understand how it can be said that the government is "asleep at the wheel".

Johnson's taken early retirement and is spending the dregs of his time in office on jolly hols abroad, his deputy, Dominic Raab, is notable only for his invisibility, and Truss and Sunak are touring the UK whipping up the haggard Tory hordes into voting for a leader who'll promise to undo some of the untold harm their party's done to the country in over a decade in power by doing much the same all over again, but with the prize bonus of extra fascism.

There's nobody at the wheel. Maybe that's better for us all, given the prospects.

Actor Bernard Cribbins dies aged 93

One of those deaths you knew would come eventually, but nevertheless dreaded.

The news has been greeted by great outpourings of affection mixed with sorrow on social media. I think he did know he was very widely loved, which is a comfort.

His appearance as the hotel guest Mr Hutchinson in the Fawlty Towers episode "The Hotel Inspectors" was a gem of a cameo, and John Cleese later said Cribbins's performance had been so good he'd forced him to up his game to match. I think I'm right in saying that Mr Hutchinson was the only guest ever to have enjoyed the privilege of beating up Basil Fawlty, though Fawlty later got his own back in spectacular fashion, while still contriving to end up the loser.

Here's a snippet:

https://twitter.com/davelee1968/status/1552567514877644800
Dave Lee
@davelee1968

In honour of Cribbins, they should reserve the BBC2 channel tonight and show this televisual feast.

[Twitter video]


More details about a very long career that thrived to the end here.

I'm in Scotland. Yes, I do.

Disappointingly, whenever I'm in a supermarket or shop (just about the only time I'm among people nowadays apart from close friends), I'm in a minority of close to one. Scotland had done pretty well in accepting the strictures imposed during the early stages of the pandemic, but now that clear official advice is lacking, people seem to have assumed it's all over, and COVID is "just something we have to live with".

Well, yeah. I live with it by masking up and trying to maintain at least a degree of social distancing when I'm among people in close quarters. It's not a big inconvenience. It may theoretically protect those around me more than it does me, but at least I'm doing all I can.

I had a disturbing experience in the supermarket the other week. It was a Sunday afternoon, and the place was packed, with queue at every checkout. I was trying to figure out which queue to join when a young checkout woman said she was about to open another station, so I should go ahead and start loading my stuff up on the conveyer.

I'd only just started when what I can only fairly describe as an old biddy (i.e. noticeably older than me) sidled in right up close to me and started putting her shopping on the conveyer. I told her she needed to allow me more room. She ignored me. Then she asked me to hand her a "next customer" divider, so I did so, in the hope we could stake out acceptable territory between my shopping and hers and her and me. Nope. She plonked it down hard up against my shopping. I hadn't managed to load up half my trolleyload yet, so I told her again she needed to give me more room. She said dismissively, "Oh just push it all along."

I didn't want to start a scene in the queue in a crowded supermarket, not least because I could see the young checkout woman's head was starting to hang as I'm sure the last thing she needed was a fuss at the beginning of her shift, so I just focused on loading the rest of my stuff on the conveyer belt and getting out of there as soon as possible.

I was just cashing up, when the old biddy called across to me with an infuriatingly sickly smile, "There, that wasn't so bad, was it?" That finally did it. If a scene she wanted, a scene she was going to have.

I called over to her, quite loudly, I guess, "You need to keep your distance. My wife has COVID right now."

This was true. My wife had been suffering from it for a week. When she first tested positive, I assumed it was inevitable I'd get it too. I'd been LFT testing myself every morning all week, but somehow the precautions we took (distancing, good ventilation, basic hygiene) worked, and I never caught it.

Once I said that, the old biddy went, "Oh, oh," and scuttled to the very far end of the conveyer belt (where I'd have preferred her to be all along) and huddled up to a guy in the queue behind her, looking at me like I'd just announced I had the Black Death.

I was just muttering to myself along the lines of "Oh, now you're seeing the value of social distancing" when the guy behind her (I'm not sure if they were related or not, but they were pretty close physically) called over, "Thanks for coming out and giving it to us all."

My response: "When did you last test negative?"

He replied a bit sheepishly, "Erm, maybe a month ago."

I pointed to myself: "This morning. This. Morning."

I finished up packing and got out of there amid a somewhat shocked and embarrassed silence.

I was the only person in a supermarket full of around 200 people who was wearing a mask or seemed to give a damn about social distancing when the stats were showing that around 1 in 20 people were infected.

If I'd been infected by that over-familar old biddy after the week of stringent precautions and daily suspense my wife and I had just put ourselves through, I'd have been livid. The old biddy was obviously oblivious to that possibility and was only concerned for herself when I made the risks all too vivid for her.

I hope she and the guy who called over to me may have learned something, but I doubt it.

Some in the scientific community are not impressed with this report.

A few examples among many:

https://twitter.com/MichaelEMann/status/1548807427683917827

Prof Michael E. Mann
@MichaelEMann

This is NOT peer-reviewed science.
In fact, it's nonsense.

See @simondonner: https://twitter.com/simondonner/status/1548781210565898242

The promotion of bad science is unhelpful regardless of what agenda (denial or doomism) may be behind it.


https://twitter.com/simondonner/status/1548781210565898242

Simon Donner
@simondonner

Lots of things to worry about in the world... the claim that Atlantic plankton are disappearing definitely isn't one of them. It is wrong, and ridiculous too. See this thread:

https://twitter.com/wang_seaver/status/1548750630914703362

Jack Brudenell
@BrudenellJp

@simondonner hi Simon, would be interested to get your thoughts on this article. It scared the hell out of me. https://www.sundaypost.com/fp/humanity-will-not-survive-extinction-of-most-marine-plants-and-animals/


https://twitter.com/wang_seaver/status/1548750633041162240

Seaver Wang
@wang_seaver

"The plankton are dead!" Doomer reddit keeps dredging up only the most credible research to boost to the top page.
-the article has less text than some postal stamps
-no link to report
-research team's site really raises eyebrows

Just proof of an alarmist headline's sheer power.



Seaver Wang
@wang_seaver

The finding is bogus, full stop. I don't even need to read the report. We've had a thing called the Continuous Plankton Recorder for 60+ years.

In general any sweeping trans-oceanic finding like this is immediate cause for skepticism. The ocean + marine life are heterogenous.


https://twitter.com/wang_seaver/status/1548750636568612864

Seaver Wang
@wang_seaver

A sizeable chunk of my dissertation research was on marine plankton in the western North Atlantic.

We sampled phytoplankton blooms off the New England coast 2015 and 2017 with abundances of hundreds of millions of cells/liter.

Oceans ain't empty guys.


Seaver Wang
@wang_seaver

"The team, led by marine biologist and former Scottish Government adviser Dr Howard Dryden, has compiled and analysed information from 13 vessels and more than 500 data points."

LMAO.

For those unaware, the guy has a history:

Prof. Eliot Jacobson
@EliotJacobson

Google scholar shows that the principal author Howard Dryden does not have a track record of research outside of the GOES foundation. Clearly, ocean acidification is a huge long-term issue with ominous impacts. But the accelerated timeline is not clear.


https://twitter.com/wang_seaver/status/1548751068640686080

Seaver Wang
@wang_seaver

Also "13 vessels and more than 500 data points" for a finding this sweeping in its assertions is enough to make any microbial oceanographer fall off their lab bench laughing.


https://twitter.com/EliotJacobson/status/1448735140943851535

Prof. Eliot Jacobson
@EliotJacobson

From the GOES Project paper: "Climate regulating ocean plants and animals are being destroyed by toxic chemicals and plastics, accelerating our path towards ocean pH 7.95 in 25 years which will devastate humanity."

This is absof**kinglutely NOT tl;dr



Prof. Eliot Jacobson
@EliotJacobson

The abstract is here (with a link in the abstract to download the paper):

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3860950


https://twitter.com/EliotJacobson/status/1449019138941145090

Prof. Eliot Jacobson
@EliotJacobson

Google scholar shows that the principal author Howard Dryden does not have a track record of research outside of the GOES foundation. Clearly, ocean acidification is a huge long-term issue with ominous impacts. But the accelerated timeline is not clear.

https://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=Howard+Dryden
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