RealClimate Analysis Proves Plimer's Imbecility has stepped in to deliver a devastating aside in the unfolding “debate” between Guardian columnist George Monbiot and hopeless Australian climate change denier Ian Plimer.

The back-and-forth began when Monbiot ridiculed Plimer’s book Heaven and Earth as an unsourced, unscientific load of codswallop.  Plimer retaliated with a challenge to a public debate, which challenge Monbiot rebuffed as giving Plimer an unwarranted opportunity to hold forth unaccountably. But then Monbiot reconsidered and said the he would debate Plimer if only the geologist and businessman would agree to answer some basic questions about the content of his book (like, where was he getting his purported evidence; some of the footnotes can’t be sourced).

Bonner & Associates Paid Bonus to Letter Forger Before Firing Him

Talking Points Memo has obtained a copy of the letter sent to Congressional investigators by Steven R. Ross, an Akin Gump attorney working to defend his client Bonner & Associates, the D.C. public relations firm embroiled in an embarrassing scandal over forged letters sent from its offices to at least three Democratic lawmakers.  The forged letters claimed to represent opposition to the Waxman-Markey climate and energy legislation from nine different groups, including senior citizens’ organizations, Hispanic and women’s advocacy groups, and the NAACP.

According to the letter from Ross to Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), the Bonner employee who forged the letters received a bonus payment for his “hard work,” four days before the firm fired him after learning the letters were forgeries.

Bonner & Associates Spin Machine in Full Gear To Defend Sullied Brand

Usually PR firms like to be behind the news, not in the headlines themselves.  But Bonner & Associates – the D.C. Astroturf shop busted for mailing forged letters to Congress attacking the Waxman-Markey climate and energy bill on behalf of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity – finds itself under the spotlight trying to save its tarnished brand. 

The Wall Street Journal reports that Bonner continues to blame a rogue temporary employee for the forgeries, resurrecting an age-old PR maneuver - when caught with your pants down, blame the button maker.  “It was a setup!” of course.  No systemic pattern of shady behavior to see here!

Bonner has lawyered up, hiring veteran Akin Gump attorney Steven R. Ross, in another classic defensive posture often used to convolute the matter and issue veiled threats of countersuits to dissuade investigators from looking deeper into the muck.  Attorney Ross claims that Bonner & Associates were victims in the scheme, overwhelmed by “being short-staffed and given the incredibly short time frame of this [two-week] project,” and therefore, according to Ross, “some letters were transmitted to Capitol Hill before they could be thoroughly reviewed.”

Maddow on Bonner and Adfero's Astroturfing for Coal

On her show last night MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow lambasted the latest coal lobby astroturf campaign for using generic clip art stock photos for their FACES of coal campaign. I guess the coal lobbyists behind the campaign couldn’t find any real people willing to pose as pro-coal cheerleaders and instead had to rely on stock photo stand-ins instead.

This story was first uncovered by the hardworking folks at Appalachian Voices who are fighting to save the mountains of Appalachia from the hugely destructive and toxic industry process of mountain top removal.

Maddow also gave a quick shout-out to DeSmogBlog on her show presumably for our work to uncover the high-powered Washington, DC public relations company, Adfero Group, that appears to be working behind the scenes on the FACES astroturf campaign. 

Brad Johnson at the WonkRoom reported yesterday that Adfero Group also has significant ties to the Republican Party.

FACES: Coal Industry Buying "Friends" Off the Shelf

JW Randolph at Grist has discovered that the coal industry has, quite literally, bought friends off the shelf in the FACES of Coal campaign facilitated by the D.C. PR firm Adfero. The photos on the FACES website were all sourced from iStockPhoto, which, as the name implies, is the place where lazy/busy/rich people go for photos when, for example, they don’t have any friends of their own.


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