Monday, August 03, 2020

Greenie son resigns from News Corp board

Good riddance to James.  Lachlan is more balanced, like his father, so the publications will not change noticeably

James Murdoch has resigned from the board of News Corp over a disagreement with its editorial coverage of politics and environmental issues in a move that severs his ties to his family's global media empire.

Mr Murdoch, the younger son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, said he would step down as a director of the owner of The Wall Street Journal, The New York Post, The Australian and the right-wing Fox News cable television network immediately.

His decision is not completely unexpected - Mr Murdoch has previously expressed unease with News Corp’s editorial direction - but it does confirm a professional rift in the multibillion-dollar business.

"My resignation is due to disagreements over certain editorial content published by the Company's news outlets and certain other strategic decisions," Mr Murdoch said in a letter to the board on July 31. News Corp confirmed the resignation to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission and said that the board would reduce to 10 directors. Mr Murdoch had been on the board of directors since 2013.

A joint statement from Rupert Murdoch and Lachlan Murdoch wished Mr Murdoch “the very best”. “We’re grateful to James for his many years of service to the company. We wish him the very best in his future endeavours,” the pair, who are co-chairman and chief executive officers, said.

Mr Murdoch and his wife Kathryn Hufschmid, who has worked for the Clinton Climate Initiative, have previously spoken publicly about their concerns with News Corp’s editorial direction. In September last year Mr Murdoch told The New Yorker he strongly disagreed with many of Fox News’ views and admitted that there were times where he and his father did not talk. Fox News backed US President Donald Trump’s campaign and regularly espouses conservative views.

In October last year Mr Murdoch told Vanity Fair that there was an urgent need for solutions on climate change, adequate health care and income inequality. When News Corp’s local news arm, which also publishes The Daily Telegraph and The Herald Sun, was criticised globally for its coverage of the Australian bushfire crisis in January, Mr Murdoch broke ranks and accused the global media empire of promoting climate denialism.

News Corp’s local newspapers have previously been accused by former Labor prime minister Kevin Rudd and former Liberal prime minister Malcolm Turnbull of running partisan campaigns against them. Lachlan Murdoch is close to former conservative Liberal prime minister Tony Abbott, according to people who know him.

A spokesperson for Mr Murdoch and his wife told The Daily Beast in January that the couple were “particularly disappointed” in the bushfire coverage by News Corp’s Australian news outlets.

Columns by Melbourne writer Andrew Bolt and Sky commentator (and The Australian Financial Review columnist) Rowan Dean in the tabloids and former ASX chairman Maurice Newman in The Australian have described climate change as a "cult" and "a socialist plot".

In a broadcast on News Corp-owned Sky News, Bolt criticised the "constant stream of propaganda" on the ABC about the climate crisis.

"Kathryn and James’ views on climate are well established and their frustration with some of the News Corp and Fox coverage of the topic is also well known," the spokesperson said in January.

Three former executives of News Corp, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age at the time that Mr Murdoch’s statement was unsurprising given his views on climate change and his difficult relationship with his brother, Lachlan, are well known.

"James and Lachlan are ideologically apart and will continue to be," one of the former executives said, while another said Mr Murdoch was looking to intentionally distance himself from the scrutiny his family was receiving. But the timing of Mr Murdoch’s abrupt exit on Friday is interesting given the fast-approaching US election.

Several weeks ago Mr Murdoch and his wife each contributed more than US$615,000 to a fundraising committee for former Vice President Joseph Biden, who is hoping to fight for the presidency against US President Donald Trump at the upcoming election. His resignation also follows the release of the BBC documentary The Rise of the Murdoch Dynasty.

Ironically several people familiar with the family’s thinking believe Mr Murdoch has left at a time when the company is subtly watering down its support of Mr Trump. Some of its key mastheads including The Australian are also adopting a more centrist political approach, according to people familiar with the matter.

Whatever the motive, James' decision puts an end to his tumultuous professional relationship with his father and brother Lachlan, who has long been considered Rupert’s favourite.

James has fallen in and out of favour with his father over the years but until 2011, was considered the heir apparent to the family’s media empire. According to people familiar with the Murdoch family, James is also considered to be most like his father.

"James is like his father, News Corp people believe," Michael Wolff wrote in 2008. "He's aggressive, implacable, focused, remote, fit, precise. His father is obviously proud, even perhaps slightly afraid of him."

But the disastrous News of The World scandal in 2011, which occurred while James was running News Corp’s holdings in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, rattled his position in the family empire and challenged his relationship with his father. While he was later appointed chief executive of 21st Century Fox, his older brother’s position as family heir was made apparent in 2018 following the announcement of the family’s $US52.4 billion sale of 21st Century Fox to Walt Disney, when he was named chief executive of what would be known as Fox Corporation.

A 20,000 word piece in The New York Times last year said the two brothers were barely on speaking terms.

James Murdoch will not leave the board without a large sum of money. While he will no longer receive board fees, he still made more than $US1 billion from the Walt Disney acquisition of 21st Century Fox, which was completed early last year.

James Murdoch flagged he would make climate change-focused investments with his earnings from the Disney merger and step away from the family business. He continues to hold shares in News Corp.


Watching CO2 feed the world

By David Wojick

Watching a child grow is seeing carbon dioxide in action. Plants turn CO2 into the food we eat to live and grow on. “You can't live on air” is a common saying but that is just what we do; we live on air and water.

Few people appreciate this amazing fact, that CO2 in the air is the global food supply. Our meat, fruit and veggies, also our candy and ice cream, milk and wine, are built almost entirely from carbon dioxide and water. Everything we eat and drink.

There is also a bit of nitrogen, to make protein, plus a bunch of trace minerals and vitamins, but you and I are basically composed of processed H2O and CO2.

We should be very thankful that this CO2 food supply is increasing every year, along with our hungry mouths. Instead the climate alarmists want to reduce it, supposedly to make the weather better. This is truly stupid. Carbon dioxide is feeding the world, more every year. The last thing we want to do is reduce the global food supply.

The chemistry is complex but the facts are simple (and miraculous). Plants use the energy of sunlight to transform CO2 and water into their food. They both live and grow on this food, just as we do. Animals eat the plants and each other, then we eat both. Thus we all live on processed carbon dioxide.

It is no accident that we exhale water and carbon dioxide. We are simply completing what is called the carbon cycle when we do this. Our bodies use some of the CO2 based food for the energy they need to live and this returns the carbon dioxide and water to their original form. All living things exist this way.

Carbon cycle: CO2 (+ water) in ­> Life­> CO2 (+ water) out.
Life is a CO2 based miracle.

It is a tragedy of ignorance that almost no one knows about this miracle. I have seen school lessons that actually teach the carbon cycle without mentioning carbon dioxide. They talk as though plants get their food from the ground, not the air.

Even worse, CO2 is demonized as air pollution. The world’s food supply cannot be pollution. How stupid is that!

To correct this ignorance it might be useful to label our foods with the amount of carbon dioxide they embody. We already label them for calories, fat, vitamins and such. People should learn how much CO2 they eat every day and be thankful for it.

Water is plentiful in most places, but carbon dioxide is scarce everywhere. For every million molecules of air only about 400 are CO2. That plants can actually find and consume these scarce molecules is amazing in itself. That all life ultimately feeds on these molecules is even more amazing.

A hundred years ago there were less than 300 molecules per million but happily that number has increased steadily. Plant productivity has increased accordingly, helping to feed our growing population. This is called the greening of planet Earth.

The climate alarmists have people calculating their so-called “carbon footprint” which is how much CO2 they cause to be generated. Everyone should be proud of their carbon footprint; it is helping feed the world. Make it bigger, not smaller.

For more on the miracle of carbon dioxide, check out the CO2 Coalition. For a lot of the science see the CO2 Science website.


An electric Hummer!

Just a folly

Side profile images of the upcoming reborn Hummer have been revealed by General Motors in the US overnight. And before anyone is wondering why GM is reviving a brand that symbolised gas guzzlers and excess, it's worth noting these will be fully electric vehicles.

In a video posted to the GMC website, the silhouettes of a twin cab pick-up and an SUV wagon can be seen.

A clay sculpting of the car, and a body shell, are also shown at various points during the video.

The clip includes purported vehicle performance figures which, if true, will be quite phenomenal.

GMC claims the new Hummer will have “up to” 1000 horsepower (745kW) and 11,500 foot-pounds of torque (15,591Nm) – although a final motor torque figure is still to be announced, we should expect it to be in the neighbourhood of 1000 to 1500Nm.

A 0-60mph (96.5kmh) acceleration time of 3 seconds is claimed, which would make it one of the fastest cars on the road, let alone being a quick time for a pick-up truck.

For context, a new Porsche 911 does the 0 to 100kmh dash in about 4 seconds and a V8 Holden Commodore took about 5 seconds to complete the same feat.

The vehicle’s initial launch was postponed earlier this year, however according to GM the car will now be available for pre-order sometime from September to December this year.

General Motors says production will begin at a US factory in 2021, but did not provide more specific timing.

The new Hummer is just one of several high profile upcoming electric trucks coming from General Motors and other rivals.

The Rivian R1T is expected to go into production in early 2021, while the Tesla Cybertruck will likely follow later in the year.

The Ford Electric F-150 is scheduled for a mid-2022 launch, and will be followed by the Nikola Badger.

The production schedules of all five vehicles have been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

However, it is clear US customers will soon be spoiled for choice of full size electric pick-ups within the next few years.


The Democrats' Jihad Against Hydroxychloroquine and for a green new deal

The COVID-19 global pandemic knocked America's robust economy back on its heels. As states cautiously re-open, President Trump has been laser-focused on supporting small businesses and getting our nation to work. However, in Washington, D.C., with 51 million people out of work, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrats, and their connected cronies have abused SBA loans. They have snuck numerous provisions into emergency bills under the cover of COVID-19.

The most terrifying sign of Democrats' plans is their embracing the previously dismissed "Green New Deal," which was a radical environmental proposal from self-described socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Senator Ed Markey (D-MA). Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC), the third-ranking House Democrat, was too honest by admitting his party wants to use billions in COVD-19 rescue funds to "restructure things to fit our vision."

Democrats are showing their cards of enacting this left-wing dream legislation in pieces through the tax code. It is time to sound the alarm, and conservatives must carefully watch the latest developments.

Democrats are focused on tax-bills because they only take a simple 51-majority vote in the Senate, utilizing "budget reconciliation" rules. First, this was tried with the so-called "Moving Forward Act" a $1.5 trillion spending bill full of radical environmentalist plans.  Also, there were additional disturbing provisions in the highway reauthorization pork-barrel bill, including green-tax credits, which extends and expands credits for wealthy homeowners with solar panels, storage devices, energy-efficient windows, and geothermal converters until 2025.

Once presented as "temporary" tax incentives, it is clear Democrats never want these green handouts to affluent taxpayers and highly-profitable renewable energy companies to end.

The truth is, America does not need new environmental regulation. We, along with other industrialized nations, can lower carbon emissions and still generate massive growth. Dozens of the world's largest companies have reduced carbon emissions by 12 percent, and major oil companies report their methane emissions have declined by 40 percent while oil production is steadily increasing. America needs free-market innovation, not manipulative tax code changes, and job-killing policies, especially during a pandemic!

As Ryan Ellis of the Center for a Free Economy correctly observes, as COVID-19-related legislation continues to be rushed through Congress this year, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and President Trump must stop all sneaky "Green New Deal" tax provisions.

We are not out of this pandemic, but the American people can overcome any obstacle.  Using disaster and death to enact an extreme agenda must stop. Let's re-elect President Trump, make real progress on ending the pandemic, and get Americans back to work.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

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