JM

GREEN NEW DEAL = BLIZZARD OF LIES

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1 hour ago, Ron Wagner said:

They sold their soul to the U.S. government when they were "saved" financially. 

It is time for the US to really understand what is going on...Below is a very sad tale. 

The secret history of GM’s Chinese bailoutThe secret history of GM’s Chinese bailout

By mid-November 2009, GM suddenly had $491 million to spend on GMDAT’s turnaround, but it wasn’t immediately clear where the money had come from. That December, the first details emerged: GM had sold 1% of Shanghai GM to SAIC, giving the Chinese partner a controlling stake in the venture. It also turned its struggling GM India division into a joint venture, with SAIC receiving a 50% stake in return for an additional investment of $350 million. At the time, GM executives said the deal would also allow SAIC to consolidate

https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/secret-history-gm-chinese-bailout-100038156.html

And then Biden acknowleges a Chinese front woman...Ever wonder why a woman runs GM?

A segment of the speech stood out because Biden somehow thought it would be a good idea to give Mary Barra, CEO of GM, credit for “electrifying the entire automobile industry.”

https://electrek.co/2021/11/18/president-biden-gm-ceo-marry-barra-credit-for-electrifying-entire-auto-industry-wrong/

 

Edited by Eyes Wide Open
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10 hours ago, Jay McKinsey said:

Some type of storage isn't around the corner it is here. Grid batteries are skyrocketing and they will handle the greatest part of storage needs.. Long term reserve storage is around the corner in green hydrogen. 

You don't understand how carbon credits work. They don't put money in the govt's coffers they put money into companies who go green and are given credits to sell to polluters.

A carbon credit is created when 1 metric ton of carbon dioxide is removed from, or prevented from entering, the atmosphere through an emission reduction program. Project developers can then sell carbon credits to fund current or future carbon offset projects. 

The projects that create carbon credits are greenhouse gas reduction programs that work to achieve energy efficiency, develop renewable energy solutions, capture methane, and reduce waste. Any project that accomplishes these goals, and reduces the equivalent of 1 ton of carbon emissions, can begin creating and selling carbon credits. 

 

It appears that the government of Australia is having an issue with "how carbon credits work".  

The Guardian: July, 2022

Macintosh, an environmental law and policy scholar, said the system run by the government and Clean Energy Regulator was “largely a sham” and a fraud on taxpayers and the environment.

The Clean Energy Regulator and Emissions Reduction Assurance Committee have rejected this, saying they had asked independent experts to test Macintosh’s assertions and found no evidence to support them. They have been supported by industry body the Carbon Market Institute and some companies that run carbon credit projects.

On Friday, Macintosh and colleagues released two new papers that argue the “vast majority” of carbon credits awarded for what are known as “human-induced regeneration” projects – which involve regenerating native forests by preventing grazing by livestock and feral animals (and not be tree-planting) – had not drawn more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than would have happened anyway.

 

Human-induced regeneration is the most popular method to create carbon credits. The academics said the method had “numerous flaws”, including that landholders were issued carbon credits for growing trees in arid and semi-arid rangeland country though the vegetation was already there before the work started.

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TIMBER!!!!

 

wind-break.png

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2 hours ago, JoMack said:

TIMBER!!!!

 

wind-break.png

image.thumb.png.5abcc443bb5fe013f850bb04df545dcb.png

Kaboom!

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2 hours ago, JoMack said:

It appears that the government of Australia is having an issue with "how carbon credits work".  

The Guardian: July, 2022

 

, said the system run by the government and Clean Energy Regulator was “largely a sham” and a fraud on taxpayers and the environment.

The Clean Energy Regulator and Emissions Reduction Assurance Committee have rejected this, saying they had asked independent experts to test Macintosh’s assertions and found no evidence to support them. They have been supported by industry body the Carbon Market Institute and some companies that run carbon credit projects.

On Friday, Macintosh and colleagues released two new papers that argue the “vast majority” of carbon credits awarded for what are known as “human-induced regeneration” projects – which involve regenerating native forests by preventing grazing by livestock and feral animals (and not be tree-planting) – had not drawn more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than would have happened anyway.

 

Human-induced regeneration is the most popular method to create carbon credits. The academics said the method had “numerous flaws”, including that landholders were issued carbon credits for growing trees in arid and semi-arid rangeland country though the vegetation was already there before the work started.

 

It is a fraud and sham because that program was created by the fossil fuel supporting conservative government of Tony Abbot. The new green government is going to redo it so it works.

July 1 (Reuters) - Australia's new Labor government has appointed a top scientist to lead a six-month review of the country's carbon credits following allegations that some projects earning credits are not really adding to carbon emissions reductions.

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8 hours ago, Jay McKinsey said:

image.thumb.png.5abcc443bb5fe013f850bb04df545dcb.png

Kaboom!

KA-COLLAPSE!

image.png.6f4ae3348ef86a94232590c41e937935.png

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📢   📢   party pooper 📢   party pooper 📢   party pooper 📢   📢   📢

so much disparity between lies and not lies.......

Let's light some candles with matches........ The latest form of clean energy......... in time of crisis..... A thousand miles start with individual single step..........

image.png.7f781ceacbe42891ac4b6cb245b311df.png

image.png.2ce8866af3c60f84f38efbff0e191892.png

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Yeah it would good to know if these are replacement stations or additional ones

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(edited)

10 minutes ago, Rob Plant said:

Yeah it would good to know if these are replacement stations or additional ones

A American slang term, rather sharp angled yet effective.

   WESTERN SOCIETY IS BEING PUNKED

To get punked is to have a joke played on you, often in a public setting. An example of punked is to have been tricked by a hidden camera TV show. verb. 7. Simple past tense and past participle of punk.

Report: China emissions exceed all developed nations combined

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-57018837

Edited by Eyes Wide Open
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7 hours ago, Eyes Wide Open said:

A American slang term, rather sharp angled yet effective.

   WESTERN SOCIETY IS BEING PUNKED

To get punked is to have a joke played on you, often in a public setting. An example of punked is to have been tricked by a hidden camera TV show. verb. 7. Simple past tense and past participle of punk.

Report: China emissions exceed all developed nations combined

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-57018837

Don't you pride yourself on being better than China?

You are praising Chinese actions you know?  "Look at China burning coal!"  does not mean "we should burn more coal." 

"The research by Rhodium Group says China emitted 27% of the world's greenhouse gases in 2019. The US was the second-largest emitter at 11%."

1.4 billion make 27% and 330 million make up 11%.  Do some math and see who are at fault. If you need remedial math help just ask.

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On 7/21/2022 at 1:29 PM, specinho said:

📢   📢   party pooper 📢   party pooper 📢   party pooper 📢   📢   📢

so much disparity between lies and not lies.......

Let's light some candles with matches........ The latest form of clean energy......... in time of crisis..... A thousand miles start with individual single step..........

image.png.7f781ceacbe42891ac4b6cb245b311df.png

image.png.2ce8866af3c60f84f38efbff0e191892.png

I hope that candle isn't made from paraffin or you're in big trouble.

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1 hour ago, TailingsPond said:

The research by Rhodium Group says China emitted 27% of the world's greenhouse gases in 2019. The US was the second-largest emitter at 11%."

China’s greenhouse gas emissions exceed those of U.S. and developed countries combined, report says

PUBLISHED THU, MAY 6 20219:48 AM EDTUPDATED WED, MAY 12 20217:13 PM EDT
 
China is now responsible for more than 27% of total global emissions. The U.S., which is the world’s second-highest emitter, accounts for 11% of the global total. India is responsible for 6.6% of global emissions, edging out the 27 nations in the EU, which account for 6.4%, the report said.
 

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1 hour ago, TailingsPond said:

You are praising Chinese actions you know?  "Look at China burning coal!"  does not mean "we should burn more coal." 

Fact check: China, India, and the Paris Climate Agreement

 

 

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, appearing on "The Story with Martha McCallum," said that the Paris Climate Agreement "did not hold China and India accountable," and that "India didn't have to take any steps in the agreement to reduce CO2 emissions until they received $2.5 trillion in aid. China didn't have to take any steps until the year 2030."[1]

Developed countries have pledged to provide $100 billion annually to assist developing countries in reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. The agreement does not specify how much developing countries will receive. However, India estimated a financial need of "at least USD 2.5 trillion" in aid by 2030 to achieve its objectives.[3][5]

China has pledged to reach peak CO2 emissions by 2030, at the latest, and outlined other programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.[6]

 

https://ballotpedia.org/Fact_check/China,_India,_and_the_Paris_Climate_Agreement

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1 hour ago, TailingsPond said:

Don't you pride yourself on being better than China?

China demands developed countries 'pay their debts' on climate change

China called on rich countries to “pay their debts” on climate change at global talks on Thursday, criticising developed countries for not doing enough to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide finance to help poor countries do the same.

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On 7/23/2022 at 7:45 AM, JoMack said:

I hope that candle isn't made from paraffin or you're in big trouble.

not too sure if you have gotten these info: paraffin is an alkane, hydrocarbon, of 20 to 40 carbons? There are also other types of candle formed from wax of lower hydrocarbon chain that could be cleaner when burnt............ No sooth or black smoke etc..... Clean energy......... so called........

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(edited)

The Guardian......

Mario Alejandro Ariza and Miranda Green for Floodlight and Annie Martin for Orlando Sentinel

Wed 27 Jul 2022 07.00 EDT

 

Leaked: US power companies secretly spending millions to protect profits and fight clean energy | Florida | The Guardian

Leaked: US power companies secretly spending millions to protect profits and fight clean energy

 

Energy poles by Florida Power and Light from Turkey Point nuclear generating station in Miami, Florida.Energy poles by Florida Power and Light from Turkey Point nuclear generating station in Miami, Florida. Photograph: Jeffrey Isaac Greenberg 5+/Alamy

One industry consulting firm has influenced politics across Florida, Alabama and at least six other states

 
 
Mario Alejandro Ariza and Miranda Green for Floodlight and Annie Martin for Orlando Sentinel
Wed 27 Jul 2022 07.00 EDT
  •  
  •  
  •  
 
 

The CEO of the biggest power company in the US had a problem. A Democratic state senator was proposing a law that could cut into Florida Power & Light’s (FPL) profits. Landlords would be able to sell cheap rooftop solar power directly to their tenants – bypassing FPL and their monopoly on electricity.

 

“I want you to make his life a living hell … seriously,” FPL’s CEO Eric Silagy wrote in a 2019 email to two of his vice-presidents about state Senator José Javier Rodríguez, who proposed the legislation.

Within minutes, one of them forwarded the directive to the CEO of Matrix, LLC, a powerful but little-known political consulting firm that has operated behind the scenes in at least eight states.

Rodríguez was ousted from office in the next election. Matrix employees spent heavily on political advertisements for a candidate with the same last name as Rodríguez, who split the vote. That candidate later admitted he was bribed to run.

Hundreds of pages of internal documents – which are only coming to light now because Matrix’s founders are locked in an epic feud – detail the firm’s secret work to help power companies like FPL protect their profits and fight the transition to cleaner forms of energy.

The Matrix saga illustrates the political obstacles policymakers and experts face as they attempt to cut climate pollution from the power sector, one of the biggest greenhouse gas contributors in the US.

The ongoing clash between Matrix’s founder Joe Perkins, 72, and former CEO Jeff Pitts, 51, is exposing the firm’s decades of extensive influence peddling on behalf of utility clients.

The issue extends to several states. Records obtained by Floodlight and the Orlando Sentinel show that Matrix consulted for FPL, as well as another Florida company, Gulf Power, and Alabama Power. Matrix affiliated groups have also worked to advance power companies’ interests in Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, and in front of the Environmental Protection Agency, public records show.

In Florida, Matrix’s work touched almost every level of politics, from influencing local mayoral and county commission elections to combating attempts to reshape the state constitution. In each of those cases, Matrix was working against politicians or policies fighting to curb climate crisis by encouraging renewable power.

Matrix employees had a Jacksonville journalist spied on after he wrote critically about FPL. And in 2020, Matrix even harnessed the power of the press for itself, when its employees acquired control of The Capitolist, a Tallahassee-based political news site which it used for favorable coverage, leaked records show.

“I find this to be horrifying and undemocratic,” said Gianna Trocino Bonner, former chief legislative aide for Rodríguez, after reviewing some of the leaked documents. “It’s unfortunate that our process allows for something like this to exist without accountability.”

Big power companies operate as monopolies with captive customers in much of the south-east US. They are supposed to be closely regulated, but their profits and unchecked political spending makes them some of the most powerful entities in a state.

Howard Crystal, an attorney for the environmental group Center for Biological Diversity, said that US utilities are allowed monopoly power “because they are supposed to expand the public interest”.

“[But] now we have this incredible corruption and a reversal of that because they are using their advantage to hang on to power and undermine democracy,” he said.

So far, there have been two criminal investigations into the campaign against Rodríguez and another Democratic Senate candidate, leading to charges against five people, though authorities have not accused Matrix or FPL of wrongdoing.

 

A screenshot of an emailDocuments shared by an anonymous source show Silagy directing his team to make life hell for Florida senator José Javier Rodríguez. Photograph: Orlando Sentinel/Floodlight

Matrix’s principal, Perkins, says he discovered only after Pitts left the firm that he and other now-former employees had been conducting “shadow activities and operations” dating back to 2016. He is suing Pitts in Alabama for fraud and conspiracy.

“For many years and without my knowledge or approval, Pitts abused his power and position to benefit himself and his cronies,” Perkins said in a statement. “Upon realizing the extent of Pitts’s shadow operations and abuses of power, we filed our lawsuit against Pitts and those few rogue employees.”

Pitts, who left Matrix in December 2020 to start his own firm Canopy Partners, did not respond to a request for comment by deadline. He is also suing Perkins, alleging defamation and extortion. A spokesperson for FPL said it stopped working with Canopy in late 2021.

It’s unfortunate that our process allows for something like this to exist without accountability

Gianna Trocino Bonner

FPL’s CEO Silagy, in a recent interview denied knowing about or participating in the scheme against Rodríguez but said that Matrix had done “good work” for his company. Records show FPL trusted Matrix operatives with millions, including giving $14 million to a single Matrix-run nonprofit in 2018 alone.

Silagy said the email in which he told his team to make Rodríguez’s life “a living hell” was “a poor choice of words”.

Digging for dirt

In Florida, FPL and Matrix demonstrated how a utility and its consultants can work in tandem to resist clean energy reforms. FPL deployed lobbyists to the capital, while Matrix hired private investigators to dig for dirt and had operatives funnel dark money and order attack ads.

Few examples are clearer than the case of South Miami. When the small South Florida city’s mayor helped pass an ordinance in 2017 mandating rooftop solar panels on new construction, a network of 10 FPL-aligned operatives mobilized to ensure his ouster.

 

An attack ad targeting South Florida mayor Philip StoddardA dark money group associated with Matrix LLC mailed attack ads against South Miami Mayor Philip Stoddard to area residents. Photograph: Orlando Sentinel

The team decided an effort to repeal the ordinance would likely fail. So they opted instead for “Mayor Stoddard’s electoral defeat and changing the makeup of the board,” according to a 2018 memo from Dan Newman, a Matrix contractor who was similarly involved in the campaign against Rodríguez.

Along with a private investigator, the group delved into Stoddard’s past for episodes to weaponize against him, such as a South Miami commissioner’s claim on Facebook that Stoddard had forcibly kissed her. Documents show Matrix operatives arranged for the commissioner to record a robocall in which she called Stoddard “a creep”. Pitts at the time forwarded a draft of the script to two FPL executives. Newman in his memo also took credit for a Miami Herald story about the allegation.
 
Meanwhile, Matrix-led non-profits funded a blizzard of ads against Stoddard, accusing him of using public money for “vendettas” and placing him alongside infamous sex offenders Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein.

The plan ultimately failed, and Stoddard was re-elected. He has denied the allegations.

“An organization that acts like a mafia should be treated like one,” Stoddard said.

In a statement, Newman acknowledged managing the campaign against Stoddard and hiring a private investigator to look into the former mayor’s personal life. He said what he found was “deeply disturbing”.

 
FPL did not respond to requests for comment by deadline.

Matrix’s influence was felt on matters small and large, from Stoddard’s city of less than 12,000 to statewide fights over the Florida Constitution. In 2019, when the electric utility industry was up in arms about a constitutional amendment to open up competition in Florida’s energy market, a Matrix-linked non-profit poured more than $10m into groups fighting it.

Matrix also exerted political influence through the press, with its operatives acquiring control of a Tallahassee-based politics news site, The Capitolist. That gave Matrix consultants and FPL executives input on Capitolist stories.

The site’s publisher, Brian Burgess, a former top spokesperson for past Florida governor Rick Scott, also suggested in emails that Matrix should lure prominent Florida journalists to a new site or purchase local papers owned by media giant Gannett Company and then lay off most of the “clown reporters” to “inject content” into publications without anyone knowing who was “pulling the strings”. That proposal was forwarded to Silagy at FPL but never came to fruition.

Burgess said he “never pitched nor solicited feedback from FPL executives on any story or business venture”, and FPL spokesperson Chris McGrath said acquiring a news organization would not have made sense as a business deal for FPL.


Headquartered in Montgomery, Matrix has been described there as “the closest thing Alabama politics has to a non-governmental secret agency”.

Perkins and Pitts worked together for over 25 years, growing the firm into a national operation with dozens of clients in myriad industries.

But wherever the pair went, indictments often followed.

An Alabama governor the company worked for was convicted of federal felony corruption charges. A Birmingham mayor who employed Matrix got 15 years for bribery, conspiracy and fraud. And a former regional administrator for the EPA who did business with Pitts pleaded guilty to violating state ethics law multiple times.

From the beginning, Matrix showed no aversion to unsavory political tactics. In 1998, the firm distributed copies of a video in which a sex worker falsely alleged she had been sexually assaulted by a candidate for Lieutenant Governor. The sex worker later testified the allegations were untrue, and that she had been paid by a Birmingham businessman to make them.

In 2015, Matrix distributed fliers for a suspicious charity in a predominantly Black neighborhood in North Birmingham. The fliers warned residents not to let the Environmental Protection Agency test their soil for the presence of contaminants left by a coal plant.

They work off intimidating. You gotta bow down and kiss the ring

Terry Dunn

The charity was a front established by a state representative. A local law firm and the company that owned the coal plant used the charity to pay the representative. Three people were federally convicted for their role in the ploy. Matrix was never accused of wrongdoing.

One of Matrix’s oldest clients is Alabama Power, which employed Perkins’ personal consulting firm as early as 1999. In 2018, Perkins Communications received at least $1.49m from Alabama Power, a leaked contract shows.

Those who provoked the utility’s ire suffered a harsh response.

In 2013, Terry Dunn, a Republican electricity regulator at Alabama’s Public Service Commission made moves to hold formal hearings on how customer’s energy bills were calculated – something that hadn’t happened in three decades. Customers at the time were paying some of the most expensive rates for electricity in the south-east.

Soon, Dunn faced attacks in the rightwing press and online, while Matrix affiliated groups – some of which received millions from a non-profit run by a contractor for Alabama Power  filed a motion to intervene in the proceedings. Meanwhile, groups aligned with the utility falsely tied Dunn to the Obama administration’s efforts to reduce the use of coal.

 

Man wearing a white t-shirt and blue jeans standing in a field with his arms crossed over his torso.When Terry Dunn wanted to examine why Alabama Power charged some of the highest rates in the country. Photograph: Joe Songer/Floodlight

The tactics worked. Dunn lost his 2014 re-election campaign by a 19 point margin to Chip Beeker, a catfish farmer who is still in office. Month’s after he was elected, Beeker voted in favor of energy price hike for consumers. Alabama Power still hasn’t had a rate case.

“Southern Company and Alabama Power run the state of Alabama,” Dunn said. “They work off intimidating. You gotta bow down and kiss the ring.”

A spokesperson for the company declined to comment on the firm’s activities. Perkins called Matrix’s work for the utility “confidential”.

Ari Peskoe, director of the Electricity Law Initiative at Harvard Law School said the “whole purpose” of firms like Matrix “is to conceal that it’s the utility doing this. The utility doesn’t want to be associated with this campaign.”

Things start going ‘sideways’

Matrix grew so large that by 2015 it was operating several private aircraft to whisk Pitts and Perkins to client meetings. Flight data shows Matrix’s planes made more than 130 flights to five states in 2020 alone, frequently crisscrossing the south-eastern US but also traveling as far west as New Mexico.

In Perkins’ telling, he was readying to hand over leadership of Matrix in December 2020 when Pitts surprised him by leaving the firm, taking three employees – as well as most of Matrix’s Florida-based clients – with him to launch Canopy.

At the Birmingham office where Pitts and the others had worked, Perkins said he found a backup server that “appeared to have been beaten with something”. The firm later recovered more than a million files, according to Perkins, who said they reveal years of hidden, “shadow work” in Florida. Perkins and Pitts sued each other, with Pitts claiming his former mentor had “never followed through” on handing over the company despite years of discussions. Once he left, Pitts said Perkins smeared him to clients in an attempt to extort millions.

As their feud escalated, internal documents started to arrive in reporters’ email inboxes from unknown sources. Many of the documents have since been verified by additional reporting, public records or Perkins himself.

Silagy, the FPL CEO, says the pair initially told him they had come to an amicable agreement about parting ways. He says he told them that he was disappointed, but there was enough work for both of them, “based on the good work they had done”.

“And then apparently, somewhere along the way, Jeff and Joe got sideways,” Silagy said.

Jeff Weiner 

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Edited by notsonice
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1 hour ago, notsonice said:

The Guardian......

Mario Alejandro Ariza and Miranda Green for Floodlight and Annie Martin for Orlando Sentinel

Wed 27 Jul 2022 07.00 EDT

 

Leaked: US power companies secretly spending millions to protect profits and fight clean energy | Florida | The Guardian

Leaked: US power companies secretly spending millions to protect profits and fight clean energy

 

Energy poles by Florida Power and Light from Turkey Point nuclear generating station in Miami, Florida.Energy poles by Florida Power and Light from Turkey Point nuclear generating station in Miami, Florida. Photograph: Jeffrey Isaac Greenberg 5+/Alamy

One industry consulting firm has influenced politics across Florida, Alabama and at least six other states

 
 
Mario Alejandro Ariza and Miranda Green for Floodlight and Annie Martin for Orlando Sentinel
Wed 27 Jul 2022 07.00 EDT
  •  
  •  
  •  
 
 

The CEO of the biggest power company in the US had a problem. A Democratic state senator was proposing a law that could cut into Florida Power & Light’s (FPL) profits. Landlords would be able to sell cheap rooftop solar power directly to their tenants – bypassing FPL and their monopoly on electricity.

 

“I want you to make his life a living hell … seriously,” FPL’s CEO Eric Silagy wrote in a 2019 email to two of his vice-presidents about state Senator José Javier Rodríguez, who proposed the legislation.

Within minutes, one of them forwarded the directive to the CEO of Matrix, LLC, a powerful but little-known political consulting firm that has operated behind the scenes in at least eight states.

Rodríguez was ousted from office in the next election. Matrix employees spent heavily on political advertisements for a candidate with the same last name as Rodríguez, who split the vote. That candidate later admitted he was bribed to run.

Hundreds of pages of internal documents – which are only coming to light now because Matrix’s founders are locked in an epic feud – detail the firm’s secret work to help power companies like FPL protect their profits and fight the transition to cleaner forms of energy.

The Matrix saga illustrates the political obstacles policymakers and experts face as they attempt to cut climate pollution from the power sector, one of the biggest greenhouse gas contributors in the US.

The ongoing clash between Matrix’s founder Joe Perkins, 72, and former CEO Jeff Pitts, 51, is exposing the firm’s decades of extensive influence peddling on behalf of utility clients.

The issue extends to several states. Records obtained by Floodlight and the Orlando Sentinel show that Matrix consulted for FPL, as well as another Florida company, Gulf Power, and Alabama Power. Matrix affiliated groups have also worked to advance power companies’ interests in Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, and in front of the Environmental Protection Agency, public records show.

In Florida, Matrix’s work touched almost every level of politics, from influencing local mayoral and county commission elections to combating attempts to reshape the state constitution. In each of those cases, Matrix was working against politicians or policies fighting to curb climate crisis by encouraging renewable power.

Matrix employees had a Jacksonville journalist spied on after he wrote critically about FPL. And in 2020, Matrix even harnessed the power of the press for itself, when its employees acquired control of The Capitolist, a Tallahassee-based political news site which it used for favorable coverage, leaked records show.

“I find this to be horrifying and undemocratic,” said Gianna Trocino Bonner, former chief legislative aide for Rodríguez, after reviewing some of the leaked documents. “It’s unfortunate that our process allows for something like this to exist without accountability.”

Big power companies operate as monopolies with captive customers in much of the south-east US. They are supposed to be closely regulated, but their profits and unchecked political spending makes them some of the most powerful entities in a state.

Howard Crystal, an attorney for the environmental group Center for Biological Diversity, said that US utilities are allowed monopoly power “because they are supposed to expand the public interest”.

“[But] now we have this incredible corruption and a reversal of that because they are using their advantage to hang on to power and undermine democracy,” he said.

So far, there have been two criminal investigations into the campaign against Rodríguez and another Democratic Senate candidate, leading to charges against five people, though authorities have not accused Matrix or FPL of wrongdoing.

 

A screenshot of an emailDocuments shared by an anonymous source show Silagy directing his team to make life hell for Florida senator José Javier Rodríguez. Photograph: Orlando Sentinel/Floodlight

Matrix’s principal, Perkins, says he discovered only after Pitts left the firm that he and other now-former employees had been conducting “shadow activities and operations” dating back to 2016. He is suing Pitts in Alabama for fraud and conspiracy.

“For many years and without my knowledge or approval, Pitts abused his power and position to benefit himself and his cronies,” Perkins said in a statement. “Upon realizing the extent of Pitts’s shadow operations and abuses of power, we filed our lawsuit against Pitts and those few rogue employees.”

Pitts, who left Matrix in December 2020 to start his own firm Canopy Partners, did not respond to a request for comment by deadline. He is also suing Perkins, alleging defamation and extortion. A spokesperson for FPL said it stopped working with Canopy in late 2021.

It’s unfortunate that our process allows for something like this to exist without accountability

Gianna Trocino Bonner

FPL’s CEO Silagy, in a recent interview denied knowing about or participating in the scheme against Rodríguez but said that Matrix had done “good work” for his company. Records show FPL trusted Matrix operatives with millions, including giving $14 million to a single Matrix-run nonprofit in 2018 alone.

Silagy said the email in which he told his team to make Rodríguez’s life “a living hell” was “a poor choice of words”.

Digging for dirt

In Florida, FPL and Matrix demonstrated how a utility and its consultants can work in tandem to resist clean energy reforms. FPL deployed lobbyists to the capital, while Matrix hired private investigators to dig for dirt and had operatives funnel dark money and order attack ads.

Few examples are clearer than the case of South Miami. When the small South Florida city’s mayor helped pass an ordinance in 2017 mandating rooftop solar panels on new construction, a network of 10 FPL-aligned operatives mobilized to ensure his ouster.

 

An attack ad targeting South Florida mayor Philip StoddardA dark money group associated with Matrix LLC mailed attack ads against South Miami Mayor Philip Stoddard to area residents. Photograph: Orlando Sentinel

The team decided an effort to repeal the ordinance would likely fail. So they opted instead for “Mayor Stoddard’s electoral defeat and changing the makeup of the board,” according to a 2018 memo from Dan Newman, a Matrix contractor who was similarly involved in the campaign against Rodríguez.

Along with a private investigator, the group delved into Stoddard’s past for episodes to weaponize against him, such as a South Miami commissioner’s claim on Facebook that Stoddard had forcibly kissed her. Documents show Matrix operatives arranged for the commissioner to record a robocall in which she called Stoddard “a creep”. Pitts at the time forwarded a draft of the script to two FPL executives. Newman in his memo also took credit for a Miami Herald story about the allegation.
 
Meanwhile, Matrix-led non-profits funded a blizzard of ads against Stoddard, accusing him of using public money for “vendettas” and placing him alongside infamous sex offenders Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein.

The plan ultimately failed, and Stoddard was re-elected. He has denied the allegations.

“An organization that acts like a mafia should be treated like one,” Stoddard said.

In a statement, Newman acknowledged managing the campaign against Stoddard and hiring a private investigator to look into the former mayor’s personal life. He said what he found was “deeply disturbing”.

 
FPL did not respond to requests for comment by deadline.

Matrix’s influence was felt on matters small and large, from Stoddard’s city of less than 12,000 to statewide fights over the Florida Constitution. In 2019, when the electric utility industry was up in arms about a constitutional amendment to open up competition in Florida’s energy market, a Matrix-linked non-profit poured more than $10m into groups fighting it.

Matrix also exerted political influence through the press, with its operatives acquiring control of a Tallahassee-based politics news site, The Capitolist. That gave Matrix consultants and FPL executives input on Capitolist stories.

The site’s publisher, Brian Burgess, a former top spokesperson for past Florida governor Rick Scott, also suggested in emails that Matrix should lure prominent Florida journalists to a new site or purchase local papers owned by media giant Gannett Company and then lay off most of the “clown reporters” to “inject content” into publications without anyone knowing who was “pulling the strings”. That proposal was forwarded to Silagy at FPL but never came to fruition.

Burgess said he “never pitched nor solicited feedback from FPL executives on any story or business venture”, and FPL spokesperson Chris McGrath said acquiring a news organization would not have made sense as a business deal for FPL.


Headquartered in Montgomery, Matrix has been described there as “the closest thing Alabama politics has to a non-governmental secret agency”.

Perkins and Pitts worked together for over 25 years, growing the firm into a national operation with dozens of clients in myriad industries.

But wherever the pair went, indictments often followed.

An Alabama governor the company worked for was convicted of federal felony corruption charges. A Birmingham mayor who employed Matrix got 15 years for bribery, conspiracy and fraud. And a former regional administrator for the EPA who did business with Pitts pleaded guilty to violating state ethics law multiple times.

From the beginning, Matrix showed no aversion to unsavory political tactics. In 1998, the firm distributed copies of a video in which a sex worker falsely alleged she had been sexually assaulted by a candidate for Lieutenant Governor. The sex worker later testified the allegations were untrue, and that she had been paid by a Birmingham businessman to make them.

In 2015, Matrix distributed fliers for a suspicious charity in a predominantly Black neighborhood in North Birmingham. The fliers warned residents not to let the Environmental Protection Agency test their soil for the presence of contaminants left by a coal plant.

They work off intimidating. You gotta bow down and kiss the ring

Terry Dunn

The charity was a front established by a state representative. A local law firm and the company that owned the coal plant used the charity to pay the representative. Three people were federally convicted for their role in the ploy. Matrix was never accused of wrongdoing.

One of Matrix’s oldest clients is Alabama Power, which employed Perkins’ personal consulting firm as early as 1999. In 2018, Perkins Communications received at least $1.49m from Alabama Power, a leaked contract shows.

Those who provoked the utility’s ire suffered a harsh response.

In 2013, Terry Dunn, a Republican electricity regulator at Alabama’s Public Service Commission made moves to hold formal hearings on how customer’s energy bills were calculated – something that hadn’t happened in three decades. Customers at the time were paying some of the most expensive rates for electricity in the south-east.

Soon, Dunn faced attacks in the rightwing press and online, while Matrix affiliated groups – some of which received millions from a non-profit run by a contractor for Alabama Power  filed a motion to intervene in the proceedings. Meanwhile, groups aligned with the utility falsely tied Dunn to the Obama administration’s efforts to reduce the use of coal.

 

Man wearing a white t-shirt and blue jeans standing in a field with his arms crossed over his torso.When Terry Dunn wanted to examine why Alabama Power charged some of the highest rates in the country. Photograph: Joe Songer/Floodlight

The tactics worked. Dunn lost his 2014 re-election campaign by a 19 point margin to Chip Beeker, a catfish farmer who is still in office. Month’s after he was elected, Beeker voted in favor of energy price hike for consumers. Alabama Power still hasn’t had a rate case.

“Southern Company and Alabama Power run the state of Alabama,” Dunn said. “They work off intimidating. You gotta bow down and kiss the ring.”

A spokesperson for the company declined to comment on the firm’s activities. Perkins called Matrix’s work for the utility “confidential”.

Ari Peskoe, director of the Electricity Law Initiative at Harvard Law School said the “whole purpose” of firms like Matrix “is to conceal that it’s the utility doing this. The utility doesn’t want to be associated with this campaign.”

Things start going ‘sideways’

Matrix grew so large that by 2015 it was operating several private aircraft to whisk Pitts and Perkins to client meetings. Flight data shows Matrix’s planes made more than 130 flights to five states in 2020 alone, frequently crisscrossing the south-eastern US but also traveling as far west as New Mexico.

In Perkins’ telling, he was readying to hand over leadership of Matrix in December 2020 when Pitts surprised him by leaving the firm, taking three employees – as well as most of Matrix’s Florida-based clients – with him to launch Canopy.

At the Birmingham office where Pitts and the others had worked, Perkins said he found a backup server that “appeared to have been beaten with something”. The firm later recovered more than a million files, according to Perkins, who said they reveal years of hidden, “shadow work” in Florida. Perkins and Pitts sued each other, with Pitts claiming his former mentor had “never followed through” on handing over the company despite years of discussions. Once he left, Pitts said Perkins smeared him to clients in an attempt to extort millions.

As their feud escalated, internal documents started to arrive in reporters’ email inboxes from unknown sources. Many of the documents have since been verified by additional reporting, public records or Perkins himself.

Silagy, the FPL CEO, says the pair initially told him they had come to an amicable agreement about parting ways. He says he told them that he was disappointed, but there was enough work for both of them, “based on the good work they had done”.

“And then apparently, somewhere along the way, Jeff and Joe got sideways,” Silagy said.

Jeff Weiner 

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Wow.

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(edited)

On 7/11/2022 at 2:18 PM, Jay McKinsey said:

You are such an economic simpleton. Inflation happens for many reasons, one of which is monetary.

In a broad view, inflation can happen for a variety of reasons. The most important ones are as follows:

  • The government is increasing the money supply faster than economic growth. When the government injects more money into the economy than it should, people tend to spend more. Simply put, there is more money trying to buy the same amount of goods, resulting in inflation.
  • Imported goods will be more expensive if the US Dollar is devalued.
  • When demand for goods rises across the economy, prices rise because supply cannot keep up.
  • A rise in the cost of production and raw materials can raise the price of goods in the economy.
  • When the national debt rises, governments either raise taxes or print more money, causing inflation to rise even more.

Monetary inflation is when prices go up without a change in the quantity demanded or supplied.

Prices however also go up when supply is less than demand. Basic economics. 

In the case at hand it is easily proven that the price increase is due to a decrease in supply and a return of demand to normal levels.

The car industry for example has decreased production and sales by 20% this year and car prices are up accordingly. Stimulus does not cause a decrease in automobile production and sales.

Total new vehicle sales for the entire industry in Q2 plunged by 20.8% from the beaten-down levels in Q2 last year, to 3.29 million vehicles. While up a tad from Q1, sales were down 21.3% from Q2 2019. These quarterly sales figures in the 3.3 million range were first seen in the 1970s.

US-auto-2022-07-05-new-vehicle-sales-quarterly.png

Not a demand issue, but a supply issue.

June started out with 1.13 million new vehicles in inventory on dealer lots and in transit, down by 70%, or by 2.68 million vehicles, from the same period in 2019, according to Cox Automotive, based on its Dealertrack data. In 2019, vehicle inventory averaged 3.66 million vehicles. So far this year, inventories averaged 1.10 million vehicles:

US-auto-2022-06-17-new-vehicles-inventory.png

 

Oil has decreased supply by millions of barrels per day because of the Russian invasion and prices are up accordingly. Easily seen by looking at the timing on the price spike just at the beginning of the war. That wasn't caused by stimulus.

image.png.8d4818696ded42bc702a5e07834b66e3.png 

 

Those higher oil prices promulgate through the supply chain for many items particularly food. 

Corn is a good example as it is fuel intensive. Note the price spike at the same tine as oil.

image.png.8956bc1f7a561392a33881757299171e.png

Wheat because Ukraine and Russia are major exporters. Down now because of bumper crops and the creation of an export channel from Odessa.

image.png.f0a4f2afa8ecf8738c663ec47a8ca275.png

If you understood economics you would understand this basic concept.

However the most famous barometer of monetary inflation is the price of gold.

Why Does Inflation Increase Gold Prices?

During monetary inflation, the costs of consumer goods increase and become more expensive., thereby making the dollar lose value. Since gold is dollar-denominated, its price also increases in line with the rising inflation.

This makes gold a good hedge against inflation as investors would be converting their cash holdings to gold to protect the value of their assets.  The increased interest from investors may set off a bull cycle in gold until the effect of inflation begins to cool off.

The price of gold however is down 4% YoY and is at the same level as May 2020. Long before Biden entered office.

image.thumb.png.b1781492e6e37c0defab6e3dc93447b5.png

And of course there is ultimately the value of the Dollar.

In general, monetary inflation tends to devalue a currency since inflation can be equated with a decrease in a money's buying power. As a result, countries experiencing high inflation tend to also see their currencies weaken relative to other currencies.

Turns out the dollar is at its highest level since 2003.

image.thumb.png.87bf05f7a9f5610ea58b6b9936c3649d.png

Oh but there is more. Monetary inflation causes a rise in all prices at about the same rate. But the CPI (which is the inflation measurement since you don't know anything about economics) shows clearly that energy is up 5 times as much as the everything else category and 3.5 times the food category.

image.thumb.png.4d668448693067f662e5c7dc0a5f838b.png

Isn't it amazing how you make some simpleton statement on economics with no data and I easily show a ton of data to prove you wrong. It is like I actually know economics and how to do economic research and you don't.

 

 

 

No, general inflation is not an output supply problem but a monetary issue. When all factors of production are fully employed, which has been the recent situation, the only result which can happen from a massive increase in money supply is a general inflation, which affects all prices and wages, not just particular sectors. Your analysis has been discounted and disproved by the mainstream of economists some decades ago.

Biden & Co. printed too much money and inflated the economy, we are now forced to retract the money supply in an effort to stop inflation from getting out of control.

You obviously never completed a regular economics program.

Edited by Ecocharger
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(edited)

Oil is still King of the hill. America runs on oil.

https://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/US-Remains-Worlds-Top-Oil-Producer-And-Consumer.html

"Oil demand has bounced back, climbing by 6% last year, the fastest rise since 1976.

The United States has remained both the world’s top oil producer and oil consumer.

Russia and Saudi Arabia also maintained their positions as the world’s 2nd and 3rd largest oil producers respectively."

Edited by Ecocharger
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On 7/12/2022 at 1:04 PM, specinho said:

they might have been  underinformed. New cult info indicates a summary attached below on real culprit(s) of global warming. It is from someone who does not have any conflict of interest in getting any thing in any deal i.e just an outsider.....

 

 

image.png.fbf5f006d3645cf748fb34d8be065ce1.png

 

 

fossil fuel might not be the single causal agent but much larger problem in larger scale might be involved.......

Taking the end of a hair and spinning at that location will not solve things happening at the root, or at the top of head, efficiently. More often than not, it could make things worse by enthusiastically echoing  over something that one can't see clearly due to over-focus at one small end point ( *p/s: over focus from a lens would blurr the target and/ or blurr out everything else in a larger picture).

 

 

the problem with subsidy is taking the trouble to know how it is used. It might not surprise anyone that no one, disregard if it's officer at the top or the public, is taking any interest to know how it works, why it works, how it is reported and what has gone wrong. Cutting it directly without those basic knowledge could have disastrous impact on socio economy of a country........ They must keep themselves better informed before making announcement like that, yes? :(

 

 

 

 

 

the energy might have always been green on majority. If green means better for plants, then, what could be better in sources producing CO2 that nourishes them than fossil fuel? If it means energy from natural resources e.g sun light, wind, wave etc, could we mean clean?

EU just categorized nuclear and gas as clean energy. Combining with hydro power, this group of clean energy might make up more than 50 to 60% of energy supply, on average in the world? Fossil fuel 25 to 30%?  If the aim of dispute is to produce energy that is economic, efficient, affordable by the public, good to the environment etc, we must take into account each factor mentioned before we go all in at one direction, yes?

Things, often, could co-exist. It does not have to be one or the other, no?

 

The scientists have shown us that CO2 and earth temperature are negatively correlated, so yes, the explanatory variables may well be the reverse causation, that changes in earth temperature bring about changes in CO2 levels.

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On 7/20/2022 at 12:44 AM, Jay McKinsey said:

 

It is a fraud and sham because that program was created by the fossil fuel supporting conservative government of Tony Abbot. The new green government is going to redo it so it works.

July 1 (Reuters) - Australia's new Labor government has appointed a top scientist to lead a six-month review of the country's carbon credits following allegations that some projects earning credits are not really adding to carbon emissions reductions.

The sham is in the false interpretation of science. The rest is merely the result of that sham.

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11 hours ago, notsonice said:

The Guardian......

Mario Alejandro Ariza and Miranda Green for Floodlight and Annie Martin for Orlando Sentinel

Wed 27 Jul 2022 07.00 EDT

 

Leaked: US power companies secretly spending millions to protect profits and fight clean energy | Florida | The Guardian

Leaked: US power companies secretly spending millions to protect profits and fight clean energy

 

Energy poles by Florida Power and Light from Turkey Point nuclear generating station in Miami, Florida.Energy poles by Florida Power and Light from Turkey Point nuclear generating station in Miami, Florida. Photograph: Jeffrey Isaac Greenberg 5+/Alamy

One industry consulting firm has influenced politics across Florida, Alabama and at least six other states

 
 
Mario Alejandro Ariza and Miranda Green for Floodlight and Annie Martin for Orlando Sentinel
Wed 27 Jul 2022 07.00 EDT
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The CEO of the biggest power company in the US had a problem. A Democratic state senator was proposing a law that could cut into Florida Power & Light’s (FPL) profits. Landlords would be able to sell cheap rooftop solar power directly to their tenants – bypassing FPL and their monopoly on electricity.

 

“I want you to make his life a living hell … seriously,” FPL’s CEO Eric Silagy wrote in a 2019 email to two of his vice-presidents about state Senator José Javier Rodríguez, who proposed the legislation.

Within minutes, one of them forwarded the directive to the CEO of Matrix, LLC, a powerful but little-known political consulting firm that has operated behind the scenes in at least eight states.

Rodríguez was ousted from office in the next election. Matrix employees spent heavily on political advertisements for a candidate with the same last name as Rodríguez, who split the vote. That candidate later admitted he was bribed to run.

Hundreds of pages of internal documents – which are only coming to light now because Matrix’s founders are locked in an epic feud – detail the firm’s secret work to help power companies like FPL protect their profits and fight the transition to cleaner forms of energy.

The Matrix saga illustrates the political obstacles policymakers and experts face as they attempt to cut climate pollution from the power sector, one of the biggest greenhouse gas contributors in the US.

The ongoing clash between Matrix’s founder Joe Perkins, 72, and former CEO Jeff Pitts, 51, is exposing the firm’s decades of extensive influence peddling on behalf of utility clients.

The issue extends to several states. Records obtained by Floodlight and the Orlando Sentinel show that Matrix consulted for FPL, as well as another Florida company, Gulf Power, and Alabama Power. Matrix affiliated groups have also worked to advance power companies’ interests in Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, and in front of the Environmental Protection Agency, public records show.

In Florida, Matrix’s work touched almost every level of politics, from influencing local mayoral and county commission elections to combating attempts to reshape the state constitution. In each of those cases, Matrix was working against politicians or policies fighting to curb climate crisis by encouraging renewable power.

Matrix employees had a Jacksonville journalist spied on after he wrote critically about FPL. And in 2020, Matrix even harnessed the power of the press for itself, when its employees acquired control of The Capitolist, a Tallahassee-based political news site which it used for favorable coverage, leaked records show.

“I find this to be horrifying and undemocratic,” said Gianna Trocino Bonner, former chief legislative aide for Rodríguez, after reviewing some of the leaked documents. “It’s unfortunate that our process allows for something like this to exist without accountability.”

Big power companies operate as monopolies with captive customers in much of the south-east US. They are supposed to be closely regulated, but their profits and unchecked political spending makes them some of the most powerful entities in a state.

Howard Crystal, an attorney for the environmental group Center for Biological Diversity, said that US utilities are allowed monopoly power “because they are supposed to expand the public interest”.

“[But] now we have this incredible corruption and a reversal of that because they are using their advantage to hang on to power and undermine democracy,” he said.

So far, there have been two criminal investigations into the campaign against Rodríguez and another Democratic Senate candidate, leading to charges against five people, though authorities have not accused Matrix or FPL of wrongdoing.

 

A screenshot of an emailDocuments shared by an anonymous source show Silagy directing his team to make life hell for Florida senator José Javier Rodríguez. Photograph: Orlando Sentinel/Floodlight

Matrix’s principal, Perkins, says he discovered only after Pitts left the firm that he and other now-former employees had been conducting “shadow activities and operations” dating back to 2016. He is suing Pitts in Alabama for fraud and conspiracy.

“For many years and without my knowledge or approval, Pitts abused his power and position to benefit himself and his cronies,” Perkins said in a statement. “Upon realizing the extent of Pitts’s shadow operations and abuses of power, we filed our lawsuit against Pitts and those few rogue employees.”

Pitts, who left Matrix in December 2020 to start his own firm Canopy Partners, did not respond to a request for comment by deadline. He is also suing Perkins, alleging defamation and extortion. A spokesperson for FPL said it stopped working with Canopy in late 2021.

It’s unfortunate that our process allows for something like this to exist without accountability

Gianna Trocino Bonner

FPL’s CEO Silagy, in a recent interview denied knowing about or participating in the scheme against Rodríguez but said that Matrix had done “good work” for his company. Records show FPL trusted Matrix operatives with millions, including giving $14 million to a single Matrix-run nonprofit in 2018 alone.

Silagy said the email in which he told his team to make Rodríguez’s life “a living hell” was “a poor choice of words”.

Digging for dirt

In Florida, FPL and Matrix demonstrated how a utility and its consultants can work in tandem to resist clean energy reforms. FPL deployed lobbyists to the capital, while Matrix hired private investigators to dig for dirt and had operatives funnel dark money and order attack ads.

Few examples are clearer than the case of South Miami. When the small South Florida city’s mayor helped pass an ordinance in 2017 mandating rooftop solar panels on new construction, a network of 10 FPL-aligned operatives mobilized to ensure his ouster.

 

An attack ad targeting South Florida mayor Philip StoddardA dark money group associated with Matrix LLC mailed attack ads against South Miami Mayor Philip Stoddard to area residents. Photograph: Orlando Sentinel

The team decided an effort to repeal the ordinance would likely fail. So they opted instead for “Mayor Stoddard’s electoral defeat and changing the makeup of the board,” according to a 2018 memo from Dan Newman, a Matrix contractor who was similarly involved in the campaign against Rodríguez.

Along with a private investigator, the group delved into Stoddard’s past for episodes to weaponize against him, such as a South Miami commissioner’s claim on Facebook that Stoddard had forcibly kissed her. Documents show Matrix operatives arranged for the commissioner to record a robocall in which she called Stoddard “a creep”. Pitts at the time forwarded a draft of the script to two FPL executives. Newman in his memo also took credit for a Miami Herald story about the allegation.
 
Meanwhile, Matrix-led non-profits funded a blizzard of ads against Stoddard, accusing him of using public money for “vendettas” and placing him alongside infamous sex offenders Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein.

The plan ultimately failed, and Stoddard was re-elected. He has denied the allegations.

“An organization that acts like a mafia should be treated like one,” Stoddard said.

In a statement, Newman acknowledged managing the campaign against Stoddard and hiring a private investigator to look into the former mayor’s personal life. He said what he found was “deeply disturbing”.

 
FPL did not respond to requests for comment by deadline.

Matrix’s influence was felt on matters small and large, from Stoddard’s city of less than 12,000 to statewide fights over the Florida Constitution. In 2019, when the electric utility industry was up in arms about a constitutional amendment to open up competition in Florida’s energy market, a Matrix-linked non-profit poured more than $10m into groups fighting it.

Matrix also exerted political influence through the press, with its operatives acquiring control of a Tallahassee-based politics news site, The Capitolist. That gave Matrix consultants and FPL executives input on Capitolist stories.

The site’s publisher, Brian Burgess, a former top spokesperson for past Florida governor Rick Scott, also suggested in emails that Matrix should lure prominent Florida journalists to a new site or purchase local papers owned by media giant Gannett Company and then lay off most of the “clown reporters” to “inject content” into publications without anyone knowing who was “pulling the strings”. That proposal was forwarded to Silagy at FPL but never came to fruition.

Burgess said he “never pitched nor solicited feedback from FPL executives on any story or business venture”, and FPL spokesperson Chris McGrath said acquiring a news organization would not have made sense as a business deal for FPL.


Headquartered in Montgomery, Matrix has been described there as “the closest thing Alabama politics has to a non-governmental secret agency”.

Perkins and Pitts worked together for over 25 years, growing the firm into a national operation with dozens of clients in myriad industries.

But wherever the pair went, indictments often followed.

An Alabama governor the company worked for was convicted of federal felony corruption charges. A Birmingham mayor who employed Matrix got 15 years for bribery, conspiracy and fraud. And a former regional administrator for the EPA who did business with Pitts pleaded guilty to violating state ethics law multiple times.

From the beginning, Matrix showed no aversion to unsavory political tactics. In 1998, the firm distributed copies of a video in which a sex worker falsely alleged she had been sexually assaulted by a candidate for Lieutenant Governor. The sex worker later testified the allegations were untrue, and that she had been paid by a Birmingham businessman to make them.

In 2015, Matrix distributed fliers for a suspicious charity in a predominantly Black neighborhood in North Birmingham. The fliers warned residents not to let the Environmental Protection Agency test their soil for the presence of contaminants left by a coal plant.

They work off intimidating. You gotta bow down and kiss the ring

Terry Dunn

The charity was a front established by a state representative. A local law firm and the company that owned the coal plant used the charity to pay the representative. Three people were federally convicted for their role in the ploy. Matrix was never accused of wrongdoing.

One of Matrix’s oldest clients is Alabama Power, which employed Perkins’ personal consulting firm as early as 1999. In 2018, Perkins Communications received at least $1.49m from Alabama Power, a leaked contract shows.

Those who provoked the utility’s ire suffered a harsh response.

In 2013, Terry Dunn, a Republican electricity regulator at Alabama’s Public Service Commission made moves to hold formal hearings on how customer’s energy bills were calculated – something that hadn’t happened in three decades. Customers at the time were paying some of the most expensive rates for electricity in the south-east.

Soon, Dunn faced attacks in the rightwing press and online, while Matrix affiliated groups – some of which received millions from a non-profit run by a contractor for Alabama Power  filed a motion to intervene in the proceedings. Meanwhile, groups aligned with the utility falsely tied Dunn to the Obama administration’s efforts to reduce the use of coal.

 

Man wearing a white t-shirt and blue jeans standing in a field with his arms crossed over his torso.When Terry Dunn wanted to examine why Alabama Power charged some of the highest rates in the country. Photograph: Joe Songer/Floodlight

The tactics worked. Dunn lost his 2014 re-election campaign by a 19 point margin to Chip Beeker, a catfish farmer who is still in office. Month’s after he was elected, Beeker voted in favor of energy price hike for consumers. Alabama Power still hasn’t had a rate case.

“Southern Company and Alabama Power run the state of Alabama,” Dunn said. “They work off intimidating. You gotta bow down and kiss the ring.”

A spokesperson for the company declined to comment on the firm’s activities. Perkins called Matrix’s work for the utility “confidential”.

Ari Peskoe, director of the Electricity Law Initiative at Harvard Law School said the “whole purpose” of firms like Matrix “is to conceal that it’s the utility doing this. The utility doesn’t want to be associated with this campaign.”

Things start going ‘sideways’

Matrix grew so large that by 2015 it was operating several private aircraft to whisk Pitts and Perkins to client meetings. Flight data shows Matrix’s planes made more than 130 flights to five states in 2020 alone, frequently crisscrossing the south-eastern US but also traveling as far west as New Mexico.

In Perkins’ telling, he was readying to hand over leadership of Matrix in December 2020 when Pitts surprised him by leaving the firm, taking three employees – as well as most of Matrix’s Florida-based clients – with him to launch Canopy.

At the Birmingham office where Pitts and the others had worked, Perkins said he found a backup server that “appeared to have been beaten with something”. The firm later recovered more than a million files, according to Perkins, who said they reveal years of hidden, “shadow work” in Florida. Perkins and Pitts sued each other, with Pitts claiming his former mentor had “never followed through” on handing over the company despite years of discussions. Once he left, Pitts said Perkins smeared him to clients in an attempt to extort millions.

As their feud escalated, internal documents started to arrive in reporters’ email inboxes from unknown sources. Many of the documents have since been verified by additional reporting, public records or Perkins himself.

Silagy, the FPL CEO, says the pair initially told him they had come to an amicable agreement about parting ways. He says he told them that he was disappointed, but there was enough work for both of them, “based on the good work they had done”.

“And then apparently, somewhere along the way, Jeff and Joe got sideways,” Silagy said.

Jeff Weiner 

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The fight against the Climate Panic agenda is justified in terms of the science. Everything else is merely political histrionics, devoid of real substance.

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(edited)

On 7/22/2022 at 9:19 PM, Eyes Wide Open said:

China demands developed countries 'pay their debts' on climate change

China called on rich countries to “pay their debts” on climate change at global talks on Thursday, criticising developed countries for not doing enough to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide finance to help poor countries do the same.

The developed countries will never abandon carbon based energy, which accounts for about 85% of world energy supplies. The political leaders in the North America/Europe axis may be opportunists, but they are not so stupid as to eliminate energy. At some point, the electorates of those nations will return to reality.

Edited by Ecocharger
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