Tales From the Heartland

The New York Times covers the developing Heartland Institute story:

Leaked documents suggest that an organization known for attacking climate science is planning a new push to undermine the teaching of global warming in public schools, the latest indication that climate change is becoming a part of the nation’s culture wars.

It’ll be interesting to see where this particular story goes. As the Times also mentions,

Heartland did declare one two-page document to be a forgery, although its tone and content closely matched that of other documents that the group did not dispute.

The supposed fake would be the one titled “Confidential Memo: 2012 Heartland Climate Strategy.” In my first post on this story, I didn’t refer to or quote from this “memo” because, quite frankly, something smelled fishy about it. I found the language in some passages a bit odd. (I’ll perhaps elaborate in a future post.) Indeed, I wasn’t comfortable discussing the specifics in any of the documents until they could be verified. That said, I found it plausible that a disgruntled insider was the source of the presumed leak.

But Heartland now asserts that all of the documents (except the one it says is fabricated)

were obtained by an unknown person who fraudulently assumed the identity of a Heartland board member and persuaded a staff member here to “re-send” board materials to a new email address.

As for that “climate strategy” memo, David Appell compared its metadata to that of the other eight documents and says:

The “fake” memo definitely looks suspicious.

If that memo is confirmed to be a fake, then I’m confused as to why someone would risk distracting away from the disclosures of the authentic documents. The authentic content made public provides plenty of fodder in of itself. Why not just let the real docs speak for themselves?

Weird.

UPDATE: One commenter describes how he closely examined the documents; he believes “the strategy memo is a fake.” Another commenter asserts:

In the end, arguing about whether it is fake or not is not entirely unlike arguing about whether climategate emails are the work of an whistle-blower or a crook. It’s all rather beside the point.

The details of any of the Heartland documents are far less important, IMO, than the larger-scale implications. The larger-scale implications are nothing new, but I do find it important that in watching the responses from “skeptics,” I have yet to see one, one single solitary, lonely little response where a  [climate] “skeptic” expresses even one iota of concern that the documents show a systematic and explicit effort to politicize climate science, and even more, politicize the teaching of climate science to children.

357 Responses to “Tales From the Heartland”

  1. hunter says:

    Keith,
    They faked it to get climate concerned people to react exactly as you have reacted: With the bizarre idea that skeptics are the only people acting political regarding cliamte issues, that skeptics are illegitimate players in the public square, that any action by skeptics is wicked by its very nature. They faked it, along with the thieving the documents, to suppress the speech and actions of skeptics. It is fascinating that the climate concerned immediately accepted stolen docs, published them in bulk, and did so with no verification. Skeptics did none of that regarding climategate, and to this day few or zero believer websites will even discuss the climate e-mails, with journalists claiming that doing so is unseemly because of the method climategate was released.
    By the way, the Koch brothers, for the record, fund a lot of PBS programming. And do so with a lot more money than what is donated to Heartland.
    You have been jerked around.
     
     

  2. StuartR says:

    “If that memo is confirmed to be a fake, then I’m confused as to why someone would risk distracting away from the disclosures of the authentic documents.”

    I think it is because journalists who self-describe as both lovers of science and lovers of the environment are not too hot on formal logic. They know now there is a possibility that there is a fake included in the set of juicy documents, yet they have gone ahead and based their whole article upon the most juicy document. The problem as noted here is that the set of “most juicy” happens to be a one for one match with the set of “likely fake”.

  3. RickA says:

    Doesn’t the “fake” document indicate that the real documents were not controversial enough for whoever orchestrated the release.

  4. ThePowerofX says:

    @Rick
    That is one possibility. A second possibility is a damage control method named after <a href=”http://dan-rathered.urbanup.com/3273129″>Dan Rather</a>.

  5. Steve Reynolds says:

    Now I understand: This was all a plot by Heartland to discredit the ‘climate concerned’!
    They leak their budget document (to show how low skeptic funding is compared to concerned funding), and include a scanned document that looks fake (so it can be credibly claimed to be fake). As soon as all the useful idiots raise awareness in the media and commit themselves to how important these documents are (already in the NYT), Heartland pulls out the rug by claiming the scanned document fake!!!
     
    (this is a jest)

  6. Anteros says:

    I hear the NYT is going to issue a retraction and apology, and Richard Black of the BBC has an enormous pile of egg on his face for writing a hideously sneering article before he bothered to check the veracity of the documents.
     
    Other than that the incredible news is a that a conservative lobby group has been found to be funding conservatives!!! OMG, the shock of it!!!
     
    I’m thinking the FakeGate forger got pretty much what they intended 😉

  7. Alex Harvey says:

    Dear Keith,
    You write,
    “If that memo is confirmed to be a fake, then I’m confused as to why someone would risk distracting away from the disclosures of the authentic documents. The authentic content made public provides plenty of fodder in of itself. Why not just let the real docs speak for themselves?”
    I think this is obvious.  It was a very stupid mistake made perhaps by a young, impressionable climate change activist.
    The author of this ‘scandal’ needed ominous, snappy quotes to rival Climategate’s ‘hide the decline’ or the ‘travesty’ quote that the authentic material simply didn’t provide.  In fact, the authentic material simply confirms for the most part what was already known.  In other words, without the faked memo, the material could not have landed a significant blow.
    What do you think the authentic content shows that was previously unknown by the way?
    According to Skeptical Science, 
    “The Increased Climate Project Fundraising material is reproduced in and confirmed by Heartland’s own budget.”
    In the fake memo this section simply summarises some of the contents of the financial statements that the author evidently wants us to notice.  There is one important difference between the content of the fake memo and the authentic documents, namely the ominous, quotable sentence, 
    “Other contributions will be pursued for this work, especially from corporations whose interests are threatened by climate policies.”
    Next, according to Skeptical Science,
    “The ‘Global Warming Curriculum for K-12 Classrooms’ is also a Heartland budget item and has been confirmed independently by the author, Dr. David Wojick.”
    Has it?  It is not obvious to me exactly what David Wojick has “confirmed” but what is obvious is that, again, without the fake memo, you don’t have this great quote,
    “His effort will focus on providing curriculum [sic] that shows that the topic of climate change is controversial and uncertain – two key points that are effective at dissuading teachers from teaching science.”
    SkS continues,
    “The Funding for Parallel Organizations; Funding for Selected Individuals Outside Heartland are both reproduced and confirmed in the Heartland budget. And Anthony Watts has confirmed independently the payments in Expanded Climate Communications.”
    Once again, it’s the quotes.  Anthony Watts may have confirmed payments (for a completely innocent, neutral project to make data available), but without the faked memo there is no material to suggest that WUWT is “coordinating” with Heartland.  This ominous quote hopes to say that WUWT itself is funded through Heartland by fossil fuel interests.  
    And of course, the king hit quote is,
    “Efforts at places such as Forbes are especially important now that they have begun to allow high-profile climate scientists (such as Gleick) to post warmist science essays that counter our own.  This influential audience has usually been reliably anti-climate and it is important to keep opposing voices out.”
    Except for the awkward phrasing that the author wouldn’t have been aware of, the quote is about as good as Climategate’s ‘Kevin and I will keep them out’ quote.
    Without the faked memo, the material would have been boring.

  8. Joshua says:

    It’s amazing how consistent all of this is.
     
    First, “realists” assumed that a bizarrely worded document was accurate.
     
    And now “skeptics” are assuming that an unverified claim by Heartland is true – despite plausible explanations for why that one document might have different “metadata.”
     
    Yet another, absolutely hilarious day in the climate wars. It’s confirmabias-a-palooza.

  9. grypo says:

    Reposting comments from prior thread here because conversation has moved:

    Reposting everywhere:
    I used a pdfinfo script to analyse the memos. The info I got is that all the meta data dates changed on the day of the leak in the Pacific time zone (-8 GMT). This is likely where our thief resides. This is also where the “fake” was created on 2/13. The other docs, with the exception of the IRS form were in the central time zone (-6 GMT). The IRS form was -4 GMT. This has been corroborated by a commenter at Lucia’s. Based on this, and I’m not sure if I’ve covered every base, the strategy memo is a fake.
    The only other option would be if the create dates were faked, highly, highly unlikely or, the sender from HI didn’t have the doc, and someone from the west coast scanned it , emailed to her to send to the leaker. This, to me, doesn’t seem likely either. Logically, I have to go with HI’s story.

    grypo Says: 
    February 16th, 2012 at 8:43 am
    The only difference between my data and Duke’s is that I get -4 GMT for the IRS doc, which is strange

    grypo Says: 
    February 16th, 2012 at 8:46 am
    The leaker or HI would need to reproduce the email sent to the leaker and see if the date/time on the email is before or after the create date on the scanned strategy memo.

     

  10. Joshua says:

    And I just want to add, that the elaborate “explanations” offered up (with stunning certainty at that)  for the “fake” memo by “skeptics” are absolutely fantastic reading.
     
    You can certainly never claims that “skeptics” as a group lack active imaginations.
     
    If only we could harness those imaginations and get them to channel their creativity towards productive purposes like tacking complex medical problems, or even writing spy novels.

  11. grypo says:

    I am also unsure why the fake was created.  To me, the Fund Raising doc is kicker.  We get a glimpse of the harebrained school curriculum that Heartland wants to infect our children with.  We get to see how they get people to donate and why.  We see the “anonymous donor”.  We get a look on how they are going after public unions in Chicago, like they did in Wisconsin, using an insider with whom they are trying to work with.  We see they are aggressively pushing private school and calling it reform.  Fracking’s next.  

    What he/she should have done is write a summary of the docs and pointed to interesting elements.  That would have actually been helpful. 

  12. Alex Harvey says:

    Joshua,
    Both David Appell and Anthony Watts have made convincing arguments that it is a fake.
    I am saying IF it is a fake then it reveals the faker as spectacularly stupid. Don’t you think?  And obviously, it can only have been faked for those quotes that got Richard Black, Joe Romm, Richard Littlemore, Dana1981, and so many others so worked up with delerious excitement that they forgot to think.
    If it is NOT a fake, then the original story stands.

  13. Martha says:

    Fake in what sense?  Information contained in the Strategy document has been independently verified e.g. by David Wojick (on the stated plan with David), by Anthony Watts (on the stated plan with Anthony), and by what Heartland confirms is their own budget. 

    So, a fake in what sense?  Not written by an employee, or an employee with authority to write it, or by the same hand as the other internal documents for staff? 

    Since the content is accurate, calling it a ‘fake’ is a bit of a stretch but an interesting distraction.   Are you saying David is lying and so is Anthony?  Really? 

  14. harrywr2 says:

    Joshua Says: 

    It’s amazing how consistent all of this is.First, “realists” assumed that a bizarrely worded document was accurate. And now “skeptics” are assuming that an unverified claim by Heartland is true
    I read the ‘fake’ document.
    While ‘funders’ and ‘donors’ are somewhat interchangeable words, in most scenario’s people tend to use one or the other.
    I.E. Research Academics don’t use the word donors because they don’t consider the money to be a ‘charitable gift’.
    Non-profits use the word ‘Donors’ because they consider the money to be a charitable gift.
    In my own profession of computer work…I’ve read plenty of ‘bizarrely worded’ memo’s. Almost always by someone who was attempting to ‘sound’ more knowledgeable then they were.
    As far as heartland paying to produce educational materials targeted at K-12 lots and lots of non-profits produce educational materials targeted at K-12. 
     
     
     
     

  15. Joshua says:

    Alex –
    All snark aside.
     
    I don’t know about Appell – but Anthony is hardly an unbiased observer. But Appell does not conclude that it is a fake (he is suspicious that it may be), and even if you read Anthony’s post, there you will notice that he goes back and forth between saying that it is a “fake document” and saying that it could be a fake document.
     
    In point of fact, anyone speculating about the possible reasons for creating a fake document, or the “stupidity” or lack thereof of the “fake” creator, is taking a massive jump from what is known about the documents and the leaker/poser/distributor/whatever into the depths of their imaginations. I predict that if you read carefully, you will find many different “skeptics” who are quite sure of explanations that are diametrically opposed to each other.
     
    It’s fun, and it’s creative – but it doesn’t seem particularly “skeptical” in my book when people do it with what seems to be unsustainably high levels of certainty.
     
    In the end, arguing about whether it is fake or not is not entirely unlike arguing about whether climategate emails are the work of an whistle-blower or a crook. It’s all rather beside the point.
     
    The details of any of the Heartland documents are far less important, IMO, than the larger-scale implications. The larger-scale implications are nothing new, but I do find it important that in watching the responses from “skeptics,” I have yet to see one, one single solitary, lonely little response where a “skeptic” expresses even one iota of concern that the documents show a systematic and explicit effort to politicize climate science, and even more, politicize the teach of climate science to children. Keep in mind, Wojick has stated, explicitly, that his primary interest in the climate wars is political. He has worked closely with Inhofe and other politicians for decades. 
     
    I’m not surprised to see “skeptics,” as a group, express no concern over politicization of the science by conservatives. I am disappointed, however, that I have yet to read one “skeptic” express a non-hypocritical perspective on the Heartland documents. I give “skeptics” as a group some credit for raising some important questions and issues, and it’s sad to see that none of them that I’ve seen has been willing to pull themselves out of the partisan muck to validate those questions and issues. 
     
    And I have to say, even before more information supporting the “fake” document theory, I saw many “skeptics” taking the word of an organization that is as partisan as the Heartland Institute at face value. That isn’t “skeptical” in my book.

  16. Joshua says:

    Harry –
     
    “As far as heartland paying to produce educational materials targeted at K-12 lots and lots of non-profits produce educational materials targeted at K-12. “
     
    This is interesting. In my limited interactions with you, you have seen to me to be one of the more restrained “skeptics” I’ve come across – someone who tends to value a well-reasoned approach to evaluating issues.
     
    Yet even here, your argument boils down to saying that whether or not others politicize the teaching of science to children determines whether or not Heartland politicizing the teaching of science to children is defensible.
     
    Look – in the end Wojick’s educational materials should be judged on their own merits. But  IMO, for a “skeptic” to reflexively minimize the ramifications of an inherently political organization systematically focusing on an educational effort and hiring a known political advocate to develop their scientific educational materials should be troubling to anyone who is engaging in this debate with an open mind. Particularly to someone who self-identifies as a skeptic, and in particular to someone who self-identifies as a “climate skeptic” given that “climate skepticism” is largely (on the whole) rooted in “concerns” about the politicization of science.
     
    Sorry. but that just seems like a baseline and fundamental reality.

  17. Joshua says:

    And harry – I’ll point out that the first few paragraphs of your post seemed to me like the thoughts of a skeptic.
     
    That is in contrast to the last paragraph of your post.

  18. Joshua says:

    Martha –
     
    I think that your questions have important implications, but you should also know that among conservative, in particular those who are Internet savvy, a “fake but accurate” defense will not carry much weight.
     
    The reason being that one of the most seminal events in the conservative blogosphere was the whole situation with the Rather memos.
     
    What’s fascinating about that is that Charles Johnson, of Little Green Footballs, was one of the most noted “conservative” bloggers that was a part of “Rathergate.” He is now despised by “conservative” bloggers because he has denounced the extremism that he finds rampant among “conservatives.” And as a further irony, he has been on a bit of a tear against what he calls “deniers,” and is more or less fully convinced that the “fake” document isn’t “fake.” (although I don’t know if he’s fully up on all the most recent analysis). 
     
    Irony-a-polooza.

  19. stan says:

    ” the documents show a systematic and explicit effort to politicize climate science, and even more, politicize the teaching of climate science to children.”

    Bull.  It does not.

    This episode has been a wonderful opportunity for the world to see how bizarre is the thought process of alarmists.  It exposes the so-called journalists as the propagandists that they are.  It exposes the lack of rational thought.  It exposes the false equivalence, failure to undertake due diligence, and failure of logic inherent in so many in the alarmist community.   

    Fifty years from now, scientists and historians will look back and wonder what virus could have infected their minds.

  20. NewYorkJ says:

    Joshua: It’s fun, and it’s creative ““ but it doesn’t seem particularly “skeptical” in my book when people do it with what seems to be unsustainably high levels of certainty.

    Yes, and we’re talking about a crowd that dismisses the preponderance of evidence on anthropogenic global warming as “speculation” at best.  Amusing double standard from folks who are the opposite of genuine “skeptics”.
     
    I tend to agree with Tom Curtis on the authenticity of the doc in question.

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/news.php?p=3&t=169&&n=1294#74470

    No overwhelming evidence either way.  HI could help their cause by releasing the original emails.

    Making the assumption the Climate Strategy doc is fake, why?  Well, we could start by removing the assumption that the leaker is a master communication strategist who really thought things through.  The leaker(s) might have been thinking that no one would be able to prove definitively one way or the other, and since the data matches what’s in the other documents, people would buy its authenticity, and it serves mostly as a general summary of key parts of the other documents.
      

  21. Joshua says:

    – 20 – NYJ –
     
    I am trying to follow Sergey Romanov on this issue. He is very good with assessing the authenticity of documents:
     
    Find his comments here:
     
    http://www.desmogblog.com/heartland-confirms-it-mistakenly-emailed-internal-documents
     
    And look for his comments at LGF, where his is a regular participant.
     
     

  22. Joshua says:

    “Fifty years from now, scientists and historians will look back and wonder what virus could have infected their minds.”


    Now there’s an opinion of a rational skeptic. Concern about ACO2 changing the climate is the product of a virus.


    Irony-a-palooza.

  23. Curiously, the XMP toolkit used to generate the fake pdf was:
    “Adobe XMP Core 5.2-c001 63.139439, 2010/09/27-13:37:26 “
    The XMP toolkit used to create one of the elements of desmog-fracking-the-future.pdf was:
    “Adobe XMP Core 5.2-c001 63.139439, 2010/09/27-13:37:26 “

  24. Anteros says:

    Joshua –
     
    LGF?

  25. hunter says:

    Why does Joshua, who is nothing but a partisan troll, get to pretend to be some sort of unbiased arm’s length observer and judge?

    Keith,
    Your excerpt above asserting that forged documents about heartland are no different from cliamtegate e-mails is one of the most immature and least honest posts yet made regarding climate.
     

  26. 6 of the PDFs show GMT -06:00 which would be Central Time- That would fit Chicago.
    2010_IRS_Form_990.pdf from the DeSmog link shows GMT -05:00
    2010_IRS_Form_990.pdf from the HI website shows GMT -06:00

  27. hunter says:

    stan,
    You sum it up rather well. The believers have nothing but bluster and raw political power. They are desperately unhinged when that power is challenged in the public square.
     

  28. hunter says:

    Joshua,
    You seem to be implying that “fake but accurate” was an argument rejected by conservatives but embraced by “progressives”.

    Can you clarify your self a bit more?
        

  29. Joshua says:

    Anteros –


    Little Green Footballs
     
    The history of that site is fascinating. It is run by Charles Johnson, who was the absolute darling of the “conservative” blogophere for years. He was instrumental in the whole “Rathergate” hoopla. Part of that is the infamous meme of “fake but accurate” which is the subject of much self-congratulatory yuks among conservatives.
     
    He later began to distance himself from the “conservative” blogosphere, primarily because of what he feels are Islamphobic and extremist elements – but also largely because after being a “skeptic” he looked into the science more deeply and determined that the “skepticism” he saw was “denialiism.”
    His site is now largely inhabited by “leftists” and “realists.” 
     
    I find the whole trajectory of his site within the political taxonomy to be downright fascinating. I recommend following Sergey Romanov  (and Charles if he weighs in) on the discussion about discussion of whether or not any of the documents are “fake.”
     

  30. Joshua says:

    hunter –
     
    http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/15/politics/campaign/15guard.html?_r=2&ex=1095912000&en=3f67b230dff29e57&ei=5006&partner=ALTAVISTA1&oref=slogin
     
    During “Rathergate” the “fake but accurate” meme was the subject of many yuks among “conservatives.

  31. grypo says:

    5.2 is likely the latest xmp core.  the time stamp is the build date.  open up your adobe program files and search for adobexmp.dll, check the details lab on properties.  That’s where the info is from.  It just means that the docs were created from the most up-to-date version.

  32. Tom Fuller says:

    Well, the consensus crew of weblogs have now  succeeded in creating another mess. Faking a strategy document will reorient everybody’s focus on what they’ve done. 

    Why did they do it? What were they thinking? Once again, this subset of the consensus manages to arrive at the stupidest tactic possible. Their record is perfect. 0 for everything.

     

     

  33. Joshua says:

    hunter –
     
    “Why does Joshua, who is nothing but a partisan troll, get to pretend to be some sort of unbiased arm’s length observer and judge?”


    Wow. Apart from being a rather bizarre appeal to authority (the appeals to an authority that couldn’t possibly exist are the best, IMO), why do you insist on repeating statements, over and over, that aren’t true, that are easily proven to not be true, and that I have disproven over and over?


    I have never claimed to be “unbiased.” Never have, and never will.


    Is it so far removed from how you conceive the world that someone can actually recognize the underlying nature of how the reasoning of all of us is influenced by biases, including him/herself?



  34. kdk33 says:

    I’ll point out that the first few paragraphs of your post seemed to me like the thoughts of a skeptic.

    Yes, Joshua, this is indeed a hilarious day in the climate wars – thank you for your contribution.  Do you have additional psychoanalysis to add.

  35. Joshua says:

    Tom –


    ” Faking a strategy document will reorient everybody’s focus on what they’ve done.”


    If someone concludes that the focus w/r/t the Heartland documents should be on whether or not that one document was a “fake,” that’s on them.


    I would argue that such a focus is a tell for an overtly partisan orientation. Same old, same old.

  36. kdk33 says:

    In the end, arguing about whether it is fake or not is … beside the point.

    A stunning work of logic.

  37. Joshua says:

    kdk33 –
     
    Nice truncation of my statement and use of elipses. The work of a true pro.
     
    But anyway, thanks for reading.

  38. Tom Fuller says:

    Hmm. Joshua, let me rephrase this. As an ex-journalist, if someone comes to me and says here are two stories:

    1. Leaked documents from a conservative thinktank talking about the inner workings of their organization.

     2. Forged documents from bitter enemy of thinktank published to tarnish their image

    Which story do you think I would prefer to cover? As a reader, which story do you think I would rather read?

    If I were a skeptic, which story would reinvigorate me and get my juices of indignation flowing? If I were a member of the consensus, which story would make me cringe with embarrassment  at the company I am forced to keep?

  39. Joshua says:

    kdk33 –
     
    Ever seen this far side cartoon before:
     

  40. Joshua says:

    Sorry – it didn’t go through:  Here’s the link.
     
    http://tiny.cc/vywmg
     
    Here’s what the dog-owner says:
     
    “OK Ginger! I’ve had it! You stay out of the garbage! Understand, Ginger? Stay out of the garbage or else.”
     
    Here’s what the dog hears:
     
    “blah blah blah Ginger Blah blah blah Ginger blah blah blah blah blah Ginger.”

  41. hunter says:

    Joshua,
    If you are not unbiased, then stop the troll dance of demanding everyone else be unbiased.  It is deceptive.

  42. Tom Fuller says:

    Yes, Joshua,

    That also has been rewritten to gently chide members of the consensus commenting committee, seen here on occasion:

    “blah, blah, blah, denier, blah, blah, blah.” 

  43. Joshua says:

    hunter –
     
    Keep that cartoon on standby as a default response to any of your false accusations about my “claims” to be unbiased, in case I don’t actually get around to responding.
     

  44. Joshua says:

    hunter –
     
    “If you are not unbiased, then stop the troll dance of demanding everyone else be unbiased.  It is deceptive.”


    Sheece. I have never “demanded” anything. What is with you and your authority complex, anyway?


    I am offering my observations on what I consider to be signs of bias, hypocrisy, etc. Take them for what they’re worth. But own up to your constant inaccurate and distorted statements about what I do and don’t say.


    Or don’t.

  45. hunter says:

    Joshua,
    Your response to my question about climategate was, not surprisingly, non-responsive.
     Your use of ” “, by the way is over done to the point of raising questions about your mental state.
    Your link to the NYT sent me to a Bannana Republic ad for women’s shoes.
    So, once again:
    Please clarify yourself: is fake but accurate a standard that is only condemned by conservatives?

  46. Joshua says:

    Tom –
     
    I find “Mommy, mommy, they do it toooouuuu” arguments to be rather trivial and in the end non-productive.

  47. Tom Fuller says:

    Yes, well, with all the vitriol flung about regarding the Climategate emails, nobody has yet to write that they were faked to push an agenda.

  48. hunter says:

    Joshua,
    You claim all of this genius perception, yet you are just restating over and over the same insignificant crap.
    It comes across as intellectual cowardice, but you are such a good manipulator you get to run with it for long distances. You stand around talking about what you claim is other’s hypocrisy and wicked motives and are too chicken to stand your own opinion up.
     But you never actually get anywhere. Sort of like “Waiting for Godot”: a lot of words and no action.
    but you are good at hijacking threads. if it were an olympic sport, you would be a gold medal contender: A gold medal for saying nothing in the most words.

    You are the one engaging in the mommy arguments, and you peg yourself perfectly; you sledom rise above triviality.

       

  49. hunter says:

    Tom,
    The consensus crew keeps making own goals because that is the best they have.
     

  50. Roddy Campbell says:

    I’ve skimmed the comments here and on the previous thread, and so far as I can see there’s been no (little?) comment on the extraordinary practice, according to Heartland anyway, of phoning in, impersonating someone and fooling them to email documents.

    I assume that is a strictly unlawful act?  If we believe Heartland?

    I’m no expert on Heartland, but if all this does is show their avowed pro-market anti-regulation ‘political’ bias then I guess Greenpeace must be an environmental nfp organisation, which I dare say plots how to get favourable press coverage of its pov, and all the rest.

    Pope Catholic etc? 

  51. Tom Scharf says:

    Bizarre that they would include a faked document.  Potentially it is real but was not an “official” Heartland document yet.  You really have to parse the press release legalese in these cases.

    Lawyers are famous for stating the that a condemning statement from the other side is “absolutely false”, when in fact it is 99% true, but a minor irrelevant point in the statement is actually false.  Smoke and mirrors.

    If anyone has read “Ghost in the Wires” about Kevin Mitnick (good book BTW), one will find that his exploits were 95% social engineering and 5% technical wizardry.   It seems the leaker of the documents has read this book.

    My own overtly biased view is that there is little surprising here, some transparency exposed that should have been there to start with.  Watt’s gets defamed a bit, rightly so.

    The headlining meme that there is some “secret” behind the scenes organization activity of climate skeptics isn’t going to create the hoped for impact I believe in the face of the much larger force on the opposing side, but is is certainly useful in the propaganda wars.  The fact that it is Heartland (or Cato, etc.) will likely induce a yawn from all but the AGW blogosphere that has been praying for a “gate” of there very own.  

    Have fun with it.  I’m sure all the cries and counter-cries of hypocrisy with respect to Climategate will apply.

     

  52. Tom Scharf says:

    Here is an interesting breakdown on why one columnists at the Atlantic believes the memo was a fake.  It is a fairly compelling and detailed read.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/02/leaked-docs-from-heartland-institute-cause-a-stir-but-is-one-a-fake/253165/ 

    From my biased POV, I would the say the phrasing in the questionable document “…two key points that are effective at dissuading teachers from teaching science…” is a smoking gun.  Nobody on the skeptic side thinks this way, and even if they did, they would never write it this way, even privately.  

    Skeptics want teachers to teach the science, just the “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth” science, with emphasis on “whole” including uncertainty and poor performance on predictions.

    In the end, the counter fitting of one document will likely overshadow the impact this leak could have had.

  53. NewYorkJ says:

    Heartland keeps digging a deeper hole, in this new rant from their cult leader soliciting donations:

    This attack would not have happened if we weren’t unveiling the truth. The left fears us properly because on climate change, we are the loudest and most effective voice against alarmism in the country, even the entire world.

    The left has lost the debate on climate change on the science, the politics, and the economics. Opinion polls show we’ve won the public debate, and surveys of scientists show the majority of them are with us now.

    http://motherjones.com/blue-marble/2012/02/heartland-institute-documents-climate
     
    A little narcissistic and delusional I’d say.  I would think those who call themselves climate “skeptics” and want to be taken seriously among a broader audience of thinking people might want to disassociate themselves with them, but I dont’ see much of that going on.

    Global warming denial has always been about politics, nothing more.  HI will continue to hold its silly “conferences”, avoid critical review from experts in the field, push it’s NIPCC propaganda documents, solicit and receive donations from what its own fundraising document describes as “ideologically motivated” donors, and fund various deniers (many of whom were previously not transparent about it), all while claiming to bring “truth” in its pursuit of duping the public.  I agree that there’s not anything truly surprising in the documents.  They mainly confirm what we know about them, filling in many of the details.

  54. Nullius in Verba says:

    “I have yet to see one, one single solitary, lonely little response where a  [climate] “skeptic” expresses even one iota of concern that the documents show a systematic and explicit effort to politicize climate science, and even more, politicize the teaching of climate science to children.”
    Lots of sceptics have been writing for years complaining about the politicising of climate science, and politicising of the education of children. The problem is, they complain about the way the mainstream has done it, and get dismissed, ignored, or called names. It’s quite hard to get excited about an attempt to inject some balance into the rampant politicisation that has gone unchecked for years.
     
    But it’s one of those ‘political viewpoint’ things. From the point of view of someone who thinks their views are not a controversial political position but simple truth, they cannot see that children’s education is already politicised, and that what they see as political interference is seen by the other side as simple truth, an attempt to restore scientific standards of scepticism and critical thinking. Consider for example the Dimmock case in the UK, where a parent brought a case to the high court because the government was proposing to show Gore’s ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ to all the UK’s children in science classes. His complaint was that the film was unscientific, erroneous, and blatant political advocacy for a particular worldview and a particular course of action. Political indoctrination is illegal in UK schools. And the judge ruled that yes it did have errors, and it was clearly political in nature.
     
    I recall a couple of years back somebody pointing at one of those school science lesson plans some company had published, on climate change. It had all the usual scientific errors and half-truths, about radiation being ‘trapped’ and the poles melting and drowning the polar bears and jars full of CO2 with thermometers in them, but what really annoyed me was that the final sections that having lectured the children on how it is (no uncertainties about any of it being on show), the next step was to ask the children how they “felt” about it! What precisely, I thought, is that doing in a science lesson?! The final task was then to calculate the schools energy use, and take part in a campaign to lower it. Lots of annoying ‘gesture’ measures being suggested like putting up posters telling you to turn off lights, turn down the heating, and so on. That’s out-and-out political advocacy; directly teaching political activism, and making it a compulsory element of science education.
     
    It’s been going on for years, and that was what Wojick’s project was meant to counter – by generating lesson plans covering other hypotheses and points of view, to provide a resource for teachers who wished to take a different line. Heartland can’t make teachers use them, but it’s difficult for teachers who may have doubts themselves to find good material, that stacks up against the tide of slick propaganda for the orthodoxy.
     
    And maybe teachers could do a bit of both, and then teach the kids how to decide between competing claims, instead of simply regurgitating whatever they’re told to believe, which is a useful life skill in itself and at least a first step to teaching the scientific method.
     
    So yes, I’d be happy to express an iota of concern for the politicisation of climate science and childrens’ education, if you will too.
     
    Or was that not quite what you meant? 🙂

  55. NewYorkJ says:

    Tom S:  Nobody on the skeptic side thinks this way, and even if they did, they would never write it this way, even privately.  

    Never?  I disagree.  In fact, even if they didn’t think that way, I could see someone meaning to write “junk science” (as Heartland has described much of the science on health effects of smoking) but forgetting the “junk”.  Not everything written in private communication is proof-read.

    And while I’m sure some are truly delusional about believing global warming is a big hoax and they are doing real science, I suspect deep down even some of them know they’re full of it.

  56. Joshua says:

    NiV –
     
    “It’s quite hard to get excited about an attempt to inject some balance into the rampant politicisation that has gone unchecked for years.”
     
    For some reason, I’m having trouble with italics. Please bear with me.

    This is interesting. So in your view, the way to inject some balance is to have an overtly political organization hire someone who has stated a primary interest in the political aspect of the climate debate, and who has said that the consensus viewpoint is “not climate science,” to design curriculum?

    From the point of view of someone who thinks their views are not a controversial political position but simple truth, they cannot see that children’s education is already politicised, and that what they see as political interference is seen by the other side as simple truth, an attempt to restore scientific standards of scepticism and critical thinking.”

    First, with respect to my viewpoint, that is a straw man. Nothing that you wrote there is remotely consistent with my viewpoint.

    Second, consider the irony of that statement if it is applied to both sides of the debate.

  57. Joshua says:

    NiV –

    “And maybe teachers could do a bit of both, and then teach the kids how to decide between competing claims, instead of simply regurgitating whatever they’re told to believe, which is a useful life skill in itself and at least a first step to teaching the scientific method.”
     
    And consider this: The concept of teaching that kind of critical analysis as a life skill is something that I have posted about rather extensively at Climate Etc. – and been attacked for doing so by a long list of “skeptics.”
     
    Fascinating, in my view.

  58. Joshua says:

    “Skeptics want teachers to teach the science, just the “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth” science, with emphasis on “whole” including uncertainty and poor performance on predictions.”
     
    Really? And this is why “skeptics” are untroubled by an overtly political organization, hiring a non-educator, who has a long history of political activism, who has expressed a primary interest in the political dimensions of the climate debate, and who has stated not simply that he disagrees with the “consensus” view of the science, but that the “consensus” view of the science is “not climate science,” to design a curriculum for children.
     
    Because all they want is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
     
    And you think anyone who is a “skeptic” will accept that reasoning?

  59. Nullius in Verba says:

    #57,
    “So in your view, the way to inject some balance is to have an overtly political organization hire someone who has stated a primary interest in the political aspect of the climate debate, and who has said that the consensus viewpoint is “not climate science,” to design curriculum?”
     
    It’s less than ideal. I would much prefer politically neutral parties to do it. But apparently they can’t or won’t.
     
    “First, with respect to my viewpoint, that is a straw man. Nothing that you wrote there is remotely consistent with my viewpoint.”
    So you are saying that you can see that children’s education is already politicised, and orthodox Gore-ite CAGW is a controversial political position? Excellent! Then I’m happy to join you in expressing an iota of distress about it.
     
    #58,
    My sympathies. But I’ve always been in favour of that approach.

  60. grypo says:

    Joshua is doing a great job in this thread.  There’s no reason why Wojick should be writing climate science curriculum for children.  It’s just unacceptable.  I have trouble taking anybody seriously who can’t admit this.

  61. Keith Kloor says:

    Megan McArdle’s take on the seemingly phony document pretty much echoes mine. I also know enough inside baseball (in climate journalism) to recognize an attempt to discredit Revkin by associating him with Heartland the way the doc does. 

    I also find myself much in agreement with what Joshua says in this thread. 

     

  62. jeffn says:

    #61 – “It’s just unacceptable.  I have trouble taking anybody seriously who can’t admit this.”
    Friendly amendment- It’s unacceptable for partisans on either side to write curriculum for children.
    Agreed or no?
    I have no trouble admitting that both Al Gore and the Heartland Institute should never, ever produce curriculum for kids. I have trouble taking seriously anyone who disagrees with this.
    By the way, interesting phrasing in the NY Times quote at top- “attacking Climate Science.” How does one attack climate science? For example, one tribe said Himalayan glaciers would be gone by 2035, one tribe said that was non-sense. One tribe said hurricane damage was abnormally high due to man and his sport utility vehicle, one tribe noted that this argument was simply untrue on every level it could be untrue. Which tribes were the ones “attacking climate science” in these instances? Since the answer appears to be that it depends on your tribe, then the Heartland Institute is merely the least well funded of the organizations eagerly politicizing science.

  63. BBD says:

    I also find myself much in agreement with what Joshua says in this thread.
     
    So do I.

  64. Tom Fuller says:

    Has anyone asked John Mashey, DeSmogBlog or Deep Climate if they created the strategy document? Seems like a logical next step.

  65. Joshua says:

    NiV –
     
    “So you are saying that you can see that children’s education is already politicised, and orthodox Gore-ite CAGW is a controversial political position? Excellent! Then I’m happy to join you in expressing an iota of distress about it.”
     
    In my second career (one of many), I spent a couple of decades teaching in elementary school through high school. I saw many manifestations of a wide variety of partisan agendas play out in the development and implementation of curricula.
     
    It stands to reason that there is little that any of us do that is not reflective of social, cultural, or political partisan identities. Education is no more or less reflective of those basic realities.
     
    I have many major problems with the dominant paradigm in how we educate children. Our educational system is the largely the legacy of a top-down view of an educational process of filling empty vessels and promoting conformity within  bureaucratic institutions that discourage  divergent thinking and creativity, and that produce many students who view learning as a passive process, and that essentially serve to perpetuate socio-econonomic status quo, etc.
     
    That said, not being of a binary mindset, I also understand that there are many positive attributes to our educational systems which, in balance, lead to improved lives for a many, and which have been fundamental to our ascension to a preeminent status as a world power.
     
    That same non-binary perspective leads me to believe that while there are certainly political biases imbedded in our educational institutions, there is no one overriding partisan orientation, and that while there are certainly teachers who sometimes are more focused in perpetuating their own views than in encouraging open-minded critical thinking in students, that phenomenon is not nearly as dominant or simplistic or uniform as I often read described among “conservatives” who seek to exploit the problems with our educational systems to serve a partisan agenda.
     
     
     
     

  66. Joshua says:

    jeffn –
     
    “I have no trouble admitting that both Al Gore and the Heartland Institute should never, ever produce curriculum for kids. I have trouble taking seriously anyone who disagrees with this.”
     
    I don’t want to let it go unacknowledged that this is the second time that you have written what I feel to be a very useful yet rare comment in the Internet climate debate: an well-reasoned opinion that acknowledges the incredibly  obvious and ubiquitous biases in play on both sides.
     
    And of course, by sheer coincidence, it also happens to reflect a perspective that I share.

  67. hunter says:

    Tom,
    Your fellow writer, steven, is alluding to a west coast based AGW prmmoter who uses the term, “anti-climate’.  I do not follow AGW promoters closely enough to know to whom he is referring. do you have any ideas as to identity?

  68. hunter says:

    Hint to believers: If Joshua is offering an answer you like, the question must be very, very poor.

  69. hunter says:

    New York J almost has a rational perspective: AGW is about politics. Always has been, always will be. But he still flatters himself that his pov is somehow non-political, and that this slef-declared non-political view somehow legitimizes his faith.

  70. hunter says:

    As to who should be writing curriculum for kids, I would say let’s see the curriculum.

  71. Tom Fuller says:

    Well I asked over at Deep Climate. Let’s see if they answer, or even publish the comment.

  72. Keith Kloor says:

    Hunter,

    Your animus towards Hunter is tiresome. I’ll also note with irony your charge of threadjacking.

    You and anyone is welcome to comment here, but your level of vitriol is off-putting. Plenty of other places to spew it, if you must. But I’m asking you to tone it down before you force my hand.

    Also, speculation of the apparent document faker is interesting but not welcome in this thread. You can follow that one over at Lucia’s. 

  73. NewYorkJ says:

    “Skeptics want teachers to teach the science, just the “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth” science, with emphasis on “whole” including uncertainty and poor performance on predictions.”

    Creationists (skeptics of evolution) believe something similar.  What their deluded intentions are isn’t very relevant to what a teacher’s science curriculum should be.  Revkin had a good post on this a couple of weeks ago.  Many teachers chimed in, and the general view is that teachers have a responsibility to teach what the science in the peer-reviewed evidence indicates.  You won’t find it in propaganda documents from the Heartland Institute.

    http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/06/whats-a-science-teacher-to-do/

    As for Gore’s AIT, in the Dimmock case in the UK, the judge stated “I have no doubt that Dr Stott, the Defendant’s expert, is right when he says that: ‘Al Gore’s presentation of the causes and likely effects of climate change in the film was broadly accurate”.

    He went on to identify 9 conclusions where AIT departed from the mainstream view, which he (probably inappropriately) worded as “errors” (though he did not assess the accuracy of such conclusions) and ruled that such conclusions needed to be highlighted as caveats.  If judging a Heartland document, it probably would be difficult to find anything that wasn’t an outright lie or highly misleading, not to mention the intense focus on the very fringe.  There’s no equivalence between the two.

    In my view, Gore’s film could be one piece of a K-12 education on the subject, and I think the judge’s ruling was appropriate, but there are documentaries that are perhaps better.  The recent PBS documentary featuring Richard Alley comes to mind.  Simply declaring that it must be “balanced” with some purely political piece that in no way is a broadly accurate representation of the evidence is not a solution.

    The “controversy” over global warming and evolution is a political/ideological one.  Political controversies have no business being placed front and center in science education.

  74. Sashka says:

    @ jeffn (63)
     
    Amen.
     

  75. Artifex says:

    I find Joshua’s argument to be shallow and specious. I suppose if Joshua came across a man being beaten or a woman being raped and desperately fighting back against their attacker he would accuse them of being no different than their assailant because after all they are violent too. What hypocrites they are.

    The point is that Heartland is fundamentally a reactionary organization. Had their been no Hanson, Gore or Mann, Heartland would probably have precisely zero to say on the subject. When a group of wild eyed ideologues arrises trying to save the world from whatever it needs saving from this week ( by forcing everyone else to toe the line of course), it can’t be much of a surprise when a group of reactionary ideologues arrises on the other side of the divide.

    I don’t particularly like Heartland, nor do I particularly trust them but the threat they pose is orders of magnitude less than the threat of those they oppose. When the barbarian horde is at the gate, I am even going to accept the help of the town’s petty thief. The fact that I would look down on him in other circumstances is made irrelevant by the fact I want to keep my head on my shoulders.

  76. Tom Scharf says:

    #66:
    I have many major problems with the dominant paradigm in how we educate children. Our educational system is the largely the legacy of a top-down view of an educational process of filling empty vessels and promoting conformity within  bureaucratic institutions that discourage  divergent thinking and creativity, and that produce many students who view learning as a passive process, and that essentially serve to perpetuate socio-econonomic status quo, etc.”

    It’s pretty difficult to square this lecture with your lack of acceptance of competing views on climate science.  If you substitute “children with “climate science” in the above paragraph you will see the world as many skeptics do.  

    Like Megan McArdle states in her article, I’m guessing you would have a really hard time writing a memo from the POV of a skeptic without it coming off as a black villain propaganda piece.  I could write an opposing memo and easily come off as an equally absurd morally superior really angry do gooder tree hugger on a noble quest to exterminate evil.  The reality is everyone thinks they are fighting the good fight and God is on their side.  

    And for the record, I don’t promote any think tanks getting involved in the education of children.  I see Heartland on the same level as Media Matters or MoveOn, the signal to noise is pretty low and I know very few people who listen to any of these people (except 24/7 cable news for filler material).

     

  77. Joshua says:

    Artifex –
     
    “The point is that Heartland is fundamentally a reactionary organization.”
     
    Ironic that you would say that Heartland is fundamentally a reaction to activism from the other side, when they are paying people like Singer, who is connected to Seitz, etc. Once you go down the road of “Mommy, mommy, they did it fiiiirrrrssstt,” there is never any end. You will never reach any sort of resolution in any issue with such an approach.
     
    “I suppose if Joshua came across a man being beaten or a woman being raped and desperately fighting back against their attacker he would accuse them of being no different than their assailant because after all they are violent too.”
     
    And just so you know, there is nothing  that gets slung my way in the blogosphere  that I find personally offensive. Most of it is just childish nonsense. Take hunter’s constant attacks – they matter not a whit to me.
     
    And I don’t take personal offense to your comment here either – you don’t know me and you are certainly entitled to have whatever opinions you want about what I do or don’t write.
     
    But your use of someone being beaten or raped as an analogy to the plight of “skeptics,” and to conclude how I might discuss the act of someone being raped, is, in fact an opinion that I find offensive on an intellectual level.
     
    Consider that I, or anyone else who might be reading this thread, may have at some point in their life been attacked or raped. To draw an analogy between my voicing an opinion and someone reacting to being raped is stooping to a level that I think should not go unnoticed. 
     
     

  78. Joshua says:

    “It’s pretty difficult to square this lecture with your lack of acceptance of competing views on climate science.”
     
    Then maybe you should work harder at deconstructing the biases with which you approach someone who has a different opinion than yours. 
     
    I have never expressed a “lack of acceptance” of competing views on climate science.
     
    Not once. Ever.
     
    In fact, I have argued quite strongly that an intrinsic part of teaching about climate science would be teaching about the controversy that exists over global warming, in full context, as a way of helping students to understand the processes involved in critical thinking.
     
    Your limitation in understanding my perspective is rooted in the limitations of your own thinking.

  79. BBD says:

    The public needs to know who is paying for political influence. Not least because transparency is more feasible than prevention.

    NiV said:

    <sigh>
    How many times does it have to be said?
    Funding. Doesn’t. Matter.

    Certain donors apparently disagree since they are at pains to conceal their identities (both personal and corporate). George Monbiot argues that this is unacceptable; an undermining of democracy by faceless vested interest. The GWPF is mentioned. He calls for transparency.

    Does the public have a right to know identity of the Heartland ‘anonymous donor’ of $13 million (since 2007)? Certainly. The public needs to know who is paying to understand their motive. The effects of such spending are very clear.

    This is from a short article at Desmog (emphasis mine):

    [Mashey] point[s] an unflinching finger at corporate front groups and free market think tanks that have worked so hard in the last two decades to spread confusion about climate science and to block public policy that would regulate the use of fossil fuels.

    Mashey makes a compelling case that Congress has been misled in the process – which is an offense against the democracy that think tankers claim to love (in addition to being a felony).

  80. hunter says:

    Keith,
    Your points are noted. I will comply and I apologize to you.
    New York J,
     the faked document tried to associate Revkin with Heartland, sort of like you try to do with creationism and climate skeptics. Perhpas it is time to address the actual issues more?
       
      

  81. Tom Scharf says:

    I have two daughters in high school.  I actually read my child’s textbook info on global warming and found it to be completely unobjectionable.  And I would say that my daughter’s interest in the subject is a hundred orders of magnitude below whatever the last text they received from a friend is.

    This particular subject is really much ado about nothing.
     

  82. Tom Scharf says:

    #79 Sounds like we are in furious agreement then.

  83. Artifex says:

    Joshua,

    How very progressive of you. Let’s put it a little simpler for you. You are exercising a fallacy called false equivalency. In simpler terms your form of thinking is flawed and stupid. I spun you a tale that takes exactly your form of thinking to an extreme with a solid kick to get your attention.

    Your claim of “they did it first” is a simple appeal of false equivalency and specious. I simply take your false equivalency to its logical conclusion. Instead of addressing the fact that your logic is leads to repulsive conclusions. You do the standard maneuver, you attack. Let’s be clear. This is your logic, not mine. I don’t buy the false equivalency schtick.

  84. Joshua says:

    “This particular subject is really much ado about nothing.”
     
    This particular subject is a reflection of the larger climate debate as a phenomenon. As such, I don’t think it’s about nothing.
     
    It’s about the partisan reasoning and political bickering that riddles the climate debate, and our societal junior high school cafeteria food fight in a larger frame.
     
    I’m not making some kind of “the sky is falling” observation here about how the world is going to hell in a handbasket because of the Heartland documents – but I do think that the juvenile and petty jello-flinging  we see play out in the climate debate is reflective of larger societal phenomena that have significant impact
     

  85. Joshua says:

    Artifex –
     
    ” I spun you a tale that takes exactly your form of thinking to an extreme with a solid kick to get your attention.”
     
    What is sad about that statement is that after falsely “guessing” how I might react if I came across a rape, you now feel compelled to double-down and defend your original statement.
     
    You spun me a tale that shows absolutely nothing about what I think, or what I might do. It merely shows how sure you are about your fantasies and stereotypes. That you choose to stick to such an approach speaks quite loudly, and it ain’t a pretty sound.

  86. ivp0 says:

    It now looks like Peter Gleick stands at the top of a short list of potential “Fakegate” memo authors.  The plot thickens…

  87. Joshua says:

    Tom,
     
    “#79 Sounds like we are in furious agreement then.”
     
    The point is that you created a false dichotomy in thinking that I would disagree with you on that point. I understand why you might go there to some extent – as there are certainly people in the “realist” camp that object vociferously to “teaching the controversy” in climate science.
     
    What’s interesting there is that many “climate skeptics” are aligned with them w/r/t “teaching the controversy” over evolution.
     
    I don’t view objections to “teaching the controversy” in climate science or evolution as an manifestation of political or partisan ideology, per se, w/r/t any particular issue, so much as a reflection of an antiquated view of education as a top-down process.
     
    If controversies exist on topics, then they can become useful teaching tools for examining with students how people approach complex problems, and for understanding “meta-cognition” – which, IMO, is what education should basically be about.

  88. Tom Scharf says:

    There is an underlying fear each side has that the masses are going to be duped by the opposing side’s clever propaganda.  Thus the seemingly urgent need to eliminate the clever propaganda by dictum for the good of the people.  

    Of course the target is always the opposing sides propaganda, and never your own (as this is by definition NOT propaganda).  

    In my view the lines to never cross are the appointing of a benevolent judge to choose what is propaganda and what is not as this is a path to corruption (we elect benevolent politicians right? ha ha), or to counter opposing propaganda with your own knowingly false propaganda in order to “equalize” the situation, this path leads to a loss of credibility.
     
    I believe the best path is to just allow the free for all and let the chips fall where they may.  It’s a flawed system of course, just less flawed than the others.

    The Media Matters and Heartland’s of the world have already been identified to all knowledgeable people as the biased propagandists that they are.

    The system works.
     

  89. Artifex says:

    Sigh, I don’t know what scares me more. You or the fact that people like Keith and BBD are actually able to somehow track what goes on in your head.

    Look in simplest form:
    Joshua: Skeptics think X. This is case where X occurred therefore skeptics are hypocrites.
    Artifex: Given that I can chose a value of Y in place of X such that you will agree your equation does not hold you are objectively wrong and a simpleton. 
    Joshua: (emotional rant) your choice of Y proves you are evil !

    I am not interested in what is going on inside your head just the fact that your argument doesn’t hold. Outside of your protestations, I can predict you well enough that I can choose a Y that follows your logic exactly and which you will emotionally reject.

  90. Joshua says:

    Artifex –
     
    “I can predict you well enough that I can choose a Y that follows your logic exactly and which you will emotionally reject.”
     
    Keep at it. You “predicted,” falsely, how I might react to coming across someone who had been raped.
     
    Your grasp of logic led to using an absurdist argument to base a fallacious prediction.
     
    And despite saying that you aren’t “interested” in what is going on inside my head, you have now devoted repeated comments to defend a false and absurdist prediction about what is in my head, and what I might or might not do based on your fantasies about what you think is inside my head.
     
    An honest question. Do really not see that with each post you only add on more and more ridiculous statements?  Or is it your hope that if you keep piling on you can distance yourself from your original “guesses” using rape as an analogy for your fantasies about what I might do or not do?
     

  91. Joshua says:

    Artifex –
     
    Here. Maybe it will help you if I re-post the “guess” that you’re defending, and that you have now argued is proof of your masterful logic:
     
    “I suppose if Joshua came across a man being beaten or a woman being raped and desperately fighting back against their attacker he would accuse them of being no different than their assailant because after all they are violent too.”


    That’s the “logic” that you’re trying to defend here, Artifex. What you don’t seem to understand is that no matter how much you try to defend it, the basic illogic and bizarre fantasizing cannot be diminished.

  92. Joshua says:

    Anteros –
     
     
     
    “Sigh, I don’t know what scares me more.”
     
     
     
    Have you noticed Artifex’s tendency towards alarmism?
     
     
     

  93. Matt B says:

    It is right to be concerned about teachers not teaching solid science. Plotters against good science teaching (Heartland? Al Gore? The Discover Institute? [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discovery_Institute]) should be called out on their behaviour.

    But, public education may have bigger problems than that. If the NYC school district is any guide, the fact that in any given year only 0.04% of tenured teachers get fired for poor performance may be a slightly bigger issue:

    http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/tenure-trap-careful-hiring-teachers-stuck-life-article-1.443471

    Not exactly the Jack Welsh “every year 10% must go” approach to maintaining a tip-top work force:

    http://guides.wsj.com/management/recruiting-hiring-and-firing/should-i-rank-my-employees/

    (Full disclosure – although I believe many teachers are incompent and are coddled, I also believe Jack Welsh is a first class a-hole)

  94. BBD says:

    Artifex
     
    You or the fact that people like Keith and BBD are actually able to somehow track what goes on in your head.
     
    I may have misread Joshua on an earlier thread, so may I redact myself from this bit of your comment?
     
    😉

  95. EdG says:

    I wonder what Dan Rather has to say on this.

    He fell for something similar.

  96. harrywr2 says:

    jeffn Says:
     
    Friendly amendment- It’s unacceptable for partisans on either side to write curriculum for children.
    Which of these documents is partisan?
    US Constitution?
    Declaration of Independence?
    The writings of Thomas Jefferson?
    The writings of Thomas Paine?
    How about Marx, Shakespeare, Orwell or Huxley?
    Walt Disney movies? (The hunter  is always considered a ‘bad person’..the NRA has a real beef with Disney Partisanship)
    I’m pretty sure the British Crown considered the ‘declaration of Independence’ to be a ‘highly partisan’ document.
    If we remove everything from the curriculum that could be considered ‘partisan’ by someone then what do we have left?
    Then…after having  ‘educated’ our Children in this world free of ‘partisan’ information…how do they then negotiate life in the ‘real world’ where partisanship is just a normal part of life?
    It would really be nice if our children could live in a world of ‘one universal truth’…but every attempt to create a world of ‘one universal truth’ has ended up being ‘one universal big fat lie’. (The earth is flat..to say otherwise is blasphemy)

  97. BBD says:

    harrywr2

    If we remove everything from the curriculum that could be considered “˜partisan’ by someone then what do we have left?

    Nobody is suggesting this. Ideally, the curriculum should incorporate the best current understanding of the physical science (eg AR4, WG1).

  98. Mike Haseler says:

    if the facts support you argue the facts (it’s not warmed in a decade)
    If the facts don’t support you, argue that the science does (we now have numerous papers showing the required positive feedbacks are just non-science)
    If neither the facts nor the science supports your rather sordid sort of eco-politics.
    Make up your own facts.
    Global warming alarmism is now a complete failure. The real irony, is that it is now the sceptics who are struggling to get the alarmists to admit that CO2 warming causes around 1C of warming. It is now the sceptics who have to keep reminding the alarmists that the real evidence is what is (not) happening to the global temperature.
    Science is on our side. Science supports our view that a doubling of CO2 warming causes around 1C of warming and it also clearly demonstrates that natural variation is much larger than this human induced warming.
    And what are we up against? Bloggers who openly endorse people who fabricate facts & fraudulent documents.

  99. EdG says:

    Re the NTY quote that begins this post.

    That is essentially an open admission of their hopeless bias. While they eagerly jump on this fake bait they remained conveniently silent when Climategate broke.

    History will show that this episode will be very significant in exposing media bias. On top of everything else, the AGW project is so doomed now that the last efforts to revive it will undoubtedly be quite comical.

    In the meantime, I see BBD is still clinging to the IPCC gospel. I suppose he and others are in complete denial about the ‘Delinquent Teenager’ book which exposed what the Greenpeace-IPCC is; that is, ‘voodoo science’ to put it in the nicest possible way.

     

  100. Joshua says:

    Keith –
     
    If you haven’t seen this, I think that you’ll like it:
     
    http://greenpolicyprof.org/wordpress/?p=790

  101. kdk33 says:

    The underlying false assumption is that there is actually something going on inside Joshua’s head.

  102. BBD says:

    Mike Haseler
     
    If the facts don’t support you, argue that the science does (we now have numerous papers showing the required positive feedbacks are just non-science)
     
    A list would be helpful.

  103. grypo says:

    “It now looks like Peter Gleick stands at the top of a short list of potential “Fakegate” memo authors.  The plot thickens”¦”

    I see this has materialized at Lucia’s.  The evidence is based on west coast, parenthesis, and the word anti-climate.  Long odds on that one.

  104. Jon Hendry says:

    grypo wrote: “the sender from HI didn’t have the doc, and someone from the west coast scanned it , emailed to her to send to the leaker”

    Or it was scanned at Heartland on a cheap Epson printer/scanner/fax which isn’t used as a fax, hasn’t had the correct timezone set, and defaulted to the Pacific Time. 

  105. hunter says:

    grypo,
    Gleick has faked book reviews. He has faked his critiques of skeptics in general for years. He has faked reasons to support the consensus. Why not fake documents? “Fake but accurate”, when one considers hide the decline and other known AGW promotional techniques, rationalizes any number of things

  106. hunter says:

    harry,
    You peg well the pointlessness of those who pretend partisanship exists only on one side.
     

  107. hunter says:

    @76,
    You sum it up rather well.
     

  108. #105.
      Dont doubt zipfs law.  

  109. hunter

    Go to lucias. I lay it all out there. 

  110. Anteros says:

    Joshua @ 101
     
    Of course I have no great insight into why you think Keith might like the link you provided.
     
    It does, however strike me as extraordinary. That someone who writes as an intelligent human (the article’s writer) being can have such a profound lack of understanding. In effect to be so blind – when they claim to be able to see.
     
    The reverse situation does not exist in the same way. There is no clear symmetry. It is as easy as pie to understand an alarmist perspective – we’ve all been irrationally alarmed about something in our lives, so realists can look at the climate-alarmed and easily say “Yep, I understand that that person believes the planet is under threat”.
     
    So how is the reverse not possible? Is it that there is a sort of fundamentalism at play where someone can admit theoretically that they could be irrationally alarmed but just not in this case? Which sort of means that they don’t really get the idea of being mistaken (fearfully) about the future, which after all, is a dominant feature of humanity’s perspective for as long as it has existed.
     
    It’s like saying I genuinely understand that a mirage is not necessarily indicative of there being water ahead, but in this situation, that water up ahead is definitely, absolutely water, and I just don’t understand people who say it isn’t. They are strange!!!!
     
    George Orwell coined a nice term for this king of mental gymnastics – double-think.

  111. 2010_IRS_Form_990.pdf from the DeSmog link shows GMT -05:002010_IRS_Form_990.pdf from the HI website shows GMT -06:00

    ############

      what is the point of 2010 tax documents for a 2012 meeting?

    1. Scanned on the west coast.
    2. One person mentioned in the smoking paragraph of the smoking memo had a copy of this document. 

    read the smoking paragraph again. pay special attention. who is cast in the role of thwarting Heartland plans? who is cast as aiding them?  Who has had a fight with taylor? when he fought with taylor did he reference 990 forms?

    then look at samples of his text.

    hehe. then run them through a style analyzer…

    stay tuned 

  112. Anteros says:

    Joshua –
     
    One further thought on the greenpolicyprof site. It may well be unashamedly biased or partisan, which is fine.
    But I think my comment about simply not understanding another point of view is partially explained by the blogroll – it contains only believer websites. So it is not just a question of not understanding another viewpoint, it is a question of having no interest in understanding another viewpoint.
     
    It’s something like admitting that mirages exist (and we’ve seen lots before) but in this present situation we’re only going to communicate with other people who see water up ahead, and we will put our fingers in our ears when we are near people who say stupid things like “mirage?” And we will call their thinking “mysterious” and “strange”.

  113. hunter says:

    Anteros,
    Well said.
    steve,
    I am following your posts on this closely. You’re kung fu, as I mentioned before, is consistently good.
     

  114. hunter. The most damning evidence is the style. You’ll note ( I think) that few people (such as lucia ) can really misuse the parenthesis the way that my suspect does (even I have a hard time doing it).
     

  115. Anteros says:

    SM –
     
    You’re right about style [although I think it goes even further than that]
     
    If obviously identifying features were redacted, I think many in the climate blogosphere would still be easy to spot. Lucia for various reasons – spelling primarily; yourself for capitals and hugely varying sentence length; Lewis Deane for exclamation marks and idiosyncratic bollocks; kim for non-bot sagacity; Joshua for 17 reasons, all of them off-topic; Josh H for affectations and third person embarrassments; Joe Romm for head-explosions ; James Hansen for the incessant use of the word ‘catastrophe ; Michael Tobis for insisting that phrases such as “biomes are struggling everywhere” are known to be true by using a ‘scientific perspective’; Peter Gleick for having an uncommon inability to use parentheses; and some other people for not knowing when a sentence is already way too long.
     
    On a slow day I could imagine having some fun with ‘identify the suspect’ competitions.

  116. LC says:

    Anteros,

    <i>”Joshua for 17 reasons, all of them off-topic”</i>

    Brilliant  🙂

  117. Anteros says:

    Joshua –
     
    Hm. Now I’ve had some mindless fun at your expense, I read back and notice a cartoon on the link you gave to Keith.
     
    My reaction to my first look somewhat embarrasses me, which is a little odd as were there no cartoon, I would not feel foolish at all. Nevertheless, I apologise for linking my emotional reaction to the article, to your linking of it. It was over the top.
     
    I like the cartoon, though.

  118. BBD says:

    That’s right. Let’s all talk about whether or not one of the documents is genuine.
     
    Never mind about the subversion of democracy and perversion of truth by ‘anonymous donors’ and big money.
     
    Let’s not worry too much about what ‘think tanks’ really are and really do. Or who’s paying for all this influence and why
     
    Utterly bloody predictable.

  119. kdk33 says:

    Utterly bloody predictable.

    Yes, BBD, you are.  And dangerous too.

    Want to subvert democracy?  Start deciding who does and doesn’t get to have a voice.  Want to subvert democracy  Start deciding who gets to think and who gets to forward their opinion.

    …the subversion of democracy and perversion of truth by “˜anonymous donors’ and big money.

    Yes, BBD, I can see how allowing people to spend the money that they earned in the way they choose without having their names placed on a list is a subversion of democracy. 

    I’ve asked before, but I really must inquire again: are you sane?

    what “˜think tanks’ really are and really do. Or who’s paying for all this influence and why

    Yes, BBD, let’s absolutely assign some government office the responsiblity of attributing motive to anyone who bothers to comment on issues related to government policy.  We could call that office the “truth squad”.  Then government would be able to keep all this untruth away from the gullible people, who are so easily mislead, by evil. 

    BBD, you don’t care about climate.  CAGW just happens to align with your socialist utopian delusion.  You have the childish notion that if only the smart, ggod intentioned, saintly  people were in charge then everything would work out.  Our failure to achieve utiopia is because of the evil, greedy, successful people are fooling all us gullible public.

    It’s been tried.  Over and over again.  It doesn’t work.  Democracy, requires that everyone have a voice.  Don’t like what they say? Tough.  You are also have a voice.  Want to argue that only you shuuld have a voice – maybe we should rethink your priveleges.  Democracy acknowledges that power corrupts.  Democracy acknowledges that we all get to help decide.

    Of course your underlying theme is about “big oil”, and “big money” and “entrenched interests”.  These words reveal the other half of your delusion: that winners wiin because they cheat and we need a referee to make things fair.  You’ll be happy, I’m sure, to help do the deciding.

    Winners sometimes cheat.  But, mostly, winners win because they are good.  And we all benefit when winners are allowed.  Don’t like big oil? Quit using energy.  Not ready to quit using energy?  Then grow up.

    That’s right. Let’s all talk about whether or not one of the documents is genuine

    Objective truth matters… except to the delusional.

  120. hunter says:

    BBD,
    HI is not undermining democracy at all. They are a respected part of it, They make their case in the public square and theyeither increase or decrease their influence based on their case. They operate within the law, and are tiny compared to many leftist and pro-AGW organizations. Do you really want to go there, or do you simply want to silence those with whom you disagree?
     

  121. kdk33 says:

    Well, I guess I’m in moderation.  I know I’m the radical free marketeer, but what is it that I am supposed to stop?

  122. grypo says:

    Please tell us what analyzer you are using and how you are doing it.  If yo are going to level accusations, the cryptic reasoning looks like a charade.   If you have better evidence, let us know.  Even Pielke is now discussing it.  If your going to release all the information, let us know that too.  

    I’ve used a style matcher and checked in several different ways using many samples of his writing and other.  The results say below average to average each time I compare his and the fake pdf.  When I use 2 of his known samples, I get above average to far above average.  When I compare to Lucia, Mosher, Keith, me, etc to the pdf, I get the same results I do when I compare it to Gleick.  When using the Flesch-Kincaid Grade, Gleick scores from 9-11 grade level.  The fake pdf scores at 6.  Fog scales are similar.  

  123. Joshua says:

    Anteros –
     
    I linked the article because I thought that Keith would find it interesting – in part because of the cartoon and an overlap between the cartoon and how I interpret Keith’s perspective, and in part because of the text of the article, which I think presents a cogent analysis.
     
    That doesn’t mean that I agree with all of the opinions in the text. I agree with you on the whole that the text paints climate “skepticism” with too broad a brush, but some of the comments about “skepticism” I think are reasonably qualified (e.g., “I have a hard time understanding…”), and one comment jibes with what I have seen with my own eyes in the debate:
     
    “I get that some are contrarian by nature and revel in railing against orthodoxy of any sort. I get that there are widely divergent views of the appropriate relation between the government and markets, and that serious climate policy might seem alarming to those with a libertarian bent.”
     
    That all said, what I found most cogent (and specifically what I thought Keith might find interesting) was the main focus of the article – the discussion of the different “logics” of climate analysts and climate activists. Indeed, the description of analysts rests on too broad a characterization, as there are “climate analysts” who don’t have a baseline assumption that AGW presents a serious problem – but that over-generalization notwithstanding, I think that the article does a nice job of describing the tension between climate activists and those climate analysts who do think that AGW is a problem and who ” chaff against exaggerations and misuse of data by advocates on all sides.” Again, that was the main point of the article (and the article quite clearly indicated that was the main point), and the aspect I found most interesting and cogent.
     
    And yes, if someone doesn’t read opinions of “skeptics” then one can’t really expect to understand “skeptics,” and the author said that he had a hard time understanding “skeptics,” but I think that your conclusion that because the blog role doesn’t link to any “skeptical” sites. therefore the author has no idea of what “skeptics” have to say, is a bit facile.
     
    I will also note that you, often, in contrast to my linking to an article which I may or may not be in full agreement with, openly applaud the comments of “skeptics” who very much fit the description of “skeptics” that I highlighted above – “skeptics” who have an overt political orientation in how they approach the climate debate. I take your statements that you don’t have an overt political orientation at face value even though you often explicitly applaud the opinions offered by those who do. Now unlike you, I openly state that my orientation to the debate is obviously linked to my political orientation, but perhaps you might consider giving me the benefit of the doubt, and not assume that I agree with all “realist” partisanship merely because I link to an article that comes from a partisan perspective.
    On another note – I have noticed an increasing tendency on your part to take gratuitous shots at me. Now I do take shots at you w/r/t your thesis about an asymmetry in alarmism on the different sides of the debate, but they aren’t personal shots in the sense of being, ironically, “off-topic” to any substantive issue related to the debate and only personal in nature. I don’t take it personally, (given the love some “skeptics” have for taking personal shots at me I’d have stopped posting on “skeptical” blogs long ago if I did take it personally) but when you take shots like that it diminishes the possibility of having a fruitful exchange of perspectives. I will note that this is not the first time that you have spoken of overly emotional reactions; maybe you should consider that pattern in the future?
     
    Finally, I asked you before what led you to conclude that I don’t drink port. I don’t think you answered the question (I do drink port on occasion, and happened to have some of a very nice and unusual port from a vineyard in California the other day – it was more like a wine than most ports in that it was less syrupy and sweet than most ports). Now saying that there are 17 “off-topic” characteristics to my posts is on thing, but if I read you correctly, saying that you don’t think that I’m a port drinker may be below the belt and unacceptable. I may not in general take offense at personal shots, but that shot may have been beyond the pale.
     

  124. Joshua says:

    BBD –
     
    “That’s right. Let’s all talk about whether or not one of the documents is genuine.”


    There will be three distinct subgroups of discussion about Heartwell, with some relatively small amount of overlap.


    One large group of people will focus on the authenticity of that one document and declare that is all anyone is talking about.


    Another large group of people will focus on the larger implications of the Heartland documents w/r/t the politicization of science and declare that is all anyone is talking about.
     
    A few people will talk about the larger tribal implications of both the authenticity of the one document and the larger implications w/r/t the politicization of the science.


    Same as it ever was.

  125. Jeff Norris says:

    @124
    As a means of control could you compare two different samples of Keith’s posts using the same parameters to your previous test see what the scoring is?  No doubting you just the ability of the style matcher in general.

  126. Anteros says:

    Joshua –
     
    I’m glad (for symmetry’s sake) that it is not only myself that can make erroneous assumptions. My expression of surprise that you drank port was about as innocuous as it is possible to be. I replied to your comment #31, two posts below @ #33 on the Come Together thread. You’ll see what I mean there.
     
    My emotion was aroused because I found the article offensive. Not just ignorant but wilfully so. To see someone admit that they don’t understand a point of view they are diametrically opposed to, and to see them cheerfully make not the slightest effort to broach that lack of understanding seems to me an abnegation of everything intelligent and sane about human affairs.
     
    I’m sure we’d agree that that sort of thing is very much the rule rather than the exception in life, but the writing seemed to me to be from someone intelligent – you described it as cogent.
     
    But what is cogency worth in the dark? It seems like a self-stroking satisfaction of speaking solely to fellow believers. It struck me as such a waste of intelligence and potential understanding.
    Of course, the fact that it was an understanding that I have, increased my dismay. As I said, I apologise that I directed some of that at you.
     
    I think it is a fine thing that you enjoy port.

  127. grypo says:

    Yes, thanks for mentioning.  Keith scores above average and far above average on the 4 writing samples of his I used from Yale.

  128. Joshua says:

    Anteros –
     
    “I’m glad (for symmetry’s sake) that it is not only myself that can make erroneous assumptions. My expression of surprise that you drank port was about as innocuous as it is possible to be.”


    Did you seriously think that I considered your expressed surprise that I might drink port to be anything other than innocuous?


    What’s funny is that even though I try as hard as I can to make my sarcasm over the top, sometimes people still miss it.



  129. NewYorkJ says:

    Tha “damning” evidence is style via the use of parenthesis?

    From the Fundraising plan document, authenticity of which is not in dispute:
     
    Hosted by Heartland specifically for Heartland donors (such as our anniversary benefit dinners or President’s Council Retreats) or for elected officials and other audiences at which Heartland development staff can make presentations and connections with donors and
    prospects.

    From the Climate Strategy document, authenticity in dispute:

    Heartland plays an important role in climate communications, especially through our in-house experts (e.g., Taylor) through his Forbes blog and related high profile outlets, our conferences, and through coordination with external networks (such as WUWT and other groups capable of
    rapidly mobilizing responses to new scientific findings, news stories, or unfavorable blog posts).  Efforts at places such as Forbes are especially important now that they have begun to allow highprofile climate scientists (such as Gleick) to post warmist science essays that counter our own.

    But that sentence uses it more than once!  Back to the Fundraising document:

    Dr. Wojick proposes to begin work on “modules” for grades 10-12 on climate change (“whether humans are changing the climate is a major scientific controversy”), climate models (“models are used to explore various hypotheses about how climate works. Their reliability is controversial”), and air pollution (“whether CO2 is a pollutant is controversial. It is the global food supply and natural emissions are 20 times higher than human emissions”).
       
    The “damning” evidence seems to point to the writer of the fundraising document (acknowledged to be Bast) also writing the climate strategy document.  There is simply no other explanation.  Oh whoops.  I used parenthesis too, as I did in above posts.  Put me on the list, along with most of us here.
      
    So Pielke is pushing this too.  But it’s clear that his father is a suspect.  He even uses “e.g.” in parenthesis:

    Indeed, it seems the only reasons are political competition with other countries (e.g. China) and to show that humans can live in space. Most of us are certainly intrigued by human space flight (Star Trek Next Generation is a great motivational reason :-))   

    But it’s more than the style similarities, one might say.  Clearly, whoever wrote the document in question is familiar with the topics being discussed in that document, which should be breaking news, as that clearly only points to one person.   Stay tuned!

  130. Joshua says:

    Anteros –
     
    ” To see someone admit that they don’t understand a point of view they are diametrically opposed to, and to see them cheerfully make not the slightest effort to broach that lack of understanding seems to me an abnegation of everything intelligent and sane about human affairs.”
     
    Which is more of an “abnegation of everything intelligent and sane about human affairs”? To say that you don’t understand a group’s perspective first and then offer up a qualified speculation, or to claim full understanding and then grossly mischaracterize a group’s perspective?
     
    Speaking hypothetically, of course.
     
    And Anteros – looking at this comment: “an abnegation of everything intelligent and sane about human affairs,” do you not see even a hint of alarmism?

  131. harrywr2 says:

    BBD Says:
    <i>Ideally, the curriculum should incorporate the best current understanding of the physical science</i>
    So it we look back historically Galileo’s  non-consensus views about the shape of the earth would have been rightly excluded. How about Albert Einstein’s ‘non-consensus’ views? How about the ‘non-consensus’ views related to evolution? Quantum Physics? Tectonic plate theory?
    When I took physics in school we were taught the ‘currently
    accepted theories’….plus a long laundry list of ‘alternative theories’.
    We know we don’t know everything there is to know about physics, which means what we do know could end up being wrong.
    If we don’t teach our children about the possibility that alternative theories may end up being correct then where are we going to get the scientists to explore ‘possible alternative theories’?

  132. Anteros says:

    Joshua –
    No!….
     
    Sadness, frustration, dismay..
     
    But not much alarm in the vicinity…
     
    I’ve actually found that discussing the asymmetry has made me realise that it is not alarm that I feel. There are many other things that I’m grateful to have identified, but alarm isn’t one of them.
     
    However (..) I do see more often, the reflected alarmism in some (especially politically motivated) sceptics. And as I see a lot symmetry in the human, psychological, and emotional aspects of the debate, that shouldn’t be a surprise. 
     
    I don’t know if the symmetry is complete, though. I see worries about the future of the climate as merely one expression of a continual, ever-present fear about what may or may not happen in the future. The response to this in other people can, as we see, be alarm. But for many people it doesn’t provoke such a response.
    I would say there are many more people worried about the future climate than there are worried about the worriers. It seems something of a quiet echo [though loud if you’re sitting near a cwon or a don]
     
    And perhaps you see mostly tribally motivated sceptics, who in their tribalism have an alarm that isn’t really related to the climate debate – it is about a fantasised green menace or socialist takeover or some such. When I think of people I know who aren’t overtly political, they are either alarmed – to some degree – about climate change, or they by and large don’t think about it at all. There is no symmetrical alarm to compare with that about climate change.
     
    I think what I see in the sentence
     
    an abnegation of everything intelligent and sane about human affairs,”


    is not so much alarm, but some slightly flowery hyperbole?

     
    To your hypothetical question – I don’t know. I’m not in a position of full understanding, so wouldn’t speculate about what can be done from that position. But the abnegation was not in the lack of understanding, but in the avoidance of of seeking it.

  133. Jarmo says:

    Who has the burden of proof in this fake-not fake controversy? From legal perspective?

  134. Dave H says:

     
    The quotes in the suspect strategy document are no longer credible, which is a shame because there was much fun being had mirroring the “hide the decline” and “redefine peer-review” context-excision soundbite smears of “skeptics” to ironic effect, but that hilarity has now blown up in the faces of those of us that engaged in it. Mea culpa.
    However, the developing story continues to be the sheer amount of effort that some are willing to put in to avoid answering awkward questions or focus the same spotlight on Heartland that was shone on CRU. The time expended tracing the provenance of the suspect material is impressive. Almost as impressive as the amount of words expended trying to turn that into the “real” issue, when of course it is more about Heartland possibly abusing tax-exempt charity status to fund lobbying and educational activities that would seem to violate those tax rules, or making large direct payments to scientists in return for producing material that exactly matched the political motivations of Heartland and its now notorious anonymous benefactor.
     
    The strategy quotes have only ever been a way of pointing out the hypocrisy of those that made so much of “hide the decline”. Anyone claiming that the loss of the strategy document as ammunition is makes this leak a non-event is simply wrong – but it does mean that there is a lack of short, snappy soundbite material of the sort that “skeptics” have proven so adept at reusing again and again in the face of any rebuttal or common sense.
     
    While I am deeply curious to know exactly where the allegedly forged document came from, it is a total side issue. Perhaps if supposedly educated, honest and non-partisan skeptics could find it in themselves to actually take a look at the NIPCC funding (for example) and state whether or not they are 100% happy with it and that there are definitely no grounds to investigate Heartland’s tax-exempt status, rather than blustering about a document that remains irrelevant to the actual allegations, a productive debate might break out.
     
    I’m not holding my breath.

  135. Dave H says:

    @kdk33

    > Yes, BBD, I can see how allowing people to spend the money that they earned in the way they choose without having their names placed on a list is a subversion of democracy. 
     
    The point – which you seem determined to miss – is that there are ways of doing this that do not usually enjoy a tax exemption and the veneer of impartiality afforded by being a “charity”, especially when it comes to the impartiality that is assumed when reviewing produced educational materials. If Heartland wants to be a private lobby organisation, fine – but if they’ve engaged in those activities and not been entirely open about it in their tax filings, well… isn’t that a subject worthy of investigation?

  136. hunter says:

    Dave H,
    Again,
    If you want to strip away HI’s status, then let’s line up nearly all big green enviro 501 c3’s as well.
     This blatant attempt by you guys to suppress those with whom you disagree reflects very badly on you all.   

  137. NewYorkJ says:

    There are individuals who treat material from the Heartland Institute as something to be taken seriously, taught in schools maybe, and certainly above the political propaganda it is.  There are those who push their conferences as representing real science rather than…

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/01/what-if-you-held-a-conference-and-no-real-scientists-came/

    There are those who claim certain individuals are free from financial interest from such advocacy groups.  There are those who put forth co2science.org as a legit website accurately representing scientific research, and free of financial support from advocacy groups.  There are those who promote their NIPCC reports as being serious scientific documents on par or above the IPCC.  While the revelations in the leaked documents aren’t Earth-shattering (far more interesting I suspect would be years of personal email exchanges rather than more formal internal documents only partially filling in key cash flow and strategy gaps), their defenders are caught now looking more silly further defending the above false notions or claiming there’s nothing to see here because Heartland is just an advocacy organization never meant to be seen as free of extreme political bias or adhere to high standards.  There are of course others who just don’t want to deal with any criticism of their fellow skeptics on the poor grounds that one document might not be real.

  138. Dave H says:

    @Hunter
     
    Of course I believe that any charity that has broken rules that qualify it for charity status should be sanctioned. I would have thought that was an uncontroversial statement to make – yet you seem to want to point elsewhere to avoid making the same concession wrt Heartland.
     
    How about, rather than fantasise about whether or not charities you happen to dislike have broken any rules, you turn your attention instead to the evidence that this particular one may have? Its a very simple situation – here is some interesting documentation, does it corroborate allegations of wrongdoing at this particular charity?

  139. Matt B says:

    @ 135 Dave H

    the developing story continues to be the sheer amount of effort that some are willing to put in to avoid answering awkward questions or focus the same spotlight on Heartland that was shone on CRU.

    I disagree, there was significant effort put into finding that “CRU hacker”. Even desmogblog agrees that over 80,000 pounds was spent on this task, just by the Norfolk police alone:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brendan-demelle/uk-climategate-investigation_b_1113849.html

    And who know how much the National Domestic Extremism and Terrorism group spent on the CRU hack? Significant resources, I would bet…….

    And ow do I know that an expenditure of 80,000 pounds was significant? Well that’s more than HI was going to pay Anthony Watts for his (allegedly) thermometer-bashing website development, and that seems like a big deal, and so by definition the expenditure by the Norfolk police is an even bigger deal!

    QED baby……

  140. BBD says:

    kdk33 @ 121

    Want to subvert democracy?  Start deciding who does and doesn’t get to have a voice.  Want to subvert democracy  Start deciding who gets to think and who gets to forward their opinion.

    ‘Think tanks’ like HI are mechanisms for ensuring that what the people who fund them want is what happens. That means that their money trumps your democratic voice. They are already doing exactly what you (mistakenly) believe I advocate.

    I’ve asked before, but I really must inquire again: are you sane?

    Yes, you’re routinely offensive. Always to your own detriment.

    BBD, you don’t care about climate.  CAGW just happens to align with your socialist utopian delusion. 

    You know nothing about my political views, so this is just silly. You have demonstrated that you have no appreciation of the anti-democratic nature of ‘think tanks’ like the HI. You have shown a willingness to defend the indefensible even though it operates against your interest.

    You really aren’t doing too well.

  141. BBD says:

    harrywr2 @ 133

    So it we look back historically Galileo’s  non-consensus views about the shape of the earth would have been rightly excluded.

    The basic physical science is not in doubt. That is why it is appropriate for inclusion into the curriculum.
     
    Only sceptics think that there are plausible (and unexplored) ‘alternative theories’ (hypotheses) explaining modern warming. Also, were an alternative warming mechanism found, it would be necessary to explain why forcing from CO2 is having little or no effect. Some reorganisation of the laws of physics would be required at this point.
     
    The fact is, we are stuck with the CO2 problem. It’s a grim realisation, to be sure, but one that needs to be faced up to now.

  142. Dave H says:

    @Matt B
     
    You realise you answered my accusation of diversionary tactics with essentially “look! over there!”, right?

  143. Joshua says:

    Dave H –
     
    heh.

  144. BBD says:

    Joshua @ 126

    Same as it ever was.

    Agreed. Sadly. David Byrne had it right.

    I’d be very happy if the frame of discussion expanded to include general issues of unaccountable influence. I do believe that ‘think tanks’ and other lobbying organisations should be compelled to disclose the sources of their funding. We should know who is paying for what.

    The fact that so much is carefully concealed amply demonstrates the need for greater transparency.

  145. BBD says:

    Joshua
     
    BBD: Yes, you’re routinely offensive. Always to your own detriment.


    I did myself no favours with you earlier. My apologies.

  146. Joshua says:

    No problem, BBD. I’m used to it. I don’t take any of this nonsense to heart. Water under the bridge and over the dam.
     
    When I was a kid we played “the dozens” a lot. Creative insults were how you won. Getting angry was how you lost.

  147. Matt B says:

    @ 144 Dave H
     
    You realise you answered my accusation of diversionary tactics with essentially “look! over there!”, right?

    Well Dave, I thought one of your points in your post 135 was that there was a lot of effort being put into determining whether the one HI document was fake or not, and that this same effort was not forthcoming on behalf of the CRU with the release of the E-Mails. My position is that there was a significant effort expended to prove that the CRU E-Mails were illegally obtained; they have not been shown to be hacked so as far as I know but there was certainly a great deal of effort expended to that end. 

    So, my post was not addressing your point of “diversionary tactics” being employed in this foofaraw. I agree with you on that point, that there are many who will stay focussed on the “fake memo” angle and not wanting to discuss what Heartland is doing and whether it is good/bad legal/illegal moral/immoral intelligent /stupid.

    As we are of like mind on this, I believe that we also agree that the effort expended by many to find out who hacked the CRU (Russians? Big Oil? Tallbloke?) was also a diversionary tactic to avoid focussing on the substance of those E-Mails, whether they showed CRU actions as being good/bad legal/illegal moral/immoral intelligent /stupid.

  148. hunter says:

    Dave H,
    Irt your question about HI and breaking rules of charitable / 501c3 status:
    It would appear very unlikely from the evidence so far taht HI has broken any rules at all. Now the question of whether or not the rules should be tightened could be asked, but there would be may oxen gored if that were the case if it were done even handedly. Since I have no confidence at all that the goreing of the oxen would be anything like even or fair, i think my position will be that we should err on the side of government non-involvement in the public square and permission of as much free speech as possible. I see nothing in the Constitution that says people grouping themselves to petition and seek redress need to meet any special standards of registration at all. And I see a huge opportunity for government/political forces to abuse registrration processes to intimidate people from pursuing their political voices if a registration system is imposed.
    So, as much as I dislike Greenpeace or PETA, i would rather ahve the status quo with broad freedoms in the public square than a regulated public space where Chicago style politics are used to silence the minority position of the day.
       

  149. BBD says:

    Joshua


    Getting angry was how you lost.
     
    True in any scrap. Your sangfroid is admirable 😉

  150. BBD says:

    hunter
     
    Can we at least agree on accountability of funding (146)?
     
    How does this threaten free speech or democracy?

  151. EdG says:

    152 BBD

    Yes, let’s have more accountability and transparency in funding!

    This details a few billion dollars worth of ‘spending that ought to be examined:

    http://joannenova.com.au/2012/02/logic-gate-the-smog-blog-exposes-irrational-rage-innumeracy-and-heartlands-efficient-success/

  152. kdk33 says:

    Think tanks’ like HI are mechanisms for ensuring that what the people who fund them want is what happens.

    Ensuring?  Hows that working out for the left.  Are they ensuring with much success.  Perhaps is is only right wing thaink tanks that can ensure.  No, BBD, think tanks lobby for their position; you’re free to lobby for yours.  Get it?

    That means that their money trumps your democratic voice.

    Really?  Why is your side of the climate debate losing.  Your have oodles and oodles more money.  Data not consistent with theory.  Sound familiar?

    They are already doing exactly what you (mistakenly) believe I advocate..

    No they are doing exactly the opposite.

  153. kdk33 says:

    You know nothing about my political views,

    Nonsense, they are quite transparent.

    You have demonstrated that you have no appreciation of the anti-democratic nature of “˜think tanks’ like the HI.

    Becuase they are not undemocratic.

    You really aren’t doing too well.

    Actually, my side is winning, or haveyou not noticed.

  154. kdk33 says:

    Yes, you’re routinely offensive.

    I rather enjoy the snark, I don’t apologize. 

    But offensive?  it’s a political blog – get over it.

  155. NewYorkJ says:

    Your have oodles and oodles more money.  Data not consistent with theory.  Sound familiar?

    Yup.  Creationism.  Data just not consistent – there’s that “missing link”.  How can it all just happen?

    Not much money for creationist scientists (ahem “intelligent design”) relative to the rest – there just aren’t many of them and like climate change denialism, there’s no need to do real research and actually gather evidence, which tends to cost money.  Empty rhetoric doesn’t cost much.  But a little bank can go a long way in influencing the public when you have many dedicated extreme ideologues like kdk33 and a willing media doing the false balance thing.  The formula is very familiar.

  156. Dave H says:

    @hunter
     
    Well, we’ll have to disagree on that, and I have to say I find Mashey’s detailed analysis much more enlightening than your plain asssertion. Certainly it warrants a closer look, and not a simple dismissal.
    Legality aside, just answer this simple question: are you content to not know who exactly paid for the NIPCC project?

  157. kdk33 says:

    Creationism?  NYJ, this is sad, or maybe it’s funny, but it’s one of your favorite memes so mostly it’s just boring.  But for the sake of the crowd.

    Please NYJ, let us know what creationism has to do with climate?  Perhaps the two are related by tobacco.

    Or perhaps you’ve been smoking ;-).

  158. kdk33 says:

    BTW, it is ironic that we agree that “big money” doesn’t corrupt democracy.  Perhap[s you could take this up with BBD.

  159. Nullius in Verba says:

    #157,
    Yeah. All those deniers claiming Piltdown Mann was a hoax…
     
    The continued survival of Creationism is for a closely related reason – that the public education system doesn’t teach scientific method, it instead asserts scientific conclusions backed by scientific authority.
     
    The most common argument I have seen in support of evolution is that “thousands of biologists all agree”. Sound familiar?
    And you get the same basic misunderstandings, all of them with easy answers founded in the evidence, time and time again. People thinking evolution is based on random chance, people thinking mutations are guided, that it takes millions of years, not understanding how species are formed, the ‘half an eye’ argument, and so on. There may be some who do it cynically, knowingly deceptive, but the few people I’ve talked to about it have all been honestly and genuinely confused. And when I ask them what they were taught, the reasons the teacher said they should believe it, the only thing they can remember is “Scientists say…”
     
    While, having looked into it, I consider the argument and evidence for evolution to be more than sufficient, I also think that doubt and uncertainty is a perfectly reasonable position for those who have not been shown the evidence: who have instead been told that “scientists say…”. And for a scientist (in another field, say) who hadn’t checked it out themselves, I would say it was required.
     
    For most people, whether they believe in evolution doesn’t actually matter. For all the hairdressers and shop-keepers and factory workers and lorry drivers, what do they need to know for? It’s irrelevant. But it has become a shibboleth of the American culture wars because of its historical connection to religion. And as such, the question of whether people believe in evolution is primarily politics, not science.
     
    I’ve met people who think that when you flick the light switch the electrons race round the circuit at the speed of light. I’ve met people who think pure water (or ‘organic’ foods) don’t contain ‘chemicals’. I’ve met people who don’t know why multiplying two negative numbers gives a positive number. Or why the sky is blue.
     
    And yet nobody cares about any of that. Ignorance of science abounds, and most people survive not knowing just fine. They’re not deranged or bad people; it’s not deliberate. But for a person to not believe in evolution is either outrageously perverse stupidity or ideological delusion, and only continues because of the malign propaganda efforts of churches. People doubt evolution only because a powerful conspiracy of wealthy right-wing ‘Guns-and-Jesus’ nutcases pays huge sums to keep it that way.
    Which of course leads left-wingers to run campaigns to counter this ‘conspiracy’, which leads to the other reason people disbelieve in evolution, which is that a bunch of left-wingers just told them they had to. Well done.
     
    It’s not a conspiracy of paid propagandists, it’s not the dedication of extreme ideologues, it’s not the media’s false balance. It’s simply because you haven’t presented a universally convincing argument.
     
    In the case of evolution there is one, although it’s not so widely known. In the case of climate catastrophe I haven’t been able to find it. That’s the essential difference between them.

  160. StuartR says:

    #161

    +1 

  161. hunter says:

    NiV @161,
    +10

  162. hunter says:

    BBD,
    In principal, yes we can agree on accountability of funding.
    I would ask you to think on this: It is, say, 2003, and President GW Bush was pushing the idea that there should be no anonymous donors in the political system. And his AG, John Ashcroft, was looking for legal ways to force this. Would you be so hungry for a government enforced registration of people engaging in political speech?
     
     

  163. hunter says:

    Dave H @136 makes a great point:
    Why are the believers working so hard to open up HI, a tiny think tank, yet are satisfied with the elaborate and legally dubious efforts by their own to hide their publicly funded data from any critical scrutiny?
     

  164. stan says:

    166,

    They are satisfied with scientists hiding the publicly funded data because scientists told them it was necessary for good science.  They always believe everything scientists tell them.  

  165. Dave H says:

    @NiV #161
     
    I’d quibble with this on a few grounds, notably that there is a difference between lack of knowledge and active disbelief. Sure, some people are ignorant of electronics – however, they are generally not spending their time campaigning that “electrons move round a circuit at the speed of light” *is* the correct description (or at least a valid alternative), and should be tought in schools, or writing hate letters to Panasonic.
     
    There is a big gulf between saying “I do not understand enough to know whether Evolution is a valid thing or not, but I accept that there are people that do”, and “I *know* that evolution is an invalid thing and that anyone that says otherwise is simply wrong, regardless of expertise”. That is what is fostered by the right-wing Guns ‘n’ Jesus brigade, and that is what is so corrosive. It is the assumption of superior knowledge or expertise or insight based upon pure belief, delusion, whatever, coupled with the arrogance to spread this around without any hint of self-awareness – that is what is so repugnant about the anti-evolution campaign. That, and that it is possible in the US to be a candidate for the presidency while holding these views.
     
    The thing I really take issue with is blaming the failure to present a universally compelling argument is pretty empty when there is *no* argument compelling enough to dissuade someone from this mindset. If evolution has such a compelling argument, why are there still creationists? Is it really because only weak arguments are presented to otherwise rational creationists? I think the old adage about not being able to reason someone out of a position they didn’t reason themselves into applies. If someone believes in creationism they invariably believe that the science saying otherwise is suspect too. Any attempt to explain evolution accurately will however rely on giving a grounding in how science works in the first place, and if they are resistant to even that step, you get nowhere. Your argument rests on something they refuse to become educated about because they already know it to be false. Where do you go from there? You can’t even *get* to the deeply compelling and accurate stuff because they already believe everything you say is a lie anyway.
     

  166. Anteros says:

    NiV @ 161
     
    Yep, I think pretty much spot on.
     
    We don’t exactly have a culture of belief in Intelligent Design here in the UK, but we still have the militant fundamentalists…… I mean people like Richard Dawkins.
    His lack of understanding is almost a national embarrassment – he insists that evolution has the merit of being true rather than a theory with extraordinary explanatory power. He also thinks the common or garden, church on a Sunday Christians somehow are a contributing factor to there being evil in the world. Very odd.
     

  167. kdk33 says:

    @NIV,

    You’re guilty of a gross simplification of  something that is quite nuanced.  Just as “skeptics” hold a wide range of opinions on climate change and, more importantly, what to do about it, the same applies on “evolution”.  Sadly, few people bother to understand.

    Let me first point out that evolution has nothing to do with climate.  NYJ brings it up because ad hom is his preferred form of argument.  But just for fun…

    The underlying issue in the “evolution” debate is whether or not there is a role for a creater god, or are we here by random chance.  Science has nothing to say on this matter – it is a question of faith.  The trouble arises when scientists overstate what they know.

    I know few people that question whether random genetic mutations occur and that the environment will preferentially select those that are carried forward to future generations.  This can be demonstrated in a test tube in any junior high science lab. 

    Moreover, I know very few people who question that species on earth have changed over time and that the mechanism described above plays a role. OTOH, scientists don’t have a full explanation for the fossil record – they can’t; the fossil record is incomplete.  And scientists can’t draw a complete history of what species begat what follow on species and why?  And setting that aside, there is the important question of humans.

    Are humans profoundly and fundamentally different than every other species on earth?  Many, including myself, say yes.  It seems to us that there are people and then everything else.  Some would argue, “no”, there is a continuum of intellegince – I think that’s just silly. 

    Many of us find a role for a creator god.  We don’t know exactly what was done, or how, or even why.  It’s a question of fairth and we struggle with these.  It’s called a faith journey.

    Sadly, some of the “evolution” that people want taught, far oversteps what is actually known and unjustifiably excludes any role for a “maker”.  What other people believe is their business and what I believe is my business – until they start pushing it on my kids.

    The overarching issue in “evolution” is (my introductory comments not withstanding) similar to that in the “climate” debate.  The “science” side just doesn’t know when to say “I don’t know”.

    So, NIV, when you say “for a person to not believe in evolution is either outrageously perverse stupidity or ideological delusion” you do the argument (and yourself) a disservice.  You need to spend some time clarifying what it is that you are asking people to “believe” .

    In closing, since I’ve been accused of being offensive, I will question the wisdom of using the term “guns and Jesus crowd”.  For one, it is offensive.  Two, it probably isn’t wise to offend people with guns.  Just sayin’.

  168. Nullius in Verba says:

    #167,
    Yes, I agree there is a difference between taking no position and claiming absolute certainty – in either direction.
     
    I would say two things though. The first is that the strong feelings the issue evokes are not because of the science, but because of the politics. And I don’t just mean left/right politics, I mean the secular/religious debate over the direction society is moving, the basis for moral certainties, freedom of belief, and reasons for belief. I rather doubt most people actually care that much about how species really evolved; what they care about is whether their beliefs in general will be respected, or mandated by higher authority.
    Sometimes people use a commitment to a higher level of certainty than is justified as a rhetorical tactic, bargaining chip, or simply a working assumption. That’s allowed in politics – it has different rules.
     
    The second is about the distinction between what I call ‘scientific’ belief and ‘everyday’ belief. Scientific belief has to be founded in the scientific method. You have to have replicable evidence, predictive power, consistency, falsifiability, etc. There are relatively few cases where can claim scientific beliefs. Clearly, non-scientists will necessarily have problems meeting this standard. Everyday belief, though, is ruled by the principle of freedom of belief; and that says you can believe anything you want, for any reason you want. Including trust in authorities.
     
    There are, though, people who believe their false beliefs are scientific. Sometimes because to them ‘scientific’ means ‘what the scientists say’, sometimes because they have some technical understanding, but it is incomplete, or misunderstood, or they have failed to notice the gaps in their logic. It has to be said, that does not at all mean their beliefs are unscientific. The scientific method is not perfect, it does not leap to the truth in one bound, it frequently makes mistakes or takes long diversions. One of the problems with school science education is the way they tidy up the historical narrative, to make it sound neater, more logical, more obvious than it actually was (or is). They really do need to show people at least some bits of the messier side, so they know its limits.
     
    It’s also worth noting that an ‘operational’ belief in things you know to be untrue is an essential part of practical science. Scientists calculate using Newtonian dynamics, rigid bodies, frictionless planes, perfect gases, incompressible, inviscid liquids, and so on. While calculating, they switch to a mental framework in which the assumption is taken to be true. If anyone asks explicitly, or if some paradoxical result turns up as a result, they’ll tell you that of course they don’t believe in it. But it’s a lie; at the time they do, and you can see it in how they write.
    This knack for simplification is not a failure on their part, but a common human characteristic – it’s the way the human brain works, the way it can solve such fantastically difficult problems using a computer evolved for finding more bananas. ‘Belief’ is not a binary yes/no sort of thing, or even a one-dimensional ‘Bayesian probability’. It’s a far more complex and complicated thing.
     
    I believe that scientific and everyday belief need to be carefully separated. I believe the scientific method is superior in being more reliable, but must not be made superior in the sense of being compulsory, or even politically dominant. To do so politicises science, and eliminates an important freedom. I believe the sound and fury over evolution is over these political points, not the science, and having dragged science into the fight the science has suffered. (The science of evolution was brought into the politics as a weapon to try to knock down religion/secularism, and the only result has been to knock down evolution.) And I believe that just because climate science has been politicised too, we should not assume that the conflicts are therefore similar in all other ways.

  169. kdk33 says:

    This knack for simplification is not a failure on their part, but a common human characteristic ““ it’s the way the human brain works, the way it can solve such fantastically difficult problems using a computer evolved for finding more bananas.

    Oh boy, I’m really gonna step in it, but why not, it’s a rainy day.

    NiV, really you reveal too much.  It is the human brain that has brought every single technological innovation to earth.  Setting aside alient abduction or (gasp) divine guidance, the human brain did these things.  It evolve to do these things – by definition and by undeniable fact.

    You may believe the human brain was evolved to find more bananas.  Your belief flies in the face of the simple reality you can see out your window.  Perhaps you could be a subject that Keith’s super smart friends could study. 

  170. NewYorkJ says:

    I brought up Creationism because kdk33 asked if his inane rhetoric on climate science sounded familiar.  I answered in the affirmative and I think between he and NiV, they are making that case.

    Creationism and global warming denialism share the similarity of ideological blindness being a prime motivator, but certainly they aren’t the same.  With creationism, it’s strictly religious reasons, evolution being seen as a threat to fundamentalist religious teachings.  With global warming denialism, it’s fear of government and perceived infringement on individual freedoms.  Abrams covers this well, describing his transformation on the issue, and from much observation (not just on this thread), kdk33 and NiV have this sort of bias.  

    http://oped.ca/National-Post/jonathan-abrams-why-i-am-no-longer-a-skeptic-on-climate-change/   

    NiV points out the ideological blindness with creationism, but makes the additional case that scientists haven’t “presented” the convincing case (that NiV acknowledges exists), as if somehow all of the public is expected to be experts in every scientific field.  Most don’t understand Relativity very well, but generally accept it.  For the most part, it doesn’t directly challenge anyone’s ideology.  DaveH covers this better and in greater detail.

    In both cases, expertise does help conquer ideological barriers.  The higher the expertise, the closer scientists get to the consensus views, but that depends on the thickness of the barrier.  Roy Spencer has both ideological biases described, and such barriers are too thick to overcome.  With knowledge, he instead tries to work around the evidence and take great liberties with uncertainties.

    Acceptance of science is not limited to these direct ideological factors.  The environment that results is one in such that putting forth contrarian views always has a large audience.  I think some just like the fame that comes with not blending in with the crowd, and the fantasy of making themselves out to be Galileo fighting the oppression of the establishment.
       

      

  171. Nullius in Verba says:

    #169,
    To answer your last point first:
    “In closing, since I’ve been accused of being offensive…”
    I thought that was very polite, actually. And the ‘Guns-and-Jesus’ bit was a parody of the beliefs of their opponents, not my belief. Although I’ll probably get into trouble from both sides now…
     
    “Let me first point out that evolution has nothing to do with climate.  NYJ brings it up because ad hom is his preferred form of argument.  But just for fun”¦”
    Quite so. And just for fun in return…
     
    “Just as “skeptics” hold a wide range of opinions on climate change and, more importantly, what to do about it, the same applies on “evolution”.”
    Agreed. I know. And the same goes for atheists like me.
    But my comments would be even longer if I put every caveat and conditional in.
     
    “The underlying issue in the “evolution” debate is whether or not there is a role for a creater god, or are we here by random chance.”
    “OTOH, scientists don’t have a full explanation for the fossil record ““ they can’t; the fossil record is incomplete.”
    Yes, those were exactly the sorts of things I was talking about. The theory of evolution by natural selection does not claim that we are here by random chance. And the primary case for evolution does not depend very heavily on the fossil record. Those are parts of the “school” version of the theory.
    There’s no wonder people disbelieve, if they’re being told it happened entirely by random chance.
     
    “Are humans profoundly and fundamentally different than every other species on earth?”
    Yes, but so are all species, each in their own way. We rate intelligence, because we are intelligent. But it’s not the only important thing.
    Intelligence is not so much a property of humans as the possibility of intelligence is a property of the universe. It is built into the foundations of physics, in a deeply profound and all-pervasive way. Even the intelligence of an ant is a marvellous thing, seen from that perspective.
     
    Hypothetically, if there was a creator being, able to come up with mathematics and quantum physics and symmetry and chaos and all the rest, I do not think they would have been so clumsy as to have left fingerprints in the clay we could read. That is to ascribe human limitations and characteristics to something that could not be anything like a human.
    Indeed, one of the most telling things against religion in my view is just how limited and ‘human’ all the stories are. Odin made the world from the entrails of his murdered father – that’s the sort of thing a human would think of, not an entity that could instead come up with an SU(3)-invariant Hamiltonian to base it all on. No religion I know of even mentions that sort of thing. (With the possible exception of the prophet Ramanujan…)
    Religions do have their makers fingerprints all over them.
     
    But that doesn’t matter. If people want to believe, and so long as they leave other people alone, I’m happy with that.

  172. Nullius in Verba says:

    #171,
    “It is the human brain that has brought every single technological innovation to earth.  Setting aside alient abduction or (gasp) divine guidance, the human brain did these things.  It evolve to do these things ““ by definition and by undeniable fact.”
    Good argument!
    I’ll just point out though that virtually all of those innovations took place in the last few thousand years, and the  majority within the last few hundred. For a million years, we hadn’t got any further than banging rocks together and setting things on fire. (Yes, I know… I’m being rhetorical here, as I was previously. Bear with me.)
     
    It is the brain in combination with an organised large-scale culture that has enabled these things. Civilisation links our brains together into a vast meta-brain able to do things we cannot conceivably do individually. Societies are too big an complex for individuals to understand them, let alone control them. But our interactions give us a collective intelligence, as individual neurones talking together make up our individual intelligence. Hayek called it ‘catallaxy’.
     
    We only evolved a society capable of large-scale organisation about 6000 years ago, and one capable of global organisation within the last hundred. That’s not down to genes, and I didn’t see any divinities giving orders.
     
    We have a generic problem-solving capability. It evolved to find bananas, but it turned out to be applicable to a whole lot more.

  173. John Garrett says:

    After witnessing what the “science is settled” crowd attempted to pull off in terms of hijacking science and imposing their will on an intentionally bamboozled public, I say thank goodness somebody’s around to oppose their effort to cause an intentional rush to judgment.

  174. BBD says:

    hunter
     
    Would you be so hungry for a government enforced registration of people engaging in political speech?
     
    Yet again you introduce this extraneous concept. We are simply talking about corporate sponsored lobbying. Not private citizens’ views. Unless they are backed by large donations to lobbying organisations, in which case they become a matter of public interest because the donor is seeking to influence public policy.
     
    The reason the HI needs to be scrutinised is that it is trying to influence public policy but hiding the identity of the principal donor(s). This is anti-democratic and unacceptable. For inscrutable reasons kdk33 disagrees with this, despite the fact that such behaviour smothers his own democratic voice with a blanket of dollars.

  175. kdk33 says:

    Hypothetically, if there was a creator being, able to come up with mathematics and quantum physics and symmetry and chaos and all the rest,

    I am not familiar with any religion claiming these to be of divine guidance.  Perhaps you know more.

    I do not think they would have been so clumsy as to have left fingerprints in the clay we could read.

    Not sure what this means or why.

    That is to ascribe human limitations and characteristics to something that could not be anything like a human.

    Yes, this is rather the point.

    Indeed, one of the most telling things against religion in my view is just how limited and “˜human’ all the stories are.

    On the contrary, I find the presaveness of these stories argues the other way round.  They are of course human as they are a human effort at understanding the divine.  They could be nothing other.

    I’ll just point out though that virtually all of those innovations took place in the last few thousand years,

    Interesting observation, that.

    It evolved to find bananas, but it turned out to be applicable to a whole lot more.

    I think your paradigm is showing :-).

  176. kdk33 says:

    For inscrutable reasons kdk33 disagrees with this, despite the fact that such behaviour smothers his own democratic voice with a blanket of dollars.

    Check for hidden assumptions, BBD.

    We are simply talking about corporate sponsored lobbying. Not private citizens’ views.

    Pray tell who owns these corporations?

  177. Nullius in Verba says:

    #176,
    Corporations consist of people, private citizens.
     
    And markets are the most efficient way we’ve found to assign resources, to meet the wishes and needs of the greatest number of people. A single vote picking between two options every 5 years or so is not much bandwidth to be able to express our wishes. Democracy is implemented via opinion, public discussion, commerce, actions, trends, prices, products, fashions, and yes, lobbying. Certainly the environmental movement would not have achieved what it has over the years without lobbying. They only have the money to be able to lobby if they deliver what people want. Dollars are the measure of the people’s wishes.
     
    The basic problem with lobby politics is not the fact of the lobbying, but the power of the government being lobbied to restrict and distort the market with protectionist regulation. Given that they can and do, lobbying is arguably the least objectionable way of organising it. Just as bribery, corruption, and smuggling are caused by, and are society’s way of minimising the damage done by barriers to trade.
     
    And this business of demanding names is based on pure ad hominem fallacy. If a donor is anonymous, then assume the worst, and check their arguments thoroughly. If the arguments stand up, it doesn’t matter who paid. If they don’t stand up, it still doesn’t matter.
     
    Funding. Doesn’t. Matter. This entire chasing after names and connections is flawed reasoning, a seeking out of hidden conspiracies. It’s a bogus argument. An error. An act of illogic. Total nonsense.
    It is being sought purely for political reasons, because lots of people can be fooled by conspiracy stories, and that’s all the argument the ‘climate concerned’ are nowadays left with. It’s embarassing.

  178. BBD says:

    kdk33
     
    No matter how hard you try you cannot warp reality enough to get around the fact that anonymously-funded lobbying is anti-democratic. That you still attempt to defend it is bemusing. Perhaps you really don’t understand what is going on. That would actually explain a great deal. And it is a charitable explanation too.

  179. BBD says:

    NiV
     
    Funding. Doesn’t. Matter.
     
    Yes. It. Does.
     
    I see you don’t understand the threat posed by anonymous lobbying to democracy either. Or perhaps you defend the indefensible for other reasons, although I cannot begin to imagine what they are. 
     
    The basic problem with lobby politics is not the fact of the lobbying, but the power of the government being lobbied to restrict and distort the market with protectionist regulation. Given that they can and do, lobbying is arguably the least objectionable way of organising it.
     
    No. Transparent lobbying is the least objectionable way. Covert purchasing of influence is indefensible.

  180. Nullius in Verba says:

    #177,
    “I am not familiar with any religion claiming these to be of divine guidance.  Perhaps you know more.”
     
    Not really. But still in the spirit of fun, I’ll offer this little example, just food for thought.
    In the early 1900s there was a strange Indian mathematician called Srinivasa Ramanujan, who had virtually no formal mathematical training, and yet was able to come up with the a series out outstandingly advanced, and somewhat bizarre mathematical discoveries. He did this apparently intuitively, moving directly to write down the result, without long proofs or workings out. It took some of the best mathematicians in the world years to work out what some of it meant.
    At a social gathering of some sort, a party perhaps, somebody asked him how he came up with these remarkable results, with so little working out. He replied that the Goddess Namagiri whispered them to him in his sleep.
     
    Opinions differ on how serious he was, but if we choose to take the claim seriously, that makes Ramanujan a prophet for a deity, with as good a claim as any other, and his mathematical notebooks constitute divinely inspired holy scripture.
     
    Now knowing a little bit about how the universe works, it is my impression that if it was designed, and if the designer was to talk to us, it would be far more likely to look like Ramanujan’s number theory than what the more typical God seems to be interested in. If you want a deity consistent with science, Namagiri would appear to be the strongest contender.
     
    But would believers who argue that religious faith can be compatible with science convert to the worship of Namagiri as a result? Because in a way they’re right. People often say that you can’t prove the existence of God, but in fact a deity could come pretty close to it by doing something like this. Next time you’re in Church (or the Mosque, Temple, Magic Circle with Sacrificial Goat, or whatever) ask your deity for the correct mathematical unification of gravity with quantum mechanics. That might not be enough to get scientists to believe straight away, but it would sure get their attention.
    The trouble is, I suspect such a move would be a lot less popular with most of the religions than it would the scientists. We already know most of them have to be wrong, (they can’t all be true,) but knowing which ones would spoil all the fun.

  181. Dave H says:

    @NiV #179
     
    To echo what BBD is saying – if you genuinely believe that a free market approach to politics, with lobbying and the electorate voting with their dollars are all Good Things (or at least, Not AS Bad As The Alternatives), then you should realise that lack of transparency is the very antithesis of this arrangement.
     
    Concealing information about the funding of lobbying skews the marketplace, The electorate no longer has the information necessary to judge whether their dollars are being spent in their interest. Special interests are free to present a public face that earns them dollars, and then use those dollars to anonymously gain influence in a way that benefits them but would be unpopular if known, and thus affect their income.
     
     
     

  182. Jarmo says:

    About this Heartland finance angle:

    How much money do candidates for the US Congress use to get elected?

    How much money do runners for a seat in Senate use?

    How about gubernatorial races? I recall that in California, Feinstein and whoever used in excess of 40 million to get elected?

    Not to mention the big Kahuna, POTUS.

    I think whoever is financing Heartland is getting a very good return for their money. Under 10 million $ for all the damage suffered by the IPCC, climate scientists, renewable power industries, carbon trading companies and the UN.

    Then again, the skeptic in me is saying that perhaps this think tank is getting more credit than is due? Is climate science skepticism about more than just money?

  183. Nullius in Verba says:

    “Concealing information about the funding of lobbying skews the marketplace, The electorate no longer has the information necessary to judge whether their dollars are being spent in their interest.”
    They’re not being spent in their interest, they’re being spent in the interests of the lobbyist. The electorate get what they want from the lobbyist in the marketplace, and give in return money with which the lobbyist can get what they want in return. If they want fast cars and five houses, they can pay that money back to the rest of society and be given them. And I don’t see that their customers have any say in the matter. If favourable legislation is what they want for Christmas, then they can spend their money on that.
     
    We each of us work for the benefit of society, and we each of us have the rest of society work for us. Money is the way we keep track of the difference. Political influence is one of the resources of society that we can give and receive. We implicitly exchanged the goods we bought for a say in the legislation that guides us. It just replaces whatever else they might have bought, that we would have been the ones to provide. It is just another service of society that is for sale.
     
    I don’t like lobbying, and the sort of things they lobby for. I do not believe any government should have the power to bring in more than the minimum of legislation necessary for a free society. But whatever powers they have, money is as good a way of deciding what to do with them as any other, and better than most. Politicians are still as subject to the electorate as they ever were, as much as that power to vote in or out in five years time means anything – but instead of solely their own personal interests being served, once elected, they still get to consider the interests of others.

  184. kdk33 says:

    No matter how hard you try you cannot warp reality enough to get around the fact that anonymously-funded lobbying is anti-democratic..

    Are you serious?  In what way is it anti-democratic.  Me and 10 of my good friends favor legislation X, we form a group to push that agenda and contribute money to make it work.  Maybe we hire a manger; issue some white papers, buy commerical time, a bill board, coax a friendly magazine article two…

    In what way have I subverted democracy.  I and my friends are lobbying for what we want.  Same as you.  Same as the rest.

    You claim it is more democractic if you can put my name on a list?  You are passingly familiar with history?  No?  Should we do away with the secret ballot? (actually an Obama agenda item, BTW).  Do you object that my friends and I have pooled our resources?

    Frankly, I think this is your “big money”, “entrenched intersts” meme, with different lipstick.  But just for fun, why don’t you clarify: what is specifically dangerous about anonymous funding? 

    Seriously,

  185. BBD says:

    kdk33
     
    But just for fun, why don’t you clarify: what is specifically dangerous about anonymous funding? 
     
    It allows unaccountable, unelected but wealthy entities undue influence over public policy.
     
    In what way is it anti-democratic.
     
    As above. 
     
    In what way have I subverted democracy.
     
    It depends how much money you spend on influencing policy and the wider consequences of that influence. 
     
    You claim it is more democractic if you can put my name on a list?
     
    Oh yes. That should be obvious.

  186. Nullius in Verba says:

    “It allows unaccountable, unelected but wealthy entities undue influence over public policy.”
    They have no influence except that the accountable, elected, frequently wealthy officials give to them. You can lobby all you like, but if a politician thinks it’s going to get them chucked out by the electorate, or their party, they won’t do it.
     
    The accountable, elected officials are precisely the ones who let them do it – so all that accountability and electability doesn’t achieve what you seem to expect.

  187. BBD says:

    NiV
     
    The accountable, elected officials are precisely the ones who let them do it ““ so all that accountability and electability doesn’t achieve what you seem to expect.
     
    The accountable elected officials need to know exactly who they are dealing with. The public needs to know exactly who the accountable elected officials are dealing with (or not). Then we get something like a functioning democracy.

  188. Dave H says:

    @NiV
    > They’re not being spent in their interest, they’re being spent in the interests of the lobbyist.
    I know you’re talking about lobbying in general, but its worth remembering that Heartland is not a lobbyist, it is a charitable foundation. Mashey’s report – and the leaked documents – would indicate that it is worth scrutinising whether or not Heartland *ought* to be a private lobbyist, given the activities it engages in.
     
     
    > The electorate get what they want from the lobbyist in the marketplace, and give in return money with which the lobbyist can get what they want in return.
     
    You’re talking about an incredibly simplistic situation where I knowingly give money to a lobby firm to act according to their stated aims, which I happen to agree with. What we have here instead is entirely anonymous donations being used by Heartland to fund the kind of activities that conceivable qualify as lobbying (or at the very least, providing ammunition fo lobbyists). We still do not know who paid for the NIPCC report, or where that wealth comes from.
     
    Now, in your free market model, I *ought* to know that information so that I can stop spending my money with this anonymous donor (and, indeed, lobby for others to do the same), thus depriving them of the funds necessary to fund a campaign I personally regard as disinformation. The lack of transparency skews the market because for all I know I spend my money every day with this anonymous donor, unwittingly contributing to Heartland’s lobbying. Without full disclosure, the free market fails.
     

  189. Artifex says:

    BBD, could you elaborate on:
    <i>The accountable elected officials need to know exactly who they are dealing with.</i>

    Why ? I am missing this one. Are you telling me that information somehow transitions from true to false based on who gave me the info ? If I am a congressman, a law that would limit free speech pushed by Exxon would be terrible but that same law pushed by UAW would somehow be good ? It strikes me that laws are good or bad based on their own merits and not who is pushing them.

    I also don’t see how anonymity destroys democracy. In fact I see lots of arguments to the contrary when internet activists argue that it is a basic right to be anonymous and they need their anonymity avoid oppression by powerful political forces.

  190. Nullius in Verba says:

    “I know you’re talking about lobbying in general, but its worth remembering that Heartland is not a lobbyist, it is a charitable foundation.”
    So are Greenpeace, the WWF, and the Sierra Club. They still lobby. They still fund researchers. They still seek influence.
    The rules on charities lobbying are not as strict as you seem to think. There is no problem with lobbying on issues, only for overtly supporting particular parties or politicians.
    There are even such things as charities who are funded by government to lobby government; I don’t know if that’s a specifically European thing, but I doubt it.
    Checking to see is fair enough, but I’d be surprised if anybody found anything. The rules are lax enough that it’s not worth anyone’s while to break them. Just because Mashey says it doesn’t mean it’s true.
     
    “You’re talking about an incredibly simplistic situation where I knowingly give money to a lobby firm to act according to their stated aims”
    No, you’re missing the point. You don’t know what the company is going to do with the money when you trade with them, any more than they know what you’re going to do with the goods they sell you. It’s none of their business, or yours.
     
    To take a specific example, let’s say you purchase some electricity from a fossil fuel giant to power your computer to campaign on the internet against them. Do they have a right to know what you’re going to use the electricity for, and refuse to trade with you if they don’t like it? Can you use their electricity to obtain political influence in support of policies they don’t agree with?
     
    When you pay them for the electricity, do you ask what they’re going to do with it? What if they bought a hamburger with it, but you were a vegetarian? Are they allowed to do that? Or are you allowed to dictate conditions on what they can do with what you traded once you’ve traded it?
     
    The usual rule is that one’s other business is none of their business. If they want a hamburger, they can have one. But they have to pay money to get it. They do work for society (you) so that society (burger bars) will do work for them. Freedom means we can each seek out what we want with the minimum restriction from everyone else. They can’t demand to know what you’re doing and cut your electricity off if you don’t toe their line, you can’t do the same to them.
     
    The only sense in which their activities are directed by you is that you bought electricity from them, so activities than enable them to continue to supply electricity to you are implicitly in your interests. The world’s resources are organised to supply electricity, because people like you want electricity, and therefore companies that sell electricity have the money to continue their activities. If enough people stop using it, the electricity companies have less money, and hence less influence, and hence resources are re-allocated accordingly. The process does what is needed to provide what everybody actually wants most efficiently – this is not necessarily what people think they want. The system is more practical about such things.
     
    Unless you specifically buy a promise from your electricity supplier that they not lobby, you have no right to interfere with their freedom in that way. If you buy such a promise, at extra cost, then you do have a right to know if the contract is being honoured. The same applies in reverse. They have no right to know what you’re doing unless they pay for that information, and you voluntarily agree to trade with them. It’s the same between you and your employer. It’s the same between you and the guy in the burger van.
     
    Democracy is served because the guy everone have to lobby is elected, and has to answer to the electorate for the laws they bring in. If you don’t like politicians being lobbied, simply refuse to vote for any that accept lobbying. If you still voted for the guy knowing they had made no promises to stop doing it, that’s your problem. This is how the system is supposed to work.

  191. kdk33 says:

    Yes, my friends we are now down the rabbit hole.  The time has come the walrus said….

    It is more democratic to put my name on a list if I dare to forward an opinion.  Good god!

    Furthermore, if I am willing to put my name on that list (I’m thinking McCarthyl, maybe it’s just me) I can speak, but only if I don’t have undue influence.  Who, pray tell, gets to measure undue influence.  If everyone agrees with me has my influence been undue?  If no-one agrees with me?  Some?  Where could this possibly be heading.

    Fess up BBD, your definition of undue influence is directly tied to what you want to have.  If I lobby against you, and you aren’t winning, then my influence is undue (a la Hearland).  If I’m lobbying for you then my influence is OK (say, IPCC – which spends tons more money by the way).

    And Dave H.  Yes, you ought to know who you’re giving your money to before you give it.  I do.

  192. BBD says:

    Amazing, really. You argue for transparency of funding for lobby groups – just that – and you get this. Despite reasoned explanation.
     
     

  193. Nullius in Verba says:

    #194,
    Yeah. It’s amazing how illiberal some liberals are without even realising it.

  194. BBD says:

    Where is the illiberal behaviour? I argue for transparency in the policy making process. Nothing more.

  195. Nullius in Verba says:

    #196,
    The politicians constitute the policy-making process, not the lobbyists, not the campaigners, not the advertisers, PR agencies, pressure groups, pundits, journalists, or all the rest.
     
    It’s illiberal because you are placing restrictions on what people can do in their own time with their own money, without any contract or agreement or overriding necessity for doing so. It’s not necessary to protect democracy, the lobbyists cannot bring in law without the politicians and the politicians are elected and accountable. Those things done by the government and the politicians and those working for them need to be transparent to the people in their work for the people, but there is neither need nor right to extend it any further.
     
    Nobody has any rights to private information about us, like what we do on our own time with our own money, without our agreement – except to the extent needed to maintain law and order. The same goes for everyone else. There is a private sphere within which we should be able to do what we want, without having to look over our shoulder all the time as to what the rest of society will think, and what they’ll do to us if they don’t like what they see. Even if it’s something of which many don’t approve. Consenting adults in private, and all that…
     
    And that includes telling politicians what we, or those supporters we represent, would like them to do, and what we might do for the people in return. So long as politicians have no obligation to obey the lobbyists, the lobbyists are not deciding the policy. The politicians’ behaviour gets scrutinised, because they agreed to that when they took the job, and that’s sufficient.

  196. harrywr2 says:

    BBD Says: 

    transparency of funding for lobby groups
    We now know that the KGB provided funding for the Communist Party USA until at least 1986. Some folks believed that the material the Communist Party USA was distributing was homegrown and genuine. Some believed it was being funded by the Soviet Union and were denounced as ‘McCarthyite’s’.
    What was more damaging to the Republic.
    A)The ‘witch hunt’ Joe McCarthy carried out trying to ‘prove’ financial support was being provided to communist groups by the Soviet Union
    B) The communist propaganda the money was spent on.
     

  197. hunter says:

    @176,
    BBD, There will be no enforceable registration of players without a law and a government willing to enforce that law. I am not sure why you refuse to answer my question. Can you please explain? Why should not the donors be private, if they choose to be? OWS and other groups like to single out members of the opposition and harass them at their homes. People face getting fired for not agreeing with their boss/union/family. Where in the Constitution does it say free speech rights are at the expense of privacy?
    And, by the way, HI is a think tank. They are not a lobbying group.
    Lobbyists are paid by clients to push specific legislation on their behalf. HI studies many policy issues and promotes their views on those policies. That is called “freedom”. That you are so offended by this is something you should explain a bit more. We are a democratic republic by the way, not a democracy. Thank God.
     
     
     

  198. Dave H says:

    @NiV
     
    > If enough people stop using it, the electricity companies have less money, and hence less influence, and hence resources are re-allocated accordingly.
     
    Companies don’t just compete on price, they compete on quality of service and intangible benefits. I can choose to pay a company with ties to my locality if I believe it will have a positive impact on my local economy. I can choose to pay more if I believe that I am giving my money to a company that supports renewable technology. If the company is able to secretly lobby for eg. legislation that would offshore jobs or subsidies for its non-renewable technologies, I do not have that information, so my purchase is not an informed one, so the free market fails.
     
    @kdk33
     
    > And Dave H.  Yes, you ought to know who you’re giving your money to before you give it.  I do.
     
    Have you given money to whoever funded the NIPCC report?

  199. kdk33 says:

    Dave,

    Why should not the donors be private,

    It was a good question.

  200. Dave H says:

    @kdk33
     
    I repeat, because you didn’t answer:
    > And Dave H.  Yes, you ought to know who you’re giving your money to before you give it.  I do.
     
    Have you given money to whoever funded the NIPCC report?

  201. kdk33 says:

    Dave,

    You seem to be missing the point.  it is none of your business.

    Or anyone elses.

  202. kdk33 says:

    ON second thought, perhaps you are not asking if have given money to a funder, but if I have traded with someone who then gave money.

    I don’t know.  It isn’t any of my business.  I traded X for Y (generally money for some good or service), and that transaction begins and ends there.

    Insisting that the transaction go beyhond that would be quite dangerous.  There would be lists of “goodies” and “baddies” and history insists that those lists would be used for all kind of nefariouis purposes.

    Freedom.  It matters.

  203. Nullius in Verba says:

    #200,
    “Companies don’t just compete on price, they compete on quality of service and intangible benefits.”
    Yes, if the company offers them.
    If they choose to tell you that they support X, and that gets them more custom, that’s fine. If you choose to tell the company that you support X, and they give you a discount, that’s also fine. But a company cannot demand to know what you support or what you do in your private life on the grounds that it affects the price, and you cannot demand the same of them.
     
    “I can choose to pay a company with ties to my locality if I believe it will have a positive impact on my local economy.”
    It won’t. It wastes resources, imposing a net cost on the whole of society. Some people profit at the expense of others who make a bigger loss, and the effect spreads. You can read Bastiat’s Sophisms if you’re interested in why.
    But of course you have freedom of belief, and if enough people believe that, then companies can choose to tell you where they come from in order to get more trade.
     
    “I can choose to pay more if I believe that I am giving my money to a company that supports renewable technology.”
    If the company chooses to tell you, then you and they both benefit. You get a warm fuzzy feeling, and they get more trade.
    And I would agree, if they tell you that they support renewables and secretly lobby against them, that’s wrong, and you have a right to know. But that’s only because they ‘sold’ it to you as a selling point, it doesn’t apply generally.
     
    If a company chooses not to tell you whether they support renewables or not, then you’re not being deceived, and you have no right to know. You also have the right not to trade with them, and they pay that price. The information is not for sale.
     
    “I do not have that information, so my purchase is not an informed one, so the free market fails.”
    Full information isn’t required for a market to be free. In fact, one of the most profitable trade goods around is information, and it is standard for one party to know more than the other. Do you walk into the restaurant and demand to know what’s in the Secret Special Sauce? You trade with them basically because they know how to make it and you don’t, and you still both profit by the deal.
     
    “Have you given money to whoever funded the NIPCC report?”
    That information is not for sale.
    But if you haven’t, it’s quite likely that you’ve traded with someone who has traded with someone else who has traded with someone who has traded with the funder of the NIPCC report. The money sometimes gets there by a roundabout route, but it’s all connected.
     
    The same goes for everyone, on every issue. Have you ever traded with someone who voted for the other party? Have you ever traded with someone who is religious? Or atheist? Or the wrong religion? Have you ever traded with someone who is gay, or who has had an abortion, or who experiments on animals in a scientific laboratory, owns a gun, drinks alcohol, looks at pornography, is rich, supports Israel, opposes Israel, follows the wrong football team, or buys Justin Bieber albums?
    Do you think you have a right to know, so you can choose whether or not to trade with them? Can you imagine what that world would be like? Would people have to wear yellow stars and pink triangles and green circles and so on, so everybody could tell what they are? Bar code tattoos, maybe?
     
    People have a right to a private life, in which they can do what they want, believe what they want, support what they want, (within legal limits), without having to answer to the rest of society, without having to expose everything they do to everyone’s approval or disapproval. It’s necessary to prevent persecution of minorities, and to give everyone the maximum freedom consistent with a free society.
     
    And I’m obviously not going to make an exception to this general rule to allow people to persecute whoever funded the NIPCC report, which seems to be the intention here. We don’t want to go down that path. Did you ever see the “No Pressure” video? It’s on the internet.

  204. Martha says:

    Joshua,
    I asked, “So, a fake in what sense?  Not written by an employee, or an employee with authority to write it, or by the same hand as the other internal documents for staff?”  Etc above
     
    I wasn’t suggesting ‘fake but accurate’.  

    Since the so-called memo is not fake with regards to the information, I wondered what  ‘fake’ means, especially to Heartland, since the only meaningful sense left involves one of authorship.   For example, does it mean not ‘internal’?

    What is ‘internal’, in an organization that is all about networks?  In the political network that defines Heartland, it would be hard to argue that ‘internal’ just means an approved author creates it on one computer and an approved administrator sends it to the intended recipients, and voila, ‘internal’.  Ridiculous sophistry.  

    Heartland’s initial response was to both claim that this happened because documents were “˜stolen’ from a staffer and that they didn’t know if these  documents (which they claim were stolen from their own staff) were  real.  So staff  can have documents that aren’t real, stolen from them?   What does that mean?  And who is ‘staff’, in this political network called Heartland? 

    Oh, dear, so many people to manage and control, there.  The petroleum industry funders and those reacting to the piddily cap and trade legislation cannot be amused.  Why, it seems they may not even be able to trust their own people.  No kidding.  🙁

    Seriously, this is confusing only to those who want to continue to be confused about Heartland’s kind of political activity and networks.

  205. Nullius in Verba says:

    #206,
    “So staff  can have documents that aren’t real, stolen from them?   What does that mean?”
    Heartland said that somebody had set up an external email (probably gmail) account in the name of one of their board directors, and then claiming to be that person, asked a staffer (logically a secretary or admin person of some sort) to forward internal documents from a board meeting to that address.
     
    The documents turned out to be pretty boring, though, so somebody outside Heartland decided to spice things up by faking a document that put the right spin on things, and included exciting ‘sound-bite’-able statements they could use.
    The fake document got some bits wrong, and wrongly interpreted some other bits. Given that the identity thief went so far, there was a possibility that some of the other documents may have been altered too, and so Heartland would not confirm they were genuine unless this had been checked. I suspect they’re probably genuine, but it’s not in Heartland’s interests now to either confirm or deny, and so if journalists want to cite a proven liar and faker as their source, that’s up to them. There are plenty who will.
     
    Incidentally, the list of donors revealed apparently does not include any petroleum industry funders. They’re too busy funding the climate scientists.

  206. Keith Kloor says:

    Martha,

    For some time, I’ve been cautioning about an ends-justify-the-means mindset. 

    The allegedly fake memo (I’m pretty convinced it’s a fake) raises some very uncomfortable questions (for climate advocates) about tactics and ethics–not about Heartland–but about who ever might have created the phony document.

    I can understand why folks like John Mashy (as he’s expressed in various comment threads) would like this not to distract away from the content of the authentic documents. That would have been the case had someone not taken it upon him/herself to embellish the known facts. (People would still debate the apparently dishonest means the documents were obtained, but the content wouldn’t be muddied up by questions of what was real and what wasn’t.)

    There’s much to untangle here, which I’ll take a stab at in an upcoming post tomorrow or Tuesday. 

  207. BobN says:

    Martha, Really?

    Is it that hard to understand the concept of a forgery, that is, something purported to be authored by a certain individual or group that in actuality wasn’t authored by said individual or group.  In common parlance, such forgeries are often called “fake”.  It really is as simple as that.

    If I write a book and say it was authored by Hemingway, it is considered fake, even if the style and storyline are exactly like one that Hemingway may have written.

    In this case, someone wrote a “strategy memo” and released it to the public purported that it was prepared by Heartland. Heartland says the strategy memo wasn’t prepared by any one associated with Heartland.  Review of the document’s language and metadata in the electronic file strongly suggests that Heartland is telling the truth, that is, the document wasn’t prepared by Heartland.  Even if some of the facts are correct, we can still call it a fake.

    As to the other documents that a staffer was apparently duped into sending out, they only claimed that they may have been altered as they hadn’t had time to review them. 

    I am not really a fan of Heartland but I really don’t think they have had nearly the influence that some seem to ascribe to them.  However, whoever drafted what amounted to a grade-school attempt at trying to make them look like nefarious plotters out to destroy education and the world, may have actually helped Heartland and certainly has not helped those who want to lessen anthropogenic impacts on climate.

  208. hunter says:

    One sign of derangement is the inability to distinguish false from real. 
    As to HI, they are not a lobbying group by any reasonable definition of lobbying. They are a group of citizens and legal residents who get together, develop ideas about how they would like public policy to be formulated, and push those ideas. They find like-minded people to give them money. They receive no government funding, and do not appear to have ever sought it out.
    The strong reaction some have to HI and other groups like them- implying that they are illegitimate, that they should be regulated, that those who give them money should be publicized by legal action, etc, etc. etc. all stinks of something quite the opposite of freedom. It stinks of intimidation, disrespect for the freedom of all citizens, and of extreme intolerance.
    Free speech is a basic liberty. People gathering together to seek redress in peaceful ways is part of that fundamental liberty. Perhaps those seeking to curtail this should consider just where their beliefs are taking them.

  209. hunter says:

    Martha,
    The document is deceptive. HI is not seeking to keep science from being taught. You just want to control what is being taught. HI wants some influence on what is being taught. You are simply intolerant of competing ideas.
    The leak also lies about funding- it makes false claims about how much money HI receives from Koch.
    Evasion on this, like evasion on climategate, the IPCC corrupt process, and so many other aspects of AGW assures that the numbers of skeptics grow. So selfishly, I hope you, and by extension AGW opinion leaders, continue this dysfunctional behavior.
     

  210. Dave H says:

    @NiV
     
    [RE: an example about supporting local business to bring benefits to local economy]
    > It won’t.
    I’m not arguing the merits of specific choices, I’m arguing the fundamental importance of transparency in an efficient free-market economy as it relates to politics, which you have claimed is a fine system. Focusing on whether the examples I give are “right” according to your own political or economic views is a total red herring.
     
    I’m trying to point out – using the framework you have laid down – why lack of transparency leads to inefficiencies in the system, which affects (in this case) the outcome of the democratic process.
     
    You are the one making the case for free markets being good, not me. I am not arguing the merits or otherwise of that – I am simply saying that on a pure theoretical basis lack of transparency leads to inefficiency (ie, skews the political marketplace).
     
    To put it another way – of *course* companies don’t have to tell you what they will do with your money when you pay them for services. But politicians have to tell me where their influence comes from, because not doing so represents a lack of transparency that – again, on a purely theoretical basis – skews the market.
     
    Your counter-examples keep falling flat because they are unrelated to the original model you put forward – lobbying and politics. The information flow comes not from the individuals I do business with but *from the politicians I vote for*. I have to know what their interests are and who influences them. Anonymous donations to gain influence over politics skew the market that you claim is fine.
    Based on your statement that:
     
    > whatever powers they have, money is as good a way of deciding what to do with them as any other, and better than most.
     
    You really ought to be on board with this. If money is my only influence, I need to know where to spend it. Without knowledge of where the money for a lobbyist’s influence comes from I cannot choose to deprive that lobbyist of my money.
     

  211. Keith Kloor says:

    Hunter (211),

    Let’s be clear about something. The Heartland Institute, based on the legitimate document, wants to teach the controversy. 

    Straight out of the Creationist/Intelligent Design playbook.

    Like I said, all this stuff needs to be untangled. 

  212. hunter says:

    Keith,
    And are you suggesting there is no controversy?
    AGW is not climate science, just as eugenics was not evolution.  AGW teaches to the crisis, straight out of the propagandist playbook. Do you recall AIT, and the drowning polar bears and Manhattan under water? But I do note with dismay that you did not affirm the basic liberty of HI to even exist.

  213. hunter says:

    Dave H,
    The more I think about how people with unpopular opinions are dealt with by being held up to public ridicule, job loss, etc. the more I like the idea that people, if they choose, can remain anonymous. The more I read what people here are writing about freedom and liberty issues, the more I know I am correct in that opinion. And I say this knowing it is a two-edged sword. But I am not willing to sell out my liberty so cheaply.

  214. Nullius in Verba says:

    #212,
    “I am simply saying that on a pure theoretical basis lack of transparency leads to inefficiency”
    Ah. I think I see where this is coming from, now. Economics textbooks do have a bad habit of trying to justify the free market using the concept of ‘perfect competition’, based on equal ability to manufacture goods, common knowledge of production methods, and perfect knowledge of prices.
    They’re not true, and they’re not actually necessary for the market to be optimal or justified. This is a bit complicated – Hayek is worth reading on the subject – but essentially it assumes a quasi-static market in equilibrium, when in fact any real market is always dynamic and constantly changing. The changes in prices are the means by which the esential information spreads – markets don’t set optimal resource allocation because the people participating know all the relevant facts across the entire market and work out the right prices to achieve it; the market achieves global optimality because each participant sets prices based on their local knowledge, and the price mechanism communicates the relevant facts to bring about coordination.
     
    Nobody has complete information. Nobody can have complete information – there are literally trillions of factors from all around the world being fed into every decision every day. That’s why all centralised, planned economies fail. They simply can’t compete with the level of parallel processing going on in a free market.
     
    “I have to know what their interests are and who influences them.”
    No. You have to know what legislation they’re going to pass, what actions they’re going to take in office. Why they’re doing it, or who gave them the idea is irrelevant.
    A bad law is a bad law whether it was suggested by a disinterested party or a partisan, by a clever person or a stupid one, by a good person or a bad one, or nobody at all. A good law likewise. What matters is the law itself, and whether the politician is passing more good ones than bad ones. Or laws I like rather than laws I don’t like, if you prefer.
     
    “You really ought to be on board with this. If money is my only influence, I need to know where to spend it.”
    You already know where to spend it. You buy goods and services you want, and don’t buy goods and services you don’t want. The market arranges itself to provide the goods and services you want, and everything needed to bring them about, all in the right quantities and at the right times.
     
    If the information on what they’ll do with your money is sufficiently valuable to you, then offer to pay extra to buy it. If the money is enough to compensate for the loss of privacy, they may sell it to you. But until then it’s theirs, not yours.
     
    “Without knowledge of where the money for a lobbyist’s influence comes from I cannot choose to deprive that lobbyist of my money.”
    Good! That’s the point!
    If you don’t know who votes for the opposition party, you can’t choose to deprive them of your money. If you don’t know who belongs to the wrong religion, you can’t deprive them of your money. If you don’t know who has deviant sexual practices, you can’t deprive them of your money. The answer is the same in all cases – it’s none of your business what the people you trade do in their own time with the money they earn.
     
    When you buy goods from a person, you buy the goods, you don’t buy power over their politics or private life.

  215. Nullius in Verba says:

    #213,
    “Let’s be clear about something. The Heartland Institute, based on the legitimate document, wants to teach the controversy.”
    Good! All science education should be about teaching the controversy. That’s what science is.
     
    This is only a workable strategy on the part of the Creationists because the mainstream hasn’t taught the evidence, they’ve used authority and consensus instead. Showing controversy breaks the consensus argument.
     
    Keeping controversy out of schools does a severe disservice to children, because the moment they leave school they will be faced with the controversies full force, and they won’t have the mental tools or experience with which to decide. Do you think they won’t be taught the controversy at home? Or with their friends? Or watching TV?
    And if they believe from school that real science is all neat and uncontroversial, and then somebody shows some issue is controversial in the extreme, won’t they be inclined to believe it’s therefore not settled science? Isn’t that why ‘teaching the controversy’ works?
     
    Whereas if they’re very familiar with controversies from having been introduced to them in school, and have been taught the research methods needed to find more information, test claims, construct counter-examples and so on, they’ll be better able to resist.
     
    ‘Teaching the controversy’ is only to be feared by those who rely on holding a monopoly over education to keep alternative viewpoints out, rather than teaching good quality science.

  216. BBD says:

    NiV
     
    Your capacity for endless, distorting waffle is humbling.
     
    Anonymous lobbying and the proliferation of pseudo-think tanks it supports has no place in the policy-making process.

  217. BBD says:

    Dave H @ 212
     
    Exactly. But NiV does not want to hear this at all, so he doesn’t.

  218. EdG says:

    #193 kdk33 sums it up very nicely:

    “Yes, my friends we are now down the rabbit hole.  The time has come the walrus said”¦. ”

    The commentary and response I have seen to this episode in the blogosphere has reached some truly absurd levels.

    Most people are calling it Fakegate but I see it as ‘Suckergate,’ and would recommend that all those who fell for it get grief counseling from Dan Rather or a fish flopping in a boat.

    It is working perfectly. On the one hand it has revealed how eagerly some ‘journalists’ will jump on anything, without any checking, that fits their predetermined conclusions. Major credibility disaster.

    On the other hand we have heightened scrutiny about ALL funding and the obvious massive imbalance for the AGW side.

    And in the meantime, there’s the real world not cooperating with the AGW Doomsday Models.

    Lot of genuine denial out there.

  219. EdG says:

    Email sent from the Heartland Institute LAWYER to Desmogblog begins…

    “Dear Mr. DeMelle:
    On or about February 14, 2012, your web site posted a document entitled “Confidential Memo: 2012 Heartland Climate Strategy” (the “Fake Memo”), which is fabricated and false…”
     http://joannenova.com.au/2012/02/heartland-sends-out-first-legal-notice-about-stolen-and-faked-documents/

    It demands retractions, etc. This will be fun to watch.

  220. BBD says:

    NiV @ 197

    So long as politicians have no obligation to obey the lobbyists, the lobbyists are not deciding the policy. The politicians’ behaviour gets scrutinised, because they agreed to that when they took the job, and that’s sufficient.

    This point was addressed at (189):

    The accountable elected officials need to know exactly who they are dealing with. The public needs to know exactly who the accountable elected officials are dealing with (or not). Then we get something like a functioning democracy.

    You pretend that lobbying has no influence, which is illogical. Why do it at all? Why the proliferation of lobbying organisations (‘think tanks’) sustained by significant levels of anonymous funding? What’s it all for if it has no influence?

    It’s odd that an evidently intelligent commenter argues as you do. Do you actually believe what you are saying? I am forced to ask as you are neither naive or stupid, which brings your motive for making such statements directly into question.

    Once again, transparency in the policy making process is essential to the proper functioning of democracy. Strategies to avoid it are indefensible (187).

    The various attempts to invoke the fear of government oversight of private citizens are tactically misleading. For example, here you defend behind-the-scenes lobbying by corporations and the seriously rich by pretending that there is equivalence with personal freedom:

    It’s illiberal because you are placing restrictions on what people can do in their own time with their own money, without any contract or agreement or overriding necessity for doing so.

    And:

    Nobody has any rights to private information about us, like what we do on our own time with our own money, without our agreement

    This is false equivalence.

    All this energy and guile devoted to defending the ability of wealthy anonymous entities to buy political influence behind our backs is impressive, but troubling. Again, I am forced to ask myself why you are doing it and who is being illiberal here.

  221. Menth says:

    From Spiegel Online:

    “In Germany, prominent scientists travel around the country to espouse views that are popular with their target audiences. In its reporting, SPIEGEL ONLINE found that companies and associations pay leading climate researchers fees as high as €5,000 ($6,606) for speeches. Scientists who convey unequivocal messages are also in high demand as consultants for lobby groups and political parties.
     
    Indeed, a close partnership has developed between environmental groups and climate researchers, one that benefits both sides. The lobby groups gain scientific credibility, while the researchers increase their influence. The more associations promote the line about a scientific consensus, the better climatologists’ positions become established with each message.
    The European Climate Foundation was recently established in Berlin. The group says it spends €20 million ($26.4 million) annually on its climate protection programs. With help from scientists, the foundation publishes summaries of the current state of research.”


    http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,815478,00.html

  222. BBD says:

    I appreciate that not everyone will share the irony, but…

    kdk33 @ 193

    Yes, my friends we are now down the rabbit hole.  The time has come the walrus said”¦.

    “It seems a shame,” the Walrus said,
    “To play them such a trick,
    After we’ve brought them out so far,
    And made them trot so quick!”
    The Carpenter said nothing but
    “The butter’s spread too thick!”

    “I weep for you,” the Walrus said:
    “I deeply sympathize.”
    With sobs and tears he sorted out
    Those of the largest size,
    Holding his pocket-handkerchief
    Before his streaming eyes.

    “O Oysters,” said the Carpenter,
    “You’ve had a pleasant run!
    Shall we be trotting home again?’
    But answer came there none–
    And this was scarcely odd, because
    They’d eaten every one.

    http://www.jabberwocky.com/carroll/walrus.html

  223. BBD says:

    I’m sorry but I couldn’t stop myself:

    “A loaf of bread,” the Walrus said,
    “Is what we chiefly need:
    Pepper and vinegar besides
    Are very good indeed–
    Now if you’re ready, Oysters dear,
    We can begin to feed.”

    “But not on us!” the Oysters cried,
    Turning a little blue.
    “After such kindness, that would be
    A dismal thing to do!”
    “The night is fine,” the Walrus said.
    “Do you admire the view?

    “It was so kind of you to come!
    And you are very nice!”
    The Carpenter said nothing but
    “Cut us another slice:
    I wish you were not quite so deaf–
    I’ve had to ask you twice!”

    http://www.jabberwocky.com/carroll/walrus.html

    😉

  224. Joshua says:

    – Martha – 206
     
    It will be interesting to see if the authorship of the “fake” document is ever proven. My understanding, from people whose opinions and technical expertise I respect, say that it is unlikely that authorship will ever be proven definitively unless Heartland makes public some information — and they have not yet chosen to do so. You do make a good point about the different ways that the charge of “fake” could be accurate yet unimportant – but I was speaking to the possibility that someone completely outside the organization wrote that one document as a tribal gesture to add more fuel to the fire.
     
     
    Here’s the way I look at the whole kerfuffle.
     
    The documents tell us  nothing that we don’t already know. We already know that at least some  “skeptics” are completely hypocritical in their “concern” about politicization of science in the climate debate. And we already know that (as will be shown if it is proven that the one document was created by a “realist” climate combatant and passed off as something written by someone internal to Heartland at least some “realists” will act hypocritically w/r/t their “concern” about tribalism in the climate debate.
     
    No matter what eventually unfolds,  outside of the climate blogosphere, the climate debate meter will move not more than a smidgen in either direction, while inside the climate blogsophere, both sides will declare that the event is a decisive blow in the climate battle.
     
    Each side will use different language to describe the situation (e.g. fakegate, denialgate, whatevergate). We know that both sides – I find rather amusingly – will declare that the only reason that their victory wasn’t more decisive is because of “mainstream media bias.”
     
    In my view, both this specific skirmish as well as the larger climate battle will be won through the application of force one way or the other. The balance of power is too evenly distributed for unilateral action to produce anything other than continued conflict (although both sides will continue to delude themselves otherwise).
     
    Short of an unprecedented in recorded human history short-term weather pattern (which is unlikely to happen and which, ironically, as the result of being short-term wouldn’t be conclusive from a scientific perspective anyway – even if it would increase the odds one way or the other), there will be no clear victory in this skirmish. And even if there were to be overwhelming public conviction one way or the other, the battle over AGW would be subsumed by some other skirmish that is a part of the larger political war being fought. 
     
    Of course, comprehensive and serious stakeholder dialog would be a way through all of this, but as the Heartland document situation seems to prove, if anything we’re only moving further away from any such possible approach.
     
     

  225. Joshua says:

    Sorry – missing an end paren (in bold below, those long sentences are killer):
     
    We already know that at least some  “skeptics” are completely hypocritical in their “concern” about politicization of science in the climate debate. And we already know that (as will be shown if it is proven that the one document was created by a “realist” climate combatant and passed off as something written by someone internal to Heartland ) at least some “realists” will act hypocritically w/r/t their “concern” about tribalism in the climate debate.
     
     
    And this should read….
     
    In my view, NEITHER this specific skirmish NOR the larger climate battle will be won through the application of force one way or the other.

  226. Nullius in Verba says:

    #222,
    “This point was addressed at (189):”
    All you did there was re-state your position. It doesn’t explain why.
     
    (Of course, I do know why. It’s so that everyone can apply ad hominem reasoning and accept or dismiss suggestions based on their sources. But you still have to explain it.)
     
    “You pretend that lobbying has no influence, which is illogical. […] It’s odd that an evidently intelligent commenter argues as you do. Do you actually believe what you are saying? I am forced to ask as you are neither naive or stupid, which brings your motive for making such statements directly into question.”
    Thank you BBD, it’s very nice of you to say so!
    You’ve asked this question several times in other contexts, but you keep on missing that there are other possibilities. It might be that you misunderstood what I meant. It might be that you’re wrong. It might be that you’re right but talking about a different point to the one I was making. It might be that I’ve simply made an error, or misunderstood something. It might be that we simply have different values, and disagree. I’m sure there are many more.
     
    In this case, the answer is that I didn’t pretend that lobbying has no influence. What I said was “They have no influence except that the accountable, elected, frequently wealthy officials give to them.”
     
    A lobbyist only has influence to the extent that legislators pay any attention to them, and legislators are subject to the electorate. Legislators often do pay attention, but within limits, with democratic accountability for their actions, and at a cost. Lobbyists cannot bypass the people, because they have to get their idea past the representative of the people. And if there is a problem with the result, it’s the politician’s fault.
     
    Neither the politician nor the people need to know who is backing the lobbyist. It goes without saying that they stand to gain from it – they wouldn’t be paying to lobby on it otherwise. The only thing that matters is the proposal itself – is it a good idea, will it work, what will it cost, what does the electorate get in return, that sort of thing. Sometimes lobbyists propose things the politician thinks is a good idea, and it gets pushed forwards. Sometimes the politician thinks the public won’t wear it, and it gets ignored. Ideas get accepted often enough for it to be worthwhile, but it’s not uncontrolled.
     
    “The various attempts to invoke the fear of government oversight of private citizens are tactically misleading. For example, here you defend behind-the-scenes lobbying by corporations and the seriously rich by pretending that there is equivalence with personal freedom”
    This is quite a common thing I see from the left – the implicit dehumanisation of corporations and the rich. The seriously rich are private citizens. Corporations are run by private citizens, and are essentially contractual alliances of private citizens. Rich people have rights too.
     
    And remember that the poor lobby, and people lobby on their behalf. Anyone can write to their representative. (You can write to your MP or MEP – which is lobbying.) NGOs lobby on behalf of developing nations, the environment, political prisoners, health campaigns, and so on. Greenpeace and Amnesty International and the Unions and so on are all multi-million dollar vested interests. We should take away their right to privacy too, because they’re rich?
     
    “All this energy and guile devoted to defending the ability of wealthy anonymous entities to buy political influence behind our backs is impressive, but troubling.”
    Again, the answer is simple – it’s because I don’t see anything wrong with it.
    It’s no different to wealthy anonymous individuals buying factories or land or companies. Or advertising time on the TV. (Lobbying can be thought of simply as advertising directed at legislators.)
    If it isn’t illegal, then I see no reason why people shouldn’t do it, and I see no reason why they have to tell everybody what they’re doing. It makes no difference to me whether they’re rich or poor. I don’t even think it matters whether what they’re lobbying for is good or bad.
    It’s like me saying everyone should have the vote – even left-wingers. It doesn’t matter that I don’t like the people or what they vote for, they still do and must have the right. It’s a matter of principle.
     
    Possibly we simply have different principles?

  227. hunter says:

    BBD,
    What do you think lobbying is, and please share the history that shows lobbying grew out of think tanks? Please explain what is an acceptable way for people to seek redress and to petition the government.
     
     
     

  228. EdG says:

    227 – On top of everything else, reality – the actual climate – matters most, followed by the bankrupt state of the West which can no longer afford to indulge in fantasies.

    All this debate over how many climate angels can dance on the head of a pin is essentially irrelevant now, as is the major propaganda effort the so called ‘climate science communicators’ are planning.

  229. Joshua says:

    NiV –
     
    A few of questions:
     
    Do you think that money corrupts our political processes?
     
    If your answer to that question is yes, do you think that the rich have disproportionate power to the poor, both in the sense of “per capita” allotment of power, and as a group?
     
    If the answer to that question is yes, do you have a problem that the rich have disproportionate power?
     
    BBD- 
     
    Take this in a good spirit – I think you’d benefit from reading this excerpt below from NiV again. You are far from the only one here who would benefit – I’m suspect that you’ll be more open to the benefit than some others.
     
    “You’ve asked this question several times in other contexts, but you keep on missing that there are other possibilities. It might be that you misunderstood what I meant. It might be that you’re wrong. It might be that you’re right but talking about a different point to the one I was making. It might be that I’ve simply made an error, or misunderstood something. It might be that we simply have different values, and disagree. I’m sure there are many more.”
     
     

  230. kdk33 says:

    BBD,

    I very much appreciate the peom.  One of my favorites.

    Might I say, you make an excellent oyster, and NiV a fine walrus.

    Another slice, please.

  231. hunter says:

    What the reaction to the HI story means to me is that the believers are truly running out of patience. They are willing to embrace censorship, suppression and who knows what more assaults on liberty to end the discussion.

  232. Joshua says:

    What else would you expect from eugenicists and Lysenkoists, hunter?

  233. kdk33 says:

    They are willing to embrace censorship, suppression and who knows what more assaults

    Perhaps they embrace CAGW to acheive these ends.  Just something to think about.

  234. Joshua says:

    They are willing to embrace censorship, suppression and who knows what more assaults”


    “Perhaps they embrace CAGW to acheive these ends.  Just something to think about.”
     
    Indeed. Just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean that they aren’t out to get you. That combo of Lyseknoism and eugenicism is a pretty nasty mix. I would put anything past them.

  235. kdk33 says:

    I’m sorry Joshua.  It’s like you were trying to say something, but I couldn’t hear over your shouting.

    Did you have a point?

  236. Tom Scharf says:

    #208 – KK

    Using a whole lot of parentheses there aren’t you? ha ha.

    You haven’t denied writing the fake memo, have you?  Parentheses…no denial…guilty!

    The silence from certain organizations / bloggers on the west coast is deafening.  Seems like someone probably talked to a lawyer.  The only way he (ahem…or she) will ever get caught is to continue to do really bone headed maneuvers.  Even with the accumulating circumstantial evidence, the “I was setup by a skeptic” argument would be worthy of reasonable doubt and difficult to overcome.

    Over zealous climate activists…the gift that keeps on giving.

     

  237. Keith Kloor says:

    Tom Scharf (239),

    Your snark aside, I agree with you here: “Over zealous climate activists”¦the gift that keeps on giving.”

  238. hunter says:

    Joshua,
    So many words to avoid the point. Did eugenics not exist? was Lysenkoism just a sad cautionary novel? Your delicate constitution  seems to give you a case of long winded vapors when you read a reference to Lysenko or eugenics. And in your feinting state you sadly  avoid actually addressing the topic. Do you like the idea of forcing everyone who gives to a think tank, or an advocacy group to be forced to publicly do it? How do you see its enforcement? Do you just possibly see how this regulation of the free assembly of people could be abused by one tribe or another/ Of course for the best of reasons?
    Or is your constitution too delicate for such considerations?
     

  239. Joshua says:

    What can I say, hunter. You got me. Your comparisons to Lysenko and eugenicists are so spot on I just can’t think of a defense.
     
    I mean, it’s not like making such over-the-top analogies makes you look like tribalistic extremist, or anything like that. Not at all. Your usage of such precisely calibrated analogies only shows your sharp and calmly objective analytical skills. No doubt, of the exact same sort that undergirds your climate skepticism.

  240. Jon P says:

    Perhaps we should ask Publius about anonymous political speech.

  241. EdG says:

    What is the difference between a model and an analogy?

  242. Markus Fitzhenry says:

    Hi Joshua,
     
    Read Karl Poppers Science as falsification. I thought this was analogous to the AGW warmists.
    Astrology did not pass the test. Astrologers were greatly impressed, and misled, by what they believed to be confirming evidence “” so much so that they were quite unimpressed by any unfavorable evidence. Moreover, by making their interpretations and prophesies sufficiently vague they were able to explain away anything that might have been a refutation of the theory had the theory and the prophesies been more precise. In order to escape falsification they destroyed the testability of their theory. It is a typical soothsayer’s trick to predict things so vaguely that the predictions can hardly fail: that they become irrefutable.
     

  243. kdk33 says:

    Analogies are free.  Models require government funding.

  244. Anteros says:

    It is their difference to the subject that make analogies useful. It is their difference to the subject that make models erroneous.

  245. hunter says:

    @242
    Joshua,
    I can appreciate your delicate refined soul is so easily offended. So I guess we will all continue to wait for you to actually have anything responsive to say. Whining about mommy and tribalism for the nth time is not responsive. It is just evasive.
     

  246. Joshua says:

    hunter –
     
    I’ve told you before that I take no offense to your analogies – but you never know just how many times you might have to repeat something before someone can understand it.
     
    I’ve also had discussions about the tribalism intrinsic to analogizing Tea Partiers to Nazis and “skeptical” climate scientists to dentists. In those situations as well, I (obviously) took no offense to the analogies and I encountered the exact same sort of insistence that the analogies were accurate.
     
     

  247. harrywr2 says:

    BBD
    You pretend that lobbying has no influence, which is illogical. Why do it at all?
    It has the same influence as Billy Joe Bob, from Billy Joe Bob’s Auto Emporium has over your vehicle purchasing decisions.
    If my elected officials can’t negotiate a used car lot, then I’ve elected the wrong people.

  248. BobN says:

    Joshua – 

    I think you hit the nail on the head with this statement:

    ” No matter what eventually unfolds,  outside of the climate blogosphere, the climate debate meter will move not more than a smidgen in either direction, while inside the climate blogsophere, both sides will declare that the event is a decisive blow in the climate battle.”

  249. hunter says:

    Josh,
    If you were not offended, you would not be using bold fonts in quoting me. If you had a substantive answer, and were not a troll, you would make it.

    harrywr2,
    Even if our elected officials cannot negotiate well with a used car salesman, BBD’s oft repeated axiom against lobbying would still not be called for.
    And his confusion of Heartland Institute with lobbying, along with his interesting ideas about free speech is very illuminating.
      
      

  250. Joshua says:

    hunter –
     
    “If you were not offended, you would not be using bold fonts in quoting me. If you had a substantive answer, and were not a troll, you would make it.”
     
    The use of boldface was to highlight your paranoia” “They are out to get me.”
     
    I find your use of analogies to be instructive (as was also the case with the dentists and Tea Party analogies), and the overt linkage to paranoid tribalism only helps to make it even more instructive.
     
    But I do want to note your confidence that my use of bold proves that I’m offended.
     
    Once again, it helps to shed light on your process of analysis, and the brand of reasoning that underlies the conclusions that you reach w/r/t climate change. I suppose it is possible that your reasoning in one area does not reflect your reasoning in the other area – but my theory is that the paranoid and tribal thinking influences your reasoning across the board. Your constant mischaracterizations of what I say, and your confidence about clearly mistaken conclusions supports that theory.

  251. hunter says:

    Joshua,
    Now you are jsut repeating yourself.
     I will let you get the last word on this, because you might actually say somethign new(but I doubt it) and I am busy with mundane thigns like work.
      

  252. Marlowe Johnson says:

    @250

    Harry that’s a pretty weak rebuttal.  If election campaigns were free (i.e. publicly financed) you might have a point with your analogy.  Since they aren’t, you don’t.

    Frankly I’m baffled that you won’t concede such a basic point.  

  253. BBD says:

    Marlowe Johnson
     
    It’s odd, isn’t it? NiV claims that lobbying doesn’t have any effect, as does harrywr2. Yet neither explains why, if it is useless, so many millions are spent on it, in many cases by entities that refuse to be identified.
     
    A great mystery of our time.

  254. Joshua says:

    hunter –
     
    ” I will let you get the last word on this,…”
     
    Thanks for allowing me to do that, hunter. That’s very big of you.
     
    Without that comment about how you’re going to “let me” have the last word, I would have thought that you actually can’t come up with a rational explanation for your tribal use of analogies.
     
    So, anyway  – that means that you won’t use the eugenics analogy, as you have so many times in the past? Glad to hear it.
     
    And they said you couldn’t learn. I’m proud of  you, hunter.

  255. Joshua says:

    BBD –
     
    NiV doesn’t need my help, but as I read it, NiV isn’t saying that lobbying “has no effect,” but he’s saying that he’s not bothered by the effect that it has.
     
    Now I could be wrong about my interpretation just as you might be, but FWIW, I think that you would benefit from a more careful approach when trying to understand what others are saying. I’m weighing in on that because you spoke of misreading something I said in the past, and I think this may be a parallel situation.

  256. BBD says:

    At 229 NiV says:
     
    If it [lobbying] isn’t illegal, then I see no reason why people shouldn’t do it, and I see no reason why they have to tell everybody what they’re doing. It makes no difference to me whether they’re rich or poor. I don’t even think it matters whether what they’re lobbying for is good or bad.
     
    More despatches from another universe. I can’t face any more but clearly there are still people following this. Would someone else care to stick a pitchfork into this pile? 
     
    It’s like me saying everyone should have the vote ““ even left-wingers. It doesn’t matter that I don’t like the people or what they vote for, they still do and must have the right. It’s a matter of principle.
     
    You are twisting things again. It’s a matter of transparency. Of preventing money from warping policy to its own ends. I don’t believe you cannot understand this so I am forced to question your motives for defending it. Please answer Joshua’s questions at 232. 
     
    Possibly we simply have different principles?
     
    Answers might clarify that.

  257. jeffn says:

    #259
    “Would someone else care to stick a pitchfork into this pile? ”
    Sure, I’ll even make it abundantly clear. Lobbying can’t change elections.
    I’ll make it even more clear- If Exxon wrote a $100 million check to Nancy Pelosi – the left-wing Democrat from San Francisco – do you think she would suddenly declare AGW is a hoax?
    I don’t.
    Now, if George Soros wrote a check for $100 million and handed it to Nancy Pelosi, do you think she would suddenly become more left wing and devote all her time to AGW?
    I don’t. 
    So, the affect of money on Nancy is…. nil This is because Nancy was elected by being who she is and people come see her (and financially support her) and vote for her because of who she is.
    This is why your presumption seems to be that money must be the (sole?) influence on only the folks who have refused to blow billions on windmills or raise energy prices in a recession. This is a false assumption. It is not a description of reality- it is your way of rationalizing the failure of the AGW policy message.
    In fact, it’s so bad that realists out there are probably now hoping people are lobbying against AGW.  How? Here’s a shorter version of how the issue really played out: “We came so close to convincing the fools in Congress to mandate that north-eastern power companies power heavy industry with solar panels in winter by lying to millions of people about how easy and cheap it would be (we only lack political will!). Then the rat bastards fossil fuel jerks paid a few bucks to alert people that our plan was pure idiocy. Clearly, then, it wasn’t the fact that our plan sucked, it was the money!”
    Me: thank goodness somebody stopped the stupid train!

  258. BBD says:

    Joshua
     
    It is also possible that NiV is extremely good at defending the indefensible. On this occasion, my comprehension may not be at issue.
     
     
     
     
     

  259. kdk33 says:

    The answer is even simpler than that.

    It doesn’t matter who gives money to Pelosi (insert your office holder of choice).  They put forward and vote on legislation.  If most of their constituents like the legislation or their votes, they will get reelected.  If most of their consituent do not, they won’t.

    BBD insists on knowing who is saying what to whom and why in a twisted attempt to shut out the “bad” voices and leave in place the “good”. 

    For example:  let’s  say BBD’s representative took $100M from some lobby group he didn’t like, perhaps a group lobbying to build a pipeline to the canadian oil sands.  Leter BBD’s representative votes against that pipeline.  What would BBD do? 

    Better yet, perhaps BBD will  be kind enough to answer…

  260. jeffn says:

    #262- Exactly. “money in politics” is an argument of last resort for those wedded to bad policy. Why don’t we have millions of windmills and solar panels across the US? Because “fossil fuel interests” spend money? Ok, since you can’t run a car on a windmill (even an electric one, were there a workable model) then we know Exxon ain’t the culprit. What “fossil fuel” powers electrical generation and would oppose a windmill? Gas? You can’t have windmills without gas ’cause wind is intermittent. Windmills are a gift to the gas industry. Coal? Name a coal producer and tell me why they’re more afraid of windmills than nuclear. Anybody?

  261. BBD says:

    All I have argued on this thread is that covert lobbying is damaging to democracy. Anonymous donations to fake ‘think tanks’ that are, in fact, lobbying organisations are particularly problematic.
     
    Let’s remind ourselves that we were talking about the Heartland Institute and how it is really a lobbying organisation and how it conceals significant sources of funding from the public.
     
    Responses have varied from rhetorical cascades of subordinate distinctions that never quite address the original statements to the simply stupid.
     
    If we halt the outpourings of diversionary rhetoric and ignore the stupidity, nothing has changed. What the Heartland and its extensive ilk do is still corrosive to democracy and should, without doubt, still be better constrained by legislation.

  262. harrywr2 says:

    Marlowe Johnson
     
    It’s odd, isn’t it? NiV claims that lobbying doesn’t have any effect, as does harrywr2
    I didn’t claim lobbying doesn’t have any effect. I said that the effect is the same as the effect of a salesmen on a used car lot.
    I expect the salesman on a used car lot to sell me the crappiest car he can for the greatest profit margin possible.
    I also expect my Congressman to be discerning in his decisions about how to spend MY TAX DOLLARS.
    Obviously, if my Representative is unaware that their is a giant pothole on my street…he can’t budget money to fix the pothole on my street.
    Washington DC is filled with 10’s of thousands of lobbyists all claiming that the pothole on the street where their clients live is the ‘most important pothole’.
    My congressman used to be a Sheriff. He caught Gary Ridgeway, the Green River killer. I’m not bothered by the fact that he is surrounded by ‘con-artists’ in Washington. He is well skilled at dealing with ‘the scum of the earth’.
    If you feel your representative somehow needs to be protected from the Army of ‘con-artists’ in Washington maybe you should have a rethink about who you voted for.

  263. kdk33 says:

    All I have argued on this thread is that covert lobbying is damaging to democracy. Anonymous donations to fake “˜think tanks’ that are, in fact, lobbying organisations are particularly problematic.

    Yes, you have said that.  Over and over.  It doesn’t improve your logic.  You are wrong.

    Let’s remind ourselves that we were talking about the Heartland Institute

    Yes, this is rather your point: you want the rules for HI to be different than for other “better” organizations.  That would help your side, the good side, win.

    But what does this have to do with democracy.

  264. Jon P says:

    So I am wondering if BBD were alive in 1787-1790 which anonymous writers he would want “outed” for their perversion of the promise of a new Republic? Plubiius? Cato? Federal Farmer? Brutus? Centinel?

    This statement from BBD should scare the heck out of everyone.

    What the Heartland and its extensive ilk do is still corrosive to democracy and should, without doubt, still be better constrained by legislation.”

    what BBD fails to realize is who gets to decide what is corrosive to democracy and what is not, varies by indivdual.

    Scary stuff.

  265. jeffn says:

    #264- we have responded directly to your argument. “Covert lobbying” (whatever that is) is not definitionally damaging to Democracy- especially not a small-r republican democracy. If it were, we’d see more red-faced attacks on Congressmen than their funders. After all, which is worse- the entirely predictable fact that Exxon wants a favorable legislative climate to sell oil or that Rep. John Doe is willing to vote for or against that agenda depending on who writes the biggest check?
    I would also note that one of the reasons political conservatives (at least here in the US) fight against government expansion is because by definition it increases the power of and the necessity of lobbyists. One quick example- there is a big fight over Obama’s decision to require insurance providers to cover birth control. Lot’s of folks will have lots of fun with the “moralists” over this one, but seriously- why is the federal government involved in this and, if you’re going to insist that the feds be involved this, why are you surprised that birth control interest groups are suddenly crawling all over Washington and badgering the media? Hell, there’s probably 20 new lobbyists buying congressmen shrimp cocktails tonight just to make sure the federal mandates doesn’t accidentally exclude their clients’ particular device/formula.

  266. EdG says:

    264 BBD says: “All I have argued on this thread is that covert lobbying is damaging to democracy. Anonymous donations to fake “˜think tanks’ that are, in fact, lobbying organisations are particularly problematic.
     
    Let’s remind ourselves that we were talking about the Heartland Institute and how it is really a lobbying organisation and how it conceals significant sources of funding from the public.”

    If you believe this, then I am sure you would gladly insert the words ‘Greenpeace’ or ‘WWF’ or ‘Sierra Club’ where you have written HI.

    If you wouldn’t, why not? Those lobby groups are massive and supported by governments while HI is tiny.

  267. hunter says:

    BBD,
    HI is not covertly lobbying anyone. And I do not accept your characterization of Hi as a phony think tank. Frankly your disparaging of HI by calling them a lobbying group when they are not, disparagement of lobbying in general, and then calling HI an illegitimate think tank appears to be more a case of sour grapes. 

  268. hunter says:

    BBD,
    You have yet to answer my questions about enforcement of the speech and communication restrictions you believe are so vital for democracy. You have yet to admit that Hi is not a lobbying group. You have yet to define what a legitimate think tank is.

    you are ocming across as anti-freedom, pro-censorhsip crank, but I bet that is not how you see yourself. Can you please
    1- be responsive

    2- explain yourself by doing more than repeating yourself?
          

  269. Nullius in Verba says:

    #232,
    “Do you think that money corrupts our political processes?”
    Corruption is caused by many things: the ability of government to erect barriers to trade and the public agent problem are foremost among them.
     
    Because government can erect barriers to trade (tariffs, regulations, bans, and subsidies), people can pay the government to erect protectionist measures to their advantage, and officials can erect barriers and then charge people to bypass them. Obviously, the more money people have, the more barriers they can pay to erect, and the more profitable the barriers are to officials – but the fundamental problem is the ability to create barriers arbitrarily, not the money.
     
    Because governments are run by people spending other people’s money, not their own, they act as an agent for the taxpayer, and the interests of the agent becomes separated from the owner of the money. An agent can make bad decisions from the point of view of the owner that are good for themselves – e.g. being paid to procure a more expensive product, (like renewable energy, for example). Again, the fundamental problem is not the money as such, but a generic feature of government. Since the taxpayers pay the price when politicians and bureaucrats screw up, there is no incentive for them not to screw up, and no weeding out of the screw ups through bankruptcy and dismissal.
     
    An immensely valuable product is available, so money comes along to buy it. I would say the product is the problem, other people think it is the money.

     
    “[D]o you think that the rich have disproportionate power to the poor, both in the sense of “per capita” allotment of power, and as a group?”
    It depends what you mean by disproportionate – do you mean ‘not in linear proportion’, or do you mean ‘too much’?
     
    Clearly, the rich have more power than the poor. They can do things the poor cannot. You can get a person to do something they otherwise would not do by giving them money. And per person, rich people have more money than poor ones.
     
    But when it comes to making a value judgement, things are not so clear. Remember, accumulated money is (approximately) a measure of the difference between what a person has done for the rest of society and what society has done for them. You work for other people to earn the money to pay for others to work for you. If you work, but do not spend, you accumulate the money. If you spend everything you earn, you will not (in the accumulative sense) be rich.
     
    To the extent this is true, I would say it balanced out. To have earnt that money means giving power to other people. The power is returned by spending it.
     
    There are exceptions, though. I would not say it was necessarily true that every rich person earnt it, or deserved it. Sometimes people get lucky, or they’re dishonest, or protectionist, or they’re a government and people were forced to give it to them unwillingly. But in those cases it’s not the fact of being rich or the rich having power that is the primary problem there.
     
    So the answer to the value judgement question is ‘it depends how they got to be rich’.

     
    “[D]o you have a problem that the rich have disproportionate power?”
    See above.
     
    And I would emphasise – lobbying is not the same thing as corruption. Lobbying consists of acts aimed at persuading legislators to your view, including simply asking them, or presenting good arguments for why it is a good idea. Corruption is technically one variety of lobbying, but corruption is illegal and (most) lobbying is not. The distinction is important.
     
    #258,
    Thanks, but I’m used to this sort of thing from BBD. He interprets what people say in his own unique way, and then keeps repeating it until they give up correcting it in exhaustion and his version becomes history.
    I quite like it – it’s an endlessly recurring excuse for me to waffle on on whatever aspect of the topic takes my fancy. Galileo had his Simplicio…

  270. Menth says:

    “Whoever originated the cliche that money is the root of all evil knew hardly anything about the nature of evil and very little about human beings.”
     
    “The monstrous evils of the twentieth century have shown us that the greediest money grubbers are gentle doves compared with money-hating wolves like Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler, who in less than three decades killed or maimed nearly a hundred million men, women, and children and brought untold suffering to a large portion of mankind.”
     
    -Eric Hoffer

  271. Marlowe Johnson says:

    Harry,

    why should your congressman give a rats ass about your tax dollars when it is his campaign donors that virtually guarantee whether or not he/she wins their re-election race?

    I had no idea you and NiV were this naive about the political process.  It’s downright convenient!
     

  272. kdk33 says:

    HI for president!!

  273. BBD says:

    Marlowe Johnson @ 274
     
    I had no idea you and NiV were this naive about the political process.  It’s downright convenient!
     
    Indeed 😉

  274. BBD says:

    hunter
     
    I have explained myself clearly on this thread. You can look up and see for yourself.
     
    And you can educate yourself too. I don’t have to do that for you either.
     
    Nor do I have to ‘be responsive’ to your deranged sallies. Do some reading.

  275. BBD says:

    NiV
     
    Thanks, but I’m used to this sort of thing from BBD. He interprets what people say in his own unique way, and then keeps repeating it until they give up correcting it in exhaustion and his version becomes history.
     
    Self-serving nonsense. Waffling is your MO. You just keep up the long-winded obfuscation until the original point is quite forgotten. Witness above.

  276. Joshua says:

    NiV –
     

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    Corruption is caused by many things: the ability of government to erect barriers to trade and the public agent problem are foremost among them.
     
     
     
    That doesn’t answer my question, which was in a yes or no format. Saying that there are other forms of corruption, does not really get to my point. To whatever extent corruption is rooted in other factors, the extent to which they do or don’t exist may be correlated with the degree to which money exacerbates existing propensities (and moving into my other questions, monetary inequality exacerbates power imbalances and the disparities in who benefits from the corrupting influence of money).
     
    Because government can erect barriers to trade (tariffs, regulations, bans, and subsidies), people can pay the government to erect protectionist measures to their advantage, and officials can erect barriers and then charge people to bypass them. Obviously, the more money people have, the more barriers they can pay to erect, and the more profitable the barriers are to officials ““ but the fundamental problem is the ability to create barriers arbitrarily, not the money.
     
     
     
    Here, again, this seems to me to me moving the goalposts. The main problem with that paragraph, in my view, is that it looks at the existence of tarrifs, regulations, etc. divorced from context, and specifically divorced from the realities that we might predict to exist in varying degrees absent tarrifs, regulations, etc. In point of fact, we don’t find Shangri-la, where such phenomena don’t exist and where it could be said clearly aren’t needed to one degree or another.
     
     
    I’d like to get to the rest of your comment, but I really think that to deal with the rest of your comments we need to deal with what I’ve raised here first. That isn’t to say that the rest of what you wrote isn’t worthy of debate (there is much there that I would debate, indeed), or for that matter the details of what you wrote in your first two paragraphs aren’t worthy of debate, but my point of focus necessitates that we start on a specific starting point, so I’ll rephrase my first question and maybe we can move on from there:
     
     
     
    Given the wide variety of potentially corrupting influences that are fairly engrained out our economic and governmental systems,do you think that money exacerbates the corruption in our political processes that exist for other reasons?
     
     
     
    Now, of course, you might answer that if those other elements were removed, then money would no longer have the power to exacerbate existing corruptions, so therefore my question is moot. But in that case, it seems to me that you’d have to reconcile such a response with the obvious counter-argument – that  there has ever existed a society, in the history of the planet, where money did not corrupt political processes, or exacerbate existing corruption of political processes, and moving on to my other questions, where disparities in the distribution of money didn’t exacerbate the relative negative impact/benefits that are derived from the corrupting influence of money.
     
    Re: #258. The phenomenon is ubiquitous. It will be interesting to see if you and I can avoid that problem as we continue discussion.
     
     

  277. Joshua says:

    Heh – Sorry about that. I guess that cutting and pasting from Word isn’t such a good idea with this comment interface.

  278. hunter says:

    BBD,
    If only I was the only person here noticing that you are not explaining your positions. Perhaps you are unable?
    As to your link, I don’t confuse propaganda with information, and I wish you would not either. What is deranged is your inability to do more than assert conclusions and not defend them and expect people to agree with you. You come across as a shallow partisan hack when you do that.
     

  279. grypo says:

    To get back to interesting elements in this situation.  I’m sure everyone knows that Heartland is sending out lawyers demanding people stop talking about the “fake” document and the other unverified documents.  Okay fine, but how is this even remotely possible if the “fake” document hasn’t been shown to be definitely fake (when HI likely has some proof, email records, headers) or verified the truth or falsehoods in the other documents?  Shouldn’t there be at least a official authority report to show that the story they told us is true?  At least!?!  Where are all the auditing diligence police on this legal matter???  Christ, the IPCC sent out a “please take down the ZOD’s” and there was an uproar about their legal authority, even without the threats being handed out by HI.

  280. kdk33 says:

    Oh Grypo,

    That’s just the really big, rich, and powerful Heartland institute flexing it’s muscle.  You know, letting the little people, like the IPCC know who the real 1000lb gorilla is.

    I mean, seriously, did you think you guys had a chance?

  281. grypo says:

    It’s not a competition between the IPCC and HI, it’s a question of what the legal justification HI is using to call hosting the documents “unlawful”.  The other stuff is just a throwaway wondering where the outrage is after IPCC episode, which didn’t threaten any legal maneuver, like claiming a “basis for civil actions against those who obtained and/or disseminated them and wrote about them.”

    I see one person involved in the IPCC thing wrote a detailed post and completely ignored that question.

  282. harrywr2 says:

    grypo Says:

     
    Okay fine, but how is this even remotely possible if the “fake” document hasn’t been shown to be definitely fake
    I would assume that Heartland’s email server maintains copy’s of ‘sent e-mail’ along with the attachments. Obviously..when the lawyers get into it the defendants lawyer is going to demand to view the ‘sent mail’ folder. I would be very surprised if Heartland’s lawyer doesn’t already know that.
     

  283. grypo says:

    Thanks Harry, I’ve been discussing that elsewhere.  My point to that would be, asking people to stop talking about the “fake” without providing the proof is putting the cart before the horse.  Desmog and Dave Appell can’t be expected to take those down.

  284. Joshua says:

    grypo –
     
    They also have not referred to any legal precedent for their demand. 
     
    And yesterday, they responded to a non-threat (a vet wrote a letter saying, “You are a traitor to your own country. I did not spend 30 years in the military to protect the likes of you.”), by threatening to involve the FBI, “legal counsel,” and a “forensics team (a forensics team to an email where the email address and name of the person sending the email were right there in the header?).
     
    The whole Heartland situation only confirms what we already know: the climate debate has become a magnet for  tribalists.

  285. grypo says:

    BOOM  Gleick admits obtaining documents under false pretenses, says he didn’t alter any documents, says the “fake” climate strategy document was sent to him early 2012.

    So the strategy doc was sent at different time, which makes sense for the metadata.  This would be very interesting if Gleick can prove this is true because then someone with inside information wrote that strategy document.  

    Otherwise a sad story for Gleick. 

  286. Joshua says:

    It will be interesting to see how it affects his career. If you make a gamble like that, you just have to face the consequences.
     
    I doubt that anyone in the “skeptical” blogosphere will accept his denial of responsibility for the “fake” document. I wonder if he has some proof that he got that document along with the other docs? If so, there will be egg on faces other than just his. If not, it will be interesting to see if anyone can offer definitive proof otherwise.
     
    I have a hard time feeling sorry for him, actually. Tribalism is simply not going to be effective.

  287. Nullius in Verba says:

    #274,
    If the public vote for the richest guy, then presumably it’s because that’s what they want. If they don’t, stop voting for the richest guy. Democracy, yes?
     
    What are you supposed to do if it’s the electorate that’s corrupt? Selling their vote to the highest bidder? Whose government is it anyway?
     
    #279,
    “That doesn’t answer my question, which was in a yes or no format.”
    Do you mean like “have you stopped beating your wife? Yes or no?” sort of thing?
    I thought it had. The answer was ‘no’. But since you obviously had a different way of looking at things in mind, had I just said so, you would either have assumed I was saying things didn’t happen as they do, or was just saying ‘no’ to be awkward.
     
    What I’m saying is that if a man walks out in front of the Capitol building, sets up a little stall, and puts a sign on it saying “government influence for sale”, and then some citizen on the street comes and buys some, then it is not the citizen on the street who corrupted the process. The fact that the product is so expensive that only the rich can afford it does not mean the rich are the problem. It would be no less corrupt if it was cheap enough for anyone to buy.
     
    The problem is that the product (government’s ability to distort the market) exists to be sold. That people buy it is just as much human nature as that people who are given it will sell it.
     
    #286,
    They’re being asked to take them down because they’re defamatory. To justify defamation, the burden of proof is on you to prove the document genuine. Innocent until proven guilty, and all that…
     
    See the voice of experience here.

  288. Joshua says:

    Also – I wonder what precipitated his coming forward? Did something force his hand? Seems like another shoe may very well drop.

  289. Nullius in Verba says:

    #288,
    Poor guy. I’d say this was probably the least-worst option he could take at this point, but it must still be terrible for him.

  290. Joshua says:

    NiV –
     
    “Do you mean like “have you stopped beating your wife? Yes or no?” sort of thing?”
     
    I don’t see any parallel. I simply asked if you thought that money corrupts our political processes. That doesn’t imply guilt in any way. It is simply an opinion.
     
    So you here you make a clear statement of no, but I must say that the rest of your post is a bit confusing because you seem to (to me) to go on to create some scenario that seems to feather that clear statement. You say “no,” and then you go on to say…”what I’m saying is…..”  I don’t understand. If you’re saying no, then how could you be saying something else?
     
    The reason I asked the question was because it is foundational. If you don’t think that money corrupts our political processes, or at least exacerbates existing corruptions, then there really is not much point in discussing the other opinions you stated in the original response above. If you don’t think that money corrupts our political processes, then there’s really nothing for us to debate w/r/t whether or not unequal distribution of money creates unequal power. I’m sure we’ll find other things to discuss, however.
     
    BTW -interestingly, I think I may agree with you w/r/t your scenario. Let me run another by you: If someone leverages their assets 40 to 1 to deceptively market  mortgages at  usurious terms to people who don’t understand the true value of their homes, the nature of the housing market, or the terms of the loans, and then makes hundreds of thousands of similar loans and bundles them together so they aren’t recognizable, and then sells them off to people who don’t understand the complicated packages of debt, and then many of those borrowers lose their jobs and can’t keep up the payments, I don’t blame the borrowers, I blame the mortgage lenders.  I think that is similar to your scenario about responsibility – but none of that is directly related to the degree to which money corrupts political processes.
     
     

  291. Joshua says:

    Re: the voice of experience. It will be interesting whether or not people comply with the cease and desist. They haven’t yet, and I don’t know that the Gleick admission changes any of that. In fact, it seems to muddy the water. People can legitimately claim that they don’t have clear evidence that the document is fake. Can it be prosecuted as defamation if that document isn’t fake?

  292. Joshua says:

    Wiggle room?
     
    ” I can explicitly confirm, as can the Heartland Institute, that the documents they emailed to me are identical to the documents that have been made public. I made no changes or alterations of any kind to any of the Heartland Institute documents or to the original anonymous communication.”


    Could that still leave open the door for the possibility that he created the “strategy” document? – “I made no changes or alterations of any kind to any of the Heartland Institute documents” could still leave room for adding a document that wasn’t a Heartland Institute document?

  293. hunter says:

    Gleick admits to identity theft and theft of documents. Interesting.
    Now who to believe about the forgery? Gleick the thief/phony book critic/AGW promoter-hack or Heartland Institute and David Wojick?
    By the way, Steve Mosher is vindicated. But many of the believers, unbelievably, in the name of their high minded objectivity, still think that HI is the bad actor here.
    And for the argument that it is OK to leave these stolen and forged docs up on websites since they are not real:
    Have at it and see where it gets you.
     

  294. grypo says:

    Re: the voice of experience.

    I have no idea who that is.  Nor does it comply with what I know is libel law.  The pursuer has the burden in the US.  Not only do they need to prove that the doc was false, they have to prove that the defendant KNEW the doc was false.  Nothing actually fits his story.  i doubt this happened here.

  295. Nullius in Verba says:

    #291,
    I should think he consulted a lawyer, who gave him good advice.
     
    #293,
    It may be that I’ve spent too much time arguing with BBD. I assumed that if I just said “no”, with no further explanation, it would get twisted. Then let it be a straightforward ‘no’.
     
    I don’t really blame the borrowers, although the general principle is ‘caveat emptor’ and they are supposed to be adults. If you’re not considered competent to look after your own financial affairs, you shouldn’t be let out on your own. It doesn’t take all that much financial acumen to spot the flaw in going into debt for far more than you can ever pay back. About $14 trillion now, isn’t it?
     
    But I’d interpret things a little differently. It started with the community reinvestment act, in which banks were legally virtually forced to lend to people who couldn’t repay. The banks objected, obviously, so the government offered to back the loans through their semi-private subsidiaries Freddy Mac and Fannie Mae. The banks shrugged, started handing out loans like mad, and then packaging them up and off-loading them as fast as they could.
     
    The bubble was being built off the rising housing market, rather than the borrowers. It didn’t matter that people couldn’t repay, because the banks could reposess the house and sell it at a profit. Since the newly available loans had caused demand for houses to rise faster than supply, the price of houses rose steadily. More people who wanted them could buy houses. Normally this would only happen if new money had entered the system to pay for it, but in fact it was an artificial signal created by government mandate/backing.
     
    The next problem was a big pool of people’s savings looking for high interest rates. Pensions, governments, private individuals,… all those people shifting their money around looking for those 6% interest rates, not understanding that higher interest inherently means taking more risk. So there was a hunger for investment opportunities, and these motivated the unscrupulous to egg on the mortgages scandal and take it a lot further than they legally had to – but still founded on the government’s financial guarantees.
     
    When the housing market stopped rising, the whole scheme collapsed. That it would was foreseen right from the start – when the CRA was first mooted by the politicians, but of course politicians are expert at managing perceptions, and the banks (and the taxpayers) were the ones who paid the price.
     
    The problem, again, was the government’s power to distort the free market, and their ability to seek their own political advantage with Somebody Else’s Money. The banks did exactly what they wanted – increased home ownership in poor communities – exactly as the measure was meant to do. Such are the dangers of social engineering.

  296. Nullius in Verba says:

    #297,
    They have to prove the bloggers knew there was no evidence it was genuine. The bloggers possibly had a case up until Heartland told them it was fake. After that, they can’t claim not to have known.
     
    You can’t just pick up any defamatory claim and publish it on the basis that you don’t know for certain that it’s false. Or people would do it a whole lot more.

  297. Keith Kloor says:

    On the Gleick development: there remain puzzling questions raised by his HuffPo admission. I would get into it but am on vacation in rural area with spotty to non-existent Internet. As is, I can only get access via my iPhone. If wireless situation improves, look for a post Tuesday morning. If not, then wed morning.

  298. Joshua says:

    NiV –
     
    I’m not going to get into that one. It’s a long road and I’ve been down it many times. I’m sure we won’t reach a common perspective.
     
    I’ll just leave you with this.
     
    Let’s say that your  grown son or daughter leveraged his or herself to borrow money from one person, and then turned around and lent that money to someone else, knowing full well that person didn’t understand the terms of the loan and would more than likely not be able to pay back the loan.
     
    Who would you feel was primarily responsible? Your son or daughter who irresponsibly borrowed to irresponsibly lend money to someone he/she knew was a bad risk, or the schmoe that he or she lent the money to?
     
    Be honest now.

  299. Nullius in Verba says:

    #301,
    The person who made the loan (or any other contract) knowing the other person didn’t understand. Contracts have to be mutually understood and agreed to be valid. It’s the same sort of issue as a person giving ‘informed consent’ having to be informed.

  300. hunter says:

    By the way: Keith, your willingness to point out problems in the believer side of this is admirable.
    The irony of Little Green Footballs, which became famous for correctly pointing the scam of Rathergate, being wrecked by fakegate is amazing

  301. Menth says:

    Since the topic has changed to real estate here I would like to just quickly point out that property values have plummeted so low that climate scientists are literally giving away the high ground for free.

  302. hunter says:

    @304- It is more like it is being discovered they never had valid title in the first place.
    How many scams does the climatocracy get to commit before it is OK to question their motives and their evidence?
    After all, HI was already convicted of anti-democratic, world destroying anti-science plots, according to many who post here and elsewhere. What is dangerous to society? Those who would steal and forge to accomplish the goal they claim is noble? Those who claim that those pushing ideas they do not agree with should be silenced? Those who demand that only the people they agree with should be heard?
    How about all of the above.
     

  303. ivp0 says:

    Well now we know where PG was last week… Out shopping for a new Epson printer/scanner to replace the one that was “stolen” from his office.  😉   The story about receiving the annon.  fake memo sounds terribly thin, even to one who is not a genius climate scientist .

    Lawyer time now.  Big $$$$ 

  304. Jarmo says:

    Desmogblog tries to call Gleick a “whistleblower”.

    I guess then Rupert Murdoch is running a whistleblower organization.

    T
    Anyway you look at it, it’s a disaster. A guy who testified in front of the Congress about climate science is caught stealing documents. Gleick’s out of climate science.

    Is Greenpeace hiring bona fide activists?

     

  305. Jarmo says:

    Checked on the Guardian. They still insist it’s a “leak” although they have published Gleick’s confession. They say Gleick “tricked” Heartland.

    Looks like some AGW supporters are starting to call Gleick “activist” and try to dissociate him from climate science. As an activist, he’s a hero.

    Definitely a Watergate moment for climate science. I guess they are trying to figure out whether to call Gleick a hero or condemn his actions or both. Hopefully nobody goes on tv and says:” Hey, were not crooks”.    

  306. BBD says:

    Joshua
     
    It may be that I’ve spent too much time arguing with BBD. I assumed that if I just said “no”, with no further explanation, it would get twisted. Then let it be a straightforward “˜no’.
     
    Get the picture with NiV a little more clearly now?

  307. BBD says:

    Gleick did a public service. HI is engaged in lobbying. It is a part of a larger threat to the democratic process funded by vested corporate interests. This is now established fact thanks to Gleick’s actions and research by among others, John Mashey.
     
    Much talk of tribalism; not enough about facts and their implications.

  308. Keith Kloor says:

    BBD,

    It is beyond hypocrisy for you justify Gleick’s actions this way. You should also be aware that this sort of funding/lobbying works both ways.

    It will be incredible to me if climate activists contort themselves ethically to rationalize Gleick’s actions. As Menth observes (304), you/they will be completely ceding the high ground. 

  309. BBD says:

     
    Keith

    The Sierra Club supporting gas over coal makes environmental sense. And even so, it walked away from Chesapeake’s money in the end.
     
    Extraordinarily, you equate this with funding the spread of disinformation about the role of CO2 in climate. With attempts to alter the curriculum. Why is it ‘beyond hypocrisy’ to justify Gleick’s actions?

  310. BBD says:

    Keith

    You should also be aware that this sort of funding/lobbying works both ways.

    Interesting reference from the Time article you link:

    Lobbyists backing US oil and gas interests outspent their environmental counterparts by a factor of five during a two-year, non-election period.

    The data from MapLight, shows that oil and gas companies donated $15,078,146 to Republican Senators and members of congress.

    Environmental groups meanwhile, donated $2,847,072 to Democrat Senators and members of congress.

    And from the Guardian (yes, it’s McKibben; no it doesn’t matter):

    We’ve reached the point where we’re unfazed by things that should shake us to the core. So, just for a moment, be naïve and consider what really happened in that vote [on Keystone XL]: the people’s representatives who happen to have taken the bulk of the money from those energy companies promptly voted on behalf of their interests.

    They weren’t weighing science or the national interest; they weren’t balancing present benefits against future costs. Instead of doing the work of legislators, that is, they were acting like employees. Forget the idea that they’re public servants; the truth is that, in every way that matters, they work for Exxon and its kin. They should, by rights, wear logos on their lapels like Nascar drivers.

    If you find this too harsh, think about how obligated you feel when someone gives you something. Did you get a Christmas present last month from someone you hadn’t remembered to buy one for? Are you going to send them an extra-special one next year?

    And that’s for a pair of socks. Speaker of the House John Boehner, who insisted that the Keystone approval decision be speeded up, has gotten $1,111,080 in campaign contributions from the fossil-fuel industry during his tenure. His Senate counterpart Mitch McConnell, who shepherded the bill through his chamber, has raked in $1,277,208 in the course of his tenure in Washington.

    […]

    Far from showing any shame, the big players boast about it: the US Chamber of Commerce, front outfit for a consortium of corporations, has bragged on its website about outspending everyone in Washington, which is easy to do when Chevron, Goldman Sachs and News Corp are writing you seven-figure checks. This really matters. The Chamber of Commerce spent more money on the 2010 elections than the Republican and Democratic National Committees combined, and 94% of those dollars went to climate-change deniers. That helps explain why the House voted last year to say that global warming isn’t real.

    This is, of course, all well known. Which is why I have found this thread particularly hard going. And why I reject your false equivalence at 311 and re-affirm my support for PG.

  311. Anteros says:

    Menth @ 304
    🙂

  312. kdk33 says:

    Free markets and our democracy leverage that everyone is looking out for their own self interests.  Even, perhaps especially, politicians. 

    We’re from the government; were here to help  The enlightened response is: get off my property; I have a gun.

    Groceries market fatty, sugary, bad-for-you foods and routinely sell to the grossly overweight who clearly are unable to manage their diets.  A crime?

  313. jeffn says:

    #313 BBD “yes, it’s McKibben, no it doesn’t matter.”

    That’s classic. Would it matter if it was PG? No, of course not, which is why “useful idiot” is a well remembered phrase.
    By the way, if you knew how to read anything other than tribal fairy tales you’d know HI would be happy to build your beloved nukes. They can’t because Greenpeace wholly owns the Democratic Party- via a combination of issue spending, politicizing school curricula, and intimidating them with “direct action” designed to attract pliant TV reporters.
    By the way, anyone else note Revkin’s tone last night? He’s a journalist, he knows no reputable paper will be able to front page a story sourced to a team member from now on. The trust is gone and since that’s all they had….

  314. Joshua says:

    – 309 – BBD –
     
    ” Get the picture with NiV a little more clearly now?”
     
    I was somewhat disappointed with the quality of the exchange. I’m not going to make some kind of blanket characterization. I think that adopting a non-acrimonious approach with those “skeptics” who are willing to exchange views respectfully is a baseline principle – and thus far NiV has fit that description in our exchanges.

  315. BBD says:

    Joshua
     
    I salute your patience. Mine ran out with NiV some time ago.

  316. BBD says:

    jeffn
     
    That’s classic. Would it matter if it was PG? No, of course not, which is why “useful idiot” is a well remembered phrase.
     
    You are apparently questioning McKibben’s honesty and/or integrity and/or accuracy. Please go to the original Guardian article (linked @ 313) and check the numbers, facts and links therein.
     
    When you have done so, please list the errors and misrepresentations of fact that you have found.
     
    In the absence of any serious material problems with the article, do you accept that there is clear evidence of corporate influence on the political process?

  317. hunter says:

    BBD,
    You are simply not credible in trying to pretend that this is about corporate influence on the political process. Unions, which are large corporations, give hundreds of millions of dollars per election cycle to causes they support, and spend huge amounts of time lobbying for laws.
    The NYT, which is a huge corporation, spends a great deal of time selecting which news to report and how to do it so as to highlight their editorial perspective on the public square.
    Your bald assertion that somehow HI is illegitimate in doing this is frankly deceptive. You have yet to offer any mechanism to enforce your stated desire. I think it is clear after your tedious repetitive claims, undefended, that you are simply hiding from the actual issue.
     
     

  318. hunter says:

    Keith,
    IRT your update. I have read the real stolen docs, and HI has every right to produce any documents they wish and try to see the ideas or content in them accepted in the public square. That is called “freedom”. 
    Greenpeace has no problems pushing their political ideas into the public square and even the classroom. And they have been outed very well as being fast and loose with the truth.
    You are outraged over HI simply because you do not like what they say. It is long past time for the climate concerned to get over the self righteous pose.
    The science is NOT settled. There IS controversy. About significant claims of the climate concerned. Stealing documents, forging documents, making false claims of conspiracy, suppressing those who disagree, are not tactics by people with truth on their side and goodwill towards their fellow humans. It is time for people like yourself to insist on a cleaning of the AGW house.
     

  319. Marlowe Johnson says:

    @BBD
    I agree with RPJr that this is an unecessary own-goal on Peter Gleick’s part, but I also agree with you that he should be applauded nonetheless for exposing HI’s tactics.  Of course this doesn’t mean that he doesn’t also deserve some scorn for his own lapse of judgement in this particular case.

    Wrt to Sierra Club and their position on natural gas, I think that they deserve serious kudos for letting the science and not the money dictate their position.  Whether or not unconventional NG turns out to be better than coal remains to be seen (I suspect it will be).

    @Keith
    I think you are seriously mistaken if you think that the Time’s article somehow shows analogous behaviour to what HI routinely does on behalf of its donors.  If anything the article shows THE EXACT OPPOSITE.  It’s one of those puzzling instances where principles and facts trump short-term thinking.  As I’ve said before, your reflexive tendency to resort to ‘a pox on both their houses’ thinking does you no favours.

    @Joshua 
    I don’t know how long you’ve been blogging with climate skeptics, but let’s touch base in a year or so and see how patient you are with the trolls then ;-).  

  320. hunter says:

    Marlowe,
    You guys do not get it.
    HI was doing nothing that any other group does not do as well. As to your assertion that Sierra Club is just following the science irt natural gas is laughable on its face. They are ignoring the facts and embracing untruth. They are hurting people by way of their reactionary opposition to any sort of energy solution that actually works.
    And, by the way, Gleick is the chair of the AGW ethics committee.
     

  321. kdk33 says:

    do you accept that there is clear evidence of corporate influence on the political process?

    So what?  Why is this a problem?  Corporations are collections of individuals.  They get to have a say.  Same as you.

  322. Menth says:

    kdk33,
     
    Don’t you get it? Corporations are trying to make money. This is evil in and of itself. Green groups are lobbying because they believe in a higher cause, which is good in and of itself. As the history of the 20th century shows the profit motive has clearly been more destructive than well intentioned ideology.
     
    /sarc

  323. jeffn says:

    kdk- they really don’t get it. Love the link to Bill McKibben’s tirade from BBD, translation: “all people who voted the way I don’t like did so for money, all the money lavished on the people who voted the way I like had no effect. Prove me wrong!”
    Ha. Might as well ask me to prove you didn’t get bitten by a unicorn this morning- the thing about fantasies is that they’re, well, fantasies.
    Let’s try one more time, but using a non-AGW example. The lefties are all in a lather to impose massive costs on banks for the horrendous deed of loaning money to people. Already there is a $25 billion “settlement” and the left wants more- from the banks, of course. Well, hate to break it to you but there is no “the banks.” You are “the banks.” You save money, use checking accounts, seek credit. All of the “punishment” and “settlement” will be paid by you. All of the cost and affects of “regulation” will be suffered by you. Nobody else.
    Nobody.

  324. Marlowe Johnson says:

    @323-326

    This idea that money is equivalent to democracy would make sense if everyone had the same amount.  

    Since they don’t, it doesn’t.  

    that is precisely the point that you’re all trying so desperately to avoid.  Money is a corrupting influence on democracy precisely because a very small number of people have far, far more money than the rest of the citizenry and use this money to game the political system to their advantage, and to serve their interests.  They do this primarily by making election campaigns so prohibitively expensive to win that the incumbents (and their challengers) have no choice but to curry their favour.  Assuming you guys aren’t part of the 1% of 1% top earners, I can only conclude that your a bunch of ‘useful idiots’.

  325. Marlowe Johnson says:

    Incidentally, this isn’t a left/right thing.  Crudely speaking, the Dems are in the pockets of wall street and high tech, while the repubs are in the pockets of fossil/traditional industry and defense.  It’s a systemic problem that is plain as day to most observers, present company obviously excluded.

  326. hunter says:

    @327 Marlowe,
    So since Heartland’s budget is ~$7million, and Greenpeace is on the order of ~$3billion, please extend your arguemnt and telll us who is more corrupt and why.
     

  327. jeffn says:

    #327 “This idea that money is equivalent to democracy would make sense if everyone had the same amount.  ”
    Modify that sentence and you’ll start to get it- “This idea that money is not equivalent to democracy would make sense if everyone had the same access to CBS, NBC, The Washington Post and NY Times. They don’t, so money is important.
    Marlowe- how did the Green Party fare in the last Canadian Election? This is where campaigning is “free” due to the state’s requirement that everyone contribute to groups like “The Marijuana Party” and not one, but two communist parties.
    Wait, I can answer that question- under four percent. In the US they blame that poor showing on the “undue influence” of the rich and industry. What do you blame it on in Canada?
    Me? I blame it on the fact that the Green Party doesn’t make any sense in either country. The only place is succeeds is Europe, where in Germany it’s biggest victory was a new energy proposal that increases GHG emissions just to pander to anti-science zealots. But, let’s not look at that, don’t want to muck up the narrative.

  328. Marlowe Johnson says:

    @330
    google ‘first past the post’, canadian election laws, and ‘in-and-out-scheme’ while you’re at it.  Canadian politics is less corrupt than politics in the u.s. because of campaign finance laws and public subsidies of political parties (which the current government recently decided to get rid of to cement its fundraising advantage over the other parties).   

  329. hunter says:

    @331,
    No, public subsidies of political parties is inherently corrupt in and of itself.
    The use of tax payer money to fund candidates not of their choosing is terrible and puts ultimately either un-elected bureaucrats ot incumbants in the position to control elections.
      

  330. BBD says:

    jeffn
     
    Love the link to Bill McKibben’s tirade from BBD, translation:
     
    I asked you for a check on that piece and a list of errors (319). You are still pissing on McKibben but have not carried out a fact-check.
     
    Your commentary is now legitimately dismissable as biased and empty conjecture.

  331. kdk33 says:

     Assuming you guys aren’t part of the 1% of 1% top earners,

    check for false assumption 😉

  332. kdk33 says:

    This idea that money is equivalent to democracy would make sense if everyone had the same amount.  
    Since they don’t, it doesn’t.  

    Yes, Marlowe that is exactly the point.  Money isn’t equivalent to democracy.  Democracy is independant of money.  I think we have reached agreement.

     Money is a corrupting influence on democracy precisely because a very small number of people have far, far more money than the rest of the citizenry and use this money to game the political system.

    Oh, wait.  Now I’m confused.  earlier money was not equivalent to democracy, now money is.  If everyone had the exact same amount of money – if I read your thesis correctly – then we would have democarcy.  Because everyone doens’t, we don’t.  I wish you would make up your mind.

    Of course, we could always just redistribute the money so that everyone… oh, wait.

  333. Menth says:

    @333
     
    Do you think that the congressmen in McKibben’s column are purely pro-pipeline because they received “dirty money” from oil companies? Would they have voted otherwise sans the filthy lucre?
     
    Do you think (and I’m really going to get radical here) that perhaps the congressmen were also acting in accordance with the wishes of the people who voted for them in the first place who don’t share McKibben’s view that the pipeline was a bad idea?
     
    Here’s a useful flow chart I use for determining whether an article is worth reading or not:
     
    Article—–>Is it written by Bill McKibben?—>No—->Read it.
                                                                  Yes—->Don’t Read.
     
     
     

  334. Marlowe Johnson says:

    @334
    pop quiz. what is the threshold to be in the top 1% of the top 1% of income earners in the u.s. at present? 

    delusions of grandeur perhaps? 

  335. BBD says:

    Menth
     
    Congratulations. You have just joined jeffn on the comment scrap-heap. For the same reasons.

  336. hunter says:

    BBD,
    Take a breather. You are not acting ratinally on this.
    You can do better than to come across as the uber-angry supporter of suppression and false accusations.  

  337. Menth says:

    BBD,
     
    A very considered and well argued reply.  I didn’t realize I was an idiot. You win this round sir.
     
    Kind Regards

  338. hunter says:

    Marlowe, you are gith on your point about left/right. It is not. It is about freedom and anti-freedom. anti-freedom rationalizes government control of free speech. Freedom says let everyone have at it in the public square, win lose or draw.
     

  339. Anteros says:

    hunter –
     
    You say Gleick is chair of the ethics committee. Methinks that was in the past. His ‘ethical’ behaviour has caught up with him 🙂

  340. BBD says:

    hunter
     
    You can do better than to come across as the uber-angry supporter of suppression and false accusations. 
     
    Yes. I can come across as the angry supporter of transparent democracy. Which as we know, when we pause to reflect, is exactly what I’ve been arguing for all down this long, long thread.

  341. Marlowe Johnson says:

    A question for you hunter.  Does the tinfoil hat improve your wifi reception? I’ve got a transformer prime and i’m looking to improve the signal strength…. 

  342. jeffn says:

    #333- BBD- McKibben’s entire column is a lie as I fully showed and you are incapable of responding to. McKibben doesn’t even try to make his case- he simply says “look, cash, ergo corruption” and all the useful idiots fall in line. Of course – of course – the green bucks had nothing at all to do with the other side- there it is simply understood that every vote is utterly divorced from the cash because to even think otherwise would give poor old BBD a headache.
    And The Chamber of Commerce is “a front organization” for business? Seriously? It’s called the Chamber of… wait for it…. “Commerce” for a reason you know- one that’s not actually a secrete outside of padded rooms.
    Face it- McKibben is searching for excuses and finding all the same ones the greens/left have always used for their multitude of electoral failures over the decades- if only we could control who gets to speak, we would win!! Not surprisingly, when they get that control, they still lose- see Canada.
    It ain’t the cash- it’s the message. Hell, you and Marlowe are holding hands through this whole thread and each of you wants the exact opposite of the other- one wants nukes, the other windmills and solar panels. You want two diametrically opposed things and scream the Chamber of Commerce- which is secretly supportive of “commerce” – is preventing “it.”
    You want to know one of the biggest reasons AGW is collapsing- I haven’t the slightest idea what you really want anymore. Seriously. Between you, Marlowe, NYJ, Joshua, and Grist.org I bet there are at least 10 definitions of what “action” is. One has complete bi-partisan support in the U.S. and an existent funding source so, of course, none of you wants it (nuke). The other 9 are so damn obviously dumb that every country that got suckered into trying it is backpeddling as fast as they can- windmills/solar panels subsidies drying up, “carbon markets” extinct, global “wealth redistribution” (which Grist and Monbiot just this month explicitly call for, again, but perish the thought that any right-wing group suggest this is what they want) will never happen. Ever.
    And you think Heartland’s paltry $6 million did that? Ha!
    Zombie
    Movement

  343. hunter says:

    @344 Marlowe,
     In my area, there is an aliminum shortage created by the believers protecting their delicate noggins from the denial-o-sphere rays. Afterall- you believers need to be able to claim with straight faces that Peter Gleick is a hero of the climate wars.
     

  344. hunter says:

    BBD,
    Bunk. You are just bitter that you are losing. You have no coherent ideas about this idea of ‘transparent democracy’. We are a nation built on rights. The Courts have interpretted those rights to justify private people being able to go about their lives in private.  They have interpretted the 1st Amendment broadly to include political free speech. you have no right or power to impose demands on how I or anyone else chooses to engage in my free speech as long as no violence or other crimes are committed.
    Greenpeace, WWF, Gay rights organizations, Gun owners, farmers, taxi drivers, teachers, and any other combination of people you can think of get together and lobby the government for services, laws, help, recognition, policy changes, not to even mention elections.
    For some reason all of this bothers you and apparently a large number of believers.
    Well too friggin’ bad. I joined Heartland Institue last night in honor of you and your anti-democratic desires to suppress those with whom you disagree. Hi did nothing wrong. YOUR guy- Peter Gleick was a thief and a sneak and a forger. you and your fellow apologists are too self-absorbed to deal with that, and have the nerve to balme the victim.
    Stuff it.
        

  345. hunter says:

    @342,
    Anteros, at least I made a copy of that pre-fall from grace page showing Peter’s ironic AGU job.
     

  346. BBD says:

    jeffn
     
    #333- BBD- McKibben’s entire column is a lie as I fully showed and you are incapable of responding to.
     
    Eh? You wrote nothing. You showed nothing. I asked you for a list of factual errors. You have not provided anything except hot air. And we both know you aren’t going to because the facts in the article are correct.

  347. BBD says:

    hunter
     
    Well too friggin’ bad. I joined Heartland Institue last night in honor of you and your anti-democratic desires to suppress those with whom you disagree.
     
    I’m sure you will fit in very well.

  348. hunter says:

    BBD,
    I probably won’t- I am not libertarian. In fact I disagree with many of their policiy proposals from what I have so far seen. But annoying close minded people like you- that is priceless.

    But it is notable that even now you cannot defend your position at all. Only make summary statements and incomprehenisible impractical demands.
       

  349. Joshua says:

    – 345 – jeffn –
    “Between you, Marlowe, NYJ, Joshua, and Grist.org I bet there are at least 10 definitions of what “action” is.”


    There’s no way that you’ll likely get an accurate picture of my views on something specific if you don’t ask me my views on something specific. Oblique references to what I may or may not think doesn’t seem particularly useful.
     
    I don’t think that “action” should be easily defined. I think that it requires exactly what I believe has yet to occur yet which you said has been happening for decades (it was you, wasn’t it?)  I suggested that our different views were based in different working definitions, and you didn’t (it was you, wasn’t it?) follow up. It that wasn’t you, then consider appropriate apologies offered – although it remains that you’re characterizing my views (or lack thereof) without having asked.

  350. jeffn says:

    Joshua good point, nobody knows what you want including me. If only that was my point- wait, it was! BBD says the Camber of commerce and their filthy lucre is the only thing preventing you from getting that which you won’t define. Your thoughts?
    My point before that you allude to was clear- after 20 years of chatter from all sides, the following is obvious: the world will not abandon capitalism or depopulate. The only functional alternatives to coal and oil are nukes, hydro dams and natural gas. Only environmentalists oppose the only functional alternatives.
    BBD- get a grip. There were no facts in McKibbens foaming at the mouth column. We know this because he asserted a crime took place and you will search in vain for any news organization reporting that McKibben presented evidence of a crime. Not one. Not even warm blogs. In short- baseless attack nonsense ignored even by supporters, film at 11.

  351. Joshua says:

    jeffN –
     
    I’m getting the sense that you’re not interested in a serious discussion. It seems that in fact, you couldn’t care less what my views actually are. I always try, though,  to give someone the benefit of the doubt in that regard. You’re running out of doubt in my book – but I’ll l try once more:
     
    “BBD says the Camber of commerce and their filthy lucre is the only thing preventing you from getting that which you won’t define. Your thoughts?”
     
    Let’s leave behind the fact that it’s odd that for some reason you’d expect me to answer for BBD, or that you’d expect us to share viewpoints merely because you’ve read my criticism of the reasoning of some “skeptics” (and apparently, ignore quite a few posts were BBD and I disagreed on issues).
     
    I have no reason why you think that I would believe that the Chamber of Commerce is the “the only thing preventing [me] from getting” anything, let alone that which I won’t define. You’re going to have to be a bit more specific, and talk about things a bit closer to something that I’ve said, if you want some kind of a serious response.
     
    “My point before that you allude to was clear- after 20 years of chatter from all sides, the following is obvious: the world will not abandon capitalism or depopulate.”
     
    Here again, your point is completely unclear to me, and whatever it is seems completely unrelated to anything that I’ve said. Now what I have said is that a comprehensive stakeholder dialog is what I think is a way forward w/r/t “action.” I have explained to you that I do not see what has taken place over the last two decades as serious and comprehensive stakeholder dialog, and you apparently disagree with me there. So then the logical thing would be to start breaking down our respective definitions of comprehensive and serious stakeholder dialog, because obviously we have different definitions. If you’re simply convinced that, in fact, regardless of questions of definition, that is what we have had with no benefit resulting – then there’s no real point in any discussion going forward.
     
    I have no expectation of any realistic solutions “abandon[ing] capitalism” or requiring “depopulation.”
     
    If you want to know my views, and you want to have a discussion, we have to establish a more respectful process of exchange.

  352. jeffn says:

    Ok I’ll consider the possibility that we can have a serious discussion.
    My opinion is that AGW has not only been talked to death for 20 years but that the discussion was so serious that several action plans were offered, considered and in many cases even tested. That process resulted in findings- what I noted above – the lack of any support for abandoning capitalism, depopulating the earth. There was a failed experiment with carbon trading, windmills solar, even efficiency measures and carbon taxes didnt work. Nukes, dams and gas fired plants did reduce emissions. The GOP is not fighting nukes, cracking or dams.
    The last confab determined to
    Set a framework for a process to examine a policy that has failed to materialize for 20 years.
    Your turn- have you learned anything in the last 20 years about action? What do you see as the action items with the broadest support? Or is moving forward not on your agenda?

  353. Judith Curry says:

    NiV, I have a new post at Climate Etc.  Teaching (?) the Controversy.  I start off quoting your comment #217. 

  354. hunter says:

    NiV,
    Congrats!

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