Proof pointing to the people guilty of weakening America

Summary: We, Americans, delight in creative explanations blaming others for our problems. “It’s not my fault” is our mantra. Here are two examples suggesting that we can find the guilty parties can be found in the mirror. We can do better.

Einstein about problems

He didn’t say it, but should have

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In these pages I’ve attempted to convey some of the astonishing aspects of 21st century America. None are more astonishing than our disinterest in learning from our experiences (both Left and Right), and the parallel behavior of Left and Right (about which they’re oblivious). I’ve written scores of posts documenting these phenomena.

The conclusion drawn about these posts by many readers: they accurately describe foolish behavior of the other side (the bad guys), but say I show bias and politicization by pointing out similar behavior by the good guys (which is so obviously different). How sad to see such willful blindness. It’s one of the reasons I wonder about our capacity for self-government. The blind need guides. Perhaps that’s how the 1% see their relationship with us.

Here is an example for each.

Bush = Hitler

The Day of Action protest, 18 March 2006

(1) Bush is Hitler. So is Obama

Many at the Left said that President Bush Jr was like Hitler. Zomblog and Ringo’s Pictures have collected examples. Lied us into wars, illegal government surveillance, indefinite detention at Guantanamo Bay without charges or trials. The Right laughed.

Now the Left applauds Obama, with his illegal surveillance programs, most aggressive-ever use of the Espionage Act of 1917. continued use of Guantanamo Bay, expanded assassination programs (including US citizens). Most of the same things they condemned Bush Jr for doing, plus more that Bush Jr did not dare do.

And now the Right condemns Obama as — Hitler. David Neiwert at Orcinus has a few examples. Google Images points to hundreds more.

This suggests that both Left and Right love authoritarians, so long as they are on the correct side of the political aisle. Both are oblivious to the similarity of their behaviors to the behavior of those they despise. No wonder our politics have become so dysfunctional.

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Comment threads about global warming show the American mind at work, like a reality-TV horror show

Summary:  Belief in a secret conspiracy of government scientists manipulating US climate data to exaggerate global warming might join Benghazi BENGHAZI in the right-wing canon. See this happen in real time in the comment threads at Prof Curry’s website, showing the American mind at work on one of our most important public policy issues. It’s a sad spectacle, deserving your attention. We can do better, if only we would try. (updated July 2)

This is second in a series about this fascinating story. It is one of a series of posts using popular media as a mirror in which we can more clearly see who we are, and what we’re becoming.

All Seeing Eye

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I strongly recommend reading the comments to “Skeptical of skeptics: is Steve Goddard right?“ by Judith Curry (Prof, GA Inst Tech) at her website, Climate Etc.  (update: and to her follow-up post here). It’s a typical discussion about politicized science in America, with comments by scientists, talented amateurs, and extremist partisans. The latter dominate, with anti-science their primary theme.

If you step back from the specific issue, this thread reads like countless others in recent years by the Right (e.g. about evolution, the extreme example) — and by the Left  (e.g., genetically-modified food and nuclear power).  And by both the Left and Right about climate and economics. A common element is people who have little or no understanding of the subject, but confidently proclaim the relevant scientists to be fools, crooks, or charlatans (this is a defining characteristic of the public climate wars, with activists on both sides so condemning scientists on the “other side”).

Political leaders cherish such followers, their vanguard of high-energy “useful idiots” (an essential concept for political engineers, origin unknown). They’re easily directed and immune to rebuttal by fact or logic (they don’t listen to their opponents, who are misguided if not evil). As a chorus they entertain the faithful and can often shout down saner voices.

“Then the sheep broke out into a tremendous bleating of `Four legs good, two legs bad!’ which went on for nearly a quarter of an hour and put an end to any chance of discussion.”

This is a manifestation of an deeper ill in American life, anti-intellectualism. The best-known descriptions of this are two works by Richard Hofstadter. The comment thread at Climate Etc shows both of these traits proudly displayed.

(1)  Anti-intellectualism in American Life (1963).  It includes the belief that everyman can understand technical matters as well as experts, without bothering with years of study. It’s as or more serious now than in 1963.

Twenty-first century philistines, suffering from a lack of imagination and curiosity, have seized upon understandable economic anxieties since the financial crash of 2008, to shepherd an increasingly large flock of American sheep into the livestock freight carrier Pulitzer prize winning historian, Richard Hofstadter, called “anti-intellectualism.” … The American mind is swimming in icy waters …

— “America’s New Wave of Anti-Intellectualism“, David Masciotra (journalist), The Daily Beast, 9 March 2014

(2) The Paranoid Style in American Politics“, Harpers Magazine, November 1964 — To the Right-wing climate scientists are not just wrong, but in an active conspiracy to deceive us — they “fake”, fiddle”, and “rig” the data. Excerpt:

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Did NASA and NOAA dramatically alter US climate history to exaggerate global warming?

Summary: A layman writing under the pseudonym of “Steve Goddard” accused the US government of fabricating temperature data. Sadly it quickly went viral. Fortunately in this case some conservatives are criticizing their own when they make outlandish statements, something rarely seen in US political debates — where truth is purely tribal. As we saw in the peak oil movement, which applauded all kinds of nonsense so long as it supported their narrative. Unfortunately this reduced this important research and public awareness campaign into a carnival of doomsters (examples in May 2008, August 2010).

So this internal criticism among climate skeptics is no small thing. This behavior should be encouraged by both Left and Right. Our gullibility to pleasing stories — confirmation bias — makes us weak, and this is a step towards a cure.

This post will be updated as more analysis becomes available. See the follow-up posts below.

Clear vision

Contents

  1. Conservatives love tribal truths…
  2. Rebuttals come quickly
  3. Scientists weigh in — updated
  4. Why are we still having these debates?
  5. Science moves on
  6. Follow-up posts on this story
  7. For More Information

(1)  Conservatives love tribal truths…

…no matter how absurd. As do the Left. The climate wars show this in mad fashion, as both sides exploit this vital issue for political gain. Both, to varying extents, abandoning mainstream climate science for more vivid forecasts by laypeople (as documented here in so many posts). The world is cooling! No, the world is burning!

For today’s example, Tony Heller (aka “Steve Goddard”; bio here) makes a wild claim at his high-traffic website Real Science: “NOAA/NASA Dramatically Altered US Temperatures After The Year 2000“, 23 June 2014.

The reactions show politics at work, with science in the back seat. Also note the casual acceptance by so many people that the scientists involved are running a conspiracy, more evidence of the decline of confidence in institutions tracked by Gallup. “Scandal.” “Rigged”. “Fabricated.” “Fudged numbers.” No matter how this is resolved, these accusations will remain valid in the minds of conservatives. Perhaps millions of them.

  • (a)  “The scandal of fiddled global warming data“, Christopher Booker, The Telegraph, 21 June 2014 — “The US has actually been cooling since the Thirties, the hottest decade on record”. It’s not just an America problem; The Telegraph is a UK paper, circulation over 500 thousand.
  • (b)  “Rigged ‘science’“, op-ed in The Washington Times, 23 June 2014
  • (c)  “Global Warming ‘Fabricated’ by NASA and NOAA“, Breitbart, 23 June 2014 — “Scientists at two of the world’s leading climate centres – NASA and NOAA – have been caught out manipulating temperature data to overstate the extent of the 20th century ‘global warming’.”
  • (d)  “NASA scientists fudged the numbers to make 1998 the hottest year to overstate the extent of global warming.” — Steve Doocy on “Fox and Friends“, 24 June 2014 — The MediaMatters page below has the video.
  • (e)  “On Climate Change, Who Are the Real ‘Deniers’?“, RealClearPolitics, Cal Thomas, 26 June 2014

(2)  Rebuttals come quickly

No surprise that the Left responds to these specious claims. But, unusually, a prominent climate skeptic and conservative speaks out.

Rebuttal from the liberals:

  1. Hard analysis: “Fox News Cites Birther To Claim NASA ‘Faked’ Global Warming“, Media Matters, 24 June 2014
  2. Kicking sand into the air: “Global warming conspiracy theorist zombies devour Telegraph and Fox News brains“, The Guardian, 25 June 2014 — “A long-debunked myth is amplified by the conservative media echo chamber from a fringe science-denying blog to The Telegraph and Fox News”

Rebuttals from conservative Anthony Watts (meteorologist, runs one of the highest-traffic climate websites):

  1. Posted at a Libertarians: “Did NASA/NOAA Dramatically Alter U.S. Temperatures After 2000?“, Ronald Bailey, Reason, 23 June 2014 — Brief rebuttal by Watts
  2. On ‘denying’ Hockey Sticks, USHCN data, and all that“, Anthony Watts at his website, 25 June 2014
  3. Backing away in a confused way from Goddard’s claims: “The scientific method is at work on the USHCN temperature data set“, Anthony Watts at his website, 28 June 2014

(3)  Scientists weigh in — updated

(a)  Scientists slowly respond. It’s an important dynamic in these discussions that the laypeople — on both sides — tend to respond much faster than do the experts.

  1. How not to calculate temperature”, Zeke Hausfather (Senior Researcher, Berkeley Earth), The Blackboard, 25 June 2014 — Also Part II, Part III — He is also on the International Surface Temperature Initiative’s Benchmarking and Assessment group
  1.   From Politifact, 25 June 2014 — “All of the experts we reached or whose work we read rejected Goddard’s conclusions.”

John Nielsen-Gammon is a researcher at Texas A&M University and is the Texas state climatologist:

“It is reasonable to expect the adjusted data record to change over time as the technology for identifying and removing artificial changes improves. If there are any biases, they are caused by the quality of the underlying data, not by any biases intentionally introduced into the adjustment process.”

Mark  C. Serreze (Prof geography, U CO-Boulder): “Goddard’s results stem from an erroneous analysis of the data.”

  1. Skeptical of skeptics: is Steve Goddard right?“, Judith Curry (Prof, GA Inst Tech), 28 June 2014 — A concise review of the discussion, with pointers to others’ analysis.

(b)  Another round of rebuttals to Goddard/Heller accusations

(i)  From Politifact, 1 July 2014

Zeke Hausfather, a data scientist, is a member of the group known as Berkeley Earth. “Despite using different methods, and using about 8 times more raw station data, we ended up with nearly identical results,” Hausfather said. Hausfather provided PunditFact the following graphic. NCDC refers to the National Climatic Data Center, the agency home for the temperature readings. The blue line is Hausfather’s data, the red line is the NCDC’s.

Berkeley vs NCDC US temperatures

(ii)  A response from the National Climatic Data Center

Anthony Watts says “The NCDC press office sent an official response to Politifact, which is below.”

A.  Are the examples in Texas and Kansas prompting a deeper look at how the algorithms change the raw data?

No – our algorithm is working as designed. NCDC provides estimates for temperature values when:

  1. data were originally missing, and
  2. when a shift (error) is detected for a period that is too short to reliably correct. These estimates are used in applications that require a complete set of data values.

B.  Watts wrote that NCDC and USHCN are looking into this and will issue some sort of statement. Is that accurate?

Although all estimated values are identified in the USHCN dataset, NCDC’s intent was to use a flagging system that distinguishes between the two types of estimates mentioned above. NCDC intends to fix this issue in the near future.

C.  Did the point Heller raised, and the examples provided for Texas and Kansas, suggest that the problems are larger than government scientists expected?

No, refer to question 1.

(iii)   Additional comments from Judith Curry (Prof, GA Instit Tech) at her website, Climate Etc.

(iv)  A definitive response to these allegations by Zeke Hausfather (Senior Researcher, Berkeley Earth), posted at Judith Curry’s Climate Etc: “Understanding adjustments to temperature data“, 7 July 2014.

(4)  Why are we still having these debates?

As I wrote back in January 2009: The collection of US data is not even remotely close to the claimed “high quality” (except in a relative sense to that of the global data).   Data from the rest of the world is far worse in coverage, comparability (both geographically and temporally), and accuracy. These systems are grossly underfunded vs the seriousness of the public policy issues.

The global surface temperature network is a shambles. Much of the past record poorly documented, the current record published with minimal quality control. The satellites are aging, with key replacements uncertain. NY Times articles describing the peril to the world alternate with reports about underfunding of climate research (“U.S. Satellite Plans Falter“). Much of the key data, such as ice cores, lie in storage due to lack of funding for analysis. Key systems are failing, such as the Tropical Atmosphere Ocean array.

Scientists do what they can with what we give them; it’s not an issue in which penny-pinching is rational. This is the big lesson we refuse to learn. The activists want no more discussion of the science, no matter how weak its foundation. The skeptics are driven by conservatives who often wish to defund the science. So we lurch forward in ignorance to whatever lies ahead.

Update: a comment by Philbert from the thread about Goddard’s (Heller’s) post at Climate Etc:

The COOP network was established in 1891 mostly for agricultural. Yes, it has undergone changes in instrumentation, data collection procedures, observation times, station movement, etc. but it is one of the few long-term terrestrial national networks we can use to assess climate. It is managed by the NWS, not NCDC, and it is chronically underfunded. It was never designed to detect climate change over 100 years ago.

If we keep complaining about the way the data are handled, then congress will be pleased to take away all the funding and we can use climate generators to create the climate we want to verify any model we create. If some of those who spend hours and hours on the Climate Etc. blog would write to their representatives about data network funding problems, that would be time well spent.

(5)  Science moves on

About the International Surface Temperature Initiative

To deliver climate services for the benefit of society we need to develop and deliver a suite of monitoring products from hourly to century timescales and from location specific to the global mean. Society expects openness and transparency in the process and to have a greater understanding of the certainty regarding how climate has changed and how it will continue to change. Necessary steps to deliver on these requirements for observed land surface temperatures were discussed at a meeting held at the UK Met Office in September 2010 attended by climate scientists, measurement scientists, statisticians, economists and software / IT specialists.

The meeting followed a submission to the WMO Commission for Climatology from the UK Met Office which was expanded upon in an invited opinion piece for Nature. Meeting discussions were based upon white papers solicited from authors with specialist knowledge in the relevant areas which were open for public comment for over a month. The meeting initiated an envisaged multi-year project which this website constitutes the focal point for.

For more details see: “Guiding the Creation of A Comprehensive Surface Temperature Resource for Twenty-First-Century Climate Science“, Peter W. Thorne et al, Bulletin American Meteorological Society, Noember 2011.

(6)  Follow-up posts

  1. Comment threads about global warming show the American mind at work, like a reality-TV horror show
  2. The climate wars get exciting. Government conspiracy! Shattered warming records! Global cooling!
  3. Have the climate skeptics jumped the shark, taking the path to irrelevance?, 3 July 2014

Truth Will Make You Free

(6)  For More Information

(a)  Posts about climate change:

  1. Posts about climate change
  2. Science & nature – studies & reports
  3. The important things to know about global warming

(b)  Some posts about our confusion:

  1. Facts are an obstacle to the reform of America, 20 Oct 2011
  2. Our minds are addled, the result of skillful and expensive propaganda, 28 December 2011
  3. Who lies to us the most? Left or Right?, 25 February 2013
  4. Facts are the enemy of both Left and Right in our America, 12 May 2014

(c)  Posts about the public debate on climate change:

  1. Programs to reshape the American mind, run by the left and right, 2 August 2010
  2. Climate science: the debate, the eventual solution, and the best cheap seats from which to watch the action., 19 August 2010
  3. What does the American public want done to fight climate change?, 2 February 2014
  4. A key to understanding the climate wars (about one of our big weaknesses), 15 March 2014

(d)  Posts about climate change as seen by the Right:

  1. About those headlines of the past century about global cooling…, 2 November 2009
  2. The facts about the 1970′s Global Cooling scare, 7 December 2009
  3. Start of another swing of the media narrative – to global cooling?, 11 September 2013
  4. Global Cooling returns to the news, another instructive lesson about America, 25 January 2014
  5. A look into the GOP mind: untethered from reality and drifting in the wind, 3 March 2014

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Congress did a great thing 50 years ago, but rot from that day has spread and taken root

Summary: 19 June 1964. I believe on this day America took a wrong turn. It was the day we took a large step to closure on the wound opened by the Civil War, another step to atoning for and overcoming the legacy of slavery. The Senate voted to pass the 1964 Civil Rights Bill. But one of the opponents saw this as an opportunity, and we live with the dark results today

Barry Goldwater button

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Reflecting the parties geographical, not ideological, foundations, the vote passing the 1964 Civil Rights Act was mixed.

  • Democratic Party: 46–21   (69–31%)
  • Republican Party: 27–06   (82–18%)

But one of those “no” votes was by the GOP candidate for the Presidency, who saw an opportunity to redraw America’s political map and end the  dominant position the Democratic Party had held since the Great Depression. The price was betrayal of the Republican Party’s legacy.

Senator Barry Goldwater (R-AZ) lost the 1964 presidential election, but his campaign reforged a Republican Party with racism as a core element — burned into an alliance with the right-wing social and economic ideologies. The poison took time to spread through the GOP, but by 1980 — amplified by Nixon and Reagan — it helped make conservatism become the dominant political force in America (affecting both parties).

That day 50 years ago could have begun a break with our past. Instead we’re still grappling with our racist legacy from slavery.

Here’s the speech Goldwater gave justifying his betrayal. Brad DeLong (Prof Economics, Berkeley) decodes the key phrases he uses to disguise his political logic.

  • “Demagogue” = “Martin Luther King, Jr., and the March on Washington”
  • “Calm environment” = “an end to sit-ins and Freedom Rides”
  • “Special appeals for special welfare” = “desire by African-Americans to eat at lunch counters and stay at hotels open to others”

The text, from DeLong’s post:

There have been few, if any, occasions when the searching of my conscience and the re-examination of my views of our constitutional system have played a greater part in the determination of my vote than they have on this occasion.

I am unalterably opposed to discrimination or segregation on the basis of race, color, or creed, or on any other basis; not only my words, but more importantly my actions through the years have repeatedly demonstrated the sincerity of my feeling in this regard.

This is fundamentally a matter of the heart. The problems of discrimination can never by cured by laws alone; but I would be the first to agree that laws can help — laws carefully considered and weighed in an atmosphere of dispassion, in the absence of political demagoguery, and in the light of fundamental constitutional principles.

For example, throughout my 12 years as a member of the Senate Labor and Public Welfare Committee, I have repeatedly offered amendments to bills pertaining to labor that would end discrimination in unions, and repeatedly those amendments have been turned down by the very members of both parties who now so vociferously support the present approach to the solution of our problem. Talk is one thing, action is another, and until the members of this body and the people of this country realize this, there will be no real solution to the problem we fact.

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The secret to Conservatives’ success, and why they deserve to win

Summary: Cantor’s defeat to a Tea Party challenger marks Americans move one notch further to the Right. Rather than whine about it, we should consider how and why the Right has won for several decades. They’ve patiently planned and planted; now they reap.

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“People, ideas and hardware, in that order!”
— the late John R. Boyd (Colonel, USAF), “A Discourse on Winning and Losing” (unpublished), August 1987. Good advice for all spheres of life. Conservatives have proven it works for politics.

“Fifty years is ample time in which to change a world and its people almost beyond recognition. All that is required for the task are a sound knowledge of social engineering, a clear sight of the intended goal – and power. These things the Overlords possessed.”
— Arthur C. Clarke, Childhood’s End (1953)

I am a Conservative

By TitanticFan1000, at DiviantART

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Right: Art by TitanticFan1000 at DeviantART

Contents

  1. Patient, long-term investment
  2. It’s intelligent design of a society…
  3. For More Information
  4. Future historians will study these giants

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(1) Patient, long-term investment

After 50 years of victories of the Right, slowly people on the Left see a source to their power. As Paul Krugman explains in “Fall of an Apparatchik“, in his blog at the NYT, 11 June 2014 — Krugman is a brilliant economist, Leftist ideologue and Democratic Party hack. Here he displays the last two aspects of his thinking while muting the first.

Movement conservatism — as distinct from just plain conservatism, which has always been a part of the landscape and always will be — is a distinct feature of modern American politics. It dates, more or less, back to the 1970s, when conservatives, with lots of money from the likes of Richard Mellon Scaife, set about building an institutional infrastructure of think tanks, pressure groups, captive media, etc.. At first this infrastructure mainly provided backing to right-thinking (in both senses) politicians. But eventually it provided a career path for up and coming conservatives.

In particular, being a movement conservative in good standing meant considerable career safety: even if you or the politician you worked for lost an election, there were jobs to be had at think tanks (e.g. Rick Santorum heading up the “America’s enemies” program at a Scaife-backed think tank), media gigs (two Bush speechwriters writing columns for the Washington Post, not to mention the gaggle at the WSJ and Fox News), and so on.

In other words, being a hard line conservative, which to be fair involved some career risks back in the 60s and into the 70s, became a safe choice; you could count on powerful backing, and if not favored by fortune, you could fall back on wingnut welfare.

“Wingnut welfare” is Krugman’s mocking description of one component to the conservative infrastructure built during the past 50 years. Someone less inclined to rebuttal by insult than Krugman (it’s his primary mode) would call it large scale, patient investment by the 1% in people .

To see the duration, scale, and depth of this program, see the bios of conservative activists at the SHAME project. Often recruited at college, carefully trained and nurtured through a succession of jobs, it’s a career path for conservative activists run quite differently than anything on the Left.

The 1% also invested in ideas, think-tanks to generate them and news media and conferences (e.g., the CPAC and the CLC) to disseminate them. Like David Brat, who leads banker John Allison’s “BB&T Moral Foundations of Capitalism Program” teaching libertarian thought at Randolph-Macon College (for more information see articles at VOX) and at AlterNet).

Conservatives now reap the well-deserved rewards to their time, effort, and money.  They can laugh at Krugman’s mockery.

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Facts are the enemy of both Left and Right in our America

Summary: Another in a long series of studies illustrating America’s inability to process information, and our collapse into tribes incapable (or unwilling) to communicate with one another. Today we look at reactions to posts on the FM website. These attacks from both Left and Right test its accuracy and fairness. You judge the result.

Here’s a hors d’oeuvre. Yes, they’re both talking about me:

“The North Pole is a frickin’ LAKE, you ass. You are either being paid well for these posts, or you are off your meds. I swear, these Baghdad Bobs are going to be crowing about the earth cooling right up until their proteins start congealing from the heat.”  {by Lidia; link}

“Perhaps a step back on your global warming doom nonsense is in order as well.” {by climate change skeptic Jeff Condon, aka Jeff Id, of The Air Vent; link}

Truth Will Make You Free

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Contents

  1. Journalism
  2. Examples of attacks by the alarmists
  3. Examples of attacks by the skeptics
  4. Conclusions
  5. For More Information

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(1)  Journalism

Most of what we do at the FM website is journalism, citing data and experts in ways that attempt to illuminate trends in America and the world. In a society become madly tribal, how you tell if the reporting is accurate and fair?  Here are some answers to these questions for the FM website.

Accuracy

Hindsight — applying the test of time to old posts — provides the acid test of accuracy. For the FM website posts you can see the pages on the top menu bar recording past successes and mistakes (Smackdowns) going back to 2003. I believe you’ll find it an impressive record.

Fairness

Subjective evaluation of balance and fairness is more difficult. Fortunately others do this for us. For examples see Politics of the FM site: radical leftist reformer or right-wing iconoclast? I’m the former to the latter, and the latter to the former.

For a more recent example see the post 184 posts about climate change. Straight journalism: excerpts from reports of the IPCC, the major climate agencies, and the peer-reviewed literature (plus analysis of the politics, which is mostly ignored). I thought these would be useful and uncontroversial. As I should have known, these have received attacks from both sides — with few substantive rebuttals.

It’s an indicator of fairness and balance, perhaps the best available in mad 21st C America.

We can draw wider inferences from this data, and the similar results on thousands of other websites. In America truth is tribal. Wearing blinders is mandatory. Heterodox thought is condemned. Evidence follows (mostly from other websites; the comments to the posts themselves sizzle with outrage).

(2) Examples of attacks by the alarmists

(a)  Comment by Robert Marston Fanney (fantasy writer; bio here), at his blog RobertScribbler: “Scribbling for economic, social, and environmental justice”, 27 January 2014. In reply to a comment citing my post about the pause and a post contrasting hysterical statements about climate doom with an exchange of views between two climate scientists.

“This is classic poor representation of the science from a blog that appears to have been wrapped up in right-wing misinformation, at least in this case.”

He follow with a series of simple factual errors. Details here.

(b)  From a comment thread at Naked Capitalism, in a post where Yves Smith cites two of my posts.

“The fact that he’s a climate denialist also doesn’t do much for his case.” {By Joe; link}

Joe’s reasons were frivolous (my posts steadfastly defend the IPCC consensus), but steadfastly held. Next, a fun rebuttal:

“The North Pole is a frickin’ LAKE, you ass. You are either being paid well for these posts, or you are off your meds. I swear, these Baghdad Bobs are going to be crowing about the earth cooling right up until their proteins start congealing from the heat.”  {by Lidia; link}

The story about a lake at the North Pole was denied as bogus by the science group it was attributed to. The bit about global cooling is tribalism. I’m called a denier, therefore I must believe in global cooling. QED!  In fact I’ve written 4 posts debunking the subject. No admission of error from Lidia, of course.

(c)  Roger Pielke Jr (Prof Environmental Studies, U CO-Boulder) published “Disasters Cost More Than Ever — But Not Because of Climate Change” at 538, provoking a two-minute hate by the Left. I had the temerity to cite the peer-reviewed literature supporting his view (and the lack of offsetting articles in rebuttal). See the responses; feel the hate flow.

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The NRA feeds our fears, the fast track to political power in America

Summary: Both Left and Right motivate us by fear. They’re professionals at propaganda and manipulation. They choose fear as a theme for good reason: because it works. We’ve looked at many examples from the Left (see the links in the last section). Today we look at an unusually vivid example from the Right. Our weakness makes us easy to lead. But we can do better. Let’s not let fear so easily guide us. The path to reform starts with each of us, as individuals.

“No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.”
— Edmund Burke, A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful (1757)

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Another day in America, another mass shooting. Today’s is in Cobb, GA. Six casualties, plus the dead gunman. This does not happen in other developed nations. The NRA’s CEO explains why it happens so often in America.

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Fear by Van Gogh

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Wayne LaPierre, CEO of the NRA

Speaking at Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC)
6 April 2014

Much of this speech is inspiration and strikes home truths; I wish others would echo his call to action in defense of America. Much is factually incorrect (e.g., crime rates have been falling for 2 decades). Much is quite mad. It’s 100% professional-quality fear-mongering, by a powerful organization with a steel grip on an important piece of US public policy

See the video.  Excerpt from the transcript:

Freedom has never needed our defense more than now. Almost everywhere you look, something has gone wrong. You feel it in your heart, you know it in your gut. Something has gone wrong. The core values we believe in, the things we care about most, are changing. Eroding. Our right to speak. Our right to gather. Our right to privacy. The freedom to work, and practice our religion, and raise and protect our families the way we see fit.

… They are core freedoms. The core values that have always defined us as a nation and we feel them — we feel them — slipping away. All across America, everywhere I go, people come up to me and say, “Wayne, I’ve never been worried about this country — until now.” Not with anger, but with sadness in their eyes.

… We fear for the safety of our families — it’s why neighborhood streets that were once filled with bicycles and skateboards, laughter in the air, now sit empty and silent. In virtually every way, for the things we care about most, we feel profound loss.

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