Friday, September 26, 2008
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
After some prolonged deliberation, I have decided to withdraw from participating in the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). I am withdrawing because I have come to view the part of the IPCC to which my expertise is relevant as having become politicized. In addition, when I have raised my concerns to the IPCC leadership, their response was simply to dismiss my concerns.
With this open letter to the community, I wish to explain the basis for my decision and bring awareness to what I view as a problem in the IPCC process. The IPCC is a group of climate researchers from around the world that every few years summarize how climate is changing and how it may be altered in the future due to MANMADE global warming. I had served both as an author for the Observations chapter and a Reviewer for the 2nd Assessment Report in 1995 and the 3rd Assessment Report in 2001, primarily on the topic of tropical cyclones (hurricanes and typhoons). My work on hurricanes, and tropical cyclones more generally, has been widely cited by the IPCC. For the upcoming AR4, I was asked several weeks ago by the Observations chapter Lead Author - Dr. Kevin - to provide the writeup for Atlantic hurricanes. As I had in the past, I agreed to assist the IPCC in what I thought was to be an important, and politically-neutral determination of what is happening with our climate.
Shortly after Dr. requested that I draft the Atlantic hurricane section for the AR4's Observations chapter, Dr. participated in a press conference organized by scientists at Harvard on the topic "Experts to warn global warming likely to continue spurring more outbreaks of intense hurricane activity" along with other media interviews on the topic. The result of this media interaction was widespread coverage that directly connected the very busy 2004 Atlantic hurricane season as being caused by anthropogenic greenhouse gas warming occurring today. Listening to and reading transcripts of this press conference and media interviews, it is apparent that Dr. was being accurately quoted and summarized in such statements and was not being misrepresented in the media. These media sessions have potential to result in a widespread perception that global warming has made recent hurricane activity much more severe.
I found it a bit perplexing that the participants in the Harvard press conference had come to the conclusion that global warming was impacting hurricane activity today. To my knowledge, none of the participants in that press conference had performed any research on hurricane variability, nor were they reporting on any new work in the field. All previous and current research in the area of hurricane variability has shown no reliable, long-term trend up in the frequency or intensity of tropical cyclones, either in the Atlantic or any other basin. TheIPCC assessments in 1995 and 2001 also concluded that there was no global warming signal found in the hurricane record.
Moreover, the evidence is quite strong and supported by the most recent credible studies that any impact in the future from global warming upon hurricane will likely be quite small. The latest results from the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (and , Journal of Climate, 2004) suggest that by around 2080, hurricanes may have winds and rainfall about 5% more intense than today. It has been proposed that even this tiny change may be an exaggeration as to what may happen by the end of the 21st Century ( , , and , Journal of Climate, 2005, submitted).
It is beyond me why my colleagues would utilize the media to push an unsupported agenda that recent hurricane activity has been due to global warming. Given Dr. IPCC’s Lead Author responsible for preparing the text on hurricanes, his public statements so far outside of current scientific understanding led me to concern that it would be very difficult for the IPCC process to proceed objectively with regards to the assessment on hurricane activity. My view is that when people identify themselves as being associated with the IPCCand then make pronouncements far outside current scientific understandings that this will harm the credibility of climate change science and will in the longer term diminish our role in public policy.’s role as the
My concerns go beyond the actions of Dr. IPCC officials responded to my concerns. I did caution Dr. before the media event and provided him a summary of the current understanding within the hurricane research community. I was disappointed when the IPCCleadership dismissed my concerns when I brought up the misrepresentation of climate science while invoking the authority of the IPCC. Specifically, the IPCCleadership said that Dr. was speaking as an individual even though he was introduced in the press conference as an IPCClead author; I was told that that the media was exaggerating or misrepresenting his words, even though the audio from the press conference and interview tells a different story (available on the web directly); and that Dr. was accurately reflecting conclusions from the TAR, even though it is quite clear that the TAR stated that there was no connection between global warming and hurricane activity. The IPCCleadership saw nothing to be concerned with in Dr. unfounded pronouncements to the media, despite his supposedly impartial important role that he must undertake as a Lead Author on the upcoming AR4.and his colleagues to how he and other
It is certainly true that "individual scientists can do what they wish in their own rights", as one of the folks in the IPCCleadership suggested. Differing conclusions and robust debates are certainly crucial to progress in climate science. However, this case is not an honest scientific discussion conducted at a meeting of climate researchers. Instead, a scientist with an important role in the IPCCrepresented himself as a Lead Author for the IPCChas used that position to promulgate to the media and general public his own opinion that the busy 2004 hurricane season was caused by global warming, which is in direct opposition to research written in the field and is counter to conclusions in the TAR. This becomes problematic when I am then asked to provide the draft about observed hurricane activity variations for the AR4 with, ironically, Dr. as the Lead Author for this chapter. Because of Dr. pronouncements, the IPCCprocess on our assessment of these crucial extreme events in our climate system has been subverted and compromised, its neutrality lost. While no one can "tell" scientists what to say or not say (nor am I suggesting that), the IPCCdid select Dr. as a Lead Author and entrusted to him to carry out this duty in a non-biased, neutral point of view. When scientists hold press conferences and speak with the media, much care is needed not to reflect poorly upon the IPCC. It is of more than passing interest to note that Dr. , while eager to share his views on global warming and hurricanes with the media, declined to do so at the Climate Variability and Change Conference in January where he made several presentations. Perhaps he was concerned that such speculation - though worthy in his mind of public pronouncements – would not stand up to the scrutiny of fellow climate scientists.
I personally cannot in good faith continue to contribute to a process that I view as both being motivated by IPCCleadership has seen no wrong in Dr. actions and have retained him as a Lead Author for the AR4, I have decided to no longer participate in the IPCCAR4.agendas and being scientifically unsound. As the
Kevin Trenberth, an advisor to the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), made some startling admissions regarding the IPCC's use of computer General Circulation Modules (GCMs) (h/t Moonbattery). Professor Bob Carter, a geologist writing for Australia's News.com, has the scoop:
In a remarkable contribution to Nature magazine's Climate Feedback blog, Trenberth concedes GCMs cannot predict future climate and claims the IPCC is not in the business of climate prediction. This might be news to some people.
Among other things, Trenberth asserts ". . . there are no (climate) predictions by IPCC at all. And there never have been". Instead, there are only "what if" projections of future climate that correspond to certain emissions scenarios.
You do remember that the IPCC has been leading the charge with Al Gore on the whole "scientific consensus" on man-made global warming.
Carter also relates that in a paper to be presented at the 27th International Symposium on Forecasting in New York this week, Scott Armstrong and Kesten Green find other discrepancies within the relevant chapter in the IPCC's latest report.
(Editor’s note: Lost in the personal smear slinging in the 2008 presidential race, is the increasing and alarming Big Brother Role of the government. While arguments heat up out on the hustings, the government has moved in with a billions of dollars bailout of the foundering Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The dangerous assumption that government can do something better than private industry, the massive involvement of government in something as basic as housing are all part of the larger question Dr. Tim Ball poses in this article. A persistent advocate that global warming is not man-made, Ball warns us that most contemporary governments now seek to remove personal freedom, coupled with the demand of more taxation: “At no time since World War II has the question of the size of government been more critical in a U.S. Election…)”
George Bernard Shaw said, “A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.” The comment raises many questions about what is at the heart of the current US election. First among these is the role of government. Should they have the power to take money from Peter to give to Paul? How much money should they be allowed to take? What impact does the transfer of wealth have upon Peter and Paul? How much does the action affect the willingness of Peter to produce surplus wealth or the desire of Paul to accept responsibility for his lack of wealth and do something about it? Edith Hamilton said, “When the freedom they wished for most was the freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free and never was free again.”
Two interests evolved from my study of the impact of climate change on the human condition. One was the realization that drought is the single most devastating climate effect on flora and fauna and thus the people of the region. Second was the need to put any problem in a historical context. As a result I taught courses at the University level in water resources and political geography. The dictum I laid out for students especially in the latter, was geography was the stage and history the play performed upon that stage. You could study them independently, as is unfortunately the case in modern academia, but you only develop a more complete understanding when they are combined. For example, you only develop a clearer understanding of the growth of the fur trade and its impact on North America if you know how cold it was at that time. The greatest fur trading company that controlled one twelfth of the world’s land surface received its charter in 1670 just 13 years before there was a recorded 1 m (3 feet) of ice on the Thames River in London, England.
To understand the current US election, you must put it in the context of history. It is likely that the amount and role of government is as crucial a decision today as the original decision to break from Britain and establish a new country. However, they are very similar decisions. Both are about limiting the extent and power of government. The only difference is that one broke free from external imposition of government while the other is about preventing or at least controlling the internal imposition of government.
The original and primary role of a nation state government was to defend the nation. The government raises the money to perform this function, that’s required basis. Some people are aware that income tax was introduced as a temporary measure to pay for war. Unfortunately, governments like people are loath to surrender a source of income and the power that it provides.
We are a brief 63 years on from the end of World War II. While many have focused on the successful defeat of fascism and the defense of freedom, few think about the social and political effects. Some of these appear trivial but are actually quite profound. For example, necessity and practicality led to women wearing pants. Society also realized that women could perform jobs and roles previously the exclusive domain of men. Thank goodness for Rosie the riveter. On a world scale European colonies, particularly those of the British Empire, realized that Britain needed them as much as they needed Britain. Although the Empire was in decline prior to the war, this profound psychological shift lead rapidly to decolonization.
Since national governments had the role of defending the nation they were given the power to do what was necessary. I recall how dramatic the implementation of that power was when Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau determined the insurrection of separatists in Quebec was sufficient to implement the War Measures Act. This effectively removed the rights of individual citizens and provided the government with the power to act without accountability. Many expressed their concerns but to no avail. The majority, frightened by kidnapping and murder, were relieved to have the government take charge. Exploitation of these fears and the desire to be protected among the majority of the citizens is why dictatorships invariably invoke an outside threat to take absolute control.
During the World War II, allied nations that remained free from invasion saw their governments take considerable control. In England, it was extreme with the government even controlling through the use of ration books to type and amount of food as well as clothing to which citizens were entitled. Many don’t know that some of this rationing extended beyond the end of the war. I recall as a child the joyous year 1952 when candies (Sweets in England) were finally free of rationing.
While that marked freedom from extreme government control it did not mark the end of the larger role government had assumed. In Britain, the government of Winston Churchill was defeated by the Socialist government of Clement Atlee within a few months of the end of the war. It was reasonable for the people of Britain to look forward to a new form of life after the hardships and sacrifices they had made. The problem was the new government did not want to give up much of the power it inherited, especially since it serviced their political desires of greater government control. Although the events in Britain were more extreme than elsewhere, almost every country emerged from the war with greater government control of many aspects of everyone’s life.
Eventually, it was the cost of servicing such a government, in most cases funded by the former temporary but now permanent income tax that confronted the trend. Leaders like Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, led the charge against the cost of government. Interestingly, they didn’t really tackle the question about the role and extent of government in a nation and individual’s business. In fact, one can argue that it was the failure of Margaret Thatcher to deal with the social and economic fallout created by the reduction of government that led to her defeat.
In the current US election, the question of the role and extent of government is central. Ironically, it is more clearly defined because of the candidates. One clearly espouses a socialist view with a dramatically increased role for government. The other, although opposed to a larger government, clearly believes it has a significant role. Even selection of a more conservative Vice President did not address the question. Corruption, self-advancement, largess to cronies are moral and criminal issues regardless of political views. So both parties agree that governments will continue to exist, they only disagree on the extent. The question and challenge is defined, but how do we have that debate? The vast majority are agreed that communism with absolute government control and anarchy with no government control are not the answer, but beyond that there is great divide among the citizens about what should be in government hands and what should be left to individual citizens and private industry.
The debate is greatly complicated by the fact that few citizens have any experience of life with a dramatically reduced government. Listening to your fellow citizens provides measure of the difficulty. They will complain about too much government, too many taxes and too much red tape, yet you can hear the same people say about a problem, “Why doesn’t the government do something about this?” You can add to this the number of people, usually over half of any society, who prefer not to have responsibility or have to make decisions for themselves. They, like Paul, have benefited from the government robbing Peter to carry out those functions for them. They are not disposed to surrender a lack of personal responsibility and largess governments provide. Maybe the good news is that many of them don’t even exercise their right to vote.
One side in the debate presents the traditional argument for the role of government as defense of the nation against terrorism and radical Islam and now a growing resurgence of totalitarianism in Russia. The other side essentially ignores these concerns dismissing them as bogeymen of the power elite exploited to maintain power. However, they exploit a much greater bogeyman, the total collapse of the ecosystem.
Global warming and climate change skillfully confused with pollution have become the new enemy. It joins the general argument that industrialized humans are destroying the planet and thus becomes the outside threat most governments seek to remove personal freedoms and demand more taxation. In Britain, economist and politician Ed Miliband, brother of the Foreign Secretary David Miliband said, “I want a society where there is intergenerational equity.” This is doublespeak for the argument that we are wrecking the planet for our children and grandchildren. It is the standard exploitation of fear and guilt, but is it true?
The short answer is no. The world is in far better shape than environmentalists and media present. It is a very rare event when they report an improvement or identify and correct an earlier erroneous story. Before we surrender any more freedoms or money, we should assess the real situation. This is difficult because first you have to take the people from where the media have taken them. The media has created a virtual reality world and government agencies are disposed to identify problems to perpetuate themselves. As Mary McCarthy said, “Bureaucracy, the rule of no one, has become the modern form of despotism.” While there are some problems, they are not usually the ones identified. Often we are diverted from real pollution and other issues. For example, the Canadian government spent billions on climate change while not even meeting their own targets for air pollution reductions. However, pollution levels were reduced, although not adequately or fast enough. Few people are aware that there are reductions in virtually all levels of pollution in the US and most western nations. Developing nations acknowledge the pollution problems, but generally take the view of the Indian government who said development to eliminate starvation trumps any immediate attempts to deal with climate change or pollution.
At no time since World War II has the question of the size of government been more critical in a US election. Ironically, the question is made more complicated by the surrender of individual freedoms to a monolithic government for the common good, an effort required by the war. Despite threats posed by terrorism, rogue governments, religious extremism and dictators, the real enemy that provides the greatest threat for more government that needs to justify removal of freedoms and increased taxes is the environment, especially global warming and climate change. It is not an adequate justification from any perspective. Besides as H L Mencken said, “The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.” So we come back to the question Abraham Lincoln posed: “Must a government of necessity be too strong for the liberties of its people or too weak to maintain itself.” It is a question that must be answered but few have experience of less government.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Science of The Smear (Herald Sun, Australia)
The following websites are widely used to smear Scientists and Sources Skeptical of "Man-Made" Global Warming:
Run by the world renowned Climate Experts:
- Mark Hoofnagle, PhD Physiology
- Chris Hoofnagle, An Attorney
- Peter A. Lipson, A Practicing Internist
$$$ Funded by James Hogan (James Hoggan & Associates) and John Lefebvre (Former President of Netseller Group)
- Who is James Hoggan? (Financial Post, Canada)
QUOTE (Financial Post)
So who is James Hoggan? He's a public relations man, based in Vancouver. His firm, James Hoggan and Associates, is positioned as a feel-good local operation with clients in all the "right" public and private sectors. He also sits on the board of the David Suzuki Foundation.
One of his side efforts is a blog operated out of Hoggan and Associates. Funded by retired Internet bubble king John Lefebvre, the blog has one full-time and three part-time staff. They spend their time tracking down and maliciously attacking all who have doubts about climate change and painting them as corporate pawns.
There has been no mention on the blog, nor on The Fifth Estate, of James Hoggan's client list. They include or have included the National Hydrogen Association, Fuel Cells Canada, hydrogen producer QuestAir, Naikun Wind Energy and Ballard Fuel Cells. Mr. Hoggan, in other words, benefits from regulatory policy based on climate change science.
But it is as a climate commentator that Mr. Hoggan gets carried away. On The Denial Machine, Mr. Hoggan is allowed to go on at some length about how climate skeptics are not true scientists, are not qualified, or have no expertise.
That takes some gall. Here's a totally unqualified small-town PR guy making disparaging comments about scientists he says are unqualified while he lectures the rest of us on the science. "If you look in the scientific literature, there is no debate," he tells Mr. McKeown. It doesn't seem to bother Mr. McKeown that Mr. Hoggan has no expertise. It is also a little rich to have a member of the Suzuki Foundation board pronounce other scientists unfit and unqualified for climate assessments, while geneticist David Suzuki roams the world issuing barrages of climate change warnings at every opportunity.
- Multi-billion-dollar charges for B.C. man (The Vancouver Sun, Canada)
Lefebvre, 55, was arrested by FBI agents at his Malibu home and charged with conspiring to promote illegal gambling by transferring billions of dollars of cyberspace bets placed by U.S. citizens with offshore gaming companies.
- Blog Funder Guilty of Money-Laundering (Heartland Institute)
John Lefebvre, the top financial benefactor of the DeSmog Blog, is facing substantial prison time after pleading guilty to federal money-laundering charges. The DeSmog Blog is operated by a small group of public relations people who specialize in attempting to discredit respected scientists and policy analysts who disagree with alarmist global warming theory. Ironically, DeSmog Blog's favorite tactic is to claim scientists and policy analysts who disagree with alarmist global warming theory are funded by "dirty money." The revelation of the blog's major source of funding as a convicted money launderer may undermine DeSmog's attempts to smear the integrity of respected, law-abiding scientists who disagree with them.
$$$ Funded by Greenpeace
- Greenpeace (Discover the Networks)
QUOTE (Discover the Networks)
Founded in 1970 as a loose assortment of Canadian anti-nuclear agitators, American expatriates, and underground journalists calling themselves the "Don't Make a Wave Committee," Greenpeace is today the most influential group of the environmental Left. [...]
In the early 1990s, the organization turned its attention to the purported threat that chlorine posed to the world's water supplies. At the time, Greenpeace asserted that it would accept nothing less than the blanket prohibition of the element. "There are no uses of chlorine which we regard as safe," declared Greenpeace activist Joe Thornton, [...]
Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore left the organization and now laments that the group has become "dominated by leftwingers and extremists who disregard science in the pursuit of environmental purity."
According to a December 20, 2005 New York Times report, "the F.B.I. investigated possible financial ties between [Greenpeace] members and militant groups like the Earth Liberation Front and the Animal Liberation Front." [...]
An expose of Greenpeace's fundraising practices carried out in 2003 by Public Interest Watch (PIW), a nonprofit watchdog group, led to a report disclosing that Greenpeace uses its Greenpeace Fund, a tax-exempt entity debarred from engaging in political advocacy and lobbying by the IRS tax code, to illegally direct funds to Greenpeace Inc., a tax-exempt organization permitted to engage in lobbying and advocacy but not to accept tax-deductible funds. PIW calculated that in 2000, $4.25 million was provided by the Greenpeace Fund in this way.
Greenpeace is heavily funded by many foundations, among which are the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Bauman Family Foundation, the Blue Moon Fund, the Columbia Foundation, the Compton Foundation, the Minneapolis Foundation, the Nathan orgasmings Foundation, the Scherman Foundation, Ted Turner's Turner Foundation. The organization has also drawn support from numerous celebrities, including singers Sting, Tom Jones, and Elton John, who have sponsored its "save the rainforest" campaigns. In 2004, Greenpeace received $15,844,752 in grants, and held net assets of $1,893,548. That same year, the Greenpeace Fund received grants totaling $6,866,534 and held net assets of $7,532,018.
- Greenpeace (Activist Cash)
QUOTE (Activist Cash)
Greenpeace was originally the brainchild of the radical “Don’t Make a Wave Committee,” a group of American draft-dodgers who fled to Vancouver in 1969 and, supported by money from anti-war Quaker organizations, got into the business of forcibly blocking American nuclear tests. Over the years the group has loudly made its feelings known on a variety of issues (nuclear testing, whaling, and global warming, for instance), and its Amsterdam-based activist moguls pull the strings on what is estimated to be a $360 million global empire.
Here in the United States, however, Greenpeace is a relatively modest activist group, spending about $10 million per year. And the lion’s share of that budget in recent years has gone to outrageous attempts to smear agricultural biotech products and place doubts about the safety of genetically improved foods in the minds of American consumers. [...]
Patrick Moore was one of a dozen or so activists who founded Greenpeace in the basement of a Unitarian Church in Vancouver. Within 7 years, the organization had footholds in over two dozen countries and a $100 million budget. As eco-activists in general found themselves suddenly invited into the meeting-places of business and government, Greenpeace made the decision to take even more extreme positions, rather than being drawn in to collaboration with their former enemies.
Moore broke with his comrades during this period, and has emerged as an articulate critic of his former brainchild. Referring to Greenpeace’s “eco-extremism” in March 2000, he described the group in Oregon Wheat magazine as “Anti-human”; “antitechnology and anti-science”; “Anti-organization” and “pro-anarchy”; “anti-trade”; “anti-free-enterprise”; “anti-democratic”; and “basically anti-civilization.”
Writing in Canada’s National Post in October 2001, Patrick Moore offered the following critique: “I had no idea that after I left in 1986 they would evolve into a band of scientific illiterates…. Clearly, my former Greenpeace colleagues are either not reading the morning paper or simply don't care about the truth.”
John Passacantando, B.A., M.A. Economics (Executive Director)
Charles Margulis, B.A. Peace and Conflict Studies; Professional Baker (Genetic Engineering Specialist)
Mike Roselle, High-School Dropout (Forest Campaign Coordinator)
$$$ Funded by V. Kann Rasmussen Foundation - $3,406,000
V. Kann Rasmussen Foundation (Activist Cash)
Hosted by - Environmental Media Services
Environmental Media Services (EMS) (Discover the Networks)
QUOTE (Discover the Networks)
EMS's founder and President was Arlie Schardt, who also served as the National Press Secretary for Al Gore's 1988 presidential campaign, and as Gore's Communications Director during his 2000 bid for the White House. [...]
EMS officially served as the "scientific" branch of the leftist public-relations firm Fenton Communications; both companies shared the same Washington, D.C. address and office space. For more than a decade, David Fenton (CEO of Fenton Communications) used EMS to run negative media campaigns against a wide variety of targets, including biogenetic foods, America's dairy industry, and President George W. Bush. [...]
EMS also produced many stories condemning the Bush administration's environmental policies. Among these titles were: "Bush Administration Obscures Truth About Toxic Cleanups"; "President Bush Signs Fatally Flawed Wildfire Bill"; "Earth Day Event To Highlight Bush Administration Assault On Environment, Public Health"; "Bush Administration Report Card: 'F' on Protecting Children"; and "National Environmental Groups Launch Campaign to Defeat President Bush." EMS claimed that the data contained in its press releases constituted "the latest and most credible information" provided by "top scientists, physicians, and other experts." These "experts" included officials of Greenpeace, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the World Wildlife Fund, and the Union of Concerned Scientists.
EMS was heavily funded by the Bauman Family Foundation, the Beldon Fund, the Energy Foundation, the Bullitt Foundation, the Tides Foundation, the Columbia Foundation, the Surdna Foundation, the Rockefeller Family Fund, the Nathan orgasmings Foundation, Pew Charitable Trusts, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Turner Foundation, the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the Energy Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.
- Environmental Media Services (EMS) (Activist Cash)
QUOTE (Activist Cash)
EMS is the communications arm of leftist public relations firm Fenton Communications. Based in Washington, in the same office suite as Fenton, EMS claims to be "providing journalists with the most current information on environmental issues." A more accurate assessment might be that it spoon-feeds the news media sensationalized stories, based on questionable science, and featuring activist "experts," all designed to promote and enrich David Fenton's paying clients, and build credibility for the nonprofit ones. It's a clever racket, and EMS & Fenton have been running it since 1994. [...]
It's called "black marketing," and Environmental Media Services has become the principal reason Fenton Communications is so good at it. EMS lends an air of legitimacy to what might otherwise be dismissed (and rightly so) as fear-mongering from the lunatic fringe. In addition to pre-packaged "story ideas" for the mass media, EMS provides commentaries, briefing papers, and even a stable of experts, all carefully calculated to win points for paying clients. These "experts," though, are also part of the ruse. Over 70% of them earn their paychecks from current or past Fenton clients, all of which have a financial stake in seeing to it that the scare tactics prevail. It's a clever deception perpetrated on journalists who generally don't consider do-gooder environmentalists to be capable of such blatant and duplicitous "spin."
- Fenton Communications (Discover the Networks)
QUOTE (Discover the Networks)
Foremost public relations firm of the political left. Past clients have included Marxist dictatorships in Central America. Represents environmentalist groups, pro-Democratic political action committees, labor unions, and the anti-war movement.
Founded in 1982 by activist and public relations veteran David Fenton, Fenton Communications (FC) is the leading advertising and public relations firm for advocacy groups on the political left, with locations in Washington DC, New York, and San Francisco.
FC serves as an "umbrella" for "three independent nonprofit organizations" which it co-founded. These include: Environmental Media Services, which manages publicity efforts for environmental groups; New Economy Communications, a social justice group; and the Death Penalty Information Center, an anti-death penalty lobby.
FC expressly refuses to represent "clients and projects that we don't believe in ourselves." Among the clients and projects that FC has worked for are Marxist-Leninist regimes in Central America and Africa, environmental groups, labor unions, and anti-war organizations. In addition, FC has offered its services to pro-Democrat political action committees and law firms, as well as to political campaigns against the death penalty and gun-ownership rights. [...]
Equally noteworthy has been FC's business partnership with environmental groups. In 1988 and 1989, FC helped one such organization, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), promote misleading claims about the dangers of Alar, a pesticide then in use by the apple industry. On the basis of NRDC's study of Alar, itself based on exaggerated probabilities rather than concrete empirical data, FC launched a media campaign that stoked consumers' fears and captured the interest of television news programs, daily newspapers and daytime talk shows, fueling a backlash against apple growers. By some estimates, the apple industry suffered $200 million in lost revenue as a result of the FC campaign.
By contrast, FC and its client prospered. David Fenton subsequently boasted that his firm had "designed" the media campaign "so that revenue would flow back to NRDC from the public," noting that FC had gained "$700,000 in net revenues from it." Fenton Communications today cites the Alar campaign as a significant contribution to the "national debate" on pesticides. [...]
Joining forces with the Environmental Working Group, FC has also engineered media campaigns exaggerating the dangers posed by pesticides in tap water and baby food.
In 2003 FC created an ad campaign targeting the automotive industry for the Evangelical Environmental Network. The controversial ads alleged that consumers who bought sport utility vehicles were, in effect, supporting terrorism by using large amounts of fuel imported from the Middle East. [...]
Arlie Schardt, a senior consultant at Fenton Communications and Chairman of Environmental Media Services, served as Al Gore's national press secretary during his first presidential campaign.
Fenton Communications Launches Green-Tech Division
Fenton Communications has been deeply involved in environmental issues since its founding in 1982. The firm publicized the first reports of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, helped environmental NGOs at the Kyoto Global Warming Summit, and worked with Vice-President Al Gore to publicize the issues
A Little Testy at RealClimate (Roger A. Pielke (Jr.), Ph.D. Political Science)
Is Gavin Schmidt Honest? (Climate Audit)
RealClimate's Touchy Censors (National Center for Public Policy Research)
The Uncertainty Trap (Roger A. Pielke (Jr.), Ph.D. Political Science)
$$$ Funded by John Cook
I'm not a climatologist or a scientist but a self employed cartoonist
$$$ Funded by The Center for Media and Democracy
Sourcewatch (Discover the Networks)
QUOTE (Discover the Networks)
SourceWatch seeks to expose what it calls the "propaganda activities of public relations firms" and the activities of organizations working "on behalf of corporations, governments and special interests." These "exposes," which tend to be critical of their subjects, deal predominantly with conservative entities... [...]
As with the online reference Wikipedia, the contents of SourceWatch are written and edited by ordinary Web users. Says SourceWatch: "You don't need any special credentials to participate -- we shun credentialism along with other propaganda techniques." While stating that it seeks to maintain fairness in the profiles and articles appearing on its website, SourceWatch does acknowledge that "ignoring systemic bias and claiming objectivity is itself one of many well-known propaganda techniques." [...]
...The perspectives are mostly leftist; the entries rely heavily on leftist and far-leftist sources.
Center for Media and Democracy (Discover the Networks)
QUOTE (Discover the Networks)
An anti-capitalist, anti-corporate organization that seeks to expose right-wing "public relations spin and propaganda".
In CMD's view, capitalism generally, and corporations in particular, are the principal root causes of societal ills in the U.S. and abroad. The Capital Research Center, which rates the ideological leanings of nonprofit organizations, places CMD near the extreme far left of the spectrum. The website ActivistCash, which provides "information about the funding source[s] of radical anti-consumer organizations and activists," characterizes CMD as "a counterculture public relations effort disguised as an independent media organization." [...]
CMD was founded by the leftist writer and environmental activist John Stauber, who continues to serve as the Center's Executive Director. Stauber began his activism in high school when he organized anti-Vietnam War protests and early Earth Day events. The co-author (with SourceWatch founder Sheldon Rampton) of six books, Stauber created the now-defunct website Vote2StopBush.org. He is also an unpaid advisor to several organizations, including the Action Coalition for Media Education, the Center for Food Safety, the Liberty Tree Foundation, the Media Education Foundation, and the Organic Consumers Association.
The aforementioned Sheldon Rampton currently serves as CMD's Research Director. A graduate of Princeton University, Rampton was formerly an outreach coordinator for the Wisconsin Coordinating Council on Nicaragua, a group established in 1984 to oppose President Reagan's efforts to stop the spread of Communism in Central America, and currently dedicated to promoting a leftist vision of "social justice in Nicaragua through alternative models of development and activism."
An April 2001 commentary in the liberal publication Village Voice said of Rampton and Stauber: "These guys come from the far side of liberal."
- Center for Media & Democracy (Activist Cash)
QUOTE (Activist Cash)
The Center for Media & Democracy (CMD) is a counterculture public relations effort disguised as an independent media organization. CMD isn’t really a center it would be more accurate to call it a partnership, since it is essentially a two-person operation.
Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber operate, as do most self-anointed progressive watchdogs, from the presumption that any communication issued from a corporate headquarters must be viewed with a jaundiced eye. In their own quarterly PR Watch newsletter, they recently referred to corporate PR as a propaganda industry, misleading citizens and manipulating minds in the service of special interests. Ironically, Rampton and Stauber have elected to dip into the deep pockets of multi-million-dollar foundations with special interest agendas of their own.
$$$ Funded by Smokescreen Corporation
Michael Tacelosky, Smokescreen Corporation - Donated $3000 to the DNC
Keith Ivey, Smokescreen Corporation - Donated $600 to John Kerry, $300 to Barrack Obama
Union of Concerned Scientists
$$$ Funded by Various Funds
Union of Concerned Scientists (Discover the Networks)
The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) is a nonprofit environmental advocacy organization with more than 100,000 members. Seeing its mission as building a "cleaner, healthier environment and a safer world," ... It opposes genetically engineered foods, condemns SUV vehicles, and proposes measures aimed at combating what it deems the imminent dangers of global warming. It also opposes the vast majority of American foreign policy decisions, and calls for a unilateral reduction in U.S. nuclear weapons stockpiles. UCS disseminates to lawmakers and news outlets its opinions about each of these matters, with the intent of ultimately influencing public policy.
Students and faculty members at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology founded UCS in 1969. "Through its actions in Vietnam, our government has shaken our confidence in its ability to make wise and humane decisions," reads the UCS founding document. That sentiment continues to this day, with UCS condemning American efforts in the War on Terror and the 2003 War in Iraq.
UCS typically minimizes threats posed by foreign rogue regimes, and challenges U.S. assertions about the intentions and military capacities of those governments. In 1998, for instance, UCS assured the public that American analysts had exaggerated North Korea's ability to produce nuclear weapons, and that the Pyongyang regime was still many years away from being able to develop such an arsenal.
UCS vigorously opposes America's development of a missile defense system. It also calls for the "adoption of a U.S. nuclear no-first-use policy"; "a U.S. rejection of rapid-launch options, and a change in deployment practices to provide for the launch of U.S. nuclear forces in hours or days rather than minutes"; "the elimination of all U.S. 'tactical' nuclear weapons, intended for use on the battlefield"; "verified unilateral reductions to a total of 1,000 strategic warheads (including deployed and stored), accompanied by warhead dismantlement"; and "a commitment to further reductions in the number of nuclear weapons, on a negotiated and verified multilateral basis."
UCS admonishes American corporations such as McDonald's and Burger King, asserting that the presence of antibiotics in meat used by fast-food companies contributes to large-scale antibiotic resistance. In 2003, bills based on UCS research aimed at prohibiting the use of eight classes of antibiotics in livestock used by fast-food producers were introduced in both the U.S. House and Senate. Soon after, UCS admitted that the majority of its claims were speculative. UCS has also warned of the alleged dangers of genetically modified food.
Another issue of concern to UCS is that of global warming. The organization circulated a petition that drew the signatures of some 1,600 scientific experts demanding that the United States ratify the Kyoto Protocol.
A Union of Concerned Scientists declaration, entitled "Restoring Scientific Integrity in Policy Making," charges that the Bush administration "has continued to distort and suppress science in pursuit of its political goals — despite a plea from top U.S. scientists to restore scientific integrity to the policy-making process." According to UCS President Kevin Knobloch, "We found a serious pattern of undermining science by the Bush administration, and it crosses disciplines, whether it's global climate change or reproductive health or mercury in the food chain or forestry -- the list goes on and on." The signers of this document portrayed themselves as objective scientists with no political agenda. But in truth, over half of them were financial contributors to the Democratic Party, Democratic candidates, or a variety of leftist causes. [...]
UCS is a member of the Save Our Environment Action Center, a leftist coalition that describes itself as "a collaborative effort of the nation's most influential environmental advocacy organizations harnessing the power of the internet to increase public awareness and activism on today's most important environmental issues."
UCS has received funding from the Beldon Fund, the Compton Foundation, the Educational Foundation of America, the J.M. Kaplan Fund, the Scherman Foundation, the Blue Moon Fund, the Ford Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Energy Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Turner Foundation, and Pew Charitable Trusts.
Union of Concerned Scientists (Activist Cash)
The Faith-Based Encyclopedia (Robert McHenry, Former Editor in Chief, the Encyclopedia Britannica)
Wikipedia's Zealots (Financial Post, Canada)
The Real Climate Martians (Financial Post, Canada)
The Opinionator (Financial Post, Canada)
Wikipropaganda On Global Warming (CBS News)
The Anti Wikipedia Resource
BBC heats up the climate news (Financial Post, Canada)
The BBC Changes News to Accommodate Activist (The Politics and Environment Blog)
BBC Article: Global temperatures 'to decrease' (Before and After) (Google Cache)
Origin - BBC : Balance Restored (Campaign against Climate Change, UK Activist Portal)
BBC report finds bias within corporation (The Daily Telegraph, UK)
Bias and the Beeb (Financial Times, UK)
Bias at the Beeb - official (The Times, UK)
BBC confesses bias on religion, politics (WorldNetDaily)
BBC network admits it: We're biased toward left (WorldNetDaily)
BBC report damns its ‘culture of bias’ (The Times, UK)
BBC viewers angered by its 'innate liberal bias' (The Daily Telegraph, UK)
Confessions of a BBC liberal (The Times, UK)
Facebook reveals the BBC as a liberal hotbed (The Daily Mail, UK)
The BBC's commitment to bias is no laughing matter (The Daily Telegraph, UK)
The Beeb's Bias (The Wall Street Journal)
We are biased, admit the stars of BBC News (Daily Mail, UK)
Why saving Earth is not the BBC's job (Daily Mail, UK)
CBS 60 Minutes Got it Wrong - Again (Video) (5min)
CBS 'Global Warming Special' Host Likened Warming Skeptics to Holocaust Deniers (NewsBusters)
CBS News sinks to new low; publishes crackpot global warming story, attributes it to AP, kills it with no retraction (Anthony Watts, Meteorologist)
CBSNews.com Pulls Story Making Quake/Climate Link Claim (Business & Media Institute)
In Alarmist Report, CBS's Scott Pelley Ignores Scientist's Key Findings (NewsBusters)
MSNBC Finds Penguins at North Pole... But Penguins Don't LIVE at North Pole (NewsBusters)
MSNBC.com Misquotes Evangelical Leader on Global Warming (NewsBusters)
MSNBC.com Pumps Up Bias, Shows Gas Price 21 Percent Above Average (NewsBusters)
'Today' show embarrassed by 'video stunt' (WorldNetDaily)
- Michelle Kosinski rowing a canoe in a "flood" (Video)
The Weather Channel
Con job at The Weather Channel (WorldNetDaily)
Weather Channel Politics: Admit Man Causes Global Warming Or Else (The National Ledger)
"The Weather Channel" Mess (James Spann, AMS Certified Meteorologist)
The Weather Channel's 'One Degree' of Propaganda (Business & Media Institute)
Weather Channel's Cullen Hopes to Push Global Warming Agenda on Weather.com (Business & Media Institute)
Weather Channel 'likes to call Gore President-elect' (WorldNetDaily)
What on EARTH Are We Doing? (Time Magazine, 1989)
Endangered Earth Update U.S. Agenda Consumers It's Not Easy Being Green "Waste (Time Magazine, 1989)
Endangered Earth Update U.S. Agenda Businesses Scrub That Smokestack (Time Magazine, 1989)
Endangered Earth Update the Fight to Save the Planet (Time Magazine, 1989)
Endangered Earth Update Now Wait Just a Minute (Time Magazine, 1989)
Endangered Earth Update Is the Planet on the Back Burner? (Time Magazine, 1990)
The Sad Legacy Of David Suzuki (Tim F. Ball, Ph.D. Historical Climatologist)
Jail politicians who ignore climate science: Suzuki (National Post, Canada)
Mr Green goes motoring (The Times, UK)
George Monbiot, the environmental campaigner, scourge of the automobile industry and champion of not owning cars, has finally bought himself . . . a car. Notwithstanding pledges to live a green lifestyle and be a model to others, he has given in to temptation and acquired a secondhand Renault. [...]
In what can only be described as a comprehensive U-turn, Monbiot has chosen a Renault Clio, an economical hatchback but not the most frugal in fuel consumption or carbon emissions. He bought it from a friend for an undisclosed amount. As zealots will be quick to remind him, it emits 115g/km , 10% higher than a Toyota Prius, the petrol-electric hybrid belovedof CO2 of the green movement.
Smearing Conservative Writers (The Conservative Voice)
Frederick Seitz - Vanity Scare
Roy Spencer - Full Disclosure
S. Fred Singer - Letter to ABC News from Dr. S. Fred Singer
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Science Magazine's :Political Attitudes Vary with Physiological Traits.
The Toronto Star : Liberals flinch less, conservatives more, study finds.
National Geographic: Conservatives Have Stronger Startle Reflexes?
The Daily Mail :Right-wingers more startled by sudden noises and spiders than liberals, study finds.
Sky News: Nervy? You're Probably Right-Wing.
ABC News :Easily Startled? It Could Reflect Your Politics.
Those Who Startle Easily More Likely to Favor Iraq War, New Study Says.
Wired Science: Conservatives Scare More Easily Than Liberals, Say Scientists.
New Scientist: Voting Republican may be a survival response
Thursday, September 18, 2008
"Global warming has now got to the stage where it is only maintained by media self-censorship. If the general public ever got to know of the scandals surrounding the collection and processing of data, or that there has been no detectable warming for the last decade, the whole movement would be dead in the water; but they don’t, so it isn’t. It has become the most powerful myth in human history, sending much of the world into a downward helix of economic decline. It is a tenuous hypothesis supported by ill-found computer models and data from botched measurement, dubiously processed." John Brignell - brilliant! A must-read!
March of the zealots
Puritanism - The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.
H L Mencken
Every age has its dominant caste. This is the age of the zealot. Twenty years ago they were dismissed as cranks and fanatics, but now they are licensed to interfere in the every day lives of ordinary people to an unprecedented degree. When Bernard Levin first identified the new phenomenon of the SIFs (Single Issue Fanatics) many of us thought it was a bit of a joke or at most an annoyance. Now the joke is on us. In that short time they have progressed from being an ignorable nuisance to what is effectively a branch of government. They initiate legislation and prescribe taxation. They form a large and amorphous collection of groups of overlapping membership, united and defined by the objects of their hatred (industry, tobacco, alcohol, adiposity, carbon, meat, salt, chemicals in general, radio waves, field sports etc.) Their success in such a short time has been one of the most remarkable phenomena in the whole of human history.
This quotation says it all:
Imagine telling somebody twenty years ago that by 2007, it would be illegal to smoke in a pub or bus shelter or your own vehicle or that there would be £80 fines for dropping cigarette butts, or that the words "tequila slammer" would be illegal or the government would mandate what angle a drinker's head in an advertisement may be tipped at, or that it would be illegal to criticise religions or homosexuality, or rewire your own house, or that having sex after a few drinks would be classed as rape or that the State would be confiscating children for being overweight. Imagine telling them the government would be contemplating ration cards for fuel and even foods, that every citizen would be required to carry an ID card filled with private information which could be withdrawn at the state's whim. They'd have thought you a paranoid loon.
There is no question that tobacco haters are in the van and their unflinching, ruthless, mendacious campaign serves as an example to the rest. Their remarkable success is a spur to the others and their methods a model to be emulated. These include the gross abuse of the statistical method; the invention of numbers (particularly body counts, with no actual bodies or post-mortems) that grow mysteriously with time; the eschewal of anything approaching the scientific method; above all, the relentless, unceasing drum beat of propaganda. They never give up. Each tawdry victory strengthens the appetite for more. Having achieved the ban in public places (i.e. private property) they now seek to penetrate the home.
In order to get their ban, the activists followed the advice of Adolf Hitler (The broad mass of a nation will more easily fall victim to a big lie than to a small one). They needed to plant an arrant falsehood in the public mind, that second hand smoke was a deadly poison. The charge was led by the US EPA, who in 1994 published a so-called meta-study that was then a unique example of multiple statistical fraud and revealed the lowest standards of statistical significance ever recorded (since greatly bettered by subsequent zealots). Thereafter the campaigners did not even bother with corrupt science. They simply made pronouncements that were dutifully reproduced by their allies in the establishment media. One oft repeated one is that “there is no lower limit for damage caused by second hand smoke”, which is an example of the concentration fallacy and a contradiction of the first law of toxicology (the poison is in the dose). They pioneered the virtual body count, produced from nowhere and endowed with a remarkable capacity to grow on its own. The British zealots announced a body count of 1,000 a year (considerably greater pro rata for population than the EPA claim) which became 4,000 and then 11,000, with no evidence adduced..
It is now a matter of history that the campaign for a smoking ban was astonishingly successful. It was not only a bad day for human liberty and freedom of choice, but also defeat for science and a model for other zealots to embrace dishonesty in their crusades. At a time of threatened collapse of our society it was remarkable for its irrelevance. It offers the activists the ineffable pleasure of being able to oppress and humiliate a minority on the basis of an apparent justification. The anti-democratic EU, as always, leads in the suppression of free speech.
One of the most frequently heard pieces of propaganda is that passive smoking causes childhood asthma. Children of the fifties did more passive smoking in one visit to the cinema than modern children do in their whole lives. Childhood asthma was then virtually unknown. It has increased steadily in subsequent decades, while environmental tobacco smoke has declined. It is now a major health problem. These facts are incontrovertible. Yet to state them is to arouse wrath. The sad side-effect of the dogma is that it diverts impetus from the search for the real cause: not a unique result of zealotry.
Science and its methods have been under ferocious attack for about a quarter of a century. Even its name has been appropriated by the new faithful, who despise its traditions of scepticism and openness (take for example – “The science is settled”. If it is settled it is not science). Those who call for a return to statistical rigour find themselves pilloried by a coterie of untiring Australian left-wing academics, using vulnerable vehicles such as Wikipedia. The very same people also mount attacks on other deviants, such as those who question the morality of killing millions of people by the banning of insecticides. The DDT ban was a human disaster on a horrific scale.
Opponents of the methods of the tobacco zealots were subjected to the usual ad hominem attack that they were in the pay of the tobacco industry, to such an extent that this author felt obliged to republish every remark he had ever made about that industry, none of them complimentary. Scientists who actually report politically incorrect results are pilloried. Critics of the global warming hypothesis are labelled “evil denialists” and, of course, in the pay of the energy industry (who, ironically, have actually jumped onto the bandwagon in search of an easy dollar).
It would be difficult to overstate the effect that the decline in standards of statistical practice has had on science in general and medicine in particular. Examples abound, the valuable drug Vioxx was withdrawn on the basis of a statistical absurdity, while the multibillion dollar statins industry flourishes on, to say the least, dubious grounds. The whole drugs industry is a lottery for unprecedented prizes (and losses). Junk epidemiology can produce results to order by statistical insouciance and manipulation. The establishment is able to purchase the “evidence” it requires.
Our new onus
In this new age we are all enjoined to live as long as possible, regardless of quality of life. This is strange in a place like Blair’s Britain, where old age is something to be anticipated with dread. The lucky ones are merely neglected, while the state strips them of their property and savings. Before the coming of the zealots, people were entitled to choose their own life styles and accept the consequences. Not so now! Conformity is the keyword. Behaviour of which the new elite disapproves is artificially medicalised and the epidemiologists are on hand to “prove” that all politically incorrect activity causes mortal disease. A short life and a merry one, no more: by decree, life has to be long and grim.
Compulsory longevity was a boon to the new authoritarians. They merely had to establish a link (sometimes real, usually imaginary) between politically incorrect behaviour and increased mortality to provide a launch pad for a campaign of fearmongering and control.
Stage two is the publication of limits recommended by the Government. These are invariably plucked out of the air with no evidence of reasoning.
Next in the chain of events is the appearance of a body count. A typical example is the alcohol and breast cancer scare. A junk epidemiological survey produces a statistically insignificant result that drinking more than the official limit causes breast cancer and immediately the Government is broadcasting an imaginary 2,000 deaths a year, then spending ten million of taxpayers’ money to scare women out of one of their few remaining pleasures. The bigots complain that the Government is not doing enough to raise taxes and impose controls.
Crises and epidemics
In the world of the zealot, which is now our world, there are no simple problems. Everything is a crisis, epidemic, disaster or catastrophe. There is always the need for urgent action, which usually means taxation, authoritarian control and further loss of liberty. With typical Gorean hypocrisy, for example, the BMA called for more taxation of alcohol and a reduction of pub opening hours, while simultaneously applying for an extension of bar hours in its own headquarters. Doctors are not worried about the rising cost of alcohol, as their militant trade union has made them rich beyond the dreams of average.
Finance ministers are only too pleased to be given an excuse to raise taxes. The disastrously incompetent 2008 UK budget is an illustration; apart from a few stealth taxes on the low paid, charities etc., it was just a raft of overtly draconian tax increases on the central mass of the people. All of them had been promoted by zealot groups, who had also driven the necessary softening up process. That underlines the change that has been brought about in such a short time; for not long ago the lobbyists were all appealing for tax reductions.
The obesity crisis
Fat in the new age is deemed unaesthetic. There have been times when a different view prevailed: it is all a matter of fashion, but now fat has to be condemned without trial. The overweening state, by dint of the efforts of the zealots, demands the right to determine the shape of its clients.
Zealotry is rich in paranyms. A paranym is a word used as an evasion, often in a sense that is opposite to its actual meaning: liberate for conquer, liberal for authoritarian etc. Zealots like to change the vocabulary in this way and paradox is one of their victims. Time and time again reality diverges from the dogma, so there has come to be, for example, the obesity paradox. Never mind though, for one of the first principles of zealotry is to ignore any contrary evidence. Another of their favourite techniques is to exploit the end-point fallacy. In Britain, for example, they almost invariably choose the fifties as a point of reference, a time when British women had suffered more than a decade of starvation. In America obesity rates have not changed for seven years, but are still routinely portrayed as a growing crisis. Over and over again the obesity scam is exposed, but the campaigners simply ignore the contrary evidence and march on.
The EU is economically doomed. It is controlled by a bunch of green bureaucrats (anonymous, unelected, unsackable and answerable to no one) who are not obliged to take into consideration the economic consequences of their diktats. Its parliament is an impotent talking shop and gravy train. They seize upon every scare as an opportunity to mount an attack on the wealth-creating part of the community, namely industry. On the slightest of evidence they pick on some chemical, or even an element of the periodic table, and impose a continent-wide ban, without debate or advice from specialists, other than their favoured green lobbyists. A classic example was the ban on lead in solder. It was completely unjustified by available evidence yet imposed virtually without serious thought. Leadless solder is not only considerably more expensive, it is unreliable, being subject to dry joints and cracks. We are talking about people being killed here, for there are now many applications of electronics on which human lives depend, let alone livelihoods. Notably, military applications were excluded.
Even more Alice in Wonderland is the EU policy on mercury. Mercury is a non-wetting liquid of low vapour pressure, therefore relatively safe to handle. Only the vapour form is dangerous, as the mad hatters of Luton demonstrate. So what did the EU do? They banned the safe liquid form, therefore destroying minor industries such as tradition barometer manufacture; then they subsequently insisted that the whole population of the continent replace their incandescent light bulbs with inadequate substitutes operating with mercury vapour, all on the basis of the vague global warming hypothesis.
Dioxins (which are invariably and unwarrantably described in the establishment media as cancer-causing) in fact cause only one known disease, and that only at high doses, chloracne, as the would be assassins of Viktor Yushchenko discovered. Fear of dioxins is used to support the banning of incineration, which is the most sensible way to recycle garbage.
Dwarfing every other assault on European industry by means of chemophobia, however, is the REACh Directive. It requires the registration and control of some 30,000 chemicals. It was the brainchild of one Michael Meacher (a man of such monumental ignorance that, after years as an environmental spokesman and minister, he thought El Niño was a hurricane). Among the sufferers were British manufacturers of paints and plastics, who were forced to give their away secret recipes to low-cost Far East competitors. The cost of this extravaganza of pointless sacrifice is incalculable, but it is certainly in the region of hundreds of billions of Euros, and is a major contributor to the project to de-industrialise Europe.
And these are the people to whom British MPs have transferred, without permission of the electorate, the powers delegated to them. Bizarre or what?
Weirdest of all, but so typical, is the anti-salt campaign. It seems to have no other function than to keep the names of certain professors in the newspapers. The paucity of the evidence offered in contrast to the drama of the claims and the draconian nature of the demanded action is quite startling, but so characteristic of the genre.
Salt is one of the most basic essentials of human life. You can taste it in your blood, sweat and tears. Animals were able to leave the sea by taking it with them in their blood plasma. Instinct drives them to salt licks when they are short of it. Salt deficiency (hyponatraemia) can be quite serious. It is reckoned to affect, for example, about 10% of marathon runners and one died from it in the 2007 London event. The physiology of maintaining the salt balance (homeostasis) has been well understood for many years. The body can correct salt excess by the simple process of excretion, but it cannot correct salt deficiency.
Some causes are born politically incorrect, some achieve political incorrectness and some have political incorrectness thrust upon them. The humble salt tablet is one of the latter. It was once a routine precaution for athletes and those working in tropical climes, but now is hard to come by in politically correct parts of the world, such as tropical Australia, where people are now expected to endure painful cramps and other deficiency symptoms. The salt scare has all the characteristics of a classical campaign of zealotry (see, for example, Taubes) including the complete disregard for human comfort and even life. As in the other campaigns, the battering ram is a “recommended limit”, plucked out of the air with no attempt at reasoning, but just right to add to the grimness of modern life.
We find ourselves at what is known as a juncture. Huge changes in human society are being accelerated by speed of communication and efficiency of data storage and retrieval. World institutions such as the UN and EU are turning away from democracy and towards authoritarian bureaucracy. A new class of professional politician has emerged that is insulated from the real world of earning a living. In Britain this means taking PPE at Oxford (the bluffer’s degree), becoming a political advisor and then being granted a safe seat in Parliament. Age and experience are mocked. Because of the trend towards micromanagement by government, people who have never run anything find themselves running everything. The quality of our politicians is at a nadir, reflected in the apathy of the electorate at election time. They are lazy, ill-informed, inept and nest-feathering to an unprecedented degree. They incline to the easy route of going along with the lobbyists rather than going to the effort of forming an opinion for themselves, preferring to stay within their closed environment, isolated from the outer world of evidence and opinion. The villages of Westminster and Washington are hothouses, insulated from the rest of the human race, where politicians, journalists and lobbyists talk almost exclusively to each other.
There is a void at the heart of politics, which the zealots have rushed in to fill. Politicians have always indulged in empty rhetoric, though formerly they also held beliefs, but now the whole emphasis is on winning the next election. The sound-bite is all. Policy has been replaced by slogans. From Blair to Obama and all between the script is similar. One word “change” is used the way stage magicians use the word Abracadabra.
Blair is the archetypal 21st Century politician. His New Labour Project had the one aim of winning an election. For the new world of television and short attention spans, his team adapted the techniques of sound-bite and spin that had been developed in the USA and were phenomenally successful, but they carried those into government, with no policies for the growing problems of the new age other than throwing taxpayers’ money at them. His slogans were legendary (Tough on crime, tough of the causes of crime; education, education, education; things can only get better etc.) Things only got worse, across the whole spectrum of national life. It transpired that the catchphrases were all there were. Nevertheless, the watchword was “change”. Blair, the eternal actor, took the part of eco-theologian but in reality he was the ego-theologian.
Blair imitators, such as Cameron and Obama compete to get as many mentions of the word “change” into their speeches as they can. Of course, the word itself, tout court, effectively has no meaning without an object. “Change your underwear” has a meaning, but the word alone is vacuous, which is the essence of its attraction to modern politicians, as the word “new” is to the advertising industry. One of Asimov’s many prophetic conceits in the Foundation Trilogy was the computer analysis of an ambassador’s long speech, which established that he had said precisely nothing. So it is with these new charismatic politicians, whose rhetoric and promises are as nebulous as the morning mist. Television has created this dominant class of politician – youthful, pretty, inexperienced and insulated from real life, plausible to the non-analytical admass and deft with the sound-bite.
Likewise journalism is at a low ebb. The more ardently they proclaim their professionalism (in contrast with those beastly bloggers) the less they evince it. Campaigning investigative journalism is dead and gone. Politicians, media and zealots live in a cosy symbiotic relationship. Politicians and journalists are indolent, while the zealots are hyperactive. It makes life easy for politicians and journalists if they are presented with ready written cases, which the zealots are only too willing to provide in their copious press releases. You can see clear examples of this by comparing newspaper coverage of a campaign. Articles appear under the by-line of one or more journalists, yet the wording is virtually identical in several newspapers. Indeed, it makes you wonder how many journalists, particularly environmental editors, justify their wages, when you look at the paucity of their original output over a week. Politicians, likewise, are only too happy to speak from a pre-digested script. They also relish the opportunity to create a diversion from the many real problems that they have failed to tackle. Consider, for example, Gordon Brown and the NHS or plastic bags. There was nothing positive he could say about the NHS, which is an unmitigated disaster, so he attacked the usual suspects by way of a diversion. Fat smokers are threatened with denial of a service for which they have been obliged to pay (in the smokers case far more than any one else). Journalists also serve by applying ratchet reporting (such as ignoring global cold weather and celebrating warm) and they possess conveniently short memories (so can, for example, report the admission by one of those involved that the ludicrous recommended alcohol limits were simply made up, then the next week headline dangerous drinking by those who marginally breach them).
Behind it all lurks the overweening bureaucracy. Overpaid, overperked and underworked, insidious and international, they build their empires and extend their tentacles of control into the very heart of the lives of ordinary people.
Research and educational policies are decided by people who think mathematics means arithmetic and have no conception of physics at all. Real research has all but come to an end, being largely replaced by populist surveys designed to catch the eye of the popular media. Mickey Mouse universities offer frivolous courses, while school children are subjected to a treadmill of continual testing between bouts of propaganda.
In short, people are being deprived of the mental equipment to make a judgement of their own on any matter of importance. So Orwellian!
Meanwhile, the activists make it their business to penetrate and seize control of the most influential institutions of society, such as the political parties, the BBC and the Royal Society. They have command of huge financial resources, pump primed by the foundations (the so-called ketchup money) and then augmented by diversion of taxpayers’ and charities’ money. One of the most egregious of the many corrupt practices of the EU is to give money to the activist groups to enable them to lobby itself.
This, then, is the field on which the zealots play. Their opponents are silenced by an unstated but firm censorship, all done by informal collusion. They give the establishment that valuable commodity of an excuse for displacement activity. Bans, taxes and coercion are relatively easy to implement; whereas the seriously mounting problems of a sick society are hard and uninviting.
The sins of the few shall be visited on the many
Old Tom does not come to the pub any more. For seventy five years his one great treat was to sit quietly in the corner and enjoy a harmless pipe of tobacco and a pint of ale in the inscribed silver tankard that the regulars gave him to mark his ninetieth birthday. Now the zealots have banned his pipe and taxed his pint out of reach. He does not understand why. When there is a cheap wine or spirits offer in the local co-op, it is the old-age pensioners who form the queue, striving to restore a little colour in their bleak existence. Yet the zealots urge the raising of alcohol taxes and the banning of special offers.
The excuse is the existence of bands of drunken youths in town centres. The bans are called for by those who are often the very people who were responsible for creating the problem of alienated feral youth in the first place, by such policies as the destruction of discipline in schools and undermining the institution of marriage. Alcohol is not the cause: it is just one means by which the disaffected young express their defiance. There are a few more fat people around, so the whole population has to be harangued into an anorexic conformity.
The big one
The common factors in these campaigns of zealotry are:
bullet Creation and maintenance of a myth
bullet Ignoring all evidence countering the myth
bullet Ad hominem attacks on opponents
bullet Encouraging authoritarian governments to impose taxes and reduce individual freedom
bullet Promotion of limits and constraints that are simply invented without reason
bullet Collusion by the establishment media
bullet Damage to science and its methods
bullet Elimination of things that make life bearable
bullet Making some people very rich while impoverishing the lives of almost everyone else.
They will not be satisfied until they have you shivering in a cave, sipping thin gruel.
The greatest of these movements, rich in all the above characteristics, is the eco-theological one, which has morphed into the anti-carbon crusade. It is a world-wide phenomenon of historically unprecedented magnitude and power. The demonisation of carbon, the very basis of all life on earth, can only be explained as a religious phenomenon. Its sheer perversity is its attraction: for faith requires an element of absurdity in its object. It requires no faith to believe that the apple will fall downwards from the tree. The carbon campaign is the pinnacle of the movement that began modestly with the earliest impositions of political correctness.
When the world thought that the New Right was in the ascendancy during the Reagan-Thatcher years, it was the New Left that was quietly gathering momentum. Like a snowball rolling down a hill it picked up mass as it went along. The membership was many and various (followers of Rachel Carson, Marxist academics, draft-dodgers, sputniks left homeless by the collapse of the Soviet Empire, idealistic youth etc.) They were characterised by the things that they hated (industry, capitalism, free markets, bourgeois complacency, open science etc.)
A significant development was the evolution of the concept of political correctness. As had been foreseen by Orwell, the control of language was the key to political power:
Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it.
It began to be applied rigorously in American universities and as it spread it came to be applied not just to vocabulary but to hypotheses (such as global warming) and objects (such as salt tablets). It became the means by which even the discussion of anything distasteful to the New Left was verboten. As the establishment media were penetrated and taken over, a rigorous, voluntary self-censorship was imposed.
The global warming hypothesis was a godsend to the New Left. It provided a means of attacking industry and capitalism through the one great essential to modern life, energy. Anyone who questioned the dogma was subject to insults and threats, including the appalling crudity and tastelessness of being likened to the holocaust deniers. All realistic proposals to develop workable sources of energy are bitterly opposed by the green network, while patently stupid ones, such as wind turbines, are sustained by regulation and subsidy, with the added bonus of bringing down the free market. There are related areas of activity, such as biofuels, which not only threaten the world with greenflation but also starvation.
Above it all towers the figure of Al Gore, hyper-hypocrite and monster of monetary concupiscence. If just occasionally he turned up on a bike rather than his private jet (or waived the six figure fee for his repetitious diatribes, or engaged in debate rather than diktat) he might entertain some credibility among the reasoning few. It is, however, in the nature of the faithful that they turn a blind eye to the defects of their demagogues. Perhaps the one fact that restores one's faith in humanity is that the blanket coverage of the propaganda has failed to stir a majority of the populace, though in the new age majorities have no power.
Global warming has now got to the stage where it is only maintained by media self-censorship. If the general public ever got to know of the scandals surrounding the collection and processing of data, or that there has been no detectable warming for the last decade, the whole movement would be dead in the water; but they don’t, so it isn’t. It has become the most powerful myth in human history, sending much of the world into a downward helix of economic decline. It is a tenuous hypothesis supported by ill-found computer models and data from botched measurement, dubiously processed.
After the above was finished and ready for posting, it was time for a pub break. The popular, recently-retired barmaid, Andrea, offered a remark that seemed to sum it all up: “We used to have such fun. Why isn’t there any fun anymore?”
Welcome, Andrea, to the world of the zealot.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Politics is an ugly business and dirty tricks abound. Individuals from every part of the political spectrum stoop to low tactics to win. What we see on the contemporary far Left, however, is a lack of shame about doing so and complete unwillingness to punish those who go too far.
We should worry if that mindset really does gain power. Shannon Love