Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 17, 2015

A Movie Recommendation And Open Thread

Adam Curtis' new masterpiece, Bitter Lake, was unfortunately only released for the iPlayer platform. But there are now some free sources available online. 

The movie, again with fantastic music and pictures, tells the grant political story of the last seventy or so years using historic and current footage. The (non-)development of our world is investigated using the example of Afghanistan and the outer forces involved in it.

From Curtis' own description:

It tells a big historical narrative that interweaves America, Britain, Russia and Saudi Arabia. It shows how politicians in the west lost confidence - and began to simplify the stories they told. It explains why this happened - because they increasingly gave their power away to other forces, above all global finance.
[I]t is important to try and understand what happened. And the way to do that is to try and tell a new kind of story. One that doesn’t deny the complexity and reduce it to a meaningless fable of good battling evil - but instead really tries to makes sense of it.

The movie is quite long, some 140 minutes, but highly recommended.

Part 1, 2 and 3.

Use as open thread.

Posted by b on May 17, 2015 at 18:42 UTC | Permalink

« previous page


... but Graham Fuller was instrumental in bringing back the Tsarnaev family - among those subverted Chechens - to the US from Dagestan ... his daughter even married Ruslan, the boys' uncle! Fuller sent Tamerlan back to Dagestan for duty in Syria. But the experience blew up in his face, with its consequences blownback in all of ours.


Posted by: MRW | May 22 2015 3:12 utc | 101

MRW at 94

More scientific "truthiness."

Should local air pollutants be the environmental disaster, the relevant comparison isn't to heavily urbanized areas in Eastern Canada, it would be to Fort Murray before oil sands development. Would you care to provide us with that data?

But I'm given to understand that the problem is the massive release of carbon just to excavate and process the stuff, which will materially add to the carbon that comes from burning the resulting fuels. This is to say nothing of the hazards of transporting it.

I'm sure the Canadian Assoc. of Petroleum Producers is a reliable, disinterested organization. One PR demo project doesn't prove anything about reclamation.

Rationalwiki also conveniently documents Harper's attitude towards science under a long list of Reasons to hate him. He has "A dismal record on global warming, 'muzzling' climate scientists and calling Kyoto 'a socialist scheme to suck money out of wealth-producing nations.' He then formally withdrew Canada from its commitment to the Protocol, making it the first country of the 191 ratifying signatories to do so." So I'm sure all the official data is just hunky-dory.

jfl at 98 -- right again. Of course interested locals will refer to it by the prettier "Oil Sands" handle. I found this bit on the topic, 'Tar Sands' vs. 'Oil Sands' Political Flap Misguided?. It notes that both terms have been in use for at least 100 years. Though the "Progressive" Conservatives are trying to demonize those using "Tar Sands" and to promote us of "Oil Sands," people actually feel worse about "Big Oil" than "Big Tar."

But you're wrong at 97. There is an organization more evil than the CIA. It's the New York Yankees. Mrs. M reminds me that they're in league with the Devil, you know. We of the Red Sox Nation are dedicated to fighting this evil.

Posted by: rufus magister | May 22 2015 3:42 utc | 102

in re 100 -- Here's an interesting article from Nature on the report. It is hardly a clean bill of public health. It found claims of increased cancer due to tar sands "exaggerated." There is an increased cancer risk in the area, but they cannot correlate it to the emissions data.

But more importantly, it points out other difficulties with environmental monitoring and remediation.

The report also criticizes the environmental-impact assessment process. International practices are not being implemented, nor are the impacts being quantified, says panel member André Plourde, an economist at the University of Alberta. Both the federal and provincial governments need to review guidelines promoted by international agencies, such as the World Bank, and industrial associations.

Here's an environmental consultants review of the report. Too technical for me, but I note the conclusion from the abstract.

The RSC report was an ambitious attempt that suffered in its execution. The complexity of the issues required more expertise and a greater amount of time than was expended on the effort. In the public interest, a more careful and comprehensive report should be prepared.

Given the Harper Cabinet's attitude towards science and its extensive touting by petroleum producers (look at the Bing search results), I'm thinking the report was an effort at scientific "truthiness."

This article also discusses environmental concerns raised by tar sands. The pollution of and overconsumption of water needed for processing seems serious. But I'm sure it's some lefty rag.

Posted by: rufus magister | May 22 2015 4:29 utc | 103

And I nearly forgot these link.

A 2008 academic Study links carbon dioxide emissions to increased deaths.

While it has long been known that carbon dioxide emissions contribute to climate change, the new study details how for each increase of 1 degree Celsius caused by carbon dioxide, the resulting air pollution would lead annually to about a thousand additional deaths and many more cases of respiratory illness and asthma in the United States, according to the paper by Mark Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford. Worldwide, upward of 20,000 air-pollution-related deaths per year per degree Celsius may be due to this greenhouse gas.

Here's a nice item from a site for safety professionals, reporting that Deaths & Injury Incidents on the Rise at Restaurants Using Liquid CO2 – Re-Posted Due To High Interest!. Leaky carbonation systems seem to be the problem. "Large changes in carbon dioxide or bicarbonate concentration can lead to kidney damage, coma or even death!"

Stay safe out there, Barflies. Be careful with your dry ice and soda fountains. And look both ways before crossing the street.

Posted by: rufus magister | May 22 2015 5:27 utc | 104

Tried watching the documentary "Bitter Lake" but as soon as they made reference in the second part of Egypt attacking Israel in 1967 I stopped watching. How can I take seriously a documentary that doesn't correctly state historical fact, which is that Israel attacked Egypt, the American ship the Liberty knew this and Israel tried to sink it and kill the sailors to keep the secret, that they started the war with Egypt.

Posted by: MHz | May 22 2015 6:38 utc | 105

Why aren’t the banksters in prison?

On Wednesday, five major international banks, including JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup, America’s largest and third-largest financial institutions, pleaded guilty to felony charges for helping to manipulate global foreign exchange markets, paying a wrist-slap fine of about $1 billion apiece.

The financial impact on JPMorgan and the other banks for pleading guilty to a felony will be effectively zero. ...

Despite the claims by Justice Department officials of a criminal conspiracy "on a massive scale," carried out with "breathtaking flagrancy," there was no talk of breaking up JPMorgan or any other bank, let alone bringing criminal charges against any of their executives.

According to the American Bar Association, there are more than three hundred people serving sentences of life without parole for shoplifting in the state of California alone, while countless thousands of men throughout the United States are imprisoned for being too poor to pay child support.

Meanwhile the financial oligarchy and the state officials who defend their interests are effectively immune from prosecution.

This tiny elite constitutes not merely a separate economic class, but effectively a separate estate, judged under what are, in effect, a different set of laws.

A worker can be thrown in jail for failing to show up for a court date, while bankers who steal billions of dollars get off scot-free.

The media, courts, politicians and so-called financial regulators are all under the thumb of the Wall Street mafiosos.

Far from seeking to restrain Wall Street’s criminality, the government functions to facilitate and cover up for its crimes.

And now, in order to cut expenses and increase their margins, the TNCs are going simply to do away with governments' jurisdiction over them. The TPP and TTIP will do just that.

No more bribes need be paid for special legislation, and no more fines need be paid for 'breaking the law'. In fact the governments (that's us, the people who pay the taxes in blood, sweat and tears) will in future be paying fines levied by the TNCs' councils whenever we assert ourselves through our governments in defiance of contractual agreements made between the TNCs and their victims clients.

Oh well. Nothing can be done. Turn over and catch another 40 winks.

Posted by: jfl | May 22 2015 8:54 utc | 106

A small South African community needs signatures to help stop a proposed a rather dubious Australian mining company from mining on their lands.

A small local human-scale issue, however, nonetheless, the same type of ‘evil’ stalking the Ukraine today also seeks to destroy a local African community, its peaceful way of life, and its preferred sustainable development path.

These words (below) from the petition could describe many places in the world where unwanted strangers seek to exploit local people. These local criminal thugs, under the paid influence of international vested interests seeking only a fast buck and quick exit once the loot is taken and the environment destroyed, are indeed the same type of fascist creatures taking over the Ukraine government and seeking to destroy its lands and culture through fracking and GMO agribusiness:

“MRC have partnered with a few individuals in the community. They are known as “the crooks of the village” and stand to benefit financially. They pretend to represent their community’s wishes and on May 3, assaulted community members with guns and machetes, leaving three injured. The crisis has reached a tipping-point.”

If you are so inclined to support a good cause then please consider signing the petition at:

Link to petition

Some background can be found here: Link to background video

Posted by: avaaz petition | May 22 2015 11:43 utc | 107

@jfl #88
Let's examine your claims in order of posting:
" 1. Fossil fuel mining is undesirable in and of itself, viz."

I fully agree. We don't do fossil fuel mining because we love it, however. We do it because we need the energy in order to sustain modern survival.

" a. coal mining's mountain-top removal environmental destruction,
b. tar sands' atmospheric and environmental destruction and ever diminishing returns,
c. fracking's aquifer-destruction and poisoning."

Again, I fully agree. However, you've failed to note that the alternatives prior to the advent of fossil fuels were:

a) Horse poop everywhere
b) Infectious diseases (almost all of the major killer epidemics afflicting humanity come from livestock)
c) Deforestation due to cutting wood for fuel
d) Health issues due to indoor burning of wood, dung, and so forth

" 2. Fossil fuel dependence provides a convenient choke-point, fueling the wars for geo-dominance."

Again, no one supports the Saudis because we love them. However, the primary reason we support the Saudis is because the US is too cowardly to try and occupy Saudi Arabia. The British, Spanish, Romans, and all of the other previous empires would have. Be that as it may, the present geo-dominating nation isn't one which exports oil, so your thesis is invalid. Saudi Arabia, Russia, and the other fossil fuel providers primarily and largely sell to anyone who can pay: the EU, China, Japan, and so forth. So, I would term this one irrelevant.

" 3. And - oh yeah - there's global warming."

As I noted above, while there is no credible debate on global warming, there is very much credible debate over whether the IPCC thesis is accurate. The be clear, the IPCC thesis is:

a) Temperatures are rising
b) The cause is almost exclusively CO2
c) The CO2 is almost exclusively human derived

a), as I've noted, there's no debate.
b), however, there is much debate. IPCC says that the effects of human proliferation - including massive irrigation, farming, ecosystem upheaval, albedo changes (i.e. roads and cities), and so forth are irrelevant - only the substance which engines and living being exhale.
c) As noted previously - there was a Little Ice Age in Dickens' time where people ice skated on the Thames. Seen any ice skating on the Thames in living memory? There is no question whatsoever that there has been at least some temperature recovery from the LIA, the question is how much. The IPCC says virtually none of the temperature increase since 1880 is due to LIA recovery. BTW, Charles Dickens died in 1870 so we're not talking a huge time scale difference. Oh, and do you know what the actual temperature increase has been since 1880? 0.7 degree Celsius. The apocalyptic scenarios all predict an acceleration of warming - which is why the failure of reality to match said models is so damning.

Now, for your prescriptions:

"It is possible to utilize solar radiation incident upon our planet directly for power generation, rather than indirectly."

Yes, in theory. Unfortunately, in reality it is not so simple. Electricity is, in many ways, one of the easiest of the energy troika to work with (the others being transport fuel and heat for manufacturing). Solar electricity is worth far less than nuclear, hydroelectric, natural gas, coal and even in some cases, oil based electricity.
Why? Because it is intermittent. Modern transmission grids are effectively instantaneous - electricity providers have to balance demand vs. supply - too much demand and you get brownouts or blackouts, too much supply and you get a broken transmission system. This is a fairly well understood process for steady sources like the above, but wind and solar PV literally vary minute to minute. This manifests itself via spot prices for electricity - Germany experienced 55 hours of *negative* prices for electricity last year - think of this as the opposite of the natural gas pricing during the Polar Vortex a couple years ago. The head of Germany's Energiewende has even admitted that solar PV and wind are effectively driving natural gas out of Germany's electricity mix in favor of coal - and it is so bad that Germany's Energiewende alternative electricity will start doing so for other EU nations around it soon.

Until cheap, reliable storage for electricity can be invented or built, solar PV and wind for more than 5% to 10% of overall electricity generation is a dangerous, expensive and counterproductive luxury which developed nations can afford, but certainly no one else can.

" 1. So-called bluegreen algae, or cyanobacteria, can produce molecular hydrogen directly with no environmental ill effects."

No plant or animal is able to produce molecular hydrogen. Even if such could be found - hydrogen is a terrible substance to work with. For one thing, the molecule is so tiny that it literally slips between the cracks of any and every container wall ever invented. Thus it is expensive to tranport - you either have to freeze it or use some form of very high power electric fields, it is low energy density unless you compress it to very high pressures which in turn increases leakage and makes the whole package explosive, and barring your miracle animal/plant source, is very expensive to produce because hydrogen combines so readily with oxygen. Think gunpowder mill.

" 2. Photosynthetic hydrogen production is inherently distributed, eliminating the fossil-fuel choke-point fueling wars for geo-dominance."

I am assuming you mean plant derived hydrocarbon production - as no plant ever created outputs hydrogen by itself. The problem with the algae and what not is that it requires water and food. The systems to grow billions of tons of algae don't exist, and the energy requirements to feed, water, and harvest this algae eat up more than what is generated. See corn ethanol.

" 3. Recombining stored hydrogen with oxygen in fuel cells producing electricity yields water which can easily be recycled, and stored-hydrogen can provide the energy needed for transport without all the exotic materials and environmental expense of battery storage."

Fuel cells require huge amounts of energy to create the substrates, reactive elements, and proton passing membranes. I've already talked about the problems with hydrogen storage in any significant quantity. The energy density of hydrogen is under 1% of gasoline - what the hydrogen technotopians don't tell you is that in order to be comparable to gasoline, it requires hydrogen to be compressed to roughly 7 times the pressure of the atmosphere. This itself makes a pretty decent bang; add a spark and it makes a REALLY big bang because hydrogen is already fuel-air (explosive).

So to summarize: there are lots of technologies which work nicely in science fiction or a laboratory. The real world has yet to see a true cost parity alternative energy of any form such that developing nations would have any benefit or interest in using them.

I actually agree that burning less fossil fuels is a good thing - however - where I diverge is that I do *not* agree that substituting expensive crap technology which primarily benefits rich people is a viable alternative.

Posted by: ǝn⇂ɔ | May 22 2015 15:15 utc | 108

Ukraine. rufus asked: will it be a frozen conflict, Nagorno-Karabakh-style, or just a long-term pause, Croatian-style?

Well things have cleared up a bit. Ukr. is near to or at default.

The Rada just passed a bill (it might be a first reading or whatever) stipulating ‘a moratorium on paying debts.’

This amounts to a declaration of default, or like ‘we refuse to pay and will choose whom to pay if we do.’ It has no impact on whatever legal (or other) means creditors can undertake. The sum owed to Russia (3bn, outside of the gas story) has so far not been called in, though Russia has the absolute right to do so. (These debts are super-safe and lodged under EU laws and in the City of London, all stitched up and hyper protected.) I believe they were asked to hold off and complied, in the interest of ‘peace’ and ‘partners’… The other creditors are mostly US based - unknown for a large part, but see WSJ

with only Franklin Templeton out in the public’s face. (9bn.)

The IMF has already gone way beyond its statutes in funding (risking an implosion of its own organisation), the EU while it has paid not-so-much, also. The scenario of supporting Kiev and paying for it to pay off its debts (à la Greece, to save French and German banks) is now dead in the water.

Nobody wants to pay. Therefore all the moves away from supporting Kiev (EU, Merkel, Kerry in Sotchi.) Everyone turns away from the disaster, the various plots/aims failed (Russia held fast), and Ukr. is up for grabs from its creditors, the last-ditch predators. Ukr. will dissolve. The present Gvmt, in these conditions, cannot stand for long.

Dissolve how? I reckon it will be extremely horrible, and Croatia, Kosova, or Tranistria, will be seen as ‘havens of peace and efficient international agreements.’ Putin will continue minimal / medium support for the Donbass (which will be the no. 1 breakaway region) but he is actually not keen, though he may be forced to pay part of the bill.

The Rada has suspended human rights (21 May, EU convention of Human Rights, Ukr. signed it) in Donesk and Lugansk. (Again, the bill is afaik at first brief and soft article)

This is under cover of ‘operations against terrorists’ which indeed under US domination allows for exceptions if the GWOT is concerned, which is why a civil war was labelled ‘fight on terrorism.’ Article 5, Article 6, and on and on - civil rights, right to fair trial, right of respect of family life, etc., anulled.

(All this should be read in conjunction with the new Ukr. dispositions of Martial law, short descr below. Which can be declared, strangely, in some regions vs. others.)

Posted by: Noirette | May 22 2015 15:34 utc | 109

@rufus magister #92
You said: "I'm a little unsure what you're driving at here.

First, isn't everything toxic, or at least unhealthful, in large enough amounts? The NIOSH site I linked earlier notes plenty of hazards at lower levels of exposure as well. My aim was to answer MRW as to why we exhale it. And suggest I knew a little about OSHA."

My point was simply that CO2 in the atmosphere is in no way toxic to humans, and furthermore that the biotic response to it has been a greening of the earth as well as a systemic increase in CO2 absorption. Couple that with a very clear limitation on fossil fuel resources, and it is far from clear that this problem is actually a problem.

"I'm going with the 97 pct. of climate science that says we humans are warming up the earth by not only CO2 but methane emissions as well. Why are atmospheric levels rising if the plant life is handling it? Don't we have a serious deforestation problem in the Amazon?"

I do think it is interesting that you are fine with the consensus on AGW when you seem to not be fine with the consensus on so many other things. As someone who has looked very deeply into what these climate scientists have done, I do not share your faith. Furthermore, as an engineer - when I see 15 to 19 year long failures in multi-billion dollar models as exemplified by the still unexplained pause in warming - I question very deeply whether the premises under which these scientists work on is correct. If reality isn't conforming to models, the models are wrong. If the models are wrong, then the possibility of the scientists being wrong increases exponentially.

"I would further note that the potential releases of methane as the taiga melts and other sources are freed up by temperature increases will soon further accelerate this warming, should present trends continue."

This is completely debunked - because the actual form by which temperature has been increasing has not been higher "high" temperatures, but less low "low" temperatures. The melting of the taiga, of methane clathrates, etc is pure speculation backed by zero evidence. Even the IPCC says that the total greenhouse gas emissions due to melting taiga from 2011 to 2100 will be less than 1/3 of global emissions in just 2010. Irrelevant and zero credibility to anyone who tries to panic monger using that meme.

We're far more likely to get hit by a dinosaur killing meteor - at least the evidence for that is very compelling.

"That climate has fluctuated even within the era of written documentation (i.e., after the invention of writing ca. 2500 BC) is well known. The Little Ice Age is well-known in the historical literature and ran from ca. 1350-1850. The subsequent warming has made the traditional Frisian Elfstedentocht an irregular event requiring human intervention to aid in freezing the canals.

Rationalwiki notes that in the 1970's the opinion was that due to the increased cloud cover produced by industrial emissions blocking solar energy, we were due for cooling, not warming. Then the data showed otherwise."

It is interesting that Rationalwiki says cloud cover is understood - when the consensus itself clearly and repeatedly states that cloud cover is *not* understood or modeled well. The present consensus position is a completely pulled out of ass slight positive feedback. In fact, the contribution of cloud cover to feedbacks - whether net positive, neutral, or net negative - is one of the biggest open questions in climate science today. It would seem - at first glance to me - that Rationalwiki is as reliable a resource as Wikipedia is. Which is to say, not.

As for climate fluctuations - indeed you are correct. So my question to you is: if climate has fluctuated to an equal or greater degree in the eras before fossil fuels - i.e. the Roman Warming, the Medieval Warming, the LIA, etc - why then is today exceptional? We don't have farming on Greenland today - yet it happened before. They used to grow wine grapes in the UK before, that doesn't happen now either - to any usable extent. If in fact these fluctuations happened before - then why do we think that the fluctuation now is exceptional? Yes, we do have increased CO2 levels, but the warming itself is in no way exceptional even in recorded human history.

"Put simply, do you think human activity is causing global warming? Are you arguing that the present temperature increases are a natural cycle?"

Do I think humans have an effect on climate? Yes
Do I think humans are primarily responsible for climate? Unclear. Short term local effects have been charted - such as rainstorms and major battles - but nothing medium or long term has ever been demonstrated outside of specific areas like building dams or deforestation.
Do I think human derived CO2 is primarily causing global warming? Extremely unclear. Extremely unclear because it is first impossible to say what "normal" climate is given the huge fluctuations in recorded human history and the even more huge fluctuations before recorded history. Certainly more than unclear enough that radical economic action is not warranted.

However, if you were to say that we should institute a crash program where true cost parity (or better) alternative energy would become a societal goal, I would be 100% in support of that. That isn't what we're doing now.

Posted by: ǝn⇂ɔ | May 22 2015 15:42 utc | 110

In current news, China has broken its silence. The Chinese Navy told a Yankee patrol near the Spratley Islands to Fuck off, or else...
The Yankees are pretending not to take it seriously. But they did (after the 8th warning) Fuck off.

It can't be a coincidence that barely a month after Putin told Russians exactly what the United States of Mass-Murdering Criminal Psychopaths is really up to, China has decided to demand some respect from the same Psychos.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 22 2015 15:42 utc | 111

@wayoutwest #99
Indeed. Just for fun the other day, I looked at motor vehicle fuel consumption in the US from 1970 to 2000. I did this because I was curious just what the effect of the magical CAFE fuel economy regulations had.
Here are the results:
gasoline use (millions) Population (thousands) gallons per capita Change vs. previous decade
1970 92329 203392 453.9460746
1980 114960 226546 507.4466113 10.54%
1990 130755 248710 525.7327812 3.48%
2000 161411 281422 573.555017 8.34%

We all know the nasty gas guzzlers in 1970 right? Well, despite the CAFE regulations, US per capita consumption of gasoline INCREASED every decade since the 1970s.
If we were to go from 2014 levels of total gasoline use to 1990 levels, per capita use would have to fall lower than it was before 1970. Do you think this would be expensive and/or disruptive?
And as you said - the primary driver is population growth. That's what makes emissions limits so difficult and so unacceptable to the developing world.

Posted by: ǝn⇂ɔ | May 22 2015 15:45 utc | 112

@102 rufus,

But I'm given to understand that the problem is the massive release of carbon just to excavate and process the stuff [meaning the sand]

They either scoop the stuff up in trucks and dump it into a ground-level steamer [plant], or they steam it in situ underground.

Other than the gas to run the trucks and the CATs and the plant, there is no "massive release of carbon." That area is the most heavily regulated atmospheric area in Canada.

It always amazes me that armchair warriors down here think that Albertans are a bunch of hayseeds whipping up the sand with nary a concern for their own health and welfare. In the history of resource management on the North American continent, they've been in the vanguard since 1949. (Just as no one would believe that it's the Vegas casinos that are in the vanguard for water conservation practices worldwide.) When the Texas wildcatters went up to Calgary to get in on the early (conventional) oil action, they were stunned by the regulations they had to comply with, which also included building and maintaining roads to the site to DOT specifications, and the idea that they had to clean up after themselves after operations were over just shocked them. But there was money to be made, so they did it. (I understand it was the Alberta Progressive Conservatives in 1970 who really lowered the boom on the original 1949 pollution controls and reclamation laws, and strengthened them with jail terms and fines.)

I think one of the coolest things I ever saw in Alberta was a mountain that had to be put back together after strip-mining. The mining company had to actually rebuild the mountain.

BTW, rufus, the process they use in the Oil Sands (named in 1967 with the first (Crown?) company called The Great Canadian Oil Sands Corporation, or some such) is the same process they used to clean the Florida beaches after the BP Oil Spill. The exact same process.

Posted by: MRW | May 22 2015 16:33 utc | 113

@109, Noirette,

Thanks for the update.

The other creditors are mostly US based - unknown for a large part, but see WSJ

I wonder how much Kagan/Nuland & Friends invested.

Posted by: MRW | May 22 2015 16:47 utc | 114

@108, 110. ǝn⇂ɔ,

Interesting comments. I appreciate the circumspection. I was stunned to find out what the models don't include, and the fact that the best the model grids can handle today are 200-300 km on each side. At the time that Hansen was making his predictions before Congress, they were 500 km. That's the distance from Santa Barbara to Las Vegas and would include the hottest (and lowest) place in the country: Death Valley.

What also bothers me is that modelers aren't forecasters. Forecasters can only measure the momentum fields (winds, currents, radiation, condensation) out eight days in the future. They can only guess at the next six months. And these models presume a century?

And forget the AMO and PDO. They have no clue how to measure that. The PDO flipped to negative in 2001; it's having one of its positive reversals for the past 2-3 years; hence, "The Blob" in the NE Pacific along Alaska, BC, and Washington causing the warm west and cold eastern winters. The AMO is going negative; I'm watching that daily. By 2020, they will both be negative, just like they were during the cooling period from 1945-1975.

Are the models seeing that? No. They run on the axiom that CO2 is causation.

Posted by: MRW | May 22 2015 17:12 utc | 115

rufus, a small quibble

(i.e., after the invention of writing ca. 2500 BC)

Michael Hudson just came out with the fifth book in the Institute for the Study of Long-term Economic Trends series on the Ancient Near East: Labor in the Ancient World.

Because of "so many revolutions in archaeology and Assyriology and even Egyptology in the last ten years," they were able to start the book in 10,000 BC. They have the actual bills and accounting statements paid for labor to build the pyramids (well-skilled labor built them, not slaves). The Sumerians were keeping debt and credit records for trade in 3500 BC.

Posted by: MRW | May 22 2015 17:43 utc | 116


Liquid fuels account for about 28% of our co2 emissions, a large fraction but not the predominate source of emissions. To even hope for moderating the effects of AGW we must reduce all of our overconsumption and find ways to live more efficiently. Our lifestyle is based on overconsumption and waste and we are accustomed to extracting over 20% of the worlds resources to maintain 5% of the world population.

So long as we live in a Capitalist society based on endless growth and consumption the future is bleak.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | May 22 2015 18:08 utc | 117

While it certainly is true that there are problems to be solved with photosynthetic production of hydrogen, its storage, and its use in fuel cells to produce electricity ... there were problems with generating sufficient masses of plutonium, building triggers and delivery systems for nuclear weapons of mass destruction as well. Those were overcome. Where there's a will there's a way.

When it comes to unparalleled death, devastation and destruction, there demonstrably is the will to develop, deploy, and unleash.

The will to prevent, at any cost, the development and deployment of an alternative to the present fossil fuel/nuclear regime with its accompanying devastating and destructive patterns of mining, production, and deployment; the will to prevent, at any cost, the dismantling of its control points, the bottlenecks of distribution; and, of course, the will to prevent its consequent concentration of monetary profit is manifest as well.

We must shift from development and deployment of the concentrated means of death, devastation and destruction to the development and deployment of a distributed means of enhancing life, of fostering creation, and of constructive coexistence on our planetary home with our fellow creatures.

The problem is that plutocrats and transnational corporations, situated at the choke points of the system extant, benefit exclusively from the system extant, and so are resistant to change. Especially to change that will distribute and disperse power from their - monetarily - very profitable bottlenecks of corporate control of energy to the distribution of the benefits of dispersed power to our populations at large.

Small 'd' democratic control of our societies. of our resources, of our societal vision, and of our subsequent research and development will be our, and life-as-we-know-it on our planet's, salvation.

Continued oligarchic control can only mean more death, more devastation, and more destruction.

Zombified cogs unite! We have nothing to lose but our places on the wheels of the imperial death machine! Power to the people! Literally! Along every dimension!

Posted by: jfl | May 22 2015 19:15 utc | 118

So how to interpret Clinton saying to thank Greta Van Susteren for " 'knowing the truth' " regarding a concussion delaying her testimony on Benghazi? Does one assume she has a TBI (traumatic brain injury) and can't be trusted with nukes? Or it was a ruse to limit her exposure and guilt, and cannot be trusted with the keys of state?

Posted by: Cahaba | May 22 2015 19:19 utc | 119

MRW at 115

You've been mislead by a careless reading of the text. I knew that Hudson knew better.

"We researched from Turkey in 10,000 BC to Sumer in the third millennium BC, Babylonia in the second millennium BC, the building of the pyramids, and we have the actual bills and accounting statements for what’s paid to labour to build the pyramids."

They start their research at 10K BC in Turkey, and then you will notice he completes his list chronologically.

Wikipedia gives the date of the construction of the first pyramids as c. 2670 BC, the largest at Giza date to ca. 2525 BC, with others as late as c. 664 BC. The first cuneiform tablets date to ca. 3500. They were records kept by economic functionaries once the operations of the kings and temples became too complex, in part due to the operation of extensive irrigation systems. By 2500 BC, its evolution into a system capable of recording law, literature, and religion was complete.

It is thought that the Egyptian borrowed the idea for writing from Sumeria, but evolved their own system. The brushes and papyrus they used were capable of much finer detail than the clay tables and styluses utilized in cuneiform.

It has long been known that most of the labor employed on these projects was that of free peasants. The notion that they were slaves is apparently a conflation of the toils of the Hebrews under the New Kingdom. During the off-season on the land, they were employed to move and place the blocks, apparently as part of their obligations to the state.

A core of skilled workers lived on the site, and the digs at their housing at Giza suggests a group very well-fed and -housed (for their time and class).

The bulk of this information is available in any good textbook on World or Western Civilization.

Thanks, though, they look to have produced some interesting labor history. Damn it, but that reading to-do list just keeps growing....

Posted by: rufus magister | May 22 2015 22:28 utc | 120

In re 110, 113

Let me begin with sources. I provided several refs., but I get unsupported blather in return (except for the misreading of Hudson, which I've already addressed). Doesn't seem fair to me.

When people post sources in response to my points, I usually take the trouble to read them. I don't think you read closely my post (I forget that few people read them as carefully as I right them), and I doubt if you read Rationalwiki. Rationalwiki does not say clouds are understood. I would have thought that as it stated the early expectations on climate impact were not met, it would be clear our understanding is incomplete.

Well, if material on climate change doesn't interest you, maybe that on climate change denial will.

A scientific consensus is reached when the vast majority of the scientists involved in a discipline broadly agree on the interpretation of the evidence pertaining to a specific scientific question. When this occurs the case can be considered to have been demonstrated and the burden of proof then falls on those who would dispute the consensus. The following national and international organizations are part of the consensus that global warming is a real phenomenon for which humans are responsible:

National Academy of Sciences (NAS)
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS)
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
The Royal Society of the UK (RS)
Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (CMOS)
UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
And many more.

Though some have taken non-committal stances, the vast majority of scientific bodies are convinced by the evidence. In addition, those pinko tree-huggers at the Pentagon now rank global warming as a "destabilizing force" (damn enviro-weenies).

Their preceding section on "Anthropogenic climate change" is worth a look, too. They lay out the first six terms of the case, and then note:

Up to this point virtually all scientists are in agreement — including those few global warming "skeptics" who understand the science and the data. Consequently the skeptics need to somehow attack the final leg of the argument:

8. The increase in temperature has been caused by the increase in greenhouse gases.

I'm not a total know-it-all, though I do rather like to project that air. On matters dealing with texts, such as history, literature, and politics, I know enough to form my own opinions. But when it comes to science and math, my skills are rudimentary. I had HS Chem, never got beyond algebra, only aced Geometry, which was logic, which I do well with. I know enough to get an inventory report to balance, but as far as I know, a first order derivative is some sort of financial instrument, isn't it? So I defer to more scientifically educated friends and the peer-reviewed experts.

The questions answered were not those I asked -- Do you think human activity is causing global warming? -- it would seem to be, "No". Are you arguing that the present temperature increases are a natural cycle? -- This remains murky.

How is that steam created? How much energy does it take to dig it out of the ground? How much does it take to move it from Alberta to the coasts?

Here's some actual data. According to Inside Energy News, Oil Sands Mining Uses Up Almost as Much Energy as It Produces.

Wayoutwest at 117 -- Very well put, we are in agreement on this point. I hope you and jfl keep at it (hey, I think glib and facile is the right response here, as denialism is a big joke played by Big Carbon, and frankly I do snarky pedantry best; "From each according to their abilities....").

Posted by: rufus magister | May 22 2015 23:19 utc | 121

oops, errata at 121, that was embarrassingly careless, first seven.

Posted by: rufus magister | May 22 2015 23:23 utc | 122

at 118 -- I must say, I prefer Marx and Engels' original. Far more accurate, and it even sounds better.

I believe that spectre continues to haunt us today. I would allow it to be a bit more ghostly than in 1848, 1871, 1917-21, 1929 or even 1968. But more than enough embers burn to start a nice prairie fire, should the winds of change continue to pick up.

Posted by: rufus magister | May 22 2015 23:42 utc | 123

Noirette at 109 --

Formidable, mademoiselle!

Like Deep Throat advised Woodward and Bernstein, "Follow the money." Will to fight means nothing if you can provide the means.

I made a search for further info. on the decree on abrogating human rights. Several sites have the TASS report, but I find nothing else via Bing. The tendentious Kyiv Post has nothing, as far as I can tell.

But Red Star over Donbass came through, with this statement from Borotba ("Struggle")

Sometimes it seems that the metaphorical "bottom" in Ukraine sinks lower and lower every day.

Against the background of the celebrations of May Day and the 70th anniversary of the Great Victory, a draft law passed virtually unnoticed through the Verkhovna Rada to suspend certain rights guaranteed by the International Convention on Human Rights. Today it was approved.

The Kiev regime openly admits to adopting a number of laws that violate international norms for the protection of human rights. But rather than repeal these gross violations of its citizens’ fundamental rights, the Ukrainian authorities have decided to proudly report this to the United Nations and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

But I did find another choice morsel of evidence for your case while at KP. Poroshenko asks Croatian prime minister to send experts with experience in overcoming consequences of aggression to Ukraine. Details are behind the paywall, but the headline says more than enough. Couldn't find further reports on this via Bing, either.

Posted by: rufus magister | May 23 2015 0:20 utc | 124


The bitumen-sands strip mine monster is the largest and most destructive industrial project on the planet but to people such as MRW it is just another giant Green $$ opportunity.

Already there are 30sq miles of toxic ponds seeping into the water tables and the natural gas of most of western Canada is needed to fuel the process.

The perpetrators of this rape will promise to dress up the victim and apply some lipstick to the corpse but this area the size of Florida has already been designated as a energy sacrifice area.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | May 23 2015 0:26 utc | 125

further to 110 -- Hey, even I know that climate is a dynamic, interconnected system. There are plenty of natural forces acting over long periods that control its cycles and variations. Again, a little data to prove your assertion that the current trends are no big deal would be most welcome.

You two really would benefit from that Climate Change Denial article at Rationalwiki. Hopefully you will see yourselves in the profile.

Back when I was forced to go the fundamentalist churches favored by my stepfather, they always had a little music playing during the "come to Jesus" moment. I can only hope you're Almost Persuaded to let the scales drop from your eyes. Or at least read Rationalwiki.

"Almost persuaded," harvest is past!
"Almost persuaded," doom comes at last!
"Almost" cannot avail;
"Almost" is but to fail!
Sad, sad, that bitter wail
"Almost," but lost!

Can I get an "Amen" from the deacons, brethren!

I love the pedal steel so, so I had to post this sweet instrumental version (he's pretty tech-savvy, too, from the close-ups of his rig). Typically the preacher will continue his urgings after he calls for a tune, with either the choir singing softly or more often just the organ and/or piano.

Posted by: rufus magister | May 23 2015 1:28 utc | 126

Wayout -- You be throwin' it down, man. Right on! Lipstick, new 'do, nice dress, expensive PR perfume to cover the stench. She's still having surprising trouble getting a date, though. And -- more data on the energy cost to boot!

Posted by: rufus magister | May 23 2015 1:41 utc | 127

I'm certain that the members of the Petroleum Club are well aware of the condition of our climate, they have some of the best scientists and engineers in the world, but are just delaying action until they are positioned to provide the techno-fix for the problem they helped create.

This fix could even include injecting this sulfurous sludge into the upper atmosphere to deflect those nasty extra photons away from Mother Earth. A side benefit is that the resulting oily rain could help to kill off the malaria mosquito so everyone will benefit.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | May 23 2015 2:13 utc | 128

Iran ship with humanitarian aid for Yemen docks in Djibouti

Iran’s Ambassador to Djibouti and Ethiopia Ali Bahraini welcomed the people on board the aid ship, dubbed Nejat (Rescue), upon their arrival in the African country on Friday night.

This is the first Iranian relief cargo for the Yemeni people which has arrived in Djibouti, Bahraini told reporters, adding that the first plane carrying humanitarian aid destined for the crisis-hit Arab country is also scheduled to land in the African country within hours.

We maintain constant contact with the United Nations and the World Food Programme in a bid to dispatch humanitarian aid to the Yemeni port city of Hudaydah in the quickest time possible, the Iranian official stated.

The Israelis blockade Gaza and the UN does ... nothing.

The Saudis blockade Yemen and the UN does ... nothing.

The UN is nothing ... nothing but yet another tool of in the hands of imperialist death, devastation, and destruction.

Posted by: jfl | May 23 2015 2:36 utc | 129

Massive military escalation looms as ISIS advances in Iraq

The Pentagon announced Thursday that it will rush 2,000 AT-4 anti-tank rockets to the Iraqi military following the capture of Ramadi, capital of Iraq’s western Anbar province, by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). ISIS fighters have seized control of tanks, artillery and large caches ammunition abandoned by the Iraqi military as they fled. More than 40,000 civilians have been forced from their homes by the ISIS advance.

Even as it drops bombs on Islamic State targets and launches Special Forces raids against ISIS members in Syria, the United States is in a de facto alliance with Al Nusra, the Al Qaeda affiliate against Assad. The Islamist fighters have proven to be much more effective in advancing America’s goal of ousting Assad than the so-called moderates. Weapons funneled into Syria by the United States, including anti-tank missiles, have often ended up in the hands of Al Nusra and ISIS fighters.

And the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate will have resupplied ISIS again.

Posted by: jfl | May 23 2015 2:49 utc | 130

Interesting site displaying cartograms ... world maps with countries' sizes made larger or smaller in proportion to a single, chosen parameter.

For instance War deaths, 1945-2000.

Might there not be an inverse 'law' of responsibility for those war deaths at work here?

Posted by: jfl | May 23 2015 4:21 utc | 131

jfl @90: Yup. How and whether this pipeline progresses will help us know who's winning the war between complete world domination by Western finance and something maybe just a little bit better or at least with more open, democratic possibilities.

Not really all that optimistic about where a very strong China will take the world. And, we see in China very strong infiltration by Western finance, the idiocies of Western neoliberal economics, and by Chinese with 'us rich people uber alles' values.

Posted by: fairleft | May 23 2015 5:08 utc | 132


I agree on the Chinese Plutes and their soul-brothers and sisters among the Western Plutes ... Chinese Law Firm to Merge With American Firms, Employ Howard Dean, Newt Gingrich ... and also agree that it's not some Chinese 'ethnic predisposition' but is indeed 'us rich people uber alles'.

Posted by: jfl | May 23 2015 5:37 utc | 133

jfl @133: Rich people are assholes the world over, and made big picture stupid and blind by their wealth.

Posted by: fairleft | May 23 2015 6:42 utc | 134


Can't argue there. In fact any subset of our human population is 'big picture stupid' to some extent, and blinded by their circumstances. And the consequences for the rest of the population can be severe when any subset achieves near total power, especially when that subset represents only a tiny portion of the population, because the 'rulers' are then likely to be 'big picture stupider' and blinder than they otherwise would be.

And the rich are probably one of the smallest subsets of the whole population imaginable ... not for nothing are they called the 1%, and, as has been pointed out so many times, the real reins of power are in the hands of more like 0.1%.

And that's why democracy, worldwide is essential. It's not because it's 'nice' to be 'inclusive', or 'fair', or 'equitable' although democracy is incidentally all of those things as well. It's essential because oligarchic rule - rule by the few - is always 'big picture stupid' and blind in consequence of the necessarily constricted outlook and experience of the few who govern the entire population.

The various, divergent points of view of the largest possible majority are essential to keep all of society from being undone by the blindness and big-picture stupidity of any small, largely and recursively self-selected subset of the entire population.

In fact even with fully democratic decision making there is plenty of big-picture stupid and blindness, to the non-human living and purely inanimate physical realms, left in the system to engender disasters enough.

The way we've been governing ourselves since the 'industrial revolution' so enhanced our ability to really mess up has been childish and indulgent, exactly the opposite of what's now called for, and we need now to 'grow up' quickly politically if life-as-we-(think-we-)know-it is to continue on planet earth.

Posted by: jfl | May 23 2015 10:36 utc | 135


Already there are 30sq miles of toxic ponds seeping into the water tables and the natural gas of most of western Canada is needed to fuel the process.

Hunh? They're tailings ponds. They are not seeping into the water tables--people live there who wouldn't put up with that--and natural gas has nothing to do with them. Unless you're talking about natural gas to fuel the steam plants, in which case they create that fuel out of what they are steaming out of the sand.

Posted by: MRW | May 23 2015 14:02 utc | 136

@wayoutwest #117
While I would certainly agree that the developed world overconsumes - the real problem isn't just the developed world. The rise of the 3rd world and the nations rapidly developing like China and Brazil are the main drivers of emissions increases now.
I would also note that a significant part of China's emissions are due to Western outsourcing of manufacturing. Be that as it may, the overconsumption of all resources is not directly correlated with CO2 emissions - although there is a strong relationship so long as we use fossil fuels for primary energy sources.
Thus while liquid fuels might only comprise 28% of all emissions - the reality is that there is no single dominant source. Energy use is fairly evenly distributed between the 3 areas I mentioned: transportation, electricity generation and manufacturing. Of the 3, the most easily emissions reducible area is electricity generation - and that involves switching over to nuclear power, not solar PV or wind. Need I point out that many environmentalists are dead set against nuclear power?
Even if some other magical source of electricity were to be developed which would do all that nuclear power could do but without the potential weapons or radioactive waste, the sad fact is that this still wouldn't prevent IPCC declared future warming. And so the question arises: if we cannot prevent future warming even with magic, why then should we spend tremendous amounts now for emissions controls when they won't actually do anything?

Posted by: ǝn⇂ɔ | May 23 2015 15:55 utc | 137

@MEW #115
The actual grid sizes are somewhat smaller now, but the size of the grid isn't the actual problem. The actual problem is that no one actually knows what the base unit needs to be for accuracy - or even if the base unit now is correct, what "subthreshold" numbers need to be measured in order to provide any form of skill.
The analogy I use comes from my own background: I was involved with semiconductor device modeling for SPICE simulations. For a digital device, a transistor is either on or off, but in reality there are always electrons moving around somewhere so long as power is on. The real world - specifically the interfaces between the real world and the digital portions, plus the non-digital infrastructure needed for digital operation like clocks, substrate power, and so forth - requires more accuracy and "on" or "off". Thus as devices got ever smaller, the "subthreshold" current issues became more and more important; the smaller devices had lower thresholds; where before 1000s of electrons would pass through a transistor gate in a transition, newer and smaller devices meant 100s or even 10s of electrons would pass through. The effect is that leakage becomes ever more important and even quantum dynamic effects start showing up.
The problem for climate science is that they don't know what the equivalent of the transistor for SPICE modeling is. It might be a specified minimum grid size, but it could as easily be a quantum of atmospheric energy (think pre-tornado clouds or even dust devils).
Thus while I admire their efforts, the cold and hard fact is that whatever they say, the models must perform. And as you note, the models aren't performing. They don't handle well documented phenomena like AMO/PDO well, much less the tinier "subthreshold" stuff. They're not even stable - each model performs visibly different than the other despite hundreds of tweaking variables.
As a former modeler, I can tell you that you can replicate any and every behavior with a model containing 7 variables - sometimes as little as 3. For models with hundreds and thousands of variables, all you get without rigorous testing is an Mandelbrot set reflection of the beholder's desires.

Posted by: ǝn⇂ɔ | May 23 2015 16:05 utc | 138

@jfl #118
The problems with developing nuclear weapons and harnessing nuclear power were about controlling a ridiculously overpowered source and attaining critical mass.
The problems with hydrogen are the opposite: extremely hard to store and extremely expensive to produce.
The former is a case of restraining the wild stallion, the latter is flogging a dead horse.
Or a more colorful analogy: controlling nuclear power is a case of figuring out how much gasoline, how fast is necessary to power a lamp or an engine, but controlling hydrogen is like trying to keep a hydrogen balloon inflated.
The scale of problems are completely different.
I would expect last mile superconductors into the house before we see widespread hydrogen use, which is to say, never.

Posted by: ǝn⇂ɔ | May 23 2015 16:10 utc | 139


You seem to have little if any concept or understanding of what an industrial mega-project of this magnitude requires to operate. The EROI, energy returned on investment is about 4 to 1 which means that to produce the nearly 2 million barrels a day of this product they need to consume about 500,000 barrels of oil or an equal amount of natural gas energy every day. Some of it comes from the tarsands but most is natural gas.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | May 23 2015 16:12 utc | 140

@rufus magister #120
Your note is interesting. One of the traps for modern historians looking at the past is how societal roles have changed. A great example from my own experience is automobile manufacturing.
Many people exclaim in wonder that Ford paid his workers so well - saying it was a shrewd way to generate demand for his products. That may be, but what people forget is that an automobile worker in 1908 was the equivalent of a Ruby on Rails programmer today. Of course they were paid well - the work they did wasn't like anything anyone else was doing, and they were disintemediating entire industries ranging from horse breeding, to stables, to buggy and buggy whip manufacturers. The mistake people make is thinking the autoworker of 1970 is the same animal, societally, as the autoworker in 1908.
Your anecdote concerning the workers on the pyramids would seem to fall in a similar category.

Posted by: ǝn⇂ɔ | May 23 2015 16:15 utc | 141

@rufus magister #121
As you have clearly not read the IPCC documents - outside the purely politically motivated summary for policy makers, then I will leave you to your ignorance.
Equally, the list of organizations you mention are also irrelevant; the intelligence of pronouncements by committees are the inverse of the numbers of members. For my own part, I pay attention to individual scientists whose integrity I have looked into before and have thus far been unassailable: Will Happer, Freeman Dyson, and many others.
As you seem to want your climate change information spoon fed to you - even as you don't seem to want your other information on world events spoon fed to you, I'll leave you to your own ignorance.
I've provided many areas which I've specifically pointed out the consensus scientific position and the dissonance vs. the overall alarmist view - your descent into name calling only hurts your own case.

Posted by: ǝn⇂ɔ | May 23 2015 16:20 utc | 142

in re 136 --

More undocumented assertions. From Wikipedia on Oil Sands. We seem to have a trifecta of NAFTA, fracking, and tar sands.

Shortages of natural gas for project fuel were forecast to be a problem for Canadian oil sands production a few years ago, but recent increases in US shale gas production have eliminated much of the problem for North America. With the increasing use of hydraulic fracturing making US largely self-sufficient in natural gas and exporting more natural gas to Eastern Canada to replace Alberta gas, the Alberta government is using its powers under the NAFTA and the Canadian Constitution to reduce shipments of natural gas to the US and Eastern Canada, and divert the gas to domestic Alberta use, particularly for oil sands fuel.

And about the tailing ponds, one might find this Feb. 2014 article from The Globe & Mail helpful. Here's a highlight from Federal study says oil sands toxins are leaching into groundwater, Athabasca River.

Leakage from oil sands tailings ponds, which now cover 176 square kilometres, has long been an issue. Industry has acknowledged that seepage can occur, and previous studies using models have estimated it at 6.5-million litres a day from a single pond.

You're a puzzle, MRW. So right on TPP and the Ukraine, but here....

This was the most puzzling bit -- "people live there who wouldn't put up with that." I know from coverage of fracking in nearby Pennsylvania, many of the locals wouldn't put up the contamination it produces. But the industry throws up all sorts of obstacles to prevent folks from even knowing about the problems, let alone addressing them. Earth Island Journal reports that fracking giant Kinder Morgan Paid Pennsylvania Police Department to ‘Deter Protests’. It highlights earlier public opposition to various KM projects as a reason for their high-handed and likely illegal actions in East Pike Township.

Posted by: rufus magister | May 23 2015 16:27 utc | 143

Oh, and some notes on Rationalwiki:

1) It is run by a philosophy PhD, not a scientist. This doesn't inspire a lot of confidence in its supposed fact finding nature
2) It was created specifically to a political agenda - as an antidote to Conservapedia

Posted by: ǝn⇂ɔ | May 23 2015 16:32 utc | 144

In re 142 --

Well, quite the Renaissance man, a scientific savant and an expert historian as well. I would not have guessed from your postings, somehow....

Sadly, I am congenitally unable to let anyone fester in ignorance, even your sorry self. You seem to be able to bloviate with an absolute ignorance of history or even what I actually wrote. You seem to have serious problems with your individual scientists of integrity as well.

Let's see, I have to read the entirety of a very technical report to "know" anything? But you get to cherry pick a few outliers and cranks? The bit about committees is total bullshit and about the cheapest dodge I've seen lately.

Sadly, they don't give a source, but this quote heads the article on denial:

Plot idea: 97% of the world's scientists contrive an environmental crisis, but are exposed by a plucky band of billionaires & oil companies.

And let's add, a few brave souls who decline to cite the sources for their broad assertions.

Sadly, Happer did not make the cut for Rationalwiki's list of leading "skeptics." But Dyson did. They describe him as having "succumbed to old age crank syndrome," mixing denialism with "various theories... of New Agey science woo." They quote him as follows:

My objections to the global warming propaganda are not so much over the technical facts, about which I do not know much, but it’s rather against the way those people behave and the kind of intolerance to criticism that a lot of them have. I think that’s what upsets me. [emphasis added]

Funny how people with data bristle under criticism from people who make stuff up. I can relate.

I did like Rationalwiki's snark in the list. But their best bit of sarcasm was the animation of a blowing tumbleweed under the heading, "National or international scientific bodies that reject anthropogenic global warming."

I discussed the Egyptian labor force merely to try to educate MRW on the origins of the pyramids and writing. I made no direct comparisons to present mode of labor. We in the business are quite aware of the problem of anachronism, and are quite fond of a quote by novelist L.P. Hartley: "The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there."

Ford found it necessary to pay his workers high wages in order to retain production floor labor. The assembly line that Ford perfected made the work mind-numbing tedium, part of the process of deskilling artisans and mechanics (in the old sense of machine builders and operators) begun in the First Industrial Revolution.

The resulting rapid turnover made large-scale production of the Model T problematic, so Ford resorted to a very high wage for his day to retain his labor power. That it enabled them to buy the machines was a happy byproduct. Ford's pioneering of mass production in the complex manufacture of cars made them a consumer vs. a luxury good. The general rise of wages made it even more affordable, as other firms had to compete for labor with Ford.

Don't we continue to make whole categories of workers obsolete? To cite but one example, my mother was a telephone operator c. 1955. Wouldn't the bosses like to make us all obsolete? Yes, Robots Really Are Going To Take Your Job And End The American Dream. Robots do not complain, go on strike, or call in sick.

Given the vast differences in not only the mode of production but views on progress before and after the Industrial Revolution, the changes between today and a hundred years ago are marginal.

Posted by: rufus magister | May 23 2015 17:45 utc | 145

in re 144

It is freely acknowledged that it arose in response to Conservapedia (which is an organization with its own problems, largely stemming from the imperious leadership of its founder, Andrew Schlafly; we'll talk about their craziness some other time). A source for your assertion on its leadership would be nice, 'cause Wikipedia says:

In April 2007, Peter Lipson, a doctor of internal medicine, attempted to edit Conservapedia's article on breast cancer to include evidence against Conservapedia's claim that abortion was linked to the disease. Conservapedia is an encyclopedia started by Andy Schlafly to provide an alternative to Wikipedia, which Schlafly perceived as suffering from liberal and atheist bias. Conservapedia "administrators, including Schlafly, questioned his credentials and shut down debate. After administrators blocked their accounts, Lipson and several other contributors quit trying to moderate the articles [on Conservapedia] and instead started their own website,"

It has this to say on the reception and reputation of Rationalwiki:

In Intelligent Systems'2014, published by the IEEE, Alexander Shvets stated: "There are few online resources and periodical articles that provide some information about pseudoscientific theories. Such information helps non-experts to acquire the necessary knowledge to avoid being deceived. One of the online resources that can be distinguished is international resource "RationalWiki" that was created to organize and categorize knowledge about pseudoscientific theories, personalities, and organizations."

Was it you or MRW that accused me of wanting to kill the messenger? Science is not a closed fraternity, it needs to communicate its findings in an understandable form to us laypeople. You don't address the underlying facts that Rationalwiki was so kind as to assemble.

I'm sure your sources, were you to actually cite any, are totally disinterested. No profits, political views, philosophical predilections behind them, no oxes being gored, right?

Posted by: rufus magister | May 23 2015 18:11 utc | 146

By the way, "Bitter lake" is still available on the BBC website in its entirety. All you need is Hola, an extension to Google Chrome, which spoofs an access from the UK. Also useful, should you, for any incomprehensible reason, wish to look at British domestic TV from abroad.

Posted by: Laguerre | May 23 2015 22:14 utc | 147

Laguerre at 147 -- I'm dating myself, but I can think of one: Reruns of "Spitting Image." Visited London in the 80's and caught it.

Posted by: rufus magister | May 24 2015 2:27 utc | 148

ps to 146 -- Someone else in another context accused me of "killing the messenger," sorry for the confusion.

Posted by: rufus magister | May 24 2015 14:47 utc | 149

@rufus magister #146
On IPCC: The scientists themselves who have served on IPCC - including Tol, Curry, and others, have repeatedly noted that the SPM is created entirely separately from what the actual climate scientists write. Or in other words, it is politically generated, not scientifically generated.
This is what prompted me to read the rest of the report - to see if this was true.
And it is.
Thus your unwillingness to look beyond the MSM pap spoon fed to you in this area - unlike others - only reinforces what I said previously
On the 97%: The pseudo-scientific report which put this number forth has been thoroughly debunked. Besides the author being a prominent alarmist - to the point of clownishness - analysis of the methods used in the report showed that the so-called independent reviewers were anything but. One reviewer managed to check over a hundred papers in 20 minutes, thus showing just how good the analysis was. Many authors of papers also objected to the characterization of the papers - saying that the reviewers opinion was clearly wrong.
Next, the 97% wasn't even of the overall community - it was a subset of a subset.
Lastly, in science, consensus is irrelevant. The truth is what matters, which is why we all now believe in evolution, in a round earth, in tectonic plates, and so forth.
On RationalWiki: Sadly, you only reinforce your ongoing ignorance. Whatever the press releases say, RationalWiki TODAY is run by Trent Toulouse. You should brush up on your internet skills.

Posted by: ǝn⇂ɔ | May 24 2015 15:40 utc | 150

@143 rufus,

Did you find the report? Here it is: Profiling Oil Sands Mixtures from Industrial Developments and Natural Groundwaters for Source Identification by Richard Frank, et al. I don’t feel like paying for it, I read the abstract. As the abstract says, “that had potentially migrated,” and “While these analyses did not allow for reliable source differentiation,” and “implies a common source” and “suggesting OSPW-affected groundwater is reaching the river system.”

From CTV-Canada's report of the same study, with another definite headline that doesn't match the copy: Federal study confirms oilsands tailings found in groundwater, river

The study doesn't quantify the amount of tailings ponds water that is escaping. It noted that even at the sample sites near development, pond water was diluted by natural groundwater.

Environment Canada said it was unable to provide an interview with the report's main author, Richard Frank.

In an email, department [Environment Canada] spokesman Danny Kingsberry downplayed its findings.

"This study does not provide proof that the oilsands process water may be reaching the Athabasca River at the sites examined. Techniques are being further developed and applied to a wider range of shallow groundwater locations in the area to repeat these results and to further assess regional tailings pond/groundwater interactions."

The research was conducted under Environment Canada's regular research program. It is expected to feed into studies funded by the Joint Oilsands Monitoring Program run by the federal and Alberta governments and funded by a $50-million levy on industry.

So this is not definitive. The Joint Oilsands Monitoring Program run by the federal and Alberta governments is an aggressive monitoring program that you can look up on Environment Canada’s site.

Posted by: MRW | May 24 2015 16:36 utc | 151

I do think that "Bitter Lake" is truly excellent. I just loved the imagery from Afghanistan in the 1950s, and all the rest. They really collected a massive quantity of old imagery. Though some of the politics was a bit iffy.

Hola's free, by the way, you won't have to pay for watching the BBC.

Posted by: Laguerre | May 24 2015 17:22 utc | 152


Also available here: All of Curtis's films.

Posted by: MRW | May 24 2015 18:04 utc | 153


I second ǝn⇂ɔ‘s insistence on exactitude. I’m not an engineer, but he is.

Physicists and other hard scientists--which many “climate scientists” are not, they get their PhDs in the social sciences department--may come up with sweet hypotheses that they can turn into theories, provided they cough up the data so everyone can test it. (Which scientists like Michael Mann of Hockey Stick fame and Phil Jones refuse to do.)

But engineers have to apply that science. And if they make mistakes because the physics is bad, or the theory is a crock in application, then depending on what it is, it can be a matter of life and death.

The most famous example is probably the Space Shuttle Challenger. The O-rings failed because they weren’t certified to operate in temperatures under 40F or 32F (I forget). NASA managers had known there was a problem with them for nine years. It was a cold January morning. I remember it well because I watched it blow up just before noon.

The engineers warned the managers that morning about launching in the cold weather, but the consensus kings at NASA ignored them.

It’s the smallest tolerances, the little things, that can make all the difference. So when you rag on me for not buying the bullshit I read in the fool-the-public press, it’s because I actually slog through the source documents, and I don’t have ǝn⇂ɔ's science smarts.

I haven’t read all 3,000 pages of the IPCC AR5 report, but I’ve read a hefty amount of it, more than half. And I did it because of the shenanigans I heard surrounding the Summary prepared for policymakers in Sept 2013, IRCC. As Dr. William Happer (Princeton, check his bio) said before the Senate, “I can’t think of any other branch of science where an international organization [IPCC] is needed to determine the truth. This is the first time it has ever happened.”

The IPCC is NOT a scientific organization. It just collates the science. And it was founded on the axiom, not proven in 1989 nor since, that humans are causing Global Warming because of the CO2 in fossil fuels. Pulled it straight out of their ass, and set up shop in Geneva. I have their original homepage. THEY WROTE IT; that was their charter.

It was set up for the 1%. Capture all the resources, by claiming the land on top of them as “conservation areas.” 35% of the world’s “wilderness areas.” One of those “wilderness areas” is the entire Boreal Forest of Canada.

This was laid out in a secret 5-day meeting with Maurice Strong, Baron Edmond de Rothschild (Gland & Geneva, Switzerland), I. Michael Sweatman (supposedly the head of The Royal Bank of Canada but I can’t confirm it) David Rockefeller, NGOs, the World Bank, the IMF, and rich investors like Senator Tim Wirth of Colorado and his heiress wife, after The 4th Worldwide Wilderness Congress (WWC) in September 1987, complete with map.

Rothschild won approval at the end of the second day of this invitation-only meeting to set up his world conservation bank.

In the proceedings that you can order from WILD, the new name for the WWF in the US, on page 381, they claim that the International Conservation Banking Programme was a “Resolution passed by the Plenary Session of the 4th WWC.” Bullshit.

Plenary means everyone at the 4th WWC passed it. They never even knew about it. Never heard it. This happened after the 4th WWC was over in Denver. It happened at Estes Park 85 miles NW of Denver at the YMCA resort. Sweatman describes the program on page 361, and nary a word about Rothschild.

That’s why they wanted Global Governance, which they failed to get in Copenhagen, but are fighting for in Paris, Dec, 2015.

Check out the UNEP Finance Initiative website. They’re not even hiding it anymore. Then they want a global currency and every country on the planet will look like Greece because every country will have given up their sovereign currency. Check out those links.

The TPP, et al, is the legal framework for their Global Governance, that’s why they are going all out in all the English-speaking countries right now to make sure Global Governance in Paris happens this time. All Climate Change all the time.

And guess who was the kingpin to get Copenhagen ’09 passed in 2009? Michael Froman, assistant to the Obama then. Now, Froman is the US Trade Representative in charge of TPP, TTIP, and TISA, and operates out of Geneva—out of US jurisdiction--and DC.

Posted by: MRW | May 24 2015 18:08 utc | 154

In re tar sands --

I rather doubt if Counterpunch et al. are MSM pap. I like and trust Rationalwiki, they have a snarky edge I find appealing. I still wouldn't mind seeing your evidence it's run by a philosopher.

I saw no need to search for the report on ground water. The abstract differs little if all from the reported findings. I observed in the articles I cited the smoke being blown by government and industry flacks, and was curious to see if anyone would find it. I believe my source quoted the same official statement.

I appreciate that some effort is now being made to provide documentation, but I'm still a bit ahead and still seeing unsupported assertions.

Let us all note -- The industry does not deny the presence of pollutants, they downplay their significance. No smoking gun, so ignore the substantial circumstantial evidence. "Ignore the man behind the curtain." I suppose, quite sadly, that the toll of death and illness will have to rise before the problem is acknowledged.

Anyone ever find their historic data for Fort Murray?

I am glad that we seem to have settled the question of the large amount of energy needed to extract, process, and transport this material. I recall seeing numerous articles on "Peak Petroleum" stating that all the cheap and easy carbon sources are gone. Hence, deeper wells, on deeper offshore platforms, fracking, tar sands, etc., that all require more energy than a field like say the Teapot Dome.

I've already noted the deep objections scientists are raising to the Harper Admin's. ongoing trashing of the scientific, environmental and statistical watchdogs in Canada. I can't trust the IPCC, but I can StatsCanada? Can't trust NSF, but I can some industry hack?

Even your "exculpatory" report noted that international and even industrial standards on reporting the discharges are not being met, see if you would please my 103. Has that changed for the better? Or the worse?

You'll forgive me if I leave further discussion to those more capable and interested. After the tragic murder of Mozgovoy, I'm back of necessity to my own obsession -- keeping a close on eye Banderaist junta in Kiev. That Harper is gung-ho in his support for the junta is yet another reason for me to doubt his hirelings and paymasters.

Posted by: rufus magister | May 24 2015 18:22 utc | 155

@155 read the bottom half of 154 before you go.

Posted by: MRW | May 24 2015 18:39 utc | 156

MRW at 156 --

I'm a fairly convivial Barfly, I'm almost always good for a quick one.

Global problems require global solutions, in principle I have no problem with global governance. I certainly don't want the present system envisioneded by our malefactors of great wealth.

That an unscrupulous hack like Froman is involved in any no. of int'l negotiations does nothing to undermine the data itself. I keep going back to 97% of climate scientists....

Posted by: rufus magister | May 24 2015 21:57 utc | 157

The 97% was debunked in a number of peer-reviewed papers, but the press hasn't reported it. But let's get off this horse because I don't feel like digging them up on my other drive. I forgot how I labeled them.

Posted by: MRW | May 25 2015 0:56 utc | 158

MRW at 158 --

Peer reviewed papers that no one (not even Fox News) has publicized. Or even apparently interested bloggers. That looking for is too much of a bother.

You're free to do as you please of course, but it raises, IMHO, a serious credibility problem. Which bums me out frankly, as you seem to know what's in the Ukraine.

For the record, I forget all the time where I saved stuff and under what name. I've always been able to remember enough about the text to get "Search Companion" (there's a good dog) to help me out.

Posted by: rufus magister | May 25 2015 3:02 utc | 159

Well, a brief search returned this interesting bit. Perhaps the 97 pct. figure is wrong. About that consensus on global warming: 9136 agree, one disagrees.

The compiler searched academic journals for a year in 2012-13, and apparently provides abstracts for the interested (and technically savvy).

Posted by: rufus magister | May 25 2015 3:15 utc | 160

@rufus magister #160
Sadly, the use of Google is not an indication of research rigor.
Here's a real example of research rigor: the first paper which originally put out the 97% figure - as debunked by a real live AGW proponent: Dr. Richard Tol.
Dr. Tol is a firm believer in AGW, is a lead IPCC author, makes a living doing climate related research, but doesn't tolerate bullshit.

All of this was put out in Twitter by him - he's extremely prolific so you can validate for yourself what I say about him and his views.

He crushingly destroyed the 97% paper:

Dr. Richard Tol has been tweeting a statistical destruction of the “97% consensus” study, Cook et al. (2013) by educating co-author Dana Nuccitelli as to why his “sample” is not representative.

“In his defense, [Dana] has had limited exposure to stats at uni” – Richard Tol

Including “global” before “climate change”, Cook et al. dropped 75% of papers and changed disciplinary distribution.

Including “global” before “climate change”, Cook et al. dropped many papers by eminent climate researchers.

Including “global” before “climate change”, Cook et al. dropped 33 of the 50 most cited papers.

Choosing exclusive WoS over inclusive Scopus, Cook et al. dropped 35% of papers and changed disciplinary distribution.

As Dr. Tol so eloquently put it,

“[Dana] I think your sampling strategy is a load of nonsense.” – Richard Tol

CV of Dr. Richard Tol:
M.Sc. Econometrics, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Netherlands (1992); Ph.D. Economics (Thesis: “A decision-analytic treatise of the enhanced greenhouse effect“), Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Netherlands (1997); Researcher, Institute for Environmental Studies, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Netherlands (1992-2008); Visiting Researcher, Canadian Centre for Climate Research, University of Victoria, Canada (1994); Visiting researcher, Centre for Social and Economic Research on the Global Environment, University College London, United Kingdom (1995); Acting Programme Manager Quantitative Environmental Economics, Institute for Environmental Studies, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands (1998-1999); Visiting Associate Professor, Department of Engineering and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University (1998-2000); Board Member, Centre for Marine and Climate Research, Hamburg University (2000-2006); Lead Author, IPCC (2001); Contributing Author and Expert Reviewer, IPCC (2001, 2007); Associate Editor, Environmental and Resource Economics Journal (2001-2006); Adjunct Professor, Department of Engineering and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University (2000-2008); Michael Otto Professor of Sustainability and Global Change, Department of Geosciences and Department of Economics, Hamburg University, Germany (2000-2006); Editor, Energy Economics Journal (2003-Present); Visiting Research Scholar, Princeton Environmental Institute and Visiting Professor, Department of Economics, Princeton University (2005-2006); Research Professor, Economic and Social Research Institute, Ireland (2006-Present); Research Fellow, Global Trade Analysis Project (GTAP), Center for Global Trade Analysis, Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University (2007-2010); Associate Editor, Economics E-Journal (2007-Present); Adjunct Professor, Department of Economics, Trinity College, Ireland (2010-2011); Professor of the Economics of Climate Change, Institute for Environmental Studies and Department of Spatial Economics, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Netherlands (2008-Present); Professor of Economics, Department of Economics, University of Sussex, Falmer, United Kingdom (2012-Present)

Summary: The 97% number is a complete crock. Not only was the methodology flawed and the grading of papers clearly politically motivated, the scope of the "research" was poor lacking both breadth and depth. Oh, and the author, Nuccitelli, is not only not a scientist, he works for an oil company and is a professional marketer.

Here: the authors of the paper explicit lay out the objective of this "research" including their marketing plan:

Many authors of the papers graded - including both skeptic and alarmist as well as neutral, objected to the classification given in the 97% paper. Equally, while I cannot remember where, I do recall one grader in particular having graded hundreds of papers in 2 hours. Clearly didn't do much actual reading of them.

All in all, 97% was a very successful PR ploy, but not factual or scientific in the least.

Posted by: ǝn⇂ɔ | May 25 2015 16:42 utc | 161

en1c @ 61 --

Again, thanks for some documentation. But I don't think things are quite what you would have me believe.

A quick read of Wikipedia shows Tol to be an economist favored by the Republican Party, not a scientist. He asserts that cost/benefit analysis shows it best to do nothing. Peers within the field question his work, he counts immediate costs but not later benefits, and his model is suspect.

His work has appeared, however, on that broadcast paragon of scientific rationality, Fox News.

I have little to no respect for bourgeois economics. It is the feng shui of the deck chairs on the Titanic, useful only for self-serving plunder under the guise of "austerity" and "markets." This was the case even before finding Naked Capitalism.

He would seem to be a minor player, as sadly neither they nor Rationalwiki have anything on our distinguished apologist for the status quo.

Posted by: rufus magister | May 25 2015 17:31 utc | 162

en1c @ 61 --

Again, thanks for some documentation. But I don't think things are quite what you would have me believe.

A quick read of Wikipedia shows Tol to be an economist favored by the Republican Party, not a scientist. He asserts that cost/benefit analysis shows it best to do nothing. Peers within the field question his work, he counts immediate costs but not later benefits, and his model is suspect.

His work has appeared, however, on that broadcast paragon of scientific rationality, Fox News.

I have little to no respect for bourgeois economics. It is the feng shui of the deck chairs on the Titanic, useful only for self-serving plunder under the guise of "austerity" and "markets." This was the case even before finding Naked Capitalism.

He would seem to be a minor player, as sadly neither they nor Rationalwiki have anything on our distinguished apologist for the status quo.

Posted by: rufus magister | May 25 2015 17:31 utc | 163

Regarding my 160, I found it via Bing, actually, and that Scientific American found it suitable I think speaks to its analytical rigor. I'd say >9K articles in one year is a robust data set.

Posted by: rufus magister | May 25 2015 17:36 utc | 164

Further to 163 --

Tol's patron, Bjørn Lomborg, however does make the cut of at NC and Rationalwiki. Their Links for 8/31/10 have a short report at Firedoglake, which in turn links to this article at The Guardian: Bjørn Lomborg: $100bn a year needed to fight climate change The subtitle reads, "Exclusive 'Sceptical environmentalist' and critic of climate scientists to declare global warming a chief concern facing world." The article reports that his work for Copenhagen changed his mind.

Rationalwiki is still fairly critical of him and his work. They describe him as climate change "'delayer' who falls back on denialist talking points when it's convenient." He cherry-picks "economic models that predict the highest costs" resulting in an overestimation of mitigation costs. He recommends investment in alternative fuels, which Rationalwiki has no problem with, but for "the suggestion that shifting from fossil fuels to renewable ones is somehow separate from mitigation of global warming," which it calls "bizarre."

His change of heart is a shift in tactics, not strategy, it seems. His Copenhagen Consensus Project "generally pushes wishful thinking about geo-engineering...." When the Danish government cut his funding, he turned to private sources, to the tune of over $4 mil.

Posted by: rufus magister | May 25 2015 18:35 utc | 165

as far as I can see so far every argument put forward by the Warmist hysterics is nothing but Argument by authority.

Rufie the fool, quoting the hilariously named "Rational"-Wiki, lists several alleged "Science Orgs" as his "authority". He does so because he cannot argue the subject because he knows next to nothing about it and gets all his info from ridiculously partisan ditto-heads like the aforementioned, and hilariously named, "Rational"-Wiki

Why It’s So Hard to Convince Warmists

In their latest speeches on global warming, Obama and the Pope weren’t trying to convince skeptics that CAGW is real. Instead, they were sending signals to their supporters on what “all right thinking people” should be saying. This is classic in-group/out-group communication. Obama and the Pope were setting up the talking points for their in-group members to use to determine who can be considered part of the tribe and who should be rejected for being outside of it. This is a process called Othering. Othering turns political foes into non-beings. Others have no value. Others can be discounted and ignored. Others can be mocked.

Obama and the Pope are examples of bellwethers; the sheep with the bell that the other sheep follow. Bellwether is not a derogatory term, it’s a descriptive term. The job of a political bellwether is to indicate the position that their followers should take in their everyday conversations. Obama and the Pope’s latest speeches function as position papers for the delegates of all right thinking people. You meet these people at work, church, school, at the coffee house, etc. The delegates will mirror the words that the President or the Pope used to identify other in-group members, normalize beliefs and mock out-group members. One of the main themes of both speeches was shame. Shame on those who aren’t right thinking people. Shame that they aren’t as intelligent and capable as “us.”

That type of smugness is almost impossible to penetrate. When a skeptic questions a warmist’s view on global warming/climate change, the warmist hears something vastly different than what the skeptic is saying. A skeptic might say, “The models don’t match the actual measured results.” What the warmist hears is how stupid deniers are because that’s what John Stewart told him he should think. If the warmist doesn’t prove that he thinks skeptics are stupid then he might be confused for a denier! And no one wants to be identified with being a denier because they’re mocked, don’t get tenure and don’t get invited to the right parties. No amount of science can penetrate the ROI the warmist has internalized in believing in CAGW.

Many of the warmist are running on pure rational ignorance. Rational ignorance is a belief that the cost/benefit to researching every issue is so low as to be a net negative in time utilization. Thus the ignorance is rational and everyone utilizes this mental process on certain topics. People who are rationally ignorant about global warming look to bellwethers that support their gut stance. Rationally ignorant warmists would look to world leaders, mockutainers and warmist scientists for guidance on how to communicate their position on global warming.

Penetrating rational ignorance is tough because the position warmists have taken isn’t based on logic. Their position is actually based on an appeal to authority. To question the rationally ignorant warmist is to question the field of science as a whole (to be a science denier) or to question the leadership of their favorite bellwether personalities. This will cause the rationally ignorant warmist to become defensive and try to stand up for their favorite bellwether. The rationally ignorant will also point to their favorite bellwethers and say, “Who am I to doubt all these intelligent people?” It’s intellectually offshoring. It’s lazy. It’s human nature."

Regarding the alleged 97% currently being touted by the Pompous-Buffoon-in-residence, it's mere existence in this conversation is proof of Rufies ignorance because all the alleged 97% claims have been repeatedly debunked and discredited, and only those ignorant of this, or just downright dishonest, continue to cite them

As Einstein is reported to have said when informed of the 100 nazi scientists writing against him "Why 100 when only one would do?"

Posted by: Booga | May 25 2015 20:06 utc | 166

All I see is cheap shit from a dirty troll.

Posted by: rufus magister | May 25 2015 21:10 utc | 167


I wrote a long response to you but it apparently didn't take. (what the hell did I do? hit cancel?) I appreciate your clear thinking.

Posted by: MRW | May 26 2015 12:24 utc | 168


Boogie's response (@166) deserves attention. Not cheap shit. Not a troll. You're not seeing the geopolitical implications.

Posted by: MRW | May 26 2015 12:27 utc | 169


For the record, I think Harper is an asshole.

Posted by: MRW | May 26 2015 12:55 utc | 170


You have impugned yourself. I can't believe you're that ignorant. You should be ashamed of yourself.

Posted by: MRW | May 26 2015 13:08 utc | 171

you're wasting your time MRW - he's one of these idiotic "Tru-belivers" - nothing you say will convince such an empty-headed fool to actually examine the actual evidence - the idiotic airhead would much prefer to let others do his thinking for him.

Actually now that I think about it, the idiot actually doesn't care what the truth is on this subject, cos he, very shortsightedly, sees Globull Warming as ,merely a method for attacking capitalism, and he obviously has no interest in the subject other than as a political football

Posted by: BoogieKnights | May 26 2015 14:18 utc | 172

@rufus magister #163
Interesting, once again you resort to ad hominem attacks - only this time on a person who is self described and very publicly a member of the CO2 is bad camp.

Not a single word concerning his very rational, cogent, and even polite destruction of the 97% pseudoscientific paper.

@rufus magister #165
You then extend the ad hominem attack on another member of the warmist party - Lomborg. Lomborg's single crime is that he doesn't believe that catastrophic CO2 emissions will be as damaging as the more breathless alarmists would have all believe - even as he does agree there will be warming and there will be damages.

The fact that RationalWiki behaves very clearly like the Joe Romm's of the climate world seems to have escaped you: i.e. that of attack dog rather than scholar in the cause of global climate change ultra-alarmism.

Equally clear is that your views in this area are formed - as are so many of the ignorant MSM followers out there - by opposition rather than by fact. In this case, opposition to what you see as bad: fossil fuels, Republicans, anti-science.

Sadly ironic given that the aim of MSM isn't to be anti-science, anti-Republican, anti-Democrat, or whatever.

The aim of MSM is to replace original thought with top down consensus as manufactured by Murdoch and CNN.

In your case, in this area, "they" have won.

Posted by: ǝn⇂ɔ | May 26 2015 15:18 utc | 173

The Greenland melt season is a month late getting started, and the coasts are still buried in snow as summer approaches.

There has been almost no melt this year so far. This is almost unprecedented, and of course the exact opposite of what any poor deluded reader of the hilariously-named Wiki, currently being pimped by the resident-InHouse-Delusional , would expect

Official Danish Gov't Report on Greenland Ice Sheet Mass Balance is here

Hidden amongst all the blather is the graph linked below

which shows that this years melt is one of the latest starting on-record.

Certainly that is not what the CLimatards have been conning people into expecting

Posted by: BoogieKnights | May 26 2015 16:23 utc | 174


I see that you are one of the 'Brilliants' that can't discern the difference between the 'Weather' and the 'Climate'.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | May 26 2015 17:57 utc | 175

@ ǝn⇂ɔ, [if you're still checking this thread]

Speaking of Tol, you might be interested in this guest post of his, "Erl Happ: Climate changes – oh so naturally." Happ is Australian, so all mentions of the "winter hemisphere" are Northern hemisphere summers. Fortunately, he provides charts that indicate the month he is talking about. But still. I'm forced to remember it. It's loooong. I've been reading it over the last two days in bites.

I went in search of Happ after reading his description of how the polar vortex worked, in a comment here, and his reference in that comment to an unpublished paper Geomagnetic activity and polar surface air temperature variability that I found fascinating, and written by real atmospheric physicists.

Posted by: MRW | May 26 2015 21:15 utc | 176

Well I know how you climatards use those terms anyway

When the matter under discusson concerns new cold-temp records, that's always merely "weather" and of course when the matter under discussion concerns warm temp records, thats clearly "climate"

Posted by: BK | May 26 2015 21:19 utc | 177

He got you foff. I knew you'd come up against wow sooner or later.

Posted by: dh | May 26 2015 22:16 utc | 178

to MRW @ 171

Well, well, well. A helpful lesson in reputation management by someone who can’t be bothered to find their evidence.

Evidently, I have to amend my rule of thumb. If your pounding the table gets ignored, then throw a tantrum about your butthurt. Name-calling is optional.

Why would I even begin to take seriously someone who calls me the Resident Buffoon? And uses a nickname used by several earlier trolls?

I take strong exception. I’m a Senior Resident Buffoon, thank you very much. “Doofus” is the preferred derogatory nickname. And they overlooked my most app(e)aling quality, pedantic logorrhea.

I do owe Booga an apology, I would allow. Given the handle and attitude, “snotty troll” would have been more suitable.

Fortunately, I’m still able to rely on RationalWiki for my light work. Read up on Anthony Watts, proprietor of the source for the screed. A former television weatherman, they describe him as being "AGW concern troll.... Unencumbered by scientific expertise he works by intuition...."

And since I keep getting bogged down in this, here a couple of more sticks to beat you deniers with. Fresh from Truthout for both.

Hijacking the Anthropocene documents "How the anti-green Breakthrough Institute misrepresents science to advance a technocratic agenda and undermine grassroots environmentalism…. Founded in 2003 by lobbyist Michael Shellenberger and pollster Ted Nordhaus, its philosophy is based on what’s known in academic circles as ecological modernization theory – described by Richard York and Eugene Rosa as the view that 'industrialization, technological development, economic growth, and capitalism are not only potentially compatible with ecological sustainability but also may be key drivers of environmental reform."

But maybe more on point is thisFederal investigation of Transcanada's pipeline remediation here in the United States. It discusses Transcanda’s “culture of non-compliance” in its pipeline work. You can’t even remediate a simple trench excavation site, but you can do miles and miles open pits?

But hey, I’m not without compassion. I’ve called the Wambulance for you.


I whipped that up during lunch at work. But I see from your and en1c's later posts that I need to add to my comments.

Let's, you people are pissing and moaning about credentialism. But you ran down Rationalwiki with an (unsupported) claim that is was run by a philosopher.... Duck sauce, anyone?

Most of your post was a list of Tol's credentials, so I directed my fire at that target. I looked at the PopTech article you link. They have a PR strategy -- yeah, big freaking deal. What organization today doesn't have a PR/Marketing strategy? I don't see them cooking the data. I note how the info. came to light. I bet if I hacked into the private emails of denialists, I'd come up with lots of coordination and some genuine dirty tricks.

Popular Technology looks to be a major retailer of denialism. It's propietors are computer scientists and engineers, FWIW.

This article on the topic reports on where they got coverage. I note that the article in The Guardian on this list is by our friend Tol. It is itself a response to a piece of theirs, no doubt published due to their journalistic ethic of fairness and equity. It was about the only source I found credible. I would not consider Forbes (self described "Capitalist Tool", right?) or the WSJ unbiased.

Why would I care that we're frying ourselves? I have a very definite interest in global warming, apart from it being a good example of capitalist irrationality. My roots are in the Delmarva Peninsula. I don't want my family's past to go the way of Atlantis. I hate it when it gets hot and humid, and I love a good snowfall. It looks right purty, don't it?

And again, what about the Scientific American article on 2013-4? 9K to 1....

I'm unsure what you're reading as an ad hominem attack on Lomborg, who appears to want to have it both ways. I recall from Rationalwiki on denialism that the denial that we need to do anything about CO2 is usually the key point of denialism, at least for folks who are angling for scientific "truthiness."

Maybe you disliked my opinion about the dismal science of mainstream economics. Meh....

I noted that his peers question his work. You're known by the company you keep, as the old saw goes, so I see nothing wrong with noting who publicizes his work. Do you dispute that the Republican Party and the unfair and unbalanced Fox News have a problem with science?

Just in case, here's one item from Desmog and another from Alternet. I could do it for particular Rethuglicans, but as we all know it that Fox is their key propaganda organ, it would be coals to Newcastle.

I had to Bing Romm, I didn't see anything in his Wiki to suggest an attack dog. I see someone who gives as good as he gets. It quotes Bill McKibben as saying that his knows the science and that "It requires a thick skin to take on the daily task of dealing with the disinformers, but Romm has the taste for this kind of blood sport, and the talent as well."

I agreed that Rationalwiki has a definite agenda and edge, about which they are quite clear. IMHO they mix the science with the snark quite well. I don't think they advertise themselves as a scholarly think tank. Compared to clips I see of folks on Faux News, where ad hominem attacks and fear monger are a business model, RationalWiki is a lap dog.

Which reminds me, I'm too cheap for cable, so I don't see CNN. The only thing I watch on Fox is Chef Ramsey (the food is too frou-frou for me, but the drama is good) and the Simpsons. You've seen my links, so you see from where I get the bulk of my information.

Good, you think Harper is jerk. But you seem to buy into the "data" produced by the statistical and scientific services his Cabinet emasculated. Got that Fort Murray historic data I suggested as more suitable comparison to the old mega-city of Toronto?

I believe I have said more than enough on this topic. I usually shy away from anything but the former Union, Novorossiya, Banderastan, left politics, and good music so I don't get bogged down in these sorts of slagging matches.

Speaking of good music, for some reason, a little ol' school country comes to mind, sadly, as I think of the Wasted Day & Wasted Nights I've spent on this. I don't feel quite as involved in the way Freddy Fender does, but I do suspect your data is not true.

Posted by: rufus magister | May 27 2015 0:10 utc | 179

We shouldn't be too judgmental of the denialists because under that veneer is a valid fear of the hidden agendas of the sleazy liberal icons such as Al Gore and Bill McKibben and others who are the spokesmen of the believers side. Below that level is another layer of what I call the Nuke Pimps who see an opportunity to rebrand their filth as green.

This debate is useful because neither side will ever be willing to face what is necessary to even slow AGW, a dramatic dismantling of our Industrial Civilization.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | May 27 2015 2:27 utc | 180

PS- irradiated coyote meat makes a delicious taco.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | May 27 2015 2:56 utc | 181

Wayout at 180 --

Seriously? That ruthless and nefarious operator Al Gore, who so slickk he couldn't prevent Bush the Lesser's Republican Riot from stealing - in cahoots with our judicially restrained "conservative" Supreme court - the election in Florida? He rather looked a teddy bear when he had the beard....

Posted by: rufus magister | May 27 2015 4:15 utc | 182

I don't know who commented @181 and I don't appreciate someone else using my name!

Posted by: Wayoutwest | May 27 2015 4:45 utc | 183


Why would a Working Class stiff such as you be a defender of a Ruling Class stooge such as AG?

Posted by: Wayoutwest | May 27 2015 4:59 utc | 184 - The Truth about DeSmogBlog

DeSmogBlog is a smear site founded by a scientifically unqualified public relations man, James Hoggan and funded by a convicted money launderer, John Lefebvre. The irony here is their favorite tactic is to attempt to smear those they disagree with as funded by "dirty money". Since its creation in 2006 the site has done nothing but post poorly researched propaganda with a clear intent to smear respected scientists, policy analysts or groups who dare oppose an alarmist position on global warming. Their articles frequently reference unreliable sources such as Wikipedia and Sourcewatch since they are unable to find any fact based criticisms of those they attack in respected news sources.

James Hoggan

"These are not debunkers, testing outrageous claims with scientific rigor. They are deniers - like Holocaust deniers"
- James Hoggan, 2005

About Us (- DeSmogBlog

"The DeSmogBlog team is led by Jim Hoggan, founder of James Hoggan & Associates, one of Canada's leading public relations firms."

Who is James Hoggan? (National Post, Canada, June 5, 2008)

"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."

John Lefebvre

About Us (DeSmogBlog)

"The DeSmogBlog team is especially grateful to our benefactor John Lefebvre, a lawyer, internet entrepreneur and past-president of NETeller, a firm that has been providing secure online transactions since 1999."

Blog Funder Guilty of Money-Laundering (Heartland Institute, February 1, 2008)

"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."

NETeller ex-directors on money laundering charges (Reuters, January 16, 2007)

"Two former directors and founding shareholders of NETeller Plc [Stephen Lawrence, John Lefebvre], a British online money transfer company, have been charged in the United States with laundering billions of dollars in illegal gambling proceeds."

Ex-NETeller exec pleads guilty in gambling case (Reuters, July 10, 2007)

"A former president and co-founder [John Lefebvre] of payment processor NETeller pleaded guilty on Tuesday to a conspiracy charge related to handling billions of dollars in illegal gambling proceeds."

New York Southern District Court - Case No. 1:07-cr-00597: USA v. Lawrence et al

JUDGMENT: As to John David Lefebvre (2), Count 1, Imprisonment: 45 days; Supervised Release: 1 Year. [..] The defendant is to pay a fine in the amount of $750,000.00 (Signed by Judge P. Kevin Castel on 10/25/2011)

Posted by: Camelot | May 27 2015 7:35 utc | 185

Wayout -- If we like Athens were to vote for ostracism, Gore would be very low down on my list. Rumsfeld, Cheney, Ollie North, Adm. Pointdexter is my own short list.

Camelot -- I think I might have hit sore spot.

Big freakin' deal. That some people who once worked for someone who gave them money is a crook has no probative value IMHO. I've already provided evaluation of PopTech.

I'm sure I came across Heartland in researching some earlier posts. But why reinvent the wheel? When I started typing "Heartland" in Bing, autocomplete immediately filled in with "debunking Heartland Institute."

For a change of pace, let me go with Salon on Heartland. And hell, let me pile on with Media Matters.

Now, back to morning coffee. I think Don Quixote might be a better handle for you, Camelot. I'm just sayin'.

Wait for it, "liberal bias MSM" in 3, 2, 1....

Posted by: rufus magister | May 27 2015 11:40 utc | 186

ps to 186 -- thanks for the props with "Working Class Stiff," Wayout. FWIW, I think you a fairly decent bloke, mate. You take a licking but keep on ticking.

Posted by: rufus magister | May 27 2015 11:44 utc | 187

@rufus magister #179
Sadly, rather than stop digging, you keep on.
If being given the actual name of the Rationalwiki proprieter is unsufficient for you to use Google to validate, then so be it.
You're lack of competence and intellectual integrity is breathtaking, but sadly not unusual.
You have accomplished one deed however: the scope (or more correctly, lack of scope) of your intellectual receptivity has been demonstrated such that all other pronouncements from you are now suspect.
Good job.

Posted by: ǝn⇂ɔ | May 27 2015 17:04 utc | 188

in re 188 -- I don't recall that you mentioned any name, only a degree. Remind me, if you would. More on the open thread.

Posted by: rufus magister | May 27 2015 23:02 utc | 189

@rufus magister $189
I clearly posted who runs Rationalwiki above, in #150.
As if I didn't need any more proof that you don't actually read what I've written.

Posted by: ǝn⇂ɔ | May 29 2015 16:36 utc | 190

en1c at 190 -- I was rolling right along until I got to "your unwillingness to look beyond the MSM pap fed to you in this area...." It was real buzzkill.

Trent Toulouse was the name I was thinking of. He runs their Foundation, which runs the finances. He is a Ph.D. in Psychology and has published on Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour. See e.g., this recent article on">A prospective study of gray matter abnormalities in mild traumatic brain injury.

As I understand Wikis, they are collectively edited. Rationalwiki, like most if not all, provides an edit history.

You are aware that many programs in the sciences, like those in the humanities, have the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph. D.) as their terminal degree, not D.Sc.?

Thanks for reposting the name.

Posted by: rufus magister | Jun 1 2015 23:04 utc | 191

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