Friday, March 2, 2012

Lucrative Lunacy

If you've been paying any attention to corporate-sponsored news and cable gab-fests, and opening up emails from politicians and and their fund-raising lackeys, you might think the overriding issue of our time is the Republican War on Women. Forget the ever-increasing income disparity in this country. Forget the wars. Forget drone strikes and targeted assassinations and the attack on civil liberties. Forget the Great Fraudclosure Scandal. Forget wage stagnation and underemployment. Because, ladies, the Republicans are after your uteri! So while you're shaking with fright and indignation, reach into your designer bags for your checkbooks and help your corporate Democrats hold on to their seats. Somebody should be profiting off this ginned-up controversy, so it might as well be Harry Reid and Friends.

First, they came for your birth control pills. Next, they wanted to rape you with ultrasound probes. Then, they put Rush Limbaugh on the air to talk dirty about you and force you into making porn videos. Now, it's time for you and your money to join Congressional Democrats in the One Million Strong for Women "grassroots" movement. (forget about the Occupiers -- they make the maligned Wall Streeters feel queasy, so the Dems are just trying to ignore their increasing influence).

If the Republicans can conjure up a new phony culture war out of thin air, the Democrats are more than willing to play along by filling the victim role. They want you to feel aggrieved right along with them. Heaven forbid they should actually speak truth to power and call out war crimes past and present, and the real plutocratic agenda of the Republicans, who don't care one whit about birth control, or virtue. The GOPers pretend that government is trying to impose its socialist will to hurt the freedoms of the private insurers and the "job creators". That the mainstream media are actually taking this latest fakery at face value, and treating this ridiculous War on Female Health with any seriousness is pretty amazing. Roe v. Wade is not going to be overturned tomorrow or next week or next year. Planned Parenthood will continue prescribing free birth control and mammograms to women who need them for the forseeable future. Rush Limbaugh only has a platform reaching far beyond his stupid radio show because the "left-leaning" cable shows give him one. His misogynistic rants make the corporate Democrats and the corporate talking heads who love them look good. He helps fill the vacuum, helps hide the inconvenient truth that the DNC has no proactive platform of its own. What is it that they stand for again? Seems to me that not so long ago, they were the party of labor unions, universal health care, a progressive tax system, world peace, and the eradication of poverty. 

N.Y. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand posted a diary on the Daily Kos yesterday, announcing a "One Million Strong for Women" initiative. The piece started out reasonably enough; she even acknowledged that the manufactured war on women is steering the conversation away from the war on the middle class. The opening hook:

In recent weeks, I've said repeatedly that I was dumb-founded (sic) that in 2012 we are actually debating whether women should have access to contraception. I had no idea I’d be even more dumb-founded (sic) today, when, instead of coming together to fix our economy and strengthen the middle class, the Senate is considering a measure so extreme that it would allow any employer -– religious or secular –- to deny their employees coverage of any preventive service, including contraception, mammograms—anything the employer deems unfit to be covered. Let me say this once and for all: the power to decide whether to use contraception or any other preventive care service should be up to each individual woman, not her boss.

Yeah! But then, we are directed to the Million link. It turns out this so-called grassroots effort is not made up of women. It is made up for women (the helpless creatures) by politicians. There is no million-woman march on Washington planned. This has nothing to do with "activism" at all. It is a campaign fund-raising gimmick, planted as a news story on a liberal website, designed solely to get you to donate cash (a million strong dollars?)  to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, headed by Gillibrand's fellow New Yorker Chuck Schumer. (Chuck, as you may remember from a previous post, is just fine with NYPD thugs spying on Muslim women and children). Here's a thought, Kirsten: why not suggest that people make a donation direct to Planned Parenthood or a free clinic serving the indigent?, the Democratic veal pen organization, also wasted no time sending out fund-raising emails. They want me to contribute $15 toward a Democratic campaign TV ad to stop the GOP's "Let Women Die!" agenda. Keep the fear alive, let the lifestyle liberal cash flow. MoveOn, by the way, is simply a SuperPac organization disguised as an independent activist group. It has so much money in the bank that the New York Times has actually categorized it as a corporate member of the One Percent!

The Center for American Progress, the think tank with close ties to the White House, sent out a two-fer email blast the other day, telling me that the Republicans want to put my boss in my bedroom, and by the way... the Stock Market always does better with a Democrat in office!

Schumer and Gillibrand have been lukewarm at best in voicing support of OWS. Schumer was even careful to say that protesters should not be "getting in the way of everyday New Yorkers on their way to work." Translation: OWS is out of the everyday mainstream, which is made up of his financial sector sugar daddies. 

Republicans are geniuses at setting up fake cultural issues to distract people from the fact that they are staging a not-so-silent coup against the 99%. Democrats are geniuses at being weak reactives who wring their hands every time a crazy new attack pops up -- and then they beg for money to keep the lunatics at bay. They think they can get away with moving to the right wing themselves by simply throwing out a liberal lifestyle-issue crumb every once in awhile.

In fact, they are probably extremely grateful to the Republicans for giving them a big excuse to disingenuously play defense,  deflecting attention away from the fact that Democrats no longer represent working class and poor people. They are every bit as corrupt as their GOP counterparts. They're in it for the money.

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Be Very Afraid and Support Your Local Politicians


James F Traynor said...

Ain't it the truth!

One of the Susans said...

If we can't afford our own birth control, how will we afford her fund-raiser? Stupid, stupid, stupid.

"Tell Jake to sleep on the roof." said the doctor to the patient asking for birth control. The patient died in 1912 from a botched abortion. (Summarized from Margaret Sanger's Papers.)

Elizabeth Adams said...

You nailed it. And I expect I will be using your phrase, "lucrative lunacy", in the future.

Grung_e_Gene said...

Your conclusion should be copied and pasted everywhere.


I do think if Republicans retain control of State Legislatures and Governorships they'll put through the Bob McDonnell Memorial Rape Wand Law in every state.

Kat said...

Republicans are geniuses at setting up fake cultural issues to distract people from the fact that they are staging a not-so-silent coup against the 99%. Democrats are geniuses at being weak reactives who wring their hands every time a crazy new attack pops up
Let's face it. This isn't just reaction. The D's love them some wedge issues too.
Last evening I was saying to my husband that I am of the mind that it is all fixed. A worse crop of major party candidates I have never seen. It is my belief that the increasing looniness is all by design and all for distraction. I guess I am not the only one having these thoughts. After these musings last evening I read the latest post at The Black Agenda Report. They argue that it is the Dems taking the lead in creating this lunacy-- after all, the other party has to distinguish themselves somehow. The url is not working now, but I encourage everyone to read the post "Like Bill Clinton, Obama drives crazy Republicans even crazier."
As for all the liberal male bloggers who fixate on the politics of reproduction to the exclusion of all other topics you're starting to sound really opportunistic (and slightly creepy).

Denis Neville said...

“Must this with farce and folly rack my head unpunish'd ? That with sing-song, Whine me dead?” ― Juvenal

The Democrats are, as Karen eloquently describes, “every bit as corrupt as their GOP counterparts.”

“As a social system, the backlash works. The two adversaries feed off of each other in a kind of inverted symbiosis: one mocks the other, and the other heaps even more power on the one. This arrangement should be the envy of every ruling class in the world. Not only can it be pushed much, much farther, but it is fairly certain that it will be so pushed. All the incentives point that way, as do the never-examined cultural requirements of modern capitalism. Why shouldn't our culture just get worse and worse, if making it worse will only cause the people who worsen it to grow wealthier and wealthier?” – Thomas Frank, "Red-State America Against Itself,”

What we lack is a good rant like this one by Michael Higgins, President of Ireland, who ends with “So be proud to be a decent American rather than be just a wanker whipping up fear!" Enjoy!

Instead we have…

“Would you not like to fill up a whole note-book at the street crossings when you see a forger borne along upon the necks of six porters, and exposed to view on this side and on that in his almost naked litter, and reminding you of the lounging Maecenas: one who by help of a scrap of paper and a moistened seal has converted himself into a fine and wealthy gentleman?” – Juvenal

James F Traynor said...


You are right. This whole thing is a sham. We Americans are truly a pathetic lot.

John in Lafayette said...

I agree with pretty much everything you said here, Karen, and I agree with Kat that the fix is in. And yet.......

I am absolutely certain that while this may all be a made-up wedge issue for Republicans, they wouldn't hesitate to follow through given half a chance. We can't forget the enemy of our enemy is our friend.

So....... Half a loaf may be better than none, but half a loaf covered in mold is still inedible.

I have therefore decided to support the Dems on this issue, but not financially. I'll write letters, send e-mails, and make phone calls. But my money and my vote in November are both going to one of the three candidates you introduced us to last week. Thank you for that and for this column.

Valerie said...

Issues like this cost the corporate democrats nothing to support just like religious issues cost the corporate republicans nothing to support. In the end, the corporate agenda - the police state, Free Trade, endless war, a free hand in abusing the environment and keeping Americans dependent on fossil fuels - all go forward. .

Well done, Karen, on having the courage to write such an excellent post.

racetoinfinity said...

Yes, but the Christian fundamentalists among them actually believe it.

Denis Neville said...

More lucrative lunacy…vested interests versus science

@ Zee - "information" of dubious scientific validity (from previous thread)

Did you happen to hear Ira Flato’s discussion with Michael Mann, The Hockey Stick And The Climate Wars, yesterday on NPR’s Science Friday?

Mann described his experience as being akin to “taking a knife to a gunfight.” He said that scientists, like himself, have been ill equipped to deal with the assault by politically and ideologically driven “science.”

Anne Lavoie said...

The national media announced recently that Obama is courting the female Independents vote, and he sure seems to be working overtime on it. Expect him to croon some more love songs for the ladies after he practices a bit.

Anyway, the NYT reports: 'A month ago, Barnard College announced that Jill Abramson, the executive editor of The New York Times, would be its graduation speaker, but those plans changed with the call from the White House.'

Not surprisingly, Obama actually used his clout to bump a woman speaker off the podium at a womens college. It is not unlike the treatment other women have received. Elizabeth Warren and Shirley Sherrod come to mind, not to mention all those mostly female teachers in Wisconsin that he threw under the bus. He is quick to run over women, but when a guy like Geitner causes a ruckus, it's a different story.

The Barnard president said "Why did they choose Barnard? My guess is that the administration wanted to speak about the importance of educational opportunities for women and girls, and that’s something we do a lot on.”

Uh huh.

p.s. Valerie - your comment was right on!

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Debora Spar, the president of Barnard, a 123-year-old women’s college in New York City, said she was thrilled that the White House had asked that the president deliver the keynote speech at the commencement on May 14.

“This is just an extraordinary opportunity for the college, a moment in time that will be unforgettable for the graduates and their parents,” Ms. Spar said in an interview on Friday.

“Why did they choose Barnard?” she said. “My guess is that the administration wanted to speak about the importance of educational opportunities for women and girls, and that’s something we do a lot on.”

A month ago, Barnard College announced that Jill Abramson, the executive editor of The New York Times, would be its graduation speaker, but those plans changed with the call from the White House.

The college’s last three commencement speakers were Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook, the actress Meryl Streep and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

An Obama administration official confirmed on Friday that it was the White House that called Barnard to offer the president as the commencement speaker.

“As the father of two daughters, President Obama wanted to speak to some of America’s next generation of women leaders,” a White House official said.

Denis Neville said...

The lunacy of the two party charade. The fix is in. It is a massive con job. Divide and conquer. Render the masses impotent. Target them via Homeland Security to squelch any dissent. We are nothing to them. They don’t care.

“The war is not meant to be won, it is meant to be continuous. Hierarchical society is only possible on the basis of poverty and ignorance. This new version is the past and no different past can ever have existed. In principle the war effort is always planned to keep society on the brink of starvation. The war is waged by the ruling group against its own subjects and its object is not the victory over either Eurasia or East Asia, but to keep the very structure of society intact.” – George Orwell, 1984

Kat said...

@Valerie: exactly!

Kat said...

@ Anne--
The little lady must step aside for our manly defender of freedoms.

Here is Obama chastising war protester.

Silly girl.

Zee said...


I hadn't heard about the NPR interview with Michael Mann, but will try to listen to it as time allows. I did see this article, however,

which is probably in the same vein.

In reading the following, please recall that I am not a climate change or global warming “denier,” but I am very skeptical about the horrific predictions made for the fate of the earth that come out of the current crop of climate (read: temperature) models used by climate scientists today. (See my comment of 24 February under Hilariously Tainted Politics. )

For reasons discussed below—and others—I am also somewhat skeptical of the data that went into development of the models.

So call me a global “lukewarmist.”

Yes, Michael Mann and his associates have been the victims of a well-orchestrated and nasty campaign—both political and corporatist in nature—to suppress or deny their findings. But my sympathy for them is extremely limited. If you set yourself up as a big, fat target, expect someone to shoot at you.

From the outset Mann and his associates have treated the predictions that derive from their models as concrete facts, rather than possibilities. In order to garner attention for their concerns, their claims have often gone beyond mere exaggerations to outright hysteria.

I call your attention most recently to James Hansen, and his outrageous claim that construction of the Keystone Pipeline would be “game over for the planet,” a claim that I seem to recollect as having been reiterated as fact in this forum.

Upon making these preposterous claims, it was only to be expected that other scientists--and yes, vested interests--would question their validity, and want to delve more deeply into the data and methods employed by Mann & Co.

However, rather than making their raw data and methods available to other researchers--as I have done as a scientist--they chose to hide them.

Indeed, they hid them because the data were so poorly organized as to be useless to anyone else:

Between the models and the data, then, hardly a basis for drama-filled claims that the planet would come to an end unless the governments of the world quickly united and took the most extreme and expensive measures humanly possible to avoid that fate.

Yet that is what Mann & Co. and proxies such as Al Gore have been urging for the past ten to fifteen years, on the basis of information that—if not of “dubious scientific validity”—was at best a subject for calm, sober discussion and a sound cost-benefit analysis regarding how to proceed.

Given the number of fat oxen that Mann & Co. were attempting to gore all at once, how surprising is it that the powers that be—scientists, politicians and corporations—should react even more forcefully? If Mann & Co. didn't know that they were twisting the tail of the tiger, then they were hopelessly naïve.

Before picking a fight with someone you know to be a big, tough guy, be sure that your martial arts skills and training—or your data and models—are in top form.

Mann & Co. failed on both counts and have been beaten up accordingly. I hope that subsequent researchers in this field will do a better job.

Will said...


You can see it in his eyes he's just loving putting that poor naive young lady in her place. Ugh. Makes me sicker than little Ricky Santorum after suffering through a JFK speech.

Here's an oldie but a goodie of The Condescender back in a 2008 debate:

Kat said...

Thanks for the link. I forgot about that one. Never a fan of Hillary (really didn't see the difference between her and Obama at the time, actually), but she was kind of charming there.
We know now that Obama only really cares about being likable to the serious men of the military industrial complex and finance. (and the voters around election time.)

Anne Lavoie said...


Thanks for that video. I have to say that I don't find Obama 'likeable enough' at all. What an asshole.

And those who think Obama has aged from being President should take a look at that video to see how Hillary looked then compared to now. You can tell you has worked harder and carried the burdens versus who is the preening peacock.

The Black Swan said...


Thanks for those climate change links. Of course the climate changes, everything changes! 15 billion years ago some things changed, and now here we are! Where I live now used to be under a One mile thick sheet of ice. Things got warmer, and the ice melted. But the idea, that CO2 emissions are causing the whole climate to go out of control is preposterous. Planet wobble, sun activity, deforestation, volcanoes, the list goes on. All of these things impact the climate. Some in much more powerful ways than CO2.

Just follow the money, Anthropogenic Global Warming is a HUGE money maker and a brilliant scare tactic. Just one more way to gain control over a frightened populace.

And if it is real, if CO2 is the big culprit, does it matter? With the threat of war with Iran, global financial destabilization and the ensuing famine, the US police state growing bigger and bigger, and the continuing financial enslavement of the human race, we will be lucky to survive to see if climate scientists were correct or not.

Maybe we need some catastrophic changes to put our species and our planet on the right path?

Karen Garcia said...

Here are a couple of New York Times comments. First, responding to Maureen Dowd's column on Rush the Creep (happy she mentioned the Dems are cashing in on the "war on women.")....

As a private citizen, Sandra Fluke should haul Rush into court and sue him for all he is worth. She should also sue all the media outlets capitalizing on his diatribe and further damaging her good name.

Going beyond Limbaugh's vicious pathology, this sordid episode shows that private insurers are leeches and a drain on the entire system. This goes beyond a woman's right to choose. This goes directly to the fact that 50 million of us and counting are uninsured. If we are insured, we are at the mercy of bureaucrats and ideologues. When it comes to our health, we are a third world country.

Here's how Ms. Fluke herself put it in her testimony:

"In 65% of cases, our female students were interrogated by insurance representatives and university medical staff about why they need these prescriptions and whether they’re lying about their symptoms. For my friend and 20 percent of women in her situation, she never got the insurance company to cover her prescription, despite verification of her illness from her doctor."

There is no need for employers and clergy and insurance leeches to be involved in our health care. In every other civilized country, medical care is a right and not a privilege -- and our choice of treatment is truly nobody's business.

I would hope that the Democrats who are now "gleefully" raking in the bucks and politically capitalizing on this travesty will also finally listen to the will of the majority.
There's no time like the present: Medicare for All.

And this one is on Frank Bruni's ode to Olympia Snowe....

Your false equivalency is showing again. You compare Democrats who refuse to "cross" such public advocates as labor unions and environmentalists with GOPers who cave to right-wing religious fundamentalists. Of course, this is what pundits do. Your jobs depend upon repeating the canard that one side is as bad as the other. How you can equate workers' rights groups with religious extremism is beyond inexplicable. So let me just say this: statistics don't lie, and they show that Republicans have moved twice as far to the right as they were just a few decades ago. Democrats, on the other hand,have largely stayed moderate or moved just right of center themselves. Check out Paul Krugman's blog -- he has a chart to prove it.

As far as Olympia Snowe is concerned, here's wishing her a happy lucrative retirement as the Senate's 10th richest member. She is leaving decades of selfless public service with an estimated net worth of $19 million.

Snowe's tortured centrism of 2009 will go down as one of the most maddening episodes in political history. First she said she'd vote for health care reform as long as the Democrats removed the public option. The yellow dog DINOs happily obliged. Then she voted against it anyway. After months of haggling, she decided she just needed more time.

So here's hoping a progressive wins the Snowe seat and fights for Medicare for all. And here's hoping more GOPers quit before the year is out. Just keep them away from K Street.

Denis Neville said...

@ Zee – read your comment with much interest

“Mann et al. treated the predictions that derive from their models as concrete facts, rather than possibilities”

As George Box once said, “All models are wrong. Some models are useful.”

And there are many other scientists using different methodologies (EIV, PCA, CPS, direct T measurements, isotopic analysis, etc.) that have duplicated the “hockey stick” analysis of global temperatures. [Were they mining for “hockey sticks”?] [Indictment of Mann’s work because he is part of a club?]

A report prepared for US Representative Joe Barton, aimed at discrediting these ‘hockey stick’ analyses [Mann is a dork for his statistics] of global temperatures, said that the various independent studies weren’t really independent since they reviewing each other’s papers. [i.e., they are a clique?] [what motivates the authors of this report? a partisan document?] [have climate warming denialists over-interpreted this report and said that Mann is full of BS?]

The world’s most knowledgeable climate scientists are a clique? That there may be flaws and errors in Mann’s models is the basic philosophy of science. Hence, peer reviews. Since a peer review is a review by those recognized as one’s peers, it will look like a clique to anyone it rejects. [but, if a given discipline is small and its authors are tightly connected, then the peer review process is likely to have very sympathetic referees][similarly with “peer” rightwing political networks]

Even if the hockey stick graph is in disrepute, other evidence for climate warming seems overwhelming and supports it.

Zee - “Mann and his associates’ claims have often gone beyond mere exaggerations to outright hysteria.”

How so? Specific citations?

Denis Neville said...

Saturday’s NT Times on Kelly’s and Bloomberg’s CIA-on-the-Hudson

“It is a distressing fact of life that mistreatment of Muslims does not draw nearly the protest that it should. But not just Muslims are threatened by this seemingly excessive warrantless surveillance and record-keeping. Today Muslims are the target. In the past it was protesters against the Vietnam War, civil rights activists, socialists. Tomorrow it will be another vulnerable group whose lawful behavior is blended into criminal activity.” NY Times, “Surveillance, Security and Civil Liberties,” 3/3/12

This reminded me of a recent comment, quoting Martin Niemoller, on Sardonicky. Which lead me to search for it, and then lead me to wonder about there being only two comment posts to Karen’s “When Islamophobes Attack”and the NY Times’ lament that “It is a distressing fact of life that mistreatment of Muslims does not draw nearly the protest that it should.”

Rose in Michigan, one of the two posters, said...”I've printed out the Martin Niemoller quote and pinned it to my home office bulletin board, where it has become a daily reminder.” Sooner or later, they're coming for all of us.

“First they came for the Communists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a Communist; so I did not speak out; then they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a Socialist; Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a trade unionist; then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out, because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.” - Martin Niemöller

Zee said...


I don't believe that I said that the models developed and used by Mann & Co. were totally wrong and therefore utterly useless.

What think I said in my earlier comment was that the information ( viz., predictions derived from their models) on which Mann & Co.--and many others—have been proposing drastic action “was at best a subject for calm, sober discussion and a sound cost-benefit analysis regarding how to proceed.”

Now, perhaps I should have left out the words "at best," but even so, I don't think what I said is quite the same as saying that Mann & Co. are dead wrong and their models are useless.

Owing to space limitations, I'll have to continue this discussion on a subsequent comment.

Zee said...


On the subject of hysterical predictions on the part of Mann & Co. and their extended associates, three examples:

The first is not hysterical, just hilarious. Back in 2000, Dr. David Viner, then at the climatic research unit of the University of East Anglia and likely a colleague of Phil Jones, claimed that “within a few years winter snowfall will become "a very rare and exciting event."

This prediction was dredged up by news outlets after the record U.K snowfall of 2009, snowfall that shut down Heathrow Airport in 2010, and, most recently the record snowfall that shut down much of Europe in February, 2012:

On the alarmist side, there's the 1990 book Dead Heat by Michael Oppenheimer. Oppenheimer “is the Albert G. Milbank Professor of Geosciences and International Affairs in the Woodrow Wilson School and the Department of Geosciences at Princeton University.”

You can read excerpts here:

Here are two quotes:

First paragraph of the Prologue:

“Humanity is hurtling toward a precipice. Left unchecked, the emissions of various gases, particularly carbon dioxide from fossil fuel combustion and deforestation, are likely to alter the Earth's climate so rapidly and so thoroughly as to destroy much of the natural world and turn the world that we call civilization upside down.”

From Ch. 1, The End:

“ To...Americans and Canadians, the greenhouse signal literally became visible [in] October of 1996, when winds that seemed to roar without respite gathered a “black blizzard” of prairie topsoil that darkened the skies of sixteen states and the Canadian Maritimes. The dust penetrated the lungs of cattle, stopped traffic on interstates, stripped paint from houses, and shut down computers. People put on goggles and covered their noses and mouths with wet handkerchiefs...Analysis disclosed that soil from Dalhart in the Texas Panhandle landed as far away as...Nova Scotia. In place of the soil, the winds left only the heavy sands that now bury parts of the westerns plains under drifting dunes...As the sands advanced, the Platte River in Nebraskas dried up, and the wetlands of the Cheyenne Bottoms in Kansas withered away completely.” (Bold emphasis added.)

Now, in fairness to the authors, the scenario painted in Ch. 1 is, as they state in their Notes, “only one scenario among many possible.” But clearly, both Ch.1 and the Prologue are intended to produce fear, if not outright panic in the reader.

Finally, let's look at a global warming prediction by the United Nations, who have probably been listening to Mann & Co. at some point:

From the foregoing link:

“Six years ago, the United Nations issued a dramatic warning that the world would have to cope with 50 million climate refugees by 2010. But now that those migration flows have failed to materialize, the UN has distanced itself from the forecasts. On the contrary, populations are growing in the regions that had been identified as environmental danger zones.”

In the interest of honesty, I reiterate that I had to dig some to find these few concrete examples of alarmism—or hilarity—and only one “offender,” Viner, is likely a member of what I have referred to as Mann & Co. However, with time I have little doubt that I could ferret out more examples, as could other participants in this forum.

Zee said...


As I have said before, I am not a climate scientist, and I'm not in a position to fully understand the development of the “hockey stick,” let alone dissect it. If you say that there is new work that supports Mann & Co., I will take your word for it.

My understanding of the hockey stick goes back a few years. It relies upon superimposing modern-day, instrumental temperature readings (from the 1850s to present) upon “paleo-temperatures” inferred from “proxy data,” e.g., tree rings, glacial ice cores and the like.

Starting roughly in 1900, both the proxy data and the instrumental data begin to rise as shown in the following graph:

The “soaring” of the instrumental data relative to the historical proxy record results—after some statistical massaging—in the so-called “hockey stick.”

You can look at the superimposition of these two types of data sets in greater detail by clicking on the small graph at the right of the main article, “Expansion of the last 1000 years.”

Two things about this graph have troubled me, along with many other skeptics.

First, if one looks closely at the “proxy” data, which seem to end somewhere around 1970-1980, they appear to have “stalled out” at about the maximum temperature attained during the “Medieval Warming Period,” or actually dropped while the instrumental data, which overlap up to 1970-1980, continue upward steadily to 2004.

See also the “cleaned up” final figure in this article:

What does this mean about either the proxy temperature data or the instrumental data?

And second, why are there no proxy data beyond about 1970-1980 for comparison with the instrumental data up to 2004? Do they not exist?

I have not seen any satisfactory answers to these two questions. If there are new proxy data that parallel the instrumental data up to 2004 and maybe beyond, well, I'm interested if it can be explained in layman's terms.

Regarding cliques in science, yes, they do happen, or at least appear to, to outsiders.

However, as revealed in the ClimateGate emails, Mann and Co. were more than a “clique,” they were a conspiracy. They actively worked to get editors of journals ousted when they dared to publish views that differed from theirs, or to boycott journals that they regarded as being “activist” against them, e.g., the remarks by Tom Wigley,

And these remarks from the Institute of Physics to Parliament during its investigation of ClimateGate:

“1. The Institute is concerned that, unless the disclosed e-mails are proved to be forgeries or adaptations, worrying implications arise for the integrity of scientific research in this field and for the credibility of the scientific method as practised in this context.”

“6. There is also reason for concern at the intolerance to challenge displayed in the e-mails. This impedes the process of scientific 'self correction', which is vital to the integrity of the scientific process as a whole, and not just to the research itself. In that context, those CRU e-mails relating to the peer-review process suggest a need for a review of its adequacy and objectivity as practised in this field and its potential vulnerability to bias or manipulation.”

Mann & Co. may be right. I'm open to persuasion. But what they have done to further their “cause” is— in my eyes—inexcusable, no matter how many tame investigatory committees say otherwise.