November 2012 Open Thread

It’s a new month!


  1. #1 bill
    November 9, 2012

    Yes, Bernard, but complete morons is all they have left!

  2. #2 Lotharsson
    November 9, 2012

    That Eschenbach article is astonishingly ignorant – and I say that as someone who can barely remember chemistry classes.

  3. #3 Bernard J.
    November 9, 2012

    Quite frankly I’m surprised that the Denialati haven’t gone for the “it’s not warming, it’s less-cooling” gambit.

    After all, there must be years-worth of dissemblance there

  4. #4 bill
    November 9, 2012

    Or declaring the ‘natural’ temperature of the earth to be pre-industrial + 2C, and then announcing that the climate is merely ‘normalising’ towards its ‘neutral’ optimum. Oh, wait…

  5. #5 Lionel A
    November 9, 2012

    On ocean acidification, Eschenbach (plus Monckton and Curtin – he of proven lack of scientific understanding) should consider what would happen if their bloodstreams became less alkaline.

    Oceanic critters ‘know’ only to well the consequences of this trend and in turn we can understand what this will mean to the food chain, not only in the oceans. This is where a good course in Oceanography would benefit these ‘ignoratti’, as would a study of William Ruddiman’s ‘Earth’s Climate: Past and Future as I figure that ‘Principles of Planetary Climate by Raymond T. Pierrehumbert would be beyond their comprehension skills.

  6. #6 Wow
    November 9, 2012

    Remember Curtain thinks that adding carbon dioxide to water makes it safe to drink.

    I doubt whether he’ll think that a less alkaline bloodstream was bad for him, and he certainly won’t bother to find out.

  7. #7 Lionel A
    November 9, 2012

    ‘… and then announcing that the climate is merely ‘normalising’ towards its ‘neutral’ optimum…’

    Which reeks of post-modernism to me, that is a trend of pseudo-culturism which is so well rebutted in Postmodernism Disrobed which can also be found as a chapter in Dawkins book ‘A Devil’s Chaplain: Selected Writings.

  8. #8 Lionel A
    November 9, 2012

    Interestingly this point by Bill McKibben, ‘1. Ocean acidification which will kill corals and endanger a wide variety of shellfish‘ was no one in a list of hazards from the continued mass use of fossil fuels that he presented in a recent debate between Bill and Alex Epstein (founder of Centre for Industrial Progress) which was reported on here .

  9. #9 Bernard J.
    November 9, 2012


    Remember Curtain thinks that adding carbon dioxide to water makes it safe to drink.

    For the benefit of new readers, that was sea water that Curtin thought could be rendered potable by acidification with CO2.

    For the unaware – Curtin is completely, utterly, and abjectly wrong.

  10. #10 Wow
    November 9, 2012

    Should that have been a safety warning there, Bernard? You know, like “Warning: Choking hazzard” or “Do not try this at home, kids!”?

  11. #11 Bernard J.
    November 9, 2012

    For those who haven’t seen the WWWT pH thread, it can be read here:

    There are so many egregious errors, misapprehensions and outright lies, including some from people who claim to have aquarium experience, that it’s impossible to know where to start deconstructing it all.

    Suffice to say that it’s quite obvious that none of the armchair experts there have darkened the doorway of a chemistry lab – at least not with the outcome of a superior or even an average grade in the end of semester exams.

    And it’s not as if they haven’t previously been told on WWWT about acid chemistry. Check out the comments posted by the people I mention in the following link – I even posted a link there to a graph that shows what CO2 does to seawater:

    Truly, if one seeks examples of criminal stupidity and ignorance, one need go no further that the dross a tWatts Wrong With That.

  12. #12 Bernard J.
    November 9, 2012

    Oops, the link to the graph was in a comment following:

    For those who do not wish to increase the traffic to WWWT, the direct link is:

  13. #13 chek
    November 9, 2012

    Last I checked, Willis E. is a bloody male massuer.
    By the same token, I expect a quailified gym teacher would be Watts’ go-to-guy on nuclear physics or brain surgery. Or even an unqualified TV weather poppet blogger to climate science.

    Watts is to science as tabloid rag is to literature – or even the literate. Hence his appeal to proud and preening fuckwits such as El Duffo.

  14. #14 ianam
    November 10, 2012

    The only promise Obama has kept since to 2008

    I usually think well of you, Jeff, but in this case you’re being an intellectually dishonest fool:

    Obama is far from perfect, but he’s not the immense disaster that Romney/Ryan would have been.

  15. #15 Jeff Harvey
    November 10, 2012

    Ianam, I don’t disagree with you with respect to Romney. But Obama’s presidency has been punctuated by broken promises. And he’s overseen the continuation of wealth erosion from the poor to the rich – its larger now than it was under Bush. He has received billions of dollars from corporate America for his election and re-election campaigns. Goldman-Sachs (you should know all about them) along with other banks were his biggest contributors in 2008. Here’s a list of his other achievements:

    1. Ue has suspended habeus corpus, meaning ‘terrorist’ suspects can be held indefinitely without charge until alleged hostilities end. Even the appalling Bush presidency never went that far.

    2. He’s refused to shut down the torture/gulag/penal colony at Guantanemo Bay, despite pledging to do so.

    3. He’s continued to go after Wikileaks and the treatment of whistleblower Bradley Manning under his watch has been an abomination.

    4. He hired several Bush appointees to serve under his presidency – including right winger Robert Gates as defense secretary. The list includes Larry Summers, former World Bank supremo who once argued about the ‘impeccable’ logic of dumping toxic wastes in third world countries;

    5. He did absolutely nothing about climate change. Said a lot, but no actions at all.

    6. He’\s expanded the US war theater abroad, and has also increased the use of drones in targeting alleged militants. These drones have killed and blown to smithereens large numbers of civilians, including women and children, and are terrifying residents of the Af-Pak region. Imagine for a second if Iran was flying drones over the United States. There would be hell to pay. Being an imperial empire means essentially that you see the world through a one-way moral/legal screen; what you do is normalized, what your officially designated enemies do is treated as if the world will end.

    7. In expanding US wars, he’s also been involved in resolution 1973 which authorized a no-fly zone over Libya but which in effect authorized regime change there. As a result, 50,000 died, entire villages were wiped off the map and the country is now effectively in the control of armed militias, many with strong links to Al Queda.

    8. Has continued the policy of using CIA ‘torture taxis’ to ship suspected militants around the world to be tortured in secret locations.

    9. Has used literally trillions of dollars of taxpayers money to bail out the banking fraudsters, coming down on them like a pile of feathers. But this is hardly surprising since, as I said, he’s largely beholden to them as a result of their financial support.

    10. H’e expanded the empire of US military bases around the world, including those in Korea, Australia (aimed at monitoring China), and Colombia (aimed at possible regime change in Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador). He’s also overseen the building of new bases in Africa, which is part of his campaign to continue plundering the continent for its wealth of raw materials and resources. Economist Patrick Bond has interesting insight into this in a recent commentary.

    11. Obamacare, his much hyped health care package, was largely underwritten by the Heritage Foundation, an old right wing think tank, along with the Pharmaceutical and Insurance Industries.

    Essentially, Obama has continued to oversee the slow corporate coup de tat in the United States that has been underway since the presidency of Ronald Reagan. Both major parties differ, but in the words of journalist Chris Hedges, not enough to matter.

    Ianam, I also tend to respect many of your posts. But take some advice: before your start throwing mud around, be prepared that a lot of it will come back and hit you in the face. In my opinion your views on this are superficial – as deep as a puddle of water.

  16. #16 Jeff Harvey
    November 10, 2012

    One final point: on that ridiculous ‘truth-o-meter’ Ianam referred to in his link, many of the so-called promises kept were based on foreign military/expansionist agendas. I am sure that if the US decided to wage an immoral, illegal war against Iran, a country with a military budget smaller than Sweden’s, that would be viewed as a ‘promise kept’ because Obama and his sidekick, the wicked witch of the west (Hilary Clinton) have always said that, with respect to Iran, “All options are on the table” (meaning war and the deaths of tens of thousands if necessary). It doesn’t matter if its legal or not. It was still a promise!

    The chart is therefore a joke. All it shows is that many of Obama’s criminal policies were promises kept on behalf of the corporate sector. I am sure that his profligate use of drones is also one of the promises he made.

    Before the recent farce known as the US election, Chris Hedges gave his views on the Real News Network. They are worth a listen:

  17. #17 GSW
    November 10, 2012

    Judith Curry’s new paper has been acepted by “CAB Reviews” (?) a publication of

    I’m posting it here as it addresses the “consensus” that you all trumpet as evidential fact, and we’ve discussed at length on the “Jonas Thread”.


  18. #18 Lotharsson
    November 10, 2012

    [H]e has suspended habeus corpus, meaning ‘terrorist’ suspects can be held indefinitely without charge until alleged hostilities end. Even the appalling Bush presidency never went that far.

    To be fair, and unless I’m badly off base here, the Bush administration (aided and abetted by lawmakers) did pretty much exactly that – repeatedly as they kept losing in the courts, including the Military Commissions Act of 2006 – right up until June 2008 when they lost on that point in Boumediene vs Bush. One suspects that the proposed Habeus Corpus Restoration Act of 2007 would not have been necessary otherwise.

  19. #19 Wow
    November 10, 2012

    Promises kept for the commercial sector and the previous government.

    Iraq was invaded because they called Shrub’s dad the winp president.

    Mind you, if Obama had made ANY move toward peace and reconciliation with Iraq and wound down the military, he’d have been shot dead within a year by a nutcase prodded on by Hannity or similar.

  20. #20 Wow
    November 10, 2012

    “2. He’s refused to shut down the torture/gulag/penal colony at Guantanemo Bay, despite pledging to do so.”

    Be fair, he tried.

    EVERYONE refused to take them back since though they may not have been merkin-hatin terrists before, they damn sure are now.

    And look at how badly Obama was slagged off for suggesting a CIVIL trial for 11/9 terrorists? Several of his own party demanded he go star chambered court or they would LEAVE. And Fox news? Practically aneurism city over the idea that somehow you can put someone on trial rather than just execute them first.

  21. #21 Lotharsson
    November 10, 2012

    He did absolutely nothing about climate change.

    To be fair that is a little hyperbolic (but only a little). The EPA now has the ability to regulate CO2 emissions, new automotive fleet mileage standards have been set via executive order, and IIRC a few other minor measures.

    Nowhere near enough though. Not even close.

    Then again, any realistic assessment of his chances of getting strong legislative action passed by both the House and Senate any time during his first term would have to include the term “bugger all”, or the local idiomatic equivalent.

  22. #22 Lotharsson
    November 10, 2012

    And just to be clear, on many points I think the Obama administration has been somewhere between mediocre all the way through to atrocious (with his civil rights record, aggressively going after whistleblowers, his complete abdication of any attempt to prosecute egregious violations by those in the previous administration, bailing out – and in effect condoning wrongdoing by – Wall Street whilst stranding Main Street, and his administration’s alarmingly expanded rationale for indulgence in extra-legal assassination all being at the latter end of the scale).

    I’d place Obamacare more at the mediocre end of the scale – but I don’t think a significantly more progressive option had any chance of getting past the tantrum-throwing children who serve as Senators in the Republican Party these days.

  23. #23 Wow
    November 10, 2012

    It isn’t just the Republican brats.

    Obama has ratty little oiks in his party.

    Obama DID come out with a strong “DO THIS OR YOU’RE FIRED” message which was followed, but this was IIRC for the bailout of the banks. Never even bothered on the progressive issues.

    As far as the Democratic progressive base are concerned, Obama was indistinguishable from Mittens or Bush.

    As far as the USA as a whole, there’s a difference. Just a very much smaller one than there needs to be.

  24. #24 chek
    November 10, 2012

    curryja: “This paper is not a science article, but a paper on the sociology and philosophy of climate science”.

    So, not the ‘hard science’ the deniers are forever cranking on about in their continual crankfests, but essentially an opinion piece from the ever more irrelevant Judith. Quelle surprise.

  25. #25 Lotharsson
    November 10, 2012

    Obama has ratty little oiks in his party.

    That too. That’s why claims he had both Senate and House for two years aren’t entirely realistic. Some of the Blue Dogs there are arguably closer to Republicans than Democrats.

  26. #26 Chris O'Neill
    November 10, 2012

    Then again, any realistic assessment of his chances of getting strong legislative action passed by both the House and Senate any time during his first term would have to include the term “bugger all”, or the local idiomatic equivalent.

    This is based on the fact that the President has no necessary political relationship with the HoR or Senate. In most democracies the HoR chooses the chief executive of government but not the USA. Having two houses of parliament (HoR and Senate) as a lot of countries do is problematic enough but adding a third (President) is a recipe for disfunctionality. Just the thing for the most powerful and dangerous country in the world.

  27. #27 FrankD
    November 10, 2012

    WRT Curry’s “contribution” to sociology or philosophy or whatever non-hard-science discipline its intended for, I learned from the Discount Viscount long ago to press the mental “ignore” button when I came across the first misspelled Latin tag. So I got no further than the start of para four of the Introduction before I Zzzzzzz….


    Was it as dull as it was shaping to be? What I read seemed like just more uncertainty-monster pseudo-honest-broker piffle shes been vomiting out for years. Curry thinks if she keeps saying it it will magically become right. Good luck with that…

  28. #28 Wow
    November 10, 2012

    She’s still awfully certain there’s nothing needs doing…

  29. #29 Lionel A
    November 10, 2012

    And now for something completely different.

    Butts out!

    The reading of Robert Proctor’s expose on the tobacco industry, ‘Golden Holocaust: Origins of the Cigarette Catastrophe and the Case for Abolition‘ focused my mind again on a problem I had considered during my years as a smoker (partly enticed by Duty Frees in the RN) which is what happens to all those tipped cigarette butts. My contribution to this plague was minimal as I never did take to cigarettes with these tricksey things fitted and habitually smoked non-filtered having also figured out that I smoked fewer than my buddies who smoked those with spats (tips) on.

    Proctor’s book tells of how dangerous some of these filters were, some even using asbestos in their make up. When this is added to the significant amounts of radio active polonium (I kid you not) one suddenly realises that there is more danger in a fag (UK idiom for a cigarette but will confuse Yanks) than from the nicotine and tar alone.

    Now those mostly plastic filters cling on to not only the humicants and sweeteners added to smooth the smoke but also concentrate the other toxins over and above those in the filter materials.

    Proctor relates how toxic to small organisms one cigarette filter in a litre of water can be and these things have increased ramification as the toxins are concentrated as they mount the food chain.

    Now I could repeat a few segments from Proctor’s book, which, if you have any smokers amongst immediate family or friends, would be worth pointing them too, however I’ll simply link to just one of many sites where there is more:

    Cigarette Butts: One Huge Problem, Two Solutions.

    But to be realistic the best solution is abolition of filters in the first instance – for they do nothing except increase cigarette manufacturers revenue stream and abolition of cigarettes (as reading Proctor’s book reveals and something I suspected from early on as a smoker) in the second place. That latter should also save many deaths from accidental fires, fires made more likely by the burn propagating chemicals also added to the weed or the paper.

    The environmental cost of cigarettes, and tobacco in general, does not stop with the butts there are many others from the denuding of hill slopes of timber for curing tobacco in developing countries to the increased use of pesticides and herbicides on an often GM enhanced crop.

    Oh how we have screwed the world and most of us don’t know it yet.

    In the early 1960s most of the non-tipped cigarettes I smoked used tobacco not forced by artificial means from such as Rhodesia. Now this tobacco did produce a superior smoke, something which became clear within a few years. This was when the supply of this tobacco became problematic when Ian Smith declared UDI (Unilateral Declaration of Independence) and the UK government imposed sanctions including a blockade.

    Ironically as our ‘smokes’ (another example of idiom for cigarettes) became less efficacious we were bobbing around on aircraft carriers in the Indian Ocean enforcing said blockade.

    Another irony, as I learned later, came via my future wife who was in South Africa at the time and who related how she saw long, long trains of oil tankers steaming up from the Cape to Rhodesia and thus circumventing one objective of that blockade.

  30. #30 Jeff Harvey
    November 10, 2012

    One of Obama’s enduring legacies as president: the indiscriminate use of drones.

    I am not saying that Romney would not have been worse as president. He most certainly would have been. But this is not a ringing endorsement of a wretchedly sick political system that historian and philosopher Sheldon Wolin refers to as “inverted totalitarianism”. The United States has a heavily stage-managed democracy. Managed from the top down, that is; a plutocracy. And those liberals who defend Obama need to have a serious rethink.

  31. #31 Wow
    November 10, 2012

    liberals and progressives don’t support obama.

    And obama doesn’t support the progressives or liberals. Just look at how they get told off for not being 100% behind the president? They official line is ALWAYS slagging off the progressives for wanting some progressive thing or other.

    It’s why obama only won by a couple of precent: his power base in the left are abandoning him.

    But the rightwing who AREN’T nuts are thinking “At least this black dude isn’t as nuts as Beck…” and the non-WASPS would vote for a republican except that they’re being told flat out that they’re going to be shat on by that party.

    Obama is winning because for many, there’s nowhere else to go.

    They aren’t actually supporting him in droves.

    Which is why despite all the advantages of not being a republican, he’s only got by on a couple of percentage points.

  32. #32 Lotharsson
    November 10, 2012

    I am not saying that Romney would not have been worse as president.

    Indeed. On practically every issue where Obama fails to uphold (or actively subverts) liberal principles, Romney was at least as enthusiastic as Obama – including the use of drones.

    That’s the huge flaw in a system which can only support two viable parties. The system throws up two presidential candidates and them’s your choices.

    And that means that whilst “those liberals who defend Obama need to have a serious rethink”, it’s not at all clear what they can do about it (once the nomination is made, at least – there’s more chance to affect things before that time, but not necessarily a huge chance. As you point out there’s an awful lot of stage management going on).

  33. #33 Lotharsson
    November 10, 2012

    Climate Change Will Blow Up The Deficit

    Climate change is the mother of all unpriced externalities, which Hurricane Sandy (unquestionably strengthened by climate change) made especially clear.

    The estimated costs for Hurricane Sandy are on the order of $50 billion. That money is stolen. Coal and oil companies, anyone who sells carbon or burns carbon and profits by it is creating a mess for which they do not have to pay. Even Friedrich von Hayek supported government regulation in that kind of situation.

    Go read the whole thing.

  34. #34 Lotharsson
    November 10, 2012
  35. #35 jerryg
    November 11, 2012

    Interesting paper on Climate Change and National Security.

  36. #36 jerryg
    November 11, 2012
  37. #37 ianam
    November 11, 2012

    I’m wasting my time debating with cherry picking ideologues, of any stripe.

  38. #38 ianam
    November 11, 2012

    And as so often, Wow just makes up claims to support his beliefs. While progressives are of course critical of Obama on the issues mentioned, progressives and progressive organizations overwhelmingly supported him because of recognition of how much better off they are with him than with Romney, and because they understand the U.S. political system, in which progressives in Congress must have a Democrat in the White House in order to achieve anything., which at one point led the criticism of Obama and threatened to provide no support for his candidacy, became a major supporter when their poll of their members said that 94% favored supporting him. This didn’t happen until after Romney won the Republican primary and became a concrete threat. Feminist and other civil rights organizations, environmental organizations, unions, people like Michael Moore and Tom Hayden, all supported Obama … despite past and ongoing criticisms. I live here, I belong to these organizations (I’m a local officer of the Sierra Club), I get their literature, I read their websites, I sign their petitions … Wow’s a wanker without a clue. But hey, believe you want, even when the facts don’t support it.

  39. #39 ianam
    November 11, 2012

    On the whose votes Obama got and where progressives where in this see

    The reason that Romney did as well as he did is because 2/3 of white Christian males voted for him … Obama won in every other demographic. Jill Stein got a pittance of votes … that’s because most progressives in the U.S. don’t buy into the stupid and dishonest argument that a vote for Obama is a vote for drones.

  40. #40 ianam
    November 11, 2012

    before your start throwing mud around, be prepared that a lot of it will come back and hit you in the face. In my opinion your views on this are superficial – as deep as a puddle of water.

    Sheer projection. You’ve learned to cherry pick and move goalposts as well as any denier troll. You said Obama kept no promises — that’s false. Did he keep all the promises we wish he had? No. Did he keep promises we wish he hadn’t? Yes. But your position is that he didn’t keep any promise we wish he had, and that he only keep promises we wish he hadn’t. That’s false, it’s dishonest, it’s stupid, and it’s superficial … superficial most of all, because a) There are no policy line items on the ballot, only candidates — you get all of their policies or none of them: I would have voted to keep Romney from selecting Supreme Court Justices alone, but I had many other reasons to prefer Obama b) the Executive is only one branch, and the Progressive Caucus in Congress — the majority of which, for the first time in history, is not white males — is reduced to blocking disastrous legislation when a Republican is in the White House and c) there’s a lot more to progressive politics than voting once every four years. Progressives and liberals — 86% of whom voted for Obama, down from 89% in 2008 — do what they can to push policy in progressive directions on the other 1460 days of those four years, but they have a much worse starting position when there is a Republican in the White House … and this time it would have been a Republican with a Tea Party-dominated HofR, a Tea Party base, and massive corporate backing — corporate SuperPACs under Citizens United spent $430 million to try to get Romney/Ryan elected, as opposed to the $86 million of SuperPAC money that went toward Obama.

    So it is you who is extremely superficial in your talk of liberals “supporting” “Obama” … they supported his election over the election of Romney and Ryan, who would have been a disaster for the environment, for the American and world economy with their disastrous austerity and deregulation policies, a disaster for civil rights, for reproduction rights, for people with health issues, for poor Americans, minority Americans, American teachers and other government workers, and on and on. Does that mean that we support drone attacks, indefinite detention, and the rest? No, that is stupid, superficial, and extremely intellectually dishonest.

  41. #41 FrankD
    November 11, 2012

    Ianam, I’m an outsider – attentive, though, having followed this election more closely than most recent ones. I’d be interested on an “insider’s” perspective:

    Both candidates ran pretty strong “get out to vote” campaigns but 9,000,000 fewer people voted. Do you think that shows a lowering of interest across the political spectrum? My thought was that it might be a lot of independents/swing voters switching from R to D to avoid the disaster of a Romney-Ryan win, while a similar number of obama voters from 2008 gave it a miss due to disappointment with his inability to achieve as much as promised, largely (but not solely) due to Republican intransigence in Congress.

    “Jill Stein got a pittance of votes … that’s because most progressives in the U.S. don’t buy into the stupid and dishonest argument that a vote for Obama is a vote for drones.”
    We (Australia) saw eff-all coverage of the minor parties platforms, so I don’t know about the “vote for drones” meme, But surely Stein’s low vote was in large part due to your first-past-the-post system. If the US had preferential voting, you could vote for a minor party knowing that if your first preference is eliminated, your vote will ultimately be directed to the major party you prefer.

    Just on environmental issues (without regard to other planks), a progressive voter might have wanted to vote Green, but since Stein had no real chance, such a vote would have effectively favoured the Republicans. I can see a lot of people voting Democrat to avoid that disastrous outcome, rather than that being their actual first preference. (Clunky – hope that makes sense).

    As long as first-past-the-post voting exists, minor parties will always struggle to get a vote that reflects their actual support, except for abberations like Wallace in ’68

  42. #42 Jeff Harvey
    November 11, 2012


    Your problem is that when a position you take isn challenged, you go on the extreme offensive and appear incapable of debating in a civil tone. Calling me ‘intellectually dishonest’ was way below the belt.

    My argument is that both candidates are faces of corporate power; that the electoral system in the United States is a farce; I agree with Wolin who has described the system as ‘inverted totalitarianism’ or as a ‘managed’ democracy. See how many of Chris Hedges arguments you can challenge in his interview on the link I supplied above.

    Obama’s presidency has overseen the continued transfer of wealth from the poor to the monied classes. His response to the banking crisis and fraud was pathetic – but predictable. His foreign policy has been a continuation or even an expansion of the policies carried out under his warmongering predecessor. While school are falling part, roads and bridges are crumbling, cities and municipalities are on the brink of bankruptcy, Obama has overseen a massive surge in military spending – over 750 billion dollars next year. ATo protect against what? Essentially, Obama is as corporate a president as any of the others who preceded him. He’s beholden tot he military-industiral state, and he seems content to act as a steward for corporate America: the banks and Wall Street. The political system in the US stinks; there’s no two ways about it.

    Chris Hedges is one of many pundits on the left who expose the system for what it is. I am reading his book, ‘Death of the Liberal Class’. One of the most prescient passages is this, a point he alludes to made by Noam Chomsky:

    “Chomsky reserves his fiercest venom for members of the liberal class who serve as a smoke screen for the cruelty of unchecked capitalism and imperial war. He has consistently exposed their moral and intellectual posturing as a fraud. And this is why Chomsky is hated, and perhaps feared, more among liberals than among the right wing he also excoriates. When Christopher Hitchens decided to become a windup doll for the Bush administration after the attacks of 9/11, one of the first things he did was write a vicious article attacking Chomsky. Hitchens, unlike most of those he served, knew which intellectual in America mattered.

    “I don’t bother writing about Fox News,” Chomsky said. “It is too easy. What I talk about are the liberal intellectuals, the ones who portray themselves and perceive themselves as challenging power, as courageous, as standing up for truth and justice. They are basically the guardians of the faith. They set the limits. They tell us how far we can go. They say, ‘Look how courageous I am.’ But do not go one millimeter beyond that. At least for the educated sectors, they are the most dangerous in supporting power.”

    pp.35-36 of ‘Death of the Liberal Class’ by Chris Hedges

    It seems to me Ianam, that based on your vitriol as a response to my posts, you fall very much into the category described by Chomsky and Hedges. I don’t. I think its time to expose the so-called liberal defenders of corporate power for what they are. In my opinion Obama has been both a disaster as president but also nothing other than predicted, if one looks at his history. Chicago-based writer Paul Street wrote about this several years ago. He described how corporate lobbyists had vetted Obama for several years before he came within a light year of the Oval office. Obama was wined and dined at corporate functions, and in the end the corporate lobby saw that he was no threat to their interests. On the contrary, as Street say, the Emperor needed new clothes and Obama was the perfect one to wear them. If so-called progressives and liberals think that Obama is working for them, then they are seriously deluded – as are you.

  43. #43 Wow
    November 11, 2012

    “Your problem is that when a position you take isn challenged, you go on the extreme offensive and appear incapable of debating in a civil tone.”

    That’s inane’s M.O. all right.

    Funnily enough, nobody seems to think that its worth telling him not to do it.

  44. #44 Lionel A
    November 11, 2012

    Another one for the ‘ignoratti’ or ‘ideologically perverted’ WRT Antarctic Ice, and another pointer to the lunacy of considering that there has been no warming for the last 15, 16 or whatever years (redirected from SkS which has a dead link at present):

    Dramatic Impacts of Rapid Climate Change on the Antarctic Peninsula .

  45. #45 Lionel A
    November 12, 2012

    My last leads on to sea level rise which despite legislation in Canute country is real enough to be worried about: Why sea levels are rising ahead of predictions

    Note the first comment there by a member of that ‘ignoratti’.

  46. #46 bill
    November 13, 2012

    Rachel Maddow dishes it out to the GOP Fantasists, Reality Deniers and other residents of the Far-Right Epistemic Bubble: that’s you, Duff, the KMS collective, Scandilloons, God what a Striking Wanker, etc..

    I confidently assert that all of you have also chosen to believe the majority of the other absurd misinformation litany she refutes.

    This is because you are idiots. Living in a febrile, onanistic dream world. Where Magic Ponies hold sway, not Maths…

  47. #47 Jeff Harvey
    November 13, 2012

    Hi Bill,

    I listened to Rachel Maddow’s commentary. Sadly, in my view, she might as well be speaking about another planet. Everything she said would be correct – if Obama was truly a liberal. But he isn’t neither is the Democratic Party. Maddow is saying what she wants the Party to be, not what it really is – a right wing party beholden to Corporate America. In that context, the right wing won regardless of the outcome.

    Chris Hedges sums it up elegantly as always here:–Death-of-the-by-Chris-Hedges-121112-745.html

  48. #48 lord_sidcup
    November 13, 2012

    Loads and loads of machinations amongst UK deniers about the BBC. Grand conspiracy proven is the line, I think. These people are certifiable.

  49. #49 Wow
    November 13, 2012

    The BBC didn’t name the man and the victim named them (just like the victims of Jimmy named HIM).

    Really, for this case, the BBC were buggered whichever way they went.

  50. #50 Bob
    November 13, 2012

    Lord Sidcup: not surprising. Climate change and the BBC are two topics of particular obsession for right wing cranks in the UK.

  51. #51 Bob
    November 13, 2012

    Wow – he is referring to a “secret list” of people who attended a BBC climate change seminar in 2006. If you really care, look here:

  52. #52 Wow
    November 13, 2012

    Fairy snuff, Bob.

  53. #53 chek
    November 13, 2012

    Ah – omnologos, the crank’s crank.

    Can’t remember for the life of me where or who it was who recently took him and his brand of pompous pseudo-science apart, but it was well done. Perhaps someone else remembers and/or has a link to it? ( I can’t access even reputable blogs on this stoopid network).

  54. #54 lord_sidcup
    November 13, 2012
  55. #55 lord_sidcup
    November 13, 2012

    Actually, that Greenfyre post is dated January 2011, nevertheless it is entirely pertinent to the BBC ‘climate conspiracy’:

    it is fair to note that irrational conspiracy theories are quite common among the climate change Deniers, and that the belief in these conspiracy theories is related to their emotional response to the facts and not any intellectual processing of the information.

  56. #56 Lionel A
    November 13, 2012

    Ah Yes. Omnologos aka Maurizio Morabito, seems to have gone quiet at Climate Crocks since the Mittney Wipeout, that manic cackle at the start is spot on.

    Here is the Ventures’ version , watch that drummer go, when he grows up he could be as good as Gene Krupa.

  57. #57 lord_sidcup
    November 13, 2012

    The “secret” BBC meeting was convened under Chatham House rules:

    The Chatham House Rule originated at Chatham House with the aim of providing anonymity to speakers and to encourage openness and the sharing of information. It is now used throughout the world as an aid to free discussion. Meetings do not have to take place at Chatham House, or be organized by Chatham House, to be held under the Rule.

    Isn’t this the perfectly simple explanation for the reluctance to release the names (to known cranks)?

    Not good enough for the deniers: anonymous=secret=CONSPIRACY! Like I said, certifiable.

  58. #58 MarkB
    November 13, 2012

    Jeff Harvey writes:

    “He did absolutely nothing about climate change. Said a lot, but no actions at all. ”


    Strong start…

    There’s also been significant action with the EPA and fuel economy.

    The first cap and trade bill passed the House but stalled in the filibuster-ridden Senate. Not really his fault. The President is not a dictator.

    Coal is way down. Renewable energy is up. The country has become more energy efficient. To assert nothing at all has been done is silly.

    The Democratic and Republican parties in the U.S. are not polar opposites, nor are they indistinguishable. Both arguments are extreme and incorrect. Examine the Citizens United ruling for example, which SCOTUS appointees voted for it, which ones voted against it.

    Likewise, Democrats are not one homogenuous group that vote in lockstep. There have been enough “blue dogs” to block progress in some areas, and along with Republicans, often drown out the liberal wing.

    Finally, with #11 (ObamaCare) , your presentations is selective here. Yes – the core of allowing private insurers the benefit of expansion was implemented, and that, along with the mandate, are conservative ideas (although they were within a few Senate votes of getting the public option), but in most other ways, the legislation is highly-progressive.

    1. Hundreds of bilions in tax increases on households with income over $250K.

    2. Taxes on private insurers and pharma – the industries that stand to benefit from the expansion.

    3. Big tax credits to low income families

    4. Rolling back the Bush-expansion of Medicare Advantage, which diverted money from Medicare to private insurers.

    The insurance industry’s support has been rather tepid, at best.

  59. #59 Wow
    November 13, 2012

    MarkB, Obamacare is Romneycare with even more taken out if it helped the sick.

    It’s better than nothing in the same way as being shot in the head is better than being shot in the chest.

  60. #60 lord_sidcup
    November 13, 2012

    Delingpole crowns the outbreak of UK denier insanity with this:

    ..this is a scandal far more significant than either the Jimmy Savile affair or the Lord McAlpine fiasco. Why? Because those first two were (mostly) cock-ups whereas this one is definitely a cynical and deliberate conspiracy..

    Got that. A ‘scandal’ bigger than child abuse – and they wonder why they aren’t invited to seminars.

  61. #61 bill
    November 13, 2012

    Is ‘cock ups’ some sick attempt at a joke? Jesus what a creep…

  62. #62 chek
    November 13, 2012

    this one is definitely a cynical and deliberate conspiracy

    That’s ol’ Delingpole (the Heartland ‘rock star’ darling), projecting like a lighthouse without the self-awareness to realise it.

  63. #63 lord_sidcup
    November 13, 2012

    Ha. With perfect timing Delingpole has been caught conspiring with a Tory MP and the Energy minister:

  64. #64 Bob
    November 13, 2012

    Video and audio recordings:

    I predict that JD will attempt to shrug it off with his usual mixture of forced sarcasm and sad little insults like “leftard”, “watermelon”, etc.

  65. #65 bill
    November 14, 2012

    Jeff, you might find a href=””>this interesting.

    ‘Delingpole’: Noun – a scrawny implement used to poke around in cloacal recesses.

  66. #66 bill
    November 14, 2012

    D’oh! Proper link.

  67. #67 Wow
    November 14, 2012

    “Got that. A ‘scandal’ bigger than child abuse”

    A bit alarmist, isn’t it?

  68. #68 Jeff Harvey
    November 14, 2012


    The problem is based on perception management. I am certainly a left wing liberal by any standards. In the US I would be seen as a radical. Here in Europe I am simply on the left. The problem is that the political system in the United States has been hijacked by the corporate lobby – what Hedges refers to a a coup in slow motion. There’s no way that Obama is going to slow this inexorable shift of power down when his campaign depended on it. As writer Paul Street showed, Obama was vetted by Wall Street, the bankers and corporate lobbyists several years before he came within a sniff of the White House. For him and the Democrats to turn on their paymasters now would be tantamount to political suicide for the party.

    As Wow said, Romneycare is Obamacare. Both were hatched in the Heritage Foundation. Obama’s foreign policcies have aimed to maintain or expand US hegemony in resource-ricih regions of the planet. Hence the continued expansion of military bases, costly wars and proxy wars, and the upgrading of offensive military technology while roads, bridges and schools are falling apart at home. Obama has just authorized the largest military budget in US history – 750 billion dollars for 2013 – against this tapestry. In the presidential debates neither he nor Romney mentioned climate change, perhaps the gravest environmental threat humanity has ever faced, not poverty. The measures you mention above taken by the last Obama administration are akin to putting a tiny bandage on a huge, festering wound. They are pedantic.

    The problem with liberal voices, as Hedges say, is that they want to believe that Obama is one of them. They want to believe his presidency will create a more just society, will tackle environmental problems head on, will stop killing people in industrial numbers abroad, will stop the madness of militarization, will cease creating a security state at home and will address profoundly important social issues. But the truth is far different from the projection. Last week i had friends in the US writing posts about how happy they were at the outcome of the US election, that it was historic, blah, blah, blah. They may have truly believed this nonsense, and it hurt me to spoil the party. But as I said to them, what you want and what is reality are polar opposites. Watch the next four years unfold, and we will see where we stand in 2016. But I think its a very good bet to suggest that at that time corporate power will further have eroded the public sphere, wealth inequality and poverty will be even larger and more deeply entrenched than it is now, climate change will have been dealt with by token measures or not at all, and other devastating and illegal expansionist wars will have been waged in the name of profit.

  69. #69 Wow
    November 14, 2012

    It’s sillier than even Obamacare is Romneycare.

    The republicans refused to accept their own previous proposal when it was proposed by a black democrat.

    Depending on whether you’re a racist or maniac republican decides which was the deciding factor: race or party.

  70. #70 Jeff Harvey
    November 14, 2012

    Above, for clarification, I meant to say ‘OR poverty’…

    I meant that climate change and poverty which are both profoudly serious issues weren’t discussed during the debates. Why is this? It should be patently obvious. Both issues aren’t on the agenda of the corporate elites, so they are non-issues. The bottom lines are profit margins and deregulation. Obama has continued the inexorable slide to the right. Its time the progressives and liberals woke up to this reality and realized that the ‘lesser of two evils’ argument is a non-starter.

  71. #71 Lionel A
    November 14, 2012
  72. #72 Wow
    November 14, 2012

    the lesser of two evils is still evil.

    And choosing it is only tenable if you do so whilst enacting a change so that there is no such similar bad choice again.

    I.e. a known temporary extent of the lesser evil.

    “Not possible!” you say? then don’t vote for either evil.

  73. #73 Lionel A
    November 14, 2012

    The Joe Romm Climate Progress article cited early on in the Ecoshock Radio audio linked to in my above.

  74. #74 chek
    November 14, 2012

    “then don’t vote for either evil.”

    There’s a large dose of pragmatism which is also required which suggests to me that yes, the Empire continues but better an Obama running things than a Ryan being a heartbeat away from the office.

  75. #75 HarryW
    November 14, 2012

    To GSW, “Judith Curry’s new paper has been acepted by “CAB Reviews” (?) a publication of”, posted on 10 Nov: CABI isn’t listd on the ISI master list; ergo, who cares? Only Judith..

  76. #76 Lotharsson
    November 14, 2012

    …then don’t vote for either evil.

    …except that that is also a moral decision, but it promotes the opposite outcome to your intentions. In a democracy with non-compulsory voting not voting for either evil provides a boost to the greater of the two evils.

    A.k.a. what chek said.

  77. #77 GSW
    November 14, 2012

    Earnest piece in the Guardian,

    “It is time for the judiciary to step in and avert climate catastrophe”

    “averting dangerous climate change has become all but impossible, putting Western countries at serious risk of committing human right violations on a scale nobody had thought to ever see again after world war two.

    This leaves the judiciary with the task of stepping in and averting catastrophe. In a democracy, issues certainly stop being only political when they give rise to domestic human rights violations and endangerment. Together with the precautionary principle these infringements may serve as legal grounds for the judiciary to take over from politics, protecting citizens from violations by their own government and summoning government to actively protect citizens’ fundamental rights.”

    Should resonate here I would imagine. It would be quite sinister if it didn’t have a “Pythonesque” tone. The author claims be a lawyer as well!

    Dennis The Constitutional Peasant

  78. #78 chek
    November 14, 2012

    GSW, when did you first start labouring under the illusion that your ignorant, blog-formed opinions about anything are of interest to anyone, anywhere?

    Or, as the rabett puts it more eloquently ,”In keeping with Eli’s new policy, let the bunny point out that he and just about everyone else here takes umbrage of being told such a load of crap from a bullshit shill like you. We have no interest in talking to you or giving the appearance that anything you say or write has worth because it does not. Trying to talk with you is guaranteed to take ten points off the IQ of whomsoever tries it.”

  79. #79 GSW
    November 14, 2012

    chek, chek, it’s a CAGW/Climate Change blog! It used to discuss the CAGW issues of the day. Admittedly it’s a bit quiet of late, more Obama bashing (fair enough) than anything else.

    Don’t get all shirty because someone brings it back on topic!

  80. #80 chek
    November 14, 2012

    I can only repeat good advice: “We have no interest in talking to you or giving the appearance that anything you say or write has worth because it does not. Trying to talk with you is guaranteed to take ten points off the IQ of whomsoever tries it.”

    I quote this because experience proves it to be true, and I’d advocate others to copy’n’paste the same quote to anything you post until you get the message through your thick, denier head.

  81. #81 GSW
    November 14, 2012

    Don’t shoot the messenger chek, reality will find you eventually. Just trying to “ease” you into it.

    Looking forward to the Gorathon? Let’s hope it’s better than last years showing. The Gore-Reality gap was frankly embarrassing 😉

  82. #82 bill
    November 14, 2012

    Hey, Grotty Servile Wally – how did your boy go in the US election? What, nothing to say?

    ‘Bullshit shill’ describes you exactly.

    (Incidentally, as if the US election hadn’t already hammered home the point enough, it turns out nowhere near as many people think like you as you’d like to think.)

    You are a card-carrying member of The Most Stupid People in History. The contempt you experience here now is as nothing to how all you prats will be regarded in a few years time, so I suggest you get used to it.

  83. #83 chek
    November 15, 2012

    GSW: “CAGW issues”(sic)

    Eli Rabett: “Trying to talk with you is guaranteed to take ten points off the IQ of whomsoever tries it.”

  84. #84 bill
    November 15, 2012

    Just to really hammer the point home for the ideological dirty-raincoat brigade that insist on loitering here:

    • Nearly all Americans (92%) say the president and the Congress should make developing sources of clean energy a “very high” (31%), “high” (38%), or “medium” priority (23%). Very few say it should be a low priority (8%).

    • A large majority (77%) say global warming should be a “very high” (18%), “high” (25%), or “medium” priority (34%) for the president and Congress. One in four (23%) say it should be a low priority.

    • Six in ten Americans (61%) say the U.S. should reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions regardless of what other countries do.

    • A large majority of Americans (88%) say the U.S. should make an effort to reduce global warming, even if it has economic costs. A plurality (44%) favors a medium-scale effort, even if it has moderate economic costs. One in four (24%) supports a large-scale effort even if there are large economic costs. And one in five (19%) supports a small-scale effort, even if it has small economic costs.

    Seems the Reality Wars are just about over. You lost.

  85. #85 Lionel A
    November 15, 2012

    Justin case you have missed this one, so much to read in the wake of that election, here is a well put together take on the GOP road to in-electability paved with the broken bricks of regression:

    Clusterfuck Nation – A Look in the Mirror.

  86. #86 Wow
    November 15, 2012

    “…except that that is also a moral decision, but it promotes the opposite outcome to your intentions”

    No, it doesn’t promote the opposite outcome to your intentions.

    It promotes your intention not to vote in evil.

    Yours is just a load of crap and it is predicated that everyone else would vote for the greater evil.


    Huh? Are you maintaining that you are the ONLY righteous person and that everyone else wants the bigger evil in charge?

  87. #87 Wow
    November 15, 2012

    “but better an Obama running things than a Ryan being a heartbeat away from the office.”

    There are people who say the same thing when they voted for Romney: better that than another four years of socialist evil from obama, beholden to the monied powers.

    So they vote “the lesser of two evils”: Romney.

    Meanwhile, both sides of evil running see that they’re still getting most of the voters voting for evil, so why bother being good? The upsides for selling your soul are manifold and the costs of doing the right thing evident. So as long as you are still getting the votes, why risk it? Be evil. Nobody else cares, so you’re not *actually* evil, are you? You’re just reflecting the will of the electorate!

    And any good people who cannot bring themselves to sell out see no votes for it and don’t bother.

    Voting for the lesser evil shows that evil will still get its way.

  88. #88 jp
    Perth, Western Australia
    November 15, 2012

    On losing 10 iQ points talking to denier morons: You lose more than that just reading their crap, let alone trying to argue with them, something which can make you lose your sanity as well.

    I’ll admit that I only have a superficial understanding of the AGW issue and my education level is very basic, but that’s why for me, and the 99.99% of people out there, the only position that makes sense is to listen to those who have the expertise. But when you’re a D.K. with a big ego, like the Greasy Slimy Wanker and his boyfriend O’louse, it makes more sense to believe that those who produce the research know nothing and don’t understand the “scientific method”, and those who produce low quality rubbish which gets debunked week after week are the keepers of the knowledge and the real experts. That’s some serious brainwashing and disconnection from reality.

    In the two years or so that I’ve been lurking, I haven’t come across a single intelligent, informative or even witty post from the Greasy Wanker or his boyfriend the Louse _ and yet they keep coming back. I wonder what psychologists and psychiatrists would make of that sort of behaviour. Is it purely attention-seeking? Or is the troll behaviour a juvenile compulsion to annoy and disrupt because of their intellectual impotence and inability to debate the science?

  89. #89 bill
    November 15, 2012

    Wow, you’re a conflict entrepreneur.

    Four – and perhaps eight – years of Romney would have been a disaster, particularly for those who want to see something actually done about AGW. – a distinct, conscious and truly radical Reaction at a critical juncture, deliberately aimed at ensuring that not only is nothing done, but poisoning the well to ensure that nothing meaningful will ever be done.

    That’s not even to mention the environment more generally – and as for foreign policy…

    We also face a choice between the piss-poor and The Stupid here in Australia next year. It’s merely foolish to declaim that they’re ‘all the same’ and hold out for some magical purity; as if that’s going to save anyone – or anything – from the terrible consequences of Stupidity.

    Democracies really are the worst systems we have – apart from all the others. And politics really is the realm of the possible. It’s worth remembering that the reason why Labor is now psychologically torturing and physically abusing asylum-seekers just as Howard – the key reactionary who poisoned the well for evermore – did is because it’s genuinely what most Australians want to see happen. (77% IIRC.)

    ‘The people’ aren’t good, and maintaining that they would be if they were properly-informed is the greatest illusion of all. In this life, if you want to get anything done – or, crucially, if you want to stop Stupid things being done – you’ll need to get your hands dirty. And that means always supporting the least-awful outcome, if that’s the only choice on offer…

  90. #90 chek
    November 15, 2012

    Wow, I may be wrong, but I suspect we both agree that a Romney victory – part fuelled, let’s not forget, by a Tea Party powered Ryan Republican surge, would’ve been a worse disaster (from ‘our’ perspective) for a rational policy on climate than otherwise. Let alone what their chosen Wattsworld-style advisors would have been cooking up for the next four or more years.

    Of course Obama isn’t ideal, but the devil’s style isn’t to offer a choice of good or evil, but invariably bad or worse. The world is nothing if not predictable that way.

  91. #91 Lotharsson
    November 16, 2012

    Yours is just a load of crap and it is predicated that everyone else would vote for the greater evil.

    This should be quite obvious but apparently it is not: your assessment is the load of crap here. You have presumed a “predicate” that does not exist.

    My point is predicated on the demonstrated fact that large numbers of people will and do vote for what you consider the greater evil.

    And the logic further proceeds that, should you or me not vote for the lesser evil then, all other things being equal, the greater evil has a higher chance of being elected.

    And the logic proceeds still further by noting that if many people decide to follow that “logic” and decline to vote for even the lesser evil, then all other things being equal the greater evil has a much higher chance of being elected.

    This is not difficult to understand.

  92. #92 Lotharsson
    November 16, 2012

    Voting for the lesser evil shows that evil will still get its way.


    But your implied corollary does not hold, because:

    NOT voting for the lesser evil ALSO shows that evil will still get its way.

    Wait a minute – wasn’t not voting supposed to help eliminate the electability of evilness?

    But it’s worse than that.

    NOT voting for the lesser evil makes it MORE LIKELY that the greater evil will be elected.

    And in that case politicians of all stripes might be tempted to conclude that being more evil appears to be a poll winner over less evil. (Or merely that being less evil than the other guy suppresses your turnout.)

    It is very difficult to reliably communicate “no evil please” by a candidate A / candidate B / abstain vote – if only because candidates’ individual attributes (such as “level of evilness”) are not on the ballot.

  93. #94 Jeff Harvey
    November 16, 2012

    Just for you, Olaus: My guess is that you are stuck between 4 and 5…

  94. #95 Jeff Harvey
    November 16, 2012

    I meant 1 and 2; denial and anger. Olaus cloaks his anger with vacuous quips….

  95. #96 Olaus Petri
    November 16, 2012

    Oh, the great climate scare geezer turn the focus onto me! 😉 Bofore your arm candy shows up, why is it that you never can be happy about possible good news?

  96. #97 Wow
    November 16, 2012

    “what shall we do about this?

    We shall not bother with an idiot.

    PS where is your slug horde?

  97. #98 Wow
    November 16, 2012

    “”NOT voting for the lesser evil ALSO shows that evil will still get its way.”

    Wait a minute – wasn’t not voting supposed to help eliminate the electability of evilness?”

    Yeah, wrong way round.

    Voting for the lesser evil shows evil will still get its way.

    NOT voting for it shows that only evil begets evil.

  98. #99 Wow
    November 16, 2012

    “This should be quite obvious but apparently it is not: your assessment is the load of crap here. You have presumed a “predicate” that does not exist.”

    You don’t admit its existence.

    Explain how NOT VOTING votes in the greater evil without that predicate?

    You can’t.

    You just want to feel better for selling out.

  99. #100 Wow
    November 16, 2012

    “Wow, I may be wrong, but I suspect we both agree that a Romney victory – part fuelled, let’s not forget, by a Tea Party powered Ryan Republican surge, would’ve been a worse disaster ”

    However where we agree is that if you didn’t all go “Vote for the lesser evil” that Romney/Ryan would have won.

    People aren’t voting for them because they want the GREATER evil to win.

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