Plimer chickens out

After George Monbiot panned Plimer's book for his grotesque scientific errors, Plimer challenged Monbiot to a face-to-face debate. Of course, Plimer would do his usual Gish gallop with such a format, so Monbiot agreed with just one condition:

Last week I wrote to Professor Plimer accepting his challenge, on the condition that he accepts mine. I would take part in a face-to-face debate with him as long as he agreed to write precise and specific responses to his critics' points -- in the form of numbered questions that I would send him -- for publication on the Guardian's website. I also proposed that there should be an opportunity at the debate for us to cross-examine each other.

The result was predictable:

This morning I received a message from Professor Plimer, rejecting my challenge. So much for his enthusiasm for debate.

Update: Plimer has agreed to answer the questions. If he actually does, the debate will happen.

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Yeah right. The guys he has lined up for this hatchet job, whilst claiming they may be 'The Autority' or have views that are in line with the "IPCC Authority' seem to be ignoring the evidence. These guys may be extremely well 'peer reviewed', it's just a pity they are wrong.

By Billy Bob Hall (not verified) on 03 Aug 2009 #permalink

It seems clear that the 64-yr old Plimer, who lost his superannuation when he unwisely sued creationists a few years back, is now trying to recoup the losses by pandering to the Rightards and dolts of the world with this his populist screed. He's not interested in debate, he's intere$ted in $omething el$e beginning with a "D".

Anyhoo, now he can tell everyone he challenged Monbiot to a debate but Monbiot set all sorts of "unreasonable" conditions. You can't win against someone like Plimer.

Debates are formats for liars anyway.

(OT, Greenman's new video.)

Billy Bob writes:
> The guys he has lined up for this hatchet job, whilst claiming they may be 'The Autority' [sic] or have views that are in line with the "IPCC Authority' seem to be ignoring the evidence.

Billy Bob, that would be ignoring the same evidence that you are keeping to yourself, rather than presenting here?

Or, is it that you donât care at all about the evidence are just trying mislead as a many as your can?
>Yes 'TrueSkeptik'. I haven't got the faintest knowledge of the subject, but so long as I have wasted a few seconds of your precious time... well that's good enough for me. ;-)

>Posted by: Billy Bob Hall | [July 24, 2009](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/07/jim_lippard_on_plimer.php#comme…)

re: #6 Ratel

SPPI is Monckton + Fergusons's thing. We know it well...

By John Mashey (not verified) on 03 Aug 2009 #permalink

It is actually possible to do a sensible blog debate, allowing for URLs, graphs, written questions, and time for the audience to check. I figure about 2 weeks is a minimum, and it really w ants good moderation.

Here's a not-bad example from a few months ago.

By John Mashey (not verified) on 03 Aug 2009 #permalink

*These guys may be extremely well 'peer reviewed', it's just a pity they are wrong*

...says someone who apparently hasn't published a scientific article in his life. Someone who lectures scientists about the errors of their ways and why he, a complete layman, is correct. Who claims that people very closely associated with far right corporate funded think tanks (Singer, McIntyre etc.) are'nt household names, while ignoring the fact that many of the relatively small number of denialists are actually known by name whereas the overwhelming majority of the scientific community (e.g. many thousands of scientists) who actually do the scientific research and who vehemently disagree with the think-tank brigade are mostly anonymous. How many experimental papers has Singer actually published since 1974? A: count'em on one hand.

BBH is a waste of breath. He surfs the internet in search of denial literature (e.g. astroturf groups, PR group web sites and think tank links), but apparently doesn't like to read the original data because he doesn't understand it. The fact is the the MSM does not plug the 'AGW is happening' line. Much of the MSM creates the illusion of controversy where there is broad consensus. What they do is interview a scientist on one side of the so-called debate (e.g. James Hansen) and then a denialist, one who often has no expertise whatsoever and is employed by one of the coterie of libertarian think tanks (e.g. Myron Ebell of the CEI). The public is then left to decide if they think that there is a problem, and, because they conclude that the debate is evenly split, they opt for the 'the science isn't settled' option. This is exactly what the denialists are aiming for. They KNOW they cannot win the scientific debate, but as long as they muddy the waters by claiming that the science isn't settled (e.g. lobby for lethargy), nothing will be done. And in fact, virtually nothing is being done to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Factoid: controversy sells; consensus doesn't. All kinds of important contemporary environmental issues have been dealt with the same way; the loss of biodiversity for example. Why does BBH think that Lomborg has become so influential? Because he has done the maths? Hardly. It's because he says what so many want to hear, and thus he is given a veritable megaphone to spread his gospel of doubt. So don't lecture people here on the way the MSM treats science. They distort it and mangle it and spew out a message that befits their corporate advertisers and owners.

So BBH as usual is doing you-know-what in the wind.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 03 Aug 2009 #permalink

No Worries Jeff Harvey. (#11) I am proud to say I have helped co-author 1 scientific paper in my career. It is in a field not directly related to 'climate science'. But anyway, I reckon the paper was 'pretty good'. I never bothered with what my 'peers' thought of it. The science in it was good enough for the time and it contributed a little bit to the Science, and that's all that mattered. It's a bit of ancient history now, but that 1 lonely paper seemed to be good enough to stick it in with a bunch of other papers in a big fat monograph compendium thingo.
So my point is, it's not the number of papers one writes, its the Quality.
If our old buddy Fred has written only a few (that you could count on 1 hand - how many fingers do you have Jeff ?) then that's great, sounds to me like the Quality is there rather than the quantity.
Didn't Elena CeauÅescu 'author' a large quantity of scientific papers ? ;-)

And, I don't know if I mentioned before, I don't work for Exxon, or 'Big Tobbacca' or Al Gore for that matter or anyone else worried about fossil fuels, and I don't get any funding from any of them - not now or ever in the past. I promise you. Of course I wish I did. :-)

By Billy Bob Hall (not verified) on 03 Aug 2009 #permalink

Billy Bob,

I am not referring to you with respect to funding in my last post but to the prominent contrarians. With no disrespect, you clearly have little influence in scientific circles (commentary on Deltoid notwithstanding). But why do many of the most prominent contrarians associate themselves with bodies that are clearly distorting the science that they hate? Wouldn't it be prudent for the likes of Michaels, Baliunas, Soon, Singer, Lindzen, Balling, the Idso's and the rest of the small denialist club to distance themselves from these think tanks, PR groups and Astroturf organizations that so clearly have an axe to grind?

My next question is to ask where your paper was published. I would very much like to read it. You can find my papers (I am not a climate scientist but a population ecologist) listed on my web page. My views on climate science are based on deferrence to my colleagues in the field - which menas most of the climate science community - who are in agreement over the causes of the current warming.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 04 Aug 2009 #permalink

Billy Bob: excuses, excuses... sore loser.

By Martin Vermeer (not verified) on 04 Aug 2009 #permalink

Billy Bob: excuses, excuses... sore loser.

By Martin Vermeer (not verified) on 04 Aug 2009 #permalink

The repeat was unintentional... but perhaps it bears repeating.

By Martin Vermeer (not verified) on 04 Aug 2009 #permalink

MINSTREL (singing): Brave Sir Ian ran away
IAN: No!
MINSTREL (singing): Bravely ran away away
IAN: I didn't!
MINSTREL (singing): When danger reared its ugly head,
He bravely turned his tail and fled
IAN: No!
MINSTREL (singing): Yes Brave Sir Ian turned about
IAN: I didn't!
MINSTREL (singing): And gallantly he chickened out
Bravely taking to his feet
IAN: I never did!
MINSTREL (singing): He beat a very brave retreat
IAN: Oh, lie!
MINSTREL (singing): Bravest of the brave Sir Ian

Billy Bob Hall:

> I never bothered with what my 'peers' thought of [my alleged scientific paper]. The science in it was good enough ...

Imagine where we'd be today if that was the accepted scientific method - "No need to check my work, it's all good. I'm certain." We'd still be drilling holes in peoples' skulls to vent evil spirits.

Billy Bob.

I second Jeff's call for a reference to 'your' paper, seeing that you are using it as an appeal to your apparent 'authority' as a 'scientist'.

If you can't or if you won't provide it, I will expect you to argue from defensible logic and from the best science in climatology, and to date you have shown not even one iota of capacity for such.

But oh, that's right, you're a [plaigarist](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/07/the_agw_denialists_rules_for_d…) who admits that [he is only here to waste the time](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/07/the_agw_denialists_rules_for_d…) of those who actually understand the science.

Loser.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 04 Aug 2009 #permalink

...and the countdown begins for the Billy Bob Hall thread in Deltoid. In ten, nine, eight...

By Former Skeptic (not verified) on 04 Aug 2009 #permalink

On the "whether to debate" debate: I think there's a way to halt the Gish Gallop, which is to debate the denialist's previous work, not the denialist. Announce you're not interested in any new claim or new defense, but simply whether the claims in a selected piece of nonsense like Plimer's or Lomborg's oeuvre are justified.

I'd like to see it tried, anyway. Plimer's reaction to answering questions about his nonsense suggests it could be effective.

Ray

1. Define 'biased' in this context. What can you mean by it?

2. You obfuscate on the challenge conditions. Monbiot didn't set unreasonable conditions. He insisted on conditions that ought to be the sine qua non of a debate about a serious matter. Apparently, the filth merchant hero de jour, Ian Plimer is averse to a proper debate on the outlandish claims he makes about anthropogenic
climate change.

Plimer objected to debating Monbiot because Monbiot insisted that questions could be put to Plimer in advance and published in writing prior to the debate and Monbiot wanted a mock trial style format. Apparently, Plimer is averse to fact checking. He prefers to be able to answer the questions heâd prefer to be asked, and so he refused to debate.

Isn't it telling that Plimer declines peer review so that he can compose a thought bubble to play to the braying galleries of culture warriors and a format in which specific claims he makes could be evaluated while the debate was live?

The inference is clear. Plimer's claims lack merit.

By Fran Barlow (not verified) on 04 Aug 2009 #permalink

@ Ray
"I'm just amazed at the attitude of you guys."
Yes so am I. I'm amazed at how patient people are in entertaining the light lunacy of denialism. Really it's like dealing with troublesome two year olds.The only difference is that two year olds eventually grow up.

By Eat The Rich (not verified) on 04 Aug 2009 #permalink

Fan, Eat,

There is a reason Ray has his own thread, he just spouts propaganda that dosn't change in the face of reason. He is not genuine, and rational debate gets you no where. Best to leave him to his own box.

Wrong Bernard J. I never claimed 'Authority' or 'Apparent Authority', and I never will.
Of course, I'm not going to present any reference to a paper here, as it might involve describing study is a particular 'working industry'. And we all know where that would lead to on this particular blog.
You guys have given me some ideas though, I could apply for funding from WWF or Groan-Peace maybe ? They have got $1-2 Billion per annum to spare I'm lead to believe. Would that be OK then ? :-)

By Billy Bob Hall (not verified) on 04 Aug 2009 #permalink

He prefers to be able to answer the questions heâd prefer to be asked, and so he refused to debate.

Were its so. Standard obfuscation protocol is to answer the question you'd wish you'd heard.

re Hank's "Time for the pattern analysis tools?" -
Some researchers in Utah were supposed to analyze a Dot Earth 1000+ comment thread from I think Dec 2008; coincidentally, just a few days ago I emailed one of them asking about it.

Haven't heard back yet though - the young whippersnapper's likely off backpacking or something.

Billy Bob writes:

I don't know where it would lead, perhaps because I haven't the faintest idea what "describing study is a particular 'working industry'' might possibly mean. I am sceptical that someone who could write that sentence has ever been published in a reputable journal.

Try again, this time wihtout html tags. Billy Bob writes "Of course, I'm not going to present any reference to a paper here, as it might involve describing study is a particular 'working industry'. And we all know where that would lead to on this particular blog".

I don't know where it would lead, perhaps because I haven't the faintest idea what "describing study is a particular 'working industry'' might possibly mean. I am sceptical that someone who could write that sentence has ever been published in a reputable journal.

Hey, didn't I say not directly related to 'Climate science'. I apologize if I've lead everyone 'off the garden path' here. :-) 'Big Picture' guys... 'Big Picture'...
Anyway, shouldn't you guys be just trying to tell me to 'repent' and end my evil skeptical ways. ?! ;-)

By Billy Bob Hall (not verified) on 04 Aug 2009 #permalink

Jeff! How's that whole "Chavez isn't a dictator" thing working out for you!? Shutting down all the private media... it's for the people, right?

BillyBob@36

shouldn't you guys be just trying to tell me to 'repent' and end my evil skeptical ways?

This is a science blog, not a confessional BBH. Your feelings of angst are not germane. Then again, nothing you've said in this topic has been. It has been a kind of populist cri de coeur of the kind one sees on rightwing blogsites.

By Fran Barlow (not verified) on 04 Aug 2009 #permalink

> Shutting down all the private media... it's for the people, right?

> Posted by: ben

cf GW Bush and his removal of press journalists critical of His Royal Personage from future press conferemces, "free speech zones" and "embedded reporters" (as long as they don't ask awkward questions that may embarrass the government).

PS what does this have to do with Plimer?

PPS may I be the first to say:

Buck-Buck-Buckaaawk!

Hey ben,

How's the old media consolidation in the west going you now?

Down to 6 corporations ruling the vast majority of what we read, here and see?

What do you think should happen to the television licence of a corporation that assists an attempted coup to overthrow democracy?

Meida diversity in Venezuela's major media is better than in Australia or the USA. I'd assume you wouldn't claim that means Australiana USA are ruled by dictators?

BBH:
>"...You guys have given me some ideas though, I could apply for funding from WWF or Groan-Peace maybe ? They have got $1-2 Billion per annum to spare I'm lead to believe. Would that be OK then ?"

http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/climatechange

Quote:
>"The Grantham Family established the Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment in 1997. The Foundation supports natural resource conservation projects both in the US and internationally.Jeremy Grantham is a well-known investment manager and chairman of Boston-based investment firm, GMO. Hannelore Grantham is Director of the Grantham Foundation."

How's the old media consolidation in the west going you now? Down to 6 corporations ruling the vast majority of what we read, here and see?

There are a LOT of alternative sources of news. Corporate media is a joke when it comes to news of political importance, which is why I avoid it.

Meida diversity in Venezuela's major media is better than in Australia or the USA.

Then why did Chavez shut them all down?

PS what does this have to do with Plimer?

Nothing, I have absolutely no idea who is Plimer. I just saw Jeff post there and couldn't resist a jab at him about his good buddy, el presidente for life, Hugo Chavez.

What do you think should happen to the television licence of a corporation that assists an attempted coup to overthrow democracy?

Attempted to overthrow democracy? Or attempted to overthrow an A-hole wanna-be dictator? Like in Honduras? I suppose you think that Zelaya was illegally overthrown as well?

I know that Plimer exists, 'cause he was my old boss's squash partner. But I am rather sceptical concerning the existence of Billy-Bob-Hall. Could be a rather primitive form of AI - ELIZA maybe?

By Donald Oats (not verified) on 05 Aug 2009 #permalink

> Could be a rather primitive form of AI - ELIZA maybe?

> Posted by: Donald Oats

To get things so abysmally wrong requires human stupidity. There is no current investigation into Artificial Stupidity, since there seems to be an infinite supply of the natural one.

> Attempted to overthrow democracy? Or attempted to overthrow an A-hole wanna-be dictator?

> Posted by: ben

Like Shrub.

Tony Blair.

Do you think you are in a democracy?

No, you aren't.

Wake up and smell the bullshit.

Fran barlow,

If you follow Monbiot's writings over the years they lack a great deal of credibility also. And pray tell me when Monbiot has ever published anything in a peer reviewed scientific journal?

D@46

Mr Monbiot's accuracy is not the issue here. Unlike Plimer, Mr Monbiot does not claim direct scientific expertise to make claims. Mr Monbiot relies on established science.

He proposes that Plimer's scientific claims be tested publicly, and regardless of Mr Monbiot's past claims, precise or not, this examination should take place.

By Fran Barlow (not verified) on 05 Aug 2009 #permalink

Ben @42 writes:
>There are a LOT of alternative sources of news.

There are a lot of alternative sources of news but most people donât use them, hence the term âalternativeâ. So we get [5 corporations ruling]( http://www.corporations.org/media/) the vast majority of what we read, here and see.
I understand in the USA and Australia there are increasing number of One Paper States.

>â*Meida diversity in Venezuela's major media is better than in Australia or the USA.*â Then why did Chavez shut them all down?

He didnât shut them all down he wrested a bit of control from a few corporate monoloies, hence Meida diversity in Venezuela's major media is still better than in Australia or the USA.

>Attempted to overthrow democracy? Or attempted to overthrow an A-hole wanna-be dictator? Like in Honduras? I suppose you think that Zelaya was illegally overthrown as well?

So ben is the new arbiter of democracy. Bush is OK , Chavez not.

Ben the difference is that Bush served his corporate buddies (his masters), while Chavez and the naughty bunch in Latin America are getting out of line by choosing to serve the Demos.

That should read:
>while Chavez and the naughty bunch in Latin America are getting out of line by choosing to better serve the Demos.

I'm certain that that balancing power and real politic mean that the New Latin American leaders still struggle to serve the Demos.

So ben is the new arbiter of democracy. Bush is OK , Chavez not.

You people really need to get over Bush. He's gone, out of power, stepped down peacefully, DID NOT TRY TO CHANGE THE LAW SO HE COULD STAY IN POWER INDEFINITELY UNLIKE SOME LATIN AMERICAN A-HOLES I CAN THINK OF. If we don't have democracy here in the USA START BLAMING OBAMA, HE'S THE PRESIDENT NOW, OR STFU!!!!

Ever notice Chavez's aversion to term limits? Some democracy. And Chavez claiming that the 34 stations he ordered shut down are now owned "by the people"? Bullshit, they are owned by Chavez and can no longer criticize him. Some democracy.

I can't wait for a response from Pilmer. Those look like some damning questions.

Attempted to overthrow democracy? Or attempted to overthrow an A-hole wanna-be dictator?

Chavez has won repeated democratic elections which were certified by independent bodies.

Like in Honduras? I suppose you think that Zelaya was illegally overthrown as well?

The army's top lawyer admitted that plainly.
In addition, Zelaya didn't brake any laws

http://www.counterpunch.org/thorensen07012009.html

By Marc Abian (not verified) on 06 Aug 2009 #permalink

Break any laws...

By Marc Abian (not verified) on 06 Aug 2009 #permalink

Marc, I think you are wrong, your link not withstanding. Here's a different link:

Our constitution clearly lays out an impeachment process that must be followed to trial and convict a President that has violated the Law. But our Constitution also includes a single exception to this rule in article 239, which states that the President that violates the principle of alternation of the Presidency or simply proposes its reform, will immediately cease in the exercise of office. In other words, the simple act of proposing the reform removes ispo jure (by operation of law) a President from office. This may sound radical to many, but the truth is it's coherent with the geopolitical reality of Honduras; and on June 28 of 2009 it proved why.

Bush is an excellent counter point to Ben argument because unlike Chavez, Bush was elected contrary to the popular vote. Bush was put into power by the supreme court. Also the USA refuses UN election observers. Bushâs 2004 election coincided with voter purging, voter intimidation and voter suppression. Obama won despite these imbalances, so I am open to the possibility that the USA is a little more democratic then now than in the past 8 years. But the structural inequity and ability to buy representation mean that USA still has serious democratic deficits.

Ben writes:
> Ever notice Chavez's aversion to term limits? Some democracy

By aversion ben would mean asking the people via a referendum (as is proper) to extend Presidential term limits. Sounds democratic to me. And it also sounds democratic that Chavez respected the referendum when it went against him.

Ben wrties:
>Chavez claiming that the 34 stations he ordered shut down are now owned "by the people"? Bullshit, they are owned by Chavez and can no longer criticize him. Some democracy.

The BBC is government owned. Australiaâs ABC is government owned. Non-Profit Community run stations throughout western countries are community owned. Thank goodness for democratic intervention to allow some media diversity from market dominated consolidation and control. If Chavez is following this principle of promoting diversity it is a wise and democratic move. But not one that would be liked by the corporate consolidated media.

I'd just like to state for the record that one can accept AGW without being a supporter of Hugo Chavez. I, personally, think there's something fundamentally immoral and dictatorial about closing down opposition newspapers. What happened to freedom of speech and freedom of the press? If the US can allow Lyndon LaRouche and the Revolutionary Communist Party and StormFront to publish without freaking out, Venezuela can damn well do the same. For that matter, nationalizing industries never helped anyone. The state industries in the USSR certainly weren't better for the environment than private equivalents would have been.

The fifth article states:

e) Renewal of confidence in those officials who have dignified their office, fulfilling it adequately for the citizens.

What the heck does that even mean? Well, in light of the first article

a) Social Control: establishment of recall referenda, so that the people will have the possibility of denying their confidence in the middle of their term, to those that have been elected and have betrayed them-- and of the Death Crusade! Censure and veto, for mayors, representatives, and the President.

Which is also confusing but appears to say that they can recall politicians during their term in office, then "renewal of confidence" does seem to imply allowing the re-election of officials, apparently including the president (those officials...). That'd do it right there.

Thanks for your veiws BPL,

But what newspapers are you talking about?

I know that Rupert Murdoch has closed many newspapers and dictates editorial policy, suppressing opposition views. I've seen lots of evidence for this, but not for Chavez.

You assessment of Nationalisation is over simplistic. I.e. USSR bad, therefore nationalisation bad.

This simplification requires: nationalised health bad, nationalised fire service bad, taking back your nations oil assets from oligarchs and using it to boost public services is bad (services with intergeneration returns).

Ben, "that'd do it right there." Yeah that'l do it if you you have a big gun, a prior motive and are looking for plausible deniability. I suppose it worked with WMD. But ben it doesn't cut if for the military over through of an elected president. For that you need unambitious proof, and for criminals like Bush that was not even enough.

Chavez, do you truly not understand the difference between "nationalised" and "government-owned"?

Gaz, yes nationalised as in fire departments were nationalised cos' private ones were too inefficient. And nationalised as in US health care needs to be nationalised. And nationalised as in, it would have been better to nationalise the banks rather thank just give them all our money.

Whas that the point you were thinking of?

Hi Gaz, perhaps one of the most efficient carbon prices could be attained by nationalising coal reserves (and other fossil fuel, like Chavez).

Or if free market fundamentalist still hold sway, we could at least raise royalties from the piddling 3-6% to say 30-60%.

By Mark Byrne (not verified) on 07 Aug 2009 #permalink

BPL, No, but I do see that Murdoch can have more far reaching power and greater dictatorial control than most heads of state. And unlike Chavez, Murdoch is reducing diversity in the Media.

I still can't find evidence for the claim that Chavez is (or has been) closing newspapers.

Rather Chavez freed-up radio spectrum for diverse voices (non-corporate consolidated) which included not renewing the license of broad cast spectrum from one television station that aided the criminal coup.

Venezuela still has the dominant voice of corporate consolidated media (just in a less dominant position). And Chavez still gets overwhelming bad press from Venezuelaâs media oligarchâs and the populus still disagree with the oligarchs and keep voting for Chavez.

I think the public like the better dividend they get from owning their national assets (surprise surprise another oil state in which the USA oligarchs want more control).

...US health care needs to be nationalised.

Yeah, like Britain. Our system isn't perfect, but seriously. Britain's nationalised system has to be just about the worst health care system since, well, since modern medicine.

How many people a year does Britain's system bankrupt?

What percentage of people in Britain are uninsurable?

What percentage of people in Britain after a lifetime of paying directly or indirectly for their health insurance, are at risk of having their coverage rescinded when they have a large claim?

Yeah, ben, our system isn't perfect. Our system is great for a bunch of us, and sucks bit rotten putrid chunks of scum for way too many of us.

ben, what is your evidence that Britain's health system is "about the worst health care system since, well, since modern medicine."

Unlike the USA's corporate profit model, in Britain everyone is covered. And Britain achieve this a lower per capita cost. Infact most social democracies have a national (public) health system. And these civilised countries achieve better than the [poor results](http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/extract/337/jul21_1/a889) of the [failed US model](http://content.healthaffairs.org/cgi/content/abstract/22/3/89).

Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am, stuck in the middle with you.

I thought this topic was about Plimer vs Monbiot?

Chavez: "Whas (sic) that the point you were thinking of?"

The point was that it's one thing for a government to set up a fire brigade or a newspaper or bank and it's entirely another thing to nationalise a privately owned fire departments, newspapers or banks.

Neven, let's relate this to Plimer.

Chavez is creating a straw man argument, that it's OK for Cahvez to seize control of private assets because the UK government did the same with the BBC and national health, which of course it didn't.

Plimer uses straw man arguments too, and they're just as silly.

See, not off-topic after all.

"Jeff! How's that whole "Chavez isn't a dictator" thing working out for you!? Shutting down all the private media... it's for the people, right?"

Ben, before you make any more nonsensical statements like this copied straihgt from your corporate media, I suggest that you learn the facts. Mark Weisbrot deconstructs your comic level book analysis here:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/aug/04/venezuela-media-fre…

More than 85% of the media in Venezuala is owned by the far right. I have seen programmes on these stations where things are said about Chavez that if they were to appear on the US media describing US politicians, the FCC would shut down the station in seconds and throw the suspects into jail for lengthy prison terms. Heck, Chavez even allowed RCTV, which was allegedly well-involved in the 2002 coup, to retain its cable license. Could you imagine a US Network being allowed to retain a cable network after being implicated in a coup attempt on the president?

Ben, if you want to try and debate me, get some facts straight. Its clear that you have very limited sources of information. Let's just say that you and I start on very uneven playing fields and leave it at that.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 08 Aug 2009 #permalink

I also find it amusing at the hostiltiy aimed by many in the US and UK towards Chavez, Morales, Correa, and any other leaders who do not take their orders from Washington. The problem is that elites in the south and their much larger coutnerparts in the north have generally seen the assets of South America as a sort of service function for themselves. When this capital flow is threatened, or, more importantly redirected towards internal development, and, thus not seen as the sole property of the corporate and political elites, leaders like Chavez are demonized. Note how the US media unrepentently attacks Chavez but goes softly softly on leaders like Uribe, Mubaruk, and the leaders of other states like Saudi Arabia with horrific human rights records but which fulfil their service functions to the US. Check US media accounts of Saddam before he invaded Kuwait - many were positive. Go through a Lexus-Nexus search of the terms Kurds and Turkey or Kurds and Iraq, and you will find that the US media 'discovered' Saddam's atrocities towards Kurds when it could serve as a useful propaganda toll (e.g. after 1990). Before then it was invisible. The horrific Turkish treatment of its own Kurdish population, much of it paid for by the US which supplied military hardware in full knowledge that it would be used against the Kurds remained invisible to the US media throughout the 1990s. Some 30,000 Kurds were killed in Turkey between 1994 and 1997, but little of this was reported in the west. Why? Because Turkey was and is a valuable client state of the US.

A FAIR report into media coverage of Chavez in 2008 found that out of 100 articles, 70 were negative and 30 mixed; by contrast, for Uribe, whom runs an exccedingly corrupt regime in Colombia, out of 100 articles most were either positive or mixed. Uribe is a US client/puppet; Chavez is not. The Colombian government is up to its neck in cahoots with right wing paramilitaries. More trade unionists die at the hands of these paras every year than in the rest of the world combined.

Note how US media coverage of other US client states over the years has also veered from invisible to negligible. So, Ben, before you wade in here with your hypocritical nonsense, learn a little bit of history. Read declassified planning documents. Most importantly: grow up.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 08 Aug 2009 #permalink

Jeff Harvey writes:

I have seen programmes on these stations where things are said about Chavez that if they were to appear on the US media describing US politicians, the FCC would shut down the station in seconds and throw the suspects into jail for lengthy prison terms.

No such thing, Jeff. In the U.S. we have "The First Amendment," which prohibits the FCC from doing any such thing. The FCC doesn't employ police officers, by the way, nor can they conduct trials or convict defendants. And if they did conduct trials, the law would require the defendants to be provided with legal counsel, at public cost if necessary.

You're not a US citizen, are you? I'm guessing from A) your abysmal ignorance of US civil rights law, and B) the fact that you spell program "programme," which is correct in the Commonwealth nations but not in the US.

Barton,

Sorry, but given that successive US governments violate constitutional amendments all of the time, your vacuous riposte holds no water. For instance, I think the 5th Amendment says that 'all international treaties signed by the US are the supreme law of the land' - this includes the UN Charter which the US shat all over when it invaded Iraq.

So much for constitutional law.

As for the US, you are telling me that if some radio pundit called for the assasination of the US president on a national network, or else called him 'Hitler' or a 'known child molester' or some other such nonsense that there wouldn't be massive repercussions? Gimme a break. This rotinely happens on right wing networks in Venezuela. Why aren't you irate over the treatment of dieenting journalists in Us client states like Egypt or Saudi Arabia? Why always Venezuela?

C'mon Barton. Get real. Wake up. Your mainstream media are so utterly beholden to corporate interests (their advertisers or owners) that your press is hardly free. Its totally corrupted. In Venezuela, the vast majority of the media is openly hostile to Chavez because they come from the privileged elites. In the US, the only way one can rise to power is to be utterly subservient to such interests.

To answer your question I am British (born in Canada) but have lived in the US. Most importantly, stop letting your patriotic and ideological blinkers get in the way of reality. You are clearly are smart guy, and I like your climate change related posts, but your political acumen leaves a heck of a lot to be desired. You are highly sensitive of any criticism of abhorent US foreign policies. If you bothered to look a little, you'd see that there is a major gap between the exceptionalist propaganda you've been drip fed since birth and reality.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 09 Aug 2009 #permalink

> How many people a year does Britain's system bankrupt?

None. All bankrupcies are within the remit of other reasons. How many have the US system bankrupted? Australia? Sweden?

> What percentage of people in Britain are uninsurable?

For health? None.

> What percentage of people in Britain after a lifetime of paying directly or indirectly for their health insurance, are at risk of having their coverage rescinded when they have a large claim?

None.

> Posted by: Lee

Thank you for that party political broadcast for the Right-wingnut party...

As for the US, you are telling me that if some radio pundit called for the assasination of the US president on a national network, or else called him 'Hitler' or a 'known child molester' or some other such nonsense that there wouldn't be massive repercussions?

They would not be thrown in jail. They might be out of a job, but not thrown in jail. And the government would have nothing to do with the job loss, it would be public opinion forcing the idiot out of the job over fears of losing advertising revenue.

Here's the final thing: how long will Chavez remain in power? What is it with left-leaning Latin American heads of state and their desire to remain in power for life? Heck, even Pinochet stepped down peacefully.

@Mark:

Here in the US, I personally know two families that have been bankrupted by health issues.

I know several people who have pre-existing conditions and are uninsurable, except through an employer offering adequate insurance and open enrollment - they are forever one layoff and one missed payment away from being uninsured.

And I have a relative who bankrupted her family when she died from breast cancer, because her insurance company rescinded her private insurance after more than a decade of collecting premiums. Seems she forgot to mention having a precancerous skin lesion removed several years before she insured with this company, in the 'previous medical conditions?" box of the form. She did list smoking and a famimly history of breast cancer, and the company accepted her. The precancerous skin growth had nothing to do with her breast cancer, and of course the insurance company didn't refund all the premiums they collected for over a decade, when they informed her that she actually wasn't insured.

"Thank you for that party political broadcast for the Right-wingnut party..."

Ummm.. did I mention the part where the US health care system sucks scabrous monkey nuts?

Re: Jeff Harvey

Just for the record, Glenn Beck (US right-wing pundit with a conspiracy fetish) has openly fantasized about assassinating Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi on his show, complete with an actress in a mask and 'poisoned' wine. He's also called the President a racist, and while I don't recall a specific instance it would't surprise me if he's done Hitler comparisons. He still has his job.

I agree with your 'beholden' point, but Ben of all people is right here. (gasp, we agree!) With Beck's open treason, there's either not enough outrage or some News Corp jiggery-pokery going on. (I suspect measures of both.)

...Hit Post when I meant to hit Preview.

I should also note that Beck has lost advertisers over his statements, so fear of losing ad revenue can't be reason enough to fire him. That's the reason I suspect something else. (Not to mention that, if ad revenue is the metric of success in the media, it only supports Jeff's point about being beholden to corporate interests; funny how Ben's remark corroborates this point while trying to protest.)

> Here in the US, I personally know two families that have been bankrupted by health issues.

If you were talking about the US that wasn't clear.

I was talking about the UK.

Which has, to be honest, the WORST public healthcare. Even then it beats the US medicare/insurance scam care.

Ben dearest, there are a whole bunch of leftist presidents in Latin America who have stepped down. An Interesting one who came back after your best buds screwed the pooch is Alan Garcia. OTOH you do remember the Somozas and Trujillos?

Mark, you got any data for the UK having the worst public health care? Any at all?

BEcause what you are saying does not match anything I've ever read anywhere except the kind of website run by the kind of people who think global warming is a scam.

In 2000 the WHO published a [report comparing health systems worldwide](http://www.who.int/whr/2000/en/). They ranked the UK as [#18 in overall health system performance](http://www.photius.com/rankings/healthranks.html), the USA as #37. The UK beat the US in [each and every category except for responsiveness and for expenditure in percent of GDP](http://www.photius.com/rankings/world_health_systems.html), where the US is ranked #1 in both cases.

21 of the 25 countries rated highest in overall performance are European (including 4 city-states like Monaco), the other four are Singapore, Oman, Japan and Columbia.

The difference between Glenn Beck and RCTV is Beck is a lunatic with a soapbox and the management of RCTV engaged in planning, executing and attempting to sustain a failed coup d'etat against a legitimate and popular elected government.

Chavez has shown incredible restraint for a so-called caudillo.

By luminous beauty (not verified) on 09 Aug 2009 #permalink

Gaz writes:
>Chavez is creating a straw man argument, that it's OK for Cahvez [sic] to seize control of private assets because the UK government did the same with the BBC and national health, which of course it didn't.

Gaz, I donât see your point about a common straw man. Plimer is a nut-job who ignores/misrepresents the science. Chavez is democratically elected leader who takes back control of national assets for the nation (oil, and a fraction of broadcast spectrum).

For decades Venezuela has been controlled by corrupt oligarchs, like too many impoverished yet resource rich nations. Iâm concerned with the original unjust acquisition of the assets, when the people were dispossessed.

Democracy means the demos get to decide what is fair. Though it is often hard to determine the wishes of the populus, a huge majority endorsed Chavez's reaquisition of the nation's oil. And I donât put preservation of oligarchic assets as a higher principle than democratically determined justice.

ben writes:

>Here's the final thing: how long will Chavez remain in power? What is it with left-leaning Latin American heads of state and their desire to remain in power for life? Heck, even Pinochet stepped down peacefully.

ben, so you are charging Chavez as an "*A-hole wanna-be dictator*" because of what you have decided he will do in the future?

Would you like another straw for your clutch?

BTW, how long should a populous be allowed to elected the same leader? In Britain, they kept the same elected leader for 20 years, in Canada for 22 years, in Australia for 22 years also.

Although it might be wise in Venezuela with a recent history of severe corruption, to keep some term limit, It is not undemocratic to ask a populous to extend/remove term limits.

BTW keep talking up Pinochetâs legacy, it helps clarify the [nature of your argument]( http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&safe=off&rls=com.microsoft:en-au&ei=…).

Gaz,

I think you backed the wrong horse in the attempt to relate Chavez to the topic of this post. Gorge Monbiot is [with Chavez](http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2006/05/16/a-well-of-hypocrisy/) in taking back the people's assests and using it's revenues for the people.

Plimer is with the IPA and their long known rejection of any governemnt intervention that would lessen the grip of the super rich. (This is my very shorthand description of the IPA).

By Mark Byrne (not verified) on 09 Aug 2009 #permalink

Jeff Harvey:
>>I have seen programmes on these stations where things are said about Chavez that if they were to appear on the US media describing US politicians, the FCC would shut down the station in seconds and throw the suspects into jail for lengthy prison terms.

Barton Responds:
>No such thing, Jeff. In the U.S. we have "The First Amendment," which prohibits the FCC from doing any such thing. The FCC doesn't employ police officers, by the way, nor can they conduct trials or convict defendants. And if they did conduct trials, the law would require the defendants to be provided with legal counsel, at public cost if necessary...

Barton, you'd get a [visit from the FBI](http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/uscode18/usc_sec_18_00002385----000-…) rather the FCC.

>Whoever knowingly or willfully advocates, abets, advises, or teaches the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying the government of the United States ... by force or violence, or by the assassination of any officer of any such government;â¦

>â¦Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both...

By Mark Byrne (not verified) on 09 Aug 2009 #permalink

About three days ago, IIRC.

I'm more concerned about him inciting violence, given the current scene at the town halls. Or elsewhere: a woman wa arrested with a small arsenal casing a military base because she thought it was an internment camp, citing Glenn Beck as her source.

Catch 22 states that prosecution of criminal action will be selective and biased in favour of those with disproportionate power.

Catch 22 means we impeach for lying about blow jobs, not for lying about intellegence, [invations, domsetic intrution, or torture](http://www.impeachbush.tv/).

Catch 22 means Glenn Beck and RCTV are heros and those standing against the concentration of power are villans.

By Janet Akerman (not verified) on 09 Aug 2009 #permalink

The problem with BPL here is that he loves the US like an ex-smoker loves talking of the dangers of smoking.

Because he sees the US as better than the place he fled, he confuses "better" with "perfect" and therefore the US can do no wrong.

Hi Brian D,

So if, for example, CBS or NBC spent and inordinate amount of time supporting the business community in the US, defended those who argued that the country needed a new government asap, supported a coup and then interviewed coup leaders (e.g. Pedro Carmona) within a few hours of the coup, recognizing them as the legitimate government, then this would not be seen as treason? Let's say Bush had been temporarily overthrown in a coup and returned to office (God forbid) during his presidency. How do you think the major networks that supported the coup all along would be treated? Multiple choice:

1. A slap on the wrist and told "Don't do it again!"
2. Nothing at all
3. The chief executives of the said networks rounded up and thrown in jail.

Mark Byrne said it beautifully by saying that the FCC would not be involved, but the FBI sure would. RCTV were up to their necks in the coup. Yet somehow the station retained its cable license. That shows remarkable restraint on the part of the Chavez government.

To come back to my post yesterday, why don't the likes of Ben and BPL ever get irate over far worse cases of torture, human righs violations and media control in US client states? I never see Ben writing in here about Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and other historical cases of US support for fascist repression, but they focus laser-like on Venezuela.

Lastly, Ben, what will happen when the old US buddy, Uribe, also gets term limits abolished? Will you be writing in here calling him a fascist dictator for life? If not, why not?

Chavez is NO communist. A socialist populist perhaps. In fact, right up until about 2003 he had taken a very cautious line and had not changed much politically at all. The elites were outraged with him not because of his left-wing policies, which had yet to materialize, but because he excluded them from his government and instead hand-picked his own friends and cronies. In other words, they no longer had their hands on the reins of power, which is a tradition amongst elites in the south. Only after the abortive coup and the 2003 strike did Chavez realize that he could not placate the rich establishment did he plow ahead with his Bolivarian kind of socialism. And even that has been limited. The rich in Venezual are still filthy rich. Many in the Barrios in the country think Chavez has not restructured the economy fast enough, even though his various Missions (e.g. Robinson, Ribas etc) have actually benefitted millions of poor, by providing free health care and literacy programs.

With respect to democracy, what is so different about Venezuela and many countries in Europe? Chavez has to win elections to stay in power. there are no term limits in Britain, Holland and many other nations over here. Moreover, according to recent Latinbarometro polls, amongst the general population Venezuala ranks at or near the top amongst all Latin American countries in how the people feel about the state of their democracy. This is because, perhaps for the first time ever, some of the country's vast resource wealth is being internally invested in programs to help the poor instead of leaving the country to serve the interests of western investors.

I agree that Chavez has many flaws, and that there is certainly corruption in the country, but certainly its not worse than Colombia and its miles better than previous regimes in the country and elsewhere across the continent.

NOW, let's get back to Plimer, which is what this thread is supposed to be all about...

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 09 Aug 2009 #permalink

Jeff Harvey writes:

As for the US, you are telling me that if some radio pundit called for the assasination of the US president on a national network, or else called him 'Hitler' or a 'known child molester' or some other such nonsense that there wouldn't be massive repercussions?

Sure there would. He'd be denounced everywhere, and someone might even try to get the FCC to lift his broadcasting license. It might well wind up in court.

What would not happen is the sequence of events you outlines in which the FCC somehow throws him in jail.

BTW, do you remember when Jerry Falwell was distributing hundreds of thousands of copies of a videotape accusing the president of the United States (Bill Clinton) of murdering specific people? What happened to Falwell?

We have freedom of speech and of the press in the U.S. They don't have them in Venezuela any more, which is a shame, because Venezuela used to be a democracy.

Gimme a break. This rotinely happens on right wing networks in Venezuela. Why aren't you irate over the treatment of dieenting journalists in Us client states like Egypt or Saudi Arabia? Why always Venezuela?

Because you and your pal Chavez have been posting a bunch of adulatory crap about Hugo Chavez and I've been responding to that. If someone here were calling Saudi Arabia a democracy I'd object to that, too.

C'mon Barton. Get real. Wake up. Your mainstream media are so utterly beholden to corporate interests (their advertisers or owners) that your press is hardly free.

So it wouldn't really matter if the government shut it down, right?

Its totally corrupted. In Venezuela, the vast majority of the media is openly hostile to Chavez because they come from the privileged elites. In the US, the only way one can rise to power is to be utterly subservient to such interests.

Yeah, I guess that's why George Bush and Barack Obama are identical on every policy question.

Well, I said I wouldn't respond to Mark's lunacy any more, but since he's spreading lies about me, I may as well respond this once.

The problem with BPL here is that he loves the US like an ex-smoker loves talking of the dangers of smoking.

Because he sees the US as better than the place he fled,

I was born in the US and always lived here.

he confuses "better" with "perfect" and therefore the US can do no wrong.

The US has done a lot of wrong, much of which I have protested publicly, even on this blog.

>Because you and your pal Chavez have been posting a bunch of adulatory crap about Hugo Chavez and I've been responding to that.

Pardon me Barton, you cannot substantiate your claims (closing newspapers?). Stop slandering the guy and study US code 18.

BPL writes, "We have freedom of speech and of the press in the U.S. They don't have them in Venezuela any more, which is a shame, because Venezuela used to be a democracy".

I agree that the US people live in a society that is very open. But puh-lease don't suggest to me that your media is 'independent'. Its beholden to powerful vested interests. There's volumes of evidence to support this.

Of course Venezuelans have freedom of speech. If they didn't why are 85% of the media owned by right wing elites who vociferously attack Chavez every minute of the day? Moreover, there are a few outliers in the US media, but by-and-large it is dominated by interests supine to concentrated power. The US media isn't a fraction as independent as that in Venezuela, as Mark Weisbrot said in the article I linked yesterday.

Read my last post Barton. It shreds your dumb argument that Venezuela isn't a democracy. In fact, its miles more democratic thatn the US, where one has to be vetted by powerful itnerests to stand any chance of being elected. Polls over the past 5 years by Latinbarometro, the most prestigious polling agency in Latin America, have consistently shown that the Venezuelan people feel more empowered by their democracy than people in just about every other Latin American country. As I have said, BPL, Ben and their ilk are only rehashing the views of Venezuelan elites, which represent about 10-20% of the population. Why should their views count over more than 70% of the electorate? If the US media wasn't so idealogically blinkered by its supine subservience to wealthy, powerful interests, it would realize that Chavez, for all of his faults, has improved the lot of the poorest 50% of Venezuelans by a great deal. All BPL and Ben do is apparently soak up propaganda from the US corporate MSM and rehash it here. Are you nalso telling me Venezuela was more democratci when Carlos Andres Perez was president in the 1980s and 1990s and saw wealth concentrated even more at the top? When he sent the national guard out to shoot protesters by the hundreds in 1989? It seems to me, Barton, that in your view a democracy is one where US interests are supported. Any country that refuses to do as it is told by the US is no longer democratic. Is this what you are saying?

I also find it amusing that so-called liberals in the US constantly downplay or ignore the fact that their own country is hardly a healthy democracy. They also downplay or ignore the often horrific consequences of US foreign policy, and instead often focus their wrath on non-alinged countries while ignoring huan rights violations and a lack of democracy in US client states.

Note also how Barton didn't address the point I raised regarding the fate of any network that actively supported a coup in the US. Would they only lose their license, or would they be thrown in jail for lengthy prison terms? RCTV supported the coup all along, and ONLY lost its operating license (it retained a cable license) after Chavez was reinstated. What would happen to any network in the US that supported a coup of the president after he was returned to power?

Sorry BPL; I like your posts on climate change, but your views of Latin America and Venezuela in particular are utter nonsense.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 10 Aug 2009 #permalink

>Sorry BPL; I like your posts on climate change, but your views of Latin America and Venezuela in particular are utter nonsense.

I agree on both points. I'm a BLP fan usually, but ignoring the facts and restating false arguments, its not up to BLP's excellent standard.

For me, a moderate assessment would be Jeff's:

>I agree that Chavez has many flaws, and that there is certainly corruption in the country, but certainly its not worse than Colombia and its miles better than previous regimes in the country ...

But I'd go further, I say Chavez is better than a lot of other leaders, he just faces stronger opposition due to the strategic wealth of his nation's oil. He can be better than many and still have big room for improvement.

Chavez is substanitially shaped by the power of those who oppose him. He is in part an reaction to oligarchs and concentrated corporate control. But he is also limited in facing a multilateral neoliberal opposition.

How do you be a true people serving democrat in a nation with entrench interests for ripping off the assents of that nation? You can't serve the people by rolling over and letting the exploitation continue. You can't serve the people by siding with the corporate masters and aiding the exploitation.

Increasingly it looks like you can only serve the people by facing up to the towers of power and hope you will have the people's backing for a length of time sufficient to make dent in the corrupt oligarchical control.

> > The problem with BPL here is that he loves the US like an ex-smoker loves talking of the dangers of smoking. Because he sees the US as better than the place he fled,

> I was born in the US and always lived here.

Then what was your rant against me when I found similarities between you and Stalin? You posited then that you had lost people and KNEW how bad Stalin was.

Were you telling porkies? Or were you missing out context that let it be thought you may have lived in russian-controlled territories?

Which do YOU think it is?

Feel like pulling back your asinine accusation now? Or are you going to pull a Shrub on this?

Or are you going to threaten shooting me again (nice example of Free Speech [as long as I agree with it], isn't it...)?

> The US has done a lot of wrong, much of which I have protested publicly, even on this blog.

> Posted by: Barton Paul Levenson

Not if it means treating Venezuela (who are one of the Axis of Evil and, like the other members of that august group, want to sell their products in Euros rather than US Dollars. A strange coincidence, yes?) with the correct level of cynicism.

You INSIST that the US is freer.

It isn't.

Hardly recognising the wrongs done, isn't it.

> Yeah, I guess that's why George Bush and Barack Obama are identical on every policy question.

> Posted by: Barton Paul Levenson

Ah, now you sound like Max Anacker or Billy Bob and other whacko denialists.

'cept you deny any corruption is endemic in the US.

Who said that they were identical?

You.

Who seems to think they have to be identical for the US to be corrupt?

You.

Jeff: I am not knowledgeable enough about the situation in Venezuela to hold an informed opinion on the subject (though I am inclined to side with you based on the summaries presented here, I must caution that as ill-informed opinion for the time being). I was merely providing an example of a US media source essentially advocating for treason. It's very, very rare that Ben and I agree (it was rather amusing when he realized that my political views weren't textbook Democrat/Republican and thus he couldn't shoehorn me), and like you, I respect Barton's scientific knowledge while arguing with him over other matters.

Mark Byrne: I'm Canadian and not a lawyer. I can't speak authoritatively on US Code 18. However, Beck did take some flak for it, with the official defense from Fox being that it was ad-libbed (a la a Freudian slip), which is more damning for Beck and defensible for Fox. You can view the clip yourself here.

Mark (not Byrne): You're being deliberately provocative again. You can disagree with Barton without invoking that hateful episode involving comparisons to Stalin and death threats. I say this as one inclined to side with you here (though I again caution this with my own unfamiliarity with the subject).

> You can disagree with Barton without invoking that hateful episode involving comparisons to Stalin and death threats.

> Posted by: Brian D

Would this be in the same vein as we can disagree with denialists without mentioning Plimer's "The sun is made of iron" or "It's the sun/GCR/not happening [delete as appropriate]", etc?

No, BPL brought up the "I've never lived in Russia" and the REASON I said he did was because I thought he was going on about personal experience in that episode.

So how do I respond to BPL's claims of lying about him without mentioning The Stalin Incident?

And isn't the "I will KEEEL YOU!!!" episode another example of how BPL WILL NOT believe some things with no thought of rationality in response (which is, after all, why he demonises Chavez so badly [as in 'not well'])?

Maybe a little reflection of his problems will make him realise he HAS a problem.

Which is the first step on the path to health.

Didn't Fox say in court that the First Amendment meant that Fox didn't have to tell the truth, just say stuff?

Which is quite ballsy.

But means that their rhetoric is trivially ignorable. However, they only preach to the converted, so no problems there for them...

BrianD, thanks for the clip, and your comments.

I can see how Beck would not be prosecuted for this comment, he wasn't really advocating assassination or overthrow of the government. But my oh my, what kind of a mind finds that skit funny?

By Mark Byrne (not verified) on 10 Aug 2009 #permalink

Mark Byrne: If you're interested in brain rot, spend as long as you can stomach looking up some of his 'greatest hits' - most of which can be found, probably, by googling "Glenn Beck conspiracy" (he discovers a new liberal conspiracy roughly twice a week). Alternatively, you can focus on the rebuttals - Stewart and Colbert's jabs at him are far more entertaining, and are usually made in response to the kind of lunacy that I'm referring to. (Being Canadian I can't check these links for accuracy (curse you, Viacom!), but a sample Stewart and Colbert should get the ball rolling.)

Unrelated note, now that I'm not posting from an iPhone and can easily include links, here's the story I mentioned earlier. Imagine what had happened if she had been more careful - particularly in the context of this report*. If you're more familiar with US code than I am, would repeated lines like Beck's in the mass media count as inciting such violence?

Mark (not Byrne): Fair enough. However, despite disagreements over political and religious positions, I still consider Barton an ally - and a valuable one at that! You've probably seen it yourself in any thread with bad physics in it. I'd rather not alienate allies, particularly while climate denialism runs rampant. Understandably, I may come across as accomodationist on these regards. (I am not accomodationist myself, as I hopefully made clear the last time we got involved in discussions like this. I just believe that satire and irreverance are more useful tools than insult and injury.) On an unrelated note, have you read this (or the Cosmic Variance original)?

For the record, if Barton's personal attacks had been as central to his argument as Plimer's bad science is to his, your analogy would be fine. Sadly, Barton provided more substance to his position than that (statistics, quotations, and similar), both in our previous discussion and here, which means that discussing behaviour rather than substance is invalid. There's still room for refutation within that information, though I admit my own unfamiliarity with the issue makes me a poor judge of how strong either argument is. I merely think addressing the argument rather than the techniques would be more apropos here, in much the same way linking to Skeptical Science is a better response than yelling at inactivists.
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* For the record, there was also a similar report slightly earlier on left-wing extremism. It focused more on electronic warfare rather than guns-a-blazing assassination attempts. The right-wing report had piles of outrage thrown at it, but the left-wing one barely got any press at all, leading some to think it didn't exist. This should head off any complaints about referencing this report.

Looks as if this "debate", or what passes for it, will continue even when people stand with water up to their eyeballs trying to escape searing heat waves.

You can't argue with the laws of physics and chemistry, particularly if you don't understand them in the first place, or if you have an inclination of going back to the caves, as some members of H. "sapiens" seem to.

>Didn't Fox say in court that the First Amendment meant that Fox didn't have to tell the truth, just say stuff?
...However, they only preach to the converted, so no problems there for them...

Except many of Fox's converted are angry crazies with lots of guns. One might expect stiring them up (even with BS) would have some anticipated consequences.

Mark: The problem with BPL here is that he loves the US like an ex-smoker loves talking of the dangers of smoking. Because he sees the US as better than the place he fled,

BPL: I was born in the US and always lived here.

Mark: Then what was your rant against me when I found similarities between you and Stalin? You posited then that you had lost people and KNEW how bad Stalin was.

BPL: Well, Mark, as it turns out, people can have relatives in other countries. My wife's family, for example, mostly lives in Canada.

> BPL: Well, Mark, as it turns out, people can have relatives in other countries. My wife's family, for example, mostly lives in Canada.

> Posted by: Barton Paul Levenson

And so did you ever say that you were living in the US and were, in fact, talking about relatives who lived in russia?

No, you didn't.

So what's wrong with assuming someone who complains about living in russia with stories of personal family tragedy actually *lives* in russia?

Mark, I remember BPL talking about his relatives that suffered under Nazis and Stalin.

Can't remember for sure but I think it was in the page were you went toe to toe on religion etc.

> Mark, I remember BPL talking about his relatives that suffered under Nazis and Stalin.

> Can't remember for sure but I think it was in the page were you went toe to toe on religion etc.

> Posted by: MAB

It was.

And having relatives *usually* means you live there too.

It's quite common, isn't it.

So hardly an unusual assumption to make.

PS there were more than just myself and BPL toe-to-toe.

Agreed.

Mark BTW, are you in the UK?

What does that have to do with the price of tomatoes, MAB?

Is that tomatoes or tomAYtoes?

Pilmer's response to Monbiot are those I would expect from my 3 year old niece.

"What ice cream do you want, honey?"
"The car is green!"
"I said, what ice cream do you want, honey?"
"The sky is blue!"

At least with my niece, she'll eventually directly answer one question out of the five or six I'll ask. That's a better return than Pilmer.

What can we conclude? Pilmer = Epic Fail. Monbiot is the clear winner in this debate.

By Former Skeptic (not verified) on 12 Aug 2009 #permalink

Plimer's unable to justify anything he says or writes yet is paid to teach students, as a full professor no less, by Adelaide Uni. This is .... marvellous!

It should be an impossible picture but no, just a normal day in denialism's looking-glass world.

Whoops. Obviously I meant PLImer.

By Former Skeptic (not verified) on 12 Aug 2009 #permalink

Michael,

If you are interested in testing for yourself some of the criticisms of Plimer, here are [a range of reviews](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/global_warming/plimer/) and critiques by people who address specific issues.

Though it sounds like you may have already made up your mind, without the need for reading further.

By Mark Byrne (not verified) on 13 Aug 2009 #permalink