The Exxon saga rumbles on. Via RK on fb I find Exxon Wins Latest Legal Round in Climate Fight With Mass. AG from Inside Climate News. And the motto is: those that live by the courts will die by the courts. Or, in this case, a federal judge in Texas says Massachusetts AG Maura Healey must answer questions about her climate investigation to Exxon lawyers. There is astonishment from the "good guys" over the very idea that their actions could possibly be subject to scrutiny: the order is extraordinary because it allows the target of her investigation to investigate her agency and so on. Well, tough. If you choose to fight on the science, that's what you'll be judged on. But if you choose to fight in the courts, you're subject to whatever they happen to decide. I've been critical of running to the courts before; this seems a perfect example of what goes wrong.
This is old news
[Dec 7th? Not quite up-to-the-minute perhaps but not old I think -W]
and very much to be expected.
What do you think of this.
"“These questions don’t just indicate an attack on civil servants here in Washington,” said an Energy Department employee. “They amount to a witch hunt in D.O.E.’s 17 national labs, where scientists have the independence to do their work — yet here are questions that are reminiscent of an inquisition rather than actual curiosity about how the labs work.”
"The questionnaire asks for lists of employees involved in key climate change programs, including all those who have attended United Nations climate change conferences. It also asks for lists of employees involved in designing a metric known as the Social Cost of Carbon, a figure used by the Obama administration to measure the economic impact of carbon dioxide pollution, and to justify the economic cost of climate regulations.
"It specifically asks which Energy Department programs are essential to meeting the goals of President Obama’s climate change agenda, which Mr. Trump has vowed to roll back."
Day by day, in every way, the purge is under way.
[The quotes aren't good, but you're panicking. The "purge" is not underway. No-one has been purged -W]
This just in from the Washington Post about an hour ago. “The CIA has concluded in a secret assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win the presidency, rather than just to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system, according to officials briefed on the matter.”
Well. Imagine that! It is a good thing that Russia is not communist anymore or this revelation might be something of a problem! But hey, the Ruskies are going to be our best buds now! Heck, they are even helping us decide whom to elect for president now! Jesus, come to think of it, two of Trumputin's three wives were Eastern European weren't they? Wow! Talk about sleepers!! And now Rex Tillerson as a front runner for Secretary of State? Perfect! Whom would YOU want to be secretary of state if you were directing the USA AND if you were also influenced by the world's largest natural gas exporter? Whom would you chose? Perhaps someone sympathetic to climate change denialism?
Oh and one other thing. You know that NATO alliance? Well there are a lot of old colonial possessions I mean friends of Russia that they would like to get to know again! In the Biblical sense!!! So would you mind just dissolving that rather rude NATO alliance now that we are going to be bosom buddies? Thanks so much! Well.Gotta go now! Прощай!
PS. The reason it is taking so long to make cabinet decisions is that P.E. Trumputin is having trouble deciphering the coded messages that you are sending with the new linens each day. Would you mind sending him a new code book?
WMC has rightly criticized me for being sloppy and overhasty. It's hard to convey the big picture of climate disinformation propagation I've followed over the last decade in brief with specifics. I'll have to take a break (life interferes) but at some point might revisit with a more consistent summary and clearer references. I do wish Jane Mayer's work was better known, because it is outstanding. DeSmog has some of the interconnections.
The Trump developments are extreme and look like indicators of censorship on the way. Here's more on the DOE questionnaires from Andrew Freedman at Mashable; he's a good reporter who stays on top of these things. It might be worth noting. If it happens, it will affect worldwide access to US data that hasn't been suppressed since 2009.
"A coming administration hostile to climate science
"The transition team's questionnaire, which reads more like a subpoena, also mentions the possibility of a 10 percent budget cut to the department starting in fiscal year 2018, and expresses skepticism about the Energy Information Administration's calculations about how much renewable energy is likely to be used in the coming years.
"“The people who are running the transition at some of the science agencies are some of the people who have been most hostile to the missions of those agencies," Halpern said of the Trump administration transition effort."
"He noted that the questionnaire is so intrusive that not all of the information requested is public, which means the department won't be able to fully answer all of the questions.
"Curiously, in the section dealing with the Energy Department's national laboratories, one question asks for a list of all websites "maintained by or contributed to by laboratory staff during work hours for the past three years."
"It's unclear what that question is for, but it raises the possibility that websites dedicated to climate change, including data sets from Oak Ridge and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories, could be taken offline. This would stifle climate research at nongovernmental entities in the U.S. and abroad.
""Scientific information provided by the government is critical to the work of university researchers, state governments, and countless others," Halpern said.
""During the Bush Administration, government scientific websites were altered or disappeared completely," he said.
"He issued this warning based in part upon the questionnaire: "Anyone who relies on publicly available federal government research and information should take steps to ensure that they download what they need before the new administration steps in.""
[At the moment it is very hard to sort fact from fiction, and almost nothing is known with certainty. And being president doesn't give you unlimited powers: just look at Obama. Yet people often seem to speak as though Trump can do whatever he wants -W]
Good point. Courts are just a social construct of sorts, the scientific method does not apply there.
Except that trump has both houses too, so they will rubber stamp whatever anti-science bill he and his pals want. You really are starting to sound like a friend of mine who stated that brexit won't happen because intelligent people in government will find a way of stopping it. A month later, brexit seems even more likely.
[Trump doesn't have both houses, the Repubs do. Trump is barely a Repub at all -W]
I've been trying, within this limited format, to provide some information about the reliability of sources. Of course I cannot convey this by direct brain transfer. I did try, in my writing about voter suppression elsewhere, to explain that all three branches of US government are increasingly under the control, not of decent Republicans, but extremists bent on "drowning government in a bathtub."
UCS was formed to provide a countermeasure of support to scientists working on the problem in the face of scientific dishonesty.
I recently ordered a copy of Dark Money for a friend in the UK, and in the process had a look at the reviews. Perhaps that might help communicate that Jane Mayer is a credible, even an outstanding, investigative reporter. I'd be happy to send you a copy as well, but since that's unlikely or impossible:
[No, don't send me a copy; I already have too many books to read. I have some sympathy for her thesis, which of course I'm already aware of. I think she over-estimates their importance as well as (as I've said elsewhere) somewhat misconstrues their motives; regarding your "opponents" as evil super-villains is almost invariably wrong -W]
I personally am quite comfortable and likely to remain so; Boston and Princeton are strongholds of reason and reality-based thinking if you are not poor or black or gay or have a funny name.
So my purpose in persisting here is more to broadcast the warning contained in the bolded type; that if scientists have a stake in access to the public data available from our current scientific organizations, they need to save what they need before January 20, 2017. It will take days, months, maybe even a year or so, but all branches of government will be in the hands of the most extreme science deniers, and many local authorities and courts have been packed as well: not the Spencers and Pielkes, but the Moncktons and Singers and Happers and Soons and their allies.
[I'm not sure that's even possible. The "skeptic" / denialist bench is very thin; there just aren't enough of them with any kind of credentials. At least, if you're talking about scientists, and so I suppose you're talking about federally employed scientists? I don't really understand your implication that courts will be packed with "Pielkes" or worse; or is it an analogy? Probably: you mean, the kind of judges which are as Monckton is to Spencer? If so, I have no real way to judge, being unfamiliar with your appointments process -W]
Being pleased that some Texas judge was willing to grant access to years of email communications ignores the fundamental problem. Maura Healey is able to take care of herself and knows the risks.
Would you be happy to have some hostile government agency grab all your emails? Would you be able to conduct science under the watchful eye of a powerful and hostile authority?
[First, "grab all your emails" isn't what the present case is about. To quote from my source: A federal judge reaffirmed an order that Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey must submit to questioning by lawyers for ExxonMobil over her investigation of the oil industry giant... part of a sweeping discovery order issued by the judge in October that also could open the door for Exxon to plow through Healey's internal records related to her investigation. So *at the moment* it is only about answering questions. The emails bit appears speculative at this stage.
Second, the reason I consider this amusing is the tit-for-tat nature of the case: MH has been probing Exxon, but for some reason is outraged to be probed back. Since I haven't been suing Exxon, I can see no reason I should fear them suing me. I did write, rather explicitly, that those who live by the courts can expect to die by them. It is all very biblical. Would I like to work under threat of having all my emails exposed to the whole wide world? Probably not. And neither would Exxon. However, I hear no defence of them from you; your defence of privacy is partisan. And this, I think, is bad: you should be prepared to defend the right to privacy irrespective of who the subject is, not based on whether you agree with them or not -W]
Remember that Mann and Hayhoe have received numerous death threats.
[True. But not from Exxon. And whilst I wouldn't care for death threats either, we should remember that in other parts of the world (Turkey, Syria) far worse is happening. So don't focus too much on the threats; focus on what is actually happening -W]
dammit! "if you are not poor ..." should have been "even if you are poor ..." fwiw
I hear and enjoy your appeals to reason, and appreciate your tolerance of my effort to spell this out.
Fair enough. I'm not terribly concerned about Healey and Exxon, to be honest. Tillerson as Secretary of State, now that bothers me.
When I said old news I was referring to something I saw a month or two ago about that Texas judge. Not sure what's different in the new article, but the facts were familiar to me and I had already let them go as BAU. As you say, Healey can take care of herselt, and she knew who she was prodding.
Trump's personal beliefs hardly matter, as long as he needs the support of the republicans to do what he wants. But what he wants to do, such as tax cuts, happens to align perfectly with what the republicans want to do. So your point is naieve, if not childishly stupid.
Your focus on my sloppy language has allowed you to, in my very humble opinion, burk the issue. Of course I'm not suggesting that the Pielkes and Curry will be appointed as judges. Nor have I suggested that this is instantaneous (we are talking about a four year term). The courts have been and continue to be packed with Teapublicans using legal means of obstruction. Obama made some headway, but not enough, against this. His race was against him; that Trump was a "birther" helps him there.
I meant to say RPJr, Curry, and even Spencer will be used as the "balance" in fair and balanced against Happer, Michaels, Christy, Lindzen, Soon, Steyn, Rep. Lamar Smith (head Science Committee, House), Sen. Cruz (ditto, Senate), Inhofe, et al. You have a point that Singer et al. are aging out. So is Giaever.
Jane Mayer is relevant because as she (and Mooney and Oreskes/Conway) have pointed out, there is a mirror infrastructure that serves well to inoculate claims like Soon's that the repression is (also mirrored) going the opposite to what is claimed by real science.
I had hoped you would look at the reviews; I don't wish to push the book on you, only wish to establish Jane Mayer's credibility. Her book is dense with evidence and story, the victims of poisoning the environment, the deaths, the intimidation, the organization which is detailed at Desmog as well.
In Cambridge, as I said before, you are not exposed to this real world hatred of conventional science and the acceptance of the liar liar tit for tat that enables the Heartland/Heritage (Koch) powers that be. Trump fans (and they are legion) are eager for the structure of conventional civilization to be torn down, and everything Trump does (including dismissing security briefings and keeping his business ties, and embracing Putin) fits their idea of a guy who rips the guts out of our conventional way of doing business. He's a TV hero, and that's more real than real.
Perhaps I am so passionate because I am fooling myself that the electors in 8 days will come to their senses and subject us to the riots and shootings that will accompany not putting this monster in office. Closer to the UK, he had hoped that his brother by another mother, Farage, would get those windmills in his view forbidden. Instead, he was forbidden to build his monster wall against climate change because of some tiny snails. Hah!
If Trump survives one year on current evidence William is wrong and there will be a widespread purge. But it is a case of biter bit, Susan.
The same actions we fear from Trump were what was advocated for by warmists to treat Willie Soon etc. And very few people stood up against it, instead there were going to be witch hunts of skeptics.
The EPA of "1984" has its origins in the Salem of the last 20 years.
The same actions we fear from Trump were what was advocated for by warmists to treat Willie Soon etc.
How is it the same? There are two main criticisms of Soon that I've seen. One is that his papers are poor and worthy of criticism (curve-fitting exercises mainly) and the other is that he hasn't always openly acknowledged who is funding his research, especially as it might indicate a conflict of interest.
"he does not require daily intelligence briefings because he's a "smart person" "
"a series of big environmental decisions including US participation in the Paris climate change deal will come quickly"
Pride comes before ? Err...., is it appointment to most powerful position in the world?
Here, this'll spin well:
PS, from the banner above that link, Google warns:
WARNING: THIS MAY NOT BE A RELIABLE SOURCE. (EXTREME BIAS)
[I wouldn't consider the Graun a reference, and I doubt that particular article is reliable. Google autocomplete is just a thing; don't worry about it too much -W]