The AAAS Award To Michael Mann And The Sad Rot Of Government "Science"

On February 17, the American Association for the Advancement of Science gave something called its "Public Engagement With Science" award to none other than Michael "Hockey Stick" Mann.  Here is its announcement of the award.  The AAAS claims to be the largest scientific organization in the world, with over 120,000 members.  

A few choice excerpts from the announcement:

In the past year, Mann has had 500 media interviews and appearances and directly reached public audiences via social media. His op-eds and commentaries have been published in dozens of outlets. . . .  He has also advised actor Leonardo DiCaprio, who spoke about climate change during a 2014 speech delivered to the United Nations. 

Mann, of course, is the guy who got caught red-handed engaging in clear scientific misconduct in connection with the Hockey Stick controversy -- undoubtedly the scientific controversy with the largest potential for economic damage of our era.  It is beyond incredible that the AAAS has not called him out for the misconduct, let alone that it has now chosen to give him this award.  

I put together a detailed write-up of Mann's misconduct in this lengthy post back in December 2016.  Rather than redo that post, I'm going to copy some extended excerpts.

The so-called Hockey Stick graph first appeared in a paper by Mann, Bradley and Hughes that was published in Nature magazine in 1998.  It purported to show a reconstruction of worldwide temperatures from the year 1000 to present, in which the temperatures had remained almost completely stable for the first 900 years (the "shaft" of the Hockey Stick), and then suddenly shot up in the twentieth century in the time of human CO2 emissions (the "blade").  This reconstruction effectively repealed the prior accepted version of climate history, in which temperatures had been warmer than the present at least in the so-called Medieval Warm Period of about 1000 - 1300, and probably also in the Roman Warm Period around the year 0.  When the UN's climate-evaluation body, the IPCC, issued its next Assessment Report in 2001, the Hockey Stick graph had suddenly become the icon of the whole endeavor, appearing multiple times in the Report.  The Hockey Stick seemed like the perfect proof of the proposition that global warming must be caused by humans, because anyone could see from the graph that the warming had all occurred in the era of human use of fossil fuels.  Here is a version of the Hockey Stick graph from the IPCC Third Assessment Report:


Unfortunately for Mann et al. and the IPCC, numerous people -- those nefarious "skeptics" --promptly began to ask questions about the source of the information behind the "shaft" of the stick.  Thus these skeptics were questioning the ideas that temperatures had remained essentially stable for a millennium and that there had been no Medieval Warm Period.  The most famous of the skeptical researchers was a Canadian named Stephen McIntyre.  McIntyre began a blog called Climate Audit, and started writing many long posts about his efforts, all unsuccessful, to replicate the Mann et al. work.  Requests to Mann et al. for their data and methodologies were met with hostility and evasion.  Over time, McIntyre gradually established that Mann et al. had adopted a complex methodology that selectively emphasized certain temperature proxies over others in order to reverse-engineer the "shaft" of the stick to get a pre-determined desired outcome.

The coup de grace for the Hockey Stick graph came with the so-called Climategate emails, released in 2009.  These were emails between and among many of the main promoters of the climate scare (dubbed by McIntyre the "Hockey Team").  Included in the Climategate releases were emails relating specifically to the methodology of how the graph was created.  From the emails, skeptical researchers were then able to identify some of the precise data series that had been used by Mann et al. Astoundingly, they discovered that the graph's creators had truncated inconvenient data in order to get the desired depiction.  A website called Just the Facts has a detailed recounting of how this was uncovered.  As a key example, consider this graph:

Hockey Stick truncated data.png


The bright pink represents data that was deleted from the Mann et al. reconstruction because, obviously,  it would have thrown off the nice, flat "shaft" of the stick, while also revealing that this particular "proxy" had totally failed at predicting the twentieth century rise in temperatures.  Most would call this kind of data truncation "scientific fraud."

The deleted pink data came from a proxy series that had been put together by a guy named Keith Briffa, a climate "scientist" then working for the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia in England.  In 2009, there occurred a large release of previously non-public emails between and among top members of CRU and colleagues of theirs in the U.S., including Mann, who had worked on developing the "Hockey Stick" presentation for use in the UN IPCC reports.  That release of emails, which quickly came to be referred to by the name "Climategate," contained definitive proof of the data manipulation and truncation engaged in by this group, specifically including Mann.  The most famous of the Climategate emails was from Phil Jones (head of CRU) to a list including Mann, Mann's co-authors of the 1998 Nature Hockey Stick paper, and Briffa, dated November 16, 1999.  You can find the full email at the Just the Facts link along with information to take you right to full the Climategate email trove.  The key quote is this one:

I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) amd from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.

The intentional deletion of the inconvenient post-1961 proxy data that would otherwise undercut the whole basis for the reconstruction is thus referred to as "Mike's Nature trick . . . to hide the decline."  Equally damning for Mann was an email that he sent to Briffa on September 16, 1999, describing the process by which the people who put together the UN IPCC presentation intentionally left out the inconvenient data from the Briffa proxy series in order to deceive the public:

[Briffa’s proxy] series … is the problem we all picked up on (everyone in the room at IPCC was in agreement that this was a problem and a potential distraction/detraction from the reasonably consensus viewpoint we’d like to show w/ the Jones et al and Mann et al series. 

After the Climategate emails came to light, I naively thought that Mann's defense of his Hockey Stick reconstruction would crumble and he would no longer be welcome in respectable scientific circles.  Shows you what I know.  As the AAAS release states, he remains out there making frequent public appearances aggressively promoting his doctored work as "proof" of human influence on climate, as well as equally aggressively attacking anyone who dares to question him.  Among other things, he has filed several defamation lawsuits against people who have dared to use the word "scientific fraud" in connection with his work.  So far none against me, but the defendants do include some people and institutions that I know and respect (Competitive Enterprise Institute, National Review, Mark Steyn, Rand Simburg, Tim Ball).  

Meanwhile, there's the brand-new New York City lawsuit against Exxon and other oil companies, accusing them of causing sea level rise by producing fossil fuels.  A copy of the Complaint in that lawsuit, filed January 9, can be found here.  Go to paragraph 36 on page 16 and you find this:

The recent, rapid rate of temperature increase compared to the last 2,000 years is shown in the following graph from an article published in the peer-reviewed literature that the federal government relies upon in a website explaining climate change. 

On the next page is the graph, featuring -- you guessed it -- a version of the Mann Hockey Stick.  Hey, it's from the "peer-reviewed literature"!  Admittedly, the version here is a slightly different one from 2008, but I have no reason to think that the obfuscations have been fixed.  

No outsider has ever succeeded in replicating Mann's work.  He continues to refuse to produce his data and code for checking by others.  This is the very opposite of anything that should ever get the name of "science."  And the AAAS gives him its big award.  Anybody who is still a member of that organization should quit immediately.

UPDATE, February 23:  I changed the title from "The Sad Collapse Of Government 'Science'" to "The Sad Rot Of Government 'Science.'"  Just thought it was a better word to describe what is going on.

More Reasons To Vacate The Endangerment Finding

It's now more than 10 months ago -- April 2017 -- that my client the Concerned Household Electricity Consumers Council filed a Petition with the EPA calling upon it to reopen and reconsider the so-called Endangerment Finding (EF).  Follow this link for a copy of that original Petition.  The EF -- that's the regulatory power grab by which the bureaucrats at the Obama EPA decided that the colorless, odorless, non-toxic trace atmospheric gas CO2 was a "danger" to human health and safety, which danger could somehow be ameliorated it they orchestrated a scheme to double or triple your cost of electricity, gasoline and air travel.

Unfortunately, despite what you may have read about the hostility of the Trump administration and EPA to "climate"-driven regulation, nothing has yet happened on our Petition for reconsideration.  In various interviews, EPA Administrator Pruitt has uttered some version of "we're thinking about it."  So we have filled the void by filing one Supplemental Petition after another, each one pointing out some one or multiple ways that the claimed "dangers" of CO2 are preposterous.  Last week we filed the Fifth Supplement to the Petition, available here

The focus of the latest Supplemental Petition is somewhat different from that of the previous ones.  The previous ones focused mainly on refuting what EPA asserted were the "lines of evidence" that it claimed to support its EF.  This latest one instead deals with the long litany of collateral consequences of "climate change" that you constantly read about in the press (although not specifically relied upon by the Obama EPA in promulgating the EF).  You know this list:  Heat Waves!  Hurricanes!  Tornadoes!  Droughts!   Floods!  Wildfires!  No Snow!  Rising Sea Levels!  Disappearing Ice!  Ocean Acidification!  Locusts!  Murrain!  (Just kidding about the last two.  It must be the approach of Passover infecting my brain.  However, all of the others are definitely in the usual litany, and it won't surprise me at all to see the locusts and murrain added as soon as somebody realizes that there's something left that might scare somebody.)

Just to give you a tiny sample of such claims, consider the following:

  • Heat waves.  From CNN, August 2, 2017:  "Deadly heat waves are going to be a much bigger problem in the coming decades, becoming more frequent and occurring over a much greater portion of the planet because of climate change, according to a study published earlier this summer in Nature Climate Change.  Extreme heat waves, such as the one torching the northwestern United States, are frequently cited as one of the most direct effects of man-made climate change."
  • Hurricanes.  From Scientific American, December 14, 2017 (what an embarrassment that magazine has become!):  "Hurricane Harvey's record rainfall was three times more likely than a storm from the early 1900s and 15 percent more intense as a result of climate change, a new study in Environmental Research Letters found." 
  • Wildfires.  From the LA Times and California Governor Brown, December 14, 2017:  "When he's lecturing about climate change, Gov. Jerry Brown sounds like a street-corner preacher shouting: "Repent. Change your ways. The end is near." . . .  But it's nearly Christmas and wicked wildfires are devastating California beauty. So Brown is obviously on to something."
  • Droughts.  From Climate Reality Project, June 15, 2016:  "Of all the ways climate change inflicts harm, drought is the one people worry about most, according to a Pew Research Center survey. And it’s not surprising – droughts have been drier and lasting longer in recent years thanks in part to climate change."
  • Floods.  From Inside Climate News, May 6, 2017:  "Devastating storms still roiling much of the American Midwest have dumped record levels of rain over the past week. . . .  Extreme storms like these have become more common as global temperatures have risen and the oceans have warmed. Some have the clear fingerprints of man-made climate change."  

You could go on with this all day if you want.  The remarkable thing is, there is nothing to any of this.  Indeed, such claims are extremely easy to refute definitively.  In this Fifth Supplement to our Petition, there is a one or two page refutation of each such claim, together with a link to a longer and more definitive scientific piece citing the relevant empirical evidence.  Go to the link to the Fifth Supplement to Petition and read as much as you have time for.  Here are just a few examples relating to the sample of points above:

  • Heat waves.  "Most all-time record highs here in the U.S. happened many years ago, long before mankind was using much fossil fuel. Thirty-eight states set their all-time record highs before 1960 (23 in the 1930s!). Here in the United States, the number of 100F, 95F and 90F days per year has been steadily declining since the 1930s. The Environmental Protection Agency Heat Wave Index confirms the 1930s as the hottest decade."  (Perhaps you are wondering, how could that possibly be true when the so-called "surface temperature" records published by NOAA and NASA show a steady upward trend of temperatures?  The answer is that the earlier temperatures have been "adjusted" downward by NOAA and NASA for purposes of generating that apparent -- but not real -- trend.  Hard to believe, isn't it?  Read my eighteen-part series, The Greatest Scientific Fraud Of All Time.)
  • Hurricanes.  "The Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) Index takes into account the number, duration and strength of all tropical storms in a season. It shows variability but no trend in the record the last 45 years for the Northern Hemisphere or globe."  You'll find a nice graph of the ACE index over time if you follow the links.  2017 was a very active year (after a quiet period of a dozen years), but only in 7th place in records going back to the 1800s.  The most active year was 1933, and 1893 is in third place.  
  • Wildfires.  "The National Interagency Fire Center has recorded the number of fires and acreage affected since 1985. This data show the number of fires trending down slightly, though the acreage burned had increased before leveling off over the last 20 years."
  • Droughts and Floods.  From testimony of Roger Pielke, Jr., before Congress, "It is misleading, and just plain incorrect, to claim that disasters associated with hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, or droughts have increased on climate timescales either in the United States or globally. Droughts have, for the most part, become shorter, less frequent, and cover a smaller portion of the U.S. over the last century. . . .  The good news is U.S. flood damage is sharply down over 70 years.”  If you follow the links you will find charts of both drought prevalence and flood damage in the U.S., going back before 1900 for droughts, and to 1940 for flood damage.  Both trends are down.

Anyway, go ahead and follow the links, and educate yourself on what the actual data out there show.

Meanwhile, to understand the mindset of the climate activists, check out the latest from Climate Wire today (behind pay wall).  Excerpt:

Climate hawks shifted their focus from Washington, D.C., to state capitals in the wake of President Trump's 2016 victory, hoping state lawmakers might usher in the types of carbon reduction strategies the federal government could not. . . .  [S]tate [level] climate action remains stuck in neutral, and the prospects for victory in 2018 remain far from certain. . . .   To date, state climate victories have largely been limited to the expansion of existing programs. . . .  [C]arbon pricing [has] long [been] the holy grail of climate action advocates.

That's right, the "climate hawks" (apparently their own term for themselves) regard it as a "victory" and the "holy grail" to put in place a "carbon pricing" program -- that is, to intentionally jack up your cost of electricity and gasoline by a factor of two, or maybe five, or whatever it takes to force you to walk to work and freeze in your house.  Can they really scare you into supporting politicians who will intentionally impoverish you by using these fake claims about heat waves, hurricanes, droughts, floods, etc.?  It seems beyond ridiculous to me.  With any luck, at least the administration in Washington will soon see the light.

Is The Mueller Indictment A Joke?

Yesterday Special Counsel Robert Mueller issued an indictment against some sixteen Russian entities -- three companies and thirteen individuals -- for various things somehow related to "meddling" or "interference" in the U.S. elections of 2016.  A copy of the indictment can be found here.  This may be the most absurd indictment ever issued in the name of the government of the United States.

Ever since the Mueller investigation of Russian "meddling" or "interference" or "collusion" or something like that began a year or so ago, you have probably been wondering, What the heck is the crime?  Granted, there are 5000 or so supposed federal crimes out there.  Nobody has any good idea what all of them are, and plenty of them are so vague that they might criminalize brushing your teeth on an angle.  But still -- "meddling" or "collusion"?  How could such things even be illegal?

So probably you are thinking, the answer must be in this indictment.  Don't get your hopes up.  As far as I can tell there is nothing real about this indictment at all.

Start with the basics:  The defendants are all Russian citizens or companies.  According to the allegations, at least a few of the individuals were present in the U.S. for brief periods of time to commit wrongful acts, but there is no reason to think that any of them are present here today.  They are all in Russia.  Does the U.S. have an extradition treaty with Russia?  The answer is no.  So none of the defendants can be forced to come here to stand trial.  And if they can't be forced to come, they won't come.  Why would they?

And once you know you are putting together an indictment against someone who will never stand trial, you know that you will never need to prove the allegations.  So why bother sticking to anything remotely tethered to an actual crime, or for that matter, to reality?  You can throw in whatever you feel like!

What are the charges?  The big one is -- get ready for this -- 18 U.S.C. Section 371, "Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud United States":

If two or more persons conspire either to commit any offense against the United States, or to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose, and one or more of such persons do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy, each shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

OK, what does that mean?  "Fraud" -- that's something coming out of the common law, with a detailed definition.  There has to be a false statement made to someone.  That person needs to have "relied" upon the false statement in taking some action.  The action needs to have harmed the defrauded person.  Think about "defrauding" the "United States," and you can easily come up with some clear examples.  You are doing a contract for the government, and they owe you $100,000, but you submit an invoice for $1 million, with false backup, and they pay it.  You have defrauded the United States out of $900,000.  

Is there anything like that here?  Not remotely.  The allegations are things like:  The defendants put up fake Facebook ads!  The defendants set up fake advocacy organizations!  The defendants held fake political rallies!  So?  Did anybody (let alone the U.S. government) get tricked into turning over money or property to these people under false pretenses?  Short answer:  No.

Ah, but our ever-reliable "Justice" Department has a theory from some old Supreme Court case law that any "obstruction" of some government function somehow falls under this statute.  Here on a Justice Department web page they have a quote from a case called Hammerschmidt back in 1924, written by then Chief Justice (and former President) Taft:

To conspire to defraud the United States means primarily to cheat the Government out of property or money, but it also means to interfere with or obstruct one of its lawful governmental functions by deceit, craft or trickery, or at least by means that are dishonest.

And in fact that is the language that this "indictment" picks up on.  From paragraph 28:

The conspiracy had as its object impairing, obstructing, and defeating the lawful governmental functions of the United States by dishonest means . . . .  

But is that a valid statement of current U.S. criminal law?  First of all, how did the Hammerschmidt case come out?  Seems that Hammerschmidt and some others got convicted for handing out flyers advising young men how to avoid the draft during WWI.  Was that a "conspiracy to defraud the government"?  The Justice Department's web page, after the quote above, somehow fails to mention that Hammerschmidt's conviction was reversed.  From the case:

[The construction of the statute in prior case law] cannot be used as authority to include within the legal definition of a conspiracy to defraud the United States a mere open defiance of the governmental purpose to enforce a law by urging persons subject to it to disobey it.

And it's not just that they have way overstated this one case.  Those who follow recent Supreme Court case law, let alone this website, on the subject of criminal convictions under vague statutes, will be aware that the current Supreme Court is not at all sympathetic to prosecution efforts to expand vague statutory proscriptions.  See, for example, the reversals of convictions for so-called "deprivation of the intangible right to honest services" of Jeffrey Skilling in 2010 and Bob McDonnell in 2016.  The McDonnell reversal was unanimous.

In other words, the odds of the Supreme Court's 1924 Hammerschmidt dicta being good law today are about zero.  But don't worry, nobody's ever going to get tried under this absurd indictment, so none of this will ever be tested.

Let's list a few things that this indictment is not about:

  • Alleging actual real crimes.
  • Forming the basis for a criminal trial.
  • Bringing real criminals to justice and obtaining convictions.

OK, that rules out pretty much everything that any real indictment would be about.  So what could this one be about?  Maybe justifying a year or so of completely wasted effort with an unlimited budget by a supposed top-flight team of our best prosecutors?

Resounding Echoes Of Watergate In The Susan Rice Email

It has now been a few days since Senators Grassley and Graham released a letter they had sent to ex-National Security Advisor Susan Rice, demanding information from her about a meeting held in the White House on January 5, 2017, and attaching to their letter a redacted copy of a remarkable email describing the meeting that Rice sent to herself on the government email system on January 20, 2017 at 12:15 PM.  The Grassley/Graham letter and attached Rice email can be found here.   

You will recognize January 20 at 12:15 PM as being about 20 minutes after Donald Trump was sworn in as President, and therefore the same number of minutes after Susan Rice's term as National Security Advisor had ended.  She had no further government business to do, and therefore had no possible legitimate purpose related to government business to write herself this email on the government email system.  And yet for some reason Rice felt it critically important at that moment to create a written record as to a meeting two weeks before as to which there had not previously existed a written record, sending the email only to herself and an assistant named Curtis Ried.  

The Rice email is not long.  Here is the unredacted portion of the text in full:

On January 5, following a briefing by IC leadership on Russian hacking during the 2016 Presidential election, President Obama had a brief follow-on conversation with FBI Director Jim Comey and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates in the Oval Office. Vice President Biden and I were also present. President Obama began the conversation by stressing his continued commitment to ensuring that every aspect of his issue is handled by the Intelligence and law enforcement communities by the book. The President stressed that he is not asking about, initiating or instructing anything from a law enforcement perspective. He reiterated that our law enforcement team needs to proceed as it normally would by the book

From a national security perspective, however, President Obama said he wants to be sure that, as we engage with the incoming team, we are mindful to ascertain if there is any reason that we cannot share information fully as it relates to Russia. . . .  The President asked Corney to inform him if anything changes in the next few that should affect how we share classified information with the incoming team. Corney said he would.

First, let's decode a little of the code.  A briefing on the subject of "Russian hacking during the 2016 Presidential election" -- that's obvious code for FBI surveillance of the Trump campaign.  "[Classified] information . . . as it relates to Russia" --  that's equally obvious code for the information about existence of the surveillance, as well as any information gathered during the surveillance of the Trump campaign and transition.  In other words, the subject of this meeting was quite obviously how to deal going forward with conduct of the outgoing administration that was almost sure to be discovered to some extent, and was either blatantly illegal (surveilling the adversary's Presidential campaign and transition under cover of a FISA warrant known to have been obtained based on fake and unverified political opposition research) or shockingly contrary to protocol (hiding classified information of the highest importance from the incoming President and administration).

Am I the only one hearing the deafeningly loud echoes of Watergate?  Supposedly, Obama said to handle this "by the book."  Sure.  Just like Nixon said that paying blackmail to the Watergate burglars "would be wrong."  

Most readers are probably too young to have a personal memory of the unfolding revelations of the Watergate scandal as they came to light in 1973; so I'll give you the basics.  Focus quickly fell upon a meeting held in the oval office on March 21, 1973.  A good brief summary of the main events and the revelation of the truth can be found in this Deseret News article from 1992

The Watergate burglary had occurred in June 1972.  But the burglars -- operatives of the Nixon re-election campaign -- were caught.  By early 1973 the burglars were under pressure from prosecutors to turn in the higher-ups who had ordered the operation.  Several defendants demanded blackmail in return for maintaining their silence.  And thus we come to the March 21, 1973 oval office meeting, attended by Nixon, chief of staff H.R. Haldeman, and counsel John Dean III.  Haldeman testified about the meeting before a Senate committee on July 30, 1973.  From the Deseret News account:

Haldeman said Dean reported on a blackmail threat from Watergate burglar Howard Hunt for $120,000, and Nixon questioned Dean about it, "trying to smoke him out."  Dean said it would take $1 million, an amount that would be hard to raise. According to Haldeman, Nixon said, "There is no problem in raising a million dollars - we can do that - but it would be wrong." Haldeman said he was sure about his account because he jogged his memory by listening to the tape before testifying.

"But it would be wrong."  That was the official spin.  Unfortunately, a tape of the meeting was then produced.

The actual conversation revealed something quite different. When Dean related the blackmail threat, Nixon followed up on it in great detail, sounding like a gangster in earnest.  "You could get a million dollars," the president said, "You could get it in cash. I know where it could be gotten. It is not easy, but it could be done. But the question is who the hell would handle it? Any ideas on that?"  Then Nixon and Dean continued to discuss the raising of hush money, consisting of eight pages in the transcript, with Nixon never saying there was anything wrong about it.

Ultimately, much later in the transcript, Nixon did make a comment that "it would be wrong," but in the context of potentially granting clemency, rather than paying blackmail.

Back to Rice's email.  Why would she write such a thing?  One obvious purpose is to justify Ms. Rice's own concealment from the incoming Trump team of some national security information (e.g., the information about the illegal surveillance).  Hey, Barack instructed me to do it!  Another would be to create a version of what was said at the meeting -- a version that would be exculpatory to Obama, at least as to the part of the meeting that involved clear illegality -- and to enable the participants to coordinate their stories.  The email could not be sent to the participants directly, but its contents could be communicated by other means, likely oral.  The known existence of the written version would restrain any of the other participants from giving another version of the events that they might think more favorable to their individual position.  "This is what Barack and I will say; vary from it at your peril."  

Can you think of another possible purpose of the email?  I certainly cannot think of an innocent purpose.

Note that Obama may well have used the words "by the book" somewhere in the meeting, but the context could well be sufficiently different from that suggested to turn the phrase from exculpatory to inculpatory (just like Nixon did ultimately say "it would be wrong" in a different context from that suggested).  For example, it would make perfect sense for Obama to have said that for the "Russia collusion" cover story to get any credence, it would have to be created "by the book."

In evaluating Rice's email, you will also do well to keep in mind that Ms. Rice was the person sent out by Obama in the aftermath of the Benghazi consulate attack of September 2012 to do the rounds of the Sunday talk shows and peddle the story that the attack was a reaction to an insignificant YouTube video.  In fact the Benghazi attack was a pre-planned operation of Al Qaeda.  Why is that important?  Because September 2012 was immediately prior to the November 2012 election, in which Obama sought to deflect the criticism that he ran a weak foreign policy by claiming to be the guy who got Osama bin Laden and destroyed Al Qaeda.  Oh, and Susan Rice is also the one who said that Bowe Bergdahl served with "honor and distinction."  And the one who was caught "unmasking" the names of Trump campaign officials caught in national security surveillance, and then lying about same.  

Is there any chance that the version of events in the Rice email is anything close to accurate?


How To Change Minds On The Subject Of Climate Hysteria

Regular readers here will know that one of the things I do in my semi-retirement is represent a group of scientists who are appalled by what masquerades under the name of "science" in popular discourse about climate change.  Our effort in various venues is to educate as to the ways in which the so-called "scientific consensus" of impending catastrophic global warming is not scientific at all, and is the opposite of science.  

It's not just that "consensus" is irrelevant to real science, and can frequently be overturned.  It's that there's an entire suite of criteria by which the promotion of climate hysteria departs from science and the scientific method:  For example, where is the falsifiable hypothesis?  What is the null hypothesis?  What are that data that, if they emerged, would be conceded to falsify the falsifiable hypothesis?  In lieu of a hypothesis that can be falsified, we find frequent assertions that literally everything -- including facts that are the direct opposite of each other -- constitutes proof that global warming "is occurring" and will inevitably have catastrophic effects.  One day there is a claim that snow will be a thing of the past (it's getting warmer!) and the next day a big snow storm is claimed as evidence of the damaging effects of global warming (we told you to expect more extreme weather!).  One day a drought is claimed as evidence of catastrophic effects of global warming, and the next day it's a flood being claimed as evidence of the same.  Meanwhile, has there been any actual verification of a falsifiable hypothesis -- and is it a verification that can be replicated by others?  And, why are critical data being cherry-picked and/or altered to support the "consensus"?

We all learned the fundamentals of the scientific method back in high school, or even junior high school.  Isn't it obvious to everyone that the antics of climate change alarm promoters are unscientific and anti-scientific?

Unfortunately, as I frequently point out to my colleagues, on important political issues, very few human minds can be changed by mere reason and logic, no matter how ironclad that reason and logic may be.  We may think we are creatures of reason, but that's only a veneer.  The famous quote is attributed to Jonathan Swift:  "Reasoning will never make a Man correct an ill Opinion, which by Reasoning he never acquired."  

On the other hand, there are things that can persuade even those who are very difficult to persuade.  Consider, for example, how your views of intermittent "renewable" energy sources as a remedy for climate change might be affected by a tripling -- or maybe a quintupling -- of your electricity bill.  Then throw in a few power blackouts for good measure.  And finally, let the information seep through that emissions aren't even going down!  Which brings us back to the case of Germany.

As I noted in this post back in November, as recently as 2015 there was no political party of any significance anywhere in Europe that stood against climate change hysteria and against the huge increases in wind and solar power generation claimed necessary to save us from climate disaster.  Work by Norwegian political scientist Sondre Båtstrand, summarized here in the Guardian in October 2015, had concluded that "the US Republican Party stands alone in its rejection of the need to tackle climate change and efforts to become the party of climate supervillains."  In Germany, as recently as last year, no political party representing a dissenting position on any aspect of the climate "consensus" held a single seat in the Bundestag.  But Germany's Energiewende ("energy transition"), instituted in 2010, had caused Germany's consumer electricity prices to skyrocket since the prior national elections in 2013.  

Then, in the September 2017 elections, two parties thought to represent climate skepticism at least to some degree -- the FDP (Free Democrats) and AfD (Alliance for Germany) -- suddenly won some 24.6% of the seats in the Bundestag.  OK, but exactly how serious are these people in their climate skepticism?  We learn about that from an excellent post today at the site NoTricksZone, titled "Green energy opposition becoming formidable force in Germany."    

It appears that over the past couple of weeks, two young members of the Bundestag, one from the FDP and the other from AfD, made their first speeches in the parliament, and chose the subject of climate.  Videos of their speeches are included at the link, but I won't embed them here, because they are in German and I assume that few readers could understand them.  However, Pierre Gosselin of NTZ clearly understands the language, and provides translations and paraphrases of some extended excerpts.

From Sandra Weeser of FDP:

In her speech Weeser points out that despite the rapidly growing green energy capacity being installed, the effort to reduce CO2 has failed, and what’s left is an unpredictable power grid that often produces energy when it is not needed (waste energy) and thus costing Germans hundreds of millions annually.  She also accuses the established politicians of ignoring citizens as they ruin Germany’s landscape with wind parks.

"Interestingly it is often Green party voters who we find themselves among wind park protesters. In their daily lives these people are recognizing that what is being sold as green electricity in fact has nothing to do with being green. They are rejecting the industrial turbines in forests.”  . . .  

Weeser also dismisses claims by the Green Party that wind energy is “the most inexpensive” on the market, asking them directly: “If that is really true, then why do they need subsidies? Why are we paying 25 billion euros annually for their feed-in?”

From Dr. Rainer Kraft of AfD:

Kraft slams the government’s climate-protection approach of spending “15 euros to avoid 1 euro of damage” as a policy one would expect from “a fool."  Adding: “there just couldn’t be less scientific understanding than that.”  Echoing Donald Trump’s ideas on international treaties, Kraft also sees them as being ruinous to German industry, and that the ultimate target of climate protection is to establish “an eco-socialist centrally-planned economy” and that climate protection is the “instrument” to bring it about.  He then labeled the Greens’ energy policy as “eco-populist voodoo."

Gosselin concludes:

[E]xpect the traditional established parties to continue seeing the unheard of erosion among their disenchanted voter bases. Never has postwar Germany seen a political shift on such a massive scale. . . .  Though 25% may not sound impressive, it is amazing when one considers that only a decade ago there was virtually universal parliamentary support for green energies. Those days are over.  And now as the failure of the Energiewende becomes ever more glaring, reaching the political tipping point on the issue of the Energiewende is just a question of a few more years.

By the way, according to this post on Clean Energy Wire on January 5, Germany got the percent of its electricity from "renewables" all the way up to 36.1% in 2017, from about 32.3% in 2016.  Oh, but its total CO2 emissions actually increased.

[T]he country’s total emissions stagnated for the third year in a row, because more oil and gas were used in transport, heating and industry. . . .  

Unfortunately, changing minds in Germany has required the people to act as guinea pigs for a decade or so in the grand experiment in "eco-populist voodoo."  The same method will work equally well in the U.S.  Sadly, I appear to live in one of the places whose residents are among the designated guinea pigs.