Climate denier pleads irrelevance and infirmity, and a zombie myth shambles on

The science of climate change is a field that focuses on trends over periods of a decade or more. Unfortunately, not all the trends the informed viewer will encounter have to do with climate research – some have to do with those who reject that research for non-scientific reasons. These people – generally referred to as climate science deniers – will show the non-scientific basis for their objections in the way they will use the same objections, year after year, no matter what new data arise, or how often those objections are rebutted.

This trend of continuing the use of dead arguments long after their demise is common to all areas of science denial, from the anti-vaccination crowd, to young-earth creationists. The tactic generally involves making false claims that seem plausible on the surface, and that take far more time and effort to rebut than was expended on the original lie. As a result, in all areas where this problem exists, people end up building resources to ease the rebuttal process. For climate science, the handiest one is the argument list found on Skepticalscience.com. The purveyors of these lies have found that there is no point at which their bullshit will have grown too ripe for their followers to swallow, so they have no incentive to stop feeding it to them.

When talking about science, this endless dishonesty also means repeatedly lying about actual people and the work they do. Arguably the most popular target for this behavior is climatologist Michael Mann, first made famous for his “hockey stick” graph in the 1990s. There are a variety of claims made about his work, but one of the most persistent has been that his temperature reconstructions discounted the Medieval Warm Period. This was a period during which Western Europe and Southern Greenland experienced higher temperatures than during most of the last couple centuries, and that showed prominently in an early IPCC graph. The graph seems to have been based on data from England, and incorrectly described as representing global temperatures. Mann’s graph drew data from multiple sources around the planet, and so, unsurprisingly showed a different result. If you haven’t seen it, or if you’d like a refresher on the subject, I highly recommend you watch this video from Potholer54 on the subject:

Mann has, over the years, been subject to an endless torrent of harassment and lies, and eventually decided to sue one of the primary culprits for libel. This would be a fellow by the name of Tim Ball, has gained a reputation for inflating his credentials to lend artificial authority to his arguments against the general consensus of climate research. I’ll refer you again to some of Potholer54’s coverage of the subject, with the relevant portion of this video starting around 8 minutes in:

Mann’s lawsuit against Ball has recently been dismissed, which has been claimed as both a victory for Ball, and a validation of the claims Ball has made about Mann and his research. It may shock you to learn that this reading of the situation is, in fact, another lie. From what I can gather, the request for dismissal that the judge granted was not based on the merits of the claims made. It was based on Tim Ball being old and sickly, and the assertion that nobody takes Ball seriously, and so his lies could cause no real harm to Mann (link leads to a twitter-based image that I have transcribed below):

The BC Supreme Court has never made any finding, directly or indirectly, that you failed to produce your data.

The August 22, 2019 ruling said nothing on that subject.

Ball’s request that the lawsuit be terminated – for delay – relied heavily on his alleged state of health.

Ball said in an affidavit supporting his application that lawsuit be terminated for delay:

“My Health

82. I myself am 80-years old (born 5th November 1938. I am diagnosed a Type 2 diabetic controlled by insulin. 

83. I had quintuple bypass surgery in June 2007.

84. After the trial adjournment in February of 2017, I suffered coronary heart failure. This occurred in May 2017. It result in the surgical insertion of five stints in my heart. I am on blood thinners and will be for the rest of my life.”

Ball’s request that your lawsuit against him be terminated for delay also relied heavily on his argument that Ball’s accusations have not damaged your reputation.

According to a written submission filed with the Court by Ball’s lawyer:

“Dr. Ball’s website did not appear in a Google Search of Dr. Mann or his research for at least 92% of all searchers, likely more. Dr. Ball’s website has a low ranking and low popularity as calculated by Alexa, software used to judge website popularity.”

“…there are eight years of evvidence to support the complete lack of damage to reputation in BC or elsewhere.”

Basically this is tantamount to saying that Ball’s accusations against you have been given no credibility by the average, reasonable reader.

In summary, the court’s brief ruling on August 22 made no finding on whether your claims were valid, or whether Ball’s pleaded defenses had any merit.

Such findings would have been made at a trial, which will now not happen (unless this ruling is reversed on appeal).

As ever, the science denial crowd is relying on the most superficial of glances to “support” their declarations of victory, so Mann has helpfully provided resources for those who wish to look into the subject – and the data – for themselves: https://twitter.com/MichaelEMann/status/1165641839627702274.

The reason I went into the Medieval Warm Period “controversy” in the beginning is because the science denial crowd has been using their “victory” to spread around the same long-debunked ideas about climate history over the last thousand years, in an effort to cast doubt on the properties of CO2 as a greenhouse gas. The basic idea is that if the “hockey stick” pattern isn’t real – if the Medieval Warm Period was hotter than today – then it can’t be CO2 causing current warming. We’ve known for decades that the pattern Mann found is an accurate one, and as I mentioned back in 2013, there have been multiple studies, by multiple teams, using multiple data sets from all over the world, that have all come to the same conclusion: The global temperature is higher now than it has been in hundreds of thousands of years, and we’re headed for temperatures not seen in millions of years.

We’ve been digging up carbon that was pulled out of the atmosphere over a period of hundreds of millions of years, and putting it back into the atmosphere in a matter of decades. It was much, much hotter back then, even with a cooler sun. If we continue on this path, we will go far beyond anything our species has ever encountered, or the species we descended from, or their ancestors, going back to the first mammals. If we do end up burning all of the fossil fuels we know about, we’re not facing the current nightmare scenario of 4-6 degree temperature rise. Accounting for feedbacks like the melting permafrost and seafloor methane clathrates, we’d be facing over 10 degrees of warming. It’s unclear whether humanity can survive in a world like that, but unless we make massive changes to how we live and how we use our technology, I would say the answer is a sepulchral NO.

De-regulation kills

We have an outbreak of E. Coli O157:H7 which makes you vomit blood, have bloody diarrhea, and even pee blood as you lose your kidneys. It's all because Trump overturned Obama-era rules to test our farm water. Farmers saved 12 million so that we pay $108 million in medical costs.

Also breaking: diseases are caused by small “germs”, and not evil spirits!

There are regulations that are bad. Calling all regulations bad is a declaration that you don’t value human life.


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American Justice: Get debt for being human, go to prison for being in debt

The American economy has been structured to force anyone who’s not wealthy into debt. All humans will require healthcare at some point in our lives, and politicians from both major parties have played a huge role in ensuring that when you get sick, you can’t afford treatment.

Faced with the choice between debt and death, most people choose debt, in the hopes that they can find a way out of it. Now that debt is being used as an excuse to ensla- imprison people.

This is not an accident. This is not “the free market” – this is people billionaires funding judicial campaigns so that they can indulge their megalomania and push us closer to fascism and slavery. Let’s not forget that many modern companies made large fortunes off of the American slave trade, as well as from the policies of Jim Crow and Segregation. These people never wanted slavery to end. They never wanted Segregation to end. They never wanted labor laws.

Their only allegiance is to money and power, idolized in themselves. Given the opportunity, they will enslave you, and they’ll use your government to do it, just as they always have.


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Fascist takeover alert: Brett Kavanaugh and the end of democracy

Let’s pretend, for just a moment, that we have rule of law in America right now, and that this country is democratically run, and just having a crisis right now.

Kavanaugh will end that if we give him the power he seeks:

With Gamble vs. U.S., No. 17-646, the results of this case will have the power to change the lives of Donald Trump and every Republican scumbag in Congress (and beyond), as well as America as we know it. Gamble vs. U.S. deals with the “separate sovereigns” exception to the double jeopardy clause and, if overruled, will allow a sitting president to pardon both federal and state-level crimes.

For those who don’t see the danger, Trump and his partners in crime are vulnerable to multiple state-level charges. Because states are supposed to have some level of self-governance, the power to pardon those convicted of state crimes rests solely with the governor of that state. The President of the United States of America is currently only authorized to pardon people for federal crimes.

Kavanaugh is already known to believe that the President should be above the law, and this would be the last step to total impunity.

This is the Republican long-game. This is why the GOP has been fighting tooth and nail to rig the justice system to have as many conservative activists swinging a gavel as possible. I don’t know if it was the shift caused by the Southern Strategy, or the influence of powerful people wanting more power, but the GOP has been deliberately trying to overthrow democracy in America for decades. They also haven’t really been quiet about it – the desire to have total control has been at the forefront of their strategy, and it really seems like the Democrats were so used to punching hippies, that when the GOP started agreeing with the hippies and saying “yeah, no, we want authoritarian Republican rule in perpetuity”, the Dems ignored that the same way they ignore Antifa.

It’s almost enough to make one wonder if the gaggle of millionaires “representing” the left wing of this country aren’t actually fighting very hard for the American People. Every step of the way, they have insisted on returning to regular order after the GOP pushed the government to the right, including refusing to get rid of the filibuster even as the GOP abused it in a manner never before seen in American history.

Regardless, the Democrats are all we’ve got, and this supreme court fight may be all that stands between the GOP and total authoritarian rule.

Once Kavanaugh gets on the court, Trump will be able to pardon ANYONE in the country for ANY crime, and it’s not going to stop there.

Remember the laws proposed to make it legal to murder protesters with your car?

Or how about the Universal Military Service and Training Act of 2001, or it’s multiple predecessors?

Think about the camp that currently houses hundreds of children whose “crime” is that they came here or were brought here seeking refuge. Think about the thousands of dead in Puerto Rico. Think about the thousands of dead from Katrina.

Fascism in the 21st century will be just as brutal as it was in the 20th century, but in addition, the climate that the GOP ensured would be unstable is going to be killing off most of their targets  anyway. And if someone gets charged with criminal negligence for letting thousands die of preventable disease, or flooding, or starvation? Well, they control the courts, and even if there’s a judge or two with a conscience, they’ll be able to just pardon them.

Or pardon a person who might “accidentally” let the A/C break in a concentration camp during a heatwave.

Or whoever was responsible for the now-undrinkable water left to rot in Puerto Rico while people were drinking from wells they KNEW were poisoned to survive.

However bad you think it is now – however bad you think it has been in the last century, Fascist America will be worse. There is no end to how bad this gets. The longer Fascism has hold, the more it consumes, and if you look at the rhetoric, policies, and actions of today’s GOP, they will make excuses for everything. It’s an ideology that requires a world-ending enemy to unify the nation, and there’s no limit to what humans will do to an enemy like that.


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And of course, it’s not just FEMA…

The GOP is also looting the Coast Guard to find their genocidal ambitions.


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The spite of rich men: GOP takes millions from FEMA to feed ICE

The obvious take on this would be to say that the Republicans are cutting off their nose to spite their face. They took ten million dollars from FEMA to increase their immigrant/refugee concentra- detainment center program. That would be giving them too much credit. The GOP, regardless of who its base might be, is a rich people’s party dedicated to the greed of rich people. They’re not cutting off their nose, they’re cutting off the nose of their constituency, to spite the scapegoat they tell their constituency to hate. The GOP loses nothing by destroying this country, so long as they keep making money, and their propaganda keeps working.

So far, it looks like the voters who keep the GOP in power have been willing to endure quite a lot of hardship if the people inflicting it have an (R) after their name. I hope Hurricane Florence won’t be as disastrous as expected, but if it is, I wonder if any Republican voters will take a second glance at the way their hero de-funded FEMA to pay for family internment.


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Natural Gas is Immoral: Fracking destroys potable water

Ending the use of fossil fuels isn’t just about slowing climate change. It’s also about surviving climate change. The extraction, processing, and use of fossil fuels all present hazards to human health that will only grow as the temperature rises.

From the dawn of fracking technology, there have been serious concerns about contamination of our water supply. These concerns were largely waved away, and in the years that followed, fracking became just another means for the fossil fuel industry to poison their surroundings for profit. Now, even as we hear about companies like Nestle hoarding access to fresh water, a new study has outlined the degree to which the fossil fuel industry is destroying the American water supply. Farron Cousins from Ring of Fire Radio has more: [Read more…]

Past is Prologue: Keystone brutality was allowed under Obama, but is encouraged under Trump

The Keystone pipeline has not gone away; nor has the mortal danger to all of us it represents. The constant shitstorm from the Republican Party has made it difficult to keep focus on any one issue, and the media has been largely complicit in creating that problem and in making it worse. Keystone is Old News, and the most immediate danger it presents is to poor people. American Tradition dictates that “their” problems be ignored if there’s more potential for profit elsewhere.

The announcement of Kennedy’s retirement, combined with the theft of a Supreme Court nomination, and the rest of the Republican campaign to take over the the Judicial Branch, means that we can expect any and all challenges to the fossil fuel industry to be crushed by the courts. Case in point, South Dakota’s Supreme Court rejected an appeal against a regulator’s approval of the pipeline.

This fight will not go away because for a lot of people, it’s literally a fight for survival. To crush any efforts toward actual justice, the biggest fossil fuel companies have budgets surpassing those of many nations, and they can afford to buy as many mercenaries as they think they need. The Oil Must Flow, and countless millions have been and will be killed to support that fanatical ideology.

Under Obama, mercenaries and police waged war on behalf of Enbridge. They set dogs on peaceful protestors, beat people, shot them with rubber bullets, sprayed them with water in sub-freezing temperatures, used tear gas and pepper spray, and even explosives that nearly blew off an arm of one of the protesters. And under Obama, they got away with it.

How long is it until ICE decides they have jurisdiction over Native Americans? Reservations are technically sovereign territory after all (not that we’ve ever respected that), so there are borders around them that just HAVE to be patrolled by trigger-happy white supremacists!

It might not be this year or next, but we’re going to see an increase in clashes between the interests of the super-rich, and the interests of humanity. Both major parties have a record of siding with money and power against people, but today’s Republicans won’t just “regretfully” allow companies to do what they want – they’re going to actively cheer on escalating brutality, and the more cruelty and sadism they show, the more the Republican base will love them.

I’ll try to keep my readers up to date on this, but you should also follow Dallas Goldtooth on Twitter, and keep an eye on the Indigenous Environmental Network.


If you found this post useful or enjoyable, please share it, and please consider becoming a patron over at my Patreon page. Your donations make this blog possible, and even as little as one dollar per month adds up to make a difference. If you feel you can afford more than that, you can get access to all sorts of other content and perks! Your patronage allows me to put more of my time and energy into making this blog a useful resource. Thanks for reading!

 

Discerning intent from action: Scott Pruitt and the Republican vision of America’s future

Scott Pruitt seems to be a trial run of whether or not the GOP can get away with the kind of corrupt behavior that is now standard operating procedure in the Russian oligarchy. Since he got into office, his actions have confirmed his intentions- Pruitt is there to turn the EPA into a cash and favors spigot for the wealthy, using taxpayer resources to undo environmental protections, do favors, and enrich himself. My only regret, from this video, is that Pruitt and his dining partner were apparently left to finish their meal in peace after this excessively polite interruption (EDIT: my bad for not looking deeper – he left of his own accord as she returned to her seat.):

We deserve to have somebody at the EPA who actually does protect our environment. Someone who believes in climate change and takes it seriously for the benefit of all of us, including our children. So, I would urge you to resign before your scandals push you out.

Good for her! Seriously – these people are taking actions that will kill billions if they are not stopped. They deserve no peace. Unfortunately, disrupting their ability to enjoy public spaces is not going to be enough. [Read more…]

Preparing for the future

The suite of problems facing American politics is starting to remind me of climate change. A few bad actors with vast resources have screwed everybody over with the silent consent of a majority of the country. To be sure, it’s not like we had managed to unscrew the country the way most of White America seemed to think, but we have been moving slowly in that direction, and had a glimpse of what it might be like to live up to our high-minded ideals. The 21st century could have been a monument to human rights and human ingenuity. At the moment, I don’t think that’s a possibility anymore.

It seems likely, with Trump on the verge of appointing another “Justice” to the supreme court, that we’re over the edge. Just as we have no realistic chance of avoiding catastrophic warming based on where we’re at right now, we may not have any realistic chance at preventing an American slide into full-on authoritarianism.

I suppose November will show us just how screwed we are, but in the meantime I think it’s time to really delve into how to keep working for justice under an oligarchy or something like that. [Read more…]