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The intimidation of Climate Change scientists

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    Reference: The Cagle Post, Michael Stafford, The Science of Intimidation, January 23, 2011

    Michael Stafford, a former Republican Party officer, leads off his article with: "According to an old legal adage, when the law is against you, argue the facts. When the facts are against you, argue the law. And when neither is on your side, pound the table."

    Stafford provides examples and raises concerns on what appears to be an orchestrated campaign of harassment and intimidation against climate change scientists and their families worldwide including cyberbullying threats.

    Stafford uses the label of a "conservative cult" whose political views are "apocalyptic" to describe those doing the intimidation.

    The question in my mind is "who is doing the intimidation?" A "conservative cult" seems too general to me. I know that Fox News pundits regularly mock climate change advocates, but what is going on is much more vicious than just conservative journalism. It is one thing to write hate comments in the White House Facebook website, but quite something else to attack selected scientists. Is it a few scientists or is it widespread? Are they being funded?

    Of course we are witnessing the same thing with the anti-abortionists intimidation of abortion clinics and doctors.

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    I somehow got on the mailing list of the conservative mailing organization Human Events (Ronald Reagan's favorite newspaper) , and received a memo today debunking the whole idea of global warming. To use a little football terminology, it's always good to review your opponents "game films", so it's worthwhile to see what the "other guys" advocate.

    This website references Fred Singer's theory about 1500 year natural cycles, conveniently overlooking the fact that the population of the earth in 600 A.D. was 200,000,000 people, less than the current population of America, and a LOT less than the current world total of 7 BILLION people:
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    do you have anything better to do than maintaining a close mind?  in the 1970's a Time magazine article was on global cooling...the 1970's mind you.  a time of much less regulation in terms of environmental issues.  and considering china has over 1 billion people (1/7 of the total population figure you present), US has what, 330 million people.  so is it your position that the population number is the problem?  in that case, tell the chinese to sign the kyoto agreement as well as the others who continue to talk a good game but don't want to play by the rules.  china is the world's largest poluter. 
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    And the Right claim that if your not on the "Global Warming" bandwagon your being intimidated by the David Suzuki's of the world.
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    How does one explain the globally warm period from 1000 to 1300 AD?  Was William the Conquerer, and later on the earliest Plantagenet monarchs driving SUV's instead of riding horses?
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    Okay, sometimes I just leave ignorant comments alone.  It's a waste of my time trying to educate those that don't want to be educated.  I have often used the term "cognitive dissonance" to describe that behavior, but the climate change deniers are driven by something more.  It's part of the "anti-Obama everything" paranoia that is rampant within the right wing of the Republican Party. It is void of critical's "pride in ignorance."

    When I read Mr Ed's post about the Time Magazine article, it only took me a few seconds to Google that article to find it's premise had been debunked a long time ago by reputable scientists.  It's old news, as are the many cycles of warm and cold over thousands of years that have been extensively studied by climatologists.

    Climate Change used to be embraced by Republicans, but more and more of them seem to succumb to the intellectually deprived mutterings of people like Steve Doocy who said one cold winter day: "I wonder if Al Gore is shivering ... global warming thing is really starting to kick in." Climate Change denial is just another of the many wars being waged by Republicans...this one a "war on science and scientists"...the elitists that "think they are smarter than you."

    Climate Change deniers would rather quote Michael Crichton than James Hansen. They will find one rogue scientist like Fred Singer whose anti-global warming have been debunked by reputable scientists.  Here's an extract Rolling Stone on Fred Singer as documented in SourceWatch:

    A former mouthpiece for the tobacco industry, the 85-year-old Singer is the granddaddy of fake "science" designed to debunk global warming. The retired physicist — who also tried to downplay the danger of the hole in the ozone layer — is still wheeled out as an authority by big polluters determined to kill climate legislation. For years, Singer steadfastly denied that the world is heating up: Citing satellite data that has since been discredited, he even made the unhinged claim that "the climate has been cooling just slightly." Last year, Singer served as a lead author of "Climate Change Reconsidered" — an 880-page report by the right-wing Heartland Institute that was laughably presented as a counterweight to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world's scientific authority on global warming. Singer concludes that the unchecked growth of climate-cooking pollution is "unequivocally good news." Why? Because "rising CO2 levels increase plant growth and make plants more resistant to drought and pests." Small wonder that Heartland's climate work has long been funded by the likes of Exxon and reactionary energy barons like Charles Koch and Richard Mellon Scaife.

    For the Climate Change deniers, I recommend browsing some real scientific literature in the  the National Academy of Sciences. Or go to the NASA website, Global Climate Change.

    Once you have read and studied those articles, we can have an intellectual discussion on some of the uncertain areas and challenges of the science of climate change.  If you're not willing to do that, quit writing ignorant comments in this website. It's a waste of everyone's time to even read them.

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    No denial that the climate is changing, it's been changing with and without mankind.  There has especially been dramatic changes in the climate since the end of the pleistocene.  I suppose such a historical fact is just another ignorant comment.  In the past 11,000 years there have been periods of warmth and cooling, before the burning of fossil fuels.  If I am going to buy a Chevy Volt, or put solar panels on the roof of my home, I'm going to do it moreso out of the fact that our fossil fuels are not infinite.  The limited supply, or limited access to supply, of coal and petroleum (I believe) is a much more frightening reality.  The stuggle for control and access to resources is already putting a strain on multi-national relations.  I am fearing catastraphic wars, perhaps nuclear, fought over natural resources occuring long before the ice caps melt and the oceans rise.

    Perhaps not intellectual enough, but stating my opinion.
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    I very much appreciated your reference to the  NASA website, which should be pretty convincing evidence to everyone (except Governor Bonehead in Texas) that global warming exists, and has been exacerbated by human activity.

    I also agree with you that sometimes it's best to leave ignorant comments alone.

    I had mentally drawn up a response on this website about Governor Walker's "contribution" to the health of the state of Wisconsin (where I lived for 5 years), but I think that the best response, at this point, is to simply let the discussion just die out, and die of "natural causes".

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    Llagerdog -- The subject of Climate Change will always show my impatience with those that seek to discredit it based on some tid bit of knowledge.  We have talked about Climate Change in other posts, and I have spent considerable time trying to educate myself and understand how all the various sciences that contribute to the overall big picture are integrated.  The more I understand, the more I realize that there is much more that I don't understand, and I never will because it is so complex involving some of the most sophisticated computer models ever written. I am in awe of the scientists that do research on the subject.

    Every climate anomaly in the past has been extensively scrutinized by scientists, and although sometimes some of their initial conclusions (like the 1970 so called cooling period) might have been subject to uncertainty and disagreement, the overall science has incrementally improved over the years.

    One of the favorite ploys of the deniers is to take an anomalous period from the past, and say..."hey, those science idiots didn't consider this"...or "they tried to hide the data... there's some conspiracy going on."

    It wasn't always that way. There used to be a respectful consensus amongst conservatives and liberals that Climate Change was real and at least partly human caused. A real legitimate debate is how much is natural and how much is caused by humans.  There are a whole host of other issues regarding Climate Change that should be a part of our global discourse as not every aspect of what the scientists are predicting is perfectly understood. As such there is real debate within the scientific community on several aspects, some of which are listed in the website Global Issues.

    There also has been a deliberate and systematic campaign to undermine the Climate Change science and scientists by those carbon contributors that might have to sacrifice some of their profits for the global good.  The Koch brothers are the most notorious, but there are many others that just don't want to spend a penny on safeguarding the environment.  They use stupid people like Steve Doocy to do their dirty work. And it's been effective as the number of doubters has increased in the past decade. It's not that the doubters have pored over scientific studies as I have, but rather that they have just been subjected to a daily dose of cynicism and misinformation on Fox News and other right wing media. I admit that listening to Steve Doocy expound his ignorance hits my hot button. Ditto for others that write on this website using many of the same Fox News talking points.

    If you are interested in that subject I highly recommend Eric Pooley's book, The Climate War. Read the Amazon reviews if nothing else.

    Climate Change is a subject that is worth debating, in particular the steps that we should be taking...the cost benefits...the risks and costs of doing something or nothing. It's a discussion that I would love to have, but I can't have that discussion with a global warming denier.  It's like arguing religion. It will be unproductive.

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    Arizona -- Yes I like the NASA website and often send my friends to it when they want more information. I really love what those scientists do...they are dedicated, but not always appreciated.

    And Governor Walker...he's a slimy character in my book. The good people of Wisconsin know that and he will be in the history books soon. They seem to be taking care of business. I say, "way to go Wisconsin," but don't underestimate that slime ball.
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    A long, long time ago, a politician gave a speech in a field not all that far from the town of Hagerstown, Maryland. His speech was short, but it contained the phrase, "of the people, by the people, and FOR the people". Although he was killed by an assassin roughly two years later, his idea that the main purpose of the government is to PROTECT its citizens still continues today - at least in some circles.

    Wisconsin has a long history of being a very progressive state.

    It was the first state in the country to pass a workers compensation law, at a period of time when corporations essentially treated workers as property, and simply shrugged off injuries on the job as the price of employment. Upton Sinclair's book, "The Jungle" was the first major publication to expose both horrific working conditions, and horrific quality control.

    One of Wisconsin's early governors was Robert LaFollette St., who served as governor from January of 1901 to January of 1906, and then served in the U.S. Senate from January of 1906 until June of 1925. Although he was a member of the Republican Party, he was one of the main leaders of the opposition to the growing dominance of corporations over government, and is one of the key figures in Wisconsin's long history of political liberalism.

    While still in the Senate, he ran for President of the United States, and carried nearly 20% of the national total. By at least two different historical groups, he is considered to be one of America's greatest senators.,_Sr.

    One of LaFollette's successors in the Senate was William Proxmire, who served from August of 1957 (replacing "tail gunner Joe") until January of 1989. Although he was a Democrat, he was a fiscal CONSERVATIVE, and created "the Golder Fleece" award to counter what he considered wasteful government spending.

    Unlike Governor Scott Walker, Proxmire REFUSED to take campaign contributions, and was an early advocate of campaign finance reform. He'd very likely take a very dim view of Super PAC's.

    The campaign to recall Walker isn't really a campaign against HIM, specifically, as it is a voice of outrage over his "puppet masters", the Koch brothers. My term for them is "the men behind the curtain", and you can read my further thoughts on these guys at my post below:

    Be sure to listen to Glenn Beck's phone conversation with a woman caller. As you know, Glenn Beck works for the same company that Rush Limbaugh does.

    Another Wisconsonite, Paul Ryan, was in the news THIS MORNING:

    As Chairman of the House Budget Committee, he is now spearheading a drive to torpedo the hard fought compromise over the budget that was settled last year.

    I posted some thoughts about HIM about a year ago:

    I agree with you that Scott Walker is a slimy character. However, I've come to the conclusion that Paul Ryan is actually WORSE.

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    Thanks Arizona for the several good links including those for your website. Robert M. Follette, Jr had a distinguished career as governor and senator of Wisconsin and represented all the people of that state well. Senator Proximire margins of elections victories were impressive, ranging from 65 percent to 75 percent, and are testament to the fact that serving the people is more important than serving the paymasters.  Senator Proxmire had no paymasters. He refused to take any campaign contributions, and spent less than $200 out of his own pocket — to cover the expenses related to filing for re-election.

    Compare that to Governor Walker who is criss crossing the country seeking out the billionaires to support him financially in the recall election. How pathetic.

    Wisconsin has a rich history of union activism, and Scott Walker misjudged that union sentiment when he lied to the voters and decided to crush the public sector unions.  The campaign to recall Walker is, as you say, driven in large part by a backlash against his billionaire puppet masters like the Koch brothers.  But I think it is also against Walker personally who, at least for me, exhibits sociopathic tendencies. I have never seen the guy show any empathy. He is manipulative and appears to have a grandiose sense of himself; and he is a pathological liar.

    I guess those traits fit several Republicans including some of the Tea party governors.

    Regarding Paul Ryan I note that he graduated from Miami of Ohio in 1992 with a BA degree in economics and political science. However, I cannot see why he is considered an economic guru.  There is nothing noteworthy is his resume before graduation and afterward. Serving as "speechwriter and a volunteer economic analyst" for the advocacy Group, Empower America, hardly distinguishes him as an economist. Later jobs as speech writer, legislative director, and "consultant to an earth-moving company" don't enhance his resume either.

    Arizona, in comparison to your resume as an economist and teacher, Paul Ryan's resume looks "junior highish." No wonder the Paul Ryan Plan is so full of holes. And Mitt Romney's plan is even worse.

    I guess it just shows that intellect isn't important in the Republican Party.  What matters is a good line of bullshit. 
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    Glenn Beck and Rush work for the same company?  They may contribute or syndicate their comments, but actually they're both self employed. 

    I lived in Wisconsin for twenty years.  It used to be a heavily Unionized state, I think in good part associated to a period of Socilist Party mayors in Milwaukee.  The Progressive Party reforms have always seemed to be within the pysche of Wisconsinites, and I think this lends itself to both the Conservative and Liberal activism that still exists there today (i.e the Paul Ryan camp verses the Scott Walker recall campaign).

    The biggest problem Wisconsin had when I was a resident there, was the state had a difficult time attracting business growth from out-of-state, or preventing businesses from re-locating elsewhere.  Unfortunately, the state had a bad reputation regarding friendly business climate.
    Population growth and personal income remained rather stagnant throughout the 70's & 80's, after factoring in the normal birth rate and adjusting income into real dollars after inflation.  And taxes were so doggone high there.

    I think after some of the reforms that developed from Tommy Thompson's terms as Governor (i.e. State Welfare Reform and property tax relief), the state is on a more positive business footing today. 

    Still a great place to go.  Going there again soon, and have lots of family and friends there.  Some of the best ethic cuisine, especially if one likes German food.  I am still a huge Milwaukee Brewers fan!
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    This post started with intimidation of climate scientists but got a bit off track.  Nevertheless, I'll make a few points.

    First it is impossible to have a national radio talk show in America without using one of the Clear Channel owned or affiliated stations.  From the Clear Channel website:

    With 238 million monthly listeners in the U.S., Clear Channel Media and Entertainment has the largest reach of any radio or television outlet in America. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment serves 150 cities through 850 owned radio stations.

    Targeted Clear Channel Radio properties that help deliver our unparalleled experience for listeners and advertisers are:

    Premiere Radio Networks - The number one radio network in the country, Premiere syndicates 90 radio programs and services to more than 5,000 radio affiliations.

    Katz Media Group - The leading media representation company in the United States, with more than 4,000 radio stations and 500 television stations retaining our services, Katz is the only media representation company to serve a variety of over-the-air and digital platforms.

    Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Ed Schultz, and anyone else that has a national radio program will have to go through Clear Channel...owned by the way in part by Mitt Romney's Bain Capitol. So in a sense you might say they all work for Mitt Romney.  Ha!

    Regarding Tommie Thompson, I don't have much knowledge of him, but note that he also was reelected by wide margins. 

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    I'm a believer in global warming, but it's instructive occasionally to hear well thought
    out comments from "the other side":

    although you might conclude that Mr. Carlin is actually a Republican, the clip below
    will provide some clarification: