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Thursday November 26 2009

The day before yesterday I posted a big piece about ClimateGate at Samizdata, or whatever we’re calling it all today, my second Samizdata effort on this topic, hence my relative inactivity here during the last week or so.  All about why I think this story is huge (so far so obvious), and how I think it will stick around for quite a while because of the peculiar nature of the climate argument (that being the vaguely original bit), and because of the sheer number of individual, guilty persons who are now ready for and in need of skewering, because they fell for this fraud and decided to bugger up the world in accordance with it.

The first draft of this even made the claim that we are now be living through is the second great History Date of the twenty first century, the first being Sept 11th 2001.  Sadly, I don’t think that’s necessarily true, however much I might wish it to be.  To be an authentic History Date an event has to be agreed by everybody in all parts of the political solar system to be a Big Thing, even as everyone simultaneously slags each other off about what it all means and what to do about it.  The trouble with ClimateGate - and, as I’ve already hinted above, one of the problems is that we aren’t even agreeing what to call it - is that a huge slab of dupes and frauds would like nothing better than for the whole ghastly business to be totally forgotten.  For ClimateGate, or whatever, to win out and find its place next to Hastings, Magna Carta, the Great Fire of London, the Glorious Revolution, Trafalgar, Waterloo and the rest of them, then my team in this ruckus would have to win the battle of the history books.  Which we yet might, but this is not certain, to put it mildly.

This piece (one of the many on this topic linked to by the ever-invaluable Instapundit – never forget what a difference he has made and still makes to the world) confirms everything I said in my Samizdata pieces, about how the internet has totally changed the rules for arguments like this.  Love the 2001 A Space Odyssey pastiche.  Apparently, in the USA, whenever and wherever a big, pompous, biased, dead-tree organ now ventures onto the www with a piece about Global Warming, Copenhagen, etc., but without mentioning the shenanigans at UEA, CRUgate, ClimateGate, GlobalWarmingGate, ... commenters are piling in in their derisive dozens and even hundreds to remind them.

Fox News is all over it, in the person of Glenn Beck.  (I loved his mispronunciation of “East Anglia” - something like “Angleela"- the other day, on an earlier video, I think, than that one.) My friend Adriana Lukas recently told me that she told a good mate of hers at Fox News about this story when it first broke, and it was the first he’d heard of it.  Kudos Adriana.  Although they would have heard about it from someone soon enough.  It’s a different world, like my piece says.

And what do you know, only seconds, literally, after I had put up my big bit, Johnathan Pearce posted another bit on the same topic, just as foreseen/feared here.  I hope JP and others commenting on that earlier piece are right that this kind of duplication doesn’t matter, helps even.  Certainly this story is big enough to merit constant multiple Samizdata postings, every day.

A commenter on that Johnathan Pearce Samizdata piece said this:

At least now we can all agree, on both sides of the Climate Change debate, that Global Warming was caused by Mann.

Hah!  Wonder why I never thought of stroke came across that gag before.

And this may just be my favourite SQotD ever.

I recently emailed Bishop Hill (one of ClimateGate’s global blogstars) asking if he’d be willing to do an interview with me, along the lines of this one, in connection with his wit and wisdom generally, but in particular in connection with his forthcoming book.  And guess what, he has just emailed back saying yes.  But he is mind-bogglingly busy just now, so don’t hold your breath.  That won’t be happening any day soon, but in a few weeks, probably.  I’m looking forward to that a lot.

Michael Jennings has now just put up another excellent ClimateGate piece, also at Samizdata.

Regular readers of this blog will know that many a day of torpor here has been rescued by an incoming Michael J email, often (as there) with follow up comment from him of far greater sophistication, interest and intelligence than all but my very best postings here.

Michael Jennings is one of those people who likes - needs even - to know that people are interested in what he has to say before he says it, as is not quite the case with everyone, is it?  Hence some of his best bits of writing often take the form of comments, in answer to direct questions to which he happens to have a very good answer which someone has just asked and clearly would really like to know about.  But with this ClimateGate thing, I imagine he feels confident that people all over the place will be extremely interested in anything even semi-coherent that he has to say about that, and of course what he does say is far better than that.

Next, a couple of quotes from others about how this is all rather Bolshevik.

An incoming email to Instapundit recently went thus:

I now have a sense of what it was like living under Communism in Eastern Europe. The state-owned (in our case, establishment) press won’t report on reality so people had to turn to Samizdat to learn what’s actually happening in their world. It’s rather amazing. Also, having an Army of Davids go through these emails will pay dividends for years.

Indeed, and another Army of Davids asking those who swallowed this nonsense whole what they were thinking of, and what they are still doing, and why, and meanwhile what their expenses claims are looking like, should also now be assembling.  Count me, in.  (And see below.)

And see also this, from one of the comments on Michael J’s piece:

I had a sudden thought last night with regards to the “mainstream” response, particularly the self-serving response from UEA itself.  It is rather like claiming that Lysenko was just a rogue element within Soviet biology, and in any case his findings are supported by the overwhelming majority of Soviet biologists working in many places around the Soviet union and its satellite states, so the Lamarckian consensus within Soviet science remains intact.

I am now working on a piece provisionally called something like: Now is the time to subject the government of the world to Guidoisation - i.e., basically, to start blogging about it in a big (i.e.much bigger and more mainstream A-list blogger way), and to make it personal.  Who are the people doing it, where (Copenhagen will be a good place to accelerate the rolling of this ball), when, how, at what cost both in terms of public policy and in terms of the hotel and salary bills for their fatcat selves, what did these people do in the past (i.e.what mere countries have they already screwed with), and what have they said in the past (before they’d even got to the screwing their own country stage), what crackpot bolshevik groups were they in when even younger, who are they now arrived to, and why won’t the regular damn media report on all this (because they are part of the damn problem is why – let me tell you about what the owner of the Daily Deadtree was doing with whom last weekend), blah blah, blah blah.  I believe I may have some rather original and fruitful insights to offer about this.

Who the hell, exactly, and just for starters, is this Michael Mann creature?  (I’ve not read that Wikipedia entry and would not trust it as far as I could spit it.  When the left fascists have an axe to grind about anyone or anything, then Wikipedia is just leftist agitprop, with all critical but true additions edited out pronto.  And did I recently hear something about Wikipedia collapsing, or did I merely imagine it?) Last night at a book signing I attended, somebody told me that Michael Mann is a total bastard, far worse than any kind of regular scientist gone wrong, more like a cross between Lysenko and Beria.  So, as Arthur Seldon of the IEA used to ask of anyone interesting in a bad way: who he?  What he making from all this?  Who he married to?  Where he based?  Who he conned?  How many years he deserve in jail?

But, I promise nothing.

I wonder, might “Cruleak” be a good name for all this?  Just a thought, and probably not a very good one.  But I do agree with another of the commenters on Michael J’s piece that all these thingy-gates are becoming very tedious.

Be cursed and die, Brian’s commenting system! You just ate a much better and longer comment than this.

On names - Warmaquiddick is best. The -quiddick suggests that the press are covering it up, as at Chappaquiddick, rather than pursuing the story, as at Watergate.

On “how many years he deserve in jail?” I refer you to a reply to a commenter who suggested a Nuremberg trial of the CRU mob given by Evan of Watts Up With That: “REPLY - Better not go there. We don’t jail them; they don’t jail us. But we sure as heck don’t have to trust ‘em.”

Few years back there was a rush of warmists suggesting Nuremberg trials for deniers. That, along with the very word “denier” was what started my doubts. If that’s how they talk, I thought, maybe this all conquering consensus is as much from fear of ostracism as from consideration of the facts? Like many others, I went from doubts to certainty in the last three days - the consensus is cobblers.

Like you, I think Science with a capital S is pretty robust but if you want to keep it that way, keep it safe to disagree.

(If the “good name of Science” gets a hammering, that’s probably more of a good thing than a bad at present: while in the long term I’m all for it, the scientists had got above themselves and were - are - putting on political airs and getting over fond of giving orders.)

Posted by Natalie Solent on 26 November 2009

Fraud Anglia?
Hadley? Had you!
CRU: Cons R Us
Mannipugate
Airfix
Eastland (as opposed to Westland)

Posted by Patrick Crozier on 26 November 2009

Core Blimey!
Hack November?

Posted by Patrick Crozier on 26 November 2009

Via Malone Vandam at New Paltz Journal, I learned that one John Holdren - the Obama administration’s science commissar - has also been involved in the Airfix scandal (though, I think Patrick, that “Climategate” is sticking) and that Michael Mann may have been a mere implement.

As to whether the MSM are stonewalling - although I think that it’s generally true, I am hesitant to attribute to malice that which can be explained by simple incompetence. For example, whilst the Taipei Times has ignored the Airfix story (as well as my letters about it - which they otherwise often publish), they have also ignored a major crime story about a man who, this past wednesday, was shot multiple times outside a Starbucks near where I live at 11 or so in the morning.

Of course, the Taipei Times is also a Soros-owned prop anyway.

Posted by mike on 26 November 2009

I will confess to being the Illuminatus who posted that SQotD. One of the commenters said he would like it on a T-Shirt. I have to confess, so would I. I am almost tempted to get some made up and put them on sale.

Posted by Michael Jennings on 26 November 2009

what crackpot bolshevik groups were they in when even younger

I have a personal interest in pointing out that being a crackpot bolshevik when younger is not in itself a condemnation of anybody. I say this having been brought up in a crackpot bolshevik household. I wasn’t myself ever an actual formal paid-up member of any such group, but like most people I believed the stories I was fed as a kid well into my adult life.

Where I would set myself apart from the people you are writing about is that I did, eventually, have the good sense and honesty to realise what crap it all was (and the writings of people like you, Brian, played no small part in that) and to some degree be willing to publicly say so. Albeit less willing than I would be if my folks weren’t still around to be distressed by it.

Having believed stupid things when one was younger is not a valid criticism of anybody. Not having realised they were stupid and recanted them is.

Posted by Alan Little on 27 November 2009

Speaking as someone else brought up by leftists, I at least thought I believed this stuff, except that I didn’t really. I had a tendency to declare in the middle of something like this that I thought the government had no business sanctioning marriage, or that state broadcasting should be abolished. I bought the stuff on things like state education and the welfare state for too long though.

On the other hand, if someone was a crackpot bolshevik when younger, and they haven’t repudiated it and/or their views are still heavily influenced by it, but they are trying to draw attention away from it for political purposes, I think it is right to point it out.


Michael Jennings is one of those people who likes - needs even - to know that people are interested in what he has to say before he says it, as is not quite the case with everyone, is it?  Hence some of his best bits of writing often take the form of comments, in answer to direct questions

I am not sure that is it, actually. It is true that I can spend hours, days, or months agonising over one of my long posts, and it is also true that the limiting factor on the writing time of those things I write in the comments is usually the speed at which I can type. I was sure that there would be plenty of interest in the Chernobyl piece, but it was very hard to write. Similarly, I have a piece on Iceland that is coming slowly but for which I am sure there will be plenty of interest, but it is still coming slowly. I think it is more a form of stage fright than anything else. If I think “This is important” it becomes harder and slower work. If I am answering someone, though, this goes away, though, regardless of the forum. When I write a post, I am very concerned about not making any factual errors, making it clear but not oversimplifying, giving the right amount of background, and getting it structurally right. When I am answering someone, I just go for it.

When I send you an e-mail, I am not generally attempting to give you material to post. It is more just the thought that you will find it interesting or amusing. If you then post it, I sometimes feel the need to fill in the background and the details in follow up comments, particularly if other commenters have asked for them.

Which makes me think your explanation may be more correct than I thought when I started writing that paragraph.

The Samizdata piece was an answer to someone, of course. My previous comment on Samizdata had concluded with the following: “I will listen to somebody who more or less says this and that the risks of global warming are so great that we must do something about them, but somebody who simply states that the science is settled and beyond discussion is frankly not even worth arguing with”. I then received a mocking and dismissive appeal to higher authority response to this, which annoyed me a bit, but given what I had said, I was not going to argue further. A month later, when pretty much everything I had said had been vindicated by a lot of evidence, I wrote my reply as a response, which was easy to write.

When I send you e-mail, I am doing so on the “Brian might find that interesting or amusing” basis

Posted by Michael Jennings on 27 November 2009

Alan and Natalie

I of course agree with every word you both say in answer to those underhand questions I made up.  I agree that the answer to the question about how long Mann should spend in jail is no time at all.  And being part of a crackpot political group when young is not even very wicked, let alone any sort of crime.  (I myself once canvassed for the Conservative Party.) What matters is how it relates,if it does, to what whoever it is is doing now.

My point, as I am sure you both appreciate, is that it is now time for the global plutocracy to have their comings and goings, doings and money-makings, exposed to the light of day, which will inevitably also involve unfair tabloid mud-slinging.

Why it is time, now, is the question that I believe I may soon be able to answer rather well.  The point being why now?  Why not when the internet first began.  I think I may have cracked that.  More anon, I hope, although I promise nothing.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait on 27 November 2009

I think the argument I gave while discussing other things is relevant. That is, the economic crisis means that businesses and other institutions that seemed permanent but were actually not relevant any more.

Of course, one should be careful with cause and effect. Another way of looking at things is that businesses and other institutions that seemed permanent but were actually not relevant any more are coming to their end because of other factors and this, actually, is what the economic crisis is

It has been often observed that when electricity, railways, and other earth changing inventions came into being that they became visible and prominent quickly, but that they took some time to work their way into the fabric of life to the extent that they changed things and worked their way into the productivity statistics, amongst other things. Part of where we are is in another such place.

Or perhaps we are entering the Vingean singularity.

Posted by Michael Jennings on 27 November 2009

They need to be killed, or they’ll do it yet again. First Communism, then Warmism, next something worse.

Posted by anon on 28 November 2009

Warminists?

Posted by David Farrer on 29 November 2009
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