Econ 101: the perils of Moral Hazard

August 8, 2010

I’ve occasionally posted videos from the Center for Freedom and Prosperity, an ally or affiliate of the libertarian Cato Institute, that touch on aspects of economics and why government intervention in the free market often causes more problems than it solves. In this offering, the speaker discusses “moral hazard,” in which government interventions provide incentives for people to engage in irresponsible behavior:

What I like about this series is that it teaches economics by focusing on human behavior, rather than abstruse formulae and obscure jargon, and I recommend taking the time to watch them all.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Don’t you have to have some ethics, in the first place?

August 3, 2010

Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-Corruptocrat) has demanded an ethics trial in the House.

I should think a coroner’s inquest would be more appropriate.


Connections and collusion? – updated

July 22, 2010

When I first started reading the Journolist revelations, my thought was “these guys are jackasses and propagandists of the worst sort, but I don’t see a direct influence on policy here.”

Now that’s entered the realm of possibility:

Jared Bernstein, chief economist for Vice President Joseph Biden, served in 2008 as an economic adviser to the Obama campaign. At the same time, he was a member of JournoList, the controversial progressive email list.

Bernstein’s bio at Politico, which appears not to have been updated since 2008, states: “He is an economic adviser to the Obama campaign.”

He was known to many for his regular appearances on the financial channel CNBC. His primary employer in 2008 was the Economic Policy Institute, a pro-labor progressive think tank, but according to his bio when appointed to the Obama-Biden Administration, he also was a member of the Panel of Economic Advisers of the Congressional Budget Office.

Reached today at the Office of the Vice President, Bernstein revealed that his position with the Obama campaign was as something called a “surrogate.” “I was not paid by the campaign,” he explained. “They would call me from time to time to represent their positions, that side of the debate.”

Asked when he left JournoList, Bernstein replied, ‘‘I think I left the list around the time I came here.” Bernstein was announced as Chief Economist and Economic Policy Adviser to the Vice President-elect on December 8, 2008.

One question that has arisen in the last week is how closely JournoList members, not only discussed how to shape the news to advance the fortunes of Barack Obama, but coordinated with the Obama campaign. Jared Bernstein’s position as an unpaid adviser and surrogate shows that there was at least one direct link between JournoList and the Obama campaign.

Like roaches in a kitchen, there’s never just one. How many other connections were there between the Obama campaign (and now the Obama White House) and this list of progressive journalists? Was there any coordination? If so, on what and how much? Given the early attempts by the White House to coordinate propaganda “outreach efforts” with artists through the NEA, I think it’s fair to ask these questions about the members of Journolist, too. Note that while Bernstein says he left Journolist when he joined the White House, he was a member of it while an adviser to the Congressional Budget Office, and thus in a position to influence policy.

The more that comes out, the more the credibility of any journalist on that list falls to shreds.

UPDATE: At Legal Insurrection, Professor Jacobson reminds us of an incident at the White House involving Jared Bernstein that takes on possibly new significance in light of recent news. A summary quote:

So… An Obama campaign operative interacted on the Journolist with sympathetic media types in the run-up to the election, and then rewarded favored Journolistas with a visit to the White House.

Nothing to see here, move along.


Pravda would be proud

July 20, 2010

People on the Right have for years complained about a media establishment biased toward the Left, only to be roundly mocked as paranoid, even when some evidence shows they were right. (For example) During the 2008 campaign, it became increasingly apparent that the major media had given up objectivity and was openly pulling for the victory of then-Senator Obama. While concentrating all their powers on Sarah Palin’s tanning bed, they almost totally ignored Obama’s political background, relationships, and lack of experience.

But they weren’t just passively avoiding anything that might be critical of Obama or detrimental to his presidential bid. No, at the very least some members of a now-defunct private mailing list  for liberal and left-wing journalists and other opinion makers called “Journolist” were looking for ways to actively intimidate into silence not just conservative critics, but even more moderate liberal members of the MSM. How would they do this?

According to The Daily Caller, by smearing their opponents as racists:

It was the moment of greatest peril for then-Sen. Barack Obama’s political career. In the heat of the presidential campaign, videos surfaced of Obama’s pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, angrily denouncing whites, the U.S. government and America itself. Obama had once bragged of his closeness to Wright. Now the black nationalist preacher’s rhetoric was threatening to torpedo Obama’s campaign.

The crisis reached a howling pitch in mid-April, 2008, at an ABC News debate moderated by Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos. Gibson asked Obama why it had taken him so long – nearly a year since Wright’s remarks became public – to dissociate himself from them. Stephanopoulos asked, “Do you think Reverend Wright loves America as much as you do?”

Watching this all at home were members of Journolist, a listserv comprised of several hundred liberal journalists, as well as like-minded professors and activists. The tough questioning from the ABC anchors left many of them outraged. “George [Stephanopoulos],” fumed Richard Kim of the Nation, is “being a disgusting little rat snake.”

The members of Journolist weren’t about to see their champion hurled to the ground. But, rather than investigate and try to refute the allegations regarding Reverend Wright and Obama, they instead decided to attack their colleagues:

“Part of me doesn’t like this shit either,” agreed Spencer Ackerman, then of the Washington Independent. “But what I like less is being governed by racists and warmongers and criminals.”

Ackerman went on:

“I do not endorse a Popular Front, nor do I think you need to. It’s not necessary to jump to Wright-qua-Wright’s defense. What is necessary is to raise the cost on the right of going after the left. In other words, find a rightwinger’s [sic] and smash it through a plate-glass window. Take a snapshot of the bleeding mess and send it out in a Christmas card to let the right know that it needs to live in a state of constant fear. Obviously I mean this rhetorically.

“And I think this threads the needle. If the right forces us all to either defend Wright or tear him down, no matter what we choose, we lose the game they’ve put upon us. Instead, take one of them — Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares — and call them racists. Ask: why do they have such a deep-seated problem with a black politician who unites the country? What lurks behind those problems? This makes *them* sputter with rage, which in turn leads to overreaction and self-destruction.”

In other words, a naked call to play the Race Card in American politics in order to stifle debate and criticism. Racism is the most vile charge one can make in our society; to accuse someone of it is to smear them for a long time, if not forever. And the discussants on Journolist were about to unleash it on their professional colleagues.

It’s fair to note that the people mentioned in the DC article formulating this strategy are almost all opinion journalists, such as Katha Pollitt at the progressive The Nation. One would expect them to try to shape the debate and defend their ideological positions, just as their counterparts at The Weekly Standard or National Review would do.

But not by character assassination and implying they were racists. And not by attacking members of the “objective press” for simply asking tough, legitimate questions.

That crosses the line not just into advocacy journalism, but propaganda of the worst sort, the kind I’d expect to see from the “journalistic organs” of a totalitarian state. Jack Reed and Walter Duranty would be proud.

The Daily Caller promises more in the days to come, and it will be interesting to see how far this rot has spread from politically-oriented opinion journalists to mainstream reporters.

I suspect it’s gone quite far.

(via Big Journalism)

LINKS: More from John Nolte, who says the playing of the race card isn’t the most shocking thing; Andrew Breitbart, who thinks the reporters at Pravda were better people; Kurt Schlichter, who talks about the MSM memory hole; Ed Morrissey, who considers the implications of this for the Left’s attempts to paint the Tea Party as racists; and William Jacobson, who says “Yes, Liberal journalists did manipulate the 2008 election.”

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Shouldn’t Ken Salazar be impeached?

June 23, 2010

Okay, we know it isn’t going to happen for two reasons:

  1. It’s a Democratic-controlled Congress through at least next January.
  2. And, as far as we know, he’s committed no criminal act, and precedent would seem to require that.

And yet, shouldn’t the Secretary of the Interior be impeached or, at the least, be fired or forced to resign for blatantly lying in the report that justified the Gulf drilling moratorium?

Much to the government’s discomfort and this Court’s uneasiness, the Summary also states that “the recommendations contained in this report have been peer-reviewed by seven experts identified by the National Academy of Engineering.” As the plaintiffs, and the experts themselves, pointedly observe, this statement was misleading. The experts charge it was a “misrepresentation.” It was factually incorrect. Although the experts agreed with the safety recommendations contained in the body of the main Report, five of the National Academy experts and three of the other experts have publicly stated that they “do not agree with the six month blanket moratorium” on floating drilling. They envisioned a more limited kind of moratorium, but a blanket moratorium was added after their final review, they complain, and was never agreed to by them. A factor that might cause some apprehension about the probity of the process that led to the Report.

That’s from the ruling (PDF) of Federal Judge Martin Feldman, whose restraining order blocked the moratorium. To translate that last sentence, it’s a nice way of calling Secretary Salazar a big, fat liar. For background on the controversy over the experts’ opinions and Salazar’s fictionalization, read this article from NOLA.com, which also reports Interior as claiming “the White House made us do it.”

Since it’s evident that Secretary Salazar is willing to lie to the American people and misrepresent facts in court in order to serve the (anti-drilling) political needs of the White House, and since he’s quite happy to use those lies to justify actions that would do undoubted harm to the people  of the Gulf states during a time of national disaster, shouldn’t he be forced out? Shouldn’t he be hounded into resignation? Shouldn’t his boss be made to pay a political price by firing him for being revealed as a willing and dishonest tool? Hasn’t he lost the confidence of the American people as steward of our natural resources?

Or does he get a pass for all this?

(via Michelle Malkin)


They really do think we’re that stupid

April 26, 2010

Late last week, I started seeing commercials from General Government Motors announcing to the world that GM had paid off its government loan – early and with interest. I thought that was good news, a sign that the company was recovering, jobs would be saved, and the government could unwind the majority ownership stake it had taken in the company.

Then the other shoe dropped and I realized we were being played for suckers:

Uncle Sam gave GM $49.5 billion last summer in aid to finance its bankruptcy. (If it hadn’t, the company, which couldn’t raise this kind of money from private lenders, would have been forced into liquidation, its assets sold for scrap.) So when Mr. Whitacre publishes a column with the headline, “The GM Bailout: Paid Back in Full,” most ordinary mortals unfamiliar with bailout minutia would assume that he is alluding to the entire $49.5 billion. That, however, is far from the case.

Because a loan of such a huge amount would have been politically controversial, the Obama administration handed GM only $6.7 billion as a pure loan. (It asked for only a 7% interest rate–a very sweet deal considering that GM bonds at that time were trading below junk level.) The vast bulk of the bailout money was transferred to GM through the purchase of 60.8% equity stake in the company–arguably an even worse deal for taxpayers than the loan, given that the equity position requires them to bear the risk of the investment without any guaranteed return. (The Canadian government likewise gave GM $1.4 billion as a pure loan, and another $8.1 billion for an 11.7% equity stake. The U.S. and Canadian government together own 72.5% of the company.)

But when Mr. Whitacre says GM has paid back the bailout money in full, he means not the entire $49.5 billion–the loan and the equity. In fact, he avoids all mention of that figure in his column. He means only the $6.7 billion loan amount.

But wait! Even that’s not the full story given that GM, which has not yet broken even, much less turned a profit, can’t pay even this puny amount from its own earnings.

So how is it paying it?

As it turns out, the Obama administration put $13.4 billion of the aid money as “working capital” in an escrow account when the company was in bankruptcy. The company is using this escrow money–government money–to pay back the government loan.

In other words, they used their Visa to pay off their American (Taxpayer) Express. Pardon my language, but this is bullshit.

The American people are still bailing out a company that should have been allowed to go bankrupt, the US and Canada still own nearly three-fourths of the company, and not a dime has been repaid. All they did was move money from one pocket to the other.

And the worst part is that Treasury and their lackeys at GM think we’re such gullible children that we wouldn’t see this for the insulting con game it is.

Congratulations, guys, you’ve given us something else to remember in November.

LINKS: Sister Toldjah, Dan Mitchell, Hot Air, Fausta, Power Line (and here).

RELATED: Senator Grassley is not amused.


Virtuous Greens more likely to lie, cheat, and steal

March 16, 2010

Maybe I should have written “sanctimonious” rather than “virtuous,” but… whatever. A study reported in the UK’s Guardian newspaper shows that our moral superiors in the “save the Earth” movement are also more likely to steal and then lie about it:

When Al Gore was caught running up huge energy bills at home at the same time as lecturing on the need to save electricity, it turns out that he was only reverting to “green” type.

According to a study, when people feel they have been morally virtuous by saving the planet through their purchases of organic baby food, for example, it leads to the “licensing [of] selfish and morally questionable behaviour”, otherwise known as “moral balancing” or “compensatory ethics”.

Do Green Products Make Us Better People is published in the latest edition of the journal Psychological Science. Its authors, Canadian psychologists Nina Mazar and Chen-Bo Zhong, argue that people who wear what they call the “halo of green consumerism” are less likely to be kind to others, and more likely to cheat and steal. “Virtuous acts can license subsequent asocial and unethical behaviours,” they write.

The pair found that those in their study who bought green products appeared less willing to share with others a set amount of money than those who bought conventional products. When the green consumers were given the chance to boost their money by cheating on a computer game and then given the opportunity to lie about it – in other words, steal – they did, while the conventional consumers did not. Later, in an honour system in which participants were asked to take money from an envelope to pay themselves their spoils, the greens were six times more likely to steal than the conventionals.

Why am I not surprised?  Waiting

(via the always thoughtful and moderate James Delingpole)


We’re not the only ones wondering

February 15, 2010

In an earlier post, I wrote a bit about the lack of mainstream media coverage of the ClimateGate scandal and the growing collapse of the Global Warming mania.

I’m not the only one wondering about the curious incident of the dog in the night-time:

If there’s one thing the Snowpocalypse-hastened collapse of the Great Global Warming Hoax has shown us, among other things, it’s that Mark Steyn, as usual, was right all along, and “Anthropogenic Global Warming” — ridiculous on its face, as anyone who knows history could have said, and did — was as much a journalistic scandal as a scientific one.

Think about their coverage of ClimateGate and the global-warming controversy in general, and then about how the major media protected Barack Obama and refused to investigate his career, his associations, and his political beliefs during the presidential race. Then recall how they spent much of their free time in that same campaign savaging Sarah Palin. Do just that, and the professional and ethical bankruptcy of the media becomes clear.

Mainstream journalism is dead.

FAIR IS FAIR: Apparently The Washington Post still has some integrity left, albeit their spin of this scandal as “missteps” is laughable. (h/t NewsBusters)

TANGENTIAL UPDATE: An example of how the media ignored the political environment in which Obama was raised.


Conflict of interest? Surely you jest!

January 1, 2010

Just because foreign governments gave tens of millions of dollars to her husband’s charity is no reason to assume the Secretary of State might be compromised in the performance of her fiduciary duties toward the United States.

Really. Uh-hum. Sure. You betcha.

(hat tip: Dan Collins)


Michelle Obama behind Inspector General firing?

December 14, 2009

It’s way too early to ask that famous question (paraphrased), “What did she know and when did she know it,” but Byron York reports on strong indications that the White House may be trying to hide the First Lady’s involvement of AmeriCorps Inspector General Gerald Walpin, who had uncovered corruption in one of her favorite charities:

Congressional investigators looking into the abrupt firing of AmeriCorps inspector general Gerald Walpin have discovered that the head of AmeriCorps met with a top aide to First Lady Michelle Obama the day before Walpin was removed.

According to Republican investigators, Alan Solomont, then the chairman of the Corporation for National and Community Service, which oversees AmeriCorps, had denied meeting with Jackie Norris, at the time the First Lady’s chief of staff.  But recently-released White House visitor logs show that Solomont met with Norris on June 9 of this year (as well as on two earlier occasions). President Obama fired Walpin on June 10 after an intense dispute over Walpin’s aggressive investigation of misuse of AmeriCorps money by Obama political ally Kevin Johnson, the mayor of Sacramento, California.

After being presented with the visitor logs, investigators say, Solomont explained that he met with Norris to discuss Corporation business but did not discuss the Walpin matter.  When pressed, Solomont said he might have made an offhand comment, or a mention in passing, about the Walpin affair, but that he and Norris did not have a discussion about it.

Solomont’s explanations have left both Rep. Darrell Issa, ranking Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and Sen. Charles Grassley, top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, frustrated and vowing to continue their investigation of the Walpin matter. In a letter to Solomont, sent Friday, Issa wrote that he has “serious questions about the veracity of your…testimony.”  In a statement Saturday, Grassley said he is “concerned about the accuracy and completeness of Mr. Solomont’s answers to questions.”

Solomont changed his story several times and was caught in a bald lie by committee investigators. The question is inevitable: if nothing wrong was done, why not admit he had discussed that troublesome IG with Mrs. Obama’s chief of staff? (And who soon thereafter was appointed to the board of AmeriCorps supervising corporation.) Unless, of course, the First Lady was to some degree involved in the illegal firing of Mr. Walpin? AmeriCorps is a favored charity of hers, and Mayor Johnson is a major Obama supporter and friend. A little Chicago-style hardball politics to make Walpin go away wouldn’t be alien to her, someone steeped in it from childhood.

Again, it’s too early to scream j’accuse, but the behavior of those involved is both curious and suggestive. But, with the Republicans in the minority and Democrats seemingly uninterested in pursuing IG-gate, we may have to wait for January, 2011, for the full story to come out.

RELATED: A friend reminds me of a potentially similar prior scandal, from when our Secretary of State was herself First lady. This time, however, there’s the added spice of the current First Lady possibly intervening to protect a supporter who misuses federal funds and sexually harasses interns. Sweet! I’d better order more popcorn…

LINKS: More at Hot Air.


It’s on! Sarah Palin vs. The Goracle

December 10, 2009

Yesterday I linked to an op-ed piece in the Washington Post in which Governor Palin denounced the corruption of science revealed in the Climategate files and called on President Obama to boycott the UN climate change conference in Copenhagen. It was an example of the well-reasoned, commonsensical, and ethical conservative argument we’ve come to expect from her. For example:

In his inaugural address, President Obama declared his intention to “restore science to its rightful place.” But instead of staying home from Copenhagen and sending a message that the United States will not be a party to fraudulent scientific practices, the president has upped the ante. He plans to fly in at the climax of the conference in hopes of sealing a “deal.” Whatever deal he gets, it will be no deal for the American people. What Obama really hopes to bring home from Copenhagen is more pressure to pass the Democrats’ cap-and-tax proposal. This is a political move. The last thing America needs is misguided legislation that will raise taxes and cost jobs — particularly when the push for such legislation rests on agenda-driven science.

It was a fair analysis in opposition to a policy the authoress believed harmful to the interests of the United States. But it was blasphemy to some, a challenge to the orthodoxy of the Cult of Anthropogenic Global Warming that had to be quashed.

There was only one person to do it, one illuminated being with the gravitas (and the girth) to reassert inconvenient truths, remind us that the science is settled, and restore our faith in a coming doom from which only he and other technocratic elites could save us (inconvenient evidence be damned): Al Gore himself.

Asked about Palin’s charge on Facebook that these are “doomsday scare tactics pushed by an environmental priesthood,” Gore replied that the scientific community has worked on this issue for 20 years. “It’s a principle in physics. It’s like gravity. It exists.”

In other words, “Don’t listen to that moose-hunting, baby-making, state-school educated hick from a barely-civilized state! Don’t let her fool you with facts supplied to her by deniers who are traitors to the planet! No, listen to me! I’m wiser than her. I’ve been a senator, a vice-president … I HAVE AN OSCAR!!

Let us not forget that this is the same genius who asserted on national television that the temperature of the Earth’s core tops out at several million degrees. Hint: if that were true, the Earth would have had a very bright, but very short career as a fireball, before ending as a cosmic smoke-puff. (Inconvenient truth: scientific estimates range from about 5,000 to 9,000 degrees Celsius.)

Gore has also either lied about or is ignorant of the emails at the center of the controversy, claiming the most recent was ten years old. Wrong. The most recent is from November of this year.

I ask again, why does anyone take this fat, bombastic, profiteering moron seriously?

When someone presents contrary evidence, his replies amount to saying “nuh-uh!” over and over again. When asked to prove climate change is anthropogenic in origin, he looks with disdain and says essentially, “Because… shut up!”

All Al Gore can do when challenged is roll his eyes and condescend in an attempt to intimidate and demean his opponents, because the genuine science is increasingly against him and his statist money-making scheme theory. Governor Palin, on the other hand, presented reasonable arguments about why we should look very seriously at the integrity of the science of climate change before making any drastic commitments based on it.

I know who I trust. How about you?

POSTSCRIPT: The former Alaska governor had this to say on her Facebook page in response to The Goracle:

The response to my op-ed by global warming alarmists has been interesting. Former Vice President Al Gore has called me a “denier” and informs us that climate change is “a principle in physics. It’s like gravity. It exists.”

Perhaps he’s right. Climate change is like gravity – a naturally occurring phenomenon that existed long before, and will exist long after, any governmental attempts to affect it.

However, he’s wrong in calling me a “denier.” As I noted in my op-ed above and in my original Facebook post on Climategate, I have never denied the existence of climate change. I just don’t think we can primarily blame man’s activities for the earth’s cyclical weather changes.

Former Vice President Gore also claimed today that the scientific community has worked on this issue for 20 years, and therefore it is settled science. Well, the Climategate scandal involves the leading experts in this field, and if Climategate is proof of the larger method used over the past 20 years, then Vice President Gore seriously needs to consider that their findings are flawed, falsified, or inconclusive.

Vice President Gore, the Climategate scandal exists. You might even say that it’s sort of like gravity: you simply can’t deny it.

LINKS: Hot Air covers Gore’s disappointment in Obama’s focus on health care; California senatorial candidate Carly Fiorina reminds us that facts are important things; J. Storrs Hall provides evidence that assertions that the infamous hockey stick graphs can only be explained by anthropogenic causes are poppycock. At Pajamas Media, Environmental Protection Agency scientist Alan Carlin discusses the risks inherent in the Obama Administration’s politicization of the agency, Roger Kimball discusses how Al Gore flunks logic, and mathematician Frank Tipler argues that relativism corrupts science.


Climategate: junk science, worthless data, and hookers

December 6, 2009

Head over to The Devil’s Kitchen to see what other techies think of what they’ve found in the program code leaked from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit. Hint:  it ain’t pretty.

Data horribilia: the HARRY_READ_ME.txt file

…come with me on a wonderful journey as the CRU team realise that not only have they lost great chunks of data but also that their application suites and algorithms are total crap; join your humble Devil and Asimov as we dive into the HARRY_READ_ME.txt (thanks to The Englishman) file and follow the trials and tribulations of Ian “Harry” Harris as he tries to recreate the published data because he has nothing else to go on!

Thrill as he “glosses over” anomalies; let your heart sing as he gets some results to within 0.5 degrees; rejoice as Harry points out that everything is undocumented and that, generally speaking, he hasn’t got the first clue as to what’s going on with the data!

Chuckle as one of CRU’s own admits that much of the centre’s data and applications are undocumented, bug-ridden, riddled with holes, missing, uncatalogued and, in short, utterly worthless.

And wonder as you realise that this was v2.10 and that, after this utter fiasco, CRU used the synthetic data and wonky algorithms to produce v3.0!

You’ll laugh! You’ll cry! You won’t wonder why CRU never wanted to release the data! You will wonder why we are even contemplating restructuring the world economy and wasting trillions of dollars on the say-so of data this bad.

By all rights this should be the end of the global warming myth, but true believers (and those with a financial interest) will carry on. They’ll say all the right things about settled science and impending doom at the Copenhagen conference this month, maybe even come up with a “programme of action,” but, in the end, they’re like Prince Prospero and his guests at the grand ball, trying vainly to ignore the doom that stalks them.

Oh, well. At least they can console themselves with free sex.

RELATED: NASA is fudging (to put it nicely) the data, too. Marc Sheppard on Understanding Climategate’s Hidden Decline. William Jacobsen explains why 56 newspapers worldwide will lie to you tomorrow about global warming. More on that from Sister Toldjah. Michelle Malkin calls them 56 Chicken-Littles.


Take back Gore’s Oscar?

December 4, 2009

In the latest episode of PJTV’s Poliwood, Roger L. Simon and Lionel Chetwynd, both Oscar nominees, discuss what to do about Al Gore’s Academy Award-winning “documentary,” An Inconvenient Truth, in light of the revelations of Climategate:

Momentum? Simon and Chetwynd’s suggestion has made the LA Times. There’s no chance this would ever happen, but for it to even appear in a reliably liberal MSM outlet shows Climategate is starting to grab the public’s attention.


The dog ate my data!

November 29, 2009

The scientific-fraud scandal that’s rocked the Global-Warming Cult is rapidly moving from outrage to farce. First the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) refused for years to release their raw data and programming code, conspiring to resist UK FOIA requests. Then, after emails and code were leaked indicating extensive data manipulation and efforts to corrupt the peer-review process, word comes today that CRU has agreed to release their data. A victory for transparency, right? It’s the beginning of the restoration of trust in science, no?

No.

In fact, the London Times Online reports that the data, if it is released, is not the raw data. The CRU threw that away.

Climate change data dumped

SCIENTISTS at the University of East Anglia (UEA) have admitted throwing away much of the raw temperature data on which their predictions of global warming are based.

It means that other academics are not able to check basic calculations said to show a long-term rise in temperature over the past 150 years.

The UEA’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) was forced to reveal the loss following requests for the data under Freedom of Information legislation.

The data were gathered from weather stations around the world and then adjusted to take account of variables in the way they were collected. The revised figures were kept, but the originals — stored on paper and magnetic tape — were dumped to save space when the CRU moved to a new building.

The admission follows the leaking of a thousand private emails sent and received by Professor Phil Jones, the CRU’s director. In them he discusses thwarting climate sceptics seeking access to such data.

In a statement on its website, the CRU said: “We do not hold the original raw data but only the value-added (quality controlled and homogenised) data.

In other words, “Sure we’ll share the data. And, aren’t we nice? We cleaned it up and made it all pretty for you. Look! A hockey stick!

I’d ask how dumb they think we are, but they’ve already answered that question.  Waiting

The CRU data set has been one of the primary sources for researchers around the globe conducting their own investigations into global warming. The refusal to share the raw data itself is bad enough (Good science depends on letting others test and challenge your theories.), but then to admit you tossed the original data, that only the manipulated data is available and that others will just have to trust that your corrections were appropriate is nothing short of appalling. Without the original, raw, unadjusted data to test against, the CRU data set is worthless and likewise any research based on it

And yet these are the same people who demand we regulate and massively tax the world’s most productive economies to deal with a crisis they claim is proved … by this same data.

The real crisis is when crooked science meets stupid politicians.

RELATED: More on the revealing comments hidden in the CRU’s program code; Hot Air on weird science; Michael Mann, the originator of one of the now-discredited hockey sticks, is now under investigation by his employer, the University of Pennsylvania, in the wake of the CRU revelations. Information on the other debunked hockey stick. Climate Skeptic translates the double-speak in the CRU’s announcement that it had destroyed the raw data. Sister Toldjah wants a show of hands to see who believes the CRU’s excuse.


Even the MSM cannot ignore it

November 22, 2009

You know a scandal may have legs when even the mainstream media, which has generally hewed to alarmist line regarding global warming, reports on the evidence of scientific fraud:

Electronic files that were stolen from a prominent climate research center and made public last week provide a rare glimpse into the behind-the-scenes battle to shape the public perception of global warming.

While few U.S. politicians bother to question whether humans are changing the world’s climate — nearly three years ago the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded the evidence was unequivocal — public debate persists. And the newly disclosed private exchanges among climate scientists at Britain’s Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia reveal an intellectual circle that appears to feel very much under attack, and eager to punish its enemies.

In one e-mail, the center’s director, Phil Jones, writes Pennsylvania State University’s Michael E. Mann and questions whether the work of academics that question the link between human activities and global warming deserve to make it into the prestigious IPCC report, which represents the global consensus view on climate science.

“I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report,” Jones writes. “Kevin and I will keep them out somehow — even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!

(Emphasis added)

The highlighted segment of the Post article reiterates the point I made yesterday: results had become more important to significant players in the “climate alarmist community” than truth, leading to a willingness to corrupt the scientific process by excluding contrary articles from scientific literature. Again, this revelation and the others contained in the leaked emails should call all pro-alarmist research into question. As the article points out, most politicians in the US have been unquestioning sheep about anthropogenic climate change. Maybe this time they’ll develop a healthy skepticism.

(hat tip: Hot Air)

Further reading: Fausta has several good links, while Power Line presents a case-study of how alarmists do science.


Why the Los Angeles Times is dying

September 5, 2009

When their writers can’t get the facts straight, perhaps even deliberately distort them, who needs them?


The clock is ticking on Charlie Rangel

September 1, 2009

Byron York in the Washington Examiner:

Rep. Charles Rangel has been in the House since 1971. He’s as old bull as you get in the Democratic hierarchy, and he waited through 12 long years of Republican rule to take over as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee in 2007. Along with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and fellow Democratic power brokers Henry Waxman and Barney Frank, Rangel is playing a key role in the effort to push the president’s health care, environmental, and financial initiatives through the House.

Last week, we learned that Rangel filed a grossly misleading financial disclosure report for 2007 — failing to report at least half a million dollars in assets.

It turns out Rangel had a credit union account worth at least $250,000 and maybe as much as $500,000 — and didn’t report it. He had investment accounts worth about the same, which he also didn’t report. Ditto for three pieces of property in New Jersey.

Beyond that, we’ve learned that Rangel has failed to report assets totaling more than $1 million on legally required financial disclosure forms going back to at least 2001.

The news comes on top of revelations last year that Rangel didn’t report — and didn’t pay taxes on — income from a villa in the Caribbean. In that matter, the Internal Revenue Service gave him sweetheart treatment; Rangel paid about $10,000 in back taxes but was not required to pay any penalty or interest.

Corruption is a bipartisan problem, but, while the Republicans waded in it, Democrats like Rangel have dived into the deep end and gone snorkeling. That clock is ticking down to 2010, and the Republicans should take advantage of this opportunity while they still have time.


Pelosi is the issue in torture debate

May 18, 2009

William Jacobson has a thoughtful piece in today’s American Thinker about the debate over "torture" in the interrogation of terrorist suspects and why Nancy Pelosi is key. He identifies three facets to be kept in mind:

The legal: the relevant section of the US Code is not as precise on the issue as one might expect, with the key issue being the difference between specific and general intent. Jacobson’s argument and that of Attorney General Holder have caused me to revise my earlier opinion that waterboarding is torture under US law.

The ethical: Follow the last link above, and you’ll discover my contempt for opinion on the "no waterboarding, preserve our moral purity" argument. Jacobson also makes a good argument that, like the atomic attacks on Japan in 1945, waterboarding constituted the lesser of two evils and the only politically acceptable solution. Nonetheless, we have to acknowledge and allow for the conscientious objection of those who find harsh interrogation unacceptable under any circumstances — no matter how much I think they’re fools.

The political: But then there are those who feign outrage, but really only want to use the "torture debate" to damage their Republican and conservative rivals in order to cement their political advantage. Their goal is to have the public see only the controversial acts, but without any context that would give meaning to the debate. And Pelosi is the living symbol of this whole group. As Jacobson puts it:

And it is this historical context which the Democrats wish to evade, and which makes what Nancy Pelosi knew and when she knew it absolutely critical. 

Far from being a distraction, the information provided to Pelosi, and her acquiescence in the interrogation methods, puts the whole debate in proper historical context.  If Pelosi, who states that she is against "torture" under any circumstance, was willing to go along with the interrogation methods, then the planned political circus falls apart.  Nancy Pelosi was the classic example of a person who opposed certain interrogation methods in principle, but under certain circumstances and certain places in time was willing to go along or look the other way because the alternative was worse. 

If the Democrats want a "truth commission," then Pelosi, Jay Rockefeller, and everyone else in Congress involved in the intelligence briefings from that time should be among the first to testify –under oath. That would be the only way such a likely farce could give the public the information it needs to fairly judge the issue.

 


Shocking revelation! Not….

May 18, 2009

New York Times admits it spiked an article potentially harmful to Obama’s presidential campaign.

I’m shocked, shocked! And you know what that calls for…. Tito? Roll’em!

 


Parliament of thieves

May 16, 2009

Humorist PJ O’Rourke once wrote a book about the US government called Parliament of Whores. I think he could write a sequel about Congress’  elder relative in London. I’ll even let him use the subject above as the title.

A few days ago, I wrote about a breaking scandal in the UK that revealed the interesting items members of Parliament, including government ministers, claimed as "legitimate expenses." Things like pool maintenance, rat poison, and porn. (That last as a gift…)

Now, thanks to the UK’s News of the World, you can read the whole sorry list of MPs who think the British public should pay for their private expenses. One example:

ELLIOT MORLEY

Lab, Scunthorpe. Maj: 8,963.

Alleged to have claimed £16,000 for a mortgage that didn’t exist. Has been suspended from Labour Party. Insists: "I do not believe any offence has been committed."

Claiming expense money for an obligation that does not exist… hmmm. I think that’s called "fraud." Thinking

I wonder if he and US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner trade tips…

So, the Parliament, Congress, and the California Legislature. What is it with so many legislators that they think they have a right to live high on the hog on the public’s money? I know there are good ones, but way too many think the treasury is theirs, not the public’s.

The root of the problem is ethics, or, more precisely, the lack thereof.

As Don Surber says, time to throw the bums out.