Powered by TypePad

« CIA Shake-Up | Main | It's What They Leave Out That Makes It Interesting... »

May 08, 2006



Sorceror's apprentices, completely unaware that the fabulous powers required a mystical understanding of truth.


He's a pompous ass...and the big dummy, tying so hard to make liberals look good, sorta blows his whole liberal media point.

Journo's would so much better to admit a point of view, rather than pretzel gynamstics to pretend it all in OUR head.

A tiny fringe? -- geez...what happened to the potty mouthed WAPO emais?


Krugman makes my brain hurt.


Fortunately, a conspiracy has "censored" the former Enron advisor by putting him behind a paid firewall.

I will play my predicatable red-state-Christer role and thank God for small favors such as this.

cathy :-)

Foo Bar

I am going to pass on the global warming conspiracy theory, since there are no examples on offer

I don't understand. Isn't Inhofe's quote itself an example?

Krugman makes my brain hurt.
Krugman makes my brain sway. It goes along for the ride as I roll my eyes and shake my head slightly.

cathy :-)

Wilson's a liar

How about the huge "White House conspiracy" to "retaliate" against Joe Wilson by "outing" his "covert CIA agent" wife? You know, the one that was going to produce 22 indictments and have Karl Rove frog-marched out of the White House? Tiny fringe, my a--.

The Unbeliever

Tearing apart Krugman's articles is kind of like dropping grenades into a fish-filled barrel... but what the heck:

Unlike the crazy conspiracy theories of the left — which do exist, but are supported only by a tiny fringe — the crazy conspiracy theories of the right are supported by important people: powerful politicians, television personalities with large audiences.

Yeah. And zany conspiracy theories would never be considered by the august media "personalities" of the left, such as, I dunno, Keith Olbermann? Dan Rather/Mary Mapes? The entire on-air roster of Air America? The publishers and editors of the NYT?

Granted, none of them have the "large audiences" Krugman gets so envious about, but they're at the top of the lefty media scene; you'd think if the left had any non-conspiracy-minded rationality to be found, it would be on display in their most prominent media figures.

Alternatively, we could just take Krugman at his word and acknowledge that the Democratic party is primarily composed of a tiny fringe of lunatics, who somehow drag large swaths of non-Republican voters along for the ride. I'm willing to concede Krugman's ludicrous point if he's willing to concede mine, and declare yet another draw in the War on Stereotypes.


Does this letter say that Iraq was linked to 9/11 ? These guys think so, but you would have to believe in conspiracy theories and ignore anything that doesn't quite fit to make the whole story fly.


"the crazy conspiracy theories of the right are supported by important people: powerful politicians, television personalities with large audiences."

OK - so powerful politicians, who were ELECTED BY A MAJORITY OF VOTERS, and television personalities with LARGE AUDIENCES.

I guess Krugman has just diagnosed the majority of the American electorate as "crazy." Of course, if he doesn't believe that we're all crazy, then he'd have to give some credence to our beliefs.

As for the Invisible Hand re: Global Warming, I recently read an article critiqueing the research being done on the basis that in order to get funding, the researchers have to arrive at an apocolyptic result in order to justify the expense of the research. Or, worse yet, they presume the apocolyptic result and predict the afterafects.

There's your invisible hand.


Patrick R. Sullivan

Krugman has a pretty short memory. Among other conspiracies he's promoted in his column were that Army Sec'y Thomas White was promoting a stock fraud scheme when he was at Enron and that the investors in the Texas Rangers bestowed millions of dollars on GW Bush.

Both of the above blew up in his face. The latter when it was shown that the limited partnership that owned the Rangers was SOP and that Bush's share reflected his unlimited liability as managing general partner.

The former, of course, when my close personal friend Jason Leopold all but admitted he made up an e-mail that Krugman ran with like a naif.


The Hockey Stick's Uncrookt; Mann is unmanned.

Global climate policy has a chance to return to the earth it's supposed to protect. The flight's of fancy re anthropogenic warming have flown above the greenhouse layer, and have been singed, like Icarus, by the energy of the sun, and Steve McIntyre's Magnificent Obsession.


It’s the lack of the easiest conspiracy that proves Bush is the most honest president in modern times.

Using less than a dozen people, a few Coke machines outfitted with older Soviet style nukes ala “Sum Of All Fears” could have been planted in Iraq. With tax stickers from New York, Boston and Los Angeles, the grateful residents of the targeted cities would have been owned by republicans for next millennium.

I’m all for honesty, but if the ends justify the means, I would have pulled the trigger on this conspiracy.

Tom Maguire

Fro mFoo Bar:

Isn't Inhofe's quote itself an example?
I was thinking more of Krugman's "For example, many conservative politicians and pundits seem to agree with James Inhofe...who has declared that "man-made global warming is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people"

Who agrees, and with what do they agree? Folks may think that the global warming threat (or man's contribution thereto, or the efficacy of Kyoto as a policy response) is exaggerated without thinking it is a "hoax".

But the same objection would apply - it appears that lots of scientists would prefer to conclude something satisfactory to enviros; e.g., the response to Lomborg was not exactly calm and dispassionate.

But that does not mean it is a conspiracy.


Here's the good part, j.w. The Democrats are conspiring to commit hari-kiri when al Qaeda next thrusts the knife.


Paul Ehrlich's population Explosion theory of the 80's had everyone running for cover and in a couple of years will have colleges scrambling because the potential student pool has shrunk.
We are creating Global Warming-I'll get back to you on that. Why can't we let the earth evolve as it has over the last centuries. You can't stop mother nature-I need more scientific proof and more undisputed facts before I jump on Krugman's bandwagon.

Foo Bar

Who agrees, and with what do they agree?
James K. Glassman and the Powerline guys have each published articles entitled "The Global Warming Hoax".

There are probably more, but I do have a day job and only a limited amount of time to devote e.g. to digging up pro-administration Dana Priest quotes.

Does anyone here realize that many global warming scientists have the mathematical skills to be making triple what they currently make if they were to go to Wall Street and do quantitative finance?

Presumably few around here believe in global warming. In an "alternate universe" where global warming was real, though, wouldn't the "scientists need to exagerrate to get funding" argument lead you to conclude (incorrectly, in this hypothetical) that they were crying wolf?

Gabriel Chapman

I wonder what PK's handle is over at Democratic Underground.

Jim K.

Krugman must have in mind some notion that if a lot of reporters (or scientists) are slanting the truth, there would be a big payoff to a journalist who actually reported honestly and without bias. The analogy would seem to be a business that's operating inefficiently, and is therefore vulnerable to a new entrant coming in and reaping huge profits. Kind of like what the Japanese did with the U.S. auto industry.

Of course, some might argue that that is exactly what Fox News did. But really the analogy is flawed, because there is no big payoff for "unbiasedness," since bias is hard to prove, and many consumers seem to like (or not care about) biased reporting, whereas most consumers do care about the quality of the automobile they purchase.


It's the mathematical, specifically statistical, skills of some of the scientists most responsible, such as Mann, for the global warming hysteria that is at issue. The point is becoming clear that peer review in climate science has been dreadful ineffective and policy has suffered. There are big wake-up calls coming.

Go to Climateaudit.org for the Real McIntyre.

Does anyone here realize that many global warming scientists have the mathematical skills to be making triple what they currently make if they were to go to Wall Street and do quantitative finance?
Well, I have some first-hand knowledge in this area, and the multiplier between quant salaries and academic salaries is more like 10 than 3.

But the people with the analytical skills who are making the 5-figure salaries are not the ones writing the Gospels and Epistles of the Global Warming Religion. That is done by the journalists and political science majors who write the "executive summaries" of scientific reports. Since they have no scientific knowledge or skills, they wouldn't be able to get jobs in the financial sector at all. Well, ok, maybe as janitors. But not in the 6- & 7- figure payscale.

Hmmm... On further thought, maybe it's that the scientists could triple their salaries by lobotomizing themselves to become journalists or "policy experts."

cathy :-)


I'd like to see the term "Stand Alone Complex" popularized to describe Adam Smith's Invisible Hand theory.


TM, conspiracy theorists tend to have quite the penchant for rationalization. If you want to believe that the media is not reporting good news -- at least find some sociologic statistics from Iraq that are improving, that you think are being under-reported. I've yet to see any wing-nut do this in a thorough way, rather than cherry-pick a couple things to re-inforce their religious beliefs that Iraq is peachy-kean.


I always get that when I am discussing the media. They always come with the strawman that it must be some vast conspiracy. No, it's not. It's not a conspiracy that the overwhelming majority of journalists are Democrats. Thus, it is not a conspiracy if all of them, by partisan nature, choose to bash Bush or misrepresent stories to make Bush look bad.

However, I guess the case could be made that there is a conspiracy when it comes to Larry Johnson, Joe Wilson, Ray McGovern, and the VIPS crowd with the media. Those guys are all over the place in the media, especially Johnson. Why??

Johnson was at the CIA for 4 years almost 2 decades ago. Why does anyone care what he thinks about anything to do with the CIA or intelligence? Well, they do because Johnson says what they want to hear, and they can pass him off as an ex-CIA agent to seem credible.

As far as global warming, here in Norway it is always the same guy always on TV talking about how humans are causing the warming we've seen the last few decades. Apparently there is only one climate expert in all of Norway. Who just happens to be a biologist - not a climatologist. Pretty cool, huh?


I love your posts because you always get to the heart of things and are right on target in your analyses. Why do we have to listen to a has been CIA agent who doesn't have any idea what's happening in this century. My iron-clad rule applies -all former players- off the stage-get the hook!

Greg F
Does anyone here realize that many global warming scientists have the mathematical skills to be making triple what they currently make if they were to go to Wall Street and do quantitative finance?

As Kim says, Climate Audit exposes the statistical incompetence of the Hockey team. One of the blatant mistakes is assuming linearity when using tree rings to reconstruct temperatures.

What are the consequences of incorrectly assuming linearity?
A good example of a serious error arising from a mistaken assumption of linearity is the so-called “Hockey stick” curve. This was adopted by the UN IPCC, resulting in potentially devastating economic consequences. The mathematical method employed by the authors was “principal component analysis”, which is a form of linear algebra applied to statistical data.
One of the main sources of data for this exercise was plant growth (tree rings).
It is easy to demonstrate that plant growth is a non-linear process. Plants require for growth nutriment, light, warmth and moisture. Consider just the last two of these. In the middle range of variables, increases in warmth and moisture both increase growth rates. However, at the extremes, this is not true. If it is very cold, then more moisture will impede growth, while if it is very dry, more heat will also reduce it. Thus plant growth is not only non-linear, it is not even monotonic, which implies a gross non-linearity and excludes the use of linear algebra.

Not only is the statistical treatment fundamentally flawed. No one has shown that tree ring width or density can be used to extract temperature. Growth depends on at least 3 variables, temperature, moisture, and soil fertility. To determine temperature you have to know the other two. IOW, if I told you:

100 = A + B + C

You could not tell me what A is equal to unless you knew what B and C were equal to.


I also am fond of Krugman's use of strawmen in his arguments. For example, nobody ever said that media bias was the result of an overt "conspiracy." Nobody except Krugman, that is.

It's easy to defeat your enemies when you alone get to frame their arguments for them. Just create a stupid, exaggerated version of their thinking, and procede to beat it senseless! Very impressive.


Greg, you provide a good example of why its better to go with peer-review rather than internet cranks. Any book on regression will tell you the difference between linearizable and linear.


Foo Bar, inadvertently, has put his foofinger on the problem. Econometricians are in fact exposing the statistics of the climate scientists to be fraudulent. The journalists have been their usual useful idiots, and the beneficiaries are in the UN manipulating carbon credits.


Greg F. one of the most delicious ironies of the whole hockey stick smash-up is that the bristlecone pine series, which warp the whole hockey stick, are probably, in fact, a proxy for increasing fertilizer, the increased pressure of CO2. I can put myself to sleep marveling over that one.


In other words the rings that they are claiming are increasing in width because of temperature, are actually increasing because of increased Carbon Dioxide. It is such an incredible tautology, and on this, and truly, this alone, hangs Kyoto, and the social devastation presently being inflicted upon all of us by that damnable accord.

JM Hanes


"James K. Glassman and the Powerline guys have each published articles entitled 'The Global Warming Hoax'."

What Glassman actually asserts, however, is that where causes and remedies are concerned, "It is the claim of certainty that is a hoax."

"Presumably few around here believe in global warming."

How does skepticism about such "belief" qualify as a crazy Krugman style conspiracy theory? One does not even have to dispute the existence of a recent warming trend to doubt much of what the politically orthodox assert as known "facts." It only takes a careful reading of the footnoted exceptions and disclaimers in the gospel according to the IPCC to realize that there are huge unknowns in the underlying data analyses. Even for the statistically challanged among us, and I'm a borderline case myself, I would have thought that the carbon sequestration fiasco might have qualified as a cautionary tale as to the primitive state of the science upon which the Kyoto accords were based.

In any case, there's hardly been anything remotely covert on the naysaying side, nor anything secret about the Inhofe agenda. In contrast, it certainly seems to me that there's been a concerted effort to discredit skeptics personally and professionally (a la Bjørn Lomborg), to marginalize and/or derail debate, and to ignore the structural flaws in Kyoto which have been manifesting themselves with ever increasing clarity since the implementation phase commenced. I'd say the de facto alliance on the Kyoto side is considerably more coordinated than the opposition, and I'd say its made up of a lot of folks with a lot of different agendas (Krugman among them!), some obvious and some not so open. Does that really qualify as a bizarre conspiracy theory?

I note that the term "global climate change" has begun to replace "global warming." Whose conspiracy would be responsible for that, I wonder?


Kim, you're obviously not an econometrician, otherwise you'd know the difference.


All very fine, Jor, until your 'internet crank' does a better job of peer reviewing the statistics, other math, the underlying rationale, and the integrity of the climate scientists like Mann and the Hockey Team. How well did Mann defend himself at the recent National Academy of Science hearings? Go read climateaudit.org and get a clue.

Robert Brown

Claiming that global warming is a hoax does not imply a conspiracy.

The fact that opinions about global warming fall rather neatly along party lines should be a tip off that the global warming debate in not about the skill of the climate modelers.

The environmental wing of the Democratic party wants reduced human activity on the planet regardless of the science of global warming. The “social justice” wing of the Democratic party is appalled by the economic success of the industrialized nations, the US in particular relative to the rest of the world. They see the remedy for global warming as a way to redistribute wealth some how. Democrats in general are suspicious of the private sector in general and large corporations in particular. They see global warming solutions as an excuse to put more restrictions on the private sector and that must be a good thing.

Republicans are generally interested in individual economic freedom and maximizing economic growth and see global warming solutions as impeding those goals.

Both parties have a strong incentive to cherry pick the science to fit their real goals and I suspect they do so.

I am sure Krugman subscribes to the common wisdom of Democrats that the Bush administration cherry picked intelligence data to justify invading Iraq and does not consider that a conspiracy theory. Why would he consider those who think that climate science is being cherry picked by politicians conspiracy theorists?

Greg F
Greg, you provide a good example of why its better to go with peer-review rather than internet cranks.

Jor, if you wish not to engage your brain then that is your choice. Here is a good reason to not place peer review on the alter of worship. By the way, Hwang Woo-suk was brought down by bloggers. I suppose you would call them "cranks". Who are you referring to as "cranks" Jor?

Any book on regression will tell you the difference between linearizable and linear.

Jor, any farmer will tell you that plants do not have linear growth rates over normal climate conditions. Something tells me your not a math wiz.

JM Hanes


Appreciate your straightforward (so to speak) explanation of linearity and its specific significance here. As a layman working my way through the basic IPCC documentation, I was struck by how often the report noted missing components -- like the almost total absence of historic weather data from the southern hemisphere, for instance.


Nice critique, TM.

From the spj.org, you get these first points of their code:

"# Test the accuracy of information from all sources and exercise care to avoid inadvertent error. Deliberate distortion is never permissible.
# Diligently seek out subjects of news stories to give them the opportunity to respond to allegations of wrongdoing.
# Identify sources whenever feasible. The public is entitled to as much information as possible on sources' reliability.
# Always question sources’ motives before promising anonymity. Clarify conditions attached to any promise made in exchange for information. Keep promises."

Ah, the good ol days...

Jim Miller

I won't claim to speak for anyone else, but two years ago I explained my thoughts about global warming in this disclaimer:
If you read it, you will see that this Bush voter and genuine neoconservative has mixed feelings about the subject.

So if there is a conspiracy on global warming, the leaders forgot to include me. Or President Bush, who has been pushing for voluntary changes to cut greenhouse gases -- with some success.

(If you are wondering, I wrote that disclaimer so that I could link to it in every post in which I even mention global warming. I'll probably have to expand it sometime soon and mention that some who believe in global warming have softened on nuclear power.)

Tom Maguire

...only a limited amount of time to devote e.g. to digging up pro-administration Dana Priest quotes.

Well then, you have made an excellent time-management choice of hobbies - finding such quotes from Ms. Priest probably only occupies about a minute a year. *Looking* for them might take longer.

From Jor:

TM, conspiracy theorists tend to have quite the penchant for rationalization. If you want to believe that the media is not reporting good news -- at least find some sociologic statistics from Iraq that are improving, that you think are being under-reported.

Jor, do you realize that is a non-sequiteur that has virtually nothing to do with what I actually wrote?

Or do you seriously think that because I believe Krugman's concept of a conspiracy is flawed, I must also believe that media reporting from Iraq is biased?

Oh, why do I ask...

Foo Bar

Well then, you have made an excellent time-management choice of hobbies - finding such quotes from Ms. Priest probably only occupies about a minute a year. *Looking* for them might take longer.

Touche, touche :). Let the record show that I had not otherwise planned to read her chat last week but surmised based on the November quote that she might have made a similar comment given last week's Iran story. So that represented a good 30 seconds or so of genuinely proactive volunteerism donated to the Tom Maguire Foundation.

J. Peden

The ipcc process of analyzing climate change puts virtually no effort into assessing any positive effects of global warming, and even admits it.

"12.8.1.... However, it must be said that potential gains have not been well documented, in part because of lack of stakeholder concern in such cases and consequent lack of special funding."

This is a fatal flaw in the ipcc process, imo: climate change is not really being analyzed, or at least not practically/rationally analyzed, if only considered in relation to hypothesized dangers of warming. [These dangers themselves are only subjectively evaluated through the ippc process, by asking the scientists involved in each study how probable they think the hypothesized detrimental effects are. Apparently the ipcc does not officially ask any other scientists to consider these probabilities.]

Global warming has instead been literally demonized, which is not usually considered to be a part of the scientific method.

The Kyoto protocols, mainly designed to decrease the use of fossil fuel, exempt a very large proportion of the World's population - China, sub-saharan Africa, Brasil, Indonesia, Malasya, and many others, instead giving them fee rein to use fossil fuel. These countries ratify the Treaty and agree to the Protocols, which they are exempt from. This arguably contradicts the whole thrust of the ipcc science as interpreted, and the measures the Protocol imposes.

The ipcc does not suggest any alternatives to fossil fuel use, not even nuclear, and does not seriously analyze the economic and social cost of the Kyoto Protocol measures, which can fairly easily be seen as potentially creating disasters themselves.

For example, "adaptation" in the face of global warming - that is, merely adjusting to warming without worrying about actively lowering CO2 emissions dramatically, is simply dismissed out-of-hand by the ipcc as inadequate, apparently because it has demonized all warming and has essentially presupposed necessary disaster as its result.

There is no meaningful consensus on the validity of ipcc science involving the computer models' ability to attribute warming to human causes. One evaluation presented by Science magazine, as reported by the warming-friendly reporter who covers global warming for Science, found only that whatever group of scientists it was the analyst asked would only say, on balance, that they had "some" confidence in the models' ability to prove a human contribution. This, imo, equates functionally only to the statement that they can't prove in principle that anthropogenic contributions don't contribute to warming - nothing more: it is a statement only that it is conceiveable that human activity contributes to warming, in the same way it is conceiveable that anything else does.

The only other finding resembling a consensus found in this study was that, even if measures were taken to reduce the human contribution, there would be no effect seen for at least 100 years - which means to me that they don't know even if this effect will occur.

Furthermore, the "benefit", as far as it has been described anywhere to my knowledge, would at best only be a very minimal reduction of human-produced CO2, not involving the alleged consequence of CO2 effect itself.

An article published in Science alleging a consensus, possibly the above consensus, was repudiated by another study using the exact same method. The author of the first article admitted that the second was correct. Science would not print even a letter to the editor from the author of the second.

I happened upon a CSPAN presentation involving Johm McCain grilling a top ipcc scientist, who finally admitted that he could not say that humans were in any way contributing to warming.

According to a study I read [the whole thing] investigating oceanic warming, the warming-friendly scientists agreed that ocean-warming was occurring, but that the ipcc modelers had forgotten to include the concept of the oceans as a heat sink into their models predicting the rapidity of atmospheric warming. Lo and behold, the oceans must be warmed up too, if atmospheric warming is to occur. What else is not included in the models and the general thinking of the ipcc?

This really only scratches the surface, while being enough to seriously question global warming alarmists and what they suggest should be done. The main problem politically is that the public and even scientists or thinkers who are not aware of the ipcc methods reasonabley assume that the ipcc is proceding as it should be expected to. I'm convinced that it isn't.


J.P. That is an excellent philosophical critique of the IPCC. It is as sick as the institution which spawned it, the UN. Particularly, in the Summary for Policymakers, the IPCC reports have desperately misrepresented the science, which will not support the certainty about anthropogenic warming which is found in the summary.


"Paranoid Style..." is a great article. Funny, I wrote a paper last semester that used that as a reference to say the enviromental movement was in the paranoid style--and what shocked me, it got an "A".

TM great site, I've lurked here, mostly trying to figure out the Wilson story...



Stop lurking and jump in. The waters are warm and the drinks optional...


This is a spa.

If you don't leave here toned up, it's 'cuz you didn't exercise enough.

And there's a virtual rainbow of Koolaid on the menu. We have tastings.


All newbies are welcome at JOM.


Hah, maryrose, remember the skepticism that greeted you? There'd been an onslaught of sock puppet trolls just when the stork showed up with you. You nearly starved out on the porch before the human cries were recognized.


I think that's why I try to make new posters feel welcome. kim you are a wise and wonderful person,I enjoy your posts immensely.


Greg, A function that is non-linear in one dimension can become linear if you increase the number of dimensions. This is a little mathematical trick that lets you use tools from linear algebra to analyze things that are non-linear. This doesn't work for ALL non-linear functions, but it can work for many of them. So, just because tree-growth is non-linear, doesn't mean you can't use linear techniques. Many times, you can get linear tecnhiques to work.


TM, a 750 word opinion peice, I'm sure is enough space to flesh out a bullet-proof definition of a conspiracy theory. Of course its going to be nit-pickable, but the overall meme is right.


Jor, you get an 'F' in bristlecone pines. Please, for your own good, go read climateaudit.org. As far as the hockey stick goes, you are defending the indefensible.

Shattered Consensus, edited by Patrick J. Michaels, also explicates the skeptic's view about global warming, and/or the anthropogenic component. Surely you agree policy should be based on reliable science.

Thank you mr. Who says we're undercompensated.

Greg F
Greg, A function that is non-linear in one dimension can become linear if you increase the number of dimensions.

Jor, you are arguing from ignorance. You are trying to defend with what hypothetically could be done, not what was done.

The comments to this entry are closed.