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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

UPDATED: Fascist plutocrats Koch and Scaife money talks in Virginia: Virginia's crazy attorney general, Kenneth Cuccinelli, determined to continue his witch hunt against honest climate scientists -- Republican AG backed by Koch Tea Party money, the greatest threat to our democracy and national security this country has ever faced


Ken Cuccinelli v. Climate Skeptics

Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, Virginia’s first-term state attorney general.Jay Paul for The New York TimesKenneth T. Cuccinelli II, Virginia’s first-term state attorney general.
Green: Science
As I wrote in Wednesday’s Times, for nearly a year, Virginia’s attorney general, Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, has tried to force the University of Virginia to turn over the files of Michael Mann, a climatologist, as part of a broader crusade against the scientific basis of man-made global warming.
One might expect that his efforts would find support among climate-change contrarians [fringe deniers], the small but vocal community of scientists [like who, for example?] and independent researchers [Who, pray tell? Richard "Always Debunked" Lindzen? perennial liar before Congress Patrick Michaels? It's ok to smoke Fred Singer? Or the other debunked lesser lights?] who aggressively challenge the mainstream consensus that emissions of heat-trapping gases like carbon dioxide threaten to dangerously warm the planet.
But in reporting the story, I found the opposite to be true: as it turns out, even many of Dr. Mann’s chief scientific [what real scientists?] foes are strongly opposed to Mr. Cuccinelli’s fraud investigation.
One critic of the investigation is the Canadian statistician Ross McKitrick, author of a scientific paper sharply critical of Dr. Mann’s historical climate reconstructions, which were responsible for the so-called “hockey stick” graph showing 20th-century temperatures spiking sharply above the average of the last millennium. [you forgot to mention that Dr. Mann's basic results have been upheld over and over again]

Mr. Cuccinelli simply did not have his facts right, Dr. McKitrick wrote in a comment last May at Watts Up With That, the popular climate-skeptic blog, pointing out misrepresentations of his work that appear in Virginia’s legal complaint against Dr. Mann.
“You have to be prepared to make the effort to go into the details and get them right,” Mr. McKitrick wrote. “Nothing I have seen yet suggests that Cucinelli has done so, and I have yet to see any credible basis for his inquiry.”
In October, Thomas Fuller, co-author of “Climategate,” a book highly critical [uh, that would that he wrote unfounded and false speculations about the real scientists] of Dr. Mann and other climate scientists, also turned to Watts Up With That to denounce the investigation.
“What Ken Cuccinelli is doing is going fishing for wrongdoing without an allegation of such wrongdoing,” he wrote in an October post. “That’s not how we should be doing things in this country.” [unless the Tea Party so orders]
In a May 2010 speech, Stephen McIntyre, the retired Canadian mining engineer and amateur [you can say that again] statistician whose critical analysis of Dr. Mann’s statistical methods [sic] were at the heart of the Climategate e-mail scandal [editors, not being what they used to be have obviously missed this badly written sentence ], spoke out not only against the fraud investigation of Dr. Mann but also against overzealous accusations of wrongdoing coming from both sides of the climate change debate.
“There is far too much angriness in my opinion on both sides of the debate,” he said. “People are far too quick to yell fraud at the other side. I think such language is both selfish and counterproductive.” [aw shucks, McIntyre -- aren't you the one who is still going to lunch on your spurious claims that Dr. Hansen fudged the GISS-temp data?]
(It should be noted that neither Mr. McIntyre nor Dr. McKitrick nor Mr. Fuller are climate scientists, and that many in the climate science community vehemently reject their critiques of Dr. Mann’s work as flawed and biased. A number of independent studies have also confirmed the central parts of Dr. Mann’s thesis, that global temperatures are warmer now than at any time in at least the last 1,000 years. )
Other climate contrarians like John Christy, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Alabama well known for his minority [fringe] view that carbon dioxide emissions pose little threat to the climate, warn that Mr. Cuccinelli’s effort to subpoena research documents in the midst of a heated scientific debate could open the door to a dangerous politicization of science.
“Do all of us who work as university employees (not federal employees) become subject to being investigated by anyone with a grudge?” Dr. Christy wrote in an e-mail message. “I think the expectation of privacy in this realm should carry the day.”
“Hopefully we won’t have to go down that road,” he added, “because it would end in a glorious mess for virtually all of climate science.” [actually, I wouldn't be surprised if Christy's e-mails contained a treasure trove of nutty e-mails from Roy Spencer]

A Climate Skeptic With a Bully Pulpit in Virginia Finds an Ear in Congress

RICHMOND, Va. — For nearly a year, Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, Virginia’s crusading Republican attorney general, has waged a one-man war on the theory [established scientific facts] of man-made global warming.
Jay Paul for The New York Times
Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, Virginia’s attorney general, said that he did “basic reading” and became convinced that scientific proof linking industrial emissions to warming was lacking.


A blog about energy and the environment.
Luke Sharrett/The New York Times
A planned investigation by Representative Darrell Issa of California into alleged instances of fraud by climate scientists — broadly similar to those cited by Mr. Cuccinelli in his legal complaints — has been indefinitely postponed.
Greg Rico/Associated Press
More than 800 professors and scientists in Virginia have petitioned the attorney general to abandon his pursuit of Dr. Michael E. Mann, a Penn State climatologist.
Invoking his subpoena powers, he has sought to force the University of Virginia to turn over the files of a prominent climatology professor, asserting that his research may be marred by fraud [and he has absolutely no evidence of this nor grounds to file and is wasting taxpayer money to do so]. The university is battling the move in the courts.
At the same time, Mr. Cuccinelli is suing the Environmental Protection Agency over its ruling that carbon dioxide and other global warming gases pose a threat to human health and welfare, describing the science behind the agency’s decision as “unreliable, unverifiable and doctored.” [again, he has no evidence and no grounds]
Now his allegations of manipulated data and scientific fraud are resonating in Congress, where Republican leaders face an influx of new members, many of them Tea Party [fascist Koch money supported] stalwarts like Mr. Cuccinelli, eager to inveigh against the body of research linking man-made emissions to warming [following their masters' orders].
“There’s a huge appetite among the rank-and-file to raise fundamental questions about the underlying science,” said Michael McKenna, a Republican strategist and energy lobbyist. [an appetite created by campaign fund support from the biggest polluters in the U.S. -- the Kochs and their faux grassroots organizations and faux think tanks]
Responding to those concerns, the new Republican majority has introduced legislation that would strip federal regulators of their power to police the industrial emissions that contribute to climate change [so the Kochs can party on in their wholesale destruction of the environment]. But party leaders, treading warily, have cast their arguments against regulation largely in terms of economic consequences, playing down the prospect of major hearings to examine the scientific basis of human-caused warming.
Even dedicated opponents of climate action concede that hauling climate scientists before Congress and challenging their findings could easily backfire, as many representatives lack a sophisticated grasp of climatology and run the risk of making embarrassing errors [most of these fools don't know the simplest thing about science -- Michelle Bachman springs to mind -- what a complete idiot, an embarrassment to all women].
“It’s a trap for a lot of members,” said Marc Morano, a former Republican staff member on the Senate Environment and Public Works committee and publisher of Climate Depot, a Web site that advances the arguments of climate skeptics [and is funded by the ultra-right-wing plutocrat Scaifes]. “They’re apt to make mistakes.” [he means they are apt to be shown to be the complete idiots they really are]
Meanwhile, a planned investigation by Representative Darrell Issa of California into alleged instances of manipulation and fraud by climate scientists [yet another waste of taxpayers' money since there is no wrongdoing or fraud to be found] — broadly similar to those cited by Mr. Cuccinelli in his legal complaints — has been indefinitely postponed.
Yet as the Republican leadership puts the brakes on a climate science confrontation, Mr. Cuccinelli has forged ahead.
In the process, his critics say, he has not only made mistakes, but also twisted facts to bolster his case against the climatologist, Michael E. Mann, now a professor atPennsylvania State University.
Sherwood L. Boehlert, a retired Republican congressman from New York and a former chairman of the House Science Committee, is among those who have sharply criticized Mr. Cuccinelli’s tactics.
“I find no logical explanation for spending taxpayer dollars on this politically designed, headline-grabbing pursuit of his,” said Mr. Boehlert, whose panel in 2006 investigated nearly identical charges by climate skeptics [funded by ultra-right wing plutocrats, and these so-called skeptics are not actually real scientists at all] that Dr. Mann had falsified results but found no evidence of wrongdoing.
More than 800 professors and scientists in Virginia have petitioned the attorney general to abandon his pursuit of Dr. Mann. As the university fights the investigation, a state judge has ruled substantially in the university's favor although a final decision has yet to be made.
The case has also been divisive in Virginia politics, with the Democrat-controlled State Senate voting on Feb. 3 to strip Mr. Cuccinelli of the power to investigate future instances of academic fraud at public universities. The following week, senators passed a budget amendment requiring the attorney general to keep detailed expense records on projects that exceed 100 work hours — a proposal aimed at forcing Mr. Cuccinelli to open the books on his investigation of Dr. Mann.
Both measures passed easily and with the support of Republicans, including the Senate minority leader, though neither is expected to clear the Republican-held State House.
Mr. Cuccinelli seems unfazed by the backlash. “We’ll see the documents,” he said confidently in an interview in his Richmond office, referring to Dr. Mann’s e-mails and computer files.
Although cast by his foes as an angry ideologue, Mr. Cuccinelli, 42, was amiable and upbeat in discussing the litigation [here, one has to wonder why the NYTimes author has to insert a smiley face just for this corrupt Cuccinelli]. He ruefully acknowledged the backlash against his investigation of Dr. Mann. “I can tell you that out of all the things we’ve done in this first year in office, none has attracted more vitriolic assault,” he said. [well deserved by this wanker, who should be impeached for misusing his office]
He described the inquiry as a legitimate function of his office. “I would expect any attorney general sitting in this chair to do the same thing,” he said. [yeah, any AG on the take from the plutocrats running this country]
Mr. Cuccinelli’s conservative views make him no stranger to controversy. Before his election as attorney general in November 2009, he served nearly eight years in the State Senate, where he was known for his hard-right stances on illegal immigrationsame-sex marriage, gun control and abortion and for clashing with moderates within his party.
Shortly after taking office in January 2010, he sued the Obama administration over the health care overhaul, which Mr. Cuccinelli called unconstitutional. A federal judge ruled partly in his favor, catapulting him into the national spotlight, although the decision was quickly appealed.
On climate change, Mr. Cuccinelli said he had begun to pay serious attention to the issue only recently, after momentum began to grow behind legislation to establish a national cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gases. He did “basic reading,” [no doubt he was fed crap like that available from Morano's lying website] he said, and became convinced that scientific proof linking industrial emissions to warming was lacking.
His doubts deepened in late 2009, he said, when a large cache of e-mails between scientists from the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia, in Britain, were illicitly published online [once again the NYTimes author gives a pass to the fact that the e-mails were STOLEN, an illegal activity, and by whom?].
Climate change skeptics [none of them real scientists, but fringe climate change deniers] seized on the e-mails as proof that the science linking man-made emissions to warming was doctored and exaggerated, and skeptical bloggers dubbed the episode Climategate. Multiple investigations, including one by the British House of Lords, cleared the researchers involved of scientific wrongdoing.
Despite those conclusions, Mr. Cuccinelli asserted in the interview and in response to written questions that the contents of the leaked e-mails indicated a conspiracy [this is patently false!] among top scientists to exaggerate carbon dioxide’s effect on global temperatures. “They suggest knowledgeable deception on the part of a number of folks,” he said.
“It’s when you introduce the evidence of some people being deceptive that you have the basis for the concerns about our state tax dollars and state institutions being misused,” he said. “It doesn’t happen without the Climategate e-mails.” [then it doesn't happen at all, idiot! since there is no such evidence in the STOLEN e-mails]
Mr. Cuccinelli maintains that he is merely investigating potential financial abuses, not challenging Dr. Mann’s scientific conclusions [liar!  he is doing the bidding of the polluting plutocrats]. But the state’s legal briefs in the case are at their essence a critical assessment of Dr. Mann’s research, which has centered on the historical reconstruction of global temperatures [Mann's basic results have been upheld over and over again by subsequent researchers]. And even prominent climate skeptics challenge the attorney general’s contention that he is not pursuing the climatologist over his scientific work.
At a May 2010 conference bringing together leading skeptical researchers, for instance, Stephen McIntyre, a retired Canadian mining engineer and amateur statistician whose critical analysis of Dr. Mann’s research and demands for data from British scientists were at the heart of the e-mail scandal, denounced the Virginia inquiry.
“I strongly disagree with Cuccinelli’s recent investigation of potential financial abuse,” Mr. McIntyre said. “Regardless of what one may think of the quality of Mann’s work, he has published diligently.”  [wow!  perhaps McIntyre is considering the not so distant future when his name will be held in infamy forever as one whose work helped lead us all to a horrible future of unending climate tragedy -- well, too late buddy!  there is no way you will ever be able to redeem yourself and be forgiven]
The investigation has also run into legal hurdles, with a state judge hearing the case questioning the strength of evidence against Dr. Mann. [duh!]
“The nature of the conduct is not stated so that any reasonable person could glean what Dr. Mann did to violate the statute,” Judge Paul M. Peatross Jr. wrote in an August ruling. The judge did not dismiss the case, however, allowing the state to amend and refile its subpoena.
Climate experts also sharply question claims of fraud cited in Mr. Cuccinelli’s lawsuit against the E.P.A.
Most notably, citing an independent 2009 report [again, the NYTimes author flubs this one -- the report was not independent - it was written by someone working for a faux think tank funded by polluters and plutocrats], the State of Virginia’s complaint asserts that climate scientists at the University of East Anglia, the source of the leaked e-mails — doctored Russian temperature data to exaggerate warming. Because the Climate Research Unit provides basic temperature data to scientists around the world, any corruption of the data seriously undermines the theory of man-made warming, the suit argues.
Yet Alexander Bedritskiy, president of the World Meteorological Organization and the top climate change adviser to President Dmitri Medvedev of Russia, said that the Russian report [again, very poorly written -- this was not a Russian report -- it was written by a Russian in the pay of the polluting plutocrats] was thoroughly discredited by top scientists in his country more than a year ago.
“Any scientific discussion on the results, pretending to be science-based, does not make sense,” Dr. Bedritskiy said in an e-mail.
He also noted that the author of that report, Andrei Illarionov, is not a climate scientist but an economist with the Cato Institute [funded by right wing polluting plutocrats], a conservative research group in the United States.
Mr. Cuccinelli could not say how he had verified the accuracy of the report, which is written in Russian, but said that his legal complaint had been “heavily researched.” The research did not consist of consultations with scientists, however, he said.  [oh brother, well of course they couldn't find any real scientists to work on this -- he would not have been pleased with what they had to say about this junk science]
“We have to have a certain understanding of our context to operate, but that doesn’t require expert witnesses,” he said. [sorry I did not mention that a head vise is required when reading statements by this idiot]
The E.P.A. lawsuit, with dozens of co-plaintiffs and the full force of the federal government opposing it, is expected to result in a highly complex court battle potentially spanning several years — a prospect Mr. Cuccinelli appears to relish. [more tax dollars down the drain]
A wide range of legal experts said the suit had a low chance of success. “It’s the legal equivalent of the ‘Hail Mary’ pass,” said Michael B. Gerrard, a professor at Columbia Law School and an authority on climate change law.
Political experts further questioned whether another drawn-out battle on climate change science would appeal much to voters.
“There is a significant portion of the Virginia public that sees these issues as distractions from what the attorney general should be focusing on,” said Mark J. Rozell, a professor of political science at George Mason University.
“There are many people who are deeply uncomfortable with the crusader-type style that he is cultivating,” he said.

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