Thursday, September 27, 2007

Lies, damned lies, and the god damn liars who tell them

"Anti-intellectualism has long been the anti-Semitism of the businessman." - Arthur Schlesinger

Reading Blogs for Bush today, I discovered that global warming is really just part of the George Soros conspiracy to undermine America. Or at least, that's what Mark Noonan thinks after reading this shamelesss bile of an editorial from Investors Business Daily.

How many people, for instance, know that James Hansen, a man billed as a lonely "NASA whistleblower" standing up to the mighty U.S. government, was really funded by Soros' Open Society Institute , which gave him "legal and media advice"?

That's right, Hansen was packaged for the media by Soros' flagship "philanthropy," by as much as $720,000, most likely under the OSI's "politicization of science" program.

That may have meant that Hansen had media flacks help him get on the evening news to push his agenda and lawyers pressuring officials to let him spout his supposedly "censored" spiel for weeks in the name of advancing the global warming agenda.
Wow! (1)Does that mean that James Hansen's climate research is not funded by NASA and that instead he received $720,000 to politicize science in order to push the nefarious George Soros "global warming" agenda? (2) Why is censored in quotes? (3)Did a 24 year old Republican political appointee not tell Hansen not to speak to the media about global warming? (4)Why is philanthropy in quotes?

Noonan doesn't say, but he does say (bold emphasis for ominous effect mine)

We can't do anything about Soros for the moment - but he is a man bent on evil and who will stop at nothing to advance his sick worldview. Our only option is to expose, expose, expose - the criminals can't stand bright lights, and that is what we have to bring to bear here.
I'll come back to that extremist proto-fascist sounding sentiment at the end. Let's answer those questions raised by the IBD editorial.

(1)No, it does not mean that Hansen isn't funded by NASA, nor does it mean that he is funded by George Soros or that he received 720,000 dollars from the OSI.

In fact, Hansen recieved the enormous sum of ZERO dollars from OSI. Here's how this trainwreck of misinformation (bullshit) breaks down:

Hansen recieved pro-bono legal advice from the Goverment Accountability Project - "the nation's leading whistleblower protection organization" - about how to deal with having the Bush administration put a muzzle on him. The GAP received 300K from OSI in 2006, with 100k specifically marked to go to the Science and Whistleblower Engineering Campaign. From that the IBD editorial made the dishonest leap to say that Hansen was funded by "as much as 720,000" by OSI.

Tim Lambert puts it this way

The IBD has declared George Soros a "threat to democracy" because he helps defend whistleblowers. You can't make this stuff up.
And then goes on to give a sampling of some of the usual blogs (the same ones that were in a furor - with some even demanding Hansen be fired - over the 1934 temperature revision) again working themselves into a fit of rightous indignation over the evil machinations of Soros and Hansen.

Yet, as Steinn SigurĂ°sson points out, it takes about 30 seconds on Google to figure out this story is garbage, and an additional 7 seconds to see that there was no lack of transparency about this (as IBD alleges) given that GAP sent out a press release about its representation of Hansen.

(2)Because whoever wrote the editorial is a liar or bullshitter.

(3) No.

(4) Because the IBD editorial writer, like Mark Noonan, doesn't understand the difference between Exxon paying to promote propaganda to undermine the reality of global warming and the Open Society Institute paying to promote the protection of whistle-blowers from government censorship.

Here's an interesting tid-bit you won't be hearing from these folks - the Soros Foundations philanthropy helped accelerate the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe. [Source]

Which brings up back to Noonan's comment. What is sick or evil about the view that whistle-blowers should be protected and government should be accountable for its actions? What is criminal about telling the public that an administration has attempted to prevent you from raising awareness about a scientific matter for political reasons?

In Richard Hofstadter's essay about the pseudo-conservative he noted that "their political reactions express rather a profound if largely unconscious hatred of our society and its ways."

I can't put it anymore succinctly than that. The reaction of these folks demonstrates that they have a fundamental contempt for science and the open society - both of which are two of the key components of American democracy.


C2H50H said...


Another interpretation is that they do not have contempt for science, reason, and an open society, but rather that they simply have no understanding of science, are incapable of reason, and suffer from an excess of fear that they seek to assuage by hiding from reality.

You may argue that it is hardly more charitable to characterize them as fearful, irrational, and uneducated or stupid, rather than clever, ruthless, and evil, and I'd have to concede that it's a judgment call which is worse, but we have, in honesty, to allow for the possibility that they are more to be pitied than loathed.

In the end, of course, willful ignorance is equally deadly, differing only in actively evil intent from those corporate entities which fund and support the deniers and which have even less moral justification.

Hume's Ghost said...

Another interpretation is that they do not have contempt for science, reason, and an open society, but rather that they simply have no understanding of science, are incapable of reason, and suffer from an excess of fear that they seek to assuage by hiding from reality.

I don't view these as mutually exclusive.

Hume's Ghost said...

I pity their ignorance. Yet I loath their attacks on people like Hansesn.

I do worry that were someone like Noonan running things Hansen would be viewed as criminal.

C2H50H said...


If 9/11 and its aftermath has taught us anything, it's that those who fear are themselves to be feared.

Ignorance should be despised, and willful ignorance above all. Those who remain ignorant because they're afraid the truth will set them free from their self-imposed religious beliefs are pathetic as well as dangerous.