Oso Politico: Mano a Mano with Shawn Otto

Note to Dear Readers:  This blathering screed has so much wrong with it that it will be impossible to deconstruct it entirely – my profound apologies…


Franken, Whitehouse Expose Climate Deniers on Senate Floor


Shawn Lawrence Otto  Posted: 12/19/11


The United States was founded by scientists, based in large part on the principles of science, and science is why we have become the world’s leading economy. So it is shocking to see mainstream politicians denying the validity of science for political reasons — a practice long associated with authoritarian regimes, not the United States.

[Hey, right off the old bat:  Shawny Boy cites himself.  Looking up the citation we find…uh…nothing about the US being founded by scientists.  So, we have this syllogism with unfounded premises leading unfounded conclusions.  And then we have this association of ‘denying science’ with the ‘practice long associated with authoritarian regimes’:  Another ex cathedra statement – I can see that this is going to be a long day.]

Two U.S. senators rebuffed that troubling trend on the floor of the United States senate, in a move that may signal the beginning of a new thaw in the paralysis the United States is facing on climate change and a host of other issues.

[I thought Warmistas were against thaws, ‘new’ or otherwise.  Well, that is neither here nor there in this mixed bag of analogies.  Wondering minds do wonder about the ‘host of other issues’ though…]

Al Franken (D-MN) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) argued that science is the best basis for public policy, a view we haven’t heard a lot of in Congress lately, and they blasted fossil fuel industry-funded propaganda on climate change as a major cause. The two senators emphasized the ridiculousness of climate denialism, and the patriotism of science-based policymaking.

[‘Science is the best basis for public policy’:  Let’s see – ObamaCare is obviously ‘science-based’ as is the decision to bomb the shit out of anyone who doesn’t agree with our Dear & Glorious Leader.  And yes, when you claim it, it is science, and when the other side claims something else, it must be propaganda.  I wish we had some links to this invidious effort on the part of the fossil fuel industry.  But here is the good part:  Scientists never question anything that is settled.  Otherwise one is an unpatriotic, cheese-eating denial monkey.  (OK, Shawn didn’t actually say that, but just maybe he might perhaps could have said that…)].


Franken on why this is important

“I asked Sheldon to do the colloquy because I saw that too many of my colleagues were either ignoring the science on climate change or flat out dismissing it,” Franken told me.

“As a society, we have to understand that science is a way of understanding the truth about the way things actually are in the physical world independent of how we wish they would be, and if we want public policy that actually solves problems we’ve got to start by basing it on what we know from science.”

[Yes, we need more scientists telling us not to permit toys to be given away with our Happy Meals.]


Scientists are our best alliessaid

Franken began by reminding colleagues that scientists are their best allies. “Scientists are the people who gave us antibiotics, for example,” he said. “Do you like being able to use antibiotics? Well, then, thank scientists.”

If we are to progress as a country, he told senators, “we better put science right at the center of our decision-making. Yet, right now, foundations and think tanks funded by the fossil fuel industry are spreading misinformation about the integrity of climate science.” Franken said that “Ignoring or flat out contradicting what climate scientists are telling us about the warming climate and the warming planet can lead to really bad decisions on national energy and environmental policies here in Congress.”

[Yes, and scientists gave us nuclear bombs and deadly viruses too.  Just what are ‘climate scientists’ telling us?  I see no links here.  For all I know they might be telling us to turn up the air conditioning, or buy more blankets, or both.  Congress certainly is no slackard when it comes to making bad policy decisions.  Maybe scientists can help them make even more bad policy decisions…]


Climate change is real, despite the Twinkie Doctor

Franken and Whitehouse both scoffed at the idea that there was any real doubt about man-made climate change, which at least 97% of climate scientists say is occurring. Imagine, Franken said, that you went to a doctor who said you’re horribly overweight, you have to start exercising and lose 300 pounds or you’re going to die. You say thanks, but I want a second opinion. The next doctor tells you the same thing, and the next and the next. Finally you have, ridiculously, gone to 24 doctors who all say the same thing. “The 25th doctor says ‘It is a good thing you came to me, because all this diet and exercise would have been a complete waste. You are doing fine. Those other doctors are in the pockets of the fresh fruit and vegetable people.’ He says ‘Enjoy life, eat whatever you want, keep smoking, and watch a lot of TV. That is my advice.’ Then you learn the doctor was paid a salary by the makers of Twinkies, which, don’t get me wrong, are a delicious snack food and should be eaten in moderation. Am I making sense here?”

[‘At least 97% of climate scientists’? – as long as we not providing any proof, why not go for 99% (a popular number these days) or even 101%?  Personally I would rather have a cold beer than a Twinkie, but there is no accounting for tastes.]



Whitehouse listed corporations and phony-science front groups that have been spending billions of dollars to influence congress and public opinion with phony science and propaganda.

“As Senator Franken has pointed out,” Whitehouse said, “despite the efforts to mislead and create doubt, the jury is not out on whether climate change is happening and being caused by man-made carbon pollution; the verdict is, in fact, in, and the verdict is clear.”

[Well, they are certainly right about the billions of dollars.  I couldn’t even begin to list all of the grants, loans, salaries, outright gifts, etc, that support the swarming hoards of Warmistas.  Money, I might add parenthetically, that is extracted – coercively – from taxpayers.  By the way, if they want to claim that CO2 causes global warming, ok – but to call something that is a necessary molecule to life itself pollution is nothing less than obscene.]



The senators attacked what they called “climategate-gate,” the illegal hacking of thousands of private emails of climate scientists. Climate deniers posted them on the internet in an attempt to confuse the press and draw attention away from the peer-reviewed science of fifty years that shows the climate is warming and human greenhouse gas emissions are the principle cause.

[‘Climate deniers’?  Did you hear anyone deny that the Earth has a climate?  And now we have 50 years of peer-reviewed science.  Let’s see, that would take back us to 1961 or so.  So, Shawn, my boy, give us an example.  And what happened to that interlude in the 70’s when our scientists were warning us to get out the down-filled jackets?  As to the illegal hacking, all bets seem to be on an inside job.  And ‘private emails’?  I thought these guys and gals were working on the public dime, or pence, as the case may be.  Oh, I almost forgot the line about the press.  We certainly wouldn’t want to confuse them with some facts, would we?]

One famous email from climate scientist Phil Jones referred to his using climate scientist Michael Mann’s “Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years to hide the decline.” Deniers claimed that showed scientists were trying to “trick” the public and “hide the decline” in world temperatures, a claim many media outlets parroted uncritically.

“That sounds very bad,” said Franken. “Trick’ and ‘hide the decline.’ That went viral in the conservative media — evidence that the scientific consensus on climate change was a giant hoax. We had a member of this body who said the science behind this consensus ‘is the same science that, through climategate, has been totally rebuffed and is no longer legitimate, either in reality or in the eyes of the American people and the people around the world.'”

But Franken pointed out that by using Mann’s “trick” Jones meant he was going to use the most accurate data available. Scientists correlated tree ring density with global annual temperatures, and then used very old trees as a record of temperatures going back 1,000 years. This was the basis for the “Hockey stick” graph Mann and colleagues published in Nature magazine — “Mike’s Nature trick.” But after about 1960, because of changes in the atmosphere, the tree ring density was less reliable, so Mann did what any reasonable person would do: he substituted in actual thermometer measurements instead, indicated below in red.

[‘But after about 1960, because of changes in the atmosphere, the tree ring density was less reliable’.  WTF?  I wonder what an unreasonable person would have done?  Only a true believer would say something like that.]

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