When you don’t like the facts, ignore them, or introduce your own “alternative facts”.

This is not new to the Trump administration – we’ve seen it before, and we know how it plays out.
Prior to and during the Reagan administration, hawkish conservative intellectuals were dissatisfied with what they viewed as the U.S.’s insufficiently bellicose posture toward the Soviet Union (and, dammit, everyone else).

Problem: Pesky CIA analysts kept pointing out the fundamental weaknesses in the Soviet economy and military, inconvenient for arguing the Soviets were an immediate threat that demanded sharply ramping up defense expenditures, murdering Nuns in Central America, and cutting taxes.
Solution: Get a bunch of paranoid, blood thirsty chicken hawks in a room and come up with an alternative view of the Soviets, one featuring more 900 foot tall robotic super soldiers with laser eye beams.

You may recognize some of the players.


United States Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld began to make speeches arguing that the Soviets were ignoring Secretary of State Henry Kissinger‘s treaties and secretly building up their weapons, with the intention of attacking the United States. Rumsfeld used his position to persuade President Ford to set up an independent inquiry. Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz wanted to create a much more severe view of the Soviet Union, Soviet intentions, Soviet views about fighting and winning a nuclear war.

Short version: “Team B” analysis was highly influential on the Reagan administration’s view of reality.
History’s verdictWiki again:

According to Anne Hessing Cahn (Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, 1977–1980), Team B’s analysis of weapons systems was later proven to be false. “I would say that all of it was fantasy. … if you go through most of Team B’s specific allegations about weapons systems, and you just examine them one by one, they were all wrong.”[9] The CIA director at the time, George H. W. Bush, concluded that the Team B approach set “in motion a process that lends itself to manipulation for purposes other than estimative accuracy.”[8][14] Brookings Institution Scholar Raymond Garthoff concurred, writing that in “retrospect, and with the Team B report and records now largely declassified, it is possible to see that virtually all of Team B’s criticisms… proved to be wrong. On several important specific points it wrongly criticized and ‘corrected’ the official estimates, always in the direction of enlarging the impression of danger and threat.”[10] A top CIA analyst called Team B “a kangaroo court of outside critics all picked from one point of view.”[20]

Spoiler: Soviet Union collapsed of it’s own weight in 1989.

Key point: Analysis by Intel professionals turned out to be broadly correct, “Team B” not so much.

And if you missed the hint, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and a few dozen others were the prime drivers behind to distortion and “stove piping” of raw intelligence on Iraq, that lead us in to the greatest military blunder by a global power in history, which we’ll be suffering from for generations to come.

Now, building on that success, a new, improved version of the “Team B” approach is being ginned up (this time called “Red Team”) – to apply to energy and climate change.

E&E News:

Climate skeptics have been holding closed-door meetings to identify candidates for U.S. EPA’s “red team” exercise aimed at poking holes in mainstream science and to discuss ways to prevent agency Administrator Scott Pruitt from reneging on his promise to do it. Read the rest of this entry »


China’s Big EV Bet

October 17, 2017

Friend-of-Putin Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) is not just a climate denier (above), he’s (below) bestest buds with holocaust deniers.
As Rocky said, “hang around with yoyo people you get yoyo friends. It’s mathematics.”


Rep. Dana Rohrabacher brought a Holocaust denier to a meeting last week with Sen. Rand Paul to discuss Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, the Daily Caller reported.

The publication noted that Rohrabacher, a California Republican, “brought along top aide Paul Behrends and conservative journalist Charles C. Johnson.”

Johnson, an internet troll and vocal “alt-right” defender, is well-known for false attacks against political rivals, both on the Democratic side and within the Republican Party.

He is also a Holocaust denier. In a since-deleted Reddit discussion, Johnson argued that the number of Jews killed in the camps was around 250,000, not six million, and questioned the existence of gas chambers. And while stating in the post that he is not a Holocaust denier, he wrote: “I agree with David Cole about Auschwitz and the gas chambers not being real. Why were their swimming pools there if it was a death camp?”

Daily Beast:

Right-wing troll Charles Johnson donated the maximum legal amount to the campaign of Rep. Dana Rohrabacher last month, after Johnson set up a meeting between the California Republican and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Johnson donated $5,400 in Bitcoin to Rohrabacher’s campaign, according to a new filing with the Federal Election Commission, which listed Johnson’s occupation as “investor.” He confirmed the donations in a text message with The Daily Beast, adding, “I’m rich now.”

The California-based writer reportedly arranged for and attended a meeting between Rohrabacher and Assange that took place in August. The two reportedly discussed Clinton campaign emails released to WikiLeaks, allegedly as part of a Russian government plot to influence the 2016 election. Rohrabacher returned from the meeting with assurances from Assange that the Russians were not, in fact, the source of the emails.


Yale Climate Connections:

Wait. Stop reading right here. Don’t dare think of an elephant.

Didn’t work, did it. Just mentioning it implanted it in your mind, in your consciousness.

It’s an argument made by Berkeley linguist George Lakoff, among others, and a key point in climate communicators’ lessons on how to – and how not to – talk about that dreaded “climate change” term.

In this month’s Yale Climate Connections “This Is Not Cool” video, by regular contributor and independent videographer Peter Sinclair, Texas Tech climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe points out that the “greatest advances” in understanding of climate change over the past decade have come not from the physical sciences, but from the social sciences.

Read the rest of this entry »

Portugal is on fire, and so is this single by, uh, Portugal.

I appreciated the quick clip of “Info Wars” being burned.



Click above for larger.

Severe Weather EU:

Numerous wildfires are currently raging in Portugal and NW Spain. There are approximately 440 ongoing fires in Portugal, 26 of them major, being fought by over 3700 firefighters. There are over 130 ongoing fires in Spain, at least 15 in Galicia alone. The fires in Galicia may merge into a single large fire, warns regional government president Alberto Nunez Feijoo. Fatalities have been reported in both countries. The fires are fueled by very dry vegetation, result of a very dry spring and summer and strong winds, gusting at up to 90 km/h locally.

Below, Hurricane Ophelia pounds the UK, while pushing smoke from Portugal wildfires into the rest of Europe.


Click for larger


Gusts of up to 92mph have already hit the south west coast and forecasters warned that worse is yet to come. Ophelia has put Ireland on lockdown and left more than 120,000 homes without power, as parts of the UK brace for hurricane-force winds and the Met Office warns of a potential “danger to life”.

Read the rest of this entry »