On Fox News Monday tonight, Greta Van Susteren interviewed Herman Cain at length about the Politico article regarding his 1990s sexual harassment issue. Cain made some good points throughout: that in all the many jobs he has had, he never had any sexual harassment issues anywhere other than the National Restaurant Association; and that several fellow heads of the NRA vouched for his integrity and credibility. He also said the accusations never rose to the level of alerting the NRA’s board, which can mean two things: that the accusations were baseless as he says, or that he covered them up to keep the board from knowing. Given the small size of the settlement, “baseless” seems to be the more probable conclusion. So why didn’t he and his campaign get ahead of it when they could have?
Politico says they contacted Cain’s campaign about the allegations ten days prior to publishing the story, but got no answers. In the Fox interview, Cain says that the campaign decided not to respond because they didn’t know what they were dealing with. All they had were anonymous sources and vague allegations, and Cain said they didn’t “want to chase anonymous.”
Does that make any sense? Surely Mr. Cain remembers the one incident in his entire career in which his integrity came into sharp question. Surely he remembers the accusation and the accuser, the lawyers, the rest, to some level of detail. And if the charges were in fact baseless, it seems to me that he would have been even more likely to remember them. Who wouldn’t remember a false accusation that could have done so much personal and professional damage?
He didn’t seem to remember much of anything about the accusation this morning. But by day’s end, he was telling Greta about the one incident he can remember that was in the charges, the innocuous “you’re as tall as my wife” incident. He told Greta that he remembers that that incident occurred in his office, with both himself and the accuser alone but with the door open. So he remembers that in the afternoon, but in the morning didn’t even remember that there was a settlement. In the morning, he said he hoped that the settlement was not for very much money because nothing happened. By day’s end, he said the accuser got a settlement that probably amounted to about three months’ salary. He also said that if the accuser had simply left the company amicably, that’s probably the amount of money she would have walked away with. So, basically, she got nothing. That’s more evidence that there’s nothing to the charges. Cain also said that he doesn’t remember whether she left the NRA voluntarily or was fired, and whether she left before or after the allegations of sexual harassment. All of these details are as relevant as the open office door and the hand on the chin, but we only have the open office door and the hand on the chin. And that’s after the campaign has had ten days to drum up a response.
The problem with all of this not remembering anything in the morning and then remembering some things by evening is that the story didn’t rock the campaign without warning. They had ample warning — about ten days. It’s possible that he spoke with his former general counsel at some point today, and that person refreshed his memory, allowing him to remember things in the evening that he didn’t remember in the morning. It’s possible. Is it likely though?
Politico first started trying to get the campaign to comment about it all more than a week ago. Cain surely knew at that moment that Politico wasn’t “chasing anonymous.” He knew there was a name even if he couldn’t remember it immediately, and he knew there was an accusation even if it was baseless, and he knew that there had been a settlement of some kind. His integrity had been called into question, in a way that could threaten his career and his marriage. He would remember that even if the accusations were baseless. And though the incident was years ago and for all we know may well have been all about nothing, his memory would have started coming back before this morning.
Back in the early 90′s, I was teaching at Durham Technical Community College while I was in grad school.
One day, one of my students, who normally wore sweats and jeans — as I did — came in wearing hose and heels, a cute denim skirt, and a white-and-aqua sweater with silver threads in it.
I said “Nice outfit! That’s a pretty sweater.”
The next day, I was seeing the Dean in Charge of Spanking Lecturers. Seems I’d said “something offensive”. She couldn’t tell me who had complained so I could apologize, what I’d said, as that might identify who had complained, but that I’d better apologize tout suite and I’d better watch myself.
Remember that when you hear about Herman Cain.
Steve Jobs’ last words.
There’s a nice piece in the WSJ blogs on this too. (H/T to Aaron.)
This seems innocuous, but the fact that Cain is having to talk about it instead of what he’d planned to talk about this week probably isn’t helping. The description is from an interview that Cain did with Fox’s Greta Van Susteren, which will air on her show tonight.
Van Susteren asked Cain how often he saw the woman. “I might see her in the office because her office was on the same floor as my office,” Cain said. Van Susteren asked whether the woman traveled with Cain, who spent a lot of time on the road speaking to restaurant associations around the country. “No, never,” Cain said.
Cain said the woman was “younger than I was,” but he could not recall her age. Pressed, he said, “It would have had to have been late 30s, early 40s.”
Van Susteren asked what Cain did that led to the accusation. There were reportedly more than one accusations in the complaint, but Cain said he recalled just one incident. “She was in my office one day, and I made a gesture saying — and I was standing close to her — and I made a gesture saying you are the same height as my wife. And I brought my hand up to my chin saying, ‘My wife comes up to my chin.’” At that point, Cain gestured with his flattened palm near his chin. “And that was put in there [the complaint] as something that made her uncomfortable,” Cain said, “something that was in the sexual harassment charge.”
That’s a whole lotta nothing. But it’s not the entire complaint, since Cain says it was “in the sexual harassment charge.”
I’ve come around to seeing how the allegation could have been resolved and a settlement paid out, without Cain knowing directly about it. I was assuming that the NRA would have paid the settlements themselves, but it’s probably the case that the association’s insurance paid them. The association’s lawyers would have had him recuse himself from the investigation, to shield him and the association from any hint that he was leaning on the investigation in any way. So if he is recused, and the insurance company concludes that a settlement will cost less than the legal case will and they strike a fairly cheap settlement with the accusers, then you get a settlement without Cain having any direct knowledge of the details. And, he never sees the settlement figures. The association’s lawyers would simply tell him that it’s resolved, and that’s that.
Update: On the other hand, Cain is remembering more this afternoon than he did this morning.
When van Susteren asked how much money was involved, Cain said. “Maybe three months’ salary. I don’t remember. It might have been two months. I do remember my general counsel saying we didn’t pay all of the money they demanded.”
Van Susteren is a lawyer, and that question looks like a very shrewd bit of cross-examination. This morning on Fox, Cain said he didn’t know there was a settlement at all. Now he’s acknowledging knowing that there was, and that he had some idea of the size of the settlements. Hm.
PJ Columnist and Middle East editor Barry Rubin speaks on the situation in the M. E. to a group in Amsterdam. Not to be missed.
Rush Limbaugh is holding nothing back in his assessment of the Politico’s story about Herman Cain.
The Politico and the mainstream media has launched an unconscionable, racially stereotypical attack on an independent, self-reliant conservative black because for him that behavior is not allowed. Now, if we had…
I want to look at a couple things today from a different perspective. What would the left be doing right now if, let’s say, there were an assault on Obama of this nature. Let’s say that some conservative publication ran a story exactly like this: Unnamed sources, 15 years ago, with every detail of Obama sexual harassment. What would the Democrat national committee and what would the media be doing? They would be going after the women. They would be targeting these women, and they would name names, and they would destroy them. That is what the Democrats and the media would do. They would set out to find out who these women are that talked to the conservative publication and they would destroy them.
They would call these women racists for trying to destroy a black politician. They would claim that they’re working for the Republican National Committee. They would claim that these two women (or these women, whoever), had been hired by the Republican National Committee to engage in this smear and lie campaign against Obama. They would go after these women. They would destroy them. They would make the women the bad guys. They would dig into every minor thing in these women’s lives that they have ever done. They would trash them, they would make them prove the unprovable — because this is war, and that’s how they fight it. Anything goes, as far as they’re concerned, and they cannot allow a black or an Hispanic to rise to the top of a political establishment that is not Democrat.
I don’t know that it’s a racially charged attack, but unless more damaging material comes out it does look like an unconscionable political hit job. Politico would have launched this against any Republican. If they had identical information about any of the other candidates, or indeed probably any Republican officeholder, they would have run with it. The MSM battered Mitt Romney about a dog in 2007, and Rick Perry about a rock this year — and this is the same media that hasn’t looked into Obama’s past and actively covered up John Edwards’ love child. But Rush is entirely right that the Democrats would launch a scorched earth campaign against any accuser if a Democrat was the target. We’ve seen them do that many times in the past. Somebody like James Carville would be out talking about dragging dollars through trailer parks and Paul Begala would be out trying to convince the public that it’s all just about sex. That’s how they helped Bill Clinton escape the consequences of his clear misconduct not 15 years prior, but while he was actually in the presidency. The Democrats and their bloggers even trashed Joe the Plumber, when all he did was question Barack Obama about his economic plans.
Unless there’s another shoe to drop or Cain’s camp badly mishandles the next couple of days, Politico’s story probably ends up helping Herman Cain a little bit with the base. He appears to be yet another victim of a mainstream media hit, and the base loathes the MSM. Politico has tossed out the allegation, gotten Cain to respond and knocked his campaign off track, and now they will roll out anything they have that damages his response. If they don’t have anything, Cain will be fine.
From Atlas Shrugs:
I am on the road but just got word that CAIR thugs intimidated Hyatt Place Houston/Sugar Land into cancelling their event tonight where I was scheduled to speak. Giving tea party organizers little time to find a new venue, the Hyatt Place in Sugarland caved to Islamic pressure yesterday and agreed to enforce the blasphemy law under the sharia. Cowards. Dhimmis.
Free speech, the cornerstone of our constitutional republic, is in serious jeopardy. Under the sharia, criticism of Islam is blasphemy (punishable by death in Muslims countries living under the sharia). This is the death of free speech in the continuing Islamization of America.
Hyatt Place Houston/Sugar Land received a couple of threatening calls and they surrendered to Islamic supremacists without even firing a shot.
PJM contributor Mark Stuertz passes along this video from Dallas.
Of course. For a whole lotta professors, the occupy movement is either their return to the 60′s they never really left behind, or their chance to have the 60′s they’ve always wanted.
A day after Occupy Seattle moved to the campus, instructors at Seattle Central Community College planned to begin teaching classes in support of the group.
The classes, scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. Sunday, were to be held on the Plaza at SCCC and include such subjects as “Why We Support Occupy,” “Legislative Lobbying,” “The Art of the Protest Sign” and “Filming to Document Human Rights Violations.”
Classes will continue throughout the night.
Karen Strickland, Seattle President of the American Federation of Teachers said in an open letter to Paul Kilpatrick, President of SCCC that the board is in support of SCCC accommodating the request of Occupy Seattle for a number of reasons.
“The students and employees of the SCCD are the 99 percent and are suffering because of the economic inequity that characterizes our society and which has dramatically worsened since the 1970s,” she said.
Two more renewable energy companies promoted by the Obama administration are failing. The developments occurred two months after the collapse of the Solyndra solar energy company which received $535 million in loan guarantees from the U.S. Department of Energy.
The first DOE company in trouble was EnerDel from Indiana. EnerDel received a $118 million DOE renewable energy grant in early 2010 under Obama stimulus funding. The company, which was supposed to make new electric car batteries, was delisted on Friday by NASDAQ. It’s price had fallen to zero. Under the stimulus money EnerDel once had employed 253 people. Today without the stimulus money only 33 are on the payroll.
Rep. Cliff Stearns (D-FL), chairman of the House Oversight and Investigations subcommittee on energy said today ““This latest failure is a sharp reminder that DOE has fallen well short of delivering the stimulus jobs that were promised, and now taxpayers find themselves millions of more dollars in the hole.”
EnerDel also bought a 30% share in a Norwegian electric car maker, Think Global. That company went bankrupt earlier this year.
The second company to fail under the DOE loan program is Beacon Power, a Massachusetts-based electric storage company that received $43 million loan guarantee from the department. The company filed for bankruptcy on Sunday.
The two company failures come only three days after the White House announced a full review of the DOE loan program as reported on Friday by PJ Media.
Herman Cain was on Fox News this morning, and categorically denied having ever sexually harassed anyone. He did acknowledge that he was accused of sexual harassment in the 1990s. He repeatedly said there was nothing to the charges, which he called “baseless.” More once Fox posts the segment.
Update: Cain gave one answer that’s potentially problematic. He denied any knowledge of the National Restaurant Association settling with his accusers. He was head of the group at the time of the accusations, and was probably its head when it settled. Surely he would have seen the six-figure sums cross the expense reports at some point, even if he was unaware that the association was working to settle with them.
If evidence emerges that he knew of the settlements, even if the accusations themselves are baseless as he says, that’s a big problem for him.
Update: Here’s what Cain said about the settlements.
The allegations stem from a Politico report that two women, who were subordinates to Cain at the time, accused him of inappropriate behavior and reportedly received five-figure payouts after signing an agreement with the trade association — an agreement that also barred them from discussing the matter. Cain was the CEO of the association from 1996-1999.
But Cain said he didn’t even know of any deals in the case.
“If the restaurant association did a settlement, I wasn’t even aware of it, and I hope it wasn’t for much because nothing happened,” he said. “So if there was a settlement, it was handled by some of the other officers that worked for me at the association.”
“Five figures,” not *six as we’ve heard ealier — that could be as little as $10,000. It’s a safe bet that Politico has the paperwork on this, either from the accusers themselves or from the National Restaurant Association. (*six figures turns out to have been my mistake).
Update: Here is video of the Fox segment.
Another Democratic politician is now demonstrating how his economic theories can be shattered by economic reality.
Former Democratic Senator and Governor Jon Corzine — who as recently as this spring was considered on Barack Obama’s the short list as a new Treasury Secretary — may have singlehandedly killed the large Wall Street firm MF Global Holdings, Ltd.
As Chairman and CEO of MF Global, Mr. Corzine bet on the sovereign bonds issued by European countries with $6.3 billion of the firm’s own money. The company is now tottering between bankruptcy and insolvency.
The irascible Democratic politician ignored warnings that his bets on sovereign debt of Italy and Spain were foolhardy. This is not the first big financial mistake Corzine has made. In 1994 he brought steep losses to Goldman Sachs when he made currency bets and the British pound fell. In 1999 he was pushed out of Goldman as Chairman.
Corzine is a hard driving figure who spends whatever it takes to reach his goal. He spent $62 million of his own money to buy his way into the United State Senate from New Jersey election — waging the most expensive Senate campaign race in history. During the campaign Cozine refused to release his income tax records. When Goldman went public he was reportedly worth $400 million.
He also spent $38 million in his race for New Jersey governor in 2005. Considered one of the most liberal governors in the country he was defeated in 2009 by Republican Chris Christie.
In the Senate Corzine was the co-author of the reviled Sarbanes-Oxley regulations and sought to impose restrictions on individual choices for 401(K) retirement accounts. He played a key role in getting Senator John Edwards to be on the Democratic presidential ticket with Senator John Kerry. Edwards is facing criminal charges of using campaign funds to pay for an out-of-wedlock child he fathered while still married.
While New Jersey Governor , Corzine sought to raise the state sales tax, one of the highest in the country from 6% to 7%. His Democratic legislature stoutly opposed him and resulted in a state government shutdown. Corzine won and today the state suffers one of the highest sales taxes in the nation.
Governor Corzine also sought to sell the state’s highway system to allow it to issue bonds to raise further funds for the state government. The plan would have added $32 billion to the state debt. The Democratic legislature railed against that plan and prevailed.
Now Corzine is back in the private sector working his economic magic. Only this time his bet on high European debt may have cost him his job, his company and burned thousands of investors who put faith in MF Global. As of this posting trading on MF Global has been suspended. A new owner, bankruptcy restructuring or liquidation are the options he faces today.
It all sort of makes sense, doesn’t it?
The news comes from the new government. Via Moscow, ahem.
Remember that the Libyans were said to have abandoned their nuclear and chemical weapons programs, and we were said to have carried out inspections to make sure that had happened. So if this news checks out, it’s a blow to “inspections regimes,” and it raises the question if we can EVER be confident that such programs have ever been dismantled.
If we couldn’t be right about Libya, how could anyone be confident that the Iranians had abandoned their nukes?
Not that they’re about to…or even really talk about it.
Second Obama Administration Green ‘Energy’ Company Goes Broke; Technically, it’s the Third – We’re Still $15 Billion in the Hole to Green ‘Energy’ General Motors
The Hill reports that Massachusetts’ Beacon Power on Sunday became the second solar “energy” company backed with government coin by the Barack Obama Administration to file for bankruptcy.
Less Government has long been reporting that technically it’s the third. General Motors (GM) took $50 billion in taxpayer coin, went broke – and last year became the #1 filer of green “energy” patents on the planet. Not to mention the non-profit electric hybrid – the Chevy Volt. Which costs GM $41,000 to make, and GM sells for…$41,000. GM is far and away our biggest green “energy” government-money “investment.”
GM has become this world-leading green “energy” titan – while still owing We the People about $15 billion. Less Government started www.BailoutCost.com to track the looming taxpayer loss – and offer a solution that would in fact make us whole.
Less Government President Seton Motley:
“We are again today reminded that green ‘energy’ is nowhere near ready for prime time. We must immediately stop all government alleged ‘investment’ in this Leftist folly.
“But an even larger problem looms: We are on the hook for tens of BILLIONS of dollars with General Motors. Which last year filed more green ‘energy’ patents than any other company. GM is thusly the largest green pseudo-‘energy’ government ‘investment’ of all.
“However – unlike with Solyndra and Beacon Power – there is a way for We the People to be paid back by GM. Less Government started www.BailoutCost.com not just to track the looming taxpayer loss – but to offer the solution. So that we can – finally, just this once – not lose billions of dollars on bad government policy.”
Herman Cain mentioned last week that he was ready for the “high tech lynching,” a very clear reference to the treatment that Clarence Thomas received en route to the Supreme Court. Cain may have been aware that this Politico story was imminent.
During Herman Cain’s tenure as the head of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s, at least two female employees complained to colleagues and senior association officials about inappropriate behavior by Cain, ultimately leaving their jobs at the trade group, multiple sources confirm to POLITICO.
The women complained of sexually suggestive behavior by Cain that made them angry and uncomfortable, the sources said, and they signed agreements with the restaurant group that gave them financial payouts to leave the association. The agreements also included language that bars the women from talking about their departures.
In a series of comments over the past 10 days, Cain and his campaign repeatedly declined to respond directly about whether he ever faced allegations of sexual harassment at the restaurant association. They have also declined to address questions about specific reporting confirming that there were financial settlements in two cases in which women leveled complaints.
POLITICO has confirmed the identities of the two female restaurant association employees who complained about Cain but, for privacy concerns, is not publishing their names.
Cain spokesman J.D. Gordon told POLITICO the candidate indicated to campaign officials that he was “vaguely familiar” with the charges and that the restaurant association’s general counsel had resolved the matter.
Four things spring to mind here. One, he could be guilty. But two, since the names of the accusers aren’t public, we have no way of assessing the credibility of their charges. And three, this happened in the 1990s. Charges of sexual harassment dominated the headlines in those days. I’m not dismissing their validity out of hand in any way, but it’s simply a fact that the 1990s were a time when very many male leaders in politics, the military and the corporate world stood accused of sexual harassment, and not all of the charges leveled were equally credible. Some were quite credible and led to justice while some were not at all, and were attempts to use the times to generate a payout. The charges against Clarence Thomas in particular were not credible at all, but the Democrats tried to use them to keep him off the Supreme Court. They also supported a serial Sexual Harasser in Chief throughout most of the decade, in the presidency.
It’s also very possible that even if Cain did what he is accused of doing, he learned from it and would never do it again (whatever it is he is supposed to have done; there’s no detail in the Politico’s story). A spokesman strongly denies that anything inappropriate happened.
I’m reserving judgement until we know more about all of this. One thing is certain: This will be at least a major temporary distraction for the Cain campaign.
Watch this one-minute video and see an armored-vehicle literally run over a handful of Christians for protesting the constant destruction of their churches in Egypt, at the recent Maspero Massacre. Such vehicles were made possible by U.S. military aid, supposedly for the protection of Egyptian “citizens.” But apparently the military — hailed by the Western media as the “savior” of Egypt for ousting Mubarak — does not see the nation’s Christian minorities as “citizens,” but dhimmis who have no right to protest — unsurprisingly so, considering the military, even in Egypt’s early black-and-white movies, was known as al-Jihadiyya – “the wagerer of jihad.”
Recently I asked some very conservative friends who are Republican primary voters and “Anybody but Romney” club members to participate in a little poll I devised.
If Romney were the GOP nominee, which of the following would best describe you?
1. Definitely stay home and not vote
2. Might stay home and not vote
3. Fully support Romney as the nominee of the Republican Party
4. Vote for Obama in protest
5. Hold my nose and vote for Romney
6. Try to start a 3rd party (knowing historically that would help re-elect Obama)
7. Happily vote for Obama
To my surprise, answer number 5 was the overwhelming winner. The fact that the “nose-holders” prevailed at all could mean that despite Romney’s steady support from only 25% of GOP primary voters, these “Anybody but Romney” voters could eventually but reluctantly support him in November 2012.
And that is very good news for Romney but better news for the Republican Party, because Romney, at this juncture, is in a virtual tie with President Obama, who leads him by only 1.2%. But most revealing is how Romney out-performs Herman Cain, whom Obama leads by 8.2%, and Rick Perry, whom Obama trounces by 9.6%. Most interesting is that Ron Paul has the second best showing against Obama, who defeats him by “only” 6.2%.
With these general election poll numbers in mind, all Romney has to do is survive the primary process, and even that is looking more promising according to this latest CNN poll of GOP primary voters in the early primary/caucus states.
Under this scenario, in early 2012 Romney would quickly turn into Barack Obama’s worst nightmare as the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party.
Ironically, Obama’s future strategy, like Rick Perry’s now, is to paint Romney as a “flip-flopper,” exactly what President George W. Bush’s “strategery” was against John Kerry in 2004.
Unfortunately for Perry, that is flawed strategy for two reasons. First, Perry should be building himself up, rather than tearing Romney down. But second and far worse, Perry will be supplying the Obama campaign with media content they will use against Romney in a general election.
But the “flip-flopper” label is easier to defend against than “right-wing radical” or “out of touch with main stream America” monikers Obama would use to the fullest extent if any of the viable candidates, except Romney, were to win the nomination. And even worse, in Perry’s case you could also expect a bumper sticker with “Bush 2.0 in 2012” with the Obama “O” logo used in the 2.0.
I can report new developments following up on my exclusive PJM report last Wednesday that Department of Homeland Security Advisory Council member Mohamed Elibiary allegedly shopped sensitive intel taken from a secure state and local law enforcement database to a left-leaning media outlet purportedly to slam Texas governor and GOP presidential hopeful Rick Perry as an “Islamophobe”.
In my story last week I confirmed with Texas Dept. of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw that Elibiary had in fact recently accessed TX DPS documents marked “For Official Use Only” from the DHS State and Local Intelligence Community of Interest (HS SLIC).
Now I can confirm that following the publication of my report, McCraw contacted DHS Deputy Undersecretary for Intelligence and Analysis Bart Johnson by phone and requested an investigation into the matter.
But when Napolitano was questioned last Wednesday by Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-TX01) during a House Judiciary Committee hearing about the matter, the DHS Secretary was non-committal about an investigation into Elibiary’s alleged misconduct:
Gohmert: … Secretary, were you aware that a week ago today, from his home computer, he accessed the SLIC database, got information off and has been shopping a story to national media on islamophobia … [inaudible]… at the Governor of Texas and the security folks in Texas. Were you aware of that?
Gohmert: I’m telling you, it happened. Do we need to appoint somebody or will you have that investigated yourself, and if so, by whom?
Napolitano: Well, since I don’t know the facts, I’ll have to look into that.
Meanwhile, Napolitano’s Public Affairs office continues to stone wall my requests for information. When I spoke with DHS spokesman Christ Ortman last Wednesday morning and specifically asked when and how Elibiary got access to the HS SLIC database, he abruptly replied that he would have to get back to me and hung up. I have not received any call back. I’ve repeated this request in an email sent to Ortman on Friday with no reply.
I’ll keep PJ Media readers informed in further developments as we get them.
Too often we see television ads from oil companies that have an anti-oil tone, or some Man-Child tethered to the latest cell phone. Brave heros and pioneers are so rare these days. What a thrill to see celebration of daring, of risk, or of businesses which move civilization forward in an ad campaign. This television advertisement (airing on Fox News) might give you a chill as Speedbird One blasts by the rest.
(Updated to recover from the deleterious effects of posting at midnight after a long day.)
(Updated even more to include this link to Curry on her own web site reacting to the Daily Mail story. She’s not happy with the headline, among other things. See at the end of the article.)
One reason I’ve been more slack about the details of current climate science controversies than I was is that I’m frankly tired of the whole thing. It’s predictable: the simplest climate post is immediately followed by the following comments from someone.
The consensus of climate science agrees that global warming is being caused by human emission of CO2. Now, the real answer to that one, frankly, is “So what?” Science isn’t established by consensus, and the number of scientific theories established by consensus that later dissolved under experimentation ranges from Aristotle’s ideas about falling bodies (obviously, heavier objects fall faster, right?) to quasicrystals — which got Danny Schechtmann dismissed as a crackpot 20 years ago and got him the Nobel Prize in Chemistry this year. This is the classical fallacy of argumentum ad populum, and the fact that it has a Latin name tells you how long it’s been recognized as a fallacy. (This is often followed by the argumentum ad baculum, appeal to force: if you keep saying that we’ll beat you up/you won’t get tenure/you should be treated as a war criminal and executed. Those don’t show up very often here at PJM, but don’t doubt I can find you examples, here and elsewhere.)
That’s usually matched with the favorite unscientific “skeptic” answers: No one has proven there’s any such thing as a greenhouse effect and the notion of a global average surface temperature isn’t even well-defined. Both of these really come down to “I don’t believe in thermodynamics at even the most basic level.” ”Scientific fact” is different in a very basic way from facts like “2+2=4″, but the basic idea of a greenhouse effect is awfully well confirmed. Among other things, it’s easy enough to calculate that the Earth’s “natural temperature” without the greenhouse effect provided by water, methane, CO2 and other greenhouse gases would be something like -33°C. If you’ve ever seen a lake or an ocean with liquid water, you have experimental confirmation of a greenhouse effect. A slightly more sophisticated version of that is the one about there not having been significant warming in the last 200 or 1000 years; again, sorry. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the Thames river regularly froze over. It has been warming. What we aren’t as sure of is precisely how much. In 200 CE there were wine grapes being grown in northern England, and about 1000 CE bread grains were being grown successfully in Greenland: it is really warmer than it was then? Doesn’t look like it — but that makes trouble for the idea that we’re warming unusually.
The global average surface temperature (GAST) objection makes at least a little more sense: it’s almost true. Since we can’t put a thermometer on every infinitestimal spot on Earth and take its temperature continuously, we’re inevitably making an approximation. But that just means we can’t take the GAST precisely. When a bunch of thermometers are averaged together, the resulting number is a temperature, and along with it (although this is often ignored) we can make an estimate of how much error there may be. There’s a major, active subtopic of mathematics called “statistics” that’s concerned with how to deal with that kind of uncertainty, its error bounds and so forth. But think of it like when you take a child’s temperature: maybe at the mouth it’s 99°F while at the other end it’s 100.1°F. You don’t claim that means taking a child’s temperature is “not well defined.” You just know it’s somewhere in that neighborhood, and you don’t worry that a boy child’s testicles are usually cooler than his pancreas.
And, of course, there’s the usual run of people who say skeptics are “in the pay of Big Oil”, “brainwashed by Fox News”, or simply “denialists” with arch connections made to Holocaust denial. The interested student is encouraged to consult a list of classical rhetorical fallacies for the Latin names for those; I promise you’ll find them all.
Perhaps the most annoying to me are the people who say The University of East Anglia cleared the scientists involved. It’s more precise to say UEA whitewashed the scientists involved; anyone who actually read the files and emails saw there was a lengthy effort to suppress opposing ideas and coerce journal editors.
For all of that, there are real, serious attempts being made to get the science right. I wrote about the preliminary results in one such case here: the Berkeley Earth Project reported that they were preparing four papers, one of which confirmed that there had been a general rise in global average earth-surface temperature over the last 200 years. The actual papers hadn’t been peer-reviewed or published, and it was, ahem, very unusual for the results to be pushed by press release before a paper had even been accepted. If a climate skeptic had done that, the derision would have been general, and would have included remarks about pseudoscience and muttered comments about cold fusion. Still, the paper itself was decent — it has a number of statistical flaws (finding that kind of thing is what peer review is for) and the results weren’t really all that dramatic — the general response was “well, duh!” It was the PR that was flawed.
Unfortunately, it’s beginning to look more and more like the PR effort was the point. Dr Judith Curry, who chairs the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology and is second author on these very papers, has now gone public in an interview in the Daily Mail (UK). The story, entitled “Scientist who said climate change sceptics had been proved wrong accused of hiding truth by colleague” starts with:
It was hailed as the scientific study that ended the global warming debate once and for all – the research that, in the words of its director, ‘proved you should not be a sceptic, at least not any longer’.
Professor Richard Muller, of Berkeley University in California, and his colleagues from the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperatures project team (BEST) claimed to have shown that the planet has warmed by almost a degree centigrade since 1950 and is warming continually.
Published last week ahead of a major United Nations climate summit in Durban, South Africa, next month, their work was cited around the world as irrefutable evidence that only the most stringent measures to reduce carbon dioxide emissions can save civilisation as we know it.
[That's much stronger than the actual papers justified, as we noted here when they first came out, but a good summary of the way the results were reported in the press.]
The story goes on:
It was cited uncritically by, among others, reporters and commentators from the BBC, The Independent, The Guardian, The Economist and numerous media outlets in America.
The Washington Post said the BEST study had ‘settled the climate change debate’ and showed that anyone who remained a sceptic was committing a ‘cynical fraud’.
When I first saw a few days ago the righteous and hilarious “rant” supposedly written by a Chicago financial trader as a rebuttal to Occupy Chicago, I had a suspicion I’d seen it before. A quick visit to Google confirmed what nagged at the back of my mind: It actually has nothing to do with the Occupy movement, because it was written a full year and a half before Occupy Wall Street was an up-twinkle in AdBusters’ eye:
The fact that it was “an anonymous email supposedly making the rounds on Wall Street” a year and a half ago doesn’t make the rant any less amusing in 2011, but we should be careful before claiming — as some leading blogs have started doing over the last couple days — that it’s a Chicago trader’s response to the Occupy movement.
Somebody just printed out an old email and used it to embarrass the Occupy Chicago protesters. That’s all.
When I was liberal, I was a dope: I thought all Republicans were stupid.
Now that I’ve come over to the Dark Side, I’m not quite that dumb as to project my own cluelessness onto my ideological opponents.
But Karen Finney – the MSNBC mouth-mover who opined that the GOP likes Herman Cain because “he is a black man who knows his place” – is making me reconsider. Unless she is secretly working for Cain, because what she said only makes him look good, Finney really is a nitwit. The canard that Republicans are racist is now so square only a liberal of the most fuddy-duddy retro sort could believe it.
Hello, Karen. Republicans are people who largely believe the government spends too much money – not an entirely idiotic opinion given the current state of Keynesian economics. If you think this has to do with race, you might have a look at your own unconscious.
Steve Rosenbaum, the man who ordered the voter intimidation case against the New Black Panthers dismissed, has been dressed down by a federal judge for legal overreach in a Ypsilanti, Michigan housing discrimination case. Rosenbaum brought the case against a husband and wife who managed an apartment complex. Rosenbaum and his Deputy Tim Moran in the DOJ Civil Rights Division are the responsible DOJ attorneys. The Detroit News also covers the story. Judge Zatkoff’s opinion scalds Rosenbaum and Moran’s work as:
unnecessarily oppressive imposition of non-sensible regulations on the owners of a tiny apartment complex, owners who are accused of doing nothing more than being honest and forthright in their efforts to ensure the safety of children. Instead of encouraging such concern for the safety of others, however, the federal government has mounted an attack on those dwelling owners that is analogous to employing a nuclear weapon to eradicate a mosquito!
My book Injustice details example after example like this which media has never reported. Obama and Clinton DOJ lawyers were sanctioned millions of dollars by federal courts for overreach. The previously sanctioned lawyers described in my book Injustice include Panther dismisser Loretta King and also Steve Rosenbaum. It is time for Congress to look more closely at Rosenbaum’s competence.
King, on the other hand, announced her resignation from the Justice Department four days after Amazon starting shipping Injustice. Rosenbaum, unfortunately, is still receiving a government paycheck of approximately $190,000 a year plus generous benefits. Eric Holder is before the Senate Judiciary Committee shortly in an oversight hearing. Perhaps Senate Republicans can ask Holder about Judge Zatkoff’s opinion of Rosenbaum and Moran’s shoddy work:
A mere warning letter to the defendants would undoubtedly solve any issue the government has with the defendants’ manner of leasing the property at issue, especially as these defendants are practically defenseless against the power and might of the Department of Justice.
Remember, Rosenbaum is the man who said the “facts and law” didn’t support going forward against the New Black Panthers. But a couple in Michigan renting an apartment? Full speed ahead. Some defendants are more important than others, and some get a pass in this DOJ.
The court also labels Rosenbaum and Moran’s work as sloppy nonsense:
In addition to the nonsense contained in the proposed Consent Order submitted by the Government to this federal court, the Court is dismayed by the sloppiness of numerous provisions in the document, including this provision regarding the civil penalty to be imposed on the Defendants. Is the civil penalty $15,000 or is it $3,000 – and how and why does the Government expect the Court to sign off on provision that: (1) clearly was drafted with little foresight or review, and (2) is blatantly and objectively open to criticism and challenge?
The Ypsilanti case is what truth-challenged Assistant Attorney General Tom Perez means when he says he “restoring and reinvigorating” the Civil Rights Division. It means doing things the law sometimes doesn’t allow. Simply, it is lawlessness. Let’s hope some Republican Senators show up to Holder’s oversight hearing and give him the oversight he deserves in November.
This is yet another example added to the pile of examples offered in Injustice where ideological decisions infest the radicalized Civil Rights Division at DOJ. It’s time for Steve Rosenbaum and Eric Holder to find employment in the private sector.
Perry seems not to be able to make up his mind whether or not to participate in future debates. Jennifer Rubin at the Washington Post is right. “Really, the only reason I can think of for Perry to avoid the debates is the obvious one: He’s awful in them and can’t defend his own positions.”
If Perry bails out on debates, he won’t be President, period. He won’t have the luxury next fall to avoid debates. And if he shows up against Obama and is as terrible at debating then as he is now, Obama’s reelection will be assured. Debates still matter. Americans size up their candidates in head to head matchups. For Perry even to consider dropping out of debates is not a good sign for conservatives. Advantage Romney.
Hours after the House energy investigatory committee announced it was prepared to subpoena White House records on the Solyndra solar scandal — including President Obama’s Blackberry emails — the White House said it would open a review into its controversial Energy Department green loans. The announcement was made by White House Chief of Staff William Daley.
Both the White House and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) have blocked many congressional inquiries into the troubled loan program.
Today two chief House energy committee chairmen released a joint letter saying it was preparing a vote this coming Thursday to subpoena internal White House communications about the Solyndra scandal. Included is a request for President Barack Obama’s Blackberry Emails.
White House officials listed in their request include former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, former economic adviser Larry Summers and Ron Klain, the former chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden.
The joint letter was signed by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) and Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL). Upton is the Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Stearns is the chairman of the House Oversight and Investigation subcommittee. The letter reads in part:
“The purpose of a possible subpoena for White House documents would be to secure access to these internal communications among White House staff discussing their knowledge of the Solyndra loan and any efforts they made to secure the guarantee.”
Daley says the White House would conduct a 60-day review of the DOE loan program. He did not say it would investigate or air any wrongdoing, only identify future reforms for the troubled program. He named former Assistant Treasury Secretary Herb Allison to conduct the review.
Allison is not a stranger with scandals. He oversaw the Troubled Asset Relief Program, known as TARP and he was the President and CEO of the controversial housing giant Fannie Mae.
Myron Ebell director of the non-profit Center for Energy and the Environment said he was skeptical of the Allison appointment. Referring to the troubled DOE loan program he told PJ Media, “Well he’s got a lot of experience with financial shenanigans” adding “he clearly has lot of experience with financial manipulation and shady operators.”
In a statement released this evening, Rep. Stearns said the White House review should had been taken before the DOE’s ambitious $40 billion loan program, saying:
““Finally, officials at the White House are acknowledging that the program responsible for Solyndra may not have been the jobs program that was promised to the American people. This 60-day review would have been more sensible before billions of dollars in loans were rushed out the door in the program’s final hours on September 30.”
Many of the DOE recipients are alleged to have won hundreds of millions of dollars due to political connections to the White House or the Democratic Party.
Apparently, that “place” is the most powerful job in the world, because that’s where their support would put him.
On Martin Bashir’s television program this afternoon, Democratic strategist and MSNBC analyst Karen Finney said that Republicans are supporting Herman Cain because of his race:
“One of the things about Herman Cain is, I think that he makes that white Republican base of the party feel okay, feel like they are not racist because they can like this guy,” Finney said. “I think he giving that base a free pass. And I think they like him because they think he’s a black man who knows his place. I know that’s harsh, but that’s how it sure seems to me.”
“Thank you for spelling that out,” Bashir responded.
Video at the link. I doubt there’s a bigger hack perpetrating journalism on TV today than Martin Bashir. He’s stiff, he’s awkward, he’s entirely unfair and consistently incapable of original thought. His leaden thoughts clang around the set, cracking the floor tiles but having no impact at all on the world outside his studio. He brings nothing interesting but a British accent, and we have X Factor and American Idol to give us that in a far more entertaining format if we want it. And it’s evident that for many many Democrats like Karen Finney, there is literally nothing else in the entire universe to talk about besides race and calling people racists. In Cain’s case, you’d get it either way: Don’t support him for any reason and you’re a racist. Do support him with wild enthusiasm and you’re still a racist. It doesn’t have to make sense. Finney seems to be fairly young, but time has already moved way past her. This stuff just doesn’t work anymore but she isn’t smart enough to come up with anything new.
And yeah, they’re going to do this all the way through next year’s election and into infinity. It’s all they’ve got. That’s the bad news. The good news, this really is all they’ve got.
As I noted in my previous post with the self-explanatory title “Excrement, urine, vomit and tampons” mark new site of OccupySF, San Francisco’s municipal health department recently cited the OccupySF encampment for numerous sanitation violations. But an article that subsequently appeared on SFGate claimed that by noon on Thursday, OccupySF was “an utterly transformed encampment” that was no longer “a crash pad for chronically homeless people, with a contingent of activists thrown in”:
Suddenly, there were people who looked more like office workers than hippies strolling among the 50 tents pitched on the concrete and grass. Tourists gave high-fives to the campers. A group resembling yoga instructors set up a huge rug and spent the afternoon meditating.
Overnight, it went from Rainbow Nation redux to a kind of cross between an antiwar demonstration and a company picnic.
By happenstance I passed by OccupySF while doing errands later that same day (Thursday afternoon), and I took the opportunity the check out its latest location (my previous coverage of OccupySF had been at its three earlier locations, before it moved to the Embarcadero). But what I saw during my ten-minute visit just before nightfall didn’t jibe at all with the SFGate description of the encampment as “relatively tidy.”
We’ve been reassured that as of today there may be less human feces in the area — but there is still a serious problem with dog feces, which can be seen and smelled at various places around OccupySF. Many of the homeless or semi-homeless Occupiers keep dogs as pets (pit bulls being the most popular breed) as well as puppies that haven’t all been properly housebroken, and the owners either simply let the dogs do their business wherever they want, or take them on “walks” about 20 feet away from the tents for the dogs to relieve themselves.
The encampment is directly on top of some new bocce ball courts that the city had just installed. The area on the right side of this picture I found to be particularly malodorous, though I didn’t see any large steaming piles as I had on the other side of the camp (as seen in the previous picture). I think what happens is that people unwittingly step in the dog poop and then tramp it all around the camp.
As for the human feces situation: Almost every single item on the official OccupySF bulletin board concerned itself with the poop crisis (see following pictures for close-ups).
“Defensive posture on compost solution to fecal BC prob imposed on us. Consider: a.) self-defense b.) freedom of speech in re: Better system! c.) RIGHT TO POO!”
“RESPONSE TO TODAY’S BLACK P.R. Editor, the lack of porta-potties is equivalent to B.C warfare and Black Press. VI5 suggests to demonstrate WELL-MANAGED (Key: must be well-managed) composting of fecal matter. It is better than chemtoilets they refuse + good P.R. and better than BC warfare as well.”
I’m not entirely fluent in Occupese, so I’m not sure what the abbreviations “BC” or “B.C.” stand for in this context. “Black P.R.” and “Black Press” seem to be Occupese for “unsympathetic media coverage.” (As an aside: Can you imagine the uproar if the Tea Party used the term “Black Press” to complain about media coverage they didn’t like?)
“Composta Potty: need Toilet Seat = Good PR! REAL solutions!”
Clearly, Jon Huntsman’s campaign is such a juggernaut, awash in momentum and great ideas that it can afford to look like a shell of a vanity campaign designed, like the Nintendo Wii, to bring a family together. So let’s have the candidate’s cute daughters stick on fake mustaches and play-act for the camera!
The YouTube page for this ad says “no description available.” I’m not sure any description can do it justice.
According to this article, apparently written by a high school student in New York, legislation has been passed in some districts of California and in the District of Columbia providing affirmative action protections to ugly people. The author opines,
People do not have a say in whether they are going to be an attractive person or not. This was predetermined for them when they were conceived based on the genes of both of their parents. It is hardly fair that someone be discriminated against for something that they have no say in. Affirmative action protects people based on their race, gender, and sexual orientation; all of which are predetermined. It seems only fitting that ugliness also be protected under the umbrella of affirmative action.
There may be problems in defining “ugly” and lots of ugly folks might not like to be so identified officially. “Onward and Upward!” I say. The obvious definitional problems should not block highly meritorious legislation.
As a small beginning, I propose that affirmative action protections be provided to skinny, bald guys over seventy, known by the acronym SOBs, for Skinny Old Baldies. We are easy to identify and are greatly discriminated against. This must be stopped! The future of the country depends on it.
Kaiser Health conducted the poll, the findings of which can’t bring any comfort to the Obama White House.
The October health tracking poll finds a more negative overall public mood about the health reform law, driven largely by changes in support for the law among Democrats. The poll also asked the public’s impressions of the Massachusetts health reform law enacted under then- Gov. Mitt Romney, who is now a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination. Findings from the poll include:
After remaining roughly evenly split for most of the last year and a half, this month’s tracking poll found more of the public expressing negative views towards the law. In October, about half (51%) say they have an unfavorable view of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), while 34 percent have a favorable view, a low point in Kaiser polls since the law was passed. While Democrats continue to be substantially more supportive of the law than independents or Republicans, the change in favorability this month was driven by waning enthusiasm for the law among Democrats, among whom the share with a favorable view dropped from nearly two-thirds in September to just over half (52%) in October.
When the Democrats passed ObamaCare along partisan lines, two things seemed to be on their minds. One, the law would actually do some good (along with pushing the entire political discussion onto more favorable ground for them), and two, whatever resistance there was to it at that moment would wane as passions cooled. But now, about 18 months later, a plurality (44%) thinks the law won’t leave them better off, and passions haven’t cooled at all. Opposition outside the Democratic Party keeps growing, and support within the party seems to be weakening.
The poll did find a bit of good news for Mitt Romney.
The survey finds that nearly three quarters of the public, including seven in ten likely Republican presidential primary voters, say they don’t know enough about the Massachusetts law to have either a favorable or unfavorable opinion of it. A similar share of the public (71%) cannot say whether the law is similar to, or different from, the national health reform law.
RomneyCare isn’t really hurting him, and won’t until the link between it and ObamaCare is solidified in the GOP voters’ minds.
When I mentioned running positive issue ads in the earlier campaign post, this is exactly the sort of thing I had in mind. It’s chock full of win.
The use of Rush Limbaugh’s soundbites to quote the Wall Street Journal praising Perry’s economic plan, backed up by Steve Forbes, should be particularly effective with both the fiscal and social con wings of the GOP.
A little preview of what George Will is unleashing Sunday.
Romney, supposedly the Republican most electable next November, is a recidivist reviser of his principles who is not only becoming less electable, he might damage GOP chances of capturing the Senate: Republican successes down the ticket will depend on the energies of the tea party and other conservatives, who will be deflated by a nominee whose blurry profile in caution communicates only calculated trimming. Republicans may have found their Michael Dukakis, a technocratic Massachusetts governor who takes his bearings from ‘data’ … Has conservatism come so far, surmounting so many obstacles, to settle, at a moment of economic crisis, for THIS?
Attorney General Holder has agreed to appear to testify before the House Judiciary Committee, as requested by Rep. Issa. Also, Rep. Cummings is requesting a hearing to call former ATF Director Melson to testify about Fast and Furious.
This is huge, it potentially means Holder is about to get thrown to the wolves, if so, it would be the first major figure from the administration to be so treated. Stay tuned to PJMedia for more information.
Mitt Romney’s support and his negatives are baked into the GOP primary. To Romney’s supporters, either his various contradictory policy and issue positions don’t matter or they’re outweighed by his “electability.” They think he is best positioned to defeat President Obama, and so far nothing seems capable of dissuading them. His air of inevitability is gone, but his support remains steady in the 20s. He isn’t going up, and he isn’t going down.
To Romney’s detractors, his various and contradictory policy and issue positions render him unacceptable. But they don’t need those flaws pointed out. They already know them. That’s why there is a large Anybody But Romney faction in the primary. And that’s why despite his having been campaigning for the GOP nomination for about five years now, and having built an experienced national staff and raised a ton of money and launched effective attacks on President Obama’s economic record, and his being “next in line” because he came in second last time, Romney remains stuck in the 20s. He isn’t going up, and he isn’t going down.
Rick Perry came into the race as a frontrunner for the Anybody But Romney vote, and is paying the price for that early success. As a frontrunner, he attracted attacks from the second and third tier candidates who also wanted the Anybody But Romney crown when his campaign was still getting off the ground. Those attacks didn’t help Rick Santorum, and Michele Bachmann ended up destroying her own candidacy, while Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich didn’t engage in them at all. They stuck to their own game plans, and have benefited from the damage that Bachmann did to herself and to Perry at the same time, and from the damage Perry did to himself in the debates.
So now, the Perry campaign is doing three things to get back on track. One, he is rolling out his energy and jobs plans. Two, he is floating the idea of skipping debates. And three, he is launching attacks on Mitt Romney. The attacks are fair — accusations that RomneyCare includes illegal aliens, which it does, and that he’s unreliable to conservative voters, which he is; and that he has flipped on everything from gun rights to abortion to global warming, all of which are true — but are they likely to help Perry? And is skipping the debates the right idea?
Taken on their own, these are reasonable tactics to take. There are too many debates, and Perry is right that they have mostly been centered on tearing the candidates down. But they have also built two candidates up, Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich, and vaulted Bachmann’s candidacy for a while. Attacking Romney is also reasonable, since he is a very problematic candidate and he’s a frontrunner. But I doubt either tactic will help, and both are distracting from Perry’s core economic message. The debate skip idea makes him look weak, despite the fact that the 21 or so debates still on the schedule do in fact get in the way of retail politicking that’s crucial to winning in Iowa and South Carolina.
Aside: I omitted New Hampshire because, like Romney’s problems as a candidate, it’s baked in. Romney will win it. So the other campaigns should plan accordingly.