Monday, January 16, 2017

Trust Everybunny, But Cut the Cards

Peter Finley Dunne has long been one of Eli's favorite observers of the human, especially the political condition.  Writing at the beginning of the 20th century in the voice of Mr. Dooley, a publican of the Irish persuasion, he instructed Eli in the necessary amount of jaundice needed to observe the world as it is.

So it was with that basic training that the Rabett wandered into a twitter exchange between ATTP and one Lucas Bergkamp who was mightily defending the reputation of one Wil Happer, a physicist of the Princetonian persuasion.

Again, to be honest, Eli knows somethings about the good Professor Happer, but that is almost entirely tangential to the tale of caution he will spin.  The question that soon arose in the mind of the Bunny was more, why is Lucas Bergkamp so adamant in defending Professor Happer's reputation and specifically why is Lucas Bergkamp so insistent on insisting that Professor Happer is such an independent guy in his denial of the threat posed by climate change.
As with all such thing, a good start is to figure out who Lucas Bergkamp is, and that isn't too hard by simply following his twitter ID to his place of employment.  Dr. Bergkamp is a partner at Hunton and Williams, a law firm that made its bones defending tobacco interests such as Philip Morris.  But what does that have to do with Wil Happer.

Wil Happer, it turns out (among other things) was a paidexpert witness for Peabody Coal in their losing action against the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission setting a social cost of carbon levy on power generated using coal.  Peabody lost, and Happer's testimony was, let Eli be nice and say destroyed, by John Abraham amongst others as the administrative law judge sided against Peabody in no uncertain terms.

In the nature of the thing, such rulings can be appealed and certainly the record from the hearing is available to other cases, so the reputation of Prof. Happer as an independent soul is of some value to any appeal against the ruling.

Dig a bit further and it turns out that Peabody Coal has been represented by Hunton and Williams, the firm of which Dr. Bergkamp is partner.  Eli can leave it there although others may wish to dig deeper, but it is clear that Dr. Bergkamp indeed has a horse in this twitter exchange.

24 comments:

DrTskoul said...

Once a donkey's rear end always a donkey's rear end....

E. Swanson said...

Dr. Happer's name came up last Friday as he was seen leaving Trump Tower in NYC, as reported by the WaPo. HERE's a review of Happer's climate disinformation efforts from DeSmogBlog. Happer's claims that increasing CO2 will be good for plants ignores lots of research which shows the net effects may be negative for many important agricultural crops. And, not to forget was Happer's comment during the 8 December 2015 "Data and Dogma" Senate Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness hearing before Ted Cruz in which Happer claimed that satellites measure atmospheric temperature by infrared...

JohnMashey said...

1) Bergkamp only has 5 hits in https://www.industrydocumentslibrary.ucsf.edu/tobacco but he is there.

2) On the other hand, “hunton williams” gets 16K hits
They've been doing BIg Tobacco work for a long time: sample,. 1995: $4.8M after discount.
https://www.industrydocumentslibrary.ucsf.edu/tobacco/docs/#id=zljm0065

3) Eli cited https://www.desmogblog.com/2016/06/07/peabodys-outlier-gang-couldnt-shoot-straight (tyhanks)
but if people haven’t already, really, really look at

R.Gurney, i.e., Kevin Gurney’s Rebuttal (annotated), pp.12-31 vs Happer

https://www.desmogblog.com/sites/beta.desmogblog.com/files/R.Gurney.20159-114195-01.pdf

S.Gurney Surrebuttal especially pp.3-15, which the judge loved enough to quote, and p.16 whack on Happer

https://www.desmogblog.com/sites/beta.desmogblog.com/files/S.Gurney.20159-113909-03.pdf

S.Happer, Surrebuttal heavily annotated by me, esp pp.27-30 …

https://www.desmogblog.com/sites/beta.desmogblog.com/files/S.Happer.20159-113912-03.pdf

Bernard J. said...

Trump's Lysenkoism may well see science in the USA plummet from its preeminent place in the world, probably for a decade or more, and possibly forever.

And the irony of the history of this strategy will likely not be lost on even the modestly-astute observer.

Bernard J. said...

I truly feel dismay for my colleagues across the Pacific, at this horror unfolding in slow motion. One cannot help but recall the words of Percy Shelly:

'Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

I doubt though that any future poet could fit the word 'Trump' as mellifluously into a sonnet as Shelley did with 'Ozymandias'.

Susan Anderson said...

One could wish the horror in motion would slow down. The biggest spider of all (my opinion), Fred Singer, has caught Trump et al. in his web.

BBD said...

Lawyers, liars and fake experts. Where will it end?

Oh, yes:

on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;


I know that face. Seen it on the TV recently a lot.

jrkrideau said...

Trump's Lysenkoism may well see science in the USA plummet from its preeminent place in the world, probably for a decade or more, and possibly forever.


I'm sure we are recruiting as are most first world countries. And we have a single payer health plan.

Russell Seitz said...


'Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Beat loud the drum, and
Sound the brazen trump
From colossal wreck
Now falls colossal rump

andthentheresphysics said...

Just discovered that Lucas Bergkamp has blocked me on Twitter. Probably after I asked him if he had any comment about this post. Oh well, would have been interesting to see in what way he would defend this.

BBD said...

Just discovered that Lucas Bergkamp has blocked me on Twitter.

Truly, this Bergkamp is a mighty warrior.


Probably after I asked him if he had any comment about this post. Oh well, would have been interesting to see in what way he would defend this.

Yes it would, wouldn't it? Now we will just have to use our imagination.

E. Swanson said...

Just to be sure, I went back thru the video of the Senate hearing and verified that Dr. Happer did make the claim that satellites measure temperature with infrared, beginning at 3:02:48 in the hearing. One can fast forward thru the video to catch what he said as the hearing is almost over and Cruz is making his final statement, ignoring most of what Admiral Titley presented.

magmacc said...

Nicely done, Mr. Bunny. I'd lazily assumed Bergkamp was a professor of the emeritus & unrelated field kind.

And yes, E. Swanson, Happer fumbled a topic that fell solidly within his (former) area of expertise.

8c7793aa-15b2-11e5-898a-67ca934bd1df said...

I saw that hearing live and I remember that.

William Happer is the epitome of emeritus.

Bernard J. said...

"Truly, this Bergkamp is a mighty warrior."

BBD, I am reminded this time not of a sonnet, but a ballad:

Brave Sir Robin ran away
Bravely ran away away
When danger reared its ugly head
He bravely turned his tail and fled
Yes, brave Sir Robin turned about
And gallantly he chickened out

Bravely taking to his feet
He beat a very brave retreat
Bravest of the brave, Sir Robin!

andthentheresphysics said...

It appears that Lucas Bergkamp has now deleted the tweets in which he defended Will Happer as being someone without a conflict of interest. Curiouser and curiouser.

Bernard J. said...

ATTP, I wonder if there any actual screenshots?

andthentheresphysics said...

I didn't take any, so I don't know.

8c7793aa-15b2-11e5-898a-67ca934bd1df said...

Lucas Bergkamp suddenly realized he doesn't want to be sitting next to William Happer and Lamar Smith in the docks at Nuremberg. Smart move.

Hank Roberts said...

http://www.listen-tome.com/comics/2016-04-25-PLTM303.jpg

EliRabett said...

8c, you miss the point. Bergkamp will, willy nilly be sitting next to Happer in the appeal (ok, defending him). Bergkamps deleting his tweets leaves us somewhere in the vicinity of the Hound of the Baskervilles with lots of replies surrounding a vacuum, but the links in the post above show what was in the vacuum.

Bergkamp was building a case for the appeal, trying to shore up one of Hunton and Williams' expert witnesses. Anybunny defending against them would do well to track social media for similar attempts.

8c7793aa-15b2-11e5-898a-67ca934bd1df said...

The principles of his lawyer firm must have dropped the hammer on him hard then. That would have been great to witness. Nevertheless, if he tries this again, and giving fair warning other young lawyers wanting to profit from this kind of behavior, they will most likely be defending themselves while sitting in the docks at Nuremburg, with Rex Tillerson, Donald Trump, Jeff Sessions and Lamar Smith.

Steyn and Simberg are small fry in the future trials of this nature.

I am not kidding. I am deadly serious. Mass extinction is happening.

The oil and gunpowder comes from somewhere. I can name corporations.

I can name names. I just have. Our government will be complicit.

Russell Seitz said...

I feel I must allow a decent interval for post-inaugural mourning to pass before reminding Fli of the most famous words Mr. Dooley put in President Lincoln's mouth.

velvet nous said...

Long ainough to raich th‘ groand?