Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Letters, Eli Gets Letters, and Email and Twits

Off the top of the pile, a letter to the Gibraltar Chronicle (by way of Barry Bickmore)  from Alfred Cortes, but first some background.  The government of Gibraltar held a Thinking Green Forum last Saturday, with Al Gore and Juan Verde, the former known to all, the latter a former high Department of Commerce Official who presented the position of the Obama administration on renewable energy and how the US election will affect Europe (that would be nice to know).

This, of course, attracted the flies, and who shows up but everyone's favorite martian, the Lord Monckton, spewing as usual, and he got a pretty good press in Gibraltar before going totally off the rails as Eli hinted yesterday. 

So, what lit the fuse.  Barry Bickmore came up with the smoking letter:
The on-going campaign by the Chronicle against Al Gore and the parallel promotion of the views of Lord Monckton is hard to understand. Al Gore, Nobel Peace Prize Winner,
Elected on four occasions to the US Senate and deprived of the Presidency by a biased US Supreme Court, can hardly be placed on an equal footing to an obscure climate sceptic who represents nobody, as the Chronicle seems to be attempting to do.

A cursory search on the internet reveals a few interesting facts about Lord Monckton. This gentleman, a hereditary peer, has attempted, unsuccessfully, on four occasions to be admitted to the House of Lords, receiving zero votes on each occasion. He is currently a member of UKIP and stood for parliamentary election in 2011, receiving 1.1% of the vote. Though Monckton has no scientific qualifications, he has proclaimed himself to be an authority on climate change and, while accepting that there is a greenhouse effect, he strongly refutes that this man-made phenomenon is responsible for accelerated climate change. He is a regular speaker at the Heartland Institute›s Conference on Climate Change. The Heartland Institute is a rabidly right-wing institution heavily subsidized by oil companies such as Exxon Mobil, among others with vested interests. Some of its views include questioning the link between second-hand smoke and health risks, blaming ‘slackers’ for unemployment, arguing against universal health care and so on. This gives a pretty good idea of the kind of audience that Monckton is in sync with.

Monckton has also made a lot of noise regarding errors or inconsistencies in Al Gore’s film/book “An Inconvenient Truth”, for example The emphasis on the melting of the Arctic and the danger posed to polar bears, the flooding of low-lying islands in the Pacific, the threat to Greenland›s ice cap. Recent data about these developments strongly support Gore’s views and expose the vindictiveness with which his adversaries have acted. What really matters is that Gore alerted the world to the dangers and put environmentalism on the map. The general thrust of his arguments have been found to be correct by peer-reviewed scientific evidence. There is near universal acceptance (apart from “flat-earthers” like Monckton and at least one Chronicle opinion writer) of the impact of human activity on the world›s climate. If one thinks about it, it’s logical, reasonable, inevitable but, hopefully, not irreversible.

The views of Al Gore and Juan Verde are worth listening to and the Government is to be congratulated for giving us the opportunity to hear them first hand.

Alfred Cortes
Of course the press did the false balance thing
Editor’s note: Representing a diversity of views does not in our view amount to a campaign. Our readers in our view are able to make these judgments for themselves only if alternate views are presented.
but what do the bunnies expect from a bunch of rocks?   and, of course there was another letter
On the 16th October, your newspaper touted Christopher Monckton as a “climate change science expert”.  In science, the term “expert” is customarily reserved for scientists who have made an important contribution to their study subject via PhD theses and publication in journals that operate the standard scientific practice of rigorous peer-revision.  Monckton is not a trained scientist and the lists of his publications that we have seen do not include papers published in peer-reviewed journals.  Furthermore, his claims about being Margaret Thatcher’s science adviser, including specifically on climate, appear to be exaggerated. In addition, his arguments are not supported by scientific consensus on climate change.  That means that the overwhelming majority of climate scientists, i.e., trained scientists who publish extensively in peer reviewed journals – “experts” – in the conventional sense – disagree with his views.

Monckton appears to be a publicity hungry sensationalist and is therefore guilty of some of the same accusations that he levels against Gore, albeit as a member of the opposite camp in the climate debate.  An independent newspaper such as yours should research the  background of all individuals – Monckton, Gore or any other – before making assertions about them.

Dr. Alex Menez
Dr, Keith Bensusan
which prompted a full metal fit, as shown by the newspaper's response (AFAEK the letter has not been published)
Following our publication of letters by former headmaster Dr Alfred Cortes, and another from Dr Alex Menez with Dr Keith Bensusan we received a letter from Charles Scott, Lord Monckton’s press relations man which referred to the three letter writers in terms we considered inappropriate and which on advice leading counsel confirmed were libellous.

The Editor responded to Mr Scott stating “The points could be made in less words and certainly without advertising or being derogatory of the writers ‘ …’ Review and I will consider it.”
No response to this was received and instead Lord Monckton chose to raise the issue at his press conference yesterday.

We then received a letter from Mr Scott that “there was more than a little astonishment” during Lord Monckton’s press conference this morning when Lord Monckton told the media that the letter had not been published.

In somewhat high handed terms Mr Scott said that he did not want to have to trouble Lord Monckton with this matter but that he was “expecting” the letter to appear in Saturday’s paper “without fail”.

The Chronicle will not be dictated to on editorial matters and Mr Scott was given ample opportunity to respond to the points made by Cortes, Menez and Bensusan. The Editor’s response to Mr Scott was: “Feel free to trouble Lord Monckton. I stand by my response and certainly do not see anything defamatory in the letters we published. We have a piece by Lord Monckton in tomorrow (Saturday) but I feel no obligation to treat his or your every word as sacred. You seem to have a very colonial attitude towards Gibraltarians.”
Well, now Eli knows how to properly address his Lordship:) and Barry is still waiting for the acceptance of his debate challenge
Dear Viscount Monckton,
I noticed a number of articles in The Gibraltar Chronicle (links here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) about your most recent attempts to engage Al Gore in a debate about climate change, and I agree that you deserve an answer, although not necessarily from Gore.  In response, I would like to renew my challenge to debate you about climate change in an online, written format, in which we have time to check our opponent’s sources.  I was never given a satisfactory answer as to why you declined the first time, but I am always willing to give you another chance. . . . .
I will certainly understand if you consider me too unimportant a figure to debate.  After all, I’m sure that’s what Al Gore thinks of you.  But before you decide, consider how you stated your challenge to Al Gore back in 2009.  “I want you to face me in a debate about global warming, and if you don’t dare, I want you to remain silent about that subject forever, from now on.”


Anonymous said...

"deprived of the Presidency by a biased US Supreme Court,"

Hmm this site is getting a good track record on printing 100% BS.


I see a trend in the credibility rating going dooooooown.

David B. Benson said...

The Supreme Court decision was certainly precedent breaking and precedent setting.

Some would call it 'activist', but I suppose Eli would not...

John said...

Three cheers for Barry Bickmore!

John said...

Eli gets letters, email and TWEETS!
Well, OK, Eli gets twits also.

Eli is a faulty member at a Twitterversity.

Which is why Eli deals with stoontz. But they ain't edjumacated. (The stoontz, I mean)

Not yet, anyway.
But they're whir-king on it.

Warren said...

It's true that we establish our credentials with other scientists by getting our PhDs and publishing but for those members of the general public who get a bee in their bonnets about "appeals to authority" and the dreadful unfairness of expert opinion I don't think our titles and bibliographies cut much ice. Red rags, bulls, that kind of thing.

Surely the point isn't that Monkton doesn't have these credentials but that, in an impromptu exam the proportion of postdoc-level questions about the climate which he could answer correctly is - put politely - small. And the proportion which could be answered corectly by those he reviles (Mann or Jones, for example) is large. It isn't what you've got - it's what you know.

So lets get a broadcaster to set up a panel game for us and ... Ah well, a bunny can dream.

Jeffrey Davis said...

The Supreme Court didn't review the issue of Florida dismissing 100,000 unambiguous double struck ballots.

Marking ballots twice had been standard practice by the Florida poor since they had become well acquainted with the Florida practice of finding something nitpicky about their ballots.

The irony, of course, is that the Supreme Court decision in Bush v. Gore was founded on one man/one vote grounds. Scalia's humor is definitely crude.

Biased? Yes. Corrupt? Yes. Any other questions?

Anonymous said...

"The irony, of course, is that the Supreme Court decision in Bush v. Gore was founded on one man/one vote grounds. Scalia's humor is definitely crude."

Especially when the vote on the vilolation of the equal protection clause was 7:1. That evil Scalia got all those liberal justices to laugh at his joke.

Speaking of jokes your logic is a joke only as funny as your supposed understanding of election laws.

If there is any entity to blame it is the state of florida, not the SC.

But that does not fit well with your naive vision that the SC stole the election for Bush.


Chad is to Gore as Mitt is to Mali

Anonymous said...

Obama is to lies as Clinton is to adultry.

chek said...

Funy old Sir Monckton. Keen to give challenges to debate, but since Tim Lambert kicked his supercilious butt in Oz, bravely running away from Peter Hadfield and a Gish gallop-proof offer some time ago from Barry Bickmore.

John said...

chek, can you give a link to the debate between Tim Lambert and The Discount Viscount?

Anonymous said...

"The Supreme Court didn't review the issue of Florida dismissing 100,000 unambiguous double struck ballots."

It was 180,000 and those were analyzed after the election and Bush still would have won if the Florida SC rules were applied to all those ballots.

Just give up already.

ligne said...

John: ask, and ye shall receive! http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/03/28/lambert-monckton-debate-on-you/

chek said...

John, the Lambert-Monckton debate may be seen on Youtube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nB5N8EtNCzA&list=PLECB5DBAEB957FD5C

Jeffrey Davis said...

The double-struck ballots were recounted and went overwhelmingly to Gore.


Anonymous said...


Like I said you canblame the state of Florida and the State SC, because they never ordered an over count.

Fact remains the election was not handed to Bush by the US SC and your DailyKos article proves my point.

Thanks for the assist, appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, actually, a lecturer on the circuit of the subject favored by all "Head in the Sand Climate Denialati" pays quite well as Fred Singer, Dr Tim Ball and Lord Mockingjay can attest too.

For example, down under in Oz, in one tour in 2010, was paid a very nice handsome stipend from Oz's mostly still in the ground billionaire Gino Rhinoarse. Many people tend to forget Lord Mockingjay's 16th/18th century mansion needs much peso's in annual running costs and the good lord has no real job earning adequate Euro's to cover the houses five plus digit running costs.

For these cranks and loons, the inconvenient truth, is deliberately ignored. For them, it is more about the 'great con' and the good life to ihad from ignorant fools.

As, for the US presidential elections, dating back to the very first president George Washington. Irregularities in voting and numerous illegal scams, have always existed, since the dawn of the alleged US Democracy in 1788/9. The Supremes crap decision of '08, was in reality, just one more layer of mock cream, on a very rotten cake, that has existed from the end of the revolutionary war.

Even as we speak, much skulduggery "Waukesha Style", is still ongoing. For example Mitt Romney's son is installing some very questionable electronic voting machines in Ohio.

You takes your choice and pays your money, for in the real world, reality has a liberal bias.

Such is life.

Jeffrey Davis said...

The Florida Sec. of State made the decision about double struck ballots.

That the SCOTUS made their decision on equal protection grounds is, therefore, ironic, yes? Isn't that the definition of "irony"?

What are you disagreeing with me about? I said right up top that they didn't review the issue. Choosing what to ignore is important, yes? Which is why I think the SCOTUS is corrupt.