Tag Archives: Heartland Institute

Christopher Monckton, birther – Part III

This is not a spoof or comedy bit. This is Monckton appearing for BirtherReport.com. Wearing a US flag shirt. And a cowboy hat. And a (prop?) gun.

He also titillated Heartland‘s annual climate denialapolooza with similar birther antics.

Back in March, Monckton went full-fledged birther on the Dennis Miller show, claiming the President’s birth certificate is a forgery

Previously, Monckton hinted (at a Koch-funded Tea Party rally) that he believed that President Obama was born in Kenya. While he later claimed to be joking, Monckton rejected the idea that the President was definitely born in the US.

Prior to that, Monckton conflated Obama with the mass-murdering terrorist Osama bin Laden, and claimed Obama and others seeking to mitigate climate change would “kill tens of millions” in a keynote speech hosted by the Heartland Institute.

Note:  Monckton’s birtherism- along with his claims of inventing a cure for HIV, of winning a Nobel prize, of being a member of the House of Lords, etc.- is simply crank magnetism in action. Those who are cranks in one area are very seldom cranks in that area alone, be it because they’re shilling for special interests, indoctrinated in an unscientific ideology, or they’re just a bit touched. We see this time and again with Dick Lindzen’s and Fred Seitz’s smoking-cancer denial, Baliunas’s, Michaels’s, Singer’s,  Happer’s, and Seitz’s CFCs-ozone depletion denial, Roy Spencer’s creationism and “DDT = a holocaust” claims, and on and on and on. Those that deny the reality of anthropogenic warming rarely limit themselves to that delusion alone.

The point here is not source degradation. Their arguments, such as they are, should be and are refuted on their merits elsewhere. But for those who like to keep track of such things, crank magnetism just gained another data point.

Christopher Monckton, birther – Part II

For those outside the US, “birtherism” is the conspiracy among the paranoid conservative base that Barack Obama’s birth certificate is fake. Some believe that this is because Obama wasn’t born in the US, others believe it’s because it conceals his “real” father, others believe it has something to do with the race his parents claimed for him, etc. The point is, all that is required to be a “birther” is to believe that Obama’s birth certificate isn’t real.

Previously, Monckton hinted (at a Koch-funded Tea Party rally) that he believed that President Obama was born in Kenya. While he later claimed to be joking, Monckton rejected the idea that the President was definitely born in the US. Prior to that, Monckton conflated Obama with the mass-murdering terrorist Osama bin Laden, and claimed Obama and others seeking to mitigate climate change would “kill tens of millions” in a keynote speech hosted by the right wing, anti-regulation, climate denialism front group Heartland Institute.

Yesterday, Monckton went full-fledged birther on the Dennis Miller show, claiming the President’s birth certificate is a forgery:

I mean, hey you got a president who has a false birth certificate on the Internet, on the White House website…

I don’t know whether he is Kenyan or not… The point is that if I were you, I would want to make absolutely sure that he was born here before allowing him to be elected. And the birth certificate that he put up on that website, I don’t know where he was born. But I do know that birth certificate isn’t genuine…

It appears in layers on the screen in such a way you can remove quite separately each of the individual dates. You use Adobe Illustrator and each of the individual dates is in its own separate layer. This thing has been fabricated. Sheriff [Joe] Arpaio of Arizona has had a team on this for six months. And he has now gone public and said there’s something very desperately wrong with this and of course nobody is saying anything because the entire electorate has been fooled…

I’m no birther [sic], don’t get me wrong… I haven’t a clue where Obama was born and I wouldn’t want to entreat into the private grief behind investigating. But the point is, is what he has done on the White House website is he has put up a document which he is plainly a forgery and I would regard that as a very serious matter.

Par for the course, Monckton doesn’t appear to understand the basic definition of a word he’s using. What he is engaged in is the definition of birtherism.

Monckton’s birtherism- along with his claims of inventing a cure for HIV, of winning a Nobel prize, of being a member of the House of Lords, etc.- is simply crank magnetism in action. Those who are cranks in one area are very seldom cranks in that area alone, be it because they’re shilling for special interests, indoctrinated in an unscientific ideology, or they’re just a bit touched. We see this time and again with Dick Lindzen’s and Fred Seitz’s smoking-cancer denial, Baliunas’s, Michaels’s, Singer’s,  Happer’s, and Seitz’s CFCs-ozone depletion denial, Roy Spencer’s creationism and “DDT = a holocaust” claims, and on and on and on. Those that deny the reality of anthropogenic warming rarely limit themselves to that delusion alone.

The point here is not source degradation. Their arguments, such as they are, should be and are refuted on their merits elsewhere. But for those who like to keep track of such things, crank magnetism just gained another data point.

UPDATE:

Whether or not you like his policies, at least you have to give the guy credit for keeping his sense of humor throughout this nonsense:

Due diligence – Gleick edition

I didn’t blog about the Gleick/Heartland stuff initially because, well, I didn’t think there was a lot of “there” there. The people who are clued into what front groups like Heartland do have documented their activities in the past, and frankly, I was only vaguely aware of who Gleick was. I believe the only time Gleick as a person or subject was really on my radar screen prior was him commenting on a post of mine. That’s not to disparage Gleick out of some ex post facto embarrassment, it’s just the facts.

I remarked when the controversy erupted that the whole affair would have essentially zero impact on the larger issue of mitigation (and would rather reinforce per-existing worldviews partisans but pass unnoticed by the general public). I later commented that I heard Roger Pielke Jr. make a similar prediction on public radio.

Shortly after these comments, I was informed of an amateur analysis of the language used in the documents in question that pointed to Bast rather than Gleick as being the author of the disputed “memo”. I asked why such an analysis (relative to the entrail-reading being done by obvious partisans on either side) wasn’t bigger news. No real answer there.

But now the person who designed the software used for this analysis performed one on his own and found (ignoring the possibility that anyone other than Bast or Gleick wrote the memo) Gleick was more likely than not the author of the memo relative to Bast.

This of course doesn’t “prove” anything one way or another, but it is obviously a bit more credible than the amateur pass that I initially highlighted, and so I think it’s well worth mentioning. My position from the start has been, and will continue to be this: the entire affair is irrelevant to the reality of anthropogenic climate change, mitigation efforts to lessen the impact thereof, etc. Groups like Heartland act as fronts for industries at risk of regulation and routinely try to obfuscate the scientific evidence that suggests such regulation is beneficial to the public. Gleick may be an award-winning scientist, but he was basically not on my radar screen prior to this and certainly plays no part in the fundamental body of evidence demonstrating the reality and attribution of present and future climatic change to humankind. Lastly, but not least importantly, if Gleick did fabricate the document, I think that he should be prosecuted for whatever laws he may have broken and should obviously receive repudiation from the scientific community for those actions.

I think it only fair that if I made a passing comment about the potential for his innocence, I note evidence in favor of his culpability. The case for stabilizing anthropogenic greenhouse emissions to reduce our perturbation of the climate system is strong enough without embellishment. Any illegal activity should be roundly condemned as such.

Christopher Monckton, birther

Via Dave Weigel, Monckton spoke at a “Tea Party” rally, astroturfed by Americans For Prosperity (a front group of Koch Industries):

“America!” said Monckton at the start of his speech. “Land of opportunity! You can be born in Kenya and end up as president of the United States!”

Though Monckton later claimed this was a “joke”, he does indeed have doubts about the President’s citizenship:

“I have no idea where he was born,” said Monckton, who was working the crowd and signing autographs. “What I do find strange is that the public records of his Hawaiian birth have been sealed, and can not be obtained by the public. His lawyers have spent a lot of money trying to seal the records of his public life. All of those records should be open to the public, as they always were for previous presidents.”

And:

“The effective classification of all of these documents of his early life is surely contrary to the spirit of freedom and openness in the Democratic west,” said Monckton. “It’s bound to raise questions in some peoples’ minds.”

Monckton previously referred to the President as “Osamabamarama”, linking Obama to the terrorist Osama Bin Laden and prophesied that Obama and others seeking to mitigate climate change would “kill tens of millions” in a keynote speech hosted by the right wing, anti-regulation, climate denialism front group Heartland Institute.

It’s not a coincidence that climate denialists believe (or claim to believe) a lot of other insane things like denial of CFCs causing ozone depletion, denial of cigarettes causing cancer, denial of evolution, believe that environmentalists had DDT banned which killed hundreds of millions of people in Africa, etc. While some of this is just part of being an “expert” for hire for anti-regulatory interests, much of it is more simply explained by the phenomenon of crank magnetism. Cranks believe kooky things, and these kooky beliefs are rarely isolated to a single subject. So people like Monckton are not only climate denialists, but they turn out to be birthers and also believe that they can cure HIV.

Also be sure to check out Peter Sinclair’s two latest Climate Denial Crock of the Week videos, starring the potty peer.

The denialfest so nice they held it twice?

Heartland is putting on another denialapalooza today? I thought they just had one in March?! Why didn’t anyone tell me? There’s nothing in the news about it-  I had to find out browsing wingnutantiregulation front group blogs. What could possibly be the impetus for a do-over? 

Oh to be a fly on the wall at 4:15 EDT when Chris “Osamabamarama” Monckton and Jimmy “greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people” Inhofe weigh in with their trenchant, expert analyses during the Keynote[!] Addresses.  I can’t wait to read the transcripts.

[UPDATE: DeSmogBlog was all over it yesterday, naturally. I'm betting I managed to miss more than just them in my apparently careless searches.]