Krugman vs. Austerians

Paul KrugmanThis is great.

In this country, I’ve noticed that people who disagree with Paul Krugman tend to simply ignore his arguments and call him crazy. Last night, he was on the BBC’s Newnight, debating vulture capitalist Jon Moulton and conservative MP Andrea Leadsom. The two came out swinging and got bloodied. Leadsom claimed that Krugman’s view was “reckless.”

The daring duo presented the same old discredited arguments we’ve heard before. Leadsom: we have to cut our way to prosperity! Krugman: we aren’t a household; your spending is my income. Moulton: our government is too big! Krugman: larger governments are doing better; you just want to use the crisis to enact policy you’ve always be in favor of.

Watch it, it’s great:

I like the tired conservative line that everyone will start their own businesses. And the idea that people aren’t starting businesses because of all the regulations? If people want to start a business they will do it the time honored way: illegally.

It is nice to see these fucktards put in their places. Of course, they’ve learned nothing. If all the evidence from Europe hasn’t convinced them then nothing will. Besides, there is the Upton Sinclair Dictum: it is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.

The Austerity Agenda

In Krugman’s column tomorrow, he writes:

Over the past few days, I’ve posed that question [why the austerians promote a policy that is backwards] to a number of supporters of the government of Prime Minister David Cameron, sometimes in private, sometimes on TV. And all these conversations followed the same arc: They began with a bad metaphor and ended with the revelation of ulterior motives.

The bad metaphor — which you’ve surely heard many times — equates the debt problems of a national economy with the debt problems of an individual family. A family that has run up too much debt, the story goes, must tighten its belt. So if Britain, as a whole, has run up too much debt — which it has, although it’s mostly private rather than public debt — shouldn’t it do the same? What’s wrong with this comparison?

When the private sector is frantically trying to pay down debt, the public sector should do the opposite, spending when the private sector can’t or won’t. By all means, let’s balance our budget once the economy has recovered — but not now. The boom, not the slump, is the right time for austerity.

So why have so many politicians insisted on pursuing austerity in slump? And why won’t they change course even as experience confirms the lessons of theory and history?

Well, that’s where it gets interesting. For when you push “austerians” on the badness of their metaphor, they almost always retreat to assertions along the lines of: “But it’s essential that we shrink the size of the state.”

So the austerity drive in Britain isn’t really about debt and deficits at all; it’s about using deficit panic as an excuse to dismantle social programs. And this is, of course, exactly the same thing that has been happening in America.


Inform the Truth Then Again Again

SpamBotSince I’ve been moderating my blogs, I’ve noticed a lot of the same things over and over. The main thing I’ve noticed is that whoever the people who are writing these things are, they don’t write English very well. But some of them are clever. The first time you get them, they make you wonder.

One of them alerted me to the fact that my site was not loading properly in Internet Explorer. It went on to explain that this browser was the most popular and I really should do something about it. Such things can make me wonder, but I knew there was no such problem with the site. Perhaps the best such gambit is this:

of course like your web site but you have to check the spelling on several of your posts. Many of them are rife with spelling issues and I find it very bothersome to inform the truth then again I will surely come again again.

Needless to say, I was pleased that this particular spambot would come again again. If this comment had been written in something approaching standard English, I would no doubt have been driven into a fit of copy editing. But clauses like “inform the truth then again” kind of ruin the illusion.

I try to find this all amusing. But its hard because I hate it that these fucktards are wasting so much of my time again again.

Krauts with Attitude

Krauts with AttitudeYesterday, Brad Plumer over at WonkBlog wrote an article called Today in European Stereotypes, which contained some really interesting data from a couple of different sources. Plumer chose to provide the data in stages in order to present it as a mystery story. And he was very effective. I for one clicked below the fold.

But I would rather just come right out and show, I don’t know, the hypocrisy of the Europeans—in particular the Germans, or as I like to call them, the Krauts. (In this time of racial sensitivity, it is nice to know you can still hate the Germans. I’ll be all for easing up on them the moment they stop being assholes.) Most of the nations of Europe believe that Germans are the hardest working people. Most of the nations of Europe believe that the Greeks are the least hardworking people.

But here is a list of the countries and how many hours they work on average in parentheses:

  1. Greece (2109)
  2. Poland (1939)
  3. Italy (1778)
  4. Portugal (1714)
  5. Ireland (1664)
  6. Spain (1663)
  7. UK (1647)
  8. Germany (1419)
  9. Netherlands (1377)

There were no data for France. Also note how many hours Italians work, because they are generally considered almost as lazy as the Greeks.

Now, I know what many of you are thinking: just because they work a lot of hours doesn’t mean they are productive. Certainly Plumer brings this up. And even he doesn’t seem quite aware of what his data indicate. The issue isn’t about productivity. Productivity is more an issue of management: if you mechanize a production line, productivity goes up. Relatively small increases are due to workers moving faster. This is the bottom line: Greek workers put in almost 50% more hours than Germans. Italians put in 25% more.

There are little doubt many reasons why people work more hours in southern Europe. But these numbers ought to put to rest this idea that Germany is not in crisis because they are virtuous and southern Europe is in crisis because they are not virtuous. No one is more aware of Greece’s screwed up political system than the Greeks. But it is the Greek worker and not the Greek politician who is harmed by the austerity that Germany is imposing on Greece and much of the rest of Europe.

Everyone would be a whole lot happier if the Germans would pull their heads out of their asses.

First Thoughts: Synecdoche, New York

Synecdoche, New YorkActually: first and second thoughts.

Karl Paniczny suggested that I watch Synecdoche, New York, the directorial debut of Charlie Kaufman. He suggested that it might be my kind of film. I don’t have much to say, because I’ve seen it only once. But that was more than enough to have first and second thoughts.

It is a remarkable film. And it may not be successful. But if it is a failure, it is the failure of genius. Anyone can make a mainstream film.[1] It takes hard work and great talent to make a film like Synecdoche, New York.

A couple of things struck me while watching it. One was that there were many allusions to other films. I don’t know if this was intended, but I was reminded of other films several times. Also, the film is filled with brilliant ideas. Just a few: Hazel buying a house that is always on fire; Caden reading his daughter’s diary that apparently fills in automatically as she grows older[2]; the final theater project that is utterly confused with reality.

To me, the film is about the fiction (or “theater” if you insist) of life. In particular, it is about the duality of a writer’s work and his life. Speaking as someone who knows, I think it is more true of a failed writer than a successful one. It is easier for a successful writer to compartmentalize these two lives. The failed writer is always asked what his work means whereas everyone can understand commodities.

This leads me to my greatest concern about the film. At one point Caden tells his assistant:

None of those people is an extra. They’re all the leads of their own stories. They have to be given their due.

That’s pretty heavy handed, all by itself. But later, roughly the same line is repeated. All I could think was that Kaufman gave in to the money men.

Regardless, I look forward to watching the film a few more times. Even more, I look forward to seeing his new film Frank or Francis, which Wikipedia describes as, “a musical comedy about internet anger culture.” It makes me feel like dancing. And shouting.

[1] Ever notice that any given movie star manages to direct (And often write!) a passable movie? It’s because they get loads of help and all the department heads they surround themselves with are professionals. Note how no actor goes on to be a focus puller in movie. They are “directors” with a nod and a wink. I would say the same thing about most celebrity writers. Recently, I spent about 90 seconds reading Stephen Colbert’s entire I Am a Pole (And So Can You!). That’s 32 pages for $15.99. Can you guess how it ends? I did! The only intelligent thing I ever heard Russell Crowe say was that if they ever used his music in a movie of his we should shoot him. Any star who is an aspiring writer (or whatever) should send their work out anonymously to figure out if they really have talent. In general, I’m sure the answer will be a resounding, “No!”

[2] There is a similar sequence involving a self-help book sold to Caden by his psychologist.

Two Quick Thoughts on Karate Kid

Karate KidQuick Thought One

John Avildsen is a great director. I’m glad that Karate Kid was a success, but it kind of sucks when you consider that Avildsen directed Joe and Rocky. The great thing about him is that he has a vision. He fails more than he succeeds, but he always[1] succeeds his own way. And that’s what makes him great.

Quick Thought Two

I just saw a bit of Karate Kid (2010). It seemed good enough. But what struck me was that it is set in China. This allowed the film to completely skip the most important thematic element of the film: the military mindset in America. It looked like the remake degenerated into “the old ways are better than the new.” And that just isn’t that interesting. It sure isn’t what Americans need telling. More than ever we need the original.[2]

[1] Okay: not always. I’ve seen Rocky V too.

[2] I would complain about the horrible performance of Jaden Smith, but Ralph Macchio wasn’t much better.

End This Depression Now!

End This Depression NowI hadn’t planned to read Paul Krugman’s new book End This Depression Now! I read his blog every day and I’ve read all of his books for lay audiences, so I didn’t think there would be much to offer in this book. But I couldn’t help myself. The book is a quick read; Krugman writes in a breezy style that is uncommon for a political book. But more important, the book does a great job of tying up all of his various policy beliefs into a single narrative that is extremely insightful.

The book is broken down in three parts: the history of how we got to where we are now, what (and who) is stopping us from doing anything, and what we should be doing. It is much more edifying than, say, the very good documentary Inside Job. But I’m not sure it is worth the cover price of $24.95 (although it is only $15.26 in hardcover or $9.48 in electronic form on Amazon).

It is not surprising that I totally accept Krugman’s argument. I’ve been reading him so long that I don’t know where his opinions end and mine begin. I’ve come to believe that as long as we are living in this conservative dark age, we will always agree. It is only when the economy is doing well that I will begin to see him as a moderate. That is one of the aggravating things about our nation at this time. Krugman is in no way a radical or even particularly liberal. It is only that our society has gotten so out of kilter that he appears so.

Nonetheless, he see the world clearly. He discusses cuts to the stimulus by $100 billion to get the necessary Republican votes to pass it.

Many commentators see that demand for a smaller stimulus as a clear demonstration that no bigger bill was possible. I guess I don’t think of it as being all that clear. First of all, there may have been a pound-of-fless aspect to the behavior of those three senators: they had to make a show of cutting something to prove that they weren’t giving away the store. So you can make a reasonable case that the real limit on stimulus wasn’t $787 billion, that it was $100 billion less than Obama’s plan, whatever it was; if he had asked for more, he wouldn’t have gotten all he asked for, but he would have gotten a bigger effort all the same.

I think a lot of us had thought the same thing. For one, Jonathan Chait discussed how Olympia Snowe bargained with her vote:

The retirement of Olympia Snowe, at the young (by senatorial standards) age of 65, has again dramatized the perilous condition of the Senate moderates. They have been scorned, marginalized, and hunted close to extinction. Yet the striking fact about Snowe’s career is that, far from being shunted to the sidelines, she has wielded, or been given the opportunity to wield, enormous power. She has used it, on the whole, quite badly.

When George W. Bush proposed a huge, regressive tax cut in 2001, Snowe, sitting at the heart of a decisive block of centrists, used her leverage to support the passage of a modestly smaller and less regressive version. When Barack Obama proposed a large fiscal stimulus in 2009, Snowe (citing fears of deficits that she had helped create) decided to shave a nice round $100 billion off his figure and call it a day. If a Gingrich administration proposed spending a trillion dollars to erect a 100- foot-tall solid-gold Winston Churchill statue on Mars, Snowe would no doubt decide, after careful deliberation, that the wise course was to trim the height down to 90 feet and perhaps use a cheaper bronze alloy in the base.

What this all means is that Republicans don’t particularly believe in anything. Even the supposed moderate or reasonable ones only do what they think of as politically expedient. And this is all the more the reason that liberals need a political part that does stand for something. As I’ve noted before, we don’t need to win elections; we need to move the whole field back to the left—back to where Krugman is in the center.

Until then, it is kind of useless to think too much of Krugman’s plan to fix what ails us. But it is a little heartening to know the solution is as easy as Krugman says.

The World Forgetting by the World Forgot

Alexander PopeIn the poem Eloisa to Abelard, Alexander Pope wrote:

How happy is the blameless vestal’s lot!
The world forgetting, by the world forgot.
Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind!
Each pray’r accepted, and each wish resign’d.

I know this, not because I’m big into 18th century poetry. I know it because it is quoted in one of my favorite movies, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. It is an interesting literary allusion. The poem tells the story of young Eloisa and her teacher Abelard. They fall in love and secretly marry. But when her family find out, they castrate Abelard. They spend the rest of the poem trying to get over the fact that they are completely screwed. As the quote above indicates, it is about acceptance and memory, or lack there of. In a general sense, the film is about these issues. But the story of a young woman falling in love with a wise older man is in both the film and the poem. And in both cases, it does not go well. Of course, Abelard does much worse than Howard Mierzwiak.

This evening, I watched the film again. It has been a while. It is such a delight. But I saw the film in a different way than I have previously. This time, the story of Mary and Howard was much more important. It demonstrated that forgetfulness deprives ourselves of the ability to learn and grow. Without it, we will continue to make the same mistake over and over. This might work for Eloisa and Abelard, because their problems are imposed from without, but the rest of us are dealing with mostly self-inflicted problems.

It is only with the Mary and Howard story that the ending can be seen as anything other than a tragedy. Because Mary offers them the ability to see where their previous relationship ended, they can (hopefully) learn and grow into a better relationship this time.

Restore the Old Top Tax Bracket

Median IncomeThe graph on the left shows the median family income over the last 35 years. What you notice is that incomes have not increased much over this time period: roughly $5,000 or 10%. That is far far far less than the per capita increase in income over that same time. The reason for this is that almost all of the gains have gone to the top—the very top mostly.

Let me suggest something: we should raise the top income tax bracket. When Reagan came into office, that bracket was 70%. It was lowered because of “trickle down” economics—the idea that if the rich did better then everyone else would too. That hasn’t happened. It turns out—Quelle surprise!—that lowering the taxes of the wealthy just makes the wealthy even more so and doesn’t do a damn thing for anyone else.

Before Reagan, the the top tax bracket hadn’t been less than 70% since 1936. What’s more, since 1917 it had only been much below 70% during the years just before and after the start of the Great Depression. So clearly, as a country, we seem to think that 70% is about right for the top tax bracket.[1]

Given that lowering the top tax bracket from 70% to 35% has at best done nothing good for the country as a whole, I think we should return to the old tax bracket. All we have to gain is a larger degree of economic equality.

[1] Contrary to what a lot of people think, this does not mean that people with a lot of income pay that amount. This is a marginal tax rate. They only paid this on the income they made above what is now over a half million dollars.

Pena Ajena!

So Bad So Good published an interesting article a few weeks back called 25 Handy Words That Simply Don’t Exist In English. It says, “We look at 25 words that simply don’t exist in the English langauge (and yet after reading this list, you’ll wish they did!)” It is a fun article, but I have a few thoughts about it.

1 Age-otori (Japanese): To look worse after a haircut

We do have phrases like “getting your ears lowered.” But more specifically, we do have a word: nice. “Oh! You got your hair cut. It looks nice.”

2 Arigata-meiwaku (Japanese): An act someone does for you that you didn’t want to have them do and tried to avoid having them do, but they went ahead anyway, determined to do you a favor, and then things went wrong and caused you a lot of trouble, yet in the end social conventions required you to express gratitude

This is a good one. We do have a specialized word for it, however: Christmas.

3 Backpfeifengesicht (German): A face badly in need of a fist

Leave it to the Krauts, huh? I can’t think of anything here, but I just don’t see the usefulness of this word.

4 Bakku-shan (Japanese): A beautiful girl… as long as she’s being viewed from behind

I’m out of my depth here. I just don’t think about this kind of thing, but I suspect we have words and phrases for this.

5 Desenrasçanço (Portuguese): “to disentangle” yourself out of a bad situation (To MacGyver it)

We do have a word for this: divorce. Geez!

6 Duende (Spanish): a climactic show of spirit in a performance or work of art, which might be fulfilled in flamenco dancing, or bull-fighting, etc.

What? The fact that it is associated with flamenco and bull-fighting might have something to do with the fact that we haven’t needed to coin such an odd word.

7 Forelsket (Norwegian): The euphoria you experience when you are first falling in love

We’re Americans. We just call it love, because we never get more mature than that.

8 Gigil (pronounced Gheegle; Filipino): The urge to pinch or squeeze something that is unbearably cute

I think we do have a word for this, or a sound. You know: oiggeeeg!

9 Guanxi (Mandarin): in traditional Chinese society, you would build up good guanxi by giving gifts to people, taking them to dinner, or doing them a favor, but you can also use up your gianxi by asking for a favor to be repaid

This is all very nice, but we most definitely have a word for this and it is even in the definition: favor. Or a phrase, “good graces.” This one isn’t even close.

10 Ilunga (Tshiluba, Congo): A person who is ready to forgive any abuse for the first time, to tolerate it a second time, but never a third time

We don’t have such amenable people.

11 L’esprit de l’escalier (French): usually translated as “staircase wit,” is the act of thinking of a clever comeback when it is too late to deliver it

This is just silly. We definitely have a word that means L’esprit de l’escalier: L’esprit de l’escalier! Geez!

12 Litost (Czech): a state of torment created by the sudden sight of one’s own misery

I don’t know about you, but I always use bergmanesque.

13 Mamihlapinatapai (Yaghan): A look between two people that suggests an unspoken, shared desire

This is a nice one. I think it is well represented by “shared glance” however.

14 Manja (Malay): “to pamper”, it describes gooey, childlike and coquettish behavior by women designed to elicit sympathy or pampering by men. “His girlfriend is a damn manja. Hearing her speak can cause diabetes.”

I don’t even know what this is supposed to be. Does it mean to pamper or one who incites the desire to pamper? Regardless, I don’t want to be in any social setting where I might need to use this word.

15 Meraki (pronounced may-rah-kee; Greek): Doing something with soul, creativity, or love. It’s when you put something of yourself into what you’re doing

Like a soulless people would need such a word!

16 Nunchi (Korean): the subtle art of listening and gauging another’s mood. In Western culture, nunchi could be described as the concept of emotional intelligence. Knowing what to say or do, or what not to say or do, in a given situation. A socially clumsy person can be described as ‘nunchi eoptta’, meaning “absent of nunchi”

I think we would call this empathy, but this word has a nice specificity.

17 Pena ajena (Mexican Spanish): The embarrassment you feel watching someone else’s humiliation

Leave it to the Mexicans to coin a phrase that—out of all of the words here—I really do feel bad about not having. I’ll just have to memorize this and start using it. Pena ajena!

18 Pochemuchka (Russian): a person who asks a lot of questions

I can see that my friends might feel deprived by the lack of his word. But in general, we have no use for such a word because as a people we do not ask a lot of questions. We just talk a lot. And there are lots of words for that!

19 Schadenfreude (German): the pleasure derived from someone else’s pain

Again: the Krauts! I am liking those people less and less. Contrast with the Mexicans.

20 Sgriob (Gaelic): The itchiness that overcomes the upper lip just before taking a sip of whisky

I’m not a big whiskey drinker, but even still, I have no idea what this is. Perhaps you have to be a drunk. Or Irish.

21 Taarradhin (Arabic): implies a happy solution for everyone, or “I win. You win.” It’s a way of reconciling without anyone losing face. Arabic has no word for “compromise,” in the sense of reaching an arrangement via struggle and disagreement

Perhaps we would just say “a solution” or “agreement.” I would say, “The denouement of every episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.”

22 Tatemae and Honne (Japanese): What you pretend to believe and what you actually believe, respectively

Not fair! That’s two words. Anyway, I don’t think these are difficult enough concepts to require their own words.

23 Tingo (Pascuense language of Easter Island): to borrow objects one by one from a neighbor’s house until there is nothing left

I don’t believe it! What? Like someone borrows your screwdrivers one by one until he has the set? Does anyone even live on Easter Island?[1]

24 Waldeinsamkeit (German): The feeling of being alone in the woods

Might I suggest: alone? Or “alone in the woods” if you’re not into the whole brevity thing.[2]

25 Yoko meshi (Japanese): literally ‘a meal eaten sideways,’ referring to the peculiar stress induced by speaking a foreign language

I wouldn’t know about that.

Are you experiencing Pena ajena?

[1] Yes! There are 5,034 residents of Easter Island, according to Wikipedia.

[2] Yes, I am quoting from The Big Lebowski, which I seem to do more and more as the years go by.

God Hates Figs

God Hates FIgsI’ve written before about Fred Phelps’ Westboro Baptist Church and their campaign (and website) “God Hates Fags!” Well, some clever person has noticed that they have it all wrong. It isn’t fags; it’s figs. Click on the image to buy the shirt. Or don’t. I have no stake in it.

Mark 11 (New American Standard Bible):

12 On the next day, when they had left Bethany, He became hungry. 13 Seeing at a distance a fig tree in leaf, He went to see if perhaps He would find anything on it; and when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. 14 He said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again!” And His disciples were listening.

American Unexceptionalism

Colorado Congressman Mike Coffman got caught in a brouhaha recently after claiming that he wasn’t sure if President Obama was a citizen. This is a big deal because it calls into question the legitimacy of the government by one of its official representatives. This statement didn’t really bother me, however. Coffman is just another crazy Republican, saying crazy things. And anyway, he apologized:

What bothered me about his statement was not his uncertainly; it was his certainty. Here is the whole quote:

I don’t know whether Barack Obama was born in the United States of America. I don’t know that, but I do know this, that in his heart, he’s not an American. He’s just not an American.

This does offend me. This isn’t just a partisan attack. This is the line that Republicans always hold. It is the same hubris that most Christians have in believing that they alone know what God wants. In this case, Republicans know what America is and anyone who disagrees with them is not an American. They define what it is to be American. (Of course, they hold a thimble full of liquid out of the ocean of truth.)

When Coffman apologized, he said more than, “I misspoke and I apologize.” Here it is:

I have confidence in President Obama’s citizenship and legitimacy as President of the United States… However, I don’t believe the President shares my belief in American Exceptionalism. His policies reflect a philosophy that America is but one nation among many equals. As a Marine, I believe America is unique and based on a core set of principles that make it superior to other nations.

So he doubled down on the, “If you don’t believe what I do, you’re a communist.” Whatever.

For the record, I do not believe in American Exceptionalism, although President Obama clearly does. I accept that Americans who believe in this doctrine are Americans, but I suspect they are delusional. And I’m not even talking about our many and varied policy failures over the years to spread “freedom and democracy” around the world. We have a big army and a big economy and we use it to bully the world into giving us what we want. This is the only way in which we are exceptional. But throughout history, this is exactly how all big empires operated. And there is nothing exceptional about that.

Pretend Scientist Fred Singer

Fred Singer

When I was a global change scientist, I had occasion to hang out with Fred Singer. This isn’t surprising, because I was an iconoclast in a group of iconoclasts. And the fact is that at that time (the early 1990s), there was a lot to doubt about global warming. The models weren’t that good and we hadn’t seen the dramatic temperature increases that we’ve had the last decade and a half.

Fred was an interesting guy. He was really into gadgets—a true early adopter. And he liked to be the one beating up on the existing paradigm. But I noticed something about him that bothered me even then. He seemed inclined to cherry pick data. He just wasn’t interested in data that went against his belief that global warming was nothing.

At that time, I was very much under the spell of James Lovelock and the idea that humans could not change the world because it was its own organism. This all depended upon negative climate feedbacks, and a lot of us were out looking for them. Unfortunately, they never appeared. The more I looked, the more it looked like the climate system was dangerously unstable. But Fred Singer didn’t see climate science inside a framework of the Gaia Hypothesis. Instead, it seemed political.

On Monday, I saw that the Heartland Institute, a free market think tank[1], had put up the following billboard for their upcoming climate conference:

Heartland Global Warming Billboard

At first, I didn’t get the meaning of this sign. I thought it meant, “Even someone as crazy as Ted believes in global warming, why don’t you?” But that’s not it. Instead, it means, “Only people as crazy as Ted believe in global warming, why do you?” And this is why I am never invited to focus groups.

The Heartland Institute triggered my Fred Singer alarm. I somehow thought he might be involved. And he is. At least, he has published with them. But checking out Wikipedia, I found that he had written an OpEd regarding the “Climategate” scandal. From the Wikipedia article:

In December 2009, after the release of thousands of e-mails from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit—a controversy that came to be known as “Climategate”—Singer wrote an opinion piece for Reuters in which he said the scientists had misused peer review, pressured editors to prevent publication of alternative views, and smeared opponents. He said the leaked e-mails showed that the “surface temperature data that IPCC relies on is based on distorted raw data and algorithms that they will not share with the science community.” He argued that the incident exposed a flawed process, and that the temperature trends were heading downwards even as greenhouse gases like CO2 were increasing in the atmosphere. He wrote: “This negative correlation contradicts the results of the models that IPCC relies on and indicates that anthropogenic global warming (AGW) is quite small,” concluding “and now it turns out that global warming might have been ‘man made’ after all.” A British House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee later issued a report that largely exonerated the scientists.

In other words, Fred Singer was totally wrong, but used the opportunity to push his conservative political agenda. And that’s just what I expect from him.

[1] It seems strange to me to call such places think tanks when they are mostly just propaganda mills. And the problem is pretty much only on the right. It is very much like Fox News — it is hard to call it news, because it isn’t.