MacKenzie on Denialism

Writing in New Scientist, Debora MacKenzie has an article that is right up my alley: Living in denial: Why sensible people reject the truth.

All denialisms appear to be attempts like this to regain a sense of agency over uncaring nature: blaming autism on vaccines rather than an unknown natural cause, insisting that humans were made by divine plan, rejecting the idea that actions we thought were okay, such as smoking and burning coal, have turned out to be dangerous.

This is not necessarily malicious, or even explicitly anti-science. Indeed, the alternative explanations are usually portrayed as scientific. Nor is it willfully dishonest. It only requires people to think the way most people do: in terms of anecdote, emotion and cognitive short cuts. Denialist explanations may be couched in sciency language, but they rest on anecdotal evidence and the emotional appeal of regaining control.

102 Responses to “MacKenzie on Denialism”

  1. shcb Says:

    too funny!!

  2. knarlyknight Says:

    Funny? I thought it was sad and tragic, as in a manifesto to promote conformity and compliance with conventional ideas. Well, maybe that is sort of funny too.

  3. Smith Says:

    Knarly’s comment made me think of this:

  4. shcb Says:

    I need to get one of those. I get a kick out of reading these denial pieces JBC puts up here because when I read them I’m thinking they are talking about liberals and folks that won’t take a chance that the global warming people are wrong, even though of course I know they aren’t. They are using all the same tactics and thought processes they are claiming the other side is using. The part of this article that made me smile was when the author said that liberals (progressives) just put the facts out there and let the folks make their choice, that liberals think while conservatives emote. What planet did they arrive from?

    Of course I realize the liberals are saying and thinking the same of me, hence the bumper sticker would be as appropriate on my F150 as a Volvo.

  5. Craig Says:

    It actually goes beyond any conservative/liberal argument. Its a very human reaction, especially when it is a very closely-held personal belief that also makes intuitive sense to that person, and fits their worldview.

    We all fall victim to it at some point.

  6. shcb Says:

    I don’t know if I would consider it a trap, if you have come to those strong beliefs through rational thought and careful consideration the other side probably is wrong and you probably are right. I think it comes down to your objectives and what compromises and risks you are willing to give and take to reach those objectives.

  7. knarlyknight Says:

    Yes, shcb that’s exactly the essence of denialism. With it comes a certain arrogance that, because you’ve carefully considered the arguments and are knowledgable and intelligent, then “you are probably right”; and certain prejudices that the other side is either too biased or not intelligent enough to see the truth within all the conlficting facts or through the missing information.

    Craig is right, we all do it at some point. However, I’d suggest a qualifier that the degree to which a person is a Denialist is easily predicted because it is directly proportional to the arrogance within their personality. Is arrogance measurable? Probably, but it it is also something we instinctually detect quickly upon meeting a person, likely an adaptive strategy to excercise caution with people who would lead us astray.

  8. shcb Says:

    I disagree with that completely, you can be arrogant and be right or wrong. Ted Williams was arrogant, but he backed it up. When Einstein was told a German scientist was convinced his theory was wrong and 100 other scientists agreed and Albert said “why does he need the other 99 if he is right?” that was arrogant, but he was right.

    Denialism is when a person thinks something “is” when all the evidence available to reasonable people shows that something “isn’t”. Now that doesn’t mean “is” won’t someday be proven to be “isn’t” then the denialism is flipped. It has nothing to do with arrogance.

    In many cases there is no real “truth” so there can be no deniers, the truth depends on objectives, risks, and compromises. Your truth may be correct based on your objectives, but it may not be true based on mine, in that case neither of us are deniers. That is why I find JBC’s articles so humorous; (some) conservatives believe in creationism, his belief is they are wrong (probably correct) they are denying the truth, (most) conservatives do not believe in global warming (is a great enough risk to upset our lifestyles) and are therefore denying the truth. I put that last set of parenthesis in there because the global warming people always conveniently leave that out.

    The funny part is he would never accept this logic on another subject but he is as emotionally involved in environmentalism as the creationist is in his religion.

  9. knarlyknight Says:

    shcb, then you are disagreeing completely with your misreading of my post. Was that an intentional strawman?

    I suggested that a person’s arrogance is a good indicator of their likelihood of being a denialist.

    How arrogant a person is would not be a very strong indicator of whether they are right or not, because there are too many other more important variables (e.g. intelligence, patience for viewing data/info., expertise, etc.)

    Arrogance is, however, almost a synonym for whether or not they think they are right (and deny the possilibity that the other evidence and consensus opinions are relevant or not.)

    Also note this is not a value judgement, it’s just an observation. I happen to hate arrogance, however I also have learned to recognize it has powerful attributes which can be used for good or evil. As such, arrogance is more of a neutral tool, as in a gun that can be used to enforce law and order or to commit murder.

  10. shcb Says:

    I guess I missread you, no strawman intended. “I suggestd that a person’s arrogance…” I disagree with that, they may or may not be arrogant and be a denialist, and they may be right or wrong, I just don’t think arrogance has much to do with either case, it is a seperate issue. I can see a person being very humble and think the world is flat.

  11. knarlyknight Says:

    Sure, there are exceptions, etc. My point was simply that the extent to which a person is a denialist will tend to have a very good correlation to a person’s arrogance. It’s a simple point, and it probably doesn’t serve much purpose except as an item of interest or a caution not to confuse arrogance with certainty obtained by a careful study.

    Perhaps it would have helped to define arrogance first? From Collins English Dictionary: “adj. having or showing an exaggerated opinion of one’s own importance, merit, ability, etc.; conceited; overbearingly proud… an arrogant teacher an arrogant assumption”

  12. shcb Says:

    I think I tend to consider people who others would classify as arrogant as merely confident. my bar is set fairly high before I consider someone arrogant, probably because I don’t want to consider myself arrogant. We’re probably fussing over degrees.

  13. knarlyknight Says:

    Who knows, maybe we set the bar at roughly the same place. Except you set it lower for liberals. ;-)

  14. shcb Says:

    huh, I didn’t think there was a bar for liberals’ arrogance, I thought they all were arrogant:-)

  15. shcb Says:

    Gawd, Enky and Smith are gonna jump on that one, except they will leave off the smiley face

  16. knarlyknight Says:

    So what’s the dividing line between confidence and arrogance? Would you say that confidence includes a respect or at least neutral view of the other side, whereas arrogance contains a heap of contempt, disdain, or snearing at the losers?

  17. shcb Says:

    I don’t think I can put it in those terms, for me at least it is a case by case situation, I need to hear the person’s tone, body language, that sort of thing. A condescending tone is probably the best indication, but even that isn’t absolute.

    if pressed I think your use of respect is a good start, but not a neutral view, I think a confident person will offer enough respect to hear the other’s side, so maybe neutral initially, but after that neutrality isn’t required, but respect is due for a while, at some point the other guy is just an idiot. But yes, contempt and distain are a major part of arrogance. Think Winchester on MASH or Fraiser as opposed to the parts John Wayne played. It is a fine line most of the time, of course there are extremes. Like Potter Stewart said “I can’t describe it, but I know it when I see it”

  18. knarlyknight Says:

    Good points shcb. Here’s some arrogance for you:

    By the power vested in me by me, I declare this thread dead.

  19. shcb Says:

    Now you sound like the members of my HOA board, just declare crap you have no authority to declare and no mechanism to enforce. :-)

    BTW, the Governor signed HB 1278 into law yesterday, finally there is someone over HOA boards in Colorado. First time I can remember being firmly on the side of a Democratic party line vote and absolutely against Republicans, must be getting soft in my old age.

  20. shcb Says:

    Ok, ok, ok, there is an example of arrogance for you ANY HOA BOARD

  21. knarlyknight Says:

    Another article on Denialism, two sides each pointing their fingers at the other…

  22. shcb Says:

    I don’t see this as an article on denialism as much as a guy mad that no one will listen to him, but the fact is we all listened to him, we made our minds up that he is wrong and we and the media has moved on, in a free society you are free to speak, but people don’t have to listen if they don’t want to.

  23. knarlyknight Says:

    No, these ideas have not had a fair review. Let’s end it here with you and I agreeing to disagree.

  24. shcb Says:

    sounds good, I’m really busy now but this would actually be a good place to start the conversation of this thread, just the simple fact that I think he has been given every opportunity to show his evidence and has failed to offer a viable argument, but you think he hasn’t even had a reasonable chance to offer his evidence is the core of how difficult denialism is to even quantify out alone rectify. I read one of JBC’s articles and I think he is the one in denial and he thinks I have failed to offer a viable argument. Tough one.

  25. shcb Says:

    Well Knarly, it seems we are both wrong, 911 wasn’t an inside job and it wasn’t bin laden, it was globalization according to the Obama administration. I guess we both stand corrected.

  26. knarlyknight Says:

    Well I’m glad that’s finally settled.

  27. shcb Says:

    Yeah, it’s good to know that capitalism is more of a threat than terrorism. It’s also good to know that is the official assesment of the Obama administration.

  28. NorthernLite Says:

    I know you’re being sarcastic shcb but in a way you’re right. Look at the past two years and the destruction capitalism has reeked on your country (financial meltdown; oil spills – and not just this latest one) is far more damaging than an terrorist attack has caused in the past several years. I consider the death of tens of thousands (possibly millions) of animals equal to the deaths of a few thousand citizens. Far more jobs and revenue have been lost as well.

  29. shcb Says:

    That was from the National Security Assesment, it is actual official Obama policy. The passage says that “globalism” was the main cause to 911.

    You are not only looking at only side of the balance sheet, you are only looking at one one small subentry on a suporting document of one entry in that balance sheet.

  30. knarlyknight Says:

    maybe I’m not paying proper attention, but I have no idea what you’re talking about. NL makes sense, but I don’t get your drift. Are you being cryptic or am I just being unusually stupid tonight?

  31. shcb Says:

    No, you’re not stupid, I was just really busy, when I’m busy I tend to carry on a conversation with myself, of in this case I was carrying on a conversation with NL in my mind, unfortunately you were only privy to one side of that conversation.

    My point should have been that NL and Obama are blaming this spill on capitalism, so capitalism is the bad guy here. That may be true to a certain degree but that seems to ignore all the great things our capitalistic system has given us. That is the balance sheet reference, probably a little too esoteric.

    Probably a better point to be made is what is the alternative? Government control? Surely that won’t be more honest, this site is ostensibly dedicated to exposing the dishonesty of those in power, that includes government, or at least the Republican side, but you can fide a mirror site that just exposes the Democrat side as well. Who would Obama be shaking down for money to pay for this now? You can’t sue the government.

  32. NorthernLite Says:

    Day 60…

    Enter your town/city for some shocking perspective on how big the spill is.

  33. Smith Says:

    Look at big bad Chicago gangster Obama “shaking down” poor, innocent BP. How dare he expect private companies to take responsibility for their own actions.

    Of course, if Obama used government money to pay for the clean-up instead of forcing BP to do so, the Cons would all flip their shit because Obama’s spending tax money. Pelicans should just pull themselves up by their bootstraps and learn to clean themselves.

    It’s really funny to watch Conservatives simultaneously criticise government intervention and criticise Obama for not getting the government involved enough. What’s it like living without the capacity for cognitive dissonance?

  34. shcb Says:

    it is a shakedown because it isn’t the President’s place to force a company to pay, nor is it congress’ that is the job of the courts, we are a country of laws.

  35. shcb Says:

    “It’s really funny to watch Conservatives simultaneously criticize government intervention and criticize Obama for not getting the government involved enough. What’s it like living without the capacity for cognitive dissonance?” boy, where to go with that, I guess you have misstated what we are saying or don’t understand what we are saying. A blanket statement is so simplistic that you can fit whatever you want into it and then make two true statements into an untrue one, what do they call that? Strawman?

  36. NorthernLite Says:

    Obama didn’t “make” them pay anything. They sat down and discussed the situation as adults and BP “agreed” to create a fund to help the thousands of people whose lives they just destroyed and habitats that have been decimated.

    That’s not a shakedown. That’s trying to do the right thing.

    And Smith is right, you guys are starting to look silly when you take BP’s side in this thing. Bitching out of both sides of your mouth is what you’re doing and it’s shameful.

  37. shcb Says:

    I guess you didn’t hear the quotes that came out of those meetings did you? Trust me, it was a shakedown, it is what Obama has done all his life, he learned from the best Sharpton and Jessie Jackson.

    The problem with Smith’s statement is it is too broad, just because we criticize for one level of government involvement doesn’t mean we are against all levels of government involvement. In this case we are criticizing him for using the wrong channels and politicizing this issue, fair assessments. We are also criticizing him for putting more people out of work with a knee jerk reaction to shut down other wells, it is just making economic matters worse for no good reason, those are legitimate issues, you may not agree, but they are legitimate and separate, Smith is just Enky light, in fact has anyone ever seen them in the same room?

    Besides, when we are criticizing Obama for not getting involved with this problem earlier, we are taking more of a shot at you than Obama. What exactly is the government going to do to stop this well? We can offer a Navy submersible, we could fire a torpedo at the thing, but for the most part the experts work in private industry and are the people that will have to fix this. Now there are some things he could have done quicker and for that he deserves the criticism he deserves but it is fairly minor, we are mostly taking a shot at you guys that were so critical of GWB, for being so unfair then.

  38. NorthernLite Says:

    But where you republicans seem to be lacking comprehension is that the oil spill was a man made, corporate disaster resulting from the fact that they cut corners to save a few bucks. Emails show this to be the case. Their emergency plan was completely out of date and referenced marine wildlife that hasn’t existed in that region of millions of years. Come on, is it too much to ask a company that literally makes millions of dollars per hour to have a somewhat comprehensive, up-to-date emergency plan?

    Katrina was a natural disaster with plenty of warning. That’s why people were so hard on the government then. People expect their government to help out with natural disasters, not to clean up after corporate greed. I think you’re mistaking shakedown with leadership. What are you saying, give BP their money back and you can foot the bill?

    If you want to keep defending BP, that’s your choice. I was simply pointing out how fucked up a strategy that seems to be.

  39. shcb Says:

    I’m not saying that at all, you are reacting emotionally. If BP cut corners and that led to the disaster or made it worse, then they should pay up to whatever the law says they should pay, and government should enforce that. But that is for the courts, the president is over the justice department, if he wants to get involved with the prosecution of BP, that is fine, but he has no right to tell them what the fine is or isn’t. If BP wants to get ahead of the game and offer to pay several times more than the law dictates to curry favor with the courts and the public, that is their business.

    As far as their disaster plan, that is a place for government involvement, but not after the fact. If that plan was inadequate then that is to some degree the government’s fault whether that is 1%, 99% or somewhere in between is open for discussion.

    Warning has little to do with this discussion, there was no warning with 911 or the OKC bombing, there was no warning when my sister’s house was knocked down by a tornado, there was plenty of warning before Pearl Harbor in 1941 and plenty of warning before the hurricane that hit Houston, it is how government, and individuals for that matter, react that deem that reaction a success or failure.

  40. shcb Says:

    Look at it this way, when a building burns down, the authorities don’t wait until the arsonist is found to call the fire department, they put out the fire and get whatever reimbursement they can from the criminal after the fact, aside from that people are expected to protect themselves to a certain degree, insurance and such.

    What Obama is doing here is showing his lack of leadership skills, now someday he may be a hell of a leader, but he has no experience leading and it is showing here. He really doesn’t know what to do so he is just lashing out, flailing about wildly trying to find something to hit like a blindfolded kid trying to break the piñata.

  41. Smith Says:

    Shcb and like-minded conservatives seem to be under the impression the oil comes not from drilling in the ground, but rather results from getting down on their knees and sucking BP’s *cough* *cough* *ahem*

    Poor BP. Can’t Obama see that they are the victim in all this? Obviously, the real criminals are all those small people who failed to buy “catastrophic oil spill” insurance. Real Americans know that the only important people are corporations. Blue collar workers should be ignored by the government and left to die from treatable illnesses in an oil soaked ditch.

  42. shcb Says:

    Where did that come from? I think you have passed Enky.

  43. shcb Says:

    you see this is what happens when you get so wrapped up in emotional hatred:

    “Blue collar workers should be ignored by the government and left to die from treatable illnesses in an oil soaked ditch.”

    how on earth can you infer that from what I said, quite the opposite, I said the government should have helped these people and recieved reembursement from BP if warrented through the courts, it seems to me those that approve of Obama’s plan or lack there of fit that stetement better.

  44. shcb Says:

    BP isn’t the victim, but they do deserve to have their say, that is kind of the idea of fair play. Let’s say we find out that yes BP cut corners, they fudged tests. Let’s also say that government inspectors also didn’t do their jobs, they stayed in their offices and said they had went to the rig and witnessed the test when they hadn’t. So who is to blame? Well, both parties, this kind of thing comes out in legitimate courts. What if BP did everything by the book, followed all the laws, but they weren’t adequate? What if BP yes, did cut some corners but nothing so serious as to cause this disaster, are they still liable? Probably, but to a much lesser degree. What if the operator simply used the wrong mud (which seems the most logical explanation) even though company policy, government regulations, and standard practices were followed with this one exception?

    This is why you don’t want emotional people handling issues like this, there are two sides to every story and logical people listen to all sides before rendering judgement, this is what defines a leader or someone who is in perpetual campaign mode. Obama has no business saying BP will pay for this, he should say we will find out to what extent BP is to blame and prosecute them to that extent.

  45. knarlyknight Says:

    There are already answers to a lot of your questions. E.g. drilling mud was extracted prematurely, drill casing was thin walled leaving no room for error, etc. To minimize costs BP took these risks, and has a long history of taking such risks with the result that it has the most atrocious safety / spill record in the USA. (Look up their safety record, and their preference for paying comensation to families of killed workers rather than paying greater costs to make their worksites safe.) Are its actions legal, as far as the laws on the books? I do not know; there might be a case for criminal prosecution. Did it take the actions that a reasonable and prudent operator would take, or was their cost minimization at every decision point tantamount to gross negligence? I’m sure it was (with the benefit of hindsight); and would certainly have also thought, before the disaster, that it was negligent had I known then what they were doing then.

  46. shcb Says:

    if that is true then it should be an open and shut case, but they still deserve their day in court.

  47. shcb Says:

    It was good to see a judge overturn Obama’s boneheaded drilling ban

  48. knarlyknight Says:

    does that mean that the system works or that corporation’s have the judiciary under their control? rhetorical, i suspect the truth is the former.

    Keep in mind shcb that had this been done under Bushes watch you would have been screaming about activist judges usurping the power of the unitary executive.

    As for BP, here’s some more from that dufus monbiot:

  49. shcb Says:

    You might be right about my reaction, I’m sure I’m being a little partisan here but stopping drilling for more than a week or so makes no sense. I really do try and take these things on a case by case basis and was critical of some of Bush’s policies as well, not many since we have the same objectives for the most part, but some. Of course my objectives have almost no similarities with Obama’s. They are going to charge BP for the lost wages on rigs the government shut down? This kind of madness is just madness. As to your article, why would BP give its enemy fodder?

  50. NorthernLite Says:

    The moratorium was on deep water drilling only and was a prudent thing to do considering what is happening here. Could you imagine if another accident happened and Obama didn’t try to initiate a review period?

    Now it’s all on this redneck activist republican judges’ hands. Perfect.

  51. NorthernLite Says:

    Who, exactly, runs your country?

    Judge who nixed Gulf drilling ban has extensive investments in the oil and gas industry

  52. shcb Says:

    Nobody “runs” the country, we don’t have a king

  53. NorthernLite Says:

    The correct answer is money.

  54. shcb Says:

    That happens with capitalism

  55. NorthernLite Says:

    Heh, you don’t have to tell me my friend. I hope the destruction of one of the most prestine environments on our continent was worth it.

    Stupid to the last drop…

  56. shcb Says:

    there have been worse spills and worse disasters and we have managed, and we managed to clean it because of capitalism not in spite of.

  57. NorthernLite Says:

    You’ve had worse environmental disasters than the 100, 000 bpd gushing into the Gulf for more than two months??? What were they?

    How come capitalism can’t stop this one?

  58. knarlyknight Says:

    This is by far the worst environmental disaster in America, it will probably far surpass the eradication of Bison and cultivation of 98% of the wild prairie in terms of devastation. Plus, the effects extend to other countries, and by impacting fish spawning grounds will cause populations of tuna and other large species throughout the mid-Atlantic to suffer. It’s idiotic on so many levels to say “we’ve had worse disasters and we have managed” because the point is that the quality of your environment has been falling rapidly – it is clear you are not managing anything except a profound decline.

  59. knarlyknight Says:

    NL – you get my vote for best comment ever, with your:

    “Stupid to the last drop…”

  60. NorthernLite Says:

    LOL, thanks but I actually stole it. It’s the title of a book written about the Alberta Tar Sands:

    I have a feeling you might see a 30 year old dude holding a sign with that term on it this wekeend at the G20 meeting…


  61. shcb Says:

    Ixtoc I in Mexico

  62. knarlyknight Says:


    Ixtoc I in Mexico was big, but it simply pales in comparison to the volume, scope and damage already done by the current BP disaster (unless you use the early volume estimates from BP, in which case the BP spill is not yet bigger, but the ecological disaster of BP’s spill is orders of magnitude greater in comparison to Ixtoc !.

    Deepwater Horizon is also not as big as the 1911 Kern county spill (yet) in terms of volume lost, but it didn’t cause destruction on a biblical scale like the current BP disaster.

    To to face facts, Slick.

  63. knarlyknight Says:

    Time to

  64. shcb Says:

    I was using your figures, the Mexico spill was twice as large.

  65. knarlyknight Says:

    Okay then, no problem. Wonder what all the fuss is about.

  66. shcb Says:

    That doesn’t lessen the impact of this event it just puts it in perspective, I was right, you were wrong, I am looking at this rationally, you are looking at it emotionally, nothing more, nothing less. This spill has the potential to be the largest ever, but it isn’t yet.

  67. NorthernLite Says:

    The impact, both economically and environmentally, are alreay bigger. It’s got nothing to do with emotions. These are just facts.

  68. shcb Says:

    from what I have read I don’t think that is true, and I’m not sure how you would quantify the environmental impact, there is a lot of opinion built into that calculation. Economic damage quite possibly might be larger than the Mexico spill, I don’t know that much about the Mexico spill, but since it is realatively unknown you are probably right, but my statement still holds, this isn’t the biggest spill in terms of volume.

  69. NorthernLite Says:

    What estimates are you going by?

    I’m just going by what everyone has been saying – lawmakers from both parties keep refering to this disaster as “the worst in history”.

  70. shcb Says:

    :) wow, that is the first time I’ve ever heard a politician call something the “worst ever” remember when Democrats were calling the Bush ecconomy the worst ever as it was growing?

  71. knarlyknight Says:

    Boy, you are thick, Slick.

    Any reasonable person can tell that the BP slick is already larger and having more impact than Ixtoc did. You say that you are not familliar with Ixtoc and that you are ignorant about estimating ecological damage. Well for Christ sake try to inform yourself instead of trying to say the BP spill is not that big of a deal because you are ignorant of how it compares to Ixtoc. You are so like the Bush administration: relying on ignorance to guide your beliefs.

    My “Okay then, no problem. Wonder what all the fuss is about.” was sarcasm, shcb. It was not an admission you are right. You are in fact wrong. Look at the wiki page: the high estimates has the BP spill at nearly twice the size of the Ixtoc spill, 832 to 480. Deepwater Horizon is only lower than Ixtoc if you use the ridiculously low estimates: 454 thousand tons of crude compared to 377. That’s still in the ballpark close range. But the estimates are presented as RANGES, not as absolutes. Factor in that Deepwater is no-where close to being capped (another month at least for the relief wells?) and it is a no-brainer that the BP disaster is worse. Factor in where the oil is located and the extent the BP oil is mixed throughout the strata of ocean from the sea floor to the surface due unorthodox and irresponsible use of industrial solvents to hide the oil from reaching the surface and you’d have to be a complete idiot to think that Ixtoc was anything close to the disaster still unfolding in the Gulf. Is that an emiotional response? Hell yes it is because the FACTS of the matter make me sick and because unlike you, I value the natural world more than I value corporate boardrooms.

    Now, the following is an emotional response, and it has far more relevance to what is happening than your misplaced trivializations:

    When I was a little girl I saw the ocean for the first time at Pensacola Beach, Fl on a family vacation (remember those). It was the most beautiful and exciting thing I had ever seen. I was about ten years old and I spent everyday in sheer heaven body surfing in the just right waves. Big , yet predictable. It was gorgeous beyond description, the white sand beaches, the azure water. It was , without a doubt, one of the most perfect and beautiful experiences of my entire life.

    Now, when I look at these pictures it actually makes me cry. I have been to many beaches since., California, Wa state, the Atlantic coast. None as perfect as this slice of heaven.

    I don’t know what we are going to do but we cannot let anyone take this from us. We have to fix it and stop it forever. I don’t know how. I don’t know if it is possible , but I know that a world with no beautiful oceans is not a world worth living in and I also know that the ocean is the beginning of the food chain and where most of our oxygen is produced by living algae. This is not just about money or businesses. This is about life itself. I’m really afraid of the silent springs that will be coming for years and years.

    The fact that our leaders are so ignorant and so indifferent to the risk of destroying this planet shows me we are in the wrong hands. All the stories of evil and corruption come to life in this single scenario. The fact that a single judge can tell the country and the president that we will continue drilling is beyond sick. A hand picked judge to subjugate the planet to life threatening conditions and death for animals and man alike in uncountable numbers.

    Dear President Obama, you can demand to take control of this matter. We can all take a stand . WE must not just mind like good little children to this abusive kangaroo court outcome. It is beyond passive and stupid. This is America, not some rich corporation’s toy to use and discard as they please.

  72. NorthernLite Says:


    Bush created just over 1 million jobs in 8 years. In comparison, Clinton created 7.7 million new jobs in the first 34 months on the job alone.

    Bush’s economy was the worst economy ever. Ever.

    Anyways, it’s not just politicians – it’s citizens, agencies, BP itself is calling it that for crying out loud.

    I think I need to say it again: Stupid to the last drop.

  73. shcb Says:

    how can it be the worst if it was growing? the ecconmy has shrunk before that, the ecconomy wasn’t great during Bush but it was plugging along. Oh well.

    Knarly, I used your 100,000 barrels per day for two months, that is half the mexico spilll, don’t know what to tell you, maybe your figures were wrong, maybe the page I got the Mexico spill figures was wrong, maybe I’m right, don’t know all i can do is work with the information i’m given.

  74. shcb Says:

    By the way NL, Obama’s ecconomy has been far worse than Bush’s and he hasn’t had nearly as many blows to deal with.

  75. knarlyknight Says:


    Then you haven’t been paying attention. We’ve since learned that BP (and the US government ) were intentionally and grossly UNDER-reporting the volume of flows leaking on a daily basis. We were being lied to initially, yet you continue to use those numbers? wtf?

    Take a look at the ranking of worlds largest oi spills on my wiki link above, it provides more up to date estimates than what we had weeks ago.

    Stupid to the last drop indeed.

  76. knarlyknight Says:

    Yea, I’d call the unravelling & meltdown of the banking system during Bush’es last few months a fairly wicked blow to recover from.

  77. knarlyknight Says:

    This may help:

    Today the official government estimate of the flow, based on multiple techniques that include subsea video and satellite surveys of the oil sick on the surface, is 35,000 to 60,000 barrels a day.

    In effect, what BP considered the worst-case scenario in early May is in late June the bitter reality — call it the new normal — of the gulf blowout.

    If it’s not too liberal a source you can gain some perspective from the Washington Post:
    Each day, another way to define worst-case for oil spill:

  78. shcb Says:

    that’s good news, so your 100,000 bpd was off by a factor of two or three, so we are only at a small fraction of the Mexico spill.

  79. shcb Says:

    I really don’t want to diminish the severity of this, I talked to a friend in Florida last night and he said it is really bad from a ecconomic standpoint, he said tourism is down something like 85%, I don’t know if he meant state wide or just in his area, but the ecconomy is really dependent on folks coming to town. He also said there have been some shrimp boat captains that have killed themselves. So this is very very bad, I was just making the point that we will fix this in time like we always do, and we will learn something from it, like we always do.

  80. knarlyknight Says:

    Comparing Ixtoc 1 to the current deepwater disaster is not even comparing apples and oranges, more like grapes to watermelons…

    Ixtoc 1: “An average of approximately ten thousand to thirty thousand barrels per day were discharged into the Gulf until it was finally capped on 23 March 1980, nearly 10 months later.

    Deepwater Horizon (DH): “The gusher, now estimated … to be flowing at 35,000 to 60,000 barrels … per day, …The exact spill flow rate is uncertain due to the difficulty of installing measurement devices at that depth and is a matter of ongoing debate (this is only the 68th day of the gusher.)

    Ixtoc: 160 ft deep
    DH: 5,000 feet (1,500 m) below the ocean surface

    Spill Volume
    Ixtoc: 3 – 3.5 million barrels
    DH: up to 6.8 million barrels, so far

    Ixtoc: 1,100 sq. mi.
    DH: 2,500 to 9,100 sq mi (it varies depending on wind/ocean conditions)

    Coastline affected
    Ixtoc: 162 miles
    DH: to be determined; so far: “By June 4, the oil spill had landed on 125 miles (201 km) of Louisiana’s coast, had washed up along Mississippi and Alabama barrier islands, and was found for the first time on a Florida barrier island at Pensacola Beach On June 9, oil sludge began entering the Intracoastal Waterway through Perdido Pass after floating booms across the opening of the pass failed to stop the oil.

    On June 23, oil appeared on Pensacola Beach and in Gulf Islands National Seashore, and officials warned against swimming for 33 miles (53 km) east of the Alabama line. A Florida beach was closed for the first time since the spill began.

    Difficulty of cleanup / recovery of the oil:

    Ixtoc: Light oil, rose quickly to ocean surface. Pemex claimed that half of the released oil burned when it reached the surface, a third of it evaporated, and the rest was contained or dispersed.

    DH: Vast underwater oil plumes. .. the oil is a heavier blend which contains asphalt-like substances. .. this type of oil emulsifies well, making a “major sticky mess”. Once it becomes that kind of mix, it no longer evaporates as quickly as regular oil, does not rinse off as easily, cannot be eaten by microbes as easily, and does not burn as well. “That type of mixture essentially removes all the best oil clean-up weapons”

  81. shcb Says:

    Hmm, that’s not what I read, but I was on a non political website.

  82. knarlyknight Says:

    yea right, that’ll be the day.

    All of my post above is sourced from two Wiki sites, not wrong wing enough for you eh

  83. shcb Says:

    I guess it depends on who made the wiki site, looks like the Ixtoc is way too low compared to the site I found, it showed it to be almost 500 million gallons, your estimates of Horizon are in the 250-300 range. The site I found didn’t have the horizon spill, it was published before the accident.

    Doesn’t really matter, this is a bad spill, it will take a while to clean it up.

  84. knarlyknight Says:

    “a while?”

  85. NorthernLite Says:

    Pretty wild weekend…

  86. shcb Says:

    couple well placed .45 rounds would have stopped that. would have cost less than the police car.

  87. NorthernLite Says:

    Yeah I’m not sure why so many officers watched that happen.

    We spent 1.5 billion on security (compared to 18 million in Pittsburgh and 25 million in London) for these summits and all hell still broke loose. We had 20, 000 officers in riot gear.

    A lot of people find it kind of odd the police cars were left abandoned in the middle of the road along the protest route. Good media shots to justify expense? Who knows… but it was quite the experience. (I was peaceful, not one of the hooligans)

  88. shcb Says:


    a) they were outnumbered and wanted to go home to their kids
    b) they didn’t want to be seen as the mean cops
    c) they let things get out of hand very early.

    When we had that democratic convention here in Denver they got ahead of the protesters by randomly (random to the protestors, systematic to the police) moving barricades and fences, breaking up groups as they were forming, arresting people who wouldn’t go quietly and simply holding them for a day or two and then releasing them without charges or very minor charges, that sort of thing.

    They gave them areas to congregate and protest well away from the event. They also were very successful in infiltrating the ranks of the protestors and found out how they were communicating, the protestors were stockpiling weapons in strategic locations and marking the locations with graffiti, the police would find these stashes and simply remove them, then wait for someone to come looking for them and off to the really, really slow moving special court house the folks would go. They just never let them get organized. It was a thing of beauty.

  89. enkidu Says:

    wow that video of the cops rushing peaceful protestors who just finished singing o canada was pretty discouraging. I guess you have asshats up there too…

    I see you boys had a 5.5 quake too! exciting

  90. NorthernLite Says:

    Yeah, that was my first earthquake! Nobody really knew wtf was going on cuz we never have them. With world leaders begininng to arive for summits we thought something far worse was happening when the ground started rumbling (we work close to Pearson Int’l Airport). And yes, no shortage of asshats up here man.

    shcb, The thing that confused a lot of people is that Queen’s Park (Ontario’s Legislature) was designated as a demonstration area but the police didn’t allow that to happen, as witnessed in the videos on YouTube.

    I understand the need to keep everything under control but the right to assemble is a major pillar in our democracy. This story is far from over, as people marched again last night to Queen’s Park to demand answers and are promising to do so every night unitl we get them.

  91. shcb Says:

    Hmm, that is odd, it sounds like they just didn’t have a good plan. We have the nicest man for a mayor you have ever seen, kind of a geek, owns several very successful restaurants and brew pubs. Everyone thought he was going to be a push over he is so nice, the protestors even sued for the rights to see the police plans before the convention under freedom of information acts. He and the police chief just laughed and said no way, go ahead and sue, the convention will be over before it gets to court. They were very tight lipped about their plans, even to the point they looked like they had no plan, which was part of the plan. The only thing they did out in the open was schedule several National Guard barracks in the area to have extended “maneuvers” during that week and made it clear that Denver was paying the NG for the added expense. What this did was send a message to the protestors that we weren’t going to put up with any crap, many of the professional protestors just didn’t feel it was worth the plane ticket so they didn’t show up, leaving only some of the local rabble rousers to lead, thay were well known to local authorities so the authorities sort of knew their tactics. They didn’t touch these leaders, didn’t make them a focal point, they just didn’t allow them to get any numbers behind them.

    Denver did go to great lengths to get advice from the cities you cited on how they handled conventions in their cities and really, really listened to what they had to say. They also didn’t hassle anyone in the designated areas. When I said they would break up groups forming, one of they tactics they would use is to set up road blocks that would heard the groups into these designated areas, then leave them alone if they stayed there.

  92. NorthernLite Says:

    That all sounds very reasonable.

    I think you’re right, they failed to plan properly and then after the Black Bloc types showed up on Saturday and reeked havoc they kind of lost control and just started cracking down on everyone. As a result, many peaceful and legitimate demonstrators were denied their right and opportunity to protest.

  93. NorthernLite Says:

    And then there’s the question of were the black bloc folks simply allowed to have it at to justify the massive security costs?

  94. shcb Says:

    I would find it hard to believe someone would set themselves up for failure just to justify costs, not saying it isn’t possible, just very improbable. Even if someone at the top did that the cops on the street really, really don’t want to get the shit kicked out of them so they will naturally do whatever it takes to keep control just out of self preservation. My guess is they tried too hard, the security got so large the organization got out of hand, you had sergeants perfectly capable of organizing 20 cops trying to organize 200. Another classic problem with this type of thing is simply moving resources to the wrong places, you have 200 cops watching 20 protesters over here and 20 watching 2000 over there.

    My friend that is in the National Guard trained for two months in crowd control before the convention, Blackhawk helicopters were common place for weeks before, it was on the news several times showing the NG landing in blocked off intersections to “medivac casualties of a riot should one happen at the convention” but the medivac was always led with a first copter with M-4 toting Guardsmen. We pretty much just let the Denver cops that were used to working with each other handle the crowds and brought in police from suburbs to help with traffic and such. All I know is it worked, maybe we just have wimpy protestors J

  95. NorthernLite Says:

    Yeah, these G8/20 meetings seem to bring with them the “professional” anarchists. A lot of lessons learned, that’s for sure. Not sure holding it in the heart of Canada’s financial district was a wise move, but hindsight is a wonderful thing.

  96. shcb Says:

    yup, I always wonder what these pro anarchists are like the rest of the year? most of them probably like fairly normal lives unless you get em wound up.

    Since we’re being civil, I’m going to my 35th high school reunion this weekend, can’t wait. we have a small enough school that everyone that ever graduated is invited. We have some folks from 1935 going to be there, all the way to the kids that graduated last month. This little town almost doubles in size. This year the theme is dragging main, you may have called it cruising, think American Graffiti. I have a friend that is bringing his AC Cobra back from Nashville, he has cancer real bad so this is probably going to be the last time we will see him, we’re gonna send him off in style. I got on facebook a few months ago and have reconnected with so many of my old friends that it is going to be a hoot. I just hope I’m not setting myself up for a disappointment.

  97. NorthernLite Says:

    That’s awesome, have a great time!

    I’m actually going to my High School’s 50th anniversary this weekend and I too hope to connect with a lot friends I hadn’t seen for a while. Should be good, everbody that’s ever went to the school is invited and they have a bunch of stuff going on all weekend (bands and demonstrations and shit). Todays my last day of work till July 19th, going to celebrate our nation’s bday tomorrow on a boat cruise in Lake Ontario to kick off my vacation!

    Have a good one!

    PS – That fucking oil leak better be plugged when I get back! :-)

  98. enkidu Says:

    LARP swords and unrelated crap and goofiness, oh my!

  99. shcb Says:

    NL, have fun, I’ll get my best people on the leak, you can count on me!

  100. shcb Says:


    see, if they just did what I said there would be no need for this. The camera shows a little prick with his face covered, bat in hand smashing the window of a police car. In the next frame there is a little prick with his face covered, bat falling to the ground leaking blood from a .45 wound, no question they had the right guy, no need to make this display. It is so simple.

  101. enkidu Says:

    so the punishment for vandalism is now death?
    no arrest? no judge? no jury? just blam blam blam
    sounds like it perfectly encapsulates R/wwnj ‘thinking’
    shoot first, then shoot again, keep shootin, reload and keep shootin

    mb they didn’t shoot your hypothetical vandal because he was an agent provocateur?

    what is next, drawing and quartering for littering?
    impaled at the stake (or worse) for graffiti?
    torture for folks you don’t like?
    oh wait, that last one was the bush regime

    hey maybe it was a LARP bat and he was just playing around (I can sense your answer already: blam blam blam and more blam… you know, the usual)

    ps – this is yet another one of your murderous fantasies…
    you know, the ones I kid you about?
    you should talk to a trained psychologist and/or psychiatrist

  102. shcb Says:

    It would fix the problem :)

    I have to give you ammunition every now and then (pun intended)

    Have a good holiday!

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