Archive for August, 2012

Paul Ryan’s Least-Consequential Lie

Friday, August 31st, 2012

I was once a teenager. I’ve also got one kid who’s 21 and another who’s 14. In other words, I have both direct personal experience and a couple of recent refresher courses in the tendency of a certain egotistical stage in human development to lead to routine lying.

It’s a natural tendency. We all have that realization at some point of hey, I don’t actually have to take the trash out. I can just say I took the trash out, and the person asking me will probably be satisfied, and I can go on playing Pokemon or reading this book or whatever.

As a parent observing those sorts of lies, it’s interesting to see the progression. At least in my experience, there’s a rapid evolution from “I’ll lie once in a while when it’s important” to “hell; I’ll just lie every time. Why not?”

I think it might be useful to view the Romney-Ryan ticket as the political equivalent of a 12- or 13-year-old who has discovered the usefulness of lying, but has yet to experience the consequences that (hopefully) instill the lesson that it’s not just morally wrong, but is a losing strategy if you go to the well too often.

I offer as evidence the following story from Runner’s World magazine: Paul Ryan Says He’s Run Sub-3:00 Marathon.

In an interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt last week, Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan said he’s run a sub-3:00 marathon.

In the interview, after Ryan told Hewitt that he ran in high school, Hewitt asked if Ryan still runs. Ryan replied, “Yeah, I hurt a disc in my back, so I don’t run marathons anymore. I just run ten miles or less.” When Hewitt asked Ryan what his personal best is, Ryan replied, “Under three, high twos. I had a two hour and fifty-something.”

Runner’s World has been unable to find any marathon results by Ryan. Requests for more information from Ryan’s Washington and Wisconsin offices, and from the Romney-Ryan campaign, have so far gone unanswered.

If Ryan has broken 3:00, he’d be the fastest marathoner to be on a national ticket. John Edwards has run 3:30; George W. Bush has run 3:44; Sarah Palin has run 3:59; and Al Gore has run 4:58.

The thing is, marathon finishing times are more or less public information. And having dug into it some more, Runner’s World now has turned up what appears to be a finishing time for Ryan from the period in question (1990, when he was 20). Ryan’s time? 4:01:25.

Now, it’s possible that the Paul D. Ryan who ran in that race is a different Paul D. Ryan than the one now running for vice president (though the race in question is one that the magazine was led to by a Ryan staffer’s response to their inquiries). It’s also possible that that time was an anomaly for the young runner, who really could, and did, post a time under 3 hours, either before or after the 4-hour time he recorded in 1990.

But as a rational grownup, I think it’s much more likely that Ryan simply lied. Or, if you want, “bullshitted”, in the sense of just throwing a truthy-sounding statement out there because it sounded good, without bothering to really think back or be intellectually rigorous about whether or not the statement was actually true.

Which is not a huge deal. I mean, clearly it doesn’t make any difference in terms of his qualifications for vice president if he ran a sub-3-hour marathon 22 years ago, and lying about it shouldn’t disqualify him.

Except.

Except that, as a parent, I feel like I’ve seen this pattern before. I know what it means. And yeah, on a certain level, it kind of does matter. Not because of the marathon time 22 years ago. But because of the pattern of routine, casual dishonesty it reveals in the Paul Ryan of today.

Update: Ryan (through a spokesperson in the campaign) comes clean (sort of). From Nicholas Thompson, writing in the New Yorker’s News Desk blog: How fast can Paul Ryan run?

I contacted the campaign this evening about the discrepancy. Ryan, through a spokesman, responded that he’d just mixed things up: “The race was more than 20 years ago, but my brother Tobin – who ran Boston last year – reminds me that he is the owner of the fastest marathon in the family and has never himself ran a sub-three. If I were to do any rounding, it would certainly be to four hours, not three. He gave me a good ribbing over this at dinner tonight.”

A couple of things:

1) This may be exactly what it appears: “Ha ha, yeah, you got me. That inconsequential thing was me misspeaking. No biggee.” Or it might be an example of how good Ryan is at this sort of routine lying: To instantly (and correctly) assess that as soon as this became A Thing (which it did as soon as it escaped the low-stakes, no-pressure realm of the friendly Hugh Hewitt interview), it was in his interest to defuse it as rapidly and thoroughly as possible. He needed to “get out in front” of the story, acknowledging the (obvious) truth that he did not, in fact, come anywhere near running a sub-3-hour marathon, and doing his best to frame it as a silly (but honest) mistake. In which case, it’s actually quite slick the way he incorporated the “good ribbing” Tobin gave him over dinner. And of course, if we accept the possibility that this is all artful spin, that ribbing from Tobin is just as likely to be a lie as the original claim.

2) I know this comes off as me sounding petty. But again, the framing of the original act of “misspeaking” in a way that makes me sound petty could just be part of the artful dodging on display here.

What I mean is this: Ryan, post-confession, would have us believe this was an innocent mistake. He didn’t consciously lie about his marathon time. “If I were to do any rounding, it would certainly be to four hours, not three,” he said (the report says that statement came through a campaign spokesperson, but it’s offered as a direct quote of Ryan, so presumably the spokesperson is telling us that Ryan actually said that).

But the thing is, as any number of commenters at both the New Yorker and Runner’s World pieces have pointed out, that has a hard time passing the smell test. A marathon runner would be very, very unlikely to accidentally mistake the difference between a sub-3-hour time and a 4-hour-plus time, even 22 years after the fact. The two performances are qualitatively, not just quantitatively, different. A sub-3-hour marathon is, if you’ll pardon my French, really fucking fast. It isn’t just a time you’d post as a dedicated amateur. You’d have to be a dedicated amateur who had undergone extensive painful training and (probably) who had an innate body type conducive to fast times. Ryan’s actual 4-hour marathon was an accomplishment. But it was an accomplishment that is well within the reach of many serious runners. As Thompson put it in his blog post:

A 2:55 would have put Ryan in a hundred and thirtieth place, out of the thirty-two hundred and seventy-seven men in that race. A 4:01 put him in nineteen hundred and ninetieth place. It’s the difference between racing and running.

But in the Hugh Hewitt interview, Ryan was quite specific. He didn’t simply misspeak. He went into detail: “Under three, high twos. I had a two hour and fifty-something.” Even with the passage of 22 years, I don’t believe it’s possible to construe that as an innocent misstatement. It’s a knowing lie.

Politicians embellish their own credentials. They do it routinely. They put themselves in the best possible light. In that sense, what Ryan did here was nothing special.

Except.

Except that it illustrates the aforementioned pattern. Kevin Drum talked about that pattern today in Paul Ryan’s Grim Vision for America.

It’s a struggle to truly explain Paul Ryan. He seems so reasonable. Why, in his speech on Wednesday, he told his audience about all the tough choices ahead but then added, “We have responsibilities, one to another – we do not each face the world alone. And the greatest of all responsibilities is that of the strong to protect the weak.” How could you dislike a Republican who says stuff like that?

It’s hard. And it’s hard to convince people that this is, basically, an elaborate and finely honed act. After all, we’re not used to politicians getting up on a stage and just flatly hustling us. We give them the benefit of the doubt, especially when they speak in sober tones and make a point of sorrowfully acknowledging how tough things are for everyone.

Nonetheless, an elaborate act is what this is. You see, Paul Ryan prides himself on being a numbers guy, and his vision for America can best be seen in his long-term budget plan.

Drum goes on to lay out the numbers, and he’s right: When you look at what Ryan actually proposes, it just isn’t possible to square it with the language he used in his speech. The compassionate speech-making was an act. And just like casually misrepresenting himself as having been an elite marathoner in his youth, then swiftly and artfully minimizing the damage (at least for listeners who aren’t themselves runners) by painting it as an innocent mistake, it’s an act that Ryan appears to be really good at.

Later update: Here’s Drum again, on Ryan’s sub-3-hour marathon claim: Paul Ryan likes to supersize it.

Does Ryan deserve a bit of mockery for this? Sure. But if there’s anything really telling about Ryan’s character here, it’s the fact that when he misrepresents himself, he doesn’t do it in a small way. Ryan didn’t just shave five or ten minutes off his time, the way some of us might if we were bragging about an old athletic accomplishment that no one could check up on, he shaved off a full hour, giving himself an extremely respectable, elite amateur time. This doesn’t quite rank up there with Kim Jong-Il carding eleven holes-in-one on his first round of golf, or Pat Robertson leg-pressing 2,000 pounds at age 76, but it’s in the same ballpark.

Keep this in mind when Ryan talks about his tax and budget plan and promises with a straight face that it will slash the deficit, benefit the middle class, protect the social safety net, and supercharge economic growth all at once: lying is easier when you tell a big lie.

Roberts on the Media on Romney’s Post-Truth Politics

Friday, August 31st, 2012

David Roberts has been thinking about this question, “how do you solve a problem like Maria?” (where “Maria” is “the Romney’s campaign’s willingness to lie brazenly without regard to media fact checking”) longer and harder than I have, and he has some interesting thoughts on the matter: As Romney and Ryan lie with abandon, how should journalists navigate post-truth politics?

The whole piece is really quite fabulous. Here’s a small taste:

A couple of years ago, I wrote a post that, as far as I’ve been able to tell, coined the term post-truth politics. I also wrote a couple of follow-ups, here and here. After that, economist Paul Krugman adopted the term and it started bouncing around more and more. In just the past few weeks, it’s really taken off.

(My authorship of the term seems to have been lost to history; such are the wages of being an obscure niche blogger. Thanks to Alec MacGillis, at least, for giving me a shout-out!)

Regardless, I don’t care about ownership, I’m just happy that journalists and pundits are starting to seriously grapple with the issue itself.

Unfortunately, Roberts doesn’t have a solution. But in the “with enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow” tradition, he does have some obvious-to-him observations:

It won’t come as a surprise to anyone that I have no training in journalism. I was never taught to be even-handed or “neutral.” What training I have for what I do came from two places. The first was a whole lot of time spent with a large extended family in the South (Georgia, mostly) filled with raucous, hyper-verbal drunks with highly sensitive bullsh*t detectors and razor-sharp senses of humor. The second was grad school in philosophy.

In both places, I learned to love arguing, the mechanics of stringing facts and evidence together to reach conclusions. But I also learned that in real-life situations, the technically superior argument does not always carry the day. In real-life situations, the one that wins is the one with wit and timing, the one with the ability to employ mockery, flattery, flirting, storytelling, peer pressure, guile, and the whole array of other non-factual, non-logical communicative tools available to the human animal.

Traditional journalism, particularly in its post-war American variety, has purposefully denuded itself of most of those tools. The idea is “just the facts.” That can inform an argument, but it can’t win one. Journalists do not like to think of themselves as in an argument, as competing with, say, a campaign to convince the public of something. They still think of themselves as neutral arbiters of truth. But neither the campaigns nor the public view them that way any more.

What would it look like if journalists tried to win an argument with a campaign – an argument over, say, what Obama has done with state welfare waivers? For one thing, they wouldn’t just string together correct facts once and call it good. They would do it repeatedly. They would call out the campaign explicitly as acting in bad faith. They would mock and shame the campaign for its behavior.

This would be a serious departure for U.S. journalists. It would put them in an explicitly adversarial role with political operators – not the same operators all the time, not the same party every time, maybe, but not “neutral.” More like prosecutors working on behalf of the truth.

There are some interesting parallels between what Roberts is talking about and some other things I’ve been viewing and reading lately. Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom on HBO (which just concluded its first season), imagined a fantasy version (Sorkin’s fantasy, I assume) of a news anchor who operates more as a prosecutor than a dispassionate observer. And Joe Romm’s book Language Intelligence (which I’ve been reading, and very much enjoying) goes into detail about the importance of rhetoric, of using language artfully to debate and persuade.

I come back to my comment from the other day: There’s something important going on here. How we as a society address this issue is going to have a big impact. I don’t know how it’s going to play out. But I think it matters.

The Other (Other) L-Word

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

I thought this was cute: Cable news coverage, as summarized by TPM, in which newsfolk try terribly, terribly hard not to say, of Paul Ryan’s convention speech last night, “He lied.”

The President We Deserve

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

An interesting series of Romney articles crossed my newsreader over the last few days. Something appears to be happening.

Kevin Drum, in Lies, Damn Lies, and Mitt Romney, talks about the outright lies (on Obama’s alleged “you didn’t build that” quote, his alleged undercutting of Clinton-era welfare reform, and his supposed diversion of Medicare funds into Obamacare) that currently form the central elements of Romney’s campaign messaging, and observes as follows:

I know, I know: politics ain’t beanbag. And past campaigns have hardly been simon pure. But there’s something more….what? Cavalier? Routine? Brazen? Don’t give a shit? What’s the right word to describe the Romney campaign’s approach here?

This is hardly the worst campaign attack ever. Swift boating was worse. Willie Horton was worse. The endlessly twisted quotes of Al Gore were worse. But those attacks were all based on at least a kernel of truth that was twisted for political ends. That’s not admirable, but it’s hardly unusual either. But Romney’s lies aren’t even remotely defensible, and the campaign barely even bothers to try. The welfare attack works, so they’re going to use it.

I think “brazen” is a good choice. And realistically, if a politician can get away with just making things up about his opponent, it would be naive to expect that there would not be some politician willing to do so, and that the ranks of elected leaders would swiftly come to be dominated by such people. So, what’s to prevent that?

The public’s ability to identify the lies for what they are, and punish the perpetrator by voting against him.

Newspapers, TV, radio, and magazines are the traditional way the public has obtained that kind of information. Drum wrote approvingly last Tuesday, in LA Times Gets It Right on Welfare Attack, that the LA Times’ willingness to use the headline “Santorum repeats innacurate welfare attack on Obama” is exactly the sort of coverage that needs to be present wall-to-wall if the Romney campaign’s strategy is going to be dialed back.

Looking at one of the lies in detail, Ron Fournier wrote yesterday in the National Journal about the Romney campaign’s emphasis on the “Obama is undercutting welfare reform” lie. This came to a head in a panel discussion in which Fournier accused senior Romney campaign adviser Ron Kaufman of “playing the race card” by running ads making misleading claims about welfare reform in swing states where racial animus among blue-coller whites runs high.

It’s worth watching the video to get a feel for how this is playing out:

Writing about the exchange in Why (and How) Romney is Playing the Race Card, Fournier wrote:

Kaufman, who I’ve known and respected for years, accused me of playing the race card – a fair point, strictly speaking, because I raised the question in a public setting: a joint interview with CBS’ John Dickerson before a large audience and live-streamed.

Still, Romney and his advisors stand by an ad they know is wrong – or, at the very least, they are carelessly ignoring the facts. That ad is exploiting the worst instincts of white voters – as predicted and substantiated by the Republican Party’s own polling.

That leaves one inescapable conclusion: The Romney campaign is either recklessly ignorant of the facts, some of which they possess – or it is lying about why (and how) it is playing the race card.

Look: We’re not children here. The Romney campaign is not recklessly ignorant. It’s lying. And it’s lying in a way that cynically encourages racial resentments as a way to try to peel off the crucial 2-3% of voters in a few swing states that they need if they’re going to have a credible path to 270 electoral votes.

Josh Marshall wrote yesterday about the Fournier/Kaufman panel discussion, and Fournier’s resulting article, in Outbreak of conscience?

Again, pretty much everyone knows this is true. You’ve either got to be a rube or a jackass not to see it [that Romney is intentionally exploiting racism]. But it’s … well, it’s indelicate to say it. And once you do, appealing to racism isn’t just one view against another. It’s something our society has decided is simply wrong. Could it be that the Romney campaign is just finally doing it so transparently that at least a few of the biggs will come out and say it?

Again, it’s not just the racism. It’s the brazen lying. Writing later yesterday at TPM, Brian Beutler had this analysis (A critical juncture):

If Romney relents [i.e., if he stops running the misleading ads because the media begins to lead with the ads' dishonesty in its coverage], it’s a big deal for both the obvious reason that candidates looks terrible when they backpedal. But also because he’d have to return to old, ineffective themes, or find new and inspiring things to run on, which he pretty clearly doesn’t have.

On the other hand if he ignores all the pushback from the press, the political establishment will be facing something very new: a candidate – not his surrogates or outside supporters, but the top of the ticket – ignoring fact checkers, traditional campaign reporters, and even a few conservatives, all of whom have determined and publicly declared the attacks false.

That effectively pits the media against the Romney campaign in a test of will and influence. And it’s disconcerting to imagine that a determined media might not be able to effectively neutralize a presidential campaign intent on flooding the airwaves with false attacks. But that’s where we might find ourselves in the next couple weeks.

Commenting last night on day 2 of the Republican convention, Josh Marshall wrote (in Doubling down):

No question. The Romney campaign has doubled down. All in on the race/lazy/dependency groove from here on out. No going back.

In private they’re all but bragging about it – specifically their run of welfare-centric commercials which they’re running at a red hot clip in swing states all across the country. It’s working, they say. The fact-checkers can go screw themselves.

This shouldn’t be surprising. In some minds, it was McCain’s unwillingness to run dishonest racist ads in 2008 that allowed Obama to win. Romney, having demonstrated over and over that there is no principle of personal integrity that he will let stand between him and his shot at the White House, is not going to make that mistake. If he loses, he’s going to go down swinging.

So at this point I have to think that it’s really up to Obama. Not the media; they won’t, and can’t, do much of anything on their own. We don’t live in the Aaron Sorkin universe; there’s no Will McAvoy who’s going to grill the liars on TV every night. But the news will report on what the campaigns say about each other, and if the Obama campaign can succeed in painting Romney as dishonest, they’ll report that. The question then would be, would it stick? Or would it just play into the 5-to-1 onslaught of Citizen-United-funded pro-Romney advertising, which would mine quotes selectively or just lie outright to portray Obama as just another angry black man out to take your job while (paradoxically) lying around on welfare?

Are we, the voting public, dumb enough to fall for that? Or rather, is the teency slice of swing voters in a few key counties in a few key states dumb enough to fall for that? I guess we’re going to find out.

This interval, between the Republican convention and the Democratic one, was always going to be a scary time. This story makes it scarier. Because there really isn’t a cushion in the polls. In the basketball analogy Obama has been using on the stump lately, we’re midway through the fourth quarter, and Obama’s ahead, but not by enough to try to run out the clock. With these welfare attacks, Romney has taken the momentum, and it’s going to take some solid defense from Obama to stop the run and actually play some basketball himself if he’s going to win.

I don’t know what’s going to happen. But it’s not inconceivable that we could end up with a President Romney. For more on how that might look, I recommend the following article by Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone: Greed and Debt: The True Story of Mitt Romney and Bain Capital.

Oy.

The Cold and Lovely’s ‘Not With Me’

Sunday, August 26th, 2012

I was a Meghan Toohey fan for years without realizing it. The Weepies are one of my favorite bands, and I knew (vaguely) that she played with them, but it wasn’t until I saw their 2010 tour that I realized: Oh. She’s not just a backing musician. Her guitar is a crucial part of some of my favorite Weepies songs. As I wrote to her in a gushing email at the time, that was when I realized that the Weepies aren’t really a duet. They’re a trio, with her guitar parts rounding out Deb and Steve’s singing and songwriting in a way that takes something great and makes it heartbreakingly wonderful.

I’ve been busy lately, and haven’t been paying much attention. But then I realized, hey, didn’t I see something about Meghan Toohey starting a new band? I should listen to that.

You think?

“Not with Me,” the first single from The Cold and Lovely, is a perfect song. Patty Schemel’s hard-as-hell drumming and Nicole Fiorentino’s in-your-face bass come together beautifully with Meghan’s (she friended me on Facebook; can I call her Meghan?) guitar, and the lyrics work on multiple levels. Sure, it’s a classic break-up song, and it’s great as that. But I can’t escape the feeling that there’s a deeper current, that Meghan is directing a commentary at her own spotlight-shunning self. Watching the video, I can feel her struggle with the role of frontwoman: can she put herself out there, take her music over the top and deliver it the way that breaks through to a larger audience? Is she ready to commit to that kind of ego-driven performance, one that sacrifices (at least for the span of a song) any doubt or hesitation, and just lays herself bare, not cool and cerebral, but white-hot, emotional and vulnerable?

I don’t know the answer to that question. I don’t know if Meghan is even asking it; maybe this is all in my head. But The Cold and Lovely feels right to me. All three of these women have been on the verge of major success, making the music while someone else stood out front and got the applause. I think they may be ready to push each other to the next level, leaving behind the “me” that might have held them back in the past.

I’m looking forward to finding out.

“Not with Me” lyrics, as best I can make out:

where did you learn to run?
always under the gun
always a little less
when trying to impress

there’s a place where you go
and you hide away your choices
while I wait for you to turn yourself around
and this road that you chose
there’s a long way left to go
and you’ll never get to where you want to be
at least not with me

you’ve got your vanity
but lack sincerity
how long can you stay
before you’re on your way?

there’s a place where you go
and you hide away your choices
while I wait for you to turn yourself around
and this road that you chose
there’s a long way left to go
and you’ll never get to where you want to be
at least not with me

there’s a place where you go
and you hide away your choices
while I wait for you to turn yourself around
and this road that you chose
there’s a long way left to go
and you’ll never get to where you want to be
at least not with me

not with me
not with me
not with me

Attributing Extreme Weather to AGW, Finding Common Ground (Or Not)

Friday, August 10th, 2012

Another quick post to link to some interesting discussion that I’m not going to bother to write about in detail.

  • Perception of Climate Change – James Hansen of NASA argues in a somewhat science-y way that yes, you really can attribute recent extreme weather events to climate change. This has annoyed the hell out of Roger Pielke, Jr., and Judith Curry. They probably have a point. But then, Hansen has a point, too. As with most grand debates-without-end, I suspect a lot of arguing past each other is going on here.
  • Icy Relations: Extreme-Weather Question Drives Wedge Between Climate Scientists – Keith Kloor writing in Discover magazine. Kloor takes note of the emerging lack of consensus among climate scientists about how to view the Hansen paper linked to above.
  • Climate of Failure – Speaking of arguing past each other, here’s more of Pielke, Jr., writing in Foreign Policy and doing his best to bridge the divide and talk about those aspects of the current situation with the climate that both sides should be willing to agree upon. “Should” being the operative word there. Reminder to me: Really need to get around to reading The Climate Fix.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled beating each other up in the comments, already in progress.

The Exceptionally Dishonest Romney Campaign Ads

Friday, August 10th, 2012

There was a brief flurry of media/blogger chatter this week about the fact that the Romney campaign’s advertising seems to be setting a new standard for, if not outright reprehensibility, at least a casually blatant dishonesty that manages to be noteworthy.

Skeptical jbc is skeptical.

Steve Kardynal’s ‘Call Me Maybe’ Chatroulette Lipsync

Friday, August 10th, 2012

Warning: This is a low-grade “can’t unsee after having seen” Internet munition. But it’s sort of funny, and even heart-warming, given its re-affirmation of the essential humanity of a random slice of chatroulette users. Anyway:

More: Forrest Wickman, reddit.

Climate Wars Roundup

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

Several climate change news items have crossed the radar screen lately, and even though at the moment I’m more obsessed with the influence of leprechauns on the outcome of the women’s Laser Radial class in Weymouth, I wanted to note them in passing.

  • Muller knows BEST that Watts is wrong – Martin Lack blogs about Richard Muller’s recent (continuing) movement in the direction of acknowledging that global warming is real and (this is the new-for-Muller part) demonstrably caused by humans. Lack also discusses Anthony Watts’ apparent attempt to lessen the impact of former-AGW-skeptic Muller’s apostasy by publicizing his (Watt’s) own as-yet-unpublished counter-study, claiming that half the observed global warming can be explained by inappropriate siting of ground measurement stations, or something like that. For myself, I’ll just observe that: 1) Muller is an actual scientist, while Watts is a former TV weatherman and blogger who apparently prefers not to provide his actual academic credentials, so this is a bit of an apples-vs.-oranges contest; and 2) people who sound very much like they know what they’re talking about point out that we’re not reliant on ground stations alone for much of the recent data being analyzed by folks like Muller; we have these things called satellites.
  • Apparently the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee had hearings today on climate change and extreme weather events. Judith Curry likes what she heard from this guy: John Christy’s EPW testimony. And Roger Pielke, Jr., did not like what he heard from this guy: IPCC Lead Author Misleads US Congress. Suzanne Goldenberg, whom I consider an unreliable witness, even while I agree in broad terms with her concerns about bequeathing an impoverished planet to the next, oh, 50 or 100 human generations, offers this ideologically congenial take on the proceedings: Scientists Warn Congress About Disastrous Effects of Climate Change.
  • Just over five months after his previous HuffPo blog entry (in which he took credit for releasing the Heartland documents, while possibly lying about how he came by the infamous “strategy memo”), Peter Gleick has posted again: The Real Story Behind the Fracking Debate. To which I can only say: And I should trust that you are telling me the truth about this issue exactly why?

Apropos of all that, I wanted to close with the following quote that Martin Lack highlighted in his piece above. It’s by James Hoggan, and apparently is part of the marketing materials for Hoggan’s book, Climate Cover-Up:

Democracy is utterly dependent upon an electorate that is accurately informed… There is a vast difference between putting forth a point of view, honestly held, and intentionally sowing the seeds of confusion. Free speech does not include the right to deceive. Deception is not a point of view. And the right to disagree does not include a right to intentionally subvert the public awareness.

I think that’s really important. But I suspect I’m thinking about different people than Hoggan was when he wrote it.