Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Louisiana Candidate for Congress Self Destructs

I am frequently accused of being a liberal-progressive because I stand by the science of climate change. Not only is that wildly false, it is a prime example of how polarized the debate has become. People are making assumptions on my political views with nothing to support their conclusion other than their desire for it to be true. Much like their conclusions on climate science to begin with. Who needs facts when you have a preconceived conclusion? I don't really care to discuss my political beliefs, but I will state that I am a very committed independent and I always have been. I have never belonged to any political party and I probably never will. I believe very strongly both the Democrats and the Republicans are dominated by extremists. I view the Democrats to be the party that has rejected logic while the Republicans have rejected science. Just when I think I have heard some representative from one party say something that is so stupid it can't be beat, someone from the other party will open their mouth and prove me wrong. Does anyone really wonder why we have so little trust in our elected officials?

So, I have been asked to review a statement made by Lenar Whitney, a Republican candidate for Congress in the Louisiana 6th Congressional District this past year. This statement has already been panned pretty thoroughly with PolitiFact.com rating her statement as 'Pants on Fire', but I will add my two cents worth - and I am overpaying for this whopper. You can see her statement here. The good news is she finished a distant fifth in the election last month with only 7.41% of the vote (19, 151 votes). The bad news is that means there were 19,150 voters who supported this nut case (after allowing her to vote for herself).

Let's review her statements.

She didn't waste any time getting out of the starting gate when she opened her statement that she was attacked by 'liberals and lame-stream media' for saying global warming was a hoax. Again, we see the tendency to assume what someone's political stand is based on their understanding of science and to denigrate them for that understanding. How does she know everyone that objected to her statement is a liberal or in the 'lame-stream media'? She doesn't, but it looks good to her supporters to attack anyone that disagrees with her. This is a very common tactic in the denier arsenal. When you can't refute the science, attack the people that support it.

Then, she uses a quote by George Orwell to make it sound as if she is being noble and standing up to organized deceit. Sorry, Ms. Whitney, the reason people objected to your statement is because it was unsupported by any form of science.

After that, she goes on a diatribe about how global warming is 'perhaps the greatest deception in the history of mankind.' Wow! Let's face it, there have been some pretty big deceptions over the years. The deception of the climate change deniers does not equate to that level, no matter how much deception the fossil fuel industry is selling. Oh, wait. That wasn't what she meant. But, it should have been.

Her next whopper occurs when she states any 10-year old can prove man made global warming is not real by simply using a thermometer. If it is that simple, why doesn't she do it? She is putting her lack of scientific understanding on display here. First, that 10-year old would have to go all over the planet, including the polar regions, the open oceans and all of the wilderness areas to collect that data. Then, that 10-year old would have to do it for decades on end. It isn't the temperature that is the problem, per se. It is the change in the temperature that we are concerned with.

On that point, she claims the planet has gotten colder each year since the release of the movie An Inconvenient Truth (have you ever noticed the way these people froth at the mouth with the mention of Al Gore or this movie while being unable to refute the science?). Let's look at the record and compare it to her claims. If we look only at the surface temperature we see that the 1980s where the hottest decade ever measured. Every year of the 1990s was hotter than the 1980s average, making the 1990s the hottest decade ever recorded. Every year of the 2000s was hotter than the average of the 1990s, making the 2000s the hottest decade ever recorded. Every year of the 2010s has been hotter than the average of the 2000s, making the 2010s the hottest decade ever recorded. So far. By the way, 2014 is already the hottest single year ever measured. So much for the planet getting colder every year for the last 10 years.

But, that is only the surface temperature. What about if we include the ocean temperature? Take a look here. Yikes. The surface temperature rise has slowed down (the so-called 'pause') but not stopped. Include the ocean temperature and we can see global warming is continuing with a vengeance.

Her next bit of proof to support her claim? She stated that in the Obama administration 'down is up, 2 plus 2 equals five and ignorance is strength.' Where is the science and data here? There is none. Once again, when you have no science to support your claims, attack.

More inaccuracies. 'Last summer, Antarctica reached the coldest temperature in recorded history.' No, that is not a true statement. One single point had the coldest temperature ever recorded, but that does not reflect the temperature for the entire continent. In fact, the significance of the measurement is that it was done using satellites in regions where we have previously been unable to collect data. This is not evidence to support either side of the debate and it shows a lack of understanding on her part to try and make it so.

"There is record sheet ice and 60% rise in ice in the Arctic sea." By sheet ice, I am assuming she means the land ice, specifically the Greenland Ice Sheet. Sorry, Ms. Whitney, the only record it has set is for the record ice melt. And, as for that '60% rise' in sea ice, this is a wonderful example of cherry picking that the deniers keep insisting on. It is so bad that it has to be concluded they are doing it for the purpose of deception. The sea ice extent in 2012 shrank to an alarmingly low level. It was expected to rebound simply because the level was so low, and it did. The 2013, level was about 60% higher than the level in 2012, but it was also more than 40% lower than the level in 1980. They continue to forget to mention that last little bit. Oh, by the way, it was lower this past fall.

Moving on. "Polar bears have been forced out of their habitat because of over population." Sorry, polar bear numbers are down.

She claims experts agree that storms have decreased, contrary to claims made by climate scientists. Once again, she's wrong.

Then, she call climate science a 'scam' and accuses the 'lap dog media' of sweeping it under the rug. Her proof? She pulls out the East Anglia email hack, popularly known as ClimateGate as her proof. She ignores the fact that the scientists were cleared of all claims made by deniers by several independent panels and it was shown the scientists were not only quoted out of context, but some of the emails were actually rewritten by the hackers to change their intent. She would have known that if she had bothered doing her homework. Read about it here. Or, here. Or, any number of other sources. The evidence is clear, the claims by the deniers are not valid and not based on the facts. Why didn't she know that? If she wants to be a member of Congress, you would have thought she would do a better job of learning the facts.

Her next diatribe is to go on a great praise of the virtues of burning fossil fuels and what a wonderful thing it has been for America. The false argument she makes here is the unstated claim that the American dream can only be achieved by burning fossil fuels and there is no other way to have the modern amenities we enjoy. Obviously, this is entirely false and it makes me believe she received political donations from organizations associated with the fossil fuel industry.

She spends the rest of the video making equally senseless claims about the political situation oveseas and here at home - all very inflammatory and all without any supporting evidence.

All in all, Ms.Whitney helped prove my point that political parties are dominated by extremists and the Republican party is the party that rejects science. Her statement is so blatantly stupid that it makes me sad to think there were over 19,000 people in her district that thought she should go to Congress. Imagine someone in Congress doing such a poor job on the background checks before voting on a bill. Well, actually, you don't have to imagine that because that is the sad truth of what is going on right now. How about the "I'm not a scientist, but...." line some of them have been using? What they are saying is, "I'm not a scientists, but that won't stop me from proving what a jackass I am."

So, a Republican has shown just how incredibly stupid she is. Would any Democrat like to match the bar?

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