Conspiracies Everywhere

There was an odd post over at Climate Audit a couple months ago which observed a web domain name involved in a hacking attempt attributed to Russian operatives is now being hosted in New York. A commenter quickly observed the domain name has simply been bought by a company which holds onto hundreds of thousands of otherwise unused domain names as part of its business. The post was updated to note this, observing the apparent oddity was in fact nothing.

All in all, it was a nothing post that wouldn't merit any further discussion. However, posts like it have encouraged a certain segment of the site's audience to discuss ideas which are, to be blunt, nuts. I find it amusing to look at these comments from time to time, and a week ago, I saw one which I thought merited a response. The comment I submitted landed in moderation and has been stuck there for the last week (I presume because the blog is largely inactive now). I don't really care if shows up there, but I do think it's something people should at least consider so here is a screenshot of the exchange:

109 comments

  1. The nexus between climate "skepticism" and right-ring extremism is very interesting.

    Not entirely surprising, and I'm sure there is a case to be made for a parallel nexus in the "other side," but the comments recently at Lucia's and the recent developments with McIntyre have actually gone farther than I would have anticipated in starkly outlining that nexus.

  2. I largely agree. I think the primary reason for that is most people who used to participate in the global warming discussion (at least within the blogosphere) have stopped. The people who remain tend to be the ones with the strongest motivations. Typically, people with extreme views also have the strongest held views.

    But conspiratorial ideation is definitely not a phenomenon limited to the Skeptic side. I've encountered the same thing on both sides, with one of my earliest experiences in the global warming debate having Michael Tobis label me a paid shill of the oil industry (how he reached the conclusion will always be a mystery to me). My favorite example comes from back when Stephan Lewandowsky was first pushing the the conspiratorial ideation narrative, Dana Nuccitelli wrote a post on Lewandowsky's site saying there was a coordinated disinformation campaign being waged by the fossil fuel industry. Unfortunately the comments on the post are no longer there (the site has been redesigned, so perhaps old comments got deleted in the process?). Fortunately, archived versions of the page exist so we can still go back and see the discussion which stemmed from the post (though the site's moderators deleted a bunch of comments back then without leaving any trace so there are some odd gaps). I think it's interesting, especially for Nuccitelli's line:

    That's not a conspiracy theory, it's a reality. Look at any number of fossil fuel-funded think tanks, for starters.

    I made every effort to make sure Nuccitelli understood the import of what he was saying so there'd be no issues with a lack of clarity. He just kept doubling down. I even tried to give him an out by pointing out the difference between a singular campaign like he claimed existed and a situation where different people/groups acted of their own accord in a way where their efforts might help one another. He wouldn't go for it. Not then, and not later. Here is him a couple years later again insisting there is a singular campaign, this time in response to a blog post which suggested people shouldn't post conspiracy theories (though due to the lack of date/timestamp on the addendum doing so, it's unclear if that request was added before, after or between his various comments)!

    Heck, just two weeks ago I had a bizarre exchange with a climate scientist (seriously, it was crazy) during which a person concluded I was engaging in a conspiracy. They were quite explicit about their view of my behavior:

    My conclusion is that this is part of a large organized effort to engage with people on the left especially professional and successful women and drain their energy through persistent and irrational opposition. Goal is to de-energize and insult and demean not win arguments.

    Sorry for going on about this, but the whole, "It's a conspiracy!" mindset is one I run into time and time again. It baffles me because I almost never see anyone call out their own "side" for it. Also, it baffles me because I keep getting accused of being a part of different conspiracies. I've had weeks where I was accused of being an oil shill and warmist plant within hours of one another. It weirds me out.

  3. I think the primary reason for that is most people who used to participate in the global warming discussion (at least within the blogosphere) have stopped.

    What evidence do you use to conclude "most?"

    I certainly think that the participation rate, particularly at some of the relatively high profile blogs, is down considerably (e.g., I think that participation at Judith's has gone from something like 250 comments per day to match 60-70 comments per day). It is interesting to speculate about why that might be the case, but whatever the reason is, my sense is that in the commentary that remains, the sympathetic harmonies between politics and climate change have become more obvious and concentrated.

    But ever since I began observing the climate-o-sphere I have felt that the online climate-o-spheric phenomenon was at its root a proxy ideological battlefield in a larger ideological war.

    The people who remain tend to be the ones with the strongest motivations. Typically, people with extreme views also have the strongest held views.

    I agree. It is largely because of that same dynamic that I felt that the climate-o-sphere was a proxy war to begin with: just by being a product of people who care enough to follow the issue more intensely than the norm, and even further to write and post comments, you know what you have reflects strong and likely extreme views. I often try to point this out to people who try to extrapolate from the climate-o-sphere as representative of the general public (generally to little effect).

    But conspiratorial ideation is definitely not a phenomenon limited to the Skeptic side.

    Given the psychology that associates with conspiracy ideation, I think it would be illogical to assume that it is distributed disproportionately in association with views on climate change - although we should fully expect assertions to materialize on both sides that it is distributed to a much greater extent on the "other" side, in line with other selective attribution of negative behaviors we see stemming from identity-aggressive behaviors that are part of motivated reasoning.

    I've encountered the same thing on both sides, with one of my earliest experiences in the global warming debate having Michael Tobis label me a paid shill of the oil industry (how he reached the conclusion will always be a mystery to me).

    Of course, I've had similar accusations made against many, many times.

    [...] Dana Nuccitelli wrote a post [...]

    Without getting into the details of your exchanges with Dana or that other tweet war (where after a very brief look, I wonder if had you taken a different approach you might have had a less conspiratorial response)...

    I think that Dana sometimes makes category errors of a type I often see in the climate-o-sphere.

    I even tried to give him an out by pointing out the difference between a singular campaign like he claimed existed and a situation where different people/groups acted of their own accord in a way where their efforts might help one another.

    I think there is solid evidence of various types of players largely associated with the fossil fuel industry supporting and fomenting "skepticism," but the notion that people commenting at skept-o-sphere sites are uniformly,directly linked to each other or the fossil fuel industry seems rather preposterous, IMO. We have tons of evidence supporting another causality, which can basically be considered as clustering under the umbrella of motivated reasoning. We can see the exact same kind of polarized warfare in myriad other issues - where even if there some degree of causality attributable to profit interests (say manufacturers in the gun debate), much of the "motivation" for active participation stems from identity-defensive and identity-aggressive factors. One of my favorite manifestations is that we can see people on both sides absolutely certain that a "media" conspiracy largely explains why so many people disagree with them.

    Also, it baffles me ... It weirds me out.

    We have come to this different perspective before. I don't feel baffled by it, and I don't think it's weird. I think it is clearly predictable, and largely explainable - as a product of normal aspects of how humans reason. What I would find hard to explain would be if I did really think there was some kind of categorical imbalance, or if there were a clear lack of such behaviors for any particular individuals or groups - in which case it would be interesting and perhaps instructive to try to uncover a causal explanation for the imbalance or lacking.

    This links back to the discussion about Duarte. In his particular case, what I find more interesting than his questionable veracity is is lack of "rigor" (IMO) w/r/t the underlying arguments that he makes - which largely intersect with conspiracy ideation. Even our friend MikeN below, who I usually find thinks things through pretty clearly (his comments at Lucia's stand out, IMO, for reflecting an in-depth attempt to give due weight to perspectives other than his own), seems to have dipped his toe into conspiratorial ideation.

    What does it mean that people who are practiced and focused on careful analysis, and who demonstrate capability in doing conducting such analyses, relax their standards so easily at various times?

  4. BTW, Brandon -

    Did you follow any of McIntyre's retweets to the theories on why the claims of Russian agents using Novichok are a hoax? Remarkable.

    It is quite interesting, to me, that perhaps the leading light of the "skeptic" movement in terms of technical analysis, has signed on to such conspiracy theories with such a conviction.

  5. Hi Brandon, I'm sorry that your comment went to moderation. The words fraud, fraudulent and fraudpants will all get automatic moderation. Conspiracy does most of the time. Ergo there might a chance you aren't banned.

    On the HRC home-brew server being hacked, I left links for all my citings. As far as Gohmert, he seems to have always been pretty sensible to me. Many people do not understand climate science particulars that go ahead and state beliefs. This does not discredit their ability to do their job, in Gohmert's case to read a government document and understand that the intelligence IG came to the Agent Strzok and told him point blank that HRC email server was sending the equivalent of a cc to China on every email coming in or going out, save for four out of ~30,000.

    Brandon, you accused Mc of mental imbalance for his skepticism on Syria's use of chemical weapons in April. It turns out the official evidence now greatly supports Mc's early analysis. The videos had to be staged since the international investigation revealed no traces of nerve agent in the locations or in the corpses. Chlorine is a blister agent that causes death by pulmonary edema. There would be no rooms full of collapsed bodies and the hospitals would have had 10 survivers for each fatality. Mc was right before anyone else thought even to look. It is a big deal when the USA launches an ally coordinated cruise missile attack in reprisal for something that did not happen. And, I am no isolationist, BTW.

  6. Ron Graf:

    As far as Gohmert, he seems to have always been pretty sensible to me.

    The guy goes on national television to tell the world the United States intelligence community is spying on him. If he has always seemed sensible to you, that speaks poorly of you.

    Brandon, you accused Mc of mental imbalance for his skepticism on Syria's use of chemical weapons in April. It turns out the official evidence now greatly supports Mc's early analysis.

    This is wrong on pretty much every account. However, I'm not going to revisit this issue. If you'd like, I can post the e-mail you sent to me about this and my response so people can see how full of it you are on this issue. In case you don't remember, you made things up about the report you rely on in such a blatant fashion you directly contradicted what it said.

    Incidentally, I told you in my e-mail response that I had absolutely no interest in discussing the topic with you given your behavior. To now come here and try to bait me into discussing it in public, pretending the previous exchange didn't happen, is obnoxious.

  7. Joshua:

    What evidence do you use to conclude "most?"

    Simple comparisons of active usernames. It's easy to see how many different people are commenting at different sites. Compare the names you find to the names you find when doing the same for old posts.

    Without getting into the details of your exchanges with Dana or that other tweet war (where after a very brief look, I wonder if had you taken a different approach you might have had a less conspiratorial response)...

    We have come to this different perspective before. I don't feel baffled by it, and I don't think it's weird. I think it is clearly predictable, and largely explainable - as a product of normal aspects of how humans reason.

    Calling something normal doesn't preclude it being baffling or weirding a person out. Normalacy is merely the usual, the expected. If insanity is the norm, insanity is "normal." I believe the world to be insane so I'd say people failing to act in accord with reason or logic is "normal." It is what I expect of them.

    But the fact I expect people to behave irrationally does not mean I find their irrationality unremarkable or unproblematic.

    Did you follow any of McIntyre's retweets to the theories on why the claims of Russian agents using Novichok are a hoax? Remarkable.

    I gave up following what he says some time back. I saw a bit of his commentary on that issue, but I have absolutely no interest in it.

  8. I spent some time watching Gohmert on YouTube this morning. It seems there's a never-ending series of videos like those. I don't understand how anyone could say he's always seemed sensible. Even if you agree with Gohmert's mindset, I don't understand how you could feel comfortably saying so in public. Do people really not realize how bad it makes them look?

  9. Brandon, when you said you had no interest in discussing the idea that Mc could have been correct about the Syrian videos being staged I took that to mean because you didn't want to discuss conspiracy theories. So when I see you creating a post about conspiracy theories, which by the way, are not 1:1 equated with mental imbalance, I thought you might now consider controversial ideas.

    I hope that your hostile tone to me, your friend, is not because of compensation for pointing out at times that you are actually human. We all get things wrong at some point. One's measure of integrity is what comes next.

    BTW, you do not have my permission to publish my private emails. We will see if that affects your choice to do so.

  10. Wasn't that simply from the IG report? That it was the Chinese must have come from the classified part. And AFAIK Gohmert did not disclose that it was the Chinese.
    But otherwise this seems confirmed by two sources (apart from Gohmert apparently).

    See http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/08/29/chinese-company-reportedly-hacked-clintons-server-got-copy-every-email-in-real-time.html
    "The Daily Caller reported that the firm operating in the D.C. area wrote code that was then embedded in the server and generated a “courtesy copy” for almost all her emails -- which was then forwarded to the Chinese company.

    The code reportedly was discovered in 2015 by the Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG), which then warned FBI officials of the intrusion.
    A source briefed on the matter confirmed to Fox News the details of the Caller’s reporting, and said that the ICIG was so concerned by the revelation that officials drove over to the FBI to inform agents -- including anti-Trump agent Peter Strzok -- of the development after it was discovered via the emails' metadata.

    The source told Fox News the hack was from a Chinese company, describing it as a front for Chinese intelligence.
    A second source briefed on the matter told Fox News that officials outside of the FBI indicated code on the Clinton server suggested a foreign source was receiving copies of emails in real time."
    ...
    "Further, a May 2016 email from Strzok, obtained by Fox News earlier this year, said “we know foreign actors obtained access” to some Clinton emails, including at least one “secret” message “via compromises of the private email accounts” of Clinton staffers.

    Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, asked Strzok in a House Oversight Committee hearing in July whether he was briefed about an anomaly on Clinton’s emails found by ICIG officials.
    “You were given that information, and you did nothing with it,” Gohmert told Strzok in July.
    Strzok said he remembered meeting with the ICIG officials, but did not remember the contents of the meeting and that every allegation was forwarded to experts who looked at it carefully.
    “If there was a lead, I gave it to the team,” Strzok said as part of a heated back-and-forth between the two. Strzok was fired this month after controversy surrounding anti-Trump texts he sent to FBI lawyer Lisa Page, with whom he was having an affair.

    Reached by phone Tuesday, Gohmert told Fox News on Tuesday that the emails were obtained by a foreign country’s intelligence, but he declined to name the country in question. He said there was no sign that Strzok and the FBI had taken any action when informed by the ICIG, and no indication that they even informed Clinton."

  11. This must have been entirely from the classified part, as it isn't to be found in the public version.

    In fact something about this was reported months ago. Before the IG report came out.

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/03/05/fbi-agent-peter-strzok-was-told-possible-breach-into-clintons-server-but-didnt-follow-up-sources-say.html
    "
    During the final months of the Clinton email investigation, FBI agent Peter Strzok was advised of an irregularity in the metadata of Hillary Clinton’s server that suggested a possible breach, but there was no significant follow up, according to two sources with knowledge of the matter.

    Sources told Fox News that Strzok, who sent anti-Trump text messages that got him removed from the ongoing Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, was told about the metadata anomaly in 2016, but Strzok did not support a formal damage assessment.

    One source said: “Nothing happened.”

    Sam Nunberg says the special counsel investigation is a witch hunt; chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge reports.Video
    Former Trump aide will refuse grand jury subpoena
    Fox News is told the Justice Department Inspector General, Michael E. Horowitz, is aware of the allegations.

    According to intelligence community directive 732, damage assessments are done “in response to unauthorized disclosure or compromise of classified national intelligence.”

    Intelligence beyond top secret was identified on the Clinton server. As secretary of state, Clinton chose to use a private, non-secure server for government business.

    The FBI had no comment to Fox News’ questions about Strzok, his awareness of the metadata issue, and what actions, if any, he took. There also was no comment from the Inspector General’s office.
    "

    Seems to be the same story alright.

  12. Ron Graf:

    Brandon, when you said you had no interest in discussing the idea that Mc could have been correct about the Syrian videos being staged I took that to mean because you didn't want to discuss conspiracy theories. So when I see you creating a post about conspiracy theories, which by the way, are not 1:1 equated with mental imbalance, I thought you might now consider controversial ideas.

    I am happy to consider controversial ideas brought forth by an open-minded individual interested in getting to the facts of situations. I am not, however, interested in controversial ideas brought forth by a person who blatantly misrepresents what the sources he cites say, makes no attempt to correct his fabrications then comes back with a new set of claims about the same material. If you made things up once about some issue/material and refused to make any effort to correct your errors, why should anyone want to talk to you about that issue/material when you come back again?

    I hope that your hostile tone to me, your friend, is not because of compensation for pointing out at times that you are actually human. We all get things wrong at some point. One's measure of integrity is what comes next.

    My hostile tone to you is due to you repeatedly making false claims, often claims which are blatantly false, combined with you citing a conspiracy nut and saying you've always found the guy sensible.

    BTW, you do not have my permission to publish my private emails. We will see if that affects your choice to do so.

    That's fine. I have no intention of publishing them. However, if you attempt to continue a private discussion in public in a way which is deceitful, you have no basis for expecting the private discussion to remain private.

    When someone tells you they don't want to talk to you about something in a private exchange, contacting them publicly to try to bait them into discussing it is obnoxious. Stop being a dick.

  13. Jaap Titulaer:

    Wasn't that simply from the IG report? That it was the Chinese must have come from the classified part. And AFAIK Gohmert did not disclose that it was the Chinese.

    I am unaware of anything in the IG report which supports the claims. If you think the report says Clinton's server was hacked, could you point to where it said that/what it said? I did a search for stories promoting these claims, and none of them quoted the IG report so I don't know what you're thinking of.

    As far as I can tell, there is no basis in any public source for any of these claims. It all seems to be based on a few unnamed sources making unverifiable claims. If there's more to it than that, I'd be happy to hear it. Until then, when someone like Gohmert is leading an unpopular cause, my presumption is he's off his rocker.

    Call me close-minded if you want, but a congressman who tells the world the United States intelligence community is spying on him while offering no evidence at all sounds unhinged to me.

  14. There is more than one gubmint IG. The report on the alleged Chinese hacking of the old hag's willful grossly negligent felonious email that Gomer Gohmert has been claiming was allegedly from the Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG). FBI denies knowing about the alleged hacking, sort of. If I had to bet, I would bet against it being true. Mostly, because Ron believes it. Just kidding, Ron (somewhat). Actually, I doubt it because Gomer is the only source I have seen for the story. He is a clown, but he is our clown. Helps as a counter-weight to the Maxine Waters and Shifty Schiff types, on the communist side.

    I told you all back in early Spring of 2016 that POTUS Trump would render moot the interminable yammering on climate blogs. The decline in climate blog traffic is the result of the great MAGA victory and kicking Paris to the curb.

    Joshua is for all intents and purposes, a Nutticelli sock puppet.

    Ron Graf is well-educated and intelligent, but he doesn't have a clue. How does that happen to a human being?

    McIntyre is a big disappointment. What happened to that boy? Canadian?

  15. Jaap, thanks for outlining the whole matter. I was going to get around to it. I think what Brandon is missing is that it was the ICIG officials, including Frank Rucker, not IG Horowitz, who blew the whistle. He needs to read the links that I provided on CA and that you provided here. Gohmert had one source. The Daily Caller had two, which is all they needed to o to press. https://dailycaller.com/2018/08/29/fbi-refuses-disclose-intelligence-community-inspector-general/

    Regardless, I am trying to give sincere advice, Brandon. And I agree that making false allegations is harmful to one's own reputation as well as the person whom you are flinging mud at. I wish you would stop.

    I usually provide links to any sources I am citing and do my best to represent the facts and their relevance accurately. If I make a mistake I will acknowledge it immediately because however embarrassed I am to have made the mistake, it's more counterproductive to deny it. I think both sides of the political spectrum could agree on this. Also, I have sworn off name-calling. I think it was from having a discussion with Joshua at ATTP. For example, I use "the consensus" now rather than "warmers" or "warmists."

  16. Don says: "Ron Graf is well-educated and intelligent, but he doesn't have a clue. How does that happen to a human being?"

    Thanks Don -- sort of. if you want an answer I'm happy to try but I have a feeling it was rhetorical.

  17. Ron -

    Also, I have sworn off name-calling. I think it was from having a discussion with Joshua at ATTP. For example, I use "the consensus" now rather than "warmers" or "warmists."

    Cool.

    I've obviously had a similar impact on Don. 🙂

  18. Ron Graf:

    Jaap, thanks for outlining the whole matter. I was going to get around to it. I think what Brandon is missing is that it was the ICIG officials, including Frank Rucker, not IG Horowitz, who blew the whistle. He needs to read the links that I provided on CA and that you provided here. Gohmert had one source. The Daily Caller had two, which is all they needed to o to press. https://dailycaller.com/2018/08/29/fbi-refuses-disclose-intelligence-community-inspector-general/

    Do you have any evidence these officials did what you claim? As I said, I am unaware of any public information supporting this claim. Gohmert claims to have a source, but that means next to nothing since he also claims to have a source which says the United States intelligence community is spying on him. The Daily Caller says it has two sources (which could well include whichever source Gohmert claims to have), but they're not providing any information which lets anyone verify anything.

    Regardless, I am trying to give sincere advice, Brandon. And I agree that making false allegations is harmful to one's own reputation as well as the person whom you are flinging mud at. I wish you would stop.

    If you're going to claim I've made false allegations, would you mind saying what those false allegations supposedly are? It's really petty to accuse a person of doing something in such a vague manner nobody could possibly tell what you're referring to.

    I usually provide links to any sources I am citing and do my best to represent the facts and their relevance accurately. If I make a mistake I will acknowledge it immediately because however embarrassed I am to have made the mistake, it's more counterproductive to deny it.

    Ron, this is not true. You know this isn't true. You made numerous, blatant errors in the e-mail you sent to me. You never acknowledged any of the errors even when you came here and tried to restart the conversation. Anyone who saw our exchange would know what you say here is false. Why are you making a claim which you know is so easily proven false?

  19. Joshua, that article felt dull to me. It can be summarized as, "People are becoming more polarized" without losing much content. I don't think it's wrong, but everything it says seemed like stating the obvious. Maybe it'd be useful for a person who isn't aware of the trend?

  20. Brandon -

    Sure.

    I certainly don't think the article is earth-shattering in any way. Just a popular press treatment of the issues. I only linked it because it points to a slice of the literature that might help explain the nexus between views on climate change and political orientation - with a moderating influence of identification. Perhaps fodder for further discussion, or perhaps not....

  21. Brandon,

    Here is a list of controversial news stories from the past in which the authorities lied and stuck to their guns. I will try to alternate political parties.

    1964 Gulf of Tonkin incidents -- The pretext for the massive escalation of involvement into the Vietnam War, implemented by gaining congressional authorization through the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution.

    2018 view via Wikipedia: " The original American report blamed North Vietnam for both incidents, but eventually became very controversial with widespread belief that at least one, and possibly both incidents were false, and possibly deliberately so."

    I happened to recently heard a firsthand account that on the second incident there were no witnesses to enemy ships and this is what was reported up the chain of command. Somewhere between that level and President Johnson a new truth was invented. The average man in the street would believe there were hundreds of witnesses on the ships to back up the president's claim. In truth those hundreds of soldiers never went public but did share their accounts only privately, sometimes.

    Watergate break in -- The official story was that the burglars had no connection to the White House. That story actually held up through the reelection of President Nixon, which I remember well. The truth only gradually came out over a two-year period. I think it is safe to say that Nixon would have gotten away with it if he was not disliked by both the CIA and the FBI heads. And that we now know the passed over FBI deputy director, Mark Felt, had a personal animus for Nixon and had established a personal mentor-ship with a fresh Washington Post reporter. And, Nixon taped his meetings. And conservatives who voted for Nixon were quick to denounce him. Loyalty to the country was much stronger than to party.

    Iran-Contra-- Pres. Reagan claimed the story was false. Then he claimed he had no knowledge of it. The historical consensus now is that he knew and approved the operation.

    Benghazi attack -- The official claim was that the attack was a protest of a Youtube video that had turned into a deadly riot. Who calculated and intentionally composed this story is still unknown. We do know that HRC met the families of the victims at Dover AFB and looked them in the eye and told them they were going to find the person that made the video when she knew well that it was a fake cover story. After years of congressional investigation in the face of DoS obstruction and MSM coverup that is about all we know for certain. We still have no idea who gave the stand-down order or who was in charge (if the President was not).

    Trump-Russia collusion -- Today we got a few more text messages released between FBI agent Peter Strzok and his lover, FBI lawyer Lisa Page. They strongly imply a coordinated operation of the FBI, DoJ and CIA to leak information they knew was false ( the existence of a counter-intelligence investigation that they contrived,) to undermine the President of the USA. The top MSM news media embraced the stories without skepticism (and still do). http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/09/12/new-strzok-page-texts-reveal-others-were-leaking-like-mad-in-lead-up-to-trump-russia-probe.html

    I gradually have become more skeptical of authority and am a believer that large secrets can be kept, sometimes for years. It therefore seems plausible that some might be kept from mainstream history much longer. We need more Steve McIntyres. The fact that you imply he is paranoid is regrettable. He connected the Carter Page FISA warrant and the dubious Steele dossier four months before anyone in the MSM. I now think he was also correct on the April 2018 Syria chemical weapons allegation being staged. We will see as time goes on who was insightful and who was less so.

  22. Ron Graf, to be clear, what you're saying is you know fully well you made multiple untrue claims in your e-mail to me, came here and tried to restart the discussion while failing to correct your errors, boldly stated you correct errors you make when they're pointed out and are now trying your hardest to change the subject. Do I have that right? I'm just checking because your approach of adamantly refusing to respond to anything I say in anything resembling a direct or clear manner makes it difficult to tell just what you mean.

    I get Senator Gohmert likes to argue by filibuster where he simply talks over anyone and everyone he disagrees with until they give up, but I don't think you'll find that tactic effective here. If you intend to ignore what people say, I'll just advise everyone to ignore what you say until you start trying to behave like a person interested in an exchange of ideas rather than a person whose only interest is in hearing himself talk.

  23. Brandon says: "Ron Graf, to be clear, what you're saying is you know fully well you made multiple untrue claims in your e-mail to me, came here and tried to restart the discussion while failing to correct your errors, boldly stated you correct errors you make when they're pointed out and are now trying your hardest to change the subject."

    Rather than your conspiracy theory of why I came here the explanation is quite simple. I checked for comments at CA and saw your linked post on "conspiracy theories." I clicked on it and see you were highlighting a comment I made referencing a news link about the compromise of HRC private server to foreign adversarial governments, namely China. I then addressed your puzzling nonacceptance of a news story with further explanation of it. (Thanks to Jaap for doing a much better job.) Then I pointed out that I felt you owed Mc an apology for salacious accusations against him.

    I wrote: "Brandon, you accused Mc of mental imbalance for his skepticism on Syria's use of chemical weapons in April. It turns out the official evidence now greatly supports Mc's early analysis. The videos had to be staged since the international investigation revealed no traces of nerve agent in the locations or in the corpses. Chlorine is a blister agent that causes death by pulmonary edema. There would be no rooms full of collapsed bodies and the hospitals would have had 10 survivers for each fatality. Mc was right before anyone else thought even to look. It is a big deal when the USA launches an ally coordinated cruise missile attack in reprisal for something that did not happen. And, I am no isolationist, BTW."

    I wrote nothing regarding emailing you privately. I simply made the point that the international investigators had put out a report that factually supported Mc's assertion of staged videos. I believe I had sent you an email to privately make you aware of the international report after reading it myself. IIRC. you retorted that you do not want to discuss it and then blasted off ten insignificant points as to why you don't wish to discuss it. One of your points was that the link I provided was only to a "preliminary report" and everyone knows that they mean nothing, and one must wait for the final report. My reply, IIRC, was one line: that "you made all good points. Cheers." I respected your wish not to discuss it. I can't find the email now. I must have deleted it. You can go ahead and publish any excerpts that you think contradict my memory of it.

    If it turns out there is further confirmation of China having HRC private emails should I mention it to you or not? Would you be then impressed with Rep Gohmert's honesty? Do you have any ethic to look back at past assertions?

    Peter Strzok had the opportunity to deny the allegation. He chose simply not to have recollection of it.
    -R

  24. Joshua, I never called any of my cited incidents a hoax, and I think it is the wrong word. Al Capone's secret vault was a hoax. There is a long history of both intentional and mistaken pretexts for military action. The Spanish American war was initiated over the sinking of the USS Maine in Havana Harbor. From undersea analysis it is now thought that it was an accidental on board coal bunker explosion from carbon dust. Hitler is known to have created a fake skirmish at the Polish boarder on Sept, 1, 1939, as his pretext for invasion. There are some scholars who suspect that Churchill and even Roosevelt had advance knowledge of Pearl Harbor but did not want the attack to be called off or the Japanese alerted that their code JN12 had been broken. The accusing scholars partially mitigate the implication of Roosevelt callousness by readily pointing out that the degree of expected damage was likely underestimated. Did Roosevelt do the wrong thing? I don't know. The world needed saving and Britain needed help. Should Churchill have risked tipping off the Germans that their Enigma code had been broken by alerting every convoy of known waiting U-boats?

    Unlike WWII, most of the intentional public disinformation, black ops and/or coverups were not justified, IMO. The Gulf of Tonkin was provoked and exaggerated in order to facilitate a pre-determined escalation in Vietnam. It turned out to be a bad idea. The 2003 WMD intelligence pretext for the invasion of Iraq was likely incompetence, but since the lack of coherent occupation plan was equally incompetent it also turned out badly.

    I am convinced that Assad has used chemical weapons in earlier years. I am extremely skeptical of the authenticity of the April 2018 videos put forth by the White Helmets. And, one chlorine canister does not constitute a chemical weapons attack. The video and reports were for a nerve agent like Sarin. I am 98% certain the people in images packed in the rooms were not killed by chlorine inhalation. Do you have an opinion, Joshua?

  25. Ron -

    I should have used a different word (hoax). I can understand why you answered as you did, but your answer wasn't really related to what I'm interested in finding out about.

    Do you doubt that the ("official" ) information, say as provided in the link I gave, makes it clear that there was a chemical weapons attack in Dauma, and that the Syrian government was responsible?

    Do you believe that in broad strokes, the "official" assertion of a chemical attack perpetrated by Assad can be effectively explained by the "staging" of videos or other fraudulent evidence?

    And while I'm at it, do you believe conspiracy theories about the evidence in the nerve agent attack in Salisbury that effectively undermines the official story that Russian spies wee responsible?

  26. McIntyre's blog is past it's expiration date. I bet Brandon could find something more interesting to discuss.

  27. Joshua, I read your link. It starts out claiming that the international investigation team confirmed a chemical attack. But as it goes on it points out conspicuous omissions from the new UN report. There was no nerve agent fingerprints, and there was no mention of the second claimed chlorine canister. The reporter pointed out this casts doubt on the second canister. But I would say it casts doubt on both. The more false facts one finds were reported the more doubt is placed in the remaining ones. The reporter instead points out the canister had fins attached, supporting the story it was dropped by a helicopter. I noticed that the second cylinder, the "bedroom canister" is also pictured and it has no fins. So did the Syrian military not have the resources to place fins on both? If one canister was planted are we to believe the other canister was dropped by the helicopter? Regardless, the images of the people falling to the floor and dying where they stood is not consistent with a blister agent like chlorine, which typically kills many hours later from the lungs filling with water (edema).

    I don't doubt that Assad has used chemical weapons in the past or that there was a conventional military attack in April on Douma, including helicopters and bombs. There was no nerve agent used. The White Helmet hospital video was staged, according to the hospital personnel.

    Do you believe everything that CNN or Huff Po report? Do you believe officials never lie?

    I don't know all the details of the attack in Salisbury. I read that the initial claims that the nerve agent had to be made by Russia was contradicted by forensic labs. But I don't know of alternative suspects.

  28. Ron -

    There was no nerve agent used.

    Thanks for answering the first question. I'm not entirely sure I know your answer to my second question, but it looks like it is "yes," you think that the conspiracy theories about the Salisbury nerve agent attack effectively undermine the official assertion that it was the work of Russian spies.

    Can I assume that on the other hand, you do accept the official theories about the World Trade Center collapses (say the NIST report), despite proported anomolies in the official accounts and the potential for politicians like Bush to exploit 9/11 to advance political goals?

  29. Ron Graf:

    Rather than your conspiracy theory of why I came here the explanation is quite simple.

    First off, your attempts at poisoning the well are pathetic. Everyone knows a conspiracy requires more than one person so any theory about why you behaved in a given manner which only involved you, nobody else, could not be a conspiracy theory. Seriously, if you're going to resort to rhetorical tricks, try to at least make them not suck.

    Second, nothing in that quote was about why you came here initially. I discussed how you posted a longwinded comment while refusing to address anything I had said to you. You've now responded by going on and on about matters other than what I just said, which is the exact same thing I had just pointed out. Either you can't read simple sentences or your are intenionally refusing to respond to what people say.

    I wrote nothing regarding emailing you privately.

    Exactly. You wrote me privately to try to shame me in the same way you've done here. I pointed out your e-mail to me was filled with blatant misrepresentations, and as such, I didn't want to talk to you about this topic. You then came here and tried to shame me publicly to try to bait me into talking about the topic I had already told you I didn't want to talk to you about, failing to inform anyone this was a continuation of our previous discussion and that your previous attempts were filled with serious errors. And by "errors," I mean you flagrantly made things up.

    I believe I had sent you an email to privately make you aware of the international report after reading it myself. IIRC. you retorted that you do not want to discuss it and then blasted off ten insignificant points as to why you don't wish to discuss it. One of your points was that the link I provided was only to a "preliminary report" and everyone knows that they mean nothing, and one must wait for the final report.

    I did not say preliminary reports mean nothing. Please do not make things up like this. Also, I never even used the words "preliminary report." If you're going to try to quote our private exchange, please don't make up quotations. Heck, I'll quote the real words so people can see for themselves just how full of it you are:

    I am afraid I have no interest in discussing this matter as you've clearly misrepresented what you cite. Not only have you misrepresented what the findings were, but you've portrayed them as coming from a finalized report which concluded the analysis being done. That is simply not true. The findings were clearly labeled as being in an *interim* report where entire sections have yet to be written. The report further states it is based upon analysis of only a portion of the samples taken as they have not gotten around to analyzing the rest yet. Even with these limits, the report notes a number of cases where chlorinated organic chemicals were found in samples.
    ...
    Ultimately, I have neither the time nor interest to hold a discussion in which a person says accusations chemical weapons, possibly including chlorine gas, were used have been conclusively proven false by pointing to an interim report which says chlorinated organic chemicals were found in samples. What the presence of those chemicals means is something I do not know, but neither do the authors of the report, a fact they made clear.

    You said a report was released which conclusively proved no chemcial weapons were used. I pointed out it said nothing of the sort. You now come here and claim I listed "insignificant errors" as though your fabrication regarding what the report said was insignificant. On top of that, you flat-out lie about what I said to you, to the point you make up quotations.

    If it turns out there is further confirmation of China having HRC private emails should I mention it to you or not? Would you be then impressed with Rep Gohmert's honesty?

    If you can find anyone citing actual evidence, or at least public statements by named figures, which offer some level of verifiability to the claims you make, I'd be happy to hear them. If all you have is a couple people claiming they were told China hacked a server, then that's an old story which has never had any evidence for it. What more is there to say?

    As fro Gohmert, even if he happened to be right on this issue, he'd still be a delusional conspiracy nut nobody should ever want to be associated with. That is, unless you plan on offering evidence he really was being spied on by the FBI.

    Do you have any ethic to look back at past assertions?

    You know what? Get lost. You make a backhanded remark snidely saying I make false accusations, then when asked to provide any examples, refused. So yeah, get lost. You want to keep making things up, level baseless accusations you refuse to try to support against people then try to imply they lack ethics? You're pathetic. Stop talking. It'd be good for you, and it'd certainly be good for the world.

  30. Ron -

    It starts out claiming that the international investigation team confirmed a chemical attack.

    (Bold added).

    Well, it quotes the report with this (bold added):

    “Throughout 7 April, numerous aerial attacks were carried out in Douma, striking various residential areas. A vast body of evidence collected by the Commission suggests that, at approximately 7.30 pm, a gas cylinder containing a chlorine payload delivered by helicopter struck a multi-storey residential apartment building located approximately 100 metres south-west of Shohada Square.”

    However, a search for the word "confirm" has me wondering about your characterization. The first sentence of the article says the following (bold added):

    A “vast body of evidence” supports claims that a chemical attack took place in Douma earlier this year, the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria said yesterday.

    Or were you referring to the following statement, in your characterization?:

    There’s little doubt, though, that the OPCW will eventually conclude that both cylinders were chemical weapons — because it has done so with similar objects in previous reports.

    BTW - if you didn't follow the links from the previous link, you might find it interesting to look at:

    https://al-bab.com/syria-and-chemical-weapons-5#chem60

    -----------------------------

    So if I might, I'd like to ask you a bunch of other questions. I'd ask that you try to read them as a whole..to get the overarching flavor of what I'm asking. Individual answers to individual questions would be great - but I'm trying to get a more general picture of how you're reasoning here (not "just asking questions"), so it may also work to look at the questions as a whole and in response, explain your thinking in a more general fashion.

    Do you think that the Trump administration and military officials were uniformly duped into unquestioning confidence in the "official" account - that there was a chemical weapons account launched by Assad?

    Or, do you think that there was probably some mixture of conclusions within those deliberative bodies, but those who were "skeptical" remained silent? If so, why do you think they remained silent?

    Or, do you think that it wasn't that significant numbers (or all) were duped, but actually most were a part of the conspiracy to justify a retaliatory launch (presumably, for political expediency on the part of the Trump administration, and perhaps on the behalf of the military, just because military people like taking military action)?

    If you do think that it wasn't just all a vast conspiracy on the part of the Trump administration and military officials to fool the American public, and that all of the Trump administration and military official were duped (or at least a plurality large enough to intimidate any who might have been "skeptical" into silence were duped), then who do you think it was that had the sophistication necessary to fabricate the evidence sufficiently well to fool such large institutions with some many investigatory resources at their disposal?

    Do you have any direct evidence to support (or ideally, prove) the mechanisms of the "false flag" alternative explanation for the deaths in Douma (presuming that you don't think that the deaths were, likewise, fabricated)? Where did the false flag fabricators get the resources necessary? Is there some plausible account that you've seen of how that might happen, effectively hiding evidence of fabrication and disconfirming witnesses well enough to fool good faith investigators from the U.S. military and other U.S. governmental entities (assuming there are any investigators in those entities that are of good faith)?

    If you follow along with the conspiracy line of reasoning, do you think that the UN investigative body is in on the conspiracy? Apparently their recent report isn't exactly conclusive, but it also preliminary. What happens if their final report is conclusive in indicating a chemical weapons attack launched by Assad? Do you anticipate accepting such a report at face value - or would you feel you'd need to investigate the report in detail to ascertain its veracity?

    Suppose they reach a definitive conclusion of an Assad chemical weapons attack, and you doubt the veracity of their report. Can you describe what kind of mechanism would lead to a false report, wrongly confirming the veracity of fabricated evidence?

  31. The strangest thing about this all is even if chemical weapons were not used in this case, it would not affect a single thing I posted over at Climate Audit. The simple reality is the Climate Audit posts on this issue were terrible and misleading. That remains true even if they happened to reach the "right" conclusion.

    This is akin to criticizing me for calling Michael Mann dishonest by saying, "But global warming is real." I've had plenty of people do that. I've never understood the thought process that went into their remarks.

  32. Joshua, I don't mind answering your questions since they seem to be put forth in good faith. But I hope you can appreciate that you are pretty much asking how national security, geopolitical strategies and domestic public relations balance with world diplomacy, all while going through the sausage machine of bureaucratic chains of command, to presidential decision making. It's a lot. But I will try to reduce it by starting with the simplifying assumption that everyone in the world has the same morals, and also the same values reconciling those morals to each other. Even if this is the case, (which it is not,) the sociological complexities of civilization guarantee conflicts. The first conflicts come from competing interests. Values dictate a hierarchy of prioritizing interests. usually placing one's self at the center and concentric circles from their for immediate family, community, religion, nation. John Lennon's Imagine erases all of these in order to eliminate conflicts. But it is highly theoretical whether they can be removed without them reforming spontaneously. I have a hypothesis that without religion religiosity tends to spontaneously reincarnate. Think about how the Nazis and all cults center around these reformations of values and religion. But I digress.

    Truth is both a universal moral and is universally placed near the top non-identity values. But it still is compromised daily by individuals, usually when it conflicts with the highest identity value, self-interest. This is notwithstanding that honesty is the best policy. This is because trustworthiness is the highest personal quality trait. All these statements hold true for groups also.

    A conspiracy happens when a leader (not necessarily the authority) is able to persuade a group that the truth is justifiably suppressed in one or more instances in the interest of the group or the greater good. If you don't think this is possible or ever happened you simply are not being honest with yourself. America's founders tried to mitigate the opportunities by the conception of checks and balances and separation of powers. But power is a bubbling cauldron that needs constant tending even in an open society. Thus, even though I believe that a constitutional republic is the best form of government ever devised, I do not believe there is any form that is 100% successful in preventing conspiracies.

    A free press, one might hope, would deter conspiracies by the threat of ability to expose them. And, to a large degree it does, despite attempts at corruption, like passing along debate questions, for example. But most everyone agree that conspiracies still happen. Then the next question is how many do not get exposed and how large can they plausibly be. This is where it gets very complicated so I will go slow.

    At first thought one would assume that the larger number of people that are holding a secret the more likely the secret will be exposed. But there are many historical examples of large groups successfully keeping secrets, especially in war time. I was shocked to learn recently that more than 5 million Americans have access to classified information. The next thought is that the more extraordinary the secret the more likely it would be divulged as people tend to enjoy impressing one another with stories. The problem with this is that more extraordinary the story being claimed the more extraordinary the evidence that is required for proof. The next argument is that people in authority could provide proof or at least use their authority for credibility in lieu of evidence. The dynamic working against that is that conspiracies are usually careful about leaving evidence lying around and the higher the credibility or authority the more one has to lose by failed attempt of exposure. One could lose their career.

    Congress passed whistleblower laws to try to counter some of these dynamics but we still have more examples of failed whistle-blowers than successful. This, by the way, is a symptom of a waning investigative reporter field. But even in the most healthy press environment reporters and publications need to guard their own credibility. For example, the National Enquirer, a zero credibility tabloid, was the only paper to break the story on presidential candidate John Edwards' mistress and love child. Did nobody know about Edwards's compromising situation? What about that FDR was wheelchair bound? The reason these secrets were kept is the final, and most powerful, reason that a conspiracy can happen: the group holding the secret believes the conspiracy is for the greater good. Most all the bureaucrats and even workforce behind the holocaust believed in the morality of their cause. For those that did not, the specter of repercussions for attempting to expose the conspiracy were too great.

    Thus, if one is a free thinker and an enthusiastic student of history it is hard not to be fascinated by what might still be buried and coming to light at some point as time erodes the dangers and repercussions. But no government shares this same enthusiasm since the exposure of past conspiracies only casts more skepticism on government and hampers their ability to administrate. See Trump presidency. Thus many we would call "the establishment" are not only self-interested to keep sunlight out, they legitimately calculate that the damage to national security, the county's brand and prestige and domestic faith, which directly could harm the economy as a result if government dirt hits headlines. This would be precisely the interest of a foreign adversary, say Russia, would have in corrupting one or more of our leaders and then having it exposed.

    Okay, for your specific answers to your questions:
    "...it looks like it is "yes," you think that the conspiracy theories about the Salisbury nerve agent attack effectively undermine the official assertion that it was the work of Russian spies." I said I had not studied it.

    "Can I assume that on the other hand, you do accept the official theories about the World Trade Center collapses (say the NIST report), despite proported anomolies in the official accounts and the potential for politicians like Bush to exploit 9/11 to advance political goals?" I feel there was not planted explosives in the building or advance knowledge of the attack by any Americans. I think that Bush exploited the attack along with other factors in his desire to "fix" Iran.

    I don't think my remarks on Douma need repeating. I presented a good portion of my logical observations regarding conspiracy dynamics in hopes that you can use it to answer the rest of your questions about where they are plausible and where they aren't, the Apollo landing, for example. Do you believe there has ever been a conspiracy that is known but not 100% accepted? What is your opinion on Russia-Trump?

  33. Brandon, you assert that I emailed you in order to shame you. I intended the opposite. I also gave you credit, as I often do for your instances of brilliance. I, and I think others, read your essays because we have seen glimpses of greatness. We also tolerate the not so great. Or, at least we try. I was honestly trying to help you repair some fences. Your work on simplifying the Mann hockey stick is first rate. Your technical skill, like adding the edit timer, is great, and likely marketable. I hope I speak for a lot of others when I say we wish you the best. We don't expect you to be right all the time and hope you take less offense when for example we take license to use a word or a phrase in a common meaning in its context rather than its first dictionary definition. Blasting people does not elevate anyone.

    Joshua, I want to revise and extend my previous comment on the establishment bias against exposure of domestic conspiracies, even historical. Despite if the establishment believes that the exposing and propagating conspiracy theories is destructive per se I believe they would be wrong. The highest value is the truth. Their other justifications are self-serving rationalizations. Also, if Russia meddles to create conspiracies they only risk hurting themselves much more than us if they get exposed. The truth does not always win out but it was always right.

    I am looking forward to your opinions.

  34. Ron Graf, I see you've again chosen not to state what false accusations you claim I've made. Here's a tip. If you wish to help someone mend fences, don't level baseless accusations against them then repeatedly refuse to explain, justify or retract them. Similarly, if you want to help a person in any way, you shouldn't grossly misrepresent what a person has said then adamantly refuse to correct your misrepresentations. Remember, just upthread you said:

    If I make a mistake I will acknowledge it immediately because however embarrassed I am to have made the mistake, it's more counterproductive to deny it.

    Yet here you are saying things which are easily proven false, and when provided evidence proving them false, refusing to say a word about your false claims. You speak about the opinion you and others supposedly hold of me, but I can't begin to imagine why I'd ever care what people who behave like you're behaving think of me.* Your behavior on this thread has consistently been one of dishonesty. And dickishness. Making things up about people to make them look worse then ignoring the issue when called out on it? That's as pathetic as it gets.

    *This isn't entirely true. In some regards, I wish you didn't respect me at all. I wish you hated me and refused to have any association with me. At least then I could be more certain nobody would falsely associate me with the sort of dishonest behavior you've exhibited throughout this entire thread.

  35. Give it a rest, Brandon. Ron can be silly, but I have never seen him deliberately deceive or offend anybody. You need to harden up. It has to be very unpleasant to go through life thinking so many people are out to disrespect you.

  36. Regarding repeated baseless accusations that are easily proven false... We see this by trolls on news websites but I doubt any regular bloggers would ever engage in such behavior. It doesn't make sense. It would simply open them up to ridicule and discredit. And, unfortunately many try to use honest mistakes in order to later bludgeon. Sadly, this is gratifying and convenient when one's argument or facts are lacking.

    Brandon, you are correct that helping people that don't want help rarely is productive. Being that I am a libertarian rather than a social justice interventionist that believes in forced redistribution, I should have known better. I didn't see that is what I was doing. I wanted to help a wayward friend. I think you sincerely wanted to help Mc, feeling he was hurting himself and bringing discredit to his past work. You may have reached out privately and discreetly, (like I did you,) but you blasted him and trolled his site for months, even when he is not there. Instead of taking my email as some sort of attack, which Don pointed out I don't do, you could have posted a comment on CA acknowledging the interim report found no nerve agent traces, which give support for the idea that they Assad accusers may have been wrong on that point. If one chlorine cylinder (found in municipal swimming pool or water treatment closets) is crossing an international red line then where does the line continue on down to, a can of Chunky soup 10 years past its expiration? A superpower needs to muster a multinational missile responses to nerve agent use, the kind of which would result in the images and video had they been authentic and not staged.

    Brandon, you could have made your apology and still disagreed that all the evidence is in, that there are still samples to test. Instead you doubled down with a blog post, "Conspiracies Everywhere." What you are attempting to do is not save an old friend from discredit. You are using propaganda techniques to discredit him. Why? Because he committed the crime of rebuffing your advice?

    Before you blast me for repeating another baseless accusation I will explain what I meant by propaganda. There is a technique where one intentionally tries to make false associations in order to discredit. For example, white supremacists may support Donald Trump. The only reason this is a news headline is to infer falsely that Donald Trump supports white supremacists. It's invalid logic, something that a computer programmer is trained to recognize. Another example of the same concept is that conspiracy ideation is a symptom of paranoia, which is a symptom delusional thinking associated with various types of mental illness. Therefore anyone who voices consideration of a conspiracy must be mentally ill. Is this what you believe? If so, perhaps I can convince you it's false logic. If you don't believe it's true did you not intend to infer this in your title "Conspiracies Everywhere?" If you did have the intention and you knew it was a cheap trick then you do you feel you owe some an apology?

    I did not mention before that there is good faith reasons that some feel it is irresponsible to voice the suspicion or suggest the investigation into a possible conspiracy. Besides the fact that one must be careful not to smear, all public officials and members of the press must consider there are people who are on the edge of mental health and may be taking medications. The world is complex and stressful and further stress of considering unanswerable questions is seen as counter-productive. I think those same officials should also realize that covering up information that the public has a right to know will eventually be exposed and thus exacerbate to the vary stress cause for suspicions that they rationalized they were preventing.

  37. Ron Graf:

    Brandon, you are correct that helping people that don't want help rarely is productive. Being that I am a libertarian rather than a social justice interventionist that believes in forced redistribution, I should have known better. I didn't see that is what I was doing. I wanted to help a wayward friend.

    What are you going on about? I never said anything like this. Please stop making things up and claiming I've said them.

    Brandon, you could have made your apology and still disagreed that all the evidence is in, that there are still samples to test. Instead you doubled down with a blog post, "Conspiracies Everywhere." What you are attempting to do is not save an old friend from discredit. You are using propaganda techniques to discredit him. Why? Because he committed the crime of rebuffing your advice?

    What in the world are you talking about? I didn't double down on anything regarding Steve McIntyre with this post. This post was only about you and your claim China hacked Hillary Clinton's e-mail server, a claim you primarily supported by citing a conspiarcy nut.

    I'm going to stop there. If you'd like to try discussing things I"ve actually said or done, I'd be happy to. If you'd like to keep rambling on about figments of your imagination, I don't think you need anyone else to do it.

  38. Brandon, your counter is that you don't owe Steve an apology because at the moment you are only calling me a conspiracy nut. The reason that I am a nut is because the Daily Caller is nutty, according to your logic, for following up on the Rep. Gohmert claim (who is nutty), which they confirmed from an intelligence community inspector general, who one also must assume to be nutty. All this becuase Rep. Gohmert made an allegation that he was illegally spied on by the USIC, something that is not so nutty since it happened under the Obama administration to reporter James Rosen of Fox, the AP news organization and senator Diane Feinstein, just citing three that come to mind, not including the Trump campaign. If Gohmert was mistaken, which is possible, I would say he can hardly be called paranoid. But I know your logic works differently. I would like to hear it.

    Here is the actual story:
    "Gohmert said friends in the intelligence community told him he is "being watched," as his committee is working to uncover what exactly happened during the 2016 election, where it relates to potential abuse of the FISA court and government surveillance of the Trump campaign.

    He said he didn't take the possibility seriously at first, until he finished working on a 48-page "expose" on Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

    "My gosh, this is their mode of operation," he recalled telling himself while working on the document."
    http://insider.foxnews.com/2018/07/02/louie-gohmert-says-department-justice-spying-him-over-fisa-abuse-trump-surveillance

    When our congress people are expressing unease with the USIC I think it is worth taking seriously. What other examples of mental imbalance for congressman Gohmert do you have? BTW, did you notice that he never said he was under surveillance. He said he was being watched, simply implying political bias in the DoJ, shocker.

  39. Ron Graf:

    Brandon, your counter is that you don't owe Steve an apology because at the moment you are only calling me a conspiracy nut.

    I'm going to have to stop you there. That is not my "counter." It's not anything I've said. I've never called you a conspiracy nut. That's a figment of your imagination. Similarly, everything you say after this is a misrepresentation or fabrication.

    I don't know why you bother waiting for me to comment if what I say has no bearing on what you think you're responding to. You do realize I've now pointed out over a dozen cases where I claim you've misrepresented what I've said, correct? Does it not bother you to repeatedly be told you're misrepresenting what a person says? What about when you're given conclusive evidence proving they didn't say what you claim?

    If all you want to do is engage in some persecutory delusions, that's your choice. I just don't get why you keep trying to rope other people into them.

  40. Ron -

    Thanks for the response.

    Joshua, I don't mind answering your questions since they seem to be put forth in good faith. But I hope you can appreciate that you are pretty much asking how national security, geopolitical strategies and domestic public relations balance with world diplomacy,

    Unfortunately, I'm afraid that my basic questions remain unanswered. I didn't think I was asking how national security, geopolitical strategies and domestic public relations balance with world diplomacy. What I was going for, instead, was to open a window into how you reconcile the implausibility of the conspiracies that you apparently believe are taking place.

    You seem to be drawing a much more general frame around my questions than that which I intended. As such, I'm afraid that your answer doesn't seem to be on the same plane as my questions. I wasn't asking about the existence of competing interests, prioritization of interests, etc. (BTW, for what it's worth on that issue, my own personal take is that very often, in fact most of the time, people confuse competing interests with conflicting positions. I happen to think that interests overlap far more often then people realize, because they are effectively ossified into fighting for and defending positions - which they think are a direct function of their interests, but in fact there are many influences that come into play between the origin of interests and the staking out of positions. Primary among those influences is a need to defend a sense of identity, as sense of identity which, in fact, has no direct linkage to their interests.)

    I suppose that might be something akin to what you're getting at here:

    Truth is both a universal moral and is universally placed near the top non-identity values. But it still is compromised daily by individuals, usually when it conflicts with the highest identity value, self-interest.

    A conspiracy happens when a leader (not necessarily the authority) is able to persuade a group that the truth is justifiably suppressed in one or more instances in the interest of the group or the greater good.

    You state that as fact. But as it happens, I quite disagree. I think that most of the time, there is no "leader" necessary for their to be a group belief in a "conspiracy." My guess is that we could think of countless conspiracy scenarios accepted by a large number of people for which there is, effectively, not leader.

    If you have some evidence basis to support your statement of fact, I'd like to see it. In contrast, I think that there's a ton of evidence-based literature that discusses how people formulate beliefs that run counter to the available evidence, without a "leader" factor playing in much at all.

    America's founders tried to mitigate the opportunities by the conception of checks and balances and separation of powers. But power is a bubbling cauldron that needs constant tending even in an open society. Thus, even though I believe that a constitutional republic is the best form of government ever devised, I do not believe there is any form that is 100% successful in preventing conspiracies.

    My sense, Ron - is that you are effectively using this discussion to wind your way into a statement of political philosophy. And that is why there is, IMO, a mismatch between my questions and your answers. For that reason, I'm not going to respond to much of what you wrote in your response.

    I wasn't asking you for an explanation of your political philosophy. Nor was I asking you for your views about how conspiracies, generally, come to be. I happen to think that much of your mechanistic explanation for how that takes place is wrong (for example, the one point I just addressed with regard to the role of a "leader"), but that's all kind of beside the point. What I was asking was how you reconcile the implausibility of your own beliefs w/r/t a few specific conspiracies.

    Since I just read some of your comments over at Judith's w/r/t your views on autism and vaccines, we could probably add that issue to the list where I fail to understand how your reconcile the implausibility of what you believe to be true. Perhaps I got a window there, in your causal statement about the increase in prevalence of rates of diagnosed autism, where you seem (IMO) to have failed to research statements you make before you make them and thus, fail to address readily available evidence that conflicts with your conclusions - but I kind of doubt that such an explanation would suffice as a general law to apply in how you reconcile the implausibility of some of your specific conspiratorial beliefs. And since you haven't really addressed my questions in that regard, I might consider your statements about autism and vaccines as somewhat informative, but as I said I don't think that they are particularly generalizable and I am still left in the dark, for the most part.

    I said I had not studied it.

    My sense is that you're ducking my question about Sallisbury. Do you think that the conspiracy theories about the Salisbury nerve agent attack effectively undermine the official assertion that it was the work of Russian spies?

    I feel there was not planted explosives in the building or advance knowledge of the attack by any Americans. I think that Bush exploited the attack along with other factors in his desire to "fix" Iran.

    I happen to think that it is interesting that many, many people - many with, apparently technical expertise, and who have spent a great deal of time looking at the issues, are quite convinced of a conspiracy attached with 9/11. I'm curious why you dismiss their views. Is it on technical grounds? Have you studied their writing on the technical issues they debate regarding the collapse of the buildings and rejected them on technical grounds? If so, could you give just a hint on which aspects you found their technical analyses to be lacking?

    I don't think my remarks on Douma need repeating.

    I wasn't suggesting that you repeat previously made remarks. I was asking you to address issues which you hadn't addressed.

    At this point, given that you haven't addressed those issues after I repeated my attempts to get you to address them, I'm guessing we aren't going to get anywhere with this.

    Do you believe there has ever been a conspiracy that is known but not 100% accepted?

    I'm a bit confused by that question. Could you elaborate?

    What is your opinion on Russia-Trump?

    I'm afraid that "Russia-Trump" has a rather vast issue. Can you narrow it down a bit? On which aspect of "Russia-Trump" do you want to know my opinions?

    I am happy to answer those questions if you clarify what you're asking for me....but I do suspect that we've already milked any value out of this discussion that is likely to be produced.

  41. Ron -

    Btw, in that article I linked above, there was a mention of Seymour Hersh. I happen to think that Hersh is a fascinating figure to look at when considering the mechanisms of conspiracy ideation.

  42. Joshua, what you keep asking does not make sense to me. You say: "What I was going for, instead, was to open a window into how you reconcile the implausibility of the conspiracies that you apparently believe are taking place."

    The plausibility of conspiracy theories, just like anything else, is predicated upon plausibility of assumptions. First, I laid a historical foundation to explain that we had indeed witnessed conspiracies committed by people in power. You didn't disagree. Then I explained through my logic why they occurred, and that right minded people could engage in deceitful behavior if they believed it was for the greater good. I think you are still on board here as people in the climate blogs should be very familiar with this concept. But clearly, if one does not have the same assumptions they may conclude the theory is implausible, and the only explanation thus for it being believed is mental impairment. But these are people that have not thought through the possibility that their own assumptions may be wrong. Now if there are very strong factual reasons that make the theory implausible and the person with the theory is resistant to explore those reasons they still may not be mentally ill if the core assumptions conflict with their religious beliefs. Evolution versus creationism is an example, I believe.

    Political beliefs are certainly a huge factor, not in conspiracy ideation per se, but in which conspiracy. Democrats do not even see that Trump-Russia collusion is a conspiracy theory. But it certainly is, just as it is that HRC teaming up with the DoJ and FBI and CIA to run a domestic information op on Trump. One of these conspiracies must be true unless Russia was somehow able to manipulate the appearance of both, which would again be another conspiracy theory.

    Joshua wrote: "I think that most of the time, there is no "leader" necessary for their to be a group belief in a "conspiracy." My guess is that we could think of countless conspiracy scenarios accepted by a large number of people for which there is, effectively, not leader. If you have some evidence basis to support your statement of fact, I'd like to see it. In contrast, I think that there's a ton of evidence-based literature that discusses how people formulate beliefs that run counter to the available evidence, without a "leader" factor playing in much at all."

    Well, I agree that the theory does not require a specific leader personality as part of its equation (it is actually better to be faceless) but that's not what I meant to convey. I was stating my opinion of the natural sociological dynamic that hatches actual conspiracies. And, of course there can be leader collaboration just like song-writing collaboration. But someone needs to initiate the thinking and actively oversee its implementation. Usually they do not tape themselves doing this like Nixon did or do it via text messaging like Strzok and Page in 2016-2017.

    "Since I just read some of your comments over at Judith's w/r/t your views on autism and vaccines, we could probably add that issue to the list where I fail to understand how your reconcile the implausibility of what you believe to be true. Perhaps I got a window there, in your causal statement about the increase in prevalence of rates of diagnosed autism, where you seem (IMO) to have failed to research statements you make before you make them and thus, fail to address readily available evidence that conflicts with your conclusions - but I kind of doubt that such an explanation would suffice as a general law to apply in how you reconcile the implausibility of some of your specific conspiratorial beliefs. And since you haven't really addressed my questions in that regard, I might consider your statements about autism and vaccines as somewhat informative, but as I said I don't think that they are particularly generalizable and I am still left in the dark, for the most part."

    Joshua, there are millions of people that have some level of concern about vaccine safety. That the authorities had to be pushed into starting basic safety tests is palpable evidence that a real problem existed and may still exist. There are many who believe that the revolving door between the CDC and big pharma have led to corruption. I don't even think one needs to have that assumption for their to be blindness or complacency in an establishment. Cigarette smoking looked unhealthy to me from a five-year-old's point of view. It took the establishment to corrupt common sense for literally centuries until a counter movement formed to reform the thinking. We did not have to wait for tobacco companies to do research and then wait for them to share it. But all established industries have power (not just oil companies). Power is a boiling caldron. Truth can take a long time to come out. Meanwhile, officials avoid talking about a message until it has official sanction. Therefore if the truth does not have official sanction it has an uphill battle.

    Do you think that scientists like Judith Curry and John Christy are "deniers". Do you think it is professional that top people in the field use such labels for their opponents? Do you think the term "anti-vaxxer" is any better, labeling doctors who have concerns about the level of safety of a vaccine? Does this make you have more confidence in the claims of safety?The political right is now championing free-speech. But in the 1960s it was the left because most of the establishment was conservative then where now it is liberal.

    I asked: "What is your opinion on Russia-Trump?"

    Joshua replied: "I'm afraid that "Russia-Trump" has a rather vast issue. Can you narrow it down a bit? On which aspect of "Russia-Trump" do you want to know my opinions?

    Do you believe that Trump had foreknowledge of the DNC and Podesta Wikileaks and that such knowledge was gained from promising Putin something in return?

    Thanks for your conversation. And thanks to our host for providing this forum, although I know he want no more compliments from the like of me. He is stewing now.

  43. Ron -

    The fact that conspiracies have taken place in the past do not reconcile the I'm plausibility of the conspiracies you believe in today. Otherwise we could just say that any conspiracy is perfectly believable because conspiracies have taken place in the past. Sure anyrbi is possible. Monkeys might fly out of Don's butt at any minute.

    That is why I asked you to address certain (IMO) implausible components of what you creernly seem to believe. But we haven't gotten any progress with that, so I doubt any will be forthcoming.

    I'll get to the rest, later.

  44. You are really revealing yourself to be a fool, Ron.

    "That the authorities had to be pushed into starting basic safety tests is palpable evidence that a real problem existed and may still exist."

    That is just crazy. Give one example of a vaccine that was used on the public in modern times that was not tested for safety. Do you think the drug companies just bootleg these vaccines and sell them out of the trunk of a car? You are ridiculous.

    Stop the clowning. These guys are killing you. Even joshie. OMG!

  45. Joshua wrote: "The fact that conspiracies have taken place in the past do not reconcile the I'm plausibility of the conspiracies you believe in today. Otherwise we could just say that any conspiracy is perfectly believable because conspiracies have taken place in the past. Sure anyrbi is possible. Monkeys might fly out of Don's butt at any minute."

    You are correct, just because conspiracies have happened does not mean that every theory is correct. That would be invalid logic as I pointed out. If we did not get far enough into the detail of any particular theory I think it might be because you are afraid to voice any opinions. You might be afraid of being called a 911 truther for example because it seems like from your comments that you think that theory should be looked at more closely. Not only would that fear possibly be holding you back, you also would not want to be on the side that is attacking the authority and establishment in favor of nefarious conspiracy. As I pointed out there are likely millions of people that think Michael Moore's theory is plausible but they are afraid to voice it for those two reasons. BTW, for Lewandowsky, if he is watching, 95% percent of them would be liberals, people that voted against Bush.

    There are two other good reasons why it is counter-productive to call people names that voice minority viewpoints. First, obviously shutting down debate or whistle-blowers retards the correction of real problems and dangers. The second is more subtle. An atmosphere where voicing controversial ideas is stigmatized facilitates coverups, actually making them more plausible. So one is not creating any more wholesome environment by making people afraid to voice witness to evidence of the otherwise implausible.

    "That is why I asked you to address certain (IMO) implausible components of what you creernly seem to believe. But we haven't gotten any progress with that, so I doubt any will be forthcoming."

    You need to ask better questions that show some new insight or progress on honing my insights. You questions are too broad. Why not answer my very specific question? "Do you believe that Trump had foreknowledge of the DNC and Podesta Wikileaks and that such knowledge was gained from promising Putin something in return?"

  46. I have to say it weirds me out to see people talk about "9/11 conspiracies." I think it's undeniable the September 11th attacks were part of a conspiracy. I mean, what explanation is there for the buildings collapsing is there that doesn't involve a conspiracy?

  47. Don, you are right. I could have phased that better. Basic safety tests are done on every product, of course. What I meant to say is there were practical opportunities to do further safety studies that were missed until pressure from the "irresponsible doctors." For example, the DeStefano (2004) study one of several conducted my national health services to look for epidemiological links of childhood vaccines to autism. These studies were done clearly as a response to Dr. Andrew Wakefield's case study of a dozen children with the same etiology, 11 of them corresponding with the delivery of an MMR vaccination. DeStefano (2004) looked at only the MMR and austism. The actual study was completed in 2002. It took two years to decide what to do with the unwanted results. They finally decided to change the protocol of the study post-hock and through half the data literally into a large trash can. The sole purpose of that action was to be able to get rid of the 95% statistical probability there was a link. This was not revealed to anyone outside of the CDC in a locked room until 10 years later. Brian Hooker, a doctor and father of an autistic child wanted to see the data and was rebuffed by the CDC. He approached the DeStefano team statistician and was told he was not allowed to talk. A year or so after that Hooker got phone call from the statistician, Dr. William Thompson, and was told to file a "citizens information request." Hooker found that Thompson had legally placed the data in a place Hooker could access and this is how we know about the falsification of the seminal study by the CDC. Hooker taped Thompson later in phone conversations where the story about the trash can was revealed. Thomson kept his own copy the rest of the team destroyed.

    Don, clearly vaccines are mostly safe. Children are not dropping like flies. They are also effective as we see chicken pox and measles and mumps are a rarity now. I had all three. I missed a few days of school. But when I went to school they served peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every day in the school cafeterias. Now they can't. A highly sensitive child could die from peanut butter. There are separate tables for children with food allergies now.

    The call is for more vaccinated versus unvaccinated population studies. The current evidence looks like it is not the vaccines that cause the problem it is the overall oxidative load at certain critical points in child development. The exact age that the vaccine was given is highly relevant. There is a fast growing field of study called epigenetics which shows that a lot of health and developmental issues are genetic related but depend upon narrow windows of the developmental stage when certain genes might or might not be expressed depending upon environmental factors. Progress is hindered when investigation is stigmatized by the establishment in the name of political correctness or the "responsible message."

  48. BTW, I the epigenetic theory of vaccine caused problems by oxidative load is not my theory. Dr. Wakefield called for more study but in the mean time he recommended his patients get the mumps, measles and rubella (MMR) separately and at delayed age. If you remember on the presidential debate stage they tried to discredit Trump by asking his opinion on vaccines, already knowing that he was skeptical on this issue. He did not disappoint and said they are giving little children the amount of stuff one would give a horse. The question then went to Rand Paul and Ben Carson, both doctors, looking to discredit the orange guy. Both medical doctors agreed that the schedule is too much, too soon. Both advised the vaccine schedule should be delayed and studied further. The USA has the most aggressive vaccine schedule in the world. We do not have the lowest infant mortality or the healthiest children.

  49. Brandon, do you believe that there were explosives planted in the World Trade Center buildings? Do you think neocons were behind it?

  50. Ron -

    Just for some housekeeping - my comment referencing your beliefs on the links between vaccines and autism was focused on your beliefs about increases in prevalence of diagnosis.

    Although autism was practically unheard of until the late 1970s, and has been growing exponentially, as has the childhood vaccine schedule, there is no possible link.

    Of course, that statement was embedded within a larger sarcastic narrative - but that doesn't explain the weak logic reflected. Now it is possible that you were just glossing over the more important information as a part of making the larger point, but if not, that statement suggests a kind of thinking which often accompanies conspiracy ideation - a failure to address key factors in assessing the plausibility of the larger conspiracy framework. As I said, it would be a mistake to draw wider conclusions from that one statement on that one issue. But that you made such a statement is an interesting piece of evidence that could suggest a larger trend that associates with your conspiratorial ideation. The same would be true of the logic of your earlier statements, which suggest a foundational argument that the existence of past conspiracies somehow reconciles the implausibility of current conspiracy ideation.

    The only way to check would be for you to address specific implausiblities in your current conspiracy ideation - but it seems to me that you've demonstrated a pattern of not addressing those issues, and instead focusing on, basically, irrelevant material. That, also, could be suggestive of a pattern or trend - from my perspective. As for those other aspects of your most recent responses to me.

    But clearly, if one does not have the same assumptions they may conclude the theory is implausible, and the only explanation thus for it being believed is mental impairment.

    I haven't come remotely close to offering such an "explanation." That you feel the need to address such an explanation is, quite simply, an extension of your own thinking process, not something that should be a part of responding on point to what I have written. I can certainly understand what might lead you in that direction. There might be valid reasons for you to make incorrect assumptions, or to speculate about non-relevant issues (for example, people often level the charge of mental impairment as an explanation for conspiracy ideation), but when you establish a pattern of addressing material that is irrelevant to what I have written (another fine example being your focus on past conspiracies when I asked you to address implausibility of your current conspiracy beliefs), my thinking is that your thinking on conspiracies might also reflect s similar kind of misdirected reasoning. For example, maybe your thinking about the attack in Douma reflects a "motivation" on your part - one that is associated with your political/ideological orientation, that kicks into play a kind of "motivated reasoning" that allows you to reconcile implausibilities. Of course, you would not be unique in engaging in that form of reasoning - and certainly I am vulnerable myself. But these are issues that should be addressed, IMO, and as long as you focus on irrelevancies and issues that stem from your own focus and not what I've actually written, we can't get to the bottom of that issue.

    Political beliefs are certainly a huge factor, not in conspiracy ideation per se, but in which conspiracy. Democrats do not even see that Trump-Russia collusion is a conspiracy theory.

    Another, total irrelevancy. Why are you talking about Democrats and Trump? To prove that conspiracy ideation exists? Ron, I know that conspiracy ideation exists. I don't need you to try to establish the phenomenon. Or maybe you have another reason why you want to talk about Democrats and conspiracy ideation? See - this is where I find your responses not useful, basically non-sequiturs, and perhaps reflective of a problematic chain of reasoning on your part.

    Well, I agree that the theory does not require a specific leader personality as part of its equation (it is actually better to be faceless) but that's not what I meant to convey. I was stating my opinion of the natural sociological dynamic that hatches actual conspiracies. And, of course there can be leader collaboration just like song-writing collaboration. But someone needs to initiate the thinking and actively oversee its implementation. Usually they do not tape themselves doing this like Nixon did or do it via text messaging like Strzok and Page in 2016-2017.

    I don't really want to go chasing down this rabbit hole - but you're "natural sociological dynamic" is stated as fact, without any supporting evidence. I happen to think that you are missing much that is important in your description of a 'natural sociological dynamic." But further, it is irrelevant w/r/t what I'm trying to get at. As, of course, is your mention of Strzok and Page - which once again only serves to suggest, IMO, that you're thinking about conspiracies is inextricably linked to your own identity-associated "motivations." And, once again, the only way forward from that is to extricate those issues - but rather than doing that, at each opportunity you only dig deeper into those rabbit holes, and instead don't actually address the issues of implausibility that I raised to you way back in the dark ages of this thread.

    Joshua, there are millions of people that have some level of concern about vaccine safety.

    Again, irrelevant, and obviously suggestive of fallacious thinking (ad populum).

    I don't even think one needs to have that assumption for their to be blindness or complacency in an establishment.

    Irrelevant, straw man, and not remotely related to anything I've said. More repetition of the pattern.

    Cigarette smoking looked unhealthy to me from a five-year-old's point of view. It took the establishment to corrupt common sense for literally centuries until a counter movement formed to reform the thinking. We did not have to wait for tobacco companies to do research and then wait for them to share it. But all established industries have power (not just oil companies). Power is a boiling caldron. Truth can take a long time to come out. Meanwhile, officials avoid talking about a message until it has official sanction. Therefore if the truth does not have official sanction it has an uphill battle.

    This all looks like an ideological treatise on your part. Ron, I'm not particularly interested in an ideological treatise from you.

    Do you think that scientists like Judith Curry and John Christy are "deniers". Do you think it is professional that top people in the field use such labels for their opponents? Do you think the term "anti-vaxxer" is any better, labeling doctors who have concerns about the level of safety of a vaccine? Does this make you have more confidence in the claims of safety?The political right is now championing free-speech. But in the 1960s it was the left because most of the establishment was conservative then where now it is liberal.

    Irrelevant. And suggestive of a rather strange (and clearly mistaken) projection onto me based on likely misconceptions?

    Do you believe that Trump had foreknowledge of the DNC and Podesta Wikileaks and that such knowledge was gained from promising Putin something in return?

    I don't believe one way or the other on that. I don't think that I'm anywhere near having access to the range of evidence necessary to draw conclusions in that regard. I see certain foundational implausibilities in those conspiratorial beliefs - not entirely dissimilar to implausibilities I've asked you to address w/r/t your conspiracy beliefs. On the other hand, I have seem indications that there is some evidence that is suggestive of such a conspiracy. But the problem there - which is what I've been trying to get you to address but failed in doing so - is that to go with a belief in a conspiracy, I have to seem obvious implausiblities addressed.

    ---------------

    If we did not get far enough into the detail of any particular theory I think it might be because you are afraid to voice any opinions.

    ???

    Ron, that is a chain of causation that lies entirely in your own mind. I am not remotely "afraid" of expressing any of my opinions here.

    You might be afraid of being called a 911 truther for example because it seems like from your comments that you think that theory should be looked at more closely.

    As a general principle, I have no problem with people looking at theories closely. But nor does that that I think "that ]a specific] theory should be looked at more closely." Why don't I think so? Because of certain baseline implausibilities that the truther theories conflict with. Now, there is always a danger in rejecting conspiracies simply on the basis of implausibilities assumed, and digging deeper into facts in spite of implausibillities is, often, a good path to take. But there is more than that which explains why I don't think that truther theories should be looked at more closely. One reason is because I see the truther theories as a member of a species of conspiracy ideation - whereby people focus on technical details for which (1) in my estimation there probably never will be a conclusive set of facts and, (2) people focus on specific details in a way that allows them to narrow their focus such that large-scale implausibilities can effectively just be ignored even as they extrapolate from technical details to paint a grand conspiracy theory. Once again, as a general principle I certainly have not problem with people looking into theories - but that doesn't translate into a belief on my part that they should be examined (at least until obvious implausiblities are addressed).

    Again, this goes back to my previous questions for you at the top of this thread.

    Not only would that fear possibly be holding you back, you also would not want to be on the side that is attacking the authority and establishment in favor of nefarious conspiracy. As I pointed out there are likely millions of people that think Michael Moore's theory is plausible but they are afraid to voice it for those two reasons. BTW, for Lewandowsky, if he is watching, 95% percent of them would be liberals, people that voted against Bush.

    Ron, this is more of the same pattern I've described, ad infinitum, above. I've reached the end of my interest in taking the time to read this kind of stuff from you.

    There are two other good reasons why it is counter-productive to call people names that voice minority viewpoints.
    Whaaa?

    Where does this come from?

    You need to ask better questions that show some new insight or progress on honing my insights. You questions are too broad.

    Actually, Ron, from where I sit I asked you some fairly specific questions. For example:

    Do you doubt that the ("official" ) information, say as provided in the link I gave, makes it clear that there was a chemical weapons attack in Dauma, and that the Syrian government was responsible?

    Do you believe that in broad strokes, the "official" assertion of a chemical attack perpetrated by Assad can be effectively explained by the "staging" of videos or other fraudulent evidence?

    And while I'm at it, do you believe conspiracy theories about the evidence in the nerve agent attack in Salisbury that effectively undermines the official story that Russian spies wee responsible?

    Do you think that the Trump administration and military officials were uniformly duped into unquestioning confidence in the "official" account - that there was a chemical weapons account launched by Assad?

    Or, do you think that there was probably some mixture of conclusions within those deliberative bodies, but those who were "skeptical" remained silent? If so, why do you think they remained silent?

    Or, do you think that it wasn't that significant numbers (or all) were duped, but actually most were a part of the conspiracy to justify a retaliatory launch (presumably, for political expediency on the part of the Trump administration, and perhaps on the behalf of the military, just because military people like taking military action)?

    If you do think that it wasn't just all a vast conspiracy on the part of the Trump administration and military officials to fool the American public, and that all of the Trump administration and military official were duped (or at least a plurality large enough to intimidate any who might have been "skeptical" into silence were duped), then who do you think it was that had the sophistication necessary to fabricate the evidence sufficiently well to fool such large institutions with some many investigatory resources at their disposal?

    Do you have any direct evidence to support (or ideally, prove) the mechanisms of the "false flag" alternative explanation for the deaths in Douma (presuming that you don't think that the deaths were, likewise, fabricated)? Where did the false flag fabricators get the resources necessary? Is there some plausible account that you've seen of how that might happen, effectively hiding evidence of fabrication and disconfirming witnesses well enough to fool good faith investigators from the U.S. military and other U.S. governmental entities (assuming there are any investigators in those entities that are of good faith)?

    If you follow along with the conspiracy line of reasoning, do you think that the UN investigative body is in on the conspiracy? Apparently their recent report isn't exactly conclusive, but it also preliminary. What happens if their final report is conclusive in indicating a chemical weapons attack launched by Assad? Do you anticipate accepting such a report at face value - or would you feel you'd need to investigate the report in detail to ascertain its veracity?

    Suppose they reach a definitive conclusion of an Assad chemical weapons attack, and you doubt the veracity of their report. Can you describe what kind of mechanism would lead to a false report, wrongly confirming the veracity of fabricated evidence?

    I took out the question about the buildings' collapses during 9/11 - 'cause I think you may have already answered that question. I asked you if you believed the official theory, to which you responded that you don't believe that explosives were planted. Not exactly an answer to my question, but given the large pattern playing out here, I'll jump at that as being much closer to what I was looking for than the rest of your responses have been.

  51. Ron -

    I'm thinking that we've reached the end of useful conversation here. If, after reading my questions again, you don't think that they are specific enough to allow for a straight-forward answer (for example, a "yes" or a "no" in some cases), then that's cool. We can just leave it there. I will read any responses you write. But I'm not interested in a continuation where, IMO, I ask you questions and you (IMO) write a political treatise focused on matters that are, IMO, for the most part, irrelevant.

  52. "The USA has the most aggressive vaccine schedule in the world. We do not have the lowest infant mortality or the healthiest children."

    Idiotic.

    Brandon thinks there was a conspiracy involved in the 9-11 attacks. Ron is mystified. What conspiracy? Those guys just happened to individually decide to ride those planes and their independent actions just happened to cause all that death and destruction.

    Clueless.

    Move on, Ron.

  53. Ron -

    My bad. I should have also removed that first question I re-listed above. I consider it to have directly answered. In fact, you believe there was no Assad-launched chemical weapons attack in Douma, and that in believing that to be the case, you believe that the Trump administration (and governing administrations in other countries), along with the American military (and militaries from other countries), and I might add the American intelligence community (along with the ICs of a number of other countries) were duped into believing evidence fabricated by some unspecified group capable of producing evidence sophisticated enough to fool all those people, or in on the conspiracy, or sufficiently dominated by enough people in on the conspiracy (or enough people duped) so as to intimidate those who were skeptical. And, I might also add, no one in any of those institutions was able to uncover evidence to prove the conspiracy existed, or anyone who did was too intimidated to come forth with that evidence. And, of course, we would then have to believe that any future reports that might confirm the official story would likewise, reflect a similar nievete or comliciteness or intimidation.

    So at least you did give a straight-forward answer to that extent - even if you didn't explain how you reconcile the implauibilities of such theories (or even which of the explanations you think is on play, or if not one of them, what other theory you think is in play).

  54. Don, when people refer to 911 conspiracy theories they are usually talking about Michael Moore's movie, not the terrorist attack. I'm sure you must know this but it's hard to tell whether you are being sarcastic or have a dagger in one hand and a dictionary in the other because you don't have any point to make.

  55. Joshua, your writing is very thin in information content. If you read back your psychoanalysis you will find that you are swimming in unfounded assumptions and have done nothing to attempt to establish any of them. You are willing to draw conclusions with no evidence, ironically exactly what you are accusing of me. You make no attempt to engage to drill down on anything specific. Just chose something, anything.

    You come close on the autism prevalence in a glancing blow sort of way by assuming I am incorrect that autism is on the rise. If you cite some facts I will cite mine. Then we can go on subject by subject to find what assumptions are correct. If you are not interested in checking assumption I'm afraid it is you that is in far more danger of erroneous conclusions than I.

    I don't think either one of us want me to try to address your other thoughts. Actually, I had to stop reading half way through. We need to try not the throw grenades but you are a creature of habit as we all are. I just don't want to develop that habit as I think it casts darkness on the prospects of human progress.

  56. Joshua wrote: "In fact, you believe there was no Assad-launched chemical weapons attack in Douma, and that in believing that to be the case, you believe that the Trump administration (and governing administrations in other countries), along with the American military (and militaries from other countries), and I might add the American intelligence community (along with the ICs of a number of other countries) were duped into believing evidence fabricated by some unspecified group capable of producing evidence sophisticated enough to fool all those people, or in on the conspiracy, or sufficiently dominated by enough people in on the conspiracy (or enough people duped) so as to intimidate those who were skeptical. And, I might also add, no one in any of those institutions was able to uncover evidence to prove the conspiracy existed, or anyone who did was too intimidated to come forth with that evidence. And, of course, we would then have to believe that any future reports that might confirm the official story would likewise, reflect a similar nievete or comliciteness or intimidation."

    Wow. As is documented on CA, I did not make any conclusion one way or the other on the chemical weapons attack. I played the part of a neutral broker waiting for the international investigation to complete its work. When I saw the preliminary report showed no trace of nerve agent breakdown products, only chlorinated, which can come from many conventional sources, I felt that this refuted the public new reports that were the pretext for the missile response. The images and video evidence of staging, along with lack of forensic evidence of nerve agent leaves a reasonable person to believe the US and western IC jumped to conclusions on WMD. Is this plausible? Has this ever happened before? Think.

  57. Don Monfort:

    Brandon thinks there was a conspiracy involved in the 9-11 attacks. Ron is mystified. What conspiracy? Those guys just happened to individually decide to ride those planes and their independent actions just happened to cause all that death and destruction.

    I am glad somebody got it.

  58. Ron -

    ... I am incorrect that autism is on the rise...

    It would be nice if you addressed the other issues first, the ones that I've asked about over and over.

    I don't think either one of us want me to try to address your other thoughts.

    No actually, it is precisely those thoughts that I am most interested in making some progress on. Address them if you want. Entirely up to you.

    And I'm 'not going to go chasing down the autism rabbit hole with you...but I will leave you with some final thoughts.

    Please note, that you didn't just say that autism is on the rise.... but instead you said thst it is growing exponentially.

    Have you considered that:. (1) DSM diagnostic criteria have changed over time; (2) the definition of autism has changed dramatically (Google Kanner); (3) there is a good bit of variety in estimated prevalence rates, and epidemiological estimates- which use robust diagnostic criteria (as opposed to parental self-report or prevalence estimates based on medical insurance records - case identification methods that yield considerably higher prevalence estimates) - are probably lower and probably have risen less than you might think if you are basing your understanding on reading accounts in popular media: check out epidemiological estimates from Polanzyk et al. , 2007, Polanzyk et al., 2015, Thomas et al., 2015, Erskine et al., 2013, and for U.S., population-based surveys (for example using the NSCH) , Pulcini et al., 2017, S.Visser et al. , 2013, Collins et al., 2016, and Black & Benson, 2018), Wolraich et al., 2014, Bussing et al., 2012, Getahun et al., 2013,; (4) public awareness of autism has changed dramatically over time (consider Rain Man, and the timing of Rain Man relative to Wakefield's publication of his paper), and the development of the Internet, and the dissemination of non-scientific information about autism, has grown dramatically coincident with the perceptions about an "exponential growth" in autism; (5) there are a lot of problematic elements in how prevalence estimates are reached (for example, what explains the differences in epidemiological prevalence estimates (and case identification rates) in association with geographical location and socio-demographics that don't track with vaccination rates?

    Ron, is my impression that you aren't really trying to think through the statement I quoted from you about the "exponential growth" in autism. You gave no such indication in your statement that autism rates are "growing exponentially." Now perhaps you have researched those questions I've asked, and nonetheless are comfortable pronouncing that autism rates have grown exponentially. I don't see how you can control for the factors I questioned you about, and nonetheless make the kind of statement you did. If you have researched it thoroughly, and still feel comfortable making such a statement, more power to you. And I will continue to think that you haven't demonstrated that you address the implausibility of some of your beliefs.

  59. Joshua wrote "Please note, that you didn't just say that autism is on the rise.... but instead you said thst it is growing exponentially."

    See my last posted charts. I will follow with some studies that address the claims that it is not real growth but just growth in awareness. That is actually more akin to conspiracy ideation. Though there is some degree of wider diagnosis and awareness. This doesn't nearly account for the exponential rise.

  60. Ron -

    the claims that it is not real growth but just growth in awareness.

    Interesting. And perhaps more evidence of what I spoke to above.

    Do you think I made that claim?

  61. Ron -

    I did not make any conclusion one way or the other on the chemical weapons attack

    I didn't read CA.

    I was going on what you said here, above:

    . There was no nerve agent used.

    Am I confused because of a difference between "chemical weapons" and "nerve agent?"

  62. Joshua:

    Am I confused because of a difference between "chemical weapons" and "nerve agent?"

    People claiming chemcial weapons were used have suggested some form of nerve gas was used or chlorine gas was used (some have said both were used). The interim report Ron Graf has been (inaccurately) citing said that after examining a portion of the evidence it collected, it has found no evidence of nerve gas being used but it has found "chlorinated organic chemicals." The interim report then said it had not reached a conclusion on the meaning of these findings, and it will examine that question in the future (as well as testing the remainder of the evidence it collected). Obvious questions it'd need to consider are, does failing to find evidence nerve gas was used mean nerve gas not used? Also, does the chlorinated organic chemicals it found indicate chlorine gas was used?

    Don't feel bad about your confusion though. When Ron Graf contacted me about this interim report, he claimed it conclusive proved no chemcal weapons were used. Any nuance he's developed since then has come about only because of me laying into him about how grossly he was misrepresenting his source.

  63. Brandon -

    I'm still confused (and don't feel at all bad about it. I tend to not feel bad about being confused..
    It's a good thing, because I'm confused a lot. Anyway, like to think there's not anything bad about being confused).

    So Ron, above, said (conclusively) that no nerve agent was used.

    And he has also said that he hasn't made any conclusion one way or the other about a chemical weapons attack. Can he reconcile those two statements because nerve agents are not chemical weapons?

  64. Nerve agents are chemical weapons, but they're only one type of chemical weapon. There are many types of chemical weapons. In this case, discussion had been about some (unknown) type of nerve gas or a chlorine gas attack. You can think of it like a case where people claim someone was murdered either by being stabbed or shot, with a person saying a new report proves the person wasn't stabbed.

    (Not that the report actually says that.)

  65. I was writing a too long comment in response to Ron's latest nonsense, but decided not to waste time continuing with this foolishness. Go back to CA, Ron. You are getting killed here.

  66. Joshua wrote: "Have you considered that:. (1) DSM diagnostic criteria have changed over time; (2) the definition of autism has changed dramatically (Google Kanner); (3) there is a good bit of variety in estimated prevalence rates, and epidemiological estimates- which use robust... [and so on]."

    But Joshua apparently claims he was not trying to make any point that autism reporting has increased due to factors unrelated to actual autism, like awareness and diagnostic criteria and he rhetorically asks, "Do you think I made that claim?"

    Just in case you actualy were making a point the charts of skyrocketing increase are due to diagnostic criteria changing over time here is a study that debunks that common meme.

    Nevison (2014) abstract:

    "The CDDS and IDEA data sets are qualitatively consistent in suggesting a strong increase in autism prevalence over recent decades. The quantitative comparison of IDEA snapshot and constant-age tracking trend slopes suggests that ~75-80% of the tracked increase in autism since 1988 is due to an actual increase in the disorder rather than to changing diagnostic criteria. Most of the suspected environmental toxins examined have flat or decreasing temporal trends that correlate poorly to the rise in autism. Some, including lead, organochlorine pesticides and vehicular emissions, have strongly decreasing trends. Among the suspected toxins surveyed, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, aluminum adjuvants, and the herbicide glyphosate have increasing trends that correlate positively to the rise in autism."

    So it is interesting that this question was studied and answered to eliminate uncertainty. Autism is really on the rise and I stand by the claim that its track has been near exponential, not that I meant straight line would be much less alarming.

    In the abstract I would like to point out that there are other suspects other than aluminum adjuvants (they are not allowed to say vaccines but this is what they mean.) The reason they don't mention methyl mercury I am guessing is because they have been eliminating it from vaccines, (even though they knew it was safe) but autism is still rising afterwards. Another suspect is glyphosate (Roundup (TM) by Monsanto). It is also possible that both those and other oxidative stress loads on a developing child pose epigientic risk for triggering a syndrome that includes encephalopathy (inflammation of the brain). One such biological pathway involved glutamine metabolism. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5318388/

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3731785/

    Autism is currently at nearly 2% chance for a newborn in the USA. This is mind-boggling that we are focused on whether Brett Kavanaugh grabbed a girl's chest 37 years ago or it was somebody else or never happened and is -- wait for it -- a calcualted hoax.

    Chlorine gas was used on the WWI battlefield. But when they did they had tank trucks with tones of material. Even then it was mostly effective in incapacitating rather than killing, which in battle is more effective since resources get diverted to caring for injured. Chlorine is not considered a WMD as it is a common industrial feed-stock. The only reason that chlorine was brought up about the Douma is because of the chlorine canister pictures. The hospital video of urgently washing down the children was a remediation for nerve agent that have yet to be found. The hospital staff claimed the video was staged. Only the White helmets stand behind it.

  67. I think it's interesting how Ron Graf keeps making an issue of how evidence of nerve gas wasn't found yet never once says a word about how Syria/Russia tried to delay investigator access to the sites, something a number of people have claimed was done to give them time to destroy evidence. Even if you think no evidence ever existed, surely you ought to mention the fact people argued evidence was being destroyed.

    It's like how people cite statements made by people in the area denying something happened while failing to mention the fact those people are living under the control of Syria/Russia and would certainly face retaliation if they said anything else. Even if you think a person's testimony is true, surely you ought to mention the (possibly not metaphorical) gun pointed at their head as they give it.

    Then again, I also believe people shouldn't make up quotations, create fictitious descriptions of what people said to them and stuff like that. Maybe I'm wrong about how people ought to behave.

  68. According to the CDC web site referenced paper on the prevalence of autism in the USA in 2014 was 2.7% of male 8-year-olds and 0.7% of female. New Jersey leads the 50 states with 4.6% of males and 1.2% of female 8-year-olds in 2014.
    https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/67/ss/ss6706a1.htm

    These are people that will need cradle to grave care and not have the dignity to be able to contribute to the economy. We have to figure this one out with not more BS. This is not left vs. right. This is not sustainable now let alone if the trend continues.

    Here is an anti-vaxx site but they have a very comprehsive article with facts and statistics that are checkable. https://childhealthsafety.wordpress.com/2014/04/18/centers-for-disease-control-failure-on-autism-to-cost-americans-us3-84-trillion-tax-dollars/

    Here is their chart that shows ASD going up exponentially. And thought ID intelectual disability (severe cases) are flattening this they attribute to the CDC dropping the data from the worst states like SC at the inflection point.

    https://i2.wp.com/www.safeminds.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/addm-trends-in-autism.png

  69. Wow Ron Graf, I'm not sure which is worse. I mean, you portraying autistic people as so horribly disabled they'll never be able to contribute to the economy is pretty horrifying, but the e-mail you sent me confessing you set cats on fire is difficult to stomach too.

    But I really ccan't believe you said, "Pineapple belongs on pizza." That's truly shocking.

  70. Ron -

    If you're interested in the topic, just Google for the epidemiological studies I gave you, a number of which are meta-analyses.

    I have no further interest in this discussion. I believe that I now fully understand how you reconcile implausibilities in your beliefs.

  71. Brandon wrote: "Don't feel bad about your confusion though. When Ron Graf contacted me about this interim report, he claimed it conclusive proved no chemcal weapons were used."

    Can you copy and paste that sentence from my email please. I don't remember saying "proved no chemical weapons were used." I would stand by the claim that you owe Steve an apology. Even if the evidence makes it conclusive one way or the other you were out of line to attack him for having the audacity to write what he came up with from valid and sane analysis, way ahead of the safety of consensus. BTW, when you wrote your books on the hockey stick you were enjoying the wake created by Steve's enterprise, a risky and arduous one against the consensus.

    The allegation of blockage to access by the Douma inspection team is under debate as to whether it really occurred. I think its in the report. I will let you cite if they claim evidence could have been destroyed, which they would have to say or risk being accused, (like you accused me,) of omission of a possible pertinent hypothetical.

  72. Brandon is fine with autism. The real beef is how Ron Graf talks about autism and that he set cats on fire.

    What!!!

  73. Here, let me make it a bit easier for you... perhaps following the references was problematic...here are links to two of the references (to epidemiological studies) I mentioned:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4817588/

    Confirming previous findings, variability in ADHD prevalence estimates is mostly explained by methodological characteristics of the studies. In the past three decades, there has been no evidence to suggest an increase in the number of children in the community who meet criteria for ADHD when standardized diagnostic procedures are followed.

    Bold added.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4817588/

    A Bayesian metaregression tool was used to derive prevalence estimates by age and sex in three time periods (1990, 2005 and 2010) for 21 world regions including those with little or no data.

    [...]

    Prevalence was pooled for males and females aged 5-19 years with no difference found in global prevalence between the three time periods.

    If you want to limit your focus to population-based survey prevalence estimates, you might consider known problems with such data collection, such as self-report biases.

    My point, Ron, is that there are factors which you have not addressed - factors which are crucial to address if you want to substantiate beliefs in things that are implausible (e.g., that there is a worldwide conspiracy in the medical and research communities to hide a causal link between vaccines and autism).

    If you want to hold on to your beliefs despite not dealing with issues like those I mentjoned above, well more power to ya' my friend.

    That's as far down this autism rabbit hole as I'm willing to chase you.

  74. Ron Graf:

    Brandon is fine with autism.

    Nope. I think autism is gross and dirty. Anyone who has it is permanently disabled, utterly incapable of making useful contributions to our great nation. They're just a drain on society. No wonder you set them on fire.

    No wait, that was the cats.

  75. Okay Brandon, I am sorry for reducing the poor ASD afflicted to their economic value. That was very Third Reich of me, I know. At least I did not mention we should burn them with the cats and put them on pizza. That would've been gross.

    Joshua is just as silly. He just researched and cited a paper on Attention Deficit Disorder in a drill down on Autism Spectral Disorder.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attention_deficit_hyperactivity_disorder

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autism_spectrum

    Joshua, I will promise not to mention this to anyone. You don't even need to apologize for your caustic tones earlier. Just pay it forward.

    BTW, USA is #3 in world autism prevalence at 1:45. Only Hong Kong and South Korea have us edged out but Poland is at 1:3,333. Very interesting.
    https://www.focusforhealth.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Graph-Autism-Rates-around-the-Developed-Country-8-28-17.jpg

  76. He just researched and cited a paper on Attention Deficit Disorder in a drill down on Autism Spectral Disorder.

    Yikes. I completely conflated the topics over multiple comments - I did it with all of those references.

    BTW, USA is #3 in world autism prevalence at 1:45. Only Hong Kong and South Korea have us edged out but Poland is at 1:3,333. Very interesting.

    By a strange coincidence, the US is #3 in vaccination rates, following Hong Kong and SK. Must be coincidence.

  77. They don't do vaccinations in Poland. Ron has proved his point. He can STFU now.

    I always suspected that Brandon is pro-autism. I don't know why he would have a problem with burning cats. Personally, I prefer burning cats to autism. How about you, Ron?

    Anybody who believes that this is an accurate representation of the actual prevalence of autism in these countries is a blithering idiot:

    https://www.focusforhealth.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Graph-Autism-Rates-around-the-Developed-Country-8-28-17.jpg

  78. Don -

    The vaccination rate in Hong Kong is 124 times higher than the vaccination rate in Poland (despite that vaccinations have been mandatory since Russian times).

    Do you think it is just coincidence that the autism rate in Hong Kong is also 124 times higher?

  79. Don is actually right here. There is no uniform international protocol for reporting autism. If the WHO was willing to establish one and gain better statistics there would be the ability to see clues for differences in environmental influences and also see the influence of past reporting practices on the statistics.

    There is absolutely no doubt that autism is a syndrome and it quickly popped up in the 1970s and 80s and is increasing.

  80. Joshua, people have thought of this. If it was a 1:1 relationship then the problem would have been easily identified before now. It's kind of like climate. There are multiple factors, and developments timing of exposure is critical as well as the individual genetics (or more correctly, epigenetics).

    Many respected and well educated doctors, expert in the subject, believe that the combination of oxidative load on an early developing body that may have epigentic vulnerability, combined with nutritional deficiency at the time, makes a perfect storm for ASD.

    The CDC commissioned DeStefano study (finished in 2002 but published in 2004) found a statistically significant link between minority children vaccinated with the MMR before 3-yrs-old and autism. It took that 2-year gap after tabulation to have an internal debate among the investigators and the CDC on what to do. It was just like the hide the decline in MBH98-99. The CDC played the part of the IPCC's Folland, who put pressure on Mann, played by DeStefano to put pressure on Briffa, played by Thompson, to do something about the rock in his shoe. There was no need to have to deal with fanning the flames of the irresponsible opposition movement. Also, there were billions of dollars in government liability on the line since the US federal government took all liability for vaccines onto the US Treasury and away from pharma, a sweet deal for the later.

    "Dr. William Thompson is listed as author or co-author on the principal studies—Thompson, et al. 2007, Price, et al. 2010, Destefano, et al. 2004—most widely cited to "debunk" the link between autism and vaccines. Thompson said that his bosses, including the CDC's Immunization Safety Office Branch Chief Frank Destefano, specifically ordered him and three other CDC scientists to destroy data demonstrating vaccine induced autism in CDC's seminal 2004 study—Destefano, et al. 2004. The data unexpectedly showed a 250 percent increase in autism among young black males who received the vaccine on time—before their third birthday—compared to those who waited until after their third birthday. The data also showed a significant link between the vaccine and isolated autism (autism in normally developing children with no other medical problems), the kind suffered by Yates Hazlehurst, who is mentioned below. According to Thompson, Destefano called his four co-authors into a room and ordered them to dump the damning datasets into a giant garbage can. The published study omitted those data sets. That study, now cited in 91 subsequent papers on PubMed as proof of vaccine safety, is the principle foundation stone of the theology that vaccines don't cause autism."
    https://www.ecowatch.com/cdc-vaccines-autism-2051536402.html

  81. Ron -

    I tend to discount heresay as a source in such matters. As an example of the reason, I have read varying perspectives on the issues you just posted about.

    If you think that autism is associated with vaccines and the association is stronger among blacks, then how do you explain that the CDC reported that prevalence was associated with SES, and race (higher in higher income status, lower prevalence of autism among blacks and Latinos)?

    Why do you think there is no signal of higher autism rates in association with vaccine rates when you compare number across states? What do you think is the magnitide of the explanatory effect of vaccines relative to other factors? If you think it is large, then why would there be such striking figures on comparisons of autism rates across states that don't track with vaccine rates?

    Perhaps you should consider with more seriousness potential confounds and other factors when evaluating the "exponential growth" in DIAGNOSES of autism? Apparently, there is much about the numbers that are not well explained? Perhaps that is why the CDC report you linked cautions that their prevalence estimates should not be considered nationally representative, and discusses methodological issues in deriving estimates (such as recall bias, differing access to medical care)? Have you considered that the report notes observable associations with SES and race/ethnicity and geographical location (across state lines), even though there is apparently no consistent signal associated with vaccination rates across state lines? If vaccinations are so causal, why would there be no signal across state lines associating autism prevalence with vaccination rates even when there are associations with location (across state lines) and autism prevalence rates?

  82. I used to burn cats. Quit using toothpaste with fluoride and cut back considerably. Co-incidence? I don't think so. It's dose dependent. The controllers must still be putting fluoride in our water, though the local apparatchiks claim they stopped.

  83. Ron Graf:

    The CDC commissioned DeStefano study (finished in 2002 but published in 2004) found a statistically significant link between minority children vaccinated with the MMR before 3-yrs-old and autism. It took that 2-year gap after tabulation to have an internal debate among the investigators and the CDC on what to do. It was just like the hide the decline in MBH98-99.

    No matter how often or how clearly I point this out, Skeptics will never seem to realize there was no "hide the decline in MBH98-99." Ever since Mark Steyn wrote his book in which he repeatedly associated those two things, I've been speaking out against it. It makes no difference. Skeptics are just looking for talking points to smear people with. They don't actually care about what happened.

  84. I'm glad you are skeptical thinkers. That is good.

    Brandon, I was referring to the IPCC trick for the WMO presentation. That is where Chris Folland's correspondence with Mann shows up in Climategate. This is where he talks about not diluting the message and the stone in his shoe. This is the second time we have been here. You did post about a year ago pointing out that Mann never spliced thermometer records onto proxies, and that Phil Jones did not understand that when he went ahead and did it for the the 1999 WMO presentation. That was all correct but Mann did use a number of other tricks, including dropping the offending post 1960 proxy data in MBH98-99. Last time Steve Mc actually popped in here personally to confirm for you and Steven Mosher that the hockey stick was part of Climategate. Here is the relevant history in CA. https://climateaudit.org/2009/12/10/ipcc-and-the-trick/

    Joshua wrote: "If you think that autism is associated with vaccines and the association is stronger among blacks, then how do you explain that the CDC reported that prevalence was associated with SES, and race (higher in higher income status, lower prevalence of autism among blacks and Latinos)?"

    Joshua, I could give you several plausible explanations, like the lower the SES the less chance of keeping on the vaccine schedule. But you are all missing the bigger point. The seminal CDC study to debunk the autism-vaccine link had to trash half their data. They apparently had two years of bureaucratic arm-twisting to culminate in a secret meeting where they was a big trash can in the center of the room where all the investigators were to deposit the unwanted data and all agree that it never existed. I am not sure what you call heresay but the first coauthor on the study, statistician Thompson, was there and later described this on tape to Dr. Brian Hooker. You can watch it here or its free on Amazon Prime. http://vaxxedthemovie.com/watch/

    Don, there is plenty of fraud but why is it weighted for children under age 3 ?? Nice try. You guys are thinking.

    I already stated my weakly informed theory of vaccine contribution to autism as one factor in a trigger that depends on the timing of developmental point ( epigentic), environmental and nutritional influences.

  85. Ron Graf:

    Brandon, I was referring to the IPCC trick for the WMO presentation. That is where Chris Folland's correspondence with Mann shows up in Climategate. This is where he talks about not diluting the message and the stone in his shoe. This is the second time we have been here. You did post about a year ago pointing out that Mann never spliced thermometer records onto proxies, and that Phil Jones did not understand that when he went ahead and did it for the the 1999 WMO presentation. That was all correct but Mann did use a number of other tricks, including dropping the offending post 1960 proxy data in MBH98-99.

    No he didn't. Mann did not do that. Mann did many inappropriate things things in MBH, but he did not do what you claim.

  86. Ron -

    I could give you several plausible explanations, like the lower the SES the less chance of keeping on the vaccine schedule.

    Did you read the article on prevalence rates (that you linked)?

  87. Brandon, my apologies on attributin Biffa's 1999 trick to Mann, the deleting the post 1960s declining tree proxies. Mann had achieved his hockey stick by dubious use of statistical techniques known as principle components when combining uneven distribution of proxy data spread over the NH. His reliance on the only two of 22 data sets dating back to 1400AD with hockey stick shapes, and heavily weighting them and repeating one of them's use twice, singly and as part of a group, is mainly responsible for the hockey stick shape of his final graph. I think I have it mostly correct but I know you are an expert on it. The thing I don't understand is why you are only focused on Mann. Are you afraid that if you follow the trail of influence from the IPCC to Mann to Briffa that it will demonstrate a conspiracy? Would such an admission be dangerously disturbing that you would discount the evidence? If you agree that collusion is more disturbing than individual malfeasance then you might agree that the reason for that it is more important is that collusion or wider corruption tears at the fabric of the system established that society counts on for progress. What also tears at that fabric is when citizens don't stand up and take notice of it. I see it as constant battle. And we are losing the battle when someone who exposes corruption must sacrifice their career and not receive support from the media, academic, or even justice establishments. Chilling the exposure of truth in a free society makes us all less free.

    I know this is all philosophical stuff but I know Joshua is a deep thinker and might appreciate it. And so this is why I give particular concern when a coauther of a seminal governmental study on public safety describes a meeting with a trash can for the unwanted data, and a lead IPCC author who tells a young and upcoming leader in the field to get rid of the "rock in my shoe" for an international presentation to the WMO.

    The hockey stick got put in millions of children's textbooks. And it was a fraud. Mark Steyn and two other parties are being sued by Mann for calling it a fraud. I would like to see Steyn get his day in court. Brandon dislikes Steyn, not because he is a champion of free speech, but because he mis-stated Mann's trick in MBH98 and clearly is not a statistician and so has no place to criticize a scientific chart, (even if it's a fraud).

  88. Ron Graf, please stop smoking crack:

    The thing I don't understand is why you are only focused on Mann. Are you afraid that if you follow the trail of influence from the IPCC to Mann to Briffa that it will demonstrate a conspiracy? Would such an admission be dangerously disturbing that you would discount the evidence?

    I focused on the thing you said which was false. I didn't focus on something you didn't say which might not have been false. The fact you ask me why I focused on what was said rather than something else entirely is beyond me.

    I know this is all philosophical stuff but I know Joshua is a deep thinker and might appreciate it.

    Based on his past comments, I doubt JOshua would label himself a deep thinker. Which is alright since what you said is not deep. Which is hardly surprising given it's based on things like:

    a lead IPCC author who tells a young and upcoming leader in the field to get rid of the "rock in my shoe" for an international presentation to the WMO.

    Which are bizarre. this claim is wrong for a variety of reasons, but the most baffling is the quotation you provide is not real. Not only is not something the person you claim said actually said, it's not even what the source you're bastardizing said. Steve McIntyre talked about an issue and used the metaphor of a stone in the IPCC's shoe. You've somehow taken McIntyre's metaphor as something an IPCC author said then changed the wording of the metaphor and offered it as a real quotation.

    Brandon dislikes Steyn, not because he is a champion of free speech, but because he mis-stated Mann's trick in MBH98 and clearly is not a statistician and so has no place to criticize a scientific chart, (even if it's a fraud).

    Ron, this is not true. You know, or at least ought to know, my issues with Steyn revolve around extensive errors, misquotations and fabrications. And I'm not going to let this one slide. A long-standing rule of this site is people are free to challenge anyone to provide support for the factual claims they make, a challenge which must be dealt with directly.

    So Ron, you made a factual claim here. What's the basis for it? Please do not make any comments without directly answering this question or admitting your claim was patently false.

  89. You are a fool, ron. Show us a large credible study that implicates vaccinations causing autism in children across racial and socio-economic classes and we might pay some attention. All sorts of bad shit is more prevalent in minority populations. Stop the transparent cherry-picking. Stop propagating stupid shit that is discouraging some stupid/irresonsible parents from getting their kids vaccinated. You dumb anti-vaxxer clowns are a hazard to the public health. That's all the time I have for your silliness.

  90. Ron -

    I know this is all philosophical stuff but I know Joshua is a deep thinker and might appreciate it. And so this is why I give particular concern when a coauther of a seminal governmental study on public safety describes a meeting with a trash can for the unwanted data....

    I'm not sure I'm a deep thinker (I'm quite sure that Don would explain to you why that description wouldn't be apt, as he's explained to me many times) ... but I do like to read about different perspectives on issues...

    https://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2017/02/10/a-look-back-at-the-so-called-cdc-whistleblower-story-and-how-vaxxed-is-misleading/

    Did you read that CDC report where they discussed (separately) the influence of SES and race/ethnicity on autism prevalence?

  91. Brandon, it took me literally 2 seconds to click on the link I provided you and do a find for "stone." This is the first hit and is in Steve's post:

    "After telling the section authors about the stone in his shoe, Folland added that he only “wanted the truth”."

    I used rock as a test to prove my point that you are a nitpicker, which is a habit of using the rationality of finding minor fault to evade the facing of a central or important one. Having a 100-hour conversation with a nitpicker about nitpicking is something for another day.

    Don, I appreciate your concern for the greater good means that offending voices must be silenced, or are you saying something else? Also, you apparently did not see my response to your other point. Minority children under 3 who received the MMR vaccine were more likely to get autism by a statistically significant amount over those minority children who did not get the MMR or got it over age 3. The reason for science is to eliminate variables by use of controls. The study was constructed produce conclusive results, and they got them. They spent two years looking for alternative explanations other than MMR increased the risk of autism to very young minority children. If there was an alternative explanation they would have come up with it in the two years or not have needed to destroy the offending data.

    Joshua, I will read your link later that presumably tells us that Thompson was mistaken about the trash can in the room and all agreeing to change the study post-hock and destroy the "bad" data.

  92. Ron -

    Joshua, I will read your link later that presumably tells us that...

    I don't link it because of what it "tells" (I.e., conclusions presented, some of the conclusions seem flawed to me) so much as for information it provides.

  93. Why are only minority children statistically significantly catching that autism thing from vaccinations? They must be defective. OK, we will stop vaccinating minority children.

    Now that we have that settled, let's go back to exonerating Assad-Putin-Ayatollah on those war crimes. Lead the way, Ron.

    By the way, asshole, I didn't say anything about silencing anybody. You need to be exposed as a dangerous fool and shamed.

  94. Ron -

    This is kind of interesting (bold added) :

    In August 2014, Dr. Thompson revealed that the data underlying CDC’s principle vaccine safety studies demonstrated a causal link between vaccines and autism or autism symptoms, despite CDC’s claims to the contrary. According to Thompson, based upon interpretation of the data, “There is biologic plausibility right now to say that thimerosal causes autism-like features.” Dr. Thompson invoked federal whistleblower protection in August 2014.

    Dr. William Thompson is listed as author or co-author on the principal studies—Thompson, et al. 2007, Price, et al. 2010, Destefano, et al. 2004—most widely cited to “debunk” the link between autism and vaccines. Thompson said that his bosses, including the CDC’s Immunization Safety Office Branch Chief Frank Destefano, specifically ordered him and three other CDC scientists to destroy data demonstrating vaccine induced autism in CDC’s seminal 2004 study—Destefano, et al. 2004. The data unexpectedly showed a 250 percent increase in autism among young black males who received the vaccine on time—before their third birthday—compared to those who waited until after their third birthday. The data also showed a significant link between the vaccine and isolated autism (autism in normally developing children with no other medical problems), the kind suffered by Yates Hazlehurst, who is mentioned below. According to Thompson, Destefano called his four co-authors into a room and ordered them to dump the damning datasets into a giant garbage can. The published study omitted those data sets. That study, now cited in 91 subsequent papers on PubMed as proof of vaccine safety, is the principle foundation stone of the theology that vaccines don’t cause autism.

    In a series of taped statements, a deposition to Congressman William Posey of Florida and in statements issued through his personal attorney, Thompson confirmed that the data underlying the seminal 2004 Atlanta study, Destefano, et al. 2004, showed a causal association between MMR and autism for both African-American boys and for children suffering isolated autism. Thompson also asserted that CDC’s leading thimerosal studies, rather than demonstrating thimerosal’s safety, have consistently showed a causal relationship between thimerosal and tics, a family of grave neurological injuries that are a well-established feature of autism.

    https://childrenshealthdefense.org/news/cdc-blocks-testimony-vaccine-whistleblower-medical-malpractice-case-2/

    What is your understanding about how epidemiological research establishes causality?

    Btw - do you have a source for this supposed "quote" of Thompson?

    There is biologic plausibility right now to say that thimerosal causes autism-like features.

    The article doesn't provide a source, only the statement. In quotation marks. I'm assuming it might be from the (supposedly) secretly taped phone conversation. Have you listened to the conversation? Do you have a link to the recording?

  95. Ron Graf, to be clear, when I refer to this site's rules requiring something, I do not mean it is optional. YOu made a factual claim and were directly challenged to provide your evidenciary support for it or retract it as being false. By this site's rules, you are not allowed to post any further comments without addressing this challenge. If you do so, you will show you are intentionally violating the site's rules. In case you've forgotten, this is the claim in question:

    Brandon dislikes Steyn, not because he is a champion of free speech, but because he mis-stated Mann's trick in MBH98 and clearly is not a statistician and so has no place to criticize a scientific chart, (even if it's a fraud).

    Specifically, your claim Steyn not being a statistician means I say he "has no place to criticize a scientific chart" and that I dislike Steyn "because he mis-stated Mann's trick" as opposed to any of the many other reasons I've stated. By this site's rules, you are not allowed to post any further comments without directly addressing the challenge to these two claims.

    Ad for your latest comment, it is utterly bizarre you say:

    Brandon, it took me literally 2 seconds to click on the link I provided you and do a find for "stone." This is the first hit and is in Steve's post:
    ...
    I used rock as a test to prove my point that you are a nitpicker, which is a habit of using the rationality of finding minor fault to evade the facing of a central or important one. Having a 100-hour conversation with a nitpicker about nitpicking is something for another day.

    I pointed out you made up a quotation and attributed it to an IPCC author. Your response claims you intentionally altered a quote to say "rock in my shoe" instead of using "stone" as some sort of test of me. Leaving aside the absurdity of testing people to see if they'll point out you've posted a fake quotation as proof they're not worth talking to, this "test" of your is insane as the words you cited were from Steve McIntyre.

    You say you intentionally altered words (note, the difference was not a single word as you now claim) to create a fake quotation as some sort of test, but you fail to admit you misattributed the quotation to someone else entirely. Are you going to claim that was a test too? Are you going to label me a nit-picker and say people shouldn't talk to me because I point out Steve McIntyre's words should not be attributed to some random climate scientist?

    If I take words by Michael Mann describing what Anthony Watts supposedly says, alter then and tell everyone they're a quote from Watts, will you be okay with that? If anyone says what I did was wrong, will you label them a pathetic nit-picker focusing on minor issues to try to avoid the central point?

    Feel free to answer those questions or not, but do not post again without directly dealing with the issue arising from this site's rules I've directly informed you about.

  96. Ron -

    ... you are a nitpicker, which is a habit of using the rationality of finding minor fault to evade the facing of a central or important one.

    As a fan of irony, I gotta give you high marks for that one. That was a work of art and a thing of beauty.

  97. You are ridiculous, Ron. You came here to mend a fence? Bullshit. You came here to tell Brandon that he is wrong and McIntyre is right. You have a screw loose. McIntyre has not been proven to be right. You made that up. Very foolish.

  98. Ron Graf has earned himself a soft-ban for flagrantly refusing to abide a simple rule of this site. Soft bans do not, as he says, make it impossible for him to continue discussions with people. He will still be allowed to comment in special, off-topic posts such as the one I've just made. He can also makes posts in other threads that contain a single link to comments he makes on such posts. In this way, he can continue to participate in discussions if he wishes, but his comments will be sequestered away so only people who want to see it will.

    So long as he follows that simple practice, Ron Graf can continue to comment here as long as he wants. However, any comments he makes which violate that practice will be deleted without question. Should he wish to have this soft-ban lifted, he is able to do so by simply following the site's rule he's actively chosen to break, as explained to him most recently here

    If a person decides to make factual claims without any basis and refuses to make any effort to justify those claims, retract those claims or at least acknowledge they have no basis for them, that person may well find themselves in a similar situation. Some people may find it unreasonable, but at this site, you don't get to make facts up and ignore any effort by others to get you to correct yourself.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *