Psst ... Goldman Sachs Rules the World

Something this man has said has hit a raw nerve and the video has gone viral. It could be  "The big institutions dont buy the rescue plan" or the stuff about the recession being a cancer, but that is just boldly expressing the subtext of a lot of commentary these days.

I suggest it's this "Governments don't rule the world" a view not often expressed on breakfast telly (although its in the subtext of a lot of political analyses) .  As a negative statement though, it doesnt really capture the imagination because it says what isn't - not what is. Rastani followed with the words "Goldman Sachs rules the world" something that is relevant and pertinent.

At this point an honest media would follow up by examining the nexus of merchant bankers and contempary power.Piers Morgan tweeted the question "Is that outrageous BBC trader interviewee Alessio Rastani an infamous hoaxer? Anyone know? "  Of course Morgan has form on spreading financial disinformation - witness the City Slickers scandal.

So we've been thrown this ridiculous 'Yes Men' canard followed by the Telegraph and Mail doorstepping the man to posit an entirely different question , namely is Alessio Rastani 'real' ?  It's a proxy question , asked to stop us asking the more pertinent  is there any truth in the statement  Goldman Sachs rules the world?

Since when has our celebrity obsessed media started asking if someone is 'real'? 

It's worth noting that the BBC have stated that they "can't find any evidence to suggest that the interview with Alessio Rastani was a hoax." But the hoax meme will not die.

Astonishingly people seem to have bought it, with seasoned progressive commentators buying the line that Alessio Rastani is something other than he claims so that we can all go back to sleep and forget we ever heard the words "Governments don't rule the world , Goldman Sachs rules the world" live on telly.

The tricks of No Tricks Zone

You don't have to be a scientist to see that most of the so-called climate skepticism out there is complete bollocks. Step up to the plate Pierre Gosselin in Germany who writes the ironically titled "No Tricks Zone" .

Take this.  Amospheric changes on all 9 planets explains the cause of global warming as "the sun, stupid" . A real skeptic would doubt any conclusion that is so forthright but Pierre expresses no doubts whatsoever and if you don't agree you're stupid.  But what evidence is there that warming on other planets and the Earth share the same cause? Pierre offers none .  He has arrived at his explanation for global warming on the Earth by ... looking at completely different planets. Unfortunately none of those other bodies in the solar system support life, a point that I have made to P but it seems to have gone past him.

A few days later Pierre's headline is  "NOAA Data Shows Slowing Sea Level Rise".  Pierre sorts the results of a selection of coastal stations around the globe into four categories which he calls 'observed most recent rate trend'.  Although he claims six stations show a 'steady drop' three of those (Karachi, Walvis Bay and Tenerife) actually record numerical rises in sea level. So how does Pierre arrive at his 'observed most recent rate trend'?  I ask if it's simply Pierre's opinion of the most recent direction of the line on the graph perhaps. "It was arrived at by looking at the data" is P's cryptic response.  He then suggests "your time would be better spent if you asked [Stefan] Rahmstorf at the PIK how they reached their conclusions of accelerating SLR. "  Quite.

The Ad Hominem attack - Monty's flexible friend

Ad Hominem means against the person. It's very poor form to attack your opponent's character as the implication is that you can't attack his argument.

Andrew Montford complains that this critical appraisal of a recent controversial paper is mostly ad-hom , but he is tantalisingly non-specific.  It seems that his gripe is to note motivations as ad-hominem  insisting "the motivations are irrelevant to the science."  Debatable, since Roy Spencer (the author of the now discredited skeptic paper)  is Chairman of the George C. Marshall Institute a motivation which may conflict with the dispassionate search for truth that should be scientific enquiry.

So, having widened the definition of ad-hominem to include discussion of motivations how long does it take Montford to go back to criticizing his opponents motivations? Not long , the folowing day Monty snipes at scientific journal Nature, and delivers a whole blogpost in which he rants (an unsupported assertion) that 2500 IPCC scientists are "corrupt, so bereft of any integrity."

Would it be bad form to wonder perhaps Andrew Montford's motivations are less than a dispassionate search for truth?

Chris de Freitas not a skeptic

You can't do too much fact-checking.   A profile of Chris de Freitas in the NZHerald prompts me to ask which IPCC reports he contributed to. The Doctor responds with a great deal more,  and takes issue that he is a global warming sceptic.

Hello Hengist
Reviewer’s efforts do not get credited as publications. Rather, their efforts are simply acknowledged. In my case see:

Page 558 of the SAR 1995, WG1
Page 851 of the TAR 2001, WG1

BTW, if you read what I write, you will see that I am not a global warming sceptic. I accept that rising human-caused CO2 from fossil sources could ‘change the climate’. The basic physics is there to support this view. But where is the evidence that the putative change would be large or damaging?

I have looked but I can find no unambiguous empirical evidence (not output from hypothetical models) that atmospheric carbon dioxide above preindustrial levels is a major driver of global climate, or that CO2 above preindustrial levels will be damaging or cause dangerous climate change. The so called ‘human fingerprints on climate change’ can also be attributed to causes or processes other than those related to fossil fuel-caused CO2 increase.

In the 1980s and 1990s I wrote papers warning of the threat of human-caused global warming from CO2 emissions, but had to stop when the data required to prove that view failed to materialise. Now there are several peer reviewed research papers that show negative feedback applies when radiative forcing is increased.

I accept one could reasonably argue that lack of evidence of ‘dangerous global warming’ ahead is not a good enough reason for complacency. But I believe the billions of dollars committed to global warming research and lobbying for global warming action and for Kyoto treaties etc. could be better spent on uncontroversial and very real environmental problems (such as air pollution, poor sanitation, provision of clean water and improved health services) that we know affect hundreds of millions of people.


Chris de Freitas