How Low Can You Go?

Anthony Watts has decided to question my patriotism. Eli Rabett’s too.

Watts ends a post about flying his flag on memorial day with

I wonder if “Tamino” or Eli Rabbet bothers to fly a flag on memorial day? Here’s to hoping that they do.

There’s no reason imaginable to say such a thing except to imply we’re not sufficiently patriotic.

This just might be the most loathsome thing Watts has yet done with his blog.

One of his readers notices — and gets the blatantly obvious implication:

Brad Johnson says:
May 31, 2010 at 10:39 am

Ha ha! Bloggers critical of you must hate America!


133 responses to “How Low Can You Go?

  1. This is toxic patriotism at its most blatant.

  2. Andrew Dodds

    *I* certainly don’t fly a flag on memorial day. Admittedly because I’m British and unaware when such a date is… And I don’t fly a flag on remembrance Sunday due to lack of a flagpole.

    But more to the point.. the USA was founded on and derives its greatest strengths from enlightenment principals; free enquiry, the ability to speak truth to power; rejection of ‘divine authority’ and all that. The global warming deniers such as Watts are very much opposed to this; they wish to close down enquiry, and the only results they would ever accept from research are the ones they have already decided on.

    The question is, if you stand against the very founding principals of your country, can you still describe yourself as a patriot? Or is patriotism only defined by the number of flags you have on display?

  3. I think this might be close to one of the most loathsome things Watts has done, but it isn’t the most.

    For example Watts has not edited the following piece to explain that there is not a problem:

    When he knows that the reason for the adjustments was for the following unpublished paper:

    I’ve informed Anthony Watts of this but the piece still remains unedited and the skeptics keep repeating it around the internet echo chamber.

  4. carrot eater

    Classy stuff. Watts somehow can’t honor the fallen without polluting the moment by weirdly invoking his own unrelated personal feuds.

    Take the high road; this sorry spectacle this speaks for itself.

  5. Repost your debunking of him. Really go to town on it. Get it all fresh in everyones’ minds ;)

  6. This is especially ironic considering that one of Watts’s commenters was recently hoping for the assassination of the president of the US:

    At WUWT, Rich Matarese wrote: “I’m not going to outlive [President Obama] unless we all get real lucky and something happens to severely embarrass the Secret Service in the next couple of years…”

    Neither Watts nor any of his minions saw anything wrong with that comment. While Watts is amazingly prompt to edit or delete comments that are the least bit critical of him or his website, he apparently has no problem with that one.

  7. The most deeply unpatriotic act possible must be to undermine the public’s perception of science in one’s own country. Watts, McIntyre & etc. are some of the most unpatriotic bloggers in their own countries. Likewise the same may be said of any individual [e.g. Monckton; Glenn Beck; Limbaugh et al.] who dishonestly foments distrust of scientists. This isn’t linked to climate science, it now includes those who falsely dispute the validity of evolution; geology and any other scientific discipline.
    Those who promote anti-science threaten the future prosperity of their own country, those who falsely accuse scientists of wrong-doing are just as culpable. What is amazing is this rampant anti-patriotism combines with overt faux patriotism. This is cynical hypocrisy on a grand scale.

    One doesn’t have to try too hard to see the relevance of this quotation.
    First they came for the Communists but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists but I was not one of them, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews but I was not Jewish so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me. – Martin Niemoeller

    • TrueSceptic


      Good points, but surely we are all aware that faux patriotism and an anti-science world-view are often found in the same people, and especially in those on the political Right?

    • This was my first reaction, too. Thanks for articulating it so well.

    • You must be aware that Glenn Beck has co-opted this poem by a man (who supported anti-semitism until he was rounded up and sent to a concentration camp).

      The Daily Show did a commentary on this that was hilarious (here is a tidbit, with a link to the video):

      At 4:10 into the video clip:
      Lewis Black: I’ll give Glenn Beck this. He’s got style. He can even make a paranoid Nazi comparison using poetry.

      Beck (footage): You ever heard the old poem, ‘first they came for the Jews’? Well, first they came for the banks, then it was the insurance companies, then it was the car companies.

      Lewis Black: Glenn- get a grip. There’s a difference. They came for the Jews to kill them. They came for the banks and the car companies to give them 700 billion dollars. If that’s coming for them, then come for me! Hell, for 700 billion, I’ll go to you!”

      • From Glenn Beck: “I told you this summer that we are going to concentrate on restoring history. The history of our nation, the founding, the 20th century, the Depression era, um, and the Civil Rights Movement, which has been co-opted by progressives.”

        “…the Civil Rights Movement, which has been co-opted by progressives.”??? There are things that are beyond parody. What’s troubling is that people believe him – in on-line arguments, I’ve had people point out that it was the Republicans that supported the 1960’s civil rights legislation in the US, while conveniently denying the Southern Strategy that the Republican Party used to break off southern conservative voters from the Democratic Party.

        Those who advanced the cause of civil rights 40-60 years ago were derided as subversives, “outside agitators” and communists. At best, conservatives believed that the issues should be settled by the states, at worst, they believed that black people were inferior. And that’s patriotic?

        And we wonder that these people can deny the science.

  8. We say here that someone like him does not have all the cups in the cabinet. He has no cups at all, that are not broken!

  9. It brings to mind (once again) the famous Samuel Johnson remark, “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.”

    It’s thought that Johnson may have been speaking of Burke–he was doing so when he made this comment (also quite apposite, IMO):

    We are sure that [Burke] acts from interest. We know what his genuine principles were. They who allow their passions to confound the distinctions between right and wrong, are criminal. They may be convinced; but they have not come honestly by their conviction.

    Less literarily, Tamino, I am sorry you have to put up with this caca.

  10. If the picture he posted was taken in the morning, he was displaying his flag improperly – it is supposed to be a half-staff until noon, then raised to full staff.

  11. “In Dr. Johnson’s famous dictionary patriotism is defined as the last resort of a scoundrel. With all due respect to an enlightened but inferior lexicographer I beg to submit that it is the first.” – Ambrose Bierce

  12. Let’s see if this one gets past moderation:

    Anthony Watts: “Meh, what’s shameful is that these two bloggers have not the courage to put their own names to their words.”

    Is Steven Goddard a pseudonym or his actual name? I have read it is the latter.

    • Doug Bostrom

      In a private exchange of correspondence w/ Goddard some time ago he used the same name, FWIW, insisted that he was not adopting an ironic pseudonym. From that communication I concluded that whatever his real identity, he really believes what he writes. I also ended up feeling some compunction about ripping on him in public because I’m not sure it’s either fair or kind. It’s perhaps a reflection on Watts that he’d let the man treat himself so in public.

      But then I’m a bleeding heart treehugger so my judgment may be impaired.

  13. Damn, should’ve said “former”. No doubt he’ll score a browny point or two.

  14. Apparently Watts wasn’t feeling too well – not enough adulation and worship by his fans, so he puts up this red meat post. His post was a rather cynical and calculated effort to use the emotional impact of the holiday to his own advantage. The teabagger contingent at WTFWT responded with expected form. The snarky comment against Tamino and Eli was a bonus – more red meat.

    Oh, and his ongoing complaint about anonymity – as if many of us don’t already know how he treats folks who aren’t anonymous. Either one is anonymous at WTFWT, and gets whined at, or one is not, and gets cyberstalked by Anthony.

    The man has no ethics.

  15. Craig Allen

    As an Australian, to me one of the scariest thing about the US (along with the propensity for ritious vengence) is the extreme patriotism. It seems to be taken for granted by most of you. But to outsiders (and I’ve discussed this with many people of many nationalities) frankly it seems pathological. It’s one of the key characteristics that allows/causes peoples to commit atrocities against other peoples, and to otherwise subjugate them. And Americans who don’t exhibit extreme patriotism increasingly seem fearful of admitting it. It’s scary to watch.

    • As a UK citizen, I have to agree with Craig, though I also recognise that there are many, many Americans who would agree also. The idea of running up a flag on a particular day to demonstrate allegiance to a particular country seems not only bizarre but potentially dangerous.

      Have we in Europe during the twentieth century taught America nothing about the perils of extreme nationalism? You spilt more than enough of your own blood opposing its consequences here. To witness what appears to be similar passions now being stoked in America is indeed scary.

      So, not only (FWIW) do I wish to offer my full support to Tamino and Eli Rabbet against Watts disgraceful behaviour, but also add that had anyone, during the recent baiting of Prof.Phil Jones of UAE, seen fit to question whether Jones flew the flag of St. George or the Union Jack at his home, I think even the most rabid AGW denier would have either scratched his/her head in puzzlement or fallen about laughing.

    • As another aussie, and someone who has spent a good deal of time in the US visiting friends & relatives there, I wholeheartedly agree.

      To be judged on your loyalty to your country because you don’t happen to have a flag flying outside your front door is quite insulting and more than a little disturbing to us foreigners. It’s a bizarre mentality I just don’t understand. Actually, it’s quite juvenile – a bit like comparing penis size (my flag’s bigger than yours, therefore I’m more patriotic than you, so there).

  16. J Bowers wrote: Repost your debunking of him. Really go to town on it. Get it all fresh in everyones’ minds ;)

    Which debunking? Anthony’s errors (and those of his guest bloggers) have been debunked over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again here….

  17. FYI, Tamino, I just submitted a comment here that had a few links in it. Usually I can see comments with the note “awaiting moderation” but this one doesn’t show up at all … I’m wondering whether the multiple links sent it directly to a spam filter, or whether my “submit” button failed.

  18. Watts has now closed comments on that thread.

  19. Just been looking at a sea ice thickness flicker on WUWT and noticed there has been some fiddling with the colouring to make the 1.75-2m colour very similar to the 2-1.25m colouring.

    FWIW….. not that I am unpatriotic or anything. I have a flag of every country on every space in my garden, covering all the bases like.

  20. Ray Ladbury

    If a man is to be judged by the enemies he keeps, you are doing pretty well.

  21. Well, there wasn’t a single flag on my street yesterday, something I only noticed because of Watts’s disgusting behavior. I guess I live on a street of anti-Americans.

    My dad was a combat engineer in Patton’s 3rd Army. Arrived in Normandy D-Day+8. Fought as an infantryman through the bocage country, and then afterwards was able to do what he was trained to do (mostly put pontoon bridges across rivers where the Germans had blown bridges, usually under harassing fire from the other side).

    Never flew a flag on Memorial Day his entire life.

    And Watts would call him unpatriotic.

  22. J: Watts has now closed comments on that thread.”

    I also see my question about Goddard’s name didn’t make it through, either. Shame, but quite predictable.

    By the way, on which debunkings to post; how about all of them?

  23. Sorry I messed up the above link, this is the one I was trying.

  24. Timothy Chase

    TAMINO, please delete the earlier version of this comment. Formatting issues I couldn’t see when I previewed using the form at another site — as that site processes blockquotes differently.

    Corrected version below:

    Oxford Kevin wrote:

    I think this might be close to one of the most loathsome things Watts has done, but it isn’t the most.

    For example Watts has not edited the following piece to explain that there is not a problem:

    When he knows that the reason for the adjustments was for the following unpublished paper:

    I’ve informed Anthony Watts of this but the piece still remains unedited and the skeptics keep repeating it around the internet echo chamber.

    There is the bit where he states:

    Some evidence appears to show a halt in a rise of global temperatures from about 1960, but is contradicted by other evidence which appears to show a rise in temperatures is continuing.

    The data that appears to “show a halt” in the rise of temperatures is the tree ring data where growth falls off, possibly due to global dimming resulting in less sunlight reaching the trees where the global dimming was the result of 20th century pollution, or water no longer being the limitting factor in growth elsewhere, etc. — that is where the correlation held well up to 1960 — but not so well afterwards. Obviously, if you have the actual instrumental temperatures they would be preferable to temperatures estimated by proxy — unless you are Watts.

    But as he states it, this sounds like there is no reason for preferring one body of evidence over another — and scientists are just arbitrarily going with the data that supports their “narrative.”

    Obviously he knows better.

    However, what is new in the post is the programmer’s comment in the code that Watt has highlighted with red lettering:

    Uses “corrected” MXD – but shouldn’t usually plot past 1960 because these will be artificially adjusted to look closer to the real temperatures.

    I assume that by “look closer to the real temperatures,” the programmer is using shorthand to speak of the use of the observed spatial variations (as identified by means of the statistical method of principal component analysis) to essentially “fill in the blanks” as far as past spatial variation is concerned due to the sparseness of the proxy data. That is, the technique used by “other approaches” described on page 4 of the text you are referring us to:

    A key principle of this study is to reconstruct the temperature history at each grid box independently (i.e., on a grid-box by grid-box basis). Other approaches [emphasis added] (e.g., Briffa et al., 1986; Mannet al., 1998; Luterbacher et al., 2004) often make use of the leading Empirical Orthogonal Function(EOF) patterns obtained from a Principal Component Analysis (PCA) of twentieth century temperature observations. Although we are not criticising such approaches (and indeed we have used such an approach with the MXD data set – Rutherford et al., 2004), the grid-box basis of the present study was selected specifically to provide an alternative that allows the variations in the MXD data themselves to determine the pre-twentieth century spatial covariance structure. The approaches that reconstruct EOF patterns impose, to some extent, fixed patterns of temperature variability throughout the reconstruction (though the relative variances of each pattern may differ over time). For proxy networks that have a heterogeneous response to climate (e.g., a network that combines proxies that respond to different seasons or to different climate variables), an EOF-type approach is clearly necessary to extract the common signals from the diverse data.

    It helps me (and perhaps others) if this sort of thing gets spelled out.

  25. is watts in a race with minimum arctic sea ice extent? Probably means watts is ahead for the moment.

  26. Tamino

    It’s getting more attention than it deserves. Just keep up your good work explaining the science.

    You won’t stop people that like BS from liking BS. So save your energy to what matters.

  27. For all the talk about Peak Oil, I can’t help wondering when we will reach Peak Stupid. Watts et al. have been pumping the stupid so fast (CO2 snow, Venus, comparing anomalies without matching the baselines…) that the reservoirs have got to be declining.

    Unless whole new supergiant fields of stupid are found somewhere offshore or in other unexplored regions, I can’t help thinking that Watts and his buddies will use up future generations’ allotment of stupid. That would be a shame, as everyone ought to have the right to a little bit of stupid now and then. It just ain’t right for Watts and Goddard to squander hundreds of times more stupid than the average citizen of India or China, and leave none for future generations.

    • t_p_hamilton

      WUWT is the BP of Stupid, copiously polluting the world.

      • Here’s another Einstein quote:

        “This world is a strange madhouse. Currently, every coachman and every waiter is debating whether relativity theory is correct. Belief in this matter depends on political party affiliation.”

        Albert Einstein, 1920, in a letter to the mathematician Marcel Grossmann.

      • Mal Adapted

        The great 20th-century philospher Zappa (Playboy, Aug. 1979) had the last word on stupidity:

        “It’s not getting any smarter out there. You have to come to terms with stupidity and make it work for you.”

    • TrueSceptic

      Just as there is no bottom to Stupid, there is no peak either. It’s effectively infinite. No matter how idiotic or dishonest you imagine a denidiot could be, they will exceed your expectations every time.

      • arch stanton

        “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.”
        – Albert Einstein

      • @ arch stanton

        Sorry, replied in the wrong part. See another quote above.

  28. Speaking of flags, It appears Watts has just run up the white flag of surrender on climate issues given that mindless belch at the end of his post. Who can blame him. Standing up to the relentless assaults exposing his inane pronouncements and those of his denialist allies like Goodard is impossible when he’s outgunned at every turn. In the end all he can offer is a view of what a small person he really is. Can it get any more pathetic than that?

  29. carrot eater

    Well, Watts has given an apology of sorts, so that’s that.

    He does note that “predictably it’s turned into a bash-fest”. Yes, Anthony, when you say something ignorant and crass, you will be criticized. That’s why it’s a good idea to think before you blog.

  30. john MCmanus

    This just shows that any idiot can fly a flag to mask antisocial behavior.
    Real patriots try to improve their country in myriad ways.

  31. Nick Dearth

    I just visited Mr. Watts’ website and read his initial comments and subsequent defense of the indefensible. It is truly disgusting and grotesque. He claims Tamino and Eli did not “return” the compliment, when he offered zero compliments and then went on to bash them some more. He makes the claim in the end (along with a meaningless apology) that he could have “phrased it better”. No, Mr. Watts, it needn’t be phrased better. It was perfectly clear the intent and meaning behind it. The issue many of us have is that it didn’t need to be phrased at all. The fact that he felt the need to say something so completely unrelated and unnecessary, then defend it by taking shots at your anonymity, disparaging any insults directed at him for his repeatedly wrong analysis and subsequent defense to the death approach (not to mention allowing and encouraging insults directed at everyone he disagrees with on his site), really tells the kind of despicable human being he is. His type of passive/aggressive behavior is abhorrent. There is simply no defense for employing a day of remembrance for our fallen soldiers as an opportunity to take cheap shots at those you don’t like for completely unrelated reasons. He is sickening.

  32. Has anyone thought of organizing a poll of the members of the AAAS, to identify what they consider the best science blogs? It’d be interesting to know what real scientists think.

  33. Phil Clarke

    Given that both ‘Eli’ and ‘Tamino’ have published moderately high profile papers in recent months under their own names, anyone who is even remotely acquainted with the climate blogosphere knows their actual names. But let us extend the fiction that Watts’ objects to their anonymity; if he doesn’t know who they are – how does he even know they are American? ;-)

    • Gavin's Pussycat

      Yes, the implied internet illiteracy is pretty damning… and nobody even notices, least of all Comical Tony himself.

  34. “Either you are with us or you are with the terraists”

  35. Everyone knew Watts is a ruthless demagogue despite his protestations otherwise. But I’m sure he won’t consider this an ad hominem.

  36. is he even aware that other places exist? that might explain why he keeps getting world and CONUS temperatures mixed up.

    to be fair, it’s easy to forget sometimes. i only found out yesterday that East Anglia isn’t a town in Maine.

  37. Thomas Moore

    Oh it’s Ok, he explained himself:

    REPLY: Not neccessarily, but the way those two guys (Tamino and Rabbet) act sometimes, it does make one wonder. It would be refreshing to see them display some patriotism once in awhile, instead of a constant stream of invective and snark.

    So no, your theory is disproven. People who are critical of me don’t automatically hate America. They still have the opportunity to illustrate their patriotism and gratitude for the men and women who gave their lives for the greater good, and I hope they will. – Anthony

    Silly me! Come on Tamino, prove to use you are a P-A-T-R-I-O-T and stop being snarky. Cause snarky people are unpatriotic, right?

  38. Why respond? Watts has the primitive logic and emotionalism of a child, and that ain’t changed in fifty odd years (how’s that for an insult?)

  39. aah, all is clear now. they’re not *automatically* unpatriotic, they just need to wave miniature American flags at least once a day to prove they love their country.

    simple when you think about it.

  40. There can only be one person whose opponents automatically hate America, and although it is true that comedians run WUWT, none of them are named Stephen Colbert

  41. John Mashey

    1) Suppose a comment is made (that in fact could well be libelous) is made in a place where it might well be disappeared. Consider this useful Canadian software:

    If you get set up to use it, and arrange for the incoming mail to sent to a email folder, with one click you can make sure that a copy is saved in a safe place, and you’ll accumulate records thereof. At some point, such items may be of use, especially w.r.t. those people who post inflammatory things, stir people up, then change them.

    2) Speaking of that:
    tamino: rumor has it that you’re reading an interesting book. If you haven’t already, you might check the Wikipedia Discussion page for that book … as I believe it will become a classic … and study thereof I hope may lead to tightening some rules in Wikipedia-land, when the dust has settled.

  42. Y’all should take a look at this book:
    The Authoritarians by Bob Altemeyer. (and it’s free!)
    This is research that explains the boneheadedness of people like Watts and his followers.

  43. Gavin's Pussycat

    I know which blogs Ben Franklin would read — or write.

  44. Let me guess.

    You not only had no U.S. flag on the Memorial Day – but you would even be afraid to lie and say Yes because you know that the far-left anti-American loons who dominate the readers of this blog would lynch you.

    • More fantasies transmitted by tinfoil hat from Prague, I see.

    • Let me guess

      You tried to be funny, but failed miserably due to the strange humor-repellent halo around your head.

    • Nick Dearth

      I read this blog, but I was unaware that as a reader I am dominated by the “far-left anti-American loons”. Also, if I recall my American history, I don’t believe lynchings were an activity of those on the left side of the political spectrum. Kudos to you, though, for speaking out and supporting a totally unsupportable position (familiar territory, no doubt) with utter nonsense. Keep up the good work.

    • A characteristically objective and rational analysis, exhibiting the best qualities of judicious thought and logical proportion.

      /irony off

    • Lubos, do you still have those notes on what to do if you are ever correct, or did you discard them as unnecessary?

      • This made me lol!

        I would try and work out whether Lubos was ever correct about string theory, but I simply can’t fathom it. One thing is certain, he was very wrong when trying to describe that little Phil Jones 15-year trend kerfuffle.

        If I recall correctly, Lubos argued that if the trend is not quite statistically significant, then there is no spoon… erm, I mean, trend.

    • Obviously we know which side of the America, love it or leave it divide Lubos is on. See Yah

  45. J on Peak Stupid,

    ROFLMAO!!! Priceless! I’m preserving that one in my humor file.

    • TrueSceptic


      I’m sure you enjoy the fact that your post appears immediately after Motl’s.

  46. Tamino and Eli should be very worried. We’ve all seen what happens when Watt’s powerful intellect begins to “wonder” about something: convoluted conspiracies get exposed, disciplines get overturned, definitive scientific studies get published. It’s all over when that piercing indefatigable gaze of Truth falls upon you.

  47. Luboš Motl
    (See failed wannabe applied mathematician troll.)

  48. IMO the worst thing Watts has done was to hang Dr. Briffa out to dry (incorrectly, of course) while Dr. Briffa was laying in a hospital bed with a serious kidney and unable to defend himself. Then to top it off, he publicly crititized me for using a medical analogy in an attempt to defend the science that Dr. Briffa supports. Wow!

    My Global Warming Blog
    Twitter: AGW_Prof
    “Global Warming Fact of the Day” Facebook Group

    • Andrew Brown


      I just joined up with your “Global Warming Fact of the Day” Facebook Group after spotting it in your post. Thanks for the work in setting it up.


      PS: While I am at it – thanks to Tamino for running this excellent and informative blog.

  49. Philippe Chantreau

    So flying a flag makes Watts a patriot? Wow, that’s easy.
    Let’s see, how many people do I know who did that? Probably zero. However, I do know some who just went to work because they were scheduled that day. Doing so, they provided medical care for veterans. No flag waving ,though, so it probaly didn’t count.

    As for myself, I made sure I was off work the night before so I could play trumpet with my band at the city’s ceremony. Then I went to work in he evening.

    In my spare moments, I checked NSIDC, where every day going by makes the idiocy of WUWT more obvious. But I didn’t fly a flag. Darn, all that effort for no credit!

    One should always consult the likes of Watts and Motl to ensure compliance with acceptable patriotic diplays, it seems. And we should probably keep a log of such displays too, we might have to present it to the patriotic compliance inspectors…

  50. Ray Ladbury

    Taxonomy of idjits:

    Watts is an ignorant food tube.

    Motl is a clownshoe.

  51. People who lie to their countrymen are no patriots. They should be ashamed.

  52. And then the ultimate form of flag patriotism is to make sure that the display also consumes fossil fuels via an upward pointing floodlight and the flag raising and lowering ceremony is obviated by a timer or photo-sensor control. Best of all, you only have to be patriotic the day you mount the flag and install the light and controller. At this point you might as well get the biggest flag and brightest light you can find — since you don’t have to raise and lower it; you don’t even have to get out of your chair to show your patriotism — until the day you notice shreds of your weathered flag blowing across the lawn.

  53. Lubos,

    Not only do I have my flag up every day, but the day before Memorial Day I was visiting the grave of my World War II/Korea vet father (2nd Lt Myron H. Levenson, Army Air Corp, Purple Heart) and saluting the flag at Tree of Life Cemetery in Sharpsburg, PA. On Memorial Day itself, my brother visited the same grave–that would be Lt. Col. Elliott I. Levenson, Bosnia and Iraq vet, Bronze Star.

  54. David B. Benson

    Since Luboš Motl appears to be living in Pilsen I do hope he isn’t also polluting the beer.

  55. This is the way commissars play the game. My father is a life-long liberal. I have many times heard people call him unpatriotic for being so.

    Here is who he is:

    6 WW2 battle stars –

    1st Battle of Savo Island, Battle of Tassafaronga, Battle of the Eastern Solomons, Capture and defense of Guadalcanal, Consolidation of the Southern Solomons, and a little skirmish called Iwo Jima. He has a Navy Unit Commendation, a Presidential Unit Citation, a Silver Star for saving five wounded Marines while under devastating enemy fire on Iwo Jima, and a Purple Heart. He carries enemy iron inside his body to this very day.

    Commissars are conservatives who attempt to cast the military as a purely conservative organization, and who attempt to use military service and patriotism against anybody who disagrees with them. They would, if allowed, steal the military legacy of men like Barton and dhogaza’s relatives and use it for conservative political purposes. Basically, there is no rathole out of which these one-trick dirt bags will not pop.

    One time I drove up to see dad. On the way there was a talk radio show in which the guest and host talked about global warming. He had this theory. There was this iris in the sky that would wondrously open up and vent the heat into outer space. When I got to dad’s house he just happened to be watching a video called “An Inconvenient Truth”. Not making this up. When it was done he asked me what I thought. So I figured I would try out this latest talk-radio theory. I told him about the magic iris. When I was done he looked at me and said, “Bullshit.”

    I’ll never forget that. Anyway, Tamino is what my father calls solid, and he knows a difference.

  56. Tony O'Brien

    “If you cannot attack the science attack the man”

    Such pathetic slurs only go to show how little they have. Their lies and mis directions are comming apart at a rapid rate. Unfortunatly so is the ideal climate we used to live in.

    To suffer the sligs and arrows of outrageous lies, to prevent the country being largely uninhabitable, is true patriotism

  57. This Memorial Day, what’s that? Something like the Day of the Fallen in here? I mean the day to go to the graves of fallen soldier relatives? I mean the day to remember the horrifics of a defensive war and what it means to the participants? I much would not like to carry a flag in a war (one who does is likely the first to get shot by a sniper), but maybe Watts would like to do that, since it appears he claims patriotism is measured by flagging.

    • Memorial Day grew out of our Civil War, and was originally a day to decorate and honor the graves of those who died for the Union (as opposed to the rebel) side.

      Over time it has become a day to honor those in the US who have died in any war.

      Your idea regarding Watts isn’t a bad one :)

  58. All normal people, I believe will be deeply moved by this:
    ‘When you go home, tell them of us and say, for their tomorrow, we gave our today.’

    However the cynical hijacking by Watts of patriotism and the self-sacrifice of the fallen as a weapon to attack his critics is contrasted by the probable future consequences of the actions of Watts and his colleagues in climate deceit and denial.

    The deniers’ position may be summed up as:
    ‘We willingly sacrifice future generations’ welfare, in order that we can selfishly make whoopee and lots of dirty money today.’

  59. Since I had several ancestors who served in the Union Army in the US Civil War (one of whom was a POW at Andersonville), I have a particular interest in the origins of Memorial Day. I found some interesting information in a book I am reading, and posted this on my FB status:

    During the Civil War, the Washington Race Course and Jockey Club in Charleston, SC became a prisoner-of-war camp for captured Union soldiers. Many prisoners died, and were buried in shallow, unmarked graves.

    On May 1, 1865 10,000 former slaves – men, women and children – walked to the race course burial ground and carpeted the graves of men from far away, whom they had never met, with masses of flowers. They sang patriotic hymns: “John Brown’s Body”, “The Star-Spangled Banner”, “Rally ‘Round the Flag” and “America”. This was their way of honoring the men who had truly fought for their freedom.

    And thus began the custom of decorating the graves of the fallen and the holiday of Decoration Day, later, Memorial Day.

    For the former slaves in South Carolina, freedom wasn’t an abstraction, but was very real – they had literally gained their freedom through the sacrifice of so many.

    Fighting the Civil War was a huge national effort with great sacrifice, made more difficult by the naysayers. Any resemblance to any current situation (or future needs) is purely coincidental. ;-)

    • Ray Ladbury

      As micro-Watts is in Houston, I’m sure he refers to it as “The War of the Northern Aggression.”

      After all, isn’t the motto there: “If at first you don’t secede, try, try again”?

  60. REPLY: Not neccessarily, but the way those two guys (Tamino and Rabbet) act sometimes, it does make one wonder. It would be refreshing to see them display some patriotism once in awhile, instead of a constant stream of invective and snark.

    So no, your theory is disproven. People who are critical of me don’t automatically hate America. They still have the opportunity to illustrate their patriotism and gratitude for the men and women who gave their lives for the greater good, and I hope they will. – Anthony

    Ye Gods, what a pompous, self-infatuated ninny. The man has no decency.

    IMO the worst thing Watts has done was to hang Dr. Briffa out to dry (incorrectly, of course) while Dr. Briffa was laying in a hospital bed with a serious kidney and unable to defend himself.

    Agree 100%. The terrible impact on Phil Jones from climategate, manufactured by malicious, devious lumpens like Anthony Watts, and continuing while Jones languished,is the most disgusting episode in all the climate wars.

  61. By coincidence, I’m writing this upon return from the interment ceremony of a veteran of the Vietnam war. Like Philippe–apparently–I’m a trumpet player, and was engaged to assist with “Taps.”

    So I was just there as a “hired gun” and didn’t know the gentleman. But the grief of his family members spoke volumes about the kind of man he must have been–and forms, in retrospect, a rather painful contrast to the subject of this thread.

  62. Re: how low can you go?
    I don’t know who said this first, but I like it; something similar to this:
    “When people like Watts try to raise the bar, you need a shovel to do the limbo.”

  63. Jody Aberdein

    Well presumably that puts you in the company of Joseph Priestley and Antoine Lavoisier, both characters I’ve just met in Gabrielle Walker’s ‘an ocean of air’.

  64. CapitalClimate

    The flag was up all day at the Climate Capitalist’s (and the computer was off).

  65. Philippe Chantreau

    Hi Kevin. Good to know there is another trumpet dude out there in the climate blogosphere :-)
    I haven’t checked out this organization yet but it looks like a better way to honor veteran than flag waving:

  66. Oops–I meant to type “Philippe!” Sorry for the misspelling.

  67. It’s all about your anonymity, apparently.

  68. Patriotism?

    Isn’t that just a US, Croatian and German (pre 1945) thing?

    You shoudn’t worry not being considered one Tamino.

  69. Nick, does Watts also think that those who avail themselves of the right to a secret ballot are unpatriotic?

  70. The anonymity thing (which is actually a pseudonym thing) is ridiculous, for two reasons.

    1. Using a pseudonym on the Internet is the norm, and using a “real” name isn’t actually much different. How can you know for sure that the person is using their real name?

    2. The same people who want equal respect in the science arena as the experts – even without the proper education or experience – can’t abide real commentary simply because the name doesn’t seem real.

    It’s incredibly difficult to take them seriously when they whine about names. To me it hints that they haven’t got a clue about much of anything. Welcome to the Internet, newbs.

    • How can you know for sure that the person is using their real name?

      Ask “Steven Goddard” …

      • Is that for sure, or are people just assuming that he doesn’t just happen to share a name with GISS? (It wouldn’t surprise me at all that he’s using a pseudonym and that Watts is okay with it; Watts seems to me to be an authoritarian.)

  71. Tamino, lately my “Back” button doesn’t work to get back to the main page when I’m on Open Mind–and this *only* happens on Open Mind. What gives? Looks like you’re “capturing” the back button.

    [Response: I haven’t made any change along those lines (I wouldn’t even know how). I hope it’s just a temporary glitch.]

    • Works OK for me – Firefox 3.6.3 for Mac.

    • TrueSceptic


      If this persists, even after a restart, I’d clear your browser’s cache.

    • Igor Samoylenko


      All external links here are redirected via the link redirection service: go2 . wordpress . com (i.e. you go to go2 . wordpress . com first which then redirects you to your ultimate destination). You can see it if you look at the URL of any link (instead of clicking on it). Every URL referenced here is automatically wrapped up into an indirect call.

      This indirect referencing is typically transparent (I tried it on Chrome 5.0, Firefox 3.5, IE 8.0) and both back and forward buttons in the browser work as expected but I suppose your version of the browser may have a problem with it.

  72. Philippe Chantreau

    The pseudonym thing on WUWT is BS. Watts has no problem at all with people using a peudonym to call Mann a fraud or to bash Jones or to rant on how much snow they had this winter. It’s only when you point out the nonsense and you insist and you refuse to go away that the pseudonym thing comes up.

  73. As a palate cleanser, I just discovered that Great Blue Hill in Milton, Massachusetts, where I learned to ski as a kid, has an excellent on-line database of climate observations gathered there since the 1830s. It’s one of the oldest weather observatories in North America. Well worth taking a gander:

  74. As yet another Aussie, I can confirm the profound unease generated in other parts of the world by the bizarre obsession of many in the US with the grandiose display of patriotism.

    It very often seems to be a way of marginalising opposing views or justifying morally questionable policies.

    I can’t imagine any other country where the saying “My country, right or wrong” would be taken seriously, even by a significant minority. (OK, I’ve never been to North Korea…)

    I am often reminded of the old saying, source unknown to me, that patriotism is the belief that one country is superior to all the others simply because you were born in it.

    Keep up the good work, Tamino.

  75. Marion Delgado

    Let’s be honest: scientists are, in fact, less patriotic than most other groups of people. And lo and behold, that doesn’t seem to stop the Earth from turning.

    I regard that as a tribute – it’s Watts admitting he’s in the segment that clutches a flag and rants, and you and Eli are in the segment that clutches an Erlenmeyer flask and lectures. :)

    Me, I’m from Alaska. And my mom said, when I was quite small: “Remember, we’re ALASKANS, not AMERICANS.” I don’t cry a lot over Motherland, Fatherland, or even Homeland. When I lived in Japan I missed Alaska, when I lived in Europe I didn’t miss anything except a few meals when bumming around.

    In an era where the US officially has faithless multinational corporate persons as the ideal and the thing you should bow and scrape too, it just kills me how many people are cowed by invoking patriotism. The rich sociopaths who control the US are not crying over the flag any more than I am, but I don’t make any more money by pretending I do, and that’s not true for them.

    • Marion,
      I draw a distinction between true patriotism and mindless, flag-waving jingoism. True patriotism consists in wanting your nation to live up to its principles and to justify the sacrifice of generations past. Any fool can wave a flag. A true patriot seeks to keep democracy from becoming kleptocracy.

  76. Marion Delgado,

    This scientist is very patriotic indeed, thank you. God bless America!

  77. Marion Delgado

    Okay, Barton, I realize you’re an Xian and something of an economic conservative, and I am unsurprised by you saying you’re “patriotic.”

    But first, what do YOU mean by patriotism? Roughly what Ray said, above? Or, well, jingoism like Watts’:

    “I wonder if “Tamino” or Eli Rabbet bothers to fly a flag on memorial day? Here’s to hoping that they do.”

    Second, even in the more limited sense, since the plural of anecdote is not data, what do you think of the general body of scientists? I am not saying EVERY scientist is unpatriotic. I AM saying that scientists tend to be less patriotic, however you define it, and especially in the jingoistic sense, than the average population is. Just as they tend to be less religious as a group.

    Just saying, what you’re commenting doesn’t detract at all from my point that, in reality, Watts is trying to slur Tamino and Eli, no doubt, but not succeeding. For one thing, how many apartment-dwellers like me fly a @@$#ing flag on Memorial Day? 5? It pretty much assumes you have a yard, and a flag-pole. It’s the most absurd thing – right out of Mallard Fillmore.

    • Can I offer some input and opinion?

      A patriot loves their nation but also recognises its failings, and holds it to the same standards that it sets for others.

      A nationalist recognises no failings in their nation, and does not hold it to the same standards that it expects of others.

      Nationalists define themselves by their enemies and superiority over all others, while a patriot can laugh at their own nation with the same affection as laughing amongst good friends; they would defend their friends to the death, but would also remonstrate with them when necessary.

      A bit like the AGW debate in some ways… ;)

      • I would agree with J Bowers in differentiating between patriotism and chauvinism – between love of country for its ideals and blinding conformity. I was planning to write more about true patriotism, but someone else (starting at around 15:30) said it better than I could.

    • Come on, Marion. I think that Barton has defined himself to the point where we can give him the benefit of the doubt on that. Barton and I disagree on a lot of things. However, I’ve always found his opinions to be insightful and his heart to be in the right place.

      I also understand why you would be uncomfortable with overt displays of flagwaving, as they are so often a disguise for mischief.

      Americans have much to be proud of in thier patrimony. I wish they would do more to live up to it.

  78. Phil Scadden

    I am also pretty disturbed by patriotism. What does it mean? Cheer for countries/province/city team in a sports event? Yes, okay. Go and kill people in another country because an elite says its patriotic to do so? Nope. National power structures tend to favour patriotism because if people have it, then they can be encouraged to do things against their personal best interests in the name of greater common good. That’s fine and hunky dory only so long as it really is a “common good”. If its obvious then doesn’t need much “patriotism” but “my country, right or wrong” is the attitude that lets a powerful elite further the interests of the elite. You can put your flag-waving jingoism where the sun doesnt shine. (and yes, I am also not an American). Pround to be unpatriotic and supporter of the greater good of all humanity rather than any particular tribe.

  79. Yeah, Marion, I’m an economic conservative who wants national health insurance, if not national health care, and thought Obama did exactly the right thing in raising federal spending greatly to fight a Keynesian depression scenario.

  80. Marion Delgado

    Ray and Barton – I wasn’t implying much about BPL. I was honestly asking what his definition of patriotism is – precisely because it’s such a buzzword that it’s subject to Watts-style abuse, as most of us above seem to agree. Let me repeat, BPL: To say someone is patriotic is not, to me an unambiguous compliment, nor is saying they are not an unambiguous slur. I was guessing BPL was on Ray’s page, actually. That sort of patriotism could be a virtue, as my description of corporations as “faithless” would imply.

    My only point was and is that while Watts was TRYING to smear Eli and Tamino, I still doubt he succeeded. My take on it happens to be the same as Samuel Johnson’s. And fairly similar to Phil Scadden’s.

  81. deconvoluter

    Flags in the UK.

    They are brought out at the last night of the proms, as a bit of a joke, to accompany Rule Brittania and Pomp and Circumstance.; also when there are football matches.

    Who takes them more seriously , like a fetish? A particular set of climate change deniers….

  82. deconvoluter

    Re: my last comment.

    There is an ambiguity based on the word ‘union’in the Guardian article, which might confuse some readers. “Union Flag” = Union Jack = flag for whole of UK.

    Nothing to with the public service union Unite which was mentioned in the same article.

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