Category Archives: Propaganda

The attack of the Watts parasito-clones

Anthony Watts has spawned numerous clones and reaction blogs over the years. The worst is probably ‘Sou Bundanga‘. Sou does not write original material. Instead, every post is a reaction to a WUWT post appended to color commentary and comments lifted wholesale from WUWT itself.

Sou probably is consumed by intense hatred when writing her WUWT reaction blogs. How else can  you explain something like this? Reacting to a Watts post on the hypocrisy of climate scientists Sou goes ballistic. Drawing a parallel between Watts’ posts and the shock killing of UK Labour politician Jo Cox, she says:

postscript

This is unhinged.

If you are someone who thinks people who read Anthony Watts’ blog—’his nutters’ as she calls them— are capable of murdering scientists and will actually carry it out, you have reached the end of the line. You have no business  critiquing, analyzing and dissecting what he writes.

As with Gavin Schmidt it is obvious between Sou and Watts who got carried away politicizing an act of violence.

Go home safe, Sou, you are lost.

Gavin Schmidt: Brexit would lead to more than street killings of MPs

Yesterday British MP Jo Cox was killed by an attacker while going about meeting people in her constituency. The shocking incident set off a train of thoughts in Gavin Schmidt, who is from Britain.

A sudden crisis nearly always brings out hidden currents, which may have otherwise never surfaced. In his string of tweets Schmidt appears to blame ‘Brexit’ for the killing. His tweets followed the incident so closely in time there was no reliable information on motive.

The only possibility, then, is Schmidt was influenced by early reports that said the killer shouted “Britain first!” or the Guardian’s Polly Toynbee who wrote a long article squarely laying the blame for the murder at Brexit’s feet.

Schmidt pulls the trick climate activists have been resorting to, for decades:

schmidt copy

This is an incredible giveaway, isn’t it? Here we have an activist climate scientist, in the throes of a heated crisis, capitalizing on an event to attribute blame for murder on his political opponents, and going beyond, that if his side is defeated — in a fair election no less — more such incidents would occur.

It is speculation, wrapped in plausible deniability, capped off with a threat. How does he know the incident had anything to do with ‘Leave’?

Rremember, reliable information available on the killer’s motive was next-to-none at the time he wrote this. Yet Gavin Schmidt was quick off the bat.

Why wouldn’t I think he does the same with climate, and weather? ‘While no single weather event can be attributed to anthropogenic global warming, more such disasters would occur in a climate-changed world’ — how many times have we heard this from activists and scientists alike?

It is a reflexive exploitation of a crisis – you ascribe blame on your target, and while you cannot be fully sure it was what caused it, you nevertheless proceed to forecast more of the same, investing the threat with a cloak of probabilism.

Note: I wrote this originally on Medium. Only slightly modified here.

A La Jolla RICO Junta true story

The football coaches, assistant coaches and game strategists were distraught. They had gathered in the most idyllic of resorts in La Jolla for brainstorming.

‘Look, we’ve been playing game after game, not a single win’.

‘Not a win in years’.

Soccer coach Banton Pants stood up. ‘Guys, guys, relax’, he said.

‘In soccer, we used this trick. A player would run straight into the center-forward, collide, fall down injured and cry out loud.’

‘And then..’, cried Namory Goreskes, breathlessly. A football historian by trade, she knew nothing about soccer.

‘What else? ‘The referee would swoop in, pull out the red card and hold it up, the star player would be kicked out. The whole stadium would boo the guy on his way out – for cheating.’

‘We won several matches this way’.

The group went silent. The implications sank in. ‘Wow’, said Goreskes eventually as she clapped slowly. ‘A wonderful idea … such an inspiring template.’

Football_584

‘So … you’re saying, you run in there, right in front of Exxon, crumple violently throwing up all these old documents culled from a local library into the air, and the referee Attorney General shows up and dismisses Exxon?

‘Yeah and you get unlimited downs after that. And lots of money too’ – concluded Pants.

The coaches left La Jolla energized. They decided to write a report on their meeting, specifically and clearly documenting their plan to use the ‘fake injury red card’ learned from soccer to get opponents kicked out of future American football games.

References:

InsideClimate: NY AG Started RICO Planning Before Any InsideClimate Stories Were Released. Katie Brown, Energy In Depth, June 7, 2016

The New York Times: Wrong on the La Jolla RICO Junta

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There is a puff piece for the Oreskes/UCS/CAI RICO racket written by John Schwartz who is ‘science writer for The New York Times.’

Schwartz says the Oreskes/UCS/CAI – labeled the La Jolla junta – have been accused of fomenting a conspiracy when their actions have been out in the open all along. They published their plans in a report. So, no conspiracy he declares.

‘Conspiracy’ has become an easy smear word for too many people. Don’t like your critics?  Paint them as people who believe in ‘conspiracies’.  ‘Conspiracy’ is the rhetorical sledgehammer of the day.

Look at the activists plan carefully. The group wanted to prosecute the fossil fuel industry in order to imitate tobacco control activists and create ‘public outrage’. This came first. To do this, they needed incriminating documents that fit the RICO legal template. They had none at the time they hatched their plans. Members of the junta worked with state attorney generals who initiated investigations and issued subpeonas to Exxon.

The public narrative is the opposite: InsideClimateNews discovered documents that proved ‘Exxon knew’. This moved the environmentally conscientious attorney generals to launch investigations.

The junta had no reason, no locus or starting point to go after Exxon to begin with. They were conjured up to fit the template of the tobacco court cases. After having decided on the type of documents that were needed, they were ‘found’. Using these, legal summons for further confidential documents were issued – just like it was planned.

This is the very definition of a conspiracy. The fact that the La Jolla junta wrote a report about it doesn’t change the arrow of causality. Dragging companies to court for the express purpose of promoting your environmental cause is a conspiracy.

 

The US Govt #Knew the dangers of global warming. Yet it funded John Christy?

The US government has known about the dangers of global warming since the first IPCC report.

Yet it has funded the research of scientist John Christy.

In collusion with Roy Spencer, another notorious scientist

Christy is a notorious ‘pro-fossil fuel and anti-scientific consensus’ ‘climate misinformer’ . With continued support, Christy has performed science that casts doubt on global warming.

Christy casts doubt on the tropospheric hot spot, a proven feature of climate models

He even maintains a satellite temperature record that shows no global warming for the past 18 years.

Climate scientists have said he is ‘providing legitimacy to those who refuse’ to accept global warming.

The US Department of Energy (DOE) knew this. Yet they funded his work, right up to 2014.

The DOE must be investigated by the DOJ for racketeering.

Why does the ‘climate debate’ drag on?

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Here’s why: there are a number of people applying a host of wrong techniques to attack.

Take an example: Say your cousin Vinny developed an abscess (ouch). Nothing too big and it’s just starting off. But what if – instead of going to a doctor  who would probably lance the boil – you both decide to treat it with antibiotics?

Now, instead of the fleeting pain and subsequent cure, Vinny’s abscess shrinks a bit but walls off. There’s no way to get it out, and it takes forever to resolve.

Take for example, this article on the Paris accord that appeared a while ago in the American Interest.

It has a very promising and intriguing title: “Twilight of the Climate Change Movement”

Wow – you think. Everyone’s celebrating ‘Paris’ in the climate world and here’s someone who thinks it might actually be a disaster for the movement? How interesting.

Drawn in by the premise, you read on, and the author declares:

The climate change movement faces big trouble ahead. Its principal propositions contain two major fallacies that can only become more glaring with time

What are these two fallacies?

First

…in stark contrast to popular belief … the science on which the dire predictions of manmade climate change is based is nowhere near the level of understanding or certainty that popular discourse commonly ascribes to it.

We know that. Anyone with half a working brain knows that, so good.

Second:

… the movement’s embrace of an absolute form of the precautionary principle distorts rational cost-benefit analysis, or throws it out the window altogether.

Here lies the problem.

What makes the author Mario Loyola think the climate movement has anything to do with ‘rational cost-benefit analysis’?

If it were, you could say ‘Yes, these people are hamming it up. they’re not doing a good job’. The issue of a bad cost-benefit analysis comes up only if the thing was a question of cost-benefit analysis.

Has the author never in his studies encountered power-seeking, profiteering, political and personal ambition wrapped up as ‘environmentalism’? Calculating finances to pay for Catholic indulgences might have taken some hard math too, but it takes special talent to get cracking with the calculations but be blind to the charade.

The climate movement is not in trouble because the ‘rationality’ of their cost-benefit analysis is ‘distorted’ by the precautionary principle. The climate movement is a distortion that uses the appearance of cost-benefit analysis to pass itself off as rational.

 

Loyola recognizes that the climate movement’s agenda is essentially “anti-industrial”.

If one knows this, the way is simply clear: stop taking the impact of estimates of ‘equillibrium climate sensitivity’ on the anti-industrial agenda seriously. The ECS analyses of Nic Lewis’ are interesting but why pretend they have any bearing at all on Bill McKibben’s next move?

There are lots of people in the climate debate who take the quantitative questions thrown up by the voodoo premises of the climate movement quite seriously and analyze them with great effort. The lukewarmers certainly belong in this class.

They have definitely contributed to prolonging humanity’s climate pain.

 

 

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Slowdown Seepage Catfight

Slow? Slow compared to what? Reality is not slow, or fast or anything. Reality is what it is.

Yes, it’s slow compared to the ’90s. So? That’s ‘slow’ only if you expected it would continue to warm at the same rate.

It’s also slow compared to the models. That’s not ‘slow’, that’s the models being fast. The models are hotter. And the models are definitely man-made.

So yes, it’s not the climate that’s slow.

It’s the models that are hot, and your expectations that were high.

 

CSIRO in tears

There has been a huge uproar in CSIRO which is set to shed scientist jobs following a restructuring by its boss Larry Marshall, who was brought in specifically to effect change.

The scientists are upset because ‘they are passionate about what they do’ and some of them have ‘spent 20 or 30 years working in a particular area’ and ‘that’s what gets them out of bed in the morning’.

If they lose their jobs all this would be … gone.

For a profession engaged in the radical transformation of the entire world, these notions seem hypocritical and peculiarly sentimental. Attached to their jobs, livelihoods, fulfilling professions, and a sense of purpose in life… how quaint.

After all, these are things climate scientists, indirectly, worked day in and out to eliminate for thousands upon thousands of people everywhere.

If we want to cut carbon we need to eliminate waste and redundancy. Climate science is settled. Who is redundant once ‘the science’ is settled?

Scientists.

RICO-teering: How climate activists ‘knew’ they were going to pin the blame on Exxon

Picture this.

You are a scientist. You wake up one morning and go:

“Why don’t I write a letter to the US Attorney General asking her to throw fossil fuel companies in jail under the RICO act?

It would be my civic deed for the day”.

Sounds plausible?

No it doesn’t. Climate scientists have a penchant for signing activist letters. But letters pushing legal advice to an Attorney General recommending prosecution of opponents?

So where do these strange ideas come from?

Step forward ‘Climate Accountability Institute’

The Climate Accountability Institute (CAI) is a small front attempting to marry ‘climate concerns’ to environmentalism and tobacco prohibitionist tactics. But ‘small’ is a relative term in the climate activist world.

In 2012 the CAI held a ‘workshop’ in La Jolla California. It was ‘conceived’ by Naomi Oreskes and others, and called ‘Establishing Accountability for Climate Change Damages: Lessons from Tobacco Control.’ Stanton Glantz, a prominent tobacco control activist scientist was present as were a clutch of lawyers, climate scientists, communication professionals, PR agency heads, bloggers and journalists.

They released a report (pdf):

CAI report

The workshop was an ‘exploratory, open-ended dialogue’ on the use of  ‘lessons from tobacco-related education, laws, and litigation to address climate change.’

The headline conclusion was essentially conspiracy theory. Here it is, verbatim (emphasis mine):

A key breakthrough in the public and legal case for tobacco control came when internal documents came to light showing the tobacco industry had knowingly misled the public. Similar documents may well exist in the vaults of the fossil fuel industry and their trade associations and front groups…

Why do these mythical documents needed to be ‘unearthed’?

While we currently lack a compelling public narrative about climate change in the United States, we may be close to coalescing around one. Furthermore, climate change may loom larger today in the public mind than tobacco did when public health advocates began winning policy victories.

The reader should take a moment to grasp the momentous logic: We know legally ‘incriminating documents’ (their choice of words) ‘may’ exist, because tobacco activists had a breakthrough with such documents. They need to be found in order to make climate change a ‘looming threat’ in the public mind. 

Try thinking of a more reverse-engineered form of activism.

The first chapter in the report is ‘Lessons from Tobacco Control’. It is mainly one section called ‘The Importance of Documents in Tobacco Litigation’

importance tobacco

We learn next to nothing about these supposed ‘documents’ from the report. After all, they haven’t been released or even found.

But ‘the documents’ were very valuable:

says ‘one of the most important lessons to emerge from the history of tobacco litigation’ was the ‘value of bringing internal industry documents to light’.

There was little doubt about their existence:

… many participants suggested that incriminating documents may exist that demonstrate collusion among the major fossil fuel companies …

Since they were so sure they exist, careful plotting was needed on companies whose vaults to raid

He [Glantz] stressed the need to think carefully about which companies and which trade groups might have documents that could be especially useful.

Stanton Glantz was a vocal workshop participant:exciting

Glantz was so excited he proposed using the tobacco archives platform at the University of California San Francisco for climate documents (which were yet to be found)

Because the Legacy Collection’s software and infrastructure is already in place, Glantz suggested it could be a possible home for a parallel collection of documents from the fossil fuel industry pertaining to climate change.

In what mode were the documents to be used?

establish

Most importantly, the release of these documents meant that charges of conspiracy or racketeering could become a crucial component of tobacco litigation

Having firmly established that documents convenient to their strategy existed, the delegates moved on to discussing how to obtain them

.strategies

The answer was once again clear: ‘lawsuits’. It was not just lawsuits, it was ‘Congressional hearings’, ‘sympathetic state attorney generals’ and ‘false advertising claims’.

State attorneys general can also subpoena documents, raising the possibility that a single sympathetic state attorney general might have substantial success in bringing key internal documents to light

Oreskes had a bunch of advertisements with her:

Oreskes noted that she has some of the public relations memos from the group and asked whether a false advertising claim could be brought in such a case.

Even libel suits were deemed useful:

Roberta Walburn noted that libel suits can also serve to obtain documents that might shed light on industry tactics.

Once the documents were in the bag, a story needed to be spun. :

In lawsuits targeting carbon producers, lawyers at the workshop agreed, plaintiffs need

to make evidence of a conspiracy a prominent part of their case.

Now you know where the line on how ‘fossil fuel companies ‘knew’ they were doing wrong but yet did it’ comes from. The cries of ‘it’s a conspiracy!’ are planned and pre-meditated, on lawyers’ advice.

This is where RICO came in:

Richard Ayres, an experienced environmental attorney, suggested that the RICO Act, which had been used effectively against the tobacco industry, could similarly be used to bring a lawsuit against carbon producers.

Richard Ayres is no slouch. A prominent environmental lawyer, he is co-founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

Ayres knew starting lawsuits against productive companies wouldn’t look good. They needed to be spun:

It has to be something positive

How? By dressing it up as injury ‘compensation’

Even if your ultimate goal might be to shut down a company, you still might be wise to start out by asking for compensation for injured parties.”

The suggestions appeared to grow outlandish at every turn. Richard Heede, one of CAI’s members, had come up with a system for blaming individual companies:

Heede is working to derive the proportion of the planet’s atmospheric carbon load that is traceable to the fossil fuels produced and marketed by each of these companies

Heede’s bizarre formulas, we learn, were received ‘positively’ by ‘most of the workshop’s participants’. One UCS participant felt that ‘it could potentially be useful as part of a coordinated campaign to identify key climate “wrongdoers.” Another felt it was useful in blaming faceless corporate entities instead of countries thereby bypassing provoking patriotic impulses in international negotiations.

Heede’s work was funded by Greenpeace. Of note, Greenpeace counsel Jasper Teulings was present at the meeting.

An inspired Oreskes then appears to have proposed blaming sea level rise on corporations:

Picking up on this notion, Naomi Oreskes suggested that some portion of sea level rise could be attributed to the emissions caused by a single carbon-producing company

The oil company Exxon made its appearance in her example:

She suggested, “You might be able to say, ‘Here’s Exxon’s contribution to what’s happening to Key West or Venice.’”

This was a strategy Glantz liked:

…Stanton Glantz expressed some enthusiasm about such a strategy, based on his experience with tobacco litigation. As he put it, “I would be surprised if the industry chose to attack the calculation that one foot of flooding in Key West could be attributed to ExxonMobil.

The conspiratorial tide did not recede. Former computer scientist John Mashey claimed collusion between ‘climate change deniers’ and fossil fuel companies:

[Mashey] presented a brief overview of some of his research, which traces funding, personnel, and messaging connections between roughly 600 individuals …

The penultimate section in the report is on how delegates planned to win ‘public opinion’. Even with RICO, some felt it was ‘not easy’ (‘RICO is not easy. It is certainly not a sure win’ – Ayres) and others were wary of drawing the attention of “hostile legislators who might seek to undermine them”.

With public opinion, the delegates were clearly divided. PR mavens, lawyers and activists wanted to cry fraud, paint up villains and create outrage:

To mobilize, people often need to be outraged.

Daniel Yankelovich a ‘public opinion researcher’ involved in ‘citizen education’ appears to have balked at the ‘sue, sue, sue’ chanting. Court cases are useful only after the public had been won over, he said.

daniel

It is not clear he grasped the activists and lawyers aimed for the same with a spectacular legal victory or headlines generated by court cases and bypass the whole issue of ‘citizen education’ .

The workshop ended and there was ‘agreement’. ‘Documents’ needed to be obtained. Legal action was needed both for ‘wresting potentially useful internal documents’ and ‘maintaining pressure on the industry’.

A consensus had emerged

… an emerging consensus on a strategy that incorporates legal action with a narrative that creates public outrage.

The participants, we learn

…made commitments to try to coordinate future efforts, continue discussing strategies for gaining access to internal documents from the fossil fuel industry and its affiliated climate denial network…

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Photo (c) Brenda Ekwurzel, from the report

Postscript:

Why is the report important? Because climate activists have done everything the delegates said they wanted done, in the report.

Everyone from climate skeptics like Roy Spencer, columnists like Holman Jenkins Jr and even a consensusist like William Connolley has been left scratching their head. However, from RICO to ‘Exxon knew’ — the twin defibrillator paddles in use to reanimate a moribund climate Frankenstein — the present actions of climate activists have been none but the pre-meditated ones presented in the report.

These include the latest letter from US Senators to Exxon, the conspiratorial ‘Exxon Knew’ campaign with the portrayal of old Exxon reports by InsideClimateNews as ‘internal documents’, the RICO letter from scientists and much more. Particularly, with the pathetic ‘journalism’ of InsideClimateNews it is almost as if climate activists have willed these ‘documents’ into existence – just as they were advised.

The CAI are free to plot the downfall of their opponents. But it is somewhat of a surprise to see the entirety of their ideas to be picked up and translated into action by the intellectually bankrupt climate activist movement.

Klinger and the RICO debacle

Arrested for eating all the donuts

Climate skeptic arrested for eating all donuts (j/k click on link for full story)

To get a grip on the Jagadish Shukla Barbara Streisand Own-goal Backfire Effect, you should start with Paul Matthews’ summary. Briefly, a bunch of scientists headed by Shukla decided to jump on the climate-tobacco bandwagon with a letter (to none less the American president) seeking persecution of ‘corporations and other organizations’ under the US RICO Act. The bunch then hastily fled the field, taking the letter down, when it was shown Shukla’s own various organizations were less than squeaky clean with federal funding.

But Shukla’s colleague Barry Klinger still hangs on at the scene of the crime so to speak, as he pens thoughts on ‘why RICO’ and his ‘ambivalence’ about the letter (which he fully signed).

These show the contradictory mish-mash that climate scientists seem to pass off as their understanding of the climate debate. To a fault, none of it seems to extend beyond the latest New York Times or Washington Post article and faithfully incorporates every trope and cliché sold by climate activists and PR hacks.

The first underlying mythical assumption of Klinger et al is a common one: the work of climate scientists greatly threatens the fossil fuel industry, which is scared of them. Fossil fuel companies provide a convenient, cartoonish ‘evil corporation‘ target for climate activists, and those in climate science with a world-justifying fuzzy feeling from imagining themselves ranged against powerful, unbeatable opponents.

In sociologic terms, fossil fuel companies are the folk-devil. But beyond this, there is little substance to the fantasy. Fossil fuel companies and their products are tightly interwoven with the fabric of modern life. Writing bad things about them is no more a ‘threat’ to them than cataloguing the evils of water (drowning, sweating) is a threat to the local water board. At best you make what they sell expensive. Forcibly making coal more expensive hurts consumers of coal power more than it does coal companies.

Klinger is all innocent about the second point in the RICO letter: We didn’t want to shut down speech, he says, only bring a few ‘giant corporations’ to court for fraud. Even there he admits the ‘standard for finding fraud is quite high’, is not sure whether a case would clear the bar, all while hoping such a case would be ‘a relatively limited affair’. Furthermore, after signing the letter, Klinger is suddenly concerned that there might be ‘squelching’ of  ‘the free speech of scientists’ themselves.

As Paul Matthews notes, with this degree of confusion it is evident Klinger should not have signed the letter at all.

The tobacco master settlement agreement and the course of actions that led to it serve as an inspiration and a template to the climate movement. In anticapitalist discourse, advertising creates unnatural demand for nonessential goods (like the shiny Yellow Hummers whose sole purpose is to consume more of the oil industry products). When fighting against it, an activist can only rail against greed, consumerism and ‘consumption’ (and look foolish). In puritannical abolitionist discourse, ‘addiction’ serves in the same role. But ‘addiction’ has a special edge—you can ignore the buyer (he’s helpless, ‘addicted’) and go after the dealer, in a legal setting.

Second is the power of the ‘internal documents’. Tobacco executives appeared before the US Senate to declare openly they did not think nicotine was addictive. Internal tobacco company memos and documents were later used to show that executives ‘knew’ about the addicting properties of tobacco. This was one of the reasons behind the abolitionists’ ‘they knew!’ success.

Climate activists presently attempt to follow both templates: the world is ‘addicted’ to fossil fuel – meaning not that it wants, desires or craves oil (which it does) but that it is not responsible for its state. Who are responsible? Companies that sell these products. As for the ‘secret internal documents’, a couple of newly minted ‘science journalists’ from the Tom Levenson school of science journalism have attempted to establish Exxon ‘knew’ the dangers of CO2 but chose to keep mum about it, using a tranche of old typewritten documents.

For climate activist zealots, it is immaterial that the square peg of CO2 does not fit in the round hole of tobacco. Any new rhetorical toy is a welcome addition for the exhausted, intellectually threadbare lot of arguments so jam it in they will. All the better if the toy has a proven track record of ‘success’ in a morality play.

But what about climate scientists themselves? They should see through that people use oil and coal products not from ‘addiction’ but because they are indispensible to normal daily life. The type and nature of their benefits are unlike tobacco’s. What about the absurd argument that Exxon ‘knew’ how bad climate change would in 1977? One hates to admit it but yes, Wikipedia’s William Connelley is right—Exxon knew as much as anyone else about the climate and what they ‘knew’ internally is what they declared externally. There is no ‘gotcha’.

Nor can there be one either. The very question of what is ‘known’ vis a vis anthropogenic climate change, i.e, set beyond reasonable doubt, remains in contest to date. What can said to be known when the IPCC has yet to say what it truly ‘knows’ with any rigor beyond appeals to ‘consensus’ and ‘expert judgment’?

Klinger himself admits to the latter. He lays out, though not explicitly, how the case for the consensus is riddled with holes. To prove he’s no alarmist, he points out he and his boss Shukla wrote papers pointing out the contribution of natural factors in 20th century climate change. Klinger says the paper is an example of their scientific equanimity. It is absurd to think he and Shukla should be considered unbiased for publishing such papers whereas Exxon should be thrown in jail were they to have referenced it.

Though Klinger inadvertently admits several points and caveats he refuses to cave in fully. What he does insist is being allowed to score points against ‘corporations’ by bringing civil suits against them, even if only briefly and futilely, simply because they just deserve their day in court. This is extrarordinarily political, activist, and short-sighted. Surely this sort of bottled-up political yearning and frustation in scientists is … dangerous?

However, it doesn’t end there. In a last gasp, as he realises the turn the letter his signed has taken Klinger argues his critics, being the advocates for free speech that they are, ought not restrict his freedom to shut down his critics from speaking freely. A fitting colophon to the RICO debacle indeed.

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