NASA’s Hansen Claims He’s Being 'Swift-boated' by Critics

A fascinating new liberal defense mechanism has arisen in the past couple of years: Whenever you want to dodge criticism, just claim you are being swift-boated.

In fact, this has become such a part of political parlance that Microsoft Word now recognizes the term "swift-boated" without highlighting it as errant. Isn't that special?

With that in mind, the head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, James Hansen, is claiming that recent accusations made about him - that he was involved in a GISS report in 1971 predicting an ice age, and that he received money from multi-billionaire George Soros - are nothing more than swift-boating by his critics.

Of course, folks who offhandedly use this defense seem to forget that Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) actually never proved that any of the claims made by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth were false.

Similarly, in Hansen's case, though he admirably tried to deflect scrutiny, he also failed to thoroughly refute the claims made against him (emphasis added, h/t NB reader M. Hoff):

So it was a bit of a surprise when I began to be inundated a few days ago with reports that I had issued proclamations five years earlier, in 1971, that the Earth was headed into an ice age. Here is how this swift-boating works.

First on 19 September 2007 a Washington Times article by John McCaslin reported that a 9 July 1971 article by Victor Cohn in the Washington Post had been discovered with the title "U.S. Scientist Sees New Ice Age Coming". The scientist, S.I. Rasool, is reported as saying that the world "could be as little as 50 or 60 years away from a disastrous new ice age".

This is an old story: Rasool and (Steve) Schneider published a paper in Science on that day noting that if human-made aerosols (small particles in the air) increased by a factor of four, other things being equal, they could cause massive global cooling. At Steve's 60th birthday celebration I argued that the Rasool and Schneider paper was a useful scientific paper, an example of hypothesis testing, in the spirit of good science. But what is the news today?

Mr. McCaslin reported that Rasool and Hansen were colleagues at NASA and "Mr. Rasool came to his chilling conclusions by resorting in part to a new computer program developed by Mr. Hansen that studied clouds above Venus."

What was that program? It was a ‘Mie scattering' code I had written to calculate light scattering by spherical particles. Indeed, it was useful for Venus studies, as it helped determine the size and refractive index of the particles in the clouds that veil the surface of Venus. I was glad to let Rasool and Schneider use that program to calculate scattering by aerosols. But Mie scattering functions, although more complex, are like sine and cosine mathematical functions, simply a useful tool for many problems. Allowing this scattering function to be used by other people does not in any way make me responsible for a climate theory.

What did Hansen use to prove that he was being swift-boated? An article posted at the website of Salt Lake City's CBS-TV affiliate "A NASA scientist, who is now sounding the alarm over global warming's threat to the planet, once believed that pumping too many greenhouse gases into the air would have the opposite effect -- a modern day ice age."

Wow. So, an article published by a television station in Salt Lake City, which admittedly took this story too far, represented swift-boating, James?

Excuse me, but the piece in the more well-read paper, the Washington Times, accurately reported the facts, as did NewsBusters. At issue was that the same government agency which is now forecasting imminent planetary doom at the hands of global warming did indeed predict a looming ice age 36 years ago.

Care to address that rather than a bad article published at a television website in Salt Lake City, James?

Sadly, Hansen used largely the same smokescreen tactic to deflect scrutiny regarding money allegedly sent to him by one of George Soros's foundations:

The latest swift-boating (unless there is a new one among seven unanswered calls on my cell) is the whacko claim that I received $720,000.00 from George Soros. Here is the real deal, with the order of things as well as I can remember without wasting even more time digging into papers and records.

No, James, nobody would want you to waste time digging into papers and records that offer verifiable facts. We're much more comfortable you presenting your case "as well as [you] can" from memory without all the documents involved, especially since no media are holding your feet to the fire concerning the matter.

But I digress:

I did not receive one thin dime from George Soros. Perhaps GAP [Government Accountability Project] did, but I would be surprised if they got $720,000 (that's a lot of Mercedes). Whatever amount they got, I do not see anything wrong with it. They are a non-profit organization. Seems like a great idea to have some good lawyers trying to protect free speech.

By the way, in case anybody finds out that George Soros INTENDED to send me $720,000 but could not find my address, please let me know! We are pretty hard pressed here.

To buttress his position, Hansen copied a letter sent by GAP and his counsel to NASA chief Michael Griffin asking for assurances he would "not be punished for exercising his rights under the First Amendment, Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA), and the Anti-Gag Statute to share his internationally-renowned expertise on climate change."

Amazingly, Hansen - whose views have been widely reported by the global warming obsessed media for years with seemingly no restrictions - claimed the Bush administration had threatened him to be quiet on such subjects, and he was making Griffin aware of his involvement with GAP, as well as his desire for there to be no repercussions.

Although this letter demonstrated his association with GAP, this in no way explained why Hansen's name was mentioned so prominently in the 2006 Soros Foundations Network Report (emphasis added):

James E. Hansen, the director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies at NASA, protested attempts to silence him after officials at NASA ordered him to refer press inquiries to the public affairs office and required the presence of a public affairs representative at any interview. The Government Accountability Project, a whistleblower protection organization and OSI grantee, came to Hansen's defense by providing legal and media advice. The campaign on Hansen's behalf resulted in a decision by NASA to revisit its media policy.

Nowhere in Hansen's "I'm getting swift-boated" passion play did he address what this "campaign on Hansen's behalf" orchestrated by Soros's foundation involved, or why he was so prominently named in this annual report.

Furthermore, Hansen conveniently ignored the footnote in the balance sheet of this report indicating (emphasis added): "The Strategic Opportunities Fund includes grants related to Hurricane Katrina ($1,652,841); media policy ($1,060,000); and politicization of science ($720,000)."

As the phrase "politicization of science" was included in the Investor's Business Daily editorial that broke this story Monday, Hansen might have been more forthcoming by addressing what he thought was meant by this term, especially as his critics claim that this is indeed what he has been doing for years.

And, it would have been nice if he offered an opinion concerning whether or not the $720,000 paid for "politicization of science" might have indeed gone to GAP.

Regardless of these oversights on Hansen's part, we don't know whether he received a dime either directly or indirectly from George Soros or one of his foundations. However, a LexisNexis search indicated that not one major media outlet has mentioned one word of this matter.

Not one.

Now, consider what would have happened if Investor's Business Daily, or any major newspaper, had published an editorial stating that the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Stephen Johnson, had received $720,000 from ExxonMobil. Or, that such a contribution was made to Sen. James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma).

Do you think the press would be much more interested in this story? Might they be at this very moment demanding an investigation of the matter, or just ignoring the whole thing?

Once again, regardless of what the truth is concerning Hansen's connection to Soros, the idea that no press outlets are pursuing this story to assist in the finding and dissemination of the facts is further evidence of media complicity concerning advancing global warming hysteria and assisting whatever the liberal agenda is at the time.

How disgraceful.

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