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So many critics, so little time


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In response to Professor Michael Latner and others: First, I take issue with the professor's mischaracterization of Edie Knight and those who came to her defense. Edie is an 87-year-old woman of demonstrated civic virtue. As a Republican woman, she is well known for her good character and volunteer spirit. All who know her never have to worry about her cutting political corners; she's a "straight arrow" who would walk the extra half block to the corner to cross in a crosswalk, even when nobody was looking.

Her legal ordeal began after a long day at the Atascadero Elks Club polling location in the June 2016 primary election. She was tired and sat down on a couch in the lobby and thought she would make a few contact calls to remind registered voters to be sure to vote. Calling voters to remind them to vote is part of every political party's "get out the vote" effort during elections. Two hyper-partisan campaign workers, presumably Democrats, approached her in the lobby, made a video of her making calls, verbally accosted Edie, and threatened her with criminal prosecution and jail for "electioneering" at the poll. They later went to the Atascadero Police Department and filled out a criminal complaint against Edie. Who does this, except the most partisan and angry?

What happened next is something out of a Kafka novel where a runaway state attorney general's office acted like Al Capone was stealing a local election. An assistant state attorney general was assigned the case from LA, traveled to SLO County and pursued Edie for violation of election laws, claiming she was telling people how to vote and filling out their ballots. She didn't, and the court threw out that charge. Edie was convicted of "electioneering" within 100 feet of a polling place, although she vehemently denied doing so. It came down to the two partisan witnesses against Edie and the Democrats on her jury, given the case at 4 p.m.

Edie still protests her innocence, and I believe her over her accusers as did the hundreds of locals who rallied to support her. Edie's age and medical issues likely contributed to this incident, as she told me shortly after it occurred, "Al, I just forgot." Her crime was having a "senior moment." Her prosecution served no purpose other than political intimidation and has further poisoned the local political well. Its outcome is a stain on the justice system in the county and the state.

In response to Shirley Bianchi, who declared in a letter to the editor last week ("Consequences are as real as scientific laws," June 15) that "immutable scientific laws" are the basis of the current state of climate change theory, Bianchi dismisses any facts I brought up without stating why they are incorrect. Many scientists challenge the claim that there is consensus among 97 percent of climate scientists or that current global warming is primarily anthropogenic in origin, portending catastrophic consequences if we don't immediately act.

Assertion of consensus originates with socialist historian Naomi Oreskes' 2004 essay in the journal Science. She examined the abstracts from 928 papers reported by the Institute for Scientific Information database published in scientific journals from 1993 to 2003 using the keywords "global climate change." Oreskes is not a scientist, yet concluded that three-quarters of the abstracts supported the assertion that current warming was primarily anthropogenic in origin.

Her paper appeared in a peer-reviewed journal but was not itself peer-reviewed. Her essay became a book, Merchants of Doubt, and eventually a movie based upon her book. Al Gore repeated her claims in his movie An Inconvenient Truth. Her assertions have been widely challenged by actual climate scientists with distinguished careers in the field, claiming that she overlooked hundreds of contrary articles refuting her conclusions with more than 1,350 such articles published since her 2004 essay.

Skeptic British scientist Lord Christopher Monckton pointed out that Oreskes' research included less than one-thirteenth of the body of scientific papers on climate change over her stated period of research and that changing the search mode to just "climate change" resulted in thousands more papers to review than the 928 papers she based her essay upon. The media in general has ignored most of these articles and the dissent of some of the most distinguished atmospheric research scientists in the world, such as Dr. Richard Lindzen of MIT.

Other climate scientists, taking exception to her conclusions, using her methodology and the same database found that fewer than half of scientists Oreskes cited endorsed "consensus" on climate change and only 7 percent did so explicitly. The data has been "cherry-picked" and exploited for political and financial interests.

Finally, climate models upon which public policy is being formulated have yet to accurately reproduce historical climatic events, yet we're expected to accept their extreme climate predictions for 100 years in the future. That's not science; its astrology. Δ

Al Fonzi is an Army lieutenant colonel of military intelligence who had a 35-year military career, serving in both the Vietnam and Iraq wars. Send comments through the editor atclanham@newtimesslo.com.


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