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This guy has been flying under the radar too long.  Unlike Cruz, he's not been as vocal in the past, but for some reason he is beginning to speak up a lot more.  And in doing so display his idiocy more often.  Most recent was the Corona beer tweet.  But shit like the following needs to be plastered from Harlingen to Dalhart, El Paso to Beaumont.  

We really need to start talking about this fool now to get the fever up to oust him come November.    Yeah, Trump needs to go, but this tool needs to go just as badly if not worse.  It's morons like him who put us where we are now.  

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/climate-science-deniers-turn-to-attacking-coronavirus-models/

Quote

Climate Science Deniers Turn to Attacking Coronavirus Models

Vocal critics have cited perceived flaws in both climate and virus modeling, despite scientific evidence to the contrary

 Scott Waldman, E&E News  April 15, 2020

 

Climate Science Deniers Turn to Attacking Coronavirus Models Senate Majority Whip Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) speaks beside Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) during a news conference. Credit: Al Drago Getty Images

A vocal set of conservative critics have increased their attacks recently on the data modeling behind the novel coronavirus response, and they claim—despite scientific evidence to the contrary—that the flaws also prove the limits of climate change forecasts.

The group, which includes federal lawmakers, climate science deniers and conservative pundits with close White House connections, has even called for congressional hearings into the coronavirus modeling.

That’s in spite of assurances from public health officials that better-than-expected U.S. death estimates for COVID-19 are because millions of Americans responded to pleas for social distancing. The most-used model now forecasts 60,000 U.S. deaths rather than 00,000 or more.  

“After #COVID-19 crisis passes, could we have a good faith discussion about the uses and abuses of ‘modeling’ to predict the future?” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) tweeted. “Everything from public health, to economic to climate predictions. It isn’t the scientific method, folks.”

Last week, House Republicans on the Oversight and Reform Committee requested hearings into the models used by the government to craft the coronavirus response. The lead signatory on a letter demanding those hearings was Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas), who previously has called for a “vigorous assessment” of climate science. The group, which includes a number of conservative climate critics, said it wants to probe the “assumptions behind these models.”

“At a time when both the lives and livelihoods of Americans are at risk, we certainly must ensure we are not making decisions based upon potentially flawed or misrepresentative information,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.). “Congress needs to perform its Constitutional oversight duty surrounding modeling information related to the coronavirus response efforts, which the agencies and departments of the Federal Government that Congress funds have used to justify placing extraordinary burdens upon the American people.”

Health experts say the models worked the way they were supposed to—by providing a glimpse into a dire future that was partially averted because of collective action.

In other words, a massive societal transformation based on the modeling of future conditions helped stave off a catastrophe and saved American lives, said Aaron Bernstein, interim director of Harvard University’s Center for Climate, Health and the Global Environment.MENT

That’s something climate modelers have long argued.

Without scientific models, lawmakers and the White House would be throwing darts to guess future conditions, Bernstein said.

“Any insinuation that scientists distorted their models into scaring people and wrecking our economy is not only wrongheaded, it smacks of an ulterior motive for even raising it,” Bernstein said. “There’s no evidence that scientists have done anything to models that have suggested we would have been far worse off having not done stuff to keep ourselves safe, and I would say the same about climate models."Sign Up

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the immunologist who helps lead President Trump’s coronavirus response team, has repeatedly explained why the models have shifting numbers.

“Models are as good as the assumptions you put into them, and as we get more data, then you put it in and that might change,” he said at a recent press briefing.

Those seeking to compare COVID-19 to climate modeling are actually using a high bar, observers say. A peer-reviewed analysis of 50 years of climate models published last year in Geophysical Research Letters found they “were generally quite accurate in predicting global warming in the years after publication” and a useful way of forecasting climate conditions.

“Models are absolutely fundamental to doing any kind of science, and so people that rag on models without being specific about what it is they are even talking about are just really betraying that they don’t understand how science works,” said climate scientist Gavin Schmidt, an author of that paper and the director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

Nonetheless, conservative pundits, who are not trained as climate scientists, have repurposed the coronavirus modeling to attack climate projections in recent days.

“It seems like the computer models for the corona virus pandemic are about as accurate as the computer models that have failed so miserably on global warming,” tweeted Patrick Moore, the chairman of the CO2 Coalition, which claims the world needs to burn more fossil fuels to help the planet and has connections to the Trump White House. “Proves you can’t predict a chaotic, multi-factor, non-linear future.”

The CO2 Coalition was founded by William Happer, who served on the National Security Council at the White House and unsuccessfully tried to launch a hostile review of climate science.

Others predicted blowback if the coronavirus pandemic isn’t incredibly deadly.

“I cannot even begin to describe the public backlash that will occur if #Corinavirus [sic] kills fewer Americans this year than the flu,” wrote Dinesh D’Souza, the conservative author who was pardoned by Trump after a felony conviction of making illegal campaign contributions. “For starters, the medical establishment will look like even bigger fools than the #ClimateChange establishment.”

On Monday, Laura Ingraham, who has used her close relationship with Trump to press untested drug cocktails as coronavirus treatments, attacked the models on her Fox News show. A chyron at the bottom of the screen read, “Faulty covid models causing panic.” She said the government has now figured out that “these fancy COVID-19 models were wrong” and that her personal team of statisticians and medical professionals who predicted as much were correct.

“This is a lot of money that we’re spending on a response that was based, again, on faulty numbers,” she said.

Dismissing critics who don’t understand or who misrepresent models will be important as states look for the best ways to reopen around the country, health experts say.

The last few weeks are a proof that modeling works, said Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association. Without their guidance, more people would have died, more economic harm would have occurred and greater health care cost burdens would have been placed on the system, he said.

“The models become even more important now because we’re going to need to know when we should adjust our reopening,” he said. “We’re going to need these models to help us know, as some kind of early warning, when we should stop and pause or pull back a little bit, because if we don’t, what will happen is we will get too far down the line and things will get much worse before they get better.”

Reprinted from Climatewire with permission from E&E News. E&E provides daily coverage of essential energy and environmental news at www.eenews.net.

 

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He would probably be the one to carry on McConnell’s legacy of failure in the senate. Another reason we need to get rid of that fucktard.

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We haven't had a decent Senator in that seat since Lloyd Bentsen. I've donated to MJ Hegar's campaign. It's an uphill battle, but she'd be 50 times the Senator Cornyn is.

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What an odd thing to say:

Quote

“After #COVID-19 crisis passes, could we have a good faith discussion about the uses and abuses of ‘modeling’ to predict the future?” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) tweeted. “Everything from public health, to economic to climate predictions. It isn’t the scientific method, folks.”

Building a model -- a hypothesis, if you will -- then testing it and refining it is most definitely at the heart of the scientific method.  Cornyn's angle is of course one of the latest right-wing talking points.  People doing great science are suddenly being questioned by those who have no business discussing the science in the first place.

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1 minute ago, jimmyjazz said:

What an odd thing to say:

Building a model -- a hypothesis, if you will -- then testing it and refining it is most definitely at the heart of the scientific method.  Cornyn's angle is of course one of the latest right-wing talking points.  People doing great science are suddenly being questioned by those who have no business discussing the science in the first place.

I liken it towards the old "attitude" of being dumb is cool and smart isn't. Only problem is that in the information age, you can try that persona but get blasted online for it. 

What's odd to me is Cornyn and his ilk speak to generalizations of the scientific community instead of criticizing individual studies and reports. 

To the same point, I had a professor at UT (can't think of the name but he teaches the course on lying and deception) make a declaration on the first day of class that, "y'all know climate change is real, right? Anyone in here a doubter? No? Ok, good." (paraphrasing)

Of course no one's going to challenge you on the first day, dumbass, and the whole point of coming to college is to learn why things are true.  Ask what are some claims we've heard and speak to their falsehoods. If I wanted to be told the "truth" and believe it as so, I would've went to aggy. 

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Has he always been a dullard or did the GOP soften his brain as it has done with other moderately competent people?

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4w7.gif

 

There's just so many of them.  How did we get to this point where it's an entire party that has lost their god damn minds and have to be vanished?  If Califoregington happens, I think I'm going.

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11 minutes ago, Celery Man said:

Has he always been a dullard or did the GOP soften his brain as it has done with other moderately competent people?

Why not both?

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"If we do nothing, this will be really bad" 

Country does something, numbers aren't as bad. 

"ARGH OMG OMG the modellllllls were wrong" 

It's the height of stupidity. And stupidity I could excuse. But feigned stupidity in the name of politics is inexcusable. 

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6 hours ago, RPM said:

We haven't had a decent Senator in that seat since Lloyd Bentsen. I've donated to MJ Hegar's campaign. It's an uphill battle, but she'd be 50 times the Senator Cornyn is.

A deceased cat has more use than John Cornyn ever had.

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It's apropos of nothing, but I sat at the table next to Cornyn once at Castle Hill Cafe (final location), and he was a total jackass to the waitress.  Smug and arrogant are insufficient to describe his behavior.

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He needs to go because he is an always will be a total piece of shit but more importantly his campaign is bugging the shit out of me by robo calling my phone all the time about donating to his campaign or listening to his town halls. I am not a registered Republican and never donated to him so I wish he would leave me the fuck alone as I want to vomit when I answer my phone and hear, "Hi, I'm John Cornyn...…"

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, jimmyjazz said:

What an odd thing to say:

Cornyn is a tool, but what he said isn't wrong.  Modeling is just masturbating on statistics.  The kind after damn lies.  Most people have heard and understand the phrase "garbage in, garbage out".  You can imagine a black box where data goes in one end and other data comes out the opposite side.  People focus a lot on the quality of the data going in, but the inner workings of the black box can also be similarly flawed.  Before folks get offended, understand that I'm not suggesting model makers are malicious actors.  Imperfect understanding of complex systems means important variables and interactions can be missed.

~~~

"Al Qaeda"

Edited by bernorange

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16 minutes ago, bernorange said:

Cornyn is a tool, but what he said isn't wrong.  Modeling is just masturbating on statistics.  The kind after damn lies.  Most people have heard and understand the phrase "garbage in, garbage out".  You can imagine a black box where data goes in one end and other data comes out the opposite side.  People focus a lot on the quality of the data going in, but the inner workings of the black box can also be similarly flawed.  Before folks get offended, understand that I'm not suggesting model makers are malicious actors.  Imperfect understanding of complex systems means important variables and interactions can be missed.

~~~

"Al Qaeda"

the models are accurate.

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Posted (edited)
21 minutes ago, bernorange said:

Cornyn is a tool, but what he said isn't wrong.  Modeling is just masturbating on statistics.  The kind after damn lies.  Most people have heard and understand the phrase "garbage in, garbage out".  You can imagine a black box where data goes in one end and other data comes out the opposite side.  People focus a lot on the quality of the data going in, but the inner workings of the black box can also be similarly flawed.  Before folks get offended, understand that I'm not suggesting model makers are malicious actors.  Imperfect understanding of complex systems means important variables and interactions can be missed.

~~~

"Al Qaeda"

as a guy who builds and operates and tweaks models for a living, it's important to note that most are built on assumptions. there is no perfect model, but some are better than others. 

also, models are organic, and change with changing inputs.

Edited by hayden_horn

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29 minutes ago, bernorange said:

Cornyn is a tool, but what he said isn't wrong.  Modeling is just masturbating on statistics.  The kind after damn lies.  Most people have heard and understand the phrase "garbage in, garbage out".  You can imagine a black box where data goes in one end and other data comes out the opposite side.  People focus a lot on the quality of the data going in, but the inner workings of the black box can also be similarly flawed.  Before folks get offended, understand that I'm not suggesting model makers are malicious actors.  Imperfect understanding of complex systems means important variables and interactions can be missed.

Well, no.  I analyze shit for a living and I've done it for over 30 years.  It's hardly "masturbating on statistics".  What I do has nothing to do with statistics until I run experiments to confirm, and then the statistics are used to determine error bars, etc.

So Cornyn is wrong -- the development of a testable model, then testing and improving upon it IS the scientific method.

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I agree with all of this.  But Cornyn is as much of a lock as Abbott.

Much like we used Cruz in 2018, we need to let Cornyn piss us off, but we need to use that energy to make sure downballot folks don't get pushed out by brain dead Abbottistas and Trumpistas. 

 

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1 hour ago, bernorange said:

Modeling is just masturbating on statistics. 

no.

absolutely no.  fundamental lack of awareness.

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1 hour ago, jimmyjazz said:

Well, no.  I analyze shit for a living and I've done it for over 30 years.  It's hardly "masturbating on statistics".  What I do has nothing to do with statistics until I run experiments to confirm, and then the statistics are used to determine error bars, etc.

So Cornyn is wrong -- the development of a testable model, then testing and improving upon it IS the scientific method.

so do you use python or R? SQL or NoSQL? Curious as to what "kind" of data scientist you might be claiming to be...

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I'm not sure he's a lock.  I don't think he feels that way either.  Beneath that smugness is an awareness of how close Beto came to unseating Cruz.  I believe it's why he's sticking his head out more.  If he was halfway intelligent, he'd be trying to be more centrist, more affable for all,  but he's doing just the opposite.  He'd certainly be more low key, keeping his head down.  But he's out there pushing the Trump agenda to the hilt.  Hubris will do him in, I believe, as well as a belief that Texas is solidly red.  

Our approach is to use the urgency of getting Trump out of office to also clear out his enablers.  Sadly though, a lot of people only think and care about getting Trump gone.  We need to start putting Cornyn under peoples' noses so much his name becomes synonymous with Trump as far as horrible for this country.  I don't anticipate this thread to approach the Trump thread, but I sure hope it becomes a daily repository for all things Cornyn, good or bad.    

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, hayden_horn said:

as a guy who builds and operates and tweaks models for a living, it's important to note that most are built on assumptions. there is no perfect model, but some are better than others. 

also, models are organic, and change with changing inputs.

As someone who works with people like you, I've had a peak under the kimono to see that modeling is like anything else-- they will only be as good as a) source of truth / training inputs / algorithm and b) the intelligence and ability (which scales across from "incompetent bozo" to "data scientist rockstar" and everything in between) of the person building out the model.

I'm not saying the models aren't a good indicator, but we can take them as scientifically and should treat them as we do a poll unless we know the bona fides. This is my position, at least.

Edited by Rougarou

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4 minutes ago, Rougarou said:

so do you use python or R? SQL or NoSQL? Curious as to what "kind" of data scientist you might be claiming to be...

I'm a mechanical engineer.  I didn't claim to be a "data scientist", whatever that is.

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Posted (edited)
2 minutes ago, jimmyjazz said:

I'm a mechanical engineer.  I didn't claim to be a "data scientist", whatever that is.

So the extent of your modeling experience is....CAD? Excel? lol, might as well be a Finance guy if that is the case 😛

Edited by Rougarou

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1 hour ago, tantric superman said:

I agree with all of this.  But Cornyn is as much of a lock as Abbott.

Much like we used Cruz in 2018, we need to let Cornyn piss us off, but we need to use that energy to make sure downballot folks don't get pushed out by brain dead Abbottistas and Trumpistas. 

 

I'll vote for MJ (voted for her in the primary), but after Cruz beat Beto I have absolutely ZERO confidence that Cornyn's going anywhere. Beto had a shitload of momentum, seemingly tons of money pouring in, and was running against the Cuban-Canadian who let Trump talk shit about both his wife and father. Still he was voted back. Sorry but I have zero confidence the old white guy will get voted out in Texas. I felt that Cruz was reaching historic levels of unlikeability......... didn't make a shit. 

Don't get me wrong, I hate his smugness and I definitely think he's a POS politician, but this state is what it is. 

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3 hours ago, jimmyjazz said:

What an odd thing to say:

Building a model -- a hypothesis, if you will -- then testing it and refining it is most definitely at the heart of the scientific method.  Cornyn's angle is of course one of the latest right-wing talking points.  People doing great science are suddenly being questioned by those who have no business discussing the science in the first place.

I'm cross posting the following from Bolverk in the Covid thread.  I think there's a lot of fire to this smoke.   I'd be interested to see Cornyn's ties to Putin, other than the NRA connection.   But I think Putin is driving Trump's idiotic play on the science and Cornyn is blindly supporting that play because it helps discredit science overall, and thus discredits climate change predictions, thus helping out his  O&G buddies.

2 hours ago, bolverk said:

 

Putin’s Long War Against American Science
A decade of health disinformation promoted by President Vladimir Putin of Russia has sown wide confusion, hurt major institutions and encouraged the spread of deadly illnesses.

On Feb. 3, soon after the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus to be a global health emergency, an obscure Twitter account in Moscow began retweeting an American blog. It said the pathogen was a germ weapon designed to incapacitate and kill. The headline called the evidence “irrefutable” even though top scientists had already debunked that claim and declared the novel virus to be natural.

As the pandemic has swept the globe, it has been accompanied by a dangerous surge of false information — an “infodemic,” according to the World Health Organization. Analysts say that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia has played a principal role in the spread of false information as part of his wider effort to discredit the West and destroy his enemies from within.

The House, the Senate and the nation’s intelligence agencies have typically focused on election meddling in their examinations of Mr. Putin’s long campaign. But the repercussions are wider. An investigation by The New York Times — involving scores of interviews as well as a review of scholarly papers, news reports, and Russian documents, tweets and TV shows — found that Mr. Putin has spread misinformation on issues of personal health for more than a decade.

His agents have repeatedly planted and spread the idea that viral epidemics — including flu outbreaks, Ebola and now the coronavirus — were sown by American scientists. The disinformers have also sought to undermine faith in the safety of vaccines, a triumph of public health that Mr. Putin himself promotes at home.

Moscow’s aim, experts say, is to portray American officials as downplaying the health alarms and thus posing serious threats to public safety.

“It’s all about seeding lack of trust in government institutions,” Peter Pomerantsev, author of “Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible,” a 2014 book on Kremlin disinformation, said in an interview.

The Russian president has waged his long campaign by means of open media, secretive trolls and shadowy blogs that regularly cast American health officials as patronizing frauds. Of late, new stealth and sophistication have made his handiwork harder to see, track and fight.

Even so, the State Department recently accused Russia of using thousands of social media accounts to spread coronavirus misinformation — including a conspiracy theory that the United States engineered the deadly pandemic.

The Kremlin’s audience for open disinformation is surprisingly large. The YouTube videos of RT, Russia’s global television network, average one million views per day, “the highest among news outlets,” according to a U.S. intelligence report. Since the founding of the Russian network in 2005, its videos have received more than four billion views, analysts recently concluded.

Because public interest in wellness and longevity runs high, health disinformation can have a disproportionally large social impact. Experts fear that it will foster public cynicism that erodes Washington’s influence as well as the core democratic value of relying on demonstrable facts as a basis for decision-making.

“The accumulation of these operations over a long period of time will result in a major political impact,” Ladislav Bittman, a former Soviet bloc disinformation officer, said in explaining the Kremlin’s long-game rationale.

Sandra C. Quinn, a professor of public health at the University of Maryland who has followed Mr. Putin’s vaccine scares for more than a half-decade, said the Russian president was drawing on an old playbook. “The difference now is the speed with which it spreads, and the denigration of the institutions that we rely on to understand the truth,” she said in an interview. “I think we’re in dangerous territory.”

  Hide contents

 

Living weapons
As a young man, Mr. Putin served in the K.G.B., the Soviet Union’s main intelligence agency, from 1975 to 1991. He worked in foreign intelligence, which required its officers to spend a quarter of their time conceiving and implementing plans for sowing disinformation. What Mr. Putin accomplished is unclear. But public accounts show that he rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel, and that his 16-year tenure coincided with a major K.G.B. operation to deflect attention from Moscow’s secret arsenal of biological weapons, which it built in contravention of a treaty signed with the United States in 1972.

The K.G.B. campaign — which cast the deadly virus that causes AIDS as a racial weapon developed by the American military to kill black citizens — was wildly successful. By 1987, fake news stories had run in 25 languages and 80 countries, undermining American diplomacy, especially in Africa. After the Cold War, in 1992, the Russians admitted that the alarms were fraudulent.

As Russia’s president and prime minister, Mr. Putin has embraced and expanded the playbook, linking any natural outbreak to American duplicity. Attacking the American health system, and faith in it, became a hallmark of his rule.

At first, his main disseminator of fake news was Russia Today, which he founded in 2005 in Moscow; in 2008 it was renamed RT, obscuring its Russian origins.

Early in 2009, a particularly virulent flu, named H1N1, swept the globe, and thousands of people died. That year, the network featured the conspiratorial views of Wayne Madsen, a regular contributor in Washington whom it described as an investigative journalist. In at least nine shows and text bulletins, Mr. Madsen characterized the deadly germ as bioengineered. “The world is actually fighting a man-made tragedy,” one bulletin declared.

 

That June, Mr. Madsen told RT viewers that the virus makers had worked at a shadowy mix of laboratories, including the Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, in Frederick, Md. The institute’s official job is to help defend the United States against the kinds of pathogens that Mr. Madsen accused it of creating.

In a follow-up show, Mr. Madsen said the virus had been spliced together from other flu strains, including the virus responsible for the 1918 pandemic, and likened its creators to the mad scientists of “Jurassic Park,” the hit movie about resurrected dinosaurs. RT’s chyron for the show characterized the result as “Germ Warfare.”

In 2010, the network founded a new arm, RT America, a few blocks from the White House. Mr. Madsen became a regular on-camera guest.

In 2012 Mr. Putin added the military to his informational arsenal. His newly appointed head of the Russian Army, Gen. Valery Gerasimov, laid out a new doctrine of war that stressed public messaging as a means of stirring foreign dissent. That same year, a shadowy group of trolls in St. Petersburg began using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to fire salvos of junk information at millions of Americans. The goals were to boost social polarization and damage the reputation of federal agencies.

A rich opportunity arose in 2014 when Ebola swept West Africa. It was the worst-ever outbreak of the hemorrhagic fever, eventually claiming more than 10,000 lives.

RT’s gallery of alleged criminals once again included the U.S. Army. The network profiled an accusation by Cyril Broderick, a former plant pathologist, who claimed in a Liberian newspaper article that the outbreak was an American plot to turn Africans into bioweapon guinea pigs, and cited the AIDS accusation as supporting evidence.

 

The RT presenter noted that the United States was spending hundreds of millions of dollars to aid Ebola victims in Africa but added: “It can’t buy back the world’s trust.”

The trolls in St. Petersburg amplified the claim on Twitter. The deadly virus “is government made,” one tweet declared. Another series of tweets called the microorganism “just a regular bio weapon.” The idea found an audience. The hip-hop artist Chris Brown echoed it in 2014, telling his 13 million Twitter followers, “I think this Ebola epidemic is a form of population control.”

C.D.C. in the cross hairs
Mr. Putin’s campaign of health misinformation was now a global enterprise, with the creative energy of a fun house and the ability to strike anywhere.

The next target was the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United States’ flagship public health agency. In late 2014, a rash of fake news reports falsely claimed that an Ebola victim in Liberia had been flown to Atlanta, starting a local outbreak. A YouTube video showed what it described as C.D.C. personnel, in hazmat suits, receiving and moving the patient in secret. The deceptive video included a truck bearing the logo of the Atlanta airport.

A rush of tweets turned up the volume. “Panic here in ATL!!” one stated. Another exclaimed, “OMG! Ebola is everywhere!”

As the Kremlin grew more confident, it began to simply recycle old narratives rather than wait for new epidemics to emerge. In 2017, Russian trolls used Twitter to give the AIDS falsehood new life. This time the claimed perpetrator was Dr. Robert Gallo, a scientist who in 1984 had actually helped discover the virus that causes AIDS. The tweets quoted him, falsely, as saying he had designed the pathogen to depopulate humanity. The trolls cited a website, World Truth. Its video attacking Dr. Gallo registered nearly four million views.

Six researchers centered at the University of California, Los Angeles, found that, over decades, the false narratives around AIDS had fostered a “lack of trust” among African-Americans that kept many from seeking medical care. Their 2018 study, of hundreds of black men in Los Angeles who have sex with men, reported that nearly half the interviewees thought the virus responsible for AIDS had been manufactured. And more than one-fifth viewed people who take new protective drugs as “human guinea pigs for the government.”

Beleaguered defenders
Within Russia, Mr. Putin has been a staunch proponent of vaccines.

“I make sure I get my vaccinations in time, before the flu season starts,” he told listeners to a 2016 call-in show. At a televised meeting with doctors in St. Petersburg, in 2018, he scolded Russian parents who refuse to vaccinate their kids: “They endanger the lives of their own children.”

Calling the issue “very important,” he warned of possible administrative steps to speed the pace of childhood immunizations. Last fall, Russia’s health authorities laid out expanded rules that require strict new adherence to protocols for childhood vaccination.

At the same time, Mr. Putin has worked hard to encourage Americans to see vaccinations as dangerous and federal health officials as malevolent. The threat of autism is a regular theme of this anti-vaccine campaign. The C.D.C. has repeatedly ruled out the possibility that vaccinations lead to autism, as have many scientists and top journals. Nonetheless the false narrative has proliferated, spread by Russian trolls and media.

Moreover, the disinformation has sought to implicate the C.D.C. in a cover-up. For years, tweets originating in St. Petersburg have claimed that the health agency muzzled a whistle-blower to hide evidence that vaccines cause autism, especially in male African-American infants. Medical experts have dismissed the allegation, but it reverberated.

In a series of 2015 tweets, Russian trolls promoted a video of a black minister in Los Angeles addressing a rally. “They’re not just shooting us with guns,” he told the audience. “They’re killing us with needles.” The minister and accompanying text in the video claimed that childhood immunizations had caused autism in 200,000 black children.

RT America echoed the charge. It focused on “Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe,” a 2016 film by Andrew Wakefield, a discredited anti-vaccine activist. When the film was pulled from the Tribeca Film Festival after a public outcry, the network aired an interview with its creators. “Can we trust the C.D.C. on vaccines?” a plug for the show asked.

Russian trolls fired off tweets containing links to the film and a fund-raising site for its promotion. One claimed that autism rates were about to skyrocket to “1 in 2” vaccinated children.

Mr. Putin’s disinformation blitz has coincided with a drop in vaccination rates among children in the United States and a rise in measles, a disease once considered vanquished. The virus, especially in infants and young children, can cause fevers and brain damage. Last year, according to the C.D.C., the United States had 1,282 new cases, a record in recent decades; of these, 128 involved hospitalizations and 61 resulted in major complications such as pneumonia and encephalitis.

The new threat
The Moscow site that retweeted the coronavirus blog in February belongs to a Russian news outlet called The Russophile. It is tauntingly bold. The author portrait on its Twitter page shows an unidentifiable soldier in green fatigues holding an orange tabby cat. The background image is a colorized Kremlin mosaic. The site calls itself a “news feed from free (= not owned by the globalist elite) media.”

On the site’s About page, under the heading “Some more reasons for our existence,” is a quote attributed to President Abraham Lincoln: “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.”

The website lists its owner’s name as OOOKremlinTrolls and its street address as an imposing building next door to the offices of Lukoil, a Russian oil giant tied to Cambridge Analytica’s digital campaigns to sway American voters. “It’s a nice part of town,” Darren L. Linvill, a Clemson University expert who uncovered the retweets, said of the Russophile address.

The site epitomizes the complicated nature of the new threat, parts of which have evolved to become more open, while others have grown stealthier. “It’s a cloud of Russian influencers,” said Dr. Linvill, a professor of communications who has studied millions of troll postings. The players, he said, probably include state actors, intelligence operatives, former RT staff members and the digital teams of Yevgeny Prigozhin, a secretive oligarch and confident of Mr. Putin’s who financed the St. Petersburg troll farm.

The new brand of disinformation is subtler than the old. Dr. Linvill and his colleague Patrick L. Warren have argued that Mr. Putin’s new methodology seeks less to create than to curate — to retweet and amplify the existing American cacophony, raising the level of confusion and partisan discord.

Much of the disinformation, like the Russophile site, lies hidden in plain sight. But other elements embody a new sophistication that makes it increasingly hard for tech companies to ferret out the interference of Russia, or any other country. Experts say that Russian trolls may even be paying Americans to post disinformation on their behalf, to better hide their digital fingerprints.

On March 5, Lea Gabrielle, head of the State Department’s Global Engagement Center, which seeks to identify and fight disinformation, told a Senate hearing that Moscow had pounced on the coronavirus outbreak as a new opportunity to sow chaos and division — to “take advantage of a health crisis where people are terrified.”

“The entire ecosystem of Russian disinformation has been engaged,” she reported. Her center’s analysts and partners, Ms. Gabrielle added, have found “Russian state proxy websites, official state media, as well as swarms of online false personas pushing out false narratives.”

RT America dismissed the department’s charges, which were first made in February, as “loosely detailed.” In her March testimony, Ms. Gabrielle said that her center had intentionally made public few details and examples of the disinformation, so that adversaries could not decipher “our tradecraft,” presumably in an effort to foil countermeasures.

Tass, the Russian news agency, reported that the Foreign Ministry firmly rejected the State Department’s charge. That response echoes an iron rule of disinformation. As Oleg Kalugin, a former K.G.B. general, put it in a video interview with The Times: “Deny, deny, deny — even if the truth is obvious.”

Beijing now appears to be borrowing from Mr. Putin’s playbook, at least the early drafts. It recently declared that the coronavirus was devised by Washington as a designer weapon meant to cripple China.

Mr. Putin has disseminated false and alarming health narratives not only about pathogens and vaccines but also about radio waves, bioengineered genes, industrial chemicals and other intangibles of modern life. The knotty topics often defy public understanding, making them ideal candidates for sowing confusion over what’s safe and dangerous.

Analysts see an effort not only to undermine American officials but also to accomplish something more basic: to damage American science, a foundation of national prosperity. American researchers have won more than 100 Nobel Prizes since 2000, and Russians five. Geographically, Russia is the world’s largest country, but its economy is smaller than Italy’s.

As Dr. Quinn of the University of Maryland put it, Mr. Putin’s salvos are targeting “the institutions that we rely on to understand the truth.”

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Nivek said:

A deceased cat has more use than John Cornyn ever had.

as of yesterday, the deceased cat also has $1,200, so there’s that.

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2 minutes ago, henrygandorf said:

as of yesterday, the deceased cat also has $1,200, so there’s that.

Calypso?

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4 minutes ago, Rougarou said:

So the extent of your modeling experience is....CAD? Excel? lol, might as well be a Finance guy if that is the case 😛

What exactly is the problem here?  The "extent of my modelling experience" includes solving large systems of partial differential equations every fucking day, typically with the finite element method, sometimes with my own transient models that I build myself.  Need my CV?  Would you like copies of my dozen or so US patents?  Maybe my graduate research or some of my refereed journal articles?

You're mighty presumptive.

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26 minutes ago, sidis said:

no.

absolutely no.  fundamental lack of awareness.

What if someone masturbates scientifically?

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23 minutes ago, Rougarou said:

I'm not saying the models aren't a good indicator, but we can take them as scientifically and should treat them as we do a poll unless we know the bona fides. This is my position, at least.

I’m not a data scientist. But seems like there’s a pretty big chasm between a model and a poll. Especially since polls are simply a measurement of a moment in time, while a model is ever evolving. 

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Posted (edited)
15 minutes ago, jimmyjazz said:

What exactly is the problem here?  The "extent of my modelling experience" includes solving large systems of partial differential equations every fucking day, typically with the finite element method, sometimes with my own transient models that I build myself.  Need my CV?  Would you like copies of my dozen or so US patents?  Maybe my graduate research or some of my refereed journal articles?

You're mighty presumptive.

Quote

So Cornyn is wrong -- the development of a testable model, then testing and improving upon it IS the scientific method.

Modeling is using data inputs, independent and dependent variables, in order to answer a well-defined question of which you do not know the answer and generally these are fluid and change over time. It is not having a hypothesis you are trying to prove (scientific method), which I think is the stance that people get upset about. It implies manipulating (testing, experimentation-- scientific method), which would discredit and disqualify any model. Further all models are obviously erroneous-- sure you can look at p-values and r-squared and everything else used to account for the error (margin of error acceptable), but like I said these are more like how we look at polls than experiments.

Your response just seemed lazy and sloppy. Modeling, in any understood way as the term "modeling" means in 2020, is not scientific method. In a very fundamental way, you are wrong. I think your anecdote about his treatment of servers is a better way to attack the man then his having some beef with the models.

Also Jimmy, I apologize if I offended you and being presumptive. Not my intent and I can see where I might have been disparaging after re-reading, but I was mostly just giving you an elbow in the ribs with a smile.

 
Edited by Rougarou

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Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, RDCanecutter said:

What if someone masturbates scientifically?

And in accordance to updated and changing models?  

Edited by Mdhorn

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2 hours ago, jimmyjazz said:

It's apropos of nothing, but I sat at the table next to Cornyn once at Castle Hill Cafe (final location), and he was a total jackass to the waitress.  Smug and arrogant are insufficient to describe his behavior.

 

Equally apropos of nothing, I sat at a table next to Clifford Antone and Buddy Guy once at Castle Hill Cafe (also final location) and they were both extremely generous to the waitress. Kind and considerate are insufficient to describe their behavior.

Cornyn is weak, doddering old man. He has done nothing for Texas.  Send him into retirement.

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1 minute ago, Horn Under a Bad Sign said:

Send him into retirement the gulag.

Wait, what?

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https://www.texasmonthly.com/politics/cornyn-gohmert-coronavirus-bull-session/

Quote

Bull Session: Not Even a Pandemic Can Change John Cornyn or Louie Gohmert

The Texas senator and congressman, along with Chip Roy, remain incorrigible in the face of the coronavirus.

hese are strange and uncertain days. The spread of the novel coronavirus has claimed thousands of lives across the world already and left millions more in disarray, derailed by shuttered schools and businesses, forced quarantines, and the growing fears of a global recession. It’s a situation that’s cast a sobering pall over politics as usual, uniting many former rivals in a sort of foxhole camaraderie. Perhaps there is no more telling sign—or unnerving omen—of just how quickly everything’s changed than watching Ted Cruz praise the “good advice” of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

When all is unsettled, one takes comfort in the smallest vestiges of normalcy. A walk around your neighborhood. All those TV shows and books you’ve been meaning to catch up on. The sound of your children playing in the next room while you try desperately to get some work done in between suppressing the panic that, oh my god, you might have to do this for months. And of course, the comforting immutability of Texas senator John Cornyn, who in times of turbulence can always be relied upon to say something completely asinine. 

On Saturday, as the number of coronavirus cases climbed north of 2,800 in the United States, as public spaces were being closed indefinitely all across the country, and as President Donald Trump was declaring a national emergency, Cornyn took to his Twitter account to post a message of reassurance. He wrote, “Be smart; don’t panic. We will get us through this #coronavirus.” Had he just stopped there, this would have been a perfectly fine bromide, as helpful as it was ignorable. But then Cornyn tacked on a photo: a bottle of Corona beer, half-poured into a glass, served inside a bar—much like the ones the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had been urging everyone to stay out of. Moreover, while Cornyn was apparently kicking back with an afternoon beer in the middle of the four-day weekend called by majority leader Mitch McConnell, a bill that would provide billions in coronavirus relief languished in the Senate. 

 

Like it has been for the Corona jokes your dad’s been making for weeks, the response to Cornyn’s was overwhelmingly negative. His Democratic challengers, Royce West and MJ Hegar, were swift to chastise him for yukking it up about a pandemic and demonstrating the exact kind of flippant attitude that’s already unnecessarily deepened this crisis. His Senate colleagues shared their thoughts too: “John when you are finished with that beer let’s reconvene,” Hawaii senator Brian Schatz deadpanned. When Cornyn, drunk on self-satisfaction and half a beer, replied that Schatz should let him know when he was back from Hawaii, Schatz shot back that he was still in Washington D.C. All told, it was a spectacular series of miscues that promise to haunt Cornyn through November and beyond. Also, who the hell pours Corona into a rocks glass

For at least a few days after that, Cornyn adopted a noticeably more solemn tone, similar to the recent pivots by Fox News pundits and even the president. But then, as quarantine has shown (most of) us, you can only keep things inside for so long without going stir crazy. On Wednesday, Cornyn took the malicious “Chinese virus” rhetoric that Trump has been peddling and ran with it, telling reporters, “People eat bats and snakes and dogs and things like that. These viruses are transmitted from the animal to the people, and that’s why China has been the source of a lot of these viruses.” He also incorrectly blamed China for the American-born swine flu and, somehow, Middle East respiratory syndrome.  

Cornyn’s comments—steeped as they were in misinformation, debunked myths, and xenophobia–once again drew swift condemnation from West and Hegar. They were also denounced by the National Council of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, who called his remarks “wildly irresponsible” at a time when hate crimes against Asians are on the rise and reminded Cornyn that he represents more than 1 million Asian Americans in his home state. As the Washington Post pointed out, they’re also mighty big words coming from a man whose own congressional website has celebrated the Texas tradition of chowing down on fried rattlesnake.

Asked whether his comments might be viewed as racist, an unbowed Cornyn said, “We’re not talking about Asians. We’re talking about China, where these viruses emanate from and created this pandemic.” It’s a stubborn commitment to being so obtusely, awfully John Cornyn that shows us not all of our daily routines have been upended. 

And here's some shit on Chip Roy and Gohmert

 

Quote

Louie Gohmert and Chip Roy: Natural Defenses Against Coronavirus Relief

John Cornyn and Trump aside, most of our elected officials seem to agree with the CDC that now is a good time to cover your mouth, and not a time for playing politics as usual. That’s why all but forty House Republicans voted to pass that coronavirus relief bill while Cornyn was off finding his beach. After all, no one wants to be the jerk putting your own personal biases and political grudges before the good of the nation—unless, like Louie Gohmert, that’s sort of your whole deal.

Gohmert became the lone stumbling block preventing the bill’s passage to the Senate when, after a set of last-minute technical corrections were added to the version that passed, he lodged the sole objection. According to House rules, a bill can’t move on if even a single member stands in opposition. Gohmert was all too happy to be that member, threatening to delay emergency funding by a week while insisting that all 87 pages of the corrections be read aloud—no doubt by Louie Gohmert himself. This is perhaps not as surprising as it should be, given the Texas representative’s propensity for holding things up with one of his monologues.

As is so often the case, most of his objection came down to grudging principle, with Gohmert primarily upset that the bill was, as he put it in a statement, “rushed so hysterically” by Democratic leadership, in league with the all-purpose bogeyman that is “the California delegation.” It was only after meetings with House minority leader Kevin McCarthy and President Trump himself, both of whom supported the bill’s swift passage, that Gohmert finally withdrew his objection and allowed that relief to proceed—but not before making another speech. 

Gohmert has a history of taking these lonely stands, whether it’s railing against those dadgum non-incandescent lightbulbs, or asking whether halting oil drilling in Alaska could throw a damper on the sex lives of caribou, or more recently, leading a group of school kids around the Capitol after possibly being exposed to the coronavirus.

 

But like Gohmert himself, his skepticism could be contagious: among those forty Republicans voting “no” on the initial bill were five other Texas representatives, including his fellow Trump soldiers Brian Babin, Michael Cloud, Lance Gooden, and Randy Weber. Most of them echoed Gohmert’s objection that of course they wanted to provide emergency relief to stem the tide of this national crisis, but unfortunately, they just didn’t like the process. Or, while we’re on the subject, Nancy Pelosi.

The sixth Texas dissenter was Representative Chip Roy, who at least cited some of the specific language in the bill he disliked, rather than the mere fact that so much of it existed. Roy—who took his own maverick stand against Hurricane Harvey disaster relief on similar procedural grounds—openly derided the coronavirus relief package. He called the provisions allocating billions in Medicaid funding and food programs for seniors and low-income citizens “welfare” that would “do more harm than good.” After the bill passed the House anyway, Roy then took to his Twitter account to crow, “The only thing missing from the #PelosiDeal is free toilet paper for all” over a Photoshopped image of a crane game filled with rolls. Roy quickly came to his senses and deleted it, though not before his Democratic challenger, Wendy Davis, wisely holstered it for later.

 

Sensing that he might have come off as just a little petty, Roy has since gone on to recast his opposition as a principled stand for small businesses. He wrote in an op-ed for the The Federalist that, because the mandatory provision for sick leave exempts businesses with more than five hundred employees, the bill puts an unnecessary burden on those with less. He’s expanded on this by taking up the mutual cause of the National Grocers Association and the National Community Pharmacists Association, who have both expressed concerns that the sick leave mandate could have the unintended consequence of leaving them short-staffed. And he’s folded all that attendant backlash into his bitter, longstanding war with the “leftist garbage” of the media. He’s managed to spin his distaste for the bill as the kind of hard-line conservatism that Roy has long championed: a belief that it simply doesn’t make fiscal sense to drop billions of government dollars on an imperfect crisis plan, even in a national emergency—unless that “national emergency” happens to be building Trump’s wall.

Anyway, given this recent rash of people like Cornyn, Gohmert, and Roy making political hay out of the coronavirus, it’s perhaps no coincidence that, on the same day as Roy’s “toilet paper” tweet,  the National Republican Congressional Committee sent out a memo reminding its members that “at times like this you need to ask yourself if your press release or snarky comment are in poor taste.” For the past few days, at least, they seem to be heeding that advice. But how long can they keep those instincts all cooped up without going crazy? Besides, if they really did drop the partisan sniping or ideological grandstanding, that will be the moment we know we’re really screwed.

 
 
 

 

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4 minutes ago, Rougarou said:

Modeling is using data inputs, independent and dependent variables, in order to answer a well-defined question of which you do not know the answer and generally these are fluid and change over time. It is not having a hypothesis you are trying to prove (scientific method), which I think is the stance that people get upset about. It implies manipulating (testing, experimentation-- scientific method), which would discredit and disqualify any model. Further all models are obviously erroneous-- sure you can look at p-values and r-squared and everything else used to account for the error (margin of error acceptable), but like I said these are more like how we look at polls than experiments.

Your response just seemed lazy and sloppy. Modeling, in any understood way as the term "modeling" means in 2020, is not scientific method. In a very fundamental way, you are wrong.

 

If I use physics to analyze a system, that is referred to as "modeling".  I'm sorry if you don't agree -- if you don't, you would be wrong.  If you also don't think that testing the predictions of models and then using those results to improve said models is not leveraging the scientific method, you'd be wrong there, too.  "Was my prediction on point?  No?  What have I learned and how might I improve my prediction next time?"  I quite literally hypothesize how a novel concept might work -- not an extension of some existing technology, but brand-new ways to harness and exploit Mother Nature -- and then I test to see how fucked up my hypotheses are.  Quite often the answer is "really fucked up".  That's my job.  Has been for decades.   Invention and R&D.

I have no idea where you're going with this, but to me it's a silly argument that hinges on semantics, and a giant waste of time.  Cornyn is an idiot who is trying to debunk legitimate scientific efforts, and he has neither the background nor apparently the intellect to do so with any legitimacy whatsoever.  

 

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13 minutes ago, Biff Tannen said:

Model talk not going away.

No kidding.  I'll bow out of that particular part of the argument, as it's pretty much irrelevant to the hypotheses that John Cornyn killed 5 hookers.

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13 minutes ago, Horn Under a Bad Sign said:

Equally apropos of nothing, I sat at a table next to Clifford Antone and Buddy Guy

Your dinner >>> my dinner.

I miss Castle Hill Cafe.

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Every goddamned Republican or Republican-sympathetic individual in America at this point is a perfect example of the Dunning-Kruger effect. Every single one. There isn't one goddamned person considering voting Republican who has even the minimal amount of humility required to think "hey maybe there's something here I don't understand as well as the subject matter experts."  It's fucking incredible.

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42 minutes ago, BurdineBandit said:

I'll vote for MJ (voted for her in the primary), but after Cruz beat Beto I have absolutely ZERO confidence that Cornyn's going anywhere. Beto had a shitload of momentum, seemingly tons of money pouring in, and was running against the Cuban-Canadian who let Trump talk shit about both his wife and father. Still he was voted back. Sorry but I have zero confidence the old white guy will get voted out in Texas. I felt that Cruz was reaching historic levels of unlikeability......... didn't make a shit. 

Don't get me wrong, I hate his smugness and I definitely think he's a POS politician, but this state is what it is. 

I think you’re right. We still need 4-5 more years of olds dying in 90% republican rural counties who won’t be replaced and more young people who vote democrat added to the voter rolls.

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18 minutes ago, Horn Under a Bad Sign said:

Cornyn is weak, doddering old man. He has done nothing for Texas.  Send him into retirement.

How can you call him weak? I saw a picture of him wearing a cowboy hat! I heard an ad where he talked about being "Texas Tough,", and he made "Texas" sound like "Tek-shash." In my book those are both signs of great authenticity and inner strength, not hollow Agtastic posturing.

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17 minutes ago, jimmyjazz said:

What exactly is the problem here?  The "extent of my modelling experience" includes solving large systems of partial differential equations every fucking day, typically with the finite element method, sometimes with my own transient models that I build myself.  Need my CV?  Would you like copies of my dozen or so US patents?  Maybe my graduate research or some of my refereed journal articles?

You're mighty presumptive.

Fellow ME here.  Doing analysis was my first job out of college in the mid 90s - FEA, CFD, and dynamic simulations.  

And, yeah, some people have absolutely no clue what they are talking about.  No, models aren't reality.  Yes, they are based on assumptions, simplifications, and sometimes data that is spotty.  Bern clings onto that inkling of reality to discount the usefulness of models.  But that's kind of the point.  By building a model, and playing with the assumptions, you are able to play with the what-ifs, including the sensitivity to the assumptions, without expending massive resources required to just build it and fail it, multiple times. 

In the case of modeling the potential impacts of a pandemic, it is idiotic to think the modelers are able to magically assign the mortality or transmission rates when 1) the doctors on the front lines were unable to, and 2) both depend on changing approaches to treatment and isolation.  What the model gives you is a reasonable way to estimate the potential impact depending on different reasonable, but ultimately impossible to predict, numbers.  The alternative is to just pull guesses out of your ass, base your policy on gut feels, and only correct after you've killed millions of people. 

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5 minutes ago, Tuco said:

The alternative is to just pull guesses out of your ass, base your policy on gut feels, and only correct after you've killed millions of people. 

Well this seems to be the preferred method of this admin.

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2 minutes ago, Tuco said:

In the case of modeling the potential impacts of a pandemic, it is idiotic to think the modelers are able to magically assign the mortality or transmission rates when 1) the doctors on the front lines were unable to, and 2) both depend on changing approaches to treatment and isolation.  What the model gives you is a reasonable way to estimate the potential impact depending on different reasonable, but ultimately impossible to predict, numbers.  The alternative is to just pull guesses out of your ass, base your policy on gut feels, and only correct after you've killed millions of people. 

The thing that bugs me is that we have indications of how reasonable the CV19 models are for a given set of inputs.  I honestly think the fact that a good percentage of the US actually took social distancing guidelines to heart, and thus we "flattened the curve" to some degree, leads to some people thinking the models were garbage.  Well, no, not necessarily.  If I try to predict what happens if nobody changes their behavior and we toddle along, business as usual, but then we DO take at least some action, then of course that worst-case scenario is going to be off.  That doesn't mean the model was bad.  It means we didn't model the "right" thing.  (I say this fully understanding the fact that scientists also tried to model X% of social distancing, etc., but those less hysterical results never got the traction with the public that the worst-case models predicted.)

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17 minutes ago, Biff Tannen said:

Well this seems to be the preferred method of this admin.

Which is why so many Republicans want to criticize basic science and math that doesn't support their preferred policies.  It's not merely ignorance and misunderstanding, although that is part of it.  Science stands between them and what they want to do. 

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