A mixed bag of mail this week. Herewith, a selection on everything from Earl Grey to killer worms via Sex Work Studies. There were big developments on the upcoming Mann vs Steyn trial of the century, to which readers had a variety of responses. Dr Mann's position is that his "science" has been investigated to the nth degree. It hasn't. So I intend to see that he finally gets the investigation he claims he's already gone through. That's not a cheap proposition, so, if you're minded to support my legal offense fund via the SteynOnline bookstore, then by all means shop away.
First up, Scott Whited of Pueblo, Colorado:
The Gaia Gazette fellow summed up Mann's strategy completely:
'Speculation: this is already a success for Mann, in that it will make anyone vaguely sane hesitate to go down the Steyn route to insanity.'
Substitute "financially rational" for "vaguely sane" and you get the whole point of the despicable exercise: Threaten a massive legal (read "financial") assault on anyone who dares utter truth to pomposity.
Thank you so much, Mr. Steyn, for being financially irrational, for having the sheer guts to counter-attack this charlatan by marshaling the financial resources to match and defeat his distortion of whatever virtue remains in our deteriorating civil society.
Mr Whited's point is well taken. As the Gaia Gazette guy gets, Dr Mann is suing me not (just) to destroy me but to make everyone else get the message: Cross the Big Climate enforcers at your peril. For purposes of contrast, consider Nate Silver, the statistician who called the 2012 election. In other words, unlike the climate scientists, his models are actually correct. Nevertheless, when his new publication tiptoed ever so tentatively onto the terrain of mild dissent from climate orthodoxy, Mann & Co made sure he got the message. Mr Silver is a man whose entire brand depends on the fact that he is a paragon of cold clinical objectivity, whereso'er it leads. But he's just announced he's caving in to the "settled science" mob. As Kate McMillan says:
It's helpful to know that FiveThirtyEight is just another product of spineless pc conformity before I waste any time with it.
I don't have the "sheer guts" Mr Whited credits me with. But, when I see a wealthy successful American such as Nate Silver obliged to quake and prostrate himself before Big Climate's tire iron, I'm sorry, I don't wish to live my life within the constraints demanded by these guys. So someone needs to do what Nate Silver so pathetically failed to and tell Mann, Trenberth et al to screw off. I'm grateful Scott Whited gets it.
On the other hand, reader I Hasch:
Big fan. Now I will give you some advice about your case. Which is stop worrying about it.
Let the lawyers deal with it. I realize being accused of libel is a big deal for a journalist, but everyone can plainly see the politics involved here and knows a hit when they see one. The Mann lawsuit is an attempt to silence you and you let him by becoming overly preoccupied with it.
It's like how the Russians used to approach Bobby Fischer. They couldn't beat him, so they attacked his mind. I mean here you are writing columns about you lawsuit, no longer covering the incompetence in chief while the world goes to rot. Mann has shut you up for months over nothing.
I say call it what it is and get back to what you do. Stop writing about the DC courts; they stink. Let your lawyers deal with it and move on. It's a farce, but it is what it is.
Yeah, right. First, I've already done exactly what you recommend: For over a year, I "let the lawyers deal with it", and they billed half-a-million bucks and lost every single round. Over at National Review, their insurers agreed to cover part of NR's legal bills but not the full billable hour, so they held a fundraiser to plug the gap pledging they were going to stand athwart Michael Mann's dodgy tree-ring yelling "Stop!", and their readers sent in money - and then NR fell silent and "let the lawyers deal with it", and also lost. I'm making noise in part because I need to raise money to fight this thing, but also because your complacency over the grotesque pustulating structural deformities of American "justice" is one of the things that has caused this republic to seize up.
For a start, he hasn't shut me up: In the last week alone, I've written on 1930s pop songs, physically violent California college professors, Australian knighthoods, the Obama motorcade, the gay movement's latest proscriptions on language, the death of American health insurance, the paramilitarization of American policing, the centenary of Alec Guinness and the federal regulation of bovine flatulence. Just between us (but I certainly hope others can tell), I'm enjoying writing again in a way that I did not during that demoralizing year yoked to fainthearted co-defendants.
Most of those issues, aside from the Aussie knighthoods and Alec Guinness, are actually manifestations of the same structural sclerosis the US "justice" system embodies. You say "it is what it is". But why is it what it is? How did it get to be what it is? It is what it is because you and too many other people give that same fatalistic shrug. If "it is what it is" now in 2014, what it is likely to be in 2020? 2030? At some point, you're going to have to stop shrugging and get real about this stuff - or lose your country.
On the other other hand, reader RBP:
Just a short note: you're right that the only way to win in the US court system is by hauling it out into the bright lights of publicity.
I've followed the suits resulting from the Duke lacrosse case (seven years and counting); the presiding judge stalled for THREE YEARS deciding a motion, while the plaintiffs' attorneys twiddled their collective thumbs; and then ruled that laws permitting such suits over violations of civil rights don't apply to whites (or asians, latinos, or native-americans), but only to blacks. (I thought segregated laws went out decades ago, but I guess I was wrong.) Three years--with no discovery permitted--two witnesses meanwhile died and the rest scattered across the globe; then the suits were gutted by a ruling that the right to sue belongs only to one race. (I think even Obama's right to sue would be questioned, since he is only half-black, after all. Maybe we can institute a race court to figure such things out.)
The plaintiffs would have been better off to go pro se and also go before the cameras at every opportunity--especially since the whole intent of the suits was to force testimony under oath about a conspiracy to conduct a frame-up of innocent persons.
Anyway, don't listen to the sage counsel of the counsels; like gladiators in the arena, you win by making the crowd like you, so that the guy in the imperial box has to turn thumbs up. Otherwise, you're just going to be lion's bait.
On the other other other hand, Tom writes:
From your response to NRO's discovery delay appeal:
"1. Defendant Steyn believes in the core legal principle that justice delayed is justice denied. The link between justice and timeliness has been explicit in the legal inheritance of this jurisdiction since the Assize of Clarendon, signed by Henry II in the year 1166, a half-century before Magna Carta, Article Six of which commands that when the accused "are given over to the sheriffs, they also shall receive them straightway without delay.""
All valid, however, a judge is going to see this opening salvo as a condescending comment as though you believe the court, the judge in particular, doesn't know the law nor its foundations. This is not a "good way" to start a discussion where you are trying to get them on your side of the argument.
This isn't a historical perspective literary contest. It's a meat and potatoes court case where you already have a guy that doesn't want to show his data and has a history of fudging facts (his Nobel Prize, for instance). Focus on nailing Mann's ass to the cross and save your distaste for the U.S. legal system for another time.
A fan who wants to see you win.
I'm not entering an "historical perspective literary contest". I'm making the point that a 12th century English peasant enjoyed rights a 21st century American no longer does. Which is not a small thing at all. The right to a speedy trial is essential to real justice because otherwise, to plead my familiar mournful refrain, the process is the punishment. I mentioned the other day that an employee of mine had been illegally seized by a rogue cop in breach of her Fourth Amendment rights and Article 19 of the New Hampshire constitution. It was a "meat and potatoes case", as you would say, but, because she insisted she was not guilty, it took a year for the State of New Hampshire to bring the case to court. It was a nerve-wracking year for my poor colleague that she shouldn't have had to go through. I don't think a system that takes half-a-decade to litigate a 270-word blog post is funny; it's evil. If I lose, it will cost me a sum in the high seven figures and end my career in the United States. That being so, for the sake of my own mental health, I don't want to lose or win, like Snoop Dogg, on a technicality. These are public documents and, should anyone dredge them up in a century's time, I want it at least to be known that I saw the loss of speedy-trial rights in American justice for the profound wickedness it is.
As to whether judges know the law and its foundations, Natalia Combs Greene certainly didn't.
On the other other other other hand, David Klein in Toronto:
Long-time fan, reader and patron. I am glad that your case is now taking on momentum with the addition of the first amendment dream team.
Were it just for defensive purposes, Mann would fold now. But your countersuit forces him to play on, a master-stroke, I must say, on your part. But I bet all the Mann-children of left and of bogus-science are peeing themselves quietly now.
My only regret is that you will not get to actually tread the boards in the courtroom, which would have been highly entertaining until you got cited for contempt. (But this is about more than my entertainment, nest paz? Pauline Maroizze eat your heart out.)
G-dspeed and may justice and truth meet again in American courtrooms.
Oh, don't be so sure I won't be treading the boards in the DC Superior Court. It's a small room - smaller than Ezra Levant's courtroom - so book your tickets now.
On the other other other other other ...oh, wait, I'm all out of hands. Oh, well. Still on free-speech issues, in last week's Mailbox and Monday's SteynPosts, we noted SteynOnline reader Katie Short's account of how her daughters wound up getting physically assaulted by University of California Santa Barbara professor Mireille Miller-Young. John Gross writes from Varennes, Quebec:
I wish your March 24 headline had read 'I'm Pro- Choice And I...CHOOSE To Assault'.
Mireille Miller-Young is a Professor of Sex Work Studies. With two daughters approaching college age, reader Chris Phillips wrote to UCSB requesting further information:
I have two daughters- one a Junior in high school and the other a high school freshman. They are both taking advanced placement courses, in preparation for college. They have been looking at various schools on their own, but of course, as their dad, I'm looking around as well.
I see UC Santa Barbara has a prostitution and pornography prep course taught by Mireille Miller-Young, and while I don't want to limit their options, I wonder if either or both of my daughters might be interested in going into the sex worker trade.
Can you send me more information on the sex worker program at UC Santa Barbara?
In fairness to UCSB, being a "sex worker" is far too much like hard work, which is why it tends to get outsourced to Chinese sex-slaves and Ukrainian escorts who haven't yet been annexed by Vladimir Putin. At UCSB, they teach your daughters to become fully-credentialed lecturers in sex work, which on the whole is a lighter workload and allows them the summers off.
Re The New York Times' linguistic note that "homosexual" is out, Steve writes from Omaha:
Perhaps 15 years ago I read Citizen Cohn. I took two things away from it.
One, during the McCarthy era, the newsmen put out A Guide to the Hearings with helpful translations like:
"I'll be glad to answer my colleague's question..." = "Hold still for this, you stinker."
(I've always enjoyed the deadly insults from Question Time framed in the most polite way: "Would the Right Honourable gentleman concede that he's full of codswallop?")
Two, the author related the story of a psychiatrist who used the term "homosexual" in a book in the early 1900's and then had to explain it, as it was a neologism. The term in use at the time was "erotopath."
I'm okay with going back to that if "homosexual" is too hurtful.
Good luck vs. Mann. I'll be by the store again after payday.
In last week's Mailbox, I mentioned my daughter's and my crossing of the don't-blink-or-you'll-miss-it Irish border while powering along at 70mph from the Mountains of Mourne to Dublin a year or two back. Charlie Ryan remembers it differently:
While living in Dublin during 1978-79 I had a remarkably different experience of the same place during the 1979 Easter weekend when I drove my car along with several others for an Irish Mountaineering Club hillwalking weekend in the Mournes.
While hiking near a mountain reservoir a British Army helicopter swooped in suddenly and interrogated us at gunpoint about the possibility we might be there to poison the Belfast water supply.
The next night in Newry for dinner I nearly had my Peugeot destroyed squad because I ignorantly parked in the wrong area. My American accent saved the day when the responding RUC sergeant, backed up with submachine guns, said after a couple of sharp questions, "I can tell by your accent that you're not familiar with the situation here…" and let me let me off with a stern warning that he could have fined me a thousand Pounds (!!) for my parking offense and, even then, call the bomb squad to demolish my car.
Finally, driving back toward Dublin on a gorgeous Easter Monday I rounded a curve on a narrow road and had to slam on my brakes at an unannounced, heavily armed "flying checkpoint" that had been inserted by chopper before dawn. We were treated another gunpoint inspection of my vehicle to make certain we weren't Provisional IRA gunrunners.
Glad to hear things were more peaceful for you and your daughter.
IMO your account of Collins, the Irish Civil War, et al was spot on.
Yeah, I was doing a bit of "Troubles" nostalgia meself on that trip with my daughter. In Belfast, I took her to the Europa, which I knew well in the old days, and explained in advance that it was, famously, "the most bombed hotel in Europe". It had no such glamor for her: She thought it a drab place with indifferent food and a risible disco. A few days later, on that drive through County Down, we motored through Warrenpoint, a small, somnolent town where on one day two fertilizer bombs exploded near Narrow Water Castle and killed 18 soldiers — the British Army's single biggest loss of the entire campaign. The castle is now a prestige rental venue for upscale weddings. It is a small, mean thing to ask a man to die for, but it marks a kind of progress.
One of the pleasures for me of our Song of the Week is that readers always respond with favorite versions of their own that I neglected to mention. "Moonglow" was no exception:
A most revealing background of that American classic. Where you find the time - and energy - to provide such depth to the 20th Century mainstays of genuine songwriting mystifies and delights me. Thank you.
'Moonglow' has such force that even Rod Stewart's desperate interpretation fails to blunt its magic. Although Picnic is most closely associated with its movie usage, The Fabulous Baker Boys employed it to great effect as well. The balcony dance scene with Michelle Pfeiffer and Jeff Bridges is seductively enhanced by that standard's inclusion. Almost makes one forget Michelle's later piano massaging scene.
Trust you will put that 'stick' in the penalty box,
Then again,Patrick R Sullivan of Seattle writes:
My favorite recent version of which is by the lovely Australian bassist-vocalist Nicki Parrot, accompanied by Rossano Sportiello.
Also by way of Oz, a note on the Kansas teastapo:
I read with much interest the article Reading the Tea Leaves in Johnson County. I have just returned from two weeks in the USA and despaired of ever finding a real pot of leaf tea (although some of the tea bags were pretty good). As I type I am sipping from a pot of finest Earl Grey tea with a bergamot content that would surely set off every alarm in Johnson County.
Cockney rhyming slang is still used sometimes in Australia, and you may remember that "tea leaf" is slang for "thief." Don't tell the Sherriff that!
The real reason for my email is your recent article Oh, Won't You Stay-ay-ay Just a Little Bit Longer? where you noted that in England, trial by jury replaced trial by ordeal. I thought this item would interest you. It originally appeared in The Ipswich Star of 2 November 2002, reprinted in Private Eye issue 1358, 24 January 2014.
"The right to trial by combat was introduced to Britain by the Normans in 1066," Leon Humphreys told the magistrates court in Bury St Edmunds, "and I wish my guilt or innocence to be decided by that method. I have been charged with failing to notify the DVLA that my Suzuki 125cc motorcycle was off the road, but it is my property, and my right to do what I like with it. The right to trial by combat is still on the statute books, and I can ask for it because Human Rights legislation gives ordinary people the right to use the law for their own purposes. And as I have opted for trial by combat, I do not have to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. I am willing to fight a champion put up by the DVLA, but they must remember that this will be a fight to the death. I am prepared to fight with Japanese samurai swords, Ghurka knives, or blacksmith's hammers. According to mediaeval law, the victor speaks in the name of God and justice, so it is a reasonable enough way of sorting the matter out."
Magistrates rejected Humphreys' request, and fined him 200 pounds, with 100 pounds costs. A court spokesman later told reporters "If this man claims he has the right to trial by combat, then he will have to present the court with evidence of the relevant legislation. The practice was commonplace until the 1300s, when the system of trial by jury or magistrates began to be introduced instead. I am not aware that anyone has the right to trial by combat these days."
As a regular reader I am sure you will be in sympathy with Leon Humphreys and his quixotic fight against pettifogging bureaucratic sclerosis. But what a shame trial by combat isn't allowed! I can picture you against Michael Mann and in the words of Homer Simpson "I like those odds!"
Finally, and for those waiting for an "on the other other other other other other hand", when all the legal sophistry avails you naught, here's what it all boils down to. John Kane writes:
I'm very pleased to see you in Nuclear mode again. I have to admit that I had my doubts at first, but you were right ... again. I wonder if Mann is starting to get that feeling that he broke into the wrong damn rec-room!
We're with you!
Aw, who doesn't find that scene from Tremors inspiring? I've quoted it often in earlier struggles:
The giant killer worms of the Canadian "Human Rights" Commission picked the wrong rec room to break into.
Likewise, the giant pustulating climate worms will wind up splattered all over the drywall.
~Drop Steyn a line on his lawsuits or anything else at Mark's Mailbox.