The Week That Was: April 16, 2016 – Brought to You by www.SEPP.org
By Ken Haapala, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project
Freedom from Fear? The Progressive politically movement began with the hope that government powers can be directed to do social good. In the 1880s it targeted political machines and their bosses, which were common in many cities in the East. Early national icons included presidents from both major political parties such as “trust-busting” Theodore Roosevelt, William Taft, and Woodrow Wilson. (In recent years, Wilson has been under severe criticism for his views and actions on racial segregation.). Among the national political actions attributed to the progressives are the national income tax, direct election of Senators, and the prohibition of alcoholic beverages and distilled spirits. Many progressives also embraced eugenics to scientifically select a better human race.
The only president elected to a third term (and 4th), Franklin Roosevelt, instituted major economic changes, called the New Deal, which is considered by many historians to be an extension of the progressive era. After World War II revealed the horrors of eugenics practiced by the Nazis and others, the progressive movement waned. In recent years it has become strong again with many liberal Democrats identifying themselves to be progressive – particularly members of Obama Administration.
In his third inaugural address, on January 6, 1941, (eleven months before the US entered World War II), President Roosevelt articulated four freedoms to advance his political goals in economics and in support of the allies in WW II). The four freedoms are: 1) Freedom of speech; 2) Freedom of worship, 3) Freedom from want, 4) Freedom from fear. To Americans, the first two are enshrined in the Bill of Rights of the Constitution, the third can be considered a matter of economic security, and the fourth a matter of national security and as well as protection against arbitrary, authoritarian government.
It is disturbing that this president administration, which considers itself progressive-liberal, continues to promote fear – the fear of climate change – to expand its powers. The latest effort declares that climate change threatens health of citizens of the country, and is happening now!
“Developed over three years by approximately one hundred experts in climate-change science and public health – including representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Department of Agriculture (USDA), and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the Department of Defense (DOD), and the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) – the “Climate and Health Assessment” reinforces that climate change is a significant threat to the health of the American people not just in the future but right now.”
The White House and these government agencies are promoting fear of climate change, as if climate change never happened before, although it has been happening for hundreds of millions of years. Further, such proclamations give the impression that if the president is given sufficient powers, he can stop climate change! In spite of spending over $40 Billion on Climate Science since 1993, the Administration and the US Global Change Research Program does not comprehend the influences creating natural climate variability. The supposed solution, using solar and wind to generate electricity, would be a greater real threat to the health of Americans than the imagined threat created by using general climate models that the Administration has not bothered to validate. In particular, the models greatly overestimate the warming of the atmosphere that carbon dioxide, and other greenhouse gases. See Articles #1, # 2, #3, and links under Defending the Orthodoxy.
Quote of the Week: “It is essential for men of science to take an interest in the administration of their own affairs or else the professional civil servant will step in — and then the Lord help you” – Lord Rutherford, Nobel Laureate for Chemistry (1908) [H/t Rob Lemiere]
Number of the Week: Less than 13%
Freedom to Investigate/Prosecute? Adding to the irony of a progressive-liberal administration promoting fear, is the willingness of state attorney generals and US Attorneys to investigate independent organizations who have questioned the Administration’s lack of science in substantiating its claims about health threats to Americans from human-caused climate change under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act of 1970. Among these organizations was the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), which received a subpoena from Claude Walker. a recently appointed Attorney General of the Virgin Islands, a territory of the US. According to reports of his appointment, Walker was an attorney at the EPA for eight years. Claude Walker’s subpoena “commanded” CEI to turn over documents and communications with ExxonMobil, Esso and their foundations concerning climate change, including strategies to address climate change or impact public views on climate change.
CEI was one of the first organizations filing an objection to the EPA’s highly questionable finding that carbon dioxide, and other greenhouse gases, endanger public health and welfare. An objection in which SEPP joined CEI. Whether one calls this an investigation or a potential investigation is a meaningless distinction. It is clearly a suppression of freedom of speech and of independent inquiry. Writing in Library of Law and Liberty, CEI Attorney Hans Bader discusses his views on such government actions. See links under Suppressing Scientific Inquiry – The Witch Hunt and Suppressing Scientific Inquiry – The Witch Hunt – Push-Back.
Violation of Civil Rights? In USA Today, University of Tennessee law professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds writes “Federal law makes it a felony ‘for two or more persons to agree together to injure, threaten, or intimidate a person in any state, territory or district in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him/her by the Constitution or the laws of the Unites States, (or because of his/her having exercised the same).’”
Referring to an earlier, January 27, 2016, piece by Bader, Reynolds writes: “But here’s what happened next: After Bader’s critique, Walker, the U.S. Virgin Islands attorney general, subpoenaed the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s donor lists. The purpose of this subpoena is, it seems quite clear, to punish CEI by making people less willing to donate.
“This all takes place in the context of an unprecedented meeting by 20 state attorneys general aimed, environmental news site EcoWatch reports, at targeting entities that have ‘stymied attempts to combat global warming.’ You don’t have to be paranoid to see a conspiracy here.”
The Department of Justice web site “Conspiracy Against Rights states:
“Section 241 of Title 18 is the civil rights conspiracy statute. Section 241 makes it unlawful for two or more persons to agree together to injure, threaten, or intimidate a person in any state, territory or district in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him/her by the Constitution or the laws of the Unites States, (or because of his/her having exercised the same). Unlike most conspiracy statutes, Section 241 does not require that one of the conspirators commit an overt act prior to the conspiracy becoming a crime.
“The offense is punishable by a range of imprisonment up to a life term or the death penalty, depending upon the circumstances of the crime, and the resulting injury, if any.
TITLE 18, U.S.C., SECTION 241
“If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same;…
“They shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, they shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.”
Here we see that a felony is committed in the conspiracy, and it does not require actual oppression of rights.
Further adding to the irony, other attorneys say that it would require an act of an US attorney to bring these felony charges of conspiracy “to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate” individual rights. Given the attitude of this Administration that it does no wrong, it is doubtful that a US attorney will file such charges, at this time. Then, the speculation becomes what would happen if a Republican administration came into power? It is very possible that such an administration would be very sensitive to charges of political favoritism and political prosecution and not bring the felony charges. If so, then the current administration has limited the 1985 Civil Rights Act to apply only to a politically favored few. See links under Suppressing Scientific Inquiry – The Witch Hunt – Push-Back and https://www.justice.gov/crt/conspiracy-against-rights
Encouraging News: In spite of the Witch Hunt, writing in Climate Etc., Judith Curry reports that the American Geophysical Union (AGU) decided to continue sponsorship from ExxonMobil. It is becoming evident that government funding assures no greater rigor in the scientific work than corporate funding. One must examine the work, not the funding source. See links under Seeking a Common Ground.
Realistic Modeling Efforts: Economist Ross McKitrick, who along with Steve McIntyre, pointed out the modeling deficiencies behind Mr. Mann’s hockey-stick, has written a working paper, along with analysists at the Heritage Foundation, attempting to get at more realistic estimates of the economic costs of adding CO2 to the atmosphere than the $2.5 Billion per year US Global Change Research Program has managed. Their model uses empirically established estimates of the influence of a doubling of carbon dioxide on global temperatures. The model is not definitive, but it is a great step in the right direction. See link under Challenging the Orthodoxy.
SEPP’S APRIL FOOLS AWARD
SEPP is conducting its annual vote for the recipient of the coveted trophy, The Jackson, a lump of coal. Readers are asked to nominate and vote for who they think is most deserving, following these criteria:
· The nominee has advanced, or proposes to advance, significant expansion of governmental power, regulation, or control over the public or significant sections of the general economy.
· The nominee does so by declaring such measures are necessary to protect public health, welfare, or the environment.
· The nominee declares that physical science supports such measures.
· The physical science supporting the measures is flimsy at best, and possibly non-existent.
The four past recipients, Lisa Jackson, Barrack Obama, John Kerry, and Ernest Moniz are not eligible. Generally, the committee that makes the selection prefers a candidate with a national or international presence. The voting will close on June 1. Please send your nominee and a brief reason why the person is qualified for the honor to Ken@SEPP.org. Thank you. The award will be presented at the annual meeting of the Doctors for Disaster Preparedness on July 9.
Number of the Week: Less than 13% — According to the US Energy Information Agency (EIA): “In 2015, about 24% of the petroleum consumed by the United States was imported from foreign countries, the lowest level since 1970.” Of that 24%, about 40% came from Canada and 8% from Mexico. Thus, less than 13% of total US consumption comes from areas outside of North America, that cannot be connected with pipelines. Yet, many in Washington claim subsidies and mandates are needed “for energy security to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.” Clearly, the national security argument is no longer valid and the US Navy’s biofuel-driven, “Green-Fleet” is obsolete.