March 6, 2015

Gold Mine: Hillary Clinton’s Brother Granted Super-Rare Mining Permit from Haiti After State Dept. Sent Country Billions

Hillary Rodham Clinton’s brother, Tony Rodham, sat on the board of a self-described mining company that in 2012 received one of only two “gold exploitation permits” from the Haitian government—the first issued in over 50 years.

The tiny North Carolina company, VCS Mining, also included on its board Bill Clinton’s co-chair of the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission (IHRC), former Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive.

The Rodham gold mine revelation is just one of dozens featured in a forthcoming bombshell investigative book by three-time New York Times bestselling author Peter Schweizer, according to a Thursday statement from publishing giant HarperCollins.  The publisher says the book, Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich, is the culmination of an exhaustive one-year deep dive investigation into the nexus between the Clintons’ $100+ million personal wealth, the Clinton Foundation, and the decisions Hillary made as Secretary of State that benefited foreign donors, governments, and companies.

VCS’s coveted gold mining exploitation permit was apparently such a sweetheart deal that it outraged the Haitian senate, since royalties to be paid to the Haitian government were only 2.5%, a sum mining experts say is at least half the standard rate. Moreover, the mining project in Morne Bossa came with a generous ability to renew the project for up to 25 years. Nevertheless, the fledgling company proudly touted its luck in landing the deal.

“This is one of two permits issued today, the first permit of their kind issued in over five decades,” reads the only press release under VCS’s “news” tab on its scant website.

According to USAID, $3.1 billion have been dispersed since the 2010 Haiti earthquake.

Clinton Cash is said to contain “seismic” and “game-changing” revelations that far eclipse anything presently reported on the Clinton Foundation’s violation of its agreement not to accept foreign government money during Hillary’s tenure as secretary of state.

In 2011, Schweizer’s book Throw Them All Out exposed insider trading by members of Congress and became the subject of an award-winning CBS 60 Minutes story and “started the STOCK [Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge] Act stampede,” according to Slate.

“Bestselling author Peter Schweizer coins a new term to describe the unique way in which Bill and Hillary tend to mingle their political, personal and philanthropic interests: the ‘Clinton Blur,’” says HarperCollins editor Adam Bellow. “Schweizer’s scrupulously sourced and exhaustively  researched book raises serious questions about the sources of the Clintons’ sudden wealth, their ethical judgment, and Hillary’s fitness for high public office.”

The book is slated to hit bookshelves nationwide May 5th.

March 5, 2015

White House won't condemn Hillary Clinton's use of private email server

The White House declined Wednesday to criticize Hillary Clinton for relying on a personal computer server for work emails transmitted on a non-government account.

"All I can say is ... guidelines are there," White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters, as the controversy involving the likely 2016 presidential candidate continues to create headaches for the Obama administration.

A day after the New York Times reported that the former secretary of state exclusively used a private email account for digital correspondence, the Associated Press unveiled Clinton also relied on a computer server registered to her family's home in Chappaqua, N.Y., to store the data.

Some legal observers have accused Clinton of violating federal law, which requires officials to maintain their emails for record-keeping purposes.

The White House has largely punted on the debate, opting to pass most questions along to the State Department.

Clinton has not yet personally addressed the controversy.

When asked about potential security issues of Clinton using a private server and email, Earnest replied, "There is an entirely separate classified system" for government officials to transmit the most sensitive information.


March 4, 2015

Did The Defense Department Lie To A Journalist To Avoid Releasing Emails?

In the wake of the still-unraveling Hillary Clinton private email scandal (Emailgate? Bcc:ghazi?), it’s reemerged that late last year, the Defense Department revealed to a journalist that former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel also did not have an official email.

Here’s a tweet from VICE News’ Jason Leopold on November 30, 2014:

Leopold later posted the full email denying his Freedom of Information Act request, which indeed stated that “the Secretary of Defense does not maintain an official e-mail account.”

It’d be bad enough if it were the case that two Obama cabinet secretaries somehow managed not to have official email accounts for their entire tenure. But complicating matters was a tweet from Bloomberg’s Josh Rogin indicating that Hagel DID have an official email account.


March 3, 2015

NYT Shock Report: Hillary Clinton Sent Every Official Email as Secretary of State from a Private Account

Editor’s Note: This report first appeared in the New York Times — newsworthy in and of itself. We reprint in part here

WASHINGTON — Hillary Rodham Clinton exclusively used a personal email account to conduct government business as secretary of state, State Department officials said, and may have violated federal requirements that officials’ correspondence be retained as part of the agency’s record.

Mrs. Clinton did not have a government email address during her four-year tenure at the State Department. Her aides took no actions to have her personal emails preserved on department servers at the time, as required by the Federal Records Act.

It was only two months ago, in response to a new State Department effort to comply with federal record-keeping practices, that Mrs. Clinton’s advisers reviewed tens of thousands of pages of her personal emails and decided which ones to turn over to the State Department. All told, 55,000 pages of emails were given to the department.Mrs. Clinton stepped down from the secretary’s post in early 2013.

Her expansive use of the private account was alarming to current and former National Archives and Records Administration officials and government watchdogs, who called it a serious breach.

“It is very difficult to conceive of a scenario — short of nuclear winter — where an agency would be justified in allowing its cabinet-level-head officer to solely use a private email communications channel for the conduct of government business,” said Jason R. Baron, a lawyer at Drinker Biddle and Reath who is a former director of litigation at the National Archives and Records Administration.

A spokesman for Mrs. Clinton, Nick Merrill, defended her use of the personal email account and said she has been complying with the “letter and spirit of the rules.”

Under federal law, however, letters and emails written and received by federal officials, such as the secretary of state, are considered government records and are supposed to be retained so that congressional committees, historians and members of the news media can find them. There are exceptions to the law for certain classified and sensitive materials.

Mrs. Clinton is not the first government official — or first secretary of state — to use a personal email account on which to conduct official business.

But her exclusive use of her private email, for all of her work, appears unusual, Mr. Baron said. The use of private email accounts is supposed to be limited to emergencies, experts said, such as when an agency’s computer server is not working.

“I can recall no instance in my time at the National Archives when a high-ranking official at an executive branch agency solely used a personal email account for the transaction of government business,” said Mr. Baron, who worked at the agency from 2000 to 2013.

Regulations from the National Archives and Records Administration at the time required any emails sent or received from personal accounts be preserved as part of the agency’s records.

But Mrs. Clinton and her aides failed to do so.

Read the entire article

March 2, 2015

High court case threatens independent electoral map drawers

In a reversal of the usual worries about political influence on electoral map-making, the Supreme Court is being asked to let raw politics play an even bigger role in the drawing of congressional district boundaries.

The court hears argument Monday in an appeal by Republican lawmakers in Arizona against the state’s voter-approved independent redistricting commission for creating the districts of U.S. House members. A decision striking down the commission probably would doom a similar system in neighboring California, and could affect districting commissions in 11 other states.

The court previously has closed the door to lawsuits challenging excessive partisanship in redistricting, or gerrymandering. A gerrymandered district is intentionally drawn, and sometimes oddly shaped, to favor one political party.

Independent commissions such as Arizona’s “may be the only meaningful check” left to states that want to foster more competitive elections, reduce political polarization and bring fresh faces into the political process, the Obama administration said.

The court fight has one odd aspect: California Republicans are rooting against Arizona Republicans.

If the Republicans who control Arizona’s Legislature prevail, the process for drawing district lines in California for the nation’s largest congressional delegation, with 53 members, would returned to the heavily Democratic Legislature. Three former California governors, all Republicans, filed a brief with the court defending the independent redistricting commission that voters created in 2008.

California’ GOP chairman, Jim Brulte, though officially neutral, said “most of us understand that this could have a negative effect on Republicans in California.”

“Redistricting is perhaps the most political activity that government can engage in and a partisan gerrymander of the congressional seats could lead to more Democrats in Congress from California,” he said.

But Paul Clement, the lawyer for the Arizona Legislature, said the likely differing outcomes in Arizona and California demonstrate that the issue is not partisan.

“?An unelected commission may benefit Republicans in one state and Democrats in another. But that simply underscores that once congressional redistricting is taken away from the state legislatures and given to another entity, there is no guarantee that such an entity will be neutral, or favor one party, or reflect the will of the people. Whatever their shortcomings, state legislatures are elected, politically accountable and hand-picked” by the Constitution’s authors for the map-drawing task, Clement said.

The argument against independent commissions rests in the Constitution’s Election Clause, which gives state legislatures the power to set “the times, places and manners of holding elections for senators and representatives.” It also allows Congress to change those plans.

The case could turn on whether Congress did so in a law passed in 1911, around the same time it was considering Arizona’s statehood. The justices also will weigh whether the Legislature even has the right to sue over the commission’s maps.

Only Arizona and California essentially remove the legislature from the process, the National Conference of State Legislatures said in support of the Republican lawmakers in Arizona.

Lawmakers’ only contribution in those states is picking commission members from a list devised by others. In the other states - Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Washington - lawmakers either get first crack at drawing districts, approve plans drawn by commissions or appoint commission members of their choosing, the conference said.

Supporters of the commissions point to more competitive races in both Arizona and California since the commissions were created.

“When the district-drawing process is controlled by elected officials, the result too often is a process dominated by self-interest and partisan manipulation,” political scientists Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein said in court papers in support of the independent commission.

States are required to redraw maps for congressional and state legislative districts to account for population changes after the once-a-decade census.

Arizona voters created their independent redistricting commission in 2000 after complaints that the Legislature was gerrymandering districts to keep one party or one member of Congress in office. The five-member commission has two Republicans and two Democrats, chosen by legislative leaders from a list drawn up by the state’s Commission on Appellate Court Appointments. Those four members then choose a political independent to be chairman.

The first crack at redistricting after the 2000 census pleased Republicans, and they did not sue. Democrats did, though unsuccessfully. But after the 2010 census, Republicans were unhappy with the commission when it left Republicans with four safe congressional seats, Democrats with two, and three tossup districts.

The three tossup seats all went Democratic in the 2012 election, but one turned Republican in 2014.

State Senate President Andy Biggs, a Republican, said the suit that resulted is not meant to ignore the will of the voters.

“I would like to make this very, very clear for people who look at this - this isn’t the will of the people, these lines,” Biggs said. “These are unelected people, they are appointed people, they are now, we know, not even held accountable to elected people. These people who draw these lines are the most … detached, tyrannical people, because it all boils down to one person. And that will be the chairman of the commission.”

Democrats, naturally, disagree.

“The bottom line is they had no problem with the independent redistricting law when the lines were drawn to their liking,” said Sen. Steve Farley, the assistant Democratic leader. “They’re having problems and suing to overturn it now that the lines weren’t drawn to their liking. And that’s frankly not fair and frankly not legal.”

A decision in Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, 13-1314, is expected before July.


February 27, 2015

Lerner Email Search Is On Hold Over Software Problems: ‘There Is Potential Criminal Activity’

The investigation into Lois Lerner’s missing emails is currently on hold due to software issues. But the investigators know that “there is potential criminal activity” in the case.

Treasury Department inspectors general testified Thursday that they cannot provide any relevant information related to their search for Lois Lerner’s missing emails. But at least three bits of information came out: the investigation is on hold over software issues, there is potential criminal wrongdoing, and nobody at the IRS even asked for Lerner’s backup email tapes from the people in New Martinsville, West Virginia who had them.

Treasury deputy inspector general Timothy Camus confirmed to the House Oversight Committee that his office found more than 30,000 of Lerner’s emails.

 But the Oversight committee has not received all of the emails. At least 8,000 emails are still at the inspector general’s office.

Why is the investigation on hold?

Camus said that he is currently battling it out over licensing issues with a software company that makes some kind of software that Camus needs to “match” the emails he has with the emails that have already been turned over to Congress – so that he can give Congress only the ones that Congress doesn’t have yet. Camus called the software vendor a “renowned company.”

But why don’t the inspectors general just give Congress all the emails they have and let Congress sort through them? Who knows? That’s not clear.

“There is potential criminal activity,” Camus admitted.

Under questioning from chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz, Camus confirmed that the inspector general found Lerner’s backup email tapes at a storage facility in West Virginia and that the IT professionals who had the tapes were never asked — by the IRS or anyone else — for the tapes. Camus said that he found what he believes are Lerner’s 2011 tapes just two weeks ago.

Camus also said that “the facts as we understand them can and have changed on a daily basis.”
Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney called the hearing a “waste of time.”

The White House has staunchly refused to cooperate with the IRS investigation, passing the buck to the IRS.

“It is my understanding that in May 2014, Commissioner Koskinen responded to this request by indicating that the IRS would be able to address new topics such as these following its completion of document productions already in progress,” White House counsel W. Neil Eggleston told Rep. Paul Ryan last week in a letter. “To the extent that the committee continues to have an oversight interest in this matter, I encourage you to continue working with the IRS to address those questions.”

As The Daily Caller extensively reported, Lerner and her underling Nikole Flax unveiled the new program of nonprofit scrutiny at a 2010 conference of government workers at Washington’s Grand Hyatt hotel. IRS officials obtained donor lists for a “secret research project” that was approved by then-IRS commissioner Steven T. Miller. Lerner provided confidential taxpayer information on a conservative group to senior White House adviser Jeanne Lambrew.

The legal advocacy firm Cause of Action is trying to get some of Lerner’s key emails through a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against the Treasury Department’s inspector general (TIGTA). TIGTA found nearly 2,500 pages of documents chronicling investigations into White House-IRS swaps of confidential taxpayer information. But the Cause of Action case has hit a snag. 

The Treasury Department’s inspector general filed a motion to dismiss the case, citing Section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code, which prohibits disclosures of confidential taxpayer information. In other words, the Obama administration is claiming that because it  shared confidential taxpayer information then it cannot legally release documents about how it shared confidential taxpayer information.


February 26, 2015

Climate Scientist Targeted By Democrats For Global-Warming Apostasy

Dr. Roger Pielke Jr. of the University of Colorado has published a lengthy blog post about his “investigation” by Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) of the House Natural Resources Committee. The post sheds further light on the remarkable similarity between “climate science” and good old-fashioned witch hunting.

The new scientific method involves intimidating skeptics into silence, until only an unchallenged “consensus” remains. (The global climate has sadly refused all such efforts at intimidation, stubbornly refusing to do anything the Church of Global Warming predicted it would do, but evidently that’s not much of a problem for the new politicized “science” if everyone is afraid to talk about it.)

Pielke is a great believer in clearing the pollutants of politics from the atmosphere of science, so you can see why politicized science would want him burned at the stake (with all due precautions against the release of atmospheric carbon that would entail, of course.)

He wrote a well-reviewed book called “The Climate Fix: What Scientists and Politicians Won’t Tell You About Global Warming,” in which he presents measured skepticism of climate-change orthodoxy – for example, he believes the role of carbon emissions from human industry is greatly exaggerated by politicized science, but he doesn’t think human carbon emissions are irrelevant, and is not implacably hostile to the goal of reducing them. He criticizes politicians for over-simplifying enormously complex systems and exaggerating the beneficial effects of their centrally-planned solutions.

Evidently his mortal sin against the Climate Cult was pointing out that human-caused climate change is not inflicting greater economic damage due to extreme weather, an empirical truth that cuts against one of the most sacred dogmas of politicized science. (How can the Little People be terrorized into giving up control over their lives, unless they think their actions are causing spectacular and destructive weather events? The face of the Angry Sky Gods is not easily seen in miniscule local temperature variations that scarcely register on sensitive instruments.) He has a recent book devoted to that argument, “The Rightful Place of Science: Disasters & Climate Change.”

With the cultists very excited about the prospect of hounding skeptics from the public square by accusing them of secret allegiance to Demon Oil and its evil petro-dollars, Pielke found himself targeted by Rep. Grijalva, who is essentially prosecuting him for the crime of saying something inconvenient that even the grand poobahs of global warming at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change at the United Nations admit is true:
As some of you will already know, I am one of 7 US academics being investigated by US Representative Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) who is the ranking member of the House of Representatives Committee on Environment and Natural Resources. Rep. Grijalva has sent a letter to the president of my university requesting a range of information, including my correspondence, the letter is here in PDF. 
Before continuing, let me make one point abundantly clear: I have no funding, declared or undeclared, with any fossil fuel company or interest. I never have. Representative Grijalva knows this too, because when I have testified before the US Congress, I have disclosed my funding and possible conflicts of interest. So I know with complete certainty that this investigation is a politically-motivated “witch hunt” designed to intimidate me (and others) and to smear my name. 
For instance, the Congressman and his staff, along with compliant journalists, are busy characterizing me in public as a “climate skeptic” opposed to action on climate change. This of course is a lie. I have written a book calling for a carbon tax, I have publicly supported President Obama’s proposed EPA carbon regulations, and I have just published another book strongly defending the scientific assessment of the IPCC with respect to disasters and climate change. All of this is public record, so the smears against me must be an intentional effort to delegitimize my academic research.
I must admit I find myself in strong disagreement with Dr. Pielke about the wisdom of these measures, being an out-and-proud unreconstructed climate skeptic myself, but it would never occur to me to hound him off the public stage or target him with intimidating government investigations. I’ve got some very old-fashioned ideas about how “science” and “debate” are supposed to work.

As Pielke goes on to observe, the “crime” that brought this “investigation” to bear was saying something true – “it is incorrect to associate the increasing costs of disasters with the emission of greenhouse gases” – and being a prominent scientist while doing it. It’s great that congressional Democrats have time for this sort of thing, isn’t it? They’re worse than useless when it comes to the IRS abusing its power against American citizens, the Department of Veterans Affairs turning into a horror show, the Administration lying about a deadly attack on a U.S. consulate, or the Justice Department running guns into Mexico, but they’ve got plenty of time and resources to crack down on uppity climate scientists.

The media’s all over this abuse of government power, right? Not so much, says Pielke: “So far, I have been contacted by only 2 reporters at relatively small media outlets. I’d say that the lack of interest in a politician coming after academics is surprising, but to be honest, pretty much nothing surprises me in the climate debate anymore. Even so, there is simply no excuse for any reporter to repeat incorrect claims made about me, given how easy I am to find and just ask.”

There might not be any excuse for it, Dr. Pielke, but there certainly are reasons. Come have a few sustainable, renewable drinks with the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy sometime, and we’ll compare notes on how modern “journalism” works.

The sad epilogue to the story is that the intimidation tactics worked; Pielke has concluded that participating in the climate debate is more trouble than it’s worth. “The incessant attacks and smears are effective, no doubt, I have already shifted all of my academic work away from climate issues,” he writes. “I am simply not initiating any new research or papers on the topic and I have ring-fenced my slowly diminishing blogging on the subject. I am a full professor with tenure, so no one need worry about me – I’ll be just fine as there are plenty of interesting, research-able policy issues to occupy my time. But I can’t imagine the message being sent to younger scientists. Actually, I can: ‘when people are producing work in line with the scientific consensus there’s no reason to go on a witch hunt.'” (There’s a long story behind that Orwellian quote, which Pielke provided a link to.)

Old Science was all about challenging theories. New Science is pure politics, and the worst sort of politics at that: victory not through persuasion or proof, but the suppression of dissent. It works, so we’ll get more of it, and that’s a scientific fact.


February 25, 2015

GOP retreats on bill to block unprecedented 'net neutrality' regulations

With the Federal Communications Commission poised Thursday to impose unprecedented regulations on the Internet, congressional Republicans have quietly backed down on a plan to block the looming FCC rules ahead of time with their own legislation.

Republican lawmakers blamed Obama administration officials, who they say have interfered in bipartisan talks to produce legislation that would ban some of the onerous practices the FCC seeks to stop, but with far less government regulation than the pending agency rules proposed.

“The Democrats have been pushed away from negotiating with us,” Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune, R-S.D., said.

Thune said he’s unsure when Republicans will produce a bill but he said it will have to wait until after Thursday, when the FCC is scheduled to vote on a package of far-reaching regulations aimed at establishing “net neutrality” for Internet users.

According to Thune, the Obama administration and FCC officials swayed Democrats not to talk to the GOP about legislation until after the FCC votes.

Central to the FCC’s proposed rules is a plan to reclassify the Internet as a public utility, a move that would introduce an unprecedented layer of government regulation to the broadband Internet industry.

President Obama has pushed for the reclassification, which he said is needed to ensure a fair and open Internet. But critics say it will stifle innovation and increase fees and taxes by imposing on the industry a 1934 government regulation meant for managing large utilities, such as the old telephone companies.

Thune admitted that waiting until after the FCC votes on the new rules on Feb. 26 could make it difficult to pass a bill.

“It gets more complicated, in my opinion,” Thune said. “That is what I told Democrats. Yes, you can wait until the 26th, but you are going to lose critical mass that I think is necessary to help with an alternative once the FCC acts.”

Thune said even though the GOP holds majorities in both chambers, it made little sense to take up legislation now because without some Democratic cooperation, the bill would fail in the Senate or if it passes, Obama would veto it.

“We are not going to get a signed bill that doesn’t have Democratic support,” Thune said. “And we think this is an issue that needs to have bipartisan support.”

Last month, Thune and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., were far more enthusiastic about passing legislation.

They authored an op-ed about their own proposal, which includes many of the provisions in the FCC’s proposed rules for net neutrality, but bans heavy government regulation.

“We have made this an early priority of this Congress,” Thune and Upton wrote, “demonstrating we can come together on a bipartisan basis to protect the vitality of the Internet — now so indispensable to our economy and way of life. Enduring, long-term protections for our digital freedoms are something we should all support.”

But neither the House nor the Senate has voted on the legislation.

“We’ve been reaching out to Democrats for some time,” Thune said. “That’s been frowned upon by the administration.”

The FCC’s Thursday vote includes consideration of new rules against “throttling” or purposely slowing down service, as well as the practice of blocking certain websites while giving preference to others. The proposed rules would also give the FCC the authority to end paid prioritization, a practice that allows some content providers to pay extra to avoid network congestion by “jumping in line.”

The FCC vote could hit a snag by Thursday.

A Democratic commissioner, Mignon Clyburn, has asked FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to make some changes to the proposed rules, according to the Hill newspaper, but she does not oppose reclassifying the Internet as a utility and is generally in favor of stronger government regulation of the Internet. Tech industry writers said Thursday that Mignon’s requested changes would strengthen government oversight.

In the House, where Republicans have not scheduled a vote on FCC legislation, the Energy and Commerce panel will instead hold a hearing Wednesday on the potential impact of the FCC's proposed rules.

"The closer we get to the FCC rubber-stamping President Obama's Internet grab, the more disturbing it becomes. Consumers, innovators, and job creators all stand to lose from this misguided approach," Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore., said.

Thune, meanwhile, said he will begin negotiating with Democrats on FCC legislation after Thursday’s commission vote.

Thune said likely lawsuits from major carriers against the FCC rules, plus a required comment period, will buy Congress some time to come up with a bill before any new regulations are implemented.

But Thune lacked the enthusiasm expressed in his January op-ed.

“We still have a little window to do something legislative,” he told the Washington Examiner, “but I think the incentive for Democrats start to diminish significantly once the FCC rules.”


February 24, 2015

Left Panics over Peer-Reviewed Climate Paper’s Threat to Global Warming Alarmism

You’ve heard it said that the science is settled. And it’s true. It issettled–settled beyond the possibility of any dispute. A fundamental, inescapable, indubitable bedrock scientific principle is that lousy theories make lousy predictions.
Climate forecasts are lousy, therefore it is settled science that they must necessarily be based on lousy theories. And lousy theories should not be trusted.
Put it this way. Climate forecasts, of the type relied upon by the IPCC and over governmental entities, stink. They are no good. They have been promising ever increasing temperatures for decades, but the observations have been more or less steady. This mustmean–it is inescapable–that something is very badly wrong with the theory behind the models. What?
There are many guesses. One is that something called “climate sensitivity,” a measure of the overall reaction of the atmosphere to carbon dioxide, is set too high in the models. So Lord Christopher Monckton, Willie Soon, David Legates, and I created a model to investigate this. Although our model is crude and captures only the barest characteristics of the atmosphere, it matches reality better than its luxuriously funded, more complex cousins.
The funding is important. Nobody asked or paid us to create our model. We asked nobody for anything, and nobody offered us anything. We did the work on our own time and submitted a peer-reviewed paper to the Science Bulletin of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. It’s title is “Why models run hot: results from an irreducibly simple climate model.
The paper was quickly noticed, receiving at this writing well over 10,000 downloads. Anybody who understood the settled science that bad theories make bad forecasts knew that this paper was a key challenge to the climatological community to show that our guess of why climate models stink is wrong, or to prove there were other, better explanations for the decades-long failure to produce skillful forecasts.
After the paper made international news, strange things began to happen. My site was hacked. A pest named David Appell issued a FOIA request to Legates’s employer, the University of Delaware, to release all of Legates’s emails. But since we received no funding for our paper, which of course implies no state funding from Delaware, the university turned Appell down. 
The cult-like Greenpeace had better luck with Soon’s employer, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, who were very obliging.
They turned over all of Soon’s emails. And then Greenpeace sent them to a set of sympathetic mainstream reporters.
Why did Greenpeace do this? Because they suspected we were lying about receiving funding. They were hoping that if they could prove Soon was paid then Soon should have declared to Science Bulletin a conflict of interest, and because he didn’t (none of us did), then he should retract the paper.
Greenpeace went away disappointed. We were telling the truth. Soon, like most research scientists, has in the past accepted money from sources other than our beneficent government (and what makes government money pure?). Greenpeace, for instance, often issues these kinds of grants. But there was no money for this paper, as we said.
But Greenpeace still needed to sidetrack discussion—anything to distract from the news that climate models are broken–hence their cozying up to “science reporters.”
These reporters, all of whom are paid by corporate interests, emailed asking about the “alleged conflict.” I explained to them that we received no funding and thus had no conflict of interest. But they never heard me. It was as if they didn’t want to. I offered to discuss the science behind our paper, but none took me up on this.
I posted a running log of these emails at my site, and they make for fascinating reading of how narrow-minded and willfully ignorant the mainstream press can be. 
Justin Gillis of the New York Times was particularly reprehensible. In an email sent before publishing a hit piece on Sunday, Gillis accused Soon of an “ethical breach.” He issued veiled threats by saying that Soon ought to talk to him, because Soon’s employer “may be preparing to take adverse personnel action against” him.
I told Gillis there was no conflict. And I asked Gillis to explain his ties with Greenpeace and other environmental organizations.
Surprisingly, he refused to answer. Well, he did block me on Twitter.
Greenpeace denies the settled science that bad forecasts mean incorrect theories. Don’t let them change the subject. This is not about some false accusation of conflict of interest. This is about bad science passing for good because it’s politically expedient.

February 23, 2015

White House that promised transparency refuses to cooperate with IRS probe

The White House told Congress last week it refused to dig into its computers for emails that could shed light on what kinds of private taxpayer information the IRS shares with President Obama’s top aides, assuring Congress that the IRS will address the issue — eventually.

The tax agency has already said it doesn’t have the capability to dig out the emails in question, but the White House’s chief counsel, W. Neil Eggleston, insisted in a letter last week to House Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan that the IRS would try again once it finishes with the tea party-targeting scandal.

“It is my understanding that in May 2014, Commissioner Koskinen responded to this request by indicating that the IRS would be able to address new topics such as these following its completion of document productions already in progress,” Mr. Eggleston wrote in a Feb. 17 letter. “To the extent that the committee continues to have an oversight interest in this matter, I encourage you to continue working with the IRS to address those questions.”

But IRS Commissioner John Koskinen’s letter last year didn’t say that. Instead Mr. Koskinen said the IRS was logistically incapable of performing the search because it would have required combing through 90,000 email accounts.

The White House’s stiff-arm comes even though it performed a similar kind of email search in the past after the IRS lost thousands of emails of former division chief Lois G. Lerner, a key figure in the tea party targeting.

Mr. Ryan is trying to figure out whether the laws that govern taxpayer information security are working, which is part of his committee’s jurisdiction.

The IRS has been under fire for years over several scandals, including its targeting of tea party groups for politically motivated scrutiny and its illegal release of private taxpayer information concerning the National Organization for Marriage. The IRS insisted the disclosure was accidental and not politically motivated, but it did pay a settlement to the organization.

Some outside pressure groups argue the IRS’s improper behavior goes further, and includes disclosing private taxpayer information to the White House. The groups point to comments by a top White House economic adviser who in 2010 said Koch Industries, the company run by conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch, paid no corporate income taxes.

The IRS’s inspector general investigated that issue, but has refused to release documents and currently faces a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit over the matter.

Both the House and Senate are now investigating IRS and White House communications as well.

The White House didn’t assert any privileges in refusing Mr. Ryan’s request last week, instead insisting the IRS would work on it, so there was no need for the president to get involved. That conflicts with Mr. Koskinen’s 2014 letter making clear he didn’t think such a search was feasible from his end.

The IRS didn’t respond to a message seeking comment on whether it had rethought its stance in light of the White House’s promise, and the White House didn’t respond to a message asking why its chief counsel had misrepresented the IRS’s position as stated in Mr. Koskinen’s letter.

Congress and the White House faced a similar situation last year after the IRS admitted it had lost some of Ms. Lerner’s emails. The Ways and Means Committee then asked the White House if it had any such emails, and Mr. Obama’s aides complied with that request, even providing three emails that Congress hadn’t asked for.

At the time Mr. Eggleston also acknowledged the IRS had told the White House about the lost emails a month before the tax agency informed Congress of the loss.

Any official requests for private taxpayer information made by the White House are supposed to be personally signed by the president, and Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation is supposed to be notified of the request. The JCT issues an annual report on all requests for IRS information, and those reports don’t show any such requests from the president during Mr. Obama’s time in office.

Mark W. Everson, who was commissioner of the IRS under President George W. Bush from 2003 to 2007, said both sides try to observe a strict division.

“I can’t remember this ever having come up — at least it ever having been brought to my attention,” he said. “In my experience the White House and the service were scrupulous about making sure appropriate independence was maintained between the two.”

Mr. Everson said he recalled one or two times when he got a call from a White House staffer asking about the status of something, such as a charitable organization’s application. He urged them to go to the White House counsel’s office for guidance, and said he never heard any follow-up on the requests.

Mr. Koskinen, the current IRS commissioner, has told Congress he is working in good faith to restore trust in his agency and to cooperate with lawmakers’ investigations, which he says have cost millions of dollars in staff time and additional computer capacity.

The tax agency has turned over hundreds of thousands of pages of documents in the tea party investigation, and congressional committees, including Ways and Means, are trying to finalize their reports on the wrongdoing.

In his letter to Mr. Ryan last week, Mr. Eggleston said the IRS would tackle the new request after the agency finishes with the tea party matter.


February 20, 2015

Dems Push Boehner to Postpone Netanyahu Speech

A group of House Democrats are calling on House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to postpone Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to a joint session of Congress next month.
In a letter to Boehner, the Democrats — led by Reps. Steve Cohen (D-TN), Keith Ellison (D-MN), and Maxine Waters (D-CA) — cite concerns that the speech will undermine the Obama administration’s nuclear negotiations with Iran and that the invitation was extended without input from the White House.

“The invitation to Prime Minister Netanyahu enlists a foreign leader to influence a Presidential policy initiative. We should be able to disagree on foreign policy within our American political system and without undermining the presidency,” the letter reads.

The lawmakers further take issue with the proximity of the talk to Netanyahu’s reelection in Israeli.
“Beyond threatening our diplomatic priorities, the timing of this invitation offers the Congressional platform to elevate a candidate in a foreign election,” they write.

Netanyahu is slated to speak to Congress on March 3. The White House has already announced that President Obama will not meet with the Israeli leader while he is in town, and Vice President Biden will not attend the joint session. Some Democrats have also said they will not attend.

On Tuesday Rep. Robert Pittenger, the chairman of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, met with Netanyahu in Israel. Pittenger told Breitbart News Netanyahu will bring a message about the dangers of a nuclear Iran when he visits next month.

“We’re straightening pictures while the house is burning down, to be quibbling over who invited who,” Pittenger said. “And the larger issue is coming to recognition with Iran with nuclear capacities that they will no doubt have with any agreement.”

Boehner has repeatedly defended the invitation.

“It’s an important message that the American people need to hear. I’m glad that he’s coming, and I’m looking forward to what he has to say,” Boehner said on Fox News Sunday over the weekend.

Nearly two-dozen Democrats signed the letter to Boehner dated Wednesday, including: Cohen, Ellison, Waters, as well as Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), André Carson (D-IN), John Conyers, (D-MI), Danny Davis (D-IL), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL), Hank Johnson  (D-GA), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Betty McCollum (D-MN), James McGovern (D-MA), Jim McDermott (D-WA), Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), Donald Payne (D-NJ), Chellie Pingrie (D-ME), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Mark Takano (D-CA), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), Peter Welch (D-VT), and John Yarmuth (D-KY).