Wednesday, March 3, 2010


This will be the first of a series of posts, which I will call The Bozone Report. What is a Bozone Report, you ask?  First, a definition:
The Bozone is an aura surrounding exceptionally stupid people for whom no amount of knowledge or intelligence is known to penetrate. Although chemically inert, the Bozone Layer is highly toxic and known to destroy any productive reaction that comes in contact with it.
My first Bozone Report focuses on Senator James Inhofe, the ranking Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee. Long known for his global warming denialist propaganda, Senator Inhofe is now using (read: abusing) the resources of a Senate committee to threaten 17 leading climate scientists with criminal prosecution.

You did not misread the previous paragraph. This Minority Report released by Inhofe’s staff contains 83 pages of false and misleading statements, shameful accusations, and a list of federal laws allegedly broken that threatens 17 climate scientists with prosecution. In other words, this is the worst case of political thuggery since Senator Joseph McCarthy first employed these tactics 60 years ago. Here is a list of the accused:
Raymond Bradley - Professor in the Department of Geosciences and Director of the Climate System Research Center at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Keith Briffa - Deputy Director of the Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia.

Timothy Carter - Research Professor at the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE), Helsinki, Finland.

Edward Cook - Senior Scholar at the Tree-Ring Laboratory, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Palisades, New York.

Malcolm Hughes - Regents' Professor in the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research at the University of Arizona.

Dr. Phil Jones - Professor at the University of East Anglia’s CRU.

Thomas Karl - Designated Transitional Director of the NOAA Climate Service.

Dr. Michael Mann - Professor and Director of the Earth System Science Center, Pennsylvania State University.

Dr. Michael Oppenheimer - Albert G. Milbank Professor of Geosciences and International Affairs in the Woodrow Wilson School, and the Department of Geosciences at Princeton University.

Dr. Jonathan Overpeck - Co-Director of the Institute of the Environment, and Professor in the Department of Geosciences and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Arizona.

Dr. Benjamin Santer - Research Scientist, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Gavin Schmidt - NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

Dr. Stephen Schneider - Professor for Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies, Professor of Biological Sciences, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and a Senior Fellow in the Woods Institute for the Environment, Stanford University.

Dr. Susan Solomon - Senior Scientist at the Chemical Sciences Division (CSD) Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL), NOAA.

Peter Stott - Climate Monitoring Expert and Head of Climate Monitoring and Attribution at the Met Office, Hadley Centre.

Dr. Kevin Trenberth - Senior Scientist and Head of the Climate Analysis Section, the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

Dr. Thomas Wigley - Senior Scientist in the Climate and Global Dynamics Division, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research.
The Minority Report accuses the Climate 17 (listed above) of unlawful use of federal funds and ethical misconduct. Specifically, it calls for an investigation to determine if any of the following Federal laws were violated:
Freedom of Information Act – accuses the Climate 17 of deliberately withholding information to prevent FOIA release.

Shelby Amendment – accuses them of failing to comply with an Agency request for raw data produced with federal funds.

OSTP Policy Directive – accuses them of “misconduct in research,” which is punishable with “criminal liability” and debarment.

Federal False Statements Act – accuses them of falsifying, concealing, or covering up: of making materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statements; of making or using documents known to contain false, fictitious, or fraudulent entries; punishable by fines, or imprisonment up to 5 years, or both.

The False Claims Act (Criminal) – accuses them of creating a “tampered database” and making claims for payment from Federal funds (note: this statue requires no proof of specific intent to defraud).

Obstruction of Justice: Interference with Congressional Proceedings – accuses them of providing false or misleading testimony (although the Climate 17 never appeared before Congress).
Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wisconsin), the ranking Republican on the House global warming committee, has sent a letter to Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, calling for these scientists to be blacklisted.

Thus, Congressional Republicans are employing every possible means to suppress research data. Furthermore, Congressional Republicans, in refusing to allow a fair hearing of evidence on climate disruptions and its implications, are trying to withhold these data from the public.

In an interview with the Guardian, Michael Mann noted a sharp rise in hostile email since November:
"Some of the emails make thinly veiled threats of violence against me and even my family, and law enforcement authorities have been made aware of the matter," he told the Guardian. He said the attacks appeared to be a coordinated effort: "Some of them look cut-and-paste."
Gavin Schmidt has seen an increase in Freedom of Information Act requests:
"In my previous six years I dealt with one FoIA request. In the last three months, we have had to deal with I think eight," he said. "These FoIAs are fishing expeditions for potentially embarrassing content but they are not FoIA requests for scientific information … The idea very clearly is to let it be known that should you be a scientist who speaks out in public then you will be intimidated, you will be harassed, and you will be threatened … The idea very clearly is to put a chilling effect on scientists speaking out in public and to tell others to keep their heads down."
The Minority Report is pure McCarthyism. This is not just an attempt to politicize science but to criminalize it; not just a threat to prosecute but to persecute. The Republicans are at war against academic freedom; at war against science; at war against the free exchange of knowledge and ideas … in short, the Republicans are at war against humanity.

The Minority Report is affront to my most cherished beliefs and values. The tactics employed by Congressional Republicans are as oppressive and dastardly as any employed by a totalitarian regime in recent memory. As much as I regret having to say this: The Republicans are also at war against me, and I intend to fight them with any and all means necessary.

Also sprach der Krakken.


  1. … in short, the Republicans are at war against humanity.

    To fight a war against humanity, the fighter would have to be some sort of non-human alien being. Point taken.

  2. I nominate the scientists threatened with prosecution by Inhofe for the Giordano Bruno award, named after the scientist who was prosecuted and condemned in 1600 for insisting that the Earth orbits the Sun.

  3. This is all quite embarassing behavior. I've tried to explain it to my Republican friends, but they still see a possible scandal. Everyone knows that scientists are as decent a lot as any other, and more or less, we can count on 'em to be wonderful and moral people. The reams and reams of data the minority digs through will only contain the riches of the fruits of their labors. The smart republican operatives will learn a great deal. Many will ultimately turn to science. Their legal web will fall to pieces helplessly in their own hands.

    Still, it's hard to believe.

  4. If I were the preying sort, I'd prey that you are right. If it does fall apart, I hope it doesn't take much of the scientific establishment down with it. The US is already not the best place to do science and it hasn't always been the ultra-right sabotaging it.

    I really fear this is another part of the demented cacophony that is the swan song of America. There just aren't enough, sane, educated and unfoxed people to turn it around.

  5. Pray, that is, not prey -- gimme a break, I'm still on my first cup here.

  6. I don't know, Fogg, in this case "prey" may be the more appropriate term given what this devilish imp and his minions are doing to these scientists.
    Channeling McCarthy indeed.

  7. This article is also cross-posted at AlterNet.

  8. Are you suggesting someone have them altered?

  9. Captain, if you are referring to Inhofe and Sensenbrenner, I would like to reserve for myself the pleasure of altering them; but I'll gladly leave behind any table scraps (if there are scavengers among us with a taste for grizzle).

  10. The Republicans have no humanity. The senator and his science denying friends are scared to death that they will be proven wrong after years of buffoonery that spoke to anti-science and anti-climate change. What I find unnerving is that what McCarthy did in the 1950's was one thing. That was then and this is now, and that is the point. We are in the 21st Century for Christ's sake. Who elects these fools. I can only conclude it is other fools. Great post.

  11. Oh my.

    Reading this post was like reading an absurdist play. It brought me to moments of amused chuckling, moments of stupefied intellectual horror, and moments of emotional creepiness as I realized that the drama that you were unfolding before my eyes is in fact very much of the world within which I live.


    (how's that for an unintellectual conclusion - oh - I'm being dumbed down . . by the world in which I live . . .)

  12. I, for one, am glad that:

    1. our lawmakers are finally taking a decisive action of any sort,


    2. these dangerous criminals posing as scientists will face justice and stop menacing us, law-abiding and God-fearing folk, with their poisonous lies.

    Enough is enough. Everyone knows that "global warming" is a commie-perpetrated hoax.


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