More FOIA fakery – this time in the USA Homeland Security, plus peer reviewed paper on Climategate FOIA issues

In light of these recent ugly FOI revelations uncovered by the Associated Press, it makes the recent FOIA issues paper by our friend Dr. Jennifer Marohasy and the subsequent scathing Washington Times editorial about science and disclosure (see below the Continue reading line) even more relevant. Clearly governments and government sponsored institutions like CRU don’t give a care about complying with the FOIA laws. CRU skated on a statute of limitations technicality. This WUWT story from the British ICO:

…the ICO has been alerted by the complainant and by information already in the public domain via the media, to a potential offence under section 77 of the Freedom of Information Act. The prima facie evidence from the published emails indicate an attempt to defeat disclosure by deleting information. It is hard to imagine more cogent prima facie evidence…In the event, the matter cannot be taken forward because of the statutory time limit.

And now we find not only did Homeland Security stonewall FOIA requests, they actively investigated the people making them:

===================================

Playing politics with public records requests

by Ted Bridis

For at least a year, the Homeland Security Department detoured requests for federal records to senior political advisers for highly unusual scrutiny, probing for information about the requesters and delaying disclosures deemed too politically sensitive, according to nearly 1,000 pages of internal e-mails obtained by The Associated Press.

The department abandoned the practice after AP investigated. Inspectors from the department’s Office of Inspector General quietly conducted interviews last week to determine whether political advisers acted improperly.

Career employees were ordered to provide Secretary Janet Napolitano’s political staff with information about the people who asked for records — such as where they lived, whether they were private citizens or reporters — and about the organizations where they worked.

Source: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38350993/ns/politics-more_politics/

========================================================

Excerpts from

EDITORIAL: Global warming’s unscientific attitude

By THE WASHINGTON TIMES

7:17 p.m., Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What separates a scientific claim from mere opinion is its ability to be tested by experiment. No true scientist objects to having his theories verified; the charlatan is the one with something to hide. Not surprisingly, purveyors of global warming have proved anything but open.

In the current issue of the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Law and Management, Australian researchers evaluated the community of so-called climate scientists and found them to be “antagonistic toward the disclosure of information.”

Dr. Jennifer Marohasy

Professor John Abbot of Central Queensland University, a chemist and lawyer, and biologist Jennifer Marohasy studied the response of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia (CRU) and the Met Office – Britain’s national weather service – to various information requests. The most noteworthy of these was United Kingdom resident David Holland’s demand for the raw data underlying the infamous “hockey stick” graph that was published in the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment reports. This chart was the centerpiece of the claim that the 20th century was the hottest in a thousand years. The stir that Mr. Holland’s request triggered among the scientists who worked on the report was captured in the Climategate e-mails

Dr. John Abbot

Mr. Abbot and Ms. Marohasy wrote:

“Of concern is evidence of a predisposition towards uncooperativeness on the part of the Met Office, which also used spurious claims of deleted correspondence and personal information in attempts to block the release of information,”

None of these simple requests should have been denied or delayed. Many of those involved in purported climate science seem more preoccupied with advancing a leftist, anti-business legislative agenda than respecting the integrity of the scientific method. It’s obvious why. Their cataclysmic scare stories are unable to withstand scrutiny. By deleting e-mails and using tricks to hide the inconvenient decline in global temperatures, the climate alarmists prove to be not men of science, but ordinary frauds.

===============================================
Here is the full paper,

Accessing environmental information relating to climate change: a case study under UK freedom of information legislation (PDF)
(Environmental Law and Management, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp. 3-12, 2010)
– John Abbot, Jennifer Marohasy

h/t to poptech

===============================================

My two cents? Exercise your freedom of vote: Throw the bums out in November.

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97 thoughts on “More FOIA fakery – this time in the USA Homeland Security, plus peer reviewed paper on Climategate FOIA issues

  1. “Many of those involved in purported climate science seem more preoccupied with advancing a leftist, anti-business legislative agenda than respecting the integrity of the scientific method.”

    The Church of Scientolotics in action.

  2. My two cents? Exercise your freedom of vote: Throw the bums out in November.
    They will just be replaced by other bums,

    REPLY:
    Saying then “don’t bother to vote”? – Anthony

  3. The penalties, and the chance of facing them, clearly are not serving as a deterrant. They need to be higher and more likely to be used. I’m not blood-thirsty, I don’t want anyone going to jail, nor losing their house over this kind of thing, but they need to start impacting some careers and paying some meaningful fines of some nature.

    I’ve long believed that the US government needs an independant ombudsman office at cabinet level to watch the rest of the government, and be the center of any “appeals” process and penalties to be imposed. It’s ridiculous when the responding agency gets to be the sole judge of whether they are doing it right or not when interacting with the public.

  4. My two cents? Exercise your freedom of vote: throw the bums out in November.

    Oh do you got that. As Evan Bayh said when he retired from the Senate, these people are going to require a disaster of biblical proportions before they get it. GIVE IT TO THEM!

  5. The 6 month time limit that supposedly applied to the CRU and prevented them being prosecuted was bogus. The time limit applies to when the offense came to light, not when it was committed. It was only revealed when the emails where released and therefore the CRU could have been prosecuted at any time up to May 2010.

  6. Anthony – Agreed . Unfortunately we will have to wait a couple of years to toss the current administration . While campaigning O railed against the last administration’s trampling of freedoms . Not only have they done nothing to rectify this , they have gone even further and , if unfettered , will not stop . What a bunch of hypocrites .

  7. Leif Svalgaard says:
    July 22, 2010 at 4:21 pm
    They will just be replaced by other bums —
    REPLY: Saying then “don’t bother to vote”? – Anthony

    There are other reasons to throw them out. I’, afraid the new bums won’t be much better when it comes to open government…

  8. Leif Svalgaard says on July 22, 2010 at 4:21 pm

    My two cents? Exercise your freedom of vote: Throw the bums out in November.
    They will just be replaced by other bums,

    REPLY: Saying then “don’t bother to vote”? – Anthony

    I suspect Leif thinks the system is broken by design.

  9. No need to throw anyone out in November. They are all equally beholden to corporate interests.

    Note for instance how the Democrats just abandoned the carbon tax—a retreat from a position they knew was untenable, but necessary to mobilize part of the liberal grass roots in 2008.

    Campaign finance reform is the name of the game. That and a thick layer of asphalt, replete with white stripes and parking meters, over K Street.

  10. RE: Leif Svalgaard: (July 22, 2010 at 4:30 pm) “… the new bums won’t be much better when it comes to open government…”

    We can only hope that they might be humbled by the fate of their predecessors. Of course, many first-time congressmen are probably greeted with the phrase: “The world is your oyster.” Let’s hope they do not try to make oyster soup.

  11. Sorry Chuck. From the picture it looks as if FULCRUM is part of the solution, not part of the problem. ;)

  12. Leif Svalgaard says:
    July 22, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    I’(m), afraid the new bums won’t be much better when it comes to open government…

    Maybe, or maybe not. If we keep voting out the idiots, we might eventually end up with with ones that aren’t.

    Not all of them are bad – just most.

  13. Leif Svalgaard says:
    July 22, 2010 at 4:21 pm
    My two cents? Exercise your freedom of vote: Throw the bums out in November.
    They will just be replaced by other bums,
    _________________________________________________________________________
    While that may be true, I much prefer bums with whom I share political ideology.

  14. Judd, Leif Svalgaard, Anthony, Richard Sharpe and mcates

    I agree with all of you, we all need to vote and throw the bums out in November, but we also need to fix a broken system that encourages only bums to run for office. I think term limits might help, as it will eliminate some of the career politicians, but there are also the problems of earmarks, pay to play, the influence of lobbyists, the mainstream media becoming an advocacy apparatus, etc. The system needs a complete overhaul, possibly the establishment of a permanent competitive third party.

  15. Short term, voting the bums out can mitigate the process of reversing the CAGW fever temporarily only. The long term battle is philosophical and must be waged in university arts & humanity departments. Without waging that battle, then fresh crops of young people susceptible to manipulation will continue to be injected into society.

    It is an epic battle that can be won . . . Hurrah!

    John

  16. Career employees were ordered to provide Secretary Janet Napolitano’s political staff with information about the people who asked for records — such as where they lived, whether they were private citizens or reporters — and about the organizations where they worked.

    The sort of openness and impartiality that opposition parties and FOI Acts promise just seems intolerable, almost impossible, for incumbant political powers. This can never be sustain and will always be abused. Politicised scientist have this mantra that today scientists have to be more than bent over their research, they need to be driven towards policy if not policy driven (and then there are the ‘knowledge transfer’ incentives etc). There are some benefits in this but then we get such science caught up in politics and the sort of openness and impartiality that it previously aspired too has become impossible. Just watch Trevor Davies at the Guardian debate. It is impossible for him to behave as we might hope a scientist would.

    How nice that, in our political system, we can occasionally pull up the politicised scientist and embarriss the necessary pretences that they are still doing science. But better that we promote a movement towards old fashion scientific openness and impartiality, while avoiding the ivory tower syndrome. It’s a trick business, but we are not completly without guidance as there are some models in medical research (cf. dealing with its relationships with drug companies, with urban myths ; the evidence-based mov’t) that environmental science could certainly learn from.

  17. Just a couple of points. The Times misrepresents what David Holland was asking for… not the raw data… but the deliberations behind the contentious Chapter 6 of the last IPCC report, AR4.

    John Mitchell from the UK Met Office was a review editor for AR4, Chapter 6, and Mr Holland wanted to see the ‘written report’ he was required, by IPCC rules, to submit on his oversight.

    Amazingly Mr Holland was first told he couldn’t have the report becuase John Mitchell had been acting in a personal capacity. But following is how the Met Office was forced to answer Mr Holland’s letter querying this:

    (i) Did Dr Mitchell receive any salary from the Met Office
    while performing his duties for the IPCe? (Met Office
    response – Yes)
    (ii) Was any of Dr Mitchell’s paid holiday entitlement used
    during his attendance at IPCC meetings? (Met Office
    response – No)
    (iii) Were any of Dr Mitchell’s expenses for attending IPCC
    meetings or workshops paid by the British
    Government? (Met Office response – Yes)
    (iv) Are there any documents evidencing agreement
    between the Met Office and Dr Mitchell that his IPCC
    participation was ‘personal’ rather than duties in the
    normal course of his employment? (Met Office
    respon se – No).

    They really have no pride!

  18. It is a shame that even after we throw them out we will have to pay them a pension for the rest of their lives. Must be nice. Getting elected to one term in the House or Senate is like winning the lottery. We need to get back to where it was a sacrifice to serve your country as an elected official.

  19. For those whom might not be aware:

    TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 13 > § 241 & § 241:

    § 241. Conspiracy against rights

    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; or If two or more persons go in disguise on the highway, or on the premises of another, with intent to prevent or hinder his free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege so secured—

    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.

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/18/usc_sec_18_00000241—-000-.html

    ——
    18 USC 242:

    “WHOEVER, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, willfully subjects ANY person in ANY State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the CONSTITUTION or LAWS of the UNITED STATES, OR to different punishments, pains, or penalties, on account of such person being an alien, or by reason of his color, or race, than are prescribed for the punishment of citizens, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if bodily injury results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include the use, attempted use, or threatened use of a dangerous weapon, explosives, or fire, 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, shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.”

    BOTH of those statues apply FULLY to the shenanigans foisted upon those citizens whom were put upon by the Fatherland Security Department.

  20. “Throw the bums out.” I agree; there are plenty of good, informed candidates ready and willing to take on the problems that make up the mess in Washington. If nothing else, voting out many of the incumbents will remove those dead-weights from positions of seniority. Just be selective and informed in your voting, and put in the people who are actually responsive to the needs of the United States! All of the Crap’n’Tax folks need to be gone, to say nothing of the bailout architects and the budget busters.

  21. “Just The Facts says:
    July 22, 2010 at 5:27 pm
    Judd, Leif Svalgaard, Anthony, Richard Sharpe and mcates

    The system needs a complete overhaul, possibly the establishment of a permanent competitive third party”

    We may be beyond that.
    It might be time for a benevolent dictator. I’m surrounded by people who believe these idiots mean no harm, and are basically innocent of any wrong doing. Some don’t even believe they’re all that dumb.
    Of course the latest Gallup Poll puts approval of congress at %11, so that, at least, gives hope :)

    JimB

  22. Dr. Abbot, Dr. Marohasy;

    It was with pleasure that I read your paper.

    Going forward, have you received any feedback from the Met Office and/or CRU?

    John

  23. @899:

    This is coupled with title 42, USC, chapter 41, subchapter 1, section 1981-1985, allowing full civil liability for anyone so doing that is not a judge, and acting within his legitimate judicial capacity.

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/42/usc_sup_01_42_10_21_20_I.html

    § 1981. Equal rights under the law
    How Current is This?
    (a) Statement of equal rights
    All persons within the jurisdiction of the United States shall have the same right in every State and Territory to make and enforce contracts, to sue, be parties, give evidence, and to the full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings for the security of persons and property as is enjoyed by white citizens, and shall be subject to like punishment, pains, penalties, taxes, licenses, and exactions of every kind, and to no other.
    (b) “Make and enforce contracts” defined
    For purposes of this section, the term “make and enforce contracts” includes the making, performance, modification, and termination of contracts, and the enjoyment of all benefits, privileges, terms, and conditions of the contractual relationship.
    (c) Protection against impairment
    The rights protected by this section are protected against impairment by nongovernmental discrimination and impairment under color of State law.

  24. “…we all need to vote and throw the bums out in November, but we also need to fix a broken system that encourages only bums to run for office. I think term limits might help, as it will eliminate some of the career politicians, but there are also the problems of…”

    Yes, but in retrospect the system worked reasonably well for many decades. One can debate when the US government started to get too powerful. Those familiar with Southern history will point to the Civil War (States have the right to secede – the justification for denying this was contrived). Others will say the the real turning point came during the Great Depression (the first massive use of federal programs to intervene in individual lives), other will point to the “Great Society” programs.

    It really doesn’t matter – the rot was gradual and each step along the path was justifiable (slavery was terrible, the depression was terrible, letting old folks die in poverty was terrible). However, each step led in the same direction: federal power always grew and never shrank. A “simple” reset would do nicely: reduce the Federal government back to the scope it had in 1776. Eliminate every federal program, law, bureaucracy or regulation that cannot be directly justified from the Constitution. No OSHA, no FEMA, no Homeland Security, no NASA, no Dept. of Education, no National Endowment for the Arts, no Social Security, no Medicare, no Fanny Mae, etc, etc, etc. Return these responsibilities to the States, where they belong, and you will have broken up the power that has concentrated in DC.

    Unfortunately, this is not possible. Fully half of the population now receives more in benefits from the federal government than they pay in taxes. This means that the majority of the voters are now voting themselves largesse from the minority, and have no incentive to support any kind of reform.

    The only solution that can work is a local one. Individual States that can still muster a majority for reform should withdraw from the federal union and reform a new America, based on the original Constitution and Amendments.

  25. James Hansen said the massive number of FOIA requests were on one hand harassment and the other hand they interfered with his work.

    It seems his work is picketing coal mines while on the clock. Now he has Muslum outreach meetings to conduct. This is just too much. I hear he had around 5 FOIA requests. Fulfilling the request would interfere with the busy busy blogging of his nice little helper Gavin Schmidt.

  26. On exercising the right to vote. I agree, while we still can.

    There has clearly been a problem with those personalities drawn to politics. But there are a number of concerned capable citizens and proven leaders of industry stepping forward this year. We owe it to ourselves to look at these newcomers, and upon finding good ones, to support them, personally and financially, according to our/your means. WE have to do this. We can’t merely wait to see what is offered. Too much is at stake now.

  27. {Leif Svalgaard says:
    July 22, 2010 at 4:21 pm
    My two cents? Exercise your freedom of vote: Throw the bums out in November.
    They will just be replaced by other bums,

    REPLY: Saying then “don’t bother to vote”? – Anthony}

    Anthony, I thought Dr. Leif was talking about actual bums, you know the ones we sit on. Sometimes that Scandanavian humour can be quite dry!

    :)

  28. Does that last one make me a teapartier? No not really, just an opponent of stupid government, and the Patriot Act.

  29. Would it have been better if I had used an acronym? You could have just snipped the banned word instead of the whole post.

  30. I am surprised that some people express cynicism about voting THIS TIME. The present administration has distinuished itself as the most statist in the history of the USA. Voting against rampant statism should be a labor of love and joy. The new people who are elected will act against statism. They might have other problems, but I doubt that they have the talent to distinguish themselves as this administration has.

  31. JimB says: July 22, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    “We may be beyond that.
    It might be time for a benevolent dictator.”

    Our country’s democracy has overcome challenges of a similar magnitude before, this time should be no different. Unfortunately, in a two party democratic system, sometimes things must get quite bad before the momentum swings, it is the nature of pendulum politics.

  32. Rattus:
    “The editors reserve the right to make alterations as to style, grammer, punctuation etc.;”
    I didn’t believe it at first, but yes, that’s what it says. I’m glad they are making improvements.

  33. Rattus writes:

    “Doesn’t look peer reviewed to me. It is a law journal.”

    It is peer-reviewed. I just verified it on their website, under “submissions.” If you take a look at who is on the editorial board, I think you will see that they would not waste their time on a non-serious journal. Serious law journals are peer-reviewed.

  34. Throwing bums out and voting in anyone that has the correct label is the mistake I MADE! Don’t follow in my footsteps. I distrust Republicans big time (though Democrats hold that king of the hill title in my mind for now). I have decided that obstructionists are my cup of tea. Not compromisers. Not religious prayer filled believers in a cocktail of government and religion based morality law. And not politicians who clammer to get on this committee or that. I want someone who won’t vote for ANYTHING. Who seeks to shut committees down. Who wants to simply close departments. The only vote they know how to give is “NO”. I want someone who will work themselves, their staff, and whatever agency they are interested in, out of a job. I don’t want someone in there who will fix things. I want someone in there who will close things up, shutter the windows, turn out the lights, lock the door on their way out, and return to their homes for good.

    I have had enough of either side trying to fix things.

  35. Leif Svalgaard, Doug in Seattle, Anthony and others, :

    “If we keep voting out the idiots, we might eventually end up with with ones that aren’t”

    Even if every single one of them and their possible replacement would be a total idiot, there still is a good reason to oust them as quickly as possible. Because the less time each one of them spends in office, the less harm, damage and nuissance can they cause while there.

    Different idiots persuing different stupid ideas under one term is preferable to letting one of them get at it forever, or just long enough to succeed …

  36. We don’t want someone who gets things done.
    We want someone who gets things undone.

    Failing that I say give them a fair trial and a nice hanging.

  37. Leif Svalgaard says:
    July 22, 2010 at 4:21 pm

    This is why we now have a Tea Party. If, on the ballot you vote on in November, you don’t like the main menu choices, simply vote for a Tea Party or a nobody. Anyone with half a brain knows better than the majority of the bums currently in there.
    The alternative is to stop voting and let them continue tearing our freedom to shreds.

  38. Pamela Gray says:
    July 22, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    An real hope them Demos doon come your way an hold real still cuz yous will jes shoot em like them Marmots. LOL

  39. JimB says:
    July 22, 2010 at 6:22 pm
    We may be beyond that.
    It might be time for a benevolent dictator.

    JimB, my friend, we have one. The GodKing, Himself. All His friends will remind you that He is all hopey, changey, and wonderful. The rest of us can hardly stand any more benevolence.

  40. “They will just be replaced by other bums,”

    Maybe, and maybe not. I’d like to think that I would do all of you proud (including Pamela): being honest, being open, being willing to call a thing what it is. On this last item, in one campaign piece, I call Global Warming a Political Hoax. And, I recognize that you can’t compromise with somebody who has no principles and no honor (e.g. many in Congress!).

    I’m in a 4-way Republican race in Massachusetts’ 5th CD, working to replace Niki Tsongas. I’m not the front-runner, but I’m not far behind. And, in this (political) environment, I think the winner in the Primary will be the winner in November. Please have a look at http://www.Shapiro4Congress.org .

  41. After the presidency of the next to the worst president, Carter (he was the worst until the current empty-suit fiasco), we got Reagan who wound-down, or at least postponed, a lot of government progressive expansionism. This is what we must shoot for. A 3rd party is a disaster, leading to the statists continuing in power. A 3-party system? You mean like Britain or France? God forbid.

  42. Nice one Leif – you stirred some people up here!

    (Spoken as someone who has never voted due to never having lived in a country where I am a citizen and thus had the right to vote since I turned 18 – it has become a matter of honour now, kind of like never joining a club that would have me as a member!)

  43. Bob Shapiro says:
    July 22, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    If you get in, do us all a great big favor and vote yes on a fully earned impeachment.
    By that time we should also have gotten a new Speaker.

  44. Things got away from us when we stopped hanging horse thieves. The Congress is the biggest bunch of horse thieves this nation has ever seen. They have plenty of help from the UNIONIZED bureaucracy/”Civil Service”, but starting from the top and working down (like skinning a catfish) is definitely the way to go. There has to be suitable punishment for generational theft and wealth destruction as practiced by both political parties. Swinging from a half-inch hemp rope is suitable, in my opinion. There is no recidivism following a necktie party. We have a person sitting in Congress today that was impeached as a judge for bribery. Unbelievable!

    The same goes for politicized science: if someone like Mann, Briffa, Schmidt or Hansen were fired and NEVER AGAIN ALLOWED TO WORK IN ANY POSITION OF RESPONSIBILITY, in any field, for the rest of their lives would probably be enough to keep others from straying.

  45. Leif Svalgaard says:
    July 22, 2010 at 4:21 pm

    My two cents? Exercise your freedom of vote: Throw the bums out in November.
    They will just be replaced by other bums,
    ______________________________________________________________
    That is true Leif, but they will be piglets instead of full grown hogs and will take a bit of time to find the public tit. The best thing we can do is keep voting who ever is in office out unless there is a very very good reason not to.

    Did you realize we have Congress Critters who have been in office for as long as almost 57 years!!! That is obscene

  46. Getting rid of the so-called ‘federal reserve’ –which is neither, blessing the debt, and arresting the entire cadre of bankers, corporatists, and their fellow travelers for the treasonous acts to which they have been a party, will be a firm move in the right direction.

    And as Pamela Gray has said: Getting rid of every department and agency NOT SPECIFICALLY authorized by the federal Constitution would solve most of our problems.

    The rest follows.

  47. @ Leif

    Throwing them out works, as long as we remember the second part of that injunction: Repeat as needed.

  48. bubbagyro says: July 22, 2010 at 9:09 pm

    “A 3rd party is a disaster, leading to the statists continuing in power. A 3-party system? You mean like Britain or France? God forbid.”

    Neither France nor Britain has Three-Party System, their both Multi-Party;

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_political_parties_in_France

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_political_parties_in_the_United_Kingdom

    and if you’d like to argue strawmen, perhaps you’d care to share your thoughts on how well served Honduras, Nicaragua, Jamaica and Malta have been with their Two-Party Systems:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two-party_system

    For those of you with open minds, here is some good information on America’s historical use of a Three-Party System:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_Party_System

    I think this quote within is interesting:
    “Throughout the nineteenth century, third parties such as the Prohibition Party, Greenback Party and the Populist Party evolved from widespread antiparty sentiment and a belief that governance should attend to the public good rather than partisan agendas.”

    At present the Republican and Democratic parties appear to be too corrupt, too beholden to the people who have funded them and too satisfied with the status quo, to make any significant changes to our broken political system. We might need to establish a third party in order to remove the current political sclerosis.

  49. Just The Facts says:
    July 22, 2010 at 11:14 pm (Edit)
    We might need to establish a third party in order to remove the current political sclerosis.

    Be careful what you wish for. We now have a hung parliament in th UK with no overall majority for one party. This leads to paralysis too.

  50. The only “democratic” answer is to vote them out in November by voting 3rd party/independent.

    Democrats and Republicans are both owned and controlled by the same corporatist interests and both parties represent those interests instead of the people who elect them.

    There are decent men and women of integrity and honour who stand in almost every election. Men and women who are NOT owned and controlled by the corporatocracy and who genuinely want to serve their constituents. They never seem to get elected because they do not have a democrat or republican badge on.

    If only the massed population could wake up to that and everyone boycott the democrats AND the republicans.

  51. “…the ICO has been alerted by the complainant and by information already in the public domain via the media, to a potential offence under section 77 of the Freedom of Information Act. The prima facie evidence from the published emails indicate an attempt to defeat disclosure by deleting information. It is hard to imagine more cogent prima facie evidence…In the event, the matter cannot be taken forward because of the statutory time limit.”

    [sarc] But, all the inquiries found everyone acted properly and were paragons of honour, honesty and integrity. There cannot possibly be any prima facie evidence of unlawfully trying to evade a FOIA request….

    Surely they looked into this in the recent open, honest, public investigations…. didn’t they??? [/sarc]

    Even a whitewash looks honest compared to these investigations.

  52. Pamela Gray’s note above (July 22, 2010 at 7:54 pm) reminded me of an old black and white cartoon of ten men in hospital beds. Nine of them were dedicated to weaving baskets; the tenth was as equally dedicated to pulling them to pieces.
         One of the two nurses in the ward sighed,
         “Thank God for Mr Jones.”

  53. The view from this side of the river is that Obama was ‘lent’ huge sums of money and McCain wasn’t. However, neither candidate looked like they were going to be much use either. So, what do you do? Two idiot candidates, one with lots of rich backers and the other so stupid that no-one wanted to back him.

  54. Sadly, those who commit white collar crime rarely get prosecuted.

    Official whitewashes, bureaucratic fudges, “inconclusive evidence”, expired deadlines, political machinations, mislaid or destroyed evidence, the list goes on and on – there always seems to be something that gets in the way of justice.

    Climate ‘scientists’ are unlikely to ever receive their just deserves for manipulating and distorting data in support of unsupported theories which somehow have morphed into facts and “the science is settled’.

  55. First I want to thank Anthony Watts for WUWT! I became aware of it last fall, when I began to look more closely into matters “AGW”. WUWT has become one of my favourite sources of information. I have learned a lot here, from the articles and the comments.

    From what I gather in the comments here, there are similar problems in the USA, GB, and certainly in Germany, where I live: Too much government, leaders and bureaucracy show a serious lack of responsibility and established a system which makes it easy for them to cover each other , and last not least a massive lack of influence for the ordinary people. I think it would be a good idea to notice the swiss experience. They do have a very powerful tool to influece their political elite and stop at least the worst blunders: Direct democracy, i.e. voting on issues. Imagine an US wide vote on the finacial rescue plan (or other relevant issue), or, in the german context, a vote on the EURO (before it was introduced) respectively on the EURO bail-out plan. Neither would have passed the peoples vote.

    The way to improve our complex political systems is along the line of more direct influence/control (i.e. direct democracy), plus such things as ombudsmen, laws that re-establish responsibility, etc. The number of political parties is not important. Any political party (or other organisation) can and will eventually become corrupt. More parties/organisations only mean a greater variety of corruption. Look at all these NGOs, Panels, etc. …

    I don´t believe in “benevolent dictators” either: We´ve had our share of them here in Germany, and even the meanest one – the crazy painter with his stupid beard – promised to be benevolent, to do only the very best for the country and the people. No, if it is hard to stop government that goes in the wrong direction under the conditions of the present democracy, what would the chances be under a dictatorship?

    I think there is something to be learned from the swiss example. They seem to be doing quite well, so something might be in it.

  56. The fact that after the vote new bums will replace the old one proves that climate change science is best left to scientists; the populace cannot understand it anyway.

  57. My dad was born a couple of years before the end of the 19th century and having fought in two World Wars both as a boy and as a man he witnessed much that attests to the worst in Man’s nature, which made him a strong advocate of voting as a democratic obligation, but didn’t stop there; he insisted that every political system desperately needs the people who seek the truth and will consequently ask awkward questions of the politicians in public sight where there is no place to hide.
    He would have loved the internet as the force for good that it has become as exemplified by WUWT and similar sites, and the swelling ranks of truth-seekers and sayers, of whom Dr Jennifer Marohasy and Dr John Abbot are the most recent to acheive very effective exposure by asking their ‘awkward questions’.
    Vote, and vote passionately, whatever party you support, but don’t vote then leave the politicians to pull the levers of government – that’s our job; the politicians are mere servant, our placemen. Never let them forget that.

  58. noaaprogrammer says:
    July 22, 2010 at 10:14 pm

    ‘What’s the opposite of “progress”?’

    Regress?

  59. ” RR Kampen says:
    July 23, 2010 at 2:01 am
    The fact that after the vote new bums will replace the old one proves that climate change science is best left to scientists; the populace cannot understand it anyway.”

    It is just that the current group of scientists in power are bums, too. But you people in Holland are lucky: Your politicians are unable to form any governement at all.

  60. Thomas says:
    July 23, 2010 at 1:58 am

    I think there is something to be learned from the swiss example. They seem to be doing quite well, so something might be in it.

    Too much such direct democracy, and what you’ll get are inconsistent decisions and politicians that have no freedom to their jobs properly.

    I regard being a politician such a thankless task, that is to try to do common good and receive little but abuse in return, so I’m willing to accept that the ones I vote for will make some bad moves, and accept that mostly idiots will sign up for this thankless task. So I for one am thankful that there are people doing this so the rest of us don’t have to, and for that I’ll grant them some freedom.

  61. ‘Leif Svalgaard says:
    July 22, 2010 at 4:21 pm
    They will just be replaced by other bums –
    REPLY: Saying then “don’t bother to vote”? – Anthony

    There are other reasons to throw them out. I’, afraid the new bums won’t be much better when it comes to open government…’

    This website may be of interest to all.

    http://sunlightfoundation.com/

  62. The good news is that it’s a good editorial. The bad news is that it’s in the Washington Times, so a large number of people will dismiss it as the ravings of a bunch of extreme right-wing Moonie dingbats. Pity.

  63. for Pamela Gray – Again I agree with you!

    politicians all seem to take office with a list of things they want to get done. They think that is the only way they can ever be evaluated.

    I want someone who is dedicated to doing nothing besides thwarting all the plans of those other guys who need to “get something done”! At the end of his term, I want him (or her) to be able to say “I made sure that this Congress DIDN’T DO SQUAT!!!!”

    I’ve had enough of empowered know it alls trying to fix things for a lifetime, thank you very much. Just leave me and everyone else alone!!!

  64. tallbloke says: July 23, 2010 at 12:08 am

    “Be careful what you wish for. We now have a hung parliament in th UK with no overall majority for one party. This leads to paralysis too.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/22/AR2010072204028.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

    “In his passion for fiscal austerity, Cameron resembles the new breed of Republican governors for whom the art of governing begins with the discipline of accounting.”

    “Cameron’s June 22 emergency budget proposed the deepest, most sustained reductions in British spending since World War II. Health programs and foreign assistance are fenced off from cuts. But other government departments will see an average of 25 percent reductions over the next five years.”

    “Cameron’s austerity measures have succeeded (so far) in the context of a coalition government with Liberal Democrats — Britain’s centrist third party. This alliance of the middle has made Cameron’s government less dependent for support on the extremes of either party, resulting in a truce on divisive issues such as immigration and European integration.”

    “A formal coalition government is not an option in America, which lacks a viable third party eager for power. ”

    If that is what paralysis looks like, then we could use a big dose of it on our side of the pond…

  65. ” Steinar Midtskogen says:
    July 23, 2010 at 4:29 am

    Thomas says:
    July 23, 2010 at 1:58 am
    ‘ I think there is something to be learned from the swiss example. They seem to be doing quite well, so something might be in it. ?’

    Too much such direct democracy, and what you’ll get are inconsistent decisions and politicians that have no freedom to their jobs properly.”

    You must have a good example of Swiss inconsistency that you can share with us, or do you not? Like deciding to end nuclear, and then deciding not to do so? No, that was Sweden, another country.

  66. REPLY: Saying then “don’t bother to vote”? – Anthony

    I understand your point Anthony but…Is it not fair to say politicians only stay in power by sucking up to the beliefs of the people. As we have seen, the AGW religion has taken a huge bashing in the last year and various polls show its the least of voters worries! Whilst saying that, I sincerely hope the good people of the USA not only cane the idiotic left but actually tell them to their faces before the voting begins!

    At least the U.S. has not had over a decade of idiotic politics that the U.K. has had! It will take many years there to repair the damage and the current lot………have not even got the balls to begin, hence the allowed white washes we have seen!

    Come on the Republics, show some balls (I discount California from that but then again……”I’ll be back”..Phhtttt!! )

  67. bradley13 says:
    July 22, 2010 at 6:40 pm
    Yes, but in retrospect the system worked reasonably well for many decades. One can debate when the US government started to get too powerful. Those familiar with Southern history will point to the Civil War (States have the right to secede – the justification for denying this was contrived). Others will say the the real turning point came during the Great Depression (the first massive use of federal programs to intervene in individual lives), other will point to the “Great Society” programs.

    And still others, myself included, say it began with the Railroad act of 1877, I believe was the date. It greatly expanded the Federal powers to regulate interstate commerce, which is tied to almost all the laws made since that abgrogate states rights.

  68. Just The Facts says:
    July 22, 2010 at 11:14 pm (Edit)
    We might need to establish a third party in order to remove the current political sclerosis.

    tallbloke says:
    July 23, 2010 at 12:08 am
    Be careful what you wish for. We now have a hung parliament in th UK with no overall majority for one party. This leads to paralysis too.

    For a thought experiment, Tallbloke, consider repealing all bills passed by Congress since November 22, 1963. What would the country be like now. Paralysis is a good thing. Statistics indicate that the stock market trends down whenever Congress is in session.

  69. Ref – mcates says:
    July 22, 2010 at 4:51 pm
    “Personally, I don’t think there is any debating that the system is broken.”
    _______________________________
    No! Ain’t the ‘system’ mate. It’s the electorate. Most of us are so ‘civilized’ we don’t recognize danger when it’s eating our leg off; and if we did, wouldn’t know what to do to stop it. Q -What’s the difference between ‘The Greatest Generation’ (as some fool tv reporter once called them) and today’s? A- Education!

    The “Greatests” came up the hard way and fought damn hard to achieve the results they did. The “Todays” have been spoon fed all their life and couldn’t fight their way out of a rotten, soggy, wet paper bag (with big holes in it). Y’hep.. it’s all about Education (and I’m not talking about the worthless primary version kids have been getting in (quote) ‘schools'(unquote) the past 40 years).

    That’s the truth! It’s pathetic, but it’s the truth. There’s no way to sweeten it up. People create their own ‘system’ every minute of every day, what we have is what we built. We The People… is the “system”!

  70. You can see now why there was such and eager rush to get everything “done and dusted” binding agreements signed and political alignments consolidated at Copenhagen.

    I credit the blogosphere with doing the work that the Main Stream Media (AKA Missingpoint Stupid Media) should have been doing. Alerting the world to the true agenda of the UN, the changing reasons for filling their coffers and gaining political power at the expense rather than in aid of the politically distressed of the world, and particularly in marshaling the concerns and voices of sceptics that had been very badly treated as individuals by a “science” elite that dominated their governments, and feather bedded in some universities, and environmental leftist groups hell bent on destroying democratic rights and lifestyles along with a loony component that endorsed eugenic style solutions, economic chaos. Not to mention the anarchists waiting in the wings along with the mandatory socialists all hoping to re-establish their own political and social agenda in the chaos that would inevitable happen, and the unbelievable but also understandable well funded financiers who stood to profit whichever way the climate cookie crumbled.

    We who had no real funds, just doubts, voiced our concerns as that rush developed to the crescendo of Copenhagen.

    We didn’t realise that the arrogance of a few Climate Scientists and their fellow travellers, their spiteful and underhand name calling, their denigration of well respected but dissenting scientists, all manifested themselves in the Climategate exposures, the frustration of seeing reasonable requests sidelined all helped by reinforcing resolve of those, that sought truth, to force by FOI, and then expose the deceitful activities by release of the CRU emails, ignited us all and Copenhagen failed for all its many reasons.

    Then we have had the frustration of seeing the unbelievable in the whitewash activities, the lies and ignorance again of the arrogant, the same ideological scientific elite, try to re-instate their arrogance and authority, in denial of voices like that of Judith Curry and others of like mind that sought to re-position and reform by strictly observing scientific standards.

    Then attempts to re build the worst aspects of climategate practices and continue with blacklists and denigration to punish dissent and in the political sphere to coverup, bully, run secret agenda, rule by regulation and stealth, with inevitable loss of freedom and lose the very essence of democracy.

    In my view it is hardly surprising that the frustration at those activities will now motivate those influenced by such things to exercise their disaproval of these shenanigans in the one way we have at our disposal – our right to vote!

    Jennifer Maharosy I appreciate so much the slings, arrows and cheap potshots you took on our behalf in Australia, and now in this published and peer reviewed paper (that the Norwegian rat finds hard to digest!!), may this scholarly work eventually penetrate the closed minds of those who work against us all. It is also an excellent reference for those that will follow determined to get to the truth.

    It is also interesting that President Obama is also following closely our upcoming election, the shunting of the carbon tax, the concern to overcome the groundswell of disbelief in the political Climate Change hysteria – and playing a large part in the calling of an early election here.

    So by all means exercise your vote with care and consideration of the value and integrity of our democracies.

  71. Moderators, looks like my last comment got sidelined by the site auto dump – please reinstate if content meets moderation standards.

  72. JimB says:
    July 22, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    The system needs a complete overhaul, possibly the establishment of a permanent competitive third party”
    _______________________________
    We may be beyond that.
    It might be time for a benevolent dictator. I’m surrounded by people who believe these idiots mean no harm, and are basically innocent of any wrong doing. Some don’t even believe they’re all that dumb.
    Of course the latest Gallup Poll puts approval of congress at %11, so that, at least, gives hope :)

    JimB
    ________________________________________________________
    Print out this essay and give it to those who do not understand.

    One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one president, and nine Supreme Court justices 545 human beings out of the 300 million are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.

    http://www.barefootsworld.net/545people.html

    BUT NO DICTATOR!!!

    “The greatest tyrannies are always perpetrated in the name of the noblest causes.” — Thomas Paine

    Currently we can still vote the idiots out. With a dictator it take a gun, a bomb, poison or madame guillotine to get them out of office so no thanks voting is a lot less messy.

    At least with the present mess we can:

    1.Send this essay to everyone in your address book, and hope they do something about it.

    2. Agree to vote against everyone that is currently in office, knowing that the process will take several years.

    3. Decide to run for office yourself and agree to do the job properly.

    4. Lastly, we can sit back and do nothing, or re-elect the current bunch.

    We got ourselves into the mess and it is up to us to get ourselves out of the mess.

  73. The Total Idiot, 899,

    Here is more:

    “The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution;”. – ART. 6 U.S. CONST.

    Article 6 above, is called the SUPREMACY CLAUSE, and it clearly states that, under every circumstance, the above listed officials in these United States must hold this documents tenets supreme over any other laws, regulations, or orders. Every U.S. Police officer knows that they have sworn a oath to the people of our nation that we will not only protect their lives and property, but, that we will uphold, and protect their freedoms and rights under the Supreme laws of this nation, – the U. S. Constitution.

    In this regard then, we must agree that those within government that restrict a Citizens rights, (such as restricting the peoples right to travel,) are acting in violation of his or her oath of office and are actually committing a crime against such Citizens.

    THE CLAlM AND EXERCISE OF A CONSTITUTIONAL RlGHT CANNOT BE CONVERTED INTO A CRIME.” – Miller v U.S., 230 F 2d 486. 489.

    READ this article, it is a real eye opener and something everyone should keep in the glove box of their vehicle. http://www.realtruth.biz/right_to_drive.htm

  74. Not quite ‘off topic.’ Several comments mention that voting for the Tea Party candidate in the absence of a preferred-for-a-reason candidate (independent of party) is the right action. Based on developments in the Florida (Congressional 8th) race involving the demonstrably disturbed Alan Grayson, this may not be the best automatic default. It has been alleged that Grayson has established and funded a “Tea Party” candidate with no chance of winning, but who could take votes by people who vote the “Tea Party” without knowing for whom they are voting.
    BOTTOM LINE: Vote! BUT vote intelligently!!

  75. #
    #
    Rattus Norvegicus says:
    July 22, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    Would it have been better if I had used an acronym? You could have just snipped the banned word instead of the whole post.
    _____________________
    So rewrite the post in language acceptable in polite company just like the rest of us do.

  76. Old PI says:
    July 22, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    Things got away from us when we stopped hanging horse thieves. The Congress is the biggest bunch of horse thieves this nation has ever seen…. Swinging from a half-inch hemp rope is suitable, in my opinion. There is no recidivism following a necktie party. We have a person sitting in Congress today that was impeached as a judge for bribery. Unbelievable!
    ______________________________________________
    I have always been fond of madame guillotine, some people have survived a necktie party.

  77. stephen richards says:
    July 23, 2010 at 1:03 am

    The view from this side of the river is that Obama was ‘lent’ huge sums of money and McCain wasn’t. However, neither candidate looked like they were going to be much use either. So, what do you do? Two idiot candidates, one with lots of rich backers and the other so stupid that no-one wanted to back him.
    _____________________________________________________________-
    I voted third party. I refuse NOT to vote and I could not stomach either of those Manchurian Candidates.

  78. Thomas says:
    July 23, 2010 at 1:58 am

    …..I think there is something to be learned from the Swiss example. They seem to be doing quite well, so something might be in it.
    __________________________________________________________
    There is another thing to learn from the Swiss.

    It used to be and hopefully still is a requirement that ALL males between the ages of 18 and 65 or in the Army reserves. A corollary is ALL household have weapons with a trained military person residing inside. This helps keep the crime rate down and the politicians relatively honest. Between that and the nasty terrain Germany decided to bypassed the Swiss in WWII

    That lesson is one of the reasons the “progressives” keep trying to figure out how to get around the 2nd and why the Founding Fathers put it in in the first place. A people with teeth are a lot harder to subject to tyranny.

    The other lesson is that old fashioned military training generally administers a large dose of reality to Mommy’s Baby Boy. I have spent years in a university environment and also as an officer’s wife. Academics would not know reality if it bit them on the rear. The noncoms, enlisted and officers I hung around with were well grounded in reality.

  79. noaaprogrammer says:
    July 22, 2010 at 10:14 pm

    ‘What’s the opposite of “progress”?’
    ________________________________________________________
    Billy Liar says:
    July 23, 2010 at 2:25 am

    Regress?
    ________________________________________________________

    I always thought it was Egress.

    As in P.T. Barnum’s
    “This way to the Egress”

    http://www.ptbarnum.org/egress.html

  80. Gail Combs: July 23, 2010 at 11:03 am
    It used to be and hopefully still is a requirement that ALL males between the ages of 18 and 65 or in the Army reserves. A corollary is ALL household have weapons with a trained military person residing inside.

    To be more precise, every Swiss male between the ages of 18 and 40 who are not members of the active military forces must be members of the Army reserve, unless exempted by reason of physical disability or mental incapacity — membership between ages 40 and 65 is optional. Not only must every household contain weapons, but they are select-fire weapons (assault rifles, to the uninitiated). They must be readily accessible to all adult members of the family, and there must be a minimum of 200 rounds stored with them.

    Most of the Swiss keep their weapons and ammo in a pantry near the kitchen — and the door *isn’t* locked.

  81. Pete Hayes says:
    July 23, 2010 at 7:19 am

    ….. Whilst saying that, I sincerely hope the good people of the USA not only cane the idiotic left but actually tell them to their faces before the voting begins! ….
    _________________________________________________________________________

    I called up the office of one of my Congressmen running for re-election to ask where he stands on several issues. I ended up leaving the gentleman who answered stuttering. After listening to a few minutes of the mealy mouth platitudes, I could not resist letting him have it with both barrels even though I do not have Lord Monckton’s eloquence.

  82. Gail Combs: July 23, 2010 at 10:38 am
    Old PI says:
    July 22, 2010 at 9:40 pm
    Swinging from a half-inch hemp rope is suitable, in my opinion. There is no recidivism following a necktie party.
    ______________________________________________
    I have always been fond of madame guillotine, some people have survived a necktie party.

    Well, sure, if you only use half-inch…

  83. Gail Combs says:
    July 23, 2010 at 11:24 am
    noaaprogrammer says:
    July 22, 2010 at 10:14 pm

    ‘What’s the opposite of “progress”?’
    ________________________________________________________
    Billy Liar says:
    July 23, 2010 at 2:25 am

    Regress?
    ________________________________________________________

    I always thought it was Egress.

    As in P.T. Barnum’s
    “This way to the Egress”
    ———————————-
    The opposite of PROgress is CONgress!

  84. @ken hall:
    “If only the massed population could wake up to that and everyone boycott the democrats AND the republicans.”

    you have the intrinsic problem of people not wanting to waste their vote on a candidate that can’t win. If enough people decide to take a chance, then they COULD win of course, but few are convinced that it can happen. So instead, people vote for the lesser evil… the party (of the 2 majors) that are closest to what they want.

    Call me an optimist, but it’s POSSIBLE that with the supreme court decision that allows corporations and other groups to spend what they like on elections, the corporations may feel that 3rd party candidates may not be a total waste of time and channel resources toward them if they support positions that the company feels is in their, and the country’s, interests. If the electorate sees support behind a candidate, they may be willing to give them a shot.

    So, it MAY be possible that multi-party elections will make a comeback if the message of the candidates is sufficient to draw both corporate and popular support, at least in niche areas.

  85. noaaprogrammer says:
    July 22, 2010 at 10:14 pm

    ‘What’s the opposite of “progress”?’
    ________________________________________________________
    Billy Liar says:
    July 23, 2010 at 2:25 am

    Regress?
    ________________________________________________________

    I always thought it was Egress.

    As in P.T. Barnum’s

    ————–

    the opposite of progress is the opposition to progress – by which one is now known as a progressive. interesting how these progressives long for the day of pure feudalism and to the genocidal extremes they are willing to go.

    It’s interesting that the star trek saga has the era of global war & disaster and breakdown of society due to the eugenics wars. (Wrath of Khan related episodes/movies has the first references to it, First Contact has the last). It’s downright scary how far towards this we’ve come compared with the perceptions of plausible futures we had back in those days. And, as throughout the 20th century, it’s the progressives leading the way to what is likely the worst of all future scenarios under the control of man.

  86. From: Gail Combs on July 23, 2010 at 10:38 am

    I have always been fond of madame guillotine, some people have survived a necktie party.

    What, don’t they use and follow the traditional wording of such pronouncements?

    “…they shall be hung from the neck until dead.”

    Don’t see a time limit for the procedure there. In ye olden days that could take a while, and they would let it take a while.

    However the guillotine does have a distinct advantage. It quickly prepares a body for immediate organ donation without the deterioration in quality of transplantable parts often found with regular trauma victims…

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