An Open Letter to U.S. Presidential Candidates

Date:  March 27, 2016

Subject:  Extreme Weather and Rising Sea Levels

From:  Bob Tisdale – Independent Researcher/Climate Change

To: United States Presidential Candidates

Dear Presidential Candidates:

While reading this letter, please put aside your beliefs about human-induced global warming and climate change.

Extreme weather events existed long before the industrial revolution and mankind’s emissions greenhouse gases.  That is, tornados, hurricanes, blizzards, heat waves, cold spells, floods, droughts and so on are facts of life on this planet and in this country. Regardless of whether you believe our emissions of greenhouse gases are now contributing to or enhancing them, those extreme weather events exist now, and they are not going to disappear at any time in the future.

Another fact of life on this planet: sea levels have been rising since the end of the last ice age.  The estimates of sea level rise range from 300 to 400 feet so far during this interglacial.  Why have sea levels risen? Global temperatures have been above the threshold required to melt glaciers and ice sheets for many thousands of years. Sadly, the oceans will continue to invade our shores until global temperatures start to drop and we head toward another ice age. It’s not a matter of if sea levels will continue to rise, it’s how fast.  But even the climate model-predicted rates at which sea levels will rise in the future have tremendous uncertainties…with the rises due to best-case scenarios overlapping with worst case.  Windmills, solar panels, hybrid cars, climate models, etc. will not stop sea levels from rising.

We continue to pump moneys into climate research even though the summary for policymakers of the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report is basically the same as the first report.  That is, all IPCC reports, from the first report in 1991 to the fifth report in 2013, tell us same very basic things. If we continue to emit greenhouse gases:

  • global warming will occur…though the ranges (the uncertainties) of Earth’s sensitivity to carbon dioxide are basically unchanged from the first to the fifth reports,
  • droughts, floods and extreme weather events will occur…though they can’t tell us where and when,
  • global sea levels will rise…though that’s nothing new…sea levels have been rising since the end of the last ice age.

In those very basic terms, we’ve received nothing of value for the massive investments in climate change and global warming research over the past decades.  The U.S. government continues to throw taxpayer dollars at climate research, which suggests to some voters that the science is not settled.

The U.S. government last December entered into an international agreement to reduce emissions of anthropogenic greenhouse gases…to make the world a better place for future generations.   In fact, President Obama began his December 12, 2015 Statement by the President on the Paris Climate Agreement with (my boldface):

In my first inaugural address, I committed this country to the tireless task of combating climate change and protecting this planet for future generations.

Two weeks ago, in Paris, I said before the world that we needed a strong global agreement to accomplish this goal — an enduring agreement that reduces global carbon pollution and sets the world on a course to a low-carbon future.

But extreme weather events are happening now.  U.S. citizens (our children and our grandchildren) are losing their lives, their homes and their livelihoods now to extreme weather events and sea levels, just as they have in the past.  We may now have better tools to provide early warning of some catastrophic events, but…

Again, please put aside your beliefs that emissions of greenhouse gases are enhancing global warming and climate change.  How are you as the next President of the United States going to help U.S. citizens limit the losses of U.S. lives, property and livelihoods caused by catastrophic weather events and sea levels that are happening now?  Setting “…the world on a course to a low-carbon future…” does not address those problems nor do any additional funds spent on speculative research into past and future climate change help to combat those events.


Bob Tisdale

Author of the ebook On Global Warming and the Illusion of Control – Part 1 (700+page, 25MB .pdf).

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March 27, 2016 5:39 am

..As always, awesome post Bob !

B Warren
Reply to  Marcus
March 27, 2016 8:57 pm

I agree – thank you Bob, for speaking out. Perhaps if we all found some meaningful way to participate in the narrative, we could make a difference. The constant grind from the politically correct gets wearisome.

March 27, 2016 5:49 am

“Climate change forced me to use an illegal server, it’s not my fault” Hillary Clinton
“Climate change, it’s gonna be YUUUUUUGE!” Donald Trump
“Every one needs free college to help counter climate change!” Bernie Sanders
“Donald Trump insulting my wife causes Climate Change.” Ted Cruz
“I’m still here…” John Kasich

Barbara Skolaut
Reply to  Severian
March 27, 2016 7:48 am

“I’m still here…” John Kasich

Reply to  Barbara Skolaut
March 27, 2016 8:43 am


Reply to  Barbara Skolaut
March 27, 2016 1:52 pm

“I’m still here”
Speakin’ of which, has anyone seen Huma Abedin lately?
And then Bill Clinton went off on a riff earlier this week, in which he advocated putting “the awful legacy of the last eight years behind us”, which kinda, in a way, at any rate, sounded like, maybe, a put-down of the second black president by the first black president, and all (though a week’s worth of soft-shoe, white-splainin’ and black-‘splainin’ damage-control, laid on by the best and brightest of the hive’s talkin’-head, hired-gun pundits, thankfully made us coolie-trash nobody-peons to understand that Bill was really (wink! wink!) just talkin’ about Republican “obstructionism”–AND NOTHING ELSE, DENIER SCUM!!!). And then it seemed like, well…you know…that Bill, just sorta disappeared, himself, as well.
So am I just afflicted with some sort of self-induced, conspiracy-theory proto-“ideation”, here, or is sumpin’ cookin’, and everything? Anybody?

Steve Case
March 27, 2016 5:54 am

U.S. citizens (our children and our grandchildren) are losing their lives … now to … sea levels …

Reply to  Steve Case
March 27, 2016 6:16 am

..Well you know somewhere, at some time, some child must have drowned because the sea level was 4mm higher than ” normal ” !!

Reply to  Marcus
March 27, 2016 6:31 am

Probably because he tried to surf hurricane waves that were 30 ft and 4 mm high instead of merely 30 ft. high.

Reply to  Marcus
March 27, 2016 6:35 am

..Yup, that would do it !! LOL

Reply to  Marcus
March 27, 2016 8:45 am

We recently had Hurricane Ike blow through the Houston area. The sea levels were raised enough to destroy a condominium development on Clear Lake. And I guess we recall the 1900 hurricane that devastated Galveston. Do they count?

Reply to  Marcus
March 27, 2016 6:48 pm

I’m sure someone has fallen into the drink and drowned where there would have been dry land during the ice age. 🙂

Reply to  Bob Tisdale
March 27, 2016 11:04 am

Glaciers grow and recede again and we have seen that happen many times over the Holocene with the greatest melting of glaciers occurring during Roman times and a resurgence of ice during The LIA
Here is a graphic I derived from hundreds of observations of glaciers from such as E Roy ladurie set bedside CETcomment image
Consequently it appears likely that temperatures have not always been above the threshold to melt glaciers for many thousands of years but that there has been considerable natural variability of temperatures as there has been with storms, droughts, snow, heatwave and other weather related events

Reply to  Steve Case
March 27, 2016 9:25 am

New Orleans?

Reply to  Matthew Peirce
March 27, 2016 1:43 pm

New Orleans should have been abandoned and rebuilt in a place above sea level.
Putting money into rebuilding it was a total waste of resources.

Reply to  Matthew Peirce
March 27, 2016 3:23 pm

In 1900 after a hurricane, the city Galveston filled in the land and rebuild 16 feet higher. 105 years later the city of New Orleans rebuilt below sea level, trusting that getting rid of CO2 will prevent another hurricane.
There is the true danger of CO2. 100 years ago people were smart enough to figure out that lightning does strike twice. Now people believe that if we get rid of CO2, or at a minimum pay a CO2 tax, then lightning will never strike.
All we need do is make a big enough sacrifice and the Gods will leave us alone. The high Priests of Climate tell us so, so it must be true.

Reply to  Matthew Peirce
March 27, 2016 6:30 pm

ferd excellent logic, lying to people causes big mistakes.

Tom Halla
March 27, 2016 7:23 am

Good post!

March 27, 2016 8:26 am

Bob Tisdale, I thought that was a great letter and was going to circulate it, until I got to your conclusions.
Yes, droughts and other extreme weather has happened before and will happen again. But what MORE should POTUS or the Federal Gov due beyond what’s already in place with FEMA etc? I don’t think the Executive branch should make weather a priority or spend any ADDITIONAL monies on “the climate”. (The most constructive thing in my opinion that the Federal government can do is get out of the business of flood insurance.)
All other efforts regarding droughts, flooding (including NYC where much of their infrastructure is below sea level) should be addressed at the state or even local level. It is clear, for example, that much of the drought impact on California is the result of their own stupid political decisions. Just like eliminating subsidies for flood insurance, the Feds need to get out of the way and let those who decide to build in a flood plain or divert water to save the “fishies” pay for their own stupidity; maybe they will think ahead in the future.
I would have rather seen you build your conclusions around Gina McCarthy’s testimony two years in a row to Congress that the proposed federal regulations will have no measurable impact on temps (or CO2 levels) in contrast to the very measurable impact on our economy, and specifically people’s jobs, taxes and cost of living.
/end rant

Reply to  George Daddis
March 27, 2016 8:32 am

due = do. Typed too fast 🙂

Reply to  Bob Tisdale
March 27, 2016 9:39 am

First must break the bond of belief in our causation of a dystopic future. Since we’re obviously involved, the effort should be placed in emphasizing the net benefit of warming and our also obviously small part in it. The great greening is a much more obviously net benefit and it really wouldn’t take much effort to show a little more emphasis on this. Relief of the guilt is the first mechanism to use on the incredibly powerful bond of the first sentence, and the relief of fear will follow.
Perhaps then we can address this properly as a reasoning species.

Reply to  Bob Tisdale
March 27, 2016 9:40 am

The only medicine I know short of a cooling spell to stop the madness.

Reply to  Bob Tisdale
March 27, 2016 12:02 pm

” President Obama’s actions to limit U.S. greenhouse gases emissions are intended to help us with hypothetical problems in the future.”
And when those actions ultimately prove to be fruitless the political players will have long since pocketed their winnings and left the table.

Reply to  Bob Tisdale
March 27, 2016 7:39 pm

“…President Obama’s actions to limit U.S. greenhouse gases emissions are intended to help us with hypothetical problems in the future.”
If you don’t stick an “ostensibly” or “supposedly” in there somewhere . . I don’t take you seriously. You might as well write “I’m a gullible moron” as a preface to such a statement.

Reply to  George Daddis
March 27, 2016 9:39 am

seriously co-dependent of you, Bob. It sounds like you’re endorsing the party line verbatim.
a conclusion that government should consider doing more is an invitation to charge more for the purpose of charging more, to violate rights even more for the purpose of violating rights even more – to do more damage for the purpose of doing more damage.
a reasonable conclusion would be:
cut off the appropriations (stop stealing), cut off the funding (stop spending), rescind the regulations (stop violating rights) and stop doing damage.

Boulder Skeptic
March 27, 2016 8:30 am

How are you as the next President of the United States going to help U.S. citizens limit the losses of U.S. lives, property and livelihoods caused by catastrophic weather events and sea levels that are happening now?

Dr Tisdale,
Respectfully, can you tell me exactly which of the passages in Article II of the US Constitution (executive branch powers), or for that matter Article I, Section 8 (legislative branch powers), which gives the federal government the authority to help U.S. citizens limit the losses of U.S. lives, property and livelihoods by catastrophic weather events and sea levels?
Thanks in advance for your answer.
I would argue that the US Constitution as it stands provides that this is a power reserved for the individual state governments. Personally, I believe calling on the US federal government to act as nursemaid for every aspect of our lives, and continuing to let this federal government yield power they have no authority to, is exactly how we got into this mess in the first place. My opinion, take it for what its worth.

Reply to  Boulder Skeptic
March 27, 2016 8:48 am

Bo: You are way behind the times. The Supreme Court says the feds can do what they want. Remember that Mr Justice Black said: The constitution means what we say it means.
God help us.

Boulder Skeptic
Reply to  JimB
March 27, 2016 9:45 am

Thanks for your response. Unfortunately, I do understand how useless the judicial branch of the federal government has become as a part of the important “checks and balances” that was originally intended and is so critical to our continued success as a bastion of individual liberty, freedom and opportunity for anyone willing to work for it.

God help us.

Yes, I agree.

Juan Slayton
Reply to  Boulder Skeptic
March 27, 2016 8:52 am

Hmm… Would you then abolish the National Weather Service and leave it to the states to provide timely information for aviation, agriculture, etc? Or maybe turn the whole business back to the army Signal Corps? Some services do make sense only on a national level. If this conflicts with the constitution, the writers of that document have provided a legitimate way to update it.

Boulder Skeptic
Reply to  Juan Slayton
March 27, 2016 9:41 am

This is a pretty typical response by others I’ve encountered who don’t really understand or value the US Constitution. Don’t know if you fall into that category or not, but I’ll address your comment in any case.
Yes, I do believe that a number of things the federal government does now are not constitutional, regardless of their value. I won’t waste everyone’s time with my list here.
I agree that some services make sense only on a national level.
But, your most important point, with which I also agree, is that there is a legitimate way to have the national conversation, and to then legally modify the US Constitution to provide legitimacy and garner our support for the actions of the federal government. Article V provides the legal way to add powers, clarify, and otherwise amend the US Constitution. I believe it is only through following this legal method will we remain viable as a nation. Otherwise, it’s essentially lawlessness by whatever party we elect during a certain period and we’re clearly seeing this now and in the relatively recent past. And in response to the “c’mon, amending the constitution is too hard”, there has been on average an amendment every decade. And I believe that slowing the federal government down on the stuff that is not of top national priority is a good thing.
Thanks for the chance to make my point with further detail.

Reply to  Juan Slayton
March 27, 2016 2:36 pm

Boulder Skeptic,
I agree with your views. And re: Mr. Slayton’s concerns, there is nothing to prohibit cooperation between the several States on issues like weather forecasting. No need for a federal bureaucracy.
Speaking for myself, I would be perfectly satisfied if we limited the federal government to the original Constitution and Bill of Rights. To the extent we’ve deviated from those laws (yes, they are laws), we have lost our liberty.
Now we’re losing our republic. I give it less than another decade. Maybe much less.

Owen in GA
Reply to  Juan Slayton
March 27, 2016 7:12 pm

Juan, it is possible to argue that the National Weather Service, if limited to the forecast of weather to assist in the interstate commerce (namely air travel) could be a valid use of the federal government. Anything beyond about a two week forecast though is not supported by the science. (anything beyond 3 days is guess-work beyond broad outlines). The exact movement of high and low pressure centers and jet stream meanders is really only known once we see them begin to move. Then the general guess is they will follow patterns similar setups in the past have followed and the best forecasts are based on that. Still, supporting the interstate transport of air cargo is a valid reason to set up a network of current-condition monitors and satellite observation systems funded by the national government.
So while I understand and sympathize with Boulder Skeptic and dbstealy’s position on limited government, this one expenditure seems to be on solid constitutional footing. It’s misuse for “climate science” purposes however is not as there is no interstate commerce purpose for studying climate a century hence.

Boulder Skeptic
Reply to  Juan Slayton
March 27, 2016 8:24 pm

Respectfully, I contend that your interpretation of the enumerated power to regulate interstate commerce is not what was intended by the framers and that interpretation is why we have so many problems in this country.

To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

The interstate commerce clause in the 18 enumerated powers of the legislative branch (Article I, Section 8) was strictly limited to keeping the playing field fair and level between the states, not at all to “assist in the interstate commerce” as you described. Yes, I agree that your interpretation is what has resulted in practice (to all our detriment). But that was not the intent and that is part of our troubles in my opinion (based on, and supported by, the works of a significant number of constitutional legal scholars).

John Harmsworth
Reply to  Juan Slayton
March 27, 2016 8:54 pm

Presumably there is great value in such information and private interests would compete to provide an accurate service. Could you possibly believe that the government does this better or more efficiently or that private interests would politicize their work as the government has done?

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  Juan Slayton
March 27, 2016 10:21 pm

For Boulder Skeptic at 9:41
About those constitutional amendments;
The first 10 should not count in your time line because they clarified and reinforced “rights” that many thought should have been included in the original. They are called the Bill of Rights and were added less than 27 months after the Constitution was adopted.
The 27 amendment took 202 years, 7 months, 12 days for adoption. That happened in 1992, 24 years ago. The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was introduced in 1923 and despite extending the deadline, it was never adopted.
You might want to look at some of the other 11,500+ proposals.
Also, recall the number of states in the late 1700s and early 1800s with the number and diversity of those today.
As you say, there is a legal way.
Will it work. Not likely.

Boulder Skeptic
Reply to  Bob Tisdale
March 27, 2016 9:54 am

Mr Tisdale,
Thanks for your response. I appreciate your letter and what you are attempting to convey.
But, I will stick with my present philosophy and understanding of the US Constitution (I’m an originalist like the late intellectual giant Justice Antonin Scalia, RIP). The US Constitution, as it stands, provides that this is a power reserved for the individual state governments.
Your original question…

How are you as the next President of the United States going to help U.S. citizens limit the losses of U.S. lives, property and livelihoods caused by catastrophic weather events and sea levels that are happening now?

I would be most willing to vote for that presidential candidate who answers “Relative to climate change or weather, I’m not, because that’s not what the US Constitution says my job is. That’s the job of state governments. I’m going to adhere to the Constitution”. That’s the candidate for me, regardless of party affiliation.

Pamela Gray
Reply to  Boulder Skeptic
March 27, 2016 10:59 am

Boulder, you are wrong. Please read section 8 of the constitution about supporting the “general welfare” of US citizens. Interstate and international trade is very much a part of our Constitution.
Trade is the standard of living ground we stand on and is the bread and butter of our general welfare. Without it, we would be a poor nation indeed. Also the Declaration of Independence was written in part because British rule was not supporting our efforts to build trade and the necessary infrastructure that brings goods to market.
Therefore, the infrastructure that supports trade is a necessary part of “general welfare” federal responsibility. Land and water ports, roads, railways, bridges, power, and communication are the basic components of infrastructure that support trade. All of these entities should be enhanced to limit damage from winds, water, and winter weather. And federal money should be targeted for such.

Pamela Gray
Reply to  Pamela Gray
March 27, 2016 11:08 am

Add air to those ports.

Reply to  Pamela Gray
March 27, 2016 12:43 pm

Pamela, there are different interpretations of what the founders wrote. I’m with the late Justice Scalia, they meant what they said. But it must be in the context of the entire document, and in the generally accepted meaning of the words at the time.
The first consideration is why did they go to the trouble of defining and explicitly limiting the proposed federal government’s powers to a vital few, reserving all other powers to the people and to the states, if out of context phrases like “general welfare” and “interstate commerce” could be “catch-alls” that enabled the feds to do anything they thought might “do good” or be for everyone’s “welfare”?
For our first 150 years “interstate commerce” meant something very different from how it is interpreted today. It referred to the very specific transactions of buying, selling and transporting of goods across state lines. Thus when a dispute arose on such commerce, say between NY and NJ the judiciary level had to be bumped up a notch. (One of the early SCOTUS cases had to do with a ferry service between those two states.)
Like wise, the Constitution required that in exercising any of those enumerated powers (e.g. taxation), it be done for the “general welfare”. Again, the meaning of the phrase has changed. At the time of the writing, the emphasis was on the the first word of that phrase “GENERAL welfare” (where welfare=benefit), meaning it had to be done in a way that benefited everyone or all states evenly. Note it was not meant to say the feds can now do anything that does “good” for the citizens, but rather the impact of what they were allowed to do, had to be applied evenly.
Two final points:
1. You make a very good case that some things were beyond the ken of our founders. James Madison had a ready comeback for that. If conditions change in the future, then change the Constitution. He said the amendment process was put in place just for that reason. (In other words, don’t just ignore what they wrote because it was dated).
2. During the last 80 years, the SCOTUS has sifted to YOUR interpretation. (But thanks for the chance to state mine.)

Reply to  Pamela Gray
March 27, 2016 2:33 pm

I am way too slow in articulating my responses. By the time I hit “post”, Boulder Skeptic has said it more succinctly. But we seem to beon the same wave length :).

Pamela Gray
Reply to  Pamela Gray
March 27, 2016 3:09 pm

My responders appear to not have an adequate grasp of our early history when roads and bridges, along with ports, were needed to enlarge trade and bring prosperity to the infant nation. If you read the Declaration of Independence you will note the issues the colonies had with trade restrictions dictated by an absent land owner. That includes the ability to make laws and provide for the process of trade.

Reply to  Pamela Gray
March 27, 2016 3:53 pm

Pamela, you almost got me.
I just re-read section 8. The phrase general welfare does not appear!
Section 8 only specifies the enumerated powers.
From Wikipedia: (Ugh!)
– “The United States Constitution contains two references to “the General Welfare”, one occurring in the Preamble and the other in the Taxing and Spending Clause. The U.S. Supreme Court has held the mention of the clause in the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution “has never been regarded as the source of any substantive power conferred on the Government of the United States or on any of its Departments.” ”
“The Supreme Court held the understanding of the General Welfare Clause contained in the Taxing and Spending Clause adheres to the construction given it by Associate Justice Joseph Story in his 1833 Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States. Justice Story concluded that the General Welfare Clause is not a grant of general legislative power, but a qualification on the taxing power which includes within it a federal power to spend federal revenues on matters of general interest to the federal government.”
It took a decade to sell the new Constitution (and actually a totally new government) to the citizens, and only after proposing 12 new amendments (10 of which were adopted, and later called the Bill of Rights) because the folks feared the power of the proposed federal government. The tenth amendment was pretty simple. In it’s entirety it says:
“The powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”
(While your at it, look up the 9th Amendment an marvel how it is being ignored today.
None the less, I still grant that the SCOTUS has been steadily (and illogically) moving towards your construction.

Boulder Skeptic
Reply to  Pamela Gray
March 27, 2016 5:38 pm

Interesting response in several respects.
First, the opening salvo, “Boulder, you are wrong.”, appears intended to shut off discussion. Interesting tactic. Also, we just had a post that talked about “cock-sure prophets” who exclaim how something is black and white. Seems like you are so sure you might not be open to any further discussion or learning. Maybe that’s not what you intended?
Second, it is difficult to understand how to respond when you don’t follow the WE rule, paraphrased: if you disagree with something, quote the exact words.
Third, I believe you have fallen into the trap of the general consensus of present day interpretation of the “General Welfare” clause, which is 180-degrees off from the original intent. Go to the link below to actually understand the original intent of the passage you referenced in Article I, Section 8 (legislative powers). I believe it is me that has the original intent CORRECT, but will give you the courtesy of not responding to you the way you did to me. We may have to agree to disagree.
Professor Robert G. Natelson
Published in University of Kansas Law Review, 2004

This Article examines the three traditional interpretations of the General Welfare Clause. These are, flrst, that it is a plenary grant of regulatory and spending power to Congress; second, that it is a plenary grant of spending power only; and, third, that it is not a grant of power at all. I flnd severe textual problems with the flrst and second interpretations, and my subsequent historical analysis conflrms that those interpretations have little basis in original understanding. I flnd that the third view is the most textually sound. Examination of history, however, shows that the General Welfare Clause is more than a mere “non-grant” of spending power. It was intended to be a sweeping denial of power- speciflcally, it was intended to impose on Congress a standard of impartiality borrowed from the law of trusts, thereby limiting the legislature’s capacity to “play favorites” with federal tax money.
The current Supreme Court interpretation, the Hamilton-Story view, stands the original meaning of the General Welfare Clause on its head. The Clause was not a qualified grant of spending authority, as Hamilton and Story claimed. Nor did it merely point to other powers, as Story understood Madison to have said. On the contrary, the General Welfare Clause was an unqualified denial of spending authority. It did not add to federal powers; it subtracted from them.

Finally, let’s take the internet as an example, shall we? While its origins are rooted in a government studied way to securely connect multiple military labs (DARPANET), and of course invented by Al Gore (/sarc), this could be argued to be the infrastructure most important in world history to date in enabling trade. The government didn’t build the internet and doesn’t own it (yet), and regulation is minimal (so far). Historical “post roads and bridges” enable an enumerated power (delivering the mail) and are certainly allowed. The interstate highway system was devised under Eisenhower to be able to move troops and defend the country (national defense is an enumerated power and increased commerce is a positive externality). But government has no enumerated power to create infrastructure for the purpose of trade. It has the power to regulate interstate trade to keep the playing field fair and level among the states and to regulate commerce outside the US. I believe these enumerated powers have no connection to your presumed power to take our money to build infrastructure specifically for trade. Again, this is a state power. If you say, well that’s not how it works these days, I would agree. That doesn’t mean it should and is a part of the reason we’re presently $19T in debt. Commercial companies will ALWAYS be better at creating trade and commerce than will the federal government, IMHO.
PS: the Declaration of Independence has no direct bearing on law in this country.

Boulder Skeptic
Reply to  Pamela Gray
March 27, 2016 5:47 pm


My responders appear to not have an adequate grasp of our early history when roads and bridges, along with ports, were needed to enlarge trade and bring prosperity to the infant nation.

Uh, on this point you would be incorrect. Hopefully my response in full will soon be out of moderation (not sure why because I didn’t think any forbidden words were used).
Your interpretation on trade and the federal government powers is 180-degrees off the original intent in my very extensive studies (but I will refrain from going the “argument from authority” route).
George Daddis,
Your responses are SPOT ON in my opinion. We should talk US Constitution over a scotch someday. You will likely be interested in the following link (Prof Robert G. Natelson works)

Reply to  Pamela Gray
March 27, 2016 5:59 pm

Pamela 3:09 PM
Aw, Pamela, now you’ve gone completely off the rails.
It was my fault for letting you con me temporarily with Section 8 re the General Welfare Clause (it turns out Section 8 never mentions “General Welfare”).
Claiming your responders do not have an adequate grasp of history, on the other hand, maybe too much. (Projection?)
I suggest you re-read the very few pages of the Constitution, the Federalist Papers, and for an enjoyable overview a fictional (but just barely) account of the Constitutional Convention, “The Tempest at Dawn” by James Best. (Extraordinarily well researched via letters of the members of that august group and the issues they faced, not the least of which was slavery, and all the wheeling and dealing that went on to get a document that they could sell to ALL states.) From there you should go on to letters and biographies of Madison, Jefferson, Mason, Franklin, Hamilton et al. When you’ve finished all those come back and tell me (and I suspect Boulder Skeptic) that we don’t have an adequate grasp of early history,
Making laws about the process of trade and of the ports was the responsibility of the states. RE-READ SECTION 8 (that YOU cited) and then the 10th amendment. The ORIGINAL intent of federal regulations of INTERSTATE commerce was in the logical situation of when a dispute arose regarding a SPECIFIC commercial transaction across two states (see Gibbons vs Ogden – NY vs NJ grants re navigation. Lots of historical figures involved in that one including Robert Fulton and Cornelious Vanderbilt.).
The founders clearly would be aghast at a SCOTUS ruling that you could regulate a farmer growing wheat and selling it in his own state, on the trumped up premise that wheat is “fungible” and quoting the “interstate commerce” clause as their justification.
The Declaration of Independence set out the legal justification for the separation of 13 INDEPENDENT colonies (legally states) from Great Britain. SCOTUS has ruled many times that the Declaration has no bearing on our subsequent Constitutional framework of laws for a united republic. The new nation operated for more than a decade under the Articles of Confederation and when that wasn’t working out that body asked for a delegation from the states to MODIFY those Articles. “Radicals” like Madison and Franklin ignored their charge and threw out the old system completely and proposed an entirely new government. It took them another ten years, and 12 proposed amendments (10 of which became the Bill of Rights) to get it adopted because the citizens feared the power of the federal government that was being proposed.
“Roads and Bridges” – it was not until 1955 that the fed gov took responsibility for interstate roads and bridges and Eisenhower had to sell this program under the articulated power of “national defense”, under Section 8. (It was a reasonable argument that turned int a “slippery slope”.)
I still have to admit you have the SCOTUS of the last 80 years on your side, as illogical and historically inaccurate that may be.
As before, Peace.

Reply to  George Daddis
March 27, 2016 6:54 pm

“…SCOTUS of the last 80 years…” means intrusive Federal power and a Judiciary unwilling to get into the Congressional spending can of worms. One cannot take the politics and societal norms of the moment out of fashionable Constitutional interpretations. We have voted: We WANT our goodies. Arguing originalism and whatnot doesn’t change reality; ask that wheat farmer.

Reply to  Pamela Gray
March 27, 2016 7:11 pm

Pamela, ignore Boulder and I for a while.
Boulder, are you sure you’re not my long lost fraternal twin?!?
Here’s the true test; Chevis or single malt?
I keep assembling a post and you beat me to it each time with the same arguments and references (except I’m not familiar with Prof Natelson; I’ve got a lot more reading ahead of me. Thanks!)
I’m 73 and still very active (tennis 3 times a week, thank you very much) but I have always read a lot. I’ve had two passions, constitutional law including the lives of our founders, and later the claims regarding global warming.
The latter started the week I retired (15 years ago), at luncheon where an emeritus Prof at the U of Rochester (I’ve lost his name) gave a presentation. He was assisting an old friend from MIT, someone named Richard Lindzen :). The presenter advised us he was anathema in his own dept but because he was emeritus he could not care less. He warned us that the media scare around the certainty of global warming had no basis in fact. (He was researching and double checking the various climate models of the IPCC for Prof Lindzen, modeling in science was his discipline.) Being a natural skeptic (others have different names for my attitude) I started in on the literature (my background is engineering and an MBA). It didn’t take long to understand he was correct. (A delicious irony is that my tennis partner, whom I met years later, is a climate scientist who got the same “Nobel” letter as Micky Mann, worked with Karl and Peterson, and is as much as a skeptic [we just don’t know] as I am.)
Let me know if you are ever traveling to inland SC and I will treat you to a scotch, a home brew, or some legal moonshine.
Pamela, carry on.

Reply to  Pamela Gray
March 27, 2016 7:23 pm

I’m afraid your point sailed above our heads.

Boulder Skeptic
Reply to  Pamela Gray
March 27, 2016 7:24 pm

Dogdaddyblog (Dave),

Arguing originalism and whatnot doesn’t change reality; ask that wheat farmer.

Wickard v. Filburn is an abomination by an FDR stacked SCOTUS. We’re headed there again with the untimely loss of a legal giant (Justice Scalia).
I think that educating the people around me with whom I interact is a start down the course of understanding the problem ($19T of debt and general lawlessness and uncertainty due to not following the US Constitution) and developing support for a solution (start following the original intent of the USC and amend it for a few presently unconstitutional national priorities). Yes, this paragraph is simplistic for shortness.
But, I’m genuinely interested what you believe gets us back in the box and on a path to prosperity and individual liberty again? What would you do if King? Because asking the President what he’s going to do NOW to protect us all from bad weather is just asking for more goodies, isn’t it?

Reply to  Boulder Skeptic
March 27, 2016 8:41 pm

Boulder Skeptic, I just reread your comment and realized you had asked me a question. I have no answer to the problem of government lawlessness. All I do is donate to conservative politicians, communicate with my representatives and various governmental entities, write letters to the editor and try to encourage like-minded individuals. Of late, I have not been doing much of those because I got tired of tilting at windmills. I’ll have to get back at it again.

Boulder Skeptic
Reply to  Pamela Gray
March 27, 2016 7:41 pm

You’ve got me beat by two decades of wisdom and intelligence. Science education in aeronautics and astronautics, engineering management, professional diver with a passion for the ocean, pilot, working on a degree in US history and the Constitution which has been a passion since forever. Would love to hear your reading list. I think you’ll enjoy Professor Natelson relative to learning more about the US Constitution. Single malt but I’m not too picky. The moonshine sounds great. SC is one of 4 states I have not yet visited. When can I visit, haha.

Juan Slayton
Reply to  Boulder Skeptic
March 28, 2016 1:56 am

Bolder Skeptic,
For the record, I would describe myself as an “intentionalist.” I don’t see how any document can be honestly interpreted other than by the intention of the writer. So we are basically singing from the same hymnal.
And I agree that seriously needed changes to the constitution should be done by amendment. Still, John Hultquist has a telling point as to the difficulty of accomplishing that. And we would not want the constitution to be cluttered by a multitude of trivial changes. (Might take a look at the history of the California constitution on that point.)
Pamela argues that many of mentioned government activities are in fact constitutional. It would be a very long post indeed to try to address these in detail. Other parts of the constitution that have so far not been mentioned are relevant. For example, aviation services are heavily impacted by international treaty. Here are federal powers well outside the scope of interstate commerce.
Bottom line for me: Mr. Tisdale’s closing concerns about public welfare are legitimate concerns for the federal government, so far as the constitution permits. And federal politicians can do things to encourage the states to step up to the plate, where the federal government has no business being involved.
It’s almost 2:00 AM here in Oregon, so I think I’ll sleep on this for a while.
: > )

Boulder Skeptic
Reply to  Juan Slayton
March 28, 2016 7:44 pm

Thanks for the thoughtful reply.
Where I disagree with many things thought to be constitutional (by Pamela and most others, because they don’t appear to understand the intent of the framers) is due to the fact that the original intent is ignored. It is false that we’re not sure of the intent–a position propagated by those wanting to add federal power over us all (and lawyers, who have almost no interest in the truth). Original intent is well documented. I provided a specific link to a peer reviewed national journal paper showing clearly the original intent of the passage Pamela called out (and it clearly shows why other interpretations are incorrect). What?!?, I thought all peer reviewed papers were always gospel, haha.
Yes, I agree that international treaties and defending the populace from external threats (military defense) are clearly constitutional.
I found it humorous that we should ignore the first 10 amendments in the average. Yes they came early on and as a set. But it shows that when the national priority is clear, you can (and should!) change the constitution. The fact that it has been almost 3 decades since the last amendment is more a reflection of the present lawlessness of our government and the total abdication of responsibility of the judicial branch more than anything else. If the SCOTUS had ruled in line with the original intent during this period, there would be more discussions of amendments and a resulting legitimacy of programs enacted after amendments were ratified (and the debt would be much lower for our kids and grandkids because frivolousness is hard).
As it stands, using fallacious interpretations, the federal government pretty much has no limits anymore. If that continues, we’re done. Game, set, match.
We’ll have to agree to disagree on the federal government having a constitutional role in protecting me from the weather. I don’t think that exists based on original intent and amendments as they presently stand. Arguments based on commerce and general welfare clauses are just wrong, imho. For example, take national flood insurance (see wiki link). All this does is encourage people to build and live in areas KNOWN TO BE FLOOD PRONE. Exactly how is that helping to keep the populace safe from the weather? What part of the Constitution allows the federal government to act as an insurance agency with imbeciles as their actuaries?
I agree that federal politicians can help encourage states to do the right thing for their citizens.
It seems we’re probably closer on this than other readers might think reading this. Thanks again. It’s been a good discussion. Really!

March 27, 2016 10:46 am

Re: Open Letter to U.S. Presidential Candidates, 3/27/16.
George Daddis, 3/27/16 8:26 am, got lost at the post’s conclusion. The very title was troublesome, followed by the introduction and conclusion, matched bookends obliterating everything in the middle. Taking the bookends first, who among politicians, much less those running to become candidates, is going to take the advice to put aside your beliefs, even for the sake of argument? The five potential candidates wear their beliefs on their sleeves, like badges, just to mix some metaphors — there’s no way to be kind: a communist, a weathervaning populist, a deal-making entertainer, a religious fundamentalist, and a moderate whose platform features Rodney (why can’t we all just get along) King unity.
For the Democrats, the fix is in; the primaries are a sham. Hillary will be the candidate, thanks to the party appointed super delegates. For the Republicans, the problem is to hold down the number of candidates to two, theirs and Hillary. The trick is to walk a fine line, stringing Trump along until he can no longer make good on his threat to become a third party candidate, but without having him actually earn the nomination in the primaries.
The media, utterly in the dark about climate (the part between the bookends), simplifies the Republican problem as the establishment vs. the outsiders, i.e., Trump and Cruz. Indeed! Trump is not even a Republican, much less a conservative, as every recent GOP entrant professed to be. He is a self-proclaimed Democrat, Bill Clinton’s brilliant choice as a plant to mess up the Republicans. Cruz, on the other hand, is half Tea Party, a conglomeration of independents conducting a disorganized hostile takeover of the Republican Party, and half Evangelical, a narrow sect among Republicans, and a proven loner in the Senate. Everyone of the recent spate of contestants for the GOP nomination is damaged goods. Yet, the presidency is still the Republicans to lose.
But if a candidate is going to have the intellectual capacity and open-mindedness to heed the open letter, it’s going to be a dark horse Republican, unspoiled by the primary campaign, a compromise between the ins and the outs, picked at an open convention. Boehner, a solid establishment Republican, out-did himself this week, backing Paul Ryan for president.
On climate, Ryan said, I don’t know the answer to that question. I don’t think science does, either, a thoughtful distinction between what he knows and what he thinks. He might be receptive to learning what science is, and from that point, the rejection of AGW is like water off a duck.

March 27, 2016 11:01 am

Our Constitution gives Congress the authority to tax (even a foolish Amendment giving them the right to tax an individual’s income). Congress also has the Constitutional authority to appropriate monies for an almost infinite number of purposes (think interstate highways). I save my “Constitutional arguments” for real Constitutional issues.
Dave Fair

Dave Grogan
March 27, 2016 11:44 am

You are one of the best I would want you on my local council…you are a gem…
Your open letter to the 2016 candidates is naive…. they do nit give a monkey`s for the truth…they are focussed on positions of power…CAGW does that? then that`s the credo to follow….NO! then it`s weather, natural variation etc… they are not concerned with science, just power.
Please, go on doing what you do..It is crucial to us…but do not expect anything from the power brokers….just be furious and determined to kich butt when the chance arises.
James Corbett and Sibel Edmonds are, like you, parargons. Bless you all.
Dave G

Paul Westhaver
March 27, 2016 12:03 pm

Your line of thinking is much like Bjorn Lomborg’s, which is practical.

March 27, 2016 1:31 pm

Good letter as far as it goes, but it doesn’t go nearly far enough.
One point must be hammered home: CO2 (mistakenly called ‘carbon’) is NOT a problem, and CO2 from burning coal, oil, and natural gas are NOT a problem and will not cause any measurable ‘global warming’. CO2 is a trace gas that is absolutely essential for all life on Earth, and increased levels will do nothing but encourage plant growth all over the world, which is a Good Thing.
I think Ted Cruz understands this, but I doubt any of the others do. They need to be told, ideally by someone to whom they will listen, and from whom they will learn.
/Mr Lynn

March 27, 2016 1:50 pm

Bob, thank you for your continued action in the trenches. Your work was the primary impetus to my looking into climate issues. Not only did I buy your “Who Turned On The Heat” but I actually (horrors!) donated to the cause. While reasoned argument may not sway many of the politically motivated, please keep on doing what you do.
I can’t but hope that your ocean-by-ocean temperature and heat content presentations might influence the IPCC in their future consideration of climate models. In any case, it will be enlightening how modelers reconcile their parameterisation of pre-1970’s temperatures in light of 21st century results.
Best Easter wishes, Dave

Gary Pearse
March 27, 2016 2:13 pm

Bob, this is too informationless to be of any effect. You are asking them to suspend belief in CAGW and then you go into them helping people survive tornadoes, droughts, hurricanes and such. To ask them to suspend belief, you should have given a few graphs on the extreme weather events that span a century or so to help them suspend beliefs. I think this is low impact and makes a sceptical website look simply contrarian as their information sources contend. Never assume that your political audience knows the usual background information. Talk to them as if they had just read the Summary for Policymakers and supply an antidote.

March 27, 2016 3:36 pm

“That is, all IPCC reports, from the first report in 1991 to the fifth report in 2013, tell us same very basic things.”
Why would that be? Because it is happening, Bob! Earth is warming. Why it does so? Humankind’s greenhouse gas emissions. That’s why.

Reply to  Wagen
March 27, 2016 4:20 pm

Why would that be? Because it is happening, Bob! Earth is warming. Why it does so? Humankind’s greenhouse gas emissions. That’s why.

And, if so, why has the earth repeatedly warmed just as much, just as fast, just as often BEFORE any significant man-released CO2 was in the atmosphere as now? Why were earlier warming period much hotter than today’s 2000-2010 “pause” / “peak”?
Why did the earth cool between these warming periods?

John Harmsworth
Reply to  RACookPE1978
March 27, 2016 9:40 pm

It is thought an early caveMann adjusted the data so we would think they had it tough. Maybe they got a gov’t grunt! Ha!

Reply to  Wagen
March 27, 2016 4:21 pm

really? the earth has not warmed at all while carbon dioxide levels have increased by around 30% over the past 20 years

John Harmsworth
Reply to  Wagen
March 27, 2016 9:31 pm

IPCC AR5 summary states that the effects of climate change are expected to be minor compared to economics, demographics, land use and other issues. So which is it? They’re advocating spending trillions on something they say is minor or they don’t know what they’re talking about? Or both?

March 27, 2016 3:57 pm

.Thanks again Bob, I hope that they all take notice of your logic.

March 27, 2016 6:23 pm

Quite so. It would have been cheaper to build the sea wall that Mayor Bloomberg vetoed than to pay the damage from Sandy. And it would have served against the next 100 years of storms PLUS been an elevated expressway. Crazy stuff.

Reply to  Andrew
March 28, 2016 12:04 pm

New Orleans flooded in 1927s from a huge rainfall just like it flooded in 1995 from a post-hurrican surge.
There were 68 years to fix the 1927 problem — I believe two efforts that might have prevented the flooding in 2005 were both blocked by “environmentalists”.
Of course building a home below sea level is asking for trouble, and when it floods, the homeowner should not be rewarded for his stupidity.

March 27, 2016 7:44 pm

How dare you attempt to use logic and reason with political candidates.

Reply to  Richard
March 28, 2016 11:56 am

“Logic”, “reason” and “political candidates” should never be used in the same sentence.

March 27, 2016 8:18 pm

Boulder Skeptic, my (regretfully) flippant posting was a reflection of my disheartenment with the current state of our body politic. We can but keep poking along, hopefully following Bob’s example.
My wife’s lump-crab topped steelhead salmon, asparagus, green beans, scalloped potatoes, star cross buns and the rest of the Easter dinner has improved my mood greatly. I hope the rest of the skeptic blogosphere was as fortunate.

March 28, 2016 3:19 am

Bob, the thing that gets me is that there is no genuine science associating CO2 with global warming, or climate change for that matter. There must be natural reasons for the climate changing; as it has all happened before. It happened long before man could have been a contributing factor.
All the alarmist side has is a pure speculation concerning CO2 and they have built an empire on that speculation. That is not science.

Pamela Gray
March 28, 2016 6:56 am

“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
The gentlemen above assumed that I said that this text was in section 8. I did not say that. I said, ” “Please read section 8 of the constitution ABOUT supporting the “general welfare” of US citizens.” Section 8 outlines a number of principles at work that are in agreement with the preamble. The preamble alone cannot be used to grant powers, but clearly the following sections did exactly that and many components were written to specifically promote the general welfare.

March 28, 2016 7:55 am

The other NOW issues that will hurt this country are populist-based doubling of minimum wage, uncompetitive tax rates, and the usual set of NOW issues like management-by-crisis and lack of true reform in existing social programs. Risk taking needs to be added to the endangered species list….NOW!

March 28, 2016 11:52 am

“How are you as the next President of the United States going to help U.S. citizens limit the losses of U.S. lives, property and livelihoods caused by catastrophic weather events and sea levels that are happening now? ”
Extreme weather events are in a worldwide downtrend — you imply there are serious problems — what data support that?
In the US tornadoes are in a downtrend, and hurricanes too — the last major hurricane to hit land was in 1995.
The Global ACE Index has been at 45-year lows in the past four years (2012 through 2015).
And when thinking about what catastrophes could be caused by sea level changes of a few millimeters a year, the only question I have is: What are you drinking ?
What sea level catastrophes?
Your sentence above is typical whining:
‘Uncle Sam, please help take care of us — we are children unable to take care of ourselves — if we build a big house on the ocean and the wind blows it down we want free money to rebuild it — if there’s a tornado that blows down our inland house, we want free money to rebuild it … ‘
Are all state governments, local governments, National Guards, private charities and volunteers incompetent, and unable to help?
You seem to think we MUST have the federal goobermint come to the rescue?
… like they helped after Hurricane Katrina?
… and remember how they prevented the twin towers from being hit by airplanes … with at least six of the 19 terrorists violating immigration laws?
… and now our Goobermint wants to “rescue” 100,000 “refugees’ from Syria even AFTER we heard from ISIS that the immigrants would include their ‘soldiers” — that’s just asking for a national disaster in the future!
I believe local and state governments, National Guards, private charities and volunteers can handle almost all weather disasters — when the federal Goobermint comes to the “rescue’, you never know if the situation will get better, or worse … but you do know the work will be slow and very expensive !

March 28, 2016 1:27 pm

Stop doing the Lyndon Johnson Vietnam War thing with climate science policy. Move on!

March 29, 2016 4:06 am

It would be interesting to see the same philosophy applied to economics.
While reading this letter, please put aside your beliefs about accepted ideas on economics and financial managment .

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