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Title: Blog by Novelist William S. Frankl, MD

Archive for March, 2016

The National Science Foundation Investigates Serious Climate Change Fiscal Chicanery

Monday, March 28th, 2016

The Daily Signal
The Multimedia News Organization of The Heritage Foundation.
A federal science agency is “seriously” interested in reviewing tens of millions in taxpayer-funded grants awarded to a university professor who wants President Obama to prosecute those who don’t share the administration’s view that mankind is changing the world’s climate.

The National Science Foundation’s inspector general appears poised to look into Jagadish Shukla’s management of federal grant money, much of it from the science agency itself.

The science agency has its own rules and guidelines governing grants, which would be applicable to the millions Shukla, 71, received from the agency.

“The longstanding cozy relationship between [government] grant-makers and grantees makes them blind to even the most obvious conflict of interest,” Bonner Cohen, a scholar with a free-market think tank in Washington, told The Daily Signal.

Shukla, a professor at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., led the charge by 20 college professors to urge a federal investigation aimed at scientific skeptics who differ with their views on climate change.

At the same time, Shukla, his wife, and his research center were awash in taxpayers’ money, according to an internal audit by the university on which The Daily Signal previously reported.

A House panel looking into Shukla’s activities sent related information to Allison Lerner, inspector general for the National Science Foundation.

Susan Carohan, a spokeswoman for the Office of the Inspector General, said the agency is “unable to comment publicly” on the Shukla case, citing “privacy requirements.”

“As with any correspondence from a congressional committee, we take the concerns expressed very seriously,” Carohan said in an email.

Audit Details Climate Change Researcher’s ‘Double Dipping’

Cohen, senior fellow with the National Center for Public Policy Research, told The Daily Signal that lax enforcement of existing rules has bedeviled the U.S. government for some time:

The federal government is awash in guidelines governing the conduct of recipients of the billions of dollars in grants doled out by Washington every year. But these regulations are loosely enforced, both by government bureaucrats and by the institutions receiving the money.

Taxpayer-Funded Research

The National Science Foundation, an independent federal agency, was created by Congress in 1950 “to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; [and] to secure the national defense,” among other goals.

The agency’s website notes that its annual budget of $7.5 billion includes funding for nearly a quarter of all basic research that federal taxpayers make possible at America’s colleges and universities.

Shukla’s name appears first among 20 signers of a letter to Obama and Attorney General Loretta Lynch asking them to use the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO, to investigate corporations and other groups skeptical of man-made global warming, also known as climate change.

The audit by Shukla’s employer, George Mason University, suggests that the professor misused tens of millions of dollars in taxpayer funding by “double dipping” in federal and state funds in violation of university policy.

The Daily Signal has made repeated attempts through George Mason University to reach Shukla for comment, but he has not responded. The last attempt was on 3/21/2016

Observers critical of Shukla, some of whom consider him an alarmist, say Virginia taxpayers who don’t agree with Shukla’s policy stance on climate change were forced to fund his political activism.

Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, began making inquiries into the professor’s finances last fall in response to reports that he had received taxpayer-funded grants well beyond his publicly funded salary.

Shukla, who specializes in atmospheric, oceanic, and earth studies at George Mason University, is also the founder and president of the Rockville, Md.-based Institute of Global Environment and Society, or IGES, a nonprofit outfit that is now a focus of scrutiny by Smith’s committee.

An environmental institute run by Jagadish Shukla is the beneficiary of more than $60 million in taxpayer funds. An environmental institute run by Jagadish Shukla is the beneficiary of more than $60 million in taxpayer funds.‘

‘An Excessive Amount’

As previously reported by The Daily Signal, in a March 2 letter to Lerner, the National Science Foundation’s inspector general, Smith details key findings of the university’s audit and offers to assist her office in “any review” she may “deem appropriate.”

The committee chairman also asks that Lerner keep his committee “apprised of any work” her office pursues with regard to Shukla’s finances.

Above all, Smith calls attention to the substantial funds Shukla received from the National Science Foundation and other federal agencies. He writes of Shukla’s research center:

IGES has apparently received $63 million from taxpayer-funded grants since 2001, comprising over 98 percent of its total revenue. These grants were awarded by the [National Science Foundation], the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Since 2001, as president of IGES, Dr. Shukla appears to have paid himself and his wife a total of $5.6 million in compensation–an excessive amount for a nonprofit relying on taxpayer money. This information raises serious questions about Dr. Shukla’s financial management of IGE

State Lawmakers Urged to Question Taxpayer-Subsidized Climate ‘Alarmists

The Daily Signal asked Lerner’s office whether the inspector general intended to move forward with her own investigation and whether she would comment on Smith’s letter. Carohan, her spokeswoman, replied in an email:

As with any correspondence from a congressional committee, we take the concerns expressed very seriously. However, in this instance, we are unable to comment publicly on the matters noted in the letter due to privacy requirements.

The National Science Foundation’s policies set limits on the amount of grant money that may be awarded to individuals earning a salary from a college or university during an academic year.

Grants may be awarded during summer months based on the “two-ninths rule.” This rule means that “proposal budgets submitted should not request, and NSF-approved budgets will not include, funding for an individual investigator which exceeds two-ninths of the academic year salary. This limit includes summer salary received from all NSF-funded grants.”

‘Cozy Relationship’

Cohen, the scholar at the National Center for Public Policy Research, said: The longstanding cozy relationship between grant-makers and grantees makes them blind to even the most obvious conflict of interest or incidence of double dipping. And when the government is The longstanding cozy relationship between grant-makers and grantees makes them blind to even the most obvious conflict of interest or incidence of double dipping. And when the government is driving the scientific research to reach a predetermined conclusion, as is the case with climate change, then no one is going to rock the boat.

Agencies such as NOAA, NASA, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the science agency itself, he said, “get the ‘findings’ they want, and the universities and nonprofits get the money they want.”

Cohen added: “The system is thoroughly corrupt.”

The relationship between Shukla’s research center in Maryland and his role in the “RICO 20” letter to Obama and Lynch is a point of concern, Smith wrote to to the professor in October. Media reports said his center, IGES, initially was responsible for circulating the letter urging criminal prosecution of climate skeptics, Smith pointed out.

Although the letter to the president and the attorney general was scrubbed from the IGES website, it is available elsewhere. Smith wrote:

This letter raises serious concerns because IGES appears to be almost fully funded by taxpayer money while simultaneously participating in partisan political activity by requesting a RICO investigation of companies and organizations that disagree with the Obama administration on climate.

The Following Is My Comment, Not That Of The Daily Signal: After reading this piece of interesting reportage, one might seriously wonder if one of the major reasons the climate change community is so vociferous and mocking of those questioning the validity of man made climate change is that if they are wrong, most of all that delicious federal money will dry up and many of them will be unemployed.Yes?No? Maybe?

A Dark Political Future

Monday, March 28th, 2016

TS Eliot wrote in in his monumental work, “The Waste Land,” that “April is the cruelest month . . .” Well, January through March hasn’t been much better, especially as regards the chaos within our political system, which used to be the most stable in the world. No longer, I’m afraid.

First, the Democrats. If it were not ultimately so tragic it could be a comedy. “Bernie” wants to forever change the United States into a “Socialist Heaven,” especially for those who would rather not work. Why work when “mother government” provides all? And Hillary, who would already be indicted for the worst litany of lawbreaking in our times, if she were not protected by Obama and “Bill.” Except, she won’t be indicted until after the election. And then what? Will she be able to pardon herself? Wow! Great! And I’m “happy” to say she out-Bernie’s Bernie in her left wing Socialist madness. Hooray for the Democrats.

And the Republicans –––  I can hear strange rumblings in the caskets of Lincoln and Reagan. In a sense, the Republicans are worse than the Democrats. They are just plain, without a doubt, impossibly stupid. They had the 2016 presidency all theirs, for the taking. But instead, they handed it out to a loud-mouth, blustering, con-man who works for Hillary. Come on! You can’t be one of the millions of Republican know-nothings who believe Trump wants to be president. His goal is to wreck the GOP, tearing it apart for years to come, destroying the future of the United States in order to get his pal, Hillary, the unelectable, to be elected. Hey, thanks Donald. Trump’s certain nomination is being lauded by millions of people who come to his rallies and are counted as “Reagan Democrats,” Democrats who have switched parties, and “all the new people the Republicans have always wanted to change the political demographics.” Oh how stupid these “Trump real Republican” voters are. All these so-called “new” Republicans are merely going to the primaries to get Trump nominated. You can bet they will be voting for Hillary, or maybe even Bernie, on election day. And of course, the ultra-left wing media are helping Trump get elected. Hundreds and hundreds of TV pictures and interviews all for free. How awful!

And let me once again explain for those of you who don’t quite understand, I want to reiterate why this is happening. Because Trump is a Trojan horse. His goal is to destroy the Republican Party in order to get Hillary elected. He and Hillary are friends! And now Trump has already succeeded no matter how events unfold. Just think about the following scenarios:

1. If Trump is the nominee many Republicans just won’t vote and he will clearly lose to Hillary.
2. If Trump loses at the convention, he will walk out, form a third party, split the Republican vote and the GOP will lose.
3. And if the so-called Republican “elites” form a third party in order to stop Trump as they have threatened to do ––– again the GOP will split, and Hillary will win.

From my vantage point, one must choose the best of the worst. I think that if Trump is the nominee, the best approach is to back him. He will lose and will be blamed. Then the party can try to reunite and plan for the future. On the other hand if the threat of a Republican split off third party is formed the “elites” will be blamed for the loss and a permanent cleavage will result and the conservative political view will be overwhelmed by the Socialist Democrats, probably for generations to come.

And of course there is something else that will happen no matter which way the Republicans lose. Think what’ll happen when Hillary or Bernie choose the next two or three justices of the Supreme Court, moving it far to the left for a generation or likely more.The outlook is grim and dark. We can only hope for a miracle.

William S. Frankl, MD, All Rights Reserved