Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) is making news again. He is calling on his fellow travelers to Lynch the opponents of climate alarmism, and to rob widows who own shares of the energy companies. Unsurprisingly, he relies heavily on the conspiracy theory of “the climate denial scheme.” What might motivate such bizarre behavior?
First, he has a glaring conflict of interest. His wife, Dr. Sandra Thornton Whitehouse, is a board member or an advisor to a number of powerful environmental advocacy groups, including the National Council for Science and Environment [permalink], the Consortium for Ocean Leadership (who would think that the ocean needs leadership?) [permalink], the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation [permalink], and the Ocean Conservancy [permalink]. These misleadingly named organizations already have their hands deep in the taxpayers’ pockets. If the government prosecutes the energy industries, as the Senator demands, there will be a huge shakedown, and a large part of the plunder would go into coffers of the Whitehouse clients.
A recent example is the division of the loot from the recent BP oil spill settlement, with analysis courtesy of the Ocean Conservancy. It gives some insight into how most of the $20.8 billion settlement is intended to be split among various government and non-government entities, and finally disappear without a trace in the name of “natural resources restoration.” Among the line items and the recipients of the funds: Reimbursement of Assessment Costs ($350M), Centers of Excellence; NOAA RESTORE ACT Science Program; Monitoring, Adaptive Management, Administrative Oversight; Bucket 1; Bucket 2; Bucket 3 etc. Conspicuously missing are any physical actions in the real world (like building a bridge, a road, or a hospital), that can be observed or verified, not to mention performed by American blue-collar workers. Taxpayers are getting the shaft.
On the other hand, the behavior of Sheldon Whitehouse can be easily explained by sheer ignorance. He spent his lifetime as either a lawyer or a politician. The only thing he knows about productive businesses is that he can prosecute them, like he prosecuted paint manufacturers in his position as Rhode Island AG. Whitehouse knows next to nothing about science, and openly despises scientists. On his official website he proudly features what he calls Sheldon’s Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act, signed into law in 2013. This is how he describes this Act: “The Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act would direct the National Cancer Institute to work with federal and non-federal representatives to develop scientific frameworks for assessing and advancing research on cancers with five-year survival rates below 50 percent.” I need to parse this sentence to understand it:
The Act will direct => the National Cancer Institute => to work with federal and non-federal representatives => to develop scientific frameworks => for assessing and advancing research on cancers …
Mathematically, this looks like a fifth derivative of cancer treatment (each arrow corresponds to a derivative; research can be considered as a derivative of treatment). Practically, it reveals what Senator Whitehouse knows about how science works and what he thinks about the scientists. He imagines that curing cancer patients is a regulatory problem. His thought process might have been:
The doctors and scientists failed to cure cancer. This is not surprising. They work for special interests, like hospitals and pharmaceutical companies. I cannot sue them for this failure (yet), but there is something I can do. Those medical researchers work without a scientific framework! At least, they have not requested for money to develop one, unlike non-profits that have anything to do with science. I, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, JD, will give them their scientific framework! They will use it for assessing and advancing their research, and thank me. Of course, cancer researchers are too dumb to develop such frameworks themselves, so I will direct the National Cancer Institute to do that for them. But the National Cancer Institute employs too many physicians, microbiologists, statisticians and other professionals who are too smart to be trusted. So it must work with federal representatives, who have no links to the hospitals, doctors, and similar special interests. And there are non-profit advocates, who actively oppose those special interests. They must be included, too. Check, check, check. Now my job is complete. When the bill becomes a law, these nerdy researchers will not have any excuse for failing to cure cancer. If they succeed, the recognition is rightfully mine. But if they fail, I will come after them with all I have, in due time.
The pattern is obvious: the further somebody is from science, the more enthusiastic he or she is about climate alarmism.