Hometown Paper to Lamar Smith:”Stop Intimidation tactics”

November 30, 2015


San Antonio Express News:

We’ve long disagreed with Smith in these pages about his views on the human impact on climate change. The debate is settled. The vast majority of scientists believe humans are contributing to the warming of the planet, a view clearly articulated in a unanimous online statement from faculty at the Texas A&M Atmospheric Sciences Department. Given the potential human and economic threats that climate change poses across the globe, and right here in Texas, the stakes are just too high to inject political doubt.

But today our concern with Smith’s chairmanship of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee is chiefly about governance.

His use of cumbersome, widespread records requests; threats of criminal charges if data isn’t released; allegations of political manipulation of data without any evidence; and attacks against well-respected scientists, such as Kathryn Sullivan, a former astronaut who now heads the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, are Orwellian. The broadened subpoena powers are new and unfortunate. No longer does Smith have to consult with the ranking Democrat on the committee before launching an investigation like this.

Smith told Express-News reporter Bill Lambrecht that he has taken such an aggressive approach because the Obama administration hasn’t been honest with the public about climate change and is ostensibly using it as a wedge to force more regulations on industry. He has focused on an NOAA study that found the rate of global warming hasn’t slowed between 1998 and 2012, a finding that runs counter to other studies. Smith has requested emails and internal communications about the study, arguing it was politically manipulated, and has threatened Sullivan with criminal penalties if she doesn’t comply.


The play here is clear: Make a sweeping request about a study that’s objectionable, take information out of context, and intimidate scientists from doing research on climate change. Then cast it as oversight.

As Keith Seitter, executive director of the American Meteorological Society, told Lambrecht: “It puts you in a position as a scientist where you ask, ‘Do I really want to work on this stuff?’ Because depending on how the research comes out, I may have to justify whether I have the integrity that I thought I had.”

Come up with a study that Smith disagrees with and you better lawyer up. That’s a frightening use of power.

Climate science is enormously complicated and easily muddied for the public. It’s easy to confuse sea ice, for example, with continental ice sheets.

Much like intelligence on ISIS or any other threat — and climate change is a threat — skewed data serve nobody. As a key watchdog, Smith should be on the lookout for manipulated science. But using that power to suppress research, threaten scientists or inflame partisan politics is its own form of manipulation.

With so much on the line for future generations, it’s a particularly dangerous game to be playing.

Smith’s game is playing well, however, among those that count in the House Science Committee –  Coal Barons. They want more “oversight” of them pesky scientists.

The Intercept:

In recent remarks Robert E. Murray, the chief executive officer of Murray Energy, the largest privately held coal mining company in America, enthusiastically praised Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, the chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, for leading an investigation into prominent climate scientists and environmental officials.

Murray, speaking at a gathering in Austin last week for global warming deniers organized by the Texas Public Policy Foundation, said he wanted to “congratulate” Smith on his subpoena of Kathryn Sullivan, head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Murray then declared that the American Meteorology Association and Union of Concerned Scientists, two private nonprofits that serve the scientific community, also “need to be investigated.”


“They’re crony capitalists, they’re making a fortune off of you the taxpayer,” said Murray, who stood up to praise the Texas congressman again on the next day of the conference. After receiving the second round of compliments, Smith thanked the coal executive and took a seat next to him.



11 Responses to “Hometown Paper to Lamar Smith:”Stop Intimidation tactics””

  1. dumboldguy Says:

    Take a look at the video in the link in the last sentence of the post. It complements the first clip.

    “After receiving the second round of compliments, Smith thanked the coal executive and took a seat next to him”.

    “Took a seat next to him” is highly appropriate—-Lamer looked exactly like Murray’s lap dog, looking to his master for affection and treats. Sickening—and it doesn’t help that Murray looks like a caricature of a fat capitalistic toad and sounds about as intelligent.

    PS Isn’t the SA Express News a bit left-leaning? If so, Lamer will simply dismiss them as more of the “liberal media” spouting Obama-isms.

    • Lionel Smith Says:

      Those facial expressions by Smith as he points and opens with, ‘Yes’, accompanied by an effete pointing of the hand and his chin twitching sideways and then that shifty look to the left, as if looking for approval from somebody in the audience, are sickening and revealing. Perhaps more revealing to those who have followed Lamar Smith more closely and had time to distil the significance of his tics. Psychologists may be able to deduce something.

      I wish I could unwatch that clip.

      I note (from Wiki) that Smith is a Christian Scientist which carries considerable ideological baggage and his education has probably been narrow at times bordering on indoctrination.

  2. Interesting use of the term “crony capitalism”. You know there’s trouble in the land of the cronies when they start accusing their opponents of sins committed by the cronies. It means that the chickens are coming home to roost.

  3. Andy Lee Robinson Says:

    “They’re crony capitalists, they’re making a fortune off of you the taxpayer,” said Murray, the crony capitalist making a fortune off of you the taxpayer…

    Oh the hypocrisy!

  4. Do leave your comments at San Antonio Express News and keep an eye on it for the time until the 2016 election. The electorate of Lamar Smith needs to be well informed about his anti-science campaign. The only way to reduce this bullying of scientists is to put a price tag on it.

  5. andrewfez Says:

    He has focused on an NOAA study that found the rate of global warming hasn’t slowed between 1998 and 2012, a finding that runs counter to other studies

    I’d be more worried about 2000 to 2015.

  6. indy222 Says:

    We need a new word in the lexicon of reporters…. a nice short roll-off-the-tongue word like “believe” but NOT “believe”; a word that instead means “acknowledge the evidence strongly supporting”… Maybe it’s word-count obsession but I don’t think so. It’s a continual rock in my shoe to hear the press talk about scientists’ acceptance of X as “belief” in X, thereby cheapening it to the level of any other fear-dominated dogmatic clingon.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: