March 30, 2015

Beware the Peer Review

ExposeCorruptionFor several years now, Roxanne Quimby, founder of Burt’s Bees, has tried to get Maine to buy into the idea of creating, yet another, national park in the Baxter State Park region. Quimby sits on the board of directors for the National Park Service and recently turned the idea of the park over to her son Lucas St. Clair.

At a recent meeting in the Millinocket area, proponents and opponents met to exchange barbs and attempt to discredit each other. Nothing new.

According to the Bangor Daily News, St. Clair said:

…he could not count the number of wrong facts and figures in the presentations, but that it was vast. As an example, he said, the economic studies done on the park’s effect were peer reviewed, and approved, by the state’s former economist and a University of Maine forest products professor.

I cannot address specifically the economic studies referred to in this piece because I have not read them. Therefore, my following comments are based upon general facts and information that all U.S. citizens should be educated about concerning the dreaded “peer review” of scientific data.

We all cherry pick when it comes to selecting information to support our causes. Often those that do don’t realize that for each document you produce to support your claim, there may be just as many to disprove it. So, which documents are right and which ones are wrong?

Well, I cannot answer that question honestly and herein lies the rub. The system of peer review is seriously flawed. It’s down right broken.

To those willing to not bury their heads in the sand and pretend things are just ducky, we have known for some time that peer review is a worthless instrument. Yes, and unfortunately that is the truth. Corruption and greed have destroyed what may have been a good system of checks and balances….or at least a better one.

With all the complaining that has gone on, perhaps we are now beginning to hear some noise about this peer review process.

All decisions are based upon “best available science.” Best available science is a vague term, with no conditions or parameters set in order to maintain a truthful method of checks and balances. For that reason, peer review, which once was necessary if you ever had any hope of being heard, is mostly worthless. Anybody, with money and connections can obtain peer review. The trick is to keep the available peers contained within a specialized group to ensure no opposition is heard or considered – stacking the deck or rigging the system.

We saw this play out nicely in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the reintroduction of wolves to the Greater Yellowstone area. While the fake and rigged process allows for anyone to submit information, studies, data, concerns and yes, peer reviewed documents, there’s no control over which ones get serious attention and which ones don’t. Never mind the rules. It’s a free for all.

Back in December of 2014, the House Natural Resources Committee released a report about the concerns over whether or not “best available science” was using independent peer review and in general the report actually questions the quality of the so-called “science” being used.

The ESA requires that decisions on whether to list a species as threatened or endangered must be based on the “best scientific and commercial data available.” As one of the chief agencies responsible for implementing the ESA, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (“FWS”) has issued policies and guidance concerning the use of the best available science.

A review by the Committee’s Majority oversight staff of the FWS’ recent ESA listing decisions has found:

* The FWS’ peer review process, information quality policies, and guidance documents are used to justify the FWS’ listing decisions under the ESA. However, the policies are ambiguous as to what constitutes “independent” peer review. This has led to inconsistency in how FWS Regional offices conduct peer review.

* The FWS regularly recruits scientists to peer review its listing decisions who are well-known experts on the specific species at issue. In fact, the FWS routinely bases its listing decisions on science that has been developed by the same people who have been recruited by the FWS to serve as peer reviewers. Rather than providing a fresh perspective on how the science was conducted or whether the listing decision is supported by science, the peer reviewers are in effect being asked to review how the FWS has characterized their studies and research.

* The FWS does not have clear or consistent procedures in place across all FWS Regional offices to ensure that potential peer reviewers undergo a screening to identify possible conflicts of interest or impartiality. In many cases, those who have received grants or financial assistance from the Department of the Interior (“Department”) and its bureaus or other federal agencies to study the species at issue or who have known biases, positions, or affiliations with groups that have advocated for conservation of the species under the ESA are allowed to serve as peer reviewers.

* The FWS does not consistently disclose to the American public information about who serves as peer reviewers for ESA listing decisions, the instructions they are given, the substance of their comments, or how their comments are addressed by the FWS. Peer reviewer identities are often withheld, and their comments are not clearly identified or made publicly available in the course of the listing decisions.

While this report of the House Committee on Natural Resources is specifically addressing science involved with Endangered Species Act, surely the same problems exist concerning peer review for any document. The short of it is, no longer can peer review be trusted.

Recently the Washington Legal Foundation (WLF) released a working paper addressing many of these same problems. In the Executive Summary, page x, it states:

Fueled by decades of ineffective oversight, federal agencies’ respect for science and the scientific process has severely diminished. For that reason, one can easily foresee many potential applications of the enforcement framework offered in this paper.

Clearly we are seeing more and more concerns about important decisions being made based on what more and more people are seeing as biased, unsubstantiated, politically and monetarily driven trumped up “science.”

In 2000, Congress passed the Information Quality Act, (IQA) supposedly for the purpose of making sure crap wasn’t brought into decision making processes. WLF writes:

The law requires federal agencies to ensure the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of the scientific, technical, and statistical information that federal agencies adopt and disseminate to the public.

Fifteen years after passage of the IQA, and what we are hearing from places like the House Committee on Natural Resources, is that it’s still “crap in and crap out.”

Evidently the Office of Management and Budget is responsible for implementing the 2000 IQA law. The OMB’s guidelines were supposed to set minimum standards.

OMB’s IQA Guidelines required that each federal agency develop and adhere to their own IQA guidelines, and set out minimum criteria for scientific peer review of agency-drafted and third-party studies and scientific assessments, as well as criteria for the selection of peer reviewers. OMB dictated that these peer-review standards be especially rigorous for “highly influential scientific assessments.” Federal agencies must also provide an administrative review mechanism that will allow affected entities to seek correction of agency-disseminated information that was not adequately validated. Agencies routinely carry out this mandate by addressing requests for correction as part of their responses to public comments in a final regulation—an approach, the paper argues, that does not afford sufficient due process to stakeholders.

Sounds nice but obviously it’s not working. To be honest, with this sort of self-regulation within a corrupt government and rigged process, I have just about zero amount of faith that there can ever be reliable science-based documentation done with valid, quality peer review. There’s just too much money involved. Best Available Science therefore becomes a travesty.

It’s a crying shame for the science industry. We live in a post normal scientific era. People are crying out for honest and reliable scientific processes and information. Yet, nothing and no one can be trusted. Agendas run too deeply. People must understand that peer review is garbage. Do not accept it and do not rely on it – even when it involves stuff you want to hear. You are being used.

Whether Maine buys into the sales pitch to accept 150,000 acres of land for the purpose of a national park, that is up to the people in the state of Maine. As far as the rest of are concerned, we should make sure that we let the National Park Service and our congressional representatives know how we feel about another park and this idea of peer reviewed science.

However, Maine residents need to tread lightly over claims that any data necessary to make these major decisions is “peer reviewed science.” It may be valid or it may not. It’s up to you, because nobody else can be trusted, to find out.

And we know that will not happen. Good luck!

FacebookTwitterGoogle+PinterestLinkedInEmailShare

Obama Says Kill Wolves?

The 2016 presidential election, which also combines with elections in Congress, is not that far away… that is if you watch the array of idiots vying for a hand-up on the others for the nomination. For this reason it is probably why the Obama Administration, through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is saying that they are in agreement with Michigan and Wisconsin that hunters should be able to “sport hunt” wolves. Sport hunt, eh?

A citified and Obama-appointed federal district judge in the District of Columbia, created her own interpretation of the Endangered Species Act(ESA) (nothing new here) and ordered that wolves in the Great Lakes Region (Distinct Population Segment) be returned to protection under the ESA. The USFWS is contemplating whether to appeal that decision, but don’t hold your breath. They won’t appeal it. They don’t WANT to appeal it. Their buddies in the several environmental regimes, which are nothing more a branch of their own corrupt form of totalitarian rule, accomplished what the USFWS and thus, the Obama Administration, really wanted. With those assurances in place, frees up the Obama Administration to make statements that they support the hunters. Absolute BS! BUT DON’T GO LOOK! (This tactic is as old as the hills. It is much like the Vatican stating they oppose abortion and yet behind the scenes they are responsible for the perpetuation of the act.)

While this dog and pony show goes on, Kabuki Theater is being staged somewhere in the halls of Congress to vote on a bill that would force the USFWS to reinstate the Final Rule for wolf delisting, while at the same time prohibiting Howell and others from “judicial review”. (Do you have a definition for that?)

TIME OUT: Judicial Rule – The principle by which courts can declare acts of either the executive branch or the legislative branch unconstitutional. The Supreme Court has exercised this power, for example, to revoke state laws that denied civil rights guaranteed by the Constitution.

Rep. Ribble’s bill, H.R. 884, states that the Final Rule will be reissued and “Such reissuance shall not be subject to judicial review.”

So, does that mean environmental groups cannot file suit to stop the delisting? Or is this meaning to prevent environmental groups from challenging the constitutionality of H.R. 884?

TIME IN:

However, the Obama Administration, according to the article linked to above, thinks that, “The science clearly shows that wolves are recovered in the Great Lakes region.” Technically, this isn’t exactly what Howell said in her ruling. So pay attention.

Howell’s ruling stated that the reason she couldn’t let the Final Rule stand was because it is her belief that wolves must be recovered throughout all the Lower 48 States. That makes it easier for Obama to state that hunters ought to be able to “sport hunt” wolves but does NOTHING to address Howell’s ruling.

And this brings me back to “sport hunting” wolves. Please, Mr. Obama, define sport hunting. Here’s an idea. Why doesn’t his government just get the hell out of the way and let the state governments decide what’s best. Isn’t this allowed in the Corporation and/or the corporation? Obama once made an effort to define “Significant Portion of it’s Range” and that amounted to nothing and never will. The Courts are in command and they will do as they are instructed to do in their rulings, mostly because nobody understands the real laws and powers that govern them.

In short, this is a work of smoke and mirrors and more than likely is driven by deception aimed at swaying public opinion and thus padding the ballot box in 2016. Don’t fall for any of it. NOTHING HAS CHANGED.

Getting Maine’s Lynx Population Delisted Will be a “Daunting Task”

LynxOver the weekend, I was reading an article in the newspaper of The Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, written by former Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) biologist Gerry Lavigne about how Maine needs to get the Canada lynx “unlisted” from federal protection of the Endangered Species Act. Lavigne’s claim is that it will not be as difficult a task to “unlist” vs. “delist”, claiming that the unlisting would come as the result of showing that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) made a mistake when they originally listed the Canada lynx as a threatened species. Lavigne writes: “It is time to unlist the lynx in Maine, and return management solely to DIFW. This is different from delisting, where the USFWS and anti-trapping and hunting zealots would retain their stranglehold on lynx management. We need to demonstrate that the USFWS erred in declaring that Maine lynx were threatened with extinction in the first place.”

Lavigne further explains that all that is needed is to present the already existing documentation that shows that the USFWS did not follow the rule of law to get the lynx protected in the first place. He then presents to readers what appears to be, from my perspective, an accurate accounting of what the USFWS did and recorded at the time. In short, it was a great piece of work by Lavigne and this is information that should be saved and referred to often.

However, there exists one giant roadblock of which, in my opinion, destroys any hope that “unlisting” the lynx would “not be as daunting a task as it sounds” – The Courts!

Lavigne accurately points out that the Courts forced the USFWS to list the Canada lynx in Maine as “Endangered”. In reality, it wasn’t that simple. Most people are sick and tired of beating the dead horse but in short, our corrupt government, influenced by corrupt environmental and anti hunting groups, and their deep pockets, attempted and was successful at convincing enough people that the head of the USFWS at the time was doing things illegally for political gain. The end result was The Courts forcing the USFWS to place the Canada lynx on the Endangered Species Act list of threatened and endangered species.

As Lavigne is pointing out, the USFWS did what The Courts forced them to do even if it meant fudging the data to come up with something. And so they did.

It may sound like “not as daunting a task” to go back to court and show the court the error of their ways. But aren’t we then calling upon the same corrupted and rigged system that protected the lynx illegally in the first place?

I may not fall in line with the majority of other readers and outdoor sportsmen when it comes to having faith in the court system of this country but history is history. We are witness to senseless court rulings and reversals that make absolutely no sense. Therefore, those decisions can only be considered as corrupt or carried out by incompetent persons; or a combination.

The Courts forced the USFWS to list the lynx. Are we now to believe that The Courts will say, “Ooops?” I don’t think so. Somebody might be successful enough to hand pick one judge that would rule sensibly, but The Courts are stacked because we operate within a rigged system. The roadblock will appear and in the meantime years go past while the issue is tied up in The Courts.

I have basically no faith in the Executive, the Legislative or the Judicial branches of THEIR de facto government. They operate, each of them, as self-serving, entities with no ties of responsibility to “we the people” and serve only “We the People”.

The trick is to find a connected insider who is willing to play along with the corruption and get, anyway possible, a bill through Congress, that overrides The Courts and/or The Endangered Species Act. If you want to play at their level then you must use their own rules of engagement.

Then and only then, will Maine get lynx delisted or unlisted….until the corrupt bastards figure out how to trump that piece of legislation with one of their own.

And so it goes.

Final Rule ESA Protections Enacted for Great Lakes Wolves and Wyoming

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), are issuing this final rule to comply with court orders that reinstate the regulatory protections under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as
amended (ESA), for the gray wolf (Canis lupus) in Wyoming and the western Great Lakes. Pursuant to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia court order dated September 23, 2014, this rule reinstates the April 2, 2009 (74 FR 15123), final rule regulating the gray wolf in the State of Wyoming as a nonessential experimental population. Gray wolves in Montana, Idaho, the eastern third of Washington and Oregon, and north-central Utah retain their delisted status and are not impacted by this final rule. In addition, pursuant to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia court order dated December 19, 2014, this rule reinstates the March 9, 1978 (43 FR 9607), final rule as it relates to gray wolves in the western Great Lakes including endangered status for gray wolves in all of Wisconsin and Michigan, the eastern half of North Dakota and South Dakota, the northern half of Iowa, the northern portions of Illinois and Indiana, and the northwestern portion of Ohio; threatened status for gray wolves in Minnesota; critical habitat for gray wolves in Minnesota and Michigan; and the rule promulgated under section 4(d) of the ESA for gray wolves in Minnesota.<<>>

H.R. 884 Disqualifies “Judicial Review” in Reinstating Final Rule on Wolves

Here is the text of the bill H.R. 884, sponsored by Rep. Reid Ribble. It is simple and to the point. It calls for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to reissue the Final Rule that delisted gray wolves in the Western Great Lakes and Wyoming (separately) and that in both cases, “Such reissuance shall not be subject to judicial review.”

This bill has been sent to the House Committee on Natural Resources and was introduced on the House Floor.

Let’s See The Proposed Great Lakes Wolf Bill

THERE OUGHT TO BE A LAW! Not really but isn’t that usually the cry we hear when things don’t go the way we have been brainwashed to think they should?

We’ve been hearing about PROPOSED bills that would remove the gray wolf from protection under the Endangered Species Act in the Great Lakes region. I’m tired of hearing about all the promises that are going to be in this bill. I’m not that stupid. I’ve been down this lousy road before. Bill titles and false promises get people on all sides revved up and squawking like a gaggle of geese. The reality is all too often that the actual text of the bill is useless drivel, written so most can’t understand (not that it matters, they never read the bill anyway).

So, let’s see the text of the bill already! Why do these clowns get to spend weeks spreading what, more than likely, will turn out to be lies and more lies, when they can’t, don’t, won’t share their proposal until after a formal submission….if then? Are they hiding something? This is the same tactic President Obama is using in his plan to seize full control and censorship of the Internet. WHAT’S IN THE BILL?!?

It’s fun for some to get all worked up over this supposed wolf bill proposal that’s been talked about from Congressman Reid Ribble, and yet none of us knows what’s in it. If we pay attention to the tidbits of information being said about the bill, it might give us some hints.

For instance, in this news article, Mr. Ribble is quoted as saying, “My bill doesn’t have anything to do with the Endangered Species Act. It just says a court should not be making a determination. And, in fact, if the population [wolves] decreases the Fish and Wildlife Service can re-list the wolf at any time.”

What’s he saying here? Looks to me like he is suggesting that the Courts will longer be able to make any rulings on wolves in those states listed in this bill….whichever ones those are. What I find troubling is that he says that if the wolf population decreases, the Feds can relist anytime they want to.

So Ribble, if this is what’s in his bill, is tossing blindly all his support and ceding all power to the decisions of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service(USFWS). Really? Those corrupt, agenda driven clowns? I see the USFWS as being really no different than the Humane Society of the United States, Midwest Environmental Advocates or any of the well-greased groups that steal their money from the taxpayers of this country. USFWS history shows their constant and consistent caving in to pressures from environmental groups.

If this bill doesn’t contain the right language, then what a waste of time. The idiot wolf lovers have pushed and demanded for so long, taking advantage of and bastardizing any semblance of law and order to get their way and more, when it comes to wolves. And now people have had enough. Screw em!

Not only would I make it so leeches can’t make their living filing lawsuits, I would permanently remove the wolf from Federal protection and disallow the USFWS any say in the future events that surround the wolf. We mustn’t forget that these criminals at the USFWS created this mess in the first place. They lied to the American people and foisted a plague upon the people and land.

It appears to me this secret proposed wolf bill does nothing but give USFWS dictator status. Way to go!

Rep. Kline’s Wolf Bill Proposal No Good

WolfIn an email exchange I received yesterday was a copy of an email supposedly sent from U.S. Congressman John Kline‘s office seeking support for a bill that, in the email, was given the title, “Western Great Lakes Wolf Management Act of 2015.”

I’ve searched quite extensively trying to find the text of such a bill and have not been successful. According to wording in the email, “This legislation would delist the gray wolf under any status of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 in the Western Great Lake states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan,” this seems to match with Kline’s 2011 proposal carrying the title, “Western Great Lakes Wolf Management Act of 2011” where it reads in summary, “Prohibits any wolf (species, subspecies, or population segment of Canis lupus) in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan from being treated under any status of the Endangered Species Act of 1973.

This action doesn’t seem to coincide with actions being taken by other politicians in other states across the Western Great Lakes and Wyoming. In addition, it appears that the Desert Southwest wants in on the action to get wolves taken out of control of the U.S. Government.

It would appear that if it’s Congressional action you want in order to control wolves then it would appear that Rep. Kline’s bill isn’t going to get the job done. However, without having the text available to read, I can’t say for sure, no more than I know about any other proposed bills. A lot of talk and not much action. This is usually when bills are buried in an omnibus bill and nobody knows about it until it’s too late.

So, what’s missing? As I said, if you want Congressional action that will work, at least for longer than it takes to file another lawsuit, any Congressional action must include a clause to prevent future lawsuits….of any kind. Without such, well, it’s “deja vu all over again.”

We saw the mistake made during the budget bill rider fiasco in the Northern Rocky Mountains, when similar action left Wyoming standing naked and alone; why not include them this time? Give them some new clothes. And, if you are going to include Wyoming, then why not Arizona and New Mexico. They’ve gone through hell with mongrel wolves eating up their livestock and wild game. Let’s throw in Washington and Oregon as well. Washington has a new pro wolf director of their fish and game. It would be good to yank that magic carpet ride out from under him. Even though North Carolina has told the Feds to get their damned mongrel mutts out of their woods, we had better include North Carolina in on the deal.

Oh, hell! Maybe Congress should just pass a bill to exempt any species or subspecies of wolf/dog/hyena from having anything to do with the fascist Endangered Species Act. One act of fascism deserves another act of fascism. Oh, and don’t forget to add a dash of no lawsuits allowed.

And you think you live under a constitutional government?

RMEF Calls Out Center for Biological Diversity: Stick to the Facts

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is calling on the environmentalist group Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) to stick to the facts when making presumptions about wildlife populations.

CBD recently claimed that Idaho’s wolf population is on the verge of endangered status when, in reality, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) stated that preliminary counts indicate Idaho has more than 100 documented wolf packs and 600-plus wolves. IDFG also reported it has a minimum of 22 documented breeding pairs after counting only 30 packs. IDFG biologists have yet to examine the status of 77 additional packs.

“A few advocacy groups chose to take the breeding pair metric out of context to make claims that Idaho wolves are ‘teetering on the brink of endangered status once again.’ That’s hogwash,” said Virgil Moore, IDFG director. “And it’s the kind of polarizing misinformation that undermines responsible wildlife conservation and management in Idaho.”

“It is not surprising when you consider this group’s intent on stirring the pot to dilute the facts in order to raise emotions and money,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “Groups like CBD do not really want states to manage wolves and they don’t really want states to be successful in managing wolves. Facts are facts and it is a clear fact that none of the states managing wolves in the Greater Yellowstone Region are remotely close to low numbers of breeding pairs or total wolf population. These groups would rather file a lawsuit and collect their legal fees from the U.S. taxpayers than actually work with the states to better manage all the wildlife populations together.”

History shows that to be true. A 2012 report used Department of Justice data that showed the federal government defended more than 570 Endangered Species Act-related lawsuits (wolves included) over a four-year period which cost American taxpayers more than $15 million in attorney fees. CBD was, by far, the most litigious organization with 117 cases.

“Groups like CBD excel at taking advantage of the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA) which was never intended to fund lawsuits by NGOs to promote ideology. What they don’t excel at, to say the least, is conducting wildlife counts,” said Allen.

IDFG is expected to release its final 2014 wolf population estimate in March. The minimum number of documented wolves as of December 31, 2013, was estimated at 659 or more than 500 percent above minimum recovery levels agreed upon during wolf reintroduction in the mid-1990s. The 659 figure did not include wolves from 28 documented border packs that overlapped with Montana, Wyoming and Washington. IDFG presumes there are additional packs within its borders but are not included due to a lack of documentation.

“The bottom line is Idaho’s wolf population is not endangered in the least and it’s vital that state management remain in place in order to whittle the population closer to balanced recovery levels where they should be and where EVERYONE agreed the numbers should be. CBD did not object to the recovery goals in 1995, but now they and other groups like them pretend they never heard of the recovery goals,” added Allen.

In keeping with the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, RMEF supports state-regulated hunting and trapping as the preferred tools of wolf management. RMEF staunchly supports management to balance and control predator populations.

RMEF has awarded nearly $265,000 in grants to various states specifically for wolf management activities including $50,000 to Idaho in 2013. No other groups have granted any financial resources for any type of predator management including CBD.

HSUS Will “Accept” a “Threatened” Classification for Wolves

This is the leading paragraph in a news story found in the Star Tribune:

Animal protection and environmental advocates in Minnesota and nationally have informed federal regulators that they would accept a reduced level of protection for wolves in order to avert a congressional effort to remove all protections for the species.

<<<Read More>>>

I do understand that these are words of the reporter and author of the article and not directly those of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) or any other environmentalist group. However, the question I would like to ask is who in the hell does the HSUS think they are that they can TELL federal regulators what they will and will not accept? Who died and left them in charge of all things environmental.

The message I would have for HSUS I will not put to print…thank you.

Isn’t it just a bit too late? This move is an obvious sign that the environmentalists are running scared envisioning an act of Congress that would spoil their party. Too bad and too late! You pushed and you pushed and you pushed. Always demanding and taking more. NEVER GIVING! Now it is time to pay the fiddler.

I am not an advocate of managing wildlife with politics but I am hoping that Congress comes down hard on this issue and not only prevents wolves from any longer being needlessly protected but takes away their gravy train of lawsuits. Color me vindictive.

Perhaps the chickens are headed toward the roost in the hen house.

Groups Want Sen. Franken to Help in Court Appeal on Wolf Ruling

Several organizations, including the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, have signed a letter urging Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., to encourage Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell to appeal a federal judge’s ruling that returned gray wolves in Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin to protected status under the Endangered Species Act.<<<Read More>>>