Monday, February 06, 2006

More Scientists Tell About Bush Political Appointees Strangling Science Maliciously


By Elaine Meinel Supkis

More scientists come forward with accusations that the Republicans are strangling science and interfering heavily with running scientific organizations that need government support. Meanwhile, Bush pretends he wants more scientists, I presume, so he can kick them around and abuse them.

From Time Magazine:
The 3 1/2-hr. conference call brought together nearly two dozen of the nation's best minds on the subject of air quality--and many of them were steamed. As the scientists of the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee, they are rarely overruled on their recommendations about how the government should react to the latest and best research on the dangers of dirty air. Seven months ago, they warned the EPA in a letter that unless it made at least modest reductions in the amount of airborne soot, thousands of Americans would die prematurely each year. But last December, EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson, citing "the best available science," ignored their counsel. On the phone call last week, an exasperated Dr. James Crapo, professor of medicine at Denver's National Jewish Medical and Research Center, told his fellow scientists, "We need to write another letter and this time take a stronger stand."

Starting when he was a presidential candidate in 2000, George W. Bush has often assured voters that his policymaking would be guided by "sound science." Last week, in his State of the Union address, the President pointed to scientific research as the way to "lead the world in opportunity and innovation for decades to come." Yet growing numbers of researchers, both in and out of government, say their findings--on pollution, climate change, reproductive health, stem-cell research and other areas in which science often finds itself at odds with religious, ideological or corporate interests--are being discounted, distorted or quashed by Bush Administration appointees.
More and more we see direct parallels with the Soviet Union. Ideology trumping science. I know, first hand, how the government periodically tries to silence scientists. Most Americans don't know that within the scientific community during the 1950s over the rank lies put out by the Pentagon and the President concerning nuclear tests.

I watched this rage right over my head, sitting discreetly nearby, the adults unaware I could put 2+2 together already. They knew perfectly well, the pollution was deadly, the tests were dangerous, the few studies they were allowed to conduct were kept secret and anyone spilling the beans would see their career end, this was the McCarthy era and they all saw what happened to Oppenheimer, for example.

So fear kept mouths shut and as the undeclared nuclear war raged with all countries dropping bombs as "tests" and screwing up the entire planet, guess why we are seeing a cancer plague today, especially in parts of the body that process food! And breasts that produce milk...nearly every female can now expect to have breast cancer if she lives to be 100 years old? This vast war that saw hundreds of nuclear bombs dropped have degraded the ecosystem radically. And the scientists figured out why this was very bad and very dangerous yet were unable to do anything until prodded and poked when they finally went to Kennedy and explained to him what was going wrong.

I know, I was one of the pokers.

Even after the tests were stopped, the data was classified until many years later. It turned out that many tests on civilians were either illegal or cruel or badly done. Many people suffered from cancer or were killed outright in the government program to prove nuclear bombs weren't bad for us (except when it blows up a city!). These studies, when they showed, all of them, that nukes are terrible with hideous side effects, this was kept out of the public debate, not published, hidden from view.

This process of hiding the truth has been revived by Bush. You can't have a vibrant scientific community with idiots censoring data! Period. And censoring and intimidating scientists is now at an all time high, running at the same levels as under good old friendly Eisenhower who muzzled nuclear scientists with terrible brutality. Gads, I hate Eisenhower.
Some who have experienced it from the inside, however, disagree. Dr. Gerald Keusch, former director of the Fogarty International Center at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), says he saw a marked change in its operations as the government moved from the Clinton to the Bush administrations. Under Clinton, Keusch says, he never encountered resistance in appointing experts to the advisory board that conducted peer reviews of grant proposals to the center, which focuses on international health issues, particularly in developing countries. He made seven nominations, and all were approved by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) within three weeks. Under Bush, his first four nominations were quickly endorsed by NIH but then, says Keusch, "it's 10 months before I hear from HHS, rejecting three of the four, including a Nobel laureate, with no reasons given." In return, HHS sent him the résumés of other people, many of whom had no expertise in infectious diseases or developing countries. Over the next three years, Keusch recalls, he had to nominate 26 people to fill seven vacancies and "came close to having a very dysfunctional advisory committee. I couldn't get a quorum anymore."
Bush and his minions push for incompetent, ill-trained, anti-science lunatics. Like Hitler and Stalin, magical thinking ideologues are put in positions of authority over real scientists.

Meanwhile, the neo-Nazi, neo-Stalinist "pundits" are on the attack, as usual. From the Washington Post:
Five years ago China recruited Gavriel Salvendy, an American scientist from Purdue University, to set up a department of industrial engineering at Tsinghua University in Beijing. Salvendy didn't speak Chinese -- "not a word, apologies" -- but that didn't matter. In the department he created, 75 percent of the lectures and 100 percent of the textbooks are in English.
This is a paean to American intellectualism. The books and lectures in China are in English! Hahaha. My dad, when he studied rocket technology and physics had to learn...GERMAN! Did Einstein write in English? Even if one read a translation, this wasn't good enough, one had to learn German to study philosophy or science. Anyone arguing about Hegel in English was laughed at, you had to know him in German, first, I can attest to this. Greek was required, too, for the same reason.
Science and math advocates have been harrumphing about national competitiveness for at least a quarter-century. In the early 1980s the National Science Foundation predicted "looming shortfalls" of scientists and engineers, and the National Commission on Excellence in Education declared, "If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war." But the American economy went from strength to strength over the next decades, while supposedly more technical countries such as Japan and Germany foundered.
What a moron. Both Germany and Japan are beating the brains out of us, technologically speaking. And who has a trade surplus with whom? Both ship high tech stuff to America! They all learn English and then go home and use our information but there is no return flow since Americans refuse to learn any foreign language and Bush refuses to learn even English.

We have had a "shortfall" for a long time, here. The only reason why it doesn't show up, yet, is because we can still attract scientists from abroad. Go to any technological school and ask how many people are foreign students. 30%? 50%? 80%? They come here because the pay is still high but this won't last too much longer, thanks to the GOP who are bankrupting America.
This is embarrassingly flimsy. When economists say that technological change drives living standards, they don't mean that scientific ingenuity achieves this by itself. What matters is the way science is diffused through an economy: the availability of venture capital, the flexibility of workers, the quality of corporate leadership, the competence of government policy, the reliability of public infrastructure -- all help to determine how science is absorbed. The United States scores well in nearly all these areas, which is why it's defied alarmist predictions for a quarter of a century and will continue to do so.
Corporate leadership is very destructive now. How many factories are being built to produce any sort of new technology? Hello? Do I hear echos?

This is absurd. This pundit gloats about how cheap scientists are in China and then talks about how superior we are, guess what? Microsoft isn't hiring programmers in America anymore to do any research or design, they moved it all to India and China! And this is true of nearly all corporate America which have hijacked this nation and opened the borders to reduce their inflationary overhead and now they are wrecking the last of our great scientific community which was really tiny until two great, shattering political events drove hundreds of thousands of philosophers and scientists to America: Bolshevism and Naziism.

Sieg Heil.
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