I know this is old news, but it bears repeating each time this story is reported by our corporate media. Because Bush didn’t censor just a few “rogue” scientists like James Hansen at NASA. Bush and his lackeys suppressed the views of hundreds of scientists who worked for the federal government in order to advance his and the GOP’s political agenda:
More than half the Environmental Protection Agency scientists who responded to an independent survey made public yesterday said that they had witnessed political interference in scientific decisions at the agency during the past five years.
The claim comes from a new report by the Union of Concerned Scientists, a nonprofit advocacy group that sent questionnaires to 5,500 EPA scientists and obtained 1,586 responses. Among the scientists’ complaints were that data sometimes were used selectively to justify a specific regulatory outcome and that political appointees had directed them to inappropriately exclude or alter technical information in EPA scientific documents.
“Things are not as they should be at the EPA,” said Francesca Grifo, director of the group’s scientific integrity program. “Scientific findings are being suppressed and distorted; 889 scientists personally experienced at least one type of political interference. . . . Scientists are being pressured by outside interests. […]
… Those most likely to report political interference work in offices involved in writing regulations or conducting risk assessments of potentially harmful agents, the advocacy group said.
Why do so many people still believe global warming is not the result of human activity? Because Bush’s corporate lobbyist friends control what the EPA and other scientists at other federal agencies are allowed to say, write, and even think. And if they say or write anything as part of their official duties which doesn’t pass the Bush regime’s version of political correctness (i.e., is this acceptable to our corporate lobbyist friends and/or other GOP interests?) that information is never disseminated to the public and is never acted upon:
For instance, a congressional committee recently reported that EPA staff members had determined in December that greenhouse gas emissions endanger public health, but the regulatory process stalled after the EPA forwarded the findings to the White House.
The EPA also drew fire last month for weakening its new limits on smog-forming ozone after a last-minute intervention by President Bush. And Johnson was criticized for his decision in December to deny California’s petition to limit greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks, overruling the unanimous recommendation of the agency’s legal and technical staffs.
In an age where information is power, the Bush administration has sought to systematically deny and suppress any information that doesn’t fit with their preconceived notions of “reality.” From global warming warnings to regulations allowing increased use of the practice of mountaintop removal by the coal mining industry to reports on the toxicity of the air in Manhattan after the 9/11 attacks, the EPA has consistently been manipulated to present only those views acceptable to the Bush administration, even if that has meant the employment of outright lies and deception by administration officials. And the EPA scientists are not the only ones who have felt the heavy hand of the Bush censorship and suppression:
In email interviews this week with 21 researchers in various fields of study, LiveScience and SPACE.com found widespread criticism for Bush’s “retardation of research,” as one scientist put it, that threatens to knock the country out of its global leadership role in science and technology.
“Science has been seriously undermined by the censorship and alteration of testimony and news releases,” said Kevin Trenberth, a climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. “Science and facts are not a factor in decisions, and ideology dominates.”
Not to mention the Bushies’ distortion and suppression of the of the work of scientists with the Centers for Disease Control to suit their political agendas, tarnishing the reputation and destroying the credibility of a once highly respected federal institution:
Over the past four years headlines frequently chronicle a disturbing litany of allegations charging top CDC officials with wasting money on questionable research priorities, public relations stunts, distorting or ignoring health concerns raised by their own scientists, and retaliation against those who object to the censorship of scientific findings. […]
In 2005, alarmed at the rapid decline in morale and concerned for the credibility of the agency, five former CDC directors sent Dr. Gerberding a letter complaining that the agency’s politicization was jeopardizing its national and international reputation. […]
Chief among the complaints from scientists and citizen’s groups has been the way the agency continually disputes, downplays or ignores scientific findings, often from some of their own researchers, and fails to draw any conclusions, or “links,” between environmental/industrial pollution and chronic diseases affecting the American public, particularly children.
… An example of how the agency can design a study so that it fails to link disease and pollution can be found in the way the CDC investigated the cancer clusters in Fallon, Nevada and Sierra Vista, Arizona. In a 2006 article published in The Tucson Weekly, the CDC’s “foot-dragging” and unscientific methods used to investigate the clusters raised serious questions about the study’s integrity and the agency’s credibility and commitment to protecting the public’s health. In describing the CDC’s slow reaction to the life and death situations, it is not difficult to see how many would level accusations of “cover-up” to describe the “faulty manner” in which the agency responded to the cluster investigations. […]
Two of the latest in a long list of reported controversies dogging the beleaguered agency involves the delayed disclosure of a 400-page study conducted in the Great Lakes region and the demotion of the study’s chief scientist, Christopher De Rosa, a director of the CDC’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) since 1992.
Released in early February by the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit journalism organization, the study found exposures to PCB’s, lead, mercury, dioxin, pesticides and other toxins may have caused “low birth weights, elevated rates of infant mortality and premature births, and elevated death rates from breast cancer, colon cancer and lung cancer.” […]
The release of the Great Lakes study comes on the heels of new accusations charging top CDC officials with down playing cancer risks posed by formaldehyde exposure found in the 144,000 trailers purchased by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for victims of Hurricane Katrina.
In a February 8, 2008 article in the AJC, “CDC under investigation over Katrina cancer risk,” investigative journalist Alison Young reported the House Committee on Science and Technology has begun investigating “disturbing allegations” of improper suppression of “critical information” and “also looking into whether the Atlanta scientist who sought to make the risks public has been the subject of retaliation by the agency.” This individual would be the same CDC scientist leading the Great Lakes study, Dr. Christopher De Rosa.
The same pattern of censorship, manipulation and suppression of science can be seen at the woefully underfunded and understaffed FDA, the Forest Service, the National Cancer Institute, the USDA, the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Health and Human Services, and so on and so forth.
Again, nothing new, but it bears repeating, particularly in an election year. Because continuing down the road the Bush administration has traveled, where industry lobbyists select the scientists and the regulators acceptable to them, while shortchanging the health and safety of ordinary Americans ought to be a major campaign issue, both in the Presidential race but also in the myriad Congressional races this Fall. As opposed to whose pastor is worse or which candidate is is the most patriotic.