Monday, July 23, 2007

Science manipulated to serve ideology!

Last week Dr. Carmona, the United States Surgeon General from 2002-2006, testified that the Bush administration had ordered him to mention President Bush's name three times on every page of every speech he delivered.

He was also instructed to withhold reports on important scientific and health issues ranging from stem cells, emergency contraception, sex education, or prison, mental and global health issues because the findings challenged Bush administration's policies.

White House officials even forced Carmona to delay for years and attempted to “water down” a landmark report on the dangers of secondhand tobacco smoke.

The political censure of Dr. Carmona's scientific work was not an aberration.

The Bush administration has consistently manipulated scientific data to serve its ideology and protect the interests of its political supporters.

In 2003 more than 60 influential scientists, including 20 Nobel laureates, issued a statement asserting that the administration had systematically distorted scientific fact in the service of policy goals on the environment, health, biomedical research and nuclear weaponry at home and abroad.

During President Bush's first six years in office, he denied the reality of global warming, asserting that the science was not conclusive. NASA scientists and several officials at NASA headquarters and at two agency research centers reported that news releases on new global warming studies were revised by political appointees with no scientific background to play down definitiveness or risks. Remarkably, the science of global warming became conclusive after the democratic congressional victories in November 2006!

Ideological commitment and loyalty to the administration have driven policy in other areas as well. The White House made a commitment to a pro-life position on abortion and abstinence education the criteria for selecting officials to lead Iraq's reconstruction. At least seven Attorney Generals were fired for refusing to engage in overtly partisan political activity designed to help Republican candidates win elections.

This week we learned that another Bush appointee, Julie A. MacDonald, the former deputy assistant secretary for fish and wildlife and parks, had browbeat department biologists and habitat specialists and overruled their recommendations to protect a variety of rare and threatened species. She also violated federal rules by giving government documents to lobbyists for industries who had financial interests opposed to protecting wildlife and its habitat.

The Bush administration professes to abhor the heavy hand of government. Yet these apostles of laizze faire have consistently used the iron fist of the state to manipulate and suppress science. The White House has had a disciplined commitment to serving the extractive industries (gas, oil, timber and coal) and its campaign contributors, many of whom come from these very sectors. It has elevated short term economic goals over the long term health and welfare of the American people. In the process the current administration has undermined this nation's position of scientific and moral leadership in the world.

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