Wednesday, May 26, 2004
America deserves better #8
This letter is about the supression and distortion of scientific findings by the Bush administration. In response to numerous allegations of such behaviour, the Union of Concerned Scientists conducted an investigation. A very brief summary of their findings is appended below. For much more information visit http://www.ucsusa.org/. As a result, more than 60 prominent scientists, including numerous Nobel laureates have sent a protest letter to President Bush. A press release on the subject can be found at http://www.ucsusa.org/news/press_release.cfm?newsID=381.
In the interests of full disclosure, I support both the UCS and the NRDC. No administration in our lifetime, and probably in the history of our country, has ever tried to distort and supress science in this way.
We have 2 issues here. One is the corruption of science by the corporate interests that "own" this administration. The other is supression of science that the administration finds contrary to its policy choices. The first is serious enough. The second is the practice of totalitarian regimes, and brings to mind science under Stalin, or thoughts of "1984" by George Orwell. Like no few of the provisions of the "Patriot Act" this administration is stepping across the border into fascism.
The freedoms we cherish can only be maintained by a vigilant citizenry. Please don't let these infringements on our freedoms continue. America deserves better. Defeat this administration.
FINDINGS OF THE INVESTIGATION
1. There is a well-established pattern of suppression
and distortion of scientific findings by
high-ranking Bush administration political
appointees across numerous federal agencies.
These actions have consequences for human
health, public safety, and community well-being.
Incidents involve air pollutants, heat-trapping
emissions, reproductive health, drug resistant
bacteria, endangered species, forest health, and
2. There is strong documentation of a widerangeing
effort to manipulate the government’s
scientific advisory system to prevent the appearance
of advice that might run counter to the
administration’s political agenda. These actions
include: appointing underqualified individuals to
important advisory roles including childhood lead
poisoning prevention and reproductive health;
applying political litmus tests that have no bearing
on a nominee’s expertise or advisory role; appointing
a non-scientist to a senior position in the president’s
scientific advisory staff; and dismissing highly
qualified scientific advisors.
3. There is evidence that the administration
often imposes restrictions on what government
scientists can say or write about “sensitive” topics.
In this context, “sensitive” applies to issues that
might provoke opposition from the administration’s
political and ideological supporters. (Added by Murray
Specific cases where reports have been suppressed
or modified at the demand of industry lobbyists have
4. There is significant evidence that the scope
and scale of the manipulation, suppression,
and misrepresentation of science by the Bush
administration is unprecedented.