Impeach Bush for using junk science

April 9, 2006 | By | Reply More

Because the people at the top of our government are responsible for making decisions that could cost the lives and ruin the health of millions of citizens, they should be equipped with the best information and the best expertise.  Unfortunately, the White House has decided to muzzle experts and choke off critical debate on numerous topics of critical national significance.  Why?

The Administration’s political interference with science has led to misleading statements by the President, inaccurate responses to Congress, altered web sites, suppressed agency reports, erroneous international communications, and the gagging of scientists. The subjects involved span a broad range, but they share a common attribute: the beneficiaries of the scientific distortions are important supporters of the President, including social conservatives and powerful industry groups.

It’s gotten so bad that prominent Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner has called the president’s science adviser a “prostitute”:

The United States has been engulfed by a kind of “science war,” one pitting much of the nation’s scientific community against the current administration. Led by twenty Nobel laureates, the scientists say Bush’s government has systematically distorted and undermined scientific information in pursuit of political objectives. Examples include the suppression and censorship of reports on subjects like climate change and mercury pollution, the stacking of scientific advisory panels, and the suspicious removal of scientific information from government Web sites.

The list goes on and on:

  • An oil industry employee edited the White House’s climate change reports.
  • The president approved the teaching of “intelligent design” alongside evolution in public school science classes.
  • In December 2005, NASA climate scientist Dr. James Hansen was threatened with “dire consequences” by a political appointee for statements he made about the implications of climate change that were seen as inconsistent with the administration’s political agenda. 
  • An FDA expert resigned over the failure of the FD to approve over the counter use of the “morning after” pill on non-scientific ground.
  • In August 2005, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation that undermines the science behind the Endangered Species Act in significant ways. 

And on and on:  This administration is working hard to make sure that it acts on false information in each of the following areas:  Sex education, global warming, fossil fuel practices, pollution, safety of drinking water, the risks of breast cancer, AIDS research, stem cell research and lead poisoning.

This administration has intentionally engagaged in bad science for the purpose of issuing false reports and dangerous policies designed to advance the financial and religious aims of Mr. Bush’s supporters:

This has been done by placing people who are professionally unqualified or who have clear conflicts of interest in official posts and on scientific advisory committees; by disbanding existing advisory committees; by censoring and suppressing reports by the government’s own scientists; and by simply not seeking independent scientific advice.

Whenever it needs real science, this administration knows where to go and how to get it.  If Mr. Bush wanted a newly designed fighter plane that flies faster and carries bigger payload, he would listen to the experts.  Vigorous debate would be allowed, even though it might sometimes be inconvenient and embarrassing to some. 

When it comes to the health and welfare of the citizens, though, vigorous and open scientific debate has become inconvenient and embarrassing for the administration and its supporters.  This muzzling of evidence and experts to the detriment of the people is now well documented.  It has been allowed because, despite all of the protest to the contrary, this administration sees citizens to be expendable.  Doing harm to the citizens is impeachable.

I would encourage that this administration’s reckless scheme to engage in junk science harmful to the citizens should be included, among other grounds, in the articles of impeachment, to be drafted in early 2007.


Category: Environment, Medicine, Politics, Science

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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