October 13, 2012

John Grant

Green Army: Persons of Interest

John Kerry (1943):
You can be certain and be wrong.
(Faith, Certainty and the Presidency of George W Bush, Ron Suskind, New York Times, 2004, emphasis added)

Joseph Stalin (1878 – 1953) — in response to Beria's doubts about the ideological soundness of their atomic weapons' scientists:
Leave them in peace.
We can always shoot them all later.
(p 269)

John Grant:
[A] 1997 survey found that 40% of US scientists believed they could communicate with God and that He was capable of answering their prayers. …
[Reassuringly] 87% of the US adult population believed the same thing, so a scientific education is … not entirely wasted.
(p 85, emphasis added)

Reality is not affected by human preferences …
(Corrupted Science, 2007, p 237)

Contents


SDI

Astroturf

George W Bush

JOHN GRANT | PAUL BARNETT (1949)

  • Corrupted Science, Facts, Figures & Fun, 2007, UK.
    As John Grant.

    MILITARY MADNESS


    The Strategic Defence Initiative


    In the early 1950s [Edward Teller (1908 – 2003) persuaded] the US Air Force that a second nuclear weapons lab [the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory] should founded, with himself as its scientific head.
    … Oppenheimer and the Atomic Energy Commission vigorously opposed the move …

    [Teller] had great difficulty in creating an H-bomb that would actually work …
    [Several] tests fizzled before [his team finally] succeeded in creating a detonation [‒] long after the Los Alamos team had conducted their own successful H-bomb tests.
    By now Teller regarded Oppenheimer as his bitter enemy [and] took advantage of the the McCarthy anti-communist witch hunts to [denounce him.]
    [He] attacked Oppenheimer's opposition to the H-bomb, leaving others to draw their own conclusions:
    I would like to see the vital interests of this country in hands which I understand better, and therefore trust more.
    … Teller's testimony to the FBI on this issue is widely thought to have been responsible for initiating the invetigation of Oppenheimer in the first place. …
    (p 120)

    [In 1988 the Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov (1921-1989)] denounced the practice of atmospheric testing of the the H-bomb, on the grounds that … thousands of people would be affected by the radiation, and … SDI as a threat to world peace through its demolition of the the nuclear balance.
    Teller's response was that to suppress either would be … to suppress the advance of human knowledge.
    [And that] the doses of radiation people might receive from the testing were … far too small to affect them …
    In this latter contention he was … at odds with the overwhelming conclusion of research, but his ideology blinded him to the light of genuine science. …

    [In the 1950s] Teller persuaded Eisenhower and the US public that the development of a "clean" nuke was just around the corner …
    [Such] a device has never been created. …
    [The] first project was [to be] the creation of a new harbour near Point Hope in the remote north of Alaska.
    Six "clean" bombs, totaling some 2.4 megatons, would [he claimed] herald the dawn of a glorious new H-bomb utopia for mankind.
    Substantial government money [flowed] into the scheme [until 1962, when] John F. Kennedy axed it.
    (p 121)

    Teller then turned his attentions to the notion of controlled nuclear fusion as a source of energy.
    Again, considerable amounts of US taxpayer dollars were bestowed on Livermore for a project that went nowhere. …

    Ever since the split with Los Alamos back in the early 1950s, Teller had lacked the benefit of being surrounded by peers who would evaluate and challenge his ideas.
    He had made himself largely a pariah in the world of physics by instigating the split from Los Alamos and particularly by his smearing of the much-like and -respected Oppenheimer. …
    Because of the type of scientist he was, it was essential those working with him should be willing to disagree with him.
    Hence the numerous failures amid the occasional successes of the Livermore team [and] the untold billions of [taxpayer dollars] wasted …

    By far the most expensive of his many grandiose ideas was SDI. …
    (p 122)

    The popular image of Reagan as a genial old dufffer conceals such less pleasant aspects of his presidency and politics as
    • his support for some of the vilest dictatorships of the 20th century (including that of Saddam Hussein in Iraq),
    • his financing of South American death squads,
    • his fervent opposition to civil rights legislation,
    • his illegal deals with Iranian mullahs and Nicaraguan terrorist Contras [and]
    • his devastation of the poorest people in the US through the axing of liferaft social programs …
    (p 123)
    House Government Operations Subcommittee on Legislation and National Security:
    There is little evidence to prove that the Patriot hit more than a few Scud missiles launched by Iraq during the Gult War, and there some doubts about even these engagements.

    SDI Redux


    The Missile Defence Agency - a modern analogue to the abandoned Star Wars/SDI scheme - is currently spending $10 billion p.a. on such projects as the Space-Based Intereceptor, which violates all existing treaties against the militarization of space, and that old favourite of SDI, the space-based laser weapon.
    To date all of its tests have been embarassing duds …
    [The] Bush Administrations's response to this pattern of failure has been to quietly remove the MDA's obligation to report on its progress to Congress …
    [Its] annual budget is scheduled to rise over the next decade to $18 billion.

    [For] about $10 billion the entirety of the world's currently vulnerable depots of fissile material could be secured, thereby almost eliminating the risk of terrorists gaining access to it.
    [In 2006 the] Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) program [had its budget] slashed to below $400 million pa, its lowest level since the programs inauguration [in 1991.]
    (p 126)

    [One] of the Pentagon's current pet projects is Complex 2030.
    [This scheme aims] to rationalize, update and "consolidate" the US's existing nuclear-arms stockpiles, thereby supposedly making [them] safer and [more effective.]
    [These stockpiles] dwarf those held by all the rest of the world put together …
    [Unfortunately,] the scheme also includes the opening of a new plutonium facility capable of producing over 100 new nukes per year.
    (p 127)


    IDEOLOGY TRUMPS SCIENCE


    The Corporate Corruption of Science

    Ron Armold [Logging Consultant]:
    Citizen activist groups, allied to the forest industry, are vital to our future survival.
    They can speak for us in the public interest where we ourselves cannot.
    They are not limited by liabilty, contract law, or ethical codes …
    [Industry must support them with] funds, materials, transportation, and most of all, hard facts.
    (Logging Management Magazine, 1980)
    Would you like to know more?

    (p 232)

    There are … plenty of industry-funded "astrofurf" bodies [today. …]
    • American Taxpayers Alliance:
      Funded entirely by Duke Power and Reliance Energy … this organization played a major role in bringing [down] California Governor Gray Davis … who was trying to curtail the power companies' profiteering and market manipulation.
    • Save Our Species Alliance:
      Seemingly funded by the logging and paper industries … this organization was behind the 2005 bill sponsored by Congressman Richard Pombo [that would have] gutted the Endangered Species Act …
    • Project Protect:
      Allied to the American Forest Resource Council, an industry group dedicated to supporting logging interests [which helped realize] President Bush's … Healthy Forests Restoration Act …
      [An Act which] "restored" forests by permitting more of them to be destroyed by logging companies.
    • Citizens for Better Medicare:
      A front organization for the pharmaceutical industry, dedicated to stopping the US Government from bringing down the cost of prescription drugs …
    • United Seniors Association:
      [Funded] almost entirely from the trade association Pharmaceutical Research Manufactures of America [and also focussed] on prescription-drug legislation. …
    • Citizens for Asbestos Reform:
      Sharing an address with the American Insurance Association … this organization lobbied [for] the 2003 Asbestos Resolution Act, which reduced liabilities for injuries and deaths caused by asbestos.
    (pp 235-236, emphasis added)


    THE POLITICAL CORRUPTION OF SCIENCE


    Bush's America


    The Inconvenient Truth

    [In] 2003 when the White House intervened to make a number of fundamental changes to [the EPA] Draft Report on the Environment [including]
    • [Removal] of all references to the 2001 report Climate Change Science: An Analysis of Some Key Questions, produced for the Administration by the National Academy of Sciences Commission on Geosciences, Environment and Resources [because it strongly] supported the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change …
    • [Insertion of a] reference to the 2003 paper "Proxy Climatic and Environmental Change of the Past 1000 Years" which … was in large part funded by the American Petroleum Institute.
      [A paper who's] conclusions had been comprehensively discredited in the literature …
    EPA Memo [29 April 2003]:
    [A record covering global temperatures over the past 1000 years has been replaced with] a recent, limited analysis [that] supports the Administration's favored message. …
    [Deletion of:]
    • [The summary sentence]
      Climate change has global consequences for human health and the environment.
    • [Sections] addressing impacts on human health and ecological effects …
    • [Two] references to effects on human health. …
    • [Sections calling] for further research on effects to support future indicators. …
    Uncertainty is inserted (with 'potentially' or 'may') where there is essentially none. …
    Repeated references [suggesting] that cooling is as much an issue as warming.
    (p 292)

    In March 2005 Rick Piltz resigned from the Climate Change Science Program [because]
    [Political appointees were acting to] impede forthright communication of the state of climate science [and attempting to] undermine the credibility and integrity of the program.
    … Philip A Cooney, a lawyer without scientific training who had represented the oil industry in its fight to prevent restrictions being placed on the emission of greenhouse gases [was appointed as] Chief-of-Staff of the White House Council in Environmental Quality. …
    [He resigned on the 10 June 2005, 2 days after the New York Times reported that]
    [He had edited EPA documents] to produce an air of doubt about findings that most climate experts say are robust.

    [In 1988, James Hansen] testified before Congress that he was 99% certain that long-term global warming, probably owing to a greenhouse effect caused by overuse of fossil fuels, had already begun, and that the time to start doing something about it was now.
    (p 294)

    In 1989 he discovered that this testimony had been "edited" … by the Office of Management and Budget to stress "scientific uncertainties".
    (p 295)

    George C Deutsch [was a] public affairs officer at NASA [and] Bush appointee [who] had been a part of the 2004 Bush-Cheney re-election campaign.
    [Once] when National Public Radio wanted to interview Hansen, Deutsch refused permission [on the grounds that] NPR was the country's "most liberal" media voice [and his] job was to "make the President look good".

    [Deutsch also] instructed the designer of the NASA website to add the word "theory" after every mention of the Big Bang:
    George Deutsch:
    It is not NASA's place [to make a declaration] about the existence of the universe that discounts intelligent design by a creator. …
    This is more than a science issue, it is a religious issue.
    … I would hate to think that young people [are getting only] one-half of this debate from NASA.
    That would mean that we had failed to properly educate the very people who rely on us for factual information the most. …
    (p 296, emphasis added)

    {[James Hansen has] partisan ties … all the way up to the top of the Democratic Party …
    [He's] using those ties [and] his media connections, to push an agenda …
    [A] worst-case-scenario agenda of global warming …
    [A] sky-is-falling agenda of global warming …
    It's a culture-war issue …
    [They] do not like Republicans …
    [They] do not like people who support the President …
    [They] do not like Christians …
    [If] you're perceived to be disagreeing with them or being one of those people they will stop at nothing to discredit you.
    [Deutsch later resigned] after being found to have "exaggerated" his curriculum vitae a little when applying for the NASA post. …
    New York Times [Editorial, 9 February]:
    The shocker was … that this young politico with no qualifications was able to impose his ideology on other agency employees.
    (p 297)}

    [Climate scientists at the] National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [were restricted to] taking journalists' phone calls … only if an interview had been given the green light by Washington and only if a public affairs officer was able to monitor the conversation.
    (p 296)

    Meanwhile, those rare government science employees who disagreed about the need to curb fossil-fuel emissions were permitted to lecture and publish at will. …
    Sherwood Boehlert [Chairman (R), House Science Committee]:
    Political figures ought to be reviewing their public statements to make sure they are consistent with the best available science.
    Scientists should not be reviewing their statements to make sure they are consistent with the current political orthodoxy. …

    James Inhofe [Chairman (R), Senate Environment and Public Works Committee]:
    It seems that Dr Hansen, once again, is using his government position to promote his own views and political agenda, which is a clear violation of governmental procedure in any Administration. …
    (p 297)

    {The greatest climate threat we face may be coming from alarmist computer models.
    (p 300)}
    [Throughout 2006 there was] a concerted political effort to expunge the phrase "global warming" from NASA sites and press releases in favour of the seemingly more neutral "climate change". …

    [In late 2006 Bush pledged] that increased research would be the centrepiece of his new climate strategy.
    (p 299)

    [A] National Academy of Sciences study that over the previous two years [found that] NASA's earth-sciences budget had been reduced by 30%, with no plans for any reversal of the trend …
    [It was estimated] that by 2010 the number of operative earth-observing instruments in US satellites would fall by 40%. …

    [The Bush administration mothballed the Deep Space Climate Observatory originally proposed by Al Gore in 1998.]
    (p 300)

    [In] his State of the Union address of January 2007, President Bush acknowledged for the first time the existence and threat of anthropogenic global warming.
    [He] has yet to propose, or even support, any realistic measures to do anything about it.
    (p 303)

    Our God-Given Environment

    [The] aim of [Bush's 2003] Clear Skies Initiative [was] to loosen the controls on industrial polluters, thereby [increasing air pollution including atmospheric mercury levels.] …

    [Prior to 1990, the Clean Air Act is estimated to prevented] 205,000 premature deaths within the continental US.
    [Millions were] spared illnesses ranging up to heart disease, chronic bronchitis, asthma attacks, and other serious respiratory problems.
    [In the absence] of the Clean Air Act controls on the use of leaded gasoline [there would have been] major increases in child IQ loss and adult hypertension, heart disease and stroke.

    In 1999 the EPA did a study of the effects of the 1990 bolstering of the Act …
    [It was] estimated that [for] 2010, 23,000 premature deaths would be prevented [along with] 67,000 incidents of chronic and acute bronchitis and … 1.7 million asthma attacks [thereby saving] 4.1 million [lost] work days …
    (p 304)

    [The Bush administration was particularly concerned about] the regulations governing mercury emissions by coal-fired power plants …
    [Mercury] is a neurotoxin.
    [The] EPA compiled an advisory report, scheduled for release in 2002, which … concluded 8% of US women aged 16-49 (i.e., of potential child-bearing age) had blood mercury levels that significantly increased the likelihood of any children they bore having deficient motor skills and reduced intelligence. …

    Nine months later [the report was leaked] to the Wall Street Journal
    It seems likely that the report … would never have seen the light of day had it not been for the leak.
    [In] early 2004 a revised set of proposals on the regulation of power-plant mercury emissions [were released.]
    … 12 paragraphs of the report had been copied, more or less verbatim, from a strategy document produced earlier by power-industry lawyers.
    (p 305)

    Jeffrey Holmstead … before his appointment [as Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation at the EPA,] was a lawyer, employed by the firm Latham & Watkins, which represented one of the US's largest plywood manufacturers.
    In January 2002 Holmstead … held a meeting of EPA staffers and the EPA Air Office's general counsel, William Wehrum, who [had also] previously been a partner in … Latham & Watkins.
    The purpose of the meeting was to discuss a rule governing emissions of formaldehyde by wood-products plants.
    [Representatives] for the American Forest & Paper Association [included] that organization's lawyer, Claudia O'Brien, who had earlier been a partner in … Latham & Watkins. …

    O'Brien recommended that supposedly low-risk products should be exempt from any new emission controls, since the cost of introducing them would make US manufacturers vulnerable to cheaper foreign competition.
    [Despite this being a violation of] the 1990 Clean Air Act … Holmstead backed it. …
    (p 306)

    [Under] The New Source Review, [the standards] by which power-plant emissions were gauged [were] made less stringent.
    In 2002, Holmstead [assured] a Senate Committee that the new, laxer rules would not be applied retroactively.
    [In] November 2003 [it was announced that] the rules would be applied retroactively …
    [Consequently,] cases against about 50 coal-burning power plants guilty of violating the Clean Air Act were to be dropped.
    This was done at the instigation of the mysterious energy task force convened … by Vice President Richard M Cheney …
    [The task force was] staffed entirely by representatives of the power industry.

    In February 2005 the EPA's Inspector General admitted that pressure had been put on the body's scientists to alter their reported results on the impact of mercury pollution to bring them into line with the industry-friendly conclusions the Administration demanded.
    [The] Government Accountability Office [found that] the EPA's results had been falsified so as to give the impression that mercury poisoning's effects on brain development in fetuses and infants were significantly less than they in fact are.
    [The EPA's] final ruling, which was issued on March 15 2005 [was unchanged.] …

    A government-commissioned Harvard study had shown the costs of mercury pollution to be higher than previously thought, and the benefits of tighter control greater.
    [The study was suppressed] by the EPA's political appointees.

    In early 2006, [measures were taken to] emasculate the Toxics Release Inventory program [which had been introduced in] the aftermath of the 1986 disaster in Bhopal, India …
    (p 307)

    [Some companies said] they would carry on reporting under the old rules anyway.
    Edwin L Mongan III [Director of Energy and Environment, DuPont]:
    It's just a good business practice to track your hazardous materials. …

    Esther Kaplan:
    • The American Medical Association no longer advises American delegations to UN summits on children's issues …
      [The anti-abortion group] Concerned Women for America does instead.
    • Leaders of the National Association of People with AIDS no longer sit on the presidential AIDS advisory council …
      [Though] religious abstinence advocates do; and …
    • the right-wing Federalist Society now vet judicial nominees …
      [Rather] than the mainstream American Bar Association.
    (With God on Their Side, 2004)
    James Connaughton [lobbied on environmental issues on behalf of major corporations and corporate associations before being appointed as] Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality.
    (p 308)


    Nasty! Dirty! Horrid!
    Thomas Coburn [Senator and Joint Chair, Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS]:
    The gay community has infiltrated the very centers of power in every area across this country, and they wield extreme power …
    That agenda is the greatest threat to our freedom that we face today.
    Why do you think we see the rationalization for abortion and multiple sexual partners?
    That's a gay agenda.
    (Robert Schlesinger, Salon, September 2004)
    [Coburn] advocated the death penalty for doctors who've performed abortions despite [having performed abortions himself as an obstetrician.]
    (p 312)

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