Daily Archives: July 9, 2004

Tenet’s Little Joke

This is funny coming from the man who buckled at the knees every time Bush said ‘Boo!’

WASHINGTON — At a time when U.S. intelligence failures have prompted calls for sweeping reform, outgoing CIA Director George J. Tenet on Thursday delivered a farewell address to agency employees, urging them to resist unnecessary or unwanted changes.”If people want to take us back in the wrong direction, then it is your voices that must be raised to say, ‘We know better and we will not stand for it,’ ” said Tenet, who is scheduled to step down in a few days. “This institution is your own. We who serve as your leaders are stewards for limited periods of time.”

He left his people hanging in the wind when Cheney attacked them and again later when the Veep appropriated their role as intelligence gatherers and analysts, handing it to Doug Feith, who knows as much about intelligence as I know about pig farming. He said nothing when the BA trumpeted intelligence he knew was false or when they justified a war by relying on a document he knew–and had already told them once–was a forgery.

This is a classic case of ‘Do as I say, not as I do’, and he hasn’t earned the right to say it, even. I’d be glad to see him go except that his replacement is bound to be even worse.

Everything’s Ideological–Even Science

More than 4000 scientists, 48 of them Nobel Prize winners, got together to blast the BA’s politicization of science for ideological reasons. 4000 of them.

WASHINGTON — More than 4,000 scientists, including 48 Nobel Prize winners and 127 members of the National Academy of Sciences, accused the Bush administration Thursday of distorting and suppressing science to suit its political goals.”Across a broad range of policy areas, the administration has undermined the quality and independence of the scientific advisory system and the morale of the government’s outstanding scientific personnel,” the scientists said in a letter.

Admin spokesmen ‘completely reject’ the idea that they’re tampering with inconvenient scientific facts to bolster ideological dogma (which they’d better if they want to keep their jobs) but the evidence is piling up.

Dr. Gerald T. Keusch, who left his post as associate director for international research and director of the John E. Fogarty International Center at the National Institutes of Health, said the Department of Health and Human Services had rejected 19 of his 26 candidates for the center’s board over three years. Among the 19 was a Nobel laureate who, Keusch said he was told, was turned down because his name had appeared in newspaper ads accusing the administration of manipulating science.

Among the Keusch nominees rejected by the HHS was Jane Menken, a population expert at the University of Colorado at Boulder who had served on scientific advisory boards under President Reagan and the first President Bush. “I was being renominated and I was turned down,” she said. “No official ever gave me any reason.”Contrary to the Bush administration, Menken supports the availability of legal abortions. She said that given her qualifications and those of two colleagues rejected with her, one a Nobel laureate, “it’s very hard not to reach a conclusion that it was based on something different from scientific qualifications.”

Janet Rowley, a member of the President’s Council on Bioethics, said she had seen the misuse of science firsthand.”This administration distorts scientific knowledge on stem cell research, which makes it increasingly difficult to have an honest debate in a field that holds promise for treatment of many serious diseases like Parkinson’s and juvenile diabetes,” Rowley said. She added that the administration, which opposes research with most embryonic stem cells, had exaggerated the usefulness of adult stem cells.

Richard Myers, director of the Stanford Human Genome Center, said he was rejected for a seat on the National Advisory Council for Human Genome Research after he told an administration official that it was inappropriate to ask him his opinion of Bush, according to the report compiled by the Union of Concerned Scientists. He later received the post after an NIH director interceded on his behalf.

They’ve altered websites that didn’t follow the Party Line, re-written reports to alter unacceptable conclusions, and fired scientists who thought facts were more important that radcon ideology. They’ve blocked appointments on the basis of a question they shouldn’t even be asking, and taken the decision about who goes to scientific conferences out of the hands of dept and agency heads and put it into the hands of a political operative who vets them based on their belief in Bush.

I suppose it shouldn’t be surprising that an Admin willing to lie about everything else wants to lie about science as well, but it is. There are some things you don’t mess with for the sake of larger issues. But then the BA has no larger issues. This is about ideology and always has been.

BushCo Wants to Know What You’re Reading–And They Want to Know Bad

One of the most egregious and least defensible sections of the PATRIOT Act was protected from an assault by civil libertarians and moderate Republicans when the radical House leadership delayed a vote–again–while they muscled enough dissidents to make a tie vote on an amendment that would have stopped the govt from having access to library and bookstore records about who’s reading what.

At issue was one provision of the Patriot Act, the anti-terrorism law passed by huge bipartisan margins after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The amendment would have blocked a section of the act that requires libraries, booksellers and others to release information about the reading habits of people under government investigation using a lesser standard of probable cause than is required under a normal criminal investigation.The American Library Assn., which supported the amendment, has called that section of the act “a present danger to the constitutional rights and privacy rights of library users.”

The American Booksellers Assn. joined the ALA and the PEN American Center, a writers organization, in urging passage of the amendment.

After GOP leaders prevailed, the lead Republican advocate of the amendment, Rep. C.L. “Butch” Otter (R-Idaho), told reporters, “You win some, and some get stolen.”

Stealing is a way of life for radical Republicans. They stole the Presidential election of 2000 to get their puppet in the White House; ‘Refridgerator’ Frist and Tom ‘The Hammer’ DeLay have strong-armed, intimidated, and threatened members of their own party to get their way; the WH Attack Machine has viciously slimed and slandered dissenters without regard for either truth or civility; and the House leadership in particular has been forceful about changing the rules to give themselves far more power than ever before in its history.

This is a tiny bill, a tiny change in a huge and largely un-Constitutional law that would hardly affect investigations in any real sense despite the lies its advocates have been spreading:

“Lives have been saved, terrorists have been disrupted and our country is safer” because of the Patriot Act, said Rep. Porter J. Goss (R-Fla.), chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

Not one word in that declaration has any truth whatever to it but as it has been for three years, that doesn’t matter to the radcons. What matters is getting their way and their way depends heavily on control over your life through invading your privacy. The next step for a fascist govt is a small one: from profiling you by what you read to banning what they don’t want you to read.

What’s encouraging about this is that moderate Republicans are finally starting to rebel against the extremism of the BA’S incessant power-grabs and gobbling-up of rights we’ve been able to take for granted for more than two centuries. They lost this one but it’s getting harder to keep them in line; the more extreme the actions and demands of the radcons, the more muscle it takes to win even a small victory like this. But they’d better focus their little rebellion quickly; if Bush wins in November, they’re going to find themselves irrelevant the following day.

This isn’t a fascist govt yet; it’s a govt with fascist leanings–Ashcroft would have been right at home under Franco or Mussolini–but in a second administration, with nothing left to lose or protect, they will go for it all and the devil take the hindmost. That they put that much energy behind defeating an amendment that virtually no one but them supports and that hasn’t led to a single substantial piece of anti-terrorist information EVER, is a sign of how far they’ll go to control what people read and hear and see in the name of gathering power.