Friday, May 09, 2014

Blinding Science

Yes, there is a soundtrack for this piece. The Dubba Johnny remix of She Blinded Me With The Science
2013, by William Shatner,  Mutant Superhuman bassist, Bootsy Collins and Keyboards and Programming, Patrick Moraz....
The Conservative Power mad GOP in America is freaking out over the Environmental Climate Change Report. How can they spin a reality that has already spun out of control? Reality cuts into corporate profits. Cuts in corporate profits means a reduction of those cushy big Lobby bucks flowing onto the coffers of the corrupt assholes who are trying to be your overlords. The more you know, the more you realize who is your enemy.  Marco Rubio responded to the report with a snide comment that "Obama wasn't a meteoroligist" and the GOP response is on the whole, one of derision and fact free denial.  In other words, business as usual. Delay any real action on any issue like immigration reform or minimum wage, create a smoke screen to obscure their putsch to destroy America to save it...Can you say BENGHAZI?....for them selves.  Since scientists seem to be the cause of their discomfort, they are taking a cue from the Conservative Canadian Government of Stephen Harper, whose conservative government is actively suppressing scientific environmental research into subjects which might embarrass or threaten the immediate profits of Canadian corporate energy policies.How are they doing this? By creating a  totally political structure to control the funding of research. If they don't like what you are finding, you are out of the loop. Even more alarming, they are actually destroying irreplaceable scientific archives, dating back a few hundred years that could be used to document environmental changes and assist in the research they are trying to suppress. I think this beyond criminal, this is a crime against humanity. But, what's a silly little crime against humanity when you have convinced yourself that you are living in the end times and you just have to make a few more billion bucks so you can build the bunker of your dreams where you and your loved ones can await the rapture in style?
Not to be out done, the Anti Science Republicans are acrively trying to strip funding from federal agencies that might actually conduct science rather than bow to the GOP corporate masters. The bill is called the FIRST Act, and it would subject all projects for federal funding for the National Science Foundation to be reviewed by politicians, and not the scientific community for merit.
Titled the “Frontiers in Innovation, Research, Science, and Technology (FIRST) Act of 2014," the bill would put a variety of new restrictions on how funds are doled out by the National Science Foundation. The goal, per its Republican supporters on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, would be to weed out projects whose cost can't be justified or whose sociological purpose is not apparent.
For Democrats and advocates, however, the FIRST Act represents a dangerous injection of politics into science and a direct assault on the much-cherished peer-review process by which grants are awarded.
"We have a system of peer-review science that has served as a model for not only research in this country but in others," said Bill Andresen, the associate vice president of Federal Affairs at the University of Pennsylvania. "The question is, does Congress really think it has the better ability to determine the scientific merit of grant applications or should it be left up to the scientists and their peers?"In recent weeks, the Obama administration and science agencies have -- in less-than-subtle terms -- offered up similar criticisms of the FIRST Act. At an American Association for the Advancement of Science forum on Thursday, presidential science adviser John Holdren said he was "concerned with a number of aspects" of the bill.
"It appears aimed at narrowing the focus of NSF-funded research to domains that are applied to various national interests other than simply advancing the progress of science," Holdren said.
And of course this bill designed to "combat waste and fraud" in federal science projects would really exist to allow Republicans to shut down things they don't like: climate change research, green energy projects, and research into the social costs of things like firearms, pharmaceuticals, our food supply and anything else the GOP's corporate masters might be opposed to. Republican politicians would be running America's science research. If that sentence doesn't terrify you, nothing will.
Another part of the bill stipulates that if an investigator receives more than five years of funding from the NSF, he or she can only get additional funding by contributing "original creative, and transformative research under the grant." Ensuring that the government doesn't plow resources into stalled projects may be laudable. But scientists shudder at the idea that they, let alone politicians, can definitively tell whether research will pay dividends after half a decade.
These quips merely feed a larger problem that Democrats and the White House have with the bill. Rather than offering a single budget level for the NSF, the FIRST Actauthorizes levels for individual directorates, or sub-agencies, within the foundation. The big winners in this equation are the Directorate for Computer & Information Science & Engineering and the Directorate for Engineering. The loser is the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences Directorate, which is poised to get a 22 percent budget cut from fiscal year 2014 levels.
So yes, the bill is designed to crush long-term projects like climate science, social science, and green energy and instead empower the stuff corporations can use to make big money fast. That's what "science" means to Republicans.

1 comment:

Jono said...

The repugnicans can't do something useful because, you know, BENGHAZI! It reminds me of Reagan's answer to the killing of 241 Marines in Lebanon. Attack Granada! If Obama was a republican he would have attacked Haiti to divert attention from the unforeseen disaster. Oh well.