Thursday, July 31, 2008

Beating Around the Bush

New revelations about the Bush Administration’s arrogant disregard for responsible governance seem to come cascading down around us every day. The latest comes in the form of a Justice Department investigative report that concludes that hiring decisions at the Justice Department were illegally politicized. In other words, the sign over the door read, Bushies Only. We suspected as much when former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, testifying before Congress on the firing of prosecutors claimed not to “recall remembering” being involved in or even being aware of the firing of prosecutors who were not Bush loyalists. Now, the report by the DOJ's own Office of the Inspector General and Office of Professional Responsibility states that
Monica M. Goodling, the White House Liaison at DOJ, and her deputies had broken civil service laws, run afoul of department policy and engaged in "misconduct" in the hiring and firing of prosecutors, judges, and other DOJ applicants/employees. Goodling is another Bush appointee chosen not because she was the best qualified for the job – she graduated from Messiah College and Pat Robertson’s Regent law school – but because she was a Christian conservative Bush zealot.

The Bush Administration has been infamous for its distortions and manipulations of the truth on many fronts. In another case, the panel that advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on lead poisoning was planning to strengthen lead poisoning regulations in response to science showing that smaller amounts than previously understood could cause brain damage in children. Before the panel could act, then Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Tommy Thompson, a Bush appointee, rejected the recommendation and replaced two members of the panel with individuals tied to the lead industry.

It was also under Thompson that HHS downplayed the true cost of the prescription drug benefit law by $150 billion. The actuary that pointed out the true cost was threatened with termination if he revealed to Congress his estimate.

Last month, the NASA Inspector General found that White House political appointees in the NASA press office "reduced, marginalized, or mischaracterized" studies of global warming, toning down politically unwelcome conclusions. A news conference on global warming was postponed, according to a senior scientist, because the Bush Administration did not want any negative environmental news before the 2004 election.

Under the Bush Administration, scientists who work for and/or advise the federal government have seen their work manipulated, suppressed, or distorted, while government agencies under the direction of Bush appointees have systematically limited public and policy maker access to critical scientific information. The Union of Concerned Scientists has constructed a clever web site in the form of a periodic table illustrating the wide spread manipulation of science by Bush and his minions.

But hey, "Great job, Brownie."

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