The Democratic Party:
“As President, I will see to it that America is
once again at the forefront of scientific discovery.”
Bush Betrays America’s Rich Scientific Tradition: Kerry Will Restore America’s Scientific Prominence Bush Betrays America’s Rich Scientific Tradition: Kerry Will Restore America’s Scientific Prominence
Unlike his father, George W. Bush betrays America’s tradition of relying on objective scientific data as the basis for sound public policy. In one instance after another, he and his administration has manipulated, suppressed, and misrepresented scientific information. They have employed political litmus tests to appointees for government scientific positions.
Rather than respecting the breadth of our nation’s scientific community and its leadership role in the world, Bush has politicized our nation’s scientific research to benefit his electoral base-social conservatives and powerful industry groups.
As President, John Kerry “will see to it that America is once
again at the forefront of scientific discovery.”
“When we make decisions, we want to make sure we do so
on sound science; not what sounds good, but what is real.”
Announcing so-called “Clear Skies” sweetheart deal with polluters
February 14, 2002
That’s What Bush Says…It NOT What He Does.
“More than 4000 scientists-including 48 Nobel Prize winners and 127 members of the US National Academy of Sciences- have accused the Bush Administration 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.” [“Researchers Accuse Bush of Manipulating Science,” Los Angeles Times, July 9, 2004]
“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.” [“Researchers Accuse Bush of Manipulating Science,” Los Angeles Times, July 9, 2004]
“’I've never seen it this bad," said Dr. Gordon Orians, a professor of zoology at the University of Washington and member of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences. ‘People will always disagree on the interpretation of facts, but what's going on now is the systematic suppression of information.’
In a report signed by Orians, 20 Nobel laureates and many other world-renowned scientists, the Union of Concerned Scientists contended that ’the scope and scale of the manipulation, suppression and misrepresentation of science by the Bush administration is unprecedented.’" [“Scientists Rip Into Bush's Policy, Charge 'Suppression Of Information,” Seattle Post-Intelligencer, February 19, 2004]
“‘[T]he Bush administration is undermining the nation's future by impeding medical advances, turning away scientific talent with its immigration practices and ignoring scientific consensus on global warming and other critical issues.’
’Unlike previous administrations, Republican and Democratic alike, the Bush administration has ignored unbiased scientific advice in the policy-making that is so important to our collective welfare.’" [“Kerry Argues Bush Relies On Ideology, Not Facts, In Science Policies,” SF Gate/Associated Press, June 21, 2004]
“Many scientists have complained that the Bush administration has filled science advisory panels with conservative ideologues rather than individuals with sterling scientific credentials.” [“Kerry Argues Bush Relies On Ideology, Not Facts, In Science Policies,” Chicago Tribune/Yahoo News, June 21, 2004]
Republican Strategy: Convince Americans No Consensus Among Scientists on Global Warming
“The environment is probably the single issue in which Republicans in general -- and … Bush in particular… are most vulnerable.” - Frank Luntz, Key Republican Strategist
“Voters believe that there is no consensus about global warming within the scientific community. Should the public come to believe that the scientific issues are settled, their views about global warming will change accordingly. Therefore, you need to continue to make the lack of scientific certainty a primary issue in the debate.” - Frank Luntz, Key Republican Strategist, emphasis his
“Since 2001, Bush Administration laws, rules and regulations, policies, and political appointees prove Americans are right to believe that Bush Republicans do not care about the environment.” Read the leaked Frank Luntz memo instructing Republicans how to sell themselves to American voters as “conservationists” without having to be “conservationists.” [“The Environment” Frank Luntz]
“In a clear effort to forestall mandatory limits on emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat trapping gases, the Bush administration has consistently sought to undermine the public’s understanding of the scientific consensus that consumption of fossil fuels and other human activities are contributing to global warming.” [“Scientific Integrity in Policy Making: An Investigation into the Bush Administration’s Misuse of Science,” Union of Concerned Scientists, March 2004, emphasis added]
“A bipartisan, all-star roster of Nobel Prize winners and former federal science officials accused the Bush administration Wednesday of politicizing science. "When scientific knowledge has been found to be in conflict with its political goals, the administration has often manipulated the process through which science enters into its decisions," charges a document signed by 60 scientists in an unprecedented joint effort by the leaders of the nation's science establishment.” [“Bush's Changes To Advisory Process Draw Scientists' Ire,” USA Today, February 18, 2004, emphasis added]
“Signers include 20 Nobel Prize winners and 19 recipients of the National Medal of Science, awarded by the president for outstanding contributions in the field. Nobel winners include former National Institutes of Health chief Harold Varmus to pioneering chemist Richard Smalley. Medal winners include H-bomb designer Richard Garwin and Harvard physicist Norman Ramsey, both advisers to Republican administrations.” [“Bush's Changes To Advisory Process Draw Scientists' Ire,” USA Today, February 18, 2004]
“First, the administration watered down
language about global warming in EPA's recent state-of-the-environment
report. Then, the administration
dismissed federal scientists' concerns in declaring that Yellowstone National
Park is in no danger. Now, we see that senators were not given vital
information about cleaning up unhealthy power plant emissions. The administration should
treat the American people and their congressional representatives like adults
and give them the unvarnished truth about the environment," REP America
President Martha Marks said.
”REP supports bipartisan legislation requiring reduced power plant emissions of nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, mercury, and carbon dioxide through a market-based approach. In addition, new legislation should give all power plants a deadline to meet modern pollution reduction standards. ‘Thanks to enforcement of the Clean Air Act, our nation has made a lot of progress in reducing unhealthy air pollution,’ Marks said. ‘There is more work to be done, however. It's not fair that old, outdated power plants are allowed to emit more unhealthy air pollution than newer plants. All power plants should have to meet the same standards.’" [“Withholding Environmental Information Getting to Be a Bad Habit,” Republicans for Environmental Protection Press Release, July 2, 2003]
“Across a broad range of issues -- from childhood lead poisoning and mercury emissions to climate change, reproductive health, and nuclear weapons -- the administration is distorting and censoring scientific findings that contradict its policies; manipulating the underlying science to align results with predetermined political decisions; and undermining the independence of science advisory panels by subjecting panel nominees to political litmus tests that have little or no bearing on their expertise; nominating non-experts or under qualified individuals from outside the scientific mainstream or with industry ties; as well as disbanding science advisory committees altogether.” [“Restoring Scientific Integrity,” Union of Concerned Scientists website]
1. There is a well-established pattern of suppression and distortion of scientific findings by high-ranking Bush administration political appointees across numerous federal agencies. These actions have consequences for human health, public safety, and community well being.
2. There is strong documentation of a wide-ranging effort to manipulate the government’s scientific advisory system to prevent the appearance of advice that might run counter to the administration’s political agenda.
3. There is evidence that the administration often imposes restrictions on what government scientists can say or write about “sensitive” topics.
4. There is significant evidence that the scope and scale of the manipulation, suppression, and misrepresentation of science by the Bush administration are unprecedented.
[These documents are in Portable Document Format (PDF)-Download Adobe® Reader® .]
• The removal of any reference to the National Academy of Sciences review-requested by the White House itself-that confirmed human activity is contributing to climate change.
• The insertion of a reference to a discredited study of temperature records funded in part by the American Petroleum Institute.
“Since his tenure as governor of Texas, President Bush has made no secret of his view that sex education should teach teenagers ‘abstinence only’ rather than including information on other ways to avoid sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy.”
“Since his tenure as governor of Texas, President Bush has made no secret of his view that sex education should teach teenagers ‘abstinence only’ rather than including information on other ways to avoid sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy.”
“During President Bush’s tenure as governor of Texas from 1995 to 2000, for instance, with ‘abstinence only’ programs in place, the state ranked last in the nation in the decline of teen birth rates among15- to 17-year-old females.43 Overall, the teen pregnancy rate in Texas was exceeded by only four other states.”
“A fact sheet on the CDC website that included information on proper condom use, the effectiveness of different types of condoms, and studies showing that condom education does not promote sexual activity was replaced in October 2002 with a document that emphasizes condom failure rates and the effectiveness of abstinence. When a source inside the CDC questioned the actions, she was told that the changes were directed by Bush administration officials at the Department of Health and Human Services.”
“[I]n a case The New York Times labeled ’an egregious distortion of the evidence,’ information
suggesting a link between abortion and breast cancer was posted on the National Cancer Institute website despite objections from CDC staff, who noted that substantial scientific study has long refuted the connection. After public outcry on the matter, the information has since been revised and no longer implies a connection. While the correct information is currently available on the website, it is troubling that public pressure was necessary to halt this promotion of scientifically inaccurate information to the public.”
[“Restoring Scientific Integrity,” Union of Concerned Scientists website]
National Institute on Drug Abuse
“Political litmus tests have been applied by representatives of the Bush administration to candidates for scientific advisory positions at the National Institute on Drug Abuse. One well-publicized assertion involves Dr. William R. Miller of the University of New Mexico. Miller, a distinguished professor of psychology and psychiatry, the pioneer of a leading substance abuse treatment, and author of more than 100 articles in peer reviewed scientific journals, says that his 2002 interview for a slot on a National Institute on Drug Abuse advisory panel included questions about whether his views were congruent with those held by President Bush and whether he had voted for Bush in 2000. Presumably based on his answers, Miller was denied the appointment.”
Army Science Board
“In another incident, William E. Howard III, an engineer from McLean, VA, reported in a letter to Science that he was told by a member of the Army Science Board (ASB) staff that his nomination to the ASB, a Defense Department advisory panel, was rejected because he had contributed to the presidential campaign of Senator John McCain (R-AZ). Howard says he never made such a contribution; instead, as it turns out, someone with a similar name (William S. Howard) had contributed the money. “
• In 2002, just as an expert advisory committee to the CDC appeared ready to consider a more stringent federal lead standard, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson rejected highly qualified experts nominated by CDC staff scientists to serve on the committee, instead appointing two with financial ties to the lead industry-effectively blocking debate on the more stringent standard.
“Actor Michael J. Fox, a supporter of stem cell research because it could help lead to a cure for Parkinson's disease from which he suffers, said, ‘For someone like Mrs. Reagan to step outside of political or ideological groupings and just speak to what she believes . . . can help people, is tremendously valuable,’ he said.” [“Mrs. Reagan Speaks Out For Stem Cell Research,” The Boston Globe, May 10, 2004]
“Her pleas for stem cell research joined the pleas of millions across this country and reinforces in all of us the need to tear down every wall today that keeps us from finding the cures of tomorrow. I have full faith that our scientists will go forward with a moral compass-with humane values and sound ethics guiding the way.” ” [“Remarks of Senator John Kerry in Denver Colorado,” June 21, 2004]
"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," according to the report, posted at: www.politicsandscience.org.
"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." [“Bush Misuses Science, Report Says,” Washington Post, August 8, 2003]
Congressman Waxman’s investigative report concluded “Federal agencies with global reputations for scientific excellence depend upon the objective input of leading scientists and the impartial analysis of scientific evidence to develop effective policies. The Bush Administration, however, has repeatedly suppressed, distorted, or obstructed science to suit political and ideological goals. These actions go far beyond the traditional influence that Presidents are permitted to wield at federal agencies and compromise the integrity of scientific policymaking.” [“Politics and Science in the Bush Administration,” Committee On Government Reform - Minority Staff Special Investigations Division, U.S. House of Representatives, August 2003]
The report identifies over 20 scientific issues affected by the undermining of science, including
• Abstinence education, where performance measures were changed to make unproven “abstinence-only” programs appear effective;
• Condom use, where information about condom use and efficacy was deleted from CDC’s web site;
• Global warming, where reports by the Environmental Protection Agency on the risks of climate change were suppressed;
• Missile defense, where Defense Department officials presented misleading information on whether a functional system could be quickly deployed; and
• Wetlands policy, where comments from scientists at the Fish and Wildlife Service on the destructive impacts of proposed regulatory changes were withheld.
This investigation found that the Bush Administration was engaged in the following activities:
• Appointing Unqualified Persons with Industry Ties. After dropping three national experts in lead poisoning from the Advisory Committee on Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention, the Department of Health and Human Services appointed several individuals with ties to the lead industry, including a lead industry consultant who had testified that a lead level seven times the current limit is safe for children’s brains.
• Appointing Unqualified Persons with Ideological Agendas. The Department of Health and Human Services nominated as chair of the FDA’s Reproductive Health Drug Advisory Committee an anti-abortion activist who recommends that women read the bible for relief of premenstrual symptoms. The appointee’s principal credential appears to be his opposition to the abortifacient RU-486. The medical journal Lancet described his scientific record as “sparse” and wrote that “[a]ny further right-wing incursions on expert panels’ membership will cause a terminal decline in public trust in the advice of scientists.”
• Stacking Advisory Committees. The Department of Health and Human Services replaced 15 of 18 members of the key advisory committee to the National Center on Environmental Health. Several of the new members were long-time industry consultants. In response, 10 leading scientists wrote in Science that “stacking these public committees out of fear that they may offer advice that conflicts with administration policies devalues the entire federal advisory committee structure and the work of dedicated scientists who are willing to participate in these efforts.”
• Opposing Qualified Experts. The Department of Health and Human Services rejected a widely respected expert’s nomination to a grant review panel on workplace safety after it became clear that she supported rules to protect workers from musculoskeletal injuries, rules that the Bush Administration opposes. The head of the panel called the rejection “directly opposed to the philosophy of peer review, which is supposed to be nonpolitical and transparent.”
• Including Misleading Information in Presidential Communications. After banning research on new lines of embryonic stem cells, President Bush assured the American people that research on “more than 60” existing cells lines “could lead to breakthrough therapies and cures.” In fact, only 11 cell lines are now available for research, all of which were grown with mouse cells, rendering them inappropriate for treating people.
• Presenting Incomplete and Inaccurate Information to Congress. When Interior Secretary Gale Norton assured Congress that drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge would not harm the region’s caribou population, she altered or omitted multiple key scientific conclusions prepared by federal biologists at the refuge. One Fish and Wildlife Service official commented, “We tried to present all the facts, but she only passed along the ones she liked. And to pass along facts that are false, well, that’s obviously inappropriate.”
• Altering Web Sites. As social conservatives campaigned to require women to be “counseled” about an alleged risk of breast cancer from abortions, the National Cancer Institute revised its web site to suggest that studies of equal weight conflicted on the question. In fact, there is scientific consensus no such link exists; as the head of epidemiology research at the American Cancer Society had previously concluded, “This issue has been resolved scientifically . . . . This is essentially a political debate.”
• Suppressing Agency Reports. After the White House edited a discussion of global warming in the Environmental Protection Agency’s Draft Report on the Environment, agency scientists objected that the draft “no longer accurately represents scientific consensus on climate change,” and EPA chose to eliminate the discussion entirely. A former EPA Administrator in the Nixon and Ford Administrations commented, “I can state categorically that there was never such White House intrusion into the business of the E.PA. during my tenure.”
• Scrutinizing Ongoing Research. Officials of the National Institutes of Health warned HIV researchers to expect increased scrutiny of any research grant requests using the words “gay” or “men who sleep with men.” The Administration has also instituted a new policy at the Agriculture Department requiring scientists to seek approval of any research on “agricultural practices with negative health and environmental consequences.”
• Obstructing Agency Analyses. The Bush Administration refused to let the Environmental Protection Agency conduct analyses on air quality proposals that differ from the President’s “Clear Skies” initiative. William Ruckelshaus, the first EPA administrator under President Nixon, said of this pattern, “Is the analysis flawed? That is a legitimate reason for not releasing it. But if you don’t like the outcome that might result from the analysis, that is not a legitimate reason.”
• Undermining Outcome Assessment. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) used to evaluate sex education programs and identify those programs with scientific evidence of effectiveness. After social conservatives complained that none of the programs taught “abstinence only,” the agency ended the “Programs That Work” initiative altogether.
Until recently, a CDC initiative called “Programs That Work” identified sex education programs that have been found to be effective in scientific studies and provided this information through its web site to interested communities. In 2002, all five “Programs That Work” provided comprehensive sex education to teenagers, no programs were “abstinence-only.” In the last year, and without scientific justification, CDC has ended this initiative and erased information about proven sex education programs from its web site. http://www.house.gov/reform/min/politicsandscience/pdfs/pdf_politics_and_science_rep.pdf
• Blocking Scientific Publication. The Agriculture Department prohibited one of its microbiologists from publishing or presenting research indicating that industrial hog farming may contribute to antibiotic resistance. The scientist traced the Department’s actions back to communications from industry. [“Politics and Science in the Bush Administration,” Committee On Government Reform - Minority Staff Special Investigations Division, U.S. House of Representatives, August 2003]
Download the August 2003 report Politics and Science in the Bush Administration. (pdf)
[This document is in Portable Document Format (PDF) -- Download Adobe® Reader® .]
Forty-eight Nobel laureates wrote a letter of endorsement stating Sen. John Kerry "will restore science to its appropriate place in government and bring it back into the White House." [“48 Nobel Prize Winners Slam Bush, Back Kerry,” Chicago Tribune/ Yahoo News, June 22, 2004]
Kerry’s Proud To Accept Nobel Laureates’ Endorsement. “I am proud that today 48 Nobel Laureates have sent an open letter to America in support of my campaign and our cause to invest and lead the world in science.
As president, I will listen to the advice of our scientists so I can make the best decisions. Their reports and evaluations will be open so that you can make informed decisions as well. This is your future and I will let science guide us, not ideology. [“Remarks of Senator John Kerry in Denver Colorado,” June 21, 2004]
Increasing Scientific Research Funding
“I will increase our funding to the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, and other important agencies and initiatives that promote crucial research.” [“Remarks of Senator John Kerry in Denver Colorado,” June 21, 2004]
“By supporting stem cell therapy, we have the possibility to control the future. Not only can we reduce the economic cost of healthcare, we can reduce the emotional and social cost of families. We did it with polio, we did it with small pox, we did it with TB, we can do it again.” [“Remarks of Senator John Kerry in Denver Colorado,” June 21, 2004]
“[W]e must lift the barriers that stand in the way of stem cell research and push the boundaries of medical exploration so that researchers can find treatments that are there, if only they are allowed to look. And we should do this while providing strict ethical oversight.” [“Remarks of Senator John Kerry in Denver Colorado,” June 21, 2004]
John Kerry has a three-point strategy to restore America’s leadership in science and research, reinvigorating American ingenuity. Kerry will embrace America’s tradition of looking forward to the next great discovery, invest in scientific research and end the ban on stem cell research. His commitment to scientific research based on fact - not ideology - will put America back on the path of scientific excellence.
Embrace America’s Tradition of Looking Forward. John Kerry remembers a time when American Presidents led the nation in looking forward to see what comes next. Kerry knows the scientific discoveries of the future will drive the economy of our future just like the discoveries of electricity, the combustion engine, and the internet drove our economies in the past. It is important to keep America’s edge on science and technology to assure America is economically competitive. John Kerry will invest in our nation’s scientific research with the aim of making new discoveries to help cure diseases and keep America’s economy on the cutting edge.
Assure That Science Not Politics Dictates Government Policy. Again and again the Bush Administration has put politics over science to please their right wing constituency. They have ignored bipartisan consensus on issues like stem cell research to please their right wing base and have frequently edited or deleted factual information from scientific reports. Kerry will embrace empirical science based on facts, not ideology. He will turn to our nation’s scientific leaders and listen to their advice to make decisions based on expert advice.
Lift the Ban on Stem Cell Research. Given the enormous promise of stem cells to the development of new treatments for the most devastating diseases, John Kerry believes our medical researchers should be permitted and encouraged to simultaneously pursue embryonic stem cell research. As president, he will overturn the ban on federal funding of research on new stem cell lines, and he will allow doctors and scientists to explore their full potential with the appropriate ethical oversight. Patients and their families should no longer be denied the hope that this new research brings.
[See Kerry’s Strategy To Restore America’s Scientific Leadership.]
The Democratic Party…
Restoring America’s Scientific Leadership!