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13 June 2005
Bush Aide edited government climate reports - revisited

I originally posted about this article in the NYT a few days ago. Today, I've seen what John Cole has written on the subject:

Do they think this is a school project, and all they have to do is fool the teacher and climate change won't be an issue? I don't want junk science or unfounded claims going forward, either, but it is becoming pretty clear to me that faith-based governance simply means that anything you don't like or anything that might require a change in your policy position should be ignored or labeled 'junk science.'

Yesterday, it was reported that the fellow reposnsible for editing the particular climate report in quesiton, has been fired:

Philip Cooney, chief of staff of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, stepped down Friday without disclosing his future employment plans, announced presidential spokeswoman Erin Healy.

"He has accumulated many weeks on leave, and so he decided to resign and take the summer off to spend some time with his family," Healy told AFP.

She added the resignation was "completely unrelated" to the release of documents this past week that show Cooney had given a thorough editing to US government documents on global warming -- in what appeared to be an effort to make them look less dramatic.

Steve at The Carpetbagger Report comments further:

Cooney has no background in science — he's a lawyer by trade — but the Bush gang has made him the chief of staff for the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

In a memorandum sent last week to the top officials dealing with climate change at a dozen agencies, [Rick Piltz, who resigned in March as a senior associate in the office that coordinates government climate research] said the White House editing and other actions threatened to taint the government's $1.8 billion-a-year effort to clarify the causes and consequences of climate change.

"Each administration has a policy position on climate change," Mr. Piltz wrote. "But I have not seen a situation like the one that has developed under this administration during the past four years, in which politicization by the White House has fed back directly into the science program in such a way as to undermine the credibility and integrity of the program."

Credibility? Integrity? In the Bush administration?

Then again, maybe the White House is on to something here. Embracing a sense of denial to all inconvenient facts may be a good idea.

  • If terrorist attacks increase around the world, the government can simply stop publishing an annual report on international terrorism.

  • If the Bureau of Labor Statistics uncovers data about factory closings in the U.S., the administration can cancel the report and hide the data.

  • If an administration report shows that the feds aren't doing enough to help states in the midst of fiscal crises, the White House can announce that the report wouldn't be published anymore.

  • If Bush's Department of Education sees evidence that charter schools are underperforming, the agency can simply stop collecting data on charter schools.

  • Oh wait, the administration has already done all of this.

    Very, very well said. I should think the 'faith-based' community will/should start distancing itself from the Bush administration. They have many reasons to do this, but the reason I'm thinking of right now is how the American public may begin to see that 'faith-based' policy, as opposed to 'reality-based' policy, can appear to be essentially a willingness to lie

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