If You Know What You’re Talking About, Shut Up!

Pardon my French, but you really can’t make this shit up.

The headline says it all: “House Passes Bill that Prohibits Expert Scientific Advice to the EPA.”

While everyone’s attention was focused on the Senate and the Keystone XL decision on Tuesday, some pretty shocking stuff was quietly going on in the House of Representatives. The GOP-dominated House passed a bill that effectively prevents scientists who are peer-reviewed experts in their field from providing advice — directly or indirectly — to the EPA, while at the same time allowing industry representatives with financial interests in fossil fuels to have their say.

Andrew Rosenberg is Director of the Union of Concerned Scientists; he wrote a letter to House Representatives stating what should be obvious to any sentient being:

“This [bill] effectively turns the idea of conflict of interest on its head, with the bizarre presumption that corporate experts with direct financial interests are not conflicted while academics who work on these issues are. Of course, a scientist with expertise on topics the Science Advisory Board addresses likely will have done peer-reviewed studies on that topic. That makes the scientist’s evaluation more valuable, not less.”

Two more bills relating to the EPA were set to go to the vote this week, bills that opponents argue are part of an “unrelenting partisan attack” on the EPA.

It isn’t just an attack on the EPA–it is part of an all-out attack on science, reason and scholarship. The U.S. House is a deeply anti-intellectual collection of Know-Nothings, proud of their ignorance and nativism. (We don’t need no smarty-pants scientists telling us the world is older than 6000 years….)

They’d repeal the Enlightenment–if they’d ever heard of it.

Be very afraid.


  1. I have stated on more than one occasion that I have become afraid of my own country. It is stupid, sneaky (don’t pardon my French) shit like this that adds to the resulting overt actions of Congress and SCOTUS. I am even more afraid of my home state. Take a good look at the front page of the Indianapolis Star today (2/27/15); we are under siege here by local government diverting our attention from needed action and focusing on frills and balls. The determined destruction of our public education system nationally will raise generations of illiterates to blindly follow their lead if we don’t go to the polls and vote out the transgressors at local and federal levels. Reread Sheila’s blog from yesterday about the use of our tax dollars. This state ignores the existence of the EPA and has for years; the city may be even worse in it’s determination to fill every area possible with a sports arena. The idea Ballard has of turning the old City Hall into what is described as, “It has a splashy design sure to light up a corner of Downtown and appeal to arts lovers and historic preservationists.” at a cost of $55 million. Next to it is the article “Add $14 M to IPS loss”; admittedly due to the error of Tim Brown, Republican, who provided out-dated information which was accepted as fact and passed. Does anyone else see the connection here regarding our tax dollars? These improvements ignore the continuing pollution by big business locally and in surrounding areas and the entire state. The added burden on our already deteriorating infrastucture effects the environment locally. What happens in this state supports the bills passing through Congress in Washington, D.C. These issues are all interconnected; all roads lead to the current Congress and supports the attack on science, reason and scholarship. I was already very afraid.

  2. These bills will of course be vetoed or filibustered. Done by those who are on the payroll of the corporations regulated by EPA and/or who are evolutionary oddities who will be evolutioned out in the near future.(2016)

  3. This seems like a perfect metaphor for the conservative movement in general – grab power by any means possible and punish those who support the opposition. And always operate behind the veil of secrecy until it is too late for the public to react; ignore ethics and accountability, provide unrelenting support to the wealthy and powerful that create the worst problems and can provide that always important quid pro quo.

    I’m not sure if the conservative base could be engaged in a rational discussion of any environmental program or regulation. I believe they view anything that is associated with EPA as wrong and counter to the patriotic goals of conservative base – i.e. to deregulate everything and let the chips fall where they may. Then when something goes awry, blame the liberals.

  4. Climate change. Oligarchy. Anti-intellectualism.

    All existential threats from within to everything fundamental to America.

    What shiny objects de jour are dangled in front of the public by journalism for hire? Ebola. The Middle East. Vaccination of children. The Oscars. The Kardashions. March Madness.

    We have two years to declare our independence and take our country back from ignorance. After that I fear, unless we’re successful, our role in history will be as the best and last examples of the consequences of unbridled marketed massive materialism. Greed as a religion.

    Then who will lead the world? What philosophy will prevail? What success will rise to replace our failure?

  5. Back in my union rep. days as wise older rep. told me, “The membership always gets the leadership it deserves.” He was right about the membership, and I’m afraid it applies to the electorate as well. The only way out is for good people to vote–and when is the last time that happened?

  6. This months National Geographic Magazine has on it’s front page – The War against Science along with several articles. The base of the Reactionary Right has bought into the idea hook, line and sinker that the Government in particular the EPA is an enemy. We had De-Regulation of Industry since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution until roughly the 1970’s. We are still cleaning up the mess with Superfund Sites spread all over the country.

    Years ago I read an article that basically said to Industry you do not need to fight against regulations, just gain control of it through political appointments and then set the Agenda.

  7. The GOP and the Taliban are not all that different. Both promote a view of the world that is anti-science and dangerously irrational.

  8. Remember what I posted long ago: The period 1945 to 1980 was an anomaly in the history of mankind. Usually, there will always be a world like Downton Abbey. And, in truth, Abbey servants had it pretty good. The actual norm is more like Roots. Deep within the sub-conscience, man has a need for a despot to rule over him. ‘Come and reign over us, Ancient of Days’. We do not feel competent to self govern. We will install a Hitler, or even a Reagan and follow them beyond the verge because we don’t believe we know better. Read Emerson’s Self Reliance and you’ll get the picture. We will not feel safe until we are grovelling in the mud for scraps from the table of the oligarchy. Better dead than Red! Give us a slogan and a sports stadium. We can wait for bread. Vespasian solved the ‘problem of the masses’ in the year 70 by diverting their interest to the killing of bears by lions. Or lions by dogs. Or people by people.

    Why change the formula when it still works? Stay tuned. You ain’t seen nothing yet!

  9. The American public needs to pay very close attention to this type of Orwellian chicanery. How can we put it in clear enough terms so that everyday people will understand and act to stop it? Thank you Sheila for being an articulate voice on critical issues like this. Unfortunately, people are ill educated, infinitely distractible and incredibly gullible for this type of thing to be even possible. The result: Fools and villians have hijacked the machinery of our republic. They threaten our rights, our livelihoods and our planet.

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