Happy Earth Day-- But Not To Señor Trumpanzee And Not To Texas Crackpot Lamar Smith
Today was the March for Science. It's kind of embarrassing we even need a march like that. But as Bill McKibben wrote in the NY Times this week, The Planet Can't Stand This Presidency. "Trump’s environmental onslaught," he wrote, "will have immediate, dangerous effects... [T]here’s an extra dimension to the environmental damage. What Mr. Trump is trying to do to the planet’s climate will play out over geologic time as well. In fact, it’s time itself that he’s stealing from us. What I mean is, we have only a short window to deal with the climate crisis or else we forever lose the chance to thwart truly catastrophic heating... [E]ven when we vote him out of office, Trumpism will persist, a dark stratum in the planet’s geological history. In some awful sense, his term could last forever."
The Intercept carried a piece today that mentions Micahel Mann, a climatologist and geophysicist, has pioneered computational models based on patterns of the past 600 years of climate changes. He said he marched today because "Science and scientists are now under attack in this country." Mann is one of the favorite targets of climate deniers, particularly the witch-hunter Ryan placed at the head of the House Science Committee, Texas dangerous crackpot Lamar Smith. "When congressional Republicans are denying basic science,” Mann said, “and the Trump administration-- run largely by polluting interests-- is trying to revoke policies to protect our health and our environment, more than ever we need to hear the voices of scientists, loudly and clearly."
That lunatic freak and earth-wide villain Grand Inquisitor Lamar Smith issued a statement today-- dripping in irony: "I support the right of science supporters to gather and march this weekend. Opening new frontiers of scientific knowledge, on Earth and beyond, will pave the way to a better, more secure future for the next generation. I will continue to support scientific research that furthers our national interest and is of the highest intellectual merit. In the last few months, the Science Committee has enacted three bills that highlight this commitment: the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Transition Authorization Act of 2017, and the Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act of 2017. The Committee also has worked to help ensure new opportunities for the next generation of scientists and engineers by enacting the Inspiring the Next Space Pioneers, Innovators, Researchers, and Explorers (INSPIRE) Women Act and the Promoting Women in Entrepreneurship Act. I look forward to continuing to promote scientific integrity and a healthy, transparent and vibrant research and technology environment in the United States." Smith is ceratinly among the most dangerous and harmful dozen members of Congress. Please help Tom Wakely replace him as the representative for TX-21.
After we saw Smith's statement we called Tom and asked him what he could make of it. He told us that Smith "never ceases to amaze and astound" him. "The press release he sent out today in response to the March for Science, is nothing more than a meager attempt to portray himself as 'pro-women.' By supporting the Next Space Pioneers, Innovators, Researchers, and Explorers (INSPIRE) Women Act and the Promoting Women in Entrepreneurship Act he is hoping his constituents will forget how he really feels about women. His support of these two bills belie the fact that he has consistently, over his thirty year career in Congress, voted against women. He voted NO on reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act. He voted to defund Planned Parenthood. As far as his anti-science schtick goes, his policy positions and statements are not only wrong-headed but extremely dangerous. Lamar seems to relish in the thought that by turning back the clock we will somehow be the better for it. Maybe he thinks if we all smoked a little from the Mary Baker Eddy Christian Science pipe we would see the world as he does. This man represents the Texas we all want to forget, the Texas that has consistently been found by the federal courts to discriminate against minorities. I truly believe that Smith wants to return to the days of 'no dogs, no Mexicans allowed' and to days where teaching evolution in our schools was a crime."
This morning cognitive scientist and linguist George Lakoff explained to his followers that "the enormous role played by science-- especially government-sponsored science-- in our everyday lives is barely appreciated." Trump and Trumpists are at war with Science. They have to be stopped.
Start with modern medicine. We, the public, paid for it through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and research universities where the medical researchers, surgeons, doctors and nurses were trained, and where tools like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) developed. Modern drugs were also developed through basic research sponsored by NIH. Modern medicine is the dividend of our investment over decades in medical science.
Next, computers. Computer science didn’t just appear. It was developed through grants from National Science Foundation (NSF) and Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARP). The Internet was developed by the Defense Department. It was originally called the Arpanet. Satellites were developed through NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the Defense Department, with vast amount of new science: rocket fuels, physics, new materials for rocket shells, advances in radio communication, and aerial photography.
Cell phones and GPS systems depend on a system of satellites run by the Defense Department, with four satellites accessible from any point on earth, electromagnetic waves traveling at the speed of light and requiring the physics of relativity, and switching equipment able to receive and pass on signals within nanoseconds-- billionths of a second. A millionth of a second off and your cellphone call is hundreds of miles off. Cellphones are required by business all over the world. American science is supporting not just personal communication but the economy of the world!
And then there is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): No more ozone hole. No more acid rain. The air in Los Angeles is very much cleaner than it used to be. The EPA’s information is valuable beyond measure.
It has scientifically measured and tracked lead in the water -- not just in Flint, but in many cities. It has measured mercury levels in the oceans and in fish. It has alerted us to the effects of global heating, effects that arise from the systemic complexities of the global ecology. Effects like droughts, floods, monster storms, and extreme temperatures. It has monitored poisons in our air and water put there by corporations that have been irresponsible, greedy, and just plain inefficient and careless. Those poisons threaten our food supply because they kill bees that are responsible for 1/3 of our food supply. Mercury in our oceans makes many fish dangerous to eat.
EPA regulations issued and, until recently, enforced, are all that affords us protections from man-made poisons. Every regulation eliminated is a major loss of protections for the public. The administration’s plan for eliminating regulations would wipe out most protections from poisons and other threats.
The Defense Department has issued a report that cites global heating via the use of oil, gas, and coal as a major national security threat. Why? Droughts, and oil, and rising seas start wars. Global heating is matter of life and death in all sorts of ways. It is the moral crisis of our age. Reversing it requires science more than ever!
The positive effects of science on our lives are everywhere. And the needs for more and more responsible science are also everywhere.
And how it has made possible so much of contemporary American life.
Then march for science-- because it is under political threat like never before.