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Bush’s Peter Principle


Good now, play one scene of excellent dissembling, and let it look like perfect honor. – Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra

The more one learns about the sophomores in charge of the country’s affairs the more one marvels. In addition to ineptitude, at least two of them share one other quality – lying to enhance their resumes thus endearing themselves to George Bush who admires nothing so much as a good liar, being a poster child for the successes achieved by the well constructed lie.

Until mid-February the most famous and successful liar in an influential position was Michael Brown, former FEMA head. Although he will always be remembered for his ineptitude following Katrina, his pre-FEMA background should not be forgotten. When he applied for the job he misrepresented his qualifications. Misrepresentations were the horse he rode into the office of Director of FEMA. He was told by the Senators confirming his appointment that he was well qualified for his position because of his extensive management experience. Their praise found its source in the statement on his resume that he had been the assistant city manager in Edmund, Oklahoma. He was in fact an assistant to the city manager, a position that the public relations head for Edmund said was like being an intern.

Mr. Brown also described himself as having been designated “Outstanding Political Science Professor, Central State University” when in fact he’d not been on the faculty. There were other lies but they were justifiable since they got him what he wanted and that is often the purpose of lying.

Now we have learned of another extraordinary Bush appointee.

As we recently discussed, one of the stars of NASA is James Hansen, its top climate specialist and one of the leading experts on global warming. He has been warning of the dangers of global warming for 18 years although without any perceivable effect on George Bush who remains cool to the concept.

In December of 2005 Dr. Hansen gave a speech of which the administration disapproved. Thereafter he was notified that the institute’s public affairs staff would be required to review his work. Recently, we have come to know who was behind the censorship: George Deutsch.

At 24, Deutsch is a younger version of Mr. Brown. Like Brown, he found it useful to lie about his background. To obtain a position where he could censor scientists with PhDs, he said he had graduated from college. That, in George Bush’s eyes was good enough to put him in a position where he can decide what scientists should and should not say. After all, much of what George Bush believes about science does not require an education, it makes perfect sense that he would put in charge of scientists someone without an education.

Mr. Deutsch said he had received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Texas A&M in 2003. When asked, the university said he had attended the school but had not gotten a degree since he never completed the required course work. Mr. Deutsch got the job at NASA said he, because he was an intern in the ‘war room’ of the 2004 re-election campaign.

His lack of learning was no impediment to issuing orders about scientific matters. In that respect he was like Mr. Bush.

Having studied journalism at Texas A&M he wrote in an e mail to Flint Wild, a NASA contractor preparing a web presentation about Einstein for middle schoolers that each time the word “big bang” was used in the presentation it should be followed by the word “theory.” He explained why saying: “The theory that the universe was created by a ‘big bang’ is just that-a theory. It is not proven fact; it is opinion. Yes, the scientific community by and large may share this opinion, but that doesn’t make it correct. It is not NASA’s place, nor should it be, to make a declaration such as this about the existence of the universe that discounts intelligent design by a creator – the other half of the argument.”

Deutsch no longer works at NASA. He resigned the same day it was disclosed he was a liar. Dean Acosta is NASA’s spokesman. When Dr. Hansen first disclosed the agency’s effort to censor him, Acosta, the deputy assistant administrator for public affairs said there was no effort to silence him saying the agency promotes openness. Commenting on Mr. Deutsch’s resignation Mr. Acosta said it had been accepted and the agency was committed to “open and full communications”. That will come as a welcome news to its scientists.

When the New York Times asked why someone with Mr. Deutsch’s credentials would be put in a position of supervising scientists the paper was told by Donald Tighe of the White House Office of Science and Technology that: “Science is respected and protected and highly valued by the administration.” He didn’t say by whom in the administration it is valued. That may be another lie.

Share  Posted by Christopher Brauchli at 9:16 PM | Permalink

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