Author Topic: 10 Headlines About Science and Tech From the White House's New Chief Strategist  (Read 874 times)

Offline imchills

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Sunday, the Trump transition team announced that conservative media king and alleged anti-Semite Stephen K. Bannon will serve as chief strategist and senior counsel to the President-elect. They also announced that former RNC chair and terrible name haver Reince Priebus will be the chief of staff.

Bannon—the man Bloomberg once called “the most dangerous political operative in America”—ran conservative news site Breitbart from March 2012 to August 2016, when he left to join Trump’s campaign as chief executive officer. In 1996, Bannon was charged with domestic violence. His ex-wife also claims he said, “He doesn’t like Jews and that he doesn’t like the way they raise their kids to be ‘whiny brats’ and that he didn’t want the girls to go to school with Jews.” (((Welcome to the White House, baby.)))

Breitbart has supported the careers of prominent sh*tbags like tech blogger Milo Yiannopolous, along with his 44 interns. If the site’s most infamous headlines—written under Bannon’s leadership—are indicative of the future of technology and science in this country, it is bleak. Very, very bleak.

Offline Battle

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Tuesday, 28th April 2o2o
trunk's denial of science is un-American
by John J. Pitney Jr.

trunk is un-American in many ways.

He disregards our Constitution and laws.

He denies the central truth of our Declaration of Independence, that all men are created equal.

He defends Russian President Vladimir Putin’s attack on American exceptionalism.

And he undercuts science.

For trunk, “science” is whatever makes him feel good or serves his short-term interests.

Whereas real scientists devote their lives to rigorous testing, trunk thinks that it’s all in his gut:

“I have a natural instinct for science.”

We have recently seen what his gut produces.

In late February, he ignored scientific projections and said the number of COVID-19 cases “within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero.”

This false hope encouraged his supporters to delay taking protective action.

trunk has mused aloud about the curative properties of disinfectant and an anti-malaria drug.

The results were predictable and predicted.

Supplies of the medication ran short, and disinfectant manufacturers had to warn customers not to drink their wares.

Founders passionate about science

trunk’s attitude is dangerous.

But why is it un-American?

The people who founded this country were devoted to science.

Benjamin Franklin’s discoveries and inventions won world renown.

In 1743, he founded the American Philosophical Society to foster useful scientific knowledge.

Early members included George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.

Another was the eminent physician Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

A scientific frame of mind suffused their thinking.

Jefferson’s "Notes on the State of Virginia" included chapters on geology, demographics and what a later generation would call "climate science."

He had a passion for precision, and he took careful daily measurements of temperature and precipitation.

Like all scientists, Jefferson felt duty bound to find and tell the truth.

trunk does not recognize that obligation.

In 2019, he tweeted that Hurricane Dorian was heading for Alabama.

After a National Weather Service office contradicted his claim, he refused to admit his mistake.

He showed reporters a weather map that someone (probably trunk himself) had crudely marked up with a Sharpie to make it look as if Alabama had been in the storm’s path.

That story was laughable, but in other ways, his denial of science has been more serious.

He tweeted in 2012:

“The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”

Two years later, he called it “an expensive hoax.”

When Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton called him out in a 2016 debate, he denied saying what he had said.

Science can make the difference between life and death.

Having seen the ravages of dread disease, the Founders were passionate advocates of research and prevention.

Franklin was an early epidemiologist, gathering data on the impact of smallpox inoculation.

As commander, Washington ordered the inoculation of his soldiers, because he was losing more of them to illness than to combat.

As president, Jefferson wrote to Edward Jenner, the British pioneer of the smallpox vaccine:

“Medicine has never before produced any single improvement of such utility.”

Subsequent presidents supported the science of vaccination.

trunk claims to be pro-vaccine but he has pushed the thoroughly debunked notion that the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine causes autism.

“If I were President,” he tweeted in 2014,

“I would push for proper vaccinations but would not allow one time massive shots that a small child cannot take - AUTISM.”

Even worse, he added:

“I am being proven right about massive vaccinations—the doctors lied. Save our children & their future.”

So besides hawking misinformation, he was actively undermining confidence in medicine.

When parents ignore medical advice and delay vaccinations, their children can contract the diseases that the vaccines prevent.

To put it bluntly, his tweets put kids at risk.

Despite his support for a virus vaccine — and his false claim that it might be available soon — he has never retracted his comments about combination shots in general and MMR in particular.

News reports indicate that anti-vaccine activists have joined protests against “stay at home” policies.

trunk has encouraged these protests, just as he encouraged the anti-vaxxers.

If he took his responsibilities seriously, he would try to persuade them all to change their minds and respect the science.

But he probably will not do that.

After all, it would require him to act like a patriotic American.