Hey, 'dja hear the one about the 24-year-old presidential appointee to a premier national scientific institute? An appointee with no scientific background? The one with, in fact, no educational credentials whatsoever, who claimed to be a journalist but who actually lied about having any college degree? You know, the one appointed to squelch scientific content coming out of NASA that he felt was inconvenient to the President's views? Did you hear about his resignation?
Yeah, that's a good one.
About as good as the recently-announced plan of that same appointing president to increase our nation's educational focus on science and math. Now there's a credible initiative. What kind of stewardship of education generally, and scientific education specifically, are we to expect from a group who neither esteems nor understands science? I would argue that they don't even understand education as something separate from indoctrination.
I'd have a lot less footing for this little tirade against his appointees if this particular appointment were a statistical aberration. If only. (Thanks to Kate for the link.) Or here. Or here.
Now be honest. What was your first thought when this president makes a speech about having thwarted a terror plot, and chooses to make such a speech at just the moment when congressional hearings are going on about the legality of his secret surveillance programs? Was it gratefulness that he's doing his job? Was it a sense of relief that we're being looked out for in ways that we're not even aware of? If so, I envy your peace of mind.
I'll tell you what I think. I think we are being lied to. Again. I think I'm being fed a fantastically-spun line of horseshit, a little kernel of classified information spun up into a fully-functional terrorist cabal. I'm witnessing a cynical attempt at damage control, a game played with the highest stakes, and with us as pawns. That's what I thought then, what I still think. It has become a predictable pattern: when things are going badly for this administration in the press, there is a sudden discovery of an imminent threat, or an old one is recycled--maybe a secret one!--or there is some similar event which dangles average Americans' safety front and center. The terror alert leaps up to a more lurid color. Nothing upstages like terror.
Never mind that this now-four-year old "plot" has no particular relevance at this point in time, and that the wiretapping the President approved--and the legality of which is under such scrutiny now--is not pertinent to this plot or its "discovery" and thwarting (and so this event cannot be used as the smoking-gun justification for the program in question). We honestly do have to be alert to people we know are trying to hurt us. But I cannot imagine a lower thing than to use this anxiety as a political prybar.
This is all so infuriating that I feel like I'll have some kind of seizure. How are even a paltry 40% of the population thinking we're on the right track? Do we blame it on second hand crack pipe smoke? All I see is dishonesty and slimy dealings that have become the standard operating procedures of this administration, and a man standing before us once again telling us that we are just barely hanging onto our safety because of his actions. Unfortunately, not only does that claim ring rather false after so many iterations--his actions have arguably made us all considerably less safe--but this time the claim is being tasked with squelching more than serious charges of illegal intelligence gathering. What's next? I guess we could always raise the threat level another notch.
Here's a darker suggestion to ponder. I've heard what I dismissed as hysterical claims that the administration would be willing to stage the terror attacks itself, if necessary, to keep its programs underway. I have always concluded that such thinking was absurd. But now... I begin to wonder. What evidence have we seen that the administration will take a high road or will stop short of crossing any given line? And that almost makes me sick to my stomach.