Simanaitis Says

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I HAD PLANNED today to highlight the 2016 Breakthrough of the Year, as identified by Science, the weekly magazine of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, December 23, 2016. However something more important was in that same issue: the U.S. federal government assault on science.

Why must this be so?


The implications of this are staggering. In fact, future investigations of gravitational waves, Science’s choice for 2016’s most significant breakthrough, may well be hampered by a Know Nothing attitude exhibited by both the U.S. Congress and President-in-Wanting Donald Trump.

According to Science, it does not augur well that Trump “has dismissed the scientific consensus on climate change as a ‘hoax,’ said he would scrap dozens of science-based environmental regulations, and offered numerous fact-free observations on issues of the day.”

I’ve been a member of AAAS for decades and do not recall the organization expressing such strong views before. Regardless of one’s views on complexities of the science involved, current events do not appear promising.

Notes Science, “The nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency has sued the agency to block regulations… the incoming Trump team demanded the names of Department of Energy employees and contractors involved in climate change research and policy.”

And, come to think of it, the nominee for DoE secretary is on record as wanting to dismantle this department, when he manages to remember its name.

Also offered is Science’s view that “Trust between several embattled research communities and senior Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives reached a new low….” At issue are subpoenas forcing researchers, universities and nonprofit groups to turn over personal emails, unpublished data and bank balances.

All this is more disturbing when the President-in-Waiting reminds us that, in an unprecedented manner, he is not obligated to share his own tax returns.

Science reports, “One set of subpoenas targeted researchers working with human fetal tissue obtained from abortion providers including Planned Parenthood. Republicans leading a special investigation committee claim some tissue may have been sold, which would violate federal rule, but have released no evidence backing that allegation. Federal judges blocked some of the subpoenas after Planned Parenthood and others argued the panel had overstepped its authority.”

Climate research, energy research, stem cell research and other areas of science are complex and not without controversy. But science is an on-going process, not one to be controlled by political agenda. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2017


  1. Onaroll
    January 8, 2017

    I think what should be the last word pronounced on the subject of “global warming” had already been uttered by Glenn Beck. Paraphrased, his conclusion was: whether human causes have indeed been compounded upon natural cycles, or not, the amount of the World GDP required to deflect the trend (if there is such) an infinitesimal amount would require every shekel of said GDP. Sending us into caves with animal skins but without even Prometheus’ fire.

    • simanaitissays
      January 8, 2017

      I do not believe the “last word” on science is ever in. And likely not from Mr. Beck.
      I stand by the views of AAAS Science, though I also respect your differences of opinion.

  2. Onaroll
    January 8, 2017

    Subpoenas are issued by the Justice Dept, not Congress. FOIAs do not have the weight of subpoenas as the slow walking of same by the IRS attests. The Justice Dept is still in the clutches of The Obama White House. So the statements contained in the cited article are to this moment mere propagandistic speculation.

    • simanaitissays
      January 8, 2017

      See “The Congressional Subpoena: Power, Limitations and Witness Protection,” by Christopher F. Corr and Gregory J. Spak, Brigham Young University of Public Law, Vol. 6, Issue 1, 1992. From its Introduction, “In the past decade, Congress has made substantial use of the Congressional subpoena….”

  3. H Nelson
    January 8, 2017

    “But science is an on-going process, not one to be controlled by political agenda. ds”
    Hard to argue. Especially if you have lost your job for having the temerity to try to present evidence against man-made global warming.

    • Bill urban
      January 14, 2017

      The anointed ones know best. From “My Unhappy Life as a Climate Heretic”:
      My research was attacked by thought police in journalism, activist groups funded by billionaires and even the White House.
      Much to my surprise, I showed up in the WikiLeaks releases before the election. In a 2014 email, a staffer at the Center for American Progress, founded by John Podesta in 2003, took credit for a campaign to have me eliminated as a writer for Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight website. In the email, the editor of the think tank’s climate blog bragged to one of its billionaire donors, Tom Steyer: “I think it’s fair [to] say that, without Climate Progress, Pielke would still be writing on climate change for 538.”

  4. Mark W
    January 8, 2017

    It’s sad that the pendulum has swung this far, but the “know-nothings ” are never far behind. We can only hope that this is the last night gasp of the 20th century’s versions of Luddites, with their pitchforks and torches. The next few years will have demonstrations of such corruption & stupidity that the society that emerges will have to reboot from a while back, hopefully there will be a few people with sense left.

  5. Paul M Everett
    January 9, 2017

    Thanks you for informing us about the AAAS article, and raising the issue of those who ignore and deny the results of solid scientific research. I appreciate your speaking up.

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