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SCIENCE AND YOUR LIFESPACER
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How to Double Federal Money for Scientific Research in the U.S.
by Dr. Bill Wattenburg
April 25, 1997
If you care about the future of science in this country,
please send the
article below to your congresspersons and the media in your area.
Someone has to say it: Stop massive scientific fraud in the name of environmental cleanup. With the 100 billion dollars saved, the federal budget for good scientific research can be doubled without increasing the national debt. Only new science will solve our major environmental problems. Medical science could be saving millions of lives many years sooner -- if it had just ten percent of the money being wasted.
An army of environmental movement fraud artists, at least two-hundred thousand strong by minimal estimates, has become a cancer on the economy and health of this nation. This cancer is the Environmental Exploitation Lobby (the EELs) The EELs are the hundreds of thousands of untrained bureaucrats on the public payroll, manipulative lawyers, public relations experts, and high-paid "environmental cleanup specialists" who generate and/or feast off of meaningless environmental regulations and projects which require industry and government agencies alike to pay billions of dollars to them, the EELs. The EELs are the ones who benefited from the tens of billions wasted on stripping solid asbestos from our schools and public buildings -- a waste confirmed by none less than the EPA. They are the fear mongers who pocketed the twenty billion wasted on the nonexistent low frequency electromagnetic field threat -- a scientific fraud recently confirmed by none less than the American Physical Society. Some other current multi-billion-dollar frauds are described below. The EELs are now wasting at least a hundred billion dollars each year of the limited public and private resources that should be going to quality research and development in all the sciences. In this era of limited government funding, scientists who do not speak up are sacrificing both the credibility and the future of science in this country. Those who may soon have no funds to support their work will have no one to blame but themselves. Scientific innovation, not massively misguided bureaucratic intervention at any cost, is the only solution to the most serious environmental problems. The professional scientific societies of America could reverse this double injustice to our nation's future very quickly by organizing a conference to bring together leaders of Congress and private industry, government agencies funding most R&D, and university scientists. The purpose of this conference would be to organize unbiased scientific reviews and evaluations of the doubtful regulations and cleanup programs that are costing our nation the most. The potential reward for science that could be negotiated by our scientific societies should be that industry and victimized government agencies relieved from meaningless regulations will henceforth agree to contribute a reasonable percentage, say 25%, of savings to publicly funded scientific research. Industry and government could well afford to increase total public support for scientific research, no strings attached, by fifty percent within three years -- not just a little, but by fifty percent at least! The good scientists of this nation cannot continue to stand on the sidelines and tolerate this outrageous situation for fear of violating political correctness. Doubling the federal biomedical research budget, for instance, could save millions of lives and extend all of our lives within a few years. Compare this to the one-in-a-million person who is supposedly rescued by most of our bureaucratically inspired and misguided billion-dollar cleanup programs? A recent international conference (1) to find more support for biomedical research covered about every subject -- except a workable plan for significantly increasing funds for scientific research: This commiseration conference ignored a basic truth of our times: we are in an era of limited public funds to support all government activities. Money wasted by one government branch or bureaucracy is money denied all others. Private industry money wasted in the name of science is money that can never be paid to the government for its support of scientific research.
Scientific research dictates the future health of our economy and well as the health of our citizens. Millions of our citizens are dying early deaths, thanks to the EELs.
The national tragedy can be measured by considering just the appalling consequences of too little funds for basic medical research alone. With the rapid advances in molecular and cellular biology, it is safe to predict that medical science will be able to find cures for cancers and other serious diseases that eventually kill us all. These advances surely will extend all our lives by five to ten years. So, for every year that these medical advances are delayed by lack of research funds, the equivalent of many millions of lives are lost in the U.S alone. This includes the members of Congress and their families whose lives will not be extended by the science that they should be supporting. Those who exploit the environmental movement to waste tens of billions that should be going to good medical science are directly responsible for denying millions of people many additional years of good life. The monumental absurdity is that the majority of environmental programs can not demonstrate that they are saving even a hundred lives, let alone the million equivalent every year that medical advances could rescue soon.
Superfunds -- Super Frauds
The cruel fraud of the so-called superfund to clean up toxic sites around the country has been widely publicized. Eighty percent of the first twenty billion dollars spent went into the pockets of lawyers and bureaucrats who didn't account for even a shovel full of dirt being cleaned up -- but they helped write the laws and make suckers out of members of Congress and the public, and shovel money into their pockets. Once the environmental lobby had convinced Congress to enact the superfund law and sidetrack billions of dollars that could be supporting other vital and productive programs such as scientific research, the technically incompetent members of the environmental lobby swiftly set about stuffing sixteen billion dollars into their own pockets. This exceeded the total budget for all publicly funded biomedical research in this country. However, no group of scientists stood up to protest while more money was being wasted in the name of environmental science than real scientists could ever hope to obtain. In fact, the superfund fraud is just the overflow of the cesspool -- a whiff in the wind compared to the real waste going on. Many have estimated that $60 to $100 billion dollars is wasted each year by U.S. industry in complying with meaningless regulations that have no scientific or cost effective basis whatsoever. These economy-killer regulations are devised by the EELs and put in force by incompetent bureaucrats who have to justify their existence. There is not a scientist reading this who is not aware of meaningless, paper-pushing regulations that even waste the meager funds available to university laboratories.
Restore all sites to former ecosystem condition, no matter the cost? Then why don't we restore all the original pasture land on Manhattan Island?
Almost all the billion-dollar environmental cleanup programs are justified on the bureaucratic speculation that there is a one in a million threat to some group of people and/or the local ecosystem. So, at the very most, a few hundred lives could be jeopardized each year by spending, say, ten billion less on doubtful environmental programs and diverting this money instead to medical research which could save a million people each year from untimely deaths. Of course, even the few hundred lives that might be lost by not spending billions to "clean up" some sites assumes that thousands of people would be stupid enough to eat a bucketful of dirt each day at each superfund site (or equivalent behavior elsewhere).
Most of the superfund and nuclear sites represent no more than a few thousand acres of land area collectively. Humans and large animals can be kept away permanently from most of these sites for 1% of the cost of what the environmental lobby projects will be needed to "clean them up" (by the EELs, of course). The EELs demand that we must immediately restore the former ecosystems at hundreds of sites no matter what the cost? But look at this absurdity. Government approved new housing subdivisions and schools alone completely obliterate the ecosystems of a thousand times more land area in the U.S. each year than the EELs could ever restore if they spend the gross national product each year.
Billions spent on vacuous threats to ground water and/or playing musical chairs with nuclear waste without any new science to actually reduce the threat.
Just two already well documented (and discredited) so-called environmental cleanup programs in this country have been wasting more money each year than it would take to increase the federal biomedical research budget by fifty percent. These are the so-called leaking underground fuel tank program in California and the Hanford Engineering Works cleanup project in Washington State. In both cases, runaway bureaucracies and EELs threatening to file lawsuits keep the money flowing to legions of greedy contractors in spite of the absurdities noted by scientific reviews (2,3). All it would take to stop this waste and redirect these projects would be for our scientific societies to request legislative investigations, or legal action if necessary, with assurances that recognized scientists will be willing to testify to the nature of the monumental frauds being perpetrated in the name of science. The "Leaking Underground Fuel Tank Program" in California is a so-called environmental cleanup program that has needlessly cleaned out billions of dollars from the California economy and bankrupted thousands of small businesses that were paying taxes. It is typical of many other programs around the country. However, scientists from various campuses of the University of California disclosed in October 1995 (2) that the horribly expensive and wasteful "contaminated soil remediation" procedures forced on most helpless landowners -- and even school districts -- were based on no real threat to ground water supplies as claimed by the thousands of EELs who pocketed billions of dollars of public and private money during the previous eight years. In fact, the the EELs continue to bilk unsuspecting landowners and public agencies even today, in spite of the scientific evaluation and recommendations commissioned by the state legislature. The EELs have so far drained the state economy for more than eleven times the total amount of money given to university research by the state in the last ten years. Like a cancer with a blood supply, this bureaucracy cannot be stopped so long as it has a budget.
The California underground fuel tank EELs, with typically no more technical training or expertise than the average janitor, multiplied like mushrooms in a moist manure pile once they discovered that they could demand any amount of money be spent by the hapless owners of leaking fuel tanks. This occurred notwithstanding the fact that government bureaucracies thirty years ago demanded that fuel tanks be placed underground because of purported safety problems with above ground fuel tanks.
A scientific review should have been suggested much earlier by our scientific societies whose members were well aware of what was going on. Few scientists with normal vision could miss it. For ten years, almost every street in California, and almost every university campus was pockmarked with deep open holes and unsightly piles of dirt that were being given high-tech massaging by white-coated, hundred-dollar-an-hour charlatans pretending to be "soil remediation" experts. The special environmental contractors called in by these soil experts extracted on the average over fifty thousand dollars from every hapless owner of an underground fuel tank who did not have the sense or ability to challenge the arbitrary contamination findings by the very people who were pocketing the money -- in the name of the environment.
The multibillion-dollar make work (cleanup) program at the Hanford Engineering Works in Washington state is another good example of the job-justification and self-enrichment successes of the EELs well placed within the federal bureaucracy and on private contractor payrolls. For several years they predicted that up to $1000 billion(!) will be required using present technology -- without so much as a suggestion that a few hundred million might be gainfully spent on research to find new, far less costly cleanup procedures. A recent briefing on the subject was published in the journal Nature (3). This report reveals the longstanding warnings from knowledgeable scientists and the National Research Council that billions are being wasted for lack of any new technology capable of actually solving the problems. Nevertheless, admittedly deficient programs continue to suck up several billion a year at Hanford because bureaucrats in the Department of Energy state that this is the only way to avoid legal action from environmental groups (that could force the government to do no more than the bureaucrats have conceded). Only recently has a few hundred million been allocated to basic research on new cleanup technology.
The EELs invent a million tons of toxic material to justify massive payment to them as public saviors.
Let's take the most common abuse of public and private
resources that is going on in every community. The environmental lobby
has created an environment of fear of all potentially toxic materials that
is highly beneficial to the environmental lobby. Any material that is potentially
contaminated with any unknown substance must be handled and disposed of
only by special teams of environmental clean up specialists. For instance,
the clean up of a gallon of crankcase oil spilled at roadside due to a
minor auto accident can cost the public as much as $10,000 because only
special environmental teams designated for this purpose may be called to
perform the task. However, the U.C. scientists who studied the leaking
fuel tank problem (2) pointed out that Mother Nature takes care of hydrocarbons
in the soil quite nicely. There is no evidence that anyone has been harmed
in a hundred years by minor oil and fuel spills on the roadways that were
simply absorbed with sand that was then swept away by road crews. Every
day in this country thousands of tons of ordinary dirt "contaminated" with
a few percent by weight of ordinary fossil fuel hydrocarbons (used engine
oil, spilled gas or diesel) is deemed to be toxic. This "toxic waste" cannot
be simply buried in place or used for road material, as good scientists
have recommended. It must be transported to an approved toxic waste dump.
This typically costs someone (or the public in general) a $1000 a ton or
more. And yet, this so-called toxic waste is invariably transported over
roads paved with thousands of tons of asphalt -- which just happens to
be a mixture of rock, dirt, and high concentrations of the very same fossil
fuel hydrocarbons! A thousand times more asphalt hydrocarbons slowly seep
into the ground in this country on hot days. But no one in the EPA has
dared to suggest that the asphalt highways of this nation should be dug
up and transported to toxic waste sites. Scientists have shown that such
hydrocarbon "contamination" is of no great danger in the vast majority
of cases anyway because the hydrocarbons are invariably degraded by soil
bacterial before they migrate any great distance. Why isn't this "toxic
dirt" with low levels of hydrocarbons simply stockpiled locally for use
as roadbase material -- or simply buried in place as the University of
California scientists stated should be done in their official report in
1995 (2)? Nevertheless, ignorant or arrogant environmental officials continue
to force the waste of hundreds of millions of dollars transporting dirt
contaminated with very low concentrations of harmless hydrocarbons to specialized
and extremely expensive toxic waste dumps. Private landowners unable to
afford expensive legal defense and public institutions unable to suffer
long delays in important projects are victimized alike. Why? The answer
is quite simple when you look at the people in charge and follow the money
going into their pockets. This sort of environmental cleanup fraud is paying
for an army of self-serving bureaucrats who must justify their continued
existence on the public payroll and self-styled environmental cleanup specialists
on the private side who rake in enormous fees. The lucrative toxic waste
dump businesses requires continued business to pay the enormous salaries
of their executives, many of whom are former environmental agency bureaucrats
who jumped ship once they had helped create the need for the toxic dumps.
And then there are the legions of "environmental lawyers" who use the courts
and the maze of confusing laws and regulations to blast or block almost
any activity or project until the victims are willing to pump money into
the pockets of all of the above, the lawyers first, of course. They all
must scratch each others backs to stay in existence. These people make
up the "Environmental Exploitation Lobby" (EEL). Congress could easily
stop this horribly expensive fraud -- and the lazy federal judges who allow
Government Fraud-Busters. Where?
Consider the five-year government attack on a Noble Prize winner (David Baltimore) and his assistant who was accused of falsifying data in a published scientific paper. As a matter of principle, the highest authorities in American science agreed that the charges had to be investigated as thoroughly as possible. None stood up to object. The extremely agitated accusers even encouraged a congressional committee and the FBI to join the witch-hunt.. After several million dollars of government investigation expense and thousands of column inches of coverage in the media and scientific journals, the final decision was that the charges could not be supported by the evidence. Now consider the hundred billion dollars worth of so-called environmental cleanup or protection programs initiated during this same time that were represented to Congress and the American people as having a sound scientific basis (asbestos in schools and low frequency electromagnetic fields, for instance). None of the leaders of American science called for a thorough, independent scientific evaluation of these horribly expensive representations made to the nation in the name of science. Where was the conscience of our scientific societies and the scientists they represent? Who was protecting the good name of science and scientific ethics in these cases? This situation was and still is absolutely outrageous. The same self-styled scientific fraud busters who leveled the charges against the scientists mentioned above were also reading almost every day newspaper and government announcements of multi-billion dollar so-called cleanup programs that were based on the most specious scientific justifications. In fact, most of these government programs were not endorsed by a single respected scientist who was not being paid by the government agencies responsible for the programs. Why the silence in these cases? I think the answer is obvious. The self-styled fraud busters gained generous, widespread notoriety by suggesting that an associate of a Noble Prize winner had violated the ethics of science. However, questioning any politically correct government program, no matter how potentially harmful to the nation, would have gotten them nothing but official transfers to professional oblivion (remember the firing of Dr. William Happer by DOE). The real ethic of science that has been violated by the scientists of this nation is the aiding and abetting in distortion of the truth by remaining silent when the truth about our grossly expensive so-called environmental cleanup programs could be easily obtained and disclosed to our political leaders by the competent scientists in our nation. The obvious violation of this ethic has caused members of congress to yawn at pleas for increased scientific research budgets.
The Green Gestapo
The real shocker to most struggling scientists comes when they learn that every day in dozens of places in this country a former shoe salesmen or retired minor government official miraculously transforms himself into a toxic waste specialist or savior of the environment by memorizing a short list of politically correct ecosystem buzzwords, stamping himself on the forehead with the label "environmentalist", donning the white coat and splendor of a brain surgeon, and signing up for a government paycheck that exceeds the income of our best trained scientists. Thereafter, this incompetent in scientist's clothing has more power than a federal judge to summarily intimidate individuals and institutions with cease and desist orders and threats of criminal charges in official letters delivered before any review or approval by local courts and prosecutors. Too many numbskulls with EPA badges have been given the full power to delay endlessly any activity or project by simply raising suspicions that the environment is being endangered with no scientific support -- or even common sense -- whatsoever to justify the self-serving accusations. Society in general and science in particular is most often forced to pay an insulting ransom of some sort to these government-sanctioned brutes and the government agencies and federal courts that empower them. Those who practice and/or authorize this sort of behavior truly are a "Green Gestapo" assaulting the future of our nation.
1. "Innovations in Funding Research in the New Millennium",
3-4 October 1996, Ottawa, Canada. Science, 25 Oct. 96, p491. Article by
Wayne Kondro, regarding a presentation by Calvin Stiller.(abstract)
(The board described in this press release might be the result of Mr. Stiller's suggestion. If so, you can read more about the CMDF board.)
2. "Recommendations To Improve the Cleanup Procedures for California's Leaking Underground Fuel Tanks", Report # UCRL- AR-121762, October 1995, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, California 94550.
3. "Science seeks weapons clean-up role", Nature v383, p375, 3 Oct. 96.
Dr. Bill Wattenburg is a Research Scientist with The University Foundation,California State University Chico, Chico, CA 95929
Here is a link to my Radio Page's Dr. Bill Wattenburg short biography and photo. The article also has a link to his KGO, San Francisco "Open Line to the West Coast" radio program which can be heard by skip signal over most of the West Coast on most Saturday and Sunday nights. Be sure to hit your browser's "RETURN" button to come back here.
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YOUR HEALTH: A SCIENTIST LOOKS AT REFORMULATED GASOLINE
An open letter from by Peter M. Joseph, Ph.D.
NOTE: This letter was obtained
from a public posting on the Internet. It is very important because of
the potentially devastating health effects of the new, highly increased
concentration levels of the toxic and very probably carcinogenic substance
Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ethylene (MTBE) in your "Reformulated Gasoline" (RFG)
which is being forced upon you by the Federal EPA with the help of California's
governor Pete Wilson and your elected "representatives." There is also
a link between RFG and asthma. If you have recently developed breathing
problems, talk to your doctor, and be certain to discuss the relationship
between asthma and MTBE. If your physician is not aware of the problem,
or just brushes it off (there is a lot of propaganda and outright lies
being circulated in the medical community), please show him this article.
There is a rapidly-growing body of scientific evidence that MTBE is VERY
dangerous to both you and the environment it is supposed to improve.
>PMJ talks to ALA re RFG
From email@example.com Sun Sep 8 15:13 PDT 1996
Date: Sun, 8 Sep 1996 18:16:05 -0400 (EDT)
From: Peter Joseph
To: oxybusters <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: PMJ talks to ALA re RFG (fwd)
On Saturday, September 7, I gave a 20 minute talk to the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Lung Association entitled "Can RFG create an asthma epidemic?". In it I outlined my reasons for believing this is true. Except for my personal symptoms, I de-emphasized the anecdotal data and emphaszed various recent statistical data, incluing increases in asthma and other diseases in Philadelphia. I made it clear that I was directly opposed to the major policy of the ALA in supporting the use of RFG. The ALA believes in this because they think RFG lowers ozone and has no adverse health effects. I showed them my data from Philadelphia indicating no reduction in ozone during the summer of 1995 when RFG was first used. I also briefly discussed the ALA's own data on hospitalization for asthma and other respiratory diseases. This data shows that in all 13 cities studied the LEAST amount of hospital admissions occurred during mid summer when ozone concentrations are at their HIHGEST. I showed by statistical analysis that the increase in admissions in winter months is positively correlated with MTBE usage and not with cold temperatures. I had expected that my presentation would be seen as extremely provocative and that I would be challenged into heated debated. Exactly the opposite happened. There were no questions at all, and a few attendees expressed great interest in my ideas in private discussions.
During coffee break, I was approached by two pulmonologists from New Jersey. (The New Jersey branch of the ALA was also a sponser.) One doctor congratulated me several times for my "courage" in presenting this data. If he has reason to believe that I am in some danger for presenting this data, he did not explain it. He expressed the opinion that neurological sensitivity to chemicals is important in various types of respiratory disorders, a point on which we agreed. The second pulmonologist told me rather sheepishly that he had seen a patient who had driven gasoline trucks with MTBE-RFG and felt he had developed respiratory disease from it. He told me that he (the doctor) had tried to learn about this problem by calling someone at Mobil Oil company, only to be told that MTBE was safe and could not cause the problem. When he told that to his patient, the man never came back. The doctor's attitude seemed to be that he had learned something valuable from me. I advised him to contact the Environmental and Occupational Health Department at Rutgers University for more unbiased information. I have previously heard of many many cases of people who had unsatisfactory treatment from their doctors who doubted that their problem could be related to MTBE. This was the first time that I heard about this sort of interaction from the physician's perspective.
Evidently, there were no policy making ALA people at the meeting, or if there were, they chose to remain silent.
Peter M. Joseph, Ph.D.
Professor of Radiologic Physics in Radiology
Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA, 19104
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OK, How about Some Ideas?
By Deke (Diakon)
Since beginning this page, I've been so involved in counseling and debate that my attention to this page has been weak. I'm looking for some good links, articles, and suggestions for articles on scientific subjects. I am especially interested in Scientific Creationsim, and would like to post articles by professional Creationist scientists to this page. I'm also interested in conservative issues from the scientific perspective, as is the case of the first essay on this page by a well-knon but outspoken non-religious (perhaps agnostic) scientist, Dr. Bill Wattenburg. Needless to say, good essays and articles by non-Christians are quite acceptable.
The articles should be in the public domain, or have a copyright notice which permits publication without permission. If the article is exceptional, I will write to the author if publication permission is required. I always include hot links within articles to the author's web site unless there are "Christian-incompatible" articles there. If the site is not "Christian-compatible" and requires a link, it will not use the article on this site.
So, if you have any favorite "Christian-compatible"science sites, science articles, or science essays, let me know. Use the e-mail link, below. Thanks for the help, and for logging on.
PLEASE COME BACK AGAIN!