Friday, December 6, 2013

The War on Science in the Age of Ignorance

Since Ronald Reagan ushered in the Age of Ignorance in 1980, the Republican Party has dumbed down America through Fox News and Talk Radio.  There is a reason Fox News and Talk Radio are banned in Canada.  It’s the ignorance and hatred stupid. 

Anyone who has seen the movie Hotel Rwanda knows how powerful hatred and ignorance being bombarded over the airwaves is.  Talk radio in Rwanda called the Tutsi’s cockroaches that had to be chopped down by the Hutu’s.  That message was drilled in over and over, day after day until the genocide.  That is no different than the messages that are drilled in over and over, day after day in the United States by Fox News and Talk Radio.

Remember Rush Limbaugh’s attacks on Michael J. Fox and Christopher Reeve for supporting embryonic stem cell research?  Embryos that were created in a Petri dish and frozen for the purpose of reproduction were burned or discarded if not used for reproduction.  Prior to the anti-science George W. Bush, leaps and bounds were made in the science world using the unused embryos for research rather than just destroying them.

The attacks on science under George W. Bush and the slashing of funding for life-saving research into rare diseases, cancer, brain injuries, and brain diseases like schizophrenia, autism, Alzheimer’s plus a myriad of other conditions that affect the quality and quantity of life were devastating.  These devastating cuts have been continued and increased under President Barack Obama.  That’s right, it’s worse under Obama.

On Friday, December 6th C-Span’s Washington Journal had an entire show on the effects of sequestration on the National Institutes of Health.  NIH is the largest supporter of biomedical research in the world and with the cuts under the Bush Administration and the sequestration cuts under the Obama Administration, the loss of scientists and medical research has been mind numbing. 

Dr. Francis Collins, the Director of the NIH was the first guest.  Dr. Collins headed up the Gnome project under President Clinton.  The Gnome project has been called the biggest scientific advancement since President John F. Kennedy’s project to put a man on the moon.

Dr. Collins said “internationally things are so exciting right now scientifically, there’s never been a time of such promise, but frankly things have never been so constrained in terms of resources”. 

Dr. Collins said “this is a historically difficult moment in lack of support for science that began 10 years ago.  In 2003 President Clinton’s Gnome initiative was stymied by the incurious George W. Bush. 

Funding for the NIH went flat under George W. Bush and when adjusted for inflation the cut was about 3% per year.  On top of that, on March 21st, 2013 the NIH lost $1.5 Billion dollars for research under Barack Obama’s sequestration.  All totaled the NIH has lost 25% of their research money over the last 10 years.
Dr. Collins said that sequester has done so much damage that scientists are leaving the U.S. for countries that are more enlightened.  The investment in NIH is a wonderful support of the economy.  When you talk about the return on investment of the funds going to all 50 states, you get a 2 fold return in just one year.

According to Dr. Collins, Neuroscience Research is the last frontier in medical research.  The human brain is the most complicated structure in the universe with 86 billion neurons, each with about 1,000 connections.  

The $1.5 billion that has been cut for brain science under sequestration in order to provide tax cuts for billionaires and banks could fund brain disease research to identify abnormalities 10 years before any onset of illness.  What is the cost to our nation for untreated brain and mental illness?  Is that worth low taxes to become an ignorant nation that has no value for its citizens and their well-being?

Obama is not a Democrat, never was, he is a Ronald Reagan Republican.  He has said over and over that he wanted to be transformative President like Ronald Reagan.  

Where presidents like William Jefferson Clinton and John Fitzgerald Kennedy were visionaries seeing man on the moon and science creating a toolkit to repair your body from your own Gnomes, Obama and Reagan saw a waste of money.

Obama is no Kennedy and no Clinton.  He has achieved his goal of becoming the transformational president that Reagan was.  Every human need is for sale to the highest bidder. 

By Patricia Baeten.   

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