[Marxism] A young ignoramus

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Feb 8 10:45:41 MST 2006


Bukharin, "Philosophical Arabesques":
Today's working-class hero is totally unlike the young ignoramus in 
Fonvizin, who asked, "Why do I need to know geography, when carriage 
drivers exist?" It is the workers' enemies who are playing the role of 
ignoramus. It is they who are increasingly turning their backs on the 
intellect, which refuses to serve their ends. It is they who snatch up 
stone axes, the swastika, the horoscope. It is they who are starting to 
read haltingly from the book of history, sounding it out syllable by 
syllable. It is they who pray to stone goddesses and idols. It is they who 
have turned their backs on the future, and like Heine's dog, to which they 
have fitted a historical muzzle, they now bark with their backsides, while 
history in turn shows them only its a posteriori. Fine battles are now 
breaking out amid the grandiose festivities, and conflict envelops all areas.

===

NY Times, February 8, 2006
A Young Bush Appointee Resigns His Post at NASA
By ANDREW C. REVKIN

George C. Deutsch, the young presidential appointee at NASA who told public 
affairs workers to limit reporters' access to a top climate scientist and 
told a Web designer to add the word "theory" at every mention of the Big 
Bang, resigned yesterday, agency officials said.

Mr. Deutsch's resignation came on the same day that officials at Texas A&M 
University confirmed that he did not graduate from there, as his résumé on 
file at the agency asserted.

Officials at NASA headquarters declined to discuss the reason for the 
resignation.

"Under NASA policy, it is inappropriate to discuss personnel matters," said 
Dean Acosta, the deputy assistant administrator for public affairs and Mr. 
Deutsch's boss.

The resignation came as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration 
was preparing to review its policies for communicating science to the 
public. The review was ordered Friday by Michael D. Griffin, the NASA 
administrator, after a week in which many agency scientists and midlevel 
public affairs officials described to The New York Times instances in which 
they said political pressure was applied to limit or flavor discussions of 
topics uncomfortable to the Bush administration, particularly global warming.

"As we have stated in the past, NASA is in the process of revising our 
public affairs policies across the agency to ensure our commitment to open 
and full communications," the statement from Mr. Acosta said.

The statement said the resignation of Mr. Deutsch was "a separate matter."

Mr. Deutsch, 24, was offered a job as a writer and editor in NASA's public 
affairs office in Washington last year after working on President Bush's 
re-election campaign and inaugural committee, according to his résumé. No 
one has disputed those parts of the document.

According to his résumé, Mr. Deutsch received a "Bachelor of Arts in 
journalism, Class of 2003."

Yesterday, officials at Texas A&M said that was not the case.

"George Carlton Deutsch III did attend Texas A&M University but has not 
completed the requirements for a degree," said an e-mail message from Rita 
Presley, assistant to the registrar at the university, responding to a 
query from The Times.

Repeated calls and e-mail messages to Mr. Deutsch on Tuesday were not answered.

Mr. Deutsch's educational record was first challenged on Monday by Nick 
Anthis, who graduated from Texas A&M last year with a biochemistry degree 
and has been writing a Web log on science policy, 
scientificactivist.blogspot.com.

After Mr. Anthis read about the problems at NASA, he said in an interview: 
"It seemed like political figures had really overstepped the line. I was 
just going to write some commentary on this when somebody tipped me off 
that George Deutsch might not have graduated."

He posted a blog entry asserting this after he checked with the 
university's association of former students. He reported that the 
association said Mr. Deutsch received no degree.

A copy of Mr. Deutsch's résumé was provided to The Times by someone working 
in NASA headquarters who, along with many other NASA employees, said Mr. 
Deutsch played a small but significant role in an intensifying effort at 
the agency to exert political control over the flow of information to the 
public.

Such complaints came to the fore starting in late January, when James E. 
Hansen, the climate scientist, and several midlevel public affairs officers 
told The Times that political appointees, including Mr. Deutsch, were 
pressing to limit Dr. Hansen's speaking and interviews on the threats posed 
by global warming.

Yesterday, Dr. Hansen said that the questions about Mr. Deutsch's 
credentials were important, but were a distraction from the broader issue 
of political control of scientific information.

"He's only a bit player," Dr. Hansen said of Mr. Deutsch. " The problem is 
much broader and much deeper and it goes across agencies. That's what I'm 
really concerned about."

"On climate, the public has been misinformed and not informed," he said. 
"The foundation of a democracy is an informed public, which obviously means 
an honestly informed public. That's the big issue here."

--

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