The Associated Press reported on August 7 that Rep. Brad Miller (D-NC), who supports an overhaul of the health care system, apparently had his life threatened by a caller who is associated with the right-wing thugs who have been suppressing discussion of health care reform at town hall meetings. Miller, who chairs the Investigation and Oversight Subcommittee of the House Committee on Science and Technology, has repeatedly earned our praise for his efforts on behalf of scientific integrity and government accountability, his opposition to the global warming disinformation campaign, and his support for whistleblowers.
Post by Rick Piltz
Fundamental reform of the health care system and responding to the threat of climate disruption are, each in its own way, highly complex problems facing this society. They present challenges to the political system that would be difficult to solve even if everyone was acting in good faith, with pragmatic efforts. But the rising level of aggressive ignorance and toxicity in our public discourse, and the strength, even as a minority, of relentless, hard-over opponents of effective government action, is making it more difficult even to have an intelligent public discussion of these issues.
People who hate the leadership and the direction the country voted for in the last election are playing with fire. Corporate special interests and right-wing politicians and commentators are demagoguing health care reform in the media and encouraging mob tactics to sabotage public events. They are cynical and opportunistic and won’t hesitate to do something similar with climate and energy policy if they think it will help them undermine the chances for reform. Even if they can be outvoted and reforms can be enacted, they are increasing the likelihood of violence by the crazies in their midst.
A few examples from our earlier posts of how we noticed and why we like Rep. Miller:
House Science Committee takes a step toward protecting honest climate science communication
Posted on Friday, March 30, 2007
At its March 28 hearing on “Shaping the Message, Distorting the Science,” the House Science Investigation & Oversight Subcommittee considered testimony based on two reports—one, by the Government Accountability Project, released March 27, that documents in detail how Bush administration political officials have manipulated climate science communication, and the other a recent report that documents the global warming disinformation campaign funded by ExxonMobil. The witnesses who spoke about these reports made excellent recommendations designed to ensure the protection of federal climate scientists and undercut the disinformation campaign….
House Science investigations chairman calls on Exxon to account for global warming denial funding
Posted on Monday, May 21, 2007
On May 17 the Chairman of the Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee of the House Committee on Science and Technology sent a letter to ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson calling for a full accounting of ExxonMobil’s financial support of the global warming denial and disinformation political campaign. Denialist operatives and their allies will no doubt launch their usual bogus complaint that raising this issue this is somehow an effort to suppress honest scientific discussion and analysis. The opposite is the case, as AAAS President-elect Prof. James McCarthy’s March 28 testimony before the subcommittee clarified….
Report on ATSDR health warning failure on FEMA trailers and whistleblower retaliation
Posted on Saturday, October 25, 2008
According to a damning House Science & Technology Committee investigative staff report, the leadership of the federal Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry (ATSDR) is responsible for a systematic failure to provide public health protection in connection with assessing the risk of toxic formalehyde in trailers provided by FEMA to house Hurricane Katrina vicitms, and for retaliation against agency whistleblower Christopher De Rosa for raising issues that pointed essentially to how ATSDR was colluding with FEMA to present a misleading assessment to play down health risks….
From Rep. Miller’s web site: