Brownie News

I swear, the Bushies know how to pick ’em. Andrew Revkin reports in today’s New York Times:

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.

Reading between the lines, ones suspects NASA scientists had been complaining about Mr. Deutsch:

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.

The 24-year-old Deutsch was given a job writing for the NASA public affairs office after working on Bush’s re-election campaign and inauguration committee. He had claimed to have a Bachelor degree in journalism from Texas A&M, which says he doesn’t. A copy of Mr. Deutsch’s resume had been forwarded to the New York Times by “someone working in NASA headquarters.” This someone and others at NASA told the NY Times that “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.”

Blogger Nick Anthis of The Scientific Activist had uncovered Deutsch’s resume padding a couple of days ago.

But the real issue, as expressed by Scott Shields at MyDD:

Pardon me for a moment, but what in the hell?!?! How on Earth (no pun intended) does a 24 year old kid who didn’t even finish college get to work for NASA in a position where he has control over information to such a degree? Yes, to that’s somewhat of a rhetorical question. Of course I know the answer is that he was a Bush appointee. (Heckuva job, Deutschy.) But what I really don’t understand is why a position like this is filled by political appointment. There should be no politics whatsoever involved in NASA’s press office. It’s absolutely absurd to me that this is the way things are handled down there.

It’s not startling to me that a 24-year-old might have gotten an entry-level writer’s job in the public affairs office, but it’s astonishing that the little twerp actually was calling the shots about what the public affairs office was sending to the public. You’d expect that someone with that kind of authority would have a little more seniority. But Deutsch, apparently, was sending directives to NASA scientists without going through a supervisor.

In other Brownie News, Warren P. Strobel of Knight Ridder reports that old-hand weapons experts are leaving the State Department in droves.

State Department officials appointed by President Bush have sidelined key career weapons experts and replaced them with less experienced political operatives who share the White House and Pentagon’s distrust of international negotiations and treaties.

The reorganization of the department’s arms control and international security bureaus was intended to help it better deal with 21st-century threats. Instead, it’s thrown the agency into turmoil and produced an exodus of experts with decades of experience in nuclear arms, chemical weapons and related matters, according to 11 current and former officials and documents obtained by Knight Ridder.

The reorganization was conducted largely in secret by a panel of four political appointees. A career expert was allowed to join the group only after most decisions had been made. Its work was overseen by Frederick Fleitz, a CIA officer who was detailed to the State Department as senior adviser to former Undersecretary of State John Bolton, a critic of arms agreements and international organizations. [emphasis added]

Maybe we should just change the name of Washington, DC to “Mayberry, home of the Mayberry Machiavellis” and be done with it.

Update: Eric Alterman writes,

Is it the incompetence? The ideology? The Dishonesty? Every day we find these three defining characteristics of the Bush Administration in competition with one another to define its most essential quality. Everyone in this government is Michael Brown, from George W. Bush right on down. Today’s Exhibit A is 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. Turns out the 24 year old writer and editor in NASA’s public affairs office lied about, get this, graduating college. And this lying little pisher was telling James E. Hansen what he could and couldn’t say about the science of Global Warming. Really, would James Frey even dare make these people up? Doesn’t every single person in the country who ever said a word about George W. Bush’s “competence” owe an apology to every single other person in the world? (Plus the little twerp’s a polar bear killer.)

15 thoughts on “Brownie News

  1. I once toured an old Russian submarine – at the time it was a companion to the Queen Mary, both were anchored as tourist attractions in Long Beach, CA. Inside the incredibly cramped quarters was a room for “the political officer”. At the time I laughed, but I now realize that this is exactly what Deutsch’s position was at NASA.

    It didn’t matter that this kid had no degree, all that’s required of a political officer is loyalty. Thank God he lied on his resume, which gave his superiors an easy reason for dismissal.

  2. Mayberry DC has a nice ring to it, but doesn’t do justice to the original. more like Moscow DC: apparatchiks welcome all others must go to thought control.

  3. Alterman’s mention of the James Frey scandal brought things into focus for me. All this attention is paid to one book writer who fudged some content, as if, OMG, Western Civ will crumble! Meanwhile we’re willing to live with the lies over WMDs, Plame, domestic wiretaps, Halliburton, presidential appointees.

    If Oprah Winfrey were president, would we give a crap then?!

  4. I hear that the experienced career professionals in the CIA are being driven out and replaced with an army of yes men. Now the criteria for a good agent is the ability to support the presidents assertions with facts real or fabricated. Porter Goss has recently launched a campaign to root out any agents who deviate from the party line..

    It seems Bush has done a pretty thorough job of stacking all federal agencies with inbreds.

  5. Thanks Swami for a great word—-Inbreds!

    The ‘would be King’ Bush populates his royal court with inbreds.

    Genetic modification of young Republican inbreds: replace competency gene with loyalty-to-the-leader sheeple gene, after first replacing independent thinking gene with sloganeering gene extracted from host/body Rove’s aberrant DNA.

    As triumphantly noted by Republican geneticists, “We had the added good luck when extracting from body host Rove to also replace ‘attacks of conscience’ capacity with ‘smear anyone different’ capacity.”

  6. So, basically, this is a slow motion coup by the people in power? Why? Because they want to remain in power? I wonder how well it will work when 2008 rolls around. Party loyalty is one thing but you know every elected official wakes up and sees the next POTUS when they look in the mirror…

  7. The biggest irony is that most evangelicals don’t really have a problem with the Big Bang – they see it as evidence of a sudden and instantaneous creation like in Genesis. They like it a lot better than the competing Steady State Theory, which postulates the universe developing slowly over eons.

    Deutsch isn’t even a competent wingnut.

  8. How come so many are surprised by the APPOINTEDs to the various positions to find they got their assignments due to wonking on the political campaigns? Find that somewhat amazing and NAIVE . Think of all the various positions FILLED due to such by the POWER holders…of course they will stack /fill those desks with folks who they figure loyal to their agenda. That goes for clericals as well who so often merely toss much in the circular file straight off rather than “bother” another with it when they KNOW it is not in accord.
    The Bush folks have been MASTERFUL at being able to stack the deck…LOL, look at the prescreened audiences and now more careful NOT to get caught suggesting even the questions or comments pre clearances they STILL DO…Come on folks…These folks did indeed LEARN the ART of all this well and if anything , the amazement should be at how well crafted and good they are at it and befuddled the opposition REMAINS which is exhibitted time after time by THEIR INABILITY to articulate a cohisive clear OPPOSITON and merely get themselves tagged as non Patriots, obstructionists, angry and the like no matter how TRUTHFUL they are in their presentations. WE DO KNOW FULL WELL THERE WERE NO WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION OVER THERE AND DO KNOW FULL WELL THERE IS INDEED MASS DECEPTION HERE IN THE HOMELAND AND MASS MISDIRECTION AS WELL!!!

  9. Another BTW, LOL…Bush has a PRESIDENTIAL appointed hired hand for DOG WALKING who resides at the residence…He is a college drop out , former boyfriend of one of the daughters and GETS PAID $70, 000 a year PLUS BENEFITS…..Can think of many a college drop out or never went that would like such a gig but just do NOT have the ‘right connections” to obtain ! ! !

  10. BTW, Caught you on C-span…THANKS…your present a lucid PROGRESSIVE and had to laugh a bit at the Texas caller who claimed to have flown with Bush in the NG and said he remembers Bush making ALL his flights and even VOLUNTEERING to GO TO NAM…..You were quite “classy” in the way you responded, would not have been able to make such a response to such as that caller for would have been rolling on floor in gaffaws of laughter at the absurd declarations he made !!! Strange, but you were right on, NONE have ever stepped PUBLICLY forward…the best to date on Bush NG service, One saying he remembers George sitting reading FLT MANUAL and a Dentist vists record and oh, of course the pay stubs. LOL and thensome…thanks for showing Progressive are indeed lucid and sane and measured in thoughtful ability to respond to the myriad inputs you took on this am/afternoon. It IS appreciated and hey, they would be hard pressed to declare you an ANGRY rep!!! ; )

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