July 19, 2007

"Didn't want to hear the science"

I blogged about former Surgeon General Richard Carmona saying that the Bush people muzzled him. What I didn't realize was the extent. Last night's Daily Show pointed out this little story
For example, he said he wasn't allowed to make a speech at the Special Olympics because it was viewed as benefiting a political opponent. However, he said was asked to speak at events designed to benefit Republican lawmakers.
Evidently that refers to the Kennedy's long standing support for Special Olympics. Just think of that. Bush people would rather spite a political enemy than support Special Olympians? WWJD?

Interesting little note about Koop's tenure as SG and his relationship with Reagan. Makes Ronnie look about ten times more principled than George.
Koop is probably the most recognized former surgeon general. He talked about AIDS as a public health issue rather than a moral issue, which won him many admirers and some critics. He said President Reagan was pressed to fire him every day, but Reagan would not interfere.

Back to Carmona.
Another report, on global health challenges, was never released after the administration demanded changes that he refused to make, Carmona said.

"I was told this would be a political document or you're not going to release it." Carmona said. "I said it can't be a political document because the surgeon general never releases political documents. I release scientific documents that will help our elected officials and the citizens understand the complex world we live in and what their responsibilities are."

He refused to identify the officials who sought the changes.
But his name rhymes with Sharl Trove.
Carmona said he believed the surgeon general should show leadership on health issues. But his speeches were edited by political appointees, and he was told not to talk about certain issues. For example, he supported comprehensive sex education that would include abstinence in the curriculum, rather than focusing solely on abstinence.

"However, there was already a policy in place that didn't want to hear the science, but wanted to quote, unquote preach abstinence, which I felt was scientifically incorrect," Carmona said.
Politics first, policy second, and science dead last. Exactly what we have feared from these people, but time after time, report after report, event after event, we see exactly that. As this (Madison, WI) letter to the editor reminded us:
"Instead of putting experienced foreign affairs people in jobs to handle the Iraqi transition from Saddam Hussein to some form of democracy, the administration filled those jobs with inexperienced, mostly young people, whose only qualification was that they were doctrinaire Republicans. "
This administration has inflicted such great damage on our national security, our international standing, our public health, our environment, our social contract, our constitutional standards, our political system, etc., etc.. As Dave Zweifel (our letter writer and Capital Times editor) put it:
If lying about sex gets you impeached, what do we do with an administration whose lies have led to a world calamity and whose ideology trumps even common sense? The answer couldn't be more clear.

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