Power and Politics - I am Not the Yellow Peril

The life and times of an Asian American activist who tells all the truth (and dishes news and analysis) but with a leftwards slant.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Surgeon General felt WH pressure to politick

Former US Surgeon General Richard Carmona recently testified to a Congressional committee about how much he was pressured to hew to the Republican line, despite being the nation's foremost doctor. Via NYTimes:

The administration, Dr. Carmona said, would not allow him to speak or issue reports about stem cells, emergency contraception, sex education, or prison, mental and global health issues. Top officials delayed for years and tried to “water down” a landmark report on secondhand smoke, he said. Released last year, the report concluded that even brief exposure to cigarette smoke could cause immediate harm.

Dr. Carmona said he was ordered to mention President Bush three times on every page of his speeches. He also said he was asked to make speeches to support Republican political candidates and to attend political briefings.

The worst part is the White House's response: it's your own damn fault you didn't speak up.

Emily Lawrimore, a White House spokeswoman, said the surgeon general “is the leading voice for the health of all Americans.”

“It’s disappointing to us,” Ms. Lawrimore said, “if he failed to use this position to the fullest extent in advocating for policies he thought were in the best interests of the nation.”

This is just plain insulting. If your speeches and testimonies and policy memos are all being edited, stripped down like hookers, then you have NO POWER TO ADVOCATE. Which is made abundantly clear:

In his testimony, Dr. Carmona said that at first he was so politically naïve that he had little idea how inappropriate the administration’s actions were. He eventually consulted six previous surgeons general, Republican and Democratic, and all agreed, he said, that he faced more political interference than they had.

On issue after issue, Dr. Carmona said, the administration made decisions about important public health issues based solely on political considerations, not scientific ones.

“I was told to stay away from those because we’ve already decided which way we want to go,” Dr. Carmona said.

He described attending a meeting of top officials in which the subject of global warming was discussed. The officials concluded that global warming was a liberal cause and dismissed it, he said.

“And I said to myself, ‘I realize why I’ve been invited. They want me to discuss the science because they obviously don’t understand the science,’ ” he said. “I was never invited back.”

Global warming is a make-believe liberal issue?!?!? Energy companies far and wide are adopting stances to address global warming, and the Financial Times recently ran an op-ed on global warming.

Not much more about this White House needs to be said apart from, "George Bush Is Craaaaaaazy. I think he's craaaazy, I really do."

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