The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The politicization of existence.

Yesterday, the administration's first Surgeon General, Richard Carmona, testified before Congress. For the most part is was "business as usual" BushCo nonsense. Which is to say that his role was to protect corporate interests:

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.

as well as prop up the myth of Fearless Leader:

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.

It's bad enough that the top dog in public health was fully expected to be an apparatchik first and guardian of the public second. But other revelations demonstrated how pathological the Republican party has become in their partisan zeal.

And administration officials even discouraged him from attending the Special Olympics because, he said, of that charitable organization’s longtime ties to a “prominent family” that he refused to name.

“I was specifically told by a senior person, ‘Why would you want to help those people?’ ” Dr. Carmona said.

The Special Olympics is one of the nation’s premier charitable organizations to benefit disabled people, and the Kennedys have long been deeply involved in it.

Yep. We must only involve ourselves with right charities, comrade, so that we encourage right thoughts.

Coming up tomorrow-- confirmation hearings for anti-science winger James W. Holsinger get underway. You can check out his background and decades-long obsession with gay men here. The primary defense of Holsinger is from evangelicals, claiming once again that white male Christians are being persecuted for their faith. I mean, would we ever deny a Christian Scientist the position of Surgeon General of the United States because of his religious beliefs? Of course we would, and for reasons a preschooler could understand. That doesn't make it a war on religion, just a desire to choose as 'public health czar' someone who isn't openly hostile to his own job. But that, too, is pure 21st-century GOP.