Shame of a Nation

10 07 2007

From the NYT:

WASHINGTON, July 10 — Former Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona told a Congressional committee today that top officials in the Bush administration repeatedly tried to weaken or suppress important public health reports because of political considerations.

Dr. Carmona, who served as surgeon general from 2002 to 2006, said White House officials would not allow him to speak or issue reports about stem cells, emergency contraception, sex education, or prison, mental and global health issues because of political concerns. Top administration officials delayed for years and attempted to “water down” a landmark report on secondhand tobacco smoke, he said in sworn testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

He was ordered to mention President Bush three times on every page of every speech he gave, Dr. Carmona said. He was asked to make speeches to support Republican political candidates and to attend political briefings, at least one of which included Karl Rove, the president’s senior political adviser, he said.

Wow.  That’s crazy immoral and inappropriate on a bunch of different levels. It goes on . . .

His testimony comes two days before the Senate confirmation hearings of his designated successor, Dr. James W. Holsinger Jr., who was nominated this year by President Bush. Two members of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions have already declared their opposition to Dr. Holsinger’s nomination because of a 1991 report he wrote that concluded that homosexual sex is unnatural and unhealthy. Dr. Carmona’s testimony may further complicate Dr. Holsinger’s nomination.

On a related note, I’m about half-way through Sam Harris’ excellent (thus far) book, “The End of Faith”.  Today I read this passage:

President Bush recently decided to cut off funding to any overseas family-planning group that provides information on abortion.  According to the New York Times, this ‘has effectively stopped condom provision to 16 countries and reduced it in 13 others, including some with the world’s highest rates of AIDS infection.’  Under the influence of Christian notions of the sinfulness of sex outside of marriage, the U.S. government has required that one-third of its AIDS prevention funds allocated to Africa be squandered on teaching abstinence rather than condom use.  It is no exaggeration to say that millions could die as a direct result of this single efflorescence of religious dogmatism.”

There is no limit to my embarrassment at being labeled as an American.  How can we be the richest, most influential society on this planet and bring nothing but backwardness and ignorance to the international table.  And some of you fucking people are god damn proud.  Shame on you.

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