Sunday, July 29, 2007

GOP operatives trample public health

By Libby

Every day brings new revelations of just how callously the Bush White House has politicized every, single, blessed, agency of our government. Sure, every president has appointed his cronies to high public office, but until now, they at least made an effort to appoint agency heads that were qualified in the areas they oversaw. In the Bush administration, qualified opinions are a liability. The only criteria that counts is political loyalty and a willingness to subvert the public good to protect Republican party interests.

Thus we have the EPA erroneously assuring New Yorkers that post-9/11 air was fit to breathe, the FCC covering up how media consolidation has disrupted the flow of honest reporting and numerous instances of withheld climate disruption data just to name a few. In today's news, we find another instance of suppression of public heath information.
A surgeon general's report in 2006 that called on Americans to help tackle global health problems has been kept from the public by a Bush political appointee without any background or expertise in medicine or public health, chiefly because the report did not promote the administration's policy accomplishments, according to current and former public health officials.

The report described the link between poverty and poor health, urged the U.S. government to help combat widespread diseases as a key aim of its foreign policy, and called on corporations to help improve health conditions in the countries where they operate. A copy of the report was obtained by The Washington Post. [...]

Carmona told lawmakers that, as he fought to release the document, he was "called in and again admonished . . . via a senior official who said, 'You don't get it.' " He said a senior official told him that "this will be a political document, or it will not be released."

Three people directly involved in its preparation said its publication was blocked by William R. Steiger, a specialist in education and a scholar of Latin American history whose family has long ties to President Bush and Vice President Cheney. Since 2001, Steiger has run the Office of Global Health Affairs in the Department of Health and Human Services.

What makes this even more egregious is that these suppressed reports are being paid for with our tax dollars and some incompetent twit, who probably graduated from a neo-con funded college, is being given the power to arbitrarily withhold it after praying for guidance to their favorite diety, the RNC.

As Steve Benen points out, there's a very long list of this sort of disappeared information. (By the way, I think it's time that list was bumped up to the front page again and updated). Small wonder the average Jake can't comprehend the full scope of this administration's malfeasance. It's so all encompassing, it's like standing on your front porch and trying to comprehend the immensity of the universe. It's too big to see all at once, so the mind tends to focus on just the one visible piece of sky.

I don't know how to make it comprehensible to the average voter but I do know we ignore it, or resign ourselves to its inevitability, at our own peril. As GTL pointed out months ago, we are under attack and our first line of defense it to remove all the partisan neoconservative Republicans from power.

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