"Stand Down, Don't Talk About It"

by digby

Wow. Check out today's testimony from Bush's last Surgeon General, Dr Richard Carmona:

“Anything that doesn’t fit into the political appointees’ ideological, theological or political agenda is ignored, marginalized or simply buried,” Dr. Richard Carmona, who served as the nation’s top doctor from 2002 until 2006, told a House of Representatives committee.”The problem with this approach is that in public health, as in a democracy, there is nothing worse than ignoring science, or marginalizing the voice of science for reasons driven by changing political winds. The job of surgeon general is to be the doctor of the nation, not the doctor of a political party,” Carmona added.

Carmona said Bush administration political appointees censored his speeches and kept him from talking out publicly about certain issues, including the science on embryonic stem cell research, contraceptives and his misgivings about the administration’s embrace of “abstinence-only” sex education.


Carmona said he was politically naive when he took the job, but became astounded at the partisanship and manipulation he witnessed as administration political appointees hemmed him in.

Carmona said the administration prevented him from voicing views on stem cell research. Many scientists see it as a promising avenue for curing many diseases. But because it involves destroying human embryos, opponents call it immoral.

Carmona said he was prevented from talking publicly even about the science underpinning the research to enable the U.S. public to have a better understanding of a complicated issue. He said most of the public debate over the matter has been driven by political, ideological or theological motivations.

“I was blocked at every turn. I was told the decision had already been made — stand down, don’t talk about it,” he said.

Carmona said some of his predecessors told him, “We have never seen it as partisan, as malicious, as vindictive, as mean-spirited as it is today, and you clearly have it worse than anyone’s had.”

We knew all this, of course. But the most important theme that's emerging these days about the lawless Republican rule of the past decade is their manipulation of non-partisan government agencies for political gain. (Considering these people took office through a partisan congressional impeachment followed by a corrupt Supreme Court decision, this shouldn't have been any kind of surprise.) This kind of testimony is important for hammering that home.

The Universal Health blog has Carmona and Waxman's video. It'll make the hair on the back of your neck stand up.

Update: Speaking of hair on the back of your neck standing up, check this out from Kevin Drum. Seriously, lead poisoning is a scourge and it does make people stupid and violent -- which explains why Bush is pushing to loosen the restrictions. It's the last of Rove's plan to create a Republican majority.