Science, Public Health Get Bushwhacked


Want to talk about government conspiracies? The Bush administration has repeatedly tried to weaken or suppress key public-health reports because they were contrary to its political agenda, according to former Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona. Carmona, who spoke with a Congressional panel on Tuesday, served for one four-year term from 2002 to 2006.

Just some of the subjects Carmona said he was gagged from speaking or issuing reports about: stem cells, emergency contraception, and sex education, as well as prison, mental, and global health issues. "I was told to stay away from those because we've already decided which way we want to go," Carmona said.

Top officials delayed a landmark report on secondhand smoke for years, he said, and tried to "water [it] down" when it was finally released last year. (It concluded that even brief exposure to cigarette smoke could cause immediate harm.)

Meanwhile, officials also concluded that global warming was a liberal cause and dismissed it, Carmona said.

Repeat after us: Where the hell are we, and what are we doing in this handbasket?Carmona said he was ordered to mention the Commander in Chief three times on every page of his speeches (we're assuming he couldn't just insert "George W. Bush is a poopyhead" every few paragraphs or so). He also said he was asked to make speeches in support of Republican political candidates.

While Carmona declined from naming names, he did say that the people involved included assistant secretaries of the Department of Health and Human Services, as well as top political appointees outside the Department of Health.

Bill Hall, a spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services said that the administration disagreed with Carmona's testimony. "It has always been this administration's position that public health policy should be rooted in sound science," Hall said.

Of course. :: The New York Times

See also: :: Brief for George W. Bush on Climate Change, :: Is George Bush a Closet Green?, and :: A Bush Administration Policy Adjustment