Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Bush working hard for title of 'Worst President Ever'

What President Bush and his administration have been doing since their first days in office is working tirelessly to gut democracy from the inside out by politicizing every aspect of the federal government. The recent and curent scandal over the attorney general firings is just the highest profile case of this process in action. It is a process by which the administration seeks to orchestrate a silent coup - where democracy ceases to function because the system of checks and balances no longer works because institutions that are supposed to serve as independent bodies have been corrupted by a network of individuals who are loyal to the conservative movement and executive authority (when the president is a Republican) and not to the rule of law and the integrity of their position.

For example, in addition to attempting to turn the Justice Department into a political arm of the Republican Party (which has really become a front for the conservative movement and the Religious Right), the President has done the same with the National Institute for Health. Mother Jones reported back in 20o2

As the nation's premier research center, the National Institutes of Health is supposed to be insulated from politics. The agency has long appointed respected health professionals -- regardless of their political beliefs -- to advisory councils that help direct the nation's medical research on everything from genetic disorders to the common cold. "The NIH casts a broad net and deliberately creates a diverse council that can give them input," says Steven Hayes, a University of Nevada professor who sits on the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse at the NIH.

But the Bush administration has been screening candidates about their political views -- an unprecedented move intended to make sure that conservatives get seats on NIH advisory councils. In some cases, Mother Jones has learned, a White House liaison with the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the NIH, has called candidates and asked detailed questions about their political leanings.
And since then, things haven't improved. The latest example of the Bush administration's attempt to subvert democracy (and reality) to ideology comes from the testimony of Bush's former Surgeon General who stated before an oversight committee

Much of the discussion was being driven by theology, ideology, pre-conceived beliefs that were scientifically incorrect. So I thought this is a perfect example of the Surgeon General being able to step forward, educate the American public as well as elected and appointed officials so that we can have, if you will, informed consent on an issue to the American public to make better decisions. I was blocked at every turn. I was told the decision had already been made. Stand down, don’t talk about it. In speeches where initially that information was put in speeches it was removed from my speeches…
And from the New York Times we hear that at one meeting of top officials global warming was dismissed as a "liberal cause." And

The administration, Dr. Carmona said, would not allow him to speak or issue reports about stem cells, emergency contraception, sex education, or prison, mental and global health issues. 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.

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.
That article also notes that previous Surgeon General's have faced political pressure under the Clinton and Reagan administration, but that no one had faced politicization to the extent that Dr. Carmona has.

As Alonzo says

Who are these creatures that they think it is morally good and proper to play political games with our health - to sell our lives to the highest bidder?
These creatures are "movement conservatives". And this is what they do in power ... they work to consolidate more power in the service of ideology. Democracy be damned.


C2H50H said...

In breaking news, a new report analyzes the Sun's output and discovers that it has actually decreased since the 1970's.

Not only does this destroy one of the major reasons for skepticism about anthropomorphic global warming, but also indicates that the effects of global warming may be on the harsh end of the IPCC range, since that range assumed that a significant portion of the warming was due to the Sun.

If the observed global warming is due almost entirely to human activity, then we may be in for a bad time due to the lack of action over the last several years.

Just An Outsider said...

Bush stil needs to keep working. If you haven't seen Bruce Reed's Wednesday column on Slate, check it out: