Me on Holsinger
The transcription of my appearance on Democracy Now is kind of jumbled. I recommend viewing or listening to the show here. But here is an excerpt anyway:
AMY GOODMAN: Max Blumenthal, you’ve been writing about Dr. Holsinger’s record. Put it in a bigger context. What is the Bush administration doing with this nomination for Surgeon-General?
MAX BLUMENTHAL: Well, this nomination is another sop to the Christian Right. They’re trying to get their base revved up. I subscribe to various Christian Right newsletters and they’re just bombarding me with e-mails and newsletters saying this is another case of religious bigotry by the Democrats. They’re forcing Dr. Holsinger to check his Christianity at the door. So even if his nomination fails they’ve gotten the base revved up, theyâ€™ve gotten the Christian Right interested again. The Christian Right essentially controls this administration so they’re doing lot of damage in the process by nominating someone to a scientific institution who’s hostile to science. Someone who has shown in his career almost as much hostility to homosexuals as he has to disabled veterans before Walter Reed made it cool to abuse veterans, Dr. Holsinger as head of the VA was forced to personally admit blame for six deaths at a Chicago hospital he administered. 30 hospitals he administered were ruled by a government investigation to have substandard care for veterans. I think Dr. Holsinger might argue that he can hold these views about homosexuals and still be qualified for Surgeon-General. But he can’t argue that he doesn’t believe in science. And that’s just on the record. It’s established if you believe in ex-gay therapy, which he does, if you believe you can pray away the gay, which he does, you are rejecting 30 years of science. The American Psychiatric Association, the largest association of mental health professionals, has stopped listing homosexuality as a mental disorder in 1974. They have contributed to virtually every Surgeon-General’s annual report. So he’s rejecting the mental health community right there. And this reflects a larger trend in the administration of hostility to science. You have the NASA chief, Michael Griffin who doesn’t believe global warming exists. You have the former chair of the President’s council on bioethics which rubber stamped his veto of stem cell science. Leon Kass who says that womenâ€™s natural function in life is to have children. And he’s spoken out most fervently against what he sees is one of the biggest social evils, the public licking of ice cream cones. Another member of the presidentâ€™s council of bioethics, Robert George who Iâ€™ve profiled for The Nation, wants laws enacted to ban masturbation which would sort of create a vicious cycle once you throw people in prison for that because there’s nothing else to do. Robert Brame, nominated for the national labor relations board, believes that homosexuals, abortion doctors and disobedient children should be executed according to biblical law. Joe McIlhaney, former co-chair of the presidentâ€™s advisory council on AIDs, still a member, believes AIDs can be spread by sweat and tears. Current co-chair Senator Coburn, anti-condemn activist. His chief of staff told me at a right winged conference I was covering that he thinks liberal federal judges should not only be impeached but impailed as well. So you have in charge of scientific institutions sexual troglodytes who might be qualified to administer tribal regions in Pakistan but they are just not qualified to be in charge of these institutions. So I think the nightmare isn’t over. We have one year left but the administration continues throwing these sops to the base. You saw in your last segment how they fomented a civil crisis in Gaza, well they fomented a culture war at home.