How Do Some People Come Up With The Energy To Care?

I am baffled!  Baffled I say, at just how much controversy has been kicked up over President Elect Obama’s pick to be… wait for it (bet you thought I was going to be talking about CIA director, didn’t you), Surgeon General!  Wait, let me say that again… SURGEON GENERAL!  You know, the post that hasn’t been filled since C. Everett Koop?

Okay, so maybe there have been Surgeons General since the stepping down of the guy who looked like the Gordon’s Fisherman’s father, but can you name any of them?  I only remember Koop because he came on during my after school specials and told me not to smoke, which I ended up doing anyway, so a fat lot of good that did.

The fact of the matter is, the Surgeon General just isn’t all that important.  I mean, it’s not like he’s on par with SecState or SecDef.  No, the Surgeon General is defined as such:

The Surgeon General serves as America’s chief health educator by providing Americans the best scientific information available on how to improve their health and reduce the risk of illness and injury.

So, really, Sanjay Gupta would be a pretty decent Surgeon General.  He’s a pretty well respected doctor, and he is both experienced in addressing Americans regarding medical concerns in a broad distribution format, and Americans seem to trust him.  What’s the big?  It’s not like he’s going to be deciding policy (though, I guess I’ll jump on the bandwagon in wanting to know his thoughts on masturbation… not like his opinions are going to stop me).

Oh, right, he argued with Michael Moore, badly.  My bad, I totally forgot that this not only disqualified Gupta from being Surgeon General, but also from any office in the Federal Government, including mine (which he wouldn’t take anyway because the pay cut alone would leave him catatonic, but that’s neither here nor there).

I mean, seriously folks.  It’s an inconsequential post, and you want to get your hackles raised over a botched interview with a documentarian?  Are you kidding me?  Look, if you’re going to take every slight against the holy name of Liberalism as a mortal sin, you’re going to find governance both very lonely, and very hard.

9 Responses to “How Do Some People Come Up With The Energy To Care?”

  1. Zas says:

    Tell me you didn’t just toss Joycelyn “Jack” Elders into the memory hole?!?

    As a member of the Loyal Opposition during the Time of the Clintonistas, I was unhappy about how she was treated over her remarks on sexuality and drug decriminalization. Now, who was the White House Chief of Staff who helped show her the door?

    Oh, that’s right… DCI nominee Leon Panetta.

    Look, if you’re going to take every slight against the holy name of Liberalism as a mortal sin, you’re going to find governance both very lonely, and very hard.

    Oh, too true!

    p.s. Slick comment editor… didn’t know you could get that on WordPress.

  2. tas says:

    Bloggers are angry and have way too much time on their hands. That’s one reason.

    I was going to bring up the Michael Moore thing before opening this post. That has still soured me on Gupta, to be honest. I think the anger from this appointment rises from Gupta being part of the SCLM which continually lies, but also the fact that there’s probably 10 zillion other people out there who could do this job, better, and without controversy. What’s the point of hiring Gupta? Now we on the left side of the fence have to take, “OBAMA IS CONNECTED TO THE CLINTON NEWS NETWORK!” frothing at the mouth accusations for the next 4-8 years.

  3. Dustin says:

    Sure doesn’t help any when the very people who will likely get sick of hearing the argument are the ones making it now because they’re pissed their poster boy had an argument with the guy.

  4. Annie says:


    Respectfully, I vehemently disagree. The Surgeon General position is important, but you have only seen it lately as a factotum of Bush-carrying, science-undermining placeholders. I wrote about health policy, professional nursing and patient advocacy for several years, but I was and am still dismissed out of hand. Progressives do not read substantive posts about policy and the decimation of government functions and the public well-being.

    I wrote specifically about former Surgeon General Rich Carmona and what he offered during Congressional testimony. It was hair-raising, but it didn’t garner a ripple from progressives. Carmona has excellent emergency preparedness expertise and experience. He testified that he requested to be sent to New Orleans as a Katrina first responder and that he was denied. Gupta never mentioned that.

    Gupta, on the other hand, reports advertiser, commercial pharma crap as unbiased health reportage. He stays to a Wall Street Journal, free market, traditional corporate model of healthcare reportage messaging. He is a commercial sell-out, and he also has many undisclosed conflicts of interest.

    Moreoever, there is a growing body of evidence that commissioned officers of the USPHS working in the DIHS – the branch that Gupta would be attached to – have been used as agents of abuse and torture on immigrant detainees. The Surgeon General would certainly be obligated to investigate that and report, but no one has. Sec HHS Leavitt has methodically weaponized HHS and used it against the health of the citizenry. DIHS, which was accountable to the USPHS somehow magically migrated to ICA and DHS, and no one is investigating or stopping abusive practices. So not unsurprisingly, people are suffering and dying and no one is doing anything about it.

    Gupta has never investigated any Bush/Leavitt/HHS policy or practice. He’s remained silent while the FDA and CDC abdicated their oversight and regulatory responsibilities and imperiled the public safety. For the past eight years, Gupta has never questioned a single thing that the Bush Admin has done.

    CNN has even proudly announced that they have repressed all coverage of health policy and health reform since Obama contacted Gupta. The public can not be informed by media who deliberately and willfully withhold vital information.

    Buy a clue – read some decent health policy and reportage investigatory blogging.

    Otherwise, you are going to get exactly what you deserve – and your health will not be better as a result.

  5. Ah yes… “buy a clue”

    Sorry, you kind of killed your point right there.

  6. Annie says:

    Shoot the messenger, but it doesn’t negate the message.

    Your original premise and your response to evidence which shows it to be wanting reduces your credibility. This is disappointing, but not at all surprising.

    Groupthink and sloppy analysis is rampant among the so-called progressive bloggers. You can do better.

  7. And I would argue that self righteous folks who insult the heathens they are trying to convert are just as disappointing, and less effective. Just my thoughts.

    You don’t come here often, so I’ll explain myself a bit. I’m not much of an idealogue and my focus is primarily on the political, more specifically politics as a funciton of actually attaining progress, no matter how incremental it may be.

    Thus, whenever anyone sits down to argue with me, I don’t merely weigh the virtue of their arguement, but also the validity of that argument in a political context; the question should be asked; will this argument change minds, convince voters, or shift the political landscape.

    I applaud you for knowing more about the subject than I do, I really do. But you come to a “progressive” website, and in your attempt to show me the error of my ways, you couldn’t help but throw a little jab in. Personally, what that tells me about you is that you either aren’t effective at developing a truly convincing argument against someone who might be hostile to your views, or you just couldn’t help feeling a little superiority at knowing more than me/ having a more enlightened opinion than I do/ being more of a “true” liberal than I am.

    On all three counts, I’ll cede you your points, but what you need to know is that if the true endgame in political discussion is to change minds or strengthen your side in a debate, you have ultimately failed. Which is sad because I would probably be one among the convertable.

    All from three words…

  8. Dustin says:

    What “evidence”? You have a prebiased notion of the responsibilities and rights of the surgeon general and provide your opinion as evidence, when in reality it is at best spin and at worst irrelevant.

    You pivot your entire post around two ideas. First, that because Gupta didn’t volunteer to be a Katrina responder he’s unqualified and that Carmona did (presumably while ignoring his chain of responsibilities). Second, you argue the irrelevant point that, you claim, the PHSCC is being used to abuse, torture, and kill immigrants and yet you provide no evidence to back up your point. If you want us to take you seriously, to take your “evidence” seriously, back up your claims.

    And don’t forget, while the surgeon general may be in charge of the bureaucracy of the PHSCC they are first and foremost a spokesperson. That is, their job is to say what the White House wants them to say and do so in an effective manner that is accessible for the public.

    Gupta is a telegenic reporter with a health background; do you honestly think that he, a third level bureaucratic spokesperson, is going to destroy our health?

    Please, quit the fear mongering. Do so and you may find yourself less often “dismissed out of hand”.

    (Also, if your second assertion were true it wouldn’t be the SG investigating, it would be the Justice Department. So take your advice: “buy a clue.”)

  9. Annie says:

    Where to start….

    Kyle, I didn’t come to the site often, but I did have it in my web reader, and I read your posts for a very long time. I am much more interested in and fluent about health policy and practice and so don’t often comment about politics except where health/policy/politics intersect in areas with which I have some familiarity and/or expertise.

    I don’t know how your comment system works here, so did not attempt to hyperlink.

    But the SG position description and scope of authority is here (I am familiar with both, and it’s that on which I based my argument).

    I did not mean to infer that the SG investigates abuse and torture – absolutely the Justice Department is supposed to do that – and has failed miserably. However, Gupta never mentioned it or investigated it in his CNN teevee role, and it was described in a fair amount of detail in a week long Washington Post investigative series by Anne Goldstein and Dana Priest called “Careless Detention.”

    I blogged about my attempts to investigate further, and I presented my findings to Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a member of the Sen. Intelligence Committee when I had the opportunity to meet and speak with him last May.

    You can read about the legal aspects of practicing as a federalized nurse, how the USPHS is using nurses to violate human rights, how the US government is creating a cadre of healthcare providers who are agents of abuse and torture , and how you can support legislation to protect immigrant detainees.

    “How do some people come up with the energy to care?” Well, for this person – I have all the empty time in the world. I was a reluctant whistleblower, was fired in retaliation, blacklisted, defamed, have been unemployed for three years, and am now homeless and blog to keep myself connected with the “normal” world and to use up endless empty time while trying to stay out of the weather until the libraries are shuttered, too, since in real life I live in total ostracism and isolation.

    Forgive my sharpness with the “buy a clue” line. I can’t afford to buy food or winter boots, let alone a clue.

    So you all can laugh at and mock the homeless scum who intruded upon your progressive site. I feel the inclusion and love. I won’t darken your doorstep again, lest I sully it.

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