Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Wow, how did this get by me?

The new director of the CDC is named Robert Redfield. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (still abbreviated CDC because "prevention" was added later) is the country's public health agency. Here are some fun facts about Redfield.

He was in charge of the armed forces' response to the HIV epidemic in  the 1980s. Among his policies:

  • Mandatory HIV testing of all troops, without confidentiality. Positive tests were revealed to the entire chain of command.
  • HIV+ troops were kept in isolation and dishonorably discharged when they developed AIDS. . .
  • Which meant they were dumped on the street without health insurance and died in poverty. Many committed suicide.
He was associated with a Christian extremist organization called Americans for a Sound AIDS Policy, which called for mandatory testing of the entire population and isolation of people who were infected. He wrote the introduction to a book by the organization's leader, in which he said:

It is time to reject the temptation of denial of the AIDS/HIV crisis; to reject false prophets who preach the quick-fix strategies of condoms and free needles; to reject those who preach prejudice; and to reject those who try to replace God as judge. The time has come for the Christian community — members and leaders alike — to confront the epidemic.
The book, by W. Shepherd Smith, Jr., asserted that AIDS was God's judgment against homosexuals.

He fraudulently promoted a worthless HIV vaccine, and got congress to appropriate $20 million to study it. As the linked FP article informs:

The VaxSyn product never worked, and its elevation to top dog status, despite lack of scientific support, was denounced in the Washington Post as “pork-barrel research.” The “MicroGeneSys soap opera,” as Science reporter Jon Cohen dubbed it, dragged on through investigations and scandal into 1994. Eventually, the Army tried the concoction on more than 600 HIV-positive military personnel, concluding they showed “no clinical improvement.” In his 2001 book, Shots in the Dark, Cohen detailed the Redfield saga and showed that he continued promoting VaxSyn and using it on human volunteers with the financial support of Smith’s ASAP long after the Army had concluded it didn’t work.
Our health, and our very lives, depend on sound, science based public health policy. This dishonest, bigoted, thieving, religious fanatic lunatic is probably not the right person for the job.


Gay Boy Bob said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Don Quixote said...

Right-o. All of the lying, narcissistically disturbed freak-in-chief's cabinet picks seem to have been appointed either to destroy the department they lead or the resources it protects ... or to throw red meat to the so-called "Christian" right, horrible folks who believe themselves to be moral arbiters for the world.

I can't wait till Trump dies. And Pence. And Ryan. And any other fucking asshole freaks who believe the best Rx for the world is the Thanatos drive.

Anonymous said...


Don Quixote said...

Aren't you so clever with the retorts--GBB? The reason your posts get deleted is because Cervantes realizes the world can't handle any more fucking assholes. You don't even know what class is; you're like Trump, who casts stones with catapults because he has nothing to lose because he's sold his soul and figures everyone else has.

Well, we haven't. Life means giving a shit. I do. No apologies here! Time for those who care about the world to act with as much passion as those who want to destroy it. No labels or insults from death-mongers like yourself can negate that. But you're too idiotic to wake up.

Time for the world to fight back against people who call themselves Christians--but who are nothing but fearful freaks. And while we're at it, let's out all the other harpies of the capitalist variety.

Don Quixote said...

PS I'm immune to Trumpists like yourself. I have self-respect! So did Richard Pryor, whose expletive-laced routines cut through to the core of everyone's humanity.

So much for your substance-less one-word retorts :-) Take your shame and shove it up your ass. Don't project it onto me!

Anonymous said...

Today, there are 41 drugs available to treat HIV and with the right combination, it can keep the virus at bay. Back in the day, it was pretty much of a death sentence.

It was scary. And it was completely preventable other than accidental infection from a blood transfusion.

Dealing with a deadly disease with no known treatment and trying to stop a widespread epidemic probably seemed more important at the time than the politics of gay rights or the optics of sequestering known carriers.

ScienceMag, while acknowledging this controversial era of Dr. Redfield's career, has a different take and quotes many in the field of virology lauding his nomination.

Anonymous said...

Don Quixote said...

Once someone takes abhorrent positions like Redfield did, they're tainted forever. It is precisely his lack of character (along with his membership, apparently, in a far-right so-called "Christian" cult) that allowed him to take positions devoid of empathy, compassion, or awareness. Leopards don't change their spots; it's estimated that one out of 25 people have sociopathic tendencies. The sociopath-in-chief and his vice-sociopath-in-chief, along with the Koch sociopaths and the Ryan sociopath (and the McConnell sociopath, etc.) have appointed, exclusively, sociopaths like Pruitt, Carson, DeVos and now Redfield.

It's a sociopath club and nothing any magazine says or quotes means shit. There are plenty of ignorant people; it's like saying, when ABC News finally finds an African-American pastor willing to take payola to go on TV and support one of our Gulf War atrocities, that some minority members approve of a completely bogus, corrupt action.

Doesn't mean shit.

Anonymous said...

"Once someone takes abhorrent positions like Redfield did, they're tainted forever."
"Leopards don't change their spots",

Then you must have real problems with Hillary or even President Obama as they both took strong stands against same-sex marriage... Ya' know, before they were for it.

Then there is "Uncle Joe" whose many racist rants are legendary and too numerous to detail here.

Bernie Sanders called for the new DNC chairperson not to be a “white person.” His former spokeswoman, Symone Sanders, added, “We don’t need white people leading the Democratic party right now.” Clearly racist.

None of this means that Hillary, Obama or Bernie are bad people or are unqualified to hold office today. It means that they held different views in very different times.

Applying today's contemporary standards to acts made in the past will always disappoint.

Don Quixote said...

There's a difference in being against same-sex marriage and being obsessed with thoughts that Obama wasn't born in the USA ... or the obsession that so many right-wingnut so-called "Christians" have with homosexuality (when a surprising number of them are having secret homosexual trysts). There's a difference between understandable opinions and bigotry, between thoughtfully-arrived at positions on issues and virulent prejudices rooted in denial and racism. Just sayin'.

The racism that Biden (I assume you mean Biden) has exhibited is endemic to our society and can only be expunged through education. Shakespeare's "Merchant of Venice" is inherently anti-Jewish (yet shows compassion) and so is the Christian Bible. Time for humans to grow up or perish fighting each other.

I'm a caucasian person and I believe most caucasians are racist. I feel more comfortable around most people of African-American heritage because they seem a lot more honest and less uptight to me. That doesn't make me racist. It just means I have developed a bullshit detector.

That all said, I take your somewhat valid point.

Anonymous said...

"There's a difference in being against same-sex marriage and being obsessed with thoughts that Obama wasn't born in the USA ... or the obsession that so many right-wingnut so-called "Christians" have with homosexuality...

Ummm..NO, there's not. It's just your guys this time that makes it seem, well, not so bad. Ya' know...not like all those evil non-progressives.

"The racism that Biden (I assume you mean Biden) has exhibited is endemic to our society and can only be expunged through education."

Just one more example of forgiving YOUR guy and, instead, blaming it on society.

I'm trying to point out your selective outrage and your bias. I truly hope you 'get it'.

Don Quixote said...

I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree. You're putting words in my mouth ... or, rather, you're reading insinuations and motivations into my comment that are not mine. I give your words back to you; I mean exactly what I say, and your rebuttal did not ring true at all with me, even when I considered it. My outrage is not selective and, yes, there certainly IS a difference between changing one's mind on rational issues and having whacked-out "opinions" that are not based in reason or reality, but rather in racism, which is all Trump's got going for him (besides sociopathy, over-the-top narcissistic personality disorder, a god complex, and self-hatred).

End of discussion

Anonymous said...

How is homosexual marriage a "rational issue" on which one is allowed to change his mind, but other controversial issues are not?

I'm guessing that you think racism would not be a rational issue.

Did you vote for Joe Biden for Vice-President?

“I mean you’ve got the first sort of mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and nice-looking guy.” — Joe Biden, Vice President

“You cannot go to a 7-11 or a Dunkin Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I’m not joking!” — Joe Biden, Vice President

Did you support Harry Reid?

“[Harry Reid] was wowed by Obama’s oratorical gifts and believed the country was ready to embrace a black presidential candidate, especially one such as a Obama — a ‘light-skinned’ African American with ‘no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.'” — Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader, as quoted in the book Game Change

If so, how is this not selective outrage based in bias?