April 28, 2010
CIVIL LIBERTIES AND HEALTH OF HIV-POSITIVE PEOPLE UNDER ASSAULT
"The approach to prevention and treatment of HIV in the U.S. has undergone a radical and dangerous shift over the past few months," writes POZ magazine founder Sean Strub (left) in a must-read article on his brand-new blog for POZ, adding: "When important public health officials announce publicly that they seek to put everyone with HIV on treatment, it is cause for concern and ethically unacceptable without informed consent." This eye-opening, hard-hitting exposé, entitled "Medical Ethics and the Rights of People With HIV Under Assault," demonstrates just why the new drive to make anti-AIDS drugs for all the central weapon in AIDS prevention is so dangerous, and who is promoting it. "Neither the state of the science or government guidelines support antiretroviral treatment for every person with HIV, but advocates, public health officials and pharmaceutical companies are promoting the idea."
The current crop of AIDS-fighting drugs has seriously toxic effects on the majority of those who take them. As Sean points out, "The longer people with HIV take the drugs, the more we learn about toxicities and side effects. Fat redistribution causing facial and bodily disfigurement, including what is known as 'protease paunch', 'buffalo hump' and 'chipmunk cheeks'; dramatically increased risk of heart attacks and stroke; bone demineralization causing increased fracture risk; premature aging; kidney failure; all these are risks of antiretroviral HIV treatments."
That's why a program to prematurely make all the HIV-positive take these drugs, even when they don't need them as yet, endangers their health in very serious ways. Yet the most powerful AIDS official in the country, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, is pushing this new treatment-as-prevention policy, and it's been officially adopted in San Francisco. Big Pharma is pushing the dangerous new policy because it's "a boon to pharmaceutical companies looking to increase their potential markets," and these companies are funding the education programs for doctors designed to keep them "up-to-date" on AIDS.
Sean is one of the most widely respected AIDS activists in the country and one of the best informed (and his article was written with the counsel of the great pioneering AIDS-fighter Dr. Joseph Sonnabend.) Sean demonstrates in detail how the new "treatment-for-all-as-prevention" strategy "risks harming some people with HIV, preventing or greatly delaying the research necessary to determine the best point to start therapy, increasing criminalization prosecutions [targeting the HIV-positive] and creating unnecessary new HIV infections by undercutting non-pharmaceutical HIV prevention strategies that have been proven effective," all without the informed consent of the patients, as medical ethics requires.
Anyone concerned with either civil liberties or AIDS ought to read this ground-breaking article, which you can do by clicking here.
April 13, 2010
ELENA KAGAN SCARES ME -- she'd move the Supreme Court rightward
For years, the Institute for Public Accuracy has been providing media with experts on public issues who offer the little-heard left perspective. Today, IPA brought us a scintillating and eyeopening analysis of the dreadful anti-civil liberties record of Obama's Solicitor General, Elena Kagan, whom the White House has been leaking as the leading name on the president's short list for Justice John Paul Stevens' seat on the Supreme Court. It's by University of Illinois law professor Francis Boyle, a magna cum laude grad of Harvard, where Kagan was Dean, and it's a real eye-opener. If Obama puts her on the Court, it will be one of his most disastrous appointments -- and one whose effects will be felt for decades. Here's what Boyle has to say about her:
"As dean of the Harvard Law School, Kagan hired Bush's outgoing director of the Office of Legal Counsel, Jack Goldsmith, as a law professor. Goldsmith is regarded by myself and many others in the field as a war criminal. He wrote some of the memos that attempted to make violations of the Geneva Conventions appear legal. Kagan actually bragged about 'how proud' she was to have hired Goldsmith after one of his criminal Department of Justice memoranda was written up in the Washington Post.
"During the course of her Senate confirmation hearings as Solicitor General, Kagan explicitly endorsed the Bush administration's bogus category of 'enemy combatant,' whose implementation has been a war crime in its own right. Now in her current job as U.S. Solicitor General, Kagan is quarterbacking the continuation of the Bush administration's illegal and unconstitutional positions in U.S. federal court litigation around the country, including in the U.S. Supreme Court. For example, early this month, the Obama administration lost an illegal wiretapping case. One of the lawyers in the case who won, Jon Eisenberg, said the Obama administration is as bad or worse than the Bush administration when it comes to issues like state secrets and wiretapping.
"Kagan is apparently being backed by several people who are indebted to her from her time at Harvard. [Professors Laurence] Tribe, [Charles] Ogletree and [Alan] Dershowitz all had plagiarism scandals while Kagan headed up the law school -- and she in effect bailed them all out. Tribe and Ogletree were teachers/mentors to Obama and still advise him today, Tribe recently taking a job in the Department of Justice along with Kagan. She was named dean at Harvard by Larry Summers, who helped deregulate much of Wall Street in the Clinton administration and organize much of its bailout under Obama.
"Kagan has said 'I love the Federalist Society.' This is a right-wing group; almost all of the Bush administration lawyers responsible for its war and torture memos are members of the Federalist Society. Many members of the Federalist Society say that Brown v. Board of Education [which struck down 'separate but equal'] was decided wrongly.
"Five currently on the U.S. Supreme Court were or are members of the Federalist Society: Harvard Law graduate Roberts; Harvard Law graduate Scalia; Harvard Law graduate Kennedy; Yale Law graduate Thomas; and Yale Law graduate Alito. A narrow elite is imposing itself through the legal system, and ordinary Americans need to start asserting themselves."
Boyle is also a former chair of the Harvard Law School Fund Campaign for Greater Illinois and a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School.
For more links to analyses of Kagan's record, click on IPA's post here.