H/T to Gonzo Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone for calling attention to this political report from the Blue Grass State. Kentucky doesn't have a witch in its Senate race, it has a witch-doctor. Rand(all) Paul is an opthamologist with jackleg certification in that medical specialty. What the hey, if you are one of Dr. Paul's patients, you can be thankful that you have two eyes after he screws up a Lasik surgery on one of them. A black eye patch has a certain cachet especially if you fly the skull-and-crossbones in October. If this is (fair & balanced) quackery, so be it.
PS: The nuttiness like the beat goes on. The general counsel for the quacko American Association of Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) is Andrew Schlafly, son of the prototype TRW (True Republican Woman) Phyllis Schlafly, which proves that stupidity can be inherited.
[x Louisville Fishwrap]
Rand Paul Part Of AAPS Doctors’ Group Airing Unusual Views
By Joseph Gerth
Tag Cour od the following article
Republican U.S. Senate nominee Rand Paul belongs to a conservative doctors’ group that, among other things, has expressed doubts about the connection between HIV and AIDS and suggested that President Barack Obama may have been elected because he was able to hypnotize voters.
The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, based in Tucson, AZ, advocates conservative and free-market solutions on health care and a variety of other political issues.
But it also uses its medical journal and Website as forums for unorthodox medical views.
Rand Paul, a Bowling Green ophthalmologist, has touted his credentials as a doctor during this year’s Senate race against Attorney General Jack Conway, a Democrat.
In his first television ad of the general election campaign, Rand Paul is pictured in hospital scrubs and a white lab coat.
“Preserving sight. Caring for Kentucky. Dr. Rand Paul,” the commercial says.
Speaking to the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons’ annual conference last October in Nashville, Paul said he has been a member of the group since at least 1990.
“I use a lot of AAPS literature when I talk,” he told the group.
Rand Paul’s campaign declined to answer questions about whether he supports the association’s positions. Instead, it highlighted the group’s opposition to abortion and to Democratic initiatives, including Obama’s health care law.
“Dr. Paul is member of AAPS because they believe that any health care reform should be market-oriented and embrace more freedom, not more government,” Jesse Benton, Paul’s campaign manager, said in a statement.
The AAPS was formed in 1943 as an alternative to the American Medical Association, which some conservative doctors didn’t think was protecting their rights, said its executive director, Dr. Jane Orient.
She said the group has about 2,500 dues-paying members and a total membership of about 5,000. It counts among its members Paul’s father, U.S. Representative Ron Paul of Texas, and Representative Paul Broun of Georgia, both Republicans. Its members are not required to be doctors.
The AMA — which is often at odds with the AAPS — had a membership last year of 228,150, said Robert Mills, media relations director for the group. He said the AMA does not comment on other medical groups.
Orient said the AAPS doesn’t generally take positions on medical issues and merely attempts to highlight views that are not widely accepted.
“We just raise questions,” she said. “There is no settled science about anything. ...If you are working on the wrong hypothesis, how are you ever going to get the right answer?”
She noted it was once believed that malaria was caused by bad air and that the sun revolves around the Earth. She also said all articles that appear in the group’s Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons are peer-reviewed.
Dr. George Nichols, Kentucky’s former longtime medical examiner, said the AAPS’ positions sound like a combination of “pseudo-science, public policy and mysticism.”
And Mother Jones, a liberal magazine that wrote about the group earlier this year, has said the group is “hardly part of a mainstream medical society. Think (Fox News commentator) Glenn Beck with an MD.”
Nichols said one of the AAPS’ most disconcerting positions is to question whether the human immunodeficiency virus is the cause of AIDS.
More than two decades ago, in 1988, a committee of the National Academy of Sciences asserted that the evidence linking AIDS and HIV is “scientifically conclusive.” Other medical authorities have reached the same conclusion.
But the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons published an article in 2007 saying “both official reports and the peer-reviewed literature afford substantive grounds for doubting that HIV is the necessary and sufficient cause of AIDS and that anti-retroviral treatment is unambiguously beneficial.”
The article doesn’t otherwise suggest what would cause AIDS.
“They don’t understand science at all?” Nichols asked. “To deny that is to not be in touch with reality.”
Orient said that, while HIV and AIDS are connected, medical research claiming that HIV alone causes the deadly disease is nothing more than a hypothesis.
By highlighting a study that questions whether HIV causes AIDS, she said, the article merely raises the issue of whether the costly drug cocktail given HIV/AIDS patients for life is the best course of treatment.
On its Website, the AAPS included an article in October 2008 titled, “Is Obama a Brilliant Orator ...or a Hypnotist?” It cites an unsigned paper suggesting that Obama used hypnotic techniques and speech patterns in his 2008 campaign.
The paper bases its finding on the work of a controversial psychologist, Milton Erickson, who died 30 years ago and pioneered the also-controversial field of neuro-linguistic programming, which purports to use voice patterns to subliminally influence people’s decisions.
The paper claims to examine Obama’s speeches “word by word, hand gesture by hand gesture, tone, pauses, body language, and proves his use of covert hypnosis intended only for licensed therapists on consenting patients.”
The paper goes on to say that Obama’s “mesmerized, cult-like, grade-school-crush-like worship by millions is not because ‘Obama is the greatest leader of a generation’ who simply hasn’t accomplished anything, who magically ‘inspires’ by giving speeches. Obama is committing perhaps the biggest fraud and deception in American history.”
The AAPS article notes that the Obama campaign logo “might just be the letter ‘O,’ but it also resembles a crystal ball, a favorite of hypnotists.”
And it suggests that hypnosis is the reason some Jewish people backed him.
“It is also interesting that many Jews are supporting a candidate who is endorsed by Hamas, Farrakhan, Khalidi and Iran,” the article says.
Stan Frager, a psychologist and a retired professor at the University of Louisville, said Obama — like all politicians — uses repeated themes in his speeches in an effort to “hammer home main points. ...There is a long way between that and hypnotism.”
He added: “Show me one iota of research or data to back that up. ...There isn’t any.”
The association included in its journal an article criticizing governmental efforts to encourage people to stop smoking as costly and ineffective and suggesting that the focus on the addictive nature of nicotine is wrong.
“Repeating the message that nicotine is habit-forming convinces some smokers that their habit is not their fault and that they would be silly to attempt to quit on their own,” wrote Michael L. Marlow, a professor at California Polytechnic State University.
Marlow has received grants to study smoking bans from the Philip Morris Management Corp., the parent company of the cigarette manufacturer, according to a note in the journal that accompanies the article.
Frager said, “That’s like telling someone a car can go fast, so now you’re giving them permission to speed.”
Understanding that nicotine is addictive, he said, can help those who are trying to stop smoking find the proper, most effective treatment.
The AAPS opposes peer-review boards, which review complaints against doctors and punishes those who make mistakes, and it is critical of the federal government for charging physicians with crimes for over-prescribing pain medication.
On the group’s Website, Dr. Lawrence Huntoon, a former AAPS president, calls peer review “an insidious and spreading evil which threatens to destroy not only the integrity of the medical profession but quality care for all patients.”
The group’s Website claims some hospitals use peer review boards to punish doctors who report problems at the hospitals.
The group also raises questions about whether the government is improperly meddling in medicine by prosecuting doctors for over-prescribing pain medication.
Its Website contains a link to a story titled “The War on Pain Sufferers” on a libertarian Website. The article says “people who suffer chronic pain are routinely undertreated because their doctors fear that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration will accuse them of being drug pushers, destroy their practices, wipe them out financially, and throw them in jail for good measure.”
Orient acknowledged that some doctors overprescribe pain medication and are conned by their patients. But she said the vast majority — and many of those who are prosecuted — are acting in accordance with therapeutic norms.
“I think they have gone after a lot of physicians who were prescribing in good faith,” she said, adding that doctors have been prohibited (by courts) from putting on expert testimony in their criminal trials by doctors who agree with their techniques.
Karen Kelly, director of Operation UNITE, a federally-funded drug task force based in Somerset, said in a statement that Orient’s concerns are off base.
“The belief that law enforcement officials — whether federal, state or local — have cracked down too hard on medical professionals for overprescribing is absolutely ridiculous,” she said.
“As a whole, the medical community is deeply concerned about those doctors who overprescribe or dispense medications without proper medical justifications,” she said. “If the (AAPS) truly cared about their profession they should champion enforcement efforts, encourage stiff penalties for those abusing their medical oath and save people’s lives.”
The AAPS advances the claim that women who have abortions are at a higher risk for breast cancer, although the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society say there is no such link.
And the group opposes mandatory vaccinations and promotes a now-discredited study linking thimerosal, a longtime component of many vaccines, to autism in children.
Its journal published a study purporting to show such a connection by an obstetrician, Dr. Mark Geier, who testified for plaintiffs in vaccination injury cases, and his son, David, who worked as a consultant for plaintiffs on similar cases.
An overwhelming majority of the medical community, however, doesn’t accept that there is a link. As recently as September 13, the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics published a study funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that found no evidence suggesting that thimerosal, a preservative containing mercury, causes autism.
“The study provides the strongest evidence to date that immunization during pregnancy with thimerosal-containing vaccines, including flu vaccine, does not increase risk” of autism, according to the CDC’s Website.
Earlier this year The Lancet, a British medical journal, retracted a 1998 study by Dr. Andrew Wakefield that first established a causal relationship between vaccines and autism. A British medical panel found that Wakefield had violated basic research ethics rules and showed a “callous disregard” for the children involved in that research.
In its fall 2003 issue, the AAPS journal published a report suggesting that the twin towers at the World Trade Center collapsed on Sept. 11, 2001, because the New York City Port Authority, fearful of lawsuits and complying with new federal restrictions, stopped the use of flame-retardant asbestos midway through construction of the north tower.
Asbestos, which had been used to fireproof buildings for generations before being effectively banned by the federal government, is a carcinogen that can lead to illnesses such as mesothelioma, asbestosis and other diseases.
“High concentrations of many useful substances cause, or at least facilitate, cancer,” wrote Andrew Schlafly, the AAPS general counsel. “Sunlight is an example. We do not prohibit items simply because they may be associated with cancer in high doses. Even useless substances like cigarettes are not banned from the market simply because they cause cancer.”
Schlafly also contends in the article that the use of asbestos might have prevented the tragedies involving the Challenger and Columbia space shuttles.
Hans Gesund, a professor of structural engineering at the University of Kentucky, said the government was right to stop the use of asbestos because of the danger it posed to those who worked with it.
He said other suitable insulating materials were used in the World Trade Center’s twin towers, which were destroyed when planes hijacked by terrorists flew into them.
Stopping the use of asbestos was “the right thing,” Gesund said. “I’m not going to fault the government on this one.” Ω
[Joseph Gerth is the political writer for the Louisville Courier-Journal.]
Copyright © 2010 The (Louisville) Courier-Journal
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