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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Tag: mehmet oz

Dr. Oz Quacks the Code of Republican Politics

Sean Parnell, the Trump-anointed candidate for Senate in Pennsylvania, dropped out of the race a week ago after a custody hearing that featured lurid details of his relationship with his ex-wife. Laurie Snell alleged that Parnell had struck her, choked her, left her by the side of the road and hit one of their sons hard enough to leave a welt on the boy's back. Parnell countered that she had invented all of it.

Custody battles are infamous for exaggerated accusations and heated denials, and it's difficult for outsiders to know whom to believe and how much. But Parnell's comments off the witness stand didn't burnish his credibility. Appearing on Fox Nation, for example, Parnell opined, "I feel like the whole 'happy wife, happy life' nonsense has done nothing but raise one generation of woman tyrants after the next." He wasn't finished. "Now there's an entire generation of men that don't want to put up with the BS of a high-maintenance, narcissistic woman." Well. Someone seems to be dealing with anger issues. The would-be — er, rather, won't-be — senator concluded with a short sermon on biology: "From an evolutionary standpoint, it used to be, you know, women were attracted to your strength because you could defend them from dinosaurs." Where does the GOP find these geniuses?

Well, this one was one of the crops cultivated by Fox News. Parnell served, apparently honorably, in Afghanistan and wrote a book about his war experiences, but since his discharge, he has sought advancement mostly through public speaking. Becoming famous is a stand-alone career goal these days. Parnell was Diamond and Silk with testosterone. Fox and other right-wing media elevated him. He ran once for Congress — unsuccessfully. That's the whole resume. But Parnell caught the eye of the dauphin, Donald Trump Jr., who told Trump Sr. about him and voila, he was on his way to the U.S. Senate ... until the judge in the above-mentioned hearing awarded full custody of his three children to his ex-wife.

So, with the departure of the dinosaur slayer, the field was open for another clown. We'll come to Dr. Oz in a moment, but first, consider Chris Sununu.

Sununu is the very popular three-term governor of New Hampshire whom Mitch McConnell had been begging to enter the Senate race in 2022. Polls had shown Sununu running seven points ahead of sitting Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan. But on November 9, he announced that he would forgo a Senate bid in favor of running for a fourth term as New Hampshire governor.

Sununu may not be your cup of tea as a leader — he isn't mine in all respects — but he has a record. He's for low taxes, state support for substance abusers, the death penalty, school choice, abortion rights, unrestricted gun rights, and LGBT-friendly measures such as permitting a nonbinary designation on driver's licenses. Before running for office, he worked as an environmental engineer and then as CEO of a ski resort that employed about 700 people. All told, a serious person with a checkable resume. Unlike some other northeast Republican governors, Sununu endorsed Donald Trump for reelection.

That Sununu, a solid, substantive politician (with an asterisk for his Trump endorsement), has no interest in an easy glide-path to the United States Senate speaks volumes about the state of the national GOP.

That brings us to Dr. Mehmet Oz. Unlike Parnell, Oz has impressive professional credentials and career accomplishments. He's a cardio-thoracic surgeon and professor at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons. He holds degrees from Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania (both the business and medical schools).

Oz could be at the pinnacle of America's professional class — respected, well-compensated, privileged to devote his career to caring for others, and teaching rising generations to do the same.

But that wasn't enough for Oz. He wanted to be a TV star. With a boost from Oprah, that's what he became, and before you could say ka-ching, he was hawking "miracle" weight loss drugs. There was green coffee extract: "You may think magic is make-believe, but this little bean has scientists saying they've found the magic weight-loss cure for every body type." And raspberry ketones: "the No. 1 miracle in a bottle to burn your fat."

He also touted umckaloabo root extract as a cure for cold symptoms (it doesn't work) and lavender soap for leg cramps (don't bother). A 2014 study by Canadian researchers found that only 46 percent of the advice dispensed on The Dr. Oz Show was based on science. The following year, 1,000 physicians signed a letter calling upon Oz to resign from the Columbia faculty. "He's a quack and a fake and a charlatan," wrote Dr. Henry Miller of Stanford.

Maybe prostituting your professional credibility for fraudulent products is nothing to get too exercised about. It certainly isn't new — though the snake oil peddled in the 19th century was at least laced with cocaine or sometimes heroin. But Oz did more than abuse the trust of his audience by selling trash; he veered into outright harm when Covid-19 arrived, advising viewers about a "self-reported" hydroxychloroquine study that showed great results. The con man didn't bother to add that the study had not been peer-reviewed and its subjects consisted only of patients who were already near death.

Dr. Oz abuses every privilege life has handed him. He preys upon people with less knowledge and sophistication. He misleads even when it can cause harm. So, naturally, Sean Hannity is ready to help launch his political career.

Pennsylvania Republicans might have been better off with Parnell, who at least delivers his blows directly, without the smarmy deception.

Mona Charen is policy editor of The Bulwark and host of the "Beg to Differ" podcast. Her most recent book is Sex Matters: How Modern Feminism Lost Touch with Science, Love, and Common Sense. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.

Ugly Truth: Spreading Covid-19 Is Now The Top Republican Priority

Reprinted with permission from PressRun

Waging war on the country’s well-being, the GOP, fueled by the right-wing media, has set its sights on Covid nihilism. And they’re doing it in the name of partisan warfare.

Republican members in the House and Senate were scheming to shut down the federal government to ensure that workers won’t have to comply with vaccination mandates put in place to help slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus. The plot came as health officials warn that the new Omicron Covid-19 variant could be highly be contagious and dangerous to Americans.

At least four red states — Florida, Iowa, Kansas and Tennessee — have begun extending unemployment benefits to workers who were fired or who quit over their employers’ requirement that everyone get vaccinated. (Typically, only workers are who laid off through no fault of their own are eligible for benefits.) It’s a way for the GOP to tighten its bond with anti-vaxxer voters and to show solidarity with those who are working hard to perpetuate the pandemic.

TV doctor Mehmet Oz made headlines this week when he declared his candidacy for next year’s Pennsylvania Senate race. (Oz has not lived in the Keystone State since the 1980’s.) He’s likely most infamous for his Fox News appearance at the outset of the pandemic when he urged schools be reopened immediately, even if that meant a mortality rate of two to three percent among students, or three million deaths nationwide. He also promoted useless hydroxychloroquine to fight the coronavirus.

All of this dangerous behavior and rhetoric comes while Fox News churns out nonstop lies about a free, safe, and effective vaccine designed to save lives. Just this week on Fox, the nation’s Covid point person, Dr. Anthony Fauci, was compared to fascist dictator Benito Mussolini and deranged Nazi doctor Josef Mengele.

Here’s what’s painfully obvious, even if the political press doesn’t want to say so: Republicans aren’t merely anti-mask or anti-vaccine. They’re pro-Covid. Period. Republican politicians and commentators, who are fully vaccinated themselves, want the virus to spread and they want to extend the deadly pandemic so it inflicts political damage on Democrats next year. And yes, even if that means anti-science Republicans helping to spread the virus among their own voters, which ought to seem inconceivable, but is not. “Red America Has Seen the Highest Rates of Cases and Deaths, and the Lowest Rate of Vaccinations,” read a recent Washington Post headline.

Never in our nation’s history has a mainstream political party responded to a public health crisis by doing whatever it takes to keep the crisis alive, completely unconcerned about the rising death toll.

There’s a reason every single Republican member of the House and Senate voted against the historic, $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill earlier this year —they hated that it represented a popular win for President Joe Biden.

Despite the mounting evidence of the party’s nihilistic ways, the press remains too timid to call Republicans “pro-Covid,” just like they wouldn’t call Trump a “liar.” Millions of conservative Americans are being brainwashed about the pandemic, and thousands are killing themselves in the process. Yet the media downplay the huge story, framing it simply as “vaccine hesitancy.”

Republicans plan on shamelessly exploiting the Omicron variant. And the only way to exploit a Covid variant is to help spread it. This type of cynical and unpatriotic strategy isn’t new for Republicans — they spent eight years blocking President Barack Obama’s agenda and then blaming him for not getting his agenda passed.

Note that when Republicans ran the federal government and America was under siege from Covid, Trump and his team again aided the virus’ spread. Back then, it was done out of a panicked sense of denial, fearful of what the pandemic would mean to Trump’s re-election.

Trump all but issued a stand-down order for the virus invasion, then became the world’s most influential fountain of Covid misinformation, using his daily White House briefings to spread rampant virus lies. "When it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away," he once predicted. Yet we never saw a parade of "Trump Lies about Pandemic" headlines, as the press remained intimidated by the GOP madman.

“The previous administration* gagged its own scientists, buried its own reports, bullied its own agencies, soft-pedaled its own data, and created its own reality to sell to the country, all at a crucial time when the pandemic could have been fought seriously and at least partly arrested,” notes Esquire’s Charles Pierce.

Just this week we learned that Trump likely showed up at the first presidential debate against Biden contagious with Covid, after Trump tested positive for the virus days earlier and refused to tell anyone.

The transformation from bumbling Covid enablers under Trump to proud Covid supporters today happened when the GOP started shifting gears this spring and summer. At the time, the good news regarding America’s fight against Covid was cascading in, as cases and deaths plummeted in the U.S. The developments led Biden to announce, appropriately at the time, that the U.S stood poised to put the deadly pandemic in the past and fully reemerge to a normal way of life.

Then the Delta variant stormed our shores, sending cases upwards, creating renewed debates about mask-wearing and vaccine mandates. Sensing a political opening, the GOP made a decision to become the party that opposed vaccines, and to become pro-Covid — to do everything possible to extend the pandemic and block Biden’s efforts to save lives and restart the economy.

In other words, the GOP eagerly adopted its role as the fifth column within the United States, working unapologetically to damage the country’s health from within.

That’s the ugly truth that the press ought to be telling.

'Quack' Dr. Oz Is Running For Pennsylvania GOP Senate Nomination

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet

Dr. Mehmet Oz, the hydroxychloroquine-pushing TV doctor widely known for promoting pseudoscience and fake treatments has decided to use his expertise to run for the U.S. Senate as a Republican, and if not fully-embrace Donald Trump, certainly align himself with the disgraced former president.

In an op-ed exclusive to the right-wing national website The Washington Examiner and in a just-released video (below), Oz announces his run, citing the nation’s response to COVID and its ramifications as a primary factor for entering politics. It’s unclear why he did not announce via a Pennsylvania publication.

“We are angry at our government and at each other,” his op-ed begins. “We have not managed our crises as effectively as past generations. During the pandemic, I learned that when you mix politics and medicine, you get politics instead of solutions. That’s why I am running for the U.S. Senate: to help fix the problems and to help us heal.”

Like more and more Republicans entering the political landscape, Oz has precisely zero experience in government, but that once-presumed prerequisite is no longer in vogue.

“Oz — a longtime New Jersey resident — would enter a Republican field that is resetting with an influx of candidates and a new opportunity to appeal to voters loyal to former President Donald Trump, now that the candidate endorsed by Trump has just exited the race,” The Associated Press reports. “Oz may have to explain why he isn’t running for office in New Jersey, where he has lived for the past two decades before he began voting in Pennsylvania’s elections this year by absentee ballot, registered to his in-laws’ address in suburban Philadelphia.

”The “celebrity heart surgeon,” the AP adds, “has been dogged by accusations that he is a charlatan selling “quack treatments and cures in the interest of personal financial gain,” a group of doctors wrote in 2015 in a letter calling for his firing from Columbia University’s medical school. He wasn’t fired.”

The Daily Beast at the start of the coronavirus pandemic last year labeled Oz an “alleged quack” and asked why he was chosen as the face of NBC’s “Coronavirus Crisis Team.”

“Oz began making regular appearances on Fox News after the start of the pandemic, and in the spring of 2020 came under fire for comments suggesting that reopening schools might be worth the extra deaths, because it ‘may only cost us 2% to 3% in terms of total mortality,'” the AP notes. “Researchers from the University of Alberta found in 2014 that, of 80 randomly selected recommendations from Oz’s shows, often dietary advice, roughly half was unsupported by evidence, or contradicted by it.”

Watch Oz’s statement, which includes Trump rhetoric like “America first.”That’s far from the only attack on Oz’s credibility as a medical professional.