Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Bush plays politics with human life

George Bush has made yet another bad choice. He has chosen to play politics with human life. He has chosen to deny hope to millions of Americans who suffer from debilitating diseases, millions for whom stem cell research represented their best chance of cure or a better quality of life. Bush's bad decision will be applauded by a minority of Americans who disingenuously call their movement: "right to life". For the life of me, I can't see how condemning millions of Americans to an early death has anything to do with the "right to life".

This was the first time Bush has used the veto and that he chose this bill will define his failed presidency as much as his failed war of aggression in Iraq where, likewise, the civilian death toll is the anti-thesis of "right to life". Our very presence in Iraq, Bush's policy of torture, the rising civilian death toll at the hands of frustrated US troops proves the lie to "right to life".

Bush's veto may very well bring about an end to research that might have led to new cures for juvenile diabetes, leukemia, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and many others. That 70% of Americans disagree with Bush on this issue was of no consequence to him. Bush is a man who has placed himself above the law and now he has appointed himself the arbiter of our very lives and deaths.

The bill itself would have permitted research on excess pluripotent cells found only in developing embryos generated during the process of in-vitro fertilization. Bush and the GOP say that the embryos will be destroyed if they are used for stem cell research. What Bush and his Christian right backers will not tell you is that these embryos would be discarded anyway. They will not be placed inside anyone's "womb"; they will never be born. Therefore, Bush's veto will make absolutely no difference to those embryos. Bush's veto will not save one of them! None of them will be "spared" because he denied life to millions of ailing Americans. Bush played politics with human lives and he did so for evil motives.

Similarly, no one seems to mind that some 50% of all fertilized embryos are lost naturally. And there is no brouhaha among right wingers about the fact that the embryos in question are created artificially to begin with. This is the kind of calculus that is only to be found inside the GOP, a party that is tone deaf to morality, common sense, and logic. Bush's cynical decision is but a sop to his increasingly radical, extremist base.

Fundamentalist "Christians" lead the attack against stem cell research by raising a smokescreen. That question is: "When does life begin?" A blastocyst, indeed, even a single cell has within it the DNA code from which a human being may develop. But a blastocyst is not a mini human being. Indeed, the scientific evidence is clear: stem cells are not human life; they have only that potential. The GOP has deliberately distorted the scientific facts about this issue in order to advance a religious, theocratic agenda.

Here are some comments that were made about my article on another web site; my comments are in response to the comments in blockquotes:

The issue I see with your somewhat emotional and logically lacking rant is the fact that you attempt to equate science with religion in your attack on the Christian view of the subject.
I flatly deny that my rant lacked logic. Secondly, my description of the research and the definitions therein are entirely consistent with science to the extent that "popular" writing about this subject can be.
You say that Christians hide behind a smokescreen, the idea that even the initial single cell created at conception is a living organism, and is human in nature. You refute this view with the comment, "indeed, the scientific evidence is clear: stem cells are not human life; they have only that potential."
The RR always gets the science wrong. Clearly, a strand of human DNA is not a human being; neither is a single cell. Neither is a blastocyst. The RR, Tom DeLay, George Bush definition of "human being" is a theological definition for which there is, by definition, no empircal proof.

Moreover, they confuse "human potential" with "human being". To claim that every string of DNA that has "human potential" to be a "human being" -as Tom DeLay has flatly done -is just absurd on its face. Bush/RR characterizations of themselves as "pro-life" is blatantly hypocritical; they continue to defend the slaughter of innocent human being (of both sides) in Iraq. Clearly -for Bush and the RR -life is sacred only before birth and fair game afterward.

Significantly, you did not bother to address that point, a point that I consider to be crucial to my thesis: Bush is playing politics with human life.

As the subject of my comment suggests, you are comparing apples and oranges, so to speak.
Not so! I never compared apples to oranges, even metaphorically!
Even as an agnostic, I will readily admit that science and Christianity can commingle, yet it is illogical and illegitimate to claim that a religious claim is wrong, simply because scientists support the diametric of said claim.
Theological positions cannot be proven true nor false empirically. Secondly, if Christianity and science co-mingle, this is not the case in which they do so. Besides —if theologicy could be proven empirically, it would not be essential to believe it upon faith! If the existence of God, for example, could be proven empirically, religion —by definition an act of faith —would cease to exist. At last, passing laws upon mere faith and hoping that everything turns out all right is folly.

State a single statement made by the RR that is, in any way, verifiable either by logic or by experiment. State it and then, lacking proof, state the conditions under which that statement may be proven to be either true or false. Simply -you can't! And neither can DeLay or Bush for whom this issue is pure posturing. The good new is: it has already backfired on them.
It rather immediately become a matter of "he-said-she-said" (again, for lack of a better term...). Unfortunately, while I will give you credit enough to assume you have at least semi-logical reasoning behind your position on stem-cell research, I'm afraid I cannot in good conscience give you credit for proving your point successfully in this article.
Because you merely call it "semi logical" doesn't mean that it is!

The burden of proof is upon Bush et al. But, as you can see, there is no proof for their position; there is, in fact, no empircal proof for statements based on ideology. To the extent that their statement follows from their religious ideology, their arguments are all circulus en probando fallacies.

Their statements are thinly disguised theology -not science; and, to the extent that laws are based upon their theology, the First Amendment is violated. The First Amendment guarantees what Thomas Jefferson called a "wall of separation" between church and state.

I fear that you have been fooled by the RR's slick PR experts, propaganda, and focus groups. Let me put it to you in these terms: scientific propositions are those propositions that can be proven - empirically -to be either true (or in some cases, highly probable) or untrue! Propositions that can never be proven to be either true or false are either theology, poetry, or just simple nonsense. Of those three categories I leave the classification of Bush and the RR to the reader.

Some updates:

Scientists fear US research will fall behind

By Rebecca Knight in BostonThe US scientific community expressed frustration and disappointment yesterday at the announcement that President George W. Bush would veto bipartisan legislation to ease restrictions on embryonic stem cell research.

"It's not surprising but it's very sad," said Terry Devitt, a director at the University of Wisconsin's stem cell research programme. "The president has affirmed a policy that is out of step with both science and public opinion. It means we may have to wait for a new president to move this type of research into the clinic." ...

Experts rip Rove stem cell remark Researchers doubt value of adult cells

By Jeremy Manier and Judith Graham
Tribune staff reporters
Published July 19, 2006

When White House political adviser Karl Rove signaled last week that President Bush planned to veto the stem cell bill being considered by the Senate, the reasons he gave went beyond the president's moral qualms with research on human embryos.

In fact, Rove waded into deeply contentious scientific territory, telling the Denver Post's editorial board that researchers have found "far more promise from adult stem cells than from embryonic stem cells."

The administration's assessment of stem cell science has extra meaning in the wake of the Senate's 63-37 vote Tuesday to expand federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. The measure, which passed the House last year, will now head to Bush, who has vowed to veto it.

But Rove's negative appraisal of embryonic stem cell research--echoed by many opponents of funding for such research--is inaccurate, according to most stem cell research scientists, including a dozen contacted for this story.

The field of stem cell medicine is too young and unproven to make such judgments, experts say. Many of those researchers either specialize in adult stem cells or share Bush's moral reservations about embryonic stem cells.

"[Rove's] statement is just not true," said Dr. Michael Clarke, associate director of the stem cell institute at Stanford University, who in 2003 published the first study showing how adult stem cells replenish themselves.

If opponents of embryonic stem cell research object on moral grounds, "I'm willing to live with that," Clarke said, though he disagrees. But, he said, "I'm not willing to live with statements that are misleading."

Dr. Markus Grompe, director of the stem cell center at the Oregon Health and Science University, is a Catholic who objects to research involving the destruction of embryos and is seeking alternative ways of making stem cells. But Grompe said there is "no factual basis to compare the promise" of adult stem cells and cells taken from embryos.

Limbaugh claimed "you need abortions to get" embryonic stem cells, "we need to re-examine" notion of "scientist" because "science has been so wrong about so many things"

Summary: Rush Limbaugh claimed that "the militant pro-abortion crowd" is "behind" efforts to legalize federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, "because you need abortions to get these [embryos]." In fact, embryonic stem cells "are derived from embryos that develop from eggs that have been fertilized in vitro ... and then donated for research purposes with informed consent of the donors."

On the July 19 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio program,
Rush Limbaugh claimed that "the militant pro-abortion crowd" is "behind" efforts to legalize federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, "because you need abortions to get these [embryos]." In fact, as the National Institutes of Health webpage points
, embryonic stem cells "are derived from embryos that develop from eggs that have been fertilized in vitro -- in an in vitro fertilization clinic -- and then donated for research purposes with informed consent of the donors. They are not derived from eggs fertilized in a woman's body [emphasis original]."

Additionally, Limbaugh claimed that, in light of scientists' belief that embryonic stem cells could be useful in medicine, "we need to re-examine this whole term 'scientist,' " because "[s]cience is all about politics, and science has been so wrong about so many things."

The Existentialist Cowboy


DoctorBoogaloo said...

Amazing, isn't it, how Bush can be brought to tears by the thought of using soon-to-be-discarded bits of goo for medical research, and yet remain untroubled by the hell he has unleashed on Iraq. Perhaps, because his brain is so tiny, he relates better to undifferentiated cells than to living beings.

Len Hart said...

Thanks Dr and welcome to the corral. It's all a pose, of course. I doubt that Bush ever mourned the loss of "human life" while growing up. Young men are known to discard "bits of goo" in an rite of passage known as masturbation. I've yet to see a religious hysteric accuse these little horny, snot nosed bastards of murder.

And you are correct, he is completely untroubled by the mass murder that he has clearly perpetrated in Iraq. He should be prosecuted for capital crimes under US Codes 18, Section 2441.

Fuzzflash said...

It's interesting that the quintessential diplomat of G8, Crawford George, has "chosen" the stem cell issue to brandish his diamond-cutter(veto), for the very first time, to the hardcore voyeurs of his fundamentalist christian base. One wonders why the brain of the outfit,Karl, would deem this OK.

Almost 2/3 of the Senate say YES. 7 out of 10 Americans say YES.

But............ The Decider says NO.

Sure, its a given that the jesus fundies are being pandered to. The problem is that Karl thinks he can spin it all away before November's mid terms. With the unaccountability of Diebold Election Theft Voting Computers, the vested compliance of the MSM,and the rabid support of religious ungulates(the Holy Cow demographic), perhaps the Turd Blossom Goebbels knows exactly what he's doing.
If all fails, The Decider can always whack axis-of-evil affiliate,Iran. Who gives a fuck about WW111 if the Signing Statement Carsar gets to declare Martial Law and become forever Fuhrer? Not that I'm a rabble rouser or anything, but isn't it high time that the American people got medieval on BushCo's ass?

daveawayfromhome said...

Stem cell research wont die, just stem cell research here in America. Just another of Lord Bush's steps to making the U.S. a better third world country.

Hell, maybe it'd be a good thing if say, India, beats us to the punch. It'll probably be cheaper that way.

Dante lee said...

I hate to say it, Len, but this is not news: Bush has been playing politics with human life since September 11, 2001.

Let me recap: 200 000 civilians dead in Iraq, 2500 American soldiers....

Dante lee said...
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Dante lee said...

The only thing that puzzles me in that stem-cell story is how the American pharmaceutic industry had Cheney himself to speak out for them in the front of the world, in Davos, Switzerland, in order to defend their staunch holding on the AIDS cocktail patents; while being refused a hand on stem-cell research.

If you follow the money, all these millions the Pharmaceutics have given to the GOP must bear fruits somehow, uh?
... well, it does bear some: Merks, after having killed 58 000 Americans with Vioxx, is still not subjected to any federal investigation!

I think I get it: the stem-cell fruits are a bit sour during election times, but they will ripe right on the morrow of the next election.

And a bit of domestic debate is good for a Bush administration overwhelmed with the news in the Middle-East...
Next: Gonzales VS Web Child Pornographers...

Poor Karl.

Len Hart said...

This time around, the fundies are increasingly isolated. It'll be interesting to see how the Democrats play this one. At last, they have a cutting issue that works to divide the GOP. GOP "moderates" may actually awaken to the harm done their party by selling out to the extremist right wing. That, of couse, has been the key to beating the GOP all along. The GOP is not the monolithic party that it sometimes appears to be. It is a contentious collection of libertarians, fascist militarists, a few fiscal conservatives, and, of course several flavors of the religious right.

There many divisions that might have been exploited. Stem cells is one. The other is the tension between the fascists and the libertarian wing. Yet another is the alarm that fiscal conservative have experienced over Bush's huge debt and deficit.

Jen said...

I am going to take a bold, courage step as a Catholic and say that God has defined the beginning of life.

"the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being."
Genesis 2:7

Man became a living being when God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. The breath of life is the defining moment in the Bible when man begins existence.

There are so many other passages in the Bible that define any validly living creature as something with the "breath of life," that is seems odd when Christians try to validate life before that point.

When both my children were born, the moment they took their first breath was emotional for me. It left me breathless. That was the moment that the surreal came to life. And it was a very spiritual moment, as well.

Our lives are but a breath.

Dante lee said...
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damien said...

There's a few points here, Len. The first thing that outrages me is copyright infringement. This recent move to outaw stem cell research is a clear take off of Monty Python material: "every sperm is sacred..."

And the copyright problem is widespread. Religious right leader James Dobson says "Dogs Aren't Born Mooing, And People Aren't Born Gay"...which is a clear rip off of "We are lumberjacks and we're ok, we drink all night and we work all day....we put on women's clothing and hang around in bars...I'd like to be a girlie just like my dear Papa." (noble sentiments indeed!)

Another fun development: Florida has just become the first state to outlaw historical interpretation in public schools. According to the new law “American history shall be viewed as factual, not as constructed.” No chance for confusion here. There's a right history and a wrong history. (...please tell me the statute was moved by Gradgrind and seconded by Fagan.)

And I am reminded of the legislative effort - no doubt apochryphal - of some southern state early in the 20thC to mandate the value of pi to be exactly 3.

The serious and interesting questions behind stem cell research and the commencement of life have been sidetracked by the escapees from clown heaven. Perhaps Mimi can save us.

BenMerc said...

Len it was amazing to watch Bush as he dashed the hopes of tens of thousands with the stroke of his pen. All those with afflictions whose research and development of cure are now jeopardized, left without the possibilities of this medical process. Along with the brain-dead constituents that clapped feverishly for yet another ignorant decision of pandering to the holy and profane. Even though Bush has appeased them on this issue, they still have got to be the most obvious “marks” exploited by Rove and gang…and in the end certainly they deserve each others company. I am sure the scientist’s predictions of the U.S. losing ground and status within the global scientific community will be proved out. Just another set back and regression that Americans will have to absorb, but I am sure we shall roll up our sleeves and deal with it when these cultists finely get run out of town.

"The trouble isn't that their are too many fools, but that the lightning isn't distributed right" - Mark Twain

Jen said...

What did my previous comment have to do with embryonic stem cell research? Oh, right. That can't be murder because to have life, one needs to have the breath of life. Embryonic stem cells don't breath. Okay.

It also amazes me that it seems that the same religious fanatics who decry embryonic stem cell research have said very little about the new vaccine against the virus that causes cervical cancer in women. The Center for Disease Control is heavily encouraging all girls before puberty to get this vaccine, and pushing for schools to mandate this vaccine for all girls. Apparently, in studies this vaccine has some severe side effects, including possible heart failure. All to prevent a virus in young girls that can only be obtained through sexual intercourse.

Why doesn't this fire off any alarms in these religious right folks? Why isn't the influx of vaccines for just about anything creating much of a fuss by anyone? Especially since the side effects of many of these vaccines seem to be brushed off as either no big deal or that it's probably something else that is causing thousands of young children to be diagnosed with autism.

What are we doing to our population when we mandate vaccines and other drugs, just to profit large drug companies?

Okay, that was way off on a tangent. I agree that it seems odd that the drug companies, who have gained so much from the GOP in the last six years, would get such a raw deal from BushCo for this type of stem cell research. But, Bush had to prove somehow to his fundie friends that he does try to keep his word on stem cell research. It seems the only ones who really have rights with BushCo are those who haven't been born or will never be born, or born into an oil, warmaking, or pharmaceutical family. How quaint.

damien said...

You raise several good points, Jen. The stem cell stuff is nonsense. But I have very real problems with the idea that a human life begins only at birth. And I am not prepared to accept that society has no rights, especially in regard to late term abortions. There would appear to be sufficient resources and information around about contraception that, at the very least, society should not be faced with large numbers of questionable or late term abortions.

I don't have any easy answers on this.

Len Hart said...

Jen, if "breath" is the moment of life, then a "blastocyst" is not alive. It does not breath as that word is commonly used and as you have used it in your post.

But, in fact, many things live that do not "breath" in that sense. At issue in the stem cell debate are "blastocysts". As they are largely undifferentiated cells, they have no lungs and cannot, in that sense, breathe.

A secular solution to this problem must be found, however. If the religious right gets its way, every issue will require a religious solution; moreover, it must be THEIR religious solution, THEIR definition of "life"; THEIR determination of what is the moment that life begins. The RR wishes to dictate to every other religion, every other faith as well as to agnostics, atheists, and people like me, who just point out the inconsistencies in almosst every view —religious as well as philosophical.

Personally, the entire debate about when life begins completely misses the point and is irrelevant. For example: Amoebas and paramecia live; their lives obviously had a beginning in time. But I don't hear religious folk debating about whether or not GOD breathed life into an Amoeba.

What about frogs? What about ants, fruit flies or cuddly little puppies?

I think that there is an indidious "species" chauvinism at work here, when, in fact, homo sapien may not even be the most intelligent specie. Dolphins may actually be smarter. And what about whales? Why are we chosen by God above all the other lives forms as the respository of "soul?"

Why can't frogs go to heaven? What have frogs ever done to deserve either hell or oblivion and what does religion have to say about that? What makes a frog's life worth less than that of a human being?

Len Hart said...

Thanks for quoting Mark Twain, benmerc.

I am sure you have read Twain's "Letters from the Earth". He was the American "Voltaire" and among the most irrerevent of all philosophers and writers.

damien said...

Personally, the entire debate about when life begins completely misses the point and is irrelevant. For example: Amoebas and paramecia live; their lives obviously had a beginning in time. But I don't hear religious folk debating about whether or not GOD breathed life into an Amoeba.

I'm not sure you can get around it, Len. In my state here in Australia they have recently legislated to allow a number of third trimester abortions. Given that premature and cesarian infants borne in this time frame normally survive with medical assistance, then I think there are very real social issues here.

Understand, I am not talking about stem cells or early pregnancy.

Any ideas?

The Fat Lady Sings said...

A blastocyst is not a fetus. It is a collection of cells that has the potential to become a fetus - if all conditions are right. Every month my body sheds god knows how many unfertilized eggs. I'm sure there has been the occasional blastocyst expelled as well. I do not view them as lost children. I find Bush's argument to the contrary specious; and dependant upon an elementary view of science and how the reproductive world operates. Perhaps he needs to re-take 6th grade biology. But then he's not alone in his ignorance. Republican Congresswoman Melissa Hart confused stem cell research with cloning - saying, "I urge us to reject embryonic stem cell research as the science is not there. Since it is successful in treating patients using adult stem cells, and cord blood stem cells which we agreed to fund and the President signed....."

It was later pointed out to her the South Korean cloning to which she was referring (somatic cell nuclear transfer) was not even part of the bill. Perhaps Ms. Hart can join Senator Ted Stevens along with his series of internet 'tubes'. Ah, Congress - the place where all good science goes to die.

Fuzzflash said...

Man, Woman, Birth, Death, Infinity.
I wonder what Dr.Ben Casey would have said about the precise moment that human life begins on the continuum from fertilised egg, to blastocyst, to embryo, to fetus, to second then third trimester, to totally dependent, slippery squealing sproggie. Here was a healer of honor and gravitas from the era before Medical Science became trenchantly corporatised, politicised and highjacked by bigotted philistines. I suspect young Dr. Casey (played by the brooding Vince Edwards), would have taken it up with his wizened medical mentor Dr. David Zorba(the impishly avuncular Sam Jaffe). And what an exchange it would have been. Not quite the dialectical rigor of Marlowe's or Goethe's Doktor Faustus mind you, but something readily understood by anyone capable of civilised discourse.
Now that Ben Casey has shuffled off his celluloid coil, perhaps it's time for Bill Moyers to interview Harvard's Peter Singer on Bill's superb "Faith and Reason" series on pbs.

Benmerc, if you'll permit me the liberty of not so much tampering with, as tweaking Twain from your ever so apt quote:
"The trouble isn't that there are too many fools, but that the Enlightenment isn't distributed right" -

SadButTrue said...

Jen's biblical exegesis is breathtakingly beautiful in its cogent simplicity. It is just this type of reasoning that renders the fundamentalists' arguments moot. Another element of this is the etymology of the word spirit, which comes from the Latin word for breath, hence the English, respiration and inspiration. In Greek the word is pneumos. It confounds fundies, who truly think their beliefs to be bible-based, to find out that there was no Hebrew word for soul, therefore no Old Testament discussion of an afterlife. This is probably the most surprising thing an atheist will find out by reading the bible.

Jen, the religious right HAS weighed in on the Human Papilloma Virus vaccine, and predictably they OPPOSE its general distribution, especially among young women.
"The vaccine needs to be administered to girls before they become sexually active, which is an average age of 17.
And therein lies the rub for the religious base of the Republican Party that George Bush and company have installed in crucial posts in the health department. That base and George W. Bush himself steadfastly adheres to the proposition that kids need to practice abstinence. In their eyes, anything from promoting the use of condoms to giving young girls vaccinations against sexually transmitted diseases only encourages promiscuity among young people."

Religious Fanaticism Out of Control

The model of 'morality' being followed in this argument is staggering in its disconnect from reality, especially in a group that self-identifies as being pro-life. Essentially they are choosing the lesser of two evils, one being the needless deaths of hundreds or even thousands of young women, the other being the encouragement of promiscuity. Obviously promiscuity is the greater threat in their eyes. "Bush has created a situation where those overzealous religious beliefs instead of scientific fact determine national policy...But, who would believe they would actually block approval of a vaccine that can prevent cancer?
The role that religion is playing in important health decisions has caused several career FDA doctors and staff to quit their jobs in disgust."

"I reject any religious doctrine that does not appeal to reason and is in conflict with morality." -- Mohandas Gandhi

BenMerc said...

Yea Len,
He was one of the greats, certainly helped usher in elements of American reformation and historic liberalism, in my view.

You are so much more forgiving then Mr Clemens was. But, still has an effective ring to it.

Vierotchka said...

Life does end in death, but human life began countless eons ago. The egg and sperm are not dead or lifeless entities when they fuse at conception - conception is simply a recombination of life. Bush said he is against stem-cell research because he is against murder, but by those standards, the destruction of discarded blastocysts is murder, whereas to use living stem-cells is not to kill blastocysts, it is simply using its living parts to produce more living parts - there's no death there! So basically, by vetoing stem-cell research, Bush is vetoing life and promoting death - in that, he is being totally consistent.

Dante lee said...

NASA’s Goals Delete Mention of Home Planet


From 2002 until this year, NASA’s mission statement, prominently featured in its budget and planning documents, read: “To understand and protect our home planet; to explore the universe and search for life; to inspire the next generation of explorers ... as only NASA can.”

In early February, the statement was quietly altered, with the phrase “to understand and protect our home planet” deleted. In this year’s budget and planning documents, the agency’s mission is “to pioneer the future in space exploration, scientific discovery and aeronautics research.”

David E. Steitz, a spokesman for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, said the aim was to square the statement with President Bush’s goal of pursuing human spaceflight to the Moon and Mars.

But the change comes as an unwelcome surprise to many NASA scientists, who say the “understand and protect” phrase was not merely window dressing but actively influenced the shaping and execution of research priorities. Without it, these scientists say, there will be far less incentive to pursue projects to improve understanding of terrestrial problems like climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions.

Ah, that explains it!

Dante lee said...
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Len Hart said...

Vierotchka wrote:

Bush said he is against stem-cell research because he is against murder, but by those standards, the destruction of discarded blastocysts is murder, whereas to use living stem-cells is not to kill blastocysts, it is simply using its living parts to produce more living parts - there's no death there! So basically, by vetoing stem-cell research, Bush is vetoing life and promoting death - in that, he is being totally consistent.

Precisely put! Thanks...I've been trying to get that across on other forums but my words have fallen upon the brain dead. Perhaps, for some people, every other cell but those in the cranium live.

Jen said...


I tend to like your way of thinking. Sometimes I start to thinking that we were all existing at the very beginning of human life in some form or another, and that even though we die, we might somehow continue to exist in future generations. Now, I'm getting a bit scifi here.

The crux of the matter with both religious Christians and the government lies in the legalistic meaning of the beginning of a distinct individual human life, and the inability of anyone to set any specific term to define the existence of a separate, new human being with all the rights entitled to all humans in our country.

Heck, I bet they can't even decide if those terrorists in Gitmo are living humans, either. And the way the US treats Iraqi folks, well, maybe Bushco has decided they aren't real living humans, either.