Friday, July 28, 2006

How Ya Gonna Keep 'Em Down On The Fetal Farm?

The bizarre story that got very little play the day that Curious George vetoed a bill that would have federally funded embryonic stem cell research was the "Fetus Farming Prohibition Act of 2006."

The bill, sponsored by that intellectual giant, Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, passed 100-0. The aim of the legislation was to "amend the Public Health Service Act to prohibit the solicitation or acceptance of tissue from fetuses gestated for research purposes, and for other purposes."

I'll bet we are now all breathing a sigh of relief that we will not be creating a new line of designer embryos for our mad scientists to be experimenting on. Frankenstein will have to wait for a less godly House and Senate, I suppose.

It is obvious that this bill was introduced with the goal of diluting the reaction to the Bush veto, so that right-wing politicians would have another non-issue to appeal to their evangelical base. However, it is hard for pandering to be effective when you can't use the issue for divisive purposes. And how can one be divisive on an issue with 100% support?

Further, as Media Matters correctly reported, media handling of this was once again botched.

As Media Matters noted, coverage from the NY Times and CNN mentioned the passage of the legislation without mentioning that 'fetal farming' does not exist, nor has anyone proposed that it should. In the above link provided, Media Matters gives a pretty good history of the legislation and why it was introduced.

I chose to mention it today, because of the absurdist comments I noted when I checked out the website of Concerned Women for America (an ill-named group, if ever there was one). They specifically refer to the House bill, without mentioning Sen. Santorum and the Senate legislation.

From the CWA site comes the following:

"Concerned Women for America (CWA) commends President Bush and Congress for passing legislation known as The Fetus Farming Prohibition Act (H.R. 5719) introduced by Rep. Dave Weldon (R-Florida). This life-saving legislation will prohibit the creation and development of humans in order to harvest organs, body parts and tissue for research.

"'The creation of pre-born children to extract their organs and tissue for experimentation may seem unreal, and yet it has already occurred with animals,' said Wendy Wright, CWA’s President. 'Creating human embryos for research was denounced until it was discovered that a fertility clinic was creating embryos solely to experiment upon. Cloning was universally denounced until it was announced that American scientists were attempting it. The time to ban scientific atrocities against helpless humans comes before unethical scientists work up their propaganda machines to claim that destroying human beings is justified to benefit science. Banning the inception of a pregnancy to obtain the baby’s tissues for research also protects women from being exploited, used as incubators.'

"'As the law stands, purchasing fetal tissue from an induced abortion is punishable by fines and/or up to 10 years imprisonment,' said Lanier Swann, CWA’s Director of Government Relations. 'Now these same penalties will be applied to anyone violating the Fetus Farming Prohibition Act.

"'The House has acknowledged and prevented the damage fetus farming could have done had it been allowed. Although the idea of harvesting humans for research sounds like science fiction, it is becoming a shocking reality. We praise representatives in the House for realizing that ethics should never be checked at the door in lofty hopes of advancing immoral scientific schemes.'"

Life-saving legislation?

Shocking reality?

Immoral scientific schemes?

I am so glad that, with all the global violence and hunger we are faced with, CWA was able to come up with an issue that they could sink their teeth (and claws) into.

I am willing to bet that the sheep that flock to them will reward them with more gold to line their concerned wallets with.

After all, isn't that the point?

Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Obscene Profits Of Exxon Mobil

Today, Exxon Mobil reported the 2nd biggest profit ever for a publicly traded company, 10.36 billion dollars in the April-June quarter.

That number is 2nd, only to the 10.71 billion that the same corporation recorded in the last year.

According to the Associated Press, EM's Veep of investor relations, Henry Hubble, said, "We continue to see demand growth year over year....We're selling everything we can make."

So, let's see. Profits are up 36% over a year ago and 12% from the last quarter alone.

During that same period, with Americans now saddled with much higher gasoline prices, raise your hand if you saw ANY increase in real disposable income. Not too many hands waving out there, outside of oil companies and the corporations that have profited off the war.

Not that a compassion-less administration gets it, but there are families that struggle with balancing filling the tank with putting food on the table.

Have we asked these money-grubbing corporations to give back some of that excessive windfall to the nation? Have we tried to use some of the excess profits to try and thwart any of the economic pain being caused by high-priced oil?

Of course not.

Instead, the Bushies have followed an international policy that thrives on violence in the Middle East. It is a policy that boosts the record profits for the companies that are the true power behind the Republican Party.

Seriously, doesn't it seem a tad odd that we are not trying to slow down the bloodshed in Lebanon one bit? Since when has America suggested 'wait it out' in this particular global powder keg?

As for Iraq? Our willingness to let chaos rule is evident.

Blood for oil. Maybe it isn't so far-fetched after all.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Apology or Snow Job?

Tony Snow has now apologized for suggesting that President Bush equated embryonic stem cell research with murder.

However, as we already know, Bush also stated that such research involved, "the taking of innocent life."

Those words were very carefully chosen. Pro-ban extremists usually use the terms 'murder' and 'taking of innocent life' interchangeably. Some examples can be found here and here among countless other similar writings.

So when can we expect an apology from Mr. Bush?

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Nazis & Stem Cell Researchers: The Origin Of The GOP Talking Points

Reading Frank Rich's column today (subscription required), I was interested in his singling out of Michael Steele, a GOP senatorial candidate from Maryland, for linking embryonic stem cell research to Nazi experiments on Jews during World War 2.

The comparisons of researchers to Nazis is not an original proposition.

I remember hearing James Dobson say the same thing on a radio talk show this week, so I searched and, sure enough, back in August of last year, Media Matters referenced Dobson's inappropriate comments from his August 3rd radio show.

At the time, Dobson said, "In World War II, the Nazis experimented on human beings in horrible ways in the concentration camps, and I imagine, if you wanted to take the time to read about it, there would have been some discoveries there that benefited mankind."

The link is here.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Bush Accuses Stem Cell Researchers Of Murder

It's bad enough that the worst President America has ever known used his first veto to ban federal funds for embryonic stem cell research. What could be worse than that?

Blatantly suggesting that those who engage in such conduct are murderers.

In his veto speech, in which the shameless George I was surrounded by exploited 'snowflake babies,' unused fertility clinic embryos that got 'adopted,'Bush equated stem cell research with "the taking of innocent life."

Need it to be any more clear? The politically tone-deaf Press Secretary, Tony Snow, added: "He simply thinks murder's wrong."

So those who would put to use, for the public good, embryos that would have been utilized for research to help end human suffering, are killers? It's better to throw them out? And, if those who would perform stem cell research are killers, exactly what does that imply about those people who run fertility clinics? And what of couples who have destroyed embryos in their pursuit of a fertile egg?

Tom Harkin, Democratic Senator from Iowa has it right when he says, " If that's murder, how come the president allows that to continue? Where is his outrage?"

According to Charles Babington, in the Washington Post, Senator Harkin also added that the Bush veto was "a shameful display of cruelty, hypocrisy and ignorance."

And what of the vast majority of the American public that favors embryonic stem cell research, according to opinion polls?

Obviously, Bush feels we approve of murder.

We need to show him what he think of his disgusting and inhuman politics in November.

Senators that need to be defeated for allowing Bush to do this can be found here. It includes Nebraska Democrat Nelson.

I will be adding links to the House roll call vote in a future post.

Monday, July 17, 2006

What The Mid-Term Ads Should Say

Observing King George's behavior at the G-8 summit is almost unbearable. Oops, wadda ya know, the mike is on!

Could it be any more embarrassing than having this putz be the face of America?

What's worse is that the insanity is not even close to reaching its zenith. Just wait til our Commander-as-Chimp make his first veto the one that stifles stem-cell research.

This fool will go down in history as the most incompetent leader of a major power EVER.

If the Dems are smart (see, I really do hope for miracles) they will make the following type of message part of the ad campaign in every race.....

(start commercial by showing one of the many embarrassing Bush moments and fiascos....'mission accomplished' will fit in nicely here)

Announcer: Thanks to a GOP stranglehold on Congress, George Bush has been seeking to have unlimited, unchecked power and Congress has not allowed a single investigation into misdeeds or incompetence to go forth.

For example, has Halliburton mis-used billions earmarked for Iraqi and post-Katrina reconstruction? Have the oil companies set up our energy policy to insure record profits? What mistakes were made to have created the current debacle in Iraq?

We'll never know. Republicans will not allow any charges to be looked into. They will not allow important questions to even be asked, so that we avoid repeating the same mistakes in the future.

President Bush knows he answers to nobody (show a graphic of a rubber stamp).

If you want the checks-and-balances needed in order to let America govern order to make our nation's leaders accountable to the people...elect (insert name here).

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Bush: Indian Deaths For Political Capital?

Interesting evolution of Bush the politician today.

According to AP, Bush, while speaking at a shoe factory, couldn't even initially express sorrow over the tragedy, saying "no comments today, thank you very much."

Huh? The leader of the U.S. makes THAT his initial response?

As the day wore on, his advisers must have sensed the opportunity these deaths offered, as he later said "such acts only strengthen the resolve of the international community to stand united against terrorism and to declare unequivocally that there is no justification for the vicious murder of innocent people."

Not to be cynical, but anybody want to lay odds on Bush and the Republiclones using this senseless slaughter as an opportunity to push his 'War on Terror' agenda?

You know, the plan that exploits human tragedy for the purpose of gaining more executive power, at the expense of civil liberty.

How many days before he plays that card? Or has it already arrived?

Sunday, July 09, 2006

More Carnage In Baghdad

CNN today is reporting the following:

"Gunmen roaming a Baghdad neighborhood on Sunday killed at least 40 unarmed Iraqis as soon as they identified them as Sunnis."

The report quotes a Sunni politician calling it, "one of the biggest massacres of Sunnis." Women and children are included in the victim count.

So, can we expect the media to challenge, or even question, the repeated assertions by the Bush monarchy that this is not a civil war?

This type of story is not exactly an aberration. Every day, we hear reports about the escalating sectarian violence. When does this, or our involvement as facilitating occupiers, end?

What, exactly, is our role? When will our 'mission' be accomplished? How many more of our troops will lay down their lives before our government honestly answers these questions?

The Neo-Cons that have hijacked this country ignore the political realities that exist in Iraq and the result is that our troops will continue to shed blood to help the ExxonMobils of the world improve upon their record profits.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

What's A Fallen GI's Life Worth?

What's a fallen GI's life worth?

The lockstep parrots in the GOP-dominated Congress have decided, not very much.

In fact, last month, 19 GOP Senators cast a 'No' vote on an amendment that would "express the sense of Congress that the Government of Iraq should not grant amnesty to persons known to have attacked, killed, or wounded members of the Armed Forces of the United States."

Remember these names:

Wayne Allard of Colorado
Kit Bond of Missouri
Jim Bunning of Kentucky
Conrad Burns of Montana
Tom Coburn of Oklahoma
Thad Cochran of Mississippi
John Cornyn of Texas
Jim DeMint of South Carolina
Mike Enzi of Wyoming
Lindsey Graham of South Carolina
Chuck Hagel of Nebraska
Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma
Jon Kyl of Arizona
Trent Lott of Mississippi
John McCain of Arizona
Jeff Sessions of Alabama
Ted Stevens of Alaska
Craig Thomas of Wyoming
John Warner of Virginia

This July 4th, I was curious how the Middle Eastern press was celebrating America's birthday. Bahrain, the epicenter of Arab-American bipartisan greed had some uncomfortable news.

According to the following AFP wire report in the Bahrain Tribune:

"Iraqi Shia leader Abdel Aziz Al Hakim, the head of parliament’s largest bloc, said yesterday he favours extending an amnesty to insurgents who may have killed US troops.

"He also accused US-led coalition troops of contributing to the worsening security by being “sucked into a quagmire” they were unqualified to handle.

"'Yes, they should be covered regardless of their religious or ethnic affiliations,' Hakim said.

"Hakim’s position would contradict that of his government ally Maliki, who said on Wednesday that there would be no amnesty to those who killed US troops, foreigners or journalists."

Think the story is getting much play in America? Think again.

Add to the that, the continued hatred being stirred up against our troops, and you have a no-win situation for our soldiers.

In the same issue, the Bahrain Tribune had a commentary that was extremely anti-American. The commentary, which takes the U.S. military to task for wartime abuses, begins with the following, "American soldiers have not - absolutely not - understood nor realised how much shame and odium their acts of barbarism have brought on their country, touted as the First Democracy in the world from five-star podiums."

The commentary partially blames the problem on the "western soldier’s lack of respect for non-western cultures based on ignorance and false presumptions."

This comes from a relatively pro-Western Arab source. The level of anger, hatred and vitriol is far greater on the less American-friendly Arab press and the resentment seeps from the blogs of ordinary Iraqis trying to get on with their day-to-day lives amidst the chaos and bloodshed.

It seems that the GOP 'stay-the-course' strategy, is let the troops be sitting ducks, and if some die in the process, we should not hold their killers responsible.

So which is the party that truly supports the troops? Something to consider on our nation's 230th birthday.