November 21, 2007
With Luck the Demagoguery is behind us

I haven't read much of the voluminous coverage of the recent stem cell breakthrough, covered by the Seattle Times in their "Close Up" today. Thus, I'm not sure if this angle has received much discussion yet, but I do hope that the scourge of beating the political drum of embryonic stem cell "cures" and related hyperbolic posturing has passed. John Edwards, circa 2004, encapsulated the worst of many examples of such antics (which have occurred locally as well). Our political discourse would be better if such irresponsible talk were behind us.

Posted by Eric Earling at November 21, 2007 07:49 AM | Email This
Comments
1. I listened to an NPR interview with two advocates, one from each side of the issue, and was not shocked to hear that the pro-embryonic side is not reasy to give its crusade.

Their rationale is that the new studies using skin cells to create stem cells is not settled science - only a few positive studies.

I believe what this shows is that the debate was never about stem cells - its about abortion, and that stem cells were simply a wedge issue to obscure the truth of their cause.

Posted by: deadwood on November 21, 2007 08:24 AM
2. The funny part, Calif is spending 3 billion to go around Bush.

Looks like MORE wasted money.

By the way, have we heard any cures form the pro-group?

Posted by: Army Medic/Vet on November 21, 2007 08:33 AM
3. Exactly, deadwood and they used suffering folks like Michael Fox and Reeves to further their cause. Who couldn't see these two and wish to find a cure? And then tell them they couldn't get federal funding for embryonic cells?

And I hope the people who talked to Fox and Reeves had clear hearts and beliefs the embryonic cells held the most promise (whereas in reality, they were know to cause diseases, etc.).

I know I was torn on this issue.

Posted by: swatter on November 21, 2007 08:34 AM
4. #2

I seem to recall our own Queen has also dedicated tax money to the crusade. Will she use the same lame "not settled" argument here? I expect the answer will be affirmative.

Posted by: deadwood on November 21, 2007 08:44 AM
5. Swatter.

I'm with you on this one, but the pro side hasn't been real truthful on their results. which has been zero.

Posted by: Army Medic/Vet on November 21, 2007 08:46 AM
6. #3

A lot of people (myself included) were torn by these appeals.

Posted by: deadwood on November 21, 2007 08:47 AM
7. Sorry about this, but which side is the pro?

In the abortion debate, there are pro-abortion, pro-choice and pro-life groups, e.g.

If you are referring to the pro-embryonic side, there have been no breakthroughs.

Posted by: swatter on November 21, 2007 08:58 AM
8. Sorry Swatter
If you are referring to the pro-embryonic side, there have been no breakthroughs.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Yep that's what I was talking about. But you'll not hear a word about it. )-:
You notice that when newspapers print about stell cells, you have to hunt it down on which type it is. (sorry bunch)

Posted by: Army Medic/Vet on November 21, 2007 09:04 AM
9.
This is yet another instance in which the Bush Administration has shown its ability to stand by, and win a challenge.

I have always made the point, that is some eminent Liberal scientist came out and said that using embryos for research might have moral or just biological detriments the Blue States would be jumping up and down in assent. But if Bush says essentially the same thing, they go on automatic to oppose it!

Another example: does anyone in this country know about that Bush from the onset of his administration has been a champion of alternative energy such as hydrogen fuel cells? He's been funding it since 2001. In fact, he gave a major State of the Union speech in 2003 that emphasized alternative clean (green) energy -- wasn't that years before Al Gore's movie??

Posted by: John Bailo on November 21, 2007 09:40 AM
10. I don't know what news shows you all have been watching but I've seen this painted as a victory for the pro-stem cell crowd in such a way as to portray us (the Evangelical crowd) as being defeated. Only when they actually talk to someone on Bush's side do the news people realize that this really is what we've been predicting all along and that there was no reason to go kill babies in the first place. Perception is reality and the voting public's perception is being misinformed on this issue again, for the benefit of the libs.

Posted by: Doug on November 21, 2007 10:07 AM
11. Like with Global Warming, stem cells are a case where the screaming and panic is way ahead of the science. Let's let scientists get back to work, and they'll come up with something useful and safe. We've got far bigger problems in the here and now.

Posted by: Jeff B. on November 21, 2007 10:13 AM
12. Look, there is NO Constitutional authority for the Federal Government to fund scientific research OF ANY KIND!!!

Stem cell research should not be subsidized by taxpayers. This is a special interest handout! It should be funded by the corporations and other private entities that stand to benefit from selling and providing the future cures that are developed. Federal money just distorts the market. It is much more likely than private funding to be spent on dead-end research. The WORST studies tend to get government grants and funding, because the government tends to do a bad job of identifying promising research compared to private organizations.

But neither should the federal government be restricting what kinds of research gets done in the US, as long as that research violates no rights.

So, does using fetal stem cells violate rights? That depends on when you assume rights begin. If at conception, then you can STILL use fetal stem cells from fetuses that were either spontaneously aborted, or were aborted in order to save the life of the mother.

But I don't think that the fetus acquires rights at conception. I think rights can only accrue after the fetal brain is complex enough to sustain consciousness, or a "soul." A soul can not inhabit a stem cell, it can only inhabit a complex enough brain. No one knows what this point is in fetal development, but it is almost certainly after the first month of gestation, when there are no brain-waves. So, aborted fetal tissue from less than one month old fetuses should be allowed to be used in stem cell research.

All of the stem cell lines come from VERY early fetal tissue, some on the order of hours old. So all of these stem cells should be allowable for research.

By the way, we must not forget that stem cell research has amazing possibilities for curing diseases like cancer. I am no consequentialist, but restricting stem cell research in the US could cost one of you a loved one. My wife of 17 years died of Breast cancer about two years ago.

Those of you opposed to stem cell research should never be forced to pay for it via your taxes. But you have no right to restrict private labs from doing research with private money on very early-term fetal tissue. Stage a boycott or a protest outside the research lab, but don't restrict our liberty by taking the easy way out and using the law to prohibit peaceful, free market, scientific research.

The argument about funding applies to ALL scientific research funded by the government. There will always be someone who objects, if only on the basis of their own right to property, or the principle of limited government in the Constitution.

The separation of church and state gives us freedom of religion and conscience. There ought to be a separation of science and state in order to preserve our right of peaceful inquiry and freedom of thought. We need to get the government out of peaceful labs.

Posted by: Bruce Guthrie on November 21, 2007 10:21 AM
13. Hmm Bruce G

Polio.

Posted by: Army Medic/Vet on November 21, 2007 10:32 AM
14. John Bailo @ 9: And where in the Constitution does GW Bush get the authority to fund alternative energy research? This violates his oath of office!

Look, federal alternative energy funding is just another subsidy to a special interest group. It is corporate welfare. Some alternative energy organizations are big corporations and some are small, but all are special interests who can make big campaign finance contributions.

The free market will develop alternative energy because it is profitable. It will use money more efficiently because it will direct research dollars to better research prospects than will the government bureaucrats. Capitalism is better for the environment than socialism. Just look at the pollution in the former Soviet Union and in China!

All this wasted research funding came from taxpayers. It wastes our money. It violates our rights. It hurts the environment!

We need a separation of science and state.

In Atlas Shrugged, there is an eminent scientist, Dr. Roberet Stadler, who sells out and accepts government funding. We soon discover that his research has been bent to benefit the politicians in power and that he has been totally corrupted. Power corrupts.

Government funding is retarding and corrupting science. And we have set this precedent. One result is that government funding of science is feeding the global warming socialists. Big government socialists are using the good name and respect of science to sell fear of environmental disaster that leads the people to vote them more power. The color of socialism is no longer red. It is green.

Governemnt MUST be limited, or it will take over everything. Our liberty is at stake. We are squandering the legacy of the founding fathers.

Support Ron Paul!

Posted by: Bruce Guthrie on November 21, 2007 10:40 AM
15. Army Medic @13: My understanding was that polio was eradicated by private organizations like Rotary or Lions club. They raised money for innoculations in the third world.

I'll bet the polio vaccine would have been developed faster if government had gotten out of the way.

Posted by: Bruce Guthrie on November 21, 2007 10:43 AM
16. Aaaah, I see. New rights in the Constitution from a strict Constitutionalist? Brilliant!

And to go further, reading too much into the tea leaves, I see. No one in the comments suggested the government should criminalize embryonic cell research. We may wish it were to happen, but that is not the same as (well, there are the thought police).

Posted by: swatter on November 21, 2007 10:44 AM
17. As a paraplegic, I tend to follow the alleged breakthroughs related to spinal cord research. That "hope" thing you know.
A couple years ago, the Miami project made a huge leap in finding what aids a spinal cord to mend itself. However it had nothing to do with ESC, so it was scrapped. Politics in medical research? Bah!!!

Posted by: PC on November 21, 2007 10:57 AM
18. Bruce, your pushing the RP thing a tad too hard!

For your reading

In America in the 1950s, summertime was a time of fear and anxiety for many parents; this was the season when children by the thousands became infected with the crippling disease poliomyelitis, or polio. That burden of fear was lifted forever when it was announced that Dr. Jonas Salk had developed a vaccine against the disease. Salk became world-famous overnight, but his discovery was the result of many years of painstaking research.

Posted by: Army Medic/Vet on November 21, 2007 11:00 AM
19. PC, I hope they find a cure.

Army Medic, he does that to get your goat and to pull your beard after he gets it.

Posted by: swatter on November 21, 2007 11:13 AM
20. Privately-funded painstaking research, as I recall.

Posted by: Bruce Guthrie on November 21, 2007 11:21 AM
21. WHAT?! John Edwards, a respected trial lawyer, would stoop to demagoguery to exploit people's hope and fears?

Say it ain't so!

Posted by: pudge on November 21, 2007 11:22 AM
22. wow, you folks sure like to read yourselves rattle on. you must think your inteligent. incredable.

Posted by: OnYawn on November 21, 2007 12:00 PM
23. re RP:

It is my opinion that the money funding RP is coming from the fringe left who want to introduce a third party candidate on the right to siphon off votes from small gov't libertarian leaning types.

I hope someone is carefully tracking the source of funds for RP as they are for mainstream candidates. If anyone knows where to look, let us know.

Posted by: deadwood on November 21, 2007 12:09 PM
24. The oral polio vaccine is itself causing polio. The injected vaccine is safer. We don't need pseudo medicine in the form of stem cell research. There are natural cures for cancer and AIDS using oxidative therapy and nutritional supplements to build up the immune system. Also google "Blood electrification" which has been patented.

Posted by: truthseeker on November 21, 2007 12:31 PM
25. Once again, all we have to do is follow the money to understand the push for embryonic stem cell research. There are enormous research grants to be had. And don't for a moment forget that abortion is a Huge Industry in our country. Billions of dollars. It's always the money. The supporters are completely and salivatingly aware of what a financial boon approval of all embryonic stem cell research would be to many, many commercial enterprises. Why is anyone surprised. It is always thus, and really does not have too much to do with finding a cure for any particular disease, because even with the intense research ongoing, not much progress has been made. It's a scam, just like man-made global warming and the "consensus" that we can actually do anything effective about it. It's all about the money to be made.

Posted by: katomar on November 21, 2007 01:03 PM
26. The "public" eats this nonsense phoney balloney science up, it always has.

Time magazine, November 26, 2007 (Michael Grunwald):
[Georgia's] drought was a natural event transformed into a natural disaster by human folly. And while it's still hard to say whether global warming caused any particular drought or flood or fire, it's going to cause more of all of them.

Time magazine, June 24, 1974:
In Africa, drought continues for the sixth consecutive year, adding terribly to the toll of famine victims... Climatological Cassandras are becoming increasingly apprehensive, for the weather aberrations they are studying may be the harbinger of another ice age.

Posted by: JDH on November 21, 2007 01:29 PM
27. #14: "All this wasted research funding came from taxpayers. It wastes our money. It violates our rights."

I find this a bit hypocritcal from a "Ron Paul supporter" since his entire candidacy is a product of the Internet...which was created by government leading industry with funding from the American taxpayer.

It's the same hypocrasy as that of Ross Perot who wanted the government "off our backs"...but, of course, he made all his money being the sole provider for computing services to Medicare and Medicaid!

Posted by: John Bailo on November 21, 2007 01:59 PM
28. John Bailo @ 27: So, just because I believe the internet should be privately funded, I have to abstain from using it, now that it is built? Same with roads? And if a single corporation I buy from gets any government subsidy, I must never use their products? Must I refrain from using parks, even though my use of them adds no marginal costs to local government?

Sorry, but I still have to function in society. You can't set it up so that I have to become a hermit or leave the US just because I think that the world was better off without corporate welfare. You can't set the standards for avoiding hypocrisy so high that almost none can attain it.

There is a long libertarian tradition of opting out. Thoreau's stay at Walden Pond was one of the more famous attempts. It is the right of anyone to opt-out of the social contract. Otherwise it can not be a valid contract.

People who move to Alaska, Montana or NH are often trying to do this, if only in part. When people move to a place that has lower taxes and regulations, they are doing this in an incomplete way. The story of Atlantis within Atlas Shrugged is this kind of thing as well.

But I prefer to stay in society and work to make it more just from the inside, at least for now. It is not yet time to leave the US. If this means partaking of the very system and the very injustices that I decry, well, that is my business, not yours.

Your attempt to call Ron Paul and his supporters hypocrites fails, because there is no way to remain unhypocritical, and still be a member of society.

But at least we do not advocate getting MORE subsidies for our own special interests. We don't want government subsidies for ourselves. You won't hear us lobbying for new ones, and you will hear us defending the repeal of subsidies we "benefit" from.

For instance, I want the federal government to stop subsidizing roads and the internet, even though I am a heavy user of both.

For real hypocrisy, you need to look at the other candidates, who tout lower taxes and limited government, but then vote for tax increases and big government programs. Ron Paul never does this kind of thing.

Posted by: Bruce Guthrie on November 21, 2007 02:41 PM
29. JDH, I know it has become bash Huckabee week, but I read a report where he says he read the bible and the bible says humans have to do something about global warming.

Posted by: swatter on November 21, 2007 02:50 PM
30. swatter,
I saw that and like Bush he wants to show the world that he is not out of step with popular opinion.

Ya know, it takes a the courage of one's convictions to go with where the evidence leads when it is against popular opinion. Actually with Anthropogenic Catistrophic Global Warming it is NOT going where the popular opinion is leading that takes courage, because the evidence clearly does not lead in any certain dirrection. It is INCONCLUSIVE, and in fact it doesn't even suggest a conclusion either for or against. Where there are conclusions drawn, they stretch credulity to the breaking point.

Posted by: JDH on November 21, 2007 03:16 PM
31. Swatter, I hear that Huckabee held a "money bomb" on 11/20/07 and only raised $220K, compared to Ron Paul's $4.38 Million on 11/5/07. The next Ron Paul money bomb is scheduled for 12/16/07, the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party, and sign-ups for teaparty07.com are already ahead of the same time before the 11/5 event. I'll bet Ron Paul gets about $6 million on 12/16!

It is money that wins elections these days, unfortunately, and with Ron Paul having raised about $9 million total in the 4th quarter so far, it is getting really hard for the MSM to keep ignoring him!

Ron Paul is on the right side of the global warming issue. He sees global warming as mostly natural, and something we can adapt to with less cost than trying to change affect the climate ourselves.

Posted by: Bruce Guthrie on November 21, 2007 05:42 PM
32. Swatter, I hear that Huckabee held a "money bomb" on 11/20/07 and only raised $220K, compared to Ron Paul's $4.38 Million on 11/5/07. The next Ron Paul money bomb is scheduled for 12/16/07, the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party, and sign-ups for teaparty07.com are already ahead of the same time before the 11/5 event. I'll bet Ron Paul gets about $6 million on 12/16!

It is money that wins elections these days, unfortunately, and with Ron Paul having raised about $9 million total in the 4th quarter so far, it is getting really hard for the MSM to keep ignoring him!

Ron Paul is on the right side of the global warming issue. He sees global warming as mostly natural, and something we can adapt to with less cost than trying to affect the climate ourselves.

Posted by: Bruce Guthrie on November 21, 2007 05:43 PM
33. This issue best illustrates the complete emotional committment liberals have to negativism.

Embryonic research has produced no tangible results, yet it is embraced by liberals as the key to utopia.

Actual positive research is disregarded because it obviates the need for abortion.

Ultimately, its the nihilism that doomed (or perhaps was simply a manifestation of the doom) of the Vienne cafe society.

Posted by: The Real Sporer on November 21, 2007 05:59 PM
34. Anyone see where Mitt Romney appointed the judge who released the guy from prison who murdered the couple in Graham?

I'm curious if this will begin the crack in Romney's support. If he didn't appoint law and order judges in Massachusetts, what makes anyone think he will appoint conservatives as president? I like Romney, and think he has accomplished a great deal. But he isn't a conservative, and he barely ranks as a Republican. I'd rather see the openly social liberal Rudy over someone who says whatever to appeal to the audience in front of him.

Posted by: janet s on November 21, 2007 07:32 PM
35. Thank you Janet. If Mitt has any culpability in this, as he may (being soft on crime and all...).

Posted by: CandrewB on November 21, 2007 07:44 PM
36. Hillary:

She voted for the war, hated Saddam, now am against the war, Hate Bush

She supported the NY governor giving drivers licenses to illegals, before the last debate when she was a NO against it

Put your finger up in the air, and see which way the wind blows

That is Hillary Leadership....

Posted by: GS on November 21, 2007 08:02 PM
37. Whatever happened to the "cord blood = stem cells" fracas awhile back? Anyone know?

Posted by: Erik Huber on November 21, 2007 08:57 PM
38. Eugenics, Global Warming and Embryonic Research have been the products of the classical "Snake Oil Salesmen" of yesteryear. Just a dime and it will cure anything that will kill you. Why it is even patented. The trouble is that the snake oil guys are now politicians with access to the public purse selling the hope and dreams to people who in turn argue for supporting the researchers married to the buck. Any problems with this arrangement. Why must the government sponsor stem cell research? There are no laws preventing companies from sponsoring stem cell research. Obviously, we just don't understand. Do we?

Posted by: Snuffy on November 21, 2007 09:05 PM
39. Speaking of snake oil!

The latest from the team that killed the Global Warming "Hockey Stick"

"Climate Change Scare based on SpreadSheet Error"

http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=2406#comments

Posted by: deadwood on November 21, 2007 10:55 PM
40. Hooray for science ! The Democrat (in this case the Demagogue) Party has lost an issue that they Demagogued to the tune of $3 billion in California.

Global Warming has a similar fingerprint, but it will take longer to disprove the Enviro-hysterics premises. Although, the playing field is gradually being evened as the disinfectant of light is being shown on the issue and the snake oil salesman as they slither underground.

Posted by: KS on November 21, 2007 11:06 PM
41. Bruce Guthrie,
Let me ask you this one question: How much money did the same people who are totally invested in Ron Paul shove down a rat-hole pre Y2K? I have been watching the RP phenomenon and yes his supporters are enthusiastic, but they are the same people whose every living breath in 1999 was consumed with the coming melt down and it's aftermath. In other words a bunch of nut jobs.

Posted by: JDH on November 22, 2007 06:29 AM
42. This technique still requires an embryo, a cloned embryo in fact. So instead of using unneeded embryos from fertility clinics which are going to be destroyed anyway, a new embryo is actually created.

Now I don't really care about a microscopic clump of cells one way or another. Its not meaningful life in my book, but it seems that those that do would have an even bigger problem with this technique, what with it actually created 'life' and all.

I think we should go after all avenues of research. We simply don't know at this point which will pay off. Thats why we do research.

As for Bruce's argument against science funding, the general welfare clause and interstate commerce clause both provide plenty of ground for funding research. See United States v. Butler.

Federal investment though universities, national labs, the military, NASA, and so on is responsible for most of the modern technology we have, from jet planes to the internet. The general pattern is that government funds initial research, especially the really costly and risky kind. Some pays off and some doesn't. A private actor, evaluating the risk, would stay away from it as failure means death, whereas a state actor given thats its survival is not so at stake can pursue it.

Also since federally funded research is often tied to some degree of openness the breakthroughs are available for all spurring entrepreneurs and established actors to improve the idea and develop commercial products.

Though, if we wanted to be really strict about it, the federal government could fund research, but not ban it.

Posted by: Giffy on November 22, 2007 06:38 AM
43. JDH @ 41: I have no idea. I never lost any money in this way.

Your suggestion is merely a smear; a kind of guilt by association tactic.

You're better than that, my friend.

Posted by: Bruce Guthrie on November 22, 2007 12:06 PM
44. Giffy @ 42, the general welfare clause does NOT say that the government can do anything that it thinks is in the general welfare. To interpret it this way is to ignore the 9th and 10th ammendments, and to misunderstand the Constitutional limitations on government power. The Constititution is a document of enumerated powers. Powers not specifically enumerated are prohibited by the 10th amendment.

In fact, the general welfare clause is a limitation on government power. It says that the government may do ONLY what is in the general welfare, NOT what is in the welfare of a special interest. The general welfare clause excludes corporate welfare. Well, what is science funding from the feds other than corporate welfare? The scientists and the drug companies are all special interests. It is against the principles of the free market to give them subsidies. It is against all morality to steal from poor people, via their income taxes, to give to big corporations who may benefit from government funded scientific research. It is Robin Hood in revearse.

The interstate commerce clause was intended to promote free trade between the states by ensuring that any interstate tarriffs were low, covering only the costs of inspection, and not raised in order to protect local businesses from competition in other states. It does NOT say that the federal government may pass any kinds of laws or regulations on any business that sells it't products across state lines. Just because scientific discoveries and products that result from them cross state lines, does not give the govenrment the power to regulate or subsidize it.

It was the big-government FDR types, who brow-beat the Supreme Court in to accepting a reading of these parts of the Consitution that effectively destroyed the purpose of the Constitiution: to limit government power. I'm not surprised you can name a supreme court case, but lots of supreme court cases were decided in error.

I have no problem disagreeing with a law or a supreme court decision. The rule of law only says that I must follow the law or accept the punishment, not that I must agree with every bad law or court decision on the books.

Posted by: Bruce Guthrie on November 22, 2007 09:27 PM
45. I've never understood what the original hubbub about all of this stem cell stuff was all about. All that was happening was that federal funds wouldn't be used. That's all. States and the private sector were free to do as they chose. And they did. While all this teeth gnashing was happening over federal funds, the private sector was quietly at work finding a way to morally answer the question and in the process they found a much better solution (no rejection by the host).

And, if anybody was listening, many scientists were saying that embryonic stem cells we're the answer anyway. Private sector money automatically flowed to the more vioable solutions as should happen in a free market.

The media's leftist, big government agenda is really what kept this ESC brouhaha on the boil. They viewed it as a perfect way to show America how "backward" the religious right could be or was. I viewed it as keeping big government out of places they don't belong. This new direction is a real win that way.

Posted by: G Jiggy on November 23, 2007 09:55 AM
46. Bruce Guthrie,

Do you have Ron Paul underwear as well?

Posted by: pbj on November 23, 2007 10:04 AM
47. pbj @ 46, no Ron Paul underpants, but I do have a "students for Ron Paul" t-shirt! I do wear it under dress shirts now and then, so perhaps you could call it an undershirt...

I'll have the taste not to ask you whether you wear GW Bush boxers or briefs... That would have been tacky, and none of my business. It would also have been a sort of belittling, personal attack that conservatives are supposed to be above.

Posted by: Bruce Guthrie on November 23, 2007 11:56 AM
48. Bruce,
Just brought it up because the same people hectoring me about my indifference to Y2K are the same ones that only want me to grab onto Ron Paul. Sincere, yes ... but I prefer to make judgments based upon facts and Ron Paul doesn't impress me as the one best able to take my needs forward.

Posted by: JDH on November 23, 2007 06:58 PM
49. JDH, that's guilt by association, my friend. If you really do prefer to make judgements based upon facts, then you should stick to facts about Ron Paul's positions on the issues, and whether they make sense or not, not about what some small minority of his supporters might have been thinking.

OK?

My preparations for Y2K were limited to getting a little extra cash out of the bank.

Posted by: Bruce Guthrie on November 24, 2007 09:40 AM
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