Monthly Archives: July 2006

The Daily Roundup

Keith who?

Democrats are on their latest election platform for 2006. They’ll come with yet another one next week sometime. I don’t know what’s worse, the GOP’s “American Values Agenda”, which doesn’t even deal with serious issues, or the Democrats’s lack of an agenda.

World trade talks collapse. (more on this later)

Space tourists can now walk in space. The universe will be colonized by the brave and adventurous, not government bureaucrats.

Venezuelan Leader Hugo Chavez continues his support for democracy and liberty abroad.

That’s all folks, until tomorrow.

I’m one of the original co-founders of The Liberty Papers all the way back in 2005. Since then, I wound up doing this blogging thing professionally. Now I’m running the site now. You can find my other work at IJ Review.com and Rare. You can also find me over at the R Street Institute.

Stem Cells and Liberty

The recent vote by Congress and veto by President Bush of legislation that would have allowed Federal funding of embryonic stem cell research has brought stem cell research and government funding of it back to the front pages of the news. There have been some liberty-minded people have expressed outrage at Bush’s decision. However, I believe that President Bush made the right decision by finally finding his veto pen and using it, but for the wrong reasons.

First and foremost, there is no constitutional justification under Article 1, Section 8 of the US Constitution for Federal funding of stem cell research of any kind. There is no serious arguement that can be made for funding this on national security grounds that can be made, for example, for space exploration. Stem cell research, as presently being speculated, cannot be used for contagious, deadly diseases, which would justify Federal funding under national security grounds.

Secondly, embroynic stem cells simply have no medical value. Michael Fumento wrote about the “successes” of embroynic stem cells, compared to adult stem cells in National Review Online:

Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) receive tremendous media attention, with oft-repeated claims that they have the potential to cure virtually every disease known. Yet there are spoilsports, self included, who point out that they have yet to even make it into a human clinical trial. This is even as alternatives – adult stem cells (ASCs) from numerous places in the body as well as umbilical cord blood and placenta – are curing diseases here and now and have been doing so for decades. And that makes ESC advocates very, very angry.

How many diseases ASCs can treat or cure is debatable, with one website claiming almost 80 for umbilical cord blood alone. Dr. David Prentice of the Family Research Council, using stricter standards of evidence, has constituted a list of 72 for all types of ASCs. But now three ESC advocates have directly challenged Prentice’s list. They’ve published a letter in Science magazine, released ahead of publication obviously to influence Pres. Bush’s promise to veto legislation that would open wide the federal funding spigot for ESC research. The letter claims ASC “treatments fully tested in all required phases of clinical trials and approved by the U.S Food and Drug Administration are available to treat only nine of the conditions” on his list.

Well! One answer to that is that it’s nine more than can be claimed for ESCs. Further, there are 1175 clinical trials for ASCs, including those no longer recruiting patients, with zero for ESCs. But a better response is that the letter authors come from the Kenneth Lay School for honesty, as do the editors at Science.

Now funding embryonic stem cells would be typical for the same government that runs the Postal Service and the government schools, which are both failures. If the embryonic stem cell proponents were big believers in their research, why don’t they open their own checkbooks instead of mine?

Third, there is a moral reason to opposing stem cell research funding. However, Bush has does not comprehend the following reasoning when he talks about morality. The government has no right to take the money of taxpayers and spend it on things they view as immoral and that have no common value. The vast majority of Americans will not benefit from stem cell research because, fortunately, they will not suffer from the conditions that stem cell research will treat. If President Bush truly believed that embryonic stem cell research was immoral, he would push for a ban, instead of the compromise position he came up with in 2001.

Finally, as to the issue of the morality and legality of embryonic stem cell research, good people can and will disagree on this. Where you stand on it depends on whether or not you believe an embryo is a human life, or merely a potential human. Good liberty-minded people have disagreed on the merits and morality of legalized abortion and probably always will, but just like on abortion, we must agree that the government has no right to fund it with money taken from taxpayers who find the procedure immoral and abhorrent.

I’m one of the original co-founders of The Liberty Papers all the way back in 2005. Since then, I wound up doing this blogging thing professionally. Now I’m running the site now. You can find my other work at IJ Review.com and Rare. You can also find me over at the R Street Institute.

Why Israel is Losing

Israel is not winning its war against Hezbollah, according to retired Colonel Ralph Peters in the New York Post. He has some bullet points that review the situation:

* By trying to spare Israeli lives through the use of airpower and long-range artillery fire instead of ground troops, the IDF played into Hezbollah’s hands. The terrorists could claim that Israel feared them. Meanwhile, Israeli targeting proved shockingly sloppy, failing to ravage Hezbollah, while hitting civilians – to the international media’s delight.

* The IDF is readying a reinforced brigade of armor and 3,000 to 5,000 troops for a “limited incursion” into southern Lebanon. Won’t work. Not enough troops. And Hezbollah’s had time to get locked and loaded. This is going to be messy – any half-hearted Israeli effort will fall short.

* Famed for its penetration, Israeli intelligence failed this time. It didn’t detect the new weapons Iran and Syria had provided to Hezbollah, from anti-ship missiles to longer-range rockets. And, after years of spying, it couldn’t find Hezbollah.

This should set off global alarm bells: If Hezbollah can hide rockets, Iran can hide nukes.

* The media sided heavily with Hezbollah (surprise, surprise). Rocket attacks on Israel were reported clinically, but IDF strikes on Lebanon have been milked for every last drop of emotion. We hear about broken glass in Haifa – and bleeding babies in Beirut.

* Washington rejoiced when several Arab governments criticized Hezbollah for its actions. But the Arab street, Shia and Sunni, has coalesced behind Hezbollah. Saudi and Egyptian government statements are worth about as much as a greeting card from Marie Antoinette on New Year’s Day, 1789.

* Syria and Iran are getting a free ride. Hezbollah fights and dies, Damascus and Tehran collect the dividends.

* Israel looks irresolute and incapable – encouraging its enemies.

* The “world community” wants a cease-fire – which would only benefit the terrorists. Hezbollah would claim (accurately) that it had withstood Israel’s assault. Couldn’t get a better terrorist recruiting advertisement.

* A cease-fire would be under U.N. auspices. Gee, thanks. No U.N. force would protect Israel’s interests, but plenty of U.N. contingents would cooperate with or turn a blind eye to the terrorists. Think Russia’s an honest broker? Ask its Jews who fled to Israel. Would French troops protect Israeli interests? Ask the Jews Vichy bureaucrats packed off to the death camps. (The French are more anti-Semitic than the Germans – just less efficient.)

* One bright spot: The Bush administration continues to resist international attempts to bully Israel into a premature cease-fire. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is flying off to the big falafel stand as a token gesture, not to interfere with Israel’s self-defense.

But the clock’s ticking. Washington can only buy Israel so much time.

* Every rocket that lands in Israel is a propaganda victory for Hezbollah. After 1,000-plus Israeli air-strikes, the rockets keep falling, and Israel looks impotent. The price of sparing Israeli infantrymen has been the elevation of Hezbollah to heroic status through the Muslim world.

* The Olmert government tried to wage war on the cheap. Such efforts always raise the cost in the end. Olmert resembles President Bill Clinton – willing to lob bombs from a distance, but unwilling to accept that war means friendly casualties.

* Israel needs to grasp the power of the global media. Long proud of going its own way in the face of genocidal anti-Semitism, Israel now has to recognize that the media can overturn the verdict of the battlefield. Even if Israel pulls off a last-minute win on the ground, the anti-Israel propaganda machine has been given so big a head-start that Hezbollah still may be portrayed as the victor.

The situation is grim. Israel looks more desperate every day, while Hezbollah appears more defiant.

What I think Israel must do to reverse the course is to first and foremost launch a full-scale invasion of south Lebanon and if the Lebanese Army joins the fight on behalf of Hezbollah, the Israeli Defense Forces must be willing to hump the long and bloody road to Beirut and the Lebanese-Syrian border and bring the war to the Lebanese government. Second, Israel must be ready and willing and must bring this war to the tyrants Assad in Damascus and Ahmadinejad and Khamenei in Tehran and their respective regimes and support structures for those regimes for enabling and supporting this proxy war.

Then and only then will Israel be victorious.

I’m one of the original co-founders of The Liberty Papers all the way back in 2005. Since then, I wound up doing this blogging thing professionally. Now I’m running the site now. You can find my other work at IJ Review.com and Rare. You can also find me over at the R Street Institute.

Of Course We’re Taking Sides

The days of American foreign policy in the Middle East being based on the absurd idea that we should be a “honest broker” between the Israelis and Arab terrorists intent on destroying them are over, the Bush Administration is clearly taking sides in the Israeli-Hezbollah War:

WASHINGTON, July 21 — The Bush administration is rushing a delivery of precision-guided bombs to Israel, which requested the expedited shipment last week after beginning its air campaign against Hezbollah targets in Lebanon, American officials said Friday.

The decision to quickly ship the weapons to Israel was made with relatively little debate within the Bush administration, the officials said. Its disclosure threatens to anger Arab governments and others because of the appearance that the United States is actively aiding the Israeli bombing campaign in a way that could be compared to Iran’s efforts to arm and resupply Hezbollah.

Leave it to the New York Times to come up with yet another example of craven moral equivalence. The Iranians are supplying a terrorist group which is launching rockets into the residential neighborhoods of cities such as Haifa. The United States is supplying weapons to a nation trying to defend itself from a terrorist army on its northern border. One side is right, and the other is wrong, and unless you work for the Old Grey Lady, its pretty easy to figure out which is which.

The Times is also upset that Condoleeza Rice will not be visiting any Arab countries when she goes to the region tomorrow. Instead, she will meet with Arab diplomats in Europe.

The decision to stay away from Arab countries for now is a markedly different strategy from the shuttle diplomacy that previous administrations used to mediate in the Middle East. “I have no interest in diplomacy for the sake of returning Lebanon and Israel to the status quo ante,” Ms. Rice said Friday. “I could have gotten on a plane and rushed over and started shuttling around, and it wouldn’t have been clear what I was shuttling to do.”

Well, considering the fact that its the diplomacy that has gotten us to the place we are now, perhaps its a good thing that Condi is trying something different, like letting Israel defend herself.

Others blogging on this story: Captain’s Quarters, Don Surber, Taylor Marsh, Left I on the News, Brilliant at Breakfast, Outside The Beltway, Marc Cooper, The Real Ugly American.com, Silflay Hraka, The News Blog, Hyscience, The Democratic Daily, Blue Crab Boulevard and Just a Bump in the Beltway.

The Nanny State vs. The Family Part II

Last week, I wrote about Abraham Cherrix, a 16 year-old boy in Accomack County, Virginia in the middle of a custody battle between his parents and the Accomack County Social Services Department. The issue at hand, of course, was Abraham’s cancer treatments. Abraham and his parents made the choice to discontinue his chemotherapy and try alternative medicine. The state, however, claimed that it knew better and convinced a judge to issue an order effectively giving Accomack County joint legal custody of Abraham.

Just yesterday, I related how the Judge handling Abraham’s case was leaving him in a state of legal limbo and forcing him to undergo medical tests before allowing him to leave for Mexico for treatment.

Now, it appears that trip won’t be happening for some time, if ever. Judge Jesse Demps issued an Order late today that Abraham must undergo chemotherapy against his will.

NORFOLK, Va. — A judge ruled Friday that a 16-year-old boy fighting to use alternative treatment for his cancer must report to a hospital by Tuesday and accept treatment that doctors deem necessary, the family’s attorney said.

The judge also found Starchild Abraham Cherrix’s parents were neglectful for allowing him to pursue alternative treatment of a sugar-free, organic diet and herbal supplements supervised by a clinic in Mexico, lawyer John Stepanovich said.

Jay and Rose Cherrix of Chincoteague on Virginia’s Eastern Shore must continue to share custody of their son with the Accomack County Department of Social Services, as the judge had previously ordered, Stepanovich said.

Judge Demps sits on the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court, which means that his Order can be immediately appealed to the Circuit Court of Accomack County. One can only hope that the Circuit Court Judge has a better view of the proper relationship between the state, the individual and the family than Judge Demps did when he made his ruling.

The lawyer for Abraham’s parents had a warning for Virginia parents that could apply nationwide:

“I want to caution all parents of Virginia: Look out, because Social Services may be pounding on your door next when they disagree with the decision you’ve made about the health care of your child,”

Because, of course, that’s their job.

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