John Wayne is the Duke. Elvis is the King.

John Wayne's Holster: July 2005
John Wayne's Holster
Visit my main blog at Monkey Wrench Revival. Visit my birdwatching blog at The Birding Nerd.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Fetus Farmer Frist

Senator Bill Frist (R-Tenn) broke ranks with President Bush Friday by endorsing the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act (HR 810), which the House passed in May. Bush has promised to veto the bill if it reaches the oval office.

The legislation essentially calls for a repeal on the policy Predident Bush set out in August of 2001. The Bush policy neither funds nor bans embryo research. It simply restricts the use of federal funds for such research. States and private entities are not bound by the President’s policy.

Senator Frist contends that he is merely reaffirming the position he has held since 2001. In a speech on the Senate floor, Frist stated his belief that embryonic stem cells “uniquely hold specific promise for some therapies and potential cures that adult stem cells cannot provide.

Critics of the bill were quick to point out the problems encountered with embryonic stem cell therapies being tested in animals – including the development of tumors. In addition, they point out that there are currently no human therapies derived from embryonic stem cell research, while there are over 60 such therapies derived from research on adult stem cells that are used to treat conditions such as spinal cord injuries, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis and sickle cell anemia.

Frist was careful to point out that he only supports research on stem cells extracted from existing embryos that "would otherwise be discarded." Frist added that the “[research] must be done in a way that is ethically considerate, that respects the dignity of human life…"

What? His statement is a contradiction of itself! No more needs to be said about that.

Perhaps Frist is correct in his assessment of the potential benefits of embryonic stem cell research, but does that legitimize an inhumane practice that rejects the dignity inherent in individuals? A practice that reduces the embryo to a piece of property valued only for what it yields at harvest. Why not take this logic a step further. Thousands of people with life-threatening ailments are currently on lists awaiting organs for transplantation. Why not go into the prisons, take all the people on death row, and harvest their organs. After all, those people are going to die anyway.

Many conservative were surprised at the sudden shift in policy by Frist. As recently as June, Frist stated that he supported the President’s policy. Many see it as a political move – Frist tossing his hat into the 2008 Presidential race. It is a shame to see Frist put politics ahead of principle.

Are there no real statesmen left?

Friday, July 29, 2005

The Keyes to UN Reform

Senior administration officials announced today that President Bush will likely appoint John Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations while the Congress is in recess. White House press secretary Scott McClellan essentially confirmed this, saying that "It's important that we get our permanent representative in place…This is a critical time and it's important to continue moving forward on comprehensive reform."

If the President does indeed follow through and appoint Bolton, I think he would be making a costly mistake. I believe John Bolton should have been confirmed. After all, he is committed to carrying out the President's mission of UN reform, and he is certainly qualified to serve in that capacity. Unfortunately he was not confirmed. As such, I have some concerns as to how effective he can be. Will he be taken seriously by other UN Diplomats who most likely will not want to hear what he has to say? Why should the diplomats pay him any mind when they know he may not serve as ambassador after the beginning of the next session of Congress (Jan 2006)? They can simply wait him out.

This could also backfire on President Bush. He has recently appointed Judge Roberts to the SCOTUS. He will likely make additional appointments, as it is expected that Chief Justice Rehnquist, and possibly others, may retire in the upcoming years. If Bush by-passes Congress and appoints Bolton, he may face problems with his judicial appointments. Although the Republicans are in the majority in the Senate, they do not have a margin large enough to break a filibuster. Of course there is the wild-card of the nuclear option, but that is a path which they must tread only if absolutely necessary – and then very carefully.

Bush should have withdrawn the Bolton nomination after the second failed confirmation attempt. In his place, Bush should appoint Alan Keyes. Alan Keyes is a seasoned diplomat and his views are pretty much in line with those of Bolton. Keyes’ view of the UN can best be summed up in his own words from the 1999 GOP debates in Iowa when he stated, "I look at an organization that is unrepresentative, elected by no one, where dictators and tyrants have the same right to send representatives to make substantive decisions that will affect our jobs and livelihood in a fashion totally contrary to our constitution...The question is whether the US should belong to an organization that violates our constitutional principles." Click here for a more comprehensive view of Keyes’ position on the UN.

Like Bolton, Keyes recognizes that the UN has strayed from its intended mission and is in grave need of reform. Keyes already has experience in the UN, where he served as Ambassador to the Economic and Social Council. If the President is looking for someone with strong leadership abilities who is committed to reform while preserving US sovereignty (something that the UN would like to subvert), then he need look no further.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

American Hiroshima

A series of recent reports on World Net Daily strongly suggest that al-Quaida has purchased a significant quantity of nuclear weapons left over after the disintegration of the former Soviet Union. The money to purchase these weapons appears to have come from revenues generated right here in the West - from the sale of heroin refined from Afghan poppy. Poppy which the Bush administration refused to destroy – probably to gain cooperation from local warlords in our operations in Afghanistan. In fact, Afghan poppy production has increased during the time the US military has occupied the region.

A number of these nuclear weapons are believed to have been smuggled into the United States across the poorly secured Mexican border. In addition, al-Quaida is believed to be employing former Soviet agents to help locate nuclear weapons planted inside the US by the Soviets during the cold war.

Under a plan dubbed “American Hiroshima”, the bombs are to be placed in several major US cities, including Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington DC, Boston, Las Vegas, Miami and New York. Once the bombs are in place, they will be simultaneously detonated, likely killing millions of people and effectively destroying our economy.

According to the reports, President Bush was made aware of these plans in the months following 9/11. In response, he ordered the construction of underground bunkers in rural areas for the use to government officials. Apparently nothing has been done to secure our borders.

The 60th Anniversary of the Hiroshima detonation in coming up, on August 5th.

The findings mentioned above are documented in a forthcoming book by Paul L. Williams, entitled, The Al Qaeda Connection: International Terrorism, Organized Crime and the Coming Apocalypse.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Rove Erodes Public's Confidence in Bush

"I’m A Source – Not A Target"

Presidential advisor Karl Rove still maintains that he was not the source that revealed the identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame. But evidence to the contrary is beginning to mount – such as his lapel pin (see above picture). The American Prospect recently reported that Rove seemingly “forgot” to disclose to the FBI in his initial interview, that he discussed CIA officer Valerie Plame with Time reporter Matthew Cooper. Maybe it was an honest omission by Rove, but to me it raises a red flag. It suggests that maybe Rove is being misleading or may be trying to cover something up.

The whole Rove saga is getting ridiculous. In the end, there will probably not be any criminal charges against Rove. It is unlikely that prosecutors will be able to prove that Rove knowingly exposed the identity of a covert CIA operative. That being said, Bush should let Rove go. He (Rove) is becoming a distraction and is serving only to erode the public’s confidence in the administration. Public confidence translates into public support – which Bush desperately needs considering the situation in the Middle East and with the nomination(s) to SCOTUS.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Bush Nominates Rorschach for Supreme Court

In a surprise move, President Bush nominated D.C. Appeals Court Judge, John Roberts, to fill the vacancy made by Justice Sandra Day O’Conner. Bush has stated that he wants a judge “…who will not legislate from the bench.” In other words, a strict constructionist who will not deprive the people of liberty by reading new values into the Constitution that the framers did not put there (paraphrasing Robert Bork).

That’s a good thing! We have suffered too long under the legacy inherited from the Warren Court (and those that followed) where they essentially circumvented democracy by imposing their own political views on the rest of us.

If a strict constructionist is what Bush wants, then why nominate Roberts? Roberts tenure on the bench has been brief. As such, there is not much there for conservatives to rally around. Likewise, there is not much for liberal opposition groups to latch onto either. Perhaps that is just the point. Bush may be afraid of another filibuster debate. Rumor has it that Roberts will not face a problem getting confirmed. In fact, Senator Joe Lieberman (D-CT) has more or less said so himself when he stated that Roberts was “in the ballpark.”

Conservatives were vocal in the support for Roberts because of his statement regarding the infamous 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. According to a brief Roberts co-wrote for Bush 41, Roe v. Wade was “wrongly decided”. I guess that is supposed to warm my heart over. Conservatives should not forget their history lessons. If they will recall, Ruth Bader Ginsburg made a similar statement, and she has not exactly emanated conservative values.

Bush is taking a big risk here – but no need to worry. The President assures us that Roberts is conservative – just like his father assured us about David Souter. In my opinion, he should have nominated someone with a clearer track record. Instead, as Ann Coulter put it, he has “nominated Rorschach”. What exactly does Roberts stand for? Bush is hoping that he stands for conservative values, because if he is wrong, the Christian right is going to throw him to the lions!