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Peace, Love, and Rock-n-Roll from a proud Lefty, Liberal, Socialist Hippie

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Inslee Speaks

On the morning after George W. Bush signed his first ever veto, effectively denying millions of Americans real hope that cures may be found for any number of debilitating and terminal diseases, Congressman Jay Inslee from Washington's 1st CD, made the following speech from the floor of the United States House of Representatives. I was watching C-Span that day (awaiting the ill-fated vote on the OFTA). I was so moved by the genuine passion in Inslee's delivery of his short remarks that I immediately phoned his office in DC to express my appreciation and request a copy of what he had said. I received those remarks in the mail today and am happy to share them with you now. The next time someone bemoans the lack of passion in our elected officials, you might point them toward these words.

From the House Floor (Thursday, July 20, 2006)

"Mr. Speaker, when I voted to override President Bush’s veto of stem cell research, I was thinking of ex-Governor Booth Gardner of Washington State. I saw Governor Gardner in the Sea-Tac Airport Monday as I was flying back here. He was flying to San Francisco for advanced treatment for Parkinson’s, a disease he has been battling for some time with great courage and grace.

And yet this promising research, we have a President who decided he is not going to let Americans have because he, from his exalted realm on Pennsylvania Avenue, has taken it upon himself to dictate to Americans what our morals should be.

Let me suggest that the President who started the war in Iraq based on false information, the President that mishandled Hurricane Katrina relief, the President who has created the largest deficit in the history of the solar system, is not entitled by any law, religion, morality, ethics or common sense to dictate to the American people one sense of morality, much less any others.

It was wrong for him to deny Booth Gardner treatment, it was wrong for him to take it away from millions of Americans."


Honorable Jay Inslee
Member of Congress
******************************************************************

Peace,
Chad (The Left) Shue

3 comments:

Allen McPheeters said...

Hi, Chad.

Sorry I haven't been able to continue our discussions -- work has kept me too busy even to write for my own blog. But I do drop by every now and then to see what's happening on your site.

Just wanted to add a few points for you to ponder on your consideration of embryonic stem cell research.

It's important for you to remember that the Bush Administration has never banned research on embryonic stem cells. According to the Wikipedia (isn't that just the most useful website?), a research panel from the National Institute of Health recommended federal funding for research on human embryos in 1995. Their recommendation covered funding both for research on embryos specifically created for research and for embryos that had been left over from in-vitro fertilization. The Clinton Administration decided in favor of the former, but against the latter, citing ethical and moral concerns. Congress intervened and shut down all federal funding for research that would involve the destruction of human embryos.

The Clinton Administration reconsidered the issue in 1998 after privately-funded research discovered human embryonic stem cells (hESC). They decided that research could be done on embryos that were created for in-vitro fertilization, but were going to be discarded. The Department of Health and Human Services came up with guidelines for this research in 2001. Implementation of the guidelines was delayed so that the new Bush Administration could review them.

Here's the part that often gets overlooked in the argument: the Bush Administration approved federal funding under these circumstances. It allowed funding for then-existing lines of stem cells. This was the first federal funding ever allowed on this kind of research. The President's recent veto, then, did not change that funding, it only prevented additional funding for the purpose of creating more stem cell lines, which would necessitate the destruction of additional embryos.

The key line from the Wikipedia article is this: "Neither Congress nor any administration has ever prohibited private funding of embryonic research."

In addition, lots of great and promising research is being done with adult stem cells, which don't have restrictions on them at all.

Sometimes, it seems to me that your progressive side of the street thinks nothing can be accomplished without the government spending some money. But there is a great deal of progress being made, both with and without federal dollars.

Ozy said...

I would Like to point out that it was the republican controlled congress back in 98 which made the Clinton administration “Reconsider” it’s position by a very partisan vote. I wouldn’t go so far as to imply that the “Clinton administration” was against government funded research which may one day come up with cures to Spinal Injury, Alzheimer’s, M.S. or maybe even Cancer, the list goes on. There is no ethical or moral issue other than propaganda put out by the ultra wrong wing.

“Here's the part that often gets overlooked in the argument: the Bush Administration approved federal funding under these circumstances. It allowed funding for then-existing lines of stem cells. This was the first federal funding ever allowed on this kind of research. The President's recent veto, then, did not change that funding, it only prevented additional funding for the purpose of creating more stem cell lines, which would necessitate the destruction of additional embryos.”

Stem Cell reaserch is very new by standards (within the last decade) so to imply the bush administration made groundbreaking efforts for life saving reaserch or derive credit for being the first to approve any funding is like saying we have had this oprtunity for years and we are going to do something about it because we really care. I think Not! I don’t see where Mr.Bush has any idea of the science behind the research. It’s all politics and the illinformed base who were feared into casting a vote for him (maybe).

Yes indeed let’s let the private sector do the research while we spend over 2 billion dollars a week getting people killed in other lands. Maybe they will do a good job like the pharmaceutical INDUSRTY has in profiteering off the health and well being of the populace.

One more point
The Republican talking point about adult stem cells having great promise has been laid to rest as UNTRUE by every credible Stem Cell authority there is!

Didn’t mean to interupt this conversation but I thought I was going to vomit if I didn’t interject a couple of facts and credible opinions.

I don’t want to argue about this issue right now with all the death and destruction going on overseas. I will join this discussion after we stop this senseless war by coming out to the streets and demanding it to stop!

Thanks for allowing my Rant
Ozy

Allen McPheeters said...

Ozy:

Rant away, but if you want to further the discussion, you'll have to back up your assertions with facts, and preferably with citations for the facts.

You said:
"it was the republican controlled congress back in 98 which made the Clinton administration “Reconsider”
it’s position by a very partisan vote"

In the Wikipedia article I cited, the factor forcing the Clinton Administration to reconsider their previous policy was the discovery of human Embroyonic Stem Cells (hESC), not an act of Congress.

Here's a little timeline:

1995: National Institute of Health recommends federal funding for research on embryos left over from in vitro fertility treatments, AND on embryos specifically created for research.

1995: The Clinton Administration, based on this recommendation, decides to fund research on the left-over embryos, but not on embros created specifically for research.

1995: Congress passes a law, which the Clinton Administration signs, prohibiting federal funding for research on both left-over embryos and specially created embryos.

1998: Private research discovers hESC; Clinton Administration begins to reconsider guidelines.

1999-2001: Clinton's presidential advisory commission recommends funding for left-over embryos, but not for creating embryos. Clinton's Health & Human Service Department decides this is permissible under the 1995 law; delays implementation of guidelines until new Bush Adminstration has a chance to review policy.

So, the scorecard here is: Neither Congress, nor the Clinton and Bush Adminstrations have approved funding for creating embryos for experimentation. Congress prohibited, but Clinton and Bush both approved using left-over embryos.

Perhaps I worded it too strongly in favor of Bush in my previous post, but the fact is that funding became available under the Bush Administration.

You also said:

"There is no ethical or moral issue other than propaganda put out by the ultra wrong wing."

That's patently false. First, your dig, "ultra wrong wing", is an opinion, not a fact. A wide variety of people, not just "right-wingers" are concerned about the ethical and moral questions involved. The same Wikipedia article says, "A systematic review of available polling data by Ohio State University Professor Matthew Nisbet finds that in the neutrally worded survey questions sponsored by news organizations and non-partisan survey firms, public support for embryonic stem cell research rests at slight majority levels, ranging between 50% and 60% support. However, support drops when asking about sources of stem cells that do not involve so-called leftover embryos, including embryos created for research purposes or cloned embryos."

Let me ask you this: do you support animal testing in research. If not, then please explain your thinking on why it's okay to destroy human embryos for experiments, but not okay to test on mice, dogs, chimps, etc.

Later, you said:
"The Republican talking point about adult stem cells having great promise has been laid to rest as UNTRUE by every credible Stem Cell authority there is!"

But the Wikipedia's article on Adult Stem Cells says:

"Adult stem cells are being developed for use in treatments for a variety of human conditions, ranging from blindness to spinal cord injury... there are a number of clinically proven adult stem cell successes."

In my previous post, I said:
"Sometimes, it seems to me that your progressive side of the street thinks nothing can be accomplished without the government spending some money."

And then you said:
"Yes indeed let’s let the private sector do the research while we spend over 2 billion dollars a week getting people killed in other lands. Maybe they will do a good job like the pharmaceutical INDUSRTY has in profiteering off the health and well being of the populace."

Well, that is another data point for my belief about "progressives." Private industry is like any other area of human endeavor: capable of great good or of great evil. In my opinion, the private sector has done a great many good things. Your mileage may vary.

OK, some final responses:

You said:
"Didn’t mean to interupt this conversation..."

Yes, you did. You're welcome to join in, but don't apologize for something you did intentionally.

"...but I thought I was going to vomit..."

Really?

"...if I didn’t interject a couple of facts and credible opinions."

Well, I'm still waiting on the facts, and your opinions are not credible to me. My opinions are apparently not credible to you either. Where do you want to go from here?

"I don’t want to argue about this issue right now..."

Again, yes you do. Or you wouldn't have posted.

"...with all the death and destruction going on overseas..."

Yep. It's terrible. All those rockets being fired into Israel by Hezbollah guerrillas who hide among civilians. I wish they'd stop.

"I will join this discussion after we stop this senseless war by coming out to the streets and demanding it to stop!"

Great. Could you send me a photo of your protest against Hezbollah?

Allen