July 20, 2006

Bush uses first veto to restrict stem cell research

A stubborn "don't bother me with the facts" Bush bucks his own party to gratify the anti-science "know-nothings" on the right.

He even signed a bill forbidding "fetus farms", which even its sponsors acknowledged, doesn't exist. So the right has now passed a bill to outlaw something which only existed in their own fevered imaginations and the propaganda campaign against stem cell research.

The world is exploding, and these idiots are spending their time on measures defending a clump of cells and blocking scientific progress which may result in the alleviation of the suffering of millions.

President Bush, defying a bipartisan majority in Congress and a strong current in public opinion, exercised the first veto of his presidency Wednesday by blocking an expansion of federal support for embryonic stem cell research that he considered immoral.

Within hours of Bush's announcement, a House effort to override the veto fell 51 votes short of the required two-thirds majority, effectively killing the bill for the year. The vote for the override was 235 to 193, with 51 Republicans siding against the president.

Bush said the veto was not a setback for science but rather a victory of conscience, as taxpayers should not pay for research that destroys human embryos — even in the service of obtaining stem cells to develop potential cures for disease.

"This bill would support the taking of innocent human life in the hope of finding medical benefits for others," Bush told a crowd of supporters, including children born of the type of fertility clinic embryos that would have been used for research under the bill. "It crosses a moral boundary that our society needs to respect, so I vetoed it."

The bill Bush rejected would have eased restrictions that he imposed in 2001 on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. Supporters of the loosened rules decried the veto, saying it had dashed the hopes of American scientists and patients and their families.

"Vetoing this bill is one of the greatest mistakes of his presidency," Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) said.
The most remarkable thing about Bush's decision may not be that he vetoed this particular bill, as he had repeatedly threatened to do. More significant may be that it took so long in his presidency before he vetoed anything.

Every president after James A. Garfield has issued at least one veto, and Garfield served less than a year, in 1881. Thomas Jefferson was the only two-term president to issue no vetoes.

Many Republicans say Bush's extraordinarily long veto-free period is a tribute to how far the GOP-controlled Congress has gone to accommodate him — authorizing the war in Iraq, giving him almost every tax cut he proposed, meeting his overall budget targets.

The president's uncompromising defense of his 2001 stem cell policy, despite changes in the scientific and political landscape over the last five years, is in keeping with a leadership style that his admirers call principled and his detractors call bullheaded.
Even as he vetoed the bill, Bush signed legislation passed unanimously by the House and Senate to address the fears of some critics that scientists were aiming to create "fetal farms" in which human fetuses would be grown for their organs and tissues.

Proponents acknowledged that the law was preemptive, because the procedure was not known to have been practiced on human fetuses.

The stem cell controversy has centered on research that is progressing around the world but is narrowly funded by the U.S. government. It entails destroying human embryos to obtain stem cells, which are thought to be able to develop into any type of cell in the body. Many scientists believe this research may lead to medical insights and cures for diseases such as diabetes and Parkinson's.

In vetoing the legislation, Bush said that "if this bill would have become law, American taxpayers would for the first time in our history be compelled to fund the deliberate destruction of human embryos, and I'm not going to allow it."
But the American taxpayers arent' asked whether they want their tax dollars to fund the deliberate destruction of literally hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women, and yes, children.

Apparently Bush's "conscience" is more conerned with inanimate cells than the lives of non-white human beings which happen to live on top of oil.

A discussion of this issue happened in a previous thread before Bush's veto.

I wrote...

[I] recall something I heard an authority say on the news yesterday regarding the current stem cell action (or inaction) in the Republican congress.

The Republican (read fundy) "War on Science" (hey, it's a distortion, but why not borrow one of their tactics?) is truly draggng our country back to the dark ages.

While Bush panders to the know-nothing fundy base and refuses to allow any meaningful stem cell research, other countrys in the world are eating out lunch on the issue.

Biotechnology is going to be the "next big thing" as far as investment and profit goes, and the relatively few fundys which have influence way beyond their numbers are sticking their heads in the sand by believing that a microscopic clump of cells has the moral equivelence of say, a patient suffering from Parkinson's or any number of other debilitating disease.

So while Bush and the fundys try to enforce their rather odd beliefs on us, other countries are going full steam ahead, as they should.

This ensures that our strained economy will be deprived of the lucrative and expanding biotech research and development, and that the U.S. will never be able to take the lead in this area as it should.

Another great moment in stupidity and regressive thought from the Republican right.

highxlr8r said...
Dope, maybe you could post a thread on the stem-cell debate itself and relocate this comment, but I wanted to say it before I forgot I was thinking it.

In debate today, Sen. Santorum and others made the argument that because a significant portion of American did not want to spend federal tax dollars to destroy life, that it was unacceptable for him to vote for the bill. The thought that comes to my mind is that there are a lot of think that I do not want my tax dollars to pay for, and that I would think many others would agree. For example, I would prefer my tax dollars not be spent on the war, and I think polls and public opinion show that a significant portion of the population agree. I find it highly doubtful, however, that Sen. Santorum would respect that and vote to not fund the war.

I can accept many Senators' moral perspective on the issue, although I do not agree. However, I would hope that politicians would keep to that argument without resorting to the nonsense that because many people are opposed to a particular practice tax dollars should not be spent on it.


At 7/20/2006 6:03 PM, Blogger maybesomeday said...

What's it going to take for Bush to admit when he is wrong on an issue? He must think the oath of office was a different one than he spoke if he can remember any of it at all. That line he imagines about how "the Prez is always right and never makes a mistake" is imaginary.

More and more of the Republicans are going at odds against him and I smell some hope for the Democrats this fall as a result.

One thing we don't need is Religion running the country like it seems today and Bush is kissing up to the right wing fundamentalist beliefs and wishes at every turn.

Count down to the Bush rulership and its end....


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