|September 15, 2001 11:00 p.m. -- Some people on the progressive end
of the political spectrum to which I belong -- my friends and allies -- are
beginning to get me annoyed.
Two points tonight:
Some of them are writing columns about how we need to be
non-violent like Gandhi. Gandhi was successful because the British
were not willing to use the level of force on unarmed civilians that they
would have had to have applied to defeat the masses supporting Gandhi's
cause. So the British left India.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was
successful because he shamed the country into implementing the ideals and
laws it said it supported.
Neither of those situations
is even remotely applicable to bin Laden or whoever did the World Trade
Bin Laden would be very happy
to kill all 280 million Americans if he could. How can you use
non-violence against him?
In not one of the columns
decrying a violent response to bin Laden, is a single idea presented as to
how to prevent future terrorist acts without going after the
terrorists. Sure we can have prevention. But that won't be
And c'mon: no change in our
foreign policy is going to induce whoever crashed those airliners into the
Twin Towers to stop their attacks on us. For those terrorists, it's
way beyond that point now.
Some of my progressive
buddies can't seem to even temporarily get beyond their dislike of
Bush. None of them dislike Bush more than I do. I've written
that Bush should be tested for brain damage.
But now is not the time for
that, or to make personal criticisms of his speaking style or the like in
connection with his handling of the World Trade Center attacks. Strong
and vigorous criticism of his policies regarding the U.S. response is
legitimate and indeed mandatory if one disagrees with it. But the
personal stuff should be put aside for a later time.
I STRONGLY suggest we
progressives concentrate our efforts on ensuring that the U.S. military
response is one that targets only proven terrorists, and avoids ANY attacks
on civilians or civilian infrastructures.
If we can accomplish that we
will have saved many innocent lives, which would be much more useful than
making speeches about non-violence or engaging in personal attacks on Bush
that will make most people ignore anything substantive we also have to say.
September 14, 2001
11:00 p.m. --
According to an analysis
in The New York Times, the Congressional Joint Resolution
authorizing President Bush to respond to the World Trade Center terrorist
attacks does not give him carte blanche to wage extended war with U.S.
...some members of Congress also
injected a note of caution into the administration's rapid-fire military
and diplomatic campaign. The resolution authorizing military action was
intended to give the president political support, but not unfettered
power to wage war.
The joint resolution fell
short of a full declaration of war, which lawmakers said would have been
inappropriate in military action against a shadowy enemy.
...Senator Joseph R.
Biden Jr., chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, said Congress
was not ceding its constitutional authority to declare war or intending
to write a measure like the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, which President
Lyndon B. Johnson used in 1964 to justify escalation of the war in
specifically states that it does not supersede the War Powers Resolution
of 1973, which requires the president to seek Congressional approval for
any extended use of American forces in combat.
This is somewhat reassuring
to read, given the statements by administration officials I discussed yesterday which made clear that Bush's plans include
invading and occupying Afghanistan, as well as possibly other countries.
From listening to the
television talking heads, I did not understand that the Resolution put
limits on Bush's authority to utilize force indefinitely without additional
This supposed limit comes
despite calls from many right-wingers for an immediate declaration of war on
Osama bin Laden.
Congress could, however, very
easily just go ahead and give him that additional authorization at any time.
Maybe it's all a fig
leaf? Or a way for Congress to save face, to maintain the pretense of
being in control?
I hope Congress is
resolute. Osama bin Laden and cohorts must be taken care of, but there
must also be continuing Congressional oversight of the manner in which that
goal is achieved.
Of course, some would say
that the term "resolute Congress" is an oxymoron.
[see update indicating there may be no such
11:00 p.m. --
Tomorrow's edition of The New York Times reports
that the Bush administration policy to fight terrorism will not only include
destroying terrorist networks, but bringing down the governments that harbor
"It's not just
simply a matter of capturing people and holding them accountable,"
said Paul D. Wolfowitz, the deputy secretary of defense, "but
removing the sanctuaries, removing the support systems, ending states
who sponsor terrorism."
Mr. Wolfowitz said the
United States and its allies would wage "a campaign, not a single
action" to dismantle the terrorist group or groups responsible for
this week's attacks, and to bring down the governments that support
Even more specifically:
The planning and the
language used by administration officials was read by military analysts
as a sign that Secretary Powell, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs
of Staff, is preparing the way for a military force that could
ultimately be used to occupy Kabul, the Afghan capital, and overthrow
the ruling Taliban.
Is this serious, or just the
administration floating the idea to scare the Taliban and other governments
into handing over terrorists?
It seems serious. The
New York Times also reports
tomorrow that "Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld has recommended
calling up as many as 50,000 military reservists."
each of the past two days that I wouldn't be unhappy if the 82nd Airborne
overthrew the Taliban. I'm reminded of the adage, "Be careful
what you wish for, you might get it."
Might this U.S. intervention
actually be a good thing? How could the people in Afghanistan have it
worse than now?
It's hard to believe myself
saying these things, but my disgust with the Taliban is so extreme that it
seems to override what I know to be the historical record of terrible
suffering that ensues when the U.S. overthrows Third World governments.
What about Iraq? The
Sudan? Other countries? Are we going to invade, occupy and set
up governments in them also?
Or will doing so in one
country be enough to scare the other nations into doing what we want?
Will our European allies go
along with this?
Will the civilian populations
of any of these countries welcome us, or -- despite their unhappiness with
their present governments -- still violently oppose our invasion?
A million questions, and no
answers for now.
Time is needed to ponder
about these undoubtedly intense days ahead of us.
UPDATE: The September
18 New York Times reports
Deputy Secretary of State
Paul D. Wolfowitz spoke last week of "ending states who sponsor
terrorism." Officials say now that he misspoke, that he meant to
say that the goal is ending state support.
In some cases, like
Afghanistan, that may be a semantic issue since the goal would be to
dislodge the Taliban rulers if they refused to cooperate with
Washington's counter-terrorism campaign.
It's unclear from this report
how much of a backtracking by the Administration this really is.
September 12, 2001
10:50 p.m. --
Wow! I forgot that some people will not read a piece completely
through to get my entire argument. Instead, they will read only the
beginning, get really pissed off, stop reading and immediately let me have
It was only at the end of yesterday's Daily Diatribe that I said I think we
should have long ago sent in the 82nd Airborne and gotten rid of Osama bin
Laden, and the Taliban,
too, for that matter. Clearly I have no sympathy for him or them.
Readers who didn't get this
far apparently concluded that by calling in the beginning of my piece for
the United States to stop its own terrorist-type activities in the world,
that meant I have sympathy for, or even approve of, bin Laden.
So let's be clear: I don't
and I don't. Get rid of him. Such a course of events would make
That hopefully being
crystal-clear now, let me get to the point tonight: however we retaliate, it
must be in a way that attacks bin Laden and his associates, and military
forces and involved government officials of countries that aided him, BUT
We rightly claim outrage and
deep sorrow at the loss of what could now be tens of thousands of civilian
deaths at the World Trade Center and on the hijacked airliners. We
cannot then go ahead and kill, in retaliation, large numbers of civilians
ourselves -- even if we do not target them deliberately, and even if they
are what we have in the past called "collateral damage."
They are still just as dead.
Especially in this case,
Afghanistan is a dictatorship and the people there, already suffering a
Stone Age-level of deprivation, should not be punished by us for the ill
deeds of their government, whose policies they are helpless to change.
So we shouldn't carpet bomb
Kabul, as some people are demanding. And we shouldn't, as we did in
Iraq, destroy what is left of the civilian infrastructure of
Afghanistan. Just like the Taliban have said that they are willing to
let the people starve rather than have aid groups proselytize, the Taliban
would certainly be willing to let the people do without water and
electricity. That won't hurt the Taliban, but will kill many Afghani
Indeed, it should be kept in
mind that the Taliban are the descendants of one faction of mujahideen,
Islamic holy warriors, who we heavily armed when they were fighting the
Soviet Union after that country invaded Afghanistan in 1979.
When the Soviet Union withdrew, the Taliban gradually took over the country
and established their theocratic dictatorship. The U.S. did nothing to
try to force our erstwhile allies to institute any kind of democratic
So it would be a horrible
double-whammy for us to first provide the military wherewithal for the
Taliban to enslave the Afghani people, and then bomb the Afghani people for
the terrible behavior of their own oppressive government.
So like I wrote last night:
invade Afghanistan and get rid of bin Laden and the Taliban, but
DON'T kill Afghani civilians.
September 11, 2001
10:30 p.m. -- Writing
tonight about anything other than the attacks on New York City and the
Pentagon would seem superfluous. Yet given the mountains of ink and
hours of airtime already devoted to the subject, there is not, perhaps, much
that has not already been said. So here's summaries of the types of
comments I've seen posted today on discussion boards of progressive sites
(particularly at Common Dreams),
and then a few thoughts of my own:
The U.S. has killed
hundreds if not thousands of times more civilians in terrorist attacks on
other countries than the U.S. suffered killed today. Undoubtedly
true, since our military killed 2-3 million civilians during the Vietnam War
The U.S. is only having
done to it what it has done to others. Again true. See directly
above. To give yet another of many possible examples, terrorists we
have financed and even sometimes directed have deliberately killed tens of
thousands of civilians just in Central America -- Nicaragua, El Salvador,
Americans, living in a
democracy, are responsible for the actions of their government. Again
true. However, one might argue that while we bear a collective
responsibility to the world community, we have an individual accountability
only to our Maker, and that individual New Yorkers should not be subject to
a death penalty imposed by self-appointed judges (the hijackers).
If we commit terrorist
acts against others, that's wrong; likewise, if they commit terrorist acts
against us in retaliation, that's also wrong. In other words, two
wrongs don't make a right. A credible argument can be made for this
Our military response to
these attacks will undoubtedly wind up killing additional civilians wherever
we strike. This has certainly been the pattern in the past when we
We should be vigilant that
the U.S. government doesn't use these attacks as an excuse to curtail civil
liberties and freedom in our country. A legitimate cause for
Having suffered real death
and destruction on our own soil, maybe the U.S. will be a little more
reluctant to resort to military interventions against other nations in the
future. Probably not, unless the American people demand such
restraint, the likelihood of which is nil, in my opinion.
Here are some thoughts of my
own, which I've not seen expressed elsewhere:
The enemy of my enemy
isn't necessarily my friend. Just because the Taliban and bin
Laden are enemies of Bush, doesn't mean the Taliban and bin Laden are my
friends. Quite the contrary. As I've explicitly written elsewhere, the
Taliban are an abomination, their treatment of women tantamount to
slavery. I would certainly never want their form of dictatorship to
spread. Same for bin Laden.
If we knew bin Laden was
training pilots for suicide missions on 757's and 767's, the planes used
today, why didn't we take preemptive action?! Frankly, if we had
sent in the 82nd Airborne and gotten rid of bin Laden and the Taliban in one
fell swoop, I wouldn't have objected.
Unfortunately, I believe we
never tried to stop the terrorists' planning for an attack like today's
because of our military's seeming doctrine that no American soldier can be
put at risk. If it can't be done with cruise missiles, don't do it.
Cruise missiles, as we've
seen, can't permanently take out terrorist camps in the mountains. To
destroy a camp training terrorist 757/767 pilots, you'd need to go in with
ground troops and suffer significant casualties to get the job done.
And at least until now, we don't seem to have been willing to do that.
In any event, all deaths
are to be mourned, and this writer certainly feels for the families of all
those killed today. Amen.
September 10, 2001
9:20 p.m. -- The more
I read about the case of Andrea Yates, who drowned her five children, the
more I think the husband shoulders blame for not averting the tragedy.
These are the warning signs
he had available to him, as reported
in The New York Times:
- his wife's suicide attempt
in June, 1999, about 6 months after the birth of her fourth child
- diagnosis: post-partum
psychosis and depression
- signs of stress from
having to take care of her father, who had Alzheimer's disease
- less than a month later,
the husband finds her holding a knife to her neck
- she describes hearing
- she says she had a
vision about getting the knife
- she says she first had
such a vision after the birth of her first child
- she had stopped taking
- the birth of the couple's
fifth child, and also possibly the death of her father, cause additional
episodes of depression and psychosis:
- between March and May
she spends four stints at a psychiatric hospital
- at one point her
physician seeks involuntary commitment because she is catatonic and
has scratched bald spots into her head
Even without knowing anything
further, this is not the type of person a rational person would leave five
young children with. But the husband's contribution to the tragedy is
more causative than just ignoring warning signs:
- the husband, described as
"controlling" by one doctor, allows her only "two hours
of personal time a week"
- after the birth of their
fourth child and his wife's two suicide attempts, he doesn't change the
decision with his now obviously mentally ill wife to have as many babies
as nature will allow
- despite his wife's mental
problems, the husband doesn't have them change their plans to home
school their children
- the decisions to have more
children and to home school the children come despite their
psychologist's warning that these courses of action would not be in Mrs.
Yates' best interest
- at one point during her
hospitalizations, the husband puts pressure on her to leave the
hospital, claiming that she was 90-95% normal, while she reports 70-75%
- he allows her to be
discharged from the hospital for the last time prior to her murdering
her children, even though records indicate that at the time she is still
depressed and suicidal
A rationally thinking man
would not have additional children with a wife who is obviously incapable of
caring for even the four they already have. A rationally thinking man
would not foist the home-schooling of five children on such a woman. A
rationally thinking man would not leave five young children alone with her.
The wife's severely mentally
incapacitated state meant that decision-making fell by default to the
husband, and he made some egregiously bad ones.
September 9, 2001
10:15 p.m. --
Often you can discern the ultimate direction an administration wants to take
the country not so much from what the big honchos -- Bush, Cheney, Powell et
al -- say, but more so from the little-reported remarks of lower-level
The big honchos are virtually
always under the tight control of administration spinmeisters and
image-makers. The lesser officials, however, occasionally slip under
the radar of the administration controllers, and blurt out the truth.
When that happens, a quick retraction, clarification or statement that the
official "was only speaking personally and did not reflect
administration policy" will follow. But these attempts at spin
should be seen for what they are.
It's no secret that the Bush
administration has some fanatical right-wingers in it, like John Ashcroft, he of the
"dancing is sin" and pro-Confederacy outlook. But recent
statements by Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill would make all rational people
stop in their tracks.
As documented by the media
watchdog group Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting, O'Neill, in an
interview with the British Financial Times, has called for:
- abolishing taxes on
- abolishing capital gains
- drastically reducing or
eliminating Social Security
- drastically reducing or
Usually, such radical,
politically unpalatable proposals would be saved until an administration's
second term, when there are no concerns about being re-elected.
Luckily for the Bush
administration, the mainstream media have virtually ignored O'Neill's
comments, made a few months ago. I've just read about them
However much fair-minded
people condemn the way Bush's tax cuts are heavily skewed in favor of
upper-income individuals, that skewing would probably be small potatoes
compared to how a Bush administration proposal to shift the tax burden
entirely onto individuals would be structured.
O'Neill has apparently spoken
about the need to "educate" the public about the current system
and how it needs to be changed.
Keep your eyes and ears open
for the first "official" hints of policy proposals along the above
As has been said in a notably
happier context, "America, you ain't seen nothing yet!"
September 8, 2001
10:10 p.m. --
Now that the heated debate over embryonic stem cell research has been off
the front pages for a few days, some questions come to mind.
The hotly debated issue was
whether federal monies would be used to fund research on stem cells taken
from frozen embryos. These embryos are left over from in-vitro
fertilization procedures. Fertility clinics create numerous frozen embryos,
and then typically discard any ones left over after couples indicate they
will not want to conceive any more children.
Under the decision announced
by President George Bush, the opponents of embryonic stem cell research
succeeded in forbidding use of federal funds for research on stem cells
taken from such fertility clinic embryos, except for some "64
lines" of such stem cells which have already been created from embryos
which have already been destroyed.
- Is the next step that
institutions that conduct privately funded research on embryonic stem
cells will be threatened with loss of federal funds for all their other
The opponents of research
utilizing stem cells from embryos would, of course, like to make the
research itself, like abortion, completely illegal, not just deny it federal
- If it should become
against the law to utilize embryos in stem cell research, wouldn't it
also have to be against the law to discard these embryos when not
needed, as is now the common practice?
- What if fertility clinics
continued to operate, with the intent to store the unneeded embryos
forever? Would it be a crime to merely create such embryos,
knowing that all of them would not be implanted? In other words, a
crime of "creation of an embryo without intent to bring same to
September 7, 2001
9:00 p.m. --
The nonchalant way the mainstream press treats discoveries about
American-connected atrocities abroad infuriates me.
The following one-paragraph item
appeared in The New York Times about a week ago:
HONDURAS: BODIES FOUND AT
Forensic researchers have
uncovered the remains of 15 people at a former American base used to
train the Nicaraguan Contras in the 1980's. Prosecutors expect to find
the remains of as many as 80 leftists who disappeared between 1979 and
Human rights groups say
some were tortured and buried at El Aguacate base, which the United
States built in 1984. It was turned over to Honduras, then abandoned in
During the following six
days, The New York Times has had nothing further to say about this.
I guess it's no big
deal. Scores of people were tortured and killed at the precise
location where U.S. advisors or their surrogates trained the terrorist
contra army (which itself tortured and killed civilians throughout the
Nicaraguan countryside in the late 1980's). The people tortured and
killed were the opponents of those being trained by the U.S. advisors or
their surrogates. But hey, that was long ago, these dead people were
only Hondurans and probably Commies, so bury the story inside the paper and
don't follow up on it.
Even more remarkably, the
story is particularly relevant now since John Negroponte, the U.S.
ambassador to Honduras during part of that time period, has been nominated
to be the U.S. representative to the U.N. Human rights groups have
his nomination because Negroponte was involved in covering up precisely
these types of atrocities by U.S.-trained Honduran troops.
Whoops! Might that be
precisely why this story was buried and never followed up on?
September 6, 2001
9:20 p.m. -- Yesterday I wrote that the prize for the stupidest
people in the world could very well go to the eight foreign aid workers
associated with Shelter Now, a German-based Christian organization, who
apparently were caught in Afghanistan trying to convert people from Islam to
Many readers agreed with my
assessment. A few readers, however, felt that these aid workers
were akin to Thomas Jefferson, Martin Luther King and others protesting
unjust situations. Along those lines, some other readers felt that the
aid workers should be commended for risking their lives for their beliefs.
One person even accused me of
Christian-bashing. Regarding this allegation, I think it was obvious
to most everybody else that I was criticizing the location and manner of the
proselytizing, not what these aid workers were proselytizing about.
As to the other points
First: these Shelter
Now aid workers were allowed entry into Afghanistan to feed starving
people. You don't proselytize hungry people you are feeding.
That's an inherently coercive situation. If these aid workers were
doing that, they should be ashamed.
Second: it's not their
own lives they were risking. As Westerners, they will be treated far
more leniently than the 16 Afghan staff members who also were
arrested. It's the Afghans who face torture and death. The
foreign aid workers at last word face only expulsion from Afghanistan.
Third: the aid workers
didn't go to Afghanistan to protest or change an unjust situation, nor, by
their own words, to risk their lives for their beliefs. According to
statements made by some of them, they claim not to have known what they were
doing was really wrong, and have apologized.
The two Americans admit
showing a video CD about Jesus. But ''we did not think it would cause so
much trouble,'' because Jesus is also regarded as a prophet by Muslims,
reads a statement signed by both Ms. Curry and Ms. Mercer. ''We again
are very sorry.''
[New York Times, April
Hardly in the same league as
"I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country."
Fourth: the actions of
these aid workers threaten the entire Afghan aid program, since the Taliban
could expel all outside agencies, and hundreds of thousands of people could
starve as the result.
Don't take my word for
it. Here's what their fellow aid workers have said
about the eight people arrested:
"These laws were
well-known to everyone," said Fayaz Shah, head of the United
Nations World Food Program in Kabul. "It's like walking in a
minefield, and when one blows, you yell, 'Why did this happen?' But you
should know. You were in a minefield."
...The potential of more
arrests has left the aid agencies in fear. People say the Shelter Now
episode could eventually lead to a huge withdrawal — or expulsion —
of the agencies. That would be catastrophic for the needy.
That dreadful prospect
complicates the moral judgments of aid workers who would ordinarily ache
with sympathy for their jailed colleagues. As it is, commiseration often
is coupled with anger. Many people here presume that the arrested
foreigners were guilty of reckless proselytizing; however
well-intentioned the preaching, that forbidden endeavor to save a few
dozen souls has imperiled thousands of lives.
"Why did they break
the law, especially this law?" asked an American who insisted on
anonymity. "Worse yet, they dragged their Afghan workers into this.
After some political games, the foreigners will probably be kicked out
of the country as their punishment. But the Afghans, I am afraid they
are going to be killed."
Just like I concluded
yesterday before having read the above comments: these eight foreign aid
workers acted in an incredibly stupid and reckless manner.
[article condemning the Taliban
for their treatment of women]
9:40 p.m. --
The prize for the stupidest people in the world could very well go to the
eight foreign aid workers associated with a German -based Christian
organization who apparently were caught in Afghanistan trying to convert
people from Islam to Christianity.
As I've written elsewhere, I'm no fan of the
Taliban. Their restrictions on women are tantamount to slavery, and
their laws against religious proselytizing are an affront against free
speech and freedom of religion.
But Afghanistan is a country
were punishments include amputation of limbs, and execution by methods such
as stoning, and having a brick wall collapsed on you. It's not a place
were you want to violate the law.
There are billions of people
all over the world who are not Christians. If someone wants to
proselytize, I would think one of the last places on earth to choose to do
so would be Afghanistan.
Bottom line: if you're in
Afghanistan, wouldn't it be smart to obey their laws?
Unless the Taliban are
fabricating evidence, the aid workers possessed local-language editions of
Bibles, dozens of audio tapes and CD's about Jesus, and lesson plans for
teaching Christianity. Indeed, they had a book titled
"Sharing Your Faith with a Muslim."
It's expected that these
foreign aid workers will be convicted, and expelled as punishment. (Since
these eight workers were arrested, the Taliban government has expelled
about 24 other foreign aid workers for preaching Christianity.)
But there are 16 Afghan staff
members who were arrested with the eight foreign aid workers and face
similar charges. For the Afghans, the penalty will likely be far more
severe, possibly death.
The foreign aid workers have
endangered the lives of these Afghans with ill-advised proselytizing, and
for that deserve to be called not only stupid, but criminally reckless.
September 4, 2001
9:30 p.m. --
Most people have no idea that the vast bulk of the wealth of the United
States is in the hands of a relative handful of people.
This chart shows that the top
1% own 38.1% of the wealth in the country, the next 4% own 21.3%, and the
next 5% own 11.5%. That is to say, the top 10% of the country owns
70.9% of the wealth of this nation!
Ninety percent of the country
owns a mere 29.1%.
[chart from United for a Fair
Another way to
put it: Assume there are 100 people who have $100 to split up. No one
expects it to be divided perfectly evenly at $1 apiece, but everyone
involved expects that some basic fairness will be used in the process that
will split up the money.
Now let's say
the $100 winds up being divided as follows:
The 40 people
getting 1/2 cent each might be a bit annoyed at the person getting
$38.10. The 20 people getting 23 cents each would probably not be
happy with the 4 people receiving $5.32 each. And so on...
This is how our
economic system has distributed the wealth of our country. It's so far
from any type of fairness as to be laughable, were it not a direct cause of
certain segments of our society lacking adequate resources for food,
clothing, shelter, medical care and other necessities, let alone any
amenities of a beyond-subsistence life.
[see Bogus "Class Warfare" Charge]
September 3, 2001
8:00 p.m. -- As
noted in an earlier discussion
detailing U.S. interference in the upcoming Nicaraguan presidential
election, a State Department spokesman in Washington "warned"
on July 24 that
we will continue to have
serious concerns about the Sandinistas, absent clear commitments from
candidate Ortega that he is now prepared to embrace democratic policies.
In 1912 U.S. Marines invaded
Nicaragua, and stayed for the better part of two decades. After they
left in 1933 the U.S. supported a succession of dictatorships in Nicaragua
for 46 years.
In 1979 the Sandinistas, led
by Daniel Ortega, overthrew the U.S.-supported Somoza dictatorship and
established democracy. In 1984 Ortega was elected to the Nicaraguan
presidency in an election virtually all observers except the United States
considered fair. In 1990 Ortega was defeated in a bid for
re-election. He left office in a peaceful transfer of power, the first
time in Nicaraguan history. Ortega said:
We leave victorious
because we Sandinistas have spilled blood and
sweat not to cling to government posts, but to bring Latin America a
little dignity, a little social justice.
So the U.S. supports a
dictatorship for 67 years, the FSLN led by Ortega overthrows the dictator
and institutes democracy, and the U.S. is lecturing Ortega about
having a commitment to democracy?!
September 2, 2001
8:10 p.m. --
Let's see: in order to find a cure for human colon cancer, we'll take some
human colon cancer cells and inject them into mice. Then we'll try to
kill those cancer cells in the mice. If that happens, we've
accomplished something. NOT.
This is what Swedish
scientists "accomplished." Even the pro-animal-research New
York Times had to admit
that "[m]any treatments that look promising in mice prove disappointing
when they are tested on people."
If it works in a mouse but
that doesn't tell you if it works in a human, why bother?
What if it doesn't work in a
mouse? Does that mean it couldn't work in a human? Of course
Let's reverse roles, and
assume we want to cure a type of mouse cancer. If we took some mouse
cancer cells and injected them into a human, then killed the cells in the
human, would that mean anything about whether we could accomplish the same
thing in a mouse?
What if we want to cure a
type of cancer that pigs get? If we inject an elephant with the pig
cancer cells, and then kill the cells in the elephant, has that brought us
closer to being able to cure that cancer in the pig?
Read this fine example of
speaking truth to power by cancer research scientist Irwin D.J. Bross,
Ph.D., director of biostatistics at Roswell Park Memorial Institute in New
Not a single new drug for
the treatment of human cancer was first picked up by an animal model
system...the results of animal model systems for drugs or other
modalities have done nothing but confuse and mislead the cancer
researchers who have tried to extrapolate from mice to man.
Moreover, when they have
been used to guide clinical research they have sent investigators on one
long and costly wild goose chase after another. Thus, scientifically
speaking, the animal studies are a fraud.
[vivisectors] will concede that animal models don't work, but they shrug
this off because nothing works. [from PETA, which has much
additional info on their site]
When those who needlessly
torture and kill laboratory animals die and are awaiting entrance to either
Heaven or Hell, they will hopefully find to their everlasting dismay that
God is a huge mouse.
9:45 p.m. --
Here's a report
of yet another outrageous example of prosecutorial misconduct in a death
Dennis Counterman, who has an
I.Q. in the mid-70's, was sentenced to death for setting a fire in his house
that killed his three young sons.
The only direct evidence
came from his wife, who
testified that she had been awakened by the sound of a lighter and then
saw her husband at the bottom of the stairs with a bucket.
Mrs. Counterman, who is
mentally retarded, also testified that her children did not have a
history of setting fires.
But the prosecutor withheld
the following evidence from Counterman's lawyers:
- "...on the day of the
fire, Mrs. Counterman told a police officer that the couple's oldest
son, Christopher, had awakened her, told her that there was a fire, and
that she had then awakened her husband.
- "Mrs. Counterman told
another detective a similar story."
- "On the day of the
fire, a neighbor told police that Mrs. Counterman had told her that a
month before the fire Christopher had burned the curtains in his
- "Another person told
the police that she had seen Christopher set a rug on fire."
Counterman's conviction has
been thrown out, before the state had a chance to kill him.
How about a law that says the
penalty for withholding exculpatory evidence will be the same penalty the
defendant faced at trial? I bet there would then be a lot less
withholding of evidence in death penalty cases! (And hopefully in
other types of cases as well.)