The Church of Kharma Futures

The Rev's views on politics, events,faith, and the world. All content copyright Church of Kharma Future 2007-2015 All rights Reserved

Stem Cells: Demagogery, Deception, and the Abuse of the Constitution

Posted by revkharma on February 18, 2009

[Note: this is a bit long, but be patient. Please read to the end. This is not a single topic essay!]

It’s been stated here before, the Constitution has been corrupted. Here is another way it has been done

We have all seen the battles over the last several years over the use, misuse,  and politicization of ‘Stem Cells’. A major part of the issue must be proper usage of terms. Not many can forget the moving political ad, with Michael J. Fox pleading for federal dollars for ‘stem cell therapy’ to cure his Parkinson’s disease.  John Edwards famously stood on a stage and said that ‘People like Christopher Reeve would be walking ‘ if  the federal government would only have funded stem cell research. When one looks into the science of the matter, things are just a bit less clear. In fact, they become quite dark. One of the major problems is with defining terms. For years the term ‘stem cell’ has been used as a short hand for ’embryonic stem cell’. Research on adult stem cells has none of the moral conflict which is repugnant to so many. However, the political types who get involved seem only to discuss the need for ’embryonic stem cells’. Even when President Bush famously signed his executive order approving for the first time ever federal funding for research for cell lines which had originally been derived from embryonic tissue, opponents actually claimed that he had blocked funding!

How often have you seen anything in the media about the dangers of embryonic stem cell use? We hear over and over how this is the magic bullet for so many different afflictions. Here are just a few items which may open a few eyes.

Item 1:

In November 2007, researchers in the United States and Japan shocked the world of cell biology by successfully transforming regular adult cells into the equivalent of embryonic stem cells without using human embryos. The technique has since spread rapidly in the field, not only because it avoids ethical problems (and therefore political controversy and public funding restrictions) but also because it is a great deal easier and cheaper than working with embryos and seems so far to yield the same results. Researchers all over the world have been tinkering with the technique to improve its efficiency, to eliminate the need to use genetically engineered viruses to reprogram the cells, and to look for other applications of the lessons this discovery suggests about how cells function.

Item 2:

It was unambiguously clear five years ago that embryonic stem cells robustly form tumors (teratomas) when transplanted into adult tissues, and this remains the case today. Teratomas are benign tumors that contain a variety of differentiated cell types (hair, teeth, muscle, etc.). …

Embryonic stem cell advocates were well aware of the tumor-forming potential of these cells. (Indeed, teratoma formation following injection of embryonic stem cells into adult mice is still today the test of whether a researcher has successfully generated a bona fide embryonic stem cell line.)

Item 3:

WASHINGTON (AP) – A family desperate to save a child from a lethal brain disease sought highly experimental injections of fetal stem cells—injections that triggered tumors in the boy’s brain and spinal cord, Israeli scientists reported Tuesday.

 

OK, so now we have to step back and look at things a little differently. And I believe some questions are in order here.

Recent research has actually shown that there is more promise, and less potential for danger using so called ‘Adult cells” than working with ’embryonic cell lines’. There have even been tests done where an adult cell is converted directly to another type of cell, without involving  “nuclear transfer”. So, if there can be such transformative research done without the ethical objections of embryonic destruction the question must be asked: Why continue to obfuscate the issue, and why demand more funding from the federal government for this increasingly unneeded research?

When the academics seize upon an idea, and manage to get federal funding ( that means the 50% of Americans who pay taxes are footing the bill) there is a kind of inertia. Because a federal grant was issued, others will piggy back on it. As with most federal outlays they tend to increase over time rather than decrease. Projects get a built in constituency and generate lobby interests. Gullible people, uneducated in the facts are used to pressure congress to pay for continued funding to do things the way they have been done, rather than follow more promising recent avenues.  This is only one more example where the federal government has vastly and egregiously expanded it’s reach beyond the scope and mandate in the Constitution. There would be no need for ‘ethics reviews’ of various research proposals by various congressional and White House committees if the Constitution were used as a guide. Simply put, the most efficient way to fund such research is through private grants, where the most promising and effective paths will succeed.

So, once more we see the danger, the corruption that results of Federal Government intrusion into the private sector. Both the Constitution and those receiving funding are tainted by this. This is just one more example of how the government in DC has run off the rails and betrayed the visions of the Founders. I defy anyone to find, anywhere in the text of the U.S. Constitution any justification for the Government of the United States of America to provide funding for stem cell research of any kind at all. And please, don’t use the ‘expanded scope of the Commerce Clause” that’s intellectually dishonest and you know it.  Hmmm, ‘provide for the common welfare’? Nah.. this is research for a SPECIFIC task, which will benefit a select few. It can’t legitimately be considered ‘common welfare.’ Oh , I know, because it’s ‘The Right Thing To Do”. We will he helping so many who otherwise could not get such help. This will shock some, but to that argument I say this: So What? Because something is good, or beneficial to some of the population is not a constitutional justification for the expenditure of federal funds.

Finally, here are a few relevant comments, from someone quite a bit more in touch with the intent of the founders while drafting the Constitution:

In 1794, when Congress appropriated $15,000 for relief of French refugees who fled from insurrection in San Domingo to Baltimore and Philadelphia, James Madison stood on the floor of the House to object saying, “I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.”
-James Madison, 4 Annals of congress 179 (1794)

“…[T]he government of the United States is a definite government, confined to specified objects. It is not like the state governments, whose powers are more general. Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government.”
-James Madison

That no free government, or the blessing of liberty, can be preserved to any people but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue, and by frequent recurrence to fundamental principles.”
— George Mason, the Virginia Declaration of Rights, 1776

“We must confine ourselves to the powers described in the Constitution, and the moment we pass it, we take an arbitrary stride towards a despotic Government.”
— James Jackson, First Congress, 1st Annals of Congress, 489

There are many other such remarks in the early history of our Republic. If such men as these, including authors of the document says it’s not there, I think I will trust them.

Now, how can we stop the dolts in DC from continuing to shred that document?  That’s a topic for another day. Some are working on some ideas for that!.

Keep the Faith!

The Rev

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