Thursday, July 20, 2006

Stem Cell Issue Reveals Bush Hypocrisy On "Sanctity" Of Life


Predictably, George W. Bush has pandered to his "fundamentalist" base by issuing his veto on stem cell research. In defending his first-ever veto, Bush claimed to be troubled by the "the taking of innocent human life."

To which I say: since when?

Bush has long had callous disregard for innocent human life that predates the 100,000 men, women and children civilians that have been killed in his immoral Iraq war.

In fact, Bush's disregard for innocent lives goes back to his term as Texas governor, where he signed off on the executions of 131 prisoners---far more than any other state. Statistically, he was likely responsible for the executions of at least nine innocent people.

In 2000, Illinois governor George Ryan captured headlines when he suspended the death penalty in his state, saying that he couldn't support "a system which has proven so fraught with error."

As journalist Alexander Cockburn has pointed out:

"Since 1977, Illinois has executed 12 -- and freed 13 from death row on the grounds that their innocence had been conclusively established. Nationwide, the number of such people spared the execution chamber (sometimes, by as slim a margin as a day or two) on grounds of proven innocence is 85."

"If Illinois is in this sorry condition, what can we say of Texas, where defendants are denied trained lawyers, appeals are rushed through often as mere formalities, and clemency is almost never granted?"

Unfortunately, there's no sign that, as governor, Bush was ever any more troubled by this shocking state of affairs than he is today by the hell on earth that he has unleashed in Iraq.

Aides reported that Bush usually only spent around 15 minutes (long enough to go fetch of cup of coffee) looking over the paperwork for each execution case in Texas.

Bush even once made light of the case of Karla Faye Tucker, the first woman to be executed in Texas since the Civil War. In an offensive, bizarre interview in 1999, Bush pursed his lips in mock desperation as he whimpered "Please don't kill me," in a mocking parody of Tucker.

In that smirking, frat-boy interview, I think we saw the real George W. Bush: a callous, evil man who couldn't care less about life (as long as it's poor, destitute people on Death Row who can't afford competent legal assistance).

As we've seen in the stem cell debate, the whole issue of "sanctity of life" is just another issue for Bush to cynically exploit. At the end of the day, it's clear that the only "values" Bush has are doing whatever it takes to serve the needs of his wealthy corporate backers.


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Texas' Death Row is full of poor, indigent people who couldn't afford a decent lawyer (or at least one who could stay awake during the trial). By contrast, how does Texas treat rich people who are charged with murder? (You know, the same kind of people that Bush himself is likely to rub shoulders with). As it turns out, rich people can get away with murder in Texas. Recall the case of multi-millionaire oil man Cullen Davis (who, like Bush, inherited his wealth). Evidence was overwhelming that he killed two people in cold blood, including his 12-year-old daughter. But he had the money to pay for a slick, hotshot lawyer and he was able to buy his way out of jail in Texas's corrupt "judicial" system.

Anonymous said...

I think the Katrina disaster tells you all you need to know about Pres. Bush's regard for human life.

Cranky Daze said...

The 12 year old child killed by Davis was, as I recall, his step-daughter. The other person, his soon-to-be-ex-wife's boyfriend. Not that Davis cared if his wife had a was the possibility of a huge divorce settlement that had his dander up. Davis also (reportedly) while in jail, tried to put out a contract to kill the judge presiding in the divorce proceedings. Davis now claims to be broke, and says he has "found God." I somehow doubt that either claim is true, but who knows? Bush claims to have found God, and look what it's done for him. This should NOT, I would stress, be construed as blaming either God or Texas for the likes of Davis and Bush. God doesn't interfere with human idiocy, and Texas doesn't know any better. Personally, I think it has something to do with all that beer and pork rinds.

Back in 1861, Governor Sam Houston of Texas was the only Southern governor to refuse to hop onto the secession train, (well, that is if you don't count Kentucky and Missouri...who tried to remain neutral, although that didn't work out too well) and lost his job for his trouble. He thought the problem in Texas had something to do with the climate; that the hot sun made them "fiery and impulsive," and warned that Northerners, who live in cooler climates would give them a good stomping. He actually said that we would "herd them at the point of bayonets," which, all things considered, was a bit of an over-statement, but then again, there was that pesky Appomattox Courthouse drama.

I still think it has something to do with the pork rinds.

Anonymous said...

It's tempting to dis us Texans nowadays. After all, perhaps the worst president ever has spent much of his life here.
But consider a few points: (a) Bush was born in New Haven, Connecticut, a scion of yankee bluebloods. I've always suspected that his accent was acquired for political and business reasons. (b) Texans have indeed been stupid voters in recent decades, but there are dumber ones, even in cooler climates. I read that Idaho, Utah and Wyoming are the only remaining states where Bush has an approval rating of 50 percent or more. He's down to the 40s even in Texas. (c) In the Mideast, most people follow kosher or halal diets in which they shun pork. But nowadays, on all sides of various conflicts in the region, there seem to be plenty of people who make Texans look calm and sensible in comparison.
Nope. It's not the pork rinds. Or the beer. I don't know if you've ever met any Seventh-day Adventists, but we've got some here, and let me assure you that even teetotaling vegetarians can be idiots.

Cranky Daze said...

Well, I guess I'm going to have to defend the Seventh Day Adventists. I was raised in the SDA church, by a very devout mother. I left the church years ago, but back when I was a kid, I don't recall that they got involved in politics. Their beliefs are pretty much centered on "The End of the World." They have been preaching that for longer than I've been around, which is over sixty years now. In fact, if I remember my history, they started out as a group that called themselves "Millerites," and way back in the 1800s they decided that Christ was going to return to earth on a certain day. As I recall the story, they sold all their property and personal possessions, paid off their debts, climbed a hill and sat there waiting for Jesus to appear. I'm pretty sure that was the group that eventually became the Seventh Day Adventists.

As far as their dietary beliefs are concerned, they are very healthy, and whether one thinks God is concerned about what we eat or not, we'd all be healthier if we ate less junk and more fruits and vegetables. My mother, who never in her life smoked a cigarette, had a drink of alcohol, never ate red meat, didn't drink anything with caffeine in it, lived to just three weeks from what would have been her 100th birthday. And was very healthy all her life. Her sister, also a vegetarian, lived to be 103. It's hard to argue with that kind of life style.

As for dissing Texas...that's just good natured teasing. I started doing that over 30 years ago when my best friend moved down near the Mexican border. I'll give you this much...Texans are the most polite drivers I've ever encountered. On those two-lane highways that go down into south Texas...or used to...I was astonished to find drivers ahead of me pulling off onto the shoulder of the road when I came up behind allow me to pass without having to deal with oncoming traffic. I've never seen that happen in any other state.

I recently saw a photo of a highway sign online (most likely altered) that said: "Welcome to Connecticut, Birthplace of George W. Bush. We apologize." They should!

Anonymous said...

I knew you were kidding about Texans -- I'd say we've earned all that ribbing and much more in recent years. I read that we produce more than half again as much garbage as the average person in America (who produces nearly twice as much as the average person in the world.) Texas must qualify as the most un-green culture on Earth.
I apologize if I stepped on your toes about SDAs. My wife worked at one of their hospitals for years, and my favorite uncle and aunt were members. I realize there are very goodhearted folks among them. But my wife and I noticed a few things. Lately, they have gotten rather right-leaning politically (the hospital was the first place my wife ever encountered the James Dobson rag "Focus on the Family.") Also, some don't know how vegetarianism is supposed to work. My wife's boss was obese -- a vegetarian, but he was addicted to Otis Spunkmeyer muffins, veggie chili that was swimming in soybean oil, and of course, lots and lots of milk chocolate, cheese and whole milk. I'll take my chances on a well-prepared chicken breast, thank you.
And, re longevity: I had a grandmother who made it to 100 and several months, got the citation from Bill and Hillary, etc. She, too, was in great health most of the way. Not flawless in habits, but a splendid constitution. But in her 80s, she started losing her hearing. In her 90s, her sense of taste and smell. The knees went. Slowly, things fell apart.
Having observed her last years, just give me the biblical three-score and ten. If a person can't live a complete life in that span, I'd say they haven't gone about it right. As per drinking, smoking: I did quit cigarettes in my late 20s, because that habit makes no sense. But the rest -- well, they say teetotalers live longer. I've tried it. I'm convinced that it mostly SEEMS longer.

Cranky Daze said...

No need to apologize, Anon. You didn't step on my toes. I've been away from the SDA church for many years now, and it wouldn't surprise me at all to learn that they're leaning to the right. In fact, both of my parents were Republicans, but neither of them were radical types. I doubt they ever heard of "limited government," or tax breaks for the wealthy. They just liked Ike, although they were grateful for FDR and his WPA program. Without that, my dad might have starved to death. FDR gave him the job that brought about his acquaintance with my mother, and here I am.

I have to say, I fully agree with this recent news that the IRS is going to start collecting taxes from churches that violate the separation of church and state requirement. Maybe a big tax bill will teach them that the law applies to everyone, and in fact, I'd be in favor of making it retroactive.

The veggie chili swimming in soybean oil sounds deadly. Longevity is most likely genetic in origin, but probably enhanced by good eating habits. Like your assessment of life just seeming longer for people who do not drink alcohol, I feel the same about bacon.

I'm too close to that "three score and ten" to agree with your ideas about it, but I can say that if my health goes, I may as well go along with it.

And Texas...well, yes, y'all take a ribbing, and to some extent you may even deserve it. Ask Molly Ivins. And where I live in the Midwest, I hear a lot from my more urbane friends about corn and cows and..."but, you don't have any mountains out there." I'm reminded of something I read in Reader's Digest years ago about a married couple from New York City who were making a cross country trip. When they reached Nebraska, they stopped at the state line where they apparently have a small tourist office, and they wanted to know what the windmills were for. The wife thought they were big fans to keep the cows cool! Ah well, we all have our burdens to carry, don't we.

But, no offense meant, and no offense taken.