Candorville on Stem Cell Research

Chuck posted the following:

I’d like to make a comment on today’s strip–but I’m afraid it would take too much time. Suffice it to say: We apparently value our own citizen’s lives over those of other country’s citizens. But 10000 in 4 years is less of a holocaust than millions over 30 years. 

First of all, it’s not 10K in 4 years. John Mcglaughlin stated the current tally of dead Iraqi civilians at more than 160,000. The lowest estimates, as of 2004, were in the mid 30,000′s. As a percentage of Iraq’s population, it would be the same as if at least 3 million American civilians had been killed. Feel free to check me on that – I was never great at math.The stem cell research issue has nothing to do with abortion. Scientists are not using aborted fetuses, they’re using excess blastocysts left over from in vitro fertilization. Blastocysts that would be thrown away anyway. They’re never – never – going to become living, breathing human beings. They’re going to become rotten dead cells sitting at the bottom of a dumpster under banana peels.I don’t know about you, but if I were a blastocyst, I’d sure want them to use my stem cells to save countless lives before I rot. At least I would want that, if I had a brain.UPDATE…And then there were the e-mails like this one (I’ve included my responses below):

“What a fake comparison!   The US military did not kill ONE civillian on purpose.   Most of the civillians killed were killed by  terrorists.  The only reason some were ACCIDENTLY killed  by allied forces is that the cowardly terrorists hide behind civillians after they set off rockets.  They are followed to housing which may or may not contain civillians.  Then the allies send a rocket to the house where they hide.     Some of the civillians killed are terrorists own families (who ought to run from them).   Others are just innocent victims of terrorist cowardice.   Sometimes people dressed in civillian clothes carry weapons or run toward our soldiers or Iraq’s and are killed because they are perceived to be threats.  Our soldiers have to make split second decisions to kill or be killed.  In a few cases, these were innocent people, but again, understandably perceived to be threats.    Sometimes the terrorists have even sent children with bombs or grenades toward our military!   This is a clever way to kill our military and a child, and blame US!   Many of those killed were teens in civillian clothing with weapons.   Are these INNOCENT civillians?   No.  Is this OUR fault?   Of course not!  Terrorist wars are not like others where civillians are nowhere near.” 

I’m sorry, I thought you were complaining about Monday’s cartoon. You seem to be complaining about something else entirely, because Monday’s cartoon said nothing about the US military killing civilians on purpose. The cartoon spoke of innocent civilians killed during the war. It doesn’t matter who killed them, it only matters that they were killed, and people such as yourself think that their deaths were worth it if it’ll save more lives in the long run. That’s all the cartoon said. I have no idea why you’re trying to pretend that I said what I didn’t say, unless you’re doing it because you can’t dispute what I actually did say.

“But terrorists have to be stopped.   What would you suggest?   That we allow them to get strong and confident, take over Israel, and finally take over our country?  (Do you know any history of what happened after we chickened out of the VN war?   Would you have wanted to live in Cambodia?  Laos?  VN?)    You liberals never have a solution of your own!!!!  All you know how to do is criticize others.”

“Chicken out” of Vietnam, a war we had no business fighting in the first place? How old are you, by the way? Adults don’t usually speak this way about life and death matters. The solution would have been to not invade Iraq, a country that had no WMD, no ties to Al Qaeda, had never attacked us, and was not about to attack us. The tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians who are now dead would still be alive, and because our manpower wouldn’t have been diverted from Afghanistan, we might have actually caught Osama bin Laden.

“Also, your figures are greatly exaggerated.   “Tens of thousands” of Iraqi civillians have not been killed.  This is a baldfaced lie!   Get your figures straight!”

I never state anything as a fact unless I’ve researched it. If you have a problem with the numbers, take it up with the Administration whose invasion caused chaos in Iraq. You can also take it up with the Stars & Stripes (the military paper that reported on the death toll reaching 50,000 – http://tinyurl.com/ejz6s), or with CNN, which reported that 14,000 of those deaths happened just this year (and the year’s only half over) – http://tinyurl.com/mr6pl

  You call our presence “occupation”.  It’s true that some in the Sunni party wants us out (Of course!   They were benefitting from Saddam’s reign and living like kings.)  but the people of 3 ethnic groups who got saved from Saddam’s evil death plan do not consider our presence “occupation”.    They know that if we leave before the present administration is strengthened, they (and the Israelis) are all dead ducks, just as if Saddam were still ruling.”

    The definition of “occupation” (from something called a “Dictionary”):1. Invasion, conquest, and control of a nation or territory by foreign armed forces.2. The military government exercising control over an occupied nation or territory.”If you have a problem with that, don’t bother me with it, take it up with the good folks at Brittanica.

” (By the way, I suppose you have ignored all the news about  finding the more than 500 weapons of mass destruction, some with mustard gas, and some with sar  — (news which certain people have been trying to suppress for a couple of years.)   You liberals all owe the Bush administration an apology.   Wasn’t it kind of stupid to assume that Saddam had gotten rid of his WMD’s when we KNEW he had them during the gulf war?”

No, I didn’t ignore it. I did something called “paying attention,” which you may want to take a stab at some time. Those 500 “weapons of mass destruction” were pre Gulf War weapons that were useless, and that were disposed of exactly as we instructed Hussein to do in 1991 – by burying them deep in the desert. You’ve been suckered by Rick Santorum, who was so desperate to hold on to his Senate seat that he fabricated this WMD find. The Defense Department denied that these 500 shells were the WMD we were looking for, and went on to say that they could never be launched because they were already degraded and useless prior to our invasion.By the way, that’s the second time you’ve spewed “liberal,” as if it’s something bad. Do you even know what “liberal” means? Are you aware that our Constitution is a liberal document written by our liberal Founding Fathers, based on the liberal principles of the liberal Enlightenment? Anyone who believes in that Constitution – and in the separation of powers, separation of church and state, and Bill of Rights protections it enumerates – is a Liberal. 

The second fallacy of your fake comparison is that there is absolutely no proof that stem cells from embryos (which are tiny baby humans!) are superior to stem cells from the placenta (which is the tube connecting mother and baby when the baby is in the womb.)   The placenta cells can be harvested without killing anyone!!!!!  (This is because the placenta is discarded after the birth)  So there is no need to kill a baby human!!!!!  There should be no argument about this!   It is absolutely not necessary to kill baby humans!    And these are truly innocent, unlike some of the “civilians”.   Carol Barnes 

Again, your arguments would be taken more seriously if you were actually talking about something the cartoon said, rather than making up strawman arguments (look that up) to knock down. The cartoon doesn’t say embryonic stem cells are the only way, or even the best way. The cartoon is about the argument against embryonic stem cell research contrasted with the argument rationalizing the death of tens of thousands of civilians. The cartoon is about hypocrisy, and none of the red herring issues you’ve raised disputes what the cartoon actually said.And by the way, there is no proof that placentas provide stem cells that are as useful as those found in embryos. That’s not for you or I to say, that’s something only the scientists can determine – if only people such as yourself would allow them to do their work in peace. And NOBODY IS KILLING A BABY HUMAN. These are excess blastocysts that are going to be thrown away. Not a single one of them is ever going to be allowed to grow into a human, unless hundreds of thousands of Carols across the country volunteer to be inseminated with them and give birth to them….Have you done that, Carol?  


Discussion (28)¬

  1. Doug says:

    Chuck also seems to forget the back alley abortions, which often resulted in mutilated teenaged girls and women that go back even more centuries. There have been enough tasteless jokes about pushing pregnant women down stairs.

    You’re also right on the stem cell research. They were ARTIFICIALLY grown cells. Menstruation and masterbation eliminate more of the same kind of genetic material on a far greater scale than the frozen blastocysts or any form of “abortion.”

    It’s a pathetic straw-man argument.

  2. Paul says:

    Whew! Candorville touched a couple of nerves there. Read a very well reasoned editorial column today by Mark Davis (I’d link to it but the newspaper’s website is a couple days behind on updates). He’s pretty conservative (“oil prices result of free market forces, etc etc”) but he really pointed out the inconsistency of, say, prolifers who make exceptions for rape or incest, of those who equate building blocks of life with life itself, as well as – this is a good point for this blog – politions who “seek… to score points among pro-life voters have painted themselves into impossible corners while trying to remain palatable to a centrist American majority.”

    This inconsistency isn’t restricted to conservatives. It’s called “Politics!” Liberals have difficulties, too. Last night O’Reilly (an advance plea – those of you who ignore the topic or idea by blasting the host or messenger – just skip it) had on Congressman Gary Ackerman (D-NY) & Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman (D-FL) – liberal, Jewish, represent constituencies described as “liberal, Jewish, upper-class.” His question to the two had to do with consistency – they and their constituents blast the Bush Administration for coerced interrogations of terror suspects. Israel uses far more coersion on regular basis. Is this wrong for the US but okay for Israel?

    The congresspersons would not answer directly! Ackerman came close. Wasserman went on about “torture” and would not concede difference between coersion (loud music, sleep deprivation, barking dogs) and torture. Really, though, it’s just about not alienating their pro-Israeli voters and getting re-elected! Host kept repeating the question (that’s one of the reasons I watch the show – guests across the spectrum get a question, they spin off an answer or hit their talking points, O Reilly comes back with the same question, again and again and again) – Is it not okay for US to conduced coerced interrogations but okay for Israel? Quayle deer in the headlights look, anyone?

    Oh, and best evidence bin Laden’s in Pakistan, not Afghanistan. Has been since before Iraq campaign (let’s not rehash Tora Bora, okay?). So regardless of US presence in Iraq – say we never went there – “getting” bin Laden means going into Pakistan. “Using” Pakistani forces isn’t really an option – their military’s gotten hammered on a couple of big operations against the tribes – so it’s really not about diverting manpower from Afghanistan. We really are not going to unilaterally conduct ops in Pakistan, weaken Musharraf, have another coup and have the Pakistani nuclear arsenal turned over to jihadists. So whether or not we’re in Iraq doesn’t really affect whether or not we can “get” bin Laden.

    And it’s likely mostly symbolic, anyway. As long as madrassas and mullahs keep cranking out their jihadist views of Islam there will be plenty of people willing to dedicate themselves to killing themselves while they slaughter infidels.

  3. Darrin Bell says:

    “Oh, and best evidence bin Laden’s in Pakistan, not Afghanistan. Has been since before Iraq campaign (let’s not rehash Tora Bora, okay?).”

    Why not? That’s sort of like saying “Terrorists aren’t trying to kill Americans. Let’s not rehash 9/11, okay?”

    Our forces were already being diverted to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia before Tora Bora, which is likely the reason we relied on Afghani warlords to hunt Bin Laden there. If we’d gone in at full strength with our own troops instead of reserving them for an invasion of Iraq, we very well may have captured or killed Bin Laden before he escaped to Pakistan. And at the time, that would have dealt a crippling blow to Al Qaeda. Now, the organization is more diffuse — it’s metastasized — so even if we were to capture Bin Laden today, it might not make much of a difference.

  4. Sarah E. from Indiana says:

    Dear Lord, I hope they never decide to inseminate “hundreds of thousands of Carols across the country”! Thanks for sharing your insightful response, Darren. I too am tired of folks equating blastocysts with “little baby humans”.

  5. Paul says:

    “Let’s not rehash” I meant the wisdom/screwup of the Afghan operation – how he got away into Pakistan. Instead of saying “we didn’t get him, he’s in Pakistan, now what” a lot of people would be tempted to rehash the Tora Bora decisions. Meant we were pretty focused on Afghanistan and still didn’t get him – he had support of tribes, who pretty well ignore the border. You’re right about the troop diversions, but if I recall correctly, many of the diverts were special ops. “Full strength” of conventional forces – “more troops” isn’t the the entire issue – it’s what you do with them. There are a lot of support, logistics, rear echelon, etc. go along with the personnel conducting the operations. So just “more troops” isn’t a real answer – it’s the strategy for deploying them that was lacking. Afghanistan – ran into some real difficulties operating in that environment – 10th Mountain Division operating at 10,000 feet – rotary wing operations at that altitude – yeah, we learned, but it was tough. You can get to a point where there are actually too many troops for efficient operations.

    We also did a gradual shift from special ops to more conventional strategy (real source of Rumsfeld’s battle with the generals in Iraq – they planned Desert Storm II – ten years later – great shutout of special ops) – and have done the same in Iraq. Although we are integrating special ops better – witness task force for killing Zarqawi.

    Bottom line – killing bin Laden early on would have been partially good ops, partially luck. “More troops” in Afghanistan likely wouldn’t have sealed the border, provided more surveillance or guaranteed interdiction. Now he’s holed up in Pakistan, in an area impervious to Pakistani troops, and he’ll probably stay there. And yes, Al Qaeda has entered a new era – they lost the cover and support of a government (Taliban) and now work to transform a Muslim government into a jihadi regime. bin Laden’s largely symbolic – al Thawahiri’s the day-to-day manager. They recognize they can’t stop American military advances decisively unless they have a global weapon. And the real danger is – it isn’t just Al Qaeda – it’s the jihadist movement worldwide.

  6. Derek says:

    I love the hysteria of conservatives. Oh, those filthy terrorists are out to conquer the world. If we don’t actively seek them out and exterminate them, they will eventually destroy America! Won’t SOMEBODY think of the children!

    Please. Yes, many of these Muslim extremists want to destroy Israel. But there is no way on earth they are going to accomplish this. And they have no interest in taking over the U.S. All they want is to get the West to stop meddling in their affairs.

    You can’t stop terrorism by killing terrorists. All that does is create more anger, thus creating a fertile recruiting ground for Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, et al. Even if you kill leaders like Bin Laden or al Thawahiri, someone new will step into the vacuum. As long as thhere is a market for terrorist ideas and leadership, there will be no shortage of supply.

    You (the conservatives) want solutions? How about this? Deal with the root discontent which the extremists are taking advantage of. Stop going all macho and cowboy. Stop trying to play chicken with our enemies. Open an honest dialogue with the Muslim world. Try understanding their discontent and anger. Where it is legitimate, make changes and negotiate compromises. That isn’t cowardice and capitulation. Its maturity and integrity.

    Maybe I’m too idealistic, but I believe that the majority of people of all races, ethnicities, and religions are inherently decent. If we treat them with decency and goodwill, their outrage will be softened. Moderate elements will overcome the extremists. And we will be able to find moral solutions to our issues. But we have to take the first step by getting rid of the hysteria, black-and-white thinking, and macho attitude which leads to nothing but more bloodshed.

    Absolutely LOVE the strip in question. I wish I could load it onto my blog (with proper attribution, of course). Keep it up.

  7. Paul says:

    Interesting, derek. Call “names” (interesting you assume I’m a “conservative” and that is the arrow to destroy the position). Belittle the issue. Assume “we’re all alike and want to live in peace.” Look for root causes. Understanding will overcome all.

    (Sorry for taking so much space, Darrin, but…) Opinions are wonderful, especially when they’re based upon facts or historical examples. When they’re not, well, it’s reduced to rhetoric. History is full of examples of violent expansion by various nations or cultures. The expansions did not take place because the aggressors felt misunderstood – Persian Empire, Macedonian under Alexander, Mongols, French under Napoleon, more recently, Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan.

    Read the writings of the militant jihadists. Listen to the language. It isn’t just America. It’s non Muslims. Includes Hindus, Christians, even other Muslims. They have made it clear their campaigns will continue regardless of what we do. I’ve cited before – many good works on this topic – Walid Phares, Future Jihad. Lebanese born. 25 years researching and writing about jihadism. Takes an historical view. “Peace” means reestablishing the caliphate and imposing Islam. Remember Independence Day? President asks alien, “can’t we all get along? Can’t we have peace? What do you want us to do?” And the alien replied “Die.” The philosophy is not just directed at Israel. Witness Chechnya – Beslan – Bali. The first step in getting rid of the hysteria is to understand enemies as they are, not as one wishes them to be. Understand concepts such as dar el Islam (house of Islam) and dar el Harb (house of War – that’s the rest of us). Find out why events of 800 years ago are addressed as if they happened yesterday. Look at the early military campaigns of Islam, realizing that it wasn’t a secular government driving the expansion, it was the religious philosophy (they didn’t get to eastern Europe and Spain because they were invited).

    bin Laden declared war on the west in – ready now, 1998 – a “world front against the infidel..” Yes, they do think they can win.

    Thanks for the space, Darrin

  8. Paul says:

    Just got back from lunch, was thinking about derek’s points. Have to reconsider my position – got to thinking about recent history, how things could have been different if, as he said, peoples were to “deal with the root discontent… Try understanding their discontent and anger. Where it is legitimate, make changes and negotiate compromises.”

    Maybe, just maybe, if the Jews in 1935 Germany had stopped to think of how they were ticking off the Nazis, maybe 6 million of them wouldn’t have ended up in the gas chambers.

  9. Derek says:

    I never referred to you, Paul. I had only given your comments a cursory glance. I was responding to the e-mail which Darrin received and posted in his blog. But since you address me specifically…

    The Muslim extremists are only a small segment of the Islamic Middle East. And for some of them, the rhetoric is merely that. Sound and Fury.

    You’re right, Paul, you probably can’t turn the heart of the Muslim extremist leaders. But I think the rank-and-file Muslims aren’t committed extremists anymore than the rank-and-file Germans were committed Nazis. Those we could reach and turn against the leaders, if we had the maturity to open a real dialogue and take the needs of the rank-and-file into consideration.

    Or we could continue the course of chest-beating, retaliation, and paranoid militarism. THAT certainly has proven to be effective in dealing with discontent in the past hasn’t it?

    Yes, opinions are wonderful when based on historical examination. Examine Islam’s history as one of the most tolerant of religions (compare the history of the Spain under the Muslims to Spain under Christian rule, the rather open society of the Middle-East under the Muslims in the Middle-Ages as compared to the brutality of the Crusaders, etc). Consider the fact that Jews and Muslims lived in peace in Palestine–up to the time Zionists started promoting immigration with the goal of forming a Jewish nation without regard to the indigenous people (“A land without a people, and a people without a land”). Then examine the treatment of the Islamic World by the Western Powers after the fall of the Ottoman Empire. Consider how Israel was successfully established without the input of the large Muslim population. I suspect those may have been factors in the generation of discontent and resentment of the Western world in Islam, which evil men have taken advantage of for their own gain.

    I’m not sure opinions based on poorly written sci-fi movies quite compare. That is the problem with our view of foreign policy today. We want to turn the various parties into white-hats and black-hats. But life isn’t a silent film melodrama, with the villain with a wax moustache tying the damsel to the railroad tracks. We’re not talking about Dr. No, SPECTRE, the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, of the Sith. We’re talking about real life people. We don’t see our enemies “as they really are” by comparing them to aliens in a bad movie.

    Interesting to bring up Nazi Germany (all political discussions eventually end up discussing Hitler, don’t they). Consider the history of WWII and Germany sometime. Do you think that Hitler would have been able to rise to power had not the Allies after WWI in their arrogance saddled Germany with crippling reparations, plunging Germany into a depression which made the U.S. depression look benign? Would the Germans have fallen into such despair and discontent that they were willing to listen to the hideous bile of Hitler had they been in less dire circumstances?

    Yes, let us study history, and actually LEARN from it.

  10. Paul says:

    Sorry, derek, just assumed it was a reference to me, as your post directly followed and dealt with the same topic (jihadists, Afghanistan, etc), as opposed to the abortion/stem cell strip that kicked this off.

    I’m not convinced of the “small segment of the Islamic Middle East” assertion. The entire House of Saud is Wahabist. Saudi Arabia, Egypt – all over that region are dictatorships attempting to crush or mollify huge populations who want to oust them and begin rebuilding the caliphate (amazing the shortsightedness of Saudi leaders who think they could fund some of these groups to keep them directed outwards then think they’d never change who they’re targeting). Iran tries free elections, reformers are banned from running, militants strengthen their position. Don’t know how we’d “reach them and turn against the leaders.” We tend to get burned when we do that. And isn’t that really just a form of imperialism – interjecting ourselves into another country’s political process to get the government we want?

    Regarding the historical context – big difference is, with the exception of some Middle Ages examples, Christianity (as opposed to political institutions who adopt the religion to further their aims) is pretty much nonviolent. At least for the last century. It grows, adapts, shows change. Conversion takes the form of dialog and reasoning. Islam, on the other hand, isn’t. From its earliest days it spread through military campaigns. Defeated the Byzantine army in 636. Swept across southwest Asia. Turned east and defeated the Persians (don’t call Iranians Arabs – they tend to get a bit peeved). Militant literature today refers to these events time and again and cite them as a model for current operations. No where does one hear even conservative, fundamentalist, right-wing “Christians” or liberal, open, left-wing “Christians” call for a return to using national armies to subjugate other nations and force baptisms.

    Only point on the scifi movie was, despite the good will of some parties, others want nothing more than for the other party to die. Has no reference to what you’ve done – it’s what you are that counts.

    Lot of people cite Hitler examples – likely as far back as many get in studying history. Regardless of the vengeful settlement after WWI which caused the conditions which gave rise to Nazism, the point is Hitler and many in the hierarchy had an antipaty towards Jews. And nothing the Jews could have done would have changed the drive towards the final solution. Nothing.

    And I am convinced even if we got out of that region completely (our only strategic interest is oil) and had thirty years ago begun to find means to produce energy, other than oil, and did not need anything from that region – that we would still be faced with the same thing – fanatics who dream of reclaiming all lands that were once under the umbrella of Islam and continuing the expansion.

  11. Derek says:

    I’ve other commitments, so as fun as this sort of dialogue is, this is my last comment.

    Paul:
    I’m not convinced of the “small segment of the Islamic Middle East” assertion. The entire House of Saud is Wahabist.

    And the House of Saud is what, several hundred—maybe a few thousand—people? Same goes for the other dictatorships. A mere fraction compared to the population.

    And remember, many of these governments and dictators are Shia, rather than Sunni. The Shia despise Wahabis as much as we (though for very different reasons). They are not united in some plan for world domination.

    Paul:
    Don’t know how we’d “reach them and turn against the leaders.” We tend to get burned when we do that. And isn’t that really just a form of imperialism – interjecting ourselves into another country’s political process to get the government we want?

    Yes, we have typically been burned when we’ve tried that&mdashbecause we’ve done it just exactly like you claim: interjected ourselves into another country’s political processes to get the government to do what we want. It will never work as long as we have that sort of ulterior motive. And I’m not talking about interjecting ourselves. I’m talking about honestly and sincerely opening a dialogue with the people in order to best meet their needs, not to further the interests of the U.S.

    Paul:
    Regarding the historical context – big difference is, with the exception of some Middle Ages examples, Christianity (as opposed to political institutions who adopt the religion to further their aims) is pretty much nonviolent.

    Hardly. We can quibble about the difference between institutions vs. the actual religion, but the bottom line is that Christianity has been incredibly intolerant and violent in its spread and maintenance. From the Crusaders and their Crusader States, to Spain, to Charlemagne’s swordpoint conversion of various tribes in Eastern Europe, to the forced conversions and Inquisition in South America, to the ruthless massacres to end the Arian “heresy,” to the British persecution of Catholics and the French persecution of the Huguenots…The list goes on and on.
    Paul:
    Islam, on the other hand, isn’t. From its earliest days it spread through military campaigns.

    Nope. In Islam there has typically been a clear distinction between political institutions and the religion. Not in the sense of “separation of Church and State,” but in the sense that the spread of the Muslim empires had nothing to do with conversion. Unlike Christian conquerors, the Muslims were by and large perfectly content to allow the conquered nations to practice their religion in peace. They respected the “People of the Book,” and allowed those of other religions to practice peaceably as dhimmis. Those dhimmis could even rise to high political office within the empires of Islam. The mass conversions came about over time simply because Islam was at the time an attractive alternative to the options of the time.

    And it is worth noting that the Muslim conquests were typically much less brutal than those by the Byzantines and the virtual barbarians in Western Europe. Again, think of the Crusaders.

    Paul
    the point is Hitler and many in the hierarchy had an antipathy towards Jews. And nothing the Jews could have done would have changed the drive towards the final solution. Nothing.

    No, the point is that the German people would never have accepted Hitler and his insanity had the conditions which the Allies created not lead to discontent and desperation. Had the Allies in the thirties had the forethought to realize what was happening and the ability to try to change those conditions, accepting their responsibility for the problem, then the Nazi movement would have petered out and become nothing but a footnote in history.

    As long as we see the world as some shallow comic book, we’ll be stuck in perpetual conflict and bloodshed. But if we are willing to find a higher path, one more true to the spirit of Christianity, in which we recognize the humanity of all sides, we might finally achieve some real progress and civilization in the world.

    Last post, I’ve got too many other things to do

  12. Chuck says:

    I see one of my previous posts touched a bit of a nerve. WOW, even to the point of a “First Quote” on its own “First Message” on a whole topic. Maybe I ought to go into politics as a candidate.

    Now, it seems to have been equated that because I came out with a point that abortion is a holocaust of a larger scale (Based on size of country, and “Innocent life” ended, that I am an anti-stem cell research. That’s hardly the case. If these cells were “Artifically grown” rather than taken from the from aborted fetuses, then I have no problem with it. In fact, I quite see good coming from it. The “Ethics” of it, however, can be a sticking point, since you can never be too sure that this isn’t trying to create Hitler’s “Ayran Race” all over again. THAT is something I’d want to prevent. (Before you call it irrelevent, WWII was before my time, but I strongly oppose De-humanizing ANYONE). I refuse to look at “color”, “religion”, or “Country of origin” as factors in determining how I’ll feel about someone.

    Stem cell research CAN do a lot of good. It could help cure diabetes, restore hearing, bring an end to ALS, MS, and others. I’d voluteer to be one of the first for hearing restoration via stem-cell research!

    No, I have NOT* forgotten the back-alley abortions. They received enough attention for me to know about them. Many times they resulted in the death of the woman who had such a procedure. But making a “procedure” safer and “legal” doesn’t necessarily make it morally right.

    A Holocause is a holocaust–regardless if it’s war, or abortion.

    Lastly: To reason with terrorists invariably invites disaster. 53 Americans held hostage in Iran for 443 days. Their only “Crime” was being an American in Iran at the wrong time. Trying to appease a terrorist simply is more likely to lead to a larger, unstoppable situation. (Appeasement didn’t work in WWII, did it?)

    What crime did the US citizen-civilian population commit when Al-Qaeda hijacked planes and flew them into the Pentagon, and Twin Towers. How many innocent lives–lost, disrupted, and destroyed…because one man, a terrorist with whom one cannot reason — because his views require the death of a nation, a people?

    To turn your back on injustice is inhuman. To ignore suffering is callous. But, to deny that these even exist–is lying to oneself.

  13. Chuck says:

    Once again, my fingers work too fast for my computer…My “E” in “Holocause” should have been a “T”… And my Question mark is missing. ::Sigh::.
    I guess I need to type more slowly, or do more proofreading!

  14. Chuck says:

    Darrin: I checked your figures as suggested, and did some checking of things. Iraq Population: Approx 28 Million. US, approx 298.5 Million. Figures found on search for Iraqi Civilian Casualities over 4 years: 100,000 (dated 7-26). IF it had been 160,000 the figure would be the same as about 4.2 million US citizens killed per year.
    They are no longer keeping track of who is killed by whom. So, if an estimate of 50% is applied (probably high) of US caused casualities, The figure drops dramatically. I do not deny it’s too high anyway. But it certainly beats the 2800 lost in ONE DAY over here, due to Al-Qaeda. Multiply that 2800*365 and that’s over 1 million in a year’s time. Again, I’m NOT saying that Iraq was the cause. But it seems as Iraq and Iran have been supporting terror. Perhaps not intentionally.
    North Korea is provoking with Long Range Missles (Although the last bunch failed). Iran has a nuclear program. Pakistan and India have Nuclear Weapons. And yet, NOBODY has the true wisdom to handle this type of thing.

    Is peace even POSSIBLE? Not until we realize that we are ALL brothers and sisters on the same journey. When that will be–is anyone’s guess.

  15. Paul says:

    Thanks for the followup, derek. And to Darrin – didn't want to co-opt the blog but it is really interesting to see another's interpretation when they are put forth in a well-reasoned way. Just shows that one's background affects how one sees current events.Yes, House of Saud and others are small, but they control two essential things, money and power. Just like the royals before the French Revolution – in fact, that's a predominant factor in many revolutions.Point about Christianity nonviolent – I was careful to say recent history. Christians largely disavow tactics used in the past. Idea was to stop obsessing about "who did what when" several hundred years ago – which is what I hear a lot of in these discussions. Reminds me of Hackworth's comment about how to have lasting peace in the Balkans – kill all the grandmothers – because they are the ones who place the infants in their laps and recite, over and over, the injustices from past generations (he said it in a very tongue-in-cheek way).Islamic occupations peaceful and occupied people converted – popular view nowadays, put forth by a lot of "Middle Eastern Studies" departments of universities (many of whom receive, or were begun by, Wahabist funding going back 20 years – follow the money and see who accrues the power). Point again, I have a different view of the events, but the big difference is current teachings at madrassas & elsewhere use the past violent events as an example for future operations.I agree, the Allies sowed the seeds for the rise of Nazism – but what was is what was. I suppose the analogy now would be, it's early 1939, Third Reich is entrenched, planning the kickoff of WWII, what should have been done? As now, Middle East countries, regimes, anomisities are what is. Some have taken the route of violence and are striking around the globe. Some leaders (Iran) have made very clear statements about what they want to do with horrific weapons. As in 1939, what can be done to head off a disaster? Again, thanks. I've found even getting up at 4:30 to get back to the projects I've neglected doesn't work – but this has been rewarding.Ideas – discussion – understanding even with disagreement – no violence.

  16. Chuck says:

    Darrin, a comment on today’s strip (Friday, 7-28). BEAUTIFUl.. Boy, I wish they’d send ME some of those “Pre-approved rejections”. I’m still in bankruptcy, and I tell ya… I wish these Freaking rip-off cards would just leave me alone. You know what I mean? :)

  17. Dann says:

    Hi Darrin,

    “a country that had no WMD, no ties to Al Qaeda,”

    Ummm…none?? zero??? nada??? zilch??

    Not quite. Satellite photos showed trucks being loaded with something and taken across the Syrian border. A former Iraqi Air Force general has stated that he saw weapons bearing WMD indentifiers being placed on those trucks. And one of the millions of Iraqi intelligence documents that have released indicated that those trucks were carrying WMDs.

    And then there is the Kay and Duelfer reports that clearly indicate that Saddam had been hiding a network of clandestine labs as well as production equipment.

    Let’s not forget about Saddam’s agreement to cooperate with Al Qaida. His donation of funds to other terrorist groups is also well documented.

    And then there are the claims that Saddam let terrorists use his Salam Pax military base to train. The base was equipped with a Boeing aircraft for “training purposes”.

    Ignore the lingering smoke and the warm charcoal if you will, but a house did indeed once exist where you are now standing.

    Regards,
    Dann

  18. Chuck says:

    Dann, I’d like to see the “Well documented” evidence of Saddam’s contributions to Al-Qaeda. I really could use a little more “ammo” in my arguments! :)

  19. Darrin Bell says:

    “‘a country that had no WMD, no ties to Al Qaeda,’

    Ummm…none?? zero??? nada??? zilch??

    Not quite. Satellite photos showed trucks being loaded with something and taken across the Syrian border. A former Iraqi Air Force general has stated that he saw weapons bearing WMD indentifiers being placed on those trucks. And one of the millions of Iraqi intelligence documents that have released indicated that those trucks were carrying WMDs.”

    Dann, you’re not going to argue that satellite photos of “something” being trucked into Syria is the same thing as evidence, are you? Without evidence, this former Iraqi Air Force general’s statement is another uncorroborated and inconclusive “curveball.” This is the first I’ve heard of the one in a million document about WMD being trucked into Syria. If you have a link, I’d appreciate it. We should also share the link with the White House — they’d probably want to tell the American people that the reason we allowed them to invade Iraq turned out to be legitimate after all.

    “And then there is the Kay and Duelfer reports that clearly indicate that Saddam had been hiding a network of clandestine labs as well as production equipment.

    Labs and equipment are not the same thing as existing WMD that can be launched by drones to destroy the East Coast and London within 45 minutes (pardon me for mixing together Bush and Blair’s fear-mongering claims). The American people would have been far more reluctant to green light this invasion if they thought we were going after test tubes rather than active munitions.

    Let’s not forget about Saddam’s agreement to cooperate with Al Qaida. His donation of funds to other terrorist groups is also well documented.

    None of which had anything to do with 9/11. And we don’t have much evidence of any agreement to cooperate with Al Qaida. We have more evidence that the Bush family has ties to Al Qaida through relatives of Osama bin Laden (Bush Sr. was meeting with one of them on 9/11, and the White House assured Bin Laden’s family safe passage out of the U.S. immediately after 9/11).

    “And then there are the claims that Saddam let terrorists use his Salam Pax military base to train. The base was equipped with a Boeing aircraft for “training purposes”.

    Which are, again, “claims.” What we have are mountains of claims, most of which have been debunked, and no actual evidence. That state of affairs was hardly justification for invading and occupying a sovereign nation that never attacked us.

    “Ignore the lingering smoke and the warm charcoal if you will, but a house did indeed once exist where you are now standing.”

    What?

  20. Anonymous says:

    Hey, Darrin, why do you bother answering these Neanderthals? Your time is way too valuable to waste it arguing with fools. Plus you are using reason and logic, unknown concepts to them. You might as well be speaking Chinese.

  21. Paul says:

    Most countries create some sort of an excuse before going to war – Nazis staged a border incident with Poland, US staged Gulf of Tonkin incident before expanding Viet Nam, etc. I think the WMD issues was seen as the best way to “sell” the war. Remember, wasn’t just the Bush and Blair administrations. Same intel was put forth by the French. And Putin (former head of the KGB-derivative – if he was mistaken…) I also think Bush et al really believed what they said and that they had a justification that would receive public support. Remember, not only did coalition forces deploy with chem gear, Iraqi forces, esp. around Baghdad, also did. Remember the news reports some months back – Iraqi generals in charge of the military districts were at a loss at how to proceed with operations because Saddam was counting on use of chemical & bio weapons, but the generals knew they’d let the capability degrade into nonexistence and no one wanted to tell Saddam or his two psycho sons. Saddam thought (as he’d been led to believe by his military and scientists) that he had a WMD arsenal.

    The issue of “lies” obscures what I see were the larger, theoretical issues for the invasion – would the overthrow of Iraq lead to a democratic state, an in-region opposition, not only to the despotic regimes but also to the jihadists? Would the establishment of a non-fundamentalist, non despotic government inspire grass-roots change throughout the region, diametrically opposed to the aims of the jihadists? Would the government be a more effective counter to the Khomenist regime in Iran? Lots of “what ifs” – all which would have been extremely difficult to “sell” as a justification for war – hence the “sure thing” – WMDs.

  22. maudite entendante says:

    Er, also? Ms. Barnes? As long as you’re playing Guest Medical Expert, you might want to note that “the tube connecting mother and baby when the baby is in the womb” is in fact the umbilical cord. The placenta – which is connected to the fetus by the umbilical cord – isn’t a tube, it’s a membrane.

    Thanks. That’s all. Carry on.

  23. Frank says:

    Darrin: I don’t know about you, but if I were a blastocyst, I’d sure want them to use my stem cells to save countless lives before I rot.

    This statement would carry more weight if a blastocysts, or embryonic stem cell research, had saved even a single life.

    The assumption is that embryonic stem cells have produced a single cure for anything, or that they ever will. Adult stem cells have produced many cures, but so far embryonic stem cells have not shown any of the promise of adult stem cells. I can think of half a dozen treatments involving adult stem cells. Can’t think of a single one involving embryonic stem cells.

    This is the problem when actors, journalists, or cartoonists use thier position in the public eye to influence policy. By and large they have never done scientific research, are not trained in the scientific method or in the science involved in the positions that they take. Yet because they can act, or sing, or scribble a cartoon, they think that they are somehow qualified to make statements about science, politics, or the environment.

  24. Darrin Bell says:

    What qualifies you to make statements about science, politics, or the environment?

    By the way, I studied all of the above for years at a major university. Even if I hadn’t, being a citizen – and more fundamentally, being a human being – qualifies me to express my opinion on whatever I choose to. That said, I research the topics I raise in Candorville, and you’d be hard-pressed to find any authorities in the field (who aren’t on the payroll of the Family Research Council) who agree with you.

    Embryonic stem cells are about the promise of future treatments and cures. Adult stem cell research hasn’t cured anything. It has produced treatments, but almost all specialists in the field believe embryonic stem cell research holds far greater promise. Frankly it’s idiotic to argue against the widely-expected potential curative benefits of scientific research by pointing to the current limited benefits of existing therapies. Getting out of town during outbreaks was already a proven method of avoiding polio in 1952. Thankfully that didn’t stop Jonas Salk from trying to inject a dead polio virus into people’s arms.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Darrin Bell:What qualifies you to make statements about science, politics, or the environment?

    Politics? No more than any other taxpayer, and I claim no moral authority in that area. Science or environment? Hard science degrees and years doing funded and commercial research in both neuropharmacology and chemistry. I’m not about to list my CV. Believe me or don’t.

    Darrin Bell: By the way, I studied all of the above for years at a major university.
    I’m not going to ask for your transcripts, but anyone can say they have “studied” science at a major university by taking an “Introduction to science for nonscientists” survey course.

    Darrin Bell: Even if I hadn’t, being a citizen – and more fundamentally, being a human being – qualifies me to express my opinion on whatever I choose to.

    Hey, we’re in total agreement. I firmly believe you have a right to an opinion. I also agree with you an believe that you have a right to express your opinion. I’m a big fan of the bill of rights. And while it is not expressed in the constitution, I think that it is your right to have an opinion that is poorly formed, poorly researched, illogical, and even offensive. Where we may differ is that I believe that those who are in the public eye, like actors, musicians, and cartoonists, have a greater moral obligation in researching, forming, qualifying and expressing their opinions because your sphere of influence far outstrips your authority.

    Darrin Bell: That said, I research the topics I raise in Candorville, and you’d be hard-pressed to find any authorities in the field (who aren’t on the payroll of the Family Research Council) who agree with you.
    I’m glad you feel you are doing your due diligence. I would love to see your sources. I would hope that they are not only ones that reinforce your already held beliefs. I also fear that you lack the background to interpret the results accurately.

    Darrin Bell: Embryonic stem cells are about the promise of future treatments and cures.
    What is this promise based upon? It surely isn’t the track record of embryonic stem cell research to date. To date, embryonic stem cells have not cured anything in anyone. There is a promise that working in my basement I may come up with an inter-dimensional quantum energy source. Just not a very good one.

    Darrin Bell: Adult stem cell research hasn’t cured anything. It has produced treatments,
    Ah, semantics. True. Treatments for about the past thirty years or so. More than fifty of them. Embryonic stem cells? They have produced a lot of teratomas. Not much else, but that promise we keep hearing about.

    Darrin Bell: but almost all specialists in the field believe embryonic stem cell research holds far greater promise. Frankly it’s idiotic to argue against the widely-expected potential curative benefits of scientific research by pointing to the current limited benefits of existing therapies.

    And again there is the promise argument.

    Far be it from me to argue against medical scientific research. I did it for a living. Usually it’s a good idea to base new research on areas where there has been success in the past.
    The reason biological scientists like using stem cells is this: as cells in the blastocyst are not yet differentiated, they are easier to make into whatever you like them to be. It is scientific expedience.

    Darrin Bell: Getting out of town during outbreaks was already a proven method of avoiding polio in 1952. Thankfully that didn’t stop Jonas Salk from trying to inject a dead polio virus into people’s arms.
    An interesting, yet inaccurate analogy. If people had been using vaccines successfully for thirty years, and Salk abandoned that and tried something different it would be more applicable. But only if he failed spectularly at every attempt yet continued to preach about the “promise” of “potential cures” while ignoring, denying, or downplaying the treatments that have been in use for several decades.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Keep up the good work »

Comment¬