The Republican National Convention is going on right now, but surprisingly, I’m not going to write much about political stuff today. While I have been too busy with life to follow either this or the Democratic convention live, I have been able to read the various addresses people have given. Mainly, though, I have been watching the crazed antics of people protesting the Republican convention. Ryan Sager, a member of The New York Post editorial board, has captured some of the demonstrations on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. I’m sure there will be more on his site as the days progress.

While observing these demonstrators, I was struck by the large number of young people present. Why are they there protesting? How much do they really know about the issues? All of this made me think about the life-changing events that most, but not all, of us go through in our lives. Let’s focus on an archetypal John and Jane Doe and some of the Life-Changing Events (or LCEs) they are likely encounter. While these events have the potential to change lives, not everyone will be affected in the same way or to the same degree. With that in mind, let’s look at a few LCEs.

Becoming an adult — John and Jane Doe can reach the legal age of maturity, can demand that people treat them as adults, but it does not necessarily follow that they will be universally recognized as such. Generally speaking, when one demands to be treated as an adult, it is a sign that one has not yet demonstrated adult levels of responsibility. Being an adult means recognizing that one is responsible for one’s own life, and acting accordingly. When does someone become an adult? Well, there isn’t a firm age at which this happens, since assumption of adult responsibilities occurs at different times for different people. For instance, it is possible for a teenager to sue for the right to be an emancipated minor, taking on adult responsibilities before he or she turns 18. If the suit is successful, the teen stops being a ward of his or her parents and is now the primary person responsible for his or her own welfare. I’ve put this LCE first as it is, chronologically, often the first such event in John and Jane’s life, but it is difficult to quantify when adulthood begins. Unfortunately, there are many grown individuals who never become adults in the defined sense, because they never become fully responsible for themselves. But enough of this vague stuff; let’s look at more concrete LCEs.

Living on your own — This LCE could happen to John and Jane Doe before reaching adulthood, but more often it is tied to the experience. Whether John decides to strike out on his own, or Jane’s parents kick her out of the nest, leaving home is a major step in the process toward maturity. Leaving home is a huge LCE. No longer is Mom there to wake John up for his classes, or to tell Jane to clean her room. John and Jane can stay up as late as they want, eat and drink what they want, and come and go as they want. But this new freedom also unleashes other freedoms: to fail their classes, to live in the filth they create, and to cheese off their roommates as they come stumbling in during the wee hours of the morning. One of the life lessons that comes from living away from home is learning to shoulder responsibility, including the need to pay one’s share of the food, rent and maintenance. For many Johns and Janes, the shock of having to do their own laundry and wash their own dishes is a cold splash of reality that can shock them into becoming more responsible. The parents who dealt with years of finicky John and Jane turning up their noses at the meal set before them can look forward to a time when their newly-independent children lament how their overcooked ramen noodles or mac ‘n’ cheese just don’t taste as good as the Sunday roast Mom used to make.

Getting a job — The first time John and Jane get a job, it will likely be drudgery at low wages. But life is often not fun, and yet it must still be lived. A job teaches a willing learner to show up on time, work until the task is complete, work even when it isn’t enjoyable, and deal with bosses and co-workers whom he or she may not like at all. And the first time John and Jane notice the difference between their take-home pay and their gross pay, the whole concept of income tax will hit them like a ton of 1040 EZ forms. There are so many good life lessons that can come from a job. Ideally, John and Jane Doe should get a job while still in their teen years. How much better off they will be if they have mastered early the skills a job can teach, rather than waiting until after they’ve finished school!

Getting an education — This education can be in the form of a community college, a university, a trade school, or a craft apprenticeship. Since life is a continuing education in one form or other, learning how to study and master new ideas and skills is vital. Depending on John and Jane’s experiences, going to college may be the first time they leave home and venture out on their own. Since our culture conveys most information through text, two key educational skills are learning to read and learning to love reading. These skills will carry over into nearly every other area of John and Jane’s adult life.

Getting married — Until John and Jane Doe get married (and I hope they marry other people, since they are siblings — eww), their main focus is inward: my education, my job, my money, my dreams, my wants, my needs. But a marriage is not just one person; it is a blending of two lives. At this point, the focus becomes shared: our education, our job, our money, our dreams, our wants, our needs. To make their marriages work, John and Jane had better spend time focusing on their spouses. A truly loving marriage is demonstrated by how much each spouse focuses on the other, rather than on the self.

Having kids — If getting married turns the focus away from yourself and puts it on another, then the act of having and raising kids will continue to amplify this process. While John and Jane may love their spouses (if the plural of mouse is mice, why isn’t the plural of spouse properly spice?), an adult will not need anywhere near the constant care and attention that a newborn baby demands. How many times do we hear of a parent who sacrifices time, money, labor, and life to care for his or her child? Becoming a parent is almost always a Life-Changing Event. In the film Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, a father and son have a heated exchange where the father talks about the sacrifices he made for his son, working as a mailman so his son could go to college; he claims that his son owes him for those sacrifices. The son’s response may seem at first insensitive, but is actually very wise: “I owe you nothing, Dad. If you carried that mailbag a million miles, you did what you were supposed to do. You owed me everything you could ever do for me, just as I will owe my kids.” The son understands what the father did not: that sacrifice for one’s children is a necessary and inextricable part of parenting.

So many of the protesters I see in New York appear to be young, and I can’t help but think that most have had very few LCEs in their lives. I don’t worry about that too much; given time, that will change. I feel truly sorry for the older people who have presumably had many experiences in life, but who have failed to experience a life-changing event.

Democrats are widely recognized as the party championing free speech. You can see this by how the Republicans react to bad press. When Richard Clark published Against All Enemies, Vice-President Dick Cheney condemned it and demanded that national bookstores not carry it. When Michael Moore’s anti-Bush film Fahrenheit 9/11 came out, President Bush sent his lawyers to several prominent theater chains and threatened them with lawsuits if they showed the movie.

Remember that? If you do, you are proof positive that alternate Earths exist. In this reality, it is the Democrats who have attempted to stifle the political speech of their conservative opponents. When Unfit for Command, the book by John E. O’Neill and Jerome R. Corsi, hit the presses, Senator Kerry sent his minions to tell the bookstores they should think of withdrawing the book from the shelves. When the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth group started airing its first ad against Senator Kerry, the Democrats issued letters to TV stations in an attempt to stop the ads.

Senator Kerry is demanding that President Bush condemn the Swift Boat Veterans and force them to stop their ads. Kerry wants this for a good reason — the ads are proving to be extremely effective against his campaign. This coming from the candidate who proudly claimed, “Well, if [Bush] wants to have a debate about our service in Vietnam, here is my answer: ‘Bring it on.’” When the Swift Boat Veterans actually brought it on, Kerry’s response was to whine about how mean they are: “[The Swift Boat Veterans are] a front for the Bush campaign. And the fact that the president won’t denounce them tells you everything you need to know — he wants them to do his dirty work,” Senator Kerry said. Is it far-fetched to think Kerry and other Democrats would muzzle the Swift Boat Veterans and other political opponents if they believed they could get away with it?

Have you noticed the interesting shift in focus with Senator Kerry, President Bush, and the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth? Despite what Kerry’s campaign has claimed, this organization isn’t a front for President Bush. The Swift Boat Veterans are a bunch of Democrats and Republicans who have come together to protect their collective reputation from a man who, thirty years ago, vilified their actions as war crimes before the Senate. The issue is between them and Senator Kerry, but Kerry is trying to bring President Bush into the fray. Kerry has even dispatched some Democrat veterans to President Bush to plead with him to stop the Swift Boat Veterans group. Free tip to Senator Kerry: men fight their own battles. You can stop all of this simply by releasing your records and telling the truth.

But the truth is far from what Senator Kerry wants. How can I say this? Precisely because Kerry refuses to release his full military record. President Bush has done so, but Senator Kerry won’t. Rather than dealing with the facts as they are, he and his liberal friends are calling for their political opponents to stop talking. They are all in favor of their own right to free speech, but when others try to exercise that same fundamental freedom, they call it “hate speech” and try to suppress it. You can sum this up as “free speech for me, but not for thee.”

The Swift Boat Veterans group is a 527, named after the legal code number permitting these third-party groups to exist. Thanks to the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform act to stop the spread of “soft money” in campaigns, we now have 527s spending more soft money on this presidential election than they ever did before. Behold Jim Quinn’s First Law in action: Liberalism always produces the exact opposite of its stated intent. Anyway, here’s Senator Kerry complaining to President Bush about the Swift Boat Veterans 527; odd, when the liberal 527s are far better funded. Let’s compare the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth against MoveOn.org, a liberal organization. This information is filed data from Aug. 23, 2004.

Swift Boat Veterans
for Truth
MoveOn.org
Contributions: $158,750 $9,086,102
Expenditures: $60,403 $17,435,782

It’s pretty sad to see Senator Kerry get all jittery over the Swift Boat Veterans, demanding that President Bush make them stop airing their ads, when the Swifties have spent barely 3/10 of 1% of the money that MoveOn.org has spent on its negative ads against President Bush. Granted, these numbers are a bit old and the Swifties have picked up more contributions since the first ad aired, but the disparity is still enormous. But that’s not a problem for the liberals. Spending money on their own viewpoints is OK, but heaven help the little guy who tries to speak out against liberals.

President Bush has spoken out against all 527s, saying “I hope my opponent joins me in condemning these activities of the 527 — I think they’re bad for the system.” So far Senator Kerry has refused to do so, and it is financially in his interest to remain mum. After all, the liberal 527s are waging his war for him, and “schlocumentaries” like Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 have provided over $100 million in attacks against President Bush. Don’t wait for the Democrat condemnation. It’s not coming.

The Left has made much of Benjamin Ginsberg, who was serving both as an election lawyer for President Bush and as an adviser for the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth group, and who has since resigned from the President’s service. But here’s a key sentence from the sixth paragraph: “Lawyers on the Democratic side are also representing both the campaign or party and outside groups running ads in the presidential race.” What? Democrats are doing the same thing?!? But did you hear any of this on the nightly news? Nope. Nor will you hear about these Democrat lawyers quitting due to conflict of interest. If you want to read about the ties between Senator Kerry’s campaign and liberal 527s, you will have to search outside the dominant liberal press, but the truth is available — regardless of how much Senator Kerry doesn’t want you to know about it.

And why doesn’t he want you to know about it? Because the truth is sinking his run for President, and the liberals can’t have that. So it is free speech all day and night for them, but when conservatives exercise the same right, the liberals cry foul. It’s free speech for me, but not for thee.

Addendum (8/28/2004): Captain Ed of Captain’s Quarters Blog sums up the whole 527 brouhaha nicely. You best be reading this fine work.

I know a boy who lies continually. I could regale you with stories about the many lies he has told, but let me sum it up thus: he lies about small things, he lies about big things, and he lies about things even when he doesn’t need to lie. To top it off, he is a really bad liar. Too often, when he is confronted with one of his lies, his first tactic is to play dumb, muttering, “Uh, what do you mean?” and otherwise trying to dismiss the lie. Then comes the distraction: “I’m sure you didn’t see my car there.” Sometimes this distraction takes the form of a changed and continually changing story. You know the type: “I was alone. I was with my sister. I was with my sister and her friend. OK, I was alone with this girl.” Finally, when confronted with irrefutable proof, this boy (I refuse to call him a man) will sullenly admit that you are correct. This pattern — the lie, the denial, the distractions, and finally the admission — is common with liars.

Two murder cases have been in the news recently. Mark Hacking has been charged with the slaying and disposing of the body of his wife, Lori. Scott Peterson is on trial for the murder of his wife, Laci, and their unborn child. In both cases it is apparent that the husband lied to his wife. Mark had lied about graduating from college and being enrolled in medical school. This wasn’t a new development; Mark had told lies routinely and consistently for years. Things came to a head when Lori found out Mark wasn’t enrolled at the University of North Carolina as he had claimed. A few days later she went missing; her body remains undiscovered at the time of this writing. Scott was lying both to his wife and to another woman with whom he was having an affair. The prosecutor in Scott’s trial has played audio tapes of him lying to his girlfriend; these have been damaging to his character as well as to his legal case. While our legal system requires a defendant to be proven guilty, I am not the law and I believe both men are guilty as charged. When they are found guilty, I hope that in both cases the punishment will be death. A death sentence for both would show that our society cannot condone the brutal slaughter of wives and mothers, especially not when the murderer kills in an attempt to conceal his lies.

Murder is the worst possible outcome of continual lying, but there are numerous other social problems associated with liars. New Jersey Governor James McGreevey recently held a press conference to announce his adulterous affair. “And so, my truth is that I am a gay American,” the Democrat governor said. Some people question the timing of this announcement. Governor McGreevey said he would step down on November 15th, making the New Jersey Speaker of the House — another Democrat — the next governor. Both Republicans and Democrats are calling for McGreevey to step down soon, since New Jersey law allows for a run-off between the various candidates if the Governor steps down 60 days before an election. My quick count puts that at September 3rd, and I am predicting that Governor McGreevey will resist the demands of the people and stay in office past the September 3rd deadline.

I am distressed that the Governor may have been adversely affected by his sexual feelings, causing him to do a less than capable job in office. One Golan Cipel has threatened to bring a lawsuit against McGreevey, claiming that “[he] was the victim of repeated sexual advances by [Governor McGreevey].” Something fishy is going on here. Cipel, an Israeli citizen, was appointed to the coveted post of New Jersey’s Director of Homeland Security. Under a storm of opposition from New Jersey lawmakers and claims that he was unfit for office, Cipel left this post for a similar-paying job, and finally left state government altogether. Why would Governor McGreevey pick a nobody like Cipel for this important post, particularly when he could have had former FBI director Louis Freeh instead? Freeh had been approached for the position, and he was willing to accept the post if both acting Governor DiFrancesco and incoming Governor McGreevey made the offer. McGreevey did not do so. So instead of a former FBI director and New Jersey native, Governor McGreevey chose Cipel, a non-citizen who had no real world experience to bring to the job.

While the Governor did not name his lover in his announcement, people close to him have said it was none other than Golan Cipel. I don’t know whether that is true, but it would explain the Governor’s piss-poor choice if he had been thinking with his gonads rather than his brain. His confessed lies and adultery are taking a back seat to the announcement that he was in a gay relationship. I frankly don’t care about the sex of the person with whom he was having an affair; anyone engaged in adultery has broken the sacred promises made at the time of marriage and has lied. Anyone who is willing to break marriage vows, who is willing to lie to the very person he or she should care for the most, is frankly unfit to hold a position of power, whether local, state, or national. This is why a liar such as President Clinton was not a good person to have as President of this nation. It is also, incidentally, why Senator John Kerry shouldn’t be president.

Senator Kerry served his nation for four months in Vietnam. I thank him for his service. But since he has made this tour of duty such a pivotal part of his run for the presidency, it is only fitting that people examine his war record. Speaking of war records, when Senator Kerry and others accused President Bush of being AWOL from his National Guard unit, President Bush released his full military and corresponding medical records. You don’t hear this charge any more from serious news people, because the facts showed that President Bush was never AWOL from service. But although people have asked Senator Kerry to release his records, he has steadfastly refused to do so.

The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth organization is made up of combat veterans who served with Senator Kerry in Vietnam. They display a picture used by the Kerry campaign to show the “Band of Brothers” who supposedly support him in his bid for the Presidency. But the before and after images show just how many of those “brothers” actually support him — one.

Why do I lump Senator Kerry in with people like Mark Hacking and James McGreevey? Because I can’t help but see him as a liar also. Here is a statement made by Kerry on the Senate floor on March 27, 1986: “I remember Christmas of 1968 sitting on a gunboat in Cambodia. I remember what it was like to be shot at by Vietnamese and Khmer Rouge and Cambodians, and have the President of the United States telling the American people that I was not there; the troops were not in Cambodia. I have that memory which is seared — seared — in me.” Considering how seared his memory is, it seems odd that no one else recalls being in Cambodia. This story has shifted, as lies often do, in the past few days as Senator Kerry and his minions backpedal wildly to try to regain plausibility. He was there. It was winter. It was around New Year’s. It was in the border between Cambodia and Vietnam. He inadvertently strayed into Cambodia. He was on super-secret missions for the CIA.

Remember, when the story starts to change, it’s a good bet that the story is a lie.

If you’re interested in the unfolding Christmas in Cambodia story, I strongly suggest you read the last 2-3 weeks of posts at the Captain’s Quarters, an excellent blog that is on my daily must-read list. Captain Ed has
posted many good questions about Senator Kerry’s service in Vietnam. While the mainstream media is mostly ignoring the Swift Vets and others who question inconsistencies in Senator Kerry’s “memories,” blogs such as the Captain’s Quarters have been doing a smash-up job.
To make this easier, I have listed a bunch of the latest posts here:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28

There is one simple thing Senator Kerry can do to clear up all the confusion: release his full military and medical records from his tour of duty in Vietnam. Don’t hold your breath waiting for them.

Addendum (8/24/2004): President Bush has come out denouncing the all 527 organizations, and has asked that Senator Kerry denounce them as well. Since almost 90% of all the money going to 527s goes to support Democrat groups, I doubt Senator Kerry will be speaking out against them anytime soon.

This past Sunday a man of God spoke in sleepy Cedar City, Utah. Elder Dallin H. Oaks, an apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, spoke to a large group of church members there. During this gathering, Elder Oaks admonished single and married members alike to “Flee pornography. It frightens me when I see the terrible influence of the adversary. It’s now available in the bedrooms of teenagers with a few taps of the keyboard.”.

To be honest, I wasn’t at the meeting, but I heard about it for 20 minutes as I was driving home from work. Since my car is a cell-phone-free zone, I was stuck talking to the radio. I realized that there must be something wrong with my radio because the host, Bob Lonsberry, never heard me. Next time I’ll talk louder over the traffic noise. Lonsberry was commenting on Elder Oaks’ conference and was asking the audience to come up with explanations why pornography is bad for married couples. Several callers offered some good ideas, but nobody came up with the two ideas that Bob had in mind. His two reasons were: first, God doesn’t want people to use pornography; second, since pornography is mainly a solo activity, it short-circuits the normal sexual pathways and generates a monosexual or solosexual attitude toward sexual pleasure.

Since Bob didn’t acknowledge my ranting, I’m using this forum, and since it’s my site, I can type what I want, so neener. Anyway, the first reason I came up with to explain why people should avoid pornography is the way it changes the pornographee dirty little pervert’s attitude. When a DLP spends his time looking at nekkid pictures of women, he stops seeing the women he encounters as people and starts to view them as objects. And since they are objects, he will begin to treat them as such. Does he have to worry about their feelings? Not at all! Thanks to porn, he has come to think of sex as a solo act, so he doesn’t have to bother with the niceties of talking with and relating to the females around him. (Then again, since the typical DLP is a pimply-faced wimp who gets his vitamin D from the cheery glow of his computer screen, it’s probably a good thing that he fails to relate with women. We can only hope he won’t breed.)

My second idea is that viewing pornography warps the expectations of sex. Unless you marry a Claudia Schiffer or a Brad Pitt, your spouse/loved one/significant other isn’t going to measure up physically to the images on the computer and television screen. These days it is pretty trivial to digitally edit images, erasing the normal blemishes and flaws that make us human, and the people who work in the porn industry are already on the extreme end of the physical human spectrum. The DLP spends his hours dwelling on these airbrushed images or silicon-boosted babes. Since he is a pimply-faced wimp, he is not going to encounter a supermodel who will fall in love with him. His mental image of the “average woman” is far from reality; he will either fail to find anyone who meets his unrealistic physical standards, or he will “settle for” and look down on a woman who doesn’t measure up to the images on the computer. He cannot fully give his heart to his wife when his lust is tied up with the glow of his screen.

When Christ spoke his Sermon on the Mount, He stated that “whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” And what is pornography but lusting after a woman? (If you haven’t clued in yet, I’m writing this from my point of view as a heterosexual male.) If the DLP is married, he spends his time lusting after the images of women who are not his wife. How can he become one in mind, soul, and body with his wife when the longings of his mind, the desires of his soul, and the lusts of his body are tied to the images on the screen? This is the recipe for a failed and broken marriage.

A woman called Bob Lonsberry’s show and said that she and her significant other like to buy pornography and watch it together. She claimed they bought porn to give them insight into “sexual techniques” and not for titillation. Fat chance, lady! If you really want to learn sexual techniques, you will do better buying The Joy of Sex or other how-to books rather than buying pornography when the “sexual techniques” are buried in a paper-thin plot and cheesy ’70s soundtrack. A how-to book would be a much better use of this couple’s money than the porn they purchase. Bob asked her if she felt poorly because her sweetheart wanted to look at pornography rather than being involved solely with her. She said that she didn’t, but if she ever caught him looking at porn without her, I suspect it would put the lie to her protestations.

After moving into our new home, we looked in the attic and noticed that someone had left some items there. We left the cheesy lamp and rolled-up carpets, but we pulled down a nice-looking suitcase. Inside we found boxed sets of Oz and Winnie-the-Pooh books, and a practically unused day planner. There were also some well-used videotapes with titles like “Debbie Does Dishes.” We called the previous occupants of the home (day planners with cell-phone numbers are great things) and said we had found a suitcase. The woman who answered the phone was very happy to hear that we had found her suitcase, since she had missed her books. She sent her brand-new husband over to pick up the suitcase, and he came with a friend. When he arrived, he asked us hesitantly if we had noticed anything else in the suitcase. When we mentioned the videotapes, his face went ashen. If he didn’t toss those tapes on the way home, I have no doubt they found a new hiding place at his buddy’s house. How strong do you think this new marriage will be if the husband continues to view porn and hide it from his wife?

I have learned a few things in almost eleven years of marriage. One is not to anger your wife if she owns a pirate cutlass. (If my wife reads this, I’m only kidding.) Another thing I’ve learned is to listen when an apostle of the Lord tells you how God wants you to live.

There is an old movie cliché where someone stands up in the middle of a town meeting and bellows, “There oughtta be a law!” My friend, Fen, Libertarian-leaning lady that she is, has a favorite phrase: “Just because it’s a good idea doesn’t mean it needs to be a law.” Brushing and flossing after every meal is a very good idea. But this doesn’t mean the government needs to pass the Dental Hygiene Act.

Yet not everyone believes as Fen does. Don’t think so? Some people thought it would be a good idea for Americans to use only 1.6 gallons of water with each flush. Did they communicate their idea to the commode makers, buy commercial time, or create radio spots to explain the benefits of using less water? Of course not! Their idea was so good that the government had to mandate the manufacture of all new toilets to conform to their specifications. This scenario has occurred time and time again.

I have harped before (and again and again) on the Constitutional responsibilities granted to the Congress, and by extension, to the whole federal government. Article 1, Section 8 should be engraved in three-foot-high letters in the House and Senate halls. This section of the Constitution should be the first page of every proposed law, with the part(s) that grant Congress the authority to make that legislation highlighted in red. What a great idea! There oughtta be a law! Well, no, my Libertarian leanings recognize that just because it is a good idea, it doesn’t mean that there should be a law. Let me modify Fen’s statement a bit more: “Just because it is a good idea, it doesn’t mean that the government should be involved.” Which brings me to the main point of this article–stem cell research.

Stem cells are special cells that can become any type of cell in the body. Your skin cells are different from your muscle cells, and they are both different from your brain cells. If they divide, they divide into more skin and muscle and brain cells. They cannot, for instance, suddenly shift into blood cells. Stem cells are blanks that can become any type of cell. You can think of them as the basic building blocks of the body. At the critical moment when a human egg is fertilized and starts to divide into two cells, then four, eight and sixteen, it is hard to see any difference between these first cells. After a short time, the cells of the growing embryo begin to differentiate; some are destined to become skin, muscle, or brain cells. It is this early stage of development that has drawn the attention of scientists and, more recently, politicians.

In the last Democrat weekly radio address, Senator and presidential aspirant John Kerry took President Bush to task for not doing more to fund stem cell research. The CNN article summing up his address says Senator Kerry is “pledging to lift a partial ban President Bush put on the research three years ago.” On his political website, Senator Kerry has the following text: “John Kerry And John Edwards Support Lifting The Ban On Stem Cell Research.” But here’s the dirty little secret that isn’t mentioned much by the media–there is no ban on stem cell research. Senator Kerry said, “We are a land of discovery, a place where innovators and optimists are free to dream and explore.” And he is right! In this country, innovators and optimists are completely free to dream about and explore stem cell research, and no one will stop them, regardless of what the media and the Democrats would have you believe. There are no laws against private stem cell research–it is completely open to private organizations and companies.

The problem is that some people think stem cell research is such a good idea that the government should be involved. Read “involved” as “paying for it.” After all, curing Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, rabies, scabies, and babies is worth every dime of taxpayer money, right? Okay, so we don’t want to cure babies–but babies are actually part of the stem cell debate. Scientists harvest stem cells primarily from the unborn. Senator Kerry believes, as do I, that life begins at conception, but he is calling for the government to step in with money to increase the research on stem cells. Harvesting stem cells from the unborn and from viable embryos makes them unviable–in other words, each harvest ends a potential life. Is it right to be opposed to the destruction of life? If you hold the opinion that life begins at the moment of conception, as Senator Kerry does, then scientists are committing murder as they harvest these cells–unnecessary murder, in fact, since scientists have recently found stem cells in the bodies of grown adults.

If adult stem cells continue to perform as well as they have in early research, there is no need to destroy the unborn. And if we aren’t murdering the next generation, then there is no moral reason to oppose government research into stem cells. After all, Democrats like John Kerry and John Edwards and Republicans like Nancy Reagan support funding stem cell research with government money. And when I say “government money,” I mean “your tax dollars and mine.” But again, just because something is a good idea, it doesn’t mean that the government should be involved. And if the government pays the bills, then the government can call the shots. That’s pretty involved.

I am completely in favor of scientific research, both practical and theoretical. But I do not see the need for government to spend a dime of tax money on research. Please find for me the part in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution that grants Congress the authority to fund stem cell research. While you are doing that, I think I’ll spend some quality time on my low-flush toilet–the one forced on every American because some eco-freak shouted, “There oughtta be a law!”

The human body is truly a wonder. Right now your body is digesting the Big Mac and fries you had for lunch, replacing the damaged and dead cells from the paper cut you got this morning, fighting off the cold virus your boss gave you with a friendly handshake, and accomplishing a myriad of other necessary actions all without your having to think about it. This frees you up to read today’s Dilbert comic when you should be reading that overdue report sitting on your desk.

These automatic actions take place because of the miracle of homeostasis — the automatic actions your body juggles to keep you neither too hot nor too cold, neither too thirsty nor too hungry. Since there are too many homeostatic controls to review in the space of this article, let’s focus on just one: blood sugar. While you may enjoy a Big Mac, your cells would have a hard time recognizing it as usable food. Your cells want something simpler like glucose, a simple sugar and the basic food source for your body. The circulatory system provides the means for transporting glucose to your cells, keeping them well-fed and ready to do a good day’s work. Your body would prefer a steady glucose level in the blood to keep everything working well, but unless you graze constantly throughout the day, your body experiences times of high and low glucose levels.

When the level of glucose in your bloodstream is high, your pancreas produces higher levels of insulin. Insulin is an enzyme that converts glucose into glycogen, which is stored by the body, lowering the overall level of glucose in your blood. When glucose levels are low, your pancreas produces a different enzyme–glucagon. This enzyme converts some of the stored glycogen back into glucose, raising your blood sugar level. These two enzymes, insulin and glucagon, are produced by the pancreas automatically as your blood sugar level fluctuates during the day. Unless you are diabetic, a member of the medical field, or just good at remembering your Biology notes, you were probably unaware of the critical function your pancreas fulfills. If you knew this already, you can get bonus points by pointing to your pancreas right now. Wrong. Over there. Yeah. That’s it.

The wonder of the body is that necessary processes like the insulin/glucagon battle take place automatically, whether you think about them or not. And it’s a good thing that we don’t have to think about these functions. The chemistry necessary to turn those two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, and a sesame seed bun into the glucose your body needs (minus the icky bits your body doesn’t need) is a chemist’s nightmare. How long would it take you to break normal table sugar (and water) into glucose if you had to do the following chemical reaction manually?

C12H22O11 + H2O —> C6H12O6 + C6H12O6

Now aren’t you glad that your body does this automatically for you? I know I am.

So what happens if your body cannot keep your blood sugar levels balanced? In short, you die. If the level of glucose in your blood drops too low, you can fall into a coma; if it rises too high, your body’s organs and cells will be damaged. People who are diabetic fail to produce the insulin the body needs to drop the high levels of glucose in the blood to normal levels. Commonly, diabetics will have eye, foot, kidney, skin, and nerve problems caused by the elevated levels of glucose in their blood. Some may reduce the level of glucose through diet and exercise, but for many, injections of insulin are necessary to keep their blood sugar levels in check. Sadly, these injections are neither as fast nor as efficient as the automatic insulin/glucagon interactions that take place in a non-diabetic body. Given the choice, would you rather manage your insulin/glucagon levels manually through injections, or automatically through normal homeostatic functions?

So, what does this all have to do with Marx? Glad you asked.

Very similar to the automatic interactions taking place in your body as your blood sugar levels soar and sink, the marketplace reacts to the scarcity and surplus of goods and services. For instance, if there are too few pizza shops in a neighborhood, the scarcity will prompt Pizza Hut, Papa Murphy’s, Domino’s, and others to move in and provide the scrumptious wheels of cheese-covered flavor in demand by the people. If there are too many pizza shops in the town selling overpriced circles of cardboard-flavored dough, automatic market forces will cause some to go away. Since Papa Murphy’s is my favorite, I hope that is one shop that will stick around, and I will do my economic best to make that so. The wonder of the open market system is the way that supply and demand tend to balance each other, in much the same way your body keeps your glucose levels balanced.

The free market is very similar to the homeostatic functions of the body. Without anyone having to think about it (other than ivory-tower economists, and they are an insular group, anyway), the market will react as different forces act upon it. Adam Smith called this automatic governing process of free markets the “invisible hand” in his 1776 book, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. Just as your body is best served to have the blood sugar levels controlled automatically by the pancreas working invisibly inside you (further down and a bit more to the right. Yep, right there), the invisible hand of market forces works best when the force of government is kept out of it. Government intervention is similar to the injections of insulin. While it can be of short-term benefit to the person involved, it is neither as fast nor as efficient as the automatic actions of the pancreas.

This is a basic reason why I distrust Marxism and any other heavy-handed government intrusion into markets. In the many examples of Marxism practiced over history, the bureaucrat-led governments have been obsessed with controlling everything about the economy of their countries. Like a diabetic person shooting up more insulin than necessary so she can eat an extra piece of cake at dinner, Marxist governments feel the need to tweak and dictate how their economies will run. The Soviet Bloc could mandate how many blue baby shoes were produced each year in the factories, but having visited stores in East Berlin before the Wall came down, I can tell you just how poorly those bureaucrats did at juggling the supply of shoes for their people’s demand. Marxism is to economies as insulin injections are to diabetics. It provides a short-term stopgap, but people are much better off when the process can be automatic, not manually governed. Just as it is easier to let your body digest your Big Mac automatically, so is it easier to allow the “invisible hand” to control a free market. Doing it manually requires a degree of intelligence and control that is beyond the scope of any bureaucrat. If you don’t believe me, ask someone born under the rule of Stalin or Brezhnev if this isn’t the case.

And don’t try to tell me that Marxism hasn’t been really tried yet. The last hundred years are sufficient evidence that it has, and it is a miserable failure. But that’s an article in and of itself. More on the failure of Marxism later.

Have you ever been faced with doing something you don’t want to do? When my niece is confronted with the Herculean task of cleaning her bedroom, it is amazing to see what tasks she’d rather do. I’ve seen her sweep the front porch unasked and clean out her guinea pig’s cage rather than go upstairs. As nice as it might be to use the Augean stables method of cleaning her room, it is important for my niece to learn how to keep her own room clean. Eventually she will face the inevitable and tackle her room. By “tackle” I mean she picks something up, and then it’s time to start drawing and playing.

I have been guilty of this same thing myself (quiet, Mom!). I should post something here biweekly, but I have slacked off recently. This is partially because I have spent some time visiting family, and that cuts into my writing time, but partially because writing about liberal Democrats can be so boring. I could (and should!) write articles on other subjects, but this being an election year, political topics seem to spring to mind more frequently than other subjects.

While there are many reasons to avoid doing something, there are also numerous reasons why people are compelled to do things. Money, fame, and power are three common reasons. But let’s look at the actions and motivations of four “Stupid White Men,” to use Michael Moore’s book title in a way he probably didn’t envision.

Speaking of Michael Moore, he is the first in my list of four. “Documentary” filmmaker Michael Moore is the writer and director of several movies, including Roger & Me, the Oscar-winning Bowling for Columbine, and most recently Fahrenheit 9/11. Considering the Oscar win, you’d think Moore’s movies would be universally well-liked, but that’s not quite the case. People have written here, here, here, and here about how they dislike Fahrenheit 9/11. In the last two weeks, I have twice been asked whether I was planning on seeing this film. In both cases, I explained why I would not–primarily because Moore does not make documentaries. Documentaries are unstaged and factual, and Moore’s “documentaries” are both staged and lacking in facts. At times when Moore actually uses facts, he will combine them in such a way as to produce a false impression. Why did Moore spend the time and effort to create Fahrenheit 9/11? It is obvious–he hates President Bush and will do anything to keep him from being reelected.

Joseph Wilson hit the headlines last year, when stories began to surface about his trip to Niger to investigate the sale of yellow-cake uranium to Iraq. I wrote how Democrats were up in arms about Bob Novak’s supposed “outing” of Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame, as a CIA agent. Wilson claimed in his book and in interviews that Plame was not at all involved in his being selected for the mission to Niger, but oops, she was. Wilson says that his eight days of “drinking sweet mint tea and meeting with dozens of people” convinced him that Niger was not involved in selling yellow-cake uranium to Iraq. Since then, the Netherlands reported finding some scrap steel tubes with yellow-cake uranium in them. As Christopher Hitchens summed up, “The missed story is the increasing evidence that Niger, in West Africa, was indeed the locus of an illegal trade in uranium ore for rogue states including Iraq.” Or as Mark Steyn explains, “In 1999, a senior Iraqi ‘trade’ delegation went to Niger. Uranium accounts for 75 percent of Niger’s exports. The rest is goats, cowpeas and onions.” Why did Wilson spend the time and effort to claim Iraq’s plans to purchase yellow-cake uranium were groundless? It is obvious–he hates President Bush and will do anything to keep him from being reelected.

Richard Clark was a former counter-terrorism adviser who testified before the 9/11 Commission about the Clinton and Bush administrations’ plans to combat terrorism. He testified before the Commission behind closed doors for hours, and then again openly to catch the media spotlight. He succeeded in thumping his chest and giving his mea culpas when he said, “I failed you.” And as the Clinton administration’s head of counter-terrorism for eight years, he certainly had. Let me refresh your memory a bit: the first bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993, the loss of 18 soldiers in Somalia in 1993, failure to capture Osama bin Laden as he left Sudan in 1996, the bombing of the Khobar Towers in 1996, the bombing of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, and the attack on the USS Cole in 2000. But apparently, President Bush was to blame for failing to do in less than eight months what President Clinton failed to do for eight years in office. Yep, it’s all George Bush’s fault.

Clark testified before the 9/11 Commission that “Intelligence reports on the Al Qaeda threat were frequently given to the President and it was an urgent problem that was never treated that way.” But he himself disagrees with his own testimony. In a briefing he gave to the press in 2002, Clark said “there was no plan on Al Qaeda that was passed from the Clinton administration to the Bush administration.” He also said of the new Bush administration’s policy that it was changed “from one of rollback with Al Qaeda over the course of five years, which it had been, to a new strategy that called for the rapid elimination of Al Qaeda.” Clark further stated, “President Bush told us in March to stop swatting at flies and just solve this problem…” So in 2002 he said one thing, and in 2004 he said another. This makes Clark what is technically called a “liar.” Why did Clark change his tune before the 9/11 Commission? It is obvious–he hates President Bush and will do anything to keep him from being reelected.

The fourth in our list of Stupid White Men is Sandy Berger, former National Security Advisor to President Clinton. He has been most recently working as an informal adviser to the Kerry campaign, but he left this position when “Pantsgate” came to light. In a nutshell, Berger admitted to taking top secret and code-word documents from their secure location, conveying them to his home, and then losing them. “In the course of reviewing over several days thousands of pages of documents on behalf of the Clinton administration in connection with requests by the September 11 commission, I inadvertently took a few documents from the Archives,” Berger wrote. “When I was informed by the Archives that there were documents missing, I immediately returned everything I had except for a few documents that I apparently had accidentally discarded.” He “inadvertently” took a number of 15- to 30-page documents by secreting them in his jacket, pants and socks. Boy, I can’t tell you how often I inadvertently take multi-page documents by slipping them into my socks.

In the case of Moore, Wilson, and Clark, it is obvious that they despise President Bush, and their words and actions back this up. But in the case of Berger, hate was not his motivation. It was fear, and the need to vacuum up any incriminating files that might do him harm. But even though Berger has committed (and confessed to) multiple felonies, he will never be charged for these acts for a simple, common four-word excuse:

He is a Democrat.