Veto Pen Brandished; Snowflake Babies Bury Washington

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President Bush has issued the first veto of his presidency:

Bush announced his veto standing before 18 families with "snowflake babies," children born after frozen embryos that were not used were adopted by other couples.

"Each of these children was still adopted while still an embryo and has been blessed with a chance to grow, to grow up in a loving family. These boys and girls are not spare parts," Bush said after several interruptions of applause from supporters.

But they are political props! Reason's Ron Bailey has more.

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  1. #1 From this point in time forward, it shall be illegal for a woman to menstruate given that the menstruation highlights the barbaric discharge of a potential human life.

    #2 We should err on the side of life…unless that life is brown, or Hezbollah, or both, in which case, we should bomb them until they stop their shit.

  2. I am sure one can offer intelligent, sensitive reasons to oppose Bush’s vero. I am equally sure one can offer intelligent, sensitive reasons to support it. Lamar’s comment does not fall into either cathegory. The thing it resembles is some maniacal, hysterical ravings from an editorial in MS. Magazine.

  3. Y’know, this is one time where I think we can say that, regardless of how right his reasons for doing so, Bush did the right thing. He refused to spend taxpayer money on research that really ought to be funded by the pharma companies that will eventually sell services and treatments stemming from the research (pun not intended).

    Is it amazing that this is the first time he could be bothered to use the veto? In-fucking-credible. But in my opinion, he certainly should have vetoed this bill, along with dozens or even hundreds of others.

  4. Back when I first started posting on “The Top 100 Things I’d Do if I Ever Became a Libertarian President”, I addressed the distinctly un-Bush-like perspective a Pro Libertate administration would have on the veto power:

    I’d veto every bill that crossed my desk, unless it was sponsored by Ron Paul.

    Still sounds good to me.

  5. And Bush loses to Jefferson again, whoda thunk?

  6. I’ll copy what I said from Bailey’s post:

    Whilie there’s IMO a good libertarian case to be made against federal funding (Cato does it at http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=2762), THIS IS BUSH’S FIRST VETO? THIS?? NOT THE PATRIOT ACT, OR FARM BILL, OR MEDICARE BILL, OR NCBH, OR THE STEEL TARIFFS, BUT THIS??? WHAT. THE. FLYING. FUCK.(/anger).

  7. I’ll copy what I said from Bailey’s post:

    While there’s IMO a good libertarian case to be made against federal funding (Cato does it at http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=2762), THIS IS BUSH’S FIRST VETO? THIS?? NOT THE PATRIOT ACT, OR FARM BILL, OR MEDICARE BILL, OR NCBH, OR THE STEEL TARIFFS, BUT THIS??? WHAT. THE. FLYING. FUCK.(/anger).

  8. I’ll copy what I said from Bailey’s post:

    While there’s IMO a good libertarian case to be made against federal funding (Cato does it at http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=2762), THIS IS BUSH’S FIRST VETO? THIS?? NOT THE PATRIOT ACT, OR FARM BILL, OR MEDICARE BILL, OR NCBH, OR THE STEEL TARIFFS, BUT THIS??? WHAT. THE. FLYING. FUCK.(/anger).

  9. Hey, Lamar. I liked your post until you got into that phoney-baloney Hezbollah shit. Do you remember why Israel started bombing Hezbollah? (Hint: It wasn’t unprovoked.)

    Now you can argue that the response is disproportionate or that too little is being done to minimize innocent casualties. That’s fine.

    But arguing that (counter-)attacking Hezbollah is wrong per se is morally retarded.

  10. Ditto, Clean Hands. Now if the government were to ban privately funded research….

  11. Great, just what we need, more fucking kids

  12. If this veto meant we’d see a reduction in our taxes I’d be all for it. But these days I often have the attitude “government’s going to spend money like a drunken sailor anyway, so why not at least make sure it spends money on good stuff?” But no; the money that might have been used to promote important medical research will instead pay for prison cells for pot smokers, “Hugs Not Drugs” bumper stickers, iPods for Homeland Security officials or another .0000003 seconds of our little adventure in Iraq.

    Hoo-fucking-ray.

  13. YURI – thanks for the accurate criticism, I noticed your entry said nothing either.

    C – My position is that Israel is a bit out of control, but justified in targeting Hezbollah. My point there was just that Bush’s whole “err on the side of life” mantra is inconsistent.

  14. “…research that really ought to be funded by the pharma companies…”

    The more money spent on this type of research the better. Frankly I would like the government to spend more money on science. You can argue politics and policies all you want but it will be technology that truly allows for an ideal libertarian lifestyle (whatever that is)- off grid living, desktop manufactureing, home meat reactor, etc. Technology will let you cut the connections that allow others control.

  15. So Dear Leader surrounds himself with IVF kids to score points with his political base. Isn’t it interesting that, if his Bioethicist-in-Chief Leon Kass had had his way, these kids wouldn’t have had a chance at life? ‘Splain it to me, Lucy.

  16. The more money spent on this type of research the better. Frankly I would like the government to spend more money on science. You can argue politics and policies all you want but it will be technology that truly allows for an ideal libertarian lifestyle (whatever that is)- off grid living, desktop manufactureing, home meat reactor, etc. Technology will let you cut the connections that allow others control.

    True enough, but remember that Libertarism is about dogma, not pragmatism.

  17. “True enough, but remember that Libertarism is about dogma, not pragmatism.”

    Well aren’t we just a cute little fortune cookie?

  18. “Libertarism is about dogma, not pragmatism”
    And dogmas are impossible to fully achieve, so we’re left with pragmatism.

  19. Home meat reactor-

    The people working on vat grown meat see a device like a bread maker in everyone’s home. Throw in the cells, growth medium and wait for the ding.

  20. I want a Santa Claus Machine.

    Not to feed the trolls, but libertarianism has a whole faction of pragmatists. Virginia Postrel is one of those, as I recall. In large part, so am I. And classical liberalism has a utilitarian tradition running through it, too. If you doubt that, compare the American Revolution with the French.

  21. Home meat reactor-

    The people working on vat grown meat see a device like a bread maker in everyone’s home. Throw in the cells, growth medium and wait for the ding.

    But wait, wouldn’t that take the murder out of meat? If there’s anything that PETA has taught us, it’s that meat is murder, and murder is delicious.

  22. So Dear Leader surrounds himself with IVF kids to score points with his political base. Isn’t it interesting that, if his Bioethicist-in-Chief Leon Kass had had his way, these kids wouldn’t have had a chance at life? ‘Splain it to me, Lucy.

    I thought the same thing MarkV. I wonder how many of those embryos were implanted and failed before those kids finally made it.

  23. “… it will be technology that truly allows for an ideal libertarian lifestyle…”

    Except for all those digital surveillance cameras and the storage devices on which they dump their images. They just get better, smaller and cheaper.

  24. But wait, wouldn’t that take the murder out of meat? If there’s anything that PETA has taught us, it’s that meat is murder, and murder is delicious.

    I forget where I read it, but there was a commentary on this theme recently to the effect that this would also take the murder out of cannibalism. :-p

    Forget the hufu – real cannibals only settle for the “real” thing. Straight from the meat reactor. Hell, the really hardcore would only eat meat created from their own cells.

  25. I’m with Adam W. Of all the things to veto he waits for this? THIS?

    He wants to veto this, fine, veto it. But how the hell does one reach the conclusion that this is the worst bill to make its way through Congress in the past 6 years?

    He should have signed it with a signing statement saying that he’ll pack the grant review committees with Catholic Bishops.

  26. I agree with those who say libertarian principle is nice and all that, but nothing’s really going to stop the government from spending our money like crazy, so we might as well insist that the federal government spend our money on “good stuff,” specifically science.

    Trouble is, I’m a voter and taxpayer just like you, but my idea of “good stuff” and worthy science differs a little bit from yours. I think the government should be spending my money (oops, and yours too, but nothing can be done about that) on, like, Project Orion! And space settlement! And missions to Mars! And research into advanced faster-than-light propulsion concepts!

    After all, those things are ultimately going to have a bigger impact on the future of humanity than a few big-talk/puny-results embryonic stem cell experiments!

    … in my opinion.

    My opinion — or rather, my vote — counts for just as much as yours, after all.

    And that of course raises the question: Once we abandon libertarian principle to advocate public funding for our pet projects, who decides which pet projects will prevail?

    Well, the squeakiest wheels get the most attention. So now we each have an incentive to try to be the loudest clamorers for public funding. And we all lobby and form our own pressure groups …

    Then what is the collective response of the politicians, who have an incentive to appease as many pressure groups as possible, please as many constituents as possible, buy as many votes as possible?

    “Fuck it — we’ll fund ’em all!” Or at least as many as possible.

    So everyone’s pocket gets picked, even more. But that’s okay, because it means everyone’s priorities for public funding can be addressed.

    Why are we libertarians again?

  27. Stevo, I think you have described 21st Century libertarian thought in a nutshell. I have to say it is a bit disappointing. Big Sigh.

  28. “It crosses a moral boundary that our decent society needs to respect, so I vetoed it,” Bush said at the White House.

    Every time I hear a Republican use the words “moral” and “decent”, I want to kick him right in the balls. Bush managed to work them both into the same sentence. I suppose it could be worse – at least we were spared a gratuitous Jesus reference.

    @Stevo Darkly

    Well, the squeakiest wheels get the most attention. So now we each have an incentive to try to be the loudest clamorers for public funding. And we all lobby and form our own pressure groups …

    Well, here’s the thing – I’m certainly not in favor of the federal government spending massive amounts of additional cash in pursuit of yet-another miracle cure that’s supposed to be the second coming of Christ (does anyone remember Interferon? I didn’t think so). I’m pretty skeptical about government funding research projects, anyway.

    BUT, having lost that argument, would this be money that’s going to be allocated in addition to that funds already allocated for research, or is this simply money that would be appropriated out of a pool of dollars that’s already been allocated?

    If it’s the latter, I’d say excluding stem-cell research from eligibility is a pretty piss-poor idea.

  29. Stem cell research doesn’t just focus on treating specific diseases it also covers basic cell mechanics and cell differentiation. Important stuff.

  30. Jcavar:

    What’s really weird to me is that in the Bush metaverse, personhood is identified with a unique sequence of DNA base pairs created at conception. According to Brownback, that eminent scientist and senator, the reason why he opposes stem cell research is that, the instant a new genome is created, a new soul is created, which must carry all the moral, ethical, legal and religious content of an adult person. For a fundamentalist Christian, this seems to be an awfully materialist conception of personhood. Do identical twins share the same soul? Are they really one person in two bodies? And what about – shudder – triplets?

    The above poses certain theological problems, to wit: A majority of fertilized eggs never implant and are flushed out with the woman’s next menstrual cycle, and she doesn’t even know conception took place. This means that most of the ‘souls’ in heaven only existed as fertilized eggs. It also means that we should conduct last rites over every menstrual discharge, just to be sure, right?

    I get the distinct impression that these guys are just making up their doctrine on the fly, kinda patching it together from – dare we say it – emanations from penumbras emitted from certain passages in the Bible. (Vocce ValleyGirl: Oh…My….Gawd! It’s, like, Biblical activism!) Which biblical passages do mention stem cells, by the way?

    And, what will we do with the hundreds of thousands of frozen embryos? Perhaps we need to create a Federal Embryo Administration, Cryonics Division, to ensure these souls on ice someday have a fair shot at life.

    I don’t know, I always associated my mind, identity, and soul, with my brain.

    OK, now it makes sense! Restricting human rights to people with brains is personally threatening to our Dear Leader.

  31. Bush braved personal injury to protect post-9/11 embryos, mind you.

  32. Yeah, I know, Stevo.

    What else can I say?

  33. This subject is so stupid that I think I’ll be an ass.

    [asshole]

    One: Those that believe that a microscopic clump of cells contains a soul are absolute idiots. Mind you, I’m not calling all people who believe in souls idiots, just those that think their god is so utterly moronic that he/she/it would put something as supposedly precious as a soul in an unthinking, unfeeling clump of cells.

    Two: Those that don’t understand the arrow of time are stupid beyond belief. I’m not picking on the religious here necessarily. I’ve know more than one atheist, liberal Democrat that was personally pro-abortion until they had a child: “If I’d have had an abortion, my little boo wouldn’t exist!” No shit, Sherlock, and you wouldn’t have ever known the difference! Your child wouldn’t have known the difference either because they would have never existed! Oh, shit, I just had a wet dream! I’ve killed millions!

    …Calm down. They’re just a bunch of freakin’ apes… Just a bunch of apes…

    [/asshole]

  34. How about this for a veto:

    “I can find no warrant for such an appropriation [federal aid to drought-stricken Texas farmers] in the Constitution, and I do not believe that the power and duty of the General Government ought to be extended to the relief of individual suffering which is in no manner properly related to the public service or benefit…The friendliness and charity of our countrymen can always be relied upon to relieve their fellow-citizens in misfortune…Federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character, while it prevents the indulgence among our people of that kindly sentiment and conduct which strengthen the bond of a common brotherhood.”
    – Grover Cleveland, on one of his more than 300 vetoes.

  35. Ah, Cleveland. Could we have another prez like that? Pretty please!

  36. Let’s say, while we have our heads up our asses, that Europe comes up with some nifty cures due to stem cell research. How many jayzus freaks here are going to refuse treatment out of principle?

    And, to be fair, how many PETA jagoffs refuse medicines created out of animal testing?

    Just wondering…

  37. One more, to be BRUTALLY fair…

    How many of you big “L” Libertarians refuse medical treatment that is government-funded?

    Y’know, out of principle?

  38. And, to be fair, how many PETA jagoffs refuse medicines created out of animal testing?

    Well, we know for sure that Mary Beth Sweetland, PETA vice-president, is diabetic, and doesn’t refuse treatment. You can find out all about her by looking in the dictionary under “hypocritical bitch”

  39. Those IVF parents were monsters to expose those frozen embryos to the risks of implantation. How many did they murder to get the babies they display so proudly now?

    The only responsible treatment of a frozen embryo is to keep it frozen or to permit it to grow as an undifferentiated mass of protoplasm in some medium. Implantation is way too risky.

  40. “The only responsible treatment of a frozen embryo is to keep it frozen or to permit it to grow as an undifferentiated mass of protoplasm in some medium. Implantation is way too risky.”

    Exactly!

    I want an embryo aquarium! I can do my part for Jebus and not have to worry about saving for college.

  41. Stevo,

    The question of how to get from our current government to “libertopia” (“the path”) doesn’t have an easily verifiable as correct answer.

    Is it a step in the right direction to veto government funding of stem cell research? If the path occurs in the single dimension of funding, then clearly it is. However, once you add additional dimensions, not only is there a chance that you might be moving forward on one axis while moving away on another, there’s also a chance that the path that you need to take requires moving around some obstacle (technically that’s true in the abstract for single dimensional paths too, but I’m too wordy as it is). In other words, it might be necessary to get farther from the goal before you can get near it.

    I think people are more concerned with the veto as a proxy than they are for the actual net effect of the veto. If so, the person who sees it as a proxy for the politicization of science is going to have a different take on it than the person who sees it as a proxy for government spending.

    As for why we’re libertarians, it depends on how you view people. If you view us as individuals, then we’re libertarians for a lot of different reasons.

    Arguing that libertarians should do this or do that or think this or think that because they’re libertarians is seductive, yet many issues are like the stance one takes on this veto: it’s possible to be a sincere, consistent libertarian and be on either side.

  42. Let’s see now. The President vetos a bill which could fund some research on stem cells. The presidential press secretary explains that the research which would be funded thereby amounts to “murder”. Meanwhile, the White House has said and done nothing to prohibit conducting this “murderous” research where the funding comes from non-federal sources. Is the lesson that privately funded “murder” is none of the federal government’s business?

    Moreover, the President surrounds himself with children who were conceived in connection with in vitro fertilization, a process which presupposes the destruction of embryos in excess of those needed for successful implantation. If destruction of embryos pursuant to stem cell research is “murder”, why is the destruction of excess embryos pursuant to IVF not also “murder”? If these are equivalent, why has the President praised one process and condemned the other?

    Could it be that the participants in IVF–doctors and heterosexual yuppies of childbearing age with tens of thousands of dollars expendable–are natural Republican constituencies?

  43. anon2 — you get credit for a thoughtful response. I’ll have to think about it.

    But note: If you’re concerned about the politicization of science, any research that does get funding from the government is politicized from the get-go, almost by definition.

  44. John in Nashville wrote: “The President surrounds himself with children who were conceived in connection with in vitro fertilization, a process which presupposes the destruction of embryos in excess of those needed for successful implantation. If destruction of embryos pursuant to stem cell research is “murder”, why is the destruction of excess embryos pursuant to IVF not also “murder”? If these are equivalent, why has the President praised one process and condemned the other?”

    RIGHT YOU ARE, John, to ask that question! However, I’m afraid our fearless leader lacks the intellect to provide a LOGICAL answer!…

    “This bill would support the taking of innocent human life in the hope of finding medical benefits for others,” Bush said. “It crosses a moral boundary that our decent society needs to respect. Destroying human life is wrong – even in its earliest form, and even in the interest of research that could lead to potentially life-saving medical breakthroughs.”

    So, those frozen six-day old clusters of cells (“innocent human life”) command more “respect from decent society”, than those suffering and dying (“others”)?!

    So, the “embryos” need to chill, whilst the “others” need to get their final affairs in order?!

    GEORGE W. NEEDS TO GET HIS PRIORITIES IN ORDER!!

    I read about those “sanctified married couples” with their “snowflake babies”. One couple “adopted” EIGHT six-day old clusters of cells, which after two implantation attempts resulted in the birth of ONE snowflake baby. Another couple “adopted” FOURTEEN, which eventually resulted in the birth of TWIN snowflake babies.

    So, since “life begins at conception”, one couple “MURDERED” seven out of the eight, and the other “MURDERED” twelve out of the fourteen.

    WHERE’S THE OUTRAGE!!!

    And, by the way, the couple who “MURDERED” twelve embryos, spent over $100,000 on previous infertility treatments.(Just imagine how far that money would have gone toward adopting children abandoned in orphanages…or at the very least, providing college tuition assistance to them when they “age out of the system”.)

    Would not the “Right-To-Lifer’s” time be better spent “adopting” orphans, than loitering in front of hospice centers and abortion clinics, sporting signs and shouting!

    400,000 Frozen Embryos, but only 128 “snowflakes” have been adopted. Just imagine how many “HUMAN” lives could potentially be saved through scientifically-researched “life-saving medical breakthroughs” on the 399,872 frozen embryos destined for implantation in fertility clinic garbage dumpsters?!

    Saving 399,872 throw-away frozen embryos VS saving suffering & dying human beings … Hmmm…That’s a tough call…

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