Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Foxing the Opposition

As a matter of public record, John Ensign DOES pick on cripples.

Jack Carter, flanked by two well-known quadriplegics from Nevada and their families. Photo courtesy Carter For Nevada.

Yesterday, Jack Carter publicly came out to support stem cell research flanked by people even Rush Limbaugh could not accuse of "faking their symptoms" to "generate sympathy."

"I'm experienced enough and mature enough to take my licks," said Fox, who was shaking during the interview aired Sunday. "But I know the community was really hurt by it. And it really brings up the specter of, 'go away, shut the window, shut the doors, close the curtains and suffer, and don't let us know,' because it's a fearful response."
I'm glad to see that Jack understands just how hurtful such responses are, how utterly immoral, indefensable and mean-spirited they are.

I've had tardive diskenesia twice as a reaction to medication myself; I was lucky enough that alternates were available in both cases, because it can become permanant and it is, as Fox says in the above-cited story, "very uncomfortable."

But people like Limbaugh - and the sort of people paying him to spew his vile little invicitives - do not like to see people being different, living counter-examples to their simpleminded views of how things should be. Are you old enough to remember the howls of outrage at laws making wheelchair access to public buildings manditory? There are people who just don't like being around "cripples" and think they should just go away and die quietly somewhere.

Given Ensign's voting reccord, which is solidly for making more cripples in Iraq, but not paying for their needs or the social costs of them being alive for the next 40 or 50 years, I think we can count him as being a solid member of the Cripple-Kicking wing of the Republican Party. Heck, he voted against an amendment intended to help low income senior citizens with cancer pay for their medication.

The amendment itself was very good. Senator Mitch McConnell wanted the bill to offer greater protections to a particularly vulnerable group: low-income senior citizens with cancer, who might otherwise have terrible trouble affording their medication. The vote in favor of the amendment was 97-1.

The one person voting against helping low-income senior citizens with cancer was Nevada’s own Senator John Ensign.

Kicking young veterans in whelchairs seems almost sporting compared to that.

October 30, 2006 LAS VEGAS, NV -- Jack Carter is being joined by two well-known quadriplegics from Nevada and their families, as he appeals for President George Bush and Senator John Ensign to "show some basic human compassion to those who are suffering."

Carter - the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate - was joined by Cyndi Brennan and Sam Schmidt at a news conference this afternoon outside University Medical Center in Las Vegas. Both live their lives in electric wheelchairs since they suffered severe spinal cord injuries in separate crashes in 2000. Schmidt, a former race car driver, was paralyzed in a wreck at a Florida speedway. Brennan was in a car that was struck by a drunk driver in Las Vegas, just a few weeks after winning the biggest-ever Megabucks jackpot.

"These people live in hope that, someday, stem cell research may let them walk once again," Carter said. "But, for now, President Bush and Senator Ensign have smashed those hopes. The two of them are perfectly happy to ignore scientific evidence and deny federal funding for stem cell research, research that could help not only those with spinal cord injuries, but countless others with juvenile diabetes, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's, and other diseases. Mr. Bush, Mr. Ensign, shame on you for - once again - failing so many people. Please show some basic human compassion to those who are suffering."

Brennan described stem cell research as her best hope for living a normal life again. "I'm keeping myself in shape and will hopefully be ready for a cure when it comes," she said. "Hopefully we can change things and I can get out of this chair and go dancing somewhere."

Schmidt, who is registered non-partisan, told reporters, "I hope we can support this research by voting for Jack Carter next week and for funding initiatives. Federal funding would get me out of this chair a lot faster."

Jack Carter, a committed Christian, says he sees no conflict between stem cell research and his faith. "I know Jesus wouldn't want anyone to suffer needlessly," he said. "Cyndi Brennan and Sam Schmidt face unimaginable challenges every day. This election marks the last chance to show them the human kindness and compassion they deserve. The time for change is now."

There's not a lot in Ensign's portfolio to point to that would exemplify a thoughtful Christian perspective, or even the perspective of someone who actually lives in Nevada and pays attention to the needs and concerns of Nevadans. Sara Carter has been going though his voting record and some of them are just astonishingly mean-spirited and - well, stupid. For instance, Ensign has been almost completely consistent in his opposition to providing body armor and armored vehicles to regular forces and to our own Nevada National Guard.

Ironically enough, one of the biggest human problems we have at the moment is dealing with traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries caused by the Iraq War . We have been getting very good at saving people who would have simply died in earlier conflicts. Now they survive - somewhat. The most promising likely treatment? Stem Cells. So if you don't support stem cell research, you might want to consider what that yellow ribbon magnet REALLY stands for.

We already have thousands of brain and spine injured veterans to whom Ensign and his ilk smugly deny hope, all in the name of not injuring "babies." That's how they lyingly describe the eight-celled blastocysts we are really talking about. Adding insult to brain injury is no strain for ensign - he also has voted against body armor when it made him look like he was concerned about the deficit, without cutting anything important to his sponsors.

Why? To gain the votes of the self-rightious, judgemental and ignorant, the single issue voter s who are too stupid to want anything good, who's concerns are soley limited to ensuring that nobody else ever does anything they disapprove of.

The "Sanctity of Life" does not extend to the Post-Born, apparently.

You see, it's that strict father model, the strict father who's response to any request is "no."

you can't have body armor, who do you think you are? Don't you have any faith in your Commander in Chief?

you can't have stem cell research; your injuries are a challenge God intends for you. Suck it up.

No, you can't have an abortion - I don't care what your doctor says pregnancy will do to you. Your doctor is a Godless Liberal!

An EDUCACTION? With real facts? NO! You are lucky we teach you to read and use a calculator! Now pray to Jesus I don't report you as a terrorist!

LIVING WAGES? With medical benefits and a pension? What kind of Commie are YOU?

Have you seen him vote for any expansion of VA coverage, or wider availability of access to care for medicare and medicaid patients?

No, I haven't either.

Of course, that's because "no" is his answer to any constituent issue that might cost money that could otherwise be diverted to a large Republican sponsor. The answer to Haliburton, Pfizer and Standard Oil is always yes. On the oil frontier, considering Nevada's wealth in geothermal, wind and solar energy potential, his loyalty to the Bush Oil Cartel is idiotic even by Republican standards. Had Ensign been a voice for a RATIONAL energy policy, we would be hip deep in federal research dollars, and probably well on our way to a statewide surplus of high-dollar exportable energy. When the sun shines the brightest, that's when the air-conditioners in California all switch on at once.

Instead, he's been a voice for cutting back research into alternate energy reserach. Now, I'm no tree-hugging Green, but oil is a limited commodity, so is natural gas. Renewable energy is the way to go, and cheap energy is the key to a state, national and global rennesance. I mean, if you don't believe someone like me, consult the most conservative futurist I know, Larry Niven. He's right as far as it goes, too. There is hardly any social ill we have that would not be vastly reduced by making energy cheap, reliable and universally available. Nevada could be and should be on the forefront of that initiative.

But John Ensign's party comes before his state, and George Bush comes before all. Ensign's entire appeal to the electorate is that he will prevent OTHER people from getting any goodies they "shouldn't be entitled to," unless they are very, very rich. In which case, he won't make them pay taxes.

So, if you are a Conservative voter and you don't have an estate amounting to over 10 million dollars, this isn't really a difficult choice.

Cart is no wild-eyed Liberal nightmare. He's a good ol' boy with some damn fancy degrees and a lot of practical business experience; he knows about accountablity and the difference between theory and practice. That alone makes him anything but a classical liberal. He's had to live within budgets, balance books and meet payrolls. In fact, he's a fiscal conservative - a real deficit hawk, not one who pretends to be one in calculatedly futile ways or mean-spirited ways.

And he's studied nuclear engineering. Heck, he can SAY "nuclear." Seems like a good bit of learning to have, what with Yucca Mountain and the fact that we are needing to reconsider our nationwide nuclear energy policy.

His easy confidence with numbers and facts alone would be a refreshing change in Washington, where I'm convinced the vast majority are incapable of counting to twenty with their shoes on.

He's also a Constitutionalist and is all fired up about civil liberties, individual privacy and George Bush's Imperial ambitions. He doesn't much care for messing in the affairs of other people, an attitude that is absolutely appropriate for Nevada, your one-stop shopping district for heterosexual "sins," such as lust, gambling and gluttony.

This is not a state where an obsessive focus on controlling the bad habits of other people is a great idea - that's half of our economy, at least. And I for one would not be peeking over any tall fences in rural nevada. Could lead to "death by natural causes," as the frontier doctors used to call it when a lapse in judgement led to perfectly understandable bullet holes.

But what, you tremulously ask , about "the war on terror?" Well, Jack is for actually ending the terrorist threat. That means doing something that will actually work: securing our borders, our port facilities and making air travel really safe instead of pretend-secure.

There will always be terrorists, of course - just there will always be schoolyard bullies and the people they grow into - people like George Bush. People who's imaginations are so limited that violence is the first and only possible answer to the complicated problems that frustrate them. The best response to such idiocy is an individual trip to jail or the gallows as may seem appropriate. Digifying such temper tantrums by calling it a "war" indicates the idea there is a legitimate struggle for something someone is "entitled" to fight for.

They aren't. Terrorists are criminals; they are no different or more noble than bank robbers or rapists, deserve no better outcome if found guilty and do not deserve the martyrdom torture and incarceration without trial brings them. The should be given speedy trials and if found guilty, punished appropriately. Say, 25 to life at hard labor building a secure nuclear repository with shovels.

Fghting a "war on terror" is exactly like fighting an oil fire with a hose. You just spread the fire.

That's what Carter talks about, and he makes a good deal of sense, because he is a sensible man. Probably argues with his Dad a lot, and has learned to make a good case along the way.

Finally, you have to realize that a brand new Democratic Senate will have one hell of a time doing anything until it's spent a lot of time UNdoing what has been done. That is a source of comfort to anyone concerned about their life, their liberty and their property when Congress is in session.

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