BFP Volume 4
the Right Thing
It finally happened. After Dolly the sheep it seemed inevitable.
Scientists in South Korea have successfully cloned a human
embryo and extracted stem cells. The Raelians claim to have
cloned as many as 15 children who are supposedly out there
somewhere leading anonymous life. They also have plans to
clone a wooly mammoth. No one believes the Raelians and
this is in no small part due to their rather cosmic
attire. The Raelians dont shy away from their dream
to make humans immortal through cloning. They even sell
do-it-yourself kits on their Website (www.clonaid.com),
$9,000 for the professional and a smaller $6,000 for your
Sunday cloner. Ethical debates aside, human cloning is here
to stay. A California company, Genetic Savings and Clone
will make you an exact duplicate of your dead pet while
the Godsend Institute (godsendinstitute.org)
will recreate a lost child. The magic going on in fertility
clinics today with in vitro fertilization and the like is
basically the same kind of science.
While most Western nations (with the notable exceptions
of Germany and England) are shying away from human cloning,
China is moving right ahead. Chinese researchers cloned
their first fish in 1963 and in 1973 they inserted the DNA
of an Asian carp into the egg of a European carp and created
the first interspecies clone. Since then the techniques
have gotten more refined and when it looked like some Americans
were on the brink of churning out an army of Boba Fetts,
Republican president Ronald Reagan placed restrictions on
human cloning. When Bill Clinton got elected one of the
first things he did was lift the ban on public funding for
human embryo and fetal research. When Dolly arrived on the
scene the debate heated to a boiling point and the Clinton
administration issued a ban on federal funding of human
cloning within the United States. Canada, Brazil and Israel
are the most resent countries to take official stances against
With the possible exception of a few mad scientists and
the Godsend Institute no one seems to be very interested
in cloning entire humans and raising them to adulthood.
The Chinese certainly dont need any more mouths to
feed. I guess the idea is that you can breed a better class
of people and make exact duplicates of yourself. But does
anybody really want an exact double hanging around? We certainly
dont need to breed better people; that will just make
the restof us feel even worse about ourselves. The true
pot of gold at the end of the cloning rainbow is growing
body parts. Skin, bone marrow, a liver would be nice. Replacing
decaying cells with healthy new stem cells can potentially
cure any number of diseases.
The arguments against human cloning tend to be metaphysical.
The right-to-lifers believe that embryos are babies and
harvesting their stem cells in tantamount to murder. Of
course abortion is legal in America and the idea of killing
an embryo thats only a few minutes old isnt
very troubling to most Americans. Other arguments against
cloning involve indefinable terms like human dignity.
Some critics of cloning worry that the clones will be
unloved or shunned. Just the opposite. Its hard
to make a clone while its easy to make a baby the
old fashion way. Its the accidents that need to
worry. Theoretically we would alter the DNA of the clones
to be super smart and super healthy. We could even program
in a little extra self-esteem.
If you want to see the future of man, look to the East.
The Bush administration has been openly hostile to the
science community. Theyve tirelessly looked for
anti-global warming research to support their big business
agenda. They seem to filter out any evidence that disagrees
with their presuppositions. Recently Bush fired two pro-embryonic
research members of the Presidents Council on Bioethics
and replaced them with three who are anti-research.
by Stephen Smith
CONTROLLED MEDIA: UNFAIR AND OFF-BALANCE
aggressive and critical media are essential to an informed
democracy. But mainstream media are increasingly cozy with
the economic and political powers they should be watch dogging.
Mergers in the news industry have accelerated, further limiting
the spectrum of viewpoints that have access to mass media.
With U.S. media outlets overwhelmingly owned by for-profit
conglomerates and supported by corporate advertisers, independent
journalism is compromised.”
international corporations monopolize the media you watch,
read and hear. Even more consolidation is planned. The five
largest media companies:
- AOL Time-Warner with
$31.8 billion in revenues. Owns 29 TV channels including
CNN, HBO, Cinemax, Comedy Central, Court TV, E, TBS, Cartoon
Network, Turner Classic Movies; 24 book brands including
Little, Brown and Company and Book of the Month Club;
64 magazines including Time, Fortune, Life, & People
with 120 million readers; Internet companies AOL, Compuserve
and Netscape; 2nd largest cable TV provider
with 12.8 million customers; and many production companies.
- Disney $25.4 billion.
ABC, Disney Channel, Soap, A&E, History, Biography,
Lifetime, ESPN, and 10 other TV channels; 5 magazine publishing
groups and 4 newspapers; 10 television stations and 50
radio stations; Touchstone, Miramax Films, Buena Vista,
Walt Disney and 4 other motion picture companies; 18 online
ventures including Infoseek; 6 music labels, sports teams
and 720 Disney Stores.
- Bertelsmann $16.5 billion:
22 TV stations and 18 radio stations in 10 countries;
world’s biggest publisher with Random House, Dell,
Knopf, Vintage, Bantam, Doubleday; Bertelsmann Music Group
(BMG) operates in 54 countries with its US labels owning
200 other labels worldwide. This company was a major printer
of Nazi material during the “Third Reich”.
- VIACOM $20 billion: CBS,
UPN, MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, TV Land, TNN, CMT, BET, The
Movie Channel and others; 39 TV stations; 184 US radio
stations; Simon and Schuster, Pocket Books, Scribner and
others; Paramount pictures, Blockbuster, Infinity Outdoor
(largest advertising co. in the world).
- News Corporation $13.5
billion, Owner, Rupert Murdoch: Fox News, FX, National
Geographic channel, Fox network, Speedvision, Outdoor
Life, Health Network, TV Guide channel; 26 TV stations;
20th Century Fox and other production companies;
HarperCollins and Zondervan book publishers; NY Post and
other newspapers in the UK, Australia and New Zealand;
“Our reach is unmatched around the world. We’re
reaching people from the moment they wake up until they
fall asleep.” Rupert Murdoch
alarming media saturations include Clear Channel
reaching 1/6th of the world’s population
in 248 of the top 250 radio markets. The Unification
with Rev. Sun Myung Moon owns the Washington Times, United
Press International, Tiempos del Mundo (Spanish language
paper printed in 16 countries), the Middle East Times,
the Segye Ilbo in Seoul and Sekai Nippo in Tokyo as well
as Insight, World & I, & Washington Golf magazines.
A conflict of interest exists with
General Electric that owns NBC as well as General
Dynamics, a hugh supplier of war materiel.