Month Archives: July 2011

Kuhner on Obamas Culture War

by Chris Gacek

July 22, 2011

Jeffrey Kuhner has a powerful commentary piece in the Washington Times today. The article was prompted by the Obama administrations recent statement that Obamacare should cover contraceptives including those that many deem to be abortifacients. Kuhner extends his observations to a wide-ranging assessment of the administrations wider culture war against traditional Christian values. It is worth reading. (I would have reproduced some text but had difficulties with the W.T. website.)

 

 

More Evidence for Adult Stem Cell Success

by David Prentice

July 20, 2011

Dr. Richard Burt and colleagues at Northwestern University have just published a new study in The Lancet that provides more evidence for the success of adult stem cell transplant in treating system sclerosis (scleroderma). The autoimmune disease causes rigidity in the skin and organs, including lungs, of its victims; it exerts its fatal influence by essentially turning them to stone. Ten patients were treated with their own adult stem cells, and all improved at or before 12 months after treatment, compared with zero of the nine patients that received cyclophosphamide, a chemotherapeutic agent considered the “standard of care” for this disease. None of the adult stem cell-treated patients had their disease worsen, while 8 of the 9 chemo-treated patients showed worsening, and eventually 7 of the chemo patients switched to the adult stem cell treatment.

The researchers note that the adult stem cell treatment improves skin and lung function in these patients for up to 2 years (the length of the current study) and is preferable to the current standard of care.

The new report is accompanied by a commentary by Farge and Gluckman that says the Burt et al. study provides “the best data to date for transplantation in scleroderma”, and “Despite the small number of patients and short follow-up of ASSIST, the findings of this trial are important for patients with systemic sclerosis, the medical community, and policy makers.”

Dr. Burt is featured in a recently-released video discussing his ideas for use of adult stem cells to treat patients with autoimmune diseases. Burt and his team are using this technique to help treat patients suffering from some 23 different diseases, and the techniques he has developed are now being used in treatment centers around the globe.

Adult stem cells are helping patients now.

Valkyrie: The Plot to Kill Hitler 20 July 1944

by Robert Morrison

July 20, 2011

The book Valkyrie has the same name as the movie starring Tom Cruise, but its very different. Written by Philip Freiherr von Boeselager, Valkyrie: The Story of the Plot to Kill Hitler, by Its Last Member, transports us into another world, the world of the German nobility, the upper reaches of the most powerful army created to that point in the history of the world.

Philip Freiherr Von Boeselager takes pains to describe his upbringing in a close-knit, devout family. Family and faith were central to the worldview of von Boeselager and his class. And duty, duty, as lived out in service to their country and its military.

Von Boeselager makes clear that his family had never accepted the Nazi regimes philosophy or its acts. They had resisted joining the Hitler Youth and had remained loyal to their Christian values. But they lived in a nation state and were willing to put their lives on the line repeatedly to defend it. They believed that Germany had been unjustly branded with the charge of War Guilt from the First World War. Virtually all Germans believed this.

Von Boeselagers older brother was a hero of the Eastern Front. Philip makes a point of telling us his brother never spoke with contempt of the fighting qualities of the Red Army soldiers against whom he fought. Still, the elder von Boeselager fought hard and with signal success.

Philip is drawn deeper into the plots to kill Hitler. The decisive incident seems to have been these officers witnessing a mass killing of civilians by Hitlers Einsatzgruppen, mobile killing units. These units followed the armies, just as hyenas follow lions. Their victims were Jews and anyone perceived to be a threat. This included Gypsies. And then, there was the Commissar Order. That order meant instant death for any Communist, or political officer of the party, who was captured along with regular Red Army units.

Realizing that these Einsatzgruppen were ensnaring all German soldiers in war crimes, the military began to plot against Hitler. I had not realized until I read this book that the July 20th plot, the one whose anniversary we recall today, was but the last of a series of failed plots to kill Hitler.

Von Boeselager describes one attempt where a brave Wehrmacht officer, who had been wounded in battle, is slated to guide Hitler through a museum of captured Soviet weapons. This officer carried on his own body the explosives that would kill him and the Fuhrer during their scheduled hour tour. The officer, wearing a heavy leather military coat, punctures the vials of acid that will detonate the bomb he his carrying within. But Hitler abruptly leaves the museum after only ten minutes of the tour. There is the officer with a bomb about to explode inside his coat! Only with great difficulty is he able to rush into a mens room and disarm the bomb, avoiding detection.

Another time, the officers debate among themselves how to kill Hitler when he comes to their forward unit to have lunch with his soldiers. They know he wears a military cap with a steel visor and helmet concealed under the cloth. He also wears a bulletproof vest.

They will have no choice but to shoot him, point blank, in the face. Only one of these battle-hardened veterans can be found willing to do this bloody deed. And then, Hitler cancels out.

On yet another occasion, a bomb is placed on Hitlers plane. It fails to explode, probably because of extreme cold at higher altitudes.

What we learn from this book is that many high ranking, although not top ranking, regular army officers had been imbued with a sense of military honor and a deep knowledge of the theory of Just War, as it had been taught since Augustine first wrote of it in the Fifth Century A.D.

These officers, Protestant and Catholic, were repulsed by the war crimes they were witnessing. And they were deeply devoted to their families. Many of them came from noble families who could recount centuries of dedication and service to Prussia and other German states.

Knowing their strong family ties, Hitler conceived the evil idea of threatening the lives of family members of any of his officers who failed to follow his orders without question. Hitler issued the Nacht und Nebel (Night and Fog) order on 7 December 1941, the same day the Japanese attacked us at Pearl Harbor. Typically, he got the name from a scene in a Wagnerian opera, Das Rheingold. It meant that your loved ones would disappear into the night and fog.

The book, Valkyrie, is Philip Freiherr von Boeselagers effort to show us another Germany, a Christian, moral, and brave Germany. Every time we read of the failure of one of these plots, our hearts sink. If only…

Von Boeselager died in 2008 at age 90. His short but very readable book is a most valuable addition to our knowledge of the Second World War, a war that continues to shape our world today.

I find von Boeselagers portrait of his fellow officers quite credible. A U-Boat commander, Gerhard Wiebe, torpedoed my dads merchant ship off South Africa in 1943. He held off sending in his second torpedo to allow my father and his shipmates to clamber off the stricken vessel. Then Captain Wiebe, in violation of strict orders from the Kriegsmarine, steered the U-516 in among the survivors in the lifeboats, offering them first aid, water, food, and charts.

These amazing stories should give us heart. The line between good and evil does not run through nations, or classes, wrote Solzhenitsyn, but through the heart of every man. Valkyrie also comes from Richard Wagners operas. It is a great tragedy that Valkyrie

Failed this day, 67 years ago. It would have been a fitting end to the Hitler horror.

Chen Guangcheng needs your help

by Rob Schwarzwalder

July 19, 2011

In 2005, Chen Guangcheng —- a blind masseur and self-taught attorney —- began to draw attention to the brutal Chinese “One Child” policy in the city of Linyi. Linyi, with a population of more than 10 million, is located in west-central China. After filing a class action lawsuit against Linyi officials complicit in the forced abortions and sterlizations of thousands of area residents, Chen was arrested by the Chinese authorities. In and out of prison since then, he is now in declining health.

Today, the respected Christian ministry ChinaAid sent out the following:

ChinaAid announced today that it is partnering with Womens Rights Without Frontiers to spearhead a campaign to free blind activist Chen Guangcheng, whose health is in serious jeopardy because of repeated beatings and malnutrition he suffers in house detention. Womens Rights Without Frontiers has released a new video demanding freedom for Chen and his family. This video was created by the China Aid Visual Studio.

Pray for Chen and contact Chinese officials to demand his release and that he and his family be provided with food and medical care. Contact the Chinese Embassy in Washington at chinaembpress_us@mfa.gov.cn or call Embassy officials at (202) 495-2266.

Conscience Rights At Stake as HHS Considers Mandates for Abortifacients in Obamacare

by Jeanne Monahan

July 19, 2011

NPR ran a story today on the Institute of Medicines report to be released tomorrow which will include a list of recommended services to be covered with no cost-sharing under the Obamacare law.

But there are a few key points that NPR did not include. The real issue is not about “birth control” as such but rather about specific contraceptives that can function as abortifacients, in particular, emergency contraceptives. This isnt a matter of opinion or political ideology. The FDA approved label for Plan B suggests it can prevent implantation of an embryo. Moreover, the most recently approved EC, “ella”, is chemically similar to RU-486 and it may destroy an embryo after it is already implanted.

Additionally, this is a question of whether the government should mandate every health plan to cover these drugs free of cost. Whatever one’s position is on the issues of contraceptives, abortifacients, and such, it does not matter whether proponents of such drugs do not care about the effect on human embryos. The point is that many Americans do care, and many religious health plans would care, and that they should not be forced to violate their conscience. Non-discrimination laws are in effect for this very reason. The IOM recommendations will potentially require people who are not in favor of these drugs to cover and participate in something they find objectionable. You don’t have to agree with such objections, but at the same time people should not be forced to violate their consciences.

Here is our letter to HHS with more information.

And here is more information on ella, taken from my public comments at the second IOM meeting on January 12, 2011:

While the FDA approved the drug application of Ella as an emergency contraceptive, this drug is known to be chemically and functionally similar to the abortifacient drug, RU-486. In a study published this month in the Annals of Pharmacotherapy, the mechanism of action of ulipristal in human ovarian and endometrial tissue is identical to that of its parent compound, mifepristone.[1]

In one study of ulipristal on monkeys, 4 out of 5 fetuses were aborted.[2] On one with rats, all were aborted.[3] [E]xisting studies in animals are instructive in terms of the potential abortive effects of the drug in humans.[4]

A recent study concluded that it can be reasonably expected that the prescribed dose of 30 mg of ulipristal will have an abortive effect on early pregnancy in humans.[5] This is the dose of ulipristal now available as an EC in the United States.



[1] Harrison, D, Mitroka, J Defining Reality: The Potential Role of Pharmacists in Assessing the Impact of Progesterone Receptor Modulators and Misoprostol in Reproductive Health. Annals of Pharmacotherapy January 2011, Volume 45

[2] European Medicines Agency.CHMP assessment report for EllaOne. (Doc.Ref.: EMEA/261787/2009). London,UK. www.ema.europa.eu/docs/en_GB/document_library/EPAR_Public_assessment_report/human/001027/WC500023673.pdf (accessed 2010 Dec 9).

[3] Food and Drug Administration. Mifeprex label. www.accessdata.fda/gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2000/20687lbl.htm (accessed 2010 Sept 26).

[4] Harrison, D and Mitroka, J Defining Reality: The Potential Role of Pharmacists in Assessing the Impact of Progesterone Receptor Modulators and Misoprostol in Reproductive Health. Annal of Pharmacotherapy January 2011, Volume 45

[5] Ibid

Adult Stem Cell Trial to Treat Stroke

by David Prentice

July 18, 2011

Researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston have enrolled their first patient in a trial to use adult stem cells to treat stroke up to 19 days after the stroke occurred. Stroke is one of the leading causes of disability and death in the United States.

The stroke patient was treated June 8 at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center after suffering a stroke May 23, by Dr. Sean Savitz of the UT Medical School. According to Dr. Savitz:

This represents a new approach using stem cells for stroke. A major question in the field of stem cell research is whether we can extend the time window for administering stem cells. A longer window increases the number of patients that might be helped.

Savitz is one of the investigators in the FDA-approved Phase II study. The study will investigate use of ALD-401, a therapy developed by the company Aldagen that uses a patient’s own bone marrow adult stem cells. The trial is a double-blind study.

This new trial proposes using the adult stem cell treatment up to 19 days after the stroke event. Dr. Savitz is also currently involved in another trial that treats stroke patients with their own adult stem cells, but injects the cells within the first 3 days after the stroke. Early results from this patient trial are very encouraging. Other studies have indicated that adult stem cells can have a positive effect long after the stroke occurs.

Does therapy to remove unwanted same-sex attractions work?

by FRC Media Office

July 15, 2011

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s (R-MN) husband recently came under attack for his involvement in Christian-based counseling for individuals with unwanted homosexual attractions. While it is no surprise to see Christianity under assault from homosexual activists, these groups are also on the wrong side of medical research. In this interview with Washington Watch Weekly, FRC President Tony Perkins speaks with Dr. Julie Hamilton, President of the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), about what the research shows and the importance of using this successful therapy to help patients achieve their self-identified goals.

Listen to the interview here.

ICEJ Summarizes Stanley Greenberg Poll of Palestinians in Gaza, West Bank

by Chris Gacek

July 15, 2011

The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) produces an excellent daily newsgram from Israel. Todays report summarizes some data produced by pollster Stanley Greenberg based on questions to Palestinians living in theWest BankandGaza. It is not encouraging:

In related news, a recent poll of Palestinians living in theWest Bankand the Gaza Strip completed this week by American pollster Stanley Greenberg, which showed that a large majority of Palestinians have lost faith in the promise of the two state solution and are determined to create a single Palestinian State between the Jordan and the Mediterranean. The same poll showed a majority of Palestinians denied any Jewish connection to Jerusalem, supported the kidnapping of IDF soldiers and holding them hostage and teaching schoolchildren songs about hating Jews.

Not only is this poll not encouraging, but the results dont support the hypothesis that the Palestinians are very much interested in achieving Peace with Israel and the Jews who live there. (Note: “denied any Jewish connection to Jerusalem” - relates to their nutty denial that the Jewish people had an ancient presence in Jerusalem. )

The Social Conservative Review: The Insider’s Guide to Pro-Family News—July 14, 2011

by Krystle Gabele

July 14, 2011

Click here to subscribe to The Social Conservative Review.


Dear Friends,

Our country is grounded on the proposition that God has made each of us and given every person the “right to life,” as stated in the Declaration of Independence. Yet human dignity is being diminished increasingly in our culture. Whether discussing the unborn, the disabled, or the elderly, utility and power too often trump respect and compassion.

Our bodies are precious to God. “You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made,” writes David in the 139th Psalm. If the God of the universe took such tender care with each of us, should we not also care for the most vulnerable among us, and put that care into practical action?

In his new book, Earthen Vessels: Why Our Bodies Matter to Our Faith, Matthew Lee Anderson reminds us, “We cannot speak of the body without speaking of its mortality, for the God who became flesh did so in order that he might die. For Jesus, death was the precursor to the resurrection. For us, it is the power of Christ’s resurrection that allows us to stare death in the face” (p.165).

Staring death in the face, unflinching: That’s the power of the Gospel. Defending personhood, at all its stages: That’s fidelity to our Creator.

Sincerely,

Rob Schwarzwalder

Senior Vice President

Family Research Council

P.S. Next Thursday, join FRC and Liberty University at our DC headquarters or via Webcast as we host the Washington, DC book launch of Resurgent: How Constitutional Conservatism Can Save America, by FRC Senior Fellows Ken Blackwell and Ken Klukowski.


Educational Freedom and Reform

Homeschooling

Legislation and Policy Proposals

Government Reform

Regulation

Waste/Fraud/Abuse

Health Care

Abstinence

Conscience Protection

Health care reform: Political and Legislative efforts

Homosexuality

Human Life and Bioethics

Abortion

Bioethics and Biotechnology

Euthanasia and End of Life Issues

Stem Cell Research

Women’s Health

Marriage and Family

Adoption

Family Economics

Family Structure

Media

Pornography

Internet

Religion and Public Policy

Religious Liberty

Religion in America

Secularism

International

Israel

International Economy and Family

Religious Persecution

Sharia law — U.S., foreign

The Courts

Constitutional Issues

Other News of Note

Book reviews

June 2011 «

» August 2011

Archives