Friday, March 26, 2010

Canada, Coulter, Cuba; Patriots, Privacy, Pelosicare

Sorry for renaming that monstrosity. I needed it for the alliteration.

Cuban emigre (actually escapee) Humberto Fontova has written an article touching on a couple of themes that I've been preoccupied with over the past few days - nationalized health care and Ann Coulter's Canadian adventure. Noting Coulter's mistreatment by the University of Ottawa this week, Fontova contrasts it with the school's embrace of Fidel Castro. It turns out that the U of O (an apt title) is co-owner with the Cuban government of a patent for a purported vaccine against Meningitis B. The university also co-sponsored research efforts to promote the treatment. This same vaccine was hailed as a medical breakthrough in Michael Moore's quack of a film, "Sicko". Back in 1999, news agencies criticized the U.S. for not making available this life-saving treatment. They weren't being honest, as Fontova writes.

"Cuba has developed the world's first Meningitis B vaccine which is available in Third World countries but not in Europe or in the United States due to U.S. sanctions," dutifully reported Anthony Boadle from Reuters' Havana bureau right after Sicko’s first screening (oddly good timing for such a “scoop” by a Castro-sanctioned “news” agency, I’d certainly say!)

Of this 27 word sentence, by a news agency regarded as authoritative worldwide, exactly 14 words are true. Yes, this Castroite/Ottawa Univ. vaccine is not available in the U.S. and Europe -- but hardly because of ”sanctions.” In fact, in 1999, Bill Clinton's Treasury Department granted the pharmaceutical giant SmithKline Beecham a license to market the vaccine in a joint venture with Castro’s medical ministry -- pending FDA approval.

That approval never came, as the "vaccine" was shown to be totally ineffective.

Fontova also writes about Castro's vaunted "Doctor Diplomacy" program wherein Cuban doctors were sent to Caribbean and Latin American countries to provide treatment to the poor free of charge. In 2005, 96 of these "doctors" were kicked out of Brazil. Fontova quotes the judge who issued the order.

Based on the results they’d achieved with Tocantins' residents, the judge referred to the Cuban doctors as “Witch Doctors and Shamans...We cannot accept doctors who have not proven that they are doctors.”

The University of Ottawa, it appears, has no such qualms.,_embraces_fidel_castro?page=1

Also related to the health care issue is Jonah Goldberg's latest article on NRO. He recall's the left's hysterical reaction to the Patriot Act as a government (read Republican) effort to invade the privacy of all Americans. This despite the law's rather mild provisions.

The Patriot Act, considerably weaker than similar laws in Europe, allowed the FBI to ask a judge for a warrant to seek third-party business records and search suspected terrorists’ homes without notifying them right away. (The alternative is to tip off the next Mohamed Atta prematurely.)

For some reason, librarians were particularly incensed.

My favorite response came from Jan O’Rourke, a Pennsylvania librarian who destroyed the records of all library visitors so she could prevent the G-men from finding out who borrowed Catcher in the Rye or surfed the Web for adoptable kittens.

President Obama and the Democratic Congress have quietly renewed the Act's provisions for another year, confirming its necessity and effectiveness. Note the absence of public outcry.

Patriot Act hysteria consumed American politics for years, even though the bill was reasonable and the number of those affected by it comparatively miniscule. No libraries were searched. Terrorists were caught. Inconveniences and mistakes surely transpired, but not on some grand scale. American privacy endured.

Goldberg's main point is that the new health care bill provides far more reason to fear its ramifications than those of the Patriot Act, including an invasion of privacy on an infinitely larger scale. Yet liberals are wondering what all the fuss is about.

Now consider what the left-wing magazine Salon calls the conservative “freakout” over the health-care legislation passed by Congress and signed into law by Obama. Unlike the Patriot Act, which passed with overwhelming, almost unanimous, bipartisan support, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 was passed narrowly, against the public’s wishes and in the face of bipartisan opposition. It will cost trillions of dollars we do not have. It gives the government greater say in the most intimate areas of your life, far more private than your library record. It is based on dubious constitutional assumptions.

Lots of liberals opposed the Patriot Act on slippery-slope grounds, but it’s worth noting that very few conservatives said the Patriot Act was just a “first step” or a “down payment” toward an even more aggressive police state, while many hoped it would be a temporary measure. Lots of liberals insist health-care reform merely begins the process of pushing for full governmentalization of health care.

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