For those of you who do not know Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV), his illustrious career boasts the following distinctions:
1942-1952(?): Kleagle and Exalted Cyclops of the Ku Klux Klan
1944: wrote a letter to then-Sen. Theodore Bilbo (D-MS) stating the following: "I shall never fight in the armed forces with a Negro by my side ... Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds."
Consistently pro-abortion voting record
Voted to expand human embryonic research; voted no on a ban of human cloning
2001: in an interview with Tony Snow used the term "white niggers"
More buildings, roads, and public works facilities in WVa named for him than any other personage
Longest serving member of Congress in US History
And now, the quiz question:
Who made the following statement on hearing of the death of Sen. Byrd?
Today our nation marks the passing of a great statesman and public servant, Senator Robert C. Byrd. While we will prayerfully reflect on his decades of scholarship, hard work, and dedication to the people of West Virginia, we must also celebrate the future that Senator Byrd helped shape....we pray during this difficult time that family and loved ones will remember that Senator Byrd is now at peace with the Risen Lord and, with his late wife Erma Ora Byrd, is experiencing Perfect Joy.
A. The Catholic Bishop of Wheeling-Charleston, WVa B. Sen. Byrd's Baptist Pastor C. Rev. Al Sharpton D. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
I don't read, but if I did, I bet the fact that C.C. Little, founder of the Jackson Labs in Maine which is the subject of the NCBC gymnastics in fact ignorance (ala certain Feasibility studies of old), has quite a colorful history in America!
He's actually kind of a neat guy. He got an early boost from the Harrimans, who was a business partner of George and JEb Bush's grandfather, Prescott Bush. Prescott and Averell Harriman had a lot of direct business connections to the Nazi SS and German businesses, such as Thyssen and I.G.Farben. But before certain commenters around here saying I'm calling the Bush folks Nazis, I'm not. I'm just saying they a pent a lot of money of them and invested in them. I only bring it up here because Jeb Bush spoke at Ave for graduation. Convenient timing given the Jax announcement and the family history. Read more about that in the Guardian before saying it's not factual.
Back to CC Little. In 1928, the Board of Regents of the University of Michigan removed Little from the Presidency of the University. Apparently, back then Michigan had some sense because they did it because of Little's statements and beliefs on social issues. Not little things like whether the 7-eleven can sell trojans... no Little was a mover and shaker. If you read, and like to read more, see this post on the anti eugenics encyclopedia which covers my quotes below and mentions Harriman in passing earlier in the post there but doesn't tie the Harriman-Prescott Bush knot. Notice all of the things Little had his hand in!
In 1922, one year before accepting the post of President of the University of Maine, Little became a founding director of Margaret Sanger’s American Birth Control League, the forerunner of Planned Parenthood-World Population. Little was President of the League from 1936 to 1939 and served as Scientific Director from 1925 to 1945. He also served as a consulting editor of Sanger’s racist Birth Control Review which pounded away at the necessity of limiting births of coloured people.
Little also had a vested interest in the early euthanasia movement. In 1938, he became a trustee of the American Euthanasia Society, which unlike its British counterpart called for both voluntary euthanasia and involuntary euthanasia or “mercy killing” of “defective children.” At this very time, Little was also holding a post as a Rockefeller appointee to the American Society for the Control of Cancer, later renamed the American Cancer Society, and the American Birth Control League, in addition to his duties as founder/director of the Jackson Labs.
Interesting guy. Interesting connections to the Bush family. Of course, you people probably know all this stuff because you read. That's why nobody discusses it, but focuses on the little things. To me, it's interesting to see Uncle Tom pawned by such movers and shakers. Poor Tom wants to be a big boy so badly. He'll make any story up to fit in with them. Of course, Uncle Tom can't even compete with those guys in the world of PR and spin machines... after all, Bernays and Ivy, the regarded fathers of modern PR and spin, got their starts with Harriman and Bush! Particularly the flouridation of drinking water was a Harriman-Bernays project. Such fun!
It is nice to see AMU moving up in the world. Those are some real world players behind the latest tenant!
Me: Why is there no moral impediment to selling land to JAX?
NCBC: Because JAX isn't engaged in any evil acts as it doesn't do human embryo stem cell research.
Me: So what? What about JAX doing contraceptive research, creating and selling products specifically for human embryo stem cell research, conducting workshops on how to do human embryo stem cell experimentation, and generally being huge supporters and proponents of many unethical life practices?
What can we do? As a start, we can provide prospective students with straightforward information about the employment numbers of recent graduates. It is open knowledge that many law schools present employment information in a misleading fashion, or don’t disclose it at all. This lack of candor on the part of law schools is itself a telling indication that there is something problematic about the product we are selling to prospective students.
More crucially, law schools must shrink the number of graduates, and must hold the line on tuition increases.
I asked Dr. Haas of the NCBC why such research [into better contraception methods] poses no moral impediment and he responded that as far as the NCBC could ascertain, all such research has been conducted only on mice and not on human beings. And while he admitted that the fruits of this research could be used for immoral ends, the research itself is not immoral and might even provide positive results.
I don't find this answer persuasive. Is Dr. Haas saying that research into better contraception methods is moral because it is conducted on animals and not human beings? This isn't a situation where Jackson Labs is researching for the sake of scientific truth and its discoveries are later used by someone else for immoral purposes; Jackson Labs is conducting its research with the specific intention to further immoral purposes. Would research into faster-acting nerve gas specifically for the purpose of killing humans (with corresponding production and marketing of the product to those who want to kill humans) be moral as long as the research is conducted only on animals and not humans?
Also, Dr. Haas still hasn't given a good explanation for why it is moral for Jackson Labs to (1) organize and host HESC conferences and training, and (2) develop and market products and services like their mouse cell lines specifically for HESC research.
What can I say? I find Tom Monaghan to be fascinating. Here are some recent articles about him, with interesting quotes that I think are revealing of his character.
First, in this National Catholic Register interview, we start with an unnecessary superlative: "I think that Ave Maria University may be the most-watched private school in the country, and there's an obligation to make it work and do it right."
Then we get some architectural insight:
Tell me about your inspiration for the oratory. I am a Frank Lloyd Wright and Fay Jones buff; Jones was Wright's most successful student. He was famous for his chapels, and I tried to take things that I liked about those chapels and make them bigger.
It's a work in progress and will take years to bring it to its full potential, but it was important to have a dominant symbol that said what we were. It's our "Golden Dome," that no other building on campus should come close to.
Then some commentary about the controversy over the Florida move:
What have been the biggest challenges in starting a university? Moving from Michigan to Florida. There was a lot of resistance and negative press perpetrated by some who didn't want to move. It got very emotional.
Almost everyone had moved to Michigan from somewhere else, so it wasn't as if they were being taken away from their homestead.
Ugh, that last line is unpleasant. So if a person gives up a career path and a family life in another state in order to commit themselves to a life in Michigan, then they shouldn't complain when a year later he is abruptly told to move to Florida? Not only does this sound quite petulant, it also shows how out of touch Monaghan is with the people involved in Ave Maria.
Monaghan has a 70-year plan to remake American Catholicism, all centred on Ave Maria University in Florida. Monaghan is chancellor and principal benefactor of the university, which anchors a vast real estate development constituting the town of Ave Maria in south-central Florida. Under Monaghan's plan, the seven-year-old university with more than 700 students will by 2077 produce 4,000 priests -- "good priests" -- 2,500 nuns, 400 "top notch" theologians, 8,000 teachers for U.S. Catholic schools, 1,500 school principals and 40,000 "strong Catholic marriages" which will in turn produce 150,000 children and 500,000 grandchildren.
Whoa, Monaghan has projected the number of grandchildren Ave Maria University will have produced by the year 2077. Bizarre.
And he's not done with franchising:
Monaghan believes one of his other projects, the Legatus network of Catholic business leaders, can help with founding and funding two- year liberal arts colleges. Monaghan calculates a small college can be founded with between $200,000 and $300,000. Operating the college would require another $200,000 a year beyond tuition fees, he said. "We can help start schools like that in the future. I mean my background is franchising. I think there's a place for two-year schools. Particularly in this economy," he said.
The feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary today reminds us of Mary's love of God shown in her fiat and response which now composes the prayer we call the Magnificat.
Mary chose to do what God asked of her despite terrible problems created and the potentially negative image it would present to others, even her fiancé St. Joseph. She was yet unwed and would be pregnant, and St. Joseph would know he didn't cause that. Yet, even after Mary's public image appeared to be negative, she didn't lift a finger or say a word to correct it, rather she let God worry about it as it was what He asked to happen. In the end, God took care of all of it in spades.
Thus, even in this aspect, Mary teaches us how to act. Public image is not a concern in the face of doing what God asks.
Contrast that to the behavior and actions of some today, who wrap themselves in Mary's image, proclaim to be working for her, and yet do whatever they want insistently even in defiance of what God asks, whether it be honoring promises made, avoiding scandal, or treating people fairly and honestly. How backwards it is of some of these people to then spare no expense and undergo any means to create a favorable public image. Mary herself didn't even do that, but yet these people proclaim themselves to be hers.
Praise to God for such a glorious Mother we have in Mary, and for honoring her heart as we do today. May she have some consolation in this little exposition here, and hopefully it be some little reparation for the crimes committed by people who claim to be acting on her behalf.
I am also astounded at the effort Thales and others put into entertaining the discussions surrounding Ave and certain other things that I take for granted. I'm too lazy for that. I can't read all that blathering and all those big words. In fact, anymore, when it comes to all things Ave and Moneyman, I only give opinions. Opinions are, after all fungible and protected by the First Amendment (for now).
Jackson Labs, in my opinion, is part of the larger eugenics crowd formed circa Rockefeller's funding of such endeavors early in the 20th century. It is and always has had connections to that influence, again, in my opinion. People who want facts, and not my opinion should go read, as I admittedly don't do.
Monaghan has, again in my opinion, constantly flirted with Bush republicans and a money structure in the United States that couldn't care less about the actual teachings of the Catholic faith, but rather was willing to throw out a pro-life bone in order to get votes and earn some pop interest. Look at Brownback and Monaghan's money towards him, including the (my opinion again) misuse of my email address given to some appendage of Brownback's campaign, when I never gave it for that purpose, ultimately resulting in a ton of spam from some money-grubbing spammers using the moniker "GOPUSA" and similar names. Brownback spewed all kinds of Catholic and prolife rhetoric when it looked like support, and seemed to drop it when the winds changed.
Like all things Monaghan, in my opinion, it's only as Catholic as money allows and circumstances permit.
Bailouts from the crowd Monaghan plays in always require a payback, or a compromise. In the case of AMU and cash bailouts, it appears to be getting in bed with eugenics and selling land.
To me and my simple unreading mind, the persistent study of embryonic stem cells has had little medical benefit. On the other hand, ADULT stem cells have had medical benefit. But somehow there is a lot of cash in the embryonic stem cells, despite having no real practical profits on medical uses. From where does it earn its money then? Apparently on empty promises and secondary benefits, which, coincidentally, and in my opinion, makes it just like the ave maria ventures..
The secondary benefits must be in some benefits to eugenics movement, and hence the Rockefeller money behind it. Unlike, Monaghan, however, Jackson labs isn't hiding the ball.
I expect it to have all of the cognitive dissonance and mental gymnastics to make it sell in public perception as morally permissible, and that's exactly what we've gotten.
The bottom line is the same: Uncle Tom needs cash and Jackson Labs has it. Tom doesn't care what Jackson does, but rather he cares about the image it creates. He's going to do it though, because he needs cash and image. The sad part in all of this is that it appears that NCBC and Dr. Haas are no different.
now, before all the yard dogs come over to try and pee on my post, let me just say that I am obviously insane to post my opinions without any facts, and I must think the sky is falling and, yes, I have a low opinion of Monaghan and think he's a faker. I do wish him well, but not at fraud and fake images and false moralism. But this is all my opinion, which you don't have to read, and frankly, you shouldn't. Just ignore this because I only wrote it so I'd remember what I thought about it a week from now.
After reading AveWatch's refutation of the NCBC Jackson Labs memo, I re-read the NCBC memo, and was struck by how fundamentally flawed it is. The NCBC's entire argument is this: "[I]t is impossible to cooperate with an evil that is not taking place and which may never take place." "[S]ince human embryonic stem cell research is not being done by Jackson Laboratory, there is no immoral cooperation with evil taking place through the sale of Monaghan's interest in the land to his partner, who in turn may sell it to Jackson Laboratory."
So the premise of the NCBC's entire argument is that JAX does not commit any evil act at its facilities. As AveWatch says, "The problem, however, is that the NCBC's premise is demonstrably false." JAX is involved in immoral acts: contraceptive research, HESC research training, developing and marketing products and services for HESC research.
The National Catholic Bioethics Center offers consultation services to individuals free of charge. You may request this service by calling the Center at 215-877-2660 during regular business hours, Monday - Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM eastern time. You may also submit your question by using this form. An ethicist will respond to you by email within 72 hours.
Maybe readers can submit some ethical questions to the NCBC and see how they respond. Here are some questions: "Is it immoral for a lab to engage in contraceptive research?" or "Is it immoral for a lab to develop and market mouse cell lines and other products specifically for HESC research?" Or come up with your own!
The National Catholic Bioethics Center has released a memo summarizing their position on Tom Monaghan's land sale to Barron Collier for a new Jackson Labs facility. I've been asking for this explanation for a while, so I thank the NCBC for publishing it.
On behalf of Thomas S. Monaghan, the Ave Maria Foundation presented a moral question to The National Catholic Bioethics Center in July 2009. The issue was very narrowly framed and was related to land which Mr. Monaghan controlled 50% interest. The question dealt with whether Mr. Monaghan, who is a 50% partner in a land development company would be involved in immoral cooperation with evil if he sold his interest in a parcel of land to his land development partner. The partner might in turn sell (or give) it to a buyer who might in the future perform immoral research activities. Against this background, is it permissible for Mr. Monaghan to sell his 50% interest in this land back to his partner?
It is the opinion of The National Catholic Bioethics Center that there would be no moral obstacle to Mr. Monaghan selling his 50% interest in this land back to his partner.
The NCBC memo then makes these points in support of its decision:
1. Human embryonic stem cell research is not being done by JAX.
2. Even though JAX has said it might do HESC research in the future, "here one lacks moral certainty regarding the commission of an evil act at all, and it is impossible to cooperate with an evil that is not taking place and which may never take place. If an evil does take place at all, it would be after the transfer of ownership by Mr. Monoghan. As such, Mr. Monoghan cannot cooperate in theoretical of hypothetical future evil acts about which he has no moral certitude that they will ever occur."
3. The fact that board members of JAX are involved in and support HESC research is irrelevant to the issue presented to the NCBC.
4. Research at JAX involves mice embryos, not human embryos.
5. The fact that JAX hosts conferences where HESC research techniques are demonstrated is irrelevant because these conferences are National Institute of Health conferences.
6. JAX's history with eugenics programs is irrelevant.
What do I think of the memo? I'm not persuaded. I agree with points 1, 3, and 6, as I don't think they factor into the analysis for the land sale's licitness. I suppose point 2 is valid, though I'm not educated enough to know how the future possibility of evil factors into the analysis. So let's suppose the NCBC is right on these points.
Here is where I think the NCBC misses the mark. -The NCBC misses the issue in point 4. The problem is not the fact that JAX works with mouse embryos, the problem is that JAX develops and markets the mouse embryos specifically for the purpose of furthering HESC research. -Point 5 makes no sense to me. What does it matter that the conferences are NIH conferences? JAX is still holding HESC conferences on its property. -The NCBC ignored JAX's involvement in contraception research.
In the second half of the memo, the NCBC discusses in general terms the ethical principles when analyzing cooperation with evil. The NCBC describes how formal and immediate material cooperation with evil are illict. It then says "if the cooperation does not contribute anything essential to the evil taking place it is called Mediate Material Cooperation and might be permitted if the good to be achieved is important enough."
What I find interesting is that the NCBC never engages in this analysis of mediate material cooperation with respect to JAX. For example, the NCBC never tells us what important good was to be achieved. In fact, the NCBC never tells us whether there is an evil with which there is cooperation. So, in light of the second half of the memo, it is almost as if NCBC's defense of the land sale in the first half of the memo boils down to the argument that JAX is not involved in the evil of HESC research, and therefore, cooperation with JAX is licit. But this doesn't address the 3 areas of illicit activity that I think JAX is engaged in: contraception research, products and services geared for HESC research, and HESC training conferences.
It's also interesting to note that the NCBC considered this issue in July 2009. At that time, I wonder whether the NCBC had as much knowledge about JAX's practices as we do now. I hope that this memo is not an attempt to bolster a year-old opinion issued without sufficient knowledge.
What do you think of the NCBC memo? Am I being too critical?
Ave Maria should be out in front of this, not running interference for Jackson Labs. If they still have bargaining power, they should contractually demand that Jackson Labs not use the purchased land for purposes which are in conflict with Catholic principles (and result in the destruction of innocent human life). And they should remove this growing cause for public scandal by clearly defining their position in this transaction.
Exactly. Maybe the land sale is morally permissible and there is no ethical problem with Jackson Labs's plan to move into Ave Maria Town. Regardless, it is undeniable that Jackson Labs is in some way connected with the grave immorality of human embryo stem cell research (not to mention contraception, in vitro fertilization, and embryo-freezing), both in the past and in the present. In order to avoid scandal, Ave Maria needs to stop saying that the practices of Jackson Labs are consistent with Catholic teaching and thoroughly explain its position with regard to the company.
Jackson Labs has a nifty new website devoted to the proposed facility to be built in Collier County, Florida, just outside of Ave Maria University. (HT: commenter "curious"). The website has a neat section of "Frequently asked questions" where Jackson Labs proudly declares the following as one of its "key discoveries": "In vitro fertilization, the freezing of embryos and other assisted reproductive technologies were invented and/or perfected by Jackson." Uh-oh. Not a good sign that Jackson takes its ethical obligations seriously.
But let's get to the central question we are all wondering, the one about whether there will be human embryonic stem cell research at an Ave Maria facility:
Would researchers at JAX-Florida work with stem cells? What kind of stem cells? The Jackson Laboratory is dedicated to the search for tomorrow's cures, and JAX scientists pursue the scientific truth, wherever it lies. Stem cell research - in all its many forms - is a promising avenue for new disease therapies. Most of the Laboratory's stem cell research involves mouse stem cells. Human embryonic stem cell research is not central to JAX's current research program, and is not expected to be a main focus at JAX-Florida. However, we could not rule out the possibility that some research of this kind might be done in the future.
That's not comforting. Keep in mind, this doesn't even address the fact that much of JAX's current research and development is still immoral, because even though it is not actually engaged in HESC research, JAX formally cooperates with the evil of HESC research being done at other labs by means of JAX's training programs, seminars, mouse products, and other services which are directly marketed to, and supportive of, HESC research done elsewhere.
Now Ave Maria surely can't condone JAX's involvement with HESC research? The "Frequently asked questions" paint a different picture:
Would there be issues related to JAX-Florida's location near Ave Maria? Executives from The Jackson Laboratory have had productive discussions with the leaders of Ave Maria University about the Laboratory, and both institutions are respectful of the others' work. We do not foresee any problems arising from our proximity. Rather, both institutions have a vested interest in the further growth and development of eastern Collier County.
What are you possibly thinking, Ave Maria, by tacitly approving JAX's involvement in HESC research?
These issues are too important to simply issue a statement that asserts "oh don't worry we looked into it and everything is fine." Catholics cannot roll over in cases such as these anymore.
According to Randy Engel at the National Coalition for Life, Monaghan sought advice on Jackson from the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia and they raised no objection. That said, I don't think that Monaghan, Baron Collier, or Ave Maria University can say that covers it. They all have an obligation to address the troubling statements on the Jackson Lab's website and the other distressing questions raised by AveWatch.com.
They must directly address these concerns or pull the plug on Jackson. If they get this wrong, Monaghan's whole vision for a Catholic University in a Catholic town will be forfeit.
Last Friday, Florida Governor Charlie Crist vetoed language which would have banned the use of state tax dollars for human embryonic stem cell research. Is Crist someone pro-lifers should support in his bid for the U.S. Senate? Remember, that hero of the pro-life cause and Ave Maria University honoree, Tom Golisano, apparently thinks so.
One bright idea isn’t going to solve the problems of the American newspaper industry, but it’s one bright idea more than the American newspaper industry has had in 40 years. What I propose is “Pre-Obituaries”—official notices that certain people aren’t dead yet accompanied by brief summaries of their lives indicating why we wish they were.
The main advantage of the Pre-Obit over the traditional obituary is the knowledge of reader and writer alike that the as-good-as-dead people are still around to have their feelings hurt. It was a travesty of literary justice that we waited until J. D. Salinger finally hit the delete key at 91 before admitting that Catcher in the Rye stinks. The book’s only virtue is that it captures, with annoying accuracy, the maunderings of a twerp. The book’s only pleasure is in slamming the cover shut—simpler than slamming the door shut on a real Holden Caulfield, if less satisfying. The rest of Salinger’s published oeuvre was precious or boring or both. But we felt constrained to delay saying so, perhaps because of an outdated Victorian hope for a death-bed flash of genius.
AveWatch has the story. On the Ave Maria School of Law radio program, Dean Eugene Milhizer said that it would be "great" if Jackson Labs opens up its planned facility near Ave Maria University. He explained that it would be "great for the university" because it would bring high-end jobs and "a lot of opportunities, I imagine, for the university to partner in different ways."
Milhizer said that Jackson Labs has been "seriously looked at to determine whether its practices are consistent with the Catholic Church’s teaching on different life issues," and that its practices are so consistent.
I guess I didn't realize that research into better contraception methods and supporting human embryo stem cell experimentation were consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church.
UPDATE: In the comments, "an observer" makes an interesting point: Milhizer is not making any distinction about the sale of land or the activities specifically planned at the Ave Maria Facility. Here, Milhizer is saying that all of the company's practices are consistent with Catholic teaching. Until now, it had only been alleged that the NCBC had no problem with the particularities of Monaghan's land sale, but there was no comment on Jackson Labs's activities as a whole.
So either Milhizer misspoke, or he is referring to a study of Jackson Labs's practices that we don't know about yet, or he is broadly (and perhaps mistakenly) considering the alleged NCBC opinion as a blanket approval of all of Jackson Labs's activities.