Friday, October 29, 2004

My input regarding Embryonic Stem Cell Research

An email from Tammy Brehm-Gibson:

I would like to add my comments to the current policy on Stem Cell Research that is being debated by John Kerry and George W. Bush at this time.

As a scientist who is involved in Medical Research at the Mayo Clinic Scottsdale I know that stem cell research is in its infancy. There is great promise that research involving stem cells could help improve the lives of many people suffering from horrible diseases like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, juvenile diabetes and perhaps even spinal cord injuries. Great Promise are the key words here! Nothing has been proven yet....the research is still in the early stages.

I'm personally frustrated and angered by John Kerry's political view that there is a BAN on stem cell research. There is not! Last year, the federal government spent $25 million on stem cell research (established stem cell line(s) already available from embryonic sources mostly in vitro fertilization where couples have donated extra embryos to science for research) and includes stem cells from umbilical cord blood, adult stem cells and animal stem cells. The BAN he is talking about is for new embryonic stem cells from embryos that have to be destroyed (the moral issue). How can Kerry make this claim? The claim that new stem cells from human embryos are going to cure disease???? PLEASE! It's a serious stretch!!!! How dare he!!!!

Normally, I'm the type of person to sit back and observe carefully regarding what others are doing. Since I understand this area of debate I am opening myself up for questions if you have them regarding stem cell research. I am not currently doing any stem cell research myself but happen to have colleagues in the Biotech community that do. And guess where they get their stem cells? They have people employed in the industry that go out to hospitals and harvest umbilical cord blood and placenta from human mother's that have just given birth. The cord blood contains the embryonic stem cells. Afterwards, the harvester brings them (Embryonic Stem Cells) back to the company for Research and Development. Embryonic stem cell research is a wide open arena for the private sector and federally funded programs.

There is no ban!!!!!!!

I'm sorry to report that John Kerry is lying to the American public in this area. Please do your research before you vote!

Thank-you for your time,

Tammy Brehm-Gibson
MCS Immunology Core Coordinator
Samuel C. Johnson Medical Research
Mayo Clinic Scottsdale


If you want to figure out for yourself whether or not Tammy Brehm-Gibson is the full dollar, try your teeth on this



Update

On July 9, 2005, I received the following email from tbrehmgibson@yahoo.com. As the email is not from an institutional address, I have some doubts concerning its authenticity.:


Dear John Ray,

Please be so kind as to remove the email letter regarding stem cell research dated October 29, 2004, purportedly written by myself, from your web site.

This letter is a mistake, a farce and has nothing to do with the Mayo Clinic or myself. I trust that the person who sent this letter to you had the most honorable intentions in mind, but it is in fact a lie; thus adding no value to your cause.

I would sincerely appreciate your removal of it as permission was never granted for display of this letter or any letter I may have truly written, on the Internet.

Sincerely,

Tammy Brehm-Gibson

Monday, October 25, 2004

GULLIBILITY ABOUT THE "RELIGION OF PEACE"

On the "Compass" (religious affairs) program of Australia's public broadcaster (the ABC) and on the "60 Minutes" program of commercial broadcaster Channel 9, Islam regularly gets whitewashed -- at the expense of Israel. One of my Australian readers wrote them a letter of protest. The letter is reproduced below

I am not a Jew, but cannot allow another of Richard Carleton’s biased and partisan reports on Israel to pass without comment, and in particular with regard to the security wall. He attempted to give the appearance of balance, but it was very inadequate and quite transparent. His very demeanour, facial expressions and commentary appeared illuminated with extreme anti- Semitism, and yes, hatred was in his eyes. He did a grave disservice to the intelligence of his viewing audience.

With a rising tide of anti-Semitism throughout Europe, spawned by Islamo-fascists and extreme left wing ideologues, whose interests will not be served by a two States solution, this sort of reporting is not only mischievous but dangerous. The Jews have made concession after concession after concession to the Palestinians outrageous demands. Arafat has reneged each and every time, why? Because he has vowed to kill all the Jews drive them into the sea, his desire is to have the whole of Israel and Palestine under his personal control and that of his corrupt and evil regime. What he states in English to the Western Press is not in context that which he speaks in Arabic, to the Palestinian people, 'Arab street' and to Al Jazeera.

Whilst he maintains the status quo, Arafat and he PA are in receipt of billions of dollars of aid from the USA and the EU, Saudi Arabia Russia, China and Iran, none of which reaches the suffering populace. Arafat collects commission on virtually all goods and products entering the area under his control, meanwhile his wife Sufa, and their daughter live in ostentatious extravagance in Paris. If a State comes into being, he would lose all this, his personal 'cash cow', his power base and his life at risk, for this reason alone he is content to beggar the people of 'Palestine' and keep them enslaved.

ALL deaths sustained by the 'Palestinians' are as a direct consequence of Arafat’s murderous regime, not one death would have occurred at the hand of Israel had the Arabs not deliberately slaughtered innocent Israelis, who ask only the right to live in peace.

Richard Carleton referred to the girl age thirteen who was shot by the Israeli Captain, an act the Israeli’s take very seriously indeed and will be investigated thoroughly. We could wish the same of the Palestinian thugs who think nothing of butchering a young pregnant mother and her four little daughters or babes in kindergarten or in their own beds at night, you know the sort of thing, newsworthy for five minutes then forgotten, but no doubt like Abu Ghraib, this will be pursued ad nauseum.

Israel gave up Sinai and her oil wells to Egypt as part of the Oslo 'Peace Agreement' and what did they receive for their sacrifice? further death and destruction. They are entitled to retain all lands seized in Gaza and the West Bank under the International Rules of War and engagement.

When any foreign power initiates an act of aggression against a Sovereign State and subsequently is defeated, the country which has been subject to such attack, without any provocation, is entitled under International Law lay to claim any land acquired in the wake of the aggressors defeat. This territory may legally be retained by Israel, until such time an agreement and settlement is reached and signed into being. Arafat seeks to avoid any form of compromise and remains intransigent, despite being offered 99% of all he has demanded he walks away on every occasion.

The Palestinians use every ruse possible to create mayhem and death and they need look no further than their own evil leader and his gangster thugs to thank for the wall/fence. Can anyone truly imagine, that if we were to face on daily basis what Israel has had to endure, that we would have shown the restraint that Israel has always shown? Mr Howard has rightly stated that we would go after anyone who seeks to terrorise and threaten Australian citizens and in a pre-emptive strike if all else failed.
The wall has saved many, many lives so far. Israel has stated that when the PA stops the murders the wall will be torn down. The ball is in Arafat's court.

The Jews have never abused the hospitality of ANY country in which they have sought refuge, they do not exploit the taxpayers by being consumers of social welfare, they are industrious, very hard working, create businesses and employment for others regardless of colour race or creed, many are great Philanthropists and many a hospital, school, and university are the grateful recipients of their munificence

They are law abiding, respectful of society, they teach their children to honour and accept the laws of their adoptive country. In their schools they educate and encourage their children to attain the highest standards and to develop a strong sense of service to the community. They do not have their religious, the Rabbis, teaching students to hate all who are not of their faith, nor incite them to disrupt and kill, despise and consider all other unclean. I am left to ponder, why so many who have little belief in any faith of their own, can find it in their hearts to despise a people who have never in history done them any harm? In the 21st century, we just cannot continue to allow the blame for Christ’s death, for all eternity, to reside with the Jews.

Jesus was a Jew, a radical thinker who incurred the wrath of a few corrupt priests and officials who sought support from the Romans to remove this 'nuisance', the ordinary citizens no more sought his death than we would today. It was politics, at its most venal. At that time in history most of our Western antecedents were tribal barbarians, pagans, garbed in wolf skins butchering all and sundry. The Jews by contrast, were monotheistic had a highly developed society and system of law of developed over 3000 years, at the time of Christ. I would ask people to consider what other group or communities have contributed so much to the betterment of any society wherein they have sought refuge? In the realms of education, science, medicine, music, art, comedy, literature, theatre and film as a group they have no equal.

It is with urgency, I ask each to examine their conscience, and not allow this rising tide of anti –Semitism to get a foothold in this great country. Too many turned their heads, eyes, ears ignoring the warning signs prior to WW2. We must NEVER let that happen again. The Jews have never asked for special privileges, they adapt and blend within the society they domicile and are an asset to the betterment of us all.

There are many who have a vested interest and agenda in trying to focus blame for their own inadequacies, lack of success, power or perceived victim status onto to the shoulders of others and the Jews in particular. They have served as society’s 'whipping boy' for long enough. If there is no Israel, where can the Jews go next for refuge? And if Israel and the Jews are destroyed, ask, who will replace them as the recipient of the venom and hatred of the frustrated and malcontent. Israel is our 'canary in the mine' she has the knowledge, the language and the ability to infiltrate as do few others, the’ rogue’ states that would do us harm- she is at the battle front and we must support this noble country, whose citizens are amongst the bravest on earth.

ONLY in Israel can an Arab or Muslim vote, sit it parliament and receive justice. Israel pays millions of dollars US each year to the PA, Palestinian injured and sick beg to be admitted to Israeli hospitals where they are treated according to urgency, not race or creed, even when those who are severely wounded incurred those injuries whilst attacking and fighting the Israelis. How many others could trust their enemy not to do them harm when in a comparable situation. If the situation were reversed the Israeli injured would be dragged from their sick beds and torn to pieces whilst the onlookers danced and ululated. The Israelis return the bodies of all Palestinians killed in battle to the families for burial, the Palestinians however steal the bodies of dead Israelis, mutilate and desecrate their remains and refuse to return the corpse for ritual burial thus enhancing the anguish of the bereaving families.

We keep hearing about 'Right of return' most of the so called 'Palestinians' are Egyptians, as is Arafat, Jordanians, Syrians, Lebanese and Arabs whose former countries refuse to let them return and resettle. What is little commented on, is the 900,000 plus Jews from the Diaspora, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Arabia Lebanon who were forced from their homes and businesses, taking only what was on their backs and what they were able to carry in their hands and sometimes not even that. This does not include the thousands of dispossessed Christians, Zoastrians and Suffis that little Israel has also absorbed from these self same Arab countries, people the Arabs, neither acknowledge nor want, but to whom was also home from the dawn of time. All the dispossessed from Arab /Muslim controlled lands, were deprived of their all, not solely in material assets, homes, businesses, bank accounts, many had their identity stolen with the confiscation of passports and birth certificates, their whole life’s work misappropriated /stolen by the voracious Arab, but, their cultural heritage obliterated in their wake. No reparation has been offered nor ever will be, but the Arabs demand this of Israel.. Twenty years ago Bethlehem was 80% Christian now it is 80% Arab Muslim

Certain other groups enter our shores by illegal and devious means, then seek to have special privileges, social security and free housing as well as claiming special rights under our laws, then presume to abuse the very people who gave them succour and opportunities. They do not assimilate nor intend to, rather they would seek to burden and have us submit to the very regimes they escaped from. They are racist and self centred- this can never be said of our Jews most who now have been here for several generations.

For the past three years since 9/11, freed from the burden of paid employment, I sought to increase my knowledge of Islam, the Middle East and Israel. At first it was in part, a seeking to understand Islam and Muslims for whom I felt genuine concern, fearing a hate campaign against those who had no part or connection to Islamic terrorism. I spend many hours each week reading books on Islam and searching the internet, which provides much knowledge that would take many years to research in a library. What I have learned has made me a committed supporter of Israel any who value freedom will support her also.

In every society there are those who will never be content for whatever reason, and rather than work to enhance society, seek to destroy the fabric of the existing one, to replace it with some mystical utopian socialist paradise. They ignore the realities of the totalitarian states that saw millions tortured, starved and killed in the 'great' experiment to build a socialist utopia. Palestine is run by such a man, no Muslim Arafat, rather a fanatic who learned his role at the knee of his fascist Uncle- who was Grand Mufti of Jerusalem during WW2, a staunch admirer of Hitler who shared Hitler’s dream to destroy all Jewry worldwide. We should never ally ourselves to such a man or such a brutal and devilish regime- we do so at our peril. Deceit, lies and broken agreements are to him and his follower’s considered a code of honour.

"60 Minutes" to its credit has been responsible for some wonderful reporting and stories over the years, but its moral equivalence with regard to the Israel/Palestine conflict leaves one with no option but to draw the conclusion that they would rather promulgate a lie than lose access to the PA which would be the case if they showed some integrity, reported with honesty what is really is occurring under Arafat's leadership to the benighted Palestinians and ceased peddling what the PA propaganda machine directs. If the media wish to aid the Palestinian cause, they should use their knowledge and talents to report the truth. The public needs to learn of the corruption within Arafat's fiefdom and the complicity of that other corrupt body the UN.

All governments should cease all funding to the PA forthwith, financial aid is appeasement, it serves only to swell the pockets of Arafat and his henchmen and enables the purchase of sophisticated armaments and of suicide bombers to murder even more innocents within Israel, nothing to ease the suffering people under their control.

Israel, the ONLY democracy in the Middle East who is not even allowed a seat at the UN, who is constantly accused of atrocities, though its defence forces are careful in the extreme, of where and whom they target and always in direct response to an outrage on their civilian population. Yet the amount of print, film and recording, denigrating and decrying Israel is in stark contrast to the deafening silence and absence of comment on the corruption endemic within the UN, the role of Sudan sitting on the Human Rights commission whilst allowing the 'ethnic cleansing' of Darfur, Husseins brutality and China's treatment of Tibet to name but a few.

In conclusion, the viewing audience is becoming increasingly informed and demands much more of the MSM than the selective pastiche that passes for information and trusted in the past. If the Media wishes to remain relevant in the future it has to lift its game and treat its audience as intelligent beings, a lesson that should have been learnt from CBS and Dan Rather’s "60 Minutes" with regard to the fraudulent "Bush Memos".

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Saint Bob's defence of dads is the real deal

By Amanda Platell


Lectures from "saint" Bob Geldof on Africa are one thing. Hectoring us about marriage and motherhood is quite another. The raw pain of his separation and divorce from Paula Yates is so apparent that it has always swamped his message. But Sir Bob's message that marriages need both parents to make them work, and that dads have got a raw deal over the years, moved me with its sheer logic. For all his damaged pride, he touched on one of the great injustices of our age. In a post-feminist world where equality is the measure by which everything is judged, how is it that men came to be such second-class citizens before the law?

Let's put aside Geldof's theory on why modern marriages are failing - he blames intolerant, ephemeral, sex-crazed women with unrealistic expectations - and concentrate instead on his message about fathers. Geldof pointed out that family law works on the presumption that only mothers are capable of caring for children and that, except in extreme cases of addiction or abuse, the mother is always deemed the more capable nurturer. Divorced dads, he claims, do not play an equal and active role in raising their offspring, often because the law prevents them from doing so.

This is anathema to voices in the liberal media, for whom any attempt to question a woman's rights is seen as old-fashioned sexism rearing its ugly head. And I agree. Sexism is still alive and kicking. But this time, it's the men who are the victims.

Men aren't all the same, any more than all women are the same. But the fathers of today are very different from my own father's generation. You would be hard put to find a more loving dad than my own, yet he would be the first to admit he could never have raised my brothers and me alone. He taught us how to swim and ride and fight, but he never changed a nappy. When Mum was in hospital when we were kids, we were farmed off to an aunt or grandma to feed and clothe us.

But it's not like that any more. Most of my male friends are dads, aged from their 30s to their 50s, some with young children, some with teenagers, some with both. What unites them are the midnight feeds,the nappy-changing, the cooking, the cleaning, the nose-wiping, the worrying and the loving.

I'm not saying they do the same amount of housework and nurturing as their wives. Usually, they're not in a position to, because they work full-time and their partners work part-time, a happy arrangement for all of them. Nor are they "New Men" - that urban tribe lamponned 10 years ago for being in touch with their feminine side. They are ordinary blokes who love their children and want to play an active role in their upbringing.

The important point here is that modern dads not only have the desire to raise their offspring, but the ability to do so. Yet the law decrees that when a couple divorce, in the majority of cases the children stay with the mothet. How is that fair or equal?

For that matter, why do we take it for granted that when a couple split up, the woman will be awarded the vast majority of the assets -- including the family home? Is it not possible that in some situations, at least, the father is the more capable parent? The very idea is heresy to many feminist campaigners, for whom all things must be equal... so long as that doesn't mean acknowledging that some women can be equally bad parents as some men.

Again and again we are told: in the eyes of the law, the children come first. And they should. But there must be some occasions when the man can provide a better home than the woman for his children?

Much as we would all love a world where every family is whole and secure, that is not our generation's reality. As Sir Bob pointed out, it is too easy to get into marriage and too easy to get out. But in Bob's World, where mothers and fathers had equal rights, there is an intriguing possibility. If mothers did not get automatic custody of the kids and guaranteed financial support; if instead they faced the risk they would end up with the bills and without the kids, I suspect our divorce-rate would plummet



The above article appeared in the Brisbane "Sunday Mail" of October 17, 2004, p. 54. Below is a brief article on Geldof from the same publication, issue of October 10th, 2004, p. 44




Geldof changes his tune

As a foul-mouthed punk rocker fronting The Boomtown Rats, Bob Geldof delighted in upsetting parents everywhere. More than 25 years on, he has become a champion of the traditional family. The singer, who battled his late ex-wife Paula Yates for custody of their three daughters, has attacked the selfishness which leads to marital breakdown. "The truth of every study is clear -- dual-parent upbringing produces healthier, better-educated children. That's it", he said.

In a British documentary on marriage, Geldof, 50, says divorce has appalling consequences for children, partners and the state. "Children of divorced parents are much more likely to do worse at school, commit crimes, go to prison and commit suicide.''





More details of Geldof's views here



Thursday, October 14, 2004

THE DECONSTRUCTED DERRIDA

An email from a reader

It has occurred to me that Derrida and his cohorts are in some ways similar to the List Makers of Ancient Ur.

The priests and temple scribes of that ancient city were separated from the peasant mob largely by virtue of their skill at reading and writing. It was an arcane and little-understood skill. The skill was almost entirely used in making and maintaining lists - store inventories, tax rolls etc.

These guys spent their lives immersed in this list-making, for which they were highly regarded, but still servants. They were the eo-experts: always on tap, never on top.

Over time they became so enamoured of their precious lists that they imbued special powers to them. Which was fortunate, because although they still weren't getting the respect and power they deserved they were able to run a nice little earner on the side making up 'magic lists' and selling them to the gullible.

A large proprtion of the surviving lists are just these 'magic lists'.

Our modern day scribes, locked up in the academy, spending all their days immersed in books ('texts' in post-modern speak) have become so enamoured of them that they are imbueing them with special power - the 'text', the 'narrative' is the reality - all else is flimsy conjecture, etc.

And, like the List Makers of Ur, they are trying to get the respect they so richly deserve by peddling this textual snake-oil to the gullible.

Monday, October 11, 2004

THE AUSTRALIAN LEFT

Some reflections sent in by an Australian reader

It's pathetic to see Labor blame everyone but themselves for their recent election loss. When Labor grows up and is able to take responsibility for its mistakes and is truly honest then maybe the majority of Australian's will vote for them. If it makes Labor feel better to invent a fictitious scapegoat like interest rate scare campaigns then go right ahead - but Labor will be entirely wrong.

Such a notion is an insult to people that are well educated and hold a conservative political worldview. Blaming a scare campaign is like saying that most people who voted for the Coalition are gullible and less than intelligent. A constant theme of Labor's unfounded campaign of lies. Yes Labor lies continually too, that's why accusing John Howard of lying revolts many Australians - it's the sheer hypocrisy.

Well people have a longer memory than Labor believes possible. The sheer quantum of Labor lies and Labor's record on 'scare campaigns' is horrendous. Think about the selective Labor GST campaign that attempted to dupe the public into thinking that all goods would go up 10%. Labor conveniently forgot to mention the abolition of a swag indirect sales taxes. That is just one of many scare campaigns Labor has conducted on a massive scale. Such campaigns attempt to dupe the public and rely on a premise that everyone is stupid and won't see through it. But we do! It's a form of selective honesty that equates to filthy dishonesty in the end. People who may have votes Labor remember these things.

One should remember that most people consider omission a lie as well and Labor are very good at omissions when it comes to painting one side of a particular story.

Do you think that there people can't remember the swaggering sneering arrogant Keating, the continual budget deficits, the pandering to inefficient work practices and union self-interest.

Before you typecast me as some well heeled conservative, I'm out of work and dislike exploitation in the workplace too. But Labor thinks the world owes every "battler" a living and conveniently forgets that people who have worked hard all their lives to gain qualifications to better themselves (against the odds) should redress the incomes of those who made life choices that did not involve the extra effort towards career and qualification. Those who have forgone children and other pleasures do not feel kindly to labor thieves who try to steal hard earned possessions to give back to the people who did not make the hard choices from whence many people who have bettered themselves once came themselves. Basically it is Labor's policies to take from the middle class and give to the lower class.

Enough said - you can bet Labor/leftists will not listen to a word of the above because their minds are simply left orientated. But let it be said that the left worldview is no more or less educated than any perception leftists may hold about a right wing world view.

There are plenty of other politically incorrect views that people hold that are not born of ignorance but are actually truths. Labor's ridiculous insistence on the politically correct to the exclusion of the truth in the name of so called education of the "ignorant" masses makes me vomit. Take the lie that we were always multicultural. Just look at the emblem in the corner of our flag. If we say that multicultural means Irish v British then go right ahead and make the distinction but in my books I would put Irish an British and northern Europeans in the same category in terms of compatible cultures and ethnicity. Yeah so we had a few thousand Chinese immigrate during the goldrush - yeah we must be multicultural (not). This is patent bullshit. Take a look at my class photos from the early 70's and tell me we were always multicultural - then go to the inner-west of Sydney today and take a snapshot of demographics at a shopping centre.

Leftists, Wake up, stop reinventing history and lying and maybe Labor might win the next one and change peoples minds. Don't apologise for things that may have occurred in the life span of our (or at least my) forefathers - at least until the Queen of Denmark apologises to England for Viking invasions. Labor, don't steal from middle Australia to fund your lifestyle decisions. According to the Left, rich means anyone on an income slightly above the poverty line. Not everyone deserves the same lifestyle. Some people work for theirs (which is true justice, fairness and equity). Middle Australia should not have to work even harder while people those who benefit either don't work or have cushy government jobs or didn't work hard enough at school. Effectively, middle Australia is being made to pay for the life decisions of leftist/lower class Australia. Stop stealing from those who made sensible decisions. True equity, justice and fairness takes into account effort and skills acquired and does not rob those who acquired them to pay those who didn't bother. NO-one paid for my education and I had to work graveyard shifts to gain education. Let lower Australia do the same. Labor politicians can get stuffed for the hypocrisy of their upper class wages and super while professing to represent lower income Australians - this is truly dishonest and disgusting.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

John Kerry's Viet Cong Clone - A Parallel Life?

By: Wayne Lusvardi, Vietnam Veteran, Pasadena, California (wlusvardi@yahoo.com)

What prominent political person comes to mind with the following description? A person who lived in France and went to French boarding schools; who met with the world-renown leader of his country as a youth; when a military deferment was denied he enlisted in the Navy; was involved in an ambush of navy fast boats in the Me Kong Delta in Vietnam; went on a secret mission to Cambodia; was one of the leaders of the anti-war movement opposing the Viet Nam war; was arrested for anti-war activism; who went to meet with the Marxist rebel leader of a foreign country; as a lawyer came to head a governmental justice department; became a "proselytizer" of the upper classes against American "imperialism" in Vietnam; married twice; and ran a large food company? If you answered U.S. Senator John Kerry, you are right (for a biography of Kerry see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Kerry). But this description could eerily also fit another lesser-known political figure on the other side of the world during the same era.

Although many differences can be found between them, the above could also describe the uncanny parallel life of Truong Nhu Tang, who became the Viet Cong's Minister of Justice after the end of the Vietnam War as told in the book by Truong Tang, Viet Cong Memoir: An Inside Account of the Vietnam War and its Aftermath (Vintage Books, 1985). The lives of John Kerry and Truong Nhu Tang beg a comparison with the biographies written in 75 A.D. by Petrarch in his classical Parallel Lives of the leaders of the Roman and Greek Empires.

Kerry grew up in France and Tang was schooled in French colonial schools in Vietnam as well as going to university in Paris. Kerry personally met with President John F. Kennedy as a youth; while Tang had an exclusive meeting with Ho Chi Minh in Paris as a university student. As a college student, Kerry delivered a speech where he said: "It is the specter of Western imperialism that causes more fear among Africans and Asians than communism, and thus it is self-defeating." Similarly, Tang wrote in his memoirs that he was sympathetic with the huge crowds that hit the streets in Saigon during French colonial rule shouting "down with the Imperialists." When military deferments were denied them, both enlisted in the navies of their respective countries. Kerry was involved in several military missions on a fast boat in the Mekong Delta, including an ambush; Truong was marginally involved in a river ambush of French patrol boats in the Mekong Delta during the French war in Indo China. Kerry returned home after the war and became involved in anti-war protests including being arrested for demonstrating; Tang was arrested by the Thieu regime in South Vietnam for his anti-war activities and accused of being a double agent for the Communist Party. Kerry claims he went on a secret mission on a swift boat into Cambodia; Tang fled to the secret Central Office of South Vietnam (COSVN) on the Cambodian border after release from prison. During the Reagan Presidency, in sympathy with the Marxist Sandinistas Kerry went to Nicaragua to meet with leader Daniel Ortega during his fight against the CIA-backed Contras; Tang served as a North Vietnamese emissary to Communist Albania and Bulgaria. Kerry became a prosecutor in the District Attorney's Office in Massachusetts; Tang completed licensure as a lawyer and became his country's Minister of Justice who naively tried to establish a uniform legal code to prevent arbitrary arrests by Communists of South Vietnamese after the war. Kerry investigated the drug trafficking and corruption of the Bank of Commerce and Credit (BCCI), which funded terrorist Abu Nidal; Tang ran the corrupt Industry and Commerce Bank of Viet Nam. Kerry married into the H.J. Heinz family; Tang was appointed to run the national sugar company of Vietnam.

Drawing Parallel Lines

History may not repeat itself but it certainly parallels itself in the lives of intellectual and social elites in democratic societies who are willing to collaborate with Communism to accomplish their seemingly sincere and just political goals. They are often nationalists, patriots, and democrats who abhor corrupt despotic regimes in favor of liberal reform and a just foreign policy. They rationalize their coalition with Marxist Communism by claiming that no viable alternative exists and by deluding themselves that Communist pledges of solidarity and reform are genuine. Unfortunately and tragically, they learn too late that the victory of the "progressive" forces and the expulsion of the foreign occupiers don't bring peace and prosperity but a far more oppressive totalitarian system.

Such is the life story of Truong Tang who naively deluded himself most of his adult life that collaborating with Communists offered the best opportunity for South Vietnamese independence. Ironically, Tang was arrested and tortured under the regime of President Thieu in South Vietnam and was only released when he could be exchanged for American prisoners of war, whose presence in his country he detested. After the U.S. pullout from South Vietnam and the fall of Saigon, at least 300,000 people were arrested and none of them ever freed except a few elites whose relatives bribed Communist officials. Tang was so self-deceived that after the war he drove his own two brothers to Communist re-education camps only to learn that they were never to be freed. One of Tang's collaborators in his National Liberation Front (NLF) and Provisional Revolutionary Government (PRG) pointedly asked after the American pullout from South Vietnam:

"Do you think it was such a wonderful idea to chase the Americans out? At least when the Americans were here, we had food. Now what do we have? International solidarity? The cadres are always talking about serving the people. At last we're supposed to be the masters of our own country. Funny how the masters are walking around bare foot, and the servants are riding around in cars."

Ironically Truong Nhu Tang ended up one of the "boat people" who fled ruthless Communist rule in South Vietnam. He reportedly ended up living in exile in France. Tang was trapped in a tangled web with no perceived alternative, although Communism appealed most to his Confucian patriarchal upbringing. Tang could not see at the time that the only hope of an independent Vietnam was in America winning the Vietnam War. But knowing what we know now about Vietnam and the atrocities of Pol Pot in Cambodia after the Vietnam War, one can only conclude that those who continue to sympathize with Communist rule are engaged in a monumental quasi-religious delusion (see Joshua Muravchik, Heaven and Earth: The Rise and Fall of Socialism, Encounter Books, 2002). It is interesting to note that an anti-colonialist in Vietnam with the Chinese surname of Tang would entertain Marxism at all, another European morality which led to amazing widespread suffering.

Certainly, John Kerry's former war actions and anti-war activities and his current Presidential candidacy can not be morally equated with the complicity of Truong Tang in the massive "killing fields" in Vietnam and Cambodia and the tragedies of the "boat people" after the war. But the tragic historical consequences of the dreamers, idealists, and revolutionaries that often come from the elite classes of a society bodes a word of caution for any candidate for the Presidency of the United States who may be sympathetic with like-minded elites in the Middle East or elsewhere.

In Plutarch's classical Parallel Lives he usually took people in similar circumstances and showed how superior character led to a superior moral life. Truong Tang's life is a sad reminder of the consequences of those who sup with the devil of Communism with a short spoon. Even so, Tang dealt with hardship over a long period of time for his idealism about independence for his country. Did Tang do better for his people than Kerry his? Did Tang or Kerry do better for the masses of people caught up in the Vietnam War? For those who want to elect Kerry based on his record in the Vietnam War they should think a second time.