Friday, April 4, 2003
SECRECY: WHAT IS IT THEY’RE TRYING TO COVER UP?
The 1978 Presidential Records Act made records of past
presidents available for Congressional investigations. The President,
however, was allowed to invoke executive privilege if disclosure
would threaten national security or reveal the deliberative processes
of the executive branch. You probably thought we’d progressed
beyond the custom of hereditary authority, but in November 2001,
Executive Order 13233, "Further Implementation of the Presidential
Records Act," extended that executive privilege to a deceased
President’s descendants. Warning that Executive Order 13233
could severely limit investigations of former Administrations, Rep.
Doug Ose (R-CA) has now introduced a bill to revoke the order. Just
last week, we reported that President Bush had signed yet another
Executive Order that would postpone automatic declassification of
documents from the same era.
2. EPHEDRA: WELL,
NOW THAT YOU BRING UP SCIENTIFIC PROOF...
Heart Association has joined the chorus calling for a federal ban
on ephedra, a herbal stimulant linked serious side effects including
heart attack and stroke (WN 14 Mar 03).
A spokesman for the powerful ephedrine industry snorted that a ban
would be "irresponsible," since
the allegations against ephedra had not been "proven scientifically." That’s
the problem, isn’t it? Neither has ephedra been proven safe.
As a result of the 1994 Dietary Supplement and Health Education Act
(DSHEA), the herbal market is totally unregulated: herbal products
don’t have to be proven safe or effective. But in the case
of ephedra, the bodies are starting to pile up (WN
14 Mar 03).
MISSILE DEFENSE: HOW IS THE "NEW" PATRIOT DOING?
to what, you might ask? We could compare it to the old Patriot Advanced
Capability (PAC-2) used in the 1991 Gulf War, but that sets the bar
pretty low. (Maybe one Scud in the whole war.) As of Monday, a count
by the Center for Defense Information put the number of Iraqi Ababil-100
missiles launched at 13. These are slower and have shorter range
than the Scud. Patriot missiles reportedly intercepted eight, but
only a few of the most advanced version of the Patriot, the PAC-3,
have been used.
4. PRAYER HEALING:
WELL WHAT DID YOU EXPECT FROM "PARADE"?
WN got a lot of mail from people who read "Why Prayer Could
Be Good Medicine." As near as WN could tell, no one on Earth
doubts that sick people who pray may derive some sort of emotional
benefit, perhaps even improving their prognosis. The only question
with any religious implications is whether intercessory prayer, prayer
offered by others without the knowledge of the patient, helps. The
answer will not be found by reading Parade. Elsewhere, In Touch Ministries
distributed a pamphlet to troops: "A Christian’s Duty
in a Time of War." It included a helpful scripture from
Romans 13:1 "Every person is to be in subjugation to the governing
authorities. For there is no authority except from God..." This
was the basis of the Divine Right of Kings.