- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 23, 2003

Leahy's not Mr. Nice Guy, either

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat, called the Bush administration "mean-spirited" because of its attempt to implement a reasonable environmental policy (Inside the Beltway, Nation, Monday). Disagreeing with the administration's approach is one thing. Calling the administration names, especially when the name-caller has a Ph.D. in being mean-spirited, is hypocritical.
When Mr. Leahy was chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, he exhibited an extraordinary, actually unprecedented, degree of mean-spiritedness. He railed against Attorney General John Ashcroft for his pro-life views at Mr. Ashcroft's confirmation hearings. He helped his fellow Democrats smear Judges Charles Pickering and Dennis W. Shedd. (He double-crossed Sen. Strom Thurmond, South Carolina Republican, by not holding a committee vote on Judge Shedd.) He stalled many other nominations perhaps most prominently, D.C. appellate court nominee Miguel Estrada for more than a year.
Furthermore, Mr. Leahy is a leading proponent of aid to the U.N. Fund for Population Activities. This fund helps finance the communist Chinese government's barbaric program for population control, which includes the forced abortion of out-of-wedlock pregnancies and the second pregnancies of married couples. If a married couple refuses, they are punished with fines that may exceed their annual income. Here at home, Mr. Leahy claims he supports a woman's "right to choose," which is less than compassionate, allowing women to abuse their bodies and kill their unborn children.
As someone who doesn't care whether his policies hurt people or are unjust, Mr. Leahy should be the last one to call someone else "mean-spirited."

WILLIAM LUKSIC
Rockville, Md.

Mexico's insidious designs?

The article "Mexico gives IDs to illegal aliens" (Page 1, Tuesday) should encourage Americans to question why Mexico is actively pushing for the acceptance of Mexican ID cards in many states besides pushing for amnesty and government benefits for illegal Mexican immigrants and for more guest-worker programs.
A Zogby poll in June showed that 58 percent of Mexicans believe the U.S. Southwest rightfully belongs to them and that 57 percent of Mexicans do not believe they need U.S. permission to enter this country.
Not surprisingly, in 1997, Ernesto Zedillo, then president of Mexico, told the National Council of La Raza in Chicago that the "Mexican nation extends beyond its territories enclosed by its borders and that Mexican migrants are an important, a very important, part of it."
In 1995, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Henry Cisneros told a Hispanic audience: "As goes the Latino population will go the state of California, and as goes the state of California will go the United States of America. My friends, the stakes are big. This is a fight worth making."
In the past decade, the Hispanic population exploded, even in North Carolina, where it increased by more than 600 percent.
Is Mexico using immigration to control American policies and, eventually, control the entire United States? We should remember that children born in the United States, even of illegal immigrants and guest workers, are U.S. citizens and can vote when they turn 18.

YEH LING-LING
Executive director
Diversity Alliance for a Sustainable America
Oakland, Calif.

Separating sentiment from doctrine

It is true that anti-war sentiments have been expressed by both the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and various Vatican officials, including Pope John Paul II ("The Catholic Church and Iraq," Editorial, yesterday). However, just because they have taken this stance does not render their sentiments into doctrinal teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.
The layman writer George Weigel and other Catholic moralists are seeking to develop new moral criteria to cover situations that the just-war theory did not foresee: pre-emptive strikes against a worldwide terrorist network seeking to target innocent civilians with weapons of mass destruction. Hence, the debate goes on within the country and, hopefully, the Catholic Church to develop such moral criteria.

THE REV. LEONARD F. VILLA
Yonkers, N.Y.

'Flawed logic' of the anti-tort vaccine line

William Smith's response ("Autism and vaccines," Letters, Tuesday) to my Saturday letter regarding vaccinations and autism ("When tort court is the only option") is a case study in flawed logic. First he plays straw man by limiting vaccine/autism links to one vaccine, MMR (for mumps, measles and rubella), though I never mentioned MMR. The problem concerns not one vaccine, but the cumulative exposure to mercury from the large number of required infant vaccinations that contained thimerosal in the 1990s. During the 1990s, most MMR vaccines did not contain thimerosal, the drug suspected of causing autism, which makes his MMR thesis pointless. He also seems unaware that mercury poisoning, like autism, affects males much more than females.Additionally, he argues that the increase in autism is not real, but the result of better diagnostics.
So let me be clear and answer the few legitimate questions he raises. The real problem is that the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP), geared toward acute events and not late-developing chronic injuries, trumps all other statutes of limitations for infant vaccine injuries for no apparent legitimate reason, effectively excluding all claims for such injuries, regardless of proof of causation. A growing body of evidence indicates a link between infant thimerosal exposure and autism. Thimerosal is 50 percent mercury, one of the most toxic substances on Earth, which is known to cause problems with neural development in infants.
Most of the vaccinations given to infants during the 1990s contained thimerosal, including the HiB, DtP and HepB vaccines, and infant mercury exposure from those vaccines was many times what it had been previously, often exceeding government guidelines. The symptoms of autism and infant mercury poisoning are nearly identical, including the fact that mercury poisoning disproportionally affects males. Studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) and the state of California show that the increase in autism is very real and is not attributable to expanded diagnostic criteria or better recognition. These are facts, and opinions cannot change them.
The same studies imply that the rise in autism has a direct time correlation with the increase in infant vaccinations containing mercury. The preliminary CDCP study showed that infant exposure to thimerosal greatly increased the risk of autism, with rising risk at increased exposure levels. The data were then altered before publication, reducing the autism correlation to the point where the lead author has stated publicly that the final study has been made meaningless because of the data alterations excluding autistics.
What the parents of autistic children fear is that drug companies, with the apparent full cooperation of the government, are successfully "aging out" via statute and liability waivers the entire group of autistic children exposed to thimerosal in the 1990s so that no claims on their behalf will ever be valid in either the courts or the VICP, regardless of what the evidence shows now or in the future. My point, which Mr. Smith seems to ignore, was that a civilized society should be seeking the truth and helping the victims, not burying the evidence or stacking the law against them to protect influential industries with large lobbying purses.
Fixing the statute problems with VICP would be a major step in that direction and would simultaneously undercut the trial lawyers while protecting the drug companies, but that's not what we're seeing. Instead, we're seeing political power poker at its worst, played out with the lives of disabled children, with drug companies and Congress trying to choke off all claims by forcing the children into a flawed program that clearly can't handle them.

STEVEN D. ROBERTS
Wichita, Kan.

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