Thursday, 3 April 2008

Oh McCain ... You've Done It Again

John McCain who is turning 182 next week, has slipped up again. This time, in an effort to please the GOP conservatives, McCain was making sure that he wasn't going to stumble on any of the moral issue policies. It seems though with all this responsibility that he isn't sure if condoms stop HIV/AIDS. On the "Straight Talk express", a reprise of the bus tours that he used as part of his election campaign back in 2000, McCain stumbled, paused, mumbled and called on help from his advisors. What was his position? Help please...
The transcript: 
Reporter: “Should U.S. taxpayer money go to places like Africa to fund contraception to prevent AIDS?”
McCain: “Well I think it’s a combination. The guy I really respect on this is Dr. Coburn. He believes – and I was just reading the thing he wrote– that you should do what you can to encourage abstinence where there is going to be sexual activity. Where that doesn’t succeed, than he thinks that we should employ contraceptives as well. But I agree with him that the first priority is on abstinence. I look to people like Dr. Coburn. I’m not very wise on it.”
( McCain turns to take a question on Iraq, but a moment later looks back to the reporter who asked him about AIDS.)
McCain: “I haven’t thought about it. Before I give you an answer, let me think about. Let me think about it a little bit because I never got a question about it before. I don’t know if I would use taxpayers’ money for it.”
Q: “What about grants for sex education in the United States? Should they include instructions about using contraceptives? Or should it be Bush’s policy, which is just abstinence?”
McCain: (Long pause) “Ahhh. I think I support the president’s policy.”
Q: “So no contraception, no counseling on contraception. Just abstinence. Do you think contraceptives help stop the spread of HIV?”
McCain: (Long pause) “You’ve stumped me.”
Q: “I mean, I think you’d probably agree it probably does help stop it?”
McCain: (Laughs) “Are we on the Straight Talk express? I’m not informed enough on it. Let me find out. You know, I’m sure I’ve taken a position on it on the past. I have to find out what my position was. Brian(press secretary), would you find out what my position is on contraception – I’m sure I’m opposed to government spending on it, I’m sure I support the president’s policies on it.”
Q: “But you would agree that condoms do stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Would you say: ‘No, we’re not going to distribute them,’ knowing that?”
McCain: (Twelve-second pause) “Get me Coburn’s thing, ask Weaver(senior adviser) to get me Coburn’s paper that he just gave me in the last couple of days. I’ve never gotten into these issues before.”
This must be scary for a many people. A potential US president who doesn't know if condoms stop HIVAIDS or sexually transmitted disease. Having to ask an aid what his own position is on government funded sex education including the use of condoms is more than just a McCain gaff. It is typical of how the GOP have allowed religion and neocons to overtake their core party ideology. I am sure The Republican party of old would be vastly unhappy with the direction the present day GOP has taken. Apart from minimalist governments, no nation building and personal rights, keeping people safe is another fundamental GOP cornerstone that the current Republican party members in power are happily ignoring.
Another Statistic
Recent surveys found that 79 per cent of adult males detained on property offences tested positive to a drug of some type (excluding tobacco and alcohol) 
- (Source: Australian Institute of Criminology, 2006)
It is more than likely that the 79% mentioned are addicts resorting to theft to feed a drug habit. It must be obvious, even to the most optimistic of us that there is an underlying problem not being addressed here. The current solution to this problem is jail. Not a good place to send someone with a medical condition especially addiction. It grates on me that when you are sick, you are normally sent to hospital unless that sickness is addiction. One growing solution is to treat addicts with the drug they crave. Some countries now take this approach with extremely successful results. England still provided addicts with their drug of addiction up until the 1970s when they fell in line with the US "War on Drugs" and switched patients over to methadone. Some doctors can still legally prescribe morphine, cocaine or heroin to addicts but the UK health department usually don't approve it. There are about 300-400 patients still prescribed heroin in the UK. Recently the British government embarked on a scientific trial with prescription heroin and cocaine to 500 addicts but this time carefully monitoring the success rate. The problem was that those who already received prescription heroin had very little crime activity and had caused no problems at all. It all seemed to be working well but to expand the program they needed scientific evidence and this was undertaken a few years ago. The results are still to come.
I don't endorse just handing out highly addictive drugs to anyone. Abstinence should always be the goal. The problem is that sometimes addicts take longer than expected to get clean and sometimes it just never happens. These are the cases where we should look to the past where drugs like heroin, cocaine & morphine were prescribed to treat addiction and drug related crime was almost unheard of. Interestingly, the addiction rate has not really changed since we first started recording this information over 100 years ago.


Damian said...

Go easy on McMain, mate. Those were bloody tricky questions.

Terry Wright said...

Thanks Damian
Go easy on McMain, mate. Those were bloody tricky questions.

Well maybe for a 182 year old.

Good to see you're keeping me on my toes as usual.