Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Scam Cell - California’s embryonic stem-cell research institute fails to deliver.
City Journal ^ | 14 March 2013 | LLOYD BILLINGSLEY

Posted on 03/23/2013 4:52:19 PM PDT by neverdem

The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the state’s controversial, $3 billion stem-cell research agency, has yet to follow recommendations from a December report by the Institute of Medicine, a division of the National Academy of Sciences. The report, which urged the agency to overhaul its board of directors, did not fully convey the magnitude of CIRM’s failure—but it did confirm that CIRM might be better described as Conflict of Interest Research Money. Almost all members of the CIRM board, investigators noted, “are interested parties with a personal or financial stake in the allocation of CIRM fundings.” In fact, CIRM directed a full 91 percent of its research funding to institutions with representatives on its governing board. Similarly, the CIRM board overruled the Institute’s own scientific reviewers, who twice rejected a proposal to fund a for-profit company on whose behalf CIRM founder Robert Klein had lobbied, and the board went ahead and gave the money to the company anyway. According to a Sacramento Bee report, “it was the first time in the board’s eight-year history that it approved an application twice rejected by reviewers.”

That’s the kind of wealth redistribution that Klein probably had in mind from the start. Klein has experience working government for his own ends: he’s the wealthy real-estate developer who created the California Housing Finance Agency (CHFA) in 1973, purportedly because he wasn’t satisfied with President Richard Nixon’s Department of Housing and Urban Development. Klein used the same strategy when President George W. Bush declined to fund embryonic stem-cell research. In 2004, Klein launched Proposition 71 seeking $3 billion in bond money for that research at the state level. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger backed the measure, and the high-profile, billionaire-funded political campaign featured actors Michael J. Fox and the late Christopher Reeve promising life-saving cures for a host of afflictions.

Yet CIRM has been a scientific bust. It played no role in noteworthy medical-scientific advances of recent years, such as the construction of a new windpipe for a Colombian woman or the near-total restoration of sight for a man whose eyes sustained severe chemical damage in 1948. These were triumphs of adult stem-cell research. A ballpark figure for the number of life-saving cures and therapies CIRM has delivered is zero. But as a staffer said at a meeting of the Little Hoover Commission in 2009, CIRM was “getting money out the door,” as though this was a legitimate measure of success.

CIRM was always more about the money than the medicine. Klein cleverly wrote Prop. 71 to install himself as the institute’s chairman, and he freed it from almost all legislative oversight by requiring a 70 percent supermajority of both houses to make any structural or policy changes. He awarded whopper salaries, such as president Alan Trounson’s $490,000, and provided a comfortable landing spot for Art Torres, a down-at-the-heels former state senator and ex-Democratic Party boss. In 2009, CIRM board member Duane Roth, a San Diego businessman with an extensive background in biotechnology, offered to serve as vice chairman for no salary. CIRM opted to make Roth co-vice-chairman along with Torres, who is a lawyer, not a medical scientist. Almost at once, CIRM tripled Torres’s salary from $75,000 to $225,000. This largesse came during tough budgetary times for the state. Klein himself didn’t take a salary until 2008, when he began collecting $150,000 a year.

By 2009, the Obama administration had authorized federal embryonic stem-cell research, undercutting CIRM’s reason for existence. Prop. 71 gives CIRM until 2017 to find other funding to replace the bond money Californians approved nearly nine years ago. As Klein pitched it then, life-saving cures and therapies would generate significant royalties for the state, and CIRM would eventually be able to fund itself. But no life-saving cures means no revenue. Out of the original $3 billion, CIRM has $859 million left. Before stepping down as chairman of the governing board in 2011, when his six-year term expired, Klein said that he wanted another $5 billion for CIRM. It’s not out of the question that Klein and other CIRM loyalists would float another bond measure. And judging by their recent performance with Proposition 30, California voters might fall for the same promises. No billionaires appear eager to pay for another campaign, though, and despite Governor Jerry Brown’s assurance that “California is back,” the Golden State has no money to burn.

For CIRM’s conflicts of interest alone, Californians should think twice before keeping it in business. Jonathan Thomas, Klein’s successor as CIRM chairman, says the board will vote March 19 on a new policy that should satisfy most of the IOM’s concerns. But once started, government agencies are practically impossible to stop, even if they’re ineffective and wasteful. Hearings on CIRM are unlikely in a virtual one-party state addicted to spending, where the governor greets news of hidden millions with a “Hallelujah!” and where the attorney general declines even to consider whether laws were broken. But perhaps something good could come of California’s stem-cell calamity. CIRM is a vivid example of how much one clever insider can get away with in California. At a minimum, CIRM’s record should prompt reform of the initiative process. As long as politicos can create ballot measures that remain off-limits to oversight, while channeling money to themselves and their cronies, other self-dealing proposals are sure to follow.

Lloyd Billingsley is a writer in Sacramento and author of Hollywood Party.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Extended News; US: California
KEYWORDS: california; cirm; embryonicstemcells; hesc; moneylaundering; regenerativemedicine

1 posted on 03/23/2013 4:52:19 PM PDT by neverdem
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Coleus; Peach; airborne; Asphalt; Dr. Scarpetta; I'm ALL Right!; StAnDeliver; ovrtaxt; ...
FReepmail me if you want on or off my stem cell/regenerative medicine ping list.
2 posted on 03/23/2013 4:57:08 PM PDT by neverdem ( Xin loi min oi)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: neverdem

Remember all the fear mongering and hysteria the lieberals whipped up if there was no govt. funding of embryonic cell stem research?
And those dupes in Ca as voters helped waste the taxpayers funds for nothing but back scratching Dem hacks.


3 posted on 03/23/2013 5:08:54 PM PDT by tflabo (Truth or Tyranny)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: neverdem

This legislation won approval based on a hatred for George Bush and his stance against embryonic stem cell research. “We’ll show Bush” the voters seemed to be saying. Now, 3 billion dollars later, who are the real losers?


4 posted on 03/23/2013 5:12:04 PM PDT by Huskrrrr
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach; Steve Van Doorn; Syncro; ProtectOurFreedom; Citizen James; abigail2; ...

I’m still waiting for a volunteer to take a copy of my California ping list. FReepmail me if you’re interested, or if you want off of it.


5 posted on 03/23/2013 5:20:56 PM PDT by neverdem ( Xin loi min oi)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: neverdem

Obammunism: Crony Socialism. All the worst of Crony Capitalism, combined with all the worst of Socialsm

The worst form of government that there is.


6 posted on 03/23/2013 5:24:37 PM PDT by Mr. K (There are lies, damned lies, statistics, and democrat talking points.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: tflabo

>> Remember all the fear mongering and hysteria the lieberals whipped up if there was no govt. funding of embryonic cell stem research?

Yes, their justification for murder in the name of science. Assholes.


7 posted on 03/23/2013 5:25:42 PM PDT by Gene Eric (The Palin Doctrine.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: neverdem

Exactly what most expected. We need to pick this up and hammer it, because Obama is just doing more of the same. We already know how these end.


8 posted on 03/23/2013 5:29:08 PM PDT by Vince Ferrer
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: neverdem

They all left.

:(


9 posted on 03/23/2013 5:31:47 PM PDT by narses
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: neverdem; Ron C.; wolfman23601; ColdOne; navymom1; Pat4ever; RIghtwardHo; Reaganite Republican; ...
+

Freep-mail me to get on or off my pro-life and Catholic List:

Add me / Remove me

Please ping me to note-worthy Pro-Life or Catholic threads, or other threads of general interest.

10 posted on 03/23/2013 5:32:01 PM PDT by narses
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: tflabo
Funny thing is... they created an agency based on their propaganda, which was a mischaracterization of the situation. Bush didn't ban embryonic stem cell research, he banned government funding for research that didn't use the current lines of embryonic cells.

They did a version of the same thing with Obamacare, where they passed legislation to help “the millions who have no access to health care”, when the problem wasn't access, it was the ability to pay for it.

Believing their own propoganda is a mistake these clowns routinely make.

11 posted on 03/23/2013 5:50:13 PM PDT by ArmstedFragg (hoaxy dopey changey)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: neverdem
Oh come on!

They have found a perfectly nice cure for honesty and integrity.

Besides, once our California High Speed Rail gets built, we'll have so much money that we can afford tons more bond measures, just like this one.

(Or not)

.

12 posted on 03/23/2013 6:01:37 PM PDT by Seaplaner (Never give in. Never give in. Never...except to convictions of honour and good sense. W. Churchill)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Mr. K

Crony socialism didn’t kill over 50 million people last century. Communist dictatorships did. Get real.


13 posted on 03/23/2013 6:18:26 PM PDT by Go_Raiders (The wrong smoke detector might just kill you - http://www.theworldfiresafetyfoundation.org)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Go_Raiders

not yet...


14 posted on 03/23/2013 6:24:26 PM PDT by Mr. K (There are lies, damned lies, statistics, and democrat talking points.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: All; neverdem

As a closely-related aside, I was disappointed in how many charities use donations for embryonic stem cell research, so I stopped contributing to these charities.

Embryonic stem cells are both immoral and ineffective.

If anyone want to check out if a charity is pro-life, visit:

http://www.all.org/charities/


15 posted on 03/23/2013 8:30:46 PM PDT by Sun (Pray that God sends us good leaders. Please say a prayer now.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Go_Raiders

50 million? I haven’t heard a number that low in decades.


16 posted on 03/23/2013 9:02:52 PM PDT by lepton ("It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into"--Jonathan Swift)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: Sun

Thanks for the link!


17 posted on 03/23/2013 9:40:31 PM PDT by neverdem ( Xin loi min oi)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: AdmSmith; AnonymousConservative; Berosus; bigheadfred; Bockscar; ColdOne; Convert from ECUSA; ...

Thanks neverdem. Money Laundering ping.


18 posted on 03/23/2013 10:14:19 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Romney would have been worse, if you're a dumb ass.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: El Gato; Ernest_at_the_Beach; Robert A. Cook, PE; lepton; LadyDoc; jb6; tiamat; PGalt; Dianna; ...
ScienceShot: Making Moonshine Safe to Drink

Salad is more dangerous than beefburgers, leading food expert warns

Does Your Water Need More Ions? The latest health fad is even more ridiculous than most health fads.

Best Image of Big Bang Afterglow Ever Confirms Standard Cosmology

FReepmail me if you want on or off my health and science ping list.

19 posted on 03/23/2013 11:51:54 PM PDT by neverdem ( Xin loi min oi)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: neverdem

Money laundering. Sweet and legal.


20 posted on 03/24/2013 3:21:19 AM PDT by poobear (Socialism in the minds of the elites, is a con-game for the serfs, nothing more.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Gene Eric

They were justifying it in the name of a ‘science’ that’d already been discredited.


21 posted on 03/24/2013 3:37:32 AM PDT by muawiyah
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: tflabo

$306,000,000.00 a year isn’t bad work if you can subvert government to get it. They tricked a gullible public made up of people who think it’s OK to steal by law.


22 posted on 03/24/2013 4:23:21 AM PDT by 1010RD (First, Do No Harm)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: neverdem

The intersection of Stupid, Gullible, and Immoral Voters with Corrupt and Immoral Scientists, Democrats, and Cronies is a major $3 BILLION wreck.

Never saw that coming. Nope.


23 posted on 03/24/2013 6:46:18 AM PDT by ProtectOurFreedom
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: lepton

85 to 100 million is over 50 million so my post was accurate though understated.

My apologies for not having the time to look it up before posting.


24 posted on 03/24/2013 8:44:12 AM PDT by Go_Raiders (The wrong smoke detector might just kill you - http://www.theworldfiresafetyfoundation.org)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: neverdem; 185JHP; 230FMJ; AKA Elena; APatientMan; Albion Wilde; Aleighanne; Alexander Rubin; ...
Moral Absolutes Ping!

Freepmail wagglebee to subscribe or unsubscribe from the moral absolutes ping list.

FreeRepublic moral absolutes keyword search
[ Add keyword moral absolutes to flag FR articles to this ping list ]

Surprise, surprise, surprise. Stem cell research from aborted babies was only a scame to (a) justify abortion and (b) suck taxpayer money. Quite simple.

Anyone wanting on/off either ping list, FREEPMAIL me.

25 posted on 03/24/2013 2:23:22 PM PDT by little jeremiah (Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point. CSLewis)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson