Friday, August 28, 2015

Even more et ceteras

This week's signs of the Apocalypse
The Virginia shootings - No need to say more.   

Obama's response - By now we have grown used to him and his ilk politicizing every tragedy by treating it like a stump from which to advance their pet projects. In cases like the Virginia shootings, they usually press for gun control; but Obama, with breathtaking cynicism, actually used the shootings to downplay the dangers of terrorism... Specifically, he scolded us that deaths "from gun-related incidents dwarf any deaths that happen through terrorism"... Yes, pay no attention to those Iranian nuclear scientists behind the curtain who are developing instruments of mass death for Ayatolla "Death to America" Khamenei. Also, ignore that they are doing so with my implied blessing and explicitly promised funding. Nothing to see there.

Schilling - ESPN suspended Curt Schilling and removed him from the broadcast booth because he told the truth... Specifically, while not on the company's dime he re-tweeted the following meme: "It's said only 5-10% of Muslims are extremists. In 1940, only 7% of Germans were Nazis. How'd that go?"... There is no way to know if those numbers are accurate to a T, but everybody -- including the brass at ESPN, aka ABC, aka Disney -- knows they are generally accurate. Yet, said brass describes the re-tweet as "completely unacceptable" and says that Schilling's future with the company is "pending further consideration"... If American society had been so brainlessly sensitive when my grandparents were young, we would all be speaking German or Japanese today. After all, the re-tweet did indicate that most Muslims aren't extremists and most Nazi-era Germans weren't Nazis, did it not?

Credo Action - Most of the petitions on its website could pass for signs of the Apocalypse, but I'm talking about this particular one, which actually suggests: 1) that Jorge Ramos was the victim in his exchange with Donald Trump, and 2) that Trump's reaction indicates freedom of the press is in jeopardy. Maybe I could have some level of respect for the idea behind Credo Action's position if they had taken a similar stance when Neil Munro interrupted Obama, but I am quite sure they didn't.

This week's signs that the Apocalypse might be averted
Trump vs. Ramos - In case you somehow missed it, Trump had started a press conference and was answering a question from the first reporter he called on. Then Ramos, a longtime illegal alien promoter immigration advocate, butted in, prevented the other reporter from having her question answered, and started squawking like an exhibitionist... Trump told him to sit down because he hadn't been called on (basically "wait your turn" with a peppery "go back to Univision" thrown in) and when Ramos didn't relent, security escorted him from the room... But then Trump asked that he be brought back in and allowed to ask two questions, which is one more than most reporters get... I am not a Trump fan, as I made clear in my July 14th post, but he shined in this dust-up and was correct in what he did -- and it's a good sign that the public has given him instead of Ramos the thumbs-up.

Democrat funding woes - Granted, as a party, the GOP has done nothing in the last several years to inspire respect. Instead it has basically shunned its own voters and shown itself to be a pale imitation of the Democrat Party. But still, the Democrat Party is hardcore statist and thoroughly corrupt, and the candidates running for the GOP's 2016 nomination are far more trustworthy than the GOP itself, so it's good to know that the latter party's financing and fundraising are in much better shape than the former's. As reported here, for the first six months of this year the Democratic National Committee raised $36.5 million and finished $1.4 million in the black, whereas the Republican National Committee raised $63 million and finished $14.9 million in the black.

Hillary, her handlers, and the Democrat Party bigwigs can't be happy with the results of a recent Quinnipiac poll that asked respondents "what is the first word that comes to mind when you think of Hillary Clinton?" The question was not multiple choice -- it was open-ended so that each response was truly "the first word that comes to mind" -- and the most common answer regarding Hillary was "liar." Making matters worse for Herself, the second was "dishonest" and the third was "untrustworthy." Those are not the kinds of perceptions that result in electoral victories.

But don't get too excited if you are a Trump fan, because these are the first three words that came to mind when the same question was asked about him: "arrogant," "blowhard," and "idiot."

Things look better when you get to Jeb Bush because when the question was asked about him, the first two words that came to mind were "family" and "honest." However, it can't be good that the third word was "weak."

I wish they had asked that question about the other candidates as well, because I do not believe that Hillary, Trump or Bush will be nominated anyway. Nonetheless, the results are interesting.

A salute to an Allied man who served, suffered, and ultimately prevailed in World War II, and who departed Earth this week. The corners of my mouth sag every time one of them leaves.

Charles Krauthammer nails it again, this time regarding the horrific results of Obama's Russian "reset" policy (which, it must be said, was just as much Hillary's as Obama's).

A satisfying read for those who feel pleasure when Hillary hurts.

The greatest headline ever.

This shows that Martin O'Malley was right to begin with and should not have backed down.

An amen! diatribe directed at those who oppose the Second Amendment.

And on a positive note...
...I close by pointing out that college football begins in less than a week. See ya later!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

More et ceteras

The Virginia Shooting
This morning, WDBJ journalists Alison Parker and Adam Ward were tragically murdered on live TV by a disgruntled former co-worker. Their bodies were barely cold when President Obama, via his mouthpiece White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, did the dully predictable thing by trotting out the tattered timeworn liberal response to every high profile shooting: A call for stricter gun control based on gun violence "becoming all too common in America." (emphasis mine)

But that claim is flatly false. In reality, gun violence is becoming much less common. The rate of gun homicides in this country is roughly half what it was in 1993, and the rate of violent but non-homicidal gun crimes is roughly one-fourth what it was then. This is true despite the fact that the rate of gun ownership is much higher than it was in 1993. Many thanks to Charles C.W. Cooke, my favorite British Import Millennial, for quickly bringing up these facts along with links to the relevant sources.

And, need I bring up that, contrary to left wing gospel, there is no correlation between gun laws and gun violence? Compared to the world as a whole, the United States does have fairly lenient gun laws and a higher than average murder rate -- but then again, Russia and South Africa have much stricter gun laws and much higher murder rates, while Israel and Switzerland have much more lenient gun laws and much lower murder rates.

But why bother? For leftists, facts are not important, their dogma is, and in their minds that dogma is impervious to facts and reason. Exactly like they always say about conservatives and religion. Interesting, is it not?

About Hillary's emails
I'm just gonna throw this out there. In what attorneys refer to as "pertinent part," federal law specifically states the following:

"Whoever, having the custody of any such record, proceeding, map, book, document, paper, or other thing, willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, falsifies, or destroys the same... shall forfeit his office and be disqualified from holding any office under the United States." (emphases mine)

The specific law is U.S. Code Title 18, Part I, Chapter 101, Section 2071. Go here to read its full text.

I do believe Hillary will reap what she has sown with her emails. I believe the weight of this scandal is so heavy it will snap the hair and cause the sword of Damocles to fall on her. I believe that finally, in this case, a Clinton will not be able to escape consequences... But you never know, especially given the Clintons' Houdini-like history, so while the hair is continuing to hold back the sword, it makes sense to contrast Hillary's situation with that of Marine Corps Major Jason Brezler.

In 2010, when Brezler was serving in Afghanistan, he received information indicating that an Afghan police chief with the Star Wars-sounding name of Sarwar Jan had ties to the Taliban and was raping young boys. Brezler acted on the information and Jan was removed from his position.

Fast forward to 2012, when Brezler was stateside and taking grad school classes in Oklahoma. He received an email from Marines in Afghanistan stating that Jan had reappeared and been granted access to Marine Forward Operating Base Delhi. The email's subject line read: "IMPORTANT: SARWAR JAN IS BACK!!!"

Feeling compelled to protect people, he responded with a warning and attached a document that contained information about Jan. According to his attorney: "When the Marines in Afghanistan wrote back saying that some of that information might have been classified, (he) immediately turned himself in."

Long story short: Less than two weeks later, a 15-year-old boy who worked for Jan walked into the base's gym with a gun and murdered three Marines who were working out.

Nobody doubts that Brezler did what he did with the intent of protecting people. Many people believe that what he did would have saved lives if the base commanders had heeded his warning. In the words of Greg Buckley, Sr., whose son was among the murdered: "I would have my boy with me today."

For his troubles, Major Brezler was recommended for removal from the Marine Corps for mishandling classified material, and today is at risk of being discharged "less than honorably."

By contrast, Hillary did what she did not to protect others, but to protect herself, and in the process she likely endangered the safety of untold numbers of people in multiple nations. But today she is running for president with more than $44 million in cash on hand between her campaign and PACs.

Planned Parenthood
The third post in my three-part series about Planned Parenthood will be coming soon, but in the meantime, another video was released yesterday by the Center for Medical Progress. Featuring Cate Dyer, the CEO of procurement company StemExpress, it can be viewed here.

In the video, Dyer says StemExpress gets "a lot" of "intact" specimens from Planned Parenthood and posits that profits are being made in the trafficking of baby body parts. Like I said in my August 12th post, such trafficking for profit is a federal crime.

At the 2:31 mark Dyer says "if you had intact cases, which we've done a lot" ... At 4:57, she is asked "what would keep your lab happy?" and replies "another 50 livers a week" ... At 5:40, the person posing as a buyer says "it has to be financially beneficial for you," to which Dyer replies "and both of us, for sure" ... Starting at 6:10, Dyer initiates an exchange regarding clinics that provide the body parts, in which she affirms "I don't see" that there are any for whom "it hasn't been profitable" to "do all this work."

Regarding her comment that StemExpress has "done a lot" with "intact cases," two things that CMP states are worth noting: 1) "Feticidal chemicals like digoxin cannot be used to kill the fetus in a tissue procurement case, so a fetus delivered intact for organ harvesting is likely to be a born-alive infant"; and 2) "'Case' is the clinical term for an individual abortion." As I have said before, according to both state and federal law a born-alive infant is supposed to receive the same protections and rights as any other human.

To be sure, on some issues this video is more ambiguous than earlier ones. CMP says it shows Dyer "admitting the company gets 'a lot' of intact fetuses," but I would not be so fast to make that claim, because I think there is a legitimate question whether she was referring to babies or livers when she talked of "intact specimens" and "intact cases."

Nonetheless, there is still that allusion to profitable (i.e., illegal) selling of parts; there is more than ample evidence to justify investigating whether the "intact" comments refer to intact (i.e., probably born-alive) babies; there is the question of just which clinics StemExpress has possibly illegal arrangements with, since Dyer says they are working with "almost like triple digit number of clinics"; and there is plenty of evidence of desensitization (callousness?) to human life, as evidenced by jokes about times when StemExpress has shipped decapitated baby heads.

Maybe I should stop calling these videos "about Planned Parenthood" and start referring to them as "about StemExpress and Planned Parenthood." Dirty hands are dirty hands regardless of the arms to which they attach, and the abortion business is the dirtiest on Earth.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

et ceteras

And now, I interrupt my series about Planned Parenthood to sound off on a few other things:

But first...
...I have to issue another complaint about the media's non-reporting of the videos that are blowing the whistle on Planned Parenthood (go here for my first complaint).

Three days ago the Center for Medical Progress released the seventh video. It features Holly O'Donnell, who used to work for a company that until last week partnered with Planned Parenthood to buy and resell the body parts of killed aborted babies. She describes an incident at a Planned Parenthood clinic in which a baby survived an attempted abortion; was fully delivered; and was then slaughtered after the fact.

According to O'Donnell, she was summoned to the counter where the baby lay. Its heart was beating, which according to both state and federal law means it was supposed to receive the same protections and rights as anyone else. However, her supervisor looked at the living baby, said "this is a really good fetus and it looks like we can procure a lot from it," then instructed her to cut through its face with scissors and crack open its skull and remove its brain -- an act of butchery which did occur, after which O'Donnell cried and placed the body in a jar while "everyone else was busy." She said "it's really hard knowing you're the only person who's ever going to hold that baby." This is obviously newsworthy.

The video was released on Wednesday and by lunchtime was reported on the home page of the Fox News web site... But as of 5:30 that evening, there was still no mention of it on the home pages of CNN, NBC News, ABC News, CBS News, the New York Times, and the Washington Post... At 2:00 Thursday afternoon, there was still no mention of it on any of those sites... Ditto at 1:00 Friday aftrernoon and at 10:30 this morning (Saturday)... These esteemed media institutions did, however, have stories about bears visiting a New Jersey swimming pool, the relative safety of e-cigarettes, and Taylor Swift inviting people to come onstage.

If a tree falls in the forest...

She's toast
I am talking about Hillary Clinton, who people spent the last seven years penciling in as the Democrats' presidential nominee for 2016. Sure, most polls still show her in front by a comfortable margin, but don't forget that she was up more than 30 points over Obama at one point in 2008 and Obama still beat her out for the nomination.

When you take Hillary's unappealing personality and consistently high "unfavorable" numbers, and combine them with the genuine excitement and huge crowds which mark seemingly every Bernie Sanders appearance, then combine them with the extraordinarily grave email scandal hanging over her head, I see no way she can win either the nomination or the election.

Time might prove me wrong, but I'm going on record: She will not be a candidate in the 2016 presidential election.

About that email scandal
Why is Barack Obama not being scathed by it? Why is nobody, even in the media's few conservative outposts, calling him to account?

Sure, Hillary's use of a private server and placing of classified information into the non-governmental hands of people without security clearance (David Kendall, Sidney Blumenthal, Platte River Networks) represent one of the largest and most dangerous breaches of national security in our history.

But government employees are supposed to use a government (.gov) email addresses to conduct government business, and Hillary literally never did, instead choosing to conduct all of her government business on her private email address using her private server. This in itself is a major red flag that should have caused others in the administration to correct her course, but no such correction ever took place.

Are we to believe that the president never communicated by email with his secretary of state? The secretary of state is America's top diplomat, and is second in line to the presidency. If Obama ever communicated with her by email, he would have seen that she was using her own email address and should have immediately seen to it that she did otherwise. If there was ever a single email exchange between the two of them -- and it strains credulity to believe there wasn't -- then Hillary's subsequent use of her own address and server is just as much Obama's fault as it is hers.

They're toast
On the GOP side, George Pataki, Rick Perry, Chris Christie, and Rand Paul haven't admitted that they're finished, but they are.

Pataki is seventy years old, has been out of office for eight years, and there are only three people in the country -- all of them family members -- who can think of a reason to vote for him over the other GOP candidates. Pataki is a good man, but it's a mystery why he's even running.

As for Perry, it's not a good sign when your campaign's funds run so dry that you have to stop paying your staff six months before the Iowa caucus and fifteen months before the election. I happen to think he would make a fine president, but he has no chance.

There are many good things about Christie, but his 15 minutes ended with Bridgegate and the Hurricane Sandy Obama Hug.

When it comes to Paul, I'm sad to see his campaign tank so soon. Even though his national defense credentials are almost as big a mystery as why Pataki is running, Paul brings a lot of heft to the table with his libertarian bent on economics and anti-Big Brother instincts on individual freedom and privacy. However, his fundraising and poll numbers have been sinking for some time and two of his advisers were recently charged with bribery and record falsification.

When I'm 94, I hope I'm like this 94-year-old who is continuing to play organized competitive hockey against men who are decades (even generations) younger than he.

Speaking of hockey, last month I penned this somewhat praising, somewhat bitter, entirely conflicted post about Martin St. Louis. Today, after reading this column that he wrote, I am letting bygones be bygones. Enjoy your fatherhood and retirement Marty.

Churchill at his best. Or maybe his worst. But definitely one of the two.

Truths about Cuba.

This article isn't new, nor is the information it reports, but you might want to share it with your liberal friends the next time they get apoplectic about the Koch brothers.

I was born in Florida and have never been to Massachusetts. I am a lifelong Bucs fan who will forever be irritated that the media shortchanges my team's Super Bowl XXXVII championship because it happened to occur dueing the same half-decade the Patriots won three Lombardi Trophies... In short, I am not a Patriots fan... And I do believe their abnormally low fumble stats are suspicious... But this is the reason I am far more suspicious of the NFL that I am of the Pats when it comes to Deflategate. I hope Brady wins his case.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Planned Butcherhood: The Rationalizations

This is the second post in a three-part series. The first post can be read here.

In the wake of the ongoing string of undercover videos that reveal Planned Parenthood's trafficking in babies' body parts donations of tissue, apologists have come crawling out of the woodwork defending the organization on a number of grounds.

As is often the case when things are said by the pro-choice lobby, these defenses at first sound reasonable -- unless you spend more than three or four seconds thinking about them, because if you do, it becomes obvious they're a toxic stew of bullshit and balderdash.

Since so many people don't spend any time thinking about things, and you might find yourself in conversation with some of those people, here's a look at some of the most common defenses being offered on behalf of the organization:

A small percentage!
For years, Planned Parenthood and its apologists have peddled the lie that abortion amounts to a minuscule percentage of what it does, and it even has the audacity to quantify the claim by saying abortions total three percent of its total procedures -- a figure which even that notorious right wing rag Slate admits is "meaningless."

The figure is legitimate only if you are willing to overlook how brazenly deceiving it is. Planned Parenthood arrives at three percent by doing what is known in medical and insurance circles as "unbundling," i.e., they log every item of minutiae as a different procedure for billing purposes. With unbundling, if you go to Planned Parenthood seeking an abortion, and in the process of providing it to you they conduct a consultation; pregnancy test; mandated HIV test; pre-op screening; the abortion itself; and post-op painkiller prescription, they will charge for each of those six items separately, and will also charge the anesthesia separately from the abortion -- and thus they can claim that only 14 percent of the things they did (one of seven) was an abortion, even though 100 percent of them were done specifically to provide that abortion.

It doesn't take a lot of digging to learn that Planned Parenthood unbundles its billing, but of course, Planned Parenthood knows most people are headline-readers who will never dig at all.

It's not a money-maker!
Closely related to the "three percent lie" is the "there's no money in it lie."

Planned Parenthood has long painted a public face of itself as a selfless organization that performs abortions at little to no benefit to itself. However, multiple reviews of its books have shown that abortion accounts for anywhere from 33.3 to 38.4 percent of its operational revenue, which is enormous when you consider how many services Planned Parenthood pats itself on the back for providing.

To be conservative, let's say the lowest percentage in the range, 33.3, is the one that's accurate. Now suppose that your employer offered, say, twelve different products to the public and one of those twelve generated 33.3 percent of its revenue. That would mean a product which amounts to just one out of its twelve offerings is responsible for attracting one out of every three dollars that comes in the door; or, to put it another way, something which accounts for 8.3 percent of the product line generates 33.3 percent of the revenue.

Do you think for one second that any company in the world would consider such a product to be merely incidental to its overall offerings? Do you believe for one second that any company would consider such a product to be of little to no financial benefit? Of course not. A product or service generating those kinds of numbers is undoubtedly looked upon as a core, fundamental, and probably indispensable part of any enterprise lucky enough to have it on its roster.

For comparison, McDonald's probably considers hamburgers, cheeseburgers, Big Macs, Chicken McNuggets, french fries, Egg McMuffins, Sausage McMuffins, hash browns, Big Breakfasts, apple pies, chocolate fudge sundaes, fountain drinks, and coffee to all be core and fundamental to its business -- and there is absolutely no way that any one of those things accounts for 33.3 percent of its top line.

The videos are edited!
The claim that the abridged versions of the undercover videos are misleading is, in a nutshell, false. I already dealt with this in my first post and don't want to rehash, but I do want to reiterate that every single time the Center for Medical Progress has released an abridged version of a video, it has also released the unabridged version. This is unique in the history of whistleblowing.

And I want to make this tangential observation, since it is always leftists who defend Planned Parenthood: Isn't it funny how they are suddenly opposed to whistleblowing after all those years of praising whistleblowers? Isn't it funny how they are suddenly recoiling from the leaking of what happens behind the closed doors of the powerful, after all those years of rejoicing whenever such secrets were revealed?

Alger Hiss, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, Edward Snowden? They were heroes! CMP founder David Daleiden? He's a dishonorable reprobate and his employees are waging a war on women's rights! The Left's partisan disconnect when it comes to abortion is so blind and glaring that it's comical.

Women's health!
Almost every defense offered on Planned Parenthood's behalf is offered because people believe the oft-repeated claim that it supports and promotes "women's health" by providing services that some women can't get elsewhere. However, that claim is not even close to being true.

On the same day that the third undercover video was released, our government's top healthcare official, HHS Secretary Sylvia Matthews Burwell, spoke in favor of continuing to make taxpayers fund Planned Parenthood by asserting that "our HHS funding is focused on preventative care for women, things like mammograms and cancer prevention screenings" ... She was echoing her boss, Supreme Leader Barack Obama Himself, who during a 2012 presidential debate intoned that there are "millions of women" who "rely on Planned Parenthood for mammograms" ... However, there is this little thing called the truth, and the truth is that the number of mammograms performed by Planned Parenthood is: Zero.

Yes, the organization does provide low- or no-cost screenings for cancer, but so too do state health departments, the CDC, and a plethora of community health centers ... and so too do Obria Medical Clinics, the Susan G. Komen Foundation, and all FQHC's ... plus, women can go to  to find a listing of other places that do the same ... plus, women who are into a holistic New Agey breed of healtchcare can visit a FEMM clinic (go here to visit FEMM's web site and here to read an article about FEMM).

Faced with these facts, some apologists are sure to counter that Planned Parenthood is different than other women's healthcare providers because it sets up shop in poor and minority neighborhoods, in order to serve poor and minority women who can't access the other providers. But as The Daily Signal makes clear, that claim is extremely false. In reality, there is less than one Planned Parenthood facility for every twenty other comprehensive women's healthcare facilities; and as the maps in the linked-to article show, the "other twenty" serve the same areas as Planned Parenthood while also serving vast swaths that Planned Parenthood makes no effort to serve.

And here are some more facts: 1) The "other twenty" serve women without persuading them to kill their babies participating in abortion, whereas Planned Parenthood kills more than 300,000 babies per year performs one out of every three abortions in America; 2) a lopsidedly large percentage of Planned Parenthood facilities (and abortion-performing facilities in general) are located in ZIP codes with high minority populations; 3) abortions are performed on black babies in disproportionately large numbers; 4) in 1926, Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger was the featured speaker at a Ku Klux Klan rally; 5) in 1932 she wrote that she favored "a strong and rigid policy of sterilization and segregation"; 6) in 1934 she advocated for an American Baby Code that sought "selective births" in order to "protect society against the propagation and increase of the unfit"; 7) in 1939 she penned this private letter in which she said "we do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population"; 8) she never disavowed those racist goals; and yet, 9) to this day, rather than disassociate itself from Sanger, Planned Parenthood continues to call its highest honor The Margaret Sanger Award.

Make of that what you will, but doesn't it make it seem uncomfortably odd that the American Left continues to protect and reward Planned Parenthood with more devotion and ferocity than it offers to any other organization in the country?

But I digress. In the meantime, Planned Parenthood opposes informed consent laws that require women considering abortion to be given information about alternative options. It also opposes giving women considering abortion the mere right to view an ultrasound image of their baby before deciding to abort.

Looking at a couple years for which numbers are readily available, in 2011 Planned Parenthood performed 333,964 abortions while providing just 28,674 women with prenatal care; and in 2012 it performed 327,166 abortions while giving just 2,197 women adoption referrals. Assuming those numbers are in line with other years, they mean that on an annual basis Planned Parenthood: 1) aborts more babies than the entire human population of St. Louis; 2) performs abortions on approximately 11.5 women for every one that it actually gives pregnancy care to; and 3) performs abortions on approximately 150 women for every one that it refers to an adoption agency.

When you consider the organization's stances two paragraphs above, in concert with its numbers one paragraph above and its now-revealed trafficking in baby body parts, the combination strongly implies that it promotes rather than simply offers abortion. When you consider all these things, what do you think are the odds that it goes out of its way to inform patients about the fact that women who have abortions often experience severe psychological trauma later in life, when the reality of what they did sinks in and they start wondering what their dead child would have worn to prom?

So I ask two questions
First, why is it that Planned Parenthood is considered good at all for women's health, much less indispensable for women's health?

And second, why is it that anyone thinks Planned Parenthood is entitled to one penny of the taxpayers' money? Especially when it already receives hundreds of millions of dollars per year in operational revenue plus hundreds of millions more in donations and investment income?

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Planned Butcherhood: The Reveal(s)

As you probably know (but might not know if you get your news only from the pre-Fox networks), Planned Parenthood has been placed in a, shall we say, uncomfortable position by a series of secretly recorded videos released over the past month.

I started writing a post not long after the video releases began but have continued finding it a challenge to finish -- partly because new videos keep coming out and I am short on time, but mostly because there is just so much to say.

I have finally concluded that the topic is too big to address in a single post, and therefore I have decided to address it in a series. And I promise that this series, unlike a couple others I have started, will actually get completed before too much time goes by.

Obviously, today's post is the first installment. It consists of a large chunk of what I wrote when I still intended to publish a single post... The purpose of this installment is to address the various videos and Planned Parenthood's responses to them. The next will address the various defenses of Planned Parenthood that have been served up by its apologists in the wake of the videos... Then, the third installment will deal with American society's actual thoughts on abortion; the American political parties' actual positions on abortion; and how I think we (those of us who disagree with abortion on demand) should respond to the videos.

Finally, here goes...

Although I often agree with Michelle Malkin, I have never been a fan of the nicknames she deploys. It's not as if she had no basis for referring to Elizabeth Warren and Ward Churchill as "pretendians," nor is it like she had no basis for calling reporters "teeth-gnashing Nellies" or Ariana Grande a "tartlet" -- but let's face it, when you keep engaging in name-calling you start to sound like a middle-schooler.

Nonetheless, I am giving Malkin a pass on her latest one because it's entirely appropriate to refer to Planned Parenthood as "Planned Butcherhood."

On July 14th a video was released that showed Planned Parenthood's Senior Director for Medical Services, Deborah Nucatola, M.D., casually discussing how the organization sells the body parts of babies fetuses it has killed aborted. She did this over a nice lunch while imbibing on red wine that probably wasn't the cheapest on the menu.

In the video she talks about charging different prices for different body parts. She talks about her organization's doctors performing abortions by taking care to manipulate the babies they are about to kill into specific positions -- not to reduce the baby's pain or increase the procedure's efficiency, but to keep from damaging the organs Planned Parenthood wants to sell. (She did not know she was being filmed, as the people she was with had a hidden camera and were posing as potential clients.)

Specifically, Dr. Nucatola says: "I'd say a lot of people want liver, and for that reason, most providers will do this case under ultrasound guidance, so they'll know where they're putting their forceps... We've been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I'm not gonna crush that part, I'm gonna basically crush below, I'm gonna crush above, and I'm gonna see if I can get it all intact."

Ah, good old ultrasound! Planned Parenthood opposes giving women the option to see ultrasound images of their babies when they are deciding whether to abort, yet is all in favor of ultrasound images being used to preserve the for-sale parts of the same babies once women have been persuaded decided to abort (which is to say, once the babies are in the process of being killed). The choices Planned Parenthood champions for others vis-a-vis the ones it denies to others, vis-a-vis the ones it makes for itself, are an interesting tangle indeed.

*     *     *     *     *

The aforementioned video was filmed and released by the Center for Medical Progress (CMP). An abridged version started making the rounds on the Internet and causing a stir, and can be seen here.

As you might expect, Planned Parenthood initially responded by having its lawyers release a statement attacking the video for being abridged. The response called it "heavily edited." Also, by saying the following, the response portrayed the body part sales as not being done for profit: "In some instances, actual costs, such as the cost to transport tissue to leading research centers, are reimbursed, which is standard in the medical field."

That focus on reimbursement is due to the inconvenient truth that trafficking in fetal body parts for profit is a federal crime. However, focusing its response on reimbursement does not resolve Planned Parenthood's problems; and if anything, that focus is causing even more headaches for the organization. 

One problem is that CMP did not release only the abridged version of the video. It also released the full footage, and as Kevin Williamson cheekily put it, "the full footage is not exculpatory."

Another problem for Planned Parenthood is that despite the lawyerly blather about reimbursement, Dr. Nucatola's comments make no mention of costs but do contain hard-to-miss suggestions that the amounts Planned Parenthood charge are to be based on supply and demand. Although she mentions that the organization wants to operate "in a way that is not perceived as 'this clinic is selling tissue,'" she does not say anything like "we don't sell tissue" or "we donate tissue and get reimbursed for the costs we incur." Obviously the key word is perceived, and apparently it's okay to sell baby parts as long as the public does not perceive that you are selling baby parts.

*     *     *     *     *

Yet another problem for Planned Parenthood is that the video of Dr. Nucatola proved to be just the beginning. One week after it came out, CMP released another one, this time of Mary Gatter, M.D., who was President of the organization's Medical Directors' Council when the video was filmed and now works in what is described as a "leadership and advisory capacity." In this video, when asked what she would "expect for intact tissue," Dr. Gatter's immediate reply was "why don't you start by telling me what you're used to paying?"

She went on to say this about pricing: "...let me just figure out what others are getting. If it's in the ballpark then that's fine, if it's low we can bump it up." After saying the price could be "bumped up," she laughingly added: "I want a Lamborghini." When asked what she had just said, she replied: "I said I want a Lamborghini."

In fairness to Dr. Gatter, her laughter indicates (to me) that she was jesting about the Lamborghini rather than being completely serious. But this is yet another example of something that does not make matters better, for it takes a significant amount of moral emptiness to make light of your role in the deliberate killing of the most vulnerable humans on Earth, and to make light of your role in slicing out their organs and selling them like so many ears of corn.

I remember being undisturbed when I popped an eye out of a perch while dissecting it in my ninth grade science class. And I remember then being disturbed that I had been undisturbed. However, one gets the distinct impression that the grown-ups who kill babies and then slice them apart for Planned Parenthood are no more disturbed by their actions than I was by what I did to that fish that was already dead. Therein lies a major problem, and its name is Desensitization.

Only by desensitizing people to the horror of abortion are its advocates able to keep it entirely legal, at every moment, under any circumstance. Only by desensitizing people to the humanity of the unborn are its advocates able to create a climate in which so many females, be they frightened teens or desperate adults, are comfortable enough to choose abortion.

Once a society's people become desensitized to the killing of babies -- desensitized to the point that they themselves choose abortion or desensitized to the point that they feel they shouldn't voice opposition to others choosing it -- the road to that society's perdition becomes very short and very slick.

*     *     *     *     *

Although it feels like it's time to keep talking about desensitization, I have to bring up yet more problems surrounding Planned Parenthood's response to CMP, because CMP released a third video on July 28th and a fourth on July 30th (which can be viewed here under the headline that starts "Planned Parenthood VP Says Fetuses May Come Out Intact..."). Both of them show Savita Ginde, M.D., Vice President and Medical Director of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, and by now it should surprise nobody that they make matters worse.

In the third video she says "I think the per-item works a little better, just because we can see how much we can get out of it." The "how much" seems to refer to body parts, not dollars, but the topic she was discussing was how to be compensated and there was no talk of cold storage, shipping and handling, etc.

The third video also includes an interview with Holly O'Donnell, a former procurement specialist for StemExpress, a California company that purchased (and I assume still purchases) fetal tissue from Planned Parenthood. Describing the purchasing arrangement, she says Planned Parenthood has "incentive to try and get the hard stuff 'cause you're going to get more money."

O'Donnell adds this: "For whatever we could procure, they would get a certain percentage." This reeks of commission, not reimbursement.

O'Donnell also says: "The main nurse was always trying to make sure we got our specimens. No one else really cared, but the main nurse did because she knew that Planned Parenthood was getting compensated." Again, "compensated" is different that "reimbursed." Plus, "make sure we got our specimens" suggests an entered-into arrangement to obtain certain parts, not a coincidental "well we wound up with these so here you go" -- especially in the context of Ms. O'Donnell saying Planned Parenthood would "get more money" for "the hard stuff," and Dr. Nucatola previously talking about Planned Parenthood's doctors making sure to "crush" certain parts of baby's bodies in order to spare the parts that are in higher demand.

Meanwhile, in the fourth video Dr. Ginte says: "I feel like if you're talking to other Planned Parenthoods, we sort of all have to be on the same page. Almost to the point that we all have to disclose to each other that we're all doing this... I think we have to be coordinated with each other... to make sure that we're all saying the same thing, and to make sure that the CEOs are all saying the same thing."

Starting at the 5:19 point, the person posing as a buyer says: "I want to come in and pay you top dollar because I know what you're going to be facing... so compensation, okay, your cost is negligent, so it could look like we're paying you for specimens," at which point Dr. Ginte interjects with a simple "right." The person posing as a buyer then continues by saying: "So let's talk about it correctly. We all know that yes, that's what we're doing. So yes, I am paying you, but how we're talking about it out there in the public square." (emphasis hers)

Dr. Ginte nods throughout their exchange. At one point she interjects the phrase "so processing and time," using a tone which, to me, clearly means that "processing and time" is not a real explanation of any payments received, but rather a canned explanation to be given to anyone who asks.

At no point does she say "processing and time" is all her organization can accept, nor does she say "processing and time" is all it will accept. (Nor, to be fair, does she ever agree to a price, as this conversation seems to be the first in what she believes to be a multi-step negotiation; but again, if reimbursement is all that is on the table, if recouping expenses is all that is being sought, what's the point of discussing pricing in the first place? And what's the point of discussing it in such an open-ended "how do we explain it" fashion?)

The more we hear, the more -- not less -- this reeks of cold profiteering imposed on the lives of babies and souls of women.

*     *     *     *     *

And then came August 4th, when CMP released a fifth video, featuring Melissa Farrell, Director of Research for Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, saying things that seem to confirm the organization is willing and able to perform abortions in such a way as to guarantee that the baby is brought out of the mother intact. In fact, her comments suggest that the organization has already done that on multiple occasions.

Although that is troubling on several levels, it is legally troubling because this federal code declares an abortion unlawfull if "alteration of the timing, method, or procedures used to terminate the pregnancy was made solely for the purposes of obtaining the tissue."

When asked directly if her organization can change an abortion procedure so as to deliver a baby intact, Ms. Farrell (I don't know if she is a doctor) states: "Some of our doctors in the past have pet projects and they're collecting the specimens, so they do it in a way that they get the best specimens, so I know it can happen." (emphasis mine)

When asked about obtaining specific body parts, she states: "We bake that into our contract, and our protocol, that we follow this, so we deviate from our standard in order to do that." (emphasis mine)

Ms. Farrell also alludes to the use of accounting gimmickry to conceal the nature of payments it receives for body parts. At least that's how I interpret some of the comments she made when asked how they account for money they get -- comments that are summed up nicely by her closing statement that "it's all just a matter of line items."

*     *     *     *     *

And now comes today, with CMP releasing a sixth video. This one features an encore from Holly O'Donnell, the former procurement specialist for StemExpress who previously appeared in video #3.

This time around, O'Donnell testifies about how her superiors at StemExpress instructed her (and presumably others) to go about obtaining specific parts from Planned Parenthood.

She claims that she was instructed to directly approach pregnant women at Planned Parenthood clinics and encourage them to earmark their baby's body parts for delivery to StemExpress. According to her, the instruction was given like this: "It's not an option, it's a demand."

She goes on to claim that even women who were simply there for a pregnancy test were considered prospective sources of supply: "Pregnancy tests are potential pregnancies, therefore potential specimens, so it's just taking advantage of the opportunities."

She also claims that Planned Parenthood gave StemExpress employees access to their clinics, and on some occasions Planned Parenthood staff and StemExpress employees worked in cahoots to harvest a baby's body parts without the mother's consent. She says "there were times when they would just take what they wanted, and these mothers don't know, and there's no way they would know."

O'Donnell also claims that Planned Parenthood gave StemExpress employees access to patients' medical records and appointment schedules, which, to me, sounds like an avalanche of possible HIPAA violations.

*     *     *     *     *

The more we hear directly from the mouths of Planned Parenthood's high-ranking personnel (and in O'Donnell's case, from employees of other businesses who partnered with them) the more glaring is the contrast between Planned Parenthood's candid words and the strategic ones used by its lawyers and president.

Speaking of that president (Cecile Richards), her July 26th interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos made things worse because she dug in her heels about one claim that is provably false and a second that is apparently false.

Provably false is the claim that CMP is being deceptive by releasing edited videos. I already mentioned that it released the full video of Dr. Nucatola, not just the edited one, but it's also worth noting that CMP released them at the same time. Further, it's worth noting that it has released both the full and edited versions of every video.

Apparently false is the claim that Planned Parenthood is merely being reimbursed for costs. I've already dealt with that claim and maybe don't need to return to it, but I feel compelled to mention that Stephanopoulos challenged it by broaching this flyer which advertises StemExpress to clinics for the purpose of procuring "human cells, fluids, blood and tissue products" from them (emphasis mine -- and by the way, "tissue" strikes me as an ideal abortion-centric euphemism because of how handy it is for rescuing you from having to say "organ").

Anyway, the flyer says StemExpress will "fiscally reward" such clinics; refers to unspecified "financial profits" and a "financial benefit" that will accrue to such clinics; and includes an official endorsement by Planned Parenthood's own Dorothy Furgerson, M.D. A Google search led me to this Planned Parenthood page identifying Dr. Furgerson as the Chief Medical Officer of one of its California affiliates, Planned Parenthood Mar Monte.

Planned Parenthood does not store fluids or cells, and although one would hope that it stores blood in case transfusions are needed when it inevitably botches an abortion, I could find no online claim (much less confirmation) that it actually does store blood... so what would be the purpose of having a Planned Parenthood official endorse the procurement of those things?

The endorsement only makes sense when you acknowledge that: 1) "tissue" usually equals "organs, body parts," and 2) Planned Parenthood is, by far, the nation's leading performer of abortions.

When Stephanopoulos brought the flyer up, Richards had no explanation.

*     *     *     *     *

It does not matter if you look at CMP's undercover videos closely or superficially. Either way, it is impossible not to conclude that they are rife with prima facie evidence that Planned Parenthood engages in criminal activity with regard to its abortion practices.

Even if you believe that a woman's so-called "right to choose" is absolute, there is no way you can, with a clear and open mind, view these videos and not come away believing that Planned Parenthood should be investigated -- even if only to ensure that it's not guilty of what the evidence strongly suggests it is guilty of.

But isn't there something wrong with looking at the videos only from a legal perspective? That is pretty much what this post has done, and it has done so primarily because the pro-choice crowd always falls back on legality, rather than morality, to defend itself.

At the end of the day, it is inescapable that abortion is a matter not of legality but of morality. And it is equally inescapable that when abortion finds safe haven in legality, it does so only because abortion law has abandoned ethics. It was staunch pro-choicer Camille Paglia, not staunch pro-lifer Rick Santorum, who publicly admitted that in her own words, "abortion is murder, the extermination of the powerless by the powerful" -- and proceeded to nonetheless refuse to oppose it.

I am reminded of the observation of pro-freedom, pro-human Soviet defector Alexander Solzhenitsyn: "I have spent all my life under a Communist regime, and I can tell you that a society without any objective legal scale is a terrible one indeed. But a society with no other scale but the legal one is not quite worthy of man either."

And with that thought in mind, I bid adieu until my next post.

Addendum #1, 9/1/15:  Since this post was published, three other videos have been released. Respectively, they can be viewed here, here, and here. One repeating theme is that of babies being born alive and then killed. It comes up by inference, by implication, and even as a specific accusation. 

Addendeum #2, 9/1/15:  Seeking to discredit the CMP videos, Planned Parenthood hired the research/intelligence firm Fusion GPS to forensically analyze them... The report issued by Fusion GPS said that it identified time gaps in the full versions of the videos, but also stated: This analysis did not reveal widespread evidence of substantive video operation." In other words, the context and meaning of what was said by Planned Parenthood reps was not altered by any time gaps... In my opinion, CMP should still fill in any time gaps that do exist. However, Fusion GPS's concession that the videos are substantively accurate is made even more significant by the facts that it was hired by Planned Parenthood and has a history of acting at the behest of left wing activists (thanks to Ian Tuttle for furnishing the link).

Monday, August 10, 2015

Ephemeral and Eternal

Eight nights ago I arrived in Atlanta on business for the week, and by the time I checked in at the hotel and got unpacked, it was after 9:30. Knowing that most restaurants in the area close at 10:00 on Sundays, and not wanting to be "that guy" whose untimely appearance keeps the workers from getting home when they wish, I trudged into the night and moseyed a few blocks to Applebee's -- which may not sound like an inspired dining choice, but at least I knew it stays open late.

After parking myself at the bar and ordering, I took out my cell phone to see what was going on in the world, and scrolling through Facebook I saw something that had been posted more than six hours earlier by a high school friend. It was a shared photo from the Facebook page of Pediatric Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists, which has been in practice in the Tampa Bay Area for years.

But the photo was more than just a photo, for it announced the sudden and unexpected passing of Dr. Peter Orobello. My eyes and heart froze because I knew him to be a very close friend of my sister-in-law's family, and also because I knew of his immense impact on pediatric care in the metropolitan area where I have lived most of my years. My first thought (after oh no!) was that Dr. Orobello simply couldn't be old enough to die.

I do not know precisely how long he practiced medicine, but this shows that he served a quarter-century as a chairman of the Division of Otolaryngology at the esteemed All Children's Hospital. I know that when he moved to Florida from Cincinnati 26 years ago, he needed to have his car transported because it was not fit enough to make the drive -- and I suspect that when he made that move, he was probably saddled with medical school debt and closer to being a pauper than a prince.

Dr. Orobello was a driving force in transforming All Children's from a respected regional facility to a nationally renowned one, which now benefits children from all over and has become part of the Johns Hopkins Health System. Operating on a four-year-old, he performed its first cochlear implant and went on to help some 200 born-deaf children gain the ability to hear. By the time he died, he had performed more than a quarter-million surgeries and one of his patients was my own niece -- a niece born to a different sister-in-law than the one I mentioned earlier.

He and his wife of 31 years, Jill, had six children, one of whom died of an auto-immune disease at the age of 14. Their surviving children are all between the ages of 20 and 27. Last month their first grandchild, Peter Liam, was born -- and yes, Dr. Orobello got to see him.

As you might expect from a man so focused on health, he did all he could to keep himself fit, participating in marathons and going for a run of 20+ miles every weekend. On August 1st, he left his house for one of those runs at around 4:00 a.m. Jill expected him to return at around 9:30, but he never did.

The reason was a massive heart attack that happened around 7:00 in front of a Walgreens drug store. Somebody called 911, but the paramedics' attempts to revive him were unsuccessful; and because he carried no identification while running, the body of this man who was known and loved by many got checked into the hospital as a John Doe. He was just 59 years old.

Speaking to a reporter about her husband's demise, and their son's earlier demise, Jill Orobello referenced her and her children's faith: "God carried us through a lot. Losing our son and their brother, I think it really strengthened all of us. We're all very sad and I am just praying that this too will strengthen us even more than we have been. The outpouring has been heartwarming."

The high school friend whose Facebook photo-share alerted me to Dr. Orobello's death is someone I met 30 years ago, someone born the same year as me. After seeing it, I quickly noticed that it had also been shared by someone Erika and I have known for only a few years, and who is quite younger than we.

*     *     *     *     *

Three mornings ago, while still in Atlanta, I received a text from Erika at 10:20. It said that Grandma had died.

Mary Elizabeth Foley's time of death was 10:18 and she was neither mine nor Erika's grandmother. Rather, she was my brother-in-law's grandmother, but everybody who met her -- and I do mean everybody -- called her Grandma. That, combined with the immediacy with which I learned of her passing, is suggestive of how much everybody cared about her and enjoyed her presence.

Grandma's death was not at all like Peter Orobello's. She was 86 years old, and earlier this year was diagnosed with cancer than was already metastatic. At the time of diagnosis she was told there were no treatment options and given two to three months to live -- which is about how long she made it, but the thing is, for much of that time she did not appear to be sick.

Assuming that I am recalling my information correctly, she spent only a few years less than half of her life as a widow. But she did not let that infect her soul. She always had a spitfire glint in her eyes, and always had a spitfire sound to her voice, and her mind remained sharp as a tack. The last time I saw her, she bent over to Parker and said "Hi Parker, I know your Pop Pop!" -- at once showing that she not only remembered the name of my four-year-old, who shares no blood with her, but that she also remembered the personal vernacular by which he refers to his (step)grandfather.

Grandma's bloodline sprang from the Emerald Isle and she was the prototypical Irish woman. She smoked daily and often slammed down adult beverages into the late hours of Saturday nights, which are also known as Sunday mornings. Yet she always showed up on time for Sunday mass, for her Catholicism was serious and devout, just like that of all "real" Irish women and men.

I remember a New Year's Eve party that happened after Sarah was born, which means that Grandma could not have been any younger than 75. At some time during the night, "Pour Some Sugar On Me" was played very loud and Grandma strode into the middle of the crowd, pumping her fists in the air and dancing with no inhibitions while surrounded by people generations younger than she.

Come Saint Patrick's Day, she would show up at O'Brien's Irish Pub and stay for the long haul, fully capable of drinking most of the other patrons under the table and quite successful at doing so. But she would never brag.

Her dying wish was to make it to a family reunion in upstate New York with her offspring, including grandkids and great-grandkids, in tow. As desired, she made it there and so did they, even though they are numerous and all of them reside in Florida and Texas.

Grandma's passing was the kind you read of in storybooks, the kind that once graced Hollywood's silver screens. The night she returned home to Florida, she laid down in her bed and never awoke. As she lingered in unconsciousness with her body ravaged by tumors, it became obvious that the end of her time on Earth was at hand, so the priest was called to administer last rites, which he came and did. Right after he finished blessing her, she drew her final breath and slipped the surly bonds. I do not believe that to be a coincidence.

Her funeral is scheduled for Friday morning. That evening, a celebration in her honor is scheduled to take place at -- where else? -- O'Brien's Irish Pub. 'Twas her style, after all, and I have no doubt about her salvation.

*     *     *     *     *

2,000 years ago, the Roman philosopher Seneca the Younger remarked that "there is nothing more despicable than an old man who has no other proof than his age to offer of his having lived long in the world."

Peter Orobello did not make it to old age. Mary Elizabeth Foley did. Fortunately, they both leave behind enormous proof not only that they spent time on Earth, but that they spent their time well.

The tide of loving and admiring words that have been spoken of them in recent days speaks for itself, as do the size and reach of their posterities.

Their lives were very different in many respects, but similar in two that are vitally important: Peter Orobello and Mary Elizabeth Foley both enriched, whether for just an hour or for decades on end, the lives of everyone they interacted with, and they both had faith that there is a beneficent divine hand extended to all who are willing to accept it.

In the grand scheme of time, their lives on Earth were fleeting but will continue to echo on Earth through the memories and actions of their families and friends... and their just-begun lives on the other side of the veil will continue for all eternity.

I want to tell them to rest in peace... but I sense it is more accurate to tell them to live in peace, for I know they have reached eternity and found it is not mere blackness... and that makes me grin for them, and for me and my kids, from ear to freakin' ear.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Media Matters

I have been writing my post about Planned Parenthood and abortion for quite a while and it still isn't done -- partly because my time has been limited, and partly because the Center for Medical Progress's brilliant drip-drip-drip strategy of releasing videos keeps forcing me to go back and add new info to my draft.

On top of that, I am traveling this week without my PC and without a tablet, and typing a blog post on a cell phone just ain't the bee's knees. And I don't think my employer would approve of me using my work laptop to blog.

To make matters worse, two days ago was Tuesday, and for the fourth Tuesday in a row the Center for Medical Progress released an undercover video that is damning to Planned Parenthood. And while I hope to publish my slowly-written post before next Tuesday, this most recent release has given me a chance to fire off a shorter post in the interim.

I became aware of the new video when I peeked at my cell phone while walking from my desk to the restroom at 11:55 Tuesday morning. Curious how the national press would cover the release and unsure exactly when it had occurred, I checked the Fox News home page and saw no mention of it. About 15 minutes later I checked again, and sure enough, the release was not only mentioned but was featured as the banner headline.

Then I proceeded to check the home pages of CNN, NBC News, ABC News, and CBS News. None of them had a single story about it.

I checked those four sites again at 2:15, and still not a mention.

I checked them again at 3:30, and still not a mention.

I checked them again at 1:15 the following afternoon (yesterday) and still not a mention.

And I checked them again shortly after noon today, and there was still not a mention. Fox News did, however, report that the New Hampshire state government has stopped giving money to Planned Parenthood because of the videos' contents -- a fact which the other four sites have not bothered to share with the public (shocking!).

And yet it is Fox that gets accused of slanting the news, and Fox that gets accused of not being a real news organization?

What bullshit! In reality, it is all the other networks who are doing their Pravda best by hiding information from the public!

Planned Parenthood is by far the nation's (and I assume the world's) largest abortion provider. In 2013, the most recent year for which I could find figures, it performed 327,166 abortions. For comparison, based on estimates from the 2010 census, Savannah now has a population of 144,532 and Montgomery a population of 205,764.

And a series of undercover videos has provided strong prima facie evidence that Planned Parenthood violates federal law by deliberately planning its abortions (i.e., baby killings) in such ways as to cut up the babies and sell their parts for revenue.

Fox covers this obviously major story while the others bury it. And yet, media people from other organizations wonder why Fox is the most trusted name in news?

Like I already said: What bullshit!