Schadenfreude in Houston

January 26, 2016

A Houston grand jury convened last year to investigate Planned Parenthood for selling aborted human fetuses for profit concluded its investigation yesterday by indicting David Daleiden, the antiabortion zealot who created the Center for Medical Progress and Sandra Merritt his associate who assisted him in an undercover scheme to videotape Planned Parenthood officials allegedly agreeing to sell fetuses for profit, which is prohibited by law.

The videos were heavily edited.
.
The grand jury did not indict Planned Parenthood or any of its officials, which is consistent with the organization’s claim that it never sold fetuses for profit. Instead, they donated them to organizations for scientific research charging a minimal fee to cover their costs. The organization has since stopped collecting that fee.

The New York Times is reporting,

The record-tampering charges accused Mr. Daleiden and Ms. Merritt of making and presenting fake California driver’s licenses, with the intent to defraud, for their April meeting at Planned Parenthood in Houston.

The LA Times is reporting,

He also was indicted on a misdemeanor count that is related to soliciting the purchase of human organs, according to a statement from Harris County Dist. Atty. Devon Anderson (a Republican, I might add, who was appointed by former Texas Gov. Rick Perry).

Schadenfreude: a feeling of enjoyment that comes from seeing or hearing about the troubles of other people. : enjoyment obtained from the troubles of others. German, from Schaden damage + Freude joy.

How sweet it is.


Carly Fiorina is responsible for inciting Robert Lewis Dear to commit murder at a Planned Parenthood clinic

November 29, 2015

Carly Fiorina and the House Republicans should be held responsible in the court of public opinion for inciting Robert Lewis Dear to commit murder at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs on Friday.

Robert Lewis Dear, 57, has been arrested and charged with shooting to death with an AK47 three people, including a police officer, and wounding nine others, including five police officers, at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs on Friday. An Initial Appearance is scheduled for tomorrow (Monday) at which time a judge will (1) tell him what crimes he has been accused of committing, (2) advise him of his constitutional rights including his rights to remain silent and to be represented by court-appointed counsel, if he is unable to retain counsel and (3) set or deny bail. Since this is likely to be a death-penalty case, you can reasonably expect the judge will appoint counsel at public expense and deny bail.

In addition ABC News is reporting,

Sources told ABC News the Justice Department is building a domestic terrorism case against Dear, though it would only move forward if somehow the state capital case was sidetracked.

/snip/

In a statement released late Saturday, Attorney General Loretta Lynch called the shooting a “crime against women receiving healthcare services at Planned Parenthood.”

While police haven’t released a motive or said whether the clinic was the intended target, Vicki Cowart, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, said in a statement Dear “eyewitnesses confirm that the man … was motivated by opposition to safe and legal abortion.”

“We’ve seen an alarming increase in hateful rhetoric and smear campaigns against abortion providers and patients over the last few months,” Cowart said. “That environment breeds acts of violence. Americans reject the hatred and vitriol that fueled this tragedy. We do not accept this environment as normal. We should not have to live in a world where accessing health care includes safe rooms and bullet proof glass.”

Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers said he was not aware of any threats to the clinic, but said “we can speculate” on the motive.

“It happened at a Planned Parenthood center,” he said. “My suspicions are that has a lot to do with the motive.”

NBC News also is reporting,

In one statement, made after the suspect was taken in for questioning, Dear said “no more baby parts” in reference to Planned Parenthood, two law enforcement sources with knowledge of the case told NBC News.

Although the two law enforcement officials added that the comment about ‘no more baby parts’ was part of a longer rant against government and President Obama, I think we can reasonably conclude from this information and his booking photos that (a) he is mentally ill and (b) he targeted Planned Parenthood in significant part because of Carly Fiorina’s intentional lie about Planned Parenthood during a Republican Presidential debate when she made her infamous harvesting-baby-parts comment about Planned Parenthood clinics. She was referring to heavily edited videotaped interviews of Planned Parenthood officials by an anti-abortion organization calling itself the Center for Medical Progress. She said,

Watch a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking while someone says, ‘We have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.’

Fiorina knew her statement was false when she uttered it because she claimed to have witnessed the incident and the conversation while watching the videos. However, the videos do not support her claim. Therefore, Fiorina’s indelible word picture was a lie. Even though she was confronted about her false statement by Chuck Todd on Meet the Press, she doubled down insisting that she was telling the truth despite zero evidence to support it.

Since then grossly irresponsible Republicans in the House of Representatives have formed a committee to investigate Planned Parenthood as part of an incendiary hate-driven mission to defund the organization, despite the absence of any evidence that the organization has violated any state or federal laws.

The First Amendment right to freedom of speech is not absolute. As United States Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said in Schenck v. United States, 249 U.S. (1919),

The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic. […] The question in every case is whether the words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent.

Carly Fiorina might never be charged or sued for inciting Robert Lewis Dear to go on a shooting spree at a Planned Parenthood clinic killing three people, including a police officer and injuring nine others, including five police officers, but we can and should hold her and the House Republicans responsible in the court of public opinion for the deaths and injuries.

Their deplorable behavior is part of a larger problem. The Republican Party has become a hate group and no one should vote for any of their candidates at the federal or state level.

 


Republican threats to shutdown the federal government is gangster activity

October 6, 2015

The Freedom Caucus, or Shutdown Caucus, which I prefer to call it, is an organization composed of approximately 40 radical right wing Republicans serving in the House of Representatives who regularly threaten to shut down the federal government unless their demands are met. This extreme tactic can cause serious harm. For example, Wikipedia reports:

The United States federal government shutdown of 2013 ran from October 1 to October 16, 2013. The primary issue of dispute between the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and the Democratic Senate was the Republicans’ desire to delay or defund the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), signed into law in 2010. A bill to end the shutdown and fund federal agencies through January 15, 2014, passed the Senate and the House and was signed into law on October 17, 2013. Standard & Poor’s, the financial ratings agency, stated on October 16 that the shutdown “to date has taken $24 billion out of the economy,” and “shaved at least 0.6 percent off annualized fourth-quarter 2013 GDP growth.”

Threatening to shutdown the government in order to get what you want is a form of extortion. This time they believe themselves to be on a mission from God to defund Planned Parenthood (PP), which provides health care and family planning for women who cannot afford to pay for the services. PP also performs abortions of first trimester pregnancies as permitted by law. I use the term ‘mission from God’ because these Republican extremists oppose lawful abortion on religious grounds and they are determined to impose their belief on everyone who disagrees with them.

We are a democracy. Elected officials have a duty to abide by the law regardless if they disagree with it. Likewise, an elected official should never seek to forcibly impose his ideas on a majority of his colleagues who disagree with him. Yet that is exactly what the members of the shutdown caucus have been attempting to do. Even more egregious, they have lied and continue to lie by claiming that PP: (1) receives federal money to pay for abortions and (2) sells aborted fetuses for profit, despite an absence of any credible evidence that supports their claims. I use the word ‘credible’ because the evidence upon which they rely (i.e., videos produced by an anti-abortion group) does not support their claims. In short, they have been exposed as liars. Nevertheless, they have refused to backdown.

This is straight-up gangster activity. We have a word for it in the criminal law. We call it extortion.

But for Speaker John Boehner’s unexpected decision to resign on October 30th that threw the Republican leadership into disaray, the House would not have passed the CR last week. That would have precipitated a government shutdown that would have commenced last Thursday. During this 90 day lull in the Republican War against Planned Parenthood, the Republicans will choose a new Speaker to replace John Boehner.  Since the Democrats are unlikely to defund Planned Parenthood, despite the threat, I believe we are looking at a government shutdown when the 90 day period ends.

Happy Holidays!


Republicans continue lying deliberately about Planned Parenthood

September 30, 2015

Yesterday, Cecile Richards, the President of Planned Parenthood, spent over five hours testifying about the organization before the House Oversight Committee. In an extremely dishonest and amateurish effort to win the Gotcha Game, Republican Representative Jason Chaffetz from Utah confronted her with the following chart. Jennifer Bendery of the Huffington Post describes what happened.

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CQFCpBOWsAArnS9.jpg:large

As his time ran out, he put up a chart showing the rate of abortions increasing at the clinics while the number of “life-saving procedures” performed decreased, and demanded that she explain. Nobody seemed to know where the chart came from, and Richards said it was inaccurate. Her attorney finally leaned over and cleared it up.

“My lawyer’s informing me the source is Americans United for Life, which is an anti-abortion group,” said Richards. “So you might want to check your source.”

Zachary Ross of MSNBC explains what’s wrong with the chart, which appears to indicate that the PP performed far more abortions than cancer screening and prevention services in 2013, which is contrary to her testimony.

But look at the actual numbers in the graph. They show that in 2006, Planned Parenthood performed 2,007,371 anti-cancer services and 289,750 abortions. By 2013, the gap had closed slightly, but the group still performed many more anti-cancer services than abortions, 935,573 to 327,000.

Why does it seem otherwise? Because the “graph” has no y axis, which allows its creators to simply plot the results wherever they choose in order to create a compelling visual effect. That’s how 327,000 is made to look like a much larger number than 935,573.

This is yet another example of intentional deception by Chaffetz to go with Carly Fiorina’s lie about the so-called ‘Planned Parenthood video’ that she claimed proved the PP was performing abortions to harvest fetal brains for profit. According to Dr. Jen Gunter, the video is not from PP, given the procedures followed.  It’s likely more than 15 years old and it shows a premature stillborn birth, not an abortion.

The Republicans are willing to play games with women’s health and lie through their teeth to destroy Planned Parenthood. They are also planning to shut the government down on December 13th for as long as it takes to force the Democrats to defund PP.

They are insane and very dangerous. Fortunately, they also are stupid.

The chart is from PBS. Right-click on it above to view the complete image (or click the link).

(H/T to Malisha for providing the link to Dr. Jen Gunter’s website)


Carly Fiorina needs to put up or shut up

September 28, 2015

Carly Fiorina has accused Planned Parenthood of keeping human fetuses alive so that their brains can be harvested. She also claims that she has seen a video that proves her accusation. Planned Parenthood has denied the allegation. Therefore, Carly Fiorina now has the burden of proof. She needs to produce the video. She obviously cannot do that or she would have produced it by now. Two videos have been produced. The second was produced by her own PAC. Neither one proves what she said. Therefore, she is lying.

The analysis is really just that simple. Let’s look at another example.

If I claimed that I saw a video in which Carly Fiorina sacrificed a newborn child on a stone altar before a statue of Satan by cutting out its heart and eating it in order to obtain his assistance in winning the election, and she denied doing that, I would expect her to challenge me to put up or shut up.

She is a liar and given the disturbing nature of the lie, I have concluded that she is unfit to serve as President of the United States.

I thought it was symbolically fitting that the curtain came crashing down behind her last night when she was speaking to a group of business women in San Antonio.

Don’t misunderstand me. I’m glad no one was injured. I do not wish harm to anyone. But the symbolic significance of the event is striking.

Other Posts:

Carly Fiorina is morally and ethically unfit for public office (9/19/2015 FL)

Carly Fiorina continues to lie about the dying fetus video that does not exist (9/23/2015 FL)

Carly Fiorina stubbornly pretends fiction is fact (9/28/2015 msnbc)

 


Republicans threaten to shut down government unless Planned Parenthood is defunded

August 5, 2015

I have been attacking the Republican Party recently because it’s crazy, racist, and out of touch. Since its core constituency is the billionaire class, it supports putting more money in their pockets instead of ours even though they do not need more and we do.  Beginning with Ronald Reagan, Republicans have been telling us that the billionaires are the job creators and that more money in their pockets will mean more jobs for us and more money in our pockets. However, the evidence disproves this claim. While the billionaires have dramatically increased their wealth since 1980, wages have remained stagnant or declined and millions of jobs have been outsourced to foreign countries. Hardly anyone makes a living wage anymore even though workers have increased their productivity. Nevertheless, Republicans oppose increasing the minimum wage to a living wage.

The Republican Party is also anti-women. For example, now it is attempting to eliminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood, the nation’s only health care provider for millions of women. The Nation reports today,

There is already talk among some congressional Republicans of trying to force a fall shutdown of the federal government in an effort to eliminate funding for for Planned Parenthood clinics. Parallel efforts to cut funding at the state level are being advanced by Republican governors/presidential candidates such as Wisconsin’s Scott Walker and Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal.The Associated Press reports that, “Planned Parenthood receives more than $500 million yearly in government funds — including state payments — more than one-third of its annual $1.3 billion in revenue. Its annual report says it provides services for 2.7 million people annually, mostly women, with abortions accounting for 3 percent of its procedures.”

Many of you may be familiar with the graphic and heavily edited videotaped interview of Planned Parenthood personnel admitting that fetal tissue from abortions has been made available for scientific research. This is not news because such testing has been ongoing since 1930 with beneficial results. For example, such testing led to Dr. Jonas Salk’s polio vaccine. It would be colossally stupid to prohibit such testing.

Moreover, Republicans know that Planned Parenthood does not sell or profit from making fetal tissue available for research. Yet they persist knowing that millions of women would have no access to health care if they succeed. They are so full of hate that many of them are planning to shut down the government in October, unless they get their way.

They should be marooned on the Moon.

 

 


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