Tag Archives: Planned Parenthood

MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN? THIS ELECTION SEASON I’D SETTLE FOR MEDIOCRITY.

drumpf

 

Earlier today I blew up on Facebook. I called friends who generally share my views stupid and those who don’t stupider. Much of my heartfelt enmity is the result of the rise of Drumpf.

Why do I refer to him as Drumpf? You can thank John Oliver for that.

Immediately after my viewing of this episode I downloaded the Chrome extension that converts Drumpf to Drumpf (I have found I can’t even type the actual name here without it undergoing the transformation) on stories in my browser. It is one small consolation to see this at work in the headlines and stories I see on Slate, Huffington Post, Rolling Stone, and elsewhere, even on sites that lean farther right.

I deplore the lowlghts from all the 2016 campaigns. Our Presidential  electoral process is in the gutter, dragged there by Drumpf who has been joyfully joined there by Marco Rubio  who questions the size of Drumpf’s penis; by Ted Cruz simply being Ted Cruz; by Jeb Bush forced to defend charges of being a mommy’s boy; by Ben Carson, who fell in while sleep walking; by John Kasich, who destroyed any possible claims of being a moderate by defunding Planned Parenthood; and by the millions of presumably sentient human beings who listen to all the crazy talk about immigrants and an out of control government who couldn’t pass a U.S. citizenship/civics test if it were an open book exam and the original Declaration of  Independence and Constitution were splayed in front of them.

Holding them hostage there are David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremicist groups armed to the teeth courtesy of the National Rifle Association, crazed Evangelicals who believe Drumpf somehow possesses better Christian bona fides than the Pope when The Donald is probably more likely to provide a quote from a Smokey Stover comic book than from II Corinthians when asked about his favorite Bible passage.

Let us not forget the Secret Srvice which somehow has improved its training to the point that a reporter who wanders 10 inches outside the designated journalist area at a Drumpf rally is strong armed when only a few months ago intruders inside the White House grounds stole President Obama‘s favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe before being hustled to the requisite nearby mental hospital for observation.

Oh I’m not forgetting the Democrats. Their participation is in somewhat shallower waters near the curb cutouts that allow wheelchair crossing rather than in the middle of the block, but where the H2O is equally putrid. This time it is not so much the candidates themselves…Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton …hurling invectives at each other so much as it is the so-called BernieBros who have been accused of ugly misogynistic characterizations of the other camp while feminist icons Like Gloria Steinem, though using politer language, are equally sexist in how they portray young female Sanders enthusiasts.

And from these nominal Progressives come the enabling threats to withold their vote from the nominee should he or she not be the one they love to death at this moment. Enabling threats because by doing so they will practically guarantee that our next President will have a bulbous red nose, bizarre multi-colored makeup, a fright wig,  and will be making nonsense noises as he struts around the circus ring. Of course all but Drumpf will need to be fitted for this outfit.

Accompanying this flotsam down the gutter where it will eventually empty into the stream that will make the water supply of Flint, Michigan seem utterly pristine by comparison are various pundits, analysts, economic gurus, and the like offering opinions that may be parsley, rosemary, or thyme, but most certainly not sage.

Perhaps the only good that is coming from this is Spotlight. No, not the latest Oscar winning film but the harsh relentless glare focused on the entire Presidential nominating process that places premiums on a candidacy that begins within weeks after the prior election and is fueled by endless speculation, pollmongering profiteers, the need to fill cable TV news with anything but substance, and the proliferation of web sites whose sole purpose is to promulgate lies, denigrate anyone with opinions different from theirs, and disregard anything remotely likely to benefit the America they all profess to love but which they incessantly subject to virtual domestic violence while declaring their fealty between bruising blows.

Super Tuesday is an agglomeration of primaries in states and American Samoa which would be significant just for the sheer numbers of opportunities for voters to express their choices were it not for the media telling us that the issues have been decided by the primaries/caucuses already consigned to history in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina and whch have a combined poulation dwarfed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania whose own 2016 primary is not until April 26, a date by which the names of many former candidates will be not even a memory and which may represent only the merest possibility of ultimate success to the horses (asses) still in the race.

All this makes the Swiftboating of John Kerry in 2004 look more like the highest level of forensic debate by comparison.

Oh, hell. I’ll admit it. I, too have awkwardly stepped off the curb and fallen into the slime. But the murky waters are deep and I really can’t swim so I am about to drown in this torrent I am now a part of.

In splashing around for survival I might occasionally send splurges of nastiness into the open mouths of others, but they were there first voluntarily.

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OBSCENITY: I SEE IT AND I KNOW IT

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart is famous for his concurring opinion in Jacobellis v Ohio, 1964 in which he stated that it was hard to define hard core pornography that would be obscene, but that “I’ll know it when I see it”.

Well I find nothing obscene about sexual matters between consenting adults, though some of my former partners may disagree.

However I can see plenty of obscenity in human behavior such as war or in the various states of the human condition that exist because we do not have the true desire to eliminate them. Poverty and hunger and degradation and many forms of prejudice fit my definition of obscenity.

In this election season which, for some, is more of a full year or two or more, we are provided a prime example. That example lies in the simplest of things and legendarily is considered to be the root of all evil. Of course I am speaking of $ MONEY $

Above is a graph showing spending by the two major candidates and their parties and Super Pacs. Notice the total is over $1.5 BILLION. It will be much higher after the next nearly six weeks until the election.

To put that into perspective let’s look at some of the spending done by our government that has outraged different interest groups.

  1. Solyndra    $535 million in government guaranteed loans
  2. Planned Parenthood   $70 million directly from the federal government and a mix of Medicaid funds from both federal and state sources.
  3. Public Broadcasting   $445 million.

Those allocations together do not add up to what is spent trying to buy the highest office in the land.

Two individual donors stand out as spending money on their candidate as they expect favorable tax and regulatory treatment if he wins.

Sheldon Adelson has given $70 million to Romney’s campaign through various entities. He has stated he would spend $100 million. There’s time left to do so.

The Koch Brothers have pledged at least $60 million to Romney and efforts to defeat Obama. They have the deep pockets to afford more.

Obama doesn’t have such high rollers on his side though he’s most definitely not without his own superrich supporters.

But let’s contrast this insane fundraising and spending to election financing across the ocean.

British Prime Minister David Cameron was on Letterman Wednesday night and was asked about the process in England. Cameron replied that he spent 4-5 months visiting every area of the UK but by law he was limited to spending no more than $150,000. Total. Television advertising for elections is prohibited. (That comment drew a cheer from Letterman’s audience.)

Yet each of our candidates has donors hosting $50,000 a plate fundraisers.

I dunno. Nearly $700 million of the total number has been used to purchase television advertising. The hell of it is in states like West Virginia which is not considered up for grabs, neither party has put many ads on the air if any, while the so-called battleground states such as Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and others are having their airwaves polluted on a regular basis.

These ads are vacuous and inane. They contain little if any substance and most often consist of selected and highly edited sound bites, dark innuendo directed towards the opponent, and very often outright lies.

With the flurry of campaigning and ads sure to come before the first Tuesday in November, it would not surprise me that another half billion dollars is expended seeking to influence voters.

So for $2 billion total what else could we have bought.

  1. Pay and benefits of $80.000 for 25,000 previously unemployed people.
  2. One year of college at a public university for 133, 000 students.
  3. Serve 2-3 million uninsured people at private health clinics.

Now tell me you’d prefer hearing how one candidate or the other is the devil himself out to destroy civilization as we know it.

That’s obscene.

YES!! DEFUND THESE KILLERS

Millions…nay billions…of federal taxpayer dollars go to fund entities in most states who spend those dollars on killing. True, the budget figures may show that the funds were spent for other purposes, but merely receiving these government grants enables these entities to have money to spend on their killing purposes.

Planned Parenthood? No, I speak of the states which impose capital punishment as the ultimate penalty for a criminal act. Each of them receives federal tax dollars under assorted programs and grants, the majority of which have nothing to do with administration of their state’s criminal justice system.

Even if funds are designated for law enforcement they are not budgeted specifically to carry out executions.

In a way, that mirrors the federal tax dollars that go to Planned Parenthood. The long standing Hyde Amendment prohibits their use for abortions. yet abortion foes argue for the total defunding of Planned Parenthood on the theory that, even if these federal funds are not directly applied to the abortions that some Planned Parenthood facilities provide, their existence enables PP to perform abortions with the other funds they receive.

PP does this secure in the knowledge that the federal government spending can be used for its other purposes and its “abortion mission”  will still be effectuated.

If the defunding Planned Parenthood argument holds water…and believe me its adherents are thoroughly convinced that it does…then that same argument should hold water justifying the withholding of federal funding to states with the death penalty.

Ah, the PP opponents would say, PP kills innocents. Again, so does capital punishment.

Let us look at Texas as our avatar.

Since the restoration of the death penalty in 1976 in the U.S., Texas has carried out 482 executions, nearly 40% of the nation’s total. Texas is notorious for executing prisoners who were juveniles when the crime occurred; prisoners who were severely metally retarded; prisoners who were severely mentally ill; prisoners who were severely mis-represented by counsel; prisoners who were the victims of severely unethical prosecutors; and prisoners who were severely innocent.

Just ask Cameron Todd Willingham and Carlos DeLuna.

In Texas it costs an average of at least $2.3 million to put a prisoner to death after all appeals are exhausted. In contrast, to imprison someone for forty years in a single cell—probably longer than the average prisoner would be incarcerated for a life term—costs around $700,000.

Let us quit giving Texas the extra money that funds its execution scheme of injustice.

TODAY’S LINKS—APRIL 20, 2012

Ho Hum Department. The Mittster is blaming the GSA conference spending extravaganza on President Obama’s “elaborate” vacations setting a bad example.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/20/mitt-romney-obama-vacations-gsa_n_1440496.html?ref=topbar

However, this pattern of GSA spending began under Bush.

A review of budgets for the past three conferences, provided by a government source, shows that the pattern of excessive costs began in planning the 2008 conference – where costs soared from $323,855 in 2006 to $655,025in 2008. That represents a 102 percent increase between 2006 and 2008. 

http://www.politico.com/politico44/2012/04/gsa-mindreader-conference-spending-first-soared-under-119834.html

And Romney complains that Obama goes to his home state of Hawaii rather than bopping down the road to Camp David. Well, Romney owns houses in several states that he calls home. And Obama’s dog is never strapped to the roof of Air Force One.

Tom Dickinson in Rolling Stone makes the assertion that the left has been winning a string of battles and should be heartened by this accomplishment. Moreover he makes the point that the Obama administration, chided by many liberals for deserting their ideals, should take note and become stronger proponents of a more left-leaning agenda.

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/national-affairs/dont-look-now-lefties-are-winning-20120419

He cites SOPA (the internet control law), the Komen-Planned Parenthood dustup, Rush, and ALEC as examples.

I disagree on the impact. How many people really knew or cared about SOPA and its possible effects on internet usage? Besides, the issue had both Republicans and Democrats as either co-sponsors of the legislation or leading the opposition to it.

Additionally, we still have privacy issues arising out of countermeasures in the so-called war on terror. Those measures are blatant violations of our 4th and 5th Amendment rights.

ALEC’s own agenda is so broad and pervasive, that abandoning this small slice of it is like the fat man on a diet who gives up Snickers but not Three Musketeers.

Dovetailing nicely with the previous item is this report from The Nation that Georgia this week enacted a drug testing requirement for welfare recipients.

http://www.thenation.com/blog/167487/week-poverty-georgia-tries-get-zero-welfare-recipients

This law was introduced by an ALEC member legislator. Actually welfare is not welfare. Since its reform in the 1990’s eligibilty for cash assistance has been greatly reduced and, even in these hard times, the number of families receiving it is about a third of the number prior to reform. States have much discretion in eligibility requirements and amounts paid out.

As writer Greg Kaufman put it:

It’s not easy for poor people to get cash assistance in America.

Prior to welfare reform in 1996, 68 of every 100 poor families with children received cash assistance through Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC). But by 2010, under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program which replaced AFDC, just 27 of every 100 poor families received benefits. The rolls shrunk as states were given wide discretion over eligibility, benefit levels, time limits, and how to use their TANF block grants which were frozen at 1996 funding levels and not indexed for inflation.

Georgia is known as a particularly difficult state when it comes to accessing TANF. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), in 2008-09 for every 100 poor families with children in Georgia, only eight received cash aid.

Now the state is set to make its TANF application process even more onerous.

A similar Florida law was thrown out by a federal judge, so there’s hope that this piece of rubbish will not survive either.

From Mother Jones comes its quote of the day:

From Ezra Klein, after learning that conservatives are attacking President Obama for eating dog meat when he was a seven-year-old growing up in Indonesia:

“After I learned the story, I felt a little worse about myself for being in any way involved in the tornado of idiocy that is American politics.”

http://motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2012/04/quote-day-tornado-idiocy-american-politics

This observation itself may stem from journalism’s own tendency for misguided and misinformed reporting.

Jason Linkins on HuffPo refers to an article in the Columbia Journalism Review that applies such a theory to the reporting on Social Security issues.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/18/-social-security-journalism_n_1435125.html

Lieberman went on to point out that one of the effects of this sort of journalism is that otherwise reasonable people begin to make very poorly informed personal choices. “The one-sided reporting on this issue has influenced the way millions of Americans, especially younger ones, now think about Social Security,” she said, citing an example:…

There is a link to the CJR piece at the end of Linkins’ article.

I believe that not only is there inaccurate reporting but the intense concentration on mostly irrelevancies distracts from the vital stories that we do need to know about. Yes, Rush Limbaugh is a pig for calling a woman a slut. That was not a step down for him, merely maintaining his standing among the neanderthals. Yet, it became a major story itself. Whoopee!

Give me real news based on discernible and proveable facts.