Using words such as “egregious,” “cynical,” “outrageous,” and “deceive,” the Texas Catholic Bishops Conference have published the letter that they sent to Texas Legislators concerning the actions of Texas Right to Life concerning Senate Bill 303 and its companion, House Bill 1444 on April 15, 2013.
Since employees and representatives of TRL continue to “stoke fear through ridiculous claims,” (and to harass those who support the Bills) here’s the letter (I’ve reproduced the emphasis is in the original):
The Texas Catholic Conference is compelled to publicly correct the misstatements and fabrications that continue to be perpetuated by the Texas Right to Life organization against legislation to improve end-of-life care by reforming the Texas Advance Directives Act.
It has been said that all is fair in love, war and Texas politics. However, the actions of Texas Right to Life have been so egregious and cynical, especially when comes to misrepresenting the moral and theological doctrine of the Catholic Church, that the TCC cannot stay silent.
Texas’ Advance Directives Act needs reform. Current law lacks clarity given the complexity of end-of-life care, contains definitions that could permit the withdrawal of care for patients – including food and water – and permits unilateral Do Not Resuscitate Orders without the permission of, or even consultation with, the family.
Senate Bill 303 and House Bill 1444 are based on Catholic moral principles and reasonable medical standards for defending human life and protecting the conscience of both families and physicians. Both billsprevent unilateral DNRs, improve communication between medical providers and families, ensure a clear and balanced process for resolving differences, and give families the right to challenge Do Not Resuscitate Orders before a medical ethics committee.
In both its materials and communications with legislative offices and staff, Texas Right to Life has tried to stoke fear through ridiculous claims of nonexistent “death panels” and assertions that doctors are “secretly trying to kill patients.” Both claims are absurd. The truth is, many factors are involved in the sausage-grinding process of public policymaking. Some have less to do with making good laws and more about individual personalities and fundraising opportunities of organizations.
It is outrageous that an organization purportedly committed to the rights and dignity of life would resort to such disingenuous tactics that deceive honest and caring people. What is worse is doing so in a way that perpetuates current law and may cause unnecessary patient suffering.
Texas Right to Life has no authority to articulate Catholic moral teaching, and certainly does not have permission to represent the views of the Roman Catholic Bishops of Texas. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at the Texas Catholic Conference. We are more than happy to answer any questions or provide the Texas Catholic Bishops’ position on any issue before the Legislature.
(Edited for spelling and grammar, 4/25/13 BBN)
How reliable is a US government funded study that uses the term, “astroturf?”
Research using your tax dollars is under scrutiny – once again – and the subject of recent hearings in Congress. The National Cancer Institute, a wing of the National Institutes of Health, paid for this “study.” It was published in a “peer reviewed” journal, Tobacco Control, one of the “BMJ Group” (British Medical Journal) publications.
The tobacco companies have refined their astroturf tactics since at least the 1980s and leveraged their resources to support and sustain a network of organisations that have developed into some of the Tea Party organisations of 2012.
What this paper adds
Rather than being a grassroots movement that spontaneously developed in 2009, the Tea Party organisations have had connections to the tobacco companies since the 1980s. The cigarette companies funded and worked through Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE), the predecessor of Tea Party organisations, Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks, to accomplish their economic and political agenda. There has been continuity of some key players, strategies and messages from these groups to Americans for Prosperity, FreedomWorks and other Tea Party-related organisations.
Funding This research was funded by National Cancer Institute grants CA-113710 and CA-087472. The funding agency played no role in the selection of the research topic, conduct of the research or preparation of the manuscript. SAG is American Legacy Foundation Distinguished Professor in Tobacco Control.
Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Guess what? Virtually no media notice!
Two Planned Parenthood nurses quit their jobs because of dirty and dangerous work conditions and what they called ‘a meat-market style of assembly-line abortions’.
The former employees of the Delaware branch have spoken out about what allegedly takes place behind its closed doors and said that a rush to get patients in and out leaves the operating tables soiled and unclean and that doctors don’t wear gloves.
Jayne Mitchell-Werbrich, former employee said: ‘It was just unsafe. I couldn’t tell you how ridiculously unsafe it was.
‘It’s not washed down, it’s not even cleaned off. It has bloody drainage on it.’
I don’t know how long my comments will stay up, so here’s my part:
The author only quoted half a sentence. The article clearly states, “Induced abortion had no overall effect on the risk of breast cancer, but we found a statistically significant increase in risk among women with a history of second-trimester abortion.”
And here’s the link to the article in question. Please note that even this research must adjust for the age at first pregnancy and for number of pregnancies.
My testimony begins at 1 hour, 12 minutes in on the video of the hearing. I actually focused on the protective effect of pregnancy, especially early pregnancy, according to the National Cancer Institute. This information is only given to women and girls who are already pregnant, after all.
Interestingly, we learned how little the Committee members understood about scientific research and resources. Follow the hours of testimony on HB 2945 and HB 2365 and Rep.Jessica Farrar’s obsession and apparent slow realization about the meaning and significance of “peer review” and “PubMed” and “Medline.“At one point, 1:26, Ms. Farrar, who admits that she “barely got through biology,” asks whether the research was “peer reviewed” by “the Medline or PubMed.”
As the day went on, it seems that Farrar was educated that peer review is conducted by the Journals themselves, and that PubMed and Medline are merely indexes of scientifc literature.
By the way, the victim’s name is Leo Johnson.
FRC’s Tony Perkins again calls on SPLC to Stop Reckless Labeling of Christian Organizations
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Earlier today, Floyd Lee Corkins, II, pleaded guilty to three charges including a District of Columbia charge of committing an act of terrorism. The charges stem from the August 15, 2012 shooting at the Family Research Council’s headquarters.
Today’s hearing also revealed that in the interview with the FBI right after the shooting, the shooter admitted his guilt, which was captured on video. He said he intended to “kill as many as possible and smear the Chick-Fil-A sandwiches in victims’ faces, and kill the guard.” The prosecutor said they reviewed the family computer and found that he identified his targets on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s web site.
The purpose of the Second Amendment is not the delivery of bullets, knife blades, or the force of blunt objects. Its purpose is to prohibit Congress – the Government – from infringing on “the right to keep and bear arms.” Those arms are for the purpose of ensuring a “free state,” wherein we the people live freely without fear of the government or other bullies threatening our inalienable rights.
In the same way, the First Amendment doesn’t guarantee that anyone else will receive your speech. It does, however prohibit limits on your speech by Congress, as long as you don’t harm someone else.
None of our inalienable rights trump the inalienable rights of others. No one may freely use their gun to infringe on the life, liberty or property of another person — it’s only to be used in defense of rights. The same thing goes for the right to free speech and press. If your expression causes harm to another person who is not threatening you or anyone else, then you should be liable, whether you are guilty of yelling “fire!” in a crowded theater, or of publishing names and addresses of law abiding people who are minding their own business.
Unfortunately, members of the Press don’t understand the harm their speech can cause others:
The Monday article in The Journal News was headlined “The gun owner next door: What you don’t know about the weapons in your neighborhood,” and was in response to the Dec. 14 school shooting in Newtown, Conn.
“Do you fools realize that you also made a map for criminals to use to find homes to rob that have no guns in them to protect themselves? What a bunch of liberal boobs you all are,” wrote one reader.
The sentiments were echoed by another, who wrote, “How dare you guys. You have just destroyed the privacy of these law-abiding citizens and by releasing this list, you have equated them to that of sex offenders and murders. These are law-abiding gun owners, they are no danger to anyone except for criminals. And with this information you have made them targets for both criminals and anti-gun lobbyist who I am sure are going to treat them like monsters. I hope you are sued for infringing on the privacy rights of every single one of these citizens you have just put in harm’s way.”
One reader, in an attempt to “turn the tables on the Journal and see how they like it,” posted the home addresses of the newspaper’s president, top editors, and the reporter who wrote the story.
The gun registration information, which is available to the public, was obtained by The Journal News through a through a Freedom of Information Act request.
On Tuesday, in an article written by Journal News Reporter Randi Weiner, the paper defended its decision to post the addresses of handgun permit holders across Westchester, Rockland, and Putnam Counties, the northern suburbs of New York City where the paper is read.
“We knew publication of the database would be controversial, but we felt sharing as much information as we could about gun ownership in our area was important in the aftermath of the Newtown shootings,” Weiner quoted CynDee Royle, editor and vice president of the newspaper. “People are concerned about who owns guns and how many of them there are in their neighborhoods.”
Royle said that a freedom of information request seeking the specifics on how many and what types of weapons were owned by people in the above mentioned counties was denied.
Note: I’ve added the links to the NewsMax article, which didn’t have what I consider important information. A thank you “Hat Tip” to the blog, “For What It’s Worth,” for one of the links and for being resourceful!
Hitting the debt ceiling, borrowing 40 cents of every dollar we spend, and about to go over the “fiscal cliff” if a compromise isn’t worked out. The Obama strategy is to spend more, borrow more and pretty much sabotage the “bipartisan” deal.
How grand is that?
And who does the New York Times blame?
The Obama administration is arguing that the sluggish economy requires a shot in the arm, and it included tens of billions of dollars of little-noticed stimulus measures in its much-noticed proposal to Congressional leaders last week. But Republicans have countered that the country cannot afford to widen the deficit further, and have balked at including the measures in any eventual deal.
If you believe that the multiple headlines focusing on Grover Norquist are a coincidence, I’ve got ocean front property in Arizona to sell you.
All women are potential bimbos, all media reports are reliable, and email is a secure way to threaten your romantic rivals, right? In the case of Paula Broadwell, the story doesn’t make sense. Next, we’ll hear comments from James Carville (or David Axelrod) about trailer parks and $100 bill.
Or, are we all being treated to the latest version of “bimbo eruptions,” the false trashing of women by the Clinton Administration of the 1990′s? If you remember that far back, every single woman who claimed that Bill Clinton had abused her was painted by the Clinton Administration and subsequently by the media as liars who were women scorned, jealous and mentally unstable.
We’ve been told that former Army General David Petraeus resigned as Director of the CIA because he had been having an affair. His alleged mistress, Paula Broadwell, a married mother of two, was an honor graduate from West Point, retired from the Army after attaining the rank of Major and recognition as a military expert. and a former intelligence officer. She was a Lt. Colonel in the Army Reserves and a member of the FBI anti-terrorism force. We are to believe that at 40 years old, this highly accomplished woman went around the bend, and became jealous of another woman, a friend of the Petraeus family, and the FBI discovered that she had been sending “anonymous” emails to the other woman.
(At 19 minutes into the speech, Broadwell mentions that General Petraeus was undergoing radiation therapy for prostate cancer when they met. This makes me even more doubtful about the affair story.)
It turns out that Ms. Broadwell may have come under heightened scrutiny after she spoke to the alumni association at the University of Denver (where she had studied in October. During the question and answer period, she made the very controversial claim that the annex at Benghazi, where our Ambassador was killed on September 11, 2012, was being used to hold captured Libyan militia prisoners, and that’s why the US forces were attacked.
The video was posted online, although it’s been removed by the University from many others, including Front Page News, At least as of 5 PM on Monday, November 12th, the video is available on YouTube, here,
and at Human Events, that I found after a Google search on the title of the video, “Alumni Symposium 2012, Paula Broadwell.” If the videos all disappear, here’s a quote about Benghazi , at least:
“The challenge has been the fog of war, and the greater challenge is that it’s political hunting season, and so this whole thing has been turned into a very political sort of arena, if you will,” she said. “The fact that came out today is that the ground forces there at the CIA annex, which is different from the consulate, were requesting reinforcements.
“They were requesting the – it’s called the C-in-C’s In Extremis Force – a group of Delta Force operators, our very, most talented guys we have in the military. They could have come and reinforced the consulate and the CIA annex.
“Now, I don’t know if a lot of you have heard this but the CIA annex had actually taken a couple of Libyan militia members prisoner, and they think that the attack on the consulate was an attempt to get these prisoners back. It’s still being vetted.
This is the front page of Google News — There’s no mention of the news about real-time emails and White House knowledge of the ongoing attack! I had to search “Benghazi emails” specifically to find coverage of the story.
Reuter’s and Yahoo each have a story about Secretary of State Clinton’s comments on the “Facebook” claim by a militant group – but no front page coverage of the real-time emails from the State Department in Libya about the attack in Benghazi.
Update, 2 PM CDT: Google News now has the story, 3rd or 4th on the page. However, the coverage still focuses on when the White House knew about the claim of responsibility. I’m glad that interest has forced the upgrade in coverage. However, I don’t believe that what they knew about the source of the attack should be the focus. Forbes has it right, with their article about the inadequate response to the attack.
WingRight reported on the harassment of Mark Regnerus, a University of Texas at Austin Professor of Sociology, for his study on the differences in the adult children of homosexual parents. Dr. Regnerus was subjected to an investigation by the University, which confiscated his computer and emails.
The University has exonerated the Professor, and released this statement on September 12, 2012:
“The University of Texas at Austin has determined that no formal investigation is warranted into the allegations of scientific misconduct lodged against associate professor Mark Regnerus regarding his July article in the journal Social Science Research,” the school said in a statement. “As with much university research, Regnerus’ New Family Structures Study touches on a controversial and highly personal issue that is currently being debated by society at large.”The university expects the scholarly community will continue to evaluate and report on the findings of the Regnerus article and supports such discussion,” the statement concluded.
@joepags “Joe Pags” on WOAI radio hung up on me – again – last night. It’s so frustrating to have the phone sudenly go silent – and, since I’ve turned off the radio while on the phone, I can’t hear Joe’s next comments.
This time, the topic was yesterday’s news about a push for legalized casino gambling in Texas and why Mr. Pagliarulo should be able to gamble legally in Texas, rather than take his money to Oklahoma, Louisiana, or Las Vegas. I’ll give discuss the evidence and give references to studies showing the adverse effects of gambling later on, but first, let’s examine Joe’s poor arguments in favor of gambling.
Joe complained about our State property taxes, as one of the highest in the Nation. Yes, we are ranked in the top 10, for property taxes. However, Texas’ State sales tax is moderate and we have no income tax, making our overall tax burden number 45 in the Country.
He accused the first caller of “judging” him, because the man said that he believes that gambling is immoral. No, the man was judging the morality of gambling, never brought up the morality of people who disagree with him.
Besides, aren’t all laws based on morality?
Joe argues that “liberty” demands that those of us who object to gambling should allow gambling by those who don’t. He even told one caller that if he doesn’t like gambling, just don’t go to the casino. (Sounds like one of the shaky arguments in favor of abortion or same sex marriage, doesn’t it?) However, Joe is advocating a change in Texas’ State law. Those of us who vote are responsible for the consequences of our votes and for the laws our Legislators make, therefore we are complicit with what we consider immoral, whether we partake or not. Joe is still at liberty to go to a State where gambling is legal. To force us to be complicit with his gambling is “license,” not liberty.
Joe claims that everyone who objects to casino gambling should be carrying signs and protesting the Lottery and racetrack gambling in Austin. Joe may not realize that many of us objected to both of the above before they were legalized – and we were right in that they certainly haven’t solved the State’s revenue problems. Nevertheless, the fact that the rest of us have other priorities (like my own work for traditional medical ethics and pro-life laws), doesn’t mean that we are willing to sit still while the law is changed, yet again.
And then, Joe argues that the fact that Louisiana and other States continue to allow legalized gambling must prove that the benefits of gambling outweigh the costs to those States. That argument hasn’t proven to be true. At best, gambling is a (mostly) voluntary way of redistributing wealth. In fact, this report claims that States only benefit when people from outside come in, leave their money and then go home, and reports that the National Gambling Impact Study Commission goes so far as to report that the evidence that gambling benefits outweigh the costs is “poorly developed and quite incomplete.”
The economic benefits of gambling are often at the expense of other sections of the economy and are short term. In fact, analyses indicate that lotteries and horse racing may actually increase State revenues, casinos and grey hound racing do not. At least one statistical study finds no “relationship between real casino revenues and real per capita income at the state level.”
- “increased criminal justice system impacts
- “health-care related to the treatment of problem gambling
- “costs borne by individual problem gamblers and their families
- “displacement effects in retail, entertainment and food service sectors”
According to the Texas Public Policy Foundation, the economics of legalized gambling aren’t a good bet for Texas:
Costs associated with gambling include: (1) a reduction of approximately 10 percent in state lottery revenues; (2) an investment of approximately 10 percent of revenues in regulatory costs for gambling; (3) criminal justice costs underwriting an 8 to 13 percent increase in crime; (4) lost state and local revenue resulting from diversion of spending from goods and services to gambling; and (5) lost jobs resulting from decreased spending on non-gambling goods and services.
The financial costs of gambling are evident in experiences of communities and states:
• 24 out of 57 counties in the U.S. with casinos experienced job losses
• Atlantic City went from 50th in the nation for per-capita crime to first and violent crimes
rose by 78 percent, during the first three years of casino gambling
• Sales declined 10 to 20 percent in Natchez, Mississippi after gambling was legalized
• Counties with casinos have a bankruptcy filing rate that is 13.6 percent higher than in counties without casinos throughout the nation
• Delaware reports spending between $1 to $1.5 million annually on gambling-related costs and Wisconsin reports spending $63 million annually
The proponents of gambling ignore the costs and emphasize the benefits of tax revenues from gambling.
“Economic Development and Casinos. Do Casinos Cause Economic Growth?” Douglas M. Walker, John D. Jackson. American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Vol. 66, No. 3 (July, 2007). http://walkerd.people.cofc.edu/pubs/AJES-growth.pdf (accessed 10/10/12)
“Gambling Economics: Summary Facts” Earl L. Grinols. April 2011 http://www.freedomfoundationofminnesota.com/Websites/freedomfoundation/Images/Gambling%20Economics-%20Summary%20Facts%20by%20Professor%20Earl%20Grinols,%204.29.11.pdf (accessed 10/10/12)
“Is Gambling a Good Economic Development Bet?” Local Government Matters, Volume 4, Issue 13 Excerpt from Economic Development: Strategies for State and Local Practice, 2nd Edition. Steven G. Koven and Thomas S. Lyons. ICMA Press, August, 2010. http://icma.org/en/icma/newsroom/highlights/Article/100498/Is_Gambling_a_Good_Economic_Development_Bet (accessed 10/10/12)
“Overview of the Economic and Social Impacts of Gambling in the United States” Douglas M. Walker. College of Charleston, November 2011 http://walkerd.people.cofc.edu/pubs/2012/OxfordCh_dist.pdf (accessed 10/10/12)
“Social and Economic Costs and Benefits of Gambling” Rhys Stevens. Alberta Gaming Research Institute http://www.abgamblinginstitute.ualberta.ca/en/LibraryResources/Bibliographies/SocialandEconomicCostsandBenef.aspx (accessed 10/10/12)
“Social and Economic Costs of Gambling” John R. Hill, Ph.D. Alabama Policy Institute http://www.alabamapolicy.org/issues/gti/issue.php?issueID=189&guideMainID=9 (accessed 10/10/12)
“Social costs of gambling nearly half that of drug abuse, new book concludes” Mark Reutter. Inside Illinois Archives, News Bureau, Public Affairs, University of Illinois. March, 2004. http://news.illinois.edu/news/04/0308grinols.html (accessed 10/10/12)
“The Costs and Consequences of Gambling In the State of Delaware” State of Delaware, Health and Social Services, Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health October, 2002. http://www.udel.edu/healthserpolresgrp/gamrpt02.pdf
“Triumph, Tragedy or Trade-Off? Considering the Impact of Gambling” Jason J. Azmier, Robin Kelley, Peter Todosichuk. August 2001. Canada West Foundation, Canada. https://dspace.ucalgary.ca/bitstream/1880/48165/1/200108.pdf (accessed 10/10/12)
“VLTs — What Are The Odds Of Texas Winning?” Chris Patterson Texas Public Policy Foundation http://www.texaspolicy.com/sites/default/files/documents/2005-03-vlt.pdf (accessed 10/10/12)
Prepared by Health Services Policy Research Group, School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy, University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware. October, 2002. http://www.udel.edu/healthserpolresgrp/gamrpt02.pdf (accessed 10/10/12)
“Hate speech,” right? Only if you advocate for divorce and serial monogamy — or practice media abuse.
I went searching for the original interview and found it, here:
“We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.
A person has to try very hard to find hate in that comment or the others recorded in the piece about a radio interview that Mr. Cathy gave to the Biblical Recorder’s K. Allan Blume, and later published in the Baptist Press. In my opinion, your world view – or your agenda – must be pretty narrow to turn Mr. Cathy’s comments about the family and marriage into “anti” anything!
Here’s the part of the story that supposedly was “anti-gay:”
The company invests in Christian growth and ministry through its WinShape Foundation (WinShape.com). The name comes from the idea of shaping people to be winners.
It began as a college scholarship and expanded to a foster care program, an international ministry, and a conference and retreat center modeled after the Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove.
“That morphed into a marriage program in conjunction with national marriage ministries,” Cathy added.
Some have opposed the company’s support of the traditional family. “Well, guilty as charged,” said Cathy when asked about the company’s position.
“We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.
“We operate as a family business … our restaurants are typically led by families; some are single. We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families. We are very much committed to that,” Cathy emphasized.
“We intend to stay the course,” he said. “We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.”
As a “first wife,” I’m probably biased, but I like that he thanks the Lord for his marriage! And I don’t see any mention of gays, at all!
The San Antonio Express News published an editorial August 9th, by O. Ricardo Pimentel, entitled, “Texas tries to get between you, your doctor:”
For them, the issue isn’t abortion; it’s about the doctor-patient relationship, patient health and the ability to put everything on the table that needs to be discussed. Even if it’s abortion.
In a recent letter to the state, the Texas Medical Association, joined by other medical groups, said Texas is about to embark on a plan for providing medical care to low-income women that will impose a “gag order” on discussing abortion even on doctors working with patients not in the program.
Other groups, weighing in during the public comment period on proposed state rules, have similar concerns.
It’s a plan, they say, that will ensure not enough doctors for this program willing to provide care, including family planning services. And this, they say, will guarantee more unintended pregnancies, more abortions and more illness that might have been prevented for low-income women.
Among those also commenting on the rules were the Center for Public Policy Priorities, and leaders of Planned Parenthood entities in the state, South Texas groups among them.
Trust me, for everyone who is mentioned above, it’s about abortion. The law doesn’t stop anyone from discussing or even promoting true contraception that doesn’t end the life of our youngest children of tomorrow.
And it is about “elective abortions:” those that are performed on health babies in healthy mothers. We’re not talking about the more controversial abortions in cases of rape and incest, much less in the cases of congenital disorders that are “not compatible with life outside the womb and certainly not in cases where the mother’s life is in danger. Since when do elective abortions “need to be discussed?“
How difficult is it to understand that Texas taxpayers should not pay for “promotion” of abortion? Or that we most certainly do not want our State tax funds to go to doctors who perform elective abortions on healthy babies and healthy mothers?
While I don’t speak for the Society, I am an elected delegate for my County Medical Society to the TMA House of Delegates and I believe that most of our members would agree with me on this. I am very much in favor of restricting payment from our limited State funds to only those doctors and organizations that provide comprehensive and continuing medical care for the whole woman and her whole family. With Texas Family Doctors, Internal Medicine Docs, Pediatricians and OB/Gyns reeling from the lack of increasing fees from Medicare and decreases in Medicaid funding, why not help keep them in business by adding the availability of billing the State for screening tests like pap smears, exams for breast masses, diabetes and high blood pressure?
In fact, that’s what the Legislature decided: that money would be prioritized. First come the comprehensive care docs, hospitals, and county and city clinics. Planned Parenthood is never mentioned, although there is a section of the law that absolutely prohibits the State from contracting with anyone who “promotes” abortion *if there are other qualified providers available.*
Texas DHS has already identified more than enough doctors and clinics that qualify under the law. These doctors can actually treat the diseases for which the Texas Women’s Health Plan screens. Our Texas Legislature made a wise decision when they agreed that it doesn’t make sense to send our few dollars to a clinic that treats a very narrow medical spectrum in an intermittent manner.
And the law has already saved human lives: Austin city and Travis County taxes once paid for 400 elective abortions each year. A year ago, the law achieved what the taxpayers who protested this use of their money couldn’t do: Austin and Travis County health clinics were forced to stop funding those abortions.
If you have a family doctor, consider a polite call to his or her front desk asking them to let the TMA know their views on using Texas’ tax funds to support Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers.
You might also consider contacting Texas Alliance for Life and/or you local Crisis Pregnancy Center to let them know that you support their efforts to keep your State (and federal) tax funds from paying for the ending of lives of our Texans of tomorrow.
From Rush’s transcript, August 2, 2012,
RUSH: Now, ladies and gentlemen, Mitt Romney is no tax cheat. But even if he was, so what? The Treasury secretary of the United States is an admitted tax cheat, and the Democrats didn’t give a damn about that. Harry Reid and his fellow Democrats in the Senate voted to confirm Little Timmy Geithner, the tax cheat. Joe Biden is a plagiarist. Anybody care about that? Barack Obama fudged laws in a shady deal to buy his house with the help of a conflicted felon. His good pal Bill Ayers bombed the Pentagon. Romney is none of this. Not even close to it. We have an admitted tax cheat that is the Treasury secretary of the United States, Timothy Geithner. Democrats don’t care about it.
We docs often hear that advance practice nurses could do 80% of what Family docs, pediatricians and internist do. But, it’s knowing the difference between that 80% and 20% that will kill you!
I’m printing the whole of this letter from Dr. Valenti published by the Texas Medical Association, because it says so much that we doctors are saying these days. Here’s more about the crisis among Texas Doctors who still see the poorest elderly in Texas.
Money is vital to keep practices open, but what’s scary is that there’s a move to allow “mid-levels” to do more. Specifically, Dr. Valenti objects to an opinion piece in the DMN that includes this statement: “Hardly anyone doubts that most veteran registered nurses, with a little more training, could do a fine job setting broken bones, stitching wounds and even dispensing drugs for common ailments.”
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Setting the Record Straight on Doctor Pay
The following is a response by Joseph Valenti, MD, to commentary published Friday in the Dallas Morning News by Eli Lehrer, president of R Street. In the article, Mr. Lehrer claims U.S. physicians and health care workers make too much money and are responsible for the high cost of medical care in America.
I am a physician in Denton, Texas. This morning, I sat and read your article in The Dallas Morning News titled “Your Doctor’s Big Fat Paycheck.” Frankly, I am in awe of the breadth of your ignorance.
Fact: Of the health care dollars spent in this country, physician salaries make up about 8.5 percent. That is one of the lowest percentages in the industrialized world. Germany, by contrast, is at 15 percent.
Fact: The graduate level course of study for nurse practitioners (NPs) and nurses is not even close to that of physicians — we have a little something called residency. Perhaps you’ve heard of it. When I did mine in OB-Gyn from 1994 to1998, it was 90-100 hours a week for four years with a take home pay of $20,000. I was raising a family on that, as my wife had to stay home to take care of premature twins. NPs and nurses do none of that.
Fact: Private insurers are already too strong. “Weak bargaining position”? If you don’t like the contract they offer, they tell you to take a hike. Doctors are the ones with no bargaining position. I haven’t had an increase from United Healthcare for 54 months. Meanwhile, it paid its shareholders an 11-percent dividend last year. And regarding your comment about how individual plans rarely cover one-half an area — do your homework! States like Alabama have Blue Cross and Blue Shield covering 90 percent of insured lives! In any other industry, this would constitute a monopoly.
Fact: Medicare increases have been had by every segment of the health care industry except doctors. (See the charts.)
Fact: Pilots may make less than doctors. They also belong to unions and walk out when they don’t get what they want. Doctors never walk out, and the pro bono and free care we hand out can’t even be deducted from our federal taxes as charity. Then try breaking it down per hour. Pilots fly about 60 hours/month. Doctors work in the office and hospital about 60 hours/week. And that doesn’t take into account nights and weekends on call. Don’t get me wrong — pilots are vital and do a great job. But on a per-hour basis, they are clearly ahead. By the way, I don’t know a single primary care doctor who makes $200,000 a year. Most of the ones I know are barely getting by, and many are closing their practices or selling them to hospitals.
A huge doctor shortage is looming. We cannot and will not attract our best and brightest students to medicine unless their pay is commensurate with the level and intensity of work and commitment needed to fund a modern medical education. The student loan burden alone, which is now often exceeding $200,000, keeps many away.
The huge amount we spend in this country for health care has far less to do with medical professionals’ salaries than it does with the cost of almost everything else. Case in point: The same Mirena IUD, from the same single factory that Bayer uses in Finland, costs $700 in the United States but costs $250 in Canada. Really? That same case can be made for tens of thousands of drugs and medical products here.
Medicine is one of the only businesses I know of where the increasing cost of doing business can’t be passed on to the customer. Every year, the cost of running my office and paying my employees goes up, while insurance payments stay the same or go down. I am left to eat the difference. My salary the last three years is less than I made 14 years ago when I started in private practice. Hardly a source of bankrupting the health care system.
Shakespeare said that the eye sees what the mind knows. With that in mind, ask yourself if you would feel comfortable entrusting your care or that of your family to someone with less training, less knowledge, and less expertise. Would you? I think not. Now ask yourself how happy one of us would be treating someone like you, who wrote an article that is so misleading about us and who we really are and what we really have done to become really good at taking care of patients. Surprise. We would love to take of you. Why? Because that is what we took a vow to do, a vow that doesn’t allow us the luxury of being judgmental. So the next time you are lying in bed needing emergency surgery, remember this — we will be there. Pay or no pay. Assign a value to that ideal, and then consider whether or not we are “overpaid.”
Joseph S. Valenti, MD, FACOG
“More sparingly should this praise be allowed to a government, where a man’s religious rights are violated by penalties, or fettered by tests, or taxed by a hierarchy. Conscience is the most sacred of all property.” John Madison, “Property,” National Gazette, March 29, 1792.
“In purity and holiness I will guard my life and my art.” Hippocratic Oath, approximately 400 BC.
“Refusals based on moral disapprobation, however, are not typical of medical ethics” R. Alta Charo, ”Health Care Provider Refusals to Treat, Prescribe, Refer or Inform: Professionalism and Conscience.” February, 2007.
Fully enjoying the protections of the First Amendment themselves, the New England Journal of Medicine has published yet another editorial, “Warning: Contraceptive Drugs May Cause Political Headaches,” by Robin Alta Charo, J.D., denouncing conscience and those of us who abide by ours. I suppose that she thought it was the right thing to do.
The Journal does not offer background on Ms. Charo’s previous editorials on the subject, including the notorious 2005 “The Celestial Fire of Conscience.” The editors don’t include any note – any “warning’ – that she was part of the political Obama transition team. Ms. Charo did not mention any of these possible conflicts of interest in her “disclosure form,” available online.
Charo’s entire argument relies on readers’ agreement that the argument is about “public policy and contraception.” It is vital to her argument since, as she quotes Georgetown University theologian Tom Reese, “If the argument is over religious liberty, the bishops win.” Because, if we understand that the issue relates to “an establishment of religion,” Congress cannot legitimately pass, and the Executive Branch may not enforce, any law that infringes on the free exercise of religion.
Charo would instead have us focus on “public institutions, public places, and public duties.” Although hospitals and universities serve the public by providing healthcare and education, they are still owned by private, religious entities. In addition, the Obama Administration’s “accommodation” – the suggestion that the institution’s insurance company provide contraception free of charge to the ensured who want it – becomes much more complicated in light of the fact that most large religious hospitals and universities privately self-insure rather than enter into the market to buy first dollar coverage from a third party insurance company.
Charo’s essay is political appeal to emotion and half-truths, full of the “partisan sound bites and slogans” she denounces. However, not even the lie about mandatory transvaginal ultrasounds compares with her earlier error of logic in warning that the institutions could withhold “ordinary salary.” I don’t know of any religious organization that considers agreed-upon salary for agreed-upon service as inherently sinful. Keeping a promise, like that in the First Amendment or a contract with an employee is sacred to those of us with a conscience.
The Constitution demands that Congress “shall make no law” limiting religious freedom. The attempt by the Obama Administration to write regulations that require religious institutions to engage in acts that are contrary to long-standing, organized tenets of that religion goes directly against the First Amendment and cannot be justified.
No matter how often it’s repeated, it’s a lie that the
Buffett rule will cut deficit or increase the money available for
Washington, DC to spend. The highest I’ve seen is $47 Billion dollars
over 10 years in revenue from the Buffett tax increase. That’s less
than one day of current *deficit* Federal spending.
The entire premise is a lie. The capital gains taxes are taxed at the
corporate rate prior to bring dispersed to investors. And they’ve
already been taxed as income from the investors.
Taxes are punishment for achievement and investment. The Buffett rule
- while sparing Buffett’s own tax shelters, the foundations run by his
kids – is a disincentive for investors and punishment for the risk
required to achieve.
For more information – proof of the Big Lie - on the rates and the amounts that “the rich” pay in taxes, take a look at what the Congressional Budget Office says about taxes and income levels:
- “The overall federal tax system is progressive—that is, average tax rates generally rise with income. Households in the bottom quintile (fifth) of the income distribution paid 4 percent of their income in federal taxes, while the middle quintile paid 14 percent, and the highest quintile paid 25 percent. Average rates continued to rise within the top quintile, with the top 1 percent facing an average rate of close to 30 percent.
- “Higher-income groups earn a disproportionate share of pretax income and pay a disproportionate share of federal taxes. In 2007, the highest quintile earned 56 percent of pretax income and paid 69 percent of federal taxes, while the top 1 percent of households earned 19 percent of income and paid 28 percent of taxes. In all other quintiles, the share of federal taxes was less than the income share. The bottom quintile earned 4 percent of income and paid less than 1 percent of taxes, while the middle quintile earned 13 percent of income and paid 9 percent of taxes.”
The speech is good, but the story told in the introduction was a huge surprise to me. Not because I don’t believe that Dr. Donna is capable of the good deeds described — but because neither she nor anyone else had told me about them!
According to Apostle Claver, Dr. Donna followed him when he stumbled to the bathroom at a restaurant. Even while he “regurgitated,” she nursed him and prayed for him. She then had some of the men at the event put him in her car and she took him home, where she and her husband cared for him overnight.
I certainly admire Donna’s “guts” and Apostle Claver’s humility for telling the story to us all.
How unfortunate that the WaPo chose to color this article, “A clinic’s landlord turns the tables on anti-abortion protesters” with “anti-choice” stereotypes depicting all pro-life activists as violent. Obviously, there hasn’t been violence at the Stave office building or, I’m sure, it would have been prominently reported in this article. Instead, the focus goes to Roy Carhartt, who does abortions at the clinic. Carhart isn’t an OB/Gyn, but performs late term abortions for a living and also claims to be a “Family Physician.”
The article is supposed to be about Todd Stave, who founded “Voices for Choice,” which solicits volunteers to contact pro-live activists, supplying names, phone numbers, addresses and sometimes even the names of children. From the Voices for Choice website,
Todd Stave is an entrepreneur in the Washington, DC area who believes in a woman’s right to choose. He also believes in every American’s fundamental right to his or her own opinions but loathes bullies, harassers and antagonists who cross the lines of civility and decency.
In reality, Stave owns a building that once was his abortionist father’s clinic and is now an abortion business run by his sister.
After Roy Carhart started doing late term abortions there in late 2010, local pro-life activists began to petition Mr. Stave to change his business practices. They called him and personally contacted him, even going so far as to protest at his home. Last August, two people stood outside of the school where one of the Stave children attended middle school, quietly – and legally – praying and demonstrating with signs.
I don’t support protesting outside the school of such young survivors of abortion and agree that it’s a horrible thing to have to explain to an 11 year old that Daddy makes his living from renting a building to people who perform late term abortions.
I believe in small government and personal responsibility. Communicating our moral beliefs and community standards by personal interaction are much better than sweeping laws in the pursuit of influencing our neighbors.
Speaking of responsibility: I hope and pray that those “pro-life” activists who receive the phone calls from the pro-abortion volunteers are engaging their callers in a real conversation about elective abortion.
I also hope that the pro-life men and women make note of the caller ID information. After all, most violence around those who advocate in favor of elective abortions is committed by the so-called “pro-choice.” I hope Mr. Stave’s (& now Wapo’s) volunteers at VOChoice.org never commit violence.
May the Lord bless all of our Nation with understanding about what abortion really is. Odd that if you break the egg of a bird on the Endangered Species list, it doesn’t matter that it was an embryo or fetus, you’ve still broken Federal law. But the only species having this conversations doesn’t protect our own children of tomorrow from elective, intentional abortion.
The only thing sure in life is death and taxes. The difference is that “We the People” can avoid taxes by making sure our Republic is sound and avoid the errors that the founding fathers and de Tocqueville (and I) warned us about.
Unfortunately, our Nation has decided – whether by default or not – that a group of nine appointed Justices are not only the “highest court in the land,” they are the highest LAW in the land. And so, we find ourselves at the mercy of the whims – and sometimes the least consistent – of these justices
I’ve been scanning the transcript from the Tuesday, March 27, 2012 debate before the Supreme Court, which is available at the SCOTUS website.
A question by Justice Alito :
“All right, suppose that you and I walked around downtown Washington at lunch hour and we found a couple of healthy young people and we stopped them and we said, “You know what you’re doing? You are financing your burial services right now because eventually you’re going to die, and somebody is going to have to pay for it, and if you don’t have burial insurance and you haven’t saved money for it, you’re going to shift the cost to somebody else.”
“Isn’t that a very artificial way of talking about what somebody is doing?”
“But the reason this is concerning, is because it requires the individual to do an affirmative act. In the law of torts our tradition, our law, has been that you don’t have the duty to rescue someone if that person is in danger. The blind man is walking in front of a car and you do not have a duty to stop him absent some relation between you. And there is some severe moral criticisms of that rule, but that’s generally the rule.
“And here the government is saying that the Federal Government has a duty to tell the individual citizen that it must act, and that is different from what we have in previous cases and that changes the relationship of the Federal Government to the individual in the very fundamental way.”
Hear and read the passage, at Real Clear Politics.
Erickson points out that the media are changing the meme of the debate from whether the law is Constitutional to a rant that the Conservatives on the Court are bullying the rest. The Houston Chronicle joins the chorus and proves Erick’s point.
To think that I almost posted this without adding the Category “Media Abuse.”
Public policy in education and ethics discourse are approaching a climate in which there are no standards of morality and no expectation of – much less recognition of – any ultimate Truth and no acknowledgement of right or wrong other than arbitrary enforcement of faddish laws.
“The Journal does not specifically support substantive moral views, ideologies, theories, dogmas or moral outlooks, over others. It supports sound rational argument. Moreover, it supports freedom of ethical expression.”
Earlier this month, I reported on the Journal of Medical Ethics’ “After Birth Abortion; Why should the baby live?” The quote above is from one of the editors of the Journal, Julian Savulescu, who apparently does not understand that his support of “rational argument” and “freedom of ethical expression” is a substantive moral view, dogma or moral outlook. Savulescu is a perfect example that my opening statement is true.
Among the many unintended consequences of this lack of standards is that there is now seems to be no place for teaching and learning. How do our teachers, much less our students, develop judgment about ethics in a world with only subjective standards? How do our teachers correct a horrible overstepping of what were once considered boundaries if there are no boundaries?
Where and when do we find the teaching moment, an opportunity to review basic ethics and learn once again why these ethics fit the event or question?
Planned Parenthood (“PP”) for years has used the media and fraud to bring in clients when those women could have gone to a family doctor or OB/Gyn. Below are three ways to find a local doctor who participates with the Women’s Health Program in Texas.
As a woman doctor, mother and grandmother from Texas, I support Governor Perry in his support of the law, passed once again by the Texas Legislature last summer, that prohibits any of our tax funds going to any “affiliate” of abortionists. Senate Bill 7, the huge law covering Texas medical financing, was passed in the Special Session of the 82nd Legislature and renewed a State prohibition on any Texas Medicaid funds going to “perform or promote elective abortions, or to contract with entities that perform or promote elective abortions or affiliate with entities that perform or promote elective abortions.” (See page 91.)
The Obama administration and countless media and op-ed articles would have us all believe that the law is new, but it’s not. The original Women’s Health Program (“WHP”) was created in 2005 and received a 5 year waiver from the Bush Administration in 2006, as finalized in these documents from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. All of these facts are outlined in the Complaint filed by Attorney General Greg Abbott in his lawsuit against Kathleen Sebelius and Obama’s Health and Human Services:
11.From the outset of the Women’s Health Program, the Texas Legislature has explicitly prohibited taxpayer funds from going to entities that perform or promote elective abortions. The Legislature also prohibited taxpayer dollars from funding affiliates of entities that perform or promote elective abortions. See id. § 32.0248(h) (“The department shall ensure that the money spent under the demonstration project, regardless of the funding source, is not used to perform or promote elective abortions. The department, for the purpose of the demonstration project, may not contract with entities that perform or promote elective abortions or are affiliates of entities that perform or promote elective abortions.”).
Read the next few paragraphs of the Complaint for comments on dates and on approval of the waiver without restrictions on Texas’ prohibition on abortion providers. Please note that the waiver was requested in December, 2005, and approved in December, 2006, for a period of 5 years, to end December 31, 2011. It is not true, as reported by a spokesperson for Secretary Sebelius, that the waiver was denied.
Texas law prohibited State funds from going to any provider who performed or referred to elective abortions beginning in 2003. Under a provision known as “Rider 8,” the State began requiring recipients of Medicaid and Family Planning money to sign an affidavit that they did not perform or refer for elective abortions. Texas won when PP challenged Rider 8 in Federal Court. The various PP sub-corporations in the State then set up separate corporations for the “medical affiliates” that were not licensed to perform abortions and the “surgical affiliates” that did perform elective abortions. These were shams, as all of the corporations came under the direction of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and some even shared buildings and staff. It turned out that 4 of the facilities run by the PP Trust of San Antonio and South Texas didn’t even bother with the sham. They were found to be illegally performing medical abortions, and were fined and shut down in 2009 as unlicensed abortion clinics and for fraudulently billing Medicaid.
- There are more than 2,500 qualified providers in the WHP.
Planned Parenthood represents less than two percent of providers in the WHP.
- Planned Parenthood’s cost per client is 43 percent higher than most other providers, according to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.
- In FY 2010, nearly 80 percent of women served received WHP services from non Planned Parenthood providers.
What did happen is that last year, Attorney General defined “affiliates.” Logically, subsidiaries of a given corporation, such as all the “medical affiliates” of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, are “affiliates” of that corporation.
PP and their supporters would have us believe that hundreds of thousands of women will go without care because of the Texas law. On the contrary, those affiliates were easily replaced. Thousands of qualified doctors and clinics already participate with the Women’s Health Program in Texas.
And there are several ways to find one of the qualified providers for the Women’s Health Program in your town:
In Texas, we have “2-1-1,” a State services telephone information line. You can call 2-1-1 from any phone to find all sorts of assistance in your area, including doctors who participate with the WHP. I’ve heard that this may not be the most up to date or complete list, however.
Texas Tribune published an interactive map that highlights the color coded stark reality of the differences in numbers and in the distribution of PP versus the many doctors who currently participate with the Women’s Health Program. Notice that Planned Parenthood only shows up where there are lots of other providers. Where there aren’t many doctors, there are definitely no PP facilities.
For the most accurate and largest number of WHP qualified doctors and clinics in your area, Texas’ Department of Health and Human Services has a search engine available here. Use the “Advanced Search,” then choose Plan type:”Traditional Medicaid,” Provider type: “Specialist” (although this will actually bring up family physicians and other primary care docs), and Waiver type: “Women’s Health Program.” You can search by County or by Zip Code.
Hopefully this information will help you answer the critics of Texas, our Legislature, Commissioner of Texas’ Health and Human Service Suehs, and our Governor Perry.
I’m endorsing Texas‘ Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst in his race for US Senator and calling on Ted Cruz to retract his false, negative ads.
As a stalwart champion for the right to life, marriage and small government, David Dewhurst has demonstrated the strength of his Conservative philosophy and credentials while serving as President of the Texas Senate. He supported the passage of our Tort Reform, Prenatal Protection Act, Woman’s Right to Know Act,and this year’s Sonogram Law, “Loser Pays,” and Voter ID Law. He has opposed ObamaCare, called for the resignation of Eric Holder for his part in running guns to Mexico and backed Governor Perry in his fight against Federal attempts to encroach on Texas’ state sovereignty. He stood his ground in spite of stunts pulled by Senate Democrats, including their month-long trip to New Mexico in 2003. His answers to the committee that interviewed him, as well as his history, won him the endorsement of Texas Alliance for Life. (I’m on the Board of Directors of TAL.)
I am impressed with his ability to work out agreements among Conservatives separated by degrees on fine points. One day in 2007 stands out in my memory as an example of Dewhurst’s leadership: Lt. Governor Dewhurst brought a group of us together in his office to hammer out an agreement on significant reform for the Texas Advanced Directive Act. He was a calming, firm influence on the large group. I didn’t detect any pressure from him, although the Session was winding down and this would be the last day the legislation could be passed in the Senate.
Last Fall, I wanted the Lieutenant Governor to remain in his current office so we’d have the security of his experience and leadership when (as I had hoped) Governor Perry became President. Because I hoped to have a Governor Dewhurst sworn in in December, I originally decided to support Ted Cruz and even gave him a donation, even though I wondered about his switch from an aspiring Attorney General to the Senate race.
Unfortunately, Ted Cruz and his Senate campaign staff haven’t built their campaign on why Mr. Cruz is qualified and should be Senator. Instead, they’ve spent time and money on abrasive, negative attacks on the Lieutenant Governor, a fine man who has served Texas honorably. Several of the ads have been blatantly false, including a very early one concerning the Transportation Security Agency anti-groping bill (passed in the Special Session) and another claiming that Dewhurst had backed an income tax in 2005 (debunked by the Austin-American “Politi-facts” as “Pants on Fire“).
I spoke to Mr. Cruz’ staff about my disapproval of their attempts to sully the Lieutenant Governor’s reputation last November at the Texas Federation of Republican Women Convention and again at the Comal County Candidate forum on the first of February. The staffers argued with me both times and nothing changed.
The negativity continued. On February 23, Ben Shapiro of Big Government helped spread a false rumor about a “fundraiser” supposedly held by Obama supporters at the home of one of the Podestas. There were no funds raised, and the “home” is actually a townhouse that is often used by a PR firm for meetings. Neither the sponsors nor the invited guests were Democrats or “Liberals.” Shapiro wrote a luke-warm retraction on February 24th, but noted that Cruz’ staffer, James Bernson, defended using the earlier version. Many of us received emails with the false claims on February 28th.
Cruz’ facebook page still contained these false claims as late as last week.
Mr. Cruz is very young and has never held an elective office or proven himself able to build coalitions that we all know are necessary for legislation to pass in either the State or Federal House and Senate. Texas Legislators learn that it is better to persuade their opponents than to tear them down, even when one side has a majority, because of the pressures of our short Sessions. Cruz only knows the adversarial techniques that he must have used to argue cases in court where it’s evidently not enough to be right: the opponent must be depicted as wrong – and guilty.
The race for the open Texas Senate is not a matter of Conservative vs. RINO. It’s not incumbent vs. fresh ideas and energy. It is experience and a proven legislative ability vs. what appears to be a win-at-all-costs, aggressive and arrogant display of disregard for the history and the truth of a good man’s record.
David Dewhurst is conservative and a leader. He has a record over the years that proves that he is not timid or a RINO, at all. Neither is he abrasive and negative as Mr. Cruz has proven himself. I hope you will join with me in supporting David Dewhurst for the Senate.
Today, the Austin Chronicle, the local “alternative” news source, has yet another article “Perry continues assault on women’s healthcare,” claiming that Governor Perry and the Commissioner of Health and Human Services Suehs have acted – seemingly on their own – to shut down the Texas Women’s Health Program (more info here) in order to spite the poor underdog, Planned Parenthood.
Today’s statement is that “The new regulation signed by Suehs – redefining “affiliate” to mean that Planned Parenthood clinics not providing abortions are deemed affiliated with those clinics that do – conflicts with federal law, as confirmed last week by U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.”
Actually, the Attorney General ruled on the definition of “Affiliate.” The Secretary must follow the law passed last Spring by the 82nd Texas Legislature.
It’s not surprising – in fact it’s common sense – that subsidiary corporations are considered “affiliates” by the State, since they are members of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The annual report of PPFA calls these facilities their “medical affiliates.” The President of PPFA, Cecile Richards, shown above with Texas Senator Jeff Wentworth at a Planned Parenthood of San Antonio and South Texas event, visits these subsidiaries in her official duties.
Are the Republicans causing “gridlock,” “paralysis,” etc. in Congress? Is it the Republican-controlled House or the Democrat-controlled Senate that can’t pass bills, can’t even pass a budget? Why is the theme of the day that nothing is happening in DC because of (wink, Republican) extreme partisanship? (See “Senate Gridlock explained in one chart,” “‘Deliberative’ Senate gripped by paralysis,” “Chipping away at Senate gridlock,” and the many articles about how “moderate” Olympia Snowe is.) (Whatever you do, do not mention “Jumpin’ Jim” Jeffords, much less Arlen Specter.)
My husband and I visited Washington, DC last week with the National Pawnbrokers Association. Members of the NBA heard lobbyists and Legislators in their meetings and visited Capitol Hill to meet with Congressmen and Senators from our States. Time after time, we heard that staffers and the occasional Rep told the pawnbrokers that the two sides are too far apart, too polarized to get any legislation done — or even to have a conversation.
First of all, the partisanship is not new. Take a look at the history of “cloture votes” in the Senate. Does anyone else remember all the talk about – the never invoked - “nuclear option” or the “constitutional option” when Trent Lott or Bill Frist were Majority Leaders in the Senate? The problem then was that the Senate Dems were using the filibuster to block ALL judicial appointees. That the Dems didn’t want President Bush to appoint judges doesn’t seem equivalent to the fact that Republicans do wish the right to debate and amend legislation that changes or creates law.
Of course, we’re supposed to forget that the Dems had a majority in both the House and the Senate from January, 2007 until the Republicans won the House in the 2010 election and were sworn in in January, 2011. Don’t look at the number of Dems in the Senate, today, or read the news reports that Harry Reid will not even allow a vote on the budget.
Good Dems don’t remember that the Nancy Pelosi House had such a huge majority that they didn’t need a single Republican vote to pass legislation — and yet they still shut down the tradition of “open rule” on Republican amendments. One day, Pelosi even shut off the lights and CSPAN cameras in an attempt to silence Republicans!
And really good Dems deny that Harry Reid used the “nuclear option” to force ObamaCare through the Senate — while changing the rules for the Senate for all future Congresses. (Reid used “reconciliation” to pass Obamacare. Furthermore, the Act mandates that any recommendation from the Independent Payment Advisory Board on Medicare cuts must go straight to the Senate Finance Committee and all future Congresses may only debate Obamacare with a 2/3 majority vote, and then only for a time set in the original “Accountable Care Act.“)
Why are we called “Conservatives” in the first place? Isn’t it because we prefer transparent government, lower taxes, a strong defense, less spending and defend the right to life and traditional marriage? These are matters of principle that have been in the Republican platform since the ’60′s, at least. And yet, we’re portrayed by the media as “do nothing,” the “party of no,” and as though it is WE who are trying to make radical changes in the law.
Garry Trudeau has always been a leftist, pro-abort (he “satirized” the movie “Silent Scream” in 1985.) who has no problem flaunting the power of his cartoon, Doonesbury. This week, he’s taking on the Texas sonogram law. And he claims that “the GOP” has declared “war” and that for him to ignore it would be “comedy malpractice:”
“I chose the topic of compulsory sonograms because it was in the news and because of its relevance to the broader battle over women’s health currently being waged in several states. For some reason, the GOP has chosen 2012 to re-litigate reproductive freedom, an issue that was resolved decades ago. Why [Rick] Santorum, [Rush] Limbaugh et al. thought this would be a good time to declare war on half the electorate, I cannot say. But to ignore it would have been comedy malpractice.”
Two years ago, he mocked Sarah Palin. One week in July, 2010 he was laughing at the fact that her family was being stalked. The next week, he gave us a dream sequence depicting a Sarah Palin doll “refudiating the lame stream media” and trying to convince Mr. Potato Head and assorted toys to fight “to water the tree of liberty by spilling the tyrant blood” of the little girl who owns them. Then, we hear the girl’s mom tell her that everything Sarah says is “programmed in. Her brain is empty. Sarah’s a dummy. A shiny plaything. A cypher. A blank. A total nothing. Not a thought in her head. Just a piece of plastic crap.” and on and on . . .
Last year, Trudeau “partnered” with bogus biographer, Joe McGinnis to push the latter’s book in the cartoon.
Even though the comic strip is published in San Antonio and Austin papers, I didn’t know about these past incidents until I started doing research for this post. Was there any outrage or demands for an apology from Trudeau or that advertisers or papers withdraw their support?
This week, some papers won’t run the abortion series, others will move the strip to the editorial section. A few plan to run an alternate series.
I subscribed to the SA Express News until 2010, when it became obvious that it was too politically biased in favor of Dems and the Obama “Health care reform.” It may be time to contact their advertisers to let them know what trash they support.
What will your paper do? And, how do you feel about it?
We used to call it a “Mexican standoff,” but that could be considered bigoted these days. Or at least non-PC.
“Obama Standoff” is a better description for a specific condition – one that’s becoming more common and hitting us more frequently. In the “Obama Standoff,” the Obama administration demands that Texas, some other State, or any individual or organization of individuals with a conscience, violate their own laws, Constitution, or conscience – threatening to withhold Federal tax money, fine, or break that law himself if others don’t comply.
Unbelievably, Obama’s Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius visited Houston today and announced – on the Friday before the funding for Texas’ Women’s Health Program expires on Wednesday, March 14 – that she is going to deny renewal of the Medicaid waiver. She did this *before* notifying the State or the Commissioner! See the Governor’s announcement in response, here. http://governor.state.tx.us/news/press-release/17025/ )
The Obama Administration doesn’t even care that there will be no meeting of the Texas Legislature until January 2013. Of course, this is the Constitutional scholar in the White House who ignored the meaning of “recess appointment” in January. Why should he honor concepts like the Legislature makes laws and the Executive Branch must follow them?
It doesn’t matter that Texas has had the same law for 10 years any more than it matters that the Catholic Church has opposed contraception for thousands of years. It doesn’t matter that physicians have defended the right to follow their consciences for 2500 years, since Hippocrates’ oath was adopted by the Profession.
Why should they? They don’t care that the First Amendment guarantees the free expression of religion — to “establishments of religion,” by the way!
In a particularly unconscionable moment, one Obama Administration official told representatives of religious organizations that they had a year to reconcile – with Obama, not with God.
And they certainly don’t understand, much less care, what a “conscience” is other than some roadblock in their goal to control and force every doctor to be complicit with ending human life – or at least make sure to move next door to someone who will.
To paraphrase C. S. Lewis: We laugh at honor and are surprised to find treachery among us.
The list of women who have asked to co-sign the open letter to President Obama and Secretary Sebelius is still growing. Have you signed up?
There’s a button on the top of the page, just fill in your name and State, more information is optional. You, too, can say,