28 February 2012

Congressional Kabuki Show Returns as a Fluke-y Farce (sic)

Karl Marx argued that “History repeats itself, first as a tragedy then as a farce.”  This axiom came to mind when examining the recent Congressional testimony of Georgetown University Law Student and “reproductive rights activist” Sandra  Fluke.  It is remarkable how strikingly similar Fluke’s mien is to then Lieutenant John F. Kerry (he served in the Vietnam War, you know) when he testified before the Senate in April 1971.

L. Lt. John Kerry @ "Winter Soldier" hearings in 1971 R. Sandra Fluke @ Contraception hearing 2012
Aside from the aesthetics, both Kerry and Fluke allowed themselves to be used to advance their ideological causes.  Kerry was awarded  three Purple Hearts and earned both a Silver Star and a Bronze Star in a month of combat service. But when Kerry returned states-side, he became an anti-war activist. Lt. Kerry was a star witness at former Senator J. William Fullbright (D-AR) Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings against the Vietnam War, in which Kerry presented the conclusions of the Winter Soldier “Investigation”.  To underline his anti-war position, the next day Kerry joined other veterans in throwing medals and ribbons over a fence at the Capitol, although there is some question if Kerry actually threw all of his own awards.

Winter Soldier was actually more of a media event than an investigation.  Kerry’s Senate testimony was more dramatic as this medaled war veteran made some outrageous allegations that augmented a growing anti-war sentiment in the Democrat party which later undercut American efforts in southeastern Asia  When Senator John Kerry (D-MA) was running as the Democrat nominee for President in 2004, the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth called into question the veracity of Kerry’s Winter Solider testimony with the explosive war crimes charges.

Kerry’s anti-war Congressional testimony demonstrates how testimony on Capitol Hill can just be a kabuki show instead of real fact finding which uses evocative useful idiots to further larger political aims.

Obama HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius created a political firestorm when she ruled that almost all qualifying health plans under Obamacare must include free contraception coverage, sterilization services and abortifacient drugs.  Religiously affiliated institutions object to being forced to offer services that offend their consciences.  The Obama Administration supposedly offered such affected employers with a  so-called compromise that shifted the costs of the free contraception to insurers.  But the truth of the matter is that the final rule that was released that day did not reflect any changes from this “compromise”.  Moreover, Economics 101 teaches that nothing is free so the costs shifted to insurers would be then assessed to the objecting employers in higher premiums.

To highlight the quandary which religiously affiliated employers and contraception conscientious objectors have with this HHS ruling, House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA 49th) held a hearing entitled: "Lines Crossed: Separation of Church and State. Has the Obama Administration Trampled on Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Conscience?" Two Democrat women Committee members, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY 14th) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) dramatically walked out of the hearing because the first panel did not have any women on it.  Had Maloney and Norton stayed for the second panel, they would have witnessed two women testifying.  But then again, those women witnesses would not have counted as they did not support the HHS contraception mandate.

Democrats pressed to have the House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA 6th) choice, reproductive justice lobbyist Sandra Fluke, testify.  To score that propaganda coup, the Democrats, who are the minority party in the House of Representatives, needed to resort to having Fluke be the lone witness at the House Democrat Steering Committee.

Fluke made headlines not only for her notoriety for not having a reproductive justice advocate testify on hearings over religious liberty but for her sensational accusations.

Fluke claims that 40% of her female classmates were “struggling financially” because Georgetown Law would not pay for contraception per its roots as a Catholic Jesuit institution.  Poor law students going broke for so called reproductive freedom.  Really?  Tuition for full time students is $23,434.00 a year.  Accepting Fluke’s contraception contention pro arguendo, it costs female students $1,000 a year to pharmaceutically protect against pregnancy.  Law students attending an elite institution probably spend $3 a day on coffee.  The Weekly Standard points out that oral contraceptives were available for $9 a month, so there is not an economic crunch for "reproductive justice".  However, if one again uses Fluke’s figures, if co-eds used the most economical possible contraception, they must be having unprotected sex three times a day while in law school to incur that expense. Perhaps being lawyer from an elite law school takes lots of practice.

The point of Fluke’s testimony is that any employer ought to offer health coverage for “reproductive rights”.  Of course that requires one to believe that pregnancy is a disease that requires coverage.  Then there is the inconvenient truth that the federal government already pays Planned Parenthood $317 million for reproductive health services (supposedly not including abortion).  It seems that the poor, financially strapped Georgetown Law students would not resort to using Planned Parenthood to prevent pregnancy.

An interesting argument that Fluke posed were instances that contraception was a medically necessary treatment.  She cited the case of a friend who suffers from polycystic ovarian syndrome, which commonly uses contraception as a treatment to prevent cysts from forming.  Unfortunately, several facts undercut this argument.  Firstly, Georgetown allowed for contraception coverage for this medical exception.  Secondly, this might not have been the only treatment for this condition.  Thirdly, Fluke’s friend is a lesbian so there is little chance that she will become pregnant.

Fluke’s testimony concluded her testimony by sharing her resentment suggestions to find alternatives which represented her values in reproductive justice. University administrators offered the common sense suggestion that if contraceptive coverage for students is such an  important criteria for Fluke that she should have enrolled in another institution, even if it was not as prestigious as Georgetown Law.  Fluke fumed:

We refuse to pick between a quality education and our health and we resent that, in the 21st Century, anyone thinks it’s acceptable to ask us to make that choice simply because we are women.

It seems that Ms. Fluke believes that she should not have to sacrifice anything for her values in reproductive justice, but that in the war on the freedom of the free exercise of religion that institutions that conscientiously object should be casualties to her cause.

At least the Fullbright hearings involved important allegations.  As much Sturm und Dram which Democrats drummed up for Fluke’s testimony, her case as a student would not even be covered by the Affordable Care Act a.k.a. Obamacare.  If she was under 26 then she could be on her parents’ insurance and if not then she could join the public pool.  All that sound and fury yet signifying nothing. Congressional kabuki shows with Kerry first alleging a tragedy then returning with Fluke as a partisan farce.

h/t: HotAir
h/t: CNSNews
h/t: Weekly Standard

20 February 2012

Is America Inherently Adverse to Autocracy?

"The Forgotten Man" by John McNaughton
As we celebrate George Washington’s birthday, it is worth considering a myth about the father of our country. It is said that after serving as the Supreme General of the Continental Army, George Washington turned down being king of America after winning the War of Independence.  Historians scoff at the Nicola Affair, which were correspondences between Col. Lewis Nicola, a five year veteran of the  Revolutionary Army and George Washington in 1782.  Nicola was distraught at the relative chaos of Continental governing under the fledgling Articles of Confederation. Nicola favored monarchism and suggested that Washington stage a coup d’etat and make himself king, which Washington quickly rebuffed.

While Col. Nicola may not have had the power to give Washington the throne, it should not be dismissed as merely a myth.  Myths are legendary stories without a determinable basis of fact which convey essential truths.  Only 40% of colonial Americans supported the Revolutionary War and 20% of populace were Loyalists who supported the crown.  Democratic Republics were not the norm among Europeans and the messiness of the Articles of Confederation may have fostered many to yearn for stability through autocracy under the guise of a monarchy.  In this fluid environment, Washington could have seized the reigns and crowned himself king.

Not only did Washington rebuff this pretorian proposal, Washington taught by example.  After winning the War of Independence, he returned home to Mount Vernon, Virginia to live as a Gentleman Citizen.  When his nation needed him, he reluctantly came out of public retirement to preside over what became the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787.  Washington was the natural choice to be the first U.S. President.  But Washington severed two four year terms and then left office. Washington established a tradition of term limits for the Chief Executive which lasted 144 years until F.D.R. in 1940 and was later enshrined in the Constitution by the 22nd Amendment in 1951.

This aversion to autocracy which Washington fostered is exemplified by the public reception to a statute that Congress commissioned for the Centennial of Washington’s birth.  Sculptor Horatio Greenough created a 30 ton marble which symbolically depicted Washington as an exemplar of liberty. Greenough’s sculpture of “Enthroned Washington” (1840) was fraught with symbolism. Washington was depicted as a demi-god (perhaps modeled after the great statue of Zeus)  in the motif of classical Greece, which was birthplace of democracy. The figure of Washington points upwards towards the heaven.  More importantly, Washington is depicted cradling a sheathed sword in his outstretched hands, showing how he relinquished power after the American War of Independence.

Greenough’s  “Enthroned Washington” statue has an inglorious history.  The commissioned statue was intended to be the centerpiece of the Capitol Rotunda. But many Americans found the bare chested Washington as offensive and even comical.  Enthroned Washington was soon moved to the East Lawn of the Capitol in 1843.  Continued derision moved the statue to the nearby Patent Office until 1908 until it was moved inside of the Smithsonian Castle.  In 1964, Enthroned Washington was finally moved to the Smithsonian American History Museum, where docents suggest that the public viscerally could not respect an “Enthroned” father of the country.

Based upon the news of the day, it is dubious if Americans still have an inherent aversion to autocracy.  President Obama’s style of governing seems imperial as he seizes upon opportunities to be above the rule of law or the Constitution.  Such arrogance of power is reminiscent of monarchical excesses in the History of the World Part 1.

For example, the Obama Administration has decided not enforce the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which it believes is unconstitutional for the Federal government to force same sex “marriages” among states through the full faith and credit clause of the Constitution. Obama officials may not like the law, but is it the role of the Executive Branch to determine what is constitutional?

Much of the Obama Administration has been marked by complaints about the prior administration. So it was no surprised that President Obama sought to circumvent inconvenient aspects of President George W. Bush’s education achievement, the No Child Left Behind Act.  In September, 2011 the Obama Department of Education indicated that it would start granting waivers to exempt states which do not meet the minimum standards. Congress had been trying for a year to craft legislation to correct some of the flaws of the NCLBA.  But the Obama Administration would not wait for the legislative process to work.

The Obama Education Department decreed that it would exempt states from the law so long as it met the Obama Administrations preferred policies.  Two problems with this educational ukase. First, the enacted NCLBA legislative language does not contain provisions for exemptions.  Moreover, what the Obama Administration issued were conditions based relief that further tethers states to the whims of the powers that be in Washington.

President Obama had been frustrated by the lack of confirmation by the Senate of his choices the new U.S. Consumer Protection Bureau which was authorized by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. Obama’s first designee in July, 2010 was  Elizabeth Warren but she could not overcome Senatorial opposition to confirmation, so Warren acted as a Special Assistant to the President implementing the bureau.  President Obama shifted his choice to Richard Cordray in July 2011, but he could overcome a successful filibuster for his confirmation.  The Senate was meeting in pro-forma sessions to avoid a recess appointment but President Obama chose to sidestep Congress and the Constitution.

While in speaking in Shaker Heights, Ohio in January 2012 at what seemed more like a taxpayer funded campaign rally rather than a policy speech, President Obama said that he refused to “take no for an answer” while noting that he felt that he had an obligation to act when Congress does not.  Obama assessed that the Senate was not in session hence he could make a recess appointment of Cordray to the USCPB. This Executive decision abrogates a century of precedent and ignores the Senate’s exclusive constitutional power of advice and consent to Executive Office appointments.

Even the liberal George Washington Law Professor Jonathan Turley noted in USA Today:

The use of such unilateral power strikes at the very heart of our system of government and dangerously tips the balance of power. President Obama clearly wanted to make a point about his effort to protect consumers. But for the Constitution, that political point comes at too high a price. Replacing an intransigent Congress with an imperial president is no bargain for those who value our constitutional system.
 Obama made this move  even though the implementation language specifically indicates that the Bureau will lack authority until the director is “confirmed by the Senate”.  But this presupposes that Congress as well as the rule of law actually matter.

Then there is the HHS contraception mandate in Obamacare.  Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius issued her findings that qualified health plans which included all employers but houses of worship must cover contraception, sterilizations and abortifacients. After two weeks of political turmoil where religiously affiliated employers, such as Catholic hospitals and schools, objecting to paying for services to which their free exercise of religion objects, President Obama announced a contraception “compromise”.  Such family health services would not be paid directly by objecting employers but would be given free to requesting patients, with the costs being absorbed by their insurers.  Of course, this sleight of hand means that the religious institutions would have to pay for them indirectly through increases in rates.  And certainly this institutions would still have to violate their consciences by informing their employees where to get the free family planning stash from Obamacare.

Yet there are two ironies that stem from Obama’s contraceptive “compromise”.  On the same day Obama held his press conference, the Federal government published the very regulation that drew the religious objections.  Quoting the Federal Register “Accordingly, the amendment to the interim final rule with comment period amending 45 CFR 147.130(a)(1)(iv) which was published in the Federal Register at 76 FR 46621-46626 on August 3, 2011, is adopted as a final rule without change.” Apologies for the bureaucratic legalize but the language is important for the other irony in the contraception “compromise”.  The implementing language adopts “the final rule without change”.  Yet the Obama Administration is trying to foil court challenges to this HHS decree by arguing that it is not yet a final rule.  As Mel Brooks would say “It’s good to be the king.”

Although there are autocratic impulses demonstrated by President Obama, America is not necessarily fated to imperious tendencies.  Progressives like Presidents Woodrow Wilson and F.D.R. have imperiously attempted to overplay their hands while in the Oval Office.  And during the Watergate era, President Richard Nixon opined: “When the President does it, it means that it is not illegal”,  yet he was convinced to resign from office before he was impeached.

For any hope of change, citizens who love liberty must be educated and have the audacity to tell the truth to power.

And they must not worry about toiling in the muck, being impressed by a “superior” who gives the illusion of being unsullied or a farcical aquatic ceremony where some moistened bint lobs a scimitar at a political savior.

H/T: McNaughten Art

17 February 2012

Troubled Waters Over Whack Wise Crack

In response to remarks by Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA 35th) at the 2012 California Democrat party convention which demonized the Republican Congressional leadership, FNC commentator Eric Bolling offered some hyperbolic suggestion in the self-anointed soon to become House Financial Services Chairman-

This wise crack was premised on Diane Sawyer's 2002 interview with Whitney Houston where she denied using crack because that is drug for poor people and she speculated who is the biggest devil.

Granted that Fox &; Friends takes a playful approach to politics but this might have been too much fun.   Bolling walked back his jibe after the commercial break, quickly remembering what happened to Don Imus in the morning on MSNBC in 2007. Of course, the Huffington Post was quick to play the race card on Bolling, following the lead from the Center for American Progress and its political overlord.

The Lamestream Media may demand a blood sacrifice for this Waters wise crack.  But such a move may further expose the close coordination between supposed non profit watchdogs, like Media Matters, and the West Wing as currently being exposed by a series in the Daily Caller.

Bolling's quip was an eye opener in the morning, but it was a surreal nexus between the hyperbolic allusion of "white devils" dirty from Maxine Waters and the halluceangenic  hagiography for the talented but troubled pop diva.  But voices from the left are quick to chime racism.  This follows the pattern of the Finger of Truth moment in January, when Governor Jan Brewer (R-AZ) had a tense official meeting on the tarmac with President Barack Obama, which permitted progressive partisans to evoke the specter of racism while personally savaging Brewer.

For a party that claimed that it wanted to foster bridges of civility after the shooting of former Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ 8th), it seems like Democrats and their Lamestream Media lackeys actually constructed lots of one way streets instead.

08 February 2012

Why Beauty Contests Can Matter in the GOP Primary Process

Former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) won three Republican Presidential primary contests yesterday in Missouri, Minnesota and Colorado.  These were Santorum’s first victories since his surprising victory in the Iowa Caucuses which kicked off primary season.  But what does it mean?
Ex Sen. Rick Santorum after victories in MO, CO & MN

Critics can claim that yesterday’s GOP contests do not mean anything since there were no delegates at stake and some campaigns might not have pour full resources into the contests. Moreover, former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA 6th)  did not even make the Missouri primary ballot. That fact might be construed as not being a true primary fight.

But these beauty contests should not be quickly dismissed as meaningless.  Santorum won decisive victories in the Missouri primary and the Minnesota Caucuses and bested former Governor Mitt Romney (R-MA) in the Colorado Caucuses.  This should give Santorum momentum going into Super Tuesday on March 6th when around 250 of the necessary 1144 delegates necessary for nomination are available.

The Santorum surge, as evidence in Missouri, Minnesota and Colorado, threatens a major premise for  Mitt Romney’s 2012 Presidential campaign–namely inevitability.  While there were no delegates on the line in Missouri, losing the Show Me State  primary 55% to 23% is embarrassing and questions Romney’s self assured position of being the eventual nominee.  In Minnesota, Romney placed in third place with 16% behind Representative Ron Paul (R-TX 24th) with 27.2% and the Caucus winner Santorum with 44.8%.  While the third place finish in Minnesota should have been humbling for Romney, what is more concerning is losing Colorado.  Although Santorum only beat Romney by a 40.2%-34.8% margin, Romney had put considerable resources in the Centennial State in anticipation of Colorado being a battleground state in the general election campaign.  Moreover, Romney beat Senator (and eventual GOP nominee) Senator John McCain (R-AZ) by a 60% to 18% margin in 2008.  So pondering psephologists want to know, what happened to Romney’s rocky mountain high in just four years.

Another way that Santorum’s victories in these beauty contests are instructive is seeing how a single conservative candidate fares against the alleged establishment moderate candidate Mitt Romney.  Newt Gingrich was not on the ballot in Missouri which enabled the head to head match-up and Santorum succeeded in coalescing the conservative vote.  Gingrich’s absence from the Show Me State ballot shows his lack of organization having practical effects.  But Newt was a candidate in the  Minnesota and Colorado caucuses yet he was a non-factor.  Again this could show the Gingrich campaign’s lack of organization, which is key in succeeding in caucuses.  But it might also reflect an abandonment of conservatives considering Newt as the non-Romney.  But the Gingrich press conference on Saturday after the Nevada caucuses might have stuck in Republican activists minds.  Newt was petulant, negative and obsessed about Mitt Romney.  This was not the campaign reboot which put Newt’s best foot forward.

Events also seem to have favored Santorum’s surge.  The HHS contraception mandate has boiled over among Catholics and Americans who value their First Amendment free exercise of religion rights.  There are sizeable Catholic populations in both Minnesota (28%) and Missouri (20%) so casting a one issue vote for a beauty contest is a natural way to send a message and vote with their hearts.

Santorum seems to have succeeded by being strategic by not competing in the expensive Florida primary or the Nevada Caucuses to score three big victories on one night.  Aside from the Maine Caucus on February 11th, there will be nearly three week hiatus until February 28th, when there is the Michigan and Arizona primaries.  At this time, it  is thought that Romney is positioned to do well in those primaries. Surprisingly, there is only one debate scheduled during this period, which does not help Gingrich stealing the spotlight with earned media.  Super Tuesday is spread out throughout the country, which will take some financial resources.  It will be fascinating to see if conservatives dub Santorum as the conservative choice and open their wallets to his campaign.

These Presidential primary beauty contests have been telling because they have focused melodramatic spotlights on their candidate. Santorum comes back from the dead (again) and surges into the top tier of candidates. It will be interesting if Santorum can stand up to scrutiny being one of the front runners. Santorum seemingly has relied on values voters support while appealing to what Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) labeled "Wal Mart" conservatives.  After the Santorum surge, he need to convince Tea Party types that they should trust their hearts and direct their principled constitutional support to the Santorum campaign rather than standing with Newt.

 Romney took some serious blows by these loses. If Romney can recover from this tubthumping, then he will be a stronger candidate. However, now that the mantle of inevitable has been lifted from his candidacy, he will have to develop convincing new rationales that convince his supporters. Newt has to figure out what is his objective. Is it realistic for Newt to try to hold on until the April 3rd Texas primary, especially if conservatives solidly gravitate towards Santorum? Is Newt’s aim to ruin things for the pretty boy, come what may for everyone else? Is Newt willing to force a long shot brokered convention scenario where he might lead the GOP to the promised land but not be the candidate going forward? And is Gingrich willing to tarnish his reputation and intellectual future with conservatives by continuing a scorched earth policy that either so damages Romney that he is crippled in the general or stay in the race which divides the sizeable conservative vote?

Only time will tell.  Like sands through the hourglass, these are the days of our lives.

07 February 2012

Making a Mockery of "Half Time in America"

Fiat Chrysler spent $14 million in advertising for the Super Bowl, including a two minute PSA like message "Half Time in America" narrated by Clint Eastwood.  Considering that "Half Time in America" did little to advance the Chrysler brand per see, it seemed more like an  oblique Obama 2012 in kind re-election ad.

Conservatives have taken umbrage at using the icon  Dirty Harry actor who is a registered Republican to promote an automotive bailout which he did not initially support.  Rush Limbaugh quickly concocted a piercing parody of Chrysler commercial.

Not to be outdone, Reason.tv prepared a biting burlesque video of "Half Time in America" that  is hilarious as well as being rooted in reality.

The 1984 Apple ad only ran once during the Super Bowl but it made a lasting impression.  Unfortunately for Chrysler, "Half Time in America" may be run ad nausea this fall but the risible resonance will remain.  Been there, done that but got another tee shirt.

H.T: RushLimbaugh.com
H.T.: Reason.TV
H.T.: Nate Bleecher, Washington Examiner

Politics and Super Bowl Commercials

Since its inception in 1967, the Super Bowl has become a key cultural event in America’s civic religion.  But it is not just football fans who gather to watch “The Big Game”.  This year 111 million viewers tuned into the championship game but 114 million people watched  the Half Time spectacular starring Madonna and her cohort M.I.A., who literally gave the finger to the audience. In a similar vein, there are some people who look forward to Super Bowl Sunday for the commercials.

The Super Bowl attracts the largest television audience in the year, so the broadcasting network  command top dollar for commercials run during the game.  This year, a thirty second spot could cost $3.5 million.  So advertisers will use their moment in the spotlight to put their best foot forward with catchy new material.  In fact CBS (not this year’s Super Bowl broadcaster) ran a prime time show celebrating the best and worst of Super Bowl ads as well as hyping the spots that would premiere during the same.  This year, some advertisers leaked their ads online beforehand to spread the excitement.  USA Today convened  panels  in suburban Washington and Phoenix Arizona to measure how much viewers liked the commercials.  Most of the winners featured dogs.

Aside from a super smart canine who used Doritos to facilitate getting rid of felines or the ilk, there were some spots that were overtly political. The Center for Union Facts plunked down good money to show their “Repair Shop” ad. This ad should have been partcularly poignant in host city Indianapolis as Governor Mitch Daniels (R-IN) signed legislation that made Indiana the 34th right to work state in the nation, much to the consternation of union activists.

Another unusual Super Bowl spot featured New York City Mayor  Michael Bloomberg (I-NYC) and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino (D-Boston) sitting together on a couch to urge “keeping guns out of criminals hands”.  Basically, it was two of the biggest proponents of the nanny state advocating more restrictions on the Second Amendment.  Some progressives are concerned that the “Mayors Against Illegal Guns” might push President Obama’s re-election campaign to focus on gun control.  In the face of the “Fast and Furious” DOJ gunrunning scandal and Democrats past history about pushing federal gun control, Daily Beast writer Adam Winkler worries that advocating this issue might cost the Obama campaign votes.

A regionally run Super Bowl ad that has generated a storm of controversy is an ad by former nine term Congressman  Peter Hoekstra (R-MI 2nd) in his opening salvo to unseat Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).  Hoekstra sought to sell the story  that China is a continuing threat to American job creation.  But most of the buzz from the ad involves mouthpiece for the anti-incumbent message.  The negative ad against “ Michigan Sen. Debbie ‘Spend-it-now” is a young Asian women riding a bicycle across fields of rice paddies.

Voices in the media, as well as some dissenters from the Republican party, have criticized the alleged racist depictions in the ad.  Hoekstra is not chagrined by criticism about the commercial.  Hoekstra invested $150,000 in the ad and his fund-raising has exponentially increased while gaining national attention.  The backbiting from Republicans may represent jealousy and intra-party squabbles.  Moreover, FNN commentator Lou Dobbs thought that “People that are concerned about a racial implication of some sort are missing the point entirely... This is about the results and consequences of public policy choices [and] “I think that Hoekstra is doing a terrific job at defining that.”   But the supercharged cries of racism seems to track the tact which the Democrat establishment is taking to its opponents, as epitomized by the recent kerfluffle with Governor Jan Brewer (R-AZ).

Voices in the media, as well as some dissenters from the Republican party, have criticized the alleged racist depictions in the ad.  Hoekstra is not chagrined by criticism about the commercial.  Hoekstra invested $150,000 in the ad and his fund-raising has exponentially increased while gaining national attention.  The backbiting from Republicans may represent jealousy and intra-party squabbles.  Moreover, FNN commentator Lou Dobbs thought that “People that are concerned about a racial implication of some sort are missing the point entirely... This is about the results and consequences of public policy choices [and] “I think that Hoekstra is doing a terrific job at defining that.”   But the supercharged cries of racism seems to track the tact which the Democrat establishment is taking to its opponents, as epitomized by the recent kerfluffle with Governor Jan Brewer (R-AZ).

Not all political ads during the Super Bowl were overtly partisan.  Chrysler sponsored a two minute advertisement narrated by  conservative icon Clint Eastwood suggesting that “It’s Half Time in America”.  The spot seemed more like a Public Service Announcement than a car commercial since only five seconds of the 120 second ad featured auto-making, and no branding was present until the end credits.

In case one argues that Chrysler was applying a high concept ad that soft sells its brand, consider the application of copyrights.  This ad disappeared for several hours from the internet on Monday by a copyright claim from NFL Properties.  It is strange that the NFL was claiming copyright on an advertiser's product.  It is only hypothesis, but since all but the final credits mentioned Chrysler that the end could be chopped off and played as a PSA during NFL games during the fall, which both offers an uplifting public spirited message as well as pleasing the powers that be.

Fiat Chrysler has extra incentive to ingratiate itself to the Obama Administration.  The bridge loan to Chrysler of $4 billion made in late 2008 was written off by the Obama Administration.  Fiat was given the option to make an “Incremental Call Option” to buy 16% more of Chrysler at a reduced price by paying back the US Treasury $3.5 billion. But Chrysler had difficulty obtaining such private loans.  So Obama Energy Secretary indicated that he would grant a $3.5 billion fuel efficiency loan to Chrysler which was actuated by the Fully Integrated Robotic Engine that is a key component in the 2011 Fiat 500.  No wonder why Fiat was trying to make the modern rendition of the topolino sexy, as it facilitated a $3.5 billion loan for a company that only had a $5 billion market share, and now the Italian automaker owns 51% of Chrysler.  In this light, it is understandable why Chrysler produced this “Half Time in America Spot” to celebrate how Obama crony capitalism saved the “American” auto industry and to be a centerpiece President Obama’s  re-election campaign.

Even though American consumers seemingly have a sophistication towards Super Bowl commercials that celebrates innovation and entertainment, the political soft sell Chrysler used in “Half Time in America” calls to mind celebrity huckster P.T. Barnum’s maxim “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

Remembering Dickensian Virtues Today

Today is the bicentennial of the birth of Charles Dickens, the esteemed episodic Victorian novelist whose realistic depictions of the hardships of  working class London have remained influential through this day. Literary critics may fault Dicken’s technique of depicting idealized characters in mawkish scenes as unrealistic, but the emotional connection which bonds readers to these memorable characters intensifies Dicken’s social commentary.

At a time when the United Kingdom was the world’s wealthiest superpower, Charles Dickens served as a fierce critic of poverty as well as the social stratification in Victorian society. Even the most brutal of Dickensian circumstances was held together by religious conviction. By exposing the ugly underbelly of crime and violence in London’s underclass, Dickens succeed in inspiring the clearing of Jacob’s Island, the actual setting of Oliver Twist.

It is ironic that we are celebrating Dicken’s bicentenary as Charles Murray has released his book Coming Apart, which is a social study of segments of America between 1960 and 2010 which reveals the formation of  formation of American classes that differ from our past. Unlike in Europe, Americans did not have a static nobility class with its own separate ethos.

Murray abbreviates these social segments as upper class Belmont (modeled after an affluent Massachusetts outside of Boston) and Fishtown (reflecting a historically working class neighborhood in Philadelphia).  But due to changes in American culture during the 1960s, the mores that anchored traditional family values throughout society (marriage, parenthood, supporting a family, religion and community associations) have declined in “Fishtown” and the traditional values are no longer vaunted within society.  But in “Belmont” most of the traditional values are followed but there is more less contact with those not in their social set, an ethos of “ecumenical niceness” which is non-judgmental and less self regulation against unseemliness flaunting of wealth.

Murray argues that there have always been economic classes but none that were so static as today for the upper class. Now there are second or third generations of people who know nothing but “Belmont” and have no real contact with the wrong side of the tracks. Murray contends that is it not economic gulfs that creates the class stagnation but the cultural choices that have long-term economic and social consequences.  Clearly, the acceptability of single motherhood makes having children out of wedlock and divorces both tends to lower income levels and deprives families of male guidance.  The lack of religiosity since the 1960s is profound in “Fishtown” so there is neither an inculcation of virtues and does not encourage volunteerism that is the glue that pulls together communities.

 What is worrisome is that the traditional virtues embodied in the McGuffy reader that influenced all of America prior to the 1960s which the affluent largely follow today are not ardently advocated through the culture.  The problems that stem from what former Senator Daniel Patrick Moynahan (D-NY)  labeled as “defining deviancy downward” have been assumed by the so called war on poverty via an ever expanding welfare state. In Dickens time, the ugly underbelly of industrialism was not well understood.  Alas, the problems that are perpetuating poverty are well understood yet the behavior is freely chosen without nary a peep of social condemnation.

While Murray uses statistics to chronicle this stratification among whites, he contends that the same phenomenons are mirrored in other American racial groups to varying degrees.  Murray’s concern is that the lack of traditional civics in the underclass combined with a nearly bankrupt Leviathan welfare state threatens what he calls “the American Project”.

During his Bradley lecture at the American Enterprise Institute,  Charles Murray was not entirely pessimistic. The impending collapse of the European Welfare state might wake up the sleeping giant.  It may be possible to change the welfare state and offer alternatives.  Moreover, the indominable spirit of America has over time overcome seemingly insurmountable societal challenges. Alas the social scientist was short on specifics.

But in the spirit of overcoming the challenges and shortcomings of our culture, Glenn Beck has been urging his viewers to right themselfs so that they can be a lifeboat for others to prepare for expected rough waters.  Individuals rebuilding communities is slow in nature and does not generate headlines for the Lamestream Media.  But just as Dickensian social commentary influenced his generation  and arguably the expansion of upper class values throughout Victorian society, a Third Great Awaking may be the impetus for saving “The American Project” as opposed to losing ground (sic.) and coming apart.

06 February 2012

Ineptocracy Epitomized

In this topsy turvy world where rich progressive politicians desperate to retain  their own power align themselves with the Occupy Movement.  In reaction some wise wag has coined a neologistic definition for our strange strain of governing:

Ineptocracy-  a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing and where members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscate wealth of the diminishing number of producers.
It's bad enough that those most capable of creating jobs are constantly fleeced by redistrubutionist rhetoric, fair minded public policy are having their reason taxed by these fair share fallacies.  We do not need an ineptocracy lead us to a cacotopia from 1984 instead of the promised land.

h.t.: creators.com

Fallout from the Nevada Caucuses

On Saturday, Nevada held caucuses for the Republican Presidential nomination.  While the overall results were not shocking, but the fallout from the caucuses is shocking.  Mitt Romney scored a 51% victory in the 2008 cycle.  Some have speculated that Nevada’s 10% Mormon population would also help bolster his chances for the 2012 Nevada caucuses.  When the returns eventually came in a day and a half after the polls closed., Romney won 50.1% of the caucus vote, followed by former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA 6th) with 21.1%,  Representative Ron Paul (R-24th) trailing with 18.8% and former Senator Rick Santorum scoring only 10% of caucus support.

In the run up to the caucuses, real estate magnate and The Apprentice TV show host Donald Trump announced with great fanfare who he endorsed.  There were rumors that Gingrich might have gotten the “You’re Hired” nod from the Donald.  But in the end, Romney won Trump’s endorsement.  This was intriguing as unlike Newt, Mitt Romney refused to participate in Trump’s scuttled debate on the Ion Network in December. But Trump likes going with a winner and he figured that he could exploit the moment and get on the right side at the same time.

Even though this was a West Coast contest with later start times, the delays in tabulating the results is embarrassing.  Not having 75% of the caucus results 18 hours after the polls close is stunning.  There was also controversy associated with some of the late caucuses.  Some have cited the influence of casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, there was a caucus held after sundown to accommodate Orthodox Jewish voters.  But some potential participants were interrogated as to whether they were taking part in the late caucus because of Sabbath observation.

Another interesting side effect from the Nevada vote is the failure of Ron Paul to do better in the caucuses.  Nevada is a Western state which embraces libertarian values (gambling, legalized prostitution). The Paul campaign dumped $3 million into Nevada.  Moreover, Paulistinians are enthusiastic youthful supporters who seemingly would be amenable to participating in caucuses.  Had Paul placed in second, it would have generated significant headlines but placing in third generated no momentum for the Ron Paul Revolution.

After experiencing Gingrich’s  gracelessness in ignoring campaign protocol last week in Florida, Romney was wise not to wait for Newt’s concession call before Mitt made his victory speech.    Romney gave a short but spirited stemwinder speech to thank  600 supporters at the Red Rocks Casino on the Las Vegas Strip. Romney’s remarks focused all of his firepower on not re-electing President Obama. Most of Romney’s  rhetoric was standard stump speech material, with priory pithy philippics like “Obama’s friends in the faculty lounge” and “Our blueprint is the Constitution of the United States.  We will build an America where ‘hope’ is a new job with a paycheck, not a faded word on an old bumper sticker."  But the Romney campaign added a line that spoke about protecting American’s religious liberty from governmental encroachments.  This strong reaction to the HHS Secretary Sebelius’ free contraception mandate for all qualifying health plans is a trifecta.  The line is a principled attack against Obamacare, which deflects any connection with Romneycare.  In addition, the issues will make inroads with Catholics threatened by the measure. Furthermore, it provides cover for Romney will Evangelicals  who might be skeptical about Mitt’s Mormon faith.

Newt Gingrich held a remarkable event after placing second in Nevada.  Gingrich pointedly switched his appearance from a large (but not filled) ballroom into a smaller chamber. The optics made it look like a small hotel seminar room filled with reporters and a smattering of true believers.   Instead of giving a speech thanking his caucus supporters, Newt gave a press conference in which he sounded  whiney, petulant and fixated on Mitt Romney.  The Gingrich campaign had led the press to believe that Newt’s presser would reveal a major change in campaign strategy by going positive (again).


It appeared that Gingrich was unsettled by campaign scuttlebutt which he thought came from the Romney campaign that Newt was poised to drop out of the race.  But the reporters were treated to a litany of familiar charges against his primary rival.  Gingrich effortlessly labeled Romney as a candidate who was pro-abortion, pro-gun control, pro-tax increase candidate of the establishment that  George Soros would approve.  Reporters chuckled when they questioned about Mitt Romney getting inside Gingrich’s head.  Newt offered a truculent reply wondering if the questioner had a psychology degree.  But almost all of Gingrich’s answers revolved around Romney.  There was no mention of the new Contract with America that Newt spouted in his Florida non-victory speech.

Newt returned to vaunting his debating prowess, challenging Romney to a debate anytime and anywhere, however Gingrich did not suggest a Lincoln Douglass debate, nor did he stipulate whether the audience needed to applaud.

It was interesting how far into the tall grass Gingrich got in answering beat reporters questions. Gingrich’s allusion about Romney being “endorsed” by George Soros may bolster Newt’s 25% support among strong conservatives and 33% of the strong Tea Party vote as shown from entrance polls, but it will cause blank stares from most voters.  It was curious how much Newt was willing to publically talk about his ersthwhile strong SuperPAC supporter Sheldon Adelson, as his frankness could quicken the casino magnets gravitation towards Romney.  But such public discussions of SuperPAC support could be considered coordination and be in violation of FEC campaign law.

Gingrich insisted that he could not run a positive campaign because his main opponent lied about him during the debates and outspent him.  These excuses undercut Newt’s conceit that he would be the best opposition to Obama.  If Newt is such a master debater, he should have been able to perry against perceived midrepresentations, either during the debate or in the spin room afterwards.  Instead, Gingrich has complained about the lack of audience participation in the NBC debate.  As for being outspent by his opponents, it reveals two fundamental deficiencies about Gingrich’s campaign strategy.  Firstly, important parts of a presidential campaign are organization and fundraising.  Newt has made the necessity of running a shoe string campaign using earned media from public forums into a virtue. But Newt’s reliance on a practically pro se defense of his record does not require his opponents to tie their hands behind their backs.  Moreover, if Gingrich is now being outspent by Romney, imagine his consternation when the Obama re-elect machine and associated SuperPACs start their barrage against the Republican nominee.

The gathered reporters pressed Newt about rumors of running a positive campaign. Gingrich demurred noting that a totally positive campaign did not work in Iowa.  Besides, Gingrich mused that the Lamestream Media would not cover him if he had just a positive message.  This was a strategic mistake.  The post caucus speech was being covered live by news channels. Newt managed to make waves by sounding angry in New Hampshire and waxing grandiousley about a new Contract With America in his Florida non-victory speech.  Gingrich had live television coverage and he chose to whine about Romney for most of the time.  It was a wasted opportunity, which cost Newt even more because of his campaign's reliance on earned media.

To be fair, Gingrich did have one marquee moment during his post Nevada Caucus event.  When the subject of how Catholics reacted to the HHS birth control mandate, Gingrich first offered a sarcastic response that  Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA 6th) knows more than a litany of Catholic bishops.  But Gingrich quickly revisited the question and gave a spirited, constitutional rejoinder which echoed defiance of this assault on the First Amendment.

While the Gingrich presser might not have had the Dean Scream soundbite, the defensive posture, the obsession with his opponent and using obscure references at what traditionally would be a rally seemed like the dramatic self inflected wounds which political observers have been expecting.  Even though the Minnesota and Colorado caucuses are on Tuesday along with the Missouri beauty contest, the press from the Super Bowl might shield Newt from the fallout of Newt’s unfortunate yet iconic campaign moment after the Nevada Caucuses.

04 February 2012

Obfuscating Authority in Obamacare

Sen. Rick Santorum campaigning in Missouri  (photo Seth Perleman/AP)

While campaigning at a Missouri church for the GOP Presidential nomination, former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) repeated the claim that under Obamacare  stroke victims over the age of 70 will not generally be offered advanced neurological treatment and will be offered comfort care.  The Lamestream Media was quick to link Santorum’s remark with conservative evangelical leader Dr. James Dobson, who echoed former Governor Sarah Palin’s  (R-AK) characterization of “death panels”.

Last November,  a caller to the Mark Levin Show claiming to be a neurosurgeon from Chicago had participated in professional discussions among neurosurgeons which anticipated new evaluations being needed for superannuated stroke victims.  The policy was said to defer judgment for such cases to an ethics panel on an individual basis.  But common sense indicates that such ethics panels would not often convene at all hours to bless extraordinary treatment for stroke patients.  Levin pressed “Jeff”  if these procedures had been published but the anonymous caller ”said that these policies had not yet gone to the press.

There have been two waves of effort to quash  this stroke “death panel” story.  Several weeks ago, Rick Unger contributed a piece to Forbes which supposedly discredits “Jeff” by revealing that the American Association of Neurosurgeons and the Congress of American Neurosurgeons know who “Jeff” is (but won’t say for fear of litigation). The AAN and CAN can positively assert that he was not a neurosurgeon (but that “Jeff”  may be a physician) and that he was not registered for the conferences in Washington.  This sounds as dubious as when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) kept referring to an imaginary friend “Tommy” while making floor speeches over major  legislation. Thus is was prudent to spike stroke treatment changes with another angle.

Since that the stoke comfort care story reappeared in public, the AANC/CAN story has changed somewhat from the ad hominem attack. Now the groups' joint statement indicates that they were  "unaware of any federal government document directing that advanced neurosurgery for patients over 70 years of age will not be indicated and only supportive care treatment will be provided."  So the emphasis has switched from demonizing the messenger to obfuscating if there is an official policy.

Having lived through the Monica Lewinsky affair, one becomes accustomed to understanding context and parsing words in denials.   The original vilification of “Jeff” reveals that the AANC/CAN did meet and discuss such issues, but the professional societies claim that he did not participate in the neurosurgeons groups’ policy discussions as “Jeff” was not a neurosurgeon. But it does not take a brain surgeon to conclude that  neurosurgeons gathered and debated such a policy.  The later AANC/CAN denial was carefully worded to concentrate on “no federal government document” directing changes in care.  Interesting.

The Federal government need not directly dictate how medicine is practiced to control it as they can rely upon task forces made up of health care experts to do the dirty work.  For example, take medical recommendations for mammographies.  For years, the prevailing wisdom has been that women over 40 should get yearly breast exams.  But in 2009, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force issued “guidelines” which resolved that women should only get mammography exams every two years after age 50 and that they should not do self breast exams.  The rationale cited a harm benefit analysis that suggested that women might have false positives which leads to anxiety and distress, and unnecessary biopsies.  The USPSTF is a government appointed "independent" panel made up of ten distinguished medical professionals at the behest of the US Department of Health and Human Services, headed by Kathleen Sebilius.

While the Mayo Clinic still recommends the American Cancer Society’s recommendations for yearly mammographies for women over 40.  But once Obamacare kicks in, the HHS Secretary will have wide discretion as part of the Administrative State to apply the recommendations of its physician panel. This would not require a bureaucratic edict declaring eligibility but merely an HHS acquisition to health experts’ prevailing recommendations.

It would seem that the USPSTF recommendation certainly saves health plans money and is not a federal government document per se.  Is this type of decision made for good medical reasons or mindful of the bottom line?   Perhaps this will cut down on Planned Parenthood referrals for mammographies so they can concentrate on their core business.

The same bureaucratic sleight of hand is echoed in the Obama Administration’s  rescinding the respect of religious conscience regarding employers offering qualifying health plans.  Simple minded liberal sycophants will slavishly insist that now everyone can get “free” contraception and if individuals have an ethical problem, they need not use the reproductive rights services.  But the religiously affiliated employers, which  are legal persons, have no choice as health insurance companies can only offer qualified plans. These HHS final guidelines insist that all plans cover the gambit of contraceptives, including IUDs, the “morning after pill” and sterilizations. This diffuse decision-making blurs the responsibility chain of responsibility from the federal government and can be cast as a net positive for community standards.

If the Lamestream Media outlets had journalists rather than acting as servile stenographer for favored  policy makers, they would ask salient questions which impeached their sources credibility.  Instead of accepting the blanket assertion that there was no federal government document, enquiring minds would  want to know the current protocols for neurosurgeons in discerning the appropriate application of advanced neurological treatment for elderly patients.  Another probing question is “What is the procedure for decision making for advanced neurological care?”  In addition, it would be enlightening to know “What criteria influences changes to these guidelines?”.  If an ethical journalist really wanted to wander into the tall grass, pose a questions to  neurosurgeon policy makers thoughts on the “Complete Lives System” as applied to their practices. So this is not shrugged away as bogus “death panels”, refer to the Lancet medical journal article  "Principles for Allocation of Scarce Medical Interventions", which was incidentally co-authored by Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel (special health issues adviser to the Obama OMB and brother of former Obama Chief of Staff Ron Emanuel).

What about the views of  Dr. Donald Berwick, the twice recess appointed Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services?  Berwick never received Senate confirmation after making comments endorsing the British National Health System and that he favored “rationing with our eyes open”?  Surely two years with  “Rationer in Chief” Berwick might have some sway with health care experts issuing “guidelines” that will become de-facto law as HHS becomes responsible for approving all health plans.

Another unsightly reason to revise health procedures is the cut in Medicare reimbursement. To get Obamacare passed with a CBO number under $1 trillion, it necessitated “cutting” $500 billion from Medicare.  What this means in all reality is that the government will reimburse health providers less for services.  Certainly advanced neurological treatment does not come cheap and is predominately needed by the elderly.  All of the elderly must belong to Medicare, so would it not be convenient to make approval procedures more cumbersome to limit exposure for treatments that would not be fully reimbursed by the government?

It took five reams of paper to print out the original Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare).  It sounds contrived and sketchy for neurosurgeons groups to claim that they were not aware about such federal government documents.  Then again, try reading Public Law 111 - 148 and divining anything.  It makes one sympathize with Representative John Conyers (D-MI 14th) consternation about calls to read the healthcare bill.

 There may not be a federal government document dictating procedure, but the law gives the HHS Secretary extreme discretion in implementing policies, so the health care experts guidelines become de facto law without being a federal government document per se. But there is all of the financial incentive for speciality physicians to cut costs.  The governmental powers that be seem disposed to redirect funds away from elderly “extraordinary” care.

While Santorum may not be able to point to a smoking gun document on changes in stroke protocol written by an officious Obama Administration official, the charge ought not to be summarily dismissed.  The  pattern of obfuscation in setting health policy may reflect the  axiom epitomized in the film Absence of Malace (1981) “It’s the truth, it’s just not accurate.”

ht: Associated Press

02 February 2012

The Row Over Removing Pink Ribbon from Planned Parenthood

The Susan G. Komen Foundation, the nation’s largest breast cancer organization,  has decided to withdraw its $690,000 in charity to Planned Parenthood.  The Komen Foundation claims that it made the move not for political reasons but to follow its governing policy not to give to groups that are under investigation.

As Chairman of the House Commerce and  Energy Oversight Subcommittee, Representative Cliff Stearns (R-FL 6th) has begun a first-ever audit of Planned Parenthood to investigate its use of federal funding and its compliance with federal restrictions about funding abortions.  This Congressional oversight action comes in the wake of ugly investigative reports from pro-life policy watchdogs.

There have been hysterical claims that the Komen financial withdrawal will endanger womens’ lives.  But after this Komen decision was publicized, Planned Parenthood boasts that it received $650,000 in donations in just 24 hours.  So there effectively will be no loss in funding to Planned Parenthood.  But the dirty little secret is that Planned Parenthood never offered any mammographies anyways.

When Congress was considering an amendment sponsored by Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN 6th) to cut off federal funding to Planned Parenthood, Cecile Richards, the organization’s CEO, took to the Joy Behar Show to decry draconian cuts in womens’ health services, including mammographies.

Live Action conducted a survey of 30 Planned Parenthood clinics in 27 states.  None of these clinics provided mammographies.  In fact, when one Arizona Planned Parenthood clinic was pressed to give a mammography referral to another Planned Parenthood clinic, she was told:  "Well, it would be at a different agency altogether because we don’t provide those services whatsoever.”  In response, Planned Parenthood declared:  Every Planned Parenthood, without exception, tells her she will have to go elsewhere for a mammogram, and many clinics admit that no Planned Parenthood clinics provide this breast cancer screening procedure.”

Planned Parenthood loves to give the impression that 97% of their business is for preventive women’s health care.  But that depends upon how one counts the services. Mark Twain observed that “There are lies, damn lies and statistics”  Using some bureaucratic legerdemain, Planned Parenthood can bundle some services whereas other more innocuous services are expanded to make the figures work.   For example Planned Parenthood could claim that 3% of their services were abortion related if they performed three abortions and gave away 97 condoms.

Looking at it another way, Planned Parenthood’s books shows that their clinics generates 38.4% of their income from abortion services.  The bottom line shows that Planned Parenthood is predominantly driven by providing profitable abortion services.

Planned Parenthood receives $317 million in federal funding for FY2010 which is double the amount in 1998.  Governmental funding account for 1/3rd of Planned Parenthood’s  budget.   Supposedly, there is no federal funding of abortions due to the Hyde Amendment.  Planned Parenthood proponents insist that there is a wall of separation between the women’s health and reproductive services and its abortion affiliates and that the funds are segregated.  But according to Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood clinic,  the reality is that all of the funds get thrown into one kitty and are completely fungible.

For years the Hyde Amendment has precluded Planned Parenthood from receiving HHS funding for abortion services.  But thanks to the feckless stand of  former Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI 1st) over abortion in Obamacare, even this gossamer restriction will become ineffective.  Consider how the Obama Administration aborted of religious liberty, which will force almost all qualifying health plans by employers to include no cost contraceptive services, including abortifacients (IUDs and the “morning after” pill) as well as sterilizations.  Curious minds want to know who will profit from administering these “family planning” aspects of Obamacare?  After all, Planned Parenthood only has a 28% share of the abortion industry today. But think about the reimbursements from the qualifying health plan administrators.  After all, health care isn’t free, unless you are the recipient of no cost contraceptive services.

Planned Parenthood is now running a targeted media campaign in eight select media markets (all in battleground states)  to thank President Obama and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and to urge them to: “[K]eep protecting the birth control that women count on."

This is the second time which Planned Parenthood has experienced a spike in private contributions after threats of public defunding. After the Pence Amendment passed the House of Representatives in February 2011 by a 240-187 margin, Planned Parenthood bragged that online contributions went up by 500%.  So why did the Democrats threaten to close down the government if Planned Parenthood’s Title X Federal funding was  cut?  After all, Democrats only received $1 million in campaign contributions from Planned Parenthood. In the end, Senate Democrats followed the lead of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to refuse to pass a real budget with the Pence Amendment, which partially explains why Senate Democrats have not lived up the the duties of their office and passed a budget resolution in over 1,000 days.

The  Komen Foundation rescinding their pink ribbon cover to Planned Parenthood may draw undesired attention to unflattering allegations about the organization, like commingling funds, doctoring services reports (e.g. claiming that post abortion check ups are family planning visits), ignoring parental notification statues, not reporting abortions from statutory rapes and providing safe havens to child sex trafficking.  Some states have already been rescinding their funding to Planned Parenthood.  No wonder why Planned Parenthood can not wait for Obamacare to arrive.