Uncommon Sense

politics and society are, unfortunately, much the same thing

PP prenatal care video, is Snopes lying or merely biased?

original article: Live Action, Snopes and Planned Parenthood’s “Prenatal Care”
February 4, 2017 by Truthbomb Apologetics

Introduction

Recently, I shared the following video on social media from Live Action:

For those who haven’t seen the video, it features Planned Parenthood (PP) President Cecile Richards claiming that Planned Parenthood offers prenatal care at their clinics.  Then the video features sound bites of numerous women calling various PP clinics across the country seeking prenatal care only to be told that “PP does not provide prenatal care.”  Out of the 97 affiliates contacted, only 5 actually provided prenatal care.  The obvious conclusion of the video is that PP is being deceptive in claiming that they provide prenatal care at their clinics.

However, the folks at Snopes.com – “the definitive Internet reference source for urban legends, folklore, myths, rumors, and misinformation” – have challenged the conclusion of the Live Action team.  In this response, they argue that Live Action is guilty of: 1) taking PP President Cecile Richards out of context; and 2) leading people to believe that PP has claimed to offer prenatal care at all their facilities when it has never claimed any such thing.

Now let me be clear.  I am unapologetically pro-life; however, the pro-life cause is not served by deceptive actions. If this video does include any type of deception, I want to publicly denounce it and distance myself from it.

So, is Live Action being deceptive, or does Snopes.com have it wrong?  Let’s take a look.

The Video Quotes

Quote #1

In the first quote featured in the video, Cecile Richards says, “Prenatal care. These are the kinds of services that folks depend on Planned Parenthood for.”  So here we see that she is clearly claiming that PP does provide prenatal care (a “kind of” service), but she does not explicitly say that all of PP clinics provide prenatal care.

Conclusion: This quote shows that Cecile Richards claimed that prenatal care was one of many types of care offered by PP.  Even Dan Evon in his Snopes piece writes, “…it’s clear that Richards was listing several services that Planned Parenthood provides.”

Quote #2

The second quote featured in the video features a quote from Richards while she is campaigning for Hillary Clinton.  The quote from the video says, “…a president who will fight for prenatal care.” The entire context of the quote is as follows:

“They want a president who believes access to health care isn’t a luxury — it’s a human right.

They want a president who understands that being pro-choice also means being able to choose to have a child — and a president who will fight for prenatal care, head start, health care for kids and first class public schools because it takes a village!

They want a president who will stand up to the gun lobby and demand safety for kids in schools, folks in church, and women getting healthcare — no matter what.

They want a president who will demand nobody is paid less just because they are a woman — we deserve 100 cents on the dollar!

They want a president who believes that access to health care isn’t a luxury it’s a human right. They also want a president who understands that being pro-choice actually means being able to choose to have a child. And a president who will fight for pre-natal care, and head start, and health care for kids, and excellent public education. Because as someone so famously said, it takes a village to raise a child. ”

Interestingly, Snopes claims that Richards is quoted out of context and, at first glance, this seems true. Clearly the context is not provided!  However, one can safely infer from the above quote that Richards is implying that PP provides prenatal care.  How so?  Think about it.  Here we have the president of PP saying, “…a president who will fight for prenatal care.” While I am quite sure PP has nothing to do with the majority of the other services mentioned by Richards, who else would Richards be referring to here but PP? Certainly no Republican candidate ever insinuated that they would take away all prenatal care across the country!  But they have expressed their desire to defund PP. Therefore, what Richards is essentially saying is, “We need a president that will protect PP and the prenatal care we offer.”  Otherwise, the reference to prenatal care makes no sense whatsoever.

Conclusion: In this quote, Richards claims that PP offers prenatal care.

Quote #3

The third and final quote featured in the video comes from Lori Lamerand, the CEO of Planned Parenthood of Mid and South Michigan.  In the video, she states, “Prenatal care! Um — and that — that is what we want to focus on. That is what is so vital.”  The context of this quote was not readily available, but Snopes.com claims that PP said, “Lamerand ‘spoke about the vital services like birth control, pap smears, and preventative cancer screenings, which PP provides to women who otherwise might go without.'”  So, according to Snopes, “PP told us that this had little to do with prenatal care; therefore, it doesn’t.”  This from the “definitive internet resource”?
So, while Snopes.com would have us believe that Lamerand was taken out of context, this is far from clear from the available evidence.  One should strive to be more modest with their claims.
Conclusion: Here, once again, we find a PP CEO (leader) mentioning prenatal care.  At best this demonstrates that a PP CEO implied that PP provides prenatal care.  At worst, it is inconclusive.  If one wants to claim the quote is “taken out of context,” they will need to demonstrate this.

So, if I am right, we have evidence that, at the very least, suggests PP’s leaders imply they offer prenatal care on a much grander scale than they actually do. However, do more explicit claims exist from Planned Parenthood regarding parental care?  To answer that question, we need more evidence.

Lifting the Fog
In this video, Cecile Richards is very clear about PP and prenatal care.  She explicitly states that it is a service they offer.

Moreover, in this tweet from Richards in May of 2016, Richards claims prenatal care is an essential service they provide.  And, as you can see, they later tried to back away from this claim after the video from Live Action was released.

Further, in February, when Governor of Ohio John Kasich signed a bill defunding Planned Parenthood, this is how Richards responded:

“This legislation will have devastating consequences for women across Ohio.  John Kasich is proudly eliminating care for expectant mothers and newborns;”1

Now, I am no doctor, but that sounds a lot like prenatal care.  Further, when has PP ever provided services for newborns?

Also, as featured in the video, a on-hold phone recording from the Virginia Beach, Virginia, Planned Parenthood says: “Did you know that Planned Parenthood can take care of all your reproductive health needs? Whether it’s an annual exam, pregnancy testing and counseling, prenatal care, we’re here for you with high-quality, low-cost services.”2

So, it seems that we have sufficient evidence to conclude that PP leaders do claim to offer prenatal care, but in fact offers very little in relation to the other services they provide.

However, one might also conclude that Live Action could have made their argument more clear. They should have simply argued that PP’s leaders have claimed, several times, that they offer much more parental care than they actually do.  They actually offer very little.

Finally, I am disappointed with the lack of balance in the Snopes.com piece.  While Live Action could have made their argument more clear, PP is certainly guilty of being misleading and deceptive.

However, I will not spend much time debating this issue.  It is secondary.  I encourage readers who are interested in learning more to checkout the links I have provided and investigate the matter on their own.  Draw your own conclusion.

The Primary Issue

The main objection I have to Planned Parenthood is expressed in the argument that follows.  If the argument is logically valid and the premises are more plausible than their negations, then the conclusion of my argument follows logically and necessarily.3

1. PP performs abortions

To confirm the truth of this premise, I will simply refer you to PP’s own website here.  Further, PP themselves reported that they performed 323,999 abortions in 2014. 4

2. If abortion is the killing of an innocent human being, it is morally right to oppose PP.

This premise seems intuitively obvious.  What morally healthy individual would claim otherwise? We should all stand against the killing of innocent human beings.  Anyone who would deny this premise is morally handicap, and their handicap should not call into question what most of us clearly see: it is our moral obligation to oppose the killing of innocent human beings.

3. Abortion is the killing of an innocent human being.

Admittedly, this is the premise my argument hinges on.  However, for those willing to follow the evidence where it leads, science, philosophy, and critical thinking demonstrate its truth.

The Scientific Case

As others have shared before me,5 conclusive scientific evidence demonstrates that human life begins at conception.  This is no longer a matter of opinion.

The conceived embryo is a individual, living, human being by definition:

Individual: The zygote is distinct from her mother, father, and all other living things.  She has her own unique and complete genetic fingerprint; distinct from either of her parents.

Living: The zygote manifests all the characteristics of biological life: metabolism, growth, reaction to stimuli and reproduction.

Human: She carries human DNA with a human genetic signature.

Being: She is a self-contained, self-integrating, living entity with her own nature.

We see from science that, from conception, she has everything needed to proceed through the full series of human developmental stages.  No other human single cell has this inherent capacity.  All that is needed is proper nurturing and a proper environment to advance through all the stages of normal human development.  This is not different than you and I. 6

This is confirmed by leading embryology books.  For example, in their book The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology,  Keith L. Moore and T.V.N. Persaud write, “A zygote is the beginning of a new human being. Human development begins at fertilization, the process during which a male gamete or sperm … unites with a female gamete or oocyte … to form a single cell called a zygote. This highly specialized, totipotent cell marks the beginning of each of us as a unique individual.”7

Further, even former Planned Parenthood President Dr. Alan Guttmacher was perplexed that anyone, much less a medical doctor, would question this. “This all seems so simple and evident that it is difficult to picture a time when it wasn’t part of the common knowledge,” he wrote in his book Life in the Making.”8

The Philosophical Case

As thinkers such as Greg Koukl and Scott Klusendorf have pointed out, there are only four differences between the unborn and a newborn; none of which are morally relevant reasons for denying them personhood and protection.

Klusendorf asks us to think of the acronym SLED to illustrate these “non-essential differences:”

Size: Are preschoolers less valuable than teenagers, or women less valuable than men because they’re smaller?  Size does not equal value.

Level of Development: Is a four-year-old less valuable than her mother because she can’t reproduce? Value is not determined by abilities.

Environment: Does your value change when you cross the street, or even roll over in bed?  Where you are-in the womb or out-has no bearing on who you are.

Degree of Dependency: Should we disqualify those who rely on insulin or heart pacemakers just because they are dependent?  Viability doesn’t determine worth.

It’s far more reasonable to argue that, although humans differ immensely with respect to talents, accomplishments, and degrees of development, they are nonetheless equal because they share a common human nature.7

If you are tempted to resist the science and philosophy that demonstrates that the unborn are human persons, more critical thinking will lead you to the conclusion that, even if we didn’t have the above evidence that a fetus is a human person, abortion is murder.  George Fields explains:

“…I contend that whether the fetus is a person at any given moment of pregnancy is a non-issue, since, whatever it is now, it will, in fact, become a person. Therefore, to abort the fetus now is to annihilate the person that fetus would have naturally become.”9

He goes on:

“Abortion has the same quality as all forms of killing. If I were to kill someone, I would have fundamentally transformed the nature of the universe from one with this person to one without it. The evil of murder does not derive from the fact that a death has occurred, for death comes to all. All murder does is expedite an inevitable event. The evil of murder, rather, is in the fact that the world has changed for everyone else who keeps on living. A hole has been made in the tapestry of life; Christmas dinner now has an empty chair. So it is with an abortion.”8

For the intellectually honest individual, the evidence is clear.  Science, philosophy, and critical thinking demonstrate the truth of premise 3- abortion is the killing of an innocent human being.

4. Therefore, it is morally right to oppose PP.

Conclusion

In this brief piece, I have argued that:

1. Planned Parenthood’s leaders imply that prenatal care is an important service they offer when, in reality, they offer very little.  This is misleading and deceptive.

2. Live Action could have made their argument more clear.  They should have simply argued that PP’s leaders have claimed, several times, that they offer prenatal care when they offer almost none.

3. Planned Parenthood kills innocent human beings; therefore, it is a moral right to oppose PP.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Resources for Further Investigation

An Explanation of Planned Parenthood’s “3%” Statistic

9 Things You Should Know About Planned Parenthood Founder Margaret Sanger

For Planned Parenthood abortion stats, ‘3 percent’ and ’94 percent’ are both misleading

Related Posts

Late-Term Abortion, the Life of the Mother and the 3rd Presidential Debate

When Pro-Abortion Choice Rhetoric Hurts

Could Acceptance of Abortion Be a Matter of Ignorance?

Footnotes:
1. Kristi Burton Brown, “Cecile Richards tries to claim Planned Parenthood helps “expectant mothers and newborns,” Feb. 23, 2016.
2. Kristi Burton Brown, “Yes, Planned Parenthood claims to do prenatal care, and yes, it’s a lie,” Jan. 25, 2017.
3. For a brief explanation about how deductive arguments work, go here.
4. Debra Goldschmidt and Ashley Strickland, “Planned Parenthood: Fast Facts and Revealing Numbers,” Jan. 17, 2017.
5. Tim Stratton, “Pro-Choice: The Wrong Side of History, Science and Logic,” Sept. 13, 2016.
6. “Pro-Life Defense, Making Your Case,” 2015 Gregory Koukl, Stand to Reason.
7. Scott Klusendorf, “How to Defend Your Pro-Life Views in 5 Minutes or Less.”
8. Ibid.
9. George Fields, “Why Abortion Kills a Person Even If You Don’t Think the Unborn are People Yet” Jan. 28, 2017.

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Whistleblower says NOAA scientists manipulated global warming data

original article: Whistleblower: NOAA Scientists Manipulated Temperature Data To Make Global Warming Seem Worse
February 5, 2017 by Michael Bastasch

A whistleblower says the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) rushed a landmark study claiming the planet was warming much faster than expected in order to influence international climate negotiations.

Dr. John Bates, the former principal scientist at the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., told the Daily Mail NOAA’s 2015 study was meant “to discredit the notion of a global warming hiatus and rush to time the publication of the paper to influence national and international deliberations on climate policy.”

Bates said NOAA scientists made a “blatant attempt to intensify the impact” of global warming to eliminate the “pause” in temperature rise since 1998. The Daily Mail claims Bates showed it “irrefutable” evidence NOAA’s study relied on “unverified” data.

Bates’ objections to the paper were ignored by his superiors, who let scientists make “decisions and scientific choices that maximised warming and minimised documentation” in advance of a major United Nations climate summit in Paris, France.

His statement to The Daily Mail comes amid an investigation into the NOAA study by House Republicans on the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. Texas Rep. Lamar Smith, the committee’s chairman, subpoenaed NOAA in late 2015 for records related to the so-called “Karl study” that adjusted global sea surface temperature upwards, eliminating the “pause” in global warming since 1998.

Smith was heavily ridiculed for subpoenaing NOAA scientists, and the agency refused to hand over any internal deliberations of the “Karl study.” The study’s lead author, Tom Karl, has since left NOAA.

“Dr. Bates’ revelations and NOAA’s obstruction certainly lend credence to what I’ve expected all along – that the Karl study used flawed data, was rushed to publication in an effort to support the president’s climate change agenda, and ignored NOAA’s own standards for scientific study,” Smith said in a statement on The Daily Mail’s story.

“The Committee thanks Dr. Bates, a Department of Commerce Gold Medal winner for creating and implementing a standard to produce and preserve climate data, for exposing the previous administration’s efforts to push their costly climate agenda at the expense of scientific integrity,” Smith said.

Scientists have been debating over the so-called “pause” in global warming since at least 2013, referring to the period from 1998 to 2014 without any significant rise in global average temperature.

The Karl study made changes to historical sea surface temperature records, effectively doubling the warming trend of that period to 0.086 degrees Celsius per decade from 0.039 degrees per decade.

Karl’s study was welcomed by some scientists and environmentalists who see man-made global warming as the biggest threat to humanity; it was criticized by others in the scientific community.

Climate scientist Judith Curry, formerly of Georgia Tech, wrote at the time that NOAA excluded extremely accurate sea buoy data in order to erase the hiatus in warming.

Curry wrote that it “seems rather ironic, since this is the period where there is the greatest coverage of data with the highest quality of measurements — ARGO buoys and satellites don’t show a warming trend.”

But the Karl study may have had deeper problems.

It was based on two “flawed” temperature datasets, Bates told The Daily Mail.

NOAA has now “decided that the sea dataset will have to be replaced and substantially revised just 18 months after it was issued, because it used unreliable methods which overstated the speed of warming,” The Daily Mail learned.

NOAA’s revised data will show “lower temperatures and a slower rate in the recent warming trend.”

The “land temperature dataset used by the study was afflicted by devastating bugs in its software that rendered its findings ‘unstable,’” and based on an “alpha” version that was never verified. It still hasn’t been approved.

“None of the data on which the paper was based was properly ‘archived’ – a mandatory requirement meant to ensure that raw data and the software used to process it is accessible to other scientists, so they can verify NOAA results,” The Daily Mail reported.

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If voter fraud isn’t real, please explain this

original article: Voter Fraud Is Real. Here’s The Proof
October 13, 2016 by John Gibbs

Data suggests millions of voter registrations are fraudulent or invalid. That’s enough to tip an election, easily.

This week, liberals have been repeating their frequent claim that voter fraud doesn’t exist. A recent Salon article argues that “voter fraud just isn’t a problem in Pennsylvania,” despite evidence to the contrary. Another article argues that voter fraud is entirely in the imagination of those who use voter ID laws to deny minorities the right to vote.

Yet as the election approaches, more and more cases of voter fraud are beginning to surface. In Colorado, multiple instances were found of dead people attempting to vote. Stunningly, “a woman named Sara Sosa who died in 2009 cast ballots in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.” In Virginia, it was found that nearly 20 voter applications were turned in under the names of dead people.

In Texas, authorities are investigating criminals who are using the technique of “vote harvesting” to illegally procure votes for their candidates. “Harvesting” is the practice of illegally obtaining the signatures of valid voters in order to vote in their name without their consent for the candidate(s) the criminal supports.

These are just some instances of voter fraud we know about. It would be silly to assume cases that have been discovered are the only cases of fraud. Indeed according to a Pew Charitable Trust report from February 2012, one in eight voter registrations are “significantly inaccurate or no longer valid.” Since there are 146 million Americans registered to vote, this translates to a stunning 18 million invalid voter registrations on the books. Further, “More than 1.8 million deceased individuals are listed as voters, and approximately 2.75 million people have registrations in more than one state.” Numbers of this scale obviously provide ripe opportunity for fraud.

Don’t Let Data Contradict My Narrative

Yet in spite of all this, a report by the Brennan Center at New York University claims voter fraud is a myth. It argues that North Carolina, which passed comprehensive measures to prevent voter fraud, “failed to identify even a single individual who has ever been charged with committing in-person voter fraud in North Carolina.” However, this faulty reasoning does not point to the lack of in-person voter fraud, but rather to lack of enforcement mechanisms to identify and prosecute in-person voter fraud.

The science of criminal justice tells us that many crimes go unreported, and the more “victimless” the crime, the more this happens. The fact is, a person attempting to commit voter fraud is very unlikely to be caught, which increases the incentive to commit the crime.

The National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) is a sophisticated, comprehensive effort to catalog “the number and types of crimes not reported to law enforcement authorities.” However, it tends to deal mostly in violent crimes. As complex as the NCVS is, gathering accurate data for unreported victimless crimes such as voter fraud is even harder, since 1) outside of the criminal, no one may know a crime has taken place, and 2) there is no direct victim to report the crime in the first place. Yet we are expected to believe that, unlike violent crime, voter fraud is limited only to the cases that are actually reported and prosecuted? This is a senseless position.

Further, the Brennan Center report argues that because prosecutor Kris Kobach’s review of 84 million votes cast in 22 states found only 14 instances of fraud referred for prosecution (which amounts to a 0.00000017 percent fraud rate), voter fraud is so statistically small that it’s a non-issue. Let’s follow this logic. Does the fact that 109 people were cited for jaywalking in Seattle in 2009 mean that only 109 people jaywalked in Seattle that year? Does the fact that 103,733 people were cited for driving without a seatbelt in Tennessee in 2015 mean that only that many people were driving without seatbelt in Tennessee in 2015?

Absolutely not. This can be proven easily because in 2014, the previous year, only 29,470 people were cited. The disparity is largely due to increased enforcement efforts in 2015. In other words, increasing enforcement of the crime revealed a much larger number of people committing the crime.

The exact same is true for voter fraud. We have no reason to believe that the low number of prosecutions means only that exact amount of voter fraud is happening. Rather, it could mean a lack of enforcement is failing to reveal the bulk of the violations that are occurring. Thus, as with many types of crimes, especially victimless crimes, the real number of cases is likely significantly higher than the number reported.

How to Effectively Target Voter Fraud

So now that we know voter fraud is a serious issue, what are some solutions to this problem? States like Michigan have Poll Challenger programs, where observers from both parties may be present at voter check-in tables at precincts. They check each voter’s ID against a database of registered voters for that precinct to ensure the person attempting to vote is actually legally qualified to vote in that precinct. If there’s a discrepancy, the poll challenger may officially challenge the ballot. Other states should implement similar programs.

States should sponsor initiatives to remove dead voters and correct the registrations of people registered in multiple states (make them choose just one state). Since many local jurisdictions are reluctant to clean their voter rolls, federal or state oversight with teeth may be necessary.

Further, voter ID laws, such as the one implemented by North Carolina, but (wrongly) struck down by three liberal judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit— one appointed by Bill Clinton and the other two appointed by President Obama—are needed to ensure there’s no cheating with votes. States should continue to press the issue regardless of recent setbacks by liberal activist judges.

Finally, some have claimed that strong voter ID laws are racist, because they disproportionately impact minorities and would prevent minorities from voting. As a black person, I’m naturally interested in this claim. Thankfully, it turns out to be false. The Heritage Foundation has shown that black voter turnout actually increased after North Carolina passed its voter ID law.

Not only was the claimed negative outcome false, but the reasoning was faulty as well. The fact that the law disproportionately impacts minorities does not mean that it is discriminatory. It means, unfortunately, that fewer minorities are in compliance with common-sense safeguards to protect the integrity of our elections (i.e., having a driver’s license or photo ID).

To mitigate this concern, states can offer a service that will take people without valid ID to their local government office to apply for proper ID, free of charge. Users could schedule the pickup with their smartphone or a phone call. That way there will be as few barriers as possible to those who want to vote and are capable of obtaining a valid ID, but cannot due to transportation concerns (a reason often given by those who claim voter ID laws hurt minorities).

So let us not believe false claims that voter fraud doesn’t exist. It’s real, and we must work to stop it, while making sure those who are eligible to vote but without proper ID are accommodated fairly.


When voter fraud doesn’t count as fraud (because the perpetrators say so)

corruption, cover up, criminal, elections, ethics, fraud, ideology, pandering, political correctness, politics, scandal, voter fraud

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Two recent incidents of violence against women

We are supposed to believe progressives/liberals fight for equality, women’s rights, and oppose violence against women. Consider this.

At the recent women’s march in Washington, D.C. The Rebel Media recorded a video of a male member of the march assaulting a conservative woman.

Rebel reporter assaulted at Women’s March — $1,000 reward to find him

You’ll see in the video the perp is male, the assault happens against a women, and the assault occurs in the midst of the protest (plenty of progressives/liberals present as witnesses). And how do the perp’s fellow protesters respond? By protecting HIM! Watch the video for yourself.

At West Virginia University we have another video of another leftist assaulting another woman.

Leftist student physically attacks conservatives after botched debate meeting

The hate this guy harbors is painfully obvious. Watch the video.

And what should we expect from the progressives/liberals who learn of these two incidents of violence against women? Nothing other than the same reaction we saw in the 1990’s when a certain president was sexually harassing and abusing women all over the place – total hypocrisy. Feminism looks like a fraud when it protects men who do the very things these women claim they oppose.

Political correctness and social justice are not about justice or fairness or equality. They are about the anti-diversity left wing agenda of sameness, driven and defined by powerful agenda makers. The common folk do indeed have power but not the kind of power they think they have. They are being led down a road I suspect many of them would reject if only they could see where it takes them.

The ultra left (which now seems to be the mainstream left) only selectively cares about women and violence against women and women’s rights. Reasonable leftists (if there are any) need to know about this stuff. If anyone has a chance of pulling the leftwing of the political spectrum from its extremes back toward the center it is reasonable leftists. Please spread the word whenever anything like this happens.

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So you think Planned Parenthood provides prenatal care?

Published on Jan 23, 2017
“Planned Parenthood offers abortions, so they don’t offer prenatal care.” Though Planned Parenthood claims that women depend on them for prenatal care, Live Action investigators had an incredibly hard time finding facilities that offered prenatal care—though they found plenty of facilities offering abortions.

5 Out of 97 Planned Parenthood Facilities Provide Prenatal Care

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Who gets absolute moral authority?

original article: Malkin: Who gets absolute moral authority?
July 20, 2016 by Michelle Malkin

My 12-year-old son couldn’t remember the phrase “take a walk down memory lane” last week, instead describing a stroll through “nostalgia road.” I knew it would come in handy.

Put on your hiking boots and join me for an educational trip down good ol’ nostalgia road.

It seems like yesterday when Champion of Wimmin Maureen Dowd, bemoaning the lack of sympathy for anti-war mom Cindy Sheehan, declared in The New York Times that “the moral authority of parents who bury children killed in Iraq is absolute.”

No ifs, ands or other hedging qualifiers. Absolutely absolute.

And it was just a blink of an eye ago that the same New York Times spilled barrels of adulatory ink on the 9/11 widows known as the Jersey Girls. Remember them? The quartet of Democratic women parlayed their post-terror attack plight into powerful roles as Bush-bashing citizen lobbyists.

Their story, the lib narrative-shaping paper of record reported, was a “tale of a political education, and a sisterhood born of grief.”

Moms and widows deserved special consideration in the public square, the argument went a decade ago. Their experience and their testimony warranted respect, deference and the national spotlight.

But then, as now, only a special class of victims is entitled to cash in the Absolute Moral Authority card. Not all parents and spouses who have lost loved ones can join the Club of the Unquestioned and Unassailable.

On Monday night at the Republican National Convention, Pat Smith shared her own tale of a political education born of grief after her diplomat son, Sean Smith, died in the Benghazi terrorist attack. Hillary Clinton, she passionately insisted, “deserves to be in stripes!”

GQ sports writer Nathaniel Friedman showed his compassion for Smith’s loss and pain by tweeting, “I don’t care how many children Pat Smith lost I would like to beat her to death.”

MSNBC host Chris Matthews, who had helped make Cindy Sheehan a media star and urged her to run for Congress based on her status as a grieving war mom, fumed that Pat Smith had “ruined” the entire convention with her heartfelt testimony. The smug Democratic political operative turned TV bloviator, who had also elevated the Jersey Girls’ celebrity status with multiple bookings on his show, couldn’t bear to speak Smith’s name:

“I don’t care what that woman up there, the mother, has felt. Her emotions are her own, but for the country in choosing a leader, it’s wrong to have someone get up there and tell a lie about Hillary Clinton.”

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., chimed in on the same network that he was disgusted with how the GOP convention was using Smith to “exploit a tragedy.”

GOP-bashers heaped similar derision on father Jamiel Shaw Sr. and mothers Sabine Durden and Mary Ann Mendoza, who all spoke at the convention about losing children to criminals who had slipped illegally through open borders and revolving deportation doors. “Progressives” sneered at Shaw as an “Uncle Tom” for pointing out that Latino gangbangers targeted his black son because of his race. The intolerant tolerance mob also accused Durden of being “fooled” and Durden and Mendoza of being “exploited for apocalyptic theater.”

Will these horrified hang-wringers be as outspokenly offended next week when the Democratic National Convention dedicates an entire evening to the so-called Mothers of the Movement?

Among the sainted moms of the Black Lives Matter movement who will speak on Hillary Clinton’s behalf are Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner; Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin; Maria Hamilton, mother of Dontre Hamilton; Lucia McBath, mother of Jordan Davis; Lesley McSpadden, mother of Michael Brown; Cleopatra Pendleton-Cowley, mother of Hadiya Pendleton; and Geneva Reed-Veal, mother of Sandra Bland.

Each of these cases lumped under supposedly unjustified gun violence and systemic racism is complicated and distinct. For starters, Bland hanged herself when her friends and family wouldn’t bail her out of jail after she had kicked a police officer. Two of the “children” involved in police shootings (Brown and Hamilton) had assaulted cops during their fatal encounters.

But drop all questions and doubts. “These mothers have worked tirelessly to raise awareness around the issues that surround their children’s deaths,” the liberal Huffington Post reports.

Because these women endorse race-baiting, gun-grabbing narratives and left-wing candidates, no one working in the mainstream media will ever challenge their parental prerogative to participate in politics on behalf of their loved ones.

Moms who have lost their children to Democratic incompetence, corruption and open-borders treachery are out of luck. The dealers of Absolute Moral Authority play with a loaded deck.

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Does school choice work? It depends on whether you ask parents or education bureaucrats

original article: Even When School Choice Works, Critics Call It a Failure
July 11, 2016 by Vicki Alger

Thomas Paine recommended vouchers to help parents afford private schools for their children more than 200 years ago. While most college students today use vouchers to attend public or private colleges and universities, the concept remains needlessly controversial when it comes to parents using them for their school-age children.

For example, in a recent Washington Post article Emma Brown recently claimed school choice hasn’t worked based on evidence from New York City, where students are no longer assigned to public high schools based on their zip codes.

For starters, the Big Apple is hardly, as Brown calls it, “a real-life laboratory for questions of school choice” just because in 2004 the city deigned to allow parents of eighth-graders to choose up to 12 public high schools to attend out of a possible 400.

Currently, more than half of all states have parental choice programs that include private schools – not just public schools. New York isn’t one of them.

But Brown’s own evidence shows that empowering parents over their children’s education works. According to Brown, as of 2015 NYC’s overall public high school graduation rate has improved steadily and now exceeds 70 percent. Even neighborhood-based racial graduation rate gaps have diminished. Yet because they exist, school choice must be a failure. Brown seems to be implying (although she doesn’t say so explicitly) that returning to the old way of assigning students to schools would level the playing field.

It likely would…but not in a positive way since assigned schooling minimizes the likelihood students will be able to attend schools that are the best for for them. And, by removing competition for students schools have little (if any) incentive to customize instruction to individual students’ needs.

The reality is, parental choice programs are helping participating students (overwhelmingly those from disadvantaged backgrounds) as well as non-participating students who benefit from the effects of their schools having to compete for students and associated funding.

A new research synthesis helps shed light on the growing body of research proving that parental choice works.

Currently, there are 50 private school scholarship programs in 26 states and Washington, DC. What’s more, over half of them were implemented in the past five years. But do such programs work?

Experts from the University of Arkansas conducted a global review of “gold standard” studies, and using scientifically exacting methods concluded that private school choice results in statistically significant improvements in reading and math performance, 0.27 standard deviations and 0.15 standard deviations, respectively.

To put those results into perspective, 25 percent of a standard deviation represents approximately one year of academic growth on most measures of student achievement. These results are all the more remarkable because most private school choice programs limit eligibility to students from low-income families, and these students typically struggle academically.

Such results should come as welcome news for addressing chronic achievement gaps and high college remediation rates – but they likely won’t.

Parental choice in education, private-school parental choice in particular, remains a political hot button. Teachers and administrators unions, among others, fiercely oppose supporting parents’ right to choose non-public schools for their children.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration has done everything in its power to shut down the successful DC Opportunity Scholarship Program – (although it was recently reauthorized) in spite of evidence from the US Department of Education “What Works” division that the program is effective, efficient, and popular. It’s also accomplishes more for a whole lot less.

Thankfully, parents and policymakers in the states are moving ahead with an ever-growing array of parental choice programs, including vouchers, tax-credit scholarships, and education savings accounts (ESAs). Such progress will be difficult if not impossible to stop, no matter how loudly critics complain.

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Filed under: bureaucracy, children, culture, education, fraud, government, nanny state, politics, public policy, reform, study

Environmental activist ‘scientist’ admits fraud in court

original article: Activist ‘Scientist’ Runs From Reporters After Admitting In Court He Has No Proof Fracking Poisons Water
March 3, 2016 by Michael Bastasch

It’s another bad day in court for environmentalists trying to prove how bad hydraulic fracturing has been for the town of Dimock, Pa.

A Cornell University engineering professor often used by activists to attack fracking ran from reporters after he admitted in court there was no proof drilling had contaminated Dimock’s drinking water.

Prof. Tony Ingraffea was forced to admit he was an anti-fossil fuel “advocate” in court Tuesday, and that he had no proof fracking done by Cabot Oil and Gas had contaminated the drinking water of two Dimock families suing the oil company, according to journalist Phelim McAleer.

McAleer, who also created the documentary “Fracknation” to expose anti-fracking myths, has been covering the trial against Cabot. He previously reported the plaintiff’s lawyer admitted they had no proof chemicals from fracking ever ended up in drinking water. McAleer confronted Ingraffea about his activism and lack of proof fracking contaminated Dimock’s water.

“It has been a rough few days for Professor Ingraffea, the anti-fracking movement’s favorite scientist,” McAleer wrote on Facebook Wednesday. “Professor Ingraffea was forced to admit that he’s an anti-fracking and anti-fossil fuel ‘advocate.’”

“He admitted that his theory contradicted the plaintiffs’ own timeline,” McAleer continued. “Under Ingraffea’s theory, the ‘contamination’ could only have started in late 2008/early 2009 because that was when the gas drilling started; however, the plaintiffs have stated repeatedly that their water allegedly deteriorated in the summer of 2008 before the drilling Ingraffea has been blaming for the past 8 years.”

“Then Ingraffea shockingly admitted that after eight years of claims and multi-million dollar lawsuits, he had no proof that Cabot had contaminated any water in Dimock,” McAleer wrote.

It was after this stunning admission that McAleer approached Ingraffea outside the courthouse, where the anti-fracking professor tried to avoid questions about his admission and even hid behind a woman’s coat.
“I wanted to know if, after admitting under oath that he had no evidence to back up his claims that Dimock’s water was contaminated, he would now take the opportunity to apologize to the people of Dimock. He didn’t. He ran away,” McAleer wrote.

Ingraffea became an eco-celebrity after he and a colleague published a report in 2011 claiming methane emissions from fracking would cause more global warming than coal. He was then taped by anti-fracking celebrities, like actor Mark Ruffalo and Yoko Ono (no one really knows why she’s still famous), for his criticisms of fracking — he and Ruffalo appeared in TIME magazine in 2011 for their activism.

Ingraffea also made an appearance in the anti-fracking film “Gasland: Part II” in 2013. In the film, he claims “industry documents” show 60 percent of all fracked wells failed, but this claim was later proven false — the document cited in the film had nothing to do with fracking on land, but instead with drilling in deeps waters in the Gulf of Mexico.

Ingraffea has since appeared at numerous events alongside celebrities, speaking out against fracking and fossil fuels.

“It’s sad that people such as Professor Ingraffea can make so many damaging claims, scaring people, telling them their water is poisoned, and all these years later admit in a court that he never had any evidence to back up his scaremongering,” McAleer wrote.

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The Clintons are a war on women

Possibly the most famous sexual predator not in prison is named Bill. No, not Cosby, his name is Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton is a war on women. Any widely accepted definition of abuse of women should include the former philandering president. So how do we square Hillary’s recent comments on hearing, believing, and supporting abused women with Hillary’s own efforts to utterly destroy any woman who accuses her husband of sexual predation? Watch The Run Down address the particulars of the question.

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If you think pro-life equals anti-choice you’re an idiot, and worse

A curious attitude among the vast majority of the “pro-choice” crowd is that a woman’s right to choose is typically treated as the only legitimate perspective on the matter. Those opposing the killing of babies are often treated as opposing women’s rights, as if opposing the killing of babies somehow equals opposing all women’s rights.

But that’s what myopia does to people. Having a small, narrow minded view of “rights” in this matter prevents the pro-choice crowd from seeing any possibility that the child in the womb has any rights to violate.

This is precisely the same problem encountered by abolitionists who tried to end slavery in the United States. Abolitionists argued that to demean any person by robbing them of humanity places us all in danger. After all, if the government can play semantic games with personhood with one group it can do the same with another. But the myopic view of slave holders required them to attack abolitionists. Rather than merely disagreeing, slavery supporters accused abolitionists of attacking all property rights, because “property rights” was the excuse championed by slavery’s supporters. Thus, in their mind, claiming it was constitutionally invalid to treat a person as property was tantamount to denying the right to property at all. To defenders of slavery the issue was never about oppression except when their right to enslave other people was at risk.

Such a dishonest tactic was necessary for slavery supporters because it became increasingly difficult to defend slavery as discussion continued, as it should. If discussion was minimized or stopped, slave holders would have no reason to defend the evil they practiced. So the best way to end debate on the matter was to shut up those who wanted to debate it. And the best way to do that was to demonize and marginalize those who opposed slavery. That included accusations of being anti-property rights, anti-self government, and even being on the wrong side of history.

Abraham Lincoln, in his speech on the Kansas-Nebraska Act, made an argument similar to what the pro-life movement argues today against abortion. In our modern age pro-lifers often argue that to have the “right” to kill your own babies is not freedom, but oppression, among other things. Lincoln argued against slavery in much the same way:

The doctrine of self-government is right—absolutely and eternally right—but it has no just application, as here attempted. Or perhaps I should rather say that whether it has such just application depends upon whether a negro is not or is a man. If he is not a man, why in that case, he who is a man may, as a matter of self-government, do just as he pleases with him. But if the negro is a man, is it not to that extent, a total destruction of self-government, to say that he too shall not govern himself? When the white man governs himself that is self-government; but when he governs himself, and also governs another man, that is more than self-government—that is despotism. If the negro is a man, why then my ancient faith teaches me that “all men are created equal;” and that there can be no moral right in connection with one man’s making a slave of another.

Not only do abortion activists shoehorn the issue into a “women’s rights” perspective, they also fraudulently force abortion into a scientific perspective, as if science was actually equipped to determine when personhood begins. [UPDATE: Science, Embryonic Autonomy, and the Question of When Life Begins]

It does a disservice to us all to ignore science or to treat opinion and fact as the same thing. In the first couple months the argument that the fetus is merely a blob of cells has some merit; but one still must choose to view it as “not a person” in development. It’s just as viable to believe the fetus at this stage is a person in development. Neither of these opinions are purely scientific – they are opinions. In fact, American law never official declared black people were people; and it shouldn’t have to.

But after the first couple months, for the remainder of the pregnancy, the child in the womb is not merely a blob of cells and cannot honestly be called such. A recent video was released showing abortion professionals attempting to train activists in defending abortion. One abortion professional actually suggested activists cease lying about the nature of the “person” in the womb and admit that after a certain period of time, the fetus is indeed a person, and that abortion is killing a person. The point of the training was to move past these vapid denials and teach activists how to divert the discussion to some other matter.

In a daytime TV talk show, which I find unworthy of being mentioned by name here, the show’s hosts recently ridiculed Dr. Ben Carson for his insistence that killing babies is a bad idea. But to those ridiculing him, they thought he was talking about controlling women. He wasn’t. No one fighting for a child’s right to live is fighting against “women’s rights”.
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What’s more, abortion supporters are acting as if women have a right that, in fact, no one has. While arguing for a woman’s right to choose the assumption is that women have the absolute right to control their own body. The problem is there is no such right.

Imagine this scenario: a 14 year old girl driving a car in the United States. This alone violates at least three laws: (1) there is an age requirement for driving the automobile (which she has not attained yet) and therefore she is (2) driving an automobile without a drivers license and (3) without auto insurance. In most places in the US these three laws are in effect, thus the 14 year old girl is violating all of them. But let’s add a few more details to this hypothetical. She is driving the car with an open beer bottle which violates at least two more laws: (4) under age drinking and (5) there is an open container of alcohol in the vehicle. Now imagine she is (6) driving without wearing a seat belt, (7) texting while driving, (8) driving faster than allowed on that particular stretch of road, (9) driving on the wrong side of the road, and (10) driving while nude.

I doubt all these things violate the law in all areas of the US, but in some places this fictional character is violating the law in all ten ways. And here’s the catch: if you’re reading this chances are you approve of at least one law alluded to in the hypothetical scenario. And since you support at least one of those laws, you support restricting what a person can or cannot do with their own body. No one has the absolute right to control their own body, and no one believes in such a thing.

So what’s so wrong with laws like these? It depends. Most people support such laws because of how they affect others. Admittedly, seeing a teenage girl driving naked could very well have a similar effect on other drivers as driving a car while texting or while drunk could have on the girl herself. It’s because of the effect on other people that most of us find ourselves willing to accept laws restricting our freedom. And that’s why abortion opponents oppose killing babies: because it’s KILLING PEOPLE!

Another lie abortion supports offer is that opponents want to force women to be mothers, completely ignoring the fact that pro-lifers frequently argue for adoption. No one arguing against abortion is arguing for the enslavement of women.

To the defenders of abortion the issue has never been about babies. The issue has always been about control of women, because being able to kill one’s own child is somehow deemed as empowerment and liberating, and a right. That’s how abortion supporters see it, and they are welcome to their view. But they are not entitled to define other people’s opinions. Their elitist stance drives them to pretend everyone treats abortion as about whatever abortion supporters say it is about. And they have to, because recognizing personhood for the child threatens the entire abortion economy and power structure, just like recognizing personhood for slaves threatened that of slavery.

Opponents of abortion are not interested in controlling women any more than opponents of slavery were opposed to property rights. To abortion opponents the issue has always been about babies. Those who call abortion opponents “anti-choice” are just as small minded and dishonest about abortion as slave owners were about abolitionists. I’m not asking or demanding abortion supporters agree with opponents, I’m merely asking supporters to stop lying about what opponents actually want and fight for. Purposefully misrepresenting your opposition makes you look like a fraud, and it makes you look incapable of tolerating dissenting points of view. And your reputation for being small minded and dishonest has had such a negative effect on your movement that even an abortion professional is suggesting you simply admit you support killing babies.

No one fighting against abortion is trying roll back women’s rights. If you can’t see that you are either a blithering idiot or a liar. And possibly both. I’m talking to you, Chauncey DeVega.

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