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Sunday, October 23, 2016

Monday’s Senate vote to defund Planned Parenthood was a do-or-die moment for the Republican Party, and just another example of how the GOP has lost its way: continuing to flail with a series of dramatic gestures, rather than govern.

There was virtually no way that the vote to deprive Planned Parenthood of federal money – the vast majority of which goes to women who need cancer screenings, birth control, and routine gynecological care – would actually pass. The Senate needed 60 votes, and with no Democrats and a number of Republicans standing against the measure, the vote was seen as largely symbolic. Furthermore, President Obama said that he’d veto the bill, Democrats would filibuster if it came to a close call, and Republicans making good on their threat to shut down the government isn’t a outcome most Americans are eager to see.

The vote came on the heels of a series of undercover videos produced by an anti-abortion group — the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) — that ingratiated itself into the pro-choice community. The CMP says the videos prove that Planned Parenthood is illegally selling fetal tissue. Social conservatives and right-wing media predictably have run with the story, despite the fact that there has been no evidence to show that Planned Parenthood was doing anything against the law. Reporting on the CMP has revealed that it has ties to strident anti-choice activists, including people linked to the murder of Dr. George Tiller in 2009 and to a woman sent to prison for two years for plotting to bomb a women’s health clinic. The man behind the videos, David Daleiden, was mentored by a biomedical researcher who heads companies that are against using fetal tissue.

The videos have provoked not just public outcry but investigations and lawsuits, including several meant to block the release of any more videos that feature employees of organizations and companies that are involved in fetal tissue donation.

There was a time when fetal tissue from abortions was not allowed to be used for research. Both Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush were vehemently opposed to it and banned the practice during their administrations – but you know who wasn’t? Mitch McConnell. Yes, Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader and Kentucky Republican who is pushing for the repealing of federal funds to Planned Parenthood.

He didn’t just vote once for fetal tissue research. He voted for it four times.

Why did he change his mind? Twenty-five years ago, the battle of fetal tissue research, while heated, was hardly partisan; tons of Republicans were for it. In 1988, a panel of medical, religious, ethical, and legal experts concluded “that tissue from aborted fetuses, when it is available, is like other cadaver tissue that normally would be disposed of and can be used for research and possible treatments.”

The experts said that the issue was separate from abortion, and that there was no evidence to suggest that the practice would lead to more abortions. Fetal tissue taken from abortions is only used when women consent to the donation; even in the videos, Planned Parenthood doctors said that many women feel that the tissue donation is a positive side effect of the procedure and that they are happy to be doing something good.

But the bill before the Senate Monday, sponsored by Republican Joni Ernst of Iowa, isn’t even concerned with fetal tissue; it’s about Planned Parenthood as a whole and its mission of helping women with reproductive and sexual issues. It’s quite far reaching: it would ban Planned Parenthood from receiving Medicaid reimbursement for other health services it provides (a long and contentious process that would likely fail) and federal grant programs that have been providing services like HIV and sexually transmitted infection testing for 45 years.

Despite protestations that much of the mainstream media have a liberal bias, conservative ire, especially on radio and certain blogs, does get attention, especially from politicians. Abortion and family planning services, like birth control, is a perennial hot-button topic; just witness the furor after Rush Limbaugh railed against Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke for calling for contraceptive health care coverage.

Pragmatic Republicans (or Republicans who just want to steer clear of the crazies) from Jeb Bush to John Kasich, are caught between pandering to the people who have power and actually articulating their views about governing. Governance, as New York Times reporter Jackie Calmes outlines, often has to do with compromise, but hardline conservatives – as exemplified by McConnell in this particular fight – are loath to do so.

As Erick Erickson, a conservative writer, argues, Republicans should eschew compromise on the funding of Planned Parenthood because it’s a moral issue. It shouldn’t be seen as a political fight, but one of conscience: “People get into office because they perceive government is failing in some way and they want to make the country better or fix something. People do not get into politics because of politics, but because of their conscience, their morals, and their sense of justice. …There are some fights that are right even when the political calculus suggests otherwise. This is one of those fights.”

However, his argument – that Republicans should dig in their heels and fight, no matter how toxic and dubious their battle – might have more merit if the target of their crusade weren’t an organization that has helped millions of women look after their health and families.

The motion was blocked: 53 yeas and 46 nays.

Photo: U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) addresses reporters after the weekly Senate Republican caucus luncheon at the U.S. Capitol in Washington June 16, 2015.  REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst 

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Copyright 2015 The National Memo
  • Lynda Groom

    Everything they do is about messaging, not governing. The wasting of their time and our money on such is all designed to gin up the base and keep them in the dark. The media plays along and we find mission accomplished.

    • Polana

      Yes Mission Accomplished, The Rogue Nation of USA.
      One thing that bothers me, most says fetus, fetus, fetus, but that fetus is a unborn human being, so since it’s a fetus then why is used for a human research. Why this little human being w/ heart, brain and look human must suffer such horrible pain, and horrible death and we feel sorry for a hard core criminals who kill others and worry about their sorry A$$ about botched execution. Yes PP does not use Gov. money for killing the unborn human beings, and if they wanted to stay alive they should do only what they do minus promoting/helping w/abortions. To bad the their mothers let them live (Cecile Richards and all the abortionists and those who all for a abortion).
      The innocent have nobody to speak for them, but hard core criminals that kill many have a lot of press/TV in their defense. I don’t get it.
      We humans sunk so low and have no regard for any life. The bottom line is all about money, money money. Check it how much they draw in salaries on our dime, it’s a mind boggling. It’s time to stop the gravy train. I know few who used the PP (not for abortion) and it was a lousy service and they did not find anything in their cancer screenings, it was too late for my friend. Not all doctors/clinic/hospitals are equal in care. They use the cheapest not always reliable doctors/screenings, they pocket nice change for their paycheck.
      In charitable organization CEO shouldn’t make thousands of dollars in taxpayers money. It’s all about their paycheck not woman life. They could care less.

      • greenlantern1

        Ever read about the MOUNTAIN MEADOWS MASSACRE?
        The murder, of children, by the Mormons?
        Ever hear of stem cell research under Bush?
        Since when does same sex marriage result in a fetus?

      • i2grok

        It’s all about their paycheck not woman life. They could care less.
        The Republicans act exactly as you have described.

      • Grannysmovin

        There is the prenatal life form that that is biologically alive. Many woman, including myself, consider the fetus as “an individual under construction” and not yet a person. The fetus cannot survive outside the mother’s womb until after 22 or 24 weeks, at that point it is considered a viable human being.

        Why do you believe you and others have the right to tell a woman what to think, what to feel and force her to take a pregnancy to term. If you don’t believe in abortion than you would never have an abortion nor would you support a loved one having one, I guess your love has conditions to it. How would you feel if strangers and politicians forced you or your loved ones to have an abortion? What if Pro-Choice became a religion, than you would be denying them religious freedom.

        Pro Choice does not advocate for abortion they advocate for a woman to have the right to make her own decisions, without the interference of strangers and politicians. This is a decision that should be made by a woman, her partner and if they want their family based on how she conceived, their religious beliefs, their financial situation, their emotional stability and their maturity. Not based on your religious beliefs or a politicians religious belief.

        How about placing your concerns on those children being physically abused and neglected, or those being killed by gun violence. Those
        are the innocent, unprotected children who need someone to step up in their defense. You people are not pro-life your are Pro Forced Birthers,

        • highpckts

          Well said! Thank you!

        • Fred Goss


          • Fred Goss

            So well said

      • Lynda Groom

        Nice ‘messaging’ rant you’ve got there.

      • highpckts

        Wow! Where are you when these saved “fetus” are brought to term and rejected, abused, starved and neglected? Please spare us your “heartfelt” grief for a zygot that cannot live outside the womb! You are all alike! All moral mouth!

  • Marv Nochowitz

    To bad democrats didn’t stand behind ACORN. The same tactics were used against that organization. ACORN lost its funding and was later cleared of all charges.

  • anothertoothpick

    Each year 1.07% of women aged 16 to 44 have an abortion.

    Not only is it legal it barely y registers on the scale. but it sure is a big deal to the christofacists.

    • bobnstuff

      Even that number is misleading, it includes all miscarriages that have D&C’s. States that have good women’s health services like Planed Parenthood have less abortions so if they truly wanted to be anti abortion they should be pro Planed Parenthood.

  • greenlantern1

    Before ROE V. WADE; states made up their own rules about abortion.
    Remember Nixon’s “revenue sharing”?
    State spending of federal money?
    Geographic “morality”?
    Condone THAT?

    • Eleanore Whitaker

      Face facts…The red states do not want a federal government unless it is to fund their state coffers. These are the states’ rights states who insist their states’ rights come before federal laws and regulations.

      So when Texas decides to drill for oil in your state’s backyard…their states’ rights come before yours.

      Men do not have the right to take money from Medicare paid for by women’s payroll tax deductions for Viagra. Condone that?

      • greenlantern1

        Total agreement!!
        Even further; remember Nixon’s concept of “revenue sharing”?
        The spending, of FEDERAL money, by state governments?

  • i2grok

    Republicans have issues (pun intended). Obviously big business (Big Oil, Big Pharma, et al.) is getting the best representatives money can buy, so their interests are covered. Republicans personal hang ups have been abortion, and not retaking the White House.
    So anything that hurts Hillary is fair game. And their ancient bugaboo abortion remains in play.
    A country conceived as separated in operation from religion has never been accepted by some political factions. In this day and age, despite their protestations, Republicans have failed to read our Founding Fathers intentions for America. They selectively pick and chose their sources for words that support their agenda.
    Unless I am mistaken when Christ ran into this political divide he said, “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s. and render unto God that which is God’s.” Maybe the Religious Right should consider the words of the person they venerate, otherwise all their efforts have been lip service.

  • i2grok

    Matthew 7:15-20 New King James Version (NKJV)
    You Will Know Them by Their Fruits

    15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.
    Are not 57 Ben Ghazi investigations, forever trying to defund Acorn (even after its demise), Planned Parenthood (which takes no federal money for abortions), denial of Climate Change (even challenging the Pope), are these examples of picking grapes from the thorns and figs from the thistles?
    I am not a religious person (or a scientist!), but step back at look at the Republican Party’s actions, and compare them with their words.

  • Eleanore Whitaker

    The CONservatives in this country are out of control as a minority regime. In 1939, they would be on Hitler’s side of the fence.

    What most of us in the US with any education that isn’t not born of religious fundamentalism see is that the Republican men are so obsessed with keeping “women in their place” as at no other time in history. You know why…11 women from VT were elected to Congress in 2012..and Hillary is running for president.

    When these macho men see a blanket of women thrown over government, they behave in the typical way: take control of the situation and reduce women to “their place” as these men see it.

    If they are allowed to defund Planned Parenthood, you know what is next…getting rid of Roe vs. Wade.

    Republican men are lawless. I’ll prove it. Every law they don’t like or that costs one of their biggest campaign donors to pay their fair share in taxes is suddenly up for “repeal.”

    Is that what the GOP Gestapos’ duties are? To always sidle up to big business even when it is hurting the economy and 52% of the US population which is female?

    All these men really want is total male domination over government and big business. Women need not apply. But, do hand over your payroll tax deductions. After all, how else can their red state babymaking mamas keep their kids fed?

    • whodatbob

      Eleanor, good post except you had to include your red state vs. blue state BS. Every time you thrown into your discussion, your credibility drops to GOP levels.

      • Eleanore Whitaker

        Oh puhlease…Could you be a red state suck up more than you are? Try again. I know what MY credibility is and I also know what yours is. Red state vs. Blue state is not my creation pallie…It was the creation of the GOP and emphasized and maximized by during the campaign of George W. Bush who referred to the Republican states as “red states.”

        How about you get off the suck up routine and stop dumping your credibility into the toilet?

        Americans with any brain know what the Republican red states are doing…they are flushing more than 65% of our tax dollars into their states and leaving the rest of the states to do double duty trying to meet our states’ needs without a shred of help from the federal taxes we pay.

        Need an example? Just this week, Senator Bob Menendez announced that there was a massive cut to federal funding for NJ’s blighted areas left a mess by SuperStorm Sandy. Funny how the RED STATES vs. BLUE STATES doesn’t bother people like you when the funding was formerly at $200 million for blighted areas across the US but the minute blue states need funding, the asshats of RED states cut that $200 million down to $20 million.

        In case you need a reminder hot shot…the RED states live off our Blue states. The $1 they pay in red states gets them a return of $1.35 to $1.87. Blue states get a lousy 55 cents for the $1…so …don’t tell me about credibility until you go after the thieving crooks like Mitch the Bitch and Bonny Boozer Boehner.

        • whodatbob

          Perhaps my post was not clear. Allow me to restate it. Your constant use of the red state vs. blue state argument has lost its importance, causing to to sound like a repuck.

          • Eleanore Whitaker

            Perhaps, you are just a bossy, overbearing, blockhead. So let me restate for you just in case you can’t mentally process it…Bush in his 2000 campaign was the first to FORMALLY MAKE USE of the Red state vs. Blue State label.

            So, if it IS so good for the Republicans, why is is not good for anyone else?

            First of all NJ, NY and CT, ALL had $200 billion in damages. More than Katrina ever had. Let them wait. No one living in LA, MS or New Orleans needs subways full of water to their tunnel ceilings to get to work do they? Besides, we up north all know that the only reason these people are still without homes is do to idiots like Rand Paul who stiffs blue states on FEMA and then flushes that money they save to their states for their big businesses. Who’s BSing whom here? How many white people in MS and LA are without homes? How many minorities? You fool no one with this BS. The only ones without homes are the ones belonging to the minorities that your racist RED states steal from.

            No one in those states or Nawlins needs to go without a home in the MOST CONGESTED state in the union, mine…NJ. NJ has more people per square mile and according to the last US Census, is on a par with Hong Kong.

            That should tell you the major difference between slow, sleepy backwater towns and major metropolitan areas that see millions of foreign visitors, not to mention foreign diplomats at the UN and their NY embassies.

            You can drop the OneupMANship games. There is nothing and I do mean nothing in MS or LA or Nawlins that compares to NY City. Not population, not transit, not business…NADA.

          • whodatbob

            Bossy, blockhead adjectives that fit you well. North easterners living in the overcrowded, overpriced are no better then people in the great fly over. Perhaps, not as well off, lacking green space and breathing room. We do not need you preaching to us about the wonders of you life style.

            The damage suffered along the North east cost was a natural disaster, as was Katrina. Equality means equal equal treatment by the Government for all. “Nothing in MS or LA or Nawlins that compares to NY City. Not population, not transit, not business…NADA.” But NY City still gets equal treatment. No special treatment, stand on Line with the peasants. Sorry your egotistical pride is hurt but are no better then the rest of America.

          • JPHALL

            It all comes down to the Governors doing their jobs. Because they have chosen to talk instead of act, they lose out.

          • whodatbob

            Eleanore lives in Jersey, she blames all problems on red states get more money then blue states. It old, she needs to dream up a new reason for the ills in our nation. Also, she needs to stop trying to convince the rest of the nation that only she, a north easterner, can resolve their problems.

          • JPHALL

            What does that have to do with the governor’s of especially Red states doing the job they were elected to do? That job is not running for president but taking care of your state.
            Subject: Re: Comment on Vote To Defund Planned Parenthood Exposes Republicans’ Lack of Coherence

          • Eleanore Whitaker

            Listen, billyjimmy,joe bobby…Your states gets four times what mine does. Those are tax dollars I pay for. You bet your boodle I am fed up with the red states lapping up 65% of every budget for their polluter industries, their gun running, Big Oil and military industries.

            You are a liar who can’t stand anyone to put the facts out there on the table. Isn’t it time for you to sit out on your DogPatch rocking chair and watch Daisy Mae jiggle her butt? After all, that IS all your red state politicians have on their mind these days.

          • whodatbob

            Looks like one of your previous post. Try something new. Be creative.
            In DogPatch air is not as polluted and the ladies better looking than in Jersey. That’s why the men sit out watching Daisy May jiggle.

          • Eleanore Whitaker

            Chris Christie has a wife who formerly worked for a top Wall Street fund management company. His brother is still employed by Ernst & Young. As a typical Bush appointed US attorney, he struts around bullying and telling NJ people in open meetings to “Shut up.” This is what it all comes down to for ONLY GOP governors. Not one single one of the GOP candidates have, as yet, to do more than self-deprecate and toot their own horns. They say they will not discuss the issues Sanders, Warren and Hillary Clinton already put out on the table. What does that tell you? It tells me that a GOP president and his henchmen Gestapos are planning a back room presidency just like the one Cheney pulled off using Halliburton’s generous campaign donations. And, the payoff for Halliburton? A 2002 no bid contract to supply the military in Iraq, $350 billion in taxpayer paid profits for Iraq and then refusing to pay one dime for the Horizon Deepwater spill Halliburton was responsible for by supplying what the Spill investigation committee found was “substandard equipment,” the same kind of substandard equipment they sold to the US military. This is more BS than any American should EVER be expected to pay for.

          • Eleanore Whitaker

            South Jersey is a lush, clean region of the state. Upstate NY is well known for its lush green space. The difference between YOUR green space and ours is that yours is so polluted you can’t see the green for the smog overhead.

            No New York City does not get equal treatment. NY state gets 52 cents as does NJ for every dollar we pay in federal taxes. That’s what YOU call equal? While your fly over and Stars and Bars states are sucking up anywhere between $1.35 up to $1.85 for the $1 YOU pay in federal taxes. You can verify these facts at the Government Accountability link if you have the balls.

            My ego is sane and healthy. Yours is made up of male ego on steroids. That’s why ALL of your mutton chops brigade of backward, regressive men like Boehner, McConnell, Rand Paul, Cornyn, Issa, Ryan, Walker, Cruz and Jindal sound like a bunch of country bumpkins.

            It’s also why when they are confronted by the more educated men like President Obama, Senators Warren, Sanders, Schumer, Menendez and Booker, their eyes all glaze over like they are on Thorazine.

          • whodatbob

            You are blinded by you inaccurate sense of self worth and the importance of your beloved NE you are incapable of the beauty that far exceeds any thing in NJ or NY. Been in New England in the fall beautiful magnificent, seen fall colors in the Ozarks equally beautiful and cleaner air to breath.

            How can you be a liberal and not be for sharing the wealth. Tax revenues form wealthy states, distribute excess not need by those states, to help the less wealthy states. Oh! You are one of the wealthy Tea Beggars? They are opposed to the Dems. helping those less fortunate.

            Your last two paragraphs are on target, except sentences 1,2 & 3.
            1. I am not in a position to judge health or sanity of your ego. From your post it seems over inflated. 2. Any time I call you when you pontificate about the exaggerated importance of the northeast you lash out calling me names. 3. “… ALL of your mutton chops brigade…”, that is not my brigade of buffoons. My only wish is that the biggest buffoon wins the nomination ensuring a Dem. victory!

          • Eleanore Whitaker

            Too bad YOU don’t get to judge “MY” self-worth. New England, in case our “ignernt” history books missed it is why you live in the USA. It is also the seat of the government which was originally in Philadelphia.

            I’m not a liberal you judgemental hick red state buffoon. I’m a progressive populist. You clearly do not know anything outside of the slash and burn, government shutdown, crooked CON ideology that has turned this country since Bush and his Cowboy rodeo saddled themselves into DC in 2000. Sorry if you are not as intelligent, attractive or educated as I.

            Your attitude is so typical of the Mutton Chops who think their bowel movements are 14K gold.

          • whodatbob

            “…judgemental (misspelling) hick red state buffoon.” That’s a good one! Sorry, I called you a liberal, forgot you call yourself a progressive populist.

            “Sorry if you are not as intelligent, attractive or educated as I.” A statement by a insecure debater in an attempt to make an opponent feel inferior. Nice try.

            I am aware, always have been, that my bowel movements smell bad and are not 14K gold. Be nice if they were 14K. From your attitude my impression is you are convinced your bowel movements are perfumed and beautiful to the eye.

          • JPHALL

            So tell their governors and Christie to do their jobs. In the case of New Jersey they got money that did not reach the people

          • whodatbob

            That’s a great idea! You must the care about Joe six pack more then any of the clowns of either party in Washington.

            President Jimmy Carter recently said we are no longer a democracy, we are now an oligarchy. After a little research my conclusion is we have been fighting since we won or freedom to become a democracy rather than an oligarchy. Our founding fathers set a constitutional Oligarchy, placing the power to govern in the hands of a few wealthy men. Only white male land owners could vote. Women, blacks, native Americans and non land owners were denied the vote.

            According to President Carter the power to govern is now back in the hands of a few extremely wealthy men.

  • plc97477

    Why don’t the gotp realize how ineffectual they make themselves look by their silly attempts to do things that have no chance of going anywhere.

    • Irishgrammy

      I have been watching this for years now…….have come to the conclusion the reason Republicans put forward these ridiculous bills or voting to end funding for Planned Parenthood, or voting to end the ACA 57 times, constantly threatening to end/privatize Social Security or Medicare, etc., etc., even when they know it will go absolutely nowhere, is to make their intolerant base happy and that THEY, the GOPTP, is doing their best to eliminate all those horrible “Liberal” institutions (even though Republicans voted for them initially when instituted way back when) that help poor women/men, the elderly, the sick, and those less fortunate in our society, as the GOPTP cynically insure that the hate shown for Liberals/Progressive/Democrats as a whole and as the “obstructionists” in the GOPTP “ideological plan” will just become more intense as the PROBLEM or the “fly in the ointment” preventing an ideological victory! The narrow minded hateful arbitrary intolerance of the GOPTP base and the politicians of the GOPTP is overwhelmingly stunning in it’s intransigent unreasonable lack of caring, complete indifference, understanding, or simple human decency and the massively destructive consequences for millions that would result should any of their attacks succeed in this country!

      • whodatbob

        Irishgrammy, I concur completely. 48 years ago I married a beautiful Irish Girl, ’tis a rare occasion that I disagree with her. Your post sounds like her. She has been a fine, lovely Irishgranny for 18 years now and proud of her 13 grandchildren. Are you her?

        • Irishgrammy

          LOL, have 4 grandbabies, looks like that’s it for us! Love them to pieces….and care desperately for their and our children’s futures and wonder what kind of country they will live in when they are our age….My second generation dear Irish hubby and I just celebrated our 50th……boy howdy, that flew by……. I don’t know how that happened, thought I was still 21…….so congrats to you all, 13 grandchildren, what a joy!

    • dpaano

      They have some misbegotten idea that their constituents don’t know what’s good for them, and they are totally out of touch!

  • opinioned1

    The very reason no republicans will set in the Oval Office for decades is the stupid BS mentality that Ms. bread bags tried to get passed. You are never going to win squat with stupid people. Ms. bread bags along with idiots like Cruz and his bacon commercial display the desperation and ignorance of the right wing extremist.

    57 useless votes to de-fund the ACA, now a vote telling 1.6 million women you count for nothing, when they have been told you stand a zero chance of accomplishment should tell the public just how stupid the GOP/Bagger extremist are.

  • Steve Batchelor

    The difference between a Rethug and a Democrat is that everything that comes out of a Rethugs mouth isn’t their convictions, it’s what they believe their constituents want to hear. Whether it be the Evangelicals, big business or the 1% they will do or say anything to pander to them.
    While the Democrats for the most past believe in their convictions, not saying what anyone wants to hear just for the sake of rattling off at the mouth.

  • Wedge Shot

    Republicans are monsters. They care about nothing but their narrow minded idea that women should have no rights concerning their own bodies and health.
    Republicans also don’t care about minorities. gays, atheists, public education, the environment, climate change and damn near anything that is for the 99%.