The Bookworm Beat 10-1-15 — the “clearing the spindle” edition and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265My thoughts are with the family and friends of those killed and wounded at Umpqua Community College today. I have only three things to note: Obama immediately demanded gun control; the campus has a “gun free zone” policy; and the shooter started to ask people their religion, but started shooting before they could answer.

Without more information, I have nothing else to say nor conclusions to draw.

What it’s like to experience an Islamic terrorist attack

Foreign Policy has a truly horrifying minute-by-minute timeline of what happened during the horrible Islamic attack on the Nairobi’s Westgate Mall two years ago.  The article pieces the story together based on conversations with survivors and Kenyan officials, as well as information derived from mall security tapes.

My two takeaways are that Islamic terrorists are monstrous people by the standards of any place and any time in world history; and that when seconds count, the authorities are not only minutes or hours away, they seldom have enough information to handle the crisis in any event.  The front-line defendants, if any, are those people who, through sheer happenstance, find themselves at the center of a terrorist attack.  If they are armed, the attack is more likely to be limited in scope.

When all guns in private hands are outlawed (which is President Obama’s most devout hope), only outlaws and terrorists will have guns.  The rest of us will have targets painted on strategic parts of our bodies.

Dirty organic food

Marin County is fanatic about its organic foods. Perhaps, as with so many things, Marin is on the wrong track:

The permitted “organic” pesticides can be toxic. As evolutionary biologist Christie Wilcox explained in a 2012 Scientific American article: “Organic pesticides pose the same health risks as non-organic ones. No matter what anyone tells you, organic pesticides don’t just disappear.”


Organic foods are highly susceptible to it. According to Bruce Chassy, professor of food science at the University of Illinois, “organic foods are recalled 4 to 8 times more frequently than their conventional counterparts.” This is hardly surprising. Aside from the presence of pathogenic bacteria, organic grains are particularly susceptible to toxins from fungi. In 2003, the UK Food Safety Agency tested six organic corn meal products and 20 conventional (non-organic) corn meal products for contamination with the toxin fumonisin. All six organic corn meals had elevated levels—from nine to 40 times more than the recommended levels for human health—and they were voluntarily withdrawn from grocery stores. By contrast, the 20 conventional (i.e., non-organic) products averaged about a quarter of the recommended maximum levels.

Obamacare — more people should read my blog

Over at Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight blog there’s a conundrum:  Why don’t 33 million people have health insurance in this glorious Obamacare era?  There are some easy answers to that question according to FiveThirtyEight:  To begin with, around 4 million of those “Americans” without insurance are, in fact, illegal aliens.  Another three million are immigrants and Medicaid gap people who don’t have coverage.  Take away that crowd, and one is still left with 29 million uninsured people.  You can then peel away the 7.7 invincible or unemployed young, who view insurance as unnecessary or too costly, especially given that they’re propping up Obamacare.  Even after that, you’re still left with around 14 million uninsured Americans, 75% of whom are adults who ought to be Obamacare subscribers.

At this point, FiveThirtyEight is baffled:

It’s hard to say why these 14 million people weren’t insured, but the administration will have to figure that out if it wants to come close to the universal coverage the law intended.

May I suggest that the FiveThirtyEight people stop thinking like the middle class and start thinking like the lowest class? Once again, I turn to my friend who, though coming from a middle class background, lives amongst the poorest of the poor, many of whom are second or third generation members of that class:

[My friend] and her husband, the only middle class people in a sea of poverty, are the only people she knows, amongst both friends and acquaintances, who have signed up for Obamacare.  The others have no interest in getting health insurance.  Even with a subsidy, they don’t want to pay a monthly bill for health insurance.  Even a subsidized rate is too onerous when they can get all the free health care they need just by showing up at the local emergency room.  Additionally, the ER docs are usually better than any doc who’s willing to belong to whatever plan they can afford.  Nor are these people worried about the penalties for refusing to buy Obamacare, since none of them pay taxes.

Not only are the people in my friend’s world refusing to buy Obamacare, they resent it.  According to my friend, someone she knows abruptly announced that she’s getting involved in local politics, something she’s never done before.  Until recently, this gal was one of those people who just floated along, getting by.  Now, though, she’s fired up.

The reason for the sudden passion is unexpected:  She’s deeply offended by a law that forces people to buy a product they don’t need — never mind that she might benefit from the product, that she would pay far below market value for the product, or that she’s too poor to be penalized for ignoring this government diktat.  The mere fact that the diktat exists runs counter to her notion of individual liberty.  Her view of government is that, while it’s fine if it hands out welfare checks and food stamps, it goes beyond the pale when the government uses its power and wealth to coerce activity.

Our ideologically blind, narcissistic president

Barack Obama’s appalling speech at the UN resulted in several very good articles about his delusions. My favorite is Bret Stephens’ An Unteachable President:

Finally, Mr. Obama believes history is going his way. “What? Me worry?” says the immortal Alfred E. Neuman, and that seems to be the president’s attitude toward Mr. Putin’s interventions in Syria (“doomed to fail”) and Ukraine (“not so smart”), to say nothing of his sang-froid when it comes to the rest of his foreign-policy debacles.

In this cheapened Hegelian world view, the U.S. can relax because History is on our side, and the arc of history bends toward justice. Why waste your energies to fulfill a destiny that is already inevitable? And why get in the way of your adversary’s certain doom?

It’s easy to accept this view of life if you owe your accelerated good fortune to a superficial charm and understanding of the way the world works. It’s also easier to lecture than to learn, to preach than to act. History will remember Barack Obama as the president who conducted foreign policy less as a principled exercise in the application of American power than as an extended attempt to justify the evasion of it.

Elliott Abram’s thoughts about Obama’s “surreal” speech are also well worth reading.  He contrasts each statement Obama made, about the Middle East, Cuba, or anything, with the facts on the ground.  Obama is either a delusional fabulist or he really thinks everyone in the world is as stupid as his Progressive fans.

The camera never lies, at least not when it comes to Putin and Obama

Recent headlines make it obvious that Putin is running rings around Obama and positioning Russia as the new world power.  I’m actually not sure how long Putin can keep this dominance going.  Back at home, his country is being weakened by an utterly corrupt government; a weak, oligarchic economy; rising AIDS and alcoholism; and a declining population.  Putin is definitely ready to lead, but may eventually have too few followers and too little money.  If he’s forced to retrench, though, we know he’ll leave havoc in his wake.

But back to Putin and Obama.  If you want to know what’s going on, check out this chart.

A handy-dandy guide to rebutting BDS lies about Israel

YNet has published an article that provides actual facts to counter the lies the BDS movement relies on in order to further its antisemitic goals.  For example:

The Lie: “Palestinians who live in Israel are second-class citizens.”

The Truth: Israeli Arabs are citizens with equal rights. Arabs serve as Members of Parliament, as judges in courts, including the Supreme Court, as professors and doctors. In the past there were incidents of discrimination, and sometimes there still are. But according to any objective measure, the condition of Israeli Arabs is far better than that of Muslim minorities in Europe.

The head of the panel of judges who sent former Israeli president Moshe Katsav to jail, for example, was an Arab judge. The chairman of the Central Election Committee in 2015 Elections was also an Arab. There are numerous examples of the ways in which Israeli Arabs are integrated in the culture, art, economy and academia of Israel.

A handy-dandy guide to the Planned Parenthood videos

Meanwhile, at the Federalist, Mollie Hemingway summarizes the contents of the various undercover videos of Planned Parenthood’s trafficking in human bodies.  One doesn’t even have to watch the videos to find the contents extremely disturbing.

That Republicans are still funding this utterly corrupt organization — one that launders money for the Democrat party, spends taxpayer funds on boondoggles for high ranking employees (something only Fox seems willing to report),  and derives profit from selling body parts — is a disgrace.  Planned Parenthood is not the only game in town for women’s health care, and it’s time for us to stop pretending that it is (especially in this age of Obamacare).

Someone on a closed Facebook group to which I belong had a good observation:  How can Planned Parenthood (and other lefties such as the execrable Bill Nye, the un-science guy) claim that before birth a fetus is not human, while at the same time harvesting those same fetal body parts for sale as “human organs”?

Well, you know what they say:  If Leftists didn’t have double standards, they wouldn’t have any standards at all.

The Bookworm Beat 9-27-2015 — the “things that make you think” edition and open thread


Boehner was merely an effective manager, rather than an effective conservative

Andrew Klavan is kind enough to point out that Boehner was in some measure a very effective House Majority Leader:

I can’t help but notice that under Boehner — and largely because of Boehner, because Boehner outsmarted President Obama in the 2013 budget negotiations — federal spending has declined over a five year period for the first time since the post World War II cutbacks. And because of this, as the economy has struggled to a sputtering recovery despite Democrat mismanagement, the deficit has been sharply reduced…

Also under Boehner — and also largely because of then-minority leader Boehner (and the likewise much-maligned-by-conservatives Mitch McConnell in the Senate) — the disaster of Obamacare is 100% attributable to the Democrats. It hasn’t got a single Republican fingerprint on it.

As Klavan sees it, Boehner’s fall came about solely because he wouldn’t engage in a head-to-head fight with Obama over Planned Parenthood.  Boehner believed (and still believes) that fight will destroy chances for a Republican victory in 2016.  I have two points to make.

First, if Boehner’s right that the fight will fail it’s in part because he refuses to engage in the fight at the intellectual level.  Carly Fiorina is the first prominent Republican to frame the fight in non-religious terms, and boy did she make the Left squirm when she did so.  In other words, part of why Boehner can’t win the fight is because, even though he’s pro-Life, he has absolutely no idea how to fight against abortion at anything other than a monetary level.

Second, speaking of that monetary level, the fight really boils down to something James Taranto said three years ago, and it’s about the difference between checkbook Republicans and ideologically-driven conservatives.  The context was the fact that Paul Ryan seemed to understand a conservative vision of small, not big, government:
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The ugly “abortion culture” mindset, #PlannedParenthood, and the many lies the Left tells credulous vagina voters

Premature baby feetIt’s not that I’m completely anti-abortion.  As is the case for the majority of Americans, I recognize that there are circumstances in which abortion may be appropriate.  It’s that I’m completely anti-“abortion culture.”

I am opposed to a worldview that is so invested in the mantra that “it’s a woman’s right to choose” that it refuses even to acknowledge that (a) there is another life involved and (b) that men have a 50% genetic stake in that other life.  The abortion debate, rather than being about creating a culture in which fewer women ended up with an unwanted pregnancy or, if they do, feel that abortion is the only option, has instead devolved into a misanthropic death cult that seeks to cast an ever wider net, with more and more options for women to abort fetuses up to, and even after, the moment of birth — and to do so using monies forcibly extracted from American taxpayers.

The tension between pro-Life and pro-Abortion forces flairs up regularly every four years, as Leftists, who control the majority of America’s media outlets, make it a litmus test for the presidential elections (just as they make it a litmus test for a place on the Supreme Court).  For years, male Republican candidates have been pushed into a corner in which they feebly protest that they support women, while the media blares out “but the Republicans don’t support women’s rights!”  This year, however, Carly Fiorina finally pushed the debate onto the Leftist side of the aisle:

The Leftist media went absolutely crazy in its frenzy to prove that Carly was making that image up out of whole cloth. Every single non-conservative woman on my Facebook feed (that means about 90% of my Facebook friends) started flooding Facebook with articles, posters, and videos asserting that Carly is a liar and that no video every showed what she said it did. Interestingly, of course, no one argued that the events Carly described had never happened, and would never happen, in abortion clinics. The whole debate was simply about whether Carly accurately represented a single video.

James Taranto has a terrific run-down of the ferocious Leftist media response to Fiorina, along with the walk-backs all those responders had to make — although they still vigorously asserted that, no matter that the facts support her statements, Carly was still lying:

“Mr. Christie’s mendacity pales, however, in comparison to that of Carly Fiorina,” Krugman then asserts. There’s a paragraph disparaging her business career, followed by this:

But the truly awesome moment came when she asserted that the videos being used to attack Planned Parenthood show “a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.” No, they don’t. Anti-abortion activists have claimed that such things happen, but have produced no evidence, just assertions mingled with stock footage of fetuses.

To support this claim, Krugman links to a post by Vox’s Sarah Kliff titled “Carly Fiorina Is Wrong About the Planned Parenthood Tapes. I Know Because I Watched Them.” Go to the post and you find this correction:

This story initially said I had watched all the Planned Parenthood sting videos. In fact, I reviewed all sting footage released by August 13th, which included all the footage shot inside Planned Parenthood clinics—which was where a scene like the one Fiorina describes would have been.

There is some more recent footage shot outside Planned Parenthood clinics that I had not seen. But that footage, according to the Fiorina campaign, is also not the source of the scene the candidate described. So far, the Fiorina campaign has not been able to point to video with the scene Fiorina spoke of in the debate.

Note that the headline still claims Fiorina is “wrong,” even though Kliff’s corrected claim is merely that Fiorina hasn’t proved herself right to Kliff’s satisfaction. The Federalist manages to find the video that eluded Kliff:

In the video in question, a technician is talking about harvesting the brain of an alive, fully formed fetus. While she tells her story, there is footage of another baby of roughly the same gestational age as the one whose brain she harvested. This baby is seen still kicking and its heart still beating.

While it is obviously not the same baby as the one she harvested the brain of, the footage helps viewers to understand what a 19-week old baby looks like when hearing the testimony of an ex-employee who harvested brains from babies of the same age.

The Los Angeles Times’s Michael Hiltzik characterized Fiorina’s description of the video as “a pure fabrication.” His post includes an update claiming vindication based on the Federalist piece:

The website’s own analysis shows that it’s Fiorina who is in the wrong. It acknowleges [sic] that neither of the two fetuses in the [Center for Medical Progress] video is the one referred to in CMP’s voiceover—one is “another baby of roughly the same gestational age,” it acknowledges.

But Fiorina was accurately describing what she saw in the video. The worst one can say is that she appears to have mistaken the baby in the footage for the one the technician describes having cut up. And perhaps one can fault the video makers for creating that impression, but it seems to us the Federalist is correct when it observes that “illustrating stories with appropriate images is a common journalistic technique, one used by all media outlets.”

My Facebook friends don’t care about facts either.  Abortion represents a woman’s right to choose, and anything that limits abortion in any way is a misogynistic effort to ensure that women are kept barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen — and never mind that in today’s world birth control is easily available, single motherhood or teen pregnancies are the norm, there are more people who want to adopt than there are babies available (in part because Leftists who view the world through a racist prism would rather let a black baby rot in the foster care system than allow a white couple to adopt it), women (including women with children) are in the workforce at rates never seen before in American history.  As I’ve repeatedly pointed out, when it comes to the abortion debate, Leftists inhabit a world that’s a cross between the Victorian age and the 1950s, one in which unwed sex is a sin (never mind the Left’s unlimited support for the hookup culture) and unwed pregnancy requires that one become a social outcast (never mind that most of America’s celebrities are routinely are feted for having babies out-of-wedlock).

Against the above background regarding the Leftist position in the abortion debate, I’d like to share with you a few posters that have come my way.  The first couple are pro-Life and set the stage.  The remainder are pro-Abortion.  My comments about any given poster can be found below the poster.

Ben’s comment is right on the money. I’ll add only that the baby pictured is human and viable. It is not a zygote, nor is it a minimally mature fetus indistinguishable from a cat or dog fetus at the same stage in development. The reality is that, at all developmental stages, from conception to birth, that fetus is a human being. But another reality is that it’s easier for us to kill beings that don’t resemble us, whether we’re talking spiders in the house, slugs in the garden, or fetuses indistinguishable from any other mammal fetus.

Planned Parenthood

The second statistic — the 300,000 abortions a year — is the one I want to focus on. The Left argues vigorously that Planned Parenthood shouldn’t be defunded because abortions are only 3% of its work. Keeping in mind that this is an accounting game — because Planned Parenthood logs separately all of the attendant procedures around abortion (the vaginal exams, the preliminary visit, etc.) — the real number is 300,000. That is the death cult number. Just because Planned Parenthood may do 1,000,000 pap smears a year (a number I just made up out of whole cloth), that still has nothing to do with the number of fetuses it ultimately extracts, either whole or in pieces.

Planned Parenthood breast cancer

As others have pointed out before, if all that Planned Parenthood does is routine healthcare screening, then it should be the beneficiary of patient-held Obamacare, not direct taxpayer funding. And to the extent it’s currently not able to benefit from Obamacare funds, that’s because it refuses to give up or spin-off its abortion business.  Moreover, as we all know, Planned Parenthood’s “breast cancer screening” consists of a 30 second manual breast exam, of the type women are routinely encouraged to do at home on their own.  If you want a mammogram, you’re going to have to go elsewhere.

Indeed, it’s an absolute hoot to watch the contortions that Snopes (whose founders are decidedly liberal) go through as they attempt to explain that Planned Parenthood is instrumental in women’s breast health even though it doesn’t do mammograms:

It is true in a literal sense that Planned Parenthood health centers do not themselves conduct mammograms (a procedure which requires specialized equipment and expertise to use it). Planned Parenthood offers comprehensive breast health care management, which includes manual breast exams as well as patient education on breast health. That care management program includes providing women with information about mammograms, referring them to health centers where they can obtain mammograms, and assisting them in covering the costs of the procedure by referring them to government programs that provide free mammograms or by using grant funds to reimburse the medical providers who perform the mammograms. (Referrals for mammograms often require the patient has undergone a breast exam within the previous year.)

In other words, Planned Parenthood deserves federal dollars for breast cancer screening because it provides precisely the same information you can find on Google; in Glamour, Cosmopolitan, or People magazine;  or in a PSA ad.

Men aren't allowed to have a voice in abortion

Here’s that misogyny again. As a woman who vomited her way through nine and a half solid months with both her pregnancies, who went through labor, who nursed and cared for her babies night and day, and who has always been the children’s primary caregiver, I fully appreciate that a woman’s commitment to pregnancy — both in terms of her body and her time — is exponentially greater than a man’s.  That fact, however, doesn’t alter two things:  (1) the whole baby thing couldn’t happen without men, who contribute 50% of the genetic material that makes that baby; and (2) men also have a say in what constitutes a moral culture.

If male representatives — who are elected by the majority of both men and women in their districts in order to speak for that electorate’s values — believe that a culture is tyrannical and immoral to kill 300,000 humans a year, they have an absolute right to speak out on that issue.  Moreover, they have an obligation to their constituents, who presumably agree with that representative, to stop the constituents’ money from funding what many see as mass murder.

This is especially true when it turns out that the mass murder shades into organ harvesting.  For some people, myself included, this is morally indistinguishable from the Nazi efficiency that so them harvest teeth, gold fillings, hair, tattoos, and fat (for soap-making) from the Jews and others they slaughtered with such abandon.  (And no, I won’t apologize for this reductio ad Hitlerum.  I think it’s an entirely apt comparison when we’re talking about killing humans and harvesting their bodies.

Vagina means Democrat

If the only part of your body that has a say in your political world view is your vagina, you are a moron.  I actually like to think about bigger issues, such as the economy or national security.  I also find this a ridiculously funny argument insofar as it comes from the same cohort that routinely castigates men for thinking with their little heads, instead of their big ones.

NEJM on Planned Parenthood

Again, this conflates abortion and women’s health care.  If Planned Parenthood would spin-off its abortion services, it would be entitled to the same Obamacare insurance dollars (plus Medicaid) as any other health provider in America.  The issue here is whether taxpayers should fund an organization that, no matter what else it does (and that definitely doesn’t include breast health), is part of an industry that is responsible for 300,000 human deaths a year.

Planned Parenthood spending

I’ve mentioned before this sleazy accounting.  While Planned Parenthood definitely provides contraception, STD treatment, cancer screening (both breast palpation and PAP smears), that doesn’t take away from the fact that it provides abortions — and that the percentage of (taxpayer) funds used for abortions is larger than 3%. Rich Lowry explains:

The 3 percent factoid is crafted to obscure the reality of Planned Parenthood’s business. The group performs about 330,000 abortions a year, or roughly 30 percent of all the abortions in the country. By its own accounting in its 2013–2014 annual report, it provides about as many abortions as Pap tests (380,000). The group does more breast exams and provides more breast-care services (490,000), but not by that much. The 3 percent figure is an artifice and a dodge, but even taking it on its own terms, it’s not much of a defense.

The 3 percent figure is derived by counting abortion as just another service like much less consequential services. So abortion is considered a service no different than a pregnancy test (1.1 million), even though a box with two pregnancy tests can be procured from the local drugstore for less than $10.

By Planned Parenthood’s math, a woman who gets an abortion but also a pregnancy test, an STD test, and some contraceptives has received four services, and only 25 percent of them are abortion. This is a little like performing an abortion and giving a woman an aspirin, and saying only half of what you do is abortion.

Republicans in Congress are not advocating for Planned Parenthood’s abolition.  They are simply saying that, especially in an age of Obamacare, to the extent Planned Parenthood performs between 300,000 and 330,000 abortions a year, American taxpayers should not be called upon to fund that institution directly.  Let it compete in the marketplace like every other health care or abortion provider.

The Bookworm Beat 8-15-15 — Found It On Facebook edition, with stuff both dumb and smart

People seemed to enjoy my last foray into Leftist posters, all of which I found on Facebook, courtesy of Leftie friends. I thought, though, that after subjecting you to the insanity, I’d also include some smart snark from the sane side of the political spectrum. First, though, the crazy stuff, with my comments (if any) following each image:

It's not Obama's fault

I find amusing this defense of Obama’s myriad failures — that Republicans have been obstructing him — considering that (a) Obama owned all of Congress for the first two years of his administration and (b) Boehner and McConnell have been his lap dogs for the last seven plus years.

Australian hates Republicans

I include the above as an example of the incisive political analysis that characterizes the Left.  When people are this ignorant about economics, it suddenly becomes understandable that they are perfectly happy to bypass the collective wisdom of the marketplace and to invest all of their faith in a government bureaucracy.

Bernie's college idea

And speaking of economic ignorance, Bernie continues to amaze.  I haven’t been able to find a wonderful poster making the rounds on the Left in which Bernie expresses bewilderment that student loans charge higher interest than mortgages.  He seems unclear on the whole concept of security.  If I don’t pay back my mortgage, the bank at least gets to keep my house, which may have some value to offset my default.  However, when the gal with a major in Womyn’s Studies and a minor in Gender-free Puppetry defaults on her $200,000 student loan from Smith, the taxpayers are left with nothing.  There is no value there to offset the default.  And Bernie just can’t seem to grasp that when the risk is higher, so is the cost.

Oh, and about those tuition-free four-year colleges in Europe. . . .  When I was in England, probably around 20% of English students went on to college.  Nowadays, the average seems to float around 30%.  In America, almost 70% of graduating students go on to some form of higher education.  In other words, more than twice as many students in egalitarian America go on to college as to those in still-class-bound Britain.

In addition, American colleges and universities have become grotesquely expensive, in large part because infusions of federal monies over the past thirty or more years have created a tuition inflation far in excess of the inflation rate in the rest of America.  The way in which schools teach calculus probably hasn’t changed over the years, but the necessity of a vast bureaucracy dedicated to lesbians, and another vast bureaucracy dedicated to women, and yet another for blacks, and one more for Hispanics, and a whole hierarchy for disabled people, and this “free” education has taxpayers funding, not education, but a hard-Left propaganda machine that is desperate to get its tentacles into every young person in America.

Once that happens, all of America will be like a college campus.  This doesn’t mean that Americans will be learning things and basking in new experiences.  It means that Americans will be living a Kafka-esque nightmare of political correctness, the tyranny of microaggression claims and trigger warnings, virulent attacks on men in an effort to destroy them, etc.  I don’t want to fund that.  Do you?

Bernie's anti-war position

There are a lot of Bernie posters populating my Leftie friends’ Facebook pages, so I don’t have to hear the man speak to get an idea about his idiocy.  In a world with ISIS, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, and other forms of radical Islam, is he really prepared to head a government that de-funds defense?  Obama has already weakened America’s defense almost to the breaking point.  Sanders, idealistic to the point of moronic stupidity, seems to want to finish the job, with our only defense against militant ISIS being his plaintive 1960s cry to “give peace a chance.”

Even worse than the fact that Bernie is mouthing this type of idiocy is the fact that so many of my friends — all of whom are college educated incidentally — think this is a great idea.

Leftists don't understand religious freedom

In other words, according to the Left, freedom of religion means that you are totally free to be religious in the privacy of your home and within the four walls of your house of worship.  Otherwise, to the extent religion informs your values, you are a theocratic dictator in the making and you’d better shut up and shut up good.

I’ve tried to tell my Leftie friends that, if they had imposed this view of religious freedom on America in the 19th century, we’d still have slavery, child labor, the 7 day/80 work week, child brides, etc.  America’s greatest humanist strides came when people of faith applied those teachings to the world around them.

DeGrasse pretends to be a scientist

The asterisk to that statement, of course, is that “It’s OK to change your opinion based on the newest evidence* . . . *unless that evidence proves definitively that the whole anthropogenic climate change mania is built upon theories that have been proven invalid every time they’ve had the opportunity to play out in real time.”  Challenge AGW, and suddenly Tyson is all about “shut your mouth.”

Insanity in voting for a third Bush

Okay — even though I found this on a Leftie Facebook page, I have to agree with it.  Even Lefties can be correct occasionally.

Planned Parenthood services for men

Here’s my rebuttal to the above poster:

Planned Parenthood


Yes, my poster attacks the Left’s War on Women meme, but the argument is the same assuming it’s true that Planned Parenthood provides healthcare services for men:  Now that we have ObamaCare, why do we still need to pass extra Federal funds on to Planned Parenthood?  Isn’t that double-funding the organization.  With ObamaCare, it becomes apparent that the only reason to fund Planned Parenthood is to pay for abortions which, theoretically, aren’t supposed to be part of ObamaCare’s funding.

Bernie Sanders calls for socialized medicine

Leftists are stuck in a perpetual time warp.  The reason the rest of the industrialized world had free health care is that, for the entirety of the Cold War, America took care of the military costs for all those “free” health care nations.  That was really nice of us, but it left us with less money for such self-indulgent things as “free” medical care that was actually funded by America.

In addition, medical care in the rest of the world sucks.  Sure, everyone can see a doctor for free, but you might have to wait so long you die or, if you finally do see a doctor, the care is so bad you might as well have died waiting.  In other words, the rest of the world gets the same kind of care we foist on our Veterans at the Veterans Administration.

And now, a few words and posters from sane people, none of which need any further comments:

Navy SEAL job interview

Colorado River on EPA

EPA pollution and liberal hypocrisy

Separate church and state when state is your church

Party of old white people

Sexual consent double standards


Hillary and the server

McCarthy on guns

The Bookworm Beat 8-10-15 — the “is school starting yet?” edition and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265I’m having my own personal dog days of summer: the exchange student arrives today, school starts next week, the older child heads out into the world next month, and the dogs . . . well, the dogs just keep being their wonderful selves.

In the meantime, even as my life moves busily into the future, I have a Groundhog Day sensation when I read the headlines: Obama is still pushing the worst, most anti-American, anti-Semitic deal in American history; ISIS is still killing and enslaving; illegals are still pouring into the country in order to create a permanent Democrat voting bloc; Donald Trump is still a buffoon and the media is still shilling for him, because he’s their dream Republican candidate; and the Obama administration is still intent upon destroying the economy, this time through the rootin’, tootin’, and pollutin’ (and, of course, lyin’) EPA.

I don’t need to write a new post today. I can write the same one I wrote last week, last month, last year, and before 2012. Still, I’ll give it a try:

Ted, Ted, he’s my man!

I’ve said from the beginning that I’m a Ted Cruz kind of gal. This quiz agrees with me, although I’m dubious about Marco Rubio’s second place showing, since I’m really not a fan of his, nor of Santorum:

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The Bookworm Beat 8-7-15 — the “Obama is a traitor” edition and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265I’m trying to see a silver lining in the Iran deal that Obama is shilling so hard (and more on that shilling below). Although I haven’t quite glimpsed the silver, there are certainly some ironies, not the least of which is that Israel is now working openly with Saudi Arabia, the country that is second only to Iran, or perhaps even exceeds Iran, in fomenting anti-Western and antisemitic sentiment the world over. The good thing is that, when Israel attacks Iran (as it will have to once Obama’s deal goes through), Saudi Arabia will freely grant it access to the airspace necessary for Israeli fighters to reach Iran, and it will probably fuel the planes for free too.

Israel will also be joined by the Jordanian and Egyptian militaries, as well as other Sunni nations in the Middle East. Suddenly, the pariah nation will be one of the gang.

The main problem with these new alliances, of course, is that Arabs tend to be challenging partners in war. When they’re ascendant, as we see with ISIS, they’re barbaric; and when they’re not ascendant, historically at least, they’ve been given to spontaneous retreat (no doubt because their ascendant enemies are also Arabs, and they know what kinds of barbarism are headed their way).

Arabs are awful enemies, but they’re not necessarily good friends. In other words, with friends like them, who needs or wants friends?

Here’s a round-up that looks at the awful situation Obama is creating, or has already created, in the Middle East, as well as other trends at home and abroad. January 2017 cannot come a second too soon. Indeed, it may already be coming way too late.

Where there’s life there’s hope

Before I turn this into a total Debbie Downer post, I’d like to direct your attention to the story of an Israeli police woman who suddenly found herself in the middle of a violent Palestinian outbreak in the West Bank. The story starts with a proprietary photo that I won’t share with you. You’ll just have to follow the link:

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Planned Parenthood in Perspective

DenethorFor my first post as a guest here at Bookworm I was contemplating many different topics, mostly concerning dealing with the Social Justice Mob. But then I saw the horrific undercover video of Planned Parenthood’s Senior Director of Medical Services, Dr. Deborah Nucatola admitting and conspiring to sell fetal body parts. Seeing that video, with Nucatola eating and drinking wine while non-chalantly discussing how they will alter procedures based on the body part in need struck a nerve. That momemnt reminded me of a scene from Lord of The Rings, The Return of the King where Pippen is tasked to sing as song for Denethor as he sends his son out for sure death.

UPDATE: Well that didn’t take long. Google removed my video mashup that intertwined the planned parenthood video with the LOTR cut. No worries though, I give them two you side by side. It is quite obvious as the director\doctor from Planned Parenthood so casually discusses “the menu” of body parts while sipping wine and stuffing her face with salad; you get the drift.

Regardless of what you think about abortion you should be horrified and saddened at what Planned Parenthood is doing. To think that they are turning babies breech to save heads, adding unnecessary complications for the sake of a sale. To think that they could be advising a young girl to have an abortion knowing that if they talk her into it they would have another part to add to “the menu”. This is beyond reprehensible. As Pippen said, “we have no songs for great halls in evil times”.

Tuesday morning round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesLast night we watched the most recent episode of John Oliver’s new HBO show, Last Week Tonight. I was interested in what Oliver’s take would be about the two top news events of the past week: Hamas’s terrorist action and Israel’s military response; and the refugee crisis on America’s own border.

Oliver, however, ignored both those stories, choosing instead to focus on “income inequality.” (Ashley Dobson fisks the segment nicely, exposing all of the factual and logical errors in his attack on American capitalism.)

The income equality stuff was the typical moronic shtick, which always sounds ridiculous coming out of the mouth of someone earning at least six figures a year. The absence of any discussion about the top stories was more interesting.

It occurred to me that Oliver could not comment on either story because he couldn’t risk saying what he and his audience really think: As far as they’re concerned, both Israel and America’s border should disappear. It’s one thing to speak these truths in a quiet room; it’s another thing entirely to put them on TV where others might be listening.

In this case, the “others listening” are the majority of Americans who support Israel and are horrified by the unfolding crisis on America’s southern border. It’s better to be thought a hardcore Leftist than to open your mouth and confirm it, right?

As for me, I’m not ignoring those stories. They are defining stories that will shape both the Middle East and America for some time to come. So, follow me into the wonderful world of actual news, rather than HBO’s fairy and unicorn land where a hard-Left, Cambridge-educated millionaire media star cries crocodile tears about “income inequality.”

By the by, the big issue shouldn’t be “income equality,” it should be “education inequality.” That’s not an issue that the DemProgs want to tackle, though, because it’s a direct result of the way in which America’s public schools have been turned into union fiefdoms. We can only hope that the California court ruling holding that tenure is unfair to students will weaken that stranglehold.

** 1 **

With all the dreadful headlines lately (border, Israel, ISIS, economy, etc.), I have to admit that the thing that strikes the most fear in my heart is the possibility that Elizabeth Warren could be a viable candidate for the White House and a possible winner thanks to her populist attacks on Wall Street. Unlike Obama who was a covert demagogue, she’s an overt demagogue and, for that reason, a very scary person. If she’s elected, it will speak to a profoundly damaging trend in American presidential politics.

** 2 **

Back in the dark, pre-gay rights era, Alfred Kinsey claimed that 10% of the American population was homosexual. Over the decades, many people challenged that number. After all, much of Kinsey’s research was done in prison populations and among gay prostitutes. More than that, many of Kinsey’s interviewers (including Kinsey himself) were gay or bisexual. To the extent they interviewed people in their own circles, this skewed the numbers. A recent poll, taken in a time of open homosexuality, probably offers a much more accurate number: less than three percent of Americans self-identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual.  I leave you to your own conclusions about what that number means in the context of today’s hot societal issues.

** 3 **

It takes a surprisingly small vector to tilt a healthy population into being a plague-ridden population. There’s reason to believe that the dissemination throughout the US of infected children may be that vector. It takes true cognitive dissonance to ignore this reality (and to make that point, I’ll run yesterday’s poster again today):

Spreading infections 2

** 4 **

I noted already last week that the Left is accusing Christians of lacking compassion because they want to stop the flood of youthful refugees into America. Meanwhile, Glenn Beck has been oozing compassion for those refugees, which is why I’ve never liked him very much. It’s not the compassion that I dislike; it’s the ooze. He’s a smart man, but he’s ruled by his passions, not his brain. He is, in effect, the male Oprah. But back to the refugees.

I’ve long said that America’s pro-illegal immigrant cadre is inflicting cruel and profound damage on Latin America. As long as we provide a safety valve through our acceptance of illegal immigration, Latin America’s corrupt, inefficient governments and broken economic systems can thrive. They lose criminals, excess population, and non-producers (such as children), while gaining billions in American dollars their emigrants sent back home. What’s happening now on our southern border is this cruel system playing out on a massive scale.

Worse, at home, we’re losing the rule of law. The most compassionate system of all is one that’s free and based upon a reliable and just legislative and judicial system.  In that system, people don’t fear the past, can work in the present, and can plan for the future. The Obama-engineered refugee crisis is destroying that too.

And it will get worse, because there’s every indication that Obama intends to grant mass amnesty to the refugees. He won’t do this by waving the presidential wand and pronouncing “I hereby grant every illegal immigrant amnesty.” He will, instead, do it by refusing, once again, to enforce any of the nation’s existing immigration laws. Doing so will satisfy several important Obama constituents, even as it destroys the US.

One would think that Obama would care that, by doing so, he’s hurting one of his core constituencies:  Blacks.  Blacks are horrified by the influx of people who will compete with them for low wage jobs and welfare. Obama couldn’t care less, though. What blacks need to understand is that Obama is not really black. He’s red — a hardcore Marxist whose primary goal is the destruction of America, which long stood as the bastion of freedom against Marxism. Blacks were just one more in a long list of useful idiots.

Should Obama grant de facto amnesty by refusing to enforce the law, that will be a manifestly impeachable offense, of course.  Sadly, the majority of Americans still don’t want to impeach the first half-black president.

Senator Jeff Sessions is doing his best to rally Congress and Americans to this grossly unconstitutional act, but he’s not getting traction because the drive-by media supports Obama’s political goals.

** 5 **

You’ve already heard that Israel agreed to a ceasefire and Hamas refused. Yay!

That’s not a sarcastic “yay.” I’m thrilled, because that little Kabuki play allowed Israel to prove her good faith and Hamas to prove its bad faith. More than that, Israel is winning. She would be insane to engage once again in her usual practice of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory by giving up the instant she makes headway against the genocidal Islamic terrorists gunning for her.

And why is Israel winning? Elliott Abrams notes that Iron Dome has heartened the Israelis, that Hamas is making no headway and that, aside from a rise in antisemitic attacks across the world, nobody of importance is rallying to Hamas’s side. Egypt hates Hamas, and the rest of the Arab world is too involved in its own immolation to care about one more branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.

** 6 **

On the subject of Israel, please, please read Daniel Greenfield’s discussion about the nature of Israel’s (and the West’s) response to terrorism. She may finally have to abandon the appeasement approach she’s used for so long.

** 7 **

The Huffington Post (of all places!) has published a fantastic opinion piece destroying the notion that Israel and Hamas are morally equivalent.

** 8 **

Rob Miller provides a first person account of the anti-Israel rally in Los Angeles, which ended with a DHS officer firing a shot when pro-Palestinian protesters got violent (as they invariably do).

If I had my way, every Jew would be required by Jewish law to (a) own a gun, know how to operate it, and carry it on his or her person at all times; and (b) have basic knowledge of hand-to-hand combat techniques.

** 9 **

Americans used to view the government as their servant; now they cringe before it as their master. Nowhere is this more apparent, funnily enough, than in the realm of local government.

I say “funnily enough” because the news is full of stories about overreaching federal, not local, government.  In reality, though, the federal government doesn’t directly touch many people, while local government does. We here in Marin just had our own fight with a local government that wanted to add 900 apartment units along a two lane major artery between two highways. And anyone who has had to deal with a town inspector knows how those departments can abuse their power. Reagan knew how to deal with this problem.

** 10 **

Once upon a time, feminists opposed porn, arguing that it degraded women. Now, Planned Parenthood, an organization feminists adore because it provides abortion, also provides hardcore porn to teenagers — and the feminists don’t care because . . . abortions.

** 11 **

Ted Cruz has suggested impeaching Eric Holder. Holder’s most recent attack on free speech — having the DOJ investigate an anti-Obama Zombie parade float — makes it clear that Holder is a ripe target. If only Holder didn’t have that cafe au lait skin and his solid Marxist credentials, it would be a slam dunk.

** 12 **

Mr. Bookworm is cheap, a quality I admire because I’m cheap too. I was, and he is, a wage slave, which means our money will never grow exponentially. If we’re to have any savings in our old age, we actually have to save money to make that happen.

We still have a great lifestyle: a lovely home, electronics, vacations (Mr. Bookworm’s passion), reliable cars, etc. However, we shop sales, use coupons, and are careful to distinguish between things we want (which must be justified) and things we need (which must be bought as economically as possible).

One aspect of our cheapness is that we don’t waste gas or electricity. After all, the more you use, the more you pay. That’s why, when I met Mr. Bookworm long before anyone had thought of global warming, we conserved energy.

Nowadays, Mr. Bookworm insists that he conserves energy not to save money but because he’s “green.” He’s lying to himself. I know this because, whenever we go on vacation, when a hotel or cruise ship is paying for energy consumption, he’s incredibly profligate with natural resources, most notably when it comes to towels. He’s been know to go through 5-6 clean towels a day on vacation.

I’ve now learned that Mr. Bookworm is not alone in telling lies to himself about his energy consumption and green self-righteousness.

** 13 **

The Left loves to ridicule those on the right who, usually because of religious beliefs, have ideas that are outside of the mainstream. For example, they can’t get enough of the comedic wonders of the creationist theme park. Fine. It’s funny.

But part of the Left’s laughter, of course, is condescension. We would never be so stupid and irrational they reply.

To which Andrew Klavan says, “Really? You’d never be wacky, stupid, and irrational? Think again.” (Klavan doesn’t actually use those words, but it’s definitely the gist of this great post about Leftist lunacy.)

Monday afternoon round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesWe had a productive long weekend, in that we made some smart big purchases courtesy of 4th of July sales. I can’t decide whether doing so was patriotic. On the whole, I’m inclined to think that anything I do right now to support the U.S. economy is patriotic. Yay, me!

And even more self-congratulatory huzzahs have to go to the incredible round-up I’ve got here:


America doesn’t have a gun problem; it has a Chicago problem. (Obligatory announcement: Chicago has some of the strictest gun laws in the country, not to mention decades of Democrat Party governance.)


“No, women, you can’t have it all,” says . . . the female PepsiCo CEO. The fault lies not with our society, but with our biology, and that pesky little thing about having children who instinctively bond to Mommy.


Selwyn Duke carefully walks us through the media’s endless obfuscation about the identity of a woman who stabbed a teacher to death in front of a class full of terrified five- and six-year-olds.


“Ebola” sounds like it should be some sort of lawn bowling game. Sadly, it’s not. Instead, it’s a deadly disease for which there is no cure or vaccination, and which is highly contagious if you’re unlucky enough to catch some of the victim’s bodily fluids (especially blood, which appears in prodigious amounts outside of the body when people die of a hemorrhagic fever). Even worse, it looks as if Ebola is primed to catch a plane to Europe or America sometime soon. If that doesn’t put the fear of God into you, I don’t know what will. My prediction, though, is that it makes its first appearance along the Obama-porous border to our south.


The VA always has the time and money for green projects and employee bonuses. It’s had less of either for the veterans in its care (and the law denies these vets access to Medicare and civilian physicians). John Hawkins relates the appalling story of an Iraq veteran, only 31-years-old, whose digestive system has broken down but who cannot get any care whatsoever from the VA, leaving him at risk of starving to death. John ends his post with suggestions about things the public can do to help Joe Geoghagan.

I have to say that Joe has my sympathy. I almost starved to death many years ago when doctors kept diagnosing me with stress ulcers, when I was actually unable to tolerate the Pill. (Which is why I know how toxic the Pill is and why I’m so opposed to laws that allow school nurses to give it to 12 year olds.) I then threw up non-stop during both my pregnancies. The man is suffering and needs help.


One of my Leftist Facebook friends has vowed to boycott Walgreen’s after having read a Bill Moyers article (to which I will not link) stating that Walgreens should be denied any voice in American politics because it moved its headquarters out of the U.S. It didn’t seem to occur to my friend that, rather than boycotting Walgreens, we should lower taxes so as to entice existing corporations to stay in America and new corporations to come to America. Otherwise, we risk becoming France.


Jonathan Turley is a Leftist who’s been mugged by reality. Surprisingly, considering his DemProg credentials, Turley (a law professor) has great reverence for the Constitution. He especially appreciates the balance of powers, something that forces the federal government into deliberation and compromise. He’s therefore shocked and (dare I say it?) seemingly disgusted by Obama’s insistence that he doesn’t need no stinkin’ Congress, a dictatorial pronouncement allied with the snotty taunt that Congress should “sue me.”


The Economist is famously unfriendly to Israel. Nevertheless, it finally seems to be catching on to the fact that the Arab world’s problems might be home-grown. It tags Islam as being at the core of the Arab world’s problems, but then foolishly pretends that its illiberal economic and social policies are somehow separate from Islam. Still, I won’t cavil too much, because it’s a start.


I told you earlier that my Facebook friends having concluded that the Hobby Lobby ruling will lead to an all-out war against gays. While these morons (pardon my language, but it’s true) are being useful idiots to the hard Left, there really is a war — a bloody war — being waged against gays. It won’t surprise you, of course, to learn that this war is Islamic in nature, and it’s taking place with increasing frequency on American soil.


David French perfectly encapsulates my approach, not just to law, but to all issues. It’s just that, in my mind, this approach was always inchoate and amorphous, so much so that I never could have expressed it as well as he did:

As a Christian lawyer — even when I was engaged in the “commercial” practice of law rather than the nonprofit, constitutional work I do now — I always drew moral lines around my representations decisions. I was not going to use whatever meager talents God gave me to advance or celebrate causes or principles I knew to be wrong. In other words, I discriminated. But not on the basis of race, gender, disability, or sexual orientation, but rather on the basis of the action or legal principle the case would advance. I’d happily represent anyone, gay or straight, in a commercial contract dispute. I would not represent anyone, gay or straight, who wanted to sue to make divorce easier or broaden the definition of marriage beyond the union of one man and one woman. I’d represent an adulterous cad if the state violated his rights to free speech, but I wouldn’t lift a finger to help him divorce his wife.

This distinction, between status and acts, or between and among different acts themselves, used to be a matter of common sense


Arabs in Israel like to eat their cake and have it too. This is not a good thing for Israel.


Here’s a matched set: Liberals hate America and the College Board tries to un-teach high schoolers about America, so as to perpetuate this hatred.


It’s funny to watch Jason Riley try to talk common sense to a HuffPo host on the subject of the damage Progressive laws have done to American blacks. The HuffPo host couldn’t be more civil, but he keeps falling into cant and illogical “factual” digressions, with a perplexed Riley gamely trying to translate him into some sort of logical framework to which Riley can actually respond. Also, and no disrespect to Riley, but Riley sounds just like a truly super smart Urkel.


I’m not a Peggy Noonan fan but, as I’ve noted before, when she’s good, she’s extraordinarily good — and so it is with this column about the peculiar (and peculiarly dangerous) Obama presidency. Since I don’t know if this is behind a pay wall (I’m always signed in to the WSJ), let me just give you a taste so you know what I’m talking about:

But I’m not sure people are noticing the sheer strangeness of how the president is responding to the lack of success around him. He once seemed a serious man. He wrote books, lectured on the Constitution. Now he seems unserious, frivolous, shallow. He hangs with celebrities, plays golf. His references to Congress are merely sarcastic: “So sue me.” “They don’t do anything except block me. And call me names. It can’t be that much fun.”


This is a president with 2½ years to go who shows every sign of running out the clock. Normally in a game you run out the clock when you’re winning. He’s running it out when he’s losing.

All this is weird, unprecedented. The president shows no sign—none—of being overwhelmingly concerned and anxious at his predicaments or challenges. Every president before him would have been.


Instead he seems disinterested, disengaged almost to the point of disembodied. He is fatalistic, passive, minimalist.


Sen. Jeff Sessions has issued a stirring call to arms demanding that we restore our border integrity and security for the benefit of America and Americans.


When you’re out of power, you develop solidarity with the guy next to you. Your long-term goals may be different, but in the short-term you both want power back. Things change dramatically when you suddenly achieve the power you want. All those former allies have the potential to become enemies, which is what’s happening between Michelle Obama and those charged with feeding America’s public school students.


What does it mean that the New York Times has discovered that Tom Steyer’s money is filthy dirty with coal dust? I suspect that, because his heart’s in the “right place” (i.e., supporting DemProg politicians), his money will never be too dirty for the Times.

I also wonder if the Times will report on the cooling trend seen in America’s climate data? Duh! Dumb rhetorical question. Of course the Times won’t.


I think James Cameron had one good move: The Terminator. Others think he made good movies up to and including The Titanic. Some will even praise him for Avatar. But when it comes to demanding that the whole world go vegan to fight global warming (except that the globe’s not warming; see above), can anyone take him seriously anymore? Never mind. Another dumb rhetorical question. He is now and will remain a DemProg darling for saying what they want to hear.


Indeed, Cameron’s climate views are now the only views the BBC will allow on air. I can no longer remember where I read it, but someone remarked that this is the same BBC that refused to give Churchill air time during the 1930s to talk about the rising danger from Germany and the terrible risks from British appeasement and pacifism.

It used to be that the only thing that the BBC had going for it was posh British accents. Now, with its egalitarian dive into the furthest realms of working class speech, it doesn’t even have that cachet.


This is your body on socialized medicine:

A report published by the Royal College of Surgeons and Age UK shows that [British National Health Service] rationing is being extended to cover life-saving operations on elderly patients. A study found that in large parts of the country, hardly anyone above the age of 75 was receiving surgery for conditions such as breast cancer and gall bladder removal.


I’ve complained here about the bag bans taking over Marin. First they came for the plastic bags, and now they’re zeroing in on the paper bags. They want to turn us all into crazy bag ladies, packing our groceries into petri dishes full of salmonella and e. coli. And of course you won’t be at all surprised to learn that the “scientific” justification for these often dangerous inconveniences is total bunk.


Please don’t forget Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, who rots in a Mexican prison while our president does nothing. No, wait, I’m wrong. Tahmooressi rots in a Mexican prison while our president welcomes hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens, many Mexican, into our country, and then disburses them — drugs, diseases, crime, and all — throughout America so that they cannot easily be sent back home. My Congress people are useless pieces of Leftist detritus, so I have no way of making a change, but if you’re not stuck with the Feinsteins, Boxers, and Huffmans of this world, maybe you can do something.


The DiploMad has a his truly epic rant against Obama’s “misadministration” on our Southern border. You really have to read it.


Some moronic Leftist went into Hobby Lobby, played with wooden alphabet blocks, took a photo, and is now touted as a hero by Planned Parenthood. Can I just say, morons, that Hobby Lobby never denied that women should be able to get birth control, something that’s been a recognized right in America since 1965, when the Supreme Court handed down the Griswold decision?

Women need birth control

I guess I can say it, but it won’t make a difference.  You can’t gain any traction with people who argue this way:

The Alinsky approach to mandatory birth control

Found it on Facebook: Margaret Sanger’s ultimate goal

If you’ve been educated in the American school system at any time during and after the late 1960s, you’ve been taught that Margaret Sanger, had her emotions terribly wrung when she saw the terrible suffering poor women (mostly immigrants and blacks) experienced because they had child after child after child under the most appalling economic circumstances.  To the extent Sanger was one of the major forces helping women break the cycle of annual pregnancies that destroyed their health and well-being, I have to applaud her.  I don’t do pregnancy well and I’m not exaggerating when I say that a third might have killed me.

What I’ve learned since leaving school is that relieving women’s suffering was only one of Sanger’s goals, although it was the only one that she was willing to discuss publicly.  When speaking with friends, she was more straightforward about her ultimate plans for birth control and abortion:

Margaret Sanger

(I checked and that quotation appears to be real, rather than libelous and apocryphal. It comes from her comment on the ‘Negro Project’ in a letter to Dr. Clarence Gamble, December 10, 1939., a document found in the Sanger manuscripts, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, North Hampton, Massachusetts.)

Sanger would undoubtedly be proud to learn that her beloved Planned Parenthood overwhelmingly targets African-Americans and other minorities.

Incidentally, it’s recently acquired knowledge such as this, all of which runs directly counter to the careful myths on which I was raised, that makes me increasingly hostile to America’s abortion culture.

The President’s speech to Planned Parenthood reminds us how dishonest the abortion debate is on the Left


Lately, abortion has been in the news.  It never gets far out of the news, but it intruded with extra force these past two weeks for two reasons.  The first was the story about the media’s decision to ignore the Kermit Gosnell trial because it didn’t fit into the abortion narrative.  The narrative is that abortion should be “safe, rare, and legal.”  The Gosnell reality was that women died in his filthy clinic, that living babies got murdered (with the psychopathic Gosnell collecting hands and feet as trophies), and that the abortions were illegal under any standards, since they were so late term as to constitute murder under Pennsylvania law.  Because Gosnell interrupted the narrative (“we have achieved safe, rare, and legal, and now we must fight zealously to keep it”), what may be the most sensational mass murder trial in American history went unreported.

The other “abortion in the news” moment was Obama’s slobbering love letter to Planned Parenthood, when he spoke at their big hoo-ha.  If you doubt that it was a love letter, you need only listen to the very last few seconds of his speech:

As long as we’ve got to fight to make sure women have access to quality, affordable health care, and as long as we’ve got to fight to protect a woman’s right to make her own choices about her own health, I want you to know that you’ve also got a president who’s going to be right there with you, fighting every step of the way.  Thank you, Planned Parenthood. God bless you.

Yuck.  I’ve been slimed.

That was Obama’s emotional shtick.  In light of the Gosnell affair, it was a grossly misleading emotional shtick because it’s clear that, when women’s “health care” (i.e., abortion) is not delivered into a quality way, neither Obama nor abortion’s cheerleaders will be there for those women.

But there was something else Obama said that was equally dishonest, and that was his insistence that those who oppose abortion on demand want to return the world to the 1950s:

So the fact is, after decades of progress, there are still those who want to turn back the clock to policies more suited to the 1950s than the 21st century.  And they’ve been involved in an orchestrated and historic effort to roll back basic rights when it comes to women’s health.

There’s a very subtle dishonesty at work here.  What Obama fails to acknowledge is that the social dynamics of our world are so entirely different from those in the 1950s that, even if abortion was outlawed entirely, significant economic and social pressures that women faced in the 50s are virtually nonexistent now.  In the 1950s, women had abortions to escape social stigma (“she’s a slut”) and economic collapse (minimal safety net).  The social stigma was an especially powerful force.  Women were branded and disowned.

I wrote about this false comparison to the 1950s once before, and think it’s worthwhile to reprint that post in its entirety here, simply because the Gosnell trial and Obama Planned Parenthood speech make it very relevant to today’s debate (or avoidance of debate).  So, from January 11, 2010, The need for an honest, 21st century debate about abortion:

I dreamed last night about the first ultrasound I had when I was pregnant with my daughter.  I was sixteen weeks pregnant, and had been throwing up non-stop for 15 1/2 of those sixteen weeks.  I was not happy.  I resented the parasite within me.  And then I saw the sonogram image and discovered that the parasite had a little round head, two arms and two legs, and an incredible spinal cord that looked like the most exquisite string of pearls.  That image did not instantly reconcile me to the next 26 weeks of non-stop vomiting, but it made me aware that “the fetus” is not simply an aggregation of cells, or a thing indistinguishable from a dog or a chicken fetus.  It’s a baby.

By the time I had my second child, I knew, without question, that every “fetus” is a nascent human being.  I finally recognized on an emotional level that the zygote created on the first day is the same life as the baby you hold in your arms on the last.  It is also the same as the toddler that lisps “I wuv you,” and the pre-teen who says “Y0u’re the best mommy ever.”  They all start there, right inside each mother.

You’d think, of course, that this realization should have been obvious to me, and should have long predated the birth of two children.  But I grew up in the feminist abortion oriented culture, and that culture shies away assiduously from focusing on the life within the woman and focuses, instead, only on the woman herself.  There’s a great deal of logic to that focus.  During my lifetime alone, there was little to focus on other than the woman.  Doctors doing autopsies and medical students studying anatomy might have had a sense of fetal development but, really, no one else did.  We weren’t peeking in the womb just a few decades back.  Premature babies died as often as not, so our cultural sense of their viability was limited.  Heck, in the old days, huge numbers of full-term babies died as often as not.  In the pre-modern era, up to 50% of all children died before their 5th birthday — and that’s just counting live births.

And so what we saw in the old days of the abortion debate was the woman.  And in a pre-birth control, high morality era (and yes, I mean morality, not mortality), the unmarried, or even the married, woman’s lot wasn’t an easy one when it came to pregnancies.  First off, married or not, short of abstinence, there were only the most limited ways to stop pregnancy.  The married woman whose husband (reasonably) didn’t want celibacy, could expect a lifetime of pregnancies until her early death, often as the end of a torturous labor, when she’d be laid in her grave alongside probably half of the children she had borne.  For the unmarried lady in a high morality era, rape, or simply the romantic impulse of the moment, could lead to horrific social ostracism, to which was then added all the risks of childbirth.  In short, for many women, pregnancy was a truly rotten deal, and abortions, legal or illegal, safe or unsafe, seemed like a very reasonable option.

How the world has changed!  Nowadays, condoms are everywhere, whether in the vending machine at the nightclub bathroom, at Walgreen’s, or even at your local Safeway grocery.  Women also have available to them the ubiquitous Pill, IUDs, diaphragms, contraceptive sponges, and contraceptive gels.  All of these forms of birth control can fail even if used properly, but the main result of pregnancy in America is probably the decision, conscious or not, not to use any birth control at all.  Some decide not to use contraceptives because they want to get pregnant, and some decide not to use them because, whether for the man or the woman involved, they’re uncomfortable, inconvenient, or embarrassing.  Still, compared to the old days, sex that is free of the risk of pregnancy is normative, not impossible.

The world has also changed in that the stigma of pregnancy outside of wedlock has vanished.  Whether the young woman intends to keep the baby or to put it up for adoption, no one would judge her for getting pregnant.  Indeed, so totally has our culture changed, I had to explain to my son why I thought it was a good idea that his Mommy and Daddy got married before having children.  To him, it was six of one, half dozen of the other.  (Incidentally, I explained it by telling him that a stable married relationship was the best thing for the child, and you wanted to make sure you had that relationship in place before the child came along.  As a child himself, he could appreciate that reasoning.)  With Angelina Jolie, a most admired young woman, going around adopting and giving birth to multiple children, either alone or with a partner to whom she is not married, you know your culture has crossed a line to a time and place in which marriage and pregnancy bear no relationship to each other.

Finally, the world has changed in that both maternal and infant mortality in America are but a small — beyond small, minute — fraction of what they once were.  When a woman dies in childbirth, or has a stroke, it’s so rare it makes the news section of the paper.  In the old days, it was just another obituary and a tombstone.  I don’t need to describe to you the rarity of infant deaths.  We know they still happen, but they too are rare events, and often result from terrible birth defects that are beyond the reach even of modern medicine.

In our modern era, therefore, many of the forces that once drove abortion are gone.  You’re infinitely less likely to get pregnant than you once were (unless you want to).  If you’re married and get pregnant, you’re much less likely to die than ever before.  If you’re unmarried and get pregnant, not only are you less likely to die than in the past, you’re also going to get baby showers, not social ostracism.  If you keep your baby, you know that, even though it’s a tough row to hoe, you’ll be supported.  If you give it up for adoption, you know that there are nice middle-class families who are desperate to give your baby a good home and tons of love.

Why then, in our modern era, should we still have abortion?  That’s the question we ought to be asking, especially as the Democrats are currently demanding the Americans directly fund abortions for those women who choose to have them.

Certainly, I think most of us would agree that abortion is a good, even a necessary, thing if the mother’s life is in danger.  That the mother’s life is in danger with much less frequency than once was the case doesn’t change the moral force of protecting the existing life over the nascent life.

There’s room for debate over abortion for pregnancies that are the result of rape or incest.  Some could say that the fetus is innocent of the violence and betrayal visited on the woman, and therefore shouldn’t be destroyed.  Others would say that rape and incest are such heinous moral crimes that it is equally immoral to force the woman to carry the result of that evil in her body.  To be honest, both arguments make sense to me.  I think the majority of Americans side with the former line of thinking, and I can certainly live with the legal outcome of accepting that argument.

And then there’s the last argument to justify abortion, the “convenience argument,” although no pro-choice person would ever describe it in those terms.  This is an argument that once sat very well with me, but that now makes me very unhappy.  It is a purely modern argument, once that exists in an era where few women fear accidental pregnancies, death or social stigma.

The “convenience argument” says it’s just not fair that both the man and the woman get to make whoopee, but that it’s the woman whose life is put on hold for nine months or, depending on her decision, for 18 years or more.  It’s not fair that she has to throw up for months, go through labor, stop her education, give up her career, lose her figure, and just stop having fun, while the man, if he chooses not to marry her, gets to go on with his life as before.  Even if they marry and the man takes on economic responsibility for the child, his figure, his career, and his free time can be remarkably untouched by precisely the same event that irrevocably changes a woman’s life.  To which I would say now (although I wouldn’t have said it 20 years ago), life is tough.  The child didn’t ask to be conceived but, now that it is, you owe it an obligation, whether it’s a nine month obligation through to adoption or a lifetime commitment.

Interestingly, one of the things you’ll notice about pro-choice advocacy (usually in movies) is that it roots its emotional arguments in the past, when women couldn’t stop pregnancies, when they died far too easily, and when an out-of-wedlock pregnancy was the end of the world.  Think back, for example, to 2004, when the movie Vera Drake opened to immense critical approval, was nominated for three Oscars, and won a whole slew of other awards.  The movie tells the story of the saintlike Vera Drake, a loving wife and mother in the 1950s, who also provides pathetically poor, distressed women with abortions.  The women getting abortions are all desperately in need of them — a mother of seven children, a rape victim, an isolated immigrant, a wife who had an affair while her husband was in Korea, etc. The movie also shows a rich girl getting away with a medical abortion, so as to emphasize the Marxist theory that the rich get richer and the poor get children.  The dramatic tension in the movie comes about because Vera Drake is arrested and prosecuted for this then-illegal act.

Vera Drake is blatantly pro-choice, but also blatantly dishonest as an instrument in today’s debate.  Both the troubles faced by the poor women and the advantages offered to the rich are no longer issues in today’s abortion debate.

Another movie that cheated when it came to the abortion issue was HBO’s 1996 movie, If These Walls Could Talk, which follows three abortion events affecting the residents of a single house, over a period of decades:


The 1952 segment deals with Claire Donnelly (Demi Moore), a widowed nurse living in suburban Chicago, who becomes pregnant by her brother-in-law and decides to undergo abortion in order not to hurt her late husband’s family. However, abortion at the time is strictly illegal. Donnelly eventually finds another nurse (CCH Pounder) who provides her the name of a woman who can find her someone who will perform the abortion. After a clandestine procedure she finally manages to abort but dies shortly afterwards due to hemorrhage.


The 1974 segment deals with Barbara Barrows (Sissy Spacek), a struggling and aging mother with four children and a policeman husband who works the night shift, who discovers she must welcome another addition to the family, despite having recently gone back to college. She considers abortion with the support of her teenage daughter (Hedy Burress) but ultimately chooses to keep the child.


The 1996 segment deals with Christine Cullen (Anne Heche), a college student who got pregnant by a married professor, decides on an abortion when he breaks up with her and only offers her money. She is operated on by Dr. Beth Thompson (Cher). However, the abortion takes place during a violent protest, and an abortion protester (Matthew Lillard) walks in on the operation and shoots Dr. Thompson.

If These Walls Could Talk is quite a carefully thought-out movie, making sure to keep sympathy in places that still resonate today:  the woman who is incestuously raped, a situation that we sympathize with now, dies because abortion is not legal; the woman who keeps getting pregnant, a situation we find less sympathetic in a birth control era, chooses life; and the least sympathetic woman, the one who has the convenience abortion, is trumped by the even more evil murderous pro-Lifer.

It’s also a dishonest movie.  Nowadays, as I said, few quarrel with the legality or morality of an incest or rape abortion; birth control should help keep women from repeat pregnancies (although I do know a woman who claims that she and all four of her siblings were each born clutching Mom’s diaphragm); and the fact that there are loony-toons out there doesn’t lessen the dubiously moral choice of abortion for convenience.

Outside of the movie industry, if you go to the NOW website, that organization still has a page devoted to women who suffered abortions in the past, at a time when women daily had to face down endless pregnancies, childbirth mortality, and extreme social stigma.  As I have tried to prove, though, those emotional arguments do not provide a good rationale for unlimited abortion in 21st Century America, especially at the taxpayers’ expense.

A much more intellectually honest movie view of abortion was Juno, a sleeper hit in 2007 about a teenage girl whose foolish moment of passion with a friend left her pregnant.  That movie was honest about how the pregnancy happened (no birth control), honest about the absence of social stigma (lots of familial love and support), honest about the almost frightening ease with which even teenagers can obtain abortions, and honest about the desperate middle-class couples looking for a baby.  It was also honest about the fact that, given all of these circumstances, it was entirely logical for the teenager to opt not to abort.

As for me, long time readers of this blog know that, even though intellectually and morally I’m no longer pro-choice, I’m still not entirely pro-life.  I accept abortion to protect the mother’s life, and can agree to abortion in cases of rape or incest, even though that’s not fair to the innocent fetus.  My problem is that, while I know that convenience abortions are morally wrong, I still get this emotional, lizard-brain feeling of a trapped rat in a cage when I imagine myself being a young woman who finds herself pregnant when she doesn’t want to be.  For me, although motherhood has had many rewards, it’s also entailed many sacrifices.  When I think of those sacrifices, and then apply them to, say, a 22 year old version of me, or when I imagine my daughter grown, and in the same situation, I still want to cry out “But that’s not fair.”  When that happens, though, I squish my lizard-brain, tell myself “Life isn’t fair,” and try to focus on the fetus and not my feelings.  I only hope that, if my daughter, before she’s married, ever does come to tell me she’s pregnant, I remember that deeper morality, and give her the right advice.