Tuesday, October 27, 2015

When Voters Become Abusive

No More Mr. Nice Guy!
Is it time to just "blow a gasket?"

Hey! Lighten up! After you die, we still have to live here. [image]

"Escaping the surly bonds of 
false tolerance and painfully "good" manners."
Finally! MeanMesa running "wild and free!"
When one has simply...had enough.

There is no shortage of folks in almost any crowd who would insist that "getting angry" is quite the negative approach. However, MeanMesa firmly holds the opinion that this nonsense has reached a crippling level on the Republic. Far too much utterly intolerable nonsense is floating about these days, and all the while that same nonsense is being "tolerated" as, variously, "good manners," "equanimity," or simply as etiquette amounting to some obscure form of conveniently Stoic cognitive dissonance. A precise listing of these modern "intolerable schemes, utterances and actions," when viewed in the cold light of day, is shocking. 

Quite predictably, this post focuses on, of course, the hilariously outlandish narrative of contemporary religion and politics.

In both of these areas the "day to day traffic" has become an embarrassment for Americans, in fact, for humans, in general! The constantly eager perpetrators of these "breathlessly urgent, modern style, burning questions of the day" are grotesque.

"But wait." 
We hear almost automatically. 
"Are you forgetting that there are always two sides to every case of such issues? Can it possibly be reasonable to simply deem those with such obnoxious ideas as 'grotesque' simply because one disagrees with them?"

Okay. Yeah. It's reasonable.

See, there are NOT two sides when one of those two sides amounts to absolutely nothing more than utterly irrational, GROTESQUE blather. At least, there are not "two sides" in the mannerly, logical sense of it's being "discourse within an informed electorate" as envisioned by the founders. When "one side" of what one might possibly consider "political discourse" amounts to nothing more than an irritating, craven, relentless flow of cheaply designed ideology, one finds himself in a conversation with something no more valuable than bulk propaganda produced as an industrial commodity, that is, in a conversation with the equivalent of a stale, fetid wind drifting in very slowly from the nearest feed lot.

It amounts to "conducting political discourse" with a worn out, sun bleached bill board stranded and rotting aside an abandoned two lane highway in the flattest possible spot in Oklahoma. This sort of discourse only has redeeming value if one is interested, say, in the political positions of tattered tumbleweeds making their way mindlessly on their endless journey in the summer wind. 

Clearly, there are voting Americans who are quite comfortable filling precisely the role of these "noble vagabonds" of the tumbleweed universe.

Good manners have, shall we say, "had their day." That "day" has ended.

If you are still interested in "just a little more" of this stuff, we can begin with you placing yourself in the front row of the "news"conference being held in the basement of the local Baptist church. Next, carefully imagine your facial expression as you listen to an overweight, dirty shirt preacher from deep within the Confederacy threaten "self immolation" if gays are allowed to marry. Getting the picture?

Now, How Dare They?
Neither "they" nor anyone else should dare.
Possibly, not even comedians.

Rather than tacitly accepting these "heart felt lamentations" as no more than the daily ramblings of some "twelfth tier," geriatric, high desert blogger, let's just imagine a few examples of fascinating comments which have been "media-validated" as the "second" side of a "two sided" thing. One might have had to continue listening beyond the next commercial for the craftily implied, justifying innuendo which was to serve as an explanation for exactly why "something or other" which had just been said was, in fact, the "second" side of a "two sided thing."

If precisely the same words as those just uttered by this "two sides of everything" guy were written in bold, san serif letters on a sheet of otherwise blank typing paper and handed to one of these "listening Americans" who, by this time, was quite resolutely nodding his head in agreement, he would have stopped in his tracks saying,

 "Oh no! I was believing this garbage??!!"

Thom Hartmann characterizes the modern Republican Party as one formed almost exclusively by two groups: billionaires and suckers. MeanMesa couldn't agree more strongly. It is as if the entire Party were comprised of a legion of Donald Trump clones, angry because their rental applications for a North Carolina trailer park had just been declined.

Self-Aggrandizement and Resentment as a Political Platform

S.E. Cupp: 
GOP Voters Are Mean, Irrational, Reactionary,
 and Very, Very Delicate
by GrafZeppelin127
AUG 28, 2015
[Visit the original article here: DailyKOS]

For years I've been asking my friends and acquaintances who vote Republican why they do so. Their answers, for the most part, once they get past the standard bumper-sticker slogans and finish congratulating themselves for not being whichever caricatures and strawmen they've been programmed to believe Democrats, liberals and "the Left" represent, always invoke some variation of the same basic theme: There's someone out there, real or imaginary, that they want to be mean to, and Democrats/liberals/"the Left" won't let them, but Republicans will. Democrats/liberals/"the Left" actually think we should be nice to Those People, who are undeservedly benefiting at our expense, and refuse to criticize, condemn or punish Those People for their transgressions, inadequacies and inferiority, while they fail to properly praise, honor and reward Us, the Real Americans, for being ... well, Us, the Real Americans. Voting Republican, supposedly, will fix all that. Republicans will punish Those People for their sins and give Us, the Real Americans, the honor We deserve.

As I've written many times before, it boils down to self-congratulation and resentment. I have yet to talk to a Republican voter about the basis for that political preference without hearing some variation of the above. There are people out there that they resent, who aren't being punished; they feel insufficiently honored (or unjustly criticized) for their own virtues; and they blame Democrats, liberals and "the Left" for all of that. Voting Republican is, for them, an act of aggression and retaliation.

Sometimes, these feelings are couched in a professed disdain for "political correctness" (or "PC culture") which, again, is solely attributed to and entirely the province and fault of Democrats, liberals and "the Left." There's no question that "political correctness" sometimes goes too far, sticking its proverbial nose in where it's really not needed. But generalized complaints about "political correctness" are just a variation on the same theme: We want to be mean, "the Left" won't let us, Republicans will.

Which, of course, brings us to the Donald Trump "phenomenon." Donald Trump has shot to the top of GOP primary polling by, inter alia, being really, really mean to a particular group of Those People, viz., "illegal" (read: non-white) immigrants. Yes, he's a blowhard; yes, it's probably an act; yes, he'll never be elected President, but that's not the point. He, or at least the character he plays in the campaign, is just plain flat-out mean to the people his fans, the GOP voting base, desperately want to be mean to, and in a way that the other GOP candidates aren't, won't be, and can't be. His supporters will say that he's "honest" and "refreshing" and that he's "not afraid to tell the truth" or "speak his mind" or whatever it is any political candidate's supporters tell themselves in order to justify their support. What they're really saying is, He's mean, he's making it OK to be mean, and we love it.

Cue conservative commentator S.E. Cupp, who has, unwittingly and without a hint of irony, penned a column at Townhall called -- wait for it -- "Blame Liberals for the Rise of Trump" that thoroughly vindicates my theory. 

Here's S.E. Cupp, describing the current front runner for the presidential nomination of the Party of Personal Responsibility:


Trump is the result of liberal political correctness run amok.


Thanks to unrelenting demands by the left for increasingly preposterous levels of political correctness over the past decade, people are simply fed up.


The new era of liberal political correctness ... has reached critical mass. If not for the loony sensitivities foisted upon us by the left, someone like Trump would be immediately dismissed as unprofessional and unserious, an incoherent blurter. Instead, he's the equally extreme response to extreme correctness[.]


[In] a world in which nearly everything could be considered a microaggression, a macroaggressor like Trump is inevitable. Thanks, political correctness.


Delusions aside, Cupp's basic thesis is that "political correctness," promulgated entirely and exclusively by Democrats, liberals and "the Left," has driven Us, the Real Americans, straight into the arms of an unprofessional, unserious, incoherent "macroaggressor" like Donald Trump. We, the Real Americans, are so sick of being told -- by Democrats, liberals and "the Left" -- that we can't be mean to Those People, and of their "demands" that we be thoughtful and sensitive instead, that we can't help but want the meanest, coarsest, least-thoughtful, least-sensitive candidate we can find to be the Leader of the Free World.

This is supposed to be a virtue? This is supposed to be an indictment of "politically correct" Democrats, liberals and "the Left," not of a cohort whose desire to be mean is so strong that the mere suggestion that they not be mean causes them to make wholly irrational choices about who their elected leaders should be?

Think about what she's saying: Conservatives wouldn't take Trump at all seriously, let alone vote for him, if they weren't being told that in some situations it's preferable to be thoughtful and sensitive than mean and coarse. Does that make any sense? Forget for the moment the fact that the only consequence of not being "politically correct" is that other people might say things about your "politically incorrect" behavior (i.e., "political correctness" does not actually prevent anyone from being mean, coarse, thoughtless or insensitive). Cupp is openly admitting not only that Republican voters are irrational and reactionary, but that it really doesn't take much to drive them to make wholly irrational political choices. How, in any sane universe, is this an indictment of "political correctness" and not of the GOP base?

You have to wonder also; is this something that's actually happening, that these people are experiencing first-hand? Who, exactly, is making these "demands" that Cupp is talking about, that "people" are supposedly "fed up" with? Are people really having these "demands" directed at them personally every day, by real people? Or is this just something they're hearing about on Fox News and talk radio? 

In the end, Cupp's commentary is just further confirmation of my theory that GOP voters, by and large, vote Republican because they want to be mean, regardless of who they want to be mean to or why, and they feel that Democrats won't let them be mean but Republicans will. Democrats just scold them for being mean, while Republicans will honor them for it.

Republican politicians and their media enablers haven't done much lately to dispel or undermine this idea. If anyone has heard (or can think of) a better reason to vote (or consider voting) Republican in 2016, please share. As it is I'm hard-pressed to understand the party's appeal beyond the desire to be mean and have that meanness validated by powerful people.

Monday, October 26, 2015

The GOP & Planned Parenthood - A "Fetus Sales" Reader

Investing Millions on a Photo-Shopped Video
If you've got FOX in your corner, facts mean nothing.

If anyone thought that the Benghazi or the e-mail hearings were a toot, just relax -- "Phase 3" is being cooked up right now in the smoke filled back rooms of the Republican House Caucus. As of this posting, the next "secret" Speaker still remains a secret, but MeanMesa has to conclude that it won't matter very much which sold out hill billy finally scratches and claws his way to top, the start of the Planned Parenthood hearings will be announced as soon as the next "Select Committee" can be assembled.

Interestingly, a GOOGLE search of Planned Parenthood + anything else even vaguely related to "selling fetuses" instantly provides page after page of available links, and every one of these is at least conceptually based on the idea that the process amounts to roughly what was described by ambitious Republican harpy, Carla Fiorina, during the GOP "debates."

The mere fact that hundreds of inter net sites are ranting and railing about events which never actually took place offers more than enough evidence to expect that the Republican opportunists are smelling blood -- and votes -- out in the fly over states where their single issue anti-abortion fanatics are "getting juiced up" to cast their Primary ballots.

The public opinion "inertia" currently enjoyed by the "selling fetuses" propaganda vector is astounding -- especially given the fact that numerous, well credentialed reporting services have thoroughly debunked the claim at the foundation level of the Big Lies.

In preparation for this latest mad plunge by the vote hungry House Republicans back to the Dark Ages MeanMesa has "done a little browsing." This Short Current Essays Reader will, hopefully, offer an abundant supply of facts for visitors to the blog should they find themselves facing some sobbing, post-biblical evangelical type at the local meat counter. Remember, the connection to actual reality enjoyed by such types is tenuous, indeed. Inside the narcotizing, hypnotic bubble of completely incendiary "FOX Facts," true believers -- searching desperately for their ghostly identities -- acknowledge no other possible positions.

To make this point MeanMesa has selected two articles on this subject. Although these two serve very adequately as examples of the quality of media coverage, many other examples are quickly available. The billionaires who own the media -- and the Republican Party -- are busily "setting the stage" for the work of the next "Select Committee."

Article 1: FactCheck


Unspinning the Planned Parenthood Video

By Dave Levitan
Posted on July 21, 2015

[Visit the original article  here FACTCHECK]

Several Republican presidential candidates have claimed that Planned Parenthood is “profiting” from abortions. But the full, unedited video they cite as evidence shows a Planned Parenthood executive repeatedly saying its clinics want to cover their costs, not make money, when donating fetal tissue from abortions for scientific research.

Four experts in the field of human tissue procurement told us the price range discussed in the video — $30 to $100 per patient — represents a reasonable fee. “There’s no way there’s a profit at that price,” said Sherilyn J. Sawyer, the director of Harvard University and Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s “biorepository.”

Republicans made their claims following the release of a secretly recorded video showing Deborah Nucatola, the senior director of medical services at Planned Parenthood, discussing the procurement of fetal tissues when conducting abortions. The edited video, released July 14 by an anti-abortion group called the Center for Medical Progress, leaves the impression that Nucatola is talking about Planned Parenthood affiliates making money from fetal tissue. But the edited video ignores other things Nucatola said that contradict that idea.

The Videos, Edited and Unedited

At one point in the unedited video (which was also released by the group), Nucatola says: “Affiliates are not looking to make money by doing this. They’re looking to serve their patients and just make it not impact their bottom line.”

Nucatola also says, “No one’s going to see this as a money making thing.” And at another point, she says, “Our goal, like I said, is to give patients the option without impacting our bottom line. The messaging is this should not be seen as a new revenue stream, because that’s not what it is.”

The footage was recorded secretly during a lunch meeting on July 25, 2014, between Nucatola and two people posing as employees of a company looking to procure fetal tissue for research purposes.

While eating a salad and drinking red wine, she casually discusses which tissues are valued by researchers and how to preserve those tissues while conducting abortions. Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards has apologized for Nucatola’s “tone” and manner of speaking, which House Speaker John Boehner condemned as “cavalier” in calling for a congressional investigation.

In the edited video, Nucatola says the cost for fetal tissue specimens was between $30 and $100, “depending on the facility and what’s involved.” She defined “specimen” as, “one case. One patient.”

Republicans have focused on those comments, characterizing the practice as a way to profit off abortion:

Rick Perry, July 14: The video showing a Planned Parenthood employee selling the body parts of aborted children is a disturbing reminder of the organization’s penchant for profiting off the tragedy of a destroyed human life.

Rand Paul, July 14: … a video showing [Planned Parenthood]’s top doctor describing how she performs late-term abortions to sell body parts for profit!

Carly Fiorina, July 14: This latest news is tragic and outrageous. This isn’t about “choice.” It’s about profiting on the death of the unborn while telling women it’s about empowerment.

Nucatola’s comment, though, isn’t evidence that Planned Parenthood or its affiliates are selling “body parts” or fetal tissue for profit. The full video shows that after Nucatola mentions the $30 to $100, she describes how those amounts would be reimbursement for expenses related to handling and transportation of the tissues. Nucatola talks about “space issues” and whether shipping would be involved.

We asked all three candidates listed above whether they believed the $30 to $100 per specimen amount constitutes making a “profit” from fetal tissue, and we did not receive specific answers to that question. The chief political strategist for Rand Paul’s campaign, Doug Stafford, sent us the following statement in an email:

Stafford, July 15: Planned Parenthood and their supporters in the media are willing to say anything to defend their taxpayer funded abortions and profiteering from selling aborted fetuses. They want to argue about what week they kill a child or how much they do or do not profit? What’s blatantly obvious is that Planned Parenthood is trying to distract from their extremist positions and immoral “business.”

We also asked experts in the use of human tissue for research about the potential for profit. Sherilyn J. Sawyer, the director of Harvard University and Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s “biorepository,” told us that “there’s no way there’s a profit at that price.” She continued in an email:

Sawyer, July 20: In reality, $30-100 probably constitutes a loss for [Planned Parenthood]. The costs associated with collection, processing, storage, and inventory and records management for specimens are very high. Most hospitals will provide tissue blocks from surgical procedures (ones no longer needed for clinical purposes, and without identity) for research, and cost recover for their time and effort in the range of $100-500 per case/block. In the realm of tissues for research $30-100 is completely reasonable and normal fee.

Jim Vaught, president of the International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories and formerly the deputy director of the National Cancer Institute’s Office of Biorepositories and Biospecimen Research, told us in an email that “$30 to $100 per sample is a reasonable charge for clinical operations to recover their costs for providing tissue.” In fact, he said, the costs to a clinic are often much higher, but most operations that provide this kind of tissue have “no intention of fully recovering [their] costs, much less making a profit.”

Carolyn Compton, the chief medical and science officer of Arizona State University’s National Biomarkers Development Alliance and a former director of biorepositories and biospecimen research at the National Cancer Institute, agreed that this was “a modest price tag for cost recovery.” Compton told us in an email: ” ‘Profit’ is out of the question, in my mind. I would say that whoever opined about ‘profit’ knows very little about the effort and expense involved in providing human biospecimens for research purposes.”

Nucatola does make one statement in the unedited video that suggests to critics that some clinics would be comfortable with a payment that was slightly more than their expenses for providing the tissue. “I think for affiliates, at the end of the day, they’re a nonprofit, they just don’t want to — they want to break even. And if they can do a little better than break even, and do so in a way that seems reasonable, they’re happy to do that,” Nucatola says.

But immediately after this statement, Nucatola goes on to say: “Really their bottom line is, they want to break even. Every penny they save is just pennies they give to another patient. To provide a service the patient wouldn’t get.” Planned Parenthood told us that she may have been referring to more general operations of the clinics.
Nucatola repeatedly talks about affiliates only wanting to provide a service to their patients, who elect to donate the tissue for medical research, and not having that service impact their bottom lines. She says that it’s “not a new revenue stream the affiliates are looking at” and that “nobody should be ‘selling’ tissue. That’s just not the goal here.” She says some affiliates might donate the tissue for free.

Nucatola also discusses Planned Parenthood clinics’ interactions with a tissue procurement company called StemExpress. The company’s website says that partnering with StemExpress can be “financially profitable” for a clinic — a point that some conservative websites have singled out. But this also does not constitute evidence that Planned Parenthood is profiting in such a way.

StemExpress, which provides other types of tissue aside from fetal tissue, did not respond to our request for clarification on profitability. It did release a statement on its website expressing pride in its work to advance research and saying it complies “with all laws.”

According to another tissue procurement company called Advanced Bioscience Resources, which has provided fetal tissues to researchers in a number of federally funded studies, the costs mentioned in the video are reasonable. Linda Tracy, ABR’s president, told us in an email that “[i]t is difficult to pinpoint the exact cost of tissue acquisition due to the many variables involved,” such as the location of the facility, the specific requests from researchers and any special handling that is required. She said, however, that “$30 to $100 is within a comparable range of what ABR pays for reimbursement of costs.”

At one point in the video, Nucatola tells the “buyers” (the actors purporting to represent a fetal tissue procurement company are described as “buyers” in a transcript provided by the Center for Medical Progress) that affiliates wouldn’t make decisions about whether to work with a tissue research organization based on money. “You could call them up and say, ‘I’ll pay you double the money,’ and they’re almost more inclined to say no, because it’s going to look bad. … To them, this is not a service they should be making money from, it’s something they should be able to offer this to their patients, in a way that doesn’t impact them.”

She then suggests that these “buyers” might be able to compete with other companies by offering extra services, such as taking tissue the clinics would otherwise have to dispose of themselves.

In a statement on its website, Planned Parenthood defended its affiliates’ practice of fetal tissue donation as “standard across the medical field”:

Planned Parenthood, July 14: At several of our health centers, we help patients who want to donate tissue for scientific research, and we do this just like every other high-quality health care provider does — with full, appropriate consent from patients and under the highest ethical and legal standards. There is no financial benefit for tissue donation for either the patient or for Planned Parenthood. In some instances, actual costs, such as the cost to transport tissue to leading research centers, are reimbursed, which is standard across the medical field.

Richards, the Planned Parenthood president, said in a video response to the controversy: “The allegation that Planned Parenthood profits in any way from tissue donation is not true.”

On July 21, the Center for Medical Progress released a second, similar video, again featuring a discussion with a Planned Parenthood official in a restaurant. The numbers mentioned in the edited video are similar to what Nucatola said. The official, Mary Gatter, quotes a rate of $75 per specimen, and says she was thinking of saying $50. The discussion only reaches $100 because the “buyers” in the video mention higher prices. At one point, Gatter says that “we’re not in this for the money,” and later she reiterates that “money is not the important thing.”

Though few studies of costs associated with fetal tissue acquisition are available, existing evidence does suggest the prices named in the video are in line with general practices. The National Institutes of Health conducts research with fetal tissue, and in the late 1990s, the Government Accountability Office (then known as the General Accounting Office) looked into the acquisition of such tissue, finding that the direct cost to researchers was “low.” GAO said payments primarily went to “central tissue suppliers,” as opposed to health clinics. In most cases, GAO found that clinics did not charge researchers, but when they did, the cost ranged from $2 to $75. The report did not address how much clinics might have received from central tissue suppliers, which is more analogous to the situation presented in the video.
What Does the Law Say?

In a statement made to CNN, another presidential candidate, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, called the practice discussed in the video a “clear violation of federal law.” The “sale” of organs, both adult and fetal, for transplantation is indeed illegal, but donation of tissue — both from aborted fetuses and from adults — is not. And payment for “reasonable” costs is also allowed under the law.

The video itself highlights a portion of title 42 of the U.S. code, which reads: “It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly acquire, receive, or otherwise transfer any human organ for valuable consideration for use in human transplantation if the transfer affects interstate commerce.” The law does include fetal tissue in its definitions. It says that the term “valuable consideration” doesn’t include “reasonable payments” for removal, transportation, preservation and other associated costs.

In 1993, a law pertaining to federally funded NIH research was enacted that allows donation of fetal tissue from induced abortions if certain criteria are met. These include that the woman donating is not aware of the recipients of the tissue, and that the abortion timing, procedures or method itself would not be altered for the sole purpose of obtaining the tissue.

The 1993 law also says that it is unlawful “for any person to knowingly acquire, receive, or otherwise transfer any human fetal tissue for valuable consideration if the transfer affects interstate commerce.” The law again excludes the types of costs Nucatola discussed in the video: “The term ‘valuable consideration’ does not include reasonable payments associated with the transportation, implantation, processing, preservation, quality control, or storage of human fetal tissue.”

The American Medical Association echoes this in its ethical guidelines on the issue: “Fetal tissue is not provided in exchange for financial remuneration above that which is necessary to cover reasonable expenses.”
Why Is Fetal Tissue Scientifically Useful?

Historically, the use of fetal tissue has produced some groundbreaking scientific discoveries.According to the American Society for Cell Biology, a nonprofit representing a large and varied group of scientists, “Fetal cells hold unique promise for biomedical research due to their ability to rapidly divide, grow, and adapt to new environments. This makes fetal tissue research relevant to a wide variety of diseases and medical conditions.”

According to the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit focused on sexual and reproductive health, tissue from fetuses has been used since the 1930s for a variety of purposes. Perhaps most famously, the 1954 Nobel Prize in medicine was awarded to researchers who managed to grow polio vaccine in fetal kidney cell cultures.

In another example, Leonard Hayflick created a cell line from an aborted fetus in the early 1960s that has been used to create vaccines against measles, rubella, shingles and other diseases. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, told the journal Nature in 2013 that “[t]hese cells from one fetus have no doubt saved the lives of millions of people.”

In more recent years, however, the use of stem cells for therapeutic and research purposes has taken a more central role than fetal tissue. As Arthur Caplan, a bioethicist at New York University, told Buzzfeed News, “fetal cells are not a big deal in science anymore.”

In spite of the waning interest, it remains legal to donate tissue from a legally aborted fetus, and for that tissue to be used for research purposes.

Article 2: USA Today

This next article dangles back and forth between the position of the Republican investigators on one side and the reality of the affair on the other. However, MeanMesa argues that the "real story" being reported here is not about whether or not "selling fetuses" is legal or acceptable. The "real story" is about whether or not the incendiary public outcry in reaction to a heavily manipulated video is justified.

This is purposefully mushy, manipulative reporting masquerading as "legitimately covering both sides" of "an issue." It is included here to emphasize the shockingly biased media pablum which "informed" Americans are reading. Once again, the story is about an inauthentic video. THAT is what needs to be "probed," USA Today.

To further highlight this point, MeanMesa has separated the USA Today article into three categories, each one denoted by back ground color behind the text.. The length and placement of each type of content in the full USA Today article is quite informative, and this reflects the intentional editorial bias behind the article. 

Category one [Category one]is material based on the question of whether or not "selling fetuses" is acceptable and legal and whether or not "selling fetuses" is actually what Planned Parenthood was doing. Category two [Category two - no background color] represents reporting which describes actual facts and events from the story. Category three [Category three] is the part of the reporting which actually describes the fraudulent scheme pursued by anti-abortionists at Center for Medical Progress which used actors in an attempt to "gotcha" Planned Parenthood officials. Sections dealing with Center for Medical Progress appear in bold font.

USA Today
Probes launched after Planned Parenthood video emerges
Jennifer Calfas, USA TODAY
[Visit the original article Planned Parenthood USA Today]

Lawmakers called Wednesday for an investigation into a health care provider that has come under fire by anti-abortion activists for allegedly selling fetal organs for profit.

The anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress claims that the Planned Parenthood foundation violated the law by selling the fetal tissue to medical researchers.

Planned Parenthood spokesman Eric Ferrero vehemently denied the accusations, saying that the tissue in question was donated to medical research - not sold.

"These outrageous claims are flat-out untrue, but that doesn't matter to politicians with a longstanding political agenda to ban abortion and defund Planned Parenthood," Ferrero said.

The controversial claims, captured in part on an undercover video shot by anti-abortion activists, caught the attention of House Speaker John Boehner, who said Wednesday that a congressional committee would investigate the claims. Boehner joined a chorus of lawmakers and governors who said they were appalled by the video.

"When anyone diminishes an unborn child, we are all hurt, irreversibly so," Boehnersaid in a statement. "When an organization monetizes an unborn child – and with the cavalier attitude portrayed in this horrific video – we must all act."

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., echoed Boehner's call to action, and the House Energy and Commerce Committee announced it would investigate Planned Parenthood. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxtonalso launched an official investigation Wednesday. On Tuesday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a Republican presidential candidate, announced investigations in their respective states.

The video, which surfaced Tuesday, shows Deborah Nucatola, senior director of medical research at Planned Parenthood, discussing how to maintain parts of a fetus for medical research during abortion procedures. The Center for Medical Progress used two actors posing as employees at a biotech firm who met with Nucatola over lunch to discuss how to access the fetal tissue for research purposes. The center calls itself a group of citizen journalists dedicated to exposing injustices in the medical field.

The Center for Medical Progress' two main claims are that Planned Parenthood sells fetal tissue to medical researchers and that the abortion rights group violates the Partial-Birth Abortion Act, which prohibits late-term abortions and certain procedures. Planned Parenthood says neither claim is true.

With consent from a patient, Planned Parenthood can donate fetal tissue to medical researchers for stem-cell research, Ferrero said in a statement. The Center for Medical Progress claims Nucatola said the organization profits from selling these specimens — though she doesn't say it explicitly in the video.

"It's probably anywhere from $30 to $100, depending on the facility and what's involved," Nucatola said in the video.

Ferrero said the money she discussed is used as reimbursement for transportation.

"There is no financial benefit for tissue donation for either the patient or for Planned Parenthood," Ferrero said.

In 2007, the Supreme Court upheld the act in a 5-4 decision, stating that banning this practice does not put a burden on a woman's ability to get an abortion.

The use of fetal tissue for medical research started in the 1930s, according to the American Society for Cell Biology. Tissue used for this research comes from hospitals, non-profit tissue banks and abortion clinics.

Scientists value fetal tissue because it can expand at a faster rate than adult tissue — a trait that aids research in a host of areas, the society says.

Arthur Caplan, the director of the division of medical ethics at New York University, told USA TODAY the use of fetal tissue is outdated, saying embryo cells have become the norm for medical research.

Though Caplan said he believes the video was manipulated, he voiced concern that Planned Parenthood would donate fetal tissue to researchers.

Caplan referred to parts of the video showing Nucatola saying the organization would perform an abortion a certain way to retrieve organs in the best way possible.

"That's big trouble ethically; you cannot do that," Caplan told USA TODAY. "The only thing you should be doing is having the women central in what is best and safe and her, and you don't think about what you should do about the remains until the abortion is over."

Lawrence Hinman, a professor emeritus of philosophy at the University of San Diego, highlighted the issues with the makers of the video in an email to USA TODAY.

"There is nothing to indicate that Nucatola wants to circumvent requirements about informed consent," Hinman wrote. "Almost everyone would agree that informed consent is crucial, and I think it should be highlighted."

He added that some women choose to donate fetal tissue from abortions, as "it allows something potentially good to emerge from what for many is a sad occasion."

The video isn't the first the Center for Medical Progress released of hired actors interacting with Planned Parenthood employees. It's part of a project the group calls "Human Capital," in which members try to investigate what they say are injustices and illegal practices within Planned Parenthood.

Get Ready for the "Big Doin's!"
The...uh...riveting Select Committee...uh... hearings...
 about the fake Planned Parenthood video will be starting any day now...

We'll all need some solid "Tin Foil Protection" for the Select Committee [Image source MeanMesa]

Friday, October 23, 2015

Why the Billionaires Chose Paul Ryan To Be Speaker

Because of all the prosperity and stuff,
 the little people are loving the austerity and stuff.
Plus, NOW you can't get rid of me. Ever.
[cartoon source]
The GOP's Latest "Monument to Hypocrisy"
Not to mention, of course, out right lying to an information starved
 Republican base which has finally been abused enough to no longer care.

Although the cartoon [above] speaks clearly to Ryan's record of absolutely detesting any kind of social safety net, there are plenty of other pretty good reasons to avoid him like the plague. The "safety net hatred" is straight, unadulterated Ayn Rand style "Objectivism." Rand's dystopian wet dream amounted to a screw ball, Libertarian orgasm in which the US government would strictly limit tax expenditures to national military defense, policing and a domestic judiciary which would be limited to resolving looting issues between billionaires.

Paul becomes conveniently Catholic when he extends this free fall Libertarianism into his vision of domestic law to not only rape prosecutions, but also most forms of contraception. [Remember - he intends to be the Speaker of the House of Representatives where laws like this one traditionally originate.] He sponsored the "Sanctity of Life" Act which proposed issuing "full citizenship" to fertilized eggs. Still, slashing food stamps and winter heating subsidies while funneling "the savings" into tax cuts for his millionaire bosses didn't sit that well with either the Catholic Bishops or the Nuns on the Bus who took to the road to campaign against him.

Economically, Ryan is a "debt vulture" -- in fact, perhaps even the "head debt vulture," a real challenge among the retrograde GOP crowd in the House. He individually served as one of the main "cheer leaders" for the calamitous high end tax cuts during the Bush autocracy which are still in place, and which are still serving as "perpetual wrecking balls" to efforts to mitigate the national budget deficit. [Theoretically, this isn't entirely "hypocrisy." Those tax cuts are squeezing everything from the social safety net to highway maintenance by denying revenue to the government.]

Representative Ryan has still found the time to promote more than a little of his "inspired, Ayn Randian social engineering" work -- especially with his penchant for demonizing the poor. “We have got this tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work, and so there is a real culture problem here that has to be dealt with,” Ryan said on Bill Bennett’s Morning in America. Paul Ryan has never worked anywhere but in politics and the government.

Paul has met every loyalty test that big oil could pose for a "well lubricated" Congressman. Aside from his own family's extensive oil holdings, the big whigs in the "lubricating business" have made sure that Ryan's campaign war chests are "full to the gunwales" with oily, Federally subsidized, practically tax free, gold Ducats. Naturally, Paul doesn't lose much sleep worrying about imaginary, liberal follies such as climate change, either. [Read more  here Paul Ryan ADDICTING INFO]

The New Speaker's "Moments of Good Fortune" Strategy
Hmmm. Things seem to be rolling along suspiciously smoothly.

It's worth the effort to point out some of the peculiar features of the "completely coincidental, meteoric ascension" the Representative is enjoying at the time of this posting. MeanMesa has spotted three of these very curiously advantageous "coincidences."

Speaker Ryan's 
Series of "Coincidental Embraces of Happy Destiny"
Golly. The man's good luck is astonishing...

1. Everyone was watching Hillary and the Benghazi hearings.

Actually, Hillary's masterful domination of the Benghazi "special committee" surprised absolutely no one. In fact MeanMesa suspects that the entire fiasco amounted to a premeditated tactic for Special Committee Chairman, Trey Gowdy, to officially "fall on his sword" while all the network news cameras filmed it. 

In the beginning "Rowdy" Gowdy promised to be "great fun" while the Republican leadership was still lost in a premature ejaculation festival, fantasizing about the great political victory the hearings would bring a few weeks ahead of the 2016 election. But then...Gowdy, although the most credentialed "hatchet man" available in the admittedly rustic GOP House Conference, became more and more embarrassing. 

With the inevitable "licking" that Gowdy's committee was facing, the decision was made to use the "voluntary self immolation" of the committee to run media cover for the politically perilous Ryan Ascension to Speakership. Ryan had a well known image problem with most everyone who wasn't hypnotized by the FOX bubble -- including more than a few otherwise "fire breathing" tea baggers who happened to be living on their Social Security checks.

2. While the humble, reluctant hero, "suddenly" being groomed  to "save the day," was still in make up preparing for his scene, political daylight began illuminating his not so humble, premeditated, Machiavellian power grabbing scheme.

The "near Saintly" image scripted by Representative Ryan as he fumbled and bumbled, back and forth, torn between the love and devotion to his family and the call of his duty for "patriotic self-sacrifice," was so cheaply shabby as to be laughable. It wasn't even good propaganda, and that criticism, when extended to Republican FOXites, cuts to the bone. The billionaires who own the Party had always insisted on "good propaganda" to keep the hill billies outraged -- and in line.

The well managed crisis of utter unmanageability had descended on the chaotic GOP House Caucus like a 21st Century epidemic of the Black Plague. All the "candidates to be the next Caesar" had either committed political suicide, been assassinated already or were in hiding. While this might have appeared to be an "unfortunate coincidence," the whole affair had that "suspicious odor" of being a rather meat handed conspiracy to ordain Ryan as "heir apparent" and as a "solution to the emergency," This conspiracy had been birthed so long ago as to already be somewhat "long in the tooth."

McCarthy's loud mouthed "misstep" was probably part of the plan.

3. Meeting Ryan's demand for a few "minor rule changes" bodes dark weather ahead for ALL the House Republicans.

With the quivering corpse of the previous Caesar [Boehner] still "hot on the floor" the pitch that Ryan was simply maneuvering to avoid the same fate seemed understandable enough, but closer examination of the political realities at play suggests a very different scenario.

We must begin by speculating about precisely why Ryan has turned out to the the billionaires' "chosen one." Happily, the mystery is not particularly difficult to resolve.

We can begin by asking ourselves: "What has been Ryan's embarrassingly obvious obsession every time he's appeared before a microphone during the last decade?"

The answer isn't too tough. More than anything else in the entire world, Ryan's dreams are fixated on handing the $2.7 Tn Social Security Trust Fund -- or even a substantial part of it -- over to the Owners of the Republican Party. The "standard script" for accomplishing this is to convert the Trust into an "investment account" and pumping the entire thing into the Wall Street casinos.

When he speaks as a Representative [and Chairman of the GOP's House Ways and Means Committee] or when he was speaking as a Vice Presidential Candidate, nary five minutes can pass without another reference to "the absolute necessity of cutting entitlements." Ryan is always careful to add other "entitlements" as additional targets in his plan, but his scheme always returns to the $2.7 Tn in the Social Security Trust -- the source of funds for all the rest.

Ryan has wet dreams in the dark of night but not about what one might consider more or less "normal" things. He dreams about how "grateful" the billionaires would be if he were to be the one who finally managed to "deliver the goods" on the oligarchs' Social Security Trust scam.

And, although even this is horrible, there's more.

While autocrat, George W. Bush, was spending money like a drunken sailor, a good part of that money came from the Trust -- at least a trillion dollars. So, when we say that the Trust holds $2.7 Tn, we are including the "paper Treasury notes" from the Bush regime for around $1 trillion of that. [Remember Al Gore talking about the Social Security "lock box?"] The problem with all of this is that the Republicans have no idea how they might ever possibly pay this debt. Every time they get close to "running things," their avarice immediately clouds what little mental capacity they have, and they wreck the economy again...and again...and again.

If Ryan were ever able to cut "entitlements" the way he describes, it would represent a "way out" of this briar patch -- at least, a "way out" in Ryan's mind.

Now, on to the "dark horizons" part.

Ryan is nuts. If, as Speaker, he begins a slow, steady pressure to destroy Social Security [and, he could do this if he had the power of being Speaker], the move would be political suicide for the GOP. However, none of the sold out GOP Congressmen have any appetite whatsoever for being "connected" in any way with the political meat grinder of destroying Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and the rest.

Previously, such "crazy talk" was never too much of a problem for the Republicans. Sure, there were always "voices" proposing something like this, but those "voices" were always ignored. But with Ryan as Speaker, there will no longer be any possibility of "ignoring" such proposals.

Whether individual Congressmen were "on board" with the scheme or not, they would be swept up in the mayhem.

The "rules change" that Ryan is insisting upon as one his "demands" calls for abolishing of the House rule that empowers members to oust the Speaker.

This means that otherwise non-suicidal House members would be stuck with Ryan at the helm, and anti-Social Security legislation moving through under the protection of the Speaker and with the votes of the mentally unstable tea bag caucuses.

As far as MeanMesa is concerned, it couldn't happen to a more deserving Party.

Additional Reading

Remembering Exactly What Paul Ryan Is.
The Billionaire "Do-Over" may have "Done Wonders," 
but this deceptively human manikin
 still requires plenty of pan cake for public appearances.

Paul Ryan has invested a great deal of effort to image himself as several "important" things throughout his lack luster career as a politician. Most American voters probably recall Ryan as the "somewhat animated" little henchman with the "salivating problem" while he followed bone dry Mitt Romney around in the last Presidential election. 

The "salivating problem" has always been evidence of a particularly nasty kind of wild ambition which was never successfully reconciled with the little guy's actual place in the scheme of his standing in the atmospherics of the right wing oligarchy crowd. We can all pretty much understand why actual oligarchs and billionaires begin their own, unique episodes of uncontrollable salivating when they find themselves within grabbing range of their latest "bright, shiny object," but Ryan remains a mascot, not a "player."

Come on. After being an overly eager, relentless "House hatchet man" for the Owners of the Republican Party for years, the perpetually "up and coming Young Gun" has barely amassed his first few millions for his dutiful service.

As a politician, a plausibly bonafide claim to "humble roots" was as important as clean underwear to the youngster as he scratched and clawed his way ahead to his place in the "big money realm" of the GOP. For a little background we can look at some LA Times reporting from the days of his Vice Presidential campaign days. [Excerpted. Visit the original article  here - LATIMES Aug 2012]

A closer look at Ryan's "asset record" helps explain the history of his utterly fraudulent, creepy eagerness to "liquify" vital social "safety nets" relied upon by "lesser Americans." His career has lent new substance and meaning to a famous sign on an Anchorage bar from MeanMesa's youth in Alaska: "We cheat the other guy and pass the savings on to you."

Despite working-class image,
Ryan comes from family of wealth

Paul Ryan was born into one of the most prominent families in Janesville, Wis., and his rise to political power and financial stability was boosted by family money and connections.
By Ralph Vartabedian, Richard A. Serrano and Ken Bensinger
 Los Angeles Times August 25, 2012|


And yet Ryan, 42, was born into one of the most prominent families in Janesville, Wis., the son of a successful attorney and the grandson of the top federal prosecutor for the western region of the state.Ryan grew up in a big Colonial house on a wooded lot, and his extended clan includes investment managers, corporate executives and owners of major construction companies.

The seeming contradiction appears to have its roots in a family crisis in 1986, when at the age of 16, Ryan discovered his father dead of a heart attack.

The death of Paul Murray Ryan forced the family to make adjustments. Ryan's mother went back to work. And Ryan took up jobs, as well.

After graduating in 1992 from Miami University, a public college in Ohio, he went to work as an intern and then as a committee professional staffer on Capitol Hill for Sen. Bob Kasten, a Wisconsin Republican, who was defeated that same year by Feingold. When Kasten was voted out, Ryan lost his job. He went to work at the Tortilla Coast restaurant on Capitol Hill, where he ran into Feingold. In 1993, he left behind his hourly job and began as a speechwriter at Empower America, the think tank formed by former congressman and George H.W. Bush Cabinet secretary Jack Kemp and other conservatives, according to a Ryan campaign spokesman.

But there was also more to it than work. Ryan's rise to political power and financial stability was boosted by family connections and wealth. The larger Ryan family has repeatedly helped the candidate along in his career, giving him a job when he needed one and piling up tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions.

In the year after his father's death, Ryan's maternal grandmother set up the Ryan-Hutter Investment Partnership, which remains an important part of Ryan's finances with assets of up to half a million dollars, according to the congressman's 2011 financial disclosure statement. Ryan continues as the general partner running the entity for the family.

Court records indicate Ryan's father left a probate estate of $428,000, though the number of assets existing outside the will or the probate remains unknown. Ryan was to receive $50,000 when he turned 30. The will leaves the bulk of the estate to Ryan's mother, who now lives in an oceanfront condo in Florida.

In addition to the Ryan-Hutter Investment Partnership, Ryan also benefits from another family entity, Ryan Limited Partnership, which was established in March 1995 by an aunt. Ryan's share of that is worth up to $500,000. Ryan makes no investment decisions in either partnership, the campaign spokesman said.

By the time Ryan had entered Congress in 1999 at the age of 28 and filed his first disclosure statement, he reported assets between $167,000 and $1.3 million, owned a home and had three rental units.

The next year, Ryan married Janna Little, a tax attorney, and his income skyrocketed. (Ryan reported gross income of $323,416 in 2011.)

Of the Ryans' maximum estimated assets of $7.6 million, Janna's holdings account for about $6.5 million. She is the daughter of Dan and Prudence Little, two lawyers in Madill, Okla., who over the years have overseen a vast network of land and oil and gas mineral rights in the Red River area straddling southern Oklahoma and northern Texas.
The wealth derived from Janna's grandfather, Reuel Winfred Little, a self-made millionaire several times over in oil and gas interests and other ventures. He arrived in Madill in 1927 after graduating from the University of Oklahoma law school, with just $25 and a second-hand typewriter. He invented and patented a type of injector used to poison trees, the Little Tree Injector. He made separate fortunes in legal work and redeveloping former military housing.

Meanwhile, the Ryan extended family was building up its own empire in construction, starting with Patrick Ryan, the congressman's great-grandfather. Ryan's branch of the family did not stay in the construction business, and Ryan has no financial interest in it today, the campaign spokesman said. But in 1998, when Ryan returned to Janesville to begin his first run for Congress, he briefly took a job with Ryan Inc. Central, a Wisconsin-based road grading company.

The Ryan roots run deep in Janesville.

Patriarch Patrick Ryan sent Ryan's grandfather, Stanley M. Ryan, to the University of Wisconsin law school, and he was named U.S. attorney for the western district of Wisconsin when he was 24 by President Harding. He rose to prominence in Janesville as a private attorney, serving on a bank board and as chairman of the fire and police commission. When he died, judges from all over the state came to his funeral. Ryan's father was also a prominent attorney, practicing in Janesville until his death.

Ryan and his family now live in a Georgian Revival home in Janesville that was once owned by the president of the Parker Pen Co. and former chairman of the state Republican Party. The congressman's aunt, uncle, cousin and brother all live within blocks of his home in the historic Courthouse Hill district.

And previous posts on this subject from MeanMesa: