Posts Tagged ‘congress’

image courtesy of

image courtesy of

Once again the Grand Old Party has a prime opportunity to do the right thing by ending federal funding of the nation’s #1 abortion provider.

The moral scandal of Planned Parenthood helping to facilitate the sale of body parts of aborted children – exposed in living (pardon the grotesque pun), graphic detail in a series of (appropriately) deliberately humiliating videos – should be more than enough of a reason to end any and all Federal funding of that organization.

Once again, however, the GOP is its own worst enemy.

I say “should be” enough of a reason because, beyond the fact that in the court of public opinion the GOP has already failed miserably, these videos are not necessary to make the case.

The Pro Life Movement and the Republican Party have chosen to focus on these videos as some magic bullet or smoking gun that will rip from Planned Parenthood’s grip a half billion dollars in Federal Aid. Why?

One need only look at the absolutely irrelevant and distracting form of argument employed by the chief prosecutor of this ‘case’ – House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah – to understand that the GOP has already lost the argument.

In Tuesday’s ‘questioning’ of {read: attempt to humiliate} Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards,  Chaffetz insisted that “the question before us is: Does this organization — does Planned Parenthood really need a federal subsidy?”

By framing the discussion this way, Chaffetz, Pro Life activists  and the GOP ceded the case to Planned Parenthood…..and Ms. Richards and the abortion zealots know it.

Observe that Ms. Chaffetz handily brushed aside all questions regarding the ethics of funding this organization in light of the videos in question:

“The outrageous accusations leveled against Planned Parenthood based on heavily doctored videos are offensive and categorically untrue. I realize, though, that the facts have never gotten in the way of these campaigns to block women from health care they need and deserve”

That the videos are NOT edited beyond the removal of scenes showing participants taking bathroom breaks, paying the meal check, ordering drink refills, etc,  is beyond the point now. That the videos clearly show discussions of the illegal sale of body parts and discussions of a consistent practice of illegally altering abortion methods for the purpose of ensuring intact body parts for sale is beyond the point now also.

The opportunity to make the case for defunding Planned Parenthood has been effectively squandered thus far because the opponents have ceded to Planned Parenthood and its supporters the critical ethical point.

If indeed, as Chaffetz says, the entire question hinges on whether Planned Parenthood ‘need{s} a Federal subsidy’ (or, as Ms. Richards puts it, whether to ‘block women from health care they need and deserve”), who would dare to say ‘no’?

Some have argued that because Planned Parenthood is awash in cash they do not ‘need’ more from the government. However, if ‘need’ is the deciding criteria,  the fact that Planned Parenthood  has only spent a fraction of the funding they have received becomes irrelevant. Women (and men) will always ‘need’ more.

Some have argued that the videos are a fair and accurate representation of Planned Parenthood’s ethical corruption. They argue that because the videos are accurate no more tax money should go to such an organization. However, if ‘need’ is the criteria, what good are arguments about video editing, fungible cash, or the question of funding something another person abhors?

Where ‘need’ is the deciding factor, who would dare to say ‘no’?

Some of us, however, have no problem with saying:  ‘hell no’.

Some of us understand that the videos are irrelevant. Some of us understand that the question of ‘need’ is instead the smoking gun and the magic bullet.

You ‘need’ the cash, Planned Parenthood? So what? By what right do you dare to insist that tax payers give it to you? You ‘need’ the condoms, the birth control pills, the abortion, or the pap smear, Planned Parenthood client? So what? By what right and by what standard do you demand that your neighbor pay for it?

Why MUST one person pay for the carelessness, poor judgement, unfortunate happenstances, wants, wishes, desires or NEEDS of another? Why is your need a claim on my paycheck, my tax dollars, my labor or my life?


When Planned Parenthood and its supporters can give a coherent, rational affirmative answer to THAT question, then and only then should anyone be discussing whether to force others to fund them.



from “The Second Coming” by William Butler Yeats

image courtesy of google images and is owned by

image courtesy of google images and is owned by



[Previously posted on Marbles In a Jar]



No issue we face today is more socially relevant and topical to us as individuals, as families, and as a free nation than self-governance.

Is not self-governance the underlying premise we deal in when talking about gay marriage, religious freedom, crime, drug use, personal responsibility, abortion, the role of government, taxes, income inequality, or any host of subjects which make their way to the evening news and our Facebook pages?

It is possible that Michigan has become the 34th state to direct Congress to call a Constitutional Convention, thus triggering an historical first. If this is the case – and if a Convention is called by Congress (as would be required by the Constitution under Article V) – for the first time in known human history a great swath of citizens will have wide latitude and power to decide for themselves their own direction, independent of their leadership. We are perhaps entering uncharted territory.

The purpose of this piece is not to argue the relative merits of a Constitutional Convention – these have been elaborated on by others far more articulate then I, notably Chief Justice Warren Burger and the John Birch Society (against); The Goldwater Institute and Citizens for Self Governance (for). This piece seeks instead to focus on what a potential Constitutional Convention implies for the Republic and for the nation; I’ll be focusing on the issue of self-governance.

What does it even mean to be self-governing? If we are a Constitutional Republic – if we elect folks to represent our interests while they govern us – are we not then by definition self-governing? One would think so, but think of how many times we say to our friends (and to ourselves) “it doesn’t matter what I say, they (gov’t leaders) will do what they want”?

How many times have we gone to the polls (or have refused to go) saying ”it doesn’t make a difference anyway”? How many times have we complained about some policy or some issue, believing that our voice simply is not heard amid the cacophony of self-aggrandizement, legislative lobbying, and campaign dollars?

In relation to self-governance, on either side of the political divide there is much talk about ‘personal responsibility’ when it comes to a whole host of the nation’s ‘problems’. These folks have a vested interest in a possible Constitutional Convention. They have made their positions clear.

It’s not, however,  just in the issues of politics and government that self-governance comes into play.

When we talk about taking responsibility, we are implicitly talking about self-governance.  When we speak of taking a stand on the issues that concern us, our families, and our communities, we are speaking of self-governance. When we make our positions known to our friends, our community, or in the comment sections of our favorite blog – and when we must defend that opinion – we are taking ‘personal responsibility’ for what we believe. If we seek to be taken seriously we are prepared, then, to live by the principles we preach to others. Doing this is an act of self-governance – and is the act that matters most.

Life is nothing if not living by the principles we espouse and doing our level best to live those principles consistently. Personal responsibility is the willingness, the desire, and a plan to live no other way. Self-governance, then, is the method and means of putting personal responsibility into action. Such self-governance is an act and a badge of honor.

Honor, the philosopher Ayn Rand noted, is  “self esteem made visible in action”. More than our nation’s governance is put to the challenge in the case of a Constitutional Convention, as well as in the arguments for and against it’s relative merits.

Our honor,our sense of selves, our identity as a nation of individuals – also are.

Lest folks think that we the people are today not acclimated to self-governance, that we are unable or unwilling to apply personal responsibility to that end, I’ll remind them that  in his letter to William C. Jarvis (1820), Thomas Jefferson said:

“I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of Constitutional power.”

As history is made around us, we are called to great acts of self-governance and personal responsibility.  These are a high calling, and ought not to be taken lightly. Our futures – and that of our posterity – is watching to see what we do with the awesome responsibility that awaits us.

May we act wisely.