Drinking The Kool-Aid

Second in a series

Colorado Springs shooting suspect Robert Lewis Dear of North Carolina is seen in  undated photos provided by the El Paso County Sheriff's Office. A gunman burst into a Planned Parenthood clinic Friday, Nov. 27, 2015 and opened fire, launching several gunbattles and an hourslong standoff with police as patients and staff took cover. By the time the shooter surrendered, at least three people were killed, including a police officer and at least nine others were wounded, authorities said.  (El Paso County Sheriff's Office via AP)

Colorado Springs shooting suspect Robert Lewis Dear of North Carolina is seen in undated photos provided by the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office. A gunman burst into a Planned Parenthood clinic Friday, Nov. 27, 2015 and opened fire, launching several gunbattles and an hourslong standoff with police as patients and staff took cover. By the time the shooter surrendered, at least three people were killed, including a police officer and at least nine others were wounded, authorities said. (El Paso County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

As it turns out, it was not really Kool-Aid the followers of Jim Jones drank nearly 40 years ago. It was a drink named Flavor Aid, but it was much like Kool-Aid, apparently with an added ingredient. But that’s another story.

This story is about propagandists who grow to believe their own stuff. As I noted in the previous post, propaganda is an effective tool at getting people to act in the way you want. I cited as an example the career of Dr. Joseph Goebbels, the German Minister of Propaganda and Public Enlightenment from March 1933 until his self-directed death on 1 May 1945. The tragedy of Dr. Goebbels (and his wife and six children) is that he so believed in his contrived portrayal of the splendor of National Socialism that, as the end drew near, he chose not to live in a world without it. There may still be some of that going around. In the previous post I noted this (see the link above):

In the case of David Daleiden, I don’t think he will go full Jonestown, but it will not be pretty. Daleiden may say he’s looking forward to deposing PPFA, but when the full spotlight is turned onto his enterprise, its hollowness will be unfavorably exposed.

While there is no threat that Daleiden will go full Jonestown, he has apparently gone partially Joseph Goebbels. His belief in his own propaganda regarding Planned Parenthood (PPFA) has now directed his life toward the consequences of his error:

Prosecutors in Harris County said one of the leaders of the Center for Medical Progress — an anti-abortion group that made secretly recorded videos purporting to show Planned Parenthood officials trying to illegally profit from the sale of fetal tissue — had been indicted on a charge of tampering with a governmental record, a felony, and on a misdemeanor charge related to purchasing human organs.

That leader, David R. Daleiden, 27, the director of the center, had posed as a biotechnology representative to infiltrate Planned Parenthood affiliates and surreptitiously record his efforts to procure tissue for research. Another center employee, Sandra S. Merritt, 62, was indicted on a felony charge of tampering with a governmental record.

The record-tampering charges accused Mr. Daleiden and Ms. Merritt of making and presenting fake California driver’s licenses, with the intent to defraud, for their April meeting at Planned Parenthood in Houston.

Creating and using a forged driver’s license—that’s the kind of thing you do when you want to cash a phony check. Prosecutors take a dim view of such activities. Daleiden used the fake driver’s licenses in order to pose as a company official negotiating to obtain fetal tissue from the PPFA by illegal means. The ploy was to entrap the PPFA into committing the illegal act of selling such materials. Things did not turn out the way Mr. Daleiden had hoped. The New York Times went on to report:

On Monday, the Harris County district attorney, Devon Anderson, said in a statement that grand jurors had cleared Planned Parenthood of any wrongdoing.

This is the same conclusion reached by all of the several law enforcement agencies that have reviewed the case. The only people breaking the law appear to have been Daleiden and people working with him.

The bizarre episode has not yet run its course. There remain a few still eyeing the cups of Kool-Aid. As The New York Times reports:

Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, said on Monday that the inspector general of the state’s Health and Human Services Commission and the Texas attorney general’s office have been investigating Planned Parenthood’s actions.

“Nothing about today’s announcement in Harris County impacts the state’s ongoing investigation,” Mr. Abbott said in a statement. “The State of Texas will continue to protect life, and I will continue to support legislation prohibiting the sale or transfer of fetal tissue.”

The state attorney general, Ken Paxton, said in a statement: “The fact remains that the videos exposed the horrific nature of abortion and the shameful disregard for human life of the abortion industry. The state’s investigation of Planned Parenthood is ongoing.”

The case here started in August, when Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, a Republican and an outspoken opponent of abortion and Planned Parenthood, asked Ms. Anderson to open a criminal investigation into the organization. His request came after the release of an undercover video recorded at a Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast office in Houston with a research official for the organization.

Drink up, Mr. Paxton. You will never want to drink any other. History bears this out.

Drinking The Kool-Aid

Colorado Springs shooting suspect Robert Lewis Dear of North Carolina is seen in undated photos provided by the El Paso County Sheriff's Office. A gunman burst into a Planned Parenthood clinic Friday, Nov. 27, 2015 and opened fire, launching several gunbattles and an hourslong standoff with police as patients and staff took cover. By the time the shooter surrendered, at least three people were killed, including a police officer and at least nine others were wounded, authorities said. (El Paso County Sheriff's Office via AP)

This is going to be interesting. The organization Center for Medical Progress has reacted to a law suit brought by Planned Parenthood. Despite the name, CMP is not so much a center for medical progress as it is a force working to oppose legal medical abortions in the United States. The full name of Planned Parenthood is Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA). Its focus is reproductive health services and counseling for women as well as families seeking to manage family growth. Services include legal medical abortions as well as assistance with pregnancy prevention and prenatal health. Abortion services account about 3% of PPFA services, but that is enough to make them a target of the CMP. David Daleiden is the founder of CMP:

Daleiden set up a fake biomedical research company, called Biomax Procurement Services, as a cover to enable activists to pose as buyers of fetal tissues and organs and secretly record Planned Parenthood officials during meetings.

Ten videos produced by Daleiden have been released to the public, and they purport to show PPFA personnel arranging the sale of fetal tissue, for profit, to “Biomax.” Such a business arrangement, if actually entered into, would be a violation of federal law and the laws of several states. Violation of these laws would bring criminal sanctions against individual participants as well as against PPFA. The apparent objective of Daleiden and his cohorts was exactly to do such damage to PPFA.

When Daleiden’s videos were made public the reaction was vehement from certain members of Congress and from a number of current presidential candidates. PPFA stood to lose public funding in the amount of $530 million a year.

The problem with the videos is that the alleged illegal activity never took place. The videos were heavily edited and arranged to give the impression of illegal activity, but investigation by law enforcement agencies failed to find any evidence of criminal activity on the part of PPFA. The videos have turned out to be nothing more than propaganda pieces engineered to cause trouble for PPFA.

Of course, the classic aim of propaganda is to convey wrong impressions to the benefit of the propagandist. It’s an aged and venerable art. One of the masters of the previous century was Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Minister of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda. I have previously reviewed the Heinrich Fraenkel and Roger Manvell book on Goebbels’ life and death.

What can go wrong with a really effective propaganda program is that the perpetrator can fall victim to his own campaign. That’s apparently what happened with Goebbels. When the Nazi regime collapsed he and his wife decided they did not want to live in a world without National Socialism. Neither did they want their children to. They poisoned all six and had guards shoot the parents.

Is Daleiden going the Goebbels route? There’s the possibility. Statements he has made in response to the PPFA suit suggest this:

The Center for Medical Progress’ David Daleiden called the lawsuit “frivolous” and a “last-ditch move of desperation.”

“Game on,” he said in a statement. “I look forward to deposing all the CEOs, medical directors, and their co-conspirators who participated in Planned Parenthood’s illegal baby body parts racket.”

It’s hard to escape that Daleiden actually believes, in the face of strong evidence to the contrary, that his propaganda videos contain an element of truth. If he does, he is not alone. These convictions are shared by a number of otherwise cogent individuals, including at least one notaable candidate for President of the United States:

At Debate, Carly Fiorina Described Scenes Not in Abortion Videos

Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina won applause in Wednesday’s debate for her vivid description of a live fetus she said was shown in an antiabortion group’s undercover video about Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

But the image she described isn’t in any of the videos released by the antiabortion group. Instead, one video from the group depicts a former employee of a tissue procurement company stating what she says she saw at a Planned Parenthood clinic. There was never any video that depicted, as Ms. Fiorina stated, a live fetus on a table being prepared for organ harvesting.

In the case of David Daleiden, I don’t think he will go full Jonestown, but it will not be pretty. Daleiden may say he’s looking forward to deposing PPFA, but when the full spotlight is turned onto his enterprise, its hollowness will be unfavorably exposed. He should have taken a lesson from oddball gunman Robert Dear. Also Herr and Frau Goebbels: Don’t drink the Kool-Aid.

The Edge Of Civilization

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I may have discovered the edge of civilization, and it turns out to be closer than I thought. By “civilization” I don’t mean the strict definition, but the meaning generally attributed. Civilization is people working together in harmony for the common good. It may be we are close to the edge.

The precipice heaves into view when prominent elected officials leave good intentions behind and launch into malice aforethought. Take, for example, the case of Congressman Adam Kinzinger, representing Illinois District 16:

“When I heard that statement, I thought that was very premature. We may find out this person was targeting Planned Parenthood. If we find out he was not targeting Planned Parenthood, I would fully expect an apology from the Planned Parenthood director for saying that.”

That was the congressman yesterday afternoon speaking on the CNN coverage of a mass shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He was responding to a statement released by Vicki Cowart, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains:

Our top priority is the safety of our patients and staff. Our hearts go out to everyone involved in this tragic situation. Planned Parenthood has strong security measures in place, works closely with law enforcement agencies, and has a very strong safety record. We don’t yet know the full circumstances and motives behind this criminal action, and we don’t yet know if Planned Parenthood was in fact the target of this attack. We share the concerns of many Americans that extremists are creating a poisonous environment that feeds domestic terrorism in this country. We will never back away from providing care in a safe, supportive environment that millions of people rely on and trust.

While the shooter was still holed up in the clinic and as the lives of a police officer and two civilians slipped away, Congressman Kinzinger offered additional wisdom to cover the tragedy:

We saw these barbaric videos, and that was something that many of us have a legitimate concern about.

Congressman Kinzinger was referring to doctored videos released early this year by The Center for Medical Progress, an organization opposed to abortion:

The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) published an editorial in support of Planned Parenthood’s “efforts to channel fetal tissue into important medical research”. The editorial argued that many medical advances would not have been made without fetal tissue research and that “Planned Parenthood, its physicians, and the researchers who do this work should be praised, not damned.” The NEJM described CMP’s actions as a “campaign of misinformation” and said that it is shameful that CMP “continues to twist the facts to achieve its ends”. In addition, the NEJM praised Planned Parenthood’s contributions to women’s health care and stated that the “contraception services that Planned Parenthood delivers may be the single greatest effort to prevent the unwanted pregnancies that result in abortions”.

The editorial board of The New York Times described CMP’s actions as a “campaign of deception against Planned Parenthood”, and wrote that the “video campaign is a dishonest attempt to make legal, voluntary and potentially lifesaving tissue donations appear nefarious and illegal”. Supporters of Planned Parenthood have complained that the videos were “highly edited”, although the Center for Medical Progress has released unedited videos along with the much shorter edited versions. Defending the release of the videos in the Washington Post, columnist Charles Krauthammer said “these revelations will have an effect on public perceptions . . . by throwing open the door to the backroom where (the developing infant in utero) is destroyed”.

Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, “personally apologize[d] for the staff member’s tone and statements”, saying the videos were “unacceptable”. Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of PPFA, stated: “The latest [fifth] tape has at least 20 substantial and unexplained edits. Previous tapes released by this extremist group were ‘heavily edited’ in order to distort what was actually said. These videos are intended to shock and deceive the public.”[16] In a letter to a Congressional committee, PPFA wrote: “A group of extremists who have intimidated women and doctors for years—in their agenda to ban abortion completely—are not ‘documenting’ misdeeds; they are trying to create them, quite unsuccessfully.”

In response to Planned Parenthood, CMP stated that “we look forward to showing the public more clear evidence that Planned Parenthood routinely profits from the sale of baby parts and changes the abortion procedures it uses on pregnant women in order to do so”.

Congressman Kinzinger is not the only politician stepping close to the divide between civilization and desolation. Carly Fiorina, former head of Hewlett-Packard Corporation and currently a candidate for president of the United States, went beyond the pale and expressed revulsion at a video not even associated with Planned Parenthood:

As regards Planned Parenthood, anyone who has watched this video tape—I dare Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama to watch these tapes. Watch 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.

Ms. Fiorina was subsequently unable to produce a copy of this video.

Yesterday was not Congressman Kinzinger’s first trip to the dark well. Fact is, he’s quite the authority:

Thursday morning Illinois congressman Adam Kinzinger was on 1440 WROK’s morning show and was asked about the Planned Parenthood videos which show the nations largest abortion provider cavalierly talking about the price for harvesting organs and other body parts from aborted babies.

Kinzinger said that the videos were reminiscent of the experiments Nazi doctors conducted at the concentration camps.

“Look this is barbaric. I mean it’s Nazi Germany…you think of the doctors in the concentration camps experimenting on their victims it’s kind of reminiscent of that.  To see a cold-hearted, I’d use a word I can’t utter on the radio, you know negotiating callously the parts of a child is just, I mean you’d never imagine anything like this happening in America….You can’t justify this.”

For the record, at this time there is no demonstrated connection between the attack and any anti-abortion motives of shooter Robert Lewis Dear:

Officials were not immediately able to establish a motive for the deadly shootingat a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic on Friday. But on Saturday, a picture of the suspected gunman, Robert Lewis Dear, began to emerge.

The city of Colorado Springs confirmed his identity on Saturday morning and released a booking photo of the bearded 57-year-old from North Carolina. He is suspected of opening fire at the women’s health clinic just before noon on Friday, the beginning of an hours-long standoff with police.

Colorado Springs police lieutenant Catherine Buckley said on Friday it was too early to determine the suspect’s motive.

“We don’t have any information on this individual’s mentality, or his ideas or ideology,” she said.

Mayor John Suthers reaffirmed these comments on Saturday, though he added that people could make “inferences from where [the shooting] took place”.

If Congressman Kinzinger has been reticent about making the connection, others have not been so restrained:

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I have some advice for Congressman Kinzinger. Don’t distance yourself from these people and their sentiments. Get comfortable with them. You need them. They’re your people. They vote for you.

And keep in touch. We look forward to receiving additional from your well of wisdom. As we step closer to the edge.

Not Now, Jody

One of a continuing series

Chapter Two

As mentioned, I’m spending some time reviewing  It’s Now Or Never: A Call to Reclaim America by Georgia Congressman Jody Hice. Go back to the initial post to get my overview of the book and the lowdown on the front matter. I’m reviewing the book a chapter at a time. These reviews comprise taking quotations from the book and providing appropriate comment. This is Chapter Two, titled “Bigger Than Life.” Here’s how it starts:

No doubt you are very concerned with the direction of our nation or you would not be reading this book. More than likely, among other key issues, you believe in the sanctity of life.

Dr. Jody Hice (2012-01-13). It’s Now Or Never: A Call to Reclaim America (p. 40). WestBowPress. Kindle Edition.

Actually, I’m reading this book because I promised to review it and to post the review on the Skeptical Analysis blog. A lot of this chapter seems to be concerned with the matter of abortion rights (or not) in this country. Congressman Hice cites some pertinent statistics:

I must state the obvious in no uncertain terms. We are in a life and death struggle! Since the legalization of abortion in 1973, America has averaged about 1.2 million abortions per year.

Dr. Jody Hice (2012-01-13). It’s Now Or Never: A Call to Reclaim America (pp. 40-41). WestBowPress. Kindle Edition.

These numbers are in line with my own Internet research. Hice wants to take additional issue with these numbers:

A child is multiple-times more likely to die in the womb than are American soldiers in combat.

Dr. Jody Hice (2012-01-13). It’s Now Or Never: A Call to Reclaim America (p. 42). WestBowPress. Kindle Edition.

This is true and even more so. The womb is a dangerous place for human life, abortion notwithstanding.

A miscarriage is the loss of a baby before the 20th week of pregnancy.

According to the March of Dimes, as many as 50% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage — most often before a woman misses a menstrual period or even knows she is pregnant. About 15% of recognized pregnancies will end in a miscarriage.

More than 80% of miscarriages occur within the first three months of pregnancy. They are less likely to occur after 20 weeks’ gestation; if they do, they are called late miscarriages.

So Congressman Hice’s statement has little meaning taken by itself. What matters to the congressman and to a number of other politicians, as well as a vast number of genuinely-concerned voters, is artificially induced abortions. A little research shows this (from Guttmacher Institute):

  • Half of pregnancies among American women are unintended, and about four in 10 of these end in abortion.
  • About half of American women will have an unintended pregnancy, and nearly 3 in 10 will have an abortion, by age 45.
  • The overall U.S. unintended pregnancy rate increased slightly between 1994 and 2008, but unintended pregnancy increased 55% among poor women, while decreasing 24% among higher-income women.
  • Overall, the abortion rate decreased 8% between 2000 and 2008, but abortion increased 18% among poor women, while decreasing 28% among higher-income women.
  • Some 1.06 million abortions were performed in 2011, down from 1.21 million abortions in 2008, a decline of 13%.
  • The number of U.S. abortion providers declined 4% between 2008 (1,793) and 2011 (1,720). The number of clinics providing abortion services declined 1%, from 851 to 839. Eighty-nine percent of all U.S. counties lacked an abortion clinic in 2011; 38% of women live in those counties.
  • Nine in 10 abortions occur in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
  • A broad cross section of U.S. women have abortions:

58% are in their 20s;

61% have one or more children;

56% are unmarried and not cohabiting;

69% are economically disadvantaged; and

73% report a religious affiliation.

Guttmacher Institute has additional information of interest. First New York:

In New York, 441,800 of the 4,044,241 women of reproductive age became pregnant in 2011. 55% of these pregnancies resulted in live births and 31% in induced abortions.

Then Pennsylvania:

In Pennsylvania, 212,400 of the 2,434,698 women of reproductive age became pregnant in 2011. 67% of these pregnancies resulted in live births and 17% in induced abortions.

And now Georgia, Congressman Hice’s home state:

In Georgia, 197,300 of the 2,077,660 women of reproductive age became pregnant in 2011. 67% of these pregnancies resulted in live births and 18% in induced abortions.

I picked Georgia out of the database as a starter. Then I picked New York and Pennsylvania as not representative of Georgia’s religiosity. Notoriously secular New York does lead in induced abortions. Pennsylvania, no semblance to a red-neck state, would appear more averse to abortion. Georgia, maybe not the buckle of the Bible Belt but a contender for the “hangy-down,” has less discomfort with abortion than the more cosmopolitan Pennsylvania. Is it possible that Bible thumping and “respect for life” do not strongly track?

Additional searching does show a correlation between region and acceptance for abortion. New York, New Jersey and Connecticut lead over Texas, Mississippi and Georgia. Readers are invited run down the stats and determine for themselves whether (presumed) religiosity inoculates against disrespect for life.

Additional data put into light some of the congressman’s subsequent statements:

Since 1973, abortion has reduced the black population by over 25 percent!

Dr. Jody Hice (2012-01-13). It’s Now Or Never: A Call to Reclaim America (p. 42). WestBowPress. Kindle Edition.

This is a little bit of fiction by the congressman. The truth is that in 1970 the black population of the United States was 22,580,289. As of 2012 it was 44,456,009. That’s hardly a 25 percent reduction. It’s politics entering into a discussion of serious issues.

As everyone knows, Planned Parenthood operates the nation’s largest chain of abortion clinics. What you may not know is that almost 80 percent of its facilities are located in minority neighborhoods.

Dr. Jody Hice (2012-01-13). It’s Now Or Never: A Call to Reclaim America (p. 43). WestBowPress. Kindle Edition.

Without checking the facts, I’m going to assume Congressman Hice’s statistics are accurate on this count. And the reason “almost 80 percent of its facilities are located in minority neighborhoods” is …? I will leave it to readers to come up with the answer.

Congressman Hice also gets into some real issues with the Planned Parenthood organization.

The mission of Live Action started when Lila, then a student at UCLA, began posing as a 15 year old who was pregnant as the result of a relationship with a much older boyfriend. With a hidden audio recorder, she would enter a Planned Parenthood clinic and explain the scenario. Her intent was to discover how Planned Parenthood would react to a statutory rape case.

Dr. Jody Hice (2012-01-13). It’s Now Or Never: A Call to Reclaim America (p. 43). WestBowPress. Kindle Edition.

There is little doubt on the surface that Planned Parenthood staffers acted inappropriately in many of the situations caught on video. Specifically, they did not immediately refuse to cooperate with the fake sex offender and with the fake pimp. No prosecutions came from these cases, since there was, in fact, no criminal activity involved. The child rapist was a fake, and the pimp was a fake.

In February 2011, Rose released undercover videos from Planned Parenthood facilities in several cities. These show an unidentified man and woman posing as a pimp and a prostitute, soliciting advice from Planned Parenthood staff on how to procure abortions and birth control for underage sex workers whom the pimp “manages.” Rose said that the videos proved that Planned Parenthood intentionally breaks laws and covers up abuse. In response to the videos, Planned Parenthood claimed to have reported the incidents to the FBI but also stated that over 11,000 staffers “who have contact with patients and teens” would be “retrained.” Planned Parenthood also claimed to have reported to the FBI at least 12 visits to its clinics by the man in the videos prior to their publication.

No criminal charges or investigations resulted from the videos. Rose asked Ken Cuccinelli, then the attorney general of Virginia, to investigate Planned Parenthood as a result of the videos. He conceded during a Fox interview that he lacks “an actual case of it on film” – meaning a case that involves victims instead of actors pretending to run a sex-slave business. Cuccinelli went on to say, “But what you do have is clearly an open willingness of several organizations, meaning subsidiaries of Planned Parenthood nationally in the same category, sex trafficking of minors, and an open willingness to participate in this.”

Some of this has been previously covered by Skeptical Analysis:

O’Keefe even went one better. In his final releases he showed himself dressed in a classic 1970s pimp garb, but not in the offices he visited, where he wore a business suit.

Even though government investigations found no illegal activity on the part of ACORN or its employees, there was immediate reaction from conservative media and politicians. Federal ties to the organization were cut, and ACORN’s government funding was not withheld. The organization closed down in 2010.

Chapter Two does not dwell exclusively on the anti-abortion issue:

Today, we are being ordered to comply with a host of ridiculous government requirements. For example, we are being told that only non-reproducing GMO (genetically modified) seeds can be used in our gardens. What authority does the government have to tell you what kind of seeds to use? They are telling us what kind of light bulbs to use and which toilets to use.

Dr. Jody Hice (2012-01-13). It’s Now Or Never: A Call to Reclaim America (pp. 47-48). WestBowPress. Kindle Edition.

The government requirement that I use GMO seeds in my garden has yet to be handed down to me by my local Kommissar. I will await further instructions before launching into a discussion of that. The matter of light bulbs is another matter. Here is what Wikipedia has to say on the matter:

In December 2007, the federal government enacted the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which contains legislation to make incandescent light bulbs more efficient by setting maximum wattage requirements for all general service Incandescent light bulbs producing 310–2600 lumens of light. Light bulbs outside of this range are exempt from the restrictions. Also exempt are several classes of specialty lights, including appliance lamps, rough service bulbs, 3-way, colored lamps, stage lighting, plant lights, candelabra lights under 60 watts, outdoor post lights less than 100 watts, nightlights and shatter resistant bulbs. This effectively banned the manufacturing or importing of most incandescent bulbs of that time.

The timeline for these standards was to start in January 2012, but on 16 December 2011, the U.S. House passed the final 2012 budget legislation, which effectively delayed the implementation until October 2012.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency‘s Energy Star program in March 2008 established rules for labeling lamps that meet a set of standards for efficiency, starting time, life expectancy, color, and consistency of performance. The intent of the program is to reduce consumer concerns about efficient light bulbs due to variable quality of products. Those CFLs with a recent Energy Star certification start in less than one second and do not flicker. Energy Star Light Bulbs for Consumers is a resource for finding and comparing Energy Star qualified lamps.

By 2020, a second tier of restrictions would become effective, which requires all general-purpose bulbs to produce at least 45 lumens per watt (similar to current CFLs). Exemptions from the Act include reflector flood, 3-way, candelabra, colored, and other specialty bulbs.

In 2011, Republican House members introduced a Better Use of Light Bulbs Act or BULB Act (H.R. 91), which would have repealed Subtitle B of Title III of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. H.R. 2417 failed to pass in the U.S. House.

In 2014 the spending bill proposed by the House would block the energy efficiency standards in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which would have made incandescent light bulbs obsolete.

What is so curious about all of this is how it relates to Congressman Hice’s earlier position. If people followed the Judeo-Christian lifestyle there would be less need for government oversight. I’m right now searching for what our Judeo-Christian heritage has to say about conserving natural resources and reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

Here is what Skeptical Analysis had to say about the matter:

If only there were any substance to it. Let’s take a look at some reality. A quick visit to Home Depot reveals the following:

$6.97 / package:
$8.97 / case:

What happened to the $6.34 each for CFLs? Where did that price come from? How long did it take the person composing the little ditty above to come up with such a number? It could have taken a while. Writing fiction can be tedious. How about the $0.42 each for incandescents? Let me know where I can get them. Home Depot has its own price:

Model # 60A/RVL-6PK
$8.77 / package

The congressman puts a practical focus on his agenda:

In addition to the legal reasons, there are also economic grounds for defunding Planned Parenthood. With our nation on the verge of economic collapse and in desperate need of implementing budgetary cuts, there is not better a place to start.

Dr. Jody Hice (2012-01-13). It’s Now Or Never: A Call to Reclaim America (p. 48). WestBowPress. Kindle Edition.

Yes, defund Planned Parenthood and slash the budget. I find that very interesting.

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More interesting quotes from Chapter Two:

Finally, there is the issue of forcing taxpayers to fund something so contentious.

Dr. Jody Hice (2012-01-13). It’s Now Or Never: A Call to Reclaim America (p. 49). WestBowPress. Kindle Edition.

Yes, that is a problem.

Photo from Google Images by The New York Times

Photo from Google Images by The New York Times

Mat Staver is founder of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law. On his Freedom’s Call radio program in March of 2011, Staver commented that about 70% of all abortions in America are from professing Christians.

Dr. Jody Hice (2012-01-13). It’s Now Or Never: A Call to Reclaim America (p. 50). WestBowPress. Kindle Edition.

See above statistics on abortions.

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I knew it! I knew it. Congressman Hice was sooner or later bound to touch on the topic of biological evolution:

We can try to blame Hollywood, the video-game industry, the music industry or evolutionary teaching within the classroom. Ultimately, the blame lies with us.

Dr. Jody Hice (2012-01-13). It’s Now Or Never: A Call to Reclaim America (p. 50). WestBowPress. Kindle Edition.

The lesson is, teach science in the classrooms, and you are asking for trouble.

The congressman’s insight in some instances is absolutely breathtaking:

How remarkable that so many have been duped into believing that our Founders actually intended the right to kill babies to be in the Constitution, but protection for life is not. No! That concept was unquestionably invented and has been judicially forced upon us. Abortion is clearly unconstitutional!

Dr. Jody Hice (2012-01-13). It’s Now Or Never: A Call to Reclaim America (p. 53). WestBowPress. Kindle Edition.

Along with Congressman Hice, I too have noticed the numerous references to abortion in the Constitution.

In a section titled “The Holy Scriptures,” Congressman Hice has something of significance to remark:

Secondly, we should never be ashamed or shy about using Scripture to defend the issue of life.

Dr. Jody Hice (2012-01-13). It’s Now Or Never: A Call to Reclaim America (p. 54). WestBowPress. Kindle Edition.

Yes, we should consult the holy scriptures when considering the value of human life:

Deuteronomy 13:13-18 King James Version (KJV)

13 Certain men, the children of Belial, are gone out from among you, and have withdrawn the inhabitants of their city, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which ye have not known;

14 Then shalt thou enquire, and make search, and ask diligently; and, behold, if it be truth, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought among you;

15 Thou shalt surely smite the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, destroying it utterly, and all that is therein, and the cattle thereof, with the edge of the sword.

16 And thou shalt gather all the spoil of it into the midst of the street thereof, and shalt burn with fire the city, and all the spoil thereof every whit, for theLord thy God: and it shall be an heap for ever; it shall not be built again.

17 And there shall cleave nought of the cursed thing to thine hand: that the Lordmay turn from the fierceness of his anger, and shew thee mercy, and have compassion upon thee, and multiply thee, as he hath sworn unto thy fathers;

18 When thou shalt hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, to keep all his commandments which I command thee this day, to do that which is right in the eyes of the Lord thy God.

Congressman Hice is correct, readers, in reminding us to consult the scriptures when considering political options and when promoting people to public office.

Coming up next: Chapter Three, “Marriage: It’s Not About Love.” Bound to be interesting.

Keep reading. And may Jesus have mercy on your soul.

Candidates Acting Stupidly

One of a continuing series

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Yes they do, readers. Politicians do sometimes, not always but once in a while, act stupidly. And in public. Last time it was presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Who’s up next? It appears that Senator Marco Rubio from Florida is (one of) the most recent to get in front of a TV camera with his fly unzipped. Won’t be the first time. Not likely to be the last time. Here is what he did. See the video. The conversation starts 14 minutes and 55 seconds in:

Senator Rubio: [Speaking of Planned Parenthood] I believe they have lost that right, that they have lost that privilege because of what these videos have revealed. So what I have argued is, let’s take the money that Planned Parenthood gets, let’s not cut a penny, and let’s take it from Planned Parenthood, and let’s give it to federally-qualified health centers across this country who provide services to women, women’s health services, but do not provide abortions. There is a strong bi-partisan consensus in America that taxpayer money should not be used to fund abortions. And in the case of Planned Parenthood, number one it is very unclear how all that money is intermingled, and number 2 they have now been exposed for being involved in the trafficking of fetal human tissue for profit.

Interviewer: [asks about people who benefit from donated human tissue, followed by a discussion of the benefits of this practice]

Senator Rubio: That’s different from saying we’re going to take the fetal tissue of aborted fetuses, because now what you’ve done is created an industry. Now what you’ve done is you’ve created an incentive for people to be pushed into abortions so that those tissues can be harvested and sold for a profit.

Interviewer: Don’t you think that’s a stretch?

Senator Rubio: No.

Interviewer: Pushing people into abortions?

Senator Rubio: [shakes his head no] Absolutely. If you go to one of these centers, young women are provided very few options. In many places they’re not told anything about, for example, adoption services that might be available to them. The essence is, you come in, and it’s already been predetermined. This is the direction. This is what this place does. It provides abortions, and we’re going to channel you in that direction. And I just think you’ve created an industry now, where you create the situation where very much you’ve created the incentive for people not to just look forward to having more abortions but being able to sell that fetal tissue for purposes… The centers, for purposes of making a profit off of it, as you’ve seen in some of these Planned Parenthood affiliates.

Interviewer: But Planned Parenthood does not make a profit off this. They only recover their costs.

Senator Rubio: Well again, that’s unclear. And that’s one of the things I hope the IRS will look into, as well as the Justice Department. You have these affiliates around the country meeting with who they believe are firms involved in this process, and they’re talking about the idea that this is how we can … these are more profitable transactions for the organizations … that raises more money for the organization. It allows us to bring more money in. The videos at least raise the specter of that, and I think it deserves a full investigation by both the Justice Department, because that would be a practice that’s illegal, and the IRS. And none of those two things are happening now.

Following this the interview launched into a very well informed discussion of the Syrian refugee crisis and the issue of refugees from all over coming to the United States. Here the senator from Florida demonstrated a solid grasp of the facts and a well-reasoned appraisal of the realities. Based on this performance alone he could be considered a worthy candidate for the presidency.

How, then, are we supposed to take Senator Rubio’s dip into stupidity regarding Planned Parenthood?

  • Politics as usual
  • Breathtaking inanity
  • Both

Take your pick. Here is some analysis:

I believe they have lost that right, that they have lost that privilege because of what these videos have revealed.

Really? Planned parenthood has lost the right to be recognized by the government for providing needed services because of what amounts to some faked videos? Hopefully in the event Senator Rubio is elected President he will not exhibit this shortcoming when the chips are down. The prospect is frightening:

President Rubio: Don, we need to invoke sanctions against Mexico.

Secretary of State Trump: Right away, Mr. President. What reason are we going to give?

President Rubio: Why, these videos, of course. They are absolutely disgusting.

Secretary of State Trump: These videos, sir?

President Rubio: Of course these videos. What other videos could I be talking about.

Secretary of State Trump: Begging your pardon, sir, but these videos don’t show anything.

President Rubio: Don’t show anything? Don, are you blind?

Secretary of State Trump: No sir. But I was just looking at these videos. And by the way, they were produced by a concern that calls itself “White Americans Opposed to Everything Mexican.”

President Rubio: What of it. The videos speak for themselves. Mexico is conducting military exercises hostile to the United States.

Secretary of State Trump: Begging your pardon, Mr. President, but these videos simply show Mexican Army field exercises in the Sonora Desert. They do this every five years or so.

President Rubio: God damn it, man, just look at this. Those are 155 mm howitzers, and they’re pointed straight at the United States.

Secretary of State Trump: That’s true, Mr. President. But they’re located 120 miles from the Arizona border. And the range of these guns is only 15 miles.

President Rubio: Don, don’t you see what a provocation this is? The next thing we know these guns will be five miles from the border and ready to lob shells at Fort Huachuca.

Secretary of State Trump: Mr. President, I don’t think you should be saying things like that. Especially outside the Oval Office. Especially when there could be members of the press around. You know, this kind of thing can get around. Voters might get wise. You know what I mean?

President Rubio: The voters be hanged. They don’t care. It’s the kind of thing they want to hear, right?

Others have taken a cut at Senator Rubio’s most recent fountain of wisdom:

There’s not a politician alive who’s dumb enough to suggest that women “look forward to” getting abortions so they can sell their fetal tissue. Rubio seems to realize halfway through his statement that he’s inadvertently accusing people of having abortions so they can raffle off their products of conception, and quickly changes course to make it clear that he’s accusing “these centers” of profiting from that tissue.

History indicates we can expect to harvest additional fruit from this vine:

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) just got serious about a run for the Republican presidential nomination, telling GQ magazine he’s not sure whether Earth was created by God in seven days or in “seven actual eras” and that parents should be encouraged to teach their children “multiple theories” on the Earth’s age.

In the interview, Rubio, who ironically sits on the Senate’s Science Committee, refused to embrace evolution, calling it “one of the great mysteries” of life. “I’m not a scientist, man. I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that’s a dispute amongst theologians and I think it has nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States,” Rubio said in the interview.

He once famously said he is not a scientist. He may not be, but is he a high school graduate? This stuff is taught in all accredited schools:

GQ: How old do you think the Earth is?

Marco Rubio: I’m not a scientist, man. I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that’s a dispute amongst theologians and I think it has nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States. I think the age of the universe has zero to do with how our economy is going to grow. I’m not a scientist. I don’t think I’m qualified to answer a question like that. At the end of the day, I think there are multiple theories out there on how the universe was created and I think this is a country where people should have the opportunity to teach them all. I think parents should be able to teach their kids what their faith says, what science says. Whether the Earth was created in 7 days, or 7 actual eras, I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to answer that. It’s one of the great mysteries.

Could Senator Rubio be a serious contender? He possibly could if he ever gets around to taking serious things seriously.