New at Live Action – Are Women Considering Abortion Informed? Not if Planned Parenthood Can Help It

My latest Live Action post:
How well informed are abortion seekers? We may not be able to know their minds or experiences, but we can certainly know whether those doing the informing are being honest, fair, and candid with them (spoiler alert: they’re not).
Live Action has caught at least three Planned Parenthood clinics giving their patients inaccurate medical information about their babies and pregnancies, misleading women on when heartbeats can be detected, abortion’s medical downside, whether eight-week-old fetuses had limbs and brains, and whether the name “baby” is applicable. “But wait,” you say, “you can’t judge an entire organization according to a few bad apples!”
Very well. Let’s see if Planned Parenthood’s official material fares any better.
The Q&A section on their website, written by obstetrician/gynecologist Dr. Vanessa Cullins, is a treasure trove of pro-abortion talking points, but the biggest whopper is the way it absurdly and falsely pretends “baby” is an inaccurate term because “most medical authorities” don’t think it “becomes” a baby until “after birth when it takes its first breath.” Dr. Cullins apparently doesn’t think “most medical authorities” includes Mayo Clinic, WebMD, Johns Hopkins, or the federal Department of Health and Human Services, all of which refer to “babies” in the womb.
Read the rest at Live Action.
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New on RedState – Video Gamers: The Latest Pawns of Big Government

My latest RedState post:
A recent Fox News segment concerning federal funding for video games has provoked outrage from gaming news websites, and while the hyperventilating of professional nerds might not seem noteworthy at first glance, the sad spectacle deserves to be revisited because it offers a troubling window into how liberals consolidate political influence over apolitical constituencies.
The National Endowment for the Arts has decided that video games of particular artistic or educational merit can qualify for federal grants, so Fox ran a debate on the decision between Icrontic.com editor-in-chief Brian Ambrozy and conservative radio host Neal Asbury. Admittedly, the Fox anchor wrongly suggested that big-budget action games like “Call of Duty” were the NEA’s focus rather than smaller projects by independent developers, and Asbury didn’t perform particularly well, having little more to offer the discussion besides generic platitudes about runaway spending. But the geek brigade saw something more nefarious at work.
Kotaku.com’s Owen Good complained that Fox had “no intention of” respecting the “gaming-as-art point of view.” CJ Smillie of GameRant.com criticized Fox for “attacking” the “idea of games as an art form.” At EscapistMagazine.com, Tom Goldman accused Fox of “using the general ignorance of the public” about video games “for their own ends.” Ambrozy himself later called the segment “media brainwashing of the highest order,” through which Fox was poisoning its viewers’ minds against “our world and our generation.”
Speaking as both a member of Ambrozy’s generation and an avid gamer, I feel a special obligation to call out nonsense spouted by pompous hacks claiming to represent me. 

So, About That "Conservative" Who Just Flip-Flopped for Gay Marriage

You ever heard of Louis Marinelli? Yeah, me neither, but the former National Organization for Marriage volunteer is getting lots of coverage just the same for changing his mind and declaring that he now supports “full marriage equality” (hat tip: Daily Beast).
In his announcement, he sobs about the “shame” and “embarrassment” he feels for having “targeted, hurt and oppressed” so many people. He says he “came to understand that gays and lesbians were just real people,” and claims to have realized he was “surrounded by hateful people.” He says valid reasons to oppose same-sex marriage evaporate “once you understand the great difference between civil marriage and holy marriage,” and concludes by declaring that “the Constitution calls for nothing less” than his new position.
Marinelli has ably peppered his announcement with all the requisite left-wing talking points about gay marriage, but as serious argumentation, he falls flat. He doesn’t even begin to address the fact that preserving marriage as a man-woman union doesn’t actually harm gay people, nor does he respond to the case for marriage as an essential component of a free society.
Are we seriously supposed to believe that he was passionate about the issue and worked with one of the nation’s big marriage defense groups, yet isn’t even familiar with why people oppose gay marriage? What was his own former rationale for opposing gay marriage—that he didn’t think gays were “real people”?
Marinelli’s characterization of the anti-gay-marriage movement as all about hatred and religious fundamentalism is such a pitifully generic regurgitation of the liberal playbook on marriage that it’s hard to believe his conversion is on the level. At best, Marinelli is an unremarkable guy who never really thought through his original position, and was therefore susceptible to the superficial emotionalism of the other side. At worst, he’s an opportunist selling his soul in exchange for the accolades of the in crowd. Either way, he hasn’t made a substantive, meaningful contribution to the debate, and his defection is hardly the game changer the opportunists are treating it as.
To go along with his deeply, deeply personal change of heart, ol’ Louis is also claiming that NOM is working on a “secret online propaganda team,” and that NOM’s popular support is an illusion. The former story sounds ludicrous to me, and all he offers is (ahem) his word that this is going on, and as for the latter, it’s kind of hard to suggest NOM only represents the fringe when the overwhelming majority of the states explicitly reject same-sex marriage.
Unfortunately, as near as I can tell this story is spreading like wildfire on lefty websites while conservatives are all but ignoring it. I get the temptation to dismiss Marinelli as a Frumian resercon, but I think the story’s propaganda value is more potent than that. The Left can’t be allowed to engage in these heartstring attacks without forceful responses that expose their emptiness.    

In Defense of Scott Walker: Setting the Record Straight on Wisconsin, Education, and Unions (UPDATED)

After some behind-the-scenes wrangling, a condensed, 300-word version of my editorial on Scott Walker’s fight with Big Union is slated to appear in the Fond du Lac Reporter on Sunday (UPDATE: here it is). Here’s the original, extended cut.

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As I watch the battle over Governor Scott Walker’s efforts to alleviate Wisconsin’s projected $3.6 billion deficit, it pains me to see old friends and former classmates from Fond du Lac High School misled by the lies and fear-mongering of people who don’t have their best interests at heart. Some of it—like comparing Walker to dictators like Adolf Hitler and Hosni Mubarak—is merely the infantile ranting of hate-filled, ignorant partisans, but others are sincerely worried about the future of education in Wisconsin. My friends, please read on as I try to set the record straight.

Accusing Walker of “attacking” state workers is patently absurd. On February 20th, the non-partisan PolitiFact.com reported, “no matter how you slice it, the 12.6 percent share of health care premiums that Walker proposes employees pay is well below what most pay in the private and public sectors,” and explained how “experts say they will be better of” on pensions, as well.

As most Americans suffer alongside the nation’s economic woes, government workers’ compensation remains relatively constant. Throw in nigh-impenetrable job security and retirement at 55, and the public sector compares quite favorably to the private – and will continue to do so under Scott Walker.

In fact, it’s hard to seriously call Walker anti-teacher when he’s standing up for teachers’ rights of conscience and free association, by proposing that they be given the right to choose whether or not to pay union dues. Not only would this return hundreds of dollars annually to our teachers, but it would also let them decide whether they want their money going to political causes that have nothing to do with education – the National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers both donate millions to Democrat candidates and radical left-wing causes and smear groups, including Planned Parenthood, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Action Network, ACORN, the Sierra Club, Amnesty International, Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Push Coalition, Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, People for the American Way, and Media Matters.

Thomas Jefferson called forcing people to “furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors” “sinful and tyrannical.” Why force teachers to take sides or donate to any political cause just to do the job they love? (Or are only far-left Democrats welcome to teach in Wisconsin?)

As for the worry that unions can’t survive without coercion, that’s freedom. If they’ve earned their members’ confidence, they’ll persevere. If not, they’ll fall. Think about it – if unions need the force of law to coerce their own members to support them, isn’t that all the evidence we need that the unions aren’t as valuable or as noble as they claim?

Not only is this more moral, it’s smarter economically, too—Investor’s Business Daily reports on the link between prosperity and the right to work:

According to statistics compiled by the National Institute for Labor Relations Research, real personal income in right-to-work states grew 28.3% from 1999 to 2009 vs. 14.7% in forced-unionism states — almost double. Disposable income in right-to-work states stood at $35,543 per capita in 2009 vs. $33,389, and growth in real manufacturing GDP jumped 20.9% from 2000 to 2008, compared with 6.5% in forced-unionism states.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, right-to-work states added 1.5 million private-sector jobs from 1999 to 2009 for a 3.7% increase; states that are not right-to-work lost 1.8 million jobs over the same decade, a decline of 2.3%.

Workers’ actual rights are safe—as Walker points out, legal protections like merit hiring and just cause for discipline and termination come from the Civil Service Act of 1905, which he’s not touching. The only “right” at stake is collective bargaining. But understanding how unions work exposes public-sector collective bargaining as a bad idea that needs to go.

In private-sector bargaining, there are two sides: labor unions and corporate management. Everyone has a seat at the table and both sides are vulnerable to market forces and free to risk taking their business elsewhere if they can’t reach an agreement. But public-sector bargaining often ill-serves taxpayers—there’s no competition, it enables unions to coerce concessions from government without regard for the public good, and unions are often negotiating with politicians they’ve bought and paid for. Government has much more latitude to make unsustainable promises today and let someone else worry about paying for them tomorrow. There’s a reason even FDR said collective bargaining “cannot be transplanted into the public service.”

Because most public school curricula don’t teach the fundamentals of economics or political science (instead teaching liberal propaganda and, since 2009, even legally-mandated pro-union propaganda), their students are susceptible to such union propaganda campaigns. My friends, you’ve been betrayed. Your compassion has been exploited by union bosses and politicians who want to scare you into action not to defend Wisconsin’s teachers, but to preserve their own power and influence.

UPDATE/CORRECTION: In the 300-word version, I place the number teachers would get back from collective bargaining at over $700. I got this figure from this document on WEAC’s website. But looking over it again for this blog post, I saw that the site has other documents that place the number lower, apparently depending on county or locality. I apologize for the error.

UPDATE 2 (3/31/11): I’ve updated the union dues hyperlink again to provide a more comprehensive source.

Half of All Republicans Are Birthers…According to Democrat Pollsters

In a bid to keep their meal ticket going, WorldNetDaily is pushing a new poll that allegedly reveals that “only 3 in 10 members of the GOP believe that Barack Obama was born in the United States”:

With the issue still disputed in a number of court cases and under review by nearly a dozen states considering laws that presidential candidates document their constitutional eligibility, the poll by Public Policy Polling found that only 28 percent of the Republicans surveyed believe Obama was born in the U.S. while 51 percent do not.

Another 21 percent say they are not sure.
“Any thought that the birther theory has been put to rest can be thrown out the window,” Dean Debnam, the president of the Democratic-leaning polling firm, told Politico.

“That view is still widely held in Republican circles,” he said. [Emphasis added.]

Granted, Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie’s quest to find Obama’s birth certificate once and for all ended in failure, and Obama has brought some distrust over his origins on himself—he has a record of misrepresenting details in his own biography for political gain. So it’s not completely surprising that a not-infinitesimal percentage of Republicans would have doubts. But half? I doubt it.

I’ve duked it out with Birthers time and time (and time and time and time) again, so I won’t revisit the merits of believing Barack Obama was secretly born in Kenya. Here I’d like to instead call attention to the words in bold. Shouldn’t the head of a left-leaning firm (check out their list of clients, which includes the National Education Association and the North Carolina chapters of Planned Parenthood and the Sierra Club) discussing how their poll reflects on Republicans set off a few alarm bells?

Leftists are known for using dubious polls to smear conservatives as nutjobs, and they especially like having the Birther club to beat Republicans over the head with. During the midterms, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee sent out memos directing candidates to try making their races about whether or not their opponents thought Obama was a natural-born citizen. Why? Because it’s easier to talk about that than the really bad ideas they want to implement in office. As Kurt Schlichter wrote for Big Journalism on February 8, 2010:

The last thing we need as the truth and power of our core beliefs in small government, a strong defense and the Bill of Rights are becoming evident again even in places like Massachusetts is to distract and discredit ourselves by tolerating weird, nutty conspiracy theories.  It’s also a dream come true for our opponents – a chance to dodge the real questions about out-of-control spending, crippling taxes and hug-a-jihadi terrorist policies and to instead focus on the irrational fixations of a few nuts.

Every time some right-wing journalist “raises a question” about the President’s birth certificate, Rahm Emanuel smiles.

One would think experienced right-wing media outlets would know the Left well enough to recognize propaganda by a hostile entity when they saw it. But instead, WND can’t embrace and disseminate it fast enough. I’m sure President Obama and the Democratic Party are most appreciative.

New on NewsReal – Lefties Poison Conservatives for the Greater Good in "The Last Supper"

My latest NewsRealBlog post:

Last I checked, we were supposed to be heading towards a new Golden Age of Civility in which everyone will respect each other’s views, police their own side’s misbehavior, and, above all, make sure to never, ever, ever say anything that could possibly be misconstrued as a call to violence. Well, apparently some lefties in Madison, Wisconsin didn’t get the memo; the Mercury Players Theater is putting on a play about a group of young leftists who decide to start murdering conservatives—and not metaphorically:

Five lefty graduate students in Iowa City gather for weekly dinners to revel in their shared (and sometimes smug) world view. The first dinner we witness ignites a surprising shared mission when one of the students invites the truck driver who offered him roadside assistance to join them. This young man, a patriotic Desert Storm vet, first startles the group when he insists on saying grace before the vegan meal and then goes on to praise Hitler, alarming and repulsing the other dinners. Threats and violence ensue, and one of the hosts stabs him.

As he lies bleeding on an area rug, the quintet, after some debate and initial hand-wringing, decide that they have done society a favor by eliminating him and silencing his dangerous words. They also decide that since participating in protests and sit-ins has been a futile way to fight the power, this new dinner party/murder method may be a more effective technique in coping with right-wing adversaries.

Soon a parade of special guests is invited to dine, and when their dinner conversation proves repellent, they are given poisoned wine and buried in the backyard. Our smarty-pants grad students toast themselves for making a difference each time and feel vindicated when they learn that their first victim, the trucker, was implicated in a heinous crime.

Things come to a head when their final guest, an infamous right-wing talk show host, turns out to not fit the stereotype they expected, leading four of the five to regret their killing spree. The apparent moral of the story, that killing people over differing views is wrong, is also the defense for its shocking subject matter:

“By the end of the play, everyone turns such a corner and you realize how devastating it really is to go down that path,” said [director Doug] Holtz.

The audience seems to concur, with some saying the play jabs at extremists on both sides of the aisle.

“I think it plays on both sides,” said audience member Heather Stotts. “I think it’s obvious this is a show that pokes fun at liberals as well as conservatives.”

Okay, fine. The play isn’t telling people to go kill conservatives. But Sarah Palin wasn’t telling Republicans to kill Democrats, either, and according to our liberal betters, that didn’t matter—the very use of violent imagery in the context of political opposition was allegedly enough to put the idea into people’s heads.

Read the rest on NewsRealBlog.

New on NewsReal – Al-Jazeera Is Basically Like Fox News, Right?

My latest NewsRealBlog post:

The moral equivalency leftists are capable of never fails to sicken. Whether driven by intolerance of opposition or cluelessness about the real world, many think nothing of comparing those with whom they disagree—often unfavorably—to the most heinous monsters on the planet. Case in point: our old friend Ellen of the loser-packed Fox-hating blog NewsHounds is outrageously outraged that Bill O’Reilly would dare impugn the patriotism of left-wingers like Sam Donaldson and Alan Colmes for their defense of…er, Al-Jazeera:

It’s not as though Donaldson praised Al Jazeera for saying anything anti-American or attacking America. No, attacking an American or Americans is something that Fox News does every day whenever a Democrat or liberal is discussed.


Apparently, praising Al Jazeera for doing something right is completely wrong (and anti-American) because, according to O’Reilly, “Al Jazeera makes a living blaming most problems in the Middle East on the USA and Israel.”

That must be completely different from the way Fox News pundits like Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Sarah Palin and yes, Bill O’Reilly blame most problems on American liberals.

“Talking Points can provide hundreds, hundreds of examples of anti-Semitism and hate-America rhetoric displayed on Al Jazeera, the network Sam Donaldson admires,” O’Reilly sneered.

And we can provide just as many examples of anti-Semitism and hate-America rhetoric on Fox News. In addition to the hate mongering against Americans, there’s Sean Hannity’s friendly interview with anti-Semite Andy Martin (for which Hannity has never apologized), another lapdog interview with Mel Gibson and Glenn Beck’s anti-Semitic dogwhistles about George Soros. In fact, those dogwhistles were so offensive to so many Jews that 400 rabbis recently wrote to Rupert Murdoch asking him to rein in Beck. Fox News’ response? Calling the rabbis “a George Soros backed left-wing political organization.”
Colmes did not apologize or hedge or try to curry favor as so many other Democrats on Fox do. Noting that Egypt had shut down Al Jazeera, he said to O’Reilly, “I would think a populist like you would support Al Jazeera and freedom of the press… I would think that as a journalist, you would take the side of Al Jazeera.”

O’Reilly claimed that his beef with Al Jazeera was its lack of balance, that there was never anyone on to counter its anti-American message.

Oh, you mean the way there’s never anyone on to counter Glenn Beck’s attacks on President Obama, his former advisor Van Jones, George Soros or 78 year-old Frances Fox Piven?

First, let’s dispense with the usual stuff: the lack of balance at Fox News is a lie, and so is the anti-Semitism garbage.

No, what’s noteworthy is that Ellen doesn’t even try to argue that Al-Jazeera isn’t an anti-American, Jew-hating mouthpiece for Islamic radicalism, but says that Fox News is just as bad anyway.

Read the rest on NewsRealBlog.