Remember the Planned Parenthood Congressional hearing where Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) was investigating Planned Parenthood as a result of the fake videos made by David Daleiden’s Center For Medical Progress?  Well, if you don’t, I will remind you that Congressman Chaffetz called one witness, the President of Planned Parenthood, Cecile Richards, to get to the bottom of the issue of whether or not Planned Parenthood was selling baby parts for profit.  Never mind that within maybe two days of the release of the videos (and prior to the Congressional hearings) showing Planned Parenthood selling baby parts, that the Press figured out that they had been doctored in what the anti-abortion crowd calls making sure they told the “truth” in one of the press’s few attempts at investigative journalism that they actually undertook.  Remember too that genius Congressman Chaffetz referred to a chart that he said showed that Planned Parenthood earned billions of dollars from performing abortions but only ten dollars annually from selling condoms and birth control pills.  Also, remember when it was pointed out to him during the hearing that not only was the chart from a virulent anti-abortion group even though Congressman Chaffetz had introduced the chart to the world as coming directly from the documents that Planned Parenthood had supplied the Committee and further when it was pointed out to him during the hearing to get to the bottom of the selling of baby parts where Cecile Rogers was the only witness, that the chart made no sense since the lines on the chart between the X and Y axis were apparently a child’s drawing rather than an actual chart showing “data,” he remained silent.  That’s right.  He remained silent.  Now do you recall? 

Well, if you, like me, thought that the Congressional “Investigation” into Planned Parenthood led by Utah Republican House Member Jason Chaffetz over the selling baby parts as a result of doctored videos had ended, you and me would be wrong.  Not only have the Republicans introduced legislation defunding Planned Parenthood as a result of the fake videos and bogus chart, the House of Representatives has been yeoman-like in carrying on this great work through the House Committee on Energy and Commerce led by one Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) a Republican from the great state of Tennessee.  Blackburn and her committee has issued subpoenas to more than 80 individual researchers, institutions, and companies involved in research on fetal tissue or its procurement.  Let me be crystal clear here: these subpoenas are being issued against scientists and companies who are engaged in lawful, highly regulated, legitimate fetal tissue research.  And let’s be even clearer:  what Blackburn and her Republican Committee members are doing is rank intimidation worthy of that last great American investigator in Congress, Joseph McCarthy (R-WI) who led America on a great spy witch hunt that destroyed the lives of countless Americans.  One would think that Congress would have more important jobs to undertake than delivering subpoenas to professional scientists around the country.  

Fetal tissue research?  Yes. This is a field that is very controversial, at least among the anti-science crew in America who believe, for example, that Climate Change is a hoax and that humans palled around with dinosaurs more than 200 million years ago.  But when we’re talking about fetal tissue research, here’s some of the medical advancements that have come from this research.  You know those chickenpox, rubella and polio vaccines that children get?  All from fetal tissue research.  Current research in the field includes such diseases as Alzheimer’s, Down’s Syndrome, Parkinson’s and spinal cord deformities.  Whatever one's views of abortions might  be, this is important work. 

I happened to hear an NPR, Science Friday broadcast on my way out to Virginia to my Korean-owned multi-ethnic grocery store.  Now I know that Newt Gingrich has called NPR a liberal bastion of lies and distortions as have Rush Limbaugh and the entire right wing contingent of anti-science America, but I kind of like it.  (Being liberal, of course, why wouldn't I?)  The broadcast had several scientists involved in fetal tissue research tell how they have been subjected to subpoenas by the Committee for lists of their purchases for their research, all their studies, lists of peoples names and addresses they purchase from, their research partners and a whole lot of other stuff.  Are you getting the drift here?  Fetal tissue research is a legitimate area of study with, one might add, a raft of rules and regulations attached.  As noted, fetal tissue research has yielded enormous benefits for society and the advancements have basically affected every single one of us.   But apparently Tennessee Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) is more concerned about making sure that the scientists doing such research are subjected to harassment, intimidation, all the while wasting time and effort on what has been publicly termed a witch hunt by scientists and scientific organizations. 

Here’s the bottom line in a nutshell as noted by the scientific community:

“The scientific community has said these subpoenas threaten researchers’ time, energy, and reputations, and that other activities by the committee—such as making public the names and addresses of researchers who use fetal tissue—could endanger those researchers’ lives. In May, an editorial in Nature Biotechnology called this panel “a witchhunt” by the anti-abortion lobby.”

Let’s pause right here and recall that following the Jason Chaffetz's “investigative” Congressional hearings on Planned Parenthood selling baby parts, Robert Lewis Dear killed three people and wounded nine others at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on November 27, 2015, just one month after the fake videos surfaced.  Mr. Dear, who has since been ruled incompetent to stand trial, apparently said to police investigators interviewing him “No More Baby Parts.”  So let’s say that screwing around in the arena of abortions and fetal tissue research, can have “unintended consequences” as Mr. Dear has so generously proven.  Yet, Blackburn’s anti-science witch hunt doesn’t seem to care that the public release - that's right, released to the pubic at large -  of names, addresses, phone numbers, places of work, etc. provides a cornucopia of information that the Robert Lewis Dear’s of the world can use to avenge their personal political - if nutso - views.

The NPR folks had reached out to House Representative Marsha Blackburn, but apparently she’s quite happy harassing scientists and endangering their lives but not all that much interested appearing on a radio broadcast to explain why.  Of course, we all know that NPR is a radical liberal organization so it’s very clear why Ms. Blackburn would spurn the offer.  Or is it that House Representative Marsha Blackburn can’t bear to have her motivations aired on a public radio station rather then just pursuing her bogus campaign under the cloak of Congressional secrecy?

This is precisely the kind of anti-science, anti-fact, rabid right wing bullshit that has enabled the campaign of serial liar and sexual predator Donald Trump.  And it has been going on for decades now.  Both Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) are endangering the lives of real people whether they acknowledge it or not.  They would never, of course, since Republican right wingers have a phobia about accepting responsibility for their dangerous actions much the same as Donald Trump.  Now, it also seems that The Donald is tempting his cult following to rise up in arms against America should he lose the election.  There is no reason to be surprised by this latest Trump exhortation, as dangerous and crazy as it might be.  The ground has been paved for such a response from Trump with all his absurd “reasoning” by the right wing for thirty years now.

We reap what we sow.  And nothing could be clearer than Republicans like Jason Chaffetz, Trey Gowdy, Marsha Blackburn – to say nothing of the army of right wing radio pundits and Fox News – have not only acquiesced in this abomination of American values, tradition and ideals, they have actually enabled the Robert Lewis Dear’s and Donald Trump’s of the world.  There is no more important reason to rid the nation these right wing fools than this. 

We have a chance to end this destruction of America on November 8th.

Vote Blue Like Your Future Depends On It. 

Oh, here's how the "chart" next to Congressman Chaffetz erroneously claimed was from Planned Parenthood should have looked had it been correctly done:

And here's the actual range of services that Planned Parenthood actually provides in the Real World, you know, outside of the rarefied witch hunting atmosphere of a Capital Hill Congressional Hearing Room.   

Have Faith Folks!  It's Almost Over! 


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