Congress Just Sent The Planned Parenthood President A Letter With 7 Demands She’ll Hate

Senior House Oversight Committee members have sent a letter to the president of Planned Parenthood, Cecile Richards, asking for several documents and other information to better “understand the role of federal funding in Planned Parenthood operations.” The request comes after undercover videos have come to light featuring employees haggling over fetal body parts.

“Recently released videos implicate Planned Parenthood Federation of America and its affiliates in potentially unlawful transactions involving fetal tissue,” begins the letter authored by House Oversight and Government Reform chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who chairs the committee’s Subcommittee on Health Care, Benefits and Administrative Rules.

In the videos, Planned Parenthood representatives discuss the demand for certain body parts, the manner in which patient consent is solicited, pricing considerations, and the methods by which doctors manipulate procedures to ensure that tissues remain intact.

Chaffetz and Jordan’s letter requests several pieces of information from Planned Parenthood dating back to 2010, including how much funding the group received from the federal government, all financial statements, and an accounting of all activities used with federal funds.

The duo also wants the cumulative amount of funding Planned Parenthood received from each state and a list of the group’s 50 highest-paid employees with their titles, annual salary, bonuses and other compensation. Chaffetz and Jordan have also requested a complete list with contacts of the “66 independently incorporated affiliates,” which operate “approximately 700 health centers across the U.S.” the organization says it supports.

Finally, Richards is asked to specifically identify “what procedures, services, or other medical treatments are available only or exclusively at a Planned Parenthood affiliate or health center that are covered by either a state’s Medicaid program or a health plan sold via a state exchange or HealthCare.gov under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.”

“Do not include services or procedures that could otherwise be provided by a private health care provider,” the letter added. Richards has until August 28 to provide the information to the committee.

The aforementioned undercover videos were produced by anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress. All of the videos can be found on its website.

h/t: TheBlaze

Do you support Reps. Chaffetz and Jordan? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Exposed: The Shocking Thing Iran Did To Top Nuke Inspector Tells You Everything You Need To Know

According to Iran’s official news agency, the nation’s leaders threatened to physically harm a top International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) official if he revealed any of the details of the so-called “side deals” of the Iran nuclear agreement with members of the U.S. Congress.

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano reportedly stayed silent regarding the nature of the side deals during his meetings with members of Congress earlier this month.

Fars News Agency (FNA) reports:

“In a letter to Yukiya Amano, we underlined that if the secrets of the agreement (roadmap between Iran and the IAEA) are revealed, we will lose our trust in the Agency; and despite the US Congress’s pressures, he didn’t give any information to them,” Spokesman of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Behrouz Kamalvandi said in a meeting with the Iranian lawmakers in Tehran on Monday.

“Had he done so, he himself would have been harmed,” he added.

According to FNA: “Amano and Head of the AEOI Ali Akbar Salehi signed a roadmap of cooperation in Vienna on July 14. The roadmap contains secret arrangements stated in one or two documents entailing on the methods to be used by the two sides in their cooperation.

“Senior Iranian nuclear officials have said that all IAEA member states have such secret agreements and the UN nuclear watchdog is duty bound to keep them secret to any third party individual or state.”

The Washington Beacon Free observes: “This disclosure [of Iran’s bullying tactics] has only boosted suspicions among some that the Iranians are willing and able to intimidate the top nuclear watchdog and potentially undermine the verification regime that Obama administration officials have dubbed a key component of the nuclear accord.”

As reported by Western Journalism, two topics addressed in the side deals include Iran’s disclosure of past nuclear activity and the protocol for inspecting the Parchin military facility. The site is a suspected location of Iran’s long range missile and nuclear weapons’ development.

Numerous members of Congress have indicated they would be unwilling to vote to affirm the Iran nuclear deal without knowing the nature of the side deals.

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark. and Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., members of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees respectively, sent a letter to President Obama on July 30 asking for a “‘complete and thorough assessment of the separate arrangements’ and the names of anyone who has reviewed them.”

The two noted in a joint op-ed in the Wall Street Journal earlier this month that “Iran’s ayatollahs have access to the side agreements. The American people’s representatives in the U.S. Congress should too.”

To ensure there is enough time for review of the nuclear agreement, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, introduced a resolution in late July calling for the clock to not start until all relevant “side deals” are made available to Congress, according to The Hill.

His resolution reads, in part:

The 60-calendar day period for review of such agreement in the Senate cannot be considered to have begun until the Majority Leader certifies that all of the materials required to be transmitted under the definition of the term ‘agreement’ under such Act, including any side agreements with Iran and United States Government-issued guidance materials in relation to Iran, have been transmitted to the Majority Leader.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Real Education Reform Leaves The Government Behind

Among the items awaiting Congress when it returns from its August break is reconciling competing House and Senate bills reauthorizing No Child Left Behind. These bills passed early this spring. Each bill is being marketed as a huge step toward restoring state and local control over education. However, an examination of both bills shows that both provide local schools with only limited relief from a few federal mandates.

The biggest problem with these so-called reform bills is that they do not significantly reduce federal education spending. Congress and the executive branch use the promise of “free” money — which they have taken from the American taxpayer — to convince state and local governments to allow the federal government to control the classrooms. The only way to protect American schoolchildren from schemes like Common Core is to repeal, not replace, the federal Department of Education.

Restoring local control over education would be a good step toward restoring constitutional government. However, simply replacing federal bureaucrats with state, or even local, bureaucrats will not create an education system capable of leaving no child behind.

The key to real education reform is to give parents control over education by giving them control over the education dollar. When parents control the education dollar, schools must be responsive to parental demands that children receive a quality education that meets their unique needs. Therefore, if Congress was serious about improving education, it would defund the warfare-welfare state, which would then allow dramatically reduced taxes. Congress could also end the Federal Reserve, thus freeing middle and working class Americans from the regressive inflation tax.

In order to make parental control meaningful, parents must be able to choose from a variety of education alternatives. Thus, private schools, religious schools, and homeschools must be allowed to compete in a free market without government interference. This would allow parents to choose an appropriate education for their child.

The growing popularity of homeschooling has already created a thriving market in homeschooling curricula. Working with a team of scholars, I have developed my own homeschooling curriculum. My homeschooling curriculum provides students with a rigorous education in history, math, English, foreign languages, and other subjects. The curriculum is designed to benefit both college-bound students and those interested in pursuing other educational or career opportunities.

The curriculum features three tracks: natural science/math, social sciences/humanities, and business. Students may also take courses in personal finance and public speaking. The government and history sections of the curriculum emphasize Austrian economics, libertarian political theory, and the history of liberty. Unlike the curricula in too many government-run schools, my curriculum never sacrifices education quality to ideological indoctrination.

The curriculum is free for students from kindergarten through fifth grade. Families with a student above the fifth grade pay $250 a year, plus $50 per course.

I am offering three special deals to allow parents to see if my curriculum is right for their child. One is an academic boot camp, designed especially for college-bound students. This is a six-week course that should help students raise their grade point average by at least a full point.

The curriculum is also offering special courses in phonics and mathematics for preschoolers. Both courses consist of 40 video-based lessons designed to teach children basic math and reading in two months.

If you are a parent searching for an appropriate homeschool curriculum for your child, please consider enrolling your child in my academic boot camp, my preschool mathematics program, or my preschool phonics program. Go to ronpaulcurriculum.com for more information.

Copyright © 2015 by RonPaul Institute.

This commentary originally appeared at RonPaulInstitute.org and is reprinted here with permission. 

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

What Just Came Out Of Gowdy’s Mouth Is The Last Thing Hillary Wanted To Hear

As new evidence fans the flames of a scandal regarding her use of a private email server while secretary of state, Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton now must look forward to what could be a devastating congressional appearance.

Rep. Trey Gowdy, chairman of the U.S. House Select Committee on Benghazi, described the likely outcome of his face-off with Clinton in October. He noted that, given her insistence that she will only appear before the committee once, the testimony she gives must be all-inclusive.

Therefore, Gowdy predicted, “she’s going to be there a while.”

He went on to clarify that everyone involved in the hearing will “stay there until all of the questions” have been adequately answered.

Gowdy is far from the only interested party to predict a lively examination.

For her part, Clinton is already de-emphasizing the relevance of the email controversy.

“They’ll try to tell you it’s about Benghazi,” she told a crowd in Iowa Saturday. “I won’t get down in the mud with them. I won’t play politics with national security or dishonor the memory of those who we lost. I won’t pretend that this is anything other than what it is: the same old partisan games we’ve seen so many times before.”

Taking on her assertion that the investigation is not about her response to the 2012 attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya, Gowdy said in an interview Sunday that if “she had not had this email arrangement with herself, you wouldn’t be talking to me this morning.”

He maintained that his “focus is on the four murdered Americans in Benghazi,” noting that before finalizing his investigation, he must “make sure that the public record is complete.”

Are you looking forward to Gowdy’s tough questions? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Don’t Be Fooled By The Political Game: The Illusion Of Freedom In America

“The shaping of the will of Congress and the choosing of the American president has become a privilege reserved to the country’s equestrian classes, a.k.a. the 20% of the population that holds 93% of the wealth, the happy few who run the corporations and the banks, own and operate the news and entertainment media, compose the laws and govern the universities, control the philanthropic foundations, the policy institutes, the casinos, and the sports arenas.”—Journalist Lewis Lapham

Being a citizen in the American corporate state is much like playing against a stacked deck: you’re always going to lose.

The game is rigged, and “we the people” keep getting dealt the same losing hand. Even so, most stay in the game, against all odds, trusting that their luck will change.

The problem, of course, is that luck will not save us. As I make clear in my book, Battlefield America: The War on the American People, the people dealing the cards—the politicians, the corporations, the judges, the prosecutors, the police, the bureaucrats, the military, the media, etc.—have only one prevailing concern; and that is to maintain their power and control over the citizenry, while milking us of our money and possessions.

It really doesn’t matter what you call them—Republicans, Democrats, the 1%, the elite, the controllers, the masterminds, the shadow government, the police state, the surveillance state, the military industrial complex—so long as you understand that while they are dealing the cards, the deck will always be stacked in their favor.

Incredibly, no matter how many times we see this played out, Americans continue to naively buy into the idea that politics matter, as if there really were a difference between the Republicans and Democrats (there’s not).

As if Barack Obama proved to be any different from George W. Bush (he has not). As if Hillary Clinton’s values are any different from Donald Trump’s (with both of them, money talks). As if when we elect a president, we’re getting someone who truly represents “we the people” rather than the corporate state (in fact, in the oligarchy that is the American police state, an elite group of wealthy donors is calling the shots).

Politics is a game, a joke, a hustle, a con, a distraction, a spectacle, a sport, and for many devout Americans, a religion.

In other words, it’s a sophisticated ruse aimed at keeping us divided and fighting over two parties whose priorities are exactly the same. It’s no secret that both parties support endless war, engage in out-of-control spending, ignore the citizenry’s basic rights, have no respect for the rule of law, are bought and paid for by Big Business, care most about their own power, and have a long record of expanding government and shrinking liberty.

Most of all, both parties enjoy an intimate, incestuous history with each other and with the moneyed elite that rule this country. Don’t be fooled by the smear campaigns and name-calling. They’re just useful tactics of the psychology of hate that has been proven to engage voters and increase voter turnout while keeping us at each other’s throats.

Despite the jabs the candidates volley at each other for the benefit of the cameras, they’re a relatively chummy bunch away from the spotlight, presenting each other with awards (remember when Jeb Bush presented Hillary Clinton with a Liberty Medal for her service to the country), attending each other’s weddings (Bill and Hillary had front-row seats for Trump’s 2005 wedding), and embracing with genuine affection.

Trump’s various donations to the Clintons (he donated to Hillary’s Senate campaigns, as well as the Clinton Foundation) are not unusual. Remember, FOX News mogul Rupert Murdoch actually hosted a fundraiser for Hillary’s Senate reelection campaign back in 2006 and contributed to her presidential campaign two years later. In fact, FOX News has reportedly been one of Hillary’s biggest donors for the better part of two decades.

Are you starting to get the picture? It doesn’t matter who wins the White House, because they all work for the same boss: Corporate America. In fact, many corporations actually hedge their bets on who will win the White House by splitting their donations between Democratic and Republican candidates.

We’re in trouble, folks; and picking a new president won’t save us.

We are living in a fantasy world carefully crafted to resemble a representative democracy. It used to be that the cogs, wheels and gear shifts in our government machinery worked to keep our republic running smoothly. However, without our fully realizing it, the mechanism has changed. Its purpose is no longer to keep our republic running smoothly. To the contrary, this particular contraption’s purpose is to keep the corporate police state in power. Its various parts are already a corrupt part of the whole.

Just consider how insidious, incestuous and beholden to the corporate elite the various “parts” of the mechanism have become.

Congress. Perhaps the most notorious offenders and most obvious culprits in the creation of the corporate-state, Congress has proven itself to be both inept and avaricious, oblivious champions of an authoritarian system that is systematically dismantling their constituents’ fundamental rights. Long before they’re elected, Congressmen are trained to dance to the tune of their wealthy benefactors, so much so that they spend two-thirds of their time in office raising money. As Reuters reports, “For many lawmakers, the daily routine in Washington involves fundraising as much as legislating. The culture of nonstop political campaigning shapes the rhythms of daily life in Congress, as well as the landscape around the Capitol. It also means thatlawmakers often spend more time listening to the concerns of the wealthy than anyone else.”

The President. With the 2016 presidential election shaping up to be the most expensive one in our nation’s history, with estimates as high as $10 billion, “the way is open for an orgy of spending by well-heeled interest groups and super rich individuals on both political sides.” Yet even after the votes have been counted and favors tallied, the work of buying and selling access to the White House is far from over. President Obama spends significant amounts of time hosting and attending fundraisers, having held more than 400 fundraising events over the course of his two terms in office. Such access comes with a steep price tag. It used to be that $100,000 got you an overnight stay at the White House. Now it will cost you $500,000 for four meetings a year with President Obama. Yet as Harvard professor Lawrence Lessig asks, “[H]ow does a man, as a person, run the nation when he’s attending 228 fundraisers? And the answer is not very well. It’s pretty terrible for your ability to do your job. It’s pretty terrible for your ability to be responsive to the American people, because—let me tell you—the American people are not attending 228 fundraisers. Those people are different.”

The Supreme Court. The U.S. Supreme Court—once the last refuge of justice, the one governmental body really capable of rolling back the slowly emerging tyranny enveloping America—has instead become the champion of the American police state, absolving government and corporate officials of their crimes while relentlessly punishing the average American for exercising his or her rights. Like the rest of the government, the Court has routinely prioritized profit, security, and convenience over the basic rights of the citizenry. Indeed, law professor Erwin Chemerinsky makes a compelling case that the Supreme Court, whose “justices have overwhelmingly come from positions of privilege,” almost unerringly throughout its history, sides with the wealthy, the privileged, and the powerful. For example, contrast the Court’s affirmation of the “free speech” rights of corporations and wealthy donors in McCutcheon v. FEC, which does away with established limits on the number of candidates an entity can support with campaign contributions, and Citizens United v. FEC with its tendency to deny those same rights to average Americans when government interests abound, and you’ll find a noticeable disparity.

The Media. Of course, this triumvirate of total control would be completely ineffective without a propaganda machine provided by the world’s largest corporations. Besides shoving drivel down our throats at every possible moment, the so-called news agencies which are supposed to act as bulwarks against government propaganda have instead become the mouthpieces of the state. The pundits which pollute our airwaves are at best court jesters and at worst propagandists for the false reality created by the American government.

The American People. “We the people” now belong to a permanent underclass in America. It doesn’t matter what you call us—chattel, slaves, worker bees, drones, it’s all the same—what matters is that we are expected to march in lockstep with and submit to the will of the state in all matters, public and private. Through our complicity in matters large and small, we have allowed an out-of-control corporate-state apparatus to take over every element of American society.

Our failure to remain informed about what is taking place in our government, to know and exercise our rights, to vocally protest, to demand accountability on the part of our government representatives, and at a minimum to care about the plight of our fellow Americans has been our downfall.

Now we find ourselves once again caught up in the spectacle of another presidential election; and once again, the majority of Americans are acting as if this election will make a difference and bring about change—as if the new boss will be different from the old boss.

When in doubt, just remember what comedian and astute commentator George Carlin had to say about the matter:

The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don’t. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. They’ve long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the state houses, the city halls. They got the judges in their back pockets and they own all the big media companies, so they control just about all of the news and information you get to hear. They got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying. Lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want. They want more for themselves and less for everybody else, but I’ll tell you what they don’t want. They don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well-informed, well-educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that. That doesn’t help them. That’s against their interests.

They want obedient workers. Obedient workers, people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork…. It’s a big club and you ain’t in it. You and I are not in the big club. …The table is tilted, folks. The game is rigged and nobody seems to notice…. Nobody seems to care. That’s what the owners count on…. It’s called the American Dream, ’cause you have to be asleep to believe it.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth