One of the strategies Speaker Paul Ryan used in attempting to sell the American Health Care Act was to include defunding Planned Parenthood as part of the deal. It was a good attempt to sugarcoat “Obamacarelite” with some conservative honey for positive press and leverage against right-wing opposition to the bill, but it obviously didn’t work. While the dust is settling from their repeal and replace debacle, now is the time to introduce a new standalone bill to get rid of Planned Parenthood’s federal funding once and for all.

It makes strategic sense for both Congress and the White House to make this happen quickly. Fingers are already pointing in every direction. They need a high-profile win and this is just the thing to do it. Defunding Planned Parenthood will reassure conservatives that the Trump and/or Ryan agenda was not derailed by their AHCA loss.

The next big battle they plan on tackling is likely tax reform. That’s going to take time. Defunding Planned Parenthood will not. Drafting it and pushing it through committees would take no time at all. They could have it on President Trump’s desk in April. They can initiate their next moves on tax reform once Planned Parenthood is defunded.

I’m not going to go into a long diatribe of why Planned Parenthood needs to be defunded from a pro-life perspective. Either you’re in favor of it or not and nothing I can say can sway you. However, if you’re in favor of defunding, then you should be in favor of doing it quickly. At over half a billion dollars a year, it’s not a drop in the proverbial bucket. The longer we wait, the more money gets used to kill unborn Americans. This should have been done already, but I can understand the perceived need to attach it to the AHCA for sales and promotional purposes even if I absolutely disagree with the action itself. Ryan’s strategy allowed more babies to be killed. This should have been a Day 1 issue.

As a Federalist, I’m not giving them this advice for political reasons. The AHCA debacles has helped interest in the new party to spike, so I’m not trying to help the GOP clean up their political mess. However, we’re talking about human lives. I’ll happily push politics aside if it means one more child being saved.

Instead of using defunding Planned Parenthood as a negotiating chip, Congress needs to bite the bullet and make it happen right now. It’s quick, easy, and would draw the attention of mainstream media. Considering the obliteration the GOP is currently receiving this news cycle, it behooves them to turn the narrative towards saving the unborn rather than internal bickering.


By John Ruberry

Most of the main characters in Hell on Wheels, my last Netflix binge-watching adventure, were shaped, and scarred, by the American Civil War.

In this BBC 2 television show, Peaky Blinders, set in Birmingham, England beginning in 1919, World War I casts its shadow over the lead characters.

Three seasons have been released so far. The action–and the violence–is centered upon the Anglo-Gypsy Shelby family, led by Thomas “Tommy” Shelby (Cillian Murphy), a decorated Great War tunneller who returns home a new man–and a better suited one to run the family business, Shelby Brothers, Ltd, a bookmaking operation set in the grimy and noisy Small Heath section of Birmingham. But the gang is generally called the Peaky Blinders by members and their enemies. His oldest brother, Arthur (Paul Anderson) is clearly more psychologically damaged from the war than Tommy, but he’s better suited to serve as the enforcer for the family. “I think, Arthur. That’s what I do,” Tommy explains to him. “I think. So that you don’t have to.” Third son John (Joe Cole), another World War I veteran, is also employed in the muscle side of the operation, while Finn, the youngest Shelby, is only 11-years-old when the series begins.

Tommy has a sister, Ada Thorne (Sophie Rundle), who is married to communist agitator. But she’s still loyal to the family.

While the Shelby men were fighting in France–the family business was run by Elizabeth “Aunt Polly” Gray (Helen McCrory), a kind of a Rosie the Riveter of the underworld. Tommy quickly takes over from Polly, who serves as his senior advisor. Like Edward G. Robinson’s legendary Rico character in Little Caesar, Tommy becomes a small-time-hood-makes-good-by-being-bad by playing one gang faction against the other, first in Birmingham then in London, while largely ignoring Aunt Polly’s warnings.

When the Peaky Blinders stumble upon a large machine gun shipment in an otherwise routine heist, that gets the attention of Secretary of State for War Winston Churchill (Andy Nyman in the first season, Richard McCabe in the second), who dispatches Inspector Chester Campbell (Sam Neill) from Belfast to find the machine guns. Those guns give Tommy power and respect–and enemies. Not only do Churchill and Campbell want those weapons, but so does the Irish Republican Army.

Campbell sends in an Irish domestic spy, Grace Burgess (Annabelle Wallis), to work at the neighborhood pub owned by Arthur, appropriately named The Garrison. She quickly becomes its de facto manager.

In season three, which is set in 1924, Tommy, at Churchill’s request, gets involved in another armaments caper, this time with members of the Whites faction who haven’t ascertained that the Communists have won the Russian Civil War. Arthur warns Tommy to stay out of “this Russian business.” It’s too bad the script writers didn’t take their own creation’s advice. As was the case with season four of Sherlock, what follows is a collection of tangled and confusing plot lines. Possibly realizing their mistake, the writers include quite a bit of gratuitous nudity to accompany the Russian adventure, including a bizarre orgy scene which does nothing to advance the storyline.

On the other hand, the Russian diversion is loosely based on a 1924 scandal that brought down Great Britain’s first socialist-led government.

At least two more seasons are coming.

The cinematography of Peaky Blinders is masterful. Imagine Tim Burton creating a remake of The Untouchables television show and setting it in 1920s Birmingham. And this is an ugly Birmingham. J.R.R Tolkien lived in the city before the Great War and his reaction against it was his creation of Mordor for The Lord of the Rings. Just as the Eye of Sauron looked upon that evil realm–the sparks and the ashes of the foundries oversee the Midlands metropolis here. And the industrial roar is always there too.

Blogger in his flat cap

Without getting into spoilers it’s a challenge to bring a description of Jewish gangster Alfie Solomons into this review, but his portrayal by Tom Hardy is too good to overlook.

Oh, the name. Peaky Blinders? There was a Birmingham gang by the same name who gained that moniker because its members supposedly sewed razor blades into the peaks of their flat caps. And in fights the hoodlums went for the eyes.

And finally, the music deserves special mention too. Anachronistic goth rock dominates, the unofficial theme song is Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ “Red Right Hand.” You’ll find selections from PJ Harvey, Tom Waits, and the White Stripes too.

And Johnny Cash sings “Danny Boy.”

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

If the party wants me and people like me they’ll have to earn me. When the GOP can convince me that they are serious about growing the party, when they convince me they are serious about treating the tea party et/al as valued members as opposed to a source of temp labor and occasional funds. I’ll be happy to return to the Republican Party in as public a fashion as I’ve just left it.

DaTechGuy Feb 2 2013

Four years ago I quit the GOP because I was offended by what I saw covering the vote for state party chair. Friday’s Obamacare debacle confirmed that my decision was the right one.

 

Cowardice, alone of all the vices, is purely painful – horrible to anticipate, horrible to feel, horrible to remember;

The Screwtape Letters Number 23

The GOP House leadership are a bunch of cowards.

When Obamacare passed they railed against it.  When the 2010 elections came by they campaigned against it and were rewarded with control of the house and the repeal bill began to pass.  When the GOP took over the Senate in 2014 the repeal bills continued.  Over and over first under Boehner and then under Ryan the House leadership bravely passed repeal bills that they knew would never become law.

And then Donald Trump was elected.  And suddenly the repeal bills that were good enough to pass, were suddenly not.

They remind me of the professional protestors of the left or the illegal alien advocates.  As long as they were confronting police in cities that wouldn’t harm them or prosecute them they were lions, but once they found themselves in a situation where they would be prosecuted like Trump inaugural, or arrested by ICE they cried for mother.

Rep Joe Barton explained it perfectly

Prior to the vote being canceled, Rep. Joe Barton, a member of the Freedom Caucus who would have supported the legislation, said its failure would be a “huge black eye” for Republicans. Afterward, he attempted to explain the outcome. 

“Sometimes you’re playing fantasy football and sometimes you’re in the real game,” Barton said. He elaborated that House Republicans knew, with each past repeal vote, that Obama would have vetoed it. “This time, we knew if it got to the president’s desk it would be signed.”

And so when it came time to govern and lead, the House leadership ran away like the cowards they were.  They deserve to face primaries and be replaced.

if he [General Bragg] could not win in just the way he wanted, he did not care about winning at all, or anyhow he wanted no personal share in such a victory

Shelby Foote The Civil War A Narrative Fredericksburg to Meridian p 744

And while were at it, lets primary the fools of the Freedom Caucus.

The freedom caucus had a chance to defund Obama, albeit in an imperfect vehicle, and not only that, they had a bill that addressed other key conservative priorities.  It provided room for tax cuts that could stimulate the economy, and even more importantly would have defunded planned parenthood meaning that Democrats wanting to re-fund them would have needed to repass such legislation.  Furthermore they knew their fellow house GOP members for the cowards they were, they knew they didn’t have the guts to bring up the old bill, yet knowing this they were too proud and too stupid to take the run scoring single to begin the drive and instead swung for the fences and struck out.

But that’s not the only thing they knew, they also knew that Donald Trump is  a  late convert to conservatism just as Saul of Tarsus was a late convert to Christianity,  And just as that selfsame saint didn’t waste his time with people who won’t listen.

On the following sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and with violent abuse contradicted what Paul said. Both Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first, but since you reject it and condemn yourselves as unworthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles

Acts 13:44-46

The GOP caucus supposedly filled with Christians who know their scripture should have recognized that this president, if he can’t make a deal with his own caucus would, like Paul, be happy to make one with someone else.

“As you know, I’ve been saying for years that the best thing is to let Obamacare explode and then go make a deal with the Democrats and have one unified deal. And they will come to us, we won’t have to come to them.”

If the Freedom caucus didn’t like this version of Obamacare repeal how much less will they love a deal made with Democrats that will almost certainly continue funding for planned parenthood.

Now if these guys had been serious and smart there was a simple way this could be handed to satisfy everyone.  Last year’s Restoring Americans’  Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act should have been reintroduced, and voted on in the house and if it failed and we have every reason to believe it would fail because if the establishment cowards of the house didn’t reject it, the squishes in the senate like Collins, Murkowski et/all would have killed it there presuming of course that the parliamentarian of the Senate didn’t save them the trouble by allowing Senate Democrats to filibuster.  Once that failed then Ryan could have offered his half a loaf as the best shot to get things done.

But because the House GOP (and likely the senate) were too cowardly to support the old repeal bill, and the Freedom caucus was too stupid to accept half a loaf the American People in general and GOP votes in particular are stuck with Obamacare for at least another year, but we’re also stuck with Planned Parenthood funding continued and believe me rabid pro-lifers like myself will not forget that the GOP left that prize slip through our fingers.  To paraphrase Charlton Heston from the classic movie El Cid

Sire, you risk having no GOP majority at all

I say primary the lot of them, I’m sure we can find 218 other republicans who aren’t cowards or fools willing to govern.  I’ll give the last word to Charlton Heston from El Cid:


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