Author archives: Tom McClusky

Change Watch: John Kerry, Secretary of State

by Tom McClusky

January 29, 2013

POSITION: Secretary of State

NOMINEE: John Kerry

Born: Aurora, Colorado, December 11, 1943.

Family: Second wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, two daughters and three stepsons.

Occupation: Lt. Governor of MA 1982-1985; Senate 1985-present. Chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations 2009-present.

Education: Yale University (1966) and Boston College Law School.


SANCTITY OF HUMAN LIFE

On Roe v. Wade and promoting abortion

Kerry: “I respect their views [Catholic Bishops]. I completely respect their views. I am a Catholic. And I grew up learning how to respect those views, but I disagree with them, as do many. I believe that I can’t legislate or transfer to another American citizen my article of faith. What is an article of faith for me is not something that I can legislate on somebody who doesn’t share that article of faith. I believe that choice, a woman’s choice is between a woman, God and her doctor. And that’s why I support that. Now I will not allow somebody to come in and change Roe v. Wade. The president has never said whether or not he would do that. But we know from the people he’s tried to appoint to the court he wants to. I will not. I will defend the right of Roe v. Wade.” Source: New York Times, Third Bush-Kerry Debate Transcript Oct. 13, 2004.

Supports using federal taxpayer money to pay for abortion

Q: Senator Kerry, suppose you are speaking with a voter who believed abortion is murder and the voter asked for reassurance that his or her tax dollars would not go to support abortion, what would you say to that person?

Kerry: “I would say to that person exactly what I will say to you right now. First of all, I cannot tell you how deeply I respect the belief about life and when it begins. I’m a Catholic, raised a Catholic… But as a president, I have to represent all the people in the nation. And I have to make that judgment. Now, I believe that you can take that position and not be pro- abortion, but you have to afford people their constitutional rights. And that means being smart about allowing people to be fully educated, to know what their options are in life, and making certain that you don’t deny a poor person the right to be able to have whatever the constitution affords them if they can’t afford it otherwise. That’s why I think it’s important. That’s why I think it’s important for theUnited States, for instance, not to have this rigid ideological restriction on helping families around the world to be able to make a smart decision about family planning.” Source: Washington Post, Second Bush-Kerry Debate Transcript Oct. 8, 2004.

Rights of Conscience

Voted against the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act that would have protected employers’ rights of conscience from the HHS mandate.

On the Motion to Table (Motion to Table Blunt Amdt. No. 1520 to S.Amdt.1730), Respect for Rights of Conscience Act, Roll Call 24, March 1, 2012. Source: Senate.gov

Parental Consent on issues of abortion

Voted against stopping ne’er-do-well adults taking minors across state lines for an abortion: S.Amdt 4335 to S.Con.Res. 70, Roll Call 08-S71, March 13, 2008. Source: Senate.gov

Voted against parental notification of minors who get out-of-state abortions: S.403, Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act, Roll Call 06-216, July 25, 2006. Source: Senate.gov

On taxpayer funding of abortion

Voted for increasing taxpayer funding for destructive embryonic stem cell experimentation:  S.5/H.R. 3, Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, Roll Call 07-127, April 11, 2007. Source Senate.gov

Voted for increasing funding to Planned Parenthood and similar clinics by $100 million:  S.Amdt. 244 to S.Con.Res 18, Appropriation to expand access to preventive health care services, Roll Call 05-75, March 17, 2005. Source: Senate.gov

Supports subsidizing international abortion agencies

S.Amdt. 2719 to H.R. 2764, Roll Call 07-319, September 6, 2007. Source: Senate.gov

Supports full funding for the United Nations Family Planning Fund (UNFPA)

(Evidence shows UNFPA subsidizes coercive abortions)

S. Amdt. 2708 to H.R. 2764, Roll Call 07-320, September 6, 2007. Source: Senate.gov

MARRIAGE AND HOMOSEXUAL AGENDA

Voted against the Marriage Protection Amendment: S.J.Res. 1, Roll Call 06-163, June 7, 2006. Source: Senate.gov

Opposes the Defense of Marriage Act:

Kerry: “My vote against [DOMA] — which some predicted would cost me reelection in 1996 — is among my proudest votes as a United States Senator…But my job in 2011 isn’t to feel good about my vote — or to boast that fifteen years later, I’m vindicated when at last an American president now agrees that DOMA is unconstitutional.” Source: Boston Globe 

Voted in favor of the Federal Hate Crimes Act: 

Thought crimes amendment to the Department of Defense Authorization that would establish federal “hate crimes” for certain violent acts based on the actual or perceived race, religion, disability, gender identity or sexual orientation of any person. S. Amdt. 3035, Roll Call No. 07-350, September 27, 2007. Source: Senate.gov

Supports special rights for homosexuals

Kerry co-sponsored S.811 the so-called “Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2011.” Source: Govtrack.us

Supports legislation that results in the shutting of Christian adoption agencies

Kerry co-sponsored S. 1770 in the 112th Congress which seeks to change the parameters of adoption placement so that agencies that continue to prioritize homes with a mother and father would be forced to close Source: Thomas

Supports redefining marriage and removing the ability of states to protect from redefinitions

Kerry co-sponsored S. 598 in the 112th Congress which seeks to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act and redefine “spouse” for federal purposes. Source: Thomas

MISCELLANEOUS

Kerry’s Top Ten Flip-Flops: Senate’s role in Iraq war, wartime funding, Israeli security fence, the Patriot Act, death penalty for terrorists, releasing strategic oil reserves, affirmative action, free trade, and No Child Left Behind. Source: CBS News

Kerry Insults U.S. Troops: Kerry told a California audience on Monday: “Education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. And if you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.” Source: Washington Post

Divisive Among Veterans: Following his service in Vietnam, John Kerry helped lead the controversial anti-war group Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW), a group that condemned America’s conduct in Indochina and who was seen by some veterans as serving pro-Viet Cong interests. According to FBI accounts, Kerry was present at a 1971 VVAW meeting in Kansas City where the assassination of politicians was discussed.

Source: Washington Post, also WorldNetDaily

Change Watch: Chuck Hagel, Secretary of Defense

by Tom McClusky

January 29, 2013

POSITION: Secretary of Defense

NOMINEE: Chuck Hagel

Born: North Platte, Nebraska, October 4, 1946. (1961-08-04)

Family: Second wife, Lilibet Hagel, two daughters.

Occupation: Sergeant, US Army 1967-1968 (awarded Combat Infantry Badge, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, Army Commendation Medal and two Purple Hearts); co-founded Vanguard Cellular, President of the McCarthy Group LLC and CEO of American Information Systems Inc. Senate 1996-2007. Served on the Committee on Foreign Relations, Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, Select Committee on Intelligence and Committee on Rules and Administration.

Education:Brown College and University of Nebraska, Omaha


SANCTITY OF HUMAN LIFE

Opposes Abortion Except in Life of the Mother Cases and Opposed Taxpayer Funding

I am pro-life with one exception — the life of the mother. I oppose taxpayer funded abortions. We must promote adoption and support the strengthening of American families. I will vote with and support the pro-life movement,” Hagel said in a piece of 1996 campaign literature, according to the Omaha World Herald.

As I looked at those numbers, if I want to prevent abortions, I don’t think those two exceptions are relevant,” Hagel said, according to the Omaha paper.

Voted against overseas military abortions..

Click here to view his voting record as U.S. Senator.

Parental Consent on issues of abortion

Voted for stopping ne’er-do-well adults taking minors across state lines for an abortion: S.Amdt 4335 to S.Con.Res. 70, Roll Call 08-S71, March 13, 2008. Source: Senate.gov

Voted for parental notification of minors who get out-of-state abortions: S.403, Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act, Roll Call 06-216, July 25, 2006. Source: Senate.gov

On taxpayer funding of abortion

Voted against increasing taxpayer funding for destructive embryonic stem cell experimentation:  S.5/H.R. 3, Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, Roll Call 07-127, April 11, 2007. Source Senate.gov

Voted against increasing funding to Planned Parenthood and similar clinics by $100 million:  S.Amdt. 244 to S.Con.Res 18, Appropriation to expand access to preventive health care services, Roll Call 05-75, March 17, 2005. Source: Senate.gov

Opposed subsidizing international abortion agencies

S.Amdt. 2719 to H.R. 2764, Roll Call 07-319, September 6, 2007. Source: Senate.gov

Opposed funding for the United Nations Family Planning Fund (UNFPA)

(Evidence shows UNFPA subsidizes coercive abortions)

S. Amdt. 2708 to H.R. 2764, Roll Call 07-320, September 6, 2007. Source: Senate.gov

Supports Expanding Taxpayer Funding for Abortions in the Military

On January 14, 2013, Hagel sent a letter to Barbara Boxer assuring her he would “fully implement all laws protecting women service member’s reproductive rights” and that they would be “afforded the same reproductive health care options as women in the civilian population.”

MARRIAGE AND HOMOSEXUAL AGENDA

No Vote” on the Marriage Protection Amendment: S.J.Res. 1, Roll Call 06-163, June 7, 2006. Source: Senate.gov

Voted against the Federal Hate Crimes Act:

Thought crimes amendment to the Department of Defense Authorization that would establish federal “hate crimes” for certain violent acts based on the actual or perceived race, religion, disability, gender identity or sexual orientation of any person. S. Amdt. 3035, Roll Call No. 07-350, September 27, 2007. Source: Senate.gov

Apologized for “Aggressive Gay” Remark, supports DADT repeal

The Omaha World-Herald reported in 1998: “Ambassadorial posts are sensitive, Hagel explained. ‘They are representing America,’ he said [in an interview]. ‘They are representing our lifestyle, our values, our standards. And I think it is an inhibiting factor to be gay — openly aggressively gay like Mr. Hormel — to do an effective job.’”

Then, Dec. 2012: “My comments 14 years ago in 1998 were insensitive. They do not reflect my views or the totality of my public record, and I apologize to Ambassador Hormel and any LGBT Americans who may question my commitment to their civil rights. I am fully supportive of ‘open service’ and committed to LGBT military families.”

Fully Supports Military Benefits for Homosexual Couples

In his January 14, 2013 letter to Barbara Boxer, Hagel reiterated his support for repealing DADT and promised he would “do everything possible to the extent permissible under current law to provide equal benefits to the families of all service members.”

MISCELLANEOUS

Urged “direct, unconditional, and comprehensive talks with the Government of Iran

Criticized GOP Senators seeking to Repeal Healthcare as Irresponsible

Called Pentagon Budget “Bloated”

From a September 2011 interview: “The Defense Department, I think in many ways, has been bloated,” he responded. “So I think the Pentagon needs to be pared down.” 

Opposed Sanctions in Countries including Iran, North Korea, Libya, Cuba and Syria

Hagel did not sign a letter to the EU calling on it to designate Hezbollah a terror group       Hagel defended this by saying, “I didn’t sign on to certain resolutions and letters because they were counter-productive and didn’t solve a problem.”

In 2006, Hagel referred to the Israel lobbyists as the “Jewish lobby Hagel said, “The Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here… I have always argued against some of the dumb things they do because I don’t think it’s in the interest of Israel.”

Hagel opposed the ultimately successful troop surge in Iraq

Change Watch: Elena Kagan—Supreme Court Nominee

by Tom McClusky

May 10, 2010

POSITION: Supreme Court nominee

NOMINEE: Elena Kagan

Born: April 28, 1960

Occupation: Dean of Harvard Law School and Charles Hamilton Houston Professor of Law at Harvard University.

Education: BA summa cum laude, Princeton University, 1981; MPhil, Worchester College, Oxford, 1983; JD magna cum laude, Harvard Law School, 1986

Clinton White House: 1995-1996 associate counsel to the President; 1997-1999 deputy assistant to the President for Domestic Policy; 1997-1999 deputy director Domestic Policy Council.

NOTE: From 1986 to 1987 Ms. Dean Kagan served as a judicial clerk for Judge Abner Mikva on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. From 1987-1988 she also served as a judicial clerk for Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. Dean Kagan briefly served as a staff member for Michael Dukakiss presidential campaign. During the summer of 1993 she served as Special Counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee to work on the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

HOMOSEXUAL ISSUES

Gays in the Military

Last year candidate Barack Obama repeatedly opined that students should have military service opportunities on campus. However, President Obama’s nominee for solicitor general, Harvard Law School Dean Elena Kagan, believes the military should be barred from campus. In fact, she fought all the way to the United States Supreme Court, trampling on students’ constitutional rights all the way there, in order to deny qualified students the opportunity to serve our country … Kagan’s staunch ideological opposition to the military and providing qualified students the opportunity to serve puts her well outside of the mainstream. Even Bill Clinton, who dodged a military draft during Vietnam, signed the law Kagan opposes, the Solomon amendment, with overwhelming congressional and public support.

Solomon, simply put, seeks to facilitate voluntary military service by asking colleges and universities to allow students to meet with military recruiters on campus and to participate in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC). Schools whose policies or practices obstruct students from taking part are ineligible for federal funding.

Yet, Kagan, who has categorized the law as “immoral” at a 2003 Harvard student forum, argued in support of the position of the Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights, the so-called FAIR coalition, claiming elite schools have a right to taxpayer largesse while simultaneously barring the military - a radical view the Supreme Court unanimously struck down … Yet, leftwing views like Kagan’s still disparage the sacrifices our military makes and cause real, quantifiable harm to students and to our nation at taxpayer expense. According to Harvard’s annual financial statements, the school received $473 million of our hard-earned dollars during the 2003-4 school year, while FAIR, with Kagan’s help, won an injunction against the military in the Third Circuit. Harvard took another $511 million during the following school year and, for 2005-6, $517 million more as the Supreme Court heard and rejected FAIR’s claims.

Even Ruth Bader Ginsberg, a former American Civil Liberties Union lawyer and centerpiece of the liberals’ high court coalition, couldn’t find a way to justify these spurious, anti-student claims and recognized Congress’ ability to condition taxpayer spending. Flagg Youngblood, Solicitor General Flimflam, The Washington Times, January 30, 2009.

Hate Crimes

Believes courts should support hate crime laws and that when reviewing regulations of speech, courts could evaluate motive directly, they could remove the lions share of the First Amendments doctrinal clutter. Elena Kagan, Private Speech, Public Purpose: The Role of Government Motive in First Amendment Doctrine, 63 U. Chi. L. Rev. 413, 516 (1996).

In her 1993 University of Chicago Law Review piece, she wrote that proposed regulations on hate speech and pornography failed to adhere to the fundamental First Amendment principle of viewpoint neutrality that the government cannot favor certain private speakers or viewpoints over others. Her 1996 article on government motive in First Amendment cases has been cited more than 115 times an enviably high number for a secondary source. In that article she declares that the application of First Amendment law is best understood and most readily explained as a kind of motive-hunting. David Hudson, Jr., Solicitor-general nominee: impressive First Amendment resume, FirstAmendmentcenter.org.

On Opposing Religious Institutions Involving Themselves In Pregnancy

As a young law clerk, Kagan, 49, once penned a memo saying it would be difficult for a religious organization to take government funding to counsel teenagers about pregnancy without injecting some kind of religious teaching. When a Senator asked her about the memo, Kagan did not hesitate to distance herself from its views, saying she had fresh eyes two decades later. I looked at it, and I thought, That is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard, she said. Michael Sherer, Solicitor General Elena Kagan, Time, April 13, 2010.

On Questioning of Presidential Nominees

Kagan herself has called for the Senate to use confirmation hearings to engage nominees in meaningful discussion of legal issues. In her 1995 review (62 U. Chi. L. Rev. 919) of Stephen L. Carters The Confirmation Mess, Kagan argues that the critical inquiry that the Senate should conduct on a Supreme Court nominee concerns the votes she would cast, the perspective she would add (or augment), and the direction in which she would move the institution. Kagan draws as the fundamental lesson of the Bork hearings … the essential rightnessthe legitimacy and the desirabilityof exploring a Supreme Court nominees set of constitutional views and commitments.

Although Carters book and Kagans review focus heavily on Supreme Court nominees, they also address DOJ nominations (especially Clintons 1993 nomination, subsequently withdrawn, of Lani Guinier to be AAG for Civil Rights), and Kagans view of the Senates role applies fully to those (and other executive-branch) nominations. That, of course, is hardly surprising, as the case for careful scrutiny of the legal views of DOJ nominees, even if combined with greater deference to the president, seems widely accepted. Ed Whelan, Obamas SG Pick Elena Kagan, NROs The Corner, January 7, 2009.

On Lack of Experience

Kagan may well have less experience relevant to the work of being a justice than any justice in the last five decades or more. In addition to zero judicial experience, she has only a few years of real-world legal experience. Further, notwithstanding all her years in academia, she has only a scant record of legal scholarship. Kagan flunks her own threshold test of the minimal qualifications needed for a Supreme Court nominee. Ed Whelan, Supreme Court Nominee Elena Kagan, NROs Bench Memos, May 10, 2010.

On Being a Washington and Obama Administration Insider

There is a striking mismatch between the White Houses populist rhetoric about seeking a justice with a keen understanding of how the law affects the daily lives of the American people and the reality of the Kagan pick. Kagan is the consummate Obama insider, and her meteoric rise over the last 15 yearsfrom obscure academic and Clinton White House staffer to Harvard law school dean to Supreme Court nomineewould seem to reflect what writer Christopher Caldwell describes as the intermarriage of financial and executive branch elites [that] could only have happened in the Clinton years and that has fostered the dominant financial-political oligarchy in America. In this regard, Kagans paid role as a Goldman Sachs adviser is the perfect marker of her status in the oligarchyand of her unfathomable remoteness from ordinary Americans. Ed Whelan, Supreme Court Nominee Elena Kagan, NROs Bench Memos, May 10, 2010.

Goldman Sachs Ties

Solicitor General Elena Kagan was a member of the Research Advisory Council of the Goldman Sachs Global Markets Institute, according to the financial disclosures she filed when President Obama appointed her last year to her current post. Kagan served on the Goldman panel from 2005 through 2008, when she was dean of Harvard Law School, and received a $10,000 stipend for her service in 2008, her disclosure forms show. Matt Kelly, Possible Supreme Court pick had ties with Goldman Sachs USA Today, April 27, 2010.

Opposition by Liberals

Liberal legal scholars and experts stepped up their attacks Friday on Elena Kagan as a potential Supreme Court nominee, hoping to dissuade President Obama from selecting her in the last few days before an expected announcement early next week. A group of four law professors Friday morning published a piece at Salon.com criticizing Kagan, Obamas solicitor general, for hiring too few women and minorities when she was dean of Harvard law school. Liberal attorney and blogger Glenn Greenwald who has taken Kagan to task for her views on executive power and been the chief organizing force behind criticism of Kagan promoted the column on his Twitter account and kept up a drumbeat against Kagan… .Ive devoted everything I can to making the case against Kagan before Obama chooses, precisely because I know that once he makes his selection, the overwhelming majority of progressives and Democrats will cheer for her even if they have no idea what she thinks or believes, Greenwald said… .Prominent liberal legal scholar Erwin Chemerinsky made that very point this week in an interview. The reality is that Democrats, including liberals, will accept and push whomever Obama picks, said Chemerinsky, founding dean of the University of California-Irvine law school. Obviously, liberals hope that Obama will pick someone more from the left than the center. It cant be that Republicans pick conservatives and Democrats pick only moderates. John Ward, Liberal activists intensify attacks on Kagan as court pick nears, The Daily Caller, May 7, 2010.

Change Watch: Kevin Jennings, Assistant Deputy Secretary for the Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools

by Tom McClusky

June 8, 2009

POSITION: ASSISTANT DEPUTY SECRETARY FOR THE OFFICE OF SAFE AND DRUG FREE SCHOOLS

NOMINEE: Kevin Jennings

Born: Winston-Salem, N.C.

Occupation: Executive Director, and founder, of GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network.

Education: graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College

View of Christians

Addressing a church audience on March 20, 2000 in New York City just days before “Fistgate” GLSEN Executive Director Kevin Jennings offered a stinging (and quite intolerant) assessment of how to deal with religious conservatives:

Twenty percent of people are hard-core fair-minded [pro-homosexual] people. Twenty percent are hard-core [anti-homosexual] bigots. We need to ignore the hard-core bigots, get more of the hard-core fair-minded people to speak up, and we’ll pull that 60 percent [of people in the middle] … over to our side. That’s really what I think our strategy has to be. We have to quit being afraid of the religious right. We also have to quit … I’m trying to find a way to say this. I’m trying not to say, ‘[F—-] ‘em!’ which is what I want to

say, because I don’t care what they think! [audience laughter] Drop dead! It should be noted that GLSEN and Jennings make heavy use of the words “respect” and “tolerance” in their public rhetoric and in descriptions of their programs. [Source]

GLSEN and Fistgate

GLSEN, which promotes homosexual clubs and the homosexual lifestyle in high schools, middle schools and grade schools and is the driving force behind the annual “Day of Silence” celebration of homosexuality

The most notorious education scandal involving homosexual activists is a GLSEN sponsored conference that occurred on March 25, 2000, dubbed Fistgate by conservatives. Three homosexual activists employed by the Massachusetts Departments of Health and Education led a youth workshop titled What They Didn’t Tell You about Queer Sex & Sexuality in Health Class part of the annual Boston-GLSEN Teach Out conference held at Tufts University. The Queer Sex session, advertised to youth only ages 14 to 21, was attended by Massachusetts family advocate Scott Whitemen, who taped it while standing in the back of the room.

In the workshop, instructor Michael Gaucher, prompted by a teen’s question, verbally guided the students on the mechanics of fisting a homosexual slang term for a sadistic sex act in which a man inserts his hand and arm into another person’s anal cavity.

Another instructor, Margot Abels, said fisting often gets a really bad rap, and described it innocuously as an experience of letting somebody into your body that you want to be that close and intimate with. Abels and Gaucher also guided the students on techniques

of oral sodomy and lesbian sex. [Source]

On Statutory Rape

In his own writings and books listed on the GLSEN [Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network] Website, I’ve reported, Kevin Jennings has given tacit nods of approval to sex between young teens and adults, (Linda) Harvey told WND. In addition to that, the writings and books, many of which I’ve read and are incredibly graphic, seem to

normalize early teen same-sex sexual behaviors. [Source]

Excerpts: Winning the Culture War speech, presented by Kevin Jennings at the Human Rights Campaign Fund Leadership Conference March 5, 1995

If the Radical Right can succeed in portraying us as preying on children, we will lose.

In Massachusetts the effective reframing of this issue was the key to the success of the Governor’s Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth.

We immediately seized upon the opponent’s calling card— safety—and explained how homophobia represents a threat to students’ safety by creating a climate where violence, name- calling, health problems, and suicide are common. Titling our report ‘Making

Schools Safe for Gay and Lesbian Youth,’ we automatically threw our opponents onto the defensive and stole their best line of attack. [Source]

GLSEN: Kindergartners as Targets

During a celebration of National Ally Week, Tara Miller, a teacher at the Faith Ringgold School of Arts and Science in Hayward, Calif., passed out cards produced by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network to her class of kindergartners. The cards asked signers to be an ally and to pledge to not use anti-LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) language or slurs; intervene, when I feel I can, in situationswhere others are using anti-LGBT language or harassing other students and actively support safer schools efforts. [Source]

Change Watch Backgrounder: Dr. Joshua Sharfstein

by Tom McClusky

March 20, 2009

POSITION: DEPUTY DIRECTOR for THE FDA


NOMINEE: Joshua Sharfstein

Born: 1970

Occupation: Commissioner of Health for the City of Baltimore, Maryland

Education: Harvard College, 1991; Harvard Medical School 1996; Residency in pediatrics at Boston City Hospital and Boston Medical Center; completed a special pediatrics fellowship with Boston University

Work history: Served as health policy advisor to Congressman Henry A. Waxman and Joined the Democratic staff of the House Government Reform Committee where he was responsible for oversight and legislative projects on scientific integrity, HIV/AIDS, FDA oversight, tobacco control, public health preparedness and other health topics.  While on the committee he spearheaded unscientific reports attacking both abstinence education and pregnancy care centers.

2005-2008:  Commissioner of Health for the City of Baltimore

2008: Leader of Obama’s transition team on the FDA

 

On Abortion

It is more dangerous for a woman to go through childbirth than to have an abortion.”

By depriving poor women of such services (access to taxpayer-funded abortionists), Rust (case concerning the legality and constitutionality of regulations on the use of funds spent by the U.S. to groups that promote abortion) will increase the shamefully high infant mortality rates in urban and rural areas.” And “will likely raise infant mortality rates among low-income populations.”

Rust will also contribute to infant mortality (rates) by obstructing women’s access to abortion services.”

Denying access to an abortion at a public clinic will force some women to wait even later into pregnancy before they can afford one, thus increasing their health risks.”

Joshua Sharfstein, “Conservatives’ Abortion Wrongs,” The Harvard Crimson.  June 4, 1991.

[Source]

On Parental Consent

Supported making the HPV vaccine mandatory for girls with no requirement to obtain parent’s approval.

[Source]

On Treating Drug Users

He is also an advocate of the use of a treatment for heroin addicts called “bupe” on the street, and he set up the Baltimore Buprenorphine Initiative. The Baltimore Sun has written about the program, questioning whether addicts using bupe are better off than those using methadone. The Baltimore health department’s Web site says heroin overdoses have dropped.”

[Source]

On Fighting Medical Companies

Opting for action over the status quo, a group of Baltimore physicians decided to challenge common perceptions that children’s over-the-counter cold and cough medicines are safe and effective. They believe the products are neither.  Led by the city’s health department, the group brought a citizens’ petition to the Food and Drug Administration asking that the agency tell parents that the products never were found to be safe or effective for this young population. The FDA is now considering the matter and, at press time in December 2007, the final decision was still pending. ‘We are working intently to provide a public statement in the near future,’ an agency spokeswoman said.” [Source]

Baltimore‘s Rising Teen Pregnancy Rates

The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Vital Statistics Administration reported that the birthrate among to 15- to 17-year-olds increased by 14-percent since last year (during Mr. Sharfstein’s tenure as Baltimore Health Commissioner). That’s about 100 more births than the 649 recorded the year before.” Farrah Childs, “Teen Pregnancy on the Rise in Baltimore,” WYPR News in Maryland. August 27, 2008. 

[Source]

Reaction from Pro-Abortion Groups

As New York City Health Commissioner, Dr. Hamburg instituted a needle-exchange program to help prevent the spread of HIV, oversaw abortion counseling and family planning centers and pregnancy prevention programs. Like Dr. Hamburg, Dr. Sharfstein (nominee for Deputy at FDA) demonstrated pro-choice credentials throughout his career” NARAL Pro-Choice New York press release [Source]

Political Opinions

When I worked on the needle-exchange issue for Congressman Waxman, I would meet with groups who were morally opposed to the needle-exchange program. I would say, “Look, if you want to find the program morally wrong, that’s your prerogative, but you have to look yourself in the mirror and say people are going to die.  We had a web site, www.politicsandscience.org, which included an overview of the Bush administration policies toward science, and [it] has specific examples of where [Republican] ideology has affected health policy. It shows how they’ve distorted web sites-misrepresented information about condoms, for example.”

[Source]

Change Watch Backgrounder: Dr. Margaret Hamburg

by Tom McClusky

March 13, 2009

POSITION: ADMINISTRATOR, FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION

 

NOMINEE: Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg

BIRTH DATE: 1955

EDUCATION: She earned her M.D. from Harvard Medical School, and completed her training at the New York Hospital/Cornell University Medical Center.

FAMILY: Husband: Peter Fitzhugh Brown; two children

Clinton White House: “In 1993, Dr. Hamburg was President Clinton’s first choice for the newly created post of federal AIDS coordinator. Pregnant with her first child at that time, Hamburg declined, putting motherhood first. President Clinton selected her in 1997 to be assistant secretary for policy and evaluation at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This time she accepted.”

[Source]

EXPERIENCE: 1986 - 1988, U.S. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion; 1989 - 1990, assistant director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at NIH, where her work focused on AIDS research. 1990-1997, became deputy health commissioner of New York City and was named health commissioner a year later. She created an aggressive tuberculosis control program and the country’s first public health bioterrorism defense program;
1997-2001, assistant secretary for planning and evaluation at the Department of Health and Human Services in the Clinton administration, where she created a bioterrorism program; 2001 - Present, vice president for biological programs at the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a think tank focused on the threat to public safety from nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons.

On Abortion

Dr. Margaret Hamburg, whose department runs abortion counseling and family-planning centers, and says that Giuliani’s transition team ‘would never have considered anyone who wasn’t pro-choice.’ Hamburg was one of only three commissioners initially appointed by Giuliani’s predecessor, David Dinkins, who was retained in the new administration. She served three years under Giuliani before taking an assistant secretary post in Bill Clinton’s Health and Human Services agency. Hamburg says her pro-choice preferences were a given in the Giuliani administration, and that ‘the subject of abortion never came up’ during or after the selection process. ‘The only question Giuliani asked me in my interview was whether I believed in the legalization of drugs,’ Hamburg says. ‘He was comfortable with our high-risk pregnancy and pregnancy-prevention programs, though he didn’t engage much. There were no restrictions on abortion counseling. This was not an area where there was any signal of a policy change between Dinkins and Giuliani.’” [Source]

On Abstinence Programs

While serving as New York City health commissioner, Hamburg opposed a “morality oath” put forth by the Board of Education in 1992 when New York City was considering abstinence-only sex education. She also said that science-based public health strategies and not “moral judgment” or “wishful thinking” should be the foundation for HIV/AIDS education aimed at young people.”

[Source]

On Tuberculosis

While commissioner Dr. Hamburg’s innovative treatment plan for tuberculosis (TB) became a model for health departments around the world. In the 1990s, TB was the leading infectious killer of youths and adults and had become resistant to standard drugs. To be effective, new drugs required patients to take pills every day for up to two years, but failure to complete the full course of treatment allowed the bacteria to mutate into drug-resistant strains. Hamburg sent healthcare workers to patients’ homes to help manage their drug regimen, and between 1992 and 1997, the TB rate for New York City fell by 46 percent, and by 86 percent for the most resistant strains.” [Source]

On Taxpayer Funded Needle Distribution Programs

Hamburg (as New York City health commissioner) gained praise for a needle-exchange program for injection drug users that aimed to curb the spread of HIV.”

[Source]

Reaction from Pro-Abortion Groups

As New York City Health Commissioner, Dr. Hamburg instituted a needle-exchange program to help prevent the spread of HIV, oversaw abortion counseling and family planning centers and pregnancy prevention programs. Like Dr. Hamburg, Dr. Sharfstein (nominee for Deputy at FDA) demonstrated pro-choice credentials throughout his career” NARAL Pro-Choice New York press release [Source]

New York City Abortion Statistics

In most of the United States, 24 abortions are carried out for every 100 live births. In New York, 72 abortions occur for every 100 live births. The continuing boom in abortions-90,157 were performed in the city in 2006, the last year for which statistics are available-apparently means that many women are using abortion as their birth control method of choice. That concerns health advocates, who point out that the procedure sometimes causes complications and is more expensive than contraception. The high rate also shows that these women are not protected against AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases … 93% of the abortions in New York City are performed on city residents… An average of 250 abortions are performed in the city each day at more than 200 clinics and doctor’s offices … even though free or low-cost contraception is offered through 59 publicly funded programs at 218 sites in New York state, mostly in New York City… . In a time of fiscal constraints, abortion is costing the state at least $16 million in Medicaid spending annually, and city taxpayers still more through a city Health and Hospitals Corp. policy that provides free abortions to poor women at its facilities. The surgical costs alone are between $1,000 and $1,800 per abortion … But the biggest concern over the high abortion rate is the impact it is having on women’s health… . the high abortion figures are a sign that women in the city are putting themselves at risk of catching AIDS or other diseases… That seems to be particularly true for New York City’s African-American women. Though blacks make up about 24% of the city’s population, black women were responsible for 45% of the abortions in the city in 2006. That mirrors a national trend, according to the Guttmacher Institute, which tracks abortion numbers and found that the rate among black women is twice the national average.”

[Source]

 

Change Watch Backgrounder: Kathleen Sebelius

by Tom McClusky

February 19, 2009

POSITION: HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY

NOMINEE: Kathleen Sebelius

Born: Cincinnati, Ohio, May 15, 1948

Family: Husband, K. Gary Sebelius, and two sons.

Occupation: 44th Governor of Kansas

Education: B.A. Trinity Washington University, Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Kansas.

Work history: Jan 2003-present, Governor of Kansas (term-limited, term ends Jan 2011)

1994-2002, Kansas Insurance Commissioner

1987-1994, Member of the Kansas House of Representatives

1977-1987, Director of the Kansas Trial Lawyers Association

1975-1977, Aide with the Kansas Department of Corrections

ON HEALTH CARE

We are stronger as a nation when our people have access to the highest-quality, most-affordable health care.”

[Source]

We know that caring for our children, so they have a healthy and better start in life, is what grownups do. A large majority of the Congress are ready, right now, to provide health care to 10 million American children, as a first step in overhauling our health care system.”

Retrieved on February 10, 2009 from: [Source]

ON ABORTION

Sebelius has been endorsed by Planned Parenthood and they have conducted fundraising activity on her behalf.

Reviewing the record of Gov. Sebelius when she served in the Kansas House of Representatives, it is difficult to find a single instance, either in a procedural or substantive vote, where she acted in a manner that would afford unborn children the maximum protection. In the 1980s and 1990s then- Representative Sebelius voted to weaken or eliminate even such modest measures as parental notification, waiting periods and informed consent.
As governor, she twice has vetoed bills attempting to protect the health and safety of women by more tightly regulating abortion clinics.”

[Source]

I think for me and a lot of other people there are certain inalienable rights established for a person, but those are not applied in utero.”

[Source]

In April 2007, Sebelius hosted a private reception for infamous abortion doctor George Tiller and his staff at the governor’s mansion.

[Source]

Vetoed the Comprehensive Abortion Reform Act as unconstitutional because it would allow court orders to be written to help prevent second and third term abortions.

[Source]

ON SAME-SEX MARRIAGE

Sebelius did not support an amendment to the Kansas Constitution that made same-sex marriage in the state unconstitutional saying, “‘I don’t think we need a constitutional amendment, and particularly a constitutional amendment that goes far beyond the bounds of that law.”

[Source]

MISCELLANEOUS

Conflict with her Faith

The Governor’s constant support of abortion prompted the unusual step of Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas to publicly inform Governor Kathleen Sebelius that she should refrain from taking Communion until she publicly repudiates her support for abortion rights.  The Archbishop wrote:

The spiritually lethal message, communicated by our governor, as well as many other high-profile Catholics in public life, has been in effect: The church’s teaching on abortion is optional! . . I hope that my request of the governor, not to present herself for Holy Communion, will provoke her to reconsider the serious spiritual and moral consequences of her past and present actions.’”

[Source]

Lifetime Grade of “D” as Governor

Every year the CATO Institute rates the nation’s governors on tax and spending issues in their states.  Every year she has been eligible Governor Sebulius has received a “D” grade: 

Kathleen Sebelius has supported tax increases during her tenure, but she has also supported a number of pro-growth tax cuts. In 2004, she proposed a temporary increase in the sales tax rate that has turned out to be permanent, and more recently she has supported cigarette tax increases. However, Sebelius has also supported an impressive list of business tax cuts, including reductions in corporate income taxes, unemployment compensation taxes, and business property taxes.  She has also supported repeal of the estate tax and repeal of the corporate franchise tax, which is being phased out by 2011. With these cuts, the governor has made Kansas more attractive for business investment. It is on spending where Sebelius dragged down her grade by presiding over per capita budget increases averaging about 7 percent annually since 2003.” CATO Fiscal Policy Report Card on America’s Governors: 2008. [Source]

Change Watch Backgrounder: Ellen Moran

by Tom McClusky

February 18, 2009

POSITION: WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR

 

NOMINEE: Ellen Moran

Born: May 1, 1966, in Troy, N.Y., and grew up in Amherst, Mass.

Occupation: Prior to joining White House staff, Moran was executive director of EMILY’s List, where she oversaw the national staff and charted the overall strategic direction of the organization to provide financial assistance to female candidates in the Democratic Party who take liberal pro-choice political stances.

Education: B.A. in political science and English literature from Wheaton College.

Clinton White House: Helped plan both Clinton inaugurals, a staunch advocate for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton through the entire primary season, shifting her support to Mr. Obama only after Mrs. Clinton conceded the Democratic presidential nomination in June, 2009.

Further resume: Ms. Moran was the coordinator of the A.F.L.-C.I.O.’s “corporate accountability campaign” against Wal-Mart. During a leave of absence in 2004, she managed “independent expenditures,” advertising and other campaign activities for the Democratic National Committee. She also directed a $50 million issue advocacy campaign for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2000, and worked on Senator Tom Harkin’s presidential campaign in 1992.

Definition of Role: The White House Director of Communications is a key position responsible for developing and promoting the President’s agenda and leading the President’s media campaign. The director, along with his or her staff, works on speeches such as the inaugural address and the State of the Union Address.

Emily’s List

EMILY’s List, whose name is an acronym (Early Money is Like Yeast), is a national political action committee that works to elect pro-choice female Democrats. The group has turned the bundling of campaign contributions into an art form”

[Source]

In August 2006, the EL website stated, “Since our founding, we have helped elect 61 pro-choice Democratic women members of Congress, 11 senators, and eight governors.” These figures do not include the hundreds of local candidates whose campaigns EL has supported over the years. Among the notable recipients of EL funding have been Cynthia McKinney, Maxine Waters, Sheila Jackson-Lee, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barbara Boxer, Patty Murray, Dianne Feinstein, Jan Schakowsky, Barbara Lee, Hilda Solis, Diane Watson, Lynn Woolsey, Rosa DeLauro, Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Nydia Velazquez, and Tammy Baldwin. Many of these are members of the Progressive Caucus.”

[Source]

Emily’s List’s Radical Pro-Abortion Litmus Test

Partial-birth Abortion

Formally, there are only three requirements for a candidate to earn EL’s support: The candidate must be a woman; she must be a Democrat; and she must support unrestricted access to taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand. EMILY’s List has withdrawn its support from women who vote against event the most extreme abortion positions. For instance, Mary Landrieu, the recently re-elected Democratic Senator from Louisiana, lost EL’s backing when she voted in favor of a ban on partial-birth abortion.” [Source]

EMILY’s List helped elect two women U.S. senators, Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Blanche Lincoln Lambert (D-Ar.), in 1996 and 1998, respectively. In 1999, the Senate considered the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act. Both Landrieu and Lambert first voted for a ‘substitute amendment’ that would have gutted the ban — but when that attack failed, they also voted to pass the ban. That was enough to get them excommunicated by EMILY’s List.

In the group’s December 1999 newsletter, EMILY’s List President Ellen Malcolm stated that it would no longer support the two senators because they had voted to ban partial-birth abortions. Malcolm wrote, ‘Since these senators no longer meet EMILY’s List’s criteria on choice, they will be removed from the EMILY’s List advisory committee and will no longer be eligible for EMILY’s List support.’” [Source]

Taxpayer Funding of Abortion

EMILY’s List has taken a similar hard line on the issue of tax funding of abortions. In 1993, EMILY’s List reprinted its stationary to remove the names of two House members — Karen Thurman (D-Fl.) and Jill Long (D-In.). Both lawmakers had overall pro-abortion voting records, but they had both voted to renew the Hyde Amendment, prohibiting federal funding of abortions except to save the life of the mother, or in cases of rape or incest.”

[Source]

President Obama’s Circle of Death

While the media spent much of December and January chattering about the selection of mega-church pastor Rick Warren to deliver the inaugural invocation, Obama was quietly filling his administration with members of the abortion lobby. NARAL’s former legal director, Dawn Johnsen, will serve as assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel. Secretary of Health and Human Services-designate Tom Daschle, who led the fight in the Senate against the ban on partial-birth abortion, will help devise the health care plan, which Obama promised would cover abortions. Melody Barnes, a onetime Planned Parenthood board member, left her job at the left-wing Center for American Progress to serve as the director of the White House Domestic Policy Council. Ellen Moran left her job as executive director of Emily’s List, a pro-choice political action committee, to head the White House communications team. And just in case pro-choicers still doubted whether they had the president’s ear, Michelle Obama’s chief of staff, Jackie Norris, was once a Planned Parenthood board member too.” 

[Source]

Additionally Thomas Perrelli, the lawyer who successfully represented Terri Schiavo’s husband Michael in his efforts to starve his wife to death, has been nominated as Associate Attorney General at the Justice Department. David Ogden, nominee for Deputy Attorney General, has argued in court that 14-year old girls should be considered as adults in cases of abortion and against parents being notified.  Additionally Mr. Ogden has argued that abortion does not harm women in any way and in fact they feel “happy and relieved” [Source]

Stimulus” Update

by Tom McClusky

February 13, 2009

The House passed the Stimulus bill with all Republicans and 7 Democrats voting against it (except for two Republican absences who would have been NO and one Democrat, Rep. Lipinski, (D-Mich.) who voted PRESENT)

The Democrats voting yes (or switching from the last vote):

5 switched NO to YES: Reps. Boyd (D-Fla.), Cooper (D-Tenn.), Ellsworth (D-Ind.), Kanjorski (D-PA) and Kratovil (D-Md.)

6 stayed NO: Rep. Bright (D-Ala.), Griffith (D-Ala.), Minnick (D-Id.), Peterson (D-Minn.), Shuler (D-N.C.) and Taylor D-Miss.)

1 switched YES to NO: DeFazio (D-Or.)

Representative Boehner gave an impassioned speech (no crying though) on the House floor, you can watch it here

Senate update:

The Senate will vote at 5:30 pm tonight on the Stimulus Conference Report. The vote will be on a motion to waive the budget point of order (must achieve 60 votes) and under the order the vote on the motion to waive will count as final passage of the conference report.

Keep in mind this vote will be held open for a bit in order for all Members to have a chance to record their vote.

Change Watch Backgrounder: Carol Browner

by Tom McClusky

February 10, 2009

POSITION: ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT FOR ENERGY & CLIMATE CHANGE

(Energy and Environment Czar, new position created by President Obama to coordinate energy and climate policy regulations)

NOMINEE: Carol M. Browner

BIRTH DATE: December 16, 1955 in Miami, FL

EDUCATION:

B.A. in English 1977, University of Florida, Gainesville

J.D. 1979; University of Florida College of Law

FAMILY: Husband: Thomas Downey, former Democratic congressman from New York

Son: Zachary, from previous marriage to Michael Podhorzer, health-care issues specialist at Citizen Action

Clinton White House: 1993-2001  Head Administrator of the EPA under President Clinton

EXPERIENCE:

2001-2008 Founding Member of the Albright Group, international strategy consulting firm

1991-1993 Secretary of Environmental Regulation, Florida Department of Environmental Protection

1988-1991 Legislative Director for Senator Al Gore (D-TN)

1986-1988: worked in Washington for Senator Lawton Chiles (D-FL)

1983 Associate Director for Citizen Action, a lobbying organization founded by Ralph Nader

1980-1981 General Counsel for the Florida House of Representatives Committee on Government Operations

ON GOVERNMENT & SOCIALIST POLICIES

Until last week, Carol M. Browner, President-elect Barack Obama’s pick as global warming czar, was listed as one of 14 leaders of a socialist group’s Commission for a Sustainable World Society, which calls for “global governance” and says rich countries must shrink their economies to address climate change.

By Thursday, Mrs. Browner’s name and biography had been removed from Socialist International’s Web page, though a photo of her speaking June 30 to the group’s congress in Greece was still available.

Socialist International, an umbrella group for many of the world’s social democratic political parties such as Britain’s Labor Party, says it supports socialism and is harshly critical of U.S. policies.”

[Source]

ON GLOBAL WARMING/CLIMATE CHANGE

As one might expect, she’s been highly critical of President George W. Bush, saying he’s run the ‘worst environmental administration ever.’”

[Source]

There is a lot of opportunity out there to green our buildings, to green our schools. State and local governments have an important role to play; looking at how we make the grid bigger, better, smarter; and looking at how we change transportation in this country so that it’s greener.”

[Source]

Not all problems that we address in society need to focus on individual action,” Browner said in response to one student’s question about the role of laws in changing individuals’ behavior. “Regulations need to be imposed on the biggest source of emissions.”

While calling for a systematic and thoughtful review of the best policies and technologies, Browner also sounded an alarm, calling global warming the biggest environmental crisis the world has ever faced, one creating changes that, if not addressed soon, will be irreversible.

If we fail to act we’ll become the first generation that has left to the next generation a problem that can’t really be resolved,” she said. “No generation has yet left a permanently altered planet. There is not a single engineer in the world who could reverse the rise in the sea level once it starts to happen.”

For that reason, Brown said, one of the biggest obstacles to an effective solution is the crowd of persistent naysayers who continue to insist that climate change is not a scientifically proven phenomenon. She said their arguments are no more rational than the assertions of past generations that AIDS was not a problem or the world was not round.

[Source]

Long an acolyte of Al Gore, she has called climate change “the greatest challenge ever faced”

[Source]

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