A few questions come to mind before reading or viewing any of these positively horrific videos that have recently come out on Planned Parenthood and the sale of baby parts. At least we should have some questions. First off, how many times have “pro-life” Republicans been in charge of both houses of congress and the presidency and done nothing about abortion? How many times have “pro-life” representatives voted to continue funding Planned Parenthood in budget legislation? Why can’t anyone in Congress actually review Planned Parenthood annual financial reports and see with basic math that the federal funding “prohibited” from specifically funding abortion has obviously been used to fund Planned Parenthood abortions?

So….The following atrocity is brought to you by your own tax dollars. People need to know. People need to act. While this has been going on for decades, most have been appeased by the federal “provisions” that supposedly prevent Planned Parenthood from using fed funding for abortions.

Please spread this article around and especially the letter from the Planned Parenthood representative that urges media to not cover this issue.

Planned Parenthood Demands Media Not Air Damning Footage

“The material should not be aired,” the organization said in a message to news outlets
Planned Parenthood Demands Media Not Air Damning Footage

by Adan Salazar | Infowars.com | July 28, 2015

 

Planned Parenthood branches in several states are demanding local media refrain from airing damning footage obtained through recent undercover stings, in a frantic attempt to suppress negative criticism generated over their reported sale of aborted fetal tissue.

On Monday evening, Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota issued statements to “Health and Political Reporters and Producers” recommending the footage, which they say was garnered “under false pretenses,” “not be aired.”

“[The Center for Medical Progress] gained access to Planned Parenthood facilities under false pretenses and filmed without securing approval from the Planned Parenthood staff being filmed or the patients whose privacy is compromised by this secret videotaping,” a letter sent by Communications Director Jennifer Aulwes to media said.

“The material should not be aired.”

The organization’s effort to silence the press follows the release of a third documentary style video from the pro-life Center for Medical Progress Tuesday, which depicts in graphic detail the dissection of fetal organs.

The threatening message to the press comes as Planned Parenthood hires “progressive” Washington DC public relations firm SKDKnickerbocker to assist with damage control, according to Politico, even as corporations like Ford and Coca Cola have vowed to stop donating to the organization.

The PR firm claims to “craft… effective messages” “to protect a women’s right to choose, for marriage equality or to stop the scourge of guns on our streets,” and boasts major political clients such as President Obama, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

“Planned Parenthood is a longtime client, and we are proud to help them push back against these extremist attacks from people who want to end reproductive health care for women in this country,” a spokesperson for the firm said in a statement.

Meanwhile the governors of Indiana, Texas, Louisiana, Missouri and Kansas have all called for investigations into the horrific revelations, with presidential candidate Rand Paul and others leading the charge to defund the organization.

“My legislation won’t be about whether it’s legal or not … I think everybody in America is horrified by this, and they don’t want their tax dollars going to this group,” the republican presidential candidate said of his proposed bill on CBS’ Face the Nation.

Planned Parenthood warned a congressional committee last week that more sting videos would be forthcoming, and that some could be racially charged.

The Center for Medical Progress says it will release additional videos in weeks to come, promising one per week.

Below is Planned Parenthood’s message to the media in full, via valleynewslive.com:

To: North Dakota Health and Political Reporters and Producers
From: Jen Aulwes, Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota
Date: July 27, 2015
Re: Center for Medical Progress Expected to Violate Patient Privacy

The Center for Medical Progress (CMP) is an extreme activist organization whose sole mission is to prevent women from accessing health care and to destroy Planned Parenthood. The board members of this group believe that abortion is “genocide,” and employ people who went to jail for attempting to bomb a women’s health clinic. They are also connected with the man who murdered abortion provider Dr. George Tiller.

CMP has used footage obtained through deceit and unlawful behavior, including possible violations of state recording laws, federal tax laws and falsified state identification. Then, they concoct wildly false stories through selective editing. We expect this video will be no different in that regard; however, footage yet to come is expected to represent an extreme violation of patient privacy by including footage of post-abortion fetal tissue neither patients nor health care professionals authorized be filmed.

When your network decides whether to consider this story newsworthy, or whether to use any of this footage at all, we urge you to keep this in mind: The extremists who entered Planned Parenthood labs under false pretenses violated research protocol, and, worse, violated the privacy of patients involved. Those patients’ privacy should not be further violated by having this footage shared by the media.

The storage and examination processes that CMP used to get this footage are medically necessary. It is necessary medical professionals ensure an abortion is complete so that patients do not get an infection. When tissue is donated for medical research, these steps are also necessary for the donations to be completed. It is also medically necessary that researchers evaluate the laboratory procedures of a medical provider for safety standards and best practices.

Some of the conversations and protocols that occur in medical settings and among professional peers can sound jarring when taken out of context. While this can be difficult to hear or watch, it should not be used as an excuse to defund Planned Parenthood.

CMP gained access to Planned Parenthood facilities under false pretenses and filmed without securing approval from the Planned Parenthood staff being filmed or the patients whose privacy is compromised by this secret videotaping. The material should not be aired.

Please contact me at 651-755-9557 or jaulwes@ppmns.org if you have any questions or need any more information.

Facebook’s Use of Facial-Recognition Tool Draws Privacy Ire
by Rachel Adams-Heard
July 28, 2015 — 4:00 AM CDT
Updated on July 28, 2015 — 1:14 PM CDT

When you are identified in a picture on Facebook, biometric software remembers your face so it can be “tagged” in other photographs.

Facebook Inc. says this enhances the user experience. But privacy advocates say the company’s technology — which was shut off in Europe and Canada after concerns were raised — should only be used with explicit permission.

As commercial use of facial recognition technology grows to replace password log-ins, find people in photos and someday even customize displays for shoppers as they browse in stores, it’s raised privacy questions. That’s one reason the U.S. government is participating in a working group to develop rules for companies using facial recognition — even if those are voluntary.

“Face recognition data can be collected without a person’s knowledge,” said Jennifer Lynch, an attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a San Francisco-based privacy rights group. “It’s very rare for a fingerprint to be collected without your knowledge.”

Privacy groups such as Lynch’s last month cited the business community’s opposition to requiring prior consent as the reason they walked out on the government meetings. The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration, which sponsored the talks, plans to continue the process Tuesday without most of the privacy advocates.

“The process is the strongest when all interested parties participate and are willing to engage on all issues,” said Juliana Gruenwald, an agency spokeswoman.
Prior Knowledge

Facebook defends its use of facial-recognition technology, a form of biometrics. It works by assigning numbers to physical characteristics such as distance between eyes, nose and ears in order to come up with a unique faceprint that can be used to identify someone when they’ve already been identified through tagging.

The technology powers a photo feature called “tag suggestions” that is automatically turned on when users sign up for a Facebook account. The suggestions are only made to a user’s friends.

“Tag suggestions make it easy for friends to tag each other in photos,” Facebook said in an e-mailed statement. “And when someone is alerted they’ve been tagged in a photo, it’s easier to take action, whether it’s commenting, contacting the person who shared it, or reporting it to Facebook.”

Users can opt-out at any time, Facebook said. But that requires that they change their settings.
Flawed Policy

“Facebook isn’t getting permission,” said Alvaro Bedoya, executive director of Georgetown University’s Center on Privacy & Technology, who walked out on the U.S. meetings. “Facial recognition is one of those categories of data where a very prominent and a very clear consent is necessary.”

The U.S. government’s approach to regulating use of face data by companies is inadequate, privacy activists said. They point to Europe, where strict privacy laws forced Facebook in 2012 to delete data collected for its tag-suggestion feature following a probe by Irish authorities. Tag suggestions have also been turned off in Canada.

“Of significant privacy concern is the fact that Facebook has the ability to combine facial biometric data with extensive information about users, including biographic data, location data, and associations with ‘friends,’” Canada’s Office of the Privacy Commissioner said in a 2013 report on facial recognition technology.
Google, Microsoft

Bedoya, who formerly advised Democratic Senator Al Franken of Minnesota on privacy policy, said other Web companies get consent. He mentioned Google Inc., which gives users of its Google application the option to use face identification by turning on the “find my face” feature.

Companies such as Microsoft Corp., which is building facial recognition into Windows 10, and MasterCard, with its plan for selfie verification for online payments, require the download of an app or the purchase of hardware. Those acts can verify consent, privacy advocates say.

“It’s a complicated question,” said Carl Szabo, policy counsel for NetChoice, an association of Web companies such as Facebook, Google and Yahoo! Inc. “My concern is that if we go down this road, we’re not going to give this technology the opportunity to flourish and provide some of the really cool innovations that I can’t even think of today.”
‘Vote With Feet’

Szabo said he’s in favor of a code of conduct that would require companies using facial recognition to be transparent about their use of the technology with a notice or sign. That would allow consumers to “vote with their feet” if they feel uncomfortable, he said.

Facebook first started using facial recognition by licensing technology from another company, Face.com, which it acquired in 2012. Last month, Facebook introduced a new standalone app using the same technology as in tag suggestions called Moments, which groups photos in a user’s smartphone based on the faces identified. Photos can be shared with specific friends, as opposed to uploading them to Facebook.

The Menlo Park, California company’s current policy on facial recognition has made it the subject of a pending lawsuit in Illinois, which along with Texas has some of the nation’s strictest biometric privacy laws.
Facebook Lawsuit

The lawsuit argues that Facebook didn’t notify users when updating its terms of service to disclose that the company collects facial data on users tagged in photos.

Photo publishing site Shutterfly Inc. is the subject of another pending lawsuit in Illinois that takes issue with the company’s photo tagging feature.

The fear that facial data can be used to track people may be overblown. It reveals “less information about your habits than most customers would reveal by carrying around a mobile phone that also tracks and shares location data,” Daniel Castro, vice president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a non-partisan think tank, said in an e-mail.

Coming up with rules for the technology is not “black and white,” said Nick Ahrens, vice president of privacy and cybersecurity at the Retail Industry Leaders Association, which has members including Nike Inc., J. Crew Group Inc., Dillard’s Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

“I think transparency is the name of the game,” said Ahrens. But, “I don’t know if a sign on the door is the answer.”

(An earlier version corrected the headquarters of Facebook.)

Commonsense Property Rights Coalition to Meet to Discuss Common Core, Homeschooling, High Taxes
The Common Sense Property Rights Coalition will meet Monday August 3  at 6 pm at Fred’s Fish House   in Mammoth Springs according to board member Kevin Jotz. The main speaker of the evening will be Brandsville resident Karl Reid, author of a series of popular novels known as the Joseph books. Reid has studied Common Core and the modern educational system and home schooling and will be speaking on how to improve the education system.
The meeting will also include an update on the Oregon County property tax assessment, the state laws regulating the State Tax Commission, and how to file an appeal. Many citizens are concerned because their property tax assessments have gone up by 50% to 100%. State law mandates that any increase of more than 15% must be accompanied by a physical appraisal of the property. The PRC sponsored a peaceful protest demonstration at the Oregon County Courthouse last month.
“This is an organization concerned with protection of private property rights. The group believes that without protections of private property rights nothing else is secure. The right to own and reasonably use private property is a cornerstone of the U.S. Constitution, differentiating our country from others around the world. As John Adams, one of our nation’s Founding Fathers and our second president, said: ‘The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence.” For more information at 417-264-2435 or 417-270-1724.”

Every day there is a new atrocity….or 10,000. Here’s another one:

ATF Works With FBI And VA To Get Veterans’ Guns Taken Away

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is involved in a government effort to disarm America’s veterans and seniors who may lack the capacity to manage their finances.

And it’s not just veterans facing this scrutiny: now it’s anybody who gets Social Security.

New documents obtained by The Latest News Updates reveal that ATF, a division of the Department of Justice, is working with the FBI and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to enter veterans who get VA benefits into the government’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

TheDC first reported on a government program in which the VA sends veterans’ medical information to the FBI to disarm them. VA uses sneaky criteria to get veterans on the list for “persons prohibited under federal law from receiving or possessing firearms.” (RELATED: Latest News Updates Reveals Secret VA-FBI Coordination).

If a veteran is deemed incapable of managing his or her own finances, the VA sends his or her information to the FBI to be automatically added to the criminal background check system. For some injured veterans, their incompetence was determined merely because they signed up for auto-pay on their debit cards, because their wife gives them financial advice, or because they asked for an in-house assistant to help with chores. The VA sends this list to the FBI every month. At last count, there were more than 120,000 veterans in the government’s background check system.

Now we know that the enforcement agency ATF is working with the VA and FBI to suppress information about the program.

Michael Connelly, executive director of the United States Justice Foundation, sent Freedom of Information Act requests about the program to four federal government agencies. But when it came to get a response, he got one from a fifth agency that he didn’t even request information from: ATF.

Connelly, whose research blew the lid off the program in our previous Latest News Updates expose, learned that FBI sent his request to ATF, which stifled it.

The FBI sent ATF seven pages of documents pursuant to Connelly’s information request to check with them first. ATF denied Connelly’s request for information, telling him that the agency is “withholding deliberative materials” in a letter dated July 12.

Why?

ATF claims it can withhold “inter-agency or intra-agency memorandums or letters which would not be available by law to a party other than an agency in litigation with the agency.”

So, if different agencies swap memos around to each other, then you need to sue them to get the documents under public disclosure law?

And the story is getting bigger. The Los Angeles Times reported this weekend that the Obama administration is trying to get the Social Security Administration to provide information to the FBI on Social Security beneficiaries who can be prohibited from owning a firearm for some form of incompetence. The Times cited the VA’s strategy of using veterans’ financial records against them.

“As I predicted the assault on veterans’ 2nd Amendment rights was just the beginning,” Connelly said. “Social Security recipients would be next. The LA Times has confirmed it. Sometimes I hate it when I am right.”

Excellent article on how Agenda 21 is taking over. Completely.

Suburban Governments Were Just Nationalized by the Federal Government

For years, the cities have been robbing the suburbs but they now have a scheme that will quickly end in a takeover of the suburbs by a leftist federal government.

HUD announced enforcement of its new 377-page rule called the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule which will allow them to move people from poor crime-ridden areas into “wealthy” suburbs. It was announced by leftist Julian Castro Monday. The rule has force behind it. Federal monies will be withheld and lawsuits accusing residents of racism will be filed. Any town that takes federal funds will be transformed.

It is not only forcing unnecessary racial integration, its forcing class integration and the destruction of the local governments who will officially become satellites of the urban areas. Neighborhoods will be diversified according to income levels. The plan is to make us into a classless society of the type Karl Marx promoted.

With this rule, HUD will have control of zoning, transportation, and education and, in the end, the politics. Just as the leftists took over the cities one-by-one, they will be able to consume the suburbs only at a far more rapid pace. This can be done on a massive, almost immediate scale.

There about 44 million Americans living in the cities and almost 122 million Americans in the suburbs. Suburbia tends to vote against the leftists and has long been a thorn in their side.

Using racism and ecology as excuses, Obama is orchestrating, through HUD and the EPA, the end of local government rule.

They want more “density” in population, the elimination of urban and federal boundaries, and they plan to make every neighborhood “diverse” by spreading the criminals around.

The New York Times had an interesting take, saying this rule will put an end to financial ghettos. What they don’t say is they are doing it by redistributing all resources of suburbia, even residents’ living arrangements by forcing people from the ghettos into “wealthy” suburbia.

We should soon be seeing the environmental laws currently present in liberal areas become a matter of fact for every town in the country. In leftist bastions, even cul-de-sacs are banned by planners.

This has gone under the radar. The media is ignoring it.

Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino has been fighting it in Westchester, which is a test case. Liberal Westchester voted Conservative Astorino into office to stop it. In Westchester, HUD said a quarter-acre lot is discriminatory. They want all limits removed. Your home could end up next to a factory under their plan. Right now zoning rules protect inhabitants but the federal government will take away those protections.

Listen to an explanation by Mr. Astorino:

Baltimore County and the entire state of Maryland is currently a test case with the racism argument used as a weapon.

“Smart growth” advocates are forcing dense development in suburban and rural areas to curb suburban growth. They claim the suburbs are stealing jobs and wealth from the urban areas.

The cities have been siphoning tax revenues from the suburbs for years, but this rule takes redistribution much further, it allows the federal government to simply take over.

Stanley Kurtz of National Review Online penned an article back in August, 2012 titled Burn Down the Suburbs? In it, he wrote about Obama and his community organizer mentors who hold the view that the cities suffer because of taxpayer “flight” to the suburbs.

Obama lived that belief as a community organizer. He channeled large sums of money from left-wing Chicago foundations where he served on the Board of Directors to anti-suburban activism.

He allied with one of his original trainers, Mike Kruglik, who has an organization called Building One America. It’s the anti-suburban crusade on steroids. They work with the Obama administration.

Kruglik and his colleagues in the movement have met with Obama in the White House. They literally plan to burn down the suburbs.

The suburbs could easily become the neo-slum complete with crime and poverty. It does undermine the minorities currently living in suburbs who fled the liberal cities that have been crushed under the weight of decades of corruption and bad policies. For example, only 16% of Detroit’s blacks live within the city limits.

Politically, Democrats have become less competitive in the suburbs so they’ve taken the next step. The federal takeover of suburbia will be accompanied by the loss of the American Dream of home ownership, raising oneself up the social and economic ladder, and even the right to own and drive a car. The extreme environmentalists want you out of your car.

LaRaza and other far-left groups strongly backed the rule which will likely end up forcing towns and cities to accept illegal immigrants among other “protected” classes of people.

LaRaza said that “Hispanic families often do not know their housing rights and have cited fear of deportation as reason for not reporting rights violations.” The majority of people who fear deportation are illegal, unskilled, poor, welfare recipients and they are coming into this country in the hundreds of thousands each month.

We see “refugees” from foreign lands being poured into towns and cities throughout the country. When towns resist, they are labeled “pockets of resistance” and the Soros “Welcoming America” groups come in to pressure the local politicians. More information can be found at Refugee Resettlement Watch.

Illegal immigrants and refugees are being used to re-populate areas throughout the country to establish their one-party majority. Many are sent into suburban and rural areas. Their goal is a country within a country of foreigners who will be indoctrinated and eventually be ready to takeover the remaining traditional citizens.

The days when Democrats supported suburbia are long gone and they have launched a full-out war against them without people even knowing it’s happening.

This rule passed two years ago in 2013 but it is only being enforced now because Obama wants to slip it in under the radar.

This is totalitarianism.

MORE INFORMATION HERE

Anyone who is pro-life must be aware that your federal tax dollars have been helping to fund abortion since at least 1985. Despite all the statements of the US Congress on constraining the funding, if you look at annual reports from Planned Parenthood, they typically receive a larger amount of funding from the federal government than they spend on non abortive procedures.

Obviously, this past week has been instrumental in bringing the atrocities committed by Planned Parenthood into a much broader light. I will post a few important articles below. One must wonder when people will have had enough.

Here are the articles:

Planned Parenthood defector says loophole lets clinics profit from fetal organ sales

– The Washington Times – Sunday, July 19, 2015

Abby Johnson wasn’t horrified by last week’s undercover video showing a Planned Parenthood doctor describing over lunch and wine how to “crush” a fetus during an abortion to preserve the organs because she’s been there.

In her previous role as clinic director for a Planned Parenthood facility in East Texas, Ms. Johnson said part of her job was to sift through the aborted fetal tissue and organs, pack them in a container with dry ice, check the consent form and “ship them off.”

Like Dr. Deborah Nucatola, Planned Parenthood senior director of medical services, Ms. Johnson said she and her colleagues would talk about their work, even indulge in “gallows humor” as they wound down after hours over margaritas and chips.

“I lived that life,” said Ms. Johnson in an interview. “I worked at Planned Parenthood for eight years at an abortion facility, and I ran the facility, and that was very common for us after a long day of work — after a long day of performing abortions, the staff going out to eat, having drinks, talking about the day.”

That’s no longer her life. Ms. Johnson, 35, resigned in 2009 after witnessing an ultrasound-guided abortion. Three years ago, she founded And Then There Were None, dedicated to helping abortion clinic employees leave the business by providing counseling, recruiting services, legal fees, even a month’s worth of replacement salary.

The video prompted her to write an open letter last week to Dr. Nucatola offering assistance and saying, “I get how something grotesque to others can seem ordinary.”

The video, released Tuesday by the pro-life Center for Medical Progress, shows Dr. Nucatola discussing how much fetal organs are worth, raising alarm over whether the organization is profiting from the sale of donated fetal tissue in violation of federal law.

House and Senate Republicans have called for a congressional investigation, while governors or attorneys general in at least three states — Georgia, Indiana and Ohio — launched probes into state abortion clinics to determine if fetal organs and tissue are being sold for profit.

Planned Parenthood insists that it only charges for costs arising from the transfer of lawfully donated tissue to medical research centers, which is legal.

Two Democrats — House Judiciary Committee ranking member John Conyers Jr. and Rep. Steve Cohen — released a statement saying that the video “does not demonstrate that Planned Parenthood is ‘selling’ fetal tissue.”

“In fact, many portions of the full video — edited out of the nine-minute version that House Republicans have circulated — directly contradict the allegation that Planned Parenthood has violated federal law,” the joint statement said.

Based on her experience, Ms. Johnson says she saw nothing in the video to indicate that Planned Parenthood is breaking the law. At the same time, she said the video exposes a loophole that gives clinics and processing companies enormous latitude in setting reimbursement charges for fetal hearts, lungs and other organs.

“The law currently states that there can be moneys exchanged as long as they fit under certain categories like preservation, collection, storage, transport, etc.,” Ms. Johnson said. “And the law says there is not a maximum amount that can be charged or a minimum amount but that costs cannot be prohibitive. And that’s very subjective.”

(Corrected paragraph:) Ms. Johnson does not support the use of fetal-tissue for research.

“They [clinics] could say, ‘Well, it’s more difficult for me to harvest a brain than it is for me to harvest a kidney, so that collection fee is going to be $1,000 for a brain, whereas it’s only going to be $400 for a kidney,'” Ms. Johnson said. “And the problem is that it’s so subjective, the amount of money that can be charged. That’s really where we need reform.”

Arthur Caplan, director of medical ethics at NYU Langone Medical Center’s Department of Population Health, also raised the issue of high transfer costs, telling Reuters that only a few companies collect the fetal tissue and that “they charge a lot for it.”

“I’m not sure people who donate it realize that,” Mr. Caplan added.

During her tenure at the Planned Parenthood clinic, Ms. Johnson said most women would agree to donate fetal tissue and/or organs “because we made it seem like that, by donating, they were helping others.”

The National Institutes of Health spent $76 million last year funding grants for research using fetal tissue aimed at finding cures for diseases such as cancer, diabetes and HIV/AIDS.

In a statement, the NIH said such biomedical research is conducted “under the general legal authorities to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce illness and disability.”

In her experience, Ms. Johnson said the older the gestational age of the fetus, the easier it is to pick out organs.

“At my affiliate, we did abortions at the time up until 16 weeks. You can begin harvesting fetal tissue at approximately eight weeks,” Ms. Johnson said. “Organs are present earlier, but you can’t really decipher them until about 12 weeks. That’s not all of the organs, but some of the larger ones, you can pick those out and say, ‘OK, this is a liver.’ And that’s usually around 12 weeks.”…Rest Here

Second Planned Parenthood Senior Executive Haggles Over Baby Parts Prices, Changes Abortion Methods

 

LOS ANGELES, July 21—A second undercover video shows Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s Medical Directors’ Council President, Dr. Mary Gatter, haggling over payments for intact fetal specimens and offering to use a “less crunchy technique” to get more intact body parts.

It is similar to last week’s viral video showing PPFA Senior Director of Medical Services Dr. Deborah Nucatola admitting to using partial-birth abortions to get intact parts and suggesting a price range of $30 to $100 per specimen.

Gatter is a senior official within Planned Parenthood and is President of the Medical Directors’ Council, the central committee of all Planned Parenthood affiliate medical directors.

Actors posing as buyers ask Gatter, “What would you expect for intact [fetal] tissue?

“Well, why don’t you start by telling me what you’re used to paying!” Gatter replies.

Gatter continues: “You know, in negotiations whoever throws out the figure first is at a loss, right?” She explains, “I just don’t want to lowball,” before suggesting, “$75 a specimen.”

Gatter twice recites Planned Parenthood messaging on fetal tissue collection, “We’re not in it for the money,” and “The money is not the important thing,” but she immediately qualifies each statement with, respectively, “But what were you thinking of?” and, “But it has to be big enough that it’s worthwhile for me.

Gatter also admits that in prior fetal tissue deals, Planned Parenthood received payment in spite of incurring no cost: “It was logistically very easy for us, we didn’t have to do anything. So there was compensation for this.” She accepts a higher price of $100 per specimen understanding that it will be only for high-quality fetal organs: “Now, this is for tissue that you actually take, not just tissue that someone volunteers and you can’t find anything, right?

By the lunch’s end, Gatter suggests $100 per specimen is not enough and concludes, “Let me just figure out what others are getting, and if this is in the ballpark, then it’s fine, if it’s still low, then we can bump it up. I want a Lamborghini.

(Read the rest here)

This is an excellent article on the issues of the long eared bat and regulatory effects on the timber industry. Kudos to the author for such a fine piece of actual journalism!

 

Threatened bats halt some timber projects

Federal rule protecting landowners is uncertain

Posted: Sunday, July 19, 2015 7:05 am

By Kiera Blessing kblessing@eagletribune.com

This summer, lumber harvesters and landowners in the Northeast who want to sell their timber have new neighbors to worry about — and they’re hiding in the trees.

The Northern Long-Eared Bat (NLEB) was officially listed as “threatened,” just one step below endangered, in early April after a severe decline in their population in the Northeast due to White-Nose Syndrome, a fungal disease. Along with that designation came some new rules for timber harvesting, a lawsuit, and the creation of a limbo that has those in New Hampshire’s timber industry uneasy about the future.

A threatened species

As a threatened species, the NLEB automatically gets a lengthy list of protections from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Under the Endangered Species Act, violating these protections could result in federal punishment in the form of hefty fines (up to $50,000 for some violations) or, in some cases, a year in prison.

To protect residents in the bats’ range from unwarranted violations, the FWS implemented an interim rule.

The interim rule is an optional feature within the ESA that allows officials to relax the rules governing species protection in order to minimize conflict between people and industries and the government. In other words, the interim rule specifies parameters in which a person or business could accidentally harm a bat and still not be liable; without an interim rule, threatened species are protected as endangered species.

The interim rule went into effect in May and lists exemptions from the protections of the threatened bats. Homeowners can remove a bat that has roosted in their house, for example; and forest management practices, limited expansion of rights-of-way, and limited tree removal projects are still allowed.

But the interim rule, while providing protection for those in the timber industry, is only temporary. A comment period that began in January and was extended until July resulted in tens of thousands of comments being sent into the FWS, said Susi von Oettingen, a spokeswoman for the service, which could take months to comb through before the rule is finalized. Additionally, the service is being sued by the Center for Biological Diversity, which argues that the interim rule negates necessary protections for the threatened bat.

Those in the timber industry in New Hampshire could find themselves in hot water if the interim rule fails, either by a refusal to formally adopt the rule by the FWS or in court. Without the rule, landowners and others in the timber industry could face federal prosecution for cutting down a tree a bat was living in.

“Without the rule, anyone cutting trees in the summer who could get a bat would be in violation,” von Oettingen said.

That possibility has some worried about what serious implications there could be for one of the state’s oldest industries.

NH’s timber industry

About 76 percent of the forests in New Hampshire are privately owned by individuals or businesses, and about 138.8 million cubic feet of that timber is harvested annually, according to a 2013 study from the North East State Foresters Association. That timber production creates about $1.4 billion in revenue annually, employing more than 7, 700 people.

So it’s hardly surprising that Jasen Stock, executive director of the New Hampshire Timberland Owners Association, is concerned not only about the limitations of the interim rule, but also its precarious existence. In fact, the association included information about the interim rule in its newsletter this past May, urging members to call the Fish and Wildlife Service and state officials to comment on the rule and request that summer projects continue.

“If you’re a landowner and you’re going to do timber harvesting, there’s always the potential that there’s a bat present,” Stock said. “If the 4(d) rules get shot down or just not adopted (by the FWS), then you have a situation where if a bat is injured or allegedly injured, then as a landowner, you’re at risk of federal action.”

Some members of the industry are already being affected, even with the interim rule in place. Five hundred timber projects that were to receive federal funding from the Natural Resource Conservation Service, part of the United States Department of Agriculture, have been tabled for the summer. June and July are the months when the bats tend to raise their pups in the trees, and the NRCS has opted to err on the side of caution and stop funding all projects until the pup season ends.

And while the FWS hasn’t put an all-out ban on summer projects like the NRCS, von Oettingen said “there’s kind of a slow down on projects” right now.

“June and July are, from a forestry perspective, they’re pretty important months,” Stock said. “Just to be kind of terminated or shut off, that’s a problem.”

Geoff Jones, owner of Loveland Forestry in Stoddard, said he’s seen several clients and loggers affected by the NRCS’s halt on all summer projects. One landowner, Jones said, uses revenue from the timber sales to support his mother in a nursing home. A logger who relies on timber sales for income was “beside himself” when he was forced out of work for a month.

“I’m very reluctant to do any more NRCS plans because I don’t think landowners want to be held hostage to these federal rules and regulations. I’ve talked to some people and they’re just aghast,” Jones said. “I think everybody is concerned about diversity, they’re concerned about individual threatened species and the bats are no exception … but this is not the way to endear the public…by coming out with an asinine policy that makes no sense.”

Stock added that “what’s frustrating people the most” is that it isn’t the timber harvesting that’s affecting the bats — it’s White-Nose Syndrome.

But more than the summer hiatus, Stock said, he worries about the fate of the interim rule law, which is overall lenient toward the timber industry. Forest management practices, maintenance and limited expansion of transportation and utility rights-of-way, prairie habitat management and limited tree removal projects are allowed, provided these are done more than a quarter mile from any cave where the bats are known to hibernate, the harvester avoids known roost trees during June and July, and the harvester avoids clear-cuts within a quarter mile of known roost trees during June and July.

For certain practices, like land development, the owner or contractor would need a permit from the FWS.

These parameters protect landowners and harvesters from just about any accidental harm done to a bat, as long as the work is done with some degree of acknowledgement toward protecting some of the bats’ habitat.

Local problem

New England is one of the areas most heavily affected by White-Nose Syndrome, and one of the nation’s biggest contributors to the timber and lumber industries. Several professionals expressed concern and frustration with the new rule.

While Stock worried about the legal gray area for landowners and harvesters, Shaun Lagueux worried about the health of the forests themselves.

“Certainly, I would anticipate some financial restraints to both landowners and managers in terms of returns, but that’s only a small picture of it,” Lagueux, a manager at New England Forestry Consultants, said. “I’m more concerned with forest health. We harvest during certain times of year to help us regenerate desired species…and summertime harvesting really is the only way we can regenerate certain species.”

White Pine and Red Oak are two of the most profitable trees in the industry, and both provide necessary diversity for the forests. But to grow these trees, bare soil and lots of sunlight are necessary — two things that timber harvesters usually provide by executing forest management practices in June and July, the two months that are now off-limits to federally-funded projects and more complicated for private contractors because of the bats’ pup-rearing season.

The income from these trees, Lagueux said, makes it possible for many landowners to continue to keep their land while under pressure to sell or develop.

“Landowners and loggers and land managers in the state of New Hampshire have worked together historically to protect and manage special habitats in a cooperative way, and it’s discouraging to have the government come in and say maybe we’re not doing it right, or we need to be told additionally what we need to do. We have a long history of coming together to work cooperatively without regulations being forced on us,” Lagueux said.

While Lagueux said the new limitations have everyone in the timber industry worried, Jeff Eames of Fort Mountain Companies said he hasn’t been too adversely affected by the new rules.

“What we’ve done with some of those (affected summer) projects is just put them aside,” Eames said. “We’re fortunate enough to have enough work. … If we were short on work, it would be a big deal.”

Eames did add that “any time new types of regulations come up, there’s some concern.”

Legal battle over regulation

The same day the NLEB earned its “threatened” status, the Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit on its behalf.

Initially, the Fish and Wildlife Service recommended listing the bats as endangered. But by the time they were actually listed, the bats’ protection status had been lowered to threatened. The center claims this was in response to pressure from the timber, oil and wind power industries, which would have been more adversely affected by an endangered classification.

“They gave it a less protective status and in addition they added to it a 4(d) rule,” said Mollie Matteson, a spokeswoman for the center. “They actually used the (4(d) rule) to exempt activities with the potential to harm the bat, such as logging.”

Matteson called the use of the interim rule in the case of the NLEB “counter to what the law is supposed to be there for” and said the center filed the lawsuit because “we felt this was an improper use of the law.”

Matteson said the center has sued the FWS many times before, and that the center’s litigation in general has about a 93 percent success rate. This particular lawsuit alleges that the scope of the exemptions in the NLEB interim rules law are too broad and negate necessary protections for the bats, which have declined dramatically since the emergence of White-Nose Syndrome in 2006.

“It’s in very, very bad shape,” Matteson said of the species. “It’s declined by 99 percent in much of the Northeast, including New Hampshire. It’s been on a very fast trajectory toward regional extinction.”

Matteson said no action has been taken with the lawsuit yet.

Uncertain future

The futures of the NLEB and the interim rule protecting the timber industry are unclear. Before the Fish and Wildlife Service decides whether or not to adopt the interim rule permanently, it must comb through and consider the tens of thousands of comments it received during the first half of this year.

Further, even if the service does decide to adopt the rule, a court could strike the decision down if the Center for Biological Diversity wins its lawsuit against the rule.

It’s difficult to predict what the listing could mean for the future of the New Hampshire timber industry. While the adoption of the current version of the interim rule could limit harvest during June and July only, the abandonment of the rule, or the listing of the bats as endangered rather than threatened, could potentially add new limits to the industry for much of the spring and fall as well.

“Overall, there’s just this general specter of uncertainty around the whole thing,” said Stock. “You’ve got a bunch of people kind of in limbo.”

About the Northern Long-Eared Bat

The bats’ range reaches from Northern Canada to Northern Louisiana, and from the East Coast to Eastern Colorado and Montana in the United States. In Canada, the bats’ range reaches further west, all the way into British Columbia.

White-Nose Syndrome has not spread to the entire bat range. A strip of the bats’ range reaching from New England southwest through Pennsylvania and West Virginia and out to Tennessee, Missouri and Arkansas has been hit worst by the fungus. The most western regions, like North and South Dakota and the western Canadian provinces have not been affected by White-Nose Syndrome.

The bats are small, with bodies that are only about 3.5 inches long on average, but their wingspan is closer to 9 or 10 inches.

The pups are usually able to fly within three weeks of birth.

The NLEB can live up to 18 years.