Heilemann: McCarthy Comments on Benghazi Hearings ‘Disaster’ for Republicans

JOHN HEILEIMANN: House Republicans say ohh, sh–shoot. House Republican leadership elections are now set for next Thursday, and on day three of Kevin Mccarthy’s role as Speaker of the House-presumptive, he made a whopper of a gaffe. And where did he make this faux pas of epic proportions? Was he in the lions den of Rachel Maddow? No, he was not. He was in the plush kitten’s bed of Sean Hannity. 

KEVIN MCCARTHY: Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee. A select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she’s untrustable. But no one would know any of that had happened had we not fought and made that happen — 

SEAN HANNITY: I agree, that’s something good. I give you credit for that. 

HEILEMANN: Hoo, hoo, hoo, hoo, hoo! I bet Hillary Clinton was just loving that. Let’s check in on her and see what she had to say. 

HILLARY CLINTON: I have to tell you: I find them deeply distressing. So when I hear a statement like that, which demonstrates unequivocally that this was always meant to be a partisan, political exercise, I feel like it does a great disservice and dishonors not just the memory of the four that we lost, but of everybody who has served our country. 

HEILEMANN: Putting aside the sheer, rank, almost incalculable stupidity of this comment of Kevin McCarthy’s, I ask you, in terms of politics, on a scale of 1 to Godzilla, how good is this for Hillary Clinton — and how bad is it for the following: Kevin McCarthy, Trey Gowdy and the Republican party? 

MARK HALPERIN: Horrible for every Republican you listed. Look, it’s bad for McCarthy because you and I both talked about how Boehner was underestimated and underappreciated. Being Speaker of the House, everything that you say gets scrutiny. McCarthy has never been on the stage. He is one of the least experienced Speakers ever, assuming he becomes Speaker after this. 

HEILEMANN: Yes, after this.

HALPERIN: And for Gowdy, Gowdy had spent months carefully preparing the hearings, trying to do what no Republican has done in a long time, run on a politically effective, substantive hearing. A former prosecutor. Almost nothing he can do now, will not be attacked by Democrats who will just say this hearing is all political. 

HEILEMANN: And let me say, you had set for a while you thought that Gowdy might pull that off. Now, Gowdy’s had it taken out of his hands by McCarthy. Such a long shadow cast across. Hillary Clinton is going to say the things she said on TV today over and over and over again. I thought there was almost nothing that could break the momentum of this e-mail story, at least until she got to the hearings. Now she is on offense, they are on defense. This is a disaster, a disaster for congressional Republicans. And for Republican presidential candidates who want to see Hillary Clinton on her heels. 

HALPERIN: Look, we talked about how McCarthy was not in a hostile place, he was on Fox. But he was facing a question of what have they accomplished. And the other thing that Democrats are going to turn to is not just the hearings are partisan and political, but saying this is what they think their accomplishment it — political hearings. 

HEILEMANN: Exactly right.

HALPERIN: Huge, huge problem for the Republicans.

Source Article from http://newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/mark-finkelstein/2015/09/30/heilemann-mccarthy-comments-benghazi-hearings-disaster

CNN Frets: Defunding ‘Lawful’ PP ‘Takes Away a Woman’s Right to Choose’

CHRIS CUOMO, BEFORE COMMERCIAL BREAK AT 6:16 A.M.: So, the case against Planned Parenthood, very big hearing on Capitol Hill. Republicans want to cut federal funds because of its lawful procuring of fetal tissue and abortions. What the president of the organization said, and what happens, next.


CUOMO: Ben, take the prosecution because that’s really what this is. What’s the best case to get rid of Planned Parenthood or defund it, in essence, and, Maria, you respond?

BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: The fact that they have people on camera talking about selling baby parts is where I would start. And I want to make this very clear. This is not about taking away a woman’s right to choose. This — if we defund Planned Parenthood — this does not change Roe V. Wade. So people who are trying to fearmonger saying, “Oh, this is taking away a woman’s right to choose,” it’s not. This is about taking away-

ALISYN CAMEROTA (INTERRUPTING): Ben, Ben, hold on, I just have to stop you there.

FERGUSON: Let me finish, let me finish, let me finish.

CAMEROTA: If you stop — hold on, Ben, because, if you stop access, obviously it does take away a woman’s right to choose.

FERGUSON: This is about — no, no, no, let me finish. Let me finish, let me finish, let me finish.

CAMEROTA: Go ahead. FERGUSON: Let me finish.CAMEROTA: Go ahead.

FERGUSON: You have the same right, if we defunded Planned Parenthood with my tax dollars, and the point is this: You do not take a half a billion dollars of taxpayers’ funds to give to an organization that butchers babies to sell their parts and was caught on camera multiple times. You can say that these videos were doctored. There are multiple videos that have been put out that are full length that are not doctored that blatantly show people in leadership roles at Planned Parenthood selling baby parts which has nothing to do with a woman’s right to choose. I want to make that very clear, so that’s why my tax dollars shouldn’t go to it.

CAMEROTA: Okay, Maria, I want to give you the opportunity to respond here, but what Ben is saying is a fact is exactly what Planned Parenthood is saying is not a fact, that they are trying to recoup their costs for something that is purely legal, and that is donation of fetal tissue.



7:45 a.m.

CAMEROTA: Let me put up a poll for you. This is a recent USA Today poll, and it shows how the American public feels about your mission here. “Should all federal funding of Planned Parenthood be cut off?” Only 29 percent say yes; 65 percent say no, they believe that Planned Parenthood should still be funded. Furthermore, USA Today’s poll went on and asked, “If the government is shut down over Planned Parenthood being defunded, who would you blame?” President Obama, 11 percent. Congressional Democrats, 10 percent. Congressional Republicans, 43 percent. So it seems as though the public, as a whole, is not with your mission here.

REP. DIANE BLACK (R-TN): Okay, so, a couple of things, Alyson. One thing is, I don’t want to shut down the government, and neither do many of our colleagues. We want to shut down illegal activity of Planned Parenthood.

The second thing is, is that the American people have still not seen these films. We find that only about 15 percent of them have actually looked at the films. I encourage people to go out and look at them. And another poll that I can point to where people did see these films, and, prior to seeing them, they may have had the opinion that you have — or that you cite in this poll. But after seeing them, we see this number go way up, that more than 50 percent of the people say, “No, you should withhold the funds until the investigations are done.” So I want people to take a look at these films.

And then the third thing that I want to make sure that I get here is that, in my own bill, it says that, if Planned Parenthood decides that they’re going to suspend abortions, they will still get their money for their other services. And, as Ms. Richards said yesterday, only three percent of their services are abortions, so why not suspend those and do what she says is her entire mission, and that is affordable health care for women? She has that choice. She can do that.

CAMEROTA: Yes, except that the problem is, is that if women can’t go to Planned Parenthood anymore for abortions, abortion doesn’t go away. Unwanted pregnancies don’t go away. What goes away is access to safe, legal abortion. And, as we know from countries that don’t allow abortion, women still resort to abortion, but they just do so in a more desperate way. I mean, is that what you want for American women?

REP. BLACK: Alisyn, look, abortions are legal, and there are abortion providers around. We’re talking about Planned Parenthood and their possible — and what I feel looking at those films as a nurse for more than 40 years — activities that are very close to the line of being illegal. And we cannot allow that to happen here in this country. Look, it is our responsibility as congressional members to investigate and look into what happens.

Source Article from http://newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/brad-wilmouth/2015/09/30/cnners-fret-defunding-lawful-pp-takes-away-womans-right-choose

CNN’s Cuomo Badgers Pro-Lifer Who Made Planned Parenthood Videos

CHRIS CUOMO: Let’s bring in the man who produced the videos and started all of this: David Daleiden from the Center for Medical Progress. Good to have you with us, as always-


CUOMO: So, court says you’ve got to turn over your stuff, David. You got to turn over all the videos. You got to turn over the supporting documents. You got to show what you did. You got to show how you did it. You’re fighting that, to quote or paraphrase Representative [Jim] Jordan from Ohio, you want have it both ways. You want to expose the videos for what you want them to be, but not turn over everything. Why not turn over everything?

DALEIDEN: Interesting question – you know, we’re – CMP is complying with all of the congressional investigations and all of the state investigations that have requested – that have requested footage from us. And actually, in that court case that you mention, there’s an unconstitutional prior restraint – temporary restraining order against us that prevents us from actually complying with a federal subpoena from the U.S. Congress to hand over all of the materials to the Oversight investigations committee that is conducting the investigation right now-

CUOMO: Three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit ordered you to participate in discovery – turning over those things. I think they understand what a T.R.O. is. Are you going to comply?

DALEIDEN: Yes. So, we’re – we’re complying with the – we’re engaging in the discovery in that – in that lawsuit. I really – I can’t say too much about the legal specifics because I’m not – you know, I’m not an attorney. So I can’t say so much about the litigation. But, you know, I think – you know, I think that we’re happy to talk about – you know, what we did and how we did it, so long as the other party in that case is willing to talk about their fetal tissue sales contracts; their illegal late-term abortion presentations – things like that. I think it can go both ways-

CUOMO: One – right – but one thing has nothing to with the other. The reason I – I am a lawyer, as you well know. I’m raising it because it doesn’t smell right – because you are about exposing, but you don’t want to expose everything. It makes it seem like there’s something that you want to hide. It feeds the perception that you selectively edited. Do you understand that criticism?

DALEIDEN: You know, I understand the criticism. I don’t think that that’s accurate, and I don’t think that that’s really a fair representation of what’s going on in that court case. And I’m sure that you’re familiar that sometimes, discovery can be used as a fishing expedition. You know, there’s oftentimes – you know, multiple motives there. So that – you know, I don’t think that’s an accurate representation of what’s going in that case right now.

CUOMO: Did you edit the videotapes?

DALEIDEN: You know, we – we create summary videos similar to the summary videos that you produce for a news broadcast – you know, like this one. But the full footage of the conversation with Planned Parenthood directors and executives – that’s always been posted to our YouTube channel, in addition to the summary videos-

CUOMO: But it’s not the same as the summary video. I’ve had the pleasure, the mispleasure – whatever – displeasure – whatever you want to call it – I’ve watched a lot of the raw. I’ve watched what you put out there. They’re not the same. When you edit, you make choices. Is it fair to say that you did match certain questions with different parts of conversations, and move things around to show what you think matters?

DALEIDEN: No – absolutely not; no. The – the edits that are made in the summary videos are just to serve as the highlights of those tapes. There’s no changing in the ordering of the conversation whatsoever.

CUOMO: But do you believe it changes the context of what the conversations were?

DALEIDEN: No! No – not at all. And for statements – you know, when you’re talking about using ultrasound guidance to know where to put your forceps on a late-term fetus in order to harvest the brain or harvest the lung or harvest the heart – there’s no context in which those statements become – you know, inoffensive or acceptable to most people.

CUOMO: Well, not most people – right? Because you have 65 percent of the American people don’t want to defund Planned Parenthood. So what you’re talking about is conservative Catholics like yourself, and people who are pro-life. Let me ask you something about the video-

DALEIDEN: Well, no – the poll – the poll that got those numbers didn’t mention anything about the videos or the baby parts scandal that Planned Parenthood is embroiled in right now.

CUOMO: Of course, it does, because it’s about whether or not to defund Planned Parenthood. That doesn’t come out of nowhere-

DALEIDEN: No. I looked at the cross-tabs. The poll – the poll only asked about Planned Parenthood. It didn’t specify the context at all.

CUOMO: But what other context could there be? All right. That’s a conversation for another time, because that’s just between your and my reckoning. That’s not what’s relevant to-

DALEIDEN: Well, half the American people haven’t seen the videos yet, according to most polling. So, it’s pretty significant-

CUOMO: But – that’s true. But the question is – however, that assumes that seeing the videos informs you of the truth-

DALEIDEN: It does-

CUOMO: And what Planned Parenthood and other people who see it – says no; you doctored them. You’re doctoring it to make it seem like what you want it to be.

DALEIDEN: Right. There was just a new forensic analysis – an actual forensic analysis, not a – not a report produced by a political opposition firm – which is what Planned Parenthood paid for a few weeks ago – but an actual forensic analysis produced yesterday-

CUOMO: Which one?

DALEIDEN: That showed that the videotapes – the one from Coalfire Systems in Colorado-

CUOMO: Aren’t they, in part, funded by a conservative group? Wasn’t that study, in part, sponsored by them?

DALEIDEN: No. CMP has – has no connection to Coalfire Systems. But that’s an actual forensic laboratory and actual forensic report that found that the videos are authentic-

CUOMO: But they have – they have funding things that are a little curious also.

Here’s what really created a flash point I want you to speak to. Carly Fiorina, very passionately in the debate – very cogently brings across this image of an aborted baby on the table, the heart beating, the legs moving – look at that video and tell me what you think. Let me ask you about that image: is that an aborted fetus that’s on that – in that image?

DALEIDEN: You know, actually, in the studio, I don’t have a visual of what you’re showing me. So I’m not sure exactly what you’re showing me. But-

CUOMO: You know what I’m talking about, David. It’s a miscarriage. You know the mother was interviewed. You know you didn’t ask her for permission for it, but that’s beside the point-

DALEIDEN: That’s not what Carly Fiorina was – that’s not what Carly Fiorina was referencing. Carly Fiorina was referencing the sequence in our video that shows footage of a – of a born-alive infant from a late-term abortion actually moving in a specimen pan, while Holly O’Donnell – who used to work at Stem Express – is talking about the harvesting of a brain of an infant of the exact same gestation point-

CUOMO: Oh, so you don’t think – you think it’s a different image – you think it’s a different image than the one that was pointed out by the mother-

DALEIDEN: If you’re showing – yeah-

CUOMO: Okay-

DALEIDEN: If you’re showing the image of the Walter Fretz right now, that’s not the image.

CUOMO: All right. That’s – I don’t know the names. I don’t own the material the way you do. I just know what I’ve seen. I know it comported with what Carly Fiornia was describing, and that it seems like something that was certainly taken out of context by whoever put the video together – because the mother says-

DALEIDEN: No, no, no – not; not-

CUOMO: The mother says – you know what I’m talking about, right? There was a mother who had a miscarriage – a stillborn-

DALEIDEN: Yeah; yeah – no – yeah, I’ve spoken with – yeah-

CUOMO: And you used that in the video right?

DALEIDEN: I’ve spoken – yeah, I’ve spoken with Lexi Fretz, the mother. Yeah – absolutely-

CUOMO: And what do you use it to show – to show what?

DALEIDEN: And those images were used to – used to illustrate exactly – exactly the kind of late second trimester baby/fetus that – that we’re talking about in these cases of organ harvesting.

CUOMO: But if you are talking about organ harvesting and abortions and how terrible they are, why would you use a stillborn fetus, which is not a function of an abortion?

DALEIDEN: Do you think the fetuses are different somehow?

CUOMO: I think it’s-

DALEIDEN: It is the same gestational age. It’s the same baby, whether it’s born dead or alive, or its organs are harvested or not-

CUOMO: It’s also – it’s also-

DALEIDEN: That’s the same kind of infant.

CUOMO: Absolutely. It’s also completely irrelevant to the point you’re trying to make – which is, look at what they do to these babies. It was born stillborn. It was not aborted. Doesn’t that matter to you if you are talking about abortion?

DALEIDEN: What – I think what matters is – is the fact that this is – that’s an example of an – of an 18 to 19 week fetus, which is the exact same gestational age that Planned Parenthood routinely aborts and harvests the organs from.

CUOMO: Right, but you used it as an example of – look at the babies that they abort; look how it’s a real person; look how it is; look what they do. But it wasn’t aborted. Isn’t that misleading?

DALEIDEN: No, because – because the subject, the creature that’s being aborted is – is the – is the same kind of thing. It’s the same kind of fetus. That is not misrepresenting at all. It’s just to illustrate-

CUOMO: Look, to make your point, it’s not a creature. It’s not a thing. It’s a little person. And the point is, if you want to represent a little person, do it fairly! Because this is such an emotional thing – it’s so religious for people; it’s so moral for people. That baby was not aborted. It matters in the context of your conversation.

DALEIDEN: It’s – it’s the exact same gestational age fetus. I don’t see – I don’t see how you could say that that’s not fair to show an illustration of what a fetus, at 19 weeks, looks like – because that’s the exact same gestational age-

CUOMO: My point is context. You’re saying what they do in abortions. This wasn’t an abortion. That’s my point.

Let’s move on to a different point though: the – one legal aspect of this – I don’t know how important this is – but the law does matter, so let’s discuss it. There is a charge against you that you did illegal things to procure these videos. Do you believe that that will be substantiated on any level, or do you defend against that charge on every level?

DALEIDEN: Yeah – no, absolutely not. I don’t think that that’s going to be substantiated. The Center for Medical Progress follows all applicable laws in the course of our investigative journalism work.

CUOMO: And the idea that you obtained them illegally – that there wasn’t consent to the subjects; that you needed the consent for them – what’s your response to that?

DALEIDEN: Yeah, no. The – most of the recording laws that are relevant – I mean, all of the recording laws that are relevant to the conversations that we taped – they’re either taking place in one-party consent states, or in situations where the consent of one party is only necessary in order to – in order to record conversations that are held in a public area – that are public conversations that you can reasonably expect people are going to overhear. Those are not private conversations that are prohibited from being recorded.

CUOMO: And you know that that often is a question of discretion. You’re going to have to fight that out legally. You know that-

DALEIDEN: We’re prepared to do so-

CUOMO: Do you – if you could go back, would you not summarize the videos? Would you not edit the video? Would you have just put out the raw, and avoided what is certainly criticism of the production result?

DALEIDEN: You know, I think even if we just put out the – you know, the raw files, which is – which is quite a difficult thing, actually. They’re – they’re pretty hard to work with. Planned Parenthood and their allies in the media are still going to have problems with it; are still going to accuse them of being doctored; are going to try to say they’re not real – because that’s the only thing that they can say. They can’t defend the actual content that’s on the tapes. And so, they’re engaging in just straight up denialism right now – trying to say the videos are fabricated; they’re not real – when a forensic analysis shows they’re completely accurate-

CUOMO: But you gave them that – you gave them that ammo by doing the editing. And look, I mean – you know, you’re talking to a guy who does this all the time. There’s nothing easier than putting out raw footage, David. There’s nothing easier than doing that. You could have easily produced the raw footage. It’s the editing that takes time. That’s what takes discretion and selectivity, right?

DALEIDEN: You know, I think it’s important for the – for the public – you know, in order for – for the information to be accessible; to make sure that you’re presenting the highlights, and presenting the most important pieces of what are-

CUOMO: To you-

DALEIDEN: You know, two, three, four-hour long conversations-

CUOMO: To you – what’s most important to you. And that’s the point. It comes down to discretion and subjectivity. But I’ll tell you this: David Daleiden-

DALEIDEN: That’s why the full tapes are posted-

CUOMO: Well, but post them, right? And then, that takes us to the lawsuit where you’re not putting everything out. I think the more disclosure there is, the better – because you’ve started a very important conversation in this country that goes beyond the law – that goes to things that are very visceral – so people need to have the full information. David Daleiden, as always, thank you for representing your side – appreciate it.

DALEIDEN: Thank you, Chris.

Source Article from http://newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/matthew-balan/2015/09/30/cnns-cuomo-badgers-pro-lifer-who-made-planned-parenthood-videos

Big Businesses Inadvertently Contribute to Sanders’ Campaign

Opponents of democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ label him as a “socialist.” Instead of denying the controversial moniker, he embraces it. He openly admits that he is a “socialist democrat,” akin to the Scandinavian countries. He favors universal health care, tuition-free college education based upon merit, and a progressive agenda. Whether you support him or not, one thing no one can deny about Sanders– he is issue specific.

We have become accustomed to being taken advantage of by banks, insurance carriers, utility companies, credit card providers, and other giant industries. Two recent news stories have a couple of big businesses taking things to another level.

First is the Volkswagen scandal, where the automaker was forced to admit that they rigged diesel vehicles to trick smog tests to show fewer emissions. Reportedly the true nitrogen oxides emissions were as much as 40 times higher than were shown by the cheating software they installed. VW exported more than cars to the US and elsewhere. They also sent a mess for their customers and additional air pollutants for all of us.

And then there is Turing Pharmaceuticals, who last month raised the price of the drug Daraprim from $13.50 to $750.00 PER TABLET! The drug is used to treat a potentially life-threatening infection that comes from a parasite caused by eating undercooked meat or drinking contaminated water. One thing is for sure, no one likes a parasite.

Turing founder and CEO, hedge fund manager Martin Shkreli attempted to defend the 5500% price increase during a recent CBS 60 Minutes segment. You be the judge of the charming Mr. Shkreli and his demeanor and defense.

Senator Sanders (I-VT) and Representative Elijah Cummings (D-MD, 7th District) have been in the forefront of congressional leaders investigating prescription drug price gouging, and there is little doubt that Shkreli has greatly aided the Sanders’ campaign.

One wonders whether the conduct of these two companies is the exception or the rule.

Sanders has a contribution section on his website where donors can pledge as little as $10. VW and Turing Pharmaceuticals need not bother. They have already given more than their fair share of support to Sanders.

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Pot Dispensaries Offer Free Weed To California Fire Victims

MIDDLETON, Calif. (AP) — Medical marijuana dispensaries in Northern California are offering up to $200 in free cannabis per patient affected by a hugely destructive wildfire.

The Los Angeles Times reports (http://lat.ms/1M1sgqU ) the two companies are offering free products at five dispensaries in San Francisco, Santa Rosa, Sebastopol and Lake County through Oct. 7.

Patients eligible for the products must have a medical marijuana prescription and home addresses in Cobb, Kelseyville, Middletown or Hidden Valley Lake.

Those communities were hit the hardest by the fire that ripped through 118 square miles, destroyed more than 1,950 homes and killed four people.

The two companies donated $20,000 worth of marijuana-related items in all. The offer began last Thursday.

The wildfire was one of the worst in state history. It is nearly fully contained.

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What I Told My Kids When They Asked Why Dad Left

It’s a question no divorced parent wants to hear after a messy separation: “Why did dad (or mom) leave?”

What are you suppose to say in response to a question that heavy? A lite, kid-friendly version of the truth? That what’s happening is a grownup issue but you both still love them very much? 

Below, HuffPost Divorce bloggers and readers share the responses they gave their kids when faced with that heartbreaking question. 

1. I gave them a simple, age-appropriate response.  

“My children were very young. One was just an infant and the other was 4 years old. We sat him down and said, ‘Daddy has decided that he wants to live alone so you’ll have two houses now. And we love you and your sister very much so that will never change.'” — Dina S. 

2. I told them it was a grownup matter.

“I said, ‘Our relationship and the reason for our divorce is between Daddy and I. We both love you very much.’ Period. Saying that was the best advice I ever got from a counselor.” — Carolyn S.   

3. I told my daughter a version of the truth. 

“My daughter was a baby. He left me for another woman who he is married to now. My daughter is 8 now and I tell her the partial truth. I couldn’t get around it because she is a smart cookie. I didn’t lie but I reassured her of how much she is loved by me, her Dad and his wife and I told her that I want her to love them both. It took me a long time to get to this place but I’m glad I did.” — Ginen M.  

4. I reminded my child of the love we still share as a family. 

“I said, ‘Your Dad and I love you very much. We weren’t a great married couple but we parted as friends and will always work together to give you everything you need.'” — Honorée C.

5. I told my son the truth.

“Our son was 22. I told him the truth: His Dad had been cheating and had left me for the other woman.” — Rebecca C.  

6. I told them it was a mutual decision.

“My ex-husband blindsided all of us — me and the boys. He left without warning one night saying he didn’t love me after he’d already planned a three week business trip, with no opportunity for the family to talk. I held down the fort and although angry and hurt, I came to terms with divorce. When he returned, we told our sons it was a mutual decision, even though it was not. In the end, it’s what’s best. We said there would be no more fighting, that the divorce was not about them but about us as grown ups. They would have a happy mom and a happy Dad and to do that we needed to live apart. I have never bad-mouthed him. But they know he left and treated me poorly. They have asked if he doesn’t love me anymore. I simply say that people change sometimes in marriages, but no matter what we both love them. That’s the best I can do right now: love them and take care of them.” — Jenny K. 

7. I told them Daddy and Mommy were going in different directions in life.

“My children were very young. I told them that their Dad and I wanted different things. He wanted to live his life differently than me.” — Sarah P. 

8. I suggested they ask their Dad what happened.  

“I was lucky enough to be in counseling with my ex to learn how to co-parent. He explained to our triplet boys that what he had done was something a married man should never do and that was why we were getting divorced. When the boys ask me what Daddy did, I tell that that is something you need to discuss with your Dad. My motto is ‘better not bitter.'” — Janice S. 

More From HuffPost: 

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5 Things Your Pet Insurance Policy Should Cover

Currently, there are over a dozen companies in the U.S. and Canada offering pet insurance, and if you’ve tried sorting out the differences between them, like many pet owners, you probably wound up more confused than when you started.

As is the case with insurance of any kind, pet health care coverage is a wonderful thing to have if you need it — and providing there are no big surprises when you submit a claim for reimbursement.

Here’s the scenario you want to avoid: You faithfully pay your monthly premium for years and enjoy peace of mind knowing your pet’s health care will be paid for in the event of an expensive illness or emergency. When that dreaded day unfortunately arrives, you submit a claim to your pet insurance provider for reimbursement… and learn that the illness or injury your companion has suffered isn’t covered by your policy.

So now you’re out thousands of dollars in premiums, and the substantial debt you’ve just incurred to treat your pet or save her life is your burden to bear, and yours alone. Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence for people who don’t fully understand the exclusions and other limitations of their pet insurance coverage.

The 5 Most Important Things a Pet Insurance Policy Should Cover

Here are five things every pet owner should consider before investing in health care coverage for furry family members.

1. Chronic disease

Chronic diseases typically appear in middle-aged and older pets and are considered incurable. They include problems such as heart disease, chronic kidney or liver disease, diabetes, endocrine system disorders like Cushing’s or Addison’s disease, etc.

Look for a plan that covers chronic diseases, preferably without exclusions. Chances are good that if your furry companion lives long enough, he’ll develop a chronic health problem of some kind. Your pet health care plan should be designed to cover such eventualities.

Also be sure you’re informed about any limits on reimbursement for specific diseases.

2. Ongoing coverage for chronic disease

Just as you want your plan to cover chronic diseases, you also want to make sure it covers ongoing diagnostic testing and treatments for any chronic illness your pet may develop. Some policies only reimburse for tests and treatments for the year in which the condition was diagnosed, which means you assume the full cost after the first year.

Imagine your beloved pet develops chronic kidney disease, and after a year has passed, you’re still paying your monthly insurance premiums PLUS all the expenses incurred to treat her ongoing illness. It doesn’t make a lot of sense, so try to avoid plans that limit continual coverage reimbursements.

3. Congenital and hereditary disease

Your pet health care plan should cover congenital and hereditary conditions — the kind that are present at birth, as well as those that develop later in life. Examples include hip dysplasia, patellar luxation (floating kneecap), entropion (a disorder of the upper eyelid), liver shunts, etc.

Try to avoid plans that cover one but not the other, as some pet insurance providers consider congenital conditions “pre-existing.” A good rule of thumb: the more confusing the language in the policy, the less likely you are to be reimbursed. If you’re having trouble deciphering what is and isn’t covered, come up with some “what if” scenarios involving your pet, then call prospective providers and ask if those situations will be covered.

And again, pay attention to maximum payouts and any limits on reimbursement for specific diseases.

4. Breed-specific and species-specific disease

Many breeds of pets, dogs in particular, have medical conditions they are more prone to than other breeds. For example, Golden Retrievers are more likely to develop cancer than other breeds; small and toy dogs are more prone to patellar luxation.

Also, dogs as a species are more likely to acquire certain conditions like arthritis, while kitties are more apt to develop hyperthyroidism or chronic kidney disease.

Your policy should provide coverage for problems that may arise specific to your pet’s breed or species.

5. Cancer

Sadly, cancer is common among veterinary patients these days, especially certain dog breeds. And it isn’t exclusively a disease of old age. Traditional cancer treatment for pets (typically surgery and/or chemotherapy and other medications) can get very expensive, so make sure the pet insurance you’re considering provides coverage in this area.

Make sure you understand reimbursement limits, and especially if your pet is a breed genetically predisposed to cancer, consider opting for a plan that provides the most comprehensive coverage available.

Also, keep in mind that older pets and those with pre-existing conditions may not be eligible for full cancer coverage, so you’ll want to get those details nailed down even if it requires phone calls to various providers.

Dr. Karen Becker is a proactive and integrative wellness veterinarian. You can visit her site at: MercolaHealthyPets.com

Her goal is to help you create wellness in order to prevent illness in the lives of your pets. This proactive approach seeks to save you and your pet from unnecessary stress and suffering by identifying and removing health obstacles even before disease occurs. Unfortunately, most veterinarians in the United States are trained to be reactive. They wait for symptoms to occur, and often treat those symptoms without addressing the root cause.

By reading Dr. Becker’s information, you’ll learn how to make impactful, consistent lifestyle choices to improve your pet’s quality of life.

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Congressman Wants To Heed Pope’s Advice, Open Obamacare To The Undocumented

WASHINGTON — Many undocumented immigrants who pay taxes would be able to access Obamacare under a long-shot bill introduced Wednesday by Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.).

The Affordable Care Act currently limits access to its exchanges and subsidies to those “lawfully present.” That means the approximately 11.3 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. are not eligible for Obamacare, nor can they shop on the exchanges if their employer does not provide them with coverage. 

Gutiérrez’s bill would open the exchanges and extend the subsidies to undocumented immigrants who provide proof of state residency and tax filings. It would also subject everyone to Obamacare’s individual mandate, which doesn’t currently apply to those not lawfully present.  

“The goal is to make integration and inclusion real for millions of families that are locked out under current law,” Gutiérrez said on the House floor. “As it stands right now, undocumented immigrants are not subject to the individual mandate and cannot buy into health insurance exchanges even if they use their own money. My legislation will change that. It says that we stand for inclusion.”

If passed, the immigration reform advocate’s bill would take effect on Dec. 31, 2015, in time for 2016 enrollment, although his speech did not suggest optimism.

“I don’t think the speaker, even as a lame duck, will allow a vote,” Gutiérrez said, referring to the fact that Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is stepping down at the end of October. 

Gutiérrez argued that his bill would strengthen the insurance pool and keep premiums low since undocumented immigrants tend to be young and healthy. According to the Migration Policy Institute, about 72 percent of undocumented immigrants are aged 19-44, compared to only 36 percent of the total U.S. population being aged 18-44.

Last year, California state Sen. Ricardo Lara (D) introduced similar legislation to open California’s exchange to the state’s estimated 1 million undocumented residents lacking insurance. He dropped the effort earlier this month, citing difficulty in rallying support. But the state’s health program for the poor, Medi-Cal, was extended this year to cover those under age 19 regardless of their immigration status. 

Introducing his bill on Wednesday, Gutiérrez cited the pope’s address to Congress last week. Pope Francis invoked the “Golden Rule,” urging lawmakers crafting immigration policy to treat people as they would want to be treated.  

“Doing unto others as you would have them do unto you means moving forward with no restrictions on which brother and sister and neighbor we think of as ‘eligible’ or ‘deserving’ or is, in fact, considered my neighbor, my sister or my brother,” Gutiérrez said.

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