Time for some leadership

Phil Scott wants to be the leader of our state, after six years in the high-profile but undemanding position of Lieutenant Governor. Last Friday, he demonstrated his leadership by speaking at the Rally for Safe Roads in Montpelier.

A worthy cause to be sure, but advocating civility and opposing mayhem isn’t exactly going out on a limb. Scott has also spent plenty of time recently promoting Wheels for Warmth, another creditable but not at all controversial endeavor.

So when will he say or do something that might be the least little bit of a stretch?

Well, he’s got an ideal opportunity right now. Because the national Republicans have been loudly, offensively, ceaselessly on the attack against Planned Parenthood, trying to capitalize on the deceitful outrage videos that claim to show PP officials profiting from abortions. Yesterday’s chest-pounding Congressional “hearing” was particularly offensive: Republican members grilled Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards for five hours, repeatedly cut off her attempts to answer questions, cited “information” from anti-choice sources, and generally behaved like assholes.

Aside from that brutal display, we’ve got Republicans threatening a government shutdown over federal funding for women’s health care at Planned Parenthood, at least three ongoing Congressional probes of the organization (with a fourth in the works), plus every Republican Presidential candidate joining the chorus. Carly Fiorina is the most obnoxious in this regard, but they’re all piling on.

So, Phil. Got anything to say about your fellow Republicans?

Apparently not, because around noon yesterday I Tweeted:

The response? Crickets. Nothing. Not from Scott, not from the VTGOP.

Scott has declared himself to be pro-choice, and he’s tried to hold himself at arm’s length from the national Republican Party without offering a hint of criticism, no matter how crazy the GOP gets. Well, next year he’s going to share a ticket with a presidential candidate who’s fully on board with the Planned Parenthood mania. So I say it’s time to stop with the vague, mealy-mouthed “Vermont Republicans are different” stuff and, you know, take a stand.

I realize that Scott isn’t used to such things, but if he wants to be a leader, well, he needs to show he’s got what it takes.

I don’t expect him to call a news conference and declare that the national Republicans are liars and crazies. But do you know what he could do?

He could hold a media event at a Planned Parenthood clinic, and thank the staffers and the organization for the great work they do. He could publicly make a donation to Planned Parenthood.

Too hard? How about releasing a statement praising Planned Parenthood’s work for women’s health? Or making it clear that he supports government funding for its non-abortion services?

Still too hard? Well, maybe Scott doesn’t have what it takes to be Vermont’s chief executive.

How about it, Phil? Are you on the side of truth? Or will you remain silent while good people and a good organization suffer ceaseless attack at the hands of your friends and allies?

9 thoughts on “Time for some leadership

  1. newzjunqie

    I’d be suprised if he jumped into any hornets nest this early. Nor does he have to. Would be easier to win the top job in VT than falling off a log. High name-recognition Milne has endorsed which will win Milne many friends as well as hopefully a shot at Lite-guv which could start off as a very popular team.

    I’m sure he will find his voice, do pressers and all of the other politicing stuff at some point. But it would behoove Scott to move into the scene making short concise position points – the sooner the better to add his voice, become relevant and increase his visibility. If he does this Lisman can do little but be a ‘me too’. Lisman is limp and lame the comparison would be easy to make favoring Scott.

    Controversey aside PP like so many large nonprofits with bloated budgets, exorbitant pay for high level staffers, clearly believes in its supposed entitlement. I would like to see the services spread around to no-name newer smaller services who already have similiar structures but offer more such as mammograms which PP despite its claims does not offer.

    Existing health care in place could cordon off a subset of women’s services in a supportive environment and do the same for far less while utilizing the $$$ more efficiently.

    I’m sick of full-of-themselves nonprofits sucking up millions and billions of taxpayer funds while paying those who actually do the work in peanuts. Vermonts is a prime example with agencies headed by do-nothings while those in need of services in some cases die because of their deplorable inactions.

    1. John S. Walters Post author

      Well, your assertions about Planned Parenthood’s finances are bullshit. Charity Navigator gives it a score of 92.42 out of 100, which puts PP in the very top ranking. Its budget is far from “bloated.” As for executive pay, Charity Navigator’s most recent study of nonprofit CEO compensation puts PP squarely in the mid-range:

      Charities with over $200 million in total expenses report a median pay of $526,679 for their CEOs whereas charities with $1 – $3.5 million in total expenses report a median pay of just $97,158.

      Planned Parenthood’s annual budget is close to $150 million; its president earns just under $400,000 a year, so that’s in line with the charitable world’s pay scale. If anything, a bit on the low side.

      1. Faith King

        I second the call on bullshit. The only bullshit here – and it is huge and quite disgusting – is this effort to “defund” an old. lone stalwart like Planned Parenthood. I used to go there years ago in Boston for my routine pap’s and birth control. I remember a quiet, small no-frill’s clinic that gave needed medical care to women at low-cost. I accessed Planned Parenthood again, for the same needs, 25 years ago (when I moved to Vermont). Same deal in VT as Boston. Modest office, no fancy anything, quick, professional care, low cost. And guess what? It worked. I was able to easily begin receiving the regular, preventative care that is important for women’s health; had regular pap smears (a good thing – way cheaper than late-detected cervical cancer) and never had an unwanted pregnancy. Never. Why? well, low cost and no barriers all contributed to ease of use for a woman under age 30….not an age demographic that I suspect is real attentive to routine medical care. The under-30 set not being known for things like, oh, arranging to find a primary care provider every time they move…which is alot…what with being in their 20’s and all. Or, you know, thinking about a million things at once and trying to figure out the brave, new world of adulthood. PCP’s – not so much. Insurance? Not so much. It is crucial to the health, freedom and dignity of no doubt thousand’s of women – many young, many poor, many with limited insurance – that this basic health care exists and continues. It is BASIC, effective health care for women we are talking about here – and these scoundrels, Newsjunqie included, want to mess with that?? No way. Uh-uh. Find another political football, Jack. It ain’t my cervix and it ain’t my contraception.

    2. Dave Katz

      I think you’ve somehow confused the PP of Planned Parenthood with the PP of Pentagon Procurement:
      “But throughout its development, the F-35 has been plagued by seemingly endless technical malfunctions, management problems and resistance from critics who question whether the warplane will be able to perform as promised and is worth its crushing costs. One report cited flaws in its fuel tank and hydraulic systems that increase the plane’s vulnerability to lightning strikes and enemy fire, especially at low altitudes. Another downgraded the single-engine plane’s acceleration rates and ability to turn. Test pilots have criticized poor cockpit visibility, which they said could get them shot down during combat. They also cite faulty software and radar, as well as ejection seats that don’t work. An engine fire in 2014 led to the grounding of the entire F-35 fleet, as well as two government reports that declared the Pratt & Whitney engines to be unreliable. The pilot’s helmet, each an individually sculpted $400,000 system that provides a 360-degree view of a pilot’s surroundings, has problems distinguishing friends from enemies. In one of the most embarrassing developments, a F-35 was pitted against an F-16 in a dogfight in July, and the aging F-16 won.”

      We could–could, mind you–just give every American man, woman, and child an unconditional tax-free income for life*, and catapult real American security to the front of the world (or at least nearer, anyway) than fund this goddamn rakeoff for truly corrupt and murderous arms dealing corporatist elites. Think One. Trillion. US. Dollars. And going up….Or the Iraq Debacle? 4 trillion US dollars, there, ol’ buddy. Leave aside the more peaceful shoveling of decimal points to the juggernauts of Wall Street who, after they swindled the world economy into the LaBrea tarpits, were rewarded by their US government overseers to the tune of–conservative estimates–13 trillion US dollars. Sheesh.

      *actually suggested by that commie pinko R. Milhous Nixon in 1971. Burdened with the unfortunate moniker Family Assisstance Plan or–wait for it–FAP.

      Nah. That’d be too “bloated”, I guess.

  2. newzjunqie

    Oh plz. No need for name-calling & overheated rhetoric, unnecessary, chill. Took the comment and ran with it sorry if I was unclear, sheesh. I have no intention with messin’ with anyones cervix I have one of my own thanks, also used PP at one time – who hasn’t – and also the same type of services in a free community health care environment, Ann Arbor MI.

    Aforementioned comment:
    “Existing health care in place could cordon off a

    *subset of women’s services in a supportive environment*

    and do the same for far less while utilizing the $$$ more efficiently.” Primarily for the purpose of privacy that is all.

    “I would like to see the services spread around to

    *no-name newer smaller services*

    who already have similiar structures but offer more such as mammograms which PP despite its claims does not offer.”

    So possible to provide the same womens’ health centers as a stand alone. Not competition, an alternative. Not defund PP but provide funding for other same services. Didn’t see need to clarify, wasn’t expecting the controversey.

    Not saying get rid of PP but all eggs don’t need to in one basket. Bloated budget is in terms of being a large nonprofit and the costly trappings they all seem to have as opposed to free community health clinics. Must say I was thinking when I saw the exchange how small, relatively speaking, CEO compensation was if it were a man would expect it to be 2-10 times more. Point was nonprofits esp large are often bloated period. VT has had several recent nonprofit scandals:
    Over 2 years seems like a long investigation.

    Nonprofits operate out of public view though receiving taxpayer funding:

      1. newzjunqie

        No jvwalt wasn’t replying to you your reply was very reasonable, your opinion, no surprises.

        No ‘reply’ button below Ms. King comment but context and content would appear to be enough as it was below it.

  3. Faith King

    Oh, please, yourself – you weren’t expecting controversy with assertions like: “I’m sick of full-of-themselves nonprofits sucking up millions and billions of taxpayer funds while paying those who actually do the work in peanuts. Vermonts is a prime example with agencies headed by do-nothings while those in need of services in some cases die because of their deplorable inactions.” We’ve seen a lot of this from the right-wing – throw anything out there and then see if it sticks. Who needs those stinkin’ facts? “Agencies headed by do-nothing’s?” ? People “dying” because of their “deplorable inactions?” Sorry – the Right can’t have it both ways. Cut, cut, cut social spending for decades. Complain about the lazy poor – and then try to grab some sort of faux moral high ground and argue that the “Dog-Eat-Dog” Party is now worried about the little guy (or gal). You can sell only so much. Public policy in this country has been co-opted for too long now by private sector, capitalist thinking (with a little big ticket advertising for good measure). First, pick a public initiative that serves a lot of people. Next, invent a “problem” associated with it that must be fixed, or *fill in the blank*. Then, advertise. Convince people you’ve solved a problem they didn’t know existed. Finally, begin dismantling said public service. Either immediately or bit by bit. The only thing that’s “wrong” with Planned Parenthood is that it is a public effort that works for the common good. We can’t have that…..

    1. newzjunqie

      So like immachur! Again: no need for name-calling, overheated rhetoric or histrionics – chillax (the deluxe overcooled version of ‘chill’, you’re welcome).

      Assume far to much, blinded by L/R dogma clearly cannot see beyond ideological nose. All that baggage in brain = clutter. With due respect lighten up, you’ll be leaner and meaner.

      Memorizing & mouthing mere talking points not enough, treating all diffs of opinion as an act of war is well, overheated. Histrionics generally follow then it’s on to the dustup. And there are ppl on both sides who take thoughtful reasoned positions and do not display behavior of a high school debate inductee while recognizing the flawed logic of both sides when evident.

      Hate to disapoint, not a rightwinger ma’am, after hopping from one side to the other not an ideological bone left. And I can have it both ways – both are right and also wrong. As an indy breaking the paradigm of R/L, b/c I’m both. As I’ve said, both sides are dif breeds of same animal and in a dead heat for who is worse. Bernie made the comment that Jeb & Hillary are no different as they take turns chairing the same Illuminati meetings.

      Examples I gave are VT issues if you asked you’d know. Not cut cut cut that’s the echochamber talking, account account account. VT is infamous for shoveling every dime into no-bid no clawback get-rich-quick schemes with a deficit as proof. This is why Dean didn’t want casinos, it infringes on their turf.

      And I have plenty of ‘lazy-poor’ cred, and paid all dues. As a single divorcee at 27 w/three kids have faced my share of shitheads & hardship while also working.

      Howl away – it’s great cardio, unfotunately missed the blood moon.


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