Miranda Blue's blog

Ted Cruz Promotes Anti-Choice Activist Who Wants Abortion Doctors Executed

Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign launched a “Pro-Lifers for Cruz” coalition yesterday, which is to be chaired by the leader of an anti-gay hate group and a radical anti-choice activist who has written that a just society would execute abortion providers.

Tony Perkins, president of the virulently anti-gay Family Research Council, is to chair the group, while Troy Newman of Operation Rescue is one of its 10 co-chairs.

Stunningly, in its short biography of Newman, the Cruz campaign mentions that he is the author of a book called “Their Blood Cries Out”:

Troy Newman is the president of Operation Rescue, one of the leading pro-life Christian activist organizations in the nation and a founding board member for the Center for Medial Progress. He has been involved in the pro-life community for over 20 years, starting in 1991 as the Operation Rescue West president. He is also a published author, having written Their Blood Cries Out and his most recent book Abortion Free.

We have reviewed both “Abortion Free” and “Their Blood Cries Out” here at Right Wing Watch. In “Their Blood Cries Out,” written in 2000 and revised in 2003, Newman lays out the case for churches to oppose abortion rights, saying that by failing to follow what he says is the biblical response to abortion — executing abortion providers and treating women who have abortions as “murderers” — the country is mired in “bloodguilt” and is awaiting the judgment of God. In the meantime, Newman writes, the U.S. has experienced “warnings” from God about legal abortion, including the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

More recently, Newman has alleged that the drought in California is a result of that state’s liberal abortion laws:

Newman has recently gained prominence in the anti-choice movement thanks to his role in starting the Center for Medical Progress, the group behind a series of videos attacking Planned Parenthood. (The group’s leader, David Daleiden, is currently facing a felony indictment related to his attempt to infiltrate the health care provider.) Newman has said that the goal of the project was to “destroy” Planned Parenthood, part of his long campaign of harassment and intimidation against the group and other abortion providers.

Although he renounces extrajudicial violence against abortion providers, Newman has argued that the murderer of an abortion provider in Florida should have been able to argue that the act was justifiable homicide meant to “save the lives of the pre-born babies that were scheduled to be killed by abortion that day.” When another abortion provider died of leukemia, Newman put out a press release rejoicing in his death. Newman's second-in-command at Operation Rescue is Cheryl Sullenger, who spent time in federal prison in the 1980s for conspiring to bomb an abortion clinic.

Perkins, although he is most infamous for his over-the-top anti-gay activism, has similarly warned that God will judge America for legal abortion and implied that Christians who support abortion rights aren’t true believers.

Antigovernment Groups Warned Of 'Civil War' In Oregon. Now What?

As we wrote several weeks ago when a group of armed militia members took over a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon, many antigovernment leaders were not on their side. This isn’t because these groups disagree with the occupiers’ cause — outrage at the arrests of two ranchers for arson on federal lands — but because they don’t have faith in the leadership of those who took over the building.

Now that eight of the occupiers — including their leader, Ammon Bundy —have been arrested and one has been killed in a clash with law enforcement, antigovernment groups are caught between a cause they agree with and a leader they don’t trust. These groups are obsessed with the idea of the federal government provoking a “civil war” with “patriots” like them, and they have been worried that they will now be forced to fight a civil war on behalf of Ammon Bundy.

Stewart Rhodes, head of the Oath Keepers, has from the beginning urged his followers to stay out of the Oregon standoff, but has nevertheless warned the government that “there will never again be a free Waco” and that any force against the occupiers could lead to a “bloody, brutal civil war.” Mike Vanderboegh, leader of the Three Percenters movement, similarly warned that Bundy and his allies had “written a check that they expect the rest of us to cash in our own blood in a ghastly civil war” and may have been infiltrated by federal "provacateurs" trying to provoke such a war.

These groups are, at least for now, sounding a note of caution.

The Pacific Patriots Network, an umbrella group of militia groups in the area, including members of the Oath Keepers and Three Percenters, wrote in a press release last night that it was urging its members to “stand by” and that “[n]o mobilization of any kind is to take place until every piece of speculation and hearsay have been verified or dismissed.” It repeated that call today, writing that the group is “working on maintaining a calm presence in town and are still acting as a buffer between the Refuge and the FBI.”

A post on Vanderboegh’s blog yesterday that although the group “disagreed with Ammon Bundy's choice of targets, tactics, timing and ‘friends’ like the sociopath (and probable Fed provocateur) Ryan Payne” (Payne was one of those arrested yesterday with Bundy), the “Feds picked this fight.”

The post concludes ominiously: “We need more information and confirmation of what I have written, but it is apparent that the Feds are giving us all a choice.”

As the Anti-Defamation League’s Mark Pitcavage noted on Twitter, at this point the danger of backlash comes not from these larger groups but from rogue individuals who have been motivated by their ideology:

Speaking at a press conference this afternoon, Harney County Sheriff David Ward, who has been a target of groups that believe he should have turned against the government and sided with Bundy, looked visibly shaken, saying that “it didn’t have to happen” and “there doesn’t have to be bloodshed in our community.”

Anti-Planned Parenthood Activist David Daleiden Gets Indicted, But The Anti-Choice Movement Still Feels Like It's Winning

In an interesting turn of events yesterday, a Texas grand jury that had been convened to investigate Planned Parenthood based on the claims of anti-abortion activist David Daleiden instead indicted Daleiden and a colleague on charges relating to their infiltration of the women’s health care organization.
 
In a statement responding to the charges, Daleiden called himself an "investigative journalist," something that he has been doing from the beginning of his project. In reality, Daleiden's "investigation" was rooted in a tradition of anti-abortion activists attempting to harass and intimidate abortion providers to prevent them from practicing, rather than a genuine effort to uncover the truth. In fact, one of Daleiden's associates at the radical anti-choice group Operation Rescue, which helped to get his project off the ground, said that Daleiden's goal going into the project was to “obtain prosecutions” of Planned Parenthood officials.
 
So far, Daleiden's attempt to "obtain prosecutions" has come up empty.
 
But pushing for the prosecution of Planned Parenthood officials was only part of Daleiden’s plan. In a statement following the indictment, Daleiden claimed that the “admissions” of Planned Parenthood were “captured on video for all the world to see.” Never mind that the videos show no such “admissions” of law-breaking. The point of the videos was not just to make a case to law enforcement, but to sway public opinion.
 
On a large scale, that hasn't been successful: One poll showed barely a flutter in the public’s views about Planned Parenthood between August and September of last year, in the height of the visibility of Daleiden’s videos. Planned Parenthood's favorability ratings had already dropped over the last two decades, Gallup found, but mostly among Republicans, a trend that the polling agency attributed to the growing “politicization of Planned Parenthood."
 
What Daleiden’s project has done is to galvanize support among those who were already opposed to abortion rights. Protests in front of Planned Parenthood offices, driven by the old guard of the anti-abortion “rescue” movement, expanded and multiplied, with the support of much more visible anti-choice groups. At this year’s March for Life, it was impossible to go five minutes without hearing a mention of Daleiden or his videos, with speaker after speaker saying that their movement finally had winning momentum. In the days leading up to the march, Daleiden crossed the city to speak to protesters holding gruesome signs outside a construction site for a new Planned Parenthood clinic; to talk with Americans United for Life lawyers working on strategies to restrict abortion rights; and to be prayed over by Russell Moore and Jim Daly, evangelical leaders who are trying to put a kinder, gentler face on their movement.
 
Speakers at nearly every event noted with hope that a bill defunding Planned Parenthood recently made it through a Republican Congress, allowing anti-choice activists to say that all they need now is to elect a president who would sign it.
 
Now that Daleiden is facing prosecution, he’s in the company of many fellow members of the “rescue” movement, which his work grew out of. Among those who protest outside of clinics, or try to infiltrate them, arrest and jail time for violation of what they see as unjust laws is a badge of honor. At a protest last week in front of a new Planned Parenthood that is being built in Washington, D.C., before Daleiden spoke, one “rescue” movement leader asked who there would be willing to “lay their body in front of the door” or “handcuff yourself to construction equipment” in order to stop the building from opening. Another touted the work of one of Daleiden’s mentors to train “a whole army of David Daleidens” to infiltrate Planned Parenthood clinics throughout the country.
 
Yesterday’s indictment is unlikely to dissuade these activists, who feel that they are on the cusp of a David-and-Goliath victory. In fact, at events connected to the March for Life last week, speakers expressed hope that a separate lawsuit against Daleiden by Planned Parenthood would instead turn up unflattering information about the women's health provider and land it in hot water instead. So far, the opposite has been true. But, to the anti-choice movement, that just makes Daleiden seem even more like David, closer than ever to slinging the winning shot.

Louie Gohmert: 'It's Time To Start Impeaching Judges' For Marriage Equality Ruling

Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, said last week that “it’s time to start impeaching” Supreme Court justices in response to the Obergefell marriage equality ruling, which he called an “illegal decision” that amounted to the court declaring itself to be God.

In an interview with Florida talk radio host Joyce Kaufman on Friday, Gohmert falsely claimed that church-state separation decisions in the 1950s and 1960s mandated that “you can’t talk about God in schools and public places.” But, he said, the Supreme Court did something even worse with Obergefell.

“The Supreme Court said, ‘You know, we told you you couldn’t use ‘God,’ now here’s the new line: We’re God,’” he said. “‘We are your God. Forget what God, Moses, Jesus ever said, we are your God now, the five of us in the majority, you do as we tell you.’”

Gohmert went on to repeat his call for Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan to be impeached for participating in the decision after having performed legal same-sex marriages.

“We have two of them who had done same-sex marriages before they participated, they were disqualified, but they illegally participated, it’s an illegal decision, and it’s time to start impeaching judges and remove them from the Supreme Court,” he said.

Kaufman, for her part, seemed to say that Ginsburg and Kagan should have been disqualified for “being gay.”

Operation Save America: Terrorism Is God's Punishment For Legal Abortion

Operation Save America’s Rusty Lee Thomas has blamed the September 11 attacks on legal abortion in the U.S., so it’s only natural that he’s now saying that current terror threats, along with undocumented immigrants and big government, are all part of God’s punishment on America for legal abortion.

In a press release on Thursday, the eve of the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, Thomas declared that the “real danger” facing America is “God Himself” because He “will not be mocked” and will flatten America like Sodom if legal abortion isn’t stopped.

Operation Save America is what remains of the original anti-choice group called Operation Rescue. (The Operation Rescue that is currently operating was a rival group with similar goals and tactics.) Thomas took over as the head of Operation Save America after working for years alongside its former leader, Flip Benham, who was recently embraced by Sen. Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign.

From Thomas’ press release:

Listen to the concerns of 21st century Americans! Terror, Islamic Jihadists, Illegal Immigration, Out of Control Federal and State Governments, Economic Collapse, loss of retirement funds. But what's on God's heart? What is the real danger facing the home of the brave land of the free?

It is God Himself. He will not be mocked! What men and nations sow, they shall surely reap. We have sowed domestic terrorism in the womb and now face foreign terrorism from without.

Our nation is staggering under the weight of blood guiltiness. We have poured out gallons; hundreds and thousands of gallons throughout the streets and sewers of America. Nearly 60 million children made in the image of God have been slaughtered in our legal and federally protected abortion mills.

Even the gruesome videos of Planned Parenthood executives making light and laughing over the horror of selling little babies' body parts has made nary a ripple in the lakes of innocent blood shed defiling and polluting our land.

Abortion is not political, social or economic. It is a Gospel/Kingdom issue. It is the ancient evil of child sacrifice that is dressed up as a women's rights issue. Since 1973, our nation has accumulated a great debt of blood guilt and the bill is past due.

Is there any hope? Yes, it is found in the Lord we have spurned, His law that we have violated, and His salvation we have rejected to our own demise. 2 Chronicles 7:14 declares, "if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land."

If we meet God's conditions, He will heal our land. If not, we will go the way of every other nation that murdered their babies and paraded their sin like Sodom.

Gohmert: Clinton Backing Obama's Agenda Because Otherwise He'll Indict Her

Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, has a theory as to why Hillary Clinton has been largely supporting President Obama’s policies and record on the campaign trail: because she knows that if she crosses him, she’ll be indicted.

Gohmert spoke yesterday with Alex Marlow on Breitbart News’ Sunday show on SiriusXM, where he insisted that as long as Clinton “doesn’t trash Obama, then she’s probably going to avoid indictment.”

Gohmert, who has been an enthusiastic proponent of the conspiracy theory that former CIA director David Petraeus was indicted for leaking classified information because he was about to expose information about the Benghazi attack, said that Clinton is probably facing a similar situation as Petraeus was.

“I know others who are saying, ‘Oh, it’s going to happen she’s going to be indicted,’” he said, “but look at Petraeus, they saw him as a threat, they’d been sitting on information about his affair for 10, 11 months or so, however long it’d been, and decided to use it right before he could destroy their scenario about the video causing Benghazi. So, I don’t know, just looking at the way this administration operates. If you’re on their side, you don’t get indicted. If you’re a threat to them, you get indicted.”

This prompted Marlow to bring up a theory of his own. “Did you notice what Hillary’s latest campaign tactic is, if you saw the latest debate, you know what she’s doing these days?” he asked. “She keeps backing Obama’s entire agenda. She keeps saying what his success has been.”

“Exactly,” Gohmert responded. “Why do you think that is?”

“Well, I’m starting to think, maybe all these rumors flying that she could be indicted, and I’d always thought that it wasn’t a chance, but maybe she’s thinking, ‘Well, we’d better make sure,’” Marlow said.

“Yeah, well, I mean, I think if she becomes a threat then she gets indicted like Petraeus was,” Gohmert responded. “You know, they’ve got the evidence, if they want to use it, then they can. But they obviously look the other way if you’re helping them, if you’re intimidating voters that may be Republican at a polling place then you walk, despite the laws you violate. It’s what this administration has done. They support those that help them even when they’re breaking the law.”

(Gohmert’s mention of people getting away with “intimidating voters” is a reference to the overblown, Fox News-driven New Black Panther Party scandal .)

Supreme Court Rejects Attempt At Restrictive Six-Week Abortion Ban

There has long been a debate raging within the anti-abortion movement between those who have mapped out a careful strategy to slowly chip away at Roe v. Wade through incremental restrictions on abortion and those who want to launch legal broadsides against abortion rights in the hopes that one will take Roe down once and for all.

The incrementalists will have their big day in court on March 2, when the Supreme Court hears arguments in Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole, a challenge to a set of laws in Texas that seeks to cut off access to legal abortion even as the procedure remains legal. Whole Woman’s Health is the culmination of a decades-long strategy by groups like Americans United for Life to choke off abortion access by creating unnecessary regulations on clinics. These groups are also hoping to get the Supreme Court to reconsider Roe in the form of laws banning abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, just before when the court has said that abortion bans are legal.

But those who want to find a silver bullet to end abortion rights completely just had a day in court too … and it didn’t go well for them.

The Supreme Court today declined to hear an appeal of a lower court ruling that struck down North Dakota’s “fetal heartbeat” law, which would have banned abortion at about six weeks of pregnancy, before many women even know that they are pregnant. The law was clearly unconstitutional — one prominent anti-choice lawyer has called such efforts “futile” — but North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple said that it was an “attempt by a state legislature to discover the boundaries of Roe v. Wade.”

The boundaries of Roe v. Wade, it turns out, however much they may be weakened by incremental restrictions, still prevent banning almost all abortions.

Yet today’s rejection is unlikely to halt the efforts of “heartbeat bill” crusaders, the most prominent of whom is Religious Right activist Janet Porter, who is currently running for the legislature in her home state of Ohio in an effort to push such a bill through.

Maddow Calls Out Cruz For Embracing Pastor Who Said God Sent Hitler & Oprah Presages Antichrist

Sen. Ted Cruz has been embracing so many far-right figures in his quest to become president that we’ve almost stopped being surprised every time he rolls out a new, more extreme endorsement.

Almost.

Last week, Cruz outdid himself when he sent out a press release announcing the endorsement of Mike Bickle, head of the 24-hour International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Missouri.

Cruz’s announcement was remarkable because associating with Bickle had already caused a considerable amount of trouble for Cruz’s fellow Texan Rick Perry back when he was launching his first presidential run in 2011. Bickle, whose theology iscontroversial even among evangelicals, was involved in organizing a prayer rally meant to launch Perry’s campaign, which ended up causing trouble for the then-Texas governor when Bickle’s extreme views — including his belief that Oprah Winfrey is the forerunner to the Antichrist — came to light. Nonetheless, Bickle ended up emceeing the second half of the event.

Even more disturbing than his unusual theological beliefs about Oprah was a sermon that came to light after Perry’s prayer rally in which Bickle declared that in the End Times, God will “raise up a hunter” to kill Jews who don’t accept Christ “and the most famous hunter in recent history is a man named Adolf Hitler.’”

This statement was similar to remarks made by Religious Right leader John Hagee that had caused Sen. John McCain to publicly reject his endorsement during his own presidential campaign in 2008.

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, who extensively covered Bickle’s role in Perry’s prayer rally back in 2011, took on Cruz’s latest endorsement on Friday, saying that while “candidates cannot be held responsible for everything said and done and believed by people who like them and endorse them and vote for them,” once you welcome and campaign on an endorsement, “you kind of own it” … and while John McCain sought to quickly distance himself from this type of controversy, Ted Cruz doesn’t seem to mind at all.

House GOP Seeks Names Of Medical Students, Could Endanger Abortion Patient Information

Roll Call reported yesterday that Democratic members of the House select committee investigating the accusations against Planned Parenthood inspired by recent “sting” videos have taken issue with a set of “overbroad document requests” that Republicans on the committee have sent to some health care providers, including requests for information on medical students who learn about abortion and one request that could expose information on patients:

Six Democrats serving on a select panel investigating Planned Parenthood are accusing their Republican counterparts of issuing document requests that “pose grave privacy and security concerns.”

In a letter sent Thursday to the panel’s Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., the Democratic members of the select committee cite a recent request to a health care provider in which Republicans ask for “a list of any students, residents, or other medical personnel” who have participated in an abortion, prenatal or postnatal infant care, as well as all communications between the provider and any government officials.

The requests “appear to be a completely unjustified attack on women’s healthcare,” wrote the Democrats, who said they were not consulted about the queries. “Whether intended or not, these requests would require a healthcare provider to turn over to Congress the personal medical information of any patient who happens to work for the federal government or any State.”

Whatever led to the committee’s requests, the providers who received them had good reason to express concern. Efforts to root out the identity of abortion providers and even patients have long been a mainstay of radical anti-choice activists. This effort has also included intimidating medical students.

In 1993, Mark Crutcher, the activist who inspired the video project that led to the congressional investigations, somehow got a list of tens of thousands of medical students and sent them a “joke” book that included this barrel of laughs:

Q.: What would you do if you found yourself in a room with Hitler, Mussolini and an abortionist and you had a gun with only two bullets?

A: Shoot the abortionist twice.

Crutcher said he wasn’t advocating violence against abortion providers, but was trying to dissuade medical students from becoming abortion providers, saying, “Basically, what we’re saying to the medical community is, ‘Look, if you want to do abortions, that’s fine, but you’d better understand something. There’s a hell of a price to pay.’”

There’s no evidence that Republicans on the committee are deliberately intimidating medical students or patients, but it’s not hard to understand why these requests might make providers nervous.

Protesters Warn 'The Troubles For Planned Parenthood Have Only Just Begun'

On Thursday morning, about 50 protesters gathered in the bitter cold in front of a new Planned Parenthood facility that is under construction in northeast Washington, D.C. Although local protesters have been picketing the construction site for months, yesterday’s protest brought in activists from around the country who were in town for the March for Life, becoming something of a reunion for the old guard of the anti-abortion “rescue” movement.

The event included an appearance by David Daleiden, the activist behind this summer’s anti-Planned Parenthood “sting” operation, whose work grew out of the radical “rescue” movement and who has become a hero in all factions of the anti-abortion movement. It also included a one-man counter-protest from a parent whose child’s school next door was closed to avoid the event; an exhortation to be willing to die fighting legal abortion; and a brief exorcism.

Although the event was fairly small, the mood was hopeful, even victorious.

Daleiden, who is now being sued by Planned Parenthood for racketeering, told the crowd that the facility under construction behind them looked “kind of like fortresses or the castle of an evil baron in a fairy tale” but that Planned Parenthood was “stopped in their tracks” and “the days of legalized, state-subsidized, industrial-scale child-killing in our country are numbered.”

He said that 2016 would be a “historic, watershed year” for opponents of legal abortion, citing the congressional select committee investigating his allegations about Planned Parenthood and the upcoming Supreme Court hearing in Whole Women’s Health v. Texas, which he said “will be something that will continue to break down the fortress.”

Joe Scheidler, the founding father of the “direct action” anti-abortion movement,  which seeks to cut off legal abortion at its source by picketing clinics and harassing providers, was at the protest along with his son and successor at the Pro-Life Action League, Eric Scheidler. Eric Scheidler presented Daleiden with a tongue-in-cheek “Racketeers for Life” button, noting that Daleiden is being represented by the same attorneys who represented his father when he faced similar charges.

Father Frank Pavone, the head of Priests for Life, also acknowledged the link between Daleiden’s work and the rescue movement. He noted that Mark Crutcher, whose unsuccessful “sting” operation 15 years ago inspired Daleiden’s attempt to frame Planned Parenthood for mishandling fetal tissue, is now creating a national training facility to build what Crutcher hopes will be “a whole army of David Daleidens.”

“The troubles for Planned Parenthood have only just begun,” Pavone said, adding that he thought that Daleiden’s operation would lead to prosecutions and then praising Crutcher’s effort to build “a new army of people into the abortion industry undercover.”

“So our message to Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry today is very simple,” he said. “Be on your toes because we are in your midst, we are behind your doors, we are in your secret meetings, we are working for you and with you though you know it not, but in His good time the God who reveals all secrets will reveal that too.”

“We will see the end of this Holocaust,” he declared.

Joan Andrews Bell, known in the movement for having spent years in jail for various violations of trespassing laws during abortion clinic protests, spoke briefly, saying, “I want you to know that the rescue movement isn’t dead. Jesus rescued us on the cross, he rescued us. And every single one of you ... you are part of the rescue movement, you are rescuing babies.”

Monica Miller, another longtime leader of the rescue movement, compared the efforts of protesters to the civil rights movement, saying that anti-abortion activists must be willing to give up their livelihoods and even their lives for the cause.

“To stop abortion, to be involved with this injustice, to want to see it end, you can’t live a normal life anymore,” she said. “All that’s gone. All your plans of having, ‘Oh, let’s get married, we’ll have children, we’ll buy the house, this is going to happen next and this is my plan,’ all that’s gone. You’re not going to live a normal life anymore. Are we willing to really allow ourselves to be spent, to allow ourselves to be spent so that others may live? And that means are we willing to allow our property to be taken, our jobs to be lost, our reputations to be lost, are we willing to go to jail, are you willing to die, give up your life for this social justice, moral spiritual cause?”

She urged activists to use any peaceful means necessary to prevent the new Planned Parenthood building from opening, including blocking its doors or handcuffing themselves to construction equipment, using old-school rescue movement tactics.

“On the day that this death mill will open, will there be anybody here, will somebody lay their body in front of the door, will you handcuff yourself to construction equipment?” she asked. “Come on guys, think about it, let’s be creative, what are you willing to do to stop this place from being built? Non-violent action, laying down your life, allowing yourself to absorb the violence without retaliating against it, but laying down your life so that others may live.”

Another direct-action tactic on display was a large poster with pictures of the owners of the construction company building the Planned Parenthood building, urging activists to call them and accuse them of “killing children.”

At one point a man who said he had a child in the school near the construction site, which had to close for the day to avoid the protest, started yelling at the speakers. Pat Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition, who has been leading protests in front of the building site and emceed Thursday’s rally, responded that he should instead be blaming Planned Parenthood for opening its building in the location.

Shortly after the disruption, one speaker led the crowd in a short exorcism of the construction site to “take out the demons that hover above this place.”

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