Kansas

Right Wing Round-Up

  • Media Matters catches Rush Limbaugh declaring that Sotomayor's "wise latina" remarks are "much worse" than George Allen's "macaca" comment.
  • Is Kansas Secretary of State candidate Kris Kobach a birther?
  • Get to know Audra Shay, the new Chairman of the Young Republicans.
  • Pat Buchanan suggests that Todd Palin ought to drown Levi Johnston.
  • Jed Lewison points out the Gov. Mark Sanford might lose his top-secret security status due to the fact that relationships with foreigners must be revealed. Needless to say, he did not reveal his.
  • On a related note, Rachel Maddow continues her reporting on the secretive house on C Street.
  • Finally, Pam Spaulding notes that The Southern Christian Leadership Conference is seeking to remove the president of its Los Angeles chapter due to his support for marriage equality.

Terry's Anti-Sotomayor Tour Generating Far More Press Than Support

So, Randall Terry is out on his "Stop Sonia 'Angel of Death' Sotomayor Tour" and generating bits of press coverage here and there.

He got some in Nebraska when he held a press conference outside of Sen. Ben Nelson's office and some more when he did the same outside of Sen. Sam Brownback's office in Kansas.  He's also generating some press ahead of his scheduled appearance outside of Sen. Bob Casey's office later today:

Terry said Sotomayor should not be confirmed because of her pro-choice views.

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey should “keep his commitment to the babies,” he said Wednesday, adding Scranton Diocese Bishop Joseph Martino should withhold Holy Communion from Casey if he votes to confirm President Obama’s choice.

...

Reached on his mobile phone at a Wichita airport, Terry said he is looking forward to his visit to Pennsylvania.

“We have a two-fold mission there,” Terry said. “One, we want to urge Sen. Casey to uphold his commitment to the babies. If he wants to overturn Roe vs. Wade – as he has said in the past -- then he can’t vote to confirm Sotomayor.

“Second, we intend to call on Bishop Martino to withhold Holy Communion from Sen. Casey if he votes to confirm Sotomayor. Bishop Martino has been a leader in the anti-abortion cause.”

...

“Whether they have the votes to sustain a filibuster or not, they need to fight to stop her, for the sake of the babies who will die under her judicial reign,” Terry said.

Of course, press attention is primarily what Terry is seeking through this extended stunt, which makes sense considering that the events themselves are generating absolutely no support:

Terry’s 45-minute protest not far from Sen. Sam Brownback’s office drew one columnist, one TV cameraman, a family of three and a woman who arrived as he packed up for his next stop, Topeka. He’s on a 12-city tour, calling for a Senate filibuster against Sotomayor. Brownback’s staff didn’t even let him into their office.

Wow, four whole people?  That's quite a turn out.  If he keeps up that blistering pace, he's liable to have addressed at least 50 non-media attendees by the time his nationwide tour wraps up.

With Tiller Dead, Operation Rescue Turns Its Attention to Carhart

When Dr. George Tiller was gunned-down while attending church in May, Operation Rescue's Troy Newman was quick to issue a statement decrying the assassination and insisting that Tiller's murderer "has never been a member, contributor, or volunteer with Operation Rescue."

In the days that followed, Newman made it clear that OR, which had been targeting Tiller for years, was not going to give up its anti-choice activism, saying "Operation Rescue will not stand by and act as if this organization's Pro-Life message has been silenced by [this] egregious act" and proclaiming that the organization "will continue to advocate for the sanctity of human life, born and unborn."

Tiller was one of only three physicians in the country who performed the types of procedures that made him the focus of the anti-choice activist's protestations and harassment.  One of the others is LeRoy Carhart, the man at the center of the 2000 Supreme Court case Stenberg v. Carhart in which the court held that "Nebraska's statute criminalizing the performance of 'partial birth abortion[s]' violates the Federal Constitution."

So with Tiller now dead at the hands of an assassin, it looks as if Operation Rescue is now focusing its efforts entirely on Carhart:

A coalition of four pro-life groups have sent a letter to Nebraska Attorney General Jon Buning asking him to open a "comprehensive" investigation into late-term abortionist LeRoy Carhart and his Bellevue abortion clinic.

Signing the letter were Troy Newman of Operation Rescue headquartered in Wichita, Kansas, Rev. Pat Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition in Washington, DC, Larry Donlan of Rescue the Heartland in Omaha, Nebraska, and Ann Bowen of Nebraskans United for Life, also of Omaha.

The group expressed concerns about the legality of certain aspects of Carhart's abortion business as well as concerns about the condition of Carhart's run-down abortion clinic that was damaged by an accidental fire earlier this year.

Carhart has indicated that he wants to begin doing risky third trimester abortions at his Bellevue clinic.

"There is concern that this decision will create an unacceptable safety risk to women," the group stated in their letter dated July 6, 2009.

"The safety of the public is our paramount concern, thus we are requesting the most comprehensive investigation of Carhart and his Nebraska abortion business as soon as possible from the Attorney General's office, and that your investigation not be limited solely to the concerns listed in this letter. Women's lives and future health literally depend on it."

Troy Newman moved OR's "offices to Wichita, Kansas in 2002, where he began an intensive campaign to close George Tiller’s abortion mill."

Any bets on how long it is before we see OR announce that it is relocating its offices to Bellevue, Nebraska?

Terry Launches 12 City "Defeat Sotomayor" Tour

The Associated Press published an article today reporting that, with just a week to go before the start of Sonia Sotomayor's Supreme Court confirmation hearing, "Republicans are floundering" and conservatives are getting miffed that their efforts to undermine her nomination have not be gaining traction:

Conservative advocates [are] not happy.

“Too many Republicans and conservatives planned to lose instead of planning to win” the debate over Sotomayor, said Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch. His group has mounted strong opposition to the federal appeals court judge.

About half the Senate’s Republicans are willing to raise serious questions about Sotomayor and there’s “a sizable minority who — partly because she’s Hispanic — just want this to go away,” said Curt Levey of the Committee for Justice.

Conservative groups have sought to convince Senate Republicans that they can benefit politically by strongly opposing Sotomayor. But many of their leaders complain the message isn’t getting through.

Randall Terry, for one, isn't going to let this slow him down and so he is taking his "Defeat Sotomayor" effort on the road for a twelve city tour which is scheduled to culminate in Washington DC just as the hearings are getting under way (the photo below comes from this accompanying flyer [PDF and graphic content] proclaiming "To refuse to filibuster is to bow in abject obedience to the Angel of Death"):

"We must stop permitting this hypocrisy, cowardice, and treachery in our midst. Pro-life voters are calling on pro-life Senators to filibuster Sotomayor.

"A Senator cannot say, 'I want to overturn Roe,' and then vote to confirm a Supreme Court Judge that will uphold Roe. A vote to confirm Sotomayor is a vote to uphold Roe.

"Many senators use pro-life rhetoric to seduce us; they get our money, our volunteer labor, and our votes. But once an election is over, they discard us like an embarrassing mistress. They say that they want to overturn Roe, but they do little or nothing to protect the innocent. Whether they are 'pro-life' Republicans like John McCain (AZ) and Sam Brownback (KS), or pro-life Democrats like Ben Nelson (NE) or Robert Casey (PA), we have been lied to again and again.

"Whether they 'have the votes' to sustain a filibuster or not, they need to fight to stop her, for the sake of the babies who will die under her judicial reign.

Filibuster Sotomayor Tour

Mon. July 6 --

Omaha, NE
7:00 PM Filibuster Rally
The Regency Lodge
909 South 107th Avenue
Omaha, NE 68114

Tues. July 7 --

Omaha, NE
10:00 AM Press Conference, Calling on Senator Nelson to Filibuster Sotomayor
Office of Senator Ben Nelson
7602 Pacific St.
Suite 205
Omaha, NE 68114

Lincoln, NE
12:00 noon Press Conference, Calling on Senator Nelson to Filibuster Sotomayor
Office of Senator Ben Nelson
440 North 8th Street
Suite 120
Lincoln, NE 68508

St. Joseph, MO
3:30 PM Press Conference Calling on Senator Christopher Bond (R) & Senator Claire McCaskill (D) to Filibuster Sotomayor, and calling on MO Bishops to enter the fight against Sotomayor.
City Hall
1100 Frederick Ave.
St. Joseph, MO 64501

Kansas City, KS
7:00 PM Filibuster Rally
location TBD

Wed. July 8 --

Kansas City, KS
9:30 AM Press Conference, Calling on Senator Brownback to lead the Filibuster against Sotomayor.
Office of Senator Sam Brownback
11111 West 95th, Suite 245
Overland Park, KS 66214

Topeka, KS
11:30 AM Press Conference, Calling on Senator Brownback to lead the Filibuster against Sotomayor.
Office of Senator Sam Brownback
612 South Kansas Avenue
Topeka, KS 66603

Wichita, KS
2:45 PM Press Conference, Calling on Senator Brownback to lead the Filibuster against Sotomayor.
Office of George Tiller
5107 East Kellogg
Wichita, KS 67218

Thurs. July 9 --

Philadelphia, PA
12:00 PM Press Conference, Pleading with Cardinal Rigali to withhold communion from Senator Casey if Casey votes for Sotomayor.
Chancery of Cardinal Justin Rigali
222 North 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Allentown, PA
3:00 Press Conference, Pleading with Bishop John Barres to withhold communion from Senator Casey if Casey votes for Sotomayor.
Diocese of Allentown Administrative Office
4029 W. Tilghman St.
Allentown, PA 18105-1538

Wilkes-Barre, PA
7:00 PM Filibuster Rally
The Beer Deli Restaurant
175 Welles Street
Forty Fort, PA 18704
(570) 288-8141

Fri. July 10 --

Scranton, PA
10 AM Press Conference, thanking Bishop Martino for his brave stand, and pleading with him to withhold communion from Senator Casey if Casey votes for Sotomayor.
Office of Bishop Joseph F. Martino
300 Wyoming Avenue
Scranton, PA 18503

Harrisburg, PA
12:00 Noon Press Conference, Calling on Senator Casey to Filibuster Sotomayor - to put loyalty to God and the babies' lives ahead of party loyalty.
Office of Senator Robert Casey, Jr
22 S. Third Street, Suite 6A
Harrisburg, PA 17101

Baltimore, MD
2:30 PM Press Conference, Calling on Archbishop O'Brien to withhold communion from Senator Barbara Mikulski because of her support of child-killing.
Basilica of the Assumption
408 N Charles St
Baltimore, MD‎ 21201

Sun. July 12 --

2:30 P.M. Rally
Supreme Court
Washington DC

Mon. July 13 --

At Sotomayor hearings.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Judicial Watch has released a "Special Report on Judge Sotomayor's Connection to the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund."
  • Rick Warren will reportedly be attending Islamic Society of North America's annual convention in Washington, D.C. over the Fourth of July weekend.
  • Carrie Prejean is seeking a book deal.
  • Gary Bauer says that Sarah Palin's feud with David Letterman "proves conservatives can fight pop culture and win."
  • Operation Rescue and other Wichita-based anti-abortion groups say they have received death threats in response to last month's killing of George Tiller.
  • The Family Research Council defends Bill O'Reilly's attacks on Tiller, saying "Something has been lost in the canonization of George Tiller--and that 'something' is the truth ... If Bill O'Reilly was fanning anything, it was the facts. We applaud him for drawing attention to a grisly procedure that even the most hardened pro-choice Democrats in Congress oppose.
  • Finally, the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission explains that Tiller's murder was wrong because, even though "Tiller certainly was guilty of murder before God ... lawfully established civil authorities are the rightful ministers of God’s wrath. They have been granted a monopoly by God on the use of the sword, namely capital punishment and physical coercion. "

Bill Donohue Attempts to Distance the Hate Crimes Bill from...Hate Crimes

It is no surprise that Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, is displeased with the Hate Crimes bill that is making its way through Congress. It's also no surprise that he labeled Eric Holder a "master of demagoguery" after the Attorney General supported the bill and cited the recent murders of Dr. George Tiller and Stephen Johns, the fallen Holocaust Museum security guard, to show the hatred that still exists in our society.

What's troubling is Donohue's attempt to sever the connection between the actions of Scott Roeder and James von Brunn and the radical, hateful beliefs that they held. He claims that Roeder wasn't propelled by an extreme anti-abortionist viewpoint and that von Brunn didn't storm the Holocaust Museum due to anti-Semitic views. Rather their actions were solely prompted by possible mental illnesses:

Roeder was never involved in any pro-life organization, and von Brunn is an old man who was as much anti-Christian as he was anti-Semitic. In other words, it is nothing if not demagogic for Holder to exploit these two recent tragedies—committed by madmen, not political activists.

Obviously, the facts directly counter Donahue's claim. Roeder had been in contact with Operation Rescue prior to Dr. Tiller's death and was arrested in 1996 for having the ingredients to make a bomb in the trunk of his car. He was a regular member of anti-abortion rallies in Kansas and a member of the Freeman, a radical anti-government group.

Von Brunn is an anti-Semitic white supremacist whose views were known by federal authorities. The day of the Holocaust Museum shooting, police found a note in his car which undeniably portrays von Brunn's ideals and motive:

"You want my weapons; this is how you'll get them," von Brunn wrote in a note he had signed, according to the arrest affidavit.

"The Holocaust is a lie," the note read. "Obama was created by Jews. Obama does what his Jew owners tell him to do. Jews captured America's money. Jews control the mass media."

Roeder is an anti-abortion fanatic who killed Dr. Tiller for a political purpose. Von Brunn is an anti-Semitic white supremacist who chose the Holocaust Museum for a reason. Therefore, it is baseless for Donahue to label Holder a "demagogue" for simply explaining the need for hate crimes legislation by logically citing two very timely examples of political hate crimes.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • The group of right-wingers who gathered to protest David Letterman yesterday were outnumbered by members of the media, but still managed to get lots of attention for saying things like Letterman "rapes children with his mouth."
  • Senator John Ensign has admitted that he had an extramarital affair with a member of his campaign staff and stepped down from his position as chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee.
  • Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is asking organizers of the "Jindal for President Draft Council" to disband the organization.
  • The Family Research Council is predictably unhappy with President Obama's decision to extend benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees, calling it a violation of the Defense of Marriage Act.
  • A former Regent University law school assistant dean who was convicted of sex acts with underage girls has been ordered to serve 16 years in prison.
  • Changes really are afoot at Focus on the Family: Men no longer have to wear ties and women no longer have to wear skirts or dresses.
  • The Christian Defense Coalition and others are organizing a prayer vigil at George Tiller's now-closed clinic. The vigil is not for Tiller, but rather to pray "that no abortions would ever be performed in the city again."
  • Finally, John Lofton wants it made clear that even though Tiller's work was entirely legal, it was actually illegal:
  • [K]illing by abortion of innocent human beings, in their earliest stage of development, was mass murder. Murder can never be "legal" because God's Law prohibits it. Thus, none of Tiller's abortions were "legal."

    To those who say Tiller's mass murders were "legal" because abortion has been made "legal" by various "laws" and/or court rulings, this assertion is also false. Man-made "laws" that contradict God's Law are not law.

Note to Jackson: Obtaining Public Records is Not "Hacking"

For the last week, Lou Chibbaro Jr. of the Washington Blade has been trying to figure out if Bishop Harry Jackson, who has been leading the fight against marriage equality in Washington, DC, actually lives in the District.

Using public records, Chibbaro discovered that Jackson registered to vote in DC on April 22 and then followed that up by reporting that the address Jackson used in registering is actually a one-bedroom condo owned by another man and that, as far as residents of the building as well as neighbors of Jackson's Maryland home know, he's not actually residing at the DC address. 

Not surprisingly, instead of clarifying questions regarding his residency, Jackson has decided to play the victim by going on Bill O'Reilly to declare that his opponents have "hacked" into his records and are endangering his family, as the Washington City Paper reports:

“Well, Bill,” he started, “they hacked into my records, found out when I registered to vote in the District of Columbia. They printed in two newspapers my home address and the addresses of houses I own in the Maryland region, outside D.C. And there have been e-mails that have gone forth saying they want to destroy my church. Kind of amazing, isn’t it?”

“It isn’t,” O’Reilly replied. “I’m not amazed by it.” He then brought up his own recent troubles, where he’s come under fire for his years of vitriol toward Kansas abortion doctor George Tiller, leading some to suggest culpability in his brutal murder. Hypocrisy, he said: “You don’t hear a word about people like you, and they’re printing your name in the paper!”

Jackson continued: “You know, Bill, people are looking for privacy, and they say their rights need to be protected. And on the other side, unlike the civil rights movement…[which] operated with a Christian spirit, this minority is going to rise up and impose their will on the majority. And they don’t care that I’ve got young adult daughters and a wife. They don’t care what happens to my family. They just want it their way, and they’ll intimidate you or me into submission if they can.”

“How are you handling all this, as a man of God?” O’Reilly asked. “Are you forgiving them? Are you angry with them?”

Replied Jackson: “Well, I am praying for them and forgiving them. Bill, this is very much a spiritual battle in my view, and I look at Martin Luther King Jr. as the ultimate model in terms of his public resistance to oppression, and I think that this is going to deepen our faith roots if you will. But very sincerely, I cannot answer back, obviously, with the same kind craziness that they’re operating with. But I’m glad that you’ve had me on tonight so that we can expose the fact that folks are saying one thing then doing something totally hypocritical on the other side.”

Cue Bill O’Reilly, tough guy: “I know you can’t do anything, but I can. And if anybody bothers you or your family, and if you believe that anybody’s putting you in danger or doing anything against you church, I want you to call me immediately. And we will deal with those people, because we are going to defend people like you.”

Then O’Reilly gave Jackson “the last word”: “Thing that I’m so concerned about is that this kind of thing has a chilling effect on people standing up for their rights. Once people see what’s happened to me, they say, ‘Shoot, I’m not going to get involved. I’m not going to say my piece.’”

“That’s why they do it to me! That’s why they do it to you!” O’Reilly interjected. “And it’s not the American way. It’s un-American.”

As for the claims that his records had been "hacked," the City Paper points out that such records are public:

Obtaining the address and date of registration for a District voter by no means requires any “hacking.” Any person is free to visit the offices of the Board of Elections and Ethics (441 4th St. NW, 2nd floor, south wing), walk into the waiting area, log in to a public computer terminal, and look up that information for any voter in town. In fact, call 202-727-2525, ask real nice, and they might even look it up for you. And land records? Those are public, too.

If Jackson is so outraged about people trying to figure out if he actually lives in DC, why doesn't he just explain how and why he came to register to vote in the District at an address of a one-bedroom condo owned by another man that is unable to be rented out? 

It's a relatively simple question, so why doesn't he just answer it?

The Religious Right: Always The Victim

It was just over a week ago that Dr. George Tiller was murdered and today his family announced that the clinic he operated in Kansas would be shutting down permanently:

The Wichita clinic of slain abortion provider George Tiller will be "permanently closed," his family said Tuesday.

Operations at Women's Health Care Services Inc. had been suspended since Tiller's death May 31. In a statement released by his attorneys, Tiller's family said it will close, effective immediately.

...

Randall Terry, who founded the original Operation Rescue group, responded to news that Tiller's clinic would remain closed with, "Good riddance." He said history would remember Tiller's clinic as it remembers Auschwitz and other Nazi concentration camps.

"What set him apart is that he killed late-term babies," Terry said. "If his replacement was going to continue to kill late-term children, the protests would continue, the investigations would continue, the indictments would continue."

In the days that followed, right-wing anti-choice activists were lamenting that Tiller's murder would undermine their cause, warning that "pro-abortion activists and politicians to use this tragedy to manipulate public opinion or our laws," and saying that Tiller was murdered because anti-choice activists feel "helpless" and under attack.

But what has been most remarkable about this is the way that the Right has tried to use Tiller's murder to claim that they are being victimized

Operation Rescue will not stand by and act as if this organization's Pro-Life message has been silenced by Mr. Roeder's egregious act and insidious statements. Operation Rescue will continue to advocate for the sanctity of human life, born and unborn.

While Operation Rescue recognizes the Obama Administration's endeavor of protection of abortion providers we caution that this protection should not be used as a ruse to conduct a witch-hunt against the Pro-Life movement. Neither persecution nor adulteration of the rule of law can be tolerated pursuant to this sad event.

Concerned Women for America's Wendy Wright made a similar complaint

Late Friday afternoon, the DOJ made it clear that it believes other individuals or groups may have been involved in Tiller's shooting on Sunday, May 31. The agency's press release stated it will "work tirelessly to determine the full involvement of any and all actors in this horrible crime, and to ensure that anyone who played a role in the offense is prosecuted to the full extent of federal law." (See earlier story)

Is it a legitimate investigation -- or a political payoff from the Obama administration to the pro-abortion movement? Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America, believes politics could be a motive. But she suspects there may be more behind the announced investigation than meets the eye.

"This may be more of a nefarious effort than it appears on its face," she exclaims, "that in fact, the Department of Justice may be trying to smear pro-lifers, as if we all belong in the same camp, as if we all advocate violence, when it's [actually] just the opposite."

You really have to marvel at the Right's ability to take the cold-blooded murder of the man they routinely demonized as the incarnation of the absolute wickedness of abortion and turn it into a pity party for themselves.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • Crooks and Liars reports that former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline sent out a fund-raiser that invokes physician George Tiller and Planned Parenthood in seeking contributions for a campaign against abortion rights.
  • Brian Beutler points out that the National Review's cover caricature of Sonia Sotomayor make her appear "inexplicably Asian."
  • Alex Koppelman says gay marriage foes running out of arguments.
  • Good As You, which has been doggedly following Cornerstone Policy Research's claims that it sampled every household in New Hampshire for its poll showing that 64% of residents oppose gay marriage, points out that its sample size was about 400,000 households less than it claimed.
  • Steve Benen calls Sen. James Inhofe a "walking, talking disgrace."
  • Finally, the Minnesota Independent catches Norm Coleman saying the key for Republican success is to be able to compete “in the ethernet."

What's Norm Coleman Up To?

I have to say that, in the six years that Norm Coleman was in the Senate, I don't ever recall him showing up at right-wing events and hob-nobbing with grassroots activists.

But times have changed, apparently:

Norm Coleman will be joined by Phyllis Schlafly, Rush Limbaugh's brother, and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's son - a Roman Catholic priest - at a gathering this week in St. Louis for a conference on conservative principles.

Coleman will be the keynote speaker for the Conservative Heartland Leadership Conference, which began Wednesday and concludes Thursday at the Millennium Hotel in St. Louis.

...

Coleman is scheduled to speak Thursday at a luncheon with an introduction by political commentator and author David Limbaugh, brother of talk radio host Rush Limbaugh.

Underwriting the event is the conservative American Issues Project, a nonprofit group that has aired political ads, including one linking candidate Barack Obama to 1960s radical William Ayers.

...

The Rev. Paul Scalia, a Catholic priest of the Arlington, Va., diocese and the Supreme Court justice's son, will host a prayer breakfast featuring Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America; Joe Ortweth of Missouri Family Council; and Don Hinkle of the Missouri Baptist Convention.

Former U.S. Sen. Jim Talent will speak on national security.

Kris Kobach, a candidate for Kansas secretary of state who has helped draft laws sanctioning illegal immigration, will discuss judicial selection in Kansas. Kobach is an attorney and University of Missouri law professor.

For the record, Grover Norquist is also attending.

O'Reilly Was Not Alone In Targeting Tiller

Bill O'Reilly is deservedly getting lots of attention for his years-long vicious crusade against George Tiller:

But it should be pointed out that O'Reilly had a lot of company in this effort to demonize Tiller, as Religious Right groups had been targeting Tiller for years and regularly holding him up as the epitome of the "evil" that is reproductive choice.

For instance, just last month, more than two dozen right-wing groups and activists sent a letter to Senators opposing the nomination of Kathleen Sebelius to be Secretary of Health and Human Services, citing among their primary concerns her "ties" to Tiller:

Governor Sebelius has long close and personal ties to notorious abortionist George Tiller, known for performing late-term abortions in Kansas, include donations from Mr. Tiller of hundreds of thousands of dollars to PACs and organizations controlled by the Kansas Governor. She has also repeatedly interfered in cases brought against Mr. Tiller, including recruiting a candidate to replace the state attorney general who was originally prosecuting the abortion doctor.

Signatories of the letter included the likes of Tom McClusky of Family Research Council Action, Don Wildmon of the American Family Association, Jim Backlin of the Christian Coalition, Phil Burress of Citizens for Community Values, Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America, Brian Burch of Fidelis, Tom Minnery of Focus on the Family, and Andrea Lafferty of the Traditional Values Coalition.

The fact of the matter is that, for years, right-wing groups sought to make Tiller the face of the abortion fight and a quick search of several of the leading organization's websites demonstrates just how often they citied Tiller in their own anti-abortion efforts.

For instance, Tiller's name was mentioned dozens if not hundreds of times on the websites of organization's like Focus on the Family, Faith 2 Action, Vision America, American Family Association, Christian Coalition, American Center for Law and Justice, the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission, the Traditional Values Coalition, and the Alliance Defense Fund where he was often referred to with terms like "accused serial abortionist," the most notorious abortionist in America," "George (the Killer) Tiller," and "Tiller the Killer."

There are at least 78 mentions of the name "George Tiller" on the Family Research Council website, often in connection with statements like this from March of this year:

The trial of notorious Kansas abortionist, George Tiller, is now underway. During his career as an abortionist, Tiller has performed over 80,000 abortions, among them thousands of viable, third-trimester babies. Women travel to Kansas from all over the world to obtain late abortions they cannot get elsewhere. Tiller's body count is greater by far than all the American troops killed in Vietnam ... This man should be in jail. Whatever the outcome of the trial now underway, the fact is that jail is the only appropriate place for 'doctors' who kill children" ... May George Tiller finally be brought to some semblance of justice!

But perhaps no organization outside of the single-issue groups like Operation Rescue made Tiller a bigger target than did Concerned Women for America, which has more than 200 mentions of him on its website, including this column by Janice Crouse from just a few weeks ago:

The bloodshed of the thousands of late-term abortions that Dr. George R. Tiller of Wichita, Kansas, performs each year vastly eclipses the death toll from the struggle over the slavery contest in Kansas in the years immediately prior to the Civil War. The slaughter in Tiller's abortion clinic - by his own account he has performed over 60,000 abortions, with a "special interest" and focus on "late-term" abortions - should justly revive the label of "Bleeding Kansas."

It is hard to know what is in the mind of someone like George Tiller, the abortionist who for years has routinely killed the babies of women in the last stages of their pregnancies - seven, even eight months along ... Tiller takes upon himself the role of God and condemns to death any innocent child whose mother chooses to label it as "unwanted." Then he executes them.

As I've been reading the coverage of Tiller's murder over the last two days, I've been asking myself "why do I even know his name?"  

I don't know the name of even one other women's health provider in this country, yet I was well-aware of George Tiller ... and that is because, for years, the Right had demonized Tiller and his perfectly legal practice, turning him into the poster boy for the abortion debate writ large, and routinely holding him up as the incarnation of the absolute wickedness of abortion. 

Right Wing Reactions to Tiller's Murder: From Subdued, to Crass, to Outrageous

The responses to the assassination of physician George Tiller by right-wing groups have run the gamut. 

The most common response has been to decry the murder and say that violence is never the answer, which has been the point made by the likes of the Family Research Council, American Life League, 40 days of Life, Vision America, and National Institute of Family and Life Advocates.

Focus on the Family likewise issued a statement decrying the killing, but did so in a way that seemed to suggest that the problem wasn’t Tiller’s death, but the fact that he hadn’t been convicted of murder first:

"Tiller recently faced serious charges related to the killing of babies in violation of the law, by the most grotesque procedures administered without anesthetics or compassion. We profoundly regretted the outcome of his legal case, believing the doctor had the blood of countless babies on his hands. Nevertheless, he was acquitted by the court and declared "not guilty" in the eyes of the law. That is our system, and we honor it.

And then there self-serving statements, such as this odd one from Alveda King, lamenting that Tiller was killed in church, saying "just as the womb should be a safe haven, so should church" and one from Operation Rescue stating that the suspect in Tiller's murder "has never been a member, contributor, or volunteer with Operation Rescue."

For its part. the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission vowed not to be intimidated in the wake of Tiller's murder:

"The Christian Anti-Defamation Commission will not allow pro-abortionists or their accomplices in the media to exploit the cowardly act of one misguided individual in order to defame millions of peaceful pro-lifers," said Dr. Gary Cass of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission. "Day and night millions of peaceful pro-lifers sacrificially serve women and their unborn babies. We will not tolerate any attempt to exploit this terrible event in order to further restrict pro-life activities or silence pro-life speech or reverse the gains pro-lifers have achieved in the law."

The nation's most notorious late term abortionist, George Tiller, of Wichita Kansas, was shot and killed while in Church on Sunday. Tiller admitted to having aborted tens of thousands of babies.

"Tiller's death at the hands of a lawless vigilante must be unequivocally condemned," said Cass. "But we cannot allow pro-abortion activists and politicians to use this tragedy to manipulate public opinion or our laws."

Still others are worried about how this will inpact their political agenda, especially as it pertains to opposing Sonia Sotomayor:

They also worried that there would now be an effort to stifle anti-abortion viewpoints during questioning of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor. Her exact views on abortion aren't known, but conservatives fear she supports abortion rights.

Said the Rev. Patrick Mahoney, an anti-abortion activist: "No one should use this tragedy for political gain."

...

Mahoney said he had been conferring with other anti-abortion leaders about how to deal with any backlash to the Tiller killing that might undercut their cause at a time when they are trying to challenge Obama's support for abortion rights.

"I'd hope they wouldn't try to broad-brush the entire pro-life movement as some sort of extremist movement because of what happened in Wichita," Mahoney said. "That's really important — don't use this personal loss for a political gain."

And then finally, there are those like Randall Terry who essentially believe that Tiller deserved to be murdered, which is pretty much the point made by Pat McEwen of Operation Save America:

"He died the way he lived. His was a bloody death." Rev Rusty Thomas, Operation Save America(OSA). "Someone 'chose' to end George Tiller's life this morning, in his church."

"What was an abortionist doing 'in' church, any church...being allowed, welcomed, even venerated? This man killed babies for a living. He charged large sums of money to do it. Then he went to 'church,' made large contributions, and the 'church' (Reformation Lutheran Church) accepted it??" Pastor Mark Holick, Spirit One Christian Center, & OSA.

This is an apostate church, fully complicit in Mr. Tiller's murderous rampage against preborn children. It has provided cover and respectability for him. We have confronted both pastor and church with this trashing of the Gospel of Christ. I can still recall one board member saying, "We have members who believe both ways (pro-life or pro-choice)." Please!

"A man who stiffens his neck after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed -- without remedy." Proverbs 29:1. "George Tiller has been confronted innumerable times with the claims of Christ." Rev Flip Benham, Director of Operation Save America. "We were in Wichita in 1991, pleading for him to receive Christ and stop murdering children. In April 2001, I wrote him a personal letter with the book, Won By Love hoping to speak with him. Every day outside his abortion mill, gentle Christians pleaded with mothers to choose life and with George to choose Christ. We have been to his home, his church, and his work. He is now bowing before Jesus and confessing that He (Jesus) is right and that he (George Tiller) was wrong!"

No doubt the media will paint every Christian, who loves life and lives out that belief in the streets of his city, as a wild-eyed, lunatic, fanatic bent on shooting abortionists. They will attempt to silence the voice of many by using the violence of one. This ploy is the devil's "straw man."

Beware! The one who murdered George Tiller became exactly what George Tiller was -- a murderer.

 

George Tiller Assassinated, Randall Terry Blames The Victim

As head of the Women's Health Care Services clinic in Wichita, Kansas, George Tiller has long been the most prominent target of anti-abortion activists in this country due to the fact that he was one of the few physicians in the country willing to perform "late-term" abortions. 

His clinic was regularly targeted by anti-abortion activists and, recently, his "ties" to Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius became a right-wing talking point in opposing her nomination to become Secretary of Health and Human Services.

This morning, Tiller was assassinated while attending church:

Late-term abortion doctor George Tiller, a prominent advocate for abortion rights wounded by a protester more than a decade ago, was shot and killed Sunday at a church in Wichita where he was serving as an usher and his wife was in the choir, his attorney said.

Tiller was shot during morning services at Reformation Lutheran Church, attorney Dan Monnat said. Police said a manhunt was under way for the shooter, who fled in a car registered to a Kansas City suburb nearly 200 miles away.

As one would expect, those who had long targeted and demonized Tiller were quick to issue statements - with Randall Terry essentially blaming Tiller for his own murder:

Randall Terry, founder of Operation Rescue states, "George Tiller was a mass-murderer. We grieve for him that he did not have time to properly prepare his soul to face God. I am more concerned that the Obama Administration will use Tiller's killing to intimidate pro-lifers into surrendering our most effective rhetoric and actions. Abortion is still murder. And we still must call abortion by its proper name; murder.

"Those men and women who slaughter the unborn are murderers according to the Law of God. We must continue to expose them in our communities and peacefully protest them at their offices and homes, and yes, even their churches."

Frank Pavone of Priests for Life also offered his own statement in which he sought to deflect blame from anti-abortion militants by saying that, for all we know, he might have been murdered by a "political enemy" or someone traumatized by abortion

"I am saddened to hear of the killing of George Tiller this morning. At this point, we do not know the motives of this act, or who is behind it, whether an angry post-abortive man or woman, or a misguided activist, or an enemy within the abortion industry, or a political enemy frustrated with the way Tiller has escaped prosecution. We should not jump to conclusions or rush to judgment.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Jerry Falwell Jr. and Liberty University are now demanding that the College Democrats apologize to them.
  • Richard Cizik, who lost his job with the National Association of Evangelicals, continues his environmental efforts.
  • Two national Rabbinic groups have issued a religious ban on "voting for any politician or office holder who supports any aspect of the homosexual political agenda."
  • Rob Schenck announces that, beginning next week, his organization will begin daily prayer vigils for every leading politician in this country, singling them out by name for prayer, and will do so for the entire year.
  • Quin Hillyer completely loses it over Sonia Sotomayor, while the NRA says that it is staying out of it ... for now. Meanwhile, the LA Times reports that the Right is hoping to do to Sotomayor what it did to Dawn Johnsen, and Kansas Senator Pat Roberts announces that he will vote against her nomination.

Porter Apologizes for America In Order to Save It

Remember a few weeks ago when the Right was outraged that President Obama had gone abroad and supposedly apologized for America?

How dare he, said Rush Limbaugh:

So Barack Obama goes on his world tour, apologizes for America. Everybody says, "Wow, it's great to have such a humble guy leading the country." Humble? It takes profound arrogance to go around the world, apologize for your country, to say that your country is lacking, but only now is your country worth anything, because you happen to be president. That's not humility. That's profound conceit and arrogance, which is part and parcel of Barack Obama.

For the Right, the idea that the United States would ever apologize for anything was ludicrous and downright offensive ...which makes this open letter Janet Porter has penned to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu all the more confusing:

You are not alone. Christians in America stand with you and your right to exist.

Know, also, that there are 60 million Americans who did not abandon our core values or our allies for the empty rhetoric of "hope" and "change." We are the ones who did not support the Hamas-endorsed, Muslim-bowing White House occupant, who, until he was "corrected" on national television, said how proud he was of his "Muslim faith" ... We apologize for the undue pressure that has been put upon you to jeopardize your vital interests to carve up yet more land for promises of peace from people who want to obliterate you. We also acknowledge that this pressure did not begin with the current administration.

As it turns out, Porter's apology for the United States is really more about protecting this nation from God's wrath because, as she explains, whenever there is "U.S. pressure to divide Israel," we get hit by a natural disaster:

  • Hurricane Andrew (Aug. 23, 1992), when the Madrid Peace Conference moved to Washington, D.C., to pressure Israel to divide their land.

  • The 6.9 Northridge Earthquake in Southern California (Jan. 16, 1994), when Clinton met with Syria's president to discuss Israel giving up the Golan Heights where half of their fresh drinking water is found.

  • Hurricane George (Sept. 28, 1998) when Secretary of State Albright pressured Israel to give up parts of Judah and Samaria.

  • Texas Flood (Oct. 15-22, 1998) following a meeting with you, Mr. Prime Minister, and President Clinton with Yasser Arafat over Israel giving up 13 percent of the West Bank. On Oct. 21 of that year, a quarter of Texas was declared by Clinton a major disaster area.

  • A "super tornado" across Oklahoma and Kansas (May 3, 1999) with 316 mph winds – the highest winds ever recorded – the day Yasser Arafat was scheduled to declare a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as the capital.

  • Hurricanes Gustav, Hanna and Ike (Aug. 25-Sept. 13, 2008) following Secretary Condoleezza Rice's pressure to sign a treaty for a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.

A 4.7 earthquake hit L.A. Sunday night when you, Mr. Prime Minister, arrived in the U.S. to meet with President Obama who is pushing to divide your land even further. Many are looking to the weather reports for what may follow.

Consequences. Elections have consequences. Abandoning our (and God's) best friend Israel has consequences. Dividing land has consequences. Consequences we don't want.

So if the US gets hit by a natural disaster some time soon, it will be all President Obama's fault.  But if we don't, it'll be because Porter managed to save us by apologizing.

Harry Jackson: Carpetbagger?

We’ve been very confused lately about Bishop Harry Jackson’s sudden interest in the inner workings of the District of Columbia’s city council and how he came to be a leader in the fight against its efforts to recognize same-sex marriages performed legally in other states, especially since we had always operated under the impression that he was actually a resident of Maryland.

After all, Maryland is where his church and his High Impact Leadership Coalition are both located and where a lot of his political activism has taken place:

On March 9, Jackson addressed the 30th Annual Maryland March for Life, which was protesting against pro-choice legislation and the nomination of Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius as Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Jackson’s biggest political project was on behalf of Michael Steele’s run for the U.S. Senate from Maryland, where Jackson lives.   Jackson organized gatherings around the state where Steele could meet African American pastors.  According to a news report, “the High Impact Leadership Coalition had joined with the Maryland Catholic Conference, Maryland Right to Life and the Association of Maryland Families to spend about $70,000 for [pro-Steele] ads -- mostly on the radio in Baltimore and Prince George’s County until the Nov. 7 general election.”

Before the election, Jackson asserted boldly that “The Maryland race for the U.S. Senate will once and for all answer the question: Can a black man really be a successful Republican?”  He gushed that “Steele’s credentials, credibility, and charisma speak of greatness” and predicted that the Senate could be a stepping stone to the vice presidency.

So imagine our surprise when, a few weeks ago during the rally he hosted on Freedom Plaza in DC at which he declared that they would “launch the Armageddon of the marriage battle in this country” he suddenly started identifying himself as a resident of the District of Columbia: 

Jackson says that although his church is located in Maryland, he lives in the District and expects a large portion of those at the rally to be D.C. residents. 

Perhaps he had moved, we thought, attempting to give him the benefit of the doubt.  But now it seems as if we were being too generous, judging by this op-ed he wrote that showed up in the Washington Post over the weekend in which he declared that “today the District of Columbia is less democratic, less free and less just because it sanctions same-sex marriage reciprocity.”  

The interesting thing about his op-ed is that it identifies Jackson as being from Beltsville, Maryland:

Needless to say, one cannot both live in Maryland and the District of Columbia since they are, you know, two different places:

So where does Jackson live exactly?  Did he recently move to DC, or does he live in Maryland and is trying to create the impression that he lives in DC to make his local anti-marriage activism seem more genuine?  If it is the latter, it wouldn’t be the first time he’s sought to create a misleading impression about his work, as we pointed out last year regarding his repeated references to himself as a “registered Democrat.”

Brownback's No-Win Situation

We've written several posts over the last few month about how Sen. Sam Brownback's standing among the Religious Right has fallen due to his support of Katheleen Sebelius' nomination to be Secretary of Health and Human Services, leading many right-wing activists to distance themselves from him.

Today, Dave Weigel has a good piece in The Washington Independent noting how, despite seemingly no help from anyone in the Senate, the Religious Right has managed to make the vote on Sebelius' nomination into a "controversy" all on its own:

The battle against Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D-Kans.), President Obama’s nominee to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, has gone better than many pro-life activists had hoped. Yes, it’s true that Sebelius is expected to be confirmed after an eight-hour debate and cloture vote are held in the Senate today. It’s also true that activists have not managed to dislodge the support of Sebelius’s home state senators, Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts, both Republicans — an embarrassing setback that has prevented the Sebelius nomination from becoming quite the abortion rights showdown that they had hoped for. But they can count some small victories.

“Going into this, there didn’t seem to be any opposition,” said Wendy Wright, the president of Conservative Women for America. “I was at her hearing, and that morning, I was reading news reports about how she was going to ’sail through’ the Senate. Now I’m reading reports about the ‘controversy’ around Kathleen Sebelius. You can attribute that to what the grassroots have done here.”

The vote on her nomination is scheduled for today and she is expected to be confirmed and conservative and Religious Right leaders are basically saying it is all Brownback's fault:

Before that vote, the anti-Sebelius coalition will hold a press conference on the Hill making the case against her. Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) will make public a letter of opposition to the nomination that, as of press time, eight other conservatives had signed. Still, opponents of the governor have been frustrated by the early and consistent support for Sebelius from Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kans.), a social conservative who is retiring in 2010 to run for governor of Kansas.

“This nomination should be more unpopular than it is,” grumbled one GOP Senate aide. “Brownback’s hesitation and his months of holding off on substantive criticism of Sebelius has basically frozen the ability of pro-life senators to fight as hard as they would like to. It’s tough. It’s very difficult for the pro-life leader in the Senate to mobilize his allies when he’s moving in the other direction.”

Although recently Brownback has been hinting that he might be rethinking his support for Sebelius' nomination, his explanation for supporting the nomination has been that installing her at HHS will get her out of the state and away from a possible run for Brownback's open Senate seat in 2010 and that whomever heads HHS will be pro-choice, so it may as well be someone from Kansas.

Needless to say, right-wing activists aren't buying his excuses, with one local activist saying its like justifying support of Hitler: 

“We’ll be extremely disappointed if Sen. Brownback doesn’t change his mind,” said Tom McClusky, vice president of government affairs for FRC. “That will play a role in any of our future work with him.”

...

It’s all a bit much for Kansas activists to stomach. “Those guys in Washington don’t think like we do in Kansas,” said David Gittrich, the long-serving state development director of Kansans for Life. “It might be smart politically to get the governor out of Kansas, but it’s really hard for me to wish her on the nation. I’d rather have Hillary Clinton running health care than Kathleen Sebelius.”

According to Gittrich, when Brownback turns his sights on the governor’s race he’ll gave to “reestablish his credentials as a pro-lifer” and explain his vote. “All the pro-life votes in the world don’t make up for supporting Kathleen Sebelius,” said Gittrich. “This is like saying, ‘I’m against the Holocaust and Nazi Germany but I’d like Hitler to be in charge of the health care center.’”

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Is Sen. Sam Brownback rethinking his support for HHS nominee Kathleen Sebelius?
  • Carrie Prejean continues to be hailed as right-wing hero/martyr thanks to her stated opposition to marriage equality during the Miss USA pageant.
  • Alan Keyes boldly takes on Oprah.
  • Lou Engel will be the honored guest at the upcoming Women’s Clinic of Kansas City (MO) fundraiser next week.
  • The churches that participated in the Alliance Defense Fund's "Pulpit Initiative" are still waiting to hear what the IRS response will be, with the ADF saying if the IRS does not take action, pastors will learn the regulation can be safely ignored.
  • Finally, is there a more ridiculous member of Congress than Michelle Bachmann?  Seriously.

The Practical Sen. Brownback

Republican Kansas Senator Sam Brownback has received a lot of flack for his support of fellow Kansan Kathleen Sebelius's nomination to be the next Secretary of Health and Human Services - it even caused the Family Research Council to pull out of "Values Action Team" that Brownback leads.

To date, Brownback hasn't offered much in the way of explanation for his stance, much to the dismay of anti-choice activists who once viewed him as a solid ally. Other than saying that getting Sebelius confirmed to HHS will get her out of the Kansas and thus away from a possible run for Brownback's open Senate seat in 2010, Brownback has been rather quiet about the whole thing ... though today he admitted to the Topeka Capital-Journal that his stance has hurt his reputation among anti-choice activists:

Sen. Sam Brownback is aware anti-abortion forces in Kansas remain baffled by his unwillingness to be the catalyst for a campaign against Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’ nomination to lead the federal agency guiding abortion policy.

Brownback, a prominent national voice against abortion, said pragmatism guided his decision not to sound an alarm upon nomination of the abortion-rights Democrat as secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“People have been pretty upset,” the GOP senator said. “I’ve been saying to them there’s a practicality to this.”

He said any HHS nominee put forward by President Barack Obama would be someone who believes abortion should remain a legal option for women.

“If you’re going to have a pro-choice person in that position, it’s better to have a Kansan,” Brownback said.

That is essentially Brownback's entire explanation: since whomever becomes HHS head is going to be pro-choice, it may as well be someone from Kansas.  Why that matters or how it is supposed to justify his stance on her nomination, he doesn't say.

I have to say that this has to rank among the single lamest explanations I have ever seen - it is almost as if he knows that he can't square his support of Sebelius with his well-establish anti-choice views and has just decided that he's not even going to try.

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