On Monday, the work of an anti-choice group called the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) backfired badly when its attempt to launch criminal proceedings against Planned Parenthood ended up with its leader, David Daleiden, along with a fellow activist getting indicted by a Texas grand jury, which in turn cleared Planned Parenthood of alleged wrongdoings.
A small number of Planned Parenthood clinics — "just 1% [of clinics] are involved with fetal tissue research," according to Planned Parenthood — donate fetal tissue for research that many scientists have credited with important breakthroughs in vaccines and other medical treatments.
CMP activists, posing as representatives of a biomedical company, claimed that they recorded Planned Parenthood officials admitting to making a profit off those donations, a criminal act. However, there is no evidence any official from the organization made such a statement, although they did mention fees covering the costs of storage and transportation.
CMP's videos, as it turned out, were manipulated to make it seem that the officials wanted to make money. FactCheck.org explained that "the full, unedited video they cite as evidence shows a Planned Parenthood executive repeatedly saying its clinics want to cover their costs, not make money, when donating fetal tissue from abortions for scientific research." Planned Parenthood has since stated that it will no longer accept such reimbursements at all.
Despite the flimsy evidence presented in CMP’s videos, Republican politicians in Congress and throughout the country seized on Daleiden’s claims and launched investigations into Planned Parenthood fetal tissue donation practices. Not a single investigation that has been completed so far has founded any evidence of wrongdoings. Texas was one of several states where politicians called for investigations into Planned Parenthood's fetal tissue donation program.
Which brings us back to the indictments.
The New York Times notes that the case in Harris County, which includes the city of Houston, "started in August, when Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, a Republican and an outspoken opponent of abortion and Planned Parenthood, asked [Republican district attorney Devon] Anderson to open a criminal investigation into the organization."
In the end, the grand jury cleared Planned Parenthood but indicted CMP founder David Daleiden and his colleague Sandra Merritt on felony charges of tampering with government records. Daleiden also faces a misdemeanor charge of attempting to purchase human organs.
While the indictments further discredit CMP's work, abortion-rights opponents are relishing the opportunity to portray Daleiden as a martyr and hero of the cause. As Miranda pointed out yesterday, "arrest and jail time for violation of what they see as unjust laws is a badge of honor" for many in the anti-choice movement. And as expected, Daleiden’s supporters on the Right are using the indictments as an opening to spread even more misinformation.
1) Daleiden Is A Journalist
Following news of the indictments, Daleiden called himself an "investigative journalist," tweeting that Planned Parenthood's local affiliate is "trying to jail investigative journalism." (Never mind that it was actually an anti-Planned Parenthood politician who launched the probe that ensnared him).
Thank you everyone for all the support! Something smells rotten in TX: it's @PPGulfCoast trying to jail investigative journalism.— David Daleiden (@daviddaleiden) January 27, 2016
Sorry, but Daleiden isn't exactly aiming for a Pulitzer.
For starters, CMP did not originally describe itself as a journalistic outlet. It was only around the time the group started releasing its videos that it updated its website's “About Us” page to say that it was comprised of "citizen journalists."
Daleiden himself served as a staffer for the anti-abortion group Live Action, which has its own history of launching sham investigations of Planned Parenthood, and said he wanted CMP to emulate a similar 1999 anti-Planned Parenthood sting by the anti-choice organization Life Dynamics. That scheme fell apart because Life Dynamics paid a witness for their testimony.
Troy Newman, a CMP board member, is a longtime anti-abortion activist with the group Operation Rescue. He told fellow activists that when Daleiden approached him about the project, the goal wasn't to follow the facts where they lead, as journalists do, but to put Planned Parenthood officials behind bars and "destroy" the group. In fact, Newman said that CMP's venture would be a failure if it only succeeded in drawing the attention of members of the press and did not lead to prosecutions of Planned Parenthood officials.
Newman told a church audience in September: "We said, ‘Look, if we just get on Fox News’ — and we were on Fox News, we were on there a couple weeks ago — ‘if we just got a bunch of YouTube video hits or something, if, you know, people are talking about — we would consider it a failure.’ The first and foremost thing is we wanted prosecutions. We want prosecutions, want to defund them, and, finally, we want to completely destroy the entity called Planned Parenthood. And we’re well on our way."
Cheryl Sullenger, Newman's deputy at Operation Rescue who co-authored a book with him that called for abortion doctors to face the death penalty and was once convicted for involvement in a plot to bomb an abortion clinic, similarly revealed how Daleiden approached Newman about how best to go about "obtaining criminal prosecutions" against Planned Parenthood officials and ultimately "put an end to the abortion industry in America.":
About three years ago, David Daleiden came here to Wichita and actually visited us in our office, and he had discussions with Troy about his visions for this undercover project. … David was really motivated to conduct a long-term investigative study of Planned Parenthood and their practices regarding the buying and selling of aborted baby remains. And the reason that he came to us was because he shared our vision for obtaining criminal prosecutions and really doing something substantial to report these abuses, document and report them, and bring an end to not only these practices, but an end to the abortion industry in America. And he knew if he focused on Planned Parenthood that would be probably the most powerful way to do that.
Daleiden is not an “investigative journalist.” He is an anti-abortion activist who is now trying to pose as a journalist.
This detail is particularly important because the grand jury's felony indictment stemmed from the contention that Daleiden and his colleague used fake IDs with an "intent to cause harm."
2) Indictment Proves Planned Parenthood Was Selling Human Tissue
Anti-choice activists have jumped on the misdemeanor charge that Daleiden faces for attempting to purchase human organs, saying that the charge in turn proves that Planned Parenthood was selling organs.
The Resurgent, a right-wing blog, called the charge a "gift" to the anti-choice movement because it "proves" that Planned Parenthood was selling tissue all along.
This is a big distortion of the case.
Daleiden did send Planned Parenthood an email asking to purchase fetal tissue for $1,600.
However, Planned Parenthood never responded to his offer ... because Planned Parenthood doesn't sell fetal tissue.
"Whether Daleiden actually intended to buy tissue doesn’t matter in the eyes of Texas law," the Washington Post points out. "The inquiry alone could have spurred the misdemeanor charge. Authorities don’t need to see evidence of a deal or interest from another party to pursue the charge."
To say that Planned Parenthood is guilty of breaking the law simply because Daleiden asked them to break the law, without success, may be one of the most absurd claims that has emerged following the indictments.
Anti-choice groups used similar logic when Planned Parenthood announced that it would cease collecting legal reimbursements for fetal tissue, claiming that the move somehow proved that Planned Parenthood was collecting illegal reimbursements all along.
3) Planned Parenthood-Linked Attorney 'Tainted' The Investigation
Surprised by the indictments and still unable to prove that Planned Parenthood committed any wrongdoings, now anti-choice activists are contending that the district attorney's office that brought the grand jury investigation must be at fault. After all, the grand jury didn't accept the movement's narrative that, as Ted Cruz put it, Planned Parenthood "confesses to multiple felonies."
The conservative outlet the Federalist thought it found quite the scoop when it reported that one of the prosecutors working in the district attorney's office was a local Planned Parenthood board member, posting an image of her LinkedIn page as damning evidence of misconduct.
Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice, the conservative legal group founded by televangelist Pat Robertson, said that the case may been "tainted" by this alleged "conflict of interest."
Except that the assistant district attorney in question had nothing to do with the investigation, and she personally revealed her connection to the organization at the very beginning of the inquiry. No LinkedIn screenshot was needed, as a simple Google search would do.
When the Houston case started in August, the attorney who serves on a local Planned Parenthood board disclosed the connection herself and the district attorney announced that she would “not be involved in any manner in this investigation." At the time, one Texas Republican lawmaker praised the decision to "insulate that person from any involvement with the ongoing investigation."
Even the Blaze, the conservative website launched by Glenn Beck, reported on the non-issue back in August, noting that "office spokesman Jeff McShan told TheBlaze that approximately 300 prosecutors and 700 employees work for the Harris County DA’s office."
The smoking gun that may have "tainted" the investigation was actually disclosed from the get-go, and the attorney, one of around 300 in the office, had no involvement in the proceedings.
But none of these misleading and blatantly false claims should surprise anyone.
The CMP probe was always a sham, but that didn’t stop Republican politicians and conservative media pundits from running with the group's discredited "findings." Some, such as Carly Fiorina, even added a few of their own false claims to boot.
Since they appear to be immune to facts, including the outcomes of the many investigations from both government bodies and actual journalists that have already cleared Planned Parenthood, it is no wonder that CMP's defenders are twisting the truth now that it turns out that Daleiden and his CMP colleague, rather than Planned Parenthood officials, are facing indictments.
UPDATE: According to one person who spoke with the New York Times, Dear reportedly praised the Army of God and others who commit violence against abortion providers:
A number of people who knew Mr. Dear said he was a staunch abortion opponent, though another ex-wife, Pamela Ross, said that he did not obsess on the subject. After his arrest, Mr. Dear said “no more baby parts” to investigators, a law enforcement official said.
One person who spoke with him extensively about his religious views said Mr. Dear, who is 57, had praised people who attacked abortion providers, saying they were doing “God’s work.” In 2009, said the person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity out of concerns for the privacy of the family, Mr. Dear described as “heroes” members of the Army of God, a loosely organized group of anti-abortion extremists that has claimed responsibility for a number of killings and bombings.
An activist associated with the militant anti-abortion group Army of God, which has been linked to several terrorist attacks on abortion providers, has posted a brief statement on his website declaring that Planned Parenthood got what it deserved with last week’s shooting at a Colorado Springs clinic that left three dead:
Planned Parenthood Colorado Springs
Robert Lewis Dear aside, Planned Parenthood murders helpless preborn children. These murderous pigs at Planned Parenthood are babykillers and they reap what they sow. In this case, Planned Parenthood selling of aborted baby parts came back to bite them.
Anyone who supports abortion has the blood of babies on their hands.
Virginia-based anti-abortion activist Donald Spitz, who runs the “Army of God” website, similarly stated after Dr. George Tiller was murdered that the he “reaped what he sowed” and hosts a page celebrating those who have been convicted of murdering and attempting to murder abortion doctors. Spitz also promotes the 1993 “Defensive Action Statement,” signed by 34 anti-choice activists including Hill, which says that those who kill abortion providers “ought to be acquitted of the charges” against them because people should take “all godly action necessary to defend innocent human life including the use of force.”
MSNBC’s Irin Carmon spoke with Spitz, who told her that anti-choice groups that condemned the Colorado Springs shooting are “hypocritical” and “into political correctness way too far.” Spitz said that he was not against the shooter’s actions and will be “reaching out to him.”
“There are no innocent people in Planned Parenthood,” he said. “They’re in there for a reason.”
One notorious anti-abortion activist, who has long been an open supporter of violence against abortion providers, broke with the movement in offering direct support to Dear.
Donald Spitz, who runs the Army of God website and is based in Virginia, said of his fellow anti-abortion activists’ condemnations of violence, “They say that all the time. I think they’re hypocritical.”
While many groups insist violence against abortion providers is counterproductive to their cause, Spitz suggested such rhetoric is disingenuous. Referring to Scott Roeder, who murdered abortion provider George Tiller and who Spitz calls a friend, Spitz said, “How could that be counterproductive when he stopped them from providing abortions? They’ve lost their mind. They’re into political correctness way too far.”
As for Spitz’s own reaction, “I think Planned Parenthood is an evil organization, so I didn’t lose any sleep when I heard about it,” Spitz said. “They sell baby parts, and they reap what they sow, and now they’re complaining about it.”
He added, “There are no innocent people in Planned Parenthood. They’re in there for a reason.”
Spitz said he wrote to Dear on Monday to offer his support.
“I told him, I was reaching out to him, it appears that everybody is against him. I’m not against him,” he said.
Spitz was given pause, though, by the fact that the three killed on Friday weren’t involved in providing abortion. “It’s one thing to kill an abortionist who’s killing babies,” Spitz said. “What he did, I don’t know.”
In his condemnation of the shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Spring, Mike Huckabee suggested that while the attacker was wrong for killing people, Planned Parenthood does the same thing:
Mike Huckabee condemned the attack as a "despicable act of murder" and said "what he did is domestic terrorism," but then equated the killings to the abortions Planned Parenthood provides.
"There's no excuse for killing other people, whether it's happening inside the Planned Parent headquarters, inside their clinics, where many millions of babies die, or whether it's people attacking Planned Parenthood," Huckabee said on CNN's "State of the Union."
Huckabee’s comments reflects the mood of several anti-choice groups that have used the shooting, which left three people dead, as a way to attack Planned Parenthood and demand that the media cover “pro-abortion violence.”
The Republican presidential candidate has previously likened Planned Parenthood to ISIS terrorists and suggested that the creators of the hoax videos targeting Planned Parenthood should receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, all the while pledging to ban abortion through an executive decree that will effectively treat abortion as the legal equivalent of murder.
He once hailed a group that claims Planned Parenthood is waging genocide against black people and said in a speech following a visit to a concentration camp that legal abortion in America is no different than the Holocaust orchestrated by Nazi Germany, if not worse.
Ben Carson pushed back yesterday on claims that anti-abortion rhetoric may have played a role in the shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, insisting in an interview with Martha Raddatz that “there’s a lot of extremism coming from all areas” and divisive rhetoric “comes from both sides.” “There is no saint here in this equation,” he said.
While it is typical for a politician to suggest that “both sides” are to blame for toxic rhetoric and political dysfunction, Carson may want to look back on his own record of statements about Planned Parenthood.
Carson cited a discredited right-wing smear to claim that Planned Parenthood was created “to eliminate black people.”
He also claimed that conservatives need “to help women understand that they are being manipulated” by Planned Parenthood, arguing that the organization must be defunded.
The former neurosurgeon noted that he change his mind about abortion after realizing it was like “slavery.”
“I was thinking about slavery and I was thinking about the abolitionists, and I said, what if the abolitionists had said, ‘I don’t believe in slavery but anybody else can do whatever they want’?” Carson declared. “Where would we be today?”
“Slavery is a moral issue and so is abortion,” he insisted. “It’s a moral issue that we’re dealing with.”
He made the same case in an NBC interview: “During slavery — and I know that's one of those words you're not supposed to say, but I'm saying it — during slavery, a lot of the slave owners thought that they had the right to do whatever they wanted to that slave, anything that they chose to do. And what if the abolitionists had said: 'You know, I don't believe in slavery. I think it's wrong, but you guys do whatever you want to do'? Where would we be?”
But remember, both sides are extreme!
Troy Newman, the head of Operation Rescue, has long been known as one of the most radical anti-choice activists in the country, saying that a just government would execute abortion providers and organizing efforts to harass abortion providers and their patients.
But Ted Cruz apparently saw his extremism as a boon, releasing a statement on November 19th touting Newman’s endorsement of his presidential campaign and declaring that America needs more “leaders like Troy Newman.”
In his statement, Cruz made clear that he was touting Newman’s endorsement because of the activist’s role in creating the hoax videos smearing Planned Parenthood for selling “baby parts” for profits. Following the shooting at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic on Friday, the shooter reportedly told authorities “no more baby parts” after he was apprehended.
Newman has not only opined on the governments duty of “executing convicted murderers, including abortionists, for their crimes in order to expunge bloodguilt from the land and people,” but once even claimed that the murderer of an abortion doctor and his bodyguard was a “political prisoner” and victim of “judicial tyranny,” since he was deprived of his “right to present a defense that claimed that the killing of the abortionist was necessary to save the lives of the pre-born babies that were scheduled to be killed by abortion that day.”
Newman coauthored his book calling for the execution of abortion providers and the statement defending the anti-abortion terrorist with his Operation Rescue colleague Cheryl Sullenger, who served “time in jail for conspiring to bomb a California abortion clinic in the 1980s” but who has since renounced violence.
Newman denounced the Planned Parenthood shooting in Colorado Springs, but his extremist rhetoric towards abortion providers speaks for itself. For example, “Newman has claimed that the 9/11 terrorist attacks and AIDS were both warnings from God about legal abortion in America and attributed a drought in California to the state’s liberal abortion laws, insisting that ‘weather patterns’ and economic instability are connected to legal abortion.”
Another activist whose endorsement Cruz’s campaign recently touted, Flip Benham, was convicted of stalking an abortion provider “after passing out hundreds of ‘wanted’ posters with the physician’s name and photo on it.”
As Rachel Maddow explained in a recent program, Cruz must explain why he would hail an activist like Newman, a point that speaks volumes following last week’s Planned Parenthood attack.
When asked yesterday about reports that the shooter who killed three people at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs said “no more baby parts” to law enforcement officers, Ted Cruz said that he read reports that the shooter was actually “a transgendered leftist activist,” while graciously adding that he wouldn’t blame the “rhetoric of the left” for the attack.
Unsurprisingly, according to a campaign spokesman, Cruz found his information about the shooter’s political and gender identity on a right-wing blog.
Far-right outlets such as The Gateway Pundit, Young Conservatives and WorldNetDaily have been implying that what appears to be a typo on the attacker’s voter registration form may mean that he in fact identified as a woman. Cruz’s campaign spokesman cited a blog post on The Right Scoop by a blogger named “soopermexican,” titled “WAS THE COLORADO SHOOTER A TRANSGENDER PERSON?!?!”
American Family Radio host Bryan Fischer also suggested that a webpage typo was proof that “low info media narrative collapses”:
Low info media narrative collapses. CO shooter not a Republican, registered to vote as a female. https://t.co/58Lw5QWzZv— Bryan Fischer (@BryanJFischer) November 28, 2015
None of these posts, however, suggested that the shooter was a “leftist,” which seems to be a unique Cruz creation. Family members and friends described the shooter as a conservative who abhorred President Obama.
At last night’s Republican presidential debate, Mike Huckabee offered a convenient solution to all of America’s health care concerns: Rather than focus on improving access to health care, why not just cure all the diseases that make people sick?
“We don't have a health care crisis in America, we have a health crisis,” he said. “And until we deal with the health of Americans and do what we did with polio — when I was a little kid, we eradicated it. You know how much money we spent on polio last year in America? We didn't spend any. We’ve saved billions of dollars.”
Huckabee conveniently failed to mention that we wouldn’t have the polio vaccine — among others — without fetal tissue research, a practice he wants to ban and has roundly criticized in the wake of deceptive sting videos targeting Planned Parenthood.
“One of the earliest advances with fetal tissue was to use fetal kidney cells to create the first poliovirus vaccines, which are now estimated to save 550,000 lives worldwide every year,” CNN reported. “In the early days of making the vaccine, researchers infected fetal kidney cells in Petri dishes to produce a large amount of virus that they could then harvest, purify and use to vaccinate people. (The virus evolves to become less deadly when it infects cells out of the body, and thus could safely be given to people to prime their immune system for the real thing.) Today manufacturers of the polio vaccine use other types of human cells, which weren’t available in the mid-1900s. They also use monkey cells, which they originally avoided for fear that making the vaccine in animal cells could put people at risk of diseases from other species. Many of our other common vaccines, such as chicken pox, rubella and shingles, have been produced in tissue derived from fetuses, particularly two electively terminated pregnancies from the 1960s.”
Seeing that Huckabee has floated the idea of using the National Guard to raid abortion clinics and promised to outlaw abortion by executive fiat, he should probably give a close look into the development of the polio vaccine.
“They sued us, the Obama administration sued us in federal court, he can’t watch the video but he has time to send his attorneys to Baton Rouge,” he told the program’s host, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins. “They can send the entire Department of Justice, we won’t be intimidated from defending innocent human life.” (Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, not the Department of Justice, sued Louisiana in the case.)
He later claimed that if all the Republican governors in the country followed his lead, they could succeed in defunding Planned Parenthood. “They can’t come after every governor,” he said. “We have 31 Republican governors. If just the Republican governors would all do this, they can’t come after us all. Let’s fight for our rights. The left fights, they force socialism down our throats, why won’t we fight for pro-life, for conservative principles?”
Jindal then voiced a litany of falsehoods, suggesting that Planned Parenthood uses taxpayer dollars in its fetal tissue donation programs (it doesn’t) and claiming that its two Louisiana clinics offer abortion services (they don’t).
He said that if he gets elected president, he would direct the Internal Revenue Service, the Justice Department, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency to target Planned Parenthood.
Yesterday, Planned Parenthood released a statement saying that of its three clinics that currently participate in fetal tissue research programs, the two clinics that accept reimbursements for expenses related to the donation of such tissue will cover their own costs from now on. Federal law already permits reimbursements to cover donation expenses and no investigation has ever found Planned Parenthood to be in violation of that law.
However, Sen. Ted Cruz has taken Planned Parenthood's statement as an admission of guilt that it was breaking the law, which shows that he either doesn't know the law or is willfully misrepresenting it to voters.
The Texas Republican told Newsmax host Ed Berliner yesterday that he is "glad that they've announced to stop committing federal felonies," insisting that Planned Parenthood was "caught on film repeatedly violating federal law, essentially admitting to a pattern of felonies." He then repeated his pledge to immediately launch a Justice Department investigation into the organization once elected president.
Just weeks after praising Planned Parenthood supporter Rosa Parks, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has sent a letter [PDF] to the National Portrait Gallery demanding that the Smithsonian museum remove a bust of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger from its “Struggle for Justice” exhibit, which features well-known leaders of social movements.
Cruz, in a letter drafted with Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, and joined by two dozen House Republicans, tells the gallery’s director that the presence of the bust “is an affront both to basic human decency and the very meaning of justice.” After citing the discredited claim that Planned Parenthood sells fetal tissue for profit, the group then badly twists a Sanger quote, “We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population.”
In Sanger’s letter, which you can find here, she was saying that she wanted black leaders to join her effort to promote birth control access because she was afraid that opponents would disseminate such unfounded rumors, which is ironically exactly what Cruz and Gohmert did with their letter.
While Sanger was a believer in eugenics, so were many leaders of her time, including Winston Churchill. Ironically, Cruz consistently says on the stump that one of his first acts as president would be putting a bust of Churchill in the Oval Office. (The Obama administration’s decision not to hold onto a Churchill bust that the British government had temporarily loaned to George W. Bush has become a frequent point of attack from the Right, despite the fact that there is another Churchill bust still in the White House residence.)
Nevertheless, Cruz and Gohmert go on to say that Sanger’s “racist views have had a very real and devastating impact on the widespread destruction of unborn human life — especially in minority communities.”
The signers include anti-choice stalwarts Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas, Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, and Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., who is slated to chair a House special committee targeting Planned Parenthood.
The letter appears to be part of a larger campaign launched by extremist pastor E.W. Jackson to remove the bust from the gallery. Jackson said that Sanger’s presence in the gallery would dishonor civil rights leaders like Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. However, like Parks, King was a supporter of Planned Parenthood and praised Margaret Sanger for her “courage and vision.”
There is a striking kinship between our movement and Margaret Sanger's early efforts. She, like we, saw the horrifying conditions of ghetto life. Like we, she knew that all of society is poisoned by cancerous slums. Like we, she was a direct actionist - a nonviolent resister. She was willing to accept scorn and abuse until the truth she saw was revealed to the millions. At the turn of the century she went into the slums and set up a birth control clinic, and for this deed she went to jail because she was violating an unjust law. Yet the years have justified her actions. She launched a movement which is obeying a higher law to preserve human life under humane conditions. Margaret Sanger had to commit what was then called a crime in order to enrich humanity, and today we honor her courage and vision; for without them there would have been no beginning. Our sure beginning in the struggle for equality by nonviolent direct action may not have been so resolute without the tradition established by Margaret Sanger and people like her. Negroes have no mere academic nor ordinary interest in family planning. They have a special and urgent concern.
Recently the subject of Negro family life has received extensive attention. Unfortunately, studies have overemphasized the problem of the Negro male ego and almost entirely ignored the most serious element - Negro migration. During the past half century Negroes have migrated on a massive scale, transplanting millions from rural communities to crammed urban ghettoes. In their migration, as with all migrants, they carried with them the folkways of the countryside into an inhospitable city slum. The size of family that may have been appropriate and tolerable on a manually cultivated farm was carried over to the jammed streets of the ghetto. In all respects Negroes were atomized, neglected and discriminated against. Yet, the worst omission was the absence of institutions to acclimate them to their new environment. Margaret Sanger, who offered an important institutional remedy, was unfortunately ignored by social and political leaders in this period. In consequence, Negro folkways in family size persisted. The problem was compounded when unrestrained exploitation and discrimination accented the bewilderment of the newcomer, and high rates of illegitimacy and fragile family relationships resulted.
Add Rick Wiles to the list of Religious Right activists who blew their prophecies about Hurricane Joaquin.
“Trunews” host Rick Wiles spoke with fellow Religious Right pundit Bradlee Dean last Thursday about the GOP’s attempt to deny federal funding to Planned Parenthood, with Wiles suggesting that the failure to defund the women’s health organization would cause God to punish America by directing Hurricane Joaquin towards New York.
“Congress will refuse to defund Planned Parenthood but God will defund the United States,” Wiles said. “Get ready, the big attitude adjustment is coming. And if you still have money invested in stocks, I think you’re down to a few days to get it out. There’s a potential Category 4 hurricane moving towards New York City, Joaquin, ‘God will judge.’”
“There’s a hurricane moving through the Atlantic today, Joaquin,” he said later in the interview. “Joaquin means, ‘God will judge.’ It appears that it’s going to be a Category 4, perhaps by the time this radio program is heard tonight across America it will be a Category 4, it’s headed towards somewhere between Washington, D.C., and New York City. Is anybody other than me putting this together that there is a hurricane named ‘God will judge’ headed towards New York City?”
Wiles and Dean also used the interview to criticize Planned Parenthood over false claims that the group sells fetal tissue for profit, with Wiles declaring that Planned Parenthood officials “should be in handcuffs right now” and “making license plates in a prison.”
“There ought to be state police raids in every state,” he said. “They’re killing babies, they’re chopping babies up. This is worse than the Nazis did in Germany.”
Dean said that his friend Troy Newman, the leader of Operation Rescue who helped launch the Center for Medical Progress, the group behind the discredited sting videos, “actually produced those films.”
“I talked to Troy just a couple of weeks ago,” he added, “and to show you the totalitarian, authoritarian government in which we are dealing with which is un-American today, in the people’s White House, people need to understand that Loretta Lynch just brought forth a lawsuit against Troy Newman and those that actually produced the video of Planned Parenthood self-incriminating themselves concerning their crimes against the innocent in the womb.”
While we are unaware of any Justice Department action taken against Troy Newman and the CMP, Dean said that the failure to defund Planned Parenthood means that “judgment is on its way.”
Congressional Republicans continue to push for a government shutdown over Planned Parenthood funding, but the ongoing smear campaign against the healthcare organization that anti-choice activists are using to justify defunding hasn't held up to honest scrutiny. But who's behind these dishonest and strategically edited videos?
PFAW Senior Fellow Peter Montgomery writes in The Hill this morning about the real intentions behind the radical anti-choice attacks on Planned Parenthood:
The Center for Medical Progress was created by anti-abortion activist David Daleiden for the purpose of conducting the kind of "stings" used in previous efforts to “take out” Planned Parenthood. Reps. Elijah Cummings and John Conyers have urged an investigation into potentially illegal actions by Daleiden and CMP. But Daleiden’s lawyers have said he will invoke the Fifth Amendment rather than defend his actions.
PFAW's latest Right Wing Watch: In Focus report, entitled "Operation Rescue’s Big Break: How an Organization Rooted in the Radical Fringes of the Anti-Choice Movement Is Threatening to Shut Down the Government," offers an in-depth look at David Daleiden's history within the radical anti-choice movement.
On Friday, Mike Huckabee repeated his claim that Congress should end federal funding to Planned Parenthood by linking it to a future measure to raise the debt ceiling, floating the catastrophic idea in an interview with Iowa radio host Jan Mickelson.
Huckabee said that Republicans in Congress should tie Planned Parenthood funding “to the debt ceiling rather than to the budget, because we can continue to function even if we don’t keep moving the debt ceiling.”
He told Republicans to stop “surrendering” to President Obama and instead adopt his plan as a way to cut off funds to Planned Parenthood while also curbing the national debt.
Of course, Huckabee’s plan would also have disastrous consequences for the U.S. economy.
As the Wall Street Journal reported back in 2013, when Republicans nearly refused to raise the debt ceiling, that such a move would have severe reverberations around the world:
Even a temporary failure of the U.S. government to pay its bills would have a “catastrophic” impact on the U.S. and global economy, according to the International Monetary Fund.
U.S. officials warn that the government could run out of cash to pay its social security and military obligations by the middle of next month if lawmakers fail to reach a deal to raise the amount of money the country can borrow, called the debt ceiling.
Even if it was temporary, the IMF estimates that such a shock could shave around a half-percentage point off growth around the world at a fragile stage in the global recovery.
The U.S. treasury had a similar assessment at the time:
And if Congress does not raise the debt limit, raising the possibility of default if the government is unable to meet its bond obligations, Treasury said the results could be worse than the 2008 “Great Recession.”
“In the event that a debt limit impasse were to lead to a default, it could have a catastrophic effect on not just financial markets but also on job creation, consumer spending and economic growth—with many private-sector analysts believing that it would lead to events of the magnitude of late 2008 or worse, and the result then was a recession more severe than any seen since the Great Depression,” the report states.
Politifact points out that “raising the debt ceiling allows the United States government to borrow funds that cover the obligations the government has already incurred” and does not “prompt any new spending.”
Either Huckabee doesn’t understand how the debt ceiling works, or he knows the devastating consequences of such a maneuver but thinks it is worth it just to defund Planned Parenthood.
While some Republican politicians contend that the most recent round of attacks on Planned Parenthood is aimed only at its donation of fetal tissue for medical research, a practice that became the focus of sting videos that misleadingly suggest that the organization is profiting off the donations, Students for Life President Kristan Hawkins told conservative activists last week that the real goal is to “take out Planned Parenthood.”
In a speech to Eagle Council 2015, the annual conference held by Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum, Hawkins depicted Planned Parenthood as a money-obsessed and racist business that “promotes and covers up” statutory rape and aids sex traffickers. Hawkins claimed that Planned Parenthood only supports sexual education and birth control in order to convince young women to have premarital sex, causing them to go to Planned Parenthood to spend money on STD tests and treatment and, eventually, abortions.
“She’s going to start this cycle of bad decisions,” she said. “They made money off of her every step away. Everything was about that bottom line.”
Hawkins described in detail the anti-choice movement’s strategy to rebrand itself as a pro-women, social justice cause while also attempting to “rebrand Planned Parenthood” as the “abortion Goliath” that “preys upon women.”
“When this generation was coming to age and decided, ‘How can we make a difference? How can we make our Phyllis Schlafly mark on the pro-life movement?’ We set our sights on one target, and that’s Planned Parenthood, because they are the Goliath,” she said. While Planned Parenthood is the Goliath, Hawkins said, David Daleiden, the activist behind the sting videos, is fittingly named “David” — “I think the Holy Spirit had something to do when his mother named him.”
Why focus on Planned Parenthood? As Hawkins admits, it is because of Planned Parenthood’s popularity: “While we’ve been educating a movement since 2008 on Planned Parenthood, we’ve been losing in the court of public opinion. Every poll we’ve taken always shows that Planned Parenthood enjoys a positive view in people’s minds, because it’s Planned Parenthood.”
Hawkins said that anti-choice activists plan to run online ads targeting “Democratic-leaning,” “mushy middle” women voters, whom she characterized as the “Grey’s Anatomy binge-watchers and West Wing-watchers.”
Appropriating some of the themes used by the Occupy Wall Street movement, Hawkins urged the Eagle Forum activists to pressure Congress to shut down the government over Planned Parenthood funding, saying that the move would give them an opportunity to rebrand Planned Parenthood as the “Walmart of abortion” and the true foe of the “99 percent.”
She also revealed that her group’s new ads will look like government-sponsored PSAs telling pregnant women that if they go to Planned Parenthood, they will probably end up getting an abortion.
Will you or will you not vote for a CR, continuing resolution, that funds Planned Parenthood? Yes or no? A non-commitment is allowing this to happen, that’s a pro-abortion vote in my record. You need to scare the bejeezus out of these people because they don’t want to do it, they don’t want to do it. House Republican leadership and Senate Republican leadership does not want to touch Planned Parenthood because they didn’t listen to their Bible stories very well. We need you to make those calls. We need to be talking about the presidency. There’s a little bit of an election coming up in a year and it is very, very important that we elect a pro-life president, not only so we defund Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider and vendor, but that we get a pro-life president who will appoint pro-life judges, this next president could literally determine if we overturn Roe v. Wade in our lifetime or not. I’m a very impatient person, I have other career goals, I don’t want to be doing this the rest of my life. I want to end abortion as quickly as possible and to do that we’ve got to take out Planned Parenthood.
The next thing we have to do is we need to rebrand Planned Parenthood. In our communities we need to promote organizations like Thrive, like other pregnancy resource centers that are literally taking money, client money, out of their hands. We need to talk about Planned Parenthood, we need to make people aware of what Planned Parenthood is doing. Students for Life has a tour coming up in October and November, ‘The Planned Parenthood Project.’ We don’t say abortion is bad because people already know abortion is bad, what we show young people is that Planned Parenthood makes money off them and that they’re using them. A very popular line we found with young people is, “Planned Parenthood is the Walmart of the abortion industry.” I love Walmart, trust me, I spent like $500 there last night, however, it’s a very “99%” approach to the issue, that they’re the big, bad dog and they are using you.
The next thing we have to do is we’re going to need to go on the airwaves and right now, Students for Life, I’ve got two commercials that we are getting ready to launch and we are putting out there to national organizations, saying, “please fund these commercials.” Because the commercials aren’t about us, they’re not about the pro-life movement, they are targeted to “mushy middle” women, 18- to 44-year-old women who are targeted by the Democrats every single election with a scary “war on women” rhetoric. The ads are light, they’re airy, they’re beautiful, they kind of look like a government PSA, that’s how I made them look. And it says, ‘Hey, you’re pregnant! Yay! Did you know that 94 percent of women who go to the Planned Parenthood get an abortion? However, you can visit a federally-funded health clinic that will serve all of your and your child’s needs for free.’ Then it links to HRSA.gov. It looks a little bit like a PSA. We are running it through the lawyers to make sure I don’t get sued for impersonation by the government. But we are going to be running these ads because we are going to make the point that we don’t need Planned Parenthood any longer. We don’t need Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood is the opposite of empowerment, Planned Parenthood is the opposite of empowerment for women. They do the exact opposite and we simply don’t need them.