On the latest installment of his "Foundations of Freedom" series, David Barton echoed the claim put forth by former Rep. Michele Bachmann in an earlier episode when she stated that America can never enact laws that legalize things like abortion or gay marriage because they contradict the moral law established by God.
In the latest episode, Barton and his co-host Rick Green asserted that both homosexuality and abortion violate the "laws of nature," which Barton once againlaughablyclaimed was directly incorporated into the Constitution through the Seventh Amendment. As such, Barton proclaimed, the Constitution explicitly prohibits the government or the people from ever enacting any law that violates God's "fixed moral law."
"You can't have a majority vote on whether we're going to have liberty or whether we're going to have a right to defend yourself," Barton said. "You can't vote on inalienable rights that come from God. You also can't vote on whether abortion is right or wrong or whether homosexuality is right or wrong; that's a fixed moral law."
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 scientistshavecredited 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 foundedanyevidenceofwrongdoings. 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.
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."
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.
"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.
During the interview, Wallnau told to Klingenschmitt that Christians must organize to take control of these "mountains" because they are currently being dominated by liberals, thanks to a secretive plot set in motion back in 2000.
As Wallnau explained, he learned about this secretive effort from none other than Tom DeLay, so you know it is reliable. DeLay apparently revealed to Wallnau that leading left-wing political strategists had convened a secret meeting at which 100 very wealthy donors agreed to give a million dollars apiece to found and fund a series of progressive groups that would carry out their agenda while maintaining the appearance of independence.
Wallnau asserted that this secret effort, called "Thunder Road," set out to identify the weaknesses in the conservative movement "and then created nine or 10 siege works, or engines, single-issue organizations that would be tasked to break down the wall and exploit the weakness."
Wallnau claimed that this massive effort resulted in the creation of the Center for American Progress, Media Matters, Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington (CREW), America Votes, MoveOn, and even us here at Right Wing Watch.
"It's just sheer genius, in a way, because they call them the most benevolent names possible," he said. "Let's MoveOn.org. Move on from what? Well, move on from values and God into anarchy, but they don't say that; it's move on from Bush and his nutty stuff."
"Now what you think is," Wallnau stated, "these are independent organizations that are all kind of beating the drum. What you really have is almost like a military operation of independent organizations funded, started and controlled by a central bank, central budget and central strategy."
This effort must be far more secretive than even Wallnau recognizes, considering that we are supposedly a part of it and we've never even heard anything about it.
Ted Cruz confesses to CBN's David Brody: "I have not been as faithful [in his tithing] as I should have been."
While Donald Trump is revelling in the endorsement of Jerry Falwell, Jr., a group of Religious Right activists are telling voters in Iowa that they "cannot trust Donald Trump" on the issue of abortion.
Anne Graham Lotz says that the blizzard that recently hit Washington, D.C., was a message from God.
Ben Carson is outraged by the indictment of David Daleiden and vows that "as president, he will use the full weight of his office to not only cut off all federal funding for this organization, but also prosecute them for crimes against the unborn."
Daleiden's mentor, Troy Newman, is likewise outraged: "This has the effect of chilling the First Amendment freedom of the press and could scare crime witnesses away from coming forward for fear that they might suffer similar retaliatory prosecution."
Finally, Janet Porter says that she is running for office to put an end to abortion: "Influencing the elected hasn’t worked. We must become the elected. It’s time to run for office and finish the job the establishment incumbents refuse to do. And once we’re elected, we’re going to end abortion. For real."
An Arizona sheriff best known for his human rights abuses, attacks on immigrants and birther conspiracy theories is heading to Iowa today to endorse Donald Trump, according to a report in the New York Times.
Last March, Arpaio admitted to violating a federal court order "by continuing to allow sheriff's deputies to make traffic stops based on suspicions about individuals' immigration status." A party held in Arpaio's honor included racist jokes about the sheriff pulling over drivers just for being Hispanic.
Yesterday, anti-gay activists "Coach" Dave Daubenmire and Mike Heath began producing a daily "internet TV show" that is basically Heath and Daubenmire participating in a Google Hangout while railing against the "gay agenda."
On yesterday's inaugural broadcast, Daubenmire and Heath were joined by Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality and LaBarbera and Daubenmire spent a good deal of time discussing their respectivedistrust of the "establishment" pro-family groups and railed against what they see as the movement's unwillingness to truly fight against the acceptance of homosexuality.
This supposed reluctance to fight, LaBarbera explained, has resulted in things like the legalization of gay marriage, which, in turn, will result in public schools teaching young students how to engage in "safer gay sex" and "oral-anal sex."
That prompted Daubenmire to go off on a tangent about how, if a teenage boy asked to talk to his parents about an important issue, every parent would start praying that their son was not going to tell them that he is gay.
"If your son came to you and said, 'Hey, Dad, I need to talk with you and Mom about something really, really important,'" Daubenmire declared, "for that two hours that you're waiting for that meeting to come, Pete, how many parents would be saying, "Oh Lord, please let it be drugs; Lord, please let it be alcoholism; Oh Lord, please let it be that he got some girl pregnant.' How many parents say, 'Oh Lord please, don't let it be homosexuality'? That's the truth of it, isn't it Pete, that no parent wants to hear that? No parent wants to hear that, yet we teach it as normal in our public schools. It's unbelievable."
LaBarbera, of course, was in complete agreement.
"You're absolute right, Coach," he said. "Nobody is saying, 'Wow, I'm so glad I have a homosexual son."
In an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network's David Brody on Monday, Ted Cruz said that conservative voters should back him over Donald Trump because "for seven years, we've had a president in the White House who has had a messiah complex."
Cruz went on to credit his presidential campaign with sparking a national movement to "bring this country back" and create "a spirit of revival" that's "sweeping this country."
"I fear for America," he said. "If we keep on this path there comes a point of no return and my prayer is that this awakening continues, that the body of Christ rise up to pull us back from the abyss."
After mentioning how campaigning has been "humbling," Cruz said that "we are going to, together with God's blessing and grace, pull America back from the abyss and it is this election that makes the difference." He then urged people who oppose gay marriage and abortion rights to back him in the Iowa caucuses.
After the interview with Brody, Cruz spoke to a pastors' event sponsored by right-wingextremist David Lane, where he told attendees that "the federal government daily wages a war on life, on marriage, on religious liberty, on the Judeo-Christian values that built this country."
He also urged pastors to "sound the alarm" and to make sure that "every member of your congregation will show up and caucus and caucus for someone who defends biblical values."
Cruz was very clear about who that someone might be: "If everyone in this room ensures that every member of your congregation comes out in votes in the Iowa caucus and votes for our values, we will win one week from today."
In an interesting turn of events yesterday, a Texas grand jury that had been convened to investigate Planned Parenthood based on the claims of anti-abortion activist David Daleiden instead indicted Daleiden and a colleague on charges relating to their infiltration of the women’s health care organization.
So far, Daleiden's attempt to "obtain prosecutions" has come up empty.
But pushing for the prosecution of Planned Parenthood officials was only part of Daleiden’s plan. In a statement following the indictment, Daleiden claimed that the “admissions” of Planned Parenthood were “captured on video for all the world to see.” Never mind that the videos show no such “admissions” of law-breaking. The point of the videos was not just to make a case to law enforcement, but to sway public opinion.
On a large scale, that hasn't been successful: One poll showed barely a flutter in the public’s views about Planned Parenthood between August and September of last year, in the height of the visibility of Daleiden’s videos. Planned Parenthood's favorability ratings had already dropped over the last two decades, Gallup found, but mostly among Republicans, a trend that the polling agency attributed to the growing “politicization of Planned Parenthood."
What Daleiden’s project has done is to galvanize support among those who were already opposed to abortion rights. Protests in front of Planned Parenthood offices, driven by the old guard of the anti-abortion “rescue” movement, expanded and multiplied, with the support of much more visible anti-choice groups. At this year’s March for Life, it was impossible to go five minutes without hearing a mention of Daleiden or his videos, with speaker after speaker saying that their movement finally had winning momentum. In the days leading up to the march, Daleiden crossed the city to speak to protesters holding gruesome signs outside a construction site for a new Planned Parenthood clinic; to talk with Americans United for Life lawyers working on strategies to restrict abortion rights; and to be prayed over by Russell Moore and Jim Daly, evangelical leaders who are trying to put a kinder, gentler face on their movement.
Speakers at nearly every event noted with hope that a bill defunding Planned Parenthood recently made it through a Republican Congress, allowing anti-choice activists to say that all they need now is to elect a president who would sign it.
Now that Daleiden is facing prosecution, he’s in the company of many fellow members of the “rescue” movement, which his work grew out of. Among those who protest outside of clinics, or try to infiltrate them, arrest and jail time for violation of what they see as unjust laws is a badge of honor. At a protest last week in front of a new Planned Parenthood that is being built in Washington, D.C., before Daleiden spoke, one “rescue” movement leader asked who there would be willing to “lay their body in front of the door” or “handcuff yourself to construction equipment” in order to stop the building from opening. Another touted the work of one of Daleiden’s mentors to train “a whole army of David Daleidens” to infiltrate Planned Parenthood clinics throughout the country.
Yesterday’s indictment is unlikely to dissuade these activists, who feel that they are on the cusp of a David-and-Goliath victory. In fact, at events connected to the March for Life last week, speakers expressed hope that a separate lawsuit against Daleiden by Planned Parenthood would instead turn up unflattering information about the women's health provider and land it in hot water instead. So far, the opposite has been true. But, to the anti-choice movement, that just makes Daleiden seem even more like David, closer than ever to slinging the winning shot.