Operation Rescue Reboots Their Terror Campaign In New Website

Here's a big reason I don't like nor trust the Department of Homeland Security to keep us safe. It is either reluctant or afraid to acknowledge or pursue domestic terrorists. The largest civilian agency in the Federal government (over 200,000 employees, over 200,000 contractors) should have no excuse keeping tabs on domestic terror groups. Yet, it seems to constantly fail, time and again. And the latest press release (!) from Operation Rescue is an example how domestic terror groups can operate in plain sight without any hint of action from the Feds to stop them.

This past week, Operation Rescue launced two new websites as part of a campaign to ban pergancy termination on a state by state basis. Call it a reboot of their origianal objective, since up until this point, thier websites have been relatively low budget. But this new campaign, called Pro Life Nation, features all new branding, a Facebook page (which only has 100 likes so far), and a downloadable, 17 page booklet, explaining their new strategy. But the centerpiece of their new campaign is a separate, database driven website, called AbortionDocs. I try not to link to terrorist websites, since the National Security Administration supposedly keeps an eye on who visits them, right? What's that? The website has not been declared a terrorist website? My point exactly.

AbortionDocs is farily simple enough. It uses a SQL database and a Google Maps API to list the names and locations of stand alone clinics, hospitals, and individual providers who they suspect or know perform terminations. The database also contains the names of hospital executives and board members, in an attempt to intimidate hospital brass over the legitimate and legal medicine being practiced in their institutions. The site invites visitors to submit photographs and home addresses of doctors (presumably so they can be harassed or worse). There's even a link to volunteer one's services as a researcher, editor, or spotter. In addition to photographs and addresses, there is the capacity to upload documents for each entry so that lawsuits, patient complaints, and state prosecutions can be accessed by visitors. As of today, most providers who have photographs attached to their records are not real doctors at all. They are practitioners without board certification, and many have been prosecuted as such, which is good. I want fake doctors out of business. Operation Rescue, of course, wants to see all doctors out of business. And a few of Operation Rescue's followers want them dead.

And that's where terrorism comes into play. This website is not designed to lobby state governments to ban abortion. It is intended to intimidate providers and staff out of the practice of medicine. It is also intended to be used by people outside of Operation Rescue who are willing to break laws in order to stop women from obtaining abortions. Operation Rescue does not explicity say what should be done to clinics and doctors, but history tells us what has been done since the 1980s. There has been vandalism. There have been threats. There has has been harassment (via phone, email, and post). And there have been nine homicides since 1993. Five doctors have been murdered, along with two security contractors, and two clinic staffers. And there will surely be more. This new website is designed to ensure that vandalism, harassment, and violence continue under the guise of protected free speech.

You see, the website does not explicitly call its database a list of "targets" (althought it does label those who support abortion access as an illegal "cartel"). A list of names, addresses, and photographs is merely free information that Operation Rescule hopes others use as they see fit. Operation Rescue has one or more lawyers, so it has covered itself with a "disclaimer" on the site which reads:

This site is meant for informational purposes to aid in the end of abortion through peaceful, legal means. It is in no way meant to encourage or incite violence of any kind against abortion clinics, abortionists, or their staff. We denounce acts of violence against abortion clinics and providers in the strongest terms.

Supposedly that's all a domestic terrorist organization needs to protcect itself from prosecution and civil suits? I wonder why international terrorist groups haven't taken the same route. Oh, right. They can't, because they are internationally recognized as unlawful terror groups.

Operation Rescue has not been classifed as a terror organization by the US Department of Justice. Over 100,000 employees there and they still can't quite link 9 murders and millions in properly damage in 19 years. Not enough evidence I guess. Wanted posters hung in the victims neighborhoods apparently weren't enough to prove that there has been an effort to intimidate and discourage doctors from being abortion providers through acts of violence and threats, both direct and implicit. 

Back in the 1990s, there were two ways for anti abortion groups to target providers and staff. Once was to produce flyers and posters locally. The other was to compile information online. This latter method led to the creation of the now infamous (and illegal) "Nuremberg Files" website circa 1997, which listed the names of providers, judges, law enforment officers, and politicians who all practiced or help protect the medical practice of abortion in some way. On that list, eight names are crossed out (the first 8 homicides between 1993 and 1998, beore Tiller's murder in 2009).

The new Pro Life Nation downloadable booklet was written by Troy Newman and Cheryl Sullenger. Ms. Sullenger, you might recall, is the Operation Rescue executive who helped the organization move from California to Kansas, in an effort to to stop Dr. George Tiller from performing third trimester abortions -  either through legal or illegal means. She is also a convicted felon. In 1988, she and her husband pleaded guilty to Federal terrorism charges, for conspiring to detonate a gasoline bomb in the Family Planning department of the Alvarado Hospital Medical Center in Sn Diego. She served two years in Federal prison, and then relocated Operation Rescule to Kansas to concentrate on Dr. George Tiller, who was shot and wounded three years later.

Most people heard of her name in the wake of Dr. Diller's murder. She alledgedly assisted Scott Roeder in locataing and stalking Dr. George Tiller, before Roeder assisinated him in the foyer of a Wichita church. Scott Roeder is celebrated by anti abortion extremists as a "Christian Terrorist." That is a correct term for him and men like him. many of whom have been involved in locial militia groups, and in some cases, white supremicist groups. In my opinion, the Southern Poverty Law Center has done a better job in connecting these dots than the DOJ. It is simply outragous.

Why is going after Right Wing terrorist groups a poilticially sensitive issue? The US governemnt has stated for over 30 years that it has zero toloerance for terrorism, but this is clearly not the case. If this nation is serious about stopping all terrorists, then the harassment, assault, attempted murder, or murder of a medical care worker over idology, personal, or religious beleifs should be a Federal crime.

But it also needs to be made clear: Operation Rescue does not supply weapons or explosives to Christian terrorits. Operation Resucue does not coordinate bombings and assiassinations. But it does implicitly encourage them. Sometimes, in the case of Cheryl Sullenger, Operation Rescue is contacted by the terrorists and assassins and provides both moral and tactical support. 

We at this blog join other blogs and reproductive rights organizations in condemning Operation Rescue's public database of providers, their photos, and home addresses. And we encourage the Department of Justice to investigate the Pro Life Nation website as a possible violation of the 1994 FACE Act (Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances), as well as any other Federal law on the books regarding online harassment and intimidation of healthcare workers. As a step further, we ask the DOJ to investigate the site itself and find out if it is collecting queries from healthcare workers who might be trying to see if their names or clinics are in the database. And we ask that the webside be taken down, as it is effectively a reboot of the late 1990s Nuremberg Files website, which was taken down following a Federal appeals court decision in 2002.  (The site continues to be cached and mirrored in violation of that court order that ruled that the site is not procted free speech).

Here's where I should stop and let Rachel Maddow explain the rest of this history, since she explains it better than anyone in American TV news today:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy



In Other License Plate News...

The effort to produce explicitly Christian license plates in Florida failed.  But the effort by the Sons of Confederate Veterans to have a plate produced in the Sunshine State is going forward following a legal victory. While I find a plate with a Confederate flag to be in poor taste, I agree that it does not violate the state or federal Contitution.  Apparently, Sons of Confederate Veterans has successfully established Confederate plates in nine other states. So I expect this proposed plate in Florida to go into production soon.

And I like the prospect of plates that reflect my rebellious political beliefs.  So if, say, New York State ever approved a 'Choose Life' plate, I would lobby Planned Parenthood to sponsor a 'Family Planning' plate.  It's only fair.  The 'Choose Life' plates are knocking on our door.  Pennsylvania and Connecticut both offer them.

Five years ago, Planned Parenthood sponsored plates in Montana and Hawaii.  The Hawaii plate failed to attract the required 150 customers.  The Montana plate is still in production.  The Montana plate is not as subversive as my 'Family Planning' idea.  It has the more diplomatic phrase, "Pro-Family, Pro-Choice".

4 Months, 3 Weeks, And 2 Days - Opens Today in US

You can see it on the big screen at the IFC Center in New York, or you can see it on Comcast, Time Warner, or DirecTV OnDemand ($6.99). Click here to see if you can watch the movie at home in your area. It is one of the best films of 2007, right up there with There Will Be Blood and No Country For Old Men. It is part of the long-awaited Romanian New Wave. And it beat No Country for the Palm D'Or at Cannes last May. In a year of at least five movies addressing abortion, this was among the best two (the other being Lake Of Fire). Not only that, it is among two of the years best thrillers - possibly two of the most perfect thrillers in the last 40 years (since John Boorman's Point Blank). See it!

Abort It, Britney!

Assuming the latest report of a bump is true, I am begging you Britney......terminate it!

I'm writing to ya. You've got only a few weeks to do it, girl.

So far, InTouch says she is probably pregnant, but US Weekly and TMZ have not yet gotten behind this story.

Seriously, this is probably not true. The rumor was that she had an ultrasound last week, which would put her at 9 weeks.

I just want it to be true so I can encourage her to help us get abortion out of the closet. We need a positive celebrity pregnancy termination story!

You Can Terminate It, Britney.

That is, assuming you are pregnant again. I hear that your bodyguard may be the father. Hey, if a small-time blogger in Manhattan has heard that, then it might be everywhere when US Weekly hits the news stands this morning.

Just reminding you that you have at least 15 weeks to change your mind. That's a long time to contemplate if a third child before your 27th birthday is really a good idea. And considering your incoherent, sad interview to OK magazine this week, I think a full-term is the last thing you need.

I'll make this simple. You have your publicist or assistant contact me here, and I can get you taken care of in a clean, discreet Manhattan clinic for free. No photos. No interviews. I'm sure someone you trust can be here for you as well. Maybe JT. He's a good guy. He wants you to be well and be happy.

I would not ask, but I would hope that you one day tell the press that you had an abortion, and you are not going to hell for it.

You would be a ground-breaking celebrity who made a difference. We need abortion to come out of the closet. That's the best way to keep it legal in this country.

So if you are pregnant again, please terminate it, Britney. Do it for you.

Generation Chickenhawk (AKA The 2007 College Republican Convention in DC)

The nation's Max Blumenthal has put together a piece of guerrilla filmmaking that would make Michael Moore proud. This piece speaks for itself. It's hilarious. But listen to the remarks from Tom Delay regarding the relationship between abortion and illegal immigration.

If you believe abortion doesn't affect you, I contend it affects you in immigration. If we had those 40 million children that were killed over the last 30 years, we wouldn't need the illegal immigrants to fill the jobs that they are doing today. [3-second pause] Think about it.

Wow. Just wow.

This is simply awesome. Could this be the best thing I have ever seen on YouTube? Except maybe the sneezing baby panda? No, this is even better. You rock, Max!

The quotes in this are incredible. And these kids seem sober (of course, their mental stability is highly questionable).

That kid talking about how we are all tempted by homosexuality is pretty funny. Speak for yourself, kid.

And don't accuse Max for being just another liberal. He got a press pass to the Taking Back America conference in June, and did his best to ridicule it as well:

And here is Max at CPAC (the Conference Political Action Conference) in March. Also hilarious. Priceless stuff.

Terrorist Anti-Abortion Groups to Stage Two Separate July Events

Many, many thanks to Moiv and Fred Clarkson, two of the writers at Talk to Action for staying on top of this development.

Christians, they are not. Compassionate, they are not. Violent militants with martyr fantasies, they are. They are also terrorists. I'm referring to militant wing of the anti-abortion movement, and the recent discovery of two notable (albeit small) anti-abortion events this summer, just a week apart. One is in Birmingham, and is sponsored by Operation Save America (formerly Operation Rescue, before they rightfully lost their tax-exempt status). The other, being held in Milwaukee, is a week-long show of support for executed murderer Paul Hill. Actually, it is a celebration of the murders he committed in Pensacola, Florida, complete with a reenactment of the crime. Let that sink-in a bit before I continue.

Let's take a look at the Operation Save America protest first. It is scheduled to take place in front of Birmingham's two last remaining clinics from July 14-22. At first glace, it doesn't seem as terrorizing as the Paul Hill Memorial. Their website praises pressure to make doctors stop their practice, or to close their clinics, but does not call flor violence against doctors. The website attempts to link the anti-abortionist movement to the civil rights movement of the 1960s. The author of the event page makes this fascinating insight:

Rev. Martin Luther King's famous “ Letter from the Birmingham Jail ” was actually written from the Birmingham jail.

I'm impressed. Who would have thunk it? And did Bob Dylan really perform on 4th Street? And where is President Grant buried again?

But he or she goes on to compare abortionists to the Ku Klux Klan. Uh oh. Perhaps the author didn't see the reports from the Southern Law Poverty Center, the FBI, and several journalists that have established a significant link between white supremacists, violent anti-abortion opponents, and what was known as the 'patriot' movement in the 1990s. The "wanted" posters featuring the names and photos of abortion providers actually originated with the KKK in 1985. Nice try, OSA. But the white supremacist link is stuck to folks like you.

But why is the protest happening in Birmingham? Is it really an homage to the legacy of Dr. King? Are the anti-abortion activists the abolitionists of today? Well, not exactly. You see, one of the two remaining clinics in Birmingham happens to be the New Woman All Women Health Care Clinic, a site that was bombed with dynamite by Eric Robert Rudolph of the domestic terrorist group, Army of God (and I don't use the word terrorist lightly). You might remember that bombing, since it is the only fatal bombing of an family planning clinic in the USA. An off-duty cop moonlighting as the clinic's security guard was killed and a nurse was seriously wounded. That was in January 1998. It was Rudolph's final bombing before going into hiding in the North Carolina woods.

That clinic is not taking the upcoming protest lightly. They are reading it as a threat and another wave of intimidation. The Feminist Majority Foundation writes:

The New Woman All Women Heath Care clinic in Birmingham, Alabama is facing a siege by the anti-abortion group Operation Save America in July.

This clinic has been the target of extreme anti-abortion violence. Remember, this very clinic was bombed by Eric Robert Rudolph in 1998, killing a security guard and severely injuring a nurse...

Our senior field organizer just returned from Birmingham where she met with clinic staff and law enforcement officials to prepare for the siege. This clinic is important because it is one of the few clinics in Alabama that serves patients from across the state and from as far away as Tennessee, Georgia, and Mississippi. In the weeks leading up to the event, and during the protests themselves, the Feminist Majority Foundation will provide critical security assistance to keep clinic workers and patients safe.

We have worked with the New Woman All Women clinic for more than 13 years—first in 1994 when we mobilized and trained hundreds of volunteers and succeeded in keeping the clinic safe and open during Operation Save America's "Holy Week Passion for Life" protests. And we were there again in 1998, less than 24 hours after the Rudolph bombing, helping the clinic to clean up and reopen and assisting law enforcement in their investigation.

Now, a Birmingham pastor is inviting Operation Save America to "let us bring glory and honor to God by finishing the work that was begun in Birmingham thirteen years ago." Operation Save America is promoting the Birmingham siege on their web site, saying their goal is to "push what is left of the abortion industry [of Birmingham] into a deep grave." How outrageous!

I wish them luck. I hope no on on their side is injured if things get heated.


Moving on, I turn my attention to the less subtle celebration of the crimes of Paul Jennings Hill in, of all places, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He was not born there, nor did he go to school there. Paul Hill was a son of the south, from Misassippi to the Florida panhandle. For the 10th anniversary of the murders, the Paul Hill Memorial Tour went to Pensacola. But this time they are in the cheese state. In any case, there are two known clinics in Milwaukee, and they are being targeted by this event, scheduled for July 26-29.

March 1993 through December 1994 was quite a period in the militant anti-abortionist movement. There were five murders (three in Florida, two in Massachusetts), a spike in violent protests and threats, fierce Easter week protests staged by Operation Rescue, and the Christian identity / militia movement was exposed by the bombing of the Murrah building in Oklahoma City. Paul J. Hill had to have been inspired by the murder of Dr. Gunn in March 1993. Less than two weeks after Gunn's death, Hill appeared on Nightline and the Donahue show advocating the murder of abortion providers. He had what he felt was a purpose in life, and in July 1994, he slaughtered Dr. John Britton and his bodyguard, James Barrett as they drove-up to their parking spot at the doctor's clinic in Pensacola, Florida. With over four blasts from his shotgun, Paul Hill murdered the two unnarmed men as they sat in the truck's front seat, and also seriously wounded Mrs. barrett, the bodyuard's wife, who sat in the back. All the shots were fired after the truck pulled into the parking area, and Mr. barrett had rolled down his window to tell Paul Hill to step aside to let the truck through. All shots were fired from behind the victims, through the rear windshield. Mrs. Barrett ducked for cover, while the two men were both hit in the back and head multiple times.

That's an act bravery by a Soldier of God, isn't it?

Anyway, the Army of God has Paul J. Hill listed in their hall of fame. The webmaster for the Army of God, the Reverand Donald Spitz, is on-record praising Hill's acts. Furthermore, the Army of God has confirmed that they were associated with Eric Robert Rudolph. And Rev. Spitz is a co-sponsor of the Paul Hill Memorial events in Milwaukee next month. The event itself is being presented by George L. Wilson, operator of the pro-violence site Children Need Heroes, and Drew Heiss of StreetPreach, a pro-gun, anti-abortionist group that features links to both "extremists" (as their site lists them) and various non-violent pro-life minitries (all of which refer to clinics as "mills," I see).

I should point out that Children Need Heroes is a creepy site. I wonder if Dr. George Tiller has seen it. There he would see the only convicted female anti-abortion terrorist, the one who shot him once in each arm, Shelley Shannon, who will remain in prison until at least 2018. The FAQ page for Children Need Heroes is extraordinary, but it certainly makes sense in the contect that they see violence as a heroic, rightous act. A sample question from the FAQ reads:

Q: But isn’t it wrong to present these convicted criminals to children as heroes?

A: These heroes protected children. They saved children’s lives. The children Paul Hill protected would be 12 years old now. These heroes are truly childrens’ heroes. All of us, but especially children, should know about Paul Hill, Shelly Shannon, James Kopp and other great men and women who have used force to protect innocent children from abortion.

Got that, kids? You should admire James Kopp. He only shot that dirty Jewish doctor, Barnett Slepian in the chest with a sniper rife in the name of Jesus. His wife and children could do nothing as they saw Dr. Slepian bleed to death on their kitchen floor (and later in an ER) in Amherst, NY nine years ago. It's a beautiful story, kids. You should aspire to be just like Mr. Kopp, who heroically fled to France and evaded capture for years before being brought back to the USA and sentenced to life behind bars.

So when you go to the Paul Hill Memorial 2007 page, the first thing you read is this:

On July 29, 1994 Paul Hill defended the lives of innocent babies by killing a filthy baby killer and his good for nothing bodyguard. He acted in accordance to Holy Scripture.

On September 3, 2003 the State of Florida executed Paul Hill. We will never forget our dear brother or the truths for which he lived and died.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. I will produce a new post if video of the murder reenactment turns-up anywhere, or if eyewitness accounts turn-up. The best place to follow this for the time being is Talk2Action and perhaps the event sites themselves.

I wish the four target clinics and their patients all the best.

I usually refrain from doing more than one post about abortion rights in a month, but this news has me riled-up. The obscenity and the violence of the other side always strikes a nerve in me. There are more than a few shameless, bona-fide terrorists on the other side. These are people who have bombed or set fires to clinics, attacked doctors, murdered doctors and clinic staff, threatened doctors, associated with white supremacist groups, threatened anthrax attacks, and have dreamt of inflicting greater death and destruction upon clinic sites and staff.

I'm frankly amazed they have never attempted to bomb Planned parenthood's headquarters in New York City (they have certainly made threats). But for how much longer will New York be free of sensationalist protests such as these? Again, I refer to my post from yesterday. Have these domestic terrorists conceded Manhattan as a place of accessible abortions, or do they dream of bringing their holy war here? Or are they just sending a message to doctors to be afraid? That's the first priority of terrorism: to scare people. As the ancient Chinese proverb says, "Kill one, frighten ten thousand." Thing is, there are far fewer than ten thousand licensed abortion providers in the USA.

I end this post with lyrics to a song I only just discovered while writing the words above. It seems fitting. Here are the lyrics to "Hello Birmingham," a fine protest song by Ani DiFranco:

hold me down
i am floating away
into the overcast skies
over my home town
on election day

what is it about birmingham?
what is it about buffalo?
did the hate filled wanna build bunkers
in your beautiful red earth
they want to build them
in our shiny white snow

now i've drawn closed the curtain
in this little booth where the truth has no place
to stand
and i am feeling oh so powerless
in this stupid booth with this useless
little lever in my hand
and outside my city is bracing
for the next killing thing
standing by the bridge and praying
for the next doctor

it was just one shot
through the kitchen window
it was just two miles from here
if you fly like a crow
a bullet came to visit a doctor
in his one safe place
a bullet ensuring the right to life
whizzed past his kid and his wife
and knocked his glasses
right off of his face

and the blood poured off the pulpit
yeah the blood poured down the picket lines
yeah, the hatred was immediate
and the vengeance was divine
so they went and stuffed god
down the barrel of a gun
and after him
they stuffed his only son

hello birmingham
it's buffalo
i heard you had some trouble
down there again
and i'm just calling to let to know
that someone understands

i was once escorted
through the doors of a clinic
by a man in a bulletproof vest
and no bombs went off that day
so i am still here to say
i'm wishing you all of my best
oh birmingham
i'm wishing you all of my best
oh birmingham
i'm wishing you all of my best
on this election day

Giuliani's Hot Streak Coming to an End?

It certainly appears that way. His inexperience and his greed have certainly come to light in the last few days. Fred Kaplan at Slate reports:

Slate.com / War Stories

The Man Who Knows Too Little

What Rudy Giuliani's greedy decision to quit the Iraq Study Group reveals about his candidacy.

By Fred Kaplan

Posted Thursday, June 21, 2007, at 6:44 PM ET

If you don't read Newsday, you might not know (I didn't until this week) that Rudy Giuliani was an original member of the Iraq Study Group—the blue-ribbon commission co-chaired by James Baker and Lee Hamilton—but he was forced out after failing to show up for any of the panel's meetings.

The day after the Newsday story appeared, Giuliani explained that he'd started thinking about running for president, and his presence on the panel might give it a political spin. "It didn't seem that I'd really be able to keep the thing focused on a bipartisan, nonpolitical resolution," he said.

The more likely reason for Giuliani's no-shows is much plainer—money. Craig Gordon, the Newsday reporter who wrote the story in the Long Island paper's June 19 edition, discovered that on the three days of meetings that Giuliani missed (before quitting), he was out of town, delivering highly lucrative speeches.

On April 12, 2006, he was giving a keynote address at an economics conference in South Korea for a fee of $200,000. On May 18, he was giving a speech on leadership in Atlanta for $100,000.

At that point, Baker gave Giuliani an ultimatum: Start showing up for sessions, or quit. On May 24, he quit, noting in a letter (provided to Gordon) that prior commitments prevented him from giving the panel his "full and active participation." (He was replaced by former Attorney General Edwin Meese, a puzzling choice for the job; maybe he was the only public figure Baker could find on such short notice. According to someone I know who attended one session, the elderly Meese "was barely conscious.")

Meanwhile, Giuliani was raking in exorbitant speaking fees around this time—according to Gordon, $11.4 million in the course of 14 months, $1.7 million for 20 speeches during the monthlong period that coincided with the Baker-Hamilton sessions.
Not that there's anything wrong with that. I doubt that I would have forgone six figures of easy income for the privilege of yakking about Iraq with a roomful of graybeards all day long. Then again, I wasn't about to run for president—the highest office of public service—on a résumé bereft of a single foreign-policy credential.
Rudy's choice—to go for the money—speaks proverbial volumes about his priorities.
His explanation for dropping out—that his impending run for the presidency would tarnish the panel's apolitical character—is dubious, to say the least.

First, it's not as if he signed up for the panel, then decided to run for president. He'd been set to run for months, if not years. (He seriously considered the idea—even gave a couple of fund-raising speeches in New Hampshire—as far back as late 1999.)

Second, bipartisan doesn't mean nonpartisan. James Baker—the Bush family's longtime consigliere, the Republican savior in the 2000 election—was the most non-nonpartisan co-chair that one could imagine. Giuliani's political ambitions, which were clearly detectable, would hardly have tainted the proceedings.

Third, it was widely assumed at the time that Baker-Hamilton would serve as Bush's vehicle for getting out of—or somehow otherwise resolving—Iraq. And Giuliani, like all other mainstream party members, was still very much in Bush's camp. To be a part of this 10-member panel—to claim the prestige of such august company, to play the role of politico-strategic statesman, and to gain instant credibility on a topic to which he'd previously had no exposure—should have been regarded as an enviable opportunity, both on its own terms and as a boost to his political fortune.

But—given a chance to elevate his standing, serve the country, and get educated on the nation's most pressing issue—Rudy went for the money.

Why did he accept the appointment in the first place? Many blue-ribbon panels are pro forma assemblages: Big names fill the roster; lowly staffers do the work. Giuliani may have signed up, fully aware of the gig's political value—then dropped out upon learning that it would cut into business.

It was not as if Giuliani feared the group might take positions that conflicted with his own. For, as Josh Marshall and his researchers at Talking Points Memo discovered (to their surprise), Giuliani has no position on Iraq. He has long supported Bush's decision to overthrow Saddam Hussein. But on the question of what to do now, he's been mum. Last week, Giuliani issued "the 12 Commitments," a document that lays out the agenda of his presidency. The First Commitment concerns terrorism ("I will keep America on offense in the Terrorists' War on Us"), but Iraq isn't mentioned at all.
Asked about the omission, Giuliani said that the idea was to address issues that will still be with us in January 2009. "Iraq may get better, Iraq may get worse," he said. "We may be successful in Iraq, we may not be. I don't know the answer to that. That's in the hands of other people."

First, what a bizarrely evasive comment, even by politicians' standards. Second, does Giuliani have the slightest doubt that, whatever happens in the next 19 months, Iraq will remain one of the most urgent topics that a new president will have to confront?

The fact is, Giuliani has no idea what he's talking about. On the campaign trail he says that the terrorist threat "is something I understand better than anyone else running for president." As the mayor of New York City on Sept. 11, 2001, he may have lived more intimately with the consequences of terrorism, but this has no bearing on his inexperience or his scant insight in the realm of foreign policy. He is, in fact, that most dangerous would-be world leader: a man who doesn't seem to know how much he doesn't know.

Take even his relatively straightforward First Commitment—to stay "on offense" against the terrorists. What does that mean, exactly? How does it differ from what Bush is doing now, or from what any other candidate, Republican or Democrat, would do?

In a campaign speech two months ago, he spoke of the threat from the Iranians, then lumped them in with al-Qaida, saying, "Their movement has already displayed more aggressive tendencies by coming here and killing us." When New York Times reporter Marc Santoro asked him afterward to clarify the remark, inasmuch as Iran had no connection to 9/11 and that its people are mainly Shiites while al-Qaida is composed of Sunnis, Giuliani replied, "They have a similar objective in their anger at the modern world."

What was he suggesting—that everyone who's hostile to the West should be regarded as part of a monolithic threat? Are they really all trying to kill us? Are they therefore all to be treated as an enemy to be crushed or conquered? Is there no point or possibility in trying to exploit the divisions among them? If so, where will President Giuliani get the troops and firepower needed for the multiple wars ahead?

A number of times, most recently in New Hampshire, Giuliani has likened the war on terrorism to the war on crime that he waged as mayor. Just as the "Comp-stat" technique—daily computerized tracking of where crimes are being committed, followed by instant redeployment of police—helped slash crime in New York City, similar methods, he suggested, can slash illegal border crossings and prevent acts of terrorism.

The analogy is off-kilter. Criminals, unlike terrorists, generally don't steal, rape, or murder for ideological causes. Nor does the New York City police chief need to negotiate with, say, the Brooklyn borough president in order to send more cops to Flatbush Avenue.

Even in his own realm, Giuliani has displayed uneven judgment. After 9/11, he rallied the city with gallant eloquence and organized the recovery with impressive skill. But before the attack, he installed a high-tech counterterrorism office on the 23rd floor of the World Trade Center's Building No. 7—even though terrorists had tried to blow up the trade center back in 1993. (On 9/11, Building 7 was destroyed by the Twin Towers' rubble.)

Giuliani also failed, ahead of time, to create a liaison between the police and fire departments, or to make their radios interoperable—a failure that may have cost many firefighters their lives. He also urged President Bush to hire his crony Bernard Kerik, first to train the Iraqi security forces, then to run the U.S. Homeland Security Department. Bush went along with the first, to no good effect, and was about to OK the second until the feds unearthed Kerik's massive record of corruption.
Where is the evidence that Giuliani's best behavior as mayor, before or after 9/11, says anything about his qualifications to be president?

His shrugged blow-off of Baker-Hamilton offers a glimpse at the darker side of America's Mayor: that he's in it not for the country, but for himself.

Article URL: http://www.slate.com/id/2168858/

Copyright 2007 Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive Co. LLC

And in his Slate blog, Bruce Reed explains better than anyone why the wind might be leaving Rudy's sails. Bloomberg has exposed Rudy for what he is: a New Yorker, and a non-committal Republican.

The Ghost of Rudy Past

For Giuliani, the real threat Bloomberg may pose is in the primaries.

By Bruce Reed, Slate.com

Thursday, June 21, 2007

So Nice, They Named It Twice: If you think you've had a long week, be glad you're not Rudy Giuliani. On Tuesday, his top Iowa adviser left to become Bush's OMB director. He had to dump his South Carolina campaign chair, who was charged with cocaine possession and distribution. But for Giuliani, those headaches paled alongside the week's most excruciating spectacle: seeing his successor, Michael Bloomberg, grace the cover of Time and leave the GOP to plot an independent bid for President. Even if Bloomberg ultimately decides not to run, Giuliani may already be the Bloomberg campaign's first victim.

For Giuliani, the Bloomberg boomlet is bad news on every level. First, Bloomberg joins Fred Thompson in sucking up much of the oxygen that Giuliani's campaign needs to keep breathing. In most national and statewide polls, Giuliani's lead is slipping or has disappeared altogether. While Bloomberg explores how many billions it might take to buy an election, Giuliani suddenly finds himself in no-man's land, as a frontrunner who can't buy a headline.

On Wednesday, Giuliani gave a speech detailing the first of his "12 Commitments." Granted, no one should make too much of a commitment ceremony with Rudy Giuliani. But the plan he offered on fiscal discipline wasn't bad. The national press chose to write another day of stories about Bloomberg.

The second burden is personal. Giuliani is famously selfish about sharing the limelight. He once fired his police chief William Bratton for appearing on the cover of Time. Giuliani's attitude was, "That's my job!" Now a man he thinks he picked for mayor has done it again. Far from firing him, Giuliani has to sit there and read all about it.

Most speculation about Giuliani and Bloomberg has focused on the general election, and the marquee prospect of a Subway Series between two New York mayors and a New York senator. But for Giuliani, the real threat Bloomberg may pose is in the primaries.

Unlike most presidential candidates, who tend to embellish their hometown roots, Giuliani's campaign depends on making Republican-primary voters forget every aspect of his past except 9/11. His Web site calls him "a strong supporter of the Second Amendment," not a Brady-billing assault-weapon banner. He's not from the "abortion capital of the world"; he's for parental notification and decreasing abortions. Gay rights? He's such a traditionalist, his record boasts more straight marriages than any other candidate.

Giuliani's Escape from New York was already tough enough, but Mayor Mike makes it nearly impossible. Bloomberg is the Ghost of Rudy Past—a constant, high-profile reminder of the cultural distance from the South Carolina lowlands to the New York island.

When Bloomberg launched his gun-control crusade, he gave it a name that sounds like the headline from a GOP rival campaign's oppo piece on Giuliani: "Mayors Against Illegal Guns." For conservatives, the same accomplishments the national media loves about Bloomberg are the first signs of the Trilateralist Apocalypse: From penthouses in Manhattan, they'll come for your guns; then they'll snuff your tobacco; and in a final blow to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, they'll take away your God-given right to trans-fats.

Mitt Romney looks disingenuous enough pretending that he saw Massachusetts and tried to stop it. Giuliani has no excuse. His last act as New York City mayor was to urge his people to elect Bloomberg to succeed him. Watching Bloomberg quit the party only reminds conservatives of their primal fear about Giuliani—that the GOP is not an article of faith but a way station of convenience.

You can take the mayor out of the city, but you can't take the city out of the mayor. The more coverage Bloomberg gets, the more his allies will compound the impression that one Hizzoner looks like another. In yesterday's Washington Post, Al Sharpton described Bloomberg with one of those only-in-New-York images:

"A girl in high school catches you looking at her and she starts wearing nice dresses," Sharpton says. "It doesn't mean she is going to date you. But she's at least teasing you, so it really increases your hope. This is a serious tease."

Sharpton just confirmed what they already thought down in South Carolina: Every New York mayor's a cross-dresser.
Copyright 2007 Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive Co. LLC

New York City: The Abortion Capital of the USA

Cheers to that.

But there is a powerful history of Abortion in New York that originates well before 1970, when abortion was pro-actively legalized in the city. This is worth a read no matter what side of the issue you are on. I think this article is two years old, but I found it in the wake of news last week that New Hampshire became the first state to repeal its parental notification law. Cheers to that, also.

And new history is being made today as women from Pennsylvania and the Midwest make their way to New York to have their procedures done.

I wonder if the anti-abortionists would be satisfied if procedures were banned in their home state, and not care if it continued to be done in New York? Or would they care, and want to try to stop procedures from being done in the city? Where do they draw the line that makes them feel comfortable? Not in their town? Not in their state? Not in their country? At what point does the distance of the medicine seem far away enough to them? At what point do they feel that they have done their part to stop the practice, and prevent women they don't know from correcting a mistake and saving themselves from an unwanted pregnancy?

Not Reported: Real Bomb Found Outside Austin Womens Clinic

Paul Ross Evans. Single male prone to violence and under 30 years of age. Fits the terrorist profile very well.

The first report was Wednesday April 25th. And the TV station even had a disclaimer that they normally don't report a suspicious package. Fair enough.

It is not KXAN's general policy to cover this kind of threat, however, given the magnitude of last week's U.S. Supreme Court decision on late-term abortions and the fact that authorities continue to divert traffic, we wanted to update the situation.

Nice of them. And I agree, a suspicious package should not make it to CNN. But then authorities found that the bomb was real. It was not a benign package. It was a homemade, high-pressure pipe bomb inside of a duffel bag. The would-be bomber was foolish enough to buy the bomb making materials and the bag at the local Lowe's and Wal Mart with his debit card in his name. I'll try to forgive the second story linked here for calling NAF (the national Abortion Federation) the AAF (American Abortion Federation).

Another day passed and there were subsequent stories about this, and it finally hit the national news wires when Mr. Evans was arrested on Friday.

The device, found in a duffel bag Wednesday, "was configured in such a way to cause serious bodily injury or death," said David Carter, assistant chief of the Austin Police Department.

The bomb, which was found in the parking lot of the Austin Women's Health Center, comes after last week's U.S. Supreme Court ruling that banned a controversial type of abortion and was viewed as an anti-abortion victory.


The last reported abortion-related incident in Texas was a 2002 arson in Dallas.

Wednesday's incident is being investigated by the regional Joint Terrorism Task Force, which is led by the FBI and includes Austin police.

Okay, a confirmed bomb, an arrest, and an investigation by the Texas Joint Terrorism Task Force. Now can this make national news? Nope.

And when a senior official in the Southern Baptist Convention wrote a declaration, supporting the murderer of Dr. Slepian and advocating that others follow his example, did that make the news? Nope.

The Supreme Court Upholds the 'Partial Birth' Abortion Act of 2003

As expected, the Supreme Court upheld the first federal law that prohibits a certain type of abortion procedure. It may be expected, but it is still almost unprecedented that the Supreme Court would rule against three Federal appeals courts, which ruled the law unconstitutional. The ruling also goes against previous Supreme Court rulings on the constitutionality of abortion. Who are the "activist judges' now?

First of all, it is not 'partial birth' if it is done between 12 and 22 weeks. ACOG does not recognize the term. But that's another story.

This decision is infuriating. Loosely interpreted, the law prohibits a fetus from being evacuated if it has a beating heart. But like many laws, there are several ways around it. Going forward, some doctors will inject a drug that stops the fetus' heart before evacuation (a fetus more than 12 weeks old would have a heart). This exposes the patient to a drug that has not been thoroughly studied. This also lengthens the surgical abortion procedure (called a D&E). It does not stop abortions being performed between 12 and 22 weeks, but it does complicate things a great deal.

This is not a small inconvenience for doctors. It impedes their ability to treat their patients effectively and safely. This is not a small setback for abortion rights. In terms of logistics and medical procedures, it is the biggest setback to abortion rights since they were ruled constitutional in 1973. Parental notification bills, or laws requiring doctors to tell patients about medical risks or adoption options pale in comparison with a law that directs doctors to treat their patients differently. Putting the Federal government between a doctor and his patient is no laughing matter. We should be outraged that our doctors must now be forced to abandon safe, proven procedures in favor of complicated, unproven ones.

D&E's are not as "rare" as the news reports linked here would have us believe. They are performed daily by doctors on patients more than 14 weeks pregnant. By my fuzzy math, they comprise about 10% of all abortions performed in America. That's 100,000 operations.

This is madness. We have activists, politicians, and judges -most of whom with no medical background- telling doctors how they should be doing medical procedures. They have no idea what they are doing. And soon the proponents of this illogical law will realize that they made surgical abortion more complicated, and possibly put women's lives at risk, rather than reduce the number of abortions. So they will come back again with state laws that further restrict what doctors can do, or more laws that send doctors to prison. We are supposed to be a world leader in medical technology. What have we become?

Those of us on the pro-abortion side need to fight harder to keep it legal. Abortion is a legitimate medical procedure. Pushing it into the hands of illegal clinics and amateurs is not a viable solution. Making it a medical procedure only for the wealthy and well-traveled is not a solution, either. We need to fight back, and fight harder. We are not going back to pre-1973...ever.

They brought it on. We need to do the same.

Supreme Court upholds law banning some abortions
Wed Apr 18, 2007 12:01PM EDT
By James Vicini

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A closely divided U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the first nationwide ban on a specific abortion procedure, restricting abortion rights in a ruling on one of the nation's most divisive and politically charged issues.

By a 5-4 vote, the high court rejected two challenges to the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act that President George W. Bush signed into law in 2003 after its approval by the Republican-led U.S. Congress.

The decision marked the first time the nation's high court has upheld a federal law banning a specific abortion procedure since its landmark Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973 that women have a basic constitutional right to abortion.

In a defeat for abortion rights advocates, the court's conservative majority with two Bush appointees upheld the law adopted after nine years of hearings and debate. The law has never been enforced because of court challenges.

The majority opinion written by Justice Anthony Kennedy rejected arguments the law must be struck down because it imposes an undue burden on a woman's right to abortion, it is too vague or too broad and fails to provide an exception for abortions to protect the health of a pregnant woman.

The court's four most liberal members -- Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, John Paul Stevens, David Souter and Stephen Breyer -- dissented.

Ginsburg, who called the decision alarming, took the rare step of reading parts of her dissent from the bench.

"In candor, the Partial Birth Abortion Act and the court's defense of it cannot be understood as anything other than an effort to chip away at a right declared again and again by this court -- and with increasing comprehension of its centrality to women's lives," she said.

The upheld law makes it a crime for a doctor to perform an abortion when the "entire fetal head" or "any part of the fetal trunk past the navel" is outside the woman's uterus.

The procedure, which often occurs in the second trimester of pregnancy, is known medically as intact dilation and extraction.

The two cases, widely viewed as the most important of the court's 2006-07 term, had been closely watched as tests of whether Bush's two conservative appointees, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, would restrict abortion rights. Both voted to uphold the law.

Roberts and Alito as U.S. Justice Department lawyers in the 1980s and early 1990s opposed the 1973 abortion ruling. Abortion was a central issue in their Senate confirmation hearings, when neither Roberts nor Alito would divulge how he would vote on abortion cases.

Abortion rights advocates who challenged the law denounced the ruling.

"This ruling flies in the face of 30 years of Supreme Court precedent and the best interest of women's health and safety," said Eve Gartner of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

"Today the court took away an important option for doctors who seek to provide the best and safest care to their patients. This ruling tells women that politicians, not doctors, will make their health care decisions for them," she said.

The Supreme Court by a 5-4 vote in 2000 struck down a similar Nebraska law for failing to provide an exception to protect a pregnant woman's health.

But moderate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who cast the decisive vote in 2000, has retired and was replaced by the more conservative Alito.