Friday, June 19, 2009

Incorrect, Foreign Plumbing

The nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court has generated even more vituperation than expected. It’s certainly an indication of how far the gains made by the women’s movement in the 1970’s have regressed. The mostly male talking heads of the right wing corporate media have had a field day with Judge Sotomayor, calling her dumpy, emotional, and even a racist. The Supreme Court is traditionally a white male bastion – and white males don’t take kindly to having to share their long held power. Clarence Thomas, at least, had the correct plumbing. Sonia Sotomayor has incorrect plumbing, AND she’s a Latina. That’s threatening on two levels to the insecure white males who seem to dominate the print media and airwaves.

The right wing noise machine was all primed and ready to go before President Obama named Sotomayor as his choice to replace retiring Justice David Souter. Mark Hemingway, of the National Review called Sotomayor “dumb and obnoxious.” Sotomayor graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Princeton. She was a co-recipient of the M. Taylor Pyne Prize, which is the highest honor awarded by Princeton to an undergrad. Next, Sotomayor went to Yale Law School, where she was an editor of the Yale Law Journal. I don’t seem to recall this line of “thought” being put forward when Samuel Alito was being confirmed. His academic background is nearly the same (Princeton, Yale) although somewhat less distinguished. He was never referred to as “dumb and obnoxious.”

Former Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo, Newt Gingrich, and Rush Limbaugh have all called Sotomayor a racist. This would seem to be a massive case of projection. Here are 3 guys who hate women and minorities, spewing their nonsense on behalf of the GOP. The Republican Party’s problems with attracting women, young people, and minorities are not exactly being advanced by the ravings of the party’s Three Graces. Even Michael Steele, who isn’t exactly a candidate for Mensa, figured that out.

The hysterical racist accusations against Sotomayor are all linked to a sentence plucked from a speech she gave in 2001 at the University of California, Berkley School of Law. The entire speech is five pages long, and can be found here.
I recommend reading the whole speech – it provides an entirely different perspective than the selective one that is being presented as a way to gin up some racist hysteria. The hysteria is in fine, howling form. A visit to the website of James Edwards, self-diagnosed as “America’s most controversial radio host” reveals this astounding statement: “She’s a woman, and not only is she non-white, she hates white people and uses her current post to trample our rights. No matter who gets the job it’s going to be bad news for white people.” Yep, white folks will surely be facing all sorts of discrimination at the hands of women and minorities. Pity the poor, oppressed white man - isn’t he suffering enough?

Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies, blogged that Sotomayor should not expect people to pronounce her name correctly, that putting the emphasis on the last syllable of her last name was “unnatural in the English.” Mr. Krikorian is undoubtedly changing his last name to “Krik” since his last name is in need of anglicizing. No word on what he thinks of Rod Blagojevich. There is a fascination with Sotomayor and English by the far right. In addition to his other foolishness, G. Gordon Liddy described the Spanish language as speaking in “illegal alien.” A look at the far right website shows a number of geniuses judging Judge Sotomayor’s looks, and calling her an “intellectual lightweight”. Once again, the double standard is alive, well, and doing pushups. These same guys didn’t say boo when John Roberts was nominated to be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court with less than 2 years experience as a judge under his belt. Sotomayor’s 17 years on the bench are never mentioned. Clarence Thomas had even less experience on the bench, but no one calls him an intellectual lightweight, even though he’s never delivered a memorable decision as an associate justice, mostly just adding a “what he said” to the decisions of Scalia. The right calling Sotomayor an “affirmative action” hire is utter hypocrisy, given that Thomas was chosen for his race and his life story. To say otherwise is incredibly dishonest. To be honest – no one knows what makes a great justice. There is no formula to use to decide how a nominee will perform once confirmed. David Souter certainly defied expectations.

I don’t recall Antonin Scalia being described as “dumpy” or “unattractive” when he was a SOTUS nominee. I don’t recall anyone questioning Clarence Thomas’s judicial temperament at the time of his confirmation, despite the testimony of Anita Hill. The men who dominate political commentary would never describe another man as dumpy, or emotional, but women, of course, are judged with a different set of standards. Talk radio host (and former Nixonista) G. Gordon Liddy had this to say about Sotomayor, “Let’s hope that the key conferences aren’t when she’s menstruating or something, or just before she’s going to menstruate. That would really be bad. Lord knows what we would get then.” Studies show men think about sex every 7 seconds. Shouldn’t we be more concerned that men are busy in fantasyland when making important decisions? Should we worry that a number of the male justices are facing potential male midlife crises? Chief Justice Roberts is 54. He may decide to chuck it all, to run off with a silicone enhanced blonde in a red sports car. Oddly enough, one never hears that sort of conjecture.

In spite of the nightly hysteria generated by Bill O’ Reilly, Sean Hannity, and the weepy Glenn Beck, only women are portrayed as being emotional. Talk radio gives lie to that tired old sexist canard. Talk radio is full of howling, emotional men. I guess it’s a good thing they aren’t menstruating. Lord knows what we’d get then.

“God gave us all a penis and a brain, but only enough blood to run one at a time.” Robin Williams

This appeared in the Conway Daily Sun as an editorial on June 19, 2009
© s.bruce 2009

Monday, June 15, 2009

ginning up the faithful with lies

From the Chicago Tribune

Blogger's Baby was a Hoax

Story by Kim Janssen:

The unmarried mother's story about giving birth to a child diagnosed as terminally ill in the womb hit a major nerve on the Internet.
Every night for the last two months, thousands of abortion opponents across the nation logged on to a blog run by the suburban Chicago woman who identified herself only as "B" or "April's Mom."
People said they prayed that God would save her pregnancy. They e-mailed her photos of their children dressed in pink, bought campaign T-shirts, shared tales of personal heartache and redemption, and sent letters and gifts to an Oak Lawn P.O. box in support.
As more and more people were drawn to her compelling tale, eager advertisers were lining up. And established parenting Web sites that oppose abortion were promoting her blog -- which included biblical quotes, anti-abortion messages and a soundtrack of inspirational Christian pop songs.

By Sunday night, when "April's Mom" claimed to have given birth to her "miracle baby" -- blogging that April Rose had survived a home birth only to die hours later -- her Web site had nearly a million hits.

There was only one problem with the unfolding tragedy: None of it was true.

The author of the hoax - a social worker - said that the story was a fictionalized version of her own beliefs. The people who followed her blog and became emotionally involved are feeling betrayed.

And that's the trouble with the anti-abortion movement. The people involved at the grassroots level are easily manipulated, and the manipulators play them with lies. The lies get them all ginned up and self righteous - and they cannot and will not hear the truth.

The truth is that late abortions are seldom done. Maybe 100 a year. Women do not carry to near term and decide to abort. The decisions made to abort in the third trimester are indescribably painful.

Screenshot of the hoax blog

Facts about late abortions

Kansas Stories

I Am Dr. Tiller

Monday, June 08, 2009

The Tearful Troy Newman

This picture is from Operation Rescue's website.

This weekend the NY Times published an article about the abortion clinic protesters in Kansas. It's an amazing read - the antichoice folks do a little too much whining, and show no empathy for Dr. Tiller's family.
Although Operation Rescue worked for years to close down Dr. Tiller’s clinic, his death was never the outcome Mr. Newman wished for, he said. Of the man charged with killing Dr. Tiller, he tearfully said, “This idiot did more to damage the pro-life movement than you can imagine.”

Aw, poor Mr. Newman! Poor Operation Rescue! For years you picketed Dr. Tiller's clinic, held up pictures of mutilated fetuses, screamed about murder - and now you're pissed off because one of your whack jobs killed the golden goose?

This is the thing. The fetus fetishists had control of the White House, both houses of Congress, and the Supreme Court - yet they did nothing to stop abortion. Why? Because for the GOP and the Christian Taliban - abortion really is the golden goose. It's a way to keep money flowing, keep crazy people busy, and get folks all stirred up - without Operation Rescue having to do very much work at all. Tearful Mr. Newman of Operation Rescue was undoubtedly raking in a nice big salary for blabbing on endlessly about a cause he probably could care less about, as long as the faithful were sending in donations. How much more cynical, and transparent could these people be?

Scott P. Roeder, a Kansas City man charged with murder in Dr. Tiller’s death, was not a member of Operation Rescue or a contributor to it, Mr. Newman said. But the authorities found a slip of paper with the organization’s name in Mr. Roeder’s car when he was arrested, as well as the name of one of its leaders and her telephone number. He had also met Mr. Newman at least once.

“I have been racking my brain to see if there was something I could have done,” Mr. Newman said of Mr. Roeder.

Dr. Tiller’s clinic was the one — the big one — Mr. Newman had always hoped to close. Still, he said, if it closed now it would be no victory for Operation Rescue.
“Good God, do not close this abortion clinic for this reason,” he said. “Every kook in the world will get some notion.”

Apparently his brain isn't very big. It's pretty easy to discern what Mr. Newman might have done. The Operation Rescue staffer, Cheryl Sullenger, whose name was in Roeder's car had been convicted of clinic bombings in the past. Perhaps Mr. Newman could have avoided hiring convicted terrorists.. Perhaps he could have instructed his terrorist army to tone down their rhetoric. He could have instructed his army of terrorists not to put up websites with pictures of doctors, their families, maps to their homes and churches, etc. There are plenty of things he could have done. He didn't do a single one of them.

I won't be surprised to find that Mr. Newman's organization helped fund Scott Roeder. A guy with no job, and $10 to his name needed money for gas to keep driving across the state to glue clinic doors locked. Someone was funding Roeder.

Troy Newman worked for an organization that (at the very least) helped to ensure that this happened. For him to whine about it shows incredible hubris. This arrogant little whiner has blood on his hands - and lacks the grace and intelligence to feel guilty for having helped to incite a murder.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

This Murder was allowed to Happen

On Sunday, May 31, Dr. George Tiller was gunned down in the lobby of his church, in Wichita, KS. He was murdered as he handed out church bulletins to his fellow congregants at the Reformation Lutheran Church. His wife was there. A terrorist came in and shot Dr. Tiller. Dr. Tiller was one of the few remaining doctors who performed late term abortions. Anti-abortion extremist groups had targeted Tiller for assassination. There is an irony in how religious these groups are. Their websites are covered with scripture – and yet George Tiller was murdered in the house of God.

Abortion clinics have been the target of violence since Roe v Wade became law in 1973. Bombings, arson, butyric acid attacks, and anthrax mailings have all been staples of these domestic terrorists. The killings started in the early 1990’s. Dr. David Gunn was murdered in Florida in 1993. That same year, a woman named Rachelle Shannon shot Dr. George Tiller in the arms. She is serving an 11-year term for attempted murder, as well as some additional time for 6 arson and 2 butyric acid attacks at clinics. In 1994, Dr. John Bayard Britton and his clinic escort were shot and killed by Paul Hill, who also shot and injured another clinic worker that day. That same year, Dr. Garson Romalis was shot and wounded at his home in Vancouver, BC. James Kopp is the suspect. In 1994, John Salvi shot up two clinics in Brookline, Ma. He killed Shannon Lowery and Leanne Nichols, and wounded 5 others. In 1995, Dr. Hugh Short was shot and wounded at his home in Ontario. James Kopp has been charged with attempted murder in this case. Kopp is also a suspect in the 1997 shootings of a doctor in Rochester, NY and one in Winnipeg. In 1998, a clinic bombing in Birmingham killed Officer Robert Sanderson; AL. Nurse Emily Lyons was seriously injured. Eric Rudolph is serving a life sentence for bombing that clinic and another, as well as a gay bar, and the bombings at Olympic Park. In 1998, Dr. Bernard Slepian was shot and killed at his home in NY by James Kopp, who is serving a life sentence.

This was a murder that was allowed to happen. Dr. Tiller had been a target for decades. There is a web page with his picture, the picture and address of his clinic, his home address – and a map, pictures of his wife, and interestingly, a picture of his church – along with the address. The unnamed group responsible for the site didn’t go as far as photoshopping a bull’s eye on any of the many pictures of Dr. Tiller, but their intent is obvious.

There was a steady barrage of harassment and threats against Dr. Tiller for years. Some of it came from the far right extremist media. Bill O’Reilly has been beating the drum about “Tiller the killer” for the last five years. Naturally, O’Reilly denies any culpability - but, then again, he’s a well-known liar. Fox has almost nothing to do with news, and everything to do with ginning up their followers. As the old saying goes, “If you hang around a barber shop, you’re going to get a haircut.” If you continually indulge in inflammatory, violent, hate speech – you’re going incite some violence.

Extremist anti-abortion groups have all been screaming about how, since they didn’t pull the trigger, this isn’t their fault. We are supposed to believe their websites, protests, and endless hate rhetoric all exist in a vacuum. The only reason these groups exist is to inflame the passions of their followers and incite them to action. Only 3 days after Dr. Tiller’s murder, antiabortion extremist blogger Jill Stanek (a frequent Fox News guest) put up pictures of the next target, Dr. LeRoy Harrison Carhart. She included pictures of his clinic, too – and a helpful link to the same website that had all of the Tiller information. Dr. Carhart’s hit page contains pictures of him, his wife, his daughter, the clinic – and a request for more information and better pictures. Apparently they don’t have his home address, and that of his church. Still, there’s plenty available for a gunman to work with, presumably after he reads the helpful scriptures and quotes.

This is a murder that was allowed to happen. Scott Roeder was a well known anti-abortion terrorist. He’d done time for having bomb-making materials in his car. The FBI is charged with protecting abortion clinics and staff. Roeder had been twice reported for gluing the locks of a clinic in Kansas City – the second time was the day before Dr. Tiller’s murder. The staff person who caught Roeder, called the FBI, and reported the incident, and provided the plate number on the car Roeder was driving. The FBI told the staffer that they couldn’t do anything until a federal grand jury convened. Roeder drove to Wichita in that same car, and killed Dr. Tiller. This is a murder that was allowed to happen.

Abortion is legal. The violence continues – because no one is willing to defend abortion and a woman’s right to choose. It has been determined that abortion protestors have a right to stand in front of clinics and harass women. To interfere with their right to harass patients, staff, and doctors would be a violation of their right to free speech. I’m guessing that a group of protestors outside urology offices chanting and handing out pamphlets about “IMPOTENCE – GOD’S PLAN FOR YOU” would not be given similar latitude. Abortion – and women- make us squeamish.

Abortion is legal. Murder is not. What are we going to do about it?

“If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.” Florynce Kennedy

“If the anti-abortion movement took a tenth of the energy they put into noisy theatrics and devoted it to improving the lives of children who have been born into lives of poverty, violence, and neglect, they could make a world shine.“ Michael Jay Tucker

For thorough documentation of clinic violence:

This was published by the Conway Daily Sun on May 5, 2009 as an op-ed.

© s.bruce 2009

Monday, June 01, 2009

terrorist rhetoric

Statement by Randall Terry, founder of Operation Rescue:

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

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

So, when will Randall Terry be rounded up and sent to Gitmo? That is where we send terrorists, right?