Threats for terrorism way up

The number of threats of terrorism for one thing was up a lot in 2015 but you probably won’t hear much about it, because it’s about abortion:

According to the federation, death threats targeting abortion providers increased from one in 2014 to 94 in 2015, while incidents of vandalism at clinics rose from 12 to 67.

The most violent occurred in November, when a gunman opened fire at a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado, killing three people and wounding nine. The man accused in the attack, Robert Dear, has described himself as a ‘‘warrior for the babies.’’

The abortion federation — alarmed by the heightened hostility — has for the first time hired an outside security firm to track online threats. Saporta said the firm began its work in mid-November and in a six-week span identified more than 25,000 incidents of hate speech and threats.

The report is here and includes:

Additionally, the number of hoax devices or suspicious packages found in or around abortion facilities increased four-fold in 2015.

These levels are far below the 1990s when Operation Rescue was in full swing but it’s still troubling.

If you don’t think this is terrorism, go back to the report to find that since 1977 there have been: 11 murders, 26 attempted murders, 42 bombings, and 185 cases of arson. All to try to get a political goal, outlawing abortion.

Oh, the amount of threats is up mainly because of videos targeting Planned Parenthood. The man who made those videos is now being investigate in a second state because of suspected criminal activity. So far, none of the investigations have found any crime committed by Planned Parenthood.

Trump only aghast when others question his religious views

Donald Trump:

“I have many friends that live in Salt Lake,” Trump said, adding: “By the way, Mitt Romney is not one of them.”

“Are you sure he’s a Mormon?” Trump asked the crowd. “Are we sure?”

Donald Trump when the Pope somewhat-sorta-maybe noted that he might not have Christian values:

For a religious leader to question a person’s faith is disgraceful. I am proud to be a Christian and as President I will not allow Christianity to be consistently attacked and weakened, unlike what is happening now, with our current President. No leader, especially a religious leader, should have the right to question another man’s religion or faith.

Of course Trump isn’t a leader so I guess it’s ok for him to question another man’s faith.

Jerry Falwell Jr makes a funny

So, the Pope said this:

“A person who only thinks about building walls, wherever they are, and not in building bridges, is not Christian,” said Francis, who grew up in Argentina and is the first pope from Latin America.

Trump, of course, insulted him but that’s not news. But this is:

Jerry Falwell Jr., a well-known evangelical leader who has endorsed Trump, also responded by saying the pope was out of line.

“Jesus never intended to give instructions to political leaders on how to run a country,” he told CNN.

First, he contradicts himself immediately (since he has endorsed Trump) and second he’s the son of Jerry Falwell who was one of the most political religious leaders in history.  Given this, I assume Falwell meant this as a joke. It’s actually pretty funny.

Marco Rubio doesn’t like unity

So, President Obama went to a mosque yesterday:

“If we’re serious about freedom of religion — and I’m talking to my fellow Christians who are the majority in this country — we have to understand that an attack on one faith is an attack on all faiths,” he said.

Although Obama never mentioned Republican presidential candidates like Donald Trump and Ben Carson, the targets of his remarks were clear. “We have to reject a politics that seeks to manipulate bigotry,” Obama said.

Now he does hit the Republicans who have been pushing against Muslims, so let’s see what Marco Rubio says:

Rubio accused Obama of pitting Americans against one another “along ethnic lines and racial lines and economic lines and religious lines.” His comments were part of a meandering response to a question about what his management style would be like as president.

“I’m tired of being divided against each other for political reasons like this president’s done,” Rubio said. “Always pitting people against each other. Always.”

“Look at today – he gave a speech at a mosque,” Rubio continued. “Oh, you know, basically implying that America is discriminating against Muslims. Of course there’s going to be discrimination in America of every kind. But the bigger issue is radical Islam. And by the way, radical Islam poses a threat to Muslims themselves.”

The main part of Obama’s speech was about how Muslims are part of America and have been since its founding. It was mostly a typical unity speech, which Rubio finds divisive. Here is some of that divisive rhetoric:

 

and:

We’ve got to make sure that hate crimes are punished, and that the civil rights of all Americans are upheld.  And just as faith leaders, including Muslims, must speak out when Christians are persecuted around the world or when anti-Semitism is on the rise — because the fact is, is that there are Christians who are targeted now in the Middle East, despite having been there for centuries, and there are Jews who’ve lived in places like France for centuries who now feel obliged to leave because they feel themselves under assault –sometimes by Muslims.  We have to be consistent in condemning hateful rhetoric and violence against everyone. And that includes against Muslims here in the United States of America.

and:

If you’re ever wondering whether you fit in here, let me say it as clearly as I can, as President of the United States:  You fit in here — right here.  You’re right where you belong.  You’re part of America, too.  You’re not Muslim or American.  You’re Muslim and American.

Oh, and Marco:

Hate crimes against Muslim Americans and mosques across the United States have tripled in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif., with dozens occurring within just a month, according to new data.
The spike includes assaults on hijab-wearing students; arsons and vandalism at mosques; and shootings and death threats at Islamic-owned businesses, an analysis by a California State University research group has found.

Cruz craziness

Ted Cruz’s crazy preacher father is campaigning for him in Iowa, so let’s hear what he has to say:

The next day, at the Marion church, Cruz, dressed in a blue suit, railed against the abolition of prayer and Bible reading in schools as the cause of skyrocketing teen pregnancy, dropout rates, and vandalism. Now, he said, “homosexual marriage” is the latest “frontal attack on religious liberty.”

“The devil overplayed his hand because this decision has acted as a catalyst to awaken the sleeping giant,” Cruz said, his voice booming through the church. He never mentioned his son’s name.

Hmm, let’s see: teen pregnancy is at record lows:

The preliminary birth rate for teenagers in 2014 was 24.2 births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 19–down nine percent from 2013 and a whopping 61 percent from the most recent peak in 1991.

high school graduation rates are at record highs:

For the fourth straight year, the U.S. high school graduation rate has improved — reaching an all-time high of 82 percent in the 2013-2014 school year, the Department of Education announced Tuesday. Achievement gaps have narrowed, too, with graduation rates ranging from 89 percent for students classified as Asian/Pacific Islanders to 62.6 percent for English-language learners.

Violence is decreasing, but I’m too lazy to see about vandalism so I’ll leave that alone.

So Rafael Cruz is completely wrong, but the reporter here doesn’t think it’s noteworthy to say that what he said was completely wrong. I see why people might not realize that he’s completely wrong.

Planned Parenthood

Republicans say we need to bring Planned Parenthood to court to prosecute them for what they’ve done. Oh wait, it’s already happening? Well, now we’ll see all the terrible things they’ve done:

Officials in 11 states have cleared Planned Parenthood of wrongdoing after investigating claims that they profited from fetal tissue donation, officials said, including Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and Washington.

Officials in eight other states declined to investigate citing a lack of any evidence, including California, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, New Hampshire and Virginia.

Oh. Well, now there’s a grand jury investigation in Texas and they’ll surely find something:

A grand jury investigating allegations of misconduct against Planned Parenthood after the release of covertly shot videos about the use of fetal tissue from abortions has instead indicted two anti-abortion activists who made the videos, authorities said Monday.

David Daleiden, 26, director of the Irvine-based non-profit Center for Medical Progress, was indicted by the grand jury on a felony charge of tampering with a governmental record and a misdemeanor count related to purchasing human organs, Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson said in a statement.

An employee at the center, Sandra Merritt, was also indicted on a charge of tampering with a governmental record.

Oops. I wonder if this will change the minds of the Republicans:

“Nothing about today’s announcement in Harris County impacts the state’s ongoing investigation,” Texas Governor Greg Abbott said in a statement late Monday.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton agreed.

Silly me, of course not.

 

Stay there

Ben Carson went to visit Syrian refugees in Jordan:

After meeting with refugees at a camp in Jordan, Carson, 64, told CNN that “their true desire is to be resettled in Syria.”

“But they are satisfied to be in the refugee camps if the refugee camps are adequately funded. Recognize that in these camps they have schools, they have recreational facilities that are really quite nice. And there (are) all kind of things that make life more tolerable,” he added.

Speaking from Jordan, told ABC’s “This Week” program: “We’re hearing that they all want to come here to the United States, and that’s not what they want. They want to go back home.”

In the ABC interview, Carson called for increased U.S. aid for regional refugee efforts such as those in Jordan.

“I believe that the right policy is to support the refugee program that is in place, that works extremely well but does not have adequate funding,” Carson said. “If you do that, you solve that problem without exposing the American people to a population that could be infiltrated with terrorists who want to destroy us.”

Of course they want to go home, but there’s a bit of a problem–Syria’s in the midst of a civil war involving at least three sides. What about that?

Carson said that Islamic State should be defeated quickly and criticized the current U.S. strategy as “piecemeal.”

“I think we need to work in close conjunction with our Department of Defense, with our Pentagon, with our experts. Ask them what do you need in order to accomplish this? And then, let’s make a decision,” he told NBC.

Carson went over to Jordan because he is perceived, rightly, as being very weak on foreign policy. Somehow I don’t think announcements like this will help. He has no idea of what defeating ISIS involves and he seems to have no idea that the refugees might want to go home but know they can’t right now. They also might be satisfied with being in a refugee camp, but they don’t want to live there long term–Carson might have noticed that more than a million have tried to make their way into Europe. Or maybe he hasn’t noticed.

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