Bernie Sanders’ 50 Years of Civil Rights Activism

At one point, during the interlude (confrontation? interruption? those words feel judgmental) at Netroots Nation 2015 when Tia Oso and other activists tried to engage Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders, Sanders got frustrated.

“Black lives of course matter, but I have spent 50 years of my life fighting for civil rights and if you don’t want me to be here that’s OK.”

His comment, which is being interpreted as him being frustrated and somewhat short-tempered, is a great example of why many black activists are frustrated and somewhat short-tempered (to say the least).

Sanders, qualifying what I’m willing to say is a sincere belief on his part that black lives do matter, managed to frame the issue around what his own experience has been.

A critical element of this movement and this moment is centering black experience—learning to make it the focus, working to prioritize it, trusting in it without giving it the stamp of white experience for legitimacy.

I’m sorry that we don’t seem to have any candidates on the left who understand that.

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Who’s Really Making Money Off Abortion

A deceptively edited video has been making the rounds this week, attempting to convince people that Planned Parenthood clinics are compromising medical ethics and breaking the laws. Often, attacks against Planned Parenthood focus on accusations that the organization is willing to break the law to make money.

This always makes me laugh. Planned Parenthood clinics are some of the most heavily regulated, regularly audited businesses in the country. Their tax filings are public information, and no end of state agencies, not to mention the public, have access to their financial records.

What business in this country does not generate income offering a service? It is pretty much the American way. You offer a service or a product. People want it and are willing to pay for it, or they don’t, and you stay open or shut down based on that exchange.

People come to the clinic to get a service, they pay, the service is provided, and the people providing use the proceeds to keep the business open for the next person who needs it.

Salaries are paid to doctors, receptionists, nurses, security guards, cleaning crews, and administrative staff. Supplies are purchased. Insurance and utility companies get their fees. Construction companies and security firms get paid as well, since clinics have to protect themselves from attacks of all kinds.

So yes, you can say that Planned Parenthood clinics make money from providing abortion. But it is pretty easy to figure out where the money goes, and it is hardly a profit.

But you know who else makes money when Planned Parenthood provides abortion? Makes money that cannot be as easily accounted for, and isn’t subjected to anything close to the same levels of regulation and oversight?

The propaganda industry that has sprung up to harass Planned Parenthood.

Organizations like The Center for Medical Progress, and Live Action.

I’d like to get a look at the tax filings of the nonprofit which put out this most recent deceptive video, The Center for Medical Progress, but their tax forms do not yet show up in the IRS database, and they do not make them available on Guidestar, Charity Navigator, or their own website. (You can find Planned Parenthood filings on Guidestar, Charity Navigator, and the IRS site, in case you are curious.)

David Daleiden, who seems to have founded it [more info on him and the CMP here], used to be involved with Live Action, so we’ll check in on them. Live Action has registered as a nonprofit in Virginia. Live Action makes money because Planned Parenthood provides a medical service to clients who actively and affirmatively want that service.

Live Action provides no such service. They film people, secretly, and then edit the film to fit their agenda. They fly here and there, speaking. I’m sure they stay busy.

In 2013, per their IRS 990 (a tax form all 501(c)(3) organizations must file, including Planned Parenthood) they earned $1,747,163 in contributions. That’s a 578% increase over the funds they raised in 2010. How many businesses do you know that do not provide a service to customers but see a 578% increase in revenue over 4 years?

Kind of makes you want to get into the propaganda business, doesn’t it?

I’d like to talk about the money Operation Rescue makes as a propaganda organization that does not provide a service or product, but I cannot, because Operation Rescue has chosen not to operate as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. Their revenue is hidden.

They claim they opt out of operating as a nonprofit organization because their politics are too hard-hitting. A more practical reason they prefer to operate with less scrutiny is that the organization has had to form, dissolve, and re-form over time as its leadership has violated laws and been subject to civil lawsuits and large judgments that bankrupted them.

Various politicians eager to win points with the religious right are now calling for investigations based on the deceptive video that’s been making the rounds.

There is already an uncut version of the video available, by the way, which reveals that absolutely nothing illegal or unethical is being done.

No need to spend any taxpayer funds or government employees’ time on an investigation, but you know it can’t be that simple. Why?

There’s also an industry of “experts” who will now be called to speak as part of this investigation. Their travel will be paid for, and their time will be compensated, even though there is actual video evidence that directly refutes the claims they will be making.

Would you like a job that paid you to jet around the country testifying under oath about rumors and innuendos that can be easily dismissed with actual evidence? Did you know there’s a cottage industry of people making money spreading lies about abortion?

If not for Planned Parenthood, Live Action, Operation Rescue, and a whole cadre of people would have to find another way to make a living. So you tell me—who’s really making money off abortion?

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Texas Progressive Alliance Blog Roundup July 6, 2015

The Texas Progressive Alliance congratulates the USWNT on its awesome FIFA Women’s World Cup win as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff reports that thousands more Texas state employees are now eligible for spousal benefits thanks to the SCOTUS ruling on same sex marriage.

Libby Shaw at Texas Kaos and contributing to Daily Kos observes that it should be obvious the state’s government has become a gathering place for crooks, crony capitalists, religious fanatics, homophobes, racists and misogynists. Texas Governor Cruel.

SocraticGadfly takes a look at American exceptionalism, and the subject of counterfactual history, to produce some musings about the Fourth of July and American independence.

There are two things that will probably keep Sen. Bernie Sanders from acquiring the Democratic nomination for the US presidency, writes PDiddie at Brains and Eggs in the first of two posts on the topic. Clue: one of them isn’t money, and the other isn’t the questionable intelligence of the average American voter.


And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

The Lunch Tray updates us on her “pink slime” legal case and her use of Texas’ shield law.

Eric Berger explains why some rocket launches fail.

Elizabeth Rose has no trouble reconciling her Christian faith with same sex marriage.

Cody Pogue finds no good reason to oppose same sex marriage.

Two Houston Tomorrow interns share their bus-riding experiences.

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Abbott’s New SBOE Chair Yada Yadas Jim Crow & the Ku Klux Klan, but Makes Sure Everyone Knows Moses Was Practically a Founding Father

OK, so she didn’t technically say yada yada, but Donna Bahorich, Gov. Greg Abbott’s pick to chair the State Board of Education, pretty much voted to minimize any emphasis on slavery as the cause of the Civil War, and glossed over the nation’s troubling and often violent history of postwar racism, yet did make a passionate case for including a fictional figure from a religious text as a key influence on our founding fathers based in part on her interpretation of some failed art projects by Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams.

I explain it all in greater depth on Burnt Orange Report today.

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Serious Question

When the follow-up news story to reports of how the state’s attorney general willfully misrepresented the obligation states have to follow Supreme Court decisions generates headlines like:

First-degree felony charges
to be sought against
Texas AG Ken Paxton

is it time for said AG to tender his resignation to the governor? Or for the governor to demand it be submitted?

kp in jail stripes

Posted in good grief, politics, Texas | Tagged | 5 Comments

I Think He’s Not Waiting For It To Be Legalized

Pot, that is. And by he, I mean David Simpson (R-Longview).

Simpson filed a bill in the 84th session that would have removed any reference to marijuana from state criminal law (although he said he’d be fine regulating it the same way we regulate things like tomatoes). He explained:

“Everything that God made is good, even marijuana. The conservative thought is that government doesn’t need to fix something that God made good.”

Following that, um, logic, this week, he took a break from staring intently at his hand to ask the governor to convene a special session to take Texas out of the marriage license business. The state, he contends, should not play any role in validating a religious ceremony.

“I don’t like calling a special session. It’s costly. But when you’re faced with this confusion and chaos … something has to be done.”

In Simpson’s view, religious couples seeking to marry would solicit clergy, who would administer the marriage and provide documentation. Non-religious couples could create their own marriage documents and have them sealed at a notary public. The couples would then be eligible for marriage benefits.

Simpson doesn’t approve of same sex marriage — in fact he doesn’t even consider it marriage — but he said he’s not in a position to forbid anyone from doing anything that doesn’t harm anyone.

“They’re free people, and they have rights and they’ll only have to answer to God. It’s not my opinion that matters.

Sorry, Simpson, I doubt the governor will call a special session, unless someone comes up with a novel approach to restricting abortion access.

The only confusion and chaos seems to be among Republican elected officials, who are twisting themselves like sideshow contortionists to find a way to strip rights away from certain fellow Texans.

These human pretzel antics come from the same movement that had “religious corporations”* protesting that merely signing a waiver to earn an exemption from providing contraceptive coverage under Affordable Care Act guidelines is itself a violation of religious freedom.

We are a nation of laws. We are not a theocracy. At some point, you’re going to get a little peanut butter in your chocolate, and you’re going to get a little government in your private life, and you’re going to be OK. You might even be glad it’s there.

As a wise woman I know said, it is time for fringe religious right Republicans to “render unto Caesar and STFU.”

If you want a god to rule your life and your heart, well, glory be and pass the biscuits. But don’t go into the governing business and think that gives you the right to legislate your religious views.

The tantrums must stop. The political piety must stop. Texas schools need funds, our roads and bridges need repairs, and our water needs protecting. Fees from marriage licenses are part of what lets the GOP keep up the charade of Texas being a low-tax state. They need to put down the pipe and let it be.


*”Religious corporation” is not technically legal corporate structure, but try telling that to Hobby Lobby.

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Guess the Battle Plan Against LGBTQIA Community By Considering Abortion

I’ll be blogging at least once a week at Burnt Orange Report.

My first post yesterday covered the way my Spidey sense tingled when I heard the bigoted elected officials and “religious” activists talk about how they plan to attack the newly defined right for same-sex marriage after the Obergefell decision.

In a nutshell, they’re threatening to go after LGBTQIA rights the same way they’ve gone after abortion rights—a multi-pronged strategy that will take time and chip away slowly, slowly, on so many fronts that it will suck massive resources away from any other priorities. They don’t see the Supreme Court decision as the last word, but as an opening salvo. It’s exhausting, but we can prepare for it, and fight back smarter by learning the lessons of the abortion rights and reproductive justice movements.

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