The Anatomy of a Smear

New smear videos aimed at destroying Planned Parenthood were selectively edited to make it appear the organization was collecting and selling fetal tissue from abortions for profit.  It’s possible to create videos using readily available editing software to create any message one desires.  Right wing groups have been fraudulently doing this for years.  They destroyed a great organization called ACORN and have targeted Planned Parenthood for some time.

Let’s look at this realistically instead of the sensationalized approach being taken by many on the right wing.  Planned Parenthood does NOT sell fetal tussue for profit.  Yes, some is collected to be used for medical research but Planned Parenthood only collects it’s costs for doing it and sending it to labs.

Even the videos purporting to show that the organization does this show no evidence for its claims.  The original footage of the edited videos are available for anyone to watch.

Protests have been organized by anti-choice crazies and calls to defund Planned Parenthood have been gaining steam.  Investigations into a practice no one has shown any evidence of are being threatened.

Let’s get real folks.  This is a hoax created by people out to destroy Planned Parenthood.  Only 3% of the medical procedures done by the organization are abortions.  The vast majority of women (and men) coming t its health centers are there for routine medical evaluations, exams and treatments.  One in five American women have used Planned Parenthood as a health care provider.  For many uninsured women Planned Parenthood is their only choice for health care.

Who are the people who recorded and edited this attack?  They are rabid anti-abortion extremists.  The Center For Medical Progress is a right wing group and one member of its Board is Troy Newman from Operation Rescue.  One of its members, Scott Roeder, assassinated Dr. George Tiller.   This organization has used violence against abortion providers including attempted bombings.

These people are violent extremists who will stop at nothing to destroy Planned Parenthood and their highly edited videos show that the organization has done nothing illegal though they have attempted through their selective editing to do so.

Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates (I was a Board member for quite a while though I no longer serve the organization) issued this statement:

The Center for Medical Progress (CMP) is an extreme activist organization whose sole mission is to

prevent women from accessing health care and to destroy Planned Parenthood.  The board members of

this group believe that abortion is “genocide,” and employ people who went to jail forĀ attempting to

bomb a women’s health clinic. They are also connected with the man who murdered abortion provider

Dr. George Tiller.

CMP has used footage obtained through deceit and unlawful behavior, including possible violations of

state recording laws, federal tax laws and falsified state identification.  Then, they concoct wildly false

stories through selective editing.  We expect this video will be no different in that regard; however,

footage yet to come is expected to represent an extreme violation of patient privacy by including

footage of post-abortion fetal tissue neither patients nor health care professionals authorized be filmed.  

When your network decides whether to consider this story newsworthy, or whether to use any of this

footage at all, we urge you to keep this in mind: The extremists who entered Planned Parenthood labs

under false pretenses violated research protocol, and, worse, violated the privacy of patients

involved. Those patients’ privacy should not be further violated by having this footage shared by the

media.

The storage and examination processes that CMP used to get this footage are medically necessary. It is

necessary medical professionals ensure an abortion is complete so that patients do not get an infection.  

When tissue is donated for medical research, these steps are also necessary for the donations to be

completed.  It is also medically necessary that researchers evaluate the laboratory procedures of a

medical provider for safety standards and best practices.  

Some of the conversations and protocols that occur in medical settings and among professional peers

can sound jarring when taken out of context.  While this can be difficult to hear or watch, it should not

be used as an excuse to defund Planned Parenthood.

CMP gained access to Planned Parenthood facilities under false pretenses and filmed without securing

approval from the Planned Parenthood staff being filmed or the patients whose privacy is compromised

by this secret videotaping.  The material should not be aired.

Rep. Davidson to Announce for Lt. Gov.

A source tells me that State Rep. Margo Davidson is about to announce her candidacy for Lt. Governor.  She has been telling folks in Delaware County she has decided to run.  The field for Lt. Governor has been filling as quickly as that for Governor as Tom Corbett continues putting his foot in his mouth every time he opens it.

Rep. Davidson would join Mark Critz in the conservative Democratic wing of this primary.  Brad Koplinski, a certified progressive, has been leading this contest for some time and has amassed an impressive list of endorsements.  Margo Davidson’s record in Harrisburg is extremely troubling and includes a vote to close abortion clinics, prevent women from purchasing abortion insurance coverage with their own funds in the new ACA exchanges and support of school vouchers.  She spoke for vouchers on the House floor, an effort which drains our public schools of desperately needed revenue.

Thus far vouchers and charter schools have siphoned $1.5 billion from Pennsylvania’s public schools.  Several abortion clinics were forced to close after the infamous ambulatory surgical center standards passed with Davidson’s help.   Others were forced to spend millions making unnecessary renovations which increased the cost of abortions.

Just because a legislator is Black and/or female does not mean they are progressive.  Margo Davidson is proof.

40 Years of Safe, Legal Abortion

Today marks the 40th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision Roe v Wade.  We celebrate the reproductive rights of women today while they are are under a full assault by those who would condemn women to back alley abortions once again.

Let’s be clear on one point:  outlawing abortion doesn’t make it disappear.  There’s no such thing as eradicating abortion.  We have two choices:  enable women to obtain safe, legal procedures or condemn them to back alley butchers.  Too many women died at the hands of those “practitioners” before 1973.  Passing laws against abortion are no more effective than the laws against illegal drugs or prostitution.  You cannot legislate human behavior.  We can either protect women and ensure children keep their moms or we can relegate too many of them to orphanages because their moms died unnecessarily from unsupervised and unsanitary procedures not regulated.  Killing women is not a “pro life” position.

Pennsylvania abortion providers have been under attack in Harrisburg making the legal medical procedure both harder to get and more expensive.  Five abortion clinics have closed since Gov. Corbett signed legislation requiring onerous, expensive and unnecessary regulations.  The modifications required are pricing many women out of the market and forcing poor women to have babies they don’t want.  How will those kids be raised when their parents didn’t want them in the first place?  We wonder where so much juvenile crime comes from…

Perhaps we need to adopt the same strategies against guns which are being used against abortion providers.  Maybe we need laws requiring gun dealers to adopt extensive modifications to their facilities:  have them spend $500,000 to $1,000,000 making their shops safer, adding gun training ranges inside them, force all prospective gun owners to watch videos of people killed by gun violence, take intelligence and psychological tests before being able to own a gun.  If we can require such strict limitations on a woman’s right to obtain a constitutionally protected right then why exempt gun owners?  

Forty years of safe, legal abortion has made us a somewhat civilized nation.  Going backwards, as we have been doing, turns us into nothing more than a banana republic.  Our expanding income inequality is doing that at an alarming rate and the growing ranks of those in poverty should be sending strong signals we are risking troubling instability in America.  The war on women is but one aspect of this all and we ignore it at our risk.

Billman, Rozzi Spar Over Marriage Equality, Planned Parenthood

Tea bagger Jim Billman is attacking Mark Rozzi for supporting the constitution:

I thought the Tea Party ilk revered the constitution?  Aren’t these the morons who went around all summer in 2010 waving it at us and insisting we follow it?

Why then is he running this commercial?  The constitution guarantees equal justice for all.  The 14th Amendment provides for equal protection under the law.  That means we cannot have one law for straight people and something else for LGBT citizens.  That’s why Rozzi supports marriage equality, it’s the American thing to do.

Perhaps Billman wants to revert to times when “traditional marriage” meant you could sell your daughter, marry multiple women (as Mitt Romney’s grandfather did) or have to marry your sister-in-law if your brother died (even if you were already wed).

I have a question for Mr. Billman:  why should you have a right I don’t have?  That’s Unamerican.

I won’t comment on the Planned Parenthood part of the attack ad that’s for our staff to do.

Billman ran a commercial for a short while wherein he waved a wad of municipal citations and claimed he was being targeted by the City of Reading for running.  He seems to own a number of investment properties for which he can’t pay his mortgages (they’re for sale on a short sale basis) or keep up.  Many of these citations predate his running.  He’s a typical tea bagger:  the perpetual victim.

Here’s Mark Rozzi’s response:

As State Representative I will represent each and every member of my District, whether they are a man or women, gay or straight, Republican or Democrat. I am a strong supporter of individual rights. I also understand that millions of American women rely on organizations like Planned Parenthood for health care services including regular checkups, breast cancer screenings and reproductive screenings. Women have the right to affordable and quality health care. What we can’t do is listen to the extreme Tea Party voices like my opponent who make outrageous claims that there is such a thing as “legitimate rape” or that pregnancy from rape is something “God intended to happen”.

Update:  From Adrian Shanker, President of Equality Pennsylvania:

“Jim Billman’s offensive and frankly, ignorant, ad makes it abundantly clear that he is out of touch with a majority of Pennsylvanians who support marriage equality. There could not be a clearer choice in this election. Mark Rozzi believes in equality, while his opponent wants to ensure inequality for generations to come.” – Adrian Shanker, President, Equality Pennsylvania

Lehigh Valley Pride

Pride in the Park was held yesterday in Allentown and the Lehigh Valley LGBT community came out on a cool, overcast day to celebrate.  Several State House candidates attended and reinforced their support for equality.  These included Mike Schlossberg, Kevin Deely, Leslie Altieri and Joe Haas.

Joe Haas:

Altieri:

Deely:

Jerame Davis, Executive Director of the National Stonewall Democrats spoke about the gains made under President Obama and urged support for the Respect For Marriage Act and ENDA Employment Non-Discrimination Act).  His partner Bill Browning of The Bilerico Project also spoke.  They made the four hour trip from DC to lend their support for the Obama campaign and LGBT rights.  Adrian Shanker, President of the Board of Directors of Equality Pennsylvania invited them and did the introductions.

Shanker:

Davis:

Browning:

Mike Morrill of Keystone Progress was there along with son Noah:

Liz Bradbury and Trish Johnson were working for Pennsylvania Diversity Network:

It turned out to be a bit cool for the dunk tank:

Metcalfe’s Planned Parenthood Bill Would Jeopardize Federal Funds

Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, the darling of ALEC, has introduced a bill to defund Planned Parenthood.  His illogic is that he wants to prevent state funding of abortions.  Pennsylvania law already prohibits that and no state funds are used to pay for abortions.  What his bill would do is to close 42 health clinics which serve Pennsylvania residents.  These clinics perfomr pap smears, breast and cervical cancer screenings, tests for sexually transmitted diseases, HIV testing and routine ob/gyn examinations for many poor people for whom Planned Parenthood is their only medical provider.

It would also jeopardize all federal funding for women’s health care through Medicare and Medicaid.  When Texas enacted a similar law it lost $35 billion.  Metcalfe’s bill would be a violation of federal law.

Gina Rodriguez of the HHS Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services graciously sent me links regarding the law and its consequences.  I met her recently at a White House Hispanic Action Summit and asked her if this would happen.  In an email yesterday she wrote:  “Freedom of choice to all willing & qualified Medicaid providers is a fundamental principle of the program.”

When Texas enacted Mr. Metcalfe’s extreme legislation it received this letter from Health and Human Services.  When the state refused to budge it lost all federal funds for women’s health programs.

Are we going to stand for such an extreme agenda based on a lie?  Are we going to stand aside while a non-elected group like ALEC uses Metcalfe to push its radical agenda and destroy women’s access to needed health care?  Any legislator in Harrisburg who co-sponsors this bill, votes for it in committee or on the floor should be aware of its consequences.  Ignorance is no exception for being responsible to the women of Pennsylvania.

Disclosure:  I am a member of the Board of Directors of Planned Parenthood Association of Pennsylvania, Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates and Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Political Action Committee.

News & Notes June 4, 2012

Former State Senator Jane Orie was sentenced today to 2 1/2 to 10 years and hauled straight off to state prison.   There was no determination on restitution.

Jury selection begins tomorrow in the Sandusky trial in Centre County.  I seriously doubt there’s anywhere near the necessary evidence for a conviction.  The AG’s office hasn’t even found all the alleged victims.  How do you try someone for a crime when you don’t even know who the victim was?

I was at the Capitol all day today visiting state House members about the payday lending bill and Rep. Metcalf’s attempt to defund us at Planned Parenthood.  A Medicare/Medicaid expert at Saturday’s White House Summit said all federal funding for women’s health would be at risk if the bill passed.  Texas lost $35 billion when it passed similar legislation.

UFCW Local 1776 volunteers were plying the hallways working against Mike Turzai’s attempt to defund the Commonwealth by $500 million/year by privatizing liquor stores.  I also ran into Sharon Ward of the Keystone Research Center, Andy Hoover of the ACLU and others.

I also got to the Treasury Department.  It turns out they’ve been holding a small amount of my money for the last thirty years.  I should get a check in 7-10 days.  

Harrisburg Pride returns this year.  If you’re in central PA this LGBT celebration is one to attend.  June is Pride month for our community.  I plan on being at Philly Pride this Sunday.

Tea Party Congressman Allen West has said many outrageous things.  He’s Washington’s Daryl Metcalfe:  a crazy man masquerading as a lawmaker.  Here he is talking about a bill called the “Let Women Die” Act:

Here’s what the law does:

A vote for a bill that would allow hospitals to turn away a woman seeking an abortion, even if it is necessary to save her life (and further giving them license to refuse to refer her to another hospital that could save her life), is not what many would call a laughing matter. But at a town-hall meeting this week, Allen West proved many of us wrong, even calling out to his wife, saying, “Did you know that I voted to let you die?” He also jovially mentioned his vote in favor to redefine rape.

The recall election of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is tomorrow.  Walker is a real sleazball.  Here are some excerpts from the Tom Barret/Walker debate:

Trayvon Martin killer George Zimmerman is back in jail.  Caught lying about his financial condition for bond a judge revoked his previous release.  This has destroyed any credibility the man has making his case for justified homicide weak.

Americans are stupid.  47% in a recent poll believe in creationism over evolution and science.  These same morons don’t believe in global warming even as seas have risen 7 inches and are threatening seaside communities.  How many people have to flee or relocate due to the melting of the ice caps before they wake up from their delusions?  It doesn’t matter what sort of denial you’re in, the oceans aren’t going to stop rising because climate change is very real.  What will happen in the future when millions of people around the world have to flee inland?  I can’t imagine the chaos.

How many Pennsylvanians will die to create a few jobs from fracking?  Time will tell.  Unfortunately idiots think getting a handful of jobs is worth polluting our entire state.  Pennsylvanians aren’t immune from the general stupidity.  A mobile home park in Jersey Shore is being evicted to supply water for the fracking industry.  No company should force people from their homes so they can make a profit.

Marriage bigots boycotting JC Penney are disappointed the company is celebrating Fathers Day with an ad which has two gay dads.  They’re a real couple with real kids.  Please go do some shopping at Penneys.

A good video:

Metcalfe Wants to Defund Planned Parenthood

Rep. Daryl Metcalfe will introduce legislation tomorrow which would defund Planned Parenthood.  This bill would jeopardize the health care of thousands of Pennsylvanians.  For many women Planned Parenthood is their only source for health care, for cancer screenings, pap smears, mammograms, contraception, std tests, among other treatments and tests.  One in five American women use Planned Parenthood at some time in their lives.  The attempt to eliminate all funding for our services follows last year’s attack on our abortion services.

Extremists want to destroy Planned Parenthood and leave women without access to medical care.  Please contact your State Representative and demand they support Planned Parenthood.

Disclosure:  I am a Board member of Planned Parenthood Association of Pennsylvania, Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates and Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania PAC.

Update:  The statement from Planned Parenthood:

Metcalfe Introduces Bill to Eliminate Planned Parenthood Funds for Cancer Screening and Preventive Care  

“Politics has no place interfering with breast cancer screenings,” Planned Parenthood says.

HARRISBURG, PA – At a press conference sponsored by out of state political organizations, Representative Daryl

Metcalfe will introduce a bill intended to disqualify Planned Parenthood from receiving any funds from the

Pennsylvania Department of Health for preventive services including lifesaving breast and cervical cancer screenings,

STD screenings and treatment including for HIV, infertility screenings and treatment, and birth control education and

supplies.  State and federal law prohibit public funds from paying for abortions in Pennsylvania.  

Statement from Sari Stevens, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates:

“In these difficult economic times, it’s disappointing some politicians in Harrisburg would rather block women’s

access to cancer screenings, birth control, and annual exams than address the real needs of the

Commonwealth.  Women and families need high quality, affordable health care, not more political meddling.  

“Planned Parenthood won’t let politics interfere with the health care that one in five women in America relies on

at some point in her life.  Planned Parenthood health centers are open in Pennsylvania today, and they’ll be open

tomorrow.  Women are counting on us to protect their cancer screenings, birth control and basic, preventive care

– and we will fight for them.”

Statement from Candice, a Planned Parenthood patient from Philadelphia:

“When Daryl Metcalfe talks about defunding Planned Parenthood, he’s talking about denying people like me

healthcare. People who constantly balance health care costs with paying the bills. I use Planned Parenthood for

my annual exam – which includes cancer screenings – because it is the provider I can afford and access and trust.

Without Planned Parenthood, millions of people like me would have nowhere else to turn.”  

Background Facts:

FACT:  In 2011, Planned Parenthood provided over 44,000 breast wellness exams, 200,000 STD tests, and 40,000

cervical cancer screenings – detecting over 5,000 abnormal pap tests which if untreated can lead to cancer.  

FACT:  The “Whole Woman’s Health Funding Priorities Act” is expected to eliminate Planned Parenthood from

funding to provide affordable birth control, lifesaving cancer screenings, and STI testing and treatment for lowincome patients through Department of Health programs.  

FACT:  Each year, Planned Parenthood’s 42 nonprofit health centers in Pennsylvania care for more than 120,000 men

and women.  

FACT:  There is overwhelming public support for state funding for Planned Parenthood.  A February Susquehanna

Polling and Research survey shows that 65 percent of Pennsylvania voters and a majority from every region of the

state and of every political party support state funding for Planned Parenthood’s preventive services.

State House 134 Endorsement: Patrick Slattery

The 134th is a special election to fill the seat of former Rep. Douglas Reichley, now a Lehigh County Common Pleas Court Judge.  Ryan McKenzie is running on the GOP side and is the subject of a $100,000 ad campaign by Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania PAC (disclosure, I’m a Board member) and Planned Parenthood Federation.  The subject is the unconstitutional ultrasound bill which Gov. Corbett said is no big deal, women should just “close their eyes.”  Yes, close their eyes while a government mandated invasive and unnecessary invasive procedure is done on them unwillingly.  It is a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment.  The government has to get a search warrant before it can forcefully penetrate someone’s body without their consent.

Patrick Slattery doesn’t support this bill.  Ryan McKenzie would.  I first met Patrick in 2010 when he ran against Reichley.  He was the final guest on our WGPA Democratic Talk Radio show.  He is smart, personable, engaging and good looking which always helps in politics.  A hard worker who has already knocked on 10,000 doors he shows the work ethic necessary to win.  That and an ability to listen to the voters makes him a great candidate.

News & Notes April 16, 2012

Did everyone finish their taxes and contribute to the success of our civilization?  Taxes are an investment in our communities, our society.  They are the price we pay to live in a civilized society.  Some Americans don’t believe they should pay their fair share which is what the Buffet Rule is all about.  While Mitt Romney pays a measly 14% effective tax rate and deducts expenses for multiple homes and five domestic employees the rest of us are struggling.

Barack Obama and Joe Biden have released twelve years worth of tax returns.  Romney isn’t releasing his, isn’t saying where his investments are (other than Switzerland and the Cayman Islands), how much offshore money he has stashed away or who is contributing all those millions to his Super PAC.  We do know he wants to cut his taxes even further.

The Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers is the latest group to endorse Erin Molchany for the 22nd House seat.  Is anyone outside the Democratic Party organization supporting the crook she’s running against?

In that same race the PA Supreme Court removed Shawn Lundy from the ballot.  Well, not really since the voting machines used there are incapable of being reprogrammed to remove his name.  It’ll still be on the machine next Tuesday although he has been disqualified.  This is yet another argument for voting machines with integrity.

Babette Josephs has a great ad going:

Rep. Mark Cohen is getting some strange publicity because his campaign manager parked in a press area outside City Hall.  Citing the TV show Parking Wars some press outlets went after Cohen.  It’s all much ado about nothing.  The man also works for a weekly Philadelphia paper the Sunday Sun where he’s circulation manager.  So he was allowed to use the parking space, no journalism ethics were breached and Mark got some unjustified bad publicity over nothing.

The ex-gay movement has always been a hoax.  People trying to scam desperate people kept insisting they could change sexual orientations, always for a fee, of course.  One guy has written about his experience in the movement and exposes it for what it is in this essay.  Interesting reading.

The winners in Maryland of that big Mega Millions jackpot are a group of teachers.  In spite of hitting the lottery they plan on keeping their jobs.  There’s some real dedication for you.

Conservation Voters f PA has made four endorsements:  Patrick Murphy for AG, Dave Levdansky, Babette Josephs and James Roebuck for State House.

As Rep. Daryl Metcalfe gets ready to send a bill tot he State House defunding Planned Parenthood he needs to remind himself of the mess Texas created by doing that.  Planned Parenthood is suing Texas and the federal government cut off $35 billion in women’s health care funding there because the action violated the law.

Abstinence only sex education leads to teen pregnancies.  Not educating our young people about the birds and the bees leads to bad outcomes.  Red states with such bad curriculums have the highest rates of teen pregnancy in the country.

If an employer wants your facebook or Twitter passwords you don’t want to work for them.  This is a guaranteed method for driving good people away from your firm.  Maryland is now acting to make it illegal and we should follow their lead.

Gov. Gasbag is delusional in telling taxpayers to blame local school boards for his slashing funding for those schools.  Republicans in Harrisburg refuse to take responsibility and raise some taxes(natural gas extraction), close some loopholes and generate revenue to fund public schools.  By doing so they pass that responsibility down to local school boards whose only source of revenue is the property tax.  Because of their blind obedience to Grover Norquist instead of Pennsylvania’s children they do us all a disservice.  Seniors are losing their homes so corporations can avoid paying their fair share of taxes and then Corbett refuses to accept personal responsibility.

Store managers at GNC’s Pennsylvania stores were forced to work unpaid overtime.  This is theft of wages and the company should lose its license to operate in the Commonwealth as punishment.

After Wisconsin passed Voter ID they conveniently closed DMV offices in Democratic districts so those voters would have great trouble obtaining ID’s.  Here we don’t have DMV places like other states but voters trying to obtain copies of their birth certificates seem to be suddenly running into delays.  How convenient?  Somehow this reminds me of Wisconsin’s antics.

I used to watch the TV show Restaurant Impossible until they came to several regional businesses and made a sham out of reality television.  The producers seem to have a habit of making the places they are “saving” seem extremely dirty, filthy and dangerous.  Its all a sham for the cameras.  Robert Irvine should be ashamed to be affilaited with such scammers.