Jared Woodfill has a plan to win the chairmanship of the Texas Republican Party this year: rally some of the most viciously anti-LGBT and anti-abortion extremists in support. Naturally, religious-righters are thrilled.

Woodfill, a former Harris County GOP chair, helped craft and lead the reprehensible fear-mongering campaign that succeeded in repealing the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) last fall. That ordinance protected LGBT people from discrimination, but Woodfill and other HERO opponents screamed that it would endanger women and children in public bathrooms. (Never mind that Woodfill, an attorney, is defending a man sued for allegedly taking photographs of women changing clothes in a bathroom without their knowledge.)

After the success of the deeply dishonest anti-HERO campaign, Woodfill has now signed on to defend indicted anti-abortion activists who helped make deceptively edited videos attacking Planned Parenthood.

Whether he’s defending discrimination and smearing LGBT people or attacking women’s reproductive freedom, Woodfill has allied himself with the most repugnant creatures on the religious right. You can see that by reading a Houston Press report from a pro-Woodfill, “Take Back the Party” event in Houston last week. Speakers at the gathering bizarrely railed against Republican leaders they are trying to portray as closet liberals.

How bizarre is that? Consider that one of their targets is state Rep. Debbie Riddle, R-Tomball. Riddle thinks the… Read More

Texas state Rep. Bill Zedler, R-Arlington, is foot-stomping mad that a Harris County grand jury has handed down indictments against two anti-abortion activists who helped make doctored videos attacking Planned Parenthood. The same grand jury essentially cleared Planned Parenthood of outrageous charges that the organization was illegally selling tissues from aborted fetuses.

Rep. Zedlers used Twitter in his dishonest temper tantrum:

Planned Parenthood illegally sells baby parts = praise & taxpayer funding. Exposing it = felony charges. Disgraceful!!!

— Bill Zedler (@Bill_Zedler) January 26, 2016

Planned Parenthood illegally sells baby parts = praise & taxpayer funding. Exposing it = felony charges. Disgraceful!!!

So Zedler continues to promote a lie that the grand jury has already discredited. Moreover, his contempt for the law couldn’t be clearer. Zedler apparently has no problem with individuals who break the law in the promotion of a lie and political agenda that he supports. That’s the real disgrace, Rep. Zedler.

Gov. Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton also are promoting the same deceitful agenda. Both released statements on Monday (here and here) insisting that the state’s own “investigation” of Planned Parenthood will continue, facts be damned.

Their war on the the… Read More

The religious right’s vicious and deceitful attack on Planned Parenthood — part of a long war on abortion and other other reproductive health care services for women — appears to be backfiring in a big way.

Last year anti-abortion activists released a number of deceptively edited, undercover videos that suggested Planned Parenthood was illegally selling tissue from aborted fetuses. Religious-righters and their political allies — like Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick — demanded that authorities investigate and prosecute Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood officials strongly denied the charges and pointed out that the videos had been edited in a way designed to smear and embarrass the organization. Moreover, they argued that the video makers used fake government IDs and made other false representations in order to get into private conference and health care clinics when making the videos.

The Harris County District Attorney’s Office did launch an investigation, but it turns out that grand jurors in Houston appear to believe Planned Parenthood instead of the lies coming from anti-abortion fanatics.

A Harris County grand jury has declined to indict Planned Parenthood officials in Houston. Instead, the grand jury has handed down indictments against two people involved in making the videos. David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt were indicted on charges of tampering with a government document.… Read More

As the State Board of Education prepares this week to vote on which new social studies textbooks to approve for Texas public schools, we are encouraged that publishers are making a number of changes to problematic passages in their texts. In each of these instances, publishers are responding to serious concerns by scholars working with the Texas Freedom Network and coalition partners.

Climate Change

Reviewers at the National Center for Science Education identified textbook passages from four publishers that would mislead students about the real and growing threat of global climate change. The passages included inaccurate information on climate science and promoted climate change denialism. Three of the publishers, including major publisher Pearson Education have submitted revisions correcting those problems. The fourth publisher, McGraw-Hill, has indicated that it will revise a particularly problematic passage in its Grade 6 World Culture and Geography textbook, but we are waiting for details. Taken together, these changes would represent a major victory for science education over the political arguments of climate change denialists.

Islam

 … Read More

Prominent Texas Republican Targets Critics with Lawsuit

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 20, 2011

A libel and defamation lawsuit filed against two former Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) candidates and an Internet writer appears to be an attempt by a prominent Texas Republican to chill free speech about his questionable past associations, Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller said today.

David Barton filed a lawsuit on September 1 alleging that two Democrats who lost SBOE races in 2010 had falsely painted him as a sympathizer with white supremacists. Barton is a prominent public speaker and is closely associated with national GOP leaders and former Fox News commentator Glenn Beck. He is also head of WallBuilders, a far-right advocacy group that argues against separation of church and state, and former vice chair of the Texas GOP.

“It’s puzzling that Mr. Barton has chosen now to sue two former candidates for simply discussing something that has been in the public record for nearly two decades – his past associations with groups reportedly tied to white supremacist and anti-Semitic movements,” Miller said. “Instead of suing people for essentially repeating what has already been reported, perhaps he should acknowledge his poor judgment in… Read More

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