Thursday, June 20, 2019

Last Call For The Road To GIlead, Con't

A three-judge panel at the 9th Circuit ruled that the Trump regime can begin cutting Title X family planning funding while Planned Parenthood's lawsuit against the government plays out, a sign that the appellate court sees the Trump regime prevailing in its quest to harm women.

A federal appeals court this morning said the Trump administration's family planning rules can take effect nationwide while several lawsuits play out, delivering a major blow to Planned Parenthood and states challenging the overhaul.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted the Trump administration's request to lift national injunctions ordered by lower federal courts in Oregon and Washington state, as well as a statewide injunction in California.

A panel of three judges, all appointed by previous Republican presidents, said the administration will likely prevail in the legal battle over the Title X family planning program since the Supreme Court held up similar Reagan-era rules almost 30 years ago, though they were reversed by the Clinton administration before taking effect.

"Absent a stay, HHS will be forced to allow taxpayer dollars to be spent in a manner that it has concluded violates the law, as well as the Government’s important policy interest in ensuring that taxpayer dollars do not go to fund or subsidize abortions," the judges wrote in a 3-0 opinion.

Barring further court orders, the Trump administration can enforce a rule finalized this spring that strips federal Title X funding from any clinic that provides abortions or abortion referrals. The administration and anti-abortion movement have celebrated the rules for blocking tens of millions of federal dollars to Planned Parenthood, which serves a large portion of the 4 million low-income patients receiving family planning and health services through the program.

Provider groups, including the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, have called this a "gag rule" and warned that it will interfere with sensitive conversations between doctors and patients.

For the first time in the Title X program's decades-long history, the new rules also allow funding to faith-based clinics opposing abortion and contraception and to promote "natural" family planning methods, including abstinence

The plan to criminalize safe abortion procedures (or to effectively eliminate access to them) and to then start pulling funding for contraception and education for low-income women is being done on purpose, to make women having sexual independence so costly that only wealthy white women can afford it.

For the rest of America, (and for migrants too, let's not forget the Trump regime is literally putting migrant women in camps and taking their kids from them at this point) the goal is to trap them in the underclass.  Gotta have that private prison pipeline, you know.

And the Road to Gilead continues.

Good Ol' Boys Club, Con't

It wouldn't be Kentucky politics unless Jerry Lundergan was in trouble with the Feds, and even in the era of Democrats coming under assault by Bill Barr's Justice Department, Lundergan has been dirty for decades.

Federal prosecutors want to present evidence that Kentucky Democratic Party stalwart Jerry Lundergan funneled corporate contributions to his daughter, Alison Lundergan Grimes, in her 2011 and 2015 races for Kentucky secretary of state as they try to prove he illegally did the same thing in her 2014 U.S. Senate bid.
However, Lundergan has not been charged in connection with alleged illegal contributions in the state races, and his attorneys have asked a judge to bar prosecutors from giving jurors evidence about them.

The new information about Lundergan allegedly making improper corporate contributions to Grimes’ two state campaigns was included in a document filed Tuesday by federal prosecutors.

The document was to provide notice that prosecutors intend to use the information against Lundergan and Dale C. Emmons, a Democratic political consultant, if a judge lets them.

The notice alleged that Lundergan, through companies he owns, spent a total of $325,602 for work on such things as campaign mailers to benefit Grimes’ 2011 and 2015 races. More than $260,000 of that total went to a person identified in the notice only as Person C.

Information in a separate defense motion indicates Person C is Jonathan Hurst, a Democratic political consultant who helped Grimes in her state races and managed her unsuccessful 2014 bid to unseat Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Lundergan’s payments to Hurst included $170,849 in October 2011 for a campaign mailing he ordered and paid for to help Grimes, according to the prosecution motion.

Lundergan paid Hurst and Emmons through companies he owned such as S.R. Holdings Co., the notice said. That is the same company Lundergan allegedly used to make contributions to Grimes’ 2014 race.

The motion prosecutors filed Tuesday also did not identify Grimes as the candidate Lundergan was helping, but other court filings make clear she is the Candidate A referred to in the case.

The motion said Lundergan made the payments during times when Emmons was helping Grimes’ campaign.

Prosecutors said they need to tell jurors about the 2011 and 2015 payments to show Lundergan’s intent to break the law by making corporate contributions to Grimes’ campaign in 2014 without reimbursement from the campaign.

“This evidence is relevant to prove the defendants’ intent, plan, preparation, knowledge, and absence of mistake concerning the crimes charged in the indictment,” the motion said. “Evidence of Lundergan’s prior conduct will establish that he knew and intended to use these same methods to contribute corporate money to Candidate A’s 2013-2014 federal campaign, and that Emmons knew and intended to facilitate these contributions by receiving the corporate payments.

This is a major reason why Kentucky Dems fail, it's always the Beshear family baggage, the Lundergan family baggage, or both.  Meanwhile Mitch McConnell remains the most unpopular Senator in the country and nobody can beat him here.

The Drums of War, Number 18 Edition

We're witnessing the run up to the Iraq War being used to get us into a shooting war with Iran, and 18 years after 9/11 the time frame isn't 18 months like it was in 2001-2003 but more like 18 weeks.

Administration officials are briefing Congress on what they say are ties between Iran and Al Qaeda, prompting skeptical reactions and concern on Capitol Hill that the White House could invoke the war authorization passed in 2001 as legal cover for military action against Tehran.

As tensions between the United States and Iran have surged, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Pentagon officials have told members of Congress and aides in recent weeks about what they say is a pattern of ties between Iran and the terrorist group going back to after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, officials said.

They have stopped short of telling lawmakers or aides in large group settings that the 2001 authorization for the use of military force from Congress, which permits the United States to wage war on Al Qaeda and its allies or offshoots, would allow the Trump administration to go to war with Iran. President Trump has said he does not want a war, but he ordered 2,500 additional troops to the region in the last month in response to what American officials said was a heightened threat.

Statements tying Iran and Al Qaeda by Mr. Pompeo and other officials point to the potential for the administration to justify invoking the 2001 authorization, some lawmakers say. And when asked in recent weeks by lawmakers and journalists whether the administration would use the 2001 authorization, Mr. Pompeo has deflected the questions.

“They are looking to bootstrap an argument to allow the president to do what he likes without coming to Congress, and they feel the 2001 authorization will allow them to go to war with Iran,” said Senator Tim Kaine, Democrat of Virginia.

Mr. Kaine, a member of the Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees, declined to discuss details of classified briefings, but said senior administration officials had “talked about Iran providing safe haven to Al Qaeda.”

Mr. Pompeo, a West Point graduate and former C.I.A. director, visited United States Central Command in Florida on Tuesday to talk about Iran with military commanders as acting Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan announced his resignation.

In a classified briefing that Mr. Pompeo gave on May 21 with Pentagon officials to the full House, “he discussed the relationship between Iran and Al Qaeda,” said Representative Elissa Slotkin, Democrat of Michigan.

She said Mr. Pompeo’s talk of that relationship in both public and private settings and his refusal to answer questions on a potential use of the 2001 authorization “raises the specter that to him, the relationship between Iran and Al Qaeda gives the administration that authority

Using the 2001 AUMF to justify military force in 2019 is insane, and yet that's exactly where we are headed.

The Trump administration and its domestic political allies are laying the groundwork for a possible confrontation with Iran without the explicit consent of Congress — a public relations campaign that was already well underway before top officials accused the Islamic Republic of attacking a pair of oil tankers last week in the Gulf of Oman.

Over the past few months, senior Trump aides have made the case in public and private that the administration already has the legal authority to take military action against Iran, citing a law nearly two decades old that was originally intended to authorize the war in Afghanistan.

In the latest sign of escalating tensions, national security adviser John Bolton warned Iran in an interview conducted last week and published Monday, “They would be making a big mistake if they doubted the president's resolve on this.” Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan announced on Monday evening that the U.S. was deploying an additional 1,000 troops to the region for “defensive purposes.” And Secretary of State Mike Pompeo jetted to Tampa, Fla., home of Central Command, on Monday evening to huddle with military officials to discuss “regional security concerns and ongoing operations,” according to a State Department spokeswoman.

The developments came as Iran announced it was on course to violate a core element of its nuclear deal with major world powers, exceeding the amount of enriched uranium allowed under the agreement in 10 days unless European nations intervened to blunt the economic pain of American sanctions. And they came as U.S. officials promoted video footage and images showing what they say were Iranian forces planting explosive devices on commercial oil tankers.

All it will take is one "Remember the Maine!" moment with an "Iranian mine" crippling a US naval ship near the Strait of Hormuz, and it's on. It might not even take that much.

War with Iran is Trump's 2020 reelection platform.


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