Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Last Call For The Road To Gilead, Con't

With the Trump-controlled federal courts refusing to block Title X funding directives ending all federal money for clinics that perform abortions, the Trump regime is mandating that taxpayer-funded clinics cannot refer women for abortions and that organizations that do provide abortions must separate into different facilities next year, something that will almost certainly put the majority of remaining abortion providers out of business.

Effective immediately, family planning clinics that are funded by taxpayers must stop referring women for abortions, the Trump administration said Monday. The Health and Human Services (HHS) Department formally notified clinics that it will begin enforcing the ban on abortion referrals, along with a requirement that clinics maintain separate finances from facilities that provide abortions.

HHS issued the notification ahead of a planned conference Tuesday with the clinics. In addition to the rule on separate finances, another requirement that both kinds of facilities cannot be under the same roof will take effect next year.

Religious conservatives hailed the new regulation, while medical organizations and women's rights groups denounced it. The head of a national umbrella group representing the clinics said the administration is following "an ideological agenda" that could disrupt basic health care for many low-income women.

The rule is widely seen as a blow against Planned Parenthood, which provides taxpayer-funded family planning and basic health care to low-income women, as well as abortions that must be paid for separately. The organization is a mainstay of the federally funded family planning program and it has threatened to quit over the issue.

Planned Parenthood President Leana Wen said in a statement that "our doors are still open" as her organization and other groups seek to overturn the regulations in federal court. "We will not stop fighting for all those across the country in need of essential care," Wen said.

HHS said no judicial orders currently prevent it from enforcing the rule while the litigation proceeds.

Clare Coleman, president of the umbrella group National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association, said, "The administration's actions show its intent is to further an ideological agenda." 

So as of now, abortion clinics that take any taxpayer money are effectively out of business, or soon will be.  As a direct result of the new rules, Planned Parenthood has removed its president, Dr. Leana Wen.

Planned Parenthood on Tuesday removed its president after less than a year in the job, seeking new leadership at a time when abortion rights have come under increasing attack from statehouses and Republicans in Washington.

The move came after hours of negotiations Tuesday between the board of directors and the president, Leana Wen, according to two people familiar with the decision.

Dr. Wen had been the first physician to lead the organization in decades. The people familiar with the move said there had been internal strife over her management, and that the group felt it needed a more aggressive political leader to fight the efforts to roll back access to abortions.

The board voted unanimously on Tuesday to appoint Alexis McGill Johnson, the co-founder of the Perception Institute, an anti-bias research group, to temporarily replace Dr. Wen, the people said. Ms. McGill will serve as acting president and chief executive of both Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the nonprofit that provides health care services, and Planned Parenthood Action Fund, its political arm.

Dr. Wen wrote on Twitter after the news broke: “I just learned that the @PPFA Board ended my employment at a secret meeting. We were engaged in good faith negotiations about my departure based on philosophical differences over the direction and future of Planned Parenthood.”

In a joint statement, Aimee Cunningham and Jennie Rosenthal, the chairwomen of the two Planned Parenthood boards, said, “We thank Dr. Leana Wen for her service to Planned Parenthood in such a pivotal time and extend our best wishes for her continued success.”

Wen backed the organization away from political fights, saying that inserting politics into women's health care was detrimental.  Of course, this meant Planned Parenthood was unarmed when walking into fights with the Trump regime, and they've lost every fight since Wen took over for Cecile Richards.  Planned Parenthood needed a fighter and not an administrator.

Here's hoping Alexis Johnson is willing to go the mats.

Meanwhile, we grow closer to Gilead and criminalizing failure to give birth when pregnant, reducing women to breeding machines...

Russian To Judgment, Con't

Why yes, Julian Assange absolutely was a Russian asset working to throw the 2016 election to Trump, and CNN has the receipts to prove it.

New documents obtained exclusively by CNN reveal that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange received in-person deliveries, potentially of hacked materials related to the 2016 US election, during a series of suspicious meetings at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. 
The documents build on the possibility, raised by special counsel Robert Mueller in his report on Russian meddling, that couriers brought hacked files to Assange at the embassy. 
The surveillance reports also describe how Assange turned the embassy into a command center and orchestrated a series of damaging disclosures that rocked the 2016 presidential campaign in the United States. 
Despite being confined to the embassy while seeking safe passage to Ecuador, Assange met with Russians and world-class hackers at critical moments, frequently for hours at a time. He also acquired powerful new computing and network hardware to facilitate data transfers just weeks before WikiLeaks received hacked materials from Russian operatives. 
These stunning details come from hundreds of surveillance reports compiled for the Ecuadorian government by UC Global, a private Spanish security company, and obtained by CNN. They chronicle Assange's movements and provide an unprecedented window into his life at the embassy. They also add a new dimension to the Mueller report, which cataloged how WikiLeaks helped the Russians undermine the US election. 
An Ecuadorian intelligence official told CNN that the surveillance reports are authentic. 
The security logs noted that Assange personally managed some of the releases "directly from the embassy" where he lived for nearly seven years. After the election, the private security company prepared an assessment of Assange's allegiances. That report, which included open-source information, concluded there was "no doubt that there is evidence" that Assange had ties to Russian intelligence agencies. 
UC Global did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

To recap, Assange met with Russian agents and hackers, received packages from them, and was responsible for the DNC leaks that helped to cost Clinton the White House in 2016.  I've been saying for years this was true, and now we have some pretty damning proof.

This should be a much bigger story, and Democrats should be screaming about it, but here we are.

Sub(poena) Optimal

Another week, another Trump regime flunky ignoring a House subpoena, and another round of mostly empty threats from the Democrats.

White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway on Monday defied a congressional subpoena, refusing to show up for testimony to the House Oversight and Reform Committee about her violations of the Hatch Act and prompting House Democrats to threaten to hold her in contempt of Congress.

In a letter to Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the chairman of the panel, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone asserted the Trump administration’s long-standing view that current and former presidential advisers are “absolutely immune” from congressional testimony, writing: “Ms. Conway cannot be compelled to testify before Congress with respect to matters related to her service as a senior adviser to the president.”

“Because of this constitutional immunity, and in order to protect the prerogatives of the Office of the President, the president has directed Ms. Conway not to appear at the committee's scheduled hearing,” Cipollone continued.

Cummings threatened to hold Conway in contempt of Congress if she does not honor the subpoena before July 25.

“This is a clear cut case. We are not requiring her to testify about advice she gave the president or about the White House’s policy decisions,” Cummings said before adjourning Monday’s hearing.

“We are requiring her to testify before Congress about her multiple violations of federal law, her waste of taxpayer funds, and her actions that compromise public confidence in the integrity of the federal government,” he added.

Conway is just the latest administration official to find herself a target of House Democrats’ investigations. White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham slammed House Democrats, accusing them of trying to “harass” the White House with their myriad probes targeting the president and his administration.

“Today, Chairman Cummings and Democrats on the House Oversight Committee continued their purely political campaign to harass the president and his close advisors,” Grisham said. “Democrats continue to overreach and politicize the Office of Special Counsel — this time, by trying to silence Kellyanne Conway with ill-founded, phony allegations about the Hatch Act.”

So most likely we'll see some behind-the-scenes negotiations and a closed-door testimony on none of the subjects the Dems want to actually grill Conway about, and we'll move on.

We'll see if today's contempt votes for William Barr and Wilbur Ross go any better.


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