Monday, December 9, 2019

Last Call For Meanwhile In Bevinstan...

The Supreme Court won't touch Kentucky's "Road to Gilead" abortion punishment law, so for now the women who go though the state's last remaining abortion clinic get a nice does of state-mandated mental anguish for being slutty slut sluts.

The Supreme Court on Monday left in place a Kentucky law, mandating doctors perform ultrasounds and show fetal images to patients before they can perform abortions.

The high court declined, without comment, to hear an appeal brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of the state's lone abortion clinic.

The Kentucky law, which requires a doctor to describe an ultrasound in detail while a pregnant woman hears the fetal heartbeat, was passed in 2017.

It was signed by Gov. Matt Bevin, an anti-abortion Republican who lost his bid for re-election last month.

The ACLU had argued that the Kentucky statute had no medical basis and was designed only to coerce a woman into opting out of having an abortion. Defenders of the law said it represented a straightforward attempt to help patients make a well-informed decision.

The high court's action let stand the law which had been upheld by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Alexa Kolbi-Molinas, senior staff attorney at the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, said in a statement Monday that the high court had "rubber-stamped" Kentucky's interference in the "doctor-patient relationship.”

Bevin may be out this week, but the damage from his four years will last decades.  I'm not sure how much Andy Beshear will be able to do to even save the state's last abortion clinic, and that's not counting the inevitable "leaving abortion rights to states to decide" decision dismantling Roe in six months.  Beshear's veto of an anti-abortion law would almost certainly be overridden.

After that, it's Gilead.

Russian To Judgment, Con't

The long-awaited Justice Department inspector general report on the FBI's Crossfire Hurricane investigation into Donald Trump is out, and while the report is pretty scathing on what the DoJ sees as "missteps" by the FBI, the report also concludes that there was sufficient evidence to open the investigation into Trump's Russian collusion.

The 434-page report from Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz found the FBI had an “authorized purpose” when it initiated its investigation, known as Crossfire Hurricane, into the Trump campaign, and rejected the assertion that the case was opened out of political animus or that informants were used in violation of FBI rules.

It asserted, though, that as the probe went on, FBI officials repeatedly decided to emphasize damaging information they heard about Trump associates, and play down exculpatory evidence they found.

Conservatives and liberals alike claimed victory in the report — with Democrats saying it validated the Russia investigation while Republicans asserted it exposed serious wrongdoing.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said the inspector general had “completely demolished” some of conservatives’ assertions about the origins of the probe, though his investigators did find some problems.

“Clearly, there was a legitimate, factual basis; in fact the FBI had a moral imperative to begin this investigation,” Blumenthal said. In particular, he said the inspector general had rebutted claims that Trump campaign advisers were illegally surveilled or entrapped, or that political motive was “in any way a factor.”
In a statement, Attorney General William P. Barr disagreed with one of the inspector general’s key conclusions, saying the FBI launched an investigation of a presidential campaign “on the thinnest of suspicions that, in my view, were insufficient to justify the steps taken. It is also clear that, from its inception, the evidence produced by the investigation was consistently exculpatory.” So, too, did Connecticut U.S. Attorney John Durham, who Barr handpicked to conduct an investigation similar to that of Horowitz.

“Our investigation has included developing information from other persons and entities, both in the U.S. and outside of the U.S.,” Durham said in a statement. “Based on the evidence collected to date, and while our investigation is ongoing, last month we advised the Inspector General that we do not agree with some of the report’s conclusions as to predication and how the FBI case was opened.”

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-North Carolina), a strong Trump ally, said “this is not a good day for the FBI.”

“There’s more than enough evidence in this report that would suggest a major overhaul in terms of policies and procedures,” he said.

Meadows has a point, although Republicans surely didn't care about FISA reform until it was legitimately used on Donald Trump's campaign.

Oh, and the report absolutely concludes that the Russians hacked the DNC email server and laundered the emails through WikiLeaks, and it concludes it was done to hurt Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump.

So no, there wasn't any "deep state" anything, just overworked FBI agents who cut corners and who have already for the most part been disciplined if not already fired.

This should put an end to all this, but of course if Barr ends it here, he's fired by Trump, so he won't leave it where things are.

Count on that.

No Room In North Dakota

Just in time for Christmas, Bismarck, North Dakota is set to become the first local government to vote to ban all refugees as Burleigh County takes Dear Leader up on his offer of legitimized institutional, and systemic racism.

The county postponed a vote last week when more than 100 people showed up and overflowed the commission’s normal meeting space. Monday night’s meeting will be held in a middle school cafeteria to accommodate public interest that Chairman Brian Bitner said is the most intense he’s seen in more than a decade on the commission.

Though he declined to predict which way the commission would go, Bitner said he would vote against accepting additional refugees.

“The overwhelming public opinion is so clear to me, that I think if you vote for it, you’re not going to be reelected if you choose to run again,” he said.
Trump’s executive order this fall came as he had already proposed cutting the number of refugees next year to the lowest level since Congress passed the Refugee Act of 1980. He declared that refugees should be resettled only in places where the state and local governments — counties — gave consent. Since then, many governors and counties around the country have declared that they would continue taking refugees.

Republican Gov. Doug Burgum said last month that North Dakota would continue accepting refugees where local jurisdictions agreed, and his spokesman said the governor saw it as a local decision. Soon after, Cass and Grand Forks counties, which are home to the state’s largest city, Fargo, and third-largest city, Grand Forks, respectively, declared they would continue taking refugees. Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney said refugees were needed to boost the city’s economy, and that 90% were fully employed within three months of resettling in his city.

But the idea was quickly opposed in more conservative Burleigh County.
Among the opponents was Republican state Rep. Rick Becker, of Bismarck, an ultraconservative who took to social media to criticize the program as unrestrained and a possible drain on social service programs, schools and law enforcement, though the county said it doesn’t track any costs directly related to refugees.

“This isn’t about skin color,” said Becker, a plastic surgeon and former gubernatorial candidate. “In the past, nobody had any say whatsoever. Now we have something that should have been in place decades ago.

“Now, if they want to accept them, they can, and if they don’t want to they shouldn’t,” he said.

Burleigh County won't be the last county to ban refugees, either.  Far from it.  This is Donald Trump's America, where your huddled masses can go live in the cities, and we can continue being racist assholes, right?

Bismarck Mayor Steve Bakken said the city government has no say in the matter, but he sides with those who want to stop taking in more refugees.

“Right now it’s a blank check and that equates into a lot of questions,” Bakken said of the number of refugees that could be placed in the area. “We have burgeoning school enrollment, veterans’ needs, homeless needs, and Native American needs

“This isn’t about heartstrings, this is about purse strings,” he said.

Shirley Dykshoorn, a vice president for Lutheran Social Services, which handles all of North Dakota’s refugee resettlement cases, said her agency used to handle about 400 cases per year, but that number dropped to 124 in fiscal 2019, which ended in September. The program has been in existence in North Dakota since 1948.

LSS settled 24 refugees in Bismarck in fiscal 2019, after settling 22 in fiscal 2018. Dykshoorn said Burleigh County had been projected to get no more than 25 refugees annually in the coming years.

“We always look at the capacity of a community to handle these,” she said.

I’m trying to understand the basis for believing how 25 people will dramatically change the fabric of a community,” she said. “What does it say to the rest of the country when a county where your capital city is located would choose not to participate?”

If it was 25 millionaire white supremacists, they'd be welcomed, of course.


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