Saturday, September 3, 2022

Last Call For Our Little White Supremacist Domestic Terrorism Problem, Con't

President Biden's Thursday night anti-fascism speech has already been turned into a casus belli from the MAGA terrorists as experts are warning of a stark increase in threat chatter online even above the elevated level that last month's search of Trump's compound in Florida rated.

President Biden’s fiery speech in Philadelphia denouncing former President Donald Trump and what he described as “extreme MAGA ideology” has sparked online calls for violence, including death threats against the president, according to documents obtained by Yahoo News.

Biden’s remarks also prompted immediate concerns from senior counterterrorism officials who said they fear that calling Trump supporters extremists would be viewed as a call to arms and would only inflame an already volatile threat environment.

“Too much of what’s happening in our country today is not normal,” Biden said Thursday night at Independence Hall, flanked by two U.S. Marines. “Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic.”

By Friday afternoon, posts on forums popular among white supremacists and far-right extremists called for the assassination of Biden, and named Jewish administration officials including Attorney General Merrick Garland, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas as potential targets. Declarations of civil war were also appearing, according to documents detailing some of the threats.

“On Gab, one user posted a series of violent threats accusing Biden of stealing the election,” according to a threat alert from Site Intelligence Group sent to law enforcement agencies and others on Friday. Trump and many of his supporters have long claimed, without evidence, that the 2020 presidential election won by Biden was stolen from Trump due to widespread voter fraud.

Site Intelligence Group, which tracks online extremism activity, issued several threat alerts detailing calls for violence in response to Biden’s speech. The potential threats were posted in online forums tied to the Proud Boys, neo-Nazis and other extremist groups.

“Users on several far-right and ultranationalist venues made violent threats against President Joe Biden following his speech addressing political extremism on September 1, 2022,” said one of the alerts. “Users advocated for Biden to be murdered and predicted violence if he continues speaking about the topic.”

We're already seeing Republicans and others blame Biden's speech for the uptick in the chance of real violence in the months ahead.

Amid criticism, the White House has defended Biden's language, saying that the president is standing up for democracy and denouncing political violence. On Wednesday, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre singled out specific Republicans who’ve espoused extremist rhetoric.

During Biden's speech, four current U.S. domestic counterterrorism officials told Yahoo News they were concerned the president’s words would further divide the nation and lead to increased threats against government and law enforcement officials.

“I fear he is lighting a fuse that is not going to go well,” one senior Biden counterterrorism official said. “Sadly this is not a united speech but a very divisive one.”

On Friday, this official said their fears appear to have been confirmed by what they described as an uptick in threats of potential violence. A different counterterrorism official said they were concerned that fringe right-wing and extremist groups will use Biden’s speech to recruit and fundraise, potentially increasing the longer-term threat from these groups.

The officials requested anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to the media. Some said they also didn’t want to be seen as criticizing the president. The Department of Homeland Security referred Yahoo News’ request for comment to the White House National Security Council.
Pearl-clutching "counterterroism officials" aside, the threat of recruiting and fundraising sounds exactly like what the GOP is doing this week, does it not?
No better proof that Biden's words were truthful, and that they hit the mark.

The Road To Gilead, Con't

The Biden Administration is directly taking on Red State abortion bans as the Department of Veterans Affairs says it will begin offering some abortion services at VA hospitals in all states to some 9 million military vets and their immediate family members.

The Department of Veterans Affairs, in a historic shift, will provide abortion counseling and abortions in cases of rape, incest or if the pregnancy threatens the health of the pregnant veteran, at its federal health facilities throughout the country, including in states that ban or severely restrict the practice, the department announced Friday.

According to a draft of the rule change, the new policy overhauls health-care service provided to 9 million veterans and eligible family members; VA previously did not provide abortions of any kind or offer abortion counseling to patients considering the procedure.

There are 2 million female veterans in the United States, according to VA data, and about a quarter of them are enrolled in VA care.

“VA serves roughly 300k women of childbearing age, and women Veterans are VA’s fastest growing cohort,” VA spokesman Terrence Hayes said in an email. Once the rule is published, Hayes said VA will “immediately prepare to provide these services in as many locations as possible.”

VA Secretary Denis McDonough in a statement called the change “a patient safety decision.”

“Pregnant Veterans and VA beneficiaries deserve to have access to world-class reproductive care when they need it most. That’s what our nation owes them, and that’s what we at VA will deliver,” McDonough said.

Veteran advocates welcomed the change as an expansion on veterans’ health-care options.

“Increasing access to timely and quality health care for veterans should always be a top priority for the VA,” Jeremy Butler, the chief executive of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans for America, said in an email.

Other advocates, such as Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), who sits on the Senate’s Veterans’ Affairs Committee, praised the VA change while criticizing Republican lawmakers for shaping the restrictive reproductive rights landscape many Americans now face.

“For the first time ever, the Veterans Health Administration will finally be able to provide abortion care to ensure none of our veterans or their eligible dependents will have to face medical emergencies — or stay pregnant after a rape or incest — simply because Republican politicians think they know what’s best for them,” Murray said in a statement.
It's a start, and it's limited to veterans and their families, and only in cases where the woman's life is at risk...but there are now a dozen states where even that is illegal. 

I fully expect Republicans to block any funding bills for the VA until the policy is rescinded, and that's where things are going to get very ugly. The PACT Act passed the Senate for sick veterans exposed to toxic burn pits after massive pressure last month, but the entire shutdown fight will certainly start up again soon.

Keep an eye on this fight.

Another Supreme Disaster, Con't

While the Roberts Court has destroyed womens' rights, climate change regulations, gun safety laws and a whole hell of a lot of other things in the last year, a case on the 2023 docket could end up impoverishing tens of millions of Americans, put an end to welfare and SNAP and all but destroy the Medicaid social safety net.

There’s a sleeper case on the Supreme Court’s docket that could blow a gaping hole in the social safety net and give states leeway to neglect or end care for tens of millions of the most vulnerable Americans.

“This case is to Medicaid what Dobbs was to abortion,” Sara Rosenbaum, professor of health law and policy at George Washington University’s school of public health, told TPM.

And it’s not just Medicaid, though the program enrolling nearly 90 million Americans is the biggest one at risk. This case could leave all of those who depend on federally funded, state-administered programs — think SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) or WIC, which helps low-income pregnant women and mothers with young children buy food — without any recourse, should states stop providing the benefits they’re required to give.

The echoes of Dobbs are eerie.

Here too, the Court’s decision to take up the case surprised and alarmed experts in equal measure. There was no circuit court split, no raging lower court controversy to settle. It was a fairly run-of-the-mill case, not unlike hundreds that had come before. A county in a red state, eyeing the right-wing composition of the Court, calculated that the time was ripe to lodge a bigger ask, to use a pedestrian vehicle to do away with a broader right it opposes. And the justices quietly took it up — dragging behind them a paper trail peppered with their inclination to overturn 50 years of precedent.

The case comes from a nursing home run by a municipal corporation owned by Marion County, Indiana. That’s key: while many nursing homes are privately owned, this one is state-run.

The family of a patient who was suffering from dementia alleges that he was given a slew of unnecessary medications and improperly transferred to different facilities hours away. So they sued, arguing that his treatment violated the Federal Nursing Home Reform Act, which establishes the rights of residents of nursing homes that receive Medicaid and Medicare funding.

But the case, Health and Hospital Corp. of Marion County, Indiana v. Talevski, quickly became much bigger than the allegedly poor treatment of the late Gorgi Talevski.

The county-run corporation, sensing an opportunity, tacked on a bigger ask than the initial dispute over nursing home protections. It asked the Supreme Court to reexamine and nix altogether the pathway that people participating in these federal spending programs can use to sue when their rights are violated.

If the Supreme Court’s conservative majority bites, experts warn, it could have implications far beyond nursing homes.

If a state decided to, say, keep pocketing Medicaid funding but to abruptly stop providing coverage without any due process, those neglected beneficiaries would have recourse. They could sue in federal court under Section 1983, part of a civil rights statute passed in 1871. At the time, it was enacted as a federal remedy against officials who terrorized newly freed slaves under the color of state law. It remains a critical pathway for enforcing constitutional rights, and is frequently used in cases of police brutality.

A century after its passage, Section 1983 protections were interpreted to apply to rights under laws too — not just constitutional ones. In the next two decades, a body of court cases squarely applied it to Medicaid.

“For 50 years now, the Supreme Court has recognized that people can sue under 1983 if their rights are violated under federal law, including spending clause statutes like Medicaid or food stamps,” Tim Jost, professor of law, emeritus, at the Washington and Lee University School of Law, told TPM. “This goes back even beyond Roe.”

“The way the state is arguing Talevski is that 1983 rights of action should not be available in any spending program … well, that’s our social safety net!” Nicole Huberfeld, professor of health law, ethics and human rights at Boston University’s school of public health, told TPM.
In other words, if this case goes as badly as I think it might, states would be able to stop providing any federal social and health programs, but still take every dime of funding.  They wouldn't have to replace it with anything.

Red states could simply eliminate Medicaid and unemployment insurance, SNAP and WIC, Head Start and CHIP. Hell, maybe even federal programs, period. They would be able to keep every dime, and they wouldn't have to spend it on anything.
Imagine a state like Mississippi being able to opt out of not just Medicare regulations, but federal education, transportation, and environmental regulations, while taking billions in federal school, road, and climate change money. Imagine them doing that with federal prison money, police money, and water and power money.
All hoarded, the poorest left with absolutely nothing.
It would destroy tens of millions of lives.  

Get ready. This one will be the battle of next year.
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