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Budget Showdown: Senate Democratic Women Preserve Party’s Principles



A great moment in Democratic Party politics occurred  at ‘High Noon’ on Friday when the so-called “budget impasse” between the House, the Senate, and the White House was looking as if we might really have a government shut-down. But Democratic women pro-choice senators took to a public stage, led by Patty Murray (D-WA), who was seething at a low boil, as she rebuked House Republicans for their naked attempts to end health care for low-income women and their families, under the guise of “saving” taxpayer dollars.

“The Democratic women of the Senate are here this afternoon to express our anger and disappointment, that after weeks of being told that the continuation of funding for this government was about budget cuts, and deficits and spending,” Murray said. “Well, now we find out at the 11th hour, hours before the the government shuts down, that that’s not what it’s all about.”

I was really moved by each senator’s leadership who confronted and called out Republican tactics for what they really are–a war on women and low-income Americans. It was the most vigorous and articulate defense of Democratic Party principles during this entire sordid budget affair.

We at The New Civil Rights Movement take these battles seriously as this site has dedicated ample editorial to an examination of the Republican Party’s war on women, children, poor people and immigrants, as they are directly connected to the extreme right-wing’s war on obstructing the extension of civil rights to LGBT peoples in America.

Read: The GOP’s War on Women and Children

If there were any doubt in President Barack Obama and what he would be willing to give up to the House in his compromising spirit, after the Democratic women senators spoke, it was clear that defunding Planned Parenthood was not one of them.

Democratic woman drew the line in the sand that compromising by NOT protecting women’s health care access was absolutely a bridge too far to go, even for the president who took a decidedly distant approach to the budget fracas to stay above the political fray.

As the worm turned on Thursday following a week of nearly daily feuding press conferences in the nation’s capital, Planned Parenthood and Naral Pro-Choice America hastily organized a rally on the mall in support of maintaining funding for women’s health. Cheered on by Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Patty Murray (D-WA), Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) was presented with a petition signed by thousands of supporters in their opposition to Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood and other health clinics around the country that provide birth contraceptives and general health care to women and men.

There was no mistaking why Schumer would appear at this rally. Schumer emerged this week as a major Democratic leader in the Senate and will be for a long time to come.

(Bob Dole, former Senate Republican Majority Leader once quipped that “the most dangerous place in Washington is between Chuck Schumer and the television.”)

Famous for his Sunday afternoon press conferences in New York, Schumer has seamlessly pivoted to his new role as the Senate Democrats’ messenger-in-chief. His uncanny ability to synthesize political policies into effective media messaging came to the forefront, prominently displayed, this past week in the Democrats’ first major battle in the 112th Congress with Republicans.

With many more battles likely to occur, as Congress finally turns its attention to the business of the FY 2012 authorizations and appropriations, the Democrats will need all of Schumer’s messaging skills, as I predict it is going to get much more difficult dealing with the House Republicans, along with their Tea Party caucus, before it gets better, until we can await new and more hopeful results from the 2012 elections.

But what became abundantly clear as the week’s political events unfolded was the unabashed Republican objective to defund Planned Parenthood’s health care services under Title X of  the Public Health Service Act of 1970, a 41-year-old health care program that includes family planning services for low-income Americans, made into law by Republican President Richard Nixon.

(Nixon, who in comparison to current extreme Republican Party ideologues, probably couldn’t get elected today to dog catcher and that is saying something considerable when it comes to Richard Nixon, who was forced to resign his presidency in 1974, due to his administration’s cover-up of a burglary by Republican campaign loyalists who broke into the Democratic Party headquarter’s offices located at the infamous Watergate Hotel.)

“No American woman should be denied access to family planning assistance because of her economic condition.  I believe, therefore, that we should establish as a national goal the provision of family planning services…to all who want but cannot afford them.”

– President Richard M. Nixon, 1970


The House Republican women members fecklessly responded to the Democratic women in their desperate attempt to defend the Republican goal of cutting spending, but chose to inartfully ignore reporters’ more pointed questions about Rep. Mike Pence’s (R-IN) policy rider to defund Title X or else shut down the government. When the group of 15 congresswomen began talking over one another in an uncoordinated response, according to Talking Points Memo, Rep. Jean Schmitt (R-OH), jumped to the microphone and said, “This is about a package. We can’t tell you what we’re going to do until we see the next package. What the Senate is doing is deflecting the real issue and the real issue is to cut the unnecessary spending in Washington, period. And you can continue to ask the question but the answer is cutting unnecessary spending in Washington.”

So while the GOP women wouldn’t discuss why the government should end a 41-year old effective public health program that provides family planning and contraceptives, ideally preventing unintended pregnancies and therefore more abortions, back in the Senate, perhaps the sorriest performance of the week belonged to Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ), who simply lied by falsely accusing Planned Parenthood of using federal funds to pay for legal abortions, a separate medical service that is not connected to its general health services. Kyl also lied by saying, “If you want an abortion, you go to Planned Parenthood, and that’s well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does.” Abortions represent only 3% of Planned Parenthood’s activities.

And I guess Kyl forgot that federal funds to pay for abortions were banned by the Hyde Amendment, adopted by the Congress 34 years ago. Why not beat a dead, truly dead horse and lie about it too?  Then he had the audacity to say he didn’t mean it and was misunderstood. Really!

All of these developments taken together are foreboding enough to contemplate what the future portends to be with the patients running the asylum in the House. Now, we have to wait to know more about the $38 billion worth of budget cuts–“the biggest in history”–even President  Obama and some members of Congress are now bragging about, will land. Most likely these sobering cuts will fall on those who can least afford it.

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Trump Trial Could Go Well Into the 2024 Election – Or Possibly Even Past It: Former Prosecutor



Donald Trump, and all of America, could spend the next 18 months – or longer – engrossed in Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s trial of the ex-president, and that could bring the trial close to Election Day.

That’s according to a former prosecutor in the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office, Charles Coleman, who is now a civil rights attorney and MSNBC legal analyst.

Asked by MSNBC’s Chris Jansing, “How long typically might a case like this take?” Coleman offered a two-tiered answer.

“A case like this is usually going to take a year or a year and a half,” Coleman said.

That could be through September of 2024.

READ MORE: ‘Lighting the Match’: Marjorie Taylor Greene Blasted for Off the Rails Rant Defending Trump

“Wow,” a surprised Jansing replied. “So it’s going right up into the campaign.”

“Absolutely,” agreed Coleman. “But it’s important to understand I said a case ‘like this.’ This particular case, I expect may take longer because I am anticipating a number of different legal maneuvers by Donald Trump’s defense team.”

That theoretically means into October of 2024, or longer.

“I do see motions to dismiss at a number of different terms, more likely than not to the point that the judge probably will ultimately end up admonishing them and telling them stop filing motions to dismiss. I think that that’s going to happen,” Coleman explained.

“I’ve said before, and I’ll say again, I do believe that we are going to see an attempt to try to change the venue, in this case outside of somewhere in the five boroughs. All of that is going to extend the time deeper and deeper into election season.”

READ MORE: Manhattan DA Unleashes on Jim Jordan With Stern Warning: You May Not ‘Interfere’ With Trump Prosecution

Reuters agrees, reporting Friday morning, “any potential trial is still at minimum more than a year away, legal experts said, raising the possibility that the former U.S. president could face a jury in a Manhattan courtroom during or even after the 2024 presidential campaign, as he seeks a return to the White House.”

And because “Trump’s case is far from typical,” Reuters notes, his trial could extend “past Election Day in November 2024.”





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‘Lighting the Match’: Marjorie Taylor Greene Blasted for Off the Rails Rant Defending Trump



U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) is being mocked and criticized after issuing an off-the-rails rant defending Donald Trump after the ex-president was indicted late Thursday afternoon.

Trump reportedly will face over 30 charges when he is arraigned in Manhattan Supreme Court Tuesday, two weeks after he claimed would be the day he would be arrested. In that infamous social media post Trump also urged his supporters to “protest!”

Congresswoman Greene, an ultra-MAGA acolyte and far-right extremist, on Friday announced she will travel to New York City to show her support for the indicted ex-president.

“I’m going to New York on Tuesday. We MUST protest the unconstitutional WITCH HUNT!” she tweeted.

Her remarks came barely hours after Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg sent a six-page letter to House Republican Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan warning that Congress must not “interfere” with the prosecution of Donald Trump. It accused him and two other top Republicans of “an improper and dangerous usurpation,” “attempted interference with an ongoing state criminal investigation,” and warned them against “unlawful political interference.”

READ MORE: ‘You Can’t Stand on Fifth Avenue and Just Shoot Somebody’: Donald Trump Indicted – Legal Experts Respond

That letter specifically called out Congresswoman Greene for her rhetoric, noting “some committee members have explicitly stated an intent to interfere with the state proceeding.”

“For example, responding to Trump’s statement that he would be arrested, Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene stated that ‘Republicans in Congress MUST subpoena these communists and END this! We have the power to do it and we also have the power to DEFUND their salaries and departments!’ … and that Republicans who ‘do nothing to stop’ the prosecution ‘will be exposed to the people and will be remembered, scorned, and punished by the base.’”

Clearly his warning had little impact on the far-right Georgia Member of Congress.

In response to Greene’s Friday morning tweet, former U.S. Congressman David Jolly, also a former Republican, appeared to suggest she was encouraging an untoward response.

“Lighting the match,” he tweeted.

NBC News senior Capitol Hill correspondent Garrett Haake appearing to suggest it was a bad idea, responded by saying, “The situation downtown Tuesday is going to be tense. Narrow streets. Tons of press. Lots of police from different jurisdictions already highly visible.”

READ MORE: Favoring Right Wing Christians, Texas Judge Voids ACA’s Mandate That Insurance Cover Full Cost of HIV Drugs Including PrEP

Top CBS News reporter Robert Costa responded to Greene’s remarks, noting: “By order, NYPD officers here in lower Manhattan, outside the court, are already in full uniform, bracing for protests next week…”

Condé Nast legal affairs editor Luke Zaleski, also responding to Greene, wrote: “They want to incite violence in NYC.”

“Marge is a confederate soldier not an American public servant,” Zaleski added. “She has taken over Congress and wants to destroy the nation from inside. She admits it. Her public agenda is reinstalling a criminal traitor she’s obstructing justice for and breaking up the United States of America.”

Meanwhile, journalist Helen Kennedy appeared to not take Greene’s remarks – or Greene – seriously.

“Clown hurries to circus,” she tweeted.


Image: L E Mormile/Shutterstock

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Manhattan DA Unleashes on Jim Jordan With Stern Warning: You May Not ‘Interfere’ With Trump Prosecution



After a Manhattan grand jury indicted Donald Trump late Thursday afternoon on reportedly 34 felony charges, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg took one more step to preserve the rule of law: Friday morning, via his General Counsel, he sent the top three Republican House Chairmen attempting to interfere in his office’s investigation and prosecution of Donald Trump a stern warning.

The letter, addressed to House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan, Oversight Chairman James Comer, and Administration Chairman Bryan Steil spans six-pages. Its letterhead does not say District Attorney’s Office, but “District Attorney,” and has Bragg’s name in the upper corner, although it is signed by Bragg’s General Counsel, Leslie B. Dubeck. Politico has published the full letter.

It clearly states Bragg is drawing a red line: “What neither Mr. Trump nor Congress may do is interfere with the ordinary course of proceedings in New York State.”

The letter also accuses the trio of “an improper and dangerous usurpation” and “attempted interference with an ongoing state criminal investigation.” And it warns them against “unlawful political interference.”

READ MORE: ‘You Can’t Stand on Fifth Avenue and Just Shoot Somebody’: Donald Trump Indicted – Legal Experts Respond

“The Committees’ attempted interference with an ongoing state criminal investigation and now prosecution–is an unprecedented and illegitimate incursion on New York’s sovereign interests,” the letter reads. “Moreover, your examination of the facts of a single criminal investigation, for the supposed purpose of determining whether any charges against Mr. Trump are warranted, is an improper and dangerous usurpation of the executive and judicial functions.”

In a section titled, “The Committees Lack Jurisdiction to Oversee a State Criminal Prosecution,” the letter points to reports that the Trump team has been working in coordination with House Republicans.

“Even worse, based on your reportedly close collaboration with Mr. Trump in attacking this Office and the grand jury process, it appears you are acting more like criminal defense counsel trying to gather evidence for a client than a legislative body seeking to achieve a legitimate legislative objective.”

Bragg’s general counsel also uses the letter as a warning to all House Republicans that their actions, behaviors, and words are on the record.

READ MORE: Manhattan District Attorney’s Office Says It Is Coordinating With Trump to ‘Surrender’

He holds up U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) as an example, suggesting to others they should moderate their rhetoric.

After dismissing Jordan’s threat in a previous letter to withhold federal funds from Bragg’s office – noting the Manhattan District Attorney’s office has “has helped the Federal Government secure more than one billion dollars in asset forfeiture funds in the past 15 years” – Bragg serves up another warning.

He notes that “some committee members have explicitly stated an intent to interfere with the state proceeding. For example, responding to Trump’s statement that he would be arrested, Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene stated that ‘Republicans in Congress MUST subpoena these communists and END this! We have the power to do it and we also have the power to DEFUND their salaries and departments!’ … and that Republicans who ‘do nothing to stop’ the prosecution ‘will be exposed to the people and will be remembered, scorned, and punished by the base.'”


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