Grind for May 17th, 2019
“There is nothing so stable as change.”
– Bob Dylan
Alabama lawmakers approve strict abortion ban
The Alabama Senate on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly in favor of a bill that essentially bans all abortions. The bill has already been approved in the House and is expected to be signed this week by GOP Governor Kay Ivey.
Alabama’s bill is even more restrictive than the ‘heartbeat bill’ signed by Georgia’s governor earlier this month. It includes exemptions only in cases where the mother’s life is threatened.
After rejecting Democrats’ proposal to include exemptions for rape and incest, the final vote was 25-6. All 27 Republicans in the Alabama Senate are men.
Unless it is defeated in the courts, Alabama’s new law will go into effect six months after it is signed. Doctors caught performing abortions at any stage of pregnancy will be punished with up to 99 years in prison. The mother will suffer no consequences.
“Even the authors of this bill know that it is blatantly unconstitutional and wouldn’t stand up in court,” says Staci Fox, President of Planned Parenthood Southeast.
The ACLU, which plans to sue Alabama, tweeted: “PLEASE REMEMBER: This bill will not take effect anytime in the near future, and abortion will remain a safe, legal medical procedure at all clinics in Alabama.”
Alabama’s bill is the latest in a series of anti-abortion laws designed to push the issue to the Supreme Court. So far this year, 16 state governments have debated abortion restrictions and four governors have signed heartbeat bills.
In supporting Alabama’s bill, GOP Senator Clyde Chambliss explained: “[The whole point is] so that we can go directly to the Supreme Court to challenge Roe versus Wade.”
State Department memo reveals new information about Christopher Steele
Former British spy Christopher Steele met with State Department official Kathleen Kavalec in October 2016. According to her notes, he did much more than compile the anti-Trump dossier for the Hillary Clinton campaign.
Steele also made false felony charges against Trump associates Paul Manafort and Carter Page.
Steele told Kavalec that Manafort owed $100 million to “Russians” and that he worked for the Trump campaign as a “go-between” with Moscow.
Manafort was convicted of bank and tax fraud related to his business in Ukraine, but the Mueller investigation found no evidence tying him to Russia’s election interference.
Steele also claimed Carter Page participated in a platform debate about the defense of Ukraine at the Republican National Convention.
The Mueller report includes a timeline of that debate. Page’s name is not mentioned.
In October 2016, the FBI used Steele’s unverified dossier to obtain a FISA warrant on Carter Page. After more than a year of spying, the FBI filed no criminal charges against him.
Robert Mueller’s investigation found no evidence to support any of the 12+ charges of Trump-Russia collusion included in Steele’s dossier.
Republicans rightly claim the FBI should not have used unverified partisan opposition research from one political party to spy on the other political party.
Kavalec’s written notes also reveal that Steele met with reporters from The Washington Post and New York Times in September 2016 despite having told federal judges that he did not speak with reporters. Steele told Kavalec he wanted his allegations to go public before the election.
According to Fox News, Kavalec’s notes were shared with the FBI before the agency obtained its warrant on Page.
The big question now is which official(s) pushed for using the obviously-fake dossier to obtain the warrant on Carter Page (suspects include James Comey and John Brennan).
We hope to learn the answer from US Attorney John Durham, who was appointed this week by Attorney General William Barr to investigate the origins of the Russia probe.
A similar investigation by DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz is expected to be finished next month.
GOOD TO THE LAST DROP:
Did you know… All the chemicals in a human body combined are worth about 6.25 euro (if sold separately).