The Jury Talks Back


President Trump And The Looming Shutdown

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 3:31 pm

[guest post by Dana]

It looks like lawmakers are at an impasse with regard to funding the Wall and preventing a shutdown of the government:

President Trump and Congress were locked in an impasse Friday over Trump’s border wall, hours away from a partial government shutdown and with no apparent path to prevent one.

Trump’s preferred solution — a stop-gap spending bill containing $5.7 billion for a Mexico border wall — faced near-certain defeat in the Senate, even after the president pressured Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to change Senate rules to allow it to pass.

McConnell refused.

“We’re going to be working very hard to get something passed in the Senate,” Trump said Friday in the Oval Office before a bill-signing. “Now it’s up to the Democrats as to whether or not we have a shutdown tonight. I hope we don’t but we’ve very much prepared for a long shutdown.”

And in spite of the the president’s call for McConnell to use the nuclear option, there just aren’t the necessary votes:

“The Leader has said for years that the votes are not there in the Conference to use the nuclear option,” said McConnell spokesman David Popp. “Just this morning, several Senators put out statements confirming that there is not a majority in the conference to go down that road.”

For more than a year, Trump has tried to pressure McConnell to change Senate rules in a way that would allow the chamber to pass legislation with a simple majority.

During the Obama administration, when Democrats controlled the Senate, Democrats changed the rules to allow most presidential nominees to advance with a simple majority of votes. During the beginning of the Trump administration, McConnell extended this practice to the nomination of Supreme Court justices, which proved crucial because both of Trump’s nominees to the nation’s highest court won approval by a narrow margin.

But McConnell has resisted such a change for legislation, as have a number of other Republicans, worried about the precedent it would set.

Last week, I posted about President Trump’s meeting with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer in the Oval Office, wherein the president claimed that he would assume responsibility for any shutdown that might happen. Moreover, he said he would be proud to shut the government down and that he would assume blame for it.

“If we don’t get what we want, one way or the other, whether it’s through you, or the military, or through anything you want to call it, I will shut down the government… I am proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck. …So I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down. I’m not going to blame you for it.”

It was a bold statement, and one he made without hesitation.

But as with most things said by this president, his brave claim should have been taken with a grain of salt. Because history has demonstrated that he will eventually contradict himself. Whether shooting from the hip, or talking to hear himself talk, or playing a game of one-upmanship, he will eventually contradict himself. Obviously this makes it hard to know what to believe. And that’s a big problem. While some of us might call these inconsistencies “flip-flopping” or being dishonest, his base defends these contradictions as clever political strategeries too complex for the hoi polloi to grasp. (Note: when Obama did the same thing, people on the right were quick to accuse him of being a dishonest flip-flopper and talking out of both sides of his mouth. And people were right in their accusations. That it’s Trump doing it makes no different. Or at least is shouldn’t, anyway.)

Predictably, Trump said the opposite of what he said two weeks ago. If the shutdown happens at midnight, instead of assuming the mantle of responsibility and not blaming the Democrats, he will totally blame them:


Interesting note concerning the signature plank of Trump’s campaign platform and what his requested $5 billion would cover: “Department of Homeland Security officials told reporters Friday that the $5 billion in funds would cover roughly 215 miles of new wall construction in California, Arizona, Texas, and New Mexico. In some cases, they would need private land owners to sell property to the federal government for the wall’s construction. If the property owner refuses, the government would consider seizing the property under eminent domain, a controversial tactic that would likely tie the project up in court for years.”


NYT: Planned Parenthood Accused of Routine Discrimination Against Pregnant Employees

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 11:41 am

[guest post by Dana]

According to a report in the New York Times, Planned Parenthood facilities across the nation routinely discriminate against pregnant employees, and do not provide paid maternity leave. Sharing their personal stories of discrimination and unfair employment practices, current and former employees make clear that at Planned Parenthood offices, a pregnant employee is often treated as a liability. Which makes sense if you’re in the business of killing babies:

As a medical assistant at Planned Parenthood, Ta’Lisa Hairston urged pregnant women to take rest breaks at work, stay hydrated and, please, eat regular meals.

Then she got pregnant and couldn’t follow her own advice.

Last winter, Ms. Hairston told the human-resources department for Planned Parenthood’s clinic in White Plains, N.Y., that her high blood pressure was threatening her pregnancy. She sent the department multiple notes from her nurse recommending that she take frequent breaks.

Managers ignored the notes. They rarely gave her time to rest or to take a lunch break, Ms. Hairston said.

“I had to hold back tears talking to pregnant women, telling them to take care of their pregnancies when I couldn’t take care of mine,” she said. “It made me jealous.”

Pregnant employees appear to be an inconvenience to the organization, and as such they can find themselves targeted by management:

Discrimination against pregnant women and new mothers remains widespread in the American workplace. It is so pervasive that even organizations that define themselves as champions of women are struggling with the problem.

That includes Planned Parenthood, which has been accused of sidelining, ousting or otherwise handicapping pregnant employees, according to interviews with more than a dozen current and former employees.

In interviews and legal documents, women at Planned Parenthood and other organizations with a feminist bent described discrimination that violated federal or state laws — managers considering pregnancy in hiring decisions, for example, or denying rest breaks recommended by a doctor.

In other cases, the bias was more subtle. Many women said they were afraid to announce a pregnancy at work, sensing they would be seen as abandoning their colleagues.

Some of those employers saw accommodating expecting mothers as expensive and inconvenient. Others were unsympathetic to workers seeking special treatment. (emphasis added.)

Employees who did inform their supervisors that they were pregnant could find themselves demoted. Women also felt it was a safeguard to lie to their managers about any plans for pregnancy because they knew they risked being stigmatized or mistreated.

Here is a broader look at the consequences of being pregnant as a prospective or current employee at Planned Parenthood:

[At] Planned Parenthood, the country’s leading provider of reproductive services, managers in some locations declined to hire pregnant job candidates, refused requests by expecting mothers to take breaks and in some cases pushed them out of their jobs after they gave birth, according to current and former employees in California, Texas, North Carolina and New York.

Most Planned Parenthood offices do not provide paid maternity leave, though many let new mothers take partially paid disability leave.

A former hiring manager at a Planned Parenthood in California said that when internal promotions came up, supervisors openly debated whether candidates were likely to get pregnant in the near future and preferred those who were not. They declined to hire one pregnant woman and to promote one new mother, the employee said. (Under the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act, it is illegal to consider whether a job candidate is or will become pregnant.)

The discrimination makes sense when you consider that the business of abortion at Planned Parenthoods is based on a quota system. Money talks. And after all, those Lamborghinis aren’t going to buy themselves:

[P]revious investigations of Planned Parenthood have revealed that the national umbrella organization routinely imposes abortion quotas on its clinics across the country, incentivizing workers to convince women to obtain abortions. In one interview, a former Planned Parenthood manager and a former clinic nurse explained that executives rewarded clinics that met abortion targets with pizza parties or extra paid time off. Clinics that didn’t offer abortions were given quotas for abortion referrals made to other Planned Parenthood facilities.

“I felt like I was more of a salesman sometimes, to sell abortions,” former Planned Parenthood nurse Marianne Anderson said. “We were constantly told we have quotas to meet to stay open.”

Is it any wonder that a group that profits from “terminating pregnancies” and offers little to no pregnancy care would neglect to have policies in place preventing managers from overworking or discriminating against pregnant mothers on their own staffs?

I would also ask if it’s really any surprise that a business whose primary source of revenue comes from “terminating” as many “pregnancies” as possible would want big, ripe bellies proudly announcing “Life!” walking through their hallways and exam rooms? That couldn’t possibly be good for the bottom line.

As a reminder, Planned Parenthood has always been a vocal do-what-I-say-not-what-I-do champion of paid maternity leave for women:



In response to the report, Dr. Leana Wen, the new president of Planned Parenthood Foundation For American (PPFA), tweeted:

Reproductive health equity must include the right to become a parent and raise a family free from fear and discrimination. At @PPFA, we’re committed to doing better to support our pregnant and parenting staff.

At @PPFA, we do not tolerate discrimination or harassment. When we learn about accusations that violate our policies and high standards, we move immediately to investigate and address them, as we are doing in this instance.

No response from Cecile Richards, who was the president of PPFA from 2006 to 2018 and under whose watch the routine discrimination occurred.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


Trump Syrian Withdrawal Decision Made During Phone Call with Erdogan

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 9:53 am

You know how people were speculating that Trump’s sudden decision to withdraw troops from Syria was made due to his phone call with Erdogan? Looks like the speculation was right:

President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw American troops from Syria was made hastily, without consulting his national security team or allies, and over strong objections from virtually everyone involved in the fight against the Islamic State group, according to U.S. and Turkish officials.

Trump stunned his Cabinet, lawmakers and much of the world with the move by rejecting the advice of his top aides and agreeing to a withdrawal in a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last week, two officials briefed on the matter told The Associated Press.

The Dec. 14 call, described by officials who were not authorized to discuss the decision-making process publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity, provides insight into a consequential Trump decision that prompted the resignation of widely respected Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. It also set off a frantic, four-day scramble to convince the president either to reverse or delay the decision.

Even Erdogan was surprised:

Trump was not dissuaded, according to the officials, who said the president quickly capitulated by pledging to withdraw, shocking both Bolton and Erdogan.

Caught off guard, Erdogan cautioned Trump against a hasty withdrawal, according to one official. While Turkey has made incursions into Syria in the past, it does not have the necessary forces mobilized on the border to move in and hold the large swaths of northeastern Syria where U.S. troops are positioned, the official said.

My view is that if we’re going to be fighting a war, Congress needs to authorize that war.

But suddenly making a decision like this, without consulting anyone in advance, is reckless. Of course, recklessness is a hallmark of the man occupying the Oval Office.

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