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Well, isn't this ironic, don't you think?


The Obama administration has notified two states that took steps to halt Medicaid funds to Planned Parenthood Federation of America that they may be in conflict with federal law. [...]

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a unit of HHS, has notified Alabama and Louisiana, which have taken action to terminate their Medicaid provider agreements with Planned Parenthood, that they may be in conflict with federal law, HHS said. The agency said that, by restricting providers, women could lose access to critical preventive care, such as cancer screenings.

Funny story, really. After a shady group of "pro-life" crimers and terrorist-supporters started releasing videos claiming to prove Planned Parenthood steals babies from ladies' wombs, dices them up, and sells them on the black market, Republicans decided this was the perfect opportunity to try to shut down and defund women's healthcare. Again. Some more. Like they are always trying to do anyway.

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Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal announced that he was going to investigate Planned Parenthood, which does not even perform abortions in the state, and therefore does not participate in fetal tissue donation programs. And suspend operating licenses for any new facilities. And stop the state's low-income residents from being able to use Medicaid at Planned Parenthood. And, as the Obama administration is gently pointing out, that is UNLEGAL.

The law requires that Medicaid beneficiaries may obtain services, including family planning, from any qualified provider. States that terminate their Medicaid-provider agreements with Planned Parenthood restrict access by not permitting recipients to get services from providers of their choice, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

In many parts of the country, Planned Parenthood is the only healthcare provider, so if you tell low-income patients they cannot use Medicaid at Planned Parenthood, you are telling them they cannot have any healthcare at all. And that is all kinds of bad and wrong, which is why the Department of Health and Human Services has rules that say states cannot do that. Texas learned that lesson the hard way, in 2011, when it decided aw, screw it, Texas don't need no stinkin' federal Medicaid dollars for its state healthcare programs, so long as it can stick it to Planned Parenthood so good. That has worked out great for people who think it's better for poor people to have no healthcare at all.

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HHS gently reminded Gov. Jindal, as well as Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, who decided his state doesn't want no Medicaid dollars neither, of how that is UNLEGAL:

HHS said it provided both states with guidance it released in a June 2011 memo, which says states aren’t permitted to exclude providers from Medicaid solely on the basis of the range of medical services they provide. The memo says states may exclude providers under certain circumstances, such as when providers commit fraud or certain criminal acts.

Ah ha! Criminal acts! Except that Planned Parenthood hasn't committed any criminal acts, and the states that have bothered to investigate have thus far found absolutely fuck-all nada zip. And while this is apparently BREAKING! news to people like Jindal and his fellow presidential contender Mike Huckabee and all the other Republicans who are quite sure Planned Parenthood should be shut down now and investigated later, abortion is not a crime. It is legal. So if you want your state to receive federal dollars for Medicaid, you cannot #CancelPlannedParenthood just because some, but not even all, of its clinics perform abortions, which are, like we just said, LEGAL.

Also, we'd like to take this opportunity to gratuitously mention, again, that Planned Parenthood is far more popular than the Republican Party and all of the candidates running for president. That includes Bobby Jindal.

If the states do not comply with federal law and allow their citizens to use Medicaid wherever they damn well please, they are welcome to whine some more about it, and even sue the government. And lose:

If federal and state officials can’t resolve the matter informally, states can request a hearing. If that, too, fails to result in a settlement, CMS can cut federal Medicaid funds to the state if it is found to be in violation.

Courts sided with Planned Parenthood when Indiana and Arizona sought to cut off all or part of their funding. Congressional efforts to defund the organization so far have stalled.

Targeting a widely respected and popular healthcare provider is a real loser for Republicans, as all the polls and soon-to-be ex-presidential candidate Rick Perry can tell you. And suing the government for the right to deny healthcare to poor people seems like a real dumb waste of taxpayer money, and also just straight-up dickish, does it not? Dumb and dickish is no way to go through life, son, but that's today's Republican Party for you. Oh well. Guess we'll see you in court, fellas.

[WSJ / RH Reality Check]

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I'd mentioned this week that there's definitely probably a tape out there of Donald Trump referring to a black person as a "nigger," because Trump is a racist and that's sort of what they do. Sarah Huckabee Sanders won't even affirmatively deny such a tape exists, and she's from the "two plus two equals five" school of communications management. I also speculated that once the tape was released, Republican supporters of the president would flock to defend his vile words: "Hey, if you rearrange the letters in "nigger," you get "ginger" and who doesn't like redheads and the occasional Dark 'n' Stormy?"

The shameful display has already started and the supposed recording isn't even available for pre-order on iTunes. George State Senator Michael Williams stated in appearance on CNN's "New Day Saturday" that if Trump -- who's the president, by the way -- did say "nigger," it would certainly concern him as an "individual" but "not necessarily as a person that is running our country." So, uh, what the hell is that? This has been a standard argument from Republicans ever since Trump crawled his way out of the sewers of birtherism and onto a major political stage: "We think Trump is a terrible human being -- seriously, we have to shower immediately after meeting with him -- but we still think he's a suitable steward of the most powerful nation on the planet."

Normally, you'd think this would work the other way. You know, your brother-in-law is a nice enough guy. Your sister certainly could've done worse. You don't mind the slightly rambling sports-ball discussions with him at family gatherings. He's good for looking after the kids (as long as your sister is present or reachable by cell), but you'd never invest your hard-earned money into whatever half-assed business venture he's trying to get off the ground nor would you back his run for any serious political office.

I've long had issues with the "brilliant asshole" archetype in TV and movies. It's almost always a white male (because women and minorities must be perfect) whose emotional immaturity and overall jerkass behavior we're told to overlook because they're so goshdarned awesome. Do you want some PC "cuck" or do you want Dr. House to figure out that the MS symptoms you're suffering are really just because you ate a stale doughnut? Sherlock Holmes doesn't have time for your feelings or social niceties -- not while he's solving mysteries and being dreamy.

Trump, however, isn't "brilliant." He's just a guy who says "nigger." They're hardly a scarcity in the market. You don't even have to venture out to a klan rally to find one. You can order online -- same day social media delivery.

Williams argues that Trump didn't use the word "nigger" when he was in the "office of the president." It was just some youthful indiscretion when he was almost 60. I don't even know where he's going with this. Does he think Trump has changed? He routinely insults and belittles black people. He also calls black NFL players who peacefully protest "sons of bitches." Was that his way of weaning off calling us "niggers"? Has he been wearing a "nigger" patch on his arm to control his cravings for the racial epithet?

"He used the word in his personal life," Williams said. (It was actually in a workplace context -- SER) "Now if he were president and were to go on TV and use the n-word, I'd have a major problem with that."

media.giphy.com

It's heartening repulsive to see that Williams draws the line at Trump holding an official "nigger" press conference. I think once we reach that point, Trump will probably also reveal that his buddies on the Supreme Court discovered a typo in the Thirteenth Amendment and black folks' work-life balance will start to really suffer.

"I will always say using the n-word is wrong, and it's bad, and should never be accepted in our society. But just because (Trump) might have done it years ago, not as our president, doesn't mean we need to continue to berate him because he used it," GOP state Sen. Michael Williams, who is white, told CNN's Victor Blackwell on "New Day Saturday."

Blackwell, who is black, had to sit there and listen to this crap from a white elected official who is just 45 years old. You know, the word "nigger" doesn't even appear in the Dred Scott decision, for example, but that's not necessary for reasonable people to understand that it was racist as hell. We all know Trump is racist, but now Republicans can't even repudiate the worst demonstrations of his racial animus. The first black president hasn't even been out of office for two full years and already "nigger" is being redefined. What would once end a campaign in its tracks when Blackwell and I were growing up is now just an "oops, my bad."

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Conservatives want to be oppressed. Or, rather, for everyone to think they are being oppressed and to then give them what they see as the impunity and moral upper hand that comes along with being an oppressed group of people. They want it very, very badly and think it is very unfair that all the people they have oppressed have this privilege and they do not. This morning, Trump took to Twitter to vow to protect them from the worst kind of oppression of all -- imaginary social media censorship!

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