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Here’s how Trump can defund Planned Parenthood

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Democrats don’t hold a majority in the U.S. Senate, but the GOP doesn’t have a supermajority of 60 votes, which explains why the granting of $500 million in taxpayer money to the abortionists at Planned Parenthood slipped into the $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill.

But what if there were ways to nibble away at that total, maybe even significantly?

The Family Research Council has outlined a strategy for President Trump to defund Planned Parenthood.

FRC explained the massive spending bill includes many things conservatives don’t like because of the Senate rule that requires 60 votes to end debate on such legislation and move to an up-or-down vote.

“The refrains on social media are all the same: Republicans control the Hill and the White House. Why aren’t they defunding Planned Parenthood? By now, the entire country has seen the ghoulish videos; they’ve heard the criminal evidence; they know these centers are destroying an innocent life every 98 seconds. They’re right to be upset,” FRC said.

“But we also need to remember the limits of the process. If pro-lifers want to do what a 51-member majority in the Senate can’t, it’s time to start thinking creatively.”

FRC explained the abortionists take tax money from two pools, the discretionary Title X family planning and the mandatory Medicare/Medicaid system.

“It breaks down this way: Planned Parenthood gets about $80 million of the $286 million in Title X, but more than $400 million in reimbursements from mandatory programs like Medicaid,” the report said.

However, in both, there “are areas that conservatives can attack – with or without Congress.”

Obviously, Congress could pass a spending bill to defund Planned Parenthood, as the House did last year, only to watch it fall short of the 60 votes it needed in the Senate.

“Or they could tackle the funding for Planned Parenthood in mandatory programs through budget reconciliation, which only requires 51 votes. The Republican majority succeeded in defunding Planned Parenthood on its 2015 health care repeal, but President Obama vetoed it. Last August, they tried again – only to fall short in the Senate,” FRC said.

Then there are the regulations.

“That’s where HHS comes in. If you want to know how powerful the agency is in directing government funds, think back to Obama. With a simple HHS regulation, he stopped all 50 states from defunding abortion providers under Title X. Fortunately, Congress overturned that rule last year, and more states are moving to cut ties with Richards’s group than ever,” FRC explained.

An “enterprising” presidential candidate also could have a big impact.

“Back in 1988, Ronald Reagan’s HHS announced an expanded interpretation of abortion funding prohibition regarding Title X funds, determining that no organization which encouraged or promoted abortion would receive federal funds. The left denounced this approach as a ‘gag rule’ and a potential First Amendment violation. This led to the case, several years later, of Rust v. Sullivan before the Supreme Court – which ultimately vindicated Reagan’s rule,” FRC said.

The policy was thrown out by Clinton.

However, at the moment, no organization “is allowed to use the government’s family planning dollars for abortion.”

“Planned Parenthood gets around that law … by drawing an ‘artificial line’ between its abortion clinics and its other family planning services – ‘even when those are located in the same facility, and essentially funded jointly,’” the group said.

“If President Trump reinstated Reagan’s ‘co-location’ rule, Planned Parenthood could still get Title X funds, but they wouldn’t be able to offer those services in the same clinics where they perform abortions. They’d have to split up their offices – probably at great expense. Ultimately, Planned Parenthood would be forced to choose between dropping their abortion services from any location that gets Title X dollars or moving those abortion operations offsite. Either way, it puts a major dent in the group’s bottom line.”

Since the Supreme Court already has approved that maneuver, a president “could lawfully adopt the same approach to determining how these funds are distributed – and in one act dramatically undercut Planned Parenthood,” FRC said.

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Government successfully tests human plug-in memory

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The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is declaring success in its work to develop a “fully implantable, closed-loop neural interface capable of restoring normal memory function” for military personnel who suffer brain injuries, reports Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

“Volunteers in the study demonstrated up to 37 percent improvement in short-term, working memory over baseline levels,” according to the agency.

It launched the “Restoring Active Memory” effort in 2013. The goal was an implantable interface for brain injured people, not just military, but anyone affected by Alzheimer’s and other causes.

“RAM researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and the University of Southern California published in the Journal of Neural Engineering that they have demonstrated the first successful implementation in humans of a proof-of-concept system for restoring memory function by facilitating memory encoding using the patient’s own neural codes,” DARPA said.

Justin Sanchez, the program manager, said the “cumulative investments in neurotechnology over the past two decades have brought us to an extremely exciting point today where we’re testing tangible technologies that have the potential to alleviate some of the worst effects of brain injury and illness.”

The project has dealt mainly with episodic memory, the collection of past personal experiences that occurred at a particular time and place, such as where a car is parked or what was on the dinner plate late night.

Alzheimer’s affects this memory, as do brain injuries.

Researchers focused their study on the hippocampus, a region of the brain that is central to memory formation, and its sub-regions that “together to support memory encoding and retrieval.”

For the rest of this report, and more, please go to Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

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Republicans pushed to deal death blow to Obamacare

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Reports of Republicans giving up on repealing and replacing Obamacare are greatly exaggerated, according to Galen Institute President Grace-Marie Turner, who is not only confident the GOP will address the issue again this year but is part of the team trying to make it happen.

Republicans have achieved a few wins on the health care front over the past year, namely the repeal of the individual mandate in the tax legislation, the repeal of the Independent Payment Advisory Board in a spending bill, and the end of cost-sharing reduction payments to insurance companies through executive action from President Trump.

When Republicans tried but failed to restore funding for the cost-sharing reduction payments in exchange for removing burdensome regulations from the individual health insurance market in the recent omnibus bill, many feared the GOP was giving up on addressing health care in a meaningful way this year.

Turner told WND and Radio America that’s not the case. First of all, she said the failure of Republicans to restore the subsidies to insurers was a major blessing.

“The measures that they were considering as part of the omnibus spending bill were really just papering over the problems,” she said. “And with Obamacare, they were ready to throw tens of billions more dollars into this black hole of Obamacare. It was not going to fix anything.”

But Turner also insisted Republicans are ramping up for another legislative push to dismantle Obamacare this year.

“Congress is going to have to come back to a full repeal-and-replace measure, and we have been working every week since October to refine this legislation at the behest of the Senate. (Former) Sen. Rick Santorum has really been the energy behind this effort,” said Turner, who also explained the other players in the effort.

“Heritage Foundation, Ethics and Public Policy Center, the American Enterprise Institute, a lot of state-based think tanks and a lot of experts from around the country have been putting together a proposal that we believe cannot only get majority support in the Congress but majority support of the American people to fix  this for good,” Turner said.

Listen to the WND/Radio America interview with Grace-Marie Turner: 

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In 2017, the House of Representatives passed reform legislation, but the Senate failed on several different bills. Republican Sens. Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and John McCain voted down all GOP bills. Since then, Republicans lost a Senate seat in Alabama, and McCain has been home battling cancer. On most days, the GOP holds a 50-49 voting majority.

Turner said the focal point of this effort will look less like the bills that tanked last summer and more like the Graham-Cassidy bill that failed to advance in September. The sponsors were Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La. Cassidy is a longtime physician.

“That bill was based upon a different approach, a federalist approach to return money and power to the states to ultimately empower individuals to have more choice and more control over their health insurance,” Turner said.

“We’ve got to devolve power to the states, and they need resources in addition to new flexibility to be able to provide people with the kind of policies they actually want  to buy instead of what they’re forced to purchase. They would use the money to make sure that they purchase private coverage and that they have many more choices and that the coverage is more affordable.”

She said Obamacare is a proven disaster and is only getting worse because more people are getting out of the system and leaving older and sicker people to deal with soaring premiums.

“Obamacare is becoming one big high-risk pool,” Turner said. “That means millions, probably tens of millions of people, are being shut out of health insurance. They need a different place to go. That’s what states can do. States can figure out how they can revive their individual and small group health insurance markets.”

But Republicans have a problem besides finding a majority to support any legislation. The budget reconciliation rules that allowed them to attempt passage with a simple majority expired in September. Right now, they would need 60 votes to get anything done.

Turner is confident the Senate GOP leaders could ramp up support for another budget reconciliation rule, and she believes this time they would do it right. Turner said a big problem with the process last summer is how the rules were structured.

“They did it backward last time,” she said. “This time, we’re going to do it the right way, starting with good policy and then create a vehicle to get that enacted.”

So what happened last time?

“What they did is pass budget reconciliation instructions to create the pathway for the repeal-and-replace legislation they wanted to pass. And they had to fit it into that channel, and it didn’t really fit,” Turner explained.

“As one of my colleagues said, they just kept having to pull limbs off of it until it would fit through that process. At the end, nobody really liked the product. We’re doing this differently. We’re starting out by creating a product that we believe can work and that people will like and then they’ll write the budget reconciliation instructions around that,” she said.

Turner said the polls consistently show health care is the No. 1 concern of voters and the GOP must make another push this summer.

“How can they go back to their voters and say, ‘Oh, sorry, we know we told you for four election cycles we were going to repeal and replace Obamacare, but it was just too hard’?” Turner asked. “They can’t do that.”

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ISIS struggling with deserters who abandon cause

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ISIS, the radical Islamist group that rampaged across the Middle East while Barack Obama was president, slaughtering Christians and other religious minorities, now is having problems with deserters who have abandoned its cause.

According to officials with the Middle East Media Research Institute, the Islamic organization is facing “enormous pressure from the global coalition,” and suffering “defeats on the battlefield” since President Trump took office.

The result perhaps was predictable. Its soldiers, once holding virtually unlimited power over the cities and communities they captured, are quitting.

“Some have returned to their families in Syria and Iraq. Others, from countries outside the Middle East, have either left for other countries in the region or returned home,” the report said.

ISIS has tried several courses of action.

“At first taking an aggressive stance on this phenomenon, ISIS made various approaches to those who have left and appealed to them to return. It released videos harshly criticizing them, describing them as deserters who abandoned the front at the height of the campaign, and warning them about the punishment that awaits them in the hereafter,” the report explained.

One video had a speaker expressing astonishment that members of ISIS could leave and go to “countries of unbelief.”

Another suggested they had “denied their religion.”

When several weeks of such attacks on its own apparently didn’t work, the group changed tactics.

Now a commentary in the official ISIS weekly Al-Naba’ says the deserters really aren’t apostates, “as long as it has not been proved that they have transgressed the principles of the faith.”

The manpower shortage has been such that, according to MEMRI, a recent video reveals women participating “in the fighting against the Kurds in Syria.”

Recent prominent ISIS comments have included a video from ISIS Al-Khair Province with a narrator who states, “Allah … knows that there are those who will abandon his religion,” but that “will not harm Allah in the slightest.”

He, the video explained, will raise up replacements for them.

The video has an ISIS fighter warning, “There are many reasons to retreat, although they all stem from diseases of the heart. Lust and doubt. It may be that many of those who retreated prefer the life in this world and love the pleasures and delights and hate death. Rather than mention the true reason for retreat, they fabricate excuses that they know in themselves are not legitimate religious excuses, so as to justify their retreat and their turning to the land of polytheism and abandoning the land of the Muslims.”

The narrator then condemns those who left ISIS territory.

“Today we see the convoys of those in retreat setting out again, as they abandon the Muslim community in fear of the polytheists [i.e. those retreating fear death at the hands of the infidels] and in pursuit of a life that does not gladden the righteous people. To the crimes of breaking the oath of allegiance and abandoning the battlefield many of them have added a journey to the lands of unbelief,” he says.

Another video, published from ISIS Al-Barakah Province two weeks later, is blunt that such deserters will go to hell.

“And whoever turns his back to them on such a day, unless swerving [as a strategy] for war or joining [another] company has certainly returned with anger [upon him] from Allah, and his refuge is hell – and wretched is the destination,” it quotes from the Quran.

Such acts of “abandonment” encourage “division, weakness and defeat,” it warns.

Those offending “can expect ‘the wrath of Allah and hell,’” MEMRI reports it said.

“Another ISIS approach to its members who are leaving is through a song produced by its Ajnad media division that composes nasheeds to accompany the organization’s videos. The song ‘You Were Free’ reproaches ISIS members who chose to leave for the lands of enemies and infidels, while apparently forgetting the flavor of honor and pride that they tasted under the ISIS regime. This song also emphasizes the great sin of abandoning the battlefield and the Islamic state,” MEMRI reported.

Its words include: “How can you agree to live in humiliation / As a refugee who makes do with leftovers and crumbs? “Wandering friendless in an infidel land / Drowning in the depths of the sea in your sins. In disgrace you become a slave / You abandoned the straight path and sold your purpose [that you fought for]”

An Al-Naba editorial explains, however, that while fleeing is “the most severe” sin that angers Allah, he “can forgive it, if he chooses.”

It explains, “Even if these days the devil has caused some of the believers to stumble and they abandoned their jihad, or reneged on their hijra [i.e. returned to their countries after fulfilling the obligation to move to the area of the Islamic State], or if they broke their promise and their oath of allegiance, while all these are undoubtedly severe sins, and we disavow them before Allah. But despite this, we remain loyal to those who have committed them as long as they are defined as believers and don’t cancel out the foundation of their religion for abusing the laws of Sharia [in their supremacy] which they acknowledged, or because they assisted our enemies the polytheists, or because they displayed their unbelief after behaving with secret hypocrisy.”

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Planned Parenthood attack on sidewalk counselor fails

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Planned Parenthood

A new attack by Planned Parenthood on sidewalk counselors who try to convince pregnant women approaching an Alabama abortion business to save their children has failed spectacularly.

A woman who was charged with disorderly conduct under a city rule has been acquitted of the charge.

According to the Thomas More Society, the issue is noise outside the Alabama Women’s Center for Reproductive Alternatives in Huntsville. The clinic abuts a four-lane highway, and workers who escort the pregnant women to the door use cow bells, car horns and loud-speakers to drown out the message of pro-life sidewalk counselors.

Consequently, the pro-lifers use a megaphone to try to reach the women who are entering the business.

“The megaphone had been repeatedly tested by city police to ensure that it was below the decibel limit allowed by the Huntsville city ordinances,” the Thomas More legal team explained.

However, longtime counselor Alison Harris, 66, was arrested while “she prayed and tried to persuade parents to choose life for their preborn children,” the center said.

“The arrest office had obtained a warrant at the request of a clinic employee for Harris’ use of a megaphone.”

In court, however, the defendant was found not guilty.

Special counsel Sam McLure had represented Harris.

He said the abortion clinic is well known, and it’s owner has received ACLU’s highest award for providing abortions.

“However, we were blessed with a good judge and a courtroom full of prayer supporters, and the law was on our side,” he said.

The woman was accused of “disorderly conduct.”

But the judge ruled her not guilty.

The law center explained Harris is a frequent sidewalk counselor at the Women’s Center abortion business.

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Biometrics leap forward on fingerprint project

(Photo: National Science Foundation)

(Photo: National Science Foundation)

A handful of companies have been named rewarded financially for taking the next step in biometrics, the development of expanded fingerprinting processes, says a report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

Officials with the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, which is in the office of the director of national intelligence, have announced the winners of the Nail to Nail Fingerprint – “N2N” – Challenge.

The competition aimed to develop and enhance automated methods to capture accurate nail-to-nail fingerprints comparable or better than the existing standards for accuracy, speed and invisible, “latent,” capture accuracy.

Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin earlier reported about the start of the competition to develop a better method of ID.

Fingerprints have been used since ancient times for identification and have been found on clay tablets from Babylon.

These days their use includes as passwords on high-tech devices.

The chase for a better fingerprint and the automated collection of them was launched by the IARPA to “improve live and forensic biometric” work and make recognition systems better.

The federal government explained at the beginning: “N2N fingerprints capture the entire fingerprint from the edge of one finger nail bed to the other. The existing N2N standard utilizes a trained human operator who holds and physically ‘rolls’ the subject’s fingerprints over a surface in order to capture the complete print. Slap (or plain) fingerprints, an alternative form of capture, utilize a single press method that does not require human operation.

“However, they only capture the parts of the finger touching the sensor, providing significantly less surface area and decreased matching performance for live and latent fingerprint recognition.”

What was wanted was “an automated … capture technology that can eliminate the need for human operators while collecting data that performs as good as or better than the traditional rolled biometric gold standard for matching other live collection or forensic fingerprints,” the group explained.

For the rest of this report, and more, please go to Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

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Trump calls for Amazon shipping and tax hike

(Washington Examiner) President Trump attacked Amazon with a pair of Saturday morning tweets accusing the company of underpaying for shipping while using the Washington Post as its lobbyist.

Trump called for “real costs (and taxes)” for Amazon, but did not mention billionaire Jeff Bezos, who owns both companies, by name.

In his first tweet, Trump wrote: “it is reported that the U.S. Post Office will lose $1.50 on average for each package it delivers for Amazon. That amounts to Billions of Dollars.”

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