Conservative immigrant activists break with Trump on the wall

In a fascinating new development, anti-immigrant activists are frustrated over President Trump’s insistence on $5.7 billion for a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

If even hardliners on immigration policy don’t support the wall, who in the world wants this badly enough to justify a drop in the President’s approval numbers and hundreds of thousands of people in dire economic straits as they prepare to miss a second paycheck?

Politico reports that groups like Numbers USA, which seek to curb immigration, would rather see a broader focus than just “barriers, walls, and fences.”
In the offers Trump has made to the Democrats so far, offering to extend temporary protections for young illegal immigrants for instance, he may be jeopardizing his most conservative anti-immigrant activists’ support.

Politico sums it up like this:

“…immigration groups that have stood with him in the past complain that he is giving too much for too little — a sign that his determination to fulfill an oft-repeated campaign pledge risks costing him even some hard-core supporters.”

If he doesn’t have conservatives and the left rejects it out of hand, maybe it’s time to go back to the drawing board?

Instead of meeting with furloughed workers, Mitch McConnell has them arrested

Eight hundred thousand federal workers are directly affected by the partial government shutdown, either forced to work without pay or furloughed.

recent poll found that 1 in 5 Americans said they were directly affected by the shutdown and President Trump’s approval ratings have taken a hit, including with non-college educated men and suburban men, who were critical to his victory in 2016.

On Thursday, hundreds of workers and their families protested at one of the Senate office buildings, demanding the government be re-opened and requesting to meet with Senator Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader who’s made little effort to find a path forward on the shutdown.

But instead of hearing their stories and providing any explanation for his plan to address the shutdown, McConnell had protestors arrested.

This shutdown is causing serious economic hardship for tens of thousands of people and McConnell can’t even be bothered to let them into his office for a face-to-face meeting. It reeks of a cold, inhumane standoffishness and it couldn’t have come at a worse time.

Is Sarah Huckabee Sanders on her way out?

If you thought you’ve seen less of Sarah Huckabee Sanders recently, it’s not your imagination. The White House press secretary has been notably absent recently. She hasn’t held a single press briefing since December 18, before the record-setting government shutdown started.

President Trump claims he’s told her not to hold the briefings anymore, tweeting:

“I told her not to bother, the word gets out anyway! Most will never cover us fairly & hence, the term, Fake News!”

She claims she’s still accessible to members of the media, though a Washington Examiner survey found that Huckabee Sanders presided over fewer news conference than any of her predecessors since the briefings were televised in 1995.

Part of why we’re hearing less from Huckabee Sanders is because Trump himself is taking more questions. President Trump has directly fielded more media questions than any president since Bill Clinton.

We have to wonder if Huckabee Sanders might be on the way out, following in the footsteps of Sean Spicer, Anthony Scaramucci, and Hope Hicks. All of those earlier press staffers in the White House had a little trouble dumping their baggage upon their exit and landing their next gig.

Is Sarah struggling to figure out her next steps while Trump lets her bide her time for a little bit? Or is he getting ready to say: “You’re fired!”?

Amazon Ring lets employees into homes

Reports have surfaced lately that Ring, the home security camera system company owned by Amazon, has been allowing employees complete access to unedited and unencrypted video footage from within customer’s homes.

Per the Intercept, Ring “provided its Ukraine-based research and development team virtually unfettered access to a folder on Amazon’s S3 cloud storage service that contained every video created by every Ring camera around the world.”

Horrible story short: If you let Ring see into your home, you let countless strangers see into your home, too. The possibility here are endless. Have hard feelings about a competitor or a journalist? Take a peek into their homes and see what dirt you can dig up. Got a crush on a co-worker? Watch what they get up to after work.

Ring denies the claims, but that’s only natural. What’s happened here is beyond acceptable. Privacy should be Ring’s number one concern, but of course, where Amazon is involved, it never will be.

Anonymous administration official praises Trump for using federal workers as pawns

In what is perhaps a nod of appreciation to the much-ballyhooed anonymous Trump administration official New York Times op-ed, another anonymous op-ed was published this week, this time in the Daily Caller.

In this latest op-ed, the author claims to be a senior White House official working without pay during the government shutdown. He has some fighting words for civil servants across the country:

“As one of the senior officials working without a paycheck, a few words of advice for the president’s next move at shuttered government agencies: lock the doors, sell the furniture, and cut them down. Federal employees are starting to feel the strain of the shutdown. I am one of them. But for the sake of our nation, I hope it lasts a very long time, till the government is changed and can never return to its previous form.”

One of the things that’s fascinating to observe is the way in which the gloves have come off during this shutdown and political leaders have made it abundantly clear in their own public comments that this is a political game of chicken, and no one wants to blink.

In the meantime, the American economy is facing the consequences, with Trump’s own economic advisers admitting they underestimated the impact of the shutdown on our GDP. Hundreds of thousands of everyday Americans are struggling in real ways.

Federal employees are either forced to work without a paycheck or sent home. Either way, mortgage and rent payments are still due and groceries and gas still need to be purchased for workers and their families.

Has the government’s bureaucracy become bloated? Hell yes. But do the American people deserve an honest and transparent conversation about how we ought to scale back government overreach? Also yes. Simply manipulating a melodramatic fight about the border wall to massively gut government functions may be a bridge too far.

Rep. Steve King under intense pressure from GOP over racist remarks

In an unprecedented move, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) has been stripped of his committee assignments and rebuked by the House of Representatives for his remarks in support of white supremacy.

King has a long history of making racially charged statement and has been quick to pounce on liberal critics obsessed with political correctness.

But his latest comments seem to have struck a nerve even within his own party.

Every single Republican in Congress voted for a resolution rejecting white supremacy and white nationalism, following King’s comments:

“White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive? Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?”

Even King himself voted for it, amazingly enough!

And now there’s growing pressure for King to resign. Wyoming Republican Liz Cheney said she thinks King “should find another line of work.” Rep. Chris Stewart of Utah thinksKing should resign and Utah Sen. Mitt Romney also said it may be time for King to step aside.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said:

”We will not tolerate this type of language in the Republican Party …  I watched what Steve King said and we took action.”

And House Freedom Caucus member Rep. Warren Davidson of Ohio told CNN:

“For Republicans all across the country, not just here in the House, I think it’s important to reinforce the message in every way possible that our party does not support racism. It’s always been wrong.”

In November, King narrowly won his race for re-election in a district that Trump won in 2016 by double digits, suggesting a broader rejection of his rhetoric and policy stances even amongst Republican voters.  Now, it seems like GOP leaders may be taking note.

Will King manage to survive this crisis or is he on the way out?

Trump dealt setback in effort to shield employers from being forced to offer contraceptive coverage

President Trump came into office with record levels of evangelical Christian support, perhaps surprising given his somewhat checkered past in terms of marital fidelity and family values.

But he embraced issues of key concern for evangelicals, including abortion and health care, reversing from an earlier pro-choice position to call for a 20-week abortion ban and advocate for de-funding Planned Parenthood.

While he was never able to effectively win on the promised repeal of Obamacare, he did work with the Congressional Republicans to gut key aspects of the health care law and has flexed executive power to further weaken Obama’s landmark policy victory.

One of those steps, which was of paramount importance to the conservative Christian community, was broadening the exemption for employers who would otherwise be forced to provide contraception to employees in violation of their own values.

This week, those changed rules hit a major roadblock when two separate judges blocked them. The Economist reports:

“On January 13th, Judge Haywood Gilliam Jr. in Oakland, California temporarily blockedimplementation of the rules in 13 states and the District of Columbia. A day later, in Pennsylvania, Judge Wendy Beetlestone issued a similar ruling that enjoins the new rules nationwide.”

The cases will be appealed and may end up at the Supreme Court, where Trump is likely to emerge victorious given the makeup of the high court.

But for now, Trump has to accept another setback in the midst of growing public pressure over the government shutdown.

Alyssa Milano compares Trump voters to KKK

Someone has to stop the liberals.

Alyssa Milano, the same Milano who recently mocked an amputee veteran who was raising funds for the border wall, is now claiming that Make America Great Again hats are the new “white hoods”.

She’s literally comparing Trump supporters to members of the Klu Klux Klan. Last time I checked, only one of those was a hate group that regularly murdered innocent African-Americans.

The comment came as part of the actress’s tirade against a teenage boy being accused of “threatening” a Native American leader. But is there any context in which calling half of the country members of the KKK is okay?

Fox News airs RBG “memorial” graphic

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is alive and well following surgery to remove a cancerous mass from her lung, according to the latest reports. But this week, Fox News showed a “memorial” graphic that strongly suggested she had died.

A host later apologized for the mistake:

“We need to apologize … A technical error in the control room triggered a graphic of RBG with a date on it. […] We don’t want to make it seem anything other than that was a mistake. That was an accident.”

Justice Ginsburg’s passing would be major news, and would trigger a major shift on the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, Ginsburg has made no indication that she plans to step down following her health issues.

Giuliani keeps digging a deeper hole for Trump to climb out of

Rudy Giuliani was at one point “America’s mayor,” well-liked by many from both political parties and respected for his programatic, no-nonsense leadership. But ever since his arrival to the Trump White House, the guy seems a little unstable.

Giuliani seems to be digging a deeper and deeper hole for President Trump on the accusations of collusion with Russia, telling the press that Trump was involved in conversations about building a Trump Tower in Moscow throughout the 2016 campaign, a direct contradiction of the President’s earlier statements.

While the Mueller team has thrown some cold water on the BuzzFeed story that Trump directed his personal lawyer Cohen to lie to Congress, there’s been a lot of haggling between the Special Counsel and the news outlets about what exactly happened and what exactly is being disputed.

So we’re left to worry that there’s some kernel of truth in the reports that Trump told Cohen to lie, especially when Trump’s own lawyer is telling the media that Trump was involved in the Russia conversations until the end of the 2016 campaign.

Apparently Trump is increasingly angered by Giuliani’s gaffes and missteps that require further clarification or talkbacks.

In August 2018, Giuliani told Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press” that Trump could be trapped because “truth isn’t truth.”  Then he admitted that the 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer in Trump Tower was in fact designed to get “dirt” on Hillary Clinton during the campaign and went on to claim, in eyebrow-raising fashion, that “collusion isn’t a crime.” Now he seems to be backtracking on whether collusion happened, saying it may have occurred with members of the campaign but not with Trump himself.

What a mess. Can’t Trump get a better lawyer? And if this is the best he can do, should we be in full panic mode?