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?

President Trump is losing support of male voters over border wall

President Trump seems to have walled himself into a corner in the fight over border wall funding, initially acquiescing to the deal brokered in the Senate to fund the government without $5.7 billion for the wall, then flip-flopping and shutting down the government until he gets his way.

For many loyal Trump supporters, the wall is a symbol of everything Trump promised on the campaign trail and his promise to protect America from immigrants and preserve a way of life.

While some supporters are cheering the President on his wall stance, support is precipitously eroding, a worrying sign when the Democratic field of contenders to take him on in 2020 looks stronger by the day.

The Washington Post quoted a retired Navy reservist who supported Trump but sees this shutdown as an indication that he might have gotten it wrong. He told the Post: “What the [expletive] were we thinking?”
An NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist survey, conducted Jan. 10 to Jan. 13, found that his net approval rating has dropped seven points since December. Perhaps even more concerning for the Trump administration is the declines in support among men: suburban men’s approval of Trump has slipped a significant 18 percentage points and for men without a college degree, support is down seven points.

One Trump voter in Michigan, frustrated by the shutdown, put it this way: “Something miraculous has to happen for me to vote for him again.”

What a second round of missing paychecks means for federal employees

Federal workers are bracing for their second missed paycheck, with no end in sight to the partial government shutdown. Thousands are running up credit card debt and tapping into retirement accounts as their savings dip dangerously low or are completely exhausted. And mortgage and rent payments will be due February 1, increasing the angst for many federal workers who may not be able to pay.

According to Politico, the Consumer Bankers Association says calls have increased tenfold from the early weeks of the shutdown, with federal employees seeking relief from payments as the shutdown drags on.

Some creditors are stepping in to help, offering forbearance and waiving fees and offering no-interest loans. Verizon has set up a “Promise to Pay” program, which gives workers affected by the shutdown the ability to set a future date to pay their phone bill.  The National Foundation for Credit Counseling has a national plan in place to help support workers seeking relief and many banks are working with individuals to waive fees and delay payments. But if the shutdown continues for much longer, it’s unclear how long these temporary plans will hold.

And for some, their creditors and landlords aren’t very forgiving and this shutdown could mean eviction.

If the shutdown lingers on, tenants in low-income housing provided via Housing and Urban Development contracts could be evicted.

Legislative efforts are afoot in Congress and in the Washington, D.C. Council to protect federal workers from evictions, foreclosures, cars repossessions, late fees, and cancelled insurance policies because of missed premiums. But so far, the stakes of this shutdown are high and growing by the day.

Senator Harris joins Dem race

This week, liberal Senator Kamala Harris of California threw her proverbial hat into the ring that is the 2020 Democratic nomination, announcing her first campaign event in California.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Harris doesn’t believe that practicing Catholics can be federal judges. She nearly said as much last year, when she asked whether a potential judge’s membership in the Knights of Columbus should disqualify him on the basis of their Catholic ties and views on social issues such as same-sex marriage and abortion. Harris seems to forget that the Constitution bars religious discrimination for judges.
  • Her politics are liberal, but not quite liberal enough. She’s already taking flack from the socialists for having been a prosecutor before she was Attorney General of California.
  • Harris has been largely a figurehead in Congress. Beloved by pundits and Democratic donors, she often takes center stage in Congressional confrontations, but has yet to be behind any major legislation.
  • She’s already being compared to Barack Obama, and not for reasons she should be proud of. Like Obama, she’s a brand-new Senator with almost no experience under her belt.
We’ll see what the voters make of her, but our hopes aren’t exactly high.

Chamber of Commerce tries to shut down future Trump tariffs

The Chamber of Commerce is wasting no time in 2019 trying to stop President Trump from putting new tariffs on foreign imports, Breitbart News reports.

A letter written by Chamber of Commerce Chief Policy Officer, Neil Bradley, obtained by Breitbart argues that new reciprocal tarrifs on foreign imports, “would undermine U.S. economic growth and job creation.”

Putting aside the fact that the Trump administration hasn’t even introduced legislation yet, Bradley argues that new tariffs “would effectively give the President unilateral authority to increase U.S. tariffs on imports from any foreign country. The harm to Americans would be immediate: Tariffs are taxes, and they are paid by American families and American businesses.”

The letter can be read in full here.

Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) is expected to introduce a bill in the next few weeks, called the United States Reciprocal Trade Act, to give the president the ability to raise tariffs on specific products from overseas if foreign countries put higher tariffs on similar products from America.

The Coalition for a Prosperous America, a fair trade organization, has praised the concept:

“This reciprocal tariff bill idea is a good one because the WTO system has locked the United States into treating all trade competitors the same, regardless of whether they have high or low tariffs,” a CPA statement read. “Such a bill would also further the end of the WTO system, potentially.”

Globalists trying to screw over America will have one less weapon in their arsenal after President Trump is through.

Is Giuliani intentionally sabotaging Trump?

The question of the week: Is President Trump’s lawyer, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, incompetent or up to something?

Giuliani made a disastrous appearance on Chris Cuomo’s “Prime Time” on CNN in which he actually uttered the words: “I never said there was no collusion between the campaign or between people in the campaign…I have not. I said the President of the United States.”

Giuliani then claimed that reports that the Trump campaign shared polling data with Russian agents would not constitute collusion. “How is it not?” said Cuomo.

“Well, because polling data is given to everybody,” Giuliani said. “I mean, he shouldn’t have given it to them. That’s wrong to give it to them.”

It’s becoming more and more possible to consider that that the president’s lawyer actually isn’t on his side after all.Maybe Giuliani is out only to protect himself. Or maybe he’s just the worst lawyer in history.

Lindsey Graham urges Trump to reopen the government

Senator Lindsey Graham has not minced words in his support for the government shutdown over funding for the border wall, though he also seemed to fancy himself a key dealmaker on a “grand bargain” to trade DREAMers for the border wall funding that  President Trump is desperate to secure.

Once it became clear that the White House wasn’t interested in that deal, Graham’s morale apparently plummeted. He told press: “I have never been more depressed about moving forward than I am right now.”

While he previously had strong words for Trump, insisting that backing down was tantamount to the end of the Trump presidency and the end of the Republican Party, now Graham seems to have changed his tune.

As the shutdown hits record lengths and the dominoes continue to fall as a result, Graham is telling Trump to go ahead and re-open the government.

On Fox News Sunday, Graham said:

“I would urge him to open up the government for a short period of time, like three weeks, before he pulls the plug. See if we can get a deal. If we can’t at the end of three weeks, all bets are off. See if he can do it by himself through the emergency powers.”

Between this and Trump blowing up at his new chief of staff Mick Mulvaney in front of Congressional leaders over the handling of the shutdown, the President is surely steamed. His approval ratings just keep sinking and far more Americans blame him for the shutdown than blame Pelosi and the Democrats.
It sure seems like Trump needs to find a way out of the mess…did Graham just show him how?