* Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch is most known for his defense of religious liberty – especially in the Hobby Lobby case. But he seems to be confused about what those words mean. Here is a helpful test to determine when your religious liberties have been violated:
* Personally, I have a hard time even getting to the question about religious liberties in the Hobby Lobby case because the opinion endorsed by Gorsuch was based on anti-science nonsense. To recap, here is what the plaintiffs in that case asserted:
The Affordable Care Act says that employer-provided insurance must include essential health benefits, including all medically authorized forms of contraception. The owners of Hobby Lobby objected to this requirement, because they believe that four common forms of birth control—two versions of the “morning-after pill” and two kinds of intrauterine devices (IUDs)—are “abortifacients.” In other words, the owners of Hobby Lobby think these contraceptives end pregnancies rather than prevent them. And they believe that is tantamount to ending a life.
That claim is based on the belief that the four forms of birth control prevent implantation of a fertilized egg (which they consider abortion). Even under that definition, science does not support their claim.
So before we even discuss religious liberty, Gorsuch’s opinion in the Hobby Lobby case was based on beliefs that have no relationship to the facts of science.
* If the Trump administration hasn’t already scared you, this should do the trick: how about a war with Iran?
National Security Advisor Michael Flynn at White House briefing: “As of today, we are officially putting Iran on notice.” pic.twitter.com/RxtK8B36xu
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) February 1, 2017
* Jake Tapper shows how reporting on this White House is done.
— Nolan D. McCaskill (@NolanDMcCaskill) January 31, 2017
* In case you were wondering, no…Congressional Republicans still don’t have a clue about how to repeal/replace Obamacare.
House Republicans voiced frustrations Tuesday about slow-moving efforts to unwind Obamacare, urging their leaders to pick up the pace on a top campaign promise…
“We should get a plan together that we all, at least we can vote on and decide where we have the votes and where we don’t and where we need to do some work and what policies we can agree upon. And I think the failure to do that over the last four years has caught us somewhat flat-footed,” Perry said.
The frustrations reflect the dilemma facing Republican leaders caught between years-long promises to smash the Affordable Care Act and the political reality of upending the health care system in a way that could cause millions of Americans to lose their health insurance.
* Steve Bannon is getting all the attention lately for being the man behind the throne. What does that mean for the guy everyone thought would be the Trump whisperer?
When the Kushners decided to relocate to Washington, on the heels of Trump’s surprise win, they stepped out of a comfortable life in New York and their respective family real-estate empires. The potential for the young couple, ostensibly a gate to the president, appeared enormous. But after a week, it appears that the de facto First Couple may have underestimated the potential pitfalls. Less than a fortnight into his new post, Kushner appears unable to control both his father-in-law and those around him…The question is whether the couple’s combination of unbridled ambition and inexperience will cause them to influence the president as never before, or whether they will be among the first to go.
* Finally, you may have heard that over the weekend Trump watched the movie “Finding Dory.” Ellen has some thoughts.