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Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., accused conservatives of using the “bogus” term “religious liberty” in order to hide their desire to discriminate.

“We know that Neil Gorsuch is a supporter of so-called religious liberty, which is a bogus term—it is actually some sort of pretext for discrimination hiding behind the guise of religion,” he said during an interview Monday with MSNBC.

Maloney was referring to the Supreme Court justice who wrote Monday’s majority opinion arguing that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protected against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Gorsuch argued that both of those were “inextricably” bound up in sex, which the statute 1964 statute protects. He indicated, however, that religious liberty concerns could alter the way Title VII is applied in future cases.

He specifically referred to the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act (RFRA) as a “super statute” that “might supersede Title VII’s commands in appropriate cases.”

Conservatives have worried that anti-discrimination laws could be interpreted in ways that would conflict with employers’ religious convictions. Gorsuch’s reasoning, in particular, indicated to many that other regulations surrounding sex and gender would soon fall to a more liberal interpretation.

That included a recently finalized Health and Human Services regulation that said sex, as it was considered in an anti-discrimination provision, related to biological characteristics rather than perceived identity.

Maloney, the first openly gay representative from New York, said the Court’s decision was “amazing” and that it would improve “millions of lives.”

When asked about his message for young activists, Maloney argued that Congress would be a lot better if it had more high school students.

“Keep it up. If we had more high school kids in Congress, we’d be a better country. I mean, every major progressive movement right now is being led by young people,” he said.

Author: Sam Dorman

Source: Fox News: House Dem claims religious liberty is a ‘bogus term,’ ‘pretext for discrimination’

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is calling for men’s restrooms to include tampons in order to prevent discrimination against “every person who menstruates.”

“While free menstrual products are not uniformly provided in women’s restrooms, they are almost never available in men’s restrooms, even for pay,” the group said in a statement Tuesday.

“Men’s restrooms are also less likely to have a place to dispose of these products conveniently, privately, and hygienically.”

The left-leaning legal group argued that it wasn’t a “full or accurate portrayal” to say that women are the only ones who “menstruate, get pregnant, or breast feed [sic].”

“Menstrual stigma and period poverty can hit trans and non-binary people particularly hard,” the post read.

The group linked to a legislative toolkit in which it advocated for regulation of menstrual products in public restrooms. The group also favors menstrual products in public shelters and schools.

“Menstrual equity is a basic equity issue,” the report read. “Just as we have regulated the provision of toilet paper and paper towels in public restrooms, so too should we do the same for menstrual products.”

This wasn’t the first time the ACLU made a head-turning comment about gender. On “International Men’s Day,” the group declared that men could both get their periods and give birth.

“Men who get pregnant and give birth are men,” the group tweeted in November.

The controversial organization has also defended Medicaid funding for gender dysphoria surgeries and allowing individuals to change the gender marker on their birth certificates. The group also sued a Catholic health organization over its refusal to cover gender-related surgeries, leading to a settlement in which the organization agreed to change its medical plan.

In 2015, the group intervened in a case surrounding gender and locker rooms. A blog post from the ACLU of Illinois claimed that “a transgender girl is female. She is a girl through and through — not something in between.”

The post opposed an Illinois superintendent’s claim that their client had a “male body” and suggested the school district’s position ran counter to science.

“The superintendent asserts that a girl who is transgender has a ‘male body’ and that transgender students are ‘of the opposite sex’ when defending the District’s position,” the post read. “Such assertions are wrong as a matter of science and offensive because they serve to challenge and undermine the very core of a person’s identity.”

Author: Sam Dorman

Source: Fox News: ACLU calls for tampons in men’s rooms in order to achieve ‘menstrual equity’

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released its annual report on Wednesday, showing a slight decline in arrests and roughly 10,000 more removals from the previous fiscal year.

ICE conducted 267,258 removals — up from 256,058 in fiscal year 2018. According to the report, nearly all (91 percent) of the removed included individuals with criminal convictions or pending criminal charges at the time of arrest. Arrests, however, fell to 143,000 from 159,000.

In fiscal year 2019, individuals were charged for a variety of violent crimes that included homicide (1,900), kidnapping (1,800), sex offenses (12,000) and assault (45,000). The vast majority of arrests — 86 percent — involved pending criminal charges or criminal convictions, according to the report.

The report came as the agency fended off criticism over its handling of the ongoing migrant crisis, which President Trump has responded to by tightening restrictions on entry and calling for additional deportations.

“There is no doubt that the border crisis, coupled with the unwillingness of some local jurisdictions that choose to put politics over public safety, has made it more difficult for ICE to carry out its congressionally mandated interior enforcement mission,” ICE Acting Director Matthew Albence said.

The agency has also encountered challenges from sanctuary jurisdictions that refuse to honor its requests to detain illegal immigrants suspected of committing crimes.

“No matter where you live in the U.S., your safety is impacted by criminal aliens who came to this country illegally and now live in your neighborhoods,” Albence said.

“Despite our significant challenges, and as evidenced by the tremendous work of the professional men and women of ERO [Enforcement and Removal Operations], ICE remains committed to removing dangerous, recidivist criminals from our communities and restoring integrity to the nation’s immigration system,” he added.

Democrats have criticized immigration enforcement, in particular, for the way it treated migrants and migrant families in federal custody. According to ICE, its non-detained docket reached a record 3.2 million cases. In total, ICE removed 5,700 — 110 percent more than in the previous fiscal year — migrants identified as family unit members.

Author: Sam Dorman

Source: Fox News: ICE removes more than 267,000 individuals in fiscal year 2019

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., threw cold water on the whistleblower complaint on Thursday but demanded to know who in the White House spoke with the whistleblower and why they didn’t file a complaint on their own.

“It is imperative we find out which White House official talked to the whistleblower and why. Why didn’t they lodge the complaint?” he asked on Twitter.

He seemed to refer to the White House officials the whistleblower complaint cited as being “deeply disturbed” by a call in which President Trump urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.

The White House released a rough transcript of the call on Wednesday, revealing that it contained no evidence of a quid pro quo for foreign aid. The House Intelligence Committee continued pressing the issue on Thursday, as Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire testified before the panel.

Republicans have panned the report as benign and alleged Democrats were grasping at straws in trying to attack the president. Graham seemed to agree, calling the report a “pig in a poke” bought by Democrats.

He also blasted the whistleblower complaint as an obvious effort to hurt the president. “As to the other matters in complaint: Clearly a coordinated effort to take second-hand information to create a narrative damaging to the President,” he tweeted. “When I think of whistleblower complaints I generally think of someone with first-hand knowledge of the events in question.”

As Graham, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, noted, the whistleblower filed the complaint without witnessing the events himself. Rather, the individual relied on second-hand accounts.

He also appeared to think Democrats were bluffing on impeachment, arguing that if the whistleblower report was as big a deal as they made it out to be, the House should vote to pursue an impeachment inquiry.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., announced on Tuesday that she would launch an official inquiry but the House has yet to vote on official proceedings.

Author: Sam Dorman

Source: Fox News: Lindsey Graham demands to know who in White House talked with whistleblower

Oprah at Abrams rally: I’m not testing presidential waters

Oprah Winfrey fires up supporters at a Georgia campaign rally for Democrat gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams and denies that her appearance is linked to a future presidential run.

HBO host Bill Maher argued on Friday that there was a good chance former Vice President Joe Biden would ruin a 2020 bid and that talk show empress Oprah Winfrey was the only sure bet for beating the president.

“The only person who is a sure thing is Oprah Winfrey,” Maher said before emphasizing the importance of celebrity in American politics. Later in his monologue he said, “I am telling you that at this particular moment in history, in this particular election year, she is the only candidate who is a sure thing winner for the Democrats.”

He argued that Oprah “checks all the boxes” needed to beat Trump: she would energize the African American base, galvanize women, and wouldn’t “scare” white men.

“If Oprah’s running, don’t get in the way of women on election day or you’ll be seeing the color purple,” Maher said in a play off of one of Winfrey’s movies.

He went on to argue that like President Trump, Winfrey had the advantage of being in people’s living rooms for decades. “This is now a ‘as seen on TV kind of country,'” Maher asserted.

At the beginning of that segment, Maher ran through a list of leading Democratic candidates and ticked off reasons why they faced questionable prospects in a general election against Trump.

“I like Joe,” Maher said, referring to the frontrunner, “but if we give him the keys, there’s at least a 50 percent chance he gets in the car and mows down a farmer’s market.”

Speculation has swirled around Winfrey for a potential 2020 run, although she has made it clear that she wasn’t interested in the fight. “I know my path and my path isn’t that,” she said in April.

Author: Sam Dorman

Source: Fox News: Bill Maher claims Oprah would be only ‘sure’ bet for beating Trump in 2020

What is the true cost of Medicare for All?

Juniper Research Group founder and CEO Chris Jacobs breaks down the cost.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., specified Tuesday how he would pay for his “Medicare for All” program, which critics have lambasted for its cost and impact on the federal budget.

While campaigning in New Hampshire, he responded to an audience member’s question about payment by saying he would likely raise payroll taxes on employers as well as income taxes on high-income earners.

“It would cost you and ordinary Americans a lot less than you are currently spending on average,” he said before explaining his payment method.

“What it will probably end up looking like is a payroll tax on employers, an increase in income tax in a progressive way for ordinary people — with a significant deductible for low-income people who pay nothing for it,” he said.

He also said his campaign purposefully didn’t put out a detailed account of his payment plan because it would “engender enormous debate.”

Sanders was just one of many progressive, 2020 candidates to advance “Medicare for All” and other policies, prompting more vigorous debate about socialism in the United States.

The proposal has received varying cost estimates from different organizations. According to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, one Medicare for All proposal from Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash. would cost about $28 trillion – $32 trillion over a decade.

The American Action Forum, a conservative think tank, estimated the Green New Deal’s provision for universal health care would cost $36 trillion, with $260,000 in cost per household.

Another study from the Mercatus Institute, typically perceived as leaning right on fiscal issues, similarly predicted in 2018 that the cost would reach $32 trillion in 10 years but forsaw a scenario in which the nation could actually save more than $2 trillion on health expenditures.

An alternative scenario, accounting for less effective cost controls, would result in more than $3 trillion in additional costs. Mercatus also claimed that its study’s author thought the assumptions showing cost-savings may be unreasonable.

When Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma commented on the issue in April, she described the program as “the biggest threat to the American health care system.”

“What we’re talking about is stripping people of their private health insurance, forcing them into a government-run program,” she said. Her concerns echoed those of others who worried about the impact on existing health plans.

Sanders and others have championed universal health care as a human rights issue — citing the U.S.’s high health care costs and lack of coverage compared to other industrialized nations.

Sam Dorman is a reporter with Fox News. You can follow him on Facebook here.

Author: Sam Dorman

Source: Fox News: Bernie says he’ll probably raise payroll, income taxes to pay for ‘Medicare for All’

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