Open Thread

The Open Thread for January 25, 2017

President Trump “is expected to sign several executive orders on Wednesday restricting immigration from Syria and six other Middle Eastern or African countries,” Reuters reports.

“In addition to Syria, Trump’s orders are expected to temporarily restrict access to the United States for most refugees. Another order will block visas from being issued to those from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen… The restrictions on refugees are likely to include a multi-month ban on admissions from all countries until the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security can make the vetting process more rigorous.”

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Kellyanne Conway “allegedly punched a tuxedo-clad man at an exclusive inauguration ball just hours after the new commander-in-chief was sworn in,” the New York Daily News reports.

“Conway, who serves as President Trump’s senior counselor, apparently stepped between two men after they got into a scuffle at the invite-only Liberty Ball on Friday evening… But the two men wouldn’t break up the fight and Conway apparently punched one of them in the face with closed fists at least three times, according to the stunned onlooker.”

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“A group of senior Senate Democrats on Tuesday plan to unveil their own $1 trillion plan to revamp the nation’s airports, bridges, roads and seaports, urging President Trump to back their proposal, which they say would create 15 million jobs over 10 years,” the Washington Post reports.

“Eager to drive a wedge between the new president and congressional Republicans, Democrats consider talk of infrastructure projects as a way to piggyback on Trump’s frequent vows to repair the nation’s crumbling roads and bridges and persuade him to adopt ideas that would put him at odds with GOP leaders, who have done little to embrace what would amount to a major new government spending program.”

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Charlie Cook: “My bet is that Republican elected officials are going to be extremely reluctant to publicly break with Trump, despite his anemic poll numbers. GOP officeholders and party officials will continue to fear the wrath of the Trump backers at the first sign of criticism. With so few Republicans likely to face strong Democratic challenges in 2018, either because few GOP seats are up or because few House incumbents are in competitive districts, primary challenges are their biggest fear, so they are unlikely to do anything to anger the Trump faithful.”

“On the Democratic side, can anyone win the nomination running from the middle? At one time, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York occupied that moderately liberal place, but more recently she’s moved sharply to the left. It would seem that there is no traction anywhere else in the Democratic Party. Gillibrand advertised her leftward move by casting the lone vote against retired Marine General James Mattis’s nomination to be secretary of Defense. Sen. Cory Booker’s testimony against Sen. Jeff Sessions’s nomination to be attorney general gave him an opportunity to strike a similar pose. Until now, Booker seemed to be steering clear of doing things that might pigeonhole him as a left-leaning bomb thrower.”

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New York Times: “Party leaders, eyeing the huge protests last weekend and growing worries over the promised repeal of the Affordable Care Act, are hoping to recreate the mass movement that sprang up in 2009 and swept Republicans to power in the House and in governor’s races across the country — a Tea Party equivalent from the left.”

“And they are turning to the same playbook that guided their conservative counterparts in the aftermath of Mr. Obama’s election: creating or expanding a number of groups outside the formal architecture of the party, focusing on often-overlooked state legislative and redistricting campaigns, and bringing together frightened fund-raisers to underwrite it all.”

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“The White House is installing senior aides atop major federal agencies to shadow the administration’s Cabinet secretaries, creating a direct line with loyalists who can monitor and shape White House goals across the federal bureaucracy,” Politico reports.

“The aides chosen by the White House—given the title of senior adviser in each agency—have already been responsible for hiring at some departments and crafting the blueprint of Trump policy before the Cabinet members win Senate confirmation to take office. They have worked with congressional aides, lobbyists and others seeking influence in the new administration.”

“The arrangement, described by four people involved in the transition planning, appears designed to help the White House maintain control over its priorities despite pledging to give Cabinet secretaries unusual autonomy. Having senior advisers reporting to both the agency chiefs and the White House could spur early tensions and create conflicts with that pledge of autonomy.”

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“Badlands National Park posted several facts about climate change on its official Twitter account Tuesday afternoon, sharing statistics that might contradict the beliefs of President Donald Trump’s new administration,” Time reports.

“The Badlands National Park tweets come after Trump’s administration enforced a social media blackout on the Environmental Protection Agency, barring EPA staff from publishing news releases, blog posts or social media updates.”

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President Trump has narrowed his first Supreme Court nomination down to three finalists with Tenth Circuit judge Neil Gorsuch and Third Circuit judge Thomas Hardiman emerging as the frontrunners while Eleventh Circuit Judge Bill Pryor remains in the running but fading, Politico reports.

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“After seven years of fitful declines, the federal budget deficit is projected to begin swelling again, adding nearly $10 trillion to the federal debt over the next 10 years, according to projections from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office that reveal the strain that government debt will have on the economy as President Trump embarks on plans to slash taxes and ramp up spending,” the New York Times reports.

“The new deficit figures will be a major challenge to congressional Republicans, who were swept to power in 2010 on fears of a swollen deficit and who have made controlling red ink a major part of their legislating under former President Barack Obama.”

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Ryan Lizza: “One of the dangers in covering an abnormal Presidency is that journalists will constantly be on the lookout for signs of normalcy, and exaggerate and even celebrate them as proof that things aren’t so unusual, after all.”

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“Donald Trump holds the most powerful office in the world. But he’s dogged by insecurity over his loss of the popular vote in the election and a persistent frustration that the legitimacy of his presidency is being challenged by Democrats and the media, aides and associates say,” the AP reports.

“Trump’s fixation has been a drag on the momentum of his opening days in office, with his exaggerations about inauguration crowds and false assertions about illegal balloting intruding on advisers’ plans to launch his presidency with a flurry of actions on the economy.”

“The bad press over the weekend has not allowed Trump to ‘enjoy’ the White House as he feels he deserves, according to one person who has spoken with him.”

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

10 comments on “The Open Thread for January 25, 2017

  1. There’s a reason behind Trump’s every lie.

    The President on Wednesday morning published a series of tweets to his personal account announcing that he would order an investigation into voter fraud, including a probe into voting by “those who are illegal.”

    Every time Trump and co. bring this up, all I hear is: Get ready for more voter restrictions.

    This is all Bannon.

  2. Trump doth strive mightily to keep his minions afraid, terrified and compliant. Suspect the Republicans will remain afraid of Trump in the short term but it matters not. They’ll be attacking Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid like children at the cookie jar when mommy is not home. Like everyone else I find the current crop of Dems pathetic, especially at the top. Hoping against hope for a grass roots movement to rid us of DINOS. In the meantime I’m writing a few protest songs and considering writing “This Machine Kills Fascists!” on my acoustic guitar. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    • I do think that Republicans will “be attacking Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid like children at the cookie jar when mommy is not home” but, as usual, their first and favorite target is women.

      The only non-suspension bill the House will vote on next week is the so-called No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2017.

      Per its name, the legislation by New Jersey GOP Rep. Christopher H. Smith would prohibit federal funds, including those provided to the District of Columbia, from being used for abortions or for health benefits that cover abortions.

      What this means is that the Hyde Amendment becomes permanent and that if you receive a federal subsidy for your ACA plan – no abortion coverage for you.

      There’s just so much happening right now, that it’s hard to keep up. The gag orders from the White House and government websites going dark paves the way for more alternative facts. It makes my head spin.

  3. DCDelaware

    Beware the distraction of following the narcissist Mein Drumpf obsession over his “popularity.” My concern is too much attention is paid to that (and the lies) and not enough on the actions of the administration and Congress.

    • The lies are part of an agenda. They’re setting up the long game (voter restriction is my guess when it comes to “millions of illegals voting” lie.) and the actions are coming fast and furious.

      The popularity stuff will probably lead to restricted free speech. None of this behavior/tweets strikes me as random.

      • DCDelaware

        I agree and the voter restrictions and free speech are a direct link. However, many more things are not getting the attention due to the outrageous lies. Similar to the blizzard of confirmation hearings. I suspect that Bannon is only too happy to let Mein Drumpf grab so much attention and be the focus of press “briefings;” plus it keeps him occupied.

  4. ““The White House is installing senior aides atop major federal agencies to shadow the administration’s Cabinet secretaries..”

    Just an FYI, this is common practice with all administrations. In Energy (I know from personal experience), several of them went native and several others found career positions. Most of them were smart, capable people, so there wasn’t very much resentment. But initially, we knew, and they knew we knew what they were. Most made the effort to gain our trust.

    • That makes sense. Not a great idea, but not surprising. That said, why do I think this will be different? Like each aide will be charged with making an enemies list – this list won’t just include top people, it will also include everyone in the mail room, janitorial service, clerks, receptionists, etc..

      It’ll be like that Blazing Saddles scenes. “I didn’t get a harrumph outta that guy.”

  5. cassandram

    Elizabeth Warren will vote for Carson. While this is a total WTF moment here, the thing I want to see is if she gets the bashing Cory Booker did over the pharma vote.

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