Open Thread

The Open Thread for March 11, 2017

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has asked for the resignations of 46 US attorneys, igniting anger from officials who say they were given no warning about their dismissal.

The Justice Department announced the firings on Friday afternoon, and many prosecutors had not been formally notified or even told before they were fired, according to a law enforcement source. Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente was in the beginning stages of calling each US attorney individually to tell them they had to resign when the DOJ issued the statement.

A law enforcement source charged that “this could not have been handled any worse,” because there was little warning. Many prosecutors found out through media reports that they had to resign today.

Alleged text messages point to possible influence that President Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort had with Ukraine’s President during turmoil there in 2014, a human rights attorney says.

“You know he has killed people in Ukraine? Knowingly,” Paul Manafort’s daughter Andrea allegedly wrote of her father in March 2015 in a series of texts to her sister about her father’s personal and professional life.

“Remember when there were all those deaths taking place. A while back. About a year ago. Revolts and what not,” Andrea allegedly wrote in reference to mass police shootings in Kiev. Manafort has not been linked to the shootings.

On Thursday, Ukrainian human rights lawyer Eugenia Zakrevska filed a motion in Kiev requesting that prosecutors verify the contents of the text messages and take measures to compel US authorities to question Manafort.

Palm Beach Post asks why did a Russian Obligarch pay so much (more than double) for a Trump mansion: “Almost a decade later, the answer is less clear than it was at the time of the sale, the largest price paid for a Palm Beach home.”

At the time of the purchase, Dmitry Rybolovlev said that “he didn’t plan to live in the United States…. Nonetheless, he went ahead and paid an exceptionally high, $50 million premium to Trump, then a real estate tycoon and reality TV host, for a property he never sought to live in, not even on a part-time basis.”

Wall Street Journal: “Trump has spent less than 15 minutes in the same room as reporters since he claimed on Twitter over the weekend, without evidence, that his campaign offices were wiretapped by his predecessor.”   “The upshot: He has yet to answer a single question about the accusation.”

Preet Bharara is/was the US Attorney for Manhattan.   He was fired yesterday, along with 45 of his colleagues.

The New Republic: “Instead of mobilizing his unprecedented grassroots machine to pressure obstructionist lawmakers, support state and local candidates who shared his vision, and counter the Tea Party, Obama mothballed his campaign operation, bottling it up inside the Democratic National Committee. It was the seminal mistake of his presidency—one that set the tone for the next eight years of dashed hopes, and helped pave the way for Donald Trump to harness the pent-up demand for change Obama had unleashed.”

“The question of why—why the president and his team failed to activate the most powerful political weapon in their arsenal—has long been one of the great mysteries of the Obama era. Now, thanks to previously unpublished emails and memos obtained by the New Republic—some from the John Podesta archive released by WikiLeaks, and others made available by Obama insiders—it’s possible for the first time to see the full contours of why Movement 2.0 failed, and what could have been.”

Obama suffered from something almost all Progressives suffer from.  You think that once you win, the campaign job is over.   Nope, it has only just begun.

“A little-noticed bill moving through Congress would allow companies to require employees to undergo genetic testing or risk paying a penalty of thousands of dollars, and would let employers see that genetic and other health information,” Stat reports.

“Giving employers such power is now prohibited by legislation including the 2008 genetic privacy and nondiscrimination law known as GINA. The new bill gets around that landmark law by stating explicitly that GINA and other protections do not apply when genetic tests are part of a ‘workplace wellness’ program.”

A new Public Religion Research Institute poll finds that 53% of Americans oppose laws requiring transgender people to use bathrooms that correspond to their sex at birth, while 39% favor such laws.  Significant partisan divisions remain, the survey found. While 65% of Democrats and 57% of independents oppose laws limiting transgender bathroom rights, 59% of Republicans support the laws.

Rick Klein and Shushannah Walshe: “Michael Flynn is gone from the Trump administration, but he’s not forgotten – and with good reason. The disclosure that Flynn was paid more than half a million dollars to lobby on behalf of the government of Turkey – work he performed in the run-up and immediate aftermath of the election – is a stunner.”

“As his ties to Russian officials continue to be scrutinized, what other foreign lobbying work was he being paid for – directly or indirectly – as he was about to be tapped to serve as President Trump’s national security adviser? Did he disclose any such contracts to the president’s team when his name was under public and private consideration? Moreover, Vice President Mike Pence’s icy response – ‘It is an affirmation of the president’s decision to ask Gen. Flynn to resign,’ he told Fox News’ Bret Baier on Thursday – raises questions about what other aspects of Flynn’s behavior led to his dismissal. Recall that, after he asked him to go for misleading Pence about his contacts with Russia, the president himself called Flynn a ‘wonderful man’ who was treated unfairly by ‘the fake media.’”

President Trump showed an affinity for “working the referees” in his race to the White House, criticizing a federal judge as biased, panning polls as rigged and even questioning the aptitude of the nation’s intelligence agencies, the New York Times reports.

“Now, with Mr. Trump’s administration aggressively pitching the House Republican plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, Capitol Hill’s official scorekeeper — the Congressional Budget Office — is coming under intense fire. As it prepares to render its judgment on the cost and impact of the bill, the nonpartisan agency of economists and statisticians has become a political piñata — and the latest example of Mr. Trump’s team casting doubt on benchmarks accepted as trustworthy for decades.”

Politico: Budget referee may call foul on Obamacare repeal bill.

Politico: “House Republican leaders narrowly tailored their Obamacare repeal bill to avoid violating Senate rules, but conservatives are pushing back with advice of their own: Tear up the rule-book. A growing number of conservative lawmakers on Thursday urged GOP leaders to push the limits of how much of the health law they can reshape under a powerful procedural maneuver known as budget reconciliation — and to overrule the Senate parliamentarian if she doesn’t decide in their favor.”

“Such a gambit would require the unlikely buy-in of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), a noted institutionalist who earlier this year avoided talk of changing his chamber’s rules to kill the ability to filibuster Supreme Court nominees. If the Senate changes precedent for what can be passed under reconciliation now, a future Senate — whether controlled by Republicans or Democrats — could enact a wide range of legislation with only a simple majority.”

 

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

3 comments on “The Open Thread for March 11, 2017

  1. WTH?

    “A little-noticed bill moving through Congress would allow companies to require employees to undergo genetic testing or risk paying a penalty of thousands of dollars, and would let employers see that genetic and other health information,” Stat reports.

    “Giving employers such power is now prohibited by legislation including the 2008 genetic privacy and nondiscrimination law known as GINA. The new bill gets around that landmark law by stating explicitly that GINA and other protections do not apply when genetic tests are part of a ‘workplace wellness’ program.”

    Great, now you’ll not only be denied healthcare, you’ll be denied a job, as well.

    • I expect this bill to be ridiculed and reviled, that does not mean it will not pass. Unlike most conservatives I meet I’m no constitutional scholar but suspect this might fall to a constitutional challenge. I surely hope it would.

    • delacrat

      if an official government entity would want this information, it would need a court ordered warrant.

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