Open Thread

The Open Thread for March 23, 2017

What to start with today?  Congressman Nunes’ obstruction of justice that will see him eventually indicted and jailed along with everyone else in the Trump campaign, or the coming vote on the Make America Sick Again Tax Cut Bill in the House.   Let’s do the WealthCare bill first, and the Treason second.

Politico: “With one day to go until the biggest vote of his brief presidency, Trump is using all the trappings of his office to try to clinch the needed 215 votes. It’s unclear whether it will be enough to save the legislation. But late Wednesday, the White House floated a major change to the bill in a bid to win over roughly three dozen House conservatives.”

“Trump is trying to overawe opponents of the bill with the prestige of White House, calling them into his gold-painted Oval Office for private conversations. He is leaning on Ryan to promise them votes on their pet measures. And Trump is showing he’s quite open to horse-trading, if that’s what it takes.”

David Nather: “Looks like the White House and GOP leaders are willing to meet some of the conservatives’ demands to knock out Obamacare’s insurance regulations — even though there’s no guarantee those changes would comply with the budget rules, and they could just get stripped out in the Senate. So why go through the exercise? Because President Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan need their votes, and right now, the goal is just to get something through the House.”

“Just hours before an expected Thursday vote in the House, congressional Republicans are considering massive changes to insurance coverage without even a basic idea of what those changes would mean,” the Huffington Post reports.

“According to House Freedom Caucus members, the conservative group is negotiating directly with President Donald Trump and the White House on an amendment to the Republican health care bill, seemingly cutting out GOP leadership from the conversation as Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and his deputies work to corral votes for a bill that is, in these latest provisions, a mystery even to them.”

“The re-opening of negotiations is an admission of what has been clear all along ― that the bill as constructed by Ryan does not have the votes to pass on Thursday.”

Democrats have decided to get out of the way and let Republicans fight amongst themselves.

“Republicans now are dealing with the fact that they’ve built a castle on a foundation of lies,” Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.), who chairs the moderate New Democrat Coalition in the House, said in an interview. “The last thing we would want to do is get in their way.” […]

… Democratic leaders are discouraging members from offering amendments when the Rules Committee meets to debate the GOP health care bill on Wednesday. And on Thursday, Democrats don’t plan on offering a “motion to recommit,” the procedural move typically proposed by the minority to delay passage of a bill on the floor.

Their thinking, according to multiple sources, is that offering amendments to improve the bill, if adopted, would give wobbly Republicans cover to vote for the repeal — hampering Democrats’ chances of tanking the proposal before it even reaches the Senate.

Mike Allen says the Russia story “is going from fishy, to career-ending (Manafort, Flynn), to investigation-worthy, to FBI criminal probe, to a wide, Watergate-like scandal that could bring all of government to a halt.”

“Watergate was a coverup of a burglary. This could be the coverup of a nuclear-armed U.S. nemesis that infiltrated our politics with the specific aim of disrupting the very foundation of our democracy — a presidential election — and did so, possibly, in a manner that elected its preferred candidate and locked in all party control that could decimate the opposition party for years.”

“U.S. Treasury Department agents have recently obtained information about offshore financial transactions involving President Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, as part of a federal anti-corruption probe into his work in Eastern Europe,” the AP reports.

Washington Post: “But even as Trump officials downplay Manafort’s role, his ­decade-long business associate Rick Gates remains entrenched in the president’s operation. Gates is one of four people leading a Trump-blessed group that defends the president’s agenda. As recently as last week, he was at the White House to meet with officials as part of that work.”

“Through Manafort, Gates is tied to many of the same business titans from Ukraine and Russia, including Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch with strong ties to Russian President Vladi­mir Putin.”

“The conservative Koch network is promising to spend millions of dollars to defeat the health care overhaul backed by President Donald Trump and top House Republicans,” the AP reports.

“The announcement, which comes on the eve of the House vote, marks the influential conservative network’s most aggressive move against the health care proposal, which is under attack from the right and the left.”

“I can’t go into the particulars, but there is more than circumstantial evidence now.” — Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), quoted by Politico, on evidence of Trump campaign collusion with Russia.

“The FBI has information that indicates associates of President Trump communicated with suspected Russian operatives to possibly coordinate the release of information damaging to Hillary Clinton’s campaign,” US officials told CNN.

“The FBI is now reviewing that information, which includes human intelligence, travel, business and phone records and accounts of in-person meetings… The information is raising the suspicions of FBI counterintelligence investigators that the coordination may have taken place, though officials cautioned that the information was not conclusive and that the investigation is ongoing.”

Ian Millhiser writes that, “While Gorsuch was testifying, the Supreme Court unanimously said he was wrong.”

Under Gorsuch’s opinion in Luke P., a school district complies with the law [Individuals with Disabilities Education Act – or IDEA] so long as they provide educational benefits that “must merely be ‘more than de minimis.’”

“De minimis” is a Latin phrase meaning “so minor as to merit disregard.” So Gorsuch essentially concluded that school districts comply with their obligation to disabled students so long as they provide those students with a little more than nothing.

All eight justices rejected Gorsuch’s approach. IDEA, Chief Justice Roberts wrote, “is markedly more demanding than the ‘merely more than de minimis’ test applied by the Tenth Circuit.” Indeed, Roberts added, Gorsuch’s approach would effectively strip many disabled students of their right to an education.

A new Quinnipiac survey finds President Trump is losing support among Republicans, white voters and men, leaving him with a negative 37% to 56% job approval rating from American voters, his worst score ever.

Said pollster Tim Malloy: “Most alarming for Trump, the demographic underpinnings of his support, Republicans, white voters, especially men and those without a college degree, are starting to have doubts.”

“Hey, look, I can’t be doing so badly, because I’m President and you’re not.” — President Trump, in an interview with Time.  LOL, he is going to find out what doing badly as a President feels like.

“Lines of communication between President Trump and former President Barack Obama have gone dark. The two men haven’t spoken since Inauguration Day, sources tell The Hill, a drastic turn since their string of phone calls and pleasantries during the presidential transition.”

No shit.   If Trump dared to call Obama now, Obama shouldn’t answer.  Or if he does, he should say, Donald, go fuck yourself.

Frank Rich isn’t into the whole idea of liberals showing empathy to Trump voters.

While many, if not most, of those in #TheResistance of the Democratic base remain furious at these voters, the party’s political class and the liberal media Establishment are making a concerted effort to convert that rage into empathy…

The outbreak of Hillbilly Chic among liberals is an inverted bookend to Radical Chic, the indelible rubric attached by Tom Wolfe in 1970 (in this magazine) to white elites in Manhattan then fawning over black militants. In both cases, the spectacle of liberals doting on a hostile Other can come off like self-righteous slumming. But for those of us who want to bring down the curtain on the Trump era as quickly as possible, this pandering to his voters raises a more immediate and practical concern: Is it a worthwhile political tactic that will actually help reverse Republican rule? Or is it another counterproductive detour into liberal guilt, self-flagellation, and political correctness of the sort that helped blind Democrats to the gravity of the Trump threat in the first place? While the right is expert at channeling darker emotions like anger into ruthless political action, the Democrats’ default inclination is still to feel everyone’s pain, hang their hats on hope, and enter the fray in a softened state of unilateral disarmament. “Stronger Together,” the Clinton-campaign slogan, sounded more like an invitation to join a food co-op than a call to arms. After the debacle of 2016, might the time have at last come for Democrats to weaponize their anger instead of swallowing it?

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

3 comments on “The Open Thread for March 23, 2017

  1. delacrat

    ” the hard-core, often self-sabotaging Trump voters who helped drive the country into a ditch on Election Day.” Frank Rich

    The country was already driven into the ditch long before Election Day.

  2. DD, I just want to say that I start my day with your open threads and appreciate all the work that goes into creating them. Thank you! Your open thread is a must read!

    • Thank you! It is now how I digest the news myself. And there is so much that I leave on the cutting room floor. Like Biden yesterday. Couldn’t even get to him. Too much malfeasance by Nunes and Trump.

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