Open Thread

The Open Thread for May 26, 2017

About 24 hours after he was charged with misdemeanor assault, Republican Greg Gianforte was elected Thursday night to represent Montana in the House of Representatives.


Nate Silver: “Yeah, my back-of-the-envelope math is that Gianforte is winning the early vote by somewhere in the high single digits (5-9 points). Which might qualify as a moral victory for Democrats, but makes an actual one something of a long-shot for Quist.”

David Wasserman: “The truth is, we’ll never really know where the race stood yesterday, only a messy combination of where it stood pre- and post-slam. That said, I think a 4-8 point Gianforte victory would still be a good sign for Democrats nationally, considering they haven’t come that close in a Montana House race in two decades.”

Chuck Todd and his First Read team yesterday said the violent Gianforte crime was a win-win for Republicans, because they could either win the race or have a ready made excuse for the loss.   The counter point to that is that a close Gianforte win would be a win-win for Democrats because 1) it shows evidence of the Democratic wave if we cut a 20 point loss to single digits (which we have) and 2) Gianforte could become the face of what Democrats could portray as a belligerent and intolerant Congress. Gianforte, along with Trump, could be tied to every single Republican running for re-election next year. And Democrats then will get another shot at the seat in 2018 when a wave election could actually give them control of the House.

James Hohmann agrees:  “In many ways, it is now worse for national Republicans if Gianforte wins. If he loses, the NRCC can pretty easily explain it away by calling him a terrible candidate. The incident makes it harder for anyone to draw conclusions about the broader national political environment from the outcome. If he wins, though, Gianforte suddenly becomes another headache for Paul Ryan. The ongoing legal issue will be covered as a major story, and his every move in the Capitol will be tracked aggressively by the press. He becomes a liability for the party in 2018, especially if his new colleagues defend him.”

“Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and one of his senior advisers, has come under FBI scrutiny in the Russia investigation,” multiple U.S. officials told NBC News.

“Investigators believe Kushner has significant information relevant to their inquiry… The FBI’s scrutiny of Kushner places the bureau’s sprawling counterintelligence and criminal investigation not only on the doorstep of the White House, but in the Trump family circle.”

Washington Post: “Kushner, who held meetings in December with the Russian ambassador and a banker from Moscow , is being investigated because of the extent and nature of his interactions with the Russians.”

Frank Rich says the GOP owns the coming healthcare Trumpcare disaster: “The CBO analysis only confirms what we already knew before Trumpcare passed the House: Its preexisting condition is terminal. The failed GOP effort to “repeal and replace Obamacare” amounts to medical malpractice on an epic scale and will usher in a world of pain for millions of Americans, many of them in Donald Trump’s base. (To take one representative example, 64-year-old Obamacare recipients will see their annual premiums rise from $1,700 to at least $13,600, for less inclusive coverage.)

The political cost for Republicans who support this toxic bill is sinking in fast, as was illustrated most dramatically yesterday evening, just hours after the CBO report was released. It was a completely routine question about the CBO’s Trumpcare findings that prompted the Republican House candidate in today’s special election in Montana to physically assault the mild-mannered Guardian reporter who asked him. (The candidate, Greg Gianforte, a vocal Trump supporter, tried to deny the incident, but the eyewitnesses included a Fox News crew; he has now been charged with a misdemeanor that could bring as much as six months in jail.) Whether Gianforte loses the seat for the GOP or not, the incident will stand as a metaphor for how panicked Republicans are about facing voters about their health-care debacle, whether in special-election campaigns and town hall meetings this year or at the ballot box in 2018.

The Senate is supposedly rewriting the House version of Trumpcare from scratch. Even if that’s true, it doesn’t matter. After the House passed the cruel original version, Trump held a Rose Garden celebration for what he called his “unbelievable victory.” Before a cheering throng of supporters (notoriously almost all men, led by Paul Ryan), he promised that his “great plan” would bring down both premiums and deductibles. Afterward, the South Carolina Republican congressman Mark Sanford, a member of the Freedom Caucus, likened the spectacle to George W. Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” fiasco — and rightly so. From the Rose Garden celebration on, Trump and the Republicans have owned and will own whatever happens to Americans’ health care going forward. Indeed, it’s probably safe to assume that many in the Trump base, the “poorly educated” he reveres, assume that the “great” Trumpcare plan became law that day. That impression will be furthered by an infinity of attack ads making use of Trump’s White House victory celebration much as a previous generation of ads used Bush’s preening on that aircraft carrier. Thanks to the Trump administration’s continuing efforts to undermine Obamacare (and the insurance market in general) — even as Congress fails to replace it with anything — health-care calamities are going to rise to a crescendo throughout 2018. Most voters will hold the GOP responsible for every one of them no matter how desperately Republicans try to shift the blame to Obama.”

Former Sen. Joe Lieberman, once a leading contender for FBI director, “withdrew himself from consideration for the post in a letter to President Donald Trump, citing the appearance of a conflict of interest,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The former Connecticut senator and Democratic vice presidential candidate works at the same law firm as Marc Kasowitz, whom Mr. Trump retained earlier this week to serve on a team of private attorneys representing him in the broad special-counsel probe of Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 election.”

“Barack Obama received a rock-star welcome in Berlin as he appeared at a public debate Thursday with Chancellor Angela Merkel, whom he praised as one of his ‘favorite partners’ during his presidency,” the AP reports.  The Guardian estimated the crowd at “up to 100,000 people.”

The federal appeals court in Richmond “refused to reinstate President Trump’s revised travel ban, saying it discriminated on the basis of religion,” the New York Times reports.

“The decision was a fresh setback for the administration’s efforts to limit travel from several predominantly Muslim countries. Mr. Trump had narrowed the scope of his first executive order, issued in January, in response to an earlier appeals court decision halting it. But the basic flaws in his approach remained, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled.”

“The case is now likely to go to the Supreme Court.”

“The Germans are evil, very evil.” — President Trump, quoted by Der Spiegel, in a discussion about Germany’s trade surplus.

Police investigating the Manchester Arena bomb attack have stopped sharing information with the U.S. after leaks to the media, the BBC reports.  “UK officials were outraged when photos appearing to show debris from the attack appeared in the New York Times. It came after the name of bomber Salman Abedi was leaked to US media just hours after the attack, which left 22 dead.”

Mike Allen: “West Wing officials are prepping for a years-long war with investigators and the bureaucracy, with plans to beef up legal, surrogate, communications and rapid-response teams as part of a ‘new normal’ for President Trump — besieged.”

Said one Trump ally: “The White House is embracing the fight, which is going to last as long as Donald Trump is president. We’re getting street fighters ready to go.”

“Trump aides recognize that besides being in the crosshairs of investigators on Russia, they will be the continuing target of leaks from the bureaucracy. The Trump ally referred to this second enemy as ‘nameless, faceless, deep-state types’ who have been inflamed and are punching back through the media.”

Business Insider: “America’s share of international tourism has dropped 16% in March, compared to the same month in 2016.”

“The decline began in October 2016, the month before the presidential election. From October to March, tourism-related traffic has fallen an average of 11% in the US, compared to the previous year. Meanwhile, tourism in the rest of the world has increased 6% year-over-year during the same period.”

I love how French President Macron greets the leader of the free world first.

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

33 comments on “The Open Thread for May 26, 2017

  1. Stephen

    Delaware Dem says, “I love how French President Macron greets the leader of the free world first,” because Macron greeted Merkel first.

    So you are admitting that Macron is led by Merkel. Haha.

    This Macron guy, according to DD, is a follower. I agree DD, Macron certainly appears more like a minion than a leader.

    The sitting President of the USA is not, and never has been, the leader of the free world. The President of the USA is the leader of the USA! Duh!

    How do you think people in Switzerland (for example) feel when they read or heard that Bill Clinton or George Bush was the leader of the free world? I’ll tell you what the people I know there thought of it… they thought it was asinine and insulting! They are free… meaning they choose their own leaders! Duh!

    Here is Trump’s take on this asinine concept…. “I’m not, and I don’t want to be, the president of the world. I’m the president of the United States, and from now on it’s going to be America first.”

    Oh darn, DD was hoping it was going to be Germany first.

    • You forgot to say LOL little man, all pathetic trolls do so and as such this applies to you. Although you did post the link to a far right site that no one will go to or care about.

      • Stephen

        I use “haha” rather than LOL. 🙂 It’s just a stylistic choice on my part.

        The link I posted is simply a video of that Trump quote I referenced.

        So you are admitting that “no one will go to” the link I posted because it isn’t in their bubble? Haha. It’s more proof of the echo chamber you are in, my friend.

        Calling me a little man and a pathetic troll was a powerful rebuttal, though.

  2. I for one am glad we have Stephen here to keep our liberal minds grounded by explaining that colloquialisms are colloquialisms while glossing over the actual substance of the posts here. whew

  3. The sitting President of the USA is not, and never has been, the leader of the free world.

    So amusing to watch how this works. Being the defacto Leader of the Free world used to be one of the cornerstones of American Exceptionalism. You remember, the thing that Stephen’s crowd tried to pretend President Obama did not believe in. So now that we have a President who clearly does not give a damn about American exceptionalism and is actively working at making us a thug country on par with Libya, the American right also gives up on American Exceptionalism. Y’all will work at undermining everything good about this place to justify anything this buffoon does.

    • And the Macron greeting was a thing of beauty. He knows that 45 is nothing but ego. He started by looking like he was aiming for 45 and then swerved to Merkel. It is really interesting to see the difference in how 45 is treated vs. GW Bush. While the world hated his Iraq and Afghanistan policies, they mainly treated him with respect.

      • I play the piano for a living and would dearly love to “shake” 45’s hand, predict he would remember the occasion.

    • Stephen

      I personally find it gross that America thinks it should lead the world. I think that sounds like America is arrogant and maybe wants to build an empire. Do you agree that America saying that its leader is the leader of the free world sounds arrogant?

      And this is why Trump is so different because he is our first president in a while who thinks we should worry about ourselves. “America first.”

      Maybe you’re right that “Being the defacto Leader of the Free world used to be one of the cornerstones of American Exceptionalism.” Key words in there are “used to be.” Trump (and his voters) is a whole new animal, the likes of which we’ve never seen. Things are changing! Losers like Karl Rove, George Bush, John Kasich, and Paul Ryan are no longer setting the parameters! Yes!

      If you insist that we must lead, I say we simply lead by example.

      American exceptionalism is about making America exceptional. Not the world. Just America. You know, inventing things, founding companies, allowing free expression?

      Exceptional means unusual or unusually good. Exceptional doesn’t have anything to do with leading. I think people like George Bush, who likes this term, are arrogant idiots.

      I find Americans calling for us to be the leader of the free world to be bizarre. How about we let the French lead themselves? It doesn’t work well when you force people into following. People get a bit touchy about that.

      Cassandra, I don’t have a “crowd.” I am one person. An individual. That’s all. Are you a collectivist who has trouble with individual thinking?

      A little hint: I hate Paul Ryan AND Nancy Pelosi.

    • Stephen

      Cassandra says that Libya is a “thug country”! Good thing Trump’s travel ban will block flights from Libya!

      The Manchester bomber went to Libya often and his Dad and brother were arrested there this week!

      Thank you, Cassandra for saying that Libya is a thug country! We should definitely restrict flights from that thug country.

      A couple months ago CNN said, “Five short years ago, Libya was one of the wealthiest and most stable nations in Africa.”

      Let us all thank Hillary Clinton for making Libya into a thug country! Here she admits it:

      If she had won the election, she could have been “actively working at making us a thug country on par with Libya” because she is the one who made Libya into a thug country!

  4. GRIFTUS deciding that Germany selling more German cars to the US market is evil is one more sign that he is in over his head. Both BMW and Mercedes have major manufacturing plants in the US. And BMW exports more cars from Spartanburg than any US manufacturer. We should want MORE of this, not name calling.

  5. Stephen

    Brian accuses me of “glossing over the actual substance of the posts here.”

    The actual (and entire) substance of that DD post was “I love how French President Macron greets the leader of the free world first.”

    I quoted that commented on that. Which means I commented on the substance. Duh! Wow.

    Since when is specifically commenting on the specific substance of a post considered glossing over the substance of a post? Weak argument, Brian.

    Brian says that bluedelaware readers have “liberal minds.” Are you all just going to let him label your most sacred possession, your mind? Furthermore, why label a mind at all? Our minds are the most wide-ranging, amazing things in the universe, but Brian wants them enclosed in a box called “liberal.” Haha, that’s weird to me.

    • It’s really, really hard to keep up with this mindset. Labeling the President of the United States as the leader of the free world was always a big thing. Trump just redefined that. I’m wondering how this new “I’m not, and I don’t want to be, the president of the world. I’m the president of the United States, and from now on it’s going to be America first” thing is going to work if/when we put more boots on the ground. How do you sell that if you’re touting isolationism and nationalism.

      The world is laughing at us.

    • Argument? Who’s arguing?

      • Stephen

        You expressed an opposing view to mine, Brian! And you tried to persuade readers that I was glossing over the substance of the post. THAT is arguing. Duh!

        Yes, it was a very low-level, weak argument on your part, but it was an argument nonetheless.

      • Nope, sorry. Just posting a comment describing an observation I made.

        • Stephen

          Haha ok. Then stop arguing with me! 🙂

          So your incorrect assertion that I was “glossing over the substance of the posts” was JUST an observation? So we can all just make assertions about each other’s comments and not consider that arguing? Hmm that sounds dumb.

          I’d say it’s an argument and an observation. They aren’t mutually exclusive, of course. But to say it’s not an argument is whack.

          Let’s all just assert opposing things at each other! And it won’t be arguing! Haha.

          I asserted something. You asserted that I was totally missing the point. But that’s not an argument? I need a new dictionary, I guess. Geez.

  6. Stephen

    Here’s Hillary coughing/ talking today. She just can’t seem to shake this cough that she said was no big deal almost a year ago. I’d say a cough that keeps happening for many months is a big deal. So she lied again, in my book.

    I’ve never coughed for a few minutes straight, ever in my life. Neither have my elderly parents, ever. But Hillary does it over and over again? Hillary is obviously sick in some way. But she lied to the American people in 2016 regarding her health.

    Have you ever heard Trump sound so physically weak? Let alone sound so weak over and over again like Hillary does?

    If she had been elected, she’d probably have days and weeks where she was so weak that someone else would be making the decisions. And if Hillary’s history is any indicator, that someone else would have been Huma Abedin. And if Huma’s history is any indicator, she would have solicited help from Anthony Weiner. Creepy!

    Democrats, make sure you run a healthy person for POTUS next time. It’s quite important to lots of Americans. Today’s video proves many of our fears that Hillary would have been a sickly, lying President.

    • You know how to tell if a wingnut is losing? This is it, right here. Personal attacks — appearance, coughs, nothing of substance. My bet is that this is what Fox Noise is running with today. I caught a very bad cold a month ago — the cold was gone in a week, but I STILL have the cough. The coughing doesn’t take away from the fact that your boy GRIFTUS is unqualified, unliked, disrespected and utterly unfit to be President of the United States of America. History is not going to be kind to either this President or the people who elected him.

      HRC gave a speech blistering the GRIFTUS and letting the graduates of her alma mater know that both they and their country deserve better leadership. She is right and when the GOP finally gets hoisted on its own selfish petard, that will happen. In the meantime, we got folks like Stephen here who have no standards for leadership of this great country other than it needs to be a breathing white guy ready to give all of your hard earned goods to the rich people who finance his campaign.

      • Stephen

        So Cassandra says that Hillary’s health and coughs are “nothing of substance.” So the health of a Presidential candidate is nothing of substance? That’s a good one.

        The POTUS is a very big, important job. You and I and all American citizens get to cast a vote to choose who fills that job. We get to choose who fills the job. When I’m looking at a candidate for such an important job, of course I’m going to look at things like health, attendance, and energy.

        Trump did a rally or two almost every day of the campaign.

        Hillary was infamously absent from the campaign trail for weeks at a time. Here’s one gentle article on the subject:

        And the few times she would appear in public, she’d often have minutes-long coughing fits or fall over. That’s all. I’m just saying, try not to run someone like that again.

        Trump showed energy and desire for the job. Hillary, not so much. She honestly ran poorly.

        If I’m choosing someone for an important job and they have a minutes-long coughing fit in front of me, then they tell me it’s no big deal, I’d think that was unfortunate. And then if four weeks later it happens again, I’d think that was weird. And then if a few weeks later it happened YET AGAIN.. I’d say, that’s really weird. I would not want that person for the job. And now, EIGHT MONTHS LATER she is still having minutes-long coughing fits?! Haha.

        Ok fine, run another candidate who coughs (and hides) a lot! Because everyone knows, it’s “nothing of substance” anyway!

        • The other way that you can tell that a wingnut is losing the thread and has nothing to say is that he starts making shit up. Like this:

          “So Cassandra says that Hillary’s health and coughs are “nothing of substance.”

          Not what I said, boyo. And then he uses what I didn’t say to have on about a topic not even at issue here. Even though his boy won’t exercise and eats like a 12 year old and has the attention span of a pea.

          Weak. And stupid. You are warned to get your shit together and stop disrupting this space. Get some better behavior or get back to the Fox news chat rooms where your bullshit might pass as real conversation.

          You won’t get a second warning.

    • Wow. That’s all you got, and you call someone else weak? Funny how you’ve been strutting around here demanding accuracy and facts and then post this garbage.

      Every time Trump opens his mouth he’s a blustering idiot. Sound familiar?

    • Stephen

      This video linked by Cassandra, which was admittedly cute, makes fun of Trump for asking NATO countries to pay their fair share. Cassandra, do you think NATO countries should pay their fair share?

      The one thing this video highlighted, which I do find truly funny, is how Trump loves chocolate cake. That cracks me up how in love with chocolate cake DJT is.

      • You have no idea how NATO funding works.

        • Just like the GRIFTUS. Who embarrassed himself on this the other day. Or was specifically in the business of working to damage NATO — which is a longstanding project of the Russians, who the GRIFTUS reports to anyway. There was a reason the EU leaders were on the sidelines whispering among themselves and trying not to laugh.

        • Stephen

          Here is how NATO funding works… from CNN:

          Each country is supposed to pay 2% of their GDP on defense. Only 5 of 28 countries currently meet that target, according to the article.

          All that Trump is saying is that NATO has a choice. Either pay your agreed 2%, or America is going to want a new agreement or to get out. That’s all. We aren’t financial chumps anymore!

          Hey, I’m not saying NATO is some good thing. I’m not saying that spending boatloads of money on bombs and bullets is a good thing. I’m just saying that this NATO agreement is not being upheld by all sides. Americans like me are sick of being played for chumps.

          I wish everyone would spend less on weapons! But if 28 countries are going to come together to buy a bunch of weapons, I don’t want my country (my tax dollars) to have to pay the most! It’s just not cool at all.

          • And when is this 2% funding due?

            • That would be… 2024. So, no one is in violation of the terms.

              Next question: What formula is used to determine direct contributions to NATO operations?

  7. Stephen

    Hey everybody, have a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend! Try not to get too mad at me. We’re all Delawareans! We were first! Delaware first! 🙂

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