The Open Thread for September 19, 2017

“U.S. investigators wiretapped former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort under secret court orders before and after the election, sources tell CNN, an extraordinary step involving a high-ranking campaign official now at the center of the Russia meddling probe.”

“The government snooping continued into early this year, including a period when Manafort was known to talk to President Trump.”

Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that prosecutors told Manafort they planned to indict him when they raided his home in July.  “Dispensing with the plodding pace typical of many white-collar investigations, Mr. Mueller’s team has used what some describe as shock-and-awe tactics to intimidate witnesses and potential targets of the inquiry.”


“Just when the effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act appeared to be dead, a last-ditch push to dismantle the law could be nearing a showdown vote in the Senate, and a handful of Republicans insist they are closing in on the votes,” the New York Times reports.

“The effort received a jolt of energy on Monday when Gov. Doug Ducey of Arizona, a Republican, strongly endorsed the latest repeal bill. That put pressure on Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, who cast the deciding vote in July that seemed to stop the repeal movement, but who has said he would seriously consider the views of his governor.”

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) “ripped his party’s process for trying to repeal and replace Obamacare but stopped short of saying he would oppose their latest bill,” The Hill reports.  Said McCain: “I have talked and talked and talked about the need to do regular order. I have amendments that I would like to have votes on … Am I going to be able to have those, or is it going to be an up or down vote? That’s not why I came to the Senate just to give up or down votes.”

Washington Post: “The latest Obamacare overhaul bill gaining steam on Capitol Hill slashes health-care spending more deeply and would likely cover fewer people than a July bill that failed precisely because of such concerns. What’s different now is the sense of urgency senators are bringing to their effort to roll back the Affordable Care Act, with only a dozen days remaining before the legislative vehicle they’re using expires.”

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC) predicted that the House “would pass a last-ditch effort to repeal Obamacare if it clears the Senate, with conservatives getting on board,” Politico reports.

Said Meadows: “It’s fundamentally our last chance to make a legislative fix to Obamacare, and if it doesn’t happen, then the chances of it happening in the future are slim to none. And so, I fully expect that if it makes it out of the Senate, the pressure will be so great — from moderates to conservatives — to get it passed.”


“Democratic congressional leaders are demanding a full budget analysis of the latest Republican effort to repeal Obamacare, a move that threatens to stall the legislation ahead of a critical Sept. 30 deadline,” Politico reports.

“Democratic leaders say they fear Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), given the truncated timeline to consider the bill, is requesting only the bare-minimum analysis from budget scorekeepers required by reconciliation rules.”



“As President Trump faces a collection of world leaders at his first United Nations General Assembly this week, U.S. officials are working behind the scenes to allay fears among foreign delegations that America’s foreign policy decisions have become too dominated by the West Wing, and that the U.S. State Department, where many crucial positions remain unfilled, is adrift,” NBC News reports.

“At the center of this concern is Tillerson, whose diminishing role in the administration is being blamed for the State Department’s lagging clout… Three senior State Department officials told NBC News that there a number of meetings with foreign delegations at this week’s UNGA that Tillerson either ignored or refused to attend.”



“President Trump’s chief economic adviser, Gary Cohn, emphasized to foreign climate and energy officials on Monday that the U.S. still intends to withdraw from the Paris climate accord,” Bloomberg reports.

“Speculation that Trump would reverse course and remain in the Paris deal was heightened after the European Union’s climate chief, Miguel Arias Canete, said Saturday in an interview that the U.S. had signaled it wants to seek new terms from within the agreement, rather than withdraw outright and then re-negotiate. But White House officials have forcefully pushed back against the idea.”



President Trump said France’s Bastille Day celebration that he attended in July with French President Emmanuel Macron was such a “beautiful thing to see” that he’s thinking of holding a similar parade in Washington as a salute to the US military, the New York Post reports.

Said Trump: “Because of what I witnessed we may do something like that on July Fourth in Washington down Pennsylvania Avenue… We’re actually thinking about that … having a really great parade to show our military strength.”



Mike Allen: “Members of Congress in both parties have begun exploring possible legislative action against Facebook and other tech giants, setting the stage for a potentially massive battle in the midterm election year of 2018.”

“Following revelations about fake news and paid Russian propaganda on Facebook during last year’s election, big tech has become a big target, with politicians across the spectrum declaring on Sunday shows that more scrutiny, transparency and restrictions are needed.”

“The shift against the companies has been sudden, and is one of the biggest stories of the year.”



Washington Post: “These churchgoers are at the heart of the dilemma nagging Republican leaders as they struggle to forge a path between the Grand Old Party and the Party of Trump. These voters don’t consider themselves Republicans. They are first and foremost supporters of the president.”

“They are quick to explain away the compromises the former real-estate developer and reality TV star has made and the inconsistencies in many of his positions. They describe Washington as a swamp and speak of Democratic and Republican congressional leaders with the same levels of frustration and disappointment — while describing Trump as if he were a longtime neighbor. They have high hopes for his presidency, but they also fear he might be held back by his party. And they don’t expect their devotion to the president to waver, even a tiny bit, any time soon.”


Associated Press: “There, in the windowless meeting room known as ‘The Tank’, Trump was to be briefed on the state of America’s longest-running war as he and his top aides plotted ways ahead. But, according to current and former U.S. officials familiar with the meeting, it was, in reality, about much more.”

“Trump’s national security team had become alarmed by the president’s frequent questioning about the value of a robust American presence around the world. When briefed on the diplomatic, military and intelligence posts, the new president would often cast doubt on the need for all the resources. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson organized the July 20 session to lay out the case for maintaining far-flung outposts — and to present it, using charts and maps, in a way the businessman-turned-politician would appreciate. The session was, in effect, American Power 101 and the student was the man working the levers.”


“The campaign arm of House Democrats has posted its highest off-year August fundraising haul ever,” the group told NBC News.

“While their Republican counterparts haven’t yet released their August results, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has outraised Republicans each of the three previous months — a result Democrats say bodes well for their prospects of winning the House in the 2018 midterm elections.”


“President Trump’s legal team is wrestling with how much to cooperate with the special counsel looking into Russian election interference, an internal debate that led to an angry confrontation last week between two White House lawyers and that could shape the course of the investigation,” the New York Times reports.

“At the heart of the clash is an issue that has challenged multiple presidents during high-stakes Washington investigations: how to handle the demands of investigators without surrendering the institutional prerogatives of the office of the presidency. Similar conflicts during the Watergate and Monica S. Lewinsky scandals resulted in court rulings that limited a president’s right to confidentiality.”




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

29 comments on “The Open Thread for September 19, 2017

  1. Watching Twitter react to the Griftus’ speech today. The reviews are pretty bad, people are embarrassed by him. But apparently he called Kim Jun Un “Rocket Man”. And the NK government sent out a statement calling GRIFTUS “Madman Across the Water”.

    I know I shouldn’t say that it was well played.

  2. But it was.

    Meanwhile, I like the phrase “die-hard Trump supporters,” because by the look of them, dying isn’t going to be hard for them at all. Most are old enough to look half-dead already.

    • BTW, when the album was released, many people interpreted “Madman Across the Water” as a shot at Nixon, who was still president at the time.

  3. Yep, Trump got the geezer vote, but the Republicans always get the old people. They harbor the old hatreds and prejudices the Republicans specialize it. As for not identifying as Republicans if they rephrased the question as “are you a conservative” the response would probably “hell yeah I am!”. And on a lighter note you knew Trump would be an embarrassment at the UN and I agree, even the pathetic North Koreans can beat Trump at word play.

    • They buried the lede:

      Sixteen Democrats have endorsed Sanders’s proposal, though it has not gained the support of Democratic leadership.

  4. “Trump’s national security team had become alarmed by the president’s frequent questioning about the value of a robust American presence around the world.” – AP

    “… the new president would often cast doubt on the need for all the resources.”

    Clinton was never known to express such doubts, it appears that Trump could well have been the lesser of the evils.

    • Remember, when he says “value,” he means he wants to quantify it, as his UN speech today made clear — it’s all about the dollars to this guy, and since we don’t have a ledger showing what setting policy for the industrialized world is worth, he thinks it’s worth nothing. So, um, fail.

    • The problem with this idiotic kneejerkery from Delacrat is that Congress is set to send this *lesser of the evils” a massively increased Defense Budget that he will sign. With no question whatsoever of “the need for all the resources”.

      • I’m starting to wonder if he’s a paid troll or just an amateur. He’s too obtuse and anti-American, without (as I’ve noted) ever saying anything that would indicate he actually agrees with liberals or Democrats about anything.

  5. The problem with your viewpoint is that it accepts this result without demanding an orderly transition to a post-America-dominated world, after assuming American world control has no benefits for you or the country.

    I, too, would like to see America get out of Muslim countries with and without oil. But not at any price. You, on the other hand, just asserted that Trump “could well have been” the lesser of two evils. Which means you don’t even have the balls to just say what you think, which apparently is that you prefer him to Clinton.

    At last, though, I have realized that the “crat” in your handle doesn’t stand for Democrat.

    • “I, too, would like to see America get out of Muslim countries with and without oil. But not at any price.” – alby

      “But……” Then you don’t really want to get out of Muslim countries anymore than Trump’s advisers who “lay out the case for maintaining far-flung outposts” and share your commitment to “American world control”.

  6. No, I explained my position. You don’t get to redefine it at your leisure. You’re a pretty lousy excuse for a troll, son.

    I said there’s a benefit to American world control. Do you disagree? If so, try reality sometime. Though on second thought, I don’t think it’s for you.

    • “[t]he benefits of American world control” expresses itself in the destruction of the once prosperous nations of Iraq, Libya and now Syria, to cite just three more recent examples. I challenge you to go to any street corner in any of the aforementioned countries to pontificate on “the benefits of American world control” and see what happens.

  7. The benefits are to you as an American. I challenge you to go onto any of those street corners you know nothing about and tell them you’re an American, but you disagree with your government. Go ahead, let me know how it goes.

    • Since you don’t seem to understand what I’m talking about, when you go to those countries, take some $100 bills and some ¥100 bills to Syria, and see which one buys you a gun.

      • “….which one buys you a gun.” – alby

        Where TF is your head at ?? !!

        • You’re the one who told me to go to a street corner in Syria. Were I to do so, the first thing I would look for is a gun. Where’s YOUR head at, considering you brought it up in the first place?

          • Nope..It was “you who brought it [guns] up in the first place”. So I ask you again. Where TF is your head at?

            • I already explained. Your stupidity is not my responsibility. So why are you here again?

    • “The benefits are to you as an American” of “American world control” – Alby

      Well, ” American world control” as expressed by the destruction of once prosperous Iraq, Libya and Syria does not benefit me as an American. What does it do for you ?

      • The “destruction” of those “once prosperous” countries neither benefits nor harms either of us, unless you have family or business interests there or something, or you’re talking about the very indirect influence on us of oil production levels and pro- or anti-American sentiment in the Muslim world.

        The American-run world sucks, but much less than a Chinese-run world or a nobody-run world would. You’ll find that out as soon as the world ditches the dollar as its trade currency, an eventuality that Trump has sped up, to Russia’s gain.

        • “The “destruction” of those “once prosperous” countries neither benefits nor harms either of us, “ – alby

          The destruction of prosperous countries does not trouble your “American controlled world” as long as it only harms non-US citizens. That kinda prompts (again) the question: Where TF is your head at ??

          • They weren’t “prosperous” in any sense except they had a lot of oil (Iraq and Libya only). You are the one who needs to explain himself here. You claim Trump is preferable to Clinton because America is involved in the Middle East. What’s your preferred course of action? Instead of asking where my head is at, why don’t you come clean for a change?

            You are the one with no apparent liberal positions. Even the pacifism is phony if your answer is to let Trump rattle sabres he doesn’t understand.

            So fess up, fuckface: Who are you? Not literally, just where do you stand? Because as I said before, at this point I think you’re a paid little pissant. You have no other reason to be here.

            • fuckface !

              paid little pissant !

              Oh… my… my… my are you very upset ???

          • Also, what does the “prosperity” of these countries have to do with anything?

            • The prosperity of those countries certainly meant something to those whose countries, even if though it means nothing to you.

  8. It doesn’t mean anything to you, either. You can pretend all you like, but you’re exposed, troll.

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