The Open Thread for September 20, 2017

President Trump threatened that, if the United States is forced to defend itself or its allies, “we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea,” the New York Times reports.

Said Trump: “No nation on earth has an interest in seeing this band of criminals arm itself with nuclear weapons and missiles. The U.S. has great strength and patience but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.”  He added: “Rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself.”


Speaker Paul Ryan and the White House “have informed Senate Republican leaders that they oppose a bipartisan plan to stabilize Obamacare being written in the Senate… in a clear bid to boost the Senate’s prospects of repealing the health law,” Politico reports.

“After Senate Republicans failed to repeal Obamacare in July, talks began on fixing the law rather than dismantling it. The dose of cold water from senior GOP officials will put pressure on Republican senators to back a last-ditch bill to gut Obamacare before a Sept. 30 deadline. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell backed that approach publicly on Tuesday.”


Politico: “While the proposal written by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) remains short of 50 votes, it also has just one hard ‘no’ vote, from Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, and another expected ‘no’ in Sen. Susan Collins of Maine. Three ‘no’ votes would kill the bill, but in an encouraging sign for repeal proponents, no one is stepping forward yet to deliver that final nail.”

“Instead, wavering senators remain on the sidelines. Conservative Sen. Mike Lee of Utah is warming to the legislation, which would turn federal health care funding into block grants for states and eliminate Obamacare’s coverage mandate, while Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) is undecided… A Republican senator who has spoken to GOP leaders said Murkowski is likely the bellwether. This senator said that GOP leaders believe other undecided senators will support the bill if it is put on the floor and that McConnell has begun whipping the bill because he ‘realizes that there’s life out there.’”

Said the senator: “We are one vote away from doing this thing.”

Playbook: “The Senate’s ability to pass the bill using a simple majority expires on Sept. 30 — 11 days from now. Generally speaking, the same people have the same problems with this bill that they had with the last. This time, there’s a true deadline. Does that end date change the dynamics enough?”

David Leonhardt: “When his colleagues ignored him, McCain cast the vote that defeated their health bill two days later, with a dramatic 1:30 a.m. thumbs-down. The vote was remarkable because McCain is a conservative, reluctant to tax people for social programs, as the Affordable Care Act does. But he believed in a higher principle: the Senate’s credibility.”

“The latest Trumpcare, known as Graham-Cassidy, risks the Senate’s credibility again. There has been none of the regular process that McCain demanded, not even a Congressional Budget Office analysis. No major medical group — not doctors, nurses, hospitals or advocates for the treatment of cancer, diabetes or birth defects — supports the bill.

“Passing it would violate every standard that McCain laid down. Yet Republican leaders are rushing toward a vote.”



“Trump administration officials, under pressure from the White House to provide a rationale for reducing the number of refugees allowed into the United States next year, rejected a study by the Department of Health and Human Services that found that refugees brought in $63 billion more in government revenues over the past decade than they cost,” the New York Times reports.

The story hints the information was kept out of the final report by White House adviser Stephen Miller.

“An internal email, dated Sept. 5 and sent among officials from government agencies involved in refugee issues, said that ‘senior leadership is questioning the assumptions used to produce the report.’ A separate email said that Mr. Miller had requested a meeting to discuss the report. The Times was shown the emails on condition that the sender not be identified.”



Mike Allen: “Who is around President Trump matters much more than with most presidents, because of his impulsiveness, lack of ideology and willingness to make snap decisions. So if you wonder why President Trump has been willing to seriously entertain — and in one case so far, execute — policies that would’ve been anathema to Campaign Trump, it’s partly because of the feedback loop built by Chief of Staff John Kelly and the process adhered to by the national security team before briefing Trump.”

“Trump’s exposure to populist nationalism is now close to zero, and look for the latest version of Trump to be on display when he speaks to the U.N. General Assembly at 10:30 this morning.”



Renato Mariotti: “We now know the Mueller probe will likely result in charges. More importantly, the tactic that Mueller is using — telling Manafort that he will be charged — is generally used when prosecutors are trying to get a defendant to ‘flip.’ This strongly suggests what we’ve long expected — that Mueller is trying to ‘flip’ Manafort.”

“What causes a target to ‘flip’? The #1 factor is assembling sufficient evidence to make it likely that the person will be convicted and serve a prison sentence. Mueller’s team is being as aggressive as possible to indicate to Manafort that he should be concerned about that possibility. Subpoenaing Manafort’s aides and his lawyer… shows his focus on Manafort.”

Lawfare: “Note that if Manafort cooperates, we may not see anything public for a long time to come. Delay, that is, may be a sign of success. But in the absence of cooperation, the fireworks may be about to begin.”



Associated Press: “The Republican Governors Association has quietly launched an online publication that looks like a media outlet and is branded as such on social media. The Free Telegraph blares headlines about the virtues of GOP governors, while framing Democrats negatively. It asks readers to sign up for breaking news alerts. It launched in the summer bearing no acknowledgement that it was a product of an official party committee whose sole purpose is to get more Republicans elected.”

“Only after the Associated Press inquired about the site last week was a disclosure added to The Free Telegraph’s pages identifying the publication’s partisan source.”



Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke “has recommended that President Trump modify 10 national monuments created by his immediate predecessors, including shrinking the boundaries of at least four western sites,” according to a copy of the report obtained by the Washington Post.

“The secretary’s set of recommendations also would change the way all 10 targeted monuments are managed. It emphasizes the need to adjust the proclamations to address concerns of local officials or affected industries, saying the administration should permit ‘traditional uses’ now restricted within the monuments’ boundaries, such as grazing, logging, coal mining and commercial fishing.“



“The most challenging task in Washington, these days, is finding somebody who’ll enthusiastically endorse Rex Tillerson. In just nine months, the Secretary of State has managed to alienate nearly every constituency that matters,” Jonathan Swan reports.

Said a former top Bush administration official: “He’s got no support from the left on management and no support from the right on policy.”

“Tillerson alienated his natural constituency — moderates who view him as a restraining influence on Trump — by what he’s done, or failed to do, managerially at the State Department. He’s surrounded himself by a tiny circle and hasn’t sought much advice from outsiders. And he’s got no ideological constituency on the right because he doesn’t embrace the forward-leaning posture on human rights, or the aggressive stance on Russia, that Republicans typically expect of their top diplomats.”



A new Quinnipiac poll in Virginia finds Ralph Northam (D) leading Ed Gillespie (R) in the race for governor by double-digits, 51% to 41%.

Morning Consult/Politico poll found six in 10 Democrats said their party is “about right” when they were also asked if they thought it was too liberal or conservative. Among Republicans, half said it was “about right.”


“The company that owns WJAR-TV is mandating the broadcast of multiple programs favorable to President Trump on the state’s most-watched television station,” the Providence Journal reports.

“Sinclair Broadcast Group, a rapidly growing media company that bought Channel 10 in 2014, produces ‘must-run’ segments and distributes them to its local stations nationwide. They must air during daily news programming.”

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

5 comments on “The Open Thread for September 20, 2017

  1. Holy crap! Read how GOP senators answer what’s in the Graham-Cassidy bill. They have no idea what the bill does.

    • Interesting as it’s been pretty much spelled out for several days now. Even more interesting as the bill is largely a rehash of the first two bills, followed by assorted lies in a truly sad attempt to hide what they want to do. Suspect the briefing consisted of “It’s a tax cut for the rich and it screws the poor and working classes!”. Needless to say an easy sell for Republican politicians.

  2. Interesting how they’re selling it though — full-on lying, straight into the camera. It’s Trump’s party, all right.

    • The straight up lying isn’t especially new, though. Their Prime Directive of Tax Cuts is always sold on the lie that it will jump start growth. More guns make you safer. We could spend all day making a list.

      • My favorite has always been that lower taxes will create more tax revenue.

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