The Open Thread for September 23, 2017

TRUMPCARE IS DEAD AGAIN:  Sen. John McCain will vote no on Cassidy-Graham bill, dealing potentially decisive blow to the health-care repeal effort, the Washington Post reports.  Said McCain: “I believe we could do better working together, Republicans and Democrats, and have not yet really tried. Nor could I support it without knowing how much it will cost, how it will effect insurance premiums, and how many people will be helped or hurt by it.”

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) told the Associated Press that the Republican Obamacare repeal bill is “fake” and that the White House “just wants a legislative victory, they’re not as concerned with the policy” in the bill.  He added that he doesn’t resent President Trump’s Twitter attacks on him for opposing the bill: “I’m a big boy.”

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) told the Portland Press Herald she is likely to vote “no” on an Affordable Care Act repeal bill.  Said Collins: “I’m leaning against the bill.”  She added that her biggest problem is the “fine print” which would allow insurers to charge sky-high rates to people with pre-existing conditions: “The premiums would be so high they would be unaffordable.”

A new Brookings Institution study estimates the Cassidy-Graham health care plan would cause 32 million people to lose health coverage in 2027, as compared to current law. Over the next two years, 15 million would lose coverage.

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds that Americans prefer Obamacare to the latest GOP plan by a 56% to 33% margin.  Also interesting: Roughly twice as many people “strongly prefer” the current law to Republicans’ plan, 42% to 22%.

The latest Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll finds that 69% of Americans think it’s important for Congress to pass legislation to help stabilize the Affordable Care Act.  In contrast, just 47% think it’s important to continue efforts to repeal and replace the law.



RUSSIAGATE UPDATE: “Special counsel Robert Mueller has sought phone records concerning the statement written aboard Air Force One defending a meeting between Trump campaign officials and Russians at Trump Tower last year that was set up by Donald Trump Jr.,” Politico reports.

Ryan Lizza: “We know that the Russians launched a cyber campaign to help Trump win. We know that the Trump campaign was willing to entertain assistance from the Russian government because Manafort, Jared Kushner, and Donald Trump, Jr., eagerly met with a Russian offering such assistance. This latest news suggests—though the reporting is still vague—what many people have long wondered: that Manafort may have been a crucial link between the Trump campaign and Russians seeking to defeat Hillary Clinton.”

“If Mueller or congressional investigators unearth proof that Manafort colluded with the Russians, it will fortify the narrative that the Trump campaign worked with a foreign nation to alter the outcome of an American Presidential election—an unprecedented event in the country’s history. Trump could dismiss the evidence, deny knowledge of the collusion, and dismiss the Mueller investigation as a ‘witch hunt.’ But this week’s disclosures moved the theorizing about Trump and Russia one step closer to becoming a politically devastating blow to Trump’s Presidency.”



MORE EXCESSES BY THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION: “Scott Pruitt’s round-the-clock personal security detail, which demands triple the manpower of his predecessors at the Environmental Protection Agency, has prompted officials to rotate in special agents from around the country who otherwise would be investigating environmental crimes,” the Washington Post reports.

“The White House says it didn’t sign off on what are reportedly at least two dozen private jet trips made by Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price,” Bloomberg reports.

“Price took at least 24 flights on private airplanes since he became a cabinet secretary in February. The trips have cost taxpayers more than $300,000 and were a sharp departure from Price’s predecessors, who typically used commercial flights in the continental U.S..”


THE COMING NUCLEAR WAR UPDATE: “Responding directly for the first time to President Trump’s threat at the United Nations to destroy nuclear-armed North Korea, its leader called Mr. Trump a ‘mentally deranged U.S. dotard’ on Friday and vowed the ‘highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history,’” the New York Times reports.

“Although Mr. Kim is often quoted by official North Korean news media, it is highly unusual for him to issue a statement in his name. In North Korea, the supreme leader’s statement carries a weight that surpasses any other formal document.”

Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports Trump “announced new financial sanctions targeting North Korea as his administration seeks to build international support for more aggressively confronting the rogue nation.”



MCCONNELL FACES TWO FAILURES NOW.  Politico: “He’s been battered by President Trump and had his vaunted legislative acumen called into question. Now, Mitch McConnell has a chance to put his cruel summer behind him. Over the next week, the Senate majority leader will try one last time to rescind the Democratic health care law. At the same time, he’s put his political reputation on the line in Alabama, where his chosen candidate, incumbent Sen. Luther Strange, faces off against anti-establishment Roy Moore in a special Senate election on Tuesday.”

“The typically cautious McConnell is taking huge gambles in both cases, and will emerge as a hero or goat within the GOP depending on how it all turns out. … McConnell will need everything to break his way to come out on top. Moore is leading in the polls and McConnell currently lacks the votes to repeal Obamacare.”



I found this interesting.   This is a chart of all the Democrats in the Senate based on their ideological position.  The clear pictures are those Democrats who have signed onto to Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for all bill.   As expected, looking at Carper’s position in this graph, he is the sixth most conservative Democrat in the Senate, being bested only by Claire McCaskill, Heidi Heitkamp, Joe Donnelly, Angus King and Joe Manchin.  Chris Coons is like the 16th most conservative, but he is more in the middle of the pack in the Democratic conference.

But look at who is considered more liberal than Bernie Sanders?


SEAN SPICER IS PERSONA NON GRATA IN WASHINGTON.  Politico: “Washington routinely forgives its philanderers, drug addicts and alcoholics, embezzlers, perjurers, bribers and bribees, liars, burglars and tax evaders, granting them the redemption of another term in office or a job in a lobbying shop or think tank after their scandal passes. It even absolved a drunk who killed a young lady, giving him a prince’s funeral when he died. The writer who said that there are no second acts in American life never lived here.”

“But that iron law hasn’t helped Spicer. Since leaving the White House this summer, he has gained admittance to a circle of one: He has become a Washington pariah. Nobody wants to be anywhere near him, but everyone wants to talk smack about him. He’s not just a punchline. He’s become a national laughing stock ever since his cameo on the Emmy Awards this week, where he attempted a joke about his most famous White House lie.”


RATS FLEEING THE SINKING SHIP: “A fast-growing number of White House staffers are starting to look for the exits, even though the one-year mark of President Trump’s first term is still months away. Many who joined the administration in January did so with the explicit idea that they’d stay for at least a year, enough to credibly say they’d served,” Politicoreports.

“But in the aftermath of a wave of abrupt, high-profile departures over the summer that culminated with former strategist Steve Bannon’s ouster in August, aides up and down the chain are reaching out to headhunters, lobbyists, and GOP operatives for help finding their next job.”

“They’re talking to headhunters about positions as in-house government affairs experts at major companies, or as executives at trade associations, universities, or consulting firms – ironically, jobs that run counter to Trump’s ‘drain the swamp’ mantra.”



TAX CUTS TAX CUTS TAX CUTS.  “The White House plan for a massive package of tax cuts is gaining new momentum as Republicans attempt to set aside months of intraparty squabbling and unify behind a key part of President Trump’s agenda,” the Washington Post reports.

“Two developments are accelerating the effort: Key Senate Republicans reached a tentative deal this week to allow for as much as $1.5 trillion in tax reductions over 10 years; and there is a growing willingness within the GOP to embrace controversial, optimistic estimates of how much economic growth their tax plan would create.”

Axios: “Our GOP sources agree that chances are improved, with the most likely outcome being a significant tax cut for corporations, small businesses, and individuals making less than $150,000 a year.”




A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal  poll finds the Republican Party is fundamentally divided.  When Republican voters were asked if they were more supportive of President Trump or the party, the latest poll found GOP voters favored the president by a large margin,  58% to 38%.  Republican voters also had wildly different impressions of their congressional leaders. Just 27% of Trump supporters view GOP leaders favorably as compared to 51% of those who are more supportive of the party.  Here is a rundown of the other divisions within the party:

Support birthright citizenship:

  • Trump supporters: 30%
  • Party supporters: 47%

Keep DACA:

  • Trump supporters: 15%
  • Party supporters: 32%

Approve of Trump’s pardon of Joe Arpaio:

  • Trump supporters: 73%
  • Party supporters: 50%

Approve of Trump’s handling of race relations:

  • Trump supporters: 72%
  • Party supporters: 38%

Approve of Trump’s handling of the environment and climate change:

  • Trump supporters: 65%
  • Party supporters: 37%

Approve of Trump’s handling of Charlottesville:

  • Trump supporters: 55%
  • Party supporters: 31%


ALIENS ATTACK: “Many Californians’ regularly scheduled broadcasts were interrupted Thursday morning with strange emergency messages warning of extraterrestrial invasions and the beginning of Armageddon. The bizarre warnings aired on TVs in the Orange County area,” Gizmodo reports.

From the message: “The space program made contact with… They are not what they claim to be. They have infiltrated a lot of, uh, a lot of aspects of military establishment, particularly Area 51. The disasters that are coming—the military—I’m sorry the government knows about them…”


A new CNN poll finds that 54% of Americans say “it’s very or somewhat likely that such Russian-backed content on Facebook or other social media affected the 2016 presidential vote, 43% say that’s not too or not at all likely.”

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

2 comments on “The Open Thread for September 23, 2017

  1. Have there been any serious articles about what happens if Russian interference in the election is proved and if Trump & ass(oc)s. are found to have colluded? Is impeachment still the only way of removing him from office? Doesn’t a finding of collusion call Pence’s legitimacy into question as well? And the Gorsuch appointment? And Sessions as AG? etc., etc.? Are we going to get Paul Ryan as president, or Ryan’s replacement as speaker of the house per Bannon and the Mercer family? Do we just muddle through the next three years until the next election? I have to say Orin Hatch is looking pretty good to me right now given the people in line before and after him.

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