The Open Thread for October 4, 2017

“A number of Russian-linked Facebook ads specifically targeted Michigan and Wisconsin,” two states crucial to Trump’s victory last November, CNN reports.  “Some of the Russian ads appeared highly sophisticated in their targeting of key demographic groups in areas of the states that turned out to be pivotal… The ads employed a series of divisive messages aimed at breaking through the clutter of campaign ads online, including promoting anti-Muslim messages.”

“As part of their investigations, both special counsel Robert Mueller and congressional committees are seeking to determine whether the Russians received any help from Trump associates in where to target the ads.”

All Mueller has to do is prove Trump had knowledge of this and that’s the ballgame.  Treason.

“Twitter has continued to allow a Russian government-supported news network to advertise on its platform, even though the tech company sounded alarms about its ads to lawmakers investigating the Kremlin’s interference in the 2016 presidential election,” CNBC reports.  “Facebook, meanwhile, similarly has not shut down RT’s official pages, one of which boasts more than 4.5 million followers. Nor has Facebook targeted any new advertising restrictions against the news network.”

“Days before President Trump has to make a critical decision on whether to hold up the Iran nuclear deal, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis openly split with him on abandoning the agreement, the second senior member of the president’s national security team to recently contradict him,” the New York Times reports.

Said Mattis: “Absent indications to the contrary, it is something that the president should consider staying with.”

“The comments were the latest example of how Mr. Trump’s instincts on national security — to threaten North Korea with destruction and tear up an Iran accord that most experts and allies say is working — are running headlong into opposition from his own National Security Council.”

“Senate Intelligence Committee leaders are expected on Wednesday to largely endorse the intelligence community’s findings that Russia sought to sway the 2016 U.S. election through a hacking and influence campaign as they sound the alarm that states preparing for the coming election season must be vigilant against similar threats,” the Washington Post reports.

“The White House as soon as Wednesday will ask Congress to authorize almost $30 billion in new funding to address recent natural disasters, a senior administration official said, adding to the costly tally from three deadly hurricanes that have devastated Puerto Rico and parts of Texas and Florida in recent weeks,” the Washington Post reports.

“The funding request includes $12.77 billion in disaster recovery funds, $577 million to address wildfires, and $15 billion to fund the flood insurance program. It is not expected to seek budget cuts to offset the new spending.”

“Speaker Paul Ryan last week urged the White House to reconsider ousting Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, his longtime friend who had come under fire for often using a taxpayer-funded private jet for travel,” Politico reports.

Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff railed against congressional leaders in closed-door remarks to wealthy donors and called for a “purge” if GOP lawmakers don’t quickly rally behind President Trump’s agenda, Politico reports.

Said Nick Ayers: “I’m not speaking on behalf of the president or vice president when I say this. But if I were you, I would not only stop donating, I would form a coalition of all the other major donors, and just say two things. We’re definitely not giving to you, number one. And number two, if you don’t have this done by Dec. 31, we’re going out, we’re recruiting opponents, we’re maxing out to their campaigns, and we’re funding super PACs to defeat all of you.”

A new Monmouth poll in New Jersey finds Phil Murphy (D) currently holds a 14 point lead over Kim Guadagno (R) among likely voters in the race for governor, 51% to 37%.

Said pollster Patrick Murray: “This is not the twenty-something point lead that some polls have been showing, but it is still formidable. While Guadagno may have an opportunity to break through, the fact that Murphy’s support is over 50 percent makes that task very difficult.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) “shut down all talk of legislative remedies to gun violence” after the Las Vegas massacre, mirroring the remarks by Speaker Paul Ryan,” Politico reports.  He declared this is simply not the time to be talking about legislation targeting firearms.  Said McConnell: “The investigation has not even been completed. I think it’s premature to be discussing legislative solutions, if there are any.”

“A text message sent in January to Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA) by a woman with whom he had an extra-marital relationship took him to task for an anti-abortion statement posted on Facebook from his office’s public account,” the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

Wrote Shannon Edwards, with whom the congressman admitted last month to having an affair: “And you have zero issue posting your pro-life stance all over the place when you had no issue asking me to abort our unborn child just last week when we thought that was one of the options.”

Responded Murphy: “I get what you say about my March for life messages. I’ve never written them. Staff does them. I read them and winced. I told staff don’t write any more. I will.”

“White House officials have begun examining emails associated with a third and previously unreported email account on Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump’s private domain,” Politico reports.  “Hundreds of emails have been sent since January from White House addresses to accounts on the Kushner family domain… Many of those emails went not to Kushner’s or Ivanka Trump’s personal addresses but to an account they both had access to and shared with their personal household staff for family scheduling.”

Kushner and Ivanka moved their personal email accounts to computers run by the Trump Organization as public scrutiny intensified over their use of private emails to conduct White House business, internet registration records show,” USA Today reports.

“The move, made just days after Kushner’s use of a personal email account first became public, came shortly after special counsel Robert Mueller asked the White House to turn over records related to his investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion with Trump associates. It also more closely intertwines President Trump’s administration with his constellation of private businesses.”

Pat Robertson told his 700 Club viewers that there’s “violence in the streets” because “we have disrespect for authority.” He added: “There is profound disrespect for our president, all across this nation they say terrible things about him. It’s in the news, it’s in other places.”

“U.S. Supreme Court justices on Tuesday appeared divided over whether to issue a ruling that would curb the ability of politicians to draw electoral districts purely on partisan lines in a major voting rights case out of Wisconsin,” Reuters reports.  “Some of the conservative justices questioned whether Democratic voters challenging the maps drawn by Republicans in Wisconsin had legal standing to bring the case. But the potential swing vote, conservative Justice Anthony Kennedy, asked tough questions of the state’s lawyers.”

“The liberal justices appeared more eager for the court to rule that partisan electoral maps could violate the U.S. Constitution.”

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

2 comments on “The Open Thread for October 4, 2017

  1. The NRA and the politicians who serve them are lying low until the heat dies down, it’s what they do after a gun related slaughter, in the mean time the trolls attack as the politicians think up quaint and self serving reasons why no gun control is needed. Notice the tempo of shootings is picking up, ready for a Las Vegas copycat? As for the supreme court expect the worst, with Gorsuch the Gang Of Five is back in action and ready to twist the constitution as needed to advance their agenda. Until all politicians of both parties are excluded from the redistricting process gerrymandering is alive and well. Justice Kennedy or not.

  2. cassandram

    Said Nick Ayers: “I’m not speaking on behalf of the president or vice president when I say this. But if I were you, I would not only stop donating, I would form a coalition of all the other major donors, and just say two things. We’re definitely not giving to you, number one. And number two, if you don’t have this done by Dec. 31, we’re going out, we’re recruiting opponents, we’re maxing out to their campaigns, and we’re funding super PACs to defeat all of you.”

    So brazen. Their funders have bought and paid for this GOP government and they want what they paid for. They don’t even care that everyone knows that they paid for this government and that the people can go to hell. Who is speaking against this? What Democrat? It’s killing me that the GOP keeps serving up stuff like this that gets no push back that I can tell.

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