The Open Thread for October 16, 2017

“The Senate this week will grapple with President Trump’s decision to stop making subsidy payments to health insurers, with lawmakers seeking a deal that would keep the money flowing while Republicans try to fold in conservative-oriented health-care priorities,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“It remains unclear whether a package could emerge that attracts support from a critical mass of senators and also from House Republicans. That could be put to the test quickly, as Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA.) are expected to introduce a plan within days and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) unveils his own, more-conservative-leaning version.”

Playbook: “Republicans at the White House and in Hill leadership stopped the bipartisan process last time around, hoping that Congress would fully repeal the health care law. Now that full repeal is all but dead, will leaders give the bipartisan approach the green light?”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)  told CBS News that if the Republican party cannot enact tax reform, just one item on the congressional agenda, “we’re dead.”  Said Graham: “If we don’t cut taxes and we don’t eventually repeal and replace Obamacare, then we’re going to lose across the board in the House in 2018. And all of my colleagues running in primaries in 2018 will probably get beat.”  He added: “It will be the end of Mitch McConnell as we know it.”

Mike Allen: “We’ve learned that after months of frosty distance, President Trump picked up the phone yesterday and called Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — ahead of a week when they absolutely have to work together on a budget, or risk losing tax reform.”

“Well-wired Republicans privately think chances for tax cuts are still pretty bleak. If Trump and McConnell are able to patch things up even temporarily, Republicans have a better chance at avoiding an embarrassing legislative shutout that could imperil their majorities.”

“They need to get a budget done in the Senate this week. No budget, no tax reform. It’s that simple.”

A high-stakes legal showdown is brewing for President Trump, as a woman who said he groped her has subpoenaed all documents from his campaign pertaining to “any woman alleging that Donald J. Trump touched her inappropriately,” BuzzFeed News reports.

“Summer Zervos, a former contestant on the Trump’s reality TV show ‘The Apprentice’, accused Trump of kissing and grabbing her when she went to his bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel in 2007 to discuss a possible job at the Trump Organization. After Zervos made the accusation last October, just weeks before the election, Trump denied her accusation and called it a lie.”

“She responded by suing him for defamation. As part of that suit, her lawyers served a subpoena on his campaign, asking that it preserve all documents it had about her.”

BuzzFeed News: “For all the women who have cheered as accusations against the producer Harvey Weinstein force a public conversation about sexual misconduct, one small group of women has watched with frustration. They are some of the dozen women who publicly accused Donald Trump of groping or kissing them — accusations that Trump has denied.”

“In a sharp contrast to the women who accused Weinstein, Trump’s accusers did not see the public turn against him, the board of his company fire him, or the police launch an investigation. Instead, these women watched the man they say humiliated and abused them get elected president of the United States.”

Washington Post: “In April 2016, at the height of the deadliest drug epidemic in U.S. history, Congress effectively stripped the Drug Enforcement Administration of its most potent weapon against large drug companies suspected of spilling prescription narcotics onto the nation’s streets.”

“By then, the opioid war had claimed 200,000 lives, more than three times the number of U.S. military deaths in the Vietnam War. Overdose deaths continue to rise. There is no end in sight.”

“A handful of members of Congress, allied with the nation’s major drug distributors, prevailed upon the DEA and the Justice Department to agree to a more industry-friendly law, undermining efforts to stanch the flow of pain pills, according to an investigation by the Washington Post and 60 Minutes. The DEA had opposed the effort for years.”

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson refused to tell CNN whether he called President Trump a “moron.”  Said Tillerson: “I’m not going to deal with that kind of petty stuff. This is a town that seems to relish gossip, rumor, innuendo—and they feed on it. They feed on one another in a very destructive way. I don’t work that way. I don’t deal that way. And I’m just not going to dignify the question.”

Nicholas Kristof just returned from five days in North Korea: “On just the first day of a war between the United States and North Korea, according to a Stanford University assessment, one million people could be killed. Yet after my five-day visit to North Korea with three New York Times colleagues, such a nuclear war seems terrifyingly imaginable. In the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, it was clear that President Trump’s threat to ‘totally destroy’ North Korea had backfired and is being exploited by Kim Jong-un for his own propaganda and military mobilization.

The country has seized on Trump’s words to reinforce its official narrative that its nuclear arsenal is defensive, meant to protect Koreans from bullying American imperialists. And North Korean officials use Trump’s bombast as an excuse for their own.”

Thanks for this video clip.  It will be appearing in many ads.

Politico: “For many evangelicals and conservative Catholics, ‘Make America Great Again’ meant above all else returning to a time when the culture reflected and revolved around their Judeo-Christian values. When there was prayer in public schools. When marriage was limited to one man and one woman. When abortion was not prevalent and socially acceptable. When the government didn’t ask them to violate their consciences. And yes, when people said ‘Merry Christmas’ instead of ‘Happy Holidays.’”

“Anyone expecting the evangelical right to shy away from Trumpworld’s hardball approach to politics hasn’t been paying attention the past 18 months. Many Christian voters embraced Trump not despite his provocative style but because of it, betting on a brash street brawler to win the culture battles they had been losing for generations. And their faith has been rewarded: From abortion policy to religious liberty to judicial appointments, Trump has delivered for social conservatives more than any other constituency, making them the unlikely cornerstone of his coalition.”

The Hill: “With his agenda stalled in Congress and his poll numbers sagging, Trump has kept his base engaged and the left inflamed by escalating feuds with key figures in sports, entertainment, tech and media, effectively dragging politics into every corner of public life.”

“Trump’s aim is straightforward: To convince voters that there is a privileged class that scoffs at their patriotism and cares more about political correctness and diversity than ordinary Americans, their traditions and their economic plight.”

“State election officials, worried about the integrity of their voting systems, are pressing to make them more secure ahead of next year’s midterm elections,” the New York Times reports.

“Reacting in large part to Russian efforts to hack the presidential election last year, a growing number of states are upgrading electoral databases and voting machines, and even adding cybersecurity experts to their election teams. The efforts — from both Democrats and Republicans — amount to the largest overhaul of the nation’s voting infrastructure since the contested presidential election in 2000 spelled an end to punch-card ballots and voting machines with mechanical levers.”

Yahoo News: “The Russians who worked for a notorious St. Petersburg ‘troll factory’ that was part of Vladimir Putin’s campaign to influence the 2016 presidential election were required to watch the House of Cards television series to help them craft messages to ‘set up the Americans against their own government,’ according to an interview broadcast Sunday (in Russian) with a former member of the troll factory’s elite English language department.”

New Yorker: “A staff member from Trump’s campaign recalls him mocking Pence’s religiosity. He said that, when people met with Trump after stopping by Pence’s office, Trump would ask them, ‘Did Mike make you pray?’ Two sources also recalled Trump needling Pence about his views on abortion and homosexuality.”

“During a meeting with a legal scholar, Trump belittled Pence’s determination to overturn Roe v. Wade. The legal scholar had said that, if the Supreme Court did so, many states would likely legalize abortion on their own. ‘You see?’ Trump asked Pence. ‘You’ve wasted all this time and energy on it, and it’s not going to end abortion anyway.’ When the conversation turned to gay rights, Trump motioned toward Pence and joked, ‘Don’t ask that guy—he wants to hang them all!’”

“The bribery trial of Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) has reached a critical moment, with the judge overseeing the case deciding whether to dismiss a big chunk of the corruption allegations facing the New Jersey Democrat,” Politico reports.

“U.S. District Judge William Walls stunned federal prosecutors last week when he expressed doubts over whether the Justice Department’s bribery charges against Menendez should move forward in light of the Supreme Court’s 2016 decision throwing out the conviction of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell. That ruling impacted the legal definition of bribery, including the ‘string of benefits’ theory used by prosecutors to charge Menendez.”

“Walls’ bombshell left open the possibility that Menendez could escape the most serious allegations against him, possibly even allowing him to remain in office.”

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

2 comments on “The Open Thread for October 16, 2017

  1. I agree with Josh Marshall. You need to read this!

    Here’s a rough transcript of Trump’s words: Obamacare is finished. It’s dead. It’s gone. You shouldn’t even mention it. It’s gone. There is no such thing as Obamacare anymore. I said this years ago. It’s a concept that couldn’t have worked. In its best days it wouldn’t have worked.


    As soon as we have the next reconciliation we will get the vote for health care. I think we have the vote for health care. Sadly the Democrats can’t join us on that which will be the long-term fix, but we will have a short-term fix because I think the Democrats will be blamed for the mess. This is an Obamacare mess. When the premiums go up, that has nothing to do with anything other than poor care delivered poorly, written poorly, approved by the Democrats. It was called Obamacare, but we will have a short-term fix and a long-term fix and that will take place probably in March or April. We will have a very solid vote. It will be probably 100% Republican. No Democrats.


    There are Republicans frankly that should be ashamed of themselves, but most of them, I will tell you what. I know the Republican senators and most of them are really, really great people that want to work hard and want to do a great thing for the American public. A few people disappointed us. Really, really disappointed us. I can understand how Steve Bannon feels. Thank you very much.

    I have no words.

  2. Interesting that Trump thinks he can escape blame for the impending healthcare fiasco, some will blame congress but this is Trump’s albatross and the public is going to hang it around his neck. Regardless of what they come up with it will meet the same fate as the house bill and the even worse senate bill, people are going to hate it. As for the Evangelicals and the Catholic church they want power, power to force the rest of us to do as they say. Trump or not America doesn’t want them, their version of god or the truly, deeply pathetic “war on Christmas”. As for a Republican blood bath in 2018 if they don’t pass a massive tax cut and destroy Obamacare like usual they dramatically overestimate the publics desire to make the rich richer or make healthcare even more expensive. Notice they’ve hauled out all the tired old lies of the Reagan era, even the mother of all something for nothing scams: “the tax cuts will pay for themselves with increased revenue”. On a lighter note have the lights gone out at Delaware Liberal?

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