Delaware

Open Thread for November 14, 2017

A fifth woman accused Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore (R) of making sexual or romantic advances toward her when she was 16 years old, the New York Times reports.

Said Beverly Young Nelson: “I tried fighting him off, while yelling at him to stop, but instead of stopping, he began squeezing my neck attempting to force my head onto his crotch.”  She added: “I continued to struggle. I was determined that I was not going to allow him to force me to have sex with him. I was terrified. He was also trying to pull my shirt off. I thought that he was going to rape me. I was twisting and struggling and begging him to stop. I had tears running down my face.”

Nelson said that Moore warned her that “no one will believe you” if she told anyone about the encounter.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said that Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore (R) should leave the race, Politico reports.  Said McConnell: “I think he should step aside. I believe the women, yes.”

Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Susan Collins (R-ME) on Monday called for Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore to withdraw.  NRSC Chairman Cory Gardner (R-CO) said that Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore (R) is “unfit to serve,” and he should be expelled from the Senate if he wins next month’s election, following allegations that he initiated a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl when he was 32, the Washington Post reports.

New Yorker: “This past weekend, I spoke or messaged with more than a dozen people—including a major political figure in the state—who told me that they had heard, over the years, that Moore had been banned from the mall because he repeatedly badgered teen-age girls. Some say that they heard this at the time, others in the years since. These people include five members of the local legal community, two cops who worked in the town, several people who hung out at the mall in the early eighties, and a number of former mall employees.”

“Alabama Democrats have a message for out-of-state allies eager to help in the state’s Senate race: Thanks, but no thanks,” NBC News reports.  Said former party executive director Giles Perkins: “I tell them to stay home. This is an Alabama race, and we will decide it here.”

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Playbook: “With the Roy Moore controversy continuing to rage, Republicans in Washington are looking to return to more comfortable territory this week — tax reform. After months of work, the House is expected to pass its overhaul of the tax code while the Senate Finance Committee is slated to pass their own version. The forward progress is welcomed by the White House and GOP operatives who believe passing a tax package before the midterm elections is even more essential to holding their majorities in Congress than it was just a week ago.”

“Nothing is over in Washington until it is over. There are still massive differences in the House and Senate bills and it’s unclear how Republicans will find a path forward on key issues like state and local tax deductions. So Republicans could find themselves one step forward, two steps back when it comes to final passage.”

A full analysis of the economic effects of the House tax bill isn’t available yet, according to a Congressional Budget Office document released on Monday. It’s not clear if such an estimate will be ready before the House votes later this week,” the Wall Street Journalreports.

New York Times: Haste on tax measures may leave a trail of loopholes.

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Jonathan Chait: “There was a time when liberal professionals, watching in horror as Republican presidents drove the federal budget into a ditch, could at least count on the semi-guilty consolation of a tax break. And I would indeed be happy to have my tax rate raised for the purpose of reducing the deficit or funding important social needs. But the prospect of paying higher taxes in order to finance gigantic tax cuts for much richer people is a novel misery. The comprehensive awfulness of the Trump administration has extended into new terrain.”

“The Republican government seems hell-bent on this course.”

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“One of President Trump’s most controversial judicial nominees did not disclose on publicly available congressional documents that he is married to a senior lawyer in the White House Counsel’s Office,” the New York Times reports.

“The nominee, Brett Talley, is awaiting a Senate confirmation vote that could come as early as Monday to become a federal district judge in Alabama. He is married to Ann Donaldson, the chief of staff to the White House counsel, Donald McGahn.”

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In remarks before reporters during his first official meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, Trump said: “We’ve had a great relationship. This has been very successful. And the ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) conference has been handled beautifully by the president in the Philippines.”  When a reporter asked if Trump would raise questions about human-rights abuses in the Philippines, Duterte shut them down, saying, “Whoa, whoa. This is not a press statement. This is the bilateral meeting.” Then Trump chuckled when Duterte referred to members of the press as “spies.”  Ah yes, siding with a murderous despot when he attacks members of our own press.

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A new Winthrop University poll finds that nearly half of white Americans living in the South feel like they’re under attack.   “Forty-six percent of white Southerners said they agree or strongly agree that white people are under attack in the U.S. More than three-fourths of black respondents said they believe racial minorities are under attack. And 30 percent of all respondents in the poll agreed when asked if America needs to protect and preserve its white European heritage.”

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Frank Rich: “The idea that the pre-Trump GOP will make a post-Trump comeback to vanquish these forces is laughable. Old-line Establishment Republicans in the Senate and the House, even very conservative ones like Flake, are engaging in self-deportation, as Mitt Romney might say, rather than face a firing squad in the primaries. The Trumpists will with time expunge the rest, including Paul Ryan (whom Bannon has dismissed as ‘a limp-dick motherfucker who was born in a petri dish at the Heritage Foundation,’ according to Joshua Green in The Devil’s Bargain).”

“It’s a replay of the purge of the 1960s, when the reinvented GOP shaped by Goldwater, Nixon, and the ‘southern strategy’ shoved aside the likes of Nelson Rockefeller and George Romney. Given that 89 percent of Republicans voted for Trump in November and that 80 percent of today’s GOP voters reliably give Trump favorable approval ratings no matter what he has said or done since, that means only a fifth of those Americans identifying as Republicans are (possibly) Never Trumpers.”

“The remains of Establishment Republicanism are at best a Potemkin village. It’s too little, too late for ‘the Republican renovation project’ floated in October by the former George W. Bush speechwriter and passionate Never Trumper Michael Gerson, who imagined that John Kasich, Flake, Ben Sasse, and the like would dream up ‘a compelling alternative to the Bannon appeal.’ History will show that feckless Establishment Republicans repeatedly missed their chance to take back or renovate their party by being too cowardly, too cynical, or too inept to confront Trumpism as it fanned the flames of racial backlash under Palin, the tea party, and finally Trump during the Obama years.

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“Seven of the 16 jurors and alternates in the trial of Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) raised their hands when U.S. District Judge William Walls on Monday morning asked whether they’d heard or read anything about the case, prompting the judge to take them into his chambers individually to get more details,” the Newark Star Ledger reports.

“The inquiry came after defense attorneys in the trial noted that widespread news coverage of an excused juror’s public statements may have tainted the remaining members of the panel.”

Then, in the afternoon, jurors told the judge that they “are unable to reach a unanimous decision in the case and asked for guidance,” according to the Newark Star Ledger.

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Atlantic:  “The proposal House Republicans approved in the Ways and Means Committee last week meets the first test but not the second: Steep cuts to the corporate and individual tax rates would cost more money than the government would bring in through the elimination of popular deductions and exemptions, even when accounting for economic growth.

The Senate “has an even bigger problem,” said Ed Lorenzen, a senior adviser for the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. The bill released on Thursday differs from the House proposal in a number of respects. While it completely eliminates the deduction for state and local taxes, it maintains the mortgage interest tax deduction and a few other expensive tax breaks. The Senate bill also reduces the income tax rate paid by the wealthiest earners, while the House bill does not. “The Senate bill on a permanent ongoing basis has a much larger cost, a much larger deficit than the House bill,” Lorenzen told me.”

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The Daily Beast reports that no one seems to know what Omarosa Manigault does in the White House.  “After the abrupt end to our day in March, I called a Republican source in constant contact with the White House and asked what they thought Omarosa’s job entailed. “No clue,” the source said. I told the source about our whirlwind of a morning.

“Wait, Hope [Hicks] let you follow [Omarosa] around?” the source asked. No, I hadn’t spoken with Hope, who now serves formally as the White House communications director. “So Sean [Spicer] let you?” Ditto. “Christ,” the source said. “No one in the comms department knew a random reporter was walking around the West Wing. This is why people think we’re a shit show.”

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The Atlantic has private messages between Donald Trump Jr. and Wikileaks.

“The messages… were also turned over by Trump Jr.’s lawyers to congressional investigators. They are part of a long—and largely one-sided—correspondence between Wikileaks and the president’s son that continued until at least July 2017. The messages show Wikileaks, a radical transparency organization that the American intelligence community believes was chosen by the Russian government to disseminate the information it had hacked, actively soliciting Trump Jr.’s cooperation. Wikileaks made a series of increasingly bold requests, including asking for Trump’s tax returns, urging the Trump campaign on Election Day to reject the results of the election as rigged, and requesting that the president-elect tell Australia to appoint Julian Assange ambassador to the United States…”

“Though Trump Jr. mostly ignored the frequent messages from Wikileaks, he at times appears to have acted on its requests.”

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

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