Open Thread

The Open Thread for November 24, 2017

“Lawyers for Michael Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser, notified the president’s legal team in recent days that they could no longer discuss the special counsel’s investigation, according to four people involved in the case, an indication that Mr. Flynn is cooperating with prosecutors or negotiating such a deal,” the New York Times reports.

“Mr. Flynn’s lawyers had been sharing information with Mr. Trump’s lawyers about the investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, who is examining whether anyone around Mr. Trump was involved in Russian efforts to undermine Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.”

This news comes after reports that Bijan Kian, a former business associate of Flynn, “has become a subject of special sounsel Robert Mueller’s investigation for his role in the failure of Flynn’s former lobbying firm to disclose its work on behalf of foreign governments,” NBC News reports.



Paul Manafort “took at least 18 trips to Moscow and was in frequent contact with Vladimir Putin’s allies for nearly a decade as a consultant in Russia and Ukraine for oligarchs and pro-Kremlin parties,” McClatchy reports.

“Even after the February 2014 fall of Ukraine’s pro-Moscow President Viktor Yanukovych, who won office with the help of a Manafort-engineered image makeover, the American consultant flew to Kiev another 19 times over the next 20 months while working for the smaller, pro-Russian Opposition Bloc party. Manafort went so far as to suggest the party take an anti-NATO stance, an Oppo Bloc architect has said. A key ally of that party leader, oligarch Viktor Medvedchuk, was identified by an earlier Ukrainian president as a former Russian intelligence agent, ‘100 percent.’”

“It was this background that Manafort brought to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, which he joined in early 2016 and soon led. His web of connections to Russia-loyal potentates is now a focus of federal investigators.”



Two more women have told HuffPost that Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) touched their butts in separate incidents. These are the third and fourth such allegations against Franken in the past week.

”The two additional women, who said they were not familiar with each others’ stories, both spoke on condition of anonymity. But their stories, which describe events during Franken’s first campaign for the Senate, are remarkably similar — and both women have been telling them privately for years.”

Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that he plans to stay in the U.S. Senate despite sexual misconduct allegations against him by four women and will try to win back Minnesotans’ trust.

Franken said that he “feels terribly that I’ve made some women feel badly.” He called himself “a warm person” who likes to hug people when they’re being photographed with him, but clearly, his embrace “crossed a line for some women.”

A new KSTP/SurveyUSA poll in Minnesota finds that just 22% of Minnesotans surveyed said Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) should remain in office. Another 33% say he should resign, while 36% say he should wait for results of a Senate Ethics Committee investigation.

Nate Silver: “I think Democrats have underestimated how seriously voters are taking the Franken allegations and how hypocritical it makes them look.”

I agree, but some lowlife dumbfuck principle-less former purists disagree.



“The fact that there was any doubt in anyone’s mind about who the president was blows my mind.”

— Former President George W. Bush, quoted by Politico, adding that Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld “didn’t make one fucking decision.”




Joshua Holland  at the Nation says there is a path to Medicare for (Almost) All.

“But, as I wrote in August, these bills represent the most disruptive and difficult possible route to a comprehensive national health-care system. They’re too easy to misrepresent. Like any other deep reforms, they’d face concerted opposition from the right, centrist Democrats and health-care providers. But they’d face another obstacle, too: Because they compel so many people to give up their existing coverage for the promise of something better—all within a short period of time—they’re almost guaranteed to spark a popular backlash. Without strong popular support, these approaches are doomed to fail….

So consider an alternative approach, one that combines the audacity of the Sanders and Conyers plans with an understanding of the difficulties involved in restructuring a sector of the economy that accounts for one out of every 11 American jobs.

We could roll Medicaid’s low-income coverage, the Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and other public spending into the Medicare system, creating a very large pool of people insured through that program. We can empower it to negotiate with providers, and then expand the program’s coverage, as a benefit, to older working people, children, and the poor. And we can then open up this new Medicare for the rest of the population—individuals and businesses—to buy into, voluntarily and at their own pace.”



Bret Stephens: “Many years ago, I committed an offense for which famous men are now being publicly, and rightly, shamed. I patted an office secretary on her behind. I won’t offer the usual lame defense that I didn’t know my advance was unwanted or that social attitudes were different back then.”

“My only excuse is that at the time of the incident I was about 7 years old.”

“I remember the moment because of what happened immediately afterward. The secretary, who worked at my father’s business in Mexico City, turned around and slammed a heavy stack of papers on my head. I marched indignantly over to my dad’s office to report her behavior — only so that he could march me over to her desk and have me apologize. He followed that up with a stern warning never to do anything of the sort again.”

“I don’t remember the secretary’s name. But what a service she did me by giving me a knock I’ll never forget, one that took courage and self-respect considering I was her boss’s son. What a service, too, that my dad defended her and gave me the talking-to that he did. It’s a lesson every boy should get — loud, clear, and early — from a male role model.”



An Israeli source told Vanity Fair about a meeting between a small group of Mossad officers and other Israeli intelligence officials at CIA headquarters just weeks before the inauguration of Donald Trump.

“The meeting proceeded uneventfully; updates on a variety of ongoing classified operations were dutifully shared. It was only as the meeting was about to break up that an American spymaster solemnly announced there was one more thing: American intelligence agencies had come to believe that Russian president Vladimir Putin had ‘leverages of pressure’ over Trump, he declared without offering further specifics.”



“The 14-year-old girl that was there, I can tell you right now if it was my daughter, I’d break his face, I’d break his fingers, and I’d probably do a lot worse.” — Rep. Scott Taylor (R-VA), in a CNN interview, saying he didn’t “feel comfortable” with Roy Moore’s response to allegations of sexual misconduct against him.


“There is no compassion whatsoever in the White House. I’m just beside myself with sadness because our president is a bully, our president is a punk, and he just doesn’t get it. I don’t know where he was raised, but his family didn’t do a good job raising that guy.” — Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney (D), quoted by NBC Philadelphia.


A federal judge, on Wednesday, overturned a Texas ban on the most common form of second-trimester abortion, ruling the prohibition is unconstitutional and places an “undue burden” on women seeking the procedure. The Texas legislature passed Senate Bill 8 in May and Gov. Greg Abbott signed it into law shortly after. Abortion providers filed suit against the state and Judge Lee Yeakel of the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas issued a temporary injunction in August blocking the law from going into effect until the courts could rule on its constitutionality.

The Texas law, the New York Times notes, “would require doctors to stop the fetus’s heart before performing a dilation-and-evacuation abortion, except in a medical emergency. D&E abortions, as they are known, involve dilating the woman’s cervix and removing the fetus in pieces. This is the safest method available in the second trimester, but opponents say the procedure, which they often refer to as ‘dismemberment abortion,’ is barbaric.”


While addressing Coast Guard members, President Trump promised increased funding for the military and told them about all the new equipment that it’s buying, the Washington Postreports.

And he promised that U.S. allies won’t get equipment that is quite as good because “even if they’re allies, you never know about an ally; an ally can turn.”

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

5 comments on “The Open Thread for November 24, 2017

  1. You only have until December 1st. To make your feelings known about the ludicrous rate increase!
    You can make public comments on their website:
    You can mail letters to:
    Delaware Public Service Commission
    861 Silver Lake Boulevard
    Cannon Building, Suite #100
    Dover, DE 19904
    You can call them at 302-736-7520
    Please let your voice be heard.

  2. cassandram

    The idea of rolling up Medicare and Medicaid into a super public option is really interesting. Since Medicaid has a fair amount of state funding, it would be worthwhile to hear how that gets maintained. But this: But they’d face another obstacle, too: Because they compel so many people to give up their existing coverage for the promise of something better—all within a short period of time—they’re almost guaranteed to spark a popular backlash does some handwaving at a big problem and that is that much of the current employer-based insurance is still better coverage that Medicare and Medicaid. If rolling these up and adjusting the coverages gets you to the kind of coverage that most employees get now then you’ve got something. Because employers themselves might be the biggest boosters of this plan.

  3. cassandram

    So where’s the outcry for Conyers to step down? As far as I can tell it is only Rep. Kathleen Rice calling for him to resign. So far there’s no rending of garments over his misbehavior and there’s no contrarian bullheadedness over this one yet. And if Conyers does resign, he does get replaced by a Republican, although it would be tough for an R to keep that seat, I think. Still, I think that I would make the observation that the public will see the Dems as hypocritical as Fox News and the liberal media bothsodiesism makes them out to be. And the contrarian class is immaterial to countering that messaging. Still. I worry that asking Franken to resign equates what he did with the pedophilia of Roy Moore, or the patronage of prostitutes by David Vitter, the verbal abuse, harassment (a meeting in your underware?) of Conyers. The punishment — leave the office — is the same for all and that doesn’t strike me as right. You can say that you are standing for principles which is fine. If those principles aren’t getting a hearing for the women who accuse Trump, then I wonder who those principles serve. Because it sure isn’t the women who have been harmed.

    • Perhaps the answer is to stop making office-holding subject to moral panics. In Clinton’s case, the GOP used the tools and methods at their disposal and could not oust Clinton from office. When voters were confronted with the failings of Vitter and DeJarlais, they re-elected them anyway. These people whom you’re worried will call Democrats hypocrites will do that whether Democrats are hypocrites or not. They might make the biggest stink about morality and Godlinesss don’t let it affect their support for their politicians in the least.

      The problem springs from a desire to proclaim ourselves better people than our adversaries, instead of people with better ideas. That’s not to say you aren’t better people, but appealing only to people of conscience does not win elections; you need a majority.

      • cassandram

        Having better ideas is just not enough. People need to trust you or at least trust that you will do what you say, that you won’t be a Mafia Boss when you get into office. The basis of that trust is different I think for Dems and Rs. But there is nothing wrong with having a strong set of moral principles. The thing that you know about the Family Values voters is that they are full of shit. They are delighted to support pols who don’t meet that standard, but they don’t mind beating up Dems who don’t meet the standard. Family Values in that case just is one more marker of why you are not on the Team — not a real requirement of principle. I argued at some length some time back that Weiner should not have been thrown under the bus (for the first twitter pic offense) and was met with ALOT of pushback on that. Now we have Franken, Conyers and who knows who else (and there will be more) and no one can really articulate what principles are being satisfied here.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: