The Open Thread for December 30, 2017

“If you ask some close to President Trump what worries them most about 2018, it’s not Robert Mueller’s probe. It’s that establishment guardrails of 2017 come down — and Trump’s actual instincts take over,” Axios reports.  “Next year will bring ‘full Trump,’ said one person who recently talked to the president.”

“Trump has governed mostly as a conventional conservative — on tax cuts, his Supreme Court pick, and rolling back regulations. Most of his top advisers are fairly conventional conservatives, so that makes sense… But top officials paint a different portrait of Trump when it comes to what he really wants on trade, immigration and North Korea — but has been tamped down by skeptical staff and Cabinet officials.”

Special counsel Robert Mueller has begun to question RNC staffers about the party’s 2016 campaign data operation, which helped the Trump campaign target voters in key swing states, Yahoo News reports.  Mueller’s team is examining whether the joint RNC-Trump campaign data operation — which was managed by Jared Kushner — “was related to the activities of Russian trolls and bots aimed at influencing the American electorate.”

Former White House intern Jack Breuer held up a “white power” sign during a photo-opwith President Trump and fellow interns in the East Room last month, the Daily Mail reports.

Politico lists the 138 things Trump did that you might have missed: “Behind the crazy headlines, more conservative priorities got pushed through than most people realize. An exhaustive list of what really happened to the government in 2017.”

“Another reason that I’m going to win another four years is because newspapers, television, all forms of media will tank if I’m not there because without me, their ratings are going down the tubes. Without me, The New York Times will indeed be not the failing New York Times, but the failed New York Times. So they basically have to let me win.” — President Trump, in an interview with the New York Times.

New York Times: “The new tax bill, and its $10,000 cap on all local and state tax deductions, has generated a variety of strong emotions — including anxiety and frustration — in places like Hempstead.”

“By Thursday, however, that stew of emotions had been replaced by utter confusion, as well as rage, including among people who had shelled out money only to discover that they might not get any benefit.”

Bloomberg: “The richest people on earth became $1 trillion richer in 2017, more than four times last year’s gain, as stock markets shrugged off economic, social and political divisions to reach record highs.”

“The 23 percent increase on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a daily ranking of the world’s 500 richest people, compares with an almost 20 percent increase for both the MSCI World Index and Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.”

“States rushing to guard their 2018 elections against hackers may be on a waiting list for up to nine months for the Department of Homeland Security’s most exhaustive security screening,” Politico reports.

“That means some states might not get the service until weeks before the November midterms and may remain unaware of flaws that could allow homegrown cyber vandals or foreign intelligence agencies to target voter registration databases and election offices’ computer networks, the officials said. Russian hackers targeted election systems in at least 21 states in 2016, according to DHS.”

Joe Scarborough: “A storm is gathering, and there is every reason to believe that 2018 will be the most consequential political year of our lives.”

“The reckoning upon us follows a year mercifully drawing to a close this weekend. Over that horrid year, President Trump has questioned the legitimacy of federal judges, used Stalinist barbs to attack the free press and cast contempt on the rule of law, while his campaign manager, his national security adviser and a foreign policy aide have been marched into federal courts. Those anti-democratic instincts were made all the more ominous by his praising of autocrats across the world as they were ruthlessly consolidating power in countries such as Russia, China and the Philippines.”

New York Times: “Nearly a year into his presidency, Mr. Trump remains an erratic, idiosyncratic leader on the global stage, an insurgent who attacks allies the United States has nurtured since World War II and who can seem more at home with America’s adversaries. His Twitter posts, delivered without warning or consultation, often make a mockery of his administration’s policies and subvert the messages his emissaries are trying to deliver abroad…”

“Above all, Mr. Trump has transformed the world’s view of the United States from a reliable anchor of the liberal, rules-based international order into something more inward-looking and unpredictable. That is a seminal change from the role the country has played for 70 years, under presidents from both parties, and it has lasting implications for how other countries chart their futures.”

Mike Allen: “Guess who’s likely to stick around for all four or eight years, and will be empowered in 2018? Stephen Miller, the true-believer senior policy adviser, who trumps Trump on hardline immigration views — and may outlast almost everyone.”

“The two issues Miller cares and knows most about, immigration and trade, will be front and center. And Miller channels (and believes) Trump campaign rhetoric more than anyone internally.”

“Although some of Miller’s allies speculate that he could one day wind up as chief of staff, he’s seen more as an advocate and adviser than manager or leader. He works super-hard, but doesn’t delegate.”

Philip Bump says Roy Moore’s refusal to concede presages Trump’s refusal in 2018 and 2020.

“Moore was a historically bad candidate running in an election during an extremely bad year for Republican candidates. But his candidacy, from start to finish — and then for weeks after the finish — took advantage of an environment of doubt fostered by the GOP. Trump did, too, and had he not squeaked out a 78,000-vote margin in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin in November 2016, he would probably have taken a similar tack as Moore.”

John Stoehr: “For all the talk about snowflakes and the like, Trump is historically unpopular, as is everything he has done since taking office. He does not occupy the political center. As the Republicans rally to protect him, they push themselves to the margins, which is a perilous place to be. In this context, liberalism may find itself experiencing a renaissance, a reawakening among voters to its true meaning: a school of thought dedicated to pursuing liberty and equality.

In this political climate, in which a president attacks the democratic norms and institutions that are the bedrock of republican self-government, it is the liberals who are standing with the rule of law and American values. In this climate, in which an authoritarian seeks to poison U.S. public opinion with disinformation, it is the liberals who appears to be more patriotic than partisan.”

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

7 comments on “The Open Thread for December 30, 2017

  1. RE Vanella

    Bernie Bro. Rest in peace. You inspired me & I’ll stay inspired. It’s the least I can do.

    • cassandram

      Erica Gardner’s death is a real loss to all of us. Her family asked to hear from black journalists to talk about her life, struggle and death and we can see why from this comment. ^^^^

  2. john kowalko

    Public Advocate Drew Slater has petitioned the Public Service Commission contending that the cash windfall from the recent lowering of corporate taxes that would directly benefit utilities, such as Delmarva Power and Artesian, should not be added to those companies’ coffers but should flow directly to electricity and water consumers.
    This is a petition that should be granted without any hesitation and is another example of the dedication and thoughtfulness exhibited by Mr. Slater who takes his responsibilities to the consumers as Delaware’s Public Advocate more seriously than any other that I have worked with. Simply stated, Mr. Slater’s position is one of the most responsible, honest and just advocacies on the public’s behalf that I have had the pleasure of witnessing.
    I hope all members of the public will recognize that they have finally been blessed with a true champion of their interests when Drew Slater was appointed as the Public Advocate. I’ve worked with a number of Public Advocates over the last dozen years and none of them have had the dedication and focus on behalf of the consumer’s interests like Mr. Slater. I couldn’t be more proud of a public servant like Mr. Slater whose grasp of his responsibilities is beyond comparison. Good job Drew and keep it up. The people need more public servants like you and I personally applaud you for everything you are doing.
    Rep. John Kowalko

    • It would be great if we could stop funding, Bloom Energy. Paid out $166 million, BE has not met it’s hiring quota in 4 years and the state gets back, $1.5 THAT IS A CRIME and our elected officials should be ashamed of themselves for letting this go so far!

      The New Journal buries the articles, as soon as they are ran in the paper.

      With that said, Thanks to you Representative Kowalko, for making the utility bills, actually show what is be paid out to BE.

      Here is a list of other incentives that they receive:
      And that’s not the only benefit used to get Bloom to locate in Delaware. Other incentives included:

      Twenty-five years of $1 a year rent from the University of Delaware’s 1743 Holding LLC, to attract the company to its STAR Campus as its first tenant.
      $12 million, which could increase to as much as $16.5 million, from the Delaware Strategic Fund in exchange for job creation.
      Expedited permitting.
      The hastily-passed 2011 legislation needed to designate fuel cells, which run on natural gas, as a renewable energy source.
      And, most recently, a pass from state environmental officials on the way the company handled spent fuel canisters at its power generation facility near New Castle. (In the last few days, state environmental officials have concluded the canisters really are hazardous waste and should be handled as such with state inspection, review and accounting by the company. The pollutant of concern is benzene, a known carcinogen.)

      I know people like Alby, will just say ” Let it go.”
      But, I strongly feel that if enough people get behind this “WE THE PEOPLE” can turn it around!

      • cassandram

        The real problem is that you never pay attention to any facts. Bloom paid back $1.5M of the $12 this October and will likely be writing more checks. Bloom is the least of the problem here. A big part of it is that you can’t follow money and you don’t know what anything costs. So back off until you know what you are talking about.

  3. Here’s the problem, Anono: This is hardly a unique situation, except for the part where we pay through the electric bills instead of taxes.

    Administrations long before Markell’s started giving out taxpayer money to private corporations — not for work but for meeting hiring goals. This, not the particulars of the Bloom Energy deal, is the problem, and until we stop the practice, you’re cherry-picking in bitching about this deal in particular.

    The problem I have with you on this issue is that you show no understanding of this. You prefer to blame Markell, who did nothing out of the ordinary given his job and the fact that the public was clamoring for jobs — look it up, it was in all the papers. The government can only create real jobs by hiring people, and with the economy in the tank it couldn’t do that, so Markell and the General Assembly took a stupid demand from the public and applied a stupid solution. Many of us opposed this from the get-go, and not because it twisted the meaning of “renewable resource.”

    So the advice isn’t “let it go” as much as it’s “shoot at the right target.”

  4. Go back to DL, where you can censor people!

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