The Open Thread for January 11, 2018

TRUMP’S DACA DECISION BLOCKED. “A federal judge Tuesday night temporarily blocked the Trump administration’s plan to end the program that shields from deportation hundreds of thousands of immigrants who came to the country illegally as children,” the Los Angeles Times reports.  “With his decision, U.S. District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco granted a request by California and other states to stop the administration from ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, at least until lawsuits can play out in court.”

Playbook: “This only heightens the need for Washington to act in a permanent way to change immigration laws legislatively. DACA supporters believe this is only a temporary legal victory. They say the administration is within their rights to end the program, and are still seeking an immediate legislative fix.”

THE TRANSCRIPT REVEALS TRUMP CAMPAIGN INFORMANT.  “The British ex-spy who authored a dossier of allegations against then-presidential candidate Donald Trump was told the FBI had someone inside Trump’s network providing agents with information,” the Washington Post reports.

“Glenn Simpson, founder of research firm Fusion GPS, spoke to investigators with the Senate Judiciary Committee for 10 hours in August. As the partisan fight over Russian interference in the 2016 election has intensified, Simpson has urged that his testimony be released, and a copy of the transcript was made public Tuesday.”

“It was released by the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). That decision marks the most serious break yet in the once cooperative relationship she has had with the Republican chairman of the committee, Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-IA).”

RETIREMENTS EVIDENCE OF BUILDING WAVE. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) will not seek reelection this year, increasing Democrats’ chances of flipping his swing district in their favor, NBC News reports.  “Republicans in Congress, including several powerful committee chairmen, are rushing to retire rather than face re-election in the fall, a clear recognition that President Trump’s low approval rating will be a heavy weight on the party even with an improving economy,” the New York Times reports.

“While the president’s party almost always drops seats in a midterm election, the losses have averaged 40 seats since 1962 when the president’s approval rating is under 50 percent. Mr. Trump’s numbers are below 40 percent in most polls, the worst of any president at this point in his term in the history of polling. His ratings are also far worse than any first-term president when the unemployment rate is under 5 percent.”

Nate Cohn: GOP House retirements are surging, but not as much in competitive races

“A panel of federal judges struck down North Carolina’s congressional map on Tuesday, declaring it unconstitutionally gerrymandered and demanding that the Republican-controlled General Assembly redraw district lines before this year’s midterm elections,” the New York Times reports.  “The ruling was the first time that a federal court had blocked a congressional map because the judges believed it to be a partisan gerrymander, and it deepened the political chaos that has enveloped North Carolina in recent years.”

Washington Post: “The ruling marks the second time this decade that the GOP’s congressional boundaries in North Carolina have been thrown out by a three-judge panel.”

Jonathan Chait: “Faced with the accusation that he is a half-wit, the president and his defenders have formed two rebuttals. The first is that the mere fact Trump won the presidency and has approved conservative policies proves his wisdom… The second defense holds that the questioning of Trump’s mental capacity is no more than liberal snobbery.”

“Both defenses have something in common. Rather than segregate questions about Trump’s brain away from the broader partisan debate, they dissolve the former into the latter. They believe that Trump’s being called dumb by the intellectual elite is intimately connected to his political identity. This belief is largely correct. As it has moved farther and farther right, the Republican Party has grown increasingly anti-intellectual. Trump’s base adores him, not despite his obvious mental limitations, but because of them.”

“Two caveats are in order. First, many intelligent people have conservative values, and rationally support the Republican Party. Second, while Trump’s lack of mental aptitude may be similar to that of previous Republican leaders in kind, it is very different in degree. That said, Trump’s flamboyant ignorance and disdain for intellectual standards are very much in keeping with modern conservative politics.”

THE SENATE MAJORITY IS STILL AN UPHILL BATTLE.   Nate Silver: “It’s not that I’m pessimistic about the Democrats’ overall position next year. To the contrary, I think most political observers had, until recently, been slow to recognize just how bad things had gotten for Republicans. But the Senate map is really tough for Democrats, with 26 Democratic seats in play next year (including a newly opened seat in Minnesota after Al Franken announced his intention to retire) as compared to just eight Republican ones. Moreover, five of the Democratic-held seats — the ones in West Virginia, North Dakota, Montana, Missouri and Indiana — are in states that President Trump won by 18 percentage points or more.”

“Just how bad is this map for Democrats? It’s bad enough that it may be the worst Senate map that any party has faced ever, or at least since direct election of senators began in 1913. It’s bad enough that Democrats could conceivably gain (for example) 35 or 40 seats in the House … and yet not pick up the two seats they need in the Senate.”

A further complicating factor is a development in Missouri: Kansas City lawyer Craig O’Dear “could shake up one of the most competitive Senate races in the country as he seriously considers running as a centrist independent against Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and her eventual Republican challenger,” the Kansas City Star reports.  “O’Dear could play a significant role in the Missouri election because early polls show McCaskill and Josh Hawley (R) locked in a tight race.”

STABLE GENIUS ACT.  Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-PA) introduced the “Stable Genius Act” in the House, The Hill reports.  The act would require all presidential candidates to file a Federal Election Commission report “certifying that he or she has undergone medical examination by the medical office under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of the Navy.”

ARIZONA GOP PRIMARY POLL. A new ABC15/OHPI poll in Arizona Martha McSally leading with 31%, followed by Joe Arpaio at 29% and Kelli Ward at 25%.

“President Trump’s companies sold more than $35 million in real estate in 2017, mostly to secretive shell companies that obscure buyers’ identities, continuing a dramatic shift in his customers’ behavior that began during the election,” a USA Today review found.

“The trend toward Trump’s real estate buyers buyers obscuring their identities began around the time he won the Republican nomination, midway through 2016, according to USA Today‘s analysis of every domestic real estate sale by one of his companies. In the two years before the nomination, 4% of Trump buyers utilized the tactic. In the year after, the rate skyrocketed to about 70%. USA Today‘s tracking of sales shows the trend held firm through Trump’s first year in office.”

TRUMP GOES TO DAVOS: PROOF HIS VOTERS WERE FOOLS.  President Trump is expected to attend the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland, in the coming weeks, the New York Times reports.  “Mr. Trump’s planned appearance at an event that is synonymous with wealth and elite prestige comes as he enters the second year of a term he won on a message of economic populism. Presidents have rarely attended the forum in Davos, in part out of a concern that it would send the wrong message to be rubbing shoulders with some of the world’s richest individuals.”

PLEASING PUTIN. “A senior National Security Council official proposed withdrawing some U.S. military forces from Eastern Europe as an overture to Vladimir Putin during the early days of the Trump administration,” the Daily Beast reports.  “While the proposal was ultimately not adopted, it is the first known case of senior aides to Donald Trump seeking to reposition U.S. military forces to please Putin—something that smelled, to a colleague, like a return on Russia’s election-time investment in President Trump.”

FLORIDA GETS OIL DRILLING FAVORITISM. “The Trump administration told Florida’s governor it won’t consider new oil and gas drilling off the state’s coast, backtracking on plans to expand offshore drilling all around the U.S. and bowing to pressure from fellow Republicans in the state,” the Wall Street Journal reports.  First Read: “Exempting Florida — but not other states — appears to be the kind of transactional favoritism that many good-government observers worried about when Trump became president. Bottom line: The Trump administration has invited lawsuits if it doesn’t extend the same kind of exemption to other states that want it.”

REPUBLICAN TAX WITHHOLDING TRICKERY. “The IRS is facing its first big challenge implementing the new tax law: deciding how much in taxes to withhold from millions of Americans’ paychecks,” Politico reports.  “The agency is under pressure to take as little as possible so people will see big increases in their take-home pay ahead of this year’s midterm elections… How the IRS — which is supposed to be apolitical — decides to implement withholding could go a long way toward shaping public opinion on the controversial law.”  That pressure is coming from Republicans, knowing that while taxpayers will see increases in their take home pay in 2018, in early 2019, they will find out that their tax bill is due, and they will have to pay to the federal government rather than getting an expected refund.

INTELLIGENT BUT NOT FIT. A new Quinnipiac poll finds that American voters say President Trump is intelligent by a 53% to 44% margin, but they also say 69% to 28% that he is not level-headed and by 57% to 40% that he is not fit to serve as president.  Grading President Trump’s first year in office, 39% of voters give him an “F,” while 17% give him a “D.”

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

10 comments on “The Open Thread for January 11, 2018

  1. Saw this over at the DL blog, but since this is an “open thread” and I’ve been banned over at DL for years, I feel compelled to make it known over here,

    “Alby says:
    January 11, 2018 at 12:30 pm

    I really don’t give a flying fuck about the African-American women.”


    I don’t recall even the most right-wing of commenters ever posting anything so hateful, over there.

    • cassandram

      You are surprised at this, why?

    • I’m supposed to give a flying fuck about them why? I don’t give a flying fuck about anybody. They’re nobody special.

      • Yup, you’re right you couldn’t run for an elected position, especially with that mouth. Surprise that Cassy, is on here so much as well.

    • Oooh, running to tell Mommy! Call the wahmbulance.

  2. cassandram

    The CRA for Net Neutrality now has 44 Senators signed on and STILL no word from either Carper or Coons.

    • All I have gotten from their offices was that my message would be passed along. Has anyone gotten any type of explanation? Are they “waiting for more research?”

  3. Just what we need, government run healthcare!

    • Um, clearly you have little interaction with Delaware’s healthcare system. This has been the state of affairs in Delaware hospitals for the past 10 years, dope. Patients stacked in hallways and makeshift wards with understaffed units. Plus, this flu season is on pace to be one of the worst in recorded history, possibly effecting more than the 1918 season.

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