The Open Thread for January 14, 2018

“The government is seven days away from shutting down over an impasse on immigration and this week of talks between the White House and Congress may have only made things worse,” Axios reports.  Said one senior GOP aide: “Everybody hates each other right now.”

Ed Kilgore explains how the Shitholegazi makes a government shutdown more likely now:  “[N]ow, inevitably, Trump would at least share the blame, and could get nearly all the blame, for an immigration-triggered shutdown, thanks to his nasty, racist rhetoric and his reckless demolition of a deal with Congress that appeared to be within sight. With Americans being so generally ambiguous about the tradeoffs between bringing undocumented immigrants out of the shadows and discouraging more from crossing the borders, it doesn’t take much to shift sentiments for and against each party’s position. Now it’s Trump and Republicans who may be behind the eight ball.

So Democrats may no longer have to choose between good general election politics and fidelity to Dreamers (and to “base” Democrats itching for confrontations with Trump) in deciding how to proceed in the final stage of spending negotiations. They may now be much more willing to risk a shutdown, and much less fearful that they, rather than the nasty man in the White House, will get blamed if that happens.”

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) “faced relentless questioning about President Trump’s fitness for office and his own handling of the investigation into Russian election meddling at a rural town meeting here Friday morning,” the Des Moines Register reports.

“It was a striking scene, not least because of where it was playing out: in a rural western Iowa county where Republicans outnumber Democrats nearly two-to-one and where Trump carried 65 percent of the vote in 2016. And in contrast to the crowds that packed into lawmakers’ town meetings last year, the anti-Trump contingent was not obviously organized.”

Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC), a member of House Democratic leadership, told CNN the Congressional Black Caucus is pursuing a censure resolution against President Trump next week after the President’s vulgar remarks on immigrants.

“President Trump’s comments about ‘shithole countries’ like Haiti could hurt him most severely in his winter home of Florida, a state that’s also home to a large Haitian community. And it’s just the latest time he’s singled out a key voting bloc to antagonize in the state,” TPMreports.

“His racially charged comments add insult to injury to the community, just weeks after his administration ended temporary status protection for 60,000 Haitian refugees living in the U.S.”

“And that’s nothing compared to how much he’s infuriated the state’s fast-growing Puerto Rican community with his administration’s shoddy response to Hurricane Maria, which devastated the island.”

Former Vice President Joe Biden told the the Los Angeles Times that he has little sympathy for millennials who think they have it tough.

Said Biden: “The younger generation now tells me how tough things are. Give me a break. No, no, I have no empathy for it. Give me a break. Because here’s the deal guys, we decided we were gonna change the world. And we did. We did. We finished the civil rights movement in the first stage. The women’s movement came to be. So my message is, get involved. There’s no place to hide.”

He added: “There’s an old expression my philosophy professor would always use from Plato, ‘The penalty people face for not being involved in politics is being governed by people worse than themselves.’ It’s wide open. Go out and change it.”

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) “is confronting a fierce backlash from conservatives over his refusal to support Roy Moore in last month’s special election — with Moore backers pushing a censure resolution and robocall campaign targeting the powerful lawmaker,” Politicoreports.

At Politico, Mark Oppenheimer explores “How to Turn a Red State Purple (Democrats Not Required),” focusing on the efforts of a small group of young Democratic activists in Alaska. Subtitled “A tiny group of political renegades is transforming one of the reddest states in the country through a surprising strategy: ignoring their own party. Could it work elsewhere?,” Oppenheimer notes the enactment of ” Measure 1, a referendum that passed in November 2016 and which automatically registers all Alaskans to vote when they submit their application for the oil dividend. Since everyone wants their oil dividend, this reform should get Alaska to near 100-percent voter registration in 2018—and the new voters are likely to be relatively poor, more heavily Democratic, and sympathetic to a progressive income tax. Meanwhile, Anchorage’s reputation as a diverse, progressive city, the oil recession, and the state’s coming marijuana economy—pot shops are slowly opening around the state, after a 2014 ballot measure legalized pot sales—are likely to skew the population more liberal.”

The Daily Beast was informed that porn star Jessica Drake is not allowed to discuss President Trump on account of a non-disclosure agreement she signed barring her from any such talk.

NDAs are often deployed as part of settlements to silence accusers.

“Chelsea Manning (D), the transgender former Army private who was convicted of passing sensitive government documents to Wikileaks, has filed to run for the U.S. Senate in Maryland,” the Washington Post reports.

“Manning, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment, would be challenging Democrat Ben Cardin, who has served two terms in the Senate and is up for re-election in November.”

No progressive can possibly support her.  She conspired to commit treason with the Russian Wikileaks.   Just because she is Transgender does not mean she is a hero.


Hawaii officials confirmed “that there was no ballistic missile headed toward the state, minutes after an emergency alert was sent to cellphones urging people to seek immediate shelter,” the New York Times reports. Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) told CNN that human error caused the alert to go out: “It was a mistake made during a standard procedure at the change over of a shift, and an employee pushed the wrong button.”

If Trump was not golfing at the time, we would all be dead now in a torrent of nuclear fire.

Washington Post: “A decade after the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, the United States suddenly finds itself at a place where almost everyone who wants a job can find one.”

“The unemployment rate in December was 4.1 percent, leaving employers struggling to attract and retain good workers and raising the prospect of higher wages as the United States approaches congressional elections in November.”

“Five Republican lawmakers told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that they received calls from the governor since the news of the affair broke Wednesday.”

“The phone calls underscore the lengths to which [Missouri Gov. Eric] Greitens, a Republican, is going to preserve his political career. In the past, Greitens has derided members of the Legislature, at one point comparing them to third-graders and calling them into Jefferson City for two special sessions last summer, which he called ‘summer school.’”

“Now, he is seeking their support as well as trying to shore up support among his donors.”

Paul Waldman writes about the flood of Republican retirements:

“[I]t will be particularly bad for Republicans in the next few years if Democrats take back control. […] The mere thought is enough to send a congressman running to the waiting arms of a K Street lobbying firm, where at last he’ll be properly remunerated for his unique talents. And there’s a feedback loop: The more GOP incumbents opt to retire, the better the chances of Democrats taking over become, and the more attractive retirement looks for the members who remain.

There’s no way to know how high the number of retirements will get, but it wouldn’t be shocking to see it pass 40 or even 50. In the future, Republicans may look back and say that their congressional majority is just one more thing Trump ruined.”

Peter Hamby at Vanity Fair: “A lesson from the Alabama Senate race, where Priorities USA spent $1.5 million on digital advertising, was that basic positive advertising worked. Doug Jones introduced himself to voters, talked about his record and his values, criticized his opponent Roy Moore where necessary. But Jones didn’t make the race about Trump. That took care of itself, because Trump is all anyone can talk about, anyway.

It’s a simple formula: Jones took an affirmative, middle-class-focused message to both the Democratic base as well as persuadable voters. [Chief strategist for Priorities USA, a Democratic super PAC, Guy] Cecil believes it can be replicated in red states, blue states, state house districts, and city council races. “Democrats have micro-targeted ourselves into oblivion,” he said. “This is not about being efficient. This election should be about expanding the growth map, expanding the races and expanding our way of thinking about communicating to people. When people feel uneasy about the chaos and the ongoing churn of politics, having something that is positive and rooted in your values becomes more important.”

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

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