The Open Thread for January 18, 2018

GOP DOES NOT HAVE THE VOTES TO GOVERN. Caitlin Owens: “Members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus are saying they won’t back the [short term continuing resolution], meaning Republican leaders will need help from Democrats who say they won’t offer it. The Democratic base is pressuring its members to hold the line on immigration — and get a solution to DACA included in any spending bill.”  Reuters reports President Trump said a federal government shutdown “could happen” by the end of the week, insisting that Democrats would be blamed if that happened.

“House Republicans are short of the votes they need to avoid a government shutdown, but Speaker Paul Ryan and GOP leaders remain confident they will pass a stopgap funding measure when it comes to the floor on Thursday,” Politico reports.

“President Trump is personally leaning on GOP lawmakers to fall into line, especially hard-line conservatives who are opposed to virtually anything Ryan and his leadership team propose.”

TRUMP IS DONE AS A DEALMAKER. Politico: “On the cusp of a deal for the second time with Democrats to enshrine protections for 700,000 young undocumented immigrants, Trump once again destroyed the underpinnings of the potential agreement… So now, instead of securing a bipartisan deal to fund the government and help a large group of immigrants that Trump said deserve compassion, the president and Republican Congress are scrambling, yet again, just to keep the government open.”

“It demonstrates once again to Democrats — and Republicans — that Trump is an unpredictable, unreliable partner who cannot be trusted to keep his word. To lawmakers on Capitol Hill, there may be no greater crime, since all members and senators know their word is their bond. Once you lose that credibility, you’re done as a deal-maker.”

KELLY AND TRUMP SHOULD GET ON SAME PAGE.  White House Chief of Staff John Kelly told Democratic lawmakers that the United States “will never construct a physical wall along the entire stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border and some of President Trump’s campaign promises on immigration were ‘uninformed,’” the Washington Post reports.

“The comments put Kelly at odds with Trump, who repeatedly said during his presidential campaign that he would build a border wall that Mexico would pay for, not U.S. taxpayers.”   And he said again to Reuters at the same time Kelly was deceiving the Democrats.   President Trump criticized a proposed bipartisan deal as “horrible” on border security and “very, very weak” on reforms for the legal immigration system, Reuters reports.  Said Trump: “It’s the opposite of what I campaigned for.”

NEW RUSSIAN PAYMENTS ARE FOCUS OF MUELLER PROBE.  “Officials investigating the Kremlin’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election are scrutinizing newly uncovered financial transactions between the Russian government and people or businesses inside the United States.”

“Records exclusively reviewed by BuzzFeed News also show years of Russian financial activity within the U.S. that bankers and federal law enforcement officials deemed suspicious, raising concerns about how the Kremlin’s diplomats operated here long before the 2016 election.”

“Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, charged with investigating Russian election interference and possible collusion by the Trump campaign, is examining these transactions and others by Russian diplomatic personnel.”

A PRESIDENT RUBIO WOULD BE POPULAR RIGHT NOW. A new Gallup poll finds President Trump’s 38% job approval rating is well below what would be expected based on Americans’ views of the economy and their level of satisfaction with the direction of the country for recent presidents.  A Gallup analysis of these relationships finds Trump’s approval rating is nine to 14 percentage points lower than the predicted values.

I CAN’T BELIEVE THEY POLLED THIS: A new Politico/Morning Consult poll finds Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) would beat Oprah Winfrey in a head-to-head Democratic presidential primary match up, 46% to 37%.  Former Vice President Joe Biden would beat Winfrey by a larger margin, 54% to 31%.

NATION HATES TRUMP, BUT SPLIT ON WHETHER HE IS STABLE. A new Quinnipiac poll finds American voters disapprove of the job President Trump is doing, 57% to 38%.  Key finding: “Wide gender, racial and political gaps leave American voters divided on whether Trump is ‘mentally stable,’ as 45% say he is stable and 47% say he is not stable.”

AMERICANS THINK MUELLER IS FAIR, SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO FINISH PROBE:new PBS/NPR/Marist poll finds that Americans say by 68-14 that Mueller should be allowed to finish his investigation. Even Republicans say this by 59-23.  Meanwhile, Americans also say the probe has been fair by 48-28, and 57 percent have quite a lot (33) or a great deal (24) of confidence in the FBI.

STATE DEPARTMENT MORALE COLLAPSES. McClatchy: “News of John Feeley’s resignation’s Friday sent shock waves through the State Department where the ambassador of Panama was seen as a rising star and a potential future assistant secretary — and more than a dozen State staffers said it caused them to question their own commitment to an administration they feel is undercutting the department’s work and U.S. influence in the world.”

“U.S. officials said dozens of email messages were flying around the State Department about Feeley’s decision to leave. … 60 percent of the State Departments’ top-ranking career diplomats have left.”

ANOTHER SPECIAL ELECTION VICTORY: Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: “Democrats snagged a GOP-leaning state Senate seat in western Wisconsin on Tuesday, buoying progressive hopes that they could ride a wave of victory this fall. Patty Schachtner, the chief medical examiner for St. Croix County, will take the seat that had been held for 17 years by former Sen. Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls). Harsdorf stepped down in November to take a job as GOP Gov. Scott Walker’s agriculture secretary.”  Donald Trump won the district 55% to 38% in 2016.

James Hohmann sees an important lesson for national Democrats in the Wisconsin race: “Schachtner is the sort of candidate who can actually defeat GOP incumbents in red congressional districts this fall. She has deep roots in the community, and she is not a fire-breathing liberal. Her campaign focused not on attacking Trump but fighting the opioid crisis, improving access to health care and bringing good-paying jobs to the region. She didn’t need to talk about the president to benefit from an outpouring of progressive energy and conservative apathy.”


A new Freedom House report finds “democracy is in retreat around the world” for the 12th year in a row.  Most striking: “The United States retreated from its traditional role as both a champion and an exemplar of democracy amid an accelerating decline in American political rights and civil liberties… The United States experienced its sharpest one-year drop since we began doing the survey more than 40 years ago.”

IT WILL GO THROUGH THE MIDTERMS.  “Robert Mueller’s Russia probe isn’t ending any time soon, and that’s bad news for President Trump and congressional Republicans already bracing for a possible 2018 Democratic midterm wave,” Politico reports.

“In an ominous development for Republicans, a federal judge overseeing the upcoming trial of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates rejectedMueller’s request to begin in May and instead outlined a scheduled start as soon as September or October — peak election season.”

Washington Post: “In private conversations, Trump has told advisers that he doesn’t think the 2018 election has to be as bad as others are predicting. He has referenced the 2002 midterms, when George W. Bush and Republicans fared better after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, these people said.”

Matthew Yglesias: “I’m pretty skeptical that the political dynamics of September 2001 would be replicated today. But regardless, this is a frightening line of thought for an incumbent president and his team to be entertaining.”

IN OTHER WORDS, HE IS A DEFENSE LAWYER’S NIGHTMARE:  The Associated Press “reviewed hundreds of pages of depositions taken of Trump in the past decade, including in contract and defamation lawsuits. The interviews, taken together, not only reflect his deep experience in providing sworn statements to lawyers but also offer clues to a rhetorical style that could again be on display in the event Trump is questioned by Mueller’s team.”

“The transcripts reveal a witness who is by turns voluble, giving expansive answers far beyond the questions asked; boastful, using unrelated queries to expound on his wealth or popularity; unapologetic, swift to defend incendiary comments or criticized actions; and occasionally combative, once deriding a lawyer for ‘very stupid’ questions.”

“The garrulous style belies the ‘just the facts, ma’am’ approach many defense lawyers advocate.”

“An American president who cannot take criticism — who must constantly deflect and distort and distract — who must find someone else to blame — is charting a very dangerous path. And a Congress that fails to act as a check on the President adds to the danger.” — Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), in a speech on the Senate floor.

TRUMP DOES HAVE HEART DISEASE, ACCORDING TO GUPTA:  CNN’s chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta said that he believes tests reveal that President Trump has heart disease, The Hill reports. Gupta said dating back to 2009, President Trump started to have “these tests that are actually looking for the presence of calcium in the blood vessels that lead to the heart.”

Said Gupta: “It was interesting when I spoke to Dr. Jackson at first, he said, he passed all the tests with flying colors. When I asked him specifically about that test, did he then concede that, in fact, the president does have heart disease. They’re going to be increasing the medications, including the cholesterol-lowering medications to try and combat that, but there’s no question, by all standards, by all metrics, anyway a doctor or cardiologist will look at it, the president does have heart disease.”

A diet of 5 Big Macs a day will do that do you.

Yeah, Dennis is a Trumpist.  He can go fuck himself.

BANNON SLIPS UP IN HOUSE TESTIMONY. Jonathan Swan: “Steve Bannon made one conspicuous slip up in his closed-door hearing on Tuesday with the House Intelligence Committee… Bannon admitted that he’d had conversations with Reince Priebus, Sean Spicer and legal spokesman Mark Corallo about Don Junior’s infamous meeting with the Russians in Trump Tower in June 2016.”

“Bannon immediately realized he’d slipped up and disclosed conversations he wasn’t supposed to discuss, because they happened while he was chief strategist in the White House. Throughout the rest of the session, committee members — in particular Republican Trey Gowdy and Democrat Adam Schiff — hammered Bannon over the fact that he’d mentioned those conversations but refused to discuss anything else about his time in the White House.”

“Bannon’s lawyer, Bill Burck, told the committee in his opening remarks that Bannon wouldn’t answer any questions that relate to his time inside the White House or during the presidential transition. The committee caught him in the slip-up inside the first 90 minutes.”

PAWLENTY PASSES: Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) told Fox Business that he will not run for the Senate this year in Minnesota.  Said Pawlenty: “I am very interested in public service and service for the common good, there are a lot of different ways to do that, but I’ll tell you today that running for the United States Senate in 2018 won’t be part of those plans.”  Politico: “Republican leaders have failed to secure their top-choice candidate in eight of the 10 Senate races in states that Trump won in 2016.”

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

19 comments on “The Open Thread for January 18, 2018

  1. Pawlenty staying out of the Minnesota senate race is great news, he would be a formidable candidate. But on the self driving trucks, there is nothing “racist” about it, but it will have a huge impact on working Americans. Did 25 years in transportation management and have known a great many truck drivers, driving trucks gave a good living to a great many men (and women) who otherwise would be struggling with poverty. When it’s gone another great source of jobs and income will go with it. As for Trump ruminating on a terrorist attack it is a cause for alarm, but not surprising, after all it worked for Giuliani who went from being an unpopular politician to “America’s mayor” over night.

    • I can see how the truck/bus thing can “not be racist” but also have a disproportionate affect on communities of color… Take Neighborhood gentrification. Sure, moving small businesses and higher payed people into a “run down” neighborhood sounds like a good idea on it’s face, but not if that neighborhood was redlined into being an American shtetl/ghetto… it’s not good when it forces families who have been there for years to move to “even worse” neighborhoods because white yuppies moved in and caused the rent to triple.
      People will always be affected by technological breakthroughs. It’s a part of progress. What we have to avoid is having that progress only benefit a powerful community, at the expense of a less powerful one.

    • cassandram

      This is a working class issue and it doesn’t matter what color you are. Automation is always about replacing the most expensive part of the manufacturing process and is spreading from there. Fundamentally, if you do working class work, no one values you. The whole wealth vs work thing. It is how unions have been busted everywhere and how jobs that used to sustain families are going away. It’s why the GOP is working so hard for Right to Work for Less — the economic model they have been sent out to fight for depends on a working class that will take what they can get and be quiet about fairness.

  2. How we view work/what constitutes as “work” is going to change, because automation is the future. Good or bad, it’s coming. Checkers at the grocery store are going, same for most retail clerks. Fast food restaurants are already having customers place their orders on tablets/touch screens. Banking online, cars diagnosing themselves, surgery without being in the same room as the patient, etc.. Soon, the only workers needed will be the ones to support the technology.

    There simply won’t be enough jobs, so what does the future look like? This doesn’t have to be a bad thing – if we prepare.

    Automation may be the thing that hits capitalism the hardest. Capitalism can’t succeed without customers and if automation replaces workers then there aren’t buyers. As usual, I’m sure there will be a ton of suffering before we change and accept what’s coming, but it is coming. Sci-fi has known this for a long time.

    • My mother used to use the old rhetorical question, “do you think the world owes you a living”, when we complained about doing work. Well, the world may not owe us a living, but if technology maintains it’s trajectory, the world may just provide us that living after all.
      Barring any mishaps or self imposed restraints that impede progress, humans are likely on the path to a carefree life where technology provides for all of our basic needs. Art, sport, and adventure, if we are still interested, will take place of work. The only restraints will be in the availability of natural resources which may eventually have to come from elsewhere in the solar system.
      The transition period will pose a challenge, especially in the beginning as jobs are lost. This will probably lead to some sort of stipend system before income becomes irrelevant .

      In the meantime we should take note that the people who developed electric lighting, probably couldn’t have done so without the convenience of gas lighting.

      On a side note; I think you could probably write an entire thesis on the Abrahamic religions and how their traditional beliefs in a “heaven”, correlate to this possible coming human condition, and how humans as a whole have come to reach this condition, instead of burning.

  3. cassandram

    Adding to the GRIFTUS Is Done As A DealMaker: WH Tells the GOP NO CHIP in the CR. Even if they endorsed it yesterday.

    So it is official then — the WH and the GOP are shutting the Government down this week.

    • Trump wants to shut down the government. For some insane reason, Trump thinks this will be viewed as a win.

      I was worried that CHIP would back Dems into a corner. It would have been a tough call to vote against it. But now… Trump thinks the optics of giving Dems nothing while demanding their votes will work for him. Worst. Negotiator. Ever.

    • cassandram

      And on The Wall — the GRIFTUS is pouring cold water on Kelly’s “evolution” theory.

  4. “Trump is done as a deal maker”… I’ve noticed the full court press in all forms of media over the last couple of days. It’s actually intriguing. I have to give them credit.
    From social media and political blogs, to the late night “comedy” shows, It’s pretty obvious that it’s a specific concerted effort connected to the current budget debate in order to slam Trump to the point where he would have no credibility in the eyes of the public, and therefore wouldn’t have a leg to stand on when it comes to making deals concerning the budget….I don’t think it will work though.

    BTW, when hasn’t it been the Republican’s fault when the government gets shut down?

  5. Trump’s playing with fire with a shut down, and the Republicans know all the blame will fall on them and there’s not a lot they can do about it. Other than act like adults for a change.

  6. delaware dem says Dennis Kucinich is a “Trumpist” b/c the New Republic says “single-payer healthcare” and “opposing the Iraq war”, are “quirky” and “idiosyncrasies”.

    • cassandram

      No, the New Republic reports that Kucinich has found a sinecure on Fox News and is actively making common cause with Trump and his voters. If you think there is anything progressive about that, then that just validates that you haven’t a clue what progressive is supposed to be.

      • Me thinks Kucinich appears on Fox b/c Fox includes him while his own D-party excluded him in debates and primaries during the 2008 campaign.

        • cassandram

          He appears on Fox News because they pay him. And because no one else wants to hear from him.

        • So, I guess if the KKK included him, he’d join them?

          • I am not aware that Mr. Kucinich said anything so Klan like: “super predators”, “…who we need to be bring to heel” (H. Clinton, 1-28-1996)

            • cassandram

              But he is hanging with the Klan on Fox News. And if he is pitching his Governorship to Fox viewers, well he is apparently taking up their retrograde politics too.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: