The Open Thread for February 7, 2018

TRUMP WANTS SHUTDOWN.  President Donald Trump on Tuesday afternoon said that he would back another federal government shutdown if Democrats in Congress don’t give him everything he wants on immigration.  “We’ll do a shutdown. And it’s worth it for our country. I’d love to see a shutdown if we don’t get this stuff taken care of. So we have to strengthen our borders, not by a little, by a lot.”

Please proceed, Donald.

A new Quinnipiac poll finds American voters think President Trump has attempted to “derail or obstruct” the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election by a 53% to 41%.  While there is an obvious partisan divide on these questions, independent voters say:

  • 56 – 37 percent that Trump is attempting to derail the Russian investigation;
  • 49 – 42 percent that Republicans in Congress are trying to derail the Russian probe;
  • 54 – 39 percent that the investigation is legitimate rather than a witch hunt.
  • 55 – 33 percent that the FBI is not biased against Trump.

Meanwhile, in the least shocking news ever, those 538 and NYTimes election forecasts actually, wait for it, lower voter turnout.   Pew Research: “These probabilistic forecasts can give potential voters the impression that one candidate will win more decisively and may even lower the likelihood that they vote… The use of such probabilistic forecasts was a constant in coverage of the 2016 presidential race, with an average of 16 mentions per day in cable news broadcasts, according to the study. And at least in 2016, outlets with more liberal audiences featured more coverage. Forecasters uniformly favored Hillary Clinton to capture the White House, with odds ranging from 70% to 99%.”

“The new study finds that numbers like these can leave people with the impression that the race is far less competitive than when they see polling data presented as the percentage of the vote they are expected to get – something familiar to the public.”

Goodbye Nate Silver and Nate Cohn.

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said that President Trump is not expected to extend the March 5 deadline when work permits will begin to expire for young immigrants known as “dreamers,” the Washington Post reports.

Kelly’s comments come as senators are trying to come up with a legislative solution for the dreamers and other aspects of the immigration system. Kelly also said he would recommend against Trump accepting a short-term legislative patch.

Michael Gerson: “With the blessing of Republican leaders, the lickspittle wing of the GOP is now firmly in charge. The existence of reckless partisans such as Nunes is hardly surprising. The nearly uniform cowardice among elected Republicans is staggering. One is left wishing that Obamacare covered spine transplants. The Republican-led Congress is now an adjunct of the White House. The White House is now an adjunct of Trump’s chaotic will.”

“And what to make of Ryan (R-WI)? I have been a consistent defender of his good intentions. But after the 17th time saying “He knows better,” it dawns that he may not. By his recent actions, the speaker has provided political cover for a weakening of the constitutional order. He has been used as a tool while loudly insisting he is not a tool. The way Ryan is headed, history offers two possible verdicts: Either he enabled an autocrat, or he was intimidated by a fool.”

The Trump administration seems to be running into some problems when it comes to re-negotiating NAFTA.

“Even as the Trump administration continues to try to compel its neighbors to accept a revised trade deal on its own terms, Canada and Mexico are forging ahead with new trade pacts of their own. That’s a sign of how much the global economy has changed since NAFTA was written a quarter-century ago, and of continued global momentum for multilateral free trade agreements despite President Donald Trump’s “America first” trade skepticism.

Canada and Mexico signed on last week to a new Trans-Pacific Partnership with nine other Pacific Rim nations, a massive trade pact that doesn’t include the United States after Trump withdrew soon after taking office. Last fall, Canada’s trade accord with the European Union went into effect — something the United States has yet to achieve. Mexico expects to revise its own trade deal with the European Union this spring.

And Mexico and Canada are both taking part in yet another free trade bloc, the Pacific Alliance, which now encompasses Colombia, Peru, Chile, Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand…

The Trump administration “thinks they have more leverage than they do, and they are overplaying their hand,” said Antonio Ortiz-Mena, a former Mexican trade negotiator now at the Albright Stonebridge Group. “Mexico does have other options — they may not be ideal, but they’re options that weren’t available 25 years ago.”

“President Trump’s vision of soldiers marching and tanks rolling down the boulevards of Washington is moving closer to reality in the Pentagon and White House, where officials say they have begun to plan a grand military parade later this year showcasing the might of America’s armed forces,” the Washington Post reports.

“Trump has long mused publicly and privately about wanting such a parade, but a Jan. 18 meeting between Trump and top generals in the Pentagon’s tank — a room reserved for top secret discussions — marked a tipping point.”

“Surrounded by the military’s highest ranking officials, including Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joe Dunford, Trump’s seemingly abstract desire for a parade was suddenly heard as a presidential directive.”

Allegra Kirkland at TPM: “There’s now reason to think that both the document’s underwhelming contents and the contested nature of its release may inadvertently have bolstered, not undermined, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

In other words, the much-hyped Nunes memo may have turned out to be a flop not just in substantive terms but, more importantly, in political ones, too.

The strongest evidence of this came from four of Nunes’ Republican colleagues on the House Intelligence Committee, who made the rounds on the Sunday shows to say that the memo doesn’t absolve Trump and that Mueller’s probe should continue unimpeded.”

“California Republicans’ hopes for re-election in 2018 may rest on separating themselves from the unpopular President Trump. A new poll shows that’s not happening as the year begins, at least in two of the state’s most competitive congressional districts,” the Sacramento Bee reports.

“Majorities of likely voters in the districts of Republican Reps. Dana Rohrabacher of Costa Mesa and Steve Knight of Lancaster aren’t happy with Trump and are disinclined to vote for their representative’s re-election.”

“We don’t live in a dictatorship or a monarchy. I swore an oath—in the military and in the Senate—to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, not to mindlessly cater to the whims of Cadet Bone Spurs and clap when he demands I clap.”

— Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), on Twitter, in response to President Trump’s suggestion that not applauding at the State of the Union was treasonous.

Gloria Copeland, a controversial minister on President Trump’s evangelical advisory board, said flu shots aren’t necessary when you have Jesus, the HuffPost reports.

Said Copeland: “Inoculate yourself with the word of God.”

She said the faithful who don’t have the flu can ward off the infection by repeatedly saying, “I’ll never have the flu. I’ll never have the flu.”

A group of 18 Democratic senators is warning President Trump that he lacks the “legal authority” to carry out a preemptive strike on North Korea, amid questions over whether the White House is considering a risky “bloody nose” attack, the Washington Post reports.

After President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey he described the former director a “a showboat” and “a grandstander” and claimed that the FBI “has been in turmoil.” However, Lawfare got more than 100 pages of leadership communications to staff dealing with the firing which tell a very different story.

“This material tells a dramatic story about the FBI’s reaction to the Comey firing—but it is neither a story of gratitude to the president nor a story of an organization in turmoil relieved by a much-needed leadership transition… the amount of warmth in the emails, both about Comey and for their people, is atypical of all-staff communications. These leaders operate at the highest level of the FBI; in a chain-of-command organization, they aren’t particularly accessible figures. But these emails, which were sent to entire divisions or field offices, are personal and intimate. Without overstating the matter or getting maudlin about it, it’s safe to say that these messages show leaders who are shaken and concerned. There is emotion in their voices and a deep concern for their people.”

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

1 comment on “The Open Thread for February 7, 2018

  1. “Cadet Bone Spurs”, love it, would make a great G.I. Joe doll. Don’t think anyone but Trump is up for a shut down at this point, maybe later. Did not get a flu shot, however do not feel “Inoculated with god”, especially the evil southern fried version of the Evangelicals. And how about that parade? Enjoyed mocking it and Trump on Twitter, apparently I had a lot of company. Love Adam Schiff! Can you imagine having a politician in Delaware like that? Me neither. And how about that stock market? Quick show of hands: Crash or Correction? Next question: Now or later?

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