The Open Thread for April 29, 2018

President Trump tweeted yesterday that Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) “should resign” because allegations he made against White House doctor Ronny Jackson, who withdrew as his nominee to head Veterans Affairs, “are proving false.”

Axios: “One of the reasons White House officials continued backing Jackson, even after they expected him to withdraw, was that they believed some of the allegations would prove false or exaggerated, and they wanted to set a political trap for Tester, a red-state Democrat up for election.”

“What happened with the Paralympics was so incredible and so inspiring to me. And I watched — it’s a little tough to watch too much, but I watched as much as I could.”  — President Trump, quoted by the PBS Newshour, insulting all Paralympians and all disabled people on Earth.

Politico: “Scott Pruitt may have survived his testimony on Capitol Hill, but he’s coming back to a further enraged and demoralized EPA staff. Several current and former EPA officials and other people close to the agency said Pruitt did himself no favors with his congressional testimony Thursday, in which he blamed his aides for installing a $43,000 privacy booth in his office and approving more than $100,000 in first-class flights that he took last year.”

“Pruitt also denied knowing key details about raises that his top staff received last year. … In conversations with 11 people who know the atmosphere inside EPA, including Republican political appointees, a handful said his refusal to grovel may have pleased President Trump. But others said his strategy was appalling to the current and former staffers who found themselves thrown under the bus.”

“Three Indiana members of Congress gave and received money from Rep. Jim Renacci (R-OH) in what experts said may have been an improper straw donor scheme — including two Indiana congressmen running for the U.S. Senate,” the Indianapolis Star reports.

“The Senate candidates, Reps. Todd Rokita (R-IN) and Luke Messer (R-IN), denied any wrongdoing. Rep. Jackie Walorski’s (R-IN) campaign did not respond to multiple phone calls and emails seeking comment.”

“The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Messer and Walorski received contributions from Renacci’s congressional campaign between April and June last year. Although he was not named in that story, Rokita also received campaign contributions from Renacci. Within two months of receiving a donation, all three then contributed money to Renacci’s gubernatorial campaign.”

Renacci is effectively using funds from his federal campaign account to unlawfully support his state gubernatorial run and doing it through his fellow GOP lawmakers.

Jill Stein’s presidential campaign “is refusing to comply fully with a Senate intelligence committee request for documents and other correspondence, made as part of the committee’s probe into Russian activities in the 2016 election,” The Intercept reports.

“The Green Party campaign will agree to turn over some documents, but raised constitutional objections to the breadth of the inquiry, which was first made in November 2017, arguing that elements of it infringe on basic political rights enshrined in the First Amendment.”

This is quite an editorial in the Montgomery Advertiser:

“On the day when people from across the globe come to our capital city to consider the sordid history of slavery and lynching and try to reconcile the horrors of our past, the Montgomery Advertiserrecognizes its own shameful place in the history of these dastardly, murderous deeds.

We take responsibility for our proliferation of a false narrative regarding the treatment of African-Americans in those disgraceful days.

The Advertiser was careless in how it covered mob violence and the terror foisted upon African-Americans from Reconstruction through the 1950s. We dehumanized human beings. Too often we characterized lynching victims as guilty before proven so and often assumed they committed the crime.”

Read the whole thing…

Last year’s special election for Tom Price’s (R) seat in suburban Atlanta “became the most expensive House race ever, about $50 million on all sides, and while Democrats lost, it was by a narrow margin in a wealthy suburban district the Republicans used to win easily. It led Democrats to believe their initial strategy of focusing on the suburbs gave them a path to the majority,” the Washington Post reports.

“However, the more telling special elections might have been a handful in more rural districts President Trump won by overwhelming margins. Five special elections have been held for seats where Trump won 56 percent to 60 percent of the vote — in Kansas, Montana, South Carolina, Pennsylvania and Arizona — and in each of those races the Democrat did much better than expected, winning one and getting very close in two others.”

President Trump “is privately rejecting the growing consensus among Republican leaders that they may lose the House and possibly the Senate in November, leaving party officials and the president’s advisers nervous that he does not grasp the gravity of the threat they face in the midterm elections,” the New York Timesreports.

“Congressional and party leaders and even some Trump aides are concerned that the president’s boundless self-assurance about politics will cause him to ignore or undermine their midterm strategy. In battleground states like Arizona, Florida and Nevada, Mr. Trump’s proclivity to be a loose cannon could endanger the Republican incumbents and challengers who are already facing ferocious Democratic headwinds.”

“Republicans in Washington and Trump aides have largely given up assuming the president will ever stick to a teleprompter, but they have joined together to impress upon him just how bruising this November could be for Republicans — and how high the stakes are for Mr. Trump personally, given that a Democratic-controlled Congress could pursue aggressive investigations and even impeachment.”

Just a reminder that we have been here before.  Trump should be careful in declaring victory because if it all falls apart, he will get the blame.

The Economic Policy Institute has some bad news for Republicans and America: “there is nothing in today’s GDP report to indicate that the tax cut is working to boost economic growth or investment.”  Against all previous evidence, Republicans once again premised their huge tax gift to the top 1 percent of income earners on the theory it would trickle down to the other 99 percent in the form of stepped-up investments.

Not only did overall growth of GDP slow in the first quarter of 2018 to just 2.3 percent, down from 2.9 percent in the last quarter of 2017, but the key measure of whether the GOP tax law did anything to boost the economy also lagged: business investment. That went down by two separate measures.

“In the first quarter of 2018, the pace of growth of non-residential fixed investment actually decelerated slightly relative to the final quarter of 2017, falling from 6.8 percent to 6.1 percent.  [I]nvestment growth also slowed when measured as the change from the same quarter in the previous year—falling from 5.4 percent in the last quarter of 2017 to 4.6 percent in the first three months of 2018.”

The Nation: “Our think tank Data for Progress modeled state-level support for guaranteed jobs using data provided to us by the Center for American Progress, with the help of Senior Adviser Austin Rochford. We find that the job guarantee polls stunningly well in all 50 states. Even in the state with the lowest modeled support, Utah, support is still 57 percent. Deep-red states like West Virginia (62 percent support), Indiana (61 percent), and Kansas (67 percent) all boast strong support for a job guarantee.

Indeed, the places where the job guarantee is most popular might be surprising: DC (84 percent), Mississippi (72 percent), North Carolina (72 percent), Hawaii (72 percent), and Georgia (71 percent) have the highest estimates, though support is also high in solid-blue states like California and New York (both 71 percent)…“The results of this research were just staggering. Americans not only overwhelmingly oppose cuts to programs like Medicaid and nutrition assistance. They also support really bold progressive alternatives—including a jobs guarantee,” said Jeremy Slevin, the director of advocacy for the Poverty team at CAP. “If there was any doubt as to whether progressives should champion far-reaching proposals to help people find good-paying jobs, I hope this erases it,” he said.

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

1 comment on “The Open Thread for April 29, 2018

  1. cassandram

    This graphic from that Pew Poll is pretty telling, I think. There are places for bi-partisan improvement — transparency, controlling money in campaigns, improved ethics and consequences for bad behavior, AND working on issues that will benefit a broader group of Americans. These are things that pols on a bi-partisan basis do not want to tackle. Which says to me that when your elected show up for their donor class, the lack of government functioning is pretty much baked in the cake.

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