The Open Thread for May 31, 2018

“Federal prosecutors investigating President Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen are poised to receive on Wednesday one million files from three of his cellphones seized last month, according to a filing submitted to the court by special master Barbara Jones Tuesday night,” the Washington Post reports.  “In her update to the court, Jones said investigators from the office of the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York have already been given access to nearly 300,000 pieces of potential evidence seized from Cohen’s office and residences in an April raid.”

“House Republican candidates are blanketing the airwaves with TV ads embracing a hard line on immigration — a dramatic shift from the midterm elections in 2014,” USA Today reports.  “Republicans have aired more than 14,000 campaign ads touting a tough Trump-style immigration platform this year. The barrage underscores why House GOP leaders worry that passing a legislative fix for undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children, referred to as DREAMers, would put GOP candidates at risk heading into the fall election.”

In contrast, Democrats “bombard voters with ads that promise to protect Obamacare, shore up Social Security and expand Medicare.”  “The competing messages demonstrate how far apart the two parties are. They’re not just talking about issues differently; they’re touting completely different issues to motivate activists and win hotly contested primaries.”

President Trump tweeted that he wished he had picked someone other than Attorney General Jeff Sessions to oversee the Justice Department, The Hill reports.  “I wish I did!” the president exclaimed in a tweet after quoting House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) saying the president “could have picked somebody else” to be the nation’s top cop.

New York Times: “In the weeks after Mr. Trump’s election, Mr. Obama went through multiple emotional stages, according to a new book by his longtime adviser Benjamin J. Rhodes. At times, the departing president took the long view, at other points, he flashed anger. He called Mr. Trump a ‘cartoon’ figure who cared more about his crowd sizes than any particular policy. And he expressed rare self-doubt, wondering whether he had misjudged his own influence on American history.”

“Set to be published next week by Random House, Mr. Rhodes’s memoir, The World as It Is, offers a peek into Mr. Obama’s tightly sealed inner sanctum from the perspective of one of the few people who saw him up close through all eight years of his presidency. Few moments shook Mr. Obama more than the decision by voters to replace him with a candidate who had questioned his very birth.”

“Rudy Giuliani said that he can fully understand why Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from investigations related to Russia and the presidential election and that he might have done the same, had he accepted that job, as Trump wanted,” the HuffPost reports.  “Giuliani said he would have had the same conflict of interest as Sessions because they were both major players in Trump’s campaign, although, unlike Sessions, he never met with the Russian ambassador.”

People on ABC have said racist things about Donald Trump?  Who?  When?  What a petulant racist bitch Donald Trump is.

Roseanne Barr said she was “Ambien tweeting” when she wrote racist remarks on Twitter that compared a black former Obama administration official to an ape, but the makers of Ambien “were having none of it,” the New York Times reports.  Said the company: “People of all races, religions and nationalities work at Sanofi every day to improve the lives of people around the world. While all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication.”

Politico: “The White House has released almost no information about Melania Trump’s condition since May 14, when her spokeswoman said the first lady was undergoing a routine embolization procedure at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center ‘to treat a benign kidney condition.’”

“Her team chose to leave unexplained her extended five-day hospital stay for a procedure that is typically completed in one, or her subsequent disappearance from events at which the public has come to expect to see her next to her husband. The directive to reveal less, not more, has been coming straight from the first lady.”

“The Trump administration plans to shorten the length of validity for some visas issued to Chinese citizens… as President Donald Trump works to counter alleged theft of U.S. intellectual property by Beijing,” the AP reports.  “According to instructions sent to U.S. embassies and consulates, Chinese graduate students will be limited to one-year visas if they are studying in fields like robotics, aviation and high-tech manufacturing.”

Playbook: “This is the precise opposite position most Republicans have taken for years. Many lawmakers have said if foreign students come here to study math and science, they should staple a green card to their diploma. Why educate people and then ship them out, many have asked.”

Nate Silver: “With the 2018 midterm elections approaching, we’ve updated FiveThirtyEight’s pollster ratingsfor the first time since the 2016 presidential primaries. Based on how the media portrayed the polls after President Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton later that year, you might expect pollsters to get a pretty disastrous report card.”

“But here’s a stubborn and surprising fact — and one to keep in mind as midterm polls really start rolling in: Over the past two years — meaning in the 2016 general election and then in the various gubernatorial elections and special elections that have taken place in 2017 and 2018 — the accuracy of polls has been pretty much average by historical standards.”

“Independents have surpassed Republicans to become the second-largest voting bloc in California, according to a firm that analyzes county voter registration information for campaigns,” the Sacramento Bee reports.  “Political Data Inc. on Tuesday released its latest count showing that voters registered with no party preference now outnumber Republicans by about 73,000 in California. The company regularly collects raw voter files from county registrars to maintain an updated database of the state’s 19 million voters.”

Playbook: “California Republicans have been sliding into obscurity for some time. But this seems particularly ominous in the long term for House Republicans, who have 14 seats in California.”

“The number of migrant children held in U.S. government custody without their parents has surged 21 percent in the past month, according to the latest figures, an increase driven by the Trump administration’s ‘zero tolerance’ crackdown on families who cross the border illegally,” the Washington Post reports.

“Although the government has not disclosed how many children have been separated from their parents as a result of the new measures, the Department of Health and Human Services said Tuesday that it had 10,773 migrant children in its custody, up from 8,886 on April 29. … Those shelters are at 95 percent capacity, an HHS official said Tuesday, and the agency is preparing to add potentially thousands of new bed spaces in the coming weeks.”

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), who was part of a highly classified Justice Department briefing last week, said that the FBI “acted properly when it deployed an informant to gather information from advisers to President Trump’s campaign in 2016,” Politico reports.

Said Gowdy: “I am even more convinced that the FBI did exactly what my fellow citizens would want them to do when they got the information they got.” He added that the information also suggested that the effort had “nothing to do with Donald Trump.”

“The White House has tried to avoid discussing a February skirmish between U.S. troops and Russian mercenaries in Syria, but that didn’t stop President Trump from bragging about the Pentagon’s performance at a recent closed-door fundraiser,” Politico reports.

“The details of the battle remain classified, but speaking to donors in midtown Manhattan last Wednesday, Trump said he was amazed by the performance of American F-18 pilots. He suggested that the strikes may have been as brief as “10 minutes” and taken out 100 to 300 Russians.”

Vanity Fair: “While Mueller quietly builds what appears to be a legal case against members of the president’s campaign, Trump is already fighting any potential charges in the only arena where they will truly matter: the media.”

A prosperity gospel televangelist is asking his followers to “pray about becoming a partner” to his mission of obtaining a $54 million private jet, CBS News reports.  The Louisiana-based ministry of Jesse Duplantis has already paid cash for three other private planes, but he says God told him, “I want you to believe in me for a Falcon 7X.”

The Hill: “Nearly two-thirds of Americans believe that racism is still a major problem in American society and politics, according to a new NBC News–SurveyMonkey poll.  Sixty-four percent of those surveyed said racism remains a major problem, while 30 percent said racism exists but is not a major public issue. Three percent said racism once existed but is no longer a problem, and 1 percent said racism has never been a crucial problem.”

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

12 comments on “The Open Thread for May 31, 2018

    • So he signed a bill that allows big pharma to test their drugs on desperate people, free from normal regulations. BTW, this does not legalize medical cannabis and still threatens to send sick and dying people to jail just for seeking relief…. If they are unfortunate enough to live in one of a few GOP utopias. He hasnt asked his AG to stand down on his renewed war on medicine. He’s handed the very people who caused the opioid epidemic a free pass to make even more dangerous poison. yay.

    • cassandram

      The thing that I haven’t seen anyone discuss yet is the insurance hurdle for unproven drugs or treatments. Insurance likely won’t pay for these, plus doctors and hospitals have to live with the limitations of their own malpractice and other risk management scenarios. Which means that many of them just may not help you get these treatments.

  1. Mitch Crane

    Cassandrum is correct. Insurance companies will not pay for “experimental” drugs. That is written into the contracts. As it is now, many will not pay for new and expensive medications that have been approved by the FDA and Medicare (Medicare approval is the standard in many states). Even this new drugs that are approved carry very high co-pays.

    While the bill signed into law is good in that it allows people with no other life-saving options the right to try what is yet unproven, that is helpful only to those with the means to pay the ridiculous cost. Doctors will not prescribe experimental drugs. They already expose themselves to liability when they prescribe approved medication “off label” ( for purposes other than those approved for.

  2. Pretty clear no one here knows the first thing about the pharma industry.

    This has very little to do with “big pharma”. They are not going to waste their time trying to develop a drug that will not be reimbursed by insurance companies or prescribed by doctors.

    This is primarily for snake oil salesmen peddling various “natural treatments”, “miracle breakthroughs”, and the like. Like the idiots that claim you can cure cancer with cannabis.

    Probably harmless, and if the patient feels a little better, maybe the placebo effect kicks in. If someone wants to spend/waste their money on these treatments, it doesn’t bother me that much.

    Much ado about nothing, to be honest.

    • pandora

      I know quite a bit about the big pharma industry. My brother was head of immunology for one of the major pharma companies, so stop assuming.

      Where I see big pharma coming into play is setting up test groups (human guinea pigs) to test their unapproved products on.

      • When you say “unapproved” what do you mean? If you mean pre-NDA then what you describe is a clinical trial, the basic mechanism by which the safety and efficacy of drug products is proven (or disproven). If you mean pre-IND no big pharma company will release any drug substance for human clinical use prior to an approved IND filing.

        • cassandram

          This is for investigational drugs. The ones approved for human testing, but not yet for commercial sale. Meaning they are ok’ed for testing protocols, but not ok’ed for treatments.

        • cassandram

          This law bypasses the current law, where you can get a “compassionate use” waiver from the FDA to try certain medications. This law lets you go right to the drug company to get the meds.

  3. cassandram

    And another odious pardon is on the way — this time for the odious Dinesh D’Souza. Who pled guilty to campaign finance fraud — engineering a scheme to reimburse people who made donations to a GOP Senate candidate. He pled guilty. And now the GRIFTUS is sending the message that campaign finance rules no longer matter.

  4. cassandram

    And now we have ourselves a trade war. The Guardian is pretty much live-blogging the play by play.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: