Open Thread

The Open Thread for June 12, 2018

President Trump and Kim Jong-un of North Korea “arrived at the site of their first face-to-face meeting Tuesday, a momentous step in an improbable courtship that has opened a new chapter for the world’s largest nuclear power and the most reclusive one,” the New York Times reports.   Right before the meeting, President Trump said that White House chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow suffered a heart attack because he “has been working so hard on trade and the economy.”

The meeting produced nothing more than a promise of denuclearization by North Korea at some future undetermined date.  Presidents Clinton and Bush and Obama got that promise and North Korea always broke them.    We don’t know what denuclearization means, we don’t know what security guarantees we promised them, though Trump said in his news conference that the “provocative” military exercises that we hold with the South Korean military will be ceased.

Man, did Kim Jung Un play Trump.  He is the clear winner from the meeting, and Trump, America and the world the clear loser.

Foreign-policy expert Richard Haass points out that Kim Jong Un has all of the leverage heading into his summit with Donald Trump, because the U.S. president can’t afford to be seen as wrecking two foreign policy summits in a row.  Said Haass: “The unraveling of G-7 summit works in North Korea’s favor as Donald Trump will not want to bust up two summits in a row lest people conclude he is the problem. Increases incentive for Kim to up his asks and limit his compromises and for Trump to do the opposite. Hardly the ideal context.”

“In the sudden rush of diplomacy involving North Korea, China has appeared to have the upper hand, hosting the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, twice before his long-anticipated Singapore summit meeting with President Trump even begins,” the New York Times reports.

“Yet as Mr. Kim prepares to finally meet Mr. Trump in Singapore on Tuesday, some analysts say Beijing appears to be getting a sudden case of the jitters. They say the Chinese leaders, who are unused to being on the outside looking in, are growing anxious about whether they can keep their Cold War-era ally firmly in its current orbit around China.”

“Leaders in Beijing are worried, experts say, that Mr. Kim might try to counterbalance China’s influence by embracing the United States, North Korea’s longtime enemy.”

Politico: “Under the Presidential Records Act, the White House must preserve all memos, letters, emails and papers that the president touches, sending them to the National Archives for safekeeping as historical records.”

“But White House aides realized early on that they were unable to stop Trump from ripping up paper after he was done with it and throwing it in the trash or on the floor… Instead, they chose to clean it up for him, in order to make sure that the president wasn’t violating the law.”

“Staffers had the fragments of paper collected from the Oval Office as well as the private residence and send it over to records management across the street from the White House for Larkey and his colleagues to reassemble.”

“The top Senate Democratic super PAC plans to spend about $80 million to reserve fall airtime for television commercials in nine battleground states, a sizable early investment in pursuit of winning control of the Senate,” the Washington Post reports.

“Senate Majority PAC will soon secure post-Labor Day airtime in Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Tennessee and West Virginia… The spending represents its first wave of fall reservations.”

A new Politico/AARP poll in Florida finds Gov. Rick Scott (R) is virtually tied with Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) among Florida voters in the U.S. Senate race, 40% to 39%, but the Republican is dominating the Democrat by 9 points among those nearing or at retirement age — a group that casts the majority of Florida’s votes.

A new Monmouth poll in Ohio’s 12th congressional district finds Troy Balderson (R) appears to have an advantage over Danny O’Connor (D) in the August 7th special House election, 43% to 33%.  The race does not look much different using two likely voter models. A historical midterm-like turnout model gives Balderson a 48% to 39% lead, while a model that includes a turnout surge in Democratic areas narrows that edge slightly to 46% to 39%.

Toronto Star: “President Trump greeted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warmly Friday morning as he arrived at the G7. Although he’d tweeted grumpily the night before that Trudeau was ‘so indignant’ about American tariffs, Trump looked happy to see the prime minister. They shook hands and smiled for the cameras, as all eyes were on them. Hours later, they sat down together behind closed doors.”

“According to a source with knowledge of their discussions, Trump said: ‘People forget how close we are Justin, and I notice that they took a picture of us smiling and talking and the market went up 200 points.’ Trump would raise that anecdote a couple more times over the course of what was a pivotal meeting, according to an official. Asked what to make of that, the source said perhaps the American president liked to reflect on his power.”

New York Times: “It takes a lot to rile people in this decidedly courteous nation. But after President Trump’s parting shots against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the day he left the Group of 7 summit meeting in Quebec, the country reacted with uncharacteristic outrage and defiance at a best friend’s nastiness.”

”Canadians across the political spectrum said that while the world had grown used to Mr. Trump’s social media rants, the ferocity and personal tone of the insults against Mr. Trudeau had crossed a line. Some even asked whether Canadians should boycott United States products and stop travel south of the border.”

Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC) “has spent the past three years torching President Donald Trump, firmly establishing himself as a staunch critic of the commander-in-chief who, unlike so many others in his party, never came around,” Politico reports.  “Now he’s suddenly at risk of losing his job over it.”

”The once seemingly safe former South Carolina governor, who’s never lost a bid for political office, is sweating in the final days of his primary race against state Rep. Katie Arrington, a political newcomer who’s cast Sanford as a disloyal Never-Trumper.”

Josh Marshall: “When I was first studying up on Trump someone told me that there was a basic bargain in Trump’s world. If you worked for Trump you accepted this sort of bullying, often sadistic, always crazy behavior. If you did, you got to live the Trump lifestyle. Money, the high life, all the perks. Big money, low dignity. Plenty of people made that bargain.

I think some of that is at work in Trump’s diplomacy. Allies should fall in line, be appreciative. If we say we need a bigger cut, they should give us a bigger cut. The top dog gets the win. And for Trump to know he won, he needs to see you lose. This all makes alliances on the NATO/G-7 model very difficult. I don’t think it’s mainly that. I think Trump wants to break up the Western alliance and cater to the strategic interests of Russia. But this is also part of the equation.”

“Several prominent Russians, some in President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle or high in the Russian Orthodox Church, now have been identified as having contact with National Rifle Association officials during the 2016 U.S. election campaign,” McClatchy reports.

“The contacts have emerged amid a deepening Justice Department investigation into whether Russian banker and lifetime NRA member Alexander Torshin illegally channeled money through the gun rights group to add financial firepower to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential bid.”

“Arron Banks, the millionaire businessman who bankrolled Nigel Farage’s campaign to quit the European Union, had multiple meetings with Russian embassy officials in the run-up to the Brexit referendum,” the Observer reports.

“Banks, who gave £12m of services to the campaign, becoming the biggest donor in UK history, has repeatedly denied any involvement with Russian officials, or that Russian money played any part in the Brexit campaign.”

James Hohmann: “Winging it has worked for Trump before. When it hasn’t, he’s been able to bluster his way through whatever problems it creates. He’s president, after all, and you’re not. So, as far as he’s concerned, he must be doing something right. Not to mention, the past three presidents tried and failed with more traditional approaches to curtail Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions.”

“He didn’t really prepare for the presidential debates. Hillary Clinton won on points, but Trump got elected.”

“When filling his Cabinet, the president-elect went with gut instincts — not traditional vetting. One important criteria was whether a potential nominee ‘looked the part.’”

“The main reason the president’s lawyers don’t want him to sit down with special counsel Robert Mueller III’s team of prosecutors is that they don’t think they can get him to prepare sufficiently. That’s why they’ve publicly fretted that winging it will cause Trump to perjure himself.”

NBC News: “An array of state and national progressive groups are already laying the groundwork to attack Republicans for the expected premium increases. Democratic candidates are running ads on health care more than any other issue. And Senate Democrats recently announced plans to devote the month of August to a messaging campaign on health care costs.”

“In focus groups and polls, Democrats are honing a message that they say will link health care problems to voter skepticism of private insurers, the Republican tax bill and donor influence on policies.”

Jeffrey Goldberg: “The best distillation of the Trump Doctrine I heard, though, came from a senior White House official with direct access to the president and his thinking. I was talking to this person several weeks ago, and I said, by way of introduction, that I thought it might perhaps be too early to discern a definitive Trump Doctrine.”

Said the official: “No, there’s definitely a Trump Doctrine. The Trump Doctrine is ‘We’re America, Bitch.’ That’s the Trump Doctrine.”

Eric Maskin and Amartya Sen: “A great deal turns on Tuesday’s primary elections in Maine. For the first time in America, ranked-choice voting — a system likely to reduce political polarization — will be used to choose candidates for governor and Congress.”

“And the system itself, approved by Maine voters in 2016, will also be on the ballot, as a referendum. If voters rescind it, Maine will return to the prevailing system in this country — one that often elects leaders who lack majority support, and turns off many citizens.”

“The Supreme Court on Monday upheld Ohio’s aggressive efforts to purge its voting rolls,” the New York Times reports.

“The court ruled that a state may kick people off the rolls if they skip a few elections and fail to respond to a notice from state election officials. The vote was 5 to 4, with the more conservative justices in the majority.”

“Ohio is more aggressive than any other state in purging its voter rolls. After skipping a single federal election cycle, voters are sent a notice. If they fail to respond and do not vote in the next four years, their names are purged from the rolls.”

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that “fear of domestic violence is not legal grounds for asylum in a closely watched immigration case that could have a broad effect on the asylum process, women who have endured extreme violence and the independence of immigration judges,” the New York Times reports.

“Mr. Sessions reversed a decision by a Justice Department immigration appeals court that had given asylum to a woman from El Salvador who had been raped and abused by her husband. The appeals court decision had overruled earlier orders in similar cases.”

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

19 comments on “The Open Thread for June 12, 2018

  1. IHOP is running a marketing campaign (stunt) by temporarily changing it’s logo to IHOb. The “b” stands for burgers. I never have had a burger from IHOP, but I would hope that they are better than their sickly sweet pancakes.

    I have to say that I haven’t really had good pancakes in years. Maybe it’s just me ,but they all seem to have a different taste from those of twenty to thirty years ago. Weird aftertaste. Almost like a throaty burn. GMO flower?

    • If you’re getting your burgers or pancakes from a national chain, you’ve already failed.

    • cassandram

      Maybe it’s the syrup. Plenty of places use low quality stuff. But I like the pancakes at Kozy Korner and Hollywood Grill.

      • H-Grizzle is great. LIbby’s is my personal favorite as diners go.
        It is a shame, however, that Golden Castle closed. Sure, their food was a dice roll, but where else could you get surf and turf at 4am?

  2. delacrat

    “The meeting produced nothing more than a promise of denuclearization by North Korea…” – delaware dem

    When Libya, Iraq and Iran end their nuclear programs under US threat, the US still attacks economically and militarily. North Korea would be fools to make the same blunder made by those countries.

    Of course the US does not promise to denuclearize.

    • no, but the accidental destruction of their only nuclear facility sure seems to. drump gave them everything they wanted in return for something that already happened. He’s a moron, people who give him any credit for this are morons.

      • cassandram

        It was a nuclear test facility. They can create another while using the data they already got from prior tests. And delecrat hasn’t a clue, either. Nuclear capability is serious business and worth educating yourself on.

        • what i’m saying is, it set them back a great deal. Dump head and his deal making are not at all the reason they arent currently testing.

        • delacrat

          “Nuclear capability is serious business”; when possessed by an Official Enemy.

          Not serious when possessed by Israel; our kind of human rights abuser.

  3. “It was a nuclear test facility. They can create another”

    Oh, sure. In a snap. It will take at least a couple of years, which is why a pause in the program is available for barter. FWIW, the paranoia-industrial complex thinks they faked it anyway.

    • cassandram

      And a couple of years is plenty of time to keep stringing along the GRIFTUS who only cares what his ratings are. The lack of a test site isn’t exactly crippling. They’ve tested a few so they have some data to work with to fine tune and optimize what they have.

      • delacrat

        I don’t care if NK has a nuclear program any more than I care if France, Pakistan, China, Britain, India or Russia has one.

        • cassandram

          So why are you commenting then? You admit you have nothing to say and then proceed to prove it. If you can’t up your game here, you need to find a reddit folder more to your liking.

          • delacrat

            Oh Cassandram, Cassandram,

            My being unperturbed with all the North Korea hysteria sets an example for all and sundry who are also not similarly carried away.

            • Actually, I agree that it’s all for show, but your inarticulate expression of the sentiment hardly sets an example, unless you mean it makes us look like idiots.

              Your analysis of nuclear “proliferation” is spot on. Your articulation of it leaves much to be desired.

              I once looked up the genesis of the phrase “You get a lot more from a kind word and a gun than from a kind word alone.” It is popularly attributed to Al Capone, but if you look it up — and I’m not going to provide a link, you lazy bastard — it actually was a line written by comedian “Professor” Irwin Corey and attributed to Capone for the lulz.

              Funny as it may be, it’s true.

            • cassandram

              Not really. There’s nothing real about the NK Reality TV show. There’s nothing useful about your ill-informed commentary on this either. Every day there are opportunities for smart commentary in this space and every day you fail at that.

          • And so was Mao’s line about political power growing from the barrel of a gun.

  4. nathan arizona

    Professor Irwin Corey! A true patriot: “Without this great land of ours . . . we would all drown.”

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