Open Thread

The Open Thread for June 18, 2018

White House adviser Stephen Miller was the driving force behind President Trump’s decision to enforce the family separation policy at U.S. borders, the New York Times reports.  Unlike Trump, who has claimed to hate the practice, Miller said it was a “simple decision.”   Said Miller: “No nation can have the policy that whole classes of people are immune from immigration law or enforcement… The message is that no one is exempt from immigration law.”

“One day in late May 2016, Roger Stone — the political dark sorcerer and longtime confidant of Donald Trump — slipped into his Jaguar and headed out to meet a man with a Make America Great Again hat and a viscous Russian accent,” the Washington Post reports.   “The man, who called himself Henry Greenberg, offered damaging information about Hillary Clinton, Trump’s presumptive Democratic opponent in the upcoming presidential election… Greenberg, who did not reveal the information he claimed to possess, wanted Trump to pay $2 million for the political dirt .”


This is the smoking gun to refute Trump’s false claims about this being a “Democrat” policy or law. It was his and his AG’s choice to do this. No law requires him to do it.

Washington Post: “On climate change, Pruitt shares Trump’s skepticism of mainstream science and has offered a reality-TV-style way to make their case: a televised show in which Pruitt would debate a climate scientist. In an effort to support Trump’s trade stance, he devised a plan to impose stricter fuel-efficiency standards on vehicles made by foreign automakers, even though White House lawyers argued it was illegal. And he has suggested he could take a leading role in renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement, on the grounds that he could strike a better deal with Mexico than the president’s current advisers.”

President Trump “will visit North Dakota on June 27 to campaign with GOP Rep. Kevin Cramer, a trip that could go a long way toward extinguishing tensions between the White House and the Senate hopeful,” Politico reports.

“Trump’s planned trip to Fargo, which the candidate announced on Friday on Twitter, came after Cramer took the unusual step of publicly attacking the administration for its seemingly warm treatment of his Democratic opponent, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp.”

“Mick Mulvaney, the White House budget director and acting head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, has picked a deputy at the budget office, Kathy Kraninger, to succeed him at the consumer watchdog agency,” the New York Times reports.

“The choice of Ms. Kraninger, who oversees the preparation of the budgets for cabinet departments, generated immediate opposition, with critics pointing to her inexperience in consumer and financial services issues and her association with Mr. Mulvaney. She was selected over the objection of some White House officials, who argued that her nomination could founder.”

statement from the United Methodist Church explicitly calls out Attorney General Jeff Sessions as a “fellow United Methodist” and asks him to reverse the Trump administration’s decision to split up migrant families after he claimed the Bible justified it.

“Jesus is our way, our truth, our life. The Christ we follow would have no part in ripping children from their mothers’ arms or shunning those fleeing violence. It is unimaginable that faith leaders even have to say that these policies are antithetical to the teachings of Christ.  Christian sacred texts should never be used to justify policies that oppress or harm children and families.”

Talking Points Memo reports that a new Connecticut elementary school will be named after former President Barack Obama. The Barack H. Obama Magnet University School will be a 64,000-square-foot school will serve nearly 500 students from pre-kindergarten through fourth grade on the campus of the South Connecticut State University.   The $45 million school is scheduled to open in fall 2019.

A chat session responds to the question, “Will Voters Give Trump Credit For North Korea?” Among the possibilities, as Perry Bacon, Jr. sees it: “I don’t think the agreement reached this week means a ton. If there are no North Korean nuke tests between now and Election Day 2018 but also no big deal between Trump and Kim, then North Korea is not a real Election Day factor. It recedes from the news. I don’t think this summit itself changes the midterm dynamics that much….The media will move on from this issue back to Mueller/Pruitt/Trump scandals/tweets, etc. People just don’t think about foreign policy that much in general.”

Micah Cohen adds, “How’s this for a starting point: Voters will view Trump’s North Korea policy through their normal partisan lens … unless (i) it very clearly goes south and a substantial portion of elected Republicans begin to criticize it, or (ii) it very clearly goes well and even the commenters in the media are praising it?…But the 90 percent confidence interval of likely outcomes probably fails to break partisan biases….And you can see those biases in the pre-summit polling:” Clare Malone suggests, “I agree about the midterms. It could affect 2020 more, or at least play a part.”

James Coan on how the American government has become an institution to abuse children.  “Since the White House instituted its policy of taking children away from parents, Chief of Staff John F. Kelly assured the public that “the children will be taken care of — put into foster care or whatever.” Even if that were true — facts remain scarce about the quality of care in the sprawling detention program, and the prospect of tent cities is unsettling — the children may already have been harmed by the separations alone.

At minimum, forced separation will cause these children extreme emotional distress. Most of us know this intuitively. Less intuitive, as Nim Tottenham of Columbia University told me, is that “the sadness is not the thing that really matters here. What matters is this is a trauma to the developing nervous system.” Extreme emotional responses to separation from parents is part of evolution’s plan to keep those parents close — to “break any parent’s heart,” as Megan Gunnar of the University of Minnesota said. That’s because throughout human evolution, an absent caregiver has meant almost certain death. Jude Cassidy of the University of Maryland put it best: When faced with separation from loved ones, “we fight as if it’s a matter of life and death, because it is.”

Kathleen Parker: “Put yourself in the room with immigration officials and try to imagine exactly which argument would convince you that separating children from their migrating parents would be a good idea.

Would it work for you because you’re a stickler for obedience to rules — no exceptions? Would it be okay because the United States must convey to others that illegal migration comes with severe consequences? How about because it’s the law (as of recently), as press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters in a hollow attempt to justify what can’t be justified.

Does no one remember the atrocities that have been committed under the law?

Maybe some hardcore Trump supporters, who elected him president on a promise to get tough on immigration, can swallow this collateral cruelty as a necessary unpleasantness. But I can’t imagine that many of them are parents. As a mother, my heart breaks at the thought of a frightened and confused child being taken away from his or her parents and stashed like an orphaned animal in what amounts to a holding pen.”

Dana Milbank on the “biblical” destruction of families by “family values” Republicans.

“It’s becoming a cultish thing, isn’t it?” Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) mused this week about his Republican Party under President Trump.  As if to prove Corker’s point, the Trump administration the very next day claimed that it had the divine right to rip children from their parents’ arms at the border.

“I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Thursday. “I am not going to apologize for carrying out our laws.”

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, asked about Sessions’s remarks, said: “It is very biblical to enforce the law.”  This isn’t religion. It’s perversion. It is not the creed of a democratic government or political party but of an authoritarian cult.”

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told Yahoo News that U.S. intelligence officials last year identified a “suspect” who served as the “cut-out” for Russian intelligence to funnel thousands of DNC emails and documents to WikiLeaks.

Clapper said that “the WikiLeaks transfer cut-out was selected by the Russians for a reason — so that Julian Assange could tell the world he did not get the DNC emails from Russian intelligence.”

He added: “The real point was it was an attempt to ensure Assange plausible deniability.”

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

58 comments on “The Open Thread for June 18, 2018

  1. Hard not to notice a desperate attempt by the ever present trolls to justify Trump’s Operation Enduring Cruelty, it’s failing in spectacular fashion as the world continues to dump on Trump as the images of the kids come out. Here we see that old Republican favorite “The law is the law!” being torn apart and ridiculed as it applies to the children. There is no winning this one for the Republicans and it will only get worse. Next game is seeing which ones jump ship first, some are already hinting at it.

  2. ““It is very biblical to enforce the law.” ”

    It’s not law. It is policy. There is no law that requires separation of children from their parents, unless the parent is incarcerated or being held for criminal charges. Policy is routinely changed and eliminated. Policy is established by the Administration.

    (as an aside, the law does require agencies to follow their own policies but the agencies get to establish policy.)

  3. Op-Ed:

    This past Friday DNREC sank another large structure into the ocean in the form of an old Cape May-Lewes ferry which they purchased from the DRBA for DNREC’s Artificial Reef Program. Since 1995 this program has been implemented very aggressively with everything from train cars to large ships being dumped into the waters of the Delaware Bay and nearby ocean, creating massive artificial reefs. This has been done to provide habitats for fish and other aquatic wildlife which in turn creates more fish for fishermen and also interesting places for divers to explore. This all sounds great, but has this practice been thoroughly thought out? Are there actually more fish now than before?

    Over the same period since this practice began there has been a marked decrease in the number of sea trout in our area, which by the way is a major breeding ground for these fish. Think about it. These and other fish have been migrating up and down the relatively flat and sandy East Coast waters for thousands of years with no impediment as they work their way to the breeding grounds in the Delaware Bay. Now, they are encountering these massive structures that were never there before. Do we even know how this affects the natural order? Are these fish succumbing to more natural as well as human predation because of this practice. I don’t think anyone has thought this through completely.

    When we think we are helping, are we actually upsetting the precarious balance that is Mother Nature? Maybe DNREC should rethink this process or at least look into it.

  4. For this to be a proper op-ed you would need to try to answer the questions you have raised. And before doing that you should research some of your assumptions.

    Just poking around for basic information:

    “[Weakfish] spawning occurs April through August near the shores of the Bay’s mouth. Females produce more eggs as they get larger. Larvae spend the late summer drifting through the lower Bay, eventually reaching their nursery areas in low-salinity rivers. Once they have grown to about 4.7 inches long, young begin to swim toward saltier waters, leaving the Bay by early winter. They reach maturity at 1 to 2 years old. Weakfish can live for 17 years, but most do not live past 9 to 12 years.”

    I haven’t checked for a map yet, but those reefs can’t be near the shores of the bay’s mouth; the water isn’t deep enough. So it wouldn’t interfere with spawning. Wait — Here’s one.

    Are there more fish?

    The reef program’s web site claims “gamefish such as bluefish, striped bass and weakfish are attracted to baitfish, which congregate around reef structure.”

    Of course, Delaware has a well-funded marine biology program in Lewes, and Molly Murray of TNJ used to do lots of reporting on it. For example, this 2015 article indicates the problem is not overfishing nor is it in the bay. Worth a read if you care about weakfish.

    At any rate, the internet is your friend. You can answer a lot of your own questions without dragging on DNREC.

  5. cassandram

    More on this Administration’s “Bblical” bamboozlement.

    Third, using this passage from Romans is dangerous. It has been used to argue for theocracy and unquestioned obedience to law even in the fact of oppression. Within the United States, Romans 13 was used to undergird the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act, which required U.S. citizens to return individuals who had escaped from enslavement to their owners. In the 1980s, Reformed Christians such as H.C. Hoeksema used Romans 13 to argue against resisting apartheid in South Africa. Sessions’s argument that U.S. citizens should unquestioningly submit and obey to governing authorities follows these lines of argumentation.

    If anyone needs a reason to sharpen their pitchforks against these people, this should be more than enough.

  6. cassandram

    When historians finally take a solid look at how the Boomer generation changed America, it is looking like Boomers are going to have quite alot to answer for:

    “They want an America that’s a little more like it was when they were growing up, and that’s what Trump is offering,” says Daniel Webster, the area’s conservative Republican congressman. Dennis Baxley, the area’s equally conservative Republican state senator, points out that The Villages offers that, too, with safe streets, light traffic, artificial lakes that provide a real sense of serenity, and hundreds of support groups for every imaginable malady or hardship. It’s a throwback to when they were children in 1950s America, without actual children.

    “It really is like living in a village, where there’s law and order, and people take care of each other,” says Baxley, who owns three funeral homes in The Villages. “Trump tapped into that sense that the rest of America isn’t like that anymore, that some people don’t have to follow the rules.”

    • Sad agreement, we suck bigly and some seem to be proud of it. In the voice of Jimmy Durante “I’m disgustapated!”.

  7. 1. I’m a landscaper not a writer, so I do appreciate any help I can get. Maybe I should have labeled it as a “letter to the editor” from some average guy making speculation.

    2. The mouth of the bay is only fourteen miles wide so anything going in or out of the bay will have a good chance of encountering or at least being in proximity to these reefs which are also placed out beyond the mouth to the north and south.

    3. I know for a fact that there are significantly less Trout/ Weakfish around since the start of the program in 1995.

    4. I have done some minimal research, and it seems there are both pros and cons to artificial reefs, but I haven’t found anything specifically related to this region and to the effect of these reefs on migrating fish or the juvenile fish as they return to the ocean.
    Like your links indicate, these reefs attract fish/predators, and those fish may be decimating the juvenile trout as as they try and return to the ocean. Some species may benefit, some may not.

    Basically my point is that they should at least look into the impact that these reefs are having on the trout and possibly other fish. The fish act on instinct and I wonder if they are equipped to adapt to variations of this scope and magnitude that weren’t around during their evolution.

    As a side note; I wonder how much it cost to buy these vessels and hire an outside firm to prep them and go out and sink them?

  8. “I know for a fact that there are significantly less Trout/ Weakfish around since the start of the program in 1995.”

    By commercial catch? Population estimates? Can you provide a link? I don’t disbelieve you, I just want evidence myself. If it’s anecdotal, I can tell you from personal experience that the weakfish started disappearing in the 1970s and early ’80s, long before the reef program began, and even the official stuff says the species is now “uncommon” in the bay. It remains plentiful in North Carolina, apparently.

    I appreciate that you’re not a professional, so I’m just telling you here’s how to do it. This is what I did for a living for many years, but there are no newspapers left to do it at. If journalism is to have a future outside a few investigative foundations like the Center for Public Integrity, it will have to be carried out by regular folks like you. If you want those questions answered, welcome to the era of DIY journalism. But if you find them, you would also have an op-ed you could get published.

    If you’re truly interested in doing the research I would suggest contacting the UD program in Lewes to get the pro-reef pitch. You might have to dig for the costs, but they should be public record somewhere. If you run into a lot of red tape call Ernie Lopez.

    If I were doing an article I would look for diving hobbyists who visit the reefs for their first-hand accounts of what’s down there. I have no idea what the apex predators are at these reefs — drum, I assume, but I don’t know if they eat weakfish — but they can tell you what species they see.

    I think you’re overestimating how much square footage these reefs comprise vs. the size of the bay floor. That map I linked to gives you a rough idea where each reef is located; they want $99 for a detailed GPS version, but if you look around more you can probably find something more detailed. But they seem to line the deeper areas outside the shipping channel partway up either shore, more on the Delaware side than the Jersey.

    Remember that correlation is not causation, and there are more environmental pressures involved than just the appearance of artificial reefs. Consider, for example, the dredging of the deeper shipping channel; the spoils were expected to disturb some of the shallows. Salinity of the water could a role too, as could other effects of climate change.

  9. @RSE (con’t): Another possible resource is the outdoors columnist at the State News. I imagine he might have lots of quotable opinions on the matter.

    I’m not trying to embarrass RSE; this recipe works for anything and anyone, and it’s all “journalism” is — get curious about something, find the answers, write it down. There’s no money in it anymore, but it’s as good a hobby as any other.

  10. I think Hillary has found the right issue to raise her voice about:

    She cut her teeth advocating for children. This is tailor-made for her to lead on. She plays this right she could win the nomination again.

    • OMG Another Clinton run. That would be a waste of money and you know it Al!

    • delacrat

      You mean, Hillary, who evidently should not have been the nominee the last time ?

      • haha. Alby, they took the bait and gagged on it. well played, sir.

        • Hillary is a gasping fish on the beach……that’s all folks!

  11. I wish I had the time and attention span to do real investigative journalism and research, but in reality all I can really do is throw rough ideas out there in hopes that someone who actually does that type of work might be curious. The 2015 News Journal article that you gave a link to has the information on the trout population decline and it does correlate with the implementation of the reef program.

    I have probably caught more than my fair share of trout in the bay, and I have witnessed the natural fluctuations of several species of fish over the years, but not like the extended decline of the gray sea trout.

    • cassandram

      So this is just selfish. You are here asking for people to educate you on something that an evening with Google could go a long way to do. The first search items from Google are a bunch of scholarly articles on reefs and fisheries. Go learn something and share something useful here for a change.

    • You’ve already done half the work by asking the questions. You don’t have to devote full time to it. Let me put it this way: If I were still an editor and you came to me as a freelancer with this story idea, I would greenlight it. Don’t sell yourself short.

  12. Hillary Clinton in 2014

    In the exchange with CNN host and reporter Christiane Amanpour Hillary Clinton said….
    “We have to send a clear message, just because your child gets across the border, that doesn’t mean the child gets to stay,” the former secretary of state said. “So, we don’t want to send a message that is contrary to our laws or will encourage more children to make that dangerous journey.”

    • That’s not an endorsement of current policy.

      • He doesn’t know what the policy is.

        • Your crossing the border illegally. What part of illegal, don’t you understand!

          • Murder is illegal. So is not stopping for a stop sign. In your world those appear to be the same thing.

            • There is a specific penalty for different types of Murder.
              There is a penalty for not stopping for a stop sign.
              There are criminal and civil penalties for “Improper Entry” into the US.

              Look it up, Pandora. Do some research, before you make poor analogies.

              • I’m not the one who has to do research. You still do not understand this new policy. The penalty for not stopping for a stop sign is not having your children taken from you.

                Crossing the border is a misdemeanor.

              • This isn’t about HIllary Clinton. Try to stick to the topic. Do you support the Trump policy or not?

                • Trump is doing the same as Obama and Clinton.

                • Enforce the law. Find out if the children are actually their children. Then, return the children to their own country. The Government of their country, should deal with this problem. They should be reunited with their families.
                  “Just because a child crosses the border, doesn’t mean they get to stay” Hillary Clinton.

                  • Are you talking about the NEW Trump policy? The one where there’s no plan on how to reunite parents with their children? The one where we no longer prioritize deporting dangerous people.

                    You really need to read up on this new policy.

                    • No, he needs to find another hobby. Playing in traffic, say.

                  • cassandram

                    It is not illegal to enter the US looking for asylum.

                    • It is illegal to not do it at a crossing point. Can’t enter illegally, get caught, and then claim you are looking for asylum.

                      There are rules. Follow them, and you won’t get separated from your children.

                    • cassandram

                      You sorta can if the government is specifically shutting down the crossing points. Your problem is that you can’t manage to see these folks as fellow humans in distress. Humans being the operative word. There is no reason to not treat these folks with some basic dignity until the official systems can process them. But then, we’ve just seen your lack of morality here.

              • that’s a bold move, dumbass Telling people to “look it up” when looking it the fuck up proves you wrong.

                • So i guess you guys are cool with tossing Baron in a cage when his dad is arrested for treason, right?

  13. Short version of Cassandra’s latest post:

    I posted factually incorrect information, therefore you are incapable of empathy towards your fellow human beings.

    Liberal logic at it’s finest.

    • Logic is what led the White House to this policy. Therefore, logically, logic’s amorality leaves you incapable of understanding why people are upset.

    • cassandram

      Not incorrect. Addressing the flaw in your talking points. It isn’t liberal logic you have a problem with here, it is the fact that liberals refuse to see these people as “infesting” the country. The only people who need to be treated badly in this situation are the government executives making these decisions and their racist cheerleaders.

      • It’s the parent’s, who are using their children (if they are their children) as pawns!!
        @ Ben, your still looking at the pictures from 2014, when Obama was in office! They have to use chain link fences to be able to keep an eye on everyone and protect them. It takes less people to do that, than individual rooms.

        There has to be a system, even your beloved Hillary said so.

      • And the surest sign a liberal is losing the argument, muh “racism”.

        • If the hood fits…

          • And Pandy flexes her rhetorical muscles…

            As the Don said about Chuckie Schumer, “another lightweight”

        • cassandram

          The surest sign of a Trumpster losing an racist argument he is actually making is to complain that people are noticing the racism.

          • The surest sign of a troll is that he admits he does this just to rile you up. So, by his logic, it’s all your fault for reacting. Or admitting him.

  14. So having rules about allowing non citizens into your country and enforcing border security is racist. Huh. OK then. Glad we settled that.

    • There are rules, Trump changed them.

      Enforcing border security isn’t racist. Trump’s motives were.

      Let’s recap Trump’s biggest hits:

      Muslim Travel ban
      Charlottesville – Nazis/white supremacists are good people too!
      Separating brown families at the border
      Banning Trans people from serving

      There’s a ton more, but everyone can see what he’s doing and why it appeals to his base.

      • @Pandora, Instead of calling them Illegals, you point out the color of their skin, Hmmmm

        • No person is illegal.

          Sheesh, you’re really bad at taking people to task.

  15. Yeah. Everyone. Probably why his approval ratings are climbing and he’s headed for a second term. 6 more years of watching liberals lose their sh*t. Love it.

    • Shorter xyz: I got nothing to disprove the racism.

    • When his approval rating rises, it still never reaches the area of a majority.

      Having rules isn’t racist. Many of the people enforcing and celebrating those rules are. I have no idea if you’re a racist, but you’re a big enough asshole without adding that in that the point is moot.

      • Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one. Al?????? Al’s logic XYZ.

        • What’s wrong with you, and why do you have to demonstrate it here? Did you look up the Dunning Kruger effect?

  16. meatball

    lol, I’m pretty sure RSE is the dopey commentor from Frank’s old blog and David Anderson’s blog. He doesn’t believe in science like vaccinations or global warming. Fat chance he would actually do research. But the grass sure is growing like mad.

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