Open Thread

The Open Thread for June 30, 2018

“President Trump has repeatedly told top White House officials he wants to withdraw the United States from the World Trade Organization, a move that would throw global trade into wild disarray,” people involved in the talks tell Axios.

“A U.S. withdrawal from the WTO would send global markets into a spiral and cast trillions of dollars of trade into doubt. It would also blow up an institution that for 70-plus years has been a pillar of global economic and political stability.”

“The consequences of a U.S. withdrawal are so profound that, like Trump’s senior advisers, the trade community hasn’t seriously entertained the possibility that Trump would try to withdraw.”

Josh Rogin: “During a private meeting at the White House in late April, Trump was discussing trade with French President Emmanuel Macron. At one point, he asked Macron, ‘Why don’t you leave the E.U.?’ and said that if France exited the union, Trump would offer it a bilateral trade deal with better terms than the E.U. as a whole gets from the United States, according to two European officials. The White House did not dispute the officials’ account, but declined to comment.”

“Let’s set aside for a moment the point that Trump’s proposal reveals a basic lack of understanding of Macron’s views and those of the people who elected him. This is an instance of the president of the United States offering an incentive to dismantle an organization of America’s allies, against stated U.S. government policy.”

”Trump has been publicly trashing the E.U. and NATO since his campaign, but the pace and viciousness of his attacks have increased.”

“President Trump singled him out for praise even while attacking other members of the Supreme Court. The White House nominated people close to him to important judicial posts. And members of the Trump family forged personal connections,” the New York Times reports.  “Their goal was to assure Justice Anthony M. Kennedy that his judicial legacy would be in good hands should he step down at the end of the court’s term that ended this week, as he was rumored to be considering.”

“There were no direct efforts to pressure or lobby Justice Kennedy to announce his resignation… But in subtle and not so subtle ways, the White House waged a quiet campaign to ensure that Mr. Trump had a second opportunity in his administration’s first 18 months to fulfill one of his most important campaign promises to his conservative followers — that he would change the complexion and direction of the Supreme Court.”

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) told CNN that she doesn’t think U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement “today is working as intended.”  She noted that ICE has “become a deportation force,” adding, “I think you should separate the criminal justice from the immigration issues.”

“Do not wait for the perfect message, don’t wait to feel a tingle in your spine because you’re expecting politicians to be so inspiring and poetic and moving that somehow, ‘OK, I’ll get off my couch after all and go spend the 15-20 minutes it takes for me to vote.’ Because that’s part of what happened in the last election. I heard that too much.”  — Barack Obama, quoted by Politico, in his first public comments in months.

Sounds like Obama shares my position against progressive purists.

Playbook: “Look for Senate Democrats to emphasize health care — pre-existing conditions — and abortion rights as they talk about the upcoming Supreme Court vacancy. Democrats are moving away from the idea that it’s not fair that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) gets to confirm another justice after refusing to consider Merrick Garland. They won’t talk much about pushing the vote until after the midterms. Instead, they plan to talk about what they consider to be the real-world impact of another conservative justice on the nation’s highest court.”

Politico: “Senate Democrats want the Supreme Court battle waged on the policy stakes, not the procedural tactics at play. But the party’s outraged base is prodding them to do everything they can to slow down Trump’s nominee, despite their paltry procedural options after the GOP quashed the filibuster for Supreme Court nominations last year.”

Politico: “No matter whom President Donald Trump picks for the Supreme Court this time around, the nominee is almost certain to come under withering liberal attack as a grave threat to women’s rights. Several conservatives close to the White House, however, say they know just how to blunt that looming assault: Pick a woman for the job.”

President Trump said that he has narrowed his Supreme Court shortlist to five people, including two women.  He told reporters that he’ll be interviewing candidates this weekend at his golf club in New Jersey and that he’ll announce the pick on Monday, July 9.

Daily Beast: “On May 18, a top aide to EPA chief Scott Pruitt testified to a congressional committee that she had been tasked with procuring her boss a used mattress from the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. Just days after news of that testimony broke, the aide, Pruitt’s now former director of scheduling Millan Hupp, submitted her resignation. But even though Hupp was gone from the agency, Pruitt wasn’t done with her.”

“According to three sources familiar with the conversations, Pruitt was livid over Hupp’s testimony, which he felt had been particularly humiliating. And he personally reached out to allies in the conservative movement, including some at the influential legal group the Federalist Society, to insist that she had lied about, or at least misunderstood, the request for a used Trump mattress. He also stressed that Hupp could not be trusted—the implication being that she should not be hired at their institutions.”

A new Kaiser Family Foundation poll finds that 67% of the American public do not want the Supreme Court to overturn the 1973 landmark Roe v. Wade decision that established women’s constitutional right to abortion.”

“The poll finds a slim majority (53%) of Republicans would like to see Roe v. Wade overturned, while large majorities of Democrats (81%) and independents (73%) would not. Similar shares of women (68%) and men (65%) want Roe v. Wade to stand, but among women of reproductive age, three-quarters (74%) want Roe v. Wade to stand.”

“General Motors warned Friday that another wave of tariffs being considered by the Trump administration could force the company to scale back its business and cost American jobs,” the New York Times reports.

“In comments submitted to the Commerce Department, the automaker said that the tariffs, if approved, could drive individual vehicle prices up thousands of dollars, stifling demand. Such costs would need to be borne either by consumers or the company.”

A voice sounding very much like that of President Trump is heard in a phone call that comedian John Melendez, while pretending to be Sen. Robert Menedez (D-NJ), claims to have made to the commander-in-chief while he was aboard Air Force One, the Daily Mail reports.

“The alleged communication raises questions about the soundness in regard to the security clearances process, and how a prankster could get through to Air Force One and have a direct audience with the president.”

Axios: “This calls into question White House security. White House staff members are freaking out today trying figure out how the podcast host was so easily transferred from the White House switchboard to Air Force One.”

“The Trump White House could resemble a ghost town by the end of the summer — with an increasing number of open jobs, a still broken process to fill them, and a lack of interest from experienced Republicans willing to join a turbulent administration,” BuzzFeed News reports.

“Several top Trump aides, including chief of staff John Kelly, are reportedly expected to leave in the coming weeks, with more actively looking for other jobs. Those who are interested in working for the administration — often candidates who are not as experienced as top aides have traditionally been — tell BuzzFeed Newsthe process is still unclear and dysfunctional. And career officials who make up the majority of the federal workforce are anxious about whether the agencies they work for are valued, or will even exist in the aftermath of a new administration reorganization proposal that includes merging certain agencies, should it be approved by Congress.”

Matt Lewis: “Democrats understandably feel cheated and aggrieved. It is one thing not to have Merrick Garland seated, but it’s another to win the popular vote and then watch two conservative Supreme Court justices be put on the Court. If the roles were reversed, I sincerely doubt that McConnell and others would be saying, ‘Well, it’s all about power. and they are playing the game to the best that they are able.’”

“When the ends always justify the means, then the means become more and more egregious in the service of the ends. The most common retort when this is pointed out is: well, what about Robert Bork? And that’s all well and good. Maybe Democrats should rethink the way they handled that nomination.”

“And maybe Harry Reid should rethink why he did away with the filibuster. But at some point, this game of one-upmanship, turned mutually assured destruction, becomes unsustainable. ‘You’ll regret this, and you may regret this a lot sooner than you think,’ then-Minority Leader Mitch McConnell warned when Reid went nuclear. Well, that works both ways.”

“Four months after President Trump directed the Defense Department to organize a military parade, planning is just beginning but no budget has been assigned yet. Pentagon officials told NBC News that they will be able to pull off the extravaganza, but the lack of momentum is notable — and possibly indicative of low enthusiasm for the event outside the Oval Office.”

Said one senior U.S. official: “There is only one person who wants this parade.”

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

10 comments on “The Open Thread for June 30, 2018

  1. elizabeth allen

    If Democrats back off the Supreme Court heist by Trump, forget about Trumpolini ever being brought to justice. The new Supreme will be forced to deliver a loyalty oath to Trump and join with Gorsuch, Thomas, Roberts, Alito to throw out the Mueller investigation. No one works for Trump without a loyalty oath ask Comey and others. We cannot permit the party to back off, if they try, WE must stand up and force them to act, just like whats happening all over this country today.

  2. If they do overturn Roe vs. Wade there will indeed be hell to pay and an enormous amount of fuel dumped on the fire of America’s cold civil war. Will they do it and piss off the majority of Americans? Sure, just another day for the court. And it will motivate Americans to the polls, perhaps as never before. Should the Dems contest Trump’s nominee? Tooth and nail would be a good start. Notice GM is now sounding the alarm about Trump’s pet Trade War, expect many more to join the chorus as we enter round two and start taking hits. Besides Wall St. is watching and getting jumpy, expect that to translate to the many politicians they own, from both parties no less.

    • AND that’s just what the Dems want; a civil war! Obama split this country up and now look where we are at! It’s a shame.

      • cassandram

        No, the GOP has been at war with the rest of us since Reagan. Democrats want the fight they should have been having for years instead of the fetishized comity they’ve been working at.

        • Obama split this country up in exactly the same way Lincoln did: By getting elected.

          • 10 points and best Puh-Nue-Nue smack down of the day.

          • elizabeth allen

            Citizens have been at war with 1% since late 1940’s. We are headed back to the same ole politricks used of 1930’s when the “elitists” attempted a coup on behalf of the billionaire class!\\\ Nixons Vietnam, Reagun’s voodoo economics, Bush’s (both) wars of choice. We are still paying for these wars, while funding a new military industrial complex where only the “elites” make profits. Profits over People, an old slogan.

            Little Kim is strengthening up all misile and nuclear sites. making more rockets. restarted their nuclear program (the right calls it fake news). US spy planes are watching them do it. But the uneducated cult following Trump believe the pathological liar is right, and our spy planes photos are fake! Kim started a “new reactor”, strenghtened his missile sites by reinforcing them so they wouldnt break apart when launched. NK’s old launch site did so many tests they degraded the earth so bad, they feared earthquakes, land slides, sink holes would occur. Thats the one NK blew up for Trumps PR campaign providing Trump with a fake brag. Thats Trump foreign policy…people one. week after the Trump/Kim meeting Kim restarted 3 more weapons sites. (Was on CNN today with Chris Cuomo.)

            • delacrat

              Elizabeth,

              I’m not worried about North Korea at all and I don’t know anyone who is.

              • Your poor social skills are to blame for that. I’m not worried about them either, but I know plenty of people who are, but that’s mostly because I know lots of people.

                You keep saying meaningless things like this. Again, your failure to care about something is not some gold standard of things others are required to meet.

                It’s kind of funny to meet a pacifist who “doesn’t care” about the places that he doesn’t want a war in.

      • elizabeth allen

        Anono: did they teach civics when you went to school, or were you home schooled. Your on the wrong side of history, with you wronged headed alt facts.

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