Open Thread

The Open Thread for July 11, 2018

“As he heads into this week’s North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit meeting, President Trump is widely seen as a wild card among allies who are seeking to show solidarity against Russian threats, fixated instead on his spending grievances and primed for a bitter confrontation that could further isolate the United States,” the New York Times reports.

“Mr. Trump’s increasingly strident complaints about NATO and apparent willingness to give the benefit of the doubt to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia have worried America’s staunchest allies — and some within his own administration — and threaten to transform the gathering in Brussels into a showcase for dysfunction rather than unity.”

Jonathan Chait: “Compared to a week ago, it is now harder to imagine Trump will use the summit to leverage concessions that will make him appear like a strong negotiator, and much easier to imagine that he will use it to instigate a diplomatic crisis with NATO. By the time this is over, he may well have reoriented American foreign policy completely.”

“It may seem bizarre that one man could do this, especially given that almost nobody in Trump’s administration or the ranks of the party’s political professionals share his goal of jettisoning NATO or closely courting Russia. Yet Trump has shown the ability to lead his base wherever he wants to take it. And where the base has gone, the party has eventually followed.”

New York Times: “During a phone call with Mr. Putin in March, when the president was urged by aides not to congratulate the Russian president on his electoral victory, Mr. Trump did just that.”

“He told Mr. Putin that Russia and the United States should get along better. And he described as ‘stupid people’ the unnamed Trump administration officials whom the Russian president said had tried to prevent the call from happening.”

David Frum: “Two British cabinet ministers have resigned within the past 24 hours, an upheaval not seen since at least 1982.”

“Both resigned for the same reason: to protest Prime Minister Theresa May’s plan to preserve some of the benefits of EU membership for Britain in a post-Brexit world. That plan is not a very realistic or workable plan. But that’s not why the two ministers have resigned. They have resigned in protest that the plan is not fantastical enough, that it does not rely enough on fairy dust and magic wishes. Ominously, something like half the British Conservative party agrees with the departing ministers.”

Washington Post: “We’re doing something new today: Analyzing every factual claim from President Trump’s campaign rally in Montana on July 5.”

“According to our analysis, the truth took a beating in Montana. From a grand total of 98 factual statements we identified, 76 percent were false, misleading or unsupported by evidence.”

“Here’s a breakdown: 45 false or mostly false statements, 25 misleading statements and four unsupported claims. We also counted 24 accurate or mostly accurate statements. False or mostly false statements alone accounted for 46 percent of all claims.”

“During her 21 years in the Senate, Collins has voted for judicial nominees put forward by Republican presidents nearly 99 percent of the time, according to a Boston Globe analysis of more than 500 of her roll-call votes for Supreme Court, circuit court of appeals, district court, and other judicial appointments.

President Trump “could have done a lot worse than Brett Kavanaugh, according to Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins,” Politico reports.

“The centrist GOP senators offered few hints on Tuesday about how they will vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. But it’s clear that Trump could have made confirmation in the narrowly divided Senate much more difficult if he had picked someone like 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Amy Coney Barrett or another equally conservative nominee.”

Politico: “McConnell is overseeing the slimmest Senate majority in modern times to handle D.C. Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court, and the majority leader has no margin for error in what’s effectively a 50-49 divide with Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) still out with brain cancer.”

“McConnell and Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley’s handling of the confirmation process is likely to have a major effect on how voters perceive the GOP majority as midterm elections near. And though GOP leaders expressed confidence that the Senate will approve whomever President Donald Trump picked, they concede that the next two months are going to put their majority to the test.”

Politico: “Kavanaugh’s paperwork predicament — stemming from two years he spent in President George W. Bush’s White House Counsel’s office and just over three as Bush’s staff secretary—is not completely unique.”

“But the quantity of files potentially at issue in Kavanaugh’s case could be unprecedented. Former officials believe millions of pages of emails and other documents circulated through Kavanaugh’s office during his time as staff secretary. If Senate Democrats insist on receiving every page, the confirmation process could grind to a crawl.”

Politico: “After Justice Anthony Kennedy told President Trump he would relinquish his seat on the Supreme Court, the president emerged from his private meeting with the retiring jurist focused on one candidate to name as his successor: Judge Brett Kavanaugh, Kennedy’s former law clerk.”

“So even as Trump dispatched his top lawyers to comb though Kavanaugh’s rulings and quizzed allies about whether he was too close to the Bush family, potentially a fatal flaw, the president was always leaning toward accepting Kennedy’s partiality for Kavanaugh while preserving the secret until his formal announcement.”

Playbook: “Most Democrats privately agree with the premise that they are playing a weak hand, and don’t have much of a chance to stop Kavanaugh. Democrats are hoping there’s an embarrassing set of emails from the Bush era that they can use against him, or that he chokes his way through a hearing. (His 2006 testimony in front of Judiciary seemed pretty unremarkable, in that it reveals a guy with a pretty astute sense for the politics of the moment).”

“The Republicans’ paper-thin margin in the Senate insures this will be a partisan vote, with truly only Manchin, Heitkamp and Donnelly in play. Collins and Lisa Murkowski  are who you should watch on the Republican side.

“Brett Kavanaugh could add a powerful new voice on the Supreme Court to restrain what government agencies can do, ushering in a new era of tougher scrutiny of federal regulations loathed by businesses,” Bloomberg reports.

“In a dozen years on the U.S. appeals court that handles most challenges to rules issued by federal bureaucrats, the Supreme Court nominee’s record reveals views closely aligned with conservatives who seek to rein in agencies on issues from climate change to net neutrality and financial oversight.”

Q: Reaction to latest deadline missed on child reunions?

“Well, I have a solution. Tell people not to come to our country illegally. That’s the solution. Don’t come to our country illegally. Come like other people do. Come legally.

Q: “Is that what you’re saying? you’re punishing the children?”

“I’m saying this: We have laws. We have borders. Don’t come to our country illegally. It’s not a good thing. And as far as ICE is concerned, the people that are fighting ICE? It’s a disgrace. These people go into harm’s way. There is nobody under greater danger than the people from ICE. What they do to MS-13, and everything else. So we ought to support ICE, not do what the Democrats are doing. Democrats want open borders, and they don’t mind crime. We want no crime, and we want borders where borders mean something. And remember this: Without borders, you do not have a country. Thank you everybody.”

Rudy Giuliani “continues to work on behalf of foreign clients both personally and through his namesake security firm while serving as President Trump’s personal attorney — an arrangement experts say raises conflict of interest concerns and could run afoul of federal ethics laws,” the Washington Post reports.

“He has never registered with the Justice Department on behalf of his overseas clients, asserting it is not necessary because he does not directly lobby the U.S. government and is not charging Trump for his services. His decision to continue representing foreign entities also departs from standard practice for presidential attorneys, who in the past have generally sought to sever any ties that could create conflicts with their client in the White House.”

Greg Sargent: “It is unlikely that Democrats will be able to block Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s nominee to replace Anthony Kennedy, from taking a seat on the Supreme Court. But they can do all they can to clarify the stakes in this battle, to illustrate in advance of the midterm elections what GOP control of the White House and Congress really means for the country over the long term.”

“Here’s one important area in which they can do that: They must press Kavanaugh to clarify his thinking on the question of whether presidents are above the law, or more specifically, how much power presidents have with regard to investigations into themselves.”

Another former Ohio State University wrestler told CNN that Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) was aware of sexual abuse allegations against the wrestling team doctor when he was a wrestling coach at the school.

The former wrestler said he directly told Jordan about the team doctor’s behavior and that Jordan did nothing: “I remember coming up and saying, ‘Strauss held my balls longer than normal.’ He just snickered.”

Cook Political Report: “Based on the Republicans’ structural advantages from redistricting and residential patterns, Democrats likely need to win seven to eight percent more votes than the GOP to win the barest possible majority of 218 seats. By that measure, it’s close: today, the RealClearPolitics average of congressional generic ballot polls gives Democrats a seven-point lead, while FiveThirtyEight‘s gives Democrats an eight-point advantage.”

“These fundamentals suggest a photo finish in the House. But in our view, the intensity gap between the parties’ voters is what gives Democrats a slight edge… This heightened Democratic enthusiasm… helps explain why, on average, Democrats have run nine points ahead of their typical shares of the vote in eight special elections held since last April.”

“If the 24 Toss Ups were to split evenly between the parties, Democrats would gain 18 seats, five short of a majority. But that doesn’t take into account that there are 26 GOP-held seats in Lean Republican with strong potential to become Toss Ups, and an additional 28 GOP-held seats in Likely Republican with the potential to become more competitive. In other words, there’s still a lot of upside for Democrats.”

President Trump “pardoned a pair of Oregon ranchers whose arson conviction became a focus for opponents of federal government land ownership,” The Hill reports.

“Dwight Hammond, 76, and his son Steven, 49, were convicted in 2012 and sent to prison on arson charges. They had set a series of fires on their ranch that spread to federal land.”

“The Hammonds’ case became the inspiration for the 40-day armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in 2016. The organizers wanted to protest federal land ownership.”

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

4 comments on “The Open Thread for July 11, 2018

  1. delacrat

    “One mystery about Trump is that he hasn’t tried at all to reward the white working class voters of his base for their loyalty. Instead, they’re consistently among his biggest victims “ – Paul Krugman

    That could be said Obama, Bush I,II, Clinton, Reagan…..

  2. cassandram

    Christina School Board looks to limit its own access to public information

    What? This reads as though Evans is trying to create a rubber stamp board. No doubt that info retrieval can be a PITA, but there is little point in making the President the gatekeeper.

    • Prop Joe

      I guess the “glass half full” way of looking at this news/development is that given the quality of decisions this Board has historically made WITH access to all District information, maybe they’re thinking outside the box and figure they might be able to do a better job WITHOUT that access…

  3. The Delaware Department of Insurance received a proposed rate increase request from Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delaware (Highmark BCBSD) of 5.7 percent for its 2019 individual Marketplace business, also known as the Affordable Care Act and Obamacare.

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