Open Thread

The Open Thread for July 12, 2018

“Donald Trump has launched an extraordinary tirade against Germany on the opening day of the Nato summit in Brussels, accusing Berlin of being a ‘a captive of the Russians’ because of its dependency on energy supplies,” the Guardian reports.

“NATO officials had been nervously awaiting the first meeting as an indicator of how Trump – who arrived in Brussels on Tuesday night – would behave over the next two days. Within minutes they had their answer.”

“This summit is shaping up to be the most divisive in Nato’s 69-year history. Normally, Nato summits are mostly fixed in advance and proceed in an orderly fashion. Trump’s first words signalled this one was not going to be like that.”

Trump seems to think two things about NATO, neither of which are true: 1) that the US pays for it all up front and the other member countries reimburse us; and 2) that NATO is some sort of trade or energy deal.

Pew Research: “When asked which president has done the best job in their lifetimes, more Americans name Barack Obama than any other president. More than four-in-ten (44%) say Obama is the best or second best president of their lifetimes, compared with about a third who mention Bill Clinton (33%) or Ronald Reagan (32%).”

Stan Collender: “The specific issue that will trigger yet another federal government shutdown showdown this September will be Donald Trump’s seemingly pathological obsession with building a wall between the United States and Mexico.”

“First, Trump may see this as his last opportunity to get funding for his wall… Second, a Trump-induced shutdown this September over full funding for the wall may be perceived by the White House as the best immigration issue to inflame his base just before the midterm election… Third, Trump may look at the GOP congressional leadership’s strong desire to get its members home to campaign as increased leverage to get the full $25 billion.”

“Fourth, especially if his Supreme Court nominee is confirmed by the Senate and the economy remains strong, Trump may be feeling politically invincible this fall.”

Benjamin Wittes: “If Kavanaugh’s writings on special counsel investigations really influenced Trump’s decision to nominate him, then Trump is a bigger fool than I have imagined. Kavanaugh’s writings on the subject don’t clarify all of his views on the subject of the Mueller investigation. But they clarify certain big things, and those things are really not good for Donald Trump.”

“Noah Feldman writes that ‘Properly understood, Kavanaugh’s expressed views actually support the opposite conclusion’ than the one to which many knees are jerking. Feldman is exactly right. In some respects, he actually understates the case.”

“President Trump escalated his trade war with China Tuesday, identifying an added $200 billion in Chinese products that he intends to hit with import tariffs,” the Washington Post reports.

“The move makes good on the president’s threat to respond to China’s retaliation for the initial U.S. tariffs on $34 billion in Chinese goods, which went into effect on Friday, and would eventually place nearly half of all Chinese imports under tariffs.”

Matt Glassman: “Accepting that they cannot defeat the nominee on the merits, and that a procedural strategy has almost no chance of succeeding and high potential electoral and/or procedural costs, Democratic leaders will instead pursue a strategy of trying to shape the narrative around the nomination and confirmation, in an attempt to extract an electoral benefit in the November elections. They will (correctly) reason that gaining control of the chamber is the surest way to limit SCOTUS confirmations over the next 2.5 years, and that the long shot hope of blocking the current nomination likely decreases the chances of taking control of the chamber, and thus in turn increases the likely number of SCOTUS nominees confirmed during President Trump’s term.”

“Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court could very well help Republicans hold or expand their control of the Senate. It could also hurt their efforts to maintain control of the House,” the New York Times reports.  “That political oddity illustrates the complexities of this midterm election season, which is actually two very different midterms. One is the fight for the Senate, where Democrats are defending the seats of 10 incumbents in states won by President Trump, and the other is the contest for the House, where Republicans are defending a vast and expanding battleground that is every bit as forbidding, with nearly 60 Republican seats in play.”

“For Senate Republicans, the rejection of President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, could foment a political disaster in the midterm elections,” the Washington Examiner reports.

“The conservative grassroots base is cheering Kavanaugh’s selection to succeed retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy; they expect the Republican controlled Senate to seal his confirmation before Election Day. Failure to deliver on this vital issue to the GOP base could depress voter turnout and jeopardize the party’s congressional majorities.”

Wall Street Journal: “Republican officials were finalizing details Tuesday on a deal to bring the party’s 2020 convention to Charlotte, N.C., making a southern city in a battleground state the site for President Trump’s expected nomination for a second term.”

“Republicans familiar with the site-selection process said party officials have moved away from Las Vegas as the convention site and settled on North Carolina’s most populous city as the top choice. Charlotte, one of the nation’s preeminent financial centers, hosted the Democratic convention in 2012, when the party nominated Barack Obama for the second time.”

A new Civitas poll in North Carolina’s 9th congressional district finds Dan McCready (D) leading Mark Harris (R) by seven points, 43% to 36%.  Said pollster Donald Bryson: “This race has all the indications of being a nail-biter into November, but Republicans should be concerned with a negative 7-point spread in a district that has an R+7 rating.”  Harris has questioned whether careers were appropriate for women.

“The United States is preparing to undertake a review of its strategy in Afghanistan, U.S. officials told Reuters, a year after President Trump begrudgingly agreed to extend America’s involvement in the 17-year-old war,” Reuters reports.

“Officials said Trump has shown signs of frustration over the lack of progress since he unveiled a strategy last August that committed to an open-ended deployment of U.S. military advisers, trainers and special forces and increased air support for Afghan security forces. The goal was to force the Taliban militants to open peace talks with the Kabul government.”

“Trump was opposed to remaining in America’s longest war, but was convinced by his advisers to give it more time.”

“Vice President Mike Pence begins a campaign swing through the Midwest on Wednesday designed to fire up the base in three battleground House districts. But there’s also a secondary mission: damage control,” Politico reports.

“In the face of a trade war that intensified just four days ago, Pence is quietly setting up one-on-one meetings with major Midwestern donors where he is prepared to blunt concerns over an escalating situation that’s beginning to wreak havoc on markets, farmers and employers across the region.”

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

11 comments on “The Open Thread for July 12, 2018

  1. Prop Joe

    “Why Would Trump So Viciously Attack Angela Merkel?”… I love reading Nancy Le Tourneau’s work, but the answer is a brief six words: Because She Is A Strong Woman.

  2. Take a look at the picture of the NATO meeting, believe “shocked” is a good word for it, even these veteran politicians couldn’t hide it. “Strategy in Afghanistan”? It consists of keeping the money pipeline open to the Military Industrial Complex and not much more. Finally healthcare insurance, I have none and am 62 . As noted Trump and the Republicans want near worthless insurance “plans” to be a coming thing, would note that current insurance is already near worthless with multi thousand dollar deductibles and covering as little as possible. Healthcare is a racket in America, nice white coats or not.

  3. cassandram

    He huffed and he puffed and he called his own bluff:

    Trump Says ‘No Problem’ In NATO, Touting Allies’ Spending Pledges

  4. cassandram

    I think Strzok ate some GOP congresspeople for lunch.

    • Strzok lying through his teeth the entire time… Gowdy obliterated him.

      Russia “investigation” now on life support, flatlining.

  5. We must give Paula White some credit. She rose up from less than nothing to become the orange one’s tv preacher advisor. No degree, but she “heard” God. A phenomenon shared by many psychotics. Jesus was not a migrant, she instructs, because Jesus broke no laws…I confess I’m still thinking about that one. Sounds like a rational for taking, holding, mistreating, abusing, losing, and permanently denying reunification of migrant children for the sin of being an “other” migrant family knocking on our door, looking for relief from suffering. And this is our national religious response, Jesus was not a criminal, so comparison with current migrants is irrelevant. Wow! So much good we can glean from television personalities. (Sarcasm) we cannot rest until those children are restored to their parents, and that pumpkin and all his followers are forever removed from power. Hear that oligarchs? That includes you!!!

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