Open Thread

The Open Thread for July 29, 2018

“President Trump chaired a meeting Friday of his most senior national security advisers to discuss the administration’s effort to safeguard November’s elections from Russian interference, the first such meeting he’s led on the matter, but issued no new directives to counter or deter the threat,” the Washington Postreports.

“The meeting, which lasted less than an hour, covered all the activities by federal agencies to help state and local election officials, and to investigate and hold accountable Russian hackers seeking to undermine American democracy.”

“State-sponsored Russian hackers appear far more interested this year in demonstrating that they can disrupt the American electric utility grid than the midterm elections,” the New York Times reports.

”Despite attempts to infiltrate the online accounts of two Senate Democrats up for re-election, intelligence officials said they have seen little activity by Russian military hackers aimed at either major American political figures or state voter registration systems.”

“President Trump said Friday that he plans to spends almost all of his time this fall campaigning for the most vulnerable Republican congressional candidates in the midterm elections, a strategy that would have him in many districts where endangered lawmakers in his own party regard him as a liability,” the New York Timesreports.

Said Trump: “I am going to work very hard. I’ll go six or seven days a week when we’re 60 days out, and I will be campaigning for all of these great people that do have a difficult race, and we think we’re going to bring them over the line.”

Arizona Republic: “Trump agreed to pose for a photo with Ward during the December 2017 visit, but specifically asked that it not be shared, according to a White House official who witnessed the brief exchange but is not authorized to speak publicly about it.”

“Ward… has been seeking the president’s endorsement since the earliest days of her campaign; she also failed to capture Trump’s endorsement during her unsuccessful 2016 primary challenge of U.S. Sen. John McCain. For nearly a year, Ward has touted a tweet in which Trump invoked her name while slamming U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, who is retiring.”

My answer: yes.  Racists deserve to be outted and to have their lives, such as they are, destroyed.  Remember what racism is: the racist thinks they are superior to an entire race or group of people and they act solely on that basis.  They deny jobs or housing on that basis.  They call the cops on that basis.  They deny dignity and respect and civility on that basis.  They beat up people and kill on that basis.   They do not deserve protection of society.

“President Trump’s appointees in the health department have deleted positive references to Obamacare, altered a report that undermined the administration’s positions on refugees and added anti-abortion language to the strategic plan — part of an ideological overhaul of the agency’s research office,” Politicoreports.

“While every administration puts its imprint on the executive branch and promotes ideas that advance its own agenda, this one has ventured several steps further — from scrubbing links to climate change studies from an Environmental Protection Agency website to canceling an Interior Department study on coal mining risks and suppressing reports on water contamination and the dangers of formaldehyde.”

“Inside the Health and Human Services policy research shop, staffers say the political pressures to tailor facts to fit Trump’s message have been unprecedented.”

Stan Collender: “When the House reconvenes, the GOP plans to devote a significant amount of the limited time it has left before fiscal 2019 begins to three tax cut bills that have no chance of being enacted any time soon because…wait for it…the Republican-controlled Senate has already said it’s not interested.”

“And none of this even begins to anticipate what the House Republicans who are running for reelection and think they will need to energize the Trump base will do in September as the Manafort trial and Cohen investigations continue and as the Mueller probe moves forward.”

“In other words, this year’s legislative crunch time is about to get very real but House Republicans have little leadership, no plan, a very divided caucus, are very likely to be distracted and are relying on a notoriously unreliable Donald Trump to do the right thing.”

“This is almost a textbook definition of political and legislative chaos.”

“Campaigns, political parties and outside groups have booked or aired more than $1 billion in television advertising, months before voters head to the polls in November in what is likely to become the most expensive midterm election campaign in U.S. history,” The Hill reports.

“Newly disclosed emails show Michigan Republicans angling to give their party a dominant position through gerrymandered maps and celebrating the plight of their Democratic rivals,” the New York Times reports.

“Republicans in the state have denied that they sought partisan gain when they drew new legislative boundaries in 2011. But a federal lawsuit, which argues the maps are unconstitutional, has unearthed records showing Republicans intent on drawing boundaries that would help their party.”

The Fayette Advocate “has obtained emails from a whistleblower from inside the Columbus Police Department that outline the arrest of Stormy Daniels earlier this month may have been pre-planned days before she ever arrived in town.”

“Inside the emails are news clippings discussing Daniels’ planned appearance in Columbus, pictures of Daniels with President Donald Trump, videos of her dancing, and even a map to the club where she would be performing, all sent days before she would pull into town on her tour bus.”

“After Daniels’ arrest that Wednesday night, the emails continue into the early morning hours of Thursday, but the contents are disturbing.”

Garrett Graff: “While we’ve mostly talked about Mueller’s probe as focusing on Russia, there are clearly some adjacent questions about other foreign influence in Washington involving Republican donor Elliott Broidy, among others. A key Middle East go-between, Lebanese-American businessman George Nader, is both cooperating with Mueller’s investigation and has testified before his grand jury—indicating a line of inquiry that hasn’t resulted in any public charges but is somehow central to Mueller’s underlying investigation.”

“Unlike the probe into Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, Mueller hasn’t handed this thread of the investigation off to another office, which appears to indicate that, in ways not yet clear to the general public, the UAE and Qatari questions are related to the underlying Russia probe.”

“White House counsel Donald McGahn met privately with key Senate Republicans on Tuesday to discuss how many of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s documents should be publicly released — a major point of contention in the confirmation process,” the Washington Post reports.

“Democratic senators are demanding that Kavanaugh hand over any document he touched during his time at the George W. Bush White House, where he served in the counsel’s office and as staff secretary. That document production could top 1 million pages, and Republicans have deemed the Democrats’ demand a fishing expedition that will not be particularly revelatory.”

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

4 comments on “The Open Thread for July 29, 2018

  1. cassandram

    “State-sponsored Russian hackers appear far more interested this year in demonstrating that they can disrupt the American electric utility grid than the midterm elections,”

    So just disrupt the power grid on some Tuesday in November.

    • delacrat

      “The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence findings, but their conclusions were confirmed by several executives of technology and technology security firms.” – NYT

      All anonymous sources “confirmed” by unnamed “executives” citing no evidence.

      Smells like WMDs.

  2. cassandram

    The Stealth Campaign to Kill Off Obamacare

    This is a longish read, but the bottom line is that PhRMA is busily funding several of the conservative groups looking to undo Obamacare. Even as they profit from it. The bigger bottom line is that while PhRMA will provide a river of funds to wingnut groups, they provide a pittance to some moderate groups I guess to be able to say they “work with both sides”. So Democrats who are getting funding from these folks should know it is for token bipartisanship AND these people are working expressly against the values of your party.

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