Open Thread

The Open Thread for July 30, 2018

President Trump “threatened to shut down the federal government if Congress does not pass sweeping changes to immigration laws, including appropriating more public money to build his long-promised border wall,” the Washington Post reports.

“Trump’s threat raises the stakes ahead of a Sept. 30 government funding deadline, a political showdown before the November midterms that Republican congressional leaders had hoped to avoid.”

An internal memo says the DNC has reached out to 30 million voters so far and acquired 94 million cell phone numbers of registered voters ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.

Axios: “There are only 100 days until the election. Reaching voters where they are —on cell phones, not landlines — and connecting with new voters will be crucial to Democrats’ efforts in November and looking ahead to the 2020 presidential election.”

One of President Trump’s Scottish golf resorts has “partially destroyed” the special nature site on which it was built, the Observer reports.

“Normally the site’s conservation status would have prevented any significant development. But Trump said that, if he was refused permission to develop… he would withdraw from the entire scheme. He also claimed that, when completed, the land there would be ‘environmentally enhanced and better than it was before.’ The Trump Organization said last year its environmental approach to the course had been ‘first class’”

Slate: “The master Republican mapmaker Tom Hofeller is among the visionaries who understood how sophisticated new GIS software and powerful new data sets provided an opportunity for the GOP to gerrymander itself decadelong advantages in the U.S. House of Representatives and state legislatures nationwide. Hofeller trains state legislators and junior line-drawers, however, with a PowerPoint so old-school that it looks like it might have been designed on a Commodore 64. There are no special effects to clutter Hofeller’s most important laws of redistricting: Avoid recklessness. Always be discreet. Avoid email.”

Said Hoefeller: “Emails are the tools of the devil. Remember — A journey to legal hell starts with but a single misstatement or a stupid email!”

“Time and again, Hofeller’s political allies have failed to heed his advice. The most recent example: newly disclosed emails—part of a federal court challenge to the constitutionality of the Michigan map by the League of Women Voters—that reveal just how determined GOP operatives, mapmakers, and congressional staffers were to design maps that would provide Republicans with a full decade of dominance.”

New York Times: “As scrutiny of the couple often referred to as Javanka became increasingly intense during the president’s first year, Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump seemed to retreat from public view, and after several of their allies in the White House departed, there was a near-constant stream of questions about whether they would follow.”

“But as one staff member after another has disappointed him and has departed or been dispatched, Mr. Trump has retreated into the familiarity of his family — his daughter, above all, and eventually, her husband. As Mr. Trump, cut off from dissenting voices and convinced of his own popularity, has become more emboldened, so have his daughter and son-in-law.”

“A network of secret-money nonprofit groups has spent millions of dollars attacking swing-seat House Republicans on health care and taxes, quietly becoming one of the biggest players in the 2018 political landscape,” Politico reports.

“The groups have local members and names like Floridians for a Fair Shake, Michigan Families for Economic Prosperity and North Carolinians for a Fair Economy. But they are all linked to one obscure nonprofit in downtown Washington, D.C.: the Sixteen Thirty Fund, which has funneled millions of dollars to progressive causes in recent years and set up each of the new groups, according to D.C. corporation records.”

CNN reported that the conversation took place more than a week ago, on July 20. ABC News’ Meridith McGraw posted Sulzberger’s statement in full and noted, “NYT says the meeting was off the record at the request of White House aides…but then Trump tweeted about it this morning.”

Read Sulzberger’s statement below:

CNN: “Holder’s travels have taken him to Arizona, Indiana and Ohio for state Democratic Party dinners, as well as Florida, Minnesota, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Texas, Pennsylvania, Florida and Georgia for events and meetings with local activists. Holder’s meetings generally focus on combating gerrymandering, his cause célèbre since leaving the Obama administration, but his events are often peppered with politics and — invariably — comments about his future.”

Yeah, there are a number of potential candidates that I start out as a firm “No” to, and those include Eric Holder, Deval Patrick, Terry McAuliffe and Bernie Sanders.

“The influential conservative Koch network opened up their summer meeting with an emphasis on bipartisanship while also delivering sharp critiques of President Trump and his administration,” CNN reports.

Said network co-chair Brian Hooks: “The divisiveness of this White House is causing long-term damage.”

“It’s one of the defining stories of the midterms: An explosion of Democratic women running for office in record numbers and outperforming male rivals in primaries, potentially reshaping the party for years to come,” NBC News reports.

“Behind the scenes, Democratic women are looking to fuel the trend by expanding their reach within another historically male-dominated field: Political fundraising.”

“Over several cycles, donors have helped lay the groundwork for a national network of women’s ‘giving circles,’ an informal organization in which mostly upscale members pledge a minimum amount of cash toward candidates for an election cycle. The model is adapted from the philanthropy world, where similar groups pool together charitable donations.”

Atlanta Journal Constitution: “The race for governor between Stacey Abrams and Brian Kemp is a warm-up for the 2020 presidential election and a historic test of whether Georgia is a battleground state in President Trump’s bid for a second term.”

“The duel between the two longtime rivals is poised to attract tens of millions of additional dollars, visits from a constellation of political stars and even more attention from national media casting the race as a litmus test for the presidential contest over the next 100 days.”

“The candidates have little choice but to nationalize the race. Kemp won a landslide victory over Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle last week thanks to Trump’s endorsement, and the president and other leading GOP figures have a direct stake in making sure Kemp prevails in November.”

“The lawyer nominated to run the Superfund toxic cleanup program is steeped in the complexities of restoring polluted rivers and chemical dumps. He spent more than a decade on one of the nation’s most extensive cleanups, one involving Dow Chemical’s sprawling headquarters in Midland, Mich,” the New York Times reports.

“But while he led Dow’s legal strategy there, the chemical giant was accused by regulators, and in one case a Dow engineer, of submitting disputed data, misrepresenting scientific evidence and delaying cleanup, according to internal documents and court records as well as interviews with more than a dozen people involved in the project.”

A new CBS News poll finds that 49% of Republicans say that hearing criticisms of President Trump on the Russia investigation only makes them want to defend him more. Another 42% say they want to wait to see what the facts show.  (Hint: that’s the more important stat here).  

Seventy percent of Republicans call the Russia investigation a “witch hunt,” while 77% of Democrats call it a “critical” matter of national security.

“The Trump administration is urging American-backed Afghan troops to retreat from sparsely populated areas of the country, officials said, all but ensuring the Taliban will remain in control of vast stretches of the country,” the New York Times reports.

“The approach is outlined in a previously undisclosed part of the war strategy that President Trump announced last year… It is meant to protect military forces from attacks at isolated and vulnerable outposts, and focuses on protecting cities such as Kabul, the capital, and other population centers.

New York Times: “A Wesleyan Media Project analysis of national advertising data from Kantar Media/CMAG also shows Republicans are rarely bragging to voters about the economy’s strength.”

“Republicans have reason to doubt the efficacy of an economic message in hotly contested midterm campaigns, which have historically been referendums on the sitting president. The last time the economy grew 4 percent in a quarter was in the middle of 2014, under President Barack Obama, just before Senate Democrats lost nine seats — and their majority — that fall.”

“For their part, Democrats are weaponizing the tax law — which is mired in only middling popularity — against Republican opponents in some key races. Their critiques have been fed by government statistics showing that wages for typical American workers have not risen over the past year, after adjusting for inflation, even though Republicans promised the tax cuts would unleash rapid wage growth.”

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

46 comments on “The Open Thread for July 30, 2018

  1. I’m a firm no on Joe Biden.

  2. I’m a firm yes on Sally Yates.

  3. I’m all in on Ocasio Cortez.

    Just watch this:

    Face of your party, folks. Dumber than a box of rocks and with the crazy eyes as a bonus.

    And this is a softball interview.

    I think she might make a few Republican ads this cycle. The gift that keeps on giving. Pelosi was useful to us for a long time but I think she can retire now.

    • Yeah, you guys don’t get to talk about fiscal responsibility or ask how things get paid for. That’s just another lie to add to your list.

      The Trump administration expects the annual budget deficits to rise nearly $100 billion more than previously forecast in each of the next three years, pushing the federal deficit above $1 trillion starting next year.

      • I’ll take a little bit of a deficit increase for 3+% annual GDP growth.

        • Really? Then why weren’t you cheering Obama for this?

          Never mind. I know I can’t have an honest discussion with a cult member.

          • Obama never got there. Not even halfway.

            Average GDP growth 2009 – 2016: 1.5%.

            Never mind. Why should I bother presenting actual facts to a cult member.

            • Actual facts:

              GDP growth hit or surpassed 2 percent on a quarterly basis across more than a dozen quarters under Obama, and it surpassed 3 percent eight times. As the Washington Post’s Philip Bump points out, quarterly GDP growth has exceeded 5.1 percent in 37 months since Ronald Reagan took office in 1981, including four times under Obama.

              —5.1% Q2 2014
              —4.9% Q3 2014
              —4.7% Q4 2011
              —4.5% Q4 2009

    • cassandram

      The Face of the GOP, folks. Neo-Nazi and Holocaust denier. And he is one of 5 actually standing for office. The really bad news is that xyz is likely quite proud of this. Still these guys will be meeting in front of the White House soon, so the entire crew will be tied into the Culture of Corruption.

      • Nobody in the GOP has done anything but condemn this guy. He has no shot of winning and will never take office.

        Ocasio Cortez will win in a walk and is being talked about as the savior of the Democrats – by a lot of Democrats. She will be in the House for years if not decades. She already has made numerous appearances on national media and revealed a stunning level of cluelessness.

        As much as you might wish it to be so, there is no comparison between the two, except for the fact that the guy is probably just as dumb as she is.

        • She will hurt the Democratic Party about the same amount that Louis Gohmert and Steve King have hurt Republicans. The only people who go on about stuff like that are the people who already are going to vote how they’re going to vote. Duh.

          You only come here when you’re scared, and all the regulars here know it.

        • cassandram

          The GOP is *voting* for these guys. It’s how they got to primaries. I’ll take someone who wants to make sure we all have affordable health care, good schools and well cared for seniors over a white supremacist any day of the week.

  4. I know math probably isn’t your strong suit, but there is a reason that annualized GDP data is a much better measure of the strength of the economy than quarterly data.

    • I know accurate history isn’t your strong suit, but when Obama took office the economy was a flaming bag of dogshit on the front porch. The Dow dipped below 6,000. But I guess that went down your convenient memory hole.

    • There’s also nothing in that chart that shows “annualized data” is better. That’s a chart of actual annual data, not projections, and it makes the point about the economy Obama inherited.

      Also — again with the convenient lack of memory — Obama was not able to enact any of his programs because Democrats didn’t control Congress. Trump cannot enact most of his programs even with GOP control of Congress.

      But they’re got the hackers in place for the midterms, so I guess it will all work out.

      So tell us — why are you such a shill for the party of destructive dickishness?

      • Honestly? Probably because I started voting Republican in 1988 and never broke the habit. Dad was pretty much country club Republican and they say the best predictor of future voting habits is your parents.

        The Republican platform generally aligns better with what I think is good for the country than the Democratic platform does. This tendency accelerated during the Obama years and has not started to swing back the other way.

        Would have considered a reasonable Democratic alternative to Trump but didn’t get one, and I like what Trump has done so far.

        • I should probably say Dad was more of a chamber of commerce Republican than country club. Dad only played public courses and was in the industrial league. Edged a little bit more towards blue collar.

        • “I like what Trump has done so far.”

          Which is what exactly? I mean, what has he actually accomplished?

          • 1) Gorsuch + a shitload of other conservative judges.
            2) 3.2 trillion dollars in tax cuts.
            3) Killed 1000s of pages full of Obama bullshit regulations/red tape, gutted Dodd Frank, reined in CFPB.
            4) Consumer confidence, business confidence and many other economic indicators at levels not seen for nearly two decades.
            5) DJIA up over 5000 points since his election.
            6) Pulled out of circle jerk Paris Climate Accord.
            7) Pulled out of ridiculous Iran deal Obama brokered.
            8) Pounded ISIS into submission.
            9) Brought together leaders of North and South Korea and laid groundwork to end Korean War.
            10) Met with Kim Kardashian in the Oval Office.

            • cassandram

              So it’s: take credit for Obama accomplishments, destroy Obama accomplishments and bullshit. Hang on to that list, This is why history will record this guy as The Worst President Ever.

              • Obama did nothing, but give us higher insurance rates and separate this country!

              • Shorter Cassandra – “Damn, that’s a pretty good list. I got nothing.”

                • cassandram

                  This would be so much more entertaining if you knew how to play this game or at least had some wit. Apparently our wingnut commenters have not graduated from NaNaBooBoo yet.

            • 1) How does this benefit you?
              2) That he hasn’t paid for and never will.
              3) Why would you want to empower banks to fuck over consumers? Are you a bank executive? If not, why would you want this?
              4) Confidence comes and goes. Will you change your mind when it wanes?
              5) DIJA went up far more under Obama. Worthless measure, though, and of value to you only if you are heavily invested in the stock market. Are you? If so, then it makes perfect sense to vote Republican. The question then becomes, Why are you here?
              6) It’s a circle jerk because it doesn’t go far enough?
              7) Ridiculous why? Seemed no better or worse than most such deals.
              8) If this were remotely true he’d brag about it every day. It’s not.
              9) Again, you are badly misinformed. Like everything else he does, it was all for show. Perhaps you’ve missed the fact that NK has kept right on keepin’ on.
              10) This is like one of those jokes about only being able to off one of them.

              • 1) Conservative judges = less legislation from the bench
                2) I think it will, and in any event the less of my money going to the government, the better
                3) I think the term you are looking for is “not punish banks for consumers that foolishly overextend themselves”
                4) If the Democrats elect a president that pushes a similar pro-business agenda, I’ll think about voting for them. Unfortunately for Democrats, that hasn’t happened in a while.
                5) I’m invested enough in the stock market to hopefully do well in retirement. That’s one of the reasons I vote Republican. Mostly here just to torque the loony fringe a bit. Most of you reliably rise to the bait.
                6) Circle jerk because it was basically an extortion scheme for third world countries to siphon money from the first world at the behest of rich white guilt liberals.
                7) Because it basically paid out cash to fund terrorist activities.
                8) Haven’t read that much about Syria for a while, have we?
                9) No other president has made this much progress in ending this conflict.
                10) Who makes jokes like that?

                • delacrat

                  August 1, 2018
                  1) How does this benefit you?

                  August 1, 2018
                  1) Conservative judges = less legislation from the bench

                  xyz, Since you don’t know how less case law benefits you, just say you don’t know.

                • 1) Nope. Not even close. Striking down laws is how “legislating from the bench” works, and conservative judges do it just as often as liberal ones do. But thanks for demonstrating that you’re not familiar with data that doesn’t come from propaganda sources.
                  2) Your belief in tax cuts paying for themselves shows the same thing you demonstrated on #1.
                  3) Wells Fargo opened accounts for people without telling them, then charged them for it. Without CFPB they’d still be doing it.
                  4) Why does making businesses follow the law “anti-business”? You realize, one would hope, that the laws exist because without them businesses would dump their waste wherever they want. We enacted the laws after decades of letting them do whatever they wanted, and as a result we all have PFOA in our livers.
                  5) I’m probably far more invested in the market than you are, as I’m already living on it in retirement. You’re just wrong about Republicans being better for business. Look it up. Not that it’s causal, but the market historically does much better under Democratic presidents.
                  “Mostly here just to torque the loony fringe a bit. Most of you reliably rise to the bait.” This is a sign of deep insecurity.
                  6) Read and learn:
                  7) No, that’s not what it basically did. It gave Iran the money we seized from the it. What it does with the money is its business, but your simplistic formulation indicates that Islam is another topic on which you are uninformed.
                  8) Speak for yourself.
                  9) This one hasn’t done anything about ending this conflict, either. Again, you need to find news from outside the bubble.
                  10) Seriously? You’ve never heard of rape, marry, kill? That I find hard to believe. But, for the record, if I only have one bullet I’d try to get them to stand back to back.

                  • 1) No – legislating from the bench is the party that is not having much success with it’s electoral agenda does. That would be your party.

                    And legislating from the bench is not just about striking down laws. Hint: A lot of things that get appealed never get heard.

                    C’mon Alby. Hopefully these are just your warmup pitches. You’re not missing many bats here.

            • “3) Killed 1000s of pages full of Obama bullshit regulations”

              Name one. Just one. Provide justification why that one regulation should have been rescinded.

              Most people just parrot what they hear regarding the regulations. Are you the exception?

              • Two biggest ones are repealing the Stream Protection rule which was a ridiculous overreach, and the Clean Power Plan, which is proving to be unnecessary as normal economic forces (cheap natural gas via hydraulic fracturing and advanced drilling techniques) are already changing our energy mix for the better.

  5. “I like what Trump has done so far.”

    Which is what exactly? I mean, what has he actually accomplished?

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