Open Thread

The Open Thread for September 3, 2018

Max Boot: “I have come to feel pessimistic lately about the future of America — demoralized because so many of my fellow citizens have endorsed a demagogue who threatens our democracy. But the McCain funeral offered a welcome moment of hope and grace —  a promise of deliverance — at a dark time in our nation’s history. It affirmed what McCain himself said in his farewell statement when he affirmed his ‘heartfelt faith in Americans.’”

“I despair today a little less after the uplifting spectacle of the McCain funeral. I left feeling, as no doubt the funeral’s architect and honoree intended, re-energized in my desire to fight for the principles that he dedicated his life to. I hope others feel the same way. Together we can restore the tarnished beauty of America.”

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) “criticized Republicans on Sunday for the unprecedented way they are conducting the confirmation process for Brett Kavanaugh,” the HuffPost reports.  Said Klobuchar: “It’s not normal because we are not able to see 100,000 documents because the administration has said we can’t see them, exerting their executive power.” She added: “I think that you could ask some very interesting questions about these documents that I’m unable to even say.”

Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) told CBS News that if he runs for president in 2020, he’ll do so as a Republican and not as an independent.  Said Kasich: “I’m a Republican.”

He noted that the Republican Party is in a “tug of war” but ultimately “worth fighting for.” However, Kasich also said while he supports his party in the midterms, there are a number of Republicans he called “dividers” who he will not be campaigning for.

“In the most exhaustive review undertaken of Elizabeth Warren’s professional history, the Boston Globe found clear evidence, in documents and interviews, that her claim to Native American ethnicity was never considered by the Harvard Law faculty, which voted resoundingly to hire her, or by those who hired her to four prior positions at other law schools. At every step of her remarkable rise in the legal profession, the people responsible for hiring her saw her as a white woman.”

“The Senate on Tuesday will begin what is expected to be a contentious but predictable Supreme Court showdown under a judicial confirmation process that appears to be almost irreversibly damaged and polarized,” the New York Times reports.

“The elimination of the 60-vote filibuster against most judicial nominees by Democrats in 2013 and by Republicans against Supreme Court nominees in 2017 has upended the Senate’s role of offering advice and consent on the president’s picks. It now allows the majority party free rein to push through nominees with little to no consideration for the views or objections of the minority — a major break in Senate tradition.”

Via Bloomberg, President Donald Trump said he’s considering a capital gains tax break by issuing a regulation that would index gains to inflation.  “There are a lot of people that love it and some people that don’t,” Trump said Thursday in an Oval Office interview with Bloomberg News. “But I’m thinking about it very strongly.”

[…] The capital gains change would slash tax bills for investors when selling assets such as stock or real estate by adjusting the original purchase price for inflation. The change has been a longtime goal of Trump’s top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, who says the policy would spur job creation and economic growth because people wouldn’t be taxed on what he’s called “phantom income.”

“Phantom income,” my ass. Capital gains aren’t some magical creation — they’re income, period. They already get favorable treatment. As usual, Trump (who just announced federal workers won’t get their raises) just wants to give another wet, sloppy kiss to the 1%.

ABC News reports that Brett Kavanaugh will refuse to recuse himself from any Russia-related or Mueller-related investigation issues that come before the court.  “At his Senate confirmation hearings next week, Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh is not expected to offer any commitment to recuse himself from cases involving investigations of President Trump, including a possible constitutional fight over a subpoena of the president, sources familiar with Kavanaugh’s preparations tell ABC News.

Senate Democrats say they plan to press Kavanaugh over recusal during questioning. “He doesn’t believe a sitting president should be investigated or prosecuted — in other words, is above the law,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Friday.

“Pledging a decision on a particular matter or case – including the decision whether to hear the case – for political reasons, like obtaining confirmation votes, would violate the bedrock constitutional principle of judicial independence,” said deputy White House press secretary Raj Shah, who is overseeing the administration’s Kavanaugh confirmation strategy.”


A grand jury, summoned by a citizen’s petition, will investigate whether Kris Kobach or his office engaged in “destroying, obstructing, or failing to deliver online voter registration” in 2016, the Lawrence Journal-World reported Friday.  Kobach, the Kansas Secretary of State and current Republican gubernatorial nominee, lost an appeal to the Kansas Supreme Court to review an appeals court’s ruling that Lawrence resident Steven Davis had met the legal requirement to summon a grand jury via petition.

It’s the latest in a years-long effort by Davis. Davis’ petition also seeks to investigate whether Kobach or his Secretary of State’s office were“grossly neglectful with respect to their election duties,” among other allegations, according the Journal-World.

New York Times: “During the Cold War, Washington feared that Moscow was seeking to turnmicrowave radiation into covert weapons of mind control.”

“More recently, the American military itself sought to develop microwave arms that could invisibly beam painfully loud booms and even spoken words into people’s heads. The aims were to disable attackers and wage psychological warfare.”

“Now, doctors and scientists say such unconventional weapons may have caused the baffling symptoms and ailments that, starting in late 2016, hit more than three dozen American diplomats and family members in Cuba and China. The Cuban incidents resulted in a diplomatic rupture between Havana and Washington.”

New York Times: “[Ivanka] Trump was asked to attend earlier in the week by Senator Lindsey Graham, a close friend of Mr. McCain’s who had cleared his invitation with the senator’s widow, according to a White House official who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Mr. Graham invited Ms. Trump after she expressed her condolences to him during a meeting on Capitol Hill this week.”

That is some unmitigated temerity on the part of Lindsay Graham.  Who the hell is he to invite someone expressly forbidden to attend by the deceased?

“The U.S. military said it has made a final decision to cancel $300 million in aid to Pakistan that had been suspended over Islamabad’s perceived failure to take decisive action against militants, in a new blow to deteriorating ties,” Reuters reports.

“The Trump administration says Islamabad is granting safe haven to insurgents who are waging a 17-year-old war in neighboring Afghanistan, a charge Pakistan denies.”

David Hogg, a Parkland school shooting survivor, has helped to raise nearly $10,000 through a GoFundMe campaign to put up a billboard featuring a 2016 tweet from Donald Trump attacking Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Axios reports.

Said the tweet: “Why would the people of Texas support Ted Cruz when he has accomplished absolutely nothing for them. He is another all talk, no action pol!”


Politico: “In the wake of South Carolina’s pivotal role in the past two competitive Democratic presidential contests, top Democrats are beginning to rethink their traditional approach to primary season, and focus their energy on the first Southern state to vote.”

“It’s a tacit acknowledgment of the essential role African American voters play within the Democratic Party as much as it is a nod to recent primary election results. With the racially diverse Obama coalition increasingly viewed as the key to the party’s future, the two early states that have historically overshadowed South Carolina — Iowa and New Hampshire — are suddenly looking outmoded to many Democrats.”

Said former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D): “The primary process in selecting a candidate will now not be determined by the Iowas and New Hampshires. It will be a long, drawn out affair, and the first big test will be South Carolina to see who is strongest among the party’s base, the African American base of the Democratic Party.”

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

2 comments on “The Open Thread for September 3, 2018

  1. That billboard Hogg got funded needs to go up allover Texas in the next few weeks.

  2. And HEY! Sacha Baron Cohen — you need to snap up the rights to this Maria Butina story STAT.

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