The Open Thread for 12/24/2018

Playbook: “Washington is digging in for an extended government shutdown, one that will last at least into next week, but some top lawmakers privately told us they expect it will go into January.”

“The Senate and the House have said they will not hold votes until Dec. 27. Time is on Democrats’ side. Republicans lose most of their leverage as Jan. 3 draws near. That’s the date Democrats take control of the House.”

Politico: “President Trump has quietly come down from his original $5 billion demand for a border wall to just $2 billion… Trump has also backed off his demand that Congress approve an actual border wall, instead suggesting a steel picket fence of sorts, the design of which Trump tweeted to widespread disdain.”

“Democrats, though, remain at zero money for Trump’s wall. Nil. Nothing. No money for a border wall or steel slats or anything remotely resembling the kind of ‘beautiful’ barrier that Trump wants to build. Democrats are OK with a ‘fence’ or more money for ‘border security,’ but any obstacle that Trump can call a wall is unacceptable.”

Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) issued a pointed warning about what he sees as the threat President Trump poses to American democracy, CNN reports.

Said O’Rourke: “The President calculates that by adding to the blizzard of bizarre behavior over the last two years and shutting down the government at Christmas, while his own party still controls each branch of it, the institutions that we need for our democracy to function (and to ensure no man is above the law) will be overwhelmed.”

He added: “But my concern for the country goes beyond the immediate pain and dysfunction that this shutdown will cause. Beyond even ensuring that this President is held accountable. What’s happening now is part of a larger threat to us all.”

“President Trump, angry over days of news coverage characterizing the resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis as a rebuke of the president, has told administration officials that he is considering removing Mr. Mattis from his job by Jan. 1, two months before he had planned to depart,” the New York Times reports.

“The president, a notoriously mercurial leader, has been known to float ideas among his aides only to then change his mind. But aides said he was furious that Mr. Mattis’s resignation letter — in which he rebuked the president’s rejection of international allies and his failure to check authoritarian governments — had led to days of negative news coverage.”

The Washington Post reports Mattis is out and deputy Patrick Shanahan will assume title of acting secretary.

That explains it.

“Two days before the 2016 presidential election, an Instagram account called @woke_blacks posted a message in support of long-shot Green Party candidate Jill Stein,” NBC News reports.

Said the post: “The excuse that a lost Black vote for Hillary is a Trump win is bs. It could be late, but y’all might want to support Jill Stein instead.”

“According to a report commissioned by the Senate, the account was a fake, part of the Russian campaign to sway the 2016 presidential election in favor of Donald Trump. The report was one of two that leaked this week saying the Russian effort to disrupt the election specifically targeted black voters and harnessed America’s top social media platforms. But the reports contained another finding that was largely overlooked — the Russians also focused on boosting Stein’s candidacy through social media posts like the one from @woke_blacks.”

According to GOP pollster David Winston, Trump’s focus on immigration during the 2018 midterm elections resulted in late deciders breaking for the Democrats by double-digits:  “Voters’ top four issues/news stories related to household and personal economics along with health care, but they were frustrated by campaign discourse that centered on the respective party bases and their issues. And we know that neither party’s bases are large enough to form a winning majority coalition.”

New York Times: “When President Trump grows frustrated with advisers during meetings, which is not an uncommon occurrence, he sits back in his chair, crosses his arms and scowls. Often he erupts. ‘Freaking idiots!’ he calls his aides. Except he uses a more pungent word than ‘freaking.”

“For two years, Mr. Trump has waged war against his own government, convinced that people around him are fools. Angry that they resist his wishes, uninterested in the details of their briefings, he becomes especially agitated when they tell him he does not have the power to do what he wants, which makes him suspicious that they are secretly undermining him.”

“Now, the president who once declared that ‘I alone can fix’ the system increasingly stands alone in a system that seems as broken as ever. The swirl of recent days — a government shutdown, spiraling scandals, tumbling stock markets, abrupt troop withdrawals and the resignation of his alienated defense secretary — has left the impression of a presidency at risk of spinning out of control.”

“President Trump, who has long believed that he is his own best adviser and spokesman, was forced to test that idea on Friday when few of his allies seemed willing to publicly share in his evident satisfaction with the tumultuous events that have buffeted the White House in the past few days,” the New York Times reports.

“As he lost the public support of those once willing to step forward on his behalf, Mr. Trump grew angry over his news coverage and told people close to him that he would be fine without Mr. Mattis. He rebuffed them for even expressing concern.”

“Mr. Trump also privately groused about having to postpone departure plans for his 16-day trip to Mar-a-Lago, his Florida resort.”

Politico:  “The trend could prove perilous for the president after Democrats assume control of the House in January. Should the House vote to impeach Trump, he will have to rely on an increasingly exasperated Senate GOP conference to prevent him from being thrown out of office.”

President Trump “has discussed firing Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell as his frustration with the central bank chief intensified following this week’s interest-rate increase and months of stock-market losses,” Bloomberg reports.

“Advisers close to Trump aren’t convinced he would move against Powell and are hoping that the president’s latest bout of anger will dissipate over the holidays… Some of Trump’s advisers have warned him that firing Powell would be a disastrous move.”

“Yet the president has talked privately about firing Powell many times in the past few days.”

“Still with the benefit (or curse) of an inside perspective, I must say that the instability and chaos in our government the past few days has been particularly pronounced — worse than at any point during my service in Congress, and really, my lifetime. Things are not well in the USA.”

— Outgoing Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), on Twitter.

“President Trump’s self-inflicted shutdown before Christmas has left Republicans with a debacle as their last act in control of the House. And now the party is even more worried about the outlook beginning Jan. 3, when Democrats take over,” Axios reports.

Said one adviser: “It’s a showdown, but one side has already lost.”

“For Republicans, the hell of this is that this could have been a celebratory week to a bleak political year: Trump yesterday signed a years-in-the making criminal justice reform bill, the First Step Act — an authentic bipartisan accomplishment that makes a true difference in the lives of tens of thousands.”

Jill Stein is a traitor and so is everyone who voted for her.

“Brett McGurk, the U.S. envoy to the global coalition fighting the Islamic State group, has resigned in protest to President Trump’s abrupt decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, joining Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in an administration exodus of experienced national security officials,” the APreports.

“Only 11 days ago, McGurk had said it would be ‘reckless’ to consider IS defeated and therefore would be unwise to bring American forces home. He decided to speed up his plan to leave in mid-February.”

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

3 comments on “The Open Thread for 12/24/2018

  1. “Jill Stein is a traitor and so is everyone who voted for her.” – delaware dem

    Whoa ?

    Is it “treason” to vote for anyone other than a Democrat ?

    • No, it’s treason in some people’s minds to find backing for your campaign from foreign nationals. So Merry Christmas, you shit-for-brains traitor.

      • Wow, December 25th and your on Blue Delaware calling someone a; “shit-for-brains traitor.” Think about that! Need those laughing emoji’s!

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