Friday Open Thread

“To go to the world below, having a soul which is like a vessel full of injustice, is the last and worst of all the evils.”

–Plato

38 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. RepealAndReplace says:

    Sheldon Whitehouse was talking last night about how McConnell gave Susan Collins a “hall pass” allowing her to vote for witnesses but only after he was convinced he had the remaining votes to block the witnesses.

    I don’t particularly like Moscow Mitch and I disagree with pretty much everything he stands for but you got to appreciate his ability to run the Senate and get what he wants done.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/30/us/politics/trump-senate-impeachment-trial.html?action=click&module=Top Stories&pgtype=Homepage

    Has there been anyone since Lyndon Johnson in the 1950’s who has controlled that chamber the way McConnell does?

    • MADCO says:

      I don't appreciate it.
      Not because he's on the wrong side and more than a little corrupt, but because I envision the Senate running differently.

      I think giving up cloture was a mistake.
      I think making the Senate a smaller, lesser version of some House subcommittee does a disservice to the Constitution and therefore to justice and aspiration.

      Dirksen would have been good
      Robinson and Mitchell did well.

       

      • Diogenesdemar says:

        Well, then, you gotta’ at least appreciate his having a wife from an extremely wealthy family, and their combined ability to funnel government monies to the familiy’s monied foreign business interests . . .

        . . . and vice versa (of course)?????! 

      • DENependent says:

        Do you really think that the second coming of Sen. Mitchell would actually be able to change how the Senate works? McConnell has changed how the Senate works, but it has not been all his doing. Almost the entire composition of the Senate has changed in the last 25 years. There are only six Senators left from before then by my count. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seniority_in_the_United_States_Senate ) Also the scrutiny of Senators and the threat of losing a party’s base to a primary challenge or them staying home in November due to ideological differences is much different now. How many words have been pasted up here noting that Gardner is stuck between his base and the electorate as a whole?

  2. ParkHill says:

    WOTD from Mahablog: "Can We Bridge the Dem Progressive/Moderate Divide? Please?"

    Great article on Mahablog riffing off EJ Dionne. One point she makes is that no matter how strongly Warren and Sanders push for it, Single Payer isn't likely to pass Congress. However,  a strong Public Option is more likely, and that will lead to Single Payer as the private insurance is unable to compete. This may be "incrementalism", but it is viable progress, as opposed to the failure of Corporate-Lite incrementalism:

    I have developed an allergy to the word “incremental.” In theory, it sounds reasonable. In practice, it means not challenging the status quo at all but settling for minor tweaks to policies that need serious overhaul. At this point whenever some candidate extols the virtues of “pragmatism” and “incremental change,” I hear, but don’t expect me to do shit. Perhaps lip service is paid to what a glorious thing we might do “some day,” but some day never arrives.

    This is the pattern we’ve been dealing with for a long time. If Republicans screw up enough Democrats may win the White House and even hold a majority in Congress for a brief time, and then in the next election the Right will take Congress back because voters are still frustrated with the status quo and Democrats don’t seem to be addressing those frustrations. And every Republican administration that has taken the White House back from the Democrats has been more extreme and more corrupt than the last one. This is the pattern that’s got to stop. But it won’t stop as long as the “restorationists” and “incrementalists” are in complete charge of the Democratic party and refusing to listen to those who want change to start happening now, not some day.

    Mahablog also points out quoting from Waldman:

    Consider health care. Sanders wants immediate passage of what would be the most generous single-payer system in the world. So what will happen when he puts out that plan?

    The answer is: basically nothing. Sanders believes he can pass Medicare-for-all through reconciliation, which requires only 50 votes instead of the 60 needed to overcome a GOP filibuster. But even if Democrats take the Senate, the absolute best-case scenario would get them 52 seats. And not only aren’t there 50 Senate votes for Medicare-for-all, there probably aren’t even 40 votes. Maybe not even 30.

    So what does a President Sanders do then? If history is a guide, he’ll compromise. For all we think about Sanders as a purist ideologue, in the Senate he has been happy to support things he considered half-measures, such as the Affordable Care Act, when it mattered. He has always had a pragmatic side. So after Medicare-for-all failed, he’d probably say, “Okay, let’s start with a public option.”

    In fact, at that point he’d probably take the position Warren has during the campaign: Do a public option first, and if it works well, in a few years the public and Congress will be more open to Medicare-for-all. And every other Democratic candidate, including “moderates” such as Joe Biden and Amy Klobuchar, has also committed to pushing a public option. We don’t know whether that can pass either, but any one of the Democrats would wind up in the same place.

  3. JohnInDenver says:

    More info on the GDP announcement — the Trump wonder economy had final 3rd and first estimate of 4th quarter both come in at 2.1%, The first estimate of annual GDP was 2.3%.

    CNBC reported 1.5% of that last quarter’s growth was due to the temporary drop in imports.  Trump’s threats on tariffs caused some businesses to stock up in advance, some to avoid purchases and some to shift to US suppliers.  The drop in imports meant the import-export balance to tipped to the export side, making the biggly-est contribution to our economy since 2009.

    Something call “The Daily Coin” printed a brief article pointing out “The dreams of 3%-plus economic growth in the US remained dreams in 2019, despite tax cuts and ballooning federal government spending, which are a stimulus. But the resulting budget deficit caused the gross national debt to balloon far faster than GDP grew. “

    • harrydoby says:

      And 2020 is not looking to get any better, even with another trillion dollar deficit to "stimulate" the economy.

      Most economists foresee even slower growth in 2020 of around 1.8%. That assumes no serious damage from the coronavirus or other threats.

      Even the U.S. elections for the White House and Congress could end up weakening growth if the campaigns were to further elevate uncertainty among consumers and businesses and thereby lead them to cut back on spending.

      Under Trump, GDP growth has fallen short of his campaign pledges.

  4. Pseudonymous says:

  5. itlduso says:

    Welcome to the New Rules when it comes to US campaigns.  Apparently, per Dershowitz, a president can cheat at his election as long as he believes his holding office is in the best interests of the country.

    I guess that would include all elections, and I'm thinking of Cory Gardner here.  Cory Gardner is now free from pesky campaign election laws since it is clearly in the best interests of Colorado and the US that he remain in office.  Of course, that would also hold true for the Dem nominee, say John Hickenlooper.  It would be political malpractice for either of those candidates not to follow the "New Rules" and do everything in their power/imagination to rig this election in their favor.

    Buh-Bye, America.

  6. kickshot says:

    Obituaries of politicos reflect how long impeachment lingers.

  7. Pseudonymous says:

    Some really interesting takes coming from the Republican senators:

  8. Pseudonymous says:

    Oh lord, they shook!

    DNC overhauls debate requirements, opening door for Bloomberg: The committee is eliminating the donor threshold, which had functionally barred Bloomberg from the stage.

    The Democratic National Committee is drastically revising its criteria to participate in primary debates after New Hampshire, doubling the polling threshold and eliminating the individual donor requirement, which could pave the way for former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg to make the stage beginning in mid-February.

    RIP to all the candidates who wasted time getting those tiny donations or left the race before the DNC decided that rules are for chumps!

    • RepealAndReplace says:

      All those tiny donations are still helpful to the chumps who solicited them. Jared Polis – who most certainly did not need money – nevertheless took in a lot of small donations to build a campaign database of supporters. That did not hurt him.

      • Pseudonymous says:

        Polis didn't run for President, so I'm not sure what that point is, but…

        2020 Democrats Are Literally Begging for $1 on Facebook: “Can You Chip In?”: Some may go bankrupt chasing the 130,000 donors the DNC requires to make the debate stage.

         

        • RepealAndReplace says:

          Collecting names and contact information of supporters is good whether you are running for dog catcher or president.

          Are you really that frightened of Bloomberg?< Look at the bright side, Pseudo. When Biden is the nominee, you and the Bernie Bros will have something to complain about. Altogether now: THE SYSTEM IS RIGGED!/p>

          • Pseudonymous says:

            A debate on climate change, quite possibly the most important crisis facing our globe, other than poverty:

            DNC:

            To amend these rules now, after having enforced them throughout this primary process, would be putting our thumb on the scale. As Chair of the DNC, I am committed to a fair, transparent, and inclusive 2020 Democratic primary process. And I take that commitment seriously. To that end, I concluded the DNC could not allow individual candidates to dictate the terms of debates or limit the topics discussed.

            We learned a valuable lesson in 2016 that, in order to ensure the strength of our party and the trust of our voters, the DNC must remain neutral in both practice and perception.

            The personification of Mr. Moneybags from Monopoly can't get into a debate…

            DNC: Ya, you betcha!

          • Pseudonymous says:

            As to rigging the contest, well…

            DNC members discuss rules change to stop Sanders at convention

            In conversations on the sidelines of a DNC executive committee meeting and in telephone calls and texts in recent days, about a half-dozen members have discussed the possibility of a policy reversal to ensure that so-called superdelegates can vote on the first ballot at the party’s national convention. Such a move would increase the influence of DNC members, members of Congress and other top party officials, who now must wait until the second ballot to have their say if the convention is contested.

          • MADCO says:

            You really want Trump, don't you?

            I mean you want Bill Welch or Jeff Flake or one of the reasonable ones. But T is your guy.

  9. MichaelBowman says:

    It looks like some has “the dress”
     

    Paging Ken Starr…

     

     

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