Wednesday Open Thread

“In order to govern, the question is not to follow out a more or less valid theory but to build with whatever materials are at hand. The inevitable must be accepted and turned to advantage.”

–Napoleon Bonaparte

57 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Diogenesdemar says:

    Does anyone have the NH primary comparison turnout numbers from 2016 and this cycle?

  2. harrydoby says:

    Here is the expert assessment of the problem with Trump’s interference in DOJ matters (with the full cooperation of he-who-needs-to-be dis-Barr-ed).

    Walter M. Shaub Jr., the former head of the Office of Government Ethics, likened Tuesday’s actions to those in countries with authoritarian regimes.

    “A corrupt authoritarian and his henchmen are wielding the Justice Department as a shield for friends and a sword for political rivals,” Mr. Shaub said Wednesday in a Twitter post. “It is impossible to overstate the danger.”

    Mr. Holder, who was Mr. Obama’s first attorney general, said in a Twitter post just after midnight on Wednesday, “This affects the rule of law and respect for it. Unprecedented.”

    He said, “Do not underestimate the danger of this situation: the political appointees in the D.O.J. are involving themselves in an inappropriate way in cases involving political allies of the President.”

    • Duke Cox says:

      7th District Judge,  Frank Easterbrook released a rebuke of Barr for ignoring a court order in an immigration matter.

      It appears that, now that his mob colleague, Mitch McConnell, has effectively helped him castrate the Senate, our illegitimate president is ready to subdue the independent courts.


    • MattC says:

      No one cares.
      President tells AG how high to jump – shocking.

      • harrydoby says:

        The Editorial Board of the New York Times begs to differ:

        This is alarming behavior, even by the debased standards of this president. Mr. Trump openly interfered in the trial and sentencing of one of his oldest and staunchest allies, and his attorney general — who could, on such occasions, be mistaken for Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer — was more than happy to do his bidding.

        A spokeswoman denied that the Justice Department was taking orders from the president in recommending the lower sentence, a claim Mr. Trump undermines every time he opens his mouth. On Tuesday, he announced that he has an “absolute right” to tell the Justice Department what to do.

        No, in fact, he does not. The Constitution compels the president, among other things, to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” Since Mr. Trump has described that document as “like a foreign language,” we’ll take this opportunity to inform him that this clause does not give him the authority to run the Justice Department like a goon squad at one of his failed casinos.

  3. Diogenesdemar says:

    If you haven’t seen the recent NOVA broadcast Polar Extremes — very highly recommended.

    The future of planet Our Only (so far) is writ large and clear, all over and over, throughout the factual historical record stored here on planet Earth.

    Two words:  “Car Turds” …

  4. ParkHill says:

    WOTD from Matthew Yglesias at Vox: “Mainstream Democrats shouldn’t fear Bernie Sanders

    Lots of interesting points in this article about Sanders. I think the main one is that Sanders has a long legislative record showing that he is more of a “New Deal FDR Democrat” than anything. His actual record shows consistency of his views, and that he has supported mainstream Democratic legislation, even bills like Obamacare that some would consider watered-down.

    The overall read is that he would likely continue to push FDR social programs, constrained by a legislature that is more moderate than he is. 

    One area in which he may have an impact is foreign policy, where the President has more leeway, and where Sanders has long advocated for a less aggressive military posture. One example is the Iraq war, where Sanders was vocally opposed to the establishment (Dems & Reps) consensus view. 

    • Diogenesdemar says:

      Really, my only fear is also my biggest — that he won’t win against you know who . . .

      It’s not the Democratic voters I’m concerned about here. I’m pretty sure America would have survived, somehow, if FDR hadn’t won, but I’m not so sure about our surviving Ttump II

      . . .WWFDRD?

      • MattC says:

        But there are reasonable people who will tell you that John Nance Garner and Giuseppe Zangara may have ended the Republic because if either was successful, no FDR and no New Deal.

        Probably also WW2 goes differently.

    • Duke Cox says:

      As I mentioned before, the hysteria and rampant pearl clutching, by some, at the prospect of a "President Sanders" is based on the notion that he could snap his fingers and suddenly convert the US into a socialist state. That is nonsense.

      We need a president who will energetically lead us away from the oligarchy being built by the Fraudulent Billionaire and his real billionaire cabinet. We need a candidate who will excite and lead America into the future…not into the past.

      The constant whining about " democratic socialism" and the utter certainty that they are right that our salvation is to be found in the hands of another moderate corporate acolyte, are wrong-headed, short-sighted, and dangerous.

      You don't like the sound of "President Sanders"….?

      If Trump wins in November, you may someday have the pleasure of getting to know "President Huckabee Sanders".

      You can't stop a steamroller with flyswatters…you have to build your own steamroller.  Bernie can win. Biden is done. Buttigeig is bought. Bloomberg is bullshit.

      If Warren or Klobuchar pull it off …great. But I suggest some of my MOTR colleagues start trying to think about what you can like about Bernie…not what you hate. 

      As Madcow sez…

      Vote Blue…No Matter What.


      • MADCO says:

        You know what we call Klobuchar if she finishes third in every primary?

        Senator Klobuchar.

      • The realist says:

        Duke: "You can't stop a steamroller with flyswatters…"

        I believe this is what so many Dems are missing right now. This is not – and cannot be – a typical Democratic Presidential race as we've seen in past years. You have to take Trump on in the same way he operates – attack and weaken, attack and weaken. And you don't (ever) need to be on the defensive with him – only offensive. 

        • Duke Cox says:

          I agree. But, it does no good to attack Trump directly. That is HIS game…and he is good at it.

          The Dems need to pick off his enablers one by one. There may be a handful of senators who genuinely thought he would back off and feel chastened. Obviously, he came away with a different conclusion.

          If the House will get busy coaltion building with the remaining people of integrity in the courts and the media, they can investigate and intimidate his orcs. Jim Jordan, Yertle, Barr, etc. They can go after anyone who continues to support this enemy of democracy. 

          But you aren’t going to defeat him within the framework he is corrupting.

      • MattC says:

        Duke – You got this.

  5. Pseudonymous says:

    By the way, for folks who talk about Pete's plan for healthcare.  You are aware, right, that it rests on a version of the individual mandate– the thing that makes you pay a tax if you don't get health insurance.  That feature has been deemed untenable in its current state when the law expected to charge $695 per year.

    Pete's plan moves that to some thousands. (Based on an 8.5% of income cap vs. Obamacare's 2.5%)

    Pete's plan is mandatory insurance, not an option to have insurance, and, if you haven't been paying premiums all year, you have to pay them all retroactively at the end of the year.  After all, you were "insured."

    • Diogenesdemar says:

      Look, I get the fact that people (too damn many) are single-issue voters, with single-issue fixations, or are swayed in their final decision by a single issue, but WTF dude?

      ”Plans,” “plans,” and “plans” . . .  pffft, pffft, and pffffffffffffffffffffffft!!

      Whada’ we doing here — trying to select a President or a new hospital CEO ???!!!

      . . . Fuxsakes I really hate the primaries. 

      • Pseudonymous says:

        I struggle to afford the costs of dealing with multiple, heritable, chronic illnesses from which I suffer– a couple of which could end my life before I get to Medicare age.  Whey wouldn't I talk about this issue?

        Also, I've spoken about many other issues in the lead-up to this campaign.

        • Diogenesdemar says:

          Your personal concerns are completely valid.

          I too am at an age where my immortality is ended, and my concerns about my medical conditions, and likely medical conditions, are more than just concerns, but now are also starting of affect and circumscribe my life choices and decisions.  Still . . . 

          . . . “I’m no good at being noble, but it doesn’t take much to see that the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.”

          There’s a few other voters who are gonna’ decide this, some of those who still have their immortality, and the concerns of one old fuck like me may not enter in their calculus, let alone the concerns I might have about any unlikely-to-be-enacted “plan” I prefer?


        • Voyageur says:

          I've been diabetic since 27 and am now 74.  Yeah, health care is important to me.


    • JohnInDenver says:

      For the folks who talk about ANY candidate's plans for healthcare — or all of them.  You are aware that the Administration will only suggest a plan, right? 

      And aware that Obama, with a 59 or 60 seat majority in the Senate and a strong majority in the House, and with personal popularity and a competent (or very good) staff, could not get his modest, Republican-inspired plan through the legislature until he watered down the mandate and abandoned the public option.

      Health care policy is important, and I can't tell you how happy I am that the ACA is in place until I hit Medicare age.  But cobbling together a plan with ANY likely version of the Senate in 2021-2024 is going to mean compromises galore.

      • RepealAndReplace says:

        “You are aware that the Administration will only suggest a plan, right?” 

        Actually, some are probably expecting an executive order to issue (you know, like Trump’s declaration of a national emergency to redirect money to his wall) if Congress balks at passing MFA.

        The problem with that is it ends up before the Supreme Court with Gorsuch and Kavanaugh fighting over who will write the 5-to-4 majority opinion striking down the EO which President Sanders or President Warren issues.

        “But cobbling together a plan with ANY likely version of the Senate in 2021-2024 is going to mean compromises galore.”

        Warren is likely to be open to compromise. (She’s already triangulated towards a sweet spot somewhere between MFA and the ACA.) Bernie is my way or the highway.


    • MADCO says:

      No one wants to talk about Pete’s taxes. Or marxist dad.
      He’s electable.

      Meanwhile – Trumps’ budget cuts $500B from Medicare spending.

  6. MichaelBowman says:

    Meanwhile on the 3:10 to Yuma… (JBS owns the feed yard between Yuma and Eckley)

    • Diogenesdemar says:

      Ttumpty better start making real nice to Bezos, and hope that Amazon soon figures out their China home delivery via drone of piggy parts, and other food products, or another one of Orange’s MAGAnificent plans will soon be coming to another mighty naught.

      Meanwhile, rich corporations reaping more government benefit assistance — whoda’ thunk it???!

  7. harrydoby says:

    If you trust Quinnipiac this far out from the election:


    Among all registered voters, Democratic candidates lead President Trump in general election matchups by between 4 and 9 percentage points, with Bloomberg claiming the biggest numerical lead against Trump:

    • Bloomberg tops Trump 51 – 42 percent;
    • Sanders defeats Trump 51 – 43 percent;
    • Biden beats Trump 50 – 43 percent;
    • Klobuchar defeats Trump 49 – 43 percent;
    • Warren wins narrowly over Trump 48 – 44 percent;
    • Buttigieg is also slightly ahead of Trump 47 – 43 percent.

    President Trump's favorability rating is underwater, as 42 percent of registered voters have a favorable opinion of him, while 55 percent have an unfavorable view of him. However, it is his best favorability rating since a March 7th, 2017 poll, when his favorability rating was a negative 43 – 53 percent.

    Like President Trump, the top four Democratic candidates in the primary are viewed more unfavorably than favorably. Warren has the worst net score (favorable minus unfavorable) among all registered voters, with Biden close behind. Biden's favorability numbers have been declining over the last year since his positive 53 – 33 percent favorability rating in a December 19th, 2018 poll. In today's poll:

    • Warren gets a negative 39 – 47 percent favorability rating;
    • Biden gets a negative 43 – 50 percent;
    • Bloomberg gets a negative 34 – 40 percent, with 25 percent who haven't heard enough about him;
    • Sanders gets a negative 44 – 49 percent;
    • Buttigieg gets a positive 36 – 32 percent, and 31 percent haven't heard enough about him;
    • Klobuchar gets a positive 32 – 22 percent, with 44 percent who haven't heard enough about her.


    • DENependent says:

      What did Quinnipiac say around this time in the last election? My research says they were not wildly wrong, but those numbers need error bars on them. Polling is not that precise.

      Quinnipiac Polls Clinton vs Trump, 2016

      Feb 4: Clinton by 5%, 46% to 41%.
      Feb 15: Clinton by 1%, 44% to 43%
      Mar 21: Clinton by 6%, 46% to 40%

      • Diogenesdemar says:

        Maybe Quinnipiac’s error was simply in their polling voters . . . 

        . . . and not the Electoral College???

        • DENependent says:

          Not what I meant.

          Those three polls bracket the actual national margin of 2% in 2016. It was probably within the margin of error. What I am saying is that polls need error bars because of the nature of polling.

          And that range covers everything from solid win to narrow enough to lose in the EC.

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