Open Thread for Tuesday, June 20, 2017


Not all that much out there today, but here’s what I’m looking at:

  1. Hard-fought House race in Georgia nears end as a referendum on Trump — Yeah, OK. But as I’ve said so many times before, it’s really none of my business whom the folks in Georgia want to sent to Congress.
  2. The SC 5th Congressional District election — I’m somewhat more interested in this one, although it’s apparently not as competitive as the one in Georgia (it would be nice to be surprised, however). Mostly what I know about this is the ads I’ve seen (which is always a lousy basis for making an electoral decision). And while I think Parnell’s have been rather silly, at least they show an original approach and don’t make me crazy the way Norman’s mindless “Ah’m a bidnessman and ah’m agin’ that Obama” approach. (Dang. There’s a particular ad I kept seeing last night that illustrated my point, and I’m not finding it…)
  3. Kasich & Hickenlooper: Another one-party health-care plan will be doomed to failure — I share this just to remind you that Kasich is the guy I wanted for president, and I’m not above saying “I told you so.” It’s interesting to see governors standing up and speaking out in the face of the Senate’s silence. You may also be interested in this interview on the subject with the independent governor of Alaska.
  4. How Could The Navy Destroyer Collision Happen? — That’s what we’d all still like to know.




45 thoughts on “Open Thread for Tuesday, June 20, 2017

  1. Bryan Caskey

    I thought a USN F/A-18E Super Hornet shooting down a Syrian Air Force Su-22 was sort of significant.

    In response Russia got sort of fussy and said they were going to “track” (using their SAMs) anything in the air west of the Euphrates river as a target.

    So we seem to be getting drawn into the Syrian Civil War just a little bit more. By the way, I forget – what is our goal over there?

    1. Bryan Caskey

      Which got me thinking: Off the coast of Japan, the USN is getting hit by cargo ships, and over in Syria, the USN is shooting Russian made Syrian fighters out of the sky.

      Busy times for the Navy, it seems.

    2. Brad Warthen Post author

      Yes, that’s a very big deal. And I should have included it, along with the death of Otto Warmbier. Both are challenges for the United States with huge security implications.

      The Syria is perhaps the most obvious.

      What is our goal? Keeping the Russians from helping an oppressive regime win one. Which is what we were doing in Vietnam. And that’s the weakness of our situation. If we aren’t prepared to WIN — driving on and taking Hanoi, going ahead and toppling Assad while driving ISIL into the ground — then perhaps our mission is doomed. Just trying to keep the other guy from winning is not a great recipe…

      1. bud

        You make a good argument to completely pull ALL our troops, planes and other assets out of the region. That’s the best of all the bad options.

        1. Juan Caruso

          Right, fear of things occasionally going wrong sems a stellar guidepost for the timid. Aside from a few of our more spineless leaders in D.C., what historically notable American leaders have ever been regarded as successful by basing their decisions on fear avoidance?

          There is little doubt in my mind that ex-Pres. Obama would gladly have adopted your advice, Bud.

          One hopes you cannot be serious, however. My goodness, you hardly seem to be one of those fanatical Libertarians.

  2. Bryan Caskey

    Oh, and I was doing a little bit of light reading this evening since the kids are out of town. I am reading the briefs filed in the gerrymandering case (It’s Gill v. Whitford, by the way).

    I’m starting with the appellee’s brief. The appellee is the winner at the lower level, so that’s the folks who succeeded in getting the gerrymandering rules invalidated by the three-judge panel. I didn’t know this particular fact about the Wisconsin districts and election history until reading the introduction:

    “In 2012, Republicans won a supermajority of sixty seats (out of ninety-nine) while losing the statewide vote.”

    I mean, I can sort of see why the Democrats are a bit miffed.

    They’re going around Wisconsin getting a majority of the total votes cast over the entire state, but because they’ve been put into just a few districts, it doesn’t really matter. Now, some of this could be attributable to Democratic voters congregating in urban areas (which would naturally put them all in the same district) but still…getting 60 of 99 seats and losing the statewide vote overall has to be maddening.

  3. JesseS

    So China plans on putting a naval base in Pakistan.

    a.) It seems the ramifications of TPT are happening quickly and probably not with results that will have the US’ best strategic interests in mind.

    b.) The Noam Chomsky types will never give Trump credit for wittingly or unwittingly being decidedly anti-imperialist. Instead they’ll say he was an imperialist in his heart so that made him worse (and next he will dismantle free speech and fire up gulags). Anything to keep their narrative that the US was the greatest force for evil in the history of the universe. Doubt the pro-Russian Berliner Intelligentsia will care either. Not that I’m praising Trump on this, I just find the inevitable hypocrisy interesting.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      First, I care little what Noam Chomsky types think. They sort of take a veering approach to reality. But I’m not clear on what it is they should give Trump “credit” for… I didn’t quite follow…

  4. Doug Ross

    It’s interesting to watch as the Republican candidate in Georgia won the race that SURELY was a referendum on Trump… and all the liberal chatterboxes suddenly go silent on Twitter. When you live in an alternate universe, it must be difficult to see when others don’t share your views. Democrats spent more than $40 million on another loss. Maybe that money could have been spent on, I don’t know, healthcare for poor people? jobs programs? Nah! That would be too easy to actually help people who need it. I’m sure they can eat printouts of the Daily Kos and Huffington Post if they get hungry.

    1. Scout

      In that race and in the SC one, Democrats got within 5 points or closer of the republican in districts that were drawn to be Republican and that Republicans previously won by much greater margins. Whether or not it’s because of Trump, clearly some Republicans in these districts have changed their mind.

      1. bud

        None of the 4 special congressional elections should have been close. All were. Still, moral victories mean nothing. The Dems should be favored to retake the house next year.

        1. Claus2

          ” The Dems should be favored to retake the house next year.”

          The Gamecocks should be favored to win the national championship in football next year.”

      2. Doug Ross

        Here’s what the Boston Globe says:

        ” Yes, it would have been helpful if he had a positive message of his own, and not just an anti-Trump one. But Ossoff raised more money than any other candidate running for Congress in the history of the United States. He ran endless numbers of television ads. He had thousands of volunteers that came in to campaign for him from across the country. Even more of them were making phone calls for him from wherever they lived. On the campaign trail he didn’t make any real damaging verbal mistakes. And yet in contest that Democrats called a referendum on Trump, Handel’s 4-point win over Ossoff was 1.5 percentage points higher than Trump’s victory there last November.”

        So despite what Democrats want to fool themselves into believing, there isn’t any great backlash against Trump. Every day he’s molding himself into the position while Democrats focus on how he shakes hands, what his son is wearing, and whether he used a harsh tone in a Tweet.

        When will Democrats realize that running an anti-Republican campaign is a losing strategy? Democrats offer no ideas, no leadership, nothing… it’s all “Trump is the devil”, “The rich are stealing your money”… This guy Ossoff wouldn’t even get on the single payer bandwagon which is one of the few policies that have a chance of flipping people. It has to be about what Democrats will DO versus just whining about Republicans and Trump. You lost in November because you ran the wrong candidate. Bernie had a better shot. What the Democrats fail to understand is that they need the equivalent of the Tea Party to force the party in a direction that represents their base. Hillary Clinton is not that candidate.

        1. Doug Ross

          This is what I suggest Democrats do:

          “Liberal groups like Vermont-based Democracy for America repeated lines so familiar, they could have come after Clinton’s loss in the general election.

          “The same, tired centrist Democratic playbook that has come up short cycle after cycle will not suffice,” DFA chairman Jim Dean said in a statement.”

          Single payer healthcare, reducing military intervention around the globe and shifting those resources to domestic programs like jobs and education, legalize marijuana and gay marriage… that’s a platform that will have a better shot. Why can’t a single Democrat push for that NOW in Congress?

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Jim Dean? Jimmy Dean? Love the sausages! Hey, I even liked him on “Daniel Boone.” Even though, inexplicably, he appeared as three different characters over the course of 14 episodes. Maybe they were going for a Peter Sellers vibe…

          2. bud

            It is interesting how Republicans can get so much mileage out of going after Pelosi but Democrats don’t get much mileage out of going after the far more odious Donald Trump. But to ignore him is not a viable strategy either. Given Trumps push for more troops in the ME seems like that would be a good place to start by asserting a dovish approach to foreign policy.

  5. Claus2

    Final Score: Republicans 4, Democrats 0.

    Kansas (Ron Estes), Montana (Greg Gianforte), South Carolina (Ralph Norman) and Georgia (Karen Handel).

    Do the Democrats still believe they’re going to take the House in 2018?

  6. bud

    In an interesting twist of irony one of the security guards who took down the shooter at the congressional baseball practice is a queer, black woman. Imagine that, an LGBTQ person saves the lives of a bunch of bigoted old white men who fight tirelessly to deny basic rights for people like her. Only in America.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Really? I’m not that familiar with Rep. Scalise’s record. In what ways does he “fight tirelessly to deny basic rights for people like her?”

      Or is that just your standard description for a Republican?

      1. bud

        Excerpt from the Dailykos:

        Scalise has been a leading opponent on the Hill of marriage rights for gay couples as a look at his record shows.


        Authored constitutional amendment to protect marriage. (May 2008)
        Voted NO on reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act. (Feb 2013)
        Amend Constitution to define traditional marriage. (Jun 2008)
        Protect anti-same-sex marriage opinions as free speech. (Sep 2013)
        State definition of marriage supersedes federal gay marriage. (Feb 2014)

          1. bud

            Nothing more than to point out what a great country we live in. People with dramatically different political views are willing to put their safety at risk to protect those who disagree. I’m sure congressman Scalise would have willingly defended Crystal Griner under similar conditions. Shouldn’t he also defend her personal choice to pursue happiness in her own way?

        1. Doug Ross

          I guess tirelessly means a couple votes and bills over a six year period three years ago. Yeah, that’s about right for government work.

    2. Doug Ross

      You left out the part where the shooter was a huge fan of Rachel Maddow. Obviously that means Maddow encourages people to commit violent acts.

      1. bud

        Huh? What does that have to do with the point I was making. I was trying to make a positive statement about a woman who helped protect a group of men who had dramatically different political views from her own. By what twist of logic did you make this gigantic leap to a Rachel Maddow reference?

        1. Doug Ross

          The same leap you took to connect the security guard to Scalise. A meaningless one. There’s no irony in what she did. She did her job.

          1. bud

            Doug, you kill me with your bizarre twists of logic. I merely pointed out an incident of irony, which it most assuredly is, by pointing out how she did her job by protecting a man who is diametrically opposed to her chosen lifestyle. Can’t you just accept that that is a good thing without all this tortured cynicism? Can you not see how this incident shows the good in people without blandly pointing out that “she did her job”? Or is your worldview so narrow that only rich people are worthy of praise. You are certainly coming off that way more and more with each passing day.

            1. Doug Ross

              I don’t agree with Scalise on gay marriage. But I don’t accept that he is one of the worst people on earth for having a personal opinion about that topic. He can try all he wants to prevent gay marriage based on his beliefs but he will end up failing eventually. It’s only a matter of time.

              Attempting to pass bills to try and define marriage as between a man and woman isn’t hate. It’s misguided. Unless you can show me evidence of Scalise actively harrassing gays publicly, I’m not going to brand him with the same liberal hyperbole you use.

              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                Which was my point.

                Saying Scalise has “dramatically different political views from her own” is fine, assuming that he does (I don’t know the woman’s political views, and I’m not going to make assumptions). Saying that he and his colleagues are “a bunch of bigoted old white men who fight tirelessly to deny basic rights for people like her” is beyond the pale, and just the kind of rhetoric that helped get Donald Trump elected…

                1. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Liberals really, really need to learn not to say, for instance, “John Doe hates” when what they mean is, “John Doe disagrees with me about something.” The resulting alienation is unnecessary…

                2. bud

                  By definition Scalise is a bigot since he pushes discriminatory legislation an a repressive anti LGBTQ agenda. He is alo Caucasian and 51 years old. By definition Ms. Griner disagrees with his bigoted agenda since she is a member of the group he aims to oppress. That’s the same as saying a slave is in favor of abolishing slavery. Perhaps middle aged white bigot would have been more accurate, but otherwise I stand by my original statement.

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    … and so it goes.

                    This is hopeless. I thought we were making progress when Bud switched to “dramatically different political views from her own,” but now we’re back to “bigot,” so I’m just dropping it and moving on…

                  2. The Id of Liberal Progressives

                    And when we really get down to it, shooting a middle aged white bigot isn’t really that big of a deal is it? I mean, it’s not that big of a loss, right? One less bigot to deal with, right?

                    I mean, he was just asking to be shot with all his intolerant views and stuff.

                    1. Bryan Caskey

                      Looks like a Democratic official in Nebraska was dumb enough to let himself be recorded saying he’s glad Scalise got shot and that he wished Scalise had died from the shooting.

                      Does everyone here denounce this? When will the Democrats stop this kind of rhetoric praising and encouraging violence?

                  3. Brad Warthen Post author

                    OK, I said I’m dropping it and I will, after this. But I must respond to: “By definition Ms. Griner disagrees with his bigoted agenda since she is a member of the group he aims to oppress.”

                    You really need to read this. And maybe this. Or this.

                    Being gay, or being a woman, or being black, does NOT mean that you automatically hold certain political opinions. It just doesn’t. And it’s startling how many liberals think that it does.

                    Human beings have brains, and they can think for themselves…

        2. Brad Warthen Post author

          ” I was trying to make a positive statement…”

          No, Bud, you weren’t. You were trashing the guy she was protecting — you know, the victim in all this. And what you said went way beyond having “dramatically different political views from her own.” That would have been proportional and accurate. Of course, it would make your point rather weak. Where would we be if cops chose not to protect people who don’t vote the way they do?

          Anyway, huzzah for all the security people who protected the congressmen. Quite right.

          And since you bring up demographics and personal sexuality, let’s add a special shout-out to Det. Kima Greggs. She’s good police…


          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Of course, it was not McNulty’s fault that Kima got shot, as Rawls so kindly and patiently explained to him, in one of the best scenes I’ve ever seen on TV.

            Oh, and by the way, Rawls is apparently gay, too. But that fact is neither here nor there…

  7. bud

    It’s wrong to shoot anyone even a white, middle aged bigot. I’m not going to tone down what I see as the truth just because some of you find it offensive. If I were to point out that George Wallace was a bigot no one would be clamouring to to suggest his views were different. I have to stay true to myself even if that makes people uncomfortable. Steve Scalise is a bigot. And I hope he makes a full recovery.

      1. bud

        Do Democrats really keep losing? Currently the 48 Democrats in the senate represent more people than the 52 Republicans. A Democrat has won 6 of the last 7 presidential elections based on the popular vote. Democrats won a majority of voters for the house in 2012 and nearly did so again in 2016 but only because of gerrymandering do the Republicans continue to control congress by wide margins. Even in 2014 when Republicans did win a sizable share of the popular vote they controlled a disproportionate share of the house seats. Republicans are competitive in presidential elections only because of the electoral college system. Finally, GOP enacted voter suppression that targets people of color contributes to the “success” of Republicans at all levels.

        Democrats are not going to get elected by shying away from calling it like it is. Republicans have been far, far more strident in slandering Democrats that Democrats could ever think of doing. Just go check out some of the comments on talk radio or Fox News. It’s not even close. Democrats by nature want to be inclusive and fair minded. It is just ridiculous to suggest Republicans are the party of inclusion and open minded thought. Just go review the things Donald Trump said during the election. The proof is there for anyone who wants to read it. That is who Republicans nominated and who they continue to support. So yes I will absolutely, stridently and unapologetically call the GOP out for bigotry, hatefulness and exclusion. It’s not a party that I can respect any longer. They have just gone too far for too long. For yet another example of this hatefulness, just check out Mitch McConnell’s diabolical approach to the health care bill in the Senate.

        What does all this mean? Sadly it means the Democrats, despite their tendency to want to see the good in all people, to empathize and embrace our differences have got to come out and fight. They can’t give in to these nonsensical proclamations that they are somehow the party of condescension and do not understand the plight of the working man. Those are charges leveled by Republicans who hope to create a soft target for their own strident, hate filled attacks. It is something that must be resisted.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          “It is just ridiculous to suggest Republicans are the party of inclusion and open minded thought.”

          Who would suggest THAT? Not I.

          But Democrats do claim to be that, and then use language that demeans, dismisses and demonizes people who disagree with them. See the irony in that?

  8. bud

    Just to clear up one last point that Brad raised:

    Being gay does not mean you automatically hold a certain political position.

    Fair enough. But would you not concede that the vast majority of the LGBTQ strongly support legalized gay marriage? In the specific case of Crystal Griner she is in fact married to a woman named Tiffany Gyar. I think it’s safe to infer from that that Crystal Griner supports legalized same sex marriage.

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