He Never Said 'Mexico.' Wonkagenda For Fri., Jan. 11, 2019
Morning Wonketariat! Here's some of the things we may be talking about today.
Rather than look like a big, fat loser who can't keep his promises, the Trump administration is getting ready to declare a national emergency, raid billions in disaster relief funding, and force the Army Corps of Engineers to start building his damn wall within 45 days. With more House Republicans backing Democratic spending bills to reopen away from Trump, press wizards seem to think Trump would then end the government shutdown in order to save himself from defections and inter party revolts. With Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell cowering the in the cloak room, yesterday Trump murdered a plan by Senate Republicans to end the government shutdown, and reattached a leash to Sen. Lindsey Graham's neck. The WSJ points out Mitch McConnell has remained largely absent, Later today Democrat's intend to introduce emergency legislation to block Trump's attempt to steal the power of the purse.
Federal workers will receive pay stubs today with $0 on them today, forcing many to start selling whatever they can on Craigslist, eBay and Facebook. The AP is now reporting that DC area food banks have seen so many furloughed federal workers and contractors that they're beginning to run out of money. And throughout flyover country, desperate farmers counting on federal loans and bailouts are about to go under. Rather than reopen the government, the administration is now asking for a wishlist of federal services that need to be funded, like food-stamp benefits, tax refunds, and flood insurance programs. #MAGA
In yet another taste to things to come, around 80 US government websites, ranging from NASA to the DOJ, are now insecure or offline thanks to Trump's shutdown. Since there's nobody around to renew the website security certificates, some of the .gov addresses are at best insecure, jeopardizing payment portals and remote access services. This has also stalled updates to the World Magnetic Model -- which is used by the DOD, cellphones, and other gizmos that require geo-location data -- because there's nobody at NOAA's Geophysical Data Center to tell electronic toys where the hell the North Pole is today and why it's wobbling like a drunk in an old English novel.
During a field trip to Texas, Trump claimed he never said Mexico would pay for the wall (he did, over 200 times), but rather that they would pay "indirectly, many, many times over" via his NAFTA 2 deal that is unlikely to pass Congress (or the Canadian and Mexican legislatures). The only stuff in that deal is some nonsense about the Canadian milk mafia, kickbacks for sportsball, and some shady wording for the auto industry.
Roll Call notes Trump has bitched about stealing from military coffers for the wall as recently as September, but none of that matters now that Trump is dead set on getting someone else to pay for his wall.
After Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg missed a few days so she could beat the shit out cancer (again), the Trump administration started telling its allies to prep for another fight for a SCOTUS seat. However, reports of the notorious RBG's impending demise are greatly exaggerated, according Dr. Raja Flores, chair of thoracic surgery at Mt. Sinai Hospital. [Morning Maddow]
A number of House Democrats are privately telling Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to dial it back a notch, noting that being a Twitter star and a member of congress are different jobs. Politico reports a number of House Democrats, including members of the progressive caucus, are advising her to hold off on singlehandedly trying to remake the party before she's figured out how to find the cafeteria, Rep. Raúl Grijalva reminding everyone that she's "part of the family."
Rep. Donna Shalala has been named to the House Rules Committee, and she's not wasting any time coming for the throats of Republicans. She's not about to stand for Republican attempts to use the courts to rip apart healthcare laws, causing Rep. Tim Burchett to comment, "She'll smile as she's cutting your throat."
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is going to Iowa shake hands, kiss babies and do whatever convinces people in corn country that their obscenely early caucuses are still important. Gillibrand's staff(/campaign) won't say if she's running, but #ShesRunning.
In an an apparent effort to one-up all the other politicos broadcasting the most mundane and uninteresting portions of their life, Beto went to the dentist and live streamed his teeth cleaning. Beto used the moment to highlight the story of his dental hygienist, Diana, a Mexican-American who lives in El Paso.
Dark horse 2020 candidate Andrew Yang believes in the concept of a universal basic income so much that, if elected, he's promising to give people between the ages of 18 to 64 $1,000 a month. Yang tells CNBC he is testing the theory on a struggling New Hampshire family. The idea centers on fears that robots will kill traditional income models (IE: jobs), but a UBI is way more complicated and controversial among nerds than universal healthcare.
Some Texas GOP officials are livid that Dr. Shahid Shafi, A MUSLIM, will represent their party in Tarrant County, Texas. A vote was held to oust Shafi from his leadership position on the grounds he might be a secret liberal, since a Muslim couldn't possibly represent Texas Republicans. It failed miserably, 139 to 49.
Apparently US forces in Syria are pulling out after all. A US coalition spox didn't give any details about the third major shift in US foreign policy in less than a week, saying only that we had "begun the process," and adding that the military would give no further updates on "specific timelines, locations or troop movements." So long, and thanks for all the fish.
Thousands of people have signed a useless Change.org petition to merge North and South Dakota into a new state called "MegaKota." The creator of the petition, Dillan Stewart, says it would be "pretty cool" adding, "maybe Puerto Rico can be a state and we won't have to change our flag."
And here's your morning Nice Time! BADASS PENGUIN CHICKS!
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Dominic is a broke journalist in Chicago. You can find him in a dirty bar talking to weirdos, or in a gutter taking photos.