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Morning Wonketariat! Here's some of the things we may be talking about today.


With federal workers set to miss their second paycheck on Day 33 of Trump's shutdown, Trump still thinks he's winning the fight for his goddamn wall by being a reckless, incompetent and unwavering asshole. On Thursday the Senate will attempt to pass two bills, one with $5.7 billion for Trump's wall (or steel slats, or whatever), and a separate bill by Democrats to fund the government through Feb. 8. Trump's White House has become paralyzed thanks to his shutdown, according to the New York Times, forcing him to cancel field trips and policy proposals that probably wouldn't pass anyway. CNN points out that his White House hasn't even bothered to schedule a press briefing, declaring them all but dead on account of everyone being mean to Sarah Huckabee Sanders. As usual, Trump was up early shitposting about his stupid wall, tweeting, "BUILD A WALL & CRIME WILL FALL." How embarrassing.

The FBI Agents Association has released a 72-page report highlighting the agency's inability to operate under Trump's shutdown. The report details how agents have been forced to cancel training operations and grand jury subpoenas, jeopardizing investigations into gang activity, child sexual assault, sex trafficking, and drug trafficking. "Our mechanics," according to the report, "are cannibalizing out of service vehicles in an effort to replace flat tires." #MAGA

The Coast Guard's top brass is sick of their men and women doing their jobs without being paid. Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Karl Schultz appeared next to Master Chief Petty Officer Jason M. Vanderhaden and delivered a shocking condemnation of Trump's shutdown in a video posted on Twitter, calling it "unacceptable that Coast Guard men and women have to rely on food pantries and donations to get through day-to-day life as service members." The Admiral and Master Chief stop just short of injecting politics into their statement, but GODDAMN do they get close to a serious military offense! [Video]

The IRS has given permission slips for hundreds of workers to stay home, citing financial hardships, according to union leaders. The move is as much of a protest as it is a signal to the administration that civil servants aren't just doing this job for shits, giggles, and decent benefits.

Axios gossips that Trump's White House is mulling over giving green cards to 700,000 DACA kids. The scheme is being cooked up by a few Senate Republicans and Jared Kushner who seem to be under the impression that they can "go big" and force Democrats to agree to Trump's goddamn wall. Axios prattles on, adding Trump is afraid of what Hannity might think, and that most conservative members think Kushner is A Idiot.

The plastic wife of one of those plastic Trump kids told an obscure pro-Trump web series that she understands federal workers are suffering "a little bit of pain" during Trump's shutdown, but stressed Trump's wall is bigger than them, their bills, and their dignity because it's going to be a thing our grandchildren will look up at and think about making America great again. If we live long enough.

Iowa Republican Sen. Joni Ernst showed her constituents how to properly wrap their feet in bread bags during a town hall yesterday. As people complained about the government shutdown and worried aloud how to feed their families, Ernst griped about Nancy Pelosi and touted the importance of Trump's goddamn wall to a gaggle of farmers in a landlocked state that's literally 1,000 miles from the Mexican border.

We're NOT going to make jokes about the alleged abuse found in Sen. Joni Ernst's divorce filings. Though it is a little ironic that Ernst, whose entire political career is based on the idea that she's tough as nails, did an about face (in her bread bags) on Donald Trump when asked to be his VEEP because her asshole (ex) husband demanded she not be more successful than who and whatever the hell is and does.

Trump's White House has locked Stephen Miller in the basement with nothing but bags of Doritos and a crate of Mountain Dew, and told him to write two State of the Union addresses. Axios gossips that Trump is trying to force Nancy Pelosi to formally rescind the invitation for the SOTU. ABC News further reports that Trump's White House has requested a walkthrough of the House chamber from the Sergeant at Arms, but it's also prepping a Mad Libs style speech in the event he gives up and goes to flyover country for another rambling hate rally.

The State Department's top diplomat for European affairs, Wess Mitchell, tells WaPo he's quitting to spend more time with his family, not because Vladimir Putin has America on its belly. Politico notes that Mitchell has faced criticism from nerd world over his insistence that the US forge relationships with Russia-loving dictators and autocrats in order to keep them from getting deeper in bed with Russia.

In a stunning rebuke to Trump's nationalist nonsense, the House voted 357-22 to reaffirm US support for NATO, effectively barring Trump from pulling out of the alliance. As a reminder that Congress controls the purse strings, one provision endorses the 2014 Wales Defense Investment Pledge which makes member nations contribute 2 percent of their national income on defense.

Mitch McConnell is getting ready to steamroll more judges by changing the Senate rules so that it's easier to pack the courts. Surprise!

Republicans are ready to grumble after progressive Democrats were named to the House Oversight and Reform Committee. The all important committee tasked with investigating grift and fuckery now includes reps Ro Khanna, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Talib, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Committee chair Elijah Cummings tells Politico, "If I based the choices going on the committee based on what people said or their reputations or whatever, I probably wouldn't have a committee."

The 37-year-old Democratic mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg, has announced a 2020 exploratory committee. The openly gay Afghanistan veteran and Rhodes scholar released a video early this morning stating, "The reality is there's no going back, and there's no such thing as 'again' in the real world. We can't look for greatness in the past." Fun Facts: Buttigieg is the first openly gay presidential candidate, and his name is pronounced "Boot-edge-edge." #HesRunning

A new cost analysis has found that the average cost of insulin for people suffering from Type 1 has almost doubled over the last five years. Yr Wonkette is not a doctor, but we think this may have something to do with why there's so many reports about how people are rationing insulin, including federal workers.

The Los Angeles teachers union ended their strike yesterday after coming to an agreement with city officials. The LA Times reports teachers will receive a 6 percent raise and a reduction in class sizes, and schools will get more librarians and academic counselors.

Over in Denver, teachers have voted to strike for the first time in 25 years following the breakdown of talks with city officials. The Denver Post reports teachers are fighting for more advancement opportunities and a better pay scale, as well as incentives to work at high poverty schools.

Vanity Fair's Gabe Sherman gossips that Javanka want to "You're Fired" Rudy Giuliani for giving so many (ALLEGEDLY) drunken interviews that implicate Trump in high crimes and misdemeanors. The AP reports that Giuliani might not be going on TV at night anymore, and quotes Sam Nunberg alluding to Rudy's ALLEGED drinking problem. Yesterday Rudy told Dana Bash that Trump is "not pissed" he's making Robert Mueller's job easier every time he opens his mouth. Last night Trump's legal team told CNN Rudy wasn't being "You're Fired," they're just thinking about sending him to a farm in upstate New York.

A new Politico/Morning Consult Poll shows Trump's disapproval ratings are at an all time high thanks to his shutdown. According to the poll, 57 percent of voters think he sucks, and 54 percent blame him for shutting down the government. Additionally, only 7 percent of voters support giving Trump any money for his goddamn wall to end the shutdown.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders went on Hannity to whine about those MAGA snowflakes, complain about AOC, and bitch about Buzzfeed's reporting from the comfort of her safe space.

Speaking of Buzzfeed, they just published the Trump Tower Moscow plans, and they include perks for Putin, a spa by Ivanka, and a YUGE monument to Trump's impotence. The plans state Trump would get kickbacks at regular intervals, and a cut of all condo sales. But, there wasn't any collusion.

Robert Mueller is wondering what the hell Trump's 2016 campaign was doing with the NRA, according to former Trump lackey Sam Nunberg. It's no secret that Trump was super cozy with them, but the last two years have shown that the NRA, Trump, and Russia all seem to keep overlapping with one another. HHMMM...

And here's your morning Nice Time! 360° cougar boops!

Rescued Cougars Nose Boop 360° www.youtube.com

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Dominic Gwinn

Dominic is a broke journalist in Chicago. You can find him in a dirty bar talking to weirdos, or lying in a gutter taking photos.

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Ever since Ruth Bader Ginsburg successfully underwent surgery for lung cancer, conservative sites and message boards have been trafficking in a ridiculous theory that she is actually dead and that there is some kind of Weekend at Bernie's-esque conspiracy to pretend she is still alive.

Now, one would think that her recent public appearance at a concert held in her honor would have put this to rest. Alas, it did not. Rather, the "researchers" (as they hilariously call themselves) determined that the concert was actually her funeral.

No. Really. That was a thing.

I admit that I gave this a lot more thought than I should have. Like, how did they think this would go? How long did they imagine this would go on for? Why would they risk having a full on funeral concert, open to the press? Wouldn't they just have not bothered to have a funeral at all? And what did these people think was going to happen when it was announced that she died for real? Or did they think that we were going to pretend that she is immortal and thus never announce her death? It's so confusing!

Being very up to date on the "RBG is secretly dead!" nonsense, I was very curious about which way the "anons" would go with this when they announced her return to work on Friday. They did not disappoint!

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Yesterday afternoon, 45-year-old Gary Martin of Aurora, Illinois was let go from his job at the Henry Pratt Company, a factory that manufactures water valves. In response, he took out a pistol with a laser scope and began shooting at random. He killed five people and injured six others who were just trying to make it through the day at the water valve factory, and then the police killed him.

His mother said he was "stressed out." He "seemed fine" according to the clerk at the Circle K where he bought his cigars that morning. His neighbor thought he was a nice guy. Some people were surprised, others were not.

This kind of thing used to be shocking, but it's a story we're used to now. It gets repeated at least once a month. It's just what happens now, and we can't do anything about it because we can't do anything about gun control. This is, the Right has decided, just the price we all have to pay so they can stockpile guns for funsies, and take sexy pictures of guns shoved in their pants. This is the blood that waters their special tree of liberty.

It's fucking exhausting. And stupid. We shouldn't have to live this way. No one should have to live this way. But we do. Why? Because some day some yahoos might want to overthrow the government, which is (of course) a completely legal thing to do, and their "right" to do that must be protected. So it's literally just never, ever going to stop.

Gary Martin, like most other mass shooters, also had a history of violence against women. In 1994, in Mississippi, he was convicted for stabbing one. He should not have been able to get a gun after that. I would like to know how and why he was able to get that pistol with the laser scope that he killed five people with yesterday afternoon. Maybe someone gave it to him. Maybe he bought it somehow. Maybe someone forgot to do a background check. Maybe he bought it from someone who didn't have to do a background check.

I am so goddamned tired of writing this article. I am out of things to say.

UPDATE:

Martin apparently bought the gun after successfully applying for an Illinois state Firearms ID. That license was revoked after he applied for a concealed carry license and was rejected due to his prior felony conviction in Mississippi, but no one bothered to see if he still had a gun.

Via USA Today:

"During the fingerprinting and background process it was discovered that he had a felony conviction for aggravated assault out of Mississippi," [Police Chief Kristen] Ziman said. "It should be noted that this conviction would not have shown up on a criminal background check conducted for an FOID card."

That seems like it might be a problem, no?

It has also since been revealed that Martin had a domestic battery arrest in 2008 in Aurora.

[Sun-Times]

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