Run For The Border. Wonkagenda For Thurs., Jan 31, 2019
Morning Wonketariat! Here's some of the things we may be talking about today.
Trump has spent the past two days shitposting and screaming at national intelligence chiefs who kind of, sort of, called him a big, fat, liar in their sworn congressional testimony. Chuck Schumer is begging DNI head Dan Coats to hold an intervention with Trump, presumably to explain how he's fucked up US foreign policy, and how his gut instincts are really just bad gas. The rightwing echo chamber is now going out of its way to defend Trump's hot air, as if they have any idea what the hell the adults are talking about.
House Democrats released a border security bill that has ZERO Ameros for a wall shortly after Trump screamed into his phone that legislators were "wasting their time" if he didn't get his goddamn wall (or steel slats, or whatever). Trump has continued his threats to shut the government down (again) if he doesn't get his wall money, while the House Freedom crazies killed a largely symbolic bill to say that shutdowns are bad, and then threw a tantrum that almost shut down the House of Representatives. Politico reports that Trump's White House is now creating an contingency plan to declare a national emergency in order for mad king to get his goddamn wall without shutting down the government (again).
The Daily Caller has an interview with Trump that I didn't bother to read. More reputable news outlets tell me it's the usual batshit and rambling nonsense about Mexicans, conspiracy theories, and him screaming witch hunt this, and hoax that. Whatever, here's a guy who races marbles instead.
ICE agents are force-feeding six people with plastic nose hoses at an El Paso's Trump tent city after they persisted in a hunger strike. The AP reports that at least another 30 people from India and Cuba have been refusing food in order to protest threats of deportation and other types of verbal abuse from
prison guards ICE agents while they await their court proceedings. Attorneys say the Mexican detainees are being held in solitary confinement to punish them. #MAGA
WaPo reports that ICE set up a fake university in Michigan that advertised an ability help people get STEM jobs for about $10k a year, but it was part of an elaborate sting operation and pay-to-play scam. Now eight people are being brought up on conspiracy charges after they tried to help some of the immigrants apply for student visas. Sigh...
Mitch McConnell went on the Senate floor to bitch about House Democrats' new bill to restore the Voting Rights Act, force presidential candidates to release tax returns, end gerrymandering, and make Election Day a holiday. McConnell calls it a "power grab," unaware that that's literally what elections are all about.
New rules governing the VA health system say veterans who live more than 30 minutes from a VA health center will be allowed to just go to a private clinic and bill the VA. Conservatives are hoping this helps ease the massive clusterfuck they created for doctors and patients at VA facilities, but human beings note that this will further erode Uncle Sam's ability to provide even basic medical care to veterans throughout the country. Thanks, Trump.
Gabe Sherman gossips that the outskirts of Trumpworld is sick of the Brad Parscale, Trump's over-credited pubic-beard aficionado and 2020 campaign manager, pointing to the loss of the House as evidence that he's a creepy moran who does not brain gooder. Leering at photos of Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie, Parscale and Kellyanne Conway tell Sherman that SOME PEOPLE are just jealous.
Indiana state Sen. Chip Perfect (his real name!) wants to dump the state's child labor laws so he can ALLEGEDLY crack the whip on the hundreds of brats he employs at his ski resort. Because this is the poor-fucking, gay-hating, grifty hell state we call Indiana, local legislators are more concerned if this violates state ethics laws, and not about 13-year-old high school dropouts working 40 hours a week.
The Jacksonville Times-Union reports that a grifty prison phone vendor in Florida dumped its contract to provide inmates with overpriced phone calls, and instead starting doing business with another company that essentially agreed to create a slush fund and buy guards iPhones in exchange for jacking up calling prices and reducing amenities for inmates. The first company is suing, arguing the move violates Florida's constitution, and they're showing communiques that show the prison department saying it would be "super jazzed" if they could throw in a few hundred iPhones as "a good little icing."
The New York Times reports Robert Mueller is interested in why NRA officials took a trip to Russia to wander around a gun factory back in 2015. Emails show the trip being organized by conservative op-ed writer David Keene and Maria Butina's shady boyfriend, Paul Erickson, with the intention of meeting Russian president Vladimir Putin. The NRA is saying they never authorized or sponsored the trip (they did), but ABC News has photos and dozens of emails that show Butina discussing the trip with high ranking NRA officials and trying to get the group, which included trigger-happy sheriff David Clarke, to meet with all sorts of Russian
mobsters oligarchs and government officials.
BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE! Mueller's team says lawyers repping the Russian troll farm being prosecuted for election fuckery somehow let non-sensitive evidence leak onto the interwebs. Mueller's team notes most of the stuff is a bunch of bologna, a mixture of already public info, garbage memes, shady ZIP files, and random crap that has nothing to do with the case, but adds there's about 1,000 documents that have been curiously altered in an attempt to discredit Mueller and his justice league. Law nerds are now laughing and screaming "WOAH, IF TRUE," think-splaining how the troll farm's lawyers may have just kicked themselves in the dick.
Steve Mnuchin's bromance with a Russian aluminum mogul has caught the attention of Sen. Ron Wyden and Rep. Elijah Cummings. The two sent a letter to Mnuchin asking why Mnuchin rolled back sanctions on Russian
mobster oligarch Oleg Deripaska, and why there's a trail of rubles leading to his mansion. Similarly, multiple high-ranking Democratic officials are demanding Mnuchin explain how his dealings with Russian gangsters businesses don't constitute a ethical concern. What could go wrong?
Trump was thinking he might "You're Hired" Ted Cruz's wife, Heidi, to head up the World Bank, but he decided to vote his conscience and tell her not to quit her day job at Goldman Sachs. At least he didn't publicly insult her this time.
Rand Paul has been awarded over half a million dollars in damages after his neighbor beat the shit out of him for being Rand Paul.
Now that Nikki Haley is funemployed, she wants $200,000 and a private jet for any fancy pants boardroom lecture in the continental US, and potentially more for any speaking gigs in Not America. Fun Fact: Other former Trump officials charge less than half of what Haley wants. #ShesRunning.
In a not at all shocking surprise, Google and Apple have banned an app created by Facebook to track people's phone habits in exchange for gift cards, but Apple took an extra step and seems to have slapped all special enterprise Facebook apps off the Apple App Store, including Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp. In related news, Mark Zuckerberg still gives zero fucks about privacy because he just made a shitload of money. He even wrote a Facebook post bragging about how much money he made because of course he did.
And here's your morning Nice Time! IT'S HARU! This doggo luurrvvss scritches!
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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.