More Like Devin MOO-MES, ARE WE RIGHT? Wonkagenda For Tues., March 19, 2019
Morning Wonketariat! Here's some of the things we may be talking about today.
WaPo writes that Trump sat on his ass watching TV all weekend, stewing, screaming and shitposting about everyone he hates -- like Muslims, Democrats, and taco trucks -- because there wasn't anybody around to stop him. At some point, someone (allegedly) tried to create a religious roundtable for people to bitch and moan in front of Trump on national TV, but they couldn't pull it off in time -- presumably because Muslims aren't allowed in Mar-a-Lago.
The Trump administration intends to stonewall House Democrats' requests for records and witnesses -- just as it has for the last two months -- by simply ignoring them. Instead, White House counsel Pat Cipollone is sending committees nastygrams arguing that Congress doesn't have the authority to investigate the Executive branch. Last night, House Judiciary chair Jerry Nadler went on Maddow to say this is, in summary, very weird and fucked up. [Morning Maddow]
The New York Times has a great longread about how Trump's ties with Deutsche Bank have netted him billions of dollars in loans over the last 20 years. It provides a fantastic examples Trump's grifting, like how he conned one division of the bank to pay off loans from another arm of the bank, and lied about how poor he actually was in order to save face. The report talks about how Deutsche Bank told everyone to STFU about Donald Trump after the election, and how execs are biting their nails as House Democrats draw up subpoenas.
A new report by the Center for Investigative Reporting's Reveal details how the Trump administration has set up secret baby jails and is holding at least 16 kids, some as young as nine, in Arkansas, Florida, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. The kids were reportedly at normal baby jails, but were transferred to special secret facilities due to their ability to provide mental healthcare.
The Pentagon has sent Congress a $3.6 billion list of military projects that Trump could cancel in order to reappropriate the money for his goddamn wall. Democrats are already scoffing at the administration's attempt to "backfill" the military budget, arguing that Trump can't get a hamburger today and pay for it next Tuesday.
A new proposal by Ivanka Trump to reform student loans would cut the amount of PLUS loans available to grad students so the administration can dump cash into shady "short-term" credentialing and certification programs (think Trump University). On top of that, the administration wants to consolidate all the student debt repayment plans and cap them at 12.5 percent of discretionary income.
Trump's State Department held a secret meeting between Mike Pompeo and "faith-based media" outlets, and didn't bother to invite the rest of the press corps. Nobody know what the hell this was about since the State Department didn't respond to requests from actual news outlets, nor did it provide transcripts of what he told all the Jesus freaks.
California Republican Rep. Devin Nunes is suing Twitter, and "Devin Nunes's mom," and "Devin Nunes's cow" for saying the meanest things about Devin Nunes! In page after page of tear-stained legal documents, Nunes sobs that Twitter is just MEAN to conservatives, and the internet intimidated him and made his job investigating HER EMAILS like, really hard. Nunes then went on Hannity to scream he doesn't fuck his cow, and the two cried about all the liberals shadowbanning them to lame, off-brand and pro-Nazi media platforms. This morning on Fox and Friends, "Judge Nap" said Nunes's PR stunt was as useless as tits on a bull. Meanwhile, "Devin Nunes's dad" wants to talk with his son.
Iowa white supremacist Rep. Steve King posted another racist meme on Facebook talking about a "civil war" that went on to say, "One side has about 8 trillion bullets, while the other side doesn't know which bathroom to use." King then added a smirking emoji. The image, posted to his official campaign page, was later deleted after he was berated by officials on the left and the right for posting more unsurprisingly racist and genuinely bigoted crap.
During a town hall with MSNBC's Chris Hayes, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand sounded off on expanding the GI bill as a trade off for free college, said big pharma should be prosecuted for getting flyover country hooked on hillbilly heroin, and offered a wonky alternative to Medicare For All that she says she hoped people would ultimately choose "because it's quality and more affordable." Gillibrand also brushed off sexual assault allegations against a longtime aide from former staff members by saying she dealt with it, framing the incident as totally 100% different from what happened to former Sen. Al Franken, adding, "He could've stuck it out, stayed in the Senate, gone through [the] Ethics Committee's investigation. Those were his choices, but I had to make my own choice." I guess certain restrictions apply to her zero tolerance policy.
MEANWHILE, Sen. Elizabeth Warren had a town hall on CNN where she talked nerdy about dropping the Electoral College, endorsed a Congressional inquiry into the viability and impact of slavery reparations, and rejiggering age qualifications for Medicare. Warren also talked about growing up poor, and apologized for repeating old family legends about her Native American ancestry (again).
Cory Booker went on Hardball to get yelled at by Chris Matthews, but he flipped the script and started yelling at 2020 candidates "bragging about their pot use." Dude! Don't be a NARC.
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation and UCLA will host a forum with Democratic candidates on LGBTQ issues on October 10. The HRC says it plans to talk to candidates about trans rights, hate crimes, and conversion therapy.
Axios reports that Trump's 2020 team is doubling down on digital ad buys on Facebook and Google, outspending Senators Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren, the top two Democratic candidates in terms of spending, 9-to-1. Their cheap-ass idea is to reach as many eyeballs as possible by spending as little money as possible (natch). Fun Fact: FBPurity is an ad and content blocker designed specifically for Facebook. You could also just #DeleteFacebook.
ICYMI: Andrew Yang, a wealthy fringe candidate and one-trick pony running for the 2020 Democratic ticket, is finding out why you never court the dark corners of the internet. Yang embraced wretched hives of scum and villainy, like 4Chan and the Joe Rogan Experience, in an effort to woo neckbeards and basement dwelling pro-Trump trolls with universal basic incomes, luddite tech policies, and an anti-circumcision campaign that has absolutely nothing to do with anti-Semitism. Unsurprisingly, Yang and his staffers are now hapless victims in a meme war, getting doxxed and paraded around by neo-Nazis who are trolling Democrats and progressives by using Yang as a wedge issue.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard's 2020 campaign is curiously avoiding early primary states. Politico notes this has led many political wizards to wonder what the fuck Gabbard is doing if she's not actually trying to win, and quotes the chair of the Nebraska Democratic Party saying, "I don't even know anyone that's working with her or her campaign."
Pennsylvania state Republican Rep. Brian Ellis has resigned for ALLEGEDLY raping an incapacitated woman a few years ago after they had drinks at Ellis's home. THIS IS NOT OK!
The University of Southern California has barred students caught up in the pay to PAR-TAY college-admissions scandal from registering for classes or getting their transcripts while the school figures out whether or not to expel all the snotty rich kids.
Nobody is sure what the hell will happen with Brexit after the speaker of the House of Commons called for OOORRDDAAAHHH and shot down a third vote for British Prime Minister Theresa May's deal unless it was "substantially" different than the last two times the deal was nuked. Is May's bad deal the deal that they're going to get, are they going to deal out a new deal, or are they stuck with the "no deal" deal -- a deal that nobody wants but the DUP (who is really duping everyone)? Sigh...
The Daily Beast reports the High Court of London is hearing arguments that the ghosts of Cambridge Analytica are haunting ongoing investigations into its international election fuckery for-hire scheme. Trump World and the Mercer family are ALLEGEDLY desperate to hide what they did (and continue to do) with almost 100 million stolen Facebook profiles and 700 terabytes of data by paying off investigators.
Zainab Ahmad, Robert Mueller's counterterrorism prosecutor who headed up disgraced former Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn's guilty plea, has concluded her detail as part of Mueller's justice league of extraordinary investigators.
Betsy Woodruff tracked down Dmytro Firtash, the former Ukrainian oligarch, and found him to be quite the chatty Cathy. Firtash talks about hating Joe Biden and Obama's State Department, his sprawling legal entanglements, his ties to the Russian mob, and why he thinks Trump is A Idiot who "only made it to the third grade."
The WSJ has more gossip on the #scandal about Jeff Bezos's dick pics. TLDR: The brother of Bezo's g/f was given $200k and the rights to sell the dick pics to someone else if the National Enquirer didn't publish Bezos's boner within 30 days. The whole thing snowballed as the Enquirer's parent company, AMI, faced down down a debt crisis. Ultimately, the head of AMI, David Pecker got into a spat with his chief legal counsel, and the dude rage-quit during a fancy dinner.
Myspace "accidentally" erased 12 years worth of photos, videos, and audio files. Nerds aren't buying this, arguing it's a remarkably convenient way for the forgotten social network to ditch a lot of data that's expensive to maintain, but most people are just happy to forget their blunder years.
And here's your morning Nice Time! EGGS (narrated by Sir David Attenborough)!
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