Hug It And Kiss It And Call It George. Wonkagenda For Fri., March 22, 2019
Morning Wonketariat! Here's some of the things we may be talking about today.
DC is abuzz right now with whether or not Robert Mueller will release his Trump-Russia report today. To be clear, nobody KNOWS when Mueller will drop the report -- it could be today, it could be in six weeks, or even six months -- but all the TV talking heads seem so damn sure that Mueller is about to drop it like it's hot as it's Friday, Trump is fucking off to Mar-a-Lago (again), and an AP photographer snapped a photo of Mueller driving to work. CNN notes there's still litigation in the pipeline that's headed to SCOTUS today, and WaPo has a solid 'splainer about three possible outcomeswhen the report finally drops. Meanwhile, James Comey has an op-ed in the New York Times where he does his whole boy scout schtick instead of prostrating himself and begging our forgiveness.
The commandant of the Marine Corps has a sent a rare nastygram to the Pentagon brass complaining that Trump's use of Marines on the southern border has created an "unacceptable risk to the Marine Corps combat readiness and solvency." In shockingly blunt language, Marine Corps Gen. Robert Neller says Trump's "unplanned/unbudgeted" deployment is screwing up efforts to rebuild military housing in North and South Carolina, as well as damaging training exercises throughout the world. WaPo notes that a number of projects the administration wants to steal money from may be the most vulnerable, such as base housing in Puerto Rico, and rebuilding defenses along for European allies along the Russian border.
Customs and Border Patrol officials are defending the detention of a nine-year-old girl for 32 hours by saying she "provided inconsistent information." The girl tells NBC's San Diego affiliate that CBP accused her 14-year-old brother of smuggling, and then forced them both to sign documents saying they were cousins despite having US passport IDs. After being stonewalled by CBP, the family called the Mexican consulate, and the kids were magically released a short time later.
Citing overcrowded baby jails, the CBP suddenly released 50 people on their own recognizance or with notices to appear before immigration courts. Immigration advocates say the timing was "suspicious." Yesterday DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen took a field trip to the Rio Grande Valley where she met with a bunch of local sheriffs complaining about the Mexican-Muslim taco truck invasion.
During an awkward signing ceremony for an executive order that requires US colleges to improve "free inquiry, transparency and accountability" on campuses or risk losing federal research grants, Trump bragged about loving "other people's money," being "very good with loans," and wanting people to get the best "peaches." Backed by a couple obnoxious Jesus freaks and jackasses who like disrupting class with debates about MAGA hats, Trump complained about "speech codes and safe spaces and trigger warnings" hurting the feefees of precious conservative snowflakes. The WSJ notes the First Amendment already makes public universities protect free of speech, adding that college administrators are now worried this could politicize science-based research, and constrain educators just trying to do their jobs. Upon signing the order, Trump got up and tried to kiss a young blonde woman in a red dress.. NOTE: The kiss was edited out of the White House's Youtube video.
Bloomberg reports Trump is considering TV economist Stephen Moore and failed presidential candidate Herman Cain to fill open seats on the Federal Reserve Board. Moore, the founder of the conservative Club for Growth, is reportedly best buds with former TV economist and current White House economic policy advisor Larry Kudlow. Other notable bean counters, namely Paul Krugman, have noted that Moore is A Idiot who doesn't know his cock from a calculator.
Over the past several years, "comedian" and Federal Highway Administration spox Doug Hecox liked to make crass jokes on Twitter about abortions, school shootings, and the death of Trayvon Martin. He seems nice...
2020 Democratic candidate and Texas Rep. Julian Castro says that he's a serious candidate who's seriously running for president, and you should really take him seriously. In an interview with Vanity Fair, Castro says, "I didn't grow up a front-runner, and so it doesn't faze me that right now, 46 weeks before the Iowa caucus, that I'm not a front-runner."
A number of 2020 Democratic candidates are making detours from their early primary campaigns in South Carolina to help Dan McCready in the North Carolina Ninth. However, Republicans have decided to make the entire race about Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, running attack ads that say "Bless her heart" and then bitch about socialism. One candidate's ad portrays him shooting clay discs that say "Green New Deal." Yep, that race is STILL going on!
Mississippi Republicans just made it even harder to have an abortion after the governor signed a fetal heartbeat bill that is among the strictest in the nation. After the Center for Reproductive Rights tweeted that "heartbeat" bills "rob women of their choice," Mississippi Republican Gov. Bryant responded by tweeting "We will all answer to the good Lord one day. I will say in this instance, 'I fought for the lives of innocent babies, even under threat of legal action.'" Fun Fact: Mississippi already has an infant mortality rate higher than most undeveloped nations, so this should end well!
The EU has pressed the pause button on Brexit, pushing the deadline for a new deal to April 12 on the condition that British Prime Minister Theresa May gets her shit together on how to avoid a "no deal" scenario. May had sought a three month delay, but the EU said it was fed up with her indecisive crap, with one EU diplomat complaining that May's demands made it seem like she was "coming from another planet."
Russian birth tourism in South Florida has spiked according to a new report in the AP. Citing pencil pushers, doctors, and local businesses, "Little Moscow" has seen an uptick in the number of wealthy families popping out brats in US hospitals where they'll get safety and security, and a free US passport.
Natasha Bertrand has an interesting 'splainer on the shady anti-globalization Russians bankrolling the legal defense of ADMITTED Russian spy Maria Butina. COINCIDENCE?
The Trump administration dropped sanctions on two Chinese shipping companies in an attempt to ratchet up pressure on North Korea to "denuke." The Treasury department said the two Chinese companies had been violating sanctions by helping European-based North Korean nationals buy goods and services for the regime, and help the state intelligence service. Officials also listed 18 ships that are thought to have ship-to-ship oil transfers on the high seas, and another 49 ships believed to be exporting North Korean coal. At the same time, North Korea pulled out of a liaison office it shared with South Korea along the DMZ citing "instructions from the superior authority."
The New York Times has a profile on the "Jexodous" movement being pushed by right-wing blowhards trying to convince Jews that Republicans don't have a long history flirting with anti-Semites. TLDR: It was started by a pro-Trump creepazoid who tapped a swimsuit model to be its public face, and now that it has some deep pocketed donors it's been rebranded to brainwash Jewish voters via a micro-targeted ad campaign. Anything associated with secret Nazis like Sebastian Gorka should give people pause.
With one foot already in his own grave, Lou Dobbs doubled down on talking shit about the late Sen. John McCain, telling his geriatric viewers, "I do, I did, and I will. As I said, the president is speaking out about what he sees as betrayal..." In an interview with some Murdoch-owned columnist, Dobbs laid it on thicker than a mortuary makeup artist after the columnist took issue with speaking "ill of the dead," with Dobbs slobbering, "You talk about John McCain being dead — I don't think that in any way…it is not an exhumation of his body for God sake!"
Trump gave another batshit interview with Fox's "money honey" Maria Bartiromo where he bitched about the late Sen. John McCain (AGAIN). When Bartiromo asked why Trump brought up McCain at a
campaign rally at an Ohio tank factory (that the Army never wanted!) Trump bitched that he never brought it up, other people brought it up, then yelled about Obamacare.
Curled up on a Central Park bench, a brisk spring wind whipped wisps of hair across the face of Dame Peggington. She tilted the handle of gin she'd been holding against her breast back and took a hearty swig. Headlines on the scraps of newspaper draped over her legs gossiped and gushed about the "handsome, glistening creature" Robert Francis O'Rourke, and his loveable pranks, and the other "new lefties" bringing in the "spirit of the struggle sessions of the Chinese Cultural Revolution." She scoffed at the youthful joggers rushing past her without any sense of common decency. These goddamn hustlers know nothing of pacing and decorum! There was a time, she remembered, when such injustices were intolerable and these youthful and passionate violators would be swiftly punished for not knowing their place in the pecking order. Dame Peggington lumbered to her feet and sent the newspaper blanket fluttering into to the wind. She took a belt of gin and leaned forward with one outstretched foot then fell face first into a baby stroller.
An independent security analyst reported Facebook was storing passwords for hundreds of millions of Facebook Lite and Instagram users in unencrypted plain text files. Facebook Lite is commonly used by people without access to reliable internet connections, like poor people in "shithole countries." In a blog post glossing over their one billionth catastrophic fuck up, Facebook declined to apologize and instead encouraged people to change their passwords. A lawyer for the ACLU tells the WSJ, "Facebook's failure ... will really upset the FTC."
Kickstarter employees are attempting to unionize, but a memo leaked to Gizmodo shows senior staffers are trying to scuttle the effort by claiming unions are a form of cultural appropriation, and that tech employees are "privileged workers."
A 58-year-old Minnesota woman ALLEGEDLY ran over her 37-year-old son after he refused to stop lying down in the driveway. "He didn't believe I would," the woman reportedly told local police upon her arrest, "He has been drinking all day. We gave him a chance."
In a long and obnoxious Politico profile of some of Trump's lesser known minions and golf buddies, Newsweek noticed that Trump once hit himself in the head with his own golf club, then demanded to know if the caddy did it.
At 94 years and 171 days, Jimmy Carter has become the longest-living president. In a statement, Deanna Congileo, a spox for the Carter Center, told NBC "We at The Carter Center are grateful for his long life of service that has benefitted millions of the world's poorest people."
A wallaby escaped from a ranch in Dallas and went for a stroll, freaking out all the squares in suburbia and looking ADORABLE in the process.
And here's your morning Nice Time! BABY GOATS!!
16 Baby Goats Explore the Farmwww.youtube.com
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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.