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'What Do I Know About Branding...?' Wonkagenda For Mon., April 15, 2019

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Morning Wonketariat, and happy tax day! In case you spent the weekend horribly hungover and need to file an extension on your federal taxes, he's the IRS form 4868! Now here's some of the things we may be talking about today.


Rep. Ilhan Omar says death threats against her have dramatically increased following Trump's shitposts about her on Friday. The threats were serious enough for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to ask the House Sergeant-at-Arms for a security assessment from the US Capitol Police, and to tweet a statement asking Trump to delete the video. In response to accusations that Trump is encouraging his bloodthirsty sycophants to murder people (AGAIN), Sarah Huckabee Sanders crawled out of Sean Spicer's bushes to make some bullshit statements about "no ill will."

Since it's tax day, more 2020 presidential candidates are releasing their 2018 tax returns. California Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris just released 15 years of tax returns, the most of any candidate so far. Harris joins senators Kirsten Gillibrand, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, and Gov. Jay Inslee, while Sen. Bernie Sanders has promised to release 10 years of his returns today. Meanwhile, Trump continues to refuse to release his tax returns. House Democrats extended the deadline for Trump to release his returns, but yesterday Sarah Sanders went on TV to shout that members of Congress weren't "smart enough" to understand Trump's taxes because they do their own taxes.

Speaking of taxes, polling data shows the Trump tax cuts (for the super rich) remain deeply unpopular with a majority of Americans. As a result, Trump officials have dubbed this week as "TAX CUT WEEK!" Naturally, Trump has spent the morning shitposting about the immigrants, rebranding the Boeing 737 MAX, and HER EMAILS.

Following Fed chair Jerome Powell's remarks at the Democratic retreat that the Fed wouldn't cave to political pressure, and the barrage of criticism about his picks to fill open seats on the Fed board, Trump started shitposting that the stock market should be a lot higher.

House Democrats are getting ready to drag Stephen Miller up to the Hill for a good ol' fashioned grilling. Miller orchestrated much of Trump's war on the Mexican-Muslim taco truck invasion -- from the Muslim ban and baby jails, to the "You're Fired"-ing of senior DHS and ICE officials. In defense of their taco truck war, Sarah Sanders blithered double-speak on one of the Sunday shows, admitting they'd talked about busing immigrants to sanctuary cities and denying that they'd offered a pre-emptive pardon to the acting DHS head if he illegally shut down the border.

Attorney General William Bar SAYS he'll release his edited version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian fuckery during the 2016 campaign as soon as this week, but we're not exactly holding our breath. The almost 400 page report will probably be heavily redacted so that Trump can continue screaming "NO COLLUSION."

A group of Chinese nationals threw a fancy fundraiser during Trump's inauguration, but there's no record of where all the money went. When the Palm Beach Post started looking for receipts -- seeing as how foreign nationals can't donate to US political campaigns -- the executive director of the Asian Pacific American Presidential Inaugural Gala, Zhonggang “Cliff" Li, told the Post he knew, adding, "I don't want to tell you." Curiously, lobbying groups connected to the gala (and Cindy Yang, the Florida massage parlor lady) have all received sweet kickbacks from the Trump admin. [Morning Maddow]

The effects of Boeing's deadly fuckup with the 737 MAX jetliners are rippling across the airline industry after American Airlines and Southwest Airlines both canceled flights on the high-flying coffins through August, and bean counters expect Boeing's problems to get worse. Perhaps this is why Trump tweeted early this morning that Boeing should rebrand the 737 MAX while bragging about how great he is at branding.

The NRA is suing the ad agency that helped it become the gun humping and freedom-loving powerhouse it is today. The dispute centers over the ad company Ackerman McQueen and its refusal to show some basic financial documents to the NRA board about NRATV and its president, Oliver North, and highlights the growing rift between members of the 75-person board while the non-profit bleeds cash like survivors of gun violence bleed blood.

South Bend Democratic Mayor Pete Buttigieg officially announced #HesRunning in 2020. "Mayor Pete," as he's known to his constituents in South Bend, talked about fixing up rural communities like his without mentioning He Who Shall Not Be Named, only stating that it was simply time to "change the channel" on "the horror show in Washington."

Sen. Cory Booker also officially kicked off his 2020 campaign with a rally in his hometown of Newark, New Jersey. The speech was at times disrupted by a number of Bernie Sanders supporters who heckled the senator. Booker will now head out on the trail for rallies in Iowa, Georgia, and Nevada for a "campaign powered by grace and love and a deep faith in each other."

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE! California Rep. Eric Swalwell reminded everyone #HesRunning and officially kicked off his own 2020 campaign. Swalwell has centered his campaign around the issue of gun control, making him just as serious as the other 671 declared presidential candidates.

Sen. Kamala Harris's early investment in South Carolina has netted her the endorsement of Rep. Bakari Sellers, as well as nods from a number of prominent local officials. This continues Harris's strategy of quietly courting Democratic movers and shakers across the country instead of big, flashy rallies or bumper sticker slogans.

McClatchy has a nice profile on freshman Rep. Sharice Davids, and how she's been busy quietly kick-punching glass ceilings across the Hill.

Finland's Social Democrat party are projected to beat back the anti-immigrant Finns party in parliamentary elections. A majority of parties are largely focused around climate change instead of the growing anti-immigrant populism sweeping Europe. The surprising election results have political geeks nerding out about potential compromises in the coalition government.

A man in the Midwest is suing his parents for destroying his massive porn collection. A police report values the collection at almost $30,000. The man's parents tell Fox News that there were "12 boxes full of pornography plus two boxes of sex toys" and it took "quite a while" to destroy everything.

Speaker Pelosi sat down with 60 Minutes to 'splainer how she's been busy kicking asses and taking names all over the Hill over the last three months, and how she thinks even Trump is aware how unqualified he is to be president. As usual, Trump bitched about it being a "puff piece" because nobody bothered to talk to him for a profile on the Speaker of the House. [Transcript]

Five key moments in Nancy Pelosi's '60 Minutes' interview www.youtube.com

John Oliver 'splainered the opioid crisis (again) and how drug manufacturers knew dumping hillbilly heroin on flyover country was a bad idea, with a little help from Michael Keaton.

Opioids II: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO) www.youtube.com

And here's your morning Nice Time: SEA OTTER PUPPERS!!

Sea Otter Pups Learn to Groom! 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 in a gutter taking photos.

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