Make A Run. Wonkagenda For Tues., April 16, 2019


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

The world hung its head in silence as Notre Dame burned yesterday. The famed 12th Century cathedral was ultimately saved, but not before its iconic Gothic spire fell into the church's interior. This morning French officials ruled out foul play, and are warning that there remains a number of structural vulnerabilities. French President Emmanuel Macron has promised that they would rebuild, calling it the "epicenter of our lives." Hundreds of millions of dollars in donations have already begun pouring in as officials take stock of historic artifacts that were saved and lost in the blaze. And by the way

More baby jail tent cities covered in razor wire are being erected across the southern border to hold hundreds of immigrants. The Daily Beast reports people sleeping on tattered cots in parking lots, subsisting on juice boxes and ramen noodles, and going days without showers. Additional reports suggest Trump administration seems to be deliberately creating a bottleneck at certain border crossings in order to exacerbate claims of a "crisis." Last week NBC reported the administration has actively discussed using the military to create more internment camps baby jail tent cities. #MAGA

Immigrations officials are really sorry they accidentally deported the widowed spouse of a soldier killed in Afghanistan. Even though 30-year-old Jose Gonzalez Carranza was granted "parole in place" to care for his daughter following his partner's death in 2010, ICE officials refiled his case last year and a judge quietly ordered his deportation in December.

The chairs of the House Oversight, Judiciary, and Homeland Security committees have sent a nastygram to Trump's Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and Acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan demanding answers about the program to bus undocumented immigrants to sanctuary cities. On Sunday, House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler effectively dared Stephen Miller to claim white executive privilege, telling CNN, "he seems to be making the decisions -- not the cabinet secretaries," and adding Miller "seems to be the boss of everybody on immigration."

The House Intelligence and Financial Services committees have sent subpoenas to Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Deutsche Bank for info on Trump's "finances and the lenders' business dealings with Russians" in connection with possible money laundering schemes. These are entirely separate from the subpoenas issued by the New York AG last month. In response, Eric Trump released a statement crying about how this sets a "horrible precedent" for rich, shady sons of bitches everywhere

In a rare showing of bipartisanship, Trump's White House and Congress appear poised to take up legislation that would update the ancient computers at the IRS. The IRS has long complained about outdated systems that stretch back to the 1990s, with a dwindling number of people who are even capable of understanding systems that date back to the 1960s. I guess the super rich can't get their tax cuts if the IRS can't process their tax returns.

Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal has reintroduced the ROBOCOP Act that would force cellphone carriers to provide a free system that blocks those goddamn robocalls. In addition, the bill would also slap a $10,000 fine per call, force carriers to implement authentication technology, and mandate the FCC get off its ass to make it happen.

Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan says Congress doesn't have the authority to investigate election fuckery in Kansas, Texas, and Georgia. Jordan is throwing a tantrum after House Oversight Chair Elijah Cummings sent states subpoena for documents about their elections. In response, Maryland Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin issued a statement saying, "It would be best if our GOP colleagues joined us in protecting voting rights, but at the very least they should stop trying to prevent us from doing our constitutionally mandated work."

Bernie Sanders went on Fox News for a town hall thingy where he cussed out health insurance companies and praised his Medicare For All plan. Sanders, having just released his tax returns, also kind of answered questions about his sudden newfound millionaire status by saying he'd written a successful book.

Axios gossips that Trump's 2020 strategy is to bombard old people on Facebook with a bunch of spam that calls everyone else a bunch of dirty commies in an effort to scare all the geriatrics, just like his mentor, Roy Cohn. Yesterday, after shitposting about the litany of investigations into his ALLEGED corruption and obstruction, Trump held a "Tax Week" roundtable in Minneapolis where he bitched about spooky brown people setting up taco trucks on every corner.

Former Massachusetts Republican Gov. Bill Weld announced #HesRunning against Trump in 2020. That's nice. Fun Fact: The 73 year old white guy has lost every election he's run in since the early 1990s.

In the wake of the arrest of the world's worst house guest, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, Ecuadorian political organizations have been victim to 40 million cyber attacks originating from almost a dozen different nations. In related news, the US assured Ecuador that it wouldn't execute Assange if/when he's extradited from the UK, while a team of doctors say his self-imposed exile left him with "negative psychological and physical effects." Yesterday a federal judge unsealed documents in the case against Assange that allege he conspired with Chelsea Manning to break into Pentagon computers that he'd been able to hack by himself. Y'all can miss me with your press freedom arguments on this motherfucker.

The CEO of Alibaba (China's Amazon) Jack Ma has endorsed 12-hour work days, six days a week. Called "996" among Chinese tech companies, Ma rationalized the grueling work schedule in a blog post on Weibo (China's Facebook -- which he also owns) saying it was "not a problem" if you enjoyed your work, adding, "If all enterprises enforce a 996 schedule, no one will have children" because nobody will ever have sexy times. Following the post, China's state-owned newspaper, the People's Daily, bashed the "996" policy writing, "The mandatory enforcement of 996 overtime culture not only reflects the arrogance of business managers, but also is unfair and impractical." Also it makes you get drunk and dry.

Facebook might not sell user data, but it's not for lack of trying! A trove of emails, chats, presentations, and spreadsheets show Mark Zuckerberg tried to consolidate power in an attempt to leverage access to user data to companies who decided to pay-to-play. The documents show that anybody who Zuckerberg didn't like would feel his wrath by having their access to user data cut off. While none of this is illegal, it's horribly fucked up considering how much of a stink Facebook's brass has been making about protecting users' privacy.

The New York Times has a long 'splainer about how former backbench House Republican Mick Mulvaney has been tearing apart the government from within. As head of the CFPB, Mulvaney repeatedly ignored advice from consumer advocates who warned that his dumb ass policies were sending people headfirst into the jaws of loan sharks, but Mulvaney chose to ignore them and prop the crooks up instead.

The Billings Gazette is trying to put together years of spotty data related to the unnecessarily high rate of homicides in Native American communities. For decades federal and state agencies have maintained wildly inconsistent data about murdered and missing Native Americans, and tribal advocates want to fill those holes in order to search for the root causes.

And here's your morning Nice Time: BABY GOATS!

The First Babies of the Season Have arrived

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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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You guys, hi, hello, it is almost the holiday weekend, so we are going to share you a real video posted last night by "Doctor" Sebastian "Don't Call Me A Nazi" Gorka, that hilarious old knucklecuck. We guess now that he had to give up (or gave up voluntarily!) his Fox News contract, he just makes videos for the Twitter. Hoo ... ray?

Anyway, Gorka is super-excited that Donald Trump issued that order last night, giving Bill Barr all kinds of new powers to expose the Deep State for what it is and PROVE once and for all that the gremlins who live inside Trump's diarrhea are correct when they say Hillary ordered the Deep State to do an illegal witch hunt to Trump, yadda yadda yadda, you've seen these people huff paint before, we don't have to type it all.

Here is the video, after which Wonkette will either transcribe it OR we will provide our own dramatic interpretation. Which one will it be? We don't know! Would you be able to tell the difference between the two? We don't know!

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We want to say right here at the outset that we hate Julian Assange. Aside from the sexual assault allegations against him, and aside from the fact that he's just a generally stinky and loathsome person who reportedly smeared poop on the walls at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, while reportedly not taking care of his cat, an innocent creature, he acted as Russia's handmaiden during the 2016 election, in order to further Russia's campaign to steal it for Donald Trump. All signs point to his campaign being a success!

So we are justifiably happy when bad things happen to Julian Assange. We are happy his name is shit the world over, and that any reputation WikiLeaks used to have for being on the side of freedom and transparency has been stuffed down the toilet where it belongs. We are happy he looked like such a sad-ass loser when the Ecuadorian embassy finally kicked him out and he was arrested.

And quite frankly, we were OK with the initial charge against him recently unsealed in the Eastern District of Virginia. If you'll remember, he was charged with trying to help Chelsea Manning hack a password into the Defense Department, which is not what journalists do. Journalists do not drive the get-away car for sources. Journalists do not hold their sources' hair back while they're stealing classified intel. Assange is essentially accused of doing all that.

Now, put all that aside. Because -- and this is key -- journalists do publish secrets they are provided by sources. That's First Amendment, chapter and verse, American as fucking apple pie and fast-food-induced diabetes. And that is what much of the superseding indictment of Assange unsealed yesterday was about. (And nope, it wasn't about anything regarding Assange's ratfucking the 2016 election or Hillary's emails. Why would the Trump Justice Department prosecute anything about that? It's all about the older Chelsea Manning stuff, the stuff the Obama Justice Department considered charging Assange with, but ultimately declined, because of that little thing called the First Amendment.)

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