Pucker Up, Buttercup. Wonkagenda For Tues., April 30, 2019
Morning Wonketariat! Here's some of the things we may be talking about today!
The Trump administration's continued stonewalling of congress has led some committee members and chairs to privately pressure Nancy Pelosi to start impeachment proceedings. According to WaPo, the stonewalling constitutes an additional obstruction of justice charge on top of all the other horrifying crap revealed in the Mueller Report. Senior Democrats like California Rep. Karen Bass continue to stress, "we go through the entire process, in terms of hearings, having people come, and if they don't come, subpoenaing them, and if they don't do that, then taking them to court, and that we educate the public all the way." They note that Trump continues to lead Republicans down the primrose path with promises of tax cuts and poor fucking.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is resigning. In a cockgobbling letter to Trump announcing his resignation effective May 11, Rosenstein says he was "grateful for the opportunity to serve; for the courtesy and humor you often display in our personal conversations." Rosenstein goes on to choke, "Our nation is safer, our elections are more secure and our citizens are better informed about covert foreign efforts and schemes to commit fraud, steal intellectual property, and launch cyber attacks." Swallowing what's left of his pride, Rosenstein says, "We keep the faith, we follow the rules, and we always put America first." Now, if you'll excuse me, I think I'm going to hurl.
The New York Times partnered with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting for a story on how the Pentagon is considering hospice care for Gitmo detainees. Many of the prisoners suffer from injuries sustained while in US custody (read: torture); others are simply getting old, but because Congress and the Trump administration refuse to do anything with "bad dudes" the brass has been forced to consider installing wheelchair ramps and hospital beds, and fly in specialists for knee and back surgeries. In a related story, the Commander of GitMo was suddenly "You're Fired" citing a "loss of confidence in his ability to command."
Illinois Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger says he wants to be Air Force Secretary because he flew a whirlybird over the southern border. A member of the Wisconsin Air National Guard, Kinzinger recently insulted the state's Democratic Governor Tony Evers after Evers pulled guardsmen off taco truck duty.
A bunch of 2020 Democratic candidates are taking a pledge not be a mudslinging asshole during the primaries, and throw all their support behind the eventual nominee. Started by the group Indivisible, the pledge has already gained the support of 11 of the 20 candidates, including senators Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Mayor Pete Buttigieg. It's become a legit thing for campaign workers and volunteers too, who are swearing they'll "do the work to beat Trump." [Morning Maddow]
The Bernie Sanders surrogate who claimed Joe Biden made her feel "uncomfortable" with his old school touchy-feely retail politics, Lucy Flores, has an interesting, nuanced op-ed that says if you want to be forgiven, first you should be sorry. (It's about Joe Biden mostly!) In an interview with ABC's Robin Roberts this morning, Joe Biden says he "takes responsibility" for being a dick to Anita Hill, adding, "I apologize again because, look, here's the deal. She just did not get treated fair across the board. The system did not work."
Joe Biden ripped into Trump during his campaign kickoff yesterday in Pittsburgh, and acknowledged his frontrunner status by stressing the importance of beating Trump in the general election. A pissed off Trump began shitposting, despite the advice of advisors who feel this will only embolden Biden. New polls from CNN and Morning Consult show Biden leading and gaining over other Democratic 2020 candidates since his announcement.
Kamala Harris has hired Jim Margolis, a former Obama and Clinton ad strategist. Margolis has been responsible for some of the more notable ads over the last several presidential cycles, suggesting Harris is continuing to quietly pack her camp with powerful allies.
Beto has dropped an insane $5 trillion plan to stop climate change. Beto's plan calls for net-zero carbon emissions in 30 years, structural changes to the tax code, grants for initiatives in sustainable housing, public health, and transportation. Vox notes it's similar to Obama's 2009 infrastructure plan in that it uses public money and tax incentives to kickstart new projects and ideas, but Green New Deal diehards argue we should be pushing net-zero emissions within 10 years instead of 30.
Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer have been busy cooking up an infrastructure bill to entice Trump and Republicans. Political wizards say that Pelosi and Schumer want a minimum of $1 trillion with specific clean energy provisions. Pelosi and Schumer are expected to meet later today to discuss the bill, and smokey room scuttlebutt is that they'll pay for it by raising the gas tax and rolling back some of the Trump tax cuts (for the super rich).
House Democrats were back on the Hill for less than a day when they dropped a massive spending bill that includes language banning the abortion "gag rule" being pushed by the Trump administration, as well as $50 million for gun violence research. By inserting the riders in a spending bill, it increases chances Trump and Republicans throw tantrums, and inevitably shutdown the government (again).
Stacey Abrams says she's not running for the Senate, which opens her up for a potential VEEP nod or her own 2020 run. The AJC says Abrams's decision not to run clears the field for a number of Democrats clamoring to take the seat of Republican Sen. David Perdue, including Michelle Nunn, Jon Ossoff, and Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson.
The Democratic-controlled Washington state legislature held a series of "vampire votes" late into the night on Sunday, capping off a last minute vote-a-rama just before the end of the regular session. Among the issues passed were sweeping climate change mandates, a return to affirmative action, oodles of Ameros and benefits for state workers, the poors, the homeless, and the mentally ill, and an employee-paid system to help pay for longterm care of the elderly. Local Republicans are pissed and screaming that a newly rejiggered the tax system to pay for all this robs from the fabulously rich and gives to the filthy the poors.
A former State Department nerd in charge talking to North Korea says REXXON told him to sign that $2 million bill for a comatose Otto Warmbier under the impression the decision was OK'd by Trump himself.
Japanese Emperor Akihito has officially abdicated the Chrysanthemum Throne. The 85-year old's departure was announced by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, concluding what has been known as the Heisei era. His son, 59-year-old Crown Prince Naruhito, will ascend to the throne in a ceremony Wednesday morning and begin the Reiwa era, a term meaning "beautiful harmony." Akihito's reign was a departure from conservative orthodoxy that saw the Emperor as a living god in favor of a humanist approach where the Emperor and his wife, Michiko, often visited the elderly, children, and disaster victims, with an emphasis on addressing people at eye-level.
Aqua men in Norway found an unusually friendly Beluga whale swimming around with a harness on its back. Upon closer inspection, the harness said it was from St. Petersburg, Russia. Now military experts are considering the very real possibility that Russia is trying to train marine animals for war fighting capabilities (again).
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been using curious wording to describe the murders of Jewish people at the hands of white nationalists. Bibi's refusal to condemns white nationalists, and cozying up to xenophobic racists and Nazi apologists in Europe, South America, and the US, raises a number of questions.
A wannabe alt-right celebrity begged the GOP of her podunk Idaho town to ask Uncle Sam to lift travel restrictions on her white supremacist fiance. The fiance is currently under investigation in Austria for connections to the Christchurch, New Zealand, shooting. The Spokesman-Review reports the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee unanimously passed the resolution, then deleted videos of the wannabe pleading her case after reporters started asking questions. Coincidentally, a staffer for Republican Rep. Russ Fulcher stood up during the meeting to say that he'd given the woman his card, then added, "Congressman Fulcher's office will be doing what we can to give whatever help and assistance that we can."
The Daily Beast reports alt-right limp dicknoodles Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman have been trying to recruit young Republican men to say Pete Buttigieg sexually assaulted them. The whole thing immediately fell apart once people started asking basic questions like, "When?" There's even audio recordings of Wohl talking about the scam with one of the people who's since recanted his accusation.
If you're into this sort of stuff, here's a nice profile about Buttigieg in Vogue.
The New Yorker has a super long thing with John Bolton that is kind of scary. There's one quote from Jim Mattis saying he never disobeyed Trump's batshit orders because he assumed they were having conversations. "The President thinks out loud," Mattis says, adding that they have a lot of "conversations" before concluding, "we prevented a lot of bad things from happening."
Chase Bank decided to tweet some #MondayMotivation, but it blew up in their face. Chase's Twitter account suggested people stop spending in order to add to their bank accounts, so people up and down the activist and political spectrum suggested Chase pay its employees more considering it got a $25 billion bailout and its CEO avoided prison.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service is thinking about adding giraffes to the endangered species list. Conservationists argue that while everyone pays attention to all the other critters, nobody has noticed the tallest land animals are disappearing due to the expansion of cities, agriculture, and poaching. #SaveTheLongBois
And here's your morning Nice Time! IT'S JUNO, the new dunking otter!
Rescued Sea Otter Juno Slam Dunks www.youtube.com
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