Grappling With Suggest. Wonkagenda For Thurs., May 2, 2019
Morning Wonketariat! Here's some of the things we may be talking about today.
After getting his ass chewed out by Senate Democrats (and getting blown by Republicans), last night Bill Barr told the House Judiciary committee that he was too chickenshit to sit through another grilling by lawyers for House Democrats. House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler says he's thinking about holding Barr in contempt of Congress if he doesn't cough up an unredacted copy of the Mueller report, and will give him "a day or two" to mull it over. The only problem is that a criminal referral would be sent to the DOJ, and Barr is unlikely to arrest himself. Several Democrats have suggested the House use its "inherent contempt" authority to enforce a subpoena, a workaround that would allow them to fine Barr, and possibly #LockHimUp.
Last night Trump called into Fox Business to bitch and moan about Bill Barr being Bret Kavanaugh'd, say everything is a hoax, and call Kamala Harris "probably very nasty."
Fox News talking head Chris Wallace went on Shep Smith's show to say Bill Bar is a big, fat, disgrace, and now all the Republicans are crying about Wallace growing a conscience.
While Bill Barr was trying to redefine the meaning of the word "spy," Barr's DOJ began arguing Obamacare was unconstitutional because of the individual mandate, even if the government "might support some individual provisions." The DOJ's position is more or less in-line with 18 Republican state attorneys general who whine the individual mandate (and thus the whole law) was invalidated when Republicans reduced the penalty to $0 in the Trump tax cuts (for the super rich). I guess Republicans really are the party of (stripping) healthcare.
The Senate GOP (finally) caved and has agreed to give Puerto Rico another $300 million in disaster relief, but of course, it's not that simple.
The top Navy brass struggled to explain why privately built Navy ships take forever to build and break faster, forcing them to sit at private ports (which cost even more money). The brass attempted to spew some crap about budget cuts, but the chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, Indiana Democratic Rep. Peter Visclosky, called bullshit and noted how the Defense budget has been consistently increased over the last several years. Visclosky even bitched the brass out over mediocre daycare facilities for Navy families.
The House voted along party lines, 226 to 183, to ignore a move by freshman Republican Rep. Mark Green to refer Michael Cohen's congressional testimony to the DOJ for a perjury investigation. Cohen is expected to get fitted for his orange prison onesie next week.
Democratic Washington Rep. Adam Smith has introduced a bill to pay House interns $15 an hour. Part of the push for higher wages for interns is to open up opportunities for low-income people. Smith says there's a lot of different people who make up a constituency, and "Paid internships help bring a diversity of ideas and backgrounds to both the Washington, D.C. and local district offices, and expand equality of opportunity for all to participate in our democracy."
ICYMI: Hollywood has been invading the Hill this week. On Monday Alyssa Milano and Patricia Arquette gave impassioned testimony in support of the Equal Rights Amendment to a House Judiciary subcommittee. Yesterday, Ben Stiller spoke to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about the plight of Syrian refugees in his capacity as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.
Trump World is splitting in two over what to do about Joe Biden. One side think the orange demigod should shitpost about Joe Biden and other Democrats as much as possible. On the other side is Jared Kushner and Co. who fear that he'll only make candidates like Biden more powerful, and they should let the RNC do the dirty work. One advisor tells Politico, "I'm sure smart guys like Brad [Parscale] are telling him to stop this and he's telling them to go fuck themselves." NOTE: Brad Parscale went on Fox Monday night to talk shit about Biden. He's a dumbass.
Trump World is getting its panties in a twist over Hunter Biden's connections with the business of a Ukrainian oligarch back in 2016. Rudy Giuliani slurs that this is proof Joe Biden's son crimed with (ALLEGED) criminals after former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said he'd reopen a closed investigation into Hunter's Ukrainian business dealings (likely in an attempt to curry favor with the Trump administration). The newly elected Ukranian president, actor/comedian Volodymyr Zelensky, has made similar overtures (again, likely to curry favor). Trump World argues Joe Biden intervened to help his son get out of the sprawling Ukrainian corruption scandal, but there's never been evidence Biden knew or helped Hunter, or that Hunter walked around in an ostrich jacket collecting blood money from the torturers' lobby (like Paul Manafort).
Beto O'Rourke has signed a "No Fossil Fuel Money" pledge, and announced he's giving back donations larger than $200 from company executives. In a video, Beto says he was asked to by a bunch of students in Virginia, and thanked them for their advocacy. Other 2020 Democratic candidates including senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Kirsten Gillibrand, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg have also made the same pledge.
Colorado Democratic Sen. Michael Bennett has become the latest white guy to declare #HesRunning. He has a book coming out where he says he doesn't like single-payer healthcare, and ALLEGEDLY lays out a plan for "fiscal responsibility" programs, like expanding the child-care tax credit. Or something.
It's highly likely Montana Gov. Steve Bullock announces #HesRunning within the next two weeks, according to NBC's Montana affiliate, KTVH.
Texas Rep. Joaquin Castro won't challenge Republican Sen. John Cornyn in 2020. Joaquin Castro is the twin brother of Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro, a seriously serious 2020 candidate with a Mirror-Mirror Spock beard. Last week badass lady mechanic/pilot MJ Hegar (AKA: "Pedro 15") announced she would challenge Cornyn, praising Castro (no, the other one!) and adding that she was "laser-focused" on defeating Cornyn.
ALLEGED pedophile Roy Moore says if Justice Rapey McPrivilege can survive grabbing 'em by the pussy, well gosh darn it, he can have a second chance too! Moore is currently mulling over another Senate run despite facing multiple lawsuits stemming from his years as an ALLEGED pedophile.
A Syracuse, New York, man who made racist death threats to President Obama and Rep. Maxine Waters has been sentenced to four years in prison. In comments prior to his sentencing, the 61-year-old man blamed it all on social media and stated, "When I hear all these people knocking [Donald Trump] it upsets me." The judge wasn't buying it, noting the old coot called a Capitol Police officer "N----r boy" more than 30 times during an interview, and tried to burn down an NAACP office in Baltimore in 2013.
Pennsylvania state Republican Rep. Daryl Metcalfe wants to introduce a bill in the state legislature that would strip doctors of their licenses if they "harass, coerce, scold or threaten" anti-vax patients or parents. In a memo complete with fancy taxpayer funded letterhead, Metcalfe complains (without evidence) about the HPV vaccine Gardasil -- which recent studies show has led to a drop in cervical cancer rates -- because he believes doctors are violating "basic rights."
The Florida legislature passed a bill to let teachers carry guns in classrooms, 65-47. The bill is expected to be signed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis. Republicans say, "It allows the good guys to stop the bad. The bad guys will never know when the good guys are there to shoot back," apparently unaware that "the bad guys" are fucking kids, and the "good guys" are underpaid teachers.
The DOD is not happy with John Bolton's insistence on military intervention in Venezuela. WaPo reports that a fairly peaceful military coup was all set to kick off last week: Dictator Nicolas Maduro would have been exiled to Cuba after the military took control for Juan Guaidó, but Maduro caught wind and squashed it. The Pentagon has continued to press "non-violent" (-ish) solutions in fear that any US military involvement would quickly spiral into yet another guerrilla-style clusterfuck.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was on Maddow last night throwing hilarious shade at Trump World for obfuscations of Russian fuckery in the 2016 election. Clinton stated she was "living rent-free" inside Trump's brain, and that their continued attempts to get #HerEmails were a distraction from "the real story" of ongoing Russian fuckery and Trump's obstruction of justice. At one point, Clinton mused, "Why should Russia have all the fun? And since Russia is clearly backing Republicans, why don't we ask China to back us? And not only that, China, if you're listening, why don't you get Trump's tax returns?" Clinton joked, "I'm sure our media would richly reward you." [ Video 1 / Video 2 ]
The city of Vancouver has introduced two mascots, Poo and Pee, to teach people what to flush down the toilet. At an event announcing the campaign, Coquitlam Mayor and chair of the local utilities commission Richard Stewart stated, "We want people only to flush the pee and the poo, because there's a whole bunch of stuff that gets flushed down the toilet that doesn't belong there," as the Pee mascot danced behind him. [Video]
Here's Colbert mocking the Barr hearings. You're welcome.
Colbert Barges In On William Barr's Testimony www.youtube.com
And here's your morning Nice Time: ORANGUTAN BABIES!
Orangutan Baby School at International Animal Rescue www.youtube.com
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