Morning Wonketariat! Here's some of the things we may be talking about that have nothing to do with the dragons and drama in Westros.
The administration is dangling humanitarian aid for Puerto Rico over the heads of House Democrats in an effort to get money for Trump's goddamn wall. Last week Trump demanded ANOTHER $4.5 billion in emergency funding for food, transportation, and shelter space, only now administration officials are framing the request as relief for a "humanitarian crisis" and not for Trump's wall. This morning the New York Times Editorial Board bitches that Congress should cave and give Trump his blood money in order to solve the predictable crisis he purposely started.
Trump has tapped cable news talking head Mark Morgan to lead ICE. Previously, Morgan headed up Customs and Border Patrol for a few weeks, but he was "You're Fired" days after Trump took office. Since then, Morgan has been popping up on Fox News and chanting "Build that wall" as much as possible.
During an appearance on "This Week," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the administration was talking about going around Congress to put boots on the ground in Venezuela. Then, in an interview with Fox News, Pompeo effectively called host Chris Wallace a liar when the host asked why Trump was such a fledgling coward whenever anyone brought up Russia. Later, Pompeo went on CBS's Face the Nation to bitch about North Korea, and shrug off reports that Kim Jong Il had executed his negotiating team, and one by the New York Times that said the administration didn't care about the Chinese government throwing up to a million Uighur Muslims in internment camps.
Later today Pompeo is expected to label the Arctic as an "arena of global power and competition." Pompeo is expected to complain about Chinese encroachment into the Arctic, and state that the US doesn't want it to turn into the South China Sea. This comes as multiple nations compete for control of new shipping lanes and minerals opening up thanks to climate change melting polar ice. Fun Fact: Russia has been asserting control over large swaths of the Arctic for years, and China just laughably named itself a "near-Arctic" country.
The UN released a report this morning that says one million plant and animal species are totally screwed, including humans. A bunch of science nerds have linked the survival of humanity with all the plants, animals, bugs, and tiny things that populate our diverse biosphere, and conclude "the foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide" are in grave jeopardy if we don't get our shit together and start taking climate change seriously.
Former Washington governor and 2020 Democratic candidate Jay Inslee has released a comprehensive policy to fight climate change and achieve 100 percent clean energy. Inslee's multi-step plan starts with carbon-neutral electricity, vehicle emissions, and buildings. Politico notes that Inslee's plan might be costly, but it could also create millions of new jobs in the clean energy sector as we transition out of the old and busted fossil fuel industry.
2020 Democratic candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders released a broad rural policy proposal that seeks to break up big agri-business. The plan seeks to put more power and opportunities in the hands of smaller independent and family farming operations, as well as rural communities, through busting up monopolies, creating a "parity system" to replace subsidies, adopting "right to repair" laws, and investing in rural education and healthcare, along with the establishment of a grain reserve program.
A number of lower tier 2020 candidates are starting to freak out about upcoming debate requirements. The DNC's effort to weed out candidates threatens the campaigns of people like Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, along with easily forgettable people like reps John Delaney, Eric Swalwell, Tim Ryan and Other Tim Ryan who are seriously serious about running for president with a pocket full of dreams, and some lunch money.
Nancy Pelosi tells the New York Times that she's afraid anything short of a massive "win" by Democrats would give Trump an opening to challenge the legitimacy of the election. Pelosi cautions 2020 candidates against running too far to the left, adding that she worried about what Trump would do in 2018 if Democrats won by a narrow margin, saying, "He would poison the public mind" and argue reps couldn't be seated.
Trump's 2020 team is begging the big money donors and bundlers it bitched about back in 2016. The hope is to win the financial favor of Never Trumpers with shitty prizes, just like Bush 43, but Trump keeps bitching them out at fundraisers. In a laughably related story, Axios reports that a political scam group run by David Bossie has been grifting small dollar Trump donors, pocketing 97 percent of the cash elderly MAGA morons gave him under the impression they were donating to an actual Trump PAC.
Last week a federal appeals court in Boston ruled that a jail in Maine needs to provide medication for an inmate's opioid addiction. The prison had argued the medication was contraband and could be sold in the prison's black market, but lawyers with the ACLU argued that science says that's bullshit, and withholding addiction treatment violates the Americans with Disabilities Act and the 8th Amendment.
Florida's state Senate voted to force ex-felons to pay fines, fees, and restitution before they can become eligible to vote. The measure pushed by the supermajority of Republican legislators effectively overrules a voter-approved amendment to the state constitution that abolished Jim Crow-era laws stripping felons of their right to vote. The bill is expected to be reconciled with a similar lower House bill, and is expected to be signed by the state's racist Republican governor, Ron DeSantis.
The Navy has sent a carrier strike group (boats and planes and stuff) to the Middle East in order to "send a clear and unmistakable message" to Iran, according to national security mustache John Bolton. The carrier strike group has already been floating about the region, so nobody is really sure what the fuck Bolton is talking about (as usual).
Illinois Democratic Sen. Tammy Duckworth recently went back to Iraq for the first time since she lost both of her legs as a helicopter pilot during the war, and has some badass thoughts about helping Not America, and the cost of war.
In one of his many shitposts this past weekend, Trump changed his mind (again) and says he doesn't want Bob Mueller to testify before Congress about all his attempts to obstruct justice. Shortly thereafter, Rep. David Cicilline went on Fox News and said that Democrats were talking with Mueller about POSSIBLY testifying on May 15. Jerry Falwell tweeted that Trump should be given "reparations" for spending the first half of his presidency being investigated by Robert Mueller, while Trump shitposted that he had two years "stollen." As of this morning, the tweets appear to have been deleted. [Transcript]
Norah O'Donnell has officially been named the new anchor for the CBS Evening News. The New York Times has a lengthy write-up about the shake-up at CBS's news division being spearheaded by its new president, badass veteran reporter Susan Zirinsky. Tell her to fix their Twitter feed next.
The entire staff of the New Orleans Times-Picayune and NOLA.com has been laid off as part of a sale to the owners of The New Orleans Advocate. In a text message, a reporter for the Times-Picayune told Vice, "We're drinking now."
People are paying hundreds of dollars for lumps of crap from winners of the Kentucky Derby. The so-called "Derby Turds" are preserved in an epoxy resin, with proceeds benefiting a Thoroughbred retirement facility.
John Oliver 'splainered lethal injections, noting they were created after conservatives felt the electric chair was "kind of gross," and how states like Oklahoma have, in their rush to kill prisoners, used information from "Wikileaks or whatever" in order to justify that lethal injections are less icky than a guillotine.
Lethal Injections: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO) www.youtube.com
And here's your morning Nice Time: PENGUIN CHICKS!
Penguins lost in a blizzard - Snow Babies - BBC One Christmas 2012 www.youtube.com
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