It's A Solar Panel For A WAR MACHINE! Wonkagenda for Thurs., June 20, 2019
Morning Wonketariat! Here's some of the things we may be talking about today.
A federal judge has ruled that new evidence in the case of the administration's census citizenship questions deserves more consideration. This creates a potential fork in the legal roadmap where even if SCOTUS rules on the case, the goodguys can still argue Republicans intended to suppress the representation of Latinx and Asian Americans.
The Fed held interest rates steady yesterday, but suggested that a looming economic clusterfuck could cause them to lower rates within the coming months. Good thing the US isn't in a trade war with half the planet...
ProPublica has a rage-inducing investigation and explanation into the "Opportunity Zones" snuck into the the Trump tax cuts (for the super rich). To call them a handout for gentrifying real estate moguls like the Kushner family would be an understatement. In a somewhat related story, the Wall Street Journal reports single-family homes are now being gobbled up by investment firms instead of first-time home buyers, and thus inflating housing prices. Tick, tock, tick, tock ...
Arthur Laffer, the "fake economist" who claims that tax cuts pay for themselves, was given a Presidential Medal of Freedom. Laffer famously created the Laffer Curve for Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney on a cocktail napkin while they were drinking at a DC bar during the Ford administration. While Ford never adopted the scheme, it became a crucial part of Ronald Reagan's trickle-down theory, and was used in 2012 by former Kansas Republican Gov. Sam Brownback. Mathematicians, historians, and bean counters have proved Laffer was laughably wrong as state and federal revenues have fallen into the red whenever they stop taxing corporations.
The EPA has rolled out the first new rules to erase greenhouse gas regulations enacted during the Obama administration. Called the Affordable Clean Energy Rule (ACE), the rules prop up the dwindling number of coal plants as the energy industry moves towards more cheaper and more Earth-friendly alternatives, like wind and solar. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler says the new rules will "incentivize new technologies that can ensure coal plants will be part of our clean future."
Politico reports that senators received a classified briefing on UFOs yesterday after a number of oversight committees and legislators started flooding the DOD with requests to know if aliens want to be taken to our leaders.
New polls out this morning are shaking things up ahead of the first debates. A rather useless USA Today/Suffolk University poll shows Democrats are excited and paying attention. Similarly, a new Monmouth University poll shows Sen. Elizabeth Warren moving to second place behind Joe Biden. [Monmouth]
Joe Biden's is continuing to take heat for remarks he made about working with segregationists during his time in the Senate. Yesterday his campaign advisor Symone Sanders tweeted that Biden's comments were taken out of context, and that "one has to work with the terrible or down right racist folks to get things done," adding that Biden "literally ran for office against an incumbent at 29 because of the civil rights movement." And that would have probably been the end of it, but Biden had to run his mouth against his 2020 rivals demanding he apologize, saying, "Apologize for what? There's not a racist bone in my body. I've been involved in civil rights my whole career. Period, period, period."
Vanity Fair has a thing with Sen. Bernie Sanders's campaign manager where he previews his debate strategy. TLDR: He's going talk about socialism, and yell about not being invited to parties.
Samantha Bee has some message for Democrats running for presidents (we're looking at you, Steve Bullock!): RUN FOR THE SENATE, GODDAMNIT!
A Message to Democratic Presidential Candidates: Run For Senate, Goddammit! | Full Frontal on TBS www.youtube.com
Trump is barreling ahead with plans to throw a parade for himself in DC on the Fourth of July. The Washington Post reports Trump now wants a military flyover, complete with Air Force One, though the administration has declined to say how they'd pay for any of it. My own sources say Trump officials have yet to tell the city just what it is they're planning (if anything), and my own repeated inquiries to the National Park Service and the Trump campaign over the last week remain unanswered. If you see something, say something to me via DM or email!
The New York Times has a great longread about how Muslim refugees in St. Cloud, Minnesota, face a rising tide of rightwing, conspiracy-peddling Islamophobic idiots who are scared all the brown people fleeing oppressive and murderous regimes are going to cut their shriveled old white peckers off with Sharia Law books.
Remember back in April when people were certain the administration was going to invade Venezuela and topple socialist dictator Nicolas Maduro? Don't worry, Trump's doesn't either. US officials tell WaPo that when support for a military coup in Venezuela dried up, Trump threw a tantrum and stopped caring about picking a fight with another "shithole" country.
John Bolton must be furiously stroking his war boner after Iran shot down a US surveillance drone flying near the Strait of Hormuz. The US claims the drone was downed over international waters, but Iran argues that the drone violated Iranian air space. Yesterday the US envoy for Iran testified before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs that the US didn't want to go to war and that its "maximum pressure" campaign was working, though many are starting to think that both countries are recklessly stumbling into a war just to prove whose autocrat has the biggest baby dick. The administration is claiming that Iran has ties to Al Qaeda, which would give them a justification to attack Iran under the 2001 authorization for the use of military force. Last night Trevor Noah joked that America's war fetish is like a Netflix addiction, and maybe we shouldn't start another war before finishing all the others.
Are America and Iran On The Brink of War? | The Daily Show www.youtube.com
Trump called in to Sean Hannity last night to say that he and the other Fox News blowhards were bigly "patriots" who got "tremendous ratings" just for showing up to Trump's stupid rally. He then whined about tweeting, and wished himself a happy birthday as it was Laura Ingraham's birthday.
The publisher of the New York Times, AG Sulzberger, opines in the Wall Street Journal that Trump's attacks on the Times have gone too far. On Saturday, Trump shitposted the Times was guilty of "a virtual act of treason" for its story about the US embedding itself in the Russian electrical grid. Sulzberger concludes, "Mr. Trump's campaign against journalists should concern every patriotic American. A free, fair and independent press is essential to our country's strength and vitality and to every freedom that makes it great."
The Verge's Casey Newton has another stomach turning story about Facebook moderators, this time in Tampa, Florida. Workers broke NDAs to report that Cognizant, a company contracted to comb through the usual endless hours of hate speech, shitposts, gore, child porn, and animal torture, seems indifferent to its employees. When one employee died at his desk, supervisors initially tried to downplay the severity of the situation in order to keep people happy and productive little bees. And that's just the start of the horrors.
Inside the traumatic life of a Facebook moderator www.youtube.com
The next time some Bible thumping jackass starts prattling on how evolution is a myth, show them this article about children growing horns in their skulls to accommodate "text neck." New research shows a physiological or skeletal adaptation to the constant neck bending we all do to check our damn phones. We don't know if these new "head horns," "weird bumps," or "bone spurs" will help us kick nature's ass, but at least we won't get drafted.
Stephen Colbert sent a camera crew to Trump's rally the other day and found the MAGA tailgate party dubbed "45 Fest" nothing but trash and abandoned lawn furniture. When their press creds were denied, they just went online and got tickets to plop their asses in one of the "many many empty seats." [Video / Photos]
Trump 2020 Looks A Lot Like Trump 2016 www.youtube.com
And here's your morning Nice Time: DWARF MONGOOSE PUPS!
Dwarf Mongoose Pups Born! www.youtube.com
We're 100% ad-free and reader-supported, so consider buying us coffee, or get a subscription!