The Jerk. Wonkagenda For Wed., July 10, 2019

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

Leaked government documents show migrant kids crammed into an Arizona baby jail have been retaliated against by guards for reporting unsanitary and overcrowded living conditions, and one 15-year-old reported being sexually assaulted. These awful conditions aren't a bug of Trump's concentration camps border facilities, they're a feature.

In a related story, border arrests were down 28 percent last month, likely due to Mexican authorities cracking down on migrants.

A federal judge took a steamy dump all over Trump's plans to force a citizenship question on the 2020 Census via executive order when the judge rejected the administration's attempt to swap lawyers. In a statement, US District Judge Jesse Furman took issue with the administration's less than "satisfactory reasons" to suddenly switch out DOJ lawyers, noting that the administration was already insisting on fast-tracking the case, adding, "If anything, that urgency — and the need for efficient judicial proceedings — has only grown since that time." Furman said the administration could not pass Go or collect its $200, and would need to try again with "unequivocal assurances" that the legal team won't just fuck everything up (again).

The Washington Post writes that ALLEGED human sex slaver and accused pedophile Jeffrey Epstein's rolodex is full of the super rich and famous, and he liked to flaunt his money as a way of making more money and connections. Yesterday Trump said he "barely" knew the guy, a phrase he often uses when one of his friends turns out to be a crook, or a pedophile, or all of the above.

Over in Trump World, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney has been pushing for Labor Secretary Alex Acosta to be "You're Fired," but not because of his sweet heart deal to accused kid-toucher Jeffrey Epstein. Mulvaney sees Acosta as an obstacle to his (and the administration's) poor-fucking agenda, but Politico gossips that some Senate Republicans like Acosta, since they find him easy to work with.

Axios gossips the "Presidential Social Media Summit" will include mostly conservative cry babies and "free speech" grifters who jerk themselves off with the First Amendment, which doesn't actually apply to private companies. Google, Facebook, and Twitter haven't been invited to participate in the "family conversation," and it's likely to serve as a testing ground for Trump's "us versus them" strategy in 2020.

Fed chair Jerome Powell is scheduled for a grilling on Capitol Hill this week. Powell is likely to get bitched out by the House Financial Services Committee later this morning, and the Senate Banking Committee tomorrow, but the real question many bean counters want to know is whether or not the Fed will cave to Trump's demands cut interest rates later this month.

Meanwhile, Trump is worried that a strong dollar poses a risk to his reelection strategy, so he's been leaning on his Fed nominees to shit all over the buying power of the US dollar. #MAGA.

After learning that he was the descendant of slaveholders, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tried to liken himself to former President Barack Obama as a convoluted way to oppose slavery reparations. Since 2007 it's been known that Obama is a descendant of former slave owners, and in 2016 Obama told Ta-Nehisi Coates that he'd support robust social welfare programs to alleviate the epidemic of poverty over reparations. But in a scene straight out of The Jerk, Mitch McConnell said nobody know's the troubles he's seen, and that America shouldn't have to give a bloody cent to any black people since slavery happened a long, long time ago in a Kentucky far, far away.

Democrats are now hoping to cast McConnell as the villain in the 2020 elections in their attempt to win back the Senate. At the forefront of that effort is retired Marine Lt. Col. Amy McGrath, who yesterday announced her bid to unseat McConnell in the Senate, as well as 2020 Democratic presidential candidates who know they won't be able to do a damn thing unless they swing the Senate.

The Republican-controlled Virginia state legislature suddenly adjourned after 90 minutes in order to avoid voting on any gun control bills ahead of a state election. The special legislative session had been called by Virginia's Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam following the May 31 mass shooting at a Virginia Beach municipal building that left 12 people dead. Instead of actually doing its job, the state legislature said it would refer some 30 proposed bills to the Virginia State Crime Commission for a study, THEN consider their votes on Nov. 18.

The US wants to build a coalition of the willing to block Iranian threats to commercial shipping in the Persian Gulf, the only problem is they can't find anyone that's actually "willing." Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford says the Uncle Sam's mission will be to leer at all the other boats and shake our fists, and that the mission will be "scalable" in the event anyone else wants to tag along. In a related story, the US wants to send the International Atomic Energy Agency into Iran to poke around for nuclear material, but the move is being scoffed at by other countries who think Trump shouldn't have thrown a fucking tantrum and nuked the JCPOA.

Axios gossips that Israel's ultra right-wing Minister of Education Rafi Peretz said the intermarriage of US Jews is "like a second Holocaust" in a closed closed door meeting on trends in Jewish communities around the world.

The UK Parliament is still trying to stop a no-deal Brexit, regardless of what the child-punching potential prime minister Boris Johnson wants. Over the last several days Johnson has threatened to suspend Parliament if he's elected prime minister, in order to force the UK's immediate withdrawal from the EU, but anti-Brexit politicos are threatening to sue -- a threat that actually carries weight in the UK.

Geeks over at The Verge noticed it's been one year since the repeal of net neutrality. While it's true the internet apocalypse hasn't happened (yet), the FCC's "light touch" approach to regulatory responsibility has allowed broadband providers to quietly cut away consumer protections to bleed customers dry (metaphorically, and fiscally). [Podcast]

The NRA has been bragging about making money this year, but Bloomberg took a look at their books and found the gun fetishists are using fuzzy math to juice up their numbers. This comes as yet another prominent gun nut issued a public call to "de-fund" the NRA amid a spiraling scandal related to the group's shady business practices.

Politico has a long, gossipy palace intrigue thing about how Trump survived the Access Hollywood tape. It's a good piece if you're into masochisim and slamming your forehead into hard large, heavy objects. TLDR: Mike Pence (and Jesus) sobbed in a letter that Mother wouldn't let him come out and play, so the campaign blamed everything on Bill Clinton. The End. #SavedYouAClick

Trump's TV lawyers are desperate to keep House Democrats from poking around his personal bank vault. The two will appear in a federal appeals court Friday to argue that lawmakers have no right to start nosing around Trump's finances, but House Democrats contend they have a legislative responsibility to see poke around the historically sketchy books.

Public and private companies looking to blast off to infinity and beyond are hoping to harvest water from Earth's moon for fuel. Space nerds aren't exactly sure how much water is on the moon, let alone how to harvest it, so it's only natural that big businesses are already rubbing big money boners now that NASA is getting ready for an unmanned test flight of the Orion spacecraft.

With the 50 year anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing approaching, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum is partnering up with the Interior Department and some defense contractors to project a 363-foot image of a Saturn V rocket onto the Washington Monument for several days next week.

And here's your morning Nice Time: FLAMINGO CHICKS!

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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 in a gutter taking photos.


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