Like A Rocket. Wonkagenda For Fri., July 12, 2019
Morning Wonketariat! Here's some of the things we may be talking about today.
Trump decided not to fight a losing battle for a citizenship question on the 2020 Census. Instead, he's signing an executive order to force US agencies to mine their own data and tell the Commerce Department everything they know about the immigration status of people living in the US. As is typical, Trump lumbered out into the Rose Garden with Attorney General Bill Barr and declared victory over tyrannical forces of law and justice, with Barr claiming the "impediment" to scaring the hell out of innocent people during the 2020 Census "was logistical, not legal."
Cities across the country are preparing for mass arrests and immigration raids threatened by the Trump administration. Rather than worry if he's bluffing (again), Nancy Pelosi is urging people to "know your rights." In a similar move, Governors Jay Inslee, Kate Brown, and Gavin Newsom have a joint op-ed about how they're going to #Resist the raids (if they happen).
SURPRISE! In 2017, as head of the CIA, Mike Pompeo headed a review into the Trump-Russia investigation the agency conducted during the 2016 election. In a less than shocking conclusion, Pompeo found them entirely justified. Imagine that!
The Census question wasn't the only thing the administration walked away from yesterday! The Wall Street Journal reports the White House is no longer going to try and lower the cost of prescription drugs for Medicare recipients. Industry lobbyists and congressional Republicans had complained that the administration's effort would cost too many Ameros and that it would be cheaper to just let old people pay more out of pocket than to issue coupons backed by Uncle Sam. Promises made, promises kept!
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau chief Kathy Kraninger says the CFPB's new job isn't to curbstomp evil corporations trying to screw consumers, it's to educate consumers about how evil corporations screw them. Kraninger says she'll do this through a consumer "boot camp" and an interactive "graphic novel" called "Misadventures in Money Management." This is real...
Misadventures in Money Management Trailer — MiMM.gov www.youtube.com
Later today the House will vote on a couple of major amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act, primarily the reauthorization of the 2002 Authorization for the Use Of Military Force that's been used to go parading around the Middle East for the last two decades. Sprinkled throughout the bill are amendments that could allow trans troops to serve, stop arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, block deployment of low-yield nuclear missiles on submarines, force the Trump administration to seek congressional approval before starting a war with Iran, and some stuff about barring the military from becoming enforcers of the administration's
Muslim ban restrictions on anchor-baby-driven taco trucks, or turning soldiers into stewards of Trump's baby jails.
Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley has a bitchy op-ed in Defense News complaining about wasteful military spending (like requiring the DOD to buy domestically produced flatware?) as if he didn't sign on to the Trump tax cuts, the Bush tax cuts, the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.
The confirmation of Trump's nominee for vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, US Strategic Command chief Gen. John Hyten, is up in the air following the revelation of sexual misconduct allegations. Hyten was ultimately cleared following an investigation into inappropriate conduct with a subordinate, but members of the Senate Armed Services Committee are telling reporters they want to hear from Hyten's accuser. In an interview with the AP, the Army colonel with 28 years of service making the accusation says she is willing to testify before Congress that Hyten is a creepy MoFo. In speaking with reporters yesterday, Democratic Sen. Tammy Duckworth said, "Anytime we have these allegations, I think the victim deserves her time to tell her story."
Joe Biden outlined a wide ranging foreign policy platform in a speech that wasn't entirely based on riding the coat tails of B. Barry Bamz and calling Trump a racist autocrat. The cornerstone of Biden's policy would be a return to the textbook definition of liberalism that has served as a the foundation for US international relations over the last 70 years. Biden called for a return to multilateral diplomacy, promising to hold a summit of global democracies where leaders would have to "cooperate and make concrete commitments to take on corruption and advance human rights in their own nation," as well as insist that the private sector combat corruption and censorship. There was also a bunch of other nice stuff about rejoining the Paris climate accord, ending the Forever War in Afghanistan (not Iraq), a return to daily briefings from the State and Defense departments, some shittalking about Putin, North Korea, ISIS, and some tough talk on China that didn't come across as a rambling series of mouth farts. [Plan]
After months of the punditocracy complaining about how 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren doesn't have a plan to deal with the taco truck invasion on the southern border, yesterday Warren released her immigration reform plan. The plan would lift the cap on the number of refugees, rejigger immigration courts and law enforcement so that they're independent of the DOJ, and create a new "Office of New Americans" to help immigrants set up their taco trucks on every corner. [Plan]
South Bend Mayor and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg dropped his plan to combat the systemic racism facing people in black communities. Named after abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass and modeled after the WWII-era Marshall Plan, the ambitious and far-reaching plan would try to change inequities in housing, education, and healthcare, address the racial wealth gap, institute reforms for the criminal justice system, and expand voting rights.
In an interview with the AP, Butters talks about black voters' skepticism of his campaign, and notes that he's well aware old people aren't too keen on the idea of a gaymosexual president. Butters concludes that we're all different colors off a rainbow, and, “It's just a reminder that people are different, and you've got to meet them where they are. But at the end of the day, what I learned at home politically is the most important thing on a voter's mind is how is your election going to impact their lives.
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar has a plan to help care for olds by dropping the cost of prescription drugs, strengthening retirement funds, and beefing up Social Security benefits. A cornerstone of Klobuchar's plan would be to help olds with long-term chronic ailments by expanding Medicare coverage to include things like Alzheimers, depression, and suicide prevention.
A new national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows Joe Biden continues to lead the 2020 Democratic horserace, with Elizabeth Warren breaking out to take second place. Warren seems to be pulling more liberal voters and people who see her as the second best choice to beat Trump in 2020, while moderates and conservative-leaning voters continue to break for Biden. On the rise are Sen. Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg, with Bernie Sanders sitting at a comfortable 13 percent.
Politico notes that Trump's day of flashy shitshows, shitposts, and shitfits were nothing more than distractions and red meat for his base, a precursor to how he'll behave heading into 2020.
Yesterday the Washington Post's Dave Weigel warned about stupid narratives that mean dick to likely voters as we head into 2020. Among the things Weigel warns we should be more concerned about are the idea that a Joe Biden nomination and presidency is inevitable, the bickering and infighting from within the Democratic party, and the Republicans' problem with racist Senate candidates. Weigel also has a preview of this weekend's Netroots conference that's a must read for political nerds and sadomasachists.
R. Kelly was arrested AGAIN in Chicago, but this time he's facing 13 counts of sex crimes and obstruction of justice from a federal grand jury.
The Miami Herald is reporting at least a dozen new victims have come forward accusing convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein of sexually abusing them. Prosecutors are currently trying to keep Epstein behind bars while awaiting trial as they believe the multimillionaire has the "werewithal to take off any time" even if he "gives up his license and his jet."
Like the vast majority of his past publicity stunts, Trump's "Social Media Summit" was an unmitigated disaster full of rambling nonsense and conspiracy theories. People in attendance confided to CNN's Oliver Darcy that there was "zero substance," and called a Q&A with Kellyanne Conway and Fox News's free speech grifters Diamond & Silk a "circus show" and "unintelligible rant." When Trump took the stage, he garbled some bullshit about being a "very good speller," stock markets, Scooter Libby, his hair, and praised the basket of deplorable trolls, shitheels, and bots whom he considers beautiful people. Trump seemed to admit he purposefully lied about Obama "spying" on him in order to watch the reaction on social media. At one point during his poorly orchestrated distraction, Twitter went down and his army of showboating shitposters immediatedly began calling it a censorship conspiracy. This morning, Charlie Warzel writes in the New York Times that the eyerolling stupidity was the point, and as much as it pains us, we can't just dismiss this tactic.
Vice hoovered up a bunch of posts on 4Chan's "politically incorrect" image board and found hate speech has grown 40 percent since 2015. /pol/ as it's more commonly known, has become one of the internet's most wretched hives of scum and villainy where users revel in conspiracy theories, hate speech, and shitposts.
If you've got some free time this weekend and feel like depressing yourself, here's a long thing about how the idiotic QAnon conspiracy cult is destroying relationships with its believers' loved ones. Just know that you're not alone if you're someone with a crazy racist uncle who thinks JFK Jr. is hiding out in a secret plane that never lands so Trump can destroy the DEEP STATE. (This is what QAnon actually believes.)
From under a pile of urine drenched refuse, Dame Peggington awoke in the sweltering heat cursing the name of the cretinous youths who had stabbed her in the back. "Well done missy," she seethed amongst the rats wondering what kind of trash was rotting in their humble abode. Back in her day, when one had to walk 15 miles uphill to fetch a bottle of gin from the corner speakeasy, it was absolutely unthinkable to criticize your elders for their incompetence or old age. Youths knew their place! One did not simply swipe the the bottle from your hand and proceed to bludgeon you with it. So what if you badgered the help, harassed the public -- then the coup de grace -- pissed yourself after falling backwards at the bar. With old age comes wisdom, you little whippersnappers!
And now, a special message from two presidents...
'Cartoons Trump & Clinton React to Jeffrey Epstein Scandal' Ep. 10 Cold Open | Our Cartoon President www.youtube.com
And here's your morning Nice Time: HUMMING BIRDS!
Hummingbird in a Rain Storm | Hostile Planet www.youtube.com
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