Mitch Better Have My Money. Wonkagenda For Fri., July 26, 2019

Mitch Better Have My Money. Wonkagenda For Fri., July 26, 2019

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

A report from the Senate Intel Committee says the US needs to get its shit together ahead of 2020, because the Russians are coming for our elections (again). In a heavily redacted 67-page report, the committee has found that Russian fuckery started as early as 2014, and continued until at least 2017, and that the Russians likely "scanned" election systems in ALL 50 STATES. While the report explicitly states there's no evidence any votes were changed, it does lay out how Arizona, Illinois, and Florida were targeted for possible interference, and were in a position to start altering and deleting voter data. While the bipartisan report confirms much of what's already known about the 2016 elections, it comes at a time when other countries are taking a page from Russia's playbook and engaging in their own forms of election fuckery (just like Robert Mueller said on Wednesday). During remarks on the Senate floor yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blamed the Obama administration for Russia's election fuckery, and blocked a House bill to shore up election security, calling it "a highly partisan bill from the same folks who spent two years hyping up a conspiracy theory about President Trump and Russia..." [Morning Maddow: One / Two / Three]

The push to #Impeach grew a smidge yesterday after four more Democrats began calling to open impeachment proceedings. The New York Times reports that Nancy Pelosi is chiding people who say she doesn't care about #Merica and the Constitution, while House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler is moving ahead with everything BUT impeachment -- going so far as to instruct rank-and-file members about how the impeachment process works.

NBC reports that active-duty US military personnel are stationed inside a Border Patrol facility in Donna, Texas, potentially violating the 1879 Posse Comitatus Act. A spox for the Northern Command says the troops are unarmed and are monitoring "for signs of medical distress, possibility for unrest, unusual behavior and unresponsiveness." The spox says in the event of an emergency the troops have been ordered to call someone at CBP who cares.

The 18-year-old Texas-born teenager who was detained by Border Patrol officers for 26 days has been released. His lawyer tells NPR he suffered through "horrible, inhumane" conditions and even thought about signing a deportation order just to get the hell out. In an interview with CNN, the teen says border officials told him he had "no rights," This story gets worse, so I'll end it by saying his lawyer estimates the boy lost about 20 lbs. in Trump's concentration camp detention facility.

The US Marine Corps has arrested 16 Marines at California's Camp Pendleton for trying to smuggle immigrants across the US-Mexico border, as well as drug charges. The Marine Corps says the arrests stemmed from information gained following the arrest of two other Marines who were caught smuggling immigrants earlier this month. The Corps further adds that none of the soldiers were part of the group of assholes who have been ordered by Trump to stand around the desert with their thumbs up their asses.

If you don't want to have your heart broken this early in the morning, don't click on this story about a Guatemalan mother begging a Mexican National Guardsmen to let her cross into the US from Ciudad Juarez. Credit to Reuters photographer Jose Luis Gonzalez.

STOP and watch these flamingo chicks learning to swim!

Baby flamingo chicks learn to

Yesterday the administration announced it was shelling out another $16 billion to bail out farmers getting screwed by Trump's trade war. Bean counters say the Agriculture Department's overpaying farmers for all the food the farmers aren't selling due to Trump's tariffs, but Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue is ignoring those nerds, saying, "I guess some academicians can do whatever they want to with numbers, but they aren't here on the ground producing and struggling to pay the bills."

The nomination of Eugene Scalia to head the Labor Department has hit a bit of a snag after people dug up a 1998 essay in which Scalia argues quid pro quo workplace sexual harassment "should be eliminated as a functional category of discrimination" under the law. If any of this sounds familiar, it's because the late Sen. Ted Kennedy brought it up in 2001 when Scalia was nominated by Bush 43 to do lawyerings at the Labor Department. At the time, Kennedy objected to one of Scalia's more colorful arguments: "Saying 'You're an incompetent stupid female bitch' a single time is not actionable environmental harassment.' Why should suit lie for saying 'I don't have time for you right now, Kim, unless you tell me what you're wearing,' a statement that Judge Flaum found to be a quid pro quo proposition in his Jansen opinion?"

The House passed that big spending bill that also raises the debt ceiling, 284-149. The bill passed without the support of most Republicans (because they hate the troops and freedom).

In a rather bizarre twist, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee pulled the rug out from under its own chairman, Republican Sen. Jim Risch, in approving an amendment by Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez to slap Saudi Arabia for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Politico reports Menendez had introduced tougher legislation, but Risch says his bill -- which was similar to the Menendez amendment -- had the approval of the administration and he argues Trump will veto anything else. Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine brushed this off by saying, “Sometimes a veto threat is a threat." Oddly enough, the Menendez amendment has the support of Republican Senators Rand Paul, Lindsey Graham, and Todd Young, so who knows what the hell is really going on in those smoky cloak rooms.

Before he runs and hides in tobacco country, next week Mitch McConnell plans to steamroll another 19 District Court judges for lifetime appointments, confirm the nomination of Fox News talking head Kelly Craft as the new ambassador to the United Nations, and rubber stamp David Norquist as the deputy Defense secretary. Yesterday, the Senate confirmed Army Gen. Mark Milley as the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Heading into next week's Democratic debates, new polls show Joe Biden continuing to lead the pack of 2020 Democratic hopefuls. A national Fox News poll has Biden at 33 percent, with a new Real Clear Politics average showing Biden at 29.3 percent. At the local level, a Monmouth poll of South Carolina voters shows Biden at a comfortable 39 percent, and holding a similar lead among Ohio primary voters via a Quinnipiac poll. Meanwhile, a new Reuters poll shows Trump's disapproval rating among registered voters sits at a dismal 57 percent. Fun Fact: That Fox poll shows reps Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar with higher favorability than Mitch McConnell.

Despite being a sleeper issue during the last debate, a bunch of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates have plans to deal with the student loan debt crisis. For example, just this week Elizabeth Warren introduced a bill with Rep. Jim Clyburn to cancel $640 billion in student loan debt. While some flag waving dildos make jerk off motions at all the millennials unable to move out of their parents' basement, a study from the Government Accountability Office shows desperate debtors committing fraud only to face the wrath of Betsy DeVos. Last night the Daily Show ran a good piece about how student loan debt is breaking our collective backs.

Student Debt in the U.S. Reaches an All-Time High | The Daily

As we shift gears and move into 2020, Trump World is super scared of Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren, and the GOP fears Kamala may be the next Obama. Meanwhile, 2020 Democratic candidates are prepping for next week's debates with stereotypical 1980s montages: Biden is openly telling supporters he won't "be as polite this time," and Sen. Cory Booker is punching giant slabs of tofu with Biden's face.

The New York Times has good piece detailing the mechanics behind the selfie line at Elizabeth Warren's campaign rallies. It might seem silly, but it's something a lot of politicos, journos, and photogs have noticed at her rallies. The takeaway here is that her team is bad ass and knows there's a lot more to kissing babies and pressing flesh in 2020.

DINO presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is suing Google over reportedly blocking her ad account shortly after the first Democratic debates. According to the suit, "just as her Google traffic was spiking, her Google ad account was taken offline." Gabbard also claims Google is sending her emails into spam folders at a "disproportionately high rate," and claims Google classifies "communications from Tulsi Gabbard as spam at a rate higher than other similar communications," adding, "there is no technical explanation for this disparity." Gabbard defends her claim by saying Google did the same thing to a Breitbart conspiracy theorist who pushes Clinton murder mystery theater. Google responded by saying Gabbard, in so many words, is a fucking crazy person.

Another Republican in the House is bailing out ahead of 2020. Texas Rep. Pete Olson says he going to take his own "families first" advice and fuck off to that big conservative lobby in the sky. Political wizards see Olson's district growing increasingly blue, and note he was being primaried by some rootin' tootin' Republican sheriff anyway.

The Wall Street Journal has a really long and mind-bending story about how Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman wants to build a $500 billion city-state in the middle of nowhere, complete with a "robo-cage fight," flying cars, booze, giant robot dinosaurs, cameras and drones with facial recognition, and a fake moon.

An entire Navy SEAL team has been kicked out of Iraq for a boozy Fourth of July party that may have ended with the sexual assault of a female service member. There's a lot of scuttlebutt in the Twitterverse on this story, but I don't report rumors.

Politico has a nice yarn about how some grifty conspiracy theorists conned CPAC attendees into giving them millions of Ameros.

Vanity Fair gossips that CNN is looking mournfully at a two-year-old shitsandwich involving Trump, Russian funny money, and Anthony Scaramucci. In 2017 CNN caused a fucktussle in the journalism world after it pulled a story that alleged a connection between the Russian Direct Investment Fund and members of the Trump campaign. The Mooch denied the story, which led some ink stained wretches to wonder if CNN was caving to political pressure. HOWEVER, on Wednesday Robert Mueller confirmed there was some kind of link, and one disgraced journalist who shit the bed on the story, Eric Lichtblau, says, "It's reassuring to see a number of the core elements of the story ... now corroborated in the Mueller Report." Of course, this glosses over Lichtblau's November 1, 2016, front page story in the New York Times that doubted the links between Trump and Russia.

Florida state Senator Lauren Book seems to have really upset the sheriff of Palm Beach County, Florida, after raising some questions about convicted sex offender and alleged pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. Book tells the Miami Herald she's been getting harassed by the sheriff's supporters and donors, and that she's asked the US Capitol Police to look into a Russian website (run by a disgraced former sheriff's deputy -- who now lives in Moscow -- who was chased out of Palm Beach) claiming the sheriff masterminded a scheme to get her personal information, phone and email records under the pretext of "imminent danger." Fun Fact: The sheriff of Palm Beach has jurisdiction over Mar-a-Lago! I guess that makes him the Sheriff of Rottingham? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

If you want to throw things (and/or start drinking) the New York Times has a really messed up story about Jeffrey Epstein's connections to the super rich guy behind Victoria's Secret.

HEY EVERYONE! Go to this website set up by the FTC to see if you were affected by the 2017 Equifax data breach. You might be able to file a claim and get $125 out of the multi-million dollar settlement. I recommend spending that money on a subscription to a credit monitoring service, a password manager, a physical 2FA key, and then use whatever's left to drown the thought of spending the rest of your life dealing with this bullshit.

Organizers have moved the 50th anniversary of Woodstock to Maryland's DC suburbs after again failing to secure space in upstate New York. The festival is set to take place in just a few weeks, but it's been plagued by bad vibes, including the loss of a major financer and rumors of artists bailing out.

Seth Meyers took A Closer Look at Robert Mueller's testimony and wondered why anyone needed Mueller to say Trump is guilty of doing "crazy shit."

Trump Lies About Robert Mueller's Testimony: A Closer

And here's your morning Nice Time: Artic fox puppers!

Arctic Fox Cubs Emerge from the Den | First Year on Earth | BBC

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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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