Russian Assh*le. Wonkagenda For Tues., July 30, 2019


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

Attorney General Bill Barr wants to restrict protections for the families of asylum seeking immigrants. The move seems to be an attempt to reverse a 2018 ruling by the Justice Department's Board of Immigration Appeals that found a father running from a drug cartel was eligible for asylum.

Stephen Miller wants Border Patrol officers to become the Judge Dredd's of southern border. NBC has some emails showing Miller and creatures in Trump World attempting to circumvent "soft" asylum officers by letting hard border agents become the judge, jury, and executioners of asylum claims.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell really doesn't like being called "Moscow Mitch." McConnell poked his head out of his shell for a brief tantrum on the Senate floor yesterday, accusing people calling him a "Russian asset" of engaging in "modern-day McCarthyism," and of leading the "outrage-industrial complex." McConnell said his repeated blocking of legislation aimed at safeguarding US election systems wasn't because Republicans are "traitors or un-American," but that the bill was "so partisan that it only received one single Republican vote in the House." McConnell then submitted some dusty crap about Bill Clinton into the Congressional Record. This morning the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board has a laughably ignorant op-ed defending #MoscowMitch as being tougher on Russia than Clinton, Bush 43, and Obama because he supported the Magnitsky Act, and allowed the Senate Intel Committee to open an investigation into Russian fuckery after the 2016 election (after he refused to acknowledge said fuckery DURING the election).

The Senate failed to override Trump's veto of a bill that would have blocked the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia. In a final vote of 45-40, five Republicans grew a spine and walked across the aisle to vote with Democrats against giving Dr. Bonesaw the power to bomb even more school buses and fruit stands in Yemen, or to get more weapons to sell to terrorists on the black market. CNBC notes that fifteen Republicans didn't vote, presumably because they value money more than the troops, America, and babies. But they're foreign babies, so who cares?

The House Oversight Committee released a report finding Mike Flynn and former Trump inaugural committee chair Tom Barrack were working with officials from Trump's White House, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Russia, to get nuclear technology transfered to the Saudis without any of the red tape meant to prohibit the spread of nuclear weapons. Barrack was so heavily invested in the project during the 2016 campaign that he worked with Gulf nations on Trump's energy policy speech to make sure Trump didn't say anything that could cost them money. [Report]

Here's some emergency nice time!

Baby Learning How to Gorilla | First Year on Earth | BBC Earth

As the US economy teeters on the edge of the fiscal cliff, Sen. Ted Cruz and a bunch of Senate Republicans are begging Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to give the super rich another tax break. In a letter, Cruz tells Mnuchin he should lower the Capital Gains Tax by tying the rate to inflation. Bean counters say 86 percent of the benefits from this would go to the fabulously wealthy One Percent. Cruz argues throwing money at the rich would "unlock capital for investment, increase wages," and yadda, yadda, yadda, the profits would trickle down to the masses just like the Trump tax cuts (for the super rich). Here's a handy 'splainer on capital gains and why Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden proposed an INCREASE on capital gains back in April. [Letter]

A hearing on a bill by Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton to make DC the 51st state has been delayed to September. The hearing had been scheduled for last week, but got bumped by Robert Mueller. In a statement, Norton says, "This hearing will inform people of what most do not know — that the residents of their nation's capital do not have full voting rights in the House and have no representation in the Senate."

House Democrats aren't exactly rushing to support Trump's NAFTA 2. The rumor mill on the Hill is that Nancy Pelosi told Steve Mnuchin she'd bring NAFTA 2 to the House floor for a vote, but it still looks like a shit sandwich nobody wants to even nibble.

While the Trump administration waddles around in its own shit on tariff exemptions, Sen. Elizabeth Warren has dropped ANOTHER plan for US trade policy that puts workers at the center of export negotiations. Policy wonks and bean counters say Warren's policy would potentially be a boon for domestic goals, but are skittish about her call to renegotiate existing treaties. A number of nerds point out Warren's populist messaging is similar to Trump's hollow pledges in 2016, with the main difference being that she's actually included some math to back up her policies.

Axios gossips that Pete Buttigieg has snatched up Michael Halle, a former adviser to Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and the head of Richard Cordray's failed 2018 Ohio gubernatorial campaign. Halle's deep connections with the Clintons suggests Butters is digging into the DNC in an effort to win over the old guard.

CNN has released the rules for the Democratic debates tonight and tomorrow. At the top is no one-word "yes" or "no" answers, and please, nothing that requires candidates to raise their hands like a bunch of school children. CNN also says it will put questions on chyrons so viewers like you can see when candidates dodge the actual question. The Washington Post notes candidates will probably just start beating the shit out of each other tonight in an attempt to knock one another out of the race.

Axios gossips that General Motors is particularly worried that Democratic candidates will start taking cheap shots at the multinational mega corp. A major GM plant just a stone's throw away from Detroit is slated to close Wednesday, and DNC chair Tom Perez is expected to hold a presser with Rep. Dan Kildee across the street "to highlight Trump's broken promises on the economy."

Rep. Rashida Tlaib has an op-ed in the Washington Post talking about doing her job for her constituents in the Michigan 13th, even if that means she has to #Impeach a motherfucker.

ICYMI: While everyone was paying attention to that stupid POTUS seal with Russian eagle and the golf clubs during the Turning Point USA's Teen Student Action Summit (TPUSATSAS), Republican Sen. Rand Paul was talking to Breitbart about Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar. Paul compared Omar to other refugees he's known from behind the Iron Curtain (AKA: white people), calling her an "ungrateful" welfare queen for taking advantage of Obamacare and free schools only to call America a shithole country like Somalia. Paul said he was "willing to contribute to buy her a ticket to go visit Somalia" so she can back and see the "tribes" that are "fighting each other" without capitalism and Jesus.

ICYMI: After spending the better part of the last 20 years creating the PR strategy to deny climate change, human Golgothan and GOP pollster Frank Luntz told a Senate committee "climate change is real," and pledged to help Democrats and Republicans push legislation aimed reducing carbon emissions. Hey, Frank, remember when you urged George W to say "climate change" since it worried people a lot less than "global warming"?

FACT CHECK: Trump's claim that he's given jobs to black folks is not accurate. Economists note that the low unemployment numbers among black workers is part of a trend that began in 2009 under President Obama. Under the Trump administration, wages for black workers have actually fallen, and the unemployment rate for black workers has actually increased since May of 2018.

Capital One announced it's suffered a massive data breach that revealed names, addresses, phone numbers, emails, birthday, and the income of about 100 million Americans and six million Canadians. The DOJ says 33-year-old Paige Thompson is suspected of "exfiltrating and stealing information, including credit card applications and other documents, from Capital One," and dumping info in a Slack chat server. The WSJ notes the information primarily affects people and businesses who applied for a Capital One credit card between 2005 and early 2019. Capital One is hoping hackers and pirates don't take all that info and start getting bogus credit cards, and is telling investors this will ONLY cost $100-$150 million a year, which is probably a fair assessment as the FTC gives zero fucks about data privacy.

US Soccer is pushing back against claims by the women's team that the men's team makes more money. US Soccer President Carlos Cordeiro says the women's team was actually paid more in salary and bonuses from 2010 to 2018, and released a "fact sheet" full of butthurt and bullet points. A spox for the women's team called the claims "utterly false," and the fact sheet "a ruse," adding, "U.S.S.F. has repeatedly admitted that it does not pay the women equally and that it does not believe the women even deserve to be paid equally." [Letter]

Some exceptionally stupid knuckle dragger on his way back from duty in Kuwait tried to fly back state side with a military missile launcher in his checked bag. After being reminded that firearms and large bottles of shampoo are restricted, the soldier told the TSA his boomstick was a souvenir, and not live.

Aside from Baltimore, Trevor Noah took a look at some of Trump's latest beefs, like French wine, air conditioning, rats, and black people.

Trump Tells Congressman to “Go Back" to “Rat-Infested" Baltimore | The Daily Show

And here's your morning Nice Time: More baby gorillas!

Cute Baby Gorillas Start Their Morning | Dallas Zoo

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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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