Boom. Wonkagenda For Mon., Aug. 12, 2019

Boom. Wonkagenda For Mon., Aug. 12, 2019

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

Russia had a small nuclear oopsie. We're still reading up on it. It sounds bad!

Convicted sex offender and alleged child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein is dead following an apparent suicide. Corrections officials at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York had not checked on Epstein for "several" hours prior to the discovery of his body as he had been taken off suicide watch in July. Officials tell the AP that the guards were working extreme overtime. Shortly after his death was announced on Saturday, crackpots began pushing conspiracy theories blaming the Clinton family -- which were promptly retweeted by Trump -- forcing Kellyanne Conway to blither some mindless horseshit on Fox News about Trump and Attorney General Bill Barr wanting "everything to be investigated." This morning, medical officials are declining to release the results of Epstein's autopsy. Looking back, Charlie Warzel writes in the New York Times that Trump's shitposting was part of an obsession with Twitter trends (read: distractions) that are taking us "nowhere good." The Washington Post reports prosecutors are likely to start looking at Epstein's former girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell, who is said to have acted as a madam for Epstein's alleged sex trafficking operation.

The Trump administration has refused to acknowledge the growing threat posed by white supremacist terrorists in the US, according to the New York Times, primarily because Trump and his Yes Men does not believe it to be a threat. To make matters worse, domestic terrorists are parroting the racist rhetoric espoused by Trump, Fox News, and other cranks in the wing nut-o-sphere.

The Washington Post reports Donald Trump hates being called a "racist" just as much as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hates being called #MoscowMitch.

Across the country Latinx people are freaking out about the possibility of being caught up in in a mass shooting by a white supremacist terrorist. While parts of fly-over country look back on their own mass shootings, Rep. Steve Scalise and the rest of the gun fetishizing Trump World are trying to decouple white supremacy from the gun violence by injecting some bullshit and whataboutism into the conversation and demanding we stop trying to "assign blame." [Face The Nation]

Politico reports that Trump will try to shove his anti-immigrant rhetoric into every single political issue as we head into 2020, be it gun control, his trade war(s), or the sprawling clusterfuck we'll simply call the Middle East.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren dropped a plan to reduce gun deaths by as much as 80 percent through a combination of executive orders and legislation. Under Warren's proposal, the US would not only have mandatory background checks and a ban on assault weapons, we'd also create a federal licensing system, invest $100 million into gun violence research, limit the number of guns a person could buy, raise the minimum purchasing age, raise taxes on gun manufacturers, and hold gun manufacturers liable (and, in some cases, hold the CEOs personally responsible).

Joe Biden has an op-ed calling to reinstate the 1994 assault weapons ban, pass universal background checks, and deploy so-called "smart-gun" technology.

A Florida man with a history of making white supremacist threats on social media has been arrested after threatening to shoot up a Walmart.

After another weekend of massive protests that saw brutal crackdowns from local police, officials in Hong Kong have shut down the city's airport. The pro-regime Global Times is now reporting riot police have been spotted in personnel carriers heading to the city of Shenzhen, which borders Hong Kong, for "large-scale exercises." State-owned media outlets have been pushing claims that protesters are becoming violent in an effort to move public opinion away from supporting the protests.

Tens of thousands of people turned up for protests to in Moscow to demand opposition candidates be allowed to run in the city's local elections for the third successive weekend. In response, Russian authorities are cracking, freezing the assets of opposition politicians like Alexei Navalny, and demanding Google remove ads for what it calls "illegal mass protests" after activists began buying ads to push notifications of livestreams to the protest.

Investigative reporting outlet Bellingcat has a great deep dive into the months-long attempt to hack encrypted email accounts of Russia-focused journalists who make the Kremlin look like crooked, murderous assholes.

Roger Stone's lawyers do not want prosecutors to play a scene from The Godfather II for the jury to put an "important context" on alleged witness tampering. Stone's lawyers argue that the scene makes the Nixonian hatchet man look like a member of the mafia, and that it peddles a stereotype that Italian-Americans are criminals. Here's the scene.

The Godfather II - Michael brings Frank Pentangeli's brother at his trial

The Washington Post reports that from the start of his presidency to Aug. 5, Trump had made over 12,000 "false or misleading claims."

Public service workers trying to pay down student debt as part of an obscure student loan forgiveness program are getting screwed thanks to wonky loopholes, strict rules that aren't very clear, and errors from loan servicers. To make matters worse, the glacial pace of paperwork processing means some civil servants aren't even aware of bad advice or ineligible repayment plans for years. Don't expect the Education Department to be of any help here.

A bear jumped/fell onto the patrol car of a Northern California sheriff's deputy, sending the vehicle into an embankment, rolling onto its side, and bursting into flames. In a related story, a black bear broke into a Colorado home and then burst through a wall to escape, "like the Kool-Aid Man," according to a social media posting by local police.

The son of author JD Salinger will begin releasing digital editions of his late father's work, as well as other previously unpublished material.

US Olympic Gymnasts had a kickass, record-setting weekend. Simone Biles nailed an insane triple twisting double somersault during a floor routine, and a double twisting double somersault off the balance beam to win her sixth US championship title.

On Friday, US Fencer Race Imboden took a knee during the awards ceremony of the Pan-American Games. The New York Times quotes Imboden as saying he spoke with his teammates before his protest to receive the go-ahead. On Twitter, Imboden said, his pride "has been cut short by the multiple shortcomings of the country I hold so dear to my heart. Racism, Gun Control, mistreatment of immigrants and a president who spreads hate are at the top of a long list. I chose to sacrifice my moment today at the top of the podium to call attention to issues that I believe need to be addressed. I encourage others to please use your platforms for empowerment and change."

John Oliver 'splained Turkmenistan's batshit dictator Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov. Vladimir Putin might ride a horse, but this guy writes quasi-fetish literature about horses, shoots guns while riding a bike, makes hilariously awful music, and has a weird obsession with setting useless world records.

Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

And here's your morning Nice Time:TILLY, THE RIVER OTTER!

Second Chances: Tilly the river

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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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