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Healthcare

Donald Trump Gonna Cut Medicare Just Like He Promised Not To

Or at least he wants to. But budgets are more of a letter to Santa anyway.

Donald Trump's new budget is out, and it has some very smart ideas about spending more on the military and slashing Medicare and Medicaid, two programs he said would never be cut when he was running. Haha, we like to mention that as if any of his supporters would care he lied, because we are old and crotchety that way. Remember how he said all Americans would get better healthcare than Obamacare, too? And now that has happened, just like Big Brother's glorious victory on the Malabar Front and the generous increase in the chocolate ration.

Here, remember all the times Donald Trump promised the only cuts you'd ever see to Medicare were in "waste, fraud, and abuse"? He would be different from other Republicans that way!

Trump promised over and over to 'save' Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Will he? www.youtube.com

He even said Hillary Clinton would "destroy" Social Security and Medicare, because that's exactly what she said she'd do, never.

So in his new genius "Budget for a Better America" -- aides had to keep correcting it from "gooder" in drafts -- Trump wants to cut just a teensy bit from the budget for Medicare: about $845 billion over the next decade. As Mother Jones points out, that's a 10 percent cut, and nobody thinks the rate of "waste and fraud" in Medicare is that high. Except maybe if anyone asks him, Trump will say it is, and that will make it so. The cuts would mostly come through paying hospitals less for Medicare patients, so we can't see anyone minding that. Except for how the Washington Post notes the pushback was immediate:

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Congress

We Tried To List All Kirstjen Nielsen's Baby Jail Testimony Lies. We Failed.

The Banality Of Kirstjen.

Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen took questions from the House Homeland Security Committee yesterday, although it would be a stretch to say she answered any. Nielsen stuck to the same line she's taken since last summer: The Trump administration never had a family separation policy, and please never mind all the times John Kelly said taking children from their parents would be an excellent way to deter asylum seekers, or multiple DHS documents discussing the goal of separating families.

Instead, Nielsen insisted there had only been a policy of prosecuting all lawbreakers at the border, although she eventually conceded that, sure, that led to children being taken from their families. But it was definitely not a family separation policy. More of a happy side effect, like when you beat suspects to extract information and they also happen to suffer and die.

Here's Nielsen, in reply to questions by Democratic Rep. Kathleen Rice of New York, spinning the existence of a policy that Jeff Sessions was very clear about announcing nearly a year ago:

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News

'National Treasure' But For Donald Trump's Military School Records

But you see, Obama made him do it.

As part of his racist "birther" nonsense, Donald Trump liked to insist that Barack Obama had "hidden" his academic records, because how on earth could a Kenyan Muslim ever have qualified for good colleges, huh? So of course it's no surprise to learn that in 2011, just after Trump had once again called on Obama to release all his school transcripts ever, the military academy where Trump learned more about being in the military than many generals came under pressure to hide away all of the Great Man's high school records, because of course it did, according to a story yesterday broken by the Washington Post. Evan Jones, the former headmaster of New York Military Academy, said the pressure came directly from his boss, superintendent Jeffrey Coverdale, who told him the records needed to git gone:

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Environment

If We Blame Hillary For This Uranium/Bears Ears F*ckery, Maybe Fox Will Care!

Lol, but we do amuse us!

As part of their ongoing witch hunt against nice corporations who simply want to make America and their profits great again, House Democrats plan to investigate exactly how the Trump administration made the decision to vastly cut the size of a national monument in Utah. In particular, the House Natural Resources Committee wants to know how much of the decision was pushed by mining and other corporate interests. Roll Call brings us the radioactive dirt on a uranium company that met with Team Trump well before the administration announced it would "study" shrinking the boundaries of several national monuments established by three previous presidents.

Natural Resources chair Raúl Grijalva wants to know whether corporate greedheads gave Ryan Zinke and the Interior Department help in its decision to chop away some 85-90 percent of the Bears Ears National Monument, which Barack Obama established in 2016. Utah Republicans and representatives of extractive industries opposed Bears Ears and other monuments because there were all sorts of neat resources to dig up, and besides, there's no way to monetize scenic beauty and sacred/threatened Native American sites. As Roll Call reports, the rollback just might have had a little help from a uranium mining and processing company:

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Russia

Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler: Just The Witch Hunter We've Been Waiting For!

Play it again, Sam Nunberg! You played it for him, now you can play it for me.

Yes, there really is a Santa Claus. Only sometimes he waits for March, when he appears in the form of a jolly Jewish Judiciary Chairman from Manhattan who brings us sacks upon sacks of glorious document demands to be litigated, docketed, savored, and finally unwrapped in open hearing. HO HO L'CHAYIM!

Yesterday Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York dropped requests for documents -- because he's nice, and he asks politely before busting out those subpoenas -- on 81 different people and entities in Trumpland. Don't you ever let anyone tell you your vote doesn't matter. As Mr. Nadler put it in the Committee's announcement of the investigation:

Over the last several years, President Trump has evaded accountability for his near-daily attacks on our basic legal, ethical, and constitutional rules and norms. Investigating these threats to the rule of law is an obligation of Congress and a core function of the House Judiciary Committee. We have seen the damage done to our democratic institutions in the two years that the Congress refused to conduct responsible oversight. Congress must provide a check on abuses of power.

Put that shit directly in our veins, babeeee!

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Blacktacular

Republicans Say Stupid Sh*t Lies, Weekend Show Edition!

It's your Sunday Show Rundown!

Let's begin today's Sunday show roundup with National Security Adviser and least favorite Bolton (after Michael and Ramsey), John. Trump's NSA appeared on CNN's "State of The Union," proclaiming the "unquestionable success" of the second Trump/Kim summit, even though no deal was reached and Trump was humiliated. Jake Tapper asked Bolton about Trump's statements regarding Otto Warmbier, the American college student who was sent home in a coma from North Korea and died shortly after being returned to the US; Trump said at a press conference that Kim Jong Un denied knowing anything about Warmbier, and so case closed. Trump stated, "He tells me that he didn't know about it, and I will take him at his word. Those prisons are rough. They're rough places, and bad things happen. But I don't believe he knew about it."

TAPPER: He's going to take Kim Jong-un at his word that he didn't know about it. The Warmbier family put out a statement. They disagree. They say Kim Jong-un is responsible. Are they wrong?

BOLTON: Look, the president made it very clear he considers what happened to Otto Warmbier an act of brutality that's completely unacceptable to the American side. I have heard him before the summit itself, before the press conference, talk about how deeply he cared about Otto Warmbier and his family. The fact is, the best thing North Korea could do right now would be to give us a full accounting of what happened and who was responsible for it.

That's quite a change or non-commitment for Bolton. Especially when, shortly after Otto Warmbier's death, Bolton was basically egging on a full scale regime change in North Korea.

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Media/Entertainment

Zee Era Of Fox News Giving Sebastian Gorka A Pity Paycheck Is OV-UH

But what would NAPOLEON have done?

Former Trump administration hanger-on and all-around definitely not-a-Nazi (he's NAZI-ADJACENT, OK?) Sebastian Gorka has cut his ties with Fox News, where until this weekend he'd been on the payroll as a "national security strategist." Gorka got the gig in November 2017, a few months after getting shitcanned-or-resigning from the Trump White House, where nobody was really sure what the fuck he even did. Gorka told the Hollywood Reporter the decision to leave Fox was entirely his because he's just so busy working on a new daily radio show for rightwing outlet Salem Radio, plus doing commentaries for Sinclair Broadcasting. So far, Fox News hasn't made any comment on his departure (beyond confirming it in general terms to The Wrap), because since when is it any of YOUR business, you nosy thing you?

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Russia

Why Is President ToddlerSh*ts McSad Having A Meltdown Today?

Oh, why ISN'T he? Perhaps that is a better question.

Every Monday it feels like we come back to the same place during the reign of Donald Trump, as we are forced to catalogue all the things that have made the president of the United States whiny and sad over the weekend. (OK, we are not forced. This is still America, and Wonkette does this because we are proud to be an American, where at least we know we're free ... to mock the everloving FUCK out of that loser.)

The point is the president is having a lot of feelings right now, so if everybody could please raise your right index finger and point it in his general direction while you laugh, we'll get started.

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Trump

Happy Monday! Let's Talk About The President's Feelings

Why is everybody so racist to Donald Trump?

Donald Trump is up and tweeting this morning, and as ever, he's grumpy about all the idiots who are wrong in the world, like Spike Lee, who is racist against Donald Trump, and also former senator Harry Reid, who retired after 2016 but who Trump believes was secretly thrown out for being so awful and wrong. At least Trump likes someone: Kim Jong Un, with whom he's looking forward to spending some quality time this week. Dictators appreciate him.

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News

Another Bill In The Wall. Wonkagenda For Fri., Feb. 22, 2019

Trump STILL can't get his wall money, Alex Acosta broke the law, and Dame Peggington hates commie kids. Your morning news brief!

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

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Science

Meet Trump's New Climate Policy Guy: This F*cking Lunatic

'The demonization of carbon dioxide is just like the demonization of the poor Jews under Hitler'? Oh.

The Washington Post reports the Trump administration is on the verge of forming a panel to reconsider the Pentagon and Intelligence community assessment that climate change poses a serious concern for national security. The idea that climate is a national security concern is hardly crazy -- the Pentagon has been warning about the implications of climate change for national defense since the 1990s, and by 2010, the Defense Department was urging that climate change should be considered a major force of destabilization around the world. Hungry people whose crops have dried up may get violent, you know? Or at least pick up and move elsewhere, where they may not be welcome. Similarly, the CIA in 2008 tried to assess the likely effects of climate change on security through 2030.

Of course, now that President ScienceBrain is in office, that's all in the trash, at least in the Oval Office. And this new effort to set up a "Presidential Committee on Climate Security" through an executive order has the potential to erase considerations of climate from national security planning, because the "president" doesn't believe it, and has surrounded himself with other great intellects who reject science too. And hoo boy, get a load of the guy in charge of the whole shebang: William Happer, a laser expert who worked on Reagan's Star Wars antimissile program and, not surprisingly, is not a climate scientist. Instead, he argues that we need a lot more CO2 in the atmosphere, because it's what plants crave.

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News

Trump's Terrible UN Pick Heather Nauert Has Nanny Problem, Because It's Always 1994

Now who will run five different State Department departments?

With the revelation that she'd hired a nanny who wasn't legal to work in the USA, former Fox News "Bunch Of Dimwits On A Couch" host Heather Nauert has withdrawn herself from consideration as a possible nominee to replace Nikki Haley as Donald Trump's ambassador to the UN. Not that she acknowledged any such thing -- instead, she said she was stepping aside for the sake of her family. It's nice to see that at least some members of this hell administration adhere to Washington traditions like the polite resignation fiction. Much classier than that time Anthony Scaramucci shoved a lit Roman candle up his ass and had to be chased around the roof of the White House when he was fired.

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News

Lindsey Graham, Stephen Miller Interrupt Your Sunday With Their Stupid Lie-Holes

It's your Sunday Show Rundown!

Hello Wonks! We begin today's cavalcade of xenophobic morons with White House Senior Policy Advisor and Santa Monica Goebbels Stephen Miller. After being summoned by saying his name three times into a mirror, he appeared on "Fox News Sunday" to discuss the national emergency declaration made by his short fingered overlord. Chris Wallace, however, and as occasionally happens, was having none of Miller's bullshit:

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News

Mike Pence Embarasses Himself (Again). Wonkagenda For Mon., Feb. 18, 2019

Andy McCabe goes on 60 Minutes, Heather Nauert quit-fired, and LA's 'army of cats.' Your morning news brief!

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

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Russia

BREAKING: Trump Dumber Than Dry Dogsh*t, Jeff Sessions Racist As F*ck

Yay, it's time for more pissed off Andy McCabe BOOK!

Hola, Wonkers! It is time for more details from fired acting FBI director Andrew McCabe's very angry and wonderful book, The Threat: How The FBI Protects America In The Age Of Terror And Trump! We reminded you everything you need to remember about McCabe on Thursday, so we won't rehash it here. If you have forgotten already, you are very forgetful and you probably left your coffee pot on too when you left the house this morning, OH SHIT! (Relax. Unless your coffee pot was made during the Carter administration, it turns itself off.)

Anyway, let's look at the Washington Post review, which gives us yet another hilarious and horrifying example of how Donald Trump, the president of the United States, is both dumber than dogshit, and also clearly so far up Vladimir Putin's ass he's chewing on last night's borscht:

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Post-Racial America

What We Do To The Least Among Us Is This Refugee Kids' Tent City

Same shit, different location.

In January, the government finally closed Tornillo, that tent city shelter that had housed up to 3,800 teens at a time. Partly because of pressure from the public and lawmakers, but mostly because the Texas nonprofit that ran the place for the Department of Health and Human Services decided not to renew the contract. Some of the kids stored at Tornillo were released to sponsors in the US, and others were shifted to other facilities around the country. But the closure of the Tornillo kinder-kamp wasn't the end of shitty warehousing of migrant kids, heavens no, because the government has another "temporary" shelter, this one in Homestead, Florida, where kids aged 13 to 17 have also been kept crammed in close quarters for months at a time. In December, the feds expanded the Homestead shelter's capacity from 1,350 to 2,350 children, and in recent days, the place has been the focus of critical coverage from the Miami Herald, Huffington Post, and NPR.

Tornillo had been the object of protest not simply because it was a bunch of tents (very nice air-conditioned tents, the government kept pointing out), but because as a "temporary" shelter on federal land, it was exempt from regulations that apply to other child-storage facilities under HHS management. Staff didn't have to be licensed child-care workers and the kids didn't have to receive an education, although they did have the option of filling out workbooks if they wanted to. Access to mental health services and legal help were also iffy at Tornillo.

And big surprise, same goes for the shelter in Homestead, which is on federal land borrowed from the Job Corps, but is actually operated by a for-profit outfit, Comprehensive Health Services, Inc. Since it's allegedly meant only to handle "temporary" overflow of "unaccompanied alien children" (the charming bureaucratic term for kids who come to the US without parents or guardians), the Homestead shelter is also exempted from regulations that apply to other shelters, as the Miami Herald explains:

Temporary emergency shelters, according to federal officials, are any "unlicensed care provider facility that provides temporary emergency shelter and services for unaccompanied alien children when licensed facilities are near or at capacity."

Being unlicensed means the facilities like Homestead don't have to be certified by state authorities responsible for regulating facilities that house children. Temporary shelters also don't have to comply with the 1997 "Flores Settlement," which limits the length of time and conditions under which U.S. officials can detain unaccompanied minors — 20 days.

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon), a key figure in the opposition to Trump's treatment of migrant kids and their families, is pissed, and recently reintroduced his "Shut Down Child Prison Camps Act," aimed at banning the use of "temporary" shelters to imprison migrant kids. Merkley told the Herald,

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