Morning Wonketariat! Here's some of the things we may be talking about today.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration officials are defending themselves against charges of caving to politically motivated fuckery by pointing at Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. According to the New York Times, on Ross ordered science nerds to sit down, shut up, and MAGA. Ross's office isn't denying that it sent out an agency-wide email on Friday, but it does say "Ross did not threaten to fire" staffers who believe nothing can trump the life-saving importance of accurate science.
Trump's totally real peace deal with the Taliban is officially dead, he hath decreed.
Congressional Republicans will head to the White House later today and try to get Trump to sputter out a series of sentence fragments related to possible gun control legislation. Speaking with reporters yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell avoided talking about gun humping altogether, saying that the Senate's final 40 days this year would be focused on avoiding a government shutdown. Some Democrats are already throwing their hands up, but later today the House Judiciary is expected to take up bills that include banning high capacity magazines, stopping people convicted of hate crimes from getting a gun, and so-called "red flag" laws.
As the Senate mulls over spending bills House Democrats sent to them forever and a month of Sundays ago, the bickering is expected to revolve around all the usual suspects: military spending, gun fetishism, detention centers for adult and child migrants on the southern border, Trump's goddamn WALL, and abortions. Democrats are expected to try to keep Trump from robbing the Pentagon in light of stories detailing the how the Air Force was trying to make Trump hotels great again.
Later today Senate Democrats will force a second vote on Trump's emergency border declaration, and there's not a goddamn thing #MoscowMitch can do about it. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is expected to cite the Constitution's quaint old system of checks and balances, and use this as an attempt to claw back the $3.6 billion Trump is stealing from the Pentagon.
Democrats have unveiled their "Resolution for Investigative Procedures," which is really a fancy outline for the scope of a possible impechment investigation. The House Judiciary Committee will vote Thursday on whether or not to adopt the rules, which try to expedite the investigation process by allowing subcommittees to look at specific evidence, and staffers to question witnesses. In a related story, House Judiciary chair Jerry Nadler says the timeline to impeachment doesn't exactly hinge on testimony from former White House counsel Don McGahn because they've got a growing mountain of evidence of Trump's equally long list of ALLEGED high-crimes and misdemeanors.
The House Foreign Affairs, Intelligence, and Oversight committees want to know why the hell Rudy Giuliani seems to be trying to blackmail the Ukrainian government to help Trump in the 2020 election. The story follows a WaPo editorial last week that claimed Rudy had been leaning all over Ukrainian officials to make Ukranium One so fetch. The panels cite tweets from Giuliani, and notes the administration had been dangling $250 million in foreign aid to counter Russian fuckery to get Ukraine to play ball. Rudy tells the Wall Street Journal there's no funny stuff, and that his fake as shit Ukranium One "scandal" has left him "outraged as an American citizen."
The administration doesn't feel like compensating federal employees who were victims of a 2015 cyber attacks that saw personal records of 22.1 million of federal employees, military members, and government contractors stolen. The DOJ apparently thinks victims who got hacked because some lazy fucks at OPM didn't believe in basic cyber security aren't entitled to $1,000 each and free credit protection services because this was espionage, not identity theft or consumer fraud.
The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights has found that southern states have closed almost 1,200 polling places since the SCOTUS gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013. The report details all sorts of fuckery, like how seven counties in Georgia only have one polling place, and the closing of neighborhood polling places in Texas and Arizona in favor of shady "voter centers." [Democracy Diverted: Polling Place Closures and the Right to Vote]
Stacey Abrams has issued a 16-page memo calling on Democrats to compete in Georgia in 2020. Abrams and her top aide Lauren Groh-Wargo write that a lot of registered black voters were discouraged from participating in the 2018 election, and argues the party shouldn't make a "false choice" between choosing to target suburban white voters or black voters. They've even included a bunch of fancy charts and graphs for data nerds to gawk at! [The Abrams Playbook]
Former 2017 Democratic congressional candidate Jon Ossoff has announced #HesRunning for the US Senate in Georgia in 2020, and Republicans are already calling him a socialist millennial whippersnapper who doesn't know how to lie. Ossoff says incumbent Republican Sen. David Perdue "has not come down from his private island to hold a single public town hall" in a half a decade. Politico adds that Ossoff already has an endorsement from legislative badass Rep. John Lewis, and the two are planning a voter registration drive later this month.
Politico Magazine has a silly story wondering if Beto O'Rourke's new "fuck-it phase" is all part of some grand strategy, or if he's just riding this gravy train to the end of the line.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson lost his gamble to hold snap elections before the Brexit deadline, and MPs killed BoJo's attempt to make a "no deal" Brexit happen. In related story, John Bercow, Britain's speaker of the House of Commons (the "OR-DAH!" guy), announced his resignation in a tearful speech. Bercow's resignation came with the caveat that he'd stick around until the end of October, likely to make sure BoJo and his dwindling number of lackeys don't try to ram through Brexit. The chaos got even more nutty after MPs tried to block Bercow from suspending Parliament until October, per the Queen. Bercow later shouted down a conservative ally of BoJo, saying "Get out man, you will not be missed," later adding, "I couldn't give a flying flamingo what your view is."
Trump held some dumb rally last night in support of the anti-trans Republican candidate in the North Carolina special election. As usual, he yelled and scream a bunch of lies and racist bullshit, like calling Democrats "radical" godless sodomites, and presiding over his sycophants as they chanted "Send her back." Trump even peddled his old voter fraud claim about millions of "illegals" voting in California -- ironic, considering the only reason the special election is happening is because an operative for the previous Republican candidate actually committed election fraud (allegedly -- no convictions yet. He done it, though).
One America News Network (OANN), a Trumpian cable news network, is suing Comcast, MSNBC, and Rachel Maddow for defamation after running a story back in July that laid out how OANN peddles "paid Russian propaganda." Initially reported by the Daily Beast, the story details how one of OANN's reporters, Kristian Brunovich Rouz, cashes checks from Russian state-media outlet Sputnik. [Suit]
The NRA is suing the San Francisco Board of Supervisors after it voted last week to label the NRA a "domestic terrorist organization," said the NRA "spreads propaganda that misinforms and aims to deceive the public about the dangers of gun violence," and urged the city and county not to do business with the NRA. The suit, the NRA says, is a "message to those who attack the NRA," adding it's standing its ground and clinging to guns and 2nd Amendment religion.
The trial of a Chinese woman who was arrested while wandering around Mar-a-Lago and then lying to the Secret Service got into yet another twist yesterday after the suspect, 33-year-old Yujing Zhang, complained to the judge about not having a bra. The judge accused Zhang of "playing games," groused over her complaints about language issues, and urged her to use a public defender. Which is silly, because those don't fit nearly as well as a bra would. US prosecutors have stopped short of calling Zhang a Chinese spy, noting that she was caught with a cache of super spy stuff; claiming she speaks perfect English and is purposefully screwing around.
Sarah Palin's husband, Todd Palin, is GOING ROUGE and has reportedly filed for divorce, citing "incompatibility of temperament between the parties." The story was first reported by a local blogger who notes the former prospective Second Dude was quietly mavericking around Alaska instead of sucking down vodka slushies at the annual Sturgis motorcycle rally when his apparently EX-wife mumbled something about getting back into politics. The lamestream media notes the Palin marriage had been a bit punch-drunk over the last few years after their son, Track, kept "freaking out" and getting arrested for domestic violence.
Science bozos in Mexico drilling into the crater of a massive asteroid that slammed into the Earth 65 million years ago found even more evidence that it wiped out almost all life on Earth. Nerds tell the Wall Street Journal they now have a minute-by-minute account of what happened on that first apocalyptic day. Obviously this is means we need a big, black, wall (or steel slats, or peaches) with spikes and cameras in space.
Trevor Noah breaks down the breakdown in peace negotiations between the Taliban and the USA, and why Chrissy Teigen and the Twitterati got #PresidentPussyAssBitch trending.
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