The Smoke Eater For Feb. 10, 2020

Fuzzy math, lying liars, and an orange peel.

Good morning, this is The Smoke Eater for Monday, February 10, 2020, and I'm just wondering what would Henry Rollins do?

Quick Hit

* Wharton graduate doesn't understand basic math * Nukes for all * Fact-checking the New Hampshire debate * Iowa Democrats say Butters wins * Republican's screaming in  smoke-filled rooms * Orange absurdity.

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Fuzzy Math

Trump's White House is expected to drop a massive budget on the Hill, but it's likely to land with a thud. Axios reports the administration will call for $4.4 trillion in spending cuts to the departments of Transportation, Education, Energy, Labor, State, EPA, HUD, DOJ, USDA, DOJ, HHS, CDC, various foreign aid programs, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the Small Business Administration. In particular, they're calling for $2.2 trillion in cuts to the social net and targeting programs like Medicaid, food stamps, disability insurance, student loan forgiveness, and the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository.

Roll Call adds there's a proposal to shift control of the Secrete Service from DHS to the Treasury Department. The New York Times reports the the budget will again call to end Obamacare, but says there aren't specifics on that particular pipedream.

The administration assumes the the budget deficit will fall to $966 billion in 2021 as a result of Trump's 2017 cooperate tax cut, contrary to estimates by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The administration believes the GDP will grow by about three percent for the next 15 years despite projections from the Fed, the CBO, and other bean counting watchdogs who forecast the economy shrink below two percent over the same period of time.

Trump's White House wants to take all the money it thinks it's saving and dump it into NASA, the CBP, DHS, Veterans Affairs, the Pentagon, and the Trump's wall. It's widely believed the White House will roll back some of it's multi-billion dollar demand that American's pay for Trump's wall seeing as how they already took a total of $18 billion from the military.

BONUS: Paulina Firozi writes for The Washington Post that the administration is trying to build a chunk of wall through the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. The area is home to at least a dozen Native American tribal groups, as well as a biosphere full of plants and animals so rare they're found nowhere else on earth.

"Boom" Goes The Nuclear Dynamite

Trump's budget calls for a $741 billion defense budget that will dramatically increase nuclear weapons, Axios writes. US politico's have been avoiding an unsavory extension or retrofit of the nuclear arsenal for a long time. Over the last decade, the nuclear arsenals from peer and near-peer actors have increased while nuclear treaties -- particularly those between the US and Russia -- have been neglected, and in some cases, torn apart. Madeleine Albright and Igor Ivanov have an op-ed where they argue for a new nuclear arms treaty to avoid another costly and unnecessary nuclear arms race.

Defense News reports Defense Secretary Mark Esper is committed to increasing the the Navy's fleet size to at least 355 ships despite an OMB memo outlining cuts that would shrink the size of the fleet over the next five years. Esper is hoping achieve this schizoid vision through a mixture of robo-boats, smaller ships, smaller crews, and a new way thinking that Esper didn't exactly elaborate upon.

Over the weekend Politico reported the military wants to shift resources from the Middle East to counter growing aggression from Russia and China, but foreign policy nerds and Congressional Democrats say that's unlikely seeing as how Turkey is ready to start a war with Russia and Syria, and another simultaneous war in Libya with Egypt.

Not to be outspent, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called for an increase in Iran's own military spending to prevent a war with the West, and ISIS, (and everyone else in neighborhood).

BONUS: Jennifer Harris and Jake Sullivan argue in Foreign Policy that Not American nerds should really start working with bean counters if they want to make make the world a better place.

Master Debater

Here's fact-checks of the New Hampshire debate. Among the more notable pieces of BS: Joe Biden's selective memory loss about the Iraq war, Andrew Yang's fear of robots in middle America, Tom Steyer's nonsense about ending California's private prisons, Pete Buttigieg white washing the number of black people arrested in South Bend, the actual number of people going bankrupt from healthcare, the gross misrepresentation in calling total global military expenditures "arms spending," how the NRA helped elect Bernie Sanders in 1990, and the bullshit claim that senators Warren and Sanders have sworn off dark money. [WaPo / CNN / Vox / PBS]

And here's this weekends Saturday Night Live cold open ripping on the debates.

Pete Buttigieg (barely) won the Iowa caucuses, according to final vote totals from the Iowa Democratic Party. Bernie and his bros are using the screw up in Iowa to push the same irrelevant popular vote talking points Hillary Clinton used in 2016; and they're expected to call for a recanvasing of the vote later today. It should be noted that the AP is still unable call Iowa.

BONUS: The best parody has been Stephen Colbert's Our Cartoon President.

In an effort to convince New Hampshire's voters that they're adults, Buttigieg and Sanders spent yesterday insulting one another on morning shows. The bickering feeding a narrative that the party is bitterly divided between feckless moderates fearing change, and the Bernie Bots who blindly follow their master's orders.

Biden's campaign is clearly on the ropes. It's elevated the role role of Anita Dunn, and begged Beto O'Rourke's campaign manager, Jennifer O'Malley Dillion, to wrangle voters in Nevada (as a volunteer). The appearance of cracks in Biden's firewall in South Carolina is leading to whispers that Biden is doomed.

This Fucking Guy

The Republican campaign in Alabama to unseat Democratic Sen. Doug Jones is already suffering from infighting. Most candidates are eager to wear MAGA hats on the stump, but the ire Trumpian sycophants have towards Jeff Sessions has led to commotion in Alabama's smoke-filled rooms. Washed-up local sportsball hero, Tommy Tuberville, is only complicating matters by fear mongering to old farts about terrorist-filled cities governed Sharia Law, and running an ad that's literally just him driving around in a truck and claiming, "God sent us Donald Trump."

Pete Thiel has been quietly funding a PAC for Kris Kobach in the Kansas Republican Senate primary, reports McClatchy. An recent internal poll showed Kobach leading likely Republican challengers, which led to a public display of butthurt from the head of the PAC on Trump's twitter after Trump tweeted a competing poll showing Kobach getting beaten.

One More Thing...

That instantly memed photo of a super orange Trump floating around the web is a bit bogus, Snopes points out. Pictures from other photographers at the same event show the hideous "tan lines" on Trump's pasty face, but they're nowhere near as colorized as the one that went viral.

Stories about Trump's vanity are nothing new. In 2018 the New York Times ran a story about undocumented immigrants working at Trump's New Jersey golf course and it was revealed that Trump has thrown tantrums about orange make-up stains on his shirt collars. In a related follow up, the Washington Post's David Farenthold and Joshua Partlow wrote that only Trump could wear a MAGA hat on his golf courses.

It's not surprising Trump called the photo "fake news," (he does that with most inconvenient truths) and it's even less surprising the photo went viral. Our Twitter addicted punditocracy prey's upon clickbait to validate a meaningless existence of arbitrary likes. They don't have to worry about the accuracy of their statements, only newspapers do. Maybe that's why journalists are poor and small town papers are going bust. Instead of sourcing, they could all be shitposting.

OK, now here's a warm and fuzzy critter video!Kitties!

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